The safety of overseas Filipino workers is the subject of concern as tensions rise in the Middle East. Here are the big stories making the headlines today:
Where the situation goes
A local labor group urged the government to prepare an evacuation plan for OFWs in the Middle East as tensions in the region escalate following the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by US forces. Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. said an evacuation will depend on “where the situation goes.” Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello said OFWs who will be repatriated because of the situation will get benefits when they arrive home. President Duterte summoned national intelligence service officials this weekend to discuss the current situation in the Middle East.
Signing the budget
Speaking of the President, he is due to finally sign the 2020 budget in the Palace at 4 p.m. This should be good for the economy since a working budget would prevent a repeat of the GDP slow down last year when the signing of the budget was delayed. Some lawmakers are expecting President Duterte to veto some parts of the budget due to some alleged insertions.
The Department of Health is on alert due to a mysterious sickness from China. Health officials want strict checks of incoming travelers. They described the sickness as “viral pneumonia” of unknown origin. Chinese officials are also investigating the outbreak.
Preventing a monopoly?
The Department of Transportation claimed the endorsement Joyride got from Sen. Koko Pimentel had no effect on the department’s “decision-making process” on motorcycle ride-hailing services. Pimentel said the endorsement was meant to prevent a monopoly by Angkas. The department is due to hold a press conference today.
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