First wave or second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic? The Department of Health (DOH) clarifies the status of the country. Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:
Waves of controversy
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Sen. Bong Go were first to dispute the statement of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday that the country was on the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, the DOH conceded that the Philippines was still in the first major wave. After drawing flak from lawmakers and the public for his declaration, Duque is under fire some more for procuring supposedly overpriced medical equipment amid the pandemic.
Around 6,000 Filipino seafarers are stuck onboard 16 quarantine ships anchored in Manila Bay, with some for as long as 2 months already. Also, some 200 overseas Filipino workers have been quarantined for over a month now in a hotel in Quezon City. In both cases, they are still waiting for their COVID-19 test results. The House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs will hold an online hearing today on the status of OFWs affected by COVID-19.
Shock of life
Some Meralco customers have been getting the shock of their lives after getting their electric bills with charges twice or thrice (or more) their usual electric bill. And now, the Energy Regulatory Commission said it was set to issue a new memo that would outline the deferment of payments of electricity bills in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). Meanwhile, the Senate will hold a hearing on the effect of COVID-19 on the power sector.
Should stay closed
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said not a single Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) would be allowed to reopen until they settle tax dues. Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa explained that no Pogo was likely to reopen soon as not one has yet to settle their taxes. Guballa declined to say how much Pogos owe government. But a BIR official had told senators in February that the amount was estimated at P50 billion.
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