Press Briefing

Public Briefing #LagingHandaPH hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar and PCOO Undersecretary Rocky Ignacio

Event Public Briefing #LagingHandaPH
Location PTV

SEC. ANDANAR: Magandang umaga, Pilipinas at sa buong mundo. Ngayon ay ikalabing-apat ng Setyembre, sama-sama muli nating alamin ang pinakahuling balita tungkol sa ating laban kontra COVID-19 at ang mga usapin tungkol sa granular lockdown at booster shots. Ako po ang inyong lingkod, Martin Andanar. Good morning, Usec. Rocky.

USEC. IGNACIO: Magandang umaga rin sa’yo, Secretary Martin. Bukod diyan ay pag-uusapan din natin ang mainit na issue tungkol naman sa nalalapit na 2022 election, ako naman po ang inyong lingkod, Usec. Rocky Ignacio mula sa PCOO.

SEC. ANDANAR: Simulan na natin ang makabuluhang talakayan dito sa Public Briefing #LagingHandaPH.

Isa sa mga usap-usapan ngayon ang paglalabas ng World Health Organization ng COVID vaccine booster moratorium hanggang sa katapusan ng taon, alamin natin ang kabuuang detalye patungkol diyan kasama si WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabi Abeyasinghe. Magandang umaga. Good morning, sir.

DR. RABINDRA ABEYASINGHE: Magandang umaga, Secretary Martin Andanar.

SEC. ANDANAR: Dr. Rabi, why did WHO called for a vaccine booster moratorium? What is the current situation of the global vaccine supply?

DR. RABINDRA ABEYASINGHE: Thank you, Secretary Martin. It’s a very important question because as we have highlighted there is still a huge vaccine inequity issue globally. And some of the most vulnerable people in the world have not been able to access even as a single dose of the vaccine. In light of this, WHO is asking for moratorium on booster doses.

But let me also clarify what we mean by booster dose – it means a third dose for people who have already received two doses of the vaccine. And really, we don’t have the evidence that people who have already received two vaccine doses of WHO EUL granted vaccines require a third dose.

The evidence we have, looking very closely, is that all WHO EUL listed vaccines still are effective in preventing severe disease and death. And the only exception to this is when those two doses have not been able to generate the required immunity because certain people have immunocompromised situations in their bodies, and those people may require a third dose.

Now, when we’re talking immunocompromised people, it may be elderly, it may be people who have other immune problems that may require a booster dose. Besides that, we are not seeing a need for population level booster dosing at this point of time. This is an evolving situation. WHO is working very closely with many of our research institutions and partner organizations to get a better evidence. But in the interim, our current position is that since the vaccines are effective in preventing severe disease and death that it is more important to address the global inequity in access to vaccines.

For example, if you look at it, WHO wanted requested countries to ensure that 10% of the most vulnerable people are fully vaccinated by the end of this month, in September, and 40% by the end of this year. If you look at it, 90% of high and high middle-income countries have already reached the ten percent target, and more than 70% have actually reached the 40% target.

But unfortunately, not a single low and middle-income country has reached the target, either of these targets, so we are nowhere near vaccine inequity. And the problem actually is that as long as there is vaccine inequity, as long as there are vulnerable people who are not protected, we leave room for the virus to multiple; we leave room for surges of outbreaks whether they have triggered by new variants or not, and this then results in further mutations. So that is why WHO is urging for moratorium on booster doses unless they are absolutely indicated in the case of immunocompromised individuals so that more equity can be achieved globally through vaccination.

Thank you.

SEC. ANDANAR: Would you say, Dr. Rabi—the WHO Director General said that this decision is to help low-income countries to vaccinate at least 40% of their population. Now that the Philippines have only vaccinated around 15%, now do you think that the 40% by year end is attainable?

DR. RABINDRA ABEYASINGHE: We continue to work with the Philippine government as with many other governments to ensure that those 40% targets are achieved. I might remind you that WHO through COVAX initiative agreed to provide enough vaccines to protect 20% of the population, the most vulnerable populations by the end of this year.

