Judiciary personnel now among COVID-19 vaccination priority list — SC

Robie de Guzman   •   April 5, 2021   •   528

MANILA, Philippines — Employees of the Judiciary are now included in the list of priority groups for the government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the Supreme Court (SC) said Monday.

“I am pleased to inform you that our request for inclusion in priority population group A4 (category A4)1 of the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines has been granted by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF),” SC Associate Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe said in a letter addressed to her co-workers in the judiciary.

“At present, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 has communicated that vaccines arriving this April 2021 shall be partly allotted for the judiciary,” she added.

Bernabe issued the letter while she was still acting chief justice.

A4 priority group includes frontline personnel in essential sectors, uniformed personnel, and local officials.

“Indeed, through its adjudicatory functions, the judiciary is an essential institution in the justice sector that works hand-in-hand with the executive branch of government to effectively perform its task of maintaining peace and order and safeguarding public welfare in accordance with the rule of law,” Bernabe said.

Supreme Court spokesperson Keith Hosaka said there are around 30,000 personnel of the judiciary nationwide. These include permanent, coterminous, and casual employees, he added.

“Truly, during this unsettling pandemic, upholding the rule of law assumes greater significance. Thus, access to judicial relief should be constant,” Bernabe said.

The Supreme Court last week said it has earmarked around P19 million for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the 30,000-strong workforce, including judges, justices, officials, and employees, of the judiciary.

“With the NTF’s favorable action on our request, the details of the implementation shall be immediately worked out in order to swiftly roll out the inoculation program soonest,” Bernabe said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

NCR reaches peak of COVID-19 cases — DOH, OCTA

Maris Federez   •   January 24, 2022


MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the OCTA Research Group are in agreement that the National Capital Region (NCR) has reached the peak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

The two agencies said the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is now expected to go down come February.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said this development is brought about by the consecutive days wherein the 7-day average growth rate in the NCR has been seen to go down.

“Lumalabas nag-peak na at nakikita natin ilang araw nang sunod sunod na bumababa ang kaso ng NCR at lumiliit ang porsyentong iniaambag nito sa ating total case load,” Duque said.

Meanwhile, the latest projection of the OCTA Research Group showed that the growth rate of the virus in Metro Manila has decreased to -50 and the production rate has slowed down to 1.03.

OCTA said they expect the COVID-19 cases in the region to go down in the coming weeks.

OCTA fellow Prof. Guido David said that based on their monitoring, Metro Manila has reached its peak of COVID-19 cases on January 10, wherein the number of positive cases in the region breached the 18,000 mark.

“Simula January 14, masasabi natin na patuloy nang bumababa yung bilang ng kaso hanggang sa ngayon. Kahapon nga 5,000 na lang. So malaki na ang ibinaba from 18,000 down to 5,400. Ang laking improvement,” David said.

“At kaya nga yung projection natin hopefully patuloy na yan hanggang Valentines, baka less than 1,000. Baka end of February baka less than 500 na lang. At mababalik na natin yung kalagayan natin tulad nung nakita natin nung November and December sa buong bansa. Pero sa Metro Manila pa lang yan,” he added.

Based on their study, OCTA said that COVID-19 cases in the NCR will go down to as low as 1,000 by February.

This data, the group said, may be used by the government in determining whether to place the region under a more relaxed alert level restriction.

However, Duque said that this development is not yet a parameter to come up with the decision to ease the alert status in the NCR to Alert Level 2.

This, he said, still calls for the review and consideration by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Pero paguusapan pa rin yan mamaya sa IATF or rather on Thursday. Baka kailangan na kailangan ay tingnan na rin kung talagang malinaw na ang health care utilization ay nagkaroon na ng pagbabaklas o decoupling. Kumbaga tumaas ang kaso okay pa yung mga severe critical nasa baba so may decoupling, kung tawagin. Baka pagusapan yan pwede na at mababa to alert level 2,” Duque explained.

He added that based on the DOH monitoring, the hospital bed and ICU utilization in the NCR is now at low risk.

On the other hand, such is not the case in areas outside the NCR.

