(Photo courtesy by Wall Street Journal)
FLAG-MAHARLIKA decries PH Government’s snub of available 20M Sinopharm Vaccine
MANILA — Filipino League of Advocates for Good Governance-Maharlika protested the Philippine government’s inaction over the generous allocation of 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine for Filipinos.
“Despite the allocation, and quite recently, pledge for donation of 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the country, our Health officials appear to be dragging their feet in grabbing this golden opportunity,” Ed Cordevilla, secretary-general of FLAG-Maharlika, said in an official press statement, “this is a strange attitude while the rest of the world is scrambling for available vaccines.”
According to the CIA World Factbook as of July 2020, the global population is 7,684,292,383 people or roughly 7.7 billion people.
Of that figure, 120 million people are in the Philippines.
With 7.7 billion people in the world, reality is it is impossible to vaccinate everyone and will take several years for this to happen. Each country especially the more developed countries are securing as many stocks for themselves so their economies can go back to normal.
With the obvious scarcity of Covid 19 Vaccine globally and with countries rushing to secure stocks, FLAG-MAHARLIKA decries the obvious snub of the Philippine Government of the Sinopharm’s vaccine.
The Philippine Government has made no mention of Sinopharm’s vaccine despite various representations both from the exclusive distributor and the Chinese Embassy.
In fact, all public announcements for the vaccine are for Sinovac which is different and a private Chinese company as compared to Sinopharm which is a China State-owned enterprise.
PH Covid-19 recovery tally rises by 500 to 467,475
MANILA – At least 500 more patients have recovered from the coronavirus disease, pushing the country’s overall tally of recovered cases to 467,475 on Thursday.
In its 4 p.m. case bulletin, the Department of Health (DOH) said the figures represent 92.1 percent of those who tested positive for the virus that has so far beaten the illness.
The agency also reported 1,783 new confirmed cases and 74 new deaths.
These figures brought the overall tally of active cases to 30,126 and the death toll to 10,116.
The DOH said about 84.8 percent of the active cases are mild, 8 percent are asymptomatic, 2.5 percent are severe, 0.40 percent are moderate, and 4.4 percent are in critical condition.
“There were five duplicates removed from the total case count as these three were recovered cases. Moreover, 15 cases previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths after final validation,” it added.
Quezon City topped the list of places that logged the most number of new cases with 99 infections.
It was followed by Rizal with 83; City of Manila with 78; Bulacan with 69; and Cavite with 66.
Binay backs call for tax deferment for tourism stakeholders
MANILA — Senator Nancy Binay today backed the appeal of tourism stakeholders for the deferment of the payment of local taxes this year due to massive losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Sana’y mapagbigyan ang ating mga tourism establishments sa hiling nilang deferment. Isa sa mga pinaka-naapektuhan ng pandemya ang tourism industry, kaya’t sana kahit kaunting leeway mabigyan man lang sila,” said Binay.
The Tourism Congress of the Philippines recently sent a letter to Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año seeking help in getting local government units to defer the payment of business taxes.
The TCP said it has received reports from its members that various LGUs have been issuing assessment fees for business taxes, with some assessments based on 2019 income.
The senator said tourism establishments shouldn’t be expected to be able to pay their taxes based on un-adjusted assessments, given that the sector had ground to a halt after the first quarter of 2020 after travel restrictions were imposed.
The country’s tourism receipts fell by 81 percent to PHP81.05 billion from January to November 2020, from PHP437.9 billion in the same period in 2019.
“Naiintindihan naman natin ang side ng mga LGUs. After all, taxes are the lifeblood of public services. But these establishments are also part of their constituency and they provide jobs for our people. Baka tuluyan na silang magsara kung pipiliting magbayad nang hindi naman talaga kaya,” Binay said.
She also urged the government, particularly the DILG and LGUs to engage in dialogue with tourism stakeholders to determine a solution to the latter’s request for concessions seen to aid the industry’s recovery.
Church group chide lawmakers to focus on more important problems, not Cha-cha
MANILA — The influential church group Council of the Laity of the Philippines (CLP) has criticized a proposal in the Lower House that seeks to revise economic provisions in the Constitution that limit foreign ownership of land and corporations in the country.
