World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
11 August 2020

BAYANIHAN 2 APPROVED ON FINAL READING

 

MANILA — Voting 262-6, the House of Representatives approved yesterday on

third and final reading the Bayanihan 2 or the “We Recover as One Act,”

providing a P162-billion fund for government to carry out a roadmap for

economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want Bayanihan 2 to be a living piece of legislation that will power our

industries and revitalize sectors of society that have been decimated by

this virus, or were otherwise forgotten and neglected in the past,” Speaker

Alan Peter Cayetano said of House Bill 6953.

In a speech, the Taguig-Pateros congressman said the measure is a “huge

first step” to economic recovery.

“At the end of the day, it is more than just an enumeration of benefits, or

an aggregation of budgets to help those of our kababayans who need it most,”

he said.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of

the ways and means committee, likewise lauded the expeditious approval of

the bill, a priority measure of President Duterte.

“The House leadership is extending its gratitude to our colleagues for

responding to the call of President Duterte to pass the COVID-19 roadmap for

economic recovery,” said Romualdez, a congressman from Leyte and chairman of

the House committee on rules.

The measure “will help restore the public trust and confidence in social and

economic institutions,” which is most needed by the country now in a

recession, he said.

“This, hopefully, begins to turn the economic tides for the better. This

will not be the beginning of the end. Certainly, until we have a vaccine, we

cannot let our guard down,” Salceda said.

“Once the President signs this bill into law, we will unlock billions for

new relief measures and hundreds of billions in new credit for businesses in

need. Bayanihan 2 also has provisions that will protect our frontliners,” he

added.

 

 

'IN PUBLIC, MAGPA-INJECTION AKO': DUTERTE THANKS RUSSIA FOR CORONAVIRUS

VACCINE OFFER

 

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he will volunteer for the

clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine from Russia.

Duterte said that Russia has offered to supply COVID-19 vaccines to the

Philippines for free.

"Maligayang maligaya ako, ang Russia, kaibigan natin ito. Wala tayong away

sa Russia, kaibigan natin. Ang ano nila, magbigay sila ng bakuna. Wala naman

silang sinasabi na bayaran mo," he said.

"Ito, tingin ko kay President Putin, tulong niya sa atin, libre. Kaya

ngayon, tinatanggap natin, at kung ano ang supply, mag-usap pa kami. Kung

ilan ang supply, at kailangan natin may clinical ano 'yan, clinical

studies," he added.

Duterte also said will volunteer to be vaccinated in public to show that the

vaccine from Russia is safe.

"There will volunteers. Ako, pagdating ng bakuna, in public, para walang

satsat 'yan, in public, magpa-injection ako. Ako 'yung maunang

ma-eksperimentuhan. Okay para sa akin," he said.

"Sabihin ko rin kay President Putin na malaki ang tiwala ko, your studies in

combatting COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is

really good for humanity," Duterte added.

Duterte, likewise, appealed to the public to just wait for the vaccine. He

also expressed hope that the country will be free from COVID-19 by December.

"Hintay na lang kayo, kaunti na lang talaga. By December, in the fullness of

God's time, we will have a , hopefully, a COVID-free December and we can

enjoy this Christmas season," he said.

As of Monday, the Philippines has logged a total of 136,638 total confirmed

COVID-19 cases.

Of this number, 66,186 are considered active cases, while 68,159 have

recovered. There are also 2,293 fatalities.

 

 

DUTERTE URGED: APPOINT HEALTHCARE FINANCING EXPERT AS PHILHEALTH CARETAKER

 

MANILA — A workers union of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance

Corporation on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a

caretaker for PhilHealth as its top officials fought accusations of

corruption.

PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales and Executive Vice President

Arnel De Jesus had filed medical leaves and sought to skip the continuation

of a Senate inquiry where whistleblowers accused officials of pocketing at

least P15 billion in public funds.

“Who is now left to manage the organization?” asked PhilHealth Workers for

Hope, Integrity, Transparency, and Empowerment (PhilHealth-WHITE) president

Ma. Fe Francisco.

"We call on President Digong to put in charge a caretaker who is an expert

in the field of healthcare financing, expert in the field of healthcare

insurance with proven integrity and incorruptibility, someone with no vested

interest in running the corporation,” she added.

PhilHealth WHITE, which has some 7,000 members, disagrees with the “very

irresponsible” statement of an official during the last Senate hearing that

the agency might run out of funds and collapse in 2022, said Francisco.

