World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
1 January 2020

‘OBJECTIVE ACHIEVED’: MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO ENDS, AS NEW YEAR BEGINS 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said the government will end 
martial law in Mindanao at midnight, even as soldiers will remain in the 
region “to sustain peace and stability.” 
Military rule has been in effect in the region since May 23, 2017, in 
response to the ISIS-affiliated Maute group attack on Marawi City. It was 
extended thrice. 
“At midnight (Tuesday), the martial law in Mindanao will end after two years 
and seven months or 953 days of effectivity,” Lorenzana said in a statement. 
“Upon the recommendation of the security sector, the President has decided 
to allow martial law to lapse and not ask for another extension anymore.” 
However, Lorenzana said that “the present number of troops will remain as is 
wherever they are and will continue to collaborate with the LGUs to sustain 
peace and stability.” 
He assured that “the security sector believes that the objective of the 
martial law has been achieved. The rebellion in Marawi, Lanao del Sur and 
other areas in Mindanao have been effectively stopped.” 
“They are confident that they can maintain the current peace and order in 
Mindanao and that an attack similar in scale to Marawi cannot be waged by 
the remnants of the Mautes or by any other terrorist groups in the future.” 
Human rights groups and social activists have questioned the extension of 
martial law in the region due to alleged abuses. 


DUTERTE: MY PRESIDENCY A 'TOTAL FAILURE' IF I FAIL TO CONTROL ILLEGAL DRUGS 

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that his presidency would be 
a "total failure" if he fails to control the drug menace, one of the 
campaign promises that catapulted him to a landslide win three years ago. 
Duterte, whose brutal war on narcotics has left more than 5,000 drug 
suspects dead, said drug trafficking has become a "big problem" that 
threatens the future of the next generation. 
"It is a big problem. I'm trying to save the next generation. I'm not saying 
I'm the savior but I'm the president now. If I fail to control drugs by the 
time the graduating college students become fathers or mothers, they would 
have a problem," Duterte said during his visit to earthquake survivors in 
Digos City, Davao del Sur last Monday. 
"If we cannot control the flow of drugs, then I will consider my presidency 
a total failure. So I don't want that to happen. Do not do it," he added. 
When he was still running for president, Duterte vowed to put an end to 
illegal drugs within the first six months of his term. He eventually 
admitted that the promise was not doable because of the involvement of 
several government officials in the sale and distribution of narcotics. 


DUTERTE NOT THREATENING JUDICIARY, SAYS DOJ 

MANILA — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday expressed doubt that 
President Duterte was threatening the judiciary when he told the courts not 
to issue temporary restraining orders (TROs) against the construction of the 
Wawa and Kaliwa dams. 
Guevarra said he believed Duterte was “just being his usual tough guy self” 
when he advised the courts not to issue TROs that would delay the 
construction of the P20-billion Wawa Dam in Rizal. 
Wawa will be constructed by the joint venture of Prime Infra of businessman 
Enrique Razon and San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders Group. 
“The President knows that the judiciary is independent of the executive 
branch. He was merely expressing, in his own usual tough style, a personal 
sentiment and hope that the courts will not obstruct the pursuit of major 
development projects,” Guevarra said. 
“I recall that there’s a law or Supreme Court resolution that prohibits all 
courts, except the SC, from issuing restraining orders/preliminary 
injunctions against national government infrastructure projects,” he added. 
The justice secretary said this is covered by Republic Act No. 8975, titled 
“An act to ensure the expeditious implementation and completion of 
government infrastructure projects by prohibiting lower courts from issuing 
TROs, preliminary injunctions or preliminary mandatory injunctions.” 
“That law is still in effect and provides the legal basis for the 
President’s recent statement on the Kaliwa and Wawa dam projects,” Guevarra 
added. 


DILG CHIEF VOWS TO INSTITUTE REFORMS IN PNP 

MANILA — A day after President Duterte tasked him to temporarily lead the 
Philippine National Police, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año yesterday vowed 
to institute reforms in the PNP, which has been saddled by allegations of 
corruption among its ranks. 
While he is leaving the management of the PNP’s affairs to officer-in-charge 
Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, Año said he is keeping a close watch on the police 
organization. 
“I will just closely supervise the organization and institute reforms that 
will improve further its efficiency and effectiveness,” he said in a text 
message to The STAR. 
In a separate statement to reporters, Año said he is ready to supervise the 
PNP until Duterte chooses the country’s next police chief. 
“My job is to supervise the organization on his behalf as his alter ego,” 
Año said. 


