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President warns Facebook: ’You cannot lay down a policy for my government‘

MANILA, Philippines —“You cannot lay down a policy for my government,” President Rodrigo Duterte warned social media giant Facebook in a pre-recorded speech that aired Monday night. “I allow you to operate here. You cannot bar or prevent me from espousing the objectives of my government.” Duterte made the remark days after Facebook announced that […] The post President warns Facebook: ’You cannot lay down a policy for my government‘ appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerSep 29th, 2020

Being a poor kid taught me empathy

Mayor Isko Moreno BATANG MAYNILA In a recent interview, I was asked by a reporter if I am amenable to the idea of placing the beggars under arrest.  These are the homeless people who end up in the streets begging for alms due to lack of income. Flatly, I rejected the idea. It is just not my cup of tea. Having been in that rock-bottom situation before, I cannot say that being poor is a sin or a fault in any way.  It is the kind of situation in which no one would ever, ever  want to be. I do not question the wisdom of national authorities who broached the idea of having the beggars arrested, for fear that they may be spreading COVID-19, since they do not observe any safety protocols particularly wearing of face masks. Maybe those from the national government have a different perspective about this issue but to me, sending the homeless people to jail is another thing, not only because I was also homeless at one point in my life but as I’ve said, it just isn’t my cup of tea. I would rather get these homeless people off the streets and care for them in our very own facilities designated for the purpose. In fact, for almost eight months now, we in the city government of Manila, through our social welfare department headed by Re Fugoso, had been taking care of hundreds upon hundreds of homeless people who ended up living in the streets and begging for alms, due to the pandemic. Since the quarantine and lockdowns began in March, we gathered these homeless, unwanted individuals and have been taking care of them since. We have three facilities for them. Modesty aside, we do not only feed these streetdwellers three square meals a day. We also provide them with clothes, toiletries, various forms of entertainment — like regular movie showing and zumba sessions— and even extras, since most donations of clothes and food that that land in our office from time to time are automatically sent to them. We also ensure their health and safety, by making them undergo regular medical tests. Our medical teams go to them and conduct the checking. While their life in our city-run facilities may not be luxurious, it is comfortable enough and definitely, a lot better than living in the streets. In fact, I suspect that a lot of homeless troop to Manila probably upon learning that the city provides the basic needs of those gathered. Those who would want to go to their native hometowns are being assisted by social welfare chief Re Fugoso herself, as in fact, 200 such families have already been sent to their respective provinces about a week ago. Back to the issue and let me be clear. There is no question that we in the city government are all for instilling discipline among everyone in the city, including the homeless. No exception. However, I firmly believe that when you are at the helm of governance, you have to strike a balance between putting discipline and certainty in place on one hand, and then compassion and humanity on the other. Addressing the poor is never easy. Actions need to be taken but there is a need to learn to stretch your patience to the maximum. I remember clearly what former President Ramon Magsaysay once said: “Those who have less in life should have more in law.” This creed of one of the greatest Presidents who ever lived, is what endeared him to the masses and had been my guiding rule since I entered politics. Simply put, this means that the  ordinary citizens or those in the lower rung of society, specially the poor, should get the necessary attention from government which they need more than those who are well off. Maybe having grown up knowing precisely what poverty means and actually feels like, also instilled in me the value of empathy. *** Gaya ng paulit-ulit  kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first! *** For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account — “Isko Moreno Domagoso”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

