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Pimentel tells House: Don’t sleep on ABS-CBN franchise

in Latest News

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III pressed the House of Representatives on Tuesday to act and not “sleep” on a bill seeking to renew the franchise of ABS- CBN for another 25 years.

“To be fair, dapat aksyunan. Aksyunan, pass or fail para at least merong concerned people will know what to do—move for reconsideration or gather more votes , override something, mga ganun,” Pimentel told reporters at the Senate.

(To be fair, this should be acted upon. Act on it, pass or fail so concerned people will know what to do—move for reconsideration or gather more votes, override something — actions like that.)

“Dapat lang po aksyunan, huwag ‘yung patulugin lang …

Keep on reading: Pimentel tells House: Don’t sleep on ABS-CBN franchise

SC orders ABS-CBN to comment on quo warranto suit

in News

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered broadcasting firm ABS-CBN to comment on the quo warranto suit filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida seeking to cancel the firm’s franchise.

“Acting on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Calida on behalf of the Republic against respondents ABS CBN Corp. and ABS CBN Convergence Inc., the Supreme Court in today’s en banc session required the respondents to file their comment to the said petition for quo warranto within a non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt of notice,” SC Public Information Office spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka told newsmen.

The Office of the Solicitor General on Monday filed a quo warranto petition before the high court seeking to forfeit the legislative franchise of the network.

“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years,” Calida said.

Calida said ABS-CBN had been hiding behind an “elaborately crafted corporate veil”, and alleged that it was allowing foreign investors to take part in the ownership of a Philippine mass media entity by issuing Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) through ABS-CBN Holdings Corp., which is a violation of the 1987 Constitution.

Under the 1987 Constitution, mass media ownership is limited to Filipinos.

“This simply means that mass media companies operating in the Philippines must be 100 percent Filipino-owned because they play an integral role in the nation’s economic, political, and socio-political landscape,” Calida said.

Calida added the broadcasting firm “abused” the privilege granted by the State when it launched and operated a pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus, the KBO Channel, without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“While it is true that broadcasting is a business, the welfare of the people must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of profit,” Calida said.

Calida said ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. resorted to an “ingenious corporate layering scheme” in order to transfer its franchise without the necessary congressional approval.

“The legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. must be revoked. A franchise is a special privilege granted by the State, and should be restricted only to entities which faithfully adhere to our Constitution,” he said.

In a statement, ABS-CBN denied Calida’s allegations and insisted on its compliance with all laws governing its franchise.

“All our broadcast offerings, including KBO, have received the necessary government and regulatory approvals and are not prohibited by our franchise,” the network said.

It also reiterated that its PDRs “were evaluated and approved” by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange prior to its public offering.

At least 11 lawmakers filed proposals to take up whether the Lopez-controlled firm’s congressional franchise should be granted when its original franchise expires on March 30.

Under the law, the grantees of a broadcasting franchise must secure from the government, through the NTC, the required permits and licenses for their operation. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

BI includes Taiwan in expanded travel ban

in News

MANILA — Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced the expansion of the travel ban to include tourists from Taiwan.

“We have confirmed with the Department of Justice, which is our mother department, that Taiwan is indeed included in the expanded travel ban,” Morente announced on Monday.

It can be recalled that on February 2, the BI implemented an order from President Rodrigo Duterte in banning all foreign nationals coming from China, as well as its Special Administrative Regions.

According to the BI, any passenger of any nationality who has been to China, Hong Kong, and Macao within 14 days before coming to the Philippines shall automatically be denied entry. Only Filipino citizens and aliens with permanent resident visas may be allowed entry.

The BI said permanent resident aliens are those who were issued immigrant visas under the Philippine Immigration Act, those who are residents following the alien legalization program under Executive Order 324 or the alien social integration program under Republic Act 7919, holders of native born visas; aliens who acquired permanent resident status by reasons of marriage to a Filipino; and aliens with approved refugee status.

However, questions from different agencies sought clarification if Taiwan is included in the ban.

“While not explicitly stated, we have confirmed with the Secretary of Justice that Taiwan is indeed part of the ban, and this expansion shall be implemented immediately,” said Morente. The same was earlier announced by the Department of Health.

Morente announced that the travel ban will be implemented immediately, and will follow the same procedure.

