Duterte set to address the public on Covid-19 today

President Rodrigo Duterte will address the public on Monday, March 30, two weeks since he placed the entire island of Luzon under quarantine to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.

DUTERTE expected to submit Covid-19 report to Congress

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to submit his first weekly report to Congress on the acts performed by the government under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” within the day.

“So far, wala pa. We’re waiting for it. I’m sure they will submit today, Monday. But we’re waiting for it,” Villafuerte said during a Laging Handa briefing.
Under the newly-signed law granting the President special powers to address the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis, the report shall include the amount and corresponding utilization of the funds used, augmented, reprogrammed, reallocated, and realigned to fund the government’s COVID-19 response.
The law gives Duterte authority to realign the government’s national budget and savings to better respond to the Covid-19 national emergency.
The national government is set to realign some PHP275 billion from the national budget in an effort to fight the pandemic in the country.
Villafuerte noted that the challenge now is to speed up the distribution of financial assistance worth between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 to 18 million low-income households affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine pursuant to the new law.
May budget for two months. Malapit nang matapos yung one month na enhanced community quarantine so dapat this week, next week, matapos na yan sa buong Pilipinas. Again yung challenge is kung paano madi-distribute sa 18 million households (There is available budget for two months. The one-month enhanced community quarantine will soon be finished so this week, next week, [distribution] must be done across the country. Again, the challenge is how to efficiently distribute it to 18 million households),” Villafuerte said.
According to the new law, poor families will receive a monthly emergency subsidy for two months.
“The subsidy shall be computed based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates,” RA 11469, inked by Duterte on March 24, states.
The law also states that the subsidy received from the current conditional cash transfer program and rice subsidy should be taken into consideration in the computation of the emergency subsidy.
On March 27, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases directed local government units to submit their existing beneficiary database to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to determine those who are qualified to get the emergency subsidy from the government. (PNA)

AFP: CPP-NPA virus deadlier than Covid-19

While the military is assisting the government on containing the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19), Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., said efforts will continue to protect the country and its people against the deadlier menace of the “CPP-NPA virus”.

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“As we endeavor to assist the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) in the containment of the Covid-19, we will continue to secure our communities from this vicious and more dangerous CPP-NPA virus,” he said in a statement Saturday, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, New People’s Army.


Palace condemns NPA violation of Covid-19 truce

AFP won’t dignify Reds’ claims of massive military losses


Parlade, who is also a member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC),  said he considers the CPP-NPA and its ideology deadlier than Covid-19 because it has killed thousands of Filipinos in the past 51 years.

