Tag: PingTweets

On Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas

Whichever way one looks at it, NCRPO chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas set a bad example in committing what he did during his birthday “mañanita” or whatever he wants to call it. As a result, he has been bashed, criticized and pilloried both on social and mainstream media for the incident, even as he has since apologized and regretted his indiscretion.

Certainly, he should get the punishment he deserves even as the appropriate authorities are already investigating him.

However, we may also want to take into consideration his long law-enforcement service to the country and the Filipino people, and his present efforts in supervising the checkpoints all over Metro Manila to make us safe from the coronavirus threat.

Make no mistake: This is not to suggest forgiveness or absolution for P/Maj. Gen. Sinas. Rather, it is an appeal to concerned netizens not to rub salt to injury by going to the extent of posting out-of-date photos to sow more hatred towards Sinas by exploiting the naïveté of certain individuals to join the bandwagon of hate towards the police officer.

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On the Proposed Mass Hiring of Contact Tracers

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, one of the few sensible souls in the Cabinet, has proposed to prioritize the hiring of contact tracers en masse to boost efforts to stop transmission and provide jobs to stimulate the economy through spending.

Contact tracing is a key first step in addressing the COVID-19 threat. It should provide the baseline data or reference on who to test. Without it, our mass testing will be like shooting at the moon or running around like headless chickens.

Kung maipapatupad ang mungkahing ito nang maayos, maaari nating lutasin agad ang dalawang problema.

Ang bagay na ito ay nasa kamay na ng liderato ng Department of Health: Maiimplementa kaya nila ang mungkahi ni Secretary Dominguez?

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Fast-Tracking the National ID System and Funding R&D

The National ID system was signed into law nearly two years ago. There is no other time than now where it is most needed.

I hope the National Economic and Development Authority can fast-track the implementation of the National ID system, as directed by the President.

NEDA should have ample help from the Philippine Statistics Authority as the frontline agency, and the Department of ICT which plays a major role.

The first question is, is the system ready to accept registrants? If so, they should give priority to the marginalized sector, and those targeted for financial assistance because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, while the President has made a P10-million offer to whoever can develop a vaccine for COVID-19, it would mean much more if the government invested more on research and development than the token annual average share of 0.4% from the General Appropriations Act.

We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards. Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference.

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On the DOH’s ‘Adjustments’ in Dealing with the COVID-19 Threat

At last, the Department of Health leadership is making some adjustments to address the COVID-19 threat, but only now after so much time has been wasted.

For one, through the private sector’s initiative in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and other government agencies, massive rapid testing will start tomorrow, April 14, if it is not being done already.

Secondly, contact tracing, hopefully, will now be more efficient with the latest guideline issued by IATF for mandatory disclosure of COVID-19 infected persons for more efficient self-quarantine.

Thirdly, after a long and unnecessary delay, the FDA approved the use of test kits – including at least 10 rapid antibody test kits and 23 PCR-based test kits as of April 8. The delay was amid the willingness of private donors to spend big money to help accelerate mass testing through the use of rapid antibody test kits, and even after we asked the FDA about the usefulness of such rapid test kits as early as our March 24 caucus prior to our 18-hour plenary debates to pass Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal As One Act) on the same day, with some Cabinet members in attendance.

What I can’t understand for the life of me is why the DOH keeps issuing circulars that seem to circumvent Sec 4(j) of the Bayanihan Act that provides for some leeway for donated test kits that otherwise have already been in use in other jurisdictions, by mandating the turnover of all donations to DOH but would not allow its use. This is compounded by a requirement for accreditation that includes, among others, an application by the manufacturer or distributor of such health products. Since these are donations and therefore not for business purposes, how in the world will these donors look for local distributors, or look for the manufacturer to file for an application? Sec 4(j) specifically states that all donated health products need only a certification from the regulatory agency/ies of the country that allows the use of such health products for FDA to approve the same.

On the other hand, there is no saying that Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. is not doing a good job as chief implementer of the government’s national response against COVID-19, by playing catch-up for the inadequacies of some people.

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#PINGterview: Pagbigay ng Ayuda sa COVID19-Affected Areas, Dapat Ibigay Agad at Bantayin!

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed at least P200B in assistance to poor families affected by the COVID19-triggered quarantines should be distributed soonest, with scrutiny from the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.

NOTES and QUOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: Pagbigay ng Ayuda sa COVID19-Affected Areas, Dapat Ibigay Agad at Bantayin!”

