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Philippines News

Inter-agency panel on drug war should be given a chance, Guevarra says

Philippines Star - 1 hour 56 min ago
“It will be for everyone’s good to allow this inter-agency panel to do what it has set out to do, and reserve judgment at proper time."
Categories: Philippines News

Solon urges DOH to ensure PPEs, higher pay for new Covid frontliners

Cebu Sun.Star - 2 hours 18 min ago

BEFORE authorizing the deployment of fresh medical graduates in Central Visayas to assist in the government’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the region especially in Cebu City, the Department of Health (DOH) should make sure that it has the funds to properly compensate them and the equipment to fully protect them, Congressman Ronnie Ong of the Ang Probinsyano Party-list said Monday.

Ong said that although these medical graduates are considered as greenhorns in their respective fields, they do not deserve to be treated like one when they become part of the elite army of medical frontliners who are putting their lives on the line just to help their fellowmen.

He said that they do not deserve the measly P500 a day, below-the-minimum wage rate previously offered to Covid-19 medical frontliners and should be compensated based on the pay grade of their regular counterparts.

“These are extraordinary times and we should treat these extraordinary people with all the financial support and all the protection that they truly deserve. Huwag naman po natin silang baratin at ituring na second-class citizens dahil hindi pa sila nakakapasa sa board,” Ong said.

Ong said the DOH should stop penny-pinching when it comes to the well-being and the welfare of the medical frontliners especially now that there is obviously a shortage of people who are willing to put their lives on the line without any proportionate compensation.

Ong added that the DOH should also make sure that they have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for these new nurses, medical technologists and hospital support technicians who would volunteer as medical frontliners.

"They are putting their safety, health and lives on the line. The least we can do is properly compensate them for the heroic act they are doing. After all, these health workers have families to support too. And let's be rational here, no one wants to put their life on the line for a meager income that cannot put food on the table. Let us stop romanticizing the sacrifices of our health workers and properly support them and recognize their hard work. They are our Covid-19 heroes after all," Ong said.

“The government must learn from its past mistakes in treating our medical workers. The DOH should make sure that not one of these new recruits would fall ill because of they had no PPEs. One case of a new recruit getting exposed to the virus would definitely destroy the entire recruitment program of the DOH,” he added.

Ong noted that the DOH’s reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of the hundreds of doctors, nurses, medical technologists and other hospital supports personnel caused their untimely and unnecessary demise.

Since the Covid outbreak until May, it is estimated that that are more than 2,300 medical personnel who died because they got infected with the coronavirus.

Apart from PPEs, the DOH should also make sure that these new recruits will undergo regular swab tests and they are housed in comfortable quarantine facilities.

“They are our heroes and they are not just ordinary sweatshop workers. We should give them all the protection and the support that they need so they can continue helping us in defeating this Covid-19,” Ong said. (PR)

Categories: Philippines News

Hontiveros calls for 'extensive reform' after police shoot 4 soldiers in Jolo

Philippines Star - 3 hours 8 min ago
"The police gunned down unarmed plainclothes soldiers, who could easily have been innocent civilians. We also know that so many civilians have died at the hands of police. How many more need to die — whether civilian or soldier, in Manila or in Jolo — for this injustice to end?" She pressed in a mix of English and Filipino.  
Categories: Philippines News

PNP coronavirus cases still rising, now at 754

Philippines Star - 3 hours 57 min ago
According to the PNP Health Services latest tally, there are also 1,162 suspect cases within the organization to go with 677 probable ones. 
Categories: Philippines News

'Overzealous enforcement': Binay calls on PNP to take steps in protecting people's rights, health

Philippines Star - 4 hours 48 min ago
"For some reason, the police have become over-zealous in enforcing public health directions to the point that they have put to risk the health of people, and violated basic rights," she noted
Categories: Philippines News

Missing fishermen might be trapped under capsized boat — coast guard

Philippines Star - 5 hours 14 min ago
On the fourth day of search and rescue operations, no body has been found yet in the vicinity of the collision between Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel MV Vienna Wood and Philippine fishing boat FV Liberty 5.
Categories: Philippines News

