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2 factories to make 10,000 PPEs a day

in Latest News

MANILA, Philippines — Two factories in Luzon will make 10,000 medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) per day for use by health-care workers.

Production will start after Holy Week, said the Board of Investments (BOI), which sought the help of an exporters group to protect health-care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (Conwep) has so far allotted two factories to do the job.

Conwep executive director Maritess Jocson Agoncillo said each factory will tap 380 to 420 workers, or a total of 800 workers to make the needed PPEs.

San Miguel Corp. will procure the initial 10,000 pieces of PPE coveralls and don…

Keep on reading: 2 factories to make 10,000 PPEs a day

Albay solon seeks free reproductive health supplies for couples during lockdown

in Latest News

LIGAO CITY, Albay, Phiilippines — Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman, who is the principal author of the Reproductive Health Law, urged the government to continue discharging its mandate of extending free reproductive health supplies and services to couples in the marginalized sectors.

“As intimacies between couples who are locked down together break the barriers of social distancing, the Reproductive Health Law or RA No. 10354 gains more relevance today,” he said.

He said couples would need to avail themselves of contraceptives and other effective methods of family planning to prevent unplanned, unwanted, and high-risk pregnancies during a lockdown to contain the coronavirus d…

Keep on reading: Albay solon seeks free reproductive health supplies for couples during lockdown

Passover, Easter, and Ramadan become virtual holidays of renewal

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 1:51 AM

By Bloomberg

In this dark year of Covid-19, an influential group of rabbis in Israel ruled that Passover could be shared with extended family and friends – not in person but over Zoom.

Given the rigid restrictions among devout Jews about what’s permitted on holy days, it was almost shocking. Plenty of other rabbis condemned the move.

But as Jews, Muslims and Christians enter one of the holiest times of the year, with Easter, Ramadan and Passover all celebrated this month, leaders of these religions with ancient roots find themselves giving thanks to the internet. With roughly half the world locked down, keeping the holidays communal will be a struggle.

“Almost normal would still be a stretch,” said Zainab Gulamali, spokesperson

Read More Passover, Easter, and Ramadan become virtual holidays of renewal

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Support for lockdown extension snowballs

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Concepcion says business groups want 2 more weeks of quarantine; Robredo, Go, Lopez also back move

Published April 7, 2020, 1:22 AM

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat, Mario Casayuran, and Leslie Ann Aquino

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion on Monday said that more than 90 percent of entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives of large and medium conglomerates support the extension of the Luzon lockdown for another two weeks.

Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

The two-week extension of the lockdown may be used to prepare for the implementation of barangay quarantines and provide ample time to develop and establish a more sustainable mitigation system, which will follow the guidelines provided for by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management

Read More Support for lockdown extension snowballs

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Cebu marks yet another day without new COVID-19 cases

in Latest News

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — For another day, on Monday, Cebu recorded no new novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, cases in Cebu.

The Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, a sub-national laboratory recently accredited by the World Health Organization to test samples for COVID-19, conducted 54 tests on Monday and no one tested positive for the deadly virus.

Of the 54 samples, 21 came from the different component towns and cities of Cebu province, 18 from Cebu City, eight from Lapu-Lapu City, and seven from Mandaue City.

However, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the province was still monitoring some 224 persons infected with Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and three patients exhibitin…

Keep on reading: Cebu marks yet another day without new COVID-19 cases

With hospitals stressed, U.S. enters ‘peak death week’ in coronavirus crisis

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 1:05 AM

By Reuters

The United States entered what an official called the “peak death week” of the coronavirus on Monday while a watchdog report said hospitals were struggling to maintain and expand capacity to care for infected patients.

The U.S. death toll, which topped 10,000 on Monday, was rapidly closing in on Italy and Spain, the countries with the most fatalities to date at nearly 16,000 and about 12,500 respectively, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

“It’s going to be the peak hospitalization, peak ICU week and unfortunately, peak death week,” Admiral Brett Giroir, a physician and member of the White House coronavirus task force, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday.

