Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Monopoly on Covid-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination program in the Philippines is an ongoing immunization campaign against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in response to the ongoing pandemic in the country.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) to Pfizer–BioNTech, Oxford–AstraZeneca, Sinovac and, Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines. There are eight other vaccines on order for the program, at varying stages of development.

The senators, in a show of unity, wondered what was stopping the cash-strapped national government from allowing private companies and local governments to take up the slack so the Philippines could catch up with its Southeast Asian neighbors in the race to get their shares of the fast-diminishing global supply of vaccines.

The discussion turned heated at certain points, but the senators were near unanimous in questioning what they described as a virtual government monopoly in vaccine procurement.

By April 6, 2021, about 922,898 individuals have been vaccinated across the country, with 50,685 receiving the second dose. The mass vaccination program would begin by May 2021.

That question by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hit officials in charge of the coronavirus vaccination program hard on Monday as senators pressed them to explain vaccine procurement bottlenecks, including why the government appeared to be bent on cornering the acquisition of COVID-19 shots.

The COVID-19 Immunization Program Management Organizational Structure was formed on October 26 with the intention of it overseeing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines once these became available. However, by November 6, the vaccine body was abolished and replaced with a vaccine cluster within the National Task Force Against COVID-19 of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). The vaccine cluster is distinct from the national task force's COVID-19 response cluster.

Sen. Recto was following up on a point raised by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who cited various cases of bureaucratic red tape in the Philippines, including a botched deal between unidentified local governments and the UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca that he said should have been coursed through the Go Negosyo entrepreneurial group.

“My question is, why is [the] government making it difficult for the private sector to just do it themselves?” Lacson asked. At present, only the national government is authorized to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer of the United States, AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm, for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on their part is the agency tasked to review and approve the use and commercial distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines as well as the issuance of an emergency use authorization for the same.

Several local governments have signed deals to buy vaccines from the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, but as part of a tripartite deal that involves the national government.

The national government’s participation in the deals has led senators to ask why the national government would not allow local governments and private businesses to buy vaccines from the pharmaceutical companies on their own.

“Local governments are able to purchase vaccines, but it has to be through entering a multilateral agreement for the advanced purchase of AstraZeneca,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a press briefing.

“We are not prohibiting and the national government has no monopoly on the purchase of vaccines,” he added.

According to Roque, a multilateral agreement has to be forged because AstraZeneca is part of COVAX, a World Health Organization pool set up to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, and only states are involved in the system.

Local governments and private companies are not part of COVAX, Roque said.

“For purposes of COVAX, there has to be a multilateral agreement because what is involved in the agreement is the Philippines,” he said.

Roque also said the multilateral agreements for the vaccine purchase state that local governments would be the ones to pay for the vaccines they would buy.

They would also pay for the delivery of the vaccines to them and would draw up the plan for the distribution of the shots to their residents, he added.

But the local vaccination plans, Roque said, have to be aligned with the national government’s deployment and vaccination plan, which means local governments must abide by the geographical and sectoral priorities of the central government.

The FDA announced that three vaccine manufactures namely Pfizer–BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac have inquired on the process of obtaining an EUA in the Philippines. Pfizer applied for an EUA for the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 23, 2020 while Oxford–AstraZeneca did the same for AZD1222 on January 6, 2021. On January 6, Gamaleya applied for an EUA for its Sputnik V vaccine. On January 13, Sinovac applied for an EUA for its CoronaVac vaccine. On January 21, Bharat Biotech applied for an EUA for its Covaxin vaccine. On March 2, Sinopharm applied for an EUA for its BBIBP-CorV vaccine. Aril 5, Johnson & Johnson applied for an EUA for its Ad26.COV2.S vaccine.

The Philippines' vaccination officially began on March 1, 2021 shortly after the arrival of the first batch of vaccines from Sinovac. Prior to the official roll-out, a dry run was conducted to ensure that the vaccines, especially temperature-sensitive ones, would be rolled-out with minimal problems.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Justice for missing Filipino seafarers

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Thursday (September 3) that one of the 39 Filipino crew members of the missing Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel off the waters of Japan has already been rescued.

The DFA made the confirmation through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.

A Panamanian-registered freighter cargo ship carrying 43 crew, including 39 Filipinos and 5,800 cows, sank off the waters of Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

The agency also confirmed that they made a distress call on Wednesday (September 2) from Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture before it disappeared.

