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WHO reviewing new evidence on airborne coronavirus range

in Latest News

World Health Organization pointed Tuesday to “emerging evidence” that the coronavirus might spread by air further than previously thought, and warned the pandemic was still accelerating.

The WHO said it would put out a new scientific brief within days, after an international group of scientists concluded the virus could travel far beyond two meters.

The two-meter physical distancing guideline has been a major element in the fight against COVID-19, which has killed more than 538,000 people and infected over 11.6 million since it emerged in China last December.

Meanwhile, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic was showing no signs of slowing down, af…

Keep on reading: WHO reviewing new evidence on airborne coronavirus range

Waterspout seen off Panglao Island town coast

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TAGBILARAN CITY —- A waterspout was seen off the coast of Dauis town on Panglao Island on Wednesday morning.

Ima Curiba was driving her car to a gasoline station along Gallares Street in Tagbilaran City around 11:45 a.m. when she saw the waterspout locally known as ipo-ipo.

She went live on Facebook to record the phenomenon, which disappeared after two minutes.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a waterspout is a whirling column of air and water mist.

Keep on reading: Waterspout seen off Panglao Island town coast

Kin thinks murder of Manila City chief prosecutor well planned

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MANILA, Philippines — The nephew of Manila City’s Senior Prosecutor Jovencio Senados believes that the daring daylight ambush that killed his uncle on Tuesday was well hatched.

According to Felji Bagares, who served as the driver of the slain city chief prosecutor, they were on their way to the Manila City Hall from Laguna when he noticed a red Toyota Innova tailing them.

“Pagbaba galing Skyway may napansin ako kasabayan na pulang Innova… Nung paliko kami Quirino Avenue, inunahan kami Innova tapos bigla huminto ‘yung Innova na pula tapos bigla huminto Monterong itim. Doon na binakbakan (‘yung tito ko),” he narrated to reporters near the scene where they were attacked by still u…

Keep on reading: Kin thinks murder of Manila City chief prosecutor well planned

PH economy awash with cash, but lockdown crimped May loan growth, says BSP

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MANILA, Philippines – Bank loans grew at a slower pace in May as the Philippine government’s quarantine measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic prevented more fresh credit from being underwritten despite lower interest rates, according to the central bank.

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said its preliminary data showed that outstanding loans of universal and commercial banks — excluding their short-term deposits with the regulator — grew by 11.3 percent in May.

“The deceleration reflects in part constrained economic activity following the imposition of quarantine measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak,” the central bank said, adding tha…

Keep on reading: PH economy awash with cash, but lockdown crimped May loan growth, says BSP

4 NPA rebels yield in Lake Sebu

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Brig. Gen. Michael John Dubria, Police Regional Office-12 director (Photo courtesy of PRO-12)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Four more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) unit operating in the hinterlands of Lake Sebu town, South Cotabato province have surrendered to government authorities, a police official said on Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Michael John Dubria, Police Regional Office (PRO-12) director, said the rebels yielded voluntarily along with their firearms on Tuesday in Sitio Lamfetok, Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu.

He said the surrender was an offshoot of a series of negotiations facilitated by the intelligence team of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office, in coordination with community leaders and the Lake Sebu municipal police station.

The initiative was supported by the PRO-12’s Intelligence Unit (RIU-12) and Mobile Force Battalion, Philippine National Police-Intelligence Group, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency-12, and the Army’s 5th Special Forces Battalion.

Dubria said the two of the returnees were former team leaders while the two others were regular cadres of Platoon Samsung, Guerilla Front 73-Musa of the NPA Far South Mindanao Region.

They surrendered an M14 rifle with a magazine loaded with 10 bullets and a TEC-9 Type SMG caliber 9-mm handgun with one magazine and 10 bullets.

The four are currently in the custody of the RIU-12 in Camp Fermin Lira here for debriefing and documentation.

Last week, six NPA rebels under the Front 73 also surrendered to Army troopers in Lake Sebu. They yielded two M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, a Carbine rifle, one 9-mm pistol, and assorted bullets.

In the last two months, a total of 46 NPA combatants have surrendered in Lake Sebu through the efforts of the RIU-12.

“The increasing number of CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA militants indicates that most of them are already waking up and aware of the deceptions of the communist ideology,” Dubria said in a statement.

