World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
10 August 2020

DUTERTE TO ADDRESS NATION TODAY

 

DAVAO CITY - President Duterte is set to address the nation from his home

city today where he has been staying since Aug. 3.

The President shall assess the latest updates in the COVID-19 crisis in a

meeting here with several Cabinet members as well as the Inter-Agency Task

Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

After the meeting, he will brief the nation on the pandemic response and is

also expected to tackle issues and controversies that have emerged lately,

including those concerning the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

(PhilHealth).

Members of the Cabinet and the IATF are also expected to fly in here early

today for the meeting later this evening.

The President last met with the IATF in a hastily called conference last

Aug. 2 following the request of medical frontliners for a timeout and revert

Metro Manila and its environs to an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)

status after noting a spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

But Duterte instead placed the National Capital Region and the provinces of

Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal to a modified ECQ status to address the

concerns of medical frontliners.

The President is expected to stay in his hometown for a little longer before

returning to Manila.

 

 

METRO MANILA 'READY' TO GO BACK TO GCQ: DEFENSE CHIEF

 

MANILA - Metro Manila appears "ready" to loosen its coronavirus lockdown

after its 2-week return to the second strictest quarantine level, an

official leading the country's pandemic response said Monday.

Coronavirus infections are "going down", with around 3,000 new cases

reported Sunday, compared to the 6,000 daily hike in recent days, said

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

He answered in the affirmative when asked if Metro Manila, home to 12

million people, can downgrade to a general community quarantine or GCQ that

would reopen the economy.

"I think we are ready to go down," Lorenzana, chairman of the National Task

Force Against COVID-19, told ANC.

"We cannot continue with the MECQ kasi nga alam na natin kung nasaan iyong

areas na may infection. Iyon ang tutukan natin so that the others can go to

work," he added.

Authorities will identify villages or streets with COVID-19 outbreaks that

need to be locked down, instead of shuttering entire cities, said Lorenzana.

Authorities are consulting local officials on increasing COVID-19 cases and

flagging down protocol breaches in workplaces, Lorenzana said.

The Philippines as of Sunday reported 129,913 cases of COVID-19, with 67,673

recoveries and 2,270 deaths.

 

 

PARTS OF WESTERN VISAYAS SUSPEND ENTRY OF RETURNING RESIDENTS

 

Three local governments in Western Visayas have temporarily suspended the

entry of returning residents and repatriated migrant workers to arrest the

spread of the novel coronavirus, the interior department said Monday.

Negros Occidental province and Bacolod and Iloilo cities sought the 14-day

ban on locally stranded individuals (LSIs) because their quarantine

facilities are almost full, said the interior department's Region 6

director, Juan Jovian Ingeniero.

These isolation facilities are congested due to delays in the swab test

results needed to release those quarantined, and an increase of residents

with the respiratory disease, he said.

Local governments also wanted a break for exhausted health workers, he told

ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

"Tinitingnan talaga nila ang general welfare ng kanilang constituents na

iyong lessons learned na nangyari sa ibang cities, tulad ng Cebu at iyong

nangyayari sa National Capital Region, ayaw nilang mangyari sa Region 6.

Naging proactive sila na alam nila ang pagkukulang nila," he said.

Region 6's LSI ban, which will last until Aug. 21, has left hundreds of

people stranded in Manila, said Philippine Ports Authority General Manager

Jay Santiago.

 

 

'NO COMPELLING REASON' FOR FURTHER POLICY CUT DESPITE PLUNGING INTO

RECESSION: BSP

 

MANILA - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno said Monday there

was "no compelling reason" for a further policy rate cut despite the

economy's steep nosedive into recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Monetary policy works with a lag and the full effect of the cumulative

175-basis point cut in key interest rates this year is yet to be digested by

the markets, Diokno told ANC.

Key interest rate, used by banks to price loans, is at a record low of 2.25

percent.

"There is no compelling reason why the BSP has to move sooner, further

policy cut at this time," Diokno said.

"As you know the BSP has been one of the most aggressive central banks in

the world in terms of monetary easing.I don't see any pressure for

adjustment," he added.

In fact, there are signs of economic recovery including the pick-up in auto

loans by at least P4 billion, he said. Diokno said auto loans reached P568

billion from P564 billion in January.

The rise in demand is due to limited public transport mobility and marketing

strategies such as zero downpayment, he said.

