As the Philippines continues its COVID-19 vaccination drive, its active cases have spiked past 86,000, including  the country’s highest single-day increase since the pandemic began. A year after lockdown was declared, the health system is, once again, overwhelmed. 

While the Department of Health’s hospital referral system is swamped with calls about new cases, 30 hospitals in NCR have declared full bed capacities for COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 variants have been detected in all cities in Metro Manila, prompting the government to place the area as well as Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan in a bubble from March 22 to April 4. Within this period, only essential travel will be allowed into and out of these places. 

More than ever, faster and more efficient processes need to be in place, especially since only over 500,000 have so far been inoculated—less than 1% of the 70 million targeted to achieve herd immunity this year. To better understand this issue, we discuss key points of an online  discussion held by the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, featuring health-sector heavyweights such as Former Health Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral; Dr. Susan Pineda-Mercado, director of Food Systems and Resiliency at the Hawaii Institute for Public; and Dr. Tony Leachon, chairman of Kilusang Kontra-COVID. 


The Parañaque government began its vaccination of senior citizens last March 22, 2019


The Need for Vaccines

In the online talk held last February, Dr. Cabral expressed her pro-vaccination views, stating how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed vaccination as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 21st century. “Vaccines have gone to develop into the most life-saving medical advancement in history,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mercado explained how the COVID-19 vaccination could protect one’s health. “You get a tiny bit of the virus, and that will stimulate the development of the antibodies. It helps you recognize the enemy because if you get natural  exposure, your disease will not be moderate or even severe.” 

With mass vaccination enabling majority of the population to develop a considerable degree of immunity against COVID-19, Dr. Cabral stated the following possible benefits:


 “Why are vaccines important to us? They are important to us because if there is a vaccine for a disease, it will prevent that severe disease and death from it,” Dr. Cabral said. “It will prevent symptomatic disease and importantly, it will also prevent the transmission of disease to others.”


Dr. Grace Pagayon-Uy received her first jab of AstraZeneca as part of the QC government’s vaccine rollout for health care workers this week.


The Importance of Starting Early

But as Dr. Mercado stated, mass vaccination does not guarantee an immediate victory against the virus. The changes are likely to be felt gradually, which is why early intervention is key. Dr. Cabral enumerated these results of Israel’s early vaccination drive, which started in January:

To guarantee early vaccination, Dr. Leachon shared that acquisition of vaccines should start as early as the phase 2 of clinical trials—which is what Vietnam, China, India and South Korea did. He presented a projection of good economic growth among these countries. Meanwhile, poor pandemic response resulted in the plummeting economies of the US, Brazil and the UK.


AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in the Philippines from the COVAX facility last March 4. (Photo from National Task Force Against COVID-19)


On the Flip Side: Anti-Vaxxers

The World Health Organization included “vaccine hesitancy” in one of the top global health threats in 2019. WHO stated, “Vaccine hesitancy – the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.”


WHO identified the possible reasons for vaccine refusal:


Throughout history, anti-vaxxers—the term used for those who oppose vaccines—have cited various side-effects from vaccines. These included infertility, brain damage, and most recently, autism, which some claimed were an effect of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine for children. This resulted in a decline in MMR vaccinations, which, in turn, resulted in an emergence of measles and mumps in Europe and North America, which had not seen these diseases for many years. According to the CDC, studies have dispelled the claim linking vaccinations to autism.


Dr. Gladys Lacuna-Mendoza gets her first dose of Sinovac vaccine. According to Sec. Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, almost 24% of the country’s 1.7 million health workers have been vaccinated. 


Convincing the Skeptics

A recent survey from OCTA Research revealed that 46% of Filipinos are unwilling to get inoculated against COVID-19 even if the vaccine was proven safe and effective. To combat this massive vaccine hesitancy, Dr. Cabral urged the government to use “trustworthy and trusted talking heads, and use language that people can easily understand.” Messages should also be balanced and consistent, and widely reiterated across all platforms.

Dr. Leachon even warned that future travel might require COVID-19 immunity passports. “This is important to economic recovery and that’s why we need to have vaccination. The Philippines will be isolated from the rest of the world if we will not be vaccinated— tourists will hesitate to come, the international business people will not travel, Filipinos may not be given passes to travel abroad, thus curtailing business activities and even family leisure and travel. Our competitiveness will sink even further in the rankings.”

