Hidilyn Diaz wins the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the Philippines!

By the time you are reading this, you should be aware that what was once impossible for the Philippines became a tremendous breakthrough – national weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz (her official Twitter and Instagram) defeated her Chinese competitor in the Tokyo Olympics women’s 55 Kg. weightlifting competition and won for the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold medal the other night. The mainstream media of the Philippines went full blast with their coverage of the pioneering achievement.

The Manila Bulletin front page.
The hard copy of the Manila times.

That being said, we Filipinos should praise and thank our Heavenly Father for anointing Diaz to win the often-elusive Olympic gold medal for the Filipino people. Her victory is a clear reminder that with God, nothing is impossible. The Olympic gold victory is pioneering for Diaz and also marks the beginning of a new age in the history of the Philippines even as it remains struggling with the COVID-19 crisis. Before checking on the official news story, watch first these three relevant videos.

And now we can proceed with the official story of the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the excerpt of which is posted below. Some parts in boldface…

After 97 years, the elusive Olympic gold has finally been taken by the Philippines.

Hidilyn Diaz became the first Filipino athlete to win it all in an Olympic event after winning the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting competition at the Tokyo International Forum in Japan on Monday night.

Diaz, the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, prevailed in a neck and neck showdown with China’s Liao Qiuyun in the clean-and-jerk lift as their battle for the gold went down the wire.

Finishing tied with Diaz in the snatch with a 97-kg. maximum lift, Liao lifted 126 kg. in her final lift, forcing Diaz to go for 127 to steal the top spot from Liao.

Diaz, however, smoothly cleared the 127-kg. lift to win it all, also setting an Olympic record in the process.

Her 224-kg. total is also an Olympic record.

I don’t know what to say. It’s a dream come true. I just want to say that we Filipinos are strong. We Filipinos can compete here at the Olympics. We can do it,” a high-spirited Diaz was quoted as saying by Xinhuanet.

The 30-year-old Diaz gave advice to younger Filipino athletes to “please dream high.”

“That’s how I started. I dreamed high and finally, I was able to do it,” she added.

Liao admitted that she was surprised by Diaz’s improvement.

“I feel good today. I can lift 123kg at most due to injuries, and never thought of a successful 126kg lift. I didn’t expect her strength like this,” Liao said.

China’s coach Zhang Guozheng echoed Liao’s thoughts.

“I didn’t expect such a situation,” he said. “Liao has gone all out, so it’s not a huge pity for her to lose the gold medal. It’s just because we did not expect our opponent (Diaz) to be so strong.”

Diaz has also assured herself of a total of PHP33 million from various people who pledged monetary rewards to the gold medal winners.

Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan claimed the bronze with a total of 213 kg. lifted.

Muattar Nabieva of Uzbekistan, despite setting the Olympic record for the snatch with a 98-kg. lift, missed out on the podium as she could only clear 114 in the C&J for a total of 212.

Malacañang joined the entire nation in celebrating the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal since it joined the most prestigious quadrennial event in 1924.

As you can see in the above PNA story, the first-ever Olympic gold medal won for the Philippines is tremendous and the good news is that, as of this writing, there are still opportunities for other Filipino athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics to win more medals (even gold) and help lift the nation in the medal rankings. Going back to Hidilyn Diaz (who was born in Zamboanga City in 1991), her pioneering achievement will earn her tremendous (and deserving) financial rewards from both the government and private sector. Check out the respective reports of the Manila Bulletin, GMA News and Nikkei Asia. To nobody’s surprise, a big welcome-back-home for her is being prepared.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of people around the Philippines, notably public officials who enjoy the automatic mainstream media magnification, expressed their admiration for Diaz and congratulated her. Among the many acknowledgements and congratulatory messages for Diaz expressed by lots of people and organizations (both domestic and foreign), Planetshakers Church in Australia and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines posted their congratulatory messages for her via their official their respective Facebook pages yesterday. Look at the screenshots below.

Facebook post by Planetshakers.
Post of the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines via Facebook.

Hours after her victory, Diaz posted a picture of herself and the Olympic gold medal on her Instagram as a picture story post. She thanked the people for their prayers.

National fame and Olympic achievement aside, Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal achievement shows that nothing is impossible with God. Learn from the holy scriptures below…

Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God—God makes all things possible!”

