Opposition senators have questioned the Philippine National Police’s move to hold detained Sen. Leila de Lima in incommunicado status or solitary confinement since April 25 at the PNP custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. In a letter dated May 23, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan asked PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa for “remedial action” for De Lima, a vocal critic of President Duterte who has been detained since February 2017. ADVERTISEMENTThe senators described De Lima’s incommunicado status as “unconstitutional, illegal … and universally outlawed.”De Lima is not allowed visitors or physical meetings, an incommunicado detention and solitary confinement that is contrary to the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the senators said. They said the custodial center had denied De Lima’s request to lift the restrictions on the pretext of enforcing a modified enhanced community quarantine within the facility. De Lima is facing what she described as trumped-up charges of facilitating the drug trade in the national penitentiary.
May 28, 2020 21:41 UTC
It may be premature to ease the Metro Manila quarantine because the capital remains a high-risk area for coronavirus infection, a group of researchers from the University of the Philippines said in a forecast report published on Tuesday. The researchers also pointed out that from May 16 to 22, the number of new coronavirus cases in the cities of Makati, Las Piñas and Pasay increased substantially by 170, 60 and 58 percent, respectively. The group urged the government to review the minimum health standards and quarantine measures in high-risk areas, but balance the health risks and economic impact of the pandemic. Doubling time now 7 daysOn Thursday, the DOH reported 539 new coronavirus cases, bringing the national total to 15,588. ADVERTISEMENTWith the slower doubling time, Vergeire said she was confident the government could handle the spread of the coronavirus after easing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.
May 28, 2020 21:33 UTC
The Department of Education (DepEd) stood pat on its decision to resume classes by Aug. 24 even if President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to push for an indefinite delay to the upcoming school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Education Secretary Leonor Briones, however, clarified on Thursday that there would be “no face-to-face classes until safe,” a position she said was consistent with the President’s remarks on Tuesday. The DepEd position was more in line with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s clarification that in-person classes would be prohibited in areas under community quarantine. While the DepEd did not echo the President’s ultimatum of the need for a vaccine before face-to-face classes could resume, the department indicated it would defer to his judgment on the matter. “If in his view it is not safe to conduct face-to-face classes, then that is the position we are following,” said Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan.
May 28, 2020 21:33 UTC
OLONGAPO CITY—A Zambales high school teacher on Thursday asked a court here to quash the charges filed against him by the government for putting up in a Twitter post a supposed P50-million reward for anybody who could kill President Duterte. Ronnel Mas, 25, of Sta. Cruz town, was charged with inciting to sedition related to cybercrime and violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. His arraignment on Thursday was moved to June 25. —JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOTADVERTISEMENTRead NextEDITORS' PICKMOST READ
May 28, 2020 20:06 UTC
To date, more than 160 robotic procedures have been performed successfully, with all patients making good rehabilitation progress. He expected the technology to be in widespread use for joint replacement procedures in future. The conventional procedure sees doctors use manual instruments to remove weakened bone structure with cutting jogs and then place artificial joints with their hands. The new technology enables doctors to precisely remove undesirable parts of the joints before inserting the artificial joints. Yan said Queen Mary conducts around 500 joint replacement surgeries each year and the hospital wishes to do 200 of them with the new robotic technology.
May 28, 2020 19:11 UTC
The US Commerce Department said gross domestic product contracted at a 5 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, the deepest drop in output since the 2007 to 2009 Great Recession. The number was more than the 4.8 percent pace estimated last month, as consumer spending and business investment dropped sharply. Japan's government gave a bleaker view on exports in a monthly report in May as the world's third-largest economy grapples with the fallout of the global coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet on Wednesday approved a new US$1.1 trillion (HK$8.58 trillion) stimulus package that includes significant fiscal spending in an effort to cushion the economic blow. More than one in six young people have stopped working since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the International Labour Organization said.
HNA is battling debts of at least 700 billion yuan. REUTERSPanama-registered China Joy Shipping filed its second winding-up petition against beleaguered HNA Group on Wednesday, another microcosm of the US$550 billion debt the global airline industry is facing amid the Covid-19 pandemic. HNA Group, whose debt is estimated to be at least 700 billion yuan (HK$758.63 billion), last month avoided a domestic bond default after a hastily arranged meeting to ask creditors to delay repayment of the bond. On top of the US$123 billion from taxpayers, another US$52 billion comes from commercial sources such as bank loans. Aviation companies around the world are slashing costs to preserve cash in the crisis, which has caused thousands of job cuts in the US airline industry with more to come.
SING TAO, AFP Previous NextSophie HuiA foul-smelling plant thrown by a lawmaker halted yesterday's Legislative Council discussion on the national anthem bill. The meeting resumed at 4pm after the smell dissipated, with Legco passing the second reading of the bill last night. He added: "The rotten thing is one country, two systems. The rotten thing is the rule of law, the rotten thing is our Hong Kong values. "Unfortunately, [the rotten plant landed on the floor] because I was hit by security guards."
Money seems to be sticking around in SARDespite the US move to cease regarding Hong Kong as autonomous from the mainland, there has been no significant capital outflow, said Arthur Yuen. SING TAO Previous NextKevin XuNeither the Hong Kong Monetary Authority or the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association saw capital flight from the city after the United States ceased to regard the SAR as autonomous from the mainland. Yet Fitch lowered Hong Kong's credit rating twice over the past nine months due to its rising economic and financial ties with the mainland, Fennell noted. In April, the agency lowered Hong Kong's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to AA- from AA while raising its outlook for Hong Kong to "stable." It closed 168 points - or 0.72 percent - lower at 23,132 amid the escalating Sino-US tensions over Hong Kong.
Li yesterday promised more support if the economy faced further disruption during his once-a-year news conference following the close of the annual meeting of parliament. "The money saved will be primarily used to support companies and people's basic living needs," Li said. He also stressed the focus of policymaking had shifted toward ensuring stability in employment, financial operations, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and market expectations. Li also highlighted the opportunities China offers to foreign businesses in the wake of the shock to the global economy. Li hopes the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership can be signed this year, as agreed by member countries last year.
Pentaprism and Headliner, below, raised the hackles among RTHK critics. The move followed concerns over the management and the program contents of RTHK, including its satirical program Headliner and political commentary program Pentaprism. "RTHK will support the team and provide assistance if needed," she said. Lawmaker for the IT sector Charles Mok said it is "an unprecedented move to control RTHK." Mok said the team lacks independence, and he feared the team may intervene in program direction, eventually turning the broadcaster into a government mouthpiece.
In the last days, the trump shall soundA former Hong Kong resident went shopping in the Malaysian city of Selangor. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department is launching a series of online shows for Hong Kong children from today, called the WeWeWebWeb Carnival. * * *Trump fanboy Joshua Wong Chi-fung said he approved of the US government's threats to hit the endlessly suffering Hong Kong people with trade sanctions yesterday. It amazes me that some people overseas still think he speaks for all the people of Hong Kong. * * *Many homeowners in Hong Kong are refusing to allow homebuyers to see their properties because of virus fears.
“We intend to align [the budget for] the last two years of [the Duterte] administration [in] making the Philippines much stronger to address any shocks in the future,” Chua said. On health, priorities would include infrastructure and increasing capacity, housing, and water and sanitation, according to Chua. “We will also consider procurement and budget allocation flexibility to move delivery faster,” he said. These include improving the country’s health infrastructure, production of pharma-grade medical supplies, strategic inventory of medicines and equipment, the implementation of the Universal Health Care law, research and development, virology center, and pharma development center. Chua’s remarks come after the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) recently adopted a revised 2021 cash budget amounting to P4.18 trillion, or 19.6 percent of gross domestic product, higher than this year’s P4.10-trillion cash budget.
May 28, 2020 16:30 UTC
The latest net amount resulted from the $627.02-million inflows and $1.28-billion outflows in April. In a statement, the BSP said the $627.02-million registered investments last month reflected a 34.3-percent plunge from $953.77 million in March. Taking preliminary results from the first day of May into account, year-to-date hot money flows remained in the negative territory, with net outflows at $2.06 billion, a reversal of the $37.27-million net inflows a year ago. The Bangko Sentral targets to record net inflows of $8.2 billion this year. In a Viber message also on Thursday, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno announced that monetary authorities were revisiting their 2020 forecasts for the country’s balance of payments, which includes foreign portfolio investments, foreign direct investments (FDI) and other external position indicators.
May 28, 2020 16:29 UTC
Listed 2GO Group Inc. reduced its net loss by 70 percent in the first quarter of 2020 after recording lower expenses. In a disclosure on Thursday, the shipping and logistics company said its net loss attributable to equity holders reached P108.92 million, lower than the P369.03-million net loss it incurred in the same period in 2019. “Total cost and expenses were lower in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, despite rising transport costs for the logistics business and increased sales of inventory from the distribution business,” it added. Fuel prices were also down by 32 percent, where 2GO had a favorable price variance of P191 million in January to March. “All other costs and expenses were generally maintained or reduced due to improvements in efficiencies and focus on controlling cost,” it explained.
May 28, 2020 16:29 UTC