Manileños hopeful as more barangays now free of Covid-19

MANILA – Manila City residents expressed high hopes that the coronavirus pandemic will soon be defeated in the city after 172 barangays were declared Covid-19 free.

“Konti na lang, sana mawala na ang Covid o makahanap na ng gamot (we’re now close. I hope the pandemic ends now or a vaccine will become available soon). So we can bounce back. So many people are not only financially crippled but also facing mental issues brought about by difficulties right now,” Laurie Leslie Lee Tan said in a Facebook post.

Tan made this comment in response to a post of the Manila Public Information Office that many barangays have remained Covid-19 free since Sept. 1.

Despite this, Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso reminded his constituents not to be too complacent and still follow the minimum health standards.

Domagoso urged everyone to continue taking extra precautions, wear face mask and shield, wash their hands, and observe safe physical distancing.

To recall, Domagoso announced on Aug. 31 that the city government of Manila will give PHP100,000 to any barangay with zero Covid-19 infection until the end of October.

Meanwhile, the Manila City government continues to intensify its Covid-19 response by providing free mass swab testing.

It has also given support to medical front-liners by improving healthcare facilities, intensifying contact tracing, and continuously building quarantine facilities.

On Wednesday, Domagoso led the opening of the city’s improved San Andres Sports Complex Quarantine Facility with a 54-bed capacity.

Domagoso said the new facility has bigger cubicles, proper ventilation, and own comfort rooms.

He added this is to assure that confirmed Covid-19 patients will be comfortable while under quarantine.

“Thank God. I hope that all barangays in Metro Manila and eventually in the whole country soon becomes Covid-19 free so we could all go back to normal,” Ofelia Gablino said in her post written in a mix of English and Filipino. (PNA)

No contract awarded yet on NAIA expansion project: DOTr official

MANILA – An official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday clarified that no contract or agreement has yet been reached on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) expansion project.

In a statement, DOTr Undersecretary for Planning Ruben Reinoso Jr. said Megawide Construction Corporation’s (Megawide) unsolicited proposal to be the sole developer of the project is still to be evaluated and approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) and the NEDA Board.

“Allow us to set the record straight, once and for all, that there is no contract awarded yet, or any agreement decided upon, on the NAIA Expansion project,” Reinoso said.

It said that the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), as the “primary grantor” of the PHP107-billion rehabilitation project, will be the contractor if approved by the NEDA-ICC and the NEDA Board.

“The DOTr, as mother agency of the MIAA, only endorsed the proposal to the NEDA-ICC, as required under-NEDA ICC protocols,” Reinoso said.

It noted that the MIAA will only start negotiating with the winning proponent once the project terms have been defined and approved by the NEDA Board.

In September, Representative Jericho Nograles urged the MIAA and the DOTr to deny Megawide’s proposal to develop the NAIA expansion project after its partner, Indian infrastructure conglomerate GMR Group, pulled out of the Megawide-GMR consortium.

In July, the NAIA Consortium — composed of several Filipino tycoons and Singapore’s Changi Group — withdrew its proposal to develop the project, citing the government’s steep terms and differing views on the viability of the project. (PNA)

BOC signs MOU with 30 gov’t agencies for stronger border security, mgt

As part of the Bureau of Customs (BOC)’s commitment to border protection, the bureau has on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) via virtual meeting with thirty (3) different agencies and departments to further advance border security and management.
Among the participating departments and agencies were the Department of Finance (BOC, BIR, SEC), Dept. of Agriculture (BAI, BFAR, BPI, NMIS, NFA, NTA, SRA), Trade and Industry (IPOPHL, PEZA, FTEB, BIS, STMO, BPS, Environment and Natural resources (EMB, MGB, BMB), Health (BOQ, FDA, Interior and Local Government (PNP), Justice (NBI, BI), Science and Technology (PNRI), Labor and Employment (PRC), National Defense (PCG), Information and Communications Technology (NTC), BSP (AMLC) and PDEA.
On the part of the BOC, the delegation was headed by Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero together with the Bureau’s Assistant Commissioner and Chief of the Post Clearance Audit Group (PCAG), Deputy Commissioners for the Internal Administration Group (IAG), Intelligence Group (IG), Enforcement Group (EG), Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG), Revenue Collection Monitoring Group (RCMG) and the Directors for the Management Information Systems and Technology Group and the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS).
Under the MOU, the participants aim to establish a comprehensive and systematic mechanism in information sharing and strengthening border control capabilities.
It also aims to create a harmonious working arrangement with parties involved and strengthen inter-agency coordination and cooperation in the utilization of data and information resources.
In his statement Guerrero said the interaction between and among the agencies has been ongoing for some time now.
“Through the MOU, we are strengthening the alliance to cast a bigger net, and bring about more decisive action against illegal activities. He also stressed the importance of continuously enhancing the alliance between concerned agencies to further improve public service,” Guerrero said.

Kiara Lauren Ibanez / BENJAMIN CUARESMA

Dolomite beach now showing Manila Bay’s ‘true color’

There was once a black sand beach in Manila Bay until the DENR stepped in to rehabilitate and beautify it with crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu that instantly changed it into a stunning white sand beach look ala-Boracay that earned high praises from the public and even from PRRD himself.

But Mother Nature has its own way of showing things their natural and original look and appeal. No, it’s not oil slick down there at the shoreline rather, it’s Manila Bay’s original black sand slowly showing its true color courtesy of tropical depression Pepito. And like before, bad weather washes ashore assorted litter and trash as shown in photo below. (ism)

Militant group urges PRRD to free political prisoners, junk ATA

Members of different militant groups staged a concerted action near Malacanang Palace Wednesday as they call on PRRD to free political prisoners, junk the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 aside from other pressing issues affecting the Filipino populace amid the sweeping effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. However, the militant group never made it any further than the main gate of the University of the East along Recto Avenue as police personnel from MPD effectively blocked them on their way to Mendiola bridge. Jhun Mabanag / BENJAMIN CUARESMA

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