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P2.34-B access road to connect Tarlac, Zambales

Jonas Reyes

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TARLAC CITY, TARLAC — A 36.925-kilometer access road worth P2.34 billion is seen to connect the provinces of Tarlac and Zambales is now on the way as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recently inspected the area.

According to DPWH Tarlac 1st District Engineer Erelina Santos, the by-pass road connecting the towns of San Jose in Tarlac and Palauig in Zambales will accelerate the movement of people and commerce between the two provinces with the tourism industry expected to have the biggest boost as it has been on a slump due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“This is a multi-year project segmented into phases. It received its initial budget of P600 million at the start of construction of the Tarlac side in 2018 which has posted 100 percent accomplishment,” Santos said.

The DPWH official further stated that the second tranche of the P200-million fund for 2019 is already 70 percent completed, while P770 million of the budget will be allotted for the third tranche in 2020 of which will be used for the continuation of the construction on the Tarlac side of the access road.

Santos added that funding for the fourth and fifth tranches for the project will be released in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Tarlac 2nd District Representative Victor Yap, who was also part of the inspection group, meanwhile, expressed elation over the quality and accomplishment of the undertaking he said will greatly benefit the province and people of Tarlac.

“Our infrastructures have greatly helped Tarlac restore its greatness as a province economically and will boost self-sufficiency as these projects have been providing jobs to our local laborers. Of course, quality roads provide access to foreign and local tourists so we look forward to building more infrastructure projects in partnership with DPWH Tarlac 1st District Engineering Office,” said the lawmaker.

In a statement, DPWH Regional Director Roseller Tolentino emphasized that the pursuit and completion of infrastructure projects is a great boost to the country’s economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 health crisis.

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Garcias, Chong Hua in stalemate

Rico Osmeña

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CHONG Hua Hospital, which boasts of excellent services and facilities at par with the world’s best, is facing scrutiny over the death of two prominent personalities in Cebu. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

The Garcia family of Cebu is willing to hold a dialogue with Chong Hua Hospital on the condition that it produces the medical records of their deceased brothers.

The attending physicians should also attend the meeting, according to Winston Garcia, a lawyer and brother of Marlon and Nelson Garcia who died days apart early September while confined at the 111-year-old hospital.

Nelson, former Dumanjug mayor, died on 1 September due to “cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to probable massive pulmonary embolism” while Barili Mayor Marlon expired after five days due to “septic shock secondary to catheter related bloodstream infection, ventilator associated pneumonia.”

Nelson was 61 and Marlon 58.

Both recovered from COVID-related pneumonia and the family wants to get to the bottom of the cause of their deaths, especially after being billed more than P8 million.

“Before we go to dialogue with them, we are demanding for answers and we have a lot of questions. They should not clamp on the records we are asking for,” Winston Garcia, former general manager and president of the Government Service Insurance System, said.

Winston said the hospital refused to produce the medical records of his brothers without documents, including death certificates, identification cards and special power of attorney.

“Provide us all the records that we are asking for, like clinical records, nurses’ notes, all the records and all procedures done,” Winston said.

“They were giving all sorts of excuses not to give us the records. If they have nothing to hide and if they can explain to us why after letting us spend almost P9 million our two brothers died, then give us all the records first and let’s call the dialogue with those two doctors because we have a lot of questions.”

Chong Hua Hospital, in an official statement, offered a dialogue with the Garcias. They also defended the two doctors, who attended to the deceased.

“It is a sad reality that even the most determined efforts to save lives sometimes end up futile,” part of the hospital statement read. “We assure the entire community that all our patients — past, present and future — were, are and will always be provided with the best care under our supervision.”

Winston’s other siblings are Governor Gwen Garcia and Representative (3rd District) Pablo John Garcia.

Meanwhile, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Cebu honored Nelson and Marlon.

Nelson was mayor for two terms, 2010 to 2016, and was LMP-Cebu president in 2013.

Marlon was vice mayor from 2010 to 2013 and mayor from 2013 until his death. He was LMP-Cebu vice president for internal affairs in 2019.

LMP-Cebu is currently headed by Governor Garcia’s daughter, Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco.

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Bacolod logs most W. Visayas recoveries

Sundy Locus

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Patients who beat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Western Visayas increased to 6,093 after the Department of Health (DoH) recorded 256 on Wednesday.

Bacolod City logged the highest number with 208 while Iloilo province had 16; Iloilo City, 14; Capiz, 12; Aklan, five; and Guimaras, one.

Bacolod already has 2,095 recoveries out of 3,174 total cases.

Locally stranded individuals (LSI), returning overseas Filipinos (ROF), and Authorized Person Outside of Residence (APOR) tallied 1,645 recoveries from a total 1,862 cases.

Iloilo City now has a total of 1,090 recovered patients; Iloilo province, 543; Negros Occidental, 472; Capiz, 139; Guimaras, 53; Antique, 35 and Aklan, 21.

Meanwhile, DoH confirmed 185 new cases from 1,325 results released by seven subnational and molecular laboratories in Region VI.

Local transmission again made up the highest number of cases at 178 while there were six LSI and one APOR.

Among the new cases, Negros Occidental had the most at 60; Bacolod, 58; Iloilo City, 48; Iloilo province, nine; Aklan and Guimaras, four each; and Capiz, two.

As of Wednesday, Western Visayas has 9,974 total cases, 3,696 active cases, 6,093 recoveries, 343 for verification and 185 deaths.

Of the total active cases, Negros Occidental has 1,261; Bacolod, 1,018; Iloilo City, 830; Iloilo province, 178; Capiz, 125; Aklan, 54; Guimaras, 14; and Antique, two.

LSI, ROF and APOR combined for 214 active cases.

Fatalities increased to 185 after 18 new deaths, with Iloilo City accounting for eight; Iloilo province, five; Aklan, four; and Capiz, one.

Meanwhile, Bago City in Negros Occidental inaugurated its drive-through swab sample collection center on Wednesday.

“This is one of the initiatives being implemented by the city government to test as many residents as possible to curb the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Nicholas Yulo said.

The City Health Office said the center will accept drive-through residents as they do not have enough manpower to do hou

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Sen. Go to critics: Stop nitpicking

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SENATOR Bong Go continues to assist the needy and vulnerable sectors, despite critics who always find fault in government efforts. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SBG

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go fired back at critics who question government efforts in controlling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, saying they should instead help out.

While waiting for the availability of a vaccine against COVID-19, Go assured the government continuously initiates measures to stop the spread of the disease and ensure that the economy can recover.

“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That’s the situation we’re in. The government is doing everything it can for Filipinos. We can’t help it if some sectors feel we are not doing enough,” he said after the distribution of assistance to fire victims in Davao City.

He understands though that the opposition thrives on criticisms.

“The opposition exists exactly to do that, to oppose the administration,” he said.

Go said that as stated by President Rodrigo Duterte, COVID-19 is an unseen enemy.

“We don’t know when COVID-19 will end or disappear. We can only wait for the vaccine. Without it, let’s trust our government,” he said.

Go expressed optimism that the situation will eventually return to normal as long as Filipinos cooperate with authorities, remain united and vigilant and show compassion to others.

During the distribution of assistance at Barangay Paciano Bangoy Hall, Go’s team provided meals, food packs, masks, face shields, financial aid, vitamins and medicines, gift cards and other forms of assistance to seven families, comprised of 15 individuals, affected by the fire that happened on 14 September. He also provided bicycles to select recipients.

“I have a small favor to ask. Please wear masks. It is the best way to prevent spreading and getting COVID,” he said.

Representatives from various agencies, such as the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Labor and Employment (DoLE), Trade and Industry (DTI) and National Housing Authority (NHA), were also present to provide additional assistance.

The DSWD provided cash assistance through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program while the DTI and NHA assessed and validated beneficiaries for the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa livelihood program and Emergency Housing Assistance Program, respectively.

DoLE also profiled fire victims that will receive assistance under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program, which will provide emergency employment to certain individuals.

“President Duterte and I will do everything we can to help you. Mayor Sara Duterte is also there to attend to your needs,” he said.

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Locsin: No to poll postponement

Gabbie Parlade

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Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. disagreed with the proposal to postpone elections due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Locsin said that the cancellation can be considered an act of treason.

“You don’t cancel elections for any reason. That’s treason. We are a democracy or a shet slave colony. Hold elections period,” Locsin tweeted on Thursday. “Those brave to stand in line & vote — even if only 12 — decide the next President. Elections = democracy or Fuck U. You fucking shet.”

Pampanga (2nd District) Representative Mikey Arroyo asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reset the 2022 presidential elections as voters are “scared” of the virus.

Comelec chair Sheriff Abas said only the Congress and the President has the power to decide on the matter.

On 1 September, Comelec resumed voters registration in areas under eased restrictions, like general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine.

Registration in areas under enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine are automatically suspended.

To date, total COVID-19 cases in the country are nearly 300,000, with active cases at more than 58,000, recoveries over 231,000 and the death toll reaching 5,127.

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Breakaway rebel group earns DoLE approval

Jonas Reyes

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An organization first formed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) is now certified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) in Nueva Ecija.

Damayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Kaapihan at Kahirapan has been renamed Bagong Pag-Asa Farmers Association, a group organized by the Philippine Army’s Community Support Program (CSP) and with 27 members. The group is headed by Marites Balasoto.

