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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: National Task Force (NTF) aims to fully vaccinate over 70 million people by June 30, 2022

Have you been harassed by anti-vaccine fanatics lately? You better not pay attention to them because the Philippines still needs all the public’s understanding and cooperation to overcome COVID-19’s varied effects (in terms of health, economics and society) and push forward with the national recovery efforts. As part of those efforts, the National Task Force (NTF) announced that it is aiming to have more than 70,000,000 people nationwide fully vaccinated (two shots of most COVID-19 vaccines) by June 30, 2022, according to a GMA Network news report. Take note that this is not to be confused with either the 1st booster shot nor the 2nd booster shot.

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

The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 is eyeing to get at least 70 million Filipinos fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the Duterte administration ends on June 30.

During outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People aired on Monday night, NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said their target was based on the data gathered by the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).

NVOC’s figures showed that the country’s average four-week jab rate for the first dose was at 321,083, while 242,606 second doses were administered on average over the same period.

“‘Yung atin pong best case scenario na bago po tayo matapos ang ating administrasyon, ang nakikita po namin ang pinaka-honest-to-goodness na aming assessment sa individuals with at least one dose, 75 million po tayo; and then ‘yung fully vaccinated po ay 70,087,920,” Galvez said.

(Our best case scenario based on our honest-to-goodness assessment is that 75 million people will get their first dose, while 70,087,920 will be fully vaccinated.)

As of June 6, a total 74,221,490 Filipinos have received their first dose, while 69,519,052 individuals were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The government earlier set a target of fully vaccinating 90 million by the end of Duterte’s term. However, NVOC chairperson Dr. Myrna Cabotaje said they would already be “happy” if they reach 77 million by then.

Galvez explained that the government originally aimed at vaccinating 70 million Filipinos based on the National Vaccination Plan. However, this figure was increased to 90 million due to the transmissions of new COVID-19 variants such as the Omicron sub variants BA.5, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4 which were recently detected in the country.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? If you have received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, what was the brand and how long has it been since you got injected? Have you verified with your local community’s vaccination hubs or the local authorities if you are eligible for the 2nd vaccine shot? If there are already fully vaccinated people in your local community, did you notice if they already received their respective booster shots?

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 athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

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

I Love Israel: Israel looking forward to stronger bilateral ties with the Philippines under the administration of incoming President Marcos and Vice President Duterte

This past May 25, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Sara Duterte were officially proclaimed the duly elected President and Vice President of the Philippines during the joint session of Congress. Marcos and Duterte, who won their respective contests in the May 9, 2022 national elections under their UniTeam banner, will officially take office on June 30, 2022 and will serve for six years. Marcos and Duterte are both majority winners in the separate contests for President and Vice President, and each had more than thirty million voters.

In relation to this, the Embassy of Israel posted through Facebook two picture posts dated May 25, 2022 congratulating Marcos for his proclamation, and a message addressed to Duterte (note: the daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte) expressing optimism that the friendly relations between Israel and the Philippines will be boosted further under her leadership. For transparency, posted below are screenshots of the Facebook posts…

President-elect Bongbong Marcos with Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss. (photo source -Israel in the Philippines Facebook page)
Vice President-elect Sara Duterte. (photo source – Israel in the Philippines Facebook page)

Quite interestingly, the Manila Bulletin published on Thursday an article stating that Israel is confident of boosting ties with the Philippines under VP-elect Duterte’s leadership and it made a reference to the May 25, 2022 FB post (pictured above). It is quite a detailed article and it has references to the landmark 2018 Israel visit of President Rodrigo Duterte and the historical links between the Philippines and Israel.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from report of the Manila Bulletin article dated May 26, 2022. Some parts in boldface…

Israel has expressed confidence that its friendly ties with the Philippines will improve under the leadership of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio as the middle eastern nation congratulated her.

The Israel Embassy in the Philippines said this after Duterte’s proclamation as the duly elected vice president of the Philippines after a landslide victory in the 2022 polls.

In a Facebook post, the Embassy said it is looking forward to Duterte’s next visit to Israel in her new capacity.

Mazal Tov Vice President-elect Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio!” the post read.

We are optimistic that our friendly relations will boost further under your leadership. We look forward to your next visit to Israel… as the VP!

The Vice President-elect went to Israel in September 2018 with her father, President Duterte. The older Duterte’s four-day trip to Jerusalem was historic as he was the first Philippine president to visit the Holy Land officially.

