Roque to ask Duterte on possibility of voluntarily disclosing SALN

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2020   •   170

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said he will ask President Rodrigo Duterte if he is willing to voluntarily release his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) following the strict rules imposed by the Ombudsman on the access to the wealth declaration of officials.

Roque said the president’s office is just following the guidelines issued by the Ombudsman.

“Mag-uusap po kami ng ating president at para matapos na po itong issue na ito, ay tatanungin ko po baka naman po magbigay ng permiso ang president para isapubliko ang kaniyang SALN,” he said.

The Ombudsman recently issued a memorandum circular restricting access to the SALN of public officials.

The circular states that a copy of a public official’s SALN may only be released if the requestor is an authorized representative of the declarant or the person who filed the document; if there is a court order in relation to a pending case, and if the request is made by the Ombudsman’s field investigation units.

Prior to the issuance of the circular, Roque said Duterte had released his SALN yearly.

“Wala pong itinatago ang ating president, bago po maglabas ng ganitong guidelines ang Ombdusman, taon-taon naman po inilalabas ng president ang kaniyang SALN,” he said.

The question of whether Duterte will voluntarily publicize his own net worth resurfaced after the 2019 SALN of 24 senators were released by the Senate on Thursday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)



Duterte to attend virtual UN General Assembly on COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from December 3 to 4, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to deliver the Philippine Statement on December 3, where he will further amplify his call for global solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The president is also expected to raise universal access to the anti-COVID-19 technologies, as well as the need for global efforts to ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines to peoples of developing nations.

During the 75th UNGA session last September, Duterte also said that COVID-19 vaccines “must not be denied nor withheld,” and that “it should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte authorizes FDA to issue emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs that are expected to be made available in the Philippines next year.

Under Executive Order (EO) No. 121 signed on Dec. 1 and made public by Malacañang on Wednesday, Duterte granted authority to the FDA director general to issue EUA for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, subject to provided conditions.

The EO stated that an EUA on a COVID-19 vaccine or drug shall be issued and remain valid only when all of the following circumstances are present:

  • Based on the totality of evidence available, including data from adequate and well-known controlled trials, it is reasonable to believe that the drug or vaccine may be effective to prevent, diagnose or treat COVID-19;
  • The known and potential benefits of the drug or vaccine when used to diagnose, prevent or treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug or vaccine, if any; and
  • There is no adequate, approved and available alternative to the drug or vaccine for diagnosing, preventing or treat9ing COVID-19

An application for the issuance of an EUA shall be submitted by the industry or government agency concerned, such as the national procurer or public health program implementer, the EO read.

The FDA shall then convene a panel of experts on drug and vaccine development to review available data on the safety and effectiveness of a COVID-19 drug or vaccine applied for an EUA. The panel will then submit its report and recommendations to the FDA director general.

“In evaluating applications for EUA, the FDA director general shall have the power to implement reliance and recognition processes for emergency use of drugs and vaccines,” the order stated.

“For this purpose, the FDA director general may accept the regulatory decision of the WHO (World Health Organization), US-CDC, or other internationally recognized and established regulatory authorities,” it added.

An EUA issued pursuant to the order shall be valid within the duration of the declared public health emergency due to COVID-19, and may be revoked or revisited by the FDA director general.

FDA director general Eric Domingo earlier assured they will not compromise public safety with the sped-up process.

The Philippine government is looking to administer the vaccines to at least 70 million Filipinos under an immunization program that may be carried out within three to five years. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte appoints ex-Cabinet Secretary Evasco as adviser on gov’t processes

Robie de Guzman   •   December 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco will rejoin President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration as his adviser on streamlining of government processes, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Evasco’s appointment papers were signed on November 24. He will have a rank of Secretary.

Evasco was Duterte’s former Cabinet Secretary but he resigned in 2018 to run as a governor of Bohol province. He lost to incumbent Bohol Governor Arthur Yap in last year’s midterm election.

“PA Evasco is not new in the Duterte Administration having served as Cabinet Secretary in the early years of the current administration,” Roque said in a statement.

“His familiarity with the present bureaucracy would contribute greatly in his new task of streamlining government processes in the Executive. Welcome back, PA Evasco,” he added.

Evasco previously served as mayor of Maribojoc town in Bohol. He also served as Duterte’s campaign manager during the 2016 presidential elections.

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