It’s more fun in the Philippines: Duterte invites Filipinos to visit local tourism sites amid Covid-19 fears

Robie de Guzman   •   February 14, 2020   •   1120

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Filipinos to visit local tourism sites amid fears of international travel and restrictions due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a taped message posted on social media, Duterte urged the public to help boost local tourism by visiting the country’s scenic spots and discovering other awe-inspiring hidden gem attractions.

“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order and be it an issue of accessibility,” the President said.

“Come with me and be my travel companion. I’ll be traveling around the Philippines. Pasyal tayo dito sa atin. Unahin natin ‘yung atin. Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang turismo ng Pilipinas,” he added.

The chief executive issued the call after the tourism sector reported at least P10 billion in revenue losses due to an entry ban on travelers to and from China, the country’s largest tourism market, after it was hit by coronavirus outbreak.

Duterte said local airline companies and hotel operators have agreed to offer discounted rates to counter the negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, and to promote the country’s tourism sector to local tourists.

“Maraming magagandang mapuntahan sa Pilipinas, wala kayong dapat alalahanin,” he said.

The Philippines has imposed an entry ban on foreigners who travelled from China, Hong Kong and Macau within 14 days in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus strain. It later expanded the ban’s coverage to include Taiwan.

Gov’t extends Luzon lockdown to April 30 — IATF

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2020

(UPDATED) MANILA, Philippines – Luzon residents may have to endure two more weeks at home as President Rodrigo Duterte extends the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) confirmed this on Tuesday (April 7).

“Ito po ang rekomendasyon ng IATF kay Presidente na tinggap ng President,” IATF-EID Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

“Vinerify po naming uli at ang sagot po ay ang enhanced community quarantine is hereby extended until 11:50 pm of April 30,” he added.

In his public address on Monday evening (April 6), the President asked the public for more patience and understanding and to be more cooperative with the national government in the face of a health crisis brought about by the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The President, likewise, reiterated his call for the public to stay at home as the solution to this global pandemic is simply to “not get infected.”

He noted the sad reality of COVID-19 patients passing without having a funeral service as their remains go straight to cremation.

Duterte admitted that even the national government is getting ‘desperate’ as it has limited resources to distribute to millions of Filipinos affected by the crisis.

The President added that the P275-B budget that Congress authorized him to spend is not enough and would be gone in two months.

Thus, he asked the Department of Finance to find ways to generate revenues.

“We are finding ways to adjust the budget. We will prioritize the people, the stomach. If they have nothing to eat, a human being can become violent,” he added.

He appealed to those who have more to give to those in need and asked the Filipino people to pray for the country and the world in the face of this global pandemic.

“I am calling on the nation to come together and pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of the Filipino and unite in one prayer to God to fight our common enemy,” he concluded. MNP (with input from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte, Cabinet members pledge salaries for COVID-19 response

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte announced he is giving his one month salary amounting to P400,000 to help in the implementation of the national government’s action plan in fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Meanwhile, other members of the President’s Cabinet also have agreed to give 75% of their monthly salaries from April to December of this year as support, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo added that other department secretaries also agreed to share by giving a portion of their respective salaries.

Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives are targeting to raise P100-M to boost financial aid to those affected by the pandemic.

About 200 congressmen have pledged to donate their full salary for the month of May to help the government’s efforts against COVID-19.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said they are raising an initial P50-M from the lawmakers while they plan to source out the other 50-M from other private individuals and groups to complete the P100-M pledge.

Cayetano said they are set to discuss on Wednesday as to which particular government effort they would donate the fund.

Ayaw naman namin na halimbawa bumili ng PPEs iyon pala may P5-B or P2-B worth of PPEs o kaya bumili ng pagkain iyon pala may provisions na sa pagkain,” Cayetano said.

“We want to use the money where it will be most effective,” he added.

Malacanang, meanwhile, is pleased with the support from other branches of government.

“The Office of the President is pleased to know that the two other branches of the government have their own program of helping the battle against COVID-19 even as we acknowledge the support given by various heads of offices and agencies in their personal capacities to thwart the COVID-19 pandemic,” Panelo said. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Spain still faces difficult time despite hopeful signs

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Spain still faces a difficult time in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), despite hopeful signs, the country’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

Spain’s health ministry reported on Thursday afternoon that the coronavirus cases in the country reached 110,238 and the death toll hit 10,003.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said despite the grim figures, the curve of contagion has shown signs of reaching the peak. But he also warned of uneasy time in the coming weeks.

To avoid medical system breakdown, Spain has to further reduce hospitalized patients and to ensure that all symptomatic residents can get tested and treated.

The Spanish government is beefing up efforts to purchase and distribute medical supplies. Meanwhile, the country is also speeding up the production of equipment such as respirators.

Spain’s deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said that the crux for Spain’s epidemic control is its beds in intensive care units (ICU).

Currently, Spain has about 6,000 ICU beds, but has nearly 7,000 COVID-19 patients.

“Spain has 10 ICU beds for every 100,000 people, while Germany has 29 ICU beds for every 100,000 people and Italy has 13 ICU beds for every 100,000 people. This may be one of the factors that affect the death rate,” said Carlos Chaccour, a medical investigator from Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal. (Reuters)

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