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Solon calls for ‘systemic solution’ to resolve PH ‘systemic problem’ on education

March 25, 2020

“THE Philippine education sector is plagued with a serious systemic problem that requires a systemic solution.”   This, Albay Representative Joey Salceda said during a book launch conducted by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in Quezon City recently.   Salceda said that the country’s global standing in providing quality education for students has been sliding in the previous years.   This is evident in the outcomes of various national and international assessments such as the National Achievement Test (NAT) administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).   The 2018 NAT results showed that the “mean percentage score of grade 6 students was at 37.4 percent” which suggested that “students, on the average, got half of the items correctly.”   Meanwhile, 15-year old Filipino students scored lowest in reading and ranked second to the lowest in terms of science and mathematics in the 2018 PISA.   Aside from the PISA and NAT, the Philippine Informal Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI), also showed a gap of 0.2 percent in the reading skills of young elementary students. “Although the Phil-IRI is not a standard tool, the result is consistent with the outcomes of other assessments which suggest that our kids are not having the proper reading skills,” Salceda noted.   To address these issues, Salceda shared some of the strategies he implemented when he was governor of Albay.   Salceda narrated that Albay was performing poorly in assessments back then. The province was at the 118th spot among 123 school divisions in Region V but improved its ranking over the years.   “When I became governor, we were spending only 1 percent of the total budget on education. Then, I ramped up the Special Education Fund to 34 percent,” he recounted, adding that the improved resources of the DepEd and the conditional cash transfers have also contributed to increasing the access to primary education in the province.   Aside from putting more money into basic education, Salceda said the provincial government has provided incentives to teachers and barangays for their active participation in organizing and supporting their schools. “[From number 118], we became number 19 in five years. There is something that can be done by local governments. There is a missing link there, it is called community. Once you mobilize the community, it goes a long, long way,” he explained.   He also implemented “free college education for all” in Albay to give everyone a chance to pursue tertiary education. But this, he said, was “a very expensive experiment”.     Salceda also chose to invest more on capacity-building programs to improve the skills of his constituents and increase their employability. He said this strategy worked for Albay as they were able to bring down their poverty incidence from 42 percent to 14.1 percent.   Moreover, Salceda said it is important to address the prevalence of stunting in the country, which is one of the root causes of poor academic performance. A PIDS study found that one in every two children under the age of five suffer from stunting. Salceda said that ages 0 to 5 are the most crucial period in the mental and intellectual development of a child. Hence, government should prioritized poor mothers who cannot afford proper nutrients and maternal care during their pregnancies.   He also stressed the need to learn skills aligned to the jobs of the future. Salceda said the courses and programs offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are the most viable education options for young Filipinos.   The Albay representative also urged research institutions like PIDS to continue providing evidence-based policy recommendations to legislators. “Kailangan yung ginagawa ninyo ay maging batas. Kailangan po na yung policy maging affirmative action [of] the state, on behalf of those who do not have the capacity to fight for a better life. The studies of PIDS should prompt positive consequences in the lives of ordinary people [and] make this a better country which promises a better future,” he concluded.

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RITM confirmed first Covid-19 positive patient in Oro

March 25, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has confirmed the first COVID-19 positive patient at the government-owned Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) here. Dr. Jose Chan, NMMC Medical Director, said during a press briefing Wednesday that the patient is a 71-year-old male who resides in one of the city’s urban villages (barangays) here. Chan said that the patient came from Green Hills in San Juan, Metro Manila, who arrived in Cagayan De Oro City on March 7, 2020. He said that the patient had a medical checkup after noticing a mild fever, but was later released after getting a specimen which was sent to RITM for analyses. According to Chan, the family quarantined the patient in an isolated room in their residence pending the result of the RITM analyses. He said that the family was very cooperative when health officials asked the patient to be re-admitted to the NMMC on March 12, 2020 after the RITM findings found the patient positive of the virus. “The patient voluntarily submitted himself for admission and is now being confined in an isolation room at the NMMC. He is in stable condition,” Chan said. He said that, as of Wednesday, the NMMC has discharged 35 patients while 13 patients remain in confinement waiting for the RITM results and one (the 71-year-0ld patient) was earlier confirmed positive. Chan said that the NMMC is still waiting for the results of the specimen analyses of the two patients, a male and a female, who died at the NMMC on Monday after being diagnosed as severe acute respiratory illness (SARI). As of Wednesday, only one COVID-19 positive patient (PH 40), the 54 year-0ld-male from Lanao Del Sur died at the NMMC. Dr. Dave Mendoza, the assistant Regional Director of the Department of Health (DOH) in Northern Mindanao, said that the wife of PH40 was negative of the virus while his daughter, now confined at the Amay Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, was positive of the COVID-19 virus. The government doctors said that COVID-19 positive patients who died are either cremated or buried within 12-hours under the supervision of the local government unit (LGU).

