BALITANG MARINO DAILY NEWS for January 4, 2022

BALITANG MARINO DAILY NEWS for January 4, 2022

HEADLINES

Apple becomes first company to hit $3 trillion market value, then slips

US air travel still messy amid new COVID surge

Taliban crackdown: Afghan agents pour 3,000 liters of liquor into canal

Brazilian Agency Advises Public to Avoid Cruise Ships Due to Omicron

Fuel Problems Force Containership to Divert for Emergency Repairs

Icelandic Coast Guard Carries Out Lava-Field Rescue

PH returns to high-risk COVID-19 classification – DOH

Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal to be placed under Alert Level 3 from Wednesday

CIDG to file raps vs ‘Poblacion Girl’, parents for quarantine breach

Quarantine violator skipped isolation, had massage, claims exempted from protocol

Metro Manila’s COVID-19 reproduction rate now ‘very high’ at 4.78 – OCTA

Stay home, MMDA orders unvaxxed Metro Manila residents

Iya Villania, Drew Arellano are expecting fourth baby

Kris Aquino shows Mel Senen Sarmiento’s explanation for breakup

KC Concepcion honors childhood nanny who passed away

PBA games postponed as league awaits GAB, LGU green light

Nonito Donaire is PBC’s 2021 Fighter of the Year

Jason Brickman continues fine play as Kaohsiung beats Tainan

FULL NEWSPAPER

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Apple becomes first company to hit $3 trillion market value, then slips

January 4 —— Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Monday became the first company to hit a $3 trillion stock market value, before ending the day a hair below that milestone, as investors bet the iPhone maker will keep launching best-selling products as it explores new markets such as automated cars and virtual reality.

On the first day of trading in 2022, the Silicon Valley company’s shares hit an intraday record high of $182.88, putting Apple’s market value just above $3 trillion. The stock ended the session up 2.5% at $182.01, with Apple’s market capitalization at $2.99 trillion. The world’s most valuable company reached the milestone as investors bet that consumers will continue to shell out top dollar for iPhones, MacBooks and services such as Apple TV and Apple Music. “It’s a fantastic accomplishment and certainly worthy to be celebrated,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “It just shows you how far Apple has come, and how dominant it is seen as in the majority of investors’ eyes.”

Apple shared the $2 trillion market value club with Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), which is now worth about $2.5 trillion. Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Amazon.com Inc and Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) have market values above $1 trillion. Saudi Arabian Oil Co (2222.SE) is valued at about $1.9 trillion, according to Refinitiv. “The market is rewarding companies that have strong fundamentals and balance sheets, and the companies that are hitting these sort of huge market caps have proven they are strong businesses and not speculation,” said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

Apple’s shares have climbed around 5,800% since co-founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January 2007, far outpacing the S&P 500’s (.SPX) gain of about 230% during the same period. Under Tim Cook, who in 2011 became chief executive following Jobs’ death, Apple has sharply increased its revenue from services like video streaming and music. That helped Apple reduce its reliance on the iPhone to about 52% of total revenue in fiscal 2021 from over 60% in 2018, pleasing investors worried the company relied too much on its top-selling product.

Still, some investors worry Apple is hitting the limits of how much it can expand its user base and how much cash it can squeeze from each user, with no guarantees that future product categories will prove as lucrative as the iPhone. The rapid embrace of technologies such as 5G, virtual reality and artificial intelligence has also increased the allure of Apple and other Big Tech companies. In China, the world’s largest smartphone market, Apple continued to lead for the second straight month, beating rivals such as Vivo and Xiaomi, recent data from CounterPoint Research showed.

With Tesla now the world’s most valuable automaker as Wall Street bets heavily on electric cars, many investors expect Apple to launch its own vehicle within the next few years. “The icing on the cake, which may turn out to be the cake, is the potential for an EV car,” Rhys Williams, chief strategist at Spouting Rock Asset Management said. Just as Apple’s market capitalization hits the $3 trillion milestone, its share price as a percentage of the Nasdaq 100 index’s (.NDX) value is bumping up against a key technical level. In recent prior times, the stock price has risen above such a level and then subsequently declined.

