Roque says sorry for ‘emotional’ outburst vs doctors during IATF meeting

UNTV News   •   September 10, 2021   •   468

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday apologized as he explained his outburst against a group of doctors during a recent meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

In a Palace briefing, Roque said he got ‘emotional’ after a group of doctors suggested the imposition of a two-week hard lockdown to contain the uptick in infections.

A leaked video of the meeting showed Roque raising his voice and reproaching Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, and Dr. Antonio Dans, convenor of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19, during the virtual meeting.

“Kinukumpirma ko po na tayo po ay naging emosyonal, pasensya na po kayo, tao lamang, dun po sa rekomendasyon ng dalawang doktor, si Doctor Limpin at Doctor Dans na mag-impose ng hard ECQ lockdown, at naging emosyonal rin po si Dr. Limpin at napaiyak. Doon po ako naging emosyonal,” Roque said.

He said he became emotional as he spoke on behalf of Filipinos who have been suffering from hunger and poverty due to hard lockdowns.

“I had to speak for those na hindi po naririnig sa debate, kung dapat bang maglockdown or hindi, ipagpaumanhin ninyo po,” he said.

Roque said this was the first time that he lost his bearing during an IATF meeting but he stressed that he did not curse at the doctors.

He only stressed the need to find a balance between health and the country’s economy.

“But as I said, I may apologize and I have in fact apologized for the manner, but never for the message,” he said.

“I stand by the message,” he added.

The Palace official said IATF meetings are supposed to be “secret” and that debates usually happen to ensure that the task force is making the right decision.

Limpin, for her part, said she was surprised at Roque’s reaction when they were only presenting their suggestions during the meeting.

She also said that instead of just apologizing to her and Dr. Dans, Roque should apologize to all healthcare workers for his outburst.

“We were there as representatives of the healthcare workforce. And therefore if he has to apologize, he has to apologize to the whole of the healthcare workforce, hindi sa amin lang. Yung ginawa niya is against all of us in the healthcare sector,” Limpin said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Mga papayagang pumasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach, hanggang 4K lang; mga bata, bawal – DENR

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021


MANILA, Philippines ­– Lilimitahan na ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ang bilang ng mga bisitang maaaring makapasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach.

Ayon kay DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, nasa 4,000 bisita lamang ang papayagang makapasok na carrying capacity ng lugar.

“Ang problem lang natin, during weekdays, talagang bumibigla, pumapalo talaga ng hindi na bumababa ng 18,000 and above ang number of persons. So, ang gagawin lang natin, with our strategy, we will meet lang yung carrying capacity ng area mga 4,000 to 5,000 lang ang nasa loob,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Upang mapagbigyan ang iba pang mga bisita na makapasok sa dolomite beach, ipatutupad ang limitadong oras sa pagtigil sa lugar.

Kapag weekend, ipaiiral ang “cinema approach” kung saan may scheduling o may oras ang pagpasok sa lugar.

Palalabasin ang mga ito pagkatapos ng dalawang oras para naman sa iba pang mga bisita.

Kapag dagsa ang tao sa weekdays, ipatutupad naman ang rotation system kung saan maari lang tumigil sa loob ng pasyalan hanggang labinglimang minuto.

Upang maiwasan ang pila sa labas ng dolomite beach, planong gumamit ng DENR ng smartphone app o bigyan ang mga bisita ng stub na maipapakita nila kapag oras na ng kanilang pagpasok.

Bibigyan naman ng special lane ang mga vulnerable sectors gaya ng senior citizens, buntis at may karamdaman.

Pagbabawalan namang pumasok sa dolomite beach ang mga batang may edad 11 pababa, alinsunod sa guidelines ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

“Consistent with the IATF protocols, we followed our determination of the age based on the availability nung vaccination natin. Kung mapapansin ninyo, the government has already implemented the vaccination of 12 years old and above,” ani Leonas.

Layunin ng bagong patakaran na maiwasan na ang pagdagsa ng mga tao gaya nang nangyari sa mga nakalipas na linggo.

Magugunitang, umabot sa mahigit 121,000 indibidwal ang bumisita sa Manila Bay dolomite beach noon lamang araw ng Linggo. Dahil sa dami ng tao, hindi na natupad ang social distancing protocol at may iba pang hindi nakasuot ng maayos ang kanilang face mask.

Isasara naman ang dolomite beach tuwing Biyernes upang bigyang-daan ang maintenance activities.

Mayor Isko urges IATF to file raps over dolomite beach overcrowding

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Tuesday called on the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 pandemic to file complaints against officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over last weekend’s overcrowding at dolomite beach in Manila Bay.

In a television interview, Domagoso said an agency under the DENR opened the dolomite beach to the public without coordinating with the local government.

Mayor Isko was referring to the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO), an agency under the direct supervision of the DENR secretary, which has coordinative functions among all offices and agencies involved in the rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of Manila Bay.

“I am calling on IATF. Charge those people in DENR of violating… show our rules. If we cannot implement it within their offices, then there is no point implementing them sa taumbayan,” he said.

Domagoso, a presidential aspirant in the 2022 elections, also stressed that it is the DENR that has control over the area amid rehabilitation and development efforts.

“In fact, may gate nga sila para makapasok ka sa dolomite. But due diligence must be observed especially in this situation wherein it can be a super spreader,” he said.

The opening of the Manila Baywalk dolomite beach on Oct. 17 attracted thousands of people during the last two weekends. Videos and photos circulating on social media showed that social distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols were violated.

The DENR later on banned children below 12 years old from entering the dolomite beach, saying it was “overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest of the public”.

At a Palace briefing, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda admitted the shortcoming on the part of the agency but assured that this was addressed immediately.

“Sinasabi nila na nagkaroon ng violation ng social distancing, immediately na-address po yan,” he said. “Nagkulang ng kaunti pero naagapan.”

The Philippine National Police earlier said it will deploy more personnel to the area to help control the crowd.

IATF yet to approve COVID-19 booster, third shots for health workers, elderly – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The proposal to give COVID-19 vaccine booster and third shots to healthcare workers, the elderly, and persons with co-morbidities has yet to get an approval from the government’s task force on pandemic response, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement following reports that the Department of Health (DOH) has greenlit the administration of booster and additional vaccine shots to vaccination priority groups.

Roque said the recommendation is still up for discussion at the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) meeting this week.

“’Yan po ay rekomendasyon ng HTAC. That will be tackled po, I think in the next meeting of IATF his Thursday,” he said.

Based on HTAC’s recommendation, the booster shots should be given within the fourth quarter of the year to health workers, the elderly, and persons with health risks who receive the jabs at least six months after the primary series.

The HTAC also recommended that the boosters should be based on the vaccine brands received by the individuals in the primary series.

The HTAC also pushed for the implementation of boosters for other eligible population in 2022 only if the A1 to A5 priority groups reach 50 percent in the primary series.

For the implementation of additional shots, particularly for immunocompromised individuals, the HTAC recommended that the dose will be given at least 18 days after they completed the initial COVID-19 vaccine series.

The third shot is recommended to be the same as those received in the primary series.


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