MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, on Monday said they already sought the assistance of the Philippine Army (PA) in tracking down the nine former police officers implicated in the fatal shooting of four Army intelligence troopers in June last year.

Nagtago na! Sinas seeks Army’s help in finding 9 dismissed cops in Jolo shooting

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MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, on Monday said they already sought the assistance of the Philippine Army (PA) in tracking down the nine former police officers implicated in the fatal shooting of four Army intelligence troopers in June last year.

“Our dialogue is still ongoing and some of them are still hesitant to surrender but we already gave copies of the arrest warrant to the PA to help us in tracking them,” Sinas said in a media interview.

Sinas said the dismissed Jolo cops are wary of surrendering due to fears about their security and safety despite earlier assurances that they will be detained in PNP national headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

“But they still refused to surrender so our manhunt goes on,” Sinas said.

Aside from the PA, he said they also gave copies of the arrest warrants to the National Bureau of Investigation.

Reports said the nine former policemen are still in Jolo, Sulu.

Last month, a panel of prosecutors of the Department of Justice found probable cause to indict the nine police officers — Senior M/Sgt. Abdelzhimar Padjiri; M/Sgt. Hanie Baddiri; S/Sgt. Iskandar Susulan; S/Sgt. Ernisar Sappal; Cpl. Sulki Andaki; Pat. Moh Nur Pasani; S/Sgt. Almudzrin Hadjaruddin; Pat. Alkajal Mandangan; and Pat. Rajiv Putalan for four counts of murder and planting of evidence.

The panel did not recommend bail for the accused.

Sinas earlier approved the dismissal from service of the police officers.

Killed in the June 29, 2020 incident were Maj. Marvin A. Indammog, 39; Capt. Irwin B. Managuelod, 33; Sgt. Jaime M. Velasco, 38, and Cpl. Abdal Asula, 33.

The four soldiers were conducting intelligence and monitoring operations against two suspected suicide bombers when gunned down by the nine Jolo police officers. (With reports from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)

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Kahit Sinovac pa ‘yan! Lorenzana: Available brand is ‘best vaccine’ vs COVID-19

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said the “best vaccine” to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country is the vaccine that is now readily available.

Lorenzana was referring to the country’s first 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine donated by China and arrived in the country on board a Chinese military aircraft on Sunday.

“The best vaccine is that vaccine that is here available, kaya nga hindi ko maintindihan itong ating mga detractors nung hindi dumarating yung vaccine ay panay ang batikos sa atin, nung dumating binatikos pa rin na hindi maganda daw yung Sinovac, pero 13 bansa na po yung gumagamit ng Sinovac at wala naman silang reklamo (that is why I don’t understand why our detractors, who are always criticizing us when there is no vaccine yet, are still criticizing us when there is already a vaccine claiming Sinovac is not good but yet 13 countries are already using and they have no complaint so far),” Lorenzana said.

He made the comment as he graced the official kickoff of the immunization campaign for the DND and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel at the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (also known as V. Luna) in Quezon City Monday.

Lorezana said if 13 countries have already been using the Chinese-made Sinovac, it means the CoronaVac is “clinically” tested.

“So let us be very thankful to the Chinese government for donating this vaccine,” he said.

He also visited the vaccination rollout at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center where he wanted to have himself vaccinated but was dissuaded by experts as those below 18 and above 59 years old are not advised to take the vaccine.

“We will follow the advice of our experts na hindi na tayo magpabakuna muna and hintayin natin yung angkop sa ating edad (not to have myself vaccinated for the meantime and wait for vaccine that is more appropriate for my age),” the 72-year-old DND chief said.

Lorenzana said the military front-liners will be prioritized using Sinovac’s vaccines.

The 100,000 of the 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine were donated by the Chinese Ministry of Defense to the DND.

The DND will initially inoculate 14,520 individuals using 29,040 doses. The remaining 70,960 doses will be given to the AFP. (PNA)

Tiis muna sa Sinovac: Galvez says Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in 2nd quarter of 2021

MANILA – Due to high global demand, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday said 170,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from the COVAX facility may finally arrive in the country by the second quarter of this year.

The initial batch was supposed to reach the Philippines in mid-February.

“We should not expect that Pfizer ay darating sa lalong madaling panahon dahil sa nakikita natin halos lahat ng bansa ang kinukuha nila ay ‘yung (We should not expect that Pfizer vaccines will arrive as soon as most of the countries have already ordered) Pfizer and Moderna and also AstraZeneca,” Galvez, who is also the country’s vaccine czar, said during a press briefing at the Philippine General Hospital.

He also cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s recommendation to prepare a standby stockpile of at least 2 million doses of China-made CoronaVac to enable the country to lift restrictions imposed since March last year when the pandemic began.

“Once we have that stockpile and we will maintain 2 to 5 million [doses], we can now convince the President to open the economy and also have the face-to-face education,” said Galvez, noting that the President realizes the economic contraction being caused by the health crisis.

“He is also sympathizing with the mayors na sa kanya buhay muna bago ang ekonomiya (because for him, lives must be saved first before the economy),” Galvez added.

The possible lifting of restrictions may happen within the second quarter this year, he said.

Galvez said once the government-procured AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines, including the 6.5 million doses from the COVAX facility, arrive in May, the country’s stockpile may reach more or less 10 million doses, allowing the economy to gradually open and recover.

Road to normalcy

“Once we are able to gather enough volumes this year, we see that by mid-2022 we may sharply recover,” he said.

The vaccination campaign and ongoing negotiations for the procurement of additional doses will also contribute to the country’s recovery, he added.

The country will receive some 5.1 million doses of CoronaVac within the first quarter, intended for the inoculation of healthcare workers and other essential government front-liners. (PNA)

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