I Love Israel: Direct Philippines-Israel flights before the end of 2021 in the works

Have you been dreaming of visiting the Holy Land or doing business in Tel Aviv in Israel? There is something positive in development right now and breakthroughs could happen before the year ends. This is because recently, Israel’s Ambassador Rafael Harpaz announced that the establishment of direct flights between the Philippines and Israel is being worked on with 2021 in mind (specifically before the end of the year). There is no timeline yet as to when will Philippines-Israel travel will resume but make no mistake that Israel is opening its borders to foreign tourists (who got vaccinated for COVID-19) starting May 23, 2021 which itself is connected with their successful vaccination program.

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

Direct flights between the Philippines and Israel before the end of the year are in the pipeline, Israeli Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said Friday.

We would like very much for the Filipino tourists to be back to Israel. The Philippine Airlines already informed us that they are planning to start a direct flight to Israel towards the end of the year,” Harpaz told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

There’s no timeline yet when tourism exchanges between the Philippines and Israel would resume, but he said the deployment of Filipino caregivers continues despite the pandemic.

“Actually, every day we see new caregivers because there is a demand. So they are flying to Israel and when they get there, they also get the vaccine immediately,” Harpaz said. “We don’t have a quota (on deployment) but it depends on the demand. Because our population is getting older and older, the demand is getting high. We also have from other countries but the demand is high for Filipino caregivers.”

In 2019 alone, about 35,000 Filipino tourists visited Israel, while more than 30,000 overseas Filipinos are working there as caregivers.

‘Tourism restart’

At present, there is no agreement between the Philippines and Israel for a travel bubble setup, but Harpaz said he is hopeful that the two nations’ tourism exchanges would soon resume.

He added that several Filipino tour operators are interested to bring travel groups once Israel fully reopens.

“They’re waiting. There’s so many tour operators in the Philippines who are eager to take groups to Israel because it’s a big tourist destination for Filipinos,” Harpaz said. “The Israelis are also eager. The businessmen are eager to return to the Philippines. They want to go to Banawe, Palawan, Siquijor, and all those wonderful places. Let’s hope that it will soon work out.”

Israel is opening up its borders to foreign tourists under a travel bubble setup, with the vaccinated population no longer required to undergo a long period of quarantine.

But for now, the vaccines that Israel recognizes for this arrangement are Pfizer and Moderna.

It has so far signed a travel bubble agreement with Cyprus and Greece.

“We are moving slowly with more countries because we want to have tourism back and business back,” he said.

As you already know, I strongly believe that the ties between my native Philippines and Israel are very essential. I really love it when Israelites and Filipinos are in harmony together, and the fact that Filipino caregivers and students were vaccinated for free in Israel is an example of that. Filipino caregivers have been known to be very helpful towards Israelites and there is a strong demand for more caregivers. Christians here in the Philippines, led by faith, love to visit the Holy Land and discover personally the places where Lord Jesus had been to.

Speaking of Philippines-Israel ties, Ambassador Harpaz also announced more good news for Filipinos struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Posted below is an excerpt from another Philippine News Agency article…

The Philippines can expect to be among the priority countries of Israel once the latter is able to transfer its excess vaccines for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Israel Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said Friday.

Harpaz explained that Israel, for the time being, could not transport its extra vaccine doses to any third country due to some legal issues in its contract with Pfizer.

“It has nothing to do with the Philippines. Israel, for the time being, was not able to give vaccines to a third country because we have a contract and there are limitations on giving it to a third party,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview on Friday.

Aside from Manila, more than 10 countries have also expressed interest in purchasing their excess vaccines, Harpaz said.

“It’s something we are looking generally in a favorable manner but it’s the legal issues that must be resolved first. But it’s one of the issues in the discussions and when the moment that there would be a green light to give (the vaccines) as assistance to third countries, the Philippines will certainly be among them,” he said.

The Philippines is definitely a high priority for us once we’re capable of giving away the vaccines.

Wow! Considering the current situation here in the Philippines, it’s nice to learn that our country is a high priority for Israel for potential donations of excess vaccines from their own stocks. The legal issues are blocking access. To be very clear, the Philippines secured many millions of COVID-19 vaccines but those stocks cannot come fast enough. Very recently, the cities of Muntinlupa and Parañaque became the first recipients of vaccines from Russia. How many exactly? THREE THOUSAND doses for each city.

