updated on 20.11.2020
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has previously criticised Western manufacturers for asking fees to reserve vaccines, has agreed to pay drugmakers in advance to secure millions of COVID-19 shots, his spokesman said on Thursday.
Duterte had also 'approved in principle' an executive order so that vaccines, which had been approved overseas for emergency use, can be utilised in the Philippines, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said. (Gulfnews, 20.11)
updated on 30.10.2020
The United Nations (UN) in the Philippines has mobilized some P1.4 billion through 150 COVID-19 rapid-response activities being implemented by 20 UN agencies throughout the country.
“In the Philippines, the UN has moved swiftly to support the government-led effort to contain COVID-19 and limit its socioeconomic impact,’ said Gustavo Gonzalez, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines. “Our support combines the reorientation of existing interventions to cope with the crisis, the implementation of timely impact assessments as well as technical assistance and in-kind support to national, regional and community partners.”
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 29) — With less than two months before the Bayanihan 2 law expires, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it has released ₱77.98 billion out of the ₱140 billion allocated for the government's COVID-19-related programs.
This will be used to augment human resources for health, provide special risk allowances and hazard duty pay to health workers, and increase operations of DOH hospitals, according to DBM.
As part of the national government's efforts to conduct mass testing, it began setting up "mega swabbing centers" in May 2020 by re-purposing various existing facilities. The first of such facility opened at the Palacio de Manila along Roxas Boulevard on May 5. These facilities uses reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kits. The facilities are meant to prioritize the testing of around 25,000 Overseas Filipino Worker repatriates. Two more facilities opened: at the Enderun Colleges in Taguig and the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay
A fourth facility is set to be opened at the Philippine Arena which will test residents of Bulacan and Metro Manila. All swab samples collected from the testing centers will be processed by the Philippine Red Cross.
As of September 2020, the Philippine Government has reported that over 3 million people have been tested.
The enactment into law of the Republic Act. No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” or “Bayanihan Act 2” on 11 September, 2020 is not only a huge boost to the COVID-19 response of the Philippines, but more than anything, it is a piece of legislation that provides large funding to fortify the economic recovery efforts of the Philippines from the devastation caused by the pandemic.
The law also extended PHP 4.5 billion (US$92.8 million) to the Department of National Defense (DND) to cover expenses in isolating and treating returning overseas Filipino workers who test positive for COVID-19, and PHP 820 million (US$16.9 million) for repatriation-related expenses, including the shipment of remains and cremation of Overseas Filipinos who died of COVID-19.
(updated 12 April 2020)
On OWWA's promised hotel accomodation
- In March, OWWA offered to pay for the expenses (food, accomodation) for returning OFWs
- OWWA was under from OFWs and netizens a few weeks ago for neglecting newly arrived OFWs in an overcrowded OWWA shelter in Pasay City.
On DOLE AKAP
- Only 150,000 OFWs will be getting the one-time financial assistance of Php 10K or US$200 from DOLE. This is even less than half of the 420,000 OFWs expected to return back to the Philippines due to the COVID-19 recession.
Excluded from Duterte’s DOLE-AKAP Php10K financial aid are the following:
- OFW frontliners
- OFWs on No-work-No-pay arrangements
- OFWs with reduced salaries
- OFWs who have finished contracts but are unable to return back to the Philippines due to flight cancellations and host-country lockdowns.
- Stranded OFWs in Luzon who are unable to leave due to the lockdown.
- OFWs unable to leave because they are under quarantine or self-isolation
- Balik Manggagawa stranded due to the lockdown in the Philippines
- OFW health workers affected by the suspension on overseas deployment.
- Terminated or runaway household workers whose cases are misinterpreted as non-COVID related.
- Filipino migrants under education or cultural exchange programmes like US J-1 visa holders and Au Pairs in Europe.
- Trafficking victims
- Stranded undocumented Filipinos in Sabah
- Jailed OFWs
- OFWs abandoned in shelters
- OFWs from China, Thailand, Belgium, Vietnam and other affected countries excluded from the list of priority countries
Demands from Migrante International and Filipino migrant groups:
- For Duterte government to put forward a more comprehensive plan of coverage to all OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Displaced OFWs deserve mass testing, decent quarantine facilities, free medical and welfare assistance.
- Government aid and relief must be delivered to OFWs and their families upon their arrival, post-quarantine and consistently all throughout the entire duration of the lockdown.
The Philippine Department of Labor and Employment has released a total of Php36.5 billion (US$717.58 million) assistance package, which includes support for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose work has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. A cash assistance of over Php10,000 (US$200) will be provided to OFWs who may have been laid-off or displaced as an impact of the said crisis.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) launched the “Hatid Sundo” (Pick up and Accompany) program to assist returning OFWs to go back to their respective families.
No stimulus or financial assistance program has been launched by the government in response to the economic impact the outbreak has on the Filipino people.
The number of overseas Filipino workers is pegged at 2.3 million.