Gov’t agencies should pledge anti-red tape efforts –Recto

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday proposed to require government agencies to pledge their anti-red tape efforts in the grant of their 2021 budgets.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto

Recto said President Duterte should order agencies to include in the 2021 national budget their performance guarantees in addressing red tape, “including the speed by which they will process a document.”

“This is the so-called ‘promissory note’ of an agency that is part and parcel of its budget request. Under our budgeting system, the funds it will get is linked to what it should deliver,” he said in his statement.

Duterte said on Monday night that he was mulling to step down from office as he expressed frustration and conceded that corruption in government is difficult to stop. His spokesperson, Harry Roque, however said Duterte will not resign.

Recto said such promises were already contained in some of the proposed 2021 budgets of agencies, such as the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) vow to respond to distress calls within 15 minutes and the Bureau of Fire Protection’s (BFP) guarantee that it will be at the scene of a fire not later than seven minutes after receiving the call, among other agencies.

But he said these performance guarantees should be expanded to include “ease of doing business” targets, whether the application for a document or service is done in person or online.

“Minsan kasi mabilis kung personal kang mag-a-appear sa isang opisina, kaysa sa isang request na pinadala mo through email, or through website kasi hindi naman lahat ay may easy-to-use app[lication],” Recto noted.

He said a minimum processing time should be provided for online transactions as a standard.

Recto said these should be considered and become part of the General Appropriations Act.

Kathryn Bernardo misses home, worried about kababayans in Nueva Ecija

Kathryn Bernardo badly misses home. Because of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as her heavy workload, she has not been able to go home to her beloved Cabanatuan since the start of the lockdowns.

“Nitong past few months nung start ng lockdown, hindi na talaga ako nakakauwi kahit gustong-gusto kong umuwi at miss na miss ko na yung Cabanatuan at saka yung house namin. Medyo nakakalungkot lang, pero blessed pa rin po dahil maraming work na dumadating,” the actress shares.

Like most Filipinos today, Kathryn admits that she also worries about her health. On top of that, she is also concerned about so many in her province whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic.

“I know it’s difficult to be positive nowadays but we have to persevere for the sake of our loved ones. As I always say, di naman po tayo bibigyan ng pagsubok na di natin kayang lampasan. But we have to take care of our health, asset po natin yan sa panahong ito,”she says.

Kathryn is happy that San Miguel Corporation is building the new Manila International Airport, and an adjacent economic zone, in their neighboring province, Bulacan. She believes these developments will help revive and boost the economy, including of her home province Nueva Ecija.

“Marami talagang nawalan ng work nitong pandemic. It breaks my heart to see people losing jobs and unable to provide for their families. If possible nga na magawa na yan agad so we can already attract businesses and give people jobs. A lot of people really need help right now. In our personal capacity, what we can do is to help the people around us as much as we can. But for the long-term, jobs po talaga ang kailangan,” Kathryn related.

Kathryn also sees the airport as providing more and better opportunities for businessmen and even farmers who produce food and raw materials. “If you need to transport products quickly or perishable yung goods mo, big advantage yung magkaroon ng accessible na airport like the one sa Bulacan. I’m sure this is a positive sign for many businesses in Nueva Ecija and even as far as the north like Baguio, Pangasinan, and Ilocos. Mahirap isipin now because a lot of businesses are struggling, but when the time comes na matapos na yung pandemic, then the airport will be ready and we can start and help a lot of people recover.”

She believes the airport project will also open Luzon, including her province, to more local and international tourists, once the airport is completed. It will also be more convenient for locals to travel anywhere in the country, or abroad.

“From our house in Cabanatuan, it’s either we use Clark or go straight to NAIA to fly out. But in Manila, I always have to brave the traffic going to the airport and it is difficult pag naghahabol ng flight. We all experience this naman po, we have to be there hours before our flight,” she said.

She added: “But with the new airport, there’s another better option. And from what I heard, it’s going to be really big, spacious and modern. If sanay ka sa big airports like in Japan, Korea and in Europe, it’s going to be that big and I’m proud to be part of the San Miguel family that is making this happen.”

“Matagal na yung San Miguel, and maganda yung reputation nya so I’m sure like sa TPLEX sa amin sa Nueva Ecija and yung iba pang projects nila ay maganda rin yung quality ng work, like their products that I endorse. Hopefully, pag maagang matapos yung Bulakan airport at may time at pwede nang magbakasyon, makakasakay rin ako dyan. Just praying and hoping na matapos na po itong crisis para we can live our lives normally like we are used to,” she added.

Kathryn, who endorses San Miguel Corporation brands San Miguel Foods’ Magnolia Ice Cream, San Mig Coffee Crema White, and Nutrichunks, reiterated that she is thankful for all the work she has been getting despite the pandemic, even if that means staying in one place and being closed off from outside contact while taping or shooting.

“Marami pa rin pong projects and right now we really have to stay in a bubble, as in we have to stay in one place para mabawasan yung chances na magka-Covid 19. So most of the time I’m away talaga from home. We know it’s for the welfare of everyone so we have to very conscious and compliant with health regulations like washing of hands, wearing masks and social distancing,” she said.

“I encourage everyone po to please be mindful of the safety of others around you and always practice safety measures sa panahon na ito. Huwag po tayo magpabaya. kakayanin po natin ito,just keep praying and helping our families and friends,” she advised.

2 die, 1 hurt in anti-illegal logging operations in Aurora, N. Samar; Cimatu condemns violence vs. defenders

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu condemned two separate violent acts against a forester and policemen who where conducting operations against illegal logging activities in Aurora and Northern Samar.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu (RTVM / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We vehemently denounce any kind of violent acts inflicted on our defenders of the environment, especially at a time when we are all dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis,” Cimatu said in a statement on Tuesday.

Cimatu is seeking swift justice for Forest Management Specialist II Danilo Pascasio, who is currently fighting for his life after being brutally attacked by an illegal logging suspect in Aurora province, as well as patrolmen Jessie Golondrina and Edwin Fernando Velarde, who both died while conducting an operation against three suspected timber poachers in Northern Samar. 

