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Imee: Goodbye to 'Ayuda', PPE, Covid-19 vaccines

April 9, 2021

Senator Imee Marcos has castigated the Department of Agriculture (DA) for crippling the government’s ability to raise much needed revenue to cope with the double onslaught of African Swine Fever (ASF) and Covid-19. Marcos accused the DA of giving President Duterte “questionable advice” that led to his signing Executive Order (EO) 128 on Wednesday, which increases pork import volumes and lowers tariffs at the same time, in a bid to reverse a supply shortage caused by ASF. “Akala ko ba naghahanap tayo ng pera? (Aren’t we looking for more funding?) Where is the much touted whole-of-government approach?” Marcos asked. “We just threw away Php11.5 billion of ‘ayuda,’ vaccines, PPEs (personal protective equipment) and ditched local hog raisers, all in one fell swoop,” Marcos said of what would be lost from lowering pork tariffs. “The DA has assured pork importers of scandalous profits but has left the local hog raisers it is supposed to protect with a very sketchy plan? The Php1.5 billion that the DA allotted to the livestock industry in its 2021 budget is measly, token support, knowing ASF has been around since 2019,” Marcos added. EO 128 supports a recommendation recently transmitted by the executive department to Congress to raise the minimum access volume (MAV) of pork imports by 350,000 metric tons (MT), or about 6.5 times its present limit of 54,210 MT, to total 404,210 MT. Tariffs on imports within and outside the MAV are to be reduced from 30% to 5% and 40% to 10%, respectively, within the first three months after the EO takes effect, then raised by 5% each for the next nine months. Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said that EO 128 will “surrender the country’s food security to foreign producers and exporters while forcing local hog raisers to sell at a loss.” “Increasing pork imports and reducing tariffs may give near-term relief for consumers but will deal a double whammy on our very own hog raisers, with long-term effects,” Marcos said. “Clearly, the main beneficiaries of the EO are foreign producers, foreign exporters, local pork importers, and perhaps corrupt government officials selling import licenses,” Marcos also said. “The competitive advantage given to pork importers will be insurmountable and will discourage the recovery of local hog raisers. Majority of them are backyard raisers who may just decide to shut down business rather than be forced to sell at a measly profit, if not at a loss,” Marcos explained. An April 1 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations stated that African Swine Fever has already affected Filipino hog raisers in 12 regions, 40 provinces, 466 cities and municipalities, and 2,425 communities. The government has not yet declared a state of calamity due to ASF, delaying the release of more relief funds for the local hog industry. “Local hog raisers cannot lower prices of hogs delivered from the provinces to Metro Manila when they have not even received transport subsidies as promised by the DA in February,” Marcos pointed out. Wet market prices in Metro Manila have shot past price ceilings of Php270 for pork shoulder (kasim) and Php300 for pork belly (liempo), reaching Php370 to Php406 pesos, respectively, according to surveys conducted by Marcos’s office. Marcos cited that the government recently gave pork importers a wider margin of profit by raising the suggested retail price (SRP) of imported pork to Php350. “Why is the DA favoring importers? Local hog raisers have been asking for an SRP of Php339 to Php360 two months ago,” Marcos pointed out.

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Stop Selective Ban On Vaccine Purchases - Imee

