World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
25 Sept 2020

PALACE SHIELDS PH TRADE WITH CHINA FROM DUTERTE'S HISTORIC ASSERTION OF SEA

RIGHTS

 

MANILA— The Philippines will "move on" with trade and investments with

China, Malacañang said Thursday as it shielded renewed economic ties with

the economic superpower from President Rodrigo Duterte's historic assertion

of Manila's sea rights before the United Nations.

Duterte, in his first speech before the UN assembly, said the Philippines

"firmly rejects" any attempt to undermine the award that invalidated China's

sweeping claims over the West Philippine Sea. Beijing has refused to

recognize the ruling.

"The President has been consistent. We will move on matters that we could

move forward on including trade and investments," Duterte's spokesperson

Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

"We will, for the time being, set this aside because I don't think the

resolution of the territorial dispute is forthcoming in our lifetime," he

added.

While Duterte's speech has been praised by both his critics and allies,

Roque said it was simply a reiteration of the government's existing policies

and positions.

"Wala naman pong bagong polisiyang binanggit ang ating Presidente," Roque

said.

"Dahil ito po'y mga kasalukuyan nang polisiya ng Presidente, wala naman pong

magbabago doon sa ating mga polisiya lalung-lalo na doon sa ating bilateral

relations with China," he added.

The 75-year-old Philippine leader surprised the country and the world when

he used his debut at the UN assembly to assert Manila's arbitral victory

over China on the South China Sea dispute in a move that could influence

other nations to do the same.

 

 

US BILL SEEKS TO STOP SECURITY AID TO PHILIPPINES

 

MANILA — A group of US lawmakers is pushing for a halt to US security

assistance to the Philippines over alleged massive human rights abuses

committed by the police and the military purportedly as part of the Duterte

administrationÂ’s anti-terror drive.

Rep. Susan Wild from Pennsylvania authored and filed House Resolution 8313,

or the “Philippine Human Rights Act,” which was co-sponsored by 23 other

Democrat lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The bill seeks to “suspend the provision of security assistance to the

Philippines until the Government of the Philippines has made certain reforms

to the military and police forces, and for other purposes.”

Malacañang yesterday downplayed the filing of the resolution, with

presidential spokesman Harry Roque calling it “a very wild suggestion.”

“Today, across the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal regime is using the

pretext of a so-called anti-terrorism law to ramp up efforts targeting labor

organizers, workers and political opponents,” Wild said in a speech.

“This law allows suspects to be detained by the police or military without

charges for as long as 24 days and placed under surveillance for up to 90

days,” she said.

She emphasized that the “US will not participate in the repression” of

Filipinos by security forces using the fight against terror as an excuse.

“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 added.

 

 

PALACE SAYS US LAWMAKERÂ’S BID TO HALT SECURITY AID WONÂ’T SUCCEED

 

MANILA — A U.S. lawmaker’s push to block police and military aid to the

Philippines over human rights concerns is unlikely to succeed, because of

the friendship between the leaders of the two countries, a senior government

official on Thursday.

The Philippines is confident the United States will give more weight to its

ties with the Philippines and President Rodrigo DuterteÂ’s personal

friendship with counterpart Donald Trump, said DuterteÂ’s spokesman, Harry

Roque.

Roque during a regular briefing dismissed as a “wild suggestion” the bill

filed by U.S. Representative Susan Wild, which seeks suspension of American

aid to the Philippine military and police, due to concerns over an

anti-terrorism law that took effect in July.

 

 

SOLON SEEKS 2022 ELECTIONS POSTPONEMENT OVER PANDEMIC FEARS

 

MANILA — Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo on Thursday urged the Commission on

Elections (Comelec) to consider postponing the 2022 national polls, saying

voters are afraid of the coronavirus pandemic.

The matter is not a call of the poll body, but rather, up to Congress and

President Rodrigo Duterte, said Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas.

The poll body is looking at best practices in South Korea and the US to keep

the elections safe, he said.

Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun pushed for a 3-day election as he

asked poll executives to give lawmakers a scenario of how the campaign and

voting would work out under a pandemic.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez called on Congress to restore the budget

that was cut from their original proposal so the poll body could acquire

more voting machines so there would be fewer voters per machine.

