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Philippines receives more than 201,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The Philippines received on Friday an additional 201,240 doses of government-procured Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. According to the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, the latest batch of vaccine doses landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 past 9 p.m. NTF Against COVID-19 medical consultant Dr. Ma. Paz Corrales thanked the United States government for facilitating the delivery of the vaccines. She said the...


Comelec prohibits physical contact during in-person campaigning

MANILA, Philippines — Any form of physical contact during in-person campaigning for the May 2022 polls is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code and election health protocols, which could lead to the disqualification of a candidate, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned yesterday. In a 21-page “new normal” guideline in the conduct of in-person campaigning, the Comelec said that any physical contact among candidates, their companions and...


HMOs prohibited from giving discounts, preferential rates

MANILA, Philippines — The Insurance Commission (IC) has prohibited health maintenance organizations (HMOs) from giving out discounts and preferential rates for products sold to individual and family accounts. Under Circular Letter (CL) 2021-68, the IC instructed HMOs to stop offering any type of discount like bulk purchases and promotional markdowns for policies sold to individuals and families. Likewise, the IC barred HMOs from providing their...


De Lima: Gov’t accepted ICC jurisdiction by seeking procedural remedy

After repeatedly claiming that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the country, Senator Leila de Lima on Friday said the Duterte administration has indirectly submitted to the court's jurisdiction by availing of its procedural remedy. “If the Duterte administration truly believes the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, it should have just ceased from availing of the ICC procedural remedy whereby the country...


Duterte appoints Dizon as presidential adviser for COVID-19 response

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Vince Dizon as presidential adviser for COVID-19 response, according to photos released by Malacañang on Friday. Accompanied by his family, Dizon took his oath before Duterte on Tuesday. Dizon’s appointment came days after political strategist Lito Banayo was reported to have said that the Cabinet official was helping the campaign of presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. However, Dizon denied...


Angkas names new CEO

MANILA, Philippines — Motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas now has a new CEO in George Royeca, its chief transport advocate, after he took full ownership of the company. Royeca was one of Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardees in 2020 for his important contributions not only in promoting safe and affordable mobility but also in helping other sectors survive from the effects of the pandemic. As chief transport advocate of the company, Royeca...


NTF adviser calls for Hong Kong to be in yellow/red list over new coronavirus variant

National Task Force Against COVID-19 adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa said on Friday that Hong Kong should be placed on the yellow or red list following the detection of a new coronavirus variant that is feared to make vaccines less effective. Currently, Hong Kong is included in the “green list” areas with low risk for COVID-19 transmission. Fully-vaccinated travelers from these areas may skip facility quarantine upon arrival. On Thursday, Scientists in...


Groups mull legal action vs on-site worker vax policy

MANILA, Philippines — Labor, transport and socio-civic groups are considering legal remedies against the two resolutions recently issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) requiring all on-site workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and for those unvaccinated to regularly undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing at their own expense. At a press conference...


Palace closely monitoring more transmissible COVID-19 variant from South Africa

Malacañang said Friday that it is closely monitoring developments on the reported new coronavirus variant from South Africa that is believed to be more transmissible. "We are monitoring...intently monitoring the situation. Genomic surveillance is still being done and we are always in touch with the World Health Organization (WHO) and waiting for its advisory if this variant is a variant of interest or a variant of concern," acting presidential...


Robredo assures support for AFP in anti-insurgency campaign

Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday has assured support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s campaign to end the country's insurgency problem. Robredo received a security briefing with AFP chief Lieutenant General Andres Centino, Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Erickson Gloria, Deputy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Erick Kagaoan, and the military’s joint staff in Camp Aguinaldo. During the briefing, the presidential aspirant assured the...


Duterte on South China Sea: No real peace if strong trample on weak

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday invoked the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the only acceptable basis for order in the South China Sea, saying there can be “no real peace if the strong trample on the weak.” Duterte made the remark during the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM) a week after China's coast guard blocked and fired a water cannon at Filipino boats en route to a resupply mission in waters off the Ayungin...


Philippines bans travelers from South Africa, etc., over new COVID-19 variant

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has approved the temporary suspension of inbound international flights from South Africa, Botswana, and other countries with local cases or with the likelihood of occurrences of the B.1.1.529 variant. According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the ban is effective immediately and would be so until December 15. Nograles said the Bureau of Quarantine has been directed to locate travelers from the...


Banks lending more to MSMEs

MANILA, Philippines — Loans extended by banks to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) used as compliance with the central bank’s reserve requirement ratio (RRR) breached the P200 billion level, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno. Diokno said during his weekly virtual press conference that the amount disbursed to MSMEs as compliance to the RRR for the week ending Nov. 4 reached P202.2 billion. The amount...