AFP TO HAVE NEW CHIEF ON JANUARY 4 

MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will have a new commander 
on Saturday when Gen. Noel Clement relinquishes the top military post to his 
still unnamed successor after only three months on the job. 
Clement, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1985, 
assumed command of the AFP last September and will reach the military’s 
mandatory retirement age of 56 on Sunday. 
In a media advisory, the AFP Public Affairs Office said the AFP Change of 
Command and Retirement Ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Camp 
Aguinaldo grandstand in Quezon City with President Duterte as presiding 
officer. 
Unlike his predecessor, retired Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., whose 
three-month term as AFP chief was extended by Duterte for another six months 
post retirement, Clement is not getting any extension, according to Defense 
Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. 
However, of all the retired AFP chiefs that served under the Duterte 
administration, Madrigal is the only one who has yet to get any government 
position. 
As of yesterday, Camp Aguinaldo insiders said the Palace has yet to 
communicate with the top defense and AFP leaderships regarding the next AFP 
chief. 


FIRECRACKER INJURIES DECLINE IN WELCOME TO NEW YEAR'S DAY 2020 

MANILA -- Firecracker related injuries declined in the run-up to New Year's 
Day 2020, compared to the previous year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque 
said. 
The Department of Health Recorded 164 injuries from Dec. 21 to early morning 
of Jan. 1, down 35 percent during the same comparable period leading to New 
Year's Day 2019, Duque said. 
There were no immediate reports of deaths and the casualty count could rise 
since the DOH will record cases up to Jan. 6, Duque told reporters. 
At the Jose Fabella hospital in Manila, a man's hand was amputated after a 
powerful firecracker, Goodbye Philippines, exploded in his grasp. 
At the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, 16 were treated for burns 
mostly due to kuwitis (rocket) and sparklers. A woman was wounded in the eye 
while filming the festivities using her smartphone. 
A man was wounded when his pressure cooker exploded while another was hit on 
the head with a bottle. 
There were no immediate reports of injuries due to stray bullets. 
In Manila, another 16 were brought to different hospitals due to 
firecracker-related injuries, the city's public information office said. 
Authorities advised the public not to pick up unexploded firecrackers and 
sparklers from the streets. 


TV5 OPEN TO BLOCKTIME DEAL WITH ABS-CBN — MV

MANILA — PLDT chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said TV5 Network Inc. is 
open but cautious at the same time to a blocktime deal with ABS-CBN Corp. 
should the franchise renewal of the Lopez-owned broadcast company not be 
granted next year. 
Pangilinan clarified that there are no ongoing talks between the PLDT-backed 
network and ABS-CBN at present. 
“We have lots of highways on 5. Setting aside the politics, if they want to 
blocktime we are prepared to talk. We don’t have much entertainment content. 
It’s up to them,” Pangilinan said. 
“Of course politically, the President might say something so we are also 
reluctant,” he said. 
ABS-CBN is in danger of not having its franchise renewed when it expires 
next year following repeated threats from President Duterte himself. 
Duterte has said several times that he is personally against the franchise 
renewal of the media and entertainment giant, which expires on March 30, 
2020. 
Asked if TV5 is open to a buy-out deal should ABS-CBN make an offer, 
Pangilinan said he did not want to think about it “because it won’t happen.” 
“I don’t want to be presumptuous. We don’t want to think about it. It’s up 
to them, but we’re not offering them anything. We’re not suggesting anything 
to them so there are really no talks,” he said. 
TV5, for its part, is planning to infuse more entertainment content into the 
channel starting next year, but without giving up its strength in sports. 


COMMANDERS FACE SANCTIONS FOR COPS CAUGHT FIRING GUNS 

MANILA — Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie 
Gamboa yesterday warned police commanders that they would face 
administrative sanctions if their personnel would be involved in the 
indiscriminate firing of guns during the New Year celebration. 
Gamboa issued the warning after a policeman assigned at the Butuan City 
police station was arrested for indiscriminate firing on Dec. 26. 
“We will also hold you responsible,” he said in an interview over radio 
station dzMM, addressing the police commanders. 
Gamboa stressed that unit commanders are also liable if they fail to 
supervise their personnel against indiscriminate firing. 
“The commander is equally liable, especially if we see that he did not do 
anything about it,” he said in Filipino. 


DFA TO ENSURE SAFETY OF 2 FILIPINO SEAMEN KIDNAPPED OFF CAMEROON 

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday it was 
monitoring the reported kidnapping of a group of seafarers, including 2 
Filipinos in Cameroon. 
"The Philippine Embassy in Abuja, which has jurisdiction over Cameroon, is 
coordinating with relevant authorities to ensure safety and security of the 
Filipino seafarers," the DFA said in a statement. 
On Tuesday, armed men attacked a Greek-flagged oil tanker in the port of 
Limbe and abducted 8 of its crewmembers including 5 Greeks, 2 Filipinos and 
a Ukranian. 