We have already provided 13 million doses. Those 13 million doses, three million doses were single dose J&J vaccines and ten million were double dose vaccines. So those vaccines have been able to fully protect eight million people already.

We are looking at increasing vaccine allocations for the Philippines. Actually, we have some good news this morning – COVAX has allocated a further 10 million doses to come to the Philippines within the next few weeks. So we continue to—and this was what we expected. We expect much larger consignments to come within this third and fourth quarter to the Philippines and to many other countries who are recipients of COVAX vaccines. And so, we will be mobilizing larger and larger quantities of vaccines so that we achieve that 20% population protection before the end of the year.

Thank you.

SEC. ANDANAR: What is the reaction of the vaccine producing countries to this moratorium? Will they comply?

DR. RABINDRA ABEYASINGHE: Well, it’s a complex issue because as we said, we are looking very carefully at the evidence. And the evidence right now shows that the available vaccines are effective in protecting from severe disease and death. We also note that the evidence is that the currently available vaccines when people are fully protected with them protect against the circulating new variants.

So, really, there is no justification at this point of time for a booster dose unless it is for immunocompromised individuals. And this is also a space that we are looking at because it is pretty complex. If we’re talking of a third dose of each vaccine, is it the same vaccine, can we look at combinations of vaccines? We simply don’t have the safety information. So it’s about the efficacy information and the safety information, and that’s why we are saying we are working together better evidence so that we can decide and recommend on policy issues.

In the interim, we see that the biggest benefit will be by addressing inequities and providing vaccination coverage to as many people especially the vulnerable as quickly as possible. Thank you.

SEC. ANDANAR: Dr. Rabi, how about the people—for the people coming from the vulnerable sector, will there be a compromise as to when and how they can receive their booster shots?

DR. ABEYASINGHE: That is right. Like what I explained, Secretary Martin, there is no need at this point of time for booster shots for people coming even from the vulnerable groups. The only group that may require a booster [shots] are those immunocompromised individuals.

So, we are looking very closely at the evolving evidence and we don’t have a recommendation as yet that vulnerable people require a booster unless they are immunocompromised. When we have better evidence, we will be in a position to provide such a recommendation. In the interim, we continue to say that the best use of vaccines will be to vaccinate the unvaccinated vulnerable people.

Thank you.

SEC. ANDANAR: With cases tallying from 20,000 to 26,000 a day, can you say that the Philippines is the new epicenter of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia? And do you think that our health care system can still bear the surge that we are experiencing right now?

DR. ABEYASINGHE: We have noticed that with the predominance of the Delta variant globally, many countries particularly in this part of the world now are experiencing surges. Several countries in our region reporting in or around 20,000 or excess cases and this is not unique to the Philippines.

This was expected, in fact, that’s why we were working before the Delta variant came, looking at the experience of other countries affected by the Delta variant to push for vaccination of the most vulnerable elderly groups so that we could prevent them falling sick, developing severe disease and causing a surge in the health care facilities.

We have made progress but unfortunately the progress in the Philippines has been painfully slow. We still have nearly 3.6 million elderly people who have not received a single shot. This is unfortunate, it is unsatisfactory, its also a reflection of the inequity that we are seeing globally happening within countries which we need to correct urgently.

So, as COVAX delivers more and more vaccine, we urge for protecting the most vulnerable as quickly as possible and that includes the elderly because we see that seven out of ten death in the Philippines are reported in this group of about sixty. So, if we really want to protect to lives and if we want to protect lives, we need to use the vaccines that are coming to protect these people.

So yes, we are seeing increase in transmission, we are actually seeing more than double the number of active cases that we saw during the surge in April. But so far the health care system has been holding up and that’s largely because we are seeing fewer cases in among the vaccinated particularly here in NCR where you have about 80% of your elderly fully vaccinated. So, this is good.

