INFLATION QUICKENS FURTHER TO 6.4 PERCENT IN JULY
MANILA - Inflation in July accelerated further to 6.4 percent due to higher transport costs and select food prices, among others, the state statistics bureau said Friday.
July's inflation was higher than June's 6.1 percent but within the top band of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' forecast of 5.6 to 6.4 percent, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
"Ang dahilan ng mas mataas na inflation ngayong Hulyo 2022 ay ang mabilis na pagtaas ng presyo ng food and non alcoholic beverages," National Statistician Dennis Mapa said in a briefing.
"Ang pangalawang commodity group na nagpakita ng mas mataas na inflation ay ang transport...ang pangatlong commodity group ay restaurant and accommodation services," he added.
Food and beverage registered 6.9 percent inflation and a 64 percent share in the overall headline inflation, Mapa said. Transport posted 18.1 inflation while restaurant and accommodation services had 3.4 percent inflation, he added.
From January to July, the average inflation is at 4.7 percent, above the government target of 2 to 4 percent.
The BSP has so far hiked its benchmark rate by 125-basis points to tame inflation. The off-cycle adjustment in July brought the key policy rate to 3.25 percent.
BSP Governor Felipe Medalla has said another 50 or 75 bps hike is possible in the Monetary Board's Aug. 18 meeting.
CHINA TO HOLD FRESH DRILLS AROUND TAIWAN DESPITE US CONDEMNATION
PINGTAN, China — China was set to press ahead Friday with its largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan despite firm statements of condemnation by the United States, Japan and the European Union.
Beijing's decision to fire ballistic missiles and deploy fighter jets around Taiwan saw Washington lambast what it said was a gross overreaction to a visit to the self-ruled, democratic island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The US House speaker was the highest-profile US official to go to Taiwan in years and defied stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory.
In retaliation, China on Thursday launched a series of exercises in multiple zones around Taiwan, straddling some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and at some points coming just 20 kilometers from the island's shores.
The drills involved a "conventional missile firepower assault" in waters to the east of Taiwan, the Chinese military said. Beijing has said they will continue until midday Sunday.
Beijing's state-run Xinhua news agency reported the Chinese army "flew more than 100 warplanes including fighters and bombers" during the exercises, as well as "over 10 destroyers and frigates."
State broadcaster CCTV reported that Chinese missiles had flown over Taiwan.
"Considering the main goal of CCP's (Chinese Communist Party's) launch of missiles is to intimidate us and in order to protect the military's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, we will not release information such as its flight," the defense ministry said in a statement.
PALACE TIPTOES ON PELOSI ISSUE, BEIJING RAISES ONE CHINA POLICY
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are “closely monitoring” the visit of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan following concerns it could severely escalate tensions with China.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles made this remark Wednesday after Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian reminded the Philippines to adhere to the One-China policy amid Pelosi’s visit to what Beijing calls its “breakaway province.”
“Our military and our DFA are closely monitoring the situation as they would in any other similar circumstance,” Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace press briefing.
She refused to give any more comments, saying that reacting to issues on international relations would have to be “studied.”
“On matters of international relations, reactions are studied. We don’t make knee-jerk reactions because they could adversely affect international relations,” she added.
Cruz-Angeles said, “loose words” that might affect international relations were “very difficult to rebuild.”
On Tuesday, Huang expressed China’s opposition to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
“There is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” Huang said.
PHILIPPINES MUST CONSIDER ROTC RETURN AMID CHINA-TAIWAN ROW: EXPERT
MANILA - The Philippines must come up with a new national defense law and consider the return of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), a foreign policy expert said Friday as the conflict between US, China, and Taiwan escalates.
Government will have to remain neutral "in terms of rhetoric" but has to "prepare for possible eventuality," according to Renato de Castro, member of the International Studies Department at the De La Salle University in Manila.
"We have the National Defense Act of 1936 which was drafted during the Commonwealth period. We were still a territory of the US," he told ANC's Headstart.
