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Saturday, February 29, 2020

CDC, Washington State Report First COVID-19 Death in U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials in the state of Washington have reported three hospitalized patients who have tested presumptive-positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, including one patient who died.

  • Two of the patients are from a long-term care facility (LTCF) where one is a health care worker. Additional residents and staff of the LTCF who have not yet been tested for COVID-19 are reportedly either ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia of unknown cause.

  • The patient who died, a male in his 50s, was being treated at the same hospital. He was not a resident of the LTCF. CDC erroneously identified the patient as female in a briefing earlier today with the President and Vice President.

While there is an ongoing investigation, the source of these infections is currently unknown. Circumstances suggest person-to-person spread in the community, including in the LTCF.

CDC spokesperson Dr. Nancy Messonnier said, “Our hearts go out to the family of the patient who died as well as the families of the people who are caught up in this outbreak. The health of the residents, staff and community of this skilled nursing facility are a top priority. We will work with Public Health – Seattle and King County to support the care of the patients, the safety of the health care workers, and the well-being of the people in the surrounding community.”

This is the first reported death in the United States from COVID-19, as well as the first reported case in a health care worker and the first possible outbreak in a LTCF. These reports from Washington follow others of community spread in Oregon and two places in California earlier this week. While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situations in California, Oregon and Washington, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the United States. Most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus, but some people will be at increased risk depending on their exposures. The greatest risk is to those who have been in close contact with people with COVID-19. People with suspected or confirmed exposure should reach out to their state or local public health department.

CDC is sending a team of experts to support the investigation in Washington. Dr. Messonnier said, “We recognize that this is a difficult time; we are facing a historic public health challenge. We will continue to respond to COVID-19 in an aggressive way to contain and blunt the threat of this virus. While we still hope for the best, we continue to prepare for this virus to become widespread in the United States.”

These three cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases detected through the U.S. public health system to 22. The federal government will continue to respond aggressively to this rapidly evolving situation.

Testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 was conducted in Washington state using the CDC rRT-PCR. Results will be confirmed at CDC, but a presumptive positive result using the CDC test is treated as a positive for public health response purposes and a coordinated public health response has begun.

For more information about COVID-19 visit

Statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio on Coronavirus Testing

"Today, the FDA approved our application to develop our own test for the Coronavirus. That is not the only good news: after asking the CDC for weeks, they have finally sent us new kits that will allow us to run the CDC's test locally. This means we will soon, within the coming week, have the ability to get results back in a matter of hours, not days. Quick detection is vital to stopping the spread of the virus, and this development will help the experts do their job to protect New Yorkers."

NY Filipinos Rally to Defend Press Freedom in the Philippines and Stand with ABS CBN

New York City - Tuesday, 25 February during the the 34th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Uprising, the Malaya Movement Northeast together with the NY Chapter of US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) and members of the “We Stand with ABS-CBN Coalition” gathered in a peaceful protest action in front of the NY Philippine consulate to defend press freedom and democracy by denouncing the Duterte government’s moves to shut down ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest media conglomerate. They stood with the 11,000 ABS-CBN workers whose livelihoods are at stake amidst the looming shutdown. Other New York Filipino community-based organizations such as BAYAN-USA, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, United Mothers of Marawi, and Damayan Migrant Workers’ Association also participated.

On the anniversary of EDSA, the protesters remembered “our kababayans, friends, and family who sacrificed dearly to fight for these rights and our democracy by toppling Marcos after twenty-one years of his despotic rule. Their sacrifices do not go unheeded as these are once again in the line of fire of Duterte’s relentless attacks.”

Loida Lewis, National chair of US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG), stated, “Duterte is following the playbook of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos wanted absolute power. Today, who wants absolute power in the Philippines? Duterte. Absolute power breeds absolute corruption. The first victim of absolute power is press freedom. When press freedom dies, democracy dies.”

Loida Lewis, National chair of USPGG, and Gary Labao, Vice Chair of Migrante USA

By participating in this global day of action, the Malaya Movement carried on the legacy of EDSA to resist any effort of the state that results in the curtailment of press freedom, free speech and the right to information of the Filipino people. Malaya Movement claimed, “President Rodrigo Duterte is silencing critical voices in the media and trampling on the rights of Filipino workers at home and abroad. He is encroaching on the public's access to information and the Filipino people’s right to the truth. To put it clearly: it is censorship.”

