Emergence of community pantries exemplifies bayanihan spirit amid crisis — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021   •   516

MANILA, Philippines — The emergence of community pantries “exemplifies the Filipino bayanihan spirit” and is not a condemnation of the government during this challenging time of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Malacañang said Monday.

“It shows the best of the Filipino. It is part of our psyche to help one another. I don’t see it as a condemnation of the government,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

“It shows the best of us during the worst of times,” he added.

Roque made the statement after some lawmakers remarked that the establishment of community pantries and other similar activities offering aid to those in need is brought about by the government’s failure to provide enough assistance to families heavily affected by the pandemic.

Roque, however, insisted that the popping up of community pantries in various areas only shows the Filipinos’ unity and initiative to help those in need.

“This shows na bayanihan ang umiiral, hindi bangayan,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Roque stressed that the government needs the support and cooperation of everyone to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

He also assured that the government is working to provide for the needs of the most affected families.

“The social amelioration programs and services of the national government serve as subsidy for the provision of basic necessities and tool for the recovery and rehabilitation of the most affected families and individuals,” he said.

“The medium and long-term solution remains safeguarding the physical safety of our people while ensuring the economic health of the nation. Ingat buhay para sa hanapbuhay,” he added.

He also reminded the public to continue observing health protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

PGH may use presidential social fund to pay for repairs after fire — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — State-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH) may tap the presidential social fund to pay for repairs of damage from a recent fire, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the PGH may access the fund to rehabilitate its facilities that were damaged during the fire that hit early Sunday morning.

“Doc Legaspi, kung anong kailangan ninyo sabihin ninyo lang,” Roque said, addressing PGH director Gerardo Legaspi, in an online press briefing.

The Palace official also emphasized President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to help the facility as he recalled the president’s offer of P100 million a month to aid the facility’s operations.

“Dati na siyang nag-offer ng malaking halaga, kung ano po ang kinakailangan ngayon para ma-repair ang mga damage, pwede pong i-tap yung presidential social fund dahil yan po ay dati na pong ini-offer sa PGH,” Roque said.

Roque noted that the PGH only uses P25 million per month from the presidential social fund for the treatment of their patients.

The PGH is one of the country’s main COVID-19 referral hospitals.

Legaspi, meanwhile, assured that the hospital’s COVID-19 response operations will not be hampered after the fire.

He only appealed to resume operations after a day since they are still working on the transfer of patients and clearing up of areas affected by the fire.

“We stand committed with our role as COVID referral center po but as I said just for today, hinihintay lang pong mabakante ang mga lugar, at safe sila mailagay kasi huling check namin may amoy pa ho ng smoke,” Legaspi said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), for its part, assured that it will handle repair works on the hospital.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said they have already inspected the facility to see the extent of damages.

“Syempre tutulong po kami sa repair ng na-damage na portion… Ask the engineering na arm of the government, syempre pag may mga pangangailangan ang ating government infrastructures kami po yung tutulong,” Villar said.

The cause of the fire that hit the PGH is still under investigation. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Umano’y nasayang na supply ng COVID-19 vaccine sa Cotabato, iniimbestigahan na — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Iniimbestigahan na ng Department of Health (DOH) ang napaulat na pagkasayang umano ng supply ng COVID-19 vaccine na ipinadala sa bayan ng Makilala sa Cotabato.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, nasa 348 doses ng Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines ang umano’y nasayang matapos mapabayaan sa loob ng freezer nang magkaroon ng power outage sa lugar.

Paalala naman ng kagawaran sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na bantayang maigi ang kanilang COVID-19 vaccine supply upang matiyak ang wastong temperature sa pag-iimbak nito.

“Hindi lang po isang beses isang araw ang ginagawang pagmo-monitor ng temperatura ng bakuna. Ito po ay ginagawa kada apat na oras,” ani Vergeire.

Nakipag-ugnayan na aniya sila sa lokal na pamahalaan kaugnay ng insidente.

“As to the sanctions, they were already advised and the local government has been coordinated with by our regional Office,” ang wika ni Vergeire. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

IATF upgrades mayors, governors in COVID-19 vaccination priority list

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has included mayors and governors in the top priority group for the government’s COVID-19 vaccination.

Under Resolution No. 115-B approved on Monday, the IATF said all governors and mayors or all local chief executives will now be among the priority group A1.5 for vaccination, “regardless of the risk classification of their respective local government units (LGU).

The country has around 1,634 provincial governors and city and municipal mayors.  They were previously under the fourth sector (A4 category) composed of essential workers.

The first sector includes healthcare workers, the second priority group is composed of senior citizens while the third sector includes persons with co-morbidities.

The Philippines has so far administered over two million vaccine doses since the government rolled out its immunization program on March 1.

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