In closing this, here are some Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and for your insight.

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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

A man shot dead in Parañaque City

If you are living in Parañaque City, did you notice something wrong or suspicious near you recently? Did you sense you were being stalked by someone? Did you witness any gun-related violence in your local community? The reason why I asked is because the Manila Bulletin reported a tragedy:  a local was shot dead by an unidentified attacker while he was on his way home in Barangay Tambo along MIA Road. The victim died just days before his approaching birthday.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin’s report…

A man was shot dead by an unknown assailant while on his way home Monday night in Parañaque City just days before his birthday.

Police said the victim, identified as Darvin Baldovino, and a resident of Paranaque City, suffered several gunshot wounds in the body and died on the spot.

Baldovino was supposed to celebrate his 39th birthday on Saturday (May 8).

Investigation showed the incident happened at 8:35 p.m. along MIA Road in front of 711 Global Plaza, Barangay Tambo, Paranaque City.

According to a witness, Baldovino was walking when an unidentified suspect suddenly appeared and shot him several times in the body.

Baldovino’s wife, Janice, told the police that prior to the incident, her husband asked for her permission to go out of the house to buy a cellphone and failed to return home.

Janice also said that she learned from Rose Diestro, a desk clerk at Barangay Tambo, that her husband came from the barangay before the incident.

Diestro told Janice that a man filed a complaint against her husband in the barangay and that Baldovino had a confrontation with the complainant, walked out, and left.

The report ended that the police are exploring the possibility that the motive behind the killing could be connected with the complaint (filed against the victim).

But there is more! Watch these related YouTube news videos by GMA Network and ABS-CBN. The GMA Network news video even has certain details not found in Manila Bulletin’s report.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the Manila Bulletin’s crime news report? Did you notice something strange going on in your local community there in Parañaque City? Are the local police and barangay tanods doing enough to secure your local community from criminals?

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: Muntinlupa and Parañaque to receive Russian vaccines

It has been reported by GMA News that the initial batch of COVID-19 (China Virus) vaccines from Russia called Sputnik V has finally arrived and the South Metro Manila cities of Muntinlupa and Parañaque are among the five National Capital Region (NCR) to receive them. To be clear, the said vaccines are only 15,000 doses and the five NCR cities will get an equal share of three thousand doses each.

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

In an interview on “Dobol B TV,” Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the five cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) were chosen because they have “appropriate” cold storage facility for the Sputnik V  vaccine.

She said the five cities are Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Manila, and Parañaque, which will get 3,000 doses each of the vaccine.

“Mayroon silang (five chosen cities) cold-chain ready facility na mag fit (that is desirable),” said Cabotaje, adding that  Sputnik V needs to be stored in a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius.

Also, Cabotaje said simulations for the vaccines will be conducted by the Parañaque City government in partnership with the private sector.

Further, she said the Makati City LGU has partnered with Makati Medical Center to deploy the vaccines.

On the other hand, Cabotaje noted that Sputnik V can be administered to Filipinos ages 18 and above. She said there were no side effects reported from other countries, so far.

Sputnik V’s second dose must be given 21 days after the first shot was injected, Cabotaje added.

Asked when the remaining 485,000 Sputnik V doses will arrive, Cabotaje said: “It will depend on the vaccine availability and shipping logistics.”  The national government earlier said that it expects the remaining batches of Sputnik V to be delivered this May.

Moreover, Cabotaje said the ordered doses would be sent in batches to allow Russia to study the country’s vaccine deployment process.

“They sent small doses first because they want to know how we administer their vaccines so that the drugs won’t be wasted,” Cabotaje said in Filipino.

On Saturday, the plane carrying the trial-order doses of Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute vaccine landed in Manila. Its arrival was delayed twice due to logistical concerns.

Meanwhile, Sputnik V’s importation has recently been flagged by a Brazilian health regulator’s technical staff over “critical issues” on its efficacy rate and safety.

But earlier, the Philippine FDA said Sputnik V has a 91% efficacy rate.

