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Happy Eid-ul-Fitr 2021: Eid Mubarak

"Eid is a day to be grateful to Allah for all of his heavenly blessings on us. Wishing you a happy Eid!"

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Cotabato City set to lift ‘no movement Sunday’ policy

COTABATO CITY – The city's Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Tuesday announced that the “no movement Sunday” policy will be lifted on Nov. 7.

This came about as Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, concurrent city IATF chair, said that the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the city has gone down.

Citing data from the city health office, Sayadi said the city now only has 145 Covid-19 cases and the number continues to drop.

She cited the massive vaccination as one of the contributors that reduced the number of daily Covid-19 infections here.

She also acknowledged the public’s cooperation in observing minimum health protocols as another contributory factor.

Currently, the city has seven vaccination hubs on top of mobile vaccination teams and jab rollouts in malls and the city hall.

“To balance the economy and help our business sector to recover, the IATF decided to lift the ‘no movement Sunday’ that has been in effect in the city for at least a year,” Sayadi said.

“I appeal to everyone to continue the use of face mask, face shields and observe physical distancing as well as regular washing of hands,” she added. (PNA)

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Bacolod parents grateful for kids' Covid-19 jabs

BACOLOD CITY – Parents of minors with comorbidities in this city are thankful for the opportunity to have their children be protected against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) during the nationwide launch of the pediatric A3 vaccination on Oct. 29.

As of Tuesday, figures showed that Bacolod has recorded the most number of teen vaccine recipients in a single venue on that day.

Data obtained by the Emergency Operations Center-Task Force from the Department of Health (DOH) indicated that of all the vaccination sites where the rollout is done for minors, Bacolod City topped the list with 266 minors, aged 12 to 17, administered with Pfizer jabs at the Riverside College annex building situated behind the Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital.

In a video interview, Lilian Ruth Taborda said her child has expressed willingness to get vaccinated once the Covid-19 shots are made available for their age group.

Taborda welcomed the opportunity as she had then worried about her asthmatic child being infected with the virus since all their family members have already been inoculated against Covid-19 except for the minor.

“This is for our safety. The earlier, the better to avail of the vaccines. All of us at home are fully vaccinated so there is a need to have the children vaccinated as well,” said mom Ana Mae Valenzuela.

Antonio Tan, also a parent, said minors need to be vaccinated and he thanked the DOH and the city government led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia for their efforts.

Ellen Dionela, a grandmother of a 12-year-old boy with autism, said they have been waiting for the day that children with comorbidities will finally be able to avail of Covid-19 shots.

“We’re glad that he got vaccinated. We had fear because he has autism,” she added.

Following Bacolod City in the top 10 list were Manuel A. Roxas District Hospital, with 246 vaccinees; Gov. Faustino N. Dy District Hospital, 226; City of Ilagan Medical Center, 216; Caraga Regional Hospital, 206; Baguio City General Hospital and Medical Center, 168; Batanes General Hospital, 156; Echague District Hospital, 155; St. Paul Hospital Inc. in Iloilo City, 130; and Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City, 77.

In Bacolod, inoculation of minors with comorbidities will continue on Nov. 3 and 4 in the same venue while vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 without comorbidities will also be held in two shopping malls starting Nov. 3. (PNA)

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Cebu hospital deploys 40 volunteer health workers to Siquijor

CEBU CITY – A Department of Health-run regional hospital here is sending 40 volunteer healthcare workers to the island-province of Siquijor to augment the resident's healthcare needs amid the rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

In a statement, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) said the hospital management, led by Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., has worked with the DOH-Region 7 in sending Cebu-based healthcare workers to augment the number of medical front-liners.

“After VSMMC augmented healthcare needs in NCR Plus this year, we now travel to our beloved neighbor, Siquijor Province, to ensure the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ and camaraderie in this trying time of history. No one shall be left behind,” the VSMMC statement read.

The team sent to Siquijor included doctors, nurses, medical technologists, radiologic technologists, pharmacists and respiratory therapists.

The medical team left for Siquijor Monday night.

Despite limitations and needs, the regional hospital also offered equipment and supplies.