Source: reuters.com

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US air travel still messy amid new COVID surge

January 4 —— Americans returning home from holiday travel had to battle another day of airport chaos Sunday, with more than 2,600 flights cancelled due to bad weather or airline staffing woes sparked by a surge in Covid cases. Further disruptions are predicted for Monday, as a winter storm blows eastward. As of 10:00pm (0300 GMT Monday), more than 2,650 domestic flights or international ones starting or finishing in the United States had been canceled — almost as many as the 2,750 scrapped over the course of Saturday, said the flight-tracking service FlightAware.

That figure represented well over half of the nearly 4,400 flights canceled around the world. Almost 8,600 US flights were delayed. Southwest Airlines, one of the hardest-hit carriers, had to cancel some 400 flights Sunday morning, a spokesperson said in an email to AFP, adding that it expected further cancellations.

Passenger Nick Kagy was beside himself after his Southwest flight was cancelled. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME @SouthwestAir,” he wrote on Twitter. “We waited on hold for almost 3 hours to rebook because we couldn’t rebook online, and after getting things (not really fully) resolved, you cancelled our second flight to out of another airport.”

On Saturday, poor weather, much of it linked to Winter Storm Frida, forced Southwest to cancel 490 flights, most of them in the center-north states south of the Great Lakes and reaching west to the Great Plains.  The result: intense frustration for many travelers. “This is insane,” tweeted Haley, another Southwest passenger who was trying to fly out of Chicago. “This is the 3rd cancellation and still not home. Was supposed to be home 4 days ago!!!”

Airports in Chicago — a major transit hub — were the most affected Saturday, but by Sunday the airports in Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Houston and Newark were also hard hit. A woman named Kayla described her own ordeal: “I was supposed to get home at 10:30 yesterday morning. and at this point I’ve had 3 flights cancelled and one delayed to the point where I missed my connection.”

Around the world, air traffic has suffered snarls since Christmas because of airline staffing issues linked to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant. Many pilots and flight attendants have called in sick after testing positive for the virus or being forced to quarantine due to contact with someone who has the virus. This has left carriers with staffing shortages and forced them to delay or cancel flights. The latest travel chaos carried echoes of a frustrating Christmas weekend, when around 7,500 flights around the world were scrapped.

And rebooking canceled flights has been a major challenge for many. One traveler, Eric Crawford, described his frustration at trying to call a Delta Airline agent to reschedule. “An estimated wait time of 22+ hours to speak with a rep about a cancelled flight,” he said on Twitter, “is not the best look for starting 2022.” And Kowshick Boddu offered this account, also on Twitter, about his troubles with Alaska Air: “We were supposed to fly out from Fairbanks to San Jose on Dec 30, but our flights got rescheduled to today which is eventually cancelled again??? Long customer call wait hours, no response and flights not been rebooked? Need help!!”

Travel woes are expected to continue into Monday, the first working day of 2022. Storm Frida will continue on a disruptive path eastward, meteorologists said, bringing snow to a wide swath from Washington located on the mid-Atlantic coast up to Boston, Massachusetts in the north. Nearly 1,400 Monday flights have already been canceled within, into or out of the United States.

Source: news.abs-cbn.com

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MARITIME NEWS

Brazilian Agency Advises Public to Avoid Cruise Ships Due to Omicron

January 4 —— Brazilian national health agency Anvisa called on the public to voluntarily avoid cruise ships for at least the first few days of the new year. The warning follows after several medium-sized COVID-19 outbreaks aboard Brazil-based cruise ships last week. “In view of recent events, Anvisa does not recommend the embarkation of passengers who have trips scheduled on cruise ships for the next few days. This recommendation takes into account the rapid change in the epidemiological scenario, the risk to the health of passengers and the unpredictability of operations at this time,” the agency said in a statement. “Investigations conducted over the past few days have shown that the Sars-CoV-2 virus easily spreads among people nearby on board ships, meaning the chance of contracting Covid-19 on cruise ships is high.”

On Friday, Anvisa suspended the operations of the cruise ship Costa Diadema, which had just arrived at the Brazilian port of Salvador with 68 COVID cases on board. Anvisa and local health agencies declared the outbreak a “community transmission of Covid-19, level 4” incident and ordered the Diadema to transit back to her home port at Santos. The ship reported that 56 crewmembers and 12 passengers were infected out of a total complement of 3,800 people on board. According to Anvisa, the majority of the individuals who tested positive were asymptomatic, and no serious cases reported. The voyage was Diadema’s inaugural sailing from the port of Santos.