Those are very interesting details. The Russian vaccine had a high efficacy rate from the local Food and Drug Administration although the regulators of Brazil rejected it resulting a potential lawsuit. Brazil’s regulators defended their decision. The report published by Science Magazine states: A confusing and unusually nasty fight broke out this week over the safety of a Russian COVID-19 vaccine known as Sputnik V after a Brazilian health agency declined on Monday to authorize its import because of quality and safety concerns. The stakes escalated yesterday when the Twitter account officially associated with the vaccine said “Sputnik V is undertaking a legal defamation proceeding” against Brazil’s regulators.

In an online press conference several hours later, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) defended its decision, maintaining that documentation from some of the Russian facilities making Sputnik V shows that one of its two doses contains adenoviruses capable of replication, a potential danger to vaccine recipients. The vaccine uses two different adenoviruses, which cause the common cold, to deliver the gene for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVD-19. Both are supposed to be stripped of a key gene that allows them to replicate.

The Monday announcement left many scientists and media outlets believing Anvisa had directly tested Sputnik V for replicating adenoviruses, which would be unusual for a regulatory agency. But Anvisa has since clarified—it had not and was relying on information provided by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the Moscow-based developer of the vaccine.

For more information, I encourage you to read the article in full. Lots of really technical information to read and understand.

In closing this, let me ask you readers from Muntinlupa and Parañaque…if you have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 yet, are you willing to get injected with Sputnik V vaccine when your turn happens? 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

San Miguel Corporation to speed up work on completing Skyway Extension

You must have heard about the opening of the northbound section (entry point at Susana Heights part of the South Luzon Expressway) of the Skyway Extension Project that happened just days ago with the presence of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang and Department of Highways and Public Works (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar who made final inspections that day. That’s really great news!

Here are more good news! SMC announced that it will do more with the construction of the Skyway Extension Project’s southbound section (exit also in the Susana Heights area of SLEX) and things will move at a faster pace with a 3rd quarter completion in mind.

To put things in perspective, below is the excerpt from the press release published through Philippine News Agency (PNA)…

“It’s only been a number of days since we opened the northbound section, free to the public until further notice, and already we have seen a huge improvement in traffic flow, particularly on SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and the Alabang viaduct. That makes us even more determined to complete construction of the southbound section so this project can fully serve motorists and improve traffic and connectivity to and from the south,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said the soft-opening of the first two of the three lanes of the northbound Skyway Extension from Susana Heights to Sucat, Paranaque proved to be timely, as it coincided with the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Despite the higher volume of vehicles on the expressway, traffic has been smooth because many Class 1 vehicles now use the Skyway Extension. 

“We’re already seeing how convenient and much faster travel is now, and it will become even more evident when traffic volume picks up and starts to normalize. That is why we’d again like to ask for our motorists’ cooperation and understanding as we move towards completion of the southbound Skyway Extension,” Ang said.

As part of the next phase of construction, Ang said the Hillsborough off-ramp of the elevated southbound Skyway will be closed to traffic permanently starting April 19 at 6 a.m.

As such, vehicles coming from the elevated Skyway will now exit at the steel ramp in Alabang. Heavy traffic is expected in this area.

“Unfortunately, there is no way around it, we need to close this portion to secure the staging ground for equipment and workers and to accelerate construction and ensure the safety of our motorists. I appeal to our motorists again for their patience and understanding. We expect heavy traffic to persist for the duration of the construction, but rest assured we will do everything we can to help mitigate this, and complete the project within the timetable,” Ang said.

With this, SMC Infrastructure is advising motorists to take the following alternative routes:

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for SLEX and farther South

• From Skyway Elevated, keep left to Steel Ramp towards destination.

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for Alabang

• From Skyway – Elevated, keep right to Alabang-Zapote off-ramp.

The Skyway Extension southbound section has two lanes and runs from the Skyway Main Toll Plaza to Soldier’s Hills in Muntinlupa, with a total distance of four kilometers. 

Meanwhile, Ang reiterated that use of the northbound Skyway Extension will remain free for motorists until further notice. 

