World Newsletter

14 Dec 2020



MANILA - Private firms from the Philippines are set to buy a second batch of

vaccines from British pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, to add to the 2.6

million doses it had contracted previously, a presidential adviser said on


Joey Concepcion, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship, said the second

purchase “is now approved and can now be processed.”

“We are happy to announce that with enough support, and of course, demand

coming from the private sector, the second part is now already in the

works,” Concepcion said in a statement.

The presidential adviser however did not say how many doses there will be in

the second batch of vaccines.

The presidential adviser said the initial procurement was meant to be more

than 2.6 million doses but had to follow a supply timeline as other

countries and institutions securing their vaccines too.

Concepcion said the first batch of vaccines will arrive in the Philippines

in May or June 2021, and would inoculate over 1 million Filipinos as the

vaccine requires 2 doses.

The government expects to roll out vaccines against COVID-19 in the middle

of 2021, according to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., noting the

“scarcity of supply” in the global market.

Government vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez meanwhile said he expects

Chinese vaccine Sinovac to arrive in the country by March next year and for

vaccines from AstraZeneca vaccines to be delivered around May.

Mass vaccination would happen around June or July Galvez said.





MANILA - The government did not prioritize COVID-19 vaccination in the

national budget for the coming year, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo

said on Sunday, following a statement from a lawmaker that only P2.5 billion

had been guaranteed for vaccines in the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

Barry Gutierrez, Spokesman for the Office of the Vice President (OVP), said

the government should have made vaccination a priority in next year’s

spending plan, and already made deals with pharmaceutical firms to secure

vaccine supplies.

“Walang sense of urgency,” Gutierrez said in the weekly radio program of the


Gutierrez echoed the concern of Senator Franklin Drilon who earlier

criticized what other lawmakers allotted for the planned COVID-19

vaccination program next year.

“So hindi ba dapat, priority natin itong bakuna? Kaya nga nakakagulat na

hindi. Ito nga, iyong sinasabi ni Senator Frank Drilon na parang hindi—kahit

nakalagay iyan sa budget, P72 billion, eh hindi pa klaro saan kukunin iyang

pera na iyan,” Gutierrez said.

Drilon said that while Congress authorized the executive branch to disburse

P72.5 billion to buy COVID-19 vaccines next year, only P2.5 billion was

guaranteed, while the remaining P70 billion needs to be sourced from loans

or excess non-tax revenue collections.

Gutierrez warned that this would further bloat the country’s debt.

“Umaabot na ng ano ba, P10 trillion iyong ating utang itong taon na ito?

Ano, iuutang na naman natin ito?”

Senator Sonny Angara, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has said that

the executive branch has yet to give details about its plan to procure,

store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.





MANILA — Malacañang yesterday downplayed opposition Sen. Leila de Lima’s

bill seeking to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all Filipinos.

“Redundant and superfluous,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said when

asked to react to the senator’s proposal.

De Lima’s proposal, which is contained in Senate Bill 1942, aims to require

the country’s health system to offer free COVID-19 vaccines, allocate funds

for the inoculation, and come up with an efficient and safe vaccine

distribution system.

The measure seeks to create a database to ensure the tracking of vaccination

recipients to address possible problems that may arise after the giving of

vaccines. It also allows people to select which accredited COVID-19 vaccine

to receive and the institutions from which to receive them.

The senator has said that the challenge brought about by the cornering of

vaccine supplies by rich countries should not be an excuse for a delayed

response since there are new suppliers with equally good efficacy rates.

The Duterte administration is planning to borrow P73.2 billion to buy

vaccines for 60 million Filipinos.

About 24.6 million Filipinos are expected to be prioritized for the vaccine

rollout, which may start in as early as the first quarter of 2021, according

to officials.





MANILA — Local government executives are not being coerced by higher

authorities to declare communist rebels as persona non grata in their

respective localities, the Department of the Interior and Local Government

(DILG) said yesterday.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año refuted the claims aired by the Communist

Party of the Philippines (CPP), particularly the accusation that budgets of

local government units (LGUs) are under threat if such declarations are not

issued by local chief executives.

