11 Dec 2020
MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL FILED
MANILA Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has pushed for the passage of
his bill that seeks to legalize the local production and export of medical
marijuana, but the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) opposed the measure.
The DDB opposed the proposal to legalize the production and export of
marijuana and instead urged lawmakers to pass a law that would strengthen
governments rehabilitation programs for drug dependents.
Villafuerte urged the committee on health to deliberate and approve House
Bill No. 3961, which seeks to expand the use of medical cannabis to make it
a lot more accessible and cheaper for Filipinos in need of this
The United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs (UN-CND) voted last week to
remove from its list of most dangerous drugs cannabidiol (CBD), a
non-addictive and non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
Villafuerte, vice chair of public accounts committee, said this development
is game-changing and has bolstered the international recognition and
commercial marketing of the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of CBD.
Considering the UN-CND vote last week to remove cannabis from the list of
the dangerous category of narcotic drugswhere it used to be listed
alongside heroin and other addictive opioidsits about time for the House
health panel to submit HB 3961 to a committee vote so lawmakers could
finally take action on this proposal, the ranking lawmaker stressed.
Villafuerte gave assurance that his bill does not run counter to the Duterte
administrations policy against illegal drugs.
CBD is the medicinal strain of the cannabis plant that is neither addictive
nor producing the so-called buzz or high for recreational users, he
The DDB had already approved last February the use of CBD for people with
PALACE VOWS NO GRAFT IN VACCINE PURCHASE
MANILA Health authorities tasked to study potential COVID-19 vaccines
wont allow any form of bribery, Malacañang said yesterday following reports
that Chinese firm and vaccine frontrunner Sinovac had bribed regulators to
The Washington Post reported last week that Sinovac one of the companies
negotiating with the Philippines for the possible supply of COVID-19 vaccine
dosages has acknowledged a bribery case involving its chief executive
The CEO had claimed that he could not refuse demands for money from a
regulatory official, the report said.
One of the statements cited by the report was a 2016 trial testimony,
wherein Sinovacs founder had supposedly admitted giving bribes from 2002 to
2011 to an official reviewing vaccines.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte is confident that
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be able to perform its
We are consistent in saying that we will only allow the use of vaccines
that are proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, Roque said at a
The President has complete trust in Doctor Domingo so when it comes to
allegations of bribery, I dont think it will happen in the Philippines,
Roque added, referring to FDA director-general Eric Domingo.
DUTERTE TO EXERCISE VETO POWERS IN BUDGET REVIEW
MANILA President Duterte will exercise his powers to review and possibly
veto certain provisions in the P4.506-trillion national budget for next
year, which includes the P72.5-billion fund to be used for COVID-19 vaccine
procurement, storage and distribution, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. also assured the public that the
President would be able to sign the budget program by yearend to avoid a
We will take all steps necessary to ensure this will become a law on time
without the Palace or the President surrendering his authority to review the
budget and to make sure that there would be no items that need to be
vetoed, Roque said.
So the President will still exercise his power of review and his power of
line veto, he added.
As of last night, Roque said the Office of the President had not yet
received the ratified copy of the 2021 budget.
We are waiting for it, and we want to assure that the Palace will
fast-track its review to determine if there are specific line items that
need to be vetoed. But that will not happen until we get a copy of the
budget. We need to ensure we have a new budget by Jan. 1, he said.
PAF RECEIVES 6 NEW HELICOPTERS FROM POLAND
MANILA The Philippine Air Force (PAF) yesterday received six brand new
Black Hawk helicopters purchased from Poland.
This is the first batch of a total 16 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat
utility helicopters that were purchased from Poland-based subsidiary PZL
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that 10 more units are expected to
be delivered early next year under a $241-billion contract signed in March
The aircraft is capable of cargo and personnel transport, disaster relief
operations, troop insertion and extraction, combat search and rescue, and
limited close air support.
