First batch of COVID-19 fast test kits from China arrives in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2020   •   991

MANILA, Philippines – The first batch of 2,000 fast test kits for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from China has arrived in Manila, the Chinese Embassy said Monday.

The arrival of test kits, jointly donated by Chinese Embassy and the China Mammoth Foundation, comes amid rising cases of coronavirus infections in the Philippines.

“The high-tech fast test kits, developed by China BGI Group, have a capability to issue results in 3 hours,” the Embassy said.

“The kits have not only been widely used in China’s battle against the epidemic and proven to be quite effective, but also been exported to more than 50 countries including Japan, Thailand, Brunei, Egypt, Peru and UAE,” it added.

The Philippines has so far recorded 140 confirmed cases with 12 deaths.

China donated the test kits after Philippine health authorities initially said the country only has 2,000 test kits for COVID-19, which hinders the government from stemming the virus.

“In light of the epidemic situation in the Philippines, the Chinese government and people, greatly sympathizing with the Philippine side, are very willing to lend a helping hand. China has been sharing our hard-won anti-epidemic experiences, carrying out close medical experts-level cooperation with the Philippine side,” the embassy said.

On March 15, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin of China’s support in combating the disease.

Wang also promised that China will provide the Philippines with urgently-needed medical materials such as test kits and protective clothing, and will actively coordinate the dispatch of medical experts.

The Chinese Embassy assured it is ready to provide more test kits for the Philippines in the coming days.

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Belmonte, nanindigan sa ipinaiiral na ‘no fitting’ at ‘no return, no exchange’ policy sa malls sa Quezon City

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nanindigan si Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte sa mga polisiyang ipinatutupad sa ilang mall sa lungsod kasunod ng pagbubukas ng limitadong operasyon ng mga ito sa gitna ng community quarantine.

Kabilang sa mga polisiyang ito ang pagbabawal sa pagsusukat ng mga damit at ang ‘no return, no exchange policy’ o pagsasauli o pagpapapalit ng biniling produkto.

Ayon kay Belmonte, ang mga panuntunang ipinatutupad sa mga shopping mall sa lungsod ay bahagi ng precautionary measure laban sa novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Giit ng alkalde, malaki ang tiyansa na makahawa sa iba kung infected ng virus ang nagsukat ng damit.

“Initiative ng city government ito, kasi alam naman natin na ang clothes store ay bukas na at alam din natin na pwedeng matransmit ang virus sa pamamagitan ng damit and the city government ay nagkusa na no trying of clothes, walang pagsusukat,” ani Belmonte.

Aniya, batid niyang maraming magagalit sa kanyang patakaran ngunit humihingi siya ng pang-unawa sa publiko dahil para din naman ito sa kapakanan ng mga residente sa lungsod.

“Sa tingin ko, dapat maunawaan nila na this is for their own health and welfare and syempre, kung bumili ka na, ang understanding dyan nasukat mo na hindi mo na sana pwedeng ibalik yun, gusto nating protektahan ang kalusugan ng ating mamamayan,” ani Belmonte.

Ang pahayag ay ginawa ng alkalde matapos punahin ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ang mga nasabing polisiya sa ilang mall sa Quezon City.

Una nang sinabi ng DTI na labag sa batas ang ‘no return, no exchange’ policy dahil sa ilalim ng Republic Act 7394 o Consumer Act of the Philippines, may karapatan ang mga mamimili na isauli ang nabiling produkto lalo na kung ito ay depektibo.

Payo ng ahensiya, magpulong ang mga lokal na pamahalaan, mall operators at ang Department of the Interior and Local Government upang ayusin ang nasabing panuntunan.

Iminungkahi rin ng DTI ang pagkakaroon ng uniformed protocols na ipatutupad sa mga mall upang maiwasan ang kalituhan sa publiko. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

No tuition hike for several private colleges, universities—CHED

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said several private colleges and universities have assured that they will not implement a tuition fee increase this school year.

CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera said universities like the University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University already announced that they would not be increasing their tuition.

“Iyang mga universities na malalaki, kayang kaya nila itong financial situation (Those big universities, they can handle this financial situation) because their sources of income are varied. They have other businesses,” he said.

CHED also assured they already have a mandate on the implementation of staggered payment on tuition fees.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (May 28) has appealed to private school institutions to allow staggered payments. He also announced that parents, who cannot afford to pay their child’s education fees, can request for a loan.

“Itong Land Bank, bubuksan namin (We will open Land Bank) and you can borrow money to finance the education of your children,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

2 Chinese nationals nabbed for operating underground clinic in Pampanga

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Central Luzon Regional Office has arrested two Chinese nationals for operating an underground clinic and pharmacy in Angeles, Pampanga.

Authorities raided an underground medical clinic and pharmacy on Volga Street in Barangay Anunas on Thursday (May 28).

The arrested Chinese nationals were identified as 66-year-old Chen Zheng Zhong and 33-year-old son Chen Hai Fang. Chen Zheng Zhong is the doctor treating Chinese patients while his son sells illegal Chinese medicines.

According to the NBI, the suspects used a two-storey apartment as their underground clinic and pharmacy.

“Hindi mo talaga iisipin na mayroong clinic doon sa loob kasi isang apartment lang, (You wouldn’t think that there is a clinic inside because it’s only an apartment),” according to NBI Regional Office 3 Operations Officer Atty. Marvin de Jemil.

“Wala silang permit from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and then naghahanap din kami ng business permit, wala din silang permit. Wala rin silang license to operate (They don’ have a permit from the FDA, nor a business permit. They also don’t have a license to operate),” Jemil added.

Upon inspection of the NBI and the FDA, they found six hospital-like beds, two beds on the first floor and four more beds on the second floor of the building.

The two suspects are now detained at the NBI regional Office at City of San Fernando, Pampanga and are facing several charges including the violation of the Medical Act of 1959. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

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