The Skyway Extension project is part of the 38-kilometer elevated Skyway System, which includes the newly-opened Skyway Stage 3, also fully-funded by SMC.

Did you enjoy the above news and details? I sure did. What San Miguel Corporation (in coordination with the national government) has been doing is already benefitting people of Metro Manila and those from both the north and south of the National Capital Region (NCR) who need to travel great distances efficiently and faster. The results will be even greater once the entire project has been completed and the benefits will be available not only to travelers and motorists today, but also for future generations of people. Check out the related Skyway video below.

That being said, SMC and the Skyway projects are great examples of capitalism making great improvements to the national infrastructure. It is clear that the private sector is essential as it has the technologies, the expertise and resources to improve the quality of life (apart from providing good paying jobs) here in the Philippines. Capitalism is essential and good, and socialism (and all its related Leftist garbage) sucks. For more insight about capitalism and socialism, watch these videos from John Stossel plus another video that debunks the Left’s propaganda that the poor got poorer.

In closing this piece, let me ask you what you do think about the latest developments about the Skyway project? If you actually traveled via the Skyway lately, how was your travel experience?

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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

Buy-bust operation in Las Piñas City results two fatalities and over P200 million worth of suspected illegal substance seized

Following the anti-drug operations it pulled off in the cities of Parañaque and Pasay, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its strategic partners scored another one with its buy-bust operation in the city of Las Piñas where they seized 31 kilograms of the suspected illegal substance referred to as shabu which was estimated to be worth P210 million. The same operation also resulted the deaths of two men.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the report published through Philippine News Agency (PNA)…

PNP Chief General Debold Sinas facing the media at the scene of the crime. (source – Philippine National Police Facebook page)

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, on Wednesday identified the slain suspects as Jen Jieko Amarga, alias Koy-koy and Coco Amarga, and Andrew Garcia.

Citing a report from the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG), Sinas said the two were known distributors of illegal drugs in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon and were connected to drug syndicates operating in the country.

“Their source of illegal drugs came from a certain Chinese national from the country of Myanmar and being discreetly transported to a warehouse somewhere in Pampanga,” he said.

The operation, conducted by police officers and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), started at about 10 p.m. along Sherack St. in Barangay Almanza Uno after a poseur buyer was able to convince the suspects to sell a kilogram of shabu worth PHP6.8 million.

Sinas said after the exchange of the shabu and the buy-bust money, the policemen declared that the suspects were being arrested.

“Nakipagbarilan sila, so namatay yung dalawang suspects (They shot it out with our personnel so they got killed),” he said.

The PDEG is conducting follow-up operations to find the suspects’ cohorts.

It is notable in the above news report that the illegal substance came from Myanmar handled by a still unidentified Chinese national. How it got smuggled all the way from Myanmar to Pampanga has yet to be explained. As for the two men who died and were alleged to be experienced distributors, it remains to be seen how their demise will impact the local drugs problem for at least the short term.

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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: Additional checkpoints in Metro Manila for ECQ (until April 4, 2021)

Are you having trouble moving around Metro Manila during this period of ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) that’s supposed to end on April 4, 2021? Were you able to study and use the S-PaSS system?

Be aware that today, additional checkpoints (AKA quarantine control points) have been added in Metro Manila.

Below is an excerpt from yesterday’s article published through Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) website. For clarity, locations of the checkpoints are in bold.

National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) Chief, Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao, Jr., said the checkpoints are implemented at Susana Heights Tollgate; Alabang Tollgate; Filinvest Tollgate; Sucat Tollgate; Bicutan Tollgate; Skyway Entry; Nichols Tollgate; and Balon Bato, Balintawak, Quezon City.

Danao said apart from these control points, about 929 other checkpoints are manned by some 7,876 personnel in highly visible areas but these are “less restrictive”, which means it is mainly for anti-criminality, anti-terrorism, and dragnet operations.

He said under ECQ, police manning checkpoints restrict the movement of persons not allowed outside their homes and facilitate the movement of authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) and essential goods and services.

For those living in the South Metro Manila cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque, the tollgates of Susana Heights, Alabang, Filinvest, Sucat and Bicutan should be familiar because all of them are accessed through the Skyway and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). I find it weird that the PNA report did not even mention the said highways.