Palace: Philippines to continue exercising sovereign rights in Ayungin, rest of EEZ

Malacañang said Friday the Philippines will continue to exercise its sovereign rights within its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea. Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles was responding to China's demand for the Philippines to pull out its navy ship BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal which lies within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ). China made the demand after its coast guard blocked and fired water...


Osang, Alma, Ara & Maui pass on the legacy to new breed of sexy stars

Former sexy stars Alma Moreno, Ara Mina, Maui Taylor and Rosanna “Osang” Roces come together again for the sequel to Darryl Yap’s Paglaki Ko, Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar. In Pornstar 2: Pangalawang Putok, the “queens of bomba movies” will search for the “next local pornstar.” The new breed of sexy stars is composed of Sab Aggabao, Cara Gonzales, Ayanna Misola and Stephanie Raz. The four veteran actresses are somewhat “mentors” to the young...


Higher yields seen on government securities

MANILA, Philippines — Interest rates for government securities are expected to rise next month due to the ongoing taper measures in the US and other countries, according to bond traders. Bond traders polled by The STAR said they expect rates for Treasury bills (T-bills) to move sideways or rise by as much as five basis points in next week’s auction. Traders attributed the anticipated jump in rates to the ongoing withdrawal of monetary support in...


PNP to bare results of cocaine bet probe

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos yesterday vowed to reveal the result of its investigation of a presidential candidate President Duterte accused of being a cocaine user. In a statement, Carlos said the PNP Drug Enforcement Group’s information gathering and validation are ongoing, “but whatever the result, the PNP is ready to make it public.” Duterte has not named the presidential aspirant but...


Senators to seek DOH, DBM chiefs explanation on continued delay in health workers' benefits

Before approving the 2022 national budget, at least three senators would like to hear the Department of Health (DOH's) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM's) explanations on the alleged continued delay in the release of medical workers’ special risk allowances (SRA). During the continuation of the Senate Blue Ribbon probe into the COVID-19 supplies, representatives of various medical workers’ groups voiced their woes on the release...


NCRPO recovers firearm issued to ex-cop Nuezca

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) recovered the firearm issued to now-dismissed Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca, who brutally killed his two neighbors last December 2020 following an argument. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Dionardo Carlos lauded the NCRPO in implementing “Bawi Operations” which led to the recovery of firearms issued to dismissed personnel. “Thank you for doing your job well. The...


BSP in talks with Lyka to work out OPS license

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is in talks with social media platform Lyka as it pursues the company’s application process as an operator of payment system (OPS) with the regulator. BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the regulator is in touch with Lyka Philippines as it complies with the provision of Republic Act 11127 or the National Payment Systems Act (NPSA) and BSP Circular 1049. Lyka, launched in the Philippines...


Lea and Gary record together for the first time for medical frontliners

“How do we do something like Live Aid?” That was the ambitious query originally pitched by Bienvenido “Donnie” Tantoco III, president of TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) Foundation to National Artist and award-winning songwriter Ryan Cayabyab or fondly “Mr. C” to all those who know him. Donnie initially thought about gathering artists to make a music video, with a song to be composed by Mr. C. However, Donnie was readily given a quick and honest...


Palace warns parents vs. taking kids into crowded, closed places

Malacañang on Friday warned parents and guardians against bringing children to crowded places amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Alexei Nograles said children are especially off-limits from confined spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with no physical distancing, and close-contact settings or what the government calls 3Cs. "For minors, those who are very young and infants who...


Comelec holds preliminary conference on Marcos Jr.’s first COC cancellation case

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday held a preliminary conference on the first petition to cancel presidential aspirant and former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s certificate of candidacy for Eleksyon 2022. Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the preliminary conference for the first cancellation case allowed both parties to make amendments. However, both parties did not seek amendments for the petition. “They were given...


Duterte bats for non-discriminatory vaccination certificate at ASEM

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged members of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit to work on the use of a vaccination cards that are internationally-recognized to allow safe and seamless travels of Filipinos across borders. Duterte underscored the need for a framework on vaccine certificate recognition that is "scientific, non-discriminatory and WHO-compliant to facilitate safe cross-border travel." “How can countries—that cornered...


PNP COVID-19 cases reach 42,189

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday said the COVID-19 cases among its personnel went up to 42,189 after two new infections were reported. Of this number, 66 are active cases, according to data from the PNP Health Service. Nine cases have recovered, pushing up the total recoveries to 41,998. The death toll meanwhile remained at 125. On Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) said 863 new COVID-19 cases were recorded, marking the third...


Adviser says admin allies 'conspiring' vs. Duterte

An adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday accused several allies of the administration of "conspiring" against the President. Though he did not mention any names, Butch Belgica of Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) said these individuals had "undermined" Duterte. "Kinalimutan na nila sino ang tumulong sa kanila. They undermined him, hindi siya kinonsulta. Sana kinausap man lang ang Pangulo," Belgica said at a press conference....