Mark 10:27 (TPT)

Not one promise from God is empty of power. Nothing is impossible with God!

Luke 1:37 (TPT)

I am convinced that my God will fully satisfy every need you have, for I have seen the abundant riches of glory revealed to me through Jesus Christ!

Philippians 4:19 (TPT)

I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.

Philippians 4:12-13 (TPT)

To our Lord is all the glory and let us praise and thank Him so much for anointing Hidilyn Diaz who not only won the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal but also all the many medals and honors she achieved in other international events as the representative of the Philippines. She truly deserves the financial rewards and the inevitable long-lasting fame that comes with being the nation’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist. Still you must always remember that worship is only for the Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Never let idolatry dominate you for it is not only unholy, not only foolish but also will separate you from the Lord.

Let me ask you readers: How much of an impact did Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic gold medal victory have on you as a citizen of the Philippines? Did you ever doubt she would win the gold medal in the Olympics? Does her gold medal victory inspire you to improve yourself?

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

In closing this article, posted below is a performance of the great Hillsong worship song King of Kings by Melody Hwang.

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City to miss out on new Pfizer vaccine shipment due to recent storage problem

To all residents of Muntinlupa City reading this. Be aware that, as reported by GMA Network, Muntinlupa will miss out on the newest shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer which is the result of the storage problems (and change in temperature) that happened recently. Due to that, the Pfizer vaccination at Festival Mall got suspended.

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

Muntinlupa will miss out on the latest shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after its local government unit experienced problems at its cold storage facility.

According to Darlene Cay’s report over “Saksi,” vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. also reminded local government units to take the necessary precautions when storing the vaccines to prevent spoilage.

Some COVID-19 jabs including Pfizer require lower temperatures to prevent spoilage.

“The global demand is so high and we know that Pfizer is one of the most sought brand,” Galvez said.

“And we know that there is some constriction on the deployment of the vaccine but we are very thankful that they have given us this substantial amount that we can give considering that we have now the raging Delta cases in our country,” he added.

The delivery on Wednesday night is the first batch of 40 million Pfizer doses that the Philippines bought. The target is to have similar deliveries every week.

The Muntinlupa LGU earlier stopped vaccination at one of its inoculation sites after it experienced issues at the storage facility.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it sent the affected vaccines to international experts for evaluation.

Galvez witnessed the arrival of 562,770 Pfizer doses in Manila at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

And below is a related news video by News5…

It should be noted that on July 15, in reaction to the Pfizer vaccination suspension related to the storage problem at their mall, the Festival Mall management issued a press release expressing its continued support for Muntinlupa’s vaccination operations. Posted below is an excerpt from the said press release.

Festival Mall takes pride in being a partner of Muntinlupa City in its efforts to combat Covid-19. We recently extended the complimentary use of Festival Mall’s covered parking area to the Muntinlupa City COVID-19 Vaccination Program (MunCoVac) team as a prime vaccination site in the city. The venue is properly ventilated, well-lit and offers ample space to allow for smooth service to the public. It also comes with the free use of electricity and meals for the operations staff. With this, Festival Mall has been providing a safe and comfortable site that can accommodate up to 1,200 persons a day.

Below is the official July 15, 2021 PR of Festival Mall.

Residents of Muntinlupa City who remain unregistered and unvaccinated should make a move to get registered by learning the ways to do it. Those who are prepared and willing to go through online registration for the free vaccines in Muntinlupa are encouraged to click https://vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this news? What do you think caused the storage problems related to the Pfizer vaccines in Muntinlupa City? If you are an unregistered and unvaccinated resident of Muntinlupa, does this news compel or discourage you at all?

If you are a Muntinlupa resident who got Pfizer as your first dose of vaccination, has the local vaccination organizer updated you yet?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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

Skyway Stage 3 adjustments related to toll collection snags

Were you among the many motorists who got stuck in traffic along the Skyway as a result of snags related to toll collection payments (formally started on July 12, 2021), lack of load for payments and lack of radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers on the vehicles?

Well, you definitely are not alone and the Skyway system operator issued a press statement very recently and they will work harder to make things more convenient for those traveling along Skyway Stage 3. To put things in perspective, posted below is the statement published through the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

Skyway O&M, operator of the Skyway system and a unit under San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) SMC Infrastructure, expects more seamless movement along the new Skyway Stage 3 with the implementation of new measures to avoid congestion on access and exit points following the first day of toll collection on the elevated expressway.

