World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
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 
Builders Group. 
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 
VICTIMS 

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 
si Pangilinan." 
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 
said. 


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 
time). 
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 
"questionable charges." 
"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 
Filipino allies." 


US SENATOR’S AIDE SAYS HARD FOR US SECRETARY OF STATE TO IGNORE CONGRESS 
DIRECTIVE 

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 
case. 
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 
case. 
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 
is credible." 
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 
congressional directive. 
“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 
Archives indicated. 
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. 
Urgent request 
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 
reliable.'" 
It was thought the request was a contingency in case the situation turned 
ugly. 


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 
phone interview. 


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 
added. 
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 
franchise. 
"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 
P20,754. 


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 
added. 
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 
time. 


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 
Pilipinas. 
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 
Libya. 
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’ 
SCREENINGS 

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 


FINAL 
    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 


FINAL 
    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 
SCORING LEADERS 
    M. Monk CHA 
18 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST 
    D. Brooks MEM 
20 PTS, 0 REB, 2 AST 


FINAL 
    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 
SCORING LEADERS 
    N. Bjelica SAC 
27 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST 
    W. Barton DEN 
19 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST 


FINAL 
    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 


FINAL 
    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 

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