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Oro dads pass anti-patient’s dishonesty law of 2020

March 25, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The City Council of Cagayan de Oro approved an ordinance that would punish patients who tell lies to the attending health personnel in times of state-declared health emergency. Known as the “Anti-Patient’s Dishonesty Law of 2020,” the ordinance penalizes a dishonest patient of a one-year imprisonment or a fine of not less than P1,000 but not more than P5,000. The local legislators approved the ordinance to “protect health workers, quarantine officers, other front liners and the general public from patients who put others at risk by being dishonest about their travel history and symptoms. The ordinance also provides that any person who are required to accomplish information sheet, data form, declaration or any similar document, shall state the truth and disclose all relevant information as may be required or may be asked by the health personnel such as but not limited to nurse, physician or their assistants. Those found to have knowingly and deliberately lie, committed dishonesty and/or withheld relevant information shall be meted the penalty of imprisonment and fine.

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Moreno: Contact tracing automatically done to confirmed COVID-19 patients

March 25, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--"To the extent nga na'y confirmed nga taga Cagayan de Oro nga namatay, automatic na na ang contact tracing even if wala pa'y results," Mayor Oscar Moreno said in a press conference, March 25, here. Noting one confirmed patient who was tested positive with coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 in the city, Moreno said the local government is doing measures in fighting the disease through taking responsibility in tracing contacts, which is primarily done by the Department of Health (DOH). "We can go further kahit PUI [person under investigation] lang basta nasa NMMC [Northern Mindanao Medical Center] (even if he or she is only named PUI as long as the patient is in NMMC) and the condition is not good, mag-contact tracing na (we will conduct contact tracing already)," Moreno said. For their part in the City Health Office (CHO), Dr. Lorraine Nery said they regularly check the persons under monitoring (PUMs) to see if they have developed symptoms and if such occurs, reports should be submitted immediately. Aside from the regular monitoring of patients, the office also strengthens COVID-19 awareness campaigns including the disease's risks and prevention. As of March 24, Dr. Dave Mendoza of Department of Health Center for Health Development Northern Mindanao (DOHCHD-NM) said they have recorded 219 PUIs in the region, of which 21 are currently admitted and 35 were tested and discharged. All tests were performed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). From the 219 PUIs, 122 were under home quarantine while 38 were able to complete the quarantine period. Out of the 3,817 PUMs, 1,989 are undergoing a 14-day quarantine while 1,828 have completed the quarantine period. Currently, there are three positive new cases for COVID-19 bringing the total to five confirmed cases captured in Northern Mindanao with one death. (RTP/PIA10)

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Spain surpasses China in covid-19 death counts

March 25, 2020

SPAIN KNOCKS OUT CHINA IN TERMS OF COVID-19 DEATH COUNTS EUROPE (MDN International News) - What a turn of events. Spain now has surpassed China in terms of death counts, as the deadly coronavirus surge in the past few days, infecting thousands of its people in 2 days and raising its death toll to 3,434.   China, the epicenter country of covid-19 has seemed to have found a temporary antidote to the virus that suddenly slowed down infections and deaths since last week, with its deaths almost retained to only 3,285. Italy, on the other hand, continued to increase its death toll to 6,820, as the deadly virus seemed unstoppable despite stringent rules, quarantines and lockdowns imposed by its president, to places strongly hit by covid-19, such as the Lombardy region. The United States, whose 50 States are now under seige by the deadly strain also soared its infections and deaths in the past few days. Experts feared a coronavirus outbreak is also imminent next month in the most powerful country of the world. (Editor's note: We are posting here the top 10 countries where the onslaught of the deadly coronavirus is gaining momentum in the past few days.) Based on John Hopkins' tally of the top countries severely hit by the deadly virus based on fatalities, we are posting here the top 10 countries as follows: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez discusses with stakeholders how to contain the deadly coronavirus disease currently wrecking havoc in his country. Sanchez vows to take extraordinary measures to control the pandemic. - - Pablo Blazquez Dominguez Getty Images   1. Italy - 69,176 confirmed cases - 6,820 deaths - 8,326 recovered 2. China - 81,661 confirmed cases - 3,285 deaths - 73,773 recovered 3. Spain - 47,610 confirmed cases - 3,434 deaths - 5,367 recovered 4. Germany - 35,353 confirmed cases - 181 deaths - 3,540 recovered 5. Iran - 27,017 confirmed cases -   2,077 deaths - 9,625 recovered 6. United States - 55,243 confirmed cases - 802 deaths - 354 recovered  7. France - 22,637 confirmed cases - 1,102 deaths - 3,288 recovered 8. UK - 8,317 confirmed cases - 434 deaths - 140 recovered  9. Netherlands - 6,412 confirmed cases - 277 deaths - 3 recovered 10.Belgium - 4,937 confirmed cases - 178 deaths - 547 recovered PRINCE CHARLES TESTED POSITIVE Prince Charles,the heir of the British throne has tested positive of the coronavirus. Charles, 71-year-old, is believed having bad immune system now with his age, but he looks in good health still, a spokesperson from Clarence House said. The spokesman said the Prince of Wales was self-isolating himself from the people and his immediate families. PAKISTAN SET TO GET A LOAN TO FIGHT COVID-19 The Government of Pakistan is bent on taking another loan of $1.4 bn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be used in  its bid to contain the virus in the country, finance adviser Abdul Hafeez Shaikh reported. The country is also aiming to get more support from World Bank and Asian Development Bank, adviser Abdul Shaikh added. Pakistan's Sheikh added "This 1.4 billion we are asking will be a low cost fast disbursing loan," he told a news conference in Islamabad.The IMF agreed to a $6 billion financial aid programme for Pakistan last year. SWITZERLAND TO CLOSE BORDERS Meanwhile the Swiss Government has also decided to close its borders in a bid to contain the increasing number of persons under investigations for covid-19 infections. The government will close borders with Germany, Austria, France, Italy and all other Schengen zone. "Since midnight, the tightened entry requirements have also been applied to flights from all remaining Schengen states with the exception of the Principality of Liechtenstein."    PHILIPPINES 2ND SENATOR TESTED POSITIVE  Another senator of the Republic of the Philippines was tested positive of the deadly coronavirus disease. Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III told reporters he received a call on March 24th that he was positive of the virus.  As of today, March 25, there were already four doctors who succumbed to their untimely deaths as they became the country's frontliners in the fight aganst the dreaded disease. Those doctors who last served the government as frontliners in the government's continued fight against the disease include Cardiologist Israel Bactol at the Philippine Heart Center; Oncologist Rose Pulido of San Juan de Dios Hospital, and Anesthesiologist Gregorio Macasaet III of the Manila Doctors Hospital. The latest casualty in the government's frontliners was Dr.Raul Jara, Hospital Director of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC). He died of multiple complications of kidney and cardiac arrest, it was learned. His medical records showed he also became positive of the deadly coronavirus disease. Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri of Bukidnon Province was the first legislator in the country who tested positive of the virus. But Zubiri told the media he cannot identify where did he get the virus as he was very disciplined man, who follows social distancing protocols and hand shaking, eversince he heard of the deadly strain.      

