Lawmaker: International flight passengers must complete health declaration checklist

Maris Federez   •   January 22, 2020   •   333

Passengers wearing face masks who arrived from Guangzhou, China lineup for immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 22 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker in the Lower House of Congress is pushing for international flight passengers to completely fill out and submit the health declaration checklist issued to them during their flight.

This is one way to prevent novel coronavirus from entering and spreading in the country.

A Health Declaration Checklist or the Yellow Form is handed out to arriving international flight passengers which is to be filled out to determine the passenger’s country of origin.

This will help authorities verify if the passenger was exposed to an infectious disease.

Included in the checklist is the personal information of the passenger for easier coordination if the need arises.

Iloilo Representative Janette Garin said she wants the health declaration checklist to be completely filled out by arriving international flight passengers to protect the Filipinos against all types of coronavirus.

Health declaration checklists are not handed out to all international arrival passengers except when there are threats of severe epidemic in other countries, in accordance with a directive from the Department of Health.

This measure is part of a government’s efforts to protect the public against the spread of contagious diseases that originate from other countries.

One way is the installation of devices at airports that check passengers for symptoms if they have acquired a disease or an epidemic from their countries of origin.

At present, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is using thermal scanners to check the passengers’ temperature even from a distance.

If a passenger shows symptoms of diseases, such as that of a coronavirus that is now circulating in China, he or she will be put on quarantine to prevent further spread of the symptom in the Philippines.

Authorities say that if and when an international flight passenger is able to go through the gates of the airport but soon feels flu-like symptoms, he or she must immediately inform health authorities and seek medical treatment. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

Case vs. officials linked to Dengvaxia controversy may be upgraded to murder – PAO

Marje Pelayo   •   November 6, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) plans to upgrade their case filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Health Secretary Janet Garin and other officials linked to the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine procurement.

PAO Chief Persida Rueda Acosta has given PAO lawyers one week to study the possibility of upgrading it from homicide to murder and the determination of who among the 39 respondents may face the said charges.

“Kung alam nila na nakamamatay ang Dengvaxia, hindi lang kapabayaan ito. Ito po ay isang murder… Guinea pigs ang ginawa nila sa mga bata. Experimental vaccine pa ito up to November 2017. Clinical phase 3 phase 4 pa nga ngayon iyan. Imagine ngayon lang sila nagpapa approve sa Europa,” Acosta argued.

After failing to attend the previous hearing, Garin submitted her counter-affidavit on the 2nd batch of Dengvaxia complaints on Monday.

Meanwhile, international representatives from Sanofi and Zuellig Pharma were directed to submit their respective counter-affidavits on November 15.

The complainants were also ordered to submit their reply on Garin’s counter-affidavit on the same date. – Mai Bermudez

 

Health reform advocate Dr. Anthony Leachon speaks of alleged anomaly in the administration of Dengvaxia

admin   •   December 7, 2017

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_120617_Anthony Leachon

 

MANILA, Philippines — In an interview on the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon Wednesday, health reform advocate Dr. Anthony Leachon revealed the alleged anomaly in the processing and procurement of the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Leachon was part of the then dengue expert panel of the Department of Health(DOH), who strongly opposed the mass vaccination of Dengvaxia.

The doctor argued that those behind the controversy did not follow the policy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the conduct of a post clinical trial.

In a post clinical trial, the 3,000 test subjects who received the vaccine should undergo observation first for one year before health authorities could approve its use for mass vaccination.

He said that the DOH hastily approved the mass vaccination based on the recommendation of the FDA.

Of the 16 countries that approved Dengvaxia, only the Philippines used it for its mass vaccination program.

Leachon initially opposed before the Lower House of Congress the immediate market launch of Dengvaxia. However, he claimed some lawmakers prevented him from airing his concerns.

These lawmakers were then former congressman and now presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, Kabayan party-list representative, Ron Salo and SAGIP partylist representative, Rodante Marcoleta.

He said they asked him if he has the permission of the association to speak before Congress, to which he replied, ” Filipino citizen ako (I am a Filipino citizen).”

They then asked about his credentials to participate in the congressional debate which prompted an altercation among them.

On the other hand, Roque denied the allegations of Leachon.

“Wala pong katotohanan ang paratang na pinigil kong tumestigo sa kamara si Dr. Leachon.  Unang-una, ako po ay hindi chairman ng committee on health.  Chairman lang po ang pwedeng pumigil sa testigo ng kahit sino.  Pangalawa, ako po ay naging neophyte o first-termer member ng Kamara wala po ako impluwensya,” he said.

(There is no truth to the accusation that I prevented Dr. Leachon from testifying in Congress. First of all, I was not the chairman of the committee on health. Only the chairman can stop a witness from testifying. Second, I was just a neophyte or first-termer member of Congress. I had no influence.)