"These are indications that the economy is starting to open up and we expect

it to pickup much stronger if we fully open up the economy," Diokno said.

The second quarter gross domestic product shrank 16.5 percent, which brought

the country into recession. Economic growth contracted by 0.7 percent in the

first quarter.

The economy could shrink to as much as 5.5 percent this year, recent

government estimates showed, a downward revision from its original forecast

of up to -3.4 percent.

 

 

WORKERS CANNOT LOSE REGULAR STATUS DUE TO PANDEMIC: LABOR CHIEF

 

Companies are not allowed to strip workers of their regular employment

status due to the coronavirus pandemic, the labor department said Monday.

"May mga pailan-ilan na natatanggap naming report. Pero hindi puwede iyon.

Hindi puwede iyong sabihin mong hindi ka na regular employee, kontrata ka na

lang," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

Employers can instead implement a flexible work arrangement that cuts the

number of days an employee is required to report, he told ABS-CBN's

TeleRadyo.

Companies that will permanently close due to bankruptcy are required to

compensate their workers, he added.

 

 

EXTEND MECQ TO 1 MONTH TO BUILD HEALTHCARE CAPACITY - LEACHON

 

The modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and surrounding

provinces enforced until August 18 should be extended up to a whole month in

order to flatten the country's COVID-19 epidemic curve, a former adviser of

the task force against the pandemic said Saturday.

Former National Task Force for COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Tony Leachon

said that extension of the quarantine which started Tuesday is necessary to

build the country's healthcare capacity for the meantime in order to

effectively address the health crisis.

 

 

LENI SEEKS PHILHEALTH EXECS' SUSPENSION

 

Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday sought the suspension of PhilHealth

officials amid ongoing probes on alleged irregularities and corruption in

the agency.

"There should be suspension while investigations are ongoing," Robredo said

in her weekly program over radio station dzXL.

The Vice President added that this would allow authorities to look into the

issue more thoroughly and ensure that the integrity of the investigation is

not compromised.

"I hope they'll do that to show that they are serious in the fight against

corruption," she said.

The Senate, House of Representatives, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption

Commission (PACC) have launched separate probes on the alleged corruption in

the state-run health insurer.

The supposed irregularities at PhilHealth would not have gotten worse had

anti-corruption bodies done their jobs, according to Robredo.

"Don't we have anti-corruption bodies who were supposed to sense these

things?" she said.

 

 

MORALES READY TO FACE SENATE

 

MANILA - Despite his illness, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth)

president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales has expressed

willingness to testify before the Senate in its investigation into alleged

irregularities in the state-run insurer.

"As president and chief executive, it is my duty to represent the

corporation while still physically capable," Morales said in a statement

released by PhilHealth yesterday. "I regret that my privacy was not

respected."

Morales has no intention to skip the Senate investigation set tomorrow, or

any other investigation concerning the reported anomalies involving the

corporation, according to PhilHealth.

It said Morales merely submitted his medical certificate as required just to

ask the Senate that he be allowed to attend the investigation through video

conference instead of being there physically.

Morales was diagnosed with cancer last February and is currently undergoing

chemotherapy.

Because of his illness, Morales is considered immunocompromised and has thus

been advised to avoid going out.

Morales continues to hold office against doctor's orders, PhilHealth said.

Netizens have accused Morales of faking his illness to excuse himself from

the Senate investigation.

 

 

THE REST

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AFP: NO MILITARIZATION OF COVID-19 RESPONSE

 

MANILA: Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay has

assured the public that there is no militarization of the government's

COVID-19 response, only more visible troops to help in the pandemic efforts.

Gapay said the AFP has been actively involved in containing and addressing

the coronavirus disease in many aspects, including increased soldier

visibility.

"Our soldiers are very visible, but it doesn't mean that this is

militarization. You see, we are very organized, well-equipped, and

well-experienced when it comes to addressing not only pandemics but other

calamities and disasters that have hit our country in the past," he said in

a mix of Filipino and English in an interview over the weekend on CNN.

Some sectors have criticized the supposedly militaristic approach of the

administration towards the public health emergency.

Gapay thumbed down this criticism, and said soldiers have been helping out

at the forefront, including manning quarantine checkpoints, providing

transport services, aid distribution, and even manning quarantine

facilities.

