World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
7 February 2020

DUTERTE TO WATER FIRMS: RETURN THE MONEY OF THE PEOPLE THEN WE TALK

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte announced Thursday that he would be open
to talks with water firms if they return the money they allegedly stole from
consumers in an apparent shift from his hard-line stance on what he had
described as "onerous" water deals.
Duterte said he would like to know where the money collected by water
distributors Manila Water and Maynilad from consumers went.
"So where is the money? Where is the money of the Filipino people? Where is
the money of the average Filipino who are poor but who pay (their water
bills), who pays his water bill and he has to pay because if it will be cut
off, it would give him a lot of headache for the day?" the president said
during the oath taking of new appointees in Malacañang.
"Where is the money of that son of a b****? Give us back the money. Give it
back to the people and maybe we can talk about solving your problem. It will
not be the problem of this government," he added.
Duterte previously said he does not want to negotiate with water
concessionaires, whom he had accused of "milking" Filipinos by the billions.
The president had also ordered the justice department and the Office of the
Solicitor General to draft new water contracts that would be more
advantageous to the public. He had threatened to order the military to take
over water distribution if Manila Water and Maynilad refuses to accept the
new deals.
"They're (water firms) trying to reach out for a settlement. Let us see how
it develops. Talagang galit ako as in galit (I am really furious)," the
President said.
"Hindi ako nagyayabang. Hindi ako matapang. Pero p***** i**, 'pag naasar ako
sa'yo, sasampalin kita sa harap ng tao (I do not brag. I am not brave. But
son of a b****, if I get angry with you, I will slap you in public."


LIST WORKERS WITH CHINA TRAVEL HISTORY, MAKATI ORDERS FIRMS

MAKATI — The Makati City government yesterday ordered businesses in the
city, including Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), to name their
employees with a history of traveling to China amid the spread of the novel
coronavirus (nCoV).
Mayor Abby Binay asked for the cooperation of the businesses as the city
government works to put in place measures to prevent the disease from
spreading.
The office of the city administrator has ordered all business and commercial
establishments to file the names of their employees who visited China, Hong
Kong and Macau with the city government, it said in a statement yesterday.
The city government said it will revoke the business licenses of firms that
fail to comply.
The virus is said to have originated in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province
in China.
Binay previously ordered a committee to inspect businesses and conduct
information campaigns on nCoV.
The city’s health department has been using infrared thermometers to check
the body temperatures of employees and visitors at the city hall and
barangay centers.
The city government has also converted its hostels called Friendship Suites
into isolation areas where people found to be positive for nCoV would be
brought. No nCoV case has been recorded in Makati so far.


CHINA VIRUS DEATH TOLL HITS 636, MORE THAN 30,000 INFECTIONS

BEIJING - The official Chinese death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose
on Friday to 636, with the government saying total infections had climbed
past 30,000.
The toll was raised by 73 new deaths from the epidemic, the National Health
Commission said in its daily update.
Another 3,143 new cases of infection were confirmed, bringing total
infections in the country thus far to 31,161, it said.
The central province of Hubei where the virus originated continued to be
hardest-hit, accounting for 69 of the new deaths reported in the 24 hours to
Friday.
Of the reported infections, more than 4,800 of those people were in serious
condition.
Chinese authorities are still struggling to contain the outbreak despite
ordering millions of people indoors in a growing number of cities, with
overwhelmed hospitals struggling to treat the surging numbers of ill.
The contagion emerged in the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan in December,
later spreading to the rest of China and more than two dozen other
countries, prompting the World Health Organisation to declare a global
emergency.
The number of confirmed infections in China could still grow significantly,
with the health commission saying that more than 26,000 other people were
"suspected" of having contracted the virus.


MORE THAN 500 FILIPINOS STAYING IN QUARANTINED SHIP IN JAPAN: ENVOY

Authorities are providing the needs of 538 Filipinos who are quarantined on
board a cruise ship docked in Japan due to the novel coronavirus, Philippine
Embassy in Tokyo Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre Bolivar said Friday.
The ship Diamond Princess was quarantined off Yokohama after a former
passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong last month, tested positive for the
virus. At least 61 people on the ship, including a Filipino seafarer, have
tested positive for the pathogen, Tokyo's health ministry said.
Japanese authorities bring food and supplies daily to the ship, where
passengers are barred from leaving their WiFi-equipped rooms, said Bolivar.
The sailor who tested positive was brought to a hospital for additional
tests and treatment, to which he was responding "positively", Bolivar told
DZMM.
There are more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship, which has been
off Japan's coast since Monday evening. It docked in Yokohama on Thursday to
resupply for a quarantine that could last until February 19.
Japan hosts some 300,000 land-based Filipinos, none of which have caught the
new coronavirus.
The pathogen has killed at least 630 people and infected some 30,000 since
emerging from Wuhan City in central China a few weeks ago, authorities said
Friday.


PH MONITORS 300 CHINESE TOURISTS IN VIRUS-FREE BORACAY

Tourist hotspot Boracay island remains free of a novel coronavirus outbreak
from China, an official said Friday, as authorities monitored some 300
Chinese here for signs of infection.
None of the Chinese tourists, who are checked by health officials twice a
day, showed symptoms like fever, colds and cough, said Madel Joy Tayco,
deputy information manager of the island's task force for the pathogen
dubbed 2019-nCoV.
"We are still safe and free from nCoV... Zero case po kami (we have zero
case of the disease)," she told radio DZMM.
The Chinese tourists arrived in Boracay before the government's travel ban
on the whole of China and its territories, said Tayco.
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 630 people and infected more than
30,000 in a matter of weeks, authorities said Friday.