PCSO announces lone winner of more than P378M lotto prize

There is one winner for the Ultra Lotto 6/58 draw worth more than P378 million, according to the post of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Friday. The total jackpot prize of P378,750,791.20 was drawn on Friday evening. The winning combination was 20 - 17 - 12 - 29 - 10 - 46. -- BAP, GMA News This article PCSO announces lone winner of more than P378M lotto prize was originally published in GMA News Online.


Erik Matti brings Pinoy perspective to Folklore horror anthology

Interior. Dusk to dawn. Two persons in a frame. A woman tightly embraces her son, whose youth has been consumed by some bout of unimaginable internal pain. Feeling perplexed over the situation, she tears up as he seeks for help. Then the frame fades out and fades in to someone else’s stern eyes, an extreme close-up, and mouth, with full lips, chanting some unintelligible speech. Quickly, a cut-in to a voodoo doll with pins on it. Then, the basic...


Government drives bond market growth in Q3

MANILA, Philippines — The domestic bond market expanded by 20 percent to P9.76 trillion in the third quarter, fueled by government-led issuances as the state ramped up borrowings with the budget deficit continuing to widen, Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) said. Based on the latest Asian Bond Monitor, the total outstanding local currency bond issuance in the Philippines rose to P9.76 trillion as of end-September, up 20 percent from a...


Stocks tumble as new COVID-19 variant emerges

MANILA, Philippines — Local stocks fell yesterday alongside other markets in Asia after some European countries tightened curbs on travel and business following a surge in coronavirus infections and South Africa reported a new variant. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 90.83 points or 1.23 percent to close at 7,278.44, its lowest in over two weeks The broader All Shares in­dex shed 41.88 points or 1.07 percent to finish...


Pinoys need compassionate leaders to address woes – Robredo

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo stressed the need for hands-on and compassionate leaders who can effectively deal with the problems faced by marginalized Filipinos and those working in different sectors. “We need a leader who really knows what is happening daily (on the ground). We cannot have leaders who just receive reports from their staff,” she said in Filipino during a meeting with supporters in Cavite on Thursday. “There...


South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe taken out of Philippines' green list

The Philippine government has taken out South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe from its green list. Cabinet Secretary and acting Palace spokesperson Karlo Nograles made the clarification on Saturday a day after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved the temporary suspension until December 15 of inbound international flights from South Africa, Botswana, and other countries with local cases or with the likelihood of occurrences of the B.1.1.529...


FDA eyes lower COVID-19 vaccine dosage for minors aged 5 to 11

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is eyeing a different formulation and a lower dosage of the Pfizer vaccine for the vaccination of minors aged 5 to 11 against COVID-19. “I think it’s a lower dose. First of all, kasi maliliit na bata lang ‘yung 5 to 11,” FDA director-general Eric Domingo said in an interview on CNN. [I think it’s a lower dose, first of all, because 5 to 11 year olds are really small kids.] Similarly, the US FDA approved a...


Globe backs reassessment of spectrum fees

MANILA, Philippines — Globe Telecom Inc. is supporting moves to reassess spectrum fees being paid by telecommunication companies to the national government. In a statement, Globe lauded the recent unanimous approval at the House of Representatives of House Bill 9851, or the Zero Spectrum User Fee for Telcos Using WiFi Act, which aims to reduce to zero the spectrum user fees (SUF) paid by telcos. Reducing the SUFs levied on telco firms is...


BSP keeps cap on interest rate in credit cards

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has kept the cap on credit card transactions at two percent per month or 24 percent per year to help ease the burden of Filipino consumers as the country continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic. BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the decision of the Monetary Board to retain the existing ceiling is in line with the current low interest rate environment in the country. “The...


P109 million shabu seized in Taguig, Caloocan

MANILA, Philippines — At least 16.05 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu with a street value of P109.14 million have been confiscated in separate stings in Taguig and Caloocan since Thursday. In Taguig, anti-narcotics police officers seized eight kilos of shabu valued at P54.4 million from suspected pushers Marisa Asi, 34, and Muslimin Kamid, 32, in Barangay Maharlika on Thursday night, according to National Capital Region Police...


Philippines reports 863 new COVID-19 cases; death toll tops 48k

The Philippines on Friday added 863 new COVID-19 infections, marking the third consecutive day where fewer than 1,000 cases were reported. This is the second-lowest number of new cases recorded, following the 849 cases reported on November 16. According to the Department of Health (DOH), active cases slightly decreased to 17,853 while the total case count rose to 2,830,387. Of the active cases, 51.5% are mild, 6.6% are asymptomatic, 14.2% are...


