Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Monday, April 19, 2021.
MORE than 600 new cases of Covid-19 variants were detected in the country, the biggest rise since the country started genomic sequencing for the virus, the Department of Health (DoH) said on Sunday. Of the 752 sequenced Covid samples, 642 are variants, according to the Philippine Genome Center’s (PGC)’s latest sequencing. The PGC said it found 266 samples of the United Kingdom variant (B117); 351 of the South African variant (B1.351); and 25 of the P3, the variant first found in the Philippines. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire attributed the uptick in variant cases to the fact most of the samples were from Metro Manila and the Southern Tagalog region, where variants of concern (VoC) have long been detected.
The global Covid-19 death toll passed three million on Saturday as the pandemic speeds up despite vaccination campaigns, leading countries like India to impose new lockdowns to fight spiraling infection numbers. It is the latest grim milestone since the novel coronavirus first surfaced in central China in December 2019 and went on to infect more than 139 million people, leaving billions more under crippling lockdowns and ravaging the global economy.
SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go lauded the second batch of medical frontliners from the Visayas who volunteered to work in hospitals and health care facilities in the National Capital Region (NCR). They heeded the senator’s appeal to volunteer in Metro Manila amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the region.
The Quezon city government has opened an online platform wherein residents can book an appointment for free Covid-19 testing. Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte said through the platform, residents can report to the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) if they are close contacts of Covid-19 positive patients or if they are experiencing any symptoms.
Malacañang said the emergence of community pantries exemplifies the Filipino bayanihan spirit during trying times. In a statement on Saturday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the initiatives of Filipinos to help their countrymen amid the Covid-19 pandemic is laudable. The first community pantry was put up by 26-year-old Ana Patricia Non on Maginhawa Street in Diliman, Quezon City. Other community pantries have since sprung up in the cities of Caloocan and Marikina, the provinces of Laguna, Bulacan and Pampanga and Mindoro Occidental.
THE Department of Labor and Employment on Sunday announced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in South Korea who are under the employment permit system (EPS) and whose contract term expires this year have been given a one-year extension. Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd said Labor Attaché Maya Valderrama of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office informed him on the relevant amendment to the Act on Employment of Foreign Workers, which extends the stay of foreign workers in Korea because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Labor chief lauded the move of the government of South Korea.
READ: Women more inclined to work online — study
A STUDY conducted by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed that women are more likely to embrace online work due to the flexibility it provides. PIDS senior research fellow Connie Bayudan-Dacuycuy and research analyst Lora Kryz Baje in their published report said platform work has the “potential to help women reconcile the age-old conflict between unpaid work and market work” and can help achieve the sustainable development goal targets on women empowerment and gender equality.
BUSINESS: Govt debt payments plunge in February
In business, smaller amortization expenses dragged the national government’s debt servicing in February by more than 76 percent compared to the payments done a year ago, data released by the Bureau of the Treasury showed. Debt payments in February settled at P33.29 billion, shrinking by 76.97 percent from the P144.63 billion posted a year before.
Topping sports, Filipino golfer Yuka Saso settled for a joint sixth place finish in the Lotte Championship on Sunday (Philippine time) at the Kapolei Golf Club in Oahu, Hawaii. The 19-year-old Saso scored two-under par 70 in the final round to finish the tournament with 19-under par 269, as she shared the sixth spot with South Korean Jenny Shin, Taiwanese Wei Ling Hsu, and American Sarah Schemelzel. Playing in her third Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) event on sponsor’s exemption, Saso started to gain momentum with a three-under par through 12 holes, but incurred a double bogey on 13.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Rigoberto Tiglao and Fr. Ranhilio Aquino are today’s front page columnists. Tiglao celebrates his Covid-19 vaccination, while Fr. Aquino discusses the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Today’s editorial believes Covid-19 vaccines have more benefits than risks. Read a full version on the paper’s opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.
With Dafort Villaseran, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. May you have a safe week ahead.