7 August 2020
LOCSIN, POMPEO DISCUSS US POLICY SHIFT IN SOUTH CHINA SEA
MANILA The top diplomats of the Philippines and the United States
discussed Washington's latest policy declaration on maritime disputes in the
South China Sea.
The US Department of State said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about the recent change in US
policy in a call.
The two foreign ministers also discussed "US support for Southeast Asian
coastal states upholding their sovereign rights and interests consistent
with international law, and opprtunities for further US-Philippine maritime
"The two secretaries also discussed the strong economic, security, and
people-to-people ties that bind our two countries," the US Department of
State said in a readout.
Pompeo, in a tweet, described his conversation with Locsin as a "good call"
as they talked about shared interests in the South China Sea.
The US top diplomat said the alliance between the two countries is vital to
a free and open Indo-Pacific.
LOCSIN ORDERS CHECK ON CHINESE SURVEY SHIP NEAR RECTO BANK
MANILA Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday ordered a
check on the reported presence of a Chinese survey vessel near Recto or Reed
Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
Citing data from ship tracking intelligence MarineTraffic, Twitter user
@JAVAPRINCE4 posted photos of the track of Chinese survey ship Xiang Yang
According to MarineTraffic, the Chinese research ship departed Guangzhou,
China on July 22 and arrived in the area of Recto Bank on August 6.
In response to this, Locsin asked the DFA Office of Asian and Pacific
Affairs to look into the reported presence of the Chinese vessel in
Philippine exclusive economic zone.
"I know there was permission for a US survey ship, then a French one though
I can't remember when that was from the undiminishing pile of sheets on my
table," Locsin tweeted Friday morning.
"What I know is there's very little interest in marine surveys of [South
China Sea] by Western outfits; they don't think much of the prospects in our
neck of the woods," he added.
Around the same time last year, President Rodrigo Duterte banned foreign
marine survey ships in the Philippine exclusive economic zone following
several reports of Chinese survey ships entering the country's waters.
The Duterte administration warned that it will enforce an "unfriendly"
response against foreign vessels passing through Philippine territorial
Then presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said all foreign vessels
passing through the country's territorial waters must get clearance from the
government in advance of actual passage.
PHILIPPINES ENTERS ECONOMIC RECESSION IN SECOND QUARTER
The Philippine economy officially entered a recession in the second quarter,
an expected economic collapse as a result of the pandemic.
Gross domestic product (GDP), or the sum of all products and services in an
economy, plunged 16.5% year-on-year from April to June, following a 0.7%
contraction in the first quarter.
A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.
Finance chief vows economic bounce-back in second half
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III pledged the economy will bounce back
from a record slump in the second quarter during the second half of the
"We will deliver better economic outcomes in the final half of the year,"
Dominguez, chair of the Duterte government's economic team, said in a
The economy plunged to a recession with a 16.5% drop in the second quarter,
following a 0.7% contraction in the first three months.
ABS-CBN FRANCHISE DENIAL LINKED TO HOUSE SPEAKERSHIP
MANILA Does the rejection of the ABS-CBN franchise renewal have something
to do with the scheduled change of leadership in the House of
Representatives later this year?
Several lawmakers believe so, citing a report that Speaker Alan Peter
Cayetano has allegedly asked the President to let him stay in his post as a
reward for the rejection of the networks franchise.
Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Parañaque
Rep. Joy Tambunting all believe that the decision of the legislative
franchises committee to reject the networks application was political and
an act of subservience to the Palace by its congressional allies.
They warned that the franchise issue might have an impact on the
term-sharing deal on the speakership post between Cayetano and Marinduque
Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Atienza cited the possibility that Cayetano might retain the speakership and
the turnover of the House leadership to Velasco might not push through in
October after delivering the Presidents wish with the rejection of the
We shouldnt allow that. A gentlemans agreement is a gentlemans
agreement. It should be honored no matter what, he stressed.
Lagman agreed with Atienzas opinion.
