PHILIPPINE NEWS

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


  • POEA plans to hold 2nd online job fair in February
    by Merlina Hernando-Malipot on January 23, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    Due to the success of the first online job fair last month, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is planning to hold another event in February. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (MANILA BULLETIN)“Our job fair in December was successful so we’re planning to hold another one,” POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia announced during the Laging Handa public briefing. “The purpose of the online job fair is to address online scams,” he added. Initially, Olalia explained that POEA has coordinated with at least 10 local recruitment agencies for the planned online job fair. “We have talked with the Public Employment Service Offices – Olongapo for the second online job fair,” he added. Due to restrictions brought about by the community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Olalia said the online job fair aims to provide opportunities for aspiring migrant workers. “The main purpose also of holding the job fair is to defeat illegal recruitment,” Olalia said in Filipino. He also advised the public to wait for the announcement on the exact date of the event. Olalia said that the cases of online scams involving aspiring OFWs have increased during the pandemic. “Just last week illegal recruiters were arrested,” he added. Meanwhile, Olalia also warned Filipinos who are planning to work abroad to avoid recruiters engaged in “third country recruitment” – particularly those using fake travel documents and misdeclaration of the purpose of travel overseas.

  • Cayetano: Vaccines, rising prices, not Chacha, should be priority
    by Ben Rosario on January 23, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    An end to rising prices of prime commodities and ensuring the availability of COVID-19 vaccines for Filipinos, not Charter change, should be the main concerns and priorities of the House of Representatives, former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Saturday, Jan. 23. Rep. Alan Peter CayetanoInterviewed by reporters in Cavite, Cayetano also appealed for an end to political retribution, saying that it is too early to engage in politicking. Cayetano’s reaction to reporters’ questions is clearly directed towards Speaker Lord Allan Velasco who succeeded him as speaker after a bitter fight over the top House post last year. Velasco is behind the renewed bid to amend the 1987 Constitution in Congress.  The recent sacking of Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Michael Defensor and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte from vice chairmanship post was also blamed on Velasco. “Hindi madali sa amin, lalo kakampi namin ang adminisrasyon na mangalampag, lalo ‘pag may mga issues.  Pero katulad naman siguro noong sa Chacha lahat naman siguro kayo mag-agree na unahin natin ang bakuna at iyong taas ng presyo kaysa doon sa Chacha. (It is not easy for us allies of the administration to complain whenever there are issues.  But I believe you will agree that vaccines and rising prices must come first over Chacha),” said Cayetano. The former speaker lamented that Defensor and former Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu have become victims of political vendetta in the chamber. Defensor was stripped of the chairmanship of the House Committee on Public Accounts.  This happened after the Velasco leadership sacked one-by-one nearly all of Cayetano’s close allies. However, the partylist solon lost vice chairmanship positions in at least five committees, apparently for criticizing Velasco’s leadership during a recent press conference. Abu belonged to the first batch of pro-Cayetano solons who absorbed the new leadership’s wrath.  However, his replacement as deputy speaker, Las Pinas Rep. Camille Villar, declined her appointment. Cayetano said both Defensor and Abu are among the most hardworking members of the Lower House who did not deserve their fate. However, Deputy Speaker and Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza defended the decision of the current House leadership, stressing that sacking Villafuerte and Defensor was a direct “consequence” of their alleged “vicious attacks” against Velasco and the current leaders of the Lower House. “The two cannot cry foul especially when they said they’ve lost faith in the present House leadership,” Atienza said.  On the other hand, Velasco underscored the significance of taking steps at amending the Constitution, saying that the timing to do it is now. Velasco vowed to allow only amendments to the restrictive economic provisions of the Charter. 

  • Dep-Ed program allow students to rediscover native biodiversity despite pandemic restrictions
    by Merlina Hernando-Malipot on January 23, 2021 at 11:53 am

    Despite mobility restrictions and other limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, students from 15 schools in the municipality of Baras, Rizal were given an opportunity to rediscover their native biodiversity. (PAU VILLANUEVA/ MANILA BULLETIN)With the help of their teachers, parents, and conservationists in the municipality, students-explorers charted at least 10,000 plants and animals and about 2,000 different species in their backyards through the first-ever “Backyard Bioblitz.” Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd)-Baras and the Masungi Georeserve Foundation, the first “Backyard Bioblitz” in the country was also supported by the National Geographic Society, Global Shapers Manila, and the Municipality of Baras. Masungi Georeserve Foundation project manager Deil Galenzoga explained that the students from 15 local elementary and high schools collected and identified as many species as possible in their backyards over one week using the iNaturalist app. “Besides aiming to foster in our youth a wonder for the natural world, the exercise also helps contribute to science. High quality data uploaded in the app become part of an open-source database used by scientists and policy-makers around the world,” ” Galenzoga added. Wilma Sorro, a local teacher, said that the students became curious as observers. “They really enjoyed the new platform. They learned to value the smallest thing they see in their surroundings,” she noted. “They also became aware of the importance of living organisms in their environment,” she explained. Painaan Heroes Ville Annex Elementary School with 1,783 observations and Baras Senior High School with 2,610 observations won first place in the elementary and high school categories, respectively. Meanwhile, some of the most notable observations were Lagundi, Phanera sp., Oleander Moth, and Civet Cat. The Bioblitz is also part of the centennial anniversary celebrations of the Baras municipality. Yannick Kuehl, senior director for Programs and Explorer Development-Asia, explained that the Philippines is one of 18 megabiodiverse countries in the world. “Many of these species are endemic to the Philippines. There’s a lot to discover even in your own backyards. But biodiversity also threatened. We are losing some of these species forever,” Kuehl said. “We need to find solutions, take stock, and monitor change. This is why citizen science is so important. These observations will support and inform conservation actions to protect biodiversity,” he added. Carlos Velazco, National Geographic Society Explorer, added that this is also a “unique opportunity” to do something for the world. “We are having a lot of trouble with the COVID pandemic and it’s because we don”t know about natural world around us,” he said. “Nature is not something we need to be afraid of, it is something we need look for and know about,” he said.

  • 13 killed in police operations in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao
    by Taj Basman on January 23, 2021 at 11:17 am

    The 13th casualty is a member of the police force

  • Binay asks IATF to reconsider decision on the relaxing of age restrictions
    by Mario Casayuran on January 23, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Senator Maria Lourdes “Nancy” Binay on Saturday, Jan. 23, appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to reconsider its decision allowing those aged 10 to 65 years old to leave their homes even as the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) remains uncontrolled. Senator Nancy Binay (Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)“Syempre medyo nababahala na sa Bontoc may positive sa UK variant. Baka dito sa Manila marami na pala, hindi lang na test ng Genome center, kasi may limitation din naman sa sequencing (We are apprehensive that Bontoc already has positive cases of the COVID-19 UK variant. Manila may have more UK variants but are not tested at the Genome center because there are limitations in sequencing),’’ Binay said during a radio interview.   “Talagang nakakabahala (It is truly concerning),” Binay said.  The IATF order becomes effective Feb. 1. “Para sa akin, dapat pag isipan uli ng IATF ang pag-lift sa 10 years old and above na makapasok sa mall. Kung titignan natin sa ibang bansa, nag lockdown na uli gaya sa Hong Kong, wala galawan sa Kowloon, what more tayo, (For me, the IATF should reconsider its order allowing those 10 years old to 65 years old to enter malls. Other countries have re-imposed lockdowns such as in Hong Kong… the movement of people is not allowed in Kowloon. What more in our country?)” she said.  Binay, chairwoman of the Senate science and technology committee, noted that the new Philippine policy relaxes its rules while other countries are imposing stricter lockdowns.”Tayo nagbabaligtad (In the Philippines, it is the opposite),” she said, expressing her fears that the government might not be able to control when there is an outbreak. “We cannot afford another lockdown.”    Binay asked what would 10-year-old children do at the malls. She even questioned the logic behind this policy by citing the ban on the young from attending classes at schools but they are now allowed to roam the malls. 

