COVID-19 Crisis: President Marcos approves optional use of face masks outdoors

After much online buzz that was created in reaction to the recommendation by the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., finally approved an executive order (EO) that allows the optional use of face masks outdoors according to an announcement published through the Philippine News Agency (PNA). In other words, what the IATF recommended is quickly becoming a new policy but there are key details that need to be read closely.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved an executive order (EO) allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings, particularly in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

“Naglabas po tayo today ng Executive Order No. 3 (We have released EO No. 3) allowing voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings and reiterating the continued implementation of minimum public health standards during the state of public health emergency relating to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles announced in a Palace press briefing.

She said the EO, signed by the President on Monday, will be effective immediately.

This order shall take effect immediately upon its publication in the OG [Official Gazette] or newspaper of general circulation. Nasa OG na po siya (It has been published in the OG),” she said.

Under the EO, those who have yet to complete their primary Covid-19 vaccination series, senior citizens, and immunocompromised persons are still “highly encouraged” to use face masks.

Cruz-Angeles said physical distancing and other minimum public health standards (MPHS) will also continue to be strictly enforced.

“The voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation is hereby allowed provided that not fully vaccinated individuals, senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are highly encouraged to wear their masks and physical distancing will be observed at all times,” she added.

The EO still requires face masks to be worn in indoor, private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

“Tuloy pa rin po ang other (We will continue adhering to other) minimum public health standards intended to effectively prevent and minimize the spread of Covid-19 in the country. It shall continue to be implemented consistent with the principles of shared accountability, evidence-based decision making, socio economic equity and rights-based approach,” Cruz-Angeles said.

She said the EO also directs the Department of Health (DOH) to update the MPHS guidelines.

Open to feedback

Cruz-Angeles said the voluntary wearing of face masks will be implemented in phases or stages to gather feedback from health authorities.

We’re doing this in stages, in phases so that we can have feedback on whether or not these new policies are working and how to make them more efficient so that hopefully by the end of the year we might be able to be voluntarily masked indoors as well,” she said.

She said the policy will be reviewed if the voluntary face mask policy would cause an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this new development? Do you believe that the entire Philippines and its many local government units (LGUs) are ready to comply with the new policy approved by President Marcos? If you have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, do you seriously see yourself using face masks extensively in the future? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics will spread fear and distort information related to the new policy that allows the optional use of face masks in outdoor settings? With the way things are right now, have you grown sick and tired of using face masks each time you go outdoors?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

I Love Israel: Israel to engage more with the Philippines on agriculture, cyber security and other matters

Following the news about the Israel-produced fast-attack interdiction craft-missiles (FAIC-Ms) boosting the Philippine Navy’s ability to protect the nation’s littoral zones, Israel announced that it wants to cooperate more with the Philippines specifically on agriculture, cyber security and more, according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the article of the PNA. Some parts in boldface…

Israel wants to increase cooperation with the Philippines on agriculture, cybersecurity, and other areas of mutual interest after the two countries cap their 12th Joint Commission Meeting this week.

The political dialogue, held in Manila on Sept. 5, was led by Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Alfonso Ver and Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific Rafael Harpaz.

The Israeli delegation emphasized building bridges of innovations between the two countries in the areas of agritech, watertech, cybersecurity, ICT and connectivity, and more. Also included in the agenda is the topic of counterterrorism and the expansion of the defense cooperation between Israel with the Philippines,” the Israel Embassy in Manila said in a statement.

The delegations also discussed regional and international developments, particularly in the Middle East, Iran, and the West Philippine Sea.

On agriculture, Israel Ambassador Ilan Fluss said Israel would share with the Philippines its expertise as the two sides discussed solar-powered irrigation, increasing dairy output, as well as Israel’s agriculture internship for Filipinos.

“We are happy to share our expertise in the field of agriculture with the Philippines to address productivity and food security,” he said, citing a recent meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who sought to enhance agriculture cooperation with Israel.

