DOJ to issue immigration lookout bulletin order against Michael Yang

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 14, 2021   •   367

Michael Yang

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against former presidential adviser Michael Yang on Tuesday, Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced.

This is in response to the request of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon to place Yang under an immigration watchlist.

Gordon on Monday (September 13) wrote to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra to seek issuance of an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against Yang.

A similar request was previously submitted to the DOJ for former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao and seven others, to which an immigration lookout order had been released.

Yang and Lao are both under probe due to alleged deficiencies in the use of the P67-billion budget for pandemic response under the Department of Health (DOH) which was reflected in the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report.

The Blue Ribbon has been investigating the government’s handling of COVID-19 response funds, including the procurement of supposedly “overpriced” face masks and shields. AAC

 

PH tracing passengers who arrived from countries with Omicron cases – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it has started tracing passengers who arrived in the country from areas with local cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant.

DOH Epidemiology director, Dr. Alethea de Guzman said this is to assess them to ensure that they are not infected with the new coronavirus variant.

“Iyong mga galing sa banned countries na naunang nag-arrive ay ngayon ay tinetrace ng ating BOQ, RESUs and DILG para ma-assess sila at ma-test,” she said.

The move is in compliance to the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) for The Bureau of Quarantine and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the local government units (LGUs) to identify and locate passengers who arrived within 14 days prior to November 29, 2021, from countries classified as Red.

This is to require them to complete quarantine under a home quarantine set-up for 14 days from date of arrival and undergo RT-PCR if symptoms develop.

The Philippine government has recently expanded the Red List to include Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy. This is in addition to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique that were earlier placed in the Red List due to the threat of Omicron, which was first detected in the region.

The Red List, which is effective from November 28 until December 15, means that travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or who have been to the Red List areas within the last 14 days prior to their arrival will not be allowed to enter the Philippines.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan flights may be allowed entry. However, they will be subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for Red List territories.

De Guzman said authorities are now reviewing the existing protocols to address the new variant.

“Dahil nga sa pag-deklara ng Omicron as a variant of concern at ito namang Omicron na ito ay papasok hindi galing sa ating, hindi siya lalabas intransically sa Philippines pero malamang manggaling sa ibang bansa, kailangan talaga nating maglagay ng measures para ma-prevent natin, ma-delay natin as long as possible ang pagpasok ng Omicron sa ating bansa,” she said.

The Philippines has not yet recorded any case of Omicron variant based on the ongoing genome sequencing process.

The country has seen a downward trend of coronavirus infections in the past weeks.

On Monday, the Philippines logged 665 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the country’s total caseload to 2,832,375. This is the lowest since July 14, 2020 with 634 cases.

The country remains at low-risk classification for COVID-19.

But the DOH warned that this could spike if Omicron variant slips through the country’s borders.

The department said it has recommended to LGUs to shift back to using RT-PCR tests, instead of antigen tests to detect the presence of the Omicron variant.

“There are allegedly some tests that cannot detect kasi meron lang specific na mutations unique to Omicron na pwede lang makita ng certain RT- PCR kits,” De Guzman said.

“Ang ating mga positive samples naman ay mapapadala natin sa ating UP-Phil Genome Center at doon natin makikita kung sila ay may Omicron… Much like iyong mga may kaso ng Alpha, Beta and Delta ,kung mayroon ka ring Omicron walang pagbabago sa magiging management sa inyo ng doktor. Walang dagdag na gamot, bagong treatment. Pareho pa rin ang magiging treatment sa kanila,” she added.

De Guzman also noted that there is no clear evidence yet to say whether Omicron variant causes severe infection or if it more transmissible than other variants of concern.

“Sa ngayon, base sa mga studies, hindi natin nakikita na mas magiging apektado ang isang age group, hindi rin natin nakikita na mas magiging severe ang disease, o mas magiging mataas ang tiyansa ng pagkamatay sa mga may kaso na may Omicron variant,” she said.

“Pero dahil nakakita nga tayo ng maraming mutations dito sa variant na ito kaya itinataas natin ang pagbabantay ang ating response,” she added.

The DOH also reminded the public to take extra care as preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron for people who have previously had COVID-19, as compared to other variants of concern.

Clusters of cases in a certain area should also be monitored and submitted for sequencing to ensure that there are no new virus mutations.

The World Health Organization classified Omicron as a variant of concern last week. Several countries imposed travel restrictions amid increased detection in nations across the world.

PH posts 890 new COVID-19 cases; active infections down to 17K

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 890 new COVID-19 infections, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

In its bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure brought the country’s total of recorded cases to 2,828,660.

Of the total caseload, 17,864 were active infections – 53.4% of which are mild, 21.39% are moderate, 4.8% are asymptomatic, 14.4% are severe, and 6.0% are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 2,763,114 after 1,710 more patients recuperated from the viral disease.

The death toll climbed to 47,682 with 200 new fatalities.

The country’s positivity rate was at 2.5%, based on data gathered on November 22 from 32,254 tested individuals.

Two laboratories were not operational on November 22 while three others were not able to submit their data on time, the DOH said. The five labs contribute on average 1.5% of positive cases and 1.8% of samples tested.

Data from the DOH also indicated that 31% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds for COVID-19 patients nationwide are in use while 29% are utilized in Metro Manila.

Isolation beds nationwide are 28% occupied while 25% are in use in Metro Manila.

Hindi lahat ng A3 sector kasama sa tatanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine booster dose – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nilinaw ng Department of Health (DOH) ngayong Lunes na hindi pa lahat ng persons with co-morbidities (A3 sector) ang maaaring mabigyan ng COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

Ginawa ng DOH ang paglilinaw sa pagsisimula ng rollout ng booster dose para sa senior citizens (A2) at A3 groups.

Sa isang pahayag, sinabi ng DOH na ang makakasama lang sa booster dosing sa ngayon ay ang mga persons with co-morbidities na nasa immunocompromised state.

Ibig sabihin, ito ay ang mga nasa immunodeficiency state, people living with HIV, may active cancer o malignancy, transplant patients at mga pasyenteng sumasailalim sa immunosuppressive treatments.

Paliwanag ng DOH, ito pa lamang ang maaaring makatanggap sa ngayon ng vaccine boosters dahil sila ang higit na nangangailangan ng dagdag-proteksyon laban sa COVID-19.

May posibilidad ring bumaba na ang bisa ng bakuna na natanggap nila ilang buwan na ang nakalilipas.

Ayon sa DOH, iaanunsiyo ng National Vaccine Operations Center kung kailan maaaring makatanggap ng karagdagang vaccine shots ang natitirang populasyon ng A3 sector.

Pinapayuhan ng ahensiya ang mga eligible nang tumanggap ng third at booster shots na makipag-ugnayan sa nakakasakop na local government units para sa schedule ng pagpapabakuna.

Paalala rin ng DOH na dalhin ang kanilang ang vaccination card bilang katunayan na sila ay fully vaccinated na at handang tumanggap ng kanilang third dose. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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