Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Friday, March 12, 2021.
READ: Covid kills 3,000 nurses
At least 3,000 nurses have been killed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the global nurses’ federation said on Thursday as it warned of a looming exodus of health workers traumatized by the pandemic. Exactly one year on since the World Health Organization (WHO) first described Covid-19 as a pandemic, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said burnout and stress had led millions of nurses to consider quitting the profession. And once the pandemic is over, a dwindling number of experienced nurses could be left to handle the giant backlog of regular hospital care that had been postponed due to the crisis, the ICN warned.
READ: More troops sought to enforce protocols
Local government units (LGUs) requested for more military and police forces so they could strictly enforce health protocols following the dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday. The chairman of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 wants to bring back the “strict implementation” of the health restrictions, saying some people appeared to have let their guard down despite the 1,000 new Covid-19 cases recorded in the past month.
READ: PH to get 30 million doses of Novavax from India
India’s Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran said on Thursday that the country will receive at least 30 million doses of Indian-made Novavax vaccine in the second quarter or early third quarter of the year once agreements are signed. Novavax registered an interim efficacy rate of 81 percent. Kumaran said discussions between Indian officials and Philippine vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. were underway.
READ: DILG ramps up efforts to curb virus spike
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has stepped up its campaign to control the spike in Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila. At the same time, the DILG stressed that it is not pushing for a regionwide strengthening of quarantine restrictions. The department doubled its efforts as the country posted 3,749 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, another record high for this year and the highest since Sept. 19, 2020, when there were 3,924 cases. The cases now total 607,048. Also alarming is the record 11-percent increase in positive cases.
READ: Duterte: ‘I have to reopen the economy’
Amid the jump in Covid-19 cases in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he had to order the reopening of the economy. In his speech during the inauguration of the newly constructed Port Operations Building at the Port of Dumaguete, Duterte said he gave a timetable of “just weeks” for bringing the economy back on track. The Department of Health (DoH) reported that since last week, the daily number of new Covid-19 cases has breached the 3,000-mark.
READ: Duterte: Bong Go wants to be president
In that same speech, President Duterte said Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go wants to become president. Duterte said that Go had asked him to make the announcement. This is not the first time Duterte hinted that his former special assistant and long-time aide may run for president. On March 5 in a speech delivered in Cagayan de Oro City, he teased Go about a possible presidential run, calling the senator “president.” The President said Go has been with him for 21 years.
READ: JBC to grill 3 chief justice aspirants
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will grill on Friday the three applicants for chief justice. Despite the opposition of the Supreme Court en banc, the JBC will push through with the interview of Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Alexander Gesmundo and Ramon Paul Hernando. The council is screening applications for the replacement of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, who will retire on March 27.
BUSINESS: Forex reserves surpass $109 billion at end-Feb
In business, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) foreign-exchange (forex) operations and income from its investments abroad pushed the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) to record a two-month high of $109.08 billion as of end-February. Preliminary central bank data showed on Thursday that the amount was 0.37-percent and 23.69-percent bigger from those posted a month and a year ago, respectively. In a statement, the Bangko Sentral said the month-on-month climb reflected inflows mainly from its forex operations and income from overseas investments.
SPORTS: PBA approves trade involving NLEX, Blackwater, TNT
Topping sports, we have a trade to announce! A multi-player trade involving NLEX, Blackwater, and TNT got the clearance of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) trade committee on Wednesday. The league announced its approval on Thursday. In the deal, the Road Warriors sent their fourth overall pick in this year’s PBA Rookie Draft to the Bossing in exchange for Roi Sumang, Don Trollano, Maurice James Shaw and the latter’s 2022 second round pick. The move reunited coach Yeng Guiao, Jericho Cruz, and JR Quiñahan with Trollano, who was also part of the Rain or Shine team that ruled the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Blackwater then dealt its rights to this year’s fourth overall draft pick to the Tropang Giga, and got Simon Enciso, David Semerad, and TNT’s 2023 first round pick and 2024 second round pick in return.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Rigoberto Tiglao and Ruben Torres are our front page columnists. Tiglao claims Western countries are hoarding Covid-19 vaccines, while Torres believes opportunities for overseas workers are becoming problems themselves.
Today’s editorial has called out Palace spokesman Harry Roque, Jr. over his statement of not needing a strict lockdown amid a surge of Covid-19 cases. 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 Friday ahead.