Be thankful to the Lord as Israel-Philippines ties continue to grow stronger. Israel’s willingness to engage with the Philippines on agriculture and cyber security is essential. More than ever, Philippine agriculture needs to improve dramatically not just to keep up with the world but also to ensure a huge and stable supply of food for the people. Enhancing cyber security will make the Philippines more secure and also become a more attractive and safer place for technology developers, foreign investors and the like. Keep on praying to Him to have the two nations rise high strongly and stand out among all nations of this very divided world we live in. Pray to Him that no enemy will ever succeed on opposing Israel and the Philippines. The evil ones will be exposed and will fall down in due time.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

COVID-19 Crisis: Optional face mask use outdoors recommended by IATF

Are you sick and tired of wearing face masks outdoors as a means of protection from COVID-19? Did you hear about the Cebu City government’s bold move on having voluntary use of face masks on a trial period? Looks like things will change here in the Philippines and its efforts on rising up from the pandemic’s effects as the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) recommended the voluntary use of face masks in open spaces by year-end, according to a GMA Network news report pointing to Malacañang and the Department of Health (DOH).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has recommended the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces by year-end amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a press briefing, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the IATF’s recommendation is to make optional the wearing of face mask in open spaces or non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation, provided that the COVID-19 booster uptake in the country improves.

“Doon sa IATF, ang kanilang rekomendasyon ay pag-liberalize ng ating mask wearing mandate and make mask wearing outdoors voluntary across the country,” she said in a press briefing.

(IATF’s recommendation is to liberalize our mask wearing mandate and make mask wearing outdoors voluntary across the country.)

Angeles stressed that this is not yet a policy, but the pilot testing of the optional face mask use will be conducted towards the end of the year.

“Ang tuluyan na lifting ng mandatory mask mandate ay ipi-pilot towards the last quarter of 2022, provided na may improvement doon sa COVID booster vaccination coverage,” she said.

(The lifting of the mandatory mask mandate will be piloted towards the last quarter of 2022, provided there is an improvement in the COVID booster vaccination coverage.)

Senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are, however, still highly encouraged to continue wearing face masks, she added.

‘Verbally approved’ by Marcos

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed such a suggestion by the IATF, saying that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has already “verbally approved” it.

There is a verbal approval from the President when they talk to Secretary Benhur from DILG,” she said, referring to the Secretary Benhur Abalos of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Vergeire said Marcos’ executive order on the matter may be released “immediately,” but he has not given a timeline as to when exactly.

“Everything is being prepared. Nakipagusap na rin naman po tayo. We’ll just wait for the issuance. But definitely, and we think based from the feedback, talagang pabor naman ang Presidente, so the executive order can be issued immediately,” she said.

As you can see above, the recommendation of the IATF is related to the state of COVID-19 booster shots and the efforts to have more people immunized. There is still much work to be done on the part of the national authorities, the provincial authorities and local authorities to have more people vaccinated and boosted. What I find very notable was the Press Secretary’s mention of a pilot testing phase of the optional use of face masks which will be conducted towards the end of 2022. That pilot testing is very related to what Cebu City’s government pushed for. Also notable was the mentioned verbal approval of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (who is overseas as of this writing) according to the DOH’s officer-in-charge Vergeire.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this new development? Are you eager to see IATF’s recommendation of voluntary outdoor face mask use officially become policy? Do you think the IATF’s recommendation was somehow influenced by Cebu City’s bold move? Are there enough people in your local community who got boosted for COVID-19? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics will distort the meaning of the IATF’s recommendation?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Get ready for the “Build, Better, More” infrastructure program

If there is something highly significant done by the previous administration under former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that a lot of people will benefit from, it would be the “Build Build Build” infrastructure program which was designed to grow the economy, reduce poverty and solve congestion. This resulted in expansion and improvements through projects on roads, bridges, highways, airports and also water resources. For more on the impact of “Build Build Build”, click here and here.