The Brazil-based cruise ships MSC Splendida reported a similar outbreak at about the same time, and over the weekend, Anvisa ordered her not to board her next complement of passengers for her next voyage. Additional recent outbreaks aboard Costa Fascinosa and MSC Seaside are under investigation. 

Over the weekend, Anvisa said that it would be launching an investigation into COVID policy compliance aboard cruise ships in the Brazilian market. “Failure to follow health protocols and disobeying restrictive measures imposed by the authorities constitute infractions that, if confirmed, will result in fines and the suspension of activities,” the agency warned.  Anvisa also formally recommended that Brazil’s cruise season should be temporarily suspended. The agency cannot issue such an order on its own authority, but it has publicly advised Brazil’s Ministry of Health to initiate a suspension. In its recommendation, Anvisa pointed to the U.S. CDC, which has advised the public against cruising in the near term due to the risk of spreading the highly-contagious omicron variant. Despite mandatory or near-mandatory vaccination policies, U.S.-based cruise ships have reported a rising number of breakthrough infections due to omicron.

While the new variant may be more infectious, early clinical evidence suggests that omicron is less harmful than previous versions of COVID-19. Operator Royal Caribbean reports that while it has seen positive COVID test results occur on its voyages, all confirmed omicron cases have been relatively mild and none have required hospitalization.

Source: maritime-executive.com

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Fuel Problems Force Containership to Divert for Emergency Repairs

January 4 —— A South Korean containership was forced to turn around in the Pacific and seek a port of refuge after reportedly suffering an engine problem that is being blamed on a fuel problem. SM Line’s SM Busan, a 6622 TEU containership, arrived in Victoria, Canada where officials are reporting the vessel may spend up to a month undergoing repairs. The 80,555 dwt containership had departed Portland, Oregon on December 18 for its return voyage across the Pacific after having unloaded in Oregon and Los Angeles. The Canadian Coast Guard, which was monitoring the situation, reported that the vessel began to encounter problems in the Pacific as soon as December 20, but resumed its voyage only to experience additional problems. It was not “running optimally and unable to maintain top speed.”

After drifting for two days in the Pacific beginning on Christmas Eve, the vessel began the return voyage toward Canada. Under Transport Canada regulations she was required to have a tugboat escort to enter coastal waters and proceed to port. Two Seaspan tugs were seen standing by the vessel. The SM Busan reached the area off Victoria on Vancouver Island on January 1, but due to high winds was forced to anchor off. She was able to proceed to the dock Sunday morning under her own power. She docked at Ogden Point, with the port authority highlighting that she was the first vessel to use mooring extensions that had been put in place to accommodate larger vessels. The port agent for the vessel told the CHEK news outlet in Victoria that they would be pumping the oil out of the vessel’s tanks before repairs could begin on her engines. They are also planning to clean the vessel’s tanks during the stay in Victoria.

The Greater Victoria Harbor Authority expects that the SM Busan will remain for up to a month while it undergoes repairs. The agent said that the vessel was largely transporting empty containers back to Korea on the current voyage. In addition to adding the call in Portland to its schedule to help with port congestion delays, SM Line reports that it has been operating extra vessels carrying automobile parts, batteries, chemicals, furniture, home appliances, and cosmetics to help South Korean exporters to deal with the shortage of capacity on the Pacific. It is unclear when the vessel fueled, however uncommon reports of fuel problems fouling operations do occur. At the beginning of 2021, Maersk filed suit over off-spec fuel alleging contamination that caused damages to two of its containerships. The industry group BIMCO also reported increased problems in a 2020 survey after the conversion to new very low sulfur fuel formulations. The data showed nearly one-third of companies surveyed reported increased wear in engine components, and 18 percent reported fuel pump seizures. Ten percent reported blackouts or propulsion failures related to fuel oil properties.

Source: maritime-executive.com

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Icelandic Coast Guard Carries Out Lava-Field Rescue

January 4 —— The Icelandic Coast Guard has search and rescue responsibilities for a challenging stretch of the North Atlantic, but it also gets called out periodically to help people in distress on a different surface – lava. Iceland is one of the few parts of the world where fresh lava flows are within reach of the general public, and visitors occasionally get into trouble by walking out onto the surface of recently-cooled rock. This is hazardous for several reasons: the rock may be crumbly or unstable, and even solid surfaces may turn out to be hot enough to cause burns.

