DoH warns vs posting COVID-19 patients’ names online

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) warned the public against posting names of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients online. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said sharing of names of patients publicly may breach the laws on notifiable diseases and data privacy. “We are violating yung karapatan ng isang tao (the right of a person) to confidentiality and yung kanyang (and his/her) privacy,” she said in a briefing on Monday. She also appealed to the public and officials to be more considerate of COVID-19 patients and stop the stigma and discrimination against them. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Duterte tells soldiers to ‘fight hard’ vs terrorists, but peace table open

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte rallied soldiers to continue fighting terrorists after two bombings in Jolo, Sulu last week that claimed the lives of 14, including soldiers, and wounded at least 75 others. “If we cannot really agree, then we fight and we fight hard hanggang magkaubusan na (until everyone is dead). Maybe by that time… wala ng giyera (the war will end),” Mr. Duterte said in a speech to troops in Jolo on Sunday evening. The Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which has its stronghold in the southern island of Sulu, is suspected to be behind the blasts. At the same time, Mr. Duterte called for continued openness to peace initiatives, particularly with the help of local leaders. “Why don’t you try to help me within the next few months (of my) last term just to talk about peace? It need not really be a — an arrangement, just talk about peace,” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez 

Senator seeks probe on PPE procurement

A RESOLUTION has been filed in the Senate seeking to look into the government’s procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly on reports that imported supplies are favored over local production. Senate Resolution No. 506 calls for an inquiry on the implementation of the Bayanihan PPE Project led by the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Bureau of Investments (BI). “We have the supply, we have the quality, and we have the funds — bakit patuloy pa ang mass importation natin (why do we continue with mass importation)?” Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said in a statement on Monday. The resolution cited that some 57.6 million PPEs are being produced monthly by the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPEs (CPMP) under the project, but the government has so far procured only 10 million. Ms. Baraquel also filed Senate Bill No. 1796, which will give priority to local manufacturers in the procurement of PPEs, medicines among other essentials. Also on Monday, another lawmaker asked the Health department to discourage the use of rapid testing to screen people for COVID-19 due to its “very low” reliability. “There have been plenty of reports that these rapid tests produce false positive and false negative results,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez said in a statement. He added that rapid testing had already been banned in countries such as Australia, Dubai and India. — Charmaine A. Tadalan 

Lizada asserts sub judice rule does not apply to Congressional inquiry

CIVIL SERVICE Commissioner Aileen Lourdes A. Lizada stood by her earlier statement that the sub judice rule “does not apply to a case under investigation if it is done in aid of legislation.” She cited a Supreme Court ruling as well as the Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) Citizen’s Charter. “I say it again, may evidence, mayroon po tayong basehan (we have evidence, we have basis),” she said in an online press conference Monday. Ms. Lizada made the assertion after CSC Chairman Alicia dela Rosa-Bala denied suppressing information amid the Congressional inquiry on alleged irregularities at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. Ms. Bala cited the sub judice rule which regulates publications on matters that are already under court proceedings. — Gillian M. Cortez