Under the guidelines, if a foreign passenger not exempted from the ban is encountered at the ports, he or she shall be automatically denied entry and returned to his port of origin.

Filipinos and aliens who are exempted from the ban shall be turned over to the Bureau of Quarantine for their assessment, together with a copy of their arrival cards.

Filipinos are likewise temporarily not allowed to leave for China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan unless they are part of a government delegation conducting official duties, a member of the World Health Organization, and other agencies involved in fighting or containing the 2019 nCoV-ARD.

Morente stressed that the measure is temporary.

“We are implementing the directive of President Duterte, following the recommendations of the Department of Health,” said Morente.

“Other countries have been implementing similar measures, we appeal to the public to bear with us as we implement this, as this is a measure seen by the DOH to effectively prevent the further spread of this virus,” he added. (PR)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Acacia Hotel Manila elevates connectivity of Alabang with Ascent helicopter ride-sharing

in World News

Make the most of your days across Metro Manila and be a part of a more connected Philippines as a 5-star hotel in Alabang, Acacia Hotel Manila (Acacia) partners with Ascent Urban Mobility Philippines Corporation (Ascent), Asia’s helicopter ride-sharing platform to enable guests and commuters to fly between Acacia and Metro Manila in less than 15 min from P11,900

5-star hotel, Acacia Hotel Manila aims at elevating the connectivity of Alabang by connecting it to Metro Manila and beyond with Ascent, Asia’s first helicopter ride-sharing platform. Guests and commuters can now seamlessly go to and from Alabang in a matter of minutes or simply enjoy a flight experience directly from Acacia by booking their seat(s) directly through the Ascent platform or via concierge at the front desk of Acacia Hotel Manila.

Located in the center of the business

Read More: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/02/11/acacia-hotel-manila-elevates-connectivity-of-alabang-with-ascent-helicopter-ride-sharing/

Photo Credit: BusinessMirror

Jane Oineza hopes for return of wallet lost in UP Fair

in Latest News

Jane Oineza appealed online for the return of her wallet after she lost it at the University of the Philippines (UP) Fair in Quezon City yesterday, Feb. 10.

The actress tweeted last night: “Soooo kung sino man po nakapulot ng wallet ko dito sa Up fair 🙁 sana mabalik nyo po. May id po ako don ng abs na mukhang taga goin bulilit pa.”

(So whoever picked up my wallet here at UP Fair, I hope you return it. I have an ABS-CBN ID that looks like it’s from “Goin’ Bulilit.”)

Oineza has yet to announce if she has gotten her wallet back.

Yesterday was the first day of the fair, which is held at the UP Sunken Garden, and…

Keep on reading: Jane Oineza hopes for return of wallet lost in UP Fair

DILG to police: Arrest 2019-nCoV fake news purveyors

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THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, February 10, to investigate and arrest those spreading fake news about the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año those spreading false information the new virus must be arrested, “because their acts are inimical to the interest of the general public.”

“We need to put a stop to their nuisance activity. Let’s not propagate erroneous information that is more viral than the virus itself. We already have enough on our plate. Hindi po sila nakakatulong sa paglutas ng ating problema bagkus mas pinapalala pa nila ang problema (They’re not helping, but aggravating the problem instead),” he said.

He warned that the PNP would not hesitate to put behind bars all individuals or groups who are guilty of spreading false information on the 2019-nCoV on social media.

“Freedom of expression has limitations, especially when its exercise threatens the welfare of the public. We must put an end to fake news on social media. Kaya sa mga sinasadyang magpakalat ng fake news, stop now before we lock you up,” Año warned.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the DILG itself was a victim of fake news when an infographic allegedly coming from the agency was created and distributed last Friday, February 7, alleging that the DILG has decided to place on mandatory quarantine all travelers from 23 countries who have confirmed nCoV cases.

“The unauthorized and patently illegal infographic went viral and caused panic among travelers who wanted to cancel their travel plans because of the misrepresentation of these people. It has become absurd and worrisome,” he said.

“Again, we urge the public to trust only official sources of information and to verify first before sharing. Think first before you click,” he added.

He said the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), which investigates crimes using Information and Communications Technology (ICT), is capable of tracing and tracking fake news perpetrators on the Internet. It is currently verifying six suspected fake news posts on the coronavirus on social media.