  • UP graduates falsely tagged as NPA eye cyber libel complaint
    by Michelle Abad on January 23, 2021 at 10:46 am

    The alumni, who include a lawyer, a journalist, a playwright, and a social entrepreneur, believe they deserve an apology from the Armed Forces of the Philippines

  • DENR enhances steps to ensure proper waste disposal
    by Chito Chavez on January 23, 2021 at 10:17 am

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Saturday that steps are being enhanced to ensure that proper waste disposal is compliant with government regulations. With this pronouncement, the DENR aims to embark on “a greater collaboration with the sanitary landfill (SLF) operators to improve the management of solid waste in the country.’’ “We always extend a welcoming hand to those sectors willing to work with us to solve our country’s problems particularly those that concern our environment and natural resources,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu. DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda stressed during a recent combined face-to-face and teleconference meeting that the SLF operators must abide by the existing environmental laws while going about their daily business process. He asked the SLF operators to submit regular reports to the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to monitor the trash disposed by the local government units (LGUs) in their sanitary landfills. With this, Antiporda explained that the DENR can easily detect if the LGUs are “still disposing their solid waste in open dumpsites, which is strictly prohibited under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.’’ “In this way, we will not just solve the solid waste management problem of the country but we will protect the environment for the benefit of the Filipino people,” Antiporda pointed out. The DENR noted that some 233 open dumpsites are still operating in the country with the most number of open dumpsites located in Western Visayas (48 dumpsites), Mimaropa (35), Central Visayas (27), Bicol region (23), and Davao region (20). It added that “there are already 189 established sanitary landfills in the country’’ with the Top 5 regions with the highest number of sanitary landfills being the Calabarzon (36), Cagayan Valley (35), Ilocos region (33), Northern Mindanao (18), and Central Visayas (15). During the meeting, Antiporda said the members of the Solid Waste Management Service Providers expressed their agreement to work more closely with the agency. He noted that the pronouncement of the SLF operators to unite “is a big step in doing their part to take care of the environment.’’

  • Fine, jail term for racism proposed under House bill
    by Ben Rosario on January 23, 2021 at 10:05 am

    The House Committee on Human Rights has proposed imprisonment and fine against persons found guilty of racism or any act of discrimination committed on the basis of color, descent, religion, national, or ethnic origin of another person, including prejudice of portraying the victim in advertisement, movies, and other forms of mass media. MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTOChaired by Quezon City Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay, the House panel has endorsed the swift approval of House Bill 8243 or the Equality and Non-Discrimination on Race, Ethnicity, and Religion Act by the House. Suntay said the bill contains a number of provisions common among five legislative proposals filed on the subject. Among the authors are Reps. Amihilda Sangcopan (Anak Mindanao); Cheryl Deloso-Montalla (NUP, Zambales), Edgar Aglipay (DIWA party-list); and Jose Christopher Belmonte (LP, Quezon City). “It is a sad fact of human nature that many feel threatened or are fearful of those who are not like us, those who are different, and even the most good natured and broad-minded will possess biases that can fester if left unexamined,” Aglipay said in the explanatory notes of his bill. Aglipay, chairman of the House Committee on Good Government, stressed that there are other people or groups who “prey on this kind of prejudice and hatred, those who use the tyranny of the majority to exploit and dehumanize vulnerable marginalized groups.” Sangcopan lamented that the backlash of the catastrophic World Trade Center in 2011 has greatly earned Muslims international backlash. “The Muslims in Mindanao and elsewhere in the Philippines are no exemption,” she said. The consolidated bill listed a number of prohibited acts that are considered to be acts of discrimination against another person or group of persons on account of their race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, religion, or religious beliefs. The bill provides the presumption of discrimination as a condition which arises when a person requires another person to comply with term, condition, or requirement which makes it difficult for another person to comply with or is considered unreasonable. HB 8243 proposes the creation of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Committee in all agencies, corporations, and educational institutions in the private and government sector. The body will be tasked to exercise administrative jurisdiction to investigate acts and practices of discrimination. Suntay said the bill proposes penalties of imprisonment of 30 days to six months imprisonment or a fine of not more than P100,000 or both. Under the bill, prohibited acts of discrimination happen when persons are prevented or prohibited from exercising their political rights or when they are refused the supply of goods or services in view of their race, color, descent, or religion. In politics, an act of prejudice is committed when a person is prevented or prohibited from exercising his or her political rights. Discrimination in education and training is committed, among others, when a student is given limited or denied access to benefits provided by an institution or when the student is refused admission to an educational or training institution. Refusing to allow another person access to or use of any place, vehicle, or facilities that the general public enjoy is considered a discriminatory act. Discrimination in advertisement and mass media is also penalized if a person is portrayed as “stupid, barbaric, savage, dirty, wild, ignorant, and similar degrading or unrealistic portrayals.”

  • BoC fully completes projects vs smuggling in 2020
    by Betheena Unite on January 23, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Various projects aimed at improving measures against smuggling in the country were fully achieved in 2020, the Bureau of Customs bared Saturday. MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTOThe bureau said it achieved a 100 percent accomplishment rate on its mission to improve measures against illicit trade under its 10-Point Priority Program for 2020 aimed at strengthening border security. Various projects to improve the risk management system of the bureau were implemented. Under the 10-Point Priority Program for 2020, the bureau, through its Risk Management Office (RMO), conducted the enhancement of the Selectivity System in the Universal Risk Management System (URMS) in which a new color lane was activated in September 2020; the enabling of Information Technology capabilities for a more efficient targeting or profiling; and the strengthening of RMO with the operationalization of its units such as Risk Assessment Unit, the Research and Analysis Unit, and the Strategic Assessment Unit. The URMS is a system designed to improve the risk management capabilities of the bureau through the migration of information to a more user-friendly interface that allows storage of larger amount of information and the promotion of a paperless system. According to the bureau, under the World Customs Organization (WCO) Mercator Program, the Risk Management Contribution has been successfully implemented in an effective and timely manner across the BoC. A Risk Management Unit (RMU) was established to monitor and ensure feedback on the performance of Customs control treatments and interventions on cargo for reports and recommendations to be acted upon immediately. It also implemented the monitoring of improvements through private dashboards where all information gathered from different sources are integrated and operationally presented. The dashboard, the bureau said, provides support to analysts in qualitative and inductive research as it enables the viewing of profiles of the ports, previous transactions, and fraud records of any searched entities using the dashboard. Under the priority project, the bureau also initiated drafting of guidelines for the National Customs Enforcement Network (NCEN) System of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the establishment of the NCEN Database. With this, the bureau’s RMO will serve as the national contact point for the Global Customs Enforcement Network to increase intelligence sharing to maintain a database of all smuggling cases and related data, for risk assessment. NCEN is a system developed by the WCO to assist Customs administrations with the collection and storage of law enforcement information on the national level with the additional capacity to exchange this information at regional and international level. “As of December 2020, 715 out of 971 or 74 percent cases of seizure are uploaded in NCEN,” the bureau said.

