Hindi na dapat pang maabala ang paggalaw ng mga umuuwing overseas Filipino workers (OFW) at mga dayuhang mangangalakal na ganap nang bakunado sa mga bansang pinanggalingan kaya dapat na magkaroon ng vaccine passport.
Ito ang rekomendasyon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson matapos ang samu’t saring reklamo ng mga pumapasok sa bansa bunga ng napakahigpit pa ring protocol na ipinapatupad ng mga awtoridad kahit pa sa mga kumpleto na ang bakuna laban sa COVID-19 sa mga bansang pinagmulan.
Ayon kay Lacson, dahil sa mga polisiyang ito ay nagdadalawang-isip na umuwi ang maraming OFW kahit pa napakahalaga ang pakay nila, bunga na rin ng matagal na pagkakatengga bago makarating sa patutunguhan batay sa umiiral na protocols.
“For our returning OFWs, at most, we might require them to take a swab test then allow them to go home, then require them to stay at home for 10 days. No need to require them to stay at a hotel. Most of the time, OFWs return to the country because of an emergency. But if you are an OFW and you are required to be quarantined for 10 days, how many days of your leave will go to waste? I don’t think that makes sense,” banggit ni Lacson sa panayam ng ANC.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson batted Monday for a vaccine passport system that will make traveling to the Philippines easier for vaccinated people, especially for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and foreign investors.
Lacson said many returning OFWs and foreign investors are reluctant to come to the Philippines because of tight protocols, especially those that may require them to spend more than a week in a quarantine facility not necessarily of their choice.
“For our returning OFWs, at most, we might require them to take a swab test then allow them to go home, then require them to stay at home for 10 days. No need to require them to stay at a hotel. Most of the time, OFWs return to the country because of an emergency. But if you are an OFW and you are required to be quarantined for 10 days, how many days of your leave will go to waste? I don’t think that makes sense,” he said in an interview on ANC.
“Also, our tourism sector and investment will suffer. If a potential investor who would like to come here learns of the requirements that include a swab test and stay at a quarantine facility not of his or her choice, would he or she still come?” he added.
Hindi maabuso ng National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) ang bilyun-bilyong pisong pondong inilaan ng gobyerno sa pagpapaunlad sa mga komunidad na nalinis na mula sa impluwensiya ng New People’s Army (NPA).
Ito ang tugon ni Senate Committee on National Defense Chairman Panfilo Lacson sa mga mambabatas na nagnanais na tanggalan ng pondo ang NTF-ELCAC, kasabay ng pagsasabing mga lokal na pamahalaan (LGU) ang mangangasiwa sa paggastos sa mga ito para sa mga proyektong pangkaunlaran.
Nasa P9.699 bilyon na mula sa kabuuang P16.4 bilyon ang nailalabas na pondo para sa pagpapaunlad ng mga barangay na nalinis na sa dating pamamayagpag at impluwensiya ng nabanggit na grupo.
“Being the sponsor of the NTF-ELCAC’s 2021 budget, it is my obligation and responsibility to defend the Department of Budget and Management’s release of funds which will be implemented not by the NTF-ELCAC but by the local government units concerned,” paliwanag ni Lacson na siya ring sponsor ng gastusin ng Department of National Defense (DND) at mga ahensiya nito para sa kasalukuyang taon.
Some P9.699 billion has been released so far for the development of barangays that have been cleared of the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA), but this – or the full P16.4-billion allocation for 2021 – cannot be “abused” by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said.
Lacson gave this assurance to fellow lawmakers who are asking to defund NTF-ELCAC, even as he stressed the amount would eventually be released to the local government units that will implement the development projects.
“Being the sponsor of the NTF-ELCAC’s 2021 budget, it is my obligation and responsibility to defend the Department of Budget and Management’s release of funds which will be implemented not by the NTF-ELCAC but by the local government units concerned,” said Lacson, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on National Defense and who sponsored the budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) and its attached agencies for 2021.
It is alarming and it should concern our health authorities.
