Keep Up With The Times | Nov. 23, 2020


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Good day, here are the stories of The Manila Times for Monday, November 23, 2020.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen threatened to sue Solicitor General Jose Calida for graft for seeking the former’s inhibition in the election protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos. According to a well-placed source in the high court, Leonen was incensed at Calida for siding with Marcos and dragging the Republic of the Philippines into the case. Marcos filed the protest before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, after losing the 2016 vice presidential election to Maria Leonor Robredo. The source said Leonen is pushing for the issuance of a show cause order against Calida and The Manila Times.

SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go opened the country’s 92nd Malasakit Center in Benguet as he reaffirmed his commitment to improve access to quality health care services. The senator attended the virtual launch of the newest Malasakit Center at the Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad, Benguet on November 20. It is the third Malasakit Center in the Cordillera Administrative Region and the second in the province, the other being at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Baguio City. In his speech, Go reaffirmed the commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte to advance the right of every Filipino to quality health services through universal health coverage. He also reiterated the President’s fight against corruption and the need to cleanse the ranks of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to improve its services.

Go Negosyo will host a series of online conferences this week to help entrepreneurs survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and promote the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Go Negosyo founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria Concepcion 3rd said the online conferences are part of the celebration of Go Negosyo’s 15th anniversary. Concepcion said the conferences, which would feature industry leaders and business executives, would be held from November 23 to 27.

Group of 20 (G20) nations emphasized the need for global access to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines at a Saudi-hosted virtual summit dominated by efforts to tackle the pandemic and the worst global recession in decades. World leaders, including United States President Donald Trump, who is refusing to concede a bitter election, popped up in multiple windows across a flickering screen, in a high-stakes webinar held amid the raging pandemic. The leaders are huddling online for the two-day gathering as international efforts intensify for a large-scale rollout of coronavirus vaccines after a breakthrough in trials, and as calls grow for G20 nations to plug a $4.5-billion funding shortfall.

THE Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has opened another molecular laboratory that could test for the coronavirus in Isabela. PRC Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said the 12th Red Cross-run molecular laboratory would serve Cagayan, which is still recovering from the aftermath of Typhoon “Ulysses,” along with nearby provinces Ifugao, Kalinga and Apayao.

The House of Representatives wants to increase next year’s calamity fund by at least P5 billion. Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the House would propose the increase during the bicameral conference on the proposed 2021 national budget. The House’s version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) was approved before Typhoons “Quinta,” “Rolly” and “Ulysses” struck the country.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Isidro Lapeña admitted that he tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Lapeña said he went through a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test on Friday as a requirement for his supposed flight bound for Mindanao on Sunday. The result was positive. He said he was fine and does not experience any symptoms.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang on Sunday apologized for the accident at the Skyway Extension project in Muntinlupa City that killed a motorist and injured several others. He pledged help to the victims and promised to have the accident fully investigated.

In business, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will benefit participating countries but the Philippines must temper its expectations as the country and other economies in Asean are already benefiting from existing free trade agreements (FTAs), analysts said.

Over to sports, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) reiterated that it would not stage any games until face-to-face classes resumed, its executive director Rebo Saguisag said in a radio interview. The UAAP last staged its games in the first quarter of this year, but eventually scrapped the remainder of Season 82 last April because of the pandemic. The UAAP and other collegiate leagues made no projection of return, as even face-to-face trainings are not allowed yet.

Rigoberto Tiglao and Fr. Ranhilio Aquino are the Times’ front page columnists. Tiglao shares that the biggest lesson of the coronavirus pandemic is that the State and its leadership matters a lot, while Fr. Aquino discusses the end of the Year of Ecumenism and Inter-Christian Dialogue.

Today’s Times editorial calls on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to study the science and math of the Covid-19 pandemic. 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 and EJ Gomez, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. Have a great week ahead and stay safe.


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