'CORRUPT OFFICIALS' MARRING PHILHEALTH'S SHIFT TO DIGITAL, MORALES CLAIMS
MANILA - Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) President Ricardo
Morales on Thursday said "corrupt officials" in the agency have been trying
to cast doubt on the firm's push to automate systems and make irregularities
easier to spot in the state-run insurance company.
Morales claimed that some PhilHealth officials have been trying to discredit
the executive board's decision to purchase equipment by saying that the
items were overpriced and were being used to mask corruption.
He did not name the officials.
"It cannot be scandalous or fraud... it is a budget process in mid-stride so
hindi nagtatapat-tapat yung amount," Morales said in an online press
conference, referring to the agency's alleged P2.1-billion proposal to
procure digital equipment.
"It is not fraudulent because it is still incomplete... The budget is not a
contract. Even if the budget is approved, it will not result in obligations
in any party," he said.
Around P25 million was needed for PhilHealth's "integrity security sweep"
because the license for their anti-virus and security software was about to
expire, said Jovita Aragona, PhilHealth's senior vice president for
Information Management Sector.
The procurement of laptops was placed in 2 separate items amounting to
several millions because PhilHealth's purchase of some units in 2019 were
delayed, and had to be included in the succeeding budget, she said.
Alejandro Cabading, a certified public accountant who was part of the
agency's board of directors, earlier said in a Senate investigation that
Morales and other high-ranking officials approved the purchase of overpriced
equipment and software.
Meanwhile, there were also multimillion-peso discrepancies in the purchase
of 15 units of "network switches" due to varying specs, Aragona said
PhilHealth opted to purchase the more expensive option because it included a
3-year warranty, value-added tax, delivery services, and other tech
specifications, she said.
"I have no reason to doubt the people working in PhilHealth," Morales said.
"Unfortunately, Mr. Cabading does not have confidence in our IT people. When
the explanations become too technical, he thinks it is an attempt to mislead
him," he said.
PhilHealth was supposed to hire an external IT consultant, but some
officials found their services "expensive," Morales said.
"Namahalan naman 'yung mga principals namin so ngayon we are doing it on our
own," he added.
"We are indignant, we are angered when we hear reports like this
(corruption)... That is only an information system will help us. Hindi tayo
puwede magrely sa mga whistleblower," Morales said.
PHILHEALTH VICE PRESIDENT RESIGNS AMID CORRUPTION MESS
PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales yesterday confirmed that the agencys
vice president for operations, retired Brig. Gen. Augustus de Villa, has
tendered his irrevocable resignation.
Its not easy to be running PhilHealth, this is not an ordinary time. He
explained the reason for his resignation, he said he wanted to spend time
with his family, Morales said in a virtual conference.
He said De Villa relayed in a letter his intent to resign immediately.
Morales did not cite De Villas reason for resigning.
Although he has resigned, De Villa would continue to cooperate in the
ongoing congressional probe, according to the PhilHealth president.
PHILIPPINES RECORDS 3,561 NEW COVID-19 CASES, TALLY AT 119,460
The Department of Health on Thursday reported 3,561 additional COVID-19
cases in the country based on tests from 89 out of 98 operational labs. This
pushes the national tally of coronavirus cases in the Philippines to
The health department also announced 569 new recoveries, raising the total
number of recoveries to 66,867. The national death toll is now at 2,150 with
28 additional fatalities.
The country's total active cases (net f COVID-19 deaths and recoveries) is
now at 50,473.
DTI SAYS NO NEED FOR WORKERS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS TO BE TESTED FOR CORONAVIRUS
MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry said Friday there would be "no
need" to test asymptomatic workers for the novel coronavirus, as authorities
seek to boost the Philippine economy after falling into recession due to the
Instead, employers need to monitor the health condition of their workers
daily and report potential COVID-19 infections, said DTI Secretary Ramon
"There is no need to test... pag asymptomatic--not even doing a rapid test
nor a PCR test," he told ANC. "But for symptomatic already at may disclosure
that there is some exposure already, you will be required to have PCR test."
The PCR or polymerase chain reaction test screens nasal swab samples and is
widely considered as the gold standard in coronavirus screening due to
The DTI will also require companies to train workers on health protocols and
set up committees that would check compliance, said Lopez.
