Will Pia Wurtzbach fly as next Darna?

After Angel Locsin finally confirmed that she will no longer be reprising her role as the iconic Philippine superhero, Darna, the guessing game as to who will be the next one to don the red costume has officially begun. Fortunately, there is no shortage of ladies wanting to play the role including confidently beautiful herself, Pia Wurtzbach.

Last January, even before Locsin bowed out of the role, Miss Universe 2016 has actually already expressed her eagerness to take on the mantle. In a Twitter conversation with a fan asking about her interest in the gig, Queen P said “YES! I would love to play the Filipina version of Superwoman! DARNA! 🙂 -Pia.”

Now, talks of her eventually starring in the remake has once again picked up buzz with a lot of fans backing up the casting choice. As of now, however, ABS-CBN, who helms the project, is still tight lipped as to who their choice for the part is.

Dubai Municipality warns tourists on renting out used costumes

Have you tried renting out traditional Emirati costume at tourist spots in the United Arab Emirates? If yes, is it clean? If not, then the establishment that you got your garments from are violating UAE’s hygiene rule and should be fined Dh2,000.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, has issued a health warning against renting out and borrowing used costumes and outfits without proper cleaning and disinfection, local news said. The Dh2,000 fine for first time offenders will increase exponentially if they would continue not following the mandated hygiene protocol.

The warning came after the assistant director general of Dubai Municipality for Health, Safety and Environment Control Khalid Mohammad Sharif Al Awadhi said that the civic body found out that some establishments offer customers with used costumes and outfits for entertainment.

“The reuse of specific costume or outfit for different customers whether for the purpose of photography or any other activities is prohibited, without properly cleaning and disinfecting the items after each customer’s usage,” Al Awadhi explained. Furthermore, storing or throwing these clothes, shoes, socks, caps or any other items on the floor after usage is also prohibited, he added.

“These items must be kept in special cabinets or baskets before or after cleaning and disinfection. The storage of clean and disinfected clothing and items must be done in suitable ventilated areas away from sources of contamination.”

Failure to comply with these directives shall result in punitive actions as per Local Order 11 of 2003 concerning public health and community safety, he added. -KCO

UAE soon to roll out one-stop centers for domestic helpers

In an effort to bridge the gap between employers and domestic helpers, a one-stop center will soon streamline services related to domestic workers and help keep a database of their information in the country.

The project dubbed as “Tadbeer Centers”, will offer all services required to employers interested in hiring domestic helpers, said Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, reported the Khaleej Times.
Services provided by Tadbeer Centers will include conducting pre-arrival interviews with domestic workers, resolving disputes and checking on worker housing and accommodation. The center will also provide relevant help depending on the requirements of the employer in addition to services such as visa issuance, Emirates ID, medical documents and dropping the domestic helper to the customer.
Operating under the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE), the first set of Tadbeer Centers owned by Emiratis will be opened in the fourth quarter of the year.
“[The Ministry] will grant licence to operators according to their capacity to meet high standards and ensure their customers’ ongoing happiness, matching the UAE’s outstanding government service program,” Ghobash said.
This is also good news for Filipino domestic helpers as it simplifies the process of getting them legitimate work post in the country – banishing worries and doubts of being untreated unfairly both during the process and employment.

Rainy weekend expected in UAE

If you are planning on a weekend getaway that calls for the sun, it’s better to scrap it off as early as now. The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, (NCMS) has just issued a warning regarding rainy days that will affect the UAE from Thursday up until Monday.

The weather in the next couple of days is expected to be gradually affected by unstable conditions, where the clouds will increase from time to time with a chance of scattered rain.

”The wind will be freshening from time to time and sometimes become strong with towering clouds activity, causing blowing dust/sand especially over exposed areas. The sea will be rough in the Arabian Gulf and Sea of Oman,” the NCMS said as quoted by Emirates 24/7.

Aside from planning other weekend activities done indoors, motorists are also advised to be extra cautious when driving as roads will be slippery wet.

Qatar reports 1st case of MERS-CoV this year

A new case of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is recently reported in Qatar, marking the country’s first case of the disease in 2017.

The patient was identified as a 62-year-old male expatriate, according to a statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease blog, from Qatar’s Ministry of Health.

This case raises Qatar’s total to 19 since MERS-CoV was first detected in that country in 2012. The Ministry of Health revealed that 7 of those 19 patients have died.

Upon further testing, it was ruled that the infection was more likely acquired locally instead of it being travel-related. The patient was said to be suffering from comorbidities, including chronic illnesses, and did not report traveling outside the country or having contact with any symptomatic people in recent weeks. Over the course of time before he was diagnosed he had a fever, night sweats, and abdominal pain.

As of now, there is no current vaccine against the viral respiratory disease so it is advised that everyone should be diligent about their health choices.
Despite not having any case reported yet in the UAE this year, it is always best to follow proper hygiene practices like regular hand-washing and exercise healthy habits to reduce the risk of getting not just MERS-CoV, but also any kind of transmitted disease.
Furthermore, if you ever find yourself feeling unwell with symptoms syncing up with that of MERS-CoV, immediately get checked by a professional so you can be treated right away.

UAE sets stiffer traffic fine, punishment

A set of new regulations, covering a comprehensive range of traffic discipline and violations, will soon be implemented across the country, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Announced last Wednesday via an official announcement in the UAE Gazette, the organization is looking to roll out a new set of rules for drivers and passengers alike in an effort to decrease road accidents and fatalities.

The draft has already been signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

This will cover multiple and in-depth violations, which could mean stiffer penalties for offenders, such as heavy fines, black points, and impounding of vehicles.
As an example, reckless driving will incur a fine of Dh2,000, 23 black points, and impounding of the vehicle for a period of 60 days, the report revealed.

The same punishment and fine will be applied to drivers who endanger the lives of others. Reckless driving will also apply to buggy drivers, who will receive a Dh3,000 fine and have their buggy impounded for three months.

Drivers caught under the influence of alcohol or drugs will have their license suspended for one year, starting from the day of the verdict.

On top of these, all passengers in a car will be mandated to wear seat belts. Those who fail to follow proper protocol will have the driver of the vehicle fined Dh400 and slapped with four black points.

The date of implementation of the regulations is yet to be confirmed.

Duterte, Robredo urge allies to focus on nat’l issues than impeachment cases

Vice President Leni Robredo found herself an unlikely of President Rodrigo Duterte in an effort to impeach her.

President Duterte, who was fresh from his diplomatic trips to Myanmar and Thailand held a press conference at NAIA where he told his allies to lay-off of Vice President Leni Robredo’s back.

“We just had an election. Guys, lay off. Stop it. Do other things but don’t tinker with structure of government,” he said as reported by local media outlets. “I will not countenance it. Elected yung tao.

Duterte is currently facing charges for his administration’s war on drugs that is believed to be a breeding ground for extra-judicial killings in the country as well as claims on his hand on the Davao Death Squad.

Meanwhile, Robredo is on the brink of facing separate impeachment raps over his controversial video shown at the United Nations where she criticized the government’s approach in the war on drugs.

‘Country First’

For the first time the President and the Vice President presented a united front, despite being on separate sides of politics. Both of them are urging everyone to not be carried away with impeachment controversies.

Later on the same day, a pool of reporters caught up with Robredo where she sang a similar tune to that of the President’s regarding focusing on national issues instead of pursuing these impeachment complaints.

“Hindi ko pa napanood ‘yun, pero kung sinabi niya ‘yun, tingin ko naman para ‘yun sa bansa natin,” she said. “Tingin ko ‘yung impeachment—whether against the President or against sa akin—hihintuin nito ‘yung mga dapat pinag-uukulan ng pansin ng Kongreso.”

“Masyadong maraming trabahong kailangan atupagin. Magiging very divisive para sa bansa natin. Tingin ko hindi siya makakabuti in the long run,” she added.

Duterte bans Customs from opening balikbayan boxes

Good news for all our kababayans abroad, your ‘balikbayan’ boxes are now safe thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte’s ban on Customs from opening them.

During his speech in Thailand, Duterte assured overseas Filipino (OFs) that their ‘balikbayan’ boxes would now be safe as they land in the country.

“I prohibited Customs. The usual excuse is search. Alam mo galing eroplano ‘yan, magdaan ‘yan sa baba. Mayroon na ‘pong x-ray doon, kaya kung may tinago kang boyfriend na binalot mo, makikita na ‘yun doon.”

In addition, Duterte told our kababayans to be assertive and impose their rights; he even gave his go signal to use his name if needed.

“Kung pursigihin ka, magsabi ka, “Di ba sabi ni Duterte, hindi buksan ‘yan? Wala akong tinago, hindi ako nag-smuggling,” Duterte added.

The Bureau of Customs was accused of the unnecessary opening of ‘balikbayan’ boxes to check for smuggled goods but some of the recipients of the boxes reported missing items afterwards. -KCO

RTA slashed waiting time for NOC

No need to go through lines to get no objection certificates (NOCs) related to residential utility connections (electricity and water) as the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has started to roll out a new and innovative phase that will cut both the time and effort to secure the paperwork.

The move is part of the improvement initiatives the RTA considers to introduce this year (2017), in a bid to turn the Smart City initiative of the Dubai Government into a reality.

Via this improved system, such certificates will be issued through the E-NOC system which means that it will be provided soon after the filing through the new system.

The duration of issuing NOCs of this type of services will now be slashed to five days, said Adel Al Marzouqi, Director of Right of Way, Traffic & Roads Agency, RTA, as quoted by the Khaleej Times.

This initiative not only aims to to cut short the waiting period but also make sure that the manner of distributing the certificates will be effective and innovative.

“The supplement agreement for Issuing Instant NOCs between the RTA and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has been signed,” Al Marzouqi explained “The RTA is working closely with its partners to introduce modern administrative concepts and bring about a substantial impact at various levels with a view to improving NOC services, especially as regards reducing the time required for processing home connections.

This Filipino bank is coming near you

The Department of Finance (DoF) is currently eyeing the possibility of opening a LandBank subsidiary in Bahrain to cater to the thousands of expatriate workers out there.

In a statement this Wednesday, which was distributed to local media outlets, the DoF revealed that in light of LandBank’s plans to to acquire Philippine Postal Bank and convert it into a lender for overseas Filipino workers (OFW), a branch of the bank in Bahrain seems to be a great idea – especially so since there is a significant number of OFWs currently residing there.

Aside from being a localized lender for Filipino expats in the Middle Eastern country, a Philippine bank in Bahrain will also help facilitate bilateral trade and investments.

To further this initiative, DoF Secretary Carlos Dominguez will advise President Rodrigo Duterte to schedule a visit to the Bahrain to see if the proposed idea can eventually work. Dominguez has also previously met with members of the Bahrain Chamber of the Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to talk about the aforementioned plan.