He said they expect more rebels will also surrender in the coming days and avail of the government’s reintegration offer through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

The program provides rebel returnees with financial and livelihood assistance as well as other support packages from various government agencies. (PNA

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Malaysian biz group donates medical supplies to PH

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DONATION. Defense Secretary and NDRRMC chairperson Delfin Lorenzana (2nd from left) receives medical supplies donation from the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines Inc. (MCCI), through its patron Malaysian Ambassador Norman Muhamad (2nd from right) in a ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday (July 8, 2020). The donation consists of personal protective equipment sets, surgical masks, KN95 masks, goggles, foot bath disinfectants and isolation gowns. (Photo courtesy of DND)

MANILA – The Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines, Inc. (MCCI) on Wednesday donated assorted medical supplies to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in support of its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) containment efforts.

Defense Secretary and NDRRMC chairperson Delfin Lorenzana, together with NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad and other ranking officials of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), received the donation from MCCI, through its patron and Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman Muhamad, president and co-founder Edward Ling, vice president and co-founder Eric Yam, Philippine special envoy to Malaysia, lawyer Wencelito Andanar and other officials from the Malaysian embassy.

The donation consists of 200 personal protective equipment sets, 4,000 surgical masks, 1,000 KN95 masks, 200 goggles, 14 foot bath disinfectants, and 50 isolation gowns.

“The NDRRMC would like to extend its utmost gratitude to the donors. The continuous effort of various sectors to assist the country in the fight against Covid-19 is undeniably a tremendous support to the overall response,” the agency said in a statement.

All PPE sets donated by MCCI will be distributed by OCD to various hospitals in the country.

Malaysia is the first member-state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to create a foreign business chamber in the Philippines that aims to achieve a successful and harmonious diversity of trade and culture between the two countries. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Howie Severino gets apprehended for putting down mask to sip water in QC

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MANILA, Philippines — Journalist Howie Severino was apprehended by government authorities in Quezon City for “improper wearing of mask” but was freed after his reason was justified: He has to drink water, an official of the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) said Wednesday.

In a phone interview with reporters, DPOS General Elmo San Diego said his men were conducting a “one-time big-time” operation to apprehend quarantine violators on Mother Ignacia when they saw Severino pull down his mask.

“Nakita si Howie nakababa yung maskara. Ang amin kasi improper wearing of mask is tantamount to no mask din yun,” San Diego said.

(Howie’s mask was pulled dow…

Keep on reading: Howie Severino gets apprehended for putting down mask to sip water in QC

Lagman: My scorecard shows 8-0 sweep in favor of ABS-CBN’s franchise

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MANILA, Philippines — For Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, media giant ABS-CBN should be granted a 25-year franchise as his scorecard shows an 8-0 sweep in favor of the network with regard to the issues hounding its franchise application.

Lagman said this Wednesday after 12 hearings have been held to discuss various issues hounding ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bid such as the citizenship of the network’s chair emeritus Gabby Lopez, the Lopez family’s reclamation of the network after the EDSA Revolution, involvement in alleged labor violations as well as tax-related issues, and the alleged political bias of the network, among others.

“My scorecard shows an 8-0 sweep of the maj…

Keep on reading: Lagman: My scorecard shows 8-0 sweep in favor of ABS-CBN’s franchise

BSP chief: COVID-19 pandemic shows ‘increasing importance’ of digital transactions

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MANILA, Philippines — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the “increasing importance” of digital transactions in the country, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Ben Diokno said Wednesday.

In a pre-State of the Nation Address forum, Diokno noted that transactions using e-payment services such as PESONet and InstaPay increased during the imposition of the coronavirus lockdown.

“It was observed that the volume and value of the combined transactions of PESOnet and InstaPay during the lockdown surged while the volume and value of check payments and ATM withdrawals declined,” Diokno said.

InstaPay enables an account holder to transfer money up to P50,000 per day, immed…

Keep on reading: BSP chief: COVID-19 pandemic shows ‘increasing importance’ of digital transactions

Dong Li, the Chinese woman who thwacked Makati traffic enforcers, faces criminal raps

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MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese woman is facing criminal complaints of physical injury and disobedience to a person of authority after engaging in a heated argument with traffic enforcers in Makati City, police said Wednesday.


Makati City police station identified the suspect as Dong Li, 27, a resident of Barangay Bel-Air in Makati.


The suspect was arrested on Tuesday afternoon after she allegedly argued with traffic enforcers and whacked them with an umbrella, according to police.


