PHILIPPINE NEWS

Keep up to date with what’s happening in the Philippines.


  • ‘Foul-mouthed, disrespecful’ Parlade slammed for calling senators ‘stupid’
    by Vanne Elaine Terrazola on April 23, 2021 at 7:51 am

    “We will not stoop to his level.” Senator Joel Villanueva had this to say Friday, April 23, after Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. called lawmakers “stupid” for pushing to defund the government’s anti-insurgency task force over its red-tagging and profiling of community pantry volunteers. (Senate of the Philippines / Facebook) “We’ll not stoop down to this level of pettiness. Name-calling will not put food on anyone’s table,” he said on Twitter. The Senate, he said, has the responsibility to ensure that government funds — the peoples’ money — are being spent for public interest. Villanueva pitched for the defundng of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), after Parlade, its spokesperson, likened Ana Patricia Non to “Satan’s apple”, in an attempt to justify their claim that organizers of community pantries are linked to communist rebels. It was Non who initiated the Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City, which inspired several similar donation-driven efforts across the Philippines. Over 300 community pantries have sprouted in various regions of the country. The joy of giving: Community pantries continue to sprout all over NCR… “Sa Senado ka magpaliwanag (Explain yourself to the Senate),” he told Parlade on Friday. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also called Parlade “disrespectful” for his remarks against the senators. “It’s really disrespectful to say the least if Parlade said that we are stupid for passing this (the NTF-ELCAC budget),” Drilon said in an interview with cable news channel One News. In his statement, he also described the controversial military official “foul-mouthed”. Drilon said Parlade must step down from his post in the NTF-ELCAC due to constitutional issues that hang over his appointment. The 1987 Constitution prohibits active members of the military to assume a civilian post in government. “A first-year law student will tell you a cardinal rule in the Constitution that those who are in the active military service are prohibited from occupying civilian positions. That violates the Constitution. He is illegally occupying his position as the task force’s spokesperson. It is one of thy disappointments. Hindi na pinapakinggan ang Senado (They refuse to listen to the Senate),” explained Drilon, a former justice secretary, said. “Given the fact that his holding of his position is constitutionally doubtful, why doesn’t he step down to save everybody from agony?” he added. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also echoed his colleagues’ statements, saying Parlade is already affecting the image of the government’s anti-insurgency task force. “Wala [nang] tiwala ang taong bayan sa pamumuno ng NTF dahil sa kanilang mga pahayag at pananalita. Masasayang ang pera ng taong bayan kung ganyan lang ang mga taong nandiyan (The people have lost their trust in the NTF-ELCAC because of their statements. The people’s money are only going to waste if those officials remain in the task force),” he also tweeted. The NTF-ELCAC was given by Congress a ₱19-billion budget for 2021, ₱16.4 billion of which to be spent for its “development programs” for barangays (villages) cleared of communist insurgency. On Thursday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the NTF-ELCAC should just replace its officials instead of having the task force defunded for its red-tagging activities. Parlade likens community pantry to Satan’s apple

  • OCTA warns vs easing quarantine in NCR unless lower virus reproduction rate is sustained
    by postie on April 23, 2021 at 7:44 am

    MANILA, Philippines — A group of experts on Friday warned the government against relaxing Metro Manila’s quarantine status unless its COVID-19 reproduction rate, or the speed of the coronavirus spread, is sustained for several weeks at a low level. OCTA Research group member Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, a Filipino-American molecular biologist and Catholic priest, said Metro Manila’s The post OCTA warns vs easing quarantine in NCR unless lower virus reproduction rate is sustained appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Captured PH Eagle ‘Tagoyaman’ released back into wilds
    by Roy Mabasa on April 23, 2021 at 7:43 am

    Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson A.O. has joined Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and other national and local officials in releasing a rescued and rehabilitated Philippine Eagle back to its forest home in Bukidnon province. Tagoyaman Fernando is among the seven Philippine Eagles that were rescued last year – the highest rescue rate recorded in the history of Philippine Eagle conservation – and the first Philippine Eagle to be released back to the wild this year. “The Australian Embassy is proud to continue our support to the Philippine Eagle Foundation for the protection and preservation of the Philippine Eagle. I traveled to Bukidnon to witness Tagoyaman’s release because it is an important milestone in the Philippines’ efforts in conserving local wildlife biodiversity,” Ambassador Robinson said in a statement, adding that Australia stands with our friends in the Philippines as they protect their natural resources, in their lands or seas. Tagoyaman’s release coincided with the observance of Earth Day 2021 and was made possible through the support of the Australian Government, Whitley Fund for Nature, Jurong Bird Park, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region X, and the local government of San Fernando and Bukidnon. Philippine Eagle Foundation Executive Director Dennis Salvador said cited the challenges they faced in rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing Philippine Eagles in the middle of a pandemic. “It’s difficult to mobilize field operations when travel restrictions are imposed and sources of funds are shut down. Still, we are able to persevere, thanks to the support of the Australian Government and other conservation partners,” said Salvador said during the short program in honor of Tagoyaman’s release. In October 2020, Tagoyaman was retrieved in San Fernando, Bukidnon after getting accidentally caught in a native trap intended for other animals. The bird was brought to the Philippine Eagle Center for check-up and rehabilitation. Salvador said Tagoyaman’s release on Earth Day is also a resounding call for long-term solutions to the problematic relationship with nature and wildlife. “We believe that by conserving the Philippine Eagle and the biodiversity it represents, we can avoid another disease outbreak,” he said. The PEF conducted an education campaign targeting communities surrounding the release site and Indigenous forest guards were trained to perform voluntary forest patrols and monitor the bird’s movements using the GPS transmitter attached to its back, for the next six months. “Collaborations and partnerships play a big role in Philippine Eagle conservation. The PEF can’t save the eagles alone. We need the help of our local communities, government agencies, the private sector, and the Filipino people so that one day Philippine Eagles will thrive in the wild,” Salvador added. Also present during the ceremony releasing Tagoyaman were San Fernando Vice Mayor Norberto Catalan and Philippine Eagle Foundation Trustee Francis Ledesma.

  • Not enough healthcare workers to manage additional COVID beds in NCR — OCTA expert
    by Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz on April 23, 2021 at 7:27 am

    More than available beds for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, the lack of nurses to man hospitals is one of the main reasons why hospitals in Metro Manila are getting overwhelmed, molecular biologist-priest Nicanor Austriaco said on Friday, April 23. Austriaco, a research fellow of OCTA, said thousands of nurses are needed to manage a total of 9,745 COVID beds designated by the Department of Health (DOH) in Metro Manila, as of April 19, 2021. As of December 2020, there are about 16,000 nurses in the National Capital Region. “One of the reasons why our hospitals appear to be so overwhelmed in spite of the extra number of beds that are recorded every single day in the DOH data is because we are actually facing a log jam, a limit. The limiting factor is actually not beds but nurses,” Austriaco said during a webicon organized by OCTA and Cardinal Santos Medical Center. “The capacity that we are able to deal with in the city will depend upon the ratio of beds to nurses that are assigned,” he explained. For standard care without the surge, he pointed out that one nurse is needed per four COVID ward patients, one nurse per two COVID patients in ICU, one to eight for non-COVID ward patients, and one to two non-COVID ICU patients. “With 9,745 COVID beds and 16,000 nurses, in every single scenario…there was always more beds available than nurses,” Austriaco said. “In fact, in the middle surge capacity, we have 7,616 staff beds with 2,000 or more so of beds empty because we have reached capacity. We believe that the gap that we’re seeing between the threshold of beds that are available, and the number of beds that are actually used, and the number of cases that are actually admitted to our hospitals is actually, based on our modeling, a result of a significant shortage of nurses to staff these beds,” he pointed out. “If we keep increasing the number of COVID beds in the NCR, will we have enough nurses to ensure that our sick kababayans will receive the care that they should receive?” he asked.

