Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Saturday, March 27, 2021.
READ: Covid daily surge nears 10,000 cases
The country on Friday posted a new single-day record in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, prompting calls for hospitals to assign more beds for Covid patients. The Department of Health (DoH) reported 9,838 new cases, close to an earlier forecast of more than 10,000 cases by the end of March. The overall case total was 702,856, with 109,018 active cases. Treatment czar and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega on Friday urged hospitals to bring their capacity to up to 50 percent by freeing up more beds or building more temporary treatment facilities and modular hospitals.
READ: DoH warns local execs against out-of-turn shots
Local government units (LGUs) need the green light from the national government before they can vaccinate the next priority group after frontline health workers. The Department of Health (DoH) sternly reminded LGUs they cannot move ahead with their inoculation program unless the national government says so. The Health department’s reminder comes in the heels of the controversy over the vaccination of actor Mark Anthony Fernandez in Parañaque City even before all the city’s medical frontliners had received Covid-19 shots.
READ: IATF defers to Church, eases assembly rules
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved religious gatherings during the last four days of the Holy Week. Task force and Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. announced the easing of restrictions on religious congregations on Friday. Roque said churches and other places of worship can hold services at 10-percent capacity from April 1 to 4. He said the easing of mass assembly rules applies not only to the Catholic Church but to other religions such as Islam. The IATF-EID made the decision during its meeting on Thursday, following the request of Catholic Church officials to allow worshippers to attend services during Holy Week, which will coincide with the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.
READ: DFA execs reaffirm PH stand on reef
PHILIPPINE foreign affairs officials attending the 28th Asean-New Zealand Dialogue reiterated the Philippines’ objection to the continued presence of Chinese maritime militia vessels in Philippine waters. Foreign Affairs Acting Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Affairs Elizabeth Buensuceso, who led the Philippine delegation to the dialogue held through video conferencing, said the presence of the Chinese vessels at the Julian Felipe Reef not only infringes on Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction but also threatens security and stability in the region.
READ: Duterte signs Create bill into law
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law Republic Act 11534 or the “Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (Create) Act,” which seeks to lower corporate income tax and streamline fiscal incentives for impacted industries. But Duterte vetoed some provisions of the new law, including the increase of the value-added tax-exempt threshold on sales of real property; 90-day period for processing of general tax refunds; definition of investment capital; and redundant incentives for domestic enterprises.
READ: Lawmakers push Bayanihan 3
LAWMAKERS have reiterated their call for the passage of House Bill 8628 or the proposed “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act” as the nation continues to absorb the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This comes after Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano sought the convening of the House of Representatives into a Committee of the Whole to tackle House Bill 8597 or the “Ayuda Bill,” which remains pending with the Committee on Social Services. The “Ayuda Bill” seeks to provide low-income families with a one-time P10,000 cash assistance or P1,500 per family member, whichever is higher, which they can use for their daily needs as they await the full roll-out of coronavirus vaccines. The majority is reportedly cold on Cayetano’s proposal as the scheme may face the same problems encountered with the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
READ: Manila mayor OKs 10% church capacity
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Friday said he agreed with the Archdiocese of Manila’s decision to allow church capacity at ten percent. In a message to reporters, the local chief executive revealed his stance to allow 10-percent seating capacity in churches in Manila as proposed by Bishop Broderick Pabillo.
BUSINESS: Moody’s: PH in ‘worrisome state’
Over to business, Moody’s Analytics has expressed concern at the current state of the Philippine economy, saying that the country’s growth prospects this year are facing significant downside risks. In a report released on Friday, the group said the country is in a worrisome state, because of elevated inflation, a large output gap, a recent resurgence of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) infections, and limited vaccine availability.
SPORTS: Ancajas did not test positive for Covid-19
Topping sports, International Boxing Federation Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas did not test positive for Covid-19. Joven Jimenez, Ancajas’ manager and trainer, set the record straight on Friday, denying the rumors that Ancajas contracted Covid-19 ahead of his title defense against Mexican Jonathan Rodriguez on April 11 (Philippine time) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Yen Makabenta and Ramon Tulfo are today’s front page columnists. Makabenta calls double-masking as a form of insanity, while Tulfo talks about Greco Belgica’s appointment as Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairman.
Today’s editorial calls on the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to put an end to the fad surrounding the drug ivermectin. Read a 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 weekend ahead.