Ang naganap na proclamation rally ng Union Nationalist Alliance (UNA) sa Plaza Independencia, Cebu City nito Martes, February 12, 2013 kung saan ipinakilala ng tinaguriang 3 Kings ng UNA na sina Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile at former President Joseph Estrada ang mga pambato ng kanilang partido sa pagka-senador ngayong 2013 elections. (PHOTOVILLE International / James Vercide)
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Pinili ng UNA (United Nationalist Alliance) na sa Cebu isagawa ang kanilang proclamation rally sa pagsisimula ng campaign period kahapon.
Naniniwala ang UNA na malaki ang magiging bahagi ng Cebu upang makakuha ng maraming boto.
Sa ngayon ay umaabot na sa 2.5 million ang rehistradong botante sa probinsya ng Cebu.
Tiniyak naman ni Vice President Jejomar Binay na magiging malinis ang kanilang pangangampanya.
“Ito ang sinasabi namin na bagong pulitika walang tapunan ng putik, walang siraan ng pagkatao.”
Ayon naman kay suspended Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, nananatiling matatag ang kanilang partido sa kabila ng suspensyon na ipinataw sa kanya.
“We have the most number of mayors, we have the most number of local units, the most number of incumbent officials, we remain strong.”
Kabilang sa mga kandidato ng UNA sa pagka-senador sina Senator Gregorio Honasan, Nancy Binay, TingTing Cojuangco, JV Ejercito, Jack Enrile, Richard Gordon, Ernesto Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay at Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Hindi naman dumating ang mga guest candidate na sina Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Sen. Loren Legarda at Grace Poe Llamanzares. (Naomi Sorianosos & Ruth Navales, UNTV News)
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate may approve next week a bill that seeks to establish a P500-million national indemnity fund that will be used to compensate any inoculated person who might experience a severe adverse effect, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Wednesday.
During the Laging Handa briefing, Zubiri said the measure may be ratified on Monday if Malacañang will issue a certification of urgency to expedite its passage.
“Hopefully, we can ratify this by Monday next week, ibibigay po namin ito sa Malacañang for the signature of the president. Hopefully, by the end of the month, maging batas na ito kung pirmahan agad ni president,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed readiness to certify as urgent the passage of bills creating an indemnification agreement and advance market commitment to speed up COVID-19 negotiations and deliveries.
An indemnification clause refers to the agreement reached between stakeholders identifying the party that would take responsibility in case those receiving the jabs experienced adverse side effects.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said he has been communicating with lawmakers to fast-track the pending bills.
“Para po magkaroon ng proteksyon ang ating DOH personnel and at the same time yung manufacturer from any possible law suit considering that yung pagpunta ng vaccine dito ay under clinical trial number 3 o tinatawag nating emergency use authorization only,” he said.
Zubiri said the Senate was supposed to pass Senate Bill 2057 on second reading on Tuesday but it was deferred due to the absence of resource persons who could provide answers regarding the matter.
The measure proposes to authorize the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to undertake negotiated procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as necessary supplies and services related to the immunization program by allowing local government units (LGUs) and private entities to directly procure COVID-19 vaccines with their own funds, provided that they do so within a tripartite mechanism with the DOH and the NTF-COVID-19.
The measure also seeks to establish a COVID-19 National Indemnity Fund to compensate any person who has been vaccinated and experiences serious adverse side effects or even death.
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday said it has recommended the repeal of the department order and all issuances related to the delegation of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) to private operators.
The panel, headed by Senator Grace Poe, said in its Committee Report No. 184 that the implementation of the MVIS is “flawed” and that the policy is “half-baked.”
“In the meantime, the repeal of DOTr DO (Department Order) 2018-19 and all related issuances is recommended,” the report read.
“While fees have been lowered for now and testing seems to have been made optional, the implementation of this flawed program must be stopped definitively pending the resolution of issues hounding it,” it added.
The committee cited in its report various concerns on the implementation of the MVIS.
These include the issues on the legality of the MVIS privatization, lack of consultation and transparency in accreditation, inadequate number of inspection centers in operation, glitches in the system, and overall incompatibility of private motor vehicle inspection systems with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) IT and landscape of motor vehicles in the country.
The panel said these issues remain unresolved without decisive action from the Department.
It further recommended that the Senate blue ribbon committee conduct a probe on the “highly anomalous transactions” surrounding the accreditation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) and officials involved.
“The questionable issuances seem to have created a favorable environment for an oligopoly where only very few players can enter and succeed,” the report stated.
“The inexplicable dark moments during the evaluation process and lack of transparency in the eventual accreditation of winning service providers bear badges of fraud which should be further investigated by the appropriate committee,” it added.