Aside from the existing health protocols which Filipinos have already grown accustomed to, contact tracing is key: first, to determine the specific areas where the surges occur or are evident, so that extra control measures and closer supervision can be instituted immediately.
This is where the role of the local government units (LGUs) becomes indispensable since they are the closest to the potential spreaders – not to mention their familiarity with the people in their localities.
Huwag nang gawing kumplikado ang puwede namang maging simple.
Ito ang panawagan ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa mga awtoridad kaugnay sa pagpasok sa bansa ng mga donasyon na COVID-19 vaccines na mayroon nang Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) sa mga lugar na may mahigpit na regulatory agencies.
Ang panawagan ay ginawa ng mambabatas sa pangatlong pagdinig na isinagawa ng Senado bilang Committee of the Whole tungkol sa vaccination program ng pamahalaan.
“This is critical because there are many associations abroad that may donate vaccines to their sister cities in the Philippines. Would it not be more practical to ensure the goods reach the intended recipients directly under strict supervision and guidance by health authorities, instead of coursing the goods through the Department of Health and having the DOH distribute them?” banggit ni Lacson.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson sought simplified procedures Friday for the entry of donated COVID-19 vaccines, especially those with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from countries or territories with stringent regulatory agencies.
Lacson made the call during the third hearing of the Senate, convening as a Committee of the Whole, on the government’s vaccination program.
“This is critical because there are many associations abroad that may donate vaccines to their sister cities in the Philippines. Would it not be more practical to ensure the goods reach the intended recipients directly under strict supervision and guidance by health authorities, instead of coursing the goods through the Department of Health and having the DOH distribute them?” he said.
“Besides, many local government units like Baguio City already have their own cold storage facilities for the vaccines, as their local leaders had the foresight to act accordingly. Allowing such donated vaccines to go directly to the LGUs instead of having to go through the logistical requirements of the DOH and Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 would also avoid the prospect of double handling and additional costs,” he added.
This kind of “threat” worked in the past: Mighty’s P40-billion tax settlement; Philippine Airlines’ settling a P6-billion obligation to the government; the Mile Long property taken over by government; and the rehabilitation of Boracay, to name a few cases that did not need to undergo lengthy and expensive court litigation – and I would say has therefore served its purpose, rightly or wrongly.
Whether the government takeover of telcos is justified and compliant with the provisions of the Constitution, given the circumstances, is another matter altogether, however.
Having said that, telcos should treat the President’s pronouncement as a wake-up call to improve their services to the public, as one thing in the President’s statement on the issue is certain and true: that our country’s telecommunications services pale in comparison with our neighbors and with other jurisdictions in terms of speed and efficiency.
But what the President failed to issue is a similar warning to some local government unit executives who extort money from the telcos in exchange for permits and licenses as well as “protection” from delays in the construction of such facilities, especially in areas where the presence of armed groups like the CPP-NPA is strong.
Under the present setup of the P200-billion cash aid program for poor families, local government units should be made to submit their data, subject to vetting by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other concerned national agencies.
This is a recurring mistake: What we are implementing now is a top-down mode of listing and distribution of funds to recipient families instead of a bottom-up approach, hence there is an obvious disconnect between the national government and the needs and priorities of the rightful recipients.
More than the central government, the LGUs have a better grasp of their constituents’ needs through their community-based surveys being undertaken periodically.
As I post this, we have been receiving numerous complaints of incorrect data that do not tally with the actual number and identities of persons in need on the ground. Mayors are complaining that they bear the brunt of the blame and protests from their constituents because of too much centralization, further compounded by the President’s recent pronouncements that there are enough funds to cover all the 18 million families in compliance with the Bayanihan Act.
Unless immediate adjustments are made by the DSWD and other support agencies, I’m afraid the very purpose of the Social Amelioration Program and the disbursement of the P200 billion will not be accomplished. Worse, and I sincerely hope not, a potential social problem might occur due to the loss of income brought about by a prolonged business inactivity and work stoppage affecting a large segment of our labor force particularly the daily wage earners.
We should all learn from Albert Einstein when he defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.