Duterte willing to bet presidency to prove Galvez’s integrity
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday expressed his willingness to gamble his presidency to prove that National Policy Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., is a man of honor and has no links to corruption.
“Ipusta ko ‘yung presidency ko. Walang graft ‘yan at si Secretary Galvez, kilala ko (I will bet my presidency on Galvez. He is not involved in graft practices. I know him),” Duterte said in a speech delivered in Jolo, Sulu.
He made the statement after some senators earlier questioned Galvez’s alleged refusal to disclose the prices of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines that the Philippine government would receive from at least seven drugmakers.
The President vouched for Galvez’s integrity, saying the vaccine czar is “doing everything he can” to help the country succeed in its fight against Covid-19.
He also said he saw Galvez’s potential to serve the government when the latter played a key role in the 2017 Marawi siege.
A former military man, Galvez was among the generals who led the five-month battle against a terrorist group in Marawi City in 2017.
“I was there in Marawi when we were fighting the Islamists and I saw in him the… Kaya noong pag-retire niya, kinuha ko. Tapos ngayon ito, ibinigay ko sa kanya lahat (So when he retired, I chose him to be part of my Cabinet. And now, I gave him the task [to lead the vaccination drive]),” Duterte said.
Alvarez-Diamante ‘alternative’ tandem looms
MANILA — Amid rumors that the opposition is in disarray with the possible dropping out of Vice President Leni Robredo from the presidential race next year, a possible tandem of former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez and Vice Mayors League of the Philippines (VLMP) executive vice president Democrito “Aljun” Diamante is now shaping up as an “alternative” tandem.
Some political analysts said the Alvarez-Diamante will also be a “force to reckon with” as the Davao del Norte congressman has a large following in Mindanao while the Tuburan, Cebu vice mayor has command votes from the Visayas.
Alvarez earlier said his new party Reporma will focus on “voter education” on who will be the country’s rightful president.
He neither confirmed nor deny rumors that he himself wants to run for president.
But Alvarez recently frowned on the prospects that billionaires Ramon S. Ang and former Senate President Manny Villar may run for president next year.
Taguig preps facilities for Covid-19 jabs rollout
MANILA – Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano on Saturday announced that the city is already setting up four mega-quarantine vaccination centers and 40 community centers for the rollout of the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program.
In his weekly video report posted on the city’s official Facebook page, Cayetano said one of these vaccination centers includes the Lakeshore complex in Barangay Lower Bicutan.
He said a dry-run will be scheduled in these areas to be witnessed by representatives of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and other agencies.
He added that 40 schools that would serve as community vaccination centers were also being readied to ensure that all logistical requirements were in place upon the vaccines’ arrival.
As for vaccine storage, Cayetano said the local government has inked an agreement with world-class Orca Cold Chain Solutions Inc. for the use of its 6,500-square-meter facility in Barangay Bagumbayan.
POEA to hold another online job fair in February
MANILA – Job opportunities await aspiring migrant workers at an online job fair to be held next month, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced on Saturday.
POEA chief Bernard Olalia said they had initial talks with 10 local recruitment agencies for the online job fair.
“We have talked with the Public Employment Service Offices – Olongapo for the second online job fair,” Olalia said in a Laging Handa briefing.
He added that the main purpose of holding the job fair is to defeat illegal recruitment.
“The purpose of the online job fair is to address online scams,” Olalia said, advising the public to wait for their announcement on the exact date of the event or visit their website at http://www.poea.gov.ph.
Coinciding with its 87th founding anniversary, the Department of Labor and Employment held an online job fair last month, offering more than 21,000 overseas and local jobs.
NPA member turned hitman killed in NegOcc
MANILA – A communist terrorist group member turned gun-for-hire was killed in an encounter with police officers in Negros Occidental on Friday night.
In a statement on Saturday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas said the suspect Emmanuel Sampani was killed after he drew his weapon when confronted by agents of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) in Barangay Dulao, Bago City, Negros Occidental around 10 p.m.
The suspect was armed with three handguns when he shot it out with lawmen, which resulted in his death.
Recovered from the suspect said the three handguns, a hand-held radio, a mobile phone, and a wallet containing various IDs.
Police records revealed that Sampani was a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Narciso Antaso Aramil Command (NAAC) operating in Rizal Province. He was transferred to Quezon province to evade arrest when the court issued an arrest order against him.
Online sellers urged to keep Ilocos Norte ASF-free
LAOAG CITY – The Provincial Veterinary Office of Ilocos Norte appealed to online sellers to cooperate with local authorities to keep the province free from African swine fever (ASF).
Provincial veterinarian, Dr. Loida Valenzuela, on Friday said online meat selling is seen as the culprit for the spread of ASF based on new outbreaks, which were recorded after community quarantine protocols were relaxed.
“Ilocos Norte needs the full cooperation of everyone. Online sellers trying to bring in pork, please, I beg for your cooperation. Let us keep Ilocos Norte free of ASF,” Valenzuela said in a statement.
This came after local authorities intercepted undocumented pork products at a quarantine checkpoint in Badoc town earlier this week.
Valenzuela said only pork products coming from ASF-free areas would be allowed entry in the province.
Transporters must present a veterinary health certificate, shipping permit and certificate of laboratory issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry, veterinary quarantine clearance, compliance as a breeder, and sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance.
DOH sets 2-day vaccination training for Benguet health workers
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Health (DOH) has set a two-day training course for local health officers ahead of the rollout of the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program.
Dr. Mercy Calpito of the provincial health office said Friday the training course, scheduled on January 26 to 27, would be attended by provincial and municipal health officers, rural health physicians, national immunization program coordinators, supply and logistics officers, and local epidemiology and surveillance officers.
The provinces of Abra and Ifugao will hold a similar training course on the same dates while Apayao, Kalinga, and the Mountain Province will conduct theirs on January 28 and 29. Baguio City completed its training on Friday.
Calpito said a total of 24,668,128 individuals are included in the priority population for the vaccination drive, which includes medical front-liners, senior citizens, indigents, and uniformed personnel.
Rocco Nacino, volleyball player Melissa Gohing exchange vows aboard naval warship
MANILA—Award winning actor Rocco Nacino and volleyball star Melissa Gohing are now married.
Two months after their engagement, Rocco and Melissa exchanged “I Dos” in a military wedding onboard a naval warship at Pier 13 in South Harbor on January 21.
The Kapuso actor/navy reservist and the seasoned libero sealed their union before a military chaplain onboard naval warship BRP Tarlac LD602 overlooking Manila Bay.
The private ceremony was witnessed by their family and Navy officers.
Since health and safety protocols were still being observed, the guests at the wedding were only limited. The newlyweds decided to let their friends watch the ceremonies through Zoom video conferencing only.
Rocco posted a photo of him and his bride on Instagram this morning, January 22, with the caption, “Yes… we… did…”
The couple married in the military service to honor the actor for being a member of the Philippine Navi Reserve Command and Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG)
Rocco graduated from his Basic Civilian Military Training in October 2019 after completing 15 sessions of training and lectures to become a fully-fledged navy reservist. He took his oath as a Petty Officer (PO) 3rd Class with the Philippine Navy a month after. (AI/MTVN)