News Release

Palace gives details on Russian vaccine trials; affirms Cabinet members’ assignment to LGUs

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque,Jr on Thursday, August 13, provided details on the Gamaleya vaccine of Russia.

In his regular press briefing in Malacañang, Secretary Roque said that a Vaccine Expert Panel will review the results of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Gamaleya vaccine clinical trials next month. Phase 3 of the clinical trial will be done simultaneously in Russia and the Philippines from October 2020 to March 2021.

“Ang Russia po ang magpopondo ng clinical trial na gagawin dito po sa Pilipinas. Sa Abril, inaasahang mare-rehistro po ang bakuna ng Russia sa Food and Drug Administration,” said Secretary Roque. The Palace official also announced that Russia is open to the transfer of technology for the local manufacturing of the vaccine.

Roque, who is concurrent spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), affirmed in the same press briefing that several members of the Cabinet were assigned to various local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces to provide support on COVID-19 matters.

“Hinati-hati ang mga miyembro ng IATF para magbigay ng ibayong paggabay at suporta sa iba’t ibang parte ng Metro Manila at mga karatig probinsiya, kung saan mataas ang pagkalat ng COVID-19,” Sec Roque said.

The Palace spokesman however clarified that the assignment of Cabinet members in some LGUs does not mean that the LGUs are not handling the COVID-19 problem in their localities properly. “Nag assign lang po ng mga miyembro ng Gabinete kada siyudad, unang-una dahil dun sila nakatira, pangalawa para lang po mabigyan ng kahit anong suporta na kinakailangan ng mga lokal na opisyales galing po sa pang nasyonal na gobyerno,” Roque stressed.

“Majority of the cabinet members assigned to the different cities and municipalities are locals of the area po. So you can expect the cabinet members to push for the interest of their respective cities and one municipality in Metro Manila,” added Roque.

He also underscored that as the government is now in the second phase of the implementation of the National Action Plan against COVID-19, the LGUs will now be more involved in its implementation.

“So hindi po yan mensahe na may problema ang mga LGUs, ito po ay mensahe na kung ano pa ang kinakailangan ng mga lokal na pamahalaan narito po ang national government, narito po ang national IATF para tumulong,” Roque explained.

National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr, who joined today’s press briefing, said that the matter was decided to ensure close coordination between the national government and LGUs and to harmonize the policies being crafted by the IATF and the operational framework that is being implemented on the ground. Sec Galvez added that the Cabinet Secretaries can serve as big brothers and big sisters to LGU officials to ensure that the operational aspect of the National Action Plan will be properly implemented down to the barangays.

On whether Cabinet officials will have powers over the LGUs, Roque clarified that they do not have the mandate to do so and they will only provide support to LGU officials. “Tanging Pangulo lamang po ang exercising supervisory powers over the mayors. So kung talagang may problema po it will have to require presidential intervention,” said Roque.

In the same press briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced that the opening of classes is scheduled on August 24, and that there will be no face-to-face classes until next year or until the President so declares. She also reported that some 23.2 million students have already registered for school year 2020-2021, surpassing the target set of 80 percent of last year’s enrollment.

Also in the press briefing, Roque announced that personal protective equipment (PPEs) and masks produced locally are now being made in manufacturing plants located in Cavite, Laguna, and Clark through a $35-million investment by the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE, which has provided jobs to some 7,450 Filipino workers. Through the investment, the country can now produce monthly some three million pieces of PPE medical grade overalls and gowns, including 57.6 million pieces of PPE medical grade N88, N95, KN95, and some 20 million masks. ### OPS-PCOO