World Newsletter

3 January 2020


MANILA — Relatives of the victims in the Maguindanao massacre will ask a 
Quezon City court to at least double the claim for civil damages that it 
awarded to them, their lawyer said Friday. 
The victims' next of kin are entitled to damages ranging from P350,000 to 
P23.5 million, under a special court's decision in December, a month after 
the slaughter marked its 10th anniversary. 
"Dapat madoble man lang iyong damages na ibinigay, unang-una, dahil mas 
mahalaga ang buhay... at pangalawa hindi naman po iyan makukuha agad-agad 
habang nag-apela pa rin ang mga akusado," said lawyer Harry Roque, who 
represents 18 of 58 victims' relatives. 
The Supreme Court needs to agree with the verdict, which can take up to 24 
months if contested by the accused, before the victims' relatives can claim 
the damages, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fauldon earlier 
Three members of the Ampatuan clan who were found guilty of orchestrating 
the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre asked the court on Thursday to reconsider its 


This year's procession of the Black Nazarene in the capital, one of the 
world's biggest shows of Catholic zeal, is expected to end faster as it 
takes a new route, one of its organizers said Friday. 
The Traslacion, which draws millions of barefoot devotees every year, will 
pass through the Ayala Bridge for the first time instead of 3 other bridges 
which were recently repaired. 
"Inaasahan lang na mas maikli, makabalik sana nang mas maaga sa Quiapo [ang 
Traslacion]," said Fr. Douglas Badong, vicar of Minor Basilica of the Black 
Nazarene, home of the 400-year-old ebony statue of Jesus Christ. 
"Pero hindi pa namin matantya kung anong oras makabalik kasi siyempre minsan 
nakadepende rin sa attitude ng mga namamasan," the priest told radio DZMM. 
Authorities are on the lookout for "risk factors" during the procession, 
including terrorism, crimes, hazards and potential stampedes, said Manila 
police chief Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba. 
Vendors are barred from staying in the Traslacion route and selling snacks 
in glass bottles or on sticks, which caused several deaths in previous 
years, he said. 
The public is prohibited from drinking liquor outside their homes during the 
procession. Authorities meanwhile are studying jamming 
cellphone signals for the Traslacion, he added. 
Devotees, most walking barefoot in maroon and yellow shirts, jostle each 
year to touch the ropes pulling the carriage of the Black Nazarene or throw 
white towels to wipe the statue believed to have miraculous powers. 
It is not known why the statue, which was carved in Mexico, turned black. 
There are myths that the original statue donated by Spanish priests was 
burned as a fire erupted on the ship that carried it to the Philippines in 
the early 17th century. 


MANILA — US Sen. Edward Markey (Massachusetts) said that the Philippine 
government’s travel ban against him for voicing support to Sen. Leila De 
Lima will not silence him. 
In a statement, Markey said: “President [Rodrigo] Duterte is sorely mistaken 
if he thinks he can silence my voice and that of my colleagues.” 
Markey is the third American senator that the Philippine government banned 
from entering the country. 
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Markey was included in the 
ban for supporting the travel restriction against officials involved in the 
detention of De Lima. 
Amid the travel ban, Markey remains unfazed and pointed out that Duterte 
“has already failed to silence Sen. De Lima, Maria Ressa and others in his 
country who have spoken truth to power.” 
“I stand with the people of the Philippines with my state’s vibrant 
Filipino-American community in fighting for the highest democratic ideals 
and against the strongman tactics of the Duterte government,” he added. 
Ban vs Durbin, Leahy 
Duterte earlier ordered a ban on Philippine soil against US Sens. Dick 
Durbin (Illinois) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont), who proposed the amendment to 
deny officials implicated in the detention of De Lima of entry to the United 


