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President Duterte addresses the nation amid covid-19 pandemic  

March 31, 2020

THE WORKING PRESIDENT * Thanks frontliners as the new heroes and vowed to reward them * Vows to help small and medium businesses affected by the crisis * Vows to help Filipinos affected in the countryside     DAVAO CITY (National News) - President Rodrigo Duterte today addressed the nation and directly pointed out very important points appealing to the Filipinos to be strong and actively combat and resist the virus from spreading futher in communities. He said this is the best time for everyone to help the government in the fight against coronavirus disease, by simply following quarantine protocols and lockdown orders implemented by military and the police. THANKED FRONTLINERS In his short message today, the president especially mentioned the act of heroism done by many young and dynamic doctors, nurses and all medical workers and all alied forces, including the police, the army and other private sector.  Eleven of the doctors have already risked their lives and died in the frontlines of this battle against covid-19. "Those who are fighting on the frontlines - doctors, nurses, allied or professionals, police, soldiers, civil servants, and everyone performing essential services in the private sector, I assure you that your efforts will be rewarded. Your heroism will not be forgotten. Saludo kami sa inyo," President Duterte said. Duterte also thanked local government units (LGUs) for doing their best to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease. RECOVERY PACKAGE FOR AFFECTED SMEs He also said the government will provide a recovery package especially to micro, small and medium enterprises to have dealed with the economic effects of this pandemic.  "My economic team is already creating the guidelines as I speak," the president sid.  Thousands of SMEs have closed down in many parts of the country after being affected by the pandemic. Soon, it is expected that with the president's assurance, the small and medium businesses will be helped and continue to operate when economic situations will be back to normal again.     

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OFW, first COVID-19 case in Ozamiz City

March 30, 2020

ILIGAN CITY ----- The local government unit of Ozamiz City confirmed on Sunday evening that a patient, who has been under investigation for COVID-19 since five days ago, was confirmed infected of the virus. Ozamiz City Mayor Sancho Oaminal said the patient, male, 45 years old, is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who came home on March 13 when the COVID-19 crisis worsen. The patient is from Jimenez town in Misamis Occidental who was admitted at Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro, Sr. Medical Center (MHARS-MC). He was first listed as person under monitoring (PUM) when he came home but was brought to the hospital after few days when he manifested flu-like symptoms. The Department of Health (DOH) has yet to assign number code to him. Oaminal said the patient is clinically stable as declared by the physician. Seventeen PUIs in Ozamiz are in a home quarantine as of March 29 because they have mild symptoms.

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Women have less access to social protection programs than men: Study

March 30, 2020

A STUDY published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) found that women in the Philippines have less access to social protection programs than men, which may result in their vulnerability, instability, and poverty.   The study, “Towards Inclusive Social Protection Program Coverage in the Philippines: Examining Gender Disparities”, said that this could be attributed to women’s low labor force participation rate, noting that “women’s access to social protection is largely tied to their employment status.”   Furthermore, most social insurance programs in the country “cover only those who are formally employed” as required by law, making women less likely to be covered.   “Women are more likely to be part of the informal sector than men. There are also more unpaid family workers among women than men,” authors Aubrey Tabuga and Carlos Cabaero said, PIDS research fellow and research analyst, respectively. According to the study, social insurance in the informal sector is only optional because of low and unstable earnings.   In 2017, the study found that there were 15 million female workers who are formally employed, whereas 39 million were under informal employment. On the other hand, about 31 million male workers were formally employed, while only about 25 million were under informal employment.   The study also found more women not in the labor force from poorer households than richer ones (58% vs 34%).   Meanwhile, the study found that there are workers who still do not have access to social protection programs. Based on 2017 data, the study said that 69 percent or around 8.3 million women workers are not yet members of any social protection programs, such as the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).   “Among women, the highest proportion of those without social insurance are the private household workers at 98 percent, followed by unpaid family workers at 95 percent and then the self-employed at 92 percent,” the authors said.   In terms of sector, the study showed that the agricultural sector has the highest proportion of those unable to avail of the SSS, GSIS, and PhilHealth, at about 98 percent for female workers compared to 95 percent for male workers.   Given these findings, the study emphasized that interventions seeking to improve women’s access to social protection must prioritize those in the agricultural sector, the self-employed, unpaid family members, and household workers.   The study further stressed that social insurance scheme must not be tied with having a formal work or registered business, saying that “innovative schemes must be developed to care for the social protection needs of the working age population regardless of their labor force status.”   This is especially applicable to women, according to the authors. “So long as women are viewed as the persons responsible for looking after their family and household needs, the problem of low labor force participation rate will persist,” they explained, adding that “between formal work and family, many women would rather care for their family members.”   In the long-run, the study said the government should be able to come up with an integrative framework that will improve the skills and employability of people as well as ensure the development of agriculture, services, and industry sectors “so that people can obtain decent jobs”.   The study also suggested creating social insurance schemes that are affordable for the informal sector and home-based enterprises. It also called on the government to streamline its numerous requirements and lengthy processes in the access of social insurance.

