THREAD: Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque holds a media briefing | LIVE

Tweets by our digital producers @pplmanuel and @gleefjalea
Roque shares the revised concession agreement of the government with Manila Water Corp. and Maynilad
Roque on revised agreement with water concessionaires: Patunay itong interes ng Pilipino ang nasa puso't isip ng Presidente
Roque reiterates the President's approval of the extension of ECQ in the Greater Manila area from Apr. 5-11 as cases continue to go up
Roque says they will intensify the enforcement of health protocols and review existing local ordinances and orders under ECQ. Community service is recommended for violators amid stricter lockdown rules
Roque says under IATF Resolution 108, the Office of the Civil Defense has been authorized to procure an initial 500,000 pieces of any of the following rapid antigen test kits authorized by the FDA using their Quick Response Fund:
Roque says Region VI shall temporarily suspend inbound passenger travel from the Greater Manila area along with Cebu City and Davao City until April 10: Kasama po sa Region VI ang Boracay
Roque lists some amendments in the omnibus guidelines for PH community quarantine as of April 3
Roque says 795,320 Filipinos have already received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose as of Apr. 3
Roque says the national government has finished the renegotiation for its concession deal with Manila Water. The latest provisions include removal of government non-interference clauses and recognition Manila Water as a public utility
Roque confirms the President has signed the appointment of former Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo as the new Supreme Court Chief Justice
WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe: We are seeing [a] week-on-week increase in the number of cases worldwide, not just here in the Philippines, in the last four weeks | LIVE
WHO lists circulation of variants of concern, gradual reduction in compliance with minimum public health standards due to pandemic fatigue, optimism in arrival and rollout of vaccines as factors to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases
WHO: PH is not unique in seeing an increase [in cases] and this increase is not attributed in anyway to incompetence, but related to the factors I mentioned. But this doesn't take away the fact we need to keep strengthening our on-ground preparedness, response capacities
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire joins today's briefing to tackle the government's targets and the effects of the extended ECQ in Greater Manila area
Health Usec. Vergeire recaps the country's COVID-19 figures as of Apr. 4
Health Usec. Vergeire says 6,695 average cases have been recorded in NCR alone vs. approximately 400 at the start of January, while increases in Visayas and Mindanao are at slower rates
Health Usec. Vergeire: Kailangang maintindihan ng ating kababayan na noong huling tumaas ang kaso natin noong June 2020, we saw the decline after 10 days of ECQ
Health Usec. Vergeire: Ang ECQ ay naglalayong pabagalin ang pagtaas ng mga kaso, bigyan ang ating healthcare system ng panahong makapagpahinga, at maprotektahan pa ang mas maraming buhay
Health Usec. Vergeire bares the government's plan on the PH healthcare system under the ECQ period
Health Usec. Vergeire says they are fast-tracking the setting up of modular tents in select hospitals in Metro Manila. She adds at least 42 healthcare workers from other regions to be deployed in different hospitals
Health Usec. Vergeire says uniformed personnel/medical reservists are already tapped to man temporary facilities
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on revised concession agreement with Manila Water: When this was executed, meron din kasabay na deed of settlement and release signed by both sides. But this only pertains to claims arising from the contract itself
Justice Sec. Guevarra on revised concession with Maynilad: The renegotiations will start immediately. We will propose similar terms stated in the deal with Manila Water
Roque asks the public to await the FDA's actions on applications related to the use of ivermectin for possible treatment of COVID-19
RELATED: Merck, the company behind the drug ivermectin says there is no basis in using it as a treatment for COVID-19
Roque disputes report that President Duterte authorized the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

However, he says the FDA can process the application that was already filed for its compassionate use
Roque on Duterte's stance on China's intrusion in West PH Sea: Paninindigan natin ang ating karapatan pero hindi ito isang bagay para tayo ay gumamit ng dahas
Citing Health Usec. Vergeire, Roque reiterates quarantine restrictions can only be downgraded if govt's PDITR strategy is seen to have yielded results

