Gordon bats for reopening of Subic Airport for OFW repatriation efforts
Robie de Guzman • June 22, 2020 • 823
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ricard Gordon has renewed his call for the reopening of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) to accommodate flights carrying repatriating overseas Filipino workers (OFW) amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
In a statement on Sunday, Gordon pointed out that the Subic Airport is “very suitable” for receiving arriving OFWs because it has facilities for the accommodation, testing, and quarantine of repatriates.
He also said that the newly opened Philippine Red Cross molecular laboratory in Subic and Clark can also accommodate a combined capacity for running up to 4,000 tests a day.
Gordon noted that more than 300,000 OFWs are expected to arrive in the next three to four months, and diverting flights carrying repatriates to SBIA would help facilitate their testing and immediate travel to their respective provinces after their test results have been released.
“Kahapon kinausap ko si Sec. Art Tugade at sabi ko Art, matagal ka nang nangangako sa kin, buksan mo na ‘yung airport ng Subic para diyan maglanding ‘yung ibang OFWs para ma-test na sila kaagad-agad,” he said.
Gordon also said that arriving ships carrying Filipino seafarers can dock at the Subic seaport.
“Dati sa Manila Bay sila nagte-test, ang hirap pumasok. Sa Subic, kalmado ang tubig kaya mas madaling pasukin ng Coast Guard ‘yung mga barko para makapag-swab sila sa mga seafarers,” he said.
Gordon further said that using the SBIA for OFW repatriation efforts could jumpstart the resumption of its operations for international flights and reactivate its tourism industry.
“Once we have tested everybody here we can advertise to the whole world, ‘we have already tested all the employees here, we have tested everyone here so now you are welcome to come down here.’ And jobs can be generated right away,” he said.
Gordon said a P500-million budget has been allocated in the 2019 budget for the rehabilitation of the SBIA.
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have clarified reports that a 54-year-old man from Caloocan City experienced a serious adverse event after his inoculation with the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a statement released Saturday, April 10, the DOH said that upon receipt of the report, it immediately directed the Regional Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee (RAEFIC) to conduct a causality assessment to determine if the vaccine had indeed caused the reaction.
“Following the conclusion of the causality assessment conducted by the RAEFIC, as concurred with by the National AEFIC, the DOH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today report that: (1) the COVID-19 vaccine DID NOT cause the stroke, (2) the adverse event is inconsistent with the causal association to the vaccine, and (3) the adverse event is coincidental to underlying or emerging conditions of the patient,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the agencies also reiterated its directive to all vaccination sites to strictly follow screening protocols in the assessment of potential vaccine recipients. It also reminded the public to fully disclose their underlying conditions during registration for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The DOH and FDA emphasized that vaccines are safe and effective.
“With the expansion of the national vaccination program to cover senior citizens and persons with comorbidities, the DOH and FDA likewise urge the public to avail of the FREE COVID-19 vaccines to acquire the protection it provides not only for yourselves, but also for your families,” the statement further said. AAC
MANILA, Philippines — Senior citizens (60 years and above) may still be inoculated with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Friday.
The FDA issued the clarification following the temporary suspension on the use of the vaccine for people younger than 60.
FDA director-general Eric Domingo earlier said that he has asked the Department of Health to temporarily halt the administration of AstraZeneca vaccines on persons aged 60 and below due to a possible link between the vaccine and “very, very rare” cases of blood clots.
Domingo cited the report of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which stated that around 16 cases of blood clots or reduced platelet count were recorded out of 200 million individuals who received AstraZeneca doses.
The EMA found that most of those who reported blood clots overseas were women below 60 years of age, he added.
“Iyong 60 and above, sila ang pinakamagbe-benefit sa bakuna so hindi natin talaga iniisip na mag-limit ng bakuna sa paggamit sa mga senior citizens,” Domingo said in a press briefing.
The FDA chief said updated guidelines on the use of AstraZeneca vaccines will be released next week.
The AstraZeneca firm earlier assured it will work with the Philippine FDA amid concerns on the rare side effects of its vaccine.
“Patient safety remains to be the highest priority for AstraZeneca,” the drug-maker said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
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