The DFA assured that the Consulate General in Osaka is closely monitoring the situation as search and rescue operations for the missing vessel continue. 

According to reports, MV Gulf Livestock 1 was reportedly ferrying cattle from Napier, New Zealand to Tangshan, China when it issued a distress signal at around 1:20 a.m. (12:20 a.m. in the Philippines) on Wednesday some 115 miles west of Oshima Island.

The Japanese Coast Guard has already deployed patrol boats and airplanes and is launching a second search and rescue mission prior to the expected incoming typhoon.

The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Osaka are in close coordination with Korpil Ship Management and Manning Corp., the local manning agency, in ascertaining the condition of the Filipino seafarers.

Japanese Coast Guard operatives are conducting search and rescue operations most specifically in the area where typhoon “Maysak” (“Julian” in the Philippines) packed with 130 mph winds, was last reported.  

The Gulf Livestock 1 was the same ship assisted by the Philippine Navy 1 recently when it lost propulsion off Balut Island in Davao Occidental.

The DFA said the Japanese Coast Guard already deployed patrol boats and airplanes to conduct the search for the missing ship.

By this writting the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Osaka is also coordinating with local manning agency, Korphil Ship Management and Manning Corp. in ascertaining the condition of the Filipino seafarers.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Coronavirus

The patient admitted in a hospital in Wuhan, China, infected at least 10 health care workers and four other patients with the coronavirus that has sickened more than 34,000 people, killed over 720 and reached two dozen other countries.

The case was just one disturbing detail in a new report on 138 patients in Wuhan that helps explain how the illness progresses and how it spreads.

A total of 284 persons have been probed for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of Sunday noon, February 9, said the Department of Health (DOH).

This is up from the 267 recorded on Saturday noon, February 8. The DOH reported 17 new patients under investigation (PUIs).

Of the 284, 240 were admitted to hospitals, 15 refused hospitalization, and 24 have been discharged.

Two patients who were monitored for the virus have died of other ailments, not of 2019-nCoV, the DOH said.

The Philippines has 3 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV, affecting patients who hailed from Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak – in Hubei province, China.

A Filipino in the United Arab Emirates has been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to government-run media in the Gulf state.

The official Emirates News Agency on Saturday reported two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus or 2019-nCoV. The other one is a Chinese national. This brings the total number of nCoV cases in the country to seven.

The patients are under observation and medical care compliant with health standards, the news agency said quoting the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.

This is the second time that a Filipino tested positive for the nCoV. A Filipino seafarer was earlier confirmed to have contracted the virus while onboard a cruise ship in Japan. The Filipino was a crew member of the Diamond Princess where 537 other Filipinos were also quarantined.

The data on the patients shows that the illness caused pneumonia and a systemic viral infection that set off a powerful inflammatory response in the body, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said in an interview.

“There are biochemical indicators that a number of the body’s organ systems are likely affected and you have an inflammatory response that is disrupting their function to some extent,” Schaffner said.

The lungs, heart, liver, kidneys and the systems that control blood clotting are all affected, Schaffner said, though it is not clear that the virus itself infects organs other than the lungs.

The inflammatory response is a hallmark of a serious viral disease, he said, adding that in recent years it has become apparent that heightened inflammation from diseases like the flu can persist for a month or so after the acute illness is gone, and can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in older people.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Gretchen Barretto Scandal

Atong Ang is no stranger to controversy. But this time, his name has made headlines after several members of the Barretto clan – sisters Gretchen, Marjorie, Claudine and their nieces – fought during the wake of Barretto patriarch Miguel.

Recalling what led to their position while sleeping, as seen in the photo, Ang narrated: “Si Gretchen kasi, very close sa akin, parang kapatid ko talaga ‘yan. Katabi ko. Kuwento nang kuwento, inaantok na ako. Ang daming sinasabi kasi makuwento talaga ‘yan.

“Sabi ko, ‘G, matutulog na muna ako, sige na.’ Kaya ginano’n ko ‘yung kamay niya. ‘Tama na muna, matutulog na muna ako.’ Siguro stewardess ‘yung kumuha ng picture. Hindi ko tinatanggi ‘yun.”

