Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr said on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, had directed those who are working in the government to act and move faster in performing their duties especially at this time of pandemic.
“Isa rin sa paalala ng Pangulo sa mga nasa pamahalaan ay gawin ang kanilang trabaho lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya. Sabi nga ng Pangulo, ‘Huwag kayong matakot gumastos. Just follow the rules…. Nandiyan ako sa likod ninyo. And I will vouch for you if the transaction is legal and right.’ “
The Palace official further mentioned that President Duterte had reminded government officials of his government’s zero tolerance against corruption underscoring that safeguards must be in place in the distribution of the social amelioration assistance.
Secretary Roue said that per the report of Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista, there are now 1,757,281 beneficiaries who have received the social amelioration assistance. There were some 7,351 individuals who received assistance in crisis situation from March 29 to April 12, 2021, while 26,363 family food packs were distributed from March 29 to April 11, added Sec. Roque.
The President’s spokesmasn also pointed out that because of the Chief Executive’s directive to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to settle payment with hospitals, the state health insurer paid almost P10-B to hospitals, both public and private.
“Dahil sa direktiba ng Presidente sa PhilHealth na bayaran ang mga hospital, nangako naman ang mga hospital natin sa NCR, Region 3, Region 4-A na mag-expand sila ng ICU beds at COVID bed capacities,” said Secretary Roque.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Secretary Vivencio Dizon confirmed that PhilHealth paid a total of P9.577-B for NCR, Region 4A, and Region 3. Because of this substantial payment for hospital claims, Secretary Dizon said that a total of 171 ICU beds for critical patients have been added to the ICU beds in the NCR Plus, with additional 1,245 beds for moderate and severe from the additional COVID-19 wards that were opened in the NCR Plus.
Secretary Dizon said that the PhilHealth payment has also resulted in hospitals being able to increase capacities and procure critical care equipment and medicines, and hire additional staff through the assistance of the Department of Health. Dizon added that local government units (LGUs) and some private hospitals have also committed to expand their COVID beds allocations, with an initial commitment of additional 35 ICU or critical beds and additional 1,350 regular COVID beds for moderate, mild, and asymptomatic patients.
Aside from these additional bed capacities, Isolation Czar and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar reported in the same press briefing the status and number of quarantine and isolation facilities that the DPWH have completed, are on-going, and will soon build. Secretary Villar said that by the end of April, the target is to complete a total of 720 facilities with 26,259 bed capacities. These facilities include 15 modular hospitals with 516 bed capacity, 634 quarantine and isolation facilities with 23,284 bed capacity, 60 off-site dormitories with 1,456 bed capacity, and 11 technical assistance units with 1,0003 bed capacity.
The Isolation Czar also reported that among the quarantine facilities completed include the Alonte Sports Complex in Laguna, the PICC Forum, Rizal Memorial Coliseum, and a stand-alone quarantine facility made from container vans at the J.W. Diokno Boulevard in Pasay City. For off-site dormitories, Villar said that among the completed facilities are the ones in Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital and at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. For modular hospitals, there is one at the Batangas Medical Center in Batangas City and the recently completed 110 bed capacity facility at the Quezon Institute, a 16-bed capacity at the Lung Center Hospital, and another 22-bed capacity at the Dr. Jose Rodriguez Hospital.
Aside from these, more modular hospitals are in the DPWH pipeline said Villar. These include on-going construction of a 60-bed capacity modular hospital at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, two in Batangas City with 44 bed capacity, and one each at the Quirino Medical Center, Ospital ng Maynila, and Pasig City General Hospital, all with 22 bed capacity.
Meanwhile, on the matter of vaccine procurement, NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said that the signed supply agreements are the following: 25 million doses with Sinovac, 17 million doses for AstraZeneca, 20 million doses with Moderna, and 30 million with Novovax with additional 15 million currently being negotiated for the private sector and LGUs.
Secretary Galvez added that the Philippine government will also be signing a supply agreement with Johnson and Johnson for 6 million doses and with Gamaleya for 20 million doses, while negotiations with Pfizer is ongoing for 25-40 million doses.
On another matter, Sec. Roque confirmed, as earlier mentioned by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, that President Duterte is scheduled to have a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. ### OPS-PCOO