House Speaker Velasco vows to expedite passage of proposed Bayanihan 3

Robie de Guzman   •   May 4, 2021   •   61

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday vowed that the House of Representatives will fast track the passage of the proposed Bayanihan Law 3 to aid Filipinos struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic and to revive the country’s economy.

Velasco said the lower chamber will hasten the plenary approval of the measure once it resumes session on May 17.

“As soon as we get back on May 17, we will fast track the approval of Bayanihan 3,” Velasco said in a radio interview.

Velasco made the statement after three House committees approved, during the session break, the substitute bill to several Bayanihan 3 measures, including House Bill 8628 or the proposed “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act,” which he and Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo had filed.

The substitute bill only needs the approval of the House Committee on Appropriations before it can be forwarded to the plenary for approval on second and third readings.

The House Committees on Economic Affairs, on Social Services, and on Ways and Means recently approved a P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3, which includes two rounds of cash aid amounting to P1,000 per Filipino.

The cash aid, totaling P216 billion, would be given to all 108 million Filipinos regardless of social status.

“Lahat po dapat mabigyan natin ng tulong ngayong pandemya. It has to be equitable. Hindi ‘yung isang household bibigyan ng certain amount e baka tatatlo lang sila sa bahay tapos ang isang household naman ay 15 ang myembro. Dapat po pantay-pantay,” he said.

Velasco said the House is constantly communicating with the Department of Finance (DOF) as to the funding sources for Bayanihan 3.

To raise funds for Bayanihan 3, the House speaker said that Congress is seeking to authorize the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to make additional advances with or without interest to the national government to finance expenditures authorized by law to address and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from providing social amelioration, the Bayanihan 3 bill seeks to allocate funds for capacity-building for impacted sectors, wage subsidies, capacity-building for agricultural producers, internet allowances for students and teachers, COVID-19 treatment and vaccines, and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by recent floods and typhoons, Velasco said.

DOJ, DILG crafting guidelines for Duterte order to detain people improperly wearing face masks

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are crafting guidelines for the latest order of President Rodrigo Duterte to detain those who are improperly wearing face masks in public, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said the guidelines will include details on the booking and detention processes, as well as the investigation and the filing of charges against those who will be apprehended.

The DOJ chief, however, stressed that Duterte’s order takes effect immediately even if the guidelines are still being formulated.

“The President’s directive takes effect immediately even without the guidelines. Existing laws and ordinances define the prohibited acts and impose the corresponding penalties therefore, and the relevant rules of court govern the procedure,” Guevarra said.

He also advised the public to wear face masks properly and to follow the law to avoid being detained.

“The best way to avoid being arrested while the guidelines are being formulated is to wear a face mask and obey the law,” he said.

On Wednesday, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to impose a stricter mask mandate to stem the spread of COVID-19 that mostly affected urban centers.

Clinical trials on ivermectin to start in June – DOST

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that preparations are underway for the anticipated clinical trials on the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (May 5), the official said the trials will be spearheaded by pulmonary doctor Dr. Aileen Wang of the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and will be implemented for eight months from June 2021 to January 2022.

He said the Department of Health (DOH) has allotted a total of P22 million for the trial of ivermectin.

It will be conducted on 1,200 volunteer adults, 18 years old and above, who are asymptomatic or non-severe COVID patients.

The team is awaiting ethics approval this month before proceeding with the trial.

“Ang ginagawa ay ethics approval para sa kanilang gagawin at recruitment ng staff na mag-a-administer ng clinical trials,” Dela Peña said.

They are currently coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross for the utilization of its facilities.

Other agents also under clinical trial are as follows:

* Randomized control clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of Tawa Tawa for adjunctive treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients (11 months);

* Randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the safety and efficacy of Lagundi in patients with mild COVID and without comorbidities (10 months);

* Clinical trial on the safety and efficacy of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as adjunctive therapy for hospitalized COVID patients (12 months);

* Beneficial effects of VCO among suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 (14 months, extension included);

* Melatonin as adjuvant treatment for COVID-19 in patients requiring hospitalization (9 months) ;

* Convalescent Plasma as adjunctive therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. (12 months).

Dela Peña noted that the duration of clinical trials for ivermectin is almost similar in period as other agents. The progress of each study still depends on the number of patients who want to volunteer for the trial.

“Kapag dumadami ang pasyenteng magbo-volunteer, mas mapapabilis ang pagtatapos ng mga trials,” the official assured.

Quezon Governor Suarez contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon Governor Danilo Suarez on Thursday said he has tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Suarez made the announcement on the social media account of the Quezon Public Information Office.

The governor said he took an RT-PCR test on May 5 and he received his test result on Thursday morning.

“Sa kasalukuyan, maayos ang aking kalagayan at binabantayan ng aking doktor ang aking kondisyon,” he said.

06 May 2021

Ipinaaabot ko po sa inyong lahat na ang inyong lingkod ay nag-POSITIBO sa COVID-19.

Bilang pag-iingat ay…

Posted by Quezon Public Information Office on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Suarez urged those who had close interaction with him in the past few days to undergo a self-quarantine and check any symptoms of COVID-19.

“Ipinapaalala ko rin sa inyong lahat na pamalagiang magsuot ng face mask, maghugas ng kamay at sundin ang mga health protocols para sa kaligtasan ng lahat,” he said.

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