15 Dec 2020
ELECTORAL COLLEGE CONFIRMS BIDEN WHITE HOUSE VICTORY
WASHINGTON Joe Biden was confirmed as the next US president on Monday as
the Electoral College formalized his victory over Donald Trump, all but
closing the door on the incumbent's efforts to overturn the result of the
As Biden appealed to Americans to "turn the page" on the divisive contest,
electors met across all US states to seal his win, with California pushing
Biden over the majority of 270 votes and clearing the way for him to take
office on January 20.
But with his ability to steal the spotlight still intact, Trump announced
moments later that Attorney General Bill Barr, who contradicted the outgoing
president's claims the November 3 election was marred by fraud, would leave
his post next week.
"Our relationship has been a very good one," Trump tweeted, making no
mention of their divergence. "Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to
spend the holidays with his family."
While a senior administration official said Barr resigned of his own accord
and was not pushed out, the extraordinary convergence of events highlighted
the tensions underlying Trump's "lame duck" final weeks in office.
The 200-plus-year-old Electoral College procedure is merely a formality in
confirming the will of the people expressed at the polls, but the process
carried added significance given the turbulence of last month's election and
Trump's refusal to acknowledge his own defeat.
California's electors burst into applause as the presiding officer read out
the tally of 55 in favor of Biden and none opposed -- confirming Barack
Obama's former vice president as the nation's 46th president.
NEW YORK NURSE RECEIVES FIRST COVID-19 VACCINE IN US
NEW YORK A nurse in New York became the first person in the United States
to receive the coronavirus vaccine Monday.
Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical
Center, received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot live on television shortly before
9:30 am (1430 GMT).
"First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!"
President Donald Trump tweeted.
Lindsay said the jab "didn't feel any different from taking any other
"I feel great. I feel relieved," she said.
"I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our
history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe.
"We're in a pandemic so we all need to do our part," Lindsay added.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, watching the landmark moment via video-link, told
Lindsay he hoped the vaccine would give her and other frontline health care
workers "a sense of security and safety."
"It's going to take months before the vaccine hits critical mass. So, this
is the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's a long tunnel," he said,
reminding people to keep following social distancing guidelines.
COVID-19 has ravaged the United States.
More than 299,000 Americans have been killed by the virus, including over
35,000 residents of New York state.
DUTERTE OKS PILOT TESTING OF FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES
MANILA President Duterte and his Cabinet yesterday approved the conduct of
a dry run of face-to-face classes in some schools located in areas with low
The pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in selected areas was one
of the topics discussed during the Cabinet meeting.
President Duterte approved during tonights Cabinet meeting the
presentation of the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct pilot
implementation or dry run of face-to-face classes in select schools within
areas with low COVID risk for the whole month of January 2021, presidential
spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
He said the face-to-face classes would not be compulsory. He added: Having
said this, a parents permit needs to be submitted for the student to
participate in face-to-face classes.
ICC FINDS 'REASONABLE BASIS' FOR ALLEGED CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN DUTERTE
MANILA The International Criminal Court (ICC) has found "reasonable basis"
to believe that President Rodrigo Duterte's 4-year-old anti-narcotics drive
spawned crimes against humanity.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's office opened in February 2018 a preliminary
probe into the slay of thousands of suspected drug users and peddlers,
including those killed for allegedly resisting arrest or allegedly gunned
down by law enforcers disguised as vigilantes.
"The Office is satisfied that information available provides a reasonable
basis to believe that the crimes against humanity of murder (article
7(1)(a)), torture (article 7(1)(f)) and the infliction of serious physical
injury and mental harm as other inhumane Acts (article 7(1)(k)) were
committed on the territory of the Philippines
48 between at least 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019, in connection to the WoD
campaign launched throughout the country," Bensouda said in a report
released on Tuesday.
Bensouda said the COVID-19 pandemic and "capacity constraints" delated her
office's goal to conclude its preliminary examination of Duterte's drug war.
"Nonetheless, the Office anticipates reaching a decision on whether to seek
authorisation to open an investigation into the situation in the Philippines
in the first half of 2021," she said.
The Philippines in March 2019 quit the ICC, though the world's only
permanent war crimes tribunal pledged to pursue its examination of alleged
illegal killings in Duterte's drug war.