“The latter (CPP-NPA) has killed a vast throng of our people, some (of them) JMS (CPP founding chair Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison) even call his revolutionary forces that include students, young children, and the marginalized sector,” he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
He also chided Sison on whether his “violent National Democratic Front” still has a place in the Philippines as the country and its people go about with their efforts to stop the spread of the dreaded Covid-19.
He made the statement as communist rebels struggle to find a replacement for National Military Commission head Julius Giron and overall CPP-NPA chairperson who was killed along with two others in an operation in Baguio City on March 13.
“As we are about to expose CPP chair Julius Giron, whose party wife Annie Tauli is Execom (Executive Committee) member of Ilocos Regional Party Committee and sister of former CPA turned UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli Corpus, think Sison, how this is going to impact your credibility to the international community,” Parlade said.
He added that If people can connect the dots, SIsion should start explaining how the CPP-NPA-NDF International Solidarity Works defrauded the UN (United Nations), EU (European Union) and several international organizations especially during times of crisis.
“All these connections with JMS, Giron, Tauli, will solidify the NTF ELCAC’s position that all those sham HR (Human Rights) investigation of UNCHR (United Nations Commission on Human Rights)  and of KARAPATAN, and NUPL (National Union of Peoples Lawyers) were all part of JMS and Giron’s Oplan Talsik, in tandem with Oust Duterte of the Movement Against Tyranny that we exposed in October 2018,” he added.
Parlade dared Sison to surrender now while at his peak of infamy, adding that by doing it, at least he will be remembered for fighting in the Netherlands rather in the Philippines with the rest of his communist rebel comrades.
“If I were JMS, I will consider capitulating while at the peak of my infamy. At least you will be remembered as a rebel who fought remotely in the comforts of (the) Netherlands before Covid-19 eats up your dark disgusting lungs,” he added.
He also slammed Sison for always claiming that the CPP-NPA ranks are on the rise that shows his detachment to the realities in the Philippines.
“I wonder what CPP chair emeritus has to say about his NPAs. JMS is so detached from the realities in the Philippines. He keeps saying his army is growing. How is that possible with the killing of top CPP-NPA honcho Julius Giron? The capture and killing of many of their NPA leaders and political officers, and the exodus of surrender from his ranks?” he asked.
Sison’s arrogance in not immediately reciprocating the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Rodrigo R. Duterte for March 19 to April 15 to allow the AFP to focus on supporting anti-Covid-19 measures of the government was brought by the fact that he wants to win big against the military.
“Jose Maria Sison’s arrogance in not reciprocating the SOMO (Suspension of Military Operations) declared by the PRRD to enable AFP to support the IATF (for the Management Emerging Infectious Diseases)  has basis after all. He wanted to make sure that the CPP-NPA (will)  be able to deliver a big blow to the AFP and its front line responders against Covid-19,” he added.
Parlade said this plan of communist rebels was demonstrated by CPP-NPA forces attacks against troops visiting and informing communities about Covid-19 in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
This was followed by attacks and atrocities against communities in Lianga, Surigao and Kapalong, Davao Del Norte.
“(The communist terrorists) also started killing IPs (indigenous people) supportive of localized peace initiatives and of NTF ELCAC. Everything is going by the plan of the Central Committee to conduct tactical offensive nationwide,” he added.
He said communist in Rizal and Quezon were poised to launch an attack against communities in Puray, Rodriguez over the weekend but the former mass base has already decided to support the government’s NTF ELCAC and reported it the authorities.
“Acting on the community’s info that the NPA was planning to attack, the troops executed a community defensive posture a kilometer away from the village. It resulted in the preemption of enemy attack, the killing of a high-ranking officer of the rebels, recovery of an M-16 rifle, a hand grenade, a rifle grenade, and the recovery of several CPP and Bayan paraphernalia. Unfortunately it also resulted in the killing of one soldier,” he added, referring to the botched NPA attack against government forces in Rodriguez, Rizal on March 28.
More surrenderers
He added that Army commanders in Quezon reported the voluntary surrender of three communist terrorists armed with an M-16 automatic rifle and a .30 caliber M-1 Garand last March 26 and 27.
One of them is Arnel Merenio alias “Mark/Velasco”, 23, single, resident of Barangay Malabahay, Macalelon, Quezon and a Squad Leader and 2nd Vice Platoon Leader, of PLTN SOL(M), SRMA4B who voluntarily surrendered to the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.
Meanwhile, the two others were Jayson Alpahora Capatasan alias “Alwin/Aldrin/Oka/Oca”, and July Pepito Penaverde alias “Erwin/Endong” who surrendered to the Army’s 80th Infantry, 1ID and Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Capatasan is the vice squad leader of PLTN 4A2/SDG PLTN, of Barangay Magsikap while Penaverde is a member of PLTN 4A2/SDG PLTN, resident of KM 19, Barangay Llavac, Real, Quezon.
Parlade said two ranking CPP-NPA leaders in Occidental Mindoro surrendered on March 28.
They are Dominador Penciano alias “Totsie/Jai/Naria”,  PL, PLTN DOS, GF ICM, SRMA 4D; and Joel Mejaro alias “Lenny/Libby”, GP,  Squad Tolits, PLTN GMT, SRMA 4D. Both surrendered to Sablayan Mayor Andres Dangeros after seeing the sincerity of the government’s Executive Order 70.
On March 28, the eve of the 51st NPA anniversary, he said, 40 regular NPA members and Militia ng Bayan (MBs) in Camp General Nakar, Quezon , Kalayaan and Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The group turned in war material, 14 firearms including one M-16, one M-14, two carbines, one Garand, five pistols, rifle grenades, and ammunition.
He dared critics of the NTF ELCAC and government to prove that these surrenders are fake. (PNA)

THE DURIAN BEAT: Jun Bacolod, Covid-19 and acts of compassion and kindness

We need more Good Samaritans and philanthropists

the durian beatBy ROGER M. BALANZA

There are angels who appear to bring kindness and compassion and help in man’s hour of need.
I had this experience as the country staggers from the onslaught of the New Coronavirus Disease aka Covid-19.