Both incidents took place last Sept. 27 and 26 respectively.

Pascasio was shot several times in front of his house at Barangay Calabuanan in Baler town by a suspect identified as Dennis Ruzol.

Ruzol was arrested on Sept. 24, three days before the incident, for violating the country’s forestry law but managed to post bail on the same day. 

Pascasio sustained nine bullet wounds, one of the bullets pierced in his liver and pancreas.

He immediately underwent an operation to remove the bullets from his body and is currently at the intensive care unit of a hospital in Cabanatuan City.

“To assault an environmental worker, who is just doing his job amid this COVID-19 pandemic, is utterly inhumane and unjust,” Cimatu said.

The police are now conducting manhunt operations against Ruzol.

In a report received by the DENR, according to Aurora Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Alfredo Collado, Pascacio played a major role in 11 anti-illegal timber poaching operations from June 6 to Sept. 24.

One operation resulted in the arrest and filing of charges against Ruzol and two others, and confiscation of 422 pieces or 4,865 board feet of illegally manufactured lumber, one elf truck, one van, two chainsaws, and a tricycle. 

Meanwhile, Golondrina and Velarde were killed in a gunfight while securing a Masbate-bound pump boat carrying over 11,000 board feet of undocumented lauan timber they recovered from suspected illegal loggers in the coastal town of San Isidro in Northern Samar.

DENR-Eastern Visayas Regional Executive Director Tirso Parian said the two policemen were part of the composite team put together by the agency as part of its intensified campaign against illegal loggers in the area.

Parian said the incident was a result of an 11-day operation, which started on Sept. 17, in response to reports from concerned citizens about the shipment of unlawful forest products bound for Masbate and the presence of an illegal boat yard at Barangay Palanit.

Also in May, forester Fernando Polenio was shot dead by an unidentified assailant in Palo town in Leyte, while doing field work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, four environmental workers were also killed while performing their duties.

Cimatu has been pushing for the creation of an Enforcement Bureau under the DENR to be more effective in stopping environmental crimes, such as illegal logging and smuggling of wildlife species.

Abueva needs go signal from GAB – Mitra

Games and Amusements Board commissioner Eduard Trinidad, right, talks with Phoenix Super LPG’s Calvin Abueva and coach Topex Robinson during their meeting at the GAB office in Makati City. (Photo from GAB chairman Baham Mitra)

The Games and Amusements Board is set to decide on whether to give back the professional license of suspended Phoenix Super LPG cager Calvin Abueva during its next board meeting.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra said the matter will be discussed after Abueva met with commissioner Eduard Trinidad at the government regulatory body for professional sports’ office in Makati City.

Abueva was joined by Fuel Masters interim coach Topex Robinson, who later posted an Instagram photo of him and Abueva suggesting that the two are heading to Clark, Pampanga for the PBA bubble.

“Phoenix PBA player Calvin Abueva accompanied by Coach Topex Robinson went to visit the GAB to seek permission to play once again,” Mitra said in a statement. “Commissioner Eduard Trinidad did not commit anything and said that his request will be discussed and decided upon by the board in the next meeting.”

Mitra didn’t say when the board meeting will take place but Phoenix is hoping that it can be approved before the PBA restarts its season with the Philippine Cup on Oct. 11 at Angeles University Foundation.

Even if the license is returned, Mitra said Abueva is still required to undergo a seminar.

“He will undergo a seminar on ‘Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of a Professional Athlete’ once the GAB Board decides to give back his license,” Mitra added.

DOT launches upgraded online accreditation system

Tourism enterprises can now apply online for accreditation as the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched Tuesday the upgraded version of its online accreditation system as part of the national government’s ease of doing business. 

Tourism chief Bernadette-Romulo Puyat (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The DOT first launched its online based accreditation system in 2009 which paved the way for a seamless and efficient processing of accreditation applications from tourism establishments. 

While it was a big improvement in the manual accreditation process, the system was upgraded in 2012 but a few bugs remain, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. 

Through the enhanced platform, https://accreditation.tourism.gov.ph, Puyat promised tourism stakeholders to ease and speed up accreditation requests from local tourism establishments, especially at a time wherein contactless transactions are highly encouraged.

During the press launch, she said the new system will facilitate accreditation requests, contactless transactions, and hazard-free government services under the new normal.  The system will specifically cater the needs of accommodation establishments (AEs), travel and tour agencies, tourist transport operators, tourism frontliners, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) facilities and organizers, health and wellness services, and other tourism-related enterprises like restaurants.

“This system fulfills President Duterte’s call for the streamlining and automation of services in the Ease of Doing Business Act signed in 2018 and the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which directs government offices to expedite delivery of services in view of Covid-19”, the tourism chief said in her opening remarks. 

The Tourism Act of 2009 (RA 9593) mandates the DOT to ensure the harmonious implementation of the standards and procedures for the accreditation of tourism enterprises nationwide.  

The accreditation portal is an upgraded version that provides for the creation of business accounts, email verification, real-time application status notification and an upcoming online payment system.

Since mobility is limited amid the COVID-19 threat, inspections will also be done virtually so first time applicants will be given provisional accreditation in the meantime.

“This is a strong reflection of the DOT’s own advocacy towards the adoption or shifting to e-commerce and contactless transactions as recommended protocols in the new normal. Now more than ever, the digitalization of our accreditation system proves timely as we roll out new health and safety guidelines for the new normal for primary and secondary tourism enterprises,“ Puyat said.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jose Clemente III, who was among the panelists, welcomed the development. 

“The accreditation process going online will be a big help for people especially under the current circumstances wherein mobility is limited right now,” he said.

Once accredited, tourism enterprises are certified as having complied with the minimum standards for the operation of tourism facilities and services. 

As of Sept. 15, a total of 10,042 tourism enterprises were accredited nationwide, or an increase of 32.36 percent from the figures in 2019.

“Through the new system, we hope to ease the burden of local businesses, including the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) who collectively form the backbone of the tourism industry,” the tourism chief added.

A total of 6,045 hotels, resorts and other accommodation establishments were issued Provisional/Certificates of Authority to Operate (PCAOs/CAOs) during the community quarantine, in compliance with the DOT guidelines.

Issued in May, the guidelines govern the operations of AEs, tourist transport operations, restaurants, MICE operations and island and beach destinations in preparation of the resumption of tourism activities.

Briones rejects another postponement of school opening

Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday said that the country can no longer afford another school opening postponement due to the short and long-term consequences of prolonged interruptions in education – both on the children and the system as a whole.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

All public schools are scheduled to open next week, Oct. 5. Briones said that this is the date that President Duterte has chosen himself. “We gave him three choices – Aug. 24, Sept. 7, and Oct. 5 – and the latest date was the one he has chosen,” Briones told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
 
As a response to the calls to postpone the school opening anew, Briones said that DepEd has been preparing for its learning continuity plan as early as April. “In Southeast Asia, other countries have already opened schools – we’re the last one to open in October,” she said.

In less than six months, Briones cited how the DepEd overhauled the system just to ensure that the education of millions of Filipino children will continue. “It’s not just about what other countries do, it’s about what the children are missing,” she added.
 
The months-long disruption in children’s education, Briones said, already has a negative impact on their overall growth – noting that students might “lose interest in studying if we continue to delay the school opening.”

‘Empower President to cut red tape, simplify permit processes in nat’l emergency’ — Sen. Go

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has expressed his support to an anti-red tape bill that seeks to give the President of the Philippines authority to simplify bureaucratic processes during national emergencies.  The bill seeks improve ease of doing business as well as strengthen the fight against corruption.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, manifested his support for Senate Bill 1844 during a public hearing conducted today by the Senate Committee on Civil Service joint with the Committee on Justice.

The bill seeks to authorize the President of the Philippines – during times of national emergency – to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications, and to streamline and expedite the processing for the issuance of the same.

“‘Yung three days to one week lang dapat – dapat po ay three days to one week lang po, ‘yun ang gusto niya mangyari. Kasi minsan inaabot ng ilang taon, ilang buwan,” Go said. (All what the bill states is that issuances of permits or licenses should be from three days to one week. That is what is required. There are times these licenses or permits are issued for a few years or few months.) 

“’Yung pinapatulog po ‘yung mga papeles. […] That means there is inefficiency at best and corruption at worst,” he added. (When papers are allowed to sleep in offices…)

Go also warned officials who would not comply with the government’s anti-red tape policy.

“Do not test this administration because we will see to it that you will be held accountable. Hihiyain talaga kayo ni Presidente,” he said. (The President will put you to public ridicule.)

“At hindi lang po hihiyain, yayariin po namin kayo. Kung paano yayariin, bahala na kayong umintindi,” he added. (We will not only shame you…we will silence you. It is up to you how we will silence you.)

In his speech, Go cited President Duterte’s recent call to improve ease of doing business in the country during his recent Talk to the People address.  

“Suportado ko po ang sinabi ng Pangulo na kailangan natin ayusin ang burukrasya sa gobyerno hindi lamang upang i-improve ang ease of doing business sa bansa, kundi para labanan ang korapsyon sa gobyerno. Mas lalo itong kailangan ngayon to facilitate our economic recovery in this time of pandemic,” said Go. (I support the President’s call for an efficient and honest bureaucracy. It is not only the easing of doing business in the country but fighting corruption in government, We need this more than ever as we try to facilitate our economic recovery during this time of pandemic,) 

During his Talk to the People address on September 28, Duterte noted the convoluted bureaucracy of state insurer PhilHealth as one of the causes of corruption in the agency and vowed to take radical steps to address the issue. 

“I am ready to appear there in Congress and discuss with them… discuss how we can cut corruption, simplify the ease of doing business,” Duterte said.

Go has also expressed his support to Duterte’s call to revisit laws and implementing rules and regulations.

“Kung kailangan lagyan ng ngipin para sundin, gawin natin. Kung kinakailangan, mas palawakin at paigtingin ang parusa sa mga lumalabag sa batas. Iisa lang naman ang layunin natin dito: ang maisaayos ang burukrasya at mapaganda ang serbisyo sa tao,” Go said. (If there is a need to put teeth in the law just to be followed, we will do it.  If need be, we will impose stiff sanctions against those who violate the law. Our aim is to have an efficient bureaucracy and honest-to-goodness public service.)

“Totoo po ‘yun, na willing daw po siyang ma-summon sa Senado, sabi nga ni SP, ‘wag naman daw summon, but to be invited as one of the resource persons. Willing po ang ating Pangulo na imbitahan po siya sa Kongreso para makapagsalita gaano kalalim ang korapsyon sa ating bansa,” Go echoed. (The President is willing to be summoned to the Senate but Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said the President would only be invited as one of the resource persons. The President is willing to be summoned by Congress so that he could expound on the unabated corrupt practices in the country.)

Meanwhile, Go encouraged Filipinos and those in the private sector to “join the fight against corruption and help towards having a clean and efficient bureaucracy that provides the kind of service that Filipinos deserve.”

 “Together, let us demand accountability from those who have sworn to render public service with integrity and efficiency. Know your rights and demand the best, because you deserve nothing less. Isumbong ninyo po, magtulungan po tayo. Paano natin masugpo ito kung hindi tayo magtutulungan sa isa’t isa,” he added. (Let your complaints be heard. We should help one another. How could be eradicate corruption if we don’t help one another.)

Filipinos from abroad need to transfer their registration records in order to vote — Comelec

Overseas Filipinos who want to register as local voters in the May 2020 national and local polls need to transfer their registration records, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Monday.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said to do this, they need to go to the Office of Election Officer (OEO), where they intend to vote, and file their application for transfer of registration records.

