China telco’s 40% stake in Dito, a major security concern

China telco's 40% stake in Dito, a major security concern | Juan Manila


Chinese state-owned telecommunications firms had been banned from operating in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cited national security concerns.

Subsequently, it ordered China Telecom to terminate operations in the US within 60 days.


MANILA — China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company, is the same firm with 40 percent stake in Philippines’ Dito Telecommunity, a third telco player in the country.

The FCC had recently sent an advisory to the US House Committee to monitor its its decision against the operation of China Telecom in the United States.

Similar security concerns have been expressed in the Philippines over Dito’s actions, particularly the deployment of cellular stations within or near military barracks.

Senator Risa Hontiveros raised serious concerns about Dito’s dealings with China Telecom last month. She requested that the National Security Council conduct a security audit to determine potential threats to the country.

In a statement, the FCC explained it found that China Telecom “is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.”

The U.S. regulator argued such “ownership and control” raise “significant national security and law enforcement risks” and the operation of the division would give the Chinese authorities the ability to “access, store, disrupt” or misroute US communications, which could be used for espionage and “other harmful activities” against the nation. (HMP/JuanManila)

Every Filipino is now in debt by ₱120K, it could go up

Every Filipino is now in debt by ₱120K, it could go up | Juan Manila


The country’s national debt has risen to ₱11.92 trillion as of late September, up from ₱5.9 trillion at the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tenure.


MANILA — To put things into perspective, Senator Panfilo Lacson stated that every Filipino, including those born today, will be saddled with at least ₱120,000 in debt.

According to Lacson, the national debt is expected to reach 13.42 trillion by June 2022. He stated that the pandemic is one of the causes behind this.

Ang pandemya di natin alam kailan matatapos. Pangalawa, dulot ng pandemya, lumobo ang ating pambansang utang,” Lacson said.

(There is no telling when the pandemic will end. Second, as a result of the pandemic, our national debt has skyrocketed.)

Pag ganito kalaki ang utang natin, ang projected nating population sa June 2022, 111 milyon na tayo. Bawa’t isa sa atin, pati ang pinapanganak sa oras na ito may taglay na utang na ₱120,000,” he said.

(If our debt is this big, each of us, even those born now, will be in debt by ₱120,000.)

Lacson is running for President under Partido Reporma alongside Senate President Vicente Sotto III as his Vice President, who is under the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

He stated that it will be the job of the future president to lead the country’s recovery from the pandemic. (TRC/JuanManila)

No Marcos-Go tandem, Cusi faction allies with Reform Party

No Marcos-Go tandem, Cusi faction allies with Reform Party | Juan Manila


Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, head of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), announced in an interview that there will no longer be chances of the Marcos-Go tandem for the 2022 national elections.

Last Tuesday, the newly formed Reform Party headed by former Magdalo member James Layug struck an alliance with Cusi’s group and pledged to support Go’s bid.


MANILA — Cusi’s admission of the lost chances for a tandem came at a time following Marcos’ meeting with Sara Duterte.

“For now, it is already impossible since we are no longer in touch with them (Marcos’ camp),” Cusi said, regarding Ferdinand Marcos Jr being the party’s presidential candidate alongside Senator Christopher Lawrence Go as his running mate.

Could it be that it is President Duterte’s daughter the presidential aspirant is wooing to be in tandem with his bid? The air is silent is this regard.

The PDP-Laban said they will remain with Senator Ronald de la Rosa as their standard-bearer and Go as his vice president.

Both Cusi and Marcos’ sister, Senator Maria Imelda Josefa Marcos, affirmed that there had been talks about the possibility of a Marcos-Go partnership, but nothing ever came out of it.

The Reform Party, meanwhile, has not decided if it will also support Dela Rosa, according to Cusi. (TRC/JuanManila)

Vaccine rollout for children starts 05 Nov. across the country

Vaccine rollout for pediatrics starts 05 November | Juan Manila


The National Vaccination Operations Center has announced that the scheduled 05 November nationwide rollout of vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 will begin two days early in the National Capital Region.

The Covid-19 pediatric vaccination, which is presently being administered in around 20 hospitals in the NCR to children with comorbidities, has entered Phase 2.


MANILA — According to NVOC chairperson and health undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, they have given the authority to the local government units (LGUs) to select the venues and schedule for the vaccination of minors, but she has also cautioned the local chief executives to conduct a thorough study to map out a foolproof plan for the vaccine rollouts.

“We will leave it to the discretion of the local government units. Iyong mga bakuna center in general pareho iyan sa adult…Baka i-extend ang time considering some distance problems or kaya naman Sabado o Linggo,” Cabotaje said.

“Walang specific na dates. Basta gusto natin mabakunahan as fast as many and with minimum wastage and safety ang ating prime consideration. Tapos alam naman natin magugulo ang mga bata, tapos may kasama pa sila. So preferably, hiwalay na lane o kaya hiwalay na kuwarto ang paggagawan. Or some LGUs will have separate schedule days,” she added.

The guidelines for the vaccination of children with comorbidities are nearly identical to those for children without, with the only need being is a written authorization from parents or guardians before the available vaccinations are provided, according to Cabotaje.