Ang also shrugged off photos of him holding hands with Gretchen as indications of chivalry. “Kung naglalakad, gentleman tayo, tatawid tayo, alangan naman hindi mo hawakan ang isang tao. Anak ko nga, lagi kong kaakbay, e,” he said.

Being seen in public frequently with Gretchen, Ang added, is nothing out of the ordinary since they’re business partners. Gretchen after all has investments in his cockfighting and casino ventures.

Ang has long been hounded by rumors that he is involved romantically to several members of the Barretto clan. He's been linked to sisters Gretchen and Claudine, and their niece Nicole. It was Marjorie herself who said Ang was Nicole's boyfriend of almost 5 years.

The viral photos of Ang and Gretchen came after Marjorie answered in a televised interview the accusations hurled at her by sister Gretchen, in relation to the reported scuffle during the wake at The Heritage Park in Taguig.

Ang, Marjorie alleged, was the boyfriend of their niece Nicole for five years — until Gretchen supposedly “stole” him from Nicole. These claims were already denied by Ang in an earlier statement, saying Gretchen and her long-time partner Tonyboy Cojuangco are business partners, and Nicole was his former employee.

He insisted that his links to Gretchen are only because of business. He added that he also does business with Tonyboy Cojuangco, Gretchen's longtime partner.

He explained his links to Claudine, the youngest of the Barretto sisters, saying he helped her mend ties with a family he happens to be close to.

But he did skirt around the question of whether Nicole was his girlfriend. "Siyempre hindi naman tama sa lalaki, ako pa magsasabi girlfriend ko siya (It wouldn't sound right for me, the man, to say if she was my girlfriend or not)," he said.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Buhay ni John Denver

Pinagbintangan siyang nagnakaw ng iPad–isang kasalanang hindi niya ginawa. Para siyang aswang—usap-usapan din ang kanyang kapitbahay sa Pandan, Antique karugtong ang sabi-sabi na pumapatay ito sa kanilang lugar. Sa pelikulang “John Denver Trending” ni Arden Rod Condez, tinalakay ang ugnayan ng teknolohiya at kwentong-bayan—sistematikong suliranin sa usapin ng hustisya, uri, at moralidad.

Buhay pa rin ang mga problema ng nakaraan sa kasalukuyan. Ang simpleng pagtanod sa social media ay katumbas ng kawalan ng paninindigan sa anumang dalawang nagtutunggaling isyu. Ngunit hindi lamang ito ang usapan, ang diin ay kung wala at ayaw mong pumanig, nasa kampo ka ng mapaniil.

Dahil sangkot ka sa buhay ni John Denver. Sa iyong pag-upo sa sinehan, nararamdaman mo ang inis, hirap, at higit, pagkakasala dahil sa kabuuan ng pelikula, wala kang ginawa. Harap-harapan nang nilalapastangan ang karapatan ng mga bata. Iminulat ka sa katotohanang ikaw ay may pribilehiyo bilang isang tao dahil nakaupo ka lang naman gayundin malakas ang internet mo sa selpon.

Bahagi si John Denver ng atrasadong komunidad kung saan kahit mga batayang pangangailangan ay hirap pang makamtan. Sa isang kubo, pinagkakasya nila ang kanilang mga sarili. Tanging radyo lang ang pinagkukunan ng impormasyon. Sa panahon ng kagipitan, ang mga tulad ni John Denver ang araw-araw ay humaharap sa mukha ng kahirapan, doble ang dagok ng krisis.

Mahusay na naikahon ang mga puntong ito sa teknikal na mga aspeto ng pelikula. Mahusay na nasilip ng mga tao sa mata ng aswang ang pelikula sa mapaglarong galaw ng sinematograpiya nito. Sa una ay kalmado ngunit parang aswang na bigla-biglang umaatake. Tulad ng mental health, walang mukha at walang pasubali ang pag-atake.

"Ang simpleng pagtanod sa social media ay katumbas ng kawalan ng paninindigan sa anumang dalawang nagtutunggaling isyu. Ngunit hindi lamang ito ang usapan, ang diin ay kung wala at ayaw mong pumanig, nasa kampo ka ng mapaniil.

Dahil sangkot ka sa buhay ni John Denver. Sa iyong pag-upo sa sinehan, nararamdaman mo ang inis, hirap, at higit, pagkakasala dahil sa kabuuan ng pelikula, wala kang ginawa."