Rights groups slam MMDA spox for ‘drama serye’ remark on detained activist

Human rights groups slammed Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Spokesperson Celine Pialago following her “drama serye” remarks at detained activist Reina Mae Nasino who recently buried her three-month-old daughter River.  Kapatid, a support group for families and friends of political prisoners, said those who downgrade what happened to the political prisoner are only trying to “cover the government’s gross violation of human rights.”  “The story of Reina Mae Nasino and her 3-month-old child who died last week is not ‘drama-serye.’ It is a real story that exposed the countless injustices committed by the government,” it said in a statement released on Sunday.  “MMDA Chair Danny Lim, a former political prisoner himself, should have long shown the door to his spokesperson. It should be obvious by now that sensitivity cannot be taught nor proper manners and right conduct if one is empty-headed,” it added. Meanwhile, National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) President Edre Olalia was more restrained, saying they would “do the same thing if she was in Ina’s position and circumstance. “To start with, we will never ever wish this horrible tragedy and injustice to visit the Asec, her mother, her daughters, her sisters and her aunts,” he said in a Facebook post. Despite having nothing to do with traffic, Pialago felt the need to “use her voice as a Filipino” to share her two cents on Nasino’s case. “Hindi lahat ng inang nakakulong ay nakapunta sa libing ng kanyang anak. Kaya yung mga sumisimpatya kay Reina Mae Nasino, pag aralan niyo mabuti ang dahilan bakit siya nakulong at kilalanin niyong mabuti kung sino siya sa lipunan (Not all jailed mothers get to visit their children’s funeral. So all of those who sympathize with Reina Mae Nasino, study well why she was imprisoned and know who she is and what her role is in society),” she said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. “Masyado ninyong ginagawang pang drama serye sa hapon ang paghihinagpis niya. Tigilan niyo (You are trying to make her grief like an afternoon drama serye. Stop it)!” she added. Nasino was five months pregnant with River when she was arrested in November 2019 for allegedly being found with firearms and explosives at the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Manila Office in Tondo, Manila. Her lawyers have insisted that the pieces of evidence were planted and that the charges filed against her are trumped-up. She gave birth to River on July 1 at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Medical Hospital on July 1. She and her baby were returned to the Manila City Jail 48 hours later. Before this, she filed a motion before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to allow her to breastfeed her daughter for a year at the hospital or a prison nursery.  But Manila RTC Branch 20 Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali denied this, saying that the jail has “very limited resources” for the care of her child.  Nasino was also among 22 elderly and medically-compromised detainees who filed a motion for their compassionate release amid the pandemic on April 8 before the Supreme Court. But months later, the High Court ruled that the trial courts will be the ones to decide on their temporary release. On August 13, the activist-mother was ordered to turn her child over to her relatives.  River was admitted at the Philippine General Hospital for fever and diarrhea on September 24. She was placed in the intensive care unit on October 9 where she died a few hours later.  A few hours before her daughter died, Nasino filed a very urgent motion for furlough so she can be with her child in her dying moments. On October 13, Manila RTC Branch 47 Judge Paulino Gallegos granted her three full days from October 14 to 16 to be by her daughter’s side during the wake and burial.  But the next day, he cut Nasino’ furlough down to only six hours from 1 to 4 p.m. on October 14 and 16 after receiving opposition from the Manila City Jail. The Manila City Jail cited lack of personnel, health concerns, and a guideline stating that detainees can only be at their loved ones’ burial and wake for a maximum of three hours. For both the wake and the funeral, Nasino was clad in a full set of personal protective equipment, handcuffed, and flanked by numerous uniformed personnel.  Tensions rose during the wake after her escorts tried to pull her away twice before her time was up, eventually escorting her out with 20 minutes to spare before 4 p.m. On October 16, Marites Asis, Nasino’s mother, had to kneel and beg in front of the police to allow them to hold funeral at 11:30 a.m. The cops wanted to delay it until 1 p.m. Police also sped off with River’s hearse to the Manila North Cemetery, leaving her family behind and thwarting activists’ plan to conduct a caravan around the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals before burying her at the cemetery. Nasino’s counsels at NUPL earlier said that they will file charges against those involved in the activist’s treatment during her daughter’s wake and burial. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

Robredo hits Roque’s gag request to Octa Research Group

The Duterte administration wants the Octa Research Group to stop publicizing their recommendations on the pandemic response because of its intention not to follow them, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday. Vice-President Leni Robredo (OVP / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) “Ang nakikita ko lang na dahilan kung bakit ililihim, hindi susundin iyong datos, iyong pagdedesisyon hindi nakasunod sa datos (The only reason I see why it must be hidden is that they won’t follow the data, they would decide not based on data),” she said during her weekly radio show.According to Robredo, it would be better for experts from the group to make public their research instead of just communicating it to the government in private.“For the benefit of everyone na alam ng tao kung ano iyong mga resulta ng research (the people should know the result of the research),” she asserted.The vice president disagreed with Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who discouraged the local research group from publicizing their recommendations on placing areas under strict lockdown to avoid confusion.The Octa Research team, composed primarily of faculty members and alumni of the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas, has been regularly issuing reports on the COVID-19 situation nationwide.Roque said the group does not have the same number of experts working with the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).“I wish they would refrain from making these recommendations publicly,” he said.His statement came after the Octa team recommended to implement stricter lockdown measures in Bauan, Batangas; Calbayog, Western Samar; and General Trias, Cavite due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.   These places were not being mentioned by the IATF......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

BOI offers stronger tax perks

For manufacturer Manufacturers in the Philippines are allowed to carry over any operating loss from financial year 2020-2021 as tax deduction from gross income over the next five taxable years, according to the Board of Investments (BOI). BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said this has been  allowed under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, which provides P165 billion in economic stimulus package. “A range of new financial measures and incentives are now available to manufacturers in the Philippines, thanks to new legislation recently signed into law,” said Rodolfo, who is also Trade and Industry’s Undersecretary for industry promotions group. The ‘Bayanihan 2 Act’ is aimed at helping the Philippines recover from the economic impact of Covid-19. It was signed into law by President Duterte in September. Elsewhere, he said, many qualified manufacturers will be exempt from business taxes, import duties, and other fees on a range of products.  This includes the production of medical equipment and Covid-19 related items such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as the raw materials relevant to the manufacturing of these items.  The same relief measures will also apply to the production of equipment for waste management, including waste segregation, storage, collection, sorting, treatment and disposal services.  The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) is urging manufacturers and other large businesses to take advantage of these provisions. For more details on doing so, businesses can book an appointment with BOI via their Facebook page and speak to a dedicated specialist. Information is also available on BOI’s Covid-19 resource hub for businesses.  “We know that Covid-19 is still having a significant impact on the operations of manufacturers across the Philippines, and we at BOI are doing all we can to help them,” said Rodolfo as he urged   businesses to visit BOI resource hub website and book an appointment with BOI via its Facebook page.  “Our dedicated specialists can help businesses understand more about how they can take advantage of the incentives and support in the Bayanihan 2 Act”  The Bayanihan 2 stimulus package consists of P140 billion of regular appropriations and an additional standby fund of P25.5 billion. Under the law, P3 billion will be allotted for the procurement of personal protective equipment, face masks, and face shields; P4.5 billion for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities and the expansion of government hospital capacity; and P13.5 billion for emergency employment and compensation of health workers. A total of P4.5 billion will be used to finance isolation facilities, hotel accommodation, food, and transportation of Covid-19 patients; and PHP5 billion for the hiring of contact tracers. Other allocations include P13 billion for the cash-for-work program; P9.5 billion for assistance to public utility drivers and other programs of the transportation department; P6 billion for “individuals in crisis” and other programs of the social welfare department; P4 billion for the tourism industry; and P4 billion for the education department’s implementation of digital learning. Bayanihan 2 is the second installment of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), which gave Duterte emergency powers to address the Covid-19 crisis in the country. The Bayanihan 1 law, signed by the president on March 25, already expired on June 25, 2020......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

