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Ano ang plano ng mga kandidato sa pagkapangulo para sa mga OFW?

Posted on 22 January 2022 No comments



Apat na presidentiables ang nagpahayag ngayon (Jan 22) ng kani-kanilang plano upang mapangalagaan ang mga karapatan ng mga overseas Filipino worker.

Ang apat, na dumalo sa The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews sa GMA Network, ay sina Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, at Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Ang tanong ng anchor ng programa na si Jessica Soho ay: "Nasa halos limang libong kaso ng pang-aabuso sa mga OFW ang naitala ng POLO o Philippine Overseas Labor Office noong 2020 sa ibang bansa. Naitala rin ng POLO ang contract violation sa mga OFW na umabot sa mahigit 23,000 noong 2020. Ano po ang dapat gawin para mapangalagaan ang mga karapatan ng mga OFW?"

Ang unang pinasagot ay si Moreno, na nagpahayag: "Ang unang una ay makikipag-ugnayan ako sa mga bansang iyon, sa mga host na bansa. Bakit wala silang ginagawa doon sa mga citizen nila na nang-aabuso sa Pilipino? Because the sauce for the gander is the sauce for the goose. Kung sila ay inaalagaan natin dito bilang mga banyaga, alagaan din nila yung mga kapwa natin Pilipino na nagtatrabaho at nagsisibi sa kanila. Second, we will make sure that we will put good people in our POLO."

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Pangalawang pinasagot si Robredo, na nagsabing: "Pinakauna, ayusin natin yung ating ekonomiya para yung paglalabas para magtrabaho sa ibang bansa , hindi dahil sa necessity pero by choice. Pangalawa, hanapin natin iyung mga lugar na iyon, yung karamihan ng mga OFWs nandoon, siguraduhin natin na pumasok tayo sa bilateral contracts with them para sa proteksyon ng mga manggagawa natin na nandoon. Mahirap na nandoon sila na wala tayong bilateral contracts kasi hindi natin napangangalagaan in the manner na kailangan natin sila pangalagaan. Pangatlo, kailangan ina-upscale natin o nire-retool natin yung mga skills ng ating mga kababayan na lumalabas para yung mga trabaho nila ay yung medyo nakaka-angat, na pupunta sila doon, pupunta sila bilang professionals, pupunta sila bilang opisyal ng barko, pupunta sila dahil mga skilled workers sila. Dapat yung gobyerno yung nagpo-provide ng training na iyon para handa yung ating mga kababayan."

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Ito naman ang sagot ni Pacquiao: "Alam nyo po, ito ang pinaka-unang batas na naipasa natin, yung Handbook for OFW, dahil importante po sila na protektahan natin, pangalagaan natin, dahil malaki po ang naiambag nila sa ating bayan. At higit sa lahat, yung handbook po na iyan, kailangan lang ma-implement dahil magkakaroon po sila ng tinatawag natin na pwedeng kontakin pag nagkaroon sila ng problema, hindi lang isa o dalawa, kundi marami."

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Si Lacson naman ay nagsabi: "Unang una, dapat mawala yung isipang kailangang mangibang bansa para kumita ka ng pera. Dapat nandito yung ating kabuhayan. Dapat nandito sila hangga't maaari. Now that nandiyan na ang situation na talagang helpless naman, at kailangan mag-OFW, mayroon na tayong naipasa, 'di ba, yung department para sa mga OFWs. Again, departamento ito, kailangan lang dito execution, implementasyon. Pag ito'y ay nagkaroon na naman, nahaluan na naman ng kalokohan, wala nang mangyayari. Sayang yung batas na pinasa ng Kongreso patungkol dito. So ang problema, Jessica, more on executiion, more on implementation. Madaling gumawa ng batas, pero ang problema, sa execution doon nagkaka-loko loko, eh."

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Inimbita ring sumali si dating Sen. Bongbong Marcos pero tumanggi ito. Ayon sa kanyang spokesman, ang dahilan ng pagtanggi ay ang pagiging biased ni Soho.

