The 2021 Blog of DILA

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

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
GLOBE Touch Mobile 8080
Yehey! Enjoy calls to TM/Globe/Cherry at unli allnet texts! Dagdagan ng Facebook at subukan ang AstigFB10 na may 100MB na magagamit sa loob ng isang araw! Mag-like, share, at post na with FB! For other promos, i-dial ang *143# for free.

 

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

 

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

News Report: UK variant definitely in Philipines.
A Filipino from Quezon City who had arrived from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, tested positive for the B117 variant of the China virus. If the previous Filipino who tested positive in Hong Kong contracted the disease in the territory, this definitely is it. His girlfriend, who arrived on the same flight, tested negative.
In an interview on January 13, Dr. Tony Leachon reacted to Malacanang's remark not to be choosy. He said vaccines like the Astra-Zeneca one passed peer-reviewed papers and are produced by established companies. He said Sinovac and Sputnik are produced by untested companies. He also said being injected with Sinovac, with an effectiveness of 50%, is a hit-and-miss affair, like tossing a coin, and that, despite being a frontliner, he would rather wait for more reputable vaccines.
When asked to coment on the fact that Indonesian president Djoko Widodo has been vaccinated with Sinovac, he said Indonesia, Brazil and Turkey are being subjected to China's vaccine diplomacy, in contrast to American and European leaders who choose more reputable vaccines.

News Report: Vaccines effective against new COVID strains - DOH.
In a radio interview, a doctor of the Department of Health involved in the screening of vaccines for use against the China virus in the country said according to the latest medical journals, tests of current coronavirus vaccines indicate they are effective against new strains of the virus now spreading around the world. These include the UK, South African and Brazilian strains. She said that barring further, more extensive mutations, these vaccines would still work.

2020 hottest year ever - NASA, NAOA
According to data compiled by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Oceanic Administration of the United States, last year was the hottest year ever. Data from NAOA indicated a tie for 2016 due to La Nina. In addition, each of the past decades has been hotter than the previous one. This is the case despite the reduced production of greenhouse gases last year because of the pandemic.

 

January 12, 2021

News Report: 3 Pekingese nabbed for attempted kidnap.
Three Chinese nationals were arrested for robbing and attempting to kidnap a woman, fellow China national. A fellow countryman of the three escaped arrest. The suspects were charged with robbery, kidnapping, and illegal possession of firearms.

News Report: Lowest number of active cases in 6 months reached.
Despite concern over the rising number of new cases since the Christmas holidays, the country registered a positive note as it showed its lowest number of positive cases since June 2020 due to many recoveries. Another good news was the announcement of vaccine czar Carlito Galvez that vaccines will be available to 50-70 million Filipinos. The first of these will be 30 million doses of Sinovac from China.
In other news, it was reported that a bridge over the Pasig River built with China's assistance will pass over the historic Intendencia ruins and nearby sites. Construction of the bridge is reported to be approaching the area of the ruins and causing damage. The bridge has already been heavily criticized because its design conflicts with the traditional design mandated for Intramuros structures, as well as adversely affecting the World Heritage status of San Agustin Church. The Senate has held hearings on the project's employment of workers from China to the detriment of Philippine workers (40% of workers were reported to be Pekingese). Unfortunately, criticizing it may damage the administration's extremely friendly relations with China, so construction proceeds regardless of all other damage it causes.

philstar.com/headlines/2019/04/30/1912592/bridge-burning-bridges-why-china-funded-binondo-intramuros-structure-controversial

Senators question nat’l gov’t 'monopoly' on procurement of COVID-19 vaccine gmanetwork.com/news/nation/771292

 

January 7, 2021

News Report: Only 25% in NCR want to be vaccinated.
A survey conducted by the OPTA Research Group two days ago revealed that only a quarter of residents in Metro Manila were willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The rest were unsure or unwilling.
Comment: They should have checked the reasons, whether apprehensions brought by Dengvaxia, or mistrust of a China-made vaccine. The NCR is the epicenter of coronavirus infections in the country.

