3 gov’t agencies in ARTA’s priority list for red-tape

Robie de Guzman   •   October 16, 2019   •   730

MANILA, Philippines – At least three government agencies are in the list of “priority” agencies of Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) that need their immediate attention due to red tape.

ARTA director-general Jeremiah Belgica said the agencies they are setting their sights on are the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Land Registration Authority (LRA).

Belgica said these offices are being focused on due to complaints, investigation results and confidential information.

He added that these agencies need reforms to make their transactions faster and less tedious.

“Nakita talaga natin na they really need to shape up because there’s really red tape inside these agencies,” he told reporters in an economic briefing Wednesday.

However, Belgica clarified that they are yet to thoroughly probe other agencies for red tape, adding that the body has only been investigating for over three months.

ARTA was created through Republic Act 11032, which was signed in May 2018.

It is mandated to ensure effective implementation of the law which is intended to remove red tape in government agencies and ensure the delivery of efficient services.

He also warned other agencies to implement needed reforms because some of them could be worse than the LTFRB, the FDA and the LRA.

“If we would say na they’re the most, marami pa ho kasing mga agencies na hindi pa natin na-thoroughly investigate,” Belgica said.

Meanwhile, ARTA revealed it is set to file a case before the Office of the Ombudsman against a provincial governor on Thursday for allegedly violating the Ease of Doing Business Act or the law that aims for optimal government transactions.

Belgica said the official was accused of delaying the release and processing of permits for some unknown personal reasons.

He, however, refused to divulge any more details including the name of the governor.

The ARTA chief said that since he assumed office in July this year, the agency has already filed cases against seven errant government employees and officials.

Belgica added they are also planning to conduct a weekly filing of cases against government officials who defy the administration’s order to deliver efficient government service and promote ease of doing business.

Belgica said violators of the Anti-Red Tape Act and Ease of Doing Business Act may face penalties as provided for in the law.

On the first offense, violators may face six months suspension while the second offense may mete out dismissal from service, permanent disqualification from holding public office, imprisonment of one up to six years and a fine of P500,000 up to P1 million. – RRD (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte ‘puzzled’ over FDA advice on Sinovac use for health workers – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was perplexed by the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not to use the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine on health workers who are frequently exposed to patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president has asked FDA Director-General Eric Domingo to explain such recommendation after the agency’s issuance of an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sinovac.

“Si president po mismo, nagtataka bakit nga ganuon nga ang naging EUA ng FDA at pinatawag po talaga si Dr. Domingo ng huling cabinet meeting… Naiparating ng president ang pagtataka kung bakit may ganitong colatilla,” Roque said.

Domingo explained that the vaccine’s efficacy rate on healthcare workers is 50.4% based on Sinovac’s clinical trials conducted in Brazil, making it not the best vaccine suited for healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients.

The FDA chief, however, stressed that this is only a recommendation and healthcare workers are not prohibited from receiving Sinovac if they chose to.

“Nirerespeto po ni president ang mga opinion ng mga experts kaya let the colatilla remain,” Roque said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DOH, FDA to probe Mon Tulfo’s alleged use of unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday said they would investigate reports on the use of smuggled vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DOH issued the statement following the admission of Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo that he received coronavirus jabs from China’s Sinopharm, which has not yet been authorized for use in the country.

Tulfo on Tuesday said he got inoculated with illegally procured vaccine last year with some Cabinet officials, a lawmaker and some of President Rodrigo Duterte’s security team.

The DOH warned the public that the use and distribution of smuggled vaccine is illegal.

“Ito po ay makakasama sa imbestigasyon and all of these things kapag nakita natin na hindi naayon sa mga batas na meron tayo dito sa ating bansa will be considered illegal,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing.

“Kung sinoman po yung mga kababayan natin, distributors or suppliers na nagbibigay ng mga bakuna na wala pang emergency use authority ay magkakaroon ng appropriate investigation and if there would be violations, magkaka-sanctions po,” she added.

Vergeire also stressed that vaccines need to undergo regulation and secure emergency use authorization (EUA) to ensure its safety and efficacy.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo said Sinopharm has yet to file an application for an EUA.

“As of now, wala pa pong nag-a-apply sa amin. ‘Yung Chinese Government, sumulat po sila kay Secretary (Carlito) Galvez informing him na wala silang local na distributor dito at hindi ko alam kung ano ang kanilang magiging applications po and strategy,” Domingo said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, said that Malacañang will leave the investigation on the issue to the FDA.

He, however, stressed that taking illegally procured COVID-19 vaccines is not a policy of the Duterte administration.

“Wala pong ganiyang polisiya dahil kung may ganiyan pong polisiya, siguro commercial quantity na ang kumalat noong mga bakuna na hindi naaprubahan. Pero inaantay po talaga natin ang aksiyon ng FDA sa mga bagay-bagay na ito,” Roque said.

To recall, some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were revealed to have taken unauthorized coronavirus vaccine shots in December.

The FDA and the National Bureau of Investigation are undertaking separate investigations into the matter.

Domingo said the PSG has yet to respond to FDA’s inquiry into their illegal inoculation. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

FDA approves EUA of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday (January 28) announced it has approved the emergency use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

In a virtual press briefing, the FDA reported they found sufficient data and evidence proving AstraZeneca vaccine may be effective in preventing COVID-19. 

FDA Director Eric Domingo said the benefits of the said vaccine outweighs the potential risks. He added that the adverse effects include headache and slight fever which are similar to the reactions one may expect from a flu shot.

The FDA Director said the vaccine will be taken in two doses four to twelve weeks apart. He added that the vaccine is authorized to be used on individuals aged 18 and above while pregnant women need to check with their doctors first if they can be vaccinated. 

Domingo said, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy rate of 70% and has more favorable storage requirements of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.