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Small banks now lending more to SMEs thanks to BSP’s reserve cuts

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s rural and cooperative banks remain stable and are in a strong position to support the financing needs of micro, small, and medium enterprises as well as large firms in rural communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the central bank. In a press briefing, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)…
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Drilon says ‘big brothers’ in LGUs may lead to ‘overstepping of authority’

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon raised fears that assigning Cabinet secretaries to Metro Manila cities and several other provinces to support their pandemic response could lead to the overstepping of authority. In a statement Friday, Drilon reminded Cabinet members tasked to act as “big brothers” to the local government units (LGUs) of…
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Cohen’s book foreword: Trump ‘wouldn’t mind if I was dead’

NEW YORK — Michael Cohen’s memoir about President Donald Trump will be released Sept. 8 by Skyhorse Publishing, which confirmed the news Thursday to The Associated Press. The book is called “Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump.” “‘Disloyal’ is the most devastating business and political horror story…
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DOH: Majority of COVID-19 cases are from working age group 

      MANILA, Philippines — Majority of coronavirus disease 2019 cases are in the “productive age group” or those in the workforce, the Department of Health said Friday. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the number of cases in the working-age group is estimated to be over 113,000, the breakdown of which are the…
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Apt Bible passage at Catholic Mass coincides with earthquake

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Scripture quite literally came to life for several Catholic churches in North Carolina as a rare earthquake rattled portions of the state over the weekend. According to a news release from the Diocese of Charlotte, Father Richard Sutter of St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church said the lector in the Sunday service had…
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Iran says UAE-Israel deal a ‘stab in the back’ to Muslims

TEHRAN — Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned a historic deal establishing full diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, calling it a stab in the back to all Muslims, state TV reported Friday. Iran, in the ministry statement, called the normalizing of ties between the two countries a dangerous, “shameful” measure and warned…
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Pasig City General Hospital closes its ER as employees undergo quarantine

  MANILA, Philippines — The emergency room of the Pasig City General Hospital will be temporarily closed as many of its personnel need to undergo quarantine measures, the local government announced on Friday. In a Twitter post, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said the emergency room will be closed from Saturday, August 15, to Wednesday,…
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COVID-19 strikes over 18K gov’t workers, almost 18K more are suspect cases

MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus disease has stricken some 18,310 government employees nationwide, while 17,711 more are suspected of having the disease, data from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) showed Friday. Meanwhile, a total of 205 government offices are currently on lockdown due to COVID-19 cases among its staff. CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada told INQUIRER.net that…
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School opening moved to October 5

      PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to postpone the opening of basic education for school year 2020-2021 to October 5, 2020. Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones, in a press conference on Friday, August 14, 2020, said her office received a memorandum from Malacañang Friday morning about the postponement. Briones said the…
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Hontiveros asks: Is there more than one ‘mafia’ at PhilHealth?

MANILA, Philippines — Is there more than one mafia operating in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)? This is what Senator Risa Hontiveros plans to “get to the bottom” of during the resumption of the Senate’s investigation into recent allegations of corruption within the state-run insurance company. “Interesadong-interesado kami sa mga high-ranking resource persons namin……
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DepEd: Opening of classes in public schools moved to October 5

      MANILA, Philippines — The opening of classes in public schools will be moved to October 5, 2020 as approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced Friday.       “As per the memorandum of the President, he has given approval to the recommendation of DepEd which I repeat,…
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**New Zealand probing for outbreak source, may extend lockdown

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Health authorities said Friday they were investigating whether shipping workers were a source of New Zealand’s first domestic coronavirus outbreak in more than three months.         The outbreak has grown to 30 people and extended beyond Auckland, the country’s largest city, for the first time. Prime Minister Jacinda…
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Bureau of Customs collects P97B from Fuel Marking Program

  MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs has collected a total of P97.191 billion worth of duties and taxes from the importation of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene through its Fuel Marking Program. In a statement Friday, BOC said the program’s strong performance affirms the bureau’s commitment to collect lawful revenues for the government. The…
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Indonesia takes part in late-stage China vaccine trial

JAKARTA, Indonesia — More people in Indonesia rolled up their sleeves Friday to test a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by a Chinese company.       The Indonesian government announced the partnership between state-owned enterprise Bio Farma and the Chinese company Sinovac BioTech in early July. As part of the deal, Indonesia recruited 1,620 volunteers…
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Gatchalian eyes probe into DepEd remote lessons after drawing flak for ‘typo errors’