DOLE CASH AID PROGRAM FOR PANDEMIC ENDS
MANILA After today, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) wont be
accepting any more applications for cash assistance from displaced formal
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said that DOLE has reached the number of
target beneficiaries for the COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
As of Dec. 8, a total of 1.5 million workers from 36,355 establishments
have applied for CAMP, exceeding by more than 2,000 workers the number of
target beneficiaries of the program, DOLE said in a statement.
Bello said the DOLE regional offices would still evaluate and process CAMP
applications sent before the deadline.
He said DOLEs regional offices would continue receiving and processing
applications for financial assistance under CAMP for tourism sector workers.
CHR OFFERS E-LAWYERING SERVICE
MANILA The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has launched an e-lawyering
service to provide virtual legal assistance amid physical restrictions
imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The e-lawyering service, which seeks to expand the assistance provided by
the commission to the marginalized sector, was launched in time for the
annual commemoration of International Human Rights Day yesterday.
The initiative will be implemented in partnership with the Office of Legal
Aid of the University of the Philippines College of Law (UP OLA), the
Governance in Justice Program of the European Union and various civil
CHR commissioner Roberto Cadiz said the e-lawyering service aims to provide
quick legal assistance to immediately address possible violations of human
This project seeks to provide a real-time legal assistance to our citizens
whose rights are under threat or being violated either by government or
being abused by private parties, he said.
Our services are especially needed by the poor, those who are uneducated,
those who cannot afford to hire lawyers, the vulnerable sector, he added.
PHILIPPINES MAY END 2020 WITH 480,000 COVID-19 CASES: OCTA
MANILA - The Philippines may end the year with 480,000 cases of COVID-19
infections based on the current trajectory, hitting the lower end of earlier
projections, OCTA research group said Friday.
An earlier monitoring report from the group pegged cases to reach 470,000 to
500,000, but current trends show the lower end is more likely, said Dr.
"Right now, actually, we are projected to reach the lower end of our
projection, which is closer to 470,000. It looks like were going to reach
something like 475,000 to 480,000 but that is with the current trajectory,"
he told ANC's Headstart.
"If the situation worsens a little bit, we might get closer to 500,000. But
right now, that is not the case," he said.
David said latest data show that the number of cases is decreasing, with
less than 2,000 new infections reported everyday nationwide and only about
400 in Metro Manila. However, he said there are indicators that "an uptick
might already be starting."
"We dont have the full details yet because these are just indicators... but
we would know more by next week if the uptick is continuing to grow. In that
case, a surge or at least an uptick might happen in Metro Manila," he said.
NO CHRISTMAS COVID LOCKDOWN UNLESS CASES SPIKE: DOH
The Department of Health on Friday said there will be no adjustment of the
general community quarantine in Metro Manila unless COVID-19 cases spike.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III
rejected rumors that the government would impose a stricter COVID-19
lockdown before Christmas.
"Hindi mababago. Nasa GCQ pa rin tayo, walang katotohanan 'yung mga balita
na mag-e-ECQ or MECQ ngayong Kapaskuhan. Sabi nga nila December 23 daw,
walang katotohanan iyan," he said.
However, he said a tighter lockdown could still happen if there is a boom in
COVID-19 cases. "Unless na may biglang sipa ng kaso, mag rerekomenda ulit
ang [Inter-Agency Task Force] sa Pangulo," he said.
The government warned against a hoax that another lockdown will be imposed
from Dec. 23 this year to Jan. 3 next year.
Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine until Dec. 31, where
not all businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity.
PH HOSPITALS TOLD: PREPARE FOR PATIENTS WITH COVID-19 VACCINE ALLERGIES
MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Friday said hospitals
should be ready to provide medicines to patients who would show allergic
reactions after taking COVID-19 vaccines.
Duque said allergic reactions or what they call the adverse effect following
immunization (AEFI) should be documented.
Dapat paghandaan din kung magkaroon ng ganun, kailangang handa ang mga
ospital na makapagbigay ng mga gamot katulad ng epinephrine o adrenaline,
Duque said in an interview on TeleRadyo.