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Sumagot naman agad ang GMA Network, at sinabi na si Soho ay itinanghal na "the most trusted media personality in the Philippines" ng lokal at internasyonal na organisasyon. Siya din daw ay nangangalaga sa motto ng GMA News and Public Affairs na: "Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Serbisyong Totoo Lamang."

Second Kwai Chung block locked down for 5 days

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By Daisy CL Mandap 

CE Lam ordered lockdowns on 6 blocks in Kwai Chung Estate, 2 for 5 days

The Hong Kong government has ordered a second building in Kwai Chung Estate to be locked down for five days, imposed a one-day lockdown on four other blocks, and ordered a compulsory testing order for the remaining 11 blocks in the estate.

The moves were announced earlier tonight by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as it emerged that the number of infections in Yat Kwai House during an overnight lockdown had hit almost 100, with more cases being detected at the nearby Ying Kwai and two more buildings in the estate.

Lam said that the one-day lockdown originally imposed on Ying Kwai and was supposed to end at 7pm today would continue for another four days. 

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She apologized for the government's inability to provide dinner to residents tonight because of a lack of time, but said all meals will be delivered to them for the next four days, as what was done for those in Yat Kwai.

The overnight lockdown and testing will cover Hiu Kwai House, Chin Kwai House, Yuk Kwai House and Nga Kwai House.

CE said that a few minutes before the press briefing she learned that someone had tested preliminary positive at Chin Kwai House, while one case was also detected at Hiu Kwai House.

While no infections have yet been found in the two other buildings she said they are located close to the other buildings so it was necessary to put all of them under lockdown.

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Around 35,000 people living in the estate will be subjected to Covid-19 tests daily as a result of the orders, but Mrs Lam said the government has the capacity to carry out the orders. 

Yesterday, she said 150,000 tests were carried out. This included the tests done on all 2,700 residents of Yat Kwai house.

At Ying Kwai House, the results from the first batch of 940 tests done on residents there yielded between eight and 10 preliminary positive results, said the CE.

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Asked about the two preliminary positive cases found at nearby Tai Wo Hau Estate, Mrs Lam admitted that there was also a risk of an outbreak there, but said the government will observe the developments there and “will roll out measures as necessary.”

The CE is joined by 4 top officials in announcing the expanded lockdown

Edwin Hui, controller of the Centre for Health Protection, said the outbreak appeared to have been caused by a parttime cleaner who was infected by a man who collected salvageable items from various garbage dumps in the estate.

As the cleaner did not have a permanent assignment, she would have gone to different buildings and floors while collecting garbage. A second cleaner was among those who tested preliminary positive today.

Hui said the virus was found on the lift buttons on the eighth floor of Yat Kwai House and the door handle in the refuse room on the 7th floor, where only cleaners had access. So, it’s believed there had been both environmental and air transmission in the building.

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Asked whether the outbreak could have been prevented had the government acted faster, CE Lam said officials had already acted as quickly as possible, and that they are always striving to do their best and improve their performance each time.

She advised all residents of the estate to listen to instructions from the government and those who are not under a lockdown to remain home as much as possible. If they work in high-risk jobs like nurses or those who work in old-age homes, they should not go to work.

She also urged everyone who has not yet received a vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible. While noting that 77.7% of eligible Hong Kong people have had at least one dose of a vaccine, she said there is a need for more people to take jabs, especially those who are vulnerable like the elderly and children.

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Asked if she intended to keep the government’s zero infection policy despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant as shown in the Kwai Chung outbreak, Mrs Lam reiterated this did not mean absolute zero infection.

“The important thing is under our strategy, we strengthen our capacity to tackle these episodic outbreaks in order to suppress the spread of the variant as soon as possible so that there will not be a massive community outbreak in Hong Kong,” she said.

The alternative of opening up borders and ending social distancing measures are not advisable as Hong Kong does not possess the pre-requisites for going down that route, she added.

For one thing, she said Hong Kong’s vaccination rate is only 77.55% compared with over 90% for places like the Mainland and Singapore. While Omicron is said to cause less severe illness it does cause fatalities throughout the world, especially among the unvaccinated.