"Number 2, we probably need to consider the return of the ROTC because we really need to prep our population if push comes to shove."
It's best for the Philippines to "play both sides" in terms of diplomacy while at the same time strengthening its military, De Castro said.
"The Armed Forces of the Philippines has been focused on internal security for so long, it’s time for us to put our money where our mouth is," he said.
"Third, continue fostering our security partnerships with South Korea, Australia, and Japan, ensuring that ASEAN centrality remains one of the pillars of great power competition in our region."
The Philippines must also strengthen its relationships with its allies for assistance in the evacuation of some 160,000 Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan, De Castro added.
"How are we gonna evacuate 150,000 to 160,000 overseas Filipino workers when we don't have the military capability to do so," he said.
GLOBE, PARTNERS KICKSTART PHILIPPINES' LONGEST SUBMARINE FIBER CABLE NETWORK
MANILA - Globe Telecom said it has started the deployment of fiber cables for the country's longest submarine fiber cable network along with its partners Eastern Communications and InfiniVAN.
The Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN) is a joint project of the 3 companies which aims to improve mobile and broadband connectivity and "fiberize" underserved areas across the country, the telco said in a statement.
The deployment started on July 14 where they conducted a ceremonial sendoff of a cable ship by its Japanese vendor partner Kokusai Cable Ship Co Ltd, which will be used in the project, the telco said.
Globe said the ship will ferry cables that will cover the PDSCN with a total cable distance of about 2,500 kilometers or approximately the distance between Manila and Singapore.
Several landing points in the country have been identified including Sorsogon, Masbate, Marinduque, Camiguin, Siargao, Boracay and Zamboanga for undersea laying in 24 segments within the next 9 months, the telco said.
“We persevered and we’re now almost there. This is the start of the cable laying. This is really exciting, it’s such a beautiful milestone. May we always keep the connections strong,” said Arlene Jallorina, Vice President for Strategic Infrastructure Investments for Globe Business, Enterprise Group.
“We are doing this so that our customers will get equitable access to connectivity, wherever they may be in the country,” said Jallorina.
Completion of the segments for the submarine cable network is expected by April 2023 followed by the activation fiber connections, the group said.
BBM, OFFICIALS PAY LAST RESPECTS TO FVR
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday visited the wake of the late President Fidel V. Ramos at the Heritage Park in Taguig City.
“His service to the public as a soldier and public servant will never be paralleled and will never be forgotten forever,” Marcos said.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte, former Vice President Leni Robredo, and current and former Cabinet officials likewise paid their respects to Ramos, the country’s 12th Chief Executive who passed away Sunday at the age of 94.
Other officials present at the wake yesterday were Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
Former Senate President Vicente Sotto III also condoled with the Ramos family with Energy Secretary Rafael Lotilla and Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, who were both undersecretaries in the FVR administration from 1992 to 1998.
TEAM FORMED ON DEVOLUTION OF GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS
MANILA — A special team has been created by President Marcos to deal with the issues of devolution and decentralization of the functions of local and national governments arising from the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling.
The Mandanas-Garcia ruling fully transfers the delivery of basic services to local governments. It stemmed from a petition filed by Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas, former Bataan governor Enrique Garcia Jr. and other local officials before the Supreme Court (SC) on the local governments’ share of the internal revenue allotment (IRA).
In 2018, the SC affirmed the ruling, granting local governments a just share of all collected national taxes, not just from the tax bureau, effective this year.
Local governments source their IRA from 40 percent of national internal revenue taxes collected by the tax bureau. Because of the court decision, the IRA is projected to increase by 27.61 percent.
Speaking at the meeting of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) last Tuesday in Malacañang, Marcos announced that a team will be handling issues of devolution and decentralization, the Presidential News Desk confirmed.
A Palace statement said this team will be headed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Yesterday, the DILG said it supports the President’s move. “The DILG embraces the critical responsibility of leading this special team taking into account the primordial mandate of the LGUs to provide the highest quality of public service to their constituents,” it said in a statement.
