PH, India seeking ways to boost ties in infra development, digital tech — DOF

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2021   •   1126

MANILA, Philippines The Philippines and India are exploring ways of enhancing their economic ties, particularly in the areas of financial and digital technologies and infrastructure development, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the department said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and India Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran met recently to discuss both countries’ interests in strengthening their cooperation in the fields of banking and finance.

The DOF said that during his virtual courtesy call, Kumaran offered India’s expertise in setting up the country’s broadband network as well as the national identification system.

Dominguez welcomed the ambassador’s offer of assistance and invited Indian companies to participate in the upcoming rollout of a shared cyber-defense plan for Philippine state-run banks and their subsidiaries, the department added.

The finance chief likewise expressed his appreciation for India’s interest in helping the government implement its digital transformation programs that aim to expand financial inclusion among Filipinos, upgrade the delivery of frontline government services, and further curb corruption among government officials.

Kumaran said Indian companies are interested in taking part in the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program but are “in need of more information on the various opportunities available to them under the President’s centerpiece infrastructure modernization plan.”

“To assist prospective investors on this concern, Secretary Dominguez and Ambassador Kumaran agreed to help organize a webinar or online workshop where the Philippines can showcase the various opportunities open to India’s companies on infrastructure development, as well as other possible areas of cooperation between Filipino and Indian firms,” the DOF said.

It was also mentioned during the meeting that an Indian company – GMR Infrastructure Limited – is already taking part in the “Build, Build, Build” program and has performed “impressively” in operating the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and expanding the Clark International Airport (CIA).

The Philippines and India rekindled their bilateral ties with the official visits of President Duterte to India in 2017 and 2018, which were followed by a state visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to the Philippines in October 2019, the DOF said.

India and the Philippines established their diplomatic relations on November 16, 1949.

PH lists 6,879 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday logged 6,879 new cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said, bringing the total tally to 1,612,541.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the number of active infections in the country has reached 63,137.

Of these cases, 94 percent are mild, 1.3 percent are asymptomatic, 1.46 percent are moderate, 2.1 percent are severe, and 1.2 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH noted nine accredited testing laboratories that have failed to submit data on time while one was not operational last August 1.

Total recoveries rose to 1,521,263 after 6,337 more patients recovered from the viral disease.

The death toll climbed to 28,141 with 48 new fatalities.

Data from the DOH also showed that increasing healthcare utilization rate with 62 percent of the country’s ICU beds occupied and 41 percent of ventilators being used.

In the National Capital Region, 57 percent of the ICU beds are occupied while 41 percent of the ventilators are in use.

The DOH also noted 17.5 percent positivity rate out of 37,302 tests reported last August 1.

US-donated Moderna vaccines to arrive in PH on August 3 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 3,000,060 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the government of the United States are set to arrive in the Philippines on Tuesday, August 3, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte will personally welcome the arrival of the donated vaccines.

Duterte earlier expressed his gratitude to the administration of US President Joe Biden for committing three million vaccine doses, which he said, will greatly help the government’s mass immunization drive amid the threat of more contagious coronavirus variants.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo. I’d like to thank the President of the United States, si Biden, the government and the people of America for not forgetting us,” Duterte said during his public address late Monday.

The United States donated three million doses of Moderna vaccine through the COVAX vaccine-sharing program led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and GAVI.

Aside from the US-donated Moderna shots, Roque said additional Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses procured by the government are expected to arrive this month.

One million Sinovac shots may be delivered in the first week of August and over seven million in the succeeding weeks.

More than 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the United Kingdom have already arrived in Manila on Monday.

Around 813,150 Pfizer doses procured by the government will also be delivered by August 9 while 1.1 million AstraZeneca vaccines procured by the private sector are expected within August 9 to 15.

The Philippines will also receive on August 10, around 1 million Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by China.

In total, Roque said the country is expecting to receive more than 22 million doses for August.

The Philippines has so far received a total of 33,860,700 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various manufacturers.

A total of 21,210,129 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered as of August 2. Around 11.8 million individuals have received their first dose while 9.3 million have already completed their shots.

Duterte earlier made an assurance that all regions and provinces will get the vaccines they need, but in the meantime, the government will prioritize the distribution of the jabs to areas with increased number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

He also appealed for public patience as the government is facing a challenge in securing vaccine supplies.

21.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in PH; 9.3 million fully immunized — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the Philippines has climbed to more than 21.2 million since the government started the rollout in March, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said a total of 21,210,129 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered as of August 2.

A total of 11,840,504 individuals have received their first dose while 9,369,625 have already completed their shots.

Roque said the latest figure of fully vaccinated individuals is equivalent to 13.39 percent of the country’s target vaccination rate.

The government has been eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year to attain population protection against COVID-19.

Roque reminded the public to get vaccinated when it’s their turn and that the vaccines are given free of charge.

Ipinapaalala po namin sa lahat na huwag sayangin ang pagkakataong magpabakuna dahil ito naman po ay libre,” he said.

Magpalista sa inyong LGU at kung may schedule na, magpaturok na… Mas magandang na may dagdag-proteksyon sa mas nakakahawang Delta variant,” he added.

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