Yesterday’s news, today’s headlines

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Bato confirms cancellation of US visa

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, has on Wednesday (22 January 2020) confirmed that his United States visa had been canceled. 

 De la Rosa, who was at the forefront of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs, said he was told to re-apply if he wants to secure a US visa again. 

“Yes. They officially answered my official query,” said Dela Rosa when questioned if he was able to confirm earlier reports about the revocation of his  US visa.

Dela Rosa said it was not clear when the US government cancelled his visa, which is largely considerred as an offshot of the US Senate’s current political pressure to have the Duterte administration release Senator Leila de Lima from custody.

Duque says PH is free from corona virus

MANILA, Philippines — Health Sec. Francisco Duque on Wednesday said the Philippines remains free from the 2019 novel corona virus, (2019-nCoV), the SARS-like virus.

During  the  “Kapihan sa Manila Bay” on Wednesday, Duque clarified there is yet no case of the 2019-nCoV in the country.

Presently, the  Department of Health (DOH) is investigating  a 5-year old Chinese boy on the possibility of being afflicted with 2019-nCoV.

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier said it is still “too early” to panic over this epidemic, even as the new virus has reportedly killed four people in China and made people sick in three other Asian countries- Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

Meanwhile, Duque also said evacuees of around 3,773 at evacuation centers are experiencing cases of common illnesses such as fever, cough and colds.

ACT solon files bill upgrading teachers’ salaries

MANILA, Philippines — Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro on Wednesday filed House Bill 5990 upgrading the minimum salaries of public school teachers to Salary Grade 15, teaching personnel in higher education to salary grade 16 and minimum salaries of non-teaching personnel to P16,000.

Castro also filed House Bill 5991 increasing the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) granted to government employees to P5,000 from P2,000.

Karapatan condemns closure of UCCP

MANILA, Philippines — Human rights group Karapatan on Wednesday condemned the resolution of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) of Region XI, recommending the closure of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) sanctuary for indigenous people in Davao City, calling it “an act of blatant harassment against the displaced Lumad and those who provide sanctuary and support for distressed communities.”

.5M rendered homeless by Taal eruption

MANILA, Philippines — About half a million people were made homeless by the Taal volcano eruption and will need immediate and long-term support as they face growing uncertainty over whether they will ever be able to return to their towns and villages, global organization Save the Children said in a statement on Wednesday.

As the volcano continues to erupt, Save the Children is warning of a prolonged crisis that could see hundreds of thousands of people unable to return to their homes for months and forced to live in evacuation centers or with friends and relatives.

Revilla pushes a measure banning bullying in workplaces

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla is pushing for an early passage of a measure prohibiting bullying in all establishments and offices, whether in government or in private.

Revilla filed Senate Bill 1217, to be known as as “Anti-Office Bullying Act of 2019,”  which seeks to require all government and non-government offices and establishments to adopt policies to prevent and address the acts of bullying in places of work.

The senator noted that while Congress has already banned bullying in schools, it has yet to enact a similar law covering private and government offices.

DICT gets P6.2 billion boost in its 2020 budget

MANILA, Philippines — To better equip the government for a world that is fast becoming more digital and interconnected, the budget of the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) was granted an increase of P6.2 billion under the 2020 General Appropriations Act, Senator Sonny Angara said on Wednesday.

From the P3.7 billion in the National Expenditure Program that was submitted by Malacañang to Congress last year, the DICT’s 2020 budget was hiked to close to P10 billion in the P4.1 trillion GAA.

Angara, the chairman of the Committee on Finance, noted how the budget of the DICT has been increasing over the years—from P2.9 billion in 2017, it increased to P4.7 billion in 2018 and to P6.2 billion in 2019.

Sen. Bong Go urges Angkas to toe the line

MANILA, Philippines — Despite persuading concerned government agencies and the technical working group (TWG) of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to extend the pilot testing program for motorcycle riding app Angkas, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reiterated in an interview that the company still needs to follow the law and comply with regulations, particularly on foreign ownership restrictions of the Constitution.

This comes after DOTr said that the ride-hailing firm is allegedly 99.9 percent owned by a Singaporean.

Angkas, on their part, has also announced that it has rectified this ownership issue.

Go   extends assistance to fire victims

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go recently extended  help to victims, where more than a hundred families lost their homes in a fire in Las Pinas City.

Go was at Almanza Uno, Las Piñas City to provide aid to 190 families affected by a fire that occurred on January 14.

While no casualties were reported, five individuals were injured as a result of the incident where around 80 houses were also affected by the fire.

‘Chinese desks’ not enough to curb crime surge – De Lima

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Leila  de Lima has expressed alarm over the growing trend of crimes involving Chinese nationals in the country which could worsen if authorities fail to step up their campaign against Chinese offenders.

De Lima said the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the leadership of new PNP Chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa should intensify its crackdown against Chinese criminals by running after possible presence of Chinese syndicates in the country.

Do not panic or share fake news on corona virus – Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines — Amidst reports that the new coronavirus may be present in the case of a 5-year-old boy from Wuhan, China who exhibited flu-like symptoms in Cebu City, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday reminded the public not to share unverified news so as not to sow panic.

“Health authorities are still verifying if this is the same as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” Hontiveros said in a statement.

The 2019-nCoV is a cousin of the SARS virus that has infected hundreds since the outbreak in Wuhan district in China in December last year.

Uneven relief distribution, sanitation issues hit

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva has called on the government on Wednesday to appoint a disaster czar who will oversee the relief efforts in Batangas for residents displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Villanueva broached the idea after reports showed that relief goods such as food and hygiene packs, among others, were unevenly distributed in various evacuation centers where thousands of displaced residents were taking shelter as the restive Taal volcano showed signs of erupting in early January.

Gatchalian cautions schools to observe precautionary measures amidst coronavirus scare

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Win Gatchalian urged  the Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday to put schools on alert and ensure that preventive measures are in place to protect students from a new coronavirus strain that has already struck 222 individuals across neighboring China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.

Gatchalian underscored the need for safety measures following an announcement by the Department of Health (DOH), which revealed a suspected case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in a five-year old boy who flew in from Wuhan, China to Cebu City.

The child is currently stable but has shown flu-like symptoms such as cough, throat irritation, and fever. The 2019-nCoV was first detected in Wuhan City on December 31, 2019 and it spreads from humans to humans. (Tracy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)

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