PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales resigns – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2020   •   542

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president and CEO Ricardo Morales has resigned, Malacañang confirmed Wednesday.

In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Office of the President has received the resignation letter tendered by Morales.

“We are still awaiting President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s further action/instruction on the matter,” he added.

Morales last week took a medical leave to undergo treatment for lymphoma amid investigations into the alleged widespread corruption in PhilHealth.

Duterte earlier asked Morales to step down from office due to his medical condition.

Duterte now willing to get COVID-19 vaccine shot in public — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   February 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to Malacañang’s previous announcement, Secretary Harry Roque announced on Monday, February 15, that President Rodrigo Duterte is now willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine publicly.

“Well I think the President has said that he will now have himself vaccinated publicly,” Roque said.

According to the presidential spokesperson, the Chief Executive will do it to encourage and strengthen the public’s confidence in the vaccine. 

However, Roque did not confirm the date or time for the anticipated inoculation.

“He only has to announce when it will be done and that’s of course in recognition of the fact na nagaantay ng senyales ang taumbayan kung talaga sila’y magpapabakuna o hindi. So I think that is a policy that we will now pursue,” he said.

It was in August last year when the President announced his readiness to be the first to get inoculated using the vaccine from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute once it arrives in the country. 

Later on, the Palace backtracked on its previous announcement and said Duterte had decided to have it privately.

Around 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech are expected to arrive on February 23.

Meanwhile, the exact date for the arrival of 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the COVAX Facility has yet to be confirmed though the shipment is also expected this month.

Aside from the president, other high ranking government officials have also volunteered to be vaccinated in public to increase vaccine confidence.

Based on the recent Pulse Asia survey result released in January, almost half of the Philippine population expressed hesitation in receiving the vaccine due to safety concerns. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Malakanyang, nanawagan sa meat vendors na ‘wag ituloy ang ‘pork holiday’

Robie de Guzman   •   February 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Hinimok ng Malakanyang ang meat vendors na huwag nang ituloy ang ‘pork holiday’ at bumalik na sa pagtitinda sa mga pamilihan.

Ginawa ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque ang apela kasunod ng mga ulat na maraming meat stall sa mga pamilihan sa Metro Manila ang hindi nagbukas ngayong Lunes bilang pagtutol sa ipinataw na price ceiling ng pamahalaan sa kanilang mga produkto.

Una nang sinabi ng ilang meat vendors na mas pipiliin nilang huwag na munang magtinda hangga’t walang murang supply ng karne.

Ngayong Lunes ang umpisa ng pagpapatupad ng Executive Order No. 124 na nagtatakda ng price cap na P270 sa kada kilo ng kasim at pigue, P300 sa kada kilo ng liempo at P160 sa bawat kilo ng manok Kalakhang Maynila sa loob ng 60 araw.

Ipinatupad ang price cap bilang tugon sa tumataas na presyo ng karne ng baboy at manok dahil sa kakulangan sa supply bunsod ng epekto ng African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

Ayon kay Roque, gumagawa na ng paraan ang pamahalaan upang masolusyunan ang problema sa supply at mapataas ang presyuhan sa mga pamilihan.

“Gumawa naman po ng hakbang ang gobyerno, pinadami po natin ang supply, at patunay po diyan yung 10,000 heads of pork every week na manggagaling sa South Cotabato alone. Mayroon pa pong inaayos na ibang source of supply ang ating Department of Agriculture,” ang pahayag ni Roque.

Una nang sinabi ng Department of Agriculture na pansamantala lamang ang price cap at may nakalatag na silang mga programa gaya ng repopulation ng mga baboy sa mga lugar na hindi tinamaan ng ASF outbreak.

May kinausap na rin umano silang hog raisers mula sa Visayas at Mindanao para magsupply ng karne sa Metro Manila. – RRD (may detalye mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH gov’t to roll out COVID-19 vaccination program starting February 15 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program starting February 15, Malacañang announced.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said among the first to receive the vaccines are healthcare workers from hospitals that serve as main COVID-19 referral facilities including the Philippine General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Metro Manila.

The incoming initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech totaling 117,000 doses will be used for the inoculation of healthcare workers included in the initial master list from hospitals, he added.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine supply under the COVAX facility is expected to arrive in the second or third week of February.

The government aims to complete the administration of vaccines to healthcare workers in less than a month.

“So, inaasahan po natin na sa buong linggong ito, sa buong buwan na darating ay at least lahat iyong medical frontliners at saka iyong immediate na may priority ay at least nasimulan na. Pero definitely, hindi po aabot ng isang buwan para matapos natin ang lahat ng mga medical frontliners,” Roque said.

The government is aiming to vaccinate up to 70 million people against COVID-19 this year, with priority given to healthcare workers, senior citizens, the indigent population, and uniformed personnel. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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