News Report: PAL passenger with new COVID-19 variant quarantined in Hong Kong.
A female passenger who returned to Hong Kong on a PAL flight from Manila on December 22 has tested positive for the new, more communicable variant of the China virus. The Philippines has already suspended flights from the UK and other countries with the new variant to prevent its entry.
Comment: The detection of this new variant in a passenger who departed from Manila raises alarming questions - is the variant now in the country, and have others been already infected if she got it from someone else here? Do they already test for the new variant and have they done the necessary contact tracing?

Philippine Star
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said inoculation against COVID-19 will be based on the list of priorities as she urged local officials to work with the national government for a unified procurement and distribution. LGUs Can’t Buy COVID-19 Vaccines On Their Own, Can Pool Resources With National Gov’t – Palace, DOH -January 5

News Report: Duterte-Carpio tops Pulse Asia 2022 presidential poll.
Davao City mayor Sara Duterte Carpio led the Pulse Asia survey with 26%. She was followed by Bongbong Marcos and Grace Poe with 14%, Manila mayor Francisco "Isko" Domagoso with 12%, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao with 10%. The leading senatorial candidates included Sen. Pacquiao, mayor Domagoso, Rep. Loren Legarda, Senators Ping Lacson, Migs Zubiri and Risa Hontiveros. A prominent non-plolitician who figured in the senatorial survey was broadcaster Raffy Tulfo, who placed second after Sen. Pacquiao.

MANILA BULLETIN
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has enjoined the youth to continue believing in the system that the government has established, “as what our national heroes would probably tell us if only they are alive.” Mayor Isko encourages the youth to 'continue believing in the system' -November 30, 2020
INQUIRER.net
Mayor Isko Moreno: “I would rather focus on Manila and focus on the pandemic." No to presidential bid in 2022, says Manila mayor -January 2

gmanetwork.com/news/lite/story/770091 Sara Duterte wants name off lists of choices in presidential bet polls -January 2

 

December 31, 2020

News Report: PSG, officials reportedly vaccinated.
Despite the absence of FDA authorization for any vaccine, and the fact that no vaccine has officially arrived so far, members of the Presidential Security Group have been reported vaccinated with smuggled Sinopharm vaccines from China. A PSG spokesman said this was done to protect the president, though without his knowledge. Cabinet members were also reportedly vaccinated. Sinopharm manufacturers claim 50% effectivity, though this has been disputed in the UK. Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso and the PNP have urged people who have been vaccinated to report this but no one has so far.

MANILA BULLETIN
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admits COVID-19 vaccines administered to select soldiers were smuggled, contradicting claims of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque that they were donated. -December 30
Philstar.com
Doctors illegally administering unregistered COVID-19 vaccines face sanctions including revocation of license, the Department of Health and Food and Drug Administration warned on Thursday. philstar.com/headlines/2021/01/02/2067600

 

December 28, 2020

News Report: COVID-19 positives fall below 1,000.
China virus cases reached only 900 despite the holidays, though Prof. Guido David of UP OPTA Research said this could have been because testing centers were closed. Meanwhile Sen. Ping Lacson said Pres. Duterte's threat to cancel the Visiting Forces Agreement if 70 million doses of Pfizer were not given by the Americans was blackmail.
Sen. Franklin Drilon questioned vaccine czar Galvez's approval of Sinovac despite only a 50% success rate (they claim 91%, though tests in Brazil gave only 50%).

Who gave lead role to Chinese vaccine? POSTSCRIPT - By Federico D. Pascual Jr. December 20, 2020 philstar.com/opinion/2020/12/20/2065025
Give him the slingshot SKETCHES - By Ana Marie Pamintuan December 18, 2020 - Live with it: we still have many more months of waiting for a reliable COVID vaccine to arrive in our poor country.
Duterte claims Philippine military, others received Sinopharm vaccine
gmanetwork.com/news/story/769523
Lacson on Duterte VFA threat: We can ask US for vaccine help without sounding like we’re blackmailing gmanetwork.com/news/story/769538

 

December 22, 2020

News Report: Calls for death penalty following shooting.
Proposals to revive the death penalty were made by officials after a policeman shot to death a mother and her adult son in Paniqui, Tarlac. Legislators revived bills on capital punishment in both Houses. A significant turnaround was that of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who had opposed the death penalty ever since he became a born-again Christian, but changed his position following the shooting.

