OMB files complaints vs. alleged online ‘pirates’ of MMFF 2020 films

The Optical Media Board filed criminal complaints before the Department of Justice against 15 suspects allegedly involved in the online piracy of 2020 Metro Manila Film Fest movies. OMB Chief Legal Counsel Attorney Cyrus Valenzuela said, “The pieces of evidence that we gathered against them [were their social media posts and videos where they actually offered the movies for sale.]” …

Duterte extends validity of Bayanihan 2, 2020 budget

President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the validity of the appropriations under the country’s 2020 national budget and the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or “Bayanihan 2.” President Duterte signed Republic Act number 11519 last December 29, which allows appropriations under the Bayanihan 2 available for release, obligation and disbursement until June 30 this year. The President also signed Republic …

Expert says new COVID-19 variant may spike PH cases by 15-fold

If the new COVID-19 variant takes over the Philippines’ coronavirus cases, the country needs to prepare its healthcare system. An expert studying the coronavirus outbreak in the country warned the new variant of COVID-19 – believed to be more contagious than the old variant – might increase the cases in the Philippines by 15-fold. Dr. John Wong of the health …

NBI ordered to probe reported sale of sensual photos, videos of students

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the reported sale of sensual photos and videos by students struggling with distance learning requirements amid COVID-19. In a department order, Guevarra tasked the NBI with investigating the “alleged proliferation of trafficking in persons and online sexual exploitation of children, particularly the reported sale and offering for sale …

Ayala to buy 450,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, give half to gov’t

Ayala Corporation president Fernando Zobel said the conglomerate has decided to order 450,000 doses of vaccines from United Kingdom-based manufacturer AstraZeneca as part of the private sector’s contribution to the national vaccination program. At a Malacañang press briefing, Zobel said the vaccines worth 120 million pesos will be split between the government and the private sector. He said, “Government in …

Taguig LGU allots P1 billion for COVID vaccination

Taguig City allocated one billion pesos for COVID-19 vaccination of its residents. It announced the Department of Budget and Management approved its 13.5-billion-peso budget last December 23, which will include the city’s pandemic recovery plan with massive testing, treatment and vaccination this 2021. Mayor Lino Cayetano said all Taguig residents would be vaccinated for free. He added the city government …

Red Cross: Saliva COVID-19 test has 99% success rate in US

The cheaper, saliva-based test for COVID-19 has garnered a 99% detection rate in the US, the Philippine Red Cross disclosed. Former Health Secretary and now head of the Philippine Red Cross’ biomolecular laboratories Paulyn Ubial said that the PRC is still waiting on the approval of the Department of Health Technology Assessment Council. To recall, the saliva test recommendation had …

Manila mayor says no to 2022 presidential race

City of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said he has no plans to run for president in 2022. While he is grateful to be included in Pulse Asia survey’s list of preferred 2022 presidential bets, Domagoso said he intends to focus on addressing the pandemic in the City of Manila. He added, “[To those who responded], thank you very …

PhilHealth owes the Red Cross money yet again

Philippine Red Cross chairman Senator Richard Gordon disclosed that the embattled PhilHealth once again owed the PRC over 800 million pesos for COVID-19 testing services. The PRC had already once suspended its free coronavirus testing in October due to the state health insurer’s outstanding 930-million-peso debt at the time. Gordon said, “As much as possible, I don’t want to talk …