QC govt asks patrons in Angel Locsin’s community pantry to avail of free COVID swab test

Marje Pelayo   •   April 26, 2021   •   448

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) has asked residents and patrons of actress Angel Locsin’s community pantry to avail of the city’s free swab testing service.

CESU chief Dr. Rolando Cruz particularly calls on residents who are showing COVID-19 symptoms such as flu and cough after going to the event at the Titanium Building in Barangay Holy Spirit.

Cruz stressed that they need to come forward and have themselves checked just to make sure they are not infected.

“Hindi natin puwedeng isantabi ang posibilidad na nagkahawahan dahil sa dami ng dumalo. Mabuti nang makaseguro na hindi natin mahawahan ang ating pamilya at mga kasama sa komunidad,” he said.

Affected residents may book an appointment online via http://bit.ly/QCfreetest.

They may also call any of the following QC Contact Tracing Hotlines: 8703-2759, 8703-4398, 0916-122-8628, 0908-639-8086, 0931-095-7737.

Meanwhile, the CESU also appealed to Locsin and her team to coordinate and work closely with the city should they be aware of any individuals who need to be tested immediately.

“Our office will remain open for support from Ms. Locsin and her camp, considering the effort and cost of doing testing and contact tracing of those who participated in the community pantry. We hope to be furnished with any pertinent information that could aid us in immediately identifying, testing, and isolating suspected Covid 19 cases,” said Cruz.

For her part, Mayor Joy Belmonte thanked Locsin for her many philanthropic works in the city and appealed to her to also help in identifying potential cases.

“Nananawagan ako kay Angel na makiisa sa hakbang ng lungsod na matugunan ang posibleng pagkalat ng Covid 19 sa pamamagitan ng maagang pagtukoy sa mga bagong kaso, lalo na sa hanay ng mga nagpunta sa community pantry na kanyang inorganisa,” Belmonte said.

Quezon City opens nighttime COVID-19 vaccination for workers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

The Quezon City government on Wednesday announced it has launched a nighttime vaccination program, which will open at 6 p.m. or after working hours to accommodate employees who cannot take time off from work or visit a vaccination site during the day.

In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the vaccination program, dubbed “QC Bakuna Nights,” aims to expand the reach of the city and immunize workers whose only free time is in the evening.

“Para ito sa mga manggagawa natin na hindi naman makaliban sa kanilang trabaho para makapagpabakuna sa karaniwang oras na 8am-5pm. Lalo na ‘yung mga arawan ang sahod,” Belmonte said.

“Ngayon, hindi na nila kailangang mamili kung arawang kita ba muna o bakuna. We will inoculate them at a time most convenient to them,” she added.

The city government also said on Wednesday that for the first time, around 2,000 pre-registered frontline personnel under the A4 category will be inoculated at the Quezon City Hall Grounds.

QC gov’t eyes cutting ties with firm behind eZConsult over vaccination booking woes

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

The Quezon City government on Wednesday said it is “seriously considering” terminating its contract with Zuellig Pharma Corporation, the firm behind eZConsult, after some residents complained of difficulty booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she has issued an ultimatum to Zuellig Pharma Corporation to upgrade its system and provide all the deliverables by Friday, June 18, as agreed in a meeting held last week.

“If not, we have no other choice but to contract another company that can do the job quickly and efficiently,” Belmonte said in a statement.

Belmonte made the pronouncement after residents reported problems in accessing eZConsult services since March 27.

“Kaya natin kinuha ang serbisyo ng eZConsult ay para mapadali ang proseso ng pagpapatala ngunit ano ang gagawin natin kung ang sistema nila mismo ang ugat ng problema,” she said.

“We have already improved our system in vaccination centers where people no longer have to fall in line and go through the entire vaccination process within a maximum of 45 mins. Dapat kahit virtual pila wala din sa QC as long as vaccine supply is stable. Yet eZconsult is putting all our efforts down the drain,” she added.

In addition to terminating its deal with Zuellig, the Quezon City government is also mulling suing the company for damages if it fails to meet its contractual obligations to the local government by Friday.

The local government said City Attorney Orlando Casimiro already wrote Zuellig Pharma Corporation, through its general manager Danilo Cahoy, demanding liquidated damages in connection with the technical failures of eZConsult.

“If the improvements promised to the city are not honored as is contained in the contract, we will initiate contract termination proceedings and file appropriate charges against them as deemed appropriate by our city legal counsel to enforce and protect our rights and the interests of QCitizens,” Belmonte said.

Duterte: I salute community pantry scheme but…

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said that he salutes individuals and groups behind community pantries but stressed that protocols against the transmission of COVID-19 should be strictly observed during these events.

Duterte issued the statement after receiving information that at least 86 persons have tested positive for coronavirus disease after going to a food distribution activity in a barangay in Quezon City more than two weeks ago.

While he acknowledges the intention behind the establishment of community pantries, the chief executive said organizers must ensure that these activities will not go out of control and become super spreader events.

“Wala man question itong pantry scheme. As a matter of fact, I salute the people behind this and those who originated it,” Duterte said during his weekly public address on Monday night.

He also said that basic health protocols should likewise be implemented to avoid overcrowding and minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“Nagkulang sila (pantry organizers) and maybe they are ignorant of the prohibition imposed by law, not by me. Hindi siguro niyo nabasa pero sa totohanan lang, if it is a matter of assessing whether or not you are doing good you are doing super good,” he said.

“Saludo ako at maganda ang konsensya ninyo sa tao ninyo but please read the restrictions first,” he added.

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