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  • 2 months PH’s largest sardines brand expands under 2nd generation MB |Biz
    By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT Mega Global Corp., the country’s top sardines’ brand, is embarking on its biggest expansion following exponential growth in domestic demand with the next generation of the family-owned integrated sardines manufacturing company stepping up in the leadership position. The new company CEO Michelle Tiu Lim Chan, who succeeded his father William Tiu Lim, said they are investing P500 million in capital expenditure this year to increase its capacity by 20 percent. At present, the company has rated production capacity of 300 metric tons. Increased capacity will be felt in 2021 with the coming in of its third ... more
  • 2 months Stocks rise on recovery hopes MB |Biz
    By James A. Loyola Share prices rose yesterday after a weak start as hopes of economic recovery outweighed concerns over the growing number of COVID -19 cases. The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 66.44 points, or 1.06 percent, to close at 6,348.45 although the Services and Mining & Oil counters retreated. Volume jumped to 2.77 billion shares worth P10.44 billion but losers still beat gainers 124 to 69 with 46 unchanged. “Local shares were bought up towards closing as investors monitored signs of a revival of the coronavirus pandemic in some U.S. states and China, while still hoping for ... more
  • 2 months Industry revenue declines amid COVID pandemic MB |Biz
    By CHINO S. LEYCO The gross revenue of the country’s key industries decreased in the first-quarter, reflecting the grim economic conditions due to coronavirus, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. The latest PSA data released yesterday showed that the gross revenue index declined by 4.9 percent in January to March this year, or reversal of the 8.3 percent growth registered in the same period last year. Among the industries, mining and quarrying recorded the largest decline of 22.7 percent, followed by manufacturing’s -13.2 percent; transportation, storage and communication’s -4.6 percent; and other Services’ -3.4 percent. At end-March, total ... more
  • 2 months Go Negosyo taps Phil. Society of Pathologists as partner MB |Biz
    Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion III(PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion announced on a virtual presser that Project ARK PCR Initiative through its Chief Implementor, former Health Secretary Janette Garin, will embark on a pragmatic multi-site operational study with the Philippine Society of Pathologists, Inc. (PSPI) and has tapped Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) SARS-COV2 Testing Laboratory as the Site Implementor. The study aims to validate the accuracy of pooled testing using RT-PCR. This game-changer may be a viable solution to increasing testing capacity, making testing available for everybody ... more
  • 2 months ICTSI still keen on acquisitions, new projects amid COVID MB |Biz
    By James A. Loyola International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) remains on the lookout for acquisitions and new projects worldwide as it views the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with more optimism than when it started. ICTSI Chairman and President Enrique K. Razon Jr. “We have seen the severe impact of the pandemic on global trade flows starting from China in February and cascading to all by the end of March and at this juncture we still do not see the end in sight,” ICTSI Chairman Enrique K. Razon, Jr. said during the firm’s virtual annual stockholders’ meeting. He added ... more
  • 2 months Consumer group asks gov’t to demolish digital infra walls MB |Biz
    By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT A consumer advocacy group has asked the government to remove the bureaucratic barriers that hinder the development of digital infrastructure, which is critical during this no-contact mode of interaction period. “We call on the government to fully enforce the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) law and permanently demolish the bureaucratic barriers in national and local levels,” said CitizenWatch Philippines convenor Orlando Oxales. Oxales said this is all the more important because the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a rush towards a digital transformation of society. “We have learned to embrace digital platforms as a convenient, safe, and reliable ... more
  • 2 months SMBI sees sustainable recovery MB |Biz
    By James A. Loyola San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMBI), a subsidiary of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation, is optimistic of a sustainable recovery from a slow first quarter, brought on by the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic. San Miguel Brewery, Inc. (SMBI) logo (Photo courtesy of ww.sanmiguelbrewery.com.ph) During the firm’s virtual annual stockholders’ meeting, SMBI said the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in March slowed the firm’s momentum in the first quarter of 2020. The lockdown brought most economic activities to a halt and also brought on liquor bans in cities and provinces nationwide. There was also ... more
  • 2 months Gov’t weighs more taxes to combat COVID MB |Biz
    By Siegfrid Alegado and Claire Jiao (Bloomberg) The Philippines is weighing a bevy of new taxes to fund anti-virus economic stimulus — with the risk that these levies could slow activity even further. The economy is expected to contract by the most in at least three decades this year, limiting the government’s ability to marshal fiscal stimulus against the pandemic. Committed to keeping the fiscal deficit at 9% or less of gross domestic product, the government can spend only about another P 180 billion ($3.6 billion) unless it finds new sources of revenue, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has said. ... more
  • 2 months Bloomberry’s QC casino resumes construction, opening to be delayed MB |Biz
    By James A. Loyola Gaming firm Bloomberry Resorts Corporation reported that construction of its second integrated casino and resort has resumed although the opening of Solaire North has been delayed due to the quarantine. Enrique K. Razon Jr. “We are continuing with the construction of Solaire North in Quezon City which, given the delay due to the lockdown, should be completed by the end of 2022 or early 2023,” Bloomberry Chairman Enrique K. Razon Jr. said during the firm’s virtual stockholders’ meeting. He added that, “Construction has partially restarted and the period of lockdown can be reasonably added to the ... more
