Lawyer Cuevas named new high court en banc clerk

LAWYER Marife M. Lomibao-Cuevas was sworn in as new Clerk of Court En Banc of the Supreme Court on March 25, replacing Edgar O. Aricheta who retired on the same day. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, she was a litigation lawyer of the Cuevas Law Office from 1996 to 2000. She later served as court attorney in the office of former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno from 2000 to 2010. She was an attorney in the Clerk of Court En Banc from 2010 to 2019 and subsequently became the deputy clerk. Ms. Cuevas finished Political Science from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law.

Labor group slams denial of P100 wage hike petition

A LABOR group slammed the decision of the government to reject a nationwide P100 wage hike petition aimed at helping workers affected by the pandemic. In a statement on Monday, Defend Jobs Philippines said the recent decision made by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) “is nothing but a heartless, insensitive and inconsiderate anti-workers decision as it has decided on technicalities instead of the merits, grounds and humanitarian considerations.” The labor group filed the petition earlier this month. The NWPC-Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in the National Capital Region, in its Board Resolution No. 1, said it cannot grant the across-the-board P100 increase in minimum wages as it does not have the authority to grant the petition. Minimum wages are set per region. Defend Jobs said it is studying the possible filing of an appeal on the resolution. — Gillian M. Cortez

Foreign parents of Filipinos now allowed to enter PHL

FOREIGN parents of Filipino nationals can now enter the country as they have been included in the list of exemptions under the travel ban from March 22 to April 20, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced on Monday. The foreign parents, however, must be traveling with their Filipino child and have valid visas. “If they are traveling alone, they will not be allowed entry even if they hold valid visas as the rules provide that they must be traveling with their Philippine spouse or children,” BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in the press statement. He also clarified that foreign seafarers arriving via seaports are also exempted from the travel ban as long as they have the required crew list visa. “We welcome the exemption of foreign seafarers from the travel ban as the Philippines is one of the countries in Asia that has opened a ‘green lane’ for these sailors,” he said. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago

House to look into prohibition of anti-parasitic drug for animals as COVID treatment

THE House of Representatives will look into the prohibition of an anti-parasitic drug used on animals to treat and prevent the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Quezon Rep. Angelina DL Tan, chair of the health committee, said on Monday that the panel will conduct an inquiry on March 30 regarding the use of Ivermectin in treating the COVID-19 patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier warned against the use of the drug given to animals to prevent parasite infestation. The FDA said it is monitoring trials from other countries regarding its COVID-19 use, some of which do not show any positive results. 1-PACMAN Party-list Rep. Enrico A. Pineda, who filed the resolution for the inquiry, said the FDA should consider that some studies show the effectivity of the medicine for some COVID-19 patients. “While we understand the prudence being exercised by the FDA, this is quite an unprecedented international health emergency. There are actual studies and publications endorsing the effectivity of Ivermectin as treatment for those infected by the COVID-19 virus. Perhaps we should do more exhaustive studies before dismissing what could potentially be a life-saving drug,” Mr. Pineda said.  The FDA on Monday said it could grant a special compassion permit for Ivermectin’s use as a COVID-19 treatment but no applications have been submitted for this purpose. — Gillian M. Cortez

Senate committee OK’s honorarium for SK members, other changes

A SENATE panel has approved the amendments to the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Act of 2015, including the provision of honorarium to youth members. The changes are contained in Senate Bill 2124 filed by Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, chair of the committee on youth. “The issue of honoraria or in this case, the lack of it, has been cited as one of the main reasons why fewer people want to join the SK. We recognize the importance of getting the youth involved in local governance and how this experience contributes to their development as future leaders so we should provide them with all the support we can give,” Mr. Angara said in a statement Monday. Once signed into law, SK members, secretaries, and treasurers will be given a monthly stipend. Under the current law, only chairpersons of the youth representative group are entitled to honoraria as they are ex-officio members of the village council. The bill also proposes that the appointed treasurer shall have an educational or career background in the fields of business administration, accountancy, finance, economics or bookkeeping. SK funds will also be used for student stipends, sports and wellness projects, skills training, on-the-job assistance, cash-for-work, environment conservation, calamity preparedness, and capacity building. A maximum of 15% of the funds shall be allotted for the training of the youth council’s members. “The work of improving our SK system must continue. The SK, appropriately reformed and capacitated, remains relevant and much-needed. The youth should be given a place in the everyday business of building our nation and serving our people,” Mr. Angara said. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas