President Marcos reaches out to France for strategic partnership on nuclear energy

As you should know by now, I personally favor the use of nuclear power as a key source of abundant energy for the entire Philippines (read my posts by clicking here and here). Nuclear power can produce very high amounts of energy required to power the economy and society and there is no way that solar and wind power could achieve that. Nuclear energy is the answer for the energy requirements of the Philippines and I am really glad that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., reached out to French President Emmanuel Macron and specifically sought nuclear energy partnership during their high-level talk recently in Thailand, as reported by the Philippine Star.

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

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he sought a partnership with France on nuclear energy during a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand.

I’m very confident that it will be a strong partnership simply because they have up to 67 percent of their power production is from nuclear energy so they are very, very used to it,” Marcos said, according to a release from Malacañang.

Marcos said he wanted to talk to Macron about energy because of France’s use of nuclear power, a controversial energy source that the Philippine president had long advocated for.

On the campaign trail, Marcos said the Philippines should look into reviving the 621-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant — a venture by his despot father and namesake which was mothballed in 1986 because of safety concerns.

During his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos reiterated his determination to adopt nuclear power, saying “it is time to re-examine our strategy towards building nuclear power plants.

For some added insight into the Marcos-Macron meeting, watch the videos below…

In my honest opinion, it is high-time for the Philippines to move forward with enhancing the entire national power grid by using nuclear power. To invest tons of money on wind and solar power will only produce minimal new energy and the fact remains that the said two types of energy are unreliable. On the social aspect of nuclear energy, I encourage my fellow Filipinos reading this to stop being fearful about anything nuclear and pay close attention to the latest in nuclear power technology, specifically with small modular reactors (SMRs). Learn about them by clicking here and here.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development about the Philippines reaching out to France for a nuclear power partnership? Are you glad that President Marcos specifically sought partnership during his bilateral talk with the President of France?

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

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

Gang of kidnappers busted; one of the victims was abducted in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque

A gang of kidnappers whose members were described as transgendered people got busted by the personnel of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) as a result of a joint operation with the Anti-Kidnapping Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and some military personnel, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) news report. The gang referred to as Warla had victimized more than ten people (including one victim in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque  City according to a Philippine Star news report) and they collected millions of Pesos worth of ransom money for the purpose of sex reassignment surgery (AKA sex change) for themselves.

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

Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) dismantled a kidnapping syndicate whose members are transgenders.

In a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City on Tuesday, CIDG director Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee identified the suspects as Francis Villa, Lawrenza Lingo, Johnas Belonio, Bernard Torres and Mark Joseph Pelonio, all members of the “Warla” kidnapping group.

They were nabbed in a joint operation with the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group, National Capital Region Police Office and military troops on Oct. 1.

Lee said the modus of the group is to lure victims from dating apps and sites to meet up with their good-looking members.

Once abducted, the victims are brought to their safehouse and the suspects demand money from them in exchange for their release.

After receiving the ransom, the suspects drop off the victims in random places around Metro Manila.

The group is said to be operating in the southern part of Metro Manila, specifically in Parañaque, Pasay, Taguig, and Makati and has victimized around 14 persons.

They were able to collect total ransom money amounting to PHP4.2 million which will be used for their sex reassignment surgery or “sex change”.

Lee said the group was made known to the police after Taiwanese victim Michael Lee was rescued on Sept. 7 in Parañaque City, after he was abducted on Sept. 3.

The kidnapping group demanded a sum of money from the victim’s friends in exchange for his freedom. The victim’s friends were able to send money to five different digital wallets reaching a total of PHP308,000.

“For the longest time that I have been in anti-kidnapping operations, this is the first time we have encountered this group of transgenders who have already victimized 14 people. We are still backtracking to find out who they are and fortunately, Michael Lee complained and sought the help of the Taiwan police so that was the breakthrough in this case,” Lee said in Filipino.

Lee said the kidnapping group is led by a certain Mikey Ebol, a.k.a Mike Collado Ebol, who is now hiding.

After trailing transactions of the group, the police located four other suspects who had already surrendered — Dewie Shaine Collado Garcia, Charlemagne Olunan Vargas and Christian Paredes.