News Report: Leading presidential bets listed.
A commentator from a leading radio station known for his extensive contacts has released the ten leading bets for the presidency in 2022:
• 1) VP Leni Robredo
• 2) Senate Pres. Tito Sotto
• 3) Sen. Grace Poe
• 4) Sen. Bong Go
• 5) Sen. Manny Pacquiao
• 6) Sen. Cynthia Villar
• 7) Former Sen. Bongbong Marcos
• 8) Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte
• 9) Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso
• 10) Businessman Ramon Ang

News Report: Locsin, Lacson attack saboteurs of Pfizer agreement.
Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. criticized an unnamed government official for causing a delay in the planned transfer to the country of 10 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Sen. Panfilo Lacson also criticized DOH officials for undermining the health concerns of Filipinos, including delaying a vaccine. No official was named initially, but sources point to DOH Sec. Francisco Duque. Other sources said the reason was the preference for a vaccine from China, which would be facilitated by delays in the release of the Pfizer vaccine.

INQUIRER.net
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan said some government officials may be held liable for graft over the government’s failure to secure a deal for 10 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had helped to arrange for the Philippines. Lawmakers: Missed Pfizer deal smells of ‘kickvac’

News Report: President warns against mutant virus.
President Rodrigo Duterte warned against a new strain of COVID-19 virus, and said that people are suffering enough, and cannot endure this new trial. He absolved Sec. Duque who is accused of delays in the acquisition of the Pfizer vaccine, saying he is not guilty of serious lapses. Meanwhile Sec. Galvez announced that according to talks with China's ambassador, the China-made vaccine to the China virus can be delivered on March, or later than the Pfizer vaccine if problems had not delayed it.

Lacson: Duque's failure cost Philippines Pfizer vaccines by January gmanetwork.com/news/story/768331

 

December 15, 2020

News Report: FDA approves 2 vaccines for testing.
The Food and Drug Administration approved two China-made vaccines against the China virus, Sinovac and Clover Biotech. Sinovac will have priority next year, according to presdential spokesman Harry Roque, as it is trusted by President Duterte. It has been reported that Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso and Quezon City mayor Joy Belmonte have declared that they want to be the first to be vaccinated because they want to inspire trust in the COVID vaccine. Neither Belmonte nor Moreno, however, indicated a preference for China-made China virus vaccines.

INQUIRER.net
Dr. Anthony Leachon questioned the government's decision to supposedly prioritize coronavirus vaccines from firms that have yet to produce enough efficacy and safety data. inq.news/Palacenotfond

News Report: Roque twits Leachon re Duterte speech.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque criticized Dr. Tony Leachon, former consultant for the IATF. He said the president uttered expletives each time Leachon was mentioned, saying he was seeking a government post. Leachon who in the past wanted stricter anti-COVID measures has more recently been critical of the government's inordinate preference for unreliable vaccines from China and Russia.

News Report: Leachon defends himself vs. Roque raps.
Former IATF consultant Dr. Tony Leachon took exception to presidential spokesman Harry Roque's remarks. He said he does not intend to enter government as he makes a good living with his medical practice. He said China's Sinovac is just in the second stage of clinical trials and has not received authorization documents. It is more expensive, costing $60 per dose as shown in the Senate hearing as compared to $4-40 for others.

News Report: Mayor orders probe into illegal vaccination.
Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso ordered an investigation of reports that COVID-19 vaccinations are being done in Binondo. No vaccine has so far been authorized. China nationals are reported to be having themselves injected with China-made China virus vaccines.

 

December 11, 2020

Leonen impeachment set for next year
The impeachment for Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has been set for next year because the 18th Congress is about to end its sessions. Earlier, the camp of former senator Bongbong Marcos denied being behind the impeachment despite its being filed by Ilocos Norte 2nd district representative Angelo Marcos Barba on behalf of a constituent. Marcos sought earlier to disqualify Leonen from hearing his VP electoral protest for allegedly being biased.

