China’s 40% ownership of NGCP is legal – Law Expert

Marje Pelayo   •   November 15, 2019   •   332

MANILA, Philippines – Reports of China’s 40% ownership of the National Grid of the Philippines (NGCP) has been on the headlines recently as several senators claimed it would pose threats to national security.

But according to a legal expert, Atty. George Erwin Garcia, the Constitution actually allows foreign entities to have shares in government-owned corporations such as the NGCP.

“From the Constitutional point of view, everything is perfectly legal. So, there is nothing illegal,” Garcia, Dean of the College of Law in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, said.

“There is nothing unconstitutional (with the) 40% Chinese ownership of the National Grid Corporation,” he added.

Senators Ralph Recto and Francis Pangilinan recently raised concerns about possible Chinese manipulation in the Philippines’ power grid given the rights China has on its shares.

Under Article 12 of the 1987 Constitution, foreign ownership is allowed provided that 60% of the company’s shares are owned by a Filipino.

Garcia noted, however, that when it comes to security, the NGCP has to make sure that China has no control of the operations and administrations of their facility.

Read: China’s 40% ownership of NGCP, not threat to national security – PNP

The law also dictates that the foreign investor only has limited rights on the company and the state, which is the Philippine government, still has the full authority of the facility’s full operation.

“Dapat siguraduhin nila, 60-40 ang arrangement (They have to make sure that indeed the arrangement is 60-40). Forty percent nga Chinese pero baka naman ang 60, nasa likod Chinese rin (It might be 40% Chinese but it could be that those behind the other 60% are Chinese as well),” Garcia said.

“Baka naman sila’y naka-front lang for the Chinese o baka naman sila ay tinatawag nating “dummies” for the Chinese. Huwag naman sanang mangyari ‘yun (They could be fronting for the Chinese or like dummies for the Chinese. It must not be that way),” he added.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, previously stated that Chinese experts may provide technical assistance for the NGCP but only Filipinos can manage the entire facility.

In 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it would no longer renew the working visas of 18 Chinese experts working then at the NGCP.

But in 2017, NGCP sent 26 engineers and technical staff for training in China to prepare them for much bigger projects.

Despite the issues, the NGCP maintained that the Chinese investors are only up for investments and business tying up with the state-run power grid. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

DOH monitors child from Wuhan, China who manifested flu-like symptoms

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2020

Medical staff transfer patients to Jinyintan hospital where patients infected with a new strain of Coronavirus identified as the cause of the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak are treated in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 20 January 2020. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it is monitoring the case of a five-year old boy with a history of travel to Wuhan, China for manifesting flu-like symptoms.

The child, who arrived in Cebu with his mother on January 12, was admitted in a hospital in Central Visayas after he manifested symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, throat irritation and cough prior to entering the Philippines.

The DOH said the young boy is now in stable condition but still had cough.

Based on samples examined by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the unnamed child tested negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Both diseases are caused by a family of viruses called coronavirus.

But he tested positive for a non-specific pancoronavirus assay, meaning that he is infected with a strain of coronavirus. The sample has been sent to a laboratory in Australia for further testing.

The DOH said the child will remain “a person under investigation” until they could get confirmatory results.

The Bureau of Quarantine is carrying out tracing of air passengers who may have come in contact with the boy during transit.

“We are reminding the airlines that the universal protective kit should be available anytime on board, the passenger locator card, the protocol on handling cases on board and of course reporting of cases on board to the ground crew,” Bureau of Quarantine director, Dr. Ferdinand Salcedo said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said novel coronavirus causes respiratory infections which may develop into severe cases such as pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death if left untreated.

Coronavirus, which is a large group of viruses common among animals, may be transmitted through contact with an infected person.

“We are not sure of the source of the virus whether it came from animal or meat and other source. We believe that maybe human-to-human transmission,” WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.

The DOH said they are also monitoring three other individuals who manifested flu-like symptoms upon their arrival at the Kalibo International Airport.

The agency said all three travelers, reportedly Chinese nationals, are currently well and are no longer exhibiting any symptoms.

All hospitals and medical facilities in the country have been alerted about cases of coronavirus.

