DOH belies bribery allegations by families of Dengvaxia vaccinees

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 12, 2019   •   1416

Families of children who had Dengvaxia vaccine rally in front of the Department of Health in Manila, 01 October 2018. (Photoville International)

The Department of Health (DOH) has belied the accusation made by families of Dengvaxia vaccinees that they received a P50,000 bribe from the department.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified that the P50,000 financial assistance did not come from the DOH.

“Iyang ayuda na iyan galing iyan sa Office of the President so hindi iyan galing sa DOH. Ito lamang ay dahil sa malasakit ng Pangulong Duterte para sa mga magulang na namatayan at gumastos para sa kanilang wake at paglibing at mga iba pang mga gastusin (That assistance came from the Office of the President, not the DOH. It was borne out of President Duterte’s concern for the parents of alleged Dengvaxia victims who had to pay for the wake, burial and other expenses),” he said.

This was after reports that several families of the Dengvaxia vaccinees are accusing the DOH of bribery after the department has offered them P50,000 financial assistance.

Several of them said they were asked to submit original documents and other information. They think these would be used as evidence in order to bring back the use of Dengvaxia amid the rise of dengue cases.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Pinoy crew, passengers of Diamond Princess all want to go home —DOH

Maris Federez   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — All the Filipino crew and passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship that is moored in Japan who tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have signified their desire to return home to the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

495 Filipinos are still on the cruise ship even as the two-week quarantine period has passed.

The 43 Filipinos who tested positive for the virus are still admitted in the hospital.

“So even those that had earlier indicated that they would want to stay behind there has been a change of heart by almost all of them,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

Duque said two chartered planes will be used in repatriating the Pinoy crew and passengers who have voluntarily signified their willingness to return to the Philippines.

The DOH official also said they are not discounting any possibility that some of them will still have a change of heart on the very day of their departure.

“They cannot be sure until iyong magbo-board na because siyempre may mga nagde-decide diyan. Iyong iba they might want to stay behind, others might have second thoughts. Iyong dating ayaw gusto na ngayon. So, let’s just have an indicative number of 500,” Duque said.

The DOH, however, clarified that once any of these Filipinos show any symptoms of COVID-19 before the scheduled repatriation will be automatically deleted from the list and will remain in Japan for treatment.

Those asymptomatic will still undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival to the Philippines. — (from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf

Filipinos from Wuhan ‘all well and safe’, cleared to go home after quarantine – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan City in China are now allowed to go home as they showed no signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after their 14-day quarantine period, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

In a statement, the DOH said the 30 Filipinos and 19 others who returned from Wuhan – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak – will be released after they manifested no signs of fever, cough, or sore throat during their 14-day stay at the quarantine facility in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

A send-off ceremony will be held on February 22, Saturday to mark the completion of their mandatory quarantine, the department said.

“We are glad that our repatriates are all well and safe from COVID-19. Our repatriation mission is not possible without the dedication and cooperation of the entire Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases with all its member agencies,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“We are extremely grateful for the collective effort of the government,” he added.

The DOH, meanwhile, revealed that another batch of Filipinos is set to be quarantined in the facility following their arrival this weekend.

This batch is composed of about 460 to 480 Filipinos from the virus-hit M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship who availed of the government’s repatriation program.

The health department said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has already adopted a repatriation plan for the return of the Filipinos from Yokohama, Japan.

They are also coordinating with the World Health Organization, the Philippine Embassy in Japan and the Magsaysay Maritime Corporation for the repatriation process.

Under the repatriation plan, the DOH shall provide health human resources and transportation to the quarantine site, on-site medical needs of the repatriates, hospitalization expenses through Philhealth, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the first five days of the quarantine period.

Magsaysay Maritime Corporation will bear the cost of transportation expenses, food, lodging, personal hygiene kits and disinfectants, and other expenses.

The Department of Transportation will shoulder the transportation of repatriates from Haribon hangar in Pampanga to New Clark City, while the OWWA will provide livelihood packages to the repatriates, and their transportation from Manila to their respective destinations after the quarantine period.

“We would like to assure Filipinos abroad that our government is working tirelessly to ensure that no Filipino gets left behind in our fight against COVID-19. DOH and the Philippine government are prepared to undertake all measures to care for our kababayans, no matter where they are,” Duque said.

Filipinos aboard quarantined ship in Japan to be repatriated on Feb. 23 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship being quarantined due to cases of coronavirus among its passengers in Yokohama, Japan will be repatriated by the Philippine government on Sunday, February 23, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told reporters in a briefing that the Filipinos will arrive at the Haribon Hangar of Clark Airbase in two planes and will be brought to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Of the 3,711 people onboard the cruise ship, 538 are Filipinos – 531 are crew members while seven are passengers.

The health chief said they need to bring home as soon as possible Filipinos who did not test positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are not showing symptoms of the illness.

However, Filipinos aboard the cruise ship who were found infected with the disease will not be repatriated as they will have to be brought to a hospital to undergo treatment or monitoring.

As of Thursday, the number of Filipinos on the vessel who were found positive for COVID-19 has risen to 44.

Duque said the Philippine government is willing to assist Filipinos who contracted the disease once they have recovered.

He also said that it is not yet known how many Filipinos will return home as some might still decide to stay after disembarking the ship on Wednesday when the two-week quarantine period ended.

The entire cruise ship was placed on quarantine last February 3 after one of its passengers tested positive for the virus.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. earlier ordered for the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard the cruise ship.

The DFA said they have been coordinating with Japanese authorities and the operator of the vessel to ensure that everything will be smooth once the repatriation process begins. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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