PH not benefiting Taiwan’s southbound policy – Yujuico

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest business organization in the country, has urged Taiwan to invest more in the Philippines, stressing the country has not benefitted from its “New Southbound Policy”. PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico raised this during a recent meeting with Taiwan Ambassador Michael Peiyung Hsu. Yujuico noted that only 3 percent of Taiwan’s outbound investments have been directed to the Philippines as Taiwanese investors prefer locating in Vietnam and Indonesia. Aside from investments, Yujuico also called Taiwan’s attention on the balance of trade between the two countries, which is heavily tilting in favor of Taiwan. As such, the PCCI leader has urged the ambassador to improve the balance of trade between the Philippines and Taiwan. In 2019, Philippines imports from Taiwan reached $4.7 billion while exports were valued at less than half of imports or $2.2 billion only.  Philippine exports to Taiwan consist mainly of semiconductor and electronic products, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment and other manufactures. He urged Taiwan to reconsider and allow the entry of Philippine fresh fruits, initially young coconuts and mangoes. “We had the good opportunity to talk to Ambassador Hsu where we elevated our concerns on the current ban of our fruit exports to Taiwan because of sanitary and phytosanitary standards,” Yujuico said. The Philippines exported young coconuts and mangoes to Taiwan 40 years ago.  These were banned after some time because of the kadang-kadang infestation on young coconuts and fruit flies on mangoes.  However, Roberto Amores, Director for Agriculture of PCCI said, “The necessary measures have been addressed by the Philippine government – kadang-kadang infestation is now confined in a few regions.  Young coconuts produced in kadang-kadang free regions are in fact now exported to Japan, South Korea and China, among others.” Earlier this year, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), citing information from Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) Council of Agriculture of Taiwan, wrote PCCI that the ban on Philippine young coconuts and fresh mangoes was apparently due to the failure of Philippine government to submit the pest risk analysis (PRA) results on these two commodities since 2010. The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Plant Industries (BPI) however claimed it had communicated through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) the status of mangoes as an export commodity to Taiwan and requested for additional information for the PRA on coconut.   Yujuico and Amores said PCCI will continue to pursue this matter with the BPI and MECO to be more proactive in responding to the requirements of the BAPHIQ. Meanwhile, Yujuico welcomed the offer by the Taiwan government for modern technology exchanges for the agriculture sector and scholarship grants for undergraduate and graduate courses......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2020

Italy ‘second wave’ fears grow as virus cases top 5,000

Italy was grappling Friday with fears of a second coronavirus wave similar to the ones seen in Britain, France and Spain, as it registered over 5,000 new infections in 24 hours. “We’re under extreme pressure,” the World Health Organization’s Italian government adviser Walter Ricciardi said, warning that spaces in Covid-19 hospitals were running out in the worst-hit regions. Italy registered 5,372 new cases Friday, the health ministry said, nearly 1,000 more than on Thursday. The country has not seen such high numbers of recorded new infections since mid-April. New infections are still well behind Britain, France and Spain, which are registering between 12,000 and 19,000 cases in 24 hours. But Ricciardi said the rise in cases could reach those levels in Italy just as winter begins and common influenza strikes. “When the flu comes, we risk having 16 thousand cases in a day,” he said in an interview with broadcaster Sky TG24. “I am very worried… (about) sub-intensive units because there are infectious patients who need to be treated in a certain way and beds are already running out. And that’s before the flu hits,” he said. The government moved to tackle the sharp rise in case numbers earlier this week, making wearing face masks compulsory in outdoor spaces across the country, on top of all indoor spaces apart from homes. – ‘Dramatic decisions’ – Lazio, the region which houses capital Rome, has been performing particularly badly, along with Campania in the south and Lombardy in the north, where the pandemic broke out in Italy back in February. According to official figures, more than 36,000 people have died of the virus in Italy, where a nationwide lockdown — the first in any European country — lasted over two months. Drained by years of budget cuts, southern Italy’s overstretched health care system escaped the brunt of the virus after movement between regions was banned, preventing cases from travelling down the country. But there are fears it would not escape a second wave. The Italian Association of Hospital Anaesthesiologists said Friday that hospitals in the south, where infrastructure is weaker, were not ready for an escalating crisis, despite efforts made to boost beds and staff numbers. Campania’s regional president Vincenzo De Luca said on Facebook he thought “we’ve reached the point where dramatic decisions need to be taken”. He said he could not rule out a new lockdown of the region. Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia said Friday that if the upward trend continued, movement of people between regions may be temporarily banned. “A rise in the number of contagions was predictable. Intensive care units have been reinforced,” he said. “However, I cannot rule out limits on movements. Nothing can be ruled out at the moment,” he told Radio Capitale......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

