31 December 2019
DUTERTE PUSHES 2 DAMS FOR METRO MANILA, WARNS COURTS
MANILA — A “desperate” President Duterte yesterday ordered the completion of
two projects designed to ensure enough water supply in Metro Manila and
nearby areas, saying indigenous people would have to be relocated and no
court could stop it.
Duterte said the China-funded Kaliwa Dam and the Razon-led Wawa Dam would be
Metro Manila’s “last resort to have water.”
“The people living there, they are, of course, they are all natives. They
are trying to delay the project... And we need water. Manila without Wawa
and Kaliwa Dam, this will be the last resort to have water for Manila,” the
President said during his visit to Digos City, Davao del Sur yesterday.
“I will order them to go ahead and we will pay the natives and we will
relocate them. But for the courts to issue (temporary restraining orders or
TROs), I said, do not take it to the point that I would say, ‘Ignore them,’”
he said, describing himself as “desperate” to find relief for the problem.
He threatened to send owners of the Metro Manila water concessionaires to
jail for syndicated estafa, saying their deals smacked of corruption.
The P12.2-billion Kaliwa Dam to be constructed in Quezon province is one of
the government projects funded by Chinese loans.
Meanwhile, the P20-billion Wawa Dam to be built in Rizal is a joint venture
between Prime Infra of businessman Enrique Razon and San Lorenzo Ruiz
Duterte claimed losing bidders have been using TROs to delay projects and to
extort money from winning bidders.
'I SHARE YOUR GRIEF': DUTERTE SAYS SORRY IN FIRST VISIT TO COTABATO QUAKE
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday apologized to residents of
Cotabato for not visiting them sooner after the province was hit by a series
of powerful earthquakes, leaving at least 20 dead and scores injured.
"It’s really scary, and sometimes there’s just a little depression.
Madedepress ka talaga, kung nawalan ka ng bahay, anak, tatay, nanay,"
Duterte said in a speech before evacuees in M'lang town.
"I share your grief, sa totoo lang. Pinilit ko, I must apologize, I am very
sorry that I could not be here immediately. Marami hong problema sa Maynila.
Kasi busy ako nagmumura doon sa mga water concessionaires na si Ayala pati
The President was referring to government's "onerous" water concession
contracts with Ayala-owned Manila Water and the now Pangilinan-led Maynilad
signed in 1997 but were extended early during the administration of his
ally, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Duterte assured victims of the earthquake that government would help until
"you’re able to get back to your feet and start anew with renewed hope and
greater capacity to lead your lives."
"I hope that the assistance we will give you today will make you feel the
warmth and joy of the Christmas season despite your current situation," he
US SENATOR BLASTS DUTERTE ADMIN FOR THREATENING NEW VISA RULES FOR AMERICANS
MANILA—A US senator has slammed the Philippine government for threatening to
impose visa requirements for Americans after he sought to ban Filipino
officials involved in the imprisonment of Sen. Leila de Lima.
"The Duterte regime should stop threatening the travel of these Filipino
Americans and so many others who travel between our nations," US Sen.
Richard Durbin of Illinois said in a statement released Tuesday (Manila
The US lawmaker also called on the Philippine government to "release or give
a quick and credible trial" to De Lima, a known critic of President Rodrigo
Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
"This strong-arm tactic is an insult to the Filipino American community and
the country's democracy," he added.
De Lima, Durbin said, had been jailed for more than 1,000 days on
"Her release, which has been championed by groups such as Amnesty
International – and now the US Congress – is unfortunately symbolic of the
larger price one increasingly pays for peaceful dissent and honest
journalism under President Duterte in the Philippines," he said.
In his statement, Durbin also expressed support to Filipina journalist Maria
Ressa who reportedly face harassment "for fostering honest coverage
regarding the country's sweeping extra-judicial killings, which is an
affront to the cherished democratic norms we share with our long standing
US SENATOR’S AIDE SAYS HARD FOR US SECRETARY OF STATE TO IGNORE CONGRESS
MANILA—An influential staff member of US Sen. Patrick Leahy who pushed for a
ban on Philippine officials behind the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima has
confirmed a congressional directive to “apply the law" in the senator's
Tim Rieser, foreign policy aide of Senator Patrick Leahy, told ABS-CBN News
that Leahy and his colleague Richard Durbin included a provision in the US
Senate appropriations committee report that accompanies the annual
appropriations bill directing the US Secretary of State to apply the law
banning human rights violators from entering American soil to De Lima’s
The same provision classified “unjust or wrongful detention” as part of
“gross violation of human rights,” making it a ground for applying the
Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, a US law which authorizes
the US government to sanction those who it sees as human rights offenders,
freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the US.