He noted that it is part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster

Response operations, or HADR, of the AFP that have always been part of its

mandate. The AFP has also deployed doctors, nurses and other medical

personnel to some quarters.

Gapay also welcomed President Duterte's marching order for the AFP to be at

the forefront of distribution once a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available.

 

 

'STOP USE OF THERMAL SCANNERS, MISTS AT CHECKPOINTS'

 

MANILA - Medical experts are urging the police in Metro Manila to

discontinue some measures being implemented at quarantine checkpoints to

avoid further spreading the coronavirus disease 2019 in communities.

According to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), medical

professionals suggested during a meeting last Friday to stop the use of

thermal scanners and misting tents at the quarantine control points.

The experts - composed of doctors from San Lazaro Hospital, Sta. Ana

Hospital, Chinese General Hospital and the health offices of Quezon City and

Muntinlupa City - also recommended a stop to the use of the disinfection

tent as "studies show it is no longer effective in the elimination of the

(coronavirus)."

In June, doctor and police Capt. Casey Gutierrez died after inhaling

disinfectant. He attended to a patient undergoing quarantine at the

PhilSports Arena and got sanitized at the misting tent.

After the incident, the Department of the Interior and Local Government

(DILG) ordered a ban on using disinfection tents by uniformed personnel, as

its ability to help kill the coronavirus has not yet been proven.

The doctors also advised the police to make persons who violate quarantine

measures engage in community service like cleaning and planting aside from

continuously enforcing the minimum health standards like wearing of face

mask and face shield as well as physical distancing.

Police stations should also create a health declaration system wherein an

assigned officer would monitor the activity, they added.

 

 

SEN. BONG REVILLA TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

 

MANILA - Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. on Sunday said he has tested

positive for COVID-19.

Revilla made the announcement on his Facebook page, adding that his children

and his wife, Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado, all tested negative.

He also said they had themselves tested after a member of their household

got infected with the disease.

"Kami ay nagpatest at nag-isolate agad matapos may mag-positive sa aming

household at isa sa aking mga tauhan," Revilla wrote.

According to Revilla, he was in the Senate last Monday, and he was also out

in public last Tuesday to mark the 40th day of the death of his father,

Ramon Revilla Sr.

Revilla also asked for prayers for his recovery.

 

 

LOW PRESSURE AREA INTENSIFIES INTO TROPICAL DEPRESSION FERDIE

 

MANILA - A low pressure area west of Pangasinan province intensified into a

tropical depression on Sunday night, weather bureau PAGASA said.

Named "Ferdie," the country's sixth storm, was last spotted at 225

kilometers northwest of Dagupan City, Pangasinan while packing maximum

sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of

up to 70 kph as of 10 p.m., based on PAGASA's weather bulletin issued at 11

p.m.

It was last seen moving northeastward at 20 kph.

It is forecast to move generally northward over the West Philippine Sea and

is likely to exit the PAR Monday morning.

It is not expected to make landfall while inside the Philippine territory.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal number 1 has been raised over the following

areas:

Western portion of Ilocos Norte (Badoc, Pinili, Currimao, Batac City, Paoay,

San Nicolas, Laoag City, Pasuquin, Bacarra, Burgos)

Western portion of Ilocos Sur (Santa Cruz, Tagudin, Santa Lucia, Galimuyod,

Salcedo, Candon City, Banayoyo, Santiago, Burgos, Lidlidda, San Esteban,

Santa Maria, Narvacan, Nagbukel, Santa, Caoayan, Vigan City, Santa Catalina,

San Vicente, San Ildefonso, Bantay, Sinait, San Juan, Magsingal, Santo

Domingo, Cabugao)

La Union

Western portion of Pangasinan (San Fabian, Dagupan City, Mangaldan,

Calasiao, San Carlos City, Mangatarem, Aguilar, Lingayen, Binmaley, Infanta,

Labrador, Sual, Bugallon, Dasol, Agno, Burgos, Mabini, Bani, Bolinao, Anda,

Alaminos City)

Northern portion of Zambales (Candelaria, Santa Cruz)

PAGASA warned residents of said area to expect winds between 30 to 60 kph or

intermittent rains in the next 36 hours.

Ferdie and the enhanced southwest monsoon will also bring monsoon rains over

Ilocos Region, Abra, Benguet, Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, and

occasional rains over Batanes, Cagayan, Metro Manila, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA,

and the rest of Cordillera Administrative Region, and Central Luzon.

