A controversial provision disappears from a bill that seeks more powers for the President to deal with the spread of the coronavirus. Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:
The Palace withdrew the “take over” provision in a draft of a bill granting special powers to President Duterte to deal with the spread of COVID-19 after it drew flak from the public. The provision would have allowed the Chief Executive to order the takeover of any private business. Also drawing flak from the public was the spectacle of officials and lawmakers parading inside the halls of Congress with a poster proclaiming their affinity with medical frontliners. Memes on the event quickly went viral.
No one taking advantage
Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles was asked for a reaction to politicians taking precious COVID-19 tests despite being asymptomatic. His response? “Walang lamangan, walang gulangan,” which roughly translates to “no one takes advantage of others.” Government officials have reportedly asked for COVID-19 testing at their homes despite the limited supply of test kits. Some of them have clarified and apologized for taking tests ahead of those who might really need them. Meanwhile, a rumor spread that the director of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Dr. Celia Carlos, was fired for refusing the request of the politicians for testing. This was quickly denied by Health Sec. Francisco Duque. The DOH also denied they were prioritizing politicians and officials.
Propping up the economy
A group of economics professors from the University of the Philippines has laid out a number of suggestions to keep the economy afloat during and after the lockdown. Among their salient points include social protection for the most vulnerable sectors, preservation of jobs and businesses, providing liquidity, and transparency and accountability. Meanwhile, the Monetary Board bought P300 billion worth of government securities to support those affected by the coronavirus.
While everyone wasn’t looking
While the world fights off COVID-19, China continues its activities in the West Philippine Sea. Two research stations were opened on Kagitingan and Zamora Reefs, both in the West Philippine Sea.
Watch all you can
Looking for a watch list to tide you through the community quarantine? ANCX's resident film critic shares 20 outstanding Filipino movies—from blockbusters to cult favorites—which are all available via streaming.