Local transmission of COVID-19

"Some have tested negative, but others could be carriers."



Santa Banana, as if the COVID-19 were not enough for us, now comes the abrogation of the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement effective 180 days from last Tuesday, as well as Taiwan’s retaliation for the travel ban we imposed on it!

The Department of Health tells us that local transmission of COVID-19 may be inevitable as has been observed in other countries.

This means that a local spread of the virus, particularly among the poor who have no knowledge of basic hygiene and sanitation may erupt sooner than expected. Local transmission has been reported in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Another worrisome issue is that the DOH has said there are no less than 408 persons under investigation for COVID-19. Of this number, 240 are Filipinos, 98 Chinese, 8 Americans and 50 others of different nationalities. Some have tested negative, but others could be carriers.

This is why I have been urging the Duterte administration to have a massive education and information campaign on what to do just in case the virus spreads to the poor communities in Metro Manila.

My call is critical especially as we see that some agencies have been lackadaisical on this one.

The World Health Organization says it might take a year and a half to find a cure for the virus.

* * *

In the wake of a likely contagion, another worrisome possibility is that our overseas workers in Taiwan may no longer be able to go back to their jobs. There are now about 180,000 of them working there.

The travel ban to Taiwan came as a result of the travel ban to China, Hong Kong and Macau. The Philippines claims to adhere to the One China Policy.

I believe there is no logic to impose a travel ban on Taiwan.

* * *

President Duterte has indeed abrogated the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States.

Considering everything, I agree with comments that the Philippines stands to lose more with the abrogation of the VFA.

First, the VFA has its impact on the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States. Looking at the history and positive aspect of VFA with the presence of American forces against terrorism in the Philippines, the ultimate beneficiary can only be China, which has been bullying our country through many territorial disputes.

Santa Banana, I could not believe what I read that our Armed Forces is ready to have a VFA with China. What? And let the Chinese military enter the Philippines so readily? My gulay, Duterte may have professed his undying love for Xi Jinping, but can 110 million Filipinos trust China?

I realize that there are some onerous provisions in the VFA especially with regard to jurisdiction over American soldiers who commit wrongdoing in the Philippines. This should be reviewed and renegotiated. But to totally abrogate the VFA can have negative repercussions which Duterte may not realize. And all because the US visa of his friend Bato was canceled? How petty.

* * *

With all these challenges we are facing, there are also problems spawned by the existence of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators. Some of them are illegally operating and refusing to pay taxes.

Insiders tell me that while about 60 of them are legally operating, complete with a Pagcor license, the rest are operating illegally, under the protection of notable politicians or government personalities.

Yes, some POGOS are contributing billions of pesos in taxes. But other issues have come up—for example, prostitution and criminality. There is also the entry of illegal drugs.

This is the price we pay for these POGOs. Is it really worth having them here?

Mr. President, your POGO policy needs a thorough review!

Topics: Emil Jurado , COVID-19 , Philippine-United State , Visiting Forces Agreement , VFA
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