March 22, 2021

Entire industries are being blocked by the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force (NTF) from procuring Covid-19 vaccines, Senator Imee Marcos revealed Saturday. Marcos got hold of a draft administrative order, about to be passed on for President Duterte’s signature, that will prevent the country’s largest manufacturers of tobacco, milk, sugar, soda, and alcohol, as well as multinational firms based in the Philippines from assisting the government’s national vaccination program. “That means the entire San Miguel group, the whole Lucio Tan group, Puregold, Nestle, Destileria Limtuaco, all soft drinks producers, Tanduay, Ginebra, White Castle, et cetera,” Marcos pointed out. “Kapag di makabili ng mga bakuna itong mga malahiganteng kumpanyang ito, na 50 percent ido-donate sa publiko dahil walang pera ang gubyerno, paano pa tayo makakadagdag ng bakuna?,” Marcos added. (If these giant companies cannot buy vaccines, 50% of which will be donated to the public because the government lacks funding, how else will we acquire more vaccines?)  Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, explained that the administrative order will not only slow down the vaccination of the targeted 70% of Filipinos to achieve herd immunity this year but also diminish the government’s ability to generate much needed revenue to fund its national vaccination program. “We are about to see a total wipeout of the 50-percent donation of vaccines by these large companies, donations which are stipulated in each tripartite agreement among private entities, vaccine manufacturers and the government,” Marcos said. “These companies are the biggest contributors to the government coffers through excise taxes. How ironic that this administrative order was conceived amid a shocking spike in Covid-19 cases and just weeks away from the tax payment deadline in April,” Marcos added. Section 5 of the administrative order states that the NTF and the DOH shall review all requests of private entities to procure vaccines “to ensure that private entities who will be part of the agreement are not in any way related to the tobacco industry, products covered under EO 51 series of 1986 or the “National Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, Breastmilk Supplement and Other Related Products” or other products in conflict with public health.” Marcos cited Binondo-based Chinese newspapers reporting that NTF chief Carlito Galvez Jr. disapproved the vaccine importation requests of members of the three largest Filipino-Chinese chambers of commerce.  The reports echoed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s lament via Twitter that the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FCCCII) was being blocked from importing 500,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac after a deal had already been signed.  “The administrative order totally contradicts the “shared responsibility” and collaboration the government has sought from the private sector and other organizations through its Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for Covid-19,” Marcos said.

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Killer virus covid-19 killsĀ  2.6 million people worldwide

March 17, 2021

THE KILLER VIRUS Covid-19 has claimed 2,662,995 deaths around the world, according to a report released online by Johns Hopkins University. It also revealed that more deaths were recorded from the United States, numbering about 535,657 lives and counting. There were also 120,338,070 total number of persons who were confirmed positive from the corona virus disease which originated from Wuhan, China last December 2019. Of those total number of positive cases, based on Johns Hopkins University record, 29,496,141 were from the United States.   Although the total number of positive cases in the United States has already dropped and the new administration of President Joe Biden has made pronouncements, more funds will be alloted by his government to fight against the onlaught of the 'killer virus,' since it wrecked havoc in December 2019. NEW CASES AS of March 16, 2021, JHU reports the rising number of covid cases in the U.S. as well as in other countries of the world brought about by the newly reported covid-19 mutation. In the U.S. alone, a total of 56,649 new cases have been recorded with 740 deaths. Based on the report gathered by MDNN Research Team, new cases in America were recorded in New York, 7,119; Alabama,4,556; Texas, 4,352; Michigan, 3,328; and North Carolina, 3,503. In some countries, the rise of new positive cases as of March 16 is also recorded : Brazil, 36,239; India, 24,492; Turkey, 15,503; Italy, 15,252; Czechia, 3,342; Poland, 10,895; Russia, 9,347; Germany, 6,543; Iran, 7,980; Ukraine, 6,882; Hungary, 7,706; Jordan, 9,417; Argentina, 6,164; Peru, 4,443; United Kingdom, 5,130; Netherlands, 5,526; Indonesia, 5,589 and Mexico 1,439 new positive cases.       