Abas said the poll body has created a special committee to prepare for 2022,

studying what needs to be done in case the pandemic persists.

The poll body is prepared to hold an election even if its budget was short

by P16 billion, according to Abas.

Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza said pushing ahead with the

campaign and elections during the pandemic would favor incumbents and

disadvantage newcomers because it would be harder to campaign.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., meanwhile, lambasted Arroyo's

proposal and said, "You don't cancel elections for any reason. That's

treason."

"We are a democracy or a s*** slave colony. Hold elections period. Those

brave to stand in line & vote—even if only 12—decide the next President.

Elections=democracy or F*** U. You fucking s***," he said in an

expletive-laden tweet.

Former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, meantime, said there was

"no reason to postpone the elections," pointing out that in order to extend

the term of elected officials set to step down on June 30, 2022 is to have a

constitutional amendment and ratify it through a plebiscite.

"So youÂ’re going to have an electoral exercise, to postpone an electoral

exercise? There is no reason to postpone the elections. Other countries have

had elections already," he said.

 

 

PROPOSED POSTPONEMENT OF 2022 POLLS 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL': SENATORS

 

MANILA - Several senators on Friday described as unconstitutional a proposal

to defer the 2022 national elections in light of the coronavirus disease

2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

"Any debate or discussion" on the postponement or extension of the 2022

elections is "a waste of time and energy," Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a

statement.

"Canceling or postponing the election to pave the way for the extension of

the terms of office of the President, Vice-President, 12 senators, district

representatives as well as elected local government officials beyond June

30, 2022 is a clear violation of the Constitution," Lacson said.

"Any discussion or debate on this issue is an exercise in futility, if not a

waste of time and energy," he said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the proposal also "presents a number

of controversial and unconstitutional issues."

"To name a few, who will hold over their positions? If not, who will appoint

their replacements?" Sotto said in a text message to reporters.

"It's not only the pandemic to consider kung 'di pati dayaan (but also

cheating)," he said.

Meanwhile, The Commission on Elections said Friday it saw no need to

postpone the 2022 elections, as suggested by a lawmaker who claimed that

voters were afraid to elect their next leaders due to the coronavirus

pandemic.

The body is asking for P30 billion to prepare for the presidential elections

and mulling measures to protect voters from the respiratory disease,

including staggering the polls over 2 to 3 days, said Comelec Spokesperson

James Jimenez.

"Hindi natin nakikita ang need para magma-postpone ng elections," he told

TeleRadyo.

A former poll commissioner rejected Friday a lawmaker's claim that voters

might be too afraid of the pandemic to elect leaders in 2022, citing as an

example the recent throngs at the dolomite beach in Manila Bay.

"If we can invite people to go to Roxas Boulevard to look at the dolomite

and by Oct. 1, weÂ’re already encouraging people to go to Boracay to take a

vacationÂ… why canÂ’t we go to the voting center to vote on election day,"

former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said.

"Priorities. We need to focus on what we need to do. If people can go to the

banks and make a deposit, if they can go the malls, why canÂ’t they go out

and vote?" he told ANC.

 

 

TRANSPORT CHIEF HIGHLIGHTS FILIPINO SEAFARERS' CONTRIBUTION TO GLOBAL

MARITIME INDUSTRY

 

MANILA - Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said Friday the Philippines is

committed to become an "effective" partner and a "maritime nation,"

amplifying the crucial role Filipino seafarers play in the industry

especially in times of crisis.

Tugade made the remark during a virtual gathering of maritime leaders on

Sept. 24, the Department of Transportation said in a statement.

“Our aspiration towards becoming a more developed maritime nation will grow

with the years. We can assure you that. I am deeply grateful for your

support and faith in us as we shape the Philippines into a maritime nation,

ready to forge ahead with a remarkable and global impact,” Tugade said.

Filipino seafarers have greatly contributed to the maritime industry, the

official said.

Many overseas Filipino workers are sea-based working for shipping companies

and the cruise industry and are among the primary sources of remittances in

the country.

The Philippines has been providing the international shipping industry with

mariners "for decades." Out of the estimated 1.5 million seafarers

worldwide, over 370,000 or 25 percent are Filipinos, the DOTr said.