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STATUS UPDATE ON LOCALLY-DEVELOPED COVID-19 TEST KITS

March 30, 2020

Monday, 30 March 2020 The field validation for the COVID-19 testing kits is ongoing and is expected to be finished by Wednesday, April 1. The issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration Philippines (FDA) is expected on Friday, April 3. We have informed the FDA that requirements for CPR Certification will be submitted on Wednesday, April 1 at the latest. The Manila HealthTek Inc. reported that the first batch of reagents has arrived which will enable them to start the manufacturing process to create additional kits that can accommodate 120,000 tests. A total of 1,300 testing kits good for 26,000 tests will be manufactured by and prioritized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for field implementation and distribution to the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Baguio General Hospital. From April 4 to 25, there will be a field implementation for the 26,000 tests funded under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) Project. The remaining kits good for 94,000 tests will be sold commercially by Manila HealthTek at around P1,300 per kit which is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals which cost about P8,000. The Manila HealthTek said they have enough orders from the private sector who intend to donate them in turn to the Department of Health (Philippines) and hospitals. #dostPH #ScienceForThePeople

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Avoid politicking in DAFAC listing, brgy chairmen told

March 30, 2020

AT least two officials from the city government of Cagayan de Oro called on all barangay chairmen in the 80 villages of the city to avoid politicking in the listing of persons displaced in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.   "Ayaw sa mo pamolitika kay dili panahon sa pamolitika karon," Councilor Lordan Suan said during the City Council weekly session Monday.   This, even as Suan called on his colleagues that the listing of the Disaster Assistance Family Access Card (DAFAC) must have oversight.   Meanwhile, city social welfare and development officer Michael Fabello also admitted in the same City Council proceedings that they do not have control in the listing of DAFAC beneficiaries.   "Kung naa man galing pagpamolitika, it's beyond the control of the CSWD. Dili lang unta ta mamolitika. Let us do bayanihan," Fabello said.   According to law, DAFAC is the necessary requisite for the city government to hand out relief goods to COVID-19 displaced persons.   As of presstime, the city social welfare and development department has targeted 27,667 households as beneficiaries.   Fabello said that the volume of relief goods will vary in each household - those with five or more members will receive 15 kilos of rice, 15 canned goods and 15 pieces of noodles each week.   Households with three to four members will receive eight kilos of rice, eight canned goods and eight pieces of noodles.   Households with one to two members will receive five kilos of rice, five canned goods and five pieces of noodles.   Fabello said they are targeting to start distributing the relief goods in 70 percent of the barangays here.   Basing on the "flattening the curve" projection of the national government, Fabello said they are readying for the distribution of goods until May or June.   Qualified beneficiaries are the vulnerable poorest of the poor, porters, scavengers, public utility drivers (PUV/jeepney/habal-habal/motorela/taxi) and ambulant vendors.   4Ps beneficiaries will get their relief goods from DSWD through the regular conditional cash transfer while daily wage earners will get theirs from DOLE.