On Friday, a mountain search and rescue squad was called out to help a hiker in distress at Fagradasfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, where a recent volcanic eruption occurred about 10 miles from the country’s main airport. The individual had walked out onto new lava but did not feel safe following the same path back. The mountain SAR squad brought advanced thermal cameras and other specialized equipment, and they attempted to find a safe path to reach the individual by foot. After walking a short distance out onto the surface, they determined that it was not safe to continue, and they called for an Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter aircrew to hoist the individual to safety.

The Fagradasfjall lava flow has been a particularly popular draw for visitors, as it is within easy reach of both the airport and the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik. The volcanic eruption began in March 2021 and ended in mid-September, and its light could be seen from the city at night. It was the largest eruption the island has seen in 50 years, and the scenic attraction drew more than 350,000 visitors, according to the Islandic Tourist Board. Risk management has occasionally been a challenge at the site, with uncautious visitors frequently walking up to the edge of active lava flows. Though the eruption has ended, heavy seismic activity at the site continues, raising the risks for anyone venturing out onto the surface. Given the potential for a renewed eruption, the local chief of police has advised hikers to stay clear of the area.

Source: maritime-executive.com

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PHILIPPINE NEWS

PH returns to high-risk COVID-19 classification – DOH

January 4 —— The country is once again under high-risk classification after being under low-risk for more than a month since Nov. 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday, Jan. 3. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing that current average daily cases have increased significantly by 570 percent from Dec. 27 to Jan 2 which is seven times higher than in previous weeks. Epidemic curves of major island groups according to Veregeire are also started to show signs of increase in COVID-19 cases and that the National Capital Region (NCR) showed a sharp uptick in cases as in the recent weeks. “Nationally we are now at high risk case classification from low risk case class in the previous week showing a positive two week growth rate at 222 percent and a moderate risk average daily attack rate at 1.07 cases for every 100,000 individuals,” she said.

She added that cases in the recent one week also showed a positive increase. Meanwhile, the National Health Systems capacity is at low risk with total bed utilization at 18 percent which is two percent higher than the reported utilization rate on Dec. 25 which was at 16 percent while Intensive Care Unit (ICU) utilization is at 22 percent. In the recent week, admissions increased by 9 percent while allocated beds decreased by two percent.

Meanwhile, five regions, namely Regions 4-A, Region 3, Region 9, 11 and 10 showed a positive one week growth rate and two week growth rate. Vergeire said that these regions are at low to moderate risk classification. The rest of the regions showed positive increase in cases only in the recent one week while healthcare utilization rates in all regions remain to be at low risk,

Metro Manila is also under high-risk case classification. Vergeire said that NCR showed a high risk one week growth rate and two week growth rate and moderate-risk average daily attack rate of 5.42 cases per 100,000 population. The health systems capacity in the region remains to be under 50 percent utilization. She also mentioned an increased positivity rate in regions or the number of individuals who yielded positive results from among those who were tested for COVID-19. She said that the largest increase was for NCR where numbers jumped from 932 to 13,756 for the recent week and Region 4-A with 2,792 individuals testing positive in the recent week from just 290 from the previous week.

In the National Capital Region, while total bed utilization remains to be at low risk at 24 percent, admissions are seen to be increasing in the recent week. Over the course of one week, the NCR saw a 49 percent increase in admissions accompanied by a one percent or 86-bed increase in allocated beds. Similar to the total bed admissions, ICU admissions in NCR showed a slight uptick in the recent week while ICU utilization rate remains to be at low risk overall at 27 percent capacity. ICU admissions increased by 103 or 44 percent in the recent week, while ICU bed allocation decreased by 88 beds or seven percent.

Source: mb.com.ph

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Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal to be placed under Alert Level 3 from Wednesday

MANILA, January 4 —— Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal will be placed under Alert Level 3 beginning Wednesday, January 5, to 15 following a “sharp increase of COVID-19 cases,” Malacañang said Tuesday. The Inter-Agency Task Force approved Monday the recommendation of its sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics, according to acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles.

Under Level 3, in-person classes, contact sports, fun fairs, live voice or wind instrument performances are prohibited, said Nograles. Cinemas are allowed to operate at 30-percent indoor capacity and 50-percent outdoor capacity, while the following are allowed at 30-percent indoor capacity but only for fully vaccinated individuals:

* Amusement parks

* Recreational venues

* Religious gatherings

* Licensure exams

* Dine-in services

* Personal care services

* Fitness studios, non-contact sports

* Film, music, TV production

Calabarzon, Metro Manila and Central Luzon are the top regions with new COVID-19 cases in the recent 2 weeks, the Department of Health said in its latest case bulletin. The Philippines recorded Monday 4,084 new COVID-19 cases and 20.7 percent positivity rate as the health department classified the country as “high risk” for virus infections.