But even with vaccination, Leachon said health measures should still be improved such as contact tracing, quarantine and isolation facilities, and even government messaging. “We should invest in health care so we can prepare for the next pandemic. We have to take better care of our health care workers.” 

Still, even if public acceptance of vaccination improves, the slow arrival and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines remain a major hindrance. All the health experts in the online discussion agreed that right now, there is no room for complacency. To save lives and the economy, vaccination needs to be a priority. “The economy will never recover as long as the virus is not controlled. And if you don’t understand that, then we’re part of the problem,” ended Dr. Leachon.

Donna May Lina at Agay Llanera


Dahil buong mundo ay abala sa pagpuksa ng COVID-19, laging laman ng balita ang pagpapabakuna laban sa sakit na ito. Ayon sa Bloomberg, ang Estados Unidos ang nangunguna sa dami ng mga nabakunahan. Pumapalo sa halos 2.5 milyon ang natuturukan ng COVID-19 vaccine sa U.S. kada araw.

Simula nang inumpisahan ng Pilipinas ang vaccination drive nito n’ung March 1, higit sa 240,000 ang nabakunahan nang mga Pilipino. Ngunit bukod sa mabagal na pagdating ng mga vaccine, hadlang sa malawakang vaccination ang kawalan ng tiwala ng mga Pilipino sa vaccine. Ayon sa isang survey, 46% ng mga Pilipino ay hindi papayag mabigyan ng COVID-19 vaccine kahit na napatunayan itong ligtas at epektibo.


Kasaysayan ng Bakuna  

Pinaniniwalaan na ang English physician na si Edward Jenner ang unang nagsagawa ng matagumpay na pagpapabakuna. Pagkatapos niyang turukan ng smallpox virus ang isang bata, nagkaroong ang pasyente ng immunity sa nasabing sakit. Nang nagkaroon na ng mass vaccination, tuluyan nang naiwaksi mula sa mundo ang small pox noong 1979.

Ayon sa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mahalaga ang childhood vaccines o ‘yung mga bakunang ibinibigay sa mga sanggol at bata sa pag-iwas sa sumusunod na mga sakit:



Ang mga bakuna ay nagbibigay proteksyon, hindi lang sa indibiduwal, kungdi pati rin sa buong komunidad.


Ano ang Herd Immunity?

Inilalarawan ng World Health Organization (WHO) ang herd immunity bilang indirektang proteksyon laban sa isang nakahahawang sakit. Maaaring magkaroon ng immunity ang isang populasyon mula sa pagpapabakuna o dati nang pagkakasakit. Dahil posibleng mabiktima ng COVID-19 nang higit sa isang beses, inirerekomenda ng WHO ang pagpapabakuna laban dito upang makamit ang herd immunity.


Para hindi dapuan ng matinding COVID-19 ang malaking bahagi ng populasyon, isinasagawa ng mga bansa ang malawakang vaccination. Herd immunity rin ang layunin ng pamahalaan ng Pilipinas kaya inanunsyo nito ang planong mabakunahan ang 70 milyong Pilipino sa loob ng isang taon.


COVID-19 Vaccination Plan sa Pilipinas

Noong Pebrero, inilabas ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) ang priority list o ‘yung pagkakahanay ng mga mababakunahan.


Source: Philippine News Agency (PNA)


Ayon sa Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines, nakakalap na ang pamahalaan ng ₱82.5 billion. Ilalan ito sa pagbili ng mga vaccine at iba pang mga gastusin sa pagbabakuna.


Source: DOH


Nabanggit ni Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III na posibleng umabot sa ₱1,300 ang pagbabakuna sa bawat indibiduwal. Dagdag pa niya, mga 57 milyong Pilipino ang makikinabang sa ₱75-bilyong pondong inilaan ng pamahalaan sa pamimili ng mga vaccine. Ang natitirang populasyon ay paggagastusan ng mga LGU (local government unit) at pribadong sektor. Sa ilalim ng Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, pumirma ng kontrata ang lokal na pamahalaan, LGU at mga 300 pribadong kumpanya upang bumili ng 17 milyong dosis mula sa  British pharmaceutical company na AstraZeneca. Ayon kay Joey Conception, ang Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, kalahati ng mga dosis na bibilhin ng pribadong sektor ay ibibigay sa  gobyerno, habang ang kalahati ay mapupunta sa mga empleyado ng mga kumpanya.