NO SURGE IN COVID-19 CASES YET, SAYS PALACE
MANILA There is no surge in COVID-19 infections yet in the country, but
the public should continue to observe health measures to prevent the spread
of the virus, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the number of reported coronavirus
cases continues to be on a downtrend, but this should not be taken as enough
reason to be complacent when celebrating the holidays.
We have warned about a possible surge because of the Christmas season.
There are no reports stating that we already have a surge of infections but
we must continue to be careful, he said in Filipino at a press briefing.
KAHANDAAN NG MGA PAARALAN DAPAT TIYAKIN SA DRY RUN NG FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES:
MAYNILA - Dapat munang tiyakin ang kahandaan ng mga paaralan sa naaprubahang
planong pagsasagawa ng face-to-face dry run sa mga lugar na mababa ang banta
ng COVID-19 sa buwan ng Enero.
Ayon kay public health expert Dr. Tony Leachon, kaniyang sinusuportahan ang
hakbang ito ng gobyerno pero kailangang siguraduhin pa rin ang kahandaan ng
mga paaralan para na rin sa seguridad ng mga guro at mag-aaral.
Payag po ako d'yan, kaya lang gawin nating may pilot areas at tingnan natin
'yung cases doon at tingnan din natin whether safe 'yung mga teachers at
estudyante at ang number 3, 'yun bang eskuwelahan ay ready na sa new normal
infrastructures, sabi niya sa panayam sa TeleRadyo Martes ng umaga.
Dapat aniyang preparado ang mga paaralan sa pagpapatupad ng health protocols
tulad ng paglalagay ng social distancing cues, barrier na acrylic, at
pagsasaayos sa ventilation facilities.
Para sa ganun maisaayos ang safety ng ating teachers, maging ng mga
estudyante, sabi niya.
Lunes nag aprubahan ni Duterte ang rekomendasyon ng Department of Education
na dry run na face-to-face sa susunod na buwan.
Nauna nang ipinagbawal ni Duterte nitong Hulyo ang pagsasagawa ng
face-to-face classes hanggat wala pang bakuna konta COVID-19.
Nag-umpisa ang mga klase sa pampublikong paaralan nitong buwan ng Oktubre sa
ilalim ng blended learning system.
Ayon sa Department of Health, nakapagtala ang Pilipinos nitong Lunes ng
kabuuang 450,733 kaso ng COVID-19, kung saan 418,723 ang gumaling at 8,757
ang mga namatay.
3 TO 5-YEAR COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT 'TOO LONG', SAYS LAWMAKER
MANILA - Three to 5 years to rollout the vaccine against COVID-19 is "too
long" and will be "too late" for the Philippine economy to recover, Sen.
Ralph Recto said on Tuesday as the Senate prepares to press the executive
branch for its inoculation plan.
Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said last month vaccinating 60 to 70
million Filipinos will be done over a "3 to 5-year period."
Malacañang also revealed that the distribution of the drug will be done with
a geographical and sectoral strategy, with priority given to COVID-19
hotspots, such as Metro Manila, Davao City and Bacolod City.
Government needs to address first the pandemic to bring back consumer and
businesses' confidence to revive the economy, Recto said.
"We heard them also say 3-5 years. Thats too long. I dont think it should
take 5 years. I think our plan should be 2 years for the whole country. It
will be hard to survive 3 to 5 years, thats too long," he told ANC's
"Saying that we will be able to vaccinate on 3-5 years does not provide
confidence. Maraming missed opportunities, sayang. If we can show the
public, tingnan niyo yung healthcare workers natin binabayaran natin nang
tama'...Say that 'we will vaccinate all of you, walang pilitan,' that will
If government inoculates its citizens within 2 years, the Philippines will
recover "only the loss of P1.950 billion in the second half of 2022," he
Recto said the Senate may resume session during the holidays to "discuss
with the executive the game plan."
LAWMAKER TO BLOCK LEONEN REMOVAL BY QUO WARRANTO
MANILA Removing Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen through quo
warranto proceedings is not likely to prosper, a House of Representatives
official said, claiming that a repeat of the impeachment case of former
chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno will not be allowed.
