Immigration eases rules on Aliens’ Visa

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Corona VirusThe Bureau of Immigration said Friday it will temporarily allow foreign nationals with approved visas but who are still awaiting the release of their Alien Certificates of Registration Identity Cards to leave the country.

The agency says the move is in light of the Enhanced Community Quarantine and Stringent Social Distancing Measures directive from Malacañang. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says the regular procedures require departing aliens with approved visas but pending ACR I-Cards to secure a waiver at the agency’s main office. ‘Hospital ships’ Senator Francis Tolentino is urging the Transport department to use vacant passenger ships as “hospitals ships” because of the rising COVID-19 infections, which he says has resulted in overcrowding in the hospitals. He says the agency could initially convert three ships as temporary medical facilities.

One could be provided for Luzon and the other two for the Visayas and Mindanao. Appeal to banks Senator Bong Go on Friday appealed to government and privately owned banks, quasi-banks, credit and lending facilities not to increase interest rates on consumer and commercial loans in the areas covered by the enhanced community quarantine.

He also called on them to come up with flexible and convenient restructuring of existing loans to enable their clients to pay their arrears later. “In this time of national crisis, everybody must sacrifice for the greater good. Let us not burden our people.” he said. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the government to relax the requirements on COVID-19-related transactions to speed up the delivery of services to the public. The government, he says, should tap local government units to help make it work, saying there are complex bureaucratic procedures that hamper the delivery of aid to the communities that need it most.

“We in the government should move the delivery of services to our countrymen faster than the virus,” Gatchalian said. Appeal on fees Two lawmakers on Friday called on the government to waive storage and detention fees for all containers arriving in the ports while the Enhanced Community Quarantine is in effect. Reps. Ronnie Ong and Eric Yap said the quarantine had caused much damage to the various industries that depend so much on importation. “The government also has to protect the import sector during these crucial times. Much of the things that we are using to survive this crisis all come from imports,” said Ong, vice chairman of the House committee on rural development. Masks and ventilators

Three textile companies intend to convert their facilities to produce surgical masks, while another group is developing a ventilator that will help COVID-19 patients breathe, says Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo. He says some liquor and bio-fuel companies had earlier volunteered to make disinfectant alcohol, which is now in short supply along with protective masks.

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President Duterte Signs ₱4.1 trillion 2020 National Budget

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ACTThe national budget for 2020 has been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday. The General Appropriations Act of 2020 is ₱4.1 trillion, 9 percent higher than the previous year’s 3.76 trillion budget. The budget wasn’t signed at the end of 2019 because the President requested “thorough” scrutiny of the bill. President Duterte said in his speech that this year’s spending plan would support the government’s goal of making the Philippines an upper bracket-income country, and lowering poverty to 14 percent by the end of his term. He remarked that just like in previous years, the government will continue to allocate a great portion of the national budget for infrastructure development and social services – programs that will directly touch the lives of our people. The top 10 appropriations of the budget are as follows:

  1. Education (DepEd, SUCs, CHED, TESDA) – ₱654.6 billion
  2. Department of Public Works and Highways – ₱580.8 billion
  3. Department of Interior and Local Government – ₱239.8 billion
  4. Department of National Defense – ₱191.7 billion
  5. Department of Social Welfare and Development – ₱163.8 billion
  6. Department of Health – ₱101 billion
  7. Department of Transportation – ₱99.3 billion
  8. Department of Agriculture – ₱62.2 billion
  9. Judiciary – ₱40.1 billion
  10. Department of Environment and Natural Resources – ₱25.5 billion

Education and social services are two key sectors that are most important to the presidents, thus given priority in the 2020 GAA. Social pension for senior citizens of ₱6,000 annually is also retained in the 2020 budget. Meanwhile, the GAA also ensures that healthcare professionals will continue to be deployed in different communities around the country who are in need of their services, under its Deployment of Human Resources for Health Program, according to Senator Juan Edgardo Angara.

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The world's largest trade deal ?

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ASEAN 2019BANGKOK, Thailand – Southeast Asian leaders met Saturday, November 2, in Thailand eyeing a breakthrough in talks over the world's largest trade deal to help throw off the torpor which has gripped the global economy since the start of the US-China tariff war. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) opened their annual summit in Bangkok hoping to secure a China-backed free trade pact knitting together half of the world's population and around 40 percent of its commerce. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a deal spanning India to New Zealand and wrangled over for several years