Knowing this, I encourage you all to check the ECQ requirements for travel (note: if you still have your quarantine pass or QP, bring it with you) and study using S-PaSS (note: City Government of Las Piñas encouraged motorists to use it).

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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

NSHA members elect seven directors

This past weekend, the New South Homeowners Association (NSHA) inside BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City, organized their annual election which resulted seven winners who will serve for two years as members of the association’s board of directors (BOD).

Those who got elected in the February 27, 2021 village polls were Karen Abanilla with 45 votes, Michael Paul Togle and Bon Obial with 42 votes each, Emmanuel Malicden with 40 votes, Danilo Lesaca with 39 votes, Fred Morales with 38 votes and Christopher Baliog with 36 votes.

Three of the seven newly elected village directors posed with the official results after the counting ended.
The NSHA election committee in a group shot with the results.

The newly elected people will join the other six incumbent directors (who are due for next year) in completing the 13-member NSHA BOD and soon, they will convene and elect among themselves and come up with the new lineup of NSHA officers.

What makes the NSHA election significant this year was that it was organized with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the association took measures that would lower the risk of new infections while still allowing legitimate members to vote efficiently and safely.

The NSHA election committee (ELECOM) headed by Gerard Castro used their indoor facility (part of the clubhouse which has the office) as the key venue. ELECOM officers were inside and worked behind specific windows which the legitimate HOA members (who are outside) visited one-by-one to vote manually. Social distancing was practiced and everyone wore a face mask. At the nearby basketball court (a Golezeum), there were some plastic chairs arranged with social distancing in mind for the comfort of the voting members.

A view from outside the venue.
Windows 1 and 2 were where the legitimate members registered.
The ELECOM from inside the venue handling registration.

The election process was pretty simple: Step 1 – From waiting area go to Window 1 or 2 to register and get ballot. Step 2 – Go to designated voting area to vote your selected candidates for directors. Step 3 – Go to Window 3 to put your thumb mark on ballot and put ballot (divided in half) in ballot box.

After voting, the legitimate members were directed to go to the designated waiting area for snacks and refreshments.

A view of Window 3 from the outside.
The counting of the votes was done with transparency.

In the afternoon, the counting of votes took place inside the venue. Each vote was counted carefully and the names of the candidates who received the votes were clearly spoken. The results were certified by the ELECOM and the seven winners were proclaimed. It was indeed a transparent process.

For more updates about NSHA, visit their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/nshavillage

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For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. If you want to have your local community featured on this website or if you have a press release that needs to be published to inform the readers, please approach me. 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

For Shakey’s Philippines, 2021 will be a bounce-back year

It has been almost fifty years since Shakey’s first opened here in the Philippines and went on to become one of the most defining restaurants that families visit for very delicious meals, especially when it comes to pizza. Shakey’s has over 200 stores (both franchised and owned by the company) nationwide according to details posted in the Shakey’s Philippines website. Its strong presence in the Philippines was confirmed in 2015 when Euromonitor published a report showing that Shakey’s is the market leader in the categories of chained pizza full-service restaurants and in chained full-service restaurants. The results for both categories were 26.7% and 57.7% market shares.

Along the way, Shakey’s Philippines has a sibling business called Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken which has a growing number of outlets. Inside BF Homes subdivision in Parañaque City, the Shakey’s branch along Aguirre Avenue has a Peri-Peri outlet right beside it.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected businesses and societies in 2020. It was so severe, the Philippine economy shrank by a record 9.5%. As of this writing, a whole lot of people around the nation remain unemployed and more people fell under poverty.

The year 2021, however, will be different as far as Shakey’s Philippines is concerned. The company just announced that they will open fifteen new Shakey’s branches as well as fifteen new Peri-Peri outlets this year. These are parts of their plan to restart a store network expansion strategy that was put on hold last year due to the pandemic. Below is an excerpt from Shakey’s press release published on Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“For Shakey’s, we are looking to further strengthen the brand’s visibility and awareness, especially in underpenetrated second and third-tier cities outside of Metro Manila. For Peri, there are still a number of unserved markets which don’t have access to the brand’s great-tasting products,” Shakey’s president and chief executive officer Vicente Gregorio said.

