World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
27 Oct 2020

DUTERTE KEEPS METRO MANILA UNDER GCQ UNTIL NOV. 30

 

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that Metro Manila's 12

million people would remain under general community quarantine, the third

strictest of 4 lockdown levels, until Nov. 30, even as authorities sought to

revive the pandemic-battered economy.

Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Lanao del

Sur will also be under GCQ from Nov. 1 to 30, he said in a taped speech

aired Tuesday.

Mayors of Metro Manila earlier urged to keep the GCQ status next month.

Metro Manila, which accounts for about a third of the gross domestic

product, has been under GCQ since August. The trade department recently

allowed some businesses in GCQ areas to operate at full capacity.

The Philippines is forecast to see a 6.9 percent economic contraction this

year, the World Bank has said, the biggest since the 1980s and worse than

the government's projected 5.5 percent decline.

Its recovery has been constrained by an unrelenting first wave of infections

since March, with more than 370,000 cases, limiting its ability to fully

reopen businesses, and restart domestic and international tourism.

The health department on Monday recorded 1,607 new coronavirus infections

and 62 more deaths.

In a bulletin, the agency said total confirmed cases had increased to

371,630, while deaths had reached 7,039. The Philippines has the

second-highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia

after Indonesia.

 

 

RESIGNATION 'WON'T SAVE YOUR NECKS'; DUTERTE TO PROBE CORRUPTION IN 'ENTIRE

GOVERNMENT'

 

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday told corrupt government

officials that resignation would not save their necks.

Recently, retired general Ricardo Morales resigned as president and CEO of

state medical insurer PhilHealth, after whistleblowers accused top

PhilHealth officials of pocketing P15 billion in state funds. A total of 43

PhilHealth senior officers also retired or resigned earlier this month.

"Let me remind everybody in this government na your resignation will not

save your neck. Alam mo bakit? You are not allowed to resign if there is a

pending case against you," Duterte said in a taped speech aired Tuesday.

"Mag-resign ka man, ‘di ka mag-report, you will be summoned, subpoenaed not

because you are already out of government, but because for all intents and

purposes you are still a part of government. You are not allowed to resign

to escape liability," he added.

Duterte said he would focus on curbing corruption before his term ends in

2022.

"I will concentrate the last remaining years of my term fighting corruption

kasi hanging ngayon, hindi humihina, lumalakas pa lalo.

Para na tuloy naging inutil ang mga opisyal ng bayan, na wala talagang

magawa with the onslaught of corruption," he said.

Duterte had initially formed the task force to investigate the

irregularities in medical state insurer PhilHealth. The panel last month

recommended that charges be

filed against former and current top officials.

"Iyong task force na nabuo ko... this time, we will look into every

department. But upon my request, behest, to focus sa corruption sa DPWH," he

said in a televised speech aired Tuesday.

Duterte said he had "nothing against" DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, who he

said was "one of the hardworking" officials with "many" accomplishments.

"But you know, accomplishments alone, to me, should not suffice," he said.

"It is not his job to be running after crooks, but it behooves upon me to

see to it na itong corruption, mahinto--kung hindi, at least maputol nang

kaunti (this corruption is stopped, or if not curbed even a bit)."

The public should expect "suspension" of officials "in the coming days",

said the President.

"Kung i-suspend kita, may duda ako. Hindi ako mag-suspend ng tao na walang

kasalanan," he said.

Duterte again vouched for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, as the

latter faced allegations of corruption.

Duque chairs the board of state medical insurer PhilHealth, whose officials

were accused in a Senate hearing of pocketing P15 billion in state funds. A

whistleblower

alleged that Duque was the "godfather" of the PhilHealth mafia.

"Si Duque, walang nanakaw kung pera ang pag-usapan. Maybe some other things,

there might be some other thing pero corruption, pera? Wala," Duterte said

in a taped speech.

Duterte earlier rejected calls for Duque's resignation.

 

 

‘UP TO DUTERTE TO IDENTIFY LAWMAKERS IN DPWH GRAFT’

 

MANILA — It would be up to President Duterte to decide whether he would

reveal the names of lawmakers involved in anomalies surrounding some public

works projects, Malacañang said yesterday.