“Filipino seafarers carry with them the values of dedication, resiliency,

discipline, and excellence, and that the country will continue to strengthen

itself as a maritime nation,” Tugade said.

The Philippines has activated 3 crew-change hubs in the country as safe and

efficient processing of seafarers, Tugade said, adding that 3 more would be

activated in the next month.

Validity of trainings, certificates and record books were also extended to

ensure unhampered deployment and crew during the coronavirus pandemic, he

said.

Tugade said the Philippines has also ramped up maritime infrastructure with

369 port projects completed since 2016.s

 

 

GOV'T REQUIRES FACILITY ISOLATION FOR MILD, ASYMPTOMATIC COVID-19 PATIENTS

 

MANILA — Facility-based isolation is now required for all mild and

asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in the country, except if they are considered

vulnerable.

The governmentÂ’s inter-agency task force (IATF) approved this directive on

COVID-19, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement Thursday

night.

“We likewise notify the public that facility-based isolation shall be

required for confirmed asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases,” Roque said.

Those exempted from the rule are patients considered vulnerable or having

comorbidities by a local health worker and that their homes meet the

requirements for home isolation under the Joint Administrative Order

2020-0001 issued by the Department of Health and the Department of the

Interior and Local Government. Among the requirements are a separate room

and bathroom for a coronavirus case.

“Another exception would be when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the

region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have

sufficient isolation facilities,” Roque said.

It was Interior Secretary Eduardo Año who first floated the proposal of

banning home quarantine for coronavirus patients.

 

 

THE REST

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DOH LOGS 2,180 NEW COVID-19 CASES, NATIONAL TALLY AT 296,755

 

The Department of Health on Thursday reports 2,180 additional COVID-19 cases

in the Philippines, raising the national caseload to 296,755.

The DOH also confirms 580 new recoveries, pushing the total reported

recoveries to 231,928. The country's death toll now stands at 5,127 with 36

newly reported deaths.

Total active case (net of COVID-19 deaths and recoveries) in the country is

now at 59,700.

 

 

31 OF 81 PROVINCES HIT WITH AFRICAN SWINE FEVER

 

Thirty-one of 81 Philippine provinces have tallied cases of the African

swine fever that has pulled down the supply of pork, the Bureau of Animal

Industry said Friday.

"‘Pag sinabi po nating 31 provinces, hindi naman po lahat ng bayan o

barangay doon ay mayroon. Kalat-kalat po iyon," said Dr. Ronnie Domingo,

Bureau of Animal Industry.

African swine fever causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends

in death. It cannot be transmitted to humans and other animals.

Bulacan province, north of the capital, has the most cases of the disease.

Most of Mindanao meanwhile is ASF-free, said Domingo.

The disease could be spreading through the sale of infected hogs or

processed meat products, he said.

Visayas and Mindanao can augment the pork shortage in Metro Manila due to

ASF, he said.

Pork accounts for 60 percent of meat consumption in the Philippines, where

the swine industry is valued at P260 billion, according to the Department of

Agriculture.

 

 

ILOILO CITY UNDER MECQ FROM SEPTEMBER 25 TO OCTOBER 9

 

MANILA — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging

Infectious Diseases last night placed Iloilo City under Modified Enhanced

Community Quarantine (MECQ) effective Sept. 25 to Oct. 9.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the IATF reclassified the

city from Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) to MECQ due to

increasing cases of coronavirus disease in the city.

The IATFadopted Resolution No. 74, which contains the reclassification of

Iloilo City from MGCQ to MECQ, upon the request of the city government.

 

 

CHINA CONDUCTS SEARCH OPERATIONS BUT FINDS NO TRACE OF MISSING CARGO VESSEL

CREW

 

MANILA — China on Thursday said its coast guard was unable to locate any of

the missing seafarers who were aboard a cargo vessel which sank off the

coast of southwest Japan three weeks ago.

"The China Coast Guard has already conducted operations in relevant waters

to search [for] the 36 missing members of Panamanian Vessel M/V Gulf

Livestock on [the] days of 19 and 20 September, but regretfully found no

trace of missing crew members," a statement from the Chinese Embassy read.

