World Newsletter

19 Nov 2020



MANILA - President Duterte has threatened that things will not be easy

should Vice President Leni Robredo decide to run for president in the 2022

elections as he would be her "nightmare."

Duterte aired his gripe against Robredo, whom he accused of criticizing him

for making himself scarce during the onslaught of Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses

that left scores dead amid massive flooding in Luzon.

"Next time, do not make a mistake, or I'll be forced to insult you because

you are playing too much. Nagpapa-beauty ka (You are making yourself look

good). It's not the time for you," the President said during a nationwide

address after meeting the core members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for

the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) last Tuesday night.

Duterte lambasted Robredo and stressed that she was lying to the Filipino

people for making it appear that he was missing in action while Filipinos

were bearing the brunt of strong winds and rains brought by the typhoons.

The Chief Executive said he would already be on his way out of office during

the campaign for the 2022 elections, and by that time, he could carry out

the most he could do against her electoral plans, and that would be her

"nightmare" when she runs for higher office.

"During the campaign, papaalis na ako. Sige subukan mo. Matagal na ako

maraming gusto sabihin sa yo. Ireserba ko. When you start your campaign 'pag

magtakbo ka ng presidente, waswasan kita nang husto. This is your

nightmare," he added.






MANILA - The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday dismissed

allegations they were behind the hashtags critical of President Rodrigo

Duterte in the wake of successive typhoons that hit the country.

Speaking to ANC's "Matters of Fact," Robredo's spokesman Barry Gutierrez

said they don't have the time and energy to engage in such social media

campaign given the "more important concerns" they need to address.

"Instead of talking about what needs to be done in order to rebuild the

lives of all those affected by the typhoon, all those affected by flooding,

here we are spending so much time talking about hashtags, talking about who

said what, talking about all these things, and to be very clear, we are not

interested in this," he said.

Gutierrez said hashtags such as #NasaanAngPangulo were organic amid public

clamor for Duterte's presence in typhoon-ravaged areas.

Gutierrez also said the hashtag against Duterte was nothing compared to the

campaigns of his supporters against the vice president.

"Come on, the President complaining about the hashtag when for 4 years the

Vice President has been continuously blasted by a never-ending barrage of

fake news, of online abuse. Her daughters been subjected to rape threats.

The baseless insinuations, completely false of course, about her personal

life have been made. And you know, she just shuts it off. It's something

that comes with the territory."

He also denounced Duterte's camp for subjecting Robredo to a witch hunt, in

a time where relief efforts should be the main focus of the government.

"Why be insecure if you have 91 percent approval rating," Gutierrez said,

referring to a September 2020 Pulse Asia survey where majority of Filipinos

approved Duterte's performance despite the government's heavily-criticized

COVID-19 pandemic response.

He added, "If they really believed that they did everything right, in other

words there's really no call for the public to criticize them, if he really

believed he had a valid reason for not going and despite the fact that he

was in the ASEAN, they did all they could to give correct, timely

information to the people affected by the typhoons and the flooding, and to

bring help in a timely manner to all these places where the flooding

occurred, then I don't see what the big deal is."

Despite Duterte's tirade against Robredo, Gutierrez said the Vice President

was focused on doing the essential work and maintained she was not competing

with anyone.

"The Vice President is clearly more interested in doing the work that needs

to be done. If somebody else wants to take credit for what she has done,

fine. If somebody wants to say, 'We did more,' fine. It's not an issue," he






MANILA - Embattled Health Sec. Francisco Duque III early Thursday morning

admitted that there are anomalous activities being committed in the

Department of Health (DOH), after Sen. Richard Gordon threatened to block

the agency's budget.

During the Senate briefing on DOH's proposed 2021 budget, Gordon said

billions of pesos were withdrawn from treatment spending plans, like the

controversial Dengvaxia, and health facility enhancement programs, like

mobile dental clinics.

The senator, who took part in the briefing via teleconference, highlighted a

P8.1 billion project to establish school-based barangay health stations

(BHS) across the country, which were supposed to be completed in two phases.

He said that only 270 BHS were completed out of 3,200 in Phase 1, and the

costs of these stations reached around P4.4 billion. The project was

terminated in 2018.

Gordon said J. Bros Construction, which got the project, was also ordered by

the Supreme Court to return the stipulated mobilization fee amounting to

P686 million.

"What is now the update on the barangay health centers, nabawi na ba natin

'yung pera?" he asked.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, sponsor of the DOH's budget, said that the agency

blacklisted J. Bros but this was overturned by the Manila Regional Trial


"The DOH, with the OSG (Office of the Solicitor General) is questioning this

RTC decision. This case is pending before the RTC of Manila," she said.

"This is really swindling the barangay health centers and all,"

Gordon said. "Ang lakas naman ng mga loob ng mga 'yan. Ano ba ginagawa ninyo

Sec. Duque. Ano ginagawa niyo ng lawyers niyo diyan?"

"Do you agree that there's corruption here?" he asked.

"It's under investigation. It's always, it is impossible," Cayetano said.

Gordon however refused to accept Cayetano's answer and said he is tempted to

block the budget of DOH if it did not admit there are anomalous activities

in the agency.