“Let’s leave that decision to the President,” presidential spokesman Harry

Roque said at a press briefing. “To my knowledge, the PACC has not submitted

anything to the President as of now.”

Roque was referring to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, whose

commissioner Greco Belgica last week claimed that some lawmakers are

exerting influence on the implementation of DPWH projects and the

designation of district engineers.

A report containing details of the irregularities and the names of lawmakers

who may be involved in them would be submitted to Duterte, Belgica said.

 

 

DUTERTE WANTS SPEEDY CREATION OF OFW AGENCY STUCK FOR FUNDING WOES

 

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte wants Congress to accelerate the passage

of a bill creating a sole agency to handle migrant worker concerns, a

proposal stuck at the Senate over issues of funding and treatment of workers

in agencies bound to get killed by the measure.

“I’d like to hurry up Congress on this one of my proposals during the

campaign period was the creation of Overseas Filipino (department),” Duterte

said in a public address aired Tuesday morning.

The proposal for a stand-alone department for migrant workers is contained

under Senate Bill 202, authored by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go,

Duterte’s former aide. It has been pending before the Senate labor committee

since getting filed in July 2019.

Despite getting quick approval at the Lower House, the bill’s advance at the

upper chamber has been hampered by several issues. Senate President Vicente

Sotto III said “issues are yet to be settled” among the labor department and

its attached agencies, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)

and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

While Sotto did not go into specifics, the priority legislation would

abolish POEA and OWWA, as well as three other agencies whose functions are

eyed to be performed by the proposed department. With five agencies getting

replaced by one, questions on how workers in these existing departments will

be treated have remained answered.

 

 

OCTA RESEARCH: RED CROSS TESTING HALT 'CRIPPLES' ISOLATION, CONTACT TRACING

PROGRAMS

 

MANILA — Researchers studying the coronavirus outbreak in the country called

on the government to fix the debt row between the Philippine Red Cross and

the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. to effectively manage the health

crisis in the country.

In its latest report, the OCTA Research Group stressed the need for Red

Cross to resume its testing for the government as the humanitarian

organization accounts for about 30% of the country’s total coronavirus

testing capacity and contributes 38% to Metro Manila’s screening capacity.

The OCTA Research Group pointed out that the decrease in the number of daily

new cases may not provide an “accurate picture” of the situation in the

country as the figures do not include significant data from the Red Cross.

The country, for example, reported only 1,607 additional cases Monday. But

the figures showed that samples processed by testing laboratories dipped to

just 15,710, way below the target of 30,000 tests a day.

The halt in the operations of Red Cross resulted in the drop of reported

cases in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna and Batangas by 40 to 50%, the

researchers said. This stemmed from the state insurer’s failure to settle

its more than P1 billion debt to the organization.

Among the areas affected by the temporary halt in Red Cross testing include

Quezon City, Manila, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Pasay, Parañaque, Mandaluyong,

Muntinlupa, San Juan, Pateros, Antipolo, Cainta, Taytay, Imus, Dasmariñas,

General Trias, Bacoor, Batangas City and Calamba.

The analysts projected that the average daily new cases in the capital

region would increase by 200 to 300 if tests of Red Cross are included.

 

 

PHILIPPINES AMONG NATIONS FACING DEBT PAYMENT SHOCK NEXT YEAR — MOODY'S

 

MANILA — Governments and corporates accumulating large debts this year for

pandemic programs are bound to suffer the negative consequence of expensive

payments starting next year, Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday.

The scenario, in turn, threatens to further deteriorate the fiscal house of

Asian economies, but most especially Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the

Philippines where foreign debts accounted for over a third of total

liabilities.

“Through 2021, we project a worsening in debt affordability, as measured by

interest payments as a share of revenue, driven by higher debt-servicing

costs associated with the large increases in debt as governments ramp up

stimulus spending amid simultaneously large declines in revenue," Moody's

said of these countries.

Asian governments where budgets have typically been tight binged on debt

this year to ensure cash continue flowing while they control the spread of

pandemic. For now, a weak dollar is cutting costs of these obligations, and

making borrowing more affordable.

But the debt watcher warned the party may be over as soon as the calendar

shifts. Once annual interest payments start falling due early next year, a

strong currency may no longer help governments that embarked on hefty fund

raising this year.