Last 2020, the company ended with 245 Shakey’s restaurants, three of which were located abroad, and 34 Peri outlets all located in the Philippines.

It also launched a number of new offerings in select outlets including the ability for guests to ‘Park & Dine’, ‘Park & Order’, eat outdoors, and order R&B milk tea -one of the leading milk tea brands in Singapore.

“With evolving consumer habits brought about by the pandemic, our network expansion strategy has likewise adapted to ensure we maximize both our in-store and out-of-store presence. Our new openings this year will cater not only to our guests’ dine-in preference, but also their increasing need for more convenient and flexible out-of-store options,” Gregorio said.

He said Shakey’s will be unveiling a number of so-called ghost kitchens or kitchen extensions “to further strengthen our presence in delivery” at a time when off-premise channels are gaining prominence.

In the last few months, the company has been piloting a ‘31 Minute Delivery, If It’s Late, It’s Free’ guarantee in select areas in Metro Manila.

Gregorio added the company’s planned expansion this year “will come hand in hand with other exciting new business innovations that will maximize our existing asset base.”

“2021 will definitely be an exciting ‘bounce-back’ year,” he said.

As you can see in the above details, Shakey’s Philippines continues to push forward with their business and strategies even during this COVID-19 crisis. This is indeed encouraging not only for the business-minded people but also to Shakey’s many loyal customers as well as other food enthusiasts who love pizza, pasta and other meals served by the company.

In my experience, Shakey’s always serve very delicious fried chicken, mojos and spaghetti.

As Shakey’s president and CEO Gregorio stated, their company is taking steps on keeping up with the changing consumer habits and, more notably, they are making their business accessible to the consumers. In short, Shakey’s Philippines won’t allow itself to be a victim of change but rather be a part of it and keep on feeding the customers. That being said, 2021 is for them a bounce-back year.

Now that you have read this, I’d like to ask when was the last time you eat inside a Shakey’s? Have you ordered food from them lately? What is the first type of food that comes to your mind when you hear their brand?

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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

March 1, 2021 a special holiday in Muntinlupa City

The City Government of Muntinlupa announced yesterday that March 1, 2021 (Monday) is a special non-working holiday in the city in accordance to Republic Act Number 9191 (RA 9191).

Formally approved on February 2003 by then Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, RA 9191 is titled “An Act Declaring the First Day of March of Every Year as a Special Nonworking Holiday in the City of Muntinlupa to be Known as The Muntinlupa City Charter Day.”

Apart from the said Republic Act, March 1 itself is a very notable date in the history of Muntinlupa. It was on March 1, 1995 when Muntinlupa formally became a highly urbanized city of the Philippines as a result of the approval of Republic Act Number 7926 (title: An Act Converting the Municipality of Muntinlupa into a Highly Urbanized City to be Known as the City of Muntinlupa). RA 7926 was signed into law by then President Fidel V. Ramos.

In addition, below are some selected sections of RA 7926 for everyone’s reference.

Section 3 (The City of Muntinlupa) states: The Municipality of Muntinlupa shall be converted into a highly urbanized city to be known as the City of Muntinlupa, hereinafter referred to as the City, which shall comprise the present territory of the Municipality of Muntinlupa in Metropolitan Manila Area, over which it has jurisdiction, bounded by the municipalities of Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas, all of Metro Manila and the Municipality of San Pedro, Laguna.

Section 8 (The Officials of the City of Muntinlupa) states: (a) There shall be in the City of Muntinlupa a city mayor, a vice-mayor, sangguniang panlungsod members, a secretary to the sangguniang panlungsod, a city treasurer and an assistant city treasurer, a city assessor and an assistant city assessor, a city accountant, a city budget officer, a city planning and development coordinator, a city engineer and building official, a city health officer, a city civil registrar, a city administrator, a city legal officer, a city veterinarian, a city social welfare and development officer, a city general services officer, a city information officer, and a city prosecutor.

(b)    In addition thereto, the city mayor may point a city architect, a city population officer, a city environment and natural resources officer, a city cooperatives officer, a city international relations officer, a city fire marshall, a city international relations officer, a city fire marshall, a city jail warden, a city register of deeds, and a city land transportation officer.