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On Sunday, March 29, I supervised distribution of about one hundred food packs in the small village of Maisan in Malatabis, Lizada in Toril district in Davao City.
Consisting of families of pedicab drivers, jeepney drivers. fishermen, vegetable farmers, construction workers and others who are mostly daily income earners, Maisan is just one of the many villages in Davao City hit hard by the economic impact of the coronavirus tragedy.
A day before, a friend, Nene Berato, called by phone to inform that a “friend” of hers wants to donate foodstuffs to families who lost income as government declared a nationwide state of emergency to stave off the further spread of Covid-19.
Could I handle the distribution?
bacolod 5The state of emergency imposed a community quarantine that practically closed down businesses in the city and immobilized the Dabawenyos forcing them to stay at home.
For daily wage earners, the lockdown was catastrophic and rendered kitchens without any food to eat.
For the people of Maisan, the small packs of rice, canned sardines and groceries our team distributed could at least drive away hunger for a day or two. The most that I could do was bring to them the aid.
As a senior citizen in semi-retirement from journalism, I have imposed on myself a forced quarantine in my small ornamental fish farm not far from Maisan, following to the letter admonitions against Covid-19 infection by health authorities: staying at home, wearing face mask, social/physical distancing, more vitamin C. vegetables in the diet and all.
My children advised me not to bite Nene Berato’s request for a morbid reason: At 72, I am a potential candidate for a Covid-19 assault based on World Health Organization (WHO) statistics: Most of fatalities in the coronavirus infections were aged 60 years old and upwards.
The ongoing battle against Covid-19 is a war with morbid figures: In the Philippines, more than a thousand infected, with deaths nearing 50 and spreading in the provinces; worldwide, more than half-a-million cases and growing, thousands dead and the disease gnawing at almost all the countries of the world.
“Bayanihan To Heal As One,” the battle cry of unity that President Rodrigo Duterte used in an edict he issued urging Filipinos to unite against the deadly disease, rings nationwide as Filipinos contribute to the effort to fight Covid-19 in whatever they can.
I thought about the health workers – doctors, nurses and volunteers — who are in the frontlines risking their life and health in the battle against the deadly virus.
I thought that distributing food packs in Maisan entails a small risk compared to what the health workers faced.
I should be, nay, I must be, part of the President’s “Bayanihan To Heal As One.”
Also, I must not disappointment an angel who wanted to help his fellowmen in this hour of need.
And so, off I went to Maisan with a team to bring the pre-packed food aid donated by Jun Bacolod, the friend of Nene Berato.
jun-bacolodI came to know of “Jun Bacolod,” whose personal circumstances I am ignorant about, as an “anonymous philanthropist” who years ago donated a sizable sum to the House of Hope, a center for children with cancer, located at the Southern Philippines Medical Center, a project supported by then Mayor Duterte.
With business closing down and economic activity at a standstill, the Covid-19 attack is now more than a health security crisis, hitting most the poor who lost jobs and livelihood because of the lockdown.
Hunger is staring at us.
I write this story about an angel coming to the succor of the needy,  not in praise of Jun Bacolod.
There are are many companies who, out of benevolence and compassion, help their displaced employees with emergency cash and food aid. There are many companies rolling into play their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to assist communities.
There are many individuals, with wealth to spare driven by compassion to help those in need, packing rice and groceries for distribution.
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Good deeds beget good deeds.

I write this story of Jun Bacolod, the heroic health workers and the many others who march in unison with President Duterte’s “Bayanihan To Heal As One” battle cry, so that more of them would be inspired to help those in need in this most trying of times for the Filipinos.

The administration of President Duterte is doing its best to make life less painful for the Filipinos amid the Covid-19 tragedy but it should not be left alone in the fight against the deadly disease and the horror it inflicts on the people. 