So for now, Hong Kong intends to continue pursuing the strategy it has taken in the past two years of the pandemic. But she promised to continuously review and improve strategies to make life a little less difficult for people in Hong Kong.

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Health officials say 96 preliminary positive cases found in Yat Kwai house

Posted on No comments

 By The SUN 

Two buildings in the Kwai Chung estate are currently under lockdown

Health officials have confirmed a mass outbreak of Covid-19 cases at two residential blocks in Kwai Chung Estate, with possibly more cases occurring at the nearby Tai Wo Hau Estate.

At the press briefing held today, Jan 22 by the Centre for Health Protection, it was revealed that a total of 96 cases have been found among residents, visitors and workers at Yat Kwai House alone. More cases were found in the nearby Ying Kwai building.

Both blocks are under a compulsory testing notice issued last night. Yat Kwai's CTN is set to last for five days while Ying Kwai's is supposed to be lifted at 7pm later today.

This raises the total infection toll in the estate to close to 130, as 20 other people, who were either residents, staff or visitors at Yat Kwai had tested positive for Covid-19. The infections are linked to an Omicron carrier who had visited garbage dumps in the estate.


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Yesterday, health officials locked down Yat Kwai House in the estate for five days, saying they feared a mass outbreak after 20 Covid-19 cases, either positive or preliminary positive, were found.

According to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection, 26 confirmed Covid-19 cases were detected as of midnight last night. Ten of them are linked to the Kwai Chung estate, 8 to Yat Kwai House, and two to Ying Kwai.

Since the two buildings are linked to Tai Wo Hau estate with a total of 17 blocks, it is feared a major transmission chain may have spread as there are a few of the new cases were found in the second estate.

Five students of Buddhist Fat Ho Memorial College, all linked to the same Omicron carrier who infected a cleaner at Yat Kwai, also tested positive.

A family member of the teacher at Delia Memorial School who was previously infected by a son of the Omicron carrier, also tested positive.

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At about 4am this morning, a lockdown was issued for Ying Kwai, as at least three of the linked cases reported yesterday live there.  The operation is supposed to end at 7pm today.

Among those infected at Ying Kwai was a cleaner at Yat Kwai, who was dubbed by officials as “superspreader” as she appeared to have spread the virus in the estate after picking it up from the infected man who had salvaged items from the garbage collection sites there on Jan. 13.

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This morning, people living with the infected persons had reportedly been taken away from the two blocks and sent to a quarantine camp.

Staff from the Housing Authority have been delivering hot meals to residents affected by the lockdown while mobile testing centers have been set up around the estate where daily testing has been ordered for Yat Kwai residents.

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Among those who tested preliminary positive today is a civilian staff of the Hong Kong Police. A statement from the police said the woman last went to work at the personnel services and staff relations branch at the Tsuen Wan government offices on Jan 20. 

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All officers and staff who had dealings with her will be tested, while those identified as her close contacts will be moved to a quarantine centre.

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Samples taken from 2 more pet shops test positive for Delta

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By The SUN

 

Samples taken from I Love Rabbit pet shops in Tai Po and Causeway Bay tested positive for Delta


A compulsory testing notice has been issued for two branches of the I Love Rabbit pet shops where environmental samples have tested positive for Covid-19 with the Delta variant.

This follows reports that the number of people linked to the so-called pet shop cluster had risen to eight as of yesterday.


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A press release issued by the Centre for Health Protection Friday night gave the addresses of the shop’s two branches as 345 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay and Tai Po Plaza.

According to CHP, as at Jan 21 evening, a total of 738 environmental samples from 40 pet shops and warehouses had been collected. A total of 30 samples tested positive for the virus, including those taken from the two shops.


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As a result, all those who had been to the shops between Jan 7 and Jan 18 will have to undergo compulsory testing on indicated dates. Staff will be moved to quarantine centers.

“Based on the results of epidemiological investigation and laboratory findings the CHP possesses at this stage, it could not be ruled out preliminarily that the positive test results of the environmental samples are caused by the pets infected with the virus,” said the statement.