The department said that it is keen on pursuing a middle ground in implementing the Mandanas-Garcia ruling to be beneficial for both the national government and LGUs.
“The DILG understands that full devolution can be challenging for our LGUs, hence, we commit to creating a safe environment where they can air their concerns and sentiments towards a more productive exchange of ideas and its improved implementation,” it said.
BOC QUESTIONED OVER RELEASE OF P1.4 BILLION GOODS
MANILA — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for allowing the release of imported goods worth P1.441 billion despite the lack of import permits and other supporting documents.
“Importations of 553 regulated commodities costing P1.441 billion were processed and released despite the lack of import permits and other supporting documents required under Section 117 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and other relevant laws, rules and regulations implementing the CMTA, thus, defeating the purpose for which these rules and regulations were established,” the COA said in its 2021 annual audit report on the BOC.
The COA said its audit team’s adverse finding was based on the review of the sample goods declarations submitted by the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and the Port of Manila (POM).
Its breakdown showed that the MICP was responsible for the release of 321 entries of regulated commodities with P757.263 million in assessed duties and taxes despite lack of License to Operate, Certificate of Product Registration and electronic Authority to Release Imported Goods, required under the CMTA and other customs rules.
The POM, meanwhile, was found responsible for the release of 232 entries of imported luxury vehicles with assessed duties and taxes amounting to P684.029 million.
“Importation of luxury vehicles assessed and released without the necessary permits/clearances/certifications and other required supporting documents,” the COA said.
1 DEAD, AS DOWNPOUR CAUSES FLOODING IN PARTS OF CEBU
Almost all of the rivers and tributaries in Cebu province and its major cities overflowed after a heavy downpour of rain that lasted for an hour on Thursday evening.
In Consolacion, northern Cebu, the river by Sitio Laray, Brgy. Tayud overspilled the highway. The town’s disaster office roved the area to evacuate families out of the vicinity.
The Consolacion public information office said backhoe operators were sent to remove debris and trash which contributed to the overflow.
Forced evacuation was also implemented in Sitio Lub-ang, Brgy. Casuntingan in Mandaue City near the Butuanon River, officials said.
Residents from Brgy. Paknaan were extracted from their homes, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said.
Mandaue was among the areas wherein red rainfall warnings were raised by state weather bureau PAGASA.
In Cebu City, a man and a house were caught on video being swept away by flood waters in Brgy. Mambaling. According to authorities, the nearby Kinalumsan River overflowed due to heavy downpour.
A dead man was found beneath the Vestil Bridge over the river, according to Cebu City disaster risk reduction and management council chairperson Gerry Carillo.
Families and stranded passengers were also rescued by Cebu City personnel.
A wake in Brgy. Tisa, Cebu City had to be transferred to the barangay hall after flood waters rushed into the venue, authorities said.
Six families or 37 people were evacuated in Tisa, including a minor who was injured during the evacuation.
DOT WANTS PRICES STANDARDIZED IN TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN BOHOL
MANILA – The Department of Tourism on Friday said it wants prices of goods standardized in tourist spots in Panglao, Bohol after tourists who recently visited Virgin Island there criticized the price of seafood sold along the shore.
In a now-viral Facebook post, a group of tourists showed they paid P26,000 for their meal.
Bohol Governor Aris Aumentado has ordered the immediate temporary suspension of trips to Panglao's Virgin Island as the local government investigates reports on the allegedly overpriced seafood.
“From our end, from the Department of Tourism, I have directed the formation of technical working group composed of various agencies of government for purposes of discussing the implementation of standards, including the standardization of pricing of goods in this destination,” Tourism Secretary Cristina Garcia Frasco told TeleRadyo.
“Nagfa-facilitate po tayo ng discussion (We are facilitating discussions) among the government agencies so that we can come up with a proactive solution to ensure na yung overall tourist experience natin in these destinations is really upheld,” she added.
Beyond this, however, Fracso said she wants tourism stakeholders to undergo training to improve the service they offer tourists.