We need more Good Samaritans, philanthropists and Jun Bacolods. 



PH records 96 new Covid-19 cases; 9 deaths

The Philippines now has 803 persons infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) following the report of 96 new cases, the Department of Health reported on Friday.

As of noon, there were nine new deaths, bringing the total number of those who died from the disease to 54. Three have recovered, for a total of 31.
Of the 2,287 tests that the DOH conducted, 791 tested negative while the other 691 are pending results.
The fatalities recorded include Patient 366, a 63-year-old male from Muntinlupa City with no travel history. The man, who has underlying conditions such as bronchial asthma, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease, was confirmed positive on March 21 and died on March 23.
Patient 637, age 75, from Quezon City, had no travel history but is related to a known Covid-19 case. He died on March 19 before he was confirmed positive for the virus on March 25. He has hypertension, diabetes mellitus, tongue cancer, cardiovascular disease, and benign prostatic hypertrophy.
Patient 571, a 72-year-old female from Muntinlupa City, was confirmed positive on March 23 and died on March 26. She has unknown travel and exposure history. The patient suffered from hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and acute kidney injury stage III.
Patient 178 is a 74-year-old from Manila who has hypertension, with no travel history and unknown exposure. He was confirmed positive for the virus on March 16 and died on March 19.
Patient 389 is a 71-year-old female from Quezon City with no travel history. She died on March 17 and was later confirmed positive for the virus on March 22. She had hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Patient 462 is an 83-year-old from Cavite with no travel history who died on March 17 and was confirmed positive on March 22. The patient had chronic kidney disease.
Patient 437 is a 57-year-old male from Manila with no travel history who died on March 18 and was confirmed positive for the virus on March 22. He had hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
Patient 401 is a 62-year-old male from Manila with no travel history but related to a confirmed Covid-19 case. He died on March 22. He had hypertensive cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, and diabetes mellitus.
Patient 306 is a 67-year-old female from Quezon City with unknown travel and exposure history. She was confirmed positive for the virus on March 21 and died on March 26. She had hypertensive cardiovascular disease, acute kidney injury, bronchial asthma not in acute exacerbation, and impaired fasting glucose. (PNA) 

Palace to RITM: Don’t repeat Eric Yap Covid-19 test blunder

Malacañang on Friday reminded the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to be more careful in releasing the results of tests for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The directive was made shortly after RITM recanted its previous finding that ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap tested positive for Covid-19.

RITM clarifies Yap remains negative for coronavirus

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Friday clarified that ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap remains negative for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).In a statement, the RITM apologized to Yap for providing an erroneous report showing positive test results for the virus,… Read More

“We appeal to the RITM to be more certain of the test results before releasing them to the patients or to their doctors to avoid such unfortunate incident,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press statement.

In a separate statement, RITM announced that Yap’s test results are “false positive,” which means that the legislator was actually tested negative for Covid-19.
RITM issued a public apology to Yap, and assured the public that the latest incident was an “isolated” case.
“The isolated incident was brought about by an encoding error which was discovered late last night (Thursday),” it said. “We profusely and sincerely apologize to Hon. Eric Go Yap for the unnecessary discomfort this incident has caused.”
Yap received his test results 10 days after he had himself tested for Covid-19 on March 15. He was initially told that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Panelo said the Palace was “pleased” to hear the announcement about Yap’s negative test results.
“While the erroneous reporting of Cong Yap’s Covid-19 positive has caused alarm and anxiety to those who had close physical contact with him and made them undergo self-quarantine, nevertheless such good news is welcome,” he said.
The erroneous test results of Yap prompted Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief Col. Jesus Durante III to direct all presidential security aides to undergo self-quarantine from March 28 to April 10.
Durante’s order came after Yap attended a meeting at Malacañan Palace on March 21.
The PSG on Thursday also threatened to file charges against Yap for his supposed misdeclaration on his health condition.
In a text message, Durante said the case against Yap would be pursued, unless the “investigation team recommends that it will be dropped.”
Durante added that the order for PSG personnel to undergo self-quarantine would not be lifted despite RITM’s announcement.
“We are glad that his tests turned out to be negative. Still, the directive that all PSG personnel to undergo self-quarantine effective tomorrow remains,” he said. (PNA)


BONG GO: Under self-quarantine until April 7; ‘quarantined’ 75th birthday on March 28

Simula noong mayor pa ng Davao City si Pangulong Duterte, hindi siya nagse-celebrate ng birthday. Nasa bahay lang siya. This has been his tradition. To some extent, parang home quarantine ang ginagawa niya palagi sa bawat birthday niya.