Gary Labao of Migrante-USA highlighted the importance of ABS-CBN to Filipino overseas workers and the impact that its closure would have. “Over 6,000 Filipino workers leave the Philippines everyday. For them, ABS-CBN and The Filipino Channel serves as a voice for the Filipino workers abroad. Because of their programs, migrant workers can still connect with home and address homesickness and depression.”

Labao further stated that “It gives them a platform to criticize the government and expose the conditions of the Filipinos working overseas. Duterte’s move to shutdown ABS-CBN is curtailing the Filipino people’s right to express our grievances, we will lose the voices of overseas Filipinos.” He continued, “Eleven thousand workers will lose their jobs. Duterte promised to improve the conditions of workers, to improve the economy. These are lies.” He also reiterated that position of Migrante USA to “Oust Duterte Now!”

“The attack on ABS-CBN is one out of over 150 attacks on the press, media outlets, and journalists under Duterte,” said Bernadette Patino of the Malaya Movement. “There has been the multiple arrests of Rappler CEO and Time Magazine Person of the Year, Maria Ressa, there has been cyber attacks and red-baiting of progressive media outlets and research institutes, there has been the spew of Duterte’s deliberate disinformation, there has been and tokhang-style summary executions of members of the press.” Patino exclaimed during her speech.

Nicole Canete of Malaya Movement NE reading an open letter from Frenchie Mae Cumpio of the Tacoloban 5, and Bernadette Patino, Regional Coordinator of Malaya Movement NE

She added that “Fourteen of the fifteen slain journalists under Duterte hail from Negros, Bicol, and Mindanao. This is no accident. Mindanao was under martial law for over 2 years; Negros, Bicol, and Samar are militarized due to Memorandum 32; in addition there is Oplan Kapanatagan and Executive Order 70. On paper these policies are supposed to ‘counter terrorism,’ but instead they have been used by Duterte to justify attacks, arrest, and murder human rights defenders and members of the press critical of his regime.”

The protesters also stated that “de facto martial law policies have created an atmosphere of violence, and there is no worse form of censorship than violence. Journalists and the press must be allowed to work in an environment free from fear and intimidation. To oppose Duterte’s de facto martial law policies is to defend press freedom and the people’s right to information.”

A very touching letter written by Frenchie Mae Cumpio, a young journalist part of the Tacloban 5 who faced illegal arrest earlier this month was also read by the participants. Cumpio reported on military attacks against civilians in Eastern Visayas for the independent media organization Altermidya. In her letter, she wrote, “We were just activists doing our normal work. We could have a better life like what people would say, but remembering the demolition threats among several barangays in Tacloban, the land grabbing cases in Tacloban and Leyte, the illegal arrests of farmers and other activists … We’d still make the choice we made years ago. Life behind bars is still better than not showing our love for this country.”

Bernadette Ellorin, Spokesperson of BAYAN USA and Potri Ranka Manis of United Mothers of Marawi

Remembering EDSA this week, the protesters find hope and inspiration. They believe it will take no less than people power to once again stop yet another dictatorship. Bernadette Ellorin, spokesperson of BAYAN-USA, emphasized the need for groups to unite in resisting Duterte. “The wave of authoritarianism has hit the Philippines once again under the Duterte regime. His campaign against ABS-CBN is part of Duterte’s war against the truth, against information, against his critics. He wants to control the minds of Filipinos to believe that there is no poverty in the Philippines. He wants us to believe that drugs are the main problem. In reality, the main problem in the Philippines right now is Duterte.”

Ellorin called on the Filipinos of all backgrounds who love democracy and sovereignty to struggle to unite. She said that “We must come together and unite because our country and our people are suffering under one of the biggest traitors of democracy today: Duterte. We must oust him.”

In closing, the members of the Malaya Movement Northeast called on the Filipino community to stand with all ABS-CBN and all Filipino journalists, artists, media workers, TV and radio broadcasting industry to defend and fight for the protection and sanctity of the Filipino peoples universal and constitutional right to freedom of speech, expression, and of the press. They also called on the community to stand together in unity against Duterte as we fight for the rights of the Filipino people, in the spirit of EDSA. The protest ended with the protesters singing the patriotic song “Ang Bayan Ko” with clenched fists raised in the air.

contributed 20228mm

President Duterte swears in new NCCA officials, honors talented Filipino artists

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte swears in the new officials of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts during the oath-taking ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on February 26, 2020. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The new Board of Commissioners of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and its Executive Council Members were sworn in by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, expecting the new officials to further develop the country’s culture and arts as well as preserve the Filipino cultural heritage.