Comelec bans handshakes, hugs, etc. in Eleksyon 2022 campaign

Candidates in Eleksyon 2022 are prohibited from shaking the hands of voters during the campaign period amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday. This is provided under Comelec Resolution 10372 on the guidelines for the conduct of the in-person campaign, rallies, caucuses, meetings/conventions, motorcades and caravans, and miting de avance. Section 14 of the Resolution states that the following activities are...


Recurring glitches plague LRT-2

MANILA, Philippines — The Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) was hit with recurring glitches beginning Thursday, inconveniencing passengers. At around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, LRT-2 operator Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) announced there would be limited train trips from Cubao to Recto stations. The glitch lasted until past 7:40 p.m. At around 10 a.m. yesterday, only train journeys from Santolan to Recto stations were available, the LRTA...


Traslacion suspended anew due to COVID-19

MANILA, Philippines — For the second straight year, the traslacion – a procession featuring the 400-year-old image of the Black Nazarene – would be suspended as COVID-19 still poses a threat to the public, the city government of Manila declared yesterday. However, a motorcade in selected areas in the city will replace the centuries-long tradition that has drawn millions of devotees every Jan. 9, according to the city public information office....


Detained Pharmally exec Ong smuggled mobile phone inside Senate –Gordon

Detained Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation Director Linconn Ong “smuggled” a mobile phone inside the Senate, Senate Blue Ribbon Chairman Richard Gordon disclosed Friday. “By the way, for the record, Mr. Linconn Ong smuggled a phone in his room,” Gordon said during the continuation of the Senate probe into the COVID-19 supplies procurement. “We get reports you know and you know they’re allowed to use the phone of the [Office of the...


Court sets review of Ongpin acquittal

MANILA, Philippines — A La Union trial court has set a hearing on the motion for reconsideration filed by government prosecutors on its decision to dismiss the drug case filed against Julian Ongpin, a person of interest in the death of visual artist Breanna “Bree” Jonson last September. Department of Justice (DOJ) Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said yesterday they filed their motion for reconsideration on Thursday, whereupon Regional...


Lacson questions Dargani lawyer’s affiliation with office of a House member

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday questioned the affiliation of lawyer Daryl Ritchie Valles, one of the legal counsels of the Dargani siblings, with the office of a member of the House of Representatives (HOR). During Lacson’s interpellation at the continuation of the Senate blue ribbon hearing, Mohit Dargani said Valles was hired as their family lawyer since August 2021. Citing acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei...


Pharmally's Mago says she left House custody to be with family

Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation official Krizle Mago said on Friday that she left the protective custody of the House of Representatives to go to the province and be with her family. At the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon committee investigation into the controversies linked with the purchase of COVID-19 supplies, Senator Franklin Drilon asked Mago's reason that prompted her to be under the custody of the House. “I was able to compare...


Health dept. to determine alert level classifications in all areas

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCASThe Philippines’ coronavirus task force has tasked health authorities to determine the COVID-19 alert level classifications of all areas in the country, according to the presidential palace. The Department of Health (DoH) will coordinate with a group managing coronavirus data to determine the risk status of an area, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said […]


Executive profile: PNB’S Wick Veloso

The alpha male mellows MANILA, Philippines — Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso, president and chief executive officer of Philippine National Bank, has mellowed from his alpha male days as one of the top treasury traders in the 1990s to 2000s. At 55, Wick is beginning to enjoy his “apostolic duties” even as he continues to guide PNB through the pandemic. Wick’s nickname was inadvertently bestowed on him by his mother when he was just starting to learn...


Dargani siblings face Blue Ribbon probe

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Blue Ribbon committee was not able to squeeze much yesterday out of detained siblings Mohit and Twinkle Dargani – executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. – at the resumption of its inquiry into the alleged anomalies in the multibillion-peso procurement of COVID-19 supplies by the Duterte administration. The Darganis appeared for the first time since their arrest last Nov. 14 as they were about to fly out...


Gov't revises target for National Vaccination Days, eyes 9M jabs instead of 15M

The National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the National Vaccination Operations Center on Friday said they have adjusted their target vaccination output for the three-day National Vaccination Days, eyeing nine million jabs instead of 15 million. This would mean a target of 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per day during the "Bayanihan Bakunahan" from November 29 to December 1. The NTF and the NVOC said they adjusted the target...


‘Preventing surge key to keeping economy open’

MANILA, Philippines — Preventing a surge in COVID cases is key to keeping the economy open, according to presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion. “If we want to keep the economy open, we need to take action and vaccinate all our employees and family members, and comply with health protocols and guidelines,” Concepcion said. “The private sector has been proactive ever since with calling of the lockdown and...


Transport, BPO, workers’ groups want IATF vax-for-work resolution junked

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCASTRANSPORT, business process outsourcing, and workers’ groups on Friday urged the government to junk resolutions requiring COVID-19 vaccinations to work and to have access to services, with plans to stage a rally at the labor department on Monday. The online petition against Resolutions 148-B and 149 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management […]