World Newsletter

18 Nov 2020




MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to stop funding the University

of the Philippines (UP) following calls from students for an academic strike

against the alleged negligence of the current administration in disaster

response and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a public address aired late Tuesday, Duterte threatened to defund UP, and

claimed that it is a recruitment ground for communist rebels.

"Sige. 'Yung mga eskuwelahan, UP? Fine. Maghinto kayo ng aral. I will stop

the funding. Wala nang ginawa itong mga ano kundi magrecruit ng mga

komunista diyan. Tapos nag-aaral kayo, gusto niyo bira birahin ang gobyerno.

Masyado naman naka-swerte kayo. 'Wag talaga kayong matakot. Manakot, rather,

because I will oblige you," he said.

He also told students of private universities to just stop studying and

monitor how the government is handling disasters.

"You are taking the cudgels of the poor ahead of your time. That is not your

worry. That is the worry of government. Kami sabi ko nagtatrabaho kami.

Government workers kami. Anong silbi namin dito mag-upo lang kundi gumalaw

para sa tao," Duterte said.

"At yung ganoong mga threat, huwag kayong pumasok. I suggest to you, stop

schooling, until mabakunahan ang lahat ng Filipino. You resume your duty and

you wait for another typhoon and see if the help that we extend is enough to

your satisfaction," he added.

Duterte was reacting to calls from several student groups for an academic

freeze to give students enough time to recover from the string of typhoons

which battered parts of the country.

However, it was students from the Ateneo de Manila University, not from UP,

who started calls for an academic strike against the alleged incompetence of

the Duterte administration.

Faculty members from UP only urged the UP administration for an immediate

end to the semester, citing challenges in distance learning coupled with the

effects of typhoons that recently hit the country.

But UP's Office of the Student Regent said in a statement later that the

strike of UP students and faculty "is valid and reflective of the people’s

longstanding demand for accountability from the state."

"It brings calls from across sectors on education, on medical & economic

solutions, all geared towards ending tyranny. STOP THE ATTACKS. DEFEND UP!"

it said in a tweet.

"Throughout the pandemic and calamity, our constituency have offered our

minds and skills for public service for our kababayans. And we will continue

to do so. We will not allow any threat against us.

"Pres. Duterte must step down. We say no more to neglect and suffering. No

more!" it said.





MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should not be "onion-skinned" or

sensitive to criticism, Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday after the

former accused her of starting an online trend calling out government's

supposed inadequate disaster response.

The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (Where Is The President) trended on Twitter on

Thursday while Ulysses inundated large swaths of Luzon.

"Para sa’tin, dapat kasi di tayo balat-sibuyas sa ganyan, kasi traditionally

naman kung sino ang nakaupo marami talagang reklamo ang tao. Di dapat siya

nagiging dahilan para magaway-away lalo na sa panahon na dapat

nagtutulong-tulungan," she said in a Facebook live while extending aid in

Ragay town, Camarines Sur.

"Kahit nung time ni PNoy (former President Benigno Aquino III) ginagamit na

'yung hashtag na 'yan. 'Yung ngayon, di lang yata ngayong typhoon, parang

ginamit na siya even before."

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday accused Robredo of lying about his

whereabouts while typhoon Ulysses battered parts of the country last week.

In a lengthy, repeated rant during his weekly public address, Duterte called

Robredo a liar, accusing her of misleading the public that he was missing in

action during the typhoon.

"I would like to just give a caution to the vice president. She made a

blunder, a big one, and she practically lied, making her incapable of

truth," he alleged.

He also said that he is a "night person" who works late into the night

reading official documents.

Robredo said it was "unpresidential" of Duterte for telling her that he

would insult her if she runs for president.

"I think that’s very unpresidential pero karapatan niya namang sabihin kung

ano ang dapat niyang sabihin pero siguraduhin niya lang na tama 'yung

pinagbabasehan niya and in this case, mali siya," she said.