  • 2 months BPI plans to issue PH’s first COVID bonds MB |Biz
    By James A. Loyola The planned issuance of the country’s first COVID Action Response Bonds (CARE Bonds) by Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission as Social Bonds under the ASEAN Social Bonds Standards in the Philippines. BPI said proceeds from the issuance will be used to finance or refinance eligible Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under the Bank’s recently established Sustainable Funding Framework. This is in recognition of the significant contribution of MSMEs to the Philippine economy and as a direct response to their needs as one of the ... more
  • 2 months ADB expects wider contraction of 3.8% for PH economy ahead MB |Biz
    By CHINO S. LEYCO The Asian Development Bank (ADB) expects the Philippine economy will contract worse than government’s prediction this year as consumers and investors remain unsure of the future in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Based on the Asian Development Outlook Supplement released yesterday, the ADB now expects the gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the country’s economy, would shrink by 3.8 percent this year, a reversal of an earlier growth estimate of 2.0 percent. The Manila-based lender’s projected level of economic decline is wider compared with the Duterte administration’s target of around minus 2.0 ... more
  • 2 months Most areas under MGCQ due to sufficient hospital bed capacity for COVID-19 MB
    By Genalyn Kabiling Several places in the country have been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) partly due to the sufficient hospital bed capacity, Malacañang said Thursday. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque(RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the country has so far has 13,597 hospital beds dedicated for coronavirus patients and 2,009 mechanical ventilators. Of the total bed capacity for COVID-19 patients, Roque said 4,740 hospital beds or 34.9 percent are occupied.  At least 451 mechanical ventilators or 22.41 percent of the available ventilators are in use. “We have 1,911 hospitals. Total beds devoted ... more
  • 2 months Bloggers, filmmakers earning from digital ads required to register – BIR MB
    By Jun Ramirez The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has released the list of online merchants required to register with the agency as it ordered it’s more than 120 revenue district officers (RDOs) nationwide to release the certificate of registration of digital sellers of goods and services in a day or two upon the submission of the application. The BIR estimated six million big, medium, and minimal digital merchants operating in the country. BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Arnel Guballa identified the following digital merchants which are required to register: 1. e-Commerce platform providers 2. Internet retailers of consumer goods ... more
  • 2 months 300 OFWs sent home to provinces with new fast-tracked system MB
    By Vanne Elaine Terrazola Some 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were sent home by the government on Thursday, June 18, as part of its vow to speed up the repatriation of migrant workers to their home provinces within five days. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III (Keith Bacongco) Government officials, led by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello, held a send-off ceremony for the OFWs at the Paranaque Integrated Exchange (PITX) on Thursday afternoon. “In compliance with President Duterte’s order to facilitate the swift return of our displaced workers from abroad to their ... more
  • 2 months Two House leaders score Atienza of over bias allegations in ABS-CBN hearings MB
    By Ben Rosario The chairpersons of two House of Representatives committees took exception to accusations of bias aired by lawmakers supporting ABS-CBN broadcast network’s bid for a fresh 25-year legislative franchise. Reps. Franz Alvarez (NUP, Palawan) and Jonathan Sy-Alvarado (NP, Bulacan), chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and on Good Government, respectively, said both supporters and oppositors of the network giant’s franchise application are being given equal opportunity to interpellate ABS-CBN officials and their lawyers. “Simula’t sapul naman, ang ginagawa ng committee ay binabalanse ang lahat (From the beginning, the committee has been balancing everything). I beg to ... more
  • 2 months Two House leaders score Atienza over bias allegations in ABS-CBN hearings MB
    By Ben Rosario The chairpersons of two House of Representatives committees took exception to accusations of bias aired by lawmakers supporting ABS-CBN broadcast network’s bid for a fresh 25-year legislative franchise. Reps. Franz Alvarez (NUP, Palawan) and Jonathan Sy-Alvarado (NP, Bulacan), chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and on Good Government, respectively, said both supporters and oppositors of the network giant’s franchise application are being given equal opportunity to interpellate ABS-CBN officials and their lawyers. “Simula’t sapul naman, ang ginagawa ng committee ay binabalanse ang lahat (From the beginning, the committee has been balancing everything). I beg to ... more
  • 2 months 23,000 displaced OFWs in Saudi seek repatriation MB
    By Leslie Ann Aquino Twenty-three thousand displaced overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are seeking repatriation. Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh said the 23,000 OFWs were displaced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the number includes those who already finished their contracts, lost their jobs, were abandoned by their employers, and the undocumented OFWs. “Our estimate before was 20,000, but we now have 23,000 displaced,” said Mustafa in a virtual press briefing on June 18. “More than 5,900 have exit visa. We were also able to send home more ... more
  • 2 months Roque apologizes after sweeping corruption raps against PhilHealth MB
