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“Filipino-to-Filipino nCoV transmission may happen anytime” – SHARP EDGES by JAKE J. MADERAZO

By Jake Maderazo February 11, 2020 - 06:33 AM SHARE(S):

At the time this column is being written, there are six Filipinos confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus, or 2019-
nCoV. One is in Dubai while the other five are aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess in Yokohama,
Japan. This indicates that we Filipinos are not immune to this viral outbreak.

In fact, the much dreaded “Filipino-to-Filipino viral transmission” may be happening inside that cruise ship where more than 500 of our “kababayan” are employed.  From a single infected Pinoy crew member, the number later went up to five.

The bright side is that there are still no cases of domestic or community transmission in the Philippines. We have 284 “persons under investigation”�but no Filipino has been infected by any of the three Chinese who were the first confirmed nCoV cases here.

Malacañang says the government is prepared to handle this emergency with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III as
lead person. An additional fund of P2 billion to fight the nCoV is being worked out in Congress.

I am trusting that this administration has complete plans laid out in case “domestic transmission”�occurs. I also hope that these plans are workable, effective and will prevent chaos and panic. Recent events in Wuhan City, the origin of nCoV, revealed several miscalculations and the failure of city, provincial and national officials to contain the virus at its early stages.

* * *

The quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against my former network, ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN
Convergence, has triggered heated debates around the nation.The renewal of the network’s franchise requires 17 steps to be taken by Congress, starting at the House committee level up to the President’s approval or veto. Quite impossible though, with just 48 days to go until March 30, when its current franchise will expire.

But this new play by Calida is the monumental block to its renewal. Expect more allegations to come out, some serious or very serious. Quite frankly, it is difficult for me to watch this happening. I just hope my friends at ABS-CBN can answer all of these head-on and clear themselves of these charges. This is a “brutal fight of giants” and at the end of the day, we will see which party will be left standing. Bets, anyone?

* * *

Only in the Philippines: It is only here that profiteering middlemen, traders and “biyaheros” are virtual “untouchables” even when they are jacking up food prices on a whim.

The farm gate prices of chicken, pork, beef, vegetables and fish from producers are higher than they should be. As a
rule, the accepted markup is P50 to P80 or a 100-percent increase when they reach our table. For example, the farm gate price of chicken is P70 per kilo. It should be sold at P120 to P140 per kilo but in markets, it goes for P180 to P200 per kilo.

Same with pork which has a farm gate price of P95 to P105 per kilo. Instead of being sold at P175 to P210 per kilo, it is peddled for P230 to P250 per kilo.

I was told that Agriculture Secretary William Dar will issue an order on suggested retail prices in the next two weeks for chicken, pork, vegetables and fish like “galunggong.” This is the correct step to forewarn the public, but I would like see many of these profiteering biyaheros, middlemen and peddlers arrested and jailed.

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