In their statements, they said the SIM (subscriber identity module) cards they owned were bought by Ebol.

During the investigation, Lee said the group was formed in 2018.

Col. Hansel Marantan, CIDG National Capital Region field unit director, said the name of the group was coined from the gay lingo “warlalu” which means “let’s get it on, let’s go to war”.

They will post themselves as beautiful women on Facebook to lure their prey. And that’s it, once the victims are kidnapped, they will start negotiations like asking for PHP500,000 and the span of negotiations is very short. It takes only about three to four days and they use GCash as an avenue for the collection of money which is very hard to trace,” he added.

Further probe revealed that the group is involved in the illegal sale of firearms.

The PNP-AKG filed kidnapping charges against Ebol and his cohorts before the Department of Justice on Sept. 12.

Meanwhile, continuous manhunt operations are being conducted to track the whereabouts of Ebol, and his other members Lexi Villanueva, Jaine Martinez, Hector Magallanes a.k.a. “Yanyan”, Erwin Flores a.k.a. “Marga”, and Matthew San Diego.

As mentioned earlier, one of the victims was abducted in Parañaque City – specifically in Barangay BF Homes – on September 3 before getting rescued a few days later. The Philippine Star noted this in its own report. Posted below is an excerpt from the report. Some parts in boldface…

Three of the suspects – Dewie Shaine Garcia, Charlemagne Vargas and Christian Paredes – surrendered to police after they were found to be connected to the kidnapping of 58-year-old Taiwanese businessman Michael Lee in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque on Sept. 3. He was rescued last Sept. 7.

Unfortunately, the Philippine Star report did not specify where exactly in Barangay BF Homes did the kidnapping happen. Right now the local authorities and their investigators are trying to figure out what exactly happened and what resources the kidnappers had.

This newest development should serve as a warning to all those who use dating sites or dating apps. There is the need to be cautious when interacting with someone through an online dating source. It is bad enough that there are lots of scammers here in the Philippines who try to lure people through text messaging and social media to get their money.

For added insight, watch the following news videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about these new developments? Are you concerned that you may have interacted with kidnappers pretending to be attractive individuals on dating sites or dating apps? Do these events make you afraid of online dating? Do you think your local community could be easily infiltrated by kidnap-for-ransom gang members?

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

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

SUV hits and runs over elderly street sweeper in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City; driver arrested

This past weekend, a very tragic event happened inside BF Homes subdivision in Parañaque City when a 63-year-old street sweeper got hit and ran over by a sports utility vehicle (SUV) at the corner of Elizalde street and Aguirre Avenue. The tragedy was captured entirely by CCTV camera and the footage has since turned viral online. Already, the major daily newspapers Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star reported about the tragedy although they differed on the name of the apprehended driver responsible.

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

A 63-year-old female street sweeper suffered severe injuries as she was hit by a sports utility vehicle (SUV) in Parañaque on Saturday, according to a report from the Parañaque City Police Station.

The woman was sweeping the street when an SUV hit, dragged, and ran over her at the corner of Elizalde Avenue (and) Aguirre Avenue in Barangay BF Homes.

This incident was caught on camera, with CCTV footage showing the driver hitting and running over the street sweeper even though she was on the side of the road.

The woman was immediately brought to the Ospital ng Paranaque and was later transferred to the Philippine General Hospital.

The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Raymond Maraña, was arrested and taken to the Traffic Vehicular Investigation Unit for investigation.

Police are now preparing a complaint of reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injury against Maraña.

For more insight, posted below is the excerpt from the report of the Philippine Star. Some parts in boldface…

Police arrested a motorist who ran over and abandoned a street sweeper in Parañaque City yesterday, in an incident that was caught on video that has gone viral on social media.

The victim, 63-year-old Doreen Bacus, was collecting trash at the corner of Elizalde and Aguirre avenues in barangay BF Homes when she was hit by a white Mitsubishi Pajero sport utility vehicle (SUV) at around 7:30 a.m., Southern Police District director Brig. Gen. Kirby John Kraft said in a message on Viber.

