Lacson open to talking to Duque amid conflict of interest claims

Robie de Guzman   •   August 2, 2019   •   1170

(L-R) Senator Panfilo Lacson and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said he is open to a dialogue with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who is facing allegations of conflict of interest.

Lacson made the statement in response to Duque’s remark that he is trying to reach out to the senator to clarify his claims.

READ: Duque to reach out to Lacson on conflict of interest claims

However, rather than having a dialogue, the senator believes it would be better for Duque to explain the issue to the public.

“At the end of the day its between him and God, it’s between him and his conscience, it’s between him and the public,” Lacson told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

Lacson recently revealed that Duque’s family-owned Doctors Pharmaceuticals company bagged government contracts in 2016 and 2017. He also said that Duque’s family owned the building being leased by PhilHealth in Pangasinan.

Duque has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting that he already divested from his family’s firm.

The senator also bared that the health chief has been setting up meetings with several congressmen who are allies of former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

It was during Arroyo’s presidency when Duque was appointed as Health secretary in 2005.

“Ang impormasyon ko nakikiusap siya sa kaalyado ng dating Pangulong Arroyo na magkaroon ng pagpupulong sa mga kongresista, kung bakit hindi ko alam,” Lacson said.

(Based on the information I received he is talking with the allies of former President Arroyo to have a meeting with congressmen. Why? I don’t know.)

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is set to investigate Duque and other issues dogging the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Phillhealth).

Lacson hopes that Duque will attend the inquiry to shed some light on these issues, particularly the alleged corruption within Philhealth.

“It seems na meron talagang mafia-like group sa PhilHealth na nagmamanipula ng pondo,” he said.

(It seems there really is a mafia-like group in PhilHealth that manipulates funds.)

Lacson said his exposé about the anomalies in PhilHealth is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to fight corruption, which the chief executive emphasized in his fourth State of the Nation Address last July 22. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

Daily COVID-19 cases reached 1,298 as of Dec. 1

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 1, 2020

The total daily COVID-19 cases reached 1,298 as of December 1, 4:00 p.m., according to the latest data of the Department of Health (DOH).

The report also showed that the number of recoveries is at 135, while deaths increased by 27.

With the new record, the total number of COVID-19 patients is now at 432,925 with 25,725 active cases.

Meanwhile, the total recoveries and deaths reached 398,782 and 8,418, respectively.

The DOH also noted three duplicates were removed from the total case count where two were found out to be recovered cases.

Meanwhile, nine cases previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths. On the other hand, one case that was previously reported as death has been validated as an active case. -AAC

DOH urges public to limit family reunions to prevent surge of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 30, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has urged the public to limit family reunions this holiday season to prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is better to conduct reunions at home rather than in public areas like restaurants.

He also suggested doing an online reunion, instead, for the safety of every family.

May Zoom, Webex, iba ibang platform. Online mass [gathering], huwag na punta sa mga lugar na maraming dumadalong mga mamamayan dahil tumataas risk contracting COVID-19 (There is Zoom, Webex, and other platforms. Online mass gathering is better, don’t go to crowded places since it would increase the risk of contracting COVID-19),Duque said.

Meanwhile, the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) also reminds families to continue practicing minimum health safety protocols during the holiday season.

HPAAC member Dr. Antonio Dans said it is better to meet up in open or well-ventilated areas and to limit interactions with other people.

“The shorter the time the better, 30 minutes or less […] keep it to a minimum. Ang recommended ng WHO at CDC keep it to 15 minutes (The recommendation of the WHO and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) is to keep it to 15 minutes),” he said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DOH addresses issue of delayed benefits of healthcare workers

Maris Federez   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has reiterated its mission to lead the country in creating a productive, resilient, equitable, and people-centered healthcare system, amid the issue of delayed benefits of healthcare workers.

In its press release dated November 28, the DOH said that it cannot take the welfare of the healthcare workers out of the equation in realizing the goals of a Universal Health Care system, especially in the midst of a national state of public health emergency where they are most needed.

“We are taking the issue of delayed benefits very seriously. When matters like this come to our attention, we conduct thorough investigations and concerned offices are made to answer to the Secretary and develop solutions to improve the delivery of services and expedite processes,” the DOH said.

“As health workers, many of us in the DOH—including members of our Executive Committee—have experienced working on the ground, in our health facilities, which is why we understand the challenges in the frontlines—being overworked, underpaid, demoralized, and in this pandemic, even more vulnerable,” it added.

The health department explained that the Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) and Special Risk Allowances (SRA) under Bayanihan 1 are based on the savings of hospitals and only covered frontliners who reported for duty during the Enhanced Community Quarantine from March 15 to May 16.

“Considering that other hospitals do not have savings, DOH sub-alloted P51.9 million which has been released to 17 DOH-retained hospitals who requested for additional funding,” the DOH added.

The department further said that the AHDP and SRA for Bayanihan 2 were alloted through the Administrative Orders 35 and 36 issued by the Office of the President last November 16.

For this, the DOH and the DBM issued Joint Circulars 1 and 2 on November 25 which provided for the P9.2 billion sub-allotment to DOH-retained hospitals, Centers for Health Development (CHDs), and the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the period of September to December. This, the DOH said, has already been released this week.

The department appealed to the healthcare workers to inform them of health facilities that have not yet released their benefits and to file a written complaint to the DOH – Complaints Handling Unit at dohpau.chu@gmail.com.

The DOH assured that it is taking the matter very seriously and that it does not only respond to the health welfare of the general public but also to the health workers who are with them in attaining this vision and battling this pandemic. — /mbmf

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.