DILG to tap SK members as data encoders for 3-day vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021   •   388

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) will be mobilized as data encoders in the government’s three-day national vaccination drive from November 29 to December 1, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

In a statement released on Monday, the DILG said this is to ensure sufficient manpower during the simultaneous vaccination drive dubbed as “Bayanihan Bakunahan” program.

“Sisiguraduhin po ng DILG na ang logistical needs ng ating pagbabakuna ay ating makakamit. Alam po natin na kailangan natin ng maraming data encoders and on the part of the DILG, we will mobilize the Sangguniang Kabataan nationwide,” said DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

He said the youth sector led by the SK has expressed willingness to extend manpower support to the three-day vaccination drive to ensure the smooth conduct of the activity.

The DILG is closely coordinating with the National Youth Commission and the SK Federation on this matter, he added.

The department will also mobilize the Philippine National Police (PNP) to maintain peace and order in the vaccination sites, while medical teams from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the PNP will also be asked to help in the conduct of vaccination.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will also be tapped to help ensure the peaceful conduct of vaccination in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) areas.

Malaya also said that a Memorandum Circular will be issued, directing all local government units (LGUs) to prepare enough manpower in vaccination to meet their daily targets.

“Buong puwersa po ng DILG pati ang ating mga local government units ay nakatutok at susuporta sa Bayanihan Bakunahan. The government aims to vaccinate 15-million Filipinos in the three-day activity in order to reach our goal of population protection the soonest possible time,” he said.

Aside from the SK and the DILG’s attached agencies, Malaya said that the Department of Education (DepEd) will also deploy teachers to be encoders during the vaccination drive.

“Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa DepEd dahil ang mga eskwelahan po ay gagamitin din natin na vaccination sites para dito sa malaki nating programa,” he said.

In addition, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will provide additional encoders through the Government Internship Program (GIP).

To entice more people to get vaccinated during the three-day vaccination program, Malaya said that the DILG will also conduct social mobilization activities such as town hall meetings in barangays to address vaccine hesitancy and vaccine preference.

“Inaanyayahan po natin ang bawat Pilipino na maging bayani at makiisa dito sa programang ito. Para po sa mga hindi pa nababakunahan, magparehistro na po tayo sa pinakamalapit na LGU sa inyong lugar,” said Malaya.

“Sa mga bakunado na po, mag volunteer po tayo sa ating mga LGU dahil nangangailangan po tayo ng mga vaccinators. Nangangailangan din po tayo ng mga data encoders at kung ano-ano pa,” he added.

The government will launch the program in a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate, especially in areas whose immunization drives are facing logistical challenges and limitations.

To date, about 33.8 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 since the immunization campaign started in March.

The government has been eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people to achieve population protection against the viral disease.

PHL logs 22,958 new COVID-19 infections

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 22,958 additional COVID-19 infections, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In its latest data, the DOH said 21,691 of the new cases occurred within the recent 14 days, from January 6 to January 19.

The top regions that reported high cases in the last two weeks are the National Capital Region, CALABARZON, and Central Luzon.

The latest tally pushed the country’s number of active infections to 270,728. Of these cases, 8,335 are asymptomatic, 257,632 are mild, 2,970 are moderate, 1,487 are severe, and 304 are in critical condition.

The positivity rate was at 43.5 percent, based on samples of 62,531 individuals on January 17.

Six laboratories failed to submit their data on time. These facilities contribute on average 1.5 percent of samples tested and 1.9 percent of positive cases.

Recoveries increased by 36,611, resulting in 2,969,853 total recuperations.

COVID-related deaths rose to 53,044 with 82 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 51 percent across the country.

In Metro Manila, 29 percent of ventilators are in use, and 23 percent nationwide.

PH gov’t eyeing another round of nat’l vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to hold another mass vaccination drive against COVID-19 as the country continues to grapple with rising COVID-19 cases.

Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon said the government has started preparations while waiting for the current surge to subside.

“Hinihintay lang po natin na medyo humupa-hupa nang kaunti itong Omicron surge natin dahil alam naman po natin hirap na hirap po ang ating mga health workers, ang ating mga LGU ngayon,” he said in a public briefing.

“So papahupain lang po natin nang kaunti at magkakaroon din po tayo sa mga susunod na linggo ng bagong ‘Bayanihan Bakunahan’ o National Vaccination Days natin sa buong bansa,” he added.

The government held the first two rounds of the national vaccination drive, dubbed as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” from November 29 to December 3, and December 15 to 22. At least 10.2 million vaccine doses were administered in the first leg, and 6.4 million in the second round.

The national government earlier said it will employ strategies to ramp up and expand vaccination efforts in the country, including the opening of more vaccination sites in smaller facilities like clinics and pharmacies.

The Philippine government is eyeing to fully vaccinate up to 77 million Filipinos in the first quarter of this year and 90 million Filipinos by the second quarter.

To date, more than 55 million individuals were already fully vaccinated since the Philippines rolled out its immunization campaign in March 2020.

Paid isolation, quarantine leave benefits for private sector workers should be voluntary – Duterte adviser

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has expressed support to the call of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on private sector employers to provide more paid leave benefits for their workers affected by COVID-19.

In a statement, Concepcion commended DOLE’s initiative, saying it “directly addresses some concerns of our workers, especially this pandemic.”

Conception was referring to Labor Advisory No. 1 issued by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, which calls on employers to allow their workers who are classified as close contact, suspect, probable, or confirmed case of COVID-19 to complete home isolation or facility-based quarantine.

The said paid isolation or quarantine leave for workers is separate from their regular leave benefits, according to Bello.

Concepcion, however, proposed that the private sector must shoulder only half of the paid isolation and quarantine leave program for the employees as many businesses are still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“In times like this, we in business are not doing well. Some who are doing well will consider this but let’s be flexible those who cannot. But those who can even support with half, that would be a great help,” he said.

Nevertheless, Concepcion said the intention of DOLE’s order is “commendable” and should be supported by the business sector as this will provide workers with peace of mind while they undergo quarantine.

“The main concern of our workers is they won’t be paid their salary when they undergo quarantine. Bello’s order would allay that worry as they are now assured of their daily wage while in isolation,” Concepcion said.

It will also encourage workers to declare the true state of their health as they won’t have to worry about lost wages while in quarantine.

“Sad so say, some workers don’t divulge to their employers they experience COVID-related symptoms as they are more worried about losing part of their income. This order, if implemented by private sector employers, would also help quell the spread of COVID-19 among our workforce,” Concepcion said.

The official then appealed to the private sector to heed DOLE’s call for the sake of the workers, who are also risking their lives to keep the economy going amid the pandemic.

Bello earlier said that not all establishments are expected to follow the advisory as most of the firms, especially the micros and small enterprises, will not be able to afford the arrangement.

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