Kraft identified the suspect as Raymond Zaparain, 42, a resident of Las Piñas City, who was arrested by policemen after the incident

Surveillance camera footage of the incident shared by a netizen showed Bacus was unaware of the oncoming SUV as she had her back to the vehicle.

Instead of stopping, Zaparain ran over the victim and fled the scene.

Concerned citizens rushed Bacus to the Ospital ng Parañaque. She was later transferred to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila for further treatment.

One of the witnesses, David Gamboa, confronted Zaparain about the incident.

“Ito lang sinabi niya (this was all he said), ‘I wasn’t aware,’” Gamboa said in a post on Facebook.

On the Barangay BF Homes Official Facebook group, Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez issued a statement and confirmed he personally knew the victim. Posted below is an excerpt and some parts are in boldface…

A street sweeper (CENRO) by the name of Doreen Bacus from Masville (i personally know and observe her at times na nagpapangabot kami sa kalye as masiyahin and super sipag) was a victim of hit and run by a male driver on a mitsubishi AUV. Fortunately there were witnesses that saw the accident, reported and chased the speeding vehicle towards lopez gate. The driver was apprehended by responding police, tanods and security guards and is currently detained at the Parañaque Traffic Management Bureau for investigation. We hope the driver is punished by the full extent of the law as this will set an example to others not to take the roads for granted. We don’t want any similar reckless incidents happening in our peaceful community.

We are very saddened by this incident. Nanay Doreen 63 years old is a regular street sweeper in our Barangay. She’s currently at PGH in critical conditon and being treated for major injuries sustained during the accident.

For those who wish to send their personal help, you may contact her daughter thru this number 09558524279 (Jade Bacus).

Finally, posted below is a Tagalog ABS-CBN news video about the incident. Watch and listen closely to the details.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are living in Parañaque City, what is your reaction to this the tragedy that happened inside BF Homes? Are hit-and-run incidents common in your city?

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

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Over 200 active cases in Muntinlupa City

In the progressive City of Muntinlupa, active local cases of COVID-19 have remained over two hundred based on the latest City Government data reported through the Philippine Star. This should remind you – notably Muntinlupa residents – to practice caution, follow health protocols, prioritize your trips outside the home and get vaccinated/boosted whenever you have the chance.

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

There are 219 active COVID-19 cases in Muntinlupa, the city government reported yesterday. The number is slightly lower compared to 220 active cases recorded last Wednesday.

The death toll in Muntinlupa brought by the COVID-19 pandemic remains at 622.

All nine barangays in Muntinlupa have active cases, with 51 in Poblacion. The other barangays with over 20 cases are Tunasan with 36; Ayala Alabang, 29; Alabang, 28; Putatan, 26, and Cupang, 21. The remaining barangays of Buli, Sucat and Bayanan have 12, 10 and six, respectively.

A total of 123 other persons are under monitoring for possible COVID infection.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this development? Do you think that people in the city have gotten complacent with following health protocols? Do you think that the City Government should do more to convince local constituents to get vaccinated/boosted? Did anyone from the anti-vaccine fanatics community harm you or bombard you with their lies and propaganda? Do you believe that the anti-vaccine fanatics want the entire Philippines to fail in the campaign against COVID-19?

If you are a local resident who needs to get vaccinated or boosted in Muntinlupa City, contact the MunCoVac or visit them at https://www.facebook.com/MunCoVac

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

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

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

Teacher arrested in Las Piñas City for extortion and issuing bomb threats to several schools

Recently in Las Piñas City, a male teacher was arrested by law enforcers as a result of an entrapment operation in relation to his extortion attempts and threatening schools with bombings, the Philippine Star reported. There were more than thirty schools located in different cities that received extortion demands via email from the suspect.

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

A (teacher) accused of extortion and threatening schools in Metro Manila with bombings and mass shootings while posing as a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was apprehended in Las Piñas City, police reported yesterday. Jake Castro, 26, was arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group under the supervision of CIDG director Maj. Gen. Eliseo Cruz during a sting in Barangay Zapote on Friday.

According to probers, Castro is a teacher at a private school for poor children at Doña Manuela Subdivision in Barangay Pamplona.