Makati police said Li allegedly punched the face of a member of the Makati Public Safety Department along Makati Avenue corner Jupiter Stree…

Keep on reading: Dong Li, the Chinese woman who thwacked Makati traffic enforcers, faces criminal raps

Saudi govt buried remains of 3 OFWs without consent from families—Bello

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MANILA, Philippines — The Saudi government has buried the remains of three overseas Filipino workers who died of the coronavirus disease 2019 without the consent of their families, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Wednesday.

Bello said he even called the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the Philippines Abdullah Al Bussairy to raise the matter.

“Merong tatlo na nailibing without the permission of the next of kin. In fact, I even called Ambassador Bussairy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to question the burial of the three OFWs without the consent of the families,” Bello said in a press briefing.

“When I talked to the Saudi Ambassador, His Excellency Bussairy, I expre…

Keep on reading: Saudi govt buried remains of 3 OFWs without consent from families—Bello

COVID-19 cases in Eastern Visayas breach 600

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TACLOBAN CITY —- The number of coronavirus cases in Eastern Visayas breached 600 on Wednesday with the addition of 10 new cases.

The new COVID-19 cases in the region involved nine locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and one returning overseas worker.

Dr. Minerva Molon, the director of the Department of Health in Eastern Visayas, said at least 385 LSIs were infected with COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

Molon said at least 486 persons, who contracted the virus in the region, nonetheless have recovered.

She attributed the high recovery rate to the local government units’ move to immediately isolate COVID-19 patients to contain the spread of the virus.

Keep on reading: COVID-19 cases in Eastern Visayas breach 600

Smuggled frozen food seized from Angeles City warehouse

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO —- The Angeles City government on Wednesday raided a warehouse containing smuggled Peking duck, chicken feet and drumstick, and pork.

Dr. Christian Arcilla, city veterinarian, said the warehouse, located in Barangay Anunas, was not registered with the city government.

The Bureau of Customs was still assessing the value of the items, he said, adding that these were kept in two refrigerated container vans.

This was the second warehouse with the same contents that were raided in Angeles City. INQ

Keep on reading: Smuggled frozen food seized from Angeles City warehouse

4.1 earthquake jolts Eastern Samar, no damage reported

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TACLOBAN CITY —- No damage was reported after a 4.1 magnitude earthquake jolted Eastern Samar on Tuesday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

Based on Phivolcs’ bulletin, the quake occurred at 5:52 p.m. in Taft town, Eastern Samar.

The quake was felt in Taft at Intensity 3 and the nearby town of Sulat at Intensity 2.

It was tectonic in origin and had a depth of 021 kilometers.

Keep on reading: 4.1 earthquake jolts Eastern Samar, no damage reported

French bus driver brain dead after assault for refusing maskless riders

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A bus driver in France was declared brain dead Monday after being attacked for refusing to let aboard passengers without face masks in line with rules imposed to combat the coronavirus.

A police source in Bayonne, near the ritzy Atlantic resort of Biarritz in southwestern France, said five people were now in custody over the incident on Sunday evening.

The source said the driver, in his fifties, tried to prevent a man, who was not wearing a face mask, from boarding the bus with his dog.

The driver also asked four other passengers, who had already mounted the bus without masks, to get off.

Face masks are mandatory on public transport in France, where the COVID-19 outbreak …

Keep on reading: French bus driver brain dead after assault for refusing maskless riders

Ending poverty by 2030 a fading dream: UN expert

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GENEVA – The global coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has pushed more than 250 million people to the brink of starvation and dashed hopes of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, a UN expert said in a report on Tuesday.

The report was presented to the UN Human Rights Council by Olivier De Schutter, special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and was prepared by his predecessor Philip Alston.

“Growth alone, without far more robust redistribution of wealth, would fail to tackle poverty effectively,” De Schutter said. ”Based on historic growth rates, it would take 200 years to eradicate poverty under a USD5 a day line and would require a 173-fold increase in global GDP.”

The report criticized the way governments have banked on economic growth to lift people out of poverty.

“Many world leaders, economists, and pundits have enthusiastically promoted a self-congratulatory message, proclaiming progress against poverty to be one of the greatest human achievements,” it noted. “The reality is that billions face few opportunities, countless indignities, unnecessary hunger, and preventable death, and do not enjoy basic human rights.”

