World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
23 Nov 2020

HOUSE TO SEEK ADDITIONAL P5 BILLION IN 2021 CALAMITY FUND

 

MANILA - The House of Representatives will seek to hike the calamity fund

for 2021 by at least P5 billion, which will be used for the reconstruction

of areas devastated by the recent string of typhoons.

In a statement, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the House will propose

the increase during the bicameral conference on the proposed P4.506 trillion

2021 national budget.

The two chambers will convene after the Senate approves its version of the

proposed budget.

According to Velasco, there is a need to augment next year's calamity fund,

especially since the House approved its version of the budget before the

typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses wreaked havoc in the country.

“Given the tremendous damage caused by these successive strong typhoons, it

is imperative that we augment the calamity fund in next year’s spending

plan. We have to help our people rebuild their lives and their communities,”

he said.

He also said that based on the reports of concerned agencies, the total

damage brought by the three typhoons to infrastructure and agriculture is

now at P35 billion.

Velasco said there are enough appropriations in the proposed budget from

which the needed funds could be taken.

 

 

UNICEF SAYS TO SHIP 2 BILLION COVID VACCINES TO POOR NATIONS IN 2021

 

LONDON - Nearly 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be shipped and

flown to developing countries next year in a "mammoth operation", the U.N.

children's agency UNICEF said on Monday, as world leaders vowed to ensure

the fair distribution of vaccines.

UNICEF said it was working with over 350 airlines and freight companies to

deliver vaccines and 1 billion syringes to poor countries such as Burundi,

Afghanistan and Yemen as part of COVAX, a global COVID-19 vaccine allocation

plan with the World Health Organization (WHO).

"This invaluable collaboration will go a long way to ensure that enough

transport capacity is in place for this historic and mammoth operation,"

said Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF's Supply Division, in a statement.

COVAX — co-led by GAVI vaccine group, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic

Preparedness Innovations — aims to discourage governments from hoarding

COVID-19 vaccines and to focus on first vaccinating the most at risk in

every country.

At a G20 summit this weekend, leaders of the biggest 20 world economies

pledged to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and

tests so that poorer countries are not left out.

 

 

SKYWAY EXTENSION PROJECT OWNER, CONTRACTORS LIABLE FOR GIRDER COLLAPSE: DOLE

 

MANILA - The owner and contractors of the construction project at the Skyway

Extension site in Muntinlupa are liable for the collapse of a steel girder

last Saturday, an official of the labor department said Monday.

The accident, which left 1 dead and 4 others injured, was reported to have

been caused by a crane that tilted and fell on the girder, which spans the

length of two posts of the northbound lane of the Skyway extension project.

Traffic enforcers and warning signs could not be seen in videos of the

accident that were uploaded on social media, said Engr. Noel Binag,

executive director of DOLE's occupational safety and health center.

"Ang unang-unang napansin natin sa video ay parang walang nag-enforce ng

traffic, so tingin ko na-compromise din ang public safety. They allowed

traffic to continue despite critical activity ng ating (of the)

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

"Considering ang oras na yan umaga, alam naman natin ang volume ng traffic

pagka Sabado ng umaga, rush hour yan."

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) on Sunday extended assistance and its President

apologized to the victims.

The company is required to file an incident report to the labor department

within 24 hours or face penalty, Binag said.

The DOLE will then validate the firm's report and make a technical report

that can be used by the victims' families to file a complaint, he added.

"Sa ating batas, jointly liable yung (project) owner, main contractor and

sub contractor, kung meron," he said.

 

 

PH ECONOMY SEEN RECOVERING 'ALMOST INSTANTLY' WITH 'INVESTOR FRIENDLY'

REFORMS

 

MANILA - The Philippine economy is poised to bounce back faster and catch up

with Vietnam's post-pandemic growth should the government rally for

investor-friendly reforms and push for more exports in the country, two

chamber of commerce heads told the ANC on Monday.

John Forbes of the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AmCham) and

Lars Wittig of the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECCP) said the

Philippines can bring back investments "almost instantly" should the right

laws be passed that will foster stability and predictability for foreign

investors and locators.

