April 19, 2021
The provisional safeguard duty and the imposition of a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) across the contiguous so-called NCR Plus territory eventually led to an unsurprising decline in vehicle sales in the month of March. The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association, Inc. (TMA) revealed in a joint report that its member companies registered a free-fall of 21.1% in total sales for the month with 20,702 units — versus 26,230 units moved in February.
The Philippines is expecting about $4 billion in capital investments from three major mining projects, after President Rodrigo R. Duterte lifted last week the nine-year moratorium on new mineral agreements. Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. said new mining projects are also expected to generate P40 billion in local taxes and P20 billion worth of social development projects. Indigenous groups are also expected to benefit with around P15 billion in royalties expected to be collected from the major mining projects.
Latest BTr data showed debt service payments in the first two months of the year climbed from P177.4 billion a year ago, after the state repaid P33.3 billion in February and P219.8 billion in January. The bulk or 69% of the total was principal payments, while the rest were used to pay off interest.
The Filipino medical workforce is not fully armed to face the COVID-19 surge as only 63% of health workers have been vaccinated, according to World Health Organization Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe. In a virtual briefing on Monday, Dr. Abeyasinghe said while immunizing economic frontliners is also part of the vaccine response, the Philippine government must "still prioritize and ensure the full coverage of medical frontliners."
The Department of Health has approved the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration to lift the suspension order, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday. FDA Director General Eric Domingo on April 15 said he sent the recommendation letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III suggesting that the government push through with the vaccine’s use.
With the granting of the compassionate special permit, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said the two unnamed doctors are only allowed to give the medicine to one patient each. A CSP holder has to take full responsibility for the use and dispensing of the said drug. The permit is valid only for one year.
The Hong Kong government issued on Sunday the travel advisory that classified the Philippines, India, and Pakistan as "extremely high-risk" areas after the entry of several travelers found with the N501Y mutant strain. The two-week ban will start on Tuesday.
The Philippines still has fiscal space which it could utilize to support its recovery from the coronavirus-induced crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said. Based on the IMF’s COVID-19 policy tracker as of April 1, the Philippines’ two fiscal stimulus packages under Republic Act 11469 and 11494 (Bayanihan I and II) represented around 2.9% of 2020 gross domestic product (GDP), while the government allocated funds for credit guarantees and standby financing amounting to around 0.8% of GDP.
The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) aims to sign by May 17 the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, the Department of Finance (DoF) said. The draft IRR for provisions covering the FIRB and revised tax incentives should be done by May 10. The board also discussed the possible industries eligible to apply for the new tax incentive system.
ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said in an online briefing over the weekend that the agency will extend support to vaccine manufacturers given the urgency in producing Covid-19 doses. In addition to the vaccine, the Arta official said the agency will also monitor the process in securing permits for important drugs and medicine.
Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine department of San Lazaro Hospital, said in an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source that tighter health protocols need to be implemented, including six feet of physical distancing, proper ventilation in enclosed spaces, and wearing of face masks with better filtration to protect people from airborne transmission.
At a United Nations forum, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who is the chief implementer of the Philippines’ National Policy against COVID-19, said “rich nations” had managed to secure 80 percent of the total global vaccine supply, leaving the Philippines and other countries “scrambling” for the scarce resources.
The OCTA Research group is concerned that the modified enhanced community quarantine raised over Metro Manila and nearby provinces is not working as well as it should. According to David, when NCR, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, and Cavite were placed under enhanced community quarantine, the rate of infection decreased by 20% but since being placed under MECQ, a growth rate of 3% was observed.
A statement from the DOH on Sunday said there are 266 more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, 351 cases of the B.1.351 variant and 25 additional cases of the P.3 variant. The B.1.1.7 variant was first discovered in the United Kingdom, while the B.1.351 variant was first detected in South Africa. The P.3 variant, meanwhile, was first found in the Philippines but is not a variant of concern
The country’s third telco player announced on Friday it now offers its commercial services to 21 more cities, majority of which are in select Region III and IV-A provinces.The telecommunications network, owned by Davao businessman Dennis Uy, first rolled out services commercially in 15 cities in the Visayas and Mindanao last March 8. It promised an average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second, covering 37 percent of the national population for its first year of operations.