“The PNP-ACG is working hard to detect the whereabouts of these law offenders. We expect arrests to be made soon,” said Malaya.

He said Article 154 on the “Unlawful Use of Means of Publication and Unlawful Utterances” of the Revised Penal Code punishes perpetrators of fake news. The same provision penalizes a person who causes the publication of any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.

Violators face imprisonment of one to six months and a fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000. They could also be punished under the Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“These laws are created for a reason — to punish law offenders,” said Malaya. “Paalala lang sa mga nagpapakalat ng mga maling balita na tigil tigilan na ninyo iyan at makiisa na lang sa pamahalaan sa pagsugpo at pagresolba ng suliraning ito.” (PR)

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1843809/Manila/Local-News/DILG-to-police-Arrest-2019-nCoV-fake-news-purveyors?ref=rss&format=simple&link=link

BREAKING: Philippines officially terminates VFA with US

in Latest News

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has officially sent the notice to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement to the United States.

Malacaang on Tuesday confirmed that the notice has been signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. and sent to the US government on the same day.

“The President directed the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to tell Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin of the Foreign Affairs to send a notice of termination to the US government last night and the Executive Secretary sent the message to Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin and the latter signed the notice of termination… and sent to the US government today,” Presidential spokesman Panelo …

Keep on reading: BREAKING: Philippines officially terminates VFA with US

16 police trainees barred from graduating for drinking in dorm — Sinas

in Latest News

MANILA, Philippines — The graduation of 16 police trainees were put on hold after they were caught drinking inside their dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

 

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said the 16 police recruits were not allowed to continue with their graduation after they “misbehaved” but refused to give more details.

 

He only said that the trainees will no longer be given police ranks due to their misconduct.

 

Gamboa also ordered the relief of the entire regional training group to make way for an “administrative investigation.”

 

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) a…

Keep on reading: 16 police trainees barred from graduating for drinking in dorm — Sinas

Coronavirus clips wings of Asia’s biggest air show

in Latest News

SINGAPORE — Asia’s biggest air show opened in Singapore Tuesday under the shadow of a deadly coronavirus outbreak that has forced dozens of companies to withdraw and is threatening to hammer the aviation industry.

 

The biennial Singapore Airshow attracts hundreds of global aerospace firms and airlines to the financial hub, where they negotiate multi-million-dollar deals and watch spectacular aerial displays by fighter jets.

 

 

But the virus — which has killed more than 1,000 in China and spread to more than two dozen other countries — is overshadowing this year’s event.

 

Singapore has so far reported 45 cases, and the city-state last we…

Keep on reading: Coronavirus clips wings of Asia’s biggest air show

ABS-CBN can still operate even after franchise lapses – solon

in Latest News

MANILA, Philippines — Media network giant ABS-CBN can still continue its operations even if its legislative franchise expires on March 30.

 

Isabela Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano said this Tuesday as the public awaits action from the House of Representatives, where a number of bills were filed for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

 

“May I remind the public that even if the ABS-CBN’s franchise expires on the said date on March, it does not mean that ABS-CBN will close completely because the rule of thumb, and I believe this in the committee — and we were briefed on this — is that while this 18th Congress is still ongoing, hindi po titigil ang services ng ABS-C…

Keep on reading: ABS-CBN can still operate even after franchise lapses – solon

First new virus case found among evacuees from China to US

in Latest News

SAN DIEGO — The first confirmed case of novel coronavirus has been found among hundreds of people who were evacuated from China to military bases around the United States, it was reported Monday.

The adult and three other evacuees had been in hospital isolation after showing symptoms of the virus but on Sunday, federal health officials said they had tested negative and they were sent back to the base, where they joined more than 200 people who are under a 14-day quarantine.

On Monday morning, however, officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed county health officials that “further testing revealed that one of the four patients tested positive”…

Keep on reading: First new virus case found among evacuees from China to US

Sibal new Army acting chief for reservist, retiree affairs

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NEW OG-9 ACTING CHIEF. Col. Francis Carter Sibal (left) receives the official seal of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs (OG-9) from PA chief Brig. Gen. Rowen Tolentino (right) in a change of office ceremony in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Monday (Feb. 10, 2020). Sibal replaced outgoing chief Col. Danilo Cariño (center) who was appointed as the new deputy chief of the Tarlac-based Training and Doctrine Command. (Photo courtesy of Army Chief Public Affairs Office)

MANILA — Col. Francis Carter Sibal formally assumed as the new Philippine Army (PA) acting assistant chief of staff for reservist and retiree affairs (OG-9) on Monday.