  • TWG to polish ‘Sagip Kolehiyo Act’ formed
    by Charissa Luci-Atienza  on January 23, 2021 at 9:19 am

    The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education has formed a Technical Working Group to further scrutinize a measure seeking to provide more scholarships for the continuity of college education of students whose head of families are directly and indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTOIn a recent virtual hearing, the House panel, chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, formed the TWG to polish the provisions of the proposed “Sagip Kolehiyo Act,” principally authored by Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas. In his sponsorship speech, Vargas said he is open to the possible creation of the TWG that would thresh out the provisions of his House Bill No. 7446, which aims to expand the coverage of Republic Act No. 10687, otherwise known as the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Law. The bill aims to tap UniFAST for the enrollment and schooling assistance of college student children of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and other workers who were laid off due to the economic slowdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am open to amendments. I will submit the bill to the wisdom of the chair and the committee if we will push for a TWG,” Vargas said before the panel’s formation of the TWG panel on his measure. “This bill is flexible as long as we are able to help the intended beneficiaries.” Vargas said the UNIFAST program is currently limited to those belonging to poor families and do not necessarily address the lacking support for the new sectors made vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic. “At P5 billion per semester, we shall be able to help approximately 100,000 students continue their college education. We must act fast now,” he said. Under the bill, the Sagip Kolehiyo Program shall be made available to all Filipino students whose parents or heads of household fall in any of the following categories: No work, no pay workers; jeepney and tricycle drivers; formerly regularly employed but are now laid off due to business closure or retrenchment; hospitalized or have died because of COVID-19; and OFWs who could not find immediate local employment. HB No. 7446 provides that each eligible student shall be entitled to a maximum assistance of P50,000 per semester or enrolment in a college, university, or institution accredited by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The bill provides P5 billion additional, top-up fund for the UniFAST program as part of government’s COVID-19 response to assist the students.

  • P13-M cash subsidy distributed to PUV drivers under service contracting program
    by Alexandria Dennise San Juan on January 23, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Over P13 million in cash subsidy has been distributed to more than 3,000 drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) nationwide under the government’s service contracting program, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said. MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTOIn a statement Saturday, the LTFRB said that a total of 3,282 drivers of traditional and modern public utility jeepneys (PUJs) and public utility buses (PUBs) in various regions in the country have received the initial financial assistance of P4,000 each. According to the LTFRB, these are PUV drivers in Metro Manila, Ilocos region, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, and Socsargen.Latest data provided by the LTFRB said these are the number of driver-beneficiaries of the initial subsidy per region: NCR: 1,201 traditional PUJ drivers, 160 modern PUJ driversRegion 1: 431 traditional PUJ drivers, seven modern PUJ driversRegion 3: 43 modern PUJ driversRegion 4: 508 traditional PUJ drivers, 57 modern PUJ driversRegion 6: 237 traditional PUJ driversRegion 7: 148 PUB driversRegion 9: 196 traditional PUJ driversRegion 10: 177 traditional PUJ driversRegion 11: 15 PUB driversRegion 12: 102 traditional PUJ drivers The cash assistance was distributed by the LTFRB to the drivers through their Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) account or their registered e-wallets such as GCash or PayMaya. The LTFRB added that more drivers in different regions are expected to receive their initial subsidy under the program in the coming days.Drivers who already received the initial subsidy were reminded to log in to the Service Contracting Driver App through go.sakay.ph/driver for every transit to qualify for an additional weekly subsidy. Different rates per kilometer have been set by the Board for each kind of PUV. Drivers or operators of traditional and modern public utility jeepneys (PUJs) will get P11 per kilometer while drivers or operators of passenger buses will get P23.10 per kilometer, the LTFRB said. At least 60,000 PUV drivers are expected to benefit from the Service Contracting Program which aims to aid in their everyday operational expenses such as gasoline, boundary, and other expenses to help them abide by the “quarantine protocols.” Some P5.58 billion funding has been allotted for its implementation under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2. Under this, the government through the Department of Transportation and LTFRB will provide payouts for public transportation services where PUV operators and drivers will be given a performance-based subsidy according to vehicle-kilometers traveled and compliance with performance indicators.

  • DoST, DILG ink MoA for partnership in solidarity vaccine trials
    by Dhel Nazario on January 23, 2021 at 9:05 am

    A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has been signed between the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which outlines their partnership for the conduct of the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trials (SVT) in the country. DoST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena, during his weekly report Friday, said the MoA was proposed under Resolution No. 68 dated Sept. 3, 2020 by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). The DoST Secretary said that currently, the Philippine team is continuously recruiting personnel needed and coordinating with relevant government agencies and Local Government Unit (LGUs) for the preparations for the conduct of the clinical trials while awaiting the final Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and specific protocols from WHO. “The Philippine team has already started the lecture training about the protection, safety, and well-being of the participants as well as how adverse events should be recorded and reported during the vaccine clinical trials. The said lecture training is part of the preparatory activities,” Dela Pena added. He also said that letters signed by vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and the Guidelines for the Local Government Units’ Assistance on the Implementation of the WHO SVT were sent last Jan. 13 to the mayors where the trials will be conducted. DoST also sent a follow-up letter to the WHO Country Office regarding the final start date of the trials. Dela Pena stated that President Duterte also approved additional funding in response to the request of the WHO for the Philippines to expand the trial in the essence of the study objectives to conduct a rapid, community-based enrollment in hotspot areas. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is currently processing the release of the funds to DoST.

  • Sandigan denies bid to hold complainant for indirect contempt over FB post
    by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki on January 23, 2021 at 9:00 am

    The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied the motion of former Romblon Gov. Eleandro Jesus Madrona and his co-accused to hold their complainant for indirect contempt because he is already saying they are “sure to be convicted.” Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)Madrona, provincial agriculturist Geishler Fiedcan Fadri, and senior agriculturist Oscar Placito Galos have been slapped with a graft charge in connection with the P4.8-million fertilizer fund scam back 2004. They filed a petition for indirect contempt, saying that complainant Lyndon Molino violated the sub judice rule when he discussed the case in public and declared their conviction as if it is already certain. The sub judice rule prohibits comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings in order to avoid prejudging the issue or influencing the court. On Feb. 20, 2019, Molina used his personal Facebook account and posted on the group called “Romblon Community” where he shared a link to a story about the conviction of Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee, who was earlier found guilty of graft due to the fertilizer fund scam. He commented that the case and Madrona’s are the same. The petition stressed that it created a “public impression that since Lee was convicted by Sandiganbayan, petitioner Gov. Eleandro Madrona will also be convicted by the Sandiganbayan.” In an 11-page resolution, the anti-graft court explained there are two types of contempt. Direct contempt is committed when a person is guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court as to obstruct the proceedings. Indirect contempt, on the other hand, is committed out of the presence of the court. After examining Molino’s Facebook posts, the anti-graft court did not find a clear and present danger that would bring disrepute or scorn the proceedings. “Both Facebook posts do not present any evil consequence that is ‘extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high’ which may be prejudicial to the rights of the accused and to the disposition of the Court in the said criminal case,” the Sandiganbayan said. Contrary to the claims of the accused, the court said the alleged similarities in the Sorsogon and Romblon cases could not influence its decision because “there was nothing in the post that undermines the ability of the court to pass judgment with impartiality.” In the mind of the court, Molino’s Facebook posts appear to be nothing but a publication of his personal sentiments and position about the criminal case. Whether the statements or true or not, according to the court, “fall within the purview of freedom of speech.” The resolution was written by Associate Justice Karl Miranda and concurred in by Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero. The accused are charged with a violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Madrona reportedly awarded the contract of liquid fertilizers to Feshan Philippines Inc. without undergoing the mandatory public bidding. Madrona was accused of conspiring with Fadri and Galos, together with Feshan representative Elisa Morales and former provincial administrator Joel Angcaco Sy, treasurer Ruby Fababier, and assistant provincial government development head Anthony Rugas in awarding the amount of P4,863,823.19 to the company through direct contracting for the purchase of 3,333 bottles of Bio Nature liquid organic fertilizer, which cost P1,500 per bottle.