    By Genalyn Kabiling Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday apologized to honest Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) personnel if they are unnecessarily dragged in his corruption allegations in the state-owned firm. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque(Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN) Roque said he believes majority of PhiHealth employees have integrity while only a few are allegedly involved in irregularities. “I’m sorry po to the honest-to-goodness, matitinong tao po na nagtatrabaho sa PhilHealth. In fairness, napakadaming matitino po diyan, halos lahat matitino, mayroon lang talagang mga bugok (I’m sorry to the honest-to-goodness, upright people working in PhilHealth. In fairness, there are many ... more
  • 2 months Public school students should not be compelled to buy gadgets for online classes – senator MB
    By Vanne Elaine Terrazola Public school students should not be compelled to buy gadgets and other equipment to take part in the online learning program that the government is planning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Thursday, June 18. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) The chairman of the Senate basic education committee issued the appeal following reports of an incoming Grade 9 student who reportedly took his life due to the expenses for his online classes. “Nakakalungkot dahil sa frustration and hopelessness nagpakamatay siya (It sad that because of frustration and ... more
  • 2 months Mindanao preparing for Balik-Probinsya beneficiaries’ homecoming MB
    By Mario Casayuran Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Thursday threw his support for the ongoing preparations of various local government units (LGUs) in Mindanao for the beneficiaries of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program. Sen. Bong Go(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN) Go, the author of the BP2 program, said ensuring the availability of economic opportunities in local communities would boost regional development consistent with the long-term goals of the program that is set to be fully implemented after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. “The purpose of this program is to provide new hope for the Filipinos who ... more
  • 2 months Duterte dismayed by Leachon’s public criticism against DOH MB
    By Genalyn Kabiling President Duterte was dismayed with the action of a former adviser of the national task force on the coronavirus response, according to a Palace official. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque(YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential spokesman Harry Roque bared the President’s sentiment against Dr. Anthony Leachon a day after he was removed as adviser of the national task force (NTF) following his criticisms on the Department of Health (DOH). “Mismong Presidente po (It was the President who) noted that you should not be doing what you were doing,” Roque told Leachon said during a televised briefing Thursday. ... more
  • 2 months 6 more Filipinos abroad die of COVID-19; 17 new confirmed cases recorded – DFA MB
    By Roy Mabasa Six more Filipinos abroad died of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while 17 new confirmed cases were recorded by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases among overseas Filipinos to 6,091. According to the latest DFA tally, the total number of nationals abroad who have recovered from the disease is now at 2,843 with one new recovery recorded in Asia and the Pacific. The total number of fatalities is now 472 with six new deaths in Europe and the Middle East. Those who remain under treatment are at 2,776. As countries, including the ... more
  • 2 months ACT urges DepEd to extend maximum assistance to sick teachers, staff MB
    By Merlina Hernando-Malipot A federation of teachers organizations on Thursday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to “extend maximum assistance” to its sick employees by taking care of their treatment expenses and providing sick leave benefits to teachers and personnel amid the COVID-19 situation in the country. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines made this call after verifying a report that said 11 teachers and staff from DepEd Region VII have “tested positive for COVID-19.” “We are saddened and alarmed with this news about our colleagues, especially knowing that PhilHealth does not cover the whole expense of treatment for ... more
  • 2 months DepEd explains Davao webinar incident; reports on large-scale reskilling programs MB
    By Merlina Hernando-Malipot  The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday said that it is already looking into the possible issues encountered during a webinar in Davao de Oro after photos of public school teachers seemingly camping out beside a highway to get an good smartphone signal went viral. (MANILA BULLETIN) DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua, in an aide memoire, addressed the issue and explained in detail what led the teachers to seemingly “camp out” near the highway to attend a webinar. Pascua noted that the posted photos of public school teachers beside a highway in Maco, Davao de ... more
  • 2 months Eastern Visayas solons seek review of ‘Hatid Probinsya’ program; cite rise in COVID-19 cases in Region 8 MB
    By Charissa Luci-Atienza Twelve members of the House of Representatives from Eastern Visayas called on the government on Thursday, June 18 to review its “Hatid Probinsya” program and the health protocols being implemented for locally stranded individuals returning to provinces. They made the call, following the “alarming” and “rising” number of COVID-19 cases in Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) during the past few days. “Official records show that the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases was observed shortly after the national government implemented its Hatid Probinsya program,” they said in a three-page joint statement issued on Thursday. They said ... more
  • 2 months Palace ‘not surprised’ by SWS poll results: 83 per cent say quality of life ‘worsened’ MB
    By Genalyn Kabiling  A survey showing majority of Filipinos believe the quality of their lives has worsened in the past 12 months no longer came as a surprise for Malacañang. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said they recognize the suffering of Filipinos especially since the quarantine measures have been enforced to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque(CAMILLE ANTE / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) “Well, it should be a 100%, because there is COVID and the economy was closed,” he said during a televised press briefing. “Hindi po kami nasosorpresa diyan (We are no longer surprised). It should in ... more
