World Newsletter

9 Dec 2020



MANILA - Emergency approval of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines may take

up to a month, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday as the United

Kingdom rolled out inoculation against the coronavirus.

A COVID-19 vaccine may arrive in the country in "late first quarter of

2021," said FDA director-general Eric Domingo. Vaccines and other drugs

usually go through a 6-month process for approval, he said.

"Dati wala namang tinatawag na EUA (emergency use authorization) kundi

normal na registration, dati umaabot 'yun ng 6 na buwan... Siguro kung

kumpleto ang kaniyang submission magagawa natin yan in 3 to 4 weeks," he

told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

"Pag ganung dalawang bansa na, mas tiwala tayo na maganda ang isa-submit

nila sa'tin at siguro konting review na lang ng ating mga eksperto.)

Domingo, meantime, warned the public against buying a COVID-19 vaccine or

drug online.

The FDA has so far approved only one traditional Chinese medicine for

COVID-19 symptoms such as cough and fever, he said.

"Nakikiusap kami sa ating mga kababayan na 'pag nakakita kayo ng patalastas

o nagbebenta online 'wag po kayo papatol dahil...hindi po yan dumaan sa FDA.





MANILA - A Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 may be the first to arrive in

the Philippines, the country's inoculation czar said Wednesday as the United

Kingdom began immunizing its citizens.

Among the vaccines the Philippines aims to procure are Pfizer, Moderna,

AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Sinovac and Russia's Gamaleya,

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said.

China's Sinovac may arrive in the country by March if a contract is signed

within the month, he said.

"Sana makuha po natin ng first quarter. Sabi nga nung (According to) IP

biotech that if we will be able to have a consummation of contract when we

already successfully sign the contract, they can provide it after 60 to 90

days, meaning 2 to 3 months," he told ANC's Headstart.

Galvez said, "I was briefed by the vaccine expert panel and based on their

evaluation, Sinovac and the Chinese vaccines are very safe because it came

from the classical inactivated virus platform."

"They briefed me that the safest among the platform and the classical that’s

been used for years is the inactivated virus."

Western-made vaccines Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca might come at a later

time as their countries of origin will be prioritized and "more than 80

percent of vaccine manufacturing capacity has been procured" by first world

countries, Galvez said.





NEW YORK - Hundreds of thousands of seafarers around the world are stranded

at sea due to coronavirus travel restrictions, unable to go home or get

medical care, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said on Tuesday,

calling on nations to address their plight.

Many shipping and transport workers have been at sea as long as 17 months or

longer, as COVID-19-related restrictions make it almost impossible to rotate

crews, the United Nations' labor agency said.

The ILO adopted a resolution asking nations to take action by providing

medical care to seafarers in need, waiving visa or documentation

requirements and designating seafarers as key workers who are allowed to go


"The problems faced by seafarers resulting from efforts to contain the virus

have lasted unacceptably long," said ILO Director General Guy Ryder in a


"These key workers continue to transport the food, medicines and goods that

we need, but their extended periods at sea, and the inability of seafarers

ashore to relieve them, are simply unsustainable."

About 90% of world trade goods are transported by sea, and coronavirus

restrictions have crippled supply chains even as lockdowns ease in some

parts of the world.

Nautilus International, a union of some 20,000 shipping workers, has

launched a global campaign for crew changes by Christmas.

The London-based organization said it estimates 400,000 seafarers are

stranded on ships, unable to be relieved.

Another 400,000 seafarers are home, unable to take over the jobs at sea and

in serious financial hardship, it said.

At a virtual summit hosted by Britain in July, a dozen countries including

the United States, Germany and Singapore agreed to open up their borders to

seafarers and increase the number of commercial flights to speed up

repatriation efforts.

But countries must act on their commitments, the U.N. agency said. In June,

Pope Francis paid tribute to the stranded seafarers in a special video

message, saying they were "not forgotten."





MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte wants the government to provide free

COVID-19 testing to every Filipino, especially those who cannot afford the

expensive services offered by private laboratories and testing centers.

Many Filipinos have avoided taking the reverse transcription polymerase

chain reaction (RT-PCR) or swab test, which they find expensive.