The WHO said there are 222 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus – majority of them are from China while others were from Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

The new strain of coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

The DOH advised the public to always practice frequent handwashing, avoid crowded places and contact with infected person and to thoroughly cook food, especially meat and dairy products. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

China confirms coronavirus can be transmitted among humans

UNTV News   •   January 21, 2020

Medical staff carry a patient into the Jinyintan hospital, where patients infected with a new strain of Coronavirus identified as the cause of the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak are being treated, in Wuhan, China, 18 January 2020. EFE-EPA/STRINGER

Beijing – China’s health commission confirmed Tuesday that transmission between humans of the new coronavirus – which has already caused four deaths and infected more of 200 people in the country – is possible, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Zhong Nanshan, who leads the commission’s team of experts, said at least two patients in the southern province of Canton had contracted the virus through human contact.

“Patients became infected after their relatives traveled to Wuhan [a city of 11 million inhabitants and source of the outbreak] and became infected,” Zhong said.

The latest death, confirmed Tuesday, was that of an 89-year-old man who was hospitalized Friday. The expert added that several health workers had also been infected.

However, Zhong said it only took two weeks to identify the new virus and that a situation such as the one that occurred during 2003’s Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic is unlikely. SARS caused 813 deaths worldwide, 646 of which were in China.

According to the United Nations health agency, between 14-15 percent of SARS cases end in death, while in the case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a related disease also caused by a coronavirus, the mortality rate rises to 35 percent.

So far, there are only six types of this family of viruses known: four of them causing mild respiratory conditions similar to a cold, and the other two responsible for SARS and MERS.

The number of confirmed infections Tuesday morning in China was down to 198, after 25 patients recovered. Thirty-five are in serious condition, while nine are critical. Two other cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, one in South Korea and one in Japan.

The respiratory disease expert explained that the constant detection of new cases indicates that “the epidemic is still at an early stage,” according to Xinhua.

Zhong said increased transmissions are likely the coming days, as Friday marks the start of Chinese New Year holidays – which cause the planet’s largest human migration – but was confident in containing the virus’ spread with rapid diagnoses, proper treatment and quarantine.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping said Monday he expected the virus to be contained “with determination,” while Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced the creation of a group dedicated to fighting the illness.

The World Health Organization will hold a meeting of experts Wednesday to determine whether the current coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes an international emergency. EFE-EPA

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China confirms 3rd death due to viral pneumonia

UNTV News   •   January 20, 2020

Beijing – A third person was confirmed dead Monday in China following new viral pneumonia similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which over the weekend saw 136 new cases, including two in Beijing and one in Shenzhen, authorities said.

Health authorities in Hubei province’s capital Wuhan – with a population of 11 million and where the outbreak is thought to have originated – said the third death occurred Saturday.

The source also said 36 of the 136 new coronavirus victims are in a serious or critical situation.

Among the newly infected, 70 are women and 66 are men, aged between 25 and 89, and all of them showed symptoms the same symptoms: fever and fatigue, dry cough and – in many cases – dyspnea (difficulty breathing).

According to Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, 198 people have been diagnosed so far, including the three dead.

Of the cases detected outside Wuhan – the first time that China has confirmed cases outside the city – both the Shenzhen patient and the two from Beijing said they had traveled to Wuhan recently.

So far, two cases have also been confirmed in Thailand and one in Japan. There was a further scare in South Korea, but no cases were confirmed in the country.

On the 14th, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that prevention measures had been implemented in hospitals worldwide following this new outbreak.

In addition, United States health authorities began Friday to impose controls on passengers arriving or connecting through Wuhan in airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

According to the WHO, Chinese laboratories have already sequenced the coronavirus genome and provided that data to the global health community to help diagnose possible cases outside their country.

The outbreak has caused panic in China as the situation is reminiscent of 2003, when severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread across the country and caused a total of 646 deaths (813 worldwide), according to WHO figures.

According to the United Nations health agency, between 14 and 15 percent of SARS cases end in death, while in the case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a related disease also caused by a coronavirus, the mortality rate rises to 35 percent.

So far, there are only six types of this family of viruses known: four of them causing mild respiratory conditions similar to a cold, and the other two responsible for SARS and MERS. EFE-EPA

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