MANILA -- The Philippines' 3 telecommunications companies will form a joint 
venture company to implement a law that will allow consumers to keep their 
mobile phone number when switching payment plans or carriers, according to a 
stock exchange filing on Friday. 
PLDT Inc, Globe Telecom and Dito Telecommunity tapped Florida-based 
Syniverse for the "clearing house" tasked to ensure the "smooth 
implementation" of phone number transfers, PLDT said in a disclosure. 
Dito, a joint venture between businessman Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and China 
Telecom, is establishing the so-called third telco to challenge the 
dominance of Globe and PLDT, parent of Smart Communications. 
"We are taking measures to put in place a seamless and efficient process for 
our existing and would-be customers who would like to avail of this service 
in the future," said Alfredo Panlilio, Chief Revenue Officer of PLDT and 
"Our utmost priority is to ensure that the experience of our customers is 
seamless and of utmost convenience should they decide to port their 
numbers," said Globe chief technology and information officer and chief 
strategy officer Gil Genio. 
As long as a subscriber has no outstanding obligation to his or her current 
service provider, the subscription plan can be modified from postpaid to 
prepaid or vice versa without changing the number, based on the Mobile 
Number Portability Act. 
The number can also be retained when transferring from one telco to another, 
according to the law that was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 
February 2019. 
The law also tasked telcos to equally share capital expenditures for its 
Synverse, according to the PLDT disclosure, provides software and services 
that connect 7 billion devices globally and processes $35 billion in mobile 
transactions annually. 


MANILA — The Philippines this month will negotiate a template contract for 
its workers in Kuwait, after the killing of a Filipina maid there by her 
employers prompted a partial deployment ban of Filipino workers to the 
oil-rich state, the labor ministry said Friday. 
The contract will be in accordance with a memorandum of agreement that the 2 
countries signed in 2018, banning Kuwaiti employers from confiscating the 
passports and cellphones of Filipino workers, said Labor Secretary Silvestre 
Filipino workers will also have working and sleeping hours under the 
contract, and cannot be transferred to another employer without the consent 
of the Philippine labor attaché, he said. 
"Iyon ang pag-uusapan namin nitong second week. Pinipilit nga ako na kami 
ang pupunta doon. Sabi ko, hindi, kayo (Kuwaiti officials) ang pupunta 
rito," Bello told radio DZMM. 
From Friday, Filipino household workers are barred from leaving for Kuwait, 
said Bello. 
The deployment ban, which excludes skilled workers, was prompted by the 
death of Filipina maid Jeanelyn Villavende allegedly at the hands of her 
employers, who are now detained. 
Villavende complained of "maltreatment and underpayment of salary" to her 
manpower agency several months before her death, said Bello. 
Kuwait is home to 262,000 Filipinos, nearly 60 percent of them domestic 
workers, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy, 
according to the foreign ministry. 


QUEZON CITY—Anwar Ampatuan Sr. and his sons Anwar Jr., alias Datu Ipi, and 
Anwar Sajid, alias Datu Ulo, have asked a Quezon City court to reconsider 
its guilty verdict in connection with the Maguindanao massacre. 
The three, convicted for the death of 57 people, filed two separate motions 
for reconsideration with Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 on 
Thursday, January 2. 
In his motion, Anwar Sr. said there was no evidence that he “actually 
cooperated in the commission of the crimes as charged” and that there was no 
conspiracy that would make him equally liable with the other convicts. 
Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes convicted Anwar Sr., despite his absence from the 
crime scene on November 23, 2009, because he supposedly suggested in one 
meeting to kill the Mangudadatus and bury their vehicles, citing the 
testimony of witness Sukarno Badal. 
According to the court, Anwar’s words were one of the moving facts that 
emboldened Unsay to carry out his plan. 
The court also found Anwar Sr. to have helped his brother, Unsay, and others 
escape after the massacre. 
But Anwar Sr. questioned Badal’s credibility saying it would have been 
impossible for him to memorize “to the letter” all of the statements made by 
each of the supposed participants in the meetings. 
He pointed out that the evidence suggested Datu Unsay wasn’t even present to 
hear his statement. 
He urged the court to make the same ruling as co-accused Datu Akmad “Tato” 
Ampatuan Sr., who was acquitted despite having expressed agreement to the 
killing of the Mangudadatus. 
“[S]uch words did not necessarily mean that he pushed for and have 
necessarily agreed to the commission of the crime,” he said. 
He also denied helping Unsay to escape, saying the only evidence against him 
was the testimony of Ampatuan’s helper, Lakmodin Saliao, who only heard him 
in a phone call agree to Andal Ampatuan Sr.’s instructions but did not 
testify as to his participation in the supposed escape. 


