World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
29 Sept 2020

DUTERTE BLASTS FACEBOOK OVER REMOVAL OF PH MILITARY 'ADVOCACY' ACCOUNTS

 

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday lashed out at Facebook for

taking down Philippine military "advocacy" accounts and pages from its

platform.

"From what I have learned in the past days, na pati ang advocacy ng gobyerno

tinatanggal (advocacies of government are being removed). So what's the

purpose of you (Facebook) being here?" Duterte said in a public briefing

aired late evening.

"We allow you to operate here, hoping that you can help us also. Now, if

government cannot espouse or advocate something which is good for the

people, then what's your purpose in my country?"

Facebook earlier said it removed pages, accounts, groups and Instagram

profiles of the two unnamed networks, some of which were linked to

Philippine police and military personnel, and another based in China which

were allegedly targeting the Philippines with manipulation campaigns on the

platform.

Fifty-seven Facebook accounts, 31 pages and 20 Instagram accounts, which

constituted one network operating in the Philippines, were taken down,

according to the social media firm's Head of Security Policy, Nathaniel

Gleiche.

Duterte claimed that leftists are influencing Facebook.

"What would be the point of allowing you to continue (operations) if you

cannot help us?" he said.

"We are not advocating mass destruction, we are not advocating massacre,

it's a fight of ideas."

He sought an explanation from Facebook why he and his administration can't

use its platform "for the good of the people."

"If government can't use it for the good of the people, then we have to

talk. We have to talk sense. If you're promoting the cause of rebellion...

which was already here before you came, and so many thousands of my soldiers

and citizens dying... if you cannot reconcile the idea of what your purpose

is or was, then we have to talk," he said.

Duterte cautioned Facebook against "laying down policy for his government."

"You cannot bar or prevent me from espousing the objectives of government,"

he said adamantly.

The President seemingly threatened the social network, saying he doesn't

know if there's "life after Facebook."

 

 

AMLC INVESTIGATOR TESTIFIED DE LIMA NOT INVOLVED IN BILIBID DRUG TRADE, HER

LAWYER SAYS

 

MANILA — An investigator of the Anti-Money Laundering Council testified that

Sen. Leila de Lima was not involved in anomalous drug trading transactions,

her lawyer said.

Lawyer Boni Tacardon, De LimaÂ’s legal counsel, said in a statement last week

that AMLC Financial Investigator Artemio Baculi Jr. said in a hearing at the

Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 that De Lima was not among the

persons under probe over links to the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.

“We made him admit that in the financial investigation he conducted, he did

not investigate [De Lima and Jad Dera]. In fact, he was not able to show any

evidence that will show there is collusion between De Lima and the persons

he was investigating for drug trading involvement,” Tacardon said in

Filipino.

The hearing was held on September 25.

Tacardon, quoted in a statement from De LimaÂ’s office, also said that Baculi

testified that there was no case involving money laundering or of forfeiture

filed against De Lima, over conspiring with people involved in the Bilibid

drug trade.

Dera is De LimaÂ’s co-accused in one case. Inmate Peter Co said he delivered

P5 million twice to Dera. The money will supposedly fund the senatorial

campaign of De Lima who was then justice secretary.

But Tacardon said Baculi’s testimony “demolished” Co’s testimonies.

“Yung prosecution pinipilit nila na drug lord si Peter Co base sa

testimoniya ng AMLC. Eh kung matatandaan nyo, si Peter Co noong tumestigo ay

dineny niya na sya involved sa drugs noong nakakulong na sya,” he added.

“It is clear that the prosecution failed to show evidence that would link De

Lima to Peter Co,” Tacardon also said.

De Lima moves for bail

De Lima, in June, asked the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 to grant her

provisional liberty citing what she said was the prosecutionÂ’s weak evidence

against her and that she is not a flight risk. This was the case with Dera

as her co-accused.

In August, she moved for provisional liberty in the second drug case pending

before the same court, where she is facing a drug case with her former aide

Ronnie Dayan.

The next hearing at Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 is set on October 9.

