Over 500K OFWs repatriated amid COVID-19 pandemic – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   June 3, 2021   •   503

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has brought home around 564,000 overseas Filipino workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Thursday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said around 130,000 OFWs, whose jobs were affected by the public health crisis, remain in their host countries, but up to 80,000 of them have refused to return to the Philippines.

“They opted to stay, especially those in Europe, and that’s very understandable kasi alam mo naman sa Europe ‘yung kanilang insurance benefits umaabot ng 1 to 1/2 years kaya kampante sila,” Bello said at a Palace press briefing.

“Pero meron pa naman tayong mga around siguro umaabot pa ng mga 50,000 na kababayan na naghihintay ng repatriation,” he added.

The labor chief said up to 1,500 Filipinos are being repatriated daily but it could have gone up to 2,000 to 3,000 if not for the Inter-Agency Task Force’s resolution setting a cap on inbound international passengers at 1,500 per day.

“Kaya ganoon kahirap trabaho ng OWWA at ganoon kapuno ang ating mga hotels as the facilities of our OFWs,” he said.

Bello, meanwhile, assured that Filipino seafarers, particularly those who recovered from COVID-19, would still be able to get employed again.

“It’s high time that we Filipinos realized na ‘yung ating Filipino seafarers are the most preferred seafarers in the world. Hinahabol ‘yung ating mga seafarers kaya ‘yung kanilang chance for re-employment ay napakataas,” he said.

He also expressed confidence that proposals to inoculate OFWs with single-dose COVID-19 vaccine would help speed up the deployment of Filipino migrant workers.

“I thank (vaccine czar) Secretary (Carlito) Galvez for thinking of a process na ang ating mga OFW ay one dosage na lang sila and that will facilitate the deployment of our OFWs especially seafarers,” he said.

Mga pauwi ng probinsya para sa long weekend, dumarami na – PITX

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Unti-unti nang dumadagsa sa Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) ang mga pauwi ng probinsiya para samantalahin ang long weekend.

Sa PITX naka-himpil ang mga bus na may biyaheng Katimugang Luzon.

Ayon kay Jayson Salvador, ang nangangasiwa sa PITX, mahigit sa 60,000 pasahero ang inaasahang nilang darating sa mga terminal para bumiyahe ngayong weekend.

“Yung pasahero natin during the intense lockdown ay nag-a-average tayo ng 20,000 to 25,000. Ngayon, simula nang nilagay tayo sa Alert Level 3, pumapalo na po tayo sa 50,000 to 55, 000 passengers a day and we anticipate that going towards the long weekend na Undas that it might reach 60,000 to 65,000,” ani Salvador.

Tiniyak naman ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) na nakahanda na ang ahensiya sa inaasahang pagdami ng mga pasahero.

Tinututukan rin nito ang mga malalaking terminal sa Metro Manila upang masegurong maayos ang sitwasyon at naipatutupad ang health protocols laban sa COVID-19.

“Taon-taon naman, may pandemic o wala, mayroon po tayong tinatawag na Oplan Undas. Yung Oplan Undas po, takes about in the context of having to monitor and inspect the units as well as inspect and prepare the terminals—yung mga bus terminals—para sa pagdagsa ng mga pasahero,” ang wika ni LTFRB chairman Atty. Martin Delgra.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) na nagsasagawa na rin ito ng inspeksyon sa PITX upang mapa-alalahanan ang mga driver at kondukto, pati na rin ng mga pasahero na sumunod sa physical distancing, at health protocols upang maiwasan ang hawaan ng COVID-19.

“Ang MMDA, nagbibigay ng mga alcohol test sa mga drivers. Tinitingnan kung mga naakainom o hindi. Kaya I would say na talagang handang handa na tayo maging sa mga sasakyan sa mga pagbyahe sa mga probinsya,” ani MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos.

Payo ng PITX sa mga pasahero, bumili ng ticket 48 oras bago ang petsa ng pag-biyahe upang makaiwas sa pila at abala.