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All 50 States in America now grappling with the deadly coronavirus

March 24, 2020

AFTER EUROPE, CORONAVIRUS' 'UNSTOPPABLE' ATTACK NOW ON AMERICAN SOIL OFFICIAL SAYS AMERICA SEEMS NOT READY FOR PANDEMIC UNITED STATES (MDN International News) - The deadly coronavirus scare now reaches all the 50 States in America, with virus-dead Americans have now reached 485 and infections have also balloned to 40,961 confirmed cases.  Media reports said West Virginia was the 50th state in the US that reported its new case of the deadly coronavirus disease. Gov Jim Justice has confirmed Tuesday's test result.  The governor didn't really give justice to earlier report of its first coronavirus infection as he opted to provide no details. According to a CNN record from its own tally, reported that there is now a surge in the United States with the sudden jump of the figure.  "It probably would be several weeks or maybe longer before we know whether we had an effect," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. "And maybe, at the end of the day, we'll see a curve that would've been way, way up." The world's total confirmed cases now reached 366,919 while those who've also recovered reached to 100,879. The death toll globally reached to 16,097. The good news is that 100,879 of the 366,919 people infected by the disease have now recovered, as China has already slowed down its death toll to a controllable level, as compared in the past weeks, where it really soared high.    Based on John Hopkins' tally yesterday (March 23) of the top countries severely hit by the deadly virus based on fatalities, we are posting here the top 10 countries as follows: 1. Italy - 53,578 confirmed cases - 5,476 deaths - 7,024 recovered 2. China - 81,496 confirmed cases - 3,274 deaths - 72,819 recovered 3. Spain - 33,603 confirmed cases - 1,756 deaths - 2,575 recovered 4. Iran - 21,638 confirmed cases -   1,685 deaths - 7,931 recovered 5. France - 16,937 confirmed cases - 676 deaths - 2,207 recovered 6. United States - 40,961 confirmed cases - 485 deaths - 176 recovered 7. United Kingdom - 5,071 confirmed cases - 234 deaths - 67 recovered 8. South Korea - 8,961 confirmed cases - 104 deaths - 2,909 recovered 9. Germany - 28,798 confirmed cases - 116 deaths - 422 recovered 10. Switzerland - 8,547 confirmed cases - 118 deaths - 115 recovered Meanwhile, two of the lawmakers in the United States tested positive for coronavirus infection. Those who were hit by the virus were Rep Ben McAdams and Rep Mario Diaz-Balart. McAdams has confirmed in a statement Wednesday (March 17) that he contracted the virus and he was confirmed positive by medical experts. Rep. Diaz-Balart, for his part, claimed he tested positive of the deadly virus on Saturday and started feeling bad about his health conditions.  McAdams told the media he had developed "mild cold-like symptoms" on Saturday. This, after he returned home from Washington. Feeling bad about his health conditions, McAdams has decided to be isolated and treated at an undisclosed place.  “I am still working for Utahns and pursuing efforts to get Utahns the resources they need as I continue doing my job from home until I know it is safe to end my self-quarantine,” McAdams wrote. “I’m doing my part as all Americans are doing to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak.”  

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