 

 

LACSON TO DUTERTE: INSTEAD OF RESIGNING, APPLY CORRUPTION LAWS TO BOTH

FRIENDS AND FOES

 

MANILA — Sen. Ping Lacson on Tuesday renewed his call on the President

Rodrigo Duterte to exercise "strong political will" in the effort to weed

out corruption from the government.

This comes after Duterte in a televised address Monday night revealed that

he offered to resign over corruption allegations surrounding top government

officials.

"Instead of resigning, the president only needs to be consistent in applying

the anti-graft and corruption laws to both friends and foes," Lacson said in

response on Tuesday.

"Strong words and warnings may work, but only when backed by political will

and followed by concrete actions. There is no better way," he added.

Lacson offered the same response earlier this month when a proposal to give

Duterte emergency powers to clean up the embattled Philippine Health

Insurance Corp. was floated at the House of Representatives.

"Ewan ko kung sabihin ko ito sa inyo. I offered to resign as president.

Pinatawag ko ‘yung lahat ng… Sabi ko na I have — kasi nagsasawa na ako,"

Duterte said last night.

Referring to corrupt officials, he added: "You better come up with an

explanation that is really good to hear because kung mawalaan ako ng

pasensya, bastusin talaga kita (if i lose patience I will really disrespect

you)."

"Or Congress can call me and we will discuss...I do not have any qualms

about you setting up oversight committees. That is good. More people

watching the peopleÂ’s money, the better," he added.

Not 'a whiff' of corruption?

Despite this, inaction on corruption is not a new allegation lobbied at

Duterte. In fact, he has often been accused of overlooking corruption on

behalf of his friends and appointees.

As early as August, Lacson had already said he was dismayed by Duterte's

failure to uphold his promise that he would not tolerate even "a whiff of

corruption."

"He previously said 'just a whiff of corruption,' just a faint smell, you're

fired. This is not just a whiff of corruption. It's very disappointing..."

Lacson said in a mix of English and Filipino during an interview with ANC,

referring to the unfurling allegations of fraud and mismanagement against

top officials at PhilHealth.

With the state-run insurer having been the subject of three separate

investigations, its Chairman of the Board and Health Secretary Francisco

Duque III has been the subject of much criticism. Over half the Senate

called for his resignation over the country's initial response to the

pandemic and these calls were renewed as the upper chamber investigated the

agency.

 

 

 

GOV'T DATA SHOW 'DRUG WAR' DEATHS INCREASED BY 76% IN AUGUST — INT'L RIGHTS

MONITOR

 

MANILA — An international rights watchdog on Tuesday logged another spike in

the extrajudicial killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign

against illegal drugs.

The report, released by Human Rights Watch, was based on government data and

showed that "drug war" deaths rose to 76% in August compared to the four

months previous. A total of 46 deaths were reported by the government in

August.

This marks another rise in reported deaths, with the months of April to July

already marking a 50% increase with an average of 39 deaths as compared to

the months of December 2019 to March 2020 when the average monthly death

rate was 26.

Drug war victims are 'sitting ducks' amid community quarantine

"'Drug war' operations are typically carried out in urban areas in major

cities, targeting impoverished communities that are facing the dual

increased risk from the anti-drug campaign and the pandemic. During the

lockdown, these communities have been hemmed in by police and local

governments, with residents largely confined to their homes," HRW said.

According to the group, the community quarantine has effectively made urban

poor communities "sitting ducks for anti-drug raids by the police and their

agents." It has been 196 days since the Philippines was first placed under

lockdown.

Newly-minted PNP chief General Camilo Cascolan has denied that these EJKs

ever occurred but has also said that police officers died during anti-drug

operations.

 

 

MECQ FOR LANAO DEL SUR; METRO MANILA, OTHER URBAN AREAS UNDER GCQ FOR

ANOTHER MONTH

 

MANILA — The government’s inter-agency task force recommended to keep Metro

Manila, which accounts for more than half of the countryÂ’s coronavirus

cases, under general community quarantine until the end of October.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging

Infectious Diseases recommended placing Lanao del Sur, including Marawi

City, under a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque later told reporters that President

Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendations.

Aside from Metro Manila, Batangas, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, Iligan City

and Iloilo City will also be under GCQ, under the IATFÂ’s recommendation.

The rest of the country will be under modified GCQ, the most relaxed form of

community quarantine.