He said applicants need to secure two forms, the request for transfer and application for registration (OVF No. 1-B), which can be downloaded from the poll body’s website or availed of at the city/municipal OEOs.

“It’s very important to disclose to the election officer that you are a former overseas voter so that they can give you the correct forms and have them processed immediately,” said Jimenez during the Laging Handa press briefing Monday.

In Resolution No. 10677, the Comelec said applications for transfer of registration records from overseas posts to the Philippines is from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Earlier this month, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they have repatriated 205,000 OFWs since May.

He said he won’t be surprised if they will repatriate 100,000 more amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bello added that based on their record the number of OFWs they repatriate on a daily basis is a minimum of 1,000 and a maximum of 3,000.

myConnecting to Higher Learning Amid the Pandemic

Written by Art Samaniego Jr

The unexpected health crisis has forced non-techie parents and their children to embrace technology.  Schools are implementing remote learning via video conferencing platforms and companies are requiring employees to follow work from home schemes. Zoom and Lark are now the new classrooms where children learn and Microsoft Teams is the new office where parents work. Parents working from home are now regularly using the technology they once feared. These technologies parents and kids are using amid the pandemic depend on one thing to work together smoothly, the internet connection. 

I got a lot of messages from parents asking how to improve their children’s internet speed for online learning and I was surprised to learn that a lot of kids are using their parents’ mobile phones for online education. While most parents have upgraded their mobile phones to comply with school requirements there is one thing many have neglected to do to get a better internet connection, upgrade their SIM cards.

Local telcos are upgrading their networks this is the reason why users also need to upgrade their SIM cards to get a faster and more efficient connection. 

I have compiled below the common questions parents ask when I informed them that they need to upgrade to 4G/LTE to have a better internet experience:

1. What are 3G, 4G, and LTE? How are they different from each other?

3G, short for 3rd Generation, is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It is an upgrade from 2G and 2.5G GPRS networks, to have a faster internet speed. 3G enabled the use of mobile internet and video calling when it was launched in 1998. 4G, short for 4th Generation is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It was launched in the late 2000s and is much faster than 3G. 4G is able to support video streaming and video conferencing of better quality. LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, is a type of 4G. In the Philippines, telcos refer to 4G and LTE as one and the same.

2. What are the benefits of 4G/LTE?

4G/LTE provides a high-speed mobile internet connection of up to 42Mbps, which can give you a faster and richer browsing experience than before. Video conference calls for both online learning and working from home would be smoother.

3. How will I know if 4G/LTE is available in my area?

Users who are already using an LTE SIM and device will see an LTE or 4G signal indicator when they are in an area with 4G coverage. Users who are still using a 3G SIM need to change the SIM to 4G to get a 4G connection in their areas.

4. How can I fully use 4G/LTE?

LTE SIM and 4G/LTE-capable devices are needed to fully experience the benefits of 4G/LTE. Telcos in the Philippines are encouraging users to upgrade. Globe for example is offering a free upgrade to LTE SIM and offers discounted 4G/LTE devices for users who need to upgrade their phones

5. Is there a cost to upgrade to 4G/LTE?

If you are a Globe subscriber, upgrading to an LTE SIM is free. As long as you have an LTE SIM and a 4G/LTE device, you can fully experience the benefits of 4G/LTE at no additional cost. 

6. What happens if I don’t upgrade to 4G/LTE?

You will miss out on the full potential of having 4G/LTE connectivity.  You will still be able to use your SIM for calls and text but your mobile internet experience will be very limited or degraded.

Again, for a more stable mobile internet connection, I strongly encourage parents to upgrade to a 4G/LTE SIM. You would experience a better work from home setup and a more effective online learning for your kids.Go to https://www.globe.com.ph/help/prepaid/self-service-sim-upgrade.html for more information on how to upgrade your SIM card.

Live-in couple nabbed, yield P24-million shabu in Bacolod

BACOLOD CITY – A couple and an alleged cohort were arrested in a buy-bust operation, which also resulted in the confiscation of P24-million worth of suspected, in Barangay Handumanan here on Tuesday, September 29.

A couple and their alleged cohort were arrested in a buy-bust, which resulted in the confiscation of P24 million worth of suspected shabu in an operation led by Regional Drug Enforcement Unit -6 (RDEU-6) in Barangay Handumanan, Bacolod City Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of PRO-6 / MANILA BULLETIN)
A couple and their alleged cohort were arrested in a buy-bust, which resulted in the confiscation of P24 million worth of suspected shabu in an operation led by Regional Drug Enforcement Unit -6 (RDEU-6) in Barangay Handumanan, Bacolod City Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of PRO-6 / MANILA BULLETIN)

Police operatives arrested prime suspect Carline Lunares, 23; her partner Nester Brinosa, 23; and her brother Richard Lunares, 30, the couple’s alleged drug runner.

Operatives of the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit-6 (RDEU-6), along with the Special Operations Unit 7 Philippine National Police (PNP)-Drug Enforcement Group, and City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), launched the operation after almost a month of surveillance.

The operation came after a series of huge drug hauls by the police here and in Negros Occidental in the past week, which targeted high value targets in illegal drugs.

RDEU-6 Head Lt. Thurslie Castillo said Carline was a listed high value individual, and one of the top priorities in the region’s campaign against illegal drugs. She was also reportedly connected to a drug group operating in the city, he added.

She is known as the “bodegera” or warehouseman from where other drug pushers get their supply of illegal drugs in the area, Castillo added.

“With the help of our informant, we were able to transact with Carline’s brother, and upon our transaction with him, he was able to lead us to the said venue,” Castillo said. 

Authorities recovered during the operation 2.4 kilos of suspected shabu, and the P11,000 marked money.

Castillo said he cannot divulge any other information related to the huge drug recovery since other big drug personalities were involved in drug trade. The persons behind the illegal activity were armed and dangerous, he added.