President Duterte explained that he had brought the Davao City mayor with him because of her mother’s Jewish roots.

The father of Elizabeth Zimmerman — Duterte’s ex-wife and Sara’s mother — was a German Jew who escaped Nazi Germany and obtained a Philippine visa alone with around 1,300 other European Jews.

Former Foreign Affairs deputy director-general for Asia-Pacific Affairs Gilad Cohen described Sara’s visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem as a “closure.”

“Sara Duterte (Zimmerman) is #Davao Mayor, the #Philippines. She is President Duterte’s daughter, and her #Jewish grandfather found shelter in [the Philippines] before WWII when President Quezon opened the gates for Jews who fled Germany. A closure here in [Israel] at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum,” he wrote in 2018.

The Philippine Commonwealth government’s open-door policy accommodated Jews who fled Europe from 1935 to 1941.

The Holocaust was the state-sponsored persecution and murder of around 6 million Jews by the Nazis who came to power in Germany in January 1933.

During their visit, President Duterte wrote the words “Never again” when he signed the guest book of the Yad Vashem at the Children’s Memorial Hall, referring to the persecution and murder of six million Jews during World War II by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

“May the hearts of peoples around the world remain ever open. And may the minds of all men and women learn to work together towards providing a safe haven for all who are being persecuted,” he added.

While I find it strange that President-elect Marcos was not mentioned in Manila Bulletin’s article, I still am optimistic that Israel-Philippine ties will keep on growing stronger and there will be more cooperation and special projects between them. Truly this is something we should be thankful to the Lord for.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut. With regards to the incoming President Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte, I urge you all to pray for them. Pray that they will open their hearts to the Lord, look up to Him and follow His guiding light as they govern the entire Philippines in the years to come.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel! Help build the ties between the State of Israel and the Republic of the Philippines!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment. Also included is an extensive Philippine video about the Marcos-Duterte proclamation.

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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/

High time for Philippines to use nuclear power to ensure clean, abundant and affordable energy for the people

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the other economic and geopolitical developments related to it caused oil prices to spike. Here in the Philippines, the latest round of fuel price hikes resulted in diesel averaging around P65 per liter while unleaded gasoline is now past the P70/liter mark. Inevitably, the spike in crude oil prices will lead to a series of increases on food, transportation, delivery services, electricity and more.

Inflation really affects everyone and as far as the Philippines is concerned, the timing is really bad because Metro Manila and other parts of the country under Alert Level 1 status is experiencing a revival of commerce and increased number of people moving around. Along the way, the national average of new COVID-19 cases has been averaging in the hundreds the past several days.

Times like these, major decisions on ensuring abundant, clean and affordable energy for the Philippines are needed. In relation to this, President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed a major executive order (EO) that includes nuclear power for the country’s energy mix, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.

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

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) 164 that now includes the potential of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.

Released on Thursday, EO 164 was signed by the Chief Executive last February 28.

This policy is the start of the national nuclear power program,” said Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. in a press conference.

Under the new policy, it stated that the country “shall ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technology anchored on critical tenets of public safety, national security, energy self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability”.

Duterte issued the policy following the recommendation of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC), which conducted a pre-feasibility study and public consultation on the matter.

Through EO 164, the Chief Executive has recognized that nuclear power can be a reliable, cost-competitive, and environment-friendly source of energy based on the experience of highly developed countries.

For the country to achieve its sustained growth targets, it must ensure that it has a reliable, secure, sustainable, quality and affordable electricity supply, including sufficient reserve to guarantee that there will be no disruptions in the power supply,” the policy read.

It added the use of nuclear energy will address the increasing demand for clean energy, rising by 4.4 percent annually, or an additional capacity of 68 gigawatts by 2040.

The EO still included the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the national nuclear program, but other nuclear power installations will be pursued.

The BNPP was the only nuclear power plant in the region during the 1980s, as the Philippines was one of the first Southeast Asian countries to embark on a nuclear energy program.

However, the project was mothballed because of corruption allegations and safety concerns on the use of nuclear energy.

A study conducted by Russia State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) in 2017 said the rehabilitation of BNPP will require around USD3 billion to USD4 billion.

The public is also becoming more open to the potential of nuclear energy.

“(A) Public Perception Survey on Nuclear Energy in 2019 indicated that almost 79 percent of Filipinos expressed approval or acceptability of the possible use or rehabilitation of an existing nuclear power plant,” the EO said.

