Dizon denies involvement in Isko Moreno’s campaign team

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2021   •   398

MANILA, Philippines – Testing czar Vince Dizon on Thursday denied claims he is part of the campaign team for a certain political candidate.

Dizon issued the statement after Lito Banayo, the chief campaign strategist of Mayor Isko, earlier said that Dizon has joined their team as deputy campaign manager and head of statistical research.

Earlier in the day, Malacañang also issued a statement denying Banayo’s claims.

“I confirm the statement of Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles that I am not involved in any political campaign,” Dizon said.

“My focus is on the national government’s overall COVID-19 response and recovery, including the country’s vaccination program,” he added.

Dizon is also deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19. He formerly served as president of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority but he quit the post last October.

COMELEC to provide free online campaign airtime for 2022 national bets

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said it has launched an official platform that will provide free live streaming of e-rallies of national candidates for the 2022 national and local elections.

In a news release, the COMELEC said the platform, called Campaign S.A.F.E COMELEC e-Rally Channel, will provide e-rally airtime to all bona fide candidates for President, Vice President, Senator, and party-list organizations.

Each candidate for president and vice president will be granted 10-minute airtime for each of three slots in a night, while Senate candidates will be given three minutes for every five slots a night.

Party-list groups will be provided with three minutes each for five slots per night while political parties will have 10 minutes each for three slots.

The poll body said the platform will begin the live streaming by February 8, 2022, when the campaign period for national candidates starts.

“The COMELEC is set to release a schedule of e-rally timeslots for each elective position. Beginning February 8, 2022, live streaming of e-rallies will be conducted every night on the official social media channels of the COMELEC,” it said.

“Every night, there shall be three presidential and three vice-presidential 10-minute slots, and 10 party-list 3-minute slots,” it added.

COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said the commission will issue the pertinent guidelines on how the candidates and party-list organizations can participate in the e-rally channel.

“This platform can help ensure that even those candidates who have less in followers can still have more in views and exposure, so to speak,” he added.

COMELEC eyes release of final list of 2022 poll bets on January 15

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is eyeing to release the final list of candidates for the May 2022 national and local elections by Saturday, January 15.

COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez said they are also hoping to start the printing of official ballots by January 17.

Based on the poll body’s latest tentative list of candidates, there are 10 presidential aspirants for the upcoming elections.

The list includes former Palace Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Labor Leader Leody de Guzman, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Faisal Mangondato, Jose Montemayor, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Vice President Leni Robredo.

Meanwhile, nine aspirants remain in the vice presidential race, while 64 are vying for a senate seat.

Proseso ng COVID-19 testing bumagal dahil sa dami ng nagpapasuri, nagkakasakit na lab personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Aminado ang pamahalaan na bumabagal ngayon ang proseso ng COVID-19 testing sa mga accredited laboratory at testing facilities sa gitna ng lumulobong kaso sa bansa.

Paliwanag ni Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 response at testing czar Vince Dizon, nagkakaproblema ngayon ang karamihan sa mga testing center dahil bukod sa dami ng mga nagpapasuri ay nagkakasakit na rin medical technician at iba pang tauhan ng mga laboratory.

Kung dati aniya ay inaabot lamang ng 24 oras ang pagproseso sa RT-PCR test, ngayon ay ilang araw ang itinatagal nito bago mailabas ang resulta.

“Ang pinakamabigat dito, kaya humihingi po tayo ng pasensya sa ating mga kababayan, marami po sa ating mga technician, med-tech, mga laboratory technician ay nagpopositibo rin po at sila ay kinakailangang mag-isolate at hindi po sila nakakapag report sa trabaho, yun po talaga ang talagang pinakamabigat na hamon natin ngayon,” ani Dizon.

Sa kabila nito, tiniyak ni Dizon na gumagawa na ng paraan ang pamahalaan para mapabilis ang resulta ng swab tests, lalo na sa Metro Manila kung saan laganap ngayon ang hawaan ng COVID-19.

“’Yun po talaga ang malaking hamon natin ngayon pinipilit po nating mag-activate pa ng ibang mga swabber, ibang mga laboratory technician para po mapabilis natin ang ating mga testing results,” ayon sa opisyal.

“Ginagawa din po natin ngayon sa mga areas na tulad ng NCR na napakadami ng dagsa ng mga nagpapa-test eh yun pong ibang mga samples ipinapadala natin sa ibang mga lugar na hindi pa naman ganun kadami ang nagpapatest para po mapabilis natin ang turnaround time,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa ulat ni Dizon as of January 7 ay umabot sa 81,200 COVID-19 tests ang naisagawa sa loob lamang ng isang araw.

Samantala, muli namang sinagot ng pamahalaan ang panawagan ng ilang grupo na magsagawa ng libreng mass swab testing sa gitna ng dumaraming bilang ng mga nagkakasakit ng COVID-19.

Giit ni Dizon, kailangang risk-based ang batayan sa COVID-19 testing. Wala rin aniyang sapat na pondo ang pamahalaan para sa pagsasagawa ng malawakan at libreng mass testing.

“Unang-unang rason po d’yan ay ang resources, iko-compute natin, assuming na ngayon nagte-test tayo mga 80 to 85,000 a day assuming itaas natin to 100,000 a day times thousand na lang, yung current cap at average ng ating test ng PCR, P200 million po yun kada araw , sa loob lamang po ng sampung araw P2 billion na po yun so talaga pong unsustainable,” ani Dizon.

“At talagang hindi po nararapat dahil gaya po ng sinabi ni [Health] Usec. [Maria Rosario] Vergerie at ni (Infectious disease expert) Doctor [Edsel] Salvana, mag-test ka ngayon ma-expose ka bukas, pwedeng magka-COVID ka pa rin kaya kailangan po talaga risk-based ang ating testing,” dagdag pa niya. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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