“Kahit kami nagugulat bakit ganoon ang statements during the investigation

when in fact, we are working hard to make the program afloat. We feel

betrayed with that statement also,” she said.

“Hindi po kami naniniwala. The organization is robust dahil kami,

nagtatrabaho kami nang maayos even sa ganitong panahon na may pandemic,” she

added.

Duterte said Monday he would hold erring PhilHealth officials responsible.

He has also created an inter-agency task force to investigate anomalies in

PhilHealth.

Duterte refuses to fire Morales unless there is evidence against him,

Malacañang earlier said.

 

 

'YAYARIIN KO KAYO': DUTERTE WARNS 'CORRUPT' PHILHEALTH OFFICIALS

 

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he will go after officials

of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) who are involved in

corrupt practices.

According to Duterte, he will make sure that erring officials will be held

responsible.

He also advised those who are innocent to just stay put and continue

working.

"Itong PhilHealth, sabi ko yayariin ko kayo. Maniwala kayo. Yung mga

inosente naman wala kayo dapat i-ano. Tahimik lang kayo at continue

working," Duterte said.

"Pero 'yung, ngayon ito, nakalusot kayo sa ibang maybe presidente. Sa akin,

sadsad talaga kayo, maniwala kayo," he added.

Duterte did not mention any names.

PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales, along with other officials, are being

investigated by Congress over their alleged involvement in anomalous

transactions, including overpriced computers and other materials, in the

state-run insurance firm.

 

 

'INAAKUSAHAN AKO NG TIME TRAVEL': HONTIVEROS BLASTS 'FAKE NEWS’ LINKING HER

TO PHILHEALTH MESS

 

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she would question in a Senate hearing on Tuesday

the “fake news” linking her to corruption allegations against officials of

the PhilHealth.

Hontiveros said state auditors had cleared her from allegations of approving

disallowed bonuses and allowances in 2013.

She pointed out she was appointed PhilHealth board member in 2014, a year

after the supposed irregularities took place.

“Mamaya itutuloy ko rin iyong tungkol sa pagtabi d’yan sa mga diversionary

fake news na iyan tungkol sa akin… Inaakusahan ako ng time travel e,” she

told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

“Itong mga fake news, matagal akong nanahimik d’yan dahil ayaw kong

i-dignify pa pero sobra na talaga. Dahil siguro malakas alo na kritiko ni

Presidente, wala nang maibato sa akin,” she added.

 

 

DUTERTE SAYS HE MAY USE MILITARY IN COVID-19 CRISIS

 

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he may be forced to use

the military in enforcing quarantine protocols if people continue to disobey

rules amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to Duterte, the government may deploy soldiers if the number of

coronavirus infections continues to rise.

"Sabi ko sa inyo, hindi ko kayo lahat mapigilan. The police cannot be

everywhere and anywhere all the time. The military is not part of the

governance yet in the matter of using force, or at least intimidating you

with soldiers. Far from it, we do not have that plan," he said in a

late-night public address.

 

 

PHILIPPINES IN TALKS WITH 4 COUNTRIES FOR COVID-19 VACCINE

 

MANILA — The Philippine government is in talks with pharmaceutical firms

from four countries that are leading in the development of COVID-19

vaccines, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

During a virtual forum organized by Maybank, Finance Secretary Carlos

Dominguez III said the Department of Health is coordinating with the US, UK,

China and Russia to secure a supply of coronavirus vaccines once these

become available.

“So we’re looking at these and we are hoping that someone will or at least

one or two of these will come up with… the equivalent of their FDA (Food and

Drug Administration) approvals soon,” he said.

Government financial institutions (GFIs) – Land Bank of the Philippines and

Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) – will fund the procurement of the

vaccines through a term loan agreement with PITC.

 

 

HOUSE OKs MEDICAL SCHOLARSHIP BILL

 

MANILA — With 245 votes, the House of Representatives approved on third and

final reading yesterday a bill offering scholarships to college students who

want to pursue a degree in medicine, which may help the government cope with

future pandemics.

“It will open the opportunity for poor but deserving students to pursue a

degree in medicine and serve their communities in the countryside. This is

the answer to the lack of doctors in rural areas,” Cagayan de Oro City Rep.

Rufus Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, chairman of the House committee on constitutional reforms, is one

of the authors of House Bill 6756, which seeks to establish a medical

scholarship and return program for deserving students.

Rodriguez said the measure would be the answer to the lack of physicians in

areas hit by pandemics such as COVID-19, since scholarship recipients could

be asked to serve in hotspots.