I believe that it was a mistake for the SC to proceed with the quo warranto
especially because, at that time, Congress had already been hearing the
impeachment, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said yesterday, referring to
Sereno who was removed by the SC in May 2018.
The high tribunal earlier junked the move of private lawyer Larry Gadon and
Solicitor General Jose Calida to have Leonen removed via the quo warranto
route, borne out of his failure to declare his assets for a total of 15
years more than Serenos six years of alleged omission.
A quo warranto petition seeks the removal of a public official based on
questionable qualifications that include failure to comply with certain
requirements for the position.
'THEY DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION': LEACHON DENIES SEEKING GOV'T POST
MANILA - A former government adviser who raised concern on the Duterte
administration's prioritization of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines said Tuesday he
was not gunning for public office contrary to Malacañang's claims.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte's
televised weekly speeches were edited to remove repeated curses against
former adviser Dr. Tony Leachon. This, after Leachon questioned the
government's preference for China-made vaccines like Sinovac Biotech despite
questions on the drug's efficacy and past allegations of bribery.
Leachon said he was only posing "a fair scientific question in order to gain
confidence of the people in terms of their acceptance of the vaccine."
"Its not personal to me and Id like to reiterate and emphasize Im not
gunning for any public office. Im not going to be a public official in the
future. Im doing this without expecting anything in return," he told ANC's
Matters of Fact.
"They can see my track record as a public health advocate and I have nothing
to gain in this particular advocacy work of mine."
Leachon said a Cabinet official messaged him and said there was no truth to
the President's cursing on his remarks.
"Sabi gawa-gawa lang daw 'yun (They said it was made up)," he said.
The doctor, however, said he was not surprised by Malacañang's reaction as
"they were not open to criticisms" when he was part of the National Task
Force against COVID-19.
DFA: OVER 300,000 MIGRANT FILIPINOS BROUGHT HOME DUE TO PANDEMIC
MANILA The Department of Foreign Affairs last week repatriated a
record-high 13,537 overseas Filipinos, pushing its tally of migrants who
have returned since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic past 300,000.
"As of today, the DFA has brought home 300,838 overseas Filipinos from all
over the world. 90,621 (30.12%) of them are sea-based workers while 210,217
(69.88%) are land-based," DFA said in a Sunday bulletin.
Last week's repatriates, the agency said, marked the highest weekly total
since efforts to bring home overseas Filipinos started in February.
"Among the 59 flights facilitated by the Department this week was a
Philippine Airlines flight chartered by the DFA which brought home 319
distressed overseas Filipinos from Dammam, Saudi Arabia. This is the 5th
DFA-chartered flight which repatriated stranded compatriots from Saudi
Arabias eastern region," it said.
An undisclosed number of Filipinos from the Solomon Islands also returned
home with the assistance of the Philippine Embassy Port Moresby.
Meanwhile, 18 Filipinos from Jordan came home through the collaborative
efforts of the Philippine Embassy in Amman and the International
Organization for Migration.
PRIVATE HOSPITALS 'READY' FOR POST-HOLIDAY VIRUS SURGE: OFFICIALS
MANILA - Private hospitals are prepared to admit virus patients in the event
of a surge following holiday celebrations, officials said Tuesday.
The Philippines may end the year with 480,000 virus cases, the OCTA Research
Group earlier warned as it urged the public to continue observing minimum
health protocols to avoid a COVID-19 surge in 1 to 2 months.
Members of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. have
experienced a decrease in admission of virus patients in recent weeks but
are prepared should cases rise, said its president Jose Rene de Grano.
"Ang mga ospital naman po ay nakahanda na mag-admit, may mandate sa'min na
supposedly 20 percent ng allocation ng beds namin ay para sa COVID
patients," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
"Handa po ang mga manggagawang pangkalusugan para tugunan ang
pangangailangan ng mamayang Pilipino kung sakaling magkaroon tayo ng surge,"
added Dr. Maricar Limpin, vice president of the Philippine College of
NEW DESIGN FOR NAIA 1 TAKES INSPIRATION FROM BANAUE RICE TERRACES
MANILA - The consortium that won the bid to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino
International Airport has unveiled its proposed design for Terminal 1, which
takes inspiration from the Banaue Rice Terraces.
