The 2021 Blog of DILA

looking into the adversities of our constitutionally disadvantaged non-Tagalog peoples

 

March 1, 2021

INQUIRER.net
"Maluha-luha kami noong dumating ‘yung Sinovac," Galvez said in a speech at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH)
Philstar.com
philstar.com/headlines/2021/03/01/2081074/covid-19-vaccination-starts-today _ President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday that he intends to visit Chinese President Xi Jinping by the end of the year to thank him for the donated doses of Sinovac
Philstar.com
UP-PGH director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi gets inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine. He is the first PGH healthcare worker to receive COVID-19 vaccine.
Twenty health care workers are slated to receive the Sinovac-made Coronavac today, March 1, at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP).
Health workers from the Veterans Medical Memorial Center receive the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine
Philippine Star
Department of Health says Sec. Francisco Duque was not inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines
MANILA BULLETIN
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. receives Sinovac vaccine at PGH
INQUIRER.net
Thirteen people who received the vaccines from Sinovac biotech firm experienced negative effects during the first day of the government’s immunization program on Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

New survey shows continued mistrust of vaccine.
A survey by OCTA Research Group revealed that only 19%, or less than a fifth, want to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Forty percent are opposed to it, and 30% are undecided. Of those who want to be vaccinated, only 13% want to be vaccinated with a China-made vaccine. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez tried to allay fear of a China vaccine, saying that three presidents, including those from Turkey and Indonesia, were vaccinated with Sinovac, as well as the chief executive of the Chinese Special Autonomous Region of Hong Kong.
New vaccine shows great promise.
Following large-scale trials in the US, Brazil and South Africa, regulators are expected to give emergency use approval to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It has an overall effectivity of 86%, and even against the South African variant has 82% effectivity. It requires only one dose, and does not need storage in ultracold temperatures, lasting three months in refrigerator temperatures.
Sinovac to arrive February 28.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the China-made vaccine is expected on Sunday, February 28. Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte himself will lead the group welcoming its arrival at the airport. Vaccination is expected the following day.

 

February 24, 2021

Robredo candidacy decision by October.
Early this year, banners were sighted urging Vice President Leni Robredo to run for president. According to reports, she will make the announcement by October if she will run for the highest office. She is said to be short of funds and is eyeing a local position instead.
Sara, Grace, Pacquiao top OCTA presidential poll _ gmanetwork.com/news/story/776961

2 vaccinated OFWs positive for COVID-19.
Two overseas Filipino workers previously vaccinated against the China virus tested positive for the disease upon arrival. The first, based in the United Arab Emirates, had been vaccinated with Sinovac. The other, who had arrived from Canada, was vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. Both patients are now under isolation. DOH officials said that vaccination may not protect against infection, but the symptoms are expected to be milder.
Sinovac approved by FDA.
The China-made China virus vaccine Sinovac was approved by the country's Food and Drug Administration. The FDA, however, said that it was not recommended for senior citizens and frontline health care workers.
Presidential spokeman defended Sinovac, saying that it is safe, effective and has FDA approval, eliciting a radio commentator's rejoinder that he sounds more like a sales representative of Sinovac than a presidential spokesman.
In pandemic-related news, former IATF consultant Dr. Tony Leachon said that we have to comply with the expected liberalization to modified general community quarantine, but if his opinion were asked he would not advise it, citing the rising number of cases and deaths, and the occurence of new COVID-19 variants and mutations in the country.
17 China nationals detained at NAIA.
Seventeen China nationals were arrested at the Ninoy Aquino Iinternational Airport. They were supposed to be hired by an IT company, but gave conflicting explanations for going to the country.

“The purpose of their travel was doubtful. That’s why they were denied entry,” Manahan said. 17 Chinese denied entry at NAIA - philstar.com/nation/2021/02/22/2079440/17-chinese-denied-entry-naia
INQUIRER.net
President Rodrigo Duterte prefers to get inoculated with the China-based drugmaker Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine, Malacañang said. Palace: Duterte prefers to get China’s Sinopharm vaccine
INQUIRER.net
Two senators questioned why the Food and Drug Administration authorized China’s Sinovac vaccine for emergency use in the country when it discouraged its use for the vaccination of healthcare workers and senior citizens.
Give China 3 days to deliver donated Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine – Palace
PH clears Sinovac vaccine but the FDA does not recommend it for healthcare workers - philstarlife.com

 

February 15, 2021

Soldiers to be the first to be given shots of Sinovac.
The president has instructed that as frontliners, soldiers should be the first to be vaccinated with the China vaccine to the China virus. This was reported by Sen. Bong Go. The senator has also recommended that athletes be in the first group since they will bring honor to the country in the Tokyo Olympics.
Earlier, members of the Presidential Security Group were reported to have been vaccinated to protect the president, albeit without his knowledge.
Philippine Internet speed improves.
Based on its Ookla speed test, average Internet speed in the country has improved from 18 Mbps last year to 22 Mbps, imrpoving the country's ranking in Asia, where it used to have one of the slowest Internet speeds.
Filipinos most dissatisfied by government pandemic response.
A survey compiled by ASC based at University of Malaya concluded that Filipinos are the most dissatisfied by their government's response to the China virus pandemic. A total of 34% were dissatisfied by the government response. The most satisfied in Southeast Asia were the Vietnamese at 98% followed by those from Brunei and from Singapore.
Speaker says ABS-CBN franchise not a priority.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said that discussing whether to grant a franchise is not a congressional priority. He said economic measures dealing with the pandemic are more urgent and that this is a job for the next Congress. Constitutional amendments are among the economic measures as these are on the timetable.
Pres. Duterte has said he has no plans to sign a bill granting ABS-CBN a franchise if it does not pay what it owes the government due to tax avoidance through foreign subsidiaries.
Leachon on vaccines.
In response to new vaccine developments, a radio station interviewed former IATF consultant Dr. Tony Leachon. Asked what vaccine would be the best choice, he answered those approved by the FDA, Astra-Zeneca and Pfizer, would be fine.
On Sinovac, which would reportedly be arriving earlier, he said it is not yet approved to his knowledge. But its early arrival may create pressure to approve it, and that is not good. When it was mentioned that Astra-Zeneca had reduced ability against the South African variant, he said it was reduced but not totally, and that this was reason to control entry of the variant.
China withheld info - WHO.
Following the return of the World Health Organization team to investigate the origin of the China virus, the WHO issued a statement on the matter. It said China only gave a summary, not the entire report, and it lacked key information. Nevertheless, the WHO said it doubted the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan as claimed by Western sources. The WHO is considered by many in the West to be a mouthpiece of China
Pacquiao-Domagoso tamdem in '22?
Rumors are circulating that Sen. Manny Pacquiao is considering choosing Manila mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso in 2022. The mayor is a leading candidate in several surveys, while the senator now heads PDP-Laban and also leads in surveys. Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's non-candidacy might encourage him to run. However, he will not make his announcement on whether or not he will run until October.
Unpopularity of vaccination noted in PNP.
A survey among members of the Philippine National Police revealed that only 63 percent are willing to be vaccinated. In addition, most are not inclined to be vaccinated with Sinovac and prefer other vaccines, particularly Pfizer. This disinclination is a source of concern since police officers are both frontliners and government employees.
China buildup in occupied islands escalates.
Despite the pandemic, China has expanded existing structures and installed radar and other facilities in Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), a China-occupied island in the West Philippine Sea, and other occupied islands. This can be seen in satellite photographs. This comes at a time when a new China law authorizes their Coast Guard to fire on non-Chinese vessels and destroy non-Chinese structures. The islands are in the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

By global measures, China has stolen and ruined P9.725 trillion ($194.5 billion) in Philippine marine wealth to date. _ Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) February 17, 2021

Philstar.com
Globe told the Senate committee on public services that it has started negotiations with Huawei, which has been accused of spying by the US and its allies, on the replacement of its equipment by other companies. philstar.com/headlines/2020/09/24/2044697/globe-moving-away-huawei
Philippine Star
Globe Telecom Inc. has expanded the reach of its 5G network to over 1,000 sites nationwide. -January 13, 2021
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February 9, 2021

