The ANC Brief: Public address by the President

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 05:05 AM

The President was scheduled on Monday to address the public just as the third week of quarantine starts. Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:

Public address
The Philippines has more than 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with the death toll at 78. The Palace announced President Duterte was going to make a public address. Meanwhile, the Palace claimed the lockdown is slowing the spread of the virus, without offering any evidence. The Department of Health (DOH) said it was too early to say if enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will be lifted or extended beyond April 14. Interior Sec. Eduardo Ano said extending the quarantine isn’t viable.

Time for mass testing?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 5 rapid COVID-19 test kits despite some concerns. Will we see the mass testing that people have been calling for? And will this flatten the curve? The DOH also apologized for saying test kits from China were inaccurate.

Food crisis?
A supposed food crisis was the headline story of a broadsheet recently. But is there really a looming food crisis? The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been saying for the past few weeks ago that there is no shortage of goods. Meanwhile, vegetable shipments from La Trinidad, Benguet were suspended due to precautions being undertaken by the local government. Fish canneries are also reducing their output. A popular bread brand said they were also scaling down their production.

Banking policies
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) eased banks’ foreign exchange trading rules. Among the approved measures are the use of e-signatures for documents, a waiver of some processing fees and other measures. The Banker’s Association of the Philippines (BAP) said Philippine banks must keep their lending rates reasonable. The Social Security System (SSS) extended its deadline for loan and contribution payments.

Ashes to ashes
Whenever COVID-19 takes a person’s life, the men of Baesa Crematorium attend to them, making sure the virus does not pull anybody else into the grave with it. Chiara Zambrano writes for ANCX about the people risking their lives to give the dead some dignity.