Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Friday, February 26, 2021.
Barring last-minute hitches, the government’s mass inoculation for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) gets going on Monday. The rollout hinges on the arrival of vaccine doses from Sinovac Biotech on Sunday. In a press briefing on Thursday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. confirmed the arrival of Sinovac’s CoronaVac on Sunday. Government officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte will personally welcome the arrival of vaccine shipment, said Roque. Medical frontliners will get priority for the vaccine, he said. Roque said earlier economic frontliners and soldiers were likely to be inoculated first, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the vaccine might not the best for medical frontliners. On Thursday, however, he said medical workers from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) would receive the first doses. Of the 600,000 CoronaVac doses, 500,000 will be reserved for 250,000 medical frontliners. Each will receive two doses. Roque clarified that medical frontliners will not be forced to get inoculated, and they can choose the vaccine they prefer. The remaining 100,000 doses will go to 50,000 soldiers.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will jointly investigate the shootout on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City Wednesday night between police and anti-narcotics agents that killed four people. The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said on Thursday “a joint PNP-PDEA board of inquiry will be formed to determine what transpired and who should be held liable.” President Rodrigo Duterte called for impartial investigation, and several lawmakers proposed a legislative inquiry.
A short and simple ceremony marked the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution on Thursday. Quezon City Mayor Ma. Josefina Belmonte led the flag raising and wreath laying at the People Power Monument on EDSA. The rites had the theme, “EDSA 2021: Kapayapaan, Paghilom, Pagbangon.” A Mass followed at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, also known as EDSA Shrine, which, like the ceremony at the People Power Monument, was broadcast online. The crowd that attended the observance of the popular uprising that ousted the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 was far smaller than in previous years, as quarantine restrictions discouraged the holding of large gatherings. No roads were closed for the event, but the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority assigned a zipper lane in front of Camp Aguinaldo’s Gate 5 for vehicles passing on EDSA.
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing the creation of a team to monitor government officials, particularly law enforcement officers, who were dismissed due to their involvement in illegal drugs, corruption and bribery activities. In his weekly public address aired over state-run PTV-4 on Wednesday night, Duterte said he would ask the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to keep an eye on dismissed officials, as he was sure that they would continue engaging in “nefarious activities.”
A tightly contested vote is again expected when the Supreme Court deliberates on the controversial case between the Enrique Razon-led More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE) and the Panay Electric Co. (PECO) owned by the Cacho and Lopez family on March 2. MORE Power’s franchise was signed into law, Republic Act (RA) 11212, on Feb 14, 2020, which PECO subsequently questioned before the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court (RTC). In September last year, the Supreme Court ruled 8-6 in favor of MORE on the matter of the latter’s congressional franchise.
BUSINESS: BoP posts $752-M shortfall in Jan
In business, the country’s balance of payments (BoP) position reverted to deficit at the start of the year as the national government pays its foreign obligations, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Central bank data released on Wednesday showed a BoP gap of $752 million in January, an turnaround of the $4.23 billion last December 2020 but lower than the $1.35 billion a year ago.
Topping sports, the Philippine Superliga (PSL) 2021 Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup begins today, February 26, in a bubble setup at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Subic. All eight participating teams hit the sands today as they start their campaign in the pool play of this three-day competition that will end on Sunday.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Rigoberto Tiglao and Ruben Torres are today’s front page columnists. Tiglao asks if the EDSA People Power Revolution was really people power, while Torres discusses the battle for a new wage floor.
Today’s editorial talks about the legacy of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. Read the full version on the paper’s Opinion Section or listen to the Voice of The Times.
READ: Economic forum prep
Financial experts will take a hard look at the prospects for the country’s economic recovery this year during The Manila Times Economic Forum 2021 today, February 26. The forum, “Rising from the ashes: From pan-Asian to pan-Global,” will discuss measures lined up by the public and private sectors to ensure economic recovery. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno, and Asia Pacific Credit Suisse’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director Jose Isidro Camacho will the guest speakers. Eduardo Francisco, president of BDO Capital and Investment Corp., will be the reactor. Broadcast live on The Manila Times Facebook page and YouTube channel from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, the forum will be moderated by Times President and Chief Executive Officer Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd and business columnist Ben Kritz. See you there!
With Dafort Villaseran, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. May you have a safe day ahead.