Anti-terrorism bill now on 'final review,' a week before automatic enactment

Philippines Star - 5 hours 22 min ago
The legal team of the Palace already has a recommendation for President Rodrigo Duterte's course of action on the anti-terrorism bill.
Categories: Philippines News

Western Visayas has 300 new cops

Philippines Times - 6 hours 5 min ago

ILOILO CITY, July 2 (PIA) -- A total 300 recruits of Police Regional Office 6 took oath, July 1, 2020, before PRO 6 Regional Director Brigadier General Rene P. Pamuspusan.

In a ceremony held

Categories: Philippines News

Ched allows NMAT admission

Cebu Sun.Star - 6 hours 5 min ago

THE Commission on Higher Education (Ched) has authorize medical schools to admit students who have not taken the National Medical Admission Test, subject to their regular admission requirements.

Ched Chairman J.E Prospero De Vera III, in a released statement Wednesday, July 2, 2020, said this is only for the A.Y 2020-2021 as the Center for Educational Measurement failed to administer the NMAT last March also due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and community quarantine protocols.

"The Commission, in its en banc meeting on June 30, 2020, responded to the call of many students who want to pursue their medical education but were not able to take the NMAT which is required for admission to medical school due to the current health crisis," he said.

NMAT is a standardized test designed to upgrade the selection of applicants seeking admission to Philippine Medical Schools.

He said with the various higher education institution set to open classes starting August, the Ched decision should settle the concerns of students, parents, and HEIs offering medical education. (WBS)

Categories: Philippines News

DILG: More than 15,000 detainees released since March 17

Philippines Star - 6 hours 7 min ago
Majority of them are “elderly and those who committed light or bailable offenses,” it added.
Categories: Philippines News

CHR probes 55 alleged EJKs during virus lockdown

Philippines Star - 6 hours 47 min ago
Gomez-Dumpit also said that the commission has monitored a total of 817 complaints related to virus lockdown.
Categories: Philippines News

Robredo visits wake of slain soldiers in Jolo shooting

Philippines Star - 7 hours 36 min ago
“All of them are young men who died in the service of the country. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories from their respective families."
Categories: Philippines News

DavNor aims to become major coffee global supplier

Philippines Times - 10 hours 5 min ago

DAVAO DEL NORTE, July 1 (PIA) - The province intends to increase its coffee production as it launched 'Coffee Adaptive Training Approach-cum- Organizational Strengthening of Davao del Norte Coffee

Categories: Philippines News

Home for Girls and Women of DSWD XI produces re-usable facemasks

Philippines Times - 10 hours 5 min ago

DAVAO CITY, June 30 (PIA) - The Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD XI) Home for Girls and Women (HGW) in Davao City is campaigning to make DSWD XI staff and residents of the HGW p

Categories: Philippines News

Quijano: Half-man, half-amazing

Cebu Sun.Star - 17 hours 7 min ago

I’VE always been partial to dunkers. Growing up, the NBA games on TV often featured the showtime Lakers of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar against the Larry Bird led- Boston Celtics numerous times.

But every time Julius Erving and his Philadelphia 76ers played, I was mesmerized and often waited breathlessly for him to unleash one of his patented rim-rattlers.

Another one of my favorite players of all time is the human highlight film-Dominique Wilkins, winner of two dunk contests and in his time, the greatest in-game dunker.

Ergo, it’s a no-brainer that I also naturally gravitated towards Michael Jordan who practically made the dunk his calling card when he was a young Bull.

VINSANITY. And so it is with much regret that we see the untimely retirement of Vince Carter, arguably the greatest dunker of all time—even greater than the aforementioned three, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And what a ride it has been. Twenty-two years of highlights and spectacular plays.

He began his career with the Toronto Raptors, where he blossomed into a superstar. In 2005 he went to play for the New Jersey Nets for four seasons. Then he became a journeyman, playing for the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and finally, the Atlanta Hawks.

