Supreme Court to procure COVID-19 vaccines for judiciary

Robie de Guzman   •   February 11, 2021   •   286

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Thursday announced it has earmarked around P19 million for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the 30,000-strong workforce, including judges, justices, officials, and employees, of the judiciary.

In a statement released by its Public Information Office, the high court said the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines was approved during an en banc session last January 26 upon the recommendation of the Office of Administrative Services (OAS), Fiscal Management and Budget Office (FMBO), and the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).

The SC said the budget for the vaccine will come from the respective regular appropriations or savings of the Supreme Court, Presidential Electoral Tribunal, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, and the lower courts.

“The vaccination of all Judiciary employees especially those in the lower courts will mean that our judges and their personnel, who have direct contact with litigants and lawyers on a daily basis, will be further protected from the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the SC said.

“This in turn will ensure that our courts will be able to better function and serve the public during the pandemic,” it added.

Pursuant to vaccine procurement protocols, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta will coordinate with the national government, through the National Task Force against COVID-19 and the Department of Health.

“We hope that the national government will assist us in our initiative considering the important role which the Judiciary plays in ensuring that the rule of law prevails especially during times of crisis and national emergencies,” Peralta said.

SC releases copy of decision on Marcos’ electoral protest

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has released a copy of its decision junking the electoral protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Based on the 91-page decision of the SC Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), Marcos’ “allegations appeared bare, laden with generic and repetitious allegations and lacked critical information.”

It also junked the third cause of action of the electoral protest which is the annulment of elections in three provinces: Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur, and Basilan.

After the recount, Robredo got a total of 14,436,337 votes, while Marcos got 14,157,771 total votes.

Last February, the SC dismissed Marcos’ electoral protest; however, the former Senator said it does not include their third cause of action.

According to the tribunal, Marcos also failed to prove there was an anomaly during the elections and that Robredo was behind it. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

US gives P170M support for Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine deployment

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The United States (US) government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided P170 million or $3.5 million funds to support the Philippines in its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the US Embassy in Manila said Thursday.

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law announced this during a visit to a vaccination site in Caloocan City with Philippine Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, and other U.S. and Philippine officials.

The embassy said the new assistance will support the Philippines in strengthening the vaccine supply chain, monitoring vaccine safety, and delivering effective communication campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy.

It will also support local government units as they plan for, track, and administer vaccines, it added.

“While the pandemic has tested our peoples and our economies, the strong bonds between Americans and Filipinos will help us rise above this challenge,” Law said.

“We will continue to fight this unprecedented global health crisis together,” he added.

The latest assistance fund brings the total U.S. government support for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response to nearly P1.3 billion ($27 million), the embassy said.

Meanwhile, the embassy further reported that the White House recently announced a P194 billion ($4 billion) commitment to support the COVAX facility.

COVAX Facility is a global initiative to support early vaccine access for 92 countries, including the Philippines.

An initial P97.2-billion ($2 billion) contribution, provided through USAID, is supporting the purchase and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the embassy said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 1.2 million vaccine doses out of the more than 3 million doses that were delivered in the country.

Government data showed that 1,093,651 people received their first shot while 162,065 individuals already got two doses since the vaccination program started on March 1.

 

Galvez: 1.5 million doses of Sinovac, Gamaleya COVID-19 vaccines arriving this April

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac and Gamaleya Institute are expected to arrive in the country within this month, vaccine czar and National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

Galvez said one million of these vaccine doses will come from Sinovac and 500,000 would be from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

The first 500,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac are expected to be delivered on April 22 while the second batch will be on April 29.

Galvez noted that this is part of the commitment of Sinovac Biotech to deliver 1.5 million vaccine doses this month.

The other 500,000 doses were shipped last April 11.

There was no exact date given on the shipment of Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V vaccines, but Galvez assured that it will be delivered within this month.

The Philippines is also waiting for the arrival of additional AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility.

The WHO previously said that the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses for the Philippines has been delayed and that it will be lesser in number than expected, due to a global supply shortage.

Once additional vaccine doses arrive in the country, the national government is eyeing to begin the inoculation of economic frontliners by May and to intensify the vaccination drive in other COVID-19 hotspots in the Philippines.

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