Back to home

Media Coverage

TAYO WEEKLY BYTES: Our Debut Weekly Newsletter

TAYO WEEKLY BYTES: Our Debut Weekly Newsletter

Welcome to Tayo Weekly Bytes. Our mission here is to give you quick snippets of the latest news and topics that are important to the Filipino American community with lots of links to content that you can read and watch at your leisure. We even have some fun quizzes to test your fact checking skills. Let’s get the facts. 

1.  Tensions between the Philippines and China continue to rise in the South China/West Philippine Sea.

  • The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday, June 4, showed videos of the Chinese Coast Guard’s alleged seizure and dumping of food supplies meant for resupply of Filipino soldiers stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre at Second Thomas Shoal (“Ayungin Shoal" in Filipino). This is just the latest incident of Chinese vessels intimidating and bullying Philippine Coast Guard, Filipino fishermen and other vessels in this resource rich area. Recent months have seen the China Coast Guard using water cannons on and even ramming Philippine ships in the disputed waters. 
  • Key Fact: Second Thomas shoal, located 200 nautical miles from the Philippine island of Palawan, and almost 600 nautical miles from China’s Hainan Island, is part of the Spratly Islands and sits squarely inside the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone as prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • What is the BRP Sierra Madre and why has it become such a flash point in the South China Sea? The Guardian visited the rusting World War II wreck that serves as one of the front lines in the Philippines’ quest to save its maritime territory.
  • At the beginning of June, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. delivered the keynote address to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in front of defense officials from around the world, including China. Without naming China, Marcos condemned maritime aggression in the South China Sea, saying in part: "Illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions continue to violate our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdictions.”
  • While tensions around the South China Sea have been rising for more than a decade, the last year has seen much more international coverage of China’s maneuvers in the region. This increased international attention can be attributed to a deliberate media strategy by the Philippine government under President Marcos.
  • PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE. Here are some links to help you better understand the very complicated issues surrounding the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea.
    • Retired Philippine Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, who has been sounding the alarm about China’s actions for years, delivered a lecture in 2016 outlining in comprehensive detail the history of the region’s maritime claims, leading him to conclude that “Chinese aggression is the gravest threat to the Philippines since World War II.” 
    • Since 2013, China’s land reclamation and island building in disputed waters have concerned international observers. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies has provided detailed satellite imagery showing the stark before and after photos of this highly provocative dredging and construction. 
    • Marine biologists have accordingly expressed grave dismay at the negative environmental effects of China’s reclamation of land atop submerged natural features, which threatens the livelihoods of fisherfolk from the Philippines and other neighboring countries. 

2. Public health: new COVID-19 variants emerge, CDC updates guidelines, views on Paxlovid change.

  • New COVID-19 variants could see summer surge.
    • COVID-19 cases were relatively flat during the spring, but emerging variants have some doctors worrying about the summer season. Nobody is sounding any alarms yet, but cases are on the rise again with new and possibly more elusive variants, labeled FLiRT, which are related to the previously dominant Omicron strain.  Here’s what you need to know.

    • One of the FLiRT variants now makes up 28.5% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Just three years ago Paxlovid was hailed as a wonder cure for COVID-19. New research reveals that the drug may not be living up to the hype.
  • Did You Know? In early March, the CDC updated its guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19. Tayo has the full details here.

  • At home self-testing still remains one of the best ways to check for COVID-19 and to protect yourself and others. But remember that at-home tests have shelf lives and may be ineffective past the expiration date. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extends expiration dates for certain tests whose data has indicated a longer shelf life than expected at the time of authorization. If you have some home testing kits sitting around, consult the FDA’s list of authorized tests, which includes the most current info on extended expiration dates.

3. Election 2024: Asian Americans again poised to play key role.

4. TAYO FACT CHECK CORNER. How good are you at spotting fake news? Try these online quizzes.

Tayo Tipline

Spot any misleading posts recently? Let us know via our Tayo tipline form and we’ll take a deeper look. 

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

Learn more

Related articles