 

 

THE REST

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PNP GETS P569 MILLION IN NEW VEHICLES, EQUIPMENT

 

MANILA — The national police received P569 million worth of additional

equipment and mobility assets—including new jeeps, radios, motorcycles, and

rifles—which police leadership said would enhance the agency's mobile patrol

capabilities.

"We showcased [on Monday] the P569-million worth of enabling equipment to

fill-up the requirements of PNP units for mobility, firepower, and

communications, which are among the key priorities of our capacity-building,

modernization, and development agenda,” Police Gen. Camilo Cascolan, PNP

chief, said in a statement.

With the move, which is part of the newly-minted police chief's

modernization program under PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030, the police's mobile

forces and high-risk police stations are set to receive 7,700 units Galil

Ace 5.56mm Basic Assault Rifle while the 434 units Digital Handheld Radio

will be given to Metro Manila's police office.

According to Cascolan, the new police motorcycles will significantly enhance

the PNP's operations involving high-speed tactical police response to

street-crimes, particularly those perpetrated by riding-in-tandem suspects.

 

 

DOJ JUNKS KIDNAP RAPS VS JOMA, OTHERS

 

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the complaint for

kidnapping filed against Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding

chairman Jose Maria Sison and other activists over the recruitment of a

student to youth organization Anakbayan.

In a 12-page resolution, DOJ prosecutors junked the charges of kidnapping,

failure to return a minor under Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code and

violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against

International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity

against Sison for lack of probable cause.

 

 

COTABATO REGIONAL HOSPITAL BAGS GOOD GOVERNANCE AWARD

 

MANILA — The Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC), a level III apex

hospital catering to the Bangsamoro region and Central Mindanao, was honored

for successfully implementing the first stage of the Institute for

Solidarity in Asia's system for performance governance.

Besides receiving the "Initiated" Status from ISA for the accomplishment,

the CRMC bagged the Silver Trailblazer Award for exceeding the standards of

the Initiation Stage.

Dr. Helen Yambao, chief II of the CRMC Medical Center, presented the

achievements of their institution in a public revalida conducted by ISA on

Oct. 13, 2020. In it, she shared three main challenges of the hospital which

ISA's Performance Governance System aimed to address through a long-term

strategy to become a multispecialty center.

These challenges included a wide catchment area (being the only teaching

training hospital in BARMM and Region XII), the overcrowding of patients and

the lack of capability to provide specialty services.

In response, the hospital's initial strategy aims to build specialty centers

for heart, trauma, cancer care, women’s health and neonatology, diabetes,

physical medicine and rehabilitation and mental health by 2022. More

establishments will also be set up by 2028. These centers are being pursued

through major modernization and expansion plans.

 

 

‘NAIA EMPLOYEES SHOULD NOT BE ALARMED OVER AIRPORT REHAB’

 

MANILA — The proposed rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International

Airport should not be a cause for alarm for NAIA employees, the Manila

International Airport Authority (MIAA) said yesterday.

MIAA officials, who asked for anonymity, said the government’s deal with

Megawide Construction Corp. to rehabilitate the country’s main gateway is

still under evaluation by the National Economic and Development

Authority-Investment Coordination Committee.

“Wala pa. There is no contract awarded yet. There is no reason to be

alarmed,” a source said.

The source said if the deal pushes through, the NAIA employees would be

“absorbed by Megawide based on previous negotiations.”

The MIAA made the clarification after it was reported that around 14,000

NAIA employees may lose their jobs amid the planned rehabilitation and

management takeover of the airport.

 

 

TYPHOON QUINTA KEEPS STRENGTH AHEAD OF EXIT, HEADS TOWARD VIETNAM

 

MANILA - Typhoon Quinta (international name: Molave) kept its strength ahead

of its expected exit from the Philippine area of responsibility on Tuesday

morning, the state weather bureau said after the storm left at least 2 dead

and displaced thousands in Luzon.

The country's 17th storm this year was last estimated 305 kilometers north

northeast of Pag-asa Island, Palawan as of 4 a.m., moving west at 25 km per

hour while packing maximum winds of 140 kph and gusts of up to 170 kph,

PAGASA said in its latest weather bulletin.

Molave is forecast to make landfall in central Vietnam on Wednesday, it

earlier said.