Of course, the 6-year term of Duterte was ultimately insufficient to complete all the projects of the program (note: the incomplete ones are still continuing) and now we have a new leader with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., who specifically mentioned infrastructure during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Yesterday, it was reported by the Manila Bulletin that a new infrastructure program under the Marcos administration has officially been announced as “Build, Better, More”. Other than the name, there are notable details listed which will give people a clear idea about what to expect about the continued development of Philippine infrastructure.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

“Build, Better, More”–or BBM for short–is officially a program of the Marcos administration, and the executive branch is asking P1.196 trillion from Congress in order to fund it next year.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman acknowledged during a press conference with House reporters Monday, Aug. 22 that the BBM program was an “expansion” of the previous Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization initiative.

BBM is also the initials of the incumbent President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The BBM program was listed as a “spending priority” on the DBM’s briefer on the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP), which the agency submitted to the House of Representatives Monday.

A total of P1.196 trillion has been allocated for the government’s 2023 infrastructure programs,” read a statement from DBM, referring to the budget being sought from lawmakers.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will receive [a] P718.4-[billion] budget in 2023, while the Department of Transportation will receive P167.1 [billion] in 2023–an increase by 120.4 percent for its P75.8-[billion] budget in 2022, which covers the augmented funding requirements for various foreign assisted railway projects,” it stated.

Pangandaman said during the presser that BBM includes “convergence programs with Department of Tourism, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Trade and Industry”.

“Related po doon sa Build, Better, More program natin (Related to our Build, Better, More program), which is an expansion of the Build, Build, Build program are programs po under the DOTr,” the DBM chief noted.

Among the major transportation infrastructure projects that will be implemented include the North-South Commuter Railway (costing P75.1 billion), Metro Manila Subway Project (P26.3 billion), and Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension Project (P2.7 billion).

Also linked to the BBM program are more specific infrastructure initiatives such as the Network Development Program (P140.4 billion), Asset Preservation Program (P88.5 billion), and Bridge Program (P38 billion).

Pangandaman said that the Network Development Program’s purpose is to “expand the connectivity and road systems across the country”. On the other hand, the Asset Preservation Program involves “maintenance, rehabilitation, and reconstruction”.

“We also have the Bridge Program po, [the] construction and maintenance and repair of bridges,” she added.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 25, Marcos said, “The backbone of an economy is its infrastructure. The infrastructure program of the Duterte administration must not only continue but, whenever possible, be expanded. We shall confidently build on this firm foundation established by my predecessor. As it is in building an edifice, we must keep the momentum and aspire to Build Better More.”

The 2023 NEP, which is the precursor of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or proposed national budget, will be scrutinized first in the House of Representatives. It will eventually endorse to the Senate its GAB after they approve it on third and final reading.

Regardless of who is in-charge in the national government, I personally favor the widespread, massive development of infrastructure projects around the country. In my honest opinion, improved and expanded infrastructure will pave way for better economic growth covering vast sectors like industry, commerce, tourism, real estate, agriculture and more. The past Build, Build, Build and the new Build, Better, More are clearly more than just about solving traffic congestion. The Marcos administration now has the task of implementing the new infrastructure program which will not only improve infrastructure but also create new jobs.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Are you glad that President Marcos and his administration are focused on continuing the momentum of massive infrastructure development that his predecessor started? What kind infrastructure projects would you want the nation government to start working on?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

P220 million worth of hoarded sugar seized in three raids

The Philippines has a big problem with regards to sugar which unsurprisingly sparked a wave of news. The three leading softdrinks makers made a joint statement about the declining supply of sugar in the country while stores and local food joints claimed they are affected by the sugar shortage. The local bakers have been affected as well.

There is, however, good news here. Recently agents of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) conducted raids which resulted in the seizure of several sacks of hoarded sugar estimated to be worth more than P200 million, according to a BusinessWorld report. Make no mistake, the government is working to solve the sugar problem.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the BusinessWorld news report. Some parts in boldface…

CUSTOMS agents seized 44,000 sacks of hoarded sugar worth P220 million in separate raids north of Manila, the capital on Wednesday and Thursday as part of a crackdown amid rising sugar prices and tight supply.