New strategies needed

The report said the UN’s 2030 Agenda to eradicate poverty through Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relies too much on a poverty line set so low by the World Bank that it allows governments to claim progress.

It said that the Covid-19 pandemic will push 176 million more people into extreme poverty, compounding long-standing neglect of low-income people, including women, migrant workers and refugees.

The international community’s abysmal record on tackling poverty, inequality, and disregard for human life far precede this pandemic, the report said.

“In too many cases, the promised benefits of growth either don’t materialize or aren’t shared,” it added. “The global economy has doubled since the end of the Cold War, yet half the world lives under USD5.50 a day, primarily because the benefits of growth have largely gone to the wealthiest.”

The world needs new strategies, genuine mobilization, empowerment, and accountability “to avoid sleepwalking towards assured failure while pumping out endless bland reports,” the report said.

Tax justice is vital to ensure governments have the money needed for social protection: in 2015, multinationals shifted an estimated 40 percent of their profits to tax havens, while global corporate tax rates have fallen from an average of 40.38 percent in 1980 to 24.18 percent in 2019. (Anadolu)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

PSC, POC push for resumption of training for Olympic hopefuls

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MANILA – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) agreed to endorse for approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the resumption of training of four Tokyo Olympic-bound athletes and several hopefuls.

During the PSC Board meeting with POC president Bambol Tolentino and secretary general Ed Gastanes on Tuesday, the sports officials discussed plans to resume the training of Tokyo-bound pole vaulter Ernest Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial (men’s middleweight) and Irish Magno (women’s flyweight), as well as those who will compete in the Olympic qualifiers.

“We initiated the meeting with POC with the good of our national athletes in mind. Lagi yan priority, as Chairman Butch Ramirez always says,” PSC officer in charge, Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, said.

Fernandez said the PSC board wants to leave no stone unturned to ensure the Olympic hopefuls keep their momentum.

“Covid-19 notwithstanding, we must never lose sight of our goal to give our best for our first Olympic gold,” he said.

Fernandez, however, said the final decision would remain with the IATF.

 “We can only recommend but they have the final say,” he added.

 The PSC board has already identified six facilities at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Manila City and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City, which may be available for training.

These are the Fencing Hall, Multi-Purpose Center, Strength and Conditioning Building, Dormitory Training Hall in Philsports, and the Taekwondo and Boxing gyms at the RMSC.

Marc Velasco, PSC’s national training director, informed that the agency would conduct a “massive disinfection of facilities on both complexes to ensure the safety of our athletes should they restart training.”

Some facilities of RMSC and Philsports are being used as quarantine centers for suspected and mild-positive Covid-19 cases.

Fernandez added that they are open to the private sector and local government units with low to no-cases of Covid-19 infection to “adopting” other sports training for their respective Olympic qualifying competitions.

The PSC will next meet with Tokyo Olympics Chef de Mission Nonong Araneta to discuss the POC’s projection on our Olympic bid.

“The POC will know who has and where we have a high percentage of qualifying so we will consult them and move from there,” explained Fernandez. (PR)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

PNP Eastern Visayas to hire 179 new cops

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NEW COPS. Some of the 234 recruits in Eastern Visayas take oath as new members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in a ceremony held at the regional police office in Palo, Leyte on July 1, 2020. The police regional office on Wednesday (July 8, 20200 said they will enlist a total of 179 new police officers under its 2nd cycle recruitment program for 2020. (Photo courtesy of PNP)

PALO, Leyte – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday started its online recruitment for aspiring cops in Eastern Visayas.

Col. Ma. Bella Rentuaya, PNP Eastern Visayas spokesperson, told the Philippine News Agency that the regional office will enlist a total of 179 new police officers under its 2nd cycle recruitment program for 2020.

“For this cycle, no female applicants will be accepted because their slots were already filled in with the excess from the last recruitment program,” she said in a phone interview.

Interested applicants must register at and secure the required documents to be uploaded or filled out online.

Required documents include the personal data sheet, an authenticated copy of the certificate of eligibility and transcript of records or diploma, photocopy of two government-issued identification cards and tax identification number card, PSA issued birth certificate with the receipt, affidavit of the undertaking of the non-pending case, training certificates, and age, height, weight, and educational waiver from the National Police Commission, if applicable.

A whole body, a bust size in formal attire, and two 2×2 size with name tag pictures, all colored in white background must also be uploaded.