PDITR stands for Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate
Roque says President Duterte will not be holding a public address tonight, but could possibly deliver one this Wednesday
Health Usec. Vergeire says they are planning to implement decongestion and other alternative measures in hospitals within the week to accommodate more COVID patients
WHO: The increase in COVID cases in the recent two weeks is not uniquely relevant to the Philippines alone
Roque says PH remains 30th worldwide in terms of total cases despite its surge in infections because other countries are also seeing a spike in infections
WHO: Ivermectin has not yet proven efficacy against COVID-19
WHO on misinformation on drugs vs COVID-19: Many patients recover from COVID-19...because it is a viral disease. If people are given a particular drug saying that it cured them, that's not science
Roque says the healthcare utilization rate and daily attack rate reaching critical level served as their primary basis for implementing ECQ
Health Usec. Vergeire: Utilization must be down to at least 60% before we can say they are on a safe level. Currently we have 78-80% utilization. For ICU beds, almost 100% in most cities. We need to bring that down to say that our healthcare system can be managed
Health Usec. Vergeire emphasizes importance of healthcare utilization rate in determining quarantine classifications: The health system should be able to manage, breathe, and have this decongestion before we can ease from this community quarantine
Roque says ₱1,000 subsidy is already good for two-week ECQ: Sinabay po natin yung ECQ sa Semana Santa kaya dalawang araw lang po ang nakita nila. Aaminin po nating hindi sapat 'yan. Pero kaya nga ayuda, dahil assistance lang. It is not intended to tie them over
Roque: It is contrary to the basics of medicine to change leadership in the middle of the pandemic. I don't think we'll achieve anything by that
Roque says as per Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.'s recent report, the country's first Johnson&Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine doses are set to arrive Q3
Roque on calls to change leadership amid pandemic: Hindi na po pwede 'yan dahil 'yan ay magiging labag sa basic principle na 'pag may pandemya, ibigay muna ang kinakailangan at huwag munang pag-usapan ang liderato
Justice Sec. Guevarra on revised concession deal with water firms: It will be beneficial to consumers because this concession has been deemed as a public utility
Justice Sec. Guevarra on revised concession agreement with concessionaires: Wala tayo magiging increase in water rates, tariffs until Dec. 31, 2022 out of consideration sa current situation natin...ang next possible adjustment will only happen in 2023
Will Duterte physically welcome the arrival of other vaccines?

Roque: Inaasahan niyang sunud-sunod na yung pagdating. It's a matter of course na marami nang darating. Hindi na siya pupunta physically para salubungin yung ibang bakuna
Roque on UK travel ban on Filipinos: Yung latest restriction ng UK, mag-hotel quarantine lang ang mga Pilipino na pupunta sa UK
WHO on 'slow' vaccine rollout: It is driven by the arrival of vaccine. We as a global community are faced with vaccine shortage. This shortage has also been driven by the recent increase in cases
WHO on vaccine rollout: Even planned deliveries are being delayed, scaled down because of the immediate shortage the globe is facing
WHO assures it is working continuously with NTF, DOH in maximizing impact of currently available vaccines in PH
Health Usec. Vergeire: We have not received reports of shortage in oxygen supply in Metro Manila hospitals. But we have already coordinated with different government units to assure sufficient supply
Justice Sec. Guevarra: The DOJ has created the necessary special investigating teams to look into the incidents in Calabarzon and the recent killing of a labor leader
Justice Sec. Guevarra says the National Bureau of Investigation will soon submit its progress report on the PNP-PDEA encounter
Health Usec Vergeire: Emergency hiring of healthcare workers is ongoing. We were already able to hire 7,000 healthcare workers. In NCR Plus, we have downloaded funds to hospitals so they can do direct hiring and fast-track recruitment process
Roque on China's intrusion in West PH Sea: We will not give up even a single inch of our national territory or our exclusive economic zone and we hope friendly relations will result to a peaceful resolution of this impasse
Why was the government not ready for COVID surge?

Health Usec. Vergeire: It's not that we're not ready. The increase in cases was something we did not expect. The major contributors to this disease have increased transmissibility of 6 to 9 times
Health Usec. Vergeire on failure to address COVID surge: The minimum health protocols has to be complied with
DOH on failure to address COVID surge: We've seen decline in compliance in health protocols.

However, over the past months, it was the gov't that eased quarantine, travel rules in PH, paving way for increased mobility in numerous areas, especially among working Filipinos
WHO: What we're seeing early on in the increase is due to delays in confirmation of diagnosis, we find many people in the same household are already infected by the time it's confirmed
WHO: If there are limitations in quarantining at home because you have someone who has comorbidities or of old age, it's best they're quarantined in temporary treatment and monitoring facilities or TTMFs
WHO emphasizes importance of quarantining people quickly to avoid more people getting infected and requiring intensive care
Justice Sec. Guevarra on penalties for quarantine violators: [We recommend] imposing penalty of community service for those who will violate ordinances rather than putting them in jail or fining them kasi nga mahirap na ang buhay ngayon
Roque assures the private sector is not being put aside in decisions about tightening quarantine restrictions to curb the surge in infections
Health Usec. Vergeire says there are about 400+ mild, asymptomatic cases in government hospitals: We analyzed if we can extract them, put them in facilities where they'll also be comfortable and managed by health practitioners, freeing up these hospitals
Health Usec Vergeire on reverting to MECQ: It will be based on the assessment. We won't see the changes from these ECQ strategies until about 10 days after, but we already have some indicators that we can use if we could continue with these restrictions or we'll lift
Health Usec. Vergeire on failure to contain variant-driven surge: We were able to detect the variants early on. In December, we closed our borders and did our surveillance system. We were able to set up restrictions to contain the spread (1/2)
Health Usec. Vergeire on failure to contain variant-driven surge: Unfortunately, it is not just that factor, we need to also look at the behavior of people (2/2)
WHO on delayed vaccine shipment from COVAX: Because of the shortage, expect a reduced quantity which may come in the next two weeks

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