“We would like to express our thanks to the Philippine Army and Philippine Coast Guard for all the assistance. Let us continue to pray for our team and for our neighbor, Siquijor,” the statement read.

On Tuesday last week, the DOH-7 sent 10 nurses to Siquijor to augment its health workforce.

On October 19, it reported a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in Siquijor amid the efforts to contain the rise in infections that started in September.

The province has the lowest total number of coronavirus infections since last year but as of Monday, Siquijor was second from among the provinces in Central Visayas with the most number of cases at 1,507, tagging along Negros Oriental with 3,802 cases, while Cebu and Bohol have 722 and 688 cases, respectively.

Although it reported zero recoveries, about 38 percent or 935 of the 2,466 total number of Siquijor residents who tested positive for Covid-19 have recovered. It has had 24 total deaths since the pandemic broke out last year. (PNA)

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Congress approves creation of Bacolod ecozone body

BACOLOD CITY – The proposed legislation for the establishment of the Bacolod Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) has hurdled the third and final reading in the House of Representatives, Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya said Monday.

“We are positioning Bacolod just like Clark and Cavite, which has existing economic zones. This will not happen in an instant, but [we] have to lay the groundwork. Through legislation, we are preparing to position Bacolod as a possible investment site for major foreign companies,” Gasataya, who authored House Bill (H 5440, said in an interview.

The establishment of a special economic zone and its governing body for Bacolod would generate employment and allow skilled workers to stay, instead of seeking employment in other urbanized cities, he said.

Both foreign and local investors may invest in industries in the city such as manufacturing, which would lead to more competitive wage rates, he added.

A copy of HB 5440 has been received by the Senate.

“We are working out and following up within the week the bill with the committee it was assigned. It’s either they will adopt the bill I filed or introduce some amendments,” Gasataya said.

In the explanatory note of the bill, Gasataya pointed out that “with the vast economic growth it has accumulated over the years and brilliantly executed urban development plans, Bacolod City at present has the amenities to accommodate both local and foreign investments and further economic growth with little to no congestion issues in comparison to other metropolitan areas."

He mentioned strategically placed access points such as the Bacolod­-Silay Airport, Banago Wharf, Bredco Port and congestion-free routes in the city.

Gasataya also cited Section 6 of Republic Act 7916, otherwise known as the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 as amended, which clearly qualifies Bacolod to be a viable location for the establishment of an economic zone.

“We filed this bill in 2019 as existing economic zones in Clark and Cavite have shown promise in local economic, social, and cultural growth. Through this, we will be able to further propel growth for Bacolod,” he added. (PNA)

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‘Proper coordination’ sought in Cebu City vaccine trial

CEBU CITY – Acting Mayor Michael Rama on Monday reminded medical centers here conducting a clinical trial for any coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine brand to properly coordinate with the city government.

Rama said in a radio interview any medical researches that are conducted in the city must be “well coordinated” with the health officials as well as local medical experts to avoid concerns on missteps in the conduct of trials.

“They need to connect with the Cebu City Health Department before they conduct medical trials in our jurisdiction. We have the Local Government Code which said that no project could be implemented with the mayor and the City Council not being aware about it,” Rama said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Rama’s comment came after reports circulated on local media that a private hospital here is conducting a clinical trial for Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by a Chinese pharmaceutical company, WestVac Biopharma R&D.

Councilor David Tumulak also raised concerns in his privilege speech before the City Council on Wednesday (Oct. 13) over the clinical trial and urged the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health (DOH), and the city health department to investigate the matter.

Rama supported Tumulak’s call for an investigation by referring the case to “concerned agencies”.

However, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 chief pathologist, said in an earlier interview the conduct of clinical trial for the WestVac vaccine was properly coordinated with the office of Mayor Edgardo Labella.

Loreche said the pharmaceutical firm has secured a permit from the Ethics Board of the Department of Health and the proposal to conduct a clinical trial was submitted to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.

“Once the studies are completed, the result will be submitted to the medical experts, Food and Drug Administration and identified government agencies to determine if such vaccine is okay for use or not,” Loreche said.

The Philippine News Agency withheld the name of the private hospital pending investigation as requested by the city officials. (PNA)

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