COVID-19 Crisis: Department of Health (DOH) and private sector explain wasted vaccines

Do you believe everything the Department of Health (DOH) declared with regards to their handling of COVID-19 here in the Philippines? In recent times, local news organizations published their own reports about something really unfortunate…the expiration of millions of COVID-19 vaccines amounting to an estimated P15.6 billion. Think about that carefully. Many billions of Pesos worth of COVID-19 vaccines wasted! The DOH and the private sector (represented by Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion) separately explained their sides of the huge loss.

So how does the DOH explain the tremendous loss of COVID-19 vaccines? To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the news report of Malaya Business Insight. Some parts in boldface…

THE Department of Health (DOH) yesterday defended the high number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that have been wasted and has recently become the subject of the ire of some senators.

In a press conference, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it is not out of the ordinary to have 31.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines wasted if compared to the experiences of other countries.

“It is not just the Philippines that is experiencing this kind of situation in terms of logistics and supplies,” said Vergeire.

We are seeing more and more that the other countries are having this kind of expirations or wastage of vaccines,” she added without elaborating.

The DOH officer-in-charge added that the 31.3 million doses of wasted vaccines is within the threshold set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The DOH has previously acknowledged that the total vaccine wastage in the country is 12.5 percent of the total 250.38 million doses, or 31.3 million.

“The (WHO) specifically said that because of (the) evolving nature of the pandemic, it (allowed vaccine wastage percentage) is around 25 to 30 percent,” Vergeire said.

The Philippines considers this as being still within that level that is acceptable,” Vergeire said in defense of the 12.5 percent wastage rate.

Last week, Sen. Pia Cayetano revealed that about 31.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were either wasted or not used in the country.

Among the reasons cited for the wastage of vaccines were expiration, short shelf life, damage due to natural disaster as well as damage due to temperature, discoloration, and having particulate or floating matters.

In relation to the tremendous loss of COVID-19 vaccines, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion explained the private sector’s side as reported by the Manila Bulletin. Posted below is an excerpt with some parts in boldface…

The private sector has no control over the Covid-19 vaccines donated to the government, which included 70 percent of wasted vaccines from the private sector.

This was reiterated by Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The majority of the wasted Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines were not under the safekeeping of the private sector,” he said in a statement.

Concepcion shared tallies of its Covid-19 vaccine inventories showing that of the total 23,516,990 doses that the private sector secured through a tripartite agreement with government and the vaccine manufacturers, 9,398,230 doses have expired.

This figure includes the 2,834,495 doses it donated to local governments.

The inventory, however, does not include other private sector initiatives, but Concepcion pointed out that these, too, would be under the custody of the government.

According to Concepcion, the private sector has noted that there have been gaps in the government’s monitoring and reporting of the inventory, especially of the vaccines that it donated as part of the tripartite agreement.

He explained that because Covid-19 vaccines are still under Emergency Use Authorization, only the government can engage in their purchase and administration, including assessing how many more it needed to buy and add to the private sector donations.

The government, he added, also conducts inventory on vaccines nearing their expiry dates so that it can be used first before procuring more.

Among the factors cited by the government as contributing to the wastage of the vaccines were short shelf life and temperature excursion. It also noted from its inventories that some vials were not opened or used at all.

“Private sector has always been proactive in pushing for vaccinations,” said Concepcion. “In fact we were the ones asking the HTAC (Health Technology Assessment Council) to adopt the US FDA guidelines just so we can speed up the booster vaccinations,” he said.

In July, millions of Covid-19 vaccines worth billions of pesos expired just days after second boosters were allowed for adults 50 years and older, and those 18 to 49 years with comorbidities.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this latest series of developments? Do you believe the ways DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained the waste of over thirty million COVID-19 vaccines? Do you find the vaccine waste acceptable at all knowing that they are worth over P15 billion? Do you still trust the DOH on how they are handling the COVID-19 situation in the country not to mention how their policies impacted your private lives and livelihood? Do you think it is time for the national government to end the Emergency Use Authorization on COVID-19 vaccines so that vaccination operations will be improved and the reduction of vaccine wastage could happen?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Unemployment in the Philippines falls down further, the lowest in more than two years

As the Philippines continues to keep on recovering from the damage of COVID-19, the national authorities reported that unemployment in the country fell down further achieving a 2-year low, according to a news article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). This is really good news because economic growth and continued employment are very essential right now. It should also be stated that immunity from COVID-19 is better now that many millions of Filipinos have gotten vaccinated and/or boosted.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news article. Some parts in boldface…

Unemployment rate in September 2022 stood at 5 percent, the lowest in more than two years, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Tuesday.