Col. Randy Glenn Silvio, who heads the CIDG National Capital Region field unit, said Castro e-mailed extortion demand messages to 33 schools in Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Makati, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig and Quezon City.

Nine of the schools the suspect allegedly threatened are in Parañaque and seven in Quezon City.

Using the e-mail address newpeoplesarmy1969@gmail.com, Castro claims to be a member of the NPA special tactics unit, threatening the schools with bombings and terror attacks if his demands are not met.

One of these educational institutions from Barangay Bago Bantay in Quezon City filed a complaint with the CIDG after receiving e-mail from the suspect demanding P2 million.

“In case the school management failed to give in to the demand, they would bomb and blow the school into pieces and would shoot the people inside the school,” Silvio said.

Police said 26 other schools in Metro Manila received similar threats from the suspect.

A school principal convinced the suspect to agree to lower the amount to P500,000. Acting on this, the CIDG launched an entrapment operation with the help of a delivery rider after Castro agreed to receive the money at his house in Zapote village.

The suspect was placed under arrest after he received the marked money.

Police said they confiscated a .38-caliber handgun, five shotgun bullets, a cell phone, other gadgets and a motorcycle from Castro.

Castro is being held on charges of robbery, resisting arrest, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, violation of the election gun ban and Presidential Decree 1727 or the Anti-Bomb Joke Law.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this crime story? If you are a school employee, did you work for a school that received a threat from the suspect via email? Are you thankful to the CIDG for apprehending the suspect?

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

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

Come to Subic Bay for the big triathlon event on May 1, 2022

If you are looking for nice place for vacation and you also want to watch a triathlon event live, then you should come to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone where the 2022 edition of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) will be held at on May 1, 2022 (for external references, click here, here, here and here).

For the triathlon enthusiasts who just visited this blog for the first time, the SUBIT is the major Philippine triathlon event that immediately precedes the 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam which itself will open formally on May 12 (references here, here and here) and it will have their own triathlon and duathlon medal events. 2019 SEA Games gold medalists John Chicano and Marion Kim Mangrobang are the favorites for the multisport medal events in this year’s SEA Games but before those games do happen, you will get to see them both as well as the other Philippine Team triathletes in action at the SUBIT.

The big event at Subic Bay on May 1.

For a quick look at who the Philippine Team triathletes are racing and what impact SUBIT had on Philippine triathlon in general, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin sports news report. Some parts in boldface…

The race is actually a tuneup for the PH team going to the biennial meet where it aims to maintain its 1-2 finish in the men’s and women’s division.

Racing in SUBIT are Fer Casares, Kim Remolino, John Chicano, Kim Mangrobang, Raven Alcoseba and Lauren Plaza.

The SUBIT will be a good tuneup race for our SEAG-bound athletes, especially sa game strategy,” said Triathlon Association President Tom Carrasco.

SUBIT has been at the forefront of development of Filipino triathletes. I’m proud to say that SUBIT has produced Southeast Asian Games champions and notable Asian Games performers.

Among the SUBIT products were SEAG winners Chicano, Mangrobang, Nikko Huelgas and (Claire) Adorna, Youth Olympics qualifier Vicky Deldio, Columbia World Games qualifiers Carlo Pedregosa and Mirasol Abad, Birmingham World Games qualifier Casares, and 2018 Asian Games top 10 finisher Kim Kilgroe.

Meanwhile, Cebu-based junior triathlete Moira Frances Erediano, who topped a triathlon event in Dumaguete City very recently, is also joining the May 1 SUBIT.

This year’s SUBIT – formally called the NTT AST Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) 2022 – will have race distances of 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run (Standard Distance), 750 M swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run (Sprint Distance) and 500 M – 13 Km bike – 2.5 Km run (Super Sprint Distance) which will cover lots of places in the freeport. With regards to schedules, posted below are the details sourced from the event page at RaceYaya.com

Pay close attention to this.

This year’s SUBIT is a joint project of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and I Love Fun-tastic Subic Bay supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Standard Insurance, FINIS Philippines, Gatorade, Subic Bay Travelers Hotel, POCARI Sweat, and Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines Inc.

Where to enjoy food and drinks in Subic Bay?