Source: news.abs-cbn.com

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CIDG to file raps vs ‘Poblacion Girl’, parents for quarantine breach

MANILA, Philippines, January 4 —— The Philippine National Police is filing cases against nine people, including Gwyneth Chua — the returning overseas Filipino who breached quarantine and whose name has since gone viral — her parents, and hotel employees of her quarantine facility for their part in the breach of quarantine protocols late last year.

In a statement sent to reporters late Monday night, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said its investigation found that Chua’s father fetched her from Berjaya Makati Hotel 17 minutes after she checked in on December 22. Witnesses and CCTV footage place her at a bar in Poblacion, Makati City partying with friends on the night of December 23. Chua then returned to the hotel with her mother on the night of December 25.

CIDG investigators confirmed that Chua’s leaving the quarantine facility and “disregarding the quarantine procedure” violated the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Concern Act, particularly a section in its Implementing Rules and Regulations defining non-cooperation as:

* Failure to comply with a quarantine/ isolation order or directive duly issued by a public health authority;

* Violation of any terms or conditions of the quarantine or isolation order or directive issued by a public health authority

Under the law, violators shall be penalized with a fine between P20,000 and P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both, at the discretion of the proper court.

The CIDG’s Regional Field Unit in Metro Manila presented a timeline of events at a case conference Monday:

* Ms. Chua was transported to the hotel (quarantine facility) and checked in at the Berjaya Hotel Makati on December 22, 2021 at 11:23 PM.

* At 11:40 PM of the same night, Ms. Chua was fetched from the same hotel by her own father with an SUV and drove off.

* Investigators confirmed the presence of Ms. Chua on one of the restaurants on the night of December 23, 2021, through CCTV footage and witness accounts.

* On December 25, 2021 at 9:00 PM, Ms. Chua returned to the hotel assisted by her mother.

The Department of Tourism added that Chua tested positive for COVID-19 on December 27 and was pulled out from the hotel “for extraction” in coordination with the Bureau of Quarantine two days later. “Chua is currently being isolated in one of the isolation facilities in Metro Manila after her RT-PCR test came out positive on December 26, 2021,” the CIDG said. The CIDG said it “did not find sufficient evidence” to charge any of the individuals in the company of Chua the night after she broke quarantine.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat was quoted as saying in an interview with TeleRadyo that “all those who were with her in the party tested positive and the contacts of those who tested positive also got the virus.” She added that Chua claimed publicly that she was able to leave the hotel due to her “connections.” The Berjaya hotel has since apologized for “failing to stop” Chua for leaving, adding that it was the “only incident of its kind” in the hotel’s nearly two years as a quarantine facility.

“Let this be a lesson for each and every one of our fellow Filipinos. The pandemic is still at bay and we still need to be cautious in our actions…and everyone must adhere to the established protocols,” Police Maj. Gen. Ignatius Ferro, CIDG director, said. Although implementation of quarantine protocols has been vigorously enforced against ordinary citizens, high-profile violators of guidelines on essential travel and holding large gatherings have regularly been let off the hook.

Source: philstar.com

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Quarantine violator skipped isolation, had massage, claims exempted from protocol

MANILA, Philippines, January 4 —— A woman who just came back from abroad not only violated quarantine protocols, brazenly had a massage and posted a picture online, but also claimed that she was exempted from protocol, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año disclosed on Tuesday. Speaking over Teleradyo, Año said that just like the much-touted “Poblacion girl” who similarly flouted quarantine rules, this protocol violator also skipped her isolation hotel in Makati and went instead to her condominium in BGC, Taguig.

The woman, who authorities have yet to name, arrived in the country on December 22. “Instead na mag-check in siya doon, nagpahatid lang siya sa hotel, pero meron na palang nag-aabang na sasakyan doon at dumirecho siya sa kanyang condo dito sa BGC,” Año said over Teleradyo. “All throughout, hindi na talaga siya nagpakita sa kanyang quarantine hotel,” he pointed out.

