World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
6 January 2020

DUTERTE ORDERS MILITARY TO PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE REPATRIATION OF PINOYS IN 
IRAQ, IRAN 

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to prepare its 
aircraft and ships for the possible evacuation of Filipinos in the Middle 
East if the tension between the United States and Iran further escalates, a 
Defense official said on Sunday. 
Duterte held an emergency meeting with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana 
and officials of the military and police in Malacañang on Sunday to discuss 
the situation in the Middle East, Department of Defense Spokesperson Arsenio 
Andolong said in a statement. 
"The sole agenda was how to ensure the safety of our countrymen in the 
Middle East especially those in Iraq and Iran as the tension between the US 
and Iran rises," Andolong said. 
There are 1,600 and 6,000 Filipinos in Iran and Iraq, respectively, he said. 

Tensions between the US and Iran escalated after a US drone strike killed 
military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Friday. 


POLICE TO GUIDE TRASLACION'S START IN HISTORIC FIRST 

MANILA — For the first time, policemen will take charge of jumpstarting a 
mammoth procession of the Black Nazarene in the capital, one of the world's 
biggest show of Catholic zeal, organizers said Monday. 
From the Quirino Grandstand to Roxas Boulevard, policemen will pull the 
carriage of the Black Nazarene to prevent devotees from blocking its path, 
said Fr. Douglas Badong, vicar of Quiapo Church, home of the 400-year-old 
statue of Jesus Christ. 
"Iyong mga kapulisan po ay nasa unahan lang ng andas para iyong mga 
sumasalubong na para bang humaharang sa daraanan, iyon lang po ang kanilang 
gustong i-prevent na mangyari — pero hindi para bakuran ang Nazareno," he 
told radio DZMM. 
"Ito rin naman po iyong unang pagkakataon na talagang full support iyong 
kanilang lahat ng puwersa na kapulisan. Nakakatuwa rin kasi ang hangad lang 
nila makatulong sa ikakaayos ng prusisyon," he added. 
Millions of devotees, mostly barefoot and clad in yellow or maroon, jostle 
every year to touch the ropes pulling the carriage of the Black Nazarene or 
throw white towels to wipe the statue believed to have miraculous powers. 
Some 5,000 to 7,000 policemen, including trainees and elite commandos, will 
keep watch over the mammoth procession, said Philippine National Police 
officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa. 
"Three layers" of policemen in uniform and combat boots will guide the 
Traslacion's start, he added. 
"Sana huwag na nilang harangan sa harap," he said in a DZMM interview, 
addressing devotees. 
"Parang mahirap paniwalaan na magiging successful, but the PNP is trying its 
best na kung puwede, subukan lang natin," he said. 


CHINA RULES OUT SARS IN MYSTERY VIRAL PNEUMONIA OUTBREAK 

BEIJING - China on Sunday said a mysterious viral pneumonia outbreak that 
has affected 59 people was not the flu-like virus SARS that killed hundreds 
more than a decade ago. 
The infection was first reported last week in Wuhan, a central Chinese city 
with a population of over 11 million -- leading to online speculation about 
a resurgence of the highly contagious SARS virus. 
"We have excluded several hypotheses, in particular, the fact that it is a 
flu, an avian flu, an adenovirus, respiratory syndrome severe acute (SARS) 
or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)," the Wuhan health commission 
said. 
Wuhan police on Wednesday said they had punished eight people for 
"publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without 
verification." 
The health commission said that seven of the 59 patients are seriously ill 
but that none have died. All are being treated in quarantine. 
The infection broke out between 12 and 29 December, with some of the 
patients employed at a seafood market in the city that has since been closed 
for disinfection. 
No obvious evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found so far, it 
added. 
"The reported link to a wholesale fish and live animal market could indicate 
an exposure link to animals," the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on 
Sunday. 
The symptoms reported in patients were mainly fever, with a few patients 
having difficulty in breathing and chest radiographs showing invasive 
lesions on both lungs. 
"The symptoms reported among the patients are common to several respiratory 
diseases, and pneumonia is common in the winter season," said the WHO, 
adding that the concentration of cases should be handled "prudently". 
It said it was against imposing any travel or trade restrictions on China. 
SARS killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 
2003. 
The virus, which infected more than 8,000 people around the world, is 
believed to have originated in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, 
according to WHO. 