Workers are urged to eat packed lunches at their own work stations, which
should be separated by acrylic barriers, he said.
"What were trying to do is we are issuing a new set of protocols for
business establishments to make it stricter and hopefully avoid iyong
further spread after we reopen again the economy," said Lopez.
PULLOUT OF BARRIO DOCTORS, NURSES FOR COVID-19 FIGHT IN NCR RAISES VIRUS
A government plan to pull out doctors and nurses deployed to geographically
isolated and depressed areas in the Philippines and move to Metro Manila,
the countrys coronavirus epicenter, has raised concerns among healthcare
Dr. Carissa Rulla, a member of the Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program,
said there are only 20 plus doctors serving more than 400,000 people living
in Tawi-Tawi province.
"Sila 'yung mga tao na hindi pa nakakakita ng doctor, hindi pa nakakatikim
ng healthcare services ng government. Kung ma pull out kami sa areas namin,
sino na ang maiiwan sa kanila?" she said in an interview on ABS-CBN's
Rulla said that while there are only 4 COVID-19 cases in Tawi-Tawi, there is
no assurance that the numbers will not rise as more people stranded in Metro
Manila return to the provinces.
She said that aside from locally stranded individuals and suspected cases in
isolation facilities, doctors must also monitor deportees coming from Sabah,
Many provinces are already deprived of medical professionals even before the
pandemic. Some 70 percent of the countrys population live in rural areas,
but 70 percent of healthcare resources are in cities, said Filipino Nurses
United Secretary General Jocelyn Andamo.
Kung ipu-pull out natin [ang health workers], mas lalong kawawa po ang
ating mga kababayan sa probinsya, lalo ngayon sa stage natin, hindi natin
masasabing na-contain na ang pagkalat ng COVID-19, she told ABS-CBNs
Ano na lang mangyayari sa communities namin if we leave them? added.
Rulla said she was not aware of any DTTB doctor who complied with the
Department of Healths memo urging medical workers from the province to
temporarily transfer to Metro Manila.
Paano kapag from National Capital Region tas bumalik kami sa area, kami pa
ang magdala ng virus? She said.
1 IN 4 MSMES CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC: TRADE CHIEF
MANILA - The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered about a quarter of the
country's micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the trade department
said Friday, as authorities lined up measures to lift the economy from
About 26 percent of 1.5 million MSMEs were "partially or temporarily closed"
by the pandemic, 52 percent are partially operating and 22 percent are fully
running, said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
"You know naman the micro SMEs, laban lang iyan (they fight). They will
probably not operate for now and think of a new business model and open
again," he told ANC.
"We intend definitely to provide a stimulus package for MSMEs. The needs
right now, especially for micro MSEs, would be basically soft loans, working
capital, just to sustain their operation and sustain the jobs of their
workers," he added.
A pending stimulus bill in Congress seeks to allot some P50 billion to help
MSMEs. Banks are also urged to provide some regulatory relief and basically
provide loan term extension" to businesses, he said.
AIRLINE PASSENGERS MUST ALSO WEAR FACE SHIELDS
MANILA All international and domestic passengers will be required to wear
face shields aside from face masks starting Aug. 15 following a Department
of Transportation (DOTr) directive after the National Capital Region (NCR)
and nearby provinces were placed anew under a modified enhanced community
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said that
international and local carriers in every international and domestic airport
in the country would implement the DOTr directive to reduce the transmission
of coronavirus disease in all public transportation vehicles and facilities.
CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said airline officials at every airport would
require all passengers to wear a face mask upon arrival at the airport and
wear the face shield prior to boarding the aircraft.
Aside from the face mask and shield, passengers are also required to bring
their negative COVID-19 results or certification and to present this to
airline staff at the counters, Apolonio added.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
GAB VALENCIANO SHARES TOUCHING BIRTHDAY MESSAGE TO HIS 'HERO' GARY V
MANILA -- Gary Valenciano marked his birthday on Thursday, August 6, with a
message of hope for his fans and followers.