PA chief of staff Brig. Gen. Rowen Tolentino led the change of office ceremony at the PA Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, where Sibal replaced Col. Danilo Cariño, who will be assuming as the new deputy chief of the Tarlac-based Training and Doctrine Command.

Prior to his appointment, Sibal served as the executive officer and deputy chief of the PA’s Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs.

Sibal finished his Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff Course (AFP CGSC) in 2013.

He also holds a master’s degree in Public Management Major in Development Security from the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, among the OG-9’s accomplishments under Cariño’s leadership were the commissioning of 391 reserve officers and the membership of 134,048 enlisted individuals to the Reserve Force.

The PA was also able to conduct its first Philippine Military Reserve Component’s Mobilization Exercise (MoBex) and activate its 906th Community Defense Center (Provisional) as well as the 9th RCDG, Army Reserve Command.

“We did our best under the prevailing circumstances to make things happen not only in sustaining the development of the Reserve Force, as part of the total force concept in times of war and expand the capability and capacity of Ready Reserve Units for disaster response as well as its function to internal security operations,” Cariño said. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

LTFRB monitors another ‘illegal’ ride-hailing app in Cebu

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ILLEGAL RIDE-HAILING APP. Personnel of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in Region 7 apprehend the drivers of a Kia Picanto sedan and a Mitsubishi Strada pick-up truck for operating as transport network vehicle service using Maxim, a ride-hailing application which is not accredited with the agency. LTFRB-7 Regional Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. on Monday (Feb. 10, 2020) said that Maxim is the second ride-hailing app to operate in Cebu without seeking government permit, with inDriver as the first to be monitored in January this year. (Photo courtesy of LTFRB-7)

CEBU CITY — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-7) in Central Visayas on Monday said it is monitoring another Russia-based ride-hailing application that is operating in Cebu even without securing government permit.

Retired Col. Eduardo Montealto Jr., regional director of LTFRB-7, said that Maxim, a ride-sharing app that originated from Shadrinsk, Russia is actively operating in Cebu despite absence of accreditation from their office.

“On Feb. 7, a joint operation with LTFRB-7 and Highway Patrol Group-7 apprehended a transport network vehicle service (TNVS) using the so-called Maxim ride-hailing app. The units that we apprehended are a Kia Picanto and a Mitsubishi Strada pickup type truck,” Montealto said.

Maxim has not sought accreditation with the LTFRB to operate legally as a ride-hailing app for booking of trips by customers via mobile phones or tablets, he said.

Montealto admitted there are so many unaccredited TNVS operating in Cebu and using apps that are not registered with the agency.

Last month, LTFRB-7 operatives apprehended six cars for illegally operating as TNVS using inDriver, another unaccredited ride-hailing app.

Both inDriver and Maxim are not among the list of LTFRB-recognized apps such as Grab Car, MiCab, Hype and Hirna.

InDriver was founded in 2012 but Maxim started as a modern taxi-ride ordering service in Russia in 2003 and simultaneously opened branches in seven cities worldwide in 2009. It expanded to 17 more cities in 2010.

Montealto lamented that Filipino counterparts of Maxim and inDriver operators abroad could clandestinely operate in Cebu without fear being detected by authorities.

According to initial investigation by the LTFRB-7, Maxim has revealed in its Facebook account the address of its office along J. De Veyra Street in North Reclamation Area here.

Montealto, however, said operations personnel will continue to monitor their movements and conduct apprehensions against TNVS operators using Maxim and inDriver based on intelligence reports that they can gather.

TNVS operating via unaccredited ride-hailing app are not paying taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, he said.

He said the two vehicles apprehended on Friday in a mall in Mandaue City were placed in the impounding area pending payment of penalty ranging from PHP120,000 to PHP200,000 for engaging in colorum operations, aside from being blacklisted for 90 days.