In a press conference, PSA chief and national statistician Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos in September fell to 2.5 million, or 183,000 lower than the 2.68 million citizens with no jobs the previous month.

The number of jobless Filipinos during the month was also lower by 1.78 million from 4.28 million unemployed a year ago.

“This means 50 out of 1,000 individuals in the labor force have no job,” Mapa said in Filipino.

On the other hand, employment rate in September 2022 was at 95 percent, which translates to 47.58 million Filipinos who have jobs.

This is higher than the August 2022 employment rate of 94.7 percent, and also higher than the September 2021 rate of 91.1 percent.

He identified sectors with largest month-on-month increase in employment. These include manufacturing, up by 780,000 jobs; education, up by 159,000 jobs; public administration and defense, compulsory social security, up by 128,000 jobs; transportation and storage, up by 56,000 jobs; and real estate activities, up by 13,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, underemployment rate also increased to 15.4 percent in September this year from 14.7 percent in its previous month. This means 296,000 more employed Filipinos want to have additional hours of work in their present job or an additional job.

Despite challenges concerning inflation, Mapa is optimistic that the country will sustain unemployment rate near the 5-percent level for the remaining months of the year.

He added the average unemployment rate for this year is close to the pre-pandemic level, which is at 5.1 percent in 2019.

Mapa said the average unemployment rate for the first nine months of the year stood at 5.8 percent.

The above article ended stating that the Philippines had an unemployment rate of 17.6% in April 2020 or shortly after the first COVID-19 lockdown. For the year 2020, the average unemployment rate was at 10.4%

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent announcement about the state of unemployment in the country? Do you feel confident that 2023 will be a better economic year and that more of the unemployed will be able to find new jobs?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Go Negosyo Founder says that private hospitals can be deputized to procure and administer bivalent vaccines

Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion is back in the news. This time, he emphasized that private hospitals can be helpful in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19 with regards to procuring and administering vaccines to patients who can afford them and are willing to pay for them, the Manila Bulletin reported.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

A former presidential economic adviser on Thursday, Nov. 3, underscored the key role of private hospitals in procuring and administering bivalent Covid-19 vaccines to those who are willing to pay for them.

Amid the plans of the Marcos administration to procure a limited number of bivalent vaccines, which provide broader protection against the original Covid-19 and a component of the Omicron variant, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that private hospitals can be deputized by the government to procure and administer the bivalent vaccines.

He stated this as he estimated that the government will bring in a limited number of vaccines considering that it is still assessing how much it can procure and how much can be delivered.

The 10 million doses, or however much the government decides to buy, will of course be set aside for the priority sectors, namely the elderly, the immunocompromised and those with comorbidities; but there may be others outside of these priority sectors who would also want the bivalent vaccines,” Concepcion said.

Since all private hospitals are capable of handling vaccinations and all can explore agreements with the government as part of the private sector, he raised the idea of allowing private hospitals to procure the bivalent vaccines and administer them to those who want to pay for them.

Dr. Benjamin Co, chief medical officer of Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, agreed with the ex-economic adviser’s proposal.

I think the best option is to make it available for a fee or at cost. For those who can very well afford it, they can get it from private clinics that offer this and we can charge an administration fee plus the cost of the vaccine,” he said in a statement.

He added that bivalent vaccinations can also become part of the private hospitals’ corporate social responsibility efforts.

“The remaining free vaccines can be appropriated to the rest of the Filipinos who cannot afford this but would like to get vaccinated,” Co suggested.

Recruiting help from the private sector will also unburden the government and allow it to focus on the vulnerable sectors of society, according to Vaccine Experts Panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante, who is also the chairman of Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at San Lazaro Hospital.

“Private sector involvement is another important layer to achieve higher vaccine accessibility and coverage,” he said.

“This is critical especially with waning interest in booster doses of Covid vaccines. Government should always find ways to engage with the private sector, which has been an important partner of DOH (Department of Health) during the pandemic,” Solante added.

Bivalent Covid vaccines provide broader protection against Covid-19 and better protection against its Omicron variant.

However, all Covid-19 vaccines are still under Emergency Use Authorization, which means only the government can procure and administer the vaccines.

In order to sell the vaccines to the public, vaccine manufacturers need a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR).

