KUWTT: NCR positivity rate up slightly | Dec. 25, 2021


Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Christmas Day, December 25, 2021.

READ: NCR positivity rate up slightly

THE Covid-19 positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) rose slightly in the recent days, and the independent OCTA Research group attributed the rise to more people getting together during the Christmas season. OCTA Senior Fellow Dr. Guido David reported in a tweet that the reproduction number in Metro Manila increased to 0.77 during the week of December 16 to 22, a bit higher than the 0.62 during the previous week. It was also slightly higher than the 0.48 reported during the week of December 14 to 20.

READ: 100 towns without electricity on Christmas

MORE than 100 towns in areas devastated by Typhoon “Odette” will have no electricity this Christmas. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Friday that electricity has been restored in only 149 of the 273 towns and cities where power lines were downed by Odette’s fierce winds. Mark Timbal, NDRRMC spokesman, also said 371 areas were still experiencing communication problems, while water service has yet to be restored in three areas. Timbal added that the death toll from the typhoon has risen to 326, with most of the fatalities coming from the Visayas. At least 58 individuals were still missing, and 661 were injured. Nearly 630,000 people in seven regions were displaced by the typhoon. Bohol tallied the biggest number of deaths at 96.

READ: Holiday travel rush peaks

AIRPORTS, seaports and bus terminals were packed Friday with travelers trying to leave Metro Manila to spend Christmas with the families in the provinces. Airline counters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were trying to cope with lone lines of passengers hoping to catch the last flights before Christmas Day. Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines increased domestic flights to ease the logjam. PAL spokesman Cielo Villaluna said the flag carrier increased its Manila-to-Iloilo flights from 9 to 14, and Manila-to-Bacolod flights from 7 to 14. AirAsia also doubled the number of domestic flights out of NAIA. The Bureau of Immigration also fielded more immigration officers to service international arrivals, most of them returning overseas Filipino workers. Immigration spokesman Dana Sandival said the bureau has also reopened its “e-gates” at and the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga. The e-gates cut the processing time for passengers from 45 seconds to as fast as 8 seconds, Sandival said.

READ: No holiday break for Duterte

PRESIDENT Duterte on Christmas eve said there will be no holiday break for the executive department as all hands are on deck for relief and recovery work for areas devastated by Typhoon “Odette.” MalacaƱang said P10-billion relief fund pooled from the President’s contingency fund as well as “scaled down” government projects will be spent for relief and rehabilitation efforts which are now being expedited. From Palawan, the President flew to Cebu, another province hardest hit by the typhoon to inspect and lead the distribution of relief items to displaced locals. Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, meanwhile, conveyed her message of love and appreciation for the Filipinos who are attempting to start over after the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of Odette. In her Christmas message, she said that “that hope is found in togetherness, in opening oneself to one’s fellow human beings, in letting them feel that they are not alone, that we always have someone beside us, whether in times of trial or along the path towards our dreams.”

READ: LPA dissipates as ‘amihan’ takes over

THE Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said on Friday the low pressure area (LPA) outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) has dissipated. Instead, the northeast monsoon or “amihan” is expected to prevail from Christmas Day until the New Year, according to Pagasa meteorologist Ariel Rojas. He added that there was no other weather disturbance sighted outside PAR. However, the shear line will likely bring rainy weather over some eastern parts of the country especially next week, he told The Manila Times.

BUSINESS: Budget deficit slightly up in Nov

Over to business, the national government’s budget deficit slightly went up in November as both government revenue and expenditure grew, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said. Data released by the BTr on Friday showed that the shortfall amounted to P128.7 billion, 0.33 percent higher than the P128.3 recorded a year ago. The shortfall was higher than the P40.1-billion fiscal deficit from a year ago. Revenues grew to P284 billion in November 2021, up from P245.8 billion the previous year “resulting from the gradual resumption of economic activities compared to last year,” according to the BTr. Spending, on the other hand, expanded to P412.7 billion, picking up from P374 billion the year before.

SPORTS: Ginebra-Magnolia rivalry banners Christmas Day games

Topping sports, Magnolia and Barangay Ginebra rekindle their Manila Clasico encounter on Christmas Day as the two most popular teams are out to give the fans a fitting gift this Holiday Season in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 46 Governors’ Cup. The two teams square off at 6:45 p.m. right after the game between tournament leader and unbeaten NLEX Road Warriors and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters at 4 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum. Ginebra, the defending champion of the PBA Governors’ Cup, and Magnolia, runner-up to newly crowned Philippine Cup champion TNT, are two of the three unbeaten teams so far in the tournament, but only one of them will remain unscathed right after the match. The Gin Kings carry a 3-0 record while the Hotshots won their first two games.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Antonio Contreras and Yen Makabenta are today’s front page columnists. Contreras discusses the gifts that the Covid-19 pandemic gave, while Makabenta talks about what the country has for Christmas, amid adversity.

Today’s editorial is on a Christmas to remember. Read a full version on the paper’s opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

For more news and information, get a copy of The Manila Times on print, subscribe to its digital edition or log on to www.manilatimes.net. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and Keep Up With The Times.

On behalf of The Manila Times, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. Merry Christmas.

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