 

 

DRILON NIXES NEW AGENCIES, WANTS 2021 BUDGET TO FOCUS ON HEALTH, SOCIAL

SECTOR

 

MANILA - The creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience will be a

"disaster" and will add bureaucracy, Sen. Franklin Drilon said Monday as he

urged government to focus next year's spending plan on the health and social

sector as the COVID-19 pandemic persisted.

Calls for a disaster agency remerged after a series of typhoons lashed Luzon

beginning last month.

An additional calamity fund is what is needed, Drilon said, citing more than

P30 billion worth of damage that Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoons Quinta and

Ulysses left.

The senator said the proposed calamity fund for next year is at P16 billion

versus P20 billion last year.

"It will be a disaster because what we need are additional disaster or

calamity funds not additional bureaucracy. For every department you create

you spend one and a half billion in terms of salary and MOOE (maintenance

and other operating expenses) and you add to the bureaucracy," he told ANC's

Headstart.

"To create the Department of Disaster is a disaster because you need funds

especially today for calamity, COVID, housing, education rather than an

additional bureaucracy."

 

 

PHILIPPINES EYES 'TRAVEL BUBBLE' WITH SOME ASIAN COUNTRIES: DOT

 

MANILA – The Philippines is looking at setting up travel bubble arrangements

with other Asian countries, a tourism official said Monday, as its neighbors

begin to loosen travel restrictions after imposing lockdowns meant to curb

the spread of COVID-19.

“We've done some preparatory work, more or less which destination in

Southeast Asia or at least in Asia will be part of the travel bubble

program, which will most likely involve our resort destinations,” Tourism

Undersecretary Bong Benzon told ANC.

However, he did not say when such program would begin and what countries

could be involved, but it’s part of the country’s efforts to further revive

the hard-hit tourism sector.

To date, travel bubble arrangements, in which areas can open their borders

to each other to allow free movement of travelers, have been confined to

domestic destinations, Benzon said.

On Monday, Siargao in Surigao Del Norte, which is considered the country's

surfing capital, will open its doors to tourists anew, following the

reopening of Baguio City and Boracay in October.

“All domestic destinations are open to all Filipinos. International traffic

is still restricted. But we're hoping that overtime we'll be able to

increase the numbers of Filipinos moving around. Siargao is a gem of a

destination,” Benzon said.

Domestic tourism accounts for about 80 to 85 percent of total tourism

revenue, he added.

“We are confident in the next few months, with our focus on domestic

tourism, will be able to generate enough income to tide us over as we go

through this difficult time,” the tourism official said.

 

 

'KILLING ME SOFTLY': NURSES' GROUP URGES GOVT TO LIFT CAP ON DEPLOYMENT BAN

 

MANILA - A group of Filipino nurses on Monday urged the government to lift

its cap on healthcare workers allowed to work abroad and pay on time those

who serve in the frontlines against COVID-19.

Maristela Abenojar, national president of Filipino Nurses United, said

nearly 30,000 healthcare workers have yet to receive several months of

salary, hazard pay and special risk allowance.

"Tingin ko po ang nangyayari ngayon ay killing me softly. Unti-unti kaming

pinapatay. Pinapatay kami sa pagiging exposed, nang di nabibigyan ng sapat

na proteksyon sa COVID-19. Pinapatay din kami sa gutom," she told ABS-CBN's

Teleradyo.

"Panawagan po namin, malapit na ang pasko, maawa naman po kayo sa ating

nurses at iba pang healthworkers. Ngayon po namin kayo kailangan magpatupad

ng mabilisan na pagkilos dahil pera naman po yan ng sambayanang Pilipino so

sana po gawin niyo po ang dapat niyong gawin para sa amin."

President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend approved ending a ban deploying

the nation's healthcare workers overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic with a

limit of 5,000 a year.

Some 14 health professions are affected by the deployment limit, Abenojar

said.

"Paano po yan paghahatian ng 14 na propesyon. Ano po ang kanilang proseso ng

approval dyan, hindi ho kasi malinaw," she said.

Abenojar reiterated that there are 200,000 unemployed or underemployed

nurses in the country so government does not need to enforce a cap on

healthworkers working abroad.

"Ang mas challenge sa government ngayon ay ang panghihikayat sa healthcare

workers. Ang panghihikayat ay magiging matagumpay lamang kung sila ay

magpapatupad ng tamang pasahod at benepisyo," she said.