The new quarantine classifications will be in effect beginning October 1,

Wednesday.

The countryÂ’s confirmed coronavirus cases reached over 307,000. Of the

figure, 252,665 have recovered, while 5,381 have died.

 

 

VELASCO INVOKES WORD OF HONOR; DUTERTE STEPS INTO ROW

 

MANILA — Speaker-in-waiting Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco yesterday

took a dig at incumbent Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, challenging him to show

his word of honor that he will indeed step down next month based on their

term-sharing agreement brokered by President Duterte in July 2019.

“Let us uphold the agreement as this was made ‘for God and our country

1521.Â’ I have always intended to honor the agreement. The covenant was

crystal clear: a 15-21 term-sharing agreement,” said Velasco.

Meanwhile, Duterte has called both Cayetano and Velasco to a meeting at

Malacañang today to sort things out in the House leadership row.

In a post in both his Facebook and Instagram accounts, Velasco, also

chairman of the House energy committee, recalled that CayetanoÂ’s term

expires on Sept. 30, after which the second term immediately begins.

“That was the pledge made before the President,” the supposed incoming House

leader reiterated. “Trust and honor are values that are important,

especially in these trying times. They reveal our true character and show

what we, as leaders, are truly made of,” Velasco said.

“It was an agreement brokered by and forged in the presence of no less than

President Duterte,” he said.

Velasco urged Cayetano to be gentleman enough to make true his promise, as

the agreement “was based on mutual trust and confidence.”

“It is in this period of difficulty that our people yearn for honorable

leaders whom they can trust – leaders who are able to live up to their

promises come hell or high water, leaders with palabra de honor (word of

honor) who lead not with lip service, but who back up their words with

action,” Velasco added.

 

 

GOV'T MULLS ADDITIONAL CHRISTMAS PERKS FOR HEALTH WORKERS

 

The government will study additional incentives for medical workers who will

take care of coronavirus patients this Christmas, the Department of Health

said Tuesday.

"Maybe for this specific season, because of our situation, maybe the

government can grant additional incentives," Health spokesperson and

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC.

"But that has to be discussed and we still need to study that further, if

the budget of the government is there. There are really no allocations for

that," she added.

Health workers get regular incentives for going on duty on a holiday, on top

of Christmas bonuses, noted Vergeire.

The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), a law that lets President

Rodrigo Duterte realign funds for the pandemic, also covers incentives for

medical professionals "directly caring" for coronavirus patients, she said.

 

 

FACE MASKS, GLOVES DUMPED ALONG EDSA

 

MANILA — Medical waste such as face masks and gloves were dumped along the

bicycle lane on EDSA, Quezon City yesterday.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) general manager Jojo Garcia

said they reported the incident to the Philippine National Police.

The hazardous waste scattered along EDSA near White Plains Avenue included

surgical face masks and gloves.

The MMDA will determine whether the trash was thrown in the area

intentionally or accidentally from a passing dump truck, Garcia said.

The agency could not check any video footage of the incident because there

is no closed-circuit television camera in the area, he added.

MMDA street sweepers cleaned the hazardous waste without wearing protective

equipment, according to radio reports.

 

 

THE REST

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AIRASIA OFFERS P8 SEAT SALE TO SUPPORT BORACAY REOPENING, SPUR ECONOMIC

ACTIVITY

 

MANILA - AirAsia Philippines said Tuesday it would offer base fares for as

low as P8 and other deals to support the reopening of Boracay, which is set

to begin accepting tourists Oct. 1.

Base fares for as low as P8, its SNAP flight and hotel deals offer 30

percent off on flights and an 8 percent off on Boracay activities are

available with the promo code BORA8 at AirAsia's website from Sept. 29 to

Oct. 4, the airline said in a statement.

"The overall implementation of this reopening will be the model for the

restoration of leisure travel to more domestic destinations. Right now, our

goal is to stimulate activity inside local economies by supporting

businesses and enterprises heavily affected by the pandemic," AirAsia

Philippines CEO Ricky Isla said.

AirAsia said it tapped local hotel operators to provide savings and

convenience to consumers.

The island paradise of Boracay will accept travelers from all over the

country beginning Oct. 1, the Department of Tourism earlier said. Tourism

was greatly affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.