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Euro countries suspend use of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine

March 17, 2021

Some European countries have decided to temporarily suspend the use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after some residents injected with the said covid-19 vaccine experienced blood clots and other side effects which alarm leaders and health experts. The European countries, reports said, have temporarily suspended using AstraZeneca for fear that it might give more problems in the coming days, as some recipients allegedly complain of notable side effects.   The decision of these countries, mostly from Europe, came despite assurances made by the British-Swedish multinational, EU regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as well as from the World Health Organization . SAFE MEASURES Some of the countries in Europe has stopped administering the vaccine, pending investigation from authorities. Denmark was the first country to openly announced stoppage of administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, pending investigations by the proper health authorities. Officials in Denmark were worried that a 60-year-old woman has died of blood clot several hours after receiving the vaccine. The decision of Denmark Officials was also followed by Norway, Ireland, Iceland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Latvia and Sweden are the newest to suspend administering of the vaccines. Officials of these countries claimed reports of serious side effects like low blood and low platelet count, bleeding, among others.  

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Internet Access Might Join Utilities with Lifeline Rates

March 16, 2021

The application of lifeline rates that offer discounts to water and electricity consumers could be expanded to internet access in the future. As the bicameral conference committee on energy moved Tuesday to extend by 30 years the lifeline rate for electricity to 2051, Senator Imee Marcos said it was just as important to establish a lifeline rate for internet access which should be considered a “primary right.” “Filipinos need to cope not only with the Covid-19 pandemic but also with the many demands of the 21st century. The needs as well as the aspirations of the nation call for a lifeline rate for internet access,” Marcos asserted. “So much lip service has been paid to free internet in public places, but meager budgetary support, poor planning, and failed linkages with private telcos condemn us to scant internet access,” Marcos lamented, citing the slow implementation of Republic Act 10929, also known as the Free Internet in Public Places Act. Marcos has proposed to set a “socialized pricing mechanism” through a broadband and data lifeline rate via Senate Bill 2102, amending the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines. The lifeline rate for internet access will give household beneficiaries and marginalized end-users discounts based on consumption thresholds not lower than one gigabyte (1GB) per month, according to the Marcos bill. Household beneficiaries are to be determined by the guidelines of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), while marginalized end-users will be identified through criteria set by the National Telecommunications Commission and certified by public telecommunications entities. “Between poor connectivity and growing poverty numbers, more and more Filipinos are  excluded from the Information Age, limited as they are to occasional mobile promos like Free Facebook and other platform-based access,” Marcos explained. “Filipinos deserve inexpensive, reliable and comprehensive internet access,” Marcos added. The Philippines ranked 29th among 34 nations, in terms of internet access, according to Pew Research Center’s April 2020 survey. As for internet affordability, the country ranked 82nd out of 85 nations in the Digital Quality of Life Index 2020.

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MDNN Digital Network releases station ID for 2021

March 13, 2021

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - There's no stopping to the continued innovations and technology updates implemented by Mindanao Daily Publishing Corporation President and Publisher Dante M. Sudaria, as part of the company's massive growth to immerse itself to the 21st century's emerging technology and the worldwide web. After the successful launch of its digital network MDNN teleradyo, the Sudaria Group of Companies also released its first station ID for Year 2021. The station ID was first introduced during the grand launch of MDNN teleradyo. "Kailangan pud nato ang station ID kay kini makatabang kaayo sa atong promotion sa airwaves ug apil na usab sa internet. Name recall lang ang kailangan para mahibaw-an sa katawhan ug ilabina sa atong loyal supporters and patrons nga ania ang atong presensya," the MDNN founder and president said. He said it will be the first station ID all over Mindanao and maybe in the Visayas Region. Sukad masukad wala paman kita makadungog nga ang usaka teleradyo adunay station ID. We are the first in Mindanao so we are proud of this development. We are now going global so we need to innovate and use the latest technology not to be left behind."  The first ever station ID was made possible by WCKDS AND KELS and it was also filmed by NOSTALGIA DIGITAL FILM. "We are hoping that Mindanao-nons will like this station ID and be proud of what we have in Mindanao. We have vast cultures and traditions we can be proud of and we also have the best delicacies undiscovered by many people outside of Mindanao. In fact, we have a lot to offer to all tourists and travellers all over the globe," Sudaria pointed out.  

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