As you can in the above article, key steps and legal changes are needed in order to pave the way for private hospitals to get deputized and become key players in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this latest series of developments? If COVID-19 vaccines are offered by private hospitals with price tags, are you willing to pay for them? What do you think is the single biggest disadvantage of government-led handling of COVID-19 vaccines? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics are planning to organize activities to disrupt COVID-19 vaccination around the country?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: President Marcos declares it is time to return to pre-pandemic life

Life in the Philippines continues to move back to normal even though new COVID-19 cases are being recorded in the thousands daily in recent times. Still, it is notable that many millions of Filipinos have gotten fully vaccinated or boosted for COVID-19 (note: around 3.5 million received their 1st booster shots recently) and even though the past summer saw lots of election campaign events that had many, many political supporters gathered in high numbers, no new outbreak of COVID-19 happened. There is also the growing confidence about organizing events that attract customers, sports participants and spectators and more.

In relation to what I stated above, it is significant that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., declared to the people it is time to return to pre-pandemic life which the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported. Take note that under Marcos, the use of face masks outdoors is now optional.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news article. Some parts in boldface…

President Ferdinand R. Marcos on Sunday enjoined Filipinos to get back to their normal lives before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, stressing that it is crucial to show the world that the Philippines is slowly getting back on its feet.

It is a good thing to remind people that the pandemic may have been difficult, the pandemic really put us through the wringer. But we are back,” Marcos said in a speech in Bacolod City during a luncheon just before he graced the culminating activity of the 43rd MassKara Festival.

The pandemic is fading away. We are learning to manage it and now it is time for us to all go back to work, to all go back to our normal lives, to remind ourselves of all the opportunities that were before us before the pandemic…It is time for us to go back to all of those endeavors that we were undertaking before Covid hit,” he added.

Marcos said the MassKara Festival signaled not just the opening of Bacolod City to tourists, but also the entire country.

“It is time for us to go back and exercise once again, show once again the Filipino resilience, the Filipino resourcefulness, the Filipino industry, the Filipino talent, ipakita naman natin sa buong mundo dahil nagbubukas ang mundo, dahil nagbubukas ang Pilipinas, ito ngayon ang MassKara Festival ay isang pagdiriwang hindi lamang sa pagbubukas ng Bacolod kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas (let us show the world because the Philippines is now open, this is the MassKara festival which is a celebration of the opening of Bacolod but of the entire Philippines),” he said.

Despite the festival being borne out of “a very sad period in the history of Bacolod”, the President said it also symbolizes Filipinos’ “reemergence from a crisis.”

“..That is what we celebrate today and that is what we see that people are feeling and that is the feeling that we want to continue to encourage within our people because that is what’s going to lead us to success,” he said.

Marcos also congratulated Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez and event organizers for a successful holding of the festival.

Founded in October 1980 by the late Bacolod City Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo Jr., the MassKara Festival was first held following two major tragedies that befell Negrenses– the collapse of sugar prices in the international market and the sinking of the Negros Navigation ship M/V Don Juan.

During the sugar crisis, artists thought of promoting mask-making as an alternative source of income for the locals.

Montalvo likewise suggested holding a mask festival to lift the spirits of the locals after the maritime accident that killed his wife, two daughters, and hundreds of Bacolod residents.

MassKara is derived from the words “mass” meaning “many” and “kara” meaning “faces,” thus calling it the Festival of Many Faces.

This year’s festival will be the first face-to-face event after two years of being suspended due to the pandemic.

The MassKara festival’s revival is significant not only with the people of Bacolod City and the province of Negros Occidental but for the nation as well. Here in the Alabang area of Muntinlupa City, the Megarahe Sale and the COPIX both attracted lots of people who searched and bought items. Still in Alabang, it was recently announced by Zonta Club of Alabang that they will be reviving their popular Christmas Carnivale Bazaar on November 25, 2022 at the Filinvest Tent. I myself attended that bazaar back in 2017 and 2018 at the said venue and it is really encouraging that it will be revived next month. These are just a few of the many signs that the Philippines is recovering from the pandemic and can move forward and progress more. Pre-pandemic economic strength will be regained eventually.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Do you feel encouraged by the statement of President Marcos that the pandemic is fading away and that the country can more forward more?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City’s adult recipients of first booster shots inch closer to 200,000

In the progressive City of Muntinlupa, the number of adult patients who received their first booster shots for COVID-19 is slowly approaching 200,000. Specifically, the count is just a little less than 190,000 according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin. Some parts in boldface…

The total number of adults who have received their first booster shot against Covid-19 has increased to more than 188,000.