The panel likewise pointed out in its report that the absence of clear definition of roadworthiness, coupled with identified flaws in the inspection standards, “almost guarantees that there will be errors in the test results.”
“[N]ot only that this might lead to corruption, some also believe that it intends to facilitate the phaseout of older vehicles without due process,” it added.
The report also emphasized that while “the policy of ensuring only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads is commendable, a half-baked policy is a bad policy.”
Poe earlier asked the DOTr and the LTO to submit the names of the companies and incorporators of the accredited PMVICs.
The committee report said that 12 out of 24 of them do not have enough capitalization to finance an expensive inspection center costing more than P50 million, and eight others registered as sole proprietorships contained no information as to their financial standing.
It also pointed out that with only 24 PMVICs currently operational out of 458 originally targeted by the LTO, the unclear noncompulsory status of the MVIS only leads to more confusion for motorists.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that the MVIS will no longer be mandatory following criticisms in its implementation.
The Transportation department also announced that PMVIC testing fees were lowered from P1,500 to P600 for private vehicles, and from P600 to P500 for motorcycles. The rate for public utility jeepneys, on the other hand, will remain at P300.
MANILA, Philippines — A group of healthcare workers expressed opposition to the proposed measure filed in the Senate seeking to allow local government units (LGUs) to procure vaccines directly from pharmaceutical companies.
The Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 (HPAAC) argued that once Senate Bill 2042 is enacted, the LGUs may freely purchase vaccines by just acquiring an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even without going through the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).
The bill was filed by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
“Ang tinitingnan ng FDA iyong safety mainly. Pagdating nung HTAC pag na-recomend na ng FDA ang emergency use authorization, aaralin na ng masinsinan iyan ng Health Technology Assessment Council,” explained Dr. Antonio Dans, HPAAC convenor.
“Ano ba ang masinsinan? Hindi lang iyong safety, iyong effectiveness, iyong efficiency, ibig sabihin sulit ba?” he added.
Dr. Aileen Espina, also a member of HPAAC, expressed concern about the possible repeat of the case with Dengvaxia vaccines that lacked assessment.
“Ayaw na po natin na mangyari ulit iyong nangyari sa atin noong una sa Dengvaxia. Noon nagbakuna tayo kulang ng pagsusuri,” she said.
“Kaya ngayon sinisigurado natin na dadaan siya sa tamang proseso, hindi lamang sa FDA na nage-establish ng safety at efficacy kundi pati din sa HTAC,” she added.
Another concern, the group said, is that the list of priority recipients may be disregarded given the limited supply of vaccines.
Dans cited the case of coronavirus vaccines which from around 200 million available doses, only 10 countries were able to buy 75% of the supply which means the other 25% would be shared among the remaining 130 countries.
“Ngayon kung uulitin natin dito ganun din gagawin natin. May mga LGU na kayang bumili ng bakuna, merong hindi. Ganun din ang mangyayari,” Dans said.
“Iyang problema sa katarungan na iyan ay pinaaalala lang natin. Iyon ang pinakamalaking problema sa pandemic na ito, iyong lugi lagi ang mahihirap,” he stressed.
Espina, meanwhile, argued that the main concern is not about the procurement itself but the inequitable distribution of vaccines which may compromise those who needed them first.
“Ang dapat mong unahin ay yung talagang nangangailangan. The vulnerable at yung nasa peligro na magkalat,” she said.
“Kasi kung uunahin mo yung may kaya, mayaman, kaya nilang magpaospital, kaya nilang mag isolate, kaya nilang mag quarantine ng matagal, hindi natin maaachieve ang herd immunity kasi yung mga nangangailangan pakalat-kalat sa lansangan, the very vulnerable. Kakalat pa rin ang sakit na COVID so hindi parin tayo magiging safe,” she added adding that the price of vaccine may shoot up if LGUs are given freedom to purchase.
But according to the bill’s author, LGUs will still have to enter into a tripartite agreement in procuring vaccines which involves the national government.
“Senate Bill 2042 is not going to give LGUs precedence over the national government in terms of vaccine procurement. National government pa rin ang masusunod — LGUs still need to follow the national guidelines for vaccine deployment set by the Department of Health and the National Task Force against COVID-19,” explained Zubiri.
Also, vaccines can be negotiated to a much lower price through the tripartite agreement.
“It’s already important that the national government also comes in out of transparency to be able to bring down the price of these vaccines,” the senator said.
“Let me stress again, this bill was requested by our LGUs, and it will only apply to our LGUs with tripartite agreements. So people do not need to worry about private entities taking advantage of this bill,” he concluded. –MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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