Duterte suspends business operations of Chuzon stores in Pampanga

Robie de Guzman   •   April 24, 2019   •   1741


President Rodrigo Duterte visits quake-hit areas in Pampanga. | Photo from MPC Pool

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the suspension of business operations of Chuzon Supermarkets in Pampanga following the collapse of one of its buildings in the town of Porac during the magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Monday.

The President made the order during a situation briefing held at the Pampanga Provincial Hall on the effects of the strong temblor that rattled parts of Luzon.

“Well, in probability, the one who constructs the supermarket here could also be the one who constructed the others. I’d like to presume that, although I stand corrected,” Duterte said.

“So it would be a good time to just give them the advise to stop, cease and desist in doing business until such time that the clearance [is] given by government, whether city engineer or whoever is competent to review the planning, ” he added.

Duterte’s order came after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recommended the issuance of an order for the suspension of the supermarket chain’s business permit.

The President said it was “appalling” that the grocery branch collapsed, considering that the building was just four years old.

The earthquake hit Pampanga the hardest, although its epicenter was located in Castillejos, Zambales.

READ: Phivolcs explains why Pampanga was hit hardest by Luzon quake

Several structures and roads in the province sustained damages after an earthquake rocked parts of Luzon late Monday afternoon.

Earlier on Tuesday, Duterte visited the quake-hit areas in Pampanga, including the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac.

Based on the latest data released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday, 16 people were killed in Monday’s quake.

READ: Luzon quake death toll rises to 16

Of the 16 reported fatalities, 12 were from Porac, two from Lubao and one from Angeles in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The NDRRMC also said that 81 people were injured and 14 remain missing. — Robie de Guzman

2 Chinese nationals nabbed for operating underground clinic in Pampanga

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Central Luzon Regional Office has arrested two Chinese nationals for operating an underground clinic and pharmacy in Angeles, Pampanga.

Authorities raided an underground medical clinic and pharmacy on Volga Street in Barangay Anunas on Thursday (May 28).

The arrested Chinese nationals were identified as 66-year-old Chen Zheng Zhong and 33-year-old son Chen Hai Fang. Chen Zheng Zhong is the doctor treating Chinese patients while his son sells illegal Chinese medicines.

According to the NBI, the suspects used a two-storey apartment as their underground clinic and pharmacy.

“Hindi mo talaga iisipin na mayroong clinic doon sa loob kasi isang apartment lang, (You wouldn’t think that there is a clinic inside because it’s only an apartment),” according to NBI Regional Office 3 Operations Officer Atty. Marvin de Jemil.

“Wala silang permit from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and then naghahanap din kami ng business permit, wala din silang permit. Wala rin silang license to operate (They don’ have a permit from the FDA, nor a business permit. They also don’t have a license to operate),” Jemil added.

Upon inspection of the NBI and the FDA, they found six hospital-like beds, two beds on the first floor and four more beds on the second floor of the building.

The two suspects are now detained at the NBI regional Office at City of San Fernando, Pampanga and are facing several charges including the violation of the Medical Act of 1959. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte warns of return to strict quarantine restrictions if COVID-19 crisis worsens

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed. 

On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy. 

But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse. 

“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said. 

“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing. 

Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May. 

“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work. 

Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’

“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said. 

READ: Phl conducting ‘expanded’ targeted testing, not mass testing vs COVID-19 – DOH

“Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na ang lahat ng mga mamamayan nito (ay tine-test) kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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