He said there were many drug players in the city and province, adding that the contraband was even directly sourced out from the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

“Kaliwaan na, wala ng consignment. Palitan agad, pera at item. Minsan gumagamit pa ng courier services,” he added.

He said that some of the recovered illegal drugs were already packed and ready for distribution.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, PRO-6 director, lauded the operating team for another successful buy-bust operation. 

According to Pamuspusan, the arrest of the three suspects will momentarily stop the operations of Carline’s downlines. “We are after the listed personalities so we could get their connections too,” he said.

The three suspects are now under the custody of Police Station 10 for filing of charges for sale and illegal possession of dangerous drugs.

Lakas-CMD welcomes Camiguin, Dinagat Is. solons as new members

The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) has welcomed Camiguin lone district Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo and Dinagat Islands Rep. Alan Ecleo as its new party members, even as the party vowed its continued support to the Duterte government’s all-out fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dinagat Islands Rep. Alan Ecleo (L) and Camiguin lone district Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo (HOR / MANILA BULLETIN)

House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez, party president, and Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo of Pampanga, party vice president, administered the oath to Romualdo and Ecleo, on Tuesday afternoon.

With the decision of Romualdo and Ecleo to leave the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and join Lakas-CMD party, the number of the Lakas-CMD party members in the House stood at 36 with 19 district congressmen and 17 party-list allies and friends.

“It’s a great pleasure and happiness that we are here today (Tuesday) to report to you that Lakas-CMD party is growing stronger and better
every day,” said Romualdez during the hybrid oath-taking event.

“Lakas-CMD is gaining momentum in its goal to strengthen its ranks in the House of Representatives. We will continue this feat in the coming months by strengthening our support for our 19 regular members and 17 party-list allies.”

Romualdo physically took his oath before Romualdez and Arroyo at the Executive Lounge of the House of Representatives, while Ecleo was sworn in as new party member via Zoom with majority of party members and allies.

Romualdez maintained that their party “will remain a staunch ally of the government and will continue to support the swift passage of President Duterte’s legislative agenda.”

In his opening remarks, Arroyo said, “Although we have the pandemic, we are working very hard to strengthen our political party because only in strength that we can really help our people. We need to do this as part of our mandate to provide basic services to our people.”

Romualdez and Arroyo took the opportunity to express gratitude to Lakas-CMD stalwart and House Deputy Majority Leader Wilter Wee Palma II of Zamboanga Sibugay for acting as the “workhorse of the party” in terms of recruiting new party members.

Romualdez expressed Lakas-CMD’s commitment to push “for a common legislative agenda that will address the concerns of all sectors, especially those that are affected by the pandemic.”

Since the 17th Congress, the Lakas-CMD has been steadily consolidating its forces in the Lower Chamber.

On June 23, three mayors in Zamboanga del Sur– Bayog Mayor Celso A. Matias, San Miguel Mayor Angelito L. Martinez II and Guipos Mayor Vicente P. Cajeta were sworn in as new party members.

Last June 8, Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Leonardo “Jun” Babasa Jr., vice chairperson of three House Committees– Disaster Management, Higher and Technical Education, and Local Government joined Lakas-CMD party.

Southern Leyte lone district Rep. Roger “Oging” Mercado, Biliran lone district Rep. Gerardo “Gerryboy” Espina Jr., and Bataan 1st district Rep. Geraldine Roman had also joined the party last December, February, and March, respectively.

Aside from Romualdez and Arroyo, other Lakas-CMD party officials and members include Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 1st district Rep. Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., Lanao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Yasser Balindong, Deputy Majority Leader and Pangasinan 4th district Rep. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia, Quezon 3rd district Rep. Aleta Suarez, Lapu-Lapu City lone district Rep. Paz Radaza, Negros Occidental 5th district Rep. Marilou Arroyo, and Misamis Oriental 1st district Rep. Christian Unabia.

Among the 18 party-list lawmakers who are allied with Lakas-CMD include Tingog Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike
Defensor, Ako Bisaya Rep. Sonny “SL” Lagon, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin, Alona Rep. Ana Marie Villaraza-Suarez, Ako Bicol Rep. Elizalde
Co, Ako Padayon Pilipino Rep. Adriano Ebcas, CWS Rep. Romeo Momo, Sr., GP Rep. Jose Gay Padiernos, Philreca Rep. Presyley de Jesus, Recoboda Rep. Godofredo Guya, TGP Rep. Jose Teves, TUCP Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza, Magsasaka Rep. Argel Cabatbat, Deputy Speaker and Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, Ang Probinsyano Alfred Delos Santos, and APEC Rep. Sergio Dagooc.

The partylist lawmakers had inked the “Declaration of Alliance for Unity and Progress” with the Lakas-CMD “to further solidify their support to the legislative agenda of President Duterte and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

Former Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Fidel Ramos, and former Speaker Jose de Venecia are part of the 28-year old political party.

Pacquiao still dangerous at 41 – Team Lakay coach

The MMA mentor thinks the fighting senator would punish the younger Conor McGregor inside the ring.
Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao (ONE Championship Images)

Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao is giving his 100 percent support to eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

“Sa akin, [mas lamang] si Manny Pacquiao,” Benguet’s famed mixed martial arts mentor told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview Monday night. “Mula pagkabata nilalaro niya na ‘yun e.”

Pacquiao’s camp announced recently that the boxing icon will be fighting former UFC champion Conor McGregor, and a huge portion of his earnings will be donated to the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sangiao, a multi-titled MMA coach, weighed in different factors on why he is placing his bet on the 41-year-old Pacquiao.

While boxing and MMA are both combat sports, he said the two have their respective disciplines and rules. Sangiao said the only edge McGregor would have are these two: his aggressiveness as a striker and age difference.

The Irish fighter is 32 years old, nine years junior of Pacquiao.

pacquiao mayweather
Manny Pacquiao pins down Floyd Mayweather. (Top Rank Images)

“Mas llamado talaga si Pacquiao. Kahit padded yung gloves sa boxing, maraming siyang pinatulog,” said Sangiao, who is also part of the national kickboxing team’s coaching staff. “Si Manny na-prove niya na ‘yung kamao niya na kahit padded yan, daming pinatulog niyan.”