Speaking before the newly sworn in officials, President Duterte congratulated them saying, “I am confident that you will continuously demonstrate your voluntary support for the further development of Philippine culture and arts and the preservation of the Filipino heritage.”

“May you continue to uphold Filipino values and continuously work towards the development of Filipino culture and the arts, which is vital to the creation of an enlightened nation.”

The President also honored Wednesday the 12th Ani ng Dangal awardees comprised of talented artists from various fields.

“Our awardees today represent the best of what the Filipino can be, and what the arts can do to uplift the whole nation through talent, vision and excellence,” President Duterte said in recognizing their achievements.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte poses for posterity with the 12th Ani ng Dangal awardees at the Malacañan Palace on February 26, 2020. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“Our rich culture and arts reflect and define the Filipino people’s national identity and the values, which are vital to nation building.”

The whole nation is grateful for their achievements and have made every citizen very proud to be Filipino, he noted, adding the awardees not only put the Philippines on the world map but also contributed to greater understanding, respect, and appreciation of the Philippines’s cultural diversity.

With their feat, he expects them to continuously promote Filipino cultural heritage here and abroad.

Fifty-two awardees were honored during Wednesday’s event, including dancers, singers, musicians, literary writers, film directors and performers, architects, visual artists and designers, as well as multi-disciplinary artists.

The Ani ng Dangal Awards is an annual celebration of Filipino talent recognizing successful Filipinos in the field of arts around the world.

Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Coronavirus

"When I spoke to Vice President Mike Pence, I urged him to approve New York State's Coronavirus test — we just received word that our test has been approved by the FDA. 

New York State will begin testing immediately at Wadsworth Lab.

This approval will expedite wait time and improve New York's ability to more effectively manage the Coronavirus situation as it unfolds."

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Philippines Calls for Prudence Amid Allegations on Human Rights Record

Secretary Martin Andanar Facebook Page Photo

GENEVA, Switzerland -- The Philippines urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to reassess baseless claims made against the government on the alleged impunity and human rights violations, and exercise due diligence in dealing with terrorist groups masquerading as human rights defenders.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar delivered the Philippine dignitary statement at the High-Level Segment of the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, February 26, highlighting the Duterte administration’s policy on media freedom and human rights.

“We repeat the call for prudence in assessing claims particularly from sources who have enjoyed the hallowed status of human rights defenders while waging the longest insurgency in Asia and terrorizing communities in the Philippines,” said Secretary Andanar, who is the first Philippine Communications Secretary to speak before the Human Rights Council.

Secretary Andanar stated that discussions on the human rights situation of the country have been influenced by the same organizations that have been labeled as terrorists by the EU, US, UK and Canada and that these groups claim legitimate anti-insurgency actions as red-tagging, curtailment of civic space, and weaponization of bureaucracy against their armed struggle.

“That actors who profess terrorism are able to exploit the mantle protecting human rights defenders is a failure of due diligence on the part of the UN system. This can be rectified,” he added.

Sec Martin Andanar Facebook Page Photo

Secretary Andanar said that while the Human Rights Council remains vital in promoting human rights across the globe, it had to be free of politicization to preserve its credibility and integrity.

“The Philippines speaks from experience as a victim of arbitrary action by the Council. We regret that discussions on the human rights situation in the country have been swayed by baseless allegations, and that the Council has failed to exhaust mechanisms for constructive, reasonable, and fact-based discourse,” Secretary Andanar said.

Secretary Andanar noted, for instance, the unsubstantiated claims from civil society and non-government organizations that the Duterte administration has committed 30,000 extra-judicial killings related to the anti-illegal drug campaign, and said that the Council cannot base its actions on unfounded claims but to look instead to the tangible accomplishments of and the strong public support for the government

The Communications chief also highlighted the Duterte administration’s policy to expand and strengthen the space for a free and empowered media, evident in two of the first orders the President issued when he assumed office in June 2016.

He cited the creation of the landmark issuance of the Freedom of Information (FOI) program— now being pushed in Congress by the PCOO to have it widened and institutionalized— which discloses all government records of public interest; the establishment of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), which is mandated to protect the life, liberty, and security of media workers, considered to be the first of its kind in Asia; and the government’s push for the Media Workers’ Welfare Act, in order to improve the working conditions of media practitioners in the country.

Sec Martin Andanar Facebook Page Photo
Secretary Andanar also noted the verdict of a local Philippine court in December 2019, in favor of 32 media workers slain in the Ampatuan massacre, leading to the conviction of 43 individuals including police officers, local officials, and members of the Ampatuan political clan.