Visit Gourmet Garage and Xtremely Xpresso on your next visit to Subic Bay.

Apart from being a sports tourism hot spot, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone also has nice places where you and your family or group of friends can spend time at and enjoy good food and drinks together such as Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here) and Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here and here) to name a few. Personally, I enjoyed the two mentioned places a lot during my past visits. I would suggest you who read this to visit them on your next visit to Subic Bay.

Located at 1143 Argonaut Highway (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there), Gourmet Garage Subic is one very fine place to dine in with others and their cooks specialize preparing really tasty meals such as the Truffle BBQ Orange Baby Back Ribs, the Grilled Salmon Tamari Quinoa, Grilled Javier’s Burger, Sake-marinated Fish Fillet, the Lamb Madras Curry, Gourmet Garage’s Beef Tapa and their signature pasta the Luglug Spaghettini to name a few. Looking for drinks, snacks, cakes, condiments and bread? They have them too! Their venue also has a fine-looking design. If you have any catering needs, they are willing to serve you.

Over at 1 Dewey Avenue corner Sta. Rita Road in the freeport, Xtremely Xpresso is a café that offers customers really good coffee plus meals that families and friends can enjoy together. For the coffee lovers, they got the Jump-start Espresso, Vienna Coffee, White Mocha and Vietnamese Coffee plus their very own lineup of frappe’s such as the Shockwave, the Coffee Cradle and Ekimocha to name a few. For those looking for hearty meals, they have Baby Back Ribs, Korean Beef Ribs, Salisbury Steak, the Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich, pasta and their Big Ben pizza!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited to visit Subic Bay for the May 1 triathlon event and the local places to enjoy good food? When was the last time you visited Subic Bay?

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

COVID-19 Crisis: MECQ in effect in Metro Manila until August 31, 2021

Finally, the surprise enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for Metro Manila has ended as the national government announced late Thursday night that the new level of restriction for the metropolis is the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) which is now in effect and will last until August 31, 2021. For the newcomers reading this, MECQ is supposed to be lighter than ECQ when it comes to restrictions.

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

The quarantine classification in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Laguna and Bataan has been downgraded from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to modified ECQ (MECQ), Malacañang announced Thursday.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte, upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EUD), approved the latest quarantine status in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“These latest classifications are without prejudice to the strict implementation of granular lockdowns,” said Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, in a press statement.

Roque said Metro Manila will be placed under MECQ from Aug. 21 to 31.

Bataan, on the other hand, will be under MECQ from Aug. 23 to 31, he added.

Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan were initially placed under ECQ, the strictest form of community quarantine, due to the spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.

Roque stressed that despite the deescalation of quarantine level, religious gatherings should remain “virtual” in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan.

He added that indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, as well as personal care services such as beauty salons, beauty parlors, barbershops and nail spas should remain prohibited.

Roque said local government units in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan are likewise directed to improve the vaccination rates within their localities, as well as intensify the “Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategies to control the spread of Covid-19.

And here is a related news video to watch…

In an article by the Manila Bulletin, curfew hours in Metro Manila still remain and quarantine passes (QPs) are not required. MECQ also means no cash aid (ayuda) will be released by the national government. There are also other MECQ-related guidelines to follow in another article by the Manila Bulletin. As for the unpopular ban on outdoor exercise approved by the Metro Manila Council (MMC), that one has ended and therefore the freedom to exercise outside our homes has been restored but to a certain extent.

As seen in the details regarding MECQ, there is no real ease nor positive change for several businesses and churches. Restaurants, coffee shops and convenience stores that have tables and chairs are still prohibited from having customers dining inside and on the immediate space outside their joints. In a business sense, this is bad because take-out and delivery services are not good enough for food/beverage sellers to make their ends meet. People of faith, meanwhile, are still literally blocked from worshiping the Lord physically at the venues of their faith communities or ministries. As such, the online form of worship in Metro Manila is still the way but I can tell you from my experience that onsite, physical presence worship of the Lord is the better and more preferable way to worship Him. Online worship has its limits and it lacks the immersion that on-site, physical worship has.

