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Cooperate on vax site, Nayon told

Malacanang has urged the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) not to hinder the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program after officials of the NPF opposed the construction of a mega vaccination site in the area.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque called on officials of the government-owned and controlled corporation to cooperate with the government in its CoVID 19 vaccination drive to end the pandemic which has claimed more than 17,000 lives due to the deadly disease.

The Palace official hoped their decisions would not hinder the important mission to care for the lives of the Filipino people.

Roque said the construction of a mega vaccination facility at Nayong Pilipino was pursuant to the President’s police power and is meant to safeguard people’s right to healthcare.

The construction of a mega vaccination site would require cutting of nearly 500 trees, killing the existing ecosystem in the area.

Earlier, vaccine czar and National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr said there was the “urgency” to build the facility, seen to help hit the target of nationwide herd immunity from COVID-19 within the year.

“We would like to emphasize that the government deeply cares for the environment,” he said.

“But as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the lives of our people and our economy, we have to make the choice. ‘Green and open spaces’ will be useless if there will be no one to visit them.”

Displaced workers

The Department of Labor and Employment said more than 520,000 displaced workers in the tourism sector would benefit from the P3.1 billion financial assistance fund under the government’s Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program.

 Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the number of beneficiaries had been reached  with 215,000 more applications still being processed by regional offices.

In an advisory,  Bello said “Effective 5:00 pm, 10 May 2021, the Department of Labor and Employment in coordination with the Department of Tourism, shall cease to accept online applications for the P5,000.00 financial assistance under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for the Tourism Sector.”

Based on the record as of May 9, 2021, the labor department has approved the application of 503,616 workers from 17,607 establishments, organizations, and associations nationwide, while 17,408 workers in the tourism sector who have applied individually have also been identified as beneficiaries.

OFW testing

The leader of the Independent Bloc at the House of Representatives on Monday urged the administration to make COVID-19 testing for returning Overseas Filipino Workers “as comfortable as possible.”

Taguig City Rep Alan Peter Cayetano, the bloc’s leader, said the Department of Health’s proposal to the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force to require returning OFWs to undergo a COVID-19 testing six to seven days after their arrival was a reasonable proposal but might be viewed as an inconvenience.

“We want to protect our OFWs and help them come home, and that is also the President’s order, but the OFWs also don’t want their families to get sick,” Cayetano said.

“The testing may be a hassle but it is for the protection of all,” Cayetano said.

Care unit

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has established an Emergency Care Unit at its compound in Manila which will temporarily accommodate and house the employees of the SC and third level courts afflicted with COVID-19 and are awaiting hospital confinement or referral to appropriate quarantine facilities.

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the Guidelines on the Use of the Supreme Court Gymnasium as ECU had been approved last May 7, 2021. The guidelines are effective immediately.

Besides SC personnel, employees of Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals may avail themselves of the ECU.

Gesmundo said the setting up of ECU followed the SC’s partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde on the use and availment of the temporary isolation and quarantine facility located at DLS-CSB in Taft, Manila for judicial employees who are sick with COVID-19 and who are working in the ‘National Capital Region Plus’ bubble.

‘Vaccines essential’

In related developments, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, through Projects SIKAP and T3, highlighted the importance of vaccines to the recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises during a recent online forum which tackled COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Attended by more than 350 participants from all over the country, the webinar, “Bakunang Ligtas, Negosyong Bukas: Championing MSME Health and Safety” was the first part of an online series focusing on MSME resilience beyond the pandemic.

Speakers from the Department of Health Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, DOH Field Implementation and Coordination Team, and the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Disease addressed questions and concerns particularly about the prioritization of vaccines and timelines of the national vaccination program.

According to DOH, the new, detailed breakdown of priority group A4 now includes different industries such as manufacturing, food, retail, hotel and accommodations, education, telecoms, and other utilities.

Topics: Nayong Pilipino Foundation , COVID-19 , vaccination program , Carlito Galvez Jr.
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