MANILA — Infrastructure and agricultural damage wrought by Typhoon Ursula 
has ballooned to more than P3 billion, the latest situation report from the 
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. 
As of 6am of Friday, the NDRRMC pegged total infrastructure and agriculture 
damage incurred in the MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and 
Central Visayas regions at P3,435,725,790. 
The amount has almost tripled, from the council’s January 2 situation report 
that recorded damages at P1.2 billion. 
“Ursula” dumped rains over the Visayas region on Christmas day, sending more 
than 12,000 families away from their homes and thousand others stranded at 
several ports. 
The typhoon partially damaged 446 schools, 32 health facilities and 84 
government facilities. It also totally damaged 22 government facilities. 
It also partially damaged 324,551 houses and totally wrecked 107,035 houses. 
The typhoon, which exited the Philippine area of Responsibility on December 
28, affected 600,142 families or 2,431,821 persons. 
A total of 19,553 families of 77,832 persons remain in the 547 evacuation 
centers according to the NDRRMC’s latest report. 
“Ursula” also left in its wake at least 50 dead and 362 injured, 
There are still five persons reported missing. 


MANILA — The Philippines' top diplomat had asked for the life of the killer 
of a Filipina household worker in Kuwait. 
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier summoned Kuwaiti 
Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh to convey the government's outrage 
over the lack of protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf state. 
Another Filipino domestic worker in Kuwait was purportedly killed by the 
wife of her employer. 
"This is the ONLY official line: 'All I asked for is the life of the taker 
for the life taken. And I don't care whose life that is. The life of a 
Filipino—maid or socialite—is the equal of the life of a queen,'" Locsin 
tweeted Thursday. 
The DFA chief added that the rest has nothing to do with Philippine foreign 
In an additional tweet, Locsin said authoritative sources of the country's 
foreign policy are personal to himself and President Rodrigo Duterte. 
"Is is the nature of democratic government and republics," Locsin said. 


QUEZON CITY — The Quezon City government will begin granting tax credits to 
real property owners who have paid their socialized housing and real 
property taxes for the past five years. 
“The tax credit is our way of thanking our real property taxpayers who have 
become our partners in building homes for our less fortunate citizens,” 
Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement yesterday. 
“Through this, we hope to encourage more real property owners to regularly 
pay their taxes so they can also contribute to our housing programs for the 
poor,” she added. 
In 2011, the city government passed an ordinance imposing the socialized 
housing tax (SHT) equivalent to an additional 0.5 percent tax on properties 
with an assessed value amounting to more than P100,000. 
The fees collected were then used to purchase and develop land for 
socialized housing facilities. 
City assessor Sherry Gonzalvo said the tax credit will be extended to 
registered property owners who have dutifully paid their taxes for five 
years upon the effectivity of the SHT. 
The tax credit shall be enjoyed by the taxpayer over the said period in five 
equal yearly installments in an amount equivalent to 20 percent of the total 
SHT paid. 
Gonzalvo said all delinquent SHT collectibles must or should be complete and 
paid in order to qualify for the tax credit. 
Qualified taxpayers will enjoy the tax credit without the unnecessary 
documentary requirements and processes in line with the Ease of Doing 
Business Act. 


MANILA — The suspected gunrunner arrested by policemen in Quezon City on New 
Year’s Day is the point man of the Dawlah Islamiya terrorist group in Metro 
Manila, an official said yesterday. 
Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco 
Gamboa said their background investigation revealed that Datu Omar Palty, 
26, is a member of the Mindanao-based terrorist organization. 
According to Gamboa, Palty belongs to the faction of Esmael Abdulmalik, also 
known as Turaife ad Turaypi. He was previously a member of the Bangsamoro 
Islamic Freedom Fighters but switched allegiance to the Dawlah Islamiya in 
“Palty was appointed by alias Turaypi as the point man or contact person of 
his group in Metro Manila,” he said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in 
Quezon City. 
As point person, Palty was tasked to coordinate with Dawlah Islamiya 
operatives from the provinces of Sulu and Basilan, Gamboa said. 
Palty was collared during an entrapment operation in Barangay North 
Fairview, where he sold a loaded .45 caliber pistol to a police officer for 
P10,000. A fragmentation grenade was also recovered from him. 
Gamboa said Palty was involved in several atrocities, including an attack on 
a military camp in Midsayap, Cotabato in 2009 that left two soldiers dead. 
Intelligence reports also implicated Palty in the killing of a couple and a 
security guard in San Simon, Pampanga in 2015. 


