Hurrah for PAGCOR and US must stop its xenophobia

I HAVE said it before and I am saying it again: Among the ‘best decisions’ made by Pres. Duterte is to appoint former BI chief and known philanthropist, Andrea ‘Didi’ Domingo, as chair of the formerly graft-ridden, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

And call it ‘prescience’ on the part of PDU30 that the country is headed for turbulent days ahead that he would need someone of Domingo’s caliber— one with whom he could entrust to take care of the finances of one of the country’s major ‘cash cows’— and whose resources would come in handy during times of crisis like what we are experiencing today.

Thus, people are delighted to learn that Domingo has been using her authority as gaming regulator judiciously to further boost the government’s ‘whole of nation’ (WON) approach in the fight against an unseen but merciless enemy, COVID19.

For instance, thru PACGOR’s initiative, casinos at the Entertainment City in Paranaque City, have agreed to donate more than P200 million worth of essential items to boost the government's efforts in fighting this viral disease.

In coordination with PAGCOR, the Foundations of the four Entertainment City operators teamed-up to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), food and medical supplies to hospitals and Local Government Units (LGUs) in areas where they are most needed.

Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc. (BCFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of Solaire Resort & Casino, will be donating P60 million worth of PPEs and N95 Masks to the Department of Health (DOH). These will be distributed to medical ‘frontliners’ in various hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients.

To augment the needed supply of the government for testing COVID-19, BCFI will also procure 100,000 test kits that are currently available in China and South Korea, as soon as they get the clearance and permits from the Food and Drug Administration.

On the other hand, Okada Manila Foundation will be donating P50 million to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to buy COVID-19 testing kits, PPEs, validator machines/testing machines, masks and alcohol.

Melco Resorts and Entertainment Philippines Corporation Foundation, the charitable entity of City of Dreams Manila developer, will give 125,000 food packs worth P400 each or a total of P50 million, to be turned over directly to the Office of the President.

Meanwhile, Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. (operator of Resorts World Manila) through its Resort World Philippines Cultural Heritage Foundation, Inc. (RWPCHFI) allocated P50 million for the procurement of PPEs and infrared thermometers, as well as other essential items.

The equipment will be turned over to public hospitals such as Pasay General Hospital, Ospital ng Parañaque 1 and 2, PGH, local governments of Pasay and Parañaque and the National Capital Region Police office (NCRPO) Resorts World also agree to purchase grocery packs which will be handed out directly to community beneficiaries.

“We were instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte to prioritise projects that would benefit the health sector.

“Hence, PAGCOR and our licensees have been working together to provide quality healthcare services and infrastructure,” the beloved member of the National Press Club said.

And ‘topping’ PAGCOR’s effort, of course, is its release of a separate P2.5 billion to the national coffer, money that we are sure, would go a long way in our collective fight against an unseen enemy. Mabuhay ang PAGCOR!

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Three days ago, or last Saturday, China, for the nth time, delivered on its promise to the Philippines after its chartered flight (read: paid for by China) landed at the NAIA to deliver 100,000 pieces of COVID-19 test kits, 100,000 surgical masks, 10,000 N95 masks and 10,000 PPEs.

Just about a week before this, Chinese Amb. Huang Xilian, affirmed that the “Philippines continues to stand close in China’s heart as our centuries-long relationship has shown.

“The Chinese people stands ready to help their Philippine brothers and sisters to go through this difficult time,” Amb. Huang said.

China, of course, is all over the globe now in terms of helping other nations (Italy, Serbia, etc.) combat the COVID19 pandemic, knowing this disease recognises no race, religion or ideology.

Still China is being “blamed” by the snobbish West, of which, the most xenophobic remark came from US officials, especially, that ‘China virus’ tweet by Pres. Donald Trump last week.

Note that in the ‘Great Influenza’ pandemic of 1918 that afflicted hundreds of millions and left between 50 million to 100 million dead, newspapers at the time labelled it the ‘Spanish Influenza,’ despite its originating from America, simply because Spain was the first to report it.

The irony of it all is that China, also condemned by the West for its “tight censorship,” ended up in the same tight spot as Spain back then because China never “censored” its discovery of this truly “novel” type of corona virus but immediately shared the information to the rest of the world. That’s ‘censorship’ for you, peeps, hehehe!

But supposed it was the United States that first reported about the “existence” of the NCOV/COVID19, would it be “correct” then to name it as ‘Uncle Sam’s Disease’ or the ‘US Plague’ or worse, ‘Trump’s Plague?’

In 1918, America escaped racial slur from the wrath of xenophobia brought about by the ‘Great Influenza.’

Again in 2009, during the ‘novel influenza’ (N1H1 PDM09) pandemic that also wipe out between 150,000 to more than 500,000 people worldwide, no one, even America’s self-identified “enemies,” Russia and China, called it the ‘American Plague.’

My point is, Uncle Sam must stop its xenophobia because it has its own share of diseases whose devastation and effects are still very much with us today.