  • TESDA app to have new button for displaced workers
    by Leslie Ann Aquino on April 23, 2021 at 7:25 am

    The different programs of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) will be more accessible to displaced workers. TESDA Spokesperson and Deputy Director General Lina Sarmiento revealed that they are adding another button to their TESDA app for displaced workers. “On May 1, we will include our displaced workers in the TESDA app. We will have a new button there for displaced workers so it will be easier for them to enroll in the TESDA programs,” she said in a virtual presser on Friday, April 23. Sarmiento said they are hoping to train more learners this year. “Based on the budget given to us for this year, we can train 358,000 learners. We know this is a big help because we know many lost their jobs because many businesses closed,” she said. “We want to help retool, reskill them because we are seeing some new businesses that are in right now such as the logistics sector as many patronize delivery,” added Sarmiento. Suddenly,she said, there is a demand for riders, mechanics among others. “We have received requests from logistics company for us to provide graduates related to the logistics sector,” Sarmiento said. She said due to this they are planning to allocate more scholarship program on this. “TESDA is demand driven. Whatever the industry needs that’s the training we provide,” said Sarmiento.

  • DOH notes slight drop in average daily COVID-19 cases
    by Jhon Aldrin Casinas on April 23, 2021 at 7:23 am

    The average daily number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country has slightly declined, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday, April 23. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country currently has an average of 9,936 new cases per day over a period of seven days, as of April 21. This was a slight decrease compared to an average of more than 10,000 daily new cases of the previous seven-day moving average. The health official noted that positivity rate in Metro Manila has now dropped to 18.3 percent compared to the previous 20.4 percent. “So nakikita natin may kunting pagbaba (So we can see a slight decrease),” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing “Sana magtuloy-tuloy na hanggang sa mga susunod na linggo itong pagbaba ng mga kaso (Hopefully this drop in cases will continue in the coming weeks),” she added. Vergeire explained that several factors have contributed to the small drop in the average daily new cases. She noted that among these factors include the implementation of the two week enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Likewise, the health official said that the cooperation of the public, by observing the minimum public health standards, helped in reducing the number of daily cases. “Nakita naman natin na nakipag-cooperate ang ating mga kababayan (We saw that our fellow Filipinos cooperated) she said. “So hopefully mag tuloy-tuloy nga at sana tuloy-tuloy pa rin yung response at saka pakikipagtulungan ng ating mga kababayan (So hopefully it will continue and hopefully the response will continue, as well as the cooperation of the people),” she added. Vergeire earlier said that there was an “artificial” drop in the number of cases recently as some laboratories have temporarily stopped its operations while others failed to submit their data on time. “For the past two weeks, you can really see a decline in cases. However, we must be careful in interpreting the data because we still have this artificial decline in cases. We cannot say yet that it is conclusive,” Vergeire said in a virtual forum on April 21. “We believe the decline is still artificial. Let’s wait for more days,” she added.

  • DOH, DOST urged: Speed up study on ivermectin use vs COVID-19
    by postie on April 23, 2021 at 6:58 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, an advocate of ivermectin, urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to speed up clinical trials on the use of the controversial drug to treat COVID-19. Defensor cited the urgency to address the pandemic in his call to hasten the clinical The post DOH, DOST urged: Speed up study on ivermectin use vs COVID-19 appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • PH lodges 2 new diplomatic protests vs China’s continued ‘lingering’ in country’s waters
    by Roy Mabasa on April 23, 2021 at 6:41 am

    The Philippine government has filed two new diplomatic notes against China in protest against the “continued deployment, lingering presence, and activities of Chinese vessels in Philippine maritime zones,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday, April 23. Photos of Chinese vessels spotted at the Julian Felipe Reef on March 27, 2021 (Photo courtesy of National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea) In a statement, the DFA said the two new diplomatic protests were lodged on Wednesday, April 21, in addition to the daily protests being filed by the Philippines against the continuing presence of Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef). “The presence of these vessels blatantly infringe upon Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction,” the foreign affairs office said. As of April 20, Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies monitored the continued unauthorized presence and activities of 160 Chinese fishing and maritime militia vessels in Philippine waters. According to the report received by the DFA, the vessels were observed within the territorial sea of high tide features in the Kalayaan Island Group, in the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and in and around the territorial waters of Bajo de Masinloc. Philippine authorities added that five Chinese Coast Guard vessels with bow numbers 3103, 3301, 3305, 5101, and 5203 were seen deployed within the vicinities of the Pag-asa Islands, Bajo de Masinloc and Ayungin Shoal. “Through these protests, the DFA reminded China that Bajo de Masinloc, Pag-asa Islands, Panata, Parola, Kota Islands, Chigua and Burgos Reefs are integral parts of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction. The Philippines exercises sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Julian Felipe Reef and Ayungin Shoal,” the statement read. The Philippine government maintained that the continued swarming and threatening presence of the Chinese vessels “creates an atmosphere of instability and is a blatant disregard of the commitments by China to promote peace and stability in the region.” The Philippines has been repeatedly demanding that China adhere to international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the final and binding Arbitral Award of the July 12, 2016 South China Sea Arbitration. Moreover, it reminded China of its commitments under the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, in particular the exercise of self-restraint in order to maintain an atmosphere conducive to the ongoing negotiations for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. The DFA’s announcement on the new protests against China came a day before leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to meet in Jakarta, Indonesia to discuss the most pressing issues in the region that includes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) recovery, political turmoil in Myanmar and China’s continued aggressive stance in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea.

  • Supporters celebrate Robredo’s birthday with ‘National Lugaw Day’
    by Rambo Talabong on April 23, 2021 at 6:39 am

    Once mocked for selling it to raise campaign funds for Leni Robredo in 2016, the Vice President’s supporters again turn to lugaw for a national feeding program to mark her birthday

  • No PH-China fishing treaty in West PH Sea, Palace says
    by Genalyn Kabiling on April 23, 2021 at 6:39 am

    The Philippines has not forged any fishing treaty with China in the West Philippine Sea but continues to recognize the traditional fishing rights in the area, Malacañang clarified Friday, April 23. Photo of Chinese vessels spotted at the Julian Felipe Reef on March 27, 2021 (Photo courtesy of National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea) Presidential spokesman Harry Roque dismissed as “conjecture” allegations that President Duterte made a fishing deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the country’s waters. “There is no truth to the speculation of a purported ‘verbal fishing agreement’ between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping, nor that Chinese vessels were encouraged to stay in West Philippine Sea despite the diplomatic protests and strongly worded statements of Philippine government officials. This is without basis and is quite simply, conjecture,” Roque said in a statement Friday, April 23. “A fishing agreement under our domestic laws can only be done through a treaty. Per Article 2 (1) (a) of the Vienna Convention on the Law on Treaties, a treaty is an international agreement concluded between States in written form. Clearly, a treaty must be in writing. No such treaty or agreement exists between the Philippines and China,” he said. Roque however made clear that that non-commercial fishing may be permitted in the local waters as part of traditional fishing rights. “The President does not condone unlawful commercial fishing by any state on Philippine waters,” he said. “However, the President also recognizes that subsistence (non-commercial) fishing may be allowed as a recognition of the traditional fishing rights pointed out by the Arbitral Tribunal itself in its Award on Jurisdiction (para. 407) in the case between the Philippines and China,” he added. Roque likewise asked for an end to “malicious speculations and false claims” that he claimed would only “pointlessly inflame the situation.” The public, he said, should instead focus time and effort on “productive activities that will enable us help one another at this time of pandemic.” In July 2019, the Palace said there was no written agreement between Duterte and Xi that allows the Chinese to fish in Philippine waters. At the time, then Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo however explained that such deal was just a verbal understanding reached by the two leaders during a meeting in 2016. Duterte previously mentioned the fishing deal as the reason he could not prevent the Chinese from fishing in the West Philippine Sea. The Palace earlier said the government will tolerate Chinese fishing in the country’s waters as local fishermen are not also being prevented from venturing into the similar activity.