Health officials in the United Kingdom issued a warning on Wednesday that
anyone with history of allergic reactions should not have the
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID shot for the time being after two people showed severe
allergic reactions to the vaccine.
Sinasabi nga nila sa advisory nila kung meron kang tukoy na allergy, ke sa
gamot, ke sa pagkain, sa ibang bagay, wag ka na lang munang magpaturok kasi
nga posibleng magkaroon ng malubhang allergy, mauwi sa anaphylactic shock na
pwedeng magkaproblema, he said.
The COVID-19 vaccine may become available to the Philippines in the first or
second quarter of next year, he said.
COVID-19 CASES IN PH TOP 445,000 AS COUNTRY LOGS 1,383 NEW INFECTIONS
MANILA The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported 1,383 new
COVID-19 cases or a total of 445,540 confirmed cases in the Philippines.
Additional cases have remained below 2,000 for each of the last 11 days, and
below 1,500 for the last 3 days. Thursdays tally, though, does not include
the results of 9 testing laboratories that failed to submit on time.
Leading among areas with the most number of new cases are Quezon City with
83, Laguna with 75, Manila City with 68, Bulacan with 65, and Davao City
The Philippines also logged 133 additional recovered patients, bringing the
total number of recoveries to 409,058.
There were also 24 additional COVID-related deaths or a total of 8,701
QUEZON CITY WAIVES PENALTIES, EXTENDS TAX DEADLINE
QUEZON CITY Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has approved two measures
waiving the penalties and extending the deadline for the payment of business
taxes from Jan. 20 to April 20 next year.
We recognize the financial difficulties that most of us are experiencing
now, especially entrepreneurs who were forced to close shop or suspend
operations. This way, we hope to ease their burden and to help them
recover, Belmonte said.
We will continue to look for ways to ease the impact of the pandemic on
local economy and to ensure uninterrupted business continuity, she added.
Ordinance 2981 provides for a three-month extension for the payment of
business taxes, fees and charges originally set on Jan. 20.
BULACAN MAYORS WANT CASH LANES BACK ON NLEX AS RFID MESS GETS FIXED
MANILA Bulacan mayors on Thursday backed Valenzuela City Mayor Rex
Gatchalians decision to suspend North Luzon Expressways (NLEX) business
permit and proposed the temporary return of cash lanes on toll plazas while
toll operators sort out issues with the RFID system for cashless toll
In a statement, the League of Municipalities of Bulacan aired their
frustration over the RFID system rollout, which they said cause heavy
traffic even in their areas.
The said system was intended to implement a cashless toll collection in the
tollway, as its operators complied with government measures to curb the
coronavirus spread and to promote ease of passage.
Kaming mga halal na Punong Bayan ng iba't ibang munisipalidad sa lalawigan
ng Bulacan ay hinihiling na maglagay muna ng cash lane upang maiwasan ang
pagsisikip ng daloy ng trapiko sa mga toll plazas na labis na nakaapekto sa
mga motorist at biyahero, the statement from the mayors read.
Bulacan is among provinces where the NLEX cuts through.
PRICIER NOCHE BUENA LOOMS DUE TO TRUCK BAN, LAST MINUTE SHOPPING
MANILA - Last minute shopping and the return of the Metro Manila truck ban
could lead to pricier Noche Buena items before Christmas, a local
supermarkets association said Friday.
Steven Cua, president of Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association,
told Teleradyo the truck ban starting Dec. 14 may prompt suppliers to
increase prices of basic and prime commodities due to limited windows for
This will also in effect hike retail prices in supermarkets, he added.
Continuing relief efforts to areas affected by the typhoons are also
contributing to lower supply of goods, Cua noted.
Sending Christmas gifts is also slower as meet ups are limited, with more
people opting for "virtual gifts" for their inaanak and loved ones.