  • DoH records 1,797 new COVID cases
    by Analou De Vera  on January 23, 2021 at 8:46 am

    The Department of Health (DoH) recorded less than 2,000 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases Saturday. Department of Health (DOH) (MANILA BULLETIN)Based on its latest case bulletin, there were 1,797 more people infected with the coronavirus, pushing the nationwide cumulative total to 511,679. The DoH also reported 166 more recoveries and 54 new deaths, bringing the total to 467,886 and 10,190, respectively. With the new recoveries and deaths, the number of active cases currently stands at 33,603, of which 82.6 percent have mild symptoms, 11 percent are asymptomatic, 3.8 percent are in critical condition, 2.2 percent have severe symptoms, and 0.41 percent are in moderate condition. The DoH noted that five duplicate cases were removed from the total nationwide count. Amid the threat of the more transmissible variant of COVID-19 virus, Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) President Dr. Marissa Alejandria urged the public to strictly comply with the minimum public health standards and monitor themselves if ever they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. “We really need to practice the preventive measures and then strict implementation of quarantine protocols to cut the chain of transmission,” she said. “If you develop symptoms consult right away, isolate, mask yourself to prevent the possible spread of transmission,” she added.

  • DOH may recommend deferment of rule to allow kids aged 10 to go out
    by Rappler.com on January 23, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire cites the rise in cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 in the country

  • No proof yet of community transmission of UK COVID variant here
    by Analou De Vera  on January 23, 2021 at 8:34 am

    It is too early to say if there is already a community transmission of the more transmissible variant of the COVID-19 virus in the country, health authorities said Saturday. This was emphasized by Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) Director Dr. Celia Carlos following the detection of 16 more cases of the B.1.1.7 or the United Kingdom variant of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines. “Considering that investigation is ongoing, it may be premature for us now to determine whether there is ongoing community transmission. We need to wait for the results of the investigation,” said Carlos during a press briefing hosted by the Department of Health (DoH). According to Carlos, the World Health Organization (WHO) has “three definitions” to establish if there is already a community transmission. “First, large number of cases which are not linkable through transmission chains. No. 2, large number of cases from sentinel sites if there is existing surveillance, and No. 3, multiple unrelated-clusters in several areas of the country,” she said. This notion was seconded by Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the DoH Technical Advisory Group. “Right now there is no evidence of community transmission but it does not mean that it’s not there but we will continue to look,” he said. “Right now, there’s no evidence of that dahil meron po tayong isang cluster lang na alam po natin na magkaka-related sila (because we only have one cluster that we know are all related),” he added. Last Friday night, the DoH announced 16 new cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 virus in the country, pushing the total to 17. Of the new cases, 12 were detected in Bontoc, Mountain Province; two returning overseas Filipinos from Lebanon; while the two others were detected in La Trinidad, Benguet and Calamba, Laguna. The first case was a resident of Quezon City who had a travel history from Dubai. Dr. Althea de Guzman of the DoH Epidemiology Bureau said that authorities are still investigating how the 12 residents of Mountain Province as well as the two cases from Benguet and Laguna got the infection. Meanwhile, Philippine health experts said that it is still early to conclude that the UK variant of COVID-19 is deadlier. Salvana said that the data “from the UK about the potentially increased deadliness of the virus is very preliminary.” “Pinag-aaralan pa po ito. Hindi pa final. Very very preliminary ang mga sinabi po ng UK (It is still being studied. Not yet final. What the UK has said is very very preliminary),” he said. This was also agreed by Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) President Dr. Marissa Alejandria, saying that “the study is still very premature. There’s still uncertainty on whether the virus is really more deadly.” According to a BBC report, “early evidence” suggested that this variant of COVID-19 virus “may be more deadly,” quoting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Alejandria said that “it is possible that there is a higher mortality rate in this variant but cannot directly say that it is really just due to the virus or the variant.” “When we talk about factors affecting mortality it is not just about the virus. It is also about the characteristics of the patient as mentioned: The older you are, the higher the risk of dying; the presence of comorbid conditions…immunocompromised condition, there is a higher chance that they may develop severe illness regardless of whether you have the variant or not,” she said. Another scenario would be is when the healthcare system is already overwhelmed. “Kung mas transmissible ang isang variant, mas maraming cases, mas ma-stretch po ‘yung ating healthcare system. So in general, puwedeng mangyari is pag puno po ‘yung mga ospital mas maraming mamamatay kasi ‘yung iba hindi naaalagaan (The more transmissible a variant is, the more cases will be, therefore, the healthcare system can be stretched. So in general, it can happen when the hospitals are full – more people will die because the others are not taken care of),” said Salvana. Health experts urged the public to continue practicing minimum public health standards. Local government units were also urged to strengthen their contact tracing initiatives and strictly enforce health protocols to avoid the surge in cases.

  • Video of Parañaque officials manhandling vendor sparks outrage online
    by Gaby Baizas on January 23, 2021 at 8:26 am

    In another conversation on compassion towards ordinary citizens, Filipinos are quick to point out the government’s double standard

  • Expelled NPA killed in Negros Occidental gunfight
    by Aaron Recuenco  on January 23, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Anti-kidnapping operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) killed a former communist rebel, who was kicked out of the New People’s Army (NPA) for allegedly molesting a fellow fighter, during an encounter in Bago City, Negros Occidental Friday. PNP chief Police Gen. Debold Sinas said Emmanuel Dequilla Sampani turned into a hitman in Negros Occidental and nearby areas when he was banished by his NPA companions. At around 10 p.m. Friday, AKG operatives was tipped of his location and immediately went to Barangay Dulao to serve the arrest warrant against him. But he allegedly opted to engage police in a gunfight. At the time of the shootout, Sampani was carrying three handguns when he engaged with lawmen. “All firearms as well a handheld radio, a mobile phone, and a wallet containing various IDs were recovered at the scene,” said Sinas. Based on PNP records, Sampani was a member of the NPA Narciso Antaso Aramil Command (NAAC) operating in Rizal. He was transferred to Quezon to evade arrest when the court issued an arrest order against him. “However, he was banished by CPP-NPA for sexual offense on a certain ‘Ka Venus,’” said Sinas. He had since returned to Negros where he linked up with a gun-for-hire group and engaged in hit jobs, gun running, and landgrabbing activities.

