Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año appealed to senators on Wednesday not to realign the budget of the Support to the Barangay Development Program (SBDP) as he assured the department will be transparent on the implementation of the funds. The SBDP has a total budget of P16.44 billion which will be allocated to 822 remote and neglected barangays nationwide that have been cleared of communist influence since 2019. “The government’s efforts in clearing these barangays of communist terrorists will be put to waste if we suddenly leave them hanging now that they have been freed from the clutches of communist terrorist groups,” Año said in a statement. “We, therefore, appeal to our senators not to deprive these barangays of government support and assistance now that they need us most,” he added. Some senators previously called for the realignment of the budget of the National Task Force to End ... » Learn More about Año urges senators not to defund SBDP
Health workers lead the vaccination simulation exercises in Ilocos Norte last February to prepare for the arrival of the province’s allocation of the CoronaVac vaccines. (File photo from the Ilocos Norte provincial government) MANILA, Philippines — Keep a blind eye to brands when distributing COVID-19 vaccines to local governments to avoid disputes about vial preferences that will prolong the process. Treat all the vaccines as the same. That’s the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the country’s vaccine manager. In his pre-recorded briefing that aired Wednesday night, Duterte explained that he gave that order because he feared that a preference for one vaccine could lead to the supply of that vaccine running out. “Is there any superiority among the vaccines that are being injected now on people? Is there one that’s superior?” he said, speaking partly in Filipino. “Because, you know, once you choose one and there is a study or somebody ... » Learn More about Duterte orders Galvez: Don’t discriminate among COVID-19 vaccine brands
FILE PHOTO: A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, developing an experimental coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, September 24, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo MANILA, Philippines — Sinovac Biotech may start late-stage trials of its coronavirus vaccine in the Philippines as early as next month, the food and drugs agency chief said on Thursday, after it hurdled the initial stage of the country’s screening process. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) expects to receive the Chinese drug maker’s formal application for phase three clinical trials within two weeks and regulators will make a decision after their evaluation, FDA head Rolando Enrique Domingo said. Domingo told reporters a November trial start was “possible.” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte repeated on Wednesday that he preferred that his country source its COVID-19 vaccines from ... » Learn More about Philippines eyes Sinovac trial as early as November — FDA
An organic trial farm of the Dumagat tribe in Koloka-koloy in Puray, Rizal. (Photo by Masipag) MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines institutionalized organic agriculture through Republic Act No. 10068, or the Organic Agricultural Act of 2010. The law was recently amended by Republic Act No. 11511 which introduced these provisions: Nationwide educational and awareness campaign on the benefits of consuming organic products Adoption of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) as a community of group-based certification process, other than third party certification of organic products Protection of organic resources against contamination by genetically engineered organisms including crops, livestock and poultry and marine products Access to marketing by organic producers to ensure decent prices which would ensure organic ventures are profitable and sustainable While these measures are most welcome, a critical gap exists between the amended law and its implementing rules and ... » Learn More about Organic agriculture in PH: No funding, no plans
MANILA, Philippines—A group of local manufacturers, who heeded a government request to repurpose their facilities, is now capable of making tens of millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) in a year but the Duterte administration had bought only a portion of that supply, forcing the group to lay off workers. The Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP) is made up of five manufacturers with decades of experience in electronics and garment manufacturing. They had been asked by the Department of Trade and Industry in March 2020 to repurpose their facilities to make medical grade PPEs, a move which cost the companies an initial investment of $35 million. As of the third quarter of 2020, CPMP has a total capacity to make 720 million face masks, 36 million coveralls and isolation gowns and 120 million units of PPE accessories. “Unfortunately, the local supplier’s capacity was not maximized in the overall government procurement setup,” CPMP said in a statement on ... » Learn More about Underutilized, local PPE makers ask gov’t: What’s the plan?
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee which has oversight of the national budget, on Tuesday (May 4) said he asked agencies to report how they spent their calamity funds as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P2.91 billion of the funds for 2020 and 2021 in April. “We’re actually inquiring with the agencies on disbursements made and awaiting information on the unspent calamity funds,” Angara told the Inquirer. “Calamity funds are usually expected to be spent expeditiously since they respond to emergency events, and often there is great urgency and need for these funds,” said Angara, who steered approval of the 2020 and 2021 national budgets in the Senate. “And during the budget hearings we are often told how the year’s budget is insufficient for rehabilitation of disaster or calamity-hit communities, which is why for this year 2021, Congress added to the calamity fund,” Angara said. From P16 billion in 2020, this ... » Learn More about Agencies asked to explain why calamity funds unspent
(Reuters) -Facebook Inc's oversight board on Wednesday upheld the company's decision to ban former U.S. President Donald Trump from the service, but called on the company to decide within six months whether to permanently ban him or restore his account. Here are some key facts about how the board works: WHAT DOES THE OVERSIGHT BOARD REVIEW? The board, which some have dubbed Facebook Inc's "Supreme Court," can overturn the company's decisions on whether some individual pieces of content should be displayed on Facebook or its photo-sharing platform Instagram. It can also recommend changes to Facebook's content policy, based on a case decision or at the company's request, but these are not binding. The board, which only makes rulings on a small slice of Facebook's content decisions, has said it aims to pick cases with wider relevance. It said it has received more than 300,000 cases since it opened its doors in October 2020. Cases so far have involved issues such as hate ... » Learn More about Factbox-What is Facebook’s oversight board?
DRUG use and abuse date back to antiquity. Strands of hair from mummies have revealed the intake of drugs millennia ago by ancient Egyptians. Sumerians had opium around 3500 BCE, early Chinese consumed marijuana about 3000 BCE, and South American Incas used the hallucinogen vilca from 2100 BCE. Greek Olympians, like contemporary athletes, and Roman gladiators used drugs to enhance performance. Both Allies and Axis soldiers during World War 2 ingested methamphetamine derivatives to sustain their fighting spirit, and Japanese Kamikaze pilots on suicide missions took high doses of the drug pervitin. The varieties and nomenclatures of drugs have changed, but human desire for stimulants and hallucinogens remains universal. Today, the illicit drug trade and substance abuse are critical global problems. The perils of drug addiction are devastating. It is for good reason that governments worldwide have undertaken initiatives and campaigns to control, curb and criminalize contraband drugs ... » Learn More about Duterte loses drug war
The Energy Development Corp. (EDC), in partnership with the Counselors for Immigration and International Studies (CIS), is taking its career internship program Sikat abroad to broaden career opportunities for its scholars. Sikat, a Filipino word for Sunshine or ray, is the Lopez-led EDC’s flagship education program that supports underprivileged but deserving students in the company’s host communities through financial assistance and mentoring. CIS, composed of trusted educational consultants, partners with host schools and educational sponsors in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and New Zealand in providing more learning opportunities and career choices to students. Renato Bueno, CIS president and chief executive officer, said the main goal of CIS is to give Filipino youth, as “hope of the nation,” opportunities to a better life, and one of the keys to this better life is through education and employment opportunities. Under the agreement, CIS will sponsor a ... » Learn More about EDC launches overseas internship program for scholars