Data from the Muntinlupa City Health Office (CHO) showed that as of Sept. 20, the first booster shot recipients among the adult population in the city rose to 188,256, an increase of 1,758 people from 186,498 as of Sept. 14.

The total coverage is equivalent to 42.54 percent of the target population of 442,517, or 80 percent of the total Muntinlupa population of 553,146.

In addition, there are 33,977 individuals who have received their second booster shot in Muntinlupa.

Muntinlupa’s total fully vaccinated population stood at 524,527, or 118.53 percent of the target population and 94.48 percent of the total population.

Among the 12 to 17 years old in the city, 43,850 are fully vaccinated, or 77.61 percent of the total population of 56,499 for the age group. First booster dose recipients among them totaled 6,212.

The fully vaccinated among five to 11 years old totaled 20,215, or 29.64 percent of the total population of 68,198.

The Muntinlupa City government has been continuing with the Department of Health’s “Sa Booster Pinaslakas” program.

This aims to increase the coverage of booster shots to 50 percent of the total target population and vaccinate 90 percent of senior citizens nationwide before Oct. 8, which marks the first 100 days of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Let me end this by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what can you say about this newest development? Are there many members of your local community who are still hesitant about getting vaccinated for COVID-19? Did you notice if there were any anti-vaccine fanatics and liars who keep spreading fear and misinformation in your local community? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics here in the Philippines are conspiring with the Communists, socialists, Marxists, SJWs and terrorists?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

COVID-19 Crisis: President Marcos approves optional use of face masks outdoors

After much online buzz that was created in reaction to the recommendation by the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., finally approved an executive order (EO) that allows the optional use of face masks outdoors according to an announcement published through the Philippine News Agency (PNA). In other words, what the IATF recommended is quickly becoming a new policy but there are key details that need to be read closely.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved an executive order (EO) allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings, particularly in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

“Naglabas po tayo today ng Executive Order No. 3 (We have released EO No. 3) allowing voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings and reiterating the continued implementation of minimum public health standards during the state of public health emergency relating to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles announced in a Palace press briefing.

She said the EO, signed by the President on Monday, will be effective immediately.

This order shall take effect immediately upon its publication in the OG [Official Gazette] or newspaper of general circulation. Nasa OG na po siya (It has been published in the OG),” she said.

Under the EO, those who have yet to complete their primary Covid-19 vaccination series, senior citizens, and immunocompromised persons are still “highly encouraged” to use face masks.

Cruz-Angeles said physical distancing and other minimum public health standards (MPHS) will also continue to be strictly enforced.

“The voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation is hereby allowed provided that not fully vaccinated individuals, senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are highly encouraged to wear their masks and physical distancing will be observed at all times,” she added.

The EO still requires face masks to be worn in indoor, private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

“Tuloy pa rin po ang other (We will continue adhering to other) minimum public health standards intended to effectively prevent and minimize the spread of Covid-19 in the country. It shall continue to be implemented consistent with the principles of shared accountability, evidence-based decision making, socio economic equity and rights-based approach,” Cruz-Angeles said.

She said the EO also directs the Department of Health (DOH) to update the MPHS guidelines.

Open to feedback

Cruz-Angeles said the voluntary wearing of face masks will be implemented in phases or stages to gather feedback from health authorities.

We’re doing this in stages, in phases so that we can have feedback on whether or not these new policies are working and how to make them more efficient so that hopefully by the end of the year we might be able to be voluntarily masked indoors as well,” she said.

She said the policy will be reviewed if the voluntary face mask policy would cause an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this new development? Do you believe that the entire Philippines and its many local government units (LGUs) are ready to comply with the new policy approved by President Marcos? If you have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, do you seriously see yourself using face masks extensively in the future? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics will spread fear and distort information related to the new policy that allows the optional use of face masks in outdoor settings? With the way things are right now, have you grown sick and tired of using face masks each time you go outdoors?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Optional face mask use outdoors recommended by IATF

Are you sick and tired of wearing face masks outdoors as a means of protection from COVID-19? Did you hear about the Cebu City government’s bold move on having voluntary use of face masks on a trial period? Looks like things will change here in the Philippines and its efforts on rising up from the pandemic’s effects as the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) recommended the voluntary use of face masks in open spaces by year-end, according to a GMA Network news report pointing to Malacañang and the Department of Health (DOH).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has recommended the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces by year-end amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a press briefing, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the IATF’s recommendation is to make optional the wearing of face mask in open spaces or non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation, provided that the COVID-19 booster uptake in the country improves.

