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

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020   •   419

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)

Manila LGU to open drive-through RFID installation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2020

The Manila City government is set to launch the RFID Sticker Caravan which offers drive-through installation of Radio-frequency identification stickers.

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Posted by Manila Public Information Office on Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The caravan will be held from October 31 to November 1 at the Kartilya ng Katipunan near Manila City Hall in Ermita, Manila. The drive-through RFID installation will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will accommodate class 1 vehicles which are cars, SUVs and passenger vans only.

Motorists do not need to prepare any documents but must prepare P200 for the initial load. Authorities also advised motorists to wear face masks and face shields. AAC

Davao City to reimpose 24-hour liquor ban starting Nov. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2020

A 24-hour liquor ban will be reimposed in Davao City from November 2 to December 31, Mayor Sara Duterte said.

Under Executive Order No. 59, Duterte ordered the ban of sale, serving, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in public effective 5 a.m. of November 2.

The reimposition of the liquor ban stemmed from the results of City Health Office contact tracing of patients positive of the coronavirus showing their exposure during drinking sessions. 

“There is an urgent need to reimpose a 24-hour liquor ban in Davao City to prevent the exposure of individuals to the COVID-19 virus because of their unbridled drinking sessions,” Duterte said in the order. 

Mayor Sara also emphasized the necessity to reimpose the 24-hour liquor ban as another preventive step to control gatherings and stop the cases from spiking because the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs) has reached their full occupancy of the COVID-19.

To recall, Duterte lifted the 24-hour liquor ban on September 21 after six months of restrictive community quarantine.

The city government warned to impose a one strike rule on establishments violating the liquor ban.

The city’s Vices Regulation Unit and Barangay Council were also tasked to conduct vigorous surveillance of all restaurants, fast-food, sari-sari stores, and similar establishments and must immediately move for the closure of an establishment after a single violation is properly documented.

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Roque to ask Duterte on possibility of voluntarily disclosing SALN

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said he will ask President Rodrigo Duterte if he is willing to voluntarily release his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) following the strict rules imposed by the Ombudsman on the access to the wealth declaration of officials.

Roque said the president’s office is just following the guidelines issued by the Ombudsman.

“Mag-uusap po kami ng ating president at para matapos na po itong issue na ito, ay tatanungin ko po baka naman po magbigay ng permiso ang president para isapubliko ang kaniyang SALN,” he said.

The Ombudsman recently issued a memorandum circular restricting access to the SALN of public officials.

The circular states that a copy of a public official’s SALN may only be released if the requestor is an authorized representative of the declarant or the person who filed the document; if there is a court order in relation to a pending case, and if the request is made by the Ombudsman’s field investigation units.

Prior to the issuance of the circular, Roque said Duterte had released his SALN yearly.

“Wala pong itinatago ang ating president, bago po maglabas ng ganitong guidelines ang Ombdusman, taon-taon naman po inilalabas ng president ang kaniyang SALN,” he said.

The question of whether Duterte will voluntarily publicize his own net worth resurfaced after the 2019 SALN of 24 senators were released by the Senate on Thursday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)



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