The President said he would talk to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. on

how to come up with cheaper COVID-19 testing for travelers or for those

returning to their home provinces.

He said the problem with affordability is very evident at airports where

travelers – including students on budget – have to undergo tests before they

are allowed to board aircraft.

The President said he would look for money to fund the free testing, which

he said would be made available in all government hospitals or health

centers. He said he wanted the Department of Health (DOH) to come up with a

program by the first or second quarter of next year.





MANILA - Authorities will use yantok or rattan sticks on health protocol

violators who resist arrest, an official said Wednesday.

Violators will first be reminded to observe minimum health standards, then

will be given a warning, followed by a ticket, and if violation persists

will then be arrested, according to Lt. Gen. Cesar Binag, commander of Joint

Task Force COVID Shield.

"Kailangan naming i-overcome ang resistance ng aming aarestuhin. At sa

proseso ng pag-overcome nito, kung kinakailangang gamitin…then we will have

to use it to overcome the resistance of the offender or unruly para madala

namin siya sa batas," he told ANC's Headstart.

Violators may be hit on their hands or their feet, Binag said.

"Ang tinuro samin sa training sa paggamit ng yantok ang papaluin mo 'yung

kamay, paa, papaluin mo lang siya para maovercome mo 'yung resistance niya

at madala siya sa batas," he said.

The Commission on Human Rights earlier said it was unnecessary and a "form

of violence" to use such weapon to carry out anti-virus measures.

The CHR was among those who gave training to police officers in using

yantok, Binag said.

"Sila nga ang nagturo paano gamitin 'yun. Nung binalangkas namin ang human

rights policing handbook namin, nakapaloob doon yung paggamit ng baton at

yun ang tinetraining namin sa aming training school," he said.





MANILA — The official opposition bloc in the House of Representatives

yesterday vowed to pursue the impeachment complaint that a non-government

organization filed against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen for

culpable violation of the 1987 Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

“The minority will perform its constitutionally mandated duty in the

impeachment process,” House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano of

party-list Abang Lingkod, who heads the 25 or so opposition congressmen,


“We will ensure that in the determination of sufficiency in form and

substance, the Rules of Impeachment will be strictly followed to the

letter,” Paduano added, citing as well Article 11, Section 3 of the Charter

granting the House exclusive power on impeachment cases.

“We call on our colleagues, most especially members of the House justice

committee, to exercise prudence and fairness. May we be guided by the

Almighty in the dispensation of this impeachment complaint,” he declared.

The House justice committee is headed by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, a former

Court of Appeals justice.





MANILA — President Duterte has vowed to arm police officers with batons

after the government deployed yantok-wielding law enforcers to ensure that

physical distancing is observed in public places.

Duterte said he was wondering why policemen no longer have batons, which he

described as their “first line of defense.”

“If I bring back the baton, maybe it would be made of hard rubber, not wood.

But in the meantime, the rattan will do, will also suffice. We’ll look for

the money next year. I’ll buy you the baton... Use the baton, not the gun,”

Duterte said during a public address last Monday night.

Duterte explained the rubberized baton is hard, but not enough to break

bones; it should be used moderately and the holder should know what parts of

the body to hit to prevent aggression.









MAYNIILA - Nanawagan si Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte na buksan muli ang

interchange ng Muñoz at maging ang North Avenue at West Avenue para gumaan

ang daloy ng trapiko sa mga chokepoint sa bahagi ng EDSA.

Mabigat ang daloy ng trapiko mula sa Muñoz diretso na papunta ng Cloverleaf,

Bagong Barrio, Caloocan. Ang U-turn slot sa Bagong Barrio ang nananatiling

bukas pa rin.

Ayon kay General Manger Jojo Garcia ng Metropolitan Manila Development

Authority, nakapag-usap na sila ni Mayor Belmonte nitong Martes at kailangan

pa uling mag-meeting para malaman kung anong naging basehan ng lokal na

pamahalaan para buksan muli ang dalawang interchange.

Payagan man o hindi, sabi ng MMDA tutulong pa rin sila sa QC Department of

Public Order and Safety sa pagmamando sa daloy ng trapiko sa bahagi ng EDSA.