A low pressure area spotted outside PAR at 1,855 km east of Southern Luzon

is likely to develop into tropical depression "Rolly" and enter the country

in the next 48 hours, PAGASA weather forecaster Ariel Rojas told ABS-CBN's

Teleradyo.

On Tuesday, Quinta will bring moderate to heavy rains over Western Visayas,

Occidental Mindoro, Palawan including Calamian, Cuyo, and Kalayaan Islands,

Aurora, Isabela, and Cagayan, PAGASA said.

Zamboanga peninsula, Bangsamoro, Northern Mindanao, Caraga, and the rest of

Luzon and Visayas will experience light to moderate with at times heavy

rains due to Quinta, it added.

Flooding and rain-induced landslides may occur during heavy or prolonged

rainfall especially in areas that are highly susceptible to these hazards.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE

 

 

NEW MISS UNIVERSE PH RABIYA MATEO BREAKS SILENCE OVER ACCUSATIONS

 

MANILA - Rabiya Mateo turned emotional as she addressed the controversy

surrounding her victory in the Miss Universe Philippines pageant over the

weekend.

In a virtual interview with MJ Marfori of TV5 on Sunday, the beauty queen

from Iloilo tried to hold back her tears as she admitted that people did not

expect her to win the coveted crown.

"To be honest po, maybe I wasn't a frontrunner so people didn't expect me to

win. And now that I have the crown... I'm sorry, I'm being emotional," Mateo

said.

Responding to accusations that she brought her own glam team and had prior

knowledge of the question to be asked to her during the final round of the

pageant, she went on: "They're questioning my capability as a person, as a

candidate... But I know that I did everything and anything that I could

during that night, and ibinigay ko talaga."

"And 'yung mga nagsasabi na the question was given to me that's why I

answered that way, it wasn't given po sa akin," she stressed. "I did

everything that I could because I want to make Iloilo City proud."

While she admitted that the accusations were "painful," Mateo said she

chooses to take the high road and be more understanding of the situation.

"Of course it was painful because there are things na you can settle by

talking with each other... At the end of the day, this is a competition. And

being the bigger person in the picture, I need to understand where they are

coming from," she said.

Mateo was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2020 on Sunday, besting 45

candidates from different parts of the country.

Maria Ysabella Ysmael of Parañaque was proclaimed first runner-up, followed

by Michele Gumabao of Quezon City, Pauline Amelinckx of Bohol, and Kimberly

Hakenson of Cavite.

'FAIR AND SQUARE'

In an interview with ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo on Monday, Mateo

reiterated that she won the Miss Universe Philippines crown "fair and

square."

"Dahil ako ang nanalo, baka 'yung iba they have doubts about my capability,

and hindi natin 'yun maiiwasan. But I know that I played the game fair and

square, and let's just wait for the official announcement and statement of

the Miss Universe Philippines [organization]," she said.

Instead of dwelling on the comments, Mateo said she would rather focus on

proving her bashers wrong by working even harder for the Miss Universe

competition.

"Ngayon po mas iniisip ko na lang na may laban pa akong papasukin, at

ipu-prove ko na lang po 'yung self ko sa mga tao... Papatunayan ko na lang

po na hindi po ako 'yung ganoong tao na dini-describe nila."

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

ABUEVA SHOWS NO RUST IN RETURN AS PHOENIX PUTS AWAY NLEX

 

As soon as Calvin Abueva stepped into the game, he knew exactly what to do.

Abueva, in his first game back from a 16-month suspension, wasted no time

and immediately made an impressive return as he lifted the Phoenix Super LPG

to a 114-110 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, in the 2020 PBA Philippine

Cup at the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Pampanga.

The scores:

PHOENIX 114 – Wright 28, Abueva 21, Perkins 20, Chua 19, Rios 10, Garcia 6,

Heruela 4, Jazul 4, Intal 2, Marcelo 0.

NLEX 110 – Soyud 27, Quinahan 18, Ravena 18, McAloney 14, Alas 15, Cruz 8,

Miranda 6, Semerad 2, Ayonayon 2, Varilla 0, Ighalo 0.

Quarter scores: 27-30, 60-58, 86-85, 114-110.

NOTE: PBA postpones NorthPort-TNT game

 

 

INDICATORS

 

FOREX $1 = P 48.39

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. - Bobby Unser

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