P3.2 billion ECQ cash aid distributed in NCR — DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 17, 2021   •   264

MANILA, Philippines — More than P3.2 billion cash assistance has been distributed to individuals and families affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) being enforced in Metro Manila, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said a total of 3,299,290 individuals received the government cash aid since local government units (LGUs) started handing over the subsidy last August 11.

The distribution of the financial support is based on the provisions of the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 3 of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and LGUs in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Año said the release of the subsidy is ongoing, assuring the president that the names of recipients and beneficiaries are posted in the LGUs’ offices, official websites and social media platforms to ensure transparency.

“At sa inyo rin pong pag-uutos, atin pong sinupervise (supervise) at mino-monitor ng DILG, DSWD at DND ang distribution sa LGU ng NCR at pati naman po ang mayor ng nasabing LGU ay sumunod din po sa inyong kautusan,” he said.

Duterte on Monday approved the release of the P10.894-billion aid for the NCR and the P368 million supplemental budget, bringing the total amount of government support to P11.256 billion.

Aside from residents in Metro Manila, Año said that qualified beneficiaries in Bataan and Laguna are also set to receive similar support following the president’s approval of subsidies for the two provinces.

Bataan will get P700 million while Laguna will receive P2.7 billion, Año said.

“Within the week po ay magsisimula na ang pamimigay ng ayuda at sisiguraduhin nating makakaabot sa mga nangangailangan at walang abuso o anumang korapsyon na magaganap,” he added.

NCR’s COVID-19 reproduction rate down to 0.35 – OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The COVID-19 reproduction rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) went down to 0.35 from November 29 to December, Independent Analytics Group OCTA Research said.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David said nearly all indicators in the same period have gone down when compared to the data gathered in the past week.

In a message on Twitter on Monday, Guido also said that the daily attack rate has gone down to 0.79 from November 29 to December 5 from 2.61 recorded in the same period last year.

The positivity rate also went down to 1.1 percent from 3.7 percent, and the hospital bed occupancy from 37 percent to 21 percent.

He, however, noted that the number of ICU beds occupied slightly increased from 322 to 350.

In a media briefing, Guido said the current data should be maintained to keep the country’s very low risk classification for COVID-19.

He is also in favor of keeping the NCR and the rest of the country under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in view of the threat of the newly discovered Omicron variant.

“If there was no threat of a new variant, pwede naman tayo actually it’s possible to de-escalate because we are at very low risk based on our metrics,” he said.

“We don’t know when this variant might come in the country. At least we are better prepared if we have some restrictions than if we don’t have restrictions,” he added.

Should the new variant enter the Philippines, David said the Philippines may see another surge in COVID-19 cases by 2022.

The OCTA Research fellow noted that based on preliminary studies, the Omicron variant seems more contagious than the Delta variant.

“If it’s twice sa Omicron then we are expecting 1 person with Omicron will infect 10-16 other people,” he said.

“Most likely ang timeline natin around January or February baka magkaroon ng disruption. It may not be a massive surge but it will still affect the number of cases,” he added.

He urged the public to be responsible and continue adhering to public health protocols against COVID-19 especially this holiday season. (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOH Sec. Duque, pabor na manatili sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala si Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na dapat munang manatili sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang Metro Manila sa kabila ng patuloy na pagbaba ng naitatalang panibagong kaso ng coronavirus infections.

Ayon kay Duque, ito ay dahil sa banta ng Omicron COVID-19 variant na kumakalat ngayon sa maraming bansa.

“Para sa akin, dapat siguro na tama lang na manatili muna tayo sa alert level 2. Bakit kamo? Unang-una, ang mobility pataas na naman ngayong kapaskuhan, alam natin iyan. At merong nagbabadya o banta ng Omicron variant,” ani Duque.

Ang Metro Manila ay nasa ilalim ng Alert Level 2 hanggang Disyembre 15.

Aniya, pag-uusapan ng Inter-Agency Task Force sa pagpupulong sa Huwebes kung kailan maaaring ibaba ang rehiyon sa Alert Level 1.

Kung mananatili ang alerto matapos ang Disyembre 15, sinabi ni Duque na makakatulong pa rin naman ito upang makabawi ang maraming negosyo lalo na ngayong holiday season.

“Anyway, malaki-laki na rin ng bahagi ng ekonomiya na binuksan natin under the Alert level 2 at ang mga establisymento–ang kanilang kapasidad nasa 50 percent,” ang wika ng DOH chief.

Sa ngayon ay wala pang napapaulat na kaso ng Omicron variant sa Pilipinas.

Ayon sa pamahalaan, mataman nitong binabantayan ang mga kaso ng Omicron na naitatala sa ibang bansa pati na ang mga karagdagang impormasyon ukol sa bagong variant mula sa mga eksperto.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, kabilang sa kanilang mga inaantabayanan ay ang galaw ng virus at kung gaano ito kabilis makahawa kumpara sa iba pang variant tulad ng Delta, Alpha, at Beta.

“Everyone is monitoring kung ito bang Omicron is more fatal, yun ang pinaka-aabangan natin. If it is more fatal, if it is more severe, if it is more indeed transmissible. So, we still await the final word from the WHO.

Sinabi naman ni Duque na batay sa mga nakukuha nilang inisyal na datos mula sa WHO, lumalabas na nagdudulot ng mild cases ng COVID-19 ang Omicron.

“So far sa ating pakikipagpulong sa WHO country representative Dr. Rabi Abeyasignghe, sinabi niya na lumalaki ang datos na nagpapakita na mukhang mild ang symptoms and no deaths reported as of yet patungkol sa Omicron variant pati hospitalization mukhang hindi sumisipa,” ani Duque.

Ang Omicron variant ay unang natuklasan sa South Africa. Sinasabing heavily mutated ito at may posibilidad na mas nakakahawa pa kumpara sa ibang variant ng COVID-19.

Sa ngayon, ayon sa WHO, ay patuloy pang pinag-aaralan ng mga dalubhasa ang nasabing variant, partikular na ang transmission rate nito at epekto sa ginagamit na gamot sa COVID-19 patients at mga bakuna.

PH gov’t eyeing to administer 7 million COVID-19 jabs in second vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is aiming to administer seven million COVID-19 vaccine jabs for the second round of nationwide vaccination drive, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

The second mass immunization campaign is scheduled from December 15 to 17.

“Ang tina-target natin dito, mga 7 million para second dose, para maabot yung ating pinupuntiryang 54 million by the end of the year na bigyan ng kumpletong bakuna,” Duque said in a televised public briefing.

This target is lower than the first vaccination drive conducted last November 29 to December 1 and later extended until December 3.

The government had hoped to inoculate 9 million people during the first three-day immunization campaign. More than 10 million were vaccinated in the extended drive.

The vaccination drive was launched in a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate to achieve population protection against COVID-19.

So far, more than 38 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated out of the 91.7 million doses administered since the immunization was rolled out in March.

The number of individuals who have received their first dose rose to 56.7 million.

The government is aiming to fully vaccinate at least 54 million by the end of the year.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed hope that the second vaccination drive will also be successful.

“We will have a second round of Bayanihan Bakunahan from December 15 to 17. I hope that we would have the same success. But this time lesser because parang naubos na natin ang Pilipino sa ‘yung what counts sa bakuna kaya medyo there’s a slowdown of the COVID-19,” he said.

He also expressed optimism that the Philippines will be able to overcome the pandemic amid increasing vaccination rate in the country.

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