The embassy said the search was conducted at the request of the Department

of Labor and Employment.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the missing crew members. We will

continue to provide necessary assistance as requested by the Philippine side

and hope all of them can be found at the earliest.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE

 

 

STILL A KAPAMILYA: LIZA SOBERANO, ENRIQUE GIL TO WORK ON NEW PROJECT IN

EARLY 2021

 

MANILA -- Actress Liza Soberano on Friday reiterated that she will remain a

Kapamilya.

In an interview with Karen Davila on ANC's "Headstart," Soberano confirmed

that there have been offers to leave ABS-CBN but she chose to stay with her

mother network.

"That is true I have received offers and I'm grateful for them but I told my

manager Tito Ogie (Diaz) that for now I want to be here and support ABS-CBN,

especially at a time like this. I think what they need is unity and they

need to see that they are supported by the people that have been there with

them since the beginning," Soberano said.

"I have nothing but respect for everybody at ABS-CBN and I just want to

continuously support them because I believe that one day we'll be back and

stronger and better than ever," added Soberano, who stressed that she has

"faith and trust" in the company.

In the interview, Soberano also confirmed that she met with Star Cinema and

that she might start on a new project next year with her boyfriend, actor

Enrique Gil.

"I did have multiple meetings with Star Cinema and also with other

executives in ABS-CBN and they have pitched multiple stories actually to me

and Enrique (Gil). By October I won't be doing anything yet but early next

year definitely," Soberano said.

During the ABS-CBN franchise hearing, Soberano was one the celebrities who

showed support for the Kapamilya network.

Soberano formally filed a criminal case against a netizen who made a rape

remark about her a few days ago.

Accompanied by her manager Diaz and legal counsel Atty. Jun Lim of

Lim-Yutatco-Sze law firm, Soberano took her oath before Deputy City

Prosecutor Irene Ressureccion on Thursday morning.

On Thursday night, ABS-CBN and Star Magic sought to remind people to use

social media responsibly, by backing SoberanoÂ’s decision to file a criminal

case against a netizen who threatened to have her raped.

“We applaud Liza’s courage to protect her dignity as a woman. Let this be a

lesson to everyone to be responsible in using social media and to be

respectful to others,” ABS-CBN and Star Magic said in a statement.

Soberano is set to fly to the United States with Gil. The Kapamilya actress

said she will take care of her great-grandmother who fell ill.

"It's more of a family matter. My great-grandmother fell ill last month and

I'm going there to take care of her," Soberano said.

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

NBA SCORES SEP 24

 

 

FINAL

    1    2    3    4    T

1 Lakers 3-1    37    23    27    27    114

3 Nuggets 1-3    30    25    29    24    108

GAME 4: LAL LEADS 3-1

SCORING LEADERS

    A. Davis LAL

34 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST

    J. Murray DEN

32 PTS, 3 REB, 8 AST

 

 

ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR PBA 'BUBBLE'

 

MANILA — The PBA's return is now in full swing after gaining provisional

approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force for its 'bubble' plan.

Announced on Thursday, the PBA will likely begin the restart for the stalled

Philippine Cup on October 11 in Clark City.

The league will send out teams too Clark in two batches on September 28 and

29 in preparation for the season.

Squads have already undergone novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing this week

ahead of their departure for Clark.

Once they enter the bubble, they will need to get tested again and await for

their results at the Quest Hotel -- their lodging for the planned bubble.

If players test negative, teams may start doing 5-on-5 scrimmages at Angeles

University Foundation in Angeles City.

The University is set as the official training and games venue for the PBA.

Testing will then be done once every two weeks for the remainder of the

season, according to Bases Conversion and Development Corp. chief Vince

Dizon.

After months of hiatus, the PBA will resume action with double-headers every

day once the season resumes.

The PBA 'bubble' which will reportedly cost close to Php65 million, is seen

as a "milestone" in sports by league chairman Ricky Vargaas.

"I think it's a milestone in sports. We waited so long, six months or more,

and the PBA has put everything into this bubble," said Vargas.

Despite the busy schedule for the PBA, Commissioner Willie Marcial assured

that it will give out its full support for the men's national team and the

Samahang Basketbol sa Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers by

November.

 

 

INDICATORS

 

FOREX $1 = P 48.47

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

You can fake virtue for an audience. You can't fake it in your own eyes. -

Ayn Rand

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