Alamin rin ang requirements ng local government unit sa lugar na pupuntahan upang maihanda ang mga kailangang dokumento at proseso gaya ng pag-secure ng antigen test. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

300K anti-viral pills na molnupiravir, darating sa bansa sa Nobyembre

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Magiging available na sa bansa ang oral antiviral pill na molnupiravir pagpasok ng buwan ng Nobyembre.

Ito ay matapos pagkalooban ng compassionate special permit (CSP) ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ang local importer at pharma company na Medethix Inc. para sa importasyon at distribusyon ng nasabing gamot para sa COVID-19 patients

Ayon kay Medethix Inc. co-founder at President Monaliza Salian, noong Setyembre pa sila nabigyan ng CSP.

Molnaflu aniya ang brand name ng gamot. Nasa 300,000 bote na naglalaman ng 40 tableta ang darating sa bansa sa susunod na buwan.

Ang Indian manufacturer na Aurobindo Pharma ang magsusuplay ng parating na molnupiravir sa Pilipinas.

May lisensiya ito mula sa MSD, ang pharmaceutical company na developer ng molnupiravir.

Ayon sa JackPharma, na siyang mangangasiwa sa sales ng Molnaflu, hindi aabot sa 700 US dollars o P35,000 ang presyo ng bawat pill gaya sa Amerika.

Mas mura din umano ang presyong ibibigay sa mga ospital ay local pharma companies na may CSP.

“At least for an estimate anywhere between on the market itself hopefully somewhere in the vicinity of about to P100-P130 per pill,” ani Meneleo “Meny” Hernandez, ang president ng JackPharma.

Ang recommended dose ng molnupiravir ay apat na capsule dalawang beses kada araw sa loob ng limang araw.

Kinumpirma ni Philippine Food and Drug Administration director general Eric Domingo na limang pharmaceutical companies na ang may aprubadong CSP para sa importasyon at distribusyon ng molnupiravir.

Nasa 31 ospital din aniya ang may CSP para magamit ang molnupiravir sa COVID-19 patients.

“So far, itong mga na-approve natin na CSP, iimport sila tableta, capsule na siya at registered na ito sa country kung saan siya manggagaling,” ani Domingo.

“Kapag kumuha ka kasi ng compassionate special permit nakalagay doon iyong hospital at kung sino ang licensed importer that will import the drug. Nung tinitignan ko iyong hospitals natin na may CSP, iyong mga nakikita kong importer na andito is about five,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa datos ng mga ekspertong nagsagawa ng clinical trials sa iba’t ibang bansa kabilang ang dalawang ospital sa Pilipinas, lumalabas na mabisa ang molnupiravir upang maiwasan ang pagka-ospital at pagkasawi dulot ng COVID-19 infection

Kumpara sa ibang COVID-19 investigational drugs, ang molnupiravir ay dinisenyo para sa early treatment ng COVID-19 patients. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOH: Minors with health risks inoculated vs. COVID-19 now at 18K

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Over 18,000 minors with co-morbidities have so far received their first dose of vaccine against COVID-19 since the program was launched on Oct. 15, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In a statement, the DOH said that a total of 18,666 children aged 12 to 17 years old have been inoculated during the initial phase of the pediatric vaccination in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The vaccination drive is now on its second phase with 26 hospitals administering COVID-19 vaccines to the pediatric sector.

The DOH said the nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccination among children will begin on Nov. 3.

“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will still be used among children during the nationwide rollout,” DOH Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said in the same statement.

“Further details and the guidelines with regard to the nationwide expansion of pediatric vaccination will be released once finalized,” she added.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17 in 2021.

Meanwhile, the DOH continues to urge the adult population, especially those belonging to priority groups A2 and A3, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to achieve the cocoon effect, which protects the children at home.

The department further emphasized that “choosing to get vaccinated will not only protect the person itself but also those around, along with the strict and religious adherence to minimum public health standards and other preventive measures implemented.”

The National Task Force against COVID-19 earlier said that the national government aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

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