  • DoH OKs proposal for public to register with health care provider under UHC law
    by Mario Casayuran on January 23, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Sen. Richard J. Gordon said Saturday Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III agreed with his suggestions to get the public to register with a primary health care provider as provided for in the Universal Health Care law and to conduct a 24/7 operation for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Senator Richard Gordon (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)“We will kill three birds with one stone. Habang wala pa ’yung vaccine, makakapag-organize pa tayo, mag-umpisa na tayo na i-organize ang mga tao na may kanya-kanya ng primary health care provider. It must be given priority, we need it,” he said. (While there are still no vaccines, we should organize, start with organizing the people to register with primary health care providers) As for the vaccination, Gordon said more people would be inoculated at a shorter span of time if the vaccination would be 24/7, adding that the shelf-life of the vaccines is also a consideration. “Vaccination should be done 24/7, not just for health workers, but also for the regular citizens, para mapabilis ang pagbabakuna. Tutal hindi naman sabay-sabay ang pagdating ng stock ng bakuna. 24/7 vaccination operation sa high prevalent areas, malalaking areas na siksikan, para mas marami agad mabakunahan, mas mabilis na matatapos ang problema,” he proposed to Duque during the continuation of the Committee of the Whole inquiry Friday. (…to hasten the process of inoculation. After all, the arrival of vaccines is staggered. 24/7 vaccination operation in high prevalent areas, there are big, congested areas so that there would be more to be vaccinated. This will finish the problem) “Start in Metro Manila where the disease is prevalent. Map all the health care providers, sabihan mga LGUs (local government units), gawing parang dry-run ang pag-register sa mga health care providers. Ngayon pa lang dapat sanayin na ang mga healthcare providers kung ano ang mga data na dapat kunin sa pasyente na ilalagay sa QR Code,” the senator said.(LGUs should be told to conduct dry-runs in the registration with health care providers. Health care providers should be adept at getting data to be input in QR Codes) “Mapapabilis ang proseso, at mas maraming mababakunahan in a shorter span of time. Kung mabilis tayo makakapag-trabaho na ulit mga kababayan natin at ang ating mga kabataan, makakapasok na sila sa eskuwela. Pag nagawa ‘yan, sasaya na ang bayan natin,” he also said, at the same time offering the assistance of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in conducting the inoculations.(The process must be accelerated so that many could be vaccinated in a shorter span of time. If we are fast, many can go back to work and young citizens can go back to school. If that is done, the country will be happy) “Ang Red Cross po ay laging partner ng DoH, hindi lang sa mga disasters, pero maging sa mga vaccination drives nito,” he said. (Red Cross is a constant partner of DoH, not only in disasters but in vaccination drives)Gordon is chairman and CEO of Philippine Red Cross (PRC). According to the senator, “PRC also has sufficient volunteers who could help the DoH in implementing the vaccination drive, adding that they are already experienced, having participated in several vaccination programs, such measles and polio, and vaccinating a total of more than one million people for both diseases. Gordon said that the PRC has a fleet of vehicles, refrigeration, and cold chain facility that could be used. “We are willing to help you. We can use our cars, our vans, our ambulances para madala ang mga tao sa (so they be transported to) vaccination centers,” he said.

  • Group cites need to address ‘digital divide’ among students
    by Merlina Hernando-Malipot on January 23, 2021 at 8:11 am

    A child rights group highlighted the importance of having access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which is critical to address the digital divide between children in highly urbanized areas and those from poor households especially those who are living in remote and conflict-affected areas such as Mindanao. (FACEBOOK/MANILA BULLETIN)To ensure children’s learning access in conflict-affected Mindanao, Save the Children Philippines (SCP) has partnered with wireless services provider Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) to donate four School-in-a-Bag packages for learning communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). SCP Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot said that organization has been providing life-changing support to the most deprived and marginalized children in the last four decades, to ensure children have a fulfilled life. Muyot explained that the organization is honored to partner with Smart Communications in “fulfilling the rights of children to have access to inclusive and quality education especially during the massive school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” A former Undersecretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), Muyot said that accessible ICT is very crucial in ensuring that children, regardless of their location and economic status, are given equal opportunities in learning. The partnership, Muyot explained, will support Save the Children’s implementation of the “Safe Schools of the Future” program in BARMM areas. The program is also being supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). SCP noted that the partnership aims to sustain another year of inclusive learning. Under the partnership, four portable digital classrooms will be deployed to schools in Lumba-Bayabao, Lanao del Sur, including an integrated Madrasah. Madrasah Education is a comprehensive program in public and private schools that aims to provide basic education curriculum within the context of Muslim culture, customs, traditions, and interests through the integration of the Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE). A #LearnSmart initiative, the School-in-a-Bag is designed to provide access to technology, connectivity, content, and disaster-resilient learning strategies even for schools in remote areas without electricity. Each water-resistant backpack carries a laptop for the teacher, 20 tablets for students to access award-winning interactive applications even if offline, and a Smart LTE pocket WiFi which teachers can use to download additional content wherever there is power and connectivity. The total value of each School-in-a-bag is P200,000 or approximately $4,100. Smart Community Partnerships VP Darwin Flores said the deployment supports SCP’s educational work in BARMM and the “aspiration of our Muslim brothers and sisters toward inclusive development.” Teacher beneficiaries of Smart and Save the Children’s School-in-a-Bag packages will also be trained on the Central Visayan Institute Foundation-Dynamic Learning Program (CVIF-DLP), a pandemic-resilient strategy that supports distance learning and works in both online and offline delivery modalities. Supported by Smart and PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) for over a decade, CVIF-DLP is one of only three supplemental learning materials being endorsed by the DepEd Philippines for school year 2020-2021. Ready-to-use Junior and Senior High School CVIF-DLP Learning Activity Sheets can be downloaded for free from “DepEd Commons.”

  • Chinese nabbed for fake PH passport
    by Jun Ramirez on January 23, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Bureau of Immigration (BI) operatives have arrested a Chinese national who allegedly misrepresented herself as a Filipino. (PIXABAY/ MANILA BULLETIN)BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said Li Xinlei, 51, was apprehended inside the Pasay City Hall compound by members of the BI Intelligence Division (ID) where she was scheduled to attend a hearing on a separate case. According to BI ID chief Fortunato Manahan Jr., Li is a fugitive from justice, subject of an arrest warrant in China for economic crimes. “When our agents arrested her, she was unable to show proper documentation and misrepresented herself as a Filipino using a fraudulently acquired Philippine passport,” said Manahan. “This is a significant arrest for the BI as Li is included in the list of wanted criminals sought by the Chinese government,” Manahan said.

  • Lorenzana optimistic of Abu Sayyaf downfall in Sulu
    by Roel Pareño on January 23, 2021 at 8:01 am

    Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he sees the gradual defeat of the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu as the number of its members continue to decrease due to the relentless military and local government campaign against terrorism.