According to Año, the woman later on said she got a so-called exemption from the Bureau of Quarantine, which the bureau denied. “Kine-claim niya na meron siyang BOQ exemption quarantine, which the BOQ denied,” he explained. The woman in question is now under investigation.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat earlier said the woman even shared on social media that she even had a massage while she was supposed to be quarantining. The quarantine violation of this traveler came on the heels of a similar incident involving another woman, dubbed “Poblacion Girl,” who breached her quarantine to be able to party in Makati City. She later tested positive for the coronavirus, and infected not only her companions, but also the staff of the restaurant where she partied, earning the ire of the public.

Source: inquirer.net

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Metro Manila’s COVID-19 reproduction rate now ‘very high’ at 4.78 – OCTA

January 4 —— Faster than the Delta-driven surge, Metro Manila’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reproduction rate has escalated to a “very high” level of 4.78, said the OCTA Research group on Monday, Jan 3. Reproduction rate refers to the average number of secondary infections estimated to stem from a single case. “It is definitely faster [than the Delta surge]. During the Delta surge, [the reproduction rate], it never reached past two, so that means one person was infecting about two other people. But this time, it’s almost at five so one person is infecting five other people on average,” said OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David in a televised interview on CNN Philippines.

David likewise said that there is a high possibility that the region will eventually see a higher number of infections compared to the Delta surge. Meanwhile, in a worst-case scenario, the group of experts said that the COVID-19 cases in the region could hit a record-high number, surpassing the previously recorded 9,000 infections in one day. However, OCTA reiterated that even though the region breaches the record, as long as the hospitalization number remained at a low level, it wouldn’t affect Metro Manila’s health care system.

David added that they are hoping that the currently implemented restrictions, pertaining to the Alert Level 3 status imposed in Metro Manila until Jan. 15, 2022, will slow down the rate of transmission and decrease the number of infections in the region. He likewise urged Metro Manila residents to continuously observe minimum public health standards and reduce unnecessary travels to avoid the transmission of the virus.

Source: mb.com.ph

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Stay home, MMDA orders unvaxxed Metro Manila residents

MANILA, Philippines, January 4 —— Unvaccinated individuals have been ordered to stay home as Metro Manila’s 17 mayors agreed to tighten mobility restrictions to head off an expected surge in COVID-19 cases after the Christmas holidays. The Metro Manila Council (MMC), made up of the capital region’s 17 mayors and the head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), on Monday passed Resolution No. 22-01 urging the passage of local ordinances prohibiting unvaccinated individuals from going outside their residences, except for essential trips.

In a press conference, MMDA Chair Benhur Abalos described the new restrictions as similar to being under the enhanced community quarantine, “but only for the unvaccinated,” referring to the strictest lockdown classification under the old system the government adopted from 2020 up to early 2021. The new protocol is in force while Metro Manila is under alert level 3 or higher against COVID-19. The government pandemic task force placed the National Capital Region under alert level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15. Among others, the resolution asked cities and municipalities to bar the unvaccinated from indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants and other food establishments, and from leisure or social trips to malls, hotels, sports and other similar facilities.

They are also prohibited from domestic travel via public land, sea and air transportation, except to buy essential goods and services such as food and water, for work or medical and health reasons. However, they must present proof to support and justify each trip. Unvaccinated individuals going to work will also be required to undergo an RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) or swab antigen test every two weeks, at their own expense.

Those found violating these new protocols, the resolution warned, would be prosecuted under both the city ordinance as well as Republic Act No. 11332 (the law prescribing procedures on the surveillance and response to notifiable diseases, epidemics and other public health concerns), and be subject to fines ranging from P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of one to six months. The same rules also cover individuals who reside outside Metro Manila but work or travel to the region. Appealing for understanding, Abalos assured the public that once Metro Manila reverts to a lower alert level, the restrictions for the unvaccinated would be lifted.

Top government officials on Monday backed MMC’s decision to restrict the mobility of those who are not fully vaccinated around Metro Manila. “We know that those unvaccinated individuals pose a threat to the community, therefore, the decision is good,” Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said at the Laging Handa public briefing aired on state television.

Secretary Vivencio Dizon, presidential adviser for COVID-19 response, also backed the measure, saying it was better to restrict the unvaccinated rather than everyone. The secretary said the Metro Manila mayors’ decision was very important considering that based on hospital data, most of those suffering severely due to COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also supported the MMDA’s decision to impose mobility limitations on the unvaccinated and grant privileges to the inoculated. Lopez said the mobility restrictions for the unvaccinated could not be done in the past because there was a short supply of vaccines in Metro Manila. “Now, we have an abundant supply [of vaccines] and therefore we can support this move,” he said.