“The Philippines has always valued press freedom. We are deeply conscious that having a plurality of voices, including critical ones, is essential in the healthy functioning of our cherished democracy. Its relationship with other human rights is deep, intricate, and abiding,” Secretary Andanar said.

The Presidential Communications Secretary further said that being a former media practitioner he can reject criticisms that cases involving media personalities and outlets are attacks on press freedom and that said criticisms are false and self-serving because the cases involve criminal and constitutional violations.

“Thus, allegations of restrictions of media space in the Philippines do not find anchor in such a landscape that is driven by a vision to address impunity, preserve press freedom, and promote the welfare of media workers,” Secretary Andanar said.

Moreover, the PCOO Secretary lauded the tens of thousands of Filipino civic leaders and organizations whose works embody lawful, free, and empowered social activism, affirming the government's recognition of their indispensable role in nation-building.

“In conclusion, the accomplishments of the Philippine government under President Duterte stand solidly on an agenda of social inclusion, just and sustained peace, good governance, as well as a strong tradition of human rights and social justice, under a democratic system of government. Protecting freedom of the press and other fundamental freedoms will remain at the heart of this agenda,” Secretary Andanar said as he ended his speech.

Fix It, Don't Fine It: City Expands Relief for Small Businesses

NY City Hall Press Office Photo

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the City is expanding relief for small businesses, including eliminating fines for first time violations and expanding the universe of violations that will have cure periods. As announced at the Mayor’s State of the City, the de Blasio Administration has cut small business fines by over 40 percent since 2014 and will cut an additional 10 percent by the time the Mayor leaves office. The Administration has put over $100 million back in the pockets of small business owners, and this relief will raise the amount of money saved yearly from $20 million to $26 million.

“New York City is not New York City without our small businesses,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We will not be a city that gives in to corporate takeover. Instead, we’ll fight for our mom-and-pops and do all we can to help them thrive.”

Fines subject to relief include select Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Department of Sanitation, and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection violations. The City will work with the City Council to review more than 75 violations. DOB and DOT can implement their own rule changes, and will begin providing additional relief in the fall.

To ensure businesses are aware of these changes, these agencies will update their summonses to include clear and easy explanations for how to fix the violation. In partnership with these agencies, the Department of Small Business Services will also organize a canvassing effort across the city to spread the word.

Examples of 1st time fines forgiven:

Failure to clean 18 inches from curb into the street ($100 penalty)

Excessive noise created by an air compressor ($560 penalty)

Examples of fines added to cure list:

Scale used for weighed items at supermarket/bodega not clearly in-sight of customer ($75 penalty)

Failure to disclose details about layaway plans ($260 penalty)

Failure to post clear price list at laundromats ($375 penalty)

“The expansion of small business services for NYC’s community is a deeper investment in the businesses that make up the backbone of our economy,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “Businesses will now have a greater opportunity to comply with regulations prior to being fined, which puts money back in their pockets and creates a safer and more secure City.”

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of neighborhoods across the city, and we’re cutting red tape so they can better serve their fellow New Yorkers,” said DOB Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “By making more fines curable while expanding on outreach and education, we are building on the work we’ve already done to lighten the load on owners and entrepreneurs. We look forward to working with our colleagues in government to grow these efforts and help all small businesses be informed and avoid fines in the first place.”

“In order to protect public health and the environment we work with businesses every day to come into compliance with our rules and regulations,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  “Expanding relief for small businesses makes sense and we applaud the Mayor for extending this initiative.”

“We want nothing more than for businesses in New York City to succeed,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Expanding the category of curable violations in addition to our Business Education Days and Visiting Inspector Program will help businesses better understand their responsibilities under the law and create a culture of compliance.”

CDC Confirms Possible Instance of Community Spread of COVID-19 in U.S.

CDC Facebook Page Photo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 in California in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19.

At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown.  It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected.

This case was detected through the U.S. public health system — picked up by astute clinicians. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States to 15.

The federal government has been working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. Unprecedented, aggressive efforts have been taken to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of this virus.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. CDC will continue to update the public as circumstances warrant.  For more information about COVID-19 visit

CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

It’s up to Lower House to tackle ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, says President Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte answers queries from members of the media following the oath-taking of the new officials of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and presentation of the 12th Ani ng Dangal awardees at the Malacañan Palace on February 26, 2020. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday said he will leave ABS-CBN’s impending franchise renewal to Congress adding he has accepted the media network’s apology.