“Doon sa IATF, ang kanilang rekomendasyon ay pag-liberalize ng ating mask wearing mandate and make mask wearing outdoors voluntary across the country,” she said in a press briefing.

(IATF’s recommendation is to liberalize our mask wearing mandate and make mask wearing outdoors voluntary across the country.)

Angeles stressed that this is not yet a policy, but the pilot testing of the optional face mask use will be conducted towards the end of the year.

“Ang tuluyan na lifting ng mandatory mask mandate ay ipi-pilot towards the last quarter of 2022, provided na may improvement doon sa COVID booster vaccination coverage,” she said.

(The lifting of the mandatory mask mandate will be piloted towards the last quarter of 2022, provided there is an improvement in the COVID booster vaccination coverage.)

Senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are, however, still highly encouraged to continue wearing face masks, she added.

‘Verbally approved’ by Marcos

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed such a suggestion by the IATF, saying that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has already “verbally approved” it.

There is a verbal approval from the President when they talk to Secretary Benhur from DILG,” she said, referring to the Secretary Benhur Abalos of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Vergeire said Marcos’ executive order on the matter may be released “immediately,” but he has not given a timeline as to when exactly.

“Everything is being prepared. Nakipagusap na rin naman po tayo. We’ll just wait for the issuance. But definitely, and we think based from the feedback, talagang pabor naman ang Presidente, so the executive order can be issued immediately,” she said.

As you can see above, the recommendation of the IATF is related to the state of COVID-19 booster shots and the efforts to have more people immunized. There is still much work to be done on the part of the national authorities, the provincial authorities and local authorities to have more people vaccinated and boosted. What I find very notable was the Press Secretary’s mention of a pilot testing phase of the optional use of face masks which will be conducted towards the end of 2022. That pilot testing is very related to what Cebu City’s government pushed for. Also notable was the mentioned verbal approval of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (who is overseas as of this writing) according to the DOH’s officer-in-charge Vergeire.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this new development? Are you eager to see IATF’s recommendation of voluntary outdoor face mask use officially become policy? Do you think the IATF’s recommendation was somehow influenced by Cebu City’s bold move? Are there enough people in your local community who got boosted for COVID-19? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics will distort the meaning of the IATF’s recommendation?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Cebu City Government sets voluntary face mask policy on trial period until December 2022

In recent times here in the Philippines, Cebu City has been getting a lot of attention with regards to the COVID-19 crisis we are all living with. This was because the City Government decided to loosen the face mask mandate within the city’s jurisdiction and the Department of Health (DOH) claimed that they were “never consulted” about it. Just yesterday, GMA Network reported that the City Government of Cebu announced that the voluntary face mask policy will be set on a trial period until the end of 2022. In case a COVID-19 surge, the said policy will be lifted automatically. Already, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has its attention on Cebu City.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Cebu City government on Monday announced that its voluntary face mask policy will be on trial period until December 2022, and will be automatically lifted should there be a surge in COVID-19 infections in the city.

In reading the Executive Order (EO) No. 6, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s spokesperson Karla Henry-Ammann said that the trial period of the EO 5 which lifted the mandatory face mask use in the city, was set from September 1 to December 31, 2022.

The same period is hereby referred to as the trial and observation period,” she added.

Further, Ammann said the EO will be automatically lifted and the wearing of face masks in the city will be mandatory anew if there will be a surge of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City, as verified by the government.

Rama signed the EO on Monday during the city government’s flag ceremony.

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge (OIC) Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday said they were not consulted regarding the lifting of the mandatory face mask policy in Cebu City.

Vergeire stressed there will be a higher risk of infections in an area if the safeguards against COVID-19 are not in place.

The above article ended by stating that Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said they respect the mandate of the local government units (LGUs) over their respective jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, the Manila Times published an article regarding Cebu City’s move on loosening the face mask policy and the need for health experts to update the face mask policy. Posted below is an excerpt. Some parts in boldface…

CEBU City’s attempt to relax the rules on the wearing of face masks draws attention to an attribute needed in policymaking. That is, the crafting and tweaking of policies should keep pace with how quickly situations change. We remain firm in the belief that science, or more specifically medical expertise, should take the lead in devising the policies concerning Covid-19. But people struggle to understand why they take so long to adjust to developments.

