Press Release

Palace reminds public to maintain health standards as COVID vaccines now in Phase 3 trials

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. reminded the public to not be complacent and to maintain the minimum health standards as reports of Chinese vaccines are now in Phase 3 clinical trials.

“Importante po habang tayo’y nag-aantay ng bakuna… sundin natin ang sinabi ng ating Presidente: mask, hugas, at iwas; ingat buhay para sa hanapbuhay,” reminded Sec Roque.

Philippine Ambassador to China H.E. Jose Santiago ‘Chito’ Sta. Romana in today’s press briefing, October 22, said that there are possibly two vaccines developed in China that are now in Phase 3 clinical trials, and that China hopes to go into mass production of these vaccines soon.

Sta. Romana added that one or two of these vaccines are already being given to frontliners in China and to certain citizens on an emergency basis. Initial reports on Phase 3 clinical trials are encouraging as no adverse effects have been reported so far.

The Filipino ambassador to China also confirmed that the Philippines is one of the priority countries to receive the vaccines and stressed that the government should have the logistical capability to receive the vaccines once it become available. Amb. Sta. Romana said that receiving the vaccines would require cold storage facilities for distribution and deployment.

In the same press briefing, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado said that there are no bottlenecks in the release of funds under the Bayanihan 2 as they are just following a process. Secretary Avisado said that as soon as the required documents have been submitted to the DBM, it is immediately endorsed to the Office of the President for corresponding approval.

On when the 2021 national budget be signed, Sec. Roque said that the President may possibly sign the final budget by early December. “I think it has to be earlier than the second week of December to give the Executive time to review the budget and to see if it will make specific line item vetoes,” Roque said.

The Palace spokesman pointed out that the budget has to be signed by the President earlier in December because it still needs to be published in newspapers and in the Official Gazette for it to be effective and to avoid having a re-enacted budget.

On another matter, Sec. Roque announced that the PAG-IBIG Fund is offering a Special Housing Loan Restructuring Program for its members. “May anim na buwan na payment relief na ibinigay kung saan ang pagbabayad ng restructured loans ay magre-resume sa March 2021,” said Roque.

According to PAG-IBIG, the payment relief, affordable amortization, and waived penalties were offered to help loan borrowers cope with the effects of the pandemic and help them to recover financially. Under the said loan restructuring program, borrowers have the option to lower their monthly payments by extending their loan terms, spread the settlement of unpaid dues, and waive penalties on arrears.

Meanwhile, in light of the country’s observance of Undas, Secretary Roque, who is also the concurrent Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Spokesperson reminded the public to visit their departed loved ones’ graves in cemeteries and memorial parks and niches in columbariums before the previously announced temporary closure of these places. Memorial parks, cemeteries, and columbariums will be closed to the public from October 29 until November 4 because of the coronavirus disease pandemic. ### OPS-PCOO