Nationwide Vaccination Drive 

Sources: DOH, WHO, PNA


Higit sa 480,000 dosis ng AstraZeneca vaccine ang ibinigay ng COVAX facility sa Pilipinas. (Photo: National Task Force Against COVID-19)


Base sa tinatayang datos ng paglago ng populasyon mula sa Philippine Statistics Authority, bumuo ang pamahalaan ng three-year vaccination plan mula 2021 hanggang 2023. Inaasahan na sa 2022, maaari nang mabakunahan ang mga 16 years old pababa, habang meron nang COVID-19 vaccine para sa mga sanggol sa 2023. Ang mga binakunahan ngayong 2021 ay bibigyan pa ng booster shots sa susunod na mga taon.


Source: DOH


Pagkamit ng Herd Immunity

Kahit hindi pa alam ng WHO ang eksaktong porsyento ng isang populasyon na dapat mabakunahan upang makamit ang herd immunity, layunin ng pamahalaan ang mabigyan ng COVID-19 vaccine ang 70 milyong mga Pilipino ngayong 2021. Pero dalawang dosis ang kailangan para makumpleto ang pagpapabakuna— ibig sabihin, 140 milyong dosis ang dapat maiturok ngayong taon.



Base sa mga bilang na ito, dapat bilisan ng pamahalaan ang pagbabakuna para magkaroon ng herd immunity sa bansa—lalo na’t kailangang kailangan na ito ng ating ekonomiya.

Matagal pang haharapin ng bansa ang pandemya, at hindi pa natin alam kung kailan ito matatapos. Ngunit isang bagay ang maliwang: hangga’t hindi pa nababakunahan ang 70 milyong mga Pilipino, kailangan ng ibayong pag-iingat ngayong tumataas muli ang mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

Tumatakbo ang oras, pero habang wala pang bakuna ang karamihan ng mga Pilipino, dapat sundin ang mga hakbang upang masiguro ang pansariling kalusugan at kaligtasan. Sa ganitong paraan pa lang natin maiiwasan ang sakit na patuloy na dumadagdag sa 2 milyong bilang na namamatay sa buong mundo.



Donna Lina with Agay Llanera


With the whole world racing to beat the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccinations are at the top of the global news pile. According to Bloomberg, the United States tops the list of having the most vaccinations so far at the rate of over 2 million doses per day. 

Since the start of the Philippines’ vaccination drive last March 1, the latest tally of total vaccinations is now over 114,000. Besides the delayed arrival of vaccines, another hurdle the country’s mass vaccination faces is the Filipinos’ reduced confidence in vaccines. According to a recent survey, 46% of Filipinos are unwilling to get inoculated against COVID-19 even if the vaccine was proven safe and effective.


A Brief History of Vaccines

English Physician Edward Jenner is widely recognized to have made the first vaccination in 1796. After inoculating a child with smallpox virus, the vaccinee developed an immunity to the disease. Mass immunization following the development of the smallpox vaccine led to the disease’s global extermination in 1979.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges the crucial role of childhood vaccines in preventing the following diseases: 


For communicable diseases, vaccines act as extra protection for the body and the entire community. To get this kind of protection, a community must achieve herd immunity.  


What is Herd Immunity?

Herd immunity or population immunity is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the “indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.” WHO makes it clear that it supports herd immunity against COVID-19 through vaccination.

This is achieved through mass vaccination, enabling majority of the population to be immune to the disease. Scientists are still researching how much of the population needs to be inoculated for herd immunity against COVID-19 to take place. In the Philippines, the government announced its plans to vaccinate 100% of its adult population or about 70 million Filipinos.


COVID-19 Vaccination Plan in PH

Last February, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) finalized the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccination drive


Source: Philippine News Agency (PNA)


According to the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines, the government has accumulated ₱82.5 billion to cover costs of procuring vaccines, logistics, distribution and monitoring.

Source: DOH


With vaccination costs pegged at ₱1,300 per individual according to Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, around 57 million Filipinos will benefit from the nearly ₱75-billion funds allocated by the government for vaccine acquisition. The remaining individuals are to be covered by the local government units (LGUs) and the private sector. Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the national government, local government units (LGUs) and about 300 Philippine companies signed an agreement with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to procure 17 million vaccine doses. In this article, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said that half of the vaccine doses will be given to the national government, while the remaining half are for the companies’ workforce.


