PH Military to probe alleged China harassment of TV crew in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2021   •   942

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been ordered to conduct an investigation into the alleged harassment of Chinese vessels on a Filipino television crew in the West Philippine Sea, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Friday.

In a statement, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the AFP will gather and validate all information relating to the incident.

“The Defense Department has directed the AFP through its Western Command to investigate, gather, and validate all the relevant facts on the incident,” he said.

Andolong said the outcome of the investigation will be used to coordinate any appropriate action through the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea, as well as engagement among the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Transportation, and other concerned agencies.

“We are concerned for the safety of anyone — unarmed civilians — at sea. As such, we view the report with concern,” he said.

In a separate statement, the AFP has expressed concern over the reported harassment of Chinese PLA Navy Vessels and a Chinese Coast Guard on another vessel carrying a television crew.

The media team was reportedly chased by Chinese boats while on its way to Ayungin Shoal, about 105 nautical miles from Palawan. The area is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

AFP Spokesperson Marine Major General Edgard Arevalo said the Western Mindanao Command is looking into the incident to establish what really transpired.

“We have made representations with the news reporter to provide us raw footage or photographs they have of the incident to help us establish the circumstances and document the incident,” Arevalo said.

He, likewise, appealed to journalists to “exercise prudence in the course of their job.”

“We have accommodated members of media in our ships and aircraft to do their coverage so they can be protected while in the practice of their profession,” Arevalo said.

He added, “The AFP is concerned with the safety and well-being of our Kababayans that we have been forthright and transparent in our reporting about the situation in our EEZ.”

“Amidst the situation, the AFP reiterates its commitment to follow the dictates of the Constitution to protect the people and secure our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he said.

Kaso ng Omicron variant naitala sa 15 lugar sa Metro Manila – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Labinlimang lugar sa Metro Manila na ang nakapagtala ng local case ng Omicron COVID-19 variant, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea de Guzman, ikinokonsidera nang predominant variant ang Omicron sa Metro Manila batay sa resulta ng pinakahuling whole genome sequencing run.

“Our latest whole genome sequencing showed that the Omicron variant is now the predominant variant in the National Capital Region, It’s also detected in 13 of 17 regions and in the National Capital Region, 15 of its 17 areas already have local Omicron cases,” ang wika ni De Guzman.

Hindi na tinukoy ng DOH ang mga nasabing lugar pero ayon kay De Guzman, mabilis ang pagkalat ng nasabing variant na maaaring bunsod na rin ng paglabas ng mga tao at hindi lubos na pagsunod ng iilan sa public health protocols.

“These case increases that we’ve seen especially in the National Capital Region is driven by Omicron but is also facilitated by our increased mobility, our reduced compliance to minimum public health standards, as well as delays in our detection and isolation,” ani De Guzman.

Bukod sa Metro Manila ay napansin rin ng kagawaran ang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa lahat ng rehiyon sa bansa.

“We have now observed an increase in cases across all regions and all provinces, highly-urbanized cities and independent component cities but there are still areas whose counts are lower than what we are seeing now in the NCR Plus but we’re already seeing continuous and swift increases,” ani De Guzman.

Una nang sinabi ni Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na nasa critical risk classification ang Pilipinas sa kabila ng pagbagal ng growth rate ng COVID-19.

Ngayong Martes, 28,471 bagong kaso ng COVID-19 ang naitala sa bansa. Ito ang unang pagkakataon ngayong linggo na mas mababa sa 30,000 ang napaulat na kumpirmadong kaso ng coronavirus disease sa Pilipinas. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

PH gov’t to tap drug stores as COVID-19 vaccine booster sites

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to tap drug stores to serve as COVID-19 vaccine booster sites in a bid to ramp up the administration of booster jabs in the country.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with some of his officials on Monday, Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon said the government will seek the help of pharmacies in the country following reports that some vaccination staff have also contracted the virus.

Dizon said the program, which would be dubbed “Resbakuna sa mga botika,” will be launched this week in the first seven pharmacies in Metro Manila.

The pilot run is set for January 20 to 21 in sites including Mercury Drug, Watsons, Rose Pharmacy, Southstar Drug, and the Generics Pharmacy, as well as Healthway and QualiMed.

After the weeklong run, it would then be expanded to other drugstores across the country, he added.

“We will start with 7 pharmacies in Metro Manila which we will launch on Thursday, January 20 and on Friday, January 21,” Dizon said.

“Mabilis po ito Mr. President, pagka-launch po natin, magpi-pilot po sila ng isang linggo, mag-eexpand na po tayo nang mabilis sa iba’t iba pang cities all over the country- Luzon, Visayas, at Mindanao- at sa iba’t ibang mga botika,” he added.

The program aims to assist local government units and the Department of Health with additional personnel for vaccination. It will also help decentralize the inoculation by having smaller but widely spread vaccination sites in the form of drugstores.

 

Philippines posts 28,471 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday logged 28,471 more COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

This is the first time in a week that the number of new COVID-19 infections fell below 30,000.

In its data, the DOH said that 27,735 of the newly reported cases occurred within the recent 14 days. Most infections were reported in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

The latest figure pushed the country’s number of active cases to 284,458 – 8,930 of which are asymptomatic, 270,784 are mild, 2,957 are moderate, 1,484 are severe, and 303 are in critical condition.

The positivity rate was at 43.4 percent, based on samples of 51,738 individuals on January 16.

Five laboratories failed to submit their data on time. These facilities contribute on average 1.7 percent of samples tested and 2.1 percent of positive cases.

Recoveries increased by 34,892, resulting in 2,933,338 total recuperations.

COVID-related deaths rose to 52,962 with 34 new fatalities.

The utilization rate of intensive care unit beds nationwide was at 49 percent, and 53 percent in Metro Manila; isolation beds in the capital region at 48 percent, and 49 percent across the country.

In Metro Manila, 29 percent of ventilators are in use, and  22 percent nationwide.

 

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