Lakay stalwart Lito Adiwang couldn’t agree more and believes Pacquiao could finish McGregor in the fifth or sixth round.

“Yes, McGregor has a strong and powerful left hand which had finished many of his opponents… in MMA. But this is boxing, they use boxing gloves and not small MMA gloves, so that power isn’t the same,” said Adiwang, who competes in the strawweight division of ONE Championship.

“And the fact that Pacquiao is one of the best knockout artists in history, even in boxing gloves, that’s scary. He’s faster and he has more experience than McGregor.”

Conor McGregor
UFC fighter Conor McGregor  (AP Photo / Pavel Golovkin)

By the boxing numbers, Pacquiao has 62-7-2 win-loss-draw record with 39 victories coming off knockout finishes.

The Filipino boxer-turned-senator last saw action in the ring July last year, where he defeated American Keith Thurman by split decision to claim the WBA super world welterweight title.

As for McGregor, he suffered a technical knockout loss in his first professional boxing match against welterweight king Floyd Mayweather in August 2017. 

World Bank forecasts deeper PH GDP cuts in 2020

The World Bank expects a deeper economic downturn in the Philippines this year due to uncertain prospects as the still uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic will certainly take a heavier toll on poverty.

Based on October 2020 Economic Update for East Asia and the Pacific, Washington-based multilateral financial institution is now projecting that the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) would shrink by 6.9 percent in 2020.

World Bank is also not ruling out a scenario where the Philippine economy contracts by 9.9 percent this year. The lender had forecasted in June that the country’s GDP would decline by 1.9 percent only.

“Indonesia and the Philippines face uncertain prospects. The region’s two most populous countries after China have not so far succeeded in controlling the pandemic,” the World Bank report stated.

According to the Work Bank, the continued surge in COVID-19 infections in the Philippines worsens the already sizeable informal sectors and large number of people living in poor conditions in the country.

The Philippines’ exposure to global trade, tourism, and remittances will also deepen the negative effects of the government’s cycle of repeated strict lockdowns and reopenings, the World Bank noted.

“Because of both domestic and external conditions, [the Philippines] faces the prospect of an uneven and volatile economic recovery,” which threatens the nation’s recent economic and social gains, the bank said.

Related stories: PH economy second worst performing in ASEAN—AMRO; ADB sees deeper economic contraction in PH; Moody’s sees deeper economic contraction in PH

Meanwhile, Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for the Philippines said that recovering from the pandemic requires immediate and effective public health management and social protection measures.

“In the short-term, every peso put directly in the hands of poor and vulnerable families through social assistance translates into demand for basic goods and services in local communities, which in turn supports micro and small enterprises and the government’s recovery efforts,” Diop said.

“At the same time, one cannot over emphasize the importance of improvements in public health management including testing, tracing, isolating, and treatment to effectively control the spread of COVID-19 and secure a definitive recovery,” he added.

However, World Bank expects the Philippine economy would rebound to 5.3 percent next year and 5.6 percent in 2022.

“[The economic recovery is] a drawn out process that could slow down the country’s rapid progress in poverty reduction in recent years,” World Bank said.

In the first half of 2020, the Philippine economy shrank by 9.0 percent, the largest contraction since 1985, due to the implementation of strict quarantine measures.

Related story: Longest lockdown blamed for PH economic meltdown

CHR welcomes gov’t commitment to prioritize food security

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has welcomed the statement made by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Chair of the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force and Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), to prioritize food security and food production during this pandemic.

Commission on Human Rights (MANILA BULLETIN)
Commission on Human Rights
(MANILA BULLETIN)

Even without the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,  Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said that the CHR has supported plans and strategies on ending hunger and achieving food security.

As the government plans to roll out its National Food Policy in October 2020, the CHR is reminding the state of its responsibility to protect and promote the human right to food and all other related human rights.

“In adopting such policy, we urge our line agencies to guarantee that all facets of the implementation are coherent with the principles of economic, social, and cultural rights, and ensure that these actions do not have discriminatory effects, especially on the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors of society,” said de Guia.

The CHR’s statement could not be more timely as September 29 is observed as International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. De Guia said that it is equally important for people to be mindful of the way they produce and consume food, because the impacts are far-reaching.

“Globally, food waste is a huge problem costing billions of dollars annually and contributes to the increasing greenhouse gas emissions, which worsens the existing climate crisis,” she explained.

“While we recognize the work of the National Task Force on Zero Hunger, the Commission continues to push for the passage of the Zero Hunger Bill for stronger protection of Filipino’s right to adequate food,” she added.

The CHR has maintained that it has high hopes for the National Food Policy that it would pave the way for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of zero hunger in the Philippines by 2030.

Health advocates appeal for home quarantine for COVID-19 positive patients with no comorbidities

While civil society groups support the decision of the government to isolate COVID-19 positive individuals to prevent the transmission of the virus, they appealed that patients with no comorbidities but have the capacity to home isolate be exempted from being transferred to a quarantine facility.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a press briefing Tuesday, various civil society groups in the country issued a unity statement calling on the interagency task force (IATF) to let COVID-19 positive individuals with no comorbidities take isolation at home if they have sufficient capacity to do so in order to prevent “unintended consequences.”

“We fully understand the need to isolate COVID-19 positive individuals to prevent further transmission of the virus. However, we appeal to the IATF to include patients with the capacity to home isolate in the exceptions for required facility-based isolation, in order to prevent unintended consequences, which are not in line with our goal of reducing transmissions,” the health advocates from about 30 civil groups said.

On September 24, the IATF released Resolution No. 74 which contains a provision requiring facility-based isolation for asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 patients except if the patient has comorbidities and has sufficient capacity to home isolate and if the local government unit has insufficient capacity in terms of available isolation facilities.