He raised particular alarm for the states of

Read More With hospitals stressed, U.S. enters ‘peak death week’ in coronavirus crisis

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U.S. designates Russian ultra-nationalist group as terrorist organization

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:59 AM

By Reuters

The United States has designated a Russian ultranationalist group called the Russian Imperial Movement as a terrorist organization, the State Department said on Monday, in what it called the first such move against a white supremacist group.

“These designations are unprecedented,” Nathan Sales, U.S. Counter Terrorism, envoy, said in a statement.

The measure comes after the State Department in its latest annual terrorism report last November said ethnically and racially driven terrorism had risen alarmingly in 2018 both worldwide and in the United States.

Russian Imperial Movement’s (RIM) members cast themselves as Russian Orthodox nationalists who favor restoring the monarchy and privileging the interests of ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and Belarussians.

Typically in such designations, the U.S. Treasury department freezes

Read More U.S. designates Russian ultra-nationalist group as terrorist organization

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U.S. consumers fear for jobs, debt payments because of coronavirus: New York Fed survey

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:55 AM

By Reuters

The economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic hit home for Americans last month, as consumers braced for job losses, anticipated spending cuts and grew more pessimistic about their ability to cover their bills, according to data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday.

Expectations worsened dramatically throughout the month, with concerns growing after the first death from COVID-19 in the United States and after the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic and more drastic steps were taken to limit the spread of the disease.

Much of the fear was centered around job security, with more people fearing job losses as a growing number of non-essential businesses shut down across the country and residents were

Read More U.S. consumers fear for jobs, debt payments because of coronavirus: New York Fed survey

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in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:54 AM



Jullie Y. Daza

Even if the enhanced community quarantine is lifted, should it be lifted by law or as a joke, I’m  going to continue behaving as if ECQ were still being enforced, with a policeman at my door and my guardian angel at my gate.

Why there should even be a debate over its lifting or extension (beyond April 14) boggles the mind. Unmask the false prophets! Listen instead to Rep. Joey Salceda, who has the figures and facts at his fingertips: “We’ve been dancing around the virus for the last month, now is the time to hit it with a hammer” (as in knocking it out). For, to dismantle ECQ like a toy

Read More Unmasked

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DOLE gives P63-M assistance to 12,000 displaced workers in Central Luzon

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:47 AM

By Donna Rempillo

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has given assistance to 12,615 private sector workers, who were displaced by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that was implemented in Luzon due to the threats posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Many private establishments in the region had to temporarily close due to the ECQ, affecting mostly the minimum daily wage earners, and the no-work, no-pay workers.

The national government addressed this concern by implementing the COVID-19
Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

DOLE Regional Director Ma. Zenaida Angara-Campita has been encouraging owners of private businesses to cooperate with the department’s efforts on giving assistance to their employees.
“Upon approval, each of their employees will receive a one-time financial

Read More DOLE gives P63-M assistance to 12,000 displaced workers in Central Luzon

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DBM identifies P189-B for COVID-19 funds

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:45 AM

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has identified P189.823 billion in unreleased appropriations from the fiscal years 2019 and 2020 budget that may be discontinued and used to fund the government’s efforts against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In his monthly report to Congress, President Duterte said P186,500,169 from the 2020 budget and P3,322,920 from the 2019 continuing appropriations may be used to fund COVID-19-related interventions.

Of the total unreleased appropriations, P4.209 billion was sourced from special purpose funds. The unreleased appropriations shall be utilized to fund the following:
To provide for additional requirements of existing programs/activities/projects (P/A/Ps) of concerned national government agencies/government-owned and -controlled corporations (NGAs/GOCCs) and/or requirements for new P/A/Ps in support of the response measures

Read More DBM identifies P189-B for COVID-19 funds

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Options of  IATF as lockdown ends Monday

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:42 AM



Elinando B. Cinco

Top-level decision-makers of the Inter-Agency Task Force will tackle their studied options as they face the end of the 30-day Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine this coming Monday.

As far as I can surmise, based on newspaper reports and TV briefings on the pandemic, the officials have four options: Outright end of the lockdown; gradual termination; selective phase-out; and full 14-day extension.