News Report: New COVID cases fall below 2,000 for 10th straight day.
In an encouraging development, China virus additions have not reached the 2,000 mark for ten days. The other day's new cases numbered 1,300. Four places were declared areas of concern by the UP OCTA Research Group: Baguio; Mankayan, Benguet where hospital rates have reached 100%; Makati; and Davao City.

News Report: Senator calls for probe on LGU narco list killings.
Senator Panfilo Lacson asked that the killing of local officials in the administration narcotics list be investigated. This comes after the murder of local officials in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao accused of being involved in drugs. The latest, just a few days ago was that of Los Banos mayor Caesar Perez. He echoes VP Robredo's statement expressing alarm over this.
Lacson described the killings as 'gangland style'. The shooting of Mayor Perez was near the municipal hall, where many CCTVs are located, yet according to police, none captured the shooting. He has not had control over the police force since he was put on the narco list in 2017.

News Report: Hontiveros warns against 3rd telco.
Senator Risa Hontiveros warns against Dito Telecom, in which China Telecom is a major investor, saying that it could be used for spying. Dito has requested cell towers inside military camps. China's companies are required under Chinese law to assist the PRC communist government in spying. The Senate is conducting hearings about the national security implications of a Pekingese telecom company in the Philippines.
In other news, the Bureau of Immigration has prohibited its employees from using TIktok and other social media while in uniform. Tiktok is a China company and as such, is also instructed to spy, which has led to its banning in the US and India.

 

December 8, 2020

News Report: High radioactive iodine levels found in corals in West Philippine Sea.
Elevated radioactive iodine 129 levels were found in corals from the West Philippine Sea. In a radio interview, Dr. Carlo Arcilla of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute said this could have come from nuclear-powered vessels of China or North Korea passing the West Philippine Sea. He did not discount the possibility of nuclear plants in China-occupied islands. There have been other reports of increased Chinese naval activity, including against Philippine fishing vessels, since the pandemic began.

Philstar.com
Researchers from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute have found high radiation levels in the waters of the West Philippine Sea. philstar.com/headlines/2020/12/08/2062237

Media, and social media, which earlier were fuming against the unsubstantiated requirement for face shields, are now railing against another COVID imposition, foot pads. One prominent media personality complained about nearly losing his balance upon slipping on foot pads.
Many have narrowly missed slipping on these, and it was reported that two of his friends were seriously injured, one sustaining fractured legs and necessitating surgery. People talk of lawsuits against establishment owners, and raising questions whether these were required by the IATF. Face shields too are questioned for being superfluous and unnecessary since face masks are required anyway.

Philippine Star
“Those who are doing activities like running or jogging must use their face shield...” UP Diliman wrote in its guidelines. UP Diliman reopens Academic Oval to walkers, joggers -November 11, 2020
CDN Digital
“We have to remember that this new normal comes with little sacrifices like always wearing a mask, face shield,...” Vergeire said. -October 15, 2020
The Wall Street Journal
Frequent use of disinfecting cleansers, wipes and aerosol sprays during the Covid-19 pandemic has some people worried about possible health risks. Here’s what doctors and others advise about the proper use of disinfectants.
What Are the Health Risks of Disinfectants? -December 7

 

December 5, 2020

News Report: PDP-Laban elects Pacquiao president.
The party of President Duterte, PDP-Laban, has elected Senator Manny Pacquiao president. He takes over Senator Koko Pimentel, son of founder Aquilino Pimentel. Does this mean that the President will now endorse Pacquiao? Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque denied that he plans to run for senator in 2022. He said he wants to regain his privacy, and be able to criticize the president. Does this mean that he expects VP Leni Robredo, who has become a favorite subject of criticism of Roque and the Duterte administration, to be the next president?

Sen. Manny Pacquiao was sworn in as the new president of PDP-Laban inq.news/pacquiaopdplaban
Manny Pacquiao says most PH politicians are corrupt - philstarlife.com, December 3

Philstar.com
98 House lawmakers and employees test positive for COVID-19, House Secretary General confirms, December 1

News Report: 98 test positive for COVID in Congress.
Following an RT-PCR swab on all congressmen and employees, 98 have tested positive according to the House secretary. This represents 5% of officials and employees in the Lower House. Meanwhile, vaccine czar Galvez announced that four vaccines will be ordered: Sinovac, Pfizer, Sputnik V and Astra-Zeneca, for which the government has reportedly alloted 135 billion pesos.

