Ombudsman probe won’t affect DOH, COVID-19 task force credibility – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020   •   724

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday expressed confidence that the Office of the Ombudsman’s investigation into the alleged irregularities in the Department of Health’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis won’t affect the credibility of the agency and the government task force.

In a televised briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that at this point, health officials and other personalities involved in the probe are “presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

“Kung mapapansin ninyo naman po ang IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) po talaga, lahat po ng departamento, it’s a whole government approach, it’s not just the DOH although the DOH po has the position of leadership,” Roque said.

The Palace official also relayed that President Rodrigo Duterte believes that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will be able to respond to the allegations being investigated by the Ombudsman.

“Kampante po ang president na masasagot po ni Secretary Duque lahat po ‘yang alegasyon sa Ombudsman,” he said.

He added that the president “has time and again expressed his continuing trust and confidence” in Duque whose leadership at the health agency has been beset by controversies.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier said it will launch an investigation into the supposed irregularities in the DOH’s response against COVID-19.

The probe would cover the purchase of coronavirus disease test kits, delayed procurement of personal protective equipment and other supplies for healthcare workers and the rising number of fatalities among medical workers amid the public health crisis, as well as the delay in the release of financial assistance to healthcare workers who have fallen severely ill and died due to coronavirus disease.

Duque earlier said he is ready to face the Ombudsman probe. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Mga papayagang pumasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach, hanggang 4K lang; mga bata, bawal – DENR

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines ­– Lilimitahan na ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ang bilang ng mga bisitang maaaring makapasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach.

Ayon kay DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, nasa 4,000 bisita lamang ang papayagang makapasok na carrying capacity ng lugar.

“Ang problem lang natin, during weekdays, talagang bumibigla, pumapalo talaga ng hindi na bumababa ng 18,000 and above ang number of persons. So, ang gagawin lang natin, with our strategy, we will meet lang yung carrying capacity ng area mga 4,000 to 5,000 lang ang nasa loob,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Upang mapagbigyan ang iba pang mga bisita na makapasok sa dolomite beach, ipatutupad ang limitadong oras sa pagtigil sa lugar.

Kapag weekend, ipaiiral ang “cinema approach” kung saan may scheduling o may oras ang pagpasok sa lugar.

Palalabasin ang mga ito pagkatapos ng dalawang oras para naman sa iba pang mga bisita.

Kapag dagsa ang tao sa weekdays, ipatutupad naman ang rotation system kung saan maari lang tumigil sa loob ng pasyalan hanggang labinglimang minuto.

Upang maiwasan ang pila sa labas ng dolomite beach, planong gumamit ng DENR ng smartphone app o bigyan ang mga bisita ng stub na maipapakita nila kapag oras na ng kanilang pagpasok.

Bibigyan naman ng special lane ang mga vulnerable sectors gaya ng senior citizens, buntis at may karamdaman.

Pagbabawalan namang pumasok sa dolomite beach ang mga batang may edad 11 pababa, alinsunod sa guidelines ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

“Consistent with the IATF protocols, we followed our determination of the age based on the availability nung vaccination natin. Kung mapapansin ninyo, the government has already implemented the vaccination of 12 years old and above,” ani Leonas.

Layunin ng bagong patakaran na maiwasan na ang pagdagsa ng mga tao gaya nang nangyari sa mga nakalipas na linggo.

Magugunitang, umabot sa mahigit 121,000 indibidwal ang bumisita sa Manila Bay dolomite beach noon lamang araw ng Linggo. Dahil sa dami ng tao, hindi na natupad ang social distancing protocol at may iba pang hindi nakasuot ng maayos ang kanilang face mask.

Isasara naman ang dolomite beach tuwing Biyernes upang bigyang-daan ang maintenance activities.

Davao City lifts curfew hours, 24-hour liquor ban

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

After almost a year, the government of Davao City lifted the curfew in all public places and the 24-hour ban on liquor amid declining cases of COVID-19 in the city.

In an executive order, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the 24-hour ban on selling of alcoholic beverages has been eased and would take effect from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Duterte-Carpio, however, said that serving of liquor for consumption in bars, restaurants, sari-sari stores, palengke (wet market), videoke, and other business establishments, and drinking liquor in all public places are still prohibited.

The modified liquor ban will be effective from October 26, 2021 to January 1, 2022.

Aside from easing ban on the sale of liquors, the city government also lifted the 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew in public places, also starting on October 26 to allow more mobility for residents and visitors in the city.

Mass gatherings, however, will remain limited. The city government also reminded the public to continue adhering to health protocols and to observe proper ventilation when in a closed space.

Duterte-Carpio said the local government intends to gradually reopen the city amid decreasing infections and increasing vaccination rate.

Mayor Isko urges IATF to file raps over dolomite beach overcrowding

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Tuesday called on the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 pandemic to file complaints against officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over last weekend’s overcrowding at dolomite beach in Manila Bay.

In a television interview, Domagoso said an agency under the DENR opened the dolomite beach to the public without coordinating with the local government.

Mayor Isko was referring to the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO), an agency under the direct supervision of the DENR secretary, which has coordinative functions among all offices and agencies involved in the rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of Manila Bay.

“I am calling on IATF. Charge those people in DENR of violating… show our rules. If we cannot implement it within their offices, then there is no point implementing them sa taumbayan,” he said.

Domagoso, a presidential aspirant in the 2022 elections, also stressed that it is the DENR that has control over the area amid rehabilitation and development efforts.

“In fact, may gate nga sila para makapasok ka sa dolomite. But due diligence must be observed especially in this situation wherein it can be a super spreader,” he said.

The opening of the Manila Baywalk dolomite beach on Oct. 17 attracted thousands of people during the last two weekends. Videos and photos circulating on social media showed that social distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols were violated.

The DENR later on banned children below 12 years old from entering the dolomite beach, saying it was “overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest of the public”.

At a Palace briefing, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda admitted the shortcoming on the part of the agency but assured that this was addressed immediately.

“Sinasabi nila na nagkaroon ng violation ng social distancing, immediately na-address po yan,” he said. “Nagkulang ng kaunti pero naagapan.”

The Philippine National Police earlier said it will deploy more personnel to the area to help control the crowd.

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