"The question is simple: do they agree that there is corruption as a

department?" he asked.

Cayetano immediately replied that Duque, who was sitting behind her, agreed

to Gordon's query.

"Thank you, that's all I wanted to hear," Gordon said.

Senators said that Duque, resigned PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, and

other executive officers of the insurance agency should be charged with

malversation and graft for the "improper and illegal implementation" of the

interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).

President Rodrigo Duterte however, has repeatedly defended and vouched for

the health chief, saying he trusts Duque despite numerous allegations

against the latter.





MANILA - The University of the Philippines on Thursday denied President

Rodrigo Duterte's accusation that it recruits students to join the communist


Duterte made the allegation as he threatened to defund the state university

for supposedly calling for an academic strike against the administration's

alleged negligence in responding to disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the President "somehow confused" the

state university with the Ateneo De Manila University, who initiated the

call for an academic strike.

The university is part of government and is a "liberal environment," said UP

vice president for public affairs Elena Pernia.

"Ang UP 'di nagre-recruit. We don't recruit for the communist party. We are

an educational institution. We teach, we do research, we do public service.

We don't recruit," she told ANC's Headstart.

"The University of the Philippines has a history of being activist but we

must make clear that the university is not anti-government. We are the

national university."

Defunding the university, which has up to 60,00 students in 16 campuses,

will affect its nationwide operations and projects with government, Pernia


"We are a community of scholars dedicated for the nation's quest for

development and we continue to serve our government. Many of our faculty are

doing service for government agencies," she said.

"Sayang 'yun. 'Yung kahusayan na nagagawa namin para sa bayan mismo ay


If there were any recruitments inside the university's campuses, it is "not

only one-sided," Pernia said.

"Kung sabihin mong may nagre-recruit na komunista, meron din namang

nagre-recruit sa militar," she said.






MANILA - The Philippines will have to import more rice in 2021 after losing

about 8 days worth of supply following the onslaught of 3 consecutive

typhoons, Agriculture Sec. William Dar said Thursday.

Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses which crossed Luzon within weeks of each

other caused about P12.3 billion of damage in agriculture, said Dar. Rice

accounts for some 39.2 percent of the total, he said.

"Presently, we can say that about 8 days of rice consumption had been

damaged and with our inventory, we still have 82 days to last, so marami po

tayong bigas sa bansa (we have a lot of rice in the country)," he told ANC's


This refers to the total inventory of rice in the country including what's

kept with the National Food Authority, in households, and in private sectors

starting January 1, 2021. It is composed of both locally produced and

imported rice.

Dar said the department was originally targeting 93 percent rice sufficiency

next year, but with the recent typhoons, this will have to be brought down

to only about 89 to 90 percent. The Philippines will then have to import the

remaining 10-11 percent.

"Yes, that's a given because we are not able to produce 100 percent yet," he


Dar said one area that needs to be addressed is the 1.2 million hectares of

rice fields that are yet to have a national irrigation system.

"Without that, I cannot see happening na ma-produce natin lahat ng pagkain

natin (that we produce our entire consumption). So we have to enhance,

accelerate the investment in terms of having to develop more irrigated

areas," he said.

The DA has an P8-billion budget for agricultural input for the dry season

and is also gearing up to provide insurance indemnification of about P10,000

to P15,000 to affected farmers who are part of the program, he said.

Should there be no more typhoons expected to enter the Philippines, massive

planting of crops may begin by the second week of December, he said.





MANILA - President Duterte has ordered the establishment of a national

government administrative center (NGAC) at the New Clark City in Capas,

Tarlac to serve as a "backup" government center during disasters and


Under Executive Order 119 Duterte issued on Tuesday, the NGAC will serve as

an integrated government center outside Metro Manila.

The President ordered the "whole of government" to put up satellite or field

offices in the government hub.

Government-owned and controlled corporations as well as the legislative and

judicial branches of government were encouraged to establish their

appropriate offices.

The President said the government center is also seen as a catalyst for the

creation of new economic opportunities outside Metro Manila.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council was tasked to

determine the phases of the establishment and clusters of the satellite


The Bases Conversion and Development Authority shall assist the government

in securing "advantageous, cost-efficient and flexible" logistical and

financial arrangements in putting up the field offices.









ADELAIDE, Australia - Over 10,300 returning overseas Filipinos, not just

those migrant workers repatriated by the Department of Foreign Affairs

(DFA), were confirmed to have contracted SARS-CoV-2.

February 9 to November 17 data from the Department of Health showed that

these 10,333 with SARS-CoV-2 were mostly land-based migrants (6,486, or

62.8% of the total).

The rest (3,847) were seafarers.

Six of these returning overseas Filipinos have died, five of whom are

land-based migrants, DOH's Bureau of International Health Cooperation (BIHC)

reported during a national migrant health conference that kicked off online


As of November 17, about 9,920 of these returning migrant Filipinos with

COVID-19 have recovered, BIHC Director Dr. Maria Soledad Antonio reported.

BIHC also tallied around 601,460 returning overseas Filipinos during the

same ten-month period. Of that total, only 3,811 of them remain in

quarantine facilities as of November 17.