In recent developments, lawmakers have sought to ease restrictions and allow wider foreign ownership of land and businesses even as they urged approval of a bill that seeks to change the ownership and management of mass media firms, public utilities and educational institutions.
The constitution currently limits foreign ownership of corporations to not more than 40 percent, while media ownership and management are reserved for Filipinos only.
Lawmakers who proposed the changes said almost 1,500 cities across the Philippines back changes.
“The 1,489 members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines prepared a resolution in support of the surgical amendments including the lifting of restrictive economic provisions of the constitution,” Department of Interior and Local Government undersecretary Jonathan Malaya disclosed.
Malaya said constitutional reforms would lead to economic recovery by allowing more infusion of foreign investments and capital.
Pangasinan town allots P8-M budget for Covid-19 vax purchase
BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan – The municipal government of this town has allocated PHP8 million for the procurement of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine for its constituents once an approved brand is available in the country.
In an interview on Thursday, municipal information officer Resty Odon said the amount was realigned by the municipal government’s local school board headed by Mayor Cezar Quiambao.
“The PHP6-million realigned budget was from the Special Education Fund, which was allocated for the purchase of school supplies for the school year 2020-2021, while the PHP2 million was for the scholarship program,” he said.
He added the funds were not utilized due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The vaccination will be free and voluntary but the priorities are residents with community service cards that are available at the municipality’s Local Civil Registry Office, Odon said.
“Tayo po ay gagawa ng paraan upang ang lahat ng gustong magpabakuna ay mabigyan ng libreng bakuna (We will do everything so that everyone who wants to avail of the vaccine will be vaccinated),” Quiambao said during the launch of mass vaccination program survey.
The survey program was conducted on Jan. 18 to assess the number of residents who want to be immunized and identify the priorities for the initial vaccination.
DPWH finishes 3 isolation facilities in Benguet
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) here has completed and is ready to turn-over three isolation facilities this week and next week, which will give the province an additional 78 isolation beds.
Based on the report of the representative from the DPWH-Benguet Engineering District (BED) 1, they have completed the 16-beds isolation facility at the compound of the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) in this capital town.
Another facility — a dorm-type facility in Barangay Ucab, Itogon that has 42 beds, is also expected to be turned over next week.
The Ucab facility can be used as a multi-purpose hall after the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is over.
A representative from the DPWH-BED 2 also reported that the 20-beds isolation facility at Ambongdolan, Tublay town is also ready to be turned over.
Once used, it brings the provincial LGU-managed isolation facility to 413 from 355.
Aside from those already completed, the DPWH BED-1 has also allotted PHP40.6 million for the construction of six additional isolation facilities in Barangay Tawang, La Trinidad; Bayabas, Sablan; Ucab, Itogon; Bobok, Bokod; Twin Peaks, Tuba and another in Kabayan town.
This will give an additional 126 isolation beds for towns in Southern Benguet.
Governor Melchor Diclas said the different Benguet towns have their isolation facilities aside from the different district hospitals.
Biden signs 17 orders in sweeping erasure of Trump acts
WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden signed off Wednesday on 17 executive orders aimed at undoing much of his predecessor’s legacy on policies that span the gamut from immigration to climate and health policy.
Biden described the efforts as “starting points” as he begins his four years in office following his inauguration at the Capitol earlier in the day, saying his policy agenda is “bold and vital.”
“With the state of the nation today, I thought it’s no time to waste, get to work immediately,” Biden told reporters while donning a mask in the Oval Office. “There’s no time to start like today.”
The orders place the US on track to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, the landmark agreement aimed at rolling back carbon emissions that former President Donald Trump chose to unilaterally exit from in a process that was finalized Nov. 4. The accord seeks to limit global warming and achieve a carbon neutral world by 2050.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres quickly welcomed Biden’s action but cautioned “there is a very long way to go” before the agreement’s lofty goals are met.
“The climate crisis continues to worsen and time is running out to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and build more climate-resilient societies that help to protect the most vulnerable,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to the leadership of the United States in accelerating global efforts towards net zero, including by bringing forward a new nationally determined contribution with ambitious 2030 targets.”