Palace: Duterte to undergo COVID-19 testing ahead of SONA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2020   •   184

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will undergo coronavirus disease (COVID-19) swab test before his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president will take the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test before he physically delivers his speech at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

Aside from Duterte, lawmakers and their staff who will attend the SONA will be required to undergo swab tests as well as rapid tests.

The procedure will be done on Sunday, according to Roque.

“Ang alam ko po lahat ng papasok po sa loob ng Batasan will be subjected to PCR testing on Sunday, the night before at lahat po ng nasa grounds ng Batasan will be administered also rapid test,” he said.

Around 50 lawmakers and 15 members of the Cabinet and security aides will be allowed to physically witness the President’s address.

However, the attendance of the first family – composed of Duterte’s children, Congressman Paolo Duterte, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, Veronica Duterte, and Duterte’s partner Honeylet Avanceña – is uncertain.

The Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) earlier said that the chief executive’s SONA will be broadcast live and unedited on Monday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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)

Proposed order for price cap on COVID-19 tests awaiting Duterte decision – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A proposed executive order that will impose a price cap on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests is now awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Department of Health’s (DOH) Technical Working Group (TWG) submitted the proposal after completing its review on the recommended price cap.

Roque refused to divulge the recommended price ceiling on coronavirus testing in private hospitals and laboratories but he expressed optimism that the president will approve the proposal.

“Hintayin po muna natin ang desisyon ng president. Why is that? Kasi yung iba naman, napakataas ng sinisingil, alam naman natin, pwedeng mas mura yang testing na yan,” he said in a televised briefing.

Roque said the proposal seeks to make COVID-19 testing affordable and could help boost the government’s contact tracing and mass testing efforts.

“Para mas maging affordable ang testing sa ating mga kababayan ng sa gayong paraan ay mas maraming matetesting,” he said.

The DOH earlier recommended the placing of a price ceiling after observing differences in the COVID-19 testing cost in various laboratories and hospitals in the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

COVID-19 testing service ng PH Red Cross sa NAIA, hindi pa naibabalik

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi pa rin umano naibabalik ang COVID-19 testing ng Philippine Red Cross (PRC) para sa overseas Filipino workers (OFW) na dumarating sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ayon kay Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Office of the Transportation Security (OTS) head, Undersecretary Raul del Rosario, hinihintay pa ng One-Stop-Shop (OSS) ang opisyal na koordinasyon mula sa National Task Force para sa pagbabalik ng COVID-19 testing na ginagawa ng PRC sa NAIA.

Ang OSS ay joint initiative ng DOTr at OTS para magbigay-ayuda, kabilang na ang pagsasagawa ng swab testing, sa mga turista, locally stranded individuals at mga OFW na umuuwi sa bansa sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic.

Habang suspindido pa ang serbisyo ng PRC, tiniyak ni Del Rosario na magpapatuloy pa rin ang pagproseso ng 12 laboratoryo sa swab testing ng mga OFW.

“There are social media stories about the resumption of the swabbing by Red Cross. As head of TGMROF, pending official instructions from the NTF Chair, the government will continue to render FREE RT-PCR related services to all returning OFWs. As what we have collectively done, we shall continue to aspire to give the most efficient service to these OFWs,” ang pahayag ni Del Rosario

Una nang sinabi ni PRC chairman, Senator Richard Gordon na ibabalik na ng Red Cross ang swab testing services nito na sagot ng Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) matapos bayaran ng ahensiya ang kalahati sa higit P1 bilyon nitong utang sa PRC noong Martes.

Noong nakaraang linggo ay itinigil ng PRC ang COVID-19 testing services nito na binabayaran ng PhilHealth dahil sa lumulobo nitong utang.

Ngunit giit ni Gordon, kailangan pa ring bayaran ng PhilHealth ang natitira nitong balanse sa loob ng susunod na tatlong araw alinsunod sa pinasok nilang kontrata.

“We are not waiting. We’re preparing a letter, saying we thank you for your payment, but we need you to pay the whole amount in accordance with the contract,” ang pahayag ni Gordon.

Sa ngayon ay wala pang tugon ang PhilHealth sa pahayag ni Gordon. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

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