Beep card and Internet woes

On the Beep card fiasco I spoke out recently on the chaos caused by the mandatory use of the “Beep card” for consumers riding the public buses under the “no-card no-ride”policy. It was as if the riding consumers were being required to purchase a Beep card at “gunpoint” or forget about riding the bus. This chaotic scenario could have been avoided had the regulators done its work mindfully by first consulting with the stakeholders (“who”), drafting the new policy (“what”) and once agreed upon, by ensuring wide dissemination of the changes – the Implementing Guidelines. Where did “complete staff work” go? Or are the consumers just being given an example of doublespeak?  What happened this week was consumers were confronted with the “no- card no-ride”signs on the buses and were required to pay for a ride plus the cost of the card, something they did not need to do before. For those who did pay the extra cost, they then had to find out that the policy was “suspended,” although no refunds were being offered.There was also the spectacle of the agency head announcing that the cards were free, contradicting the policy his agency had just announced and implemented. The card providers then said they were not about to waive their right to be paid. In another statement, a regulator functionary reasoned that it had nothing to do with the fine print on the contract for the cards since they were only responsible for “policy.” This violates the consumer’s right to be informed. The agency should have studied the sector most affected by the shift to cashless transaction – the consumer who must rely on public transportation because he has no alternative and  the same consumer who must make every peso count and who cannot afford any extra expense. This consumer deserves earnest and timely information from government on why he has to pay an additional amount and how it will benefit him, and for the consumers who did pay the additional cost of the card, they should enjoy a swift refund.  The lesson that we consumers learned in the Beep card fiasco is always to be aware and conscious of our consumer rights and to speak up when these rights are threatened or belittled. We should always be vigilant consumers about our rights lest we find these rights trodden again. On Internet speed Like every other consumers, I have problems with Internet speed. I pay my bills and fees  on time ,  however,  I  believe I should only pay for the speed that I receive  and I did not think I was getting what I paid for under my plan. Therefore, I conducted my own speed test and sought redress  from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). I was able to get a refund and am paying now for the plan that is nearest to the speed I am getting. Consumers should exercise their right to seek redress for bad Internet speed.  Consumers should be reimbursed for speed that is not delivered. In this time of the pandemic, profiteering should not be tolerated in any form. I call upon the NTC to take the lead by issuing implementing guidelines on refund for both prepaid and postpaid plans. Consumers should also ask for faster response on consumer complaints. The complaints of Messrs.   Foronda and Platon posted in the Laban Konsyumer emails should be resolved faster. Hopefully, the reported 1,171 new cell tower permits should alleviate consumer woes in the near future. In the meantime however, if you are not getting value for the service you paid for, your option is to downgrade your plan to correspond to the speed you are getting and claim a refund of excess fees paid. You can submit your complaint online at www.ntc.gov.ph. Atty. Vic Dimagiba is President of Laban Konsyumer Inc. Email: labankonsyumer@gmail.com.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

Christmas 2020 for workers and farmers

HOTSPOT Tonyo Cruz Two things workers are looking forward to at the end of each year are the 13th month pay and the Christmas bonus. And it seems about two million workers may not get any 13th month pay at all, if the Duterte government would have its way. The reason? Because of the pandemic. In reaction, Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog  issued his shortest statement yet this year, unable to hide labor’s frustration: “It is the government’s responsibility to bail out MSMEs in times of emergencies.” Indeed, it is the state’s obligation to support and prop up micro, small and medium-scale enterprises especially now in the time of pandemic. By saying MSMEs could dispense with the 13th month pay, the government is practically passing on its responsibility to MSMEs. Workers continue to give their share through the cheap, underpaid and overstressed labor power that makes sure MSMEs continue to function and perform their role as main engines of the economy. The government must do its job: Bail out the MSMEs. It is quite surprising that the Duterte government seems disinterested in bailing out MSMEs, considering the avalanche of news about the borrowings here and there. According to Sonny Africa, executive director of the think-tank Ibon Foundation, the borrowings has reached a historic high: “It took 118 years for the country’s debt to reach P6.1-trillion in 2016. President Duterte is taking just six years to more than than double that to P13.7-trillion in 2022.” Again, the reason for the borrowing has been “because of the pandemic.” Regardless of where the money goes, and whether or not MSMEs and workers received only a drop from it, they would pay the entire debt through more and higher taxes for years to come. Workers are not asking for something they have not earned through hard work. They earned that 13th month pay. It is not an optional thing. It is part of the law. The pandemic should oblige the state to bail out our MSMEs to enable them to fully function, and to give the workers’ their due under the law. Workers have given and lost a lot because of the pandemic. Workers have not asked for free rides to work, but the government fails to provide adequate and safe mass transport. Workers have asked for free mass testing in their companies and communities, but the government has other ideas. Workers and their families would have fared better with unemployment benefits amid the dismal pandemic response of government, but it seems the same government wishes to push them instead to pawnshops and loan sharks. We haven’t even factored in the laid-off, underemployed and unemployed workers, as well as the undetermined number of overseas Filipino healthcare workers stranded in the country since April. They all don’t wish to be “patay-gutom” and “pala-asa”.  They don’t wish to stay unemployed and be dependent on aid. They are ready to work and earn their keep. But since the president made policy decisions affecting their ability to obtain work, it is the government’s obligation to bail them out as well. The situation of our nation’s farmers is no different. For instance, rice farmers continue to produce our national staple. The pandemic made even worse the effects on them of the combined power of policies such as rice tarrification, the stranglehold of Big Landlords, the vast influence of rice cartels, and the continued operation of illegal rice importers. Price monitoring by Bantay Bigas and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas reveals the outrageously low palay prices nationwide, which means ruin to our nation’s rice farmers: Negros Occidental and Bicol region P10; Capiz P10-P11; Caraga P11; Tarlac P11-12; Ilocos Sur and Nueva Ecija P11-13; Camarines Sur P11.50-14; Bulacan and Mindoro P12; Isabela P12-P13.50; Pangasinan P12-P12.30; Antique P12.50; Agusan del Sur P13; Davao de Oro P13.14; Davao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and South Cotabato P13.50; North Cotabato P14; and Lanao del Norte P15. If you look at it, plantitos and plantitas today pay 20 to 50 times more for ornamental plants, compared to the prices traders and the NFA offer to our farmers. According to Bantay Bigas and KMP, the government procures way less than 20 percent of the produce of rice farmers.  And then we hear that the NFA would rather import rice from other countries, at pandemic-affected prices at that. Without any state intervention, by way of NFA buying rice farmers’ produce at P20 per kilo, and providing loans to farmers, there could be worse rural poverty in the coming months and years. Between our workers and farmers, their families have been made to sacrifice a lot since March, with prices of basic goods spiking, with new and higher expenses arising from online classes for the children. There cannot be no aid for them.  Neither should workers and farmers shoulder the burden of the failure or refusal of government to provide funding for bailouts sorely needed by MSMEs, and be forced to accept new national debts to pay for policies such as rice tarrification and importation. The government knows the scale of the problem. The Department of Labor and Employment says 13,127 companies have either laid off workers or permanently closed. The response cannot be “pass the burden to workers”. The answer should be: “the state must do everything to rescue the companies and the workers.” OFWs across the world should be familiar with bailouts and economic protections because of the pandemic. Many countries that host OFWs enacted huge bailouts and stimulus to their economies, partly so that migrant labor could continue to be employed. They enjoy health insurance, and special COVID19 coverage. Governments handed out checks to both citizens and companies. Is it too much to ask that the same be done in our own country? Or do Filipinos have to go abroad to experience such social and economic protections?.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