The DoLE certification is a “significant step toward its progress as a productive organization that is far from what they have been involved before,” said 84th Infantry Battalion (IB) commanding officer Lt. Col. Honorato Pascual Jr. during recent the welcome ceremony.

The registration will also open various doors of opportunities to avail of programs funded by national government agencies.

“The Army will continue to empower organizations in grassroots communities in order to build lasting resilience from the presence and influence of CPP-NPA terrorists,” Pascual said.

Licab Mayor Eufemia Domingo led the recognition of the group, along with 1st Lt. Arnold Quiñon, Alpha Company commander of the 84th IB; Capt. Dexter O. Magbitang, 7th Civil-Military Operations Battalion; and Capt. Rey Ian Agliam, Licab chief of police.

Balasoto expressed her gratitude over the support given by the CSP of the 84th IB.

“We will always be supportive of the government’s efforts in reaching out to grassroot communities and shunning out the presence and influence of CPP-NPA terrorists. We shall also do our best to grow and prosper as a peaceful organization,” she said.

The local government of Licab also offered help to the organization via financial literacy program for the members.

The group signed a document denouncing the CPP-NPA.

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DTI-Laguna conducts business training

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Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Laguna conducted a capability building seminar for village officials and Barangay Development Council (BDC) personnel in Barangay Rizal in Turumba Spring Resort, Pakil, recently.

The activity was part of the Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay-Livelihood Seeding Program (NSB-LSP), designated under Republic Act Number 11469, or the Bayanihan Heal as One Act, to maximize the potential of villages, through the BDC, as effective partners in the attainment of national goals with employment and income opportunities for all.

Eleven village officials, BDC members and local government unit personnel attended the program. Topics discussed were DTI programs and services, how to set up Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay Desk and wow to start a business.

DTI-Laguna also discussed basic consumer rights and responsibilities and the salient features of the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

Additionally, DTI-Laguna conducted the webinar “Business Management: Business Practices in Times of Pandemic” attended by 39 micro, small and medium enterprises.

Joel Galit from EasyBiz Informàtion Technology Consultancy Services served as resource speaker.

Galit discussed business practices amid the pandemic and guidelines to follow on how to stay positive, habits of successful people, business practices to adopt to the new normal.

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Ex-NPA member captured

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ANAHAWAN, Southern Leyte — An elusive former member of the New People’s Army who is wanted for two cases was finally captured Wednesday morning.

Renato Rodriguez, alias Mao or Alex, was apprehended by the Southern Leyte Police Mobile Force Company, Anahaw Municipal Police Office and 14th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Calintaan here on Wednesday morning.

Rodriguez has two warrants of arrest, issued in February 1995 by Judge Jose Mijares of Regional Trial Court Branch 26 in San Juan town, for murder and frustrated murder.

No bail was recommended.

Authorities said Rodriguez was a former member of the Southern Leyte Front Committee, a Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army unit operating in Leyte and Southern Leyte.

Also seized from the former rebel were one homemade shotgun with four live ammunition and a long-bladed weapon.

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Mt. Province is COVID-19 free

Aldwin Quitasol

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No coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases have been recorded in Mountain Province for 12 days now.

Provincial Department of Health Office head Judith Dao-as said their last recorded positive case was on 13 September, an overseas Filipino worker.

Mountain Province’s 16 confirmed cases so far all recovered, records as of 24 September showed. As the Daily Tribune went to press, the province has no active cases and fatalities.

“We are again COVID-free,” the provincial government announced.

The province has 10 municipalities. The provincial health office listed 301 suspect cases but all tested negative.

Dao-as said the province is strictly monitoring locally stranded individuals, making sure they will be in quarantine for 14 days.

The province is still closed for tourism activities. Dao-as said some municipalities pick up the cargoes and shipments sent to them at designated border checkpoints.

Meanwhile, a study that will look into public safety concerns in Mountain Province paved a collaboration between the provincial government and the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC).

The collaboration for the research was sealed by Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. and MPSPC president Rexton Chakas.

The study will be used for policy formulation and seeks to determine problems that affect public safety in the education, work and employment, community health, tourism and business-related activities, food security and supply, and law and order sectors.

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SBMA retains ISO status

Jonas Reyes

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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) retained its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2015 EMS certification for passing the environmental management system audit conducted by auditing company DQS Certification Philippines recently.

The ISO certification is a testament of SBMA’s adherence to international standards for environmental management.

SBMA chair and administrator Wilma Eisma said they envisioned Subic Bay to be a leading eco-urban free port “that is why we have consistently raised the bar in managing the environment, which is the core asset of Subic.”

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