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PH vax rollout should be inclusive

ALL industries should be allowed to procure anti-COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers to ensure all Filipinos including workers are covered by the national inoculation program.

Reports indicated a supposed draft guideline of the Department of Health on the procurement of anti-COVID-19 vaccines is disallowing certain industries including tobacco from buying the said life-saving medicines.

Earlier, various sectors led by the business community called on the national task force or NTF against COVID-19 to allow companies to purchase the vaccines to help the government roll out the inoculation program faster.

Prior to this, the NTF said only the government can procure the vaccines from the manufacturers as they are not yet for commercial use globally. It said manufacturers are dealing initially with governments.

In the said draft guidelines, the Health Department said, “The NTF, together with the DOH shall review the requests of private entities to procure vaccines to ensure that private entities who will be part of the agreement are not in any way related to the tobacco industry, products covered under EO 51 Series of 1986 or The National Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, Breastmilk Supplements and other Related Products or Other Industries in conflict with public health.

The DOH, in its review, shall ensure that the tobacco, formula milk, and other industries in conflict with the interest of public health will not be part of this endeavor, pursuant to existing DOH guidelines and issuances,” the guidelines added.

The guidelines for the procurement of anti-COVID-19 vaccines should be inclusive especially for the workers that represent the muscle of the economy.

Doing otherwise would only put to waste all our efforts to help the economy recover from the pandemic.


The measure creating the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority, with Deputy Speaker and Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro T. Ungab as the main sponsor, was recently passed on 2nd Reading.

The creation of the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority, which consists of ten cities and municipalities, is in response to the fast growth and peculiar urbanization of the Davao Region, citing its increasing social and economic demands that require a synchronized and unified development.

House Bill 8930 is guided by the PDP 2017 to 2022, or the Philippine Medium Term Development Plan, as it incorporates the national spatial strategy or NSS that seeks to decongest the National Capital Region (NCR) and direct the growth to key centers throughout the country.

Metropolitan Davao is one of the metropolitan centers mentioned in the PDP, seen as a major international gateway and serves Mindanao’s premier commercial hub and center for education and health services.

The creation of the Metro Davao Development Authority, which finds support from the Regional Development Council of Region XI, assures stronger coordination among the component cities and municipalities in the planning, implementation and monitoring of priority programs and projects.

The creation of the Metro Davao Development Authority will definitely bring change to the socio-economic landscape, growth and development of the Davao Region,” Ungab said.


The heat is up in Romblon politics.

A group of concerned citizens from Romblon province are urging the Sandiganbayan to expedite the court trial against incumbent Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona, who is allegedly facing graft charges before the anti-graft court.

The Romblon Alliance Against Corruption and Dynasty or RAACD led by journalist Nick Ferrer said Madrona and two other former ranking provincial agricultural employees have graft charges pending at the Sixth Division of the Sandiganbayan for several years now.

The group said they learned the last hearing of the case was held in late 2019 and the succeeding hearings scheduled between March to May 2020 were “postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, since May last year, the anti-graft court has not reset a single hearing, raising suspicions that the consequent delay may work to the advantage of the accused, particularly Madrona who is likely to seek reelection in next year’s congressional race, according to Ferrer.

The graft charges against Madrona were filed in 2004 by former Romblon, Romblon Vice Mayor Lyndon Molino. Madrona was the governor of Romblon at that time.

Madrona returned to politics in the 2019 elections representing the lone district of the province while Molino was elected municipal councilor of the town in the same year.

The case was elevated to the Sandiganbayan in 2017 after the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause against Madrona and his co-accused for violations of the Anti- Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the group said.

One of Madrona’s co-accused was earlier dismissed from service by the Ombudsman, they added.