“That language was included by reference in the final version of the
conference agreement that was negotiated by the House and the Senate and
enacted a week ago,” Rieser said.
"It means that the Secretary should look at the information that Senator
Leahy and Senator Durbin and other members of the House and Senate believe
Pro-Duterte bloggers Sass Rogando Sasot and RJ Nieto or Thinking Pinoy
earlier questioned the absence of De Lima’s name in the spending bill that
US President Donald Trump signed into law on December 20, casting doubt on
the legitimacy of the news about the US entry ban.
De Lima, however, said the explanatory statement of the law states that
unless specifically negated, the language in the US House and Senate reports
on the bill remains in force.
The Congressional record of the US 2020 consolidated budget directed the
State Department to comply with the directives, reporting requirements and
instructions in the Senate and House reports.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday confirmed the ban,
citing his conversation with Philippine Ambassador to the US Babe Romualdez.
But Nieto continued to question whether the ban was based only on the
Magnitsky clause that he said has been in US budget laws since 2015 or if it
was a result of an amendment introduced by US senators Richard Durbin and
Patrick Leahy, which he maintains, does not exist.
Rieser confirmed that the controversial clause has indeed been in US budget
laws for years now but stressed that the difference now is US Congress
specified that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apply it to De Lima.
“They are correct to the extent that 7031(c) has been in effect for years.
Senator Leahy wrote it. It applies globally. However, what’s different is
that the Congress is saying that the Secretary shall apply the law in this
particular case. That didn’t exist before,” he said.
“To suggest that it is more of the same is to ignore the fact that this
year, Congress zeroed in on her case specifically by name, and directed the
Secretary to make a determination.”
'HARD TO IGNORE CONGRESS DIRECTIVE'
Rieser said that ultimately, it will be up to Pompeo to implement the
“He could ignore the Congress but it’s not easy to do that when there are
multiple, credible sources saying that she is imprisoned because the
government is trying to silence her as a result of her criticism of the
government’s policies,” he said.
THATCHER APPROVED CORAZON AQUINO ASYLUM REQUEST: ARCHIVES
LONDON, United Kingdom — British prime minister Margaret Thatcher granted
Corazon Aquino's request for asylum at the height of the uprising that swept
her to power in the Philippines, according to newly declassified files
released on Tuesday.
Aquino headed the four-day 1986 People Power Revolution that ended the
21-year rule of totalitarian president Ferdinand Marcos.
He had declared victory in a snap election tainted by fraud allegations.
During the turmoil, Aquino sought sanctuary in the British embassy or the
ambassador's residence in Manila, files released by Britain's National
But Britain's protection was ultimately not needed as Marcos stepped down
the following day and the Aquino government was officially recognized.
The asylum request was in a Downing Street file on Britain's relations with
the Philippines spanning from 1981 to 1995.
On the evening of February 24, 1986, Foreign Office diplomat Len Appleyard
wrote to Charles Powell, Thatcher's private secretary for foreign affairs.
He said Aquino had asked whether Britain would be prepared to offer
sanctuary in the British embassy or residence at 8:00 a.m. local time the
following morning—midnight in Britain.
Appleyard said Aquino had rejected sanctuary with the Americans and the
Japanese but turned to the British "because they are 'friendly and
It was thought the request was a contingency in case the situation turned
DUTERTE: AÑO TO LEAD PNP UNTIL POLICE WOES FIXED
MANILA — President Duterte has told Interior and Local Government Secretary
Eduardo Año to take charge of the Philippine National Police for now, saying
he has not named a new PNP chief because of issues – including corruption –
involving Manila policemen.
Duterte said he has ordered Año to fix the problems in the PNP, admitting
that there are officers who are involved in corruption and illegal drugs.