  • The ‘good’ virus: Community pantry continues to ‘infect’ people with kindness, compassion
    by Merlina Hernando-Malipot on April 23, 2021 at 6:29 am

    There’s a “virus” that is spreading rapidly in communities – one that does not need a vaccine nor a cure. As the Philippines, just like the rest of the world, continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, “Community Pantry” has also been “infecting” more and more people as days go by – prompting them to replicate the initiative which first started by Ana Patricia Non along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City. Called the “Maginhawa Community Pantry: Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan (Give what you can, take what you need),” Non started the initiative to help those who are reeling from economic impact of the pandemic by giving out free basic commodities such as vegetables, rice, and canned goods – among others. Over a week after, hundreds of individuals made their own versions of the initiative – with around 350 community pantries across the country catering to people who are struggling to make ends meet amid pandemic. Teachers step up Among those that were “infected” with the community pantry “virus” were teachers from two organizations based in Quezon City. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) joined hands and replicated the grass-roots initiative by putting up the “Tulong-Guro Community Pantries” notwithstanding the challenges that they experience themselves. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) put up the “Tulong-Guro Community Pantries” QCPSTA President and public school teacher Kris Navales told the Manila Bulletin that the initiative was inspired by the Maginhawa Community Pantry. “We coordinated through different Quezon City school faculty presidents, I asked who were willing to volunteer the spaces in front of their homes to be location of the pantry,” Navales said in a mix of English and Filipino. The concept of “Tulong-Guro Community Pantries,” Navales explained, is that the pantry will be set up in front of the teachers’ houses. “Then we will help each other through donations from different schools, friends, parents and principals,” he added. Navales, who is also a Grade 4 Science teacher at Gen. Roxas Elementary School, said that the “Tulong-Guro Community Pantries” started on April 20. With the implementation of distance learning this school year, Navales is teaching his students under printed or digital modular modalities. “We follow an MWF [Monday-Wednesday-Friday] schedule after our online classes which start from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m,” he explained. Currently, Navales said that they have 11 volunteers composed of teachers and their families. On the first day of the initiative, 350 people were able to benefit from the free items available in their pantries. ACT-QCPSTA “Tulong-Guro Community Pantries” have vegetables – among other basic commodities – in their pantries. The community pantries initiated by ACT and QCPSTA have six locations in Quezon City: in District 1 (in front of San Francisco ES, 117 San Pedro Bautista St., Del Monte); in District 2 (96 B Kaunlaran St. IBP Road, Commonwealth ); District 3 (423 P. Tuazon Blvd. Brgy Marilag, Project 4); District 4 (27 Hilltop ROTC Hunters corner Galilan, Brgy. Tatalon); District 5 (Jordan Plains Gate Phase 4, Commonwealth Ave.) and in front of the llang-ilang Residence Hall in UP Diliman. Just like other pantries, the “Tulong-Guro Community Pantries” have rice, vegetables like squash, mung bean, pechay, garlic, onion, chayote, and eggplant – among others. Rice, a staple food in the Philippines, is given out by ACT-QCPSTA Navales said that the teachers take some time off their busy schedules to buy the items for the pantries at the Balintawak Market. Food and other items for the “Tulong-Guro Community Pantries” come from Balintawak Market. “We also have canned goods and noodles,” he said. Aside from food items, Navales said that non-food items such as face masks and face shield are among the items available in their pantries. While face-to-face classes remain suspended, Navales said that the teachers also recognize the need children for school supplies – especially those under printed modular learning delivery modality. “We will also start to add school supplies and children books in our pantries,” he explained.

  • Among the world’s best: 5 PH universities ranked in 2021 THE Impact Rankings
    by Merlina Hernando-Malipot on April 23, 2021 at 6:28 am

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) commended five universities from the Philippines for being included in this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. “The Commission will continue to support private and public HEIs to internationalize,” CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said in a statement issued April 22. THE Impact Rankings, CHED noted, is the “only global performance tables that assess universities” against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The five universities from the Philippines that were included in this year’s THE Impact Rankings are the Ateneo de Manila University (71.0-77.4), De La Salle University (56.6-66.2), University of Santo Tomas (47.6-56.5), Tarlac Agricultural University (47.6-56.5), and Mapua University (36.5-47.5). Five universities from the Philippines were included in this year’s THE Impact Rankings CHED noted that the 2021 Impact Rankings review and rank 1,115 universities from 94 countries or regions. The THE Impact rankings, CHED added, also measure how an institution’s research, outreach and stewardship delivers against the United Nations’ SDGs – a blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. “The ranking of the 5 HEIs shows that it can be done and should be an inspiration to others to follow,” De Vera ended.

  • OCTA urges gov’t to maintain MECQ in NCR amid lower COVID-19 reproduction number
    by Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz on April 23, 2021 at 6:12 am

    OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said on Friday, April 23, that the reproduction number (R) of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Metro Manila has already decreased to 0.98. “We’re seeing that the reproduction number has decreased to less than 1, to 0.98, and this is very good news in fact for the National Capital Region (NCR). It shows that we have made very significant gains over the past three weeks. What we hope to do is to sustain this gain,” David said in a webicon organized by OCTA and Cardinal Santos Medical Center. The reproduction number refers to the number of people that a single COVID-19 patient can infect. “If the R is 1 that means one patient infects one other patient. That means the pandemic is neither increasing nor decreasing. So it is sustained at the current level. If the R stayed at 1, we are expecting and forecasting a daily caseload of 4,200 cases in the NCR,” OCTA Research fellow, molecular biologist-priest Nicanor Austriaco, explained. David noted that the number of COVID-19 cases in the NCR was about 11 percent lower compared to the previous week when it was averaging more than 5,000 cases per day. About two weeks ago it was about 5,200. Austriaco said that a gradual decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases towards the end of April will depend upon NCR’s reproduction number, which is currently “unstable.” While the reproduction number has been decreasing, hospital bed occupancy and intensive care unit occupancy are still fairly high for many local government units (LGUs) in the NCR, David noted. “How fast we decongest our hospitals depends upon the sustained reproduction number that we are able to maintain in the next few weeks,” Austriaco pointed out. To lower hospital occupancy or the healthcare utilization rate, he said that “we must aggressively lower the R so that the R is less than 1 for several weeks because we have a 27-day confinement period for COVID-19 survivors.” Austriaco said sustaining the momentum has to be planned carefully with the length of the implementation of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). “We urge the national government not to exit MECQ until at least the R is below 0.9 in a sustained manner,” he said. “We are looking for (a) consistent pattern of decrease throughout all the 17 LGUs for a significant period of time before we know we have successfully tackled the surge,” he added. David noted that only Pateros and Navotas have fewer COVID-19 cases in the past week. Moreover, 14 out of the 17 LGUs had a one-week negative growth rate. “This does not indicate a continuous downward trend but it’s a good indicator,” David said. “San Juan has the biggest decrease compared to the previous week of 45 percent decrease, followed by Navotas with 43 percent. Even those LGUs with had a positive growth rate did not have a significant positive growth rate. Only about 8 percent or less increase. This is important because a few weeks ago many LGUs were having an increase of 60 or even 70 percent every week,” he added.

