Sen. Leila hinimok ang gobyerno na paghandaan ang iba pang COVID variants
Hinimok ni Senador Leila De Lima ang gobyerno na paghandaan ang posibilidad na magkaroon pa ng ibang variant ang COVID-19 sa mga darating na araw o buwan.
Ginawa ng naka
kulong na senador ang panawagan sa gitna ng maaaring panibagong banta na naman ng BA.2 variant o Omicron sub-variant.
“Huwag naman na sanang lumala pa ang kasalukuyang pandemya o magkaroon pa ng mga bagong Covid-19 variants,” ani De Lima sa isang pahayag nitong Lunes, Enero 24.
“Pero ngayon pa lang, mas maigi nang laging handa ang gobyerno, pati na ang susunod na administrasyon, sa ganitong mga posibilidad o sa anupamang krisis na maaaring mangyari sa hinaharap,” dagdag pa nito.
Giit ng mambabatas, dapat ay laging handa ang pamahalaan sa posibleng pagsirit muli ng COVID-19 at ituring itong isang malaking sakuna na may nakalaang sapat na budget.
“There must be budget always for continuous vaccination, testing, contact-tracing, isolation, social amelioration and livelihood assistance for those affected,” ayon pa kay De Lima.
Samantala, tiniyak naman ng Department of Health (DOH) na nakikipag-ugnayan na sila sa World Health Organization (WHO) tungkol sa Omicron sub-variant.
Sa kasalukuyan, itinuturing pa lang itong variant under investigation (VUI) at hindi pa variant of concern, ayon kay Health Sec. Francisco Duque III.
Bagama’t limitado ang datos tungkol sa sub-variant na ito, hindi naman daw ito naiiba sa Omicron at epektibo pa rin ang mga kasalukuyang COVID vaccines para maiwasan ang mga severe cases ng virus.
Ipinaalala rin ng kalihim ang patuloy na pagsunod sa minimum health protocols upang hindi na lumala pa ang sitwasyon.
“’Wag tayong tutulad sa mga ibang bansa na nagdeklara ng walang nang mask mandate, pwede nang magbukas, niluwagan ang restrictions, baka sumipa ulit. Sayang naman ‘yung atin nang mga nakamit na mga tagumpay baka mabalewala, ay ‘wag naman sana magiging ganu’n,” paalala ni Duque.
PCOO assures Marcos ‘will adhere to law’ when holding parties in Malacanang
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles has assured the country President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. will always ‘adhere to law’ when holding social events including extravagant parties in th Malacanang Palace.
This was Malacanang’s reaction to the alleged birthday party for former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who turned 93, last July 2 with some pictures of which are being shared on social media.
Angeles was asked about the concerns raised by some netizens regarding the ‘lavish party’ held in Malacanang barely two days after Marcos Jr. assumed the presidency.
The PCOO chief said it was a family affair and she could not say with certainty whether a policy will be borne out of said event.
“We acknowledged those concerns. There’s no policy yet in place and that’s all that we can really say about it. That was a family affair and so, I don’t know if a policy will be born out of this one but we certainly note that observation,” Angeles said during a press briefing on Monday.
However, Angeles said the President will certainly ‘adhere to law’ when holding similar occasions in the future.
“We assure you that the President would adhere to law. So that is the presumption. No directive in excess that is written into law,” Angeles added.
Netizens were concerned over Imelda’s ‘lavish birthday party’ and were questioning whether public funds were used in the family affair after some photos of the event popped out on social media shared by no less than a relative of the Marcoses.
Earlier, Malacanang refused to comment on the issue; saying it’s not of public interest.
“We will only be releasing statements on issues where public interest/welfare is involved,” said a statement from PCOO.
Angeles also described the celebration as a “happy occasion for everybody who was there.”
“The dinner was solemn, the whole inauguration was solemn, simple and traditional so aside from the usual… It was generally a joyful but simple and traditional occasion so that’s the best way I can describe it right now,” the Malacanang official shared to the media.
