World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
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

2020 election.

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

vaccine."

"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

coronavirus risk.

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 tonight’s 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 parent’s 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

DRUG WAR

 

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:

LEACHON

 

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 hangga’t 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. That’s too long. I don’t 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, that’s too long," he told ANC's

Headstart.

"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

provide confidence."

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

added.

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 Sereno’s 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."

"It’s not personal to me and I’d like to reiterate and emphasize I’m not

gunning for any public office. I’m not going to be a public official in the

future. I’m 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.

 

 

THE REST

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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

Arabia’s 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

Physicians.

 

 

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

World.”

“We’re not just rehabilitating an airport – we're creating a new symbol for

the country,” said Louie Ferrer, Megawide Executive Director for

Infrastructure Development.

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 NAIA’s 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 Singapore’s 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

REMEMBER'

 

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

Remember."

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 Alzheimer’s 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

Richards.

"Sana [magkatrabaho kami for an acting project in the future]. Wish ko rin

[na mangyari 'yun]. He’s 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.

“I’ve worked with him, sobrang bait. Hindi lang siya, pati 'yung team niya.

I had the best time with him,” she said at the time.

 

 

SPORTS

 

 

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

SCORING LEADERS

    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

1:11

SCORING LEADERS

    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

SCORING LEADERS

    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

SCORING LEADERS

    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

1:23

SCORING LEADERS

    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

SCORING LEADERS

    K. Guy SAC

14 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST

    H. Giles III POR

19 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST

 

 

INDICATORS

 

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

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