Speaker Alan Cayetano grudgingly sponsored a bill granting a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN Corp.to operate until October this year but not after bitching about its journalists.

Cayetano disses ‘biased’, ‘poll meddling’ ABS-CBN journos: Kayo ang dahilan bakit may isyu network niyo!

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Speaker Alan Cayetano grudgingly sponsored a bill granting a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN Corp.to operate until October this year but not after bitching about its journalists.

“Some may say they are in the Service of the Filipino pero sa gitna ng sakuna, gusto nyo kayo ang unahin namin kaysa sa mga kababayan natin. Eh kayo nga isang dahilan kung bakit may mga issues ang network ninyo. Ang klarong bias at pakikialam sa eleksyon ang ginawa ninyo at ginamit ninyo ang network na ito, 2004, 2010, 2016 at 2019. Tapos tatakpan niyo ‘yan, ‘it is press freedom’,” said Cayetano in bile-filled speech.

Cayetano stressed that he does not mind media blaming him for getting ABS-CBN yanked off the air for not acting on the TV giant’s franchise which has been pending in Congress since 2014.

“But when you blindly call for the approval of the franchise without having heard all sides of the story, then you show yourselves not as advocates of a fair and balanced presentation of the facts as journalists are sworn to be, but as plain and simple propagandists.

And I cannot respect that. Do not weaponize this issue for your own personal agenda. That is a disservice to the very public in whose name you claim to stand for,” he said.

“Hindi po natin nilalahat ang mga journalists, ngunit tulad din ng pagpapakita ninyo na ang lahat ng mga politiko ay corrupt, lahat ng mga pulis ay abusado – damay ang buong institution sa maling gawain ng iba,” he added.

Cayetano gave media an unsolocited advice: “Do your job. Do not fear. Call out injustice and corruption when you see it. Protect the weak from the powerful and give voice to the voiceless. This is your mandate. Speak the truth freely and fearlessly to power. but beware that you do not become the power that you hope to check.”

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May parusa ‘pag umayaw! AFP requires soldiers to be vaccinated vs COVID-19

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) inoculation is mandatory for all of its personnel but they have the option to choose among vaccine brands other than Sinovac at their own expense.

“Thus, to get inoculated or not is not an option for the members of the AFP, it is a duty. At the most, the exercise of an option will be the option to as to what brand of vaccine they will be availing of, but the cost of which will not be paid by the AFP,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in an online press briefing.

Malacañang earlier announced that the first batch of Sinovac Biotech vaccines composed of 600,000 doses donated by China is set to arrive on Sunday (Feb. 28), with 100,000 doses of which will be given to the Department of National Defense, the AFP’s mother agency.

Aside from military personnel, Arevalo added that their chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana has said that their dependents must be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, those opting for other vaccine brands who decided to forego their inoculation can do so but once they are called to duty to serve as front-liners, they will have no choice but to follow.

“They must perform their duties and task but they will have to resort to the traditional health protocol, mag-mask, mag-shield, maghugas ng kamay at mag-maintain ng social distance pansamantala habang hindi pa sila natuturukan ng vaccine na pinipili nila (like the wearing of mask, face shields, regularly washing their hands, and maintaining social distance while they are yet to be vaccinated with the brand of their choice),” Arevalo said.

Meanwhile, said AFP personnel assigned and performing duties that will expose them to Covid-19 patients are required to have themselves vaccinated with the available vaccines.

He added that the AFP will play three major roles in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine — security, medical and logistics support operations. (PNA)

Payag ba sa barter? Bello waiting for UK’s response to PH offer to deploy more healthcare workers

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is waiting for the response of the United Kingdom (UK) on its proposed provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine amid UK’s request for an exemption from the deployment cap of Filipino healthcare workers (HCWs).

In a telephone interview on Thursday, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they expect the UK government to respond on the issue within 10 days.

“I told them for me to be able to recommend it to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases), I have to be assured of the safety of our workers. The only way we can be assured about the safety of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) is (through) the vaccine,” he said.

Bello said the UK may want to send the coronavirus vaccines so the country can immunize the nurses before they are deployed.

“For us to be able to send our medical workers, we want to ensure that they are safe and their health is secured. We don’t have the vaccine, if they want, they can send us (vaccine),” he added.

Bello said he did not provide specific quantities of the vaccines.

“Why not include all OFWs and not just HCWs. In case they are ready to give us the vaccines, I will give them the number of OFWs that will be vaccinated. I just want to be sure that those who will be deployed have received the vaccine,” he added.

The Philippine government is asking the UK and Germany to provide vaccines against Covid-19 for OFWs as part of the agreement in relation to the deployment of health service workers, particularly nurses.

The country has two bilateral agreements with the UK in 2002 and 2003.

The UK and Germany are seeking to be exempted from the 5,000 cap on the deployment of nurses being implemented by the government to ensure there is an adequate number of nurses in the country in case the need arises.

Meanwhile, Bello said he understands the reaction of the people on the issue.

“They thought I would barter our nurses with the vaccine. I just hope that before they accuse me, they should have asked me first and look at what really happened. They just criticized and what they are saying is not true,” he added. (PNA)

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