 

December 1, 2020

News Report: Sinovac first to pass initial screening. It was announced by retired general, IATF head and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. that the Pekingese vaccine was the first of the vaccines against the China virus given initial approval by experts of those lined up for their scrutiny. Like Sputnik 5, it is also among the cheapest.
One efficacious vaccine, that can also be produced cheaply is Oxford by Astra-Zeneca, which has arranged to have it produced in India by a reputable Indian company.

 

November 25, 2020

News Report: Philippines COVID risk improves from Serious to Moderate. New cases have been below 2,000 for weeks. So many countries, which once barred travel from the Philippines, have relaxed restrictions. Meanwhile, the country is preparing to buy vaccines, and is securing funds for it, ranging from an international assistance fund for the purpose to loans. An epidemiologist interviewed said that all vaccines should be considered but the UK's Astra-Zeneca, which can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, has an advantage over that of Pfizer, stored at -70 Celsius, requiring special storage facilities.

 

November 22, 2020

News Report: Number of COVID-19 cases fall below 2,000 for 11th day. New China virus cases are less than 2,000 for the 11th straight day, a tribute to the way authorities and people are dealing with the pandemic. One source of concern is Davao City, which has had among the top new cases recently, bringing it to the attention of UP virus watchers, and causing mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to oppose a more liberal quarantine regime.
Internationally, Astra-Zeneca in the UK has developed a successful vaccine, matching Pfizer and Moderna in the US. With this, hundreds of millions of doses are promised in months.
In local news, Manila mayor Francisco 'Isko Moreno' Domagoso is continuing free virus testing and extending it to nearby areas. In Makati, mayor Abby Binay is having the city subsidize RT-PCR testing for Makati companies, and it costs about P2,000, versus P5,000-9,000 elsewhere. In Los Banos, Laguna, free laminated QR codes have been made available for residents for contact tracing, provided by the municipal government.

Education News: Student commits suicide in Nueva Ecija. A 12th grade student hanged himself in Guimba, Nueva Ecija. According to his father, this was not because of family problems. Chats with classmates revealed difficulties with DepEd modules. This was compounded by poor Internet connections, which caused him to leave the house to get better signals. This left him overtaxed and exhausted each day according to his father.

radyonatin.com/story.php?storyid=41740

MANILA BULLETIN
A federation of teachers on Monday alleged that the recommended academic ease measures by the DepEd are not happening in schools, thus, there might be a need to “rethink” the whole distance learning design currently implemented this school year. Teachers’ group says academic ease is not real - mb.com.ph

 

November 18, 2020

The following is from Globe. It's not only in English and not in the subdialect, but is a laudable contribution in the wake of the disaster caused by the typhoon in many regions:
Hi! We hope you are safe and well. To help you connect with your loved ones during this time, we've given you unli calls to Globe/TM and unli allnet texts for 3 days. Take care.

Word war between top leaders.
In his speech yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at Vice President Leni Robredo, accusing her of being behind the posts which went viral on social media carrying the hashtag 'Nasaan ang Pangulo' (Where is the President), asking her where she was. He hinted that he would reveal more when she runs for president. The anti-Duterte hashtag implied that he was doing nothing in the wake of the supertyphoon, which brought extensive damage, injury and loss of life.
This fueled speculation on whom he would endorse. Current opinion favors his preference for either former Senator Bongbong Marcos or Davao mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

News Report: New vaccines ready, await US FDA approval. Vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna against the China virus have been shown to be safe and effective in tests. They await approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. 50 million doses can be released this year.

 

2020 BLOG March to October

Listen to Diabolical Filipino Tagalog sampled in the 2005 horror movie Constantine, 1 megabyte video

The other DILA opinion sheet is accessible on dila.ph
The blog's graphics are not eye candy meant to ensnare readers. These are captured from posts publicly uploaded by users to Facebook, a company that exploits them but evades responsibility for content.