Palace confirms Duterte remark on limited wearing of face shields

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021   •   524

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday confirmed reports that President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed that face shields should only be worn in hospitals.

 I can only confirm what Senate President Tito Sotto and what Senator Joel Villanueva said earlier that the president did say that the wearing of face shield should only be in hospitals,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque was referring to Sotto’s tweet and the statement of Villanueva in a separate public briefing regarding their conversation with the president during a meeting with lawmakers at Malacañang on Wednesday.

When asked if the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will revise its policy on the use of face shields, the Palace official said the matter will be taken up at the task force’s meeting on Thursday afternoon.

He also did not discount the possibility of the IATF appealing the loosening of face shield rules.

“The IATF is a recommendatory to the president and when the president has decided, then that’s the policy. This is without prejudice to IATF appealing, possibly ‘no,” Roque said.

The use of face shields as an added layer of protection against COVID-19 made headlines anew after Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega on Wednesday said that shields may be removed when outdoors.

Roque echoed the statement and reiterated that under existing protocols, face shields are required to be worn in enclosed spaces and where there is a gathering of a number of people.

“Alam nyo kasi ang posisyon naman ng DOH ay may mga pagkakataon talaga na dapat isuot pa yung face shield at ito po lalong lalo na ay kapag nasa indoors na maraming tao,” he said.

“Uulitin ko po, mukhang the president mentioned a new policy and of course, IATF is recommendatory because it is composed of all alter-egos of the president,” he added.

“Nonetheless, this is without prejudice to IATF appealing the decision of the president particularly the wearing of the shields in enclosed public spaces, in schools, in workplaces, in commercial establishments such as but not limited to food establishments, malls, and public markets, in public transport and terminals and in places of worship,” he further stated.

Immigration Bureau bars entry of passengers from 10 countries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — After Malacañang’s directive, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced expanding the entry ban of passengers which will include those coming from Malaysia and Thailand starting July 25 until July 31.

The two countries are now added to the eight countries that are temporarily banned entry to the Philippines to prevent the further spread and community transmission of emerging COVID-19 variants.

The other countries covered by the travel ban are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Indonesia.

“Foreigners arriving from said countries or with a travel history there within the last 14 days will be denied entry and will immediately be sent back to their port of origin,” according to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

However, the BI official said that Filipinos arriving from these countries as part of repatriation efforts will be allowed entry but will be subjected to set protocols by other government agencies.

He also clarified that those who are already in transit and will be arriving before July 25 will be allowed entry, but will be required to undergo a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine. AAC

Misamis Oriental confirms detection of one Delta variant case; pushes for stricter measure

Maris Federez   •   July 21, 2021

Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincent “Bambi” Emano on Tuesday confirmed the detection a Delta variant case in the province.

On Tuesday’s edition of the government’s Laging Handa program, Emano reported that the local government has conducted isolation on the family of the individual who was found positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Delta variant.

“Sa awa ng Dios ang mga kasamahan niya sa bahay ay na-isolate na natin. Started with one worker of the bank and ito pong katulong niya. Tapos randomly nakunan ng blood sample para dun sa UP Genome Center and found out to be positive dun sa Delta variant,” the governor said.

Emano said two of the four close contacts were found negative for COVID-19 and the other two were found positive for the virus. Their blood samples were sent to Manila for genome sequencing to find out if the Delta variant has also spread within the family.

The governor said that while the provincial government is prepared should the result of the two blood samples yield positive, they will still push for stricter measures in the province that, to date, has 340 active COVID-19 cases, one of which is the said Delta variant positive.

“Sa pangunguna po ni chief Gerry Calingatan, ang PHO (Provincial Health Office) po natin at Task Force chief ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) ng Misamis Oriental […] nakahanda na po yung plano and stand by and awaiting si provincial director (Col. Raniel) Valones, and Lt.Col. (Ricky) Canatoy on how we will tighten the area pati yung Gingoog City,” Emano said.

“And within the province, sa awa ng Dios, ang ganda na po ng takbo ng mga local government units at MHOs (Municipal Health Office) […] Hopefully when we can get the nod of the IATF national that we will request for an ECQ (enhance community quarantine) for the province of Misamis Oriental so that we will be able to push stricter measures po,” he added.

The governor also admitted having difficulty implementing the different quarantine levels in the entire province. To address this, and upon the recommendation of the IATF Misamis Oriental, even those areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) are implementing restrictions applied in ECQ areas.

“For dining areas, kahit pwede kami sa 50%, ginawa naming 30%. So we follow the guidelines para hindi na mahirapan that every time na tatawid sa boundary, mapapabago-bago pa yung quarantine level,” he said.

On the other hand, the flow of businesses and transportation sector in the province has remained normal following the guidelines of the IATF, the provincial chief executive said.

Meanwhile, the governor has admitted to experiencing a low supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

He, however, said that the Department of Health regional office has assured that they will increase the allocation of the supply of the vaccine in the province in the next delivery.

“Sa kakulangan, yes, medyo may kulang talaga yung vaccine po natin. Kasi aside sa from the health workers na nag 109% na tayo, sa senior citizens at sa comorbidities, nasa 25% pa lang po tayo sa Misamis Oriental. Dahil nga […] yung allocation sa Misamis Oriental sobrang kokonti,” he said.

“Pero kung tingnan mo naman yung inoculation rate, sa rollout, pinakamataas nga sa buong Pilipinas ang Region 10 and isa yung Misamis Oriental na medyo mabilis mag-inoculate. Kaya nakiusap kami, sumulat ako kay Regional Director Lacuna na kahit magdadagan muna nang kahit 20,000 doses ang Misamis Oriental, hopefully, will help us contain and inoculate muna yung mga bayan malapit sa City of Cagayan de Oro and yung Gingoog City po,” he further stated.

He also assured high public acceptance of the vaccine rollout in the province. Local government units in the province, regardless of any political affiliation, are implementing strategies to encourage the citizens to undergo vaccination, such as discounts on utility bills and grocery purchases.

Emano urges the public to take heed of the guidelines of the local government units on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. —/mbmf

PNP deploys more cops to enforce health protocols at Manila Bay dolomite beach

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday ordered the deployment of more personnel at the Manila Bay dolomite beach to ensure the enforcement of minimum health protocols amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I have tasked the Manila Police District to deploy additional policemen in the area to ensure that persons who visit the beach observe minimum public health safety standards and follow quarantine protocols,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Kailangan ng masusing pagpaplano at regular na monitoring sa lugar upang matiyak na hindi na maulit ang nangyari last year na hindi nasunod ang social distancing ng mga taong bumibisita,” he added.

Eleazar recalled that an MPD official was relieved after failing to enforce the social distancing rule among visitors during the beach’s brief opening last year.

The PNP chief urged the public to cooperate with authorities and follow health protocols when visiting the beach.

“Mahigpit ang bilin ng SILG Secretary Eduardo Año na iwasang mangyari ang super spreader events lalo ngayon na may mga report ng local transmission ng COVID-19 Delta variant,” Eleazar said.

“Sa mga kababayan naman natin na nagpaplanong pumunta sa dolomite beach, sumunod tayo sa mga alituntunin at huwag na tayong maging pasaway dahil para din ito sa inyong kaligtasan,” he added.

The beach was opened again to the public on Sunday. Visitors may visit the area until July 20.

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