“Applicants who will submit incomplete documentary requirements will not be processed. The PNP online recruitment will only accept documents in jpeg, png, and PDF format” Rentuaya said.

Successful candidates will be appointed to the initial rank of Police Patrolman with a gross monthly salary of PHP29,668 with other mandated allowances and benefits, the PNP said.

On July 1, a total of 234 recruits in Eastern Visayas took their oath as new members of the PNP at the regional office here.

The new cops – 196 males and 38 females – are part of over 1,300 online applicants in the first cycle recruitment program for 2020.

The region has more than 8,000 police personnel assigned to the regional office here and six provinces. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Gov’t to offer up to P100k loans for tuition payment — Dominguez

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MANILA, Philippines — The government will be offering loans for tuition up to P100,000 by September, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III announced Wednesday.

In a pre-State of the Nation Address forum, Dominguez said the Social Security System (SSS) will offer a loan program of up to P100,000 for the tuition payment of its members’ beneficiaries.

“The SSS will launch in September an educational loan program for its members to help pay for tuition and other school fees of their nominated student beneficiaries,” Dominguez said.

“The maximum loan amount that can be taken out by a borrower for a given academic school year is P100,000. This will be payable after five years from …

Keep on reading: Gov’t to offer up to P100k loans for tuition payment — Dominguez

More Covid-19 labs to open in Bacolod City

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BIO-LAB TOUR. Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia (in red) and wife Elsa, with Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran (partly hidden), check out some of the equipment at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital Biosafety Molecular Laboratory during a familiarization tour on Tuesday (July 7, 2020). The PHP20-million bio-lab funded by the city government is set to open on July 11. (Photo courtesy of Bacolod City PIO)

BACOLOD CITY – More coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) laboratories are set to open here in the coming days, a development seen to fast-track the release of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results of city residents.

The city government-funded Level 3 Biosafety Molecular Laboratory at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) will be unveiled on July 11.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia, with Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and other city officials, toured the biosafety laboratory on Tuesday ahead of the scheduled opening.

“The city is investing PHP20 million for this bio-lab and we can definitely say that it is worth it. It was a unanimous decision of our city officials to make this come true because we are all aware of its major positive impact in our fight against Covid-19,” Leonardia said.

The CLMMRH bio-lab will start to operate once it is given a license by the Department of Health (DOH) after the conduct of proficiency testing on Wednesday.

The city government allotted PHP14 million for the building and other structures and PHP4.8 million for the procurement of equipment reagents and test kits.

On Tuesday, the Bacolod Queen of Mercy Hospital (BQMH) Bio-Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory was inaugurated ahead of its scheduled operation on July 13.

“We salute the Bacolod Queen of Mercy Hospital for their impact project. This is the call of the times and their institution has proven again its responsiveness and relevance to the community. With the strong participation of the private sector, the city becomes more equipped in this fight against Covid-19,” Leonardia said in a statement.

City Administrator Em Ang, who represented Leonardia during the unveiling rites, said the bio-lab would complement the operation of the Bacolod Respiratory Referral Center (BRRC).

The hospital hosts the BRRC in partnership with the city government.

“We would like to thank the BQMH for the meaningful partnership, especially in this time of Covid-19,” Ang said.

Dr. Evangeline Johnson, board chair of the BQMH, said the laboratory would begin its operation after the hospital management signs a memorandum of agreement with the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City as part of the requirements for the issuance of license.

It will have a capacity to conduct 120 Covid-19 tests per day or about 400 to 600 tests per week, she added.

Earlier, The Doctors’ Hospital, Inc. here also opened its own bio-lab in collaboration with Mount Grace Hospitals, Inc. and United Laboratories.

The Molecular Laboratory being set up by Philippine Red Cross Negros Occidental – Bacolod City Chapter will also open soon.

In Negros Occidental, the Capitol-owned Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) Molecular Laboratory in Silay City has been operating since the first week of June after being certified by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to perform Covid-19 tests. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Domestic travel seen as ‘catalyst’ for rebooting virus-hit Philippine tourism

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MANILA, Philippines — Domestic tourism will serve as the “catalyst” for restarting Philippine tourism which has been heavily battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Wednesday.

According to Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato, the future of tourism will “depend largely on the trust and confidence of our markets that is really enshrined in the Tourism Response and Recovery Program (TRRP).”