  • DepEd highly eligible for 2019 PBB
    by Merlina Hernando-Malipot on January 23, 2021 at 7:58 am

    An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) said that the agency has a “high probability” for eligibility in the 2019 Performance-Based Bonus (PBB). (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla, in a Facebook post, gave an update on the 2019 PBB amid queries coming from both teaching and non-teaching personnel of the agency. On the PBB for 2019, Sevilla explained that the evaluation of the eligibility of DepEd is “still ongoing” by the AO25 Task Force. “Per latest update we got, there is (a) high probability that DepEd will be eligible (for) the PBB 2019,” she said. “We are hoping that all – including the non-teaching positions – will be eligible for the grant,” she added. Sevilla said that “once there is announcement” from AO25 TF that DepEd is eligible for the PBB 2019, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will “release the PBB fund to each corresponding DepEd regional office” that has complete and validated PBB documents. “The fund and release of PBB shall not anymore pass through DepEd CO (Central Office), it will go straight to our DepEd ROs (Regional Offices) for processing and release,” Sevilla added. The PBB is “a top-up incentive given to personnel of bureaus or delivery units in accordance to their contribution to the accomplishment of their department’s overall targets and commitments.” The AO25 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) “sets specific conditions and reviews the agency’s accomplishments within a fiscal year to determine the eligibility of the department and its personnel” to receive PBB. Sevilla said that the PBB is not an “automatic benefit” because its granting is based on validation and qualification of the department’s performance for the past year. Teachers’ groups such as the Teacher’s Dignity Coalition (TDC) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) have been opposing the implementation of the PBB for “being highly exploitative” and could be a “source of corruption, division, and dishonesty.” Despite criticisms, DepEd assured that concerned officials and units continue to find ways to ensure that the benefits due to both teaching and non-teaching employees will be granted as soon as possible.

  • DOH sends more contact tracers to Bontoc after detection of new UK COVID-19 variant cases
    by Michelle Abad on January 23, 2021 at 7:34 am

    (UPDATED) The Department of Health is conducting intensive contact tracing in Bontoc after 12 cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Mountain Province town

  • 12 gunmen, cop killed in Maguindanao operation
    by John Unson on January 23, 2021 at 7:09 am

    Twelve members of a heavily-armed gang and policeman were killed in a five-hour gunfight in Sultan Kudarat town town on Saturday.

  • Navotas mayor says they won’t buy Sinovac jabs after poll shows people prefer other brands
    on January 23, 2021 at 4:28 am

    Navotas City will not be purchasing China’s Sinovac vaccine, its mayor said Friday, in line with the preference of its people for three other brands shown in an informal survey.

  • Palawan gov’t declares environmental lawyer persona non grata
    by Keith Anthony Fabro on January 23, 2021 at 1:08 am

    ‘Maybe we are gaining ground in our campaign for a ‘no’ vote to the upcoming [Palawan split] plebiscite…and this move is to prevent us from speaking freely,’ says Palawan NGO Network Incorporated chief Robert Chan

  • No sea row compromises in Sino vaccine talksː Galvez
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The head of the national COVID-19 vaccination program stumbled twice during a Senate inquiry on the vaccine rollout, accidentally admitting that he had lied about the price of a Chinese-made vaccine and urging the Philippines to set aside its “differences” with China in the West Philippine Sea to win the battle against The post No sea row compromises in Sino vaccine talksː Galvez appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Not just ‘Red’ turf: PNP says UP community ‘crime hot spot’
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The military and police piled up allegations of insurgent activities and criminality on the University of the Philippines (UP) on Friday as they continued to justify the abrogation of an agreement between the state university and the Department of National Defense (DND) to ban the entry of security forces into its campuses The post Not just ‘Red’ turf: PNP says UP community ‘crime hot spot’ appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • FDA studying if Pfizer COVID shots not for old, ailing
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is studying whether to exclude sickly senior citizens from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, following reports that several elderly persons who received the shot in Norway have died. FDA Director General Eric Domingo said his office, the Department of Health (DOH) or even The post FDA studying if Pfizer COVID shots not for old, ailing appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • NBI files raps vs top execs of 2 tech firms
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation has filed charges against top executives of two technology companies for allegedly unlawfully copying the automated payment machines of the licensed operator of “TouchPay” electronic collection system. Charged before the Manila Prosecutor’s Office were Perseverando Hernandez, Marlon Portugal, Antonio Lasala, Reynaldo Isidro and Rachel Mercado of Electronic The post NBI files raps vs top execs of 2 tech firms appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DOST identifies 18 sites of clinical trials for 3 vaccines
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced on Friday that the clinical trials for three COVID-19 vaccines will be held in 18 facilities in Metro Manila, Laguna and Cavite provinces, as well as the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo in Western Visayas. Rowena Guevara, Undersecretary for Research and Development of the The post DOST identifies 18 sites of clinical trials for 3 vaccines appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DBM: Regional bodies decide fund release to villages ‘cleared’ of Reds
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Funds meant for barangays that have been declared free of the leftist insurgency are to be released subject to the approval of the regional counterparts of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). A total of 822 villages cleared The post DBM: Regional bodies decide fund release to villages ‘cleared’ of Reds appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • PH eases travel curbs for tourists from countries with variants
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The government has allowed foreigners from some countries that have the new COVID-19 variants to enter the Philippines and has amended quarantine protocols on passengers arriving from these areas, with the new rules requiring them to be tested twice for the disease within five days from their arrival. The Inter-Agency Task Force The post PH eases travel curbs for tourists from countries with variants appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Rules eased for residents age 10-65 in MGCQ areas
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The government has relaxed mobility restrictions for people age 10 to 65 in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). In its latest resolution, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) said people in this age group in MGCQ areas can step out of their homes beginning The post Rules eased for residents age 10-65 in MGCQ areas appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Fairness to prevail in Koko case, DOJ chief says
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday played down the criticism heaped on state prosecutors for clearing Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III of criminal liability for going to public places last March while awaiting the results of his COVID-19 test that turned out positive. “I would like to assure the people that the The post Fairness to prevail in Koko case, DOJ chief says appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Dole: Employers should pay for their househelp’s treatment
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — A Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) official has asked employers to pay for the medical expenses of their domestic workers who would contract the new coronavirus especially if they were not enrolled for government social benefits. Director Karina Perida Trayvilla of the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns said while getting The post Dole: Employers should pay for their househelp’s treatment appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Pagasa: Metro Manila to experience warmer weather
    by racosta on January 22, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, is forecast to experience warmer weather during the weekend due to the weakening of the northeast monsoon and the shifting of the tail end of the frontal system. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said in its 4 p.m. bulletin that, due to The post Pagasa: Metro Manila to experience warmer weather appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • SWS: Most families got cash aid from govt
    by Keith Calayag on January 22, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic received more help from the government since the crisis began in March last year, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed. At least 69 percent of Filipino families have received cash aid from the government while merely 7 percent claimed to have also received aid from the private sector,

  • Go calls for unified vaccine rollout
    by Javier Joe Ismael on January 22, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday called for a unified, “whole-of-government” effort to expedite the acquisition of coronavirus disease vaccine procurement and effectively implement a vaccine roadmap. He also urged government officials to work together to allay fears, erase doubts, and build up public confidence on the vaccine rollout toward recovery. The National Vaccine

  • Senate bill on Philhealth rate hike suspension filed
    by Javier Joe Ismael on January 22, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday filed Senate Bill (SB) 2000, seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte the authority to suspend the scheduled increase in the premium contribution rates of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth). “Especially now that the country is under a health emergency, the Filipinos cannot afford to give additional contributions

  • Police ‘negligence’ cited in Dacera case
    by Darwin Pesco on January 22, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    PHILIPPINE National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Friday said the police were negligent in handling Christine Angelica Dacera case. According to Sinas, such findings were submitted by the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM). “‘Yun mga investigators siguro ang initial findings ng DIDM ay may negligence sila when they handled the case (Based

  • DOH reports 16 new cases of UK COVID-19 variant in PH
    by Bonz Magsambol on January 22, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    The Philippines now has 17 cases of the more infectious variant of COVID-19

  • IATF OKs licensure exams from January to March
    by Keith Calayag on January 22, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    THE Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) is now allowed to administer licensure examinations for professionals amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved in its recent meeting the PRC’s request to conduct examinations from January to March. “The request of the Professional Regulation Commission to

  • PH won’t sacrifice interests for Sinovac – vaccine czar
    by Javier Joe Ismael on January 22, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    VACCINE czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. assured senators on Friday that the Philippines would not sacrifice the country’s claim on the West Philippine Sea in exchange for the Chinese-manufactured Covid-19 drug. The National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer issued the statement at the third public hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole (COW)

  • 6 suspects slain in shootouts
    by Emmanuel Tupas on January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Six still unidentified kidnapping and robbery suspects were killed in alleged shootouts with police officers in Quezon City yesterday.