(c)    The City of Muntinlupa may:

(1)    Maintain existing offices not mentioned in subsections (a) and (b) hereof;

(2)    Create such other offices as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the City; or

(3)    Consolidate the functions of any office with those of another in the interest of efficiency and economy.

(d)    Unless otherwise provided herein, all appointive city officials of the City shall be appointed by the city mayor with the concurrence of the majority of all the sangguniang panlungsod members, subject to the civil service law, rules and regulations.  The sangguniang panlungsod shall act on the appointment within fifteen (15) days from the date of its admission, otherwise the same shall be deemed confirmed.

Section 62 (Legislative Districts) states: The creation for separate districts for Muntinlupa and Las Piñas and the first election for the two (2) legislative districts shall be made effective in 1998.

With the creation of the City of Muntinlupa, the congressional district for purposes of the 1995 elections shall remain the same.

Enjoy the holiday in Muntinlupa next week.

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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

Majority of Metro Manila Mayors support shift to MGCQ status by March 1, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte will have a big decision to make that will affect millions of residents and businesses in Metro Manila as a majority of the mayors voted to shift the metropolis from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status by March 1, 2021, as based on a news release on Philippine News Agency (PNA) that got published just last night.

Here’s an excerpt from the PNA report:

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of Metro Manila mayors and national government officials, has voted to support the proposed shift to the less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in Metro Manila.

“Ang karamihan po ng alkalde ng kalakhang maynila ay bumoto na MGCQ na po ang magiging posisyon nila pagdating sa Metro Manila (Most of the mayors in Metro Manila voted for having MGCQ as their position in Metro Manila),” Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. said in a press conference on Thursday.

This, he said, will be sent to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and to President Rodrigo R. Duterte who will make the final decision on whether to implement eased quarantine restrictions by March 1.

He declined to provide the actual number of votes the proposal received but said that all Metro Manila mayors will support the decision.

Indeed, Abalos did not reveal the number of Yes and No votes but the Manila Bulletin reported that the score among Metro Manila mayors was 9-8 in favor of MGCQ.

To put things in perspective, Metro Manila still has yet to adjust to MGCQ status. Metro Manila is the hot spot of multiple cities where a lot of residents as well as business entities of varied sizes are located at. Right now, the nation needs a major boost to its economy even as there is still the need to be vigilant to avoid new COVID-19 infections. Lots of people in the metropolis remain unemployed and badly need income, and having Metro Manila shift to MGCQ status will help revive other businesses and pave the way for more people to get back to work.

It would be nice to see the Metro Manila Council research more and observe closely how other cities and provinces are doing while maintaining MGCQ statuses for months already.

On a grander scale, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) supports the recommendation to have the entire nation placed under MGCQ status by March. The said recommendation was made by Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua in recent times. Below is an excerpt from the PNA report:

“It is about time we move to MGCQ after a year of lockdown,” Lopez told reporters in a Viber message Tuesday. “Lockdown was supposed to buy us time to prepare our health system and improve contact tracing and ‘Trace-Test-Treat’.”

Since June 2020, the National Capital Region (NCR) has not graduated from GCQ status, a stricter community quarantine measure than MGCQ.

It even went back to much stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 4 to 18 last year as health care facilities in Metro Manila were overwhelmed due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases during that period.

“As the Philippines recovers, Metro Manila has a very weak recovery, worse in employment and hunger recovery, and that means more urban poor. The damages to malnutrition and other health and social issues will be irreversible,” Lopez said.

NCR accounted for around 40 percent of the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP).

But Lopez added the reopening of more economic activities should depend on the Covid-19 statistics.

As pointed out by Trade secretary Lopez, Metro Manila is lagging behind in terms of recovery from the pandemic. Apart from joblessness and lack of income, poverty in the National Capital Region is an important problem to solve. The more people fall under poverty, the more local government units (LGUs) need to exert and spend their limited resources to support them.

Right now, the Metro Manila Council’s approval of shifting to MGCQ status will soon be dealt with by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and President Duterte.

In ending this, here are some videos about combatting the China virus.

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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