Malacañang asks public to remain calm as PH confirms first nCoV case

Robie de Guzman   •   January 30, 2020   •   1118

MANILA, Philippines – In light of the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country, a Malacañang official on Thursday urged the public not to panic and to keep calm as necessary precautionary measures are being taken to prevent the disease from spreading.

“We as the public not to panic and to remain calm as the government, especially the Department of Health (DOH), is on top of the situation,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

“We would like to assure them that the relevant health, research, and law enforcement agencies are working together to prevent the disease from spreading,” he added.

Andanar also assured that the DOH is in constant coordination and collaboration with health and research authorities in Australia, Japan, and China on implementing necessary undertakings on the matter.

“In fact, with the help of our counterparts in Japan, we are now capable of detecting and diagnosing 2019-nCoV-infected patients on our own,” he said.

He also said that government agencies have intensified their containment measures and that necessary precautionary measures are in place to address this health concern. 

“With the continuous inflow of travelers coming from affected areas in China, we will continue to conduct necessary stringent customs, immigration, and quarantine measures to prevent the disease from spreading within the country,” he said.

Andanar also assured that authorities will continue to coordinate with Chinese officials for the repatriation efforts for Filipinos in China.

A coronavirus hotline will also be created to assist the Filipinos there.

He also called on the public to observe all health and preventive advisories issued by the DO, as well as practice proper hygiene and cleanliness in order to prevent the likelihood of contracting the virus.

“Please remain vigilant and coordinate with your local barangay health centers should you observe symptoms associated with the 2019-nCoV,” he said.

The DOH earlier confirmed that a 38-year old Chinese woman is the country’s first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV.

She arrived in the Philippines from China on January 21, and sought treatment for her mild cough on January 25.

Emergence of community pantries exemplifies bayanihan spirit amid crisis — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The emergence of community pantries “exemplifies the Filipino bayanihan spirit” and is not a condemnation of the government during this challenging time of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Malacañang said Monday.

“It shows the best of the Filipino. It is part of our psyche to help one another. I don’t see it as a condemnation of the government,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

“It shows the best of us during the worst of times,” he added.

Roque made the statement after some lawmakers remarked that the establishment of community pantries and other similar activities offering aid to those in need is brought about by the government’s failure to provide enough assistance to families heavily affected by the pandemic.

Roque, however, insisted that the popping up of community pantries in various areas only shows the Filipinos’ unity and initiative to help those in need.

“This shows na bayanihan ang umiiral, hindi bangayan,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Roque stressed that the government needs the support and cooperation of everyone to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

He also assured that the government is working to provide for the needs of the most affected families.

“The social amelioration programs and services of the national government serve as subsidy for the provision of basic necessities and tool for the recovery and rehabilitation of the most affected families and individuals,” he said.

“The medium and long-term solution remains safeguarding the physical safety of our people while ensuring the economic health of the nation. Ingat buhay para sa hanapbuhay,” he added.

He also reminded the public to continue observing health protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Palace assures aid to families affected by ‘Bising’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that government agencies are ready for the onslaught of Typhoon Bising as it continues to move over the Philippine sea east of Catanduanes.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace is monitoring updates on the typhoon, adding that the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) has conducted pre-disaster risk assessments at the national level.

The OCD has also issued guidance and advisories for the early preparation of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (RDRRMC) and the local government units since April 14, he added.

Roque likewise assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has standby funds amounting to P556,438,277.65 in its central office and field offices, as well as stockpiles consisting of 370,058 Family Food Packs amounting to P188,605,445.38, as of April 17, 2021.

“The Department of Health has assured that they have dedicated teams looking into the impact of any disaster, especially in monitoring the evacuation centers in relation to COVID-19 protocol,” he said in a statement.

“They have likewise prepositioned assorted medicines/COVID supplies to regional offices,” he added.

The Palace official also said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has prepositioned all response assistance and instructed all unified commands to assist RDRRMCs in pre-emptive evacuation and other relevant operations.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), for its part, activated nine regions, reiterating the use of OPLAN LISTO and LGU assistance to response operations.

Citing a report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Roque said that pre-emptive evacuation has been carried out in Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Northern and Eastern Samar.

“Our concern is the safety of everyone. We, therefore, ask our people to remain alert and vigilant, cooperate with authorities and continue to observe minimum public health standards for protection against COVID-19,” the Palace official said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Sunday reported that Typhoon Bising has slightly weakened as it continues to move over the Philippine Sea.

Bising is expected to bring heavy rains over the Bicol region and Northern Samar, which may trigger flooding and landslides especially in areas identified as highly susceptible to these hazards.

PAGASA said Bising will “continue moving slowly in the next 6 to 12 hours as it begins to turn generally northward over the Philippine Sea east of Catanduanes.”

“Afterwards, the typhoon will continue moving northward while gradually accelerating until Wednesday evening before turning northeastward and east-northeastward away from the landmass of Luzon,” it added.

“The recent weakening of “BISING” after reaching its peak intensity was caused by a recently completed eyewall replacement cycle. The typhoon is forecast to maintain its current intensity in the next 24 to 48 hours before gradually weakening throughout the remainder of the forecast period,” PAGASA said.

Palace on hospitals not regularly testing workers for COVID-19: Report it to DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Health facilities that are not regularly subjecting their workers to COVID-19 tests should be reported to the Department of Health (DOH) for investigation, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that subjecting health workers to regular COVID-19 testing is provided under the DOH guidelines.

“So kung mayroon pong paglabag diyan, ipagbigay alam lang po sa DOH,” Roque said in an online briefing. “Paiimbestigahan natin kung sinong mga health facilities ang hindi nagbibigay ng mandated na regular testing forhealth workers.”

The DOH earlier assured that medical facilities will have their workers undergo mandatory testing after some healthcare personnel disputed DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III’s remark that medical frontliners are being tested for COVID-19 every two weeks.

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