The government’s pandemic task force will also review its alert level 3 guidelines, including those for minors, in light of the increase in the vaccination rate and the expansion of the government’s COVID-19 immunization program since the rules were first crafted, Malacañang said on Monday. Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases would meet today to reassess the measures. Nograles said in an interview over the ABS-CBN News Channel that when these rules were set in place, the vaccination rate was still low and children were not included in the vaccination program.

Source: inquirer.net

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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Iya Villania, Drew Arellano are expecting fourth baby

MANILA, January 4 —— Iya Villania and Drew Arellano are expecting baby No. 4. The couple announced this through their latest vlog which they uploaded on YouTube on Monday.

As seen in the clip, Arellano was the last to know from their family and Villania tasked their eldest child Primo to tell his dad about the good news. “We are gonna go camping today and tomorrow you’re gonna tell Papa,” Villania told Primo. “We’ve kept this secret for a week now.” “Hindi pa alam ni Drew. A few people know like my sisters… but my mom and Drew do not know yet,” she added.

According to Villania, her fourth pregnancy journey has been a little hard for her because of her “all-day sickness.” “Medyo nags-struggle na ako to keep it a secret because morning sickness this time around has not been good. Actually medyo all-day sickness. That’s been the hardest part. Things that I used to like, hindi ko masyadong like. Even my juices that I would look forward to drinking in the morning and at night, hindi ko rin type.”

Villania believes it’s just really harder with her age, and with each kid. Meanwhile, after they revealed the secret to Arellano, the TV host was obviously happily surprised that he told his wife: “Ginusto natin iyan.” Villania is expected to give birth in June.

Source: news.abs-cbn.com

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Kris Aquino shows Mel Senen Sarmiento’s explanation for breakup

MANILA, Philippines, January 4 —— “Queen of All Media” Kris Aquino confirmed her breakup with fiancé Mel Sarmiento.  The confirmation came after social media users speculated that the two have broken up after Kris deleted all her Instagram posts referring to Mel.  In her Instagram account, Kris posted her statement with screenshots of Mel’s last text messages to her. “Sa pinagdadaanan ko ngayon, may tao bang gustong pagusapan pa ang kanyang paghihiwalay,” Kris wrote.

“I will just post screenshots of Mel’s last text message to me. After that you will never read or hear anything at all about him from me, because I still want to preserve whatever dignity I have left,” she added. In the screenshot, Mel wrote that COVID-19 posed a threat to Kris’ health and he being outgoing might endanger the host-actress’ health. He said that he would accept Kris’ offer of letting him go. “I will always cherish in my heart the happy moments we had together. I do love you, but I guess this is goodbye for your life is of greatest importance given that you have Bimby and Josh to take care of. You will forever be in my heart,” Mel told Kris.

Kris asked the public to respect her privacy as she is having a health battle. “I only request for some respect for my humanity and privacy now and in the coming months when I fight for my health, because I was brave enough to show you and tell you the truth,” Kris said.

Source: philstar.com

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KC Concepcion honors childhood nanny who passed away

January 4 —— Actress KC Concepcion praised her nanny Nanay Lina who passed away recently. On Instagram, KC thanked her nanny for taking care of her and giving her unconditional love for many years. KC, daughter of Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion, also shared a childhood snap with Nanay Lina.

Her full post:

“No words can express how I cherish you, and how loved you made me feel. Just my presence, just me being with you in the same room, made you so happy, and how that would inspire me. Thank you for the unconditional love, your fierce loyalty and unshakeable faithfulness Nanay. I prayed as a child that God would give you a long, full life. He granted that wish.”

“I did my best for you my Nanay Lina, even if I needed to leave the nest and grow my wings to fly. Now you’re the one with wings flying around heaven for sure Mag champagne ka na jan nanay masarap champagne jan for sure”

“I love you so much, and I’m eternally grateful to you for taking care of me until the end. I’ll love and cherish you and your smile, your eyes that would light up, your handwritten letters year after year, with all my heart. My childhood nanny. My loyalist and now my guardian angel… Kap khun kah… ♥️ #ElenaBuenaobra #NanayLina #Family”

Source: mb.com.ph

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SPORTS NEWS

PBA games postponed as league awaits GAB, LGU green light

January 4 —— THE PBA has postponed its games this week after Metro Manila was placed under Alert Level 3 due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country. The league made the announcement as it coordinates with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) on the conduct of the conference under the heightened quarantine restriction imposed starting Monday until January 15.

