Herbosa says he quit UP post after being ‘trolled’ over community pantry tweet

Robie de Guzman   •   April 26, 2021   •   513

Dr. Teodoro Herbosa

MANILA, Philippines – National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 medical adviser, Dr. Teodoro Herbosa on Monday clarified that he was not against community pantries and that he left his post as executive vice president of the University of the Philippines (UP) after being trolled on social media.

During a Laging Handa public briefing, Herbosa said he resigned after he was attacked by a “troll army” over his comments on a community pantry organized by actress Angel Locsin, where a senior citizen died while waiting in line.

“Ang ginawa kasi nila, nung pinost ko ang aking tweet, walong salita, ang sabi ko namatay dahil sa ginawa nila,” he said. “Meron akong mga naunang tweet na sinabi ko nagkakagulo na kasi may live coverage doon sa kaguluhan doon sa event at nakita natin na nagdidikit-dikit na ang mga tao. Sabi ko, ‘Mali ito, pwedeng may mamatay o mahawa.'”

Herbosa said he posted his tweet over the death of a senior citizen in the community pantry to point out the lapses in the system implemented in the event.

“Nung may namatay, sa galit ko at sa sama ng loob ko bilang isang doktor na nag-specialize sa disaster medicine, isa sa mga pinag-aaralan namin ay mass gathering events and how to make mass gatherings safe,” he said.

“Nung nabalitang may nag-collapse, siguro dahil sa heat stroke, sa init ng panahon at nung dinala sa ospital ay dead on arrival. Nagalit ako at tinext ko yung eight words na yun,” he added.

“Minasama ng karamihan ng mga taong nagbasa nun. Ang basa nila ay kontra ako sa ginagawa nilang pantry.”

Herbosa stressed that he was not against the initiative promoting the Filipino ‘bayanihan’ spirit and that he was only pointing out what could have been done to prevent such incident especially amid the pandemic.

“Ang konteksto ng aking sinabi ay hindi laban sa pag-bayanihan ng mga tao at pagpapakain ng mga nagugutom. Ang konteksto ng sinabi ko ay bilang eksperto ng disaster medicine kasi pwede namang magbigay ng tulong pero huwag ilagay sa kapahamakan ang mga mamamayan,” he said.

“Pero nilagyan nila ng kulay ng pulitika, at dahil ako ay nagtatrabaho para sa pamahalaan at sa administrasyon na ito ay nilagyan nila ng bahid ng pulitika ang aking sinabi,” he added.

Herbosa has apologized publicly about the incident but said he still continues to receive criticisms and hate messages.

“Nag-apologize ako, akala ko titigil. Hindi po tumigil, lalo pang umigting. So, naisip ko mukhang may troll army kasi yung mga tumutuligsa sa akin mga new accounts lang at anonymous accounts at ang sasakit ng mga sinasabi nila na parang napakasama ko nang tao,” he said.

Herbosa disclosed that he only filed a leave of absence at first when his tweets drew flak online but eventually resigned from his UP post when he learned that some of his colleagues were among the critics.

“Naisip ko, hindi tama ito na mismong mga kasamahan ko sa UP ang nagsasabing mali ako, when in fact, ang gusto ko lang ay makatulong ako sa ating bayan kaya nag-file ako ng aking resignation immediately as executive vice president ng aking minamahal na University of the Philippines,” he said.

Herbosa said he would continue to serve as special adviser to the NTF vs COVID-19 and as a faculty and member of the emergency medicine division at the Philippine General Hospital.

Zero positivity rate, kailangang maitala para masabing ‘eliminated’ na ang COVID-19 sa Pilipinas – Herbosa

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala si National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa na maaari nang sabihing ‘contained’ na sa bansa ang COVID-19.

Gayunman, matagal pa aniya bago ito tuluyang mawala dahil kailangang maitala ang zero positivity rate upang masabing tuluyan na nga itong nalipol.

Paliwanag ni Herbosa, ang positivity rate ay ang porsiyento ng mga taong nagpopositibo mula sa kabuuang bilang ng mga taong nagpapasuri para sa COVID-19.

Ito ay ginagamit upang malaman kung may sapat na testing capacity ang isang bansa sapagkat dito nakabatay kung nade-detect ng bansa ang lahat ng kaso ng COVID-19.

Sa Pilipinas, mas mababa na sa limang porsiyento na benchmark ng World Health Organization (WHO) ang naitatalang positivity rate simula noong Nobyembre 14.

Kaya maaari nang sabihing “controlled” na kahit papaano ang sitwasyon ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

“Kapag ikaw ay nag-zero ng two weeks, nagde-declare ka na COVID-free… I think medyo magdadalawang linggo na yata tayong below 5%. So I think we can be labeled as “controlled” kasi walang masyadong new cases sa COVID,” ani Herbosa.

Sa pinakahuling ulat ng Department of Health, nasa 2.5% ang positivity rate ng bansa.