 

 

THE REST

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BI ALLOWS FOREIGN BUSINESSMEN TO ENTER PHILIPPINES

 

MANILA — Foreigners traveling for business and investments are now allowed

to visit the Philippines as the Bureau of Immigration (BI) further eases

entry restrictions on foreign nationals, it was learned yesterday.

“Effective immediately, treaty traders and treaty investors, or those issued

visas pursuant to Section 9(d) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 are

allowed to enter the country,” read a statement from BI Commissioner Jaime

Morente.

The announcement for the expanded coverage of foreign nationals allowed to

enter the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic follows the latest

resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of

Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The BI explained that those holding 9(d) visas are alien businessmen who are

in the country to carry on trade or commerce between the Philippines and his

country of origin, or invest in an enterprise here.

Also entitled to the same visa are the 9(d) visa holder’s spouse and minor

children as well as the alien’s employees.

Also adding to the list of foreigners allowed entry by the BI are aliens

with visas issued by economic zones of the Authority of the Freeport Area of

Bataan, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and Clark Development Corporation.

 

 

TYPHOON EVACUEES WITH COVID-19 CLIMB TO 5

 

MANILA — The number of typhoon evacuees in Marikina City who tested positive

for COVID-19 has climbed to five, Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said yesterday.

This prompted the city government to test some 12,000 residents staying at

evacuation centers.

Of the number of evacuees tested for COVID-19, Teodoro said 153 were found

to be reactive with the rapid tests.

“The five who tested positive for the virus were taken to quarantine

facilities,” Teodoro said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

He said those who interacted with the patients have tested negative for the

virus.

 

 

GOVERNMENT SETS SRP FOR BEEF, VEGETABLES

 

MANILA — The Department of Agriculture has included new food items in its

suggested retail price (SRP) list following the spike in prices of basic

commodities due to the recent consecutive typhoons that hit the country.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar over the weekend issued the administrative

circular to place more basic commodities in wet markets and supermarkets

under the SRP list to protect the consuming public from abnormal price

increases.

The SRP list now includes beef as well as lowland and highland vegetables.

“In order not to aggravate the current difficulties of Filipinos who are

affected by the pandemic and the series of calamities, there is a need to

manage prices for basic necessities in the market,” Dar said.

The imposition of SRP is in line with the Price Act, which aims to ensure

the availability of basic and prime commodities at reasonable prices at all

times without denying legitimate business a fair return on investment.

It also mandates that prices of basic necessities shall automatically be

frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control

whenever an area is proclaimed or declared a disaster area or under a state

of calamity.

 

 

FAMILY PLANNING EYED IN DISASTER, PANDEMIC RESPONSE

 

MANILA — Pandemic and disaster preparedness programs must include family

planning to build up the resiliency of families and communities against

calamities, the Commission on Population (PopCom) said over the weekend.

Ahead of today’s start of “Population and Development Week,” PopCom

executive director Juan Antonio Perez III pushed for the inclusion of family

planning in the drafting of programs related to pandemic and disaster

response.

“Practicing family planning and responsible parenthood should be part of

medium- to long-term solutions toward building the resiliency of families

and communities, as these would enable couples to have greater capacity to

ensure their health, financial stability, and other social protections in

the future,” Perez said.

When families are planned, vulnerabilities diminish and communities can

overcome pandemic and natural calamities, he said.

This week, PopCom will highlight the interconnection of population factors

and the pandemic.

“Our resiliency against the pandemic and other related crisis situations

starts from our decision to form a family. We need to consider our

preparedness and capabilities to provide each member their physical, social,

emotional, and other pertinent needs,” Perez said.

As observed from trends and patterns of COVID-19 infections in the country,

PopCom said community transmissions are still pervasive in cities with close

congregations of people.

“Physical distancing — a critical health and safety protocol being

implemented by the government — has proven to be difficult to implement

among households of small residential units with an average of less than 20

sq. m., and having more than four members,” PopCom said.

PopCom is providing technical assistance to local government units (LGUs)

and other institutions in addressing other population issues, such as

unmanaged internal migration, which causes congestion and crowding in

megacities.

Population factors, PopCom said, will help local governments plan and

implement their programs, with focus on communities with demographic

vulnerabilities.

 

 

MAGUINDANAO VILLAGERS ASK MILITARY TO HELP DEFUSE CLAN WAR

 

MAGUINDANAO — Residents of an interior barangay in Sultan Mastura town urged

authorities Monday to intervene in a showdown between two heavily-armed

groups in their villages.