The above report ended stating that 65% (of those who took the survey) approved the construction of new nuclear power plants and 78% are open to learning more about nuclear energy.

Of course, there is still this long-lasting fear and paranoia about nuclear power being too dangerous for the Philippines to have. Nuclear-related disasters like the one in Fukushima (2011) and Chernobyl (1986) are still remembered and there are also lots of anti-nuclear activists who continue to make noise.

No matter what those climate change extremists, social justice warriors (SJWs), modern day socialists and anti-nuclear power activists say, nothing changes the fact that nuclear power is the answer to meet nations’ constant demand for energy that is also clear, abundant and cost efficient. Watch and learn from the videos below…

Going back to the executive order Duterte signed, Albay Representative Joey Salceda (who is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee) and presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. support nuclear power gave their respective reactions (click here and here).

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about nuclear power as an added option for the Philippines energy mix? Are you still worried about nuclear power being too dangerous because the people who oppose it scared you? Are you able to tell if the anti-nuclear activists have been spreading lies and misinformation just to manipulate you to oppose nuclear power?

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/

San Miguel Corporation’s P14-billion SLEX Elevated Extension Project Inaugurated

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is back in the news again as its ambitious South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension Project was inaugurated recently by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, GMA Network reported.

For the newcomers reading this, SMC under the leadership of CEO and President Ramon S. Ang is the same corporation behind the improvements made to the Metro Manila Skyway which ultimately benefited many travelers with improved accessibility and reduced travel times. Ang was present during the inauguration of the SLEX Elevated Extension Project which is worth P14 billion and is almost 4 kilometers long.

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

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday led the inauguration of the newly completed South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension Project, which is seen to ease traffic and boost economic growth in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces.

In his remarks during the inauguration ceremony at Alabang Northbound Entry in Muntinlupa City, Duterte lauded the formal opening of the SLEX Elevated Extension Project “at a time when our economy is slowly opening up and recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“I am personally excited of this expansion projection which is expected to promote greater mobility, help ease traffic, and redound to the economic growth and productivity in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas,” the President said.

For his part, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and CEO Ramon Ang said the northbound and southbound lanes of the P14-billion SLEX Elevated Extension project can accommodate 200,000 cars per day.

The four-kilometer project connects Skyway in Sucat, Parañaque to SLEX at Susanna Heights in Muntinlupa, bypassing the Alabang viaduct and providing motorists a direct access to Skyway 1, 2, and 3.

“With this, travel time between Muntinlupa and Balintawak will now be reduced from two hours to just 30 minutes. This will go a long way in addressing traffic congestion,” Ang said.

“Since we soft-opened the southbound SLEX Extension last December 10, 2021 motorists in the south have seen a major improvement in the traffic situation. It has provided relief to thousands of motorists who go home every day to Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas. With both the southbound and northbound section of the SLEX Extension now fully operational, travel to and from the south is easier and faster than ever,” the SMC chief said.

Originally, the project was set for completion by December 2020, a little over a year since it began.

However, this was pushed back when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the Philippines in March 2020, necessitating quarantine restrictions which slowed work progress.

And here is the related video about the inauguration…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you often travel on the Skyway Elevated Extension? How was your travel experience on the Skyway and the elevated extension going north or south? Do you hope to see San Miguel Corporation keep funding and improving major infrastructure projects in the years to come?

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/

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: Panic and the closing of borders related to the Omicron variant

As a growing number of nations closed their borders to foreign travelers due to the fear over the Omicron variant (coronavirus variant B.1.1.529) magnified by secular and liberal news media organizations, CBN News published a related news report highlighting the statement of the head of the South African Medical Association that Western nations are panicking unnecessarily over the said new variant.

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

The World Health Organization calls Omicron “a variant of concern,” but admits more needs to be learned about it. 

Initial reports describe it as having very mild symptoms.

But the virus may also be highly transmissible. Two new cases have just been confirmed in Canada, the first known to have reached North America. 

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, said preliminary evidence shows that it is more transmissible. “We don’t know for sure. We really have no data on severity, whether it’s more severe, milder, or more significant,” Jha said.

The United States has decided to ban travelers from South Africa and seven other countries in the region.

Israel has closed its borders to noncitizens for two weeks and has authorized cell phone surveillance of anyone confirmed to be carrying the variant. 

Japan also suspended entry to foreign visitors.