The Vice President said whoever peddled the "fake news" that she began the

hashtag must have been someone close to the President.

"Ang pakiusap ko wag na nilang dagdagan kasi sobrang dami na ng peddlers of

false information," she said.






MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday snapped back at President

Rodrigo Duterte after the latter asked her where she spends her nights.

Duterte earlier claimed in the public briefing that Robredo misled the

public that he was missing in action during Typhoon Ulysses' onslaught in

the Philippines. She made no such statement however.

He also asserted he was a "night person" who works late into the night

reading official documents.

"Sinabi ko sa tao 'yan that I am a night person, my day begins at 2, 2

o'clock hanggang gabi na, no limit. Hanggang gabi na 'yan, umaabot ng alas

dos, alas tres ng umaga," Duterte said.

The President then asked the Vice President what time she goes home and

whose house she hangs around in.

"Kung sabihin ko tuloy sayo, what time did you go home? Ikaw, noong gabi,

anong oras ka umuwi? Isang bahay ka lang ba, dalawang bahay?" Duterte said.

"Gusto kong malaman, ikaw, gabi-gabi lumalakad ka, anong oras ka umuuwi? At

kaninong bahay ka tumutuloy?" he repeated.

Robredo blasted Duterte's remarks, calling him a "misogynist".

"When a President is a misogynist, the conversation goes down to this

level," she said in a tweet.

Robredo showed a video of her staff and volunteers preparing relief goods

for typhoon-hit families and residents.

"Eto po yung ginagawa namin gabi gabi, nagpupuyat ilang linggo na para,

araw-araw, may madala lang na tulong sa mga nangangailangan," she said.

Robredo debunked Duterte's accusations that she asked his own whereabouts,

saying she only called out Palace chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo for

falsely claiming she rode on a government plane to donate relief goods.

"I just called out Sec. Panelo for peddling fake news. I am also calling out

whoever peddled the fake news to the President, kaya ganito siya ka pikon. I

never said 'Where is the President'? You can review all my tweets," the Vice

President said.






MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte spewed tirades against Vice President

Leni Robredo because she allegedly asked where he was during the onslaught

of this year's most destructive typhoon, his spokesman said Wednesday, even

as he admitted he was "not sure" where the Chief Executive got his


Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte's supporters "could not

be... behind" the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (where is the President) when

Ulysses spawned floods in vast swaths of Luzon and trapped people on their

rooftops last week.

Asked whether or not Duterte could have been misinformed that Robredo also

inquired about his whereabouts, Roque said, “I am not sure and I do not know

and my role as a spokesman basically is to clarify matters if what the

President said was not clear, but I think what he said last night was very


“It’s expected that she would deny, of course, given the very strong words

of the President against her, but we all know that the hashtag

#NasaanAngPangulo was trending," Roque told CNN Philippines.

“And as far as the President’s statements are concerned, I think the

President would not have been irritated as he was, if he did not have

personal knowledge that the Vice President was asking for his whereabouts,

either privately or publicly,” he added.

Roque said he was "not saying" that Robredo started the #NasaanAngPangulo

mess, "but it was a very loud hashtag."

The Vice President had said she never used #NasaanAngPangulo, and that

helping Filipinos cope with Ulysses was not a contest.





MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s meltdown against Vice President Leni

Robredo’s disaster response efforts in light of successive storms that

struck the country is uncalled for, a political analyst said Wednesday.

“I think it’s his personal and leadership style but I think it’s uncalled

for,” Dr. Francisco Magno, associate political science professor at the De

La Salle University (DLSU), told ANC.

“In times of disaster, the government should be inviting all the kind of

support and help that is necessary.”

In times of disaster, political affiliations should not even matter, he


“That shouldn't be a factor anymore because we have to know the vice

president is an elected official. In fact, after an election, they have to

work together,” Magno said.

Robredo comes from the opposition Liberal Party, which Duterte has

frequently criticized for disapproving his policies such as the government’s

response to the COVID-19 crisis and the war on drugs.

