Duterte to visit areas affected by ‘Auring’—Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021   •   231

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte is set to visit areas affected by the onslaught of tropical depression Auring, Malacañang announced on Tuesday (February 23).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in an online briefing said the President wants to see firsthand the damage wrought by Auring and the situation of displaced residents. Duterte will visit the affected areas in the Caraga region accompanied by several members of the Cabinet.

Nograles reported that financial aid has already been given to the residents. He further assured that additional relief assistance will also be provided.

As of February 22, the number of families affected by Auring has reached 28,009. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to listen to public’s sentiment on VFA issue

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is open to listening to the public about their sentiments on the issue regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said those who wish to voice out their opinions on whether the VFA should be abolished or not can send messages through the government hotline 8888.

Kung nais ninyong marinig ang inyong boses tungkol dito, huwag po kayong mag-atubili, kayo po ay magpadala ng e-mail o mensahe o kung anuman doon sa mga linya ng ating mga ahensiya sa gobyerno para makarating po kay Presidente (If you want your voices to be heard, do not hesitate and send an email or message through government agency hotlines for it to reach the President), he said.

Duterte, during his public address on Wednesday (February 24), said he is still undecided on what to do. He previously demanded the US to pay if it wants the VFA to continue.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the military will support the decision of the President but also said the Philippines should be able to defend itself without any assistance. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Delay in delivery of Sinovac vaccines may happen, Palace says

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — There might be delays in the delivery of Sinovac vaccines for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

Roque said the delivery of of 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac might not arrive on the scheduled date on February 23 if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still has not approved its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Sinovac has submitted its application on the second week of January but only AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNtech have received their approved EUA.

“I have received information that unless the EUA is delivered today, baka pati po ang delivery sa 23rd ay maantala (the delivery on the 23rd might be delayed), Roque said.

Meanwhile, there is still no schedule when the delivery of AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the country.

This was after AstraZeneca announced supply issues while Pfizer-BioNtech announced indemnification issues.

However, despite the delays vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez is confident the vaccination rollout in the country will push through within February.

Nakita natin nagkaroon din ng delay ang rollout worldwide ng COVAX but definitely just in case magkaroon ng EUA, ang iba po na mado-donate at iyong darating sa procurement natin, possible pa po ang February (We saw delays in the worldwide vaccine rollout in COVAX but in case EUAs are issued, or donations and our procurement arrive, [vaccination in] February is still possible), he said. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte certifies as urgent bills expediting purchase of COVID-19 vaccine

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent two proposed measures that seek to expedite the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. confirmed.

On Thursday (February 18), Galvez announced that the President has certified as urgent two proposed legislations: Senate Bill 2057 or An act expediting the procurement and administration of vaccines for the protection against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); and House Bill 8648 or Proposed Emergency Vaccine Procurement Act of 2021.

“Pinirmahan na po ng ating mahal na pangulo ang pag-sertipika ng panukalang batas as urgent. Nag-usap po kami kanina kasama po si Senator Bong Go at magandang balita po na talagang napirmahan na po niya ang Senate Bill na nakikita natin na makatutulong po sa atin, he said.

Senatre Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, in a statement, said the Senate will try to pass the bill on second and third reading by Monday.

Meanwhile, the President has also approved a memorandum order that will authorize the local government to provide advance payments exceeding 15% of the total contract amount for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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