The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will release “Misyon,” the first episode of the Laging Handa Dokyu 2.0 tonight.

New Laging Handa dokyu to feature OFW repat from Bahrain

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By Prince Golez

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will release “Misyon,” the first episode of the Laging Handa Dokyu 2.0 tonight.

“Misyon” features the 14-man Philippine delegation in Bahrain on a mission to bring home 234 distressed overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The new season of the Laging Handa Dokyu is part of the PCOO’s relentless commitment to not only disseminate information on health protocols and precautionary measures, but also to inform the public on the most pressing issues, dispel false information, and to advocate for preparedness and vigilance,” said PCOO chief Martin Andanar.

In a press statement, Andanar lauded the dedication of the government in fulfilling its mandate to provide Filipinos the service they deserve.

“Even during Christmas and New Year, the delegation sent by President (Rodrigo) Duterte flew to Bahrain. Amid the pandemic, the government continues to promote the rights of overseas Filipino workers, strengthen the Philippines-Bahrain relations, and provide assistance to OFWs in the Middle East affected by the pandemic,” the secretary said.

The short documentary will showcase the successful mission led by Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Robert E.A. Borje held from December 28 to 31, 2020.

Borje was joined by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Arriola and PCOO Assistant Secretary JV Arcena.

They attended multiple intergovernmental meetings with Bahraini officials to reaffirm the special relationship of two countries and to promote the welfare of migrant workers.

“Misyon” will be aired at 9:30 p.m. on PTV and IBC and will be livestreamed on the PCOO and the NTF Covid-19 Facebook pages.

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Hontiveros: Women empowerment key to Covid-19 recovery

For this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day, Senator Risa Hontiveros asserted that women and the Filipino spirit of bayanihan are key to the country’s Covid-19 recovery.

The chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality said women’s empowerment and support was particularly needed during a health crisis, because, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 70 percent of the health and social workforce is made up of women.

“Babae at bayanihan ang dapat maghari para tunay na makabangon ang pamilyang Pilipino. The pandemic only exacerbated the multiple burdens women already carry. If we want to wholly recover from this crisis, we need to band together to better support our women,” she said.

In a 2019 analysis, the WHO emphasized that investments in the health workforce could lead to women’s economic empowerment. For instance, while majority of healthcare workers are women, they earn, on average, 28 percent less than men.

“Karamihan ng ating health workers ay babae, hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas kundi sa buong mundo. Kung mapalakas natin ang benepisyo at suporta sa bawat isa sa kanila, mas agarang makakabangon ang buong mundo mula sa pandemya,” Hontiveros said.

The senator, along with other women senators, is set to file a bill for gender-responsive and inclusive protocols to address the gender-differentiated needs of women during Covid-19, and other public health concerns, emergencies and disasters.

“Ang krisis pangkalusugan at ekonomiya ay mas masosolusyunan kung gawin nating prayoridad ang ating kababaihan,” she said.

“Patong patong na ang bigat na dala ng ating mga babae — mga nanay, nars, guro, domestic workers, at marami pang iba. Akayin natin kami. Maging bayani tayo para sa isa’t isa,” Hontiveros said.

Angara: Gov’t ‘not the best’ at running enterprises, must partner with private sector

In order to make government assets in the tourism sector more profitable, Senator Sonny Angara said collaborations with the private sector should be explored to develop their full potential.

Speaking at a recent forum on public-private collaboration organized by the Ateneo School of Government, the chair of the Senate finance panel said that tourism is one area where a possible partnership between the government and the private sector could be explored more extensively.

“Government owns a lot of assets. But let’s face it, the government is not the best at running these enterprises. You’re not maximizing earnings in these enterprises,” Angara said.

As examples, he cited the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel and some islands in the Visayas, which are owned and operated by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, which he said are prime tourist destinations that could use a little help from private enterprises with strong track records in developing such assets.

“If you could make them attractive, maybe the private sector could come in and do some variant of BOT (build-operate-transfer). They can make it profitable, they can make it nice and then turn these back over to the government at some point in the future,” Angara said.

He said that this is still a largely unexplored area of public-private collaboration that could provide a boost to the tourism industry, generate a lot of economic activity and provide employment for Filipinos.

The tourism sector was among the most badly affected sectors when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country as restrictions on travel were imposed.

While the tourism sector does not appear to be on the top of the priorities of the government at this time, Angara said that its revival will have to be addressed once there is more certainty regarding the health and safety of travelers, both domestic and foreign.

“Tourism contributes a great deal to the growth of our economy. It is lamentable that the pandemic struck at a time when the sector was already recording impressive growth,” he said.

Suportado ang mga alkalde! CabSec favors deferment of cinema reopening

By Prince Golez

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles has backed a decision to defer the reopening of cinemas in the National Capital Region amid risks from resurgence in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.

On Sunday, Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases respects the opinion of Metro Manila mayors not to allow movie theaters in the region to reopen.

“Kahit na may ganyang klaseng policies, we also respect the LGUs (local government units) in terms of mga actions nila. That’s why kung nakita niyo, nag-defer muna ang mga LGU ng Metro Manila doon sa pag-open ng cinema. ‘Yan naman po ay sinusuportahan natin,” the Palace official said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

“But, remember these are general policies ng IATF at hindi lang naman ito sakop yung Metro Manila, it just so happens that Metro Manila is under GCQ (general community quarantine). But there are also other areas in GCQ,” he added.

Last month, the government’s Covid-19 task force allowed traditional cinemas to reoperate in areas under GCQ, subject to guidelines that will be issued by the Department of Health and respective local government units.

Malacañang, however, suspended the February 15 reopening of cinemas due to apprehension of local chief executives from Metro Manila and moved the target reopening date to March.

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