  • 2 months Bill offers remedy to cyber libel prescription conundrum MB
    By Ellson Quismorio A lawyer-congressman wants to settle the question on what the prescription period of cyber libel should be following the confusion arising from Rappler Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maria Ressa’s conviction from the crime. Cagayan de Oro City 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez proposed in House Bill (HB) No.7010 that the prescription period for cyber libel should only be one year, the same as ordinary cases of libel. Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez (Rufus Rodriguez official Facebook / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) The bill seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 10175 or ... more
  • 2 months Rise in domestic violence cases alarms Palace MB
    By Genalyn Kabiling  Malacañang is alarmed by the rise in the cases of domestic violence since the coronavirus lockdown across Luzon was enforced in March. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque admitted the government’s concern about the cases of violence against women and children and assured the public that President Duterte’s commitment to enforce laws to ensure their protection “Taga-implement ng batas ang ating Presidente. Kapag tumataaas ang mga krimen, ang domestic violence ay isang krimen sa ating bansa, naaalarma tayo (The President is the enforcer of the law. When crimes like domestic violence increase, we are alarmed), he said during a ... more
  • 2 months BOC conducts verification of all brokers, importers, warehouses MB
    By Betheena Unite  A massive verification, inspection and investigation of all registered brokers, importers, and warehouses is currently being conducted by the Bureau of Customs in a bid to weed out individuals who use their accreditation for illegal activities. (REUTERS/BOC/MANILA BULLETIN) On Thursday, the BOC said the Customs’ Enforcement Security Service (ESS), Customs Intelligence Investigation Service (CIIS) and Account Management Office (AMO) have been jointly “conducting verification, inspection and investigation of registered brokers, importers, and warehouses throughout the nation.” The bureau disclosed that at present they found more than 200 importers providing “misrepresented information” to the Customs bureau. Latest data ... more
  • 2 months More than 7,000 recoveries from COVID-19 — DOH MB
    By Analou De Vera The Philippines has now logged over 7,000 patients who have recovered from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health said. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reported another 270 recovered patients, bringing the total number of survivors to 7,090 as of 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 18. The country’s COVID-19 cases, however, continue to increase as 562 new cases were confirmed by the DOH. This brought the Philippines’ tally to 27,799. Of the new confirmed cases, 481 patients tested positive within the last three days or were considered as “fresh” cases. Majority came from Central Visayas with ... more
  • 2 months SAP second tranche payout starts soon — DSWD MB
    By Charissa Luci-Atienza  The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vowed on Thursday, June 18 to distribute the second wave of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash aid to other areas, including the National Capital Region (NCR) in the coming days. Department of Social Welfare and Development (MANILA BULLETIN) DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje said aside from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), they hope to distribute the second tranche of emergency subsidies to other regions in the coming days. In the coming days, the agency will start distributing the subsidy to the families who are in the ECQ areas, ... more
  • 2 months DSWD ready to face House probe on SAP implementation MB
    By Charissa Luci-Atienza  The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Thursday, June 18 that it is ready to face the House of Representatives’ inquiry into the apparent confusion and delays in the distribution of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) emergency cash subsidy. Department of Social Welfare and Development (MANILA BULLETIN) DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje vowed the agency’s full cooperation in the probe being sought by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and eight other House leaders. “Handa po ang DSWD na ibigay ang buong kooperasyon sa magiging pandinig sa House of Representatives ukol sa Social Amelioration Program,” he said ... more
  • 2 months Recto: Books for children should take priority MB
    By Vanne Elaine Terrazola  Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday called on the government to continue providing textbooks for schoolchildren despite the transition to blended learning. Senate Ralph Recto(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) In a statement, the Senate leader said textbooks are “more urgent” than transistor radios that the government plans to distribute as another alternative to online classes, especially in far-flung areas of the country. He said the “one book to one student” ratio should be observed to help children to keep up with the online classes at home. “Broadband learning does ... more
  • 2 months Priotize COVID-19 response, Pangilinan urges DILG MB
    By Mario B. Casayuran Opposition Senator Francis ‘’Kiko’’ N. Pangilinan on Thursday criticized the administration for putting in the back burner its supposed attention on containing the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis by prioritizing on other issues that are not considered urgent. Sen. Kiko Pangilinan(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano are trying to get the support of local government units (LGUs) for the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB). The ATB awaits approval or veto by the ... more
  • 2 months DILG urges OMB to discipline Metro barangay officials MB
    By Chito A. Chavez The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday strongly urged the Office of the Ombudsman to impose disciplinary sanctions against the 20 Metro Manila barangay officials for defying the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols. DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) “We want to send a message sa mga pasaway na barangay official (stubborn barangay officials) that the DILG will not tolerate any violation of ECQ protocols. As government officials, we should take the lead in following the law and not in breaking it,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. ... more