But the head of the South African Medical Association, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, said Western nations are panicking unnecessarily

There’s body aches and pain with a bit of a headache, not really sore throat, more of a scratchy type of description and no cough and no loss of smell or taste. And that’s what I call ‘mild symptoms.‘”

South Africa’s Health Minister, Joe Phaala, slammed what he called the ‘draconian’ travel bans.

“The reaction of some of the countries in terms of imposing travel bans and such measures are completely against the norms and standards as guided by the World Health Organization.” 

Here in the Philippines, the Omicron variant news reports sparked calls for ramping up COVID-19 vaccination just as the 3-day nationwide vaccination drive resulted 2.5 million shots administered on the first day. Omicron also brought local stocks down by a little over 1% on November 29 and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the required wearing of face shields (which are unpopular and are really inconvenient to use as they distort vision and make verbal communication more problematic). These local developments show how much of a negative impact Omicron has made through the news and also shows how concerned or panicky people could get.

Anyone who follows Jesus as Lord and Savior should know that no matter what the situation and no matter how much fear and negativity the global new media spreads, they should NOT panic at all and should maintain unwavering faith in Him for protection and lifting.

To all the faithful as well as all others who have not yet accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior reading this…the Lord will not abandon us nor forsake us. Trust in the Lord wholeheartedly and eternally. Submit to the Lord and be led by the Holy Spirit. Learn from the following scriptures below…

Do not yield to fear, for I am always near.
    Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God.
    I will infuse you with my strength
    and help you in every situation.
    I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.’
“All who rage against you will be ashamed and disgraced.
    All who contend with you will perish and disappear.
 You will look for your enemies in vain;
    those who war against you will vanish without a trace!

Isaiah 41:10-12 (TPT)

Fear and intimidation is a trap that holds you back.
    But when you place your confidence in the Lord,
    you will be seated in the high place.

Proverbs 29:25 (TPT)

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.

Deuteronomy 31:6-9 (NKJV)

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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/

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: Face shields no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3

It took a long time to happen but it finally happened at last and will surely provide people relief from the so-called protective but inconvenient face shields. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommended lifting of the mandatory use of face shields specifically in areas under Alert Level 1, 2 and 3, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended the lifting in response to the much-improved situations (note: low daily counts of new COVID-19 infections and the continued rise of people getting vaccinated) of the nation under the pandemic. Be reminded that prior to this new development, there was a collective push to make face shields non-mandatory in Metro Manila.

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

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to lift the mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 1 to 3.

“Ang decision ko is okay, tanggalin nyo na yung [face] shields. Pwede na ninyong (My decision is okay, you can remove face shields. You can), you dispense with the shields but not the (face) mask,” Duterte said in his prerecorded “Talk to the People”.

Duterte said face mask would remain part of the day-to-day safety measure “kasi matagal pa itong virus na nasa hangin lang (because the virus which is airborne will be here for a long time).”

He urged the public to make sure that the Covid-19 positivity rate in the country will continue to go down by following the health and safety protocols.

“You have to obey what the government will tell you to do because it’s for the good of the country and for you. Sumunod lang kayo (Just obey),” he said.

On Monday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum detailing the voluntary use of face shields in places with a relatively low Covid-19 alert level.

According to the memorandum, the use of face shields in community settings shall remain mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns.

For places under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given the discretion to maintain or remove the wearing of face shields policy.

People residing in places under alert levels 3, 2, and 1 can voluntarily use the face shields as their added protection.

“The above protocols are without prejudice to the continuing mandatory use of face shields in medical and quarantine facility settings, and the required use thereof by healthcare workers in healthcare settings,” the order read.

The IATF-EID on Dec. 14, 2020 issued Resolution 88, requiring all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public places to control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Based on the above details, for as long as an area is under Alert Level 3 and lower, face shields are no longer mandatory. Just optional. While a lot of face shields believers out there expressed that the said items are highly protective and prevent COVID-19 from entering people’s eyes, face shields are always inconvenient as they obscure people’s visions and make verbal communication even harder. Try talking to someone while you are wearing both a face mask (which itself muffles your speaking) and a face shield.

As long as COVID-19 infections are low and as long as people practice caution, walking around and doing your objectives without face shields can be done in areas under Alert Level 1-3. With the recent change, I encourage you to pay close attention to your own locality and also observe how the Metro Manila mayors and the MMDA will act and think now that face shields are no longer required in areas under Alert Level 1-3.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you relieved that face shields are no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Level 1-3? How much money did you spend on face shields since the start of the pandemic? How many face shields do you have right now?