In his Instagram post, Valenciano posted a clip of him singing his hit
"Could You Be Messiah."
"With so many questions in these uncertain times, I can only hope that we
discover everything that God can be to us," Valenciano wrote in the caption.
Meanwhile, Valenciano's son, Gab, shared his birthday message for his
father, whom he described as his "hero."
"Growing up, I would make believe I was this certain person who I idolized.
I would dress up, sing, dance and scream ARANETA ARE YOU READY!. This
person was and still is my hero. For many years people asked if I wanted to
be like him. The answer is yes. Not in a way where I sell out stadiums or
release platinum albums and records. But to one day be a husband and father
first. This person happens to be my dad, and he was always dad, first. You
always prioritized us papa, and I am eternally grateful that God blessed us
with you. Happy happy birthday. You deserve all the happiness in the world.
I love you so very much," Gab wrote.
Valenciano's eldest son Paolo also greeted his father on his special day.
"Delivered fruits so I could cross the checkpoints to see my parents. Happy
birthday," Paolo wrote in the caption of his Instagram post.
NBA: LILLARDS PERSONAL-BEST 11 3S PROPEL BLAZERS OVER NUGGETS
Damian Lillard tied a personal-high 11 3-pointers en route to 45 points, as
the Portland Trailblazers outlasted the Denver Nuggets 125-115 Thursday (US
It was the second time this season that Lillard drilled that many 3s in a
game, joining Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as the only players in NBA
history to have multiple games of 11 or more 3-pointers, according to
Lillard also drained 11 triples on his way to a franchise record 61 points
in a 129-124 victory over the Golden State Warriors on January 20.
His last 3-pointer against Denver set off a 13-2 run that put Portland ahead
118-108 with 3 minutes to go, as the Nuggets couldnt find an answer for
Overall, Lillard was 13 of 21 from the floor and 11 of 18 from downtown to
go with 12 assists and 3 steals.
Gary Trent came off the bench to score 27 points and 7 3-pointers.
Jusuf Nurkic, who played for Denver in his first 3 seasons, added 22 points
for Portland, which is now just a half game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for
the 8th and final spot in the West playoff race.
Michael Porter Jr. led Denver in scoring for a third straight game with 27
Nikola Jokic finished with just 8 points and 13 assists on a quiet outing
for the Nuggets, who lost to the Blazers 4-3 in last years West semifinals.
NBA: CLIPPERS PULL AWAY LATE TO DOWN MAVERICKS
Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points and Ivica Zubac added 21 points and 15
rebounds on perfect shooting from the field, as the Los Angeles Clippers
defeated the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 Thursday (US time).
The Clippers were ahead for most of the second half but couldnt shake off
Dallas, until they scored 9 unanswered points to break a tie, go up 110-101
with more than 4 minutes left in the game, and coast to victory.
Paul George added 24 points for Los Angeles, which shot 14 of 31 from long
distance (45.2%) and posted a plus-22 in points in the paint.
Kristaps Porzingis finished with 30 points and Luka Doncic chipped in 29 for
playoff-bound Dallas, which fell to 1-3 in the league restart.
NBA: BUCKS SURGE LATE TO DOWN HEAT, SECURE EAST TOP SEED
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton scored 33 points each, and the
Milwaukee Bucks rode a 20-0 run in the fourth quarter to down the Miami Heat
130-116 and clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday (US
The Heat were up 111-110 with less than 5 minutes remaining in the game when
Milwaukee launched an offensive barrage on the way to the Bucks' 55th win of
the season and securing the East's best regular-season record for a second
year in a row.
Antetokounmpo also had 10 rebounds, while Middleton drilled in 5 3-pointers,
a day after they played limited minutes in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Brook Lopez added 17 points and a pair of triples, one of five Milwaukee
players who had at least 2 3-pointers on the night.
Duncan Robinson finished with 21 points for the Heat, who were without Jimmy
Butler (foot) and Goran Dragic (ankle).
FOREX $1 = P 49.05
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to
suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility ... a
patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the
tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. - Adlai Stevenson