MYSTERY PNEUMONIA: DOH SCREENS TRAVELERS FROM CHINA 

MANILA — The Philippine government is closely monitoring the entry of all 
travelers from China amid the outbreak of a mysterious viral pneumonia. 
Health Secretary Francis Duque III over the weekend said the Bureau of 
Quarantine (BoQ) is on alert and tightly watching travelers from all 
seaports and airports. 
“All incoming travelers, especially those manifesting fever or signs of 
respiratory infection, shall be checked,” he disclosed as he called on the 
public, particularly those with a history of travel from China, to seek 
immediate medical consultation if experiencing any flu-like symptoms. 
The health chief ordered an intensified monitoring of all travelers 
following reports that 44 people have been infected with a mysterious viral 
pneumonia in China. 
Citing reports from China, Duque said the mysterious disease is similar to a 
“viral pneumonia of unknown origin.” 
Duque advised the public to adopt healthy lifestyles, practice proper hand 
hygiene, and observe cough etiquette to prevent the transmission of 
respiratory infections. 


PCSO TO INTRODUCE NEW GAMES TO RAISE FUNDS 

MANILA — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is looking to 
introduce new games this year to raise more revenue for its charity projects 
and fund the Duterte administration’s universal health care (UHC) program. 
Royina Garma, PCSO general manager, said that aside from Lotto and Small 
Town Lottery (STL) games, the agency has to develop new games to generate 
more funds. 
“We need to introduce new games and find ways to produce more revenues,” 
Garma told reporters in a recent press briefing. 
Arnel Casas, PCSO assistant general manager for gaming, product development 
and marketing sector department, said the agency is counting on the private 
sector to help them come up with new games. 
Casas said they have streamlined the process for franchise applications for 
private gaming firms to submit proposals. 
The new games should not grab shares from the existing PCSO games such as 
Lotto, STL, Peryahan ng Bayan, Keno and the Scratch-It sweepstakes, 
according to Casas. 
Garma said the PCSO would continue its charity programs for the poor and 
provide financial support to orphanages. 
She said the charity agency has allotted P6.1 billion for the UHC rollout 
this year and the Malasakit Centers in government-run hospitals. 


'GREATLY EXAGGERATED': NOYNOY CAMP BELIES REPORTS OF EX-PRESIDENT'S ILL 
HEALTH 

MANILA- Former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is "doing well" 
contrary to reports of his failing health, his former spokesperson said 
Monday. 
Amid rumors that Aquino was looking for a kidney donor, his former 
spokesperson Abigail Valte said the 59-year-old former chief executive spent 
the holidays with his family. 
"Reports of his ill-health are greatly exaggerated and mostly have no basis 
in truth," Valte said. 
She also belied rumors that Aquino underwent an operation and was diagnosed 
with acute kidney failure. 
Last December, Aquino underwent a "scheduled check-up and a routine 
procedure" at the Makati Medical Center, but did not disclose the specific 
procedure. 
During his time as president, Aquino was known to have been a chain smoker 
and dealt with rumors about the state of his health. 


‘REDS’ KILL IP GROUP LEADER 

MANILA — Four suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas shot dead a 
leader of an indigenous peoples group in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon on Saturday 
morning. 
Sammy Diwangan, 45, was with his son John, 9, when he was killed by alleged 
members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front Malayag in Barangay Canangaan. 
Diwangan, head of the indigenous peoples mandatory representatives, was a 
vocal critic of the communist group’s recruitment activities, according to 
1st Lt. Ken Cabbigat, civil military operations officer of the Philippine 
Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion. 
A former NPA guerrilla who recently surrendered to authorities said they 
planned to kill Diwangan. 
“When I was the commander of the NPA-Sentro De Grabidad Thunder of Guerrilla 
Front 6, we plotted to kill Diwangan because he hampered our mission to 
expand our forces in Barangay Canangaan,” the former rebel, identified as 
alias Cardo, was quoted telling the military. 
Diwangan’s son told probers he saw four armed men walking toward him and his 
father, prompting him to run away. 
He said he heard gunfire as he escaped from the scene. 
The boy was referred to the local social worker and development office to 
help him recover from trauma resulting from the incident. 


MAGNITUDE 5.4 QUAKE STRIKES OFF DAVAO ORIENTAL, AFTERSHOCKS POSSIBLE 

MANILA — A magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck waters off the southern province 
of Davao Oriental early Monday and could spawn aftershocks, state 
seismologists said. 
The tremor struck before 3 a.m. with its epicenter located 72 kilometers 
southeast of Governor Generoso town, said Phivolcs. 
At a depth of 50 kilometers, the quake was felt at Intensity 4 or 
"moderately strong" shaking that is "like the passing of heavy truck" in 
Governor Generoso, said the agency. 
While the quake could trigger aftershocks, it is not expected to cause 
damage, added Phivolcs. 