That being said, I encourage you all reading this to pray to God to enlighten all the public officials (from the barangay up to the national level) to look up to Him and come back to Him for His guidance which they really need when it comes to managing the people and their communities as everyone still struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic. The public officials need prayers for the Lord to guide them, strengthen them and prevent them from getting lost.

It should be noted that just days ago, the Metro Manila Council left the decision on community control to national government. Just think about that! Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Benhur Abalos and the mayors met and that was all they could come up with – letting someone else decide for the many millions of people living and struggling in the National Capital Region (NCR).

As such, praying to the Lord to help the public officials is very much needed. It is a fact that each local government unit (LGU) in Metro Manila is struggling not only with their respective COVID-19 vaccine operations but also with all other functions.

Also pray to the Lord that the national government will be more accommodating to the businesses and churches that got negatively affected by these community quarantine levels. Pray to the Lord that the employees, the business owners, the people of faith, the pastors and ministries will be assisted and accommodated better.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about the shift to MECQ for Metro Manila? If you are a manager or owner of a restaurant or coffee shop, how did the recent ECQ affect you and your employees?

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

Las Piñas River Drive Extension (AKA New River Drive) opened for motorists

After being formally opened a week ago, the Las Piñas River Drive’s extension (note: referred to as the New River Drive) made its presence through the local news media via the Manila Standard (May 6) and the Philippine Star (yesterday). The said new road was completed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and its ribbon-cutting ceremony was done with the presence of Senator Cynthia Villar and Las Piñas Congresswoman Camille Villar and other officials.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the New River Drive led by Senator Cynthia Villar and Las Piñas Representative Camille Villar plus other varied officials. (source – Senator Cynthia Villar Facebook page)

So what exactly is this New River Drive? According to the May 4, 2021 post on Senator Villar’s Facebook page, the description is as follows (some parts in bold):

LAS PIÑAS RIVER DRIVE EXTENDED FURTHER

The new 850-meter River Drive traverses Verdant Subdivision to Naga Road via Verdant Acres in Bgy. Pamplona 3 to Vergonville Subdivision, St. Joseph Subdivision and Villa Isabelita in Brgy. Pulang Lupa Dos. The 640-meter River Drive in Casimiro will also be partially opened via Casimiro Village, Dela Cruz Compound and Batibot in Brgy. Pamplona 3. The completion of this project, which is still ongoing, will connect Casimiro Village to Zapote Road.

In the respective published reports of the Manila Standard and Philippine Star, Senator Villar stated that the new road and other road developments in the City of Las Piñas will entice investors and lure in investments. Through the Philippine Star report, the Senator expressed her thanks to the DPWH for addressing their concerns on traffic in the city through the River Drive project. According to Manila Standard’s report, the elderly Villar guaranteed that she will work closely with the City Government and the DPWH to ensure that traffic problems in the city will be resolved swiftly.

Senator Villar, Congresswoman Villar and other officials examined a stretch of the new road as they walked on it. (source – Senator Cynthia Villar Facebook page)

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you were able to drive along the 850-meter Las Piñas River Drive, how was the experience? Was the ride smooth? How much time did it take you to travel the entire 850-meter stretch?

In relation to the above questions, how was your experience driving along the Alabang-Zapote Road since the New River Drive opened?

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’s success in dealing with the pandemic acknowledged

Yesterday, there was this article published in the Philippine Star (online version here) with a title that caught my attention…O Israel!

The said article was written by long-time columnist Boo Chanco (who cited the Washington Post, Capital Economics and Deutsche Welle for context) and to put things in perspective, below are notable excerpts for your reading. Some parts in bold…

Excerpt 1

According to The Washington Post, Israel is now partying like it’s 2019.

“With most adults now vaccinated against the coronavirus and restrictions falling away – including the lifting this week of outdoor mask requirements – Israelis are joyously resuming routines that were disrupted more than a year ago and providing a glimpse of what the future could hold for other countries.”

Oh, Israel! How did you guys do it? We are still in limbo. The best guess for us puts two more years of aimless wandering in the COVID desert.

Excerpt 2

According to The Washington Post, “the rate of new infections has plummeted – from a peak of almost 10,000 a day to about 140 – and the number of serious coronavirus cases in many hospitals is down to single digits.