DILG chides FB for unfair action

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has expressed its concern over social media giant Facebook’s unilateral act of taking down supposedly fake Philippine accounts that were allegedly linked to the military and police establishments for violating its policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior”......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 6th, 2020

Duterte calls out Facebook; House to conduct probe

President Duterte does not intend to ban Facebook, but he called out the social media giant for supposed censorship of advocacies supportive of the government, Malacañang said yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 30th, 2020

No intent to shut down Facebook, Duterte only wants to talk – Palace

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking a meeting with representatives of Facebook after he questioned the social networking platform’s decision to take down progovernment and promilitary “advocacy” pages and accounts, saying he does not see any use for it if it does not help the government in the “fight of ideas.” Presidential spokesperson […] The post No intent to shut down Facebook, Duterte only wants to talk – Palace appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 30th, 2020

Facebook removes fake accounts linked to military, police

BY RAYMUND VILLANUEVA Bulatlat.com/Kodao Productions Fake social media accounts meant to mislead Filipinos and supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte are linked to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Facebook revealed. In an announcement Tuesday, September 22, Facebook Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said the company removed accounts… The post Facebook removes fake accounts linked to military, police appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2020

CHED to schools and universities: Follow guidelines

The Commission on Higher Education stressed the importance of putting the students’ safety first and to follow government guidelines and protocols after the alleged training sessions of some varsity teams amid the pandemic.   In a virtual meeting on Wednesday with the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusement Board and Department of Health, which issued the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) on the conduct of physical activities and sports, CHED reminded universities and colleges to follow applicable guidelines. CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III mentioned that their agency, which supervises tertiary education in the country, has issued several advisories and guidelines since March advising the students to stay home.  These were consistent with the guidelines issued by the IATF and the tri-agency-issued JAO.  “Safety of our students is the topmost concern,” said De Vera. This statement mirrors the constant stand and reminder of PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez who, in his statement related to this issue, said that the life and safety of athletes is “important that no medal can ever equal.”  In the same statement, Ramirez also advised sports officials to always keep the safety of their athletes “top priority.” University of Sto. Tomas is in hot water following the alleged ‘Sorsogon bubble’ of its men’s basketball team conducted by head coach Aldin Ayo. UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag and Season 83 President Nonong Calanog said that the university in question is now finalizing their internal investigation and UAAP expects to receive the final report before their meeting on Friday.  The UAAP was also requested to seek clarification from National University, whose women’s volleyball athletes allegedly trained as well, despite government issued restrictions. PSC National Training Director Marc Velasco thanked De Vera and reiterated the PSC’s stance on the safety of athletes. “The PSC will always push to uphold the issuances regarding sports and physical activity and we are happy that CHED is a steady partner when it comes to sports in universities and colleges,” said Velasco. GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra appreciated the input of CHED saying that De Vera’s inputs “gave the group another perspective on these issues” and actively gave examples of how the GAB handles similar situation on professional sports. Also in the meeting were CHED Executive Directory Atty. Cindy Jaro and DOH Section Head of Policy and Technology Rodley Carza. The group expects to have representatives of the two universities join the next meeting set on September 1, where they hope to resolve the matter and take final action......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Experts weigh in on cyberbullying in the time of pandemic