Residents of the affected areas are also warned of that flooding and

possible landslides may occur during heavy or prolonged downpour especially

in areas highly susceptible to these hazards.

PAGASA, likewise, said it is monitoring two other weather disturbances

outside the PAR.

Tropical Storm Jangmi was last spotted 950 km north northeast of extreme

northern Luzon.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE

 

 

'DREAMS COME TRUE': MIMIYUUUH 'TEACHES' SARAH G HOW TO DANCE IN FUN VIDEO

 

MANILA -- He was the one who reminded Filipinos of the "Sa Iyo" dance craze,

back when "Tala" was taking over everyone's Christmas parties, breathing

life into the old song released back in 2003.

So it's only fitting that social media star Mimiyuuuh would be the one to

teach --in jest, of course-- Sarah Geronimo the moves to the dance she once

popularized but may have forgotten.

In a fun YouTube video uploaded this Friday, Mimiyuuuh joked that he was

hired by Geronimo to teach her how to dance.

He reluctantly accepted, and only did so because he saw "talent sa bata" and

that "she really needs help."

The video saw Mimiyuuuh "correct" some of the dance moves in the original,

Geronimo gamely doing the vlogger's hilarious suggestions, and both of them

having a genuinely good time.

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

NBA: RIVERS, ROCKETS DISMISS ALSO-RAN KINGS

 

Austin Rivers notched a career-best 41 points, and the Houston Rockets

overpowered the Sacramento Kings, 129-112, for their fourth win in five

games inside the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World complex, Sunday (US

time).

Rivers made 14 of 20 shots, including six three-pointers, and added six

rebounds and four assists off the bench to pace the Rockets.

Thanks to his performance, the Rockets barely missed All-Star guard Russell

Westbrook, who was rested for the game.

James Harden added 32 points, eight rebounds, and seven dimes. Houston

improved to 4-1 since the NBA restart.

This marks the 14th season in a row that Sacramento will not play in the

postseason.

 

 

NBA: JAYSON TATUM CLUTCH IN CELTICS OT VICTORY OVER MAGIC

 

Gordon Hayward scored 31 points, and Jayson Tatum added 29 along with

crucial baskets in regulation and overtime to lead the Boston Celtics to a

122-119 win over the Orlando Magic Sunday (US time).

His team behind by 5 in the last 40 seconds, Tatum sank a triple then

followed that up with the game-tying fadeaway jumper with 4.2 seconds on the

clock.

He effectively forced an extension with a block on Terrence Ross' 3-point

attempt.

In overtime, Tatum accounted for half of Boston's 10 points, including a

long jumper that made it 120-117 in the Celtics' favor and put the Magic on

their heels.

After an exchange of baskets, Orlando had a chance to extend the game

further, but Nikola Vucavic missed his shot from downtown.

Vucevic tallied 26 points to lead the currently 8th-seeded Magic, who hung

with a Celtics team that destroyed No. 2 seed the Toronto Raptors in their

previous game.

 

 

NBA: ZION, PELICANS FALL TO SPURS, ELIMINATED AFTER BLAZERS WIN

 

DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and Rudy Gay chipped in 18 off the bench, and

the San Antonio Spurs made key free throws down the stretch to beat the New

Orleans Pelicans 122-113 on Sunday (US time).

With the win, the Spurs (31-38), part of a crowded bunch on the fringe

eyeing the 8th and last playoff berth in the West, boosted their chance of a

play-in appearance.

The loss, coupled with the Portland Trailblazers' 124-121 win over the

Philadelphia 76ers later in the day, meant the Pelicans and the Sacramento

Kings were eliminated from postseason play.

Besides the Spurs and the Blazers (33-39), only the rising Phoenix Suns

(31-39) and the fading Memphis Grizzlies (33-38) remain in contention.

 

 

NBA: RAPTORS BOUNCE BACK; WEST PLAY-IN RACE HEATS UP, AS GRIZZLIES LOSE

 

Pascal Siakam scored 26 points, and the Toronto Raptors broke loose in the

third quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 108-99 on Sunday (US time).

It was the Raptors' 50th win of the season, their 5th straight year accompl

Meanwhile, Memphis' loss meant the Grizzlies, who remained in 8th place in

the West, kept the race for play-in spots wide open.

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government

from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of

them. - Thomas Jefferson

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