“Ang kaibahan lang ay iyong sa rest of the pediatric population, we will not require a medical certificate or a medical clearance from the attending doctor kasi we presume na hindi naman may sakit ito, they are healthy and they have no history of any illness. Pero itutuloy pa rin natin iyong ating screening,” the health undersecretary explained.

She noted that there is a high incidence of pericarditis and myocarditis among minors so parents are needed to be informed about these conditions or whether their siblings have comorbidities or not.

“May mga ibang side effects na hindi nakikita sa adult kagaya ng anxiety reaction. ‘Di ba gaya ng bata, natatakot na mabakunahan siya, puwede siyang mag-faint, bihirang mga adults ang nagpe-faint, wala pa yata akong nakitang nag-faint, iyong tumataas ang heart rate,” she said. (TRC/JuanManila)

IATF allows 70% public transport capacity for 1 month

IATF allows 70% public transport capacity for 1 month | Juan Manila


Transportation agency officials have responded to the high demand for public transport to fully open up to service the public following the easing of quarantine restrictions and the reopening of more business establishments in low-risk areas.

Government authorities, however, have decided on a gradual increase in passenger capacities in railways and all forms of road-based public transport in Metro Manila.

Despite a 100 percent increase in passenger capacity demanded by groups in the the public utility vehicle (PUV) sector, the Government has allowed 70 percent, being careful not to disrupt dramatic but still fragile improvements in the pandemic situation.


MANILA — Said initial expansion in passenger capacity of public transport although limited at 70 percent was approved from the current 50 percent by the IATF-MEID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), said the Department of Transportation.

However, this development in the public transport sector will only run a one-month pilot implementation. The buildup will be adjusted only when it produces positive results, from which confirmatory proposals for public utility vehicles (PUVs) to reach full passenger capacity will be based.

Although the Transport agency earlier pushed for a return to 100-percent passenger capacity that was backed by transport groups, the pandemic task force could not allow for a full capacity just as yet.

However, the DOTr would issue a memorandum to execute this recent IATF limited approval. It also authorized the department to later expand the program to other areas and other PUVs.

Mark Steven Pastor, Assistant Secretary for road transport and infrastructure, said the IATF approval would be a big help to PUV drivers, stressing it was a welcome development considering the burden on PUV drivers and operators posed by the implementation of the limited passenger capacity rule during the height of the pandemic and aggravated by the spate of recent fuel price hikes that has almost doubled to the chagrin of motorists. (TRC/Headline PH)

Domiguez calls on western economies to act now

Domiguez calls on western economies to act now | Juan Manila


Western economies responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions are pressed to act immediately on reducing their carbon footprints and to make good on their commitments to extend the initiatives climate-vulnerable countries require to transition to clean energy.


MANILA — Concrete actions now are urgently needed to materialize decades-old discussions on how to mitigate climate change said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said during the opening of the virtual 2021 Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

He complimented the AIIB for concentrating on the climate crisis at this year’s conference, saying that “this should help signal that the period for merely talking about climate change should now move towards implementation of actual projects on the ground.”

Led by AIIB president Jin Liqun, Mr Domignuez expressed gratitude to the AIIB for providing climate-vulnerable economies in Asia with the chance to engage with the Bank in accessing finance to help cut carbon emissions and move forward with climate-resilient programs.

Despite the fact that the Philippines is not currently a financial powerhouse, Secretary Dominguez stated that “we are determined to punch above our weight class in green and climate finance” so that it may lead in terms of mainstreaming climate change through the financial sector, said the Finance secretary.

“Clearly the Philippines is moving with urgency, but we have seen very little funding and actions promised by Western countries materialize. All that has been done is talk without concrete actions,” Mr Domiguez said at the virtual AIIB flagship seminar on the Paris Agreement.

“We need the Western countries to take responsibility for having contributed and continue to contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions. They must be given the greater burden of paying for the grants, investments, and subsidies needed for the most climate-vulnerable countries to mitigate the effects of global warming,” he continued saying.

According to the Finance secretary, these countries have “avoided the pain by buying their way out of their global obligations,” which include offering developing nations insufficient funds to undertake carbon reductions they themselves are unwilling to do. The practice led to “very little has been achieved in mitigating climate change.” (RA//JuanManila)

W. Visayas determined to be Philippines’ bamboo capital

W. Visayas determined to be Philippines' bamboo capital | Juan Manila


More than 300,000 thousand bamboo propagules (plant buds, suckers, or spores) have been planted covering 1,187.49 hectares of land in various areas of Western Visayas.


MANILA — Aiming to be the bamboo capital of the Philippines, all provincial offices of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 backed the Bamboo Planting Activity as part of the World Bamboo Day 2021.

Themed “Alay ng Bayan sa Inang Kalikasan, Kawayan,” the region-wide celebration and planting activity also raises the awareness of the importance of promoting and conserving the bamboo industry.

Some 531 personnel from various Government agencies including academe and uniformed men, and LGU employees.

Awareness of the benefits of bamboo is being pushed in the World Bamboo Day. Its utilization, however, has been limited with the advent of modern construction materials, the manufacture of which have been found to contribute to pollution, greenhouse effect, and global warming.