MANILA — Actor Derek Ramsay is now legally single, his lawyer said, after 
the declaration of his marriage as null and void. 
The topic came up in the comments on a recent Instagram post of Ramsay, 
where one follower wrote that his relationship with his girlfriend and 
co-star Andrea Torres would be “more happy” if he were “annulled legally.” 
“I am, dear,” was Ramsay’s brief response. 
In a subsequent comment, his legal counsel, Atty. Josabeth “Joji” Alonso, 
clarified that Ramsay’s “marriage has long been declared null and void.” 
“He was confirming the fact that he is no longer married to anyone,” Alonso 
added, referring to Ramsay’s earlier, vague reply. 
Neither Ramsay nor Alonso specified an individual who was previously married 
to the actor. 
Ramsay, however, had a publicized court battle with his former partner, Mary 
Christine Jolly, whom he had reportedly married in April 2002. 
Ramsay’s marriage with Jolly and their subsequent separation were only 
revealed when the latter surfaced in 2014. At the time, she accused Ramsay 
of neglecting their child, and filed a concubinage case against the actor 
and his girlfriend at the time, actress Angelica Panganiban. 
Ramsay and Jolly eventually reached a “compromise agreement” later that 
It remains unclear, however, when their marriage was declared null and void. 


MANILA — A new decade has just opened and already, local showbiz is abuzz 
with its first controversy, sparked by a report claiming that James Reid and 
Nadine Lustre, or “JaDine” to their loyal fans, have broken up. 
In a January 1 report, reported, citing a source close to the couple, 
that Reid and Lustre have ended their nearly four-year relationship due to 
“irreconcilable differences,” and that the latter has left their shared home 
in Quezon City. 
The two, the report pointed out, have not been sharing photos of them 
together since October. It also noted Lustre’s “cryptic” Instagram posts, 
among them a black-and-white snap captioned, “For good, lost all of my 
The report quickly went viral, shocking many fans and making “JaDine” the 
top local trend on Twitter. 
But it also prompted long-time followers of the couple to put on their 
detective hats to disprove the supposed breakup. The result: a flood of 
photos of Reid and Lustre at the same place, or beside each other, taken 
after October. 
In particular, resourceful fans unearthed photos of Lustre and Reid on New 
Year’s Eve at what appears to be the same venue in Makati. 
One tweet even presented a collage of those images, along with a video of 
Reid’s interview with ABS-CBN News on the same night, where he was asked how 
he would welcome 2020 with Lustre. 
While Reid and Lustre have yet to directly address the report, their fans 
appear convinced and relieved that they’re still together, given their 
collection of “evidence” countering any claim that “JaDine” has come to an 


    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Magic 15-19    31    31    32    28    122 
team logo Wizards 10-23    29    29    25    18    101 
    D. Augustin ORL 
25 PTS, 3 REB, 9 AST 
    B. Beal WAS 
27 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST 

    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Trail Blazers 14-21    27    21    29    16    93 
team logo Knicks 10-24    25    26    32    34    117 
26 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST 
J. Randle NY 
22 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST 

    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Timberwolves 12-21    23    28    20    33    104 
team logo Bucks 31-5    19    33    25    29    106 
22 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST 
G. Antetokounmpo MIL 
32 PTS, 17 REB, 4 AST 

    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Suns 13-21    17    24    38    28    107 
team logo Lakers 27-7    43    31    27    16    117 
32 PTS, 2 REB, 7 AST 
L. James LAL 
31 PTS, 13 REB, 12 AST 

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