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Moreno announces food packs ready on Monday

March 29, 2020

FOOD PACKS READY!  CSWD Chief Fabello:  "Ang walay madawatan nga ayuda gikan sa national agencies sama sa driver sa public utility jeepneys, taxis, public utility vans, public utility coasters, public utility buses, motorelas, trisikad, habal-habal; motorbike; scavengers; fishermen; farmers; street families; graduates sa NCII ug Community Improvement Division programs mao ang ilang prayoridad nga tabangan subay sa Executive Order no. 052 nga gipagawas ni Mayor Oscar Moreno."   CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - Reacting to the growing clamor of hungry and irate city residents for food support, City Mayor Oscar Moreno finally announced the City Government is ready for the food packs distribution on Monday, March 30, 2020. This, as the city's chief executive already felt the growing clamor for food after a community quarantine has been in effect in the city two weeks ago. Thousands of city residents have lost their jobs after private establishments shutdown operations as a result of the implementation of a community quarantine in the city. Those who were badly affected include workers in malls, small and medium enterprises, drivers of taxis, pedicabs, tricabs, and motorela drivers, carpenters and all other construction workers, scavengers, beggars in the streets, and other ambulant vendors.  Irate residents the other day mobbed the internet and echoed their sentiments over the mayor's alleged inaction of their clamor for food support, claiming they all became jobless and they are only dependent upon on their daily income for their food consumption every day. As the city mayor has finally announced the distribution of food support, Local CSWD officer Christopher Fabello has also confirmed that thousands of food packs are now ready while repacking was also ongoing at Xavier University open space, as offered by the University president. Fabello also assured the city mayor that the distribution of food support will start on Monday in the forty barangays of the city. But Fabello also claimed those that will be prioritized are the low income families who have lost their jobs such as tricyle drivers, taxi drivers, ambulant vendors, security guards, factory workers and construction workers, among others.      FEAR OF DISORDER Fourth Infantry "Diamond" Division chief BGen Nemesio Gacal during a regular press briefing also echoed the sentiments of the hungry people in their houses for lack of food to serve in the table. He said he feared that people will become unruly and disgruntled if the food supply will be extended in more weeks. These people, Gacal said, have lost their daily income which are their only means for daily subsistence. To answer to this immediate concern, the decorated military officer said he has already created a team to coordinate with barangay leaders to fasttrack the masterlist of barangay beneficiaries, espcially those vulnerable sectors who have stopped their daily income because of the implementation of a community quarantine. IRATE RESIDENTS MOB THE NET  Menwhile, many also of the city's working population who were forced to stay at home mobbed the internet and echoed their disgust of the mayor's executive order for a community quarantine. These were the sectors which comprised of sales clerks in malls, sales ladies in private businesses, ambulant vendors, beggars in the streets, workers, waiters and waitresses, and all other jobs which supposedly gave them daily income. Over a comment section of the City Mayor's daily press briefing, irate residents took turns on lambasting Mayor Mareno's alleged very slow responses on the need for food of those affected by the coronavirus crisis which also triggered the community quarantine order of the local chief executive. Other residents have also aired their grievances on the comments section of Magnum Radio and Bombo Radyo and other City Government FB pages, saying they needed help and intervention from City and barangay officials. Magnum Radio Station Manager Jun Albino in his morning news program said a crying caller has asked help from their station as the family have no more food supplies. "Naluoy gyud ko sa maong caller ug giadtuan gyod nako sa ilang lugar nga may pagkalayo raba," the radio manager said.  Enday Lantuyan, children of 5 and wife of tricycle driver said since the quarantine implementation last week her husband cannot support the family anymore. "Unsaon paman niya pagsuporta kanamo nga nagpagawas naman ug order si Mayor nga magpuyo nalang sa balay. Ang kita ra sa iyang pagdrive among gisaligan sa matag adlaw." (How could he support us when the mayor ordered everyone to stay at home. His daily income is what we are dependent upon for our daily subsistence," Lantuyan told MDN in an interview. "Dili kita mamatay ani sa Covid kundi sa kagutom. Duha ka semana na gud walay kita akong bana. Sige lang presscon unya mga tawo gipanggutom na kay walay income. Bisag pan wala diha," she lamented. She said almost all the drivers of 'habalhabal' (single motorcycle), 'baobao' (tricab) and motorized tricycles (pedicabs) that were only dependent on their daily income are now sacrificing their families since the quarantine implementation of the mayor. "Ila untang nakita sa wala pay community quarantine kung pila ka libo ka mga draybers and magutman kay gasalig lang sa kita sa matag adlaw aron makapalit ug bugas," she claimed. (They should have seen this problem before the implementation of a "community quarantine." How many thousands of drivers are dependent on their daily income to survive everyday's food consumption)   

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