World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
24 Sept 2020

CAVITE AIRPORT BUILDER TO BE TAGGED IN CASE VS CHINA'S XI

 

MANILA — A Chinese firm that is set to build an airport in Cavite province

will be included in the case against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the

International Criminal Court, one of its petitioners said Thursday.

The case accuses Xi and other Chinese leaders of “crimes against humanity”

in the West Philippine Sea, where Beijing has stepped up militarization and

island-building activities.

“In our, what amounts as, motion for reconsideration, we are impleading the

executives of the Chinese construction company for having been instrumental

in the building of artificial islands,” said former Ombudsman Conchita

Carpio Morales.

Morales said she was referring to the CCCC or China Communications

Construction Co Ltd.

President Rodrigo Duterte this month gave the go-signal for the Sangley

Airport project, which state-owned CCCC and Lucio Tan's MacroAsia bagged in

2019.

CCCC is one of 24 firms that the US recently blacklisted for their alleged

involvement in BeijingÂ’s militarization projects in the disputed South China

Sea.

The ICC in December junked the communication by Morales and and former

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario against Beijing. The court said

China is not a state party to the Rome Statute — the treaty that established

the ICC.

Morales said their group, which recently tapped the help of Retired Supreme

Court justice Antonio, would file their motion for reconsideration this

month.

“We insist that the crimes committed by Xi Jinping et al were committed

within Philippine territory and also within the Exclusive Economic Zone,”

she said of the appeal.

Morales said her group remained “very confident” that the case would

prosper.

“Before we filed the communication, we spent days and weeks on end to

reflect on our chances Â… Irrespective of whether there is precedent, we are

very confident that we will win this case,” she said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has largely shelved the decision in favor of loans

and investments from Beijing. But in his first speech before the UN on

Tuesday, he said the Philippines "firmly rejects" any attempt to undermine

the award.

“That’s an optimistic development. Finally, he took it upon himself to say

that the arbitral tribunal should stand, it cannot be the subject of any

compromise or any different interpretation by different parties,” said

Morales.

 

 

US BILL SEEKS TO CUT SECURITY AID TO PHILIPPINES DUE TO DUTERTE'S

ANTI-TERROR LAW

 

MANILA — A proposed legislation has been introduced in the US Congress to

block funding for security forces in the Philippines until the government

puts an end to human rights violations.

Rep. Susan Wild (Pennsylvania) formally introduced Thursday (Manila time) HR

8131 or the Philippine Human Rights Act, which seeks to block US security

assistance to the Philippines until the government makes certain reforms to

the military and police forces.

In a speech at the US Congress, Wild, a Democrat lawmaker, said the “brutal”

regime of President Rodrigo Duterte is using the pretext of the

Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 to “ramp up efforts targeting labor organizers,

workers and political opponents.”

“In response to these abuses, I introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act,

which would block US funding for police or military assistance to the

Philippines, outlining a series of basic criteria which would have to be met

in order to resume such funding,” Wild said.

“Let us make clear that the United States will not participate in the

repression. Let us stand with the people of the Philippines,” she added.

From 2016 to 2019, the United States provided the Philippines with military

assistance amounting to US$554 million. This included $267 million in

foreign military financing for the procurement of defense articles.

In a forum, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

enumerated the following criteria for the lifting of suspension on security

assistance:

- Investigate and prosecute members of security forces found to have

violated human rights

- Withdraw military from domestic policy and policing

- Establish protection of the rights of trade unionists, indigenous peoples,

farmers, journalists and government critics

- Guarantee the judicial system is capable of investigating and prosecuting

erring members of the police and military

- Fully comply with audits and investigation of proper use of security aids

Brandon Lee, a human rights worker who was shot in Ifugao in August 2019,

said blocking security assistance to the Philippines “will pressure the

military and police to do their jobs responsibility and to act according to

human rights.”

 

 

EVEN CRITICS PRAISED DUTERTE FOR SEA STANCE IN UN SPEECH, BUT SOME REMAIN IN

DOUBT

 

President Rodrigo Duterte participated at the 75th session of the United

Nations General Assembly for the first time and his speech drew mixed

reactions online.

In his televised address last Tuesday, September 22, Duterte upheld the

PhilippinesÂ’ legal victory against the China in 2016 before state leaders.

