Sea dispute only 1% of ties; close communication with PH remains — China

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021   •   280

MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese government said that its “smooth channel” with the Philippines remains amid tensions over reports of the continuing presence of Chinese ships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.

In a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the Philippines and China have maintained “close communication” and that both parties are “committed to properly handling the relevant issue through dialogue and consultation.”

Hua issued the statement when asked for a response to a Philippine top diplomat’s comments that China has deployed more vessels in the disputed waters.

“I haven’t read relevant reports. But China’s position on the South China Sea is very clear, consistent, and firm,” Hua said.

“China and the Philippines have a smooth channel and maintain close communication on the relevant issue,” she added.

The Chinese official also said that the maritime dispute is “only one percent” of the Philippine-China relations.

“Our full consensus is that the South China Sea issue accounts for only 1% of the overall bilateral relations,” she said.

“The two sides are committed to properly handling the relevant issue through dialogue and consultation, so as to continue to safeguard and promote the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations,” she added.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) on Wednesday reported that a total of 287 Chinese maritime militia (CMM) vessels were sighted in Kalayaan waters, both within and outside the Philippines’ EEZ, based on the results of its maritime patrol on May 9.

“Bigger groupings of CMMs were sighted at the artificial islands of China while some were observed near islands occupied by the Philippines,” the task force said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has fired off another diplomatic protest as it continues to demand that China withdraw its ships in the country’s territorial waters.

Pagbabantay sa PH borders, mas hihigpitan vs COVID-19 Delta variant — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Mas hihigpitan pa ang gagawing pagbabantay sa lahat ng border sa bansa, mula sa mga paliparan, pantalan hanggang sa mga boundary ng bawat lugar sa Pilipinas, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, naabisuhan na ang lahat ng lokal na pamahalaan para sa paghihigpit sa kani-kanilang mga border upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng Delta variant, isang uri ng COVID-19 na mas nakakakahawa kumpara sa ibang variant.

“Nasa heightened alert po lahat. Lahat ng local governments were informed, lahat po ng mga regional offices were informed na kailangan bantayan maigi ang Delta Variant across our borders,” ani Vergeire.

Ayon sa opisyal, mas paiigtingin pa ng pamahalaan ang pagpapatupad ng COVID-19 testing at quarantine protocols, at contact tracing pati na ang pagpapalawig sa entry ban sa mga magmumula sa bansang India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, at Nepal hanggang June 30.

“We are going to uphold the directive of the IATF as well as the Office of the President. This is because we want to prevent further entry of this Delta Variant,” ani Vergeire.

“We cannot have non-uniformity in the implementation of our border control. So iyan po napag-usapan, napagkasunduan, nakausap na rin po ang mga officials, regional directors ng iba’t ibang ahensya last Saturday,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang mas mahigpit na border control sa Pilipinas ay kasunod ng pahayag ng World Health Organization na ang Delta variant na ang dominant variant ng COVID-19 matapos itong mapaulat sa mahigit 80 bansa.

Ang Delta variant ay unang natuklasan sa bansang India.

Sa Pilipinas, 17 na ang kabuuang kaso ng Delta COVID-19 variant matapos itong madagdagan nang magpositibo sa naturang variant ang apat na returning overseas Filipino mula sa South Korea at Saudi Arabia.

Iniulat din ng DOH na 14 na dagdag na kaso ng Alpha variant (United Kingdom), at 21 Beta variant (South Africa) ang naitala sa bansa batay sa ulat ng Philippine Genome Center at ng UP-National Institutes of Health ngayong Lunes.

Ayon sa DOH, lubhang nakababahala kapag lalo pang kumalat sa bansa ang mga variant na ito, lalo na ang Delta variant, dahil mataas ang tiyansang maospital ang isang individwal na kakapitan nito.

“Walang sinabi sa mga ebidensyang nakalap natin, even our experts are saying, walang sinabi na deadly pero sinabi na mas nakakahawa talaga siya,” ani Vergeire.

“Ang delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. So, ibig sabihin po kung ang alpha variant ay nakapanghahawa ng 4-5 tao per every individual infected, ang Delta Variant po can have 8 individual infected sa isang taong may sakit. So ganoon kabilis ang pagkakahawa kapag Delta Variant ang pinag-uusapan,” dagdag pa niya.

Muli ring paalala ng DOH sa publiko na mag-doble ingat at sundin ang ipinatutupad na health protocols kontra COVID-19. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Filipinos are allowed to get vaccinated anywhere in PH — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos can get inoculated against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) anywhere in the country under the government’s “no wrong door policy” in its vaccination drive, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

 “Meron ho tayong tinatawag na no wrong door policy. Ibig sabihin, kung ikaw ay nagpunta sa Davao at ikaw ay puwede nang bakunahan, puwede ka bakunahan doon kahit hindi ka taga-Davao,” Health Undersecretary Mari Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“Hindi po natin sinasara ang ating mga pinto sa mga bakunahan dahil hindi ka taga doon na lugar,” she added.

The health official, however, stressed that the vaccination should be done through appointments and that walk-ins should be discouraged as this tends to result in crowding.

The DOH previously said that local government units may open separate walk-in lanes in their COVID-19 vaccination centers as walk-ins may be used as substitutes for those who are scheduled for inoculation but do no show up on a certain date.

The agency, however, said that the number of walk-ins that would be accommodated per day in jab sites should be limited.

The DOH earlier urged the public to pre-register for the vaccination and get inoculated when it’s their turn.

No favoritism in deployment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday denied claims it is favoring certain areas when it comes to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by American drug firm Pfizer-BioNTech.

The DOH issued the statement following reports that Davao City has received a substantial number of Pfizer jabs.

Davao City is President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed that the national government is not giving any preferential treatment and that available vaccine doses in the country are allocated based on need and the prioritization framework.

“Wala pong paborito, base lang po sa pangangailangan, base lang po sa prioritization framework,” Vergeire said during a press briefing.

Reports claimed that Davao City got a huge number of Pfizer vaccine doses while other regions in Mindanao received fewer jabs.

But Dr. Adbullah Dumama Jr., DOH Undersecretary for the Visayas and Mindanao Field Implementation and Coordination team, said the 210,000 doses for Davao is for the whole region and not only for the City.

The same amount of Pfizer jabs were also allotted for Cebu Province, he added.

“Wala pong pagkakaiba yung doses na naibigay sa Cebu at sa Davao… Wala hong favoritism dito,” he said in the same briefing.

 “Hindi po ito pang Davao City lang. Sa Davao region po ito at yung mga karatig pook na merong mga pangangailangan sa Pfizer,” he added.

Dumama also said that Davao and Cebu areas were given Pfizer shots because they have ultra-low freezers that are capable of storing the vaccine.

“Nabigyan lang ito ng ganun kalaki [na allocation], kung sa palagay ninyo ay malaki, ay dahil sa tayo ay mayroong capability, meron po tayong ultra-low temperature freezers dito. Doon ho sa ibang lugar, wala pa pero dahil sa dito lang ito, maaari kaming magbigay as ibang lugar na nangnangailangan,” he said.

According to Vergeire, there are only five areas in the country that have yet to receive Pfizer vaccines due to lack of appropriate vaccine storage capability. There are the Bangsamoro region, Caraga, Regions 12, 5 and Mimaropa.

The Bangsamoro government earlier said it will pass a resolution that would authorize the procurement of ultra-low freezers and increase its vaccination centers in the region.

The national government has announced it has inked a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for the purchase of 40 million doses, which may be delivered starting August this year.

The DOH said it is now preparing to capacitate all regions in the country to handle the storage of Pfizer vaccines.

 

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