But there are areas in the country where the elderly vaccination coverage is just over 24%. This is unsatisfactory. We need to correct this as quickly as possible because we are seeing a surge affecting many other regions and in many regions in the Philippines, the elderly coverage is still below 40%, so, we need to do better. And we urge the local chief executives and the local health authorities to prioritize, to create avenues so that these most elderly people can be vaccinated and their lives protected.

At the same time, we also need to make sure that with this unprecedented number of cases, we do everything possible to reduce and control transmission and that includes non-pharmaceutical interventions; our quarantine levels – how we manage that. We need to be very careful that in our messaging we don’t send the wrong signals to the population.

We need to ensure that the moment restrictions that have allowed us to hold at this level, maintain till we see a decrease in the transmission trend because if any changes in the policy result in a further increase in transmission, this could result in an overwhelming of the already stretched health care facilities.

So, let us be very careful in addressing this evolving situation. It’s about vaccinating the most vulnerable people but it’s also about ensuring full compliance with the minimum public health standards. This is the way we can break the change of transmission and reduce the transmission and protect more lives. It’s important.

WHO has, from the beginning, stated that we want two priorities in this response to the pandemic: It is protecting lives and protecting the economy and allowing for economic revival. But to do that, first and foremost, we need to ensure that hospital systems are not overwhelmed; health care workers are not overwhelmed.

The way to do that is to prioritize vaccination of the most vulnerable – elderly and comorbid populations across the country. They should not create inequity within the country when we are vaccinating people.

Thank you.

SEC. ANDANAR: Is the number of vaccinated population of Metro Manila already enough to drop the stricter restrictions previously implemented by the IATF?

DR. ABEYASINGHE: We have significant population coverage within NCR. I believe it’s about 60% now, but this is not adequate at this point to relax quarantine positions. Now, you may re-craft the terminology but basically what we are advising is make sure that those restrictions are followed; that we don’t relax too much because we are not in a position where we can relax and experience a further worsening of this transmission level because our health system are just holding up.

If there is a further increase in the current transmission levels, it could lead to an overwhelming of the hospital systems, that’s why we need to be very careful in calibrating how we respond to the current situation.

SEC. ANDANAR: We have some media questions, I’ll turn you over you to Usec. Rocky Ignacio.

USEC. IGNACIO: Good morning, Dr. Rabindra. From Caroline Bonquin of CNN Philippines: Will the WHO consider giving a special consideration or exemption on giving booster shots to health workers?

DR. ABEYASINGHE: Usec. Rocky, I juts explained that we don’t see a need to at this point of time for universal booster doses for all health care workers. Among health care workers also there could be immunocompromised individuals and there may be a need for those individuals to receive a booster shot. But universal administration of booster shots for even health care workers at this point of time, WHO does not have a recommendation to support that.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Dr. Rabindra, this question is from Red Mendoza of Manila Times: Critics of the Philippine Government’s response for COVID-19 say that the [garbled] do its experiment anymore on granular lockdowns and instead focus on harder lockdowns and giving financial aid which the government is not anymore capable of. What does the WHO say about this criticisms the government’s response?

DR. ABEYASINGHE: Usec. Rocky, it’s a good question. I’m not addressing the criticisms per se, what I am saying is that in the light of the current levels of transmission, we need to maintain the levels of restriction that have helped us to hold the current levels of transmission and not create a situation where it could increase.

Now, how those levels of restrictions are implemented whether they are called quarantine classifications, whether they’re all granular lockdowns, does not fundamentally matter. The issue is that the people and other stakeholders need to realize that there is continuing transmission, that there is an important element that we need to reduce movement, we need to ensure compliance with the restrictions, because if we relax further, it is likely that with such a transmissible variant here, we will see more cases.

So what it is called is immaterial, as long as we message clearly to the public that we need to follow the restrictions so that we reduce the transmission. This is what is most important at this point of time. Thank you.

USEC. IGNACIO: Dr. Rabi, question from Red Mendoza of Manila Times: A columnist of our paper said that the WHO has been pondering to the DOH because of your continued support to the wearing of face shields and should speak more frankly on the faults of the government’s COVID-19 response. What can you say about this?

