2GO waives P35-M rental fee for quarantine ships

Maris Federez   •   April 23, 2020   •   701

MANILA, Philippines — Business tycoon Dennis Uy has clarified that the use of the shipping and logistics company 2Go’s vessels was offered to the government as a donation to be used as COVID-19 quarantine facilities for the repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

In a statement, Uy said he consulted with the company’s shareholders and they have decided to waive the rental.

“As Chairman of 2GO, I have conferred with other shareholders and have given explicit instructions to waive the PhP35M expected payment from the government,” Uy said.

He added that it was the Department of Transportation (DOTr) who offered to pay them P35-million as a lease on the two vessels but the company has no intention of accepting such payment.

DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade, on Wednesday (April 22), said that the contracted rental fee for the two-month use of the two vessels is P35-million.

“Ito nirerentahan ng gobyerno yung dalawa ng 35 million mura naman yan at nagamit if you will compute it on the basis of bed space and use,” Tugade said.

This roused the ire of netizens for the seemingly unjust charges that the company imposed on the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uy, in turn, apologized for the apparent misunderstanding and immediately clarified the matter further.

“Again, I apologize if this news has unduly offended some of our fellow Filipinos. So let me be clear. 2GO is providing two vessels to serve as quarantine facilities free of charge to the Filipino people,” Uy said.

“The PhP35 million was an offer made by the DOTr, for which we had no plans of accepting,” he added.

Meanwile, DOTr Asec. Goddes Hope Libiran said the P35-million rental was initially agreed upon in a negotiation of the agency with the shipping company. Uy, however, was not part of the 2Go team that they entered the contract with.

“There was a negotiation. To be clear, Mr. Uy was never part of any of the discussion. No actual payment of rent has been made by the government to 2GO Group Inc, as it was Sec. Tugade’s intention to talk with the principal of 2GO to ask for concessions,” Libiran said.

Libiran was also quick to clarify that up to this date, no payment has been settled yet with the company.

“Until that happens, and up to now, no payment has been made,” she said.

The business tycoon’s statement, on the other hand, further said that the actual operating cost for the two ships is at P260-million which the company decided to waive as their goal was to be of help to the government by way of rendering their services as a donation.

“To set the record the straight actual cost to operate the 2 vessels as quarantine facilities is at PHP260M. But this was intended to be a donation. The PHP35M was an offer made by the DOTr for which we had no plans of accepting,” the 2Go chairman reiterated.

Uy added that he believes this is the right moment for the government and the private sector to work hand-in-hand and sacrifice for the welfare of the Filipinos. —(from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

DILG tells LGUs to start planning for local recovery even if COVID-19 crisis is not yet over

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday urged local government units (LGU) to start planning and budgeting for local recovery and rehabilitation even if the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is not yet over.

In a statement, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the DILG, with technical support of the World Bank, has developed the “Ready to Recover (We Rise as One) COVID-19 Local Recovery Planning Guide” to help the LGUs prepare and recover from the current public health crisis.

“We need to recover now kahit ‘di pa tapos ang COVID-19 crisis kasi mas lalala ang epekto nito sa ekonomiya at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan,” Malaya said.

“The DILG is collaborating with other national government agencies in the Interagency Task Force (IATF) to help LGUs prepare their recovery strategies and programs. The goal is to build back better,” he added.

Malaya said that with vast parts of the country now classified as low-risk, most of the country can now begin recovery efforts on the local level to protect jobs and stimulate economic activity. 

“With private consumption and investment still down, it is now up to the national and local governments to drive consumption and investment with government spending and policies that support the growth and recovery of local businesses,” he said.

The DILG spokesman said that the planning guide will simplify the recovery and rehabilitation planning to give LGUs flexibility in interventions as it has provided sample frameworks, templates, and suggested programs, projects, and activities.

“It will guide LGUs on the coordination of recovery efforts of national, regional, and local governments including the roles, responsibilities, and institutional structures,” he said.

Malaya also stated that LGUs need not create a new local body to do the local recovery planning and budgeting as this can be done through the creation of an economic cluster within the existing Local COVID-19 Task Force headed by a mayor or governor.

In financing the local recovery from the pandemic, Malaya said that the DILG has identified at least indicative fund source options based on existing government guidelines that can be tapped by LGUs to help address the challenges of fund availability.

He said these options include national government programs and financing assistance programs of select government financial institutions (GFIs) and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).

Other possible sources are the Local Government Support Fund – Financial Assistance to LGUs (LGSF – FA), LGSF –Assistance to Municipalities, Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) Incentive Fund, Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP), Regular Agency Budget, and the 20% Development Fund (DF), he noted.

“Hindi kayo basta iiwan na lang ng nasyunal na gobyerno. We will monitor your local recovery programs and projects and assess your progress to ensure you stay on track and achieve your intended results,” Malaya said.

OFW in Beirut calls for gov’t help after massive blast; 2 Filipinos reported dead

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Traumatized by the recent twin explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Glenda Viloria Padilla is calling on the Philippine government for help as she wants to return to her hometown as soon as possible. 

Padilla was able to capture through video recording the impact of the said explosion. 

“Sobrang lakas po halos lahat ng buong Beirut po yata nawasak (The explosion was so massive it practically tore down the entire Beirut),” Padilla said who is a native of La Union.

“Sa pangyayari po gusto na po naming umuwi kasi hindi na safe kasi mahirap na po (after what happened, we really want to leave and return home because it’s not safe here anymore),” she added.

She also shared some images of the damage the blast caused to her employer’s home.

Reports said two Filipinos died from the incident and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is closely coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in Beirut for updates.

The Embassy earlier issued an advisory calling affected Filipinos in the area to reach out to Embassy officials for assistance. MNP (with inputs from Toto Fabros)

#PAKIUSAPTumawag lamang sa mga sumusunod na numero

Posted by Philippine Embassy in Lebanon on Tuesday, 4 August 2020
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Solon proposes conversion of classrooms into quarantine facilities

Marje Pelayo   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Marikina lone district Representative Bayani Fernando proposes turning school classrooms into quarantine facilities for asymptomatic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients. 

By doing so, Fernando believes, the spread of COVID-19 will be contained rather than let the positive patient stay at home where the risk of infecting other members of the family is high.

Fernando proposes one classroom, one asymptomatic patient. 

“I am proposing that asymptomatic individuals be quarantined in classrooms and the ratio would be 1:1 or one classroom, one COVID-19 positive person. In this way, we can prevent further transmission,” Fernando said in a statement.

“We have around one million classrooms across the country and these are located in the communities. I believe that most of our classrooms are equipped with electric fans especially in cities where COVID is prevalent,” he added.

The lawmaker said teachers can be the one in charge of food preparation for those in quarantine.

Meanwhile, the families can still visit but with necessary transmission barriers in place.

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