The agents and police raided two warehouses in Bulacan province and another in Pampanga on orders of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., who is also Agriculture secretary, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) said in a statement.

“The BoC’s Pampanga sugar warehouse raid may very well serve as a warning to unscrupulous traders who are currently hoarding their stocks of sugar in order to profit from the current artificial sugar shortage situation,” Executive Secretary Victor D. Rodriguez said in a separate statement.

The government might visit more warehouses in the coming days, Press Secretary Trixie-Cruz Angeles told a news briefing.

Mr. Rodriguez earlier said the government was investigating reports that certain traders were pushing the imports of 300,000 metric tons of sugar so they could use it as a cover to release hoarded sugar, which they have not sold for fear of lowering prices.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration had authorized the imports, which Mr. Marcos later rejected. Three of the officials who signed the order have quit their jobs.

“Reports reaching the Office of the Executive Secretary said such massive importation of sugar could result in windfall profits for the traders of at least P300 million with a portion of the amount earmarked as lobby money,” Mr. Rodriguez said.

The Customs bureau is investigating reports that the Pampanga warehouse had long been smuggling sugar from Thailand, repacking and then selling it as local sugar, the presidential palace said.

Like the Pampanga warehouse, the two warehouses in Bulacan were also suspected of storing smuggled goods.

The agents also found imported corn starch from China, sacks of imported flour, plastic products, oil in plastic barrels, motorcycle parts and wheels of different brands, helmets, LED TVs and paints inside the Pampanga warehouse.

Authorities have given the warehouse owners 15 days to present import documents, the palace said.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Is your household or your business somehow affected by the ongoing sugar problem? How much did you pay for a kilogram of sugar recently compared to six months ago? Did you notice any sugar-related products like softdrinks, candy, ice cream and coffee lacking in supply in the local groceries and convenience stores? Was there a local coffee shop that failed to serve you a specific drink or food item because of a lack of sugar?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: PinasLakas launched in Las Piñas City

As the Philippines averaged over four thousand new COVID-19 cases per day during the period of August 7 to 14, 2022, the efforts to immunize more people in the City of Las Piñas went some notches higher as the City Government launched PinasLakas program, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Las Piñas City government launched the PinasLakas vaccination program of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos to prepare the students for the resumption of face-to-face classes (F2F) in November.

According to Paul San Miguel, chief of Public Information Office (PIO), the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) Las Piñas School Division Office launched a back-to-school vaccination booster drive on Aug. 15.

San Miguel said the City Health Office (CHO) reported to Mayor Imelda Aguilar that about 52% of the 5-11 age group were completely vaccinated.

The city is targeting to complete the primary vaccination and booster shots of the 12 to 17 years old before the opening of classes.

The mayor said after completing the vaccination of the younger population, the city government will conduct the booster shot vaccination in the markets, terminals, and worship places to make all the residents protected against the Covid-19 virus.

Alelee Aguilar-Andanar, daughter of the mayor; Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Joel T. Torrecampo; Las Piñas City Health Office Technical Officer Dr. Emily S. Calinisan; DOH MMCHD Regional Director Gloria J. Balboa; and officials of Las Piñas public schools were present during the launching of PinasLakas.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Are members of your local community now aware about the PinasLakas campaign in the city? Are the parents in your local community willing to have their children vaccinated for COVID-19? Did an anti-vaccine fanatic approach and bombard you with lies, distortion and misinformation lately?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

I Love Israel: Israel and the Philippines celebrate 65 years of friendship and diplomatic ties

Since August 9 of 1957, Israel and the Philippines had been friends and the diplomatic ties between them prospered through the decades. In 2018, then President Rodrigo Duterte and a contingent of officials visited Israel. There, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Duterte. During the COVID-19 crisis, Israel assisted the Philippines in varied such as having Filipinos in Israel vaccinated and by also sending their health experts to the Philippines.