DR. ABEYASINGHE: Position on face shields has been articulated quite clearly several times so I don’t need to reply to this question again.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Dr. Rabi, what is your parting message to the public?

DR. ABEYASINGHE: Parting message is that we are in a very critical situation. We need to do everything possible. We need to ensure that most our vulnerable have access to vaccines and are vaccinated fully. We need to ensure that everybody does everything possible to follow the minimum public health standards and ensure that there is less room for transmission and that is everybody’s responsibility. Every individual needs to do the maintaining of the physical distancing, the hand hygiene, the wearing of masks so that we can ensure that there is no continuing transmission of the virus and we can break the chains of transmission.

If we are having signs and symptoms, we need to quarantine, isolate, get ourselves tested. We need to improve our testing regimes. We need to improve contact tracing mechanisms. We need to further expand our healthcare system so that we can manage the increase in number of patients who require the support when they develop severe disease and we need to communicate quite clearly that the risk is not passed. We still have a long way to go in this battle and we need to continue to work together in unison to ensure that we can reduce the transmission and come out of this situation. Thank you.

SEC. ANDANAR: [Off mic] to the Philippines, Dr. Rabi Abeyasinghe. Stay safe, sir.

DR. ABEYASINGHE: Thank you so much, Secretary Andanar.

SEC. ANDANAR: Iyan po muna ang ating pagsasaluhan ngayong Martes. See you all tomorrow. Usec. Rocky…

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary Martin.

Samantala sa iba pa nating balita: Binuksan na po ang ika-isandaan at tatlumpu’t siyam na Malasakit Center sa bansa na matatagpuan po sa COVID referral hospital na Quirino Memorial Medical Center. Ang naturang Malasakit Center ang pangsampu sa lungsod ng Quezon. Narito ang report:


USEC. IGNACIO: Samantala alamin naman po natin ang updates ng COVID-19 sa bansa:

As of 4 P.M. kahapon, pumalo na sa 2,248,071 ang kabuuang kaso ng COVID-19 sa Pilipinas kung saan 20,745 sa mga ito ay bagong naitala.
Nasa 180,293 na individual naman po mula sa kabuuang bilang ang patuloy na ginagamot o nasa mandatory quarantine.
22,290 din ang nadagdag sa mga gumaling kahapon kaya umabot na sa 2.032,471 ang total recoveries.
Sa kabilang banda, 163 naman po ang nadagdag sa mga nasawi.
Ang total deaths sa ngayon po ay 35,307.

Patuloy po ang aming paalala na sumunod tayo sa ipinatutupad na standard health protocols. Ugaliin nating magsuot ng face mask at face shield kung tayo ay lalabas ng bahay. Ngunit kung hindi naman kailangan ay stay at home muna tayo. Ibayong pag-iingat po ang ating gawin laban sa COVID-19!

Puntahan naman po natin ang balitang nakalap ng ating kasamahan sa Philippine Broadcasting Service mula sa iba’t ibang lalawigan sa bansa. Ihahatid ‘yan ni Ria Arevalo mula sa PBS-Radyo Pilipinas:


USEC. IGNACIO: Maraming salamat sa iyo, Ria Arevalo.

Inilabas na po ng IATF kagabi ang inaabangan [guidelines] para sa pilot implementation ng alert level system for COVID-19 response sa National Capital Region. Dito magpu-focus po ang pamahalaan sa granular lockdown. [Unclear] ng tao at mga magbubukas na establisyimento sa alert level system ng DOH. Para ipaliwanag iyan ng husto, narito po si Usec. Ma. Rosario Vergeire, ang tagapagsalita po ng Department of Health.

DOH USEC. VERGEIRE: Good morning everyone. Today, I will be presenting a ‘Briefer’ in the Alert Level System that will be used in the pilot implementation of the proposed community quarantine policy shift in the National Capital Region.

