Duterte honors COVID-19 frontline workers as PH marks Heroes day

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2021   •   409

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute to frontline workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the country marks National Heroes Day.

In a message, Duterte called the frontliners modern heroes who continue to answer the call to fight and bravely lead the country’s raging battle against the pandemic.

The new breed of heroes, he said, includes health workers, uniformed personnel, government employees, and frontliners in essential industries.

“Their names will not be etched on any edifice, statues will not be erected in their honor, banknotes will not be graced by their portraits, and their individual exploits will not be immortalized on the pages of history books,” he said.

“Yet, for selflessly risking their lives to ensure the survival of our society, I can confidently say they have more than earned their rightful place in the pedestal of heroes,” he added.

He urged the public to “consecrate this day not just as a memorial to their extraordinary heroism, but as an enduring testament to our inherent capacity to rise above self-interest to fight for a cause far greater than our own.”

Earlier in the day, the president attended the commemoration of National Heroes Day in Taguig City where he also paid tribute to the sacrifices of those who fought for the country’s freedom and democracy.

Philippines agrees to resume joint marine scientific research expedition with Vietnam

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Viet Nam on Wednesday (November 17) held the 9th Joint Permanent Working Group on Maritime and Ocean Concerns (JPWG-MOC).

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the joint session done via video conferencing was “aimed at upholding the rule of the law in the South China Sea and the revival of the joint marine scientific research expedition, which has been halted since 2007.”

DFA-Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office Assistant Secretary Maria Angela A. Ponce led the Philippine delegation; while the Viet Nam delegation was led by National Boundary Committee (NBC) Vice Chairman Nguyễn Mạnh Đông.

“The Philippines and Viet Nam discussed various initiatives for science-based cooperation particularly on marine scientific research, marine environment protection, and hydrometeorology in the 9th JPWG-MOC,” the DFA said.

“Both delegations also substantively covered other issues, including coordination within regional and international fora, fisheries, and maritime security cooperation,” it added.

The DFA said the JPWG-MOC serves as the main platform for dialogue and coordination, practical cooperation, and capacity-building activities among the Philippines and Viet Nam’s maritime agencies.

It is a specialized mechanism established under the Philippines-Viet Nam Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC).

Convened annually, the last JPWG-MOC was held in 2019.  The COVID-19 pandemic halted it in 2020. —/mbmf

Philippines begins pilot test of limited in-person classes

Robie de Guzman   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Select schools in the Philippines on Monday reopened its doors to students in basic education as pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes begins.

The pilot resumption of physical classes was implemented after nearly two years of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Department of Education (DepEd) welcomed the participating learners, teachers, and personnel in 100 public schools for the start of the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes.

“We are thankful to everyone who supported this key phase in our safe return to school advocacy, from the planning stage since 2020 to this monumental day,” the department said.

The DepEd also expressed gratitude for the assistance of the Department of Health, the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, child health experts, local government units, international and local partners, school personnel, parents, and other stakeholders for “reinforcing our shared responsibility framework in this critical undertaking.”

“Most importantly, we are happy to see our learners inside our classrooms as we recognize the significance of face-to-face learning in their social development,” the DepEd said.

The department expressed hope that in the coming weeks, more learners in public and private schools will follow suit as the approved number of pilot participants increases.

“As we take a huge step of reintroducing face-to-face classes amidst the public health situation, we are optimistic that our Bayanihan spirit will live on to ensure the safety of involved stakeholders and the success of this pilot run,” it said.

In line with this, the DepEd appealed to the public to “always follow the required health protocols and standards” against COVID-19.

“With everyone’s help in improving our country’s COVID-19 situation, our vision to safely reopen more schools nationwide is not a far reality. Together, let us mark this day as our leap of faith towards realizing Ligtas na Balik-Eskwela!” it added.

Physical classes in most schools in the country have been suspended since March 2020 due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease.

MMDA eyes reimposition of number coding scheme

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday said it is looking into the possibility of re-implementing the number coding scheme amid increasing volume of vehicles traversing the major thoroughfare.

MMDA chairperson Benhur Abalos noted that the traffic speed has become slower after the quarantine restrictions were eased in Metro Manila compared to the recorded speed when stricter quarantine restrictions were still in place.

“Travel speed along EDSA from Roxas Boulevard going to Monumento is slower at 19 kilometers per hour (kph) now that we are under alert level 2 compared to 23kph during the ECQ,” Abalos said in a statement.

“If we recorded the pre-pandemic speed of 11kph, it is possible that we shall re-implement the number coding scheme but we are monitoring the traffic volume count and the speed everyday,” he added.

Abalos earlier said that if the scheme will be re-implemented, this may only be imposed during rush hours, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The number coding scheme in Metro Manila has been suspended since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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