Faces of the News: March 14, 2021 | Inquirer News

Faces of the News: March 14, 2021

/ 05:16 AM March 14, 2021

Dennis Uy

Fulfilling a promise to the government, Dito Telecommunity made its debut on March 8 although much of the country has yet to feel the presence of the new company.

Dito limited the launch to 15 areas in Metro Davao and Cebu. It said more cities, including areas in Metro Manila, will come online in the coming weeks or months.

Front and center to this endeavor is Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, who owns Dito alongside partner China Telecom.


At the background is the Duterte administration, which counts Dito’s entry among the key programs to improve communications in the country.


“Dito na kami, dito na tayo and magkita kita tayo diyan very soon (We’re here and we’ll see you there very soon),” Uy said after announcing the company’s goodwill offer: free internet and phones to 3,000 front-liners.

Still, Dito has a long way to go. A few thousand subscribers bought SIM cards on launch day but thousands more failed to get theirs for not having the smartphone models compatible with its network.

Birth pains are there but the company is determined to resolve them. Meanwhile, expect PLDT and Globe Telecom to take this new threat of competition seriously.

—Miguel R. Camus

Juan Miguel ‘Mikey’ Arroyo

Cabatuan town, Isabela province, Mayor Charlton Uy alleged in a now-deleted video that Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo took Novavax, a COVID-19 vaccine that has not yet secured authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

“I was with Congressman Mikey Arroyo last night and he mentioned … Novavax? They say it’s … supposedly 91 percent [effective], the mayor said. He added that mayors are now required “to pledge” a contribution to the country’s vaccine supply because Novavax “is supposedly coming already in June.”

Uy is apparently convinced by Novavax’s efficacy “because that’s what Mikey said yesterday … He was already injected with … that.”


But Arroyo insisted that Uy’s story was inaccurate. Novavax is a US-based biotechnology company that developed the COVID-19 vaccine, Covovax. Novavax’s Philippine partner Faberco Life Sciences Inc. said “not a single vial” of Covovax had been imported or brought into the country at this time.

Arroyo is not the only lawmaker reported have gotten an unauthorized jab. Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, a physician, admitted she already got the China-manufactured CoronaVac.

—Maricar Cinco

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Controversies that have rocked the British monarchy throughout its 1,200-year history might pale in comparison with the revelations Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle made in a brutally honest two-hour interview with America’s most influential TV host Oprah Winfrey.

The couple discussed the decision to step down from royal duties to save their growing family. Biracial actress Meghan said her son Archie had not been granted the title of prince due to concerns about “how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”

A constant subject of racist scrutiny in the UK tabloids, Meghan said life in the palace had become so desolate she entertained suicidal thoughts.

Harry, who lost his mother Diana in a 1997 car crash blamed on the paparazzi, said the idea scared him that he had to get his family out before history was repeated.

Queen Elizabeth acknowledged the charges saying that “while some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”

Time will tell if Buckingham Palace will have its day of reckoning, whether Harry and Meghan will eventually live happily ever after — or become screenplay fodder for “The Crown” on Netflix.

—Ira P. Pedrasa

Ann Rose Nu Tawng

Going viral on social media was probably the last thing on Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng’s mind when she knelt in front of armed policemen in Myanmar.

The image of the Catholic nun from the Sisters of St. Francis Xavier kneeling between policemen and protesters seeking the freedom of ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi elicited awe when it was flashed around the world.

Protesters sought cover in the church center in Myitkyina where Tawng runs a clinic. Hearing gunshots, the nun ran out, knelt before the armed men and begged them not to hurt “the children.” Tawng also told police to shoot and kill her instead.

Two policemen knelt with her and explained that they were just doing their job. Gunshots rang out anew, the nun turned and saw a young man lying in a pool of blood. Tawng said she tried to bring the injured man into the church, but she and her companions were blinded by tear gas.

At least two protesters were killed that day.

Earlier in February, the 45-year-old Tawng also knelt in front of policemen in riot gear and pleaded on behalf of protesters. She said she could not stand around doing nothing while people in Myanmar suffered.

Bobby Ray Parks Jr.

A lot of speculation mushroomed after Bobby Ray Parks Jr. announced he was taking a sabbatical, purportedly to take care of family matters, particularly those concerning his mother. It didn’t take long, in fact, for Parks’ announcement to trigger a Web-wide guessing game.

Manny V. Pangilinan, the telecommunications magnate who owns three teams in the PBA, including Parks’ mother squad, the TNT Tropang Giga, immediately posted on a personal social media account a photo of Parks and a friend in some beach.

The caption made it clear that MVP doubted Parks’ reason for the leave.

What followed was a scathing indictment of Parks’ character by TNT board governor Ricky Vargas, who said the two-way swingman, the team’s best performer in last year’s bubble, had a “character flaw.”

Vargas said Parks deceived the squad and immediately marshaled the PBA board, which he chairs, into laying the foundation for a committee that will investigate players’ sabbaticals to make sure they are reasonable.

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The real question remains though: Of all speculation swirling around social media, what is the real reason for Parks’ unilateral decision to go on leave?

TAGS: Dennis Uy, Meghan Markle, newsmakers, Prince Harry

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