16 Dec 2020
'SOMEBODY DROPPED THE BALL'
10 million Pfizer vaccine Doses
MANILA - The country was assured of getting 10 million doses of COVID-19
vaccines from Pfizer by January until "somebody dropped the ball," Foreign
Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said yesterday.
The vaccines, he said, were supposed to be funded by the World Bank and the
Asian Development Bank (ADB).
"That said my thanks just the same to US Sec of State Mike Pompeo we
-(Philippine Ambassador to the US) Babe Romualdez and I - got 10 million
doses of Pfizer financed by World Bank and ADB to be shipped thru FEDEX to
Clark in January. BUT SOMEBODY DROPPED THE BALL. I have steel ball bearings.
I just need a slingshot," Locsin said on Twitter.
To the Twitter post of former elections commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal
that the Philippines seemed to have "acted too late" in finalizing vaccine
deals, Locsin replied: "No. We did not miss the bus because we were slow to
act. Babe and I were fast. Offers poured in. But there are none so slow as
those who never had the intention to catch the bus."
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he had no idea who Locsin was
referring to as having "dropped the ball" and stopped the delivery of the
Pfizer vaccines to the Philippines.
But he said the government is looking at getting the supply from Pfizer
between the second and the third quarter of 2021, hence the preference for
China's Sinovac vaccine.
German firm BioNTech, he said, is also expected to make its own vaccine
shipment to the country by early next year.
In a post on Twitter, the Chinese embassy said Sinovac Biotech would provide
25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines by March.
At the same time, Roque parried criticisms that the Philippines is not
getting the first crack at new vaccines due to its failure to negotiate with
Western pharmaceutical groups.
Roque said the Duterte administration did not waver in its effort to seek
international cooperation regarding vaccine procurement.
"It's very clear that no less than our Secretary of Foreign Affairs
negotiated with his counterpart in the US, Secretary Pompeo, for us to get
supply from Pfizer. So we've never been remiss in our duty. There is really
a supply agreement with Pfizer, but the issue is when," he said in Filipino
SENATE EXTENDS VALIDITY OF 2020 BUDGET, BAYANIHAN 2
MANILA - The Senate on Tuesday approved on final reading measures that would
extend the validity of the 2020 national budget and the Bayanihan to Recover
as One Act (Bayanihan 2) until next year.
The Senate unanimously agreed to pass the House of Representatives'
proposals to allow the government to spend remaining funds from the current
budget until December 31, 2021.
The validity of Bayanihan 2, the Philippines' second COVID-19 aid package,
meanwhile, will be extended until June 30, 2021.
President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent bills to extend the 2020
budget and the Bayanihan 2 until next year.
On Monday, the House of Representatives approved on final reading House Bill
6656 which gives the Duterte administration one more year to spend this
year's national budget.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives... government agencies were
not spared and they, too, had to adjust," Senate Committee on Finance chair
Sonny Angara said in plenary.
"We are opening a wider window for the country to return to its original
path to development," he said.
Without the passage of the 2 bills, the 2020 national budget would expire on
December 31, 2020, while Bayanihan 2 would be deemed invalid after December
As of November 30, the government has yet to utilize some P110 billion under
the 2020 budget, as well as about P38 billion under the Bayanihan 2, Angara
RECTO FILES BAYANIHAN 3 BILL, SEEKS FASTER RECOVERY FROM COVID-19,
MANILA - Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has filed a bill seeking
to create the Philippines' third COVID-19 relief package, saying the measure
would help the Philippines "accelerate" its recovery from the COVID-19
pandemic and recent calamities.
Senate Bill No. 1953 also known as the Bayanihan to Rebuild as One was filed
in the Senate on December 14, and authorizes the government to utilize more
funds to respond to COVID-19-related programs as well as calamity response
"We were not yet able to fully flatten the curve and yet our country had
already been battered by typhoons Roily, Quinta and Ulysses which came in
succession in two weeks' time," Recto said in his bill's explanatory note.
VACCINE FIRMS YET TO APPLY FOR EMERGENCY USE IN PH, SAYS FDA
MANILA - Vaccine firms have yet to apply for emergency use in the
Philippines, the Food and Drug Authority said Wednesday as it urged Chinese
drugmakers to register their COVID-19 vaccine in order for these to be
distributed in 3 months.
