Defense chief Lorenzana says his stance on West Philippine Sea issue aligns with Duterte’s

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021   •   481

MANILA, Philippines — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea will continue despite China’s call for the Philippines to stop conducting maritime exercises and other activities that would “complicate” the situation in the region.

In a statement on Sunday, Lorenzana vowed that the position of the Philippine government on the matter will not waver.

“While we acknowledge that China’s military capability is more advanced than ours, this does not deter us from defending our national interest, and our dignity as a people, with all that we have,” Lorenzana said.

“Thus, the conduct of maritime patrol in the WPS and Kalayaan Island Group by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will continue. The government will not waver in its position. Walang alisan,” he added.

He also emphasized that his stance on the West Philippine Sea issue is the same with President Rodrigo Duterte’s contrary to the claims of some quarters.

“President Duterte’s orders to us have been very firm and straightforward: defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas,” he said.

“Yung nagsasabi na hindi kami align ng Presidente, let me clarify that my pronouncements echo the stand of our President and Commander in Chief,” he added.

As for the Philippines’ “long-standing and multi-faceted” relationship with China, Lorenzana said that the country will maintain cooperation in various areas that are “mutually beneficial to our peoples.”

“We can be cordial and cooperative with other nations but not at the expense of our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he stressed.

He further said that the latest developments in contested waters make it clear that there is a need for all stakeholders to cooperate.

“They can now take this as an opportunity to advance the values and principles we collectively affirm and profess to respect – including the peaceful settlement of disputes – as partners and as signatories to UNCLOS and all relevant international instruments,” he said.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin last week urged the Philippines to “respect” their supposed sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea and to stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.

PH posts 20,336 new COVID-19 cases; active tally at 188K

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Friday recorded 20,336 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally of confirmed cases to 2,324,475 since the pandemic broke out in 2020.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the latest figure pushed the country’s active cases to 188,108. Of these cases, 87.6 percent are mild, 2.49 percent are moderate, 8.1 percent are asymptomatic, 1.3 percent are severe, and 0.6 percent are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, total number of recoveries rose to 2,100,039 after 10,028 more patients recovered from the disease.

Deaths related to COVID-19 also climbed to 36,328 with 310 new fatalities.

Four accredited testing laboratories failed to submit data on time.

Government data also showed that 77 percent of 4,300 ICU beds nationwide are occupied.

Around 68 percent of 20,800 isolation beds in the country are also in use while 73 percent of 15,900 ward beds are occupied.

Data also showed that 57 percent of the more than 3,200 ventilators in the country are being utilized.

In the National Capital Region, 79 percent of the total 1,500 ICU beds are occupied.

Around 64 percent of the 4,500 isolation beds are in use while 74 percent of the 4,400 ward beds are being utilized.

Of the total 1,100 ventilators in the capital region, 62 percent are being used.

The DOH also reported 26.6 percent COVID-19 positivity rate out of the 75,766 tests conducted on September 15.

FDA, may babala vs mga ospital na maniningil ng higit kaysa COVID-19 drug price cap

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Binalaan ng Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ang mga ospital na maniningil ng higit kaysa itinakdang price cap para sa mga gamot na ginagamit para sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19.

Sa panayam sa programang Get it straight with Daniel Razon, sinabi ni FDA director general Eric Domingo na maaaring patawan ng parusang pagkakakulong at suspension ng lisensiya ang mga ospital gayundin ang mga botika na nagbebenta ng COVID-19 drugs na mas mahal kumpara sa price ceiling.

Ginawa ng FDA ang babala kasunod ng mga ulat ng overpricing sa mga gamot na ginagamit sa treatment ng COVID-19 patients tulad ng Remdesivir at Tocilizumab .

“Pag ospital po, kwestyonable ang presyo, at least yung quality sigurado tayo dahil yung ospital hindi naman yan bibili, bawal po silang bumili sa unlicensed distributor. Pero mayroon silang pananagutan dahil lumalagpas po sila sa retail price na pinapayagan po ng DOH,” ang paliwanag ni Domingo.

Alinsunod sa kautusan ng DOH, nasa P8,000 hanggang P28,000 ang suggested retail price ng Tocilizumab na ginagamit sa treatment ng critical hanggang severe COVID cases.

Nasa P1,500 hanggang P8,200 ang retail price ng bawat 100 milligram vial ng Remdesivir.

Samantala, kaugnay naman ng pagkakaloob ng compassionate special permit o CSP sa COVID-19 drugs, inihayag ni Domingo na halos lahat ng ospital sa bansa ay may special permit na para sa isa o dalawang gamot kontra COVID-19.

Dagdag pa nito, hindi masyadong istrikto ang FDA sa pagbibigay ng CSP basta lisensyado ang ospital at mga doktor na gagamit ng gamot para sa COVID-19 patients.

“Actually lahat ng ospital ngayon sa Pilipinas, may special permit na sila for one drug or another, para sa ating COVID dahil talagang puno ng COVID-19 cases. At tayo naman po, hindi tayo very strict,” ani Domingo.

Ayon sa FDA, nade-desisyunan naman agad sa loob ng 24 hanggang 48 oras ang aplikasyon para sa CSP ng isang ospital. Maaari ding mag-apply in advance ng CSP ang mga ospital para sa COVID-19 patients nito sa pamamagitan ng email address na

Kaugnay naman ng investigational drug na Leronlimab, sinabi ni Domingo na wala pang price ceiling na itinakda ang pamahalaan dito dahil kakaunti lamang ang nanghihingi ng special permit para sa suplay ng gamot na ito. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Philippines adds more countries to COVID-19 ‘red list’

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has updated its list of “red, yellow, and green” countries and territories, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the revised list of areas that are classified as “red, yellow, and green.”

“This new classification shall take effect on September 19, 2021 until September 30, 2021,” Roque said.

Territories under the red list are considered as “high-risk.”

The red list will now include Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Slovenia.

The government earlier said that inbound passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or have been to “red” nations are not allowed to enter the Philippines.

Filipinos returning to the Philippines through government-facilitated or non-government repatriation programs, as well as special commercial flights allowed under existing IATF resolutions are not covered by the travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, areas included in the “green” list are as follows:

  • American Samoa
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Gabon
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Algeria
  • Bhutan
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Nicaragua
  • Niue
    North Korea
  • Saint Helena
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tajikstan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen


Green countries are those considered “low-risk” for COVID-19 based on disease incidence rate.

All other countries/territories/jurisdictions not mentioned are in the yellow list, Roque said.

Inbound passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or who have been to the “yellow” countries within 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines are required to undergo strict entry, testing and quarantine protocols.


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