In a lengthy, repeated rant during his weekly public address Tuesday,

Duterte lashed out at Robredo for allegedly misleading the public over his

supposed absence in the government’s response to the successive typhoons.

He said he was attending the ASEAN Summit amid clamor over his public

presence in the aftermath of calamities, which sparked the hashtag


This prompted Robredo to hit back at the President, calling his remarks

“misogynistic.” She also maintained she made no such statement asking for

Duterte’s whereabouts.

For Magno, it is a "standard" that the President should be available during

extreme events. It was also not necessary for Duterte to keep tabs on

Robredo, he added.Magno added, “And the work of the vice president is very

limited in a sense that her funding is not that large. It’s kind of an

effort to help even in that situation.”

The government’s response to the recent typhoons, he said, only showed the

inadequacies in the existing institutional mechanisms.





MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo merely coordinated with and did not

give orders to the military for them to rescue residents affected by the

flooding brought by Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco), contrary to

the claims made by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"The claim that I have been giving orders to the military, that is wrong,"

Robredo told reporters in Ragay, Camarines Sur in Filipino on Wednesday.

Robredo said she was just passing distress calls to “whoever was on the

ground,” including the military, the police and government officials.

“I think it’s my obligation and the obligation of anyone who receives calls

for help to find help. For me, this is a time of disaster. We shouldn’t be

closing our doors to anyone extending help. For me, this is the time for all

of us to help each other,” she said partly in Filipino.

In his remarks, Duterte said that all Robredo did was to call up military


"Iyon bang ano mga helicopter natin na-deploy? Iyong ating mga ano nandoon

na? Yes, yes, yes ‘yan puro. Then you make it appear na gumalaw ang Armed

Forces. Kaya kita mo ininsulto ka ng dalawang generals. The one is I think a

Marine officer and the other one is an Army. General [Luga?], yeah. Kita mo

ininsulto ka. You are not part of the command," he said.

In the same speech, Duterte stressed that the military would not follow

Robredo's orders.

"Alam mo ‘yung mga military hindi ‘yan maniwala sa iyo because tama sila you

are not in the line of authority basta ganun. Wala kang… Times of emergency,

ako lang pati ang military. It’s between me and military pagka pulis. Iyan

lang sila kami mag-ano."

Malacañang stood by Duterte’s remarks during a televised address late

Tuesday night, saying that Robredo “made it appear” that she was the one

calling out uniformed personnel to give aid to victims of the floods.

Robredo did not make any such claim and her office last week said that they

had been facilitating requests for rescue and assistance.










MANILA — The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has ordered Solicitor General

Jose Calida to explain why he should not be cited in contempt as it junked

his and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s motions for Associate

Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit from the vice presidential poll protest.

The Supreme Court Public Information Office said Tuesday that the SC,

sitting as PET, tribunal voted unanimously to deny the Motions to Inhibit

separately by Marcos and Calida.

The PET also issued a show-cause order to Calida over his motion to inhibit

Leonen from the case.

Marcos, in his motion, accused Leonen of manifesting partiality to Vice

President Leni Robredo in the poll proceedings. Calida, just hours later,

filed a separate motion bearing almost the same arguments as Marcos’.

Calida said he was filing the motion to inhibit as part of his mandate of

being “tribune of the people,” the same reason he used when he took a stand

favoring Marcos in the voting shade threshold issue.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he supposed Calida’s motion “had

to filed” because of people’s interest on who won the vice presidential


The PET also issued a show cause order to Manila Times reporter Jomar

Canlas, who wrote a two-part report on the supposed “reflections” of Leonen

on the poll protest case early in the case deliberations.

Calida’s and Marcos’ two unrelated motions to inhibit filed on the same day

quoted from Canlas' report.

A copy of the PET resolution has yet to be made public. The SC PIO said this

will be uploaded on its website once available.





MANILA — Soldiers killed Saturday a stringer for a Masbate tabloid and

pastor in what they described as an encounter — an allegation that

colleagues of the journalist say is untrue.