Duque said, healthcare utilization rate in several areas of the country are now at high to critical risk which the IATF is closely monitoring.

Meanwhile, OCTA Research also reported that decreasing COVID-19 cases are also recorded in the provinces of Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

P150 million worth of fake COVID test kits, meds seized in Manila warehouse – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2022

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday said it has confiscated P150 million worth of fake COVID-19 antigen test kits, face masks, medicines and other goods from a Manila warehouse.

In a statement, the BOC said authorities raided the warehouse in San Miguel last Friday, January 21, pursuant to a letter of authority with mission order signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, in coordination with local barangay officials and police.

The bureau said the storage facility was found with thousands of Clungene COVID-19 antigen test kits, counterfeit LianHua Chinese herbal medicines, and fake 3M N95 face masks.

Authorities also found intellectual property rights infringed goods such as apparel from brands like Nike, Fila, Converse, Adidas, as well as Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags, wallets, phone accessories, and others.

The BOC said a Chinese national, who is said to be the owner of the warehouse, was arrested during the operation.

He will face various cases for violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) Law and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules and regulations, it added.

“Definitely the owner of the warehouse will face the brunt of the law. This is not the first time and not the last time we will see these groups operating on our shores,” said Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro.

“Our job here is to make sure these don’t get into the local markets, and to stop any future attempts at selling counterfeit goods to our kababayans,” he added.

The BOC said the warehouse was temporarily padlocked and to secure the imported products stored inside until the completion of the inventory of goods.


2 babaeng nagbebenta ng pekeng vaccination card sa Marikina City, sinampahan ng reklamo

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Nahaharap ngayon sa reklamo ang dalawang babaeng nahuli umanong gumagawa at nagbebenta ng pekeng COVID-19 vaccination card sa Marikina City.

Ayon kay Marikina City Police chief Police Colonel Benliner Capili, nasampahan na ng reklamo ang dalawa na kasalukuyang nasa kanilang kustodiya.

Nahaharap ang dalawa sa kasong paglabag sa Republic Act (RA) 3815 o Falsification of Public Documents, at RA 11525 o ang COVID-19 Vaccination Act of 2021.

“Nakasuhan na yung dalawa, actually inquested na sila ngayon andoon sila sa detention facility natin,” ani Capili.

Ayon kay Capili, ang dalawa, na kinilalang sina Rovelyn Lebores at Alma Ramirez, ay nahuli ng mga otoridad habang aktwal na gumagawa ng pekeng vaccination cards sa isang computer shop sa Brgy. Tumana.

Sinabing sa computer shop nagtatrabaho ang dalawa at parehong residente ng nasabing barangay.

“May nag-report actually at nag-conduct kami ng investigation. Ito ay tugon na rin doon sa mahigpit na implementation ng ating local IATF dito,” ani Capili.

“Nung nagkaroon kami ng investigation, nakita talaga namin na mayroong ginagawang ganun. Nagplano kami ng buy-bust operation may nagpanggap na bumili, at nagpagawa talagang na-confirm naman na talagang may ginagawang ganun nabibigay lang ng picture gumagawa na sila ng finished product,” dagdag pa niya.

Nakumpiska sa operasyon ang isang set ng computer na sinasabing ginagamit ng mga suspek sa iligal na gawain, gayundin ang ilang printed fake vaccination cards na ipinagbibili umano sa halagang P250.

Ayon kay Capili, hindi pa naman talamak ang pagbebenta ng pekeng vaccination cards sa Marikina pero naka-alerto aniya ang pulisya sa nasabing iligal na aktibidad.

“Isolated case lang naman iyan at mabuti nga at na-prevent natin… Hindi pa rin kami nagku-kumpyansa at patuloy parin naman ang pagbabantay natin ng mga ganun,” ang pahayag ng opisyal.

Babala ng Marikina City Police lalo na sa mga gumagawa at tumatangkilik ng ganitong bawal na gawain, hindi ito palalampasin at agad silang huhulihin.

Paalala rin ng mga otoridad sa publiko na bukas ang COVID-19 vaccination sites at libre ang pagpapabakuna kaya walang dahilan para mameke ng vaccination cards. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Janice Ingente)



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