A lot more happened between the two nations which I blogged about – Israel’s assistance to typhoon victims here in the Philippines, travelers from Israel welcomed to visit the country without a visa, the batch of Filipino hotel workers deployed to Israel, the establishment of the Joint Economic Cooperation (JEC), and the launch of a cyber security school in the Philippines to name some.

Indeed, the ties between the Philippines and Israel are essential. The celebration of 65 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations is real and the Manila Bulletin reported about it recently.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from report of Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippines and Israel are celebrating their 65th year of diplomatic relationship this year.

On August 9, 1957, the two nations started fostering their relations, with Israel providing capacity building programs for Filipinos in the agriculture sector.

Israel has been providing assistance to Filipinos in advanced farming practices and data-driven agricultural management systems, as part of the Philippines’ campaign to stabilize the price of commodities and strengthen long-term food security.

As of 2021, the Philippines and Israel recorded a total of $354,349,790 in trade, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Israel also exported $268,096,401 worth of products to the Philippines, DFA added.

In July, Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss met with Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles of the new Marcos administration to discuss possible collaboration and ways to strengthen the embassy’s connection with the Office of the Press Secretary in sharing the initiatives and partnerships between Israel and the Philippines.

Fluss said Israel’s expertise in cybersecurity, digital diplomacy, and media tech could be deployed for faster and more comprehensive delivery of news and information in the remote areas in the Philippines.

Responding to President Marcos’ first State of the Nation Address, Fluss also said Israel is looking forward to achieving the chief executives’ vision, “especially in the fields of agriculture, innovation & technology, and more.”

Be thankful to the Lord as Israel-Philippines ties continue to create opportunities, prosperity and new forms of friendship between the Filipinos and the Israelites. Keep on praying to Him to have the two nations to rise high and stand out among all nations of this very divided world we live in. Pray to Him that no enemy will ever succeed while opposing Israel and the Philippines. The evil ones will be exposed and will fall down in due time.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City Government set to expand local vaccination sites starting with schools on August 15, 2022

With the national daily average of new COVID-19 cases now in the thousands, it is clear that the expansion of vaccination and booster operations is needed in each locality. That being said, the City Government of Muntinlupa will do exactly that by opening vaccination sites starting with local schools on August 15, 2022 and in other places subsequently, according to a Manila Bulletin report. Take note that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. already urged people to get their booster shots. He also announced that no lockdown will be done.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Muntinlupa City government is set to launch Covid-19 vaccination sites in schools on Aug. 15 to increase coverage among senior citizens and the general population.

Muntinlupa City Health Officer Dr. Juancho Bunyi said this is in compliance with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive to reach 90 percent coverage for primary series among senior citizens and 50 percent coverage for first booster shot among the general population until Oct. 8 this year.

Based on the recomputed targets, the CHO needs to vaccinate 1,357 senior citizens and 27,700 individuals among the general population to achieve the goal.

As of Aug. 5, a total of 533,944 individuals have been fully vaccinated, or 134.9 percent of the 70 percent target, while 172,672 and 22,458 individuals received their first and second booster shots, respectively.

Of the total, the fully vaccinated individuals were 39,824 among the A2 group (senior citizens), 436,008 for the 18 to 59 years old age group, 40,698 for the 12-17 years old, and 17,414 for the 5-11 years old.

For the first booster, 23,304 are senior citizens, 145,533 are from among the 18 to 59 years old, and 3,835 are from the 12-17 years old.

The settings-based vaccination will be implemented based on the following schedule: Week 1 – schools, Week 2 – homeowners associations, Week 3 – markets, Week 4 – terminals, Week 5 – offices, Week 6 – factories, Week 7 – plazas, and Week 8 – churches.

On Aug. 15, the CHO will launch the vaccination sites in schools. The pilot cluster sites are the Putatan Elementary School (PES), Tunasan High School Annex (TNHS), and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa. Officials from the regional health office are expected to conduct a site visit in the schools.

There will be six schools and two health centers which will serve as cluster sites for vaccination: Alabang Elementary School, Cupang Elementary School, Cupang Health Center, Sucat Elementary and High School, PES, Muntinlupa Science High School, TNHS, Itaas Elementary School, Poblacion Elementary School, and Southville Health Center.

Each cluster site will accommodate students, their parents, and teaching and non-teaching personnel of schools.

The above article ended stating that new vaccination sites will be established on August 26 at the Poblacion Bucal tricycle station, and on September 26 at the Alabang Public Market.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Are you satisfied to learn about the opening of new vaccination sites in schools within the city? Are you a parent who has a child enrolled at one of the mentioned schools with vaccination sites? Have members of the anti-vaccine fanatics contacted you lately? Do you think the anti-vaccine fanatics are conspiring with terrorist or anarchist groups to worsen the COVID-19 situation all over the Philippines?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

President Marcos on nuclear power plants in the Philippines

Last March, I highlighted an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) related to nuclear power for the Philippines. Personally, I favor the use of nuclear power and the construction of nuclear power plants in the Philippines not just because it will provide clean and abundant energy but also because technologies and other means related to it all have advanced through the years. 

That being said, it was good that our new President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., mentioned nuclear power during the recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) specifically referring to the nation’s strategy towards building new nuclear power plants.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA News report. Some parts in boldface…

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. again expressed his desire to adopt nuclear energy as part of the country’s power mix, but said the government’s strategy has to be rethought.

I believe it is time to re-examine our strategy towards building nuclear power plants in the Philippines,” Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

Marcos, however, did not mention the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), a project during his late father Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s regime which has been mothballed for more than three decades.

In 1976, Marcos Sr. ordered the construction of the $2.3-billion BNPP, but it was shelved after three years due to safety concerns.

The Duterte administration had pegged the cost of reviving the BNPP at around $1 billion.

The President, instead, said that “there have been new technologies developed that allow smaller scale modular nuclear plants and other derivations thereof.

In October 2019, Russian State Nuclear Energy Corp. (Rosatom) Overseas JSC and the Department of Energy (DOE) signed a memorandum of intent on cooperation to conduct a pre-feasibility study on the construction in the Philippines of nuclear power plants based on small modular reactor (SMR) technology.

Nevertheless, Marcos said the Philippines will comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations for nuclear power plants “as they have been strengthened after Fukushima.

The President said that public-private partnerships will play a role in realizing the goal of adopting nuclear power.

In the Philippine Senate, there is already support for President Marcos’ plan. Posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency article. Some parts in boldface…

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday he will fully support the plan of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to explore the country’s potentials on nuclear energy as a cheap and reliable source.

Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday that if the country wants to attract investors, both local and foreign, energy-level production must be increased.

“Why not? We are one of the few countries that have not looked at the nuclear option in Southeast Asia. The countries that are developing nuclear power in Asia — Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, even Singapore, are looking at the nuclear option, smaller nuclear power plants, and even Myanmar. We’re already left behind,” Zubiri said in an interview with a news channel.

Despite being a renewable energy advocate, as evidenced by the Renewable Energy Act which he authored, Zubiri admitted that there are not enough efforts to produce the energy requirement the country needs over the next six years.

If you want to have an 8-percent GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate, we better have an energy sector that is robust, that can deliver the power the different industries need to be able to power other programs and projects,” he said.

A nuclear power plant, Zubiri said, might take six years to develop starting from its infancy, but can deliver thousands of megawatts from a single plant.

He said the facility must be built right, strong enough to withstand calamities, and away from earthquake faults.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, a known environmentalist, said she is open to exploring the possibility of nuclear energy but it must be considered “clean energy”.

“I may not be an expert in nuclear energy. I am open to hearing discussions and consultations with various stakeholders and experts in science on nuclear energy. I have read that nuclear energy is said to be clean. However, what about the nuclear waste? I am interested to know how it will be handled. At the same time, the safety measures,” she said.

