China ‘no business’ telling PH forces to stop exercises in West Philippine Sea — DND

Robie de Guzman   •   April 28, 2021   •   560

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of  National Defense (DND) on Wednesday stressed that China has no legal basis to stop Philippine authorities from conducting maritime patrols and other activities in the West Philippine Sea.

DND Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong issued the remark in response to the Chinese government’s statement that the Philippines should stop taking actions that would complicate the situation in the West Philippine Sea.

“China has no business telling the Philippines what we can and cannot do within our own waters,” Andolong said in a statement.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Monday urged the Philippines to “respect” their supposed sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea and to stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes

“China enjoys sovereignty over Nansha Islands including Zhongye Island and Zhongsha Islands including Huangyan Island and their adjacent waters, and exercises jurisdiction in relevant waters,” Wang said.

He was referring to Panatag Shoal, which China calls Huangtyan Island, and Pag-asa Island, which they call Zhongye Island.

But Andolong noted that China’s so-called nine-dash line demarcating its massive claims has no legal basis in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and has been nullified by the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling favoring the Philippines’ claims over the resource-rich waters.

“The arbitral award has categorically stated that the Chinese claim bounded by their so-called nine-dash line according to their “historical right” has no basis in fact,” he said.

“Therefore, it is they who are encroaching and should desist and leave,” he added.

Andolong also said that the Philippine forces will continue to “do what is necessary to protect our sovereign rights.”

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) last Saturday held maritime drills near the Bajo de Masinloc and Pag-asa Islands.

The PCG said the training was intended to intensify its personnel training on navigation, small boat operations, maintenance, and logistical operations.

Aside from the West Philippine Sea, the said capital ships will also be deployed to perform maritime exercises in the Batanes Group of Islands, Benham Rise, as well as in the southern and eastern portions of the Philippines, the PCG said.

The maritime drills were conducted by the PCG and BFAR following reports on Chinese vessels lingering in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Kaso ng Omicron variant naitala sa 15 lugar sa Metro Manila – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Labinlimang lugar sa Metro Manila na ang nakapagtala ng local case ng Omicron COVID-19 variant, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea de Guzman, ikinokonsidera nang predominant variant ang Omicron sa Metro Manila batay sa resulta ng pinakahuling whole genome sequencing run.

“Our latest whole genome sequencing showed that the Omicron variant is now the predominant variant in the National Capital Region, It’s also detected in 13 of 17 regions and in the National Capital Region, 15 of its 17 areas already have local Omicron cases,” ang wika ni De Guzman.

Hindi na tinukoy ng DOH ang mga nasabing lugar pero ayon kay De Guzman, mabilis ang pagkalat ng nasabing variant na maaaring bunsod na rin ng paglabas ng mga tao at hindi lubos na pagsunod ng iilan sa public health protocols.

“These case increases that we’ve seen especially in the National Capital Region is driven by Omicron but is also facilitated by our increased mobility, our reduced compliance to minimum public health standards, as well as delays in our detection and isolation,” ani De Guzman.

Bukod sa Metro Manila ay napansin rin ng kagawaran ang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa lahat ng rehiyon sa bansa.

“We have now observed an increase in cases across all regions and all provinces, highly-urbanized cities and independent component cities but there are still areas whose counts are lower than what we are seeing now in the NCR Plus but we’re already seeing continuous and swift increases,” ani De Guzman.

Una nang sinabi ni Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na nasa critical risk classification ang Pilipinas sa kabila ng pagbagal ng growth rate ng COVID-19.

Ngayong Martes, 28,471 bagong kaso ng COVID-19 ang naitala sa bansa. Ito ang unang pagkakataon ngayong linggo na mas mababa sa 30,000 ang napaulat na kumpirmadong kaso ng coronavirus disease sa Pilipinas. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

PH gov’t to tap drug stores as COVID-19 vaccine booster sites

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to tap drug stores to serve as COVID-19 vaccine booster sites in a bid to ramp up the administration of booster jabs in the country.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with some of his officials on Monday, Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon said the government will seek the help of pharmacies in the country following reports that some vaccination staff have also contracted the virus.

Dizon said the program, which would be dubbed “Resbakuna sa mga botika,” will be launched this week in the first seven pharmacies in Metro Manila.

The pilot run is set for January 20 to 21 in sites including Mercury Drug, Watsons, Rose Pharmacy, Southstar Drug, and the Generics Pharmacy, as well as Healthway and QualiMed.

After the weeklong run, it would then be expanded to other drugstores across the country, he added.

“We will start with 7 pharmacies in Metro Manila which we will launch on Thursday, January 20 and on Friday, January 21,” Dizon said.

“Mabilis po ito Mr. President, pagka-launch po natin, magpi-pilot po sila ng isang linggo, mag-eexpand na po tayo nang mabilis sa iba’t iba pang cities all over the country- Luzon, Visayas, at Mindanao- at sa iba’t ibang mga botika,” he added.

The program aims to assist local government units and the Department of Health with additional personnel for vaccination. It will also help decentralize the inoculation by having smaller but widely spread vaccination sites in the form of drugstores.

 

Philippines posts 28,471 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday logged 28,471 more COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

This is the first time in a week that the number of new COVID-19 infections fell below 30,000.

In its data, the DOH said that 27,735 of the newly reported cases occurred within the recent 14 days. Most infections were reported in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

The latest figure pushed the country’s number of active cases to 284,458 – 8,930 of which are asymptomatic, 270,784 are mild, 2,957 are moderate, 1,484 are severe, and 303 are in critical condition.

The positivity rate was at 43.4 percent, based on samples of 51,738 individuals on January 16.

Five laboratories failed to submit their data on time. These facilities contribute on average 1.7 percent of samples tested and 2.1 percent of positive cases.

Recoveries increased by 34,892, resulting in 2,933,338 total recuperations.

COVID-related deaths rose to 52,962 with 34 new fatalities.

The utilization rate of intensive care unit beds nationwide was at 49 percent, and 53 percent in Metro Manila; isolation beds in the capital region at 48 percent, and 49 percent across the country.

In Metro Manila, 29 percent of ventilators are in use, and  22 percent nationwide.

 

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