DOH deploys 15 doctors to Cebu City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 29, 2020   •   339

The Department of Health (DOH) deployed 15 doctors to Cebu City under their Doctors to the Barrio (DTTB) Program on Monday (June 29).

During an interview on ‘Get it Straight with Daniel Razon’, DOH Region 7 Spokesperson Dr. Jean Loreche assured that the doctors will receive proper training and compensation.

“Right now we have in our list six doctors to the barrios, dalawa ang deputized physicians natin. Mayroon po tayong from the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] na seven po na ipapadala po nila from Luzon to be able to augment manpower here in Cebu City, she said.

The DTTB earlier slammed the DOH for its “abrupt exploitative order” in deploying doctors to Cebu City, saying the doctors were not properly informed about the situation.

“The DTTBs and the local chief executives should have been represented in decision-making involving this temporary reassignment. Failing to do so makes such directives exploitative for doctors and inconsiderate for the communities that they serve. There is complete disregard to the concerns of the doctors and the local chief executives,” the DTTB said in a statement on Sunday (June 28).

The DOH, meanwhile, defended that the the temporary deployment of doctors will help address the overwhelmed capacity of private hospitals in Cebu City.

“Cebu City’s health care system is overwhelmed with patient load at the moment,” according to the DOH statement on Monday.

Loreche, however, reported that the region’s health care system can still manage the surge of cases in Cebu City, contrary to the report of the DOH Central Office.

The DOH Region 7 official also reiterated that the surge of cases is due to the categorized testing they conducted last May where 45,000 residents underwent COVID-19 testing.

“So ito pong mga numero na nakikita natin ngayon dito sa Cebu City, ito lang po ay a reflection of the zero prevalence data na ginawa namin,” Loreche said.

The DOH Central earlier reported that the critical care utilization in Cebu City has already reached critical level which prompted the deployment of rural doctors to the area.

There are currently over 5,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cebu City. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Local airlines to increase number of flights this holiday season

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Local airlines are preparing to add more flights as more passengers are expected to travel this holiday season just as quarantine restrictions ease.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the easing of quarantine restrictions can help the airline industry recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The good news is the Balikbayan Program. This is the easing of travel requirements for balikbayans to entice them to return to the Philippines,” she said.

Villaluna said they are also coordinating with local government units to make sure the minimum health standards are still being implemented.

Local airlines have already partnered with private laboratories for more affordable and faster swab testing of passengers. For PAL and Air Asia, the RT-PCR testing in their accredited diagnostic lab costs P4,000.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific launched a “test before boarding” policy which requires passengers to undergo an antigen testing before boarding. The testing in Cebu Pacific is free from December 3 to December 14 but it is only exclusive to passengers en route to General Santos City.

“This is an initiative where we are closely working with the LGU in coming up with this process wherein passengers are required to take an antigen test no more than five hours before their departure time and then the results will come out in 30 minutes,” according to Candice Iyog, vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience of Cebu Pacific.

Local airlines advise passengers to refer to their respective websites for the essential requirements before boarding their flights. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Duterte to attend virtual UN General Assembly on COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from December 3 to 4, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to deliver the Philippine Statement on December 3, where he will further amplify his call for global solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The president is also expected to raise universal access to the anti-COVID-19 technologies, as well as the need for global efforts to ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines to peoples of developing nations.

During the 75th UNGA session last September, Duterte also said that COVID-19 vaccines “must not be denied nor withheld,” and that “it should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Unemployment rate in October 2020 eases to 8.7% —PSA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 3, 2020

The unemployment rate in October 2020 eases to 8.7%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

From April 2020, with a 17.6% unemployment rate, the number of unemployed Filipinos continued to drop to 10% in July and 8.7% in October. This is equivalent to 3.8 million Filipinos, 15 years old and above, who are unemployed.

With several establishments reopening after strict lockdowns due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), several Filipinos were able to find jobs during the last quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate also droppedd to 14.4% this October, compared to 17.3%t last July.

The PSA said the economy is gradually recovering as lockdowns continue to ease. -AAC

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