With schools forced to implement alternative education modalities such as online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, incidences of cyberbullying are expected to soar even higher in the coming months.  To help parents as well as education practitioners learn how both online and offline communities can protect children and youth from cyberbullying, a panel of local and international experts shared suggestions on how to prevent this phenomenon. Experts from the Philippines and South Korea exchanged views on cyberbullying and how this can be prevented especially with the rising cases among youth in a webinar on cyberbullying organized by Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation recently. During the webinar, 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and Blue Tree Foundation (BTF) founder Kim Jong-ki shared how he and his foundation has been battling school violence in the past 20 years. The BTF was very instrumental in curbing incidences of violence against students in schools. BTF Preventive Education Center Head Park Ju-han shared that in South Korea, school violence has declined for 15 years but has risen again since 2015. “The main factors are the low aging and the increase of cyberbullying,” he said. Meanwhile, BTF Research and Counseling Team Leader Lee Sun-young discussed how the foundation has been working with schools on the prevention of violence among students and shared some best practices that can be adopted by other countries like the Philippines. “We need to teach children when to respond when cyberbullying is happening,” she said.  “Digital literacy is the first key on how to be nice in the world,” she added.  In the Philippines, UP Manila-Philippine General Hospital Child Protection Unit (CPU) head Dr. Bernadette Madrid noted that “bullying has been increasing.” Based on the results of the national baseline survey on violence against children in 2016, she shared that “bullying in the Philippines was quite high” with 65 percent of the youth – ages 13 to 17 years old – have experienced some form of bullying. Same goes for the prevalence of cyberbullying wherein 44% of the students reported cyber violence. “It is a real problem here in our country, it is harmful but it can be prevented,” Madrid said. Given this, she noted that in terms of prevention, a single program is not enough to address cyberbullying. “We need multiple programs to be more successful,” she added. Meanwhile, Don Bosco Technical College Cebu president and dean Fr. Fidel Orendain noted that protecting students from violence and abuse especially with the shift to e-learning is a challenge for many schools. “This topic is a hot issue for us right now,” he admitted. Since schools are familiar with face-to-face familiarity, he noted that online learning is “challenging our identity and the way we educate.” To resolve this, he urged schools to increase their presence by way of talks and conferences. “We can also make ourselves available for counseling,” he added. For Stairway Foundation, Inc. Senior Advocacy Officer Ysrael Diloy, protecting children at this time is more crucial than ever. In the past 18 years, he has been working with key government agencies in the Philippines, via national level councils and working groups, advocating for child protection policy, and programmatic changes. “We are at an age wherein the current generation of children has known technology as the norm,” he said. Diloy has initiated the CyberSafe program which is currently the flagship child online protection program of the Department of Education (DepEd). “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that we are all contributing to make the Internet a safe space for and with children, so that they can reap all the benefits and opportunities that technology presents – this is the very essence the CyberSafe program hopes to achieve,” he ended......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

Moderating oligarchs’ greed

Last July 13, President Rodrigo Duterte spoke before soldiers in Jolo, Sulu and triumphantly declared he “dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the country’s economy without the need to declare martial law.” This came a few days after a committee in the House of Representatives rejected ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bill. During his penultimate State of the Nation Address on July 27, Duterte took another swipe at the oligarchs whose great wealth has enabled them “to influence public policy to their advantage.” He cited as an example the Lopezes “who used their media outlets in their battles with political figures” including himself during the 2016 elections. People seem to forget that Duterte’s avowed mission to put oligarchs in their proper place was part of his 2016 campaign promise to stamp out corruption. At that time, he said the corruption in the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue was “small change in comparison to the high-level corruption that runs in the billions among the economic elite.” Oligarchy means the rule of the few, but its meaning has evolved to refer to powerful individuals or groups outside of government who are able to benefit from political connections to amass vast amounts of wealth and gain control of major industries. The term “oligarch” started popping up recently in mainstream and social media but its context in relation to what is happening in our society has become warped and obfuscated. To be fair, the President has given credit where credit is due, even to the so-called oligarchs when they helped the government in this COVID-19 crisis, but he said it is their abuses that he abhors. On several occasions, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano pointed out how oligarchs use their wealth to gain power, while the political elite used their power to amass wealth. He expressed full support to Duterte’s advocacy in changing the current system where he believes the people “willingly consent to being held back by the few who control the economy and through that, the running of the nation.” According to Cayetano, the real threat to the stability of our socio-political and economic systems are those backroom deals that make exploitation legal – “the quiet acquiescing to a system that naturally favors the ultra-rich and very powerful.” He believes that not all oligarchs are bad, saying in a media interview: “Just like every entrepreneur wanting to expand their business, these would-be oligarchs might very well have started off with the most benign or even benevolent intentions. But the malignant DNA of unabated, uncontrolled capitalism, especially corporate capitalism, eventually comes to play, leading to people and systems being abused and exploited.” Cayetano clarified, though, that capitalism and democracy work as we have seen in other economies. He thinks the situation in the Philippines is not hopeless, and we can begin to change this corrupt system by acknowledging there is a problem and we are part of it. “This is a battle between those who are willing to fight their self-interest and change with the system, versus those who deny that there is anything wrong with the status quo, specifically as it relates to themselves, and instead simply choose to blame the politicians and officials in government,” he said. This brings to mind the statement attributed to a Cabinet member of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who advised another top official to “moderate your greed.” Another cautionary tale is found in the recently re-launched book of Ricardo Manapat, who served as National Archives Director during the Arroyo and Ramos administrations. Manapat’s book is titled “Some Are Smarter Than Others: The History of Marcos’ Crony Capitalism” which is a classic work on anti-cronyism exposing the ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand Marcos. Oligarchs may not be totally wiped out in the Philippines, since developed economies even have to contend with their presence. But Duterte’s relentless campaign against them could very well result in moderating their greed and freeing the country from their tight grip. nextgenmedia@gmail.com.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