“The focus of the TRRP of the Department of Tourism is to initially respond to the urgent needs of the tourism stakeholders so we link them to government financial institutions for assistance and we have closely worked with our legislators in crafting several ver…

Keep on reading: Domestic travel seen as ‘catalyst’ for rebooting virus-hit Philippine tourism

Pussy Riot member faces new charges in Russia

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MOSCOW — A member of the Pussy Riot protest group has been charged with failing to properly notify Russian authorities about his Canadian citizenship, officials said Tuesday.

The charges filed Tuesday came a day after Russian activist Pytor Verzilov was released after serving 15 days in jail for swearing in public. He said he was assaulted in what he claimed was a provocation staged by police and that there was no evidence he swore.

The 15-day sentence followed Verzilov’s questioning in connection with a protest against the Kremlin last year.

Verzilov, who was born in Canada, has Russian and Canadian citizenship. Russians are required by law to inform the authorities a…

Keep on reading: Pussy Riot member faces new charges in Russia

GenSan records 5th Covid-19 case

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Department of Health-Region 12’s (Soccsksargen) Covid-19 situation report as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases here has increased to five after another returning resident with travel history to Metro Manila AND Saudi Arabia tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

Arjohn Gangoso, health education and promotion officer of the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12, said in a situation report that the latest patient was a 24-year-old female who returned home from Manila on June 29.

Gangoso said the patient turned out positive for the disease in the confirmatory reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing at the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City.

She is currently in stable condition and confined at the dedicated Covid-19 patient care center of the Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital (DJPRH), he added.

Dr. Ryan Aplicador, DJPRH chief, said Wednesday the patient was among the two new suspect Covid-19 patients admitted at the facility last weekend.

Aplicador said the returning residents were subjected to swab collection on Monday for RT-PCR test after manifesting what appeared to be symptoms of the disease.

Two other confirmed Covid-19 patients, both with only mild symptoms, were under close observation at the facility, he added.

“Four of our suspect patients already tested negative in the RT-PCR tests and two were already recommended for discharge,” he told reporters.

Aplicador said that while all Covid-19 patients were properly isolated and not exposed to the public, residents should continue to strictly follow the health and safety standards set by the DOH amid the continuing pandemic.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) has already reached 78, with two confirmed deaths. The recovered patients remained at 44. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Brazil’s president says hydroxychloroquine to cure his virus

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he is confident that he will swiftly recover from the new coronavirus thanks to treatment with hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that has not been proven effective against COVID-19.

Bolsonaro said he tested positive for the new coronavirus on Tuesday after months of downplaying its severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country.

The president told reporters he underwent a lung X-ray on Monday after experiencing fever, muscle aches, and malaise. As of Tuesday, his fever had subsided, he said, and he attributed the improvement to hydroxychloroquine.

He stepped back from the journalists and removed his…

Keep on reading: Brazil’s president says hydroxychloroquine to cure his virus

Baguio dads asked to okay PPP-lease on P6-B market dev’t

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BEST OFFER. Mayor Benjamin Magalong confers with city budget officer Leticia Clemente on the best way to undertake the development of the Baguio city market which for 25 years has been wanting development. Two proponents are eyeing the grant of the contract to develop the market – SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Robinsons Land Corporation. (PNA photo by Pigeon Lobien)

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong urged on Monday city councilors to approve a public-private partnership lease for the PHP6-billion rehabilitation of the Baguio public market.

“It’s either we go into a PPP-lease or PPP-joint venture,” Magalong said as he urged city councilors to act the soonest to be able to provide for the market vendors.

The latter option is where the city government and the proponent will jointly go into putting up the market.

Magalong and city budget officer Leticia Clemente appeared on Monday afternoon before the city council’s regular session and provided modules that could be the choice on how the city market will be developed.

Clemente based the projections on a PHP6 billion, seven-story building that will have a two-story parking lot at the basement, two floors for market vendors, and the rest for commercial spaces.

The model was a city council approved design made by a private group.

Using comparative financial projections, Clemente said the city could go into equity financing or own fund sources where the city could get back its investment in 10.91 years.

On the other hand, a debt financing scheme for the city could give a payback year of 13.85 years.

A PPP on a lease scheme, on the other hand, has a payback year of 17.64 years wherein the city will own two floors for the public market using the three-hectare lot and based on the highest rental rate.

A PPP- joint venture, on the other hand, has payback years of 20.24 years.

