World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
5 March 2020

SENATE PASSES RESOLUTION FOR ABS-CBN

MANILA - The Senate adopted yesterday a resolution expressing the opinion of
the chamber to allow ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries to continue operating with
the issuance of a provisional permit by the National Telecommunications
Commission (NTC) until Congress decides on the network's application for the
renewal of its 25-year franchise.
The resolution was a consolidation of four similar measures filed over the
last several days after House leaders indicated that it was unlikely to pass
the network's application before Congress goes on a break next week.
What was initially put on the floor was Senate Concurrent Resolution 8
authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Juan
Miguel Zubiri and Sens. Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, Sherwin
Gatchalian, Lito Lapid and Joel Villanueva.
However, a discussion ensued on the type of resolution that the chamber
should pass. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon last month filed a joint
resolution seeking to extend the franchise until 2022 and later, a
concurrent resolution seeking the same.
A joint resolution, if passed by both the Senate and the House and signed by
the President, has the effect of law. A concurrent resolution passed by both
chambers expresses the sentiment of Congress.


3K CHINESE SOLDIERS ON 'IMMERSION MISSION' IN PHILIPPINES?

MANILA - Some 3,000 members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA)
may have entered the country as tourists or as workers in Philippine
offshore gaming operators (POGOs), senators warned yesterday.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee on national defense and
security, said he received information from a source that 2,000 to 3,000 PLA
personnel are now in the country on "immersion missions" and for other still
unknown purposes.
He, however, stressed the report has yet to be validated even as he
described his source as fairly reliable.
"The intelligence community should exert extra effort to gather information
in this regard," Lacson said.
The PLA is China's armed forces and is considered the world's largest
military force.
The senator issued the statement as the Blue Ribbon committee, chaired by
Sen. Richard Gordon, starts today an inquiry into the connection of the
arrival of thousands of Chinese nationals in the country - mostly through
POGOs - to the entry of $470 million in cash over the past several months.
Administration critics have warned that the seemingly unrestrained entry of
Chinese poses security risks.
Lacson, Gordon and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier warned
that China may have already begun taking advantage of what they considered
the growing security void caused by President Duterte's termination of the
Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.
Gordon has not discounted the possibility that China has been sending agents
to the country, as most POGO workers are males of military age.
The senator had expressed alarm over the influx of cash, in US dollars, that
he warned could be not only for money laundering purposes by criminal
syndicates but could also be used to fund espionage activities, buy arms or
even finance destabilization activities.


PNP NEEDS GAMING REGULATORS' AID VS POGO-LINKED CRIMES

The Philippine National Police on Thursday said it needs help from gaming
regulators to crack down on alleged crimes linked to gambling hubs mostly
run by Chinese.
Officers no longer need to get a search warrant from courts to raid
Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) hubs if they are accompanied by
representatives of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, said PNP
Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa.
"Puwede kang magpasama actually ng Pagcor in the guise of implementing a
regulatory function so iyong access mas madali," he told radio DZMM.     
"Kailangan talaga ang coordination ng Pagcor," he added.
A Senate inquiry is looking into issues hounding the POGO industry,
including prostitution, kidnappings, and a bribery scheme for the illegal
entry of workers.


'DUTERTE MAY SUSPEND POGO OPERATIONS'

MANILA - President Duterte is not ruling out suspending Philippine offshore
gaming operators (POGOs) as the Senate and other agencies begin
investigating the reported ill effects of the industry on the country,
including the rise in criminal activities like money laundering and human
trafficking.
Asked how the Palace intends to deal with reports on POGO-related illegal
activities, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo yesterday said the Chief
Executive won't tolerate corruption, particularly those that affect the
government on a large scale.
Suspension or eventually shutting down POGO operations is one of the options
the President is considering - depending on the results of the
investigations, Panelo said.
"That's how he does things.


HONTIVEROS SPONSORS BILL SEEKING TO END CHILD MARRIAGES

MANILA - Sen. Risa Hontiveros sponsored a bill seeking to end child
marriages in the Philippines for plenary approval.
Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family
Relations and Gender Equality, sponsored Senate Bill 1373 or the "Girls not
Brides Act."
The senator said that the Philippines is the 12th country with the highest
number of children below 18 married-an estimate of 726,000 children.
Child marriage is defined as "any marriage entered into where one or both
parties are children as defined by the paragraph above and solemnized in
civil or church proceedings, or in any recognized traditional, cultural or
customary manner."
The bill seeks to declare child marriage as a public crime and to declare
child marriage as void from the beginning.
The proposed measure further read: "Child Marriage is an act of child abuse
as it debases, degrades and demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of
children under the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse,
Exploitation and Discrimination Act,"
The proposed measure seeks to punish those who arrange child marriage and
officiates child marriages with imprisonment of eight years to one day up to
ten years, and a minimum P40,000 fine.
If an ascendant, stepparent or guardian fixes the child marriage, he or she
will face ten to 12 years of imprisonment and a fine of not less than
P50,000.
Hontiveros stressed that child brides may be deprived of economic
opportunities, as they may be out of school, and face greater risks of
sexually transmitted infections, domestic violence, abuse and exploitation.