Robredo cites gov’t data showing COVID-19 response is not working

Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo on Sunday pointed at government data to prove her claim that it’s doing something wrong in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Vice-President Leni Robredo (OVP / Facebook / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) “Iyong datos—at ang datos galing sa pamahalaan—iyong datos ang ating basehan kung bakit natin sinasabi na kung ano iyong ginagawa natin ngayon, hindi siya nagwo-work,” she said on her radio show. Robredo reiterated her call on the administration to reassess its policies and improve in areas where lapses have been committed following the request of frontline health workers to revive strict lockdowns in Metro Manila and its adjacent regions. The vice president said the medical community’s appeal for comprehensive strategy against COVID-19 is a valid request that should be seriously considered. “Iyong lahat na punto nila, halimbawa na lang sinasabi nila na ‘iyong ginagawa natin ngayon is not working.’ Iyon din iyong punto ko, eh. Na hindi working iyong ginagawa natin ngayon kasi pataas nga nang pataas iyong bilang,” she said. As of August 1, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 4,963 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus infections in the country to 98,232. “Ito nga 98,000, validated lang dahil iyong for validation pa, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, nasa mga 37,000, 38,000 pa. Ito iyong discrepancy. So kapag dinagdag mo pa iyon, talagang unimaginable na iyong numbers natin,” she said. Robredo also cited the data from tracing czar Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong that showed only four of over 600 local government units have contract tracing capability. For each positive COVID-19 case, only eight persons are being traced on the average instead of the standard of 37, she said.“Iyong ina-announce na so much number of contact tracers, na 52,000 yata—52,000 na iyong na-hire, pero ang sabi ng WHO, dapat ang ideal para sa atin 132,000 iyong ma-hire na contact tracers,” Robredo added.She said the Philippines is now conducting 30,000 tests for coronavirus per day, but she noted it took the government two months to meet its target daily testing capacity in May.The vice president said she was surprised with the “mass recovery adjustment” after the DOH reported a record-high in recoveries of COVID-19 patients at 38,075.Robredo asserted the DOH must inform the public before changing its data system. “Kung magpapalit ng definition, kung magpapalit ng protocols, baka mas maganda na ina-announce iyon sa tao bago makita iyong numero kasi talagang nagulat lahat. Tapos ang pinaka-mahirap, pagkatapos noong one-time-big-time na isang araw, the following day balik sa dati,” she said......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Let next administration worry about death penalty –Atienza

An independent House member thinks it is better to just let the next administration tackle the sensitive topic that is the reimposition of death penalty. Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza (FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) “The government should concentrate on saving lives and quelling the coronavirus pandemic now and allow the next administration to worry about the proposal to bring back the death penalty,” BUHAY Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza said in a statement Sunday. “We’re now in the middle of a public health disaster that has already demolished the livelihood and jobs of millions of Filipinos,” stressed Atienza, a former three-term mayor of Manila. In his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) before a joint session of Congress last July 24, President Duterte called on legislators to revive capital punishment on certain crimes under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002. Atienza made his call even as the thousands of daily new infections from the incurable disease threaten to overwhelm the country’s health care system. The pro-life solon described the pursuit of death penalty as an “exercise in futility” given the current circumstances. “First of all, Congress realistically lacks the time to work on the death penalty. Second, in less than 22 months, we will be electing a new president and a new Congress, so we might as well let the next administration worry about the highly divisive proposal,” Atienza said. “Third, even assuming Congress reinstates the death penalty tomorrow, the President still won’t see any judicial executions being carried out for the remainder of his term,” he said. Duterte will finish his six-year term in 2022. The last time Congress passed a law reimposing capital punishment in 1993, the first death verdict was not carried out until 1999, or until six years later, due to legal challenges and mandatory reviews, Atienza pointed out. A death penalty bill was actually passed by the House on third and final reading during the previous 17th Congress. However, the measure faced a roadblock in the Senate and was not taken up......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