The health advocates underscored that the implication of the policy is that even mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients with the capacity to home isolate will be required to undergo facility-based isolation if they do not have comorbidities or vulnerabilities.

The Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) stressed that the policy on mandatory facility-based isolation can lead to an unintended behavior such as patients denying their symptoms and refusing testing.

“Requiring facility-based isolation even for COVID patients with the capacity to home-isolate can lead to their refusal to disclose their symptoms and be tested in order to avoid isolation in government facilities. A policy that encourages hiding information prevents the government from finding and monitoring COVID-19 cases,” HPAAC said.

Dr. Anna Ong Lim of the HPAAC said that there is a possibility that patients with the capacity to home isolate but have no comorbidities might choose to not disclose their illness and refuse testing in order not to be transferred to a quarantine facility.

The health advocates also argued that requiring patients with the capacity to home isolate to be admitted in government facilities will strain government resources and will congest existing facilities, taking away available beds from those whose homes do not meet the conditions required for home isolation.

Arjay Mercado, of the Action for Economic Reforms (AER), said that the capacity of quarantine facilities are limited as well as financing from the government in terms of paying for the services.

“Mahalaga ang pag-prioritize doon sa mas nangangailangan ng isolation facility. Kung papayagan natin ang may capacity na mag-home isolate, malaki ang matitipid in terms of services na ibigay na lang sa mas nangangailangan ng tulong (It is important to prioritize those who mostly need to be in an isolation facility. If we let those who can home isolate stay in their homes, we will save resources in terms of services that can be provided to those who are in need of assistance),” Mercado said.

Given the limited resources, the government should adopt a cost-effective approach by having the facility-based isolation serve the underprivileged with no capacity to home isolate. Funds should likewise be directed towards technological interventions to monitor those isolating at home, the groups said.

“Imbes na gastusan ang may kapasidad to isolate themselves, gamitin ang pondo para ma-improve ang services at ayuda sa manggagawa na apektado ‘pag sila ay nagpositibo (Rather than spending resources for individuals who can isolate themselves, use the fund to improve the services and assistance to workers who would test positive),” Mercado said.

He added that aside from improving the quantity of available quarantine facilities, the quality of services in these facilities must also be prioritized.

“In addition, while we support the decision of the IATF to isolate asymptomatic or mild COVID-positive individuals, we ask that necessary financial and social support be given to them. We express our concern over the current conditions and management of government facilities. COVID-19 patients have experienced issues on hygiene, waste management, gender-based violence, and sanitation in isolation facilities. These issues have to be addressed,” the health groups stated.

They also appealed to the government to give financial support, especially to those who will temporarily lose their source of livelihood to follow isolation protocols.

“Provide care for minors whose parents are undergoing mandatory isolation. Ensure that isolation facilities follow quality standards and have sufficient capacity. Strictly enforce the monitoring of COVID-19 patients in government facilities and those under home isolation,” they said.

Patience running out: Casimero draws Plan B as Inoue fight loses grip

As much as he wants to face Naoya Inoue in a title unification bout, WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero knows that playing the waiting game also has its limits.

That is why Casimero, coming off a dominating win over Duke Micah last Sunday in the United States, already has plans of moving up to super bantamweight and challenge WBC titlist Luis Nery in the event a fight with Inoue won’t push through.

Nery scored a unanimous decision win over fellow Mexican Aaron Alameda to claim the vacant belt. Both Casimero and Nery were in the undercard of Jermall Charlo’s WBC middleweight title victory opposite Sergiy Derevyanchenko in Uncasville, Connecticut.

john riel casimero
John Riel Casimero wears a pair of shades and mask while his arm was raised by referee Steve Willis following his third round TKO win over Duke Micah. (Photo from Showtime Boxing)

While also mentioning the name 39-year-old Cuban Guillermo Rigodeaux, the WBA bantamweight champion, Casimero is leaning towards Nery as his Plan B. 

“Kung ayaw talaga ni Naoya Inoue lumaban sa akin, aakyat ako kay Luis Nery para magiging four division tayo,” Casimero said during Tuesday’s online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

(If Naoya Inoue doesn’t want to face me, I’ll move up and face Luis Nery so I can become a four-division champion.)

Casimero once again called out Inoue shortly after his third round TKO of Micah with profanities that ended with the Filipino describing the WBA and IBF champion as a “Japanese turtle.”

The flamboyant 30-year-old said the chance of having all three belts is something he wants to pursue, which is why Casimero continues to put Inoue on notice.

Both fighters were supposed to slug it out last April 25 but got postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. Inoue eventually selected Jason Moloney as his next opponent slated for Oct. 31 in Las Vegas.

“Pangarap ko talaga unification pero kung takbo siya, wala na tayo magagawa diyan (May dream is to have a unification fight, but if he continues to run away then I have no choice),” said Casimero.

“Sabi ko sa kanila walang monster na takot, hindi monster yan. That’s a Japanese turtle, not a monster (I told them that there’s not a monster that is scared. That’s a Japanese turtle),” he added.

Casimero is set to return to his hometown of Ormoc in the second week of October after spending close to a year in the US while waiting on what’s next on the horizon.

Derek Ramsay looked straight into UV light and saw how dangerous it was

Here’s why

Photo courtesy of Derek Ramsay/Instagram

Most of us already know that ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin cancer and other problems. But that’s not all there is to worry about. “Most people are not aware of the damage that UVC radiation can do to their eyes,” says Dr. Nikki Angbue Te, an ophthalmologist who specializes in laser, cataract, and vitreoretinal surgery. 

Take for example the case of Kapuso star Derek Ramsay, who was rushed to the emergency room after he looked straight into the UV light he was fixing. Ramsay said he experienced side effects, like eye pain and difficulty opening his eyes. 

Prolonged exposure of UVC radiation, Te says, can burn the surface of the eye, causing a temporary and painful condition known as photokeratitis. Over time, unprotected exposure can contribute to cataracts, as well as cancer of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes.