Young NBA fans may not remember this, but there was a time when he was touted as the next Michael Jordan with his freakish athleticism and electrifying presence on the court.

In his prime he averaged 27.5 points per game. The problem was that Vince never got to be paired with other top-tier players that would have complemented his game and made the team strong enough to be a title contender.

As he got older and his athleticism waned, Vince adapted and developed to be marksman for crucial three-point shots to be knocked down, especially during his time with the Mavericks.

Never afraid of the spotlight and the moment, Vince had ice water running through his veins and would coolly and calmly drain the long three when his team needed one to win. He was a career 38 percent from the rainbow territory.

Of course, he will be remembered more for his acrobatic, gravity-defying dunks. He will forever be immortalized by what is referred to as the dunk of death—a dunk Carter made over a standing Fredric Weiss, a French national team player who stood 7 feet 2 inches tall during a game at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Thanks for the dunking memories, Vince. You were indeed half-man, half-amazing.

VERBATIM. “I saw him, but I didn’t really see him.”—Vince Carter on seeing Weiss standing in his way while executing the dunk of death.

LAST ROUND. It’s on my kumpare, the ultra-talented Stephen Villamor, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!

Categories: Philippines News

Gesta gets chance to break win drought in top event

Cebu Sun.Star - 17 hours 9 min ago

US-based Cebuano Mercito Gesta sees action in Southern California in Golden Boy Promotions’ first boxing show since the resurgence of boxing following a lull due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gesta, a native of Mandaue City, locks horns with unbeaten 23-year-old prospect Hector Tanajara in a 10-round World Boxing Council (WBC) USNBC lightweight title fight on July 24, 2020 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

The Gesta vs. Tanajara bout will be the co-main event of Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s title defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) Gold welterweight strap against Samuel Vargas. The show will be streamed live on DAZN.

The 32-year-old Gesta is on a rough patch in his career right now, winning just one of his last four contests in the last two years. His last win was back in 2018 with a majority decision over veteran Robert Manzanarez.

Last year, Gesta suffered a ninth round knockout upset in the hands of little-known Juan Antonio Rodriguez on March 21, 2019. He then settled to a technical draw with Carlos Morales on Nov. 14, 2019.

Tanajara is stepping up in competition against Gesta. He had three fights in 2019 with decision wins over Ivan Delgado, Ezequiel Aviles and Juan Carlos Burgos.

Gesta, a two-time world title challenger, is 32-3-3 with 17 knockouts, while Tanajara is 19-0 with five knockouts. (EKA)

Categories: Philippines News

Limpag: PBA blessing

Cebu Sun.Star - 17 hours 13 min ago

IN THE past, the route to a professional career for a Filipino basketball player had always ended up with the PBA. Though there were a few ambitious folks who dreamed of an NBA stint, they always ended up in the PBA.

Then, a few years ago, the ABL started, opening a new employment opportuniy for Filipino basketball players. It’s not only basketball players who have sought employment abroad. Thanks to the growing local pro scene, there were three volleyball players who got contracts to play in Japan and in Thailand. On the other hand, football leagues in Southeast Asia have also hired Filipinos, and I think as of last count, most of the starters in the senior team are playing in the region.

Now, it’s basketball’s turn to test the Asian waters. Thirdy Ravena, who didn’t join the PBA draft, signed up with San-En in the Japan B-League, while reports also indicate that suspended star Calvin Abueva is reportedly being lured to play in the league to the tune of $150,000 for 10 months.

Ravena’s move, I hope, will open the doors for Filipinos to play in the Japanese league. I also think the Japanese club will earn millions of instant Filipino fans, which isn’t bad for their marketing. Heck, if Neil Etheridge is a barometer, if the Filipino Brit brought thousands of followers to the clubs he joined, we can expect the same, if not more, for Ravena’s new club.

The PBA, too, should welcome the move as it would give the league to a new market. In an ideal world, that is.