WHO warns of drawn out pandemic as South Africa cases top 500,000

The UN health agency warned that the coronavirus pandemic would be lengthy and could lead to “response fatigue”, as the case count in South Africa topped half a million. Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 680,000 people and infected more than 17.5 million, according to an AFP tally. South Africa is by far the hardest hit country in Africa, accounting for more than half of diagnosed infections, although President Cyril Ramaphosa said the fatality rate is lower than the global average. Health authorities had been expecting a surge in cases after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed at the end of March. Nigeria on Saturday also announced it would ease a lockdown in the commercial capital Lagos, allowing churches and mosques to reopen next week.  An emergency WHO committee reviewing the pandemic “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 outbreak, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts”. “WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high,” it said in its latest statement. The agency also said the effects of the pandemic “will be felt for decades to come”. Mexico overtook Britain to become the third hardest hit country in virus deaths — after Brazil and the United States — with more than 46,600 fatal cases. Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region, which has now recorded more than four million cases and almost 200,000 deaths. Half of them are in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro said he believes “nearly everyone” will catch the virus eventually, after himself recovering from it. The US, the hardest-hit country in the world, has now tallied more than 4.6 million cases and 154,319 deaths. Vaccine race The outlook was bleak in Asia as well, where India and the Philippines reported record increases in new daily infections. “We are waging a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” said an open letter signed by 80 Filipino medical associations. Japan’s Okinawa declared a state of emergency after a record jump in cases on the islands — many linked to US military forces stationed there. The pandemic has spurred a race for a vaccine with several Chinese companies at the forefront, while Russia has set a target date of September to roll out its own medicine. However, US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely his country would use any vaccine developed in either nation. “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone,” he said. As part of its “Operation Warp Speed”, the US government will pay pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GSK up to $2.1 billion for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said. ‘Day of freedom’ France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all reported huge contractions in their economies for the April-June quarter, while Europe as a whole saw gross domestic product fall by 12.1 percent.  Daily case numbers in Switzerland have crept up again in recent weeks, while Norway recorded its first virus death in two weeks. At least 36 crew members confined to a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the operator Hurtigruten said on Saturday.  Despite the resurgence in cases, there have been demonstrations in Europe against the curbs.  Thousands protested in Berlin on Saturday urging “a day of freedom” from the restrictions, with some demonstrators dubbing the pandemic “the biggest conspiracy theory”. In South Korea, the elderly leader of a secretive sect at the centre of the country’s early coronavirus outbreak was arrested for allegedly hindering the government’s effort to contain the epidemic. People linked to Lee Man-hee’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus accounted for more than half of the South’s coronavirus cases in February and March, but the country has since appeared to have brought the virus under control. The pandemic has also continued to cause mayhem in the travel and tourism sectors, with more airlines announcing mass job cuts. Latin America’s biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, said it would lay off least 2,700 crew, and British Airways pilots overwhelmingly voted to accept a deal cutting wages by 20 percent, with 270 jobs lost......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Robredo: COVID-19 cases and deaths are not mere statistics

Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo said the country’s coronavirus cases and deaths are not mere statistics as it shows how COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected every Filipino family. VP LENI ROBREDO (SCREENSHOT FRO VP LENI ROBREDO’S FACEBOOK VIDEO / MANILA BULLETIN) Robredo noted more people have to endure hardships that resulted from the weaker economy and continuous rise in the number of infections and deaths. “Conversely, as more people get sick because of COVID-19, so does the suffering of our people get prolonged. Many have died; they are not mere statistics,” she said. ”Each of them had a story, had a dream, has a family that mourns their loss. And as cases continue to rise, it becomes harder move forward towards a better normal,” she added. The vice president reminded the administration the pandemic is the root cause of these problems, and if it has a clear plan, Filipinos can overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and move forward. Robredo bared a comprehensive list of suggestions in a videotaped public address, dubbed “Message of Hope”, on her Facebook page. This was perceived by many as her own roadmap on how the country can recover from the ill-effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Her recommendations include a correct data regarding COVID-19, safety nets for affected families, tax incentives for companies, equitable and systematic provision of resources to hospitals. Robredo also batted for pooled testing and timely contract tracing, better wages of health workers, and harmonization of COVID-19 efforts of the public and private sector, among others, instead of just waiting for a vaccine to become available. The opposition leader said she supports the government’s P31-billion “Plant, Plant, Plant” program that will be implemented nationwide to benefit farmers, fisherfolks, and consumers. This program mentioned by President Duterte during his last Monday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) falls under the “Whole of Nation” approach, which Robredo said she is also supportive of. “We support the whole of nation approach. But a true whole nation approach should be directed toward a common goal,” she said. The lady official is also keeping her faith on the goodness and capability of Filipinos in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. “It is not wishful thinking to dream that we can also achieve what Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand have achieved….We can also do this. We have the right skills, we should have sufficient resources. We have what it takes,” she said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2020

NCAA Season 96 to hold only four sporting events

Only four sporting events will be played next year when the NCAA opened its delayed Season 96. In a statement posted by season host Letran in its official Twitter account on Thursday only the mandatory sports basketball, volleyball, swimming and track and field will be held once the league begins in the early months of 2021. READ: Press Statement on NCAA Season 96 Opening pic.twitter.com/IvYwgj9LqV — LETRAN MANILA (@LetranOfficial) June 11, 2020 The NCAA Policy Board decided on this matter in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Season 96, according to the statement signed by NCAA Management Committee Chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP and Policy Board president Clarence Victor Marquez, OP, shall commence early 2021 subject to the decision of the government for the favorable conduct of games while observing strict safety and health protocols. Rules on eligibility of student athletes will also be relaxed in consideration with the disruption of school year and major changes in the education system while plans for on-line chess and e-sports are being finalized. The league cancelled Season 95 on March 19 days after the government put Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to curb the spread of the contagion.    Affected Season 95 second semester sports were volleyball, football, beach volleyball, athletics, lawn and soft tennis and cheerleading while completed events were basketball, chess, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and demo sport 3x3 basketball.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2020