MAYNILA - Naghahanda na ang Redemptorist Church sa Baclaran para sa

nalalapit na Simbang Gabi.

Ayon kay Fr. Victorino Cueto, dalawa ang naka-schedule na Misa mula sa

Disyembre 15 at 16. May anticipated Mass ng alas-8 ng gabi at Misa de Gallo

naman alas-4:30 ng madaling araw.

Patuloy naman ang regular na schedule ng ibang Misa.

Inaabangan pa rin kung paiikliin ang curfew para makadalo ang mga taong nais

na dumalo sa Misa de Gallo.

Tiniyak naman ni Fr. Cueto na kakayanin ng Baclaran Church ang dagsa ng mga


Aniya nasa 2,000 ang kayang papasukin sa church compound. Sa mismong

simbahan hanggang 605 lang ang bilang ng mga taong pwedeng makapasok.

Samantala, pinayagan na rin magbukas ng 24 hours ang Pasay Night Market na

nasa Roxas Boulevard Service Road. Dati ay mula alas-5 ng gabi hanggang 12

ng hatinggabi lang ito bukas.





MAYNILA - Nagpakalat ng maraming pulis sa Divisoria para magbantay ng mga

taong dumadagsa at nagsisiksikan para mamili dito bago ang Pasko.

Sa kanto ng Ilaya at Recto naglagay na ng checkpoint ang mga pulis para

mamonitor lahat ng mga sasakyan.

Nilagyan naman ng barrier ang gitna ng kalsada para paghiwalayin ang

entrance at exit sa lugar kung nasaan ang mga blue stall.

Mas marami na rin ang mga karatula ngayon na nagpapaala ukol sa mga health

protocol at meron na din megaphone ang mga pulis na patuloy na nagpapaalala

sa mga mamimili na sumunod sa patakaran sa physical distancing at pagsuot ng

face mask.

Sa ibang side streets sa Divisoria, marami na ang one way para maiwasan ang

siksikan ng mga tao.

Inaasahan pa ang pagdami ng mga tao sa pagpapalapit ng Pasko. At kahit

walang Christmas party, marami pa rin ang bumibili ng mga pang regalo at

para sa handaan para sa pamilya.





MANILA - Metro Pacific Investments Corp on Wednesday said it will acquire

Philippine Coastal Storage & Pipeline Corp (PCSPC), the largest petroleum

products import terminal in the country as it diversifies its portfolio and

invest in new revenue streams.

MPIC said, together with Keppel Infrastructure Trust, it entered into a sale

and purchase agreement with Philippine Investment Alliance for

Infrastructure, a closed-end fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and

Real Assets to acquire the import terminal.

MPIC will initially hold a 20 percent stake in PCSPC's parent firm,

Philippine Tank Storage International Holdings Inc for $67 million, while an

option to increase its interest of up to 50 percent is being discussed, it






MANILA (Updated 6:07 p.m.) — The head of the National Bureau of

Investigation’s counter-terrorism division was found dead in his office with

a gunshot wound, the bureau’s spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

NBI spokesperson Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin told reporters that NBI

Counter-Terrorism Division head Raoul Manguerra died past Tuesday midnight.

"The NBI is in a deep state of mourning," Lavin said. "We condole with the

family, relatives and friends of Chief Manguerra."

According to a police report, Manguerra's live-in partner Maria Rosario

Bernardo received a phone call from the NBI's counter-terrorism division

informing her that the NBI official was rushed to the Manila Doctors

Hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound but was pronounced dead on arrival

two minutes past midnight.

Bernardo also said that Manguerra was suffering from stage 3 colon cancer,

the report added.

Lavin said NBI Director Eric Distor has ordered a thorough investigation

into Manguerra's death and has locked down the premises of the bureau

immediately after the incident.








MANILA — Filipino celebrities Marian Rivera-Dantes, Angel Locsin, Kim-Chiu,

Anne Curtis, Vice Ganda, Kathryn Bernardo and Sarah Geronimo made it to

Forbes Asia’s list of 100 most popular stars on social media in the


Forbes Asia’s 100 Digital Stars list includes BTS, the seven-member widely

popular band from South Korea.