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is eyeing a Senate inquiry into the content of lessons being used by the Department of Education (DepEd) for distance learning after the department drew flak for grammatical and typographical errors on some of its episodes that had seen broadcast. DepEd has started the test broadcast of TV episodes…
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‘Not just Russia’: DOH says PH in talks with 16 COVID-19 vaccine makers

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is not solely relying on Russia for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19 vaccine) as it has already engaged at least 16 vaccine makers worldwide, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday. “We already have about 16 vaccine manufacturers na may different stages na tayo ng pakikipag-usap. Ito ay through our bilateral…
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Cainta health workers get P300 hazard pay — mayor

MANILA, Philippines — Cainta, Rizal Mayor Johnielle Nieto said the local government is giving medical workers their P300 hazard pay, responding to an allegation that the hazard pay of a nurse at the Cainta Municipal Hospital, who died of COVID-19, had been slashed. “300 pesos a day ang hazard na binigay ng Cainta local government…
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Bello denies PH easing ban on deployment of nurses abroad

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday belied reports that the Philippine government has eased the overseas deployment ban on Filipino nurses, saying this is “totally untrue.” In a statement, Bello warned the public that any overseas deployment of nurses is “deemed illegal” unless expressly authorized by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration…
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‘Drug trader’ in Nueva Ecija slain during buy-bust

SAN JOSE CITY —- A suspected illegal drugs trader was killed in a reported shootout with the police during a buy-bust operation in the nearby Science City of Muoz on Wednesday, authorities said. Police identified the slain suspect as Robert Downing, alias “Bobet,” who is in the local police drug watch list, according to Lt.…
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DOH: Time-based COVID recoveries to be announced every Sunday

        MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) will announce “time-based” coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recoveries under its “Oplan Recovery” program every Sunday, the agency’s spokesperson said Friday.   Time-based recoveries are coronavirus patients released from isolationafter a certain number of days of quarantine and after symptoms have disappeared.   “Starting…
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Jericho Rosales’ son Santino now a Viva talent

    MANILA, Philippines — Actor Jericho Rosales’ son Santino, like his father, is also out to make waves in the local showbiz industry.       View this post on Instagram We are pleased to announce that Santino Rosales is now part of the VIVA ARTISTS AGENCY family! 💕 Get to know more about…
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Mang Inasal’s Injap Sia brings fast food innovations to grocery store chain

MANILA, Philippines — Edgar “Injap” Sia II made a fortune in fast food when he founded the successful Mang Inasal grilled chicken chain. He is now looking to recast innovations in that industry within his budding grocery store empire as the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changes consumer preferences. On Friday, Sia’s MerryMart Consumer Corp. announced plans…
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Cabinet members assigned in LGUs inspired by Cimatu’s ‘success’ as overseer in Cebu City–Nograles

MANILA, Philippines — Assigning Cabinet members to cities and provinces with high COVID-19 transmission was inspired by Cebu City’s “success” in handling the health crisis after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu was designated as its pandemic response overseer, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Friday. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases assigned its members…
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LRT-1 operator defers retrenchment of workers

MANILA, Philippines — The Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) has deferred the retrenchment of Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT-) workers, after initially announcing that it would be terminating the contracts of 100 employees of the train line. “While the factual basis behind the redundancy program remains legally valid, LRMC is putting it on hold, for…
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Afghan authorities begin releasing final 400 Taliban prisoners

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan authorities said Friday they had started releasing 400 Taliban prisoners, the final hurdle in launching long-delayed peace talks between the two warring sides. A group of 80 prisoners were released on Thursday, said National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal. The release would “speed up efforts for direct talks and a lasting,…
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Man dies while saving drowning daughter, friend in Zambales

  SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES —- A man lost his life after saving his drowning daughter and friend who were swimming in a beach here on Thursday, police said. Initial investigation showed that Jimmy Spates, 57, a resident of Barangay San Nicolas here, managed to rescue his 13-year old daughter and his friend, Allan Canonizado, 32,…
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SBMA to cancel work permit of COVID-19-infected Chinese Pogo worker

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT —- The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Friday said it would cancel the special work permit it issued to a Chinese national, who worked for a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (Pogo) company here, and later tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Wilma Eisma, SBMA chair and administrator, said the 29-year-old…
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