11 July 2015

Malacanang welcomes WHO’s comment on the country’s handling of MERS CoV
The Palace welcomed the statement of the World Health Organization, which commended the Philippines for successfully handling the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS CoV) cases in the country.

There were two case of MERS-CoV in the Philippines—one when a Filipino nurse from the Middle East arrived in the country with the disease and recently a foreigner entering the Philippines was initially suspected to be infected with MERS CoV.

“We have always stated that our Department of Health is ready to address all these issues including MERS-CoV and it clearly showed,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview on Saturday.

“We welcome the observation of the World Health Organization in the handling of the MERS-CoV situation, and that is the commitment of this government, that is the commitment of the Department of Health—that we will address all concerns that may affect the health of the general populace.”

Although the foreigner, who is confined at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), is cleared of the disease, Lacierda said the government will continue monitoring the country’s entry points to detect people having the MERS CoV.

“We’re always monitoring the situation and, like I said, the Department of Health is always on the ball in addressing all these possible health (matters) to protect our country,” he told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

The 36-year-old foreigner diagnosed with MERS CoV has already been cleared of the disease, health authorities said on Friday.

The patient, who is from Finland, will be discharged from the RITM this weekend. His close contact however, a 32-year old female, will remain at the hospital to complete her 14-day quarantine period until July 18.

The foreigner had traveled from Saudi Arabia, passing by Dubai in the Middle East, before arriving in the Philippines on June 19. PND (as)

Palace hopes Indonesian government spares Mary Jane Veloso’s life
Malacanang said it hopes the Indonesian government will see the sincerity and determination of the Philippines on prosecuting the people who were instrumental to putting Mary Jane Veloso in the death row.

In a radio interview on Saturday, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda renewed the Philippine government’s determination to go after the recruiters of Veloso to eventually convince the Indonesian government to spare her life.

“Nag-file na po tayo ng kaso sa mga illegal recruiters. Ito po ang ating commitment sa Indonesian government that as soon as we gather all the evidence, we will file the necessary case against those who put Mary Jane Veloso in a very difficult situation, where she is now,” Lacierda said over dzRB Radyo n Bayan.

“And we hope that the Indonesian government will see the sincerity, the determination of the Philippine government in our quest to find justice for Mary Jane Veloso, including prosecuting those responsible for her present situation right now.”

The Palace official also welcomed the help of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao in assisting Veloso achieve justice.

Lacierda said it will show the commitment of the Philippine government, through Congressman Pacquiao, that the country is looking after the welfare of its citizens, especially in the case of Veloso.

At the same time, Lacierda said the government is also committed to helping all other Filipinos languishing in jail overseas.

Lacierda said the Department of Foreign Affairs has been quietly fighting for the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The DFA officials and personnel deserve commendation for their hard works in helping Filipinos incarcerated in other countries, he noted.

“Sila po (DFA personnel) ang nagbibigay ng mga legal counsel doon sa kanila. So patuloy ang ating pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan na nape-preso for one reason or another sa abroad.” PND (as)

Good tie up between admin, Senators Escudero, Poe, must continue, says Palace official
The administration and Senators Francis Escudero and Grace Poe had a good coalition in 2013, which could be sustained until 2016, a Palace official said.

It was reported that President Aquino met with Escudero and Poe this week underscoring the importance of having a single candidate for the 2016 presidential polls.

“Maganda ‘yung coalition ‘nung 2013, bakit hindi natin ipagpatuloy ang coalition on 2016?” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview Saturday.

Lacierda was asked by reporters in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan if it’s disadvantageous for the administration party’s pro-reform initiatives if Poe and Escudero are not part of the coalition.

The President’s paramount concern is the continuity of the reforms that he has started, Lacierda said.

“If you noticed the speeches that the President has been giving, he has always emphasized the importance of continuing the reforms,” he said.

“And so I think that’s paramount in his consideration as to who he will choose as his endorsee for the next presidential elections in 2016.”

The administration’s “daang matuwid” must continue and the President hopes that everything that he achieved must be sustained, Lacierda added.

“Marami pa pong dapat gawin, hindi pa perpekto ang ating ginagawa, pero kung patuloy po nating gagawin ito at i-fa-fast forward po natin ang daang matuwid ay malaking tulong po ito sa ating sambayanan.”

The President said in his previous interviews that he will announced his presidential bet for next year’s election after his state-of-the-nation address (SONA) late this month. PND (as)