Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Saturday, May 1, 2021.
Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd is proposing the vaccination for Covid-19 of at least 80 percent of the country’s workers as a way of speeding up the recovery of the battered economy. Speaking during the virtual vaccine summit organized by the International Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and International Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Concepcion said inoculating employees would have a greater multiplier effect because it would enable more businesses to resume operations. He said once 80 percent of employees are vaccinated, “we have a great chance of winning this battle against Covid-19, then we can open up the economy in the fourth quarter.” Concepcion, who is also the founder of Go Negosyo, said workers must be jabbed during the second and third quarters of 2021 to enable micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to bounce back beginning in the fourth quarter.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed limited indoor dining, barbershops, beauty parlors and similar establishments to partly open in Metro Manila and other areas placed in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). Restaurants, eateries, commissaries and other food preparation establishments can accept dine-in customers as long as they do not exceed 10 percent of seating capacity, IATF-EID and Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said on Friday. Barbershops, parlors, nail spas and other personal care shops can operate at 30-percent capacity, but they will be limited to providing services that can accommodate the wearing of face masks at all times by clients and service providers, Roque said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd said on Friday the number of available jobs reached 52,461 on the eve of the Labor Day celebration. Bello said 44,724 were local jobs while the rest were overseas placements. Among the top local vacancies are customer service representatives, production operators, factory workers, police officers, contact tracers, sewers, masons, carpenters and re-barmen. The leading recruiting industries are business process outsourcing, manufacturing, government, textile and construction. The participating government agencies are National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), Philippine Regulation Commission, DoLE-NCR (contact tracers), Bureau of Fire Protection and Department of Health-NCR. Overseas jobs with the biggest demand are nurses, factory workers, mechanics, nursing aides/health care assistants and cleaners. The top overseas destinations are Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Qatar.
The Pinoy pop (P-pop) boy band SB19 has been nominated in the 2021 Billboard Music Awards (BBMA), the first Filipino group and Southeast Asian act to earn a nomination in the prestigious music competition. The group made it to the Top Social Artist category, which was launched in 2011. The homegrown act — consisting of Pablo (formerly known as Sejun), Josh, Justin, Ken and Stell — will be going up against global superstars Ariana Grande and K-Pop groups BTS, Blackpink and Seventeen for the title.
Malacañang on Friday said the Philippines would not give up an inch of its territory to China, clarifying that President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he was indebted to China because of its vaccine donations does not mean the country is surrendering its West Philippine Sea (WPS) claim to the Asian superpower. However, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said it was true that the Philippines owe a debt of gratitude to China for its donation of 1 million doses of Sinovac. China had completed the delivery of the 1 million doses of CoronaVac, manufactured by Sinovac Biotech, it donated to the Philippines. The Chinese government has so far delivered 2.5 million doses of the total 25 million doses of CoronaVac that the Philippines procured.
THE Department of Health (DoH) has signed a manifesto with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) supporting measures to end corrupt practices in government. PACC Chairman Greco Antonious Belgica said the Health department’s participation in the “Project Tokhang: Laban sa Korapsyon” campaign is a solid testimony in ending the corrupt practices in the department as well as its attached agencies such as the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
THE government has distributed P16.29 billion in financial assistance to residents in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in four nearby provinces affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Friday. Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in a press statement, said of the amount, 75.28 percent or P8.41 billion was distributed in Metro Manila and the rest was given to Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna — the so-called NCR Plus. An update of the distribution of the cash aid comes as the affected local government units (LGUs) have until May 15 to complete their distribution to the affected residents. Año said that from April 6 to 29, 2021, a total of 8.4 million actual beneficiaries in the NCR have received cash assistance with Caloocan City having the most number of recipients at 96.31 percent or equivalent to P1.29 billion in funds released.
BUSINESS: BSP expects higher April inflation
Over to business, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the country’s headline inflation rate last month likely remained at its fastest in over two years. Central bank governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement the BSP projects April 2021 inflation to settle within the range of 4.2-5.0 percent. Last March, consumer price growth softened to 5.4 percent. A year ago, it was at 2.2 percent. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will release official April inflation data next week.
In sports, Filipino tennis wunderkind Alex Eala withdrew her participation in the W15 Antalya tournament in Turkey due to the Covid-19 situation in the country. As of Friday, Turkey has over 4.7 million Covid-19 cases, more than 490,000 of which are active ones. Eala said her next tournament will be W25 in Platja D’Aro, Spain on May 17.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Yen Makabenta and Ramon Tulfo are today’s front page columnists. Makabenta, citing a report from the Atlantic magazine, believes science is working on a universal vaccine to beat Covid-19 “once and for all”, while Tulfo discusses a “joker” in the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Today’s editorial discusses the government’s spins on the latest global Covid-19 data. 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 Labor Day weekend.