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Nationwide round-up

THE ADMINISTRATION’S economic team is in favor of mass testing to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country and minimize the outbreak’s harm to the economy.

Nationwide round-up

THE VALIDATION result of the test kit developed by the University of the Philippines National Institutes for Health (UP NHI) will be submitted by Wednesday, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Rolando Enrique D. Domingo said.

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THE ENTIRE fleet of charter airline Lionair, Inc. has been grounded following Sunday night’s crash of one of its medical evacuation (medevac) planes at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, killing all eight people onboard.

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THE WORLD Health Organization’s (WHO) Philippine representative has called on the private sector to help in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, citing a global shortage problem as the new coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, continues to spread around the world.

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THE LEADERS of Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA) are facing a new arrest warrant, this time from the regional trial court (RTC) of Cagayan de Oro City on charges that are non-bailable.

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THE GOVERNMENT has ordered a price freeze on basic goods and commodities until May 15 after President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared a nationwide state of calamity due to the rising cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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OPERATIONS IN the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) is “business-as-usual” amid the Luzon-wide lockdown due to the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat, the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) said on Tuesday.

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THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will temporarily suspend operations in its consular offices in Luzon beginning Tuesday and will operate with a skeletal workforce in its Visayas and Mindanao offices amid national and local government measures to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus.

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THE SUPREME Court has ordered the suspension of hearings nationwide on March 13-18.

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A MEASURE establishing parking fee regulations and standards for parking facilities was approved Monday by the House of Representatives’ committee on trade and industry.

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THE ANTI-GRAFT court denied for lack of merit the bid of former first gentleman Jose Miguel T. Arroyo and his co-accused for a demurrer to evidence in connection with a helicopter purchase deal with the police in 2009.

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THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) is looking into the adoption of its mentoring program for cooperatives as it absorbs the agency overseeing the sector’s promotion and growth.

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MORE THAN $1 billion was brought into the country last year linked to money laundering schemes, terrorism, and illegal online gaming operations, according to Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda, who also chairs the House ways and means committee.

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FORMER BUREAU of Immigration (BI) deputy commissioner Marc Red A. Mariñas has denied allegations that he led the bribery scheme that allowed VIP treatment for Chinese nationals entering the Philippines.

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BANANA EXPORTS to China, the Philippines biggest market in the last two years, is normalizing after a month-long disruption due to the COVID-19 spread, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) said.

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THE ANTI-GRAFT court found former officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) guilty of corruption for granting a water system materials supply contract to a company whose bid offer was P0.40 higher than the approved budget.

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PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has sought closer partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB) after the multilateral lender’s new president, Masatsugu Asakawa, paid a courtesy call on Monday.

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IMMIGRATION officers allegedly involved in a bribery scheme that allows easier entry for Chinese nationals at the country’s main airport have been relieved of duty, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo announced Thursday.

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PHILIPPINE HEALTH Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) officials are facing a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged inaction over anomalous transactions reported to them.

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DUTERTE-ALLIED Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa is not supporting the Senate leaders’ plan to question before the Supreme Court the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States without the Senate’s concurrence.

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THE PRESIDENT’s spokesperson said the Duterte administration is ready to defend the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States should legislators question the move before the Supreme Court.

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A SWEDISH national whose name is included in an international list of suspected terrorists was denied entry into the country, the Bureau of Immigration reported on Thursday.

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MALACAÑANG will “validate the veracity” of reports that Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, the controversial police officer who led a bloody operation against members of an influential family allegedly involved in the narcotics trade, is among the 357 police officers who are under investigation for illegal drugs.

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THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has proposed the creation of a Department of Economics and Development Planning (DEDP) to strengthen the government’s planning system.

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RESEARCH GROUP IBON Foundation, Inc. (IBON) filed an administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday against a former high-ranking military officer and two government officials for red-tagging the institution.

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THE MAKABAYAN bloc in the House of Representatives, with support from the members of the minority, has filed a resolution seeking to investigate the alleged misuse of P300 million in confidential funds in the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

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FORMER SENATOR Gregorio B. Honasan II, who now heads the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), may be summoned for the proposed Senate inquiry over alleged irregularities in the agency’s confidential funds.

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ALBAY REPRESENTATIVE Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda filed on Wednesday a bill seeking to create the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will have “broader policy making, implementation, surveillance, disease and control and prevention powers” over communicable and infectious diseases.

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THE NEWLY-established Zero Hunger Task Force will be implementing its initial projects this year in 32 provinces across the country.

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PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte, in an interview with Russian TV network RT on Tuesday, said he is not going to the United States for the US-ASEAN Summit set in March despite an invitation from American President Donald Trump.

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. has reiterated his position of an “eye for an eye” approach in the murder of Filipino overseas worker Jeanelyn Villavende, even as the Philippines and the Kuwaiti government have began meeting to settle issues.

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House committee targets assembly by May for new constitutional change proposals THE HOUSE committee on constitutional amendments will recall the approved report on the resolution...

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BI calls on foreigners traveling for Chinese New Year to process fees in advance THE BUREAU of Immigration called on foreigners living in the country,...

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President awaits report on alleged overpriced speed guns PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON Salavador S. Panelo said President Rodrigo R. Duterte will “act accordingly” after the Department of...

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REPRESENTATIVE Weslie T. Gatchalian has renewed his call for the immediate passage of the bill seeking to protect consumers against security threats in parking spaces as well as regulate the imposition of “unreasonable and exorbitant” parking fees by various establishments, including shopping malls, schools, and hospitals.

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VICE PRESIDENT Maria Leonor G. Robredo defended her report tagging the Duterte administration’s drug war as a “massive failure,” citing that her office was “very careful” in its preparation and that all data were taken from government agencies.

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JOEL JOSEPH S. Marciano, Jr. will be leading the Philippine’s space program following his appointment as the first director general of the newly-established Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

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POLICE officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa has ordered overweight cops to shape up or lose opportunities for career advancement trainings and promotion.

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THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) resolved more petitions for review in 2019 compared to recent years, officials reported.

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Duterte mulls ceasefire termination after alleged NPA attacks PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte is considering the termination of the unilateral ceasefire with the communist faction after...

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A BILL seeking to impose a 20% tax on the sale of firecrackers and fireworks has been filed at the House of Representatives.

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A BILL has been filed before the House of Representatives seeking to institutionalize the right to access to information and create a Freedom of Information Commission.

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VICE PRESIDENT Maria Leonor G. Robredo on Monday deferred the release of her report on the government’s drug war, citing the need to focus first on assisting those affected by Sunday’s earthquake in the Davao Region.

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THE HOUSE of Representatives subcommittee on labor standards took up Bill 1904 on Monday, working out issues relating to overtime pay under the proposed compressed work week scheme.

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A JOB caravan around the country, starting on Nov. 28 with the first stop at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, will have 22,000 local and foreign employment opportunities on offer, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) announced on Wednesday.