“I have kept a healthy distance from… It’s now in — that they are deliberating in Congress, the Lower House and the Senate. And there’s a plan that they would pass a joint resolution something,” President Duterte said in an interview regarding ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

“But fundamentally, really, ang decision nasa House ngayon. Not so much of the Senate because the Constitution says all of these things must originate from the Lower House.”

He also vowed not to interfere with the work of Congress on the issue.

At the same time, the President said he can’t do much about the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General at the Supreme Court.

“Ang problema kasi nitong sa SolGen, once he makes an official statement that there is a violation of law, then estopped na ako. Parang hindi na ako makagalaw,” the President said.

“I cannot tell him to stop. The SolGen can only announce that there is a violation of law and that he is going to investigate it. Well, hindi ko masabihan, ‘Do not do it. Stop it.’”

With regards to the P2.6 million that the ABS-CBN intends to return, the President advised the network to donate the money to any charitable institution of its choice.

The President also told reporters that he has asked agriculture officials to come up with a protocol to control the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country.

The prohibition of some local government units on the passage of meat cargoes in their jurisdiction might create confusion that’s why a guideline is necessary, according to the President.

Localities that are declared free of the disease must be certified so that they can ship their meat products, he added.

“Kasi ‘yung iba ayaw pa ipadaan eh. They do not allow the cargoes of the pork meat to pass the highways that traverse the local government units, magulo ‘yan,” he said.

“So kung may tatak na, ‘yung wala at meron pa ‘yung swine fever, eh ‘di huwag na muna.”

Your Home NYC: Mayor de Blasio Welcomes Home Tenants at New, Resilient Affordable Housing Development in Queens

NY City Hall Press Office Photo

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio joined City officials and development partners recently to celebrate the opening of Beach Green Dunes II, a 100 percent affordable housing development in Edgemere, Queens. The development is a cutting-edge affordable housing project that furthers the City’s commitment to building a stronger, more resilient Edgemere community.

“I know New Yorkers feel as if they are losing their grip on this City and fear their children will no longer be able to afford to call New York home,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are changing that reality, and with Your Home NYC, will be in the corner of every family fighting for neighborhoods they can afford.”

With Your Home NYC, the City is strengthening its efforts to build and preserve affordable housing, protect renters and create neighborhood wealth. The Administration is now working to build even more homes for the lowest income New Yorkers, create community land trusts, and legalize basement apartments to generate more affordable homes for New Yorkers and allow families to earn more income.

The City-financed building – developed by L+M Development Partners and designed by Curtis + Ginsberg Architects – brings 127 new homes to Edgemere in addition to retail and outdoor recreation space, including a play area for children. Of the 127 affordable apartments, more than 50 homes are for the lowest income families making less than $50,000 a year, and 13 are set aside for homeless New Yorkers.

The eight-story building is also anticipated to receive Passive House certification, a high performance building standard for energy efficiency, and integrates resilient design features, which mitigate and manage flooding and storm damage.

"We often hear, 'I never thought I would be able to afford an apartment for my family.' And with every apartment we build or preserve, we are giving New Yorkers the hope and relief they need to thrive," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "I want to welcome residents of Beach Green Dunes II to their new homes; our work is not done, and we will continue delivering on the Mayor's promise to make New York the nation's fairest big City.”

“Beach Green Dunes II represents the city’s continued commitment to build resiliently and strengthen our coastal neighborhoods. With these 127 cutting-edge new homes that are truly built to last, we are delivering a development that will serve the Rockaways well into the future,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “We applaud our partners for leading with green design to provide safe, stable, and affordable homes for this community.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces $40 Million Emergency Appropriation to Support DOH Staffing and Equipment to Respond to Potential Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

February 26, 2020 - Albany, NY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo speaks during a press conference on Coronavirus in the Red Room at the State Capitol. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $40 million appropriation for the New York State Department of Health to hire additional staff, procure equipment and any other resources necessary to respond to the potential novel coronavirus pandemic. The Governor will also propose legislation to grant authority to DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to ensure local health departments and public and private hospitals statewide take certain actions and measures in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak as needed. DOH will convene local health departments and hospitals statewide to review protocols, best practices and procedures to help ensure they are prepared to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Governor is also calling on the federal government to authorize the Wadsworth Center and NYC Public Health Lab to test for the virus, allowing for expanded testing capacity and expedited test results. New York State has independently worked to develop and validate a test using the CDC protocol. Upon FDA approval, Wadsworth can immediately begin testing to support New York State and other states in the northeast region if necessary. 