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The pet shop has been linked to at least one of the infected patients in the cluster.

The first infection was detected in a shop assistant at the Little Boss pet shop in Causeway Bay. As the source of her infection could not be traced, and Delta has been overtaken by the Omicron as the dominant variant, tests were conducted on all the animals in the shop on Monday.

The tests showed 11 hamsters there carried the variant, prompting officials to order the mass cull of about 2,000 small animals in the shop and its warehouse in Tai Po. 

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They also ordered all owners of hamsters bought starting on Dec 22 when the first batch of infected animals arrived in Hong Kong, to hand over their pets to be put down. Many resisted, and an animal rights groups told the owners to give their pets to them instead.

In response, the Animals and Fisheries Conservation Department warned of police prosecution for those who refuse to abide by the order.


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In a surprise move, Chief Executive Carrie Lam joined in the fray, and condemnded people who had sent threatening letters to government health advisers who had endorsed the mass cull.

 

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Kwai Chung lockdown to last 5 days as ‘superspreader’ infects 20 people

Posted on 21 January 2022 No comments

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Secretary Chan said the Kwai Chung outbreak was caused by a 'superspreader'

Hong Kong’s health authorities have ordered a five-day complete lockdown of Yat Kwai house in Kwai Chung estate as it emerged that a so-called “superspreader” had infected at least 20 other residents, staff and visitors at the building.

Secretary for Health Prof. Sophia Chan made the announcement as the first day of the lockdown began at 6pm today, Jan 21.

“The government takes a serious view of this incident and will take action,” said Prof. Chan. “We must take swift action so we can return to normal as soon as possible.”

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Prof Chan said that during the lockdown which will last until Wednesday morning, all 2,700 residents of the building will not be allowed to leave, and will be required to undergo daily testing. All meals will be brought to them by staff of the Housing Authority.

She said at least 20 cases have been linked to the outbreak at Yat Kwai House, which she described as worrying.

At the regular press briefing by the Centre for Health Protection earlier, six confirmed cases were linked to the housing block. This was on top of the three confirmed cases reported on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan who conducted the briefing said there were more than 20 preliminary positive cases, and about 10 of them are also connected to the Yat Kwai outbreak.

Health experts who conducted a site visit at the estate Thursday night only recommended a three-day overnight lockdowns, with residents who test negative on the daily tests being allowed to leave the building for work or other purposes.

But as more cases linked to the building emerged, health officials decided to extend the lockdown and ensure all residents are kept in for five days when they estimate all those who had been infected with the virus would be detected.

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CHP controller Dr Edwin Tsui said the outbreak started when the husband of a woman who was infected during her 21-day quarantine at Silka Seaview Hotel in Yau Ma Tei went to collect salvageable items from the garbage dump at Yat Kwai and two other buildings in the estate on Jan. 13.

“At the collection station he got in touch with the cleaner and passed the virus on to her,” Tsui said. The cleaner in turn passed it on to residents as she collected their garbage or said hello to them in the hallways.

Tsui said the cleaner would have been most infectious between Jan 16 to 18, and those who were infected by her would have incubated the virus in three to six days.

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“(So) within these five days we hope to catch all those infected,” he said.

The officials explained that moving all the residents to a quarantine center was not necessary as the virus did not spread through the sewage pipes or air ventilation system as what happens when the so-called “vertical transmission” occurs.

“This is not a building structure issue so there is no need to move residents to a quarantine center,” said Chan.

She appealed to residents who were still out when the lockdown began this evening to “go home normally” and not go elsewhere, and assured them that the Housing Authority will provide them support, from the daily testing to providing them with meals for the next five days.

She hoped things could return to normal for the residents before the Lunar New Year holidays.

Yat Kwai residents do some shopping before the lockdown (RTHK photo)

She also urged those living in high risk areas in Aberdeen and Sham Shui Po to get tested, and for everyone who has not received Covid-19 vaccine to get jabbed as soon as possible.

