Persons aged 15-17, above 65 allowed to go out for national ID registration

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2021   •   399

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed minors aged 15 to 17 and persons above 65 years old to go out of their residence to register for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement over state-run PTV.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is currently conducting the registration for the national identification system.

The first step in the registration process involves gathering of demographic information such as name, gender, birthplace and birth date, blood type, address, citizenship, marital status, cellphone number, and email address – from the targeted registrants.

Step 2 entails the capture the biometric information such as iris scan, fingerprints, and photograph at the PhilSys registration centers.

The third step is the issuance of PhilSys number and the distribution of the physical ID.

The PSA earlier reported that the delivery of the first batch of national identification cards of those who successfully registered in the system is underway.

As of April 30, 2021, the agency said that a total of 6,378,695 registrants have completed the Step 2 Registration. These individuals underwent the assisted Step 1 Registration or the house-to-house collection of demographic data, and setting of appointment for Step 2.

The national ID system is being implemented pursuant to the Republic Act 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018.

The measure seeks to establish a single national identification system for all citizens and resident aliens of the country, as well as promote seamless delivery of service, ease of doing business, and enhances administrative governance.

The PSA earlier said it targets to register 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year, and nearly the entire population by 2022.

PH increases annual overseas deployment cap of new hire healthcare workers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has adjusted the annual ceiling on the deployment of newly hired healthcare workers abroad, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) increased the number of healthcare workers that can be deployed abroad from 5,000 to 6,500.

The new cap in annual overseas deployment of healthcare workers was approved by the IATF in a meeting on Thursday.

The adjusted ceiling covers health workers who perform mission critical skills (MCS) with perfected contracts as of May 31, 2021.

“Healthcare workers under government-to-government labor agreements shall, however, be exempted from this adjusted ceiling,” Roque said in a statement.

The new policy comes after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) suspended the deployment of medical professionals after the 5,000 annual ceiling for new hires was reached on June 1.

IATF to meet Thursday to discuss face shield policy – Nograles

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is set to meet on Thursday afternoon to discuss the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

In a message, IATF co-chairperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said among the topics that will be tackled in the meeting is the use of face shields.

“May IATF kami mamaya. Pag-uusapan namin,” he said.

The policy on face shield wearing made headlines anew after Senate President Vicente Sotto III and other lawmakers shared with the public their conversation with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Wednesday about the limited use of face shield.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque later confirmed the lawmakers’ statements that the president did say that face shields should only be worn in hospitals.

Roque said the president’s decision becomes a policy but there is a possibility that the IATF will appeal if the face shield rule will be loosened.

Nograles assured they will immediately announce if there are any changes in health protocols.

“If there is any announcement sa bagong protocol, ilalabas namin,” he said.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega earlier said that shields may be removed when outdoors.

Under existing protocols, face shields are required to be worn in the following areas:

  • Enclosed public spaces
  • Schools
  • Workplaces
  • Commercial establishments
  • Public transport and terminals
  • Places of worship

Face shields should also be worn in other areas where one-meter physical distancing is not possible and there is a gathering of more than 10 people at the same venue at the same time.

OCTA Research fellow and Biological Sciences Professor Nicanor Austriaco also said that face shields offer a certain degree of protection against COVID-19 especially in areas with high infection rate.

“Especially now in those areas undergoing surge, I recommend in high-risk areas whether there is surge, the 9% may be important. But here in Metro Manila, for example, when you are outside and there is no-one around you, I think it is reasonable to say that lowering the risk by 9% maybe something we’re able to tolerate in order to mitigate some of the burden that we have for the Filipino people,” he said.

The Department of Health earlier rejected proposals to drop the use of face shields, as the country’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage remains low.

Palace confirms Duterte remark on limited wearing of face shields

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021

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.

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