todays top stories

President Duterte addresses the nation amid covid-19 pandemic  

March 31, 2020

THE WORKING PRESIDENT * Thanks frontliners as the new heroes  * 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 (March 30) has 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 sectors.  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 which have dealt with the economic effects of this pandemic.  "My economic team is already creating the guidelines as I speak," the president said.  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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Oro dads intensify drive vs spread of Covid-19, monitor prices of goods

March 31, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--A councilor launched an intesified drive against the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) while another councilor has vowed to monitor the prices and stocks of basic goods sold in the city to prevent hoarding and unnecessary price increase. In a report released on Monday, the Power said Councilor Maria Lourdes Gaane led a team in initiating an information dissemination through “Rekorida” in different barangays. On one hand, Councilor George Goking, chair of the City Council committee on Trade and Commerce, assured the public that his committee will continue to monitor the prices of goods sold in the market. Goking has expressed optimism that local retailers will abide by the price freeze being imposed on basic commodities. "Gihangyo sa konsehal ang mga grocery stores nga limitahan ang mga pumapalit sa duha lamang kabuok matag klase sa ilang paliton aron usab mahatagan og kahigayonan ang uban nga aduna pay mapalit," the Power, a daily newsletter of the City Council, reported "Iyang gipasabot nga siya kanunay nga nagmonitor sa stocks sa pagkaon nga gikinahanglan sa katawhan aron malikayan ang pag hoarding ug magpabilin nga malinawon ang dakbayan samtang gipangitaan sa pamaagi nga mapakgang ang pagkaylap sa COVID-19," the report said. Gaane, chair of the City Council committee on health and health insurance, distributed leaflets containing advisories and safety measures in dealing with the global pandemic scare. Her team also conducted a public health education campaign in barangays Indahag, Macanhan, Balulang, Bulua, and Tignapoloan, followed by other barangays. Gaane said that she conducted information drive to encourage everyone to cooperate and practice preventive measures at home. Gaane expressed gratitude to her staff who are working hard to help disseminate health education on the fight against the virus. She urged the public to help the government by staying at home. “A big thank you to our staff who are leading the fight against this pandemic. So, mga higala, as your help to the government, we encourage you all to please, please stay at home,” Gaane said.

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With decrease in PUMs, CDO now eyeing to monitor persons with flu-like symptoms

March 31, 2020

EVEN with the decrease in the number of persons under monitoring (PUM) for COVID-19, the City Health Office of Cagayan de Oro is not letting their guard down.   In a press conference March 31, city health officer Lorraine Nery said they are eyeing to expand their surveillance to include persons who are experiencing flu-like symptoms but not necessarily PUMs.   A person is automatically considered a PUM upon arriving in Cagayan de Oro starting March 20 after traveling elsewhere in the country.   As of presstime, there are only 85 persons left who have not yet completed their 14-day quarantine.   "This is the essence of community quarantine. Our BHERTs will conduct monitoring on a house-to-house basis," Nery said.   BHERTs are the barangay emergency response team institutionalized by the Philippine government as a grassroots preemptive response to COVID-19.   Flu-like symptoms include fever, ache, chills, fatigue, weakness, sneezing, chest discomfort, cough, stuffy nose, sore throat and headache.   In a related development, the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) has merged the checkpoints in its boundaries to maximize its personnel and smoothen the flow of vehicles.   The checkpoint in barangay Bugo is now merged with that of Tagoloan municipality while the checkpoint at barangay Iponan is now infused with the one situated in El Salvador City.

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Oro official answers Bebot's rant

March 31, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City budget officer Percy Salazar enumerated March 31 the disaster expenditures of the city in answer to Councilor Jocelyn Rodriguez's rants a day before at the City Council.   Earlier on Monday (March 30) during their weekly session, Rodriguez opposed a then proposed ordinance approving a P658-million supplemental budget, claiming that the Moreno administration has yet to liquidate its calamity fund for the year.   In particular, Rodriguez was demanding on how the P90-million quick response fund and P53-million emergency welfare and crisis intervention fund appropriated in 2020 was used.   In response, Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya told Rodriguez to inquire from the city's executive before proceeding to rally his colleagues in passing the supplemental budget.   A day after on Tuesday, Salazar emerged in a press conference and explained the whereabouts of the two funds.   Salazar said that as of the present, the city has already spent P28 million out of the P90-million quick response fund.   These were used in the purchase of alcohol, mask, needs of frontliners, disinfectants and equipment and other medical supplies as well as to answer the needs of every barangay (food and non-food items).   Salazar said City Hall will release the remaining amount as the need arises.   On the other hand, only P12 million was already disbursed from the P53-million emergency welfare and quick response fund as of the present.   These consist of food for work/cash for work and assistance for distressed individuals and families, emergency shelter assistance and assistance to individuals in crisis.   Thus, the remaining balance of the emergency welfare and quick response fund is P41 million.   Salazar explained that the remaining balance will be used throughout the year since the appropriation is intended until December and not just at this time.   Meanwhile, the bulk of the P658-million supplemental budget that was approved by the City Council last Monday will be used for COVID-19 response.   The allocation for COVID-19 response for this specific fund is P550 million.   The rest (P108 million) will be for other purposes - procurement of musical accesories, renovation of the City Registrar's Office, anniversary bonus, procurement of brand new dropside truck, working capital loan for Cogon United Market Vendors Cooperative, construction of road from proposed Court of Appeals site to Cagayan de Oro Convention Center, repair of Boy Scouts building and economic enterprises allocation.

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BREAKING: Former Senator Bongbong Marcos tests positive for COVID-19

March 31, 2020

BONGBONG MARCOS IS CORONAVIRUS POSITIVE! * But his spokeperson says Bongbong's health is improving METRO MANILA - The deadly coronavirus disease continued to victimize prominent politicians in the country. This time, it's former senator Bongbong Marcos who tested positive of the disease. Earlier, there were three incumbent senators who all tested positive. They were Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel and Sonny Angara.   The senator's lawyer and spokesperson, Atty Victor Rodriguez, confirmed Tuesday that Bongbong Marcos tested positive of covid-19. But he said Bongbong's health condition was improving. It was learned that the former senator's test result came from Research Institute for Tropical Medicine last Saturday, March 28,2020.  In a statement sent to the media, the lawyer said: “Gumaganda na ang kondisyong pangkalusugan ni dating Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. makaraang ihayag sa resulta ng clinical test na isinagawa ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) na siya’y positibo sa Covid1-9.” 

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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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