Perhaps officials in Cebu have grown impatient with the national government, more specifically the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Last week, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama issued an executive order making the wearing of face masks in open spaces optional. But he later delayed the implementation of the order after talking to Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Abalos promised the mayor that he would bring up the need to review the health protocols with the task force.

Mr. Abalos sounded inclined to allow Mayor Rama’s executive order. The secretary said in a statement: “In fact, I am going to even further suggest to make Cebu City the pilot implementer of this measure since the city has always been first in espousing non-masking policies outdoors for the ease and benefit of its people amid the pandemic.”

The point in delaying the new order in Cebu seems to be about “harmonizing existing laws and policies” regarding the lingering pandemic. The problem is that the situation is not uniform across the country. Also, the Philippines has opened up its borders to tourists and foreign travelers, including those who come from countries where wearing face masks are no longer required. And doing so has not caused a spike in new or imported Covid-19 cases.

Indeed, a review of health protocols seems overdue. Earlier in June, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia clashed with national health authorities when she issued an executive order that allowed people not to wear face masks in open areas, like beaches and mountain trails. Her decision seemed sensible then, and so does the similar order issued by Cebu City.

Perhaps, the national government should listen more to local officials. They should consider giving them more discretion in setting health guidelines for their respective areas of concern.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction this latest series of developments? Do you think Cebu City’s approach on loosening the face mask policy within their jurisdiction makes sense? Do you believe that the national authorities – including the DOH itself – should listen more to the local government and provincial government leaders on how to deal with COVID-19 and implement health protocols? Do you think that the remaining restrictions are outdated and don’t make sense anymore? Do you think Cebu City’s move on loosening the face mask policy will succeed and inspire other LGUs – especially in Metro Manila – to follow suit? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics and other anti-authoritarian activists will make moves to ruin the authorities’ moves on dealing with COVID-19?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Synchronized vaccination in Las Piñas City public markets

In the city of Las Piñas, the local authorities’ efforts to vaccinate more people for COVID-19 was ramped up as synchronized vaccination operations were done in two public markets, the Manila Bulletin reported.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Las Piñas city government conducted synchronized vaccinations against Covid-19 in two public markets on Tuesday, Aug. 30, in preparation for the return to full face-to-face classes in November.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the synchronized Covid-19 vaccination was conducted at Suki Market in Barangay Talon I and at the Zapote Public Market in Barangay Zapote.

Aguilar urged all Las Piñeros to get their Covid-19 primary doses and booster shots.

She said the city government launched the PinasLakas vaccination program of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Aug 15 prior to the opening of classes.

Paul San Miguel, head of the Public Information Office, said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Las Piñas School Division launched a back-to-back school vaccination booster drive to protect the students against the disease.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, how do you feel about this recent development? Do you think that local vaccination efforts are sufficient to help local residents get vaccinated? Have you thought about visiting a vaccination site at a public market? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics will ruin the City Government’s efforts on having more locals vaccinated?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: First booster shot recipients of Muntinlupa City surpass 180,000

In the progressive City of Muntinlupa, the number of people who received their first booster shots for COVID-19 has surpassed 180,000 while the number of 2nd booster shots recipients exceeded 27,000, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

The Muntinlupa City government reported that the number of adults who have received their first booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine has increased to over 181,000.

It launched its “PinasLakas” campaign on Aug. 15, a program of the national government that aims to fully vaccinate 90 percent of senior citizens and increase booster shot coverage of the target population to 50 percent during the 100 days of the Marcos administration.

Data from the Muntinlupa City Health Office (CHO) showed that as of Aug. 25, the number of adults who were given their first booster dose rose to 181,071, an increase of 3,181 recipients from 177,890 as of Aug. 15.

The total is equivalent to 40.92 percent of the target population of 442,517 or 80 percent of the total Muntinlupa population of 553,146.

The second booster shot recipients also increased to 27,306, up by 2,394 from 24,912 recorded on Aug. 15.

Muntinlupa’s fully vaccinated adults totaled 519,861 or 117.5 percent of the target population.

In addition, there are 43,037 minors aged 12 to 17 who have been fully vaccinated in Muntinlupa or 76.17 percent of the total population of 56,499. Of the fully vaccinated, 5,623 have received their first booster shot.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this development? Do you believe that anti-vaccine fanatics continue to lie to Muntinlupa residents to prevent them from taking their respective vaccines or booster shots?

If you are a local resident who needs to get vaccinated or boosted in Muntinlupa City, contact the MunCoVac or visit them at https://www.facebook.com/MunCoVac

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673