The emergency COVID-19 ward at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv resumed duty as a parking garage, and waiting rooms are suddenly flooded with non-COVID patients coming for long-deferred treatments.”

But Israeli health officials are quick to note that the pandemic is not over. They are worried about the variants. There is also the possibility of outbreaks in schools, where most students are too young to be vaccinated.

Still, Israel is showing what other nations can expect if they can keep on vaccinating.

“With almost 90 percent of the most vulnerable cohort – those 50 and older – fully inoculated, experts say hospital ICU units are now shielded from being overwhelmed, as almost happened earlier in the pandemic.”

Just two months ago, the spread of the disease stubbornly refused to slow. Vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine is making the difference for Israel.

Dr. Tony Leachon, who once advised IATF, however observed rightly that while “vaccines save lives, the success of Israel is anchored on leadership and governance, and agility in execution.”

According to Deutsche Welle, Israel was able to secure large quantities of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine because Israel agreed to pay double the price for each dose.

Excerpt 3

Israeli officials explained they agreed to pay extra per dose because they figured that in pure economic numbers, the total amount they overpaid was a miniscule fraction of what it costs to lockdown the country. This is not counting the extra medical costs of COVID and the incalculable price of losing a loved one.

Poor Filipinos. We don’t have leaders who think as clearly as the Israelis. We have red tape loving bureaucrats. So, we didn’t have enough vaccines early enough, and it seems we have the wrong one.

A successful vaccination rollout would be our country’s economic game changer. But as Capital Economics said, progress has been disappointing as only one percent of the population has been inoculated almost two months since the start of the program.

Israel launched one of the fastest rollouts in the world. According to The Washington Post, Israel delivered just under 10 million doses of the two-shot Pfizer vaccine regimen, reaching 4.98 million people or about 55 percent of its total population. An additional 400,000 Israelis have received one shot.

“If those who have been infected and then recovered are added, more than 60 percent of Israeli residents now have some level of protective antibodies. The virus is running short of vulnerable bodies to infect.”

Can you imagine if we were able to do that for Metro Manila? NCR’s population is comparable in number to Israel’s.

Wow! Those are very notable details. It is very clear that Israel went all-out and paid heavily to protect their people and set the stage for social and economic comebacks. I admire Israel for their focus, their efforts and management of the COVID-19 crisis (China Virus) there. To put things in perspective, watch these related YouTube videos below…

By comparison, the efforts here in the Philippines are nowhere as efficient and nowhere as successful. It should be noted that yesterday, the Philippines’ total number of COVID-19 cases has passed the 1,000,000 mark. Regardless, I encourage you all to read Boo Chanco’s article in full at https://www.philstar.com/business/2021/04/26/2093707/oh-israel

Going back to Israel, they already announced that they will open their borders to foreign visitors who have already been vaccinated for COVID-19.

In ending this piece, let me ask you readers the following questions:

  1. What is your opinion about Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination program and the way they managed their economy and society?
  2. Here in the Philippines, what is your opinion about the COVID-19 crisis-related efforts of the national government as well as the local government units (LGUs)?
  3. Also here in the Philippines, as local citizens, do you believe your respective mayors are diligently working to serve you and protect your from COVID-19? Do you find your mayors more focused with their egos instead of performing public service?
  4. Still here in the Philippines, if you are a local business owner or manager, has your local government been helpful or harmful?

If you are willing to answer, please do so in the comments section below. If you want more privacy, please contact me directly 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

Parañaque City a Hot Spot for Crimes Involving Chinese Nationals

If there is anything that defined the City of Parañaque lately, it’s not about city competitiveness (Parañaque failed again), not about economic breakthroughs and not even about achieving excellence on local governance (Parañaque was not declared a winner of the DILG’s 2019 Sea of Good Local Governance award).

Rather, it’s about crime turning rampant within the jurisdiction of Parañaque, more specifically the high number of crimes involving Chinese nationals.