UNEMPLOYMENT STEADY, UNDEREMPLOYMENT FALLS IN JANUARY

MANILA - Unemployment rate in the country remained steady in January
compared to the previous year while underemployment fell, official data
released Thursday showed.
The Philippines maintained a 5.3 unemployment rate in January with the
estimated number of unemployed persons at 2.39 million from 2.28 million
from the previous year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
showed.
Total employed persons rose to 42.65 million from 41.03 million during the
same comparable period, it said. The employment rate was stable at 94.7
percent, the PSA said.
Underemployment, or workers who expressed desire to have additional work
hours, declined to 14.8 percent compared from 15.4 percent. The total
underemployed persons was at 6.32 million from 6.33 million, the PSA said.


'I CAN BE THE ALPHA THAT I AM': PIA WURTZBACH SPEAKS OF NEW ROMANCE

MANILA - For the first time, Pia Wurtzbach spoke of her new romance
following her breakup with race car driver Marlon Stockinger.
"I've never talked about this before," the Miss Universe 2015 titleholder
admitted in an interview with Mega Magazine, where she appears as a March
2020 cover girl.
She went on to describe how she feels in her new relationship: "I'm happy,
I'm inspired, I feel very empowered. I feel like I can be myself and I don't
have to water myself down. I can be my full self."
"I can be my full Pia, 100% empowered Pia, fight mode all the time; I can be
the alpha that I am, all the time. I don't have to filter myself for anyone
anymore."
Wurtzbach did not give further details - not even the name of the person she
is currently dating.
But for the past months, she has been linked with Jeremy Jauncey, the
globetrotting founder and CEO of the creative agency Beautiful Destinations.

The two have been sharing snaps from the same spots in New York and
Indonesia, as noticed by their respective fans.
Wurtzbach confirmed her breakup with Stockinger in December 2019 after being
in an on-and-off relationship for almost three years.


ION PEREZ DEDICATES VOWS TO 'MY LOVER, MY BEST FRIEND' VICE GANDA

MANILA - "My partner, my lover, my very best friend" - these were Ion
Perez's words to describe Vice Ganda, as he dedicated vows in a video
compiling their sweet moments on "It's Showtime."
The noontime program saw the beginnings of their love story. Perez was a
pageant escort in the Miss Q&A segment, which Vice Ganda co-hosted. Their
playful, "romantic" interactions on stage soon translated into real life,
and by November 2018, they were officially a couple.
On Instagram, Perez looked back at their shared moments on TV, from "kilig"
to emotional exchanges. The montage is set to an audio track of wedding vows
from the US series "Grey's Anatomy."
The lines are from the character Preston (Isaiah Washington), as he shares
his vows to Cristina (Sandra Oh).
Part of the dialogue goes: "So of this I am sure: you are my partner, my
lover, my very best friend, my heart. My heart beats for you. And on this
day, the day of our wedding, I promise you this: I promise you to lay my
heart in the palm of your hands; I promise you me."
Among the comments on the video is from Vice Ganda, who told Perez: "Ang
saya. Ang sarap. Ang ganda. Salamat! I love you!"
"I love you very much," Perez replied.


NBA SCORES MARCH 3


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Spurs 26-34    19    30    28    27    104
team logo Hornets 21-40    36    22    18    27    103
SCORING LEADERS
    D. Murray SA
21 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST
    T. Rozier CHA
20 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST


FINAL/OT
    1    2    3    4    OT    T
team logo Nets 27-33    28    15    24    51    11    129
team logo Celtics 41-19    33    23    28    34    2    120
SCORING LEADERS
    C. LeVert BKN
51 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST
    J. Brown BOS
22 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Clippers 42-19    38    21    30    20    109
team logo Thunder 37-24    27    20    23    24    94
SCORING LEADERS
    K. Leonard LAC
25 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST
    D. Schroder OKC
24 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Timberwolves 18-42    28    44    37    30    139
team logo Pelicans 26-35    31    37    43    23    134
SCORING LEADERS
    M. Beasley MIN
28 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST
    J. Holiday NO
27 PTS, 10 REB, 12 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Raptors 43-18    30    31    26    36    123
team logo Suns 24-38    39    29    18    28    114
SCORING LEADERS
    P. Siakam TOR
33 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST
    D. Booker PHO
22 PTS, 4 REB, 10 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Warriors 14-48    26    23    33    34    116
team logo Nuggets 41-20    25    33    23    19    100
SCORING LEADERS
    A. Wiggins GS
22 PTS, 5 REB, 10 AST
    P. Millsap DEN
18 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Wizards 22-38    23    26    46    31    126
team logo Kings 27-34    39    37    19    38    133
SCORING LEADERS
    B. Beal WAS
35 PTS, 2 REB, 8 AST
    D. Fox SAC
31 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo 76ers 37-25    35    19    26    27    107
team logo Lakers 47-13    28    37    31    24    120
SCORING LEADERS
    G. Robinson III PHI
25 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST
    A. Davis LAL
37 PTS, 13 REB, 2 AST

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