Megawide-GMR said they want NAIA to leave a positive, unforgettable
experience that people can equate with their stay which is why they chose a
national heritage landmark which many refer to as the 8th Wonder of the
Were not just rehabilitating an airport we're creating a new symbol for
the country, said Louie Ferrer, Megawide Executive Director for
The Filipino-Indian consortium said there were a number of proposals
presented, but when we saw the design for the Banaue Rice Terraces, we knew
it was the best fit for the new NAIA.
We want NAIAs reputation to change from The Worst Airport into An
Airport Wonder, said Ferrer.
Megawide-GMR said the central landscape, called the Hagdan (Steps)
features a sunken garden reminiscent of the terraces. These terraces are
continued in the upper levels of the new parking and commercial building in
front of the existing terminal designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin,
the consortium added.
The new feature was designed by Integrated Design Associates (IDA) Hong
Kong, the same architectural firm that designed the Mactan Cebu
International Airport (MCIA) Terminal 2 and the new Clark International
Airport Passenger Terminal Building.
MCIA, particularly Terminal 2, recently beat Singapores Changi Airport in
the World Architecture Festival.
The consortium proposes to increase NAIA's current capacity of 30 million to
65 million passengers yearly.
The Megawide-GMR consortium was granted "original proponent status," to
upgrade NAIA last July, after the government terminated the bid of another
consortium made up of the Philippines' biggest conglomerates.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
BEA ALONZO, ALDEN RICHARDS TO STAR IN PH ADAPTATION OF A MOMENT TO
MANILA -- It's a dream come true for actor Alden Richards as he is set to do
a movie with Bea Alonzo.
According to a report published by PEP on Monday, Alonzo and Richards are
set to star in the Philippine adaptation of the hit Korean film "A Moment to
The Korean film, which was was based in 2001 Japanese drama "Pure Soul" and
released in November 2004, follows the love story of a woman who has
early-onset of Alzheimers disease.
In the Pinoy adaptation, Richards plays the lead actor, originally played by
Korean actor Jung Woo-sung.
Alonzo plays the female lead originally portrayed by Son Ye Jin, who is best
known for the 2020 hit Korean drama "Crash Landing On You."
In 2006, Son Ye-jin won best actress in a foreign film award at the 15th
China Golden Rooster Award and Hundred Flowers Film Festival for her
performance as Kim Su-jin in "A Moment to Remember."
The local "A Moment to Remember" is a joint venture of GMA Pictures and VIVA
Films. Shooting for the film is slated for January 2021.
Just last October, Alonzo has said she's open to do a movie project with
"Sana [magkatrabaho kami for an acting project in the future]. Wish ko rin
[na mangyari 'yun]. Hes such a nice person," she said in her vlog.
Alonzo said she discovered just how nice Richards is when they got to work
together for a brand endorsement.
Ive worked with him, sobrang bait. Hindi lang siya, pati 'yung team niya.
I had the best time with him, she said at the time.
NBA SCORES DEC 13
1 2 3 4 T
Magic 1-1 26 26 30 25 107
Hawks 1-1 36 22 30 28 116
M. Fultz ORL
21 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST
T. Young ATL
21 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Wizards 0-1 20 30 34 30 114
Nets 1-0 38 30 22 29 119
Preseason Highlights: Wizards at Nets
R. Hachimura WAS
18 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST
K. Irving BKN
18 PTS, 1 REB, 4 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Knicks 1-1 20 22 33 16 91
Pistons 1-1 31 21 23 24 99
R. Barrett NY
25 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST
S. Doumbouya DET
23 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Rockets 1-1 31 25 23 12 91
Bulls 1-1 30 23 20 31 104
J. Wall HOU
21 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST
Z. LaVine CHI
23 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Clippers 0-2 29 34 23 20 106
Lakers 2-0 39 31 33 28 131
Preseason Highlights: Clippers at Lakers
L. Williams LAC
12 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST
T. Horton-Tucker LAL
33 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Kings 1-1 30 28 29 34 121
Trail Blazers 1-1 21 30 33 22 106
K. Guy SAC
14 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
H. Giles III POR
19 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST
FOREX $1 = P 48.05
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Men of integrity, by their existence, rekindle the belief that as a people
we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; a cynical
community is a corrupt community. - John W. Gardner