Community leaders said gunmen belonging to one of two feuding clans in the

area searched on Monday morning for firearms in a number of houses in Sitio

Santillan in Barangay Macabiso in Sultan Mastura town in Maguindanao.

Sitio Santillan has been the scene of sporadic gunfights since February

between the two feuding families, both identified with the Moro Islamic

Liberation Front.

Villagers told reporters the armed men who roamed in their villages early

Monday fired assault rifles at houses occupied by their adversaries.

The hostilities between the two groups started in February, sparked by land

conflict and political differences.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, has

directed the 1st Marine Brigade, which covers Sultan Mastura and neighboring

towns, to help local officials and the police settle the clan war.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE

 

 

QCINEMA FILM FESTIVAL TO GO DIGITAL THIS YEAR

 

MANILA - QCinema is adapting to the times as it brings the film festival

experience to anyone in the country right in the comfort of their homes.

In a press release, QCinema announced that the film festival will go digital

this year made possible by its partnership with UPSTREAM and GMovies.

The festival will run from November 27 to December 6, and will stream two

sets of films for five days each.

For its opening salvo, 10 award-winning and highly acclaimed films will be

available for rent for only P 150.00 each.

The films include QCinema grantees “Cleaners” by Glenn Barit, “Oda sa Wala”

by Dwein Baltazar, “Balangiga Howling Wilderness” by Khavn, and “Babae at

Baril” by Rae Red.

Aside from these films, QCinema also hosts the Asian premiere of “Genus Pan”

by Lav Diaz, the Southeast Asian premiere of “Song Without a Name” by Melina

León and “Divine Love” by Gabriel Mascaro, and the Philippine premiere of

“Rom” by Tran Thanh Huy, “Suk Suk” by Ray Yeung, and “Corpus Christi” by

Mateusz Pacewicz.

Limited number of tickets will be available for each film and they will be

released beginning November 24 via upstream.ph.

QCinema Festival Bundles will also be made available for P750.00, wherein a

viewer will have access to five films and will receive QCinema-branded

items. These bundles are available via qcinema.ph.

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

PBA SCORES NOV 22

 

SUN, NOV 22, 2020    Q1    Q2    Q3    Q4    T

Barangay Ginebra        27    18    19    27    91

Meralco Bolts        12    22    18    32    84

TNT Tropang Giga        24    23    22    20    89

Phoenix Fuel Masters    22    27    24    19    92

 

 

NBA: CELTICS, TATUM AGREE TO $195M MAX EXTENSION

 

The Boston Celtics and star forward Jayson Tatum have agreed to a five-year,

$195 million max extension, ESPN reported Sunday.

The deal could approach $200 million with All-NBA escalators, per the

report. The extension takes effect for the 2021-22 season, as the

22-year-old has a year remaining on his rookie contract.

The Celtics selected Tatum No. 3 overall in the 2017 draft out of Duke.

 

 

NBA: HEAT RE-SIGN VETERAN GUARD DRAGIC

 

The Miami Heat officially announced the re-signing Sunday of veteran guard

Goran Dragic.

The team did not disclose the terms, but The Athletic reported the deal was

for two years and $37.4 million with a team option for the second year.

 

 

NBA: LAKERS SIGN FREE AGENT WESLEY MATTHEWS

 

The Los Angeles Lakers signed free-agent guard Wesley Matthews, the team

announced Sunday.

The Athletic reports it's a one-year, $3.6 million deal.

 

 

NBA: BOGDANOVIC GETS $72M OFFER SHEET FROM HAWKS

 

Restricted free agent guard Bogdan Bogdanovic has a four-year, $72 million

offer sheet from the Atlanta Hawks, multiple outlets reported Sunday.

His current team, the Sacramento Kings, will have 48 hours to match the

offer.

 

 

NBA: UTAH'S MITCHELL AGREES TO $163M MAX EXTENSION

 

All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell agreed to a five-year extension with the

Utah Jazz worth a guaranteed $163 million, ESPN reported Sunday.

The value could increase to $195 million by meeting certain incentives, the

player's agents told the network.

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

We become what we think about most of the time, and that's the strangest

secret. - Earl Nightingale

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