“Please do not insult the intelligence of our local government officials,”

Año said in response.

“LGUs are not dumb and they cannot be dictated to do things against their

will. The truth is they are aware and they have witnessed the deception of

the CPP-NPA-NDF in their jurisdictions,” he said in Filipino.

Last week, the DILG announced that a total of 1,546 LGUs nationwide declared

the CPP, its armed wing – the New People’s Army (NPA) and political front –

the National Democratic Front (NDF) as persona non grata in their


Following the announcement, the CPP accused the national government of

forcing LGUs to pass declarations or else they would face budget denial.

Año called the CPP’s allegations “preposterous.”

He said the annual Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) is released and

downloaded automatically to local governments, as mandated by the


In 2020 alone, more than P640 billion in funds were distributed without a

single complaint from LGUs, the DILG chief said.

He also noted how LGUs received more funding this year through the Bayanihan

to Heal as One Law and Bayanihan to Recover as One Law in response to the

COVID-19 public health emergency.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is keen on removing the

Makabayan bloc from Congress, saying that their presence in the House of

Representatives strengthens the influence of the CPP on government affairs.





MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights on Sunday urged police to address

allegations of "anomalous arrests" as it denounced the apprehension of

journalists and trade union organizers on International Human Rights Day.

Those arrested last Thursday allegedly were in possession of illegal

firearms and explosives, said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia.

She also cited the deaths of peace consultants Agaton Topacio and Eugenia

Magpantay who allegedly resisted arrest and exchanged gunfire with the

Philippine National Police despite being sickly and elderly.

"Such arrests are cause for concern given that there were statements by

families and concerned personalities alleging irregularities and errors in

the said operations, including the fact that arrests were made in the midst

of red tagging of activists and human rights workers," she said.

The commission urged the PNP to address "doubts and allegations of anomalous

arrests" as government had already stated "here and abroad its commitment to

respect and protect the human rights of all."

"These commitments need to be translated to actual reforms, including

effectiveness of redress mechanisms in addressing similar allegations and

different human rights violations," De Guia said.

"For if these pledges will remain as words, then we would not only fail the

human rights cause, but this would also render hollow the government's

primary assertions that it will abide by its obligation to uphold the rights

of all."





MANILA — Registrations for step one of the Philippine Identification System

(PhilSys) have reached 8.4 million, the Philippine Statistics Authority

(PSA) reported.

“We have made significant progress this quarter, with more than 8.4 million

Filipinos completing Step 1 Registration as of 09 December 2020,” chief

statistician Dennis Mapa said in a statement over the weekend.

“Our current pace for Step 1 Registration also allowed us to increase our

initial commitment of nine million Filipinos to 11 million Filipinos before

the end of the year,” Mapa said.

Step 1 registration, or the house-to-house collection of demographic

information and scheduling appointments for Step 2, is adopted by the PSA as

a health and safety measure against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mapa also announced that the second step of the Philsys registration is

scheduled to start on Jan. 4, 2021 and will be on a gradual and small-scale


Step 2 Registration is the validation of supporting documents and capturing

of biometric information at registration centers.

The PSA said it has duly informed Step 1 registrants of this new development

in coordination with partner local government units (LGUs).

It added that it will also release an official advisory on hired and trained

enumerators for Step 2 Registration parallel to the announcement.

“We will continue our Step 1 Registration activities until it is safe for

our registrants to proceed with Step 2 Registration. The PSA wants to ensure

that we deliver a safe, secure and seamless PhilSys registration experience

to the Filipino people,” Mapa said.









MANILA — In October, Bianca (not her real name) was hired to work for the

Department of Education (DepEd) as part of the team that produces episodes

for its TV channel, which the agency launched this year under its distance

learning plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bianca said she took the job considering how difficult it was to find work

in the middle of the ongoing health crisis, which has crippled the

Philippine economy and plunged it into a recession.

