Tag: COVID-19

#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH

In an interview on Abante Radyo Tabloidista, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ABS-CBN franchise [30:25]
* Fake news vs Anti-Terrorism Law [37:22]
* Cops accused of violating the law [16:07]
* Dealing with COVID at home [21:20]
* DOH issues in handling COVID pandemic [24:05]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH”

On the Lifting of the Suspension of Non-Essential Travel by Filipinos

As long as conditions are complied with and protocols are strictly observed, particularly on quarantine procedures upon their return to the country, I can see no problem with the lifting of the suspension on non-essential travel by Filipinos.

That said, however, I do not see this encouraging Filipinos to travel. Who would be encouraged to travel in the middle of a worldwide pandemic?


On New Opportunities for Terrorists to Exploit

No less than the Secretary General of the United Nations has warned that extremist and terrorist groups can exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and other new opportunities to strike.

The only timing that the terrorists know is their own. This is what I have been telling the critics of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Likewise, terrorism knows no borders. Surely, we do not want to be the haven of terrorists in Asia. The Marawi Siege is such a painful and costly experience which we as policy makers cannot allow to happen again.

As long as the terrorists can achieve their intent and purpose of inflicting maximum damage to life and property in order to sow fear and intimidate the general public, they will strike at any opportunity.


#PINGterview: Laging Handa Public Briefing: Anti-Terror Bill, National ID, GMRC Law

In an interview on PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Why the Anti-Terrorism Bill is urgent [21:12]
* DOH leadership woes in dealing with COVID-19 threat [23:15]
* National ID’s value amid pandemic [24:56]
* Implementing the GMRC Law [28:03]

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On the Reported Plan to Call for a Special Session

Before a special session is called, it is best for the Executive Department and Congress to first agree on a mutually acceptable legislative measure to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social and economic problems that beset our country. That way, we won’t be wasting our time.

However, as long as the Department of Health is incompetently led and the health issue cannot be addressed appropriately, we will be in a Sisyphus-like situation. Worse, we will just be throwing away our country’s very limited resources that could bring us neck-deep in debt with no solution in sight.

It’s bad enough that we will be forced to scrounge and even borrow just to augment our already limited funds. It’s infuriating if we lose it all – and more – to incompetence.


On the Ombudsman’s Probe of Sec. Duque and DOH Execs Over COVID-19 Response Woes

It’s about time. I can only hope that this time around, the investigation will bear fruit and find those concerned liable and suffer the consequences of their misdeeds in taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis for self-aggrandizement.

My wish is that the outcome would be unlike the agricultural smuggling case I personally filed against Faeldon et.al, which continues to languish in the dustbin of the Ombudsman for an unusually long period of time.


#PINGterview: Addressing Catriona Gray, Other Critics on Anti-Terror Bill

In an interview on DZRH, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* criticisms vs Anti-Terrorism Bill, including high-profile personalities [24:23]
* how National ID system can speed up contact tracing [21:45]

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#PINGterview: Sec. Duque, Hindi Pa Lusot sa Health Workers; Bayanihan 2, Matatanggalan ng Pangil vs Overpricing sa DOH?

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible challenge vs Anti-Terror Bill before the Supreme Court [14:31]
* Sen. Drilon voted yes to anti-terror bill [7:04]
* blame game in COVID health workers’ P1M death benefits [29:53]
* Sec. Duque’s other obligations to health workers under Bayanihan Act [35:39]
* ‘removal’ of safeguard vs overpricing in Bayanihan 2 [44:33]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: Sec. Duque, Hindi Pa Lusot sa Health Workers; Bayanihan 2, Matatanggalan ng Pangil vs Overpricing sa DOH?”

On the Non-Compensation of 32 Frontliners Who Died Battling COVID-19

It is totally unacceptable that the families of the 32 health workers who died due to COVID-19 have yet to receive the P1-million compensation, in clear violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The P1-million compensation is the least the government owes the families of these 32 fallen heroes. It’s in the law. The lack or absence of implementing rules and regulations should not be an excuse not to comply with the law.

It is not just the P1-million death compensation allowance which has retroactive application from Feb. 1, 2020 that is mandated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. So are the following benefits, under Sec. 4 (d, e, f):

* Special Risk Allowance to government health workers;
* Free medical expenses to public and private health workers;
* P100,000 allowance to public and private health workers who get infected by the coronavirus in the line of duty.

This makes us wonder: How can we heal as one when they can’t heal their own?

Worse, it makes us wonder as well if the DOH is busy procuring pricey medical equipment to neglect their front-liners.


Simple, Cheap and Effective: Contact Tracing Solutions from LGUs that the DOH Can Adopt

contact tracing

Simple technologies that we now take for granted may yet be the biggest help in fighting the spread of COVID-19, as shown by the initiatives of at least two local governments.

In Carmona, Cavite, the local government under Mayor Roy Loyola has developed a contact tracing app – the Carmona COVID-19 Tracker. The app, which works on Android and iOS, can use the mobile phone’s GPS to track users’ location history.

The app allows users to log interactions with other people; and do self-assessment if they experience symptoms. In just a few days of implementation, the local government has already signed up 42,000 out of the municipality’s 97,557 residents. For those without smartphones, the local government’s barangay and police personnel can input the information for them.

Meanwhile, in Baguio City, the local government under Mayor Benjamin Magalong is doing contact tracing using the EndCovid-19 system, which relies on the geographical information system (GIS) platform to plot the areas where possible COVID-19 carriers live – similar to that which he introduced when he was Cordillera regional police chief.

Combined with cognitive interviews and analytical tools, the system has made Baguio City a model for contact tracing.

With these technologies, we can potentially save P11.7 billion being asked by the Department of Health for contact tracers. I share Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s sentiment that there are more practical uses for the amount. These may include livelihood programs for those affected by the COVID-triggered lockdowns, among others.

Our national agencies, including the Department of Health, need not look far for contact tracing solutions that are effective, yet are not intrusive. Instead, they must take a cue from our LGUs. Especially given our limited resources, they can do no less.