April 27, 2021
ECCP at Work
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III believes that the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the NCR Plus should be extended for another week or two. Duque said that the healthcare capacity has yet to significantly improve and that the utilization for intensive care units (ICU) in some cities remain at critical risk.
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. filed House Bill No. 9252, which seeks to amend the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 to make mandatory the inoculation of individuals “as may be determined” by the Department of Health (DOH). Under the bill, the vaccination of these individuals shall be given for free at any government hospital or health center provided that “inoculation must, at all times, be science and evidence based.” The measure, however, exempts “persons with medical conditions” as determined by the DOH or by a licensed medical doctor.
Two Metro Manila mayors expressed opposing views on what should be the next level of lockdown as the government is set to issue new community quarantine classifications for the month of May, with the capital region still unable to considerably tame the surge in COVID-19 infections and with hospitals still crowded.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. confirmed that the delivery of 15,000 Sputnik V vaccines, which were supposed to arrive on Saturday, has been pushed back to April 28. The Department of Health earlier said this initial batch would most likely be used in Metro Manila due to storage requirements. Sputnik V vaccines come in liquid and powdered form. The liquid doses must be stored in ultra-cold temperatures. The powdered version, which has to be diluted before vaccination, can be kept in a normal fridge temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, making it easier to transport and store.
The Board of Investments (BoI) on Friday said it had approved one renewable energy and two agriculture projects worth P2.8 billion in the Philippines. In a statement, the agency said it had given the go-signal to Mindoro Harvest Energy Co., Inc. to build an eight-megawatt biomass power plant project worth P1.22 billion in the province. It also approved Biotech Farms, Inc.’s P1.33-billion plan to expand its live hog production in South Cotabato, as well as Axelum Resources Corp.’s P270-million project on coconut milk powder in Misamis Oriental.
In Memorandum Circular No. 7, the SEC said the new rules on the calling of special stockholders’ meetings aim “to promote good corporate governance and the protection of minority investors.” Under the rules, any number of shareholders that hold at least 10% of outstanding shares of a publicly listed company have the right to call for a special stockholders’ meeting, whether in-person or through remote communication.
The Banking Industry’s nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio may go beyond 5% by the end of this year, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) official said. BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Law, signed in February, will help banks offload bad assets which will bring down the NPL ratio. The industry-wide NPL ratio reached 4.08% in February, the highest in more than 11 years or since 4.09% in October 2009, data from the BSP showed.
The country's COVID-19 tally nears one million after 8,162 more people got infected, the Department of Health said. Of the 997,523 cases nationwide, 77,075 or 7.7% are active cases, the report said. It added that 95.5% are mild cases, 1.5% are asymptomatic, 1.0% are critical, 1.2% are severe, and 0.84% are moderate.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte backs the easing of quarantine restrictions in the region and neighboring provinces after observing some “social unrest in communities” amid unemployment and hunger due to lockdowns. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos also agrees with easing into GCQ should cases continue to slow down and as hospitals increase their capacity but Metro Manila hospitals would rather stick to strict quarantine restrictions than see another surge in COVID-19 cases.
Japan-based Rating and Investment Information, Inc. (R&I) has kept its BBB+ credit rating with a stable outlook for the Philippines, citing the country’s robust post-pandemic growth prospects. The rating company first upgraded its rating for the country in February 2020 from BBB. A BBB+ rating is a notch away from the minimum score A rating that the government is aiming for. A stable outlook means the rating is unlikely to be changed in the near term. R&I said the government’s fiscal position was manageable amid higher spending and increased budget deficit at the height of a coronavirus pandemic.