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HEADLINES: Rex Gatchalian gets DSWD post | Feb. 1, 2023 – The Manila Times

Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Wednesday, February 1, 2023.
READ: Rex Gatchalian gets DSWD post
PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has named Valenzuela City First District Rep. Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian as the new secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Gatchalian took his oath of office before Marcos in Malacañang on Tuesday, January 31, the Presidential Communications Operations Office said. He was accompanied by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., and Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. during the oath-taking ceremony. Gatchalian replaced Erwin Tulfo, who left his post last December after his appointment was bypassed twice by the Commission on Appointments over his libel conviction and his acquisition of American citizenship. Gatchalian, brother of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and Valenzuela City Mayor Weslie Gatchalian, supported Marcos and his running mate, Vice President Sara Duterte, in the 2022 elections.
READ: Marcos urges DSWD to 'calibrate' 4Ps
Staying with the DSWD, the President on Tuesday called the Department to continue “calibrating” the government's social protection initiatives, particularly the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), to address poverty. In a speech delivered during the DSWD's 72nd founding anniversary in Quezon City, the President enjoined the department and all government agencies “to ensure that your services reach those in need, wherever they may be.”
READ: CHEd seen obstructing PH education progress
In other news, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is the stumbling block to quality education in the country, The Manila Times Chairman Emeritus Dante A. Ang said on Tuesday. In an economic forum conducted by this paper in partnership with Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Ang spelled out some underlying issues that the education and other sectors need to address. He said that CHEd has been lacking in terms of supervising and providing quality education in all state colleges and universities.
READ: Health expert rejects proposal to repeal salt law
AN endocrinologist and expert in nuclear medicine has called a proposal to repeal the law requiring the iodization of salt a “preposterous” idea. National coordinator for the Iodine Global Network Dr. Teofilo San Luis' comments came after some lawmakers called for the junking of the law, a reason they said why the Philippine salt industry has not been able to cope with demand. During The Manila Times forum on Healthy Lifestyle on Tuesday, San Luis said the country's salt industry has continued to decline over the past years because of rapid urbanization, especially in coastal areas in Parañaque City, Las Piñas City and Cavite.
READ: 'Speculators behind sugar price spike'
AN official of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) on Tuesday blamed speculators for the spike in the retail prices of sugar in the local markets as the cost of refined sweetener reached as high as P120 per kilo. During the Laging Handa briefing, SRA board member and planters' representative Pablo Luis Azcona confirmed a report in The Manila Times that soft drink manufacturers are lobbying to get the 50 percent share of the 450,000 metric tons of sugar imports. Based on monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the retail price of refined sugar ranged between P87 and P120 per kilo; washed sugar, P83 and P95 per kilo; and brown sugar, P80 and P95 per kilo. Azcona said under the planned sugar importation, a portion of the outsourced sweetener will immediately be released in the market to bring down the retail prices.
READ: Dozens of kidnap, other crimes linked to POGOs
THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded 102 kidnapping cases and other crimes related to Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) from 2019 to Jan. 30, 2023. In his report on Tuesday, January 31, before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, MGen. Eliseo Cruz, PNP director for Investigation and Detective Management, said that many of the suspects and victims in the POGO-related crimes were Chinese. Of the 102 crimes reported, 40 happened in 2022, 42 in 2021, 11 in 2020 and nine in 2019. The report also indicated that there were 319 victims and one of them was killed. Of the number of victims, 214 were Chinese, 28 were Filipinos, 28 Thais, 24 Burmese, and the others were Malaysians, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Mongolians. There were 892 suspects composed of 782 Chinese, 80 Filipinos, and the others were identified as Vietnamese, Malaysians, Koreans, Thais and Indonesians. Of the 892 suspects, only 83 were arrested, 93 are at-large, 482 posted bails, three were killed and 231 were turned over to the Bureau of Immigration.
BUSINESS: BSP: Jan inflation likely hit 7.5-8.3%
Over to business, inflation could have accelerated to 8.3 percent last month or slowed to 7.5 percent, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Tuesday. Inflation hitting 8.3 percent would be the highest in just over 14 years or since December 2008's 8.7 percent. A 7.5-percent result, meanwhile, would be the lowest in three months and a significant deceleration from December 2022's 14-year high of 8.1 percent. Official January inflation data will be released by the Philippine Statistics Authority next Tuesday, February 7. The data will be considered by the BSP's policy making Monetary Board when it meets on February 16 to discuss whether or not to keep raising interest rates. Key BSP interest rates were raised by a total of 350 basis points last year as inflation surged, breaching the central bank's 2.0- to 40-percent target range and hitting the government's upwardly revised 2022 forecast of 5.8 percent. The official assumption for this year is 4.5 to 5.5 percent.
SPORTS: Sotto, 36ers keep playoffs bid alive
In sports, Filipino import Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers kept their playoffs chances alive after snapping a five-game losing skid at the expense of the Cairns Taipans 99-96 Monday night in the National Basketball League at the Cairns Convention Center in Cairns, Australia. Despite getting into foul trouble early in the game, the 7-foot-3 Sotto pumped in 12 points on a 4-of-5 shooting laced with two rebounds and one assist in more than 12 minutes of action in the do-or-die contest for Adelaide. Antonius Cleveland scored 11 of his 27 points in the final period to lead the 36ers, who rose to a 12-14 win-loss card, good for eighth spot.
READ: Opinion and editorial
Rigoberto Tiglao and Francisco Tatad are today's front page columnists. Tiglao asks if First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos was behind the axing of former DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo, while Tatad believes President Marcos will have to navigate “treacherous waters” over the International Criminal Court's investigation of his predecessor's war on drugs.
Today's editorial discusses a “misdirected” protest on energy planning. Read the full version in 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.
For The Manila Times, this is Kim Isabelle Dignadice.


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