LTFRB record showed Cebu has reached the cap of 1,500 TNVS while the request for additional units has not yet been approved by the board. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Hundreds of pigs culled in Benguet due to ASF

in News

TRANSPORT OF PIGS. Live pigs have been prohibited to enter Benguet province. The provincial government has ordered a temporary lockdown on the entry of live pigs into the province and Baguio City after samples taken from two piggeries tested positive for African swine fever. (PNA photo courtesy of Redjie Melvic Cawis)

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — A total of 224 pigs have been depopulated over the weekend in Barangay Beckel here and Camp 1 in Tuba town after samples were taken from piggeries tested positive for African swine fever (ASF).

Dr. Meriam Tiongan, the provincial veterinarian, said the “1-7-10” protocol was implemented to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

Tiongan said 189 pigs were culled within the one-kilometer radius of the ASF “ground zero” at Sitio Obulan in Barangay Beckel after blood samples of pigs in a backyard piggery tested positive of the virus last week.

The 35 others were culled at a commercial piggery in Camp 1 days prior to the discovery of the case in Barangay Beckel.

At least eight sitio (hamlets) in Barangay Beckel — Sapsing, Bakung, Marlboro Country, Gungel, Pagal, Central, Ulnai, and Busi — were affected from the depopulation of the 189 pigs, which was the livelihood of 31 families in the area.

She said hog raisers initially refused to depopulate the pigs but eventually gave in after explaining that culling was necessary to ensure the ASF would not spread to nearby piggeries.

“It was difficult considering that ordinary residents owned them, saving them for the tuition of their children, or were raised to be butchered for the observance of a traditional practice of offering to the gods,” Tiongan said.

Following the ASF outbreak in Luzon last year, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte approved a PHP1-billion fund to compensate hog raisers whose pigs were culled.

Under the “1-7-10” protocol, those found within the seven kilometers are subject to regular blood testing. Those pigs cannot be sold or brought out of the area.

Animals within the 10-kilometer radius but beyond the seven kilometers are subject to monitoring and owners must report the condition of the animals and inform authorities if any of the pigs get sick. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

'Ibagtit' exhibit opens with 90 artworks by Baguio artists

in News

‘IBAGTIT’ EXHIBIT. National artist for film Kidlat Tahimik (middle) and sculptor Kigao Rosimo (right) look at a ‘camera’ during the opening of the Ibagtit arts exhibit at Luisa’s Cafe on February 8. Some 90 works by at least 40 artists are on display in the month-long exhibit. (PNA photo by Pigeon Lobien)

BAGUIO CITY — Some 90 works of art of 40 Baguio artists are on display in a café here known as the “media center”.

National artist for film Kidlat Tahimik with Baguio Creative Council vice chairman and University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio chancellor Rey Rovillos and Baguio tourism officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo opened the month-long arts exhibit titled “Ibagtit” on Saturday.

Sculptor and curator Kigao Rosimo converted Luisa’s Cafe on Session Road into an arts gallery.

The works on display are located on the second floor which, for nearly two decades, has been home to Baguio-Benguet media.

Media, particularly photographers became part of the exhibit launched during the second full moon of the year on February 8, to help boost the city’s hold as a creative city.

“This is also a throwback to when Baguio and its creative people was at its peak,” said Rosimo, referring to the late 80s when Baguio’s who’s who in art founded the Baguio Arts Guild (BAG).

Rosimo, then a young artist, became part of the growing Baguio art scene that included Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, who just relocated to Baguio, Kidlat Tahimik, sculptor Roberto Villanueva, Santiago Bose, Dave Baradas, one of the founders of the BAG.

“There were real galleries in the city,” he recalled, as he curated for the first time a five-medium exhibit — painting and sculpture — performances, literature, photography, and music.

“That is why we held [the opening] on a full moon and the title because that connotes something crazy, luna thus lunatic,” Rosimo said.

Rosimo said the exhibit also encourages a new wave of artists to pursue art.

One of the exhibit’s participants includes artist Benjie Mallari’s grandchild, Ryelle, who made an oil pastel on paperwork titled “Filipina”.

The youngest artist participating in the exhibit is 11-year-old Sakura Alangui, Rosimo said.

Kidlat Tahimik was joined by his second child in the exhibit, Kawayan de Guia, who has made a name for himself as an installation artist and who was a toddler when the BAG was founded in the late 80s.