The committees on health, appropriations and higher education have endorsed

Bill 6756.

 

 

DUTERTE SAYS DELAYS IN TELCO APPLICATION UNACCEPATBLE

 

Duterte warns local government units to act on applications from

telecommunications companies who want to put up cell sites and towers.

He says a delay of more than 200 days is unacceptable to him.

Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said 1,502 of 1,930

applications have been approved.

 

 

LGUs SCRAMBLE TO APPROVE TELCO PERMITS AFTER DUTERTE TIRADE

 

MANILA — After receiving a tongue-lashing from President Rodrigo Duterte for

the sluggish processing of permits to build new cellular towers, local

government units immediately approved over 1,000 applications from telecom

companies, the Department of Interior and Local Government said late Monday

night.

In a televised Cabinet meeting, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told Duterte

that out of 1,930 applications submitted by telcos to 80 LGUs this year,

1,502 of them were already approved.

This was after processing time was cut to an average of 16 days from 241

days previously. To do this, some licenses are no longer required.

"In the coming months, we will monitor the pending applications and we will

make sure these will be approved. If they're rejected, we will know why,"

Año said in Filipino.

In his penultimate State of the Nation Address last month, Duterte blasted

incumbents Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc. for their supposed poor service

and threatened to seize their assets if they don't shape up.

His animosity toward the duopoly prompted him to begin an accelerated

bidding for a third telco player, where China Telecom-backed Dito

Telecommunity emerged as a winner. But even Dito, where his tycoon friend

Dennis Uy has major investment, also encountered the same bureaucracy,

forcing it to push back its technical launch supposedly held early July .

Duterte later redirected his anger from telco giants to LGUs after finding

out that the country's telco sector has been plagued with excessive

government red tape, which hampers the construction of much-needed telco

infrastructure.

In addition to a third player, the government is also behind plans to build

common telco towers, which aim to increase cellular sites in the Philippines

and speed up telco connection.

 

 

THE REST

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ANAKPAWIS: POLICE 'SNATCHED' BODY OF SLAIN PEACE CONSULTANT, ARRESTED

PARALEGAL

 

MANILA — Police “forcibly” took the cadaver of the slain peasant activist

Randall Echanis from the funeral parlor on Monday night and arrested a

paralegal of Anakpawis, the group said.

Anakpawis party-list shared the statement of Echanis’ wife, Erlinda, who

said Quezon City cops took away the body of her husband at around 11:30 p.m.

on Monday.

“A while ago, more than 10 policemen from La Loma, PNP forcibly took the

cadaver and will return it to Pink Petal Funeral Homes in La Loma, Quezon

City, under their custody,” Erlinda said.

She said she had positively identified the body of her husband “which bore

torture marks, multiple stab and gunshot wounds.”

Anakpawis reported that Randall, a consultant of the National Democratic

Front of the Philippines, was killed wee hours of Monday at a rented house

in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Erlinda said they transferred his remains to a funeral of their choice in

the evening, but police snatched Randall’s body.

“I condemn the persistent harassment of PNP La Loma-QCPD and their brazen

act of snatching the remains of my husband,” she said.

Anakpawis also reported a member of the paralegal team who was guarding the

body of Randall after it was taken away “was illegally nabbed by the Laloma

Police and brought to the PNP Station 1.”

“The member of the paralegal team, identified as Pao Colabres, is now being

taken at the Camp Karingal, Quezon City, to be charged with ‘obstruction of

justice,’” the party-list added.

Meanwhile, police are insisting they still need other proof of

identification that the person killed is Echanis. Police Lt. Johanna Sazon,

QCPD Public Information Office chief, said in an interview with ANC’s

“Matters of Facts,” the slain individual is “Manuel Santiago,” based on the

ID they recovered and on the statement of the landlady of the apartment.

Pressed if Erlinda’s identification of her husband’s body is not enough,

Sazon said the matter is still “under investigation, so we need proof.”

“We are appealing to anyone who is a relative, for possible identification

if he is really Echanis, like fingerprint or DNA,” Sazon added in a mix of

English and Filipino.

 

 

5 MONTHS INTO LOCKDOWN, SOME JEEPNEY DRIVERS YET TO RECEIVE GOV'T CASH AID

 

Some jeepney drivers are still waiting for cash aid from the government, 5

months into the coronavirus lockdown that has banned them from plying roads

and earning a living.

The social welfare department recently asked PISTON jeepney group to submit

a masterlist of its members who should get financial help, said the group’s

president Mody Floranda.

