DPWH to convert public buildings to health facilities in 10 days

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 2, 2020   •   718

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is proposing to convert state-owned buildings to health facilities to accommodate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the plan was to convert the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the World Trade Center (WTC), the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, and the Philippine Institute of Sports Multipurpose (Philsport) Arena as quarantine sites.

They began the conversion of the PICC, the WTC, and the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.

Villar also posted design plans for a nurse’s station as well as the floor plan for the PICC facility.

He said the buildings will be used to address hospital shortage due to the continued rise of COVID-19 cases.

The buildings can accommodate a total of 2,905 possible patients. They already began the conversion on Wednesday (April 1) and expect completion in 10 days. AAC

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine ‘highly effective’ based on trial

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 24, 2020

The COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Oxford University and manufactured by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, is reported to be highly effective based on the late-stage trials.

Over 20,000 volunteers participated in the trials in Brazil and the United Kingdom (UK).

Based on the trial, the vaccine can provide an average efficacy of 70% protection against the virus.

Researchers also said its protection rate can scale up to 90% efficacy rate when given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart.

They also considered the results a success, even though the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are reported to be 95 per cent and 94.5 percent effective respectively.

However, researchers said the vaccine developed by Oxford is more affordable and easier to ship across countries.

The UK government already pre-ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine. AstraZeneca said they will manufacture three billion doses by next year. AAC (with reports from Jovic Bermas)

Duterte declines naming congressmen linked to questionable DPWH projects

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020

File photo: President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte during his public address on Monday evening (November 23) said he already has the list of congressmen allegedly involved in certain irregularities or questionable projects in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The said lawmakers are allegedly profiting from infrastructure projects by hiring their preferred contractors and asking for “kickbacks”.

The report is based on the investigation conducted by the Presidential Anti-corruption Commission (PACC).

The Chief Executive however, did not disclose the names of the lawmakers.

He said, it is beyond his power as president to investigate members of an institution of equal authority with the executive branch.

“If I cannot investigate the congressmen, then I have no authority to be releasing their names that are involved per investigation by PACC,” he said.

“Kung wala akong jurisdiction, huwag mo akong tanungin sinong involved diyan (If I do not have jurisdiction, then don’t ask me who’s involved in it),” he added.

Nonetheless, the President said he will submit the list to the Office of the Ombudsman along with pieces of evidence collated by the PACC and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“I have no other recourse, itapon ko rin yan sa ombudsman (but to endorse them to the) Ombudsman because it is the only investigating agency that has jurisdiction over congressmen, hindi ako (not I),” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

107-year-old College of Holy Spirit Manila to cease ops in 2022

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — After facing the challenges brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the 107-year-old College of the Holy Spirit Manila (CHSM) announced that it will cease its operations in 2022.

In a letter, Sr. Carmelita Victoria of the Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit said the school has faced challenges in increasing the number of enrollees in the past 10 years.

“We are now even more convinced that the Holy Spirit is speaking clearly to us through the signs of the times, compelling us to make this extremely difficult decision: to close CHSM at the end of academic year (AY) 2021-2022,” the letter reads.

Victoria said the significant increase in public school teachers’ salaries compared to their private school counterparts has also made it difficult for the school to cope.

“Private education has faced an increasingly challenging environment resulting from government policies on K-12; free tuition in state colleges and universities, local universities and college, and state-run technical and vocational institutions,” according to the letter.

She also said that the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation for the school.

“The reduction or loss in family income, mobility restrictions and social distancing requirements, and the new demands of distance learning have adversely affected enrollment, not only in CHSM, but in most private schools,” she added.

CSHM assured there will be a proper transition for the students currently enrolled. AAC

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