According to a December 27, 2019 Philippine Star report, Parañaque has the 3rd highest number of crimes involving Chinese nationals among the southern cities of Metro Manila. The number is 140 crime incidents recorded as per the statistics of the Southern Police District (SPD) as of December 25, 2019. Ahead of Parañaque were Pasay City (201 crime incidents) and Makati City (163 crime incidents).

Specifically on South Metro Manila, Las Piñas City had 54 crime incidents while Muntinlupa City had 19 crime incidents. Combine those numbers with Parañaque’s 140 crime incidents, then that’s a total of 213 crime incidents for South Metro Manila.

You must be wondering why is it that the city that is home to a significant portion of BF Homes subdivision attracted a great majority of of the 213 crime incidents involving Chinese nationals for South Metro Manila?

For one thing, there is a high number of Chinese nationals who took residence in Parañaque and got involved in the local commerce. Speaking of commerce, a lot of these POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) opened up and operated within the city. The City Government recently considered filing charges against the owners of buildings housing Chinese nationals who are working at these POGOs. The housing of many Chinese nationals caused a social disruption in the community of Multinational Village  for the past two years. This caused Multinational residents to write letters of complaints regarding diminishing water supply, power transformer blowouts, eroded roads and rising security risks that allegedly were connected with the Chinese nationals residing in their local community as well as the construction of new POGO housing facilities.

By the way, there are casinos and hotels operating in the Entertainment City which is within the jurisdiction of Parañaque. Those facilities are known to attract a lot of Chinese nationals along with other foreigners.

Focusing more on crimes involving foreigners from China, there was a prostitution raid in Parañaque this past September.

Here’s an excerpt from the CNN Philippines report:

The raid in Diamond Tower in Baclaran also led to the arrest of 13 alleged den maintainers or recruiters of sex workers, nine of whom are male and four who are women, plus 18 male Chinese customers.

And then there was the Chinese affair involving kidnapping that also took place in Parañaque. Here’s an excerpt from the report of Business Mirror:

The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) rescued a Chinese national and arrested two kidnapping suspects during a police operation in Parañaque City.

PNP-AKG Director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo identified the victim as tourist Wang Hong, alias Lee, 29, married, native of Chongqing, China, and who is temporarily residing at Strata Gold Condominium, Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila.

The suspects, on the other hand, were identified as Wan Rehong, 32, native of Qingshanhu District, Nanchang City, China, and Wan Liang, 36, native of Jiangxi, China. Both suspects are tourists.

Estomo said that in the sworn statement of Wang, the victim went to Solaire Resort and Casino on December 4 and gambled. When he lost all his money, a group of Chinese men offered him a loan of P1 million, which he accepted.

The group lent him another P1 million as capital, but he lost again, prompting the group to take the key of the car that he borrowed from a friend and asked him to go with the suspects.

The two suspects took him to Okada Hotel and Casino, and while inside a room, they forced him to make a letter stating that he borrowed from them P2 million and forced him to sign the letter.

On December 8, at around 2 p.m., Wang and the two suspects boarded a taxi wherein he managed to send a message to a friend that they are billeted at Room 505 of Baymont Hotel in Parañaque City.

While inside the room, the kidnappers instructed him to ask money from his family or friends for him to pay the P2 million because, if not, “they will kill him and be thrown at cemetery.”

The victim’s friend notified the PNP-AKG about the incident that prompted operatives to launch a rescue operation which resulted in the arrest the two suspects.

As mentioned earlier, Parañaque City is a hot spot of crime incidents involving Chinese nationals and clearly this is bad. Nobody wants to live in a city with rampant crime (kidnapping, extortion, prostitution and the like) nor does anyone want to see their community turn bad because a lot of foreigners from China working in POGOs were allowed to take residence.

The hot questions to ask here:

1) Is the City Government really tough against crime in general?

2) Are POGOs and other businesses that target Chinese nationals as employees and consumers too tempting for the City Government to reject and were allowed to be part of the local economy and communities?

3) Were the business permit applications of those POGOs and businesses targeting Chinese nationals carefully reviewed by the Parañaque Business Permit & Licensing Office (BPLO) before being approved?

4) Are there any police officers in Parañaque who accepted bribes from Chinese nationals and the POGOs to look the other way and let them do their illegal activities?

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 and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.