PH drops to 115th place in global corruption index

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021   •   893

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines lands in 115th place out of 180 countries in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

From the 113th position, the Philippines dropped two places with no change in the state of corruption in the country.

“With a score of 34, efforts to control corruption in the Philippines mostly appear stagnant since 2012.  The government’s response to COVID-19 has been characterized by abusive enforcement and major violations of human rights and media freedom,” Transparency International said.

Based on the rating of Transparency International, countries with highly clean of corruption can score as high as 100 while highly corrupt countries garner lower scores up to zero. The Philippines has a score of 34, way lower than the average score of 43 points worldwide and 45 points in the Asia-Pacific region.

The country, however, outranked three of its neighbors in Asia — Laos (134th), Myanmar (137th), and Cambodia (160th).

“Countries with higher corruption levels also tend to be the worst violators of rule of law and democratic institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. These include the Philippines (34), where the response to COVID-19 has been characterized by major attacks on human rights and media freedom,” Transparency International said.

Transparency International also noted how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has heavily affected the Asia Pacific region.

“With an average score of 45, the Asia Pacific region struggles to combat corruption and tackle the profound health and economic impact of COVID-19,” the Transparency International’s report said.

“With a score of 88, New Zealand is consistently one of the top performers on the CPI, both in the region and around the world. The country is followed by Singapore (85), Australia (77), and Hong Kong (77). Conversely, Cambodia (21), Afghanistan (19), and North Korea (18) earn the lowest scores in the region,” the report further read.

The organization also stated that countries with high corruption levels tend to have more violators of rule of law and democratic institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. -AAC

PH detects 6 cases of South Africa COVID-19 variant, 30 new cases of UK variant

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has recorded six new cases of the B.1.351 variant (South Africa variant) of COVID-19; 30 additional cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant) and 2 cases additional cases with mutations of interest.

An official statement issued by the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said, the new cases were among 8th batch of 350 samples sequenced by the UP-Philippine Genome Center.

Of the six South African variant cases, three are local cases, two are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and one case is still being verified as to location.

The three local cases were reported as residents of Pasay City. Meanwhile, the two returning overseas Filipinos arrived in the country from UAE and Qatar; their statuses are currently being verified. Moreover, the DOH is currently verifying if the sixth case is a local case or an imported case.

“To date, there are already 48 countries with reported cases of the B.1.351 variant. While there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease, the pattern of mutations within this variant suggests higher transmissibility and may have an impact on vaccine efficacy,” DOH said.

Meanwhile, of the 30 new cases of the UK variant 20 of these are ROFs; three are local cases, and seven are currently being verified if these are local cases or ROFs.

The 20 detected ROFs entered the country from the Middle East, Singapore, and the United States of America between January 20 and February 16, 2021. Thirteen (13) of these are asymptomatic active cases, while seven have now recovered.

On the other hand, the three (3) local B.1.1.7 variant cases are from the Cordillera Administrative Region.

One case is currently active and is admitted to a hospital, one has recovered, and one is a reported fatality. The relation of the 3 local cases to previously reported B.1.1.7 variant cases in the region is currently being investigated.

On the cases with mutations of interest, the latest sequencing results showed that two (2) additional samples from Region 7 were found to have both N501Y and E484K mutations.

The DOH reiterated that despite the arrival of the vaccines in the country, adherence to minimum public health standards is still the best course of action to prevent community transmission and further virus mutations.

‘Auring’ slightly accelerates as it nears Eastern Visayas-Caraga area

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — More areas have been placed under storm warning signals as Tropical Storm Auring slightly accelerated on Sunday afternoon while moving northwestward towards Eastern Visayas-Caraga area, PAGASA said.

The country’s first tropical cyclone for this year was last estimated 355 km east of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte as of 4 p.m., moving northwestward at 20 kms per hour towards Dinagat Islands-Eastern Samar-Leyte area, where it is forecast to make landfall on Monday morning, the weather bureau said in its 5 p.m. weather bulletin.

Auring, which is packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 80 kph, is expected to maintain its strength in the next 12 hours. However, the likelihood of weakening into tropical depression before it makes landfall is not yet ruled out.

Moderate to heavy rains are expected in Caraga, Eastern Visayas, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Catanduanes, Albay, and Sorsogon.

Light to moderate with at times heavy rains may be experienced over Zamboanga Peninsula, MIMAROPA, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, Quezon, and the rest of Bicol Region, Visayas, and Northern Mindanao.

PAGASA warned of gale-force winds in areas under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) #2 and strong breeze to near-gale conditions with occasionally higher gusts over the areas where TCWS #1 is in effect, as well as over CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Aurora, and the rest of Visayas and Bicol Region.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no. 2 is hoisted over the following areas:

The central and southern portions of Eastern Samar (Taft, Sulat, San Julian, Borongan City, Maydolong, Balangkayan, Llorente, Hernani, General Macarthur, Quinapondan, Balangiga, Lawaan, Giporlos, Salcedo, Mercedes, Guiuan), the central and southern portions of Samar (Hinabangan, Calbiga, Pinabacdao, Villareal, Basey, Marabut, Santa Rita), the eastern portion of Leyte (Babatngon, Tacloban City, San Miguel, Alangalang, Santa Fe, Palo, Tanauan, Pastrana, Dagami, Tabontabon, Tolosa, Julita, Burauen, Dulag, La Paz, Mayorga, Macarthur, Javier, Abuyog, Mahaplag), and the eastern portion of Southern Leyte (Silago, Sogod, Hinunangan, Libagon, Saint Bernard, Hinundayan, Anahawan, San Juan, Liloan, San Francisco, San Ricardo, Pintuyan)

Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte including Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no. 1 is hoisted over the following areas:

Sorsogon, Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands, Albay, Catanduanes, the eastern portion of Camarines Sur (Caramoan, Presentacion, Sagnay, Buhi, Iriga City, Nabua, Bato, Balatan), and the eastern portion of Romblon (Magdiwang, San Fernando, Cajidiocan)

Northern Samar, the rest of Eastern Samar, the rest of Samar, Biliran, the rest of Leyte, the rest of Southern Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros Oriental, the northern and central portions of Negros Occidental (Kabankalan City, Himamaylan City, Binalbagan, Isabela, Moises Padilla, Hinigaran, La Castellana, Pontevedra, San Enrique, La Carlota City, Pulupandan, Valladolid, Bago City, Murcia, Bacolod City, Talisay City, Silay City, Enrique B. Magalona, Victorias City, Manapla, Cadiz City, Sagay City, Escalante City, Toboso, Calatrava, San Carlos City, Salvador Benedicto), the northern and central portions of Iloilo (Carles, Balasan, Estancia, Batad, San Dionisio, Sara, Concepcion, Lemery, Ajuy, San Rafael, Passi City, Bingawan, Calinog, Lambunao, Duenas, San Enrique, Dingle, Anilao, Banate, Janiuay, Badiangan, Pototan, Barotac Nuevo, Dumangas, Mina, Maasin, Alimodian, Leon, Tigbauan, Oton, Iloilo City, Pavia, San Miguel, Cabatuan, Santa Barbara, New Lucena, Zarraga, Leganes, Barotac Viejo), Capiz, Guimaras, and the eastern portion of Aklan (Tangalan, Malinao, Makato, Lezo, Numancia, Kalibo, New Washington, Batan, Altavas, Balete, Banga, Madalag, Libacao)

Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon

TS Auring decelerates, ‘likely’ to weaken into tropical depression before landfall

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical Storm Auring slightly decelerated on Sunday morning while moving towards west-northwest, state weather bureau announced.

In its 8 a.m. weather bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said, “Auring” was last spotted 370 km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur moving at 10 kilometers per hour.

It is forecast to make landfall over the Dinagat Islands-Eastern Samar (southern portion including Homonhon Island)-Leyte area between Sunday evening and early morning on Monday.

“There is an increasing likelihood that ‘AURING’ will weaken into a tropical depression before it makes landfall due to persistent high vertical wind shear associated with the surge of the northeast monsoon. However, the possibility that the storm will maintain its strength until landfall is not yet ruled out,” PAGASA said.

Areas under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) #2 are warned of gale-force winds in the next 24 hours while areas where TCWS #1 is in effect, as well as over CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Aurora, and the rest of Visayas and Bicol Region, should brace for strong breeze to near-gale conditions with occasionally higher gusts.

Moderate to heavy rains with at times intense rains are expected over Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Moderate to heavy rains will also prevail over Eastern Visayas, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Camiguin, and the rest of Caraga.

Light to moderate with at times heavy rains may be experienced over Bicol Region, MIMAROPA, Zamboanga Peninsula, Quezon, the northern portion of Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, and the rest of Visayas and Northern Mindanao.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no. 2 is hoisted over the following areas:

  • Eastern Samar (Sulat, Taft, San Julian, Borongan City, Maydolong, Balangkayan, Balangiga, Lawaan, Llorente, Hernani, General Macarthur, Quinapondan, Giporlos, Salcedo, Mercedes, Guiuan)
  • Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte including Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no. 1 is hoisted over the following areas:

  • Sorsogon
  • Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands
  • Albay
  • Catanduanes
  • Camarines Sur (Caramoan, Presentacion, Sagnay, Buhi, Iriga City, Nabua, Bato, Balatan)
  • Northern Samar
  • Eastern Samar
  • Samar
  • Biliran
  • Leyte
  • Southern Leyte
  • Cebu
  • Bohol
  • Siquijor
  • Negros Oriental
  • Negros Occidental (Kabankalan City, Himamaylan City, Binalbagan, Isabela, Moises Padilla, Hinigaran, La Castellana, Pontevedra, San Enrique, La Carlota City, Pulupandan, Valladolid, Bago City, Murcia, Bacolod City, Talisay City, Silay City, Enrique B. Magalona, Victorias City, Manapla, Cadiz City, Sagay City, Escalante City, Toboso, Calatrava, San Carlos City, Salvador Benedicto)
  • Iloilo (San Rafael, Barotac Viejo, Lemery, Ajuy, Sara, Concepcion, San Dionisio, Batad, Estancia, Balasan, Carles), and the eastern portion of Capiz  (Roxas City, Panitan, Ma-Ayon, Cuartero, Dumarao, Panay, Pontevedra, President Roxas, Pilar)
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao de Oro
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao City
  • Camiguin
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Bukidnon

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