“Sa mga probinsya, mahusay ang mga pulis (In the provinces, the policemen
are good). But in Manila? That’s why I didn’t appoint a PNP (chief). Sabi ko
kay general Año na hawakan niya muna (I asked general Año to handle it for
now),” the President said during his visit to M’lang, North Cotabato where
he met with earthquake survivors.
“You (Año) fix the police so that by the time we make the exit two years
from now, at least the problems of the Filipinos won’t be that serious.
You’re dealing with government officials or officers who are into
corruption, especially illegal drugs,” he added.
The PNP, said spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, sees no problem with the
President directing Año to fix the institution, since his department has
jurisdiction over the police force.
“We will just wait for his (Año) instructions and guidance,” Banac said in a
DUTERTE TELLS ABS-CBN OWNERS TO JUST SELL THE TV NETWORK
MANILA — Three months before the expiration of ABS-CBN's franchise,
President Rodrigo Duterte Monday said the television network should just be
sold as he vowed to give its owners an episode they won't forget.
Duterte, who has accused ABS-CBN of biased reporting and of "swindling" him
for not airing his campaign commercial, said there is no assurance that the
network's franchise would be renewed. The Lopez-owned network's franchise is
set to expire on March 30, 2020.
"Your contract is about to expire. You will try to renew it but I don't know
what will happen to that," the president said during his visit to earthquake
victims in M'lang, North Cotabato.
"Kung ako sa inyo ipagbili niyo na 'yan. Kasi ang mga Filipino ngayon lang
makaganti sa inyong kalokohan (If I were you, I would sell it. It's only now
that Filipinos would be able to get back at your wrongdoings). And I will
make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever," he
Duterte claimed previous presidents did not act against the interests of
some businesses because they were afraid of ABS-CBN.
Duterte had claimed that ABS-CBN did not return the money he paid for
campaign commercials even if the advertisements did not air. He had also
accused the network of magnifying "garbage" stories peddled by his critics.
Earlier this month, Duterte vowed to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's
"I will see to it that you're out," he said in a speech delivered in
Malacañang last December 3.
DUTERTE DEFENDS DOUBLING SALARY OF COPS, SOLDIERS
DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur—President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday defended his
reason for doubling the salary of the military and police.
Speaking during the 60th founding anniversary of Cor Jesu College, Duterte
said he had been receiving complaints about it.
"I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints bakit 'yong sa mga pulis doblado.
Bakit sa maestra hindi pa. This country is a troubled land. I need soldiers
and policemen, who are not afraid to die," he said.
Police officers and soldiers sacrifice their lives and they deserve a good
compensation for their service, Duterte added.
Duterte, however, made no mention when public school teachers will receive a
pay hike, which he promised this year.
Entry-level public-school teachers, which have a Salary Grade 11 under
Tranche 4 of the Salary Standardization Law, earn a monthly salary of only
IMPORTS READIED AS ONION PRICES SOAR
MANILA — The government is preparing to issue permits for importation of red
onions, citing rising prices due to low supply.
Department of Agriculture (DA) spokesman Noel Reyes said the recommendation
of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to import red onions is already on the
table of Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
“The secretary is aware of the high price of onions right now. The issuance
of import permits as recommended by BPI is already with him. And he is
likely to favorably grant that,” Reyes told The STAR. “Hopefully by next
week, that will be approved.”
Reyes, however, could not reveal the volume of importation. “What will be
imported are red onions only for household consumption. We have enough for
the white one which is for institutional use such as restaurants,” he said.
“It is off season for red onions and that is basically the reason [for the
low supply]. Farmers will only start to harvest by March and April,” Reyes
Latest market monitoring from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed
that price of red onions is at a high of P195 per kilogram for wholesale.
For retail, prices range from P180 to P260 per kilo. In supermarkets, prices
range from P150 to P200 a kilo.