These measures resulted in faster throughput of vehicles even at high-volume toll plazas just a day later.

“It’s unfortunate that many motorists were caught in traffic last Monday. We apologize for the inconvenience. While this was not totally unexpected on the first day of toll collection, for our part, we know we have to do better. Hopefully, with the measures we put in place, traffic conditions will continue to improve and normalize,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said that traffic throughput at toll plazas slowed down Monday primarily due to vehicles with insufficient load, as well as those availing of free radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker installation and re-loading onsite.

“Our Skyway teams are always on the ground, and we monitor our expressways via cameras 24/7. If there’s any issue, we can respond and make corrective measures very quickly,” he added.

Among the measures Skyway has since implemented are: deployment of more personnel for traffic management, toll collection, and Autosweep RFID sticker installation; opening of more lanes for Autosweep RFID installation and reloading; and installation of more signs to guide motorists who are unfamiliar with the expressway, its toll plazas, and the start of toll collection.

Motorists with no RFID stickers, who insist on paying in cash, or have insufficient balance are asked to exit the toll booth and park on the side so as not to inconvenience existing ETC users. They are given the option to have RFID tags installed or reloaded, or pay in cash.

Vehicles with no RFID or have insufficient balance are directed to Del Monte Toll Plaza B coming from Balintawak where they can have their RFID tags installed or reloaded.

Skyway O&M reported that traffic throughput at toll plazas was significantly better starting Tuesday, or the second day of toll collection.

For instance, traffic queues at the Buendia southbound exit, which only has two lanes and where there was significant buildup Monday, was considerably shorter at only up to 200 meters. This was observed only during rush hour starting at 8 am.

While the vast majority of motorists utilized electronic toll collection, a small percentage, or 4 percent, consisting of cash-paying motorists and users with insufficient load, slowed down transaction times at toll plazas.

The additional measures implemented have since addressed these issues, bringing about a smoother traffic flow.

Skyway 3 was soft-opened last December and has provided the public free unlimited use for nearly seven months, with SMC’s foregone revenues reaching PHP3 billion.

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) had just recently issued a notice to start collecting toll to Skyway 3.

“Before, if you were stuck on NLEX or Quezon City and you were headed to Alabang or Makati, or vice-versa, motorists simply had no choice but to endure two to three hours of traffic. Today, with Skyway Stage 3, motorists can opt to use it for convenience and faster travel times. With more vehicles diverted to Skyway 3, there will be less congestion on Edsa, C-5, and other major thoroughfares, resulting in improved travel on our public roads,” Ang said.

SMC and TRB worked together to arrive at toll rates that are much lower than the original toll fee matrix, particularly for vehicles traveling shorter distances.

Apart from foregoing revenues for seven months, SMC had also deferred recovery of a significant portion of the right-of-way costs for the project in consideration of the economic impacts of the pandemic.

With Skyway Stage 3 now operating 24/7, SMC said that Autosweep sites along the elevated expressway are also open 24/7.

“I would like to request our motorists who have not yet availed of their free RFID stickers to please do so, and make sure they are activated with sufficient credit. This measure, which was pushed by (the) government last year, is for everybody’s safety and also for your convenience,” Ang said.

He said using RFID will ensure they have better, safer, and faster trips on the expressways.

“Also, as a reminder, please be conscious of which toll lanes you are using. Do not use ETC- only lanes if you have insufficient balance, as there are penalties that come with this. If you have insufficient balance, please use the assigned lanes for RFID installation or reloading. Most of all, please always show courtesy towards fellow motorists and tollways workers,” he added.

Site locations that offer RFID installation and reloading are from the south, Zobel northbound (After Entry), Quirino northbound exit, Nagtahan northbound exit, Quezon Ave. northbound entry, and Del Monte northbound toll plaza; and from the north, Del Monte southbound toll plaza, Quezon Ave. southbound entry and Plaza Dilao southbound entry.

And here are related news videos from rival networks GMA and ABS-CBN…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you satisfied with what the Skyway operator stated and the adjustments they made? When it comes to traveling from south of Metro Manila to the north, are you willing to endure the heavy traffic along EDSA just to save money now that toll collections are in effect on Skyway Stage 3? What was it like to drive from South Metro Manila all the way to the NLEX via Skyway Stage 3 during toll collection?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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

Two suspects arrested and P1.3 million in illegal substances seized in Parañaque City

The Manila Bulletin reported that on July 6, 2021 (Tuesday), local police officers successfully seized P1.3 million worth of illegal substances and apprehended two persons as suspects as a result of buy-bust operation that took place in Barangay San Isidro, Parañaque City. This is the 2nd straight illegal drugs-related crime report about Parañaque following the drugs-in-DVD-cases report.

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

Southern Police District (SPD) operatives arrested two drug suspects on Tuesday in Paranaque City and confiscated from them P1.3 million worth of shabu.

SPD Director Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, citing a report by city police chief Col. Maximo Sebastian, said the arrests were made during a buy-bust operation along San Juan Miguel St., San Antonio, Valley 6, Barangay San Isidro, Paranaque City on Tuesday.

The arrested suspects were identified as Myrna Sobinsky, 47, and Marjun Estolonio, 30, both residents of Paranaque City.

The police said the suspects were placed under surveillance by members of the Station Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU) after receiving reports on their illegal drug activities.

Members of the SDEU immediately conducted a buy-bust operation and were able to confiscate from the suspects four pieces of medium heat sealed transparent sachet containing about 200 grams of shabu worth P1.3-million.

And now here is the related news video by GMA Network…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are living in Parañaque City, do you believe that the local police officers and barangay tanods are doing enough to protect your local community from criminals? Who do you think is the mastermind behind the presence of illegal drugs in Parañaque City?

Did someone promise you that Parañaque City would be a drug-free or crime-free city soon? Do you believe in the so-called Parañaque Renaissance?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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

Skyway Stage 3 toll collection to start July 12, 2021

For those of you who constantly drive going north or south through Skyway Stage 3, better brace yourselves as the collection of tolls from motorists will formally begin on July 12, 2021. That is this coming Monday already. Take note that it has been seven months since the use of Skyway Stage 3 was kept free for motorists.

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

After nearly seven months of providing the public free use of the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) on Tuesday announced it will start collecting toll on the elevated expressway starting July.

In a statement, SMC said it will be using a revised toll matrix which is lower than the original proposed toll fees.

To recall, the Toll Regulatory Board approved last March the provisional toll rates for the Skyway 3.

The approved provisional toll rates are the following:

For Class 1 vehicles

Buendia to Sta. Mesa – P105.00

Sta. Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay – P30.00

Ramon Magsaysay to NLEX Balintawak – P129.00

Buendia to NLEX Balintawak – P264.00

For Class 2 vehicles, the toll rates are twice as much as the rates for Class 1 vehicles.

For Class 3, the rates are thrice the price of Class 1.

The approved provisional toll rates are lower than San Miguel’s petition ranging from P110 to P274.

SMC said the TRB issued a Toll Operating Permit and a Notice to Start Collecting Toll on Skyway 3.

The company, through its SMC Infrastructure, said it will post the final approved toll rates at the toll plazas prior to the start of toll collection.

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said that the revised toll matrix, as approved by the TRB, takes into consideration the pandemic, its impact on the economy, and on Filipinos.

“We thank the TRB for helping us determine the most equitable toll rates for our motorists.  We know from experience that times are hard for many, and even a little relief for motorists can go a long way. These toll rates reflect our deferral of the collection of a substantial amount of the cost to build Skyway 3. We also further lowered the rates for those traveling shorter distances,” Ang said.

He said the tolls it will collect will provide the company revenues to ensure continued efficient operations, maintenance, and safe driving conditions on the elevated expressway—particularly as daily traffic puts a heavy strain on the road infrastructure, necessitating significant maintenance costs.

Skyway 3 reduced travel time from Alabang to Balintawak and vice versa, to only 30 minutes from the previous three hours, and from Buendia to Balintawak, to only 20 minutes.

With a capacity of 200,000 vehicles per day, the elevated toll road has also significantly decongested traffic on major Metro Manila thoroughfares, including Edsa and C-5.

With the start of toll collection, the government can now also start generating significant income from the expressway, as it imposes a 12 % VAT on all toll fees, according to SMC.

SMC said it fully-funded the construction of the project with no government funds or guarantees and had spent over P80 billion– more than double its original cost – to complete the project over a period that spans two administrations.

And here is a related video news report also by GMA Network…

As seen in the above report, clearly it is high time for motorists to pay San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for using Skyway Stage 3 which itself is a magnificent piece of infrastructure (made possible by capitalists, not socialists) that will benefit generations of Filipinos who need to travel north, south and within key parts of Metro Manila. Skyway Stage 3 is a major factor in the decongestion of traffic along EDSA, C-5 and other major metropolitan roads. By the way, what motorists will pay starting Monday, a portion of that will go to the national government in the form of value-added tax (VAT).  

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you prepared to pay the toll rates for Skyway Stage 3 starting July 12? How many times a week do you travel along Skyway Stage 3? Are the toll rates approved fair to you?

If you are a daily traveler on Skyway Stage 3, how was your travel time between destinations?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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: Around 13 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines to arrive this month

As the old saying goes – the more, the better! I’m referring to the supplies of vaccines of COVID-19 that the Philippines badly needs and here is an update for this new month.

In an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), around thirteen million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive from overseas for the month of July. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. was the source of this information.

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

About 13 million doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines will be delivered to the Philippines in July, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. bared during the weekly situation briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday.

Galvez, the Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19, said expected for delivery are 5.5 million doses of Sinovac and 1.17 million doses of AstraZeneca within the first two weeks next month.

On July 12, a total of 250,800 doses of Moderna and 500,000 doses of Pfizer may also arrive.

The country may also receive next month between 2 and 4 million doses from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, 800,000 to 1 million doses donated by the United States government, and 1.1 million doses from the Japanese government.

Galvez said the US government’s donation will most likely be the single-dose jabs by Johnson & Johnson.

Take note that 13 million is an estimate and the actual delivery could be affected by such factors out of the Philippines’ control such as flight delays, production problems, etc.

Meanwhile, it has been reported in the news that some vaccination sites around Metro Manila have been closed due to a lack of supply of vaccines. Parañaque City is included. Watch this GMA Network news video.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the latest news about the incoming COVID-19 vaccines encourage you a lot? Do you know people who deliberately avoid getting vaccinated?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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: Moderna vaccines now in the Philippines

Good news for the Philippines. COVID-19 vaccines of Moderna have arrived in the country at last with an initial supply of almost two hundred fifty thousand doses.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the article published by Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

A total of 249,600 doses of the American-made jabs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 via Singapore Airlines Flight SQ918 on Sunday evening.

“This is very significant as we now have five brands of vaccines in the country. It can create a lot of confidence because globally, this is the 2nd (most used) vaccine by many countries. As what I have said earlier, the side effects of this vaccine are very rare, very negligible and most of the countries agreed that they are very comfortable with using Moderna vaccines,” National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told reporters in an interview.

The vaccines currently being used by the Philippines in its fight against Covid-19 are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sputnik V.

Of these initial doses, 150,000 doses were procured by the Philippine government, while 99,600 doses were purchased by the private sector, led by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), Galvez said.

“We will study the deployment of these vaccines because this is our first time handling Moderna. The majority of the vaccines will be deployed in the National Capital Region and later, we will give other urban centers and areas. The priority sectors for deployment are A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities but we have committed a bulk of these vaccines to OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and the seafarers and government front-liners,” Galvez explained.

The Philippines has inked a supply agreement for 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines which will be delivered in staggered batches in the coming months.

Of this number, 13 million doses were procured by the government while the remaining 7 million doses were purchased by the private sector for their workers.

Here is a related news video by GMA Network…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the arrival of Moderna vaccines encourage you to get vaccinated? Did your local government announce that Moderna vaccines are available?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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 health experts in the Philippines to assist in COVID-19 matters

Before starting the topic of this article, I want to reach out to all business people and Israel supporters reading this that the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) will be having its 23rd General Membership Meeting tomorrow (June 23) 5PM via Zoom. As of this writing, registration is still ongoing. If you are interested in the event and if you want to know the latest about Israel-Philippine relations, I recommend you get registered now.

Now for the topic on hand…

In case you missed the news, Israel now has a new Prime Minister – Naftali Bennett. Before he took office, Israel committed to send their health experts to the Philippines and help solve the COVID-19 crisis. The good news is that they arrived this past weekend.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report. Some parts in boldface…

Three Israeli experts arrived in Manila on Sunday to assist the Philippines in its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response and to share Israel’s best practices as one of the world leaders in vaccinating its population.

The team is composed of Avi Ben-Zaken, deputy director of medical technologies and infrastructure development at Ichilov Hospital; Dafna Segol, senior strategic planner at Covid-19 control center of the Israeli Ministry of Health; and Adam Segal, logistics and operations manager at SLE, who’s also experienced in resolving complex supply chain challenges.

From June 20 to 25, the delegation will meet with the Philippines’ top medical experts and visit some vaccination sites and cold storage facilities in Metro Manila.

“The inputs from our guest will enable us to fine-tune our approaches so that we can get the anti-Covid jab into the arms of as many Filipinos in the most effective and efficient ways possible,” vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said after welcoming the delegation at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“We are optimistic that this week will provide us an opportunity to share our best practices, lessons learned, and recommendations on how we can further improve our vaccination systems and procedures, and realize our goal of achieving herd immunity within this year,” he added.

Galvez said the Israeli delegation would discuss how to boost vaccine uptake, efficiently deploy jabs, and how to handle “sensitive” vaccines, specifically those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.

The visit also comes timely as the country signs a deal to procure 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs, which will arrive in the third and fourth quarter of the year.

“Israel is one of the world models in terms of efficient and swift deployment of vaccines so iyon ang gusto nating malaman (so that’s what we want to learn) to have some sort of minimized wastage,” Galvez told reporters in an interview.

Israel no longer requires its citizens to wear masks even indoors as its infections continue to decline following a robust vaccination program that has so far fully inoculated 59.49 percent of its population.

And here is a relevant news video about the development…

Even though the Philippine authorities have been working hard to solve the COVID-19-related problems, major improvements are very much needed and we will find out soon enough what the Israeli health experts will advise. The nation’s population is north of 100 million people and the expert advise of Israel on COVID-19 matters is indeed crucial. Definitely, more cooperation between Israel and the Philippines is needed. My native country should do its part in defending Israel in the diplomatic arena.

As a believer in Israel-Philippines relations, I am very thankful to the State of Israel as they went ahead in providing help to my native Philippines. It is a shame, however, that the Philippines at the corrupt United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) voted in favor of the investigation of alleged war crimes related to the Gaza strip. Last week, it was stated that President Rodrigo Duterte was supposedly not consulted on the UNHRC vote and that he supposedly disagreed with it. If you ask me, no worldly organization such as the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be allowed to abuse its powers on nations by means of diplomatic bullying, and they should not be allowed to violate any nation’s sovereignty. In fact, those worldly organizations should be investigated for corruption and their ties to terrorist organizations. Also, remember the fact that Iran continues to sponsor terrorists and supported Israel’s enemies. That being said, I stand with Israel and I firmly reject terrorists.

Before ending this article, posted below is a holy scripture for you all…

Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel.

Joshua 1:2 (NKJV)

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!

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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: 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccine coming to the Philippines

As the nationwide count of COVID-19 vaccine jabs surpassed 8,000,000, a staggering supply of 40,000,000 vaccine doses from Pfizer will come into the country within this year. This is the result of a signed agreement between Pfizer and National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) yesterday.

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

The Philippine government has made the biggest vaccine procurement for 2021 with the signing of a supply agreement for 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

This was announced by the National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday.

“We are very happy to report that the government and the management of Pfizer have finally concluded our negotiations. (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque and I signed yesterday (Saturday) the supply agreement for the biggest and most decisive deal we had for 2021,” Galvez said.

“I would like to thank my colleagues from the Philippine vaccine negotiating team from the Department of Finance and our multilateral partner for tirelessly working to secure these much-needed shots that will benefit 20 million Filipinos,” he added

The vaccine czar said the deliveries of 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will begin “after eight weeks starting August”, to be delivered in bulk.

“The vaccine demand has begun to ease up for many big and rich countries, as most of them have already acquired more than enough vaccines for their population and have vaccinated many of their citizens. This has allowed the manufacturer to commit to us that deliveries, though still to be made in tranches, will be in bulk,” he pointed out.