  • 2 months DepEd seeks ‘humanistic education’ amid COVID-19 pandemic MB
    By Merlina Hernando-Malipot  As countries around the world grapple with the challenge to ensure learning continuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Thursday underscored the importance of retaining the “humanistic aspects” of education. Education Secretary Leonor Briones(DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Briones espoused this advocacy as she addressed 11 education ministers from Southeast Asian member-countries in a virtual conference to discuss education policies and best practices in the first SEAMEO Ministerial Policy e-Forum on COVID-19 Response. Education ministers from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam held the ... more
  • 2 months UHC Law’s implementation cannot be delayed — Palace MB
    By Genalyn Kabiling President Duterte may look for other capable persons to implement the country’s Universal Health Care (UHC) Law if the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) officials cannot do their job, Malacañang declared Thursday. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque raised the possible scenario after branding as illegal any plan to delay in the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act supposedly due to the limited PhilHealth funds. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) The country’s universal health law can actually be sustained using government funds and implemented by competent individuals if needed, according to Roque. ... more
  • 2 months SC invalidates BIR circular levying taxes imposed on condo unit owners’ dues, charges MB
    By Rey Panaligan  The Supreme Court (SC) has invalidated a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) circular that imposes a 12 per cent value-added tax (VAT) and 32 per cent income tax on association dues, membership fees and other charges collected by condominium corporations from its members and tenants. (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) In a decision written by Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro Javier, the SC invalidated BIR Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 65-2012 “for ordering that ‘gross receipts of condominium corporations including association dues, membership fees, and other assessments/charges are subject to VAT, income tax and income payments made to it ... more
  • 2 months House alerts Metro Manila LGUs on possible return of jeepney operations MB
    By Ben Rosario  The chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development on Thursday called on all local government units and law enforcement agencies to prepare for the possible resumption of public utility jeepneys by the end of June. House of the Representatives (Facebook / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Manila Rep. Manuel Lopez said that during a recent virtual hearing of the House panel, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra disclosed that at least 100 rationalized jeepney routes will be opened as soon as the general community quarantine situation is lifted. “So we are ... more
  • 2 months A day in the life of Julia Barretto MB |Ent
    Julia Barretto (Screengrab from YouTube) Young actress Julia Barretto recently gave a glimpse of her quarantine life on her YouTube channel, her first upload in six months. “I actually have been thinking of what kind of video I really want to share with you guys and I have had a lot of failed attempts to shoot a new vlog, a new update for my channel,” she said. “But I think I was overthinking things and I think I was just really nervous that I’m doing everything on my own. So I just thought it would be also good to really share ... more
  • 2 months DILG to LGUs: donate gadgets that meet DepEd specs MB
    By Chito A. Chavez The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday asked the local government units (LGUs) to donate gadgets to the schools that comply with technical specs and standards of the Department of Education (DepEd). DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya issued the call after many LGUs have expressed their desire to hand out tablets and other learning gadgets to their respective public schools. DILG undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya(DILG 10 via PIA / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) “We all want to help our schools, especially our teachers and learners, cope and adjust with the ... more
  • 2 months Project ARK partners with medical associations to make PCR tests cheaper and accessible MB
    By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz  Private sector-led Project ARK (Antibody Rapid Test Kit) has formally entered into a partnership with medical organizations for the pooling of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to make the process cheaper, accessible, and timely. The pooled PCR testing, which is a joint endeavor between Project ARK and the Philippine Society of Pathologists (PSP), with the support of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), is seen as a “game changer” in a “landmark research meant to balance health and the economy.” “The project aims to increase the testing capacity by pooling more samples to a testing kit,” Presidential ... more
  • 2 months PH embassy in Singapore resumes operations; 102 out of 150 Pinoy COVID-19 patients recover MB
    By Roy Mabasa  Out of the 150 Filipinos infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) in Singapore, 102 have been discharged or recovered from the disease while the remaining 48 are still undergoing treatment in hospitals or isolation wards, Ambassador Joseph Del Mar Yap said on Thursday. The Philippine Embassy, he said, has also returned to full consular operations, including passport issuance, but with strict compliance to the health protocols being implemented by the host government such as social distancing and wearing of facemasks. Yap noted that the recovery of the majority of Filipinos afflicted with COVID-19 coincides with the improving ... more
  • 2 months Sen. Gatchalian urges Sec. Duque: ‘Go on leave while OMB probes DOH MB
