The “incorruptible” heart relic of Saint Padre Pio was brought yesterday to the University of Santo Tomas, the Royal Pontifical University, for veneration by devotees.
The relic of the pious priest has arrived in the Philippines on 5 October and will be transferred today from UST to the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros until 11 October.
The Manila Cathedral will be open to devotees 24/7 while the relic remains there.
“We will go straight to UST where we will be welcomed by the clergy,” said Rev. Fr. Jojo Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas on radio.
“We will have conferences for the Year of the Clergy and we needed to be at UST to give talks about Father Pio,” he added.
Gonda said devotees had flocked to the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Batangas to see the relic. The relic will stay in the country until 26 October, with stops scheduled in Cebu and Davao City.
Padre Pio is one of the better known saints of the Catholic Church having carried the stigmata, the wounds of Christ that appeared in the priest’s body.
Several shrines honoring Padre Pio had been constructed in the Philippines, including one in Quezon City.
Padre Pio was born on 25 May 1887 and died on 23 September 1968. He was proclaimed a saint on 16 June 2002.
Sched Undas visits early
With the observance of Undas just weeks away, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso reminded the public to arrange for their visit to the tombs of their loved ones before the scheduled closure of Manila’s cemeteries from 31 October to 4 November.
The mayor appealed to those intending to pay respect to their departed to avoid doing so at the last minute.
He made the announcement early this month to give the public more than enough time to honor their dead and avoid the surge of crowd that comes with the custom of going to cemeteries.
He advised the public to schedule their visits on weekends, on 26 and 27 September; 2 and 3 October; 9 and 10 October; 16 and 17 October; 22 and 23 October.
Domagoso’s decision, which has been replicated by other local government units nationwide, was aimed to reduce the gathering of crowds in a single place at the same time, which might put them at risk of infection with the coronavirus disease.
The mayor said beating the deadline might result in some not being able to pay a visit to their dead relations, since the number of visitors to cemeteries and columbaria will be regulated in compliance with health protocols.
He stressed temporarily shutting down all the city’s graveyards will not serve its purpose if crowds would all flock to the resting places on the last few days of October.
At the Manila North Cemetery alone, director Roselle Castaneda said there are 105,837 tombs, and visitors during Undas often reach a minimum 1.5 million.
At the Manila South Cemetery, director Jess Payad said the number of tombs reach 39,228 with more than 800,000 visitors trooping there during the same period.
The mayor earlier announced the order to close cemeteries will only be lifted if the number of coronavirus cases in the city goes down to zero or if the vaccine or medicine against the virus is already available in the country.
“If the situation improves, if it goes to zero, if there are no more cases by 31 October, I will take back my executive order. Should a vaccine be made available by 30 October, I will also cancel it,” Domagoso earlier declared.
Bong Go aids NAIA workers
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go extended help to frontline utility workers of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to ensure their welfare and safety, as he assured them of the government’s commitment to assist them in any way possible while the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let us support each other and show concern for other. Just a little more sacrifice. Do not lose hope because President Duterte and I are doing what we can to help you,” Go said.
Last August, the senator directed his team to visit the workers following reports they experienced delays in their salaries and had not received any hazard pay or food allowance from the airport authority during the quarantine period.
From 12 to 14 August, Senator Go’s staff distributed grocery packs and other forms of aid to over 3,000 contractual workers in NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
As a show of support and solidarity, staff members from the senator’s office once again met with 425 of the NAIA utility workers last Wednesday, 23 September. The provided them with essential aid, such as free meals, food packs, medical grade masks and face shields, as well as 40 bicycles to select beneficiaries so they could commute to work easily and safely.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development also extended aid in the form of cash and food packs through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.
“To all the janitorial and sanitary employees of Omni Works, I hope you are all in good condition. As I have said, the DSWD has something for you, and I also have meals and some food packs,” Go told them in a video call.
“I have also brought masks. I would just like to ask you to wear the masks and face shields for your protection. Let us please follow the government. Let us observe physical distancing, and if it is not necessary, don’t leave your homes because times are dangerous while there is still no vaccine,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte had vowed the poor and vulnerable would be prioritized once a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available.
In a speech given before the United Nations General Assembly last Wednesday, the President urged all world leaders to ensure equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine for all countries, rich or poor.
Go also called on everyone with medical concerns to go to the nearest Malasakit Center where they may directly apply for medical and financial assistance from all four national agencies, namely the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Phl Red Cross records 1M tests
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will cross the milestone of conducting more than one million coronavirus tests by next week, its chairman said on Friday.
With over 893,229 tests conducted as of 25 September, PRC’s own molecular laboratories remain the facilities with the highest COVID-19 test rate nationwide.
PRC holds 26 percent of overall tests conducted in the Philippines.
It is followed by Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory in Mandaluyong, a private company, with 300,046, and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa, the country’s first COVID-19 lab, with 274,840.
While RITM began testing on 29 January, both PRC and Detoxicare only started on 14 April.
Sen. Richard Gordon, PRC head, urged local mayors to help prevent the continuous spread of COVID-19 by having their constituents tested, saying it is their duty to protect them.
Gordon stressed the participation of mayors is really necessary to combat the pandemic.
He disclosed they are now making ways to reduce the cost of testing at its laboratories, despite already offering the cheapest rate among all centers.
For partner local government units, the PRC charges P3,500, while the rate is at P4,000 for private individuals.
Metro mayors agree on GCQ extension
The 17 mayors of Metro Manila who comprise the Metro Manila Council (MMC), the governing body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), are not about to let the National Capital Region (NCR) be downgraded from its general community quarantine status by the end of September.
Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, MMC chairman, stressed the action plan to fight the coronavirus disease should be further sustained to “flatten the curve” in the metropolis.
When the mayors meet this weekend, Olivarez said they will be coming up with their recommendations to the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force.
The MMC chairman said he personally wanted to keep NCR under GCQ, which is valid until 30 September, which was the consensus among the mayors.
In fact, many local chief executives prefer the GCQ to remain in place until the end of October to sustain recent accomplishments.
The Parañaque mayor said there is no room for complacency and the minimum health protocols should continue.
Should the rate of COVID-19 cases continue to decline, he said Metro Manila could shift to modified GCQ by November.
Korean shabu smuggler arrested
The Bureau of Immigration Fugitive Search Unit (BI-FSU) has arrested a South Korean national who is said to have a standing arrest warrant for reportedly being involved in the smuggling of shabu to Seoul through a Philippine-based seller.
Bobby Raquepo, BI-FSU chief, identified the suspect as Kim Junghwan, 41, who was arrested last 22 September 2020 in an operation in Mountain View Subdivision, Barangay Balibago in Angeles City, Pampanga.
It was carried out by BI-FSU operatives, in coordination with Maj. Yoon Jongtak of the Korean National Police Agency and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of Angeles City.
The Korean has an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the Suwon District Court. He has been a fugitive of justice as per Interpol Red Notice A-1914/2-2019, dated 18 February 2019, for importing and trading psychotropic substances in violation of the Narcotics Control Act.
The Korean government has already revoked Kim’s passport last 12 February 2019.
A summary deportation order has already been issued against Kim last 20 June 2019.
Raquepo said Kim smuggled 167 grams of shabu to Seoul from a seller based in the Philippines via an international courier service.
He was also issued with two other arrest warrants in violation of the Narcotics Control Act.
Kim is now under the temporary custody of CIDG-Angeles pending the result of his COVID-19 swab test.
Seafarers’ hub opens in Manila
A partylist group representing mariners recently launched its very own action center in the City of Manila, with the aim of bringing various government services and programs closer to seafarers and their families.
The MARINO Action Center (MAC), initiated by MARINO partylist, was officially opened last 24 September along Mabini Street, Manila — the heart of the seafaring industry in the capital.
“We may be experiencing difficulties right now because of COVID-19, but rest assured that this will not be a hindrance for us to extend help. Just let us know of your problems and concerns and we will endorse it to appropriate agencies to be solved,” Rep. Sandro Gonzalez said in a taped message during the launch.
The seafarers’ hub will help mariners have access to programs and services offered by agencies such as the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. These include financial and medical assistance, skills development training, educational assistance and free legal consultations.
The partylist official noted the standing agreement they have with the Maritime Industry Authority, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the National Bureau of Investigation to further bolster assistance these agencies could provide the seafarers.
Transport manager killed by bike duo
A transport operation manager was gunned down by a motorcycle-riding duo on Thursday afternoon in front of a gasoline station along Mel Lopez Boulevard in Tondo, Manila.
The victim who succumbed to a bullet wound was identified as John Patrocinio, 46, operation manager at Power B Marine Transport Services.
PEMS Richard Escarlan of the Manila Police District (MPD)-Homicide Section said the incident occurred at 4:40 p.m. in front of Shell Gasoline Station.
The victim was aboard a maroon Toyota Revo when the assailants on their vehicle approached Patrocinio’s vehicle and fired at it, hitting the victim.
The victim’s vehicle then rammed a trailer truck that was parked at the gasoline station, after it lost control.
The MPD is now determining the motive for the crime, whether it has a connection to Patrocinio’s job.
Information surrounding the victim’s work revealed he was allegedly connected with the “paihi” modus, or massive gasoline pilferage in Port Area.
Truck runs over woman
A 54-year-old woman who was crossing Pres. Osmena Highway died on the spot on Friday afternoon after she was run over by a speeding trailer truck near the corner of San Andres Street in Malate, Manila.
Traffic investigators from the Manila Police District-Traffic Enforcement Unit (MPD-TEU) identified the victim as Aileen Rada, a resident of PNR-2 Batangas Line in San Andres Bukid.
Investigation disclosed the tractor head, driven by Marvin Santos, was traveling along the southbound lane of Osmena Highway when it hit Rada at the corner of San Andres Street. As a result of the accident, the victim fell down on the ground and was dragged underneath the truck.
Santos is presently detained at the MPD-TEU temporary detention center prior to the filing of criminal charges for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide.
Shabu worth ₱P6.8M seized
Police from the Northern Police District (NPD) have seized P6.8 million worth of suspected shabu in a buy-bust operation in Taguig City.
NPD chief of Special Operations (DDEU) Unit Giovanni Hycenth Caliao I said the operation stemmed from previous operations conducted last 2 and 10 September in Caloocan City against the leader and members of Onie Drug Group that was operating within the CAMANAVA area.
A planned follow-up buy-bust was conducted, which resulted in the arrest of Rahid Abdul, 34, a resident of Barangay New Lower Bicutan, Taguig City.
Authorities confiscated at least one kilogram of suspected shabu valued at P6,800,000 from the suspect.
Also seized were cash amounting to P150, a cellular phone and a motorcycle.
The seized evidence was submitted to the Crime Laboratory for investigation.
The suspect is now under the custody of Taguig City Police Station and will be presented before the Caloocan City Prosecutor’s Ofﬁce for inquest proceedings for violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.