KUWTT: P8B lost each day during lockdown Apr 10, 2021

Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Saturday, April 10, 2021.

READ: P8B lost each day during lockdown

 The Philippine economy is losing as much as P8 billion a day because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) restrictions, and the government must find ways to boost consumer spending to stop the bleeding.  The heavy cost of a lockdown was discussed at length by Marikina City Second District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo during a virtual roundtable with The Manila Times on Friday. Quimbo estimated that the ECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila alone results in about P6 billion in losses a day.

READ: Military to probe boat chase in WPS

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday said it would order the Armed Forces of the Philippines to investigate the incident Thursday in the West Philippine Sea where the boat chartered by an ABS-CBN news crew was chased by at least two Chinese attack craft armed with missiles. DND spokesman Director Arsenio Andolong said the Armed Forces’ Western Command would conduct the investigation, the findings of which would be used to determine how the government would respond to the incident. ABS-CBN reporter Chiara Zambrano said she and her news crew visited reefs and shoals in the West Philippine Sea close to the mainland of Palawan to document Filipino fishermen who have lost access to their fishing grounds after they were driven out by Chinese vessels. Zambrano said a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel approached their boat when they were about to reach Ayungin Shoal. Someone speaking in English radioed the ABS-CBN boat, asking the occupants to identify themselves. Zambrano said the crew of the boat, who were fisherfolk, was unable to respond because no one speaks English. To avoid conflict, the Filipino captain steered away from Ayungin Shoal thinking the Chinese Coast Guard vessel would leave and no longer confront them.

READ: Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, dies at 99

 Sad news from Britain, Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth 2nd who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that both defined and constricted his life, has died, Buckingham Palace said Friday. He was 99. His life spanned nearly a century of European history, starting with his birth as a member of the Greek royal family and ending as Britain’s longest serving consort during a turbulent reign in which the thousand-year-old monarchy was forced to reinvent itself for the 21st century.

READ: Erap shows ‘very big’ improvement

 FORMER president and Manila mayor Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada has been weaned from a ventilator after showing a “very big” improvement, his children announced on Friday. Former senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said in a statement that his father has steadily improved the past two days more than a week after testing positive for Covid-19. In a social media post, JV Ejercito called on supporters to pray for his father.

READ: Palace: Duterte’s absence meant to keep him safe 

President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent absence from the public eye is to keep him and his staff safe from getting infected as the nation continues to struggle with the surge in Covid-19 cases, his spokesman said on Friday. Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte has to limit his public engagements because of the spike in Covid-19 cases and the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces. Roque made the statement after the President failed to attend this year’s commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) at the Mount Samat National Shrine in Pilar, Bataan. The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (Where is the President) also trended on Twitter. It is not the first time for the President to skip the Araw ng Kagitingan rites. The President attended his first Day of Valor ceremony in 2017 and skipped the event in 2018. In 2019, he led the rites in Jolo, Sulu and once again begged off in 2020 because of the pandemic.

READ: ‘No evidence vaccine cause case increase’ – FDA

 THE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday said that there is no “scientific basis” a certain vaccine could increase Covid-19 cases. FDA Director General Eric Domingo’s remark is a response on a column written in The Manila Times citing a story from a conservative American-based The Epoch Times, which claimed there is a link between the vaccine rollout of Sinovac’s CoronaVac and increase of cases in certain countries.

BUSINESS: IHS Markit sees lower PH growth

Over to business, IHS Markit expects the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) to expand below the government’s target this year as the recent surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases is likely to constrain economic recovery. In a report on Friday, IHS Markit Asia Pacific chief economist Rajiv Biswas, said the GDP growth in 2021 is estimated to be in the 5 percent to 6 percent range. His forecast falls outside the government’s official estimate range of 6.5 to 7.5 percent, but a reversal of the Philippine economy’s revised 9.6-percent slide last year.

SPORTS: Ancajas negative for Covid-19 ahead of fight

Topping sports, Filipino International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and the rest of his team yielded negative results in the final round of Covid-19 tests ahead of his title defense on Sunday, April 11 (Manila time). Ancajas will defend his belt for the ninth time against Mexican Jonathan Rodriguez at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, USA.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Yen Makabenta and Ramon Tulfo are today’s front page columnists. Makabenta talks about a Covid-19 vaccine arbiter as a guinea pig while Tulfo discusses about disrespect in high places.

Today’s editorial calls for better education on Covid-19 vaccines. 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 weekend ahead.