New York-based Perry Mamaril traces his roots to the 80s BAG with his mixed media work.

One of the city’s well-known artists, Leonard Aguinaldo, had a work on display even as noted stone sculptor Gilbert Gano Alberto was one of those who heeded Rosimo’s call to participate and had a work on display too.

Baguio photojournalist Andy Zapata unearthed a late 80s photo of Bose, one of the most celebrated Baguio artists, who passed away in the late 2000s.

Poetry will be provided by the Baguio Writers Group led by two-time Palanca awardee Frank Cimatu, who co-organized the event with Rosimo.

Award-winning play director Angelo Aurelio unveiled his first work on watercolor, right after his operation on lymphoma and the completion of his mural of the late president Ramon Magsaysay at the Magsaysay Elementary School.

Most of his artworks are on display at the Rumours Bar just below the café.

Noted Ibaloy painter Roland Bay-an submitted a small ink on paper of an Ibaloy mother with her child bundled at her back.

The Tam-awan Arts Village in Quezon Hill also opened an exhibit on Saturday. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

China removes two Hubei leaders as virus crisis deepens

in News

Published February 11, 2020, 12:53 PM

By Agence France-Presse

The two most senior health officials at the epicentre of China’s deadly virus outbreak have been sacked, state media said Tuesday, as pressure mounts over the way local authorities have handled the epidemic.

Hubei province in central China has been struggling to contain a virus outbreak (AFP/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Zhang Jin, the Communist Party boss of the provincial health commission in Hubei, and its director Liu Yingzi have been removed from their positions, reported state broadcaster CCTV, after a decision by the province’s party committee Monday.

The area has found itself at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people and infected over 42,000 across China since December.

Local officials have faced

Read More China removes two Hubei leaders as virus crisis deepens

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Seven years after stepping down, Benedict fuels ‘two popes’ headache

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Published February 11, 2020, 12:52 PM

By Agence France-Presse

Seven years after his surprise resignation, Benedict XVI — weakened by age but still intellectually spry — appears unable to remain in the shadow of his Argentinean successor Francis, creating the appearance of “two popes” at odds.

Pope Francis (L) and his predecessor, Benedict XVI (AFP Photo/Handout)

On February 11, 2013, at the age of 85, the German intellectual Joseph Ratzinger announced in Latin to astonished cardinals that he would cease being pope, a situation unheard of for seven centuries.

For five years, the unusual cohabitation in the smallest state in the world between the 265th pope in retirement and the 266th, Francis, went on without a hitch.

But as the “emeritus” Pope Benedict XVI, a

Read More Seven years after stepping down, Benedict fuels ‘two popes’ headache

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

China’s production of masks at 76% of capacity: official

in News

Published February 11, 2020, 12:50 PM

By Reuters
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s current production of masks is at 76% of total capacity, and getting workers to return to their jobs is key, said an official at the country’s top economic planner on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Masks are seen on a production line manufacturing masks at a factory in Shanghai, China January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China will resolve any issues that mask manufactures are facing such as financing or supply of materials, Ou Xiaoli, director of social development at the National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters.

China will also strengthen imports of masks, Ou said, adding that people should not be hoarding masks.

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Read More China’s production of masks at 76% of capacity: official

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Four from Hong Kong building show virus symptoms, Lam urges people to stay home

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Published February 11, 2020, 12:49 PM

By Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Four people evacuated from a residential building in Hong Kong where a man and woman confirmed with coronavirus lived have showed symptoms of the flu-like virus, fuelling concerns of a community outbreak in the Chinese-ruled city.

Personnel in protective gear prepare to evacuate residents from a public housing building following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Hong Kong, China February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The government said it was investigating drainage pipes in the building in Tsing Yi district in the New Territories amid worries the virus may have been spread through the system as the city goes on high alert to contain an outbreak.

Parts of Hong Kong, including restaurants, shopping malls

Read More Four from Hong Kong building show virus symptoms, Lam urges people to stay home

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Gatchalian: ‘Reduce, reuse & recycle’ a failure

in News

Published February 11, 2020, 12:38 PM

By Mario Casayuran

The government’s solid waste policy of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ (3Rs) is a failure.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
(SONNY ANGARA OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE / MANILA BULLETIN)

This after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday expressed dismay over a report by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that only 30 percent of barangays nationwide, or an estimated 12,614 out of 42,045, are practicing garbage segregation.

