Faces of the News: July 12, 2020 | Inquirer News
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Faces of the News: July 12, 2020

/ 05:03 AM July 12, 2020

ILLUSTRATION BY RENE ELEVERA

Joy Belmonte

It was an announcement that did not spark joy: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday revealed that she had tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“I have no regrets. I have prepared myself and wholeheartedly accept this,” she said in a statement.

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Despite being asymptomatic, Belmonte placed herself under quarantine and now works from home, while her office temporarily shut its doors for disinfection and contact tracing.

Quezon City continues to hold the highest number of virus cases in the Metro, with 2,965 infections reported as of June 23.

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Before her diagnosis, Belmonte had put several villages under lockdown and warned their officials to monitor activities seen to be behind the spike in cases: boodle fights, where food is laid on a banana leaf and eaten communally with bare hands; “videoke” sessions; wakes and birthday parties that exceeded the allowable number of attendees, and even volleyball and basketball games. ‍

Belmonte reminded officials to patrol neighborhoods, ‍disseminate relevant information, and enforce the city curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

—Mariejo S. Ramos‍

James Pooten Jr. and John Wesley Dulawan

Two mayors in the Cordillera have stood their ground and denied the request of movie director Joyce Bernal to shoot some material that would be used as a backdrop to President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 27, despite an authorization letter from Malacañang.

Sagada Mayor James Pooten Jr. and Banaue Mayor John Wesley Dulawan both cited the local government’s strict health protocols against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in their moves, including a ban on the entry of nonresidents from areas with high infection rates. Both towns have remained virus-free so far.

Police in Banaue on Monday escorted the film crew out of the town due to Dulawan’s executive order that temporarily prohibited travel there until July 10.

After being politely rebuffed, Bernal’s group, which included actor Piolo Pascual, was allowed to briefly visit the Kiangan National Shrine.

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The crew then opted to return to Baguio where they were subjected to health protocols at a triage on Marcos Highway before proceeding to a hotel in the city. The venue for Duterte’s Sona is yet to be determined.

—Kimberlie Quitasol

Agot Isidro and Jinkee Pacquiao

TV-film actress Agot Isidro, one of a growing number of artists who have been calling out the ills of government and its allies, unwittingly drew contrasting reactions for her Twitter post on July 9, in which she commented on the Instagram post of Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee.

The post showed two custom-made Hermès bikes captioned “His and Hers,” with the unmistakable designer logos of Hermès and Louis Vuitton.

Jinkee later updated the post, saying the bikes were a gift from a friend.

A 2013 Bloomberg report on Hermès’ bike collection said the bike cost about $11,000, or P545,000 each, quite a fortune in normal times, but “insensitive” in times of COVID-19 that has left people “jobless and desperate to earn money to feed their families,” said Agot.

While Agot’s post gathered some 20,000 likes, Jinkee did not lack for defenders, who said she has a right to spend her own money.

Amid the exchange of barbs, one stray comment reflected a common plaint: “I just want to ask for a little help. My mom lost her job … I don’t know how I will cope with our online classes … ”

—Pocholo Concepcion

Carlo Katigbak

Often touted as a vision of calm during the largely chaotic House hearing on legislative franchises, ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak presented a stark and refreshing contrast to the often hectoring demeanor and comments of House representatives who grilled him mercilessly on the network’s supposed failures.

However, in a video statement aired over dzMM teleradyo after the media giant’s franchise application failed to make it past the House legislative franchise committee, Katigbak said he was “deeply hurt” by the decision.

“We believe that we have been rendering service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino public,” he said.

At the same time, Katigbak graciously thanked the committee “for allowing us a chance to air our side on all the issues raised against us.”

Among the issues hurled at the network were alleged tax deficiencies, the “doubtful” Filipino citizenship of its owner, “biased” election coverage, the alleged violation of the constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership of mass media, unfair labor practices, the supposed “lack of morality,” and its allegedly illegal digital broadcasts.

—Patricia Denise M. Chiu

Jair Bolsonaro

The Brazilian Press Association has filed a criminal complaint in the Supreme Court against President Jair Bolsonaro for putting reporters’ lives and health at risk.

He also failed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) when he took off his mask in a televised interview on Tuesday to announce he had tested positive for COVID-19, the complaint said.

Two days later, the Brazilian leader objected to Facebook’s suspension of a network of fake accounts linked to his employees and two sons, which were used to spread disinformation on social media.

He said the suspensions were unwarranted “persecution” and a risk to “freedom of the press” although neither his politician-sons and employees are journalists.

His infection and the unmasking of the Facebook propaganda accounts did not stop Bolsonaro from promoting the efficacy of an antimalarial drug that has been medically found to be useless and even dangerous against COVID-19.

More than 1.7 million people in Brazil have tested positive for the coronavirus and nearly 68,000 have died, making it the second-worst hit country in the world after the United States.

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TAGS: Agot Isidro, Carlo Katigbak, Faces of the News, Jair Bolsonaro, James Pooten Jr., Jinkee Pacquiao, John Wesley Dulawan, Joy Belmonte
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