For the benefit of the average newspaper reader, I will explain in brief each of the above options as simple as possible.

Outright end of the lockdown. By next Monday, the ECQ will stop – from the original Metro Manila lockdown to the extension covering the entire Luzon region,

Read More Options of  IATF as lockdown ends Monday

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Duterte calls nation to prayer on Holy Wednesday

in News

Updated April 7, 2020, 1:24 AM

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has rallied the nation to pray together this Holy Wednesday so the country can defeat the coronavirus pandemic.


The President issued the call for prayer and solidarity after recognizing the grave threat posed by COVID-19 on the people and the local economy.

“This being the Holy Week, I am calling on the nation to come together this Holy Wednesday afternoon and pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of the Filipino and unite in one prayer to God to fight our common enemy,” Duterte said in his public address late Monday night.

“God is the only one who can really solve the problem for us,” he added.

The President admitted that

Read More Duterte calls nation to prayer on Holy Wednesday

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PRRD 'inclined' to extend quarantine period until April 30

in News

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said he is inclined to extend the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 30 to contain the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“If you really want to know, we have discussed it even before this, we are inclined to extend the lockdown up to April 30. Tingnan natin (Let’s see what happens) after that),” Duterte said in a public address aired over PTV-4 late Monday night.

Duterte called on the public to cooperate with the government in reducing the risk of transmission by staying indoors and appealed for more patience as the government doubles its efforts to provide for their needs.

He asked the public to come together on Holy Wednesday and pray for success in beating “a common enemy”.

He also expressed hope that the situation would improve when he delivers his next public address.

Earlier, Peace Adviser and National Task Force (NTF) Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said the government was studying whether to extend the quarantine for another 15 to 20 days after its scheduled end on April 12.

He said the next two weeks will be critical for observation since it has yet to be seen whether the quarantine has resulted in any significant flattening of the curve or decrease in the cases of infected persons.

On April 14, the government is expected to start mass testing in the National Capital Region (NCR) to identify and isolate all possible Covid-19 carriers, Galvez said.

Mass testing will also be done in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Davao, and Zamboanga peninsula.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte will take into consideration the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in deciding whether he would extend or lift the quarantine.

He said the task force’s recommendation was based on trends in the Covid-19 epidemiological curve including the doubling time, acceleration, or deceleration of new cases.

As of Monday, health authorities reported a total of 3,660 cases and 163 fatalities.

The task force also considered the health care system’s capacity including the number and availability of quarantine, isolation, and treatment facilities; the capability to mount contact tracing; availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to front-liners, and the testing capacity of the country, he added.

He said social, economic, and security factors will also be considered. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

One of you will betray Me

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:37 AM

No Gospel account specifically describes Judas receiving the bread/body and the wine/blood. In John, Jesus hands the dipped morsel and gives it to Judas, and immediately Satan enters Judas (cf Jn 13:26-27). But John does not describe the Eucharist at the supper, so nothing can be made of the morsel given to Judas. And then, would Jesus’ body be an instrument of condemnation or curse? Some point to Paul’s warning about eating the bread or drinking the cup of the Lord unworthily. This invites judgment on oneself: “That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying” (1 Cor 11:30). Paul’s general admonition might be a remembrance of Judas who ate unworthily and soon died,

Read More One of you will betray Me

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4 suspects selling overpriced alcohol nabbed in Albay

in Latest News

LIGAO CITY, Albay, Philippines — Police arrested in separate operations persons selling several bottles of overpriced alcohol in Legazpi City in Albay province, police said Monday.

Olivia Maanita, a 43-year-old resident of Barangay Rawis, was arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the local police, and personnel from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at her village past noon Monday.

“She was caught in the act of transacting with an asset in front of a convenience store in Rawis village where she sold 60 bottles of isopropyl alcohol 70 percent solution (no brand name) worth P165 per bottle, contrary to the approved selling price o…

Keep on reading: 4 suspects selling overpriced alcohol nabbed in Albay

Duterte: Middle class should receive assistance, but funds not enough

in News

Updated April 7, 2020, 1:12 AM

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte agreed with Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla that those belonging to the middle class should also be included in the government’s social amelioration program during the Luzon-wide quarantine period.