Nationwide Vaccination Drive 

Sources: DOH, WHO, PNA


Over 480,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in the Philippines from the COVAX facility. (Photo from National Task Force Against COVID-19)


With population projections from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the government developed a three-year vaccination plan from 2021 to 2023. The roadmap assumes that by 2022, those 16 years old and below may be allowed to take the vaccine, and that by 2023, newborns can be inoculated against COVID-19. Those who’d taken the shots in 2021 will be given booster shots in the succeeding years.


Source: DOH


Achieving Herd Immunity

Though WHO emphasizes that “the proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known,” the Philippine government’s goal of vaccinating 70 million Filipinos this 2021 aims to achieve herd immunity. Because each vaccination requires two doses, 140 million vaccine doses need to be rolled out in a year.


Based on such figures, the government needs to ramp up its vaccination drive to achieve herd immunity, and enable the country to recover both from the health and economic crises. 

The country’s battle against the pandemic is still unfolding but one thing remains clear: until the crucial number of 70 million have not been vaccinated, Filipinos need to be on their toes as cases continue to surge. 

Time is of the essence, but with majority having no means for vaccination yet, basic health and safety measures are still the strongest defense against this disease which continues to add to the global death toll of over 2 million.

The government eased restrictions in places of worship in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Religious services in these places of worship have been allowed up to 50% of the venue’s capacity, and are subject to the government’s minimum health standards. This new rule was announced last June 3, 2020 after the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) revised its guidelines.

On June 30, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the latest areas placed under the different levels of community quarantine.

The government previously disallowed religious gatherings during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), and allowed places of worship to accept only a maximum of 10 participants in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

In a statement, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines welcomed the government’s 50% capacity rule. 

Sacred Heart Parish-Shrine in Quezon City

The Sacred Heart Parish-Shrine in Quezon City introduced protocols to ensure the safety of its parishioners once the city is placed under MGCQ. To find out how this church is readying for the resumption of religious gatherings, watch this report: http://shorturl.at/oCUXY


Kathy San Gabriel |  Panahon TV Reporter

Managing the rainy season this year is vastly different from the previous ones as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to pose threats on the country’s public health, economy, and environment. During this time, tropical cyclones, combined with the enhanced southwest monsoon (habagat), are expected to bring floods, storm surges, destructive winds, and landslides which may hamper efforts in curtailing the spread of the virus. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), 6 to 10 cyclones may enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) from July to August. Additionally, there is a 50% chance that La Niña may develop in the last quarter of the year, bringing wetter conditions in the eastern section of the country.

Typhoon Season. Two tropical cyclones have traversed the PAR since the first COVID-19 case in Manila on January 30. Typhoon Ambo, internationally known as Vongfong, made landfall six times on May 14 and 15, while Tropical Depression Butchoy hit the landmass twice on June 11. Both pummeled the coronavirus-stricken Luzon.

Aylen Labiano, who has been selling agricultural products beside an ecotourism road in Lucena, Quezon for nearly a year now, recounts in Filipino how Bagyong Ambo impacted her livelihood. “The recent cyclone devastated vegetation and banana trees, which prompted suppliers and sellers to raise prices. But people want low-cost food since a lot of them lost their jobs, and the situation has not yet normalized. If typhoons continue to ravage our livelihood, we will not be able to make ends meet.”

Agricultural Uncertainty. Agricultural loss due to Typhoon Ambo is estimated at Php1.37B.

19-year old Carl Ian Pedregosa from San Francisco, Quezon shares how his family monitored the news to prepare for the typhoon. “But when the rains arrived, we experienced power outage, which lasted for more than a week. Some coconuts, which were supposed to be extracted for oil, also fell during the storm. We fed them to the hogs instead.” Pedregosa also worries about how power interruptions can not only make it difficult for his family to stay updated, but also disrupt his education in the coming school year, especially with academic institutions planning to utilize online learning.

Felled coconut trees in Quezon Province, one of the top agricultural producers of copra in the country.

PAGASA Cyclone Forecast

Overwhelming Complications

While studies say that rain may help dilute the virus on contaminated surfaces, it also favors other diseases that may strain our healthcare system.

Monsoon Diseases. With the rains comes a downpour of diseases, ranging from the easily curable, such as diarrhea and cough, to the downright deadly, including leptospirosis and typhoid fever. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) clarifies that there is still no evidence supporting the possible transmission of COVID-19  through mosquitos and houseflies. To date, no peer-reviewed studies have proven that the ongoing seasonal change has weakened the potency of the virus, and if it can interact with other viruses to develop worse symptoms.