  • IATF allows PRC to hold licensure exams
    by Sheila Crisostomo on January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed the Professional Regulatory Commission to conduct licensure examinations from January to March, presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced yesterday.

  • Magnitude 7.1 quake shakes Mindanao
    by Helen Flores on January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    No major damage was reported after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Davao Occidental on Thursday night, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology officer-in-charge and Science Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr. said yesterday.

  • 5 Kalinga towns, city under ECQ, MECQ
    by Raymund Catindig on January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The Cordillera Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or regional IATF placed Tabuk City in Kalinga under strictest enhanced community quarantine and four other towns under modified ECQ for two weeks starting on Monday.

  • Tracker teams formed vs ex-Jolo cops
    by Emmanuel Tupas on January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The Philippine National Police has formed tracker teams to go after nine former police officers accused of killing four Army intelligence officers in Jolo, Sulu last year.

  • Binangonan PNP chief, 7 others sacked
    by Ed Amoroso on January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    The police chief of Binangonan, Rizal and seven of his men have been relieved from their posts in connection with the arrest of their two civilian assets for alleged extortion.

  • 2 drug suspects with links to terrorist groups slain
    by Emmanuel Tupas on January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Two drug suspects with links to local terrorist groups were killed in alleged shootouts with law enforcers in South Cotabato and Tawi-Tawi on Thursday.

  • Duque on Sinovac price: ‘DOH googled it’ | Evening wRap
    by Rappler.com on January 22, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    Watch Rappler’s newscast with Amanda Lago

  • 12 cases of UK COVID-19 variant detected in Mountain Province
    by Bonz Magsambol on January 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    (UPDATED) ’12 out of 35 specimens from COVID-19 positive cases in this capital town have been confirmed to be of the UK variant,’ says Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey in a statement

  • Galvez: LGUs, private sector to consolidate vaccine orders
    by Sofia Tomacruz on January 22, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr mentions the set up after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian asked how the government will ensure private groups and local officials are not purchasing vaccines for the same individuals

  • Palace justifies easing of age restriction: For kids’ mental health, PH economic recovery
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Allowing children as young as 10 to go out of their homes in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas will be “good for their physical, social and mental health” and will help the country’s economic recovery, Malacañang said Friday. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque assured the public that the Inter-Agency Task Force for The post Palace justifies easing of age restriction: For kids’ mental health, PH economic recovery appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Sinovac price tag based on ‘googled’ news article – Duque
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 9:57 am

    MANILA, Philippines—The Department of  Health (DOH)  had “googled” the prices of Covid-19 vaccines and submitted the list to the Senate. Health Secretary Francis Duque III  admitted this on Friday when Senator Panfilo Lacson asked, during the hearing of the Senate committee of the whole,  about the list sent to the Senate committee on finance last The post Sinovac price tag based on ‘googled’ news article – Duque appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Pfizer vaccine ‘widely used’ vs Covid-19, Galvez tells Senate
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 8:40 am

    MANILA, Philippines — More than 56 million people worldwide have widely used the Pfizer vaccine to treat Covid-19, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Friday. Galvez categorically answered “Pfizer” when Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto asked for “the widely used” vaccine during the hearing of the Senate Committee of the whole. However, he The post Pfizer vaccine ‘widely used’ vs Covid-19, Galvez tells Senate appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • LIST: Target trial sites in PH for Janssen, Clover, Sinovac vaccines
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 5:07 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Three Covid-19 vaccines have been cleared so far by regulators to be tested in the Philippines through Phase 3 clinical trials— the vaccines developed by Belgium-based Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Chinese firms Clover Biopharmaceuticals and Sinovac Biotech. Under Phase 3 clinical trials, thousands of patients have to be inoculated with the candidate vaccine to test its efficacy The post LIST: Target trial sites in PH for Janssen, Clover, Sinovac vaccines appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Covid-19 vaccines from COVAX may arrive by Q1—DOH
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 4:09 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The first tranche of the Covid-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility may arrive within the first quarter of 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday. “They are looking at the first quarter of 2021. Iyon, very specific iyon sa sulat na binigay sa amin. As for the exact The post Covid-19 vaccines from COVAX may arrive by Q1—DOH appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • LOOK: Duterte registers for the national ID system
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 1:59 am

    MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has registered himself on the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), official photos from Malacañang revealed. Photos sent to reporters late Thursday showed Duterte having his biometric information being taken by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) personnel for the national ID. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Duterte’s long-time aide Senator Bong Go were The post LOOK: Duterte registers for the national ID system appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Second Covid-19 swab test now mandatory for quarantined inbound passengers
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 1:19 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Passengers from countries with travel restrictions due to the new variant of Covid-19 are now required to undergo a second RT-PCR test on their fifth day of quarantine. This is in accordance with the proposal of the Department of Health (DOH) to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious The post Second Covid-19 swab test now mandatory for quarantined inbound passengers appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • IATF OKs licensure exams scheduled from January to March 2021
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 12:53 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The government has allowed the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to conduct licensure examinations scheduled from January to March 2021, Malacañang said Friday. “[T]he request of the Professional Regulation Commission to conduct and administer the licensure examinations for professionals scheduled for January to March 2021 was approved,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in The post IATF OKs licensure exams scheduled from January to March 2021 appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Age restriction relaxed in MGCQ areas: From 15-65 to 10-65
    by postie on January 22, 2021 at 12:25 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The government has eased age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as it allowed persons aged 10 to 65  to step out of their homes by February 1, 2021, Malacañang announced Friday. “Sa MGCQ, ano po ‘yun inapruban? Pupuwede na pong lumabas ang mga bata na may edad 10 The post Age restriction relaxed in MGCQ areas: From 15-65 to 10-65 appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Climate advocates among first to cheer new US president
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Climate groups on Thursday welcomed newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden’s move to reenter the Paris Agreement, but stressed that the United States must make up for its historical role in the climate crisis. Among the flurry of executive orders that Biden signed after taking office was one to bring back the The post Climate advocates among first to cheer new US president appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • PUP studes rap Duterte Youth over threat
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Student leaders of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) claimed that they were threatened by party list group Duterte Youth just hours after they submitted on Wednesday their position paper opposing the possible unilateral abrogation of the school’s 1990 accord with the Department of National Defense (DND). According to PUP student The post PUP studes rap Duterte Youth over threat appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • SSS, PhilHealth premium freeze OK’d in House
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on Thursday two measures that would empower President Duterte to suspend legally mandated increases in premium contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS) “in times of national emergencies.” Speaker Lord Allan Velasco thanked congressmen for the quick action on House The post SSS, PhilHealth premium freeze OK’d in House appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DOJ: Pimentel didn’t break quarantine
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) under the Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed for lack of probable cause the complaint against Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III accusing him of violating quarantine protocols when he accompanied his pregnant wife to a hospital last year despite the possibility that he could be The post DOJ: Pimentel didn’t break quarantine appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Lacson advises vaccine czar to ‘watch his back’
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said he advised President Duterte’s vaccine czar to “watch his back” as he may be surrounded by people who were out to serve their own interests. In a series of tweets, Lacson said he had confidence in the “integrity and sincerity” of Carlito Galvez Jr., but others The post Lacson advises vaccine czar to ‘watch his back’ appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Mass layoffs worst in Q4 2020
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Mass layoffs worsened in the last quarter of 2020 and millions of workers continue to suffer from no pay or reduced pay a year since COVID-19 broke out, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole). Nearly half of the total 428,701 job losses reported to the Dole last year occurred The post Mass layoffs worst in Q4 2020 appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DFA stops foreign travels amid cash crunch
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered a stop to foreign travels in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as it bared the depletion of a revolving fund for the printing of passports. Locsin said the DFA already owed the state-owned Apo Production Unit some P388 million for the printing of passport booklets The post DFA stops foreign travels amid cash crunch appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Sandiganbayan junks plea of Enrile aide
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan again junked the motion for temporary release of Jessica Lucila Reyes, the former chief of staff of former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who is detained due to a plunder case related to the pork barrel scam. Enrile and Reyes were accused before the court of receiving P172 million worth of The post Sandiganbayan junks plea of Enrile aide appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Probe of police body camera project pushed
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — Congressmen pushed for an investigation of the delay in the Philippine National Police’s body camera project which was allotted P334 million in 2018. In House Resolution No. 1480, leftist lawmakers questioned why the project was still “in process” although the PNP had already chosen the winning bidder in 2019. The body cameras The post Probe of police body camera project pushed appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Simultaneous Metro Manila inoculation eyed
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 vaccination programs of all the 16 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila will be done simultaneously even if local government units (LGUs) have different inoculation plans. Parañaque City Mayor and Metro Manila Council chair Edwin Olivarez assured the capital region’s residents that no LGU in Metro Manila would be The post Simultaneous Metro Manila inoculation eyed appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • PET questions Calida interest in private case
    by clopez on January 21, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), comprised of the entire Supreme Court, admonished Solicitor General Jose Calida for his inordinate interest in a private electoral protest that does not involve his principal client, the Republic of the Philippines. “Lamenting a decision he posits as unfavorable to a particular family and lackadaisically invoking People’s The post PET questions Calida interest in private case appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • PH assured of free vaccines by February
    by Red Mendoza on January 21, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    The Philippines has been guaranteed a supply of free coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines as early as February after it was allowed to join a global alliance that guarantees equitable vaccine access. The country will participate in the Covax AMC or Advance Market Commitment, which ensures that 92 middle- and lower-income nations will get equal

  • Senate bill on UP-DND pact ‘reasonable’
    by Catherine S. Valente, TMT on January 21, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Go backs Lorenzana in scrapping agreement Malacañang on Thursday described as “reasonable” the proposed measure that will institutionalize the agreement between the Department of National Defense (DND) and the University of the Philippines (UP) that restricts military and police operations in UP campuses. In a virtual press briefing Thursday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said

  • On day one, Biden targets Trump climate, virus policies
    by Associated Press on January 21, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    WASHINGTON, D.C.: US President Joe Biden is moving swiftly to dismantle Donald Trump’s legacy on his first day in office, signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The new president signed the orders just hours after taking the oath of

  • Pimentel Covid health protocol case junked
    by Jomar Canlas, TMT on January 21, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    THE Department of Justice (DoJ) on Thursday junked for lack of probable cause the complaint against Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd over his alleged quarantine violations in March 2020 at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. Pimentel was spotted at the Makati Medical Center (MMC) with his then pregnant wife despite exhibiting

  • Duterte promises continued support for Bangsamoro as it marks 2nd year
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    MANILA, Philippines — As the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) marked its second anniversary, President Rodrigo Duterte pledged to give them full support by advancing social welfare amidst challenges brought by the pandemic. “Be assured that this administration will remain determined in its commitment to support self-determination, uphold human rights and advance social The post Duterte promises continued support for Bangsamoro as it marks 2nd year appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Economic managers urged: Prepare ‘national war chest for vaccine logistics’
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 8:02 am

    MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is urging the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management to prepare a “national war chest for vaccine logistics,” saying the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines is “only half of the problem.” Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, pointed out that The post Economic managers urged: Prepare ‘national war chest for vaccine logistics’ appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • DOH wants Covid-19 repeat tests for inbound passengers 5 days after arrival
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 7:32 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) the conduct of repeat Covid-19 tests for inbound passengers five days after arrival in the country. This is after some contacts of the 29-year-old Filipino who tested positive for the Covid-19 variant The post DOH wants Covid-19 repeat tests for inbound passengers 5 days after arrival appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Bill institutionalizing UP-DND accord a ‘reasonable proposal’ — Roque
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 7:17 am

    MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque sees the proposed measure that will institutionalize the agreement between the Department of National Defense and the University of the Philippines (UP) that bars the presence of military and police personnel in its campuses as a “reasonable proposal.” “We’ve always respected the prerogative of our legislators to legislate The post Bill institutionalizing UP-DND accord a ‘reasonable proposal’ — Roque appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Palace: Diokno still enjoys Duterte’s trust despite graft complaint
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 7:13 am

    MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno who is facing a graft complaint before the Ombudsman over an alleged anomalous contract for the production of national identification cards, Malacañang said Thursday. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque vouched for Diokno’s integrity and expressed confidence that he will be The post Palace: Diokno still enjoys Duterte’s trust despite graft complaint appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • House panel OKs bill allowing PH president to suspend PhilHealth contribution hike
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 5:02 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The House Committee on Health approved Thursday a measure seeking to grant the President of the Philippines the power to suspend the scheduled increases in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) premium contributions. During its meeting, the members approved measures filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, The post House panel OKs bill allowing PH president to suspend PhilHealth contribution hike appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • Indian firm seeks EUA in PH for its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 5:02 am

    MANILA, Philippines — India-based firm Bharat Biotech has applied for emergency use authorization (EUA) for its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday. “They submitted an application this morning and pre-evaluation is going on,” FDA Director-General Eric Domingo told INQUIRER.net in a text message. Securing an EUA will allow a new vaccine to be The post Indian firm seeks EUA in PH for its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • PH to receive up to 40 million free Covid-19 vaccine doses from COVAX
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 3:48 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will receive up to 40 million free Covid-19 vaccines from the Gavi vaccine alliance COVAX facility, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday. “Ikinagagalak ko po na ang ating COVAX facility para sa Pilipinas ay naaprubahan na po.  Siguro meron po tayong 30 to  40 million na doses for free The post PH to receive up to 40 million free Covid-19 vaccine doses from COVAX appeared first on Inquirer News.

  • House probe sought on delayed police body camera project
    by postie on January 21, 2021 at 2:17 am

    MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc is seeking an investigation on the delays in the implementation of Philippine National Police’s (PNP) body camera project amid calls for transparency during police operations. Under House Resolution No. 1480, the Makabayan bloc called for an investigation on the delay in the “purchase and use” of the police body The post House probe sought on delayed police body camera project appeared first on Inquirer News.