Duterte wants cops, soldiers to be first to get COVID-19 shot

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2020   •   389

President Rodrigo Duterte wants to include policemen and soldiers in the list of sectors to be given priority in the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mass vaccination, citing their importance especially during times of emergencies.

“I need a healthy military and police kasi ‘pag magkasakit lahat ‘yan, wala na akong maasahan, wala na tayong mautusan kung gawin ‘to, gawin doon,” Duterte said during his meeting with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Monday.

The president described the police and the military as the “errand boys of the Republic,” since uniformed personnel are at the forefront in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as rescue and relief efforts in areas affected by recent calamities.

“Kita naman ninyo ‘yung baha sa Luzon, several, nakita ninyo ‘yung military, Coast Guard, lahat na pumupunta na doon, pulis. And then they have to take care of the law and order situation,” he said.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said they will make use of geographical and sectoral strategies in the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.

Areas with high cases of COVID-19 such as Metro Manila, Davao, and Cebu will be prioritized in the distribution of the vaccines.

Once the infected areas have been selected, vaccines will then be distributed to the target beneficiaries including essential workers, poor and vulnerable sectors.

Galvez earlier projected that the vaccine supply can be made available by the second quarter of 2021 once an agreement with vaccine developers has been signed.

Marikina City eyes expansion of COVID-19 vaccine storage facility

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Marikina City may have been hit by a massive flooding in the last quarter of 2020 but the city government assures enough funding for its COVID-19 response.

In fact, the city already has a cold chain storage facility in time for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

The storage, which can store up to 40,000 vials of vaccines, is fully air-conditioned and equipped with state-of-the-art vaccine refrigerators.

The city government also invested on carriers that will transport the vaccines to the vaccination sites.

The vaccines will be placed inside a specially designed package with a thermometer to ensure proper temperature while in transit. Even the syringes are exact in measurement and can only be used once.

“Ito ay may lock kaya auto disable,” Marikina City’s cold chain manager Lourdeliza de Guzman explained.

According to Mayor Marcy Teodoro, they are negotiating with two companies and the tripartite procurement for the vaccine is already in progress.

They expect the vaccines to arrive in February or within the third quarter of the year.

Also, the city government is also preparing other areas where additional vaccine storages can be established.

“Ine-expand pa rin namin ito para at least makapag hold kami ng up to 100,000 vials ng vaccine. Both 2-8 degrees and sub-zero cold storage ang aming objective,” he added.

Teodoro said Marikina City is targeting to inoculate around 270,000 or about 60 percent of its population.

It has also allotted around P80M budget in addition to the vaccines that the national government will provide.

“Iyong prioritization namin primarily one, health care workers, mga social workers, iyong mga non-medical (workers) iyong mga nasa PNP natin, barangay health workers, iyong essential workers natin na katulong natin,” Teodoro said.

“Pagkatapos (mga) senior citizens, PWD, iyong mga mahihirap, iyong mga nakatira doon sa mga settlement area ng Marikina. Tapos yung mga working population namin,” he added.

Teodoro said they are planning for a mobile vaccination which will make rounds in hospitals, resettlement sites or in other areas where vaccination is needed. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

No ‘Sara for President’ in 2022, no term extension —Pres. Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said there are groups urging his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to run for president in 2022 but the Chief Executive expressed his opposition to the idea.

He stressed that the presidential seat is not for a woman to fill.

“My daughter inuudyok naman nila, sabi ko, ‘My daughter is not running,’” he said during the launch of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project in Quezon City on Thursday (January 14).

“I have told Inday not to run kasi naaawa ako sa dadaanan niya na dinaanan ko . Hindi ito pambabae. Alam mo, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. That is the sad story,” he said.

Rumors about the younger Duterte’s possible 2022 bid surfaced after a Pulse Asia survey conducted from November 23 to December 2, 2020 revealed that one in every four Filipinos expressed support for the presidential daughter’s bid for the presidency in the next election.

As for him, the Chief Executive said he will not accept any offer of term extension even if Congress moves to amend the Constitution for that matter.

On Wednesday (January 13) the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments began discussing the proposed change in the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Critics of the Duterte administration slammed such a move, claiming it is a front of Duterte allies to push for term extension and scrapping of term limits among politicians.

“Kaya nga hinihingi ko ang Congress, akala nila term extension ,” Duterte said.

“Maski ibigay mo sa akin on a silver platter, maski ibigay mo sa akin libre another 10 years, sabihin ko sa iyo, p***** i** mo, iyo na lang iyan. Tapos na ako,” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Gov’t eyeing to begin immunization program in February, says vaccine czar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The national government is planning to begin the COVID-19 immunization program in February, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

He said 50,000 of China’s Sinovac vaccines are set to arrive in the country on February 20. An additional 950,000 doses will arrive in March, and two million more in the succeeding months.

Galvez also reported that Pfizer may also provide more or less 25 to 40 million doses once negotiations are finalized. The government is also in the final stages of negotiation with drug maker Johnson & Johnson, the vaccine czar added.

“Kapag nagpirmahan po tayo baka, hopefully, kung mayroon silang excess from US at other countries pwede pong mai-deliver ito sa atin (Once the agreement has been signed hopefully, if there is excess from the United States and other countries, [the vaccines] can be delivered to us),” he told the President during a meeting in Malacañang.

Other vaccine companies that the government is in talks with include American biotechnology company Moderna, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute. Gamaleya promised to deliver 50 to 100 million doses to the country.

Meanwhile, local government units have already inked a deal with Astrazeneca for a supply of around 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. AAC

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