“Never look directly at a UVC lamp source, even briefly,” she says. 

Worried? Here’s what you can do: When doing room UVC disinfection, says ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Lagamayo from the University of Santo Tomas Hospital, one should not stay in the same room until the disinfection is done.

“This will prevent exposure because some UVC lamps produce ozone which can also irritate the airways and lungs,” he says. 

For parcel disinfection, Lagamayo says it should be done in an enclosed container with no visible light passing through it.

The Department of Health earlier reminded the public to take caution while using UV light for disinfection purposes.

“It has been used in the hospital even before SARS-CoV-2. It’s done in a proper manner and they know how to use it with the proper doses,” said health undersecretary Maria Vergeire. “If used, there should be guidance.” 

She recommended the direct wiping of surfaces with disinfectant and discouraged spraying as this could cause the virus to be dispersed further.

The World Health Organization also said that UV lamps should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of the skin. The most effective way of disinfecting hands is through washing with soap and water or using alcohol.

Catholics eagerly await Pope Francis’ appointment of new Archbishop of Manila

With the appointment of Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown, many are wondering if Pope Francis will also soon name the new Archbishop of Manila.

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DIOCESE OF CUBAO

Catholic prelates said the possibility of appointing an Archbishop for Manila will always be there.

Former Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was appointed as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in December, 2019.

In an interview Tuesday, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said he is sure that there will be one in “due time.”

“Let us pray and hope that it would be next,” Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said.

Archdiocese of Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the new nuncio can “facilitate the appointment of the new bishops in vacant dioceses.”

Retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes explained that one of the most important tasks of the nuncio is to “recommend priests for the episcopal office to the Pope.”

“Of course, it will be the priority task of Archbishop Brown to facilitate the appointment of a new Archbishop of Manila. He will soon do a lot of consultations,” he said.

Bastes said Archbishop Brown will be very busy as soon as he arrives in Manila as there are other local churches that also need new bishops.

The Vatican announced the appointment of Brown as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on Monday.

BTS’ ‘Dynamite’ grabs No. 1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 for third time

K-pop idol group BTS’ hit song “Dynamite” has topped the coveted Billboard Hot 100 for the third time as the song stayed on the chart for five consecutive weeks.

“Dynamite,” BTS’ first all-English song, was released on Aug. 21 and it debuted on top of Hot 100 for the Sept. 5 chart and maintained the No. 1 position the following week for the Sept. 12 chart. For the Hot 100 charts of Sept. 19 and Sept. 26, “Dynamite” stayed at No. 2.

In the fifth week, “Dynamite” returned to No. 1 on Hot 100 for the Oct. 3 chart, reclaiming the spot from Cardi B’s “WAP” featuring Megan Thee Stallion, which was No. 1 on the Sept. 19 and 26 charts. The Hot 100 chart is based on US streaming, radio airplay and sales data.

“Thank you #BTSARMY for your support and love. You made this happen!” BTS posted on Twitter.

The hashtags #BTS1onHot100 and #ShiningthroughTheHOT100 trended on Twitter as BTS ARMYs celebrated BTS’ new feat.

BTS’ ‘Dynamite’ is No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 for the third time. (Photos: Big Hit and Billboard on Twitter)

“It returns to No. 1 from the runner-up spot on the strength of 14 million U.S. streams (up 11 percent) and 153,000 downloads sold (up 96 percent) in the week ending Sept. 24, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It also drew 20.8 million radio airplay audience impressions (up 8 percent) in the week ending Sept. 27,” according to Billboard.

It said “Dynamite” was helped by “four new remixes released Sept. 18: its ‘Bedroom,’ ‘Midnight,’ ‘Retro’ and ‘Slow Jam’ mixes, which, combined, accounted for 52 percent of the song’s overall sales in the tracking week.”

“On the Hot 100, ‘Dynamite’ is the first song among duos or groups to tally at least three weeks at No. 1 in almost two years, since Maroon’s ‘Girls Like You,’ featuring Cardi B, dominated for seven weeks in September-November 2018,” according to the chart. In addition, “Dynamite” topped Billboard’s Digital Song Sales chart for five weeks.

BTS’ new feat on Hot 100 came a day after they announced the release of their new album “BE” on Nov. 20.

Big Hit Entertainment said the upcoming album “contains the most ‘BTS-esque’ music yet” and described it as “a most special album carefully crafted by BTS.”

Duterte satisfied with efforts of LGUs in containing COVID-19 spread

As the new community quarantine levels take effect next month, President Duterte has expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the local government units to help contain the coronavirus pandemic.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 28, 2020.
(ROBINSON NIÑAL / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a televised address Monday night, the President recognized that government officials are mandated to serve the people, saying those who are unable to do so may leave the government.

“I’m really satisfied with the response of the local government. Alam mo, sa totoo lang mga kababayan ko, huwag kayong masyadong maniwala diyan sa mga atake-atake na ano, it will just muddle up your mind (To my countrymen, do no believe the attacks. It will just muddle up your mind),” Duterte said.

“Our purpose is to serve and to work. If we cannot serve, if we cannot work, then we might as well get out of government and ask somebody else to take over,” he said.

As the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic, Duterte said the government is a huge organization “dedicated to the needs of the people.”

He said barangay units must be maximized to help communities cope with the public health emergency.  He said the barangay health emergency response teams are “put on notice” to ensure they are present in all communities.

“The government has the structure down to the barangay level. From my office down to the secretary of Health, then the regional, then the city, provincial, municipal, then the barangays. Kaya may mga barangay health workers tayo eh (That’s why we have barangay health workers),” he said.

“And I hope that we have been using their services actually to maximize, to help us deliver all of these things sa tao (to the people),” he added.

The President had earlier approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to keep Metro Manila under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for the month of October. Four other areas were also placed under GCQ. They are Batangas, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, and Iligan City.

Lanao del Sur will stay under the more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Oct. 1 to 31. Other parts of the country will remain under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).