Palace choices for senator out.
The presidential choices for the next senatorial elections among cabinet members have been released. They include presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Secretaries Salvador Panelo, Mark Villar, Karlo Nograles, Francisco Duque and Carlito Galvez. This elicited a response from Dr. Tony Leachon, former IATF consultant and favorite whipping boy of some of them, that their actions on the pandemic and vaccines were political in nature (their own accusations leveled at him).
Russian vaccine proven highly effective.
An article in the reputable and peer-reviewed British medical journal Lancet says that Sputnik V is 91.6% effective. It has had Stage 3 clinical trials covering over 20,000 people in Moscow. This gives it a credibility comparable to the best COVID-19 vaccines in the US and Europe.
Government personnel exempt from travel requirements.
Government officials and employees are not required to present the negative RT PCR tests required of travelers crossing provincial boundaries or traveling by ship and air, according to presidential spokesman Harry Roque. All they need is a government identification card and a valid travel pass.

 

February 4, 2021

Vaccine protects against new variants of COVID.
A radio interview with a doctor connected with the Philippine partner of the Indian manufacturer of Covivax said that the vaccine is not only 95% effective against the original China virus strain but has almost the same efficacy on the UK variant and 60% efficacy against the South African variant. Another vaccine, Janssen (by Johnson & Johnson), is not only highly effective but requires only one dose.
Israeli face mask provides added corona protection.
A face mask invented in Israel prevents accumulation of the SARSCOV virus in the mask, which happens in asymptomatic carriers. The accumulation exacerbates the infection and can cause full blown symptoms. The new mask from Israel, which has zinc oxide, kills viruses and bacteria and prevents this. It is washable and therefore environment friendly, preventing accumulation of disposable masks. The local representative is a doctor who is a musculoskeletal specialist. The mask has been approved by the US and Israeli FDA and awaits local FDA approval.
Survey shows Philippine vaccine attitudes.
A survey by a research team from the University of Sto. Tomas on a sample from around the country revealed that 71% wanted officials to be the first to be vaccinated, particularly with China vaccines, then their neighbors, then themselves. 77% preferred vaccines from the US and Europe, then Russia, then China, in that order.
In pandemic-related news, Sec. Salvador Panelo criticized formet IATF consultant Dr. Tony Leachon for his criticism of the government vaccine policy. He said Leachon wanted to replace Sec. Duque at DOH. This repeats criticisms made by presidential spokesman Harry Roque, which Leachon has answered.

PGH will vaccinate 5k employees within one week —spokesperson gmanetwork.com/news/nation/774418 - February 3
PDEA intensifies drive to freeze accounts of drug syndicate members gmanetwork.com/news/story/774550

 

February 1, 2021

Resolution filed to probe China dredging.
Members of the Makabayan bloc have filed a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for an investigation into dredging operations in our coasts by China ships. The latest instance of this has been in Orion, Bataan. The ship was supposedly a 'research' ship. Inquiries with the Coast Guard by residents generated a negative response. The House members say this is a wholesale violation of the coutry's sovereignty since the sand dredged is used to build structures and shore up China-occupied islands in the West Philippine Sea.

OPTA Research Group warns against quarantine liberalization.
Prof. Guido David of OPTA recommended that the government should first attend to vaccination before shifting the NCR to a more liberal quarantine classification, to Modified General Community Quarantine. Otherwise, he said cases would accelerate, putting to naught efforts previously made to control the pandemic.

Philstar.com
In a letter sent to Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials, Cagayan provincial government officials, and lawmakers, 74 groups said the large-scale offshore magnetite mining in the province is “destructive and has irreversible negative impact” to marine ecosystems. Groups oppose 'destructive' offshore mining project in Cagayan - February 1
MANILA BULLETIN
If presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio’s supporters have “Run, Sara, Run for President for 2022” campaign, sectoral leaders backing Vice President Leni Robredo have launched the “Leni 2022 movement.”
Philstar.com
Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero and Sen. Joel Villanueva have topped the latest senatorial survey conducted by data analytics firm WR Numero Research. Escudero, Villanueva top survey on senatorial bets
Philstar.com
At least seven million registered voters have been dropped from the rolls of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ahead of the 2022 general elections. philstar.com/nation/2021/02/02/2074647/comelec-deactivates-7-million-registered-voters
gmanetwork.com
• 1,658 new cases push Philippines’ tally over to over 527,000
• SWS: 12.7 million adult Pinoys jobless in November 2020

 

News Report: Duterte-Carpio reply on candidacy reports.
Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said she will run for president if she will be supported by the opposition. Otherwise, she said she would prefer to concentrate on her constituency in Davao City. She has been leading in most presidential surveys.The other day, banners were sighted in Quezon City and Davao City asking her to run.