Dr. Leachon also questioned the immediate approval of the budget for the said vaccine without, he claimed, undergoing congressional scrutiny.

The Congress normally takes six months to one year before approving such a huge amount. However, in the case of the mass vaccination of Dengvaxia, the approval for its budget took only a few months.

He also noted that the country’s total budget amount for all of its vaccination programs is only three billion pesos.

But the government allocated P3.5 billion for Dengvaxia alone, which Dr. Leachon alleged is one of DOH’s unapproved budget.

“Walang budget yan sa Kongreso (it had no approved budget in Congress),” he said, adding that the money may have been taken from sin taxes.

He also said that based on Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, “Sobra ang budget ng Department of Health sa personnel management. Doon daw kinuha, pero bawal daw yun dahil hindi inaprubahan ng Kongreso.”

(The Department of Health’s budget for personnel management had a surplus. It was allegedly taken from there but that’s not allowed because Congress did not approve it.)

During the term of then DOH Secretary Janet Garin, more than 400,000 were vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

The vaccination program came to a halt during the term of health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.

But after several months, the vaccination program continued, and more than 300,000 children received the controversial vaccine.

Dr. Leachon believes then health Secretary Ubial was pressured to continue the immunization program due to various reasons like her pending confirmation from the Commission on Appointments and the over  P1.4 billion worth of Dengvaxia vaccine that was just being stored at that time.

“Grabe ang residual at that time P1.4 billion pa ang naka imbak sa RITM so kailangang gamitin mo…yun ang reasoning.  Sinasabi masasayang, tapos yung political pressure,” said the health reform advocate.

(The residual at that time P1.4 billion worth of vaccines were stored at the RITM. So you really need to use it, that’s their reasoning. They were saying it would be a waste not to use it, and then there was the political pressure.)

Dr. Leachon has also expressed concern over a possible white wash in the upcoming congressional investigation on the said issue.

He said that the controversy should not be disregarded since many lives are at risk.

The health reform advocate noted that it is also possible that there will be a fall guy in the said anomaly.

He believes that the anomaly will be addressed if there will no longer be a conflict of interest, saying it is among the major reasons why the problem gets bigger.

Leachon suggested that the separation from each other of the FDA, DOH and the Formulary Executive Council, the agencies responsible for the approval of vaccines.

Dr. Leachon also mentioned the agencies and individuals he believes should be investigated. These include the bids and Awards Committee of DOH, the DOH officials during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III, the dengue expert team of the DOH, Sanofi Pasteur and the FDA.

At the end of the interview, Leachon called on the senators to allow the truth to come out during their conduct of investigation regarding the controversy. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

DOH Sec. Garin, umaasang makapapasa sa taong 2017 ang panukalang batas na magbabawal sa paggamit ng anumang uri ng paputok

admin   •   January 1, 2016

Department of Health Secretary Janet Garin

Department of Health Secretary Janet Garin

MANILA, Philippines — Isa ang Department of Health sa pangunahing nagpahayag ng suporta para sa pagbabalangkas ng batas na tuluyang magbabawal sa paggamit ng anumang uri ng paputok tuwing nagpapalit ang taon.

Ito ay bunsod na rin sa mga naitatalang nabibiktima ng mga paputok na nagreresulta ng matinding pinsala sa katawan at minsan ay pagkasawi ng mga inosenteng biktima dahil sa kawalan ng pag-iingat ng mga gumagamit ng mga illegal na paputok.

Umaasa si DOH Secretary Janette Garin na sa taong 2017 maipapasa na ang panukalang batas na magbabawal sa paggamit ng anumang uri ng paputok.

“We already did, patuloy po namin itong isinusulong, subalit di pa rin napapasa hanggang ngayon.”

Dagdag pa ni Sec. Garin, “Sana sa 2017 banned na talaga ang firecrackers, wala naman pong mawawalan ng hanap buhay kasi patuloy pa rin naman ang public fireworks display, ang importante walang buhay na nasasawi.”

Ayon naman kay Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., nasa kongreso na ang pagsasabatas ng mga panukalang tungkol dito at ipapatupad na lamang ng ehekutibo ang anumang naipasang batas.

Dagdag pa nito sinabi rin ni Secretary Coloma na ginagawa ng pamahalaan ang nararapat upang himukin ang mga mamamayan na gawing ligtas ang pagsalubong sa pagpapalit ng taon.

Taong 1992 nang maisabatas ang Republic Act No. 7183, ang batas na nagre-regulate para sa pagbebenta, paggawa, distribusyon at paggamit ng firecrackers at ibang pyrotechnic devices.

Sa kasalukuyan ay nakabinbin pa rin sa kongreso ang mga panukalang batas para sa mas mahigpit na penalties at limitasyon sa paggamit ng mga paputok. (NEL MARIBOJOC / UNTV News)

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