US donates 100 ventilators to Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2020   •   412

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque, and USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II lead the handover of the ventilators at Malacañang Palace on Friday, August 28.

MANILA, Philippines – The United States on Friday donated 100 ventilators and associated supplies to the Philippines in support of its fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, its embassy in Manila said.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III led the turnover of the medical supplies at the Malacañang on Friday.

“These ventilators are part of the continued partnership between the American people and our Philippine friends, partners, and allies.  We will continue to work together to overcome COVID-19,” Ambassador Kim said in a statement.

In addition to the ventilators, the embassy said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide clinical training and technical assistance to support health facilities to operate ventilators. 

This donation brings the total U.S. contribution to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response to more than Php1 billion ($22.6 million), provided through the U.S. State Department, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Defense. 

The embassy said the DOH will facilitate the delivery of the ventilators to hospitals located across the Philippines in coordination with USAID and the Office of Civil Defense.

Face-to-face classes will only be allowed upon Duterte, IATF approval – DepEd

Robie de Guzman   •   November 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education has stressed that it will only allow the conduct of face-to-face classes upon the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the government’s policy prohibiting in-person classes will remain amid the coronavirus pandemic, although the department is looking into the possibility of reintroducing face-to-face classes next year.

She said a report to be submitted to the president on the opening of classes and DepEd’s recommendations is being finalized.

“We are preparing a report for the President on our current experience with the opening of classes, at klaro naman na kung magkaroon ng face to face, it will be very limited to areas which are absolutely safe. There will be conditions from the Department of Health; there will also be conditions coming from us. Hindi po lahat-lahat, [hindi] sabay-sabay iyan na mag-face to face, kung payag si President,” Briones said.

“At saka, depende sa approach iyan, kasi iyong number of students, etc. So we are [also] now looking into that,” she added.

The school year opened last October 5 with blended forms of learning through self-learning modules, internet and TV- and radio-based instructions.

The DepEd chief also reiterated its earlier statement that it did not approve any localized and limited face-to-face learning workshops.

“Uulitin ko, definitely not this year at definitely walang mga arrangements right now with kung sinumang mga grupo na magpi-face to face at this time because the President has not made any pronouncement at all. Pero [patuloy kaming] magri-report kami sa kaniya,” Briones said.

Meanwhile, the Education chief also directed a study on reconceptualizing learning spaces post-COVID, which include not just classroom, but homes, community spaces, and virtual space.

DOT slams ‘Halloween party’ in Boracay for violating physical distancing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday slammed the Halloween party held recently at the Casa de Arte in Boracay for violating physical distancing protocols.

In a statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the department supports the recommendation of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group to close down the erring establishment.

Puyat also said the resort lacked business permit and necessary clearances as determined by the authorities.

She also reminded local government units (LGUs), business establishments, and guests in the island to strictly observe the duly prescribed health and safety guidelines as determined by the Interagency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“The jobs and livelihoods that were recently restored in these sites will be affected once again if an outbreak occurs in the area due to the LGU’s negligence. We urge our LGUs to please take our health and safety protocols seriously,” she said. AAC

Duterte to announce new quarantine classification on Nov. 30

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 26, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to announce on Monday (November 30) the new quarantine classification that will be implemented for the month of December.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez said there might be an ease in the restrictions after the holiday season.

Several areas in the country, including Metro Manila, are currently under general community quarantine (GCQ) for the month of November while other areas are under modified GCQ.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the President will make an announcement on Monday even though it is a holiday.

“I have had to personally change my schedule because I was told na magkakaroon ng talk to the people po ang Presidente sa a-trenta ng Nobyembre (that the President will have a talk to the people on November 30) which is a holiday,” he said during a press briefing. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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