Forbes touted BTS as one of the world’s most successful musical groups ever,

with over 33 million Instagram followers.

“BTS’s song Dynamite reportedly made YouTube history as the first video to

get over 100 million views within 24 hours of being posted,” Forbes said.

Chinese actress and singer Yang Mi is also on the list. Her endorsement

deals include Crocs, Estée Lauder, Stuart Weitzman and Victoria’s Secret.

Forbes Asia’s 100 Digital Stars list features 100 singers, bands, film and

TV stars in the region with a strong social media presence.

“With millions of followers across popular platforms, these celebrities have

maintained their relevance and popularity in this challenging period by

leveraging on the power of social media. Many have also used their influence

to support worthy causes, especially those with a COVID-19 focus,” Forbes


Forbes recognized that artists rely on social media platforms now more than

ever to connect and communicate with fans, especially in the absence of live

entertainment due to COVID-19 restrictions around the region.

“The 100 celebrities highlighted on the list range in age from 20 to 78,

proving that social media influence is a cross-generational phenomenon,”

said Rana Wehbe Watson, editor of the list.

Rivera-Dantes, 36, is the Philippines’ most popular celebrity on Facebook,

with 23 million followers, according to Forbes.

“While not appearing on screen since the birth of her second child in 2019,

she has been busy on social media, endorsing brands that include Nestlé

Nido, Philippine National Bank and appliance maker Tough Mama,” Forbes said.

With over 19 million followers, actress Angel Locsin is the second most

popular Filipina celebrity on Facebook after Rivera-Dantes. Locsin has

donated about P15 million ($310,000) over the past decade to various causes,

earning her a spot on the 2019 Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy list.

Recently, Locsin helped raise P11.3 million for the purchase of 246 hospital

tents for medical workers fighting the pandemic.

Chiu, 30, used a viral video gaffe during a live stream in May as the basis

for The Classroom Song, Forbes noted.

A live performance of the hit has over nine million views on YouTube. Chiu

then sold The Classroom Song branded T-shirts to raise money for pandemic

relief, Forbes also said.

Curtis, 35, is recognized as the Philippines’ most popular Instagram


“As the Philippines’ most popular Instagram celebrity, the actress has

roughly 16 million followers and endorsement deals with Jollibee, Louis

Vuitton and Pantene,” Forbes said.

Comedian and TV host Ganda, 44, is one of the most popular male celebrities

in the Philippines, with 17 million Facebook followers.

For Bernardo, 24, Forbes noted her movies, which are the Philippines’ two

highest grossing films: 2018’s The Hows Of Us and 2019’s Hello, Love,

Goodbye, grossing roughly $20 million.

Geronimo, 32, actress and singer, sang a duet with her husband Matteo

Guidicelli at a COVID-19 benefit concert that raised roughly $5 million,

Forbes said.

To determine the finalists, Forbes Asia evaluated the candidates’ combined

social media reach and engagement. Their recent work, impact and advocacy,

brand endorsements and business endeavors and their recognition profile on a

local, regional and global level were also considered.








MANILA -- TNT Tropang Giga may have to play a do-or-die game without two key


According to team manager Gabby Cui, both Ray Parks Jr. and Jayson Castro

are "doubtful" for Game 5 of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, set for

Wednesday night at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City,


The Tropang Giga have their backs against the wall as they are down 3-1 to

Barangay Ginebra in the best-of-seven series.

Parks has not played since Game 2 after sustaining a left calf strain in

TNT's overtime loss in Game 1. Castro, for his part, exited in the third

quarter of Game 4 last Sunday when he aggravated a knee injury.

The veteran point guard is dealing with bone spurs that cause pain in his

knee whenever he lands with impact.

A source informed ABS-CBN News that neither player practiced on Tuesday.

Parks was TNT's leading scorer in the elimination rounds at 20.1 points,

along with 8.2 rebounds per game. He had 20 points in Game 1 for the Tropang


Castro, hobbled by his knee injury, is averaging 10.5 points, 5.75 assists,

and 2.75 boards in the finals.





FOREX $1 = P 48.08





When our memories outweigh our dreams, we have grown old. - Bill Clinton


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