AFP wants 30-day detention period vs. suspected terrorist

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2018   •   2865

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sees a three-day detention for a suspected terrorist as “light”.

Under the Human Security Act, a suspected terrorist can only be detained no longer than three days unless a Court or the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) issues a written approval.

But the military wants it to be 30 days, regardless if a case is filed or not, to give authorities ample time to interrogate or investigate the suspected individual.

A longer period of detention would also deter any potential terror plot especially if later on, the person is proven to have links to terrorist groups.

“We may believe that he is a real bomber,  but because of the mere suspicion we cannot [keep] him detained. The law does not really help the security forces to do their job,” AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvesz Jr. said during the Senate deliberation on the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill on Monday (October 1).

Being a former military officer, DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año agrees with the proposal to extend the length of detention of suspected terrorist because he believes that tree days are not enough to extract all pertinent information from a potential terrorist.

“Thirty days would be enough for the security forces to conduct follow up investigation and operations. We do not need to maximize the 30 days. A terror attack can be neutralized within 30 days. Thirty days would just give the security forces a guarantee to be able to do their jobs properly,” Año said.

For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson explained that to decide on the matter it is necessary to change first the definition of the word “terrorist” in the Human Security Act.

“We need to simply define it as someone who commits the act of terrorism and who has the intent to commit an act of terrorism. That is practical and logical. Because a terrorist does not always have to coerce the government to certain demands,” the Senate Committee on National Defense and Public Order chair said.

Aside from the proposed 30-day detention, the AFP also suggested a 90-day surveillance period from the previous 30 days against suspected terrorist under the Anti-Terrorism Bill. The proposed legislation aims at amending the Human Security Act to give it more power against any form of terrorism.

Lacson noted that the Philippines is among countries in the world with weak anti-terrorism laws. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)

Galvez wants genome test on Davao City COVID-19 samples to check for new variant

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Davao is set to submit specimens of patients with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Metro Manila to check for the possible presence of new coronavirus variant amid the spike of new cases in the city.

Dr. Ashley Lopez, the city’s COVID-19 focal person, said vaccine czar and National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez issued the directive on Wednesday after seeing a worrisome uptick in new infections in the city.

Lopez said the specimens of COVID-19 patients recorded this month will be sent to the RITM for a genomic analysis.

While the increase in COVID-19 cases in the city could have been due to a post-holiday surge, he said authorities cannot discount the possibility that a new variant may have entered its borders through the porous backdoor channels in some areas in Mindanao, including Cotabato City, Zamboanga City, Sarangani Province and General Santos City.

Malaysia, the country’s closest neighbor, has already confirmed a case of the new variant.

Lopez said the Task Force Davao and the city’s Public Safety and Security Command Center have implemented stricter restrictions at the borders to regulate the entry of people.

Data from the Department of Health-Davao Region showed that from January 1 to 23, 2021 alone, Davao City recorded 1,222 new infections, which is 33% higher than the number reported from December 19 to 31, 2020. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lucille Lloren)



PH gov’t working on deals with more COVID-19 vaccine makers – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   December 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is working on deals to secure more supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses from other pharmaceutical companies by next year, the country’s vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Galvez made the remark on Saturday as he refuted accusations that the government is “focusing only on few vaccine sources.”

He stressed that aside from AstraZeneca, the country is also negotiating with India’s NovaVax, America’s Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, Russia’s Gamaleya, and China’s Sinovac.

“It is a portfolio. Basically, ang mauuna sir is AstraZeneca ‘yung magiging contract natin,” he told President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and health experts in Malacañang.

“Next is ang Novavax from Serum of India; next is Pfizer; and then maybe Johnson & Johnson. We have also the discussion of the head of terms and also the supply agreement and also with Moderna; and then followed by Gamaleya and also the Sinovac.”

Galvez said the government might have contracts with Novavax Inc. and Pfizer Inc. by January. It is also has initial arrangement for 20 million doses with Moderna.

“So all in all sir if we will get Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, J&J, and also Moderna, we might have more or less 80 million doses. And also recently, Gamaleya of Russia also negotiated for another 25 million,” he told Duterte.

Currently, Philippine authorities are asking Gamaleya for its third phase clinical trial information, Galvez said, hoping to secure a deal with the Russian vaccine maker also by January at the earliest.

The government is working to secure 20 million and 10 million doses for the government and private sector, respectively.

Galvez said the government may start inoculation for COVID-19 in May next year at the earliest, as it secures substantial vaccine doses intended for the government and the private sector.

The Philippine government earlier said that frontline health workers will be the first priority in the vaccine distribution followed by senior citizens, poor Filipinos and uniformed personnel.

It is looking to roll out its COVID-19 immunization program starting next year, and to administer it to at least 70 million Filipinos within three to five years.

PH gov’t may seal vaccine deal with AstraZeneca for 20M doses this month —Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   December 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines may sign a deal with British-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca for 20 million doses of its novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine by the end of this month, the government’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said.

During the Cabinet’s regular briefing on Monday with President Rodrigo Duterte, Galvez reported that the deal could be signed on December 28 or 29 once the British government has issued a health regulatory authorization.

Galvez said these vaccines will go to the local government units and the private sector.

AstraZeneca pegged its price at only five dollars or around P500 for two shots of COVID-19 vaccine intended for an individual.

Galvez also announced that the government is likewise negotiating with India’s Serum Institute for the supply of the vaccine. Under a tie up with American’s Novavax Inc., the vaccines will be manufactured in India.

The vaccine developer promised to deliver 30 million doses, he added.

“So all in all po, kung magkakaroon po tayo ng pirmahan this coming month, mayroon po tayong 60 million for the second quarter at saka third quarter po,” he told the President.

The Philippine government earlier said it is looking to roll out its COVID-19 immunization program in 2021 or 2022, and to administer it to at least 70 million Filipinos within three to five years.

Frontline health workers will be the first priority in the vaccine distribution followed by senior citizens, poor Filipinos and uniformed personnel.

Areas with high cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) such as Metro Manila, Davao, and Cebu will be prioritized in the distribution of the vaccines once it becomes available.

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