  (Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Additionally, DOH will work with the MTA, Port Authority and its airport operators, and the authorities' respective workforces to ensure workers have the necessary training and access to supplies, including cleaning and protective equipment, they need to continue to operate mass transit systems and airports. The State is also coordinating with all state agencies to help ensure they are prepared to respond to the potential novel coronavirus pandemic.

"As we are seeing the novel coronavirus spread to new countries around the world, in New York we are continuing to take all necessary precautions to protect New Yorkers from this dangerous virus," Governor Cuomo said. "While there are still no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York, these aggressive actions including $40 million in emergency funding will help ensure our healthcare system is equipped with the necessary staff, supplies and equipment needed to respond to any emergency situation that may arise in the future." 

(Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

As of today, samples from 27 New Yorkers have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing, 26 have come back negative with one result still pending. There are still no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York State.

While there is currently no vaccine for the novel coronavirus, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment.

(Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

New Yorkers can call the State hotline at 1-888-364-3065, where experts from the Department of Health can answer questions regarding the novel coronavirus. In addition, the Department has a dedicated website which was created as a resource with updated information for New Yorkers. The Department has also launched two public service announcements (PSAs) on the novel coronavirus, one featuring State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and another with general information, that are running statewide in multiple languages.

Mga Pilipino sa New York nanindigan para sa Demokrasya, Kalayaan sa Pamamahayag at prankisa para sa ABS CBN

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Isang maulan, maulap at hindi kalamigang winter weather ang sumalubong nitong Martes, Pebrero 25 sa mahigit apatnapung katao na nagtipon sa harapan ng konsulado ng Pilipinas sa New York upang manindigan para sa mahigit na sampung libong manggagawa ng ABS CBN, kalayaan sa pamamahayag at demokrasya sa Pilipinas.

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Ang pagkilos ay itinaon sa araw nang pag gunita sa ika tatlumpu't apat na taong anibersaryo ng EDSA I people power revolution sa Pilipinas, ang paninindigan ay isang panawagan ng grupong US Pinoys for Good Governance o USPGG sa mga Pilipino para magsagawa ng mapayapa at malawakang pagkilos sa harapan ng mga embahada at konsulado ng Pilipinas sa Amerika at sa ibang bansa. Ang mapayapang pagkilos ay suportado ng Stand with ABS CBN Coalition.

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Ang Stand with ABS CBN Coalition ay binubuo ng ibat ibang organisasyon ng mga Pilipino sa Amerika, kabilang ang Malaya Movement, National Federation of Filipino American Associations NaFFAA, Damayan, USPGG atbp, sila ang nangunguna upang iparating sa pamahalaan ng administrasyong Duterte ang kanilang pagtutol sa paghain ng quo waranto laban sa ABS CBN at hiling na mabigyan ng panibagong prankisa ang kumpanya upang hindi maantala ang kanilang operasyong makapag bigay ng balita, kaukulang impormasyon at kasiyahan sa mga Pilipino sa ibat ibang panig ng mundo.

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media

Sulat at mga kuha ni Lambert Parong para sa Balitang New York. Copyright 2020 Kababayan Media. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

White House: The American Dream is for Everyone

President Trump congratulates former inmates who benefited from the First Step Act at the 2019 White House Prison Reform Summit

President Trump on Thursday gave a commencement address to graduates of the “Hope for Prisoners” program in Las Vegas. Hope for Prisoners helps former inmates get back on their feet and reenter society after they’ve served their time.

“We are here to reaffirm that America is a nation that believes in redemption,” President Trump said. “We believe in second chances.” That means we want returning citizens to rebuild their lives—and to help us rebuild our country.

There’s no better champion for criminal justice reform than President Trump. At the end of 2018, he signed the historic First Step Act, which reformed outdated sentencing guidelines, expanded judges’ discretion in punishing non-violent offenders, and invested over $400 million in programs to rehabilitate prisoners before they reenter society.

Additionally, “we began a nationwide campaign to encourage businesses to expand Second Chance Hiring,” he said. “When we say Hire American, we mean ALL Americans.”

A booming economy has paved the way for more Americans to rejoin the labor force. Under the Trump Administration, and for the first time on record, there are now more job openings than unemployed people. All told, since the 2016 election, more than 7 million jobs have been added to our economy—far exceeding the paltry 2 million projected by the Congressional Budget Office before President Trump’s election.

The benefits of a strong labor market are widespread. Net worth held by the bottom 50 percent of American households has increased by 47 percent under President Trump—more than three times the rate of increase for the top 1 percent of households.

