Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2021 22:09:31 +0000
Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Thursday, February 18, 2021.
THE government is preparing for the transition of areas with no transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to the “new normal,” Malacañang said on Wednesday as local government officials backed moves to shift to a less restrictive quarantine classification. Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) was crafting the do’s and don’ts for the possible transition to new normal of areas with zero transmission in the past month.
The number of new cases of Covid-19 reported worldwide fell by 16 percent last week to 2.7 million, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. The number of new deaths reported also fell 10 percent week-on-week to 81,000, the WHO said late Tuesday in its weekly epidemiological update, using figures up to Sunday. Five of the six WHO regions of the world reported a double-digit percentage decline in new cases, with only the Eastern Mediterranean showing a rise of 7 percent.
MALACAÑANG on Wednesday lashed back at Sen. Panfilo Lacson, telling him that President Rodrigo Duterte is a lawyer and therefore knows the Constitution. Lacson earlier criticized the President for his statements on the issue concerning the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that Manila and Washington signed in 1999.
THE Philippine government has signed indemnification agreements with vaccine makers Pfizer and AstraZeneca, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday. Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, earlier attributed the delay of the arrival of vaccines to indemnification agreement discussions between the Philippine government and the vaccine manufacturers. He said vaccine manufacturers are seeking assurance that they will not face lawsuits in the event the vaccines produced adverse effects just like the case of Sanofi Pasteur, the maker of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
MALACAÑANG on Wednesday announced the arrival of some 2,000 heads of hogs from South Cotabato to address the shortage in pork supply in Metro Manila and hopefully bring down market prices. Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the hogs were delivered in Tondo, Manila, and would be distributed to other parts of the metropolis. This came after the Department of Agriculture said the government would subsidize the shipment of hogs to Metro Manila, while the 60-day price cap for pork and chicken is in effect. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier issued Executive Order 124, which imposed a 60-day freeze in the prices of pork and chicken in Metro Manila to stem the rapid rise in commodity prices.
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act, which aims to cushion the im pact of the pandemic on financial institutions, Palace Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. confirmed on Wednesday. Malacañang thanked Congress for passing the bill, which Roque said was needed during the health crisis.
A COURT in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday junked one of the three drug charges filed against Sen. Leila de Lima. Regional Trial Court Branch 205 granted the senator’s demurrer to evidence in Criminal Case 17-166. The court, however, dismissed the plea of the senator’s co-accused, Jose Adrian Dera, to also junk the case. But de Lima’s demurrer to evidence in another drug case filed against her and her former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan was denied.
WORLD: Violence looms in Myanmar
United Nations special envoy on Myanmar Tom Andrews has warned of the potential for an escalation of violence in the country on Wednesday, as anti-coup protesters are expected to face off once again with the military. The warning comes after deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was slapped with a second charge on Tuesday — and the UN rapporteur hinted she may have even secretly been put on trial. Myanmar was plunged into an internet blackout for the third night running, Britain-based monitoring group NetBlocks said, as the generals try to wear down the anti-coup uprising.
BUSINESS: BIR to exceed 2021 tax collection goal
In business, the Department of Finance (DoF) is confident the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would surpass its tax collection target this year with the help of digitalization, its chief declared on Wednesday. Earlier, the agency said it wanted to increase its tax collections by 7.23 percent this year to P2.08 trillion from P1.94 trillion in 2020. According to Dominguez, one initiative the BIR undertook last year was digitizing its collection process.
Over to sports, Calvin Abueva is now reunited with his San Sebastian teammate Ian Sangalang after a shocking deal Wednesday morning, sending the do-it-all forward to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok. Phoenix Fuel Masters dealt Abueva and a first-round pick to Magnolia for Chris Banchero along with two draft picks. The trade has been approved by the PBA. The Fuel Masters acquired Banchero and Magnolia’s sixth overall pick as well as its second-round draft rights (18th pick overall) in the March 14 rookie draft while Magnolia got Abueva and Phoenix’s 2020 10th overall pick. The deal shocked PBA fans as Abueva is considered as the cornerstone of the Fuel Masters’ franchise. In fact, he led Phoenix in the PBA Season 45 Philippine Cup Season played inside a bubble in Angeles, Pampanga.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Yen Makabenta, Ramon Tulfo, and Arch. Felino Palafox are today’s front page columnists. Makabenta asks where the Philippines’ Covid-19 policy is going, Tulfo discusses the woeful tale of 6 out of 35 stranded OFWs in Syria, while Arch. Palafox discusses the architecture, planning and urban design for National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Training Institute.
The Manila Times also welcomes Albay first district Rep. Edcel C. Lagman as one of its opinion columnists. In his inaugural column named No Holds Barred, Lagman talks about a testament to the authentic opposition in a democratic government.
Today’s editorial talks about the Duterte administration’s decision to put the entire country to a modified general community quarantine by next month. Read the full version on the paper’s Opinion Section or listen to the Voice of The Times.
With Dafort Villaseran, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. May you have a safe day ahead.