The procurement of the 40 million vaccine doses will be financed through a multilateral arrangement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Galvez explained that loan funds from multilateral partners such as the ADB follows a direct disbursement scheme wherein payments are paid directly by the fund manager to the vaccine manufacturer.

“Through this scheme, the Filipino people can be assured that our transactions on vaccine procurement will be transparent, as the funds will not pass through the hands of any government official or agency,” he emphasized.

With the latest supply agreement, the Philippines has now secured the delivery of 113 million doses from five manufacturers namely, Sinovac with 26 million doses, Sputnik V with 10 million doses, 20 million doses from Moderna, 17 million doses from AstraZeneca, and 40 million doses from Pfizer.

The COVAX Facility has also committed to deliver a total of 44 million doses this year, bringing to 157 million doses the total number of doses secured by the Philippines.

Mathematically and theoretically, 40 million Pfizer doses can be used to vaccinate 20 million first-timers and provide for each and every one of them the 2nd dose. How exactly will those future vaccines from Pfizer will be distributed to the local citizens has yet to be determined as of this writing.

It should be noted that recently, the City Government of Muntinlupa announced a reduction of capacity for vaccinating patients per site due to tight supply of vaccines. Over in the City of Las Piñas, an incentive program designed to encourage locals to get vaccinated was launched and in recent times the number of citizens vaccinated grew tremendously. Ultimately the supply of COVID-19 vaccines for the Philippines remains a sensitive issue.

This is not the first time Pfizer vaccines became available here in the Philippines. Take a look back at the Pfizer launch in Parañaque City.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the newly signed agreement of securing 40 million vaccines from Pfizer encourage you to get registered and join the line to get vaccinated? Are you very choosy when it comes to the different brands of vaccines? Why?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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: Local government units (LGUs) must comply with national government rules regarding face shields

Are you tired of using face shields when moving around in public here in the Philippines during this COVID-19 crisis? The issue about face shields became hot recently in relation to what President Rodrigo Duterte said about them which drew mixed reactions on a national scale. That being said, the national government made a move about the issue with the local government units (LGU) according to a news report by GMA Network.

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

Local government units must adjust their ordinances on the use of face shields to match the national government’s decision on the matter amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to Vonne Aquino’s report on “24 Oras Weekend,” Inter-Agency Task Force co-chairperson Secretary Karlo Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte currently has a memorandum on the use of face shields.

“Apart from ‘yung sinabi ni Pangulo na hospitals, may idadagdag din doon sa memo na list nung places kung saan kailangan mag soot ng face shield,” he said.

(Apart from the what President said on hospitals, the memo includes other places where the use of face shields is mandatory.)

“So completely and clearly, makikita natin doon saan lang talaga… na dapat mandatory magsoot ng face shield. All other places, it won’t be mandatory. Kumbaga, magiging ano na lang siya… voluntary,” he added.

(So completely and clearly, we can see places where use is mandatory. All other places, it won’t be mandatory. It will be voluntary.)

Malacañang on Thursday said the President’s statement on the wearing of face shields on top of face masks only in hospitals is considered policy.

Nograles said local governments must adjust their ordnances.

“It cannot be over and beyond ‘yung policy ng national, no? You cannot have LGUs na mas strict ‘yung guidance or ‘yung enforcement kaysa sa ano, kasi magkakalituhan, eh,” he said.

(It cannot be over and beyond ‘yung policy ng national. You cannot have LGUs with stricter guidance or enforcement because it will lead to confusion.)

Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Council said it has yet to tackle the issue.

“Ang mag mayors, may kaniya-kaniyang pananaw dito… it’s better for the IATF since they got experts there. At, of course, mapag-uusapang maiigi ito,” Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos said.

(The mayors have varying views on this. It’s better for the IATF since they have experts there. Of course, we will talk about this.)

And now here is a related news video by GMA Network…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you believe that there more disadvantages than advantages with the use of face shields in public? Do you believe that face shields are truly protective? Is your local government clear and specific with regards to the use of face shields? Do you believe that it is excessive for a person to be arrested and imprisoned for failing to use a face shield? Do you think that the national government knows what it is doing over the issue of face shields?

Who do you think would benefit the most when people are required to use face shields?

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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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