Subalit hindi nabantayan ang aspetong ito sa personal na buhay ni John Denver dahil hindi sila abot ng mga impormasyong patungkol sa mental health. Kung kaya hindi nagpanggap ang pelikula na mental health ang paksa nito.

Dahil bahagi ito ng mas malaking suliraning panlipunan. Matapang na tumugon ang nanay ni John Denver salungat sa paratang sa kaniyang anak—patunay na bagaman lagi’t laging pinagsasamantalahan ay hindi kailanman upos ang paglaban.

Hindi na naiwan sa isipan ang tunay na kumuha ng iPad o kung totoo nga bang may aswang, dahil yayakapin mo ang kwento ni John Denver, yayakapin mo ang bata nang hindi lamang lumuluha kundi nang nakakuyom din ang palad.

ayon sa kwento ni Rex Menard Cervales

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Cinemalaya 2019 Best Performance of an Actor JANSEN MAGPUSAO for John Denver Trending

Cinemalaya 2019 Best Performance of an Actor: JANSEN MAGPUSAO for John Denver Trending

The movie is close to my heart (pounded to the core during the almost two-hour screening) for two reasons: First, the movie is in Kinaray-a, the language of my province- Antique. It has English subtitles for non-Antiqueños. Second, it’s about the scourge of online disinformation – the issue that our group, VERA Files, is actively helping to fight.

The movie was shot in its entirety in Pandan, a town in the northern part of Antique ,where the family of the current representative, Loren Legarda, comes from. The Zaldivar family (the late Supreme Court Justice Calixto Zaldivar, former Governor Enrique Zaldivar, former Governor Sally Perez-Zaldivar) are also from Pandan.

The movie is rich in local sound and color. One even hears in the background the” tiktik.” In our childhood days, we were told that was the sound of the “aswang.”

AUGUST 9 | Friday | 4:30 PM
AUGUST 12 | Monday | 7 PM
AUGUST 13 | Tuesday | 7 PM
AUGUST 7 | Wednesday | 7 PM
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2 PM
AUGUST 9 | Friday | 4:30 PM
AUGUST 12 | Monday | 7 PM
AUGUST 9 | Friday | 4:30 PM
AUGUST 12 | Monday | 7 PM
AUGUST 7 | Wednesday | 7 PM
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2 PM
AUGUST 8 | Thursday | 7:30 PM
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2:30 PM
AUGUST 13 | 5 PM
Capitol Central BACOLOD
AUGUST 7 | Wednesday | 7 PM
(BACOLOD GALA: Director, Producers, Actor IN ATTENDANCE)
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2 PM
Vista Cinemas ILOILO
AUGUST 8 | Thursday | 7:30 PM
(ILOILO GALA: Director, Producers, Actors IN ATTENDANCE)
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2:30 PM
AUGUST 13 | Tuesday | 5:00 PM
Vista Cinemas PAMPANGA
AUGUST 8 | Thursday | 7:30 PM
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2:30 PM
AUGUST 13 | Tuesday | 5 PM
Ayala Malls LEGAZPI
AUGUST 7 | Wednesday | 7 PM
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2 PM
Vista Cinemas NAGA
AUGUST 8 | Thursday | 7:30 PM
AUGUST 11 | Sunday | 2:30 PM
AUGUST 13 | Tuesday | 5 PM
Abreeza DAVAO
AUGUST 9 | Friday | 4:30 PM
AUGUST 12 | Monday | 7 PM
AUGUST 13 | Tuesday | 7 PM

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Dirty & arrogant player?

Daniel Kickert of Australia was the one who shoved Matthew Wright during warm ups, he was also the one who gave the elbow to Roger Pogoy’s blind side that started the brawl. Dirty & arrogant player.

THE coach of the Philippines basketball team involved in a sickening brawl with Australia overnight has extraordinarily accused Boomers star Daniel Kickert of attacking his players before the game even started — a claim the Australian camp vehemently rejects. Speaking after the FIBA World Cup qualifier was brought to shame by disgusting scenes of players being punched, kicked and having chairs thrown at them — as even fans became involved in the violence — Chot Reyes launched a stinging attack on Kickert, placing the blame for the ugly affair squarely on his shoulders.

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