📰 Health workers to get added hazard pay – Lacson [Manila Bulletin]

From the Manila Bulletin: Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said Tuesday all public health workers (HWs) will receive a Special Risk Allowance on top of their regular hazard pay under Republic Act 7305, the Magna Carta of Health Workers.

Continue reading “📰 Health workers to get added hazard pay – Lacson [Manila Bulletin]”

#PINGterview: Daily Wage Earners, Priority sa Tulong; Kukupit ng Tulong, Walang Karapatang Mabuhay!

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed the need for lawmakers to prioritize help for daily wage earners amid the COVID19-triggered lockdowns, while preventing corruption in the implementation of aid for those affected.

NOTES and QUOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: Daily Wage Earners, Priority sa Tulong; Kukupit ng Tulong, Walang Karapatang Mabuhay!”

Flexibility, Creativity in the Time of Enhanced Community Quarantine

As the enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 threat continues, a grim reality is becoming more felt: it is not just lives that are at stake, but also livelihoods. For many, survival is indeed a priority, but what good is survival if they face the prospect of starving?

While we must concede that our individual rights and freedom must yield to our survival as country and people, creativity still plays a major role in balancing both sides of the equation and still satisfy both concerns.

For instance, daily wage earners – including drivers of public utility vehicles such as jeepneys, taxis and pedicabs, as well as vendors, construction workers, waiters, and even caddies – are hit hard by the public transport ban. Without wages for even just a week, how will they feed their families? Parents may go hungry for the sake of the children. But when their children go hungry, God knows what they will do next.

Continue reading “Flexibility, Creativity in the Time of Enhanced Community Quarantine”

Dealing with COVID-19 as a Nation

covid19-lockdown

The Metro Manila “lockdown,” “community quarantine,” or whatever the authorities may call it, is one decisive action taken by the government that needs the support of our people, no matter the sacrifices or inconvenience it brings.

But then again, government must lose no time in coming up with practical but effective ways of implementing it to serve its real purpose for our country to survive this unprecedented crisis that we are facing.

For its part, the Department of Health’s Inter-Agency Task Force (DOH-IATF) should issue clear, simple and concise guidelines on dealing with COVID-19 to prevent confusion among the public, as so many doctors and medical experts have been expressing different opinions on it, particularly on its transmission.

One example involves former DOH Sec. and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin being quoted as saying COVID-19 is infectious only when the patient is symptomatic, and that quarantine should be mandatory only for those who had direct contact with positive patient, on the one hand; and on the other, Chinese researchers reportedly confirmed a case of asymptomatic transmission where a woman from Wuhan passed it to five kin but never got physically sick herself.

Meanwhile, self-quarantine is not for oneself but for the sake of other people. Insisting to work or move around in spite of full knowledge of interaction with a possible COVID-19 carrier is not a laudable act. It is in fact damnable.

Citizens must also do their part by practicing self-discipline and self-control against thoughtless acts such as hoarding and profiteering at the expense of fellow Filipinos.

This is not the time to argue and fight. Instead, we should all unite to get over this plague.

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More Budget for R&D Pushed Amid COVID-19 Threat

Despite measly state support, our local scientists have given us a major boost – and much-needed hope – in dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by way of test kits developed by local experts at the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health (UPNIH). Tests using these kits will cost less than 1/6 of those using imported kits.

I have repeatedly raised the issue of the minuscule budgetary allocation for research and development (R&D) in the national budget year in, year out – an average of, lo and behold, 0.4% of the annual budget from 2016 to 2020, including 0.39% for 2020. For the same five-year period, the DOST’s average budget is only P20 billion or a meager 0.56% against the trillions of pesos that we pass every year as our national budget. This, even as I consistently amended the budget measure by augmenting the budgets of the Department of Science and Technology and its programs. For 2020, I sought a P50M increase for NICER, P100M increase for STAMINA4Space and a P100M increase for CRADLE; as well as P537.991M for UPLB’s National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

Had our homegrown scientists been given the much-needed additional budgetary support for R&D, who knows how much more they can contribute? As it is, by not supporting them adequately, we’re wasting their talents and opportunities to help our nation.

This should be a wake-up call for our government officials who do not invest in research and development (R&D) through the budget, but instead are supplier-friendly “shopaholics” who choose to shop or buy from their “favorite” suppliers.

If only the kudos and support that our local scientists richly deserve, especially during these trying times, would be translated into increased support from our government.

Science entails research. Science can greatly help especially during looming disasters such as COVID-19. It is high time our government throw its support behind our homegrown scientists.

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