KUWTT: Metro Manila back to heightened GCQ | July 24, 2021

Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Saturday, July 24, 2021.

READ: Metro Manila back to heightened GCQ

The National Capital Region (NCR) is back in general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions as the government stepped up preparations against a new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) surge generated by the Delta variant. The classification will be in force until the end of July. Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said on Friday President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to once again place Metro Manila in GCQ with heightened restrictions Thursday night, after the Department of Health (DoH) confirmed the local transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant.

READ: SONA program will have ‘Mindanaoan’ theme

The program for President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be “something classy, simple, modest yet impactful,” and will have a “Mindanaoan” theme. That was how Kat de Castro, co-chairman of the SONA working committee, described the televised production of the event in Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City on Monday, July 26. Duterte’s previous SONA programs were handled by renowned film directors. Internationally acclaimed Brillante Mendoza directed the 2016 production, and the eminent Joyce Bernal took over from 2017 to 2020. This year, Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) veteran director Danny Abad, who assisted Bernal and Mendoza, will be at the helm. De Castro said the narrative theme of this year’s SONA “will focus on what can be considered as the Duterte administration’s heirloom legacies,” but its “inspiration in terms of form will be Mindanaoan.”

READ: ‘360-degree’ shield for Duterte at Batasan

President Rodrigo Duterte will be protected by a “360-degree” security shield when he delivers his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City on Monday. Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief Jesus Durante on Friday said several security layers would be set up around the President to “neutralize any threat.”

READ: Filipino rower makes Olympic quarterfinals

The Philippines campaign in the Tokyo Olympics is off to a bright start.

Rower Cris Nievarez on Friday finished third in heat 5 of the men’s single sculls to book a quarterfinals slot. Nievarez clocked 7 minutes and 22.97 seconds in the 1500-meter race at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo.

READ: Snacking giant ready to join environment clean-up drive

SNACKING titan Mondelez International Inc., through its local representative, Mondelez Philippines Corporate and Government Affairs Country Manager Joseph Fabul, has expressed its support to the proposal of Business for Sustainable Development Executive Director Bonar Laureto to engage private companies in cleaning up the environment. The company expressed its support to Laureto’s proposal during The Manila Times “Coffee Break” webisode, titled “Delicious snacks with extended producer’s responsibility,” streamed on The Times Facebook page on Friday. The company behind iconic brands such as Cadbury, Cheez Whiz, Eden Cheese, Oreo, Tang, Tiger and Toblerone, Mondelez Philippines lives up to its slogan of “Snacking made right” by making extended producer’s responsibility or EPR part of its process locally, according to Fabul. He said the company name was coined by its employees to mean “delicious world.”

READ: ‘Sleeping on the job’ Cusi to face Ombudsman complaint

Various energy consumer advocacy groups filed criminal and administrative cases before the Office of the Ombudsman against Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who, according to them, was “sleeping on his job.” The Power for People Coalition (P4P), Sanlakas and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) on Friday lodged an official complaint against Cusi for alleged violation of Republic Act 3019 or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, and inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties.

READ: Tripartite agreement boosts sea defense

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday have signed a tripartite memorandum of agreement (MoA) aiming to strengthen collaborative maritime security efforts in the West Philippine Sea. Under the agreement signed by AFP chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar and PCG commandant Admiral George Villareal Ursabia Jr., the three agencies were expected to share Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) in walks of joint operations, joint intelligence, joint logistics, joint community relations, joint investigation and joint training and education with its armed units in land, sea and air assets and personnel nationwide.

BUSINESS: Tight credit rules expected in Q3

Topping business, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said credit standards on loans to businesses are expected to tighten in the third quarter of this year based on its latest survey, with the less positive economic outlook highlighted as one of the reasons cited by respondent banks. According to the results of the central bank’s Second Quarter 2021 Senior Bank Loan Officers’ Survey (SLOS), the diffusion index (DI) approach showed “expectations of net tighter standards amid a deterioration of borrowers’ profiles and in the profitability of banks’ portfolio, less favorable economic outlook, and banks’ decreased tolerance for risk.”

SPORTS: Duterte adds P100K on Tokyo Games allowance

In sports, Malacañang Palace announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved an additional P100,000 allowance to all 19 Tokyo Olympians and six Paralympians “as token and to celebrate the achievement” of the athletes qualified for the Olympics and Paralympics. Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez is elated on this development saying that “our athletes deserve this additional show of support,” adding, “thank you President Duterte sa lagi niyong suporta sa ating mga atleta.” The additional support was approved upon the recommendation of Senate Committee on Sports chairman Senator Bong Go and the PSC. This will be on top of the previously approved $1,000 allowance given by the PSC for each of the 19 Tokyo Olympians.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Antonio Contreras and Yen Makabenta are today’s columnists on the front page. Contreras talks about the burden of privilege while Makabenta believes the carbon tax is as good as dead.

Today’s editorial believes that safety should be a priority for these Olympic Games. Read a full version on the paper’s opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

For more news and information, get a copy of The Manila Times on print, subscribe to its digital edition or log on to www.manilatimes.net. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and Keep Up With The Times.

On behalf of The Manila Times, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. Have a safe Friday ahead.

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