Discover more from Super Sally’s Newsletter
Maid's Family Compensated for Vaccine Death in Singapore Contrasts Philippines Compensation. Guidelines on 2nd Booster for Healthy Adults. Bus Driver Shortage Affects Public Transport in the Metro.
DICT refuses to extend SIM registration deadline from 26/4. Mass data breach of personal data from Government Agencies! Digital banking push extends to farmers, 73% of whom do not have bank accounts!
USD169,000 is PHP9.5 million, a small fortune for her family, though hardly consolation for her death. The Philippines allocated PHP500 million for a Covid-19 vaccination compensation fund. The guidelines, including checklists of requirements and forms, are provided under PhilHealth Circular 2021-0007. There are limited inclusions: -
In case a vaccine injury or death can be proven beyond doubt, an onerous time consuming and expensive process, the maximum compensation for injury and hospital expenses is capped at PHP100,000 (USD1,770). Maximum payment for a death is also set at PHP100,000 (USD1,770).
PPMH-afvi group have volunteers trying to assist injured Filipinos, or the relatives of those who have died to make claims from this fund (email contact details available on the site), as part of their efforts to help their vaccine injured compatriots. Very few claims have been awarded to date and only after very extensive efforts.
Philippines Guidelines for 2nd Boosters of Monovalent Jabs Signed
Meanwhile, guidelines for second booster doses for the general healthy population have been signed. The vaccines to be used are AstraZeneca (latest published EUA 22 May 22, though all listed vaccines in that update of the EUA are already expired), Pfizer and Moderna. No new covid-19 vaccines can be imported to the Philippines due to expiry of the law providing immunity to vaccine manufacturers last 31 Dec 2022, and thus any doses given will use on-hand stock of the legacy vaccines for the Wuhan strain, which hasn’t been in circulation since 2020.
Regardless, the 2nd booster dose may now be given to all healthy adults 18 year and older, including pregnant and lactating women.
While the Government continues to insist that benefits outweigh risk, the fact is that these vaccines carry risks of adverse reaction and deaths and healthy people typically recover easily from Covid-19 infection within days, if they even get sick.
Monovalent Pfizer and Moderna No Longer Authorized in the US
Never mind that monovalent Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are no longer authorized for use in the US. This was done under the guise of simplifying dosing requirements.
The latest recommendations allows only the use of the bivalent products, and with few doses except, ironically for babies and young children who are still recommended a 2 dose (Moderna) or 3 dose (Pfizer) series. Other unvaccinated persons who take a vaccine for a first time (if they held out this long, why would they start now?) are only to be offered a single dose of bivalent.
Shortage of Bus Drivers in Metro Manila
Reported in the news is a shortage of bus drivers affecting operation of both city and long-distance bus services. Problem is reported as recruitment issues and employed drivers turning up to work. Shortages of courier and delivery service staff have also been discussed among my business contacts.
Bus drivers were initially pushed to get vaccinated in August 2021, with the vaccination rollout to the general population and the increasing movement allowed for vaccinated persons.
Vaccination for drivers was then enforced under Manila’s policies of no-vax, no ride, wherein all public transport workers were compulsorily vaccinated, and only vaccinated persons were allowed onto public transport. Many buildings and villages also did not allow unvaccinated delivery personnel into their premises. The office building where I work, similar to most buildings, banks, malls, required all members of the public entering to present their vaccination cards.
People in the Philippines need to Work to Survive / Why are there Labor Shortages?
There is effectively no social security / pension system for working aged disabled persons in the Philippines. No work = no pay = families don’t eat. Disabled persons need to be taken care of by their family, supported by other working members.
The minimum daily wage is also low, in Metro Manila at PHP570/day (USD10), too low to allow more than subsistence payday to payday living for a family. Drivers do not earn high salaries. They are unlikely to have financial reserves to just take voluntary time off work. If they are not working, it is likely because they cannot work.
Perhaps bus drivers are affected by the deaths and disability reported by Ed. Dowd in the US [Australian readers may not be able to access Ed’s site. I could not access it today]. Ed Dowd was the author of the book Cuase Unknown, discussed by CHD.
If this shortage of labor is being noted in the transportation sector, there is no doubt that similar situations will develop across other sectors, and that national shortages for labor, particularly in physically demanding sectors, will become increasingly apparent.
SIM Card Extension Officially Rejected Despite Lower than 50% Registration with Less Than a Week to Deadline
DICT have rejected calls for extension of the SIM card registration deadline on 26 April 2023, despite less than 50% of the nation’s 168 million activated SIM cards currently being registered. Outcomes of the recently filed TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) case against registration will still be instructive, if the court acts in a timely manner.
Breaking News on Massive Data Privacy Breach from Government Agencies
One of the major concerns of phone users is that the registration requires input of comprehensive personal data. The safety and security of that data is of utmost concern. This concern seems very well justified considering the breaking news on leakage of sensitive personal information from Government agencies including NBI (National Bureau Investigation), and PNP (Philippines National Police).
Central Banking System for Philippines
BSP (Bangko Sentral Ng Philipinas) is targeting introduction of a central and digital banking. This is typically done via cell phones, which most working people have.
The PalenkeQR system was implemented starting in 21 June 2022 to bring electronic payments to the local markets and public transportation. Use of the digital system will be incentivized and mandated. [Palenke is the local name for the ‘wet market” where all local produce can be bought].
To further extend digintal banking BSP is also looking to bring Farmers into the central banking fold, even though more than 70% of farmers do not currently have bank accounts.
Is the Philippines Ready for a Digital Economy?
A successful digital economy requires high technological inputs and strong infrastructure. These are not present in many areas in the Philippines. Many in rural communities and more remote areas will not be able to participate. The push for a digital economy will disenfranchise many and force them to live outside of the digital system in parallel systems still using cash, if it is still permitted, or bartering if it is not.
Current online banking and government payment facilities are not reliable, even in Manila; Government payments often take many attempts to pay due to system outages. Central records are not updated, and users frequently get notices about lacking payments (and resulting fines to be paid) that were actually made and then have to go in person to the relevant office to take half a day or more to prove the payments were complete and to ensure the records are updated, and the fine removed.
The completely digital banking system that is being proposed will surely reach new levels of operational challenges and frustration for all users. Failure of the digital system can be as simple as a power outage, or failure of the internet system (which doesn’t even reach to many areas). Poverty and inability to afford a phone, or to pay a monthly phone / internet service fee will be added barriers for many, keep them mired in poverty.
Even assuming the system central architecture works as planned, failure conditions will easily occur, as seen with the failure of the online schooling for many students over the past 3 years. Lack of infrastructure (computer, cellphone, internet access, power supply), and failure of infrastructure during inclement weather / natural disasters, power outages, etc., which are frequent are expected. Persons with only digital banking capacity will not be able to pay for or procure goods and services when the system fails.
Government experts will need to consider all aspects of the planned digital economy. To keep the nation functional and inclusive the digital economy should not be made mandatory. Citizens need to recognize the importance and utility of cash and physical monetary systems and guard their existence and functionality zealously.