But the real problem lies with how symptoms of monsoon diseases are almost similar to those of COVID-19’s. “Whether people tested positive or negative for COVID-19, we will need to test them for other possible diseases which will make the process longer,” states Dr. Generoso Roberto of the Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians (PSPHP). 

The Department of Health (DOH) targets to license 65 COVID-19 testing laboratories by the end of July to test 1.5 to 2% of the population. To date, there are 62 accredited labs with a rated testing capacity of 50,000 daily, prioritizing suspect cases, individuals with travel history, and healthcare workers with possible exposure, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. However, there is still a gap between rated and actual capacity with 12,000 to 16,000 people tested a day due to manpower and supply chain issues— problems that arise globally.

Confirmed Symptoms. The United Kingdom has included anosmia, or loss of taste or smell, as a predictor for COVID-19. Experts say that patients infected with COVID-19 usually transmit the disease before their symptoms manifest, their ability to infect peaking until the third day after symptoms start showing.

“We also need to plan where we’ll be admitting patients diagnosed with other diseases if certain hospitals are designated as COVID-19 treatment sites,” Dr. Roberto explained. Meanwhile, people living in rural areas, especially in remote islands, will face the challenge of transporting patients and doctors to the barrios during the typhoon season. “This means that patients can develop severe symptoms by the time they’re brought to healthcare facilities,” Dr. Roberto explained. 

Though virtual healthcare seeks to keep patients at home, the system is not inclusive of, and accessible among the marginalized. According to the Speedtest Global Index, upload and download speeds for mobile and fixed broadband in the country are still below the global average. The Social Weather Stations (SWS) also shows that only 22.4% of Filipino families in the country owns a personal computer at home.

Rising Tide of Vulnerabilities

The country is still on its first wave of COVID-19 cases when the government gradually eased quarantine measures, allowing some businesses to reopen. Though this move aims to save the economy from socioeconomic impacts, such as unemployment and hunger, it may also worsen, not only the health crisis, but also disaster risks.

“We need to do scenario building or disaster imagination so we can prepare for complex emergencies,” says Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Jr. in Filipino. Government and private sectors should have continuity plans for their public service and businesses since the pandemic may coincide with hazards that often transpire in the country, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. 

On March 11, days before the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, volcanologists placed Mount Kanlaon in Negros Island under Alert Level 1, prohibiting people around its 4-kilometer-radius danger zone for possible sudden phreatic eruptions. A series of volcano-tectonic quakes has been observed since June 21. Meanwhile, Mayon Volcano has been under Alert Level 2 since March 2018.

Urbanized cities are highly exposed both to the pandemic and the negative impacts of natural hazards due to their dense structures and population. According to Solidum, the government’s Balik-Probinsya program may be a good solution to decongest cities as long as comprehensive safety protocols are strictly employed. This program, institutionalized through Executive Order No. 114, seeks to encourage people, especially the informal settlers, to return to their home provinces.

Metro Manila, considered as the seat of government, is no exception to looming catastrophe. Here lies the biggest portion of the West Valley Fault (WVF), an active earthquake generator traversing Bulacan, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite. These areas are part of the Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA), a megacity with an estimated population of 20 million. About 35% of its populace are informal settlers, many of them living below poverty line. 

WVF’s massive earthquakes occur every 400 to 600 years. Its last movement that caused a magnitude 5.7 quake was in 1658 or 362 years ago. According to a joint study by Australia and the Philippines, the fault’s next movement may produce a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, resulting in 34,000 deaths due to collapsed buildings—and an additional 18,000 fire-related fatalities in the metropolis. Furthermore, infrastructures, lifelines, and about 40% of residential buildings are likely to be heavily or partially damaged, causing 2.3 trillion pesos worth of damage. The management of such a huge disaster requires close coordination, which the current pandemic hampers.

If protocols are not properly implemented and followed, evacuation centers during disasters coupled with monsoon diseases may be a breeding ground for more health risks. A person with COVID-19 may infect dozens of people, including Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) officers who are on the frontline during rescue and relief operations. 

One of which is Alex Pimentel, a DRRM officer in Batangas City, who tested positive for the disease in April. “Parang nandidiri ang ibang tao sa community, lalo na when I tested positive,” he shares. (When I tested positive, people in the community avoided me like the plague.) 