Magalong, however, doused all expectations as the first two options may look the most profitable for the city as Baguio does not have the financial capability to undertake any of the two.

That will mean, the city has to use its annual developmental fund of PHP200 million “sacrificing” all other important projects that are earmarked under the said fund.

“Unless if you like to sacrifice all-important projects under the developmental fund which we will use to finance or pay up debt,” said Magalong.

“It is like oranges and apples, the only comparison is a PPP-lease or PPP-joint venture,” he said.

Magalong said the city council needs to authorize the Public-Private Partnership for the People (P4) screening committee tasked to evaluate proposals for the market upgrade.

He pointed out the committee, chaired by city administrator Bonifacio dela Pena, is still determining which of the companies – SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Robinsons Land Corporation – will be granted the Original Proponent Status (OPS).

The two companies have separate proposals in the best way to undertake the project through either a PPP-lease or PPP -joint venture.

From there, if the parties agree – city and proponent – a term of reference will be adopted that will still undergo another process where any other proponents could challenge the “best proposal” or a “Swiss Challenge”.

Under the challenge, other interested developers can still bid.

The OPS, however, can match the winning bid for the right to develop the market.The entire process will take at least eight-months, dela Pena said. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

2 foreigners nabbed for kidnap of Malaysian in Pampanga

in News

ARRESTED. Officials of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group on Wednesday (July 8, 2020) present two foreigners (left) who were arrested in an operation in Angeles City, Pampanga. Rano Herman, an Indonesian national, and Ong Way Plak, a Malaysian national, were arrested for kidnapping Lee Jun Sheng who was later rescued in a follow-up operation. (Photo courtesy of PNP-AKG)

MANILA – Two foreigners involved in the kidnapping of a Malaysian national were arrested in an entrapment operation in Angeles City, Pampanga, the Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) said on Wednesday.

In a press briefing in Camp Crame, PNP-AKG director, Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo identified the suspects as Indonesian national Rano Herman and Malaysian national Ong Way Plak, who were arrested at a parking lot of a mall in Barangay Malabanias around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The still unidentified Filipino driver of the suspects remains at large after escaping from the operation.

The victim, Lee Jun Sheng, was later rescued in a dormitory in Angeles City after an interrogation of the suspects.

The incident was reported earlier by the Office of the Representative from the Embassy of Malaysia through Consul Abdul Samad Ismail.

Based on the report, the police were informed that the kidnappers demanded 12,000 Chinese renminbi (more than PHP84,000) additional ransom from the victim’s family.

Recovered pieces of evidence at the crime scene were one white Toyota Hi-ace van used by the suspects, ID cards and other personal belongings inside the vehicle.

The suspects are now detained at the AKG headquarters in Camp Crame for filing of appropriate charges in court. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Cebuana Lhuillier responds to new normal, fast tracks drive for digital transformation

in World News

Cebuana Lhuillier, the leading microfinancial services provider, has taken a bold leap into the future with the introduction of the eCebuana App. The app boasts brand new features to enhance connectivity for Ka-Cebuanas everywhere.

“The eCebuana app is one of our many digital initiatives set to transform the company into a full-fledged microfinancial services company supported by groundbreaking technology which can meet the various microfinancial needs of our clientele who usually have difficulty accessing digital services, let alone microfinancial services.” said Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO, Jean Henri Lhuillier.

The eCebuana App enables Cebuana Lhuillier clients to conveniently access microfinancial services such as Micro Savings, Money Remittance, Bills Payment, and E-load services among others. 

With the mobile app, users can transfer money from their Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings accounts to other Micro Savings accounts, or have the money picked up at any Cebuana Lhuillier branch with 20% less on

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Photo Credit: BusinessMirror

A deeply divided Poland chooses a president in runoff vote

in Latest News


WARSAW, Poland — Two bitter rivals are heading into a razor’s-edge presidential runoff election Sunday in Poland that is seen as an important test of populism in Europe after a campaign that exacerbated a conservative-liberal divide in the country.


The tough campaign has seen strains of homophobia and anti-Semitism, and both sides have sought backing from rival political camps in Washington.


President Andrzej Duda, a nationalist and conservative, is seeking a second term, but he faces a tough challenge from liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. The first round in late June eliminated nine other candidates, leaving the two rivals, both 48.


Keep on reading: A deeply divided Poland chooses a president in runoff vote

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