Angeles likewise declined to comment on the billboard greeting Imelda on her birthday which had gone viral on social media after it was called out by ‘The Kingmaker’ director Lauren Greenfield for copyright infringement, and by netizens for grammatical errors (93rd instead of 93th.)
Outgoing SolGen Jose Calida to head COA under Marcos admin
Outgoing Solicitor General Jose Calida have been picked as the next chairperson of the Commission on Audit (COA) under the administration of President-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.
Incoming press secretary Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles made the announcement on Wednesday, June 29; one day before Marcos Jr. formally assumes office as the 17th President of the Republic.
“Mayroon tayong bagong appointees. The first is Atty. Jose Calida for COA chair,” Angeles told reporters during a press briefing.
Calida is currently the Solicitor General under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration after being appointed in 2016. He is a graduate of Ateneo de Davao University and is a known schoolmate and a close associate of Duterte.
Before this, he once served as an undersecretary of tthe Justice Department in the Arroyo administration.
Calida is a known supporter of Marcos Jr. and in 2020, once moved for the inhibition of Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen in the 2016 election protest filed by the incoming president against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Coincidentally, it was also the same motion with similar arguments filed by the Marcos camp hours before; prompting insinuation of ‘collusion’ between the OSG and the then losing vice presidential candidate.
Invoking its status as the ‘People’s Tribune’ in seeking Leonen’s inhibition from the case, Calida said it is his duty to present to the PET “the position he perceives to be in the best interest of the Republic.”
Both Calida’s and Marcos’ motion were eventually rejected by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, aside from Calida’s, Angeles also announced the appointment of Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso to become the next president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Veloso, a banker, once served as the CEO of the HSBC Philippines and president of the Bankers Association of the Philippines. He is currently the CEO of Philippine National Bank (PNB).
Calida is one of the few holdovers from the Duterte administration appointed in the Marcos Cabinet.
Previously, Marcos also chose Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to become the next SolGen, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno to the Finance department, and former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos to the DILG.
Sen. Imee Marcos vows to revive Nutribun, Kadiwa stores amid rising cost of food
With another Marcos presidency looming, the Filipinos may be seeing the revival of Nutribun in public schools and Kadiwa stores in different parts of the country anytime soon.
Nutribun became popular in the early 70s to early 80s when it was distributed in schools supposedly to combat malnutrition among poor kids.
The Kadiwa program, a brainchild of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, was implemented by President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. with the aim of bringing down the prices of agricultural commodities.
According to a PNA report, Senator Imee Marcos has vowed to revive these two programs often associated with his father’s regime.
During a cash distribution to residents in crisis situation in Laoag City on Tuesday, the senator said Nutribun and Kadiwa will be a big help to Filipinos amid the rising cost of fuel and the looming global food crisis.
“The price of gas and basic commodities keep on increasing. We need more ayuda (assistance like Nutribun and Kadiwa stores) that directly benefits the people,” the government news agency quoted Imee Marcos as saying.
In February, President-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong Marcos Jr. already siginified his intention to bring back the Kadiwa rolling stores in every barangay as it supposedly ‘help consumers buy basic necessities like food products at lower prices compared to those being sold in regular markets’.
“The Kadiwa system enabled the public to buy goods at cheaper rates and the farmers to sell their crops without having to worry about transportation costs,” Marcos Jr. said.
Nutribun also became a trending topic on social media after a netizen claimed it was an initiative of the late President Marcos Sr.
Senator Imee even distributed packs of Nutribun carrying her name to residents of some barangays in Davao and Cebu early this month as appreciation for voting for her brother during the last election.
But according to Vera Files, Nutribun is a bread developed and distributed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
It was introduced to the Philippines in 1970 to help combat child malnutrition and serve as emergency food during disasters but ‘Marcos had no involvement in the development of the bread product or conceptualizing the program.’