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/

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 City Council enacts ordinance scrapping the mandatory use of face shields within city limits

The collective push on making face shields non-mandatory in Metro Manila gained strength lately as City Council of Muntinlupa enacted an ordinance scrapping the mandatory use of the said things within the city’s jurisdiction, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

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

The Muntinlupa City Council has enacted an ordinance scrapping the mandatory use of face shields in the city.

Majority Floor Leader Raul Corro told Manila Bulletin that the City Council enacted the ordinance on Nov. 8. The ordinance, he said, lifted the mandatory use of face shields except in hospitals and clinics.

The approval of the ordinance came ahead of the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the use of face shields.

Interior Sec. Eduardo Año defended the issuance of executive orders (EOs) by Manila and Davao scrapping the use of face shields, saying mayors and local government units have the power to issue executive orders and ordinances under Republic Act 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991.

He cited Section 16 of the code, which states that “every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied there from, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.

Año was reacting to the comment by presidential spokesman Harry Roque who said the EOs are “null and void” for violating an executive order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Personally, I give the Muntinlupa City Council’s enactment my approval. Face shields should no longer be required not simply because they are inconvenient to use but because they are less relevant given the much-improved situations in Metro Manila related to the pandemic. The daily national count of new COVID-19 infections are much lower now, more people in Metro Manila have practiced caution and followed local health protocols, more people have gotten vaccinated and fully vaccinated (29.8 million as of November 9, 2021), etc.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what can you say about this latest local development? Do you think the City Councilors made the right move? Have you personally encountered someone who strongly believes that using face shields should remain a requirement all over the country?

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

Philippine President Manny Pacquiao?

After retiring from boxing, the famous incumbent Senator Manny Pacquiao officially filed his candidacy running for President of the Philippines in the next national election which will happen on May 9, 2022.

That’s right, readers! The iconic Manny Pacquiao (AKA the People’s Champion, PacMan and Pambansang Kamao) is aiming higher once again and the challenge is more tremendous as the Presidency is the most attractive post of power in the nation which concerns both political stakeholders and the masses of Filipinos in general. His climb from poverty to prosperity is very well known and often his boxing matches broadcast all over the Philippines attracted lots of viewers from their homes, the public viewing venues and on the local community spots.

While there have been reports of politics-related division over his run for President (click here, here and here), Pacquiao is not a political newcomer as he served his constituents in Sarangani Province for six years as their Representative in the House of Representatives, and he has been serving as Senator of the Philippines since mid-2016.

More important than politics is Pacquiao’s deep faith in the Lord. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the article of Charismanews.com (citing varied sources)…

Raised Roman Catholic, Manny strayed from the church as he rose to fame in his boxing career. “I went to church on Sunday, but from Monday through Saturday I was in the bar drinking,” he told CBN. “I was gambling. Careless words came out of my mouth. I committed adultery. I didn’t care.”

But one day he read a letter that gripped his heart. “I received a letter from my mother saying my sister stopped going to school because I stopped sending them the money. I cried, blaming myself for spending all the money on alcohol.”

That same night in 2011, not long after his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, God visited Manny in a powerful dream. “I heard the voice of God in my dream. His voice was 10 times louder than thunder. He said to me, “My child, my child, why have you gone astray?” he recounted to CBN.

In the dream, which unfolded in a beautiful forest amid flowers, he also saw two angels, according to an interview with The Blaze. “When I heard the voice of God I felt like I died. … I was in the middle of the forest and I was kneeling and praying with my face on the ground and then I saw a light, a very white light and I heard the voice.”

He said the angels had “white, long, big wings” and said that God revealed to him “about the end of time.”

“I felt I was melting when I heard the voice of God. It was the turning point in my life. God spoke to me and he told me what He wanted me to do and I had to follow (Him).”

For a while, Manny tried to ignore the dream. But one day he felt compelled to pick up the Bible and begin reading it for himself. “I forgot about that dream, but when I started reading the Bible, the first verse I read said that God talked to a man through dreams. I realized, wow, my dream was real,” he told CBN.

As a result of the power of God’s Word, the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart and the compelling dream, Manny surrendered his life to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

“I’m happy because I found the right way, salvation, born again,” he told The Blaze. “We are required to be born again, all of us. Christ said unless we are born again we cannot enter the kingdom of God. So it’s very important to me. Jesus Christ said: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ There is no other way. The only way is through Jesus.”

“When you accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior, you have eternal life.”   

God has a purpose for Pacquiao

Going back to his candidacy for President, Pacquiao revealed in an exclusive interview with CBN News that God has a purpose for him and mentioned that he is to provide not only inspiration to the Filipinos but also to help them and fight for them. He also shared his observations about corruption and injustice in the Philippines. Pay close attention to the excerpt from the CBN News article below…

“I just heard the final bell,” were the words of the great boxing icon, Manny Pacquiao as he announced his retirement from his phenomenal boxing career. Over four decades, he became the only boxer to win 12 world titles in eight different divisions.

He thanked the boxing world for getting him and his family out of poverty and for inspiring many people.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced Saturday he no longer intends on running for vice president in next year’s elections and plans on retiring from politics when his term ends.

Pacquiao, who is currently a senator in the Philippines, has announced his candidacy for next year’s presidential elections.

He spoke with CBN News about his decision and what compelled him to run for the presidency.

“I want to focus on a bigger fight in life which is serving the people, fighting against corruption and injustice,” Pacquiao said.

Part of that corruption deals with $200 million in unaccounted-for aid that was meant to fight the pandemic. Pacquiao has questioned four government agencies for alleged misuse.

“I saw the situation of this country is really bad. People are suffering. What I saw is hopeless. Our people deserve a better future,” Pacquiao said.

“I always believe God has a purpose for me. He raised me from nothing into something for a purpose. Not only giving inspiration to the people, but to help them and fight for them,” he said.

What is his answer to people who say this is going to be very difficult as he fights against corrupt people who are in power?

“One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 41:10, ‘Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Only to God (do) we have fear. I believe He will uphold me with His righteous right hand,” he said.

The above article ended quoting Pacquiao who said that glorifying God in our daily lives is the most import thing. That I personally agree with! In relation to Pacquiao’s mention of Isaiah 41:10 from the Holy Bible, posted below are a few translations of the said holy scripture.

Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

Do not yield to fear, for I am always near.

    Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God.

    I will infuse you with my strength

    and help you in every situation.

    I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (TPT)

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

Isaiah 41:10 (AMPC)

For more references about Manny Pacquiao’s faith in the Lord and his dedication to God’s Word, watch the following videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your opinion right now about Manny Pacquiao’s candidacy for the Presidency of the Philippines? Does Pacquiao inspire you to come to Lord Jesus and follow the Word of God? Is boxing still the first thing you think about when Pacquiao’s name gets mentioned? Have you prayed to the Lord for guidance with regards to the May 2022 national and local elections which can impact the direction of the entire Philippines?

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

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

COVID-19 Crisis: Wearing of face shields outdoors is no longer required

It is all over the news right now…the wearing of face shields outdoors is no longer required as President Rodrigo Duterte stated recently.

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

Filipinos are no longer required to wear face shields outdoors, President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Wednesday.

Duterte made the pronouncement, as he approved the recommendation of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to limit the use of face shields to the so-called “3Cs,” which refers to “closed and crowded” spaces, and activities that “promote close contact.”

“I was informed of the recommendation from the Technical Advisory Group and medical groups that the use of face shields, on top of face mask, may be limited to high-risk activities under the three Cs – closed, crowded pati (and) close contact,” Duterte said in his prerecorded Talk to the People.

Duterte also ordered that the implementation and guidelines on the latest policy on use of face shield be done “immediately.”

“Puwede na tanggalin sa labas (You no longer need to use that outside). No more face shields outside. Ang limitasyon, ang face shield gamitin mo [sa] three ‘Cs’ (The limitation is use face shield in three ‘Cs’),” he said. “Iyang tatlo na iyan, face shield is a must pa rin. Iyan ang recommendation (Face shield is still a must in three [‘Cs]. That’s the recommendation).”

On September 10, Duterte told the public that while wearing a face shield could not provide “complete” protection,” it could still control the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Dec. 14, 2020 issued Resolution 88, mandating all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public spaces to reduce Covid-19 transmission.

However, Duterte in June this year ordered the public to wear face shields only in hospitals.

Duterte later decided to keep the IATF-EID’s policy on the mandatory use of face shields in public spaces, given the presence of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Do you truly believe that face shields do provide real protection from COVID-19 infection while being used outdoors? Were you able to understand the President’s mention of the three C’s? Do you feel relieved about this latest development at all?

Do you personally know someone who got apprehended for not wearing a face shield outdoors?

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

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. 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