The agency did not say why PISTON needed to submit a new masterlist when it

already gave one to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board

months ago, he said.

“Meron na silang batayan para matiyak kung sino ang mabibigyan nila ng SAP o

ayuda, pero sa ngayon muli na naman po kaming pinag-a-apply,” Floranda told

ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

“Para kaming bata na pinaghahanap ng karayom sa gitna ng dayami… Hindi namin

makita iyong saan nga ba namin dapat kuhanin, sino nga ba talaga ang dapat

magbigay ng tulong sa sektor ng transportasyon,” he added.

Many jeepney drivers have been forced to return to begging for alms after

Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces went back under the second

strictest lockdown level that bans all modes of public transport, he said.

Pangarap ni Chito: Kuwento ng jeepney driver na naninirahan sa nakaparadang

jeep

'Hiyang-hiya na kami': Ilang jeepney drivers balik panlilimos dahil sa MECQ

The government should allow jeepney drivers to ply the roads again if they

will not be given cash aid, said Floranda.

 

 

VETERAN BROADCASTER NEIL OCAMPO PASSES AWAY

 

Veteran radio broadcaster Neil Ocampo has passed away due to heart failure,

his son Aristotle Neil Ocampo confirmed Tuesday. He was 62.

Ocampo's son said his father's remains have been cremated.

Ocampo joined radio DZMM after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution and

hosted the programs "Oh Yes, It's Neil Ocampo!" and "Todo Balita" where he

became famous for his voice impersonations of politicians and personalities

such as Tongressman Atras Abante and Pareng Erap.

He later anchored radio programs on Radyo 5 and DZRH.

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

NBA: RAPTORS WITHOUT LOWRY DISMANTLE BUCKS SANS GIANNIS

 

Chris Boucher tallied 25 points and 11 rebounds and the Toronto Raptors beat

the Milwaukee Bucks 114-106 Monday (US time) in a game between the East's

top 2 teams that were without their superstars.

Kyle Lowry (back) was out for the Raptors, as was Giannis Antetokounmpo

(oral surgery) for Milwaukee.

Matt Thomas added 22 points off the bench for Toronto, the No. 2 seed in its

conference behind Milwaukee.

After getting some separation early in the second quarter, the Raptors had

little trouble holding on to the lead and taking care of business.

Kyle Korver led Milwaukee with 19 points.

 

 

NBA: LUKA-LESS MAVS EDGE JAZZ MINUS MITCHELL IN BATTLE OF STARLESS SQUADS

 

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 27 points and the Dallas Mavericks bucked the

absence of its 1-2 punch to defeat the Utah Jazz 122-114 on Monday (US

time).

The Mavericks, who are already in the playoffs like the Jazz, were without

Luka Doncic (ankle) and Kristaps Porzingis (knee).

Utah led by as many as 22 points, before Dallas turned things around with a

34-14 fourth-quarter comeback to win.

Seth Curry finished with 22 points, while Boban Marjanovic added 20 for the

Mavericks, who had a solid showing from 3-point territory (12 of 24, 50%)

and overcame an even more prolific shooting display by Utah (21 of 46,

45.7%).

Jordan Clarkson, who started in place of All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell

(leg), led the Jazz with 18 points.

 

 

NBA: NO BURSTING THEIR BUBBLE, AS SUNS GO 6-0 AFTER SILENCING THUNDER

 

Devin Booker scored 35 points, and the Phoenix Suns outscored the Oklahoma

City Thunder by double digits in each of 3 quarters after falling down big

early to win 128-101 Monday (US time).

The Suns trailed by 15 points in the first quarter 37-22, but chewed into

the deficit in the second before eventually taking a 65-64 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Phoenix pulled away, thanks to Booker, who scored 16

of his team's 33 points as the Suns took control.

Phoenix (32-39), now 6-0 in the bubble, is just a game behind the Memphis

Grizzlies (33-38) with 2 games on hand.

The other 2 teams chasing play-in berths are the Portland Trailblazers

(33-39) and the San Antonio Spurs (31-38).

Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges each scored 18 points for the Suns, who

shot 17 of 34 from 3-point territory and 27 of 29 from the line.

Darius Bazley tallied 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the undermanned

Thunder, who were without Steven Adams (leg), Nerlens Noel (ankle), Danilo

Gallinari (ankle), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (calf), and Dennis Schroder

(birth of child).

 

 

INDICATORS

 

FOREX $1 = P 49.01

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Focused action beats brilliance. - Mark Sanborn

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