  • COVID-19 just ‘preview’ to worst devastations if earth resources are abused — CHR
    by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki on April 23, 2021 at 6:09 am

    On the observance of the International Mother Earth Day 2021, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) warned that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is just a “preview” of what will happen to the world if people keep abusing the earth and its resources. In a Twitter post, the CHR said that “this year’s observance is a historical moment for the world as many nations continue to confront the threat of COVID-19.” “While mother nature suffers from devastating effects of climate change, people are dying too due to this ongoing public health crisis,” it said. “The CHR joins the global call to raise awareness that protecting Earth and its ecosystems is our collective responsibility,” it added. It pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that the world is truly interconnected as it warned that there is a “domino effect” when even just one element in the interconnected system is damaged. For now, climate change is one of the largest threats to sustainable development globally and it is just one of many imbalances caused by unsustainable and excessive practices of humankind, it pointed out. “This critical juncture in history calls on all of us, especially nation-states, to come together with compassion, humility, and concrete actions as we work towards delivering a healthy and sustainable future for all that strike a balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations,” it stressed.

  • ABS-CBN reporter, Radyo Patrol 37 Edwin Sevidal succumbs to COVID-19
    by postie on April 23, 2021 at 6:05 am

    MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN reporter and head for radio newsgathering Edwin Sevidal, who is known on-air as Radyo Patrol 37, has passed away due to COVID-19. ABS-CBN said Sevidal passed away on Thursday at the age of 49. “As the head of ABS-CBN’s Radyo Patrol, he pushed for the use of mobile journalism among radio The post ABS-CBN reporter, Radyo Patrol 37 Edwin Sevidal succumbs to COVID-19 appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Probe, audit of NTF-ELCAC funds sought amid red-tagging uproar
    by postie on April 23, 2021 at 5:55 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Amid fresh links to red-tagging controversies, some House lawmakers are seeking an investigation or audit of the funds of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero said that the House can start its investigation as early as next week even before Congress resumes session The post Probe, audit of NTF-ELCAC funds sought amid red-tagging uproar appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Two cigarette manufacturers in eco-zones defy PEZA suspension order for producing illicit tobacco products
    by Manila Bulletin on April 23, 2021 at 5:54 am

    The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has suspended the operations of two errant cigarette manufacturers involved in illicit cigarette trade but both companies defied the suspension order. (PIXABAY / FILE PHOTO) Lawmakers have found out that GB Global Exprez Inc. and GB-BEM Cigarette Company Inc., both operating inside economic zones, persisted with their manufacturing operations despite PEZA’s suspension order last February. At the meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee Technical Working Group (TWG) chaired by Party-list Rep. Jericho Jonas “Koko” Nograles on April 20, committee members said they have received reports that the two companies remain operational producing 8389 brand cigarettes. The TWG is working on addressing the loopholes in the system of the importation and exportation of tobacco products which, according to Nograles, are being abused by cigarettes manufacturers located in economic zones. Congressman Nograles disclosed of a report to the committee that GB Global and GB-BEM are actively producing having manufactured 2,200 mastercases or 1.1 million packs of 8389 brand cigarettes for the period March 22, 2021 to April 19, 2021 alone. PEZA Director General Charito Plaza earlier said she has ordered the suspension of operations and incentives of GB Global and GB-BEM since February for non-registration with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) hence, absence of the necessary permit to operate. The two PEZA locators were the subject of raids conducted by the BIR last year due to lack of manufacturing permits from the revenue agency. The raids are now the subject of parallel investigations by the House committee on ways and means, Department of Finance (DOF), BIR and PEZA. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez took note of the questionable operations of the cigarette manufacturers as he raised alarm over the growing incidence of illicit tobacco trade in economic zones, depriving the government of various revenues which include excise tax, income tax, VAT and customs duties when their products are sold in the domestic market. Dominguez had written Trade and Industry Secretary and PEZA chair Ramon Lopez saying “ it appears that manufacturers took advantage of the lackadaisical monitoring inside the zone to  perpetuate their schemes under the cover of laws, rules and policies enacted to favor them.” “As a result of this loophole, two enterprises which are both PEZA-registered locators, were able to allegedly manufacture unregistered cigarettes inside a special economic zone and supply these illicitly to the domestic market,” Dominguez stated in his letter. When queried during the TWG meeting on the status of GB Global and GB-BEM’s operations, PEZA Deputy Director General Mary Harriet Abordo said both businesses are no longer operational, citing a report by Zone Manager Danny San Gabriel. The congressmen, however, confronted her with the report that this was not the case. Deputy Speaker Deogracias Victor Savellano expressed his disappointment with the PEZA official’s statement, saying that both are still operating as of April 20, 2021. Later on as Abordo verified the matter with the zone manager, she confirmed that GB Global have workers in the facility and currently doing a “dry run.” The report reaching the congressmen confirmed the active operations of the company starting March 22 and said to be producing 100 mastercases daily. The potential loss in government excise and value added taxes from the 2,200 mastercases or 1.1 million cigarette packs illicitly manufactured by GB Global would amount to Php62.7 million. The House ways and means committee chaired by Rep. Joey Salceda tasked the TWG to work on the necessary review and amendments of BIR Revenue Regulation No. 9-2015, entitled Amending Section 9 of the Revenue Regulations No. 7-2014 – prescribing the affixture of internal revenue stamps on imported and locally manufactured cigarettes and use of the Internal Revenue Stamp Integrated System (IRSIS).

  • FDA: Majority of deaths after COVID-19 jabs ‘not linked to vaccination’
    by Bonz Magsambol on April 23, 2021 at 5:48 am

    FDA Director General Eric Domingo says of the 24 deaths recorded after COVID-19 vaccination in the country, ’19 were found to be coincidental’ as they had preexisting illnesses

  • Go asks IATF to provide detailed guidelines for A4 vaccine priority group
    by Manila Bulletin on April 23, 2021 at 5:47 am

    Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday, April 23, appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to finalize the detailed guidelines to be followed by those who are listed in the A4 category of the COVID-19 vaccine priority list. “We know that the IATF has already approved the framework of A4 category in our priority list and what sectors are included. However, I am calling on them to clarify further the guidelines as to who really, within the sectors mentioned in A4 category, that has to come first in the priority, and how sure that those to be vaccinated can be vaccinated in a proper and safe way in the different parts of the country),” Go said in Filipino. Administration ally Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go attends a meeting in Malacañang. (Office of Senator Christopher Go) The administration senator and chairman of the Senate health committee praised the government for its efforts to accelerate the vaccine rollout for those belonging in A1 to A3 categories, particularly health frontliners, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities. He, however, raised concern that as the vaccination program reaches a bigger segment of the population, more preparations must be done to ensure a seamless and efficient rollout nationwide. “We have to ensure that the distribution of the vaccines is fast and systematic, especially now that there are more highly contagious variants that have been detected. While we want to vaccinate as many people as quickly as we can, we still need to ensure their health and safety while they are in the process of getting vaccinated,” he said. He told the IATF, Department of Health (DOH), NEDA, and other relevant authorities to communicate the guidelines “in a clear and simplified manner” to avoid confusion and overcrowding in vaccination centers. Last Thursday, April 15, the IATF had issued the updated list of sectors included in Priority Group A4. The list now includes essential workers from the education, government services, manufacturing, market, media, and transportation sectors or industries. National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon disclosed during a recent media briefing that the schedule of the next phase of the vaccine rollout has yet to be finalized. Depending on the availability of the vaccines, the government expects to begin inoculating members of the A4 priority group by June or July, if not May at the earliest.