“The Philippines affirms that commitment in the South China Sea in

accordance with UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award. The Award is now part of

international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing

governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to

undermine it,” he said.

The gesture was surprising, with Duterte since the start of his presidency

having touting friendly relations with the Asian power at the cost of a

shelved arbitration award favoring the Philippines as a policy leverage.

Duterte also expressed gratitude to other countries who supported and

respected the 2016 UNCLOS award.

“We welcome the increasing number of states that have come in support of the

award and what it stands for—the triumph of reason over rashness, of law

over disorder, of amity over ambition. This – as it should–is the majesty of

the law,” he said.

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and retired Supreme Court senior associate

justice Antonio Carpio praised the chief executive for invoking the

countryÂ’s rights before the UNGA.

“Alipin’ no more! Hearing the President invoke the Award before the UN

General Assembly while firmly rejecting any attempt to undermine it should

now erase doubts on where he stands regarding the WPS issue,” Lacson said.

Carpio, meanwhile, said that it is “heartening” for him to hear Duterte

welcoming other statesÂ’ support to the ruling.

Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of DuterteÂ’s most vocal critics,

advised that the public should not fall for DuterteÂ’s positive words, citing

his infamous jet ski promise during his presidential campaign.

“To believe Duterte now on his UN statement re WPS, is like believing his

jet ski campaign promise all over again. Utang na loob, wag kayo

patanga-tanga!” Trillanes said.

Human rights researcher Carlos Conde also noted that Duterte only expressed

what the international organization was expected of him.

“If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know that what Duterte says in

public depends on who’s in front of him,” Conde said.

“This, he figured, was what the UN wanted to hear so he said it. Except his

brutal ‘drug war,’ Duterte’s actions rarely matches his rhetoric,” he added.

Twitter user @RonanInManila described this as “lip service,” a phrase or

statement of advocacy that is insincere or not backed by actions.

 

 

EX-OMBUDSMAN TELLS SUCCESSOR: FOLLOW ANTI-GRAFT LAW 'TO THE LETTER'

 

MANILA — Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Thursday told her

successor to follow the anti-graft law "to the letter", following his

restriction of public access to the wealth declaration of government

officials.

"Follow to the letter the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices

Act, as well as the Code of Ethics," she said in an ANC interview,

addressing current Ombudsman Samuel Martires.

"You may have an interpretation that still goes along the spirit of the law,

but for anyone to ward off the provisions, thatÂ’s not acceptable to me," she

added.

Martires this month limited public access to Statements of Assets,

Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs), allowing their release only for official

investigations, by court order, or upon authority from officials themselves.

"It goes against the constitutional principle that public office is a public

trust," Carpio Morales said of the move. "You are supposed to be

transparent."

On Tuesday, Martires told lawmakers that SALNs were unnecessary in

corruption probes against officials and that the document could be

weaponized against them.

However, Morales said the document was "important if it (investigation)

involves quantifying things that make a difference whether he (official)

made money or enriched himself while in public office."

"Whether or not it has been weaponized by critics, enemies of politicians,

that is something which is debatable," she said.

"If he (Martires) believes that this is being weaponizedÂ… that is the

concern of the politician. No one can refuse the request of anyone to use or

copy a SALN for as long as is not against public policy."

The Ombudsman should also refrain from relying solely on testimonial

evidence to go after corrupt officials. Investigators can get gather

documentary evidence like the SALN, records from the Anti-Money Laundering

Council, and other physical and circumstantial evidence.

Martires on Tuesday floated the idea of abolishing the Ombudsman because a

shortage in witnesses has stumped its investigations.

 

 

CAYETANO URGED TO HONOR 'GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT' WITH VELASCO ON HOUSE

SPEAKERSHIP TERM-SHARING

 

MANILA - House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano should honor the term-sharing

agreement he has with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, their colleague at

the House of Representatives said Wednesday.

In a statement, BUHAY Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza "strongly reminded"

Cayetano to honor, "with no conditions", the deal endorsed no less by

President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Speaker Cayetano assumed the Speakership on the basis of the term-sharing

agreement between him and Cong. Velasco. They agreed upon that arrangement

as suggested by Cayetano himself," Atienza said.

"They agreed to this in front of no less than President Duterte himself," he

added.

"Now that his term is about to end and Cong. Velasco is about to begin his,

why is the SpeakerÂ’s supporters questioning if Cong. Velasco has the

numbers? It is totally unfair to make it a condition now."

