500,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Philippines

500,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Philippines
(GMA News) A fifth shipment of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by China’s Sinovac arrived on Thursday.

The 500,000 doses brought to 3,525,600 the number of anti-COVID-19 shots which arrived in the Philippines.

The batch on board a Philippine Airlines is the third Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine shipment paid for by the national government.

Of this number, 3 million doses are Sinovac while the rest are AstraZeneca donated by global effort COVAX facility.

Based on Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluation, Sinovac has the following varying efficacy rates:

65% to 91% among healthy individuals aged 18 to 59,
50.4% for health workers, and
51% to 52% on senior citizens or those aged 60 and above.
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, on the other hand, has an efficacy rate of 70% after the first dose based on FDA evaluation.

The 70% rating increases after the second dose is administered four to 12 weeks after.

Sinovac and AstraZeneca are given in two doses… Read More

Philippines to deploy more assets in West PHL Sea to assert claims, combat illegal fishing

Philippines to deploy more assets in West PHL Sea to assert claims, combat illegal fishing
(GMA News) The Philippines will deploy additional assets to the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to assert the country’s territorial claims in the disputed area and prevent illegal fishing, among other incursions.

The National Task Force (NTF) on the WPS issued the statement just two days after President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted to be friends with China and was “not so much interested in fishing” because there’s not enough fish to quarrel about in the area.

The statement also came amid the continued presence of Chinese vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef, a boomerang-shaped feature located 175 nautical miles of Bataraza, Palawan and clearly within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

“In compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to sustain our sovereignty patrols in the WPS, increase safety of life at sea operations and intensified operations against illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing, the NTF-WPS has coordinated for the deployment of more assets under the control of its Area Task Forces (ATF),” the NTF-WPS said in a statement.

“To augment the vessels and aircraft currently under the control of the ATFs, the government has deployed four Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels, one PCG aircraft, five Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels, as well as Philippine National Police – Maritime Group’s high speed tactical watercraft and rubber boats,” the NTF-WPS added.

The PCG also constructed five lighthouses on the islands of Pag-asa, Patag, Panata, Parola, and Likas.

The Navy, on the other hand, has provided desalination and solar powered lighting facilities for these features in support of law enforcers stationed at the detachments.

As it is, the NTF-WPS reported that the ATF-West maintains nine island detachments in the municipality of Kalayaan with the biggest contingent at Pag-asa island.

Likewise, the ATF-West covers the Malampaya Gas Field and the resource-rich Recto Bank.

The Pag-asa island also hosts the Rancudo Airfield built in 1978.

The ATF- North, on the other hand, covers Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), the islands north of Cagayan, Batanes province, the Philippine Rise and the latter’s Extended Continental Shelf. The ATF-North also maintains detachments on the islands of Batanes.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the Western and Northern Luzon Commands, continues to support law enforcement and sovereignty patrols of the BFAR, PCG and PNP, utilizing Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force maritime and air assets under its disposal,” the NTF-WPS pointed out.

“The NTF-WPS is resolute in upholding Philippine sovereignty over our territory as mandated by the Constitution, and protecting our sovereign rights over our exclusive economic zone in accordance with international law,” the NTF-WPS added… Read More

Kai Sotto still thankful for Ignite as he learned how to be a pro as a teen

Kai Sotto still thankful for Ignite as he learned how to be a pro as a teen
(SPIN.ph) PLANS may not have panned out the way he wanted to, but Kai Sotto remains eternally grateful for the brief run he had with NBA G League Ignite.

The 7-foot-3 center admitted that he has learned a lot in his time with the select team despite being unable to join the squad in the NBA G League bubble in Orlando.

“My biggest takeaway is just to learn the environment of being a professional at a young age,” he said on Wednesday in a roundtable discussion hosted by Smart.

“As expected, nung simula, di ko inexpect na ganung karami yung matututunan ko. Di lang sa loob ng basketball court, pero mas marami akong natutunan outside the court. Wala akong specfic answer, pero marami talaga akong natutunan. Ang pinakamalaki kong natutunan ay pagiging pro at a young age.”

Sotto linked up with the groundbreaking program last year as its first international signing, where he rubbed elbows with top high school prospects led by Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

The young bloods were able to train for a number of months and got a huge veteran presence with the arrival of head coach Brian Shaw and 14-year NBA veteran Amir Johnson.

Unfortunately, Sotto’s decision to honor his national commitment cut his run with Ignite short as he chose to head back to the Philippines in February, the same time when the team was entering the bubble.

The two parties eventually decided to mutually part ways in March, even before the Filipino prodigy could log a single second in the developmental league… Read More

I Need This ‘Amoy Balikbayan Box’ Scented Candle ASAP Because It Is The Best Scent In The World

I Need This 'Amoy Balikbayan Box' Scented Candle ASAP Because It Is The Best Scent In The World
(Cosmopolitan Philippines) I’ve already confessed in a previous article that I’m obsessed with scented candles. I have no intentions of stopping myself from collecting more, especially when I think I have found the most unique and special scent I’ve found. I never thought a balikbayan box-scented candle would ever be invented!