Pahayag ni VP Leni Robredo sa ika-34 na anibersaryo ng EDSA People Power Revolution

Tatlumpu’t apat na taon na ang nakakalipas mula nang nagkaisa tayo sa EDSA.

Naroon po ako, kasama ang milyun-milyon pang nagtipon upang igiit ang dignidad ng bawat Pilipino. Halu-halong damdamin ang nagdala sa amin doon: Pagkadismaya sa nangyayari sa lipunan; galit sa pang-aabuso ng rehimeng Marcos. Higit pa rito, naroon din ang pag-asa—na kung magkakaisa tayo, kung magiging handa tayong magsakripisyo at unahin ang kapwa kaysa sarili, sasapat ang pinagsanib nating lakas para magdala ng kongkretong pagbabago. Pag-ibig ang nagbuklod sa sambayanan noon: Pag-ibig para sa bansa, para sa isa’t isa, para sa ating mga kahanay na lumaban para sa tama. Para rin ito sa susunod na salinlahi ng Pilipino, na harinawa’y hindi na nila kakailanganing danasin ang lupit ng diktadurya.

Nagtagumpay tayo noon, at patuloy nating tinatahak ang landas upang makamit ang mga mithiin ng EDSA. Mulat tayo: Walang perpektong pinuno, at walang perpektong demokrasya. Ngunit hindi tayo nagtipon noon para manawagan ng perpektong pinuno o perpektong demokrasya.

Ang hinangad natin: Mabuhay nang may dignidad. Isang gobyernong hindi magsisinungaling, hindi magnanakaw, at hindi tayo aapihin. Hindi tayo papatayin. Sa madaling salita: Isang gobyernong gagawin ang sinumpaan niyang tungkulin.

Ngayon, may mga nagtatangkang burahin ang alaala ng EDSA para sa pansarili nilang agenda. Tatlumpu’t apat na taon pa lang ang nakakalipas: kasama pa natin ngayon ang marami sa nagtipon noon—silang mga sumubaybay sa balita habang nagaganap ang rebolusyon, at malamang ay nakadanas din ng pagmamalupit ng diktadurya. Utang natin sa kanilang huwag bigyang-puwang ang mga kasinungalingan. Ipakuwento natin sa kanila ang kanilang mga nasaksihan. Itanong natin sa kanila kung paano sila nakahanap ng tapang na humarap sa mga tangke, sa baril at bayoneta, sa mga eroplanong umuugong sa kalangitan, na sa isang iglap ay puwedeng magpaulan ng bomba sa mga nagtipon.

Sa harap ng mga kuwentong ito, tiyak ko: mas titibay ang ating paninindigan. Buo pa rin ang aking paniniwala: mas malakas ang mga bagay na nagbibigkis sa atin, kaysa sa mga pagkakaiba o hidwaang pilit tayong pinagwawatak. Magsilbi nawang babala ang EDSA sa sinuman ang muling magtatangkang ikuyom tayo sa loob ng kamaong bakal: Hindi sila magtatagumpay.

Pag-aari ng bawat Pilipino ang EDSA. Buhay ang diwa nito: Lahat tayo ay humaharap sa mga hamon, at lahat tayo, may angking lakas upang daigin ito. Hindi tayo nag-iisa. Wala sa ating nag-iisa.

Maligayang anibersaryo ng EDSA sa ating lahat.

Message of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the 34th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution

Monday, February 24, 2020

Governor Cuomo Launches Statewide Outreach and Education Campaign About Plastic Bag Ban

NYS DEC Facebook Page Photo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday February 20, announced a statewide education and outreach campaign to ensure that New Yorkers are aware of the March 1 ban on single-use plastic bags. 

The BYOBagNY campaign, spearheaded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, includes TV and radio advertisements, social media, Google Ads, and events hosted by Feeding New York State food banks across the state. 

"Right this minute, plastic bags are hanging in trees, blowing down the streets, filling up our landfills and polluting our lakes, rivers and streams—all hurting our environment," Governor Cuomo said. "Twelve million barrels of oil are used to make the plastic bags we use every year and by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the oceans than fish. We took bold action to protect our environment and ban these environmental blights and with this campaign we're going to make sure New Yorkers are ready and have all the facts."

As part of this effort, DEC is distributing more than 270,000 reusable bags with a focus on low- and moderate-income communities. DEC's BYOBagNY campaign includes TV and radio placements, ads on YouTube targeting New Yorkers, boosted social media placements, a Google ad campaign, video promotions at Thruway rest stops and more that will continue over the next few months. 