Mas mababa na rin ito kumpara sa pamantayan ng Centers for Disease Control and Prevention na 3%.

Ngunit para kay Herbosa, hindi pa masasabing ganap nang nagupo o eliminated ang COVID-19 dahil may naitatala pa rin namang kaso nito.

Una nang sinabi ni Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na hihingin nila ang pananaw ng WHO kung talagang conthained na ang sitwasyon ng COVID-19 sa Pilipinas.

“For two weeks, we hope to have a positivity rate lower than 5% and we will ask the guidance of WHO if we can already declare that the COVID pandemic in the Philippines has been controlled or contained,” ani Duque.

Ngunit babala ng mga eksperto, maaari pa ring tumaas ang kaso ng coronavirus infections sa bansa kaya hindi dapat maging kampante ang publiko at panatilihin ang pagsunod sa health and safety protocols gaya ng tamang pagsusuot ng face mask, physical distancing at pag-iwas sa mga matataong lugar. (Mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

 

NTF adviser says free mass testing conducted in areas under granular lockdown

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Free mass testing is being conducted in areas under granular lockdown, according to special adviser to the National Taskforce (NTF) against COVID-19 Dr. Ted Herbosa.

Herbosa on Monday (September 20) said that COVID-19 testing will be covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) if an individual is under the expanded targeted testing of the Department of Health (DOH). This include being in close contact with a COVID-19 patient and if the area is under granular lockdown.

The special advisor also clarified that individuals who just want to get tested would still have to pay the private laboratory and will not be covered by PhilHealth. He added that mass testing is best conducted during a granular lockdown due to the limited number of individuals to be tested.

Kapag ginawa natin ang mass testing sa buong Metro Manila mauubos ang pera natin […] na hindi naman kailangang gawin ang tests na yun (If we conducted mass testing in Metro Manila, our budget will run out over tests we don’t need really need to do),” Herbosa said.

Meanwhile, concerning calls from local government units (LGUs) to procure their own vaccine supply, Herbosa said that vaccine manufacturers are no longer accepting orders for 2021.

“They only want to deal with the national governments, iyong mga pamahalaan ng mga bansa o estado na bibili ng milyong milyong dose (governments of countries or states that will buy vaccine doses by the millions). Kasi ang presyo na pinag-uusapan. Hindi sulit kung ibebenta sa maliit na kumpanya (What is being considered here is the price. It would not be profitable to sell to small companies),” he said.

Herbosa assured there is no vaccine supply problem in the country. He reported that vaccine supplies continue to arrive in the country but the problem is  lack of manpower.

Ang mga doctor at nurses sa vaccination sites, sila po ang mga doctors at nurse sa mga hospitals. Kapag napupuno ang hospitals, napu-pull out sila sa vaccination sites para tumao doon sa mga ospital na maraming COVID-19 cases, (The doctors and nurses in vaccination sites are also the doctors and nurses in hospitals. So when a hospital reaches full capacity, these doctors and nurses are pulled out from vaccination sites to man hospitals with high COVID-19 cases),” he said.

He also added that medical students will be allowed to assist in vaccination sites. AAC

Community pantries sa Metro Manila, hindi muna papayagang magbukas sa ilalim ng ECQ – Abalos

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Ipagbabawal muna ang operasyon ng community pantries sa Metro Manila habang nasa ilalim ng enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) ang rehiyon.

Ayon kay Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos, napagkasunduan ito ng mga alkalde sa Metro Manila upang mapigilan ang super spreader events.

“As much as possible kasi ang purpose ng ECQ ay talagang huwag lumabas ng bahay, kung magpapa-pila tayo sa labas at magbibigay tayo, baka magkagulo (ang mga tao),” ani Abalos.

Isasailalim sa ECQ ang Metro Manila simula sa Agosto 6 hanggang sa Agosto 20.

Sa panahong ito, tanging essential o mahahalagang biyahe at serbisyo lamang ang papayagan. Mas pinahaba rin ang curfew hours sa Metro Manila mula alas-8 ng gabi hanggang alas-4 ng madaling araw.

Layunin ng hakbang na mapigilan ang lalo pang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa harap na rin ng banta ng mga mas nakakahawang coronavirus variants.

Ngunit paglilinaw ni Abalos, maaari pa rin namang magsagawa ng outreach programs kung nais ng sinuman na makatulong sa mga nangangailangan ngunit dapat ay gawin ito sa mas maayos na paraan.

“Siguro kung talagang gustong tumulong, wala namang problema ro’n pero siguro gumawa tayo ng magandang sistema,” ani Abalos.

Payo ng MMDA sa mga organizer ng community pantries, makipag-ugnayan muna sa mga lokal na pamahalaan para sa gagawin nilang sistema ng distribusyon ng ayuda, gaya ng paghahatid sa bahay ng mga magiging benepisyaryo nito. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Marvin Calas)

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