The FDA published its guidelines for emergency use authorization (EAU) on
Monday, said executive director Eric Domingo.
"So far we have not received any formal application yet...It takes time to
prepare. In the Philippines, I'll only accept the application if they
already have an EUA in their home country," he told ANC's Headstart.
"I guess it's really also the timing of the companies being able to supply
that is why they're not yet applying for EUAs. Maybe they're not yet ready
to supply even if we do give them that authorization, maybe production is
not enough to supply here immediately."
PH DOLLAR RESERVES RISE TO AN ALL-TIME HIGH IN NOVEMBER
MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the country's gross
international reserves reached an all-time high in November.
The country's GIR rose to $104.51 billion, up by $710 million from $103.80
billion in October.
The increase was due to the strong foreign exchange operations of the
central bank and income from its investments abroad, it said.
This was partially offset however by withdrawals made by the national
government to pay off foreign debts and losses from the BSP's gold holdings
as prices went down in November.
The BSP said the November GIR "represents an adequate external liquidity
buffer" which is equal to 11.2 months' worth of imports of goods and
payments of services and primary income.
This buffer "can help cushion the domestic economy against external shocks,"
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said the central bank has been actively
trading gold, as prices surge the past few months.
He previously noted that gold takes up over 10 percent of the central bank's
GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT VS LEONEN 'WOBBLY,' EX-CHIEF JUSTICE SAYS
MANILA - The impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court Associate
Justice Marvic Leonen is unlikely to pass because its grounds are "wobbly,"
former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said Wednesday.
"I think it will have difficulty passing because the grounds therefore are
wobbly, in my opinion," he told ANC's "Matters of Fact".
"First, he says that Marvic Leonen, as a justice of the Supreme Court, have
been delayed in the resolution of the cases assigned to him. He has not
produced evidence to that in the first place."
Panganiban also said the complainant had no conclusive proof that Leonen did
not file his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) while he
was teaching at the University of the Philippines.
Panganiban believed the impeachment complaint was used to "fish for
evidence" by using the "coercive power" of the lower chamber's committee on
"I think impeachment has been cheapened in the sense that it is raised even
if the grounds are not very clear, not very justiciable, not very apt for
the process," he said.
"Impeachment is such a high proceeding that it should be used sparingly only
when the ground is secure and sure to respect the independence of our
BRIONES: 1,114 SCHOOLS EYED FOR FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES DRY RUN
MANILA - More than 1,000 schools have been recommended to the Department of
Education for the dry run of face-to-face classes in January, but Secretary
Leonor Briones said the number is expected to be significantly reduced after
In an interview with CNN Philippines' "The Source", Briones said Wednesday
1,114 schools have been recommended by regional directors, upon consultation
with schools superintendents, for the dry run.
But Briones said they will still assess the schools if these can comply with
requirements set by the Department of Health and which have been cleared
with their local government units. She added DepEd will also check whether
the physical distancing can be ensured in the classrooms.
"We have to comply with the requirements of DOH safety sanitation assessment
only in areas classified by [Inter-Agency Task Force] as low risk areas,"
She also stressed that will need the written consent from parents before a
learner can attend face-to-face learning, as this will be on a voluntary
INSTEAD OF ARRESTS, COPS MAY HAND OUT FACE SHIELDS, MASKS TO VIOLATORS - PNP
MANILA - Police officers will not necessarily arrest people who will leave
their homes without face shields and face masks, as they may instead supply
these to the violators instead, the spokesman of the Philippine National
Police said Wednesday.
PBGen. Ildebrandi Usana said the PNP received donations of face masks and
shields and the cops will use these as they enforce guidelines issued by the
Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19.
"During the press conference, sabi po ng aming Chief PNP Gen. Debold Sinas,
hindi naman kailangan na right away magkakaroon po ng sanctions. Posible po
na kung may dala-dala na rin po ang ating kapulisan na mga face shield o
masks para po sa mga mamamayan, puwede pong ipamahagi itong mga itong
personal protective equipment para sa kanilang kapakanan," he told ANC's
FILIPINOS PRAY FOR PANDEMIC'S END AS SIMBANG GABI BEGINS
MANILA - Filipinos trooped to their local churches as the 9-day dawn masses
or Simbang Gabi began early Wednesday.