ANGKAS HAS FOREIGN OWNERSHIP ISSUES – TWG 

MANILA — As the government and motorcycle-taxi firms continue to lock horns, 
the interagency technical working group (TWG) has claimed app-based firm 
Angkas has not met foreign ownership provisions for transportation carriers. 
The TWG said it only granted Angkas the “privilege” to provisionally operate 
as the company had not met the 60-40 percent foreign equity requirement 
provided for in the Constitution. 
“It bears repeating, and emphasizing, that Angkas is merely operating on the 
basis of the motorcycle taxi pilot study, a privilege being accorded by the 
TWG, notwithstanding the legal issues hounding Angkas and its attempt to 
circumvent existing transport laws, to carry out its business,” the TWG said 
in a statement. 
The Constitution limits foreign ownership for public utilities, including 
transportation, to 40 percent and reserves 60 percent to Filipino citizens 
or corporations. 
Citing records from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Angkas is 
supposedly owned 99.996 percent by Singaporean Angeline Tham. 
Tham was a former executive of transport network company (TNC) Grab’s own 
motorcycle-taxi service before it was shut down. She then founded Angkas in 
2016. 
Indonesian ride-hailing service GoJek was earlier rejected by the Land 
Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board over the same issue of 
ownership. 
Aside from ownership issues, the TWG said that Angkas committed other 
violations such as operating outside designated areas in the pilot run, 
collection of surge fees, as well as safety breaches like non-wearing of 
authorized safety gear. 


NEW BRIDGE OPENED IN ILOCOS 

MANILA — A new two-lane bridge has been opened in Nueva Era, Ilocos Norte, 
the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said over the weekend. 
The newly constructed Centennial Bongo Bridge replaced the old Bongo Bridge 
that traverses the Padsan River, DPWH regional director Ronnel Tan said over 
the weekend. 
“The bridge is expected to ease and cut travel time in Ilocos Norte and 
Abra,” Tan said. 
The Bongo Bridge replacement project was implemented in two phases and cost 
P194.5 million. 


#WALANGPASOK: CLASSES, GOV'T WORK IN MANILA SUSPENDED FOR BLACK NAZARENE 
TRASLACION 

MANILA - Classes and government work in the capital are suspended on 
Thursday, January 9 in observance of the Traslacion or the procession of the 
Black Nazarene, the city government of Manila said Monday. 
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno ordered the cancellation of classes in "all 
universities, colleges and schools" and work in the city's offices and 
departments, except for peace and order, public services, sanitation, 
traffic enforcement, and disaster risk reduction and management. 
Suspension of work in national government offices and private companies is 
left to their respective management, the Manila Public Information Office 
said. 
At least 2.5 million people are expected to participate in the procession, 
one of Manila's oldest Catholic traditions, but this year's Traslacion is 
expected to be quicker than last year's 21-hour event, officials said. 


DECEMBER INFLATION SEEN AT 2.1 PERCENT IN 'UPWARD NORMALIZATION': ANALYST 

MANILA – Inflation likely accelerated in December but still within the 
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' 2 to 4 percent goal, an analyst said Monday. 
December inflation could settle at 2.1 percent as the effect of a high base 
from the previous year fades, said RCBC head of Economics and Industry 
Research Michael Ricafort. 
"We have the peak inflation at 6.7 percent in October 2018. It has already 
eased thereafter so that would result in some upward normalization in 
inflation," Ricafort said. 
A “prudent” Bangko Sentral will consider global risks when making any policy 
decisions this year, he said. 
President Rodrigo Duterte’s expected signing of the P4.1 trillion budget on 
Monday is a “positive catalyst” for the country’s gross domestic product 
growth, Ricafort said. 
Ricafort said the economy likely grew 6.6 to 6.7 percent in the fourth 
quarter of 2019 and could grow 7 percent in the first and second quarters of 
2020. 


AFTER PIA WURTZBACH, CATRIONA GRAY GETS HER OWN WAX FIGURE 

MANILA – Another Miss Universe from the Philippines gets to have her own wax 
figure at the popular Madame Tussauds museum. 
Months after the launch of Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s wax figure in 
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, 2018 winner Catriona Gray will soon be the first 
Filipina to have her image immortalized in the museum’s branch in Singapore. 
Gray’s wax figure will be wearing a replica of her iconic lava gown by Mak 
Tumang. 
Just like Wurtzbach’s, Gray’s wax figure will be first unveiled at an event 
in Manila. 
Details, however, have yet to be announced by Madame Tussauds. 
“I am so excited to see the final figure and be a part of this special 
event! To unveil the figure in my home country with my fans watching is 
another dream come true,” Gray said in a statement released by Madame 
Tussauds on Monday, just in time for her 26th birthday. 
After Manila, Gray’s wax figure will be in Madame Tussauds Singapore “for a 
limited time,” and will then make stops at the wax museum’s branches in 
Bangkok and Hong Kong. 
“We are constantly bringing in more fun to cater to various markets, and we 
look forward to welcome Catriona who will be the first Filipino wax figure 
in Madame Tussauds Singapore. Besides her figure, Catriona also filmed 
something special for Madame Tussauds,” said Alex Ward, general manager of 
Madame Tussauds Singapore. 
Overall, Gray is the third Filipino personality to be handpicked by Madame 
Tussauds after Wurtzbach and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao. 