Duterte made the statement after Remulla, in an open letter addressed to the President, said the government should also consider the welfare of the middle class as they were the ones who “have climbed their way up in life.”

In his late-night public address Monday, Duterte agreed with Remulla about the middle class receiving help from the government, but said the funds are not enough.

“The point raised by Governor Remulla of Cavite, I think, is valid. We’ll try to remedy

Read More Duterte: Middle class should receive assistance, but funds not enough

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Faith in this Holy week   

in News


Published April 7, 2020, 12:30 AM

The Christian  world  is now in the middle of Holy Week.  It should have begun , as in the past, with festive palm-waving crowds in churches all over the country,  in commemoration  of the welcome the people of Jerusalem gave Jesus on  that  first Palm Sunday.

But all that festivity  which we reenact in this country with our version of  palm leaves — coconut fronds — was absent  his year, for we are in the midst  of a lockdown and quarantine banning any mass gathering  because of the  ongoing  coronavirus  (COVID-19) pandemic.

The whole world – Christian or otherwise – is quiet  today. The  COVID-19  virus  has now quickly spread around the  world after  it first emerged in China.

Read More Faith in this Holy week   

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PEZA, business groups pitch selective lockdown

in World News

IN what appears to be a decision weighing lives or livelihood, the government is facing the dilemma of whether to extend the Luzon lockdown—for which a consensus is emerging among authorities, primarily to prevent Covid-19’s runaway spread while mass testing is just under way—or lift it to allow stalled investments to come in and allow […]

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With low oil prices, robust reserves, peso stays stable

in World News

THE local tender has remained stable amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, analysts said, thanks to lower oil prices and robust foreign reserves. On Monday, the peso ended flat at P50.72. It opened at P50.72, peaked at P50.65 and traded as weak as P50.85. The local currency has depreciated by almost 4 centavos year-to-date. […]

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Photo Credit: BusinessMirror

Message on World Health Day (April 7, 2020)

in News

Published April 7, 2020, 12:14 AM


Secretary-General of the United Nations

World Health Day this year comes at a very difficult time for all of us.

My message today is to our health care workers — the nurses, midwives, technicians, paramedics, pharmacists, doctors, drivers, cleaners, administrators, and many others — who work day and night to keep us safe.

Today, we are more deeply grateful than ever to all of you, as you work, round the clock, putting yourselves at risk, to fight the ravages of this pandemic.

We have all had reason to give thanks for the care and professionalism of nurses and midwives. I know I do.

Nurses shoulder some of the biggest healthcare burdens.  They perform difficult

Read More Message on World Health Day (April 7, 2020)

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Covid-19 PHL cases now 3,660; ECQ extension gets more backing

in World News

THE Department of Health ( DOH) on Monday reported  414 new cases (PH3,247-PH3,660) of Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 3,660. This, as authorities weighed calls to extend the monthlong, Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the virus from spreading while mass testing gets underway on April 14. On […]

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National government posts P37.6-billion budget deficit in February

in World News

THE national government swung to a budget deficit of P37.6 billion in February after posting a budget surplus in January amounting to P23 billion, according to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr). For February alone, revenues recorded a 2.35-percent growth year-on-year to P206.8 billion compared to P202.1 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, expenditures for the month […]

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BSP should still shore up banks’ liquidity after lockdown–UPSE

in World News

ECONOMISTS from the University of the Philippines said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) should “do whatever it takes” to shore up liquidity for banks after the lifting of the lockdown. In a paper, eight UP School of Economics (UPSE) experts led by Toby Melissa C. Monsod said consumption will likely remain weak even months […]

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With private-public tie-up, PHL can make ‘medical-grade’ PPEs

in World News

By Samuel P. Medenilla & Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco THE Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday it is working with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), industry associations, and private firms to locally manufacture personal protective equipment (PPEs) to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. A group of local manufacturers will soon be producing an estimated 10,000 […]

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