Senator Francis Tolentino is likewise in favor of nuclear energy, which he learned has zero emission.

Meanwhile, the government of France is willing to help the Philippines on nuclear power development. France itself has been a major nuclear power player and therefore their willingness to share their expertise is significant for Filipinos. Posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The French government is keen to help the Philippines develop its nuclear power program as the Marcos administration looks for other reliable sources of energy.

French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz said the embassy has met with some of the Cabinet members and nuclear power was listed among the key areas Paris and Manila could cooperate on.

“(T)here’s obviously an interest. As I said, we have an experience and expertise in many different sectors of renewable energy, including the nuclear sector,” Boccoz said at a reception in Makati City on Tuesday.

She said working on small modular reactors is “probably much more realistic” than reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

“I think that this is a thing of the past because the technologies have evolved so much that it wouldn’t really make sense to work to build this kind of project and it’s probably too big and it probably needs too much of the grid to be operational,” she added.

“So having a sort of more modular systems is probably much more realistic and also in terms of the terrain here and the systemic risks and others. These are much smaller units that can be much more easily protected.”

Boccoz, meanwhile, clarified that talks are still in the “very early stages” as Manila has to put in place a framework first.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the renewed national interest about nuclear power? Are the climate change extremists and modern day Leftists still lying to you that nuclear power is bad while unreliable energy forms like solar and wind power are better? Are you willing to give nuclear power in the Philippines a chance?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

I Love Israel: Cyber Security school formally launched in the Philippines

Cyber security collaboration between Israel and the Philippines will only grow stronger as a brand new cyber security school was formally launched in the Southeast Asian nation, according to an article by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The first globally-accredited cyber school was launched in Manila Wednesday, bringing in Israeli cyber security education to the Philippines.

The CybersCool Defcon will offer programs based on modules developed by Tel Aviv-based ThriveDX Saas, a company founded by Roy Zur, who previously spearheaded the design and training of elite Israeli Cyber and Intelligence Units.

This is the first globally-accredited cyber school in the Philippines and the idea is really to bring the skill of the people. And this is not only about security, but it’s also related to anything today because everything at the end of the day is related to cybersecurity,” CybersCool Defcon founder Tatoo Amsili told reporters during the launch.

Amsili said they are also in talks with different agencies to discuss possible training programs for government personnel. This as he noted that government agencies must not solely rely on a third-party service provider.

Any department actually goes online today and (they) really need to have their own people they cannot be depending on third party in the software hardware. It’s not enough we need later on people to take over and to manage it,” he said.

CybersCool Defcon has six training programs, including the “Zero to Hero” Cybersecurity Bootcamp, which will open in August 2022.

Brig. Gen. Rami Efrati, founding member and former head of the Israel National Cyber Bureau-Civilian Sector, said its establishment alone conveys a message that “Israel is ready to share its knowledge in cybersecurity”.

Cyber is not only cyber attacks, I am speaking also about cyber terrorism. Because if somebody’s trying to affect the population and the government by doing illegal things, we have to stop it immediately,” he said in an interview.

“So the Israelis, as much as I know as my experience are ready to share this information together with you. This school is one way only,” he added.

Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss, meanwhile, sees the school’s launch as a “strong foundation” for further cybersecurity collaboration between the two nations.

“This sector is very vibrant in Israel and very proactive so it’s really bringing the sector to the Philippines and trying to localize it. And that’s exactly the vision of the embassy and I see this as a model,” he said.

In today’s fully connected world, cyber security is essential and it is a great development that an institution that will provide training on cyber security will be opening soon in the Philippines. This will be crucial not only for the government units all over the Philippines – including the barangay units – but also for private sector members and employers. The institution can also help our nation come up with brand new cyber security experts among the many Filipinos living locally. Apart from being a solid developer on cyber security, Israel itself also has a credible track record of business innovation and technology development that Filipinos can learn from. Truly this latest development is a blessing from the Lord

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel and pray for President Marcos and all the other government officials who recently took office. Pray also for Israel constantly.

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.