ANGEL LOCSIN, TUTOK MUNA SA KASAL NGAYONG 2020 

MAYNILA -- Isa sa mga inaabangan ngayong taon ang kasal ng Kapamilya actress 
na si Angel Locsin sa kaniyang fiancé na si Neil Arce. 
Matatandaan na kasama sina Angel at Neil sa mga newsmakers ng 2019 kasunod 
ng kanilang anunsyo sa kanilang planong pagpapakasal. 
Sa naging panayam kay Angel, sinabi ng aktres na ito ang kanilang tutukan ni 
Neil ngayong 2020. 
"Medyo nag-stop kami sa preparation kasi medyo nag-advance kami ng kaunti, 
but this year, back to wedding preparations na ulit," aniya. 
Idinaan na lang rin ni Angel sa biro ang mga nagpapakalat ng mga mali at 
negatibong balita sa kanila ni Neil. 
"Siguro, may mga taong nasasaktan kapag may nakikitang masaya ang tao, pero 
huwag po kayong mag-alala kasi dati rin akong nasa ganyang posisyon. 
Darating rin ang mga taong para sa inyo, magugulat na lang po kayo," pabiro 
niyang tugon. 
Pero promise na Angel na magiging aktibo pa rin siya sa kaniyang trabaho 
bilang artista. 
"Siguro kailangan ko lang magdahan-dahan kasi kailangan ko na rin 
mag-prepare para sa kasal. 'Yun na lang rin ang pinakiusap sa akin ng fiance 
ko na huwag ko siyang hayaan na mag-prepare mag-isa, so ayun lang naman," 
pahayag pa ng aktres. 


NBA SCORES JAN 4 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Grizzlies 14-22    40    25    39    36    140 
team logo Clippers 25-12    27    30    23    34    114 
SCORING LEADERSJ. Crowder MEM 
27 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST 
M. Harrell LAC 
28 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Raptors 24-12    24    24    35    38    121 
team logo Nets 16-18    33    19    28    22    102 
SCORING LEADERS 
    F. VanVleet TOR 
29 PTS, 4 REB, 11 AST 
    S. Dinwiddie BKN 
23 PTS, 3 REB, 7 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Jazz 23-12    33    19    24    33    109 
team logo Magic 16-20    25    22    28    21    96 
SCORING LEADERS 
    D. Mitchell UTA 
32 PTS, 3 REB, 6 AST 
    T. Ross ORL 
24 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Pacers 22-14    26    34    35    16    111 
team logo Hawks 8-28    43    21    32    20    116 
SCORING LEADERS 
    D. Sabonis IND 
25 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST 
    T. Young ATL 
41 PTS, 4 REB, 8 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Thunder 20-15    34    32    25    30    121 
team logo Cavaliers 10-25    27    26    26    27    106 
SCORING LEADERS 
    D. Schroder OKC 
22 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST 
    C. Sexton CLE 
30 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Nuggets 24-11    19    36    35    24    114 
team logo Wizards 11-24    31    30    34    33    128 
SCORING LEADERS 
    J. Murray DEN 
39 PTS, 1 REB, 4 AST 
    I. Smith WAS 
32 PTS, 3 REB, 8 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Celtics 25-8    30    25    30    26    111 
team logo Bulls 13-23    28    24    21    31    104 
SCORING LEADERS 
    J. Tatum BOS 
28 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST 
    Z. LaVine CHI 
35 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Spurs 14-20    31    35    25    27    118 
team logo Bucks 32-5    29    42    32    24    127 
SCORING LEADERSD. DeRozan SA 
26 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST 
G. Antetokounmpo MIL 
32 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Pistons 13-23    25    31    27    28    111 
team logo Warriors 9-28    23    36    21    24    104 
SCORING LEADERS 
    D. Rose DET 
22 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST 
    A. Burks GS 
27 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST 


FINAL/OT 
    1    2    3    4    OT    T 
team logo Hornets 15-23    32    25    23    23    20    123 
team logo Mavericks 22-13    20    24    40    19    17    120 
SCORING LEADERST. Rozier CHA 
29 PTS, 6 REB, 8 AST 
L. Doncic DAL 
39 PTS, 12 REB, 10 AST 


FINAL 
    1    2    3    4    T 
team logo Pelicans 12-24    25    27    24    41    117 
team logo Kings 13-23    26    22    32    35    115 
SCORING LEADERS 
    L. Ball NO 
24 PTS, 6 REB, 10 AST 
    H. Barnes SAC 
30 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST 

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