All tourists bound for Caticlan are required to present the following

documents:

-A medical certificate issued by any government physician

-A travel authority pass issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP)

-A Health Declaration Card which can be found at aklan.gov.ph

-A negative RT-PCR test results taken within 72 hours prior to their

departure date

-Booking confirmation details for hotel/resort to be presented upon check-in

and arrival

AirAsia said enhanced health and safety measures remain in place for a

smooth travel experience.

 

 

BATANES CONFIRMS FIRST COVID-19 CASE

 

MANILA - The northernmost province of Batanes reported Tuesday its first

case of COVID-19 since the coronavirus pandemic started early this year.

A 29-year-old resident who returned to the province on Sep. 22 tested

positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the local government said in its

official Facebook page.

He has travel history in a quarantine facility at Santa Rosa, Laguna.

The patient is asymptomatic and currently under isolation at the quarantine

facility in Basco, Batanes.

"All identified (close) contacts and other LSIs (locally stranded

individuals under quarantine are being strictly monitored by the Provincial

COVID-19 Task Group," it said.

"We remind everyone to continuously observe minimum public health standards

such as wearing of face masks and face shields, observe physical distancing

and practice proper hygiene.”

The Philippines as of Monday recorded 307,288 cases of COVID-19, with

252,665 recoveries and 5,381 deaths.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE

 

 

ELLEN ADARNA RESPONDS TO NETIZEN WHO CALLED HER OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

MANILA – Actress Ellen Adarna slammed a netizen who called her out after she

posted photos on her social media page where she can be seen visiting some

tourist spots in Cebu.

According to a screenshot posted by PEP, the netizen commented in AdarnaÂ’s

post and said: “Dalaga ghorl? Ka lagan ba.”

Obviously annoyed by the comment, Adarna responded to the netizen to defend

her posts.

“Bakit ghorl na parang boy, or boy na parang ‘ghorl’ (di ko alam paano ka

i-address kasi nalilito ako kung babae ka ba or lalaki). First, this is my

life. And 2nd, dalaga or not, people need a break. 'Wag mo masyado ipahalata

ang pagka-ignorante mo ghorl na mukhang boy... hindi maganda,” she said in

Cebuano.

Based on her recent posts, Adarna visited the Temple of Lea in Cebu, which

is owned by her family. She went to the temple along with her cousins to do

some yoga.

Adarna likewise went swimming at an undisclosed place in the city.

After going on hiatus from showbiz for nearly three years, Adarna has been

busy spending her time at her home in Cebu.

She previously said in an interview that she has no plans of returning to

the limelight anytime soon, as she embraces an important role behind the

cameras.

"I don't want to say, like, forever, right? But definitely, not in the next

seven years," she said.

Her reason? "I want to be with my son in his formative years. I'm a very

hands-on mom."

Nonetheless, Adarna continues to entertain her followers through her social

media updates.

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

PBA PLANS TO RELAX DRAFT REQUIREMENTS FOR NEXT SEASON

 

MANILA -- PBA commissioner Willie Marcial will recommend that the league

relax its draft requirements, after the cancellation of the D-League season

due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incoming PBA rookies are generally required to play at least seven games in

one D-League conference, with Fil-foreign players required to play at least

seven games in two conferences.

Due to the global health crisis, however, the Aspirants' Cup was cancelled

earlier this year, and the PBA is uncertain as to when they can again hold

D-League games as amateur sports events remain barred under current

quarantine rules

"Sasabihin ko sa mga governors, wala ng requirements ang D-League muna, kasi

hindi nakapag-D-League," Marcial said during an interview on "Power and

Play," when asked about the status of the upcoming PBA Draft.

"So 'pag hindi ka nakapag-D-League, pwede ka ng dumeretso sa draft, depende

sa edad mo," he added.

Incoming rookies must be 21 years old at the day of the draft.

The draft, traditionally the first activity of the new season, is

tentatively scheduled for December or January, according to Marcial.

 

 

NBA WILL RESUME ON 30th SEP

 

 

INDICATORS

 

FOREX $1 = P 48.51

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him,

and to let him know that you trust him. - Booker T. Washington

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