MANILA - Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Tuesday met with officials of the

Department of Education and Division of City Schools to discuss the conduct

of seminars about Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC) and Values Education


The meeting was held following the passage of Republic Act 11476, which was

signed by President Duterte to bring back GMRC and Values Education as a

separate subject from Grades 1 to 12.

Moreno said he wants to revive GMRC to help students "learn respect and

compassion for one another."

He also vowed to build more laboratories to strengthen Science, Technology,

Engineering and Mathematics programs in senior high schools.

Warehouses shut down

Meanwhile, the Manila city government yesterday padlocked two warehouses for

operating without a license.

Moreno and Bureau of Permits director Levi Facundo served closure orders on

two warehouses in Binondo for allegedly selling fake products delivered

through online shopping platforms.

He urged business owners in Manila to secure the necessary business permits

before operating.

Moreno also cautioned the public to be wary of fake products being sold


Among the products found in the warehouses and believed to be fake were

shampoos, lotion, body wash, bath soaps and other cosmetic products.





MANILA - Customers of Maynilad Water Services Inc. should brace for up to 16

hours of water service interruption until next week.

In an advisory issued yesterday, Maynilad said its basins have been filled

with sludge due to increased turbidity of raw water going into its treatment

plants since last week.

One of the basins has been fully drained, exposing a four-meter high

accumulation of sludge equivalent to 20,000 drums of sludge.

Maynilad said it expects to see the same volume of sludge in the other two

basins that also need to be cleansed.

"To give way to this cleaning, we have to reduce the production of water in

our plants," the water concessionaire said.

Roughly one million people or 70 percent of Maynilad's customers will

experience daily water service interruption that will last until Nov. 24.

The interruption can last from 12 hours to 16 hours per day.





MANILA - Baguio City will tighten its borders after nearby towns saw an

increase in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Thursday.

The city earlier formed a tourism bubble with nearby towns and Ilocos

region. It opened its doors to Luzon tourists in October.

Stricter rules will be implemented on those coming from the towns of Tuba,

La Trinidad, Sablan, and Tublay beginning Saturday, according to the mayor.

"Kailangan po talaga namin higpitan para di kami nagpapalitan ng infection.

We were hoping also they will increase their contact tracing and testing

capacity," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.





MANILA - Some 16,000 health workers have yet to receive their hazard pay for

manning the medical frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lack of

funding, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

The government disbursed some P842 million for the hazard pay of 86,348

medical frontliners, but 16,764 health workers have not received the

benefit, said Sen. Pia Cayetano who was sponsoring the DOH's proposed 2021

budget in plenary.

"The reason for this is there is no more funding," she said.

"They just have enough for the length Bayanihan was in effect... so for the

new hires, that might have to be a separate appropriation," she said,

referring to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the Philippines' first

COVID-19 aid package.

The government needs P108.2 million more to cover the hazard pay of the

16,000 health workers, she said.

Under President Rodrigo Duterte's Administrative Order No. 35, health

workers are entitled to receive a P3,000 hazard pay for every month of duty.

Administrative Order No. 36 grants health frontliners an additional "COVID

special risk allowance not exceeding P5,000 per month."

While 60,682 health workers have received their special risk allowance,

there are still those who remain unpaid, Cayetano said.








MANILA - Nadine Lustre and James Reid remain Kapamilya stars, as they took

part Wednesday in the filming of ABS-CBN's Christmas station ID.

Photos of the onscreen couple wearing the official "Ikaw ang Liwanag at

Ligaya" shirt quickly circulated on social media, drawing excitement from

their fans.

The photos were taken on set, and were posted on Twitter by ABS-CBN creative

manager Kathrina Sanchez.

Popularly known as "JaDine," the tandem of Lustre and Reid starred in the

hit ABS-CBN dramas "On the Wings of Love" in 2015 and "Till I Met You" in


As a Kapamilya, Reid was most recently seen as a judge in "Search for the

Idol Philippines" in 2019. Similarly, Lustre sat as judge in the ABS-CBN

talent search "Your Moment," which concluded in February 2020.

In 2015, Reid and Lustre led the ABS-CBN Christmas station ID, "Thank You

for The Love," alongside fellow top love teams KathNiel and LizQuen.

Their participation in "Ikaw ang Liwanag at Ligaya," the previously unveiled

theme title of ABS-CBN's 2020 Christmas station ID, will mark their sixth

with the network.

Dating back to 2002, ABS-CBN has been releasing annual Christmas station

IDs, producing memorable tunes that have become holiday staples, notably

"Star ng Pasko" and "Just Love," among others.

The 2018 version marked one of the biggest gatherings of celebrities in

local showbiz, as some 400 ABS-CBN stars and personalities assembled for the

"Family is Love" station ID.








WED, NOV 18, 2020    Q1    Q2    Q3    Q4    T

Barangay Ginebra    21    27    23    25    96

Meralco Bolts    17    19    18    25    79

TNT Tropang Giga    16    20    31    28    95

Phoenix Fuel Masters    24    13    24    31    92





FOREX $1 = P 48.22





When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to

catch you. - Lolly Daskal

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