After a short holiday break, the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup games were supposed to resume on Wednesday. The PBA has already submitted a letter to the GAB on the matter. The league also said it will also need approval from the local government units (LGUs) that will host the games in order for the matches to resume. The games this week that were postponed included the clash between TNT and Magnolia on Sunday in a long-awaited rematch between the protagonists in the Philippine Cup finals won by the Tropang GIGA.

The postponement comes just two weeks after the league welcomed fans back for the first time in nearly two years at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. The PBA also held its first Christmas Day game in four years with spectators. With the capital back in heightened alert, full practices have been cancelled and PBA teams have reverted back to practicing in small groups with no scrimmages.

Source: spin.ph

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Nonito Donaire is PBC’s 2021 Fighter of the Year

MANILA, Philippines, January 4 —— Nonito Donaire’s resurgent year got capped off in style after he earned Premier Boxing Champions’ Fighter of the Year for 2021.

The 39-year-old went 2-0 in his two fights in the year knocking out Nordine Oubaali to win the WBC world bantamweight title and then doing the same to fellow Filipino Reymart Gaballo in his first defense. Oubaali and Gaballo not only lost in similar fashion, they were also both knocked out in the fourth round.

Donaire earned 47.6 percent of the total fan votes in the PBC’s Twitter and YouTube polls beating out Stephen Fulton Jr., Gervonta Davis, and David Benavidez. “In 2021, 39-year-old Donaire proved age is just a number by once again becoming a world champion with a 4th-round knockout against Nordine Oubaali. Then, earlier this month, he defended that title against unbeaten Reymart Gaballo with yet another 4th-round KO!” Posted the PBC.

Against Oubaali in May Donaire, who was 38 at the time, made history when he became the oldest fighter to win a World title in the 118-pound division. His first title defense also ended in spectacular fashion when he conquered Gaballo on December 11 at Dignity Health Sports Park—the same venue where he beat Oubaali.

Source: sports.inquirer.net

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Jason Brickman continues fine play as Kaohsiung beats Tainan

January 4 —— JASON Brickman sustained his fine play as Kaohsiung routed Tainan, 126-95, to keep the lead in the T1 League Sunday at CNU Shao-Tzung Gymnasium. The Fil-Am guard scored 25 points, shooting 4 for 8 from downtown, while making eight assists, six steals, and five rebounds as the Aquas notched back-to-back wins and improved to 6-1.

Xavier Alexander led Kaohsiung with 26 points, nine rebounds, and four dimes, while Hu Long-mao had 23 points, 11 boards, three assists, and two steals. Mindaugas Kupsas came off the bench and poured 12 points and eight rebounds, while Yu Chun-an got nine points, five boards, and three steals in the win. The Aquas built an 11-point halftime lead, 61-50, before breaking away with a 33-point third quarter and grabbing a 94-67 lead entering the payoff period to cruise to the 31-point rout. Kaohsiung will be back in action at home on Saturday against the New Taipei CTBC DEA at Kaohsiung Arena.

Chinese Taipei naturalized player Will Artino led Tainan with 33 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals, while former Ginebra import Charles Garcia had 24 points and eight boards. Liu Jen-hao scored 12 points and five assists as the GhostHawks sunk to 2-4 card. Jason Brickman and the Aquas improve to 6-1.

Meanwhile, Taichung stumbled to ts second straight loss, bowing to Taiwan Beer, 95-88, at National Taiwan University of Sport Gymnasium. Diamond Stone was a force to be reckoned with for Taiwan Beer with his 26 points and 15 rebounds as the HeroBears moved up to a 5-3 standing. Huang Jhen added 19 points and five boards, while Lee Chi-wei and Chiang Yu-an both had 14 in the conquest.

Sani Sakakini had 23-point, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals as Taichung sunk to a 2-4 record. Jordan Heading had 16 points built on three triples, and had three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the losing cause. Ting Sheng-ju also registered 16 points, three boards, three steals, and two assists, while Chen Wen-hung got 15 points in the defeat. Taichung will face Taiwan Beer anew on Saturday in a rematch, still at the Suns’ home floor.

Source: spin.ph

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