Some Filipino crew of virus-hit cruise ship in Japan may have to stay behind – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2020   •   380

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday confirmed that the repatriation of Filipinos aboard the novel coronavirus-hit M/V Diamond Princess in Japan will push through on Tuesday, February 25, although some who work in the cruise ship may have to stay behind.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, DFA Assistant Secretary Ed Meñez said they have yet to get the final number of Filipinos aboard the cruise ship who would be repatriated on Tuesday.

The vessel’s management also gave an indication that they may need some Filipino crew members to stay behind for the ship’s continued operation and maintenance.

“Ang Diamond Cruises mismo ang nagsabi na titignan namin kung sino lang ang kailangan na crew members na essential para patuloy ang pagtakbo nung ship maintenance siguro pero lahat ng di essential kailangan ay nang umuwi,” he said.

Repatriated Filipinos from the cruise ship will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period at a facility in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

A total of 538 Filipinos – 531 crew members and seven passengers – were on the ship when it was placed under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan earlier this month after one of its passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Of this number, 400 have expressed the desire to avail of the Philippine government’s repatriation program while some manifested their intent to remain on the ship, according to Meñez.

Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have also received information that some Filipino crew members are still allowed to perform their job even while the ship was on quarantine.

“They have said that some of these crew members were allowed to do their functions like serving food going and bringing these different provisions for the passengers,” she said.

As of Monday, February 24, the number of Filipino found infected with the disease has climbed to 59.

Two have been discharged from the hospital after recovering from the illness. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Tokyo residents welcome end of state of emergency

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

People in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday (May 26) woke up to their first day with loosened social distancing curbs, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for all areas in the country on Monday (May 25).

Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, as well as Hokkaido were the last remaining areas under emergency.

Many residents welcomed the government’s decision to end the emergency, though most said they are still alert for the virus since more people are out on the streets.

“I’m still a bit worried. There may be a second wave of an epidemic so we still need to be alert,” said 45-year-old Naoto Furuki who said the trains were a lot more crowded with commuters this morning.

With the emergency order lifted, Tokyo will move into “stage one” of loosening restrictions, allowing libraries and museums to reopen, and restaurants to stay open until later in the evening. Subsequent stages would see theatres, cinemas and fairgrounds reopen.

Company employee Daisuke Tominaga is happy that the emergency state is over, saying that the Japanese economy will collapse if businesses and people have to continue to live under restrictions.

“I want to go out drinking and attend concerts,” he said enthusiastically.

Many shops and restaurants have restarted operations since the government began lifting the emergency in rural and suburban areas earlier this month, but some stores remain closed. (Reuters)

(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto, Travis Teo)

Mayor Isko’s offer to all LGUs: free use of Manila’s online tax payment system

Maris Federez   •   May 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has offered the city’s online tax payment system to all local government units in the country for free.

A media advisory released on Saturday, May 23, said Moreno made the offer to help curb the potential exposure of taxpayers to novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

He said his counterpart in local government units nationwide may utilize the City of Manila’s online tax payment system for their respective cities or municipalities.

“Ako po ay nananawagan sa lahat ng mayor sa buong Pilipinas, municipal o city, kung gusto niyo lang, ino-offer namin para sa pangkahalatan na, kung gusto ninyong magkaroon din ng online payment bibigay namin sa inyo ng libre,” Domagoso said in his weekly Facebook Live program, The Capital Report.

In their recently launched website www.cityofmanila.ph, residents of Manila will be able to process their tax payments online.

“‘Yong buong program, ‘yong buong source code, nakuha ko ng libre, kagabi ‘yong may ari ng kumpanya kinausap ko, sabi ko may mga nag-iinquire sa aking mga mayor paano daw magagawa nila sa kanilang localities.  Eh napapayag ko po kagabi,” the mayor said.

He further said, “Sa mga local government units sa Pilipinas, if you want online payment sa tax, sa real property tax, sa business tax and other services kasi pong ito sa amin pati ‘yong healthcare, occupational health clearance, birth certificate, ma-o-online ‘yan, libre ko ring ibibigay sa inyo ‘yong halos na-save namin na daan-daang milyon na gastos.”

The advisory added that the cityofmanila.ph website will also soon offer birth certificates and community tax certificates online services. — /mbmf

Brazil overtakes Spain, Italy in COVID-19 confirmed cases

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

Brazil’s confirmed COVID-19 cases had exceeded 230,000 as of Saturday local time, surpassing the numbers in Spain and Italy and making the country’s outbreak the fourth largest in the world, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

According to the latest epidemiological data, the virus has infected 233,142 people and left 15,633 dead. The number of confirmed cases in Brazil has jumped to the fourth in the world, following the United States, Russia and the UK.

Brazil saw 14,919 new confirmed cases and 816 additional deaths on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the Vice President office, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao and his wife undertook COVID-19 tests on Saturday after a household help who had close contact with them was tested positive. The couple are under quarantine at home now.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro strongly supported the resumption of business activities and ending large-scale isolation as soon as possible during an interview Saturday.

The president said the isolation measures taken by the governors and mayors of different states will bring more chaos, hunger and poverty, and a total of 380 million people without formal jobs have lost everything in the outbreak. He is worried that it will be difficult to recover the economy and social order.

However, as the epidemic is almost out of control in Brazil, most of the country’s states and municipalities decided to further strengthen the isolation measures to ensure the safety of people. (Reuters)

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