First, let me provide a brief situationer. Confirmed cases shows a steep increase and has exceeded the 7-day moving average. Our epidemic curve shows that the latest peak at the 4th week of August has surpassed the peak seen last April of 2021. Cases from September 6 to 12 recorded 20, 959 cases per day, an increase of 2,675 or 15% cases per day compared to the previous week of 18,284 cases. The National Capital Region contributed 28%, Region IV-A 22% and Region III at 11% to new cases in September. Nationally, we remain to be at high risk case classification with a positive two-week growth rate at 27% and a high risk average daily attack rate, which increased to 17.81 cases for every 100,000 individuals.

Twelve regions were also classified as high risk. A lower positive two-week growth rate was seen nationally and in eight regions: National Capital Region, Region IV-A, CAR, Regions II, III, X, CARAGA and Region XII. The total bed and ICU utilization rate at high risk nationally and for seven regions, which are CAR, Region IV-A, Region II,III,XI, X and CARAGA. The NCR maintains a positive two-week growth rate and a high risk average daily attack rate and it’s currently at high risk case classification. The ADAR increase from 29.69 in the previous week to 39 per 100,000 population in the recent week. Total bed utilization was at upper limit of moderate risk and ICU utilization is at high risk.

We would also like to show the analysis we did for our mortality, health care utilization and detect to isolate data. We looked at case fatality per region and we saw that nationally, the case fatality rate was lower this year at 1.49% versus that from last year at 2.47%. The National Capital Region had the highest cases on deaths in 2021, but its case fatality rate was the lowest among all of the regions at .94%. It also had the highest full vaccination coverage at almost 60%.

We computed the case fatality rate per month or the proportion of deaths among cases, who were positive for this month. We noted that the highest case fatality rate was in March to April of 2020 at 10 to 19%. This decreased to around 2% by August of 2020 and further decreased to less than 2% by February of 2021. August of 2021 had the lowest monthly case fatality rate at 1.04%, but this should be interpreted with cautions, since there are delays in reporting of deaths. Comparing August 20 to September 20, 2021, the number of total COVID-19 beds increased from 13,000 to 40,000 that is 210% higher and ICU beds from 1,247 to 4,209 or 223% higher.

While utilization rates were highest this August to September of 2021, had we not increased our beds, utilization rates for August to September could have reached critical risk, given that our ADAR and ICU admissions increased to almost twice compared to April of 2021.

Case detection to isolation time seem to improve from last year. However, there was no significant improvement in this interval which was seen across 2021. Since March of 2021, detection to isolation have remained within 6 to 7 days.

In the National Capital Region, the trend mirrors that of the national level. However, unlike the National Health Care Utilization Rates, the ICU utilization were lower for August and September of 2021, versus April of 2021, despite a higher ADAR and a two-fold increase in the ICU admissions as total beds increase to 10,401 and ICU beds to 1,044 beds. Detection to isolation interval in the region also improved in 2021. With only little improvement through the months as interval remains within 6 to 8 days since December of 2020.

Let us now look at our health care worker data. Case fatality rate is lower in health care workers than the general population and has remained below 1% since April of 202o. Looking at the national trends, while the peak in cases in March to April 2021 saw an accompanying increase in the number of cases and deaths among our healthcare workers. The number of healthcare workers cases and deaths were lower in April of 2021 and August of 2021 versus July to August of 202o.

The reduction in healthcare workers cases and deaths were more apparent in the National Capital Region with only 5 deaths reported in 2021. No death has been reported since June of 2021 for the National Capital Region.

Note that the vaccine coverage for healthcare workers is 96% nationally and 94.7% in the National Capital Region. While we can see that there are more healthcare worker infections and cases in the past weeks, their case fatality remains to be low most likely due to the high vaccination coverage and the protection of vaccines against severe disease and deaths.

Our next analysis is among our elderly population. The case fatality rate among our older population was highest in March of 2020 at 31.4% nationally and 30.38% for the National Capital Region. It’s started to decrease to less than 10% since February this year. Even during the peak in cases last April of 2021, the monthly case fatality rate was only at 6.82%. Cases and deaths among senior citizens increased in 2021 versus 202o both in the National and in the NCR data.

But looking at the August 2020 peak, we have 8,838 elderly cases and 940 deaths. Comparing this to the April of 2021 peak, where elderly cases which 18,231 with 971 deaths, which is only slightly higher than the deaths in August of 2020.

Note that the vaccination coverage for elderlies is 50% nationally; and 81.49% for the National Capital Region.

Now let us look at the rationale for this policy shift and the use of our alert level system. This shift in our community quarantine policy was deemed necessary due to the following reasons: First as we can see in the graph shown, we are more mobile during the latest ECQ last month then during the ECQ in April of 2021 as more essential activities and workers were allowed.

Second, it was found that 80% of our new cases only came from a small proportion of our barangays doing the spatial temporal analysis, this supports the move to focus on locking down selected granular areas rather than the entire province or highly urbanized city or independent component city which heavily impacts our economy.

And lastly, disease model projection show that lower cases can be achieved when we improved on our minimum public health standards, case detection to isolation time and vaccine coverage even at lower community quarantine classifications.

This highlights the importance of active case finding, intensive contact tracing and testing early isolation of infected individuals and enforcement of minimum health public standards plus vaccinations.

So, now we go to our alert level system. First let us answer the question of what is an alert level? Alert levels were designed to be a guide on what needs to be done giving the current COVID-19 situation in an area.

Each alert level is a companied by set of interventions to focus on across the different component strategies of the national COVID-19 response. Given this, it is an action focused approach to classifying areas. An alert level is not equal to the community quarantine classification. The current community classification framework focuses on health care utilization to escalate whereas alert levels look in to both case data and the COVID-19 beds utilization to classify areas.

Furthermore, this alert level classification can be a basis for establishing a feedback loop to ensure that actions are done to address any worsening in the COVID-19 situation in the area. Unlike the previous framework, for community quarantine classifications where escalation are solely based from the health care utilization rate, the alert level consider both his classification and utilization rates and this is see more encompassing view of the COVID-19 situation in an area.

Using this matrix, we can delineate increases in utilization that is driven by increasing cases and will be the basis for classification to higher alert levels. This is a visual presentation of the alert level systems. In this framework, it is shown that alert level classifications considered both case transmission and bed utilization in its classifications of areas under Alert Levels 1 to 5.

Using this criteria, the National Capital Region will be under Alert Level 4 given the following matrix: In terms of case classification, the National Capital Region is at high risk given a moderate risk two weeks growth rate at 28% and a high risk average daily attack rate at 39 per 100,000 cases or population. On itself capacity, total bed utilization of NCR is at moderate risk at 69.58%.However, ICU utilization is currently at 77.58%. We shall be regularly assessing the situation in the National Capital Region to monitor the changes in cases and utilization data as well as the implementation of the recommended strategies and activities in that reduction of case transmission and hospitalization utilization during fight—ulit.

Uulitin ko rin talaga, sige. Using these criteria, the National Capital Region will be under level—using these criteria the National Capital Region will be under Alert Level 4 given the following matrix: In terms of case classification, NCR is at high risk given a moderate risk two week growth rate at 28% and a high risk average daily attack rate of 39 per 100,000 population; on its health capacity, the total bed utilization of NCR is at moderate risk at 69.58% however, ICU utilization is currently at 77.58%. We shall be regularly assessing the situation in the National Capital Region to monitor changes in cases and utilization data as well as the implementation of the recommended strategies and activities aimed at reduction of case transmission and hospital utilization during this policy shift pilot implementation.

In this slide, we summarize the action for its per alert level, here we focus on eight response components and we try to indicate here the difference in approach for its component for Alert Level. However, it must be noted that while there are certain differences, some of the interventions remain constant in each intervention.

In particular, we note the components that more or less stay the same for Alert Level while others have more specific instructions per Alert Level: First is case detection, this is crucial in all level. We simply emphasize that in areas with increasing cases and bed utilization this must be further intensified to ensure that cases are found and managed. Whole genome sequencing, Alert Levels 1 and 2 would focus on securing samples for representatives in the area. In Alert Level 3 to 5, samples will be taken from priority areas; meaning, areas with a unusual spike that identified clusters. This is to see if a known or new vaccine of concern is riding the increase in the number of cases. Third is risk-based Testing using RT-PCR. It shall be implemented across all Alert Levels.