Despite price increases, consumers are still seen to flock supermarkets "3
to 4 days before Christmas" to purchase food items for Noche Buena feast,
He advised the public to buy at the earliest time possible to avoid higher
prices, shortages in items, and the spread of coronavirus.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
SOCIAL MEDIA POST OF LUIS MANZANO, JESSY MENDIOLA STIRS WEDDING RUMORS
MANILA -- Fans of celebrity couple Luis Manzano and Jessy Mendiola are
wondering if their idols are finally getting married after the two stars
posted the same clip on their Instagram accounts showing "12-12-12" written
in the sand.
In the caption of his post, Manzano simply wrote: "#TheHowhows."
For her part, Mendiola wrote: "This Saturday."
In the comment section of her post, Manzano's mother, veteran
actress-politician Vilma Santos, left thumbs-up, folded hands and heart
Just last month, Mendiola's post showing a diamond ring triggered
speculations that they are finally engaged.
Others speculated that the ring is simply Mendiolas latest accessory,
noting she has in the past posted photos of diamond rings, sans any personal
Manzano, 39, has been open about wanting to settle down with Mendiola. As
early as 2017, the actor-host said he was in fact ready, but noted that
Mendiola, now 28, was still early in her career and still had goals as a
"Para sa akin, I completely understand the fact that she still has so much
responsibilities for herself, for her family, and I will never take that
away from her. I respect her timetable the same way she respects my
timetable... But when shes ready, Im definitely right by her side, he
said at the time.
NBA: LAKERS' LEBRON JAMES IS TIME'S 2020 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
LOS ANGELES - LeBron James, who won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers
and formed a coaltion to battle voter suppression, was Thursday named Time
magazine's 2020 Athlete of the Year.
The honor from Time comes days after James was named among Sport
Illustrated's Sportspersons of the Year -- a list that also featured
activist athletes after 2020 saw the Black Lives Matter movement sweep
through sport along with the rest of US society.
Time lauded James's More than a Vote, a non-profit organization aimed not at
endorsing candidates but at encouraging Black citizens and others to
exercise their right to vote.
Time noted that the group promoted the use of sports arenas as polling
places -- offering larger spaces that would allow for social distancing
during the coronavirus pandemic -- and helped recruit more than 40,000
election workers nationwide.
"At every step, James supported the work by recruiting fellow athletes to
the cause, promoting More Than a Vote to his more than 48 million followers
on Twitter and turning himself into a billboard by wearing a Vote or Die!
shirt to a practice," Time wrote.
"It was the highest-profile example of the surge in activism that spread
across the sports world in 2020."
Recalling the famous reluctance of NBA icon Michael Jordan to speak out on
politics and social issues, Time said that James had "established a new
paradigm, in which commercial clout exists alongside political principle.
"He remains one of the world's top pitchmen, endorsing Nike, AT&T, Walmart
and other major brands. And he has laid waste to the dated notion that
political and social engagement is some sort of distraction for athletes."
The magazine noted that on the way to his fourth NBA title, James led the
league in assists for the first time in his career, and his simultaneous
success on and off the court shows that athletes "can now bring their full
humanity to their games".
"James has been incredibly successful both on the court and in the business
world in 2020, but the biggest reason he has received as much recognition as
he has is that he's used those successes to look out for people who once
struggled in life as he did," Time said.
PHILIPPINES GETS GREEN LIGHT TO HOST 3RD WINDOW OF FIBA ASIA CUP QUALIFIERS
MANILA The Philippines will play host to two groups of teams in the third
window of the FIBA 2021 Asia Cup Qualifiers, the federation announced
Along with fellow host nations Bahrain, Qatar, and Japan, the Philippines
was named to the official list of hosts for the next window set in February
The location approved for the bubble is Clark, Pampanga, where the PBA
recently ended its bubble season.
Clark will serve as hosts for both Group A, and Group C come the February
Group A is composed of the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand.
Meanwhile, Group C includes Australia, New Zealand, Guam and Hong Kong.
Other host cities are Tokyo, Japan, Manama, Bahrain, and Doha, Qatar.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas had been long offering to become hosts
for a window in the Asia Cup qualifiers amid the novel coronavirus
The Philippines is currently ranked first in Group A with a 3-0 win-loss
FOREX $1 = P 48.06
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. - Bruce