VENDORS GET LAST GLIMPSE OF ICONIC MANILA MALL 

MANILA — Stall owners who have been in Harrison Plaza for decades gave 
tribute to the country’s first one-stop mall, which closed shop yesterday 
after four decades. 
Many vendors told The STAR their main problem now was where to find 
affordable rent like in Harrison, where it cost P30,000 a month. 
The mall’s closure displaced a group of 15 visually impaired masseurs 
employed in “Bless Massage Centre” on the second floor. 
“Harrison is the massage capital of the Philippines. That is its legacy. The 
owners have been kind to the visually impaired,” said the massage center’s 
supervisor Tess Muñoz, who was teary-eyed as she recalled their shop’s 
beginnings in 2008 to give employment to persons with disabilities. 
When The STAR visited their shop Monday, they had just up a sign that read 
“Thank you for all the years of supporting the visually impaired masseurs!” 
They are now moving to a smaller space near the Light Rail Transit’s 
Carriedo station. 


DEPLOYMENT BAN TO KUWAIT A 'POSSIBILITY' AFTER OFW DEATH: LABOR CHIEF 

MANILA -- The Philippines could again ban the deployment of workers to 
Kuwait unless authorities in the Middle East state secures justice for a 
Filipina who was killed by her employer there, Labor Secretary Silvestre 
Bello III said Wednesday. 
Filipino authorities are working to repatriate the remains of the victim, 
Jeanelyn Villavende from Nuralla, South Cotabato. Her female employer is 
accused of killing her. 
President Rodrigo Duterte banned the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait in 2018 
following reported deaths of Filipino workers, including Joanna Demafelis, 
whose body was found in a freezer. 
"I'm ready to do that. Ngayon, this is another possibility na hindi remote 
na magdedeployment ban din kami sa Kuwait unless they can show us na 
mabigyan ng katarungan ang ating kababayan na si Jeanelyn," said Bello in an 
interview on DZMM. 
An early report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait 
indicated that Villavende was "maltreated" by her employer, who is detained, 
Bello said. 
The Department of Foreign Affairs condemned Villavende's killing, calling it 
a violation of the agreement signed by the Philippine and Kuwaiti 
governments in 2018 to protect OFWs. 
Bello said he would summon the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Manila on Thursday for 
a meeting regarding the incident. 


MEET 2020'S 'NEW YEAR BABIES' AT JOSE FABELLA HOSPITAL 

MANILA -- Five babies were delivered at the Philippines' main maternal and 
newborn hospital from midnight, as the country welcomed 2020. 
The first of the New Year babies, Ericka Escopete, was born at the Jose 
Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila a few minutes before midnight. Her 
20-year-old mother, Rosel said she did not expect to deliver her second 
child that day. 
"Tuwang-tuwa po. Akala ko kasi hindi pa ako mangananak. Mahirap, pero pag 
nakita mo ang bata, parang wala na," Escopete said. 
At around 12:05 a.m., Kate Nicole Rodriguez gave birth to daughter Ziaxia 
Zhavia, two days earlier than her due date. 
"Napakasaya po. Napaka overwhelmed kasi New Year, salubong sa Bagong Taon 
tapos first baby pa. Napakasaya po. Kahit malayo sa pamilya, sobrang saya," 
said the baby's father, Andrai John Cabaluna. 
As of 4 a.m. Wednesday, 3 more babies were born at Jose Fabella, where 
delivery and medicine are free. The hospital delivered more New Year babies 
this year from 2019. 
"Seems to be healthy naman silang dalawa so good for the New Year natin," 
said doctor on duty Maria Niña Quilnat, referring to the 2 girls born at 
around midnight. 


300 PAMILYA SA MAYNILA NASUNUGAN SA BAGONG TAON 

MAYNILA - Nasa 300 pamilya ang nawalan ng tirahan ngayong Bagong Taon 
matapos na masunog ang isang residential area sa Sta. Ana sa Maynila. 
Isang fire volunteer at isang residente ang nasugatan din sa kasagsagan ng 
apoy, ayon sa Bureau of Fire Protection. 
Alas-6:42 ng umaga nang ideklarang fire under control ang sunog na nagsimula 
alas-4 ng madaling araw. 
Nasa 50 bahay ang tinupok ng apoy. Tinatayang nasa P2.5 milyon ang halaga ng 
naabong ari-arian. 
Patuloy na inaalam pa ng awtoridad ang pinagmulan ng apoy pero malaki umano 
ang posibilidad na ito ay firecracker-related. 
Dalawang covered courts ang binuksan para magsilbing pansamantalang tuluyan 
ng mga nasunugang pamilya. 


