Nograles addressed several issues concerning the nation such as hunger, food security, poverty, administration efforts against nCoV, provision of quarantine facilities, high demand of masks, tourism target arrivals, DOH’s budget cut and the impact of the nCoV outbreak to our OFWs.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles appeared before the media today and addressed several issues concerning the nation such as hunger, food security, poverty, administration efforts against nCoV, provision of quarantine facilities, high demand of masks, tourism target arrivals, DOH’s budget cut, and the impact of the nCoV outbreak to our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved Executive Order No. 101 creating a task force that aims to eradicate hunger in the country by 2030. Nograles was appointed as the chairperson of the government’s interagency. According to him, the Zero-Hunger task force is set to rationalize existing domestic policies and laws relevant to the decreasing rates of hunger and poverty, identify and ensure institutional responsibilities of concerned government agencies and strengthen coordination among local government units and civil society organizations in order to conduct relevant programs that would address local and global issues. He expressed that aside from nutrition, the goal of the task force is to focus on broader issues such as food security and involuntary hunger.
The secretary also addressed the issue on the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget cut and how this decline has affected the health sector in general, given the penetration of the Novel Coronavirus in the country. According to the secretary, there are medical protocols set in place, patients which are currently under investigation and efforts are being made for provision of quarantine facilities for Filipinos. He also said that the implementation of quarantine protocols is ongoing and will manifest not just in hospitals in Manila, but also in provinces vulnerable to the virus.
The lack of face mask supplies was also discussed in the forum. Nograles shared that there is a commitment to increase and provide masks for Filipinos. As of this week, local manufacturers and international importers were tapped by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to increase their production in response to the high demand of the product.
DOH’s proposal to do self-quarantine for 14 days was also an issue raised during the Pandesal Forum. Nograles was asked if he considers conducting self-quarantine at home dangerous than providing a quarantine facility where patients can be examined properly. He enumerated several reasons behind his stance to support the suggestion of doing self-quarantine: (1) there are medical protocols laid out and contingency measures set in place; (2) DOH has medical reasons behind this suggestion; (3) putting the patients in the hospital might cause congestion and (4) it is not good to bring unnecessary exposure while nothing has been confirmed yet in the patient’s medical condition.
Lastly, Nograles addressed the issue on travel ban expansion. According to him, the administration has not received recommendations on expanding travel bans. The process of approval is tedious, as the decision is solely based on medical protocols and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).
He also assured the public that there are packages in place to assist OFWs who might be affected by the travel ban, “It’s either [we can provide] self-employment through livelihood or the government can assist them elsewhere – in other countries.” he shared. Funds from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will be prepared for assistance and provision.
The forum ended with Nograles emphasizing that the administration has been doing interventions on these matters, “Let’s not politicize the issue, imbis nagtutulungan, napapasukan pa ng politika. We should stop politicizing the issue,” he pointed out.
Cover photo: Credits to www.pexels.com/@ian-panelo
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