It was in March when the DA suspended the importation of onions. Last April,
the country’s production of bulb onion increased by about 70 percent of the
total national requirement, satisfying household consumption for the first
17 PINOY LUMIKAS SA LIBYA MATAPOS SALAKAYIN NG ARMADONG GRUPO
Napilitang lumikas ang 17 pinoy matapos puwersahang kubkubin ng mga armadong
lalaki ang gusaling tinitirhan sa Tripoli, Libya, ayon sa embahada ng
Ayon kay Chargè d'Affaires Elmer Cato, nasa ligtas na kalagayan na ang 17
Pinoy at nasa piling na ng mga kamag-anak at kaibigan sa iba pang bahagi ng
Dahil dito, muling nananawagan ang embahada sa mga Pinoy sa Tripoli na
lumikas na o maghandang lumikas sakaling abutin ng mga kaguluhan.
Buwan ng Abril nang magsimula ang mga kaguluhan sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng
Libya matapos ang ikinasang opensiba ni Gen. Khalifa Haftar ng Libyan
National Army upang mabawi ang Tripoli mula Government of National Accord na
kinikilala ng United Nations.
FILIPINA ALLEGEDLY KILLED BY EMPLOYER'S WIFE IN KUWAIT
MANILA - A Filipino domestic worker in Kuwait was allegedly killed by her
employer's wife, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.
In a statement, the DFA condemned the killing of the Filipina, calling it a
violation of the agreement signed by the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments
in 2018 for their protection.
"The continuing incidents of violence and abuse of Filipino domestic workers
in Kuwait violates the spirit of the agreement signed in May 2018 that seeks
to promote and protect their welfare," it said.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is coordinating with Kuwaiti authorities
"to ensure that justice will be served," the DFA added.
The DFA also said it has summoned Kuwaiti Ambassador in Manila to express
the government's outrage over "the seeming lack of protection of our
domestic workers at the hands of their employers."
The DFA, likewise, said it will push for complete transparency in the
investigation, as well as swift prosecution of the perpetrators "to the
fullest extent of the law."
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN VICE GANDA SHOWED UP AT ‘THE MALL, THE MERRIER’
MANILA — Through the holiday season, Vice Ganda has been doing non-stop
promotions for “The Mall, The Merrier,” including surprise visits at
screenings of the Metro Manila Film Festival entry.
The comedy superstar would announce online the venues just an hour or two
before showing up. Among the malls he visited in the past week were SM Mall
Of Asia, SM Bacoor, SM Pampanga, SM Dasmariñas, and SM Megamall.
His appearances did come as a surprise to many moviegoers, going by a
compilation video released by Star Cinema on Sunday.
In one portion, a thankful Vice Ganda went in front of a cinema at the end
of a screening of “The Mall, The Merrier,” to shrieks from the audience.
The comedy flick marks Vice Ganda’s first big-screen team-up with his “It’s
Showtime” co-host Anne Curtis, who was unable to join him on promotional
tours due to her pregnancy.
“The Mall, The Merrier” stars the two as rival siblings who claim ownership
of a mall, resulting in a showdown of gimmicks. Confronted with a family
secret, and a bigger, magical threat, they are forced to put aside their
differences and unite.
NBA SCORES DEC 29
1 2 3 4 T
team logo Thunder 17-15 22 25 29 22 98
team logo Raptors 22-11 20 27 33 17 97
SCORING LEADERSS. Gilgeous-Alexander OKC
32 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST
F. VanVleet TOR
20 PTS, 3 REB, 8 AST
1 2 3 4 T
team logo Hornets 13-22 20 26 29 29 104
team logo Grizzlies 13-21 31 25 30 31 117
M. Monk CHA
18 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST
D. Brooks MEM
20 PTS, 0 REB, 2 AST
1 2 3 4 T
team logo Kings 12-21 32 25 24 34 115
team logo Nuggets 23-9 31 31 26 32 120
N. Bjelica SAC
27 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST
W. Barton DEN
19 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST
1 2 3 4 T
team logo Rockets 22-11 37 27 29 19 112
team logo Pelicans 11-23 36 28 22 41 127
SCORING LEADERSD. House Jr. HOU
22 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST
L. Ball NO
27 PTS, 10 REB, 8 AST
1 2 3 4 T
team logo Mavericks 21-11 19 24 26 26 95
team logo Lakers 26-7 25 29 30 24 108
SCORING LEADERSL. Doncic DAL
19 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST
A. Davis LAL
23 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST