MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Responding to a public outcry against its new rule requiring a barrier between motorcycle driver and spouse/partner rider, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved a third, no-cost alternative to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Earlier, the IATF required motorcycle drivers to mount a plexiglass barrier to separate them from authorized back riders (limited to spouses or partners living in the same household). It also approved a backpack-type barrier to be worn by the driver.
Many citizens protested the new rule, citing both safety and extra cost to motorcycle owners.
During an emergency meeting held today in Malacañang, the IATF approved a third option that will not cost a single penny to motorcycle owners.
The alternative involves the motocycle rider facing away (opposite direction) from the driver to prevent exposure to possibly-infected respiratory moisture or droplets.
The new rule still requires both driver and ride to wear a face mask. Proof of marriage or cohabitation must also be presentation at checkpoints, or when stopped by law enforcers.
The people have spoken. IATF has listened.
MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – In the Philippines, history is about to repeat itself.
In his latest televised address to the Filipinos, President Rodrigo Duterte said a vaccine for Covid-19 is just “around the corner.”
But first, some history:
In the spring of 2016, Dengvaxia had a high-profile launch in the Philippines, as the country became the first in the world to access the live recombinant tetravalent vaccine. The Department of Health spent $67 Million on Dengvaxia and kicked off a mass immunization program with the aim of vaccinating a million students by the end of the year. The immunization program was launched even before completion of the required Phase 3 of the clinical trials.
(Almost all newly-approved drugs would also usually go through a Phase 4 after it is made available in the market to further study their safety and efficacy in the population at large.)
It turns out the Philippines may have jumped the gun on the vaccine after numerous reports of children dying as a result of the immunization. Dengvaxia’s manufacturer, Sanofi, also issued a rejoinder later, saying that their vaccine poses some risk to those who have never had a history of Dengue.
Fast forward to 2020.
The availability of a vaccine has become the Duterte administration’s main mantra in its policies and strategies to curb the spread of the novel coronovirus among the Filipino population. So, one can understand why Duterte and his brilliant Secretary of Health Francisco Duque are more than ready to jump the gun on the first available Covid-19 vaccine from candidate developers in China and elsewhere.
So, is the Philippines poised to repeat history? Maybe, with some difference.
In 2016, the “guinea pigs” for Dengvaxia were school children. In 2020, Duterte has prioritized the following for the government’s Covid-19 vaccine :
(In no particular order)
- Poorest of the poor
- Middle Class
- Members of the New People’s Army
No mention if Duque will be getting the first dose of the new Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Philippine Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros knows the power of social media, and so she uses her Twitter account to criticize the Duterte administration and everything and everyone that’s connected to the President, including China.
In an obvious reference to China’s claim over territories in the South China Sea that the Philippines asserts its sovereignty over, Hontiveros posted a selfie wearing a face mask she ordered from the online shopping portal Lazada.
The mask had an inscription that says, “Amin ang Pinas,” (The Philippines is ours).
In her caption, she stated: “To China: Amin ang Pinas. Ngayon at magpakailanman.” (To China: the Philippines is ours. Now and forever.)
But alas, Hontiveros failed to notice the fine print on the face mask she wore. It was made in China!
Many netizens also noticed her selfie showed her with a clenched fist, a trademark widely attributed to Duterte and his supporters.