Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Monday, February 22, 2021.
THE Department of Health (DoH) on Sunday reported 18 new cases of the United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Three new cases of “mutations of concern” were also detected in Central Visayas, the DoH said. The caseload for the UK variant, known as B117, stood at 62, while the cases of N501Y and E484K mutations reached 34. Health experts consider the B117 the more contagious variant of Covid-19. Notably, the N501Y mutation was also found in B117, while E484K was detected in the South African variant. The 13 new B117 cases were returning Filipinos, who had been listed as recovered after arriving between January 3 and 27. Three are from the Cordillera Administrative Region, and have since recovered, the Health department said.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen was reportedly in hysterics as he allegedly railroaded the election protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., which resulted in the dismissal of the case against Vice President Leonor Robredo. A highly reliable source inside the court recounted to The Manila Times how Leonen was shouting at the point of tears while pressing his fellow magistrates to accept his draft decision on the case that ruled for a dismissal.
A campaign management consultancy firm named Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go as among top influencers on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) education drive. The senator was one of the most influential voices during the pandemic, according to a study recently published by BluePrint.PH, which culled the opinions of the Filipino online community on Covid-19 education. The study, titled “Filipino sentiment analysis on education: Facebook scan on Covid-19 from March 15, 2020 to January 31, 2021,” based its findings on data extracted from from 80 million accounts. Go gained the highest engagements for his published positions on the need to adapt to the “new normal” and his push for e-governance to cut corruption and red tape; the postponement of the resumption of face-to-face classes; and his various accomplishments as a senator and his legislative agenda designed to make government more responsive, efficient and compassionate to the needs of the people.
Russia in Saturday said its scientists had detected the world’s first case of transmission of the H5N8 strain of avian flu from birds to humans and had alerted the World Health Organization (WHO). In televised remarks, the head of Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said scientists at the Vektor laboratory had isolated the strain’s genetic material from seven workers at a poultry farm in southern Russia, where an outbreak was recorded among the birds in December. The workers did not suffer any serious health consequences, she added. They are believed to have caught the virus from poultry on the farm.
SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has reiterated the need to allow the rollout of coronavirus vaccines before further easing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and the rest of the country. Go made the suggestion amid proposals to shift Metro Manila from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified GCQ (MGCQ) beginning March 1.
He stood firm on his position not to relax restrictions without mass vaccination.
The Philippines’ second nanosatellite, Maya-2, was launched into space on Sunday, the Department of Science and Technology said on Sunday. Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the Maya-2 CubeSat (cube satellite) was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) along with Paraguay’s GuaraniSat-1 CubeSat and Japan’s Tsuru CubeSat for the BIRDS 4 Satellite Project – KyuTech aboard the Northrop Grumman CRS-15 mission.
Flooding caused by Tropical Storm “Auring” (international name: “Dujuan”) has forced the evacuation of 424 families consisting of 1,558 residents in Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental in southern Mindanao. The residents came from five municipalities and 13 barangay (villages) in the two provinces. A report from Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council 11 on February 20 said the evacuees were temporarily staying in 15 designated evacuation centers in six local government units.
BUSINESS: Widen amusement tax coverage, LGUs told
Over to business, local government units (LGUs) are urged to find and explore other means to increase their revenue sources such as the imposition of local amusement tax to continue providing services during the pandemic, the National Tax Research Center (NTRC) said. The think tank said Covid-19 had a large impact on the country’s economy especially on tax revenue.LGUs, which are leading the fight against the COVID-19, need a more stable source of revenue to finance their different programs and activities to provide services to their constituents especially during this time of pandemic.
In sports, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines President Ricky Vargas bared that Eumir Marcial eyes to rejoin the Philippine boxing team for its training camp in Thailand. The Tokyo Olympics bound Marcial has been training in the United States since October last year under the great Freddie Roach and MP Promotions. He won his first professional fight last December, beating Andrew Whitfield via unanimous decision.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Rigoberto Tiglao and Fr. Ranhilio Aquiino are today’s front page columnists. Tiglao calls on the junking of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the United States and the Philippines, while Fr. Aquino talks about the Filipinos’ “drawn-out” Lenten season.
Today’s editorial calls for a guard against complacency, but to choose normality and vitality in the search for the country’s Covid-19 vaccine. Read the 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.