Beijing promotes anal China virus swab tests.
Saying that the COID-19 virus survives longer in the anus, health authorities in Beijing advocate anal swab tests, instead of nasal ones. Dr. Tony Leachon said the virus passes through the respiratory tract rather than the gastrointestinal tract, of which the anus is a part. In addition he says most people would be hesitant to undergo such a routine test in a sensitive part of the anatomy. Health Sec. Duque laughed but said he will still look into it.
In pandemic-related news, Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso presented the cold storage facility at Sta. Ana Hospital where vaccines requiring extremely cold temperatures like Moderna and Pfizer will be kept.

Gordon praises Locsin protest.
Sen. Richard Gordon praises Foreign Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr.'s filing a diplomatic protest against China's new Coast Guard law authorizing China to fire on foreigners in disputed islands in the South China Sea and demolish non-Chinese structures. He said the new law would bring about an escalation of the situation in the contested area. Sen. Riza Hontiveros said the Philippines should explore all possible moves to check China's actions and get in touch with other adversely affected parties.

News Report: Cavite scraps Sangley airport deal with China firm, MacroAsia.
The Cavite provincial government canceled its $10 billion joint venture with the China Communications Construction Co. and Lucio Tan's MacroAsia Corp. to build the Sangley airport, which was expected to relieve congestion of NAIA. The reason given was non-compliance with post-qualification requirement. However, in a radio interview, Cavite Gov. Janvic Remulla said the Pekingese firm is bringing nothing to the project. It is borrowing from local banks, and not infusing money. If experience with other China projects is an indication, it will employ workers from China and therefore bring little local employment.
However, the Cavite provincial government plans to go ahead with the project. Gov. Remulla plans to hold talks with potential bidders which he said will 'hopefully' be successful by October.

Corona cases exceed 2,000.
The highest number of COVID-19 csses since November were recorded January 27, 2021 with Baguio, Cebu City and Pangasinan topping the list. Baguio became controversial earlier for socialite Tim Yap's birthday party last January 17 in which guests were shown without face masks. This comes after OPTA Resarch Group said there was no holiday and Quiapo procession spike in transmissions. Baguio mayor Magalong and his wife were among the guests.
In other news, Manila mayor Francisco 'Isko' Domagoso said Moderna and Pfizer vaccines would be available in the city in addition to Astra-Zeneca.
Follow up on ealier news report: New, genuine CIDG agents have been posted in Malabon. Earlier, a crowd with fake CIDG agents and fake guards directed by a criminal syndicate claiming a plot of land there on the basis of a Spanish land title in the name of a family also claiming land in other parts of the country instigated the incident. Three security guards remain missing and the police chief remains at odds with the Malabon mayor.

 

January 27, 2021

News Report: Bontoc placed under ECQ.
The mayor of Bontoc, Mountain Province placed his town under Enhanced Community Quarantine after six constituents contracted the UK variety of COVID. The UK variety has been found to be transmitted more rapidly. It has earlier been said to be milder than other forms, but UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and scientists, say that it causes more deaths in proportion to total cases.
In other news, Manila mayor Francisco 'Isko Moreno' Domagoso, who has arranged to buy the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, will allow Manilenos to choose the vaccine they prefer.
Four leading universities accuse general of red-tagging. Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University, University of Sto. Tomas, and Far Eastern University said Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade who said their universities harbor communists, is red-tagging.