DRRM offices help by providing transportation for COVID-19-related patients, manning centers for Persons Under Monitoring (PUM), and disinfecting public spaces, among others. But if a natural disaster strikes, people like Alex will even have a more difficult time doing their duty. “It will be hard for the DRRM frontliners responding with merged Search and Rescue and COVID-19 personal protective equipment. We also worry about funds because we’ve already spent so much during the Taal eruption, assisting 11,000 evacuees, followed by the pandemic response.“ 

Nasugbu, Batangas LDRRMO

The Need for Disaster Imagination

Solidum explains that disaster imagination means preparing for worst-case scenarios and their possible impacts. “People and the Local Government Units (LGUs) should know the hazards in their areas so they can plan appropriately. What if an earthquake transpires? What are its impacts? Have we identified the vulnerable population? Where are we bringing them?”

A study conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2014 exposed that more than 90% of evacuation sites in Eastern Samar were partially or completely devastated during the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. These were churches, schools, and community centers, which were identified by LGUs as safe.

On June 13, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) provided LGUs with guidelines so they can meet the health standards of the COVID-19 National Task Force in conducting online Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment. This allows LGUs to prepare their inventory of resources, logistical requirements, relief packs, and evacuation centers. “If we conduct pre-emptive evacuation, we see to it that everybody is protected. We should be observing social distancing and we limit the number of people in the evacuation centers. We also see to it that our responders are protected,“ says OCD’s Operations Service Director Harold Cabreros.

Risk Management during the Pandemic 

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), PAGASA, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) have developed Hazard Hunter, a tool that Filipinos can use to assess seismic, volcanic, hydrometeorological, and climatological hazards in their locations. It is free and readily- available online, especially useful for property owners, buyers, land developers, planners, and other stakeholders.

It is also important to know what to do before, during, and after several natural hazards.

Graphics by Jearom Andre Martinez

This global crisis is not just about adapting to changes, but also preparing for complex emergencies. With inclusive, sustainable solutions, everyone—even the weakest—can be empowered to rise up to the challenges.


Assistance and additional reports from: Fritzjay Labiano, Relly Bernardo (Antipolo PIO), Vic Simoun Montoso, Mark Cashean Timbal (OCD), Lilia Malabuyoc (OCD)

Today, the whole archipelago will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms due to the prevailing Easterlies.

The said weather system currently affects the eastern section of Luzon and Visayas.

Easterlies are winds coming from the east, passing through the Pacific Ocean, bringing warm and humid weather to the country. Everyone is advised to take precautionary measures against the expected rise in temperatures.

According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza, the country will remain storm-free until the next three days.


With its northward movement, Typhoon Paeng is forecast to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday without any landfall activity.

Enhanced by the Typhoon, the Southwest Monsoon will bring cloudy skies with scattered rain showers in Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and Caraga. Elsewhere, partly cloudy to cloudy skies prevail and localized thunderstorms are possible. PAGASA raised a gale warning off the northern seaboards of Northern Luzon and the eastern seaboards of Luzon and Visayas. Fisherfolk and those with small seacraft are advised not to venture out, while larger vessels are advised to take precautionary measures against rough to very rough sea conditions.

Meanwhile, a new weather disturbance may threaten the country next week. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Ariel Rojas, a Low Pressure Area (LPA) was spotted at 3,100 kilometers east-southeast of Mindanao, outside PAR. It is forecast to intensify into a tropical cyclone and enter PAR next week.

The country remains storms-free as the new week sets in.

According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Samuel Duran, no weather disturbance is expected in the next three days.

Today, Ridge of a High Pressure Area extends over Northern Luzon, while Easterlies affect the rest of the country. These will bring partly cloudy to cloudy skies or a generally fair weather will prevail in the entire country only with chances of isolated rain showers or localized thunderstorms in the latter part of the day.

Rains, induced by three weather systems, will make flash floods and landslides possible in some parts of the country.

At 3:00 a.m., the Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated at 265 kilometers southwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. As the Tail-end of a Cold Front dampens the eastern sections of Southern Luzon and Visayas, the Northeast Monsoon brings rains in portions of Northern Luzon.

In the next hours, Bicol Region, Quezon, Palawan, Eastern Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula will experience cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms that may trigger flash floods or landslides. In Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos Region, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail with isolated light rains. In the rest of the country, including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies or generally fair weather can be enjoyed with possible isolated rain showers.

Gale warning is still hoisted in the northern seaboards of Northern Luzon that covers Batanes, Babuyan Group of Islands, the northern coasts of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte. In these areas, fishing boats and small seacraft are prohibited from venturing due to rough to very rough seas.