  • Salceda pushes for budget reform bill
    by Mario Casayuran on April 23, 2021 at 5:43 am

    Albay Representative Joey Sarte Salceda has filed House Bill No. 9214, or the Budget Modernization Bill, a priority of the economic managers of the Duterte administration. The bill, which contains the administration’s version of the budget reform, sets the ground rules for the use and allocation of government funds and the national budget, and institutionalizes public participation and transparency in budgeting. **media[2611]** Salceda, who formerly chaired the House appropriations committee, said the bill clarifies the processes and regulations for budget preparation, management, and reporting, and also introduces a rule that all congressional proposals that will erode government revenues, such as tax breaks, should have a corresponding revenue source identified. The bill also institutionalizes the Budget Priorities Framework to ensure that the national budget is allocated towards clear national priorities. “As the most important guiding document of national policy for the year, the budget must be prepared, discussed, and enforced in a manner that upholds national interest and the Constitution. It must be prepared and implemented with a view towards national objectives for the year,” Salceda, who is now heading of the House ways and means committee, explained. “The budget process traditionally has three key stages: the budget preparation, the management of the fiscal resources the budget authorizes, and the reporting and evaluation of how the budget was spent. In each stage the ground rules have to be in place to ensure that there is no confusion among all stakeholders and implementers of the budget,” he added. Aside from this, the bill also sought to institutionalize medium-term planning in infrastructure, to ensure that projects that are initiated during one budget year are carried out to completion. The bill also introduces filters on multi-year contracts to make sure that only such contracts that the government can fully meet will be initiated. “The rule on contingent liabilities is important. Congress determines the budget, but many liabilities we incur are not in the budget. This is due to some contracts that the government enters without congressional approval that impose liabilities on the government. We will limit such liabilities,” Salceda said. Another “key component” of the bill, Salceda said, is the inclusion of accountability measures and people’s participation in the budget process. The reforms introduced primarily aim to ensure that public resources are allocated in a manner that aligns with national priorities, he said. Among others, there would be a requirement that all proposed revenue eroding and expenditure bills include a Financial and Budgetary Information Sheet upon filing of the bill. The said information sheet shall contain an estimate of the financial and budgetary implications of said proposal for the initial year of implementation. Public access to information on the budget is also part of the proposal. “There is urgent need for a framework that clarifies the management of public resources, especially in view of the pressures our public resources face during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Salceda said. “We can’t afford to waste public money during this difficult time. We need to manage the budget as well as we could,” he pointed out.

  • Aging LRT-1 to get boost as LRMC, DOST-MIRDC ink knowledge-sharing pact
    by Alexandria Dennise San Juan on April 23, 2021 at 5:33 am

    The 37-year-old Light Rail Transit (LRT) is expected to get a major boost from the Light Rail Manila Corporation’s (LRMC) partnership with the Department of Science and Technology-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC). In a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, April 21, the LRMC and DOST-MIRDC signed a memorandum of agreement to perform specific functions to achieve the common goal of sustaining the improvements with the aging train line. The LRMC, which is the current private operator of LRT-1, is seeking the expertise of the DOST-MIRDC in conducting structural repairs of specific light rail vehicles (LRVs), as well as the local re-engineering and/or fabrication of spare parts that are already obsolete and/or difficult to source. LRMC Chief Operating Officer Enrico R. Benipayo is optimistic that the wide range of capabilities of the DOST-MIRDC will further help them in improving LRT-1’s service. The MIRDC, an attached agency of the DOST, is tasked to foster the advancement of metals, engineering, and allied industries in the Philippines. “LRT-1 is a valuable mode of transportation for Filipinos in Metro Manila. We believe that with the expertise of our partners at DOST-MIRDC, we can continue enhancing the LRT-1 system to achieve our vision of becoming the commuter’s choice in transportation,” Benipayo said in a statement. According to Benipayo, LRMC’s partnership with DOST-MIRDC will bring to the company a “new level” of understanding in terms of various diagnostics equipment and technology that are not normally acquired by railway operators. “It will provide the advantage of having an extended railway laboratory similar to other countries,” the LRMC official said. For the part of the DOST-MIRDC, Executive Director Robert O. Dizon vowed to improve the rail system and make everything efficient and convenient, especially for the riding public. “We appreciate the LRMC for trusting and believing in the capabilities and expertise of the DOST-MIRDC. We are proud to be part of the LRMC’s initiative to make public transportation more efficient,” Dizon said. “An improved rail system will not only benefit the commuting public; it will open doors of opportunities for various industries. This partnership is also a practical way for us to bring the benefits of science, technology, and innovation to the local metals, engineering, and allied industries,” he added.

  • Our Lady of Antipolo visits Quiapo Church
    by Leslie Ann Aquino on April 23, 2021 at 5:31 am

    There is no need to go to Antipolo to venerate the image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage as the image will be at Quiapo Church in Manila until the end of this month. The image arrived at Quiapo Church on Thursday, April 22 for a visit. Quiapo Church Rector Monsignor Hernando “Ding” Coronel presided the Mass welcoming the image. “Father Nante Tolentino, rector of Antipolo Cathedral and the devotees from their community brought the image yesterday,” said Coronel in an interview. “Limited devotees may venerate during the week. Intention is end of the pandemic, better vaccine rollout and for those who have died recently of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” he added. Coronel said the image will be staying at Quiapo Church until April 30. “More than a week is the pagdalaw ng Ina sa Anak (visit of the Mother to her child). Farewell Mass would be April 30 noon by Fr. Tolentino,” he said.

  • Cagayan de Oro’s most red-tagged journalist linked to Reds again
    by Herbie Gomez on April 23, 2021 at 5:19 am

    Leonardo ‘Cong’ Corrales gets red-tagged again after writing about the Kauswagan community pantry

  • Governors’ group wary of shortened quarantine for OFWs; here’s why
    by Chito Chavez on April 23, 2021 at 4:39 am

    The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) expressed concern Friday, April 23 over the proposal to reduce the required quarantine days for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW). In an interview over GMA News, LPP president and Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr., noted that some local government units (LGUs) may not have the needed funds to house the OFWs for the remainder of their quarantine period in local facilities. “Meron po kaming agam-agam po diyan dahil, isa po, alam niyo naman po ‘yung pondo po, para ho kami ang magbabayad ng kanilang pagkain at tirahan (We have reservations about that, for one, there is the funding concern because we will be the ones providing them food and lodging),’’ Velasco said. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III had strongly pushed that returning OFWs complete the rest of the 14-day quarantine period in their home provinces if they are able to test negative for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Velasco noted that accommodating the OFWs in the LGUs is also dependent on the availability of the hotels and other lodging establishments in the jurisdictions. Manpower requirements are also a great concern. The LPP president asked concerned government agencies to coordinate with LGUs first before sending OFWs to their hometowns. Bello cited the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) fast-depleting funds as reason for suggesting a shortened quarantine period for OFWs. OWWA, an attached agency of DOLE, has been shouldering the accommodation and transportation expenses of OFWs displaced by the pandemic. Bello noted that the testing positivity rate of returning OFWs this year has slid to 1.5 percent from 2.07 percent in 2020. President Duterte has said that he is not prepared to accept less stringent quarantine and testing protocols for arriving OFWs.