    By Hannah L. Torregoza Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III should consider taking a leave of absence while the Office of the Ombudsman is investigating the alleged irregularities in the Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 response. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) “To make the investigation impartial, I think the best and the most appropriate thing to do is to take a leave of absence, at the very least, so that it would be an impartial investigation,” Gatchalian said in a virtual press briefing. “Because, obviously you can influence the ... more
  • 2 months 34,571 stranded individuals sent home MB
    By Argyll Cyrus Geducos Malacañang said that the government has assisted the return of 34,571 of the 45,565 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in Metro Manila back to their hometowns. In his Thursday presser, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that there were no LSI left in the Villamor Airbase and Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PHILSCA) where they were temporarily housed while waiting for their ride home. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque(OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) The Palace official added that the remaining LSIs were transferred to the Villamor Golf Club for testing for COVID-19 before they are sent home ... more
  • 2 months Año relieves 28 BFP personnel for partying in Boracay MB
    By Chito A. Chavez Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday said that 28 Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Region 6 personnel were relieved from their posts for attending a supposed conference that turned out to be a “despedida” party on Boracay Island on June 12 that breached quarantine protocols. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año(PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Año’s directive came on the heels of the disclosure of the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Wednesday that the BFP personnel attended a party on the island last week ... more
  • 2 months Robredo urges leaders to adopt ‘hands-on’ stance in COVID-19 response MB
    By Raymund Antonio  How can the Philippines win the battle against the novel coronavirus? Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo believes leaders must be “hands-on” in the response efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. Vice President Leni Robredo(OVP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Robredo said effective leaders should take the tasks at hand and not just leave it to their people’s hands. “Ikaw iyong leader, napakahalaga na hands- on ka. Hindi mo ipagagawa sa iba iyong mga bagay na hindi mo kayang gawin yourself (If you’re a leader, it is very important you’re hands. You won’t let others do ... more
  • 2 months Aicelle Santos pregnant with first baby MB |Ent
    Aicelle Santos and Mark Zambrano (Instagram) Aicelle Santos and Mark Zambrano are having a bundle of joy! The news was confirmed by the couple themselves via their social media accounts. On Instagram, the 35-year-old singer-actress posted a photo of husband kissing her baby bump. “You are our hope, that this world will become better. We can’t wait to meet you, anak. Your father and I love you so much. (heart emoji),” she wrote as  caption. “Chill ka muna diyan sa loob ha,” she added. “Panginoon, maraming, maraming salamat po. Kayo na po ang bahala. #amazinggrace #AllGlorytoGod #babyontheway.” The senior news ... more
  • 2 months DSWD, DILG pursue cases vs. LGU officials in SAP anomalies MB
    By Charissa Luci-Atienza As the distribution of the first tranche of cash subsidies has been completed, the filing of cases against local government officials who were purportedly involved in the anomalous distribution of cash subsidies under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) continues, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Thursday, June 18. DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista(PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN) DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said those erring local officials will definitely face the full brunt of the law. He disclosed that they submitted to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) a list of around 300 ... more
  • 2 months 100 cops from Western and Eastern Visayas deployed in Cebu City MB
    By Aaron Recuenco At least 100 policemen from Western and Eastern Visayas were sent to Cebu City to help in the strict implementation of the quarantine rules after these regions were reverted back to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). (PNP PIO / MANILA BULLETIN) Gen. Archie Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the augmentation forces will help ensure that lockdown measures are in place to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19). “The Regional Health Services of Police Regional Office 6 and Police Regional Office 8 were tasked to ensure that all have undergone requisite ... more
  • 2 months Jake Zyrus docu wins in US-based festival MB |Ent
    Jake Zyrus (Instagram) A documentary on Jake Zyrus bagged the highest Gold Camera Award at the recently concluded US International Film and Video Festival. The festival has been around since 1967. It has five mini-competitions in one, recognizing outstanding Corporate, Education, Entertainment, Documentary and Student productions. Entries are judged against peers, meaning Corporate competes with Corporate, Education against Education, and so on. The eponymous docu “Jake And Charice” beat four other entries under the social issues category. These are Hong Kong’s “My Birthday: Keeping Memories Alive Through Love,” Russia’s “RT Reporta: “La Bestia” Y Sus Ángeles,” and China’s “From The ... more
  • 2 months 1,100 BI employees undergo rapid antibody testing MB
    By Jun Ramirez Some 1,100 Bureau of Immigration (BI) employees had already undergone rapid antibody test since last week when the agency ordered the mandatory testing of all its personnel for COVID-19. Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said only about a third of the bureau’s more than 3,000 employees have yet to undergo the tests. “We will continue to conduct tests for our employees until all of them are tested. We have to make sure that our frontliners are not infected with this virus,” Morente said. Meanwhile Morente thanked ... more
  • 2 months Duterte to join ASEAN online meeting next week MB