But in the strange world that is Philippine basketball, the PBA, which doesn’t own any rights of Ravena, said the player has its blessings to play in Japan for two years, the same number of years that draft eligible players can avoid the PBA before they are meted a ban or suspension.

Nice, no?

Ravena, of course, has to toe the line. His stint in Japan, while good for a season, isn’t a sure path to a long professional career and he knows the PBA will still be a fallback position.

The way it appears to me, the PBA is acting like Don Corleone, giving the blessing to some foot soldier to go pursue his own path before joining the family enterprise and knowing his place in the scheme of things.

I hope I’m wrong. The PBA has become stagnant, and Ravena’s move is a good thing for the league and Philippine basketball. I mean, if his new club is more than satisfied with his performance and the way he brought fans over, that would lead to the other clubs scouting for other Filipinos for their own rosters, right?

Categories: Philippines News

Editorial: QR Code

Cebu Sun.Star - 17 hours 15 min ago

IT SEEMS like, by piecemeal, certain gaps and blunders are getting clearer by the day, and no small help from public pressure that has been calling for more transparency from

government officials.

So here comes another goof. In the virtual presser yesterday with local officials and Cabinet secretaries, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella was asked by a member of the media on the shortage of quarantine passes. The mayor said this was because the City based its list on a Department of Health database, which was from 2016 yet. One can only heave a sigh; ineptitude has persistently attacked our crisis management on various levels.

It is interesting to know how much the City Government is spending on the production of this new batch of quarantine passes that bears QR codes or if it had outsourced a firm to set up the “system.” These new passes take the size of a whopping letter-sized sheet embedded with a QR image “for verification.”

To recall, the use of the old quarantine passes was suddenly suspended on order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. This was parallel to a reset following Cebu City’s reversion to enhanced community quarantine.

Under the mayor’s Executive Order 82-A, there would only be 178,000 passes.

Under the new scheme, holders of passes ending in odd numbers can go out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Those with even numbers, on the other hand, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On Sundays, everyone in Cebu City have to be indoors.

A QR or Quick Response code is a type of optical label readable by a machine or gadget. It carries information on the item on which it is embedded. We suppose the point of putting a QR code on the new quarantine pass serves not only for purposes of identification, but also as a sort of tracker or locator.

The ground scenario we are imagining is that of policemen bearing networked smart phones installed with a QR code scanner that is linked to a mother program. However, Cebu City Legal Chief Rey Gealon’s explanation in a press briefing, merely mentions that for an inspector to authenticate a pass, the printed quarantine pass number must reflect the QR code-generated number appearing on a scanner. He warned the public not to tamper with the passes.

There might be no need for Gealon to worry about tampering if the QR coding is but a part of a system program. The program itself would have easily detected any duplications or tampering.

The caution only leaves us with questions. If the QR coding is not attached to a program or application, what security feature does it serve when it merely stops short on reconciling printed user numbers with that of the scan-generated numbers? What stops anyone from duplicating the passes when the City now allows sharing among citizens? How can a simple scanner on a gadget identify an original or a mere copy? Worse, anyone can generate a whole new set of numeric series and generate a QR code for it.

A technology journalist in a social media post pointed some weak links in Cebu City’s new quarantine pass system. He said any enterprising citizen may, in a fit of notoriety, still generate two passes and go out everyday. Without an application to match, that whole QR code thing is absolutely unnecessary.

Categories: Philippines News

Briones: Ennui

Cebu Sun.Star - 17 hours 16 min ago

THE lede on today’s article that came out on the SunStar website says it all:

“Cebu City remains under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until July 15, 2020 and is the only local government unit classified under strict restrictions in the country.”

Well, no surprise there, considering the city logged 353 coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases on Tuesday, June 30, alone.

I guess, I’m trying to look for a word to describe how I currently feel. “Lugubrious” is so two months ago. I have to come up with another one. Hmm, let me see.