The faithful are required to wear face masks and face shields in most
churches, which government allowed to fill 30 percent of their seating
capacity. Strict physical distancing measures were implemented inside places
Several churches such as the Manila Cathedral and the Sto. Domingo Church
put up LED screens in their patios for worshipers who were not allowed to go
Dawn masses are also streamed online for those who would not be able to
attend it in person.
"Kapag nananampalataya ang isang Pilipino, wala namang pandemyang pwedeng
makapigil dyan. In fact, 'yan 'yung pinagsasaligan natin ng pagasa at
syempre si Hesus ang reason para sa season na ito," historian Xiao Chua told
"Mas dama mo po pag nagsisimba po... Sana po mawala na po ang COVID at sana
po maging safe ang lahat ng tao dito," one worshiper at the St Peter Parish
in Commonwealth said.
Chua said it was part of the Filipino culture to believe that a wish would
be granted if they complete the 9-day dawn masses.
"Although hindi 'yan official stand ng Simbahang Katolika, very Filipino
'yan eh, may ginagawa kang panata, sakripisyo, kukumpletuhin mo," he said.
"Yung nominal Catholics, mga 'di nagsisimba pag regular Sundays, 'yan ay
nagsisimba pag Simbang Gabi, ganun ka-espesyal ang Simbang Gabi."
Filipinos adapted Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo from the Spaniards, Chua
"These are 9 days novena for the Virgin Mary. Iba pa 'to sa (It's different
from) Misa de Gallo which is the Christmas morning mass," he said.
"Ito ay in-adapt natin kasi yung mga magsasaka sa umaga bago pumunta sa
work, 9 days before Christmas, eh yun yung panahon nila para sumamba."
Quezon City Police, meantime, deployed 3,200 personnel to churches, malls,
train stations, and public areas teeming with crowds.
MAGNITUDE 6.2 QUAKE STRIKES OFF DAVAO OCCIDENTAL
MANILA - A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck off Davao Occidental on Wednesday
morning, Phivolcs said.
The quake, which happened 7:21 a.m., was downgraded from an initial
measurement of magnitude 6.1.
Phivolcs revised the earthquake's epicenter to 86 kilometers southeast of
Sarangani town, Davao Occidental from 11 kilometers northeast of Alabel town
Phivolcs director Renato Solidum initially said it was not expected to cause
damage or result in a tsunami. A revised Phivolcs bulletin said damage and
aftershocks were expected following the tremor.
"Hindi naman magko-cause ng tsunami at kung ganun lang po ang intensity, 5,
ang pinakamataas ay wala po tayong ine-expect na damage," he told ABS-CBN's
NEGROS DOCTOR SAID TO BE ON VIGILANTE HIT LIST KILLED ALONGSIDE HUSBAND
MANILA - A doctor who was allegedly placed in a hit list by an
anti-communist vigilante group was shot dead along with her husband on
Tuesday evening, rights group Karapatan reported.
Karapatan said a two people onboard a motorcycle shot Rose Sancelan and her
husband Edwin Sancelan dead in Barangay Poblacion, Guihulngan City in Negros
The rights group said the doctor, who also heads the city's inter-agency
task force against COVID-19, was number one on the hit list of Kawsa
Guihulnganon Batok Komunista (Kagubak), a supposed anti-communist vigilante
group which has been blamed for the spate of killings on Negros island.
The doctor was tagged as JB Regalado, spokesperson of the Leonardo Panaligan
Command of the New People's Army in Central Negros, Karapatan said.
The rights group noted that along with the doctor, lawyer Anthony Trinidad
and Heidie Malalay Flores have also been gunned down after their names
appeared on the alleged hit list.
"This is the extreme danger of being red-tagged," Bayan Muna chairperson
Neri Colmenares said in a statement. "State forces and their cohorts may
just assassinate you with impunity."