“The 3Rs is a failure, yung reuse, reduce, recycle because only 30 percent of the barangays conduct 3Rs, 70 percent ay tinatapon lang sa kung saan-saan,” Gatchalian stressed. (The 70 percent throws it anywhere.)

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, called out the DENR for failing to fully implement the Solid Waste Management

Read More Gatchalian: ‘Reduce, reuse & recycle’ a failure

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

EcoWaste coalition supports renewal of ABS-CBN franchise

in News

Published February 11, 2020, 12:33 PM

By Chito Chavez

Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition expressed grave alarm by “the mounting danger of ABS-CBN losing its congressional franchise, which is set to expire on 30 March 2020.’’

(Ecowaste Coalition FB Page / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero Grossly said she was upset by the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General asking the Supreme Court to forfeit the franchise of the media institution.
With this development, the Quezon City based group appealed to the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, which has jurisdiction on “all matters directly and principally relating to the grant, amendment, extension or revocation of franchises,” to convene itself and speedily consider bills seeking to renew the franchise

Read More EcoWaste coalition supports renewal of ABS-CBN franchise

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

2019-nCoV transmission in persons with no China travel history

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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Xinhua photo)

MANILA — The World Health Organization has expressed concern about 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019 n-CoV ARD) cases recorded in Europe transmitted by persons without travel history to China.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the cases in France and the UK were reported on Friday and Monday, respectively.

“The detection of this small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire. But for now, it’s only a spark and our objective remains containment,” Ghebreyesus said in a media briefing at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. “We call on all countries to use the window of opportunity we have to prevent a bigger fire.”

As of 6 a.m. Monday (Geneva time), there were 40,235 confirmed cases in China and 909 deaths. Outside China, there are 319 cases in 24 countries, with one death.

Health officials said the 2019 n-CoV ARD is capable of spreading through human-to-human contact and droplets carried through sneezing and coughing, and germs left on inanimate objects.

Its symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, and fever.

To identify how far and wide the 2019-nCoV has spread, the WHO started equipping laboratories with the capacity to rapidly diagnose cases.

“Without vital diagnostic capacity, countries are in the dark as to who has coronavirus or another disease with similar symptoms. We have now identified 168 labs around the world with the right technology to diagnose coronavirus,” Ghebreyesus said.

He added that test kits have been sent to Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Iran, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.

“Many of those countries have already started using them. Another shipment of 150,000 tests is being assembled in Berlin today (February 10), and is destined for more than 80 labs in all regions,” he said.

The African Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted training on the diagnosis of the 2019-nCoV in Senegal using the test kits sent by the WHO.

Representatives from 12 countries attended the training.

“Further training will take place in South Africa next week. WHO will continue working with all countries to prevent and detect rapidly new cases of coronavirus, and to save lives,” Ghebreyesus said. (PNA) 

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

DFA chief signs notice to scrap VFA; notification to be sent to US Embassy

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MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has signed the termination notice for the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, which will be delivered to the US Embassy in Manila immediately.

 

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said this over Twitter Tuesday.

 

 

“On the order of the President [Rodrigo Duterte] thru Executive Secretary [Salvador] Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin signed today the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which will delivered to the US Embassy in Manila fo…

Keep on reading: DFA chief signs notice to scrap VFA; notification to be sent to US Embassy

Duterte urges Filipinos to help boost local tourism amid nCoV scare

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MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte is urging Filipinos to visit the country’s tourist spots to boost domestic tourism and counter the threat of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Duterte issued the appeal on Monday during a meeting with tourism industry stakeholders.

In a press statement, Malacaang said “the Philippine tourism industry has a lot to offer” andstressed that the country has “good public health and law and order situation.”

Local tourist spots are also readily accessible, Duterte was quoted as saying.

The 2019 nCoV has already affected more than two dozen countries around the world.

The President added that some of the country’s major airlines and…

Keep on reading: Duterte urges Filipinos to help boost local tourism amid nCoV scare

2 of the 5 PUI’s in Quezon turned negative results

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Published February 11, 2020, 12:24 PM

By Danny Estacio 

LUCENA CITY — The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Quezon has reported that as of Monday noon, two of the five patients under investigation (PUI) were discharged and sent home after their specimens showed negative results for 2019 novel coronavirus.