Parehas rin lang ngayon dahil inabisuhan siya ng kanyang doktor at ng PSG na magself-quarantine na rin para sa kanyang proteksyon bilang exposed siya sa Malacanang. Gayunpaman, patuloy pa rin niyang tinututukan ang sitwasyon ng bansa at nagbibigay ng importanteng mga utos sa mga opisyal ng gobyerno.

Duterte to undergo self-quarantine on his birthday

PRRD focused on Covid-19 crisis, not his birthday: Go

Bilang ama ng bayan, ang nasa isip niya ngayon ay ang kapakanan ng bansa at hindi ang sarili niyang birthday. Sa aking pananaw, the President will only celebrate when we have fully conquered the Covid-19 situation. For now, he is focused on what needs to be done — at nandito ako para suportahan palagi si Pangulong Duterte.

Isa sa kanyang mga bilin ay para sa DSWD kung saan sinabi niya na dapat mabigyan ng tulong lahat ng pinaka-nangangailangan lalo na ang poorest of the poor. Kasama rin sa bilin ng Pangulo ay ang patuloy na pagdarasal ng taumbayan lalong lalo na para sa kapakanan ng ating mga frontliners — mga healthworkers, doctors, nurses at pati na rin ang military at kapulisan na ginagampanan ang kanilang mga tungkulin para protektahan tayong lahat. Sabi ng Pangulo na dapat mabilisang maibigay lahat ng suporta at tulong sa kanila bilang mga bayani sa gyerang ito.
Dalawang beses po kami nagkausap sa telepono ngayong araw. Una ay 6:30 ng umaga. Ngayong kaarawan niya, nakakalungkot man na mag-isa siya, isa lang ang pakiusap niya sa mga Pilipino — ang tanging maireregalo ninyo sa kanya ay ang sumunod sa patakaran and STAY AT HOME.

DUTERTE FAMILY SAFE despite quarantined presidential guards

PSG on self-quarantine

All personnel of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) have been required to undergo self-quarantine starting March 28 until April 10, its head announced on Friday.

PSG chief, Col. Jesus Durante’s order came after ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), attended a March 21 meeting at Malacañan Palace despite showing symptoms of the disease.

Durante ensured that Duterte and the presidential family remain “safe,” despite the rising number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country.
“They’re okay. They’re safe. They are not moving anywhere,” he said.
Durante said PSG personnel are now prohibited from leaving the Malacañang complex to prevent possible transmission of the disease.
He also clarified that the lockdown only covers PSG members.
“The lockdown applies only to all PSG personnel. I require all PSG personnel to go on self-quarantine, effective March 28. No PSG personnel (will be allowed) to go out of Malacañang complex until 10 April,” Durante said in a text message.
Durante said the Office of the President’s (OP) skeleton staff can still enter the Malacañang complex but will be subject to “regular screening procedures.”
In a phone patch interview, Durante said PSG personnel who have been considered as patients under investigation (PUIs) or persons under monitoring (PUMs) will have to stay in designated areas at Malacañang Park.
“We have quarantine areas for PUM and PUI. We have designated quarantine areas within the complex, especially at Malacañang Park,” Durante said in Filipino.
Duterte, family safe
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier put the island of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine to stop the transmission of Covid-19 in the Philippines.
Durante said Duterte would stay in Manila while Luzon is under quarantine.
As part of the preventive measures against Covid-19, meetings at Malacañan Palace are no longer allowed, Durante added.
Durante said the Palace premises will be disinfected regularly to ensure that Duterte is protected against Covid-19.
“We’re gonna do it (disinfection) again and again. The President is also abiding by the provision of the lockdown,” he added.
As of Thursday, there are 707 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, with 45 deaths and 28 recovered cases. (PNA)