But until now, Bianca said she has yet to receive a paycheck. Many of her

colleagues have also been complaining about their delayed salaries.

“Never pa ako sumahod. And as far as I know, lahat ng pumasok noong October,

hindi pa sila nakakasahod, or nakasahod sila pero for one pay day lang.

Bale, for two weeks na trabaho lang sinahod nila. Ever since, after that,

hindi na din sila sumahod,” Bianca, who has resigned from DepEd TV, told


The DepEd TV staff were also told that they would receive their salaries

this month, but the dates on when they would get the payments have been


Nina (Not her real name), who has been working for DepEd TV since September

but received her salary only once, also lamented the delay in compensation.

“Parang ang dating kasi, na-bait ‘yong mga tao sa sweldo. [Tapos ngayon]

overworked ta’s walang compensation,” she said.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) urged the department to resolve

“employment problems” experienced by DepEd TV staff and ensure that they are

compensated before Christmas.





MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said it is looking into a health

facility’s violation of the set price range for COVID-19 swab tests.

“Meron tayong nakita na isang facility na non-compliant. Tayo ay nagpadala

na ng ating letter for them to explain,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario

Vergeire said when asked during a virtual briefing about the implementation

of the price range for polymerase chain reaction tests.

Vergeire explained that is part of their existing monitoring process under

the Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau.

“Inaantay natin 'yung response nila kung ano ang sagot nila - if it is

valid…or if they should be penalized,” she added.

Under the joint administrative order of the DOH and the Department of Trade

and Industry, a facility that violates the prescribed price range of P4,500

to P5,000 for the tests may face suspension and fines.

For a first offense it’s a 15-day suspension and a fine of P20,000. For a

2nd offense, it’s a 30-day suspension and fine of P30,000. For the 3rd

offense, the government will revoke the testing facility’s license to






MANILA - At least two COVID-19 referral hospitals in Metro Manila have

prepared in advance for a possible surge in coronavirus cases following the

holidays, their officials said Monday.

The Philippine General Hospital has continued its coronavirus operations

since it became a referral center last March 30, said spokesperson Jonas del


"Handa po kami, di naman namin binawasan ang mga kama sa COVID. Tuloy po ang

COVID operations ng PGH," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

"Sana nga po di magkaroon ng surge na medyo mataas dahil binubuksan na po

talaga namin ang aming ospital para sa non-COVID patients na dumadami na










MANILA – Several Kapamilya personalities were big winners at this year’s

Paragala Central Luzon Media Awards.

One of those honored in a virtual ceremony on Saturday night was actress

Angel Locsin for all her remarkable philanthropic deeds on top of being

among the Top Entertainment Personalities.

The “Iba Yan” host, who is also dubbed by some as the real-life Darna, was

the recipient of the Paragala Pang Lingkuran award.

Aside from Locsin, other Kapamilya stars that made it to the Top

Entertainment Personality list were Anne Curtis, Daniel Padilla, Enrique

Gil, James Reid, Kathryn Bernardo, Liza Soberano and Nadine Lustre.

Meanwhile, for the seventh straight year, ABS-CBN was voted by the academic

community in Central Luzon as the Best TV Station.

ABS-CBN’s entertainment programs also raked in awards, including “It’s

Showtime” (Best Noontime Show), “Maalala Mo Kaya” (Best TV Anthology),

“Kadenang Ginto” (Best Teleserye), and “Tonight with Boy Abunda” (Best Talk


ABS-CBN Lifestyle, on the other hand, won Best Digital Content for


Furthermore, the network’s news division reaped awards with DZMM’s Radyo

Patrol Balita receiving the Best Multi-Platform News Program award, while

“Umagang Kay Ganda” and host Gretchen Ho were hailed as Best Morning Show

Program and Best News Personality, respectively.

Paragala Central Luzon Media Awards is spearheaded by the Holy Angel


It is said to be the biggest student-based award-giving body in the

Philippines, and the first in the region, with around 29 schools

participating in voting for the winners every year.