Velasco firm on term-sharing agreement:

Velasco might have been silent recently, but he is dead set on taking his

place as speaker of the House of Representatives next month.

Releasing a statement the other night, Velasco said: “I have been silent

during the duration of the gentlemanÂ’s agreement in deference and respect to

the sitting Speaker. My silence does not mean I am disinterested nor have I

turned my back on the covenant.”

Velasco, known to have close ties with the President and his children, said

he only opted to remain silent on the speakership issue and allegations

hurled against him so as not to call attention to himself.

“Being party to the term-sharing agreement, one does not and should not seek

to compete with the current Speaker as a gentlemanÂ’s agreement is in force.

We will have our turn at the right time,“ he said.

 

 

GABBY LOPEZ RESIGNS FROM ABS-CBN

 

MANILA — Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III resigned on Thursday from ABS-CBN Corp.

In a statement following the networkÂ’s stockholders meeting, the media giant

announced Lopez has stepped down as chairman emeritus and director of the

network his father, Eugenio Lopez Jr., has built.

Apart from his chairmanship at ABS-CBN, Gabby Lopez also resigned from the

same position at Sky Vision Corp., Sky Cable Corp., First Philippine

Holdings Corp., First Gen Corp. and Rockwell Corp. “effective immediately.”

Shares at ABS-CBN Corp. traded up 1% at P7.07 apiece as of 11:44 a.m.

“We thank him for his dedication and leadership in expanding and

transforming ABS-CBN beyond television through the years,” Kane Choa,

corporate communications head at the network, said.

“Just like his father, Eugenio 'Kapitan Geny' Lopez Jr., Gabby is a

visionary and compassionate leader driven by his love for the Philippines

and the Filipino people. He would always tell the men and women of ABS-CBN

that being a part of the network is not a job, but a calling,” he said.

Lopez resigned more than 2 months after the House of Representatives denied

ABS-CBN of a new franchise, prompting the shutdown of the networkÂ’s free TV

and radio channels.

 

 

THE REST

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COVID-19 CASES IN PH APPROACH 295,000-MARK AS GOV'T LOGS 2,833 NEW

INFECTIONS

 

MANILA — The Philippines reported 2,833 additional COVID-19 cases on

Wednesday, bringing the total to 294,591.

This is the 2nd straight day that newly-confirmed cases were below 3,000.

Tuesday's tally was at 1,635.

The Department of Health has yet to explain the relatively fewer infections,

although data show that coronavirus tests conducted for Sept. 20 and 21

dipped to below 30,000.

Of Wednesday's additional cases, 80% occurred in the last 2 weeks.

Topping the list of areas with the most number of newly-announced cases is

the National Capital Region with 1,222, followed by Cavite with 228, Negros

Occidental with 206, Batangas with 143 and Bulacan with 141.

The DOH also reported 765 additional recovered patients, or a total of

231,373 recoveries.

Of the 44 additional deaths logged, 21 occurred this month. The country's

COVID-19 death toll is now at 5,091.

 

 

TOURISM CHIEF WANTS TO REMOVE AGE RESTRICTIONS FOR BORACAY TOURISTS

 

MANILA -- Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo–Puyat said Thursday she would

ask an inter-agency task force to allow Metro Manila residents to visit

Boracay when it further reopens on Oct. 1 and remove age restrictions for

tourists in the island.

Metro Manila is still under GCQ or general community quarantine, which

prohibits leisure-related travel to contain novel coronavirus infections.

Those aged above 60 and below 20 are also barred from leaving their homes.

"Hihingin din namin sa IATF na wala nang age restriction, kahit na iyong

above 60 at below 20 ay papayagan na rin kasi diba ang mga Pilipino

nagta-travel iyan as a family," Romulo-Puyat told TeleRadyo.

"Aside from puwede ang mga taga-GCQ lumipad na sa Boracay, hihingin namin na

alisin ang age restriction," she said.

Those who want to visit Boracay need a negative PCR coronavirus test result

48 to 72 hours before their trip. They also need to register online with any

of some 200 resorts and establishments that the tourism department has

certified, said Romulo-Puyat.

Boracay tourists should also wear anti-virus masks "all the time" and

observe physical distancing.

The Oct. 1 reopening of Boracay has the backing of the environment and

interior departments, and Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, she said.