ANGEL LOCSIN, SINIMULAN NA ANG KANYANG ANTI-PIRACY CAMPAIGN 

Sinimulan na ni Angel Locsin ang pagiging anti-piracy ambassador ng Optical 
Media Board. 
Nakapag-shoot na si Angel ng kanyang kauna-unahang anti-piracy campaign 
video kasama ang aktor na si Cholo Barretto. 
Napapanood na ang video sa mga sinehan bago ipalabas ang mga pelikulang 
kalahok sa Metro Manila Film Festival. 


PBA: SO WHO WINS BEST PLAYER OF THE CONFERENCE NOW? 

The Best Player of the Conference derby heads to a curious finish, with not 
a single player from finalists Barangay Ginebra and Meralco making the Top 
Five in the stats race. (Photo by Richard Esguerra) 
The fight for the coveted individual plum in the PBA Governors’ Cup is a 
virtual barroom brawl. 
The Best Player of the Conference derby heads to a curious finish, with not 
a single player from finalists Barangay Ginebra and Meralco making the Top 
Five in the stats race. 
San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo, Columbian Dyip super rookie CJ Perez, 
NorthPort’s Christian Standhardinger, NLEX’s Kiefer Ravena and TNT KaTropa’s 
Jayson Castro slug it out in the BPC rumble. 
Meanwhile, two-time Governors’ Cup Best Import winner Allen Durham and 
one-time Commissioner’s Cup top reinforcement Justin Brownlee are again 
chief rivals for the coveted ware. 
With outside chances for the Best Import honors are TNT’s KJ McDaniels and 
NorthPort’s Michael Qualls. 
But it could well be either Durham or Brownlee as they’ve remained class 
acts, with their topnotch performances leading to a third finals duel in the 
season-ending tourney. 
The BPC award is a toss-up among Fajardo, Perez, Standhardinger, Ravena and 
Castro – all with strong cases to win the award. 
Fajardo (with an average of 38.8 stats points) narrowly won the stats race 
over Perez (37.2), the season’s top draft selection who made good impression 
all season long, including in the Governors’ Cup where he showed the way in 
scoring (23.2) and in steals (2.5). 
Standhardinger (35.1 SPs) and Castro (31.6 SPs) were two candidates who were 
able to carry their teams to the semis while Ravena earned taps on the back 
with his fine showing coming from his long FIBA suspension. 
Three Ginebra stalwarts in Stanley Pringle (30.8), Japeth Aguilar (29.9) and 
LA Tenorio (28.0) narrowly missed the Magic Five together with TNT’s RR 
Pogoy (30.4) and Meralco’s Chris Newsome (29.8). 
Tied with Tenorio at 10th spot was Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang (28.0) then came 
another rookie in Bobby Ray Parks (27.5), followed by Raymond Almazan 
(27.4), Jeth Troy Rosario (27.0) and Matthew Wright (26.8) to round out the 
Top 15. 
Fajardo collected averages of 19.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 
1.2 blocks to contend for a second BPC award in the season following his BPC 
coronation in the all-Filipino tourney. 
Meanwhile, Castro, the Commissioner’s Cup best player, normed 14.9 markers, 
5.9 dish-offs, 4.4 boards and 1.7 steals. 


NBA SCORES DEC 30 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Hawks 7-27    25    22    27    27    101 
team logo Magic 14-19    21    36    15    21    93 
SCORING LEADERS 
    B. Goodwin ATL 
21 PTS, 3 REB, 6 AST 
    N. Vucevic ORL 
27 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Heat 24-9    39    24    18    24    105 
team logo Wizards 10-22    29    42    19    33    123 
SCORING LEADERSJ. Butler MIA 
27 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST 
J. McRae WAS 
29 PTS, 4 REB, 8 AST 


FINAL/OT 
    1    2    3    4    OT    T 
team logo Nets 16-16    29    21    30    23    12    115 
team logo Timberwolves 12-20    27    22    25    29    19    122 
SCORING LEADERS 
    S. Dinwiddie BKN 
36 PTS, 5 REB, 8 AST 
    S. Napier MIN 
24 PTS, 3 REB, 8 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Bucks 30-5    31    24    40    28    123 
team logo Bulls 13-21    20    32    25    25    102 
SCORING LEADERSK. Middleton MIL 
25 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST 
Z. LaVine CHI 
19 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Pistons 12-22    21    19    18    23    81 
team logo Jazz 21-12    19    20    29    36    104 
SCORING LEADERS 
    D. Rose DET 
20 PTS, 0 REB, 4 AST 
    D. Mitchell UTA 
23 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Suns 13-20    19    36    28    39    122 
team logo Trail Blazers 14-20    38    26    25    27    116 
SCORING LEADERSD. Booker PHO 
33 PTS, 6 REB, 7 AST 
D. Lillard POR 
33 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST 

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