The New York Times
The CDC has predicted that the variant first identified in Britain could become the dominant source of infection in the U.S. by March.
INQUIRER.net
Mayor Franklin Odsey of Bontoc, Mountain Province has tested positive for the coronavirus disease and is currently in isolation. -January 24
Isko Moreno Domagoso urged the people who are doubting the efficacy of COVID vaccines to trust the government_philstar.com/nation/2021/01/26/2073009/manila-willing-share-vaccines

 

January 22, 2021

Update
• Following a Senate inquiry on COVID-19, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in an interview that Sinovac is, based on Senate inquiries, among the most expensive, despite belated denials by vaccine czar Galvez. But he said he would not use it even if it were cheaper since it has an efficacy of only 50%.
• In other news, three security guards went missing from their area in Malabon after being occupied by a crowd claiming land for a syndicate. The police chief, when asked by the mayor to look into the occupation and disappearance, challenged him to direct the inquiry instead to the Napolcom.
• Prof. Guido David of the OPTA Research team mentioned the fact that the girlfriend and family members of the Quezon City resident on a flight from Dubai who tested positive for the new variant also tested positive along with several fellow passengers. Also, several people had arrived from the UK since September last year and it is 99% sure that at least one has the UK variant.
• In addition, the rapid rate of transmission in the Cordillera and several provinces is much faster than the NCR. There are still no facilities to identify the UK COVID variant outside the NCR, but considering that their transmission rate is much more rapid, it is possible that they now have the UK variant.
• The Fernando bill banning handshakes is about to become law. The great majority of congressmen have voted in favor and it has passed third reading. Amazing how they can legislate even how people greet each other. 1984 is again here, 2021 though it may be.

Philippines’ COVID-19 caseload hits 505,939 as death toll tops 10,000 - gmanetwork.com/news/story/772537
Execs of Sinopharm distributor to face Senate probe - gmanetwork.com/news/nation/772643
Galvez on vaccine overpricing claims: Minsan nakakasakit po kayo - gmanetwork.com/news/story/772670

 

January 18, 2021

News Report: Lorenzana terminates 1989 UP-DND accord.
Secretary Delfin Lorenzana terminated the 1989 agreement between the University of the Philippines and the Dept. of National Defense, under which soldiers or policemen could not enter UP grounds without clearance from university authorities, saying UP was being used by enemies of the state. Vice President Leni Robredo said it could be used to get back at government critics, and that the matter could be resolved in coordination with university authorities. Sen. Panfilo Lacson condemned the move as a unilateral one. While security considerations are valid, actions on the agreement should have been done in consultation with the UP.

Philstar.com
Lawmakers led by Rep. Edcel Lagman seek a House probe into the DND’s unilateral termination of its agreement with UP barring the entry of state forces from its campuses. “It is now open season for the military and police invasion of UP campuses in the guise of upholding national security and maintaining peace and order,” Rep. Edcel Lagman said. House probe sought on unilateral termination of UP-DND accord philstar.com/headlines/2021/01/18/2071363

mb.com.ph
•Norway says no link between Pfizer vaccine and post-vaccination deaths
•DTI chief to ask IATF to allow kids as young as 10 years old in malls
•DepEd assures salary increase for teachers and employees

News Report: Locsin calls Fernando bill pretentious, January 20.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that the bill authored by Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando changing the local form of greeting from a handshake to placing a palm on the breast to conform to health protocols 'pretentious.' He said wiping the hands with alcohol following a handshake would follow the protocols in contrast with the hypocritical gesture recommended by the bill.

Speaker pushes for charter change
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco declared his support for amending the Constitution, saying that changing economic provisions will bring more jobs. His allies have declared their support for charter change. But former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Congress should concentrate on dealing with the pandemic.

News Report: Manila mayor tops OPTA Research survey
Mayor Francisco 'Isko Moreno' Domagoso led the survey of the OPTA Research Group in Metro Manila on the 2022 presidential elections. He was followed by Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos and Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
In other news, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque told Filipinos not to be choosy with COVID-19 vaccines. This elicited a rejoinder from Sen. Joel Villanueva, who said they have a right to be since lives are at stake. Several LGUs, especially in Metro Manila, are negotiating with companies selling COVID vaccines. Most chose Astra-Zeneca for reportedly being safe and effective, and cheaper.

Philippine Star
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque drew flak for saying Filipinos can’t be choosy when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. bit.ly/3i5Zf6j

 

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THE BLOG in 2020 Part 1

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