Meanwhile, the World Bamboo Organization aims to elevate the potentials of bamboo as a sustainable construction material that will not contribute in harming the environment, and at best, will protect the natural habitat of flora and fauna.

“Bamboo is used for a variety of purpose, apart from helping combat the effects of climate change. And this product is widely used in our country, especially in our region,” said Livino Duran, regional executive director.

“We aim for the region to be the Bamboo Capital of the Philippines, thus, we support this activity,” he continued saying.

Bamboo plantation is equally pursued as the national greening program, according to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, as it is known for its potential in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Bamboo forests serve as carbon sink while at the same time producing oxygen. (RA/JuanManila)

Counterfeiters print bills for buying votes

Counterfeiters print bills for buying votes | Juan Manila


Selling votes to unworthy leaders vying for office in May 2022 is not only unethical, but it is also a ruse that low-level posers engage in discreetly, at the expense of people whose votes they would secure.

Some ₱111,000 of fake money was seized by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday. The bills were manufactured by two men in Cebu City, who said it was to be distributed for the May 2022 national and local polls.


MANILA — PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar has identified the suspects: Joseph Mercado Salas, 36, and Ivan Noval Luardo, 35.

The police received an anonymous tip through the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), saying some individuals making counterfeit money and preparing to distribute them for the upcoming elections.

CIDG commander Police Major General Albert Ignatius Ferro teamed up with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to verify the report and catch the suspects.

Salas was first apprehended in Cebu City last 19 October for making ₱24,000 of fake money.

A follow-up operation was then initiated once officials learned that Salas had an accomplice.

Luardo was then arrested on 25 October. Taken from him were 52 pieces of fake ₱1,000 bills (₱52,000) and 70 pieces of fake ₱500 bills (₱35,000).

Eleazar warns the public of accepting money from political candidates through ‘vote-buying’, saying they will be scammed.

Pinapaalalahan din natin ang ating mga kababayan na mag-isip-isip sa pagtanggap ng pera mula sa mga kandidatong bibili ng inyong mga boto dahil baka mabudol lang kayo (We are reminding the public to think twice before accepting money from candidates who will buy your votes because you might get scammed),” he added.

The suspects were charged before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Article 168 (illegal possession and use of false treasury or banknotes and other instruments of credit) in relation to Article 166 of the Revised Penal Code. (HMP/JuanManila)

Duterte flagship projects to continue under a Robredo admin

Duterte flagship projects to continue under a Robredo admin | Juan Manila


The flagship projects of the Duterte administration, such as the anti-illegal drugs campaign and the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure project, will continue should Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, who is vying for the presidential seat in the May 2022 polls, will win Malacanan.

It is a vow from Ms Robredo, except that there will be modifications in the management and operations of said projects under her administration.


MANILA — A modified approach but with similar intensity against the fight on illegal drugs will be pursued according to Ms Robredo, should she win the presidency in May 2022.

Hindi pwedeng enforcement lang. Nakita natin over the past five years, sobrang daming namatay. Pero ang question, nawala ba (ang illegal na droga)? Ang sagot, hindi,” the Vice President said when interviewed.

(It is not enough to focus on enforcement along. As we havae seen over the past five years, too many have died. The question is, did the illegal drugs operation disappear? No, it did not.)

For a modified strategy in resolving the illegal drugs issue, Ms Robredo said, her campaign will target prevention and rehabilitation. She said, this approach is more “holistic” and has far better results based on the experiences of other countries.

As of 31 August, Government data showed 6,191 people killed in the anti-illegal drug operations. According to human rights groups, however, the actual figure is higher.

Meanwhile, Ms Robredo said, she will continue the incumbent’s infrastructure program to ascertain that it will directly impact the marginalized members of society. She will also go after improvements in mass transport and developments in rural areas. (RA/JuanManila)

AFP on track in crushing communist movement by mid-2022

AFP on track in crushing communist movement by mid-2022 | Juan Manila


The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that it is on target in its mission to crush the communist movement by the middle of next year.

AFP chief-of-staff Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr also cited the significant gains and accomplishments the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has achieved.


CAMP AGUINALDO, QUEZON CITY — General Faustino hailed the NTF-ELCAC’s ‘Support to Barangay Development’ program which is aimed at stirring development and bringing social services closer to people in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas that are believed to be vulnerable to NPA influence and recruitment.

“We have a very good strategy. It is really working, we see how effective it is. We have here a strategy that works,” said General Faustino.

The AFP chief recently visited troops of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) based in Camp Brigadier General Edilberto Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City and led the destruction of 316 firearms seized from New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in various operations from February to December last year.

The 4ID, or Diamond Division, covers the entire Caraga region, and the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, and Misamis Oriental, including the highly urbanized cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in Northern Mindanao. This is the military area which has the most active presence of the NPA guerrillas.

General Faustino said the seized firearms indicate the military’s success in curtailing the strength of the NPA in this part of the country.

“Right now, we are on target. Our enemies are getting weaker,” he said, adding that a similar trend is observed in other parts of the country that have the presence of NPA guerrillas. (TRC/JuanManila)