    By Argyll Cyrus Geducos  President Duterte is set to join his fellow Southeast Asian leaders in a special meeting for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next week, Malacañang confirmed. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (SIMEON CELI JR. / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) While unsure about what the President will be talking about during the meeting, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed that Duterte participate in the meeting that will be held online. “Hindi ko pa po alam pero kinukumpirma ko po na dadalo po dahil ito naman po ay online meeting ng ASEAN. (I don’t know ... more
  • 2 months Provincial buses need passes from LGUs — DOTr MB
    By Alexandria San Juan Provincial buses need to secure first approval from local government units (LGUs) where they will pass before they will be allowed to resume operations, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Thursday. In a Laging Handa virtual briefing, DOTr Road Sector Senior Consultant Engr. Bert Suansing said that without clearance from the LGUs, operations of provincial buses will remain suspended. (MANILA BULLETIN) “As far as the provincial bus operations are concerned, that has to be coordinated with the IATF kasi mayroong mga challenges pa d’yan like for example, yung mga bus na dadaan sa mga LGU ... more
  • 2 months COVID-19 infects 131, mostly in New Bilibid MB
    By Dhel Nazario  The number of COVID-19 cases among the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) inmates and personnel has risen to 301, a Department of Justice official disclosed on Thursday. Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete, citing reports from the Bureau of Corrections, said that the National Bilibid Prisons accounts for the most number of confirmed cases with 141 Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) and 38 of its staff. He said that the rest of confirmed cases come from the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW), where 82 PDLs and seven personnel have been reported to have been infected. In the National Headquarters, 33 ... more
  • 2 months Solon urges ‘fair hearing’ of ABS-CBN franchise issues MB
    By Ellson Qusimorio Deputy Minority Leader, Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate says the presiding officers of the joint House committee hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal could do a better job in handling the proceedings. Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate(Bayan Muna Party list FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN) Zarate said in a virtual press conference Thursday that the way the hearings have been run so far gives observers the impression that lawmakers opposing the franchise renewal have been the ones favored, and that it is “unfair.” “Nagkakaroon talaga ng impression sa public na nado-dominate yung discussion by those who are opposing [the ... more
  • 2 months Why Alex Gonzaga graduating high school was no walk in the park for her MB |Ent
    Alex Gonzaga throwback photo (Instagram) Social media darling Alex Gonzaga recently recalled her high school graduation, shall we say, “situation.” “Dear Class of 2020, this was my high school graduation 16 years ago,” she wrote as caption to a photo of her younger self holding a diploma. According to Alex, she was among the “mythical 5” over whom teachers and nuns “debated” for a month whether she will be allowed to march on graduation day or not. “Ang reason sakin lagi ko daw kasi inaasar ang Filipino teacher namin during class,” she said. So while her batchmates were rehearsing for graduation, she and some ... more
  • 2 months PCG says no signs of oil leak from grounded Chinese-registered dredger MB
    By Betheena Unite A Chinese-registered dredger ran aground off the coast of Botolan, Zambales, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said as they tried to salvage the dredger Thursday. (MANILA BULLETIN) The foreign dredger, MV Zhong Hai 69 Alfa, ran aground approximately 200 meters off Barangay Bangan on Sunday, June 14, the Coast Guard said. A response team from the Coast Guard was already deployed to the area to survey and inspect the dredger. Upon inspection, the vessel’s engine room and its compartments have been flooded with seawater. While it has been grounded for days prior to Coast Guard’s response, “there ... more
  • 2 months Resigned COVID-19 task force adviser gets netizens’ support MB
    By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki Dr. Anthony Leachon, former special adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), made headlines on Wednesday after he was “forced to resign” from his position. Dr. Anthony Leachon (Facebook / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) “I left NTF due to my differences with DOH policies, (such as) for example, lack of sense of urgency, problems in COVID data management and transparency in (the) communication process. That’s life. That’s how it is. There’s a silver lining though. Thank you very much,” he tweeted. Leachon received broad support in the social media, ... more
  • 2 months Palace: DOH studying ‘suit’ that will allow distancing in motorcycles MB
      By Argyll Cyrus Geducos Malacañang said the Department of Health (DOH) is conducting a study to see if a certain “special suit” will allow distancing in motorcycles so two people can ride the same vehicle at a time. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque(OPS / MANILA BULLETIN) In his Thursday presser, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said ride-hailing service Angkas has volunteered a special suit that their drivers can wear to make their service safe amid the fight against COVID-19. For now, Roque said back-riding in motorcycles is still not allowed. “Hindi pa po. Nagkakaroon po talaga ng pormal na pag-aaral ang ... more
  • 2 months Lacson disputes Carpio’s critique on proposed anti-terrorism law MB
    By Mario Casayuran Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, principal author of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB), and former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio have opposing interpretations of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB). “With all due respect to former Justice Antonio Carpio, who I continue to admire and respect, he is mistaken on several material points in his interpretation on the contents of the Anti-Terrorism Bill,’’ Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee, said. Former Justice Antonio Carpio and Senator Panfilo M. Lacson(MANILA BULLETIN) Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said he already addressed many of the ... more
  • 2 months Fil-Am duo receives three yeses on ‘AGT’ MB |Ent