I don’t feel angry. Although I’ve been thinking of setting fire to people who annoy me. And I’m not talking about just one person. I’m talking about the entire family, something akin to a genocidal massacre. Well, I did wake up with no internet connection and I could not contact the service provider, which forced me to go to the office to type this column even though it’s my day-off.

Peckish? Maybe. Just a tad, but I need to go on a diet or risk regaining all that weight I lost after two years of hard work and lots of sacrifice.

I’m tempted to say angst-ridden, but gosh, I haven’t been twenty-something for so long. Like 15 years.

Anyway, it’s a no-brainer that Cebu City is still under lock and key, so to speak.

Yes, the streets are quiet during curfew hours.

When I walked home from work last night, only dogs roamed the streets. However, the sidewalk across the University of San Carlos along P. del Rosario St. was full of the huddled bodies of the sleeping homeless. Some had makeshift face protection, but the rest of them didn’t have any mask on.

It’s the same scene behind the Cebu Normal University on Pelaez St. or the side of the Police Regional Office 7 headquarters on R.R. Landon St.

Families eking a survival: half-naked little children accosting passers-by for a few centavos, voluptuous teens with a twinkle in their eye begging for food and grownups having an argument for the whole world to hear.

This government is telling residents to stay at home and yet it ignores the problem of homelessness while a highly infectious virus runs rampant in the city. Okay, maybe “ignore” is too harsh a word. After all, the Labella administration and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases have other pressing matters to attend to like apprehending ECQ violators. And doing what with them exactly?

Detaining them in buses at the Plaza Independencia and forcing them to exercise with strangers and thereby exposing them to possible infection?

I’m trying to put a finger on what I’m feeling and I think I know what it is.

It’s called ennui.

Categories: Philippines News

Wenceslao: ECQ

Cebu Sun.Star - 17 hours 20 min ago

CEBU CITY is the only local government placed under enhanced community quarantine or ECQ this month, a point that is subject to various interpretations depending on one’s bias. Political opponents of the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella are rejoicing because they can again use this to prove the incompetence of the city’s elected leaders. Didn’t former mayor Tomas Osmeña harp on this when he claimed that he handled better the aftermath of the devastating typhoon Ruping when he was city mayor?

Of course, the devastation wrought by a typhoon is different from the problems brought about by a pandemic, so there is no comparison there. Besides, that was decades ago, meaning Osmeña was in his full physical and intellectual powers then, unlike now when he is already old and a cancer survivor. Still no comparison there. I must admit, though that the Labella administration could have done better in preventing the spread in the city of the dreaded coronavirus.

I see this one differently though. Continuing to place the city under ECQ is the correct decision given that the Covid-19 cases in the barangays are continuing to rise. It would be sheer recklessness for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) not to recognize this and lift the ECQ just to please the city’s constituents or make its leaders look good. The goal is to prevent the spread of the virus, not to prove the competence or incompetence of leaders.

Residents should even welcome the decision to continue imposing strict restrictions in Cebu City given the situation. This is a dangerous enemy we are dealing with and many have succumbed to the illness, including big names like City Councilor Antonio Cuenco. Of course, many have also recovered but without a cure and a vaccine, surviving will always be a hit or miss proposition. There can’t be complacency under such a setup.

As for the leadership in the City, it should not consider this as an insult but as a chance to do better. Being the last LGU to be “ECQ’d” has its advantages, one of which is that it can already learn from the experiences of many other leaders who are successful in their fight against the virus. Like how did Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto do it? Or closer to home, many cramped barangays in Cebu were able to prevent the spread of the virus. How did they do it?

When I was an organizer in my younger years, I held tightly to the admonition to “learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones.” The admonition tells us that leadership is one continuous learning process. There was one guide on organizing that I brought anywhere I went. When problems arose, I would read and read again the contents of the manual, raising my experiences to the conceptual level. Experience, knowledge, experience again, knowledge again and so on and so forth--such is the key in mastering leadership.

The problem is when leaders do not learn and continue doing what has turned out in practice to be ineffective. That’s incompetence.

Categories: Philippines News

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