KUWTT: Governor, 11 mayors probed Apr 02, 2021

Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Good Friday, April 2, 2021.

READ: Governor, 11 mayors probed

AT LEAST 13 local officials have been asked by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ex- plain why they were vaccinated out of turn for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing 3rd said during a television interview on Wednesday the 11 mayors, one governor and one councilor got their shots despite not being medical frontliners, the first group prioritized for inoculation. Only Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City has responded to the DILG’s show-cause order, Densing said. The DILG was also validating reports and photos showing other local officials, including barangay chiefs, who had been inoculated, he said. Mayors who are senior citizens are authorized to receive their shots now that the vaccination of the elderly has begun, Densing said.

READ: SWS: 73% of Filipinos believe religion is very important

MAJORITY of Filipinos consider religion as very important in their lives, a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed. According to the survey conducted from November 21 to 25 last year, 73 percent of adult Filipinos said religion was very important. The latest figure is 10 points below the record 83 percent in December 2019 and 4 points above the 69 percent in June 2019.

READ: Palace to Filipinos: Persevere with faith

MALACAÑANG on Thursday enjoined Filipinos to reflect on faith and peace during the observance of the Holy Week as the Philippines reels from the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement, Presidential Communications secretary Martin Andanar the Palace is one with the Catholic community in observing the Lenten season but has urged those living in areas under enhanced community quarantine to stay at home, as religious gatherings are prohibited.

READ: J&J vaccine fails quality test

A batch of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine failed quality standards and can’t be used, the drug giant said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila). The drugmaker didn’t say how many doses were lost, and it wasn’t clear how the problem would impact future deliveries. A vaccine ingredient made by Emergent BioSolutions — one of about 10 companies that Johnson & Johnson is using to speed up manufacturing of its recently approved vaccine — did not meet quality standards, Johnson & Johnson said.

READ: DoLE to hire contact tracers for local govts

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will hire displaced workers as contact tracers to help blunt the spike in Covid-19 infections in the National Capital Region (NCR) and four adjoining provinces. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd said funding for the recruitment effort would come from DoLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced (Tupad) program. Under Tupad, displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers will be hired for 10 to 30 days, depending on the nature of work they will do.

READ: PH to help Fil-Am attacked in NY

THE Philippine government will extend help to the 65-year-old Filipino-American assaulted in New York City, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Thursday. He made the remark when asked by Susan Ople, overseas Filipino advocate, whether the victim, identified as Vilma Kari, is a dual citizen.

READ: Navotas uses Q-bands to track residents

NAVOTAS City has started using the quarantine band system designed to monitor close contacts and confirmed Covid-19 cases and track movement of residents in lockdown areas. Created by virtue of a city ordinance, the Navotas Quarantine Band System (Navo Q-Band) aims to promote efficiency in the city’s Covid-19 mitigation efforts, mayor Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said.

BUSINESS: Fitch: PH banks remain at risk

Topping business, debt watcher Fitch Ratings has warned the Philippine banking sector of heightened impairment risks from the property sector. In a report released on Wednesday, the credit ratings agency said it expects the property market to remain weak in the near term, considering the sluggish economic recovery and soft housing affordability in the country.

SPORTS: Camarines, Laguna dispute 1st PCAP championship

In sports, the first ever championship of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino conference will be contested by the Laguna Heroes and the Camarines Soaring Eagles on Saturday. Laguna and Camarines hurdled past tough rivals in the conference finals that went down the wire Wednesday night. Laguna, led by Grandmaster Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla Jr., opened the Northern conference finals with a 12.5 to 8.5 victory over San Juan.

Opinion and editorial

Rigoberto Tiglao and Ruben Torres are today’s front page columnists. Tiglao talks if Jesus Christ is a failed rebel, a myth, or a Roman invention, while Torres talks about the use of ivermectin, saying science and not politics should prevail over its use.

Today’s editorial calls on the Department of Health to report on the vaccinations using the Chinese drugmaker Sinovac. 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 and Aric John Sy Cua, this is EJ Gomez reporting. May you have a safe Good Friday.