MANILA – The government is now starting to craft the third phase of the national action plan (NAP 3) in response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the national policy against Covid-19, said Wednesday.

Para sa ekonomiya! Galvez: Gov’t crafting 3rd phase of COVID-19 response

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MANILA – The government is now starting to craft the third phase of the national action plan (NAP 3) in response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the national policy against Covid-19, said Wednesday.

Galvez, also the presidential peace adviser, said the main objective of NAP 3 is to balance economic reboot and to contain new virus cases.

“Sinisimulan na po natin ang ating pagpaplano sa ating phase 3 (We are starting to plan the third phase) this October and December,” he said in a virtual press briefing.

“Tinitingnan po natin kung paano po natin talagang papalakas at mapapaigting ang localization ng ating national action plan (We are considering to boost and intensify the localization of the national action plan),” he added.

Meanwhile, Galvez reported that a total of 3.2 million Filipinos have been tested since the start of the virus outbreak.

“Magandang balita din po, dahil sa agresibong testing na ginagawa natin ngayon, umabot na po sa 3.2 million na Pilipino ang ating na-test mula nang magsimula ang epidemya (It’s also good news, because of the aggressive testing that we are now doing, we have tested 3.2 million Filipinos since the start of the pandemic),” he said, noting that the figure represents 3 percent of the country’s population.

So far, the country’s average testing capacity is at 36,000 tests daily, Galvez said.

“Kung saan ang ating (Wherein our) highest recorded daily test output ay umabot na po sa (have totaled to) 46,526 tests noong (on) September 11, 2020,” he added.

The country now has 130 accredited laboratories nationwide as of Sept. 21, Galvez said.

Tourism reopening

Galvez cited Bohol province’s readiness to open local tourism by next month.

“Maybe this coming October, early October or middle October, puwede na muna siyang magbukas ng tinatawag na local tourism (it can now open its local tourism),” he said, noting that the National Task Force on Covid-19 also supports the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) target to reopen more tourism activities amid the pandemic.

“Kami po ay sumusuporta po sa ating (We are supporting) Secretary Madam Berna Puyat—dahil kasi talaga pong nakita natin itong Covid-19 halos dumapa po talaga ang tourism business po natin (Due to Covid-19, our tourism businesses have been heavily affected),” Galvez said.

The DOT earlier committed to the gradual resumption of tourism enterprises in the country.

“Kaya po nang magkaroon tayo ng recommendation na staycation ay talaga pong sinuportahan natin si (That’s why we are recommending staycation and we are really supporting) Ma’am Berna,” Galvez added.

The task force has earlier checked the preparation of establishments for the reopening of the tourism sector in Baguio City, which has begun accepting tourists from Region 1 (Ilocos Region) on Sept. 22.

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POLITIKO / Across the Nation

POLITIKO / Latest News

Chinese cyber-espionage unit on US hacking spree: report

At least 30,000 US organizations including local governments have been hacked in recent days by an “unusually aggressive” Chinese cyber-espionage campaign, according to a computer security specialist.

The campaign has exploited recently discovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange software, stealing email and infecting computer servers with tools that let attackers take control remotely, Brian Krebs said in a post at his cyber security news website.

“This is an active threat,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said when asked about the situation during a press briefing.

“Everyone running these servers needs to act now to patch them. We are concerned that there are a large number of victims,” she added.

After Microsoft released patches for the vulnerabilities on Tuesday, attacks “dramatically stepped up” on servers not yet updated with security fixes, said Krebs, who cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

“At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organizations,” Krebs wrote in the post.

He reported that insiders said hackers have “seized control” of thousands of computer systems around the world using password-protected software tools slipped into systems.

Microsoft said early this week that a state-sponsored hacking group operating out of China is exploiting previously unknown security flaws in its Exchange email services to steal data from business users.

The company said the hacking group, which it has named “Hafnium,” is a “highly skilled and sophisticated actor.”

Hafnium has in the past targeted US-based companies including infectious disease researchers, law firms, universities, defense contractors, think tanks, and NGOs.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft executive Tom Burt said the company had released updates to fix the security flaws, which apply to on-premises versions of the software rather than cloud-based versions, and urged customers to apply them.

“We know that many nation-state actors and criminal groups will move quickly to take advantage of any unpatched systems,” he added at the time.

Microsoft said the group was based in China but operated through leased virtual private servers in the United States, and that it had briefed the US government.

Beijing has previously hit back at US accusations of state-sponsored cyber theft. Last year it accused Washington of smears following allegations that Chinese hackers were attempting to steal coronavirus research.

In January, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies said Russia was probably behind the massive SolarWinds hack that shook the government and corporate security, contradicting then-president Donald Trump, who had suggested China could be to blame.

Microsoft said Tuesday the Hafnium attacks “were in no way connected to the separate SolarWinds-related attacks.” (AFP)

Werpa si Eba! Lord Velasco recognizes women’s role in nation building

By Billy Begas

Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco pays tribute to all Filipina for their pivotal role in nation-building even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Allow me to recognize all the strong, empowered and empowering women of the House. Kinaya at kinakaya natin ang laban sa pandemya because you kept everything steady here at work even as you faced the challenges with your families at home,” said Velasco.

At present, women make up 48 percent of the House workforce.

Records from the chamber’s Human Resource Management Service show that out of the 4,037 members and employees of the House, 1,941 are women. Of which, 85 are legislators, 649 are Secretariat employees, 940 are congressional staff members, and 267 are co-terminus and contractual workers.

The House has eight female deputy speakers namely Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon), Loren Legarda (Antique), Bernadette Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon party-list), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur), Divina Grace Yu (Zamboanga del Sur), Camille Villar (Las Piñas City), Rose Marie Arenas (Pangasinan), and Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas).

After Velasco’s election as Speaker in October 2020, the House elected a female Secretary General—Atty. Jocelia Bighani Sipin.

Sipin spearheaded the House Secretariat through a period of transition from October 12 to November 18 last year. She is currently the Deputy Secretary General assigned at the Office of the Speaker.

On March 8, female lawmakers will take full control of the plenary session as part of the annual tradition in the legislative chamber to mark the National Women’s Month and the International Women’s Day.

The all-women session will be led by Deputy Speaker Arenas, president of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation Inc. of the 18th Congress.

The plenary is set to adopt resolutions congratulating two Filipino-American appointees of United States President Joe Biden—Gloria Steele and Camille Calimlim Touton.



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