Citing a police report, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

(NUJP) reported Tuesday that Ronnie Villamor, 50, was shot dead by members

of the army after he supposedly drew a firearm when he was ordered to stop

as he rode his motorcycle.

Army troops, led by 2nd Lieutenant Maydim Jomadil, told police that they

were investigating the presence of five armed men in Barangay Matanglad who

allegedly fled as they approached.

But colleagues of Villamor tell a different story, according to the union.

They said that the freelance journalist went to Matanglad with four

surveyors from Legazpi City at the request of a landowner to provide media

coverage of the survey, which a local journalist says is typical for such

activities as owners involved in disputes believe that the presence of the

media would prevent violence.

Villamor’s colleagues also said that he and his colleagues even coordinated

with the local police and informed them of why they were going to Matanglad.

But they said that the survey did not happen as a group of soldiers

supposedly prevented Villamor’s group from pushing through.

Villamor then decided to phone local police for assistance, his colleagues

said. It was then that several gunshots were heard and Villamor was killed.

According to NUJP’s tally, Villamor is the fourth journalist to be killed in

Masbate, the 19th slain during the administration of President Rodrigo

Duterte and the 191st since 1986.

His killing comes only four days after Virgilio Maganes was shot dead by

unknown assailants onboard a motorcycle outside of his home in Villasis,






MANILA - One more storm may enter the Philippine area of responsibility

before the month ends, state weather bureau PAGASA said Wednesday.

"Ang forecast for November is 1-3 (storms) pero dahil nasa kalagitnaan pa

lang tayo ng buwan, maaaring pumasok ang isa pang bagyo," PAGASA weather

forecaster Raymond Ordinario told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

The Philippines was battered by a series of storms beginning last month with

tropical depression Ofel, followed by tropical storm Pepito, Typhoon Quinta

(Molave), Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni), Severe tropical storm Siony (Atsani),

tropical storm Tonyo and Typhoon Ulysses.

Ulysses brought torrential rains that resulted in historic flooding in

Marikina and Cagayan, leaving at least 73 dead in the entire Luzon.








The 2020-21 NBA postseason will be expanded to include a play-in tournament

in each conference, the league announced Tuesday.

The pandemic-shortened regular season, reduced to 72 games, will start Dec.

22, and the postseason will open begin May 18.

Ten teams in each conference will advance to the postseason, with teams

seeded seventh through 10th participating in a play-in tournament to gain

admission to the conference playoffs.

The COVID-19-truncated 2019-20 season necessitated a delayed start to the

coming season, and the league continues to finalize details.

The NBA Board of Governors noted in announcing the changes that the season

would be established in two segments -- the first Dec. 22-March 4, followed

by the All-Star break (March 5-10), with the second half of the season March

11-May 16.

Intriguing differences in the playoff structure hold that the teams with the

seventh-best and eighth-best records in each conference will play one game,

with the winner becoming the No. 7 seed in the playoffs.

At the same time, the teams with the ninth- and 10th-best records will play

a game, with the winner of that contest then meeting the loser of the

"seven-eight" game for the right to become the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

So, the teams 7 and 8 would need only to win one game in two tries while

teams 9 and 10 would have to win two in a row.

Moreover, the 72-game schedule (compared to the traditional 82-game season)

will not be perfectly balanced. Pointedly, the league announced, "The Second

Half schedule will include the remainder of each team's 72 games not

scheduled in the First Half as well as any games postponed during the First

Half that can reasonably be added to the Second Half schedule."

The schedule will include teams playing three games against each

intraconference opponent and two games against each interconference


The playoffs are due to end by July 22, which is the day before the opening

ceremonies of the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo.





FOREX $1 = P 48.24





The more one belabors a point, the more skeptical I become; the louder one

talks, the further I back off. Repetition raises doubts in the minds of

those to whom you wish to make your point. - Robert J. Ringer

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