Manila Bay Project can be postponed but workers might lose jobs — DENR

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 15, 2021   •   507

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project can be postponed. However, workers in the said project might lose their jobs.

The recent dumping of dolomite in Manila Bay drew ire from netizens saying the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic should be the government’s priority.

DENR Spokesperson Jonas Leones said the budget can be allotted to the COVID-19 response through supervening events; however, Leones stressed that all the budget cannot be allotted to the pandemic response alone.

Pwede naman iyon kung talagang ganoon ang situation kaya lang hindi naman pupwedeng, sa akin personally, hindi naman pupwedeng lahat ng budget ay ilagay din natin doon (It can be done if that is the situation, but personally, we cannot put all the budget in the [COVID-19] response),” he said.

Leones reiterated the rehabilitation project has already been planned and there will be workers that will be affected if the project is suspended.

Kung ititigil natin lahat ito, wala na tayong accomplishment wala pa ring work ang mga tao rito(If we will suspend this, we won’t have accomplishments and the people here will lose their jobs),” he said.

The Department reiterates that the project should push through despite the criticisms from various groups.

The Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project is around 50%-60% complete, it added. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

IATF to meet Thursday to discuss face shield policy – Nograles

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is set to meet on Thursday afternoon to discuss the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

In a message, IATF co-chairperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said among the topics that will be tackled in the meeting is the use of face shields.

“May IATF kami mamaya. Pag-uusapan namin,” he said.

The policy on face shield wearing made headlines anew after Senate President Vicente Sotto III and other lawmakers shared with the public their conversation with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Wednesday about the limited use of face shield.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque later confirmed the lawmakers’ statements that the president did say that face shields should only be worn in hospitals.

Roque said the president’s decision becomes a policy but there is a possibility that the IATF will appeal if the face shield rule will be loosened.

Nograles assured they will immediately announce if there are any changes in health protocols.

“If there is any announcement sa bagong protocol, ilalabas namin,” he said.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega earlier said that shields may be removed when outdoors.

Under existing protocols, face shields are required to be worn in the following areas:

  • Enclosed public spaces
  • Schools
  • Workplaces
  • Commercial establishments
  • Public transport and terminals
  • Places of worship

Face shields should also be worn in other areas where one-meter physical distancing is not possible and there is a gathering of more than 10 people at the same venue at the same time.

OCTA Research fellow and Biological Sciences Professor Nicanor Austriaco also said that face shields offer a certain degree of protection against COVID-19 especially in areas with high infection rate.

“Especially now in those areas undergoing surge, I recommend in high-risk areas whether there is surge, the 9% may be important. But here in Metro Manila, for example, when you are outside and there is no-one around you, I think it is reasonable to say that lowering the risk by 9% maybe something we’re able to tolerate in order to mitigate some of the burden that we have for the Filipino people,” he said.

The Department of Health earlier rejected proposals to drop the use of face shields, as the country’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage remains low.

Delta COVID-19 variant, 60% na mas nakakahawa kumpara sa Alpha variant ayon sa ilang pag-aaral

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

Higit na nakakahawa ang Delta variant ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19) kung ikukumpara sa iba pang natuklasang variant ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, lumabas sa ilang pag-aaral na 60 porsiyentong mas nakakahawa ang Delta variant na unang natuklasan sa India kumpara sa Alpha variant na unang napaulat sa United Kingdom.

“Iyong UK Variant po noong unang lumabas, sinabi nila na ito ay 50-60% more transmissible. So iyong existing po na variant natin ngayon for SARS-COV2 dadagdagan niyo ng 60% more transmissible so talagang mabilis po ang pagkakahawa-hawa,” ani Vergeire.

“Pero noong lumabas ang Indian Variant, it’s 60% more transmissible than the UK variant so it means that the existing variant that we have on top of UK and then there’s Indian Variant sobrang bilis na po ng pagkakahawa-hawa,” dagdag pa niya.

Buwan ng Mayo nang isama sa listahan ng variants of concern ng World Health Organization ang Delta variant.

Ibig sabihin, may mga ebidensyang nagpapakitang mas mabilis ang pagkalat nito, mas nakahahawa at sanhi ito ng mas malala o severe na pagkakasakit ng isang nagpositibo sa COVID-19.

Ayon sa United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ang Delta variant ay nakakabawas din sa epekto ng gamot o bakuna kontra COVID-19.

Batay sa mga pag-aaral sa United Kingdom, ang Delta variant rin ang nakitang dahilan ng mabilis na paglobo ng COVID-19 cases sa nasabing lugar.

Una nang iniulat na ang nasabing uri ng COVID-19 rin ang sanhi ng mabilis na pagtaas ng kaso sa India.

Sa Pilipinas, 13 ang natukoy na kaso ng Delta variant – dalawa sa mga ito ay pawang balikbayan na may travel history sa India.

Wala pang kumpirmasyon ang DOH sa ngayon kung Delta ang umiiral na COVID-19 variant ngayon sa mga lugar sa bansa na may mataas na kaso.

Sa ngayon ay nagpapatupad na ang Pilipinas ng travel restriction sa mga biyahero mula sa India at anim pang mga bansa na may kaso na rin ng nasabing variant.

Paalala naman ng DOH sa publiko na palagiang sumunod sa health protocols upang maiwasan ang hawaan ng COVID-19.

“Lagi natin tatandaan, variants are produced if there is a host, kapag mataas ang kaso mas maraming mag-mutate na virus, mas maraming variants na ipo-produce pero kapag na-maintain natin na mababa ang kaso kakaunti lang ang kapasidad ng virus na mag-mutate pa siya at mag- produce pa ng further variants,” ani Vergeire. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Hiling na isailalim sa ECQ ang 3 lugar sa Bicol, pinag-aaralan na – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

Pumalo sa 2,349 ang bilang ng bagong kaso ng COVID-19 sa Bicol Region sa huling dalawang linggo batay sa ulat ng Department of Health (DOH).

Batay sa tala ng DOH mula Hunyo 15, nangunguna sa may pinakamaraming kaso sa rehiyon ang mga lalawigan ng Albay (696), Camarines Sur (584), Sorsogon (341), Naga City (297), at Masbate (223).

Sa kasalukuyan, tanging ang Naga City ang nasa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) hanggang June 30, 2021.

Samantalang ang malaking bahagi ng Bicol Region ay nasa ilalim ng modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), ang pinakamaluwag na quarantine restriction.

Bunsod nito, hiniling ng Bicol Region medical groups sa Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) na mapasailalim sa pinakamahigpit na community quarantine ang mga lalawigan ng Albay, Camarines Sur, at Sorsogon pati na ang mga lungsod ng Legazpi, Naga, at Sorsogon.

Anila, nakababahala ang pagtaas ng kaso na iniuugnay sa local transmission bunsod ng maluwag na pagpapatupad ng minimum health standards, hindi pagsunod ng local officials sa Inter-Agency Task Force regulations, mabagal, inaccessible at di sapat na testing at poor contact tracing efforts at iba.

Ayon naman kay DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, pinag-aaralan na ng DILG ang apela ng mga medical frontliner.

“For Bicol, its under study. We are meeting with DOH this afternoon to hear their recommendations,” ani Malaya. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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