    The Spyros Bros on ‘AGT’ The Spyros Bros, composed of siblings Marco Angelo and Marc Albert, is among contestants on “America’s Got Talent (AGT)” this year. The two secured a spot during audition for their diabolo slinging act. Diabolo is a juggling or circus prop consisting of an axle and two cups (hourglass/egg timer shaped) or discs derived from the Chinese yo-yo. This object is spun using a string attached to two handsticks (“batons” or “wands”). A large variety of tricks are possible with the diabolo, including tosses, and various types of interaction with the sticks, string, and various parts ... more
  • 2 months ‘File charges if proofs exist,’ says PhilHealth President MB
    By Analou De Vera Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque should file appropriate charges if he has proof of irregularities that concern the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Philhealth President, retired army general Ricardo “Dick” Morales (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN) This was the response of PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ricardo Morales when asked regarding the recent pronouncement of Roque of his alleged inaction to address corruption in the agency. “[I] suggest that Atty. Roque [to] be more specific and file the cases himself if he has any evidence,” Morales said. Morales said that the statement of Roque is ... more
  • 2 months NPC senators mull party leadership after Danding’s demise MB
    By Vanne Elaine Terrazola Two senators said the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC) will find it difficult to replace Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr. as their leader. Cojuangco, or “Boss Danding” to NPC members, passed away on Tuesday due to pneumonia and heart failure. He was 85. Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian(MANILA BULLETIN) “We will obviously struggle to keep our party strong and steady because of the loss of our Chairman Emeritus. We will meet soon to discuss the Party’s future,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III, a senior officer at the NPC, said in a text message when ... more
  • 2 months DOJ taps DOH in contact tracing of persons exposed to infected personnel MB
    By Jeffrey Damicog The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the Department of Health (DOH) in identifying those in contact with its personnel who were tested positive with the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). “We have enlisted the help of the DOH in contact tracing,” said Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete on Thursday, June 18. Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete(PNA / PTV / MANILA BULLETIN) The DOJ made the move after five of its personnel tested positive with COVID-19 after being tested positive in both rapid antibody tests and the confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests “We leave it to the DOH ... more
  • 2 months DOT tightens health, safety protocols in Boracay MB
    By Hanah Tabios The Boracay quarantine breach has created a negative impact on the supposed resumption of businesses in the island. Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat revealed Thursday that only seven tourists visited the island on its reopening date in the immediate aftermath of the incident. This photo taken on June 17, 2020 shows a policeman standing guard along the empty famous white beach of Boracay Island, as community quarantine against COVID-19 still continues throughout the country, with foreign tourists still banned on beaches. (Photo by Ernesto CRUZ / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN) This is opposite to what ... more
  • 2 months Duterte confident that Duque can handle Ombudsman probe MB
      By Argyll Cyrus Geducos President Duterte is confident that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III can answer all allegations against him by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) and that the President has full trust and confidence in him. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9, 2020. (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the OMB ordered a probe on the alleged irregularities made by the Department ... more
  • 2 months Rain, thunderstorms expected in the afternoon and evening MB
    By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz Humidity is still high enough in the morning that isolated to scattered rain showers and thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon or evening in some parts of the country until the weekend, a weather forecaster said on Thursday. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather specialist Ariel Rojas said warm mornings will continue but expect higher chance of severe thunderstorms occurring in the late afternoon or early evening. Forecast temperatures in the next three days will be 24 to 35 degrees Celsius in Metro Manila; 25 to 36 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City; 16 ... more
  • 2 months Gov’t should push UHC services — Hontiveros MB
      By Hannah Torregoza Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday urged the government to prioritize the roll out of primary health care services under the Universal Health Care (UHC) law, saying its implementation is critical at this time. Senator Risa Hontiveros(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN) Hontiveros said she is appalled at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) recommendation to delay the implementation of the UHC law which is badly needed now while the government strives to contain the spread of the coronavirus. “The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis,” Hontiveros said in a statement. “I am ... more
  • 2 months DILG beefs up contact tracing teams; Año says at least 50,000 tracers needed MB
    By Chito Chavez Some 82,537 contact tracers are needed to beef up the local contact tracing teams (CTTs) of the local government units (LGUs) as the country’s fight against COVID-19 intensifies, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Monday. DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año(DILG / MANILA BULLETIN) “While there is a need to hire 80,000 CTs, we just proposed to the IATF the hiring of only 50,000 since the LGU continues to increase the number of their CTs and there are also volunteers from the private sector,” Año added. DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the ... more
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