At the CHP briefing, Dr Chuang listed among the preliminary cases a cleaner at Yat Kwai who lives in the neighboring Ying Kwai House in the same estate.

A two-year-old child who lives on the same floor as the cleaner in Ying Kwai House has also tested preliminary positive, as well as a security guard at Yat Kwai.

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No information was made available as to whether the cleaner was vaccinated, but the Pakistani peddler who passed on the virus to her was not vaccinated.

Of the six confirmed cases today that were linked to the outbreak, four had no record of having received vaccination.

Chuang reported 6 confirmed cases in Kwai Chung, and 5 related to the hamster infections

Chuang said a total of 24 cases were detected as of midnight Thursday, and 18 were local cases. Sixteen were linked to other local cases, while the sources of infection of the two others were unknown.

The untraceable cases pertained to a 24-year-old assistant social worker who lives in Cheung Sha Wan and works in Kwai Chung, and a 37-year-old female salesperson in Kwun Tong who lives in Tsuen Wan.

Five of the confirmed local cases were connected to the outbreak of the Delta variant in pet shops which prompted a cull of about 2,000 small animals on Tuesday.

Two had bought hamsters from the Little Boss pet shops in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay, where 11 of the animals were found to carry the L452R mutant strain linked to Delta.

Two others were family members of a customer of the Causeway Bay pet shop who was infected earlier. They also bought something from the shop.

The last infected person had a meal at Dragon Palace Restaurant in Aberdeen at about the same time as the husband of the pet shop customer. Chuang said the two sat far apart, but both remembered going to the men’s toilet during that time, so it’s believed the infection happened there.

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Kwai Chung building locked down for 3 days after 16 Omicron cases found

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By The SUN 

Residents at Yat Kwai House will be tested for three consecutive nights 

Health authorities have ordered three consecutive overnight lockdowns on Yat Kwai House in Kwai Chung Estate after 16 confirmed Covid-19 cases, likely with a new strain of the Omicron variant, were detected in the building.

At an impromptu press briefing late on Thursday, a team from the Centre for Health Protection said the 16 confirmed cases were either confirmed positive or were preliminary positive. Fifteen are residents and one is a security guard.

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The result of the genome sequencing on the first two cases has revealed the presence of BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron, which is believed to be even more infectious than the original variant.

Microbiologist Dr Yuen Kwok-yung revealed that the infections were linked to a Pakistani housewife who caught the coronavirus with the highly transmissible variant just before leaving her quarantine hotel, then brought it home with her to Sham Shui Po.

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It turned out her 46-year-old husband who is not vaccinated and was in turn infected, had gone to the garbage rooms at Kwai Chung Estate on Jan 13 to gather items he could sell at his hawker’s spot on Nam Cheong Street in Sham Shui Po.

Yuen said the man must have spent time choosing items in the trash collection point not only in Yat Kwai House, but also at Luk Kwai House and Tsz Kwai House in the Kwai Chung estate.

The virus is believed to have been passed on to either the building’s cleaners or security personnel, who went on to infect residents.

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He said the infected residents live in 12 units on 11 floors, and the flats face different directions. An inspection of the sewage pipes did not reveal any abnormality, thus, it is not likely that vertical transmission had taken place.

Yuen on an inspection visit to the Kwai Chung estate

Because of these findings Yuen said it was not necessary to evacuate everyone but suggested that the building be put under lockdown daily for the next three days. There are also 2,500 people living in the building, so there would not be enough quarantine places for all of them.

Under the daily lockdown residents will be required to undergo testing every night and show a negative test result on their mobile phones in the morning if they want to leave.

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However, Yuen advised them not to leave their houses unless absolutely necessary to prevent a further spread of the virus.

The first positive case from the building was detected on Jan 16, when a 79-year-old man was tested prior to undergoing a colonoscopy at Yan Chai Hospital.

Yesterday, two other infections were linked to the building. One was a  55-year-old male resident working as a forklift operator at Cathay Pacific’s cargo terminal site at Hong Kong airport, while the other is a year-old baby girl who visited her grandmother who lives in the building.

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