In addition, DEC is bolstering its ongoing outreach to stakeholders and industry associations, including the Food Industry Alliance, the Retail Council, the New York Association of Convenience Stores, and partnering with New York State agencies to distribute reusable bags and elevate the BYOBagNY message. DEC is also providing its nine regional offices with BYOBagNY educational materials for use as outreach at public events and is working with New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to coordinate cross-agency efforts related to clear communication of the law entities required to collect state sales tax. DEC is currently distributing hundreds of thousands of reusable bags across the state to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers with the help of partner state agencies and Feeding New York State, the statewide food bank organization.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York continues to be a national leader on environmental issues, and the plastic bag ban is the latest in a series of actions Governor Cuomo has directed to preserve our air, land, and waters for future generations. DEC is proud to be at the forefront of these efforts and will continue to work to develop solutions to combat climate change and protect the environment and we continue to encourage New Yorkers to BYOBagNY and bring their own reusable bags wherever and whenever they shop."

DEC will continue to focus its outreach and education efforts to ensure a smooth transition for consumers and affected retailers, with enforcement to follow in the months ahead. Governor Cuomo signed legislation to ban the sale of single-use plastic bags in New York State on Earth Day, April 23, 2019.

On Feb. 17, DEC released final regulations to implement the New York State Plastic Bag Waste Reduction Act. After a thorough review of the approximately 2,500 comments received from stakeholders and communities during the 60-day public comment period and hearing, these final regulations will be published in the State Register on Feb. 26, 2020. DEC updated the proposed regulations that were released in November 2019 based on the comments received from the public to include minor refinements in keeping with the overriding objective of the Act to reduce plastic bag waste.

New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags annually - each for about 12 minutes - and approximately 85 percent of this staggering total ends up in landfills, recycling machines, waterways and streets. In March 2017, Governor Cuomo created the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force, chaired by DEC Commissioner Seggos. The task force met several times to develop a uniform, comprehensive and equitable solution to the challenge of plastic bag waste. The final report analyzed the impacts of single-use plastic bags and provided options for legislation that could help develop a statewide solution. In addition, following passage of the New York State Plastic Bag Waste Reduction Act, DEC held a series of meetings with industry stakeholders across the state to invite input from the public and guide the agency's development of rules and regulations to implement the law.

For more information about the plastic bag ban, visit, email, or call (518) 402-8706.

President Duterte swears in new KBP officials, pledges to protect media rights

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte swears in the newly elected officers and board of trustees of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on February 12, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, February 12, led the oath-taking of newly elected officers and Board of Trustees of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), vowing to protect the rights and safety of media practitioners.

Wednesday’s event reaffirms the important role of the broadcast media in shaping a nation’s progress through responsible dissemination of news and information to the people, President Duterte said in his speech.

“Throughout our history, we have seen how mass media in the Philippines has shown its vital role in promoting awareness on various social issues, disseminating critical information and mobilizing for public action in times of natural disasters and calamities, and in ensuring accountability in government and other social institutions,” he said.

The President hailed the KBP for its commitment to elevate the standards of broadcasting, help promote positive social change, disseminate information on development efforts, and foster improved business practices within the industry and its stakeholders.

He then assured the media organization that his administration, “will uphold the equal protection of your rights and your safety in the performance of duties”.

The President cited Administrative Order No. 1 he signed in October 2016 that created the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.

He also mentioned in his speech the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 on the Maguindanao massacre, where 32 media workers were killed.

“Such a decision, which is currently under appeal, was considered as an unprecedented accomplishment in the history of the worldwide campaign against impunity,” he said.

The Chief Executive also expressed optimism that Philippine media will continue to stand by the principles of truth, responsibility and fairness, “even as you seek to redefine and strengthen your relevance in this rapidly changing age of information”.

The President also stressed that while the Constitution upholds the freedom of the press, the function to broadcast is a privilege granted by government to media organizations.

“It is imbued with the best interest of the nation and our people,” said the President, adding that his administration will not tolerate any abuse of such privilege.

At the same time, the President urged the KBP’s newly elected officers and Board of Trustees to lead the broadcasting industry in the country “with a stronger dedication of your shared task of nation-building”.

“I trust that you will use the power of media to inform, entertain, educate and persuade to promote the welfare of the people,” he told the officials.

The KBP is a non-government, non-profit organization of the broadcast media in the Philippines, according to its website.