IPHO head Dr. Grace Santiago said in her report to Quezon Governor Danilo Suarez that her office is still waiting for the results of the tests done on the remaining three PUI’s. The said five PUI’s have a history of travel to China, Hongkong, and Macau or Taiwan within the past 14 days. But, so far, Quezon still remains “Negative” of 2019 nCoV.

Santiago added that there were 12 persons under monitoring (PUM). These are people who

Read More 2 of the 5 PUI’s in Quezon turned negative results

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Philippine version of Korean variety show ‘Running Man’ coming soon

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MANILA, Philippines — South Korea’s longest-running variety show “Running Man” is getting a Philippine version soon.

GMA Network and South Korean television network SBS on Tuesday signed a contract to co-produce “Running Man” and bring it to Philippine television.

“Race START! GMA Network signs a co-production deal with SBS Korea for the Philippine franchise of Running Man!” GMA Network said in an Instagram post.

“We experienced the success in Vietnam and China and we’re expecting a lot in the Philippines also,” SBS Korea’s Chief Global Contents Officer Kim Yong-jae said, as seen in a separate Instagram post by GMA Network.

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Keep on reading: Philippine version of Korean variety show ‘Running Man’ coming soon

Año orders arrest of people spreading fake news about coronavirus

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MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Ao has ordered the country’s police force to investigate and arrest those responsible for spreading false information about the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV).

 

Ao said the situation on the 2019-nCoV is further exacerbated by the fact that there are individuals spreading erroneous information that is “more viral than the virus itself.”

 

“We already have enough on our plate. Hindi po sila nakakatulong sa paglutas ng ating problema bagkus mas pinapalala pa nila ang problema [They are not helping in solving the problem instead they are further exacerbating this pr…

Keep on reading: Año orders arrest of people spreading fake news about coronavirus

PNP to arrest purveyors of fake news about virus

in News

Published February 11, 2020, 12:08 PM

By Chito Chavez 

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Tuesday directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to leave no stones unturned in the arrest of groups or individuals spreading fake news about the 2019 novel Coronavirus (nCoV) to the public.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We will go after the perpetrators of false information on coronavirus because their acts are inimical to the interest of the general public,” Año said.

With the country facing a serious problem on nCoV,
Año stressed the need to end this “nuisance activity. Let’s not propagate erroneous information that is more viral than the virus itself. We already have enough on our plate.’’

Read More PNP to arrest purveyors of fake news about virus

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

3 NPA members surrender in S. Kudarat

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Google map of Senator Nonoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat.

COTABATO CITY – Three communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels yielded to authorities in Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat on Monday.

In a report to the Police Regional Office (PRO–12), Col. Reynaldo Celestino, chief of police of Senator Ninoy Aquino town, identified the surrenderers as Tito Pangki Timbangan, Rico Ingkas Sakilan, and Fob Kalay Sakilan, all members of the NPA’s Militia ng Bayan Guerilla Front operating in the mountainous areas of the municipality.

Celestino said the surrenderers belong to Indigenous People (IP) communities in the area.

“The program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on genuine and lasting peace, coupled with the active coordination of law enforcement agencies and trust of the community led to the surrender of the three NPA members,” Celestino said.

The surrenderers also turned over one homemade KG-9 9mm caliber pistol with a defaced serial number, one magazine and six ammunition, and one unit of homemade UZI 9mm caliber pistol with defaced serial number and magazine.

Joint personnel of the Senator Ninoy Aquino police; the PRO-12’s 1202nd Regional Mobile Force Battalion, the Army’s 37th Infantry Battalion, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency – 12 accepted the surrenderers at Sitio Sinukukan, Barangay Midtungok, Senator Ninoy Aquino.

Brigadier Gen. Alfred Corpus, chief of PRO-12, lauded the various government agencies instrumental for the surrender of the three rebels.

“The PRO-12 endeavors to end the local communist armed conflict in the region and let the people experience lasting peace,” Corpus said in a statement.

The NPA, together with the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the governments of the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Norway, and the Philippines. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

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