"Tuloy. Hopefully tingin ko naman 99.9 percent [magbubukas]," she said.

 

 

GCQ OR MGCQ? MAYORS TO DECIDE ON SUNDAY

 

MANILA — Metro Manila mayors will decide on Sunday whether to maintain the

general community quarantine or downgrade the status to modified GCQ,

Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez announced yesterday.

Olivarez, who chairs the Metro Manila Council, said 17 mayors in the

metropolis would hold a meeting to discuss if the region is ready for the

more lenient MGCQ beginning Oct. 1.

Olivarez noted a downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases in the

National Capital Region.

“But we cannot relax yet. We have to continue implementing the minimum

health protocols,” he said.

Olivarez said local chief executives should have a unified stand in

downgrading the quarantine status.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said he is in favor of placing Metro

Manila under MGCQ to allow more businesses to reopen.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the Criminal Investigation

and Detection Group to probe the organizers of the

“Flatten the fear” event for supposedly breaking quarantine protocols.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE

 

 

LOOK: ANGEL LOCSIN POSES FOR FIANCE NEIL ARCE IN MAGAZINE COVER

 

MANILA -- As one of the Philippines' most sought-after actresses, Angel

Locsin has appeared in several magazine covers.

But her latest one is extra special as she was photographed by her fiance,

film producer Neil Arce.

The said cover was for Metro.Style, an online fashion magazine under

ABS-CBN, Locsin's home network.

Talking about her one-of-a-kind shoot with Arce, the Kapamilya star said in

an Instagram post on Tuesday: "It was a different but fun experience."

The photo shoot took place in Locsin's home, amid the prolonged quarantines

imposed by the government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the

Philippines.

In an interview with Metro.Style, Locsin acknowledged her fiance's efforts

to deliver magazine-worthy photos.

"Nakakatawa siya," she recalled. "So 'yun na nga kasi, 'through the eyes of

Neil Arce' di ba? Hindi kasi siya talaga magaling mag-picture, aminin na

natin 'yun. So siyempre [I was telling him], baka puwedeng iangat mo naman

nang konti. Alam mo naman tayong girls, kailangan pantay ang framing."

She went on: "Sasabihin niya sa akin, 'O, di ba through the eyes of Neil

nga,' so wala kang marereklamo. Pero kinareer naman niya, nakakatawa. Ang

aga niyang nag-set up sa bahay. Hindi naman niya alam paano gamitin 'yung

mga gamit, peri nag-set up siya. Alam mo 'yung ganun? So may effort talaga

siya. Namawis siya noong buong shoot na ito."

Locsin said Arce even went as far as getting a glam team for the shoot.

"Nagtawag nga ng glam team eh, siya 'yun lahat. 'Gusto ko may makeup ka

dito. Gusto ko ganyan, ganyan.' Tapos noong nakita niya 'yung pictures,

super happy siya, so na-happy na rin ako," she said. "'Pag nakikita kong

masaya siya, masayang-masaya rin ako."

It was in June 2019 when Locsin revealed that she is engaged to Arce after

dating for more than a year and being friends for nearly a decade.

Early this week, the two announced that they are trying their hand at

vlogging through the Angel and Neil Channel on YouTube.

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

NBA SCORES SEP 23

 

 

FINAL

    1    2    3    4    T

3 Celtics 1-3    23    21    32    33    109

5 Heat 3-1    24    26    27    35    112

GAME 4: MIA LEADS 3-1

SCORING LEADERS

    J. Tatum BOS

28 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST

    T. Herro MIA

37 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST

 

 

NBA: ROOKIE HERRO SHINES AS HEAT TAKE 3-1 LEAD OVER CELTICS

 

Miami rookie Tyler Herro played the best game of his young NBA career,

sparking the Heat to a 112-109 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of

the Eastern Conference Finals.

Herro, who was 13th overall pick in the 2019 Draft out of Kentucky, came off

the bench to score a career-best 37 points, including key baskets in the

fourth quarter.

Miami now has a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series against Boston,

putting them one game away from the NBA Fina

 

 

INDICATORS

 

FOREX $1 = P 48.47

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Today the world changes so quickly that in growing up we take leave not just

of youth but of the world we were young in. Fear and resentment of what is

new is really a lament for the memories of our childhood. - Peter Medawar

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