However, we may use antigen test in Alert Level 3 and up to facilitate fast to detection of cases among the symptomatic and the close contacts. Fourth is contact tracing, It should priorities location, assessment and the quarantining of close contacts. Next is isolation, which is to be done regardless of Alert Levels. Facility isolation still encouraged, the next will be on triage referral up to treatment.

The presence of a good triage and referral system and adequate beds and health care human resources, lowers our health care facility utilization rate and ensures that severe and critical cases which require admission are prioritized.

In the higher Alert Levels, focus will be on addressing increasing health care and critical care capacity to accommodate increasing admissions and lastly, vaccination, it shall be fast tracked with our A1, A2 and A3 population at most priority as they have the highest risk for severe disease and fatality.

For areas in Alert Levels 3 to 5, vaccine deployment will be re-priorities to areas with increase of number of cases. For alert 5, approach is almost similar to Alert Level 4, but guidelines applicable to ECQ shall be observed. Over all, as the Alert Level increases, there will be an increasing focus and intensity in the interventions to be implemented.

The Alert Levels 1,2,34 and 5 would not be the same as the previous community quarantine restrictions since it also considers the three ‘Cs’ framework – Closed, crowded and closed contact in allowing certain activities.

The country is moving towards more targeted and recalibrated actions towards high risk activities imposing this localized or granular lockdowns at the households and barangay levels and implementing targeted response strategies to prevent transmission and eventually reduce economic strain.

Alongside the shift in this policy, we must continue to religiously and correctly adhere the minimum public health standards and ramp up our vaccination and prioritize the most vulnerable and high risk population. Maraming salamat po!

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you Usec. Vergeire.

At para po sagutin ang ilang katanungan tungkol sa bagong granular lockdown system, makakausap po natin muli si DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III. Good morning po Usec.

DILG USEC. DENSING: Magandang umaga Usec. Rocky, at sa lahat ng ating mga media partners, magandang umaga rin po.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo, Usec. Mula kay Sam Medenilla ng Business Mirror: Magkakaroon po kaya daw ng rule for traveling between cities during the pilot of the Alert Level System in the NCR which will be under Alert Level 4? Paano po ba kaya ma-avoid iyong confusion sa mga taong dadaan sa different cities during the said period?

DILG USEC. DENSING: Sa Alert Level 4, intra and inter-zonal travels are really allowed. So, wala ho tayong distinction kung bibiyahe tayo from one city to another dito sa Kalakhang Maynila at wala ring problema kung lalabas ho tayo ng Kalakhang Maynila. May pagluwag po ang ating pagbibiyahe at ang restriction ay manggagaling na lamang po doon sa lokalidad ng ating pupuntahan.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Sunod po niyang tanong: Saan po kukunin at magkano po ang budget na ia-allocate ng national government to help LGUs in implementing granular lockdowns under the alert system?

DILG USEC. DENSING: Wala ho akong mababanggit na amount ‘no, pero, ang usapan at napagkasunduan po, kalahati ng requirements ng food pacts ng isang area na iga-granular lockdown ay sasagutin po ng pambansang gobyerno at kasama na rin po iyong pangangailangan doon kagaya po ng medisina at mga PPEs para masigurado na hindi rin mahawaan iyong mga taong mag-i-implement ng granular lockdowns.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Ang last question po ni Sam Medenilla: In areas currently under granular lockdowns in NCR, is this expected to increase once na ma-implement na po ang alert system?

DILG USEC. DENSING: Well, base sa ating istatistika ngayon, tumataas na po iyong mga numero ng areas na gina-granular lockdown dahil banggit ko nga bago pa man itong mga alert system na ating ipapatupad ay nagpapatupad na po tayo ng granular lockdowns.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Usec., totoo po daw na posibleng walang magiging prior warnings ang mga lugar [kung saan mataas ang] COVID-19 cases na isasailalim po sa lockdown kagaya po ng sinabi ni DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya? Hindi kaya maging sanhi pa iyan ng friction sa mga residente at implementing agency?

