DUTERTE TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR COVID-19 VACCINE SHORTAGE IN PHILIPPINES
MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte took responsibility for the shortage in COVID-19 jabs this year as he reiterated that the government has enough funds to buy vaccines for the entire population.
Duterte said the Philippines had difficulties securing enough pandemic shots because it has no vaccine manufacturers and had to scramble for supplies with other countries.
"That gave me a problem. If there's anyone who was at fault there, I would just admit it because I could not do anything. I wanted to buy but I could not find any seller. If I compete with the rich ones in the purchase of vaccines, I would lag behind. So that's what you have to understand," Duterte said in Filipino during a public address last Monday.
"Now, if someone committed a mistake there, it would be one else but me. I would admit it," he added.
Duterte, nevertheless, assured the public that the government has the money to purchase more jabs and to carry out the vaccination program.
"Fortunately, we have some money. According to (Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez (III), we have the money. We have the money to pay for the vaccines for all Filipinos," the President said.
Officials have given assurances that the Philippines has a steady supply of pandemic shots, saying some 100 million vaccine doses are expected to be delivered this month.
Duterte said he was optimistic that the country's major cities and provinces would meet their vaccination goals before Christmas.
He noted that close to 50 million doses of COVID-19 jabs have been administered, including 23 million complete doses. More than 7.5 million persons in Metro Manila or almost 77% of the region's target population have been fully vaccinated.
SC ORDERS SENATE TO ANSWER PETITION OF PHARMALLY DIRECTOR QUESTIONING DETENTION
MANILA — The Supreme Court has ordered the Senate to answer the petition filed by Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executive who challenged his continuing detention before the tribunal.
“As per Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, the respondents in the petition filed by Linconn Ong were required by the Court to file their comment to the main petition and prayer for [Temporary Restraining Order],” SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka said.
Pharmally director Linconn Ong, last week through his legal counsels, filed a Petition for Certiorari on Thursday, assailing the Senate's September 10 order and asked the SC to order his immediate release from detention.
He also asked the SC to issue a Status Quo Ante Order or Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction on the continued enforcement of the Senate order and on similar directives to be issued pending resolution of the case.
The SC spokesperson did not state how many days were given to the respondent to submit their response, but he noted that the usual period is ten days.
ROBREDO MOVE TO RUN AS INDEPENDENT 'MORE INCLUSIVE', SAYS LP MEMBER
MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo's decision to run for president as an independent was "more tactical than anything else," a member of the Liberal Party said Wednesday.
Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy last Thursday, wearing the color pink, with LP president Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan as her running mate.
The Vice President is still with the party but filed her COC as an independent to be "more inclusive," said former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, who's running for the Senate.
The use of a different color also makes politicians who want to support Robredo "more comfortable," he added.
"Maraming mga grupo (Many groups), her base, unaligned persons or non-partisan organizations who feel they really like to support VP Leni but they don’t want to be identified as liberal," he told ANC's Headstart.
"The use of colors during elections is popular but what's more important is what you represent. If Leni Robredo represents hope, she represents genuine change and if she feels pink is the color representation then we're fine with it. The decision to run as independent was more tactical than anything else."
Baguilat noted that many of the presidential candidates have transferred to or filed their COCs under different parties.
He cited as examples Manila Mayor Isko Moreno who transferred from United Nationalist Alliance to Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino to National Unity Party to Aksyon Demokratiko, Senator Manny Pacquiao from PDP-Laban to Promdi Partylist, and Bongbong Marcos from Nacionalista Party to Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.
"Si Leni lang is still with the Liberal Party but filing as independent to be more inclusive," he said.
Robredo's decision to make Pangilinan her vice president "solidifies" the Liberal Party's base, he added.
NOLI DE CASTRO WITHDRAWS SENATORIAL CANDIDACY
MANILA — Veteran newsman Noli de Castro announced Wednesday he is withdrawing his senatorial bid, less than a week after announcing his candidacy.
In a statement, De Castro said that while he had already filed his candidacy last Friday, he had a change of heart and saw that he would better serve the people as a newsman.
"Isinumite ko ang aking kandidatura sa Comelec noong Biyernes. Ngunit nagkaroon ng pagbabago ang aking plano," he said.
"Nais kong iparating sa lahat ng aking mga kaibigan at supporters na naghahanda na sanang tumulong sa akin, na nagpasiya akong hindi na ituloy ang aking kandidatura."
While he is dropping his plan of seeking a seat at the Senate, De Castro stressed he would continue serving the public.
"Kasabay ng pagdarasal sa Poong Nazareno, napag-isip-isip kong mas makatutulong ako sa pagbibigay ng boses sa ating mga kababayan sa pamamagitan ng pamamahayag," he said.
He said he would continue to be the "voice of the public," especially at a time of political noise while others use their power for selfish interests. He also thanked Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and the Aksyon Demokratiko party for accepting him to the party.
‘ROBREDO, ISKO SHOULD JOIN FORCES TO DEFEAT MARCOS’
MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno should make sacrifices to defeat the administration candidate and restore the rule of law in the country, a party official said yesterday.
Speaking on ANC yesterday, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, a former Liberal Party member who transferred to Moreno’s Aksyon Demokratiko, said the two presidential candidates should join forces to prevent the possible return of the Marcoses to Malacañang.
Only the Marcoses and the allies of President Duterte stand to benefit if Robredo and Moreno will be pitted against each other, said Erice, who was recently appointed chair of the Aksyon Demokratiko Metro Manila.
“I think there’s a chance for unification. Both Mayor Isko and Vice President Leni should be open,” he said, noting that even as the filing of certificates of candidacy has ended, things can still change before the deadline for substitution comes on Nov. 15.
Describing himself as a “martial law baby” and a true “dilawan” since he started out in politics under the wing of former president Corazon Aquino, Erice expressed hope the two could still work it out and prevent the return of the Marcoses to power.
He said Robredo and Moreno’s unity could put a stop to the killings and abuse of power under the present administration.
“There should be repentance or atonement (over the martial law atrocities). But each should be humble and give way to each other, so we could end the abuses of this government, prevent the Marcoses’ return and restore rule of law,” Erice said in Filipino.
LACSON, SOTTO VOW DISCIPLINE FOR CABINET
MANILA — Cabinet officials will not be spared from prosecution if caught engaged in illegal activities under the leadership of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III if they win as president and vice president, respectively, in the 2022 elections.
“If we become president and vice president of this country, Filipinos may yet witness the spectacle of a Cabinet member turned rogue being arrested for extortion. This is the kind of discipline that the Lacson-Sotto leadership intends to instill in government officials,” Lacson said on Twitter yesterday.
“It’s about time we make example of high-ranking officials. We cannot fire the small fry just to let the big fish continue to extort,” Lacson said in an interview on Radyo 5.
He also pushed anew for the digitalization and interoperability of systems in government agencies to minimize corruption.
Lacson said while government agencies, such as the Bureau of Customs (BOC), are computerized, their systems are not yet automated so human intervention and red tape are still possible.
“If you just change the personnel, they will be lost in their new assignments. Worse, if they get bitten by the corruption bug, the problem starts all over again,” he said.
NCR LIKELY DOWN TO ALERT LEVEL 3 BY OCT. 16: DILG OFFICIAL
MANILA - The COVID-19 alert level in the National Capital Region will most likely be downgraded by October 16, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Tuesday.
Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said this is because of the recent improvements in the region's COVID-19 situation, such as the decrease in new cases and the hospital utilization rates.
He told Teleradyo that the current ICU (intensive care unit) utilization rate is at 68 percent which is considered moderate. The COVID bed utilization is at 50 percent, and an average of 9,000 to 10,000 cases a day for the past 7 days compared to the 15,000 to 16,000 two weeks ago.
NCR also has a negative growth rate, he added.
"May basehan tayo sa pagbababa at 'yung basehan na 'yun ay nakikita na doon sa mga criteria o matrix nga na nabanggit mo para magbaba ng alert level," Densing said.
Densing also said the government is looking at testing the COVID-19 alert level system in local government units outside Metro Manila.
"Namili na rin po kami ng mga lokal na gobyerno sa labas ng National Capital Region kung kailan masisimulan na rin 'yung alert level system," he said.
Densing, however, clarified that it will be the Department of Health that will announce the final alert level in the coming days.
PHILIPPINES RANKS 7TH IN GLOBAL COVID-19 CASES WITH 8,615 NEW INFECTIONS
MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday logged 8,615 more coronavirus cases, bringing the country's total caseload to 2,683,372.
Today's numbers active cases were down by 16,666 from the 98,894 on October 11. DOH said three laboratories did not submit screening results.
According to a tally by the John Hopkins University & Medicine, the Philippines ranks seventh globally in terms of total COVID-19 infections.
Active cases: 82,228 or 3.1% of the total
Recoveries: 25,146 bringing the number to 2,561,248
Deaths: 236, or now 39,896 overall
DOTR CHIEF REJECTS CALLS FOR FARE HIKE
MANILA — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has opposed renewed calls by transport groups for a fare increase for jeepneys amid the rising fuel prices.
During a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday, Tugade reiterated his stance against a fare increase.
“If it is up to me, as of today, I do not want increase in fares because the majority will be affected by that. I am not fighting the few, but I am protecting the many,” Tugade said when asked about calls by transport groups for a possible hike in fares for jeepneys.
“It has been my position and it continues to be my position. Let us find different ways to help jeepney drivers and operators. Let us not just focus on the increasing of fares,” he added.
Tugade and other transport officials yesterday signed a MOA with the DOLE to provide livelihood assistance to drivers, conductors, operators and other transport workers affected by the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).
The “enTSUPERneur” program aims to help affected workers in the transport industry by giving them an opportunity to establish their own business through livelihood assistance and financial capital.
The program includes entrepreneurial-related training, business management orientation, business capital, micro-insurance and other support and monitoring activities.
METRO CEMETERIES CLOSED FROM OCTOBER 29 TO NOVEMBER 2
MANILA — The 17 mayors of Metro Manila have approved a resolution restricting public access to cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria in the coming All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
In Resolution No. 21-22 dated Oct.10, the mayors pushed for the closure of public and private cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.
The mayors have also allowed shorter curfew hours from the original 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. period to midnight to 4 a.m., in Resolution 21-23.
“In order to avoid mass gatherings during Undas and thereby complement the efforts exerted by the Metro Manila mayors in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region, it is encouraged that individuals visit the public and private cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria on dates earlier than Oct. 29 or later than Nov. 2,” the resolution read. Only 30 percent of the cemetery’s capacity would be allowed at a given time.
By issuing Resolution 21-22, the mayors stressed that the avoidance of mass gatherings, as well as the enforcement of health protocols, would “avoid a future rise in active cases.”
Wakes, necrological services, funerals, interment, cremation and inurnment during the period would be based on existing government guidelines.
At a briefing yesterday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said visitation days should be spread out to prevent the rush of people to cemeteries.
“Instead of going to the cemetery on Nov. 1, maybe people should come now,” Abalos said, citing the need to prevent super spreader events.
NDRRMC VERIFYING 11 REPORTED DEATHS AFTER MARING ONSLAUGHT; OVER 4,000 FAMILIES AFFECTED
Agricultural losses reach 29.4 million - DA
MANILA— The country's disaster monitoring agency on Tuesday said it is verifying the deaths of 11 people after the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Maring, as it forced more than 4,000 families to evacuate in Luzon.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), aside from the 11 supposed dead due to the storm, 7 were also reported missing while 3 were also injured.
Meanwhile, a total of 4,528 families composed of 19,147 individuals in Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Caraga, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) were affected by the storm and are taking shelter in 23 evacuation centers.
A total of 1,216 families or 1,968 people, on the other hand, were preemptively evacuated in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Caraga.
Due to bad weather, 1,106 passengers, 537 rolling cargoes, and 2 vessels remained stranded in Eastern Visayas and Caraga, the NDRRMC said.
Maring inundated parts of Luzon, affecting thousands of individuals in Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa and the Cordilleras, as well as parts of the Visayas.
Based on the Department of Agriculture's latest disaster monitoring report, agricultural loss due to Maring already reached P29.40 million in the Cordillera Administrative Region, mostly from corn and high value crop yields.
Production loss was so far pegged at 1,713 metric tons, while 1,225 hectares of agricultural areas were also affected.
A total of 1,128 farmers are also reeling from the agricultural losses.
"Additional damage and losses are expected in flooded areas due to 'Maring' and enhanced Southwest Monsoon," the advisory read.
The country's 13th storm this year left the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday morning, and accelerated as it moved towards the West Philippine Sea, according to PAGASA's 5 p.m. bulletin.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
‘SQUID GAME’ BECOMES NETFLIX’S BIGGEST EVER LAUNCH HIT
Dystopian South Korean drama "Squid Game" has become Netflix's most popular series launch ever, drawing 111 million fans since its debut less than four weeks ago, the streaming service said Tuesday.
The unprecedented global viral hit imagines a macabre world in which marginalized people are pitted against one another in traditional children's games.
While the victor can earn millions in cash, losing players are killed.
Spreading around the world by word of mouth, especially via social media, "Squid Game" has topped Netflix charts in more than 80 countries.
"Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans -- making it our biggest series launch ever!" tweeted Netflix.
By comparison, Regency romp "Bridgerton" reached 82 million households on debut, using Netflix's internal metric which includes any account that watched an episode for at least two minutes.
The success of "Squid Game" amplifies South Korea's increasingly outsized influence on global popular culture, following the likes of K-pop band BTS and Oscar-winning movie "Parasite."
It is also the latest success for Netflix's bid to produce more international and non-English language content. The streamer's third most-watched series debut for instance is French-language "Lupin."
Netflix offers "Squid Game" in both dubbed and subtitled versions in multiple languages, expanding its potential audience.
In February, the world's most popular streaming platform announced plans to spend $500 million this year alone on series and films produced in South Korea.
NBA SCORES OCT 11
1 2 3 4 T
Rockets1-2 19 19 26 28 92
Raptors2-2 28 29 31 19 107
SCOTIABANK ARENA, TORONTO, ON
A. Brooks HOU
15 PTS 1 REB
P. Achiuwa TOR
17 PTS 5 REB
1 2 3 4 T
Hornets1-2 24 29 25 25 103
Heat4-0 27 20 30 27 104
FTX ARENA, MIAMI, FL
M. Bridges CHA
22 PTS 10 REB 6 AST
B. Adebayo MIA
18 PTS 5 REB 1 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Nets2-1 25 24 24 31 104
76ers2-1 37 31 32 15 115
WELLS FARGO CENTER, PHILADELPHIA, PA
K. Durant BKN
23 PTS 7 REB 1 AST
F. Korkmaz PHI
27 PTS 3 REB 4 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Pistons1-1 27 19 28 18 92
Grizzlies3-1 34 36 29 28 127
FEDEXFORUM, MEMPHIS, TN
H. Diallo DET
13 PTS 4 REB 1 AST
J. Morant MEM
24 PTS 2 REB 5 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Pelicans1-3 22 24 19 31 96
Jazz1-2 28 35 32 32 127
VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA, SALT LAKE CITY, UT
D. Graham NO
14 PTS 1 REB
R. Gobert UTA
19 PTS 19 REB 2 AST
FOREX $1 = P 50.85
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge