Will the government extend the Luzon lockdown? Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:
President Rodrigo Duterte had a talk with US President Donald Trump on bilateral action to fight the pandemic, including an endorsement of rapid testing. The Philippines also approved first US FDA-sanctioned kits that were initially disapproved by the Department of Health (DOH). Earlier this year, the two leaders brushed off fears of the coronavirus and are now battling criticism at home over the their supposedly belated action to fight the virus. The president also met with experts and former heads of the DOH to help him decide on the extension of the lockdown.
Speaking of the lockdown, the local government of Taguig reminded residents to follow quarantine rules. The management of a Taguig condominium said they would take legal action after a video showing policemen shooing away residents from a common area went viral. The leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) threatened to make “massive arrests” if there is continued violation of the quarantine. Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte is “50-50” on lifting of the lockdown and would make his final decision this week.
No more window hours
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles told local governments to stop setting window hours for markets, groceries and pharmacies. Presidential adviser on flagship programs Vince Dizon renewed his call to exempt infrastructure projects from the lockdown. Also, tax deadlines have been pushed back again to June 8.
Tightening its grip
While the world battles COVID-19, China sought to cement its hold on parts of the disputed South China Sea. Beijing announced the establishment of two districts based in the Paracels and Spratlys Islands, which are both being claimed by the Philippines. Vietnam had already protested the move. Retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio called on the government to protest China’s announcement.
H Proper, a charming Cagayan de Oro cafe, has coffee so good, its more well-to-do Metro Manila patrons fly in, drink a couple of cuppas, and fly right back. ANCX talks to its proprietors, Harley and Wendy Yu.