Tag: PingTweets

#PINGterview: Pagbigay ng Ayuda sa COVID19-Affected Areas, Dapat Ibigay Agad at Bantayin!

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed at least P200B in assistance to poor families affected by the COVID19-triggered quarantines should be distributed soonest, with scrutiny from the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.

NOTES and QUOTES:
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📰 Health workers to get added hazard pay – Lacson [Manila Bulletin]

From the Manila Bulletin: Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said Tuesday all public health workers (HWs) will receive a Special Risk Allowance on top of their regular hazard pay under Republic Act 7305, the Magna Carta of Health Workers.

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#PINGterview: Daily Wage Earners, Priority sa Tulong; Kukupit ng Tulong, Walang Karapatang Mabuhay!

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed the need for lawmakers to prioritize help for daily wage earners amid the COVID19-triggered lockdowns, while preventing corruption in the implementation of aid for those affected.

NOTES and QUOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: Daily Wage Earners, Priority sa Tulong; Kukupit ng Tulong, Walang Karapatang Mabuhay!”

Flexibility, Creativity in the Time of Enhanced Community Quarantine

As the enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 threat continues, a grim reality is becoming more felt: it is not just lives that are at stake, but also livelihoods. For many, survival is indeed a priority, but what good is survival if they face the prospect of starving?

While we must concede that our individual rights and freedom must yield to our survival as country and people, creativity still plays a major role in balancing both sides of the equation and still satisfy both concerns.

For instance, daily wage earners – including drivers of public utility vehicles such as jeepneys, taxis and pedicabs, as well as vendors, construction workers, waiters, and even caddies – are hit hard by the public transport ban. Without wages for even just a week, how will they feed their families? Parents may go hungry for the sake of the children. But when their children go hungry, God knows what they will do next.

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Dealing with COVID-19 as a Nation

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The Metro Manila “lockdown,” “community quarantine,” or whatever the authorities may call it, is one decisive action taken by the government that needs the support of our people, no matter the sacrifices or inconvenience it brings.

But then again, government must lose no time in coming up with practical but effective ways of implementing it to serve its real purpose for our country to survive this unprecedented crisis that we are facing.

For its part, the Department of Health’s Inter-Agency Task Force (DOH-IATF) should issue clear, simple and concise guidelines on dealing with COVID-19 to prevent confusion among the public, as so many doctors and medical experts have been expressing different opinions on it, particularly on its transmission.

One example involves former DOH Sec. and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin being quoted as saying COVID-19 is infectious only when the patient is symptomatic, and that quarantine should be mandatory only for those who had direct contact with positive patient, on the one hand; and on the other, Chinese researchers reportedly confirmed a case of asymptomatic transmission where a woman from Wuhan passed it to five kin but never got physically sick herself.

Meanwhile, self-quarantine is not for oneself but for the sake of other people. Insisting to work or move around in spite of full knowledge of interaction with a possible COVID-19 carrier is not a laudable act. It is in fact damnable.

Citizens must also do their part by practicing self-discipline and self-control against thoughtless acts such as hoarding and profiteering at the expense of fellow Filipinos.

This is not the time to argue and fight. Instead, we should all unite to get over this plague.

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More Budget for R&D Pushed Amid COVID-19 Threat

Despite measly state support, our local scientists have given us a major boost – and much-needed hope – in dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by way of test kits developed by local experts at the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health (UPNIH). Tests using these kits will cost less than 1/6 of those using imported kits.

I have repeatedly raised the issue of the minuscule budgetary allocation for research and development (R&D) in the national budget year in, year out – an average of, lo and behold, 0.4% of the annual budget from 2016 to 2020, including 0.39% for 2020. For the same five-year period, the DOST’s average budget is only P20 billion or a meager 0.56% against the trillions of pesos that we pass every year as our national budget. This, even as I consistently amended the budget measure by augmenting the budgets of the Department of Science and Technology and its programs. For 2020, I sought a P50M increase for NICER, P100M increase for STAMINA4Space and a P100M increase for CRADLE; as well as P537.991M for UPLB’s National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

Had our homegrown scientists been given the much-needed additional budgetary support for R&D, who knows how much more they can contribute? As it is, by not supporting them adequately, we’re wasting their talents and opportunities to help our nation.

This should be a wake-up call for our government officials who do not invest in research and development (R&D) through the budget, but instead are supplier-friendly “shopaholics” who choose to shop or buy from their “favorite” suppliers.

If only the kudos and support that our local scientists richly deserve, especially during these trying times, would be translated into increased support from our government.

Science entails research. Science can greatly help especially during looming disasters such as COVID-19. It is high time our government throw its support behind our homegrown scientists.

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The Test of Intelligence Information

It is a test all right, not of the intelligence of the Filipino people but a test and a challenge as well to our intelligence community to verify what I said, a yet-to-be validated information provided by a reliable source who had given me some accurate intelligence reports in the past.

In intelligence parlance, this information may be classified ‘A6’. Considering the implications, it is one piece of information still worth looking into.

When an issue that has serious implications – such as the reported presence of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) members in the Philippines – is raised, credible information is the best way to resolve it. This is without prejudice to Philippine authorities’ ongoing efforts to verify such information.

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On a True Senate of the People

senate-seal

When we cast our vote on any matter under deliberation, we should be dictated only by our own conscience and what we honestly think is good for our country, and the institution where we belong – and not because of blind loyalty to any person or party. While loyalty is a virtue, blind loyalty is simply just that – blind.

Otherwise, we can no longer be the Senate of the people that we are supposed to be, but an expensive “rubber stamp” that our taxpayers have to sustain out of their hard-earned tax money.

Having said that, there is no reason to be saddened either way by the voting on Senate Resolution 337. That is democracy at work in the Senate.

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On the Killing of Suspended BuCor Legal Chief Frederic Anthony Santos

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Slain BuCor legal officer Frederic Anthony Santos at a Senate hearing in September 2019

It is another big challenge to law enforcement agencies, including the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation, to get to the bottom of the case.

The manner in which Santos was killed shows how cheap life has become in the government’s war on drugs, be it stage-managed or perpetrated by drug syndicates.

Either way, it is on the law enforcement agencies to bear the burden of finding the solution to this impunity.

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On the Withholding of At Least P80B in Congressional Realignments

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Unmitigated gall. This best describes some lawmakers who realigned at least P80 billion from the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” flagship program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the 2020 national budget.

Thus, I support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management to withhold the release of these congressional realignments.

This is one reason why I continue to support the leadership of President Duterte in spite of some disagreements with him over some policy issues: He has time and again displayed the strong political will, even against many self-proclaimed allies in Congress whose loyalty clearly lies where the money lies.

Such “allies” have the propensity to praise him to high heavens and never criticize him, but with self-aggrandizement and greed as their only motivation and nothing else. The President should always be wary of these so-called allies.

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