  • Guidelines for ‘safety seal program’ for biz establishments signed
    by postie on April 23, 2021 at 4:36 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Five government agencies signed Friday the implementing guidelines of the “Safety Seal Certification Program” which affirms the compliance of a business establishment to minimum public health standards. The joint memorandum circular on the implementing guidelines of the Safety Seal Certification Program was signed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), The post Guidelines for ‘safety seal program’ for biz establishments signed appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • A dedicated public servant: DILG mourns death of ex-undersecretary Andanar
    by Chito Chavez on April 23, 2021 at 4:32 am

    The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday, April 23, condoled with the family of its former undersecretary, Wencelito Andanar, who died due to liver cancer. In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said Andanar left an “indelible mark’’ in the agency with his dedication in the improvement and welfare of the local government units (LGUs) and the general public. “He will be remembered in the DILG as one of its most dynamic undersecretaries who served with conviction and integrity from 2001 to 2007,’’ Año said of Andanar, who perished on April 22. Foremost among his government positions was his appointment by President Duterte as special envoy to Malaysia in 2018, the last post he held in government service. Despite battling his own health problems, Año noted that Andanar was instrumental in helping in the repatriation of overseas Filipinos in Malaysia amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Known to many as “Wency”, Año said Andanar’s work and life has inspired many in their own personal quest to serve the public, including his own son Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar. “We are honored to have known and worked with him in improving the lives of our people, [promoting] good local governance, and [ensuring] public order and safety in our country. I am honored to have known him as a close friend. Rest well in the arms of our Lord and Creator, my friend and colleague in public service. You will be missed dearly,’’ Año said.

  • PH to reach target emission cuts through PUV modernization, energy efficiency
    by Pia Ranada on April 23, 2021 at 4:09 am

    But green groups ask, will jeepney drivers and operators bear the burden of carbon emission cuts?

  • ‘Blatant disregard’ of promises: DFA files new protests vs Chinese ships in West PH Sea
    by Rappler.com on April 23, 2021 at 3:49 am

    The Department of Foreign Affairs says Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies observed 165 Chinese vessels still in the West Philippine Sea as of April 20

  • Poe to PhilHealth: Don’t delay hospital reimbursements
    by postie on April 23, 2021 at 2:10 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Hospitals waiting for reimbursements from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) must not be made to wait much longer amid their efforts to protect and save lives during the pandemic, Senator Grace Poe said Friday. Citing Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) president Jose de Grano, Poe said the amount The post Poe to PhilHealth: Don’t delay hospital reimbursements appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • GCQ in NCR Plus possible by May if COVID-19 bed capacity increases
    by postie on April 23, 2021 at 1:42 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The quarantine category in the NCR Plus area which includes Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna,  may be downgraded to a general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May if it gets more beds for COVID-19 patients especially those who need critical care, the Department of Trade and The post GCQ in NCR Plus possible by May if COVID-19 bed capacity increases appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • LENTE calls for vigilance against disinformation as election season nears
    by Dwight De Leon on April 22, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    The Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) adds that the success of the 2022 polls lies in the cooperation of sectors Comelec did not tap in past elections

  • Parlade: Senators ‘stupid’ if they defund task force
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Who’s stupid, the government agency that’s doing its job or the senators who approved the budget for it? An Army general says it is the senators. Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., the spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), was responding to criticisms that they were Red-tagging organizers of The post Parlade: Senators ‘stupid’ if they defund task force appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Think tank sees PH recovery as most sluggish in Asia
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    No thanks to the government’s failure to contain the COVID-19 crisis, the country’s economic recovery will be the most sluggish in Asia and its output may have to wait till 2024 before regaining its prepandemic potential, according to the London-based think tank Capital Economics.“A failure to contain the virus and lackluster fiscal support means that The post Think tank sees PH recovery as most sluggish in Asia appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Red-tagged? Community pantries get military help
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana has expressed support for community pantries and is thinking of offering each soldier’s daily allowance to help sustain them, despite the counterinsurgency task force’s firm suspicion that the food aid project is a communist effort. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also assured community pantries of The post Red-tagged? Community pantries get military help appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Hospitals on PhilHealth debt: ‘That’s our money, but our hands are tied’
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has yet to settle billions of pesos in unpaid health claims by its members to hundreds of private hospitals during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Jose de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (Phapi), said PhilHealth’s unpaid claims to 700 private The post Hospitals on PhilHealth debt: ‘That’s our money, but our hands are tied’ appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • OCTA: Virus spread slows, but not enough to ease NCR Plus curbs
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    The transmission rate of the COVID-19 virus has slowed down, but not enough to be a basis for relaxing mobility restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble, the independent research group OCTA group said on Thursday. OCTA research fellow Guido David said the reproduction rate of the virus had gone down further to The post OCTA: Virus spread slows, but not enough to ease NCR Plus curbs appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • AFP chief pushes Pinoy structures in West PH Sea
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    The military’s highest-ranking official on Thursday proposed that the country also start building structures in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) considering China’s apparent disregard for the status quo agreement among states claiming parts of the disputed area. In Thursday’s virtual press briefing, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said, The post AFP chief pushes Pinoy structures in West PH Sea appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Fishers seek shelter in occupied Panatag Shoal
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    DAGUPAN CITY—Strong winds and large waves spawned by Typhoon “Bising” (international name: Surigae) have forced several groups of Filipino fishermen to take refuge in Panatag Shoal, about 240 kilometers southwest of Infanta town in Pangasinan province, now occupied by Chinese fishermen. Eric Naboa, president of the Cato Infanta Fishermen’s Association Inc., said the fishermen sailed The post Fishers seek shelter in occupied Panatag Shoal appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DFA asks OFWs: Give more time to ‘kafala’ reforms
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) admitted on Thursday that the supposed reforms in the kafala, or work sponsorship, system prevailing in the Middle East did not cover foreign workers most prone to abuse, including Filipino domestic helpers. But Foreign Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola is confident that reforms in the kafala system that several Arab The post DFA asks OFWs: Give more time to ‘kafala’ reforms appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Press secretary Andanar’s dad dies at 73
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Former Interior Undersecretary and presidential envoy to Malaysia Wencelito Andanar passed away on Thursday at the age of 73, according to his son Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. The elder Andanar succumbed to liver cancer at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center. In 2018, he was appointed as the special envoy of President Duterte to Malaysia. The post Press secretary Andanar’s dad dies at 73 appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Pope urges global prayer vs pandemic
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Pope Francis urged Catholics around the world to pray in May for end to COVID-19 pandemic, which has directly affected almost 143 million people and claimed more than 3 million lives across the globe. The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization announced on Wednesday that Pope Francis will open the Marian month of prayer The post Pope urges global prayer vs pandemic appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • FDA seeks new law for experimental drugs
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday reiterated that there is no law what would allow it to quickly approve the use of experimental drugs in times of emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking before lawmakers during the hearing of the House committee on good government on Thursday, FDA director general Eric Domingo said The post FDA seeks new law for experimental drugs appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Chua affirmed as socioeconomic planning chief
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Malacañang said on Thursday that President Duterte had appointed Karl Kendrick Chua as the secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). Prior to his appointment, Chua served as the acting secretary of the agency. “Secretary Chua has served the Duterte administration with professionalism, competence and integrity as undersecretary of the Department of Finance The post Chua affirmed as socioeconomic planning chief appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • No decision yet on shortened OFW quarantine
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will decide on the proposal of the Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to relax quarantine protocols for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said after President Duterte expressed misgivings at shortening the quarantine period. The President, however, noted that Bello The post No decision yet on shortened OFW quarantine appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Transform EDSA to green avenue, environmental groups urge
    by ryanl on April 22, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    A movement of private sector leaders and environment advocates on Thursday called for the transformation of the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa), the main Metro Manila traffic corridor, into an iconic green avenue as a response to the climate crisis. During the global Earth Day celebration on Thursday, the Green Edsa Movement noted that The post Transform EDSA to green avenue, environmental groups urge appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Top security officials back community pantries
    by Dempsey Reyes on April 22, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Department of National Defense (DND) was appreciative and supportive of community pantries that alleviate the Filipinos’ suffering amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Lorenzana said kindness transcends beliefs and ideologies. “Kindness is everyone’s color. Regardless of what [the organizers] believe, as long as they are whole-heartedly helping, we will support [them],”

  • Covid-19 cases decline in Manila
    by John Eric Mendoza on April 22, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Cases of Covid-19 in Manila have declined, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said on Thursday, but the city’s hospital occupancy rate remains high. “Generally, there is still high infection in the metropolis, but Manila cases are in decline for the past days,” Domagoso said in an ANC interview. “But still, for me, this is still

  • Oral arguments on Anti-Terror law set
    by Jomar Canlas, TMT on April 22, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    The Supreme Court on Thursday set oral arguments on the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law on April 27 at 2:30 p.m. via videoconferencing. The high court, however, clarified videoconferencing proceedings shall only apply on this case as “personal appearance before the Court en banc remains to be the primary mode of conducting oral arguments.” The Zoom platform

  • Seek help from Malasakit centers, poor urged
    by Javier Joe Ismael on April 22, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday urged indigents in need of medical assistance to visit Malasakit centers in various public hospitals throughout the country. “Just remember if you are a Filipino, you are qualified to seek assistance from a Malasakit Center. No questions asked — especially for indigents,” the chairman of the Philippine Senate

  • Expand dialysis coverage, PhilHealth asked
    by Bernadette E. Tamayo on April 22, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    SEN. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros on Thursday urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to upgrade dialysis coverage from 90 to 144 sessions amid the pandemic. The senator backed the call of advocacy groups urging PhilHealth to increase the free dialysis coverage because the pandemic has brought an “unjust” burden on Filipinos. She said the

  • Andanar’s father dies of liver cancer
    by Catherine S. Valente, TMT on April 22, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    Former Interior undersecretary and special envoy to Malaysia Wencelito Andanar died on Thursday after battling liver cancer. He was 73. The announcement was made by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. “It is with deep sorrow that we bid farewell to my father, Atty. Wencelito Andanar, who succumbed to liver cancer this morning, 7:50 a.m., at

  • Fake Pfizer vaccine sold in Mexico, Poland
    by Agence France-Presse on April 22, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Fake doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine were being sold in Mexico and Poland for as much as $2,500 a shot, the US drugmaker and an official confirmed. At a clinic in Mexico, some 80 people received bogus vaccines, which appeared to have been physically harmless though offered no protection against the potentially deadly disease

  • Palace, Sotto reject calls to defund NTF-Elcac
    by Bernadette E. Tamayo on April 22, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Malacañang and Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd rejected calls to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) amid complaints on its red-tagging activities. “Ang pagkakaalam ko po ’yung pondo ng Elcac para po sa proyekto na magbibigay ng asenso at progreso ’dun sa mga lugar na meron pang mga rebelde

  • Gatchalian seeks probe of power outages
    by Javier Joe Ismael on April 22, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Department of Energy (DoE) to investigate the unplanned power outages in Luzon that resulted in spike in electricity bills. “The ERC should act on this because in November last year, the commission came out with a policy that all plants must deliver

  • P3.4 million shabu seized in Pampanga
    by Ramon Efren Lazaro on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated P3.4 million worth of shabu in a sting in Angeles City on Wednesday night.

  • Suspect in Sultan Kudarat bombings arrested
    by Emmanuel Tupas on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The primary suspect in bombings in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat in 2018 was arrested in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Wednesday.

  • DPWH building more modular hospitals
    by Jose Rodel Clapano on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The Department of Public Works and Highways is constructing additional modular hospitals to accommodate more people infected with COVID-19, DPWH Secretary and isolation czar Mark Villar announced on Wednesday.

  • COA calls out Baguio LGU over COVID-19 spending
    by Artemio Dumlao on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The Commission on Audit has flagged the Baguio City government over its questionable cash advances in connection with its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Quezon City cops kill 2 alleged robbers
    by Emmanuel Tupas on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Two suspected robbers were killed in what police said was a shootout in Quezon City at dawn yesterday.

  • Mega Lotto pot to reach P109 million
    by Rainier Allan Ronda on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The Mega Lotto 6/45 jackpot is expected to reach P109 million for tonight’s draw, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office said yesterday.

  • Former DILG usec Andanar dies
    by Alexis Romero on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Malacañang condoled with the family of former interior undersecretary Wencelito Andanar, who died of liver cancer yesterday.

  • SMC opens Skyway’s Nagtahan exit ramps
    by Richmond Mercurio on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    San Miguel Corp. opened yesterday the Nagtahan northbound and southbound exit ramps of the Skyway Stage 3 elevated expressway, allowing motorists to access Sta. Mesa and other Manila areas directly.

  • 7 Ilocos Sur, Ifugao areas under MECQ
    by Raymund Catindig on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Six areas in Ilocos Sur and the capital town of Ifugao will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine.

  • Bising weakens, to exit this weekend
    by Rainier Allan Ronda on April 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Typhoon Bising has weakened as it moved eastward, and is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility this weekend.

  • Ateneo tops PH universities in global impact rankings
    by Bonz Magsambol on April 22, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    4 other Philippine universities also make it to the 2021 list: De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Tarlac Agricultural University, and Mapua University

  • Senators: Defund anti-red task force for community pantry red-tagging | Evening wRap
    by Rappler.com on April 22, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Watch Rappler’s evening newscast with Paterno Esmaquel II

  • AFP looks at also constructing features in West Philippine Sea
    by Jairo Bolledo on April 22, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Retired justice Antonio Carpio says the Philippines can build structures in its exclusive economic zone

  • ‘Great respect’: German envoy praises community pantries in Philippines
    by Sofia Tomacruz on April 22, 2021 at 11:58 am

    ‘Deeply impressed by the solidarity spirit of the Filipinos,’ says German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel as she visits the pioneering Maginhawa community pantry

  • Privacy commissioner: Stop red-tagging, profiling of pantry organizers
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 11:31 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The National Privacy Commission (NTC) urged for an end to any “unjust” and “unwarranted” profiling of community pantry organizers on Thursday, saying these “pandemic heroes” shouldn’t be red-tagged. Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said that the NTC denounces red-tagging strongly, saying such actions could violate organizers’ rights to privacy. “We have always The post Privacy commissioner: Stop red-tagging, profiling of pantry organizers appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Duterte promotes acting NEDA chief Karl Chua to Secretary
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 11:21 am