HOUSE PROBE SOUGHT INTO 'SEARCH WARRANT FACTORY' JUDGE
MANILA - The Makabayan bloc is calling on the House justice committee to
conduct a probe into the allegedly irregular issuance of search warrants by
a Quezon City judge that resulted in the arrests of several activists on
firearms and explosives charges.
The leftist bloc noted that the search warrants which led to the arrest of
69 people in various raids in Bacolod and Metro Manila beginning in October
2019 were issued by the same judge: Quezon City Executive Judge Cecilyn
Most recently, Burgos-Villavert's search warrants have led to the arrest of
six trade unionists and the editor of Manila Today on International Human
Rights Day following raids on their residences where police supposedly found
firearms and explosives.
"It appears that Executive Judge Burgos-Villavert is being favored by the
PNP (Philippine National Police) in the issuance of multiple search warrants
founded on fabricated facts, which specifically target human rights
defenders, labor and community organizers, activists and other government
critics," the bloc said in filing House Resolution No. 1427.
The Makabayan bloc also questioned the independence and impartiality of the
judge, noting that she was reportedly visited a day before the Bacolod raids
by then-Metro Manila acting police chief Gen. Debold Sinas.
"It is crucial for the House of Representatives to ensure that the
constitutional rights of its constituents are upheld. There is a need to
check on excesses and violations committed against the people as part of its
oversight function," the Makabayan bloc said.
The Makabayan bloc is part of the House minority and resolutions filed by
its members rarely result in House committees actually holding hearings.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
ROBIN PADILLA GETS SLAMMED BY A VETERAN DIRECTOR
Robin Padilla received strong words from a veteran director after taking a
swipe at the screening committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)
2020. KAMI learned that the said celebrity posted a lengthy message on
Instagram regarding the 10 Filipino films that made it to the official
He even mentioned that not all people in the film industry are just after
"We have lost our ways, my dear brothers and sisters in the screening
committee," Robin quipped. "Show business is not all about your shows and
your businesses. It is not always about your money, your profit and your
awards. New normal na! Pati ang showing ng mga pelikula niyo sa MMFF pero
ang style niyo old normal pa rin," he added. During the media conference of
"Magikland" on December 9, Lore Reyes, a veteran Filipino filmmaker, aired
his opinion about the sentiments of Robin. He pointed out that he will only
believe the words of the actor if they came from someone who has done a lot
of decent movies. "Ang reaction ko lang diyan... Sana, kung nanggagaling sa
bunganga ng taong nakagawa ng matinong pelikula, maniniwala ako," the
director stated. "Not from Robin Padilla, excuse me!" he added.
Robin Padilla is a prominent action star in the Philippines. He already won
numerous awards such as the Best Actor recognition given to him during the
2013 MMFF. Several weeks ago, he defended President Rodrigo Duterte in his
viral letter for Vice President Leni Robredo. The said actor also made
headlines on social media after he shared a video of him getting tested for
the novel coronavirus disease.
NBA SCORES DEC 14
1 2 3 4 T
Pacers 0-2 35 20 24 27 106
Cavaliers 2-0 32 23 26 35 116
D. Sabonis IND
18 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST
D. Exum CLE
23 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Pelicans 1-0 32 28 25 29 114
Heat 0-1 30 23 19 20 92
Z. Williamson NO
26 PTS, 11 REB, 2 AST
T. Herro MIA
17 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Raptors 2-0 22 35 28 27 112
Hornets 0-2 30 30 27 22 109
F. VanVleet TOR
23 PTS, 0 REB, 4 AST
J. McDaniels CHA
15 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Mavericks 2-0 32 27 36 33 128
Bucks 0-2 28 41 24 19 112
L. Doncic DAL
27 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST
G. Antetokounmpo MIL
24 PTS, 14 REB, 4 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Grizzlies 2-0 36 28 32 27 123
Timberwolves 0-2 22 28 22 32 104
J. Valanciunas MEM
22 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST
D. Russell MIN
19 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Suns 0-2 15 33 22 22 92
Jazz 2-0 19 30 38 24 111
D. Booker PHO
27 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST
B. Bogdanovic UTA
18 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
FOREX $1 = P 48.06
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the
street. - Elbert Hubbard