KUWTT: Palace: No need for lockdown Mar 11, 2021

Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Thursday, March 11, 2021.

READ: Palace: No need for lockdown

THERE is no need for the country to be placed under lockdown even if Covid-19 cases are rising, Malacañang said on Wednesday. Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said there was no reason to close businesses again. He added that hospital capacity remained adequate. Roque said out of 1,900 intensive care unit beds, 60 percent are still available, while 65 percent of isolation beds remain unoccupied and 75 percent of ward beds were available.

READ: Police ban kissing, hugging in public

THE police have taken their responsibility of implementing physical distancing by another notch by banning public displays of affection. Kissing, hugging and holding hands in public will not be allowed, according to Philippine National Police chief Debold Sinas. Couples, members of a family or close friends were enjoined to keep their distance to help curb the spread of Covid-19. Sinas, however, said those caught displaying affection in public will not be arrested but will be reprimanded.

READ: Govt eyes 24/7 vaccination

THE government will study the possibility of holding 24-hour vaccination once a substantial volume of Covid-19 vaccines arrive in the country, a ranking official of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) said on Wednesday. According to NTF chief implementor Vivencio Dizon, the government will study the matter but also need to manage the situation of those who will conduct the vaccination.

READ: Belmonte top performing mayor in Metro – survey

QUEZON City Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte emerged as the top performing local chief executive in the National Capital Region (NCR), according to an “independent, non-commissioned” survey. Pasig City Mayor Victor Ma. Regis “Vico” Sotto and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, took the second and third spots, respectively, followed by Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian and Mayor Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina City. The survey was conducted by RP-Mission and Development Foundation Inc. (RPMD) based on face-to-face interviews with 3,500 respondents, who were asked to rate their respective mayors regarding their overall job performance for 2020. The survey was conducted from February 20 to 28. The respondents, aged 18 to 70, were registered voters.

READ: ‘Bong Go ripe for presidential race’

SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is “ripe” for the presidential race in 2022, President Rodrigo Duterte’s top lawyer said on Wednesday. Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo made the statement after a new Pulse Asia survey showed that Filipino voters prefer a Go and Duterte tandem in 2022. In his program “Counterpoint” aired on Wednesday, Panelo said Go, being a long-time aide of the President, has acquired all the qualities needed to be the country’s next president. If the elections were held today, it is likely that Go would win as president if paired with Duterte, according to a Pulse Asia survey conducted from February 10 to 19.

READ: Masks with valves offer poor protection – DoH

THE Department of Health (DoH) warned that face masks with valves or slits do not block droplet transmission, hence are ineffective in preventing the spread of Covid-19. According to the health department, the Copper mask has a slit or hole underneath the chin, which is not an ideal mask for Covid-19 protection.

READ: PNP chief rules out ambush in mayor’s death

THE chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday ruled out that the mayor of Calbayog City was ambushed that led to his death with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) stepping in to probe the incident. Police had identified that two police units from Eastern Visayas police were involved in the incident that resulted in the death of Mayor Ronaldo Aquino. PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas, however, ruled out the angle that the local chief executive was ambushed by the involved policemen, who are now under the custody of the Eastern Visayas police while investigation is ongoing.

READ: Senate panel approves DITO franchise renewal

THE Senate Committee on Public Services approved the renewal for another 25 years of the franchise of the DITO Telecommunity, the country’s third telecommunications company (telco). The panel headed by Sen. Mary Grace Poe also approved the application and renewal of the franchise of two other telcos and the license of 13 broadcast firms mostly in the provinces.

BUSINESS: FDI net inflows slide to 5-year low

Topping business, net inflows of foreign direct investments (FDI) sank to $6.54 billion last year, their smallest in five years, but breached the full-2020 estimate of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Central bank data showed that the amount — the lowest since 2015’s $5.63 billion — was a 24.6-percent decrease from the adjusted $8.67 billion in 2019. Still, it surpassed the BSP’s $6-billion forecast for 2020.

SPORTS: PBA targets April 11 return

In sports, as sporting events gradually transition to the “new normal” in the pandemic era, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) plans to hold two-conference calendar in Season 46 within a 10-month period under a semi-bubble format. PBA targets April 11 for the season opener following the historic Season 45, which was played inside a bubble facility in Angeles, Pampanga last year. The league is looking at a four-month Philippine Cup and a six-month Governors’ Cup.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Antonio Contreras, Ramon Tulfo, and Arch. Felino Palafox, Jr. are today’s front page columnists. Contreras discusses President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission of guilt and cluelessness on extrajudicial killings, Tulfo talks about a Filipina domestic helper repatriated from Syria after her “unbelievable experience” at the hands of her employers, while Arch. Palafox discusses the urban planning and architecture as the Philippines marks 500 years of Christianity.

Today’s editorial believes the government must prioritize water by establishing a government department. Read the full version on the paper’s Opinion Section or listen to the Voice of The Times.

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With Dafort Villaseran, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. May you have a safe Thursday ahead.