Press Releases

Salceda on Omicron: Prepare therapeutics, isolation units; House tax chair says PH to “barrel through” latest variant

January 2nd, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd District) says that the country’s best defense against the omicron variant of COVID-19 will be “an ability to accommodate the infected and heal them fast” citing studies that show that the variant is highly infectious but less lethal that the Delta variant.

“It is essential for economic recovery that we do not lose the momentum in demand and job creation that we have already sustained. So we have to get fighting this variant right.”

“Omicron appears to be more infectious but less lethal than most variants. So, if we can isolate the infected and treat them quickly, we should do alright. Of course that will require some flexibility in treatment capacity again. So, we need to reactivate disused or unused isolation centers in preparation for Omicron.”

“I will talk to Secretary [Vivencio] Dizon to see what our active and ready isolation capacity is. Omicron appears like it will result in similar numbers aa Delta, but the lethality will be much less serious. Of course, that depends on getting treatment right and keeping hospitals ready.”

The House tax chief also called on the Department of Health to beef up its procurement of COVID-19 therapeutics.

“We have to be ready with the retrovirals. There are funds, and I believe we can also activate DRR funds if it has to come to that.”

“Overall, if we make the necessary hospital capacity and treatment expansions, we will barrel through,” the House tax chief also said.

Meanwhile, Salceda also gave assurances that Congress is willing to make amendments to the budget “to ensure that we can buy therapeutics, ventilators, and other medical needs should hospitalizations surge.”

“Congress is prepared to make the necessary adjustments, and luckily we will be in session soon.”

“My committee is also working with Customs to ensure that COVID-19 medicines, which are VAT-exempt under the CREATE Law, can be released to the hospitals that need them as soon as they arrive in our ports,” the tax panel chair, who also oversees the Bureau of Customs, added. (end)

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