    MANILA, Philippines — After sitting as acting Socio-economic Planning chief for a year, Karl Kendrick Chua is now officially the Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), Malacañang confirmed Thursday. “The Palace confirms President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s appointment of Mr. Karl Kendrick Chua as the Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority,” presidential The post Duterte promotes acting NEDA chief Karl Chua to Secretary appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Solons seek ‘no fail policy’, moratorium on tuition increases
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 10:34 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is urging the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to impose a moratorium on increases in tuition and other school payables, and implement a “no-fail policy” in all educational institutions in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. These are The post Solons seek ‘no fail policy’, moratorium on tuition increases appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DENR, environmentalists urge use of digital technologies to boost climate action
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 10:00 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Environment advocates from the government and private sectors urged the adoption of digital technologies to transform industries and government bureaucracies into sustainable enterprises during a virtual Earth Day forum on Thursday. DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems, and Climate Change Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said that information communication technology can accelerate the country’s The post DENR, environmentalists urge use of digital technologies to boost climate action appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • SMC opens Nagtahan exit ramps, eyes completion of more access points on Skyway 3
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 9:41 am

    MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has formally opened the Nagtahan northbound and southbound exit ramps of Skyway Stage 3, allowing motorists to access Sta. Mesa and the city of Manila directly. “With the opening of the Nagtahan exit ramps, motorists can expect to further cut their travel time to Manila, even as The post SMC opens Nagtahan exit ramps, eyes completion of more access points on Skyway 3 appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • NCR Plus hospitals commit to adding 176 ICU beds for COVID patients – official
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 9:03 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Hospitals in the so-called NCR Plus have committed to allocating 176 more intensive care unit (ICU) beds and over 1,000 ward beds for COVID-19 patients, National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 deputy implementer Vince Dizon said Thursday. “Nag-commit din po ang ating mga ospital ng 176 ICU beds dito sa NCR Plus The post NCR Plus hospitals commit to adding 176 ICU beds for COVID patients – official appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Parlade: If senators have problem with me, don’t drag entire NTF-Elcac
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 8:42 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), on Thursday asked senators not to drag the entire task force by defunding it. “If the senators have a problem with me, don’t drag the entire NTF-ELCAC,” Parlade said in a text message to The post Parlade: If senators have problem with me, don’t drag entire NTF-Elcac appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Palace downplays PH’s decline in World Press Freedom ranking
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 7:53 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday downplayed the Philippines’ decline in ranking in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index, saying the country’s two-notch fall does not really mean anything. The Philippines placed at 138th from 136th last year in the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontière (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders. “Unang-una, dalawang position lang po yan. The post Palace downplays PH’s decline in World Press Freedom ranking appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • OWWA’s funds for OFWs’ quarantine facilities may run out by mid-Palace
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 7:00 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration  (OWWA) may run out of funds by mid-May for the expenses of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) quarantine facilities, Malacañang said Thursday. As of April 16, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said OWWA only has a P1.4 billion budget left for OFWs quarantine facilities, food, and transportation. “Ang The post OWWA’s funds for OFWs’ quarantine facilities may run out by mid-Palace appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Gordon, Parlade in war of words over red-tagging, NTF-ELCAC funds
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 6:47 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday said National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. should just “go back to the military” instead of “harassing our people with red-tagging accusations,” but the latter was quick to deny the remarks. In a series of tweets on The post Gordon, Parlade in war of words over red-tagging, NTF-ELCAC funds appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Two senior citizens shot dead inside parked car in Bel-Air, Makati
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 6:37 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Two senior citizens were shot and killed inside their car in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon in Makati City. In a police report, authorities identified the victims as Bonifacio De Vera Jr. and Remigia Talledo De Vera, both were 62 years old. Police said the two were attacked at 1:35 p.m. while inside The post Two senior citizens shot dead inside parked car in Bel-Air, Makati appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • LOOK: DLSU-Benilde turns classrooms into COVID-19 isolation rooms
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 5:55 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Amid the soaring coronavirus cases in the country, the De La Salle College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) has agreed to turn their unused classrooms into an isolation facility that will serve asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 patients in Manila. The initiative was in line with a memorandum of agreement that it signed with The post LOOK: DLSU-Benilde turns classrooms into COVID-19 isolation rooms appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • 5th most wanted in SOCCSKSARGEN nabbed in counter-terrorism ops
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 5:50 am

    MANILA, Philippines – A suspected member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) was arrested in a counter-terrorism operation in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Wednesday. PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas identified the suspect as Norton Salipada Saptula, 23,  also known as Jihad Salipada Sabttula. Police said Saptula is the 5th most wanted in Central Mindanao (SOCCSKSARGEN). The post 5th most wanted in SOCCSKSARGEN nabbed in counter-terrorism ops appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • FDA ‘exploring possibilities’ in expanding drug list for emergency use vs COVID
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 4:55 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is “exploring possibilities” on the expansion of the list of drugs for emergency use (DEU) against COVID-19, the agency’s director-general Eric Domingo said Thursday. Domingo made the remark during the hearing of the House committee of good government and public accountability where lawmakers quizzed the FDA The post FDA ‘exploring possibilities’ in expanding drug list for emergency use vs COVID appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • De Lima seeks probe on ECQ deaths, human rights violations
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 4:49 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday called for a Senate investigation into the human rights violations committed during the last reimplementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), saying that it was a continuation of the government’s “campaign of systemic violence”. In Senate Resolution No. 703, De Lima states that the senseless deaths The post De Lima seeks probe on ECQ deaths, human rights violations appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • FDA chief seeks law to provide flexibility to regulations during emergencies
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 4:22 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking the approval of measures that will allow it to have more “flexibility” in its regulations in times of emergencies. FDA Director General Eric Domingo made the remark Thursday during a House hearing of the committee on good government and public accountability on the guidelines The post FDA chief seeks law to provide flexibility to regulations during emergencies appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Ex-DILG undersecretary Wencelito Andanar succumbs to liver cancer
    by postie on April 22, 2021 at 4:22 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar died of liver cancer on Thursday, his son Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced. He was 73. “It is with deep sorrow that we bid farewell to my father, Atty. Wencelito Andanar, who succumbed to liver cancer this morning, 7:50 The post Ex-DILG undersecretary Wencelito Andanar succumbs to liver cancer appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Concepcion: Give private firms ‘flexibility’ on jabs
    by Currie Cator on April 21, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd said on Wednesday that private companies should be given flexibility in vaccinating their workers against Covid-19. “What we want to appeal to the DoH (Department of Health) and Nitag (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group) is to give the private sector the flexibility because if you look

  • DOH experts: Asymptomatic in-bound travelers may be quarantined for 10 days
    by postie on April 21, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health (DOH) experts said on Wednesday that returning overseas Filipinos could be quarantined for only 10 days as long as they are asymptomatic all the way through. This was their response to the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) request for returning old policies where returning Filipinos are tested for The post DOH experts: Asymptomatic in-bound travelers may be quarantined for 10 days appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DOLE chief wants old testing protocols back, citing depleting gov’t funds
    by postie on April 21, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has proposed returning the old quarantine and testing protocols where inbound overseas Filipinos are tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport, citing government’s dwindling resources. In a pre-recorded meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Bello said overseas Filipinos are complaining about their length of stay in quarantine The post DOLE chief wants old testing protocols back, citing depleting gov’t funds appeared first on Inquirer News.