I’ve always looked forward to opening balikbayan boxes from my U.S.-based relatives. Of course, the contents were cool but what I liked about it most was the collective scent of the soaps, socks, and cute clothes. I remember sniffing the items every now and then, LOL! The scent reminds me of my relatives’ care for me and my siblings. We didn’t need to ask for anything, my uncle, aunt, and lola knew what we would love!

Back to the candle! The scented candle I’m talking about is from Casa Ancheta. According to their post, the Amoy Balikbayan Box soy wax candle is “Amoy fabcon, amoy sabon. Amoy damit at delatang naka-kahon.” The brand also revealed that the scent was inspired by a client’s request to make a solid perfume. It’s available on Shopee for P530 per jar… Read More

Gov’t to consider mass hiring of health workers, says nurses

Gov’t to consider mass hiring of health workers, says nurses
(GMA News) Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, said a nurses’ group, has called for mass hiring of nurses and health workers will be “studied with primary consideration on budgetary allocation.”

In a statement, the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) said Duque had no concrete response when they asked him during a dialogue on Monday regarding its call for mass hiring of health workers.

However, the group said Duque assured them that a follow up meeting will be called so as to provide them with updates on the progress of the release of benefits such as the performance-based bonus, meals, accommodation and transportation allowance, special risk allowance, and the active hazard duty pay.

Duque told the nurses a request for the budget that would be allocated for the proposal has already been submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Meanwhile, FNU said Duque also promised health workers to do a follow up with the DBM regarding the proposal to increase the hazard pay to P5,000 per month and the special risk allowance to P15,000 per month.

“While we found the dialogue generally cordial and hopeful, we need to be more vigilant to make sure that the promises and long-awaited benefits will truly be realized,” FNU said.

Earlier this month, FNU renewed its call for increased protection of health workers amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country… Read More

P83.3 billion in wages lost during quarantine

P83.3 billion in wages lost during quarantine
(PhilStar) MANILA, Philippines — Forgone wages during the month-long quarantine restriction are expected to reach P83.3 billion as the government continues to rely on lockdowns to control surging COVID-19 cases.

During the Cabinet meeting with President Duterte late Monday night, acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said loss of jobs and incomes is the consequence of imposing community quarantines just like last year.

For every week of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), some P19.6 billion in potential wages are lost as Filipinos cannot go to work.

This means that the two-week ECQ in Metro Manila and nearby provinces last March 29 to April 11 resulted in P39.2 billion in foregone wages.

The ECQ was downgraded to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting April 12 and will last until April 30.

At least P14.7 billion is being lost for every week of MECQ, bringing total losses to P44.1 billion for the three-week period.

“That is a total of five weeks and the effect of that is P83.3 billion in foregone wages and, of course, this is one of our concerns,” Chua said.

“But we need to help each other to solve this COVID-19 spike so that we can slowly open the economy again and bring back jobs and incomes of people,” he said.

Unemployment rate remains high and even rose to 8.8 percent in February, accounting for 4.2 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force.

Chua said there has already been a significant improvement in the job market prior to the recent spike in cases, compared with 8.7 million jobless Filipinos last year.

“We opened the economy in the safest possible manner and recovered the lost jobs last year. This is very important as this is what runs our economy,” he said.

NEDA is targeting to bring back the unemployment rate to its pre-COVID level at four to five percent by next year… Read More

Pfizer, Moderna vaccines seen to arrive in May, June

Pfizer, Moderna vaccines seen to arrive in May, June
(PhilStar) MANILA, Philippines — Vaccines developed by the United States could arrive in the country in the next two months, Manila’s envoy to Washington said Tuesday.

A vast majority of the Philippines’ supply of COVID-19 jabs remain from China’s Sinovac, while some 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca arrived in March from the global initiative COVAX facility.

In a Palace briefing, Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez said Moderna gave a target date of June 15 for an initial 200,000 doses. A supply agreement for 20 million doses was signed in March, but there has been no word on a final purchase deal.

“I think they’re quite confident that they will be able to [roll in[ the vaccines,” he said. “Then, it will start increasing in succeeding months…they will complete the 20 million before the end of the year.”

Moderna is taken in two doses, and has reported an efficacy rate of 94%. Regulators in the US also approved it for emergency use in late 2020, but it has yet to apply for the same in the Philippines… Read More

LIST: Pinoy celebrities infected by COVID-19

Pinoy celebrities infected by COVID-19
(PhilStar) MANILA, Philippines — More than one year after the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country, celebrities were among those that have fallen victims to the deadly virus.

Iza Calzado, Michael V, Christopher de Leon, Sylvia Sanchez, Dennis Padilla, K Brosas, Angeline Quinto, Rhian Ramos, Donita Nose, Angeli Valenciano, Claire dela Fuente, Ted Failon, Cherry Pie Picache, Joseph Estrada, Heaven Peralejo, Lloyd Cadena, Joel Lamangan, Sunshine Cruz, Nikki Valdez… Read More