DILG USEC. DENSING: Well, hindi naman ho siya hard rule ano? Mangyayari lang po iyong walang warning kung alam na po natin na iyong isang area ay clustered na iyong mga kaso at matagal nang nangyayari baka ipatupad pa rin ang importanteng pagla-lockdown ng madalian ‘no. Importante masunod po iyong proseso na ang magrirekomenda ng isang granular lockdown ay manggagaling sa local health office.

May posibilidad po na magkakaroon ng prior notice, depende na po sa local na gobyerno. Pero, may mga panuntunan din po iyan na kapag ang isang area ay nasa granular lockdown, kung may palalabasin lang para ho mamili ng pangangailangan ng bahay bago ipatupad ang isang lockdown, isang tao lang po para sa bawat bahay.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Nabanggit po sa Laging Handa noong Sabado, kasama ang vaccine bubble na isinusulong ng DTI at ni Secretary Joey Conception. Kasama po bang na-approve ito for [September] 16 implementation?

DILG USEC. DENSING: Opo. Sa alert level 4 po, mayroon lang tayong tatlong aktibidades na exempted or gagamitan po ng exemption sa in-door activity. Ito po iyong in-door dining, ito po iyong religious activities at saka personal care.

Pinapayagan po ng up to 10% capacity ng tatlong aktibidades na ito ang pagpasok ng mga taong fully vaccinated. So, ito po ang exemption to the general rule sa Alert Level 4, all the rest po ay hindi pupuwede at babanggitin ko po na dito rin sa tatlong aktibidades na ito, pinapayagan po up to 30% capacity naman kung gagawin po ito sa labas.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Usec., kunin ko na lang iyong mensahe mo sa ating mga kababayan.

DILG USEC. DENSING: Sa ating mga kababayan inuulit po natin, naka-pilot po tayo sa Kalakhang Maynila from September 16 to September 30 nitong mga alert levels at iyong granular lockdowns, patuloy po natin itong gagawin sa buong bansa.

Ang importante po dito, sumunod po tayo sa ating minimum public health standard. Paulit-ulit po dahil again ito po ang pinakamabisang pamamaraan para hindi tayo mahawa at makapanghawa at kung maging matagumpay po tayo nito ibig sabihin po nagiging totoo po ang ating hangarin na hindi po kumalat ang COVID-19 at mabawasan po ang ating mga kababayan na mai-infection nitong COVID-19 na ating dinaranas ngayon.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Maraming salamat po sa inyong panahon, Usec. Epimaco Densing III ng DILG.


USEC. IGNACIO: Kaugnay pa rin po sa nalalapit na election, nagkalat din ngayon ang mga maling impormasyon [tungkol kay Senator Bong Go]. Kaya naman may babala si Sen. Bong Go, tungkol dito. Narito po ang detalye:


USEC. IGNACIO: Balikan naman po natin ang mga balitang nakalap mula sa iba’t-ibang lalawigan sa bansa. Mula sa Cordillera Region, magbabalita si Alah Sungduan.


USEC. IGNACIO: Maraming salamat sa iyo, Alah Sungduan.

Sa Visayas naman po, may ulat si John Aroa.


USEC. IGNACIO: Maraming salamat sa iyo John Aroa ng PTV-Cebu.

At sa Davao Region, may report si Jay Lagang.


USEC. IGNACIO: Maraming salamat sa iyo, Jay Lagang ng PTV-Davao.

Maraming salamat din po sa ating mga partner agency para sa kanilang suporta sa ating programa at maging ang Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

At dito na po nagtatapos ang isang oras nating tapat na balitaan, ako po si Usec. Rocky Ignacio ng PCOO. Magkita-kita po muli tayo bukas dito sa Public Briefing #LagingHandaPH.


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