U.S. launches probes as Trump bans hoarding, price gouging to combat coronavirus

UNTV News   •   March 24, 2020   •   366

U.S. launches probes as Trump bans hoarding, price gouging to combat coronavirus

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday (March 23) to prevent hoarding and price gouging of crucial medical supplies needed to fight the deadly coronavirus, while Attorney General William Barr announced that the Justice Department has already launched hoarding investigations to carry out the order.

The executive order authorizes the U.S. government to directly target hoarders who may threaten the supply of certain medical supplies that the government has designated as scarce or could be threatened by hoarding or price gauging.

People who accumulate designated supplies beyond levels considered reasonable for personal or business use can be criminally prosecuted.

Barr told reporters at the White House press briefing Monday night that no items have been designated by the government just yet, but investigations into hoarding and price gauging are already underway. (Reuters)

(Production: Vanessa Johnston, Alrene Eiras)

Duterte to listen to public’s sentiment on VFA issue

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is open to listening to the public about their sentiments on the issue regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said those who wish to voice out their opinions on whether the VFA should be abolished or not can send messages through the government hotline 8888.

Kung nais ninyong marinig ang inyong boses tungkol dito, huwag po kayong mag-atubili, kayo po ay magpadala ng e-mail o mensahe o kung anuman doon sa mga linya ng ating mga ahensiya sa gobyerno para makarating po kay Presidente (If you want your voices to be heard, do not hesitate and send an email or message through government agency hotlines for it to reach the President), he said.

Duterte, during his public address on Wednesday (February 24), said he is still undecided on what to do. He previously demanded the US to pay if it wants the VFA to continue.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the military will support the decision of the President but also said the Philippines should be able to defend itself without any assistance. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH urges Filipinos in the US to exercise ‘utmost caution’ amid rise in anti-Asian attacks

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Embassy in Washington has cautioned Filipinos in the United States (US) to stay safe and vigilant amid rising incidents of anti-Asian attacks in various parts of the US. 

The Embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also called on the local authorities in the US to further ensure the protection of Asian Americans, including Filipinos.

“The Philippine Embassy and Consulates General in the United States appreciate the swift action taken by a number of local authorities to apprehend perpetrators of these attacks. However, we call on federal, state, and local authorities to further ensure the protection of persons of Asian descent, including Filipinos,” the DFA said.

Among the reports concerning violence against those of Asian descent include the case of Filipino-American Noel Quintana who was slashed in the face by a fellow subway passenger early February this year.

Filipinos in the US have been advised to immediately call 911 if they experience an attack. AAC

UK declines PH offer to deploy more Filipino nurses in exchange for vaccines

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The United Kingdom (UK) government has declined the offer of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to deploy more nurses to the UK in exchange for vaccines.

UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said the recruitment of nurses and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are two separate issues.

“We’ve got no plans to link vaccines with those conversations around the recruitment of nurses. You know those two strands of conversation I think continue but as I’ve said again we have no plans to link those two issues,” he said during a virtual conference.

DOLE Silvestre Bello III proposed forming an agreement with the UK to lift the deployment cap of healthcare workers, provided the UK would allocate vaccines for them. Bello also made the same proposal with Germany.

DOLE Information and Publication Service (IPS) Director Rolly Francia clarified the proposal was to make sure the nurses are safe when deployed abroad and not for the country to have additional supply of COVID-19 vaccines. This was after the proposal drew ire for making nurses look like ‘commodities’ to be exchanged for vaccines.

“What Secretary Bello wants is to ensure that the nurse gets vaccinated if ever the request for an exemption in the cap would be granted by the President,” Francia said.

Nevertheless, Ambassador Pruce said he will meet with Bello in the coming weeks to further discuss the issue. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

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