Held annually, the event aims to recognize outstanding programs and

personalities in the field of media.





MANILA – Kathryn Bernardo has denied once again that she ever had cosmetic

surgery to enhance her looks.

In a game of “Never Have I Ever,” celebrity doctor Aivee Teo told Bernardo

that a lot of people are wondering if she had her nose done.

“It’s a common question ah. They would ask me, ‘Parang Kath had her nose

done kasi parang her nose is not the same.’ But I would always say, No,” she


Telling Bernardo that it’s a good opportunity to clarify the matter, Teo

said: “People are asking, they are so intrigued bakit daw ung nose mo


In response, the Kapamilya atcress said: “Si Doc Aivee, hindi ka naman niya

pipilitin to do something if you’re not comfortable with it. I am happy with

my nose. Siguro lang when I got thinner and medyo tumanda, kaya siya


“But I swear, si Doc Aivee walang ginawa sa nose ko or any doctors before

Doc Aivee, just to be clear,” she added.

Agreeing with Bernardo, Teo said that it is just natural that as a person’s

face becomes slimmer, the more its features are revealed.

“I think it’s nice that it’s coming from you Kath because a lot of people

are curious and they are interested to know. They want to know the truth

straight from you,” she said.

Nonetheless, Bernardo said she has nothing against people who choose to have

their looks enhanced.

“But if you want to have surgery, wala din namang problem doon. Go to Aivee,

si Doc na ang bahala. But for me, no [I did not have anything done]. It’s

all natural,” she said.








DEC 11




    1    2    3    4    T

Magic 1-0    31    21    35    29    116

Hawks 0-1    23    29    25    35    112


    N. Vucevic ORL

18 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST

    D. Hunter ATL

18 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Knicks 1-0    22    26    26    16    90

Pistons 0-1    18    29    14    23    84


    R. Barrett NY

15 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST

    S. Bey DET

14 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Rockets 1-0    37    31    34    23    125

Bulls 0-1    26    22    24    32    104


    B. Caboclo HOU

17 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST

    C. White CHI

15 PTS, 1 REB, 6 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Clippers 0-1    22    24    15    20    81

Lakers 1-0    25    18    16    28    87

NBA Preseason Roundup



    P. George LAC

10 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST

    T. Horton-Tucker LAL

19 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Kings 0-1    36    26    19    21    102

Trail Blazers 1-0    41    31    24    31    127


    B. Hield SAC

23 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST

    C. Anthony POR

21 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST



DEC 12




    1    2    3    4    T

Pacers 0-1    22    23    28    31    104

Cavaliers 1-0    20    29    16    42    107

NBA Preseason Roundup: Day Two



    D. Sabonis IND

16 PTS, 13 REB, 2 AST

    C. Osman CLE

23 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Thunder 1-0    33    40    25    23    121

Spurs 0-1    32    26    32    18    108


    T. Maledon OKC

20 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST

    P. Mills SA

24 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Raptors 1-0    23    35    29    24    111

Hornets 0-1    32    19    25    24    100


    M. Thomas TOR

16 PTS, 1 REB, 5 AST

    M. Bridges CHA

12 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Mavericks 1-0    19    34    38    21    112

Bucks 0-1    21    38    15    28    102


    L. Doncic DAL

13 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST

    G. Antetokounmpo MIL

25 PTS, 10 REB, 1 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Grizzlies 1-0    34    26    29    18    107

Timberwolves 0-1    27    27    23    28    105


    J. Morant MEM

20 PTS, 4 REB, 11 AST

    J. Nowell MIN

22 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Nuggets 0-1    23    27    27    28    105

Warriors 1-0    31    30    23    23    107


    N. Jokic DEN

26 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST

    K. Bazemore GS

13 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST



    1    2    3    4    T

Suns 0-1    26    25    32    22    105

Jazz 1-0    33    29    25    32    119


    L. Galloway PHO

17 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST





Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor

to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. - Francis Bacon

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