RAINS TO PERSIST OVER METRO MANILA, OTHER AREAS AS LPA CROSSES QUEZON PROVINCE
MANILA — Rain showers are expected to continue over Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon as a low pressure area crosses Quezon province, state weather bureau PAGASA said on Friday.
The LPA and the southwest monsoon or habagat will bring at times intense rains over Bicol Region, Aurora, Quezon, Marinduque, Romblon, and Mindoro, according to PAGASA.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila, Visayas, Palawan, and the rest of Central Luzon and Calabarzon will sometimes experience heavy rains, the weather agency said.
As of 10 a.m. Friday, the LPA was over the coastal waters of Mauban town, and it is unlikely to develop into a tropical depression in the next 24 hours, PAGASA said in its 11 a.m. bulletin.
The LPA will move northwestward on Friday and cross the Calabarzon-Central Luzon area.
PAGASA again warned of flash floods and landslides.
EU TO PROVIDE P45.27-M EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR NORTH LUZON QUAKE VICTIMS
MANILA — The European Union is donating P45.27 million or 800,000 euros worth of emergency funds to help communities affected by the earthquake last week.
In a statement on Thursday, the EU said it hopes to finance programs that will provide safe drinking water and sanitation, hygiene kits, mental health and psychosocial support services, and educational programs for the areas hardest-hit by the quake.
The EU also said the Copernicus Emergency Management Service has activated satellite imagery and other data to assist relief efforts.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake was felt in nearby provinces as well as in Metro Manila.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
'NANINIWALA AKO NA MAY KALABISAN': 'MAID IN MALACAÑANG' DIRECTOR ADDRESSES MARTIAL LAW VICTIMS
MANILA — The director of “Maid in Malacañang,” about the last 72 hours of the Marcos family in the Palace in 1986, has addressed victims of Martial Law amid backlash to the film’s portrayal of historical events.
Darryl Yap addressed survivors of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship, in an interview with Boy Abunda released on Thursday.
While the film aims to “humanize” the Marcos family by depicting their “side of history,” Yap said that “Maid in Malacañang” does not discredit the experiences of victims of Martial Law.
“Walang dapat ipag-alala ang mga nasaktan noong panahon na ‘yun, sapagkat hindi ko naman sinabing walang nasaktan noong panahon na ‘yun. Hindi ko sinabing walang naabuso, walang natapakan, o ‘di naman kaya ay walang kalabisan o pagkukulang ang mga Marcos,” he said.
Yap, however, added that he does not believe former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his family are solely to blame for the atrocities during the Martial Law era.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has reported that some 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 tortured and over 3,200 killed during the implementation of Martial Law under the Marcos regime.
“Sa mga biktima ng Batas Militar, hindi ko po puwedeng sabihin na ang panunungkulan ng kahit sinong presidente ay perpekto, ang panunungkulan ng kahit sinong opisyal ng gobyerno ay walang butas. Ako po, naniniwala ako na may mga kalabisan during Martial Law. Pero hindi po ako naniniwalang lahat ‘yun ay utos na nanggagaling sa Malacañang,” he said.
Yap compared the abuses during Martial Law to events or incidents “beyond the control” of presidents who followed Marcos Sr., mentioning as examples calamities or a hostage-taking.
“Dapat bigyan po natin ng espasyo, ng duda, gaya ng pagbibigay natin ng duda sa iba nating mga lider na, ‘Hindi naman ito ginusto ni President…’ Nagkaroon ng hostage-taking, it’s beyond his control. Nagkaroon ng national calamity, it’s beyond her control. Alam niyo po ‘yun? Hindi ako naniniwalang dapat isisi sa iisang tao ang lahat,” he explained.
He nonetheless said he “believes” in the concept of “command responsibility.”
“Of course, kung sino ang nagtalaga sa taong gumawa ng mali, dapat meron din siyang pananagutan,” Yap said.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can. - Ralph Waldo Emerson