News Roundup 18 June 2022

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Jun 18, 20224 min Read

Metro Manila shows 71% COVID case increase, but situation ‘manageable’ — OCTA | INQUIRER.NETIndependent pandemic monitor Octa Research on Saturday said that while Metro Manila has shown a 71 percent increase of COVID-19 cases, the situation in the metropolis remains manageable. Octa Research, in a bulletin shared by research fellow Guido David on Twitter, said the seven-day average of Metro Manila infections increased to 176 cases from June 11 to 17, compared to 103 cases the week before. The increase in cases translates to an average daily attack rate (Adar) of 1.24, according to Octa. The Department of Health has said that for an area to be classified as under a moderate risk classification, its Adar needs to be at 6 per 100,000 population. Only when Metro Manila becomes classified as moderate risk could the region be escalated to Alert Level 2. Octa said the positivity rate of Metro Manila also increased to 3.7 percent, which is still well within the World Health Organization’s ideal positivity rate set at five percent. Meanwhile, the current reproduction number of Metro Manila increased to 1.80 as of June 14, from 1.40 as of June 7, according to Octa. The reproduction number (r-naught) indicates how infectious a disease is. For instance, an r-naught of 1 means that each carrier can transmit the virus to one person. So the current r-naught of 1.80 meant that each existing infection would cause more than one new infection. David also said that while cases have been increasing, hospital bed utilization and intensive care unit utilization in the metropolis remains low at 22 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

Marcos Jr. nominates BIR, NICA leaders | PHILSTAR.COMPresident-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has nominated the new heads of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) who will serve during his administration, the press secretary-designate said on Saturday. Former BIR Deputy Commissioner Lilia Guillermo is being eyed to lead the tax collection agency as its commissioner. She is currently an assistant governor at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and leads the bank’s technology and digital innovation office. “Guillermo’s strong background in Information Technology and her almost four decades of service at the BIR complements President-elect Marcos’ objective of boosting the country’s revenue through efficient tax collection,” press secretary-designate Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement.  She noted that Guillermo is known for successfully implementing the country’s tax competerization project, which created a modern tax collection system used by the BIR and the Bureau of Customs.  Guillerno is poised to succeed outgoing Commissioner Caesar Dulay.  Marcos Jr. also selected Atty. Romeo “Jun” Lumagui, who previously served as the regional investigation division chief in East NCR, to be the BIR’s Deputy Commissioner for Operations. For NICA director, Marcos Jr. is looking at retired Philippine National Police Deputy Director General Ricardo de Leon to helm the post. At present, De Leon is the president of the Philippine Public Safety College, an educational institution for the training of police, fire and jail personnel.

Amid rise in fuel prices, gov’t urged to create emergency task force to address transport woes | PHILSTAR.COMCommuter group The Passenger Forum (TPF) on Saturday called on the Philippine government to create an emergency task force dedicated to addressing issues faced by the transport sector amid the constant rise in fuel prices and inflation picking up pace. In a statement on Saturday, TPF Convenor Primo Morillo said increasing public utility jeepney fares by P1 did not solve the income problems of drivers and operators, and noted that the release of fuel subsidies have been insufficient. “It seems that it is just right for the government now to form an emergency task force that will quickly look for ways to solve our transport woes. The DOE (Department of Energy) and the DOTR (Department of Transportation) are just ineffective and the DOTR even prematurely celebrated their supposed achievements two weeks ago,” he said. Morillo said the country is now experiencing what he called a transport emergency, claiming that the government is not able to solve the huge problems which the industry is facing. “The transport crisis definitely affects the entire Philippine economy. “This…situation affects the productivity and health of all our workers and of our labor-intensive economic sectors,” he said. Before the spate of fuel price hikes, there was already a lack of public utility vehicles (PUVs) plying the road. Supply has worsened right now, as PUVs are losing money instead of earning income, he explained. Morillo added that country should also study long-term solutions that will eventually veer away from the current system, which is fossil-fuel dependent and centered on cars. Pump prices in the country have been increasing since the start of the year due to several global developments, including large oil producer Russia’s war against Ukraine.


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