BILLIONAIRE RAZON OFFERS TO BUY MORE MANILA WATER SHARES

MANILA -- Billionaire Enrique Razon offered to buy the rest of Manila Water,
seeking to consolidate his control as the government renegotiates its
contract to supply water to the capital's east zone, according to a stock
exchange filing on Friday.
Razon's Prime Metroline Holdings set the tender offer at P13 per share,
Manila Water said in a disclosure. On Tuesday, the port magnate got a
51-percent or majority voting interest after securing proxy rights from the
water firm's parent, Ayala Corp.
The government is renegotiating its contracts with Manila Water and Maynilad
Water Services Inc, which supplies the west half of the capital, after
President Rodrigo Duterte tagged the concession agreements as "onerous."
Shares of Manila Water fell 9 percent after the tender offer was announced.
The P13 offer is lower than Manila Water closing price of P14.96 on
Thursday.
After Duterte's tirades late last year, Manila Water dropped a P7.4-billion
compensation claim which was awarded by a Singapore-based arbitration court
over denied petitions for tariff hikes.


CHR: DON'T LET NCOV HYSTERIA RESULT IN 'IRRATIONAL' TREATMENT OF PEOPLE

MANILA — As the deadly coronavirus has spread to more than 20 countries,
including the Philippines, it has carried with it a rising anti-Chinese
sentiment.
There has been a spike in reports of anti-Chinese rhetoric worldwide
directed at people of Asian origin, regardless of whether they have visited
the epicenter of the disease or have been contact with carriers of the
virus.
This prompted the Commission on Human Rights to caution the public against
vilifying others on the basis of race.
“What is equally concerning is how this outbreak has also resulted [in]
undue discrimination against other people and race,” Jacqueline De Guia, CHR
spokesperson, said in a statement Friday.
De Guia stressed that science and reason should guide the actions of
governments and individuals.
“With the world confronted with a virus with little information known, it is
human to be afraid. But we must not allow hysteria and paranoia result [in]
othering and irrational treatment of people,” she said.


FLIGHTS FROM CHINA ONLY CARRY FILIPINOS, FOREIGNERS WITH PERMANENT VISAS —
IMMIGRATION

MANILA — Flights from parts of China arriving to the country amid a travel
ban only carry Filipinos and foreign nationals with permanent resident visas
in the country, the Bureau of Immigration said.
Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval explained that some international
airlines have continued operations from China to Philippines. This comes
amid social media posts reporting continuing arrival of flights from China
even with the travel ban still in effect.
In a message to Philstar.com, Sandoval stressed that the flights “may only
carry Filipinos and foreign nationals who are carrying permanent resident
visas to the country, as well as foreign nationals to the areas of concern.”


PUV DRIVERS DAPAT MAGSUOT NG FACE MASK: LTFRB

MAYNILA - Muling pinaalalahanan ng Land Transportation Franchising and
Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang mga operator, drivers at konduktor ng public
utility vehicle na tumugon sa kautusang magsuot ng face mask sa gitna ng
banta ng 2019 novel coronavirus sa bansa.
Ayon kay LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra III, ang Memorandum Circular 2020-005 ay
ipinalabas bilang hakbang para hindi kumalat ang virus.
"Panawagan natin sa mga drivers and operators to really comply with the
memorandum cirucular. I hope hindi na rin aabot sa pagmumulta sa kanila kung
'di sila na mismo hahanap ng paraan makahanap ng face mask at gagamitin din
lalong-lalo na sa pagmamaneho," sabi ni Delgra.
Sa panayam sa DZMM, idiniin ni Delgra na may polisiya ang LTFRB na
magpapataw ng parusa sa mga hindi sumusunod sa kanilang circulars.
"May violation po 'yan na tinatawag na breach of franchise so may kaakibat
na penalty patungkol dyan at least P5,000 ang violation," sabi niya.
Batid din aniya ng LTFRB na nagkakaubusan na ng face masks hindi lamang sa
Metro Manila.
"What we're actually doing here is substantial compliance. Maglagay lang
pangtakip para lang 'di makakahawa sa ibang tao and also to encourage the
riding public to do the same," dagdag niya.
Bukod sa pagsusuot ng face masks, inatas rin ng LTFRB ang paglalagay ng hand
sanitizers sa terminals.
Naglagay na rin aniya ang LTFRB ng safety tips na galing ng Department of
Health sa mga terminals bilang paalala sa publiko.


EX-MRT 3 EXEC, IN-LAW GET 16 YEARS FOR GRAFT

MANILA — Former Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) general manager Al
Vitangcol III and his uncle-in-law Arturo Soriano have been sentenced to up
to 16 years in prison by the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court which found them
guilty of purposely concealing their relationship in order to allow service
provider Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp. (PH Trams) to
bag a multimillion-dollar deal for MRT-3 maintenance.
In a 45-page decision promulgated on Jan. 31 and released to the media
yesterday, the court’s Third Division found Vitangcol and Soriano, one of
the incorporators of PH Trams, guilty of violating Section 3 (e) of Republic
Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 47 of RA
9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
They were sentenced to a minimum of six years to a maximum eight years of
imprisonment for each offense or a total of 12 to 16 years. They were also
perpetually banned from holding public office.
Vitangcol and Soriano may appeal their conviction through a motion for
reconsideration.
Vitangcol was unavailable for comment as of press time. Soriano told The
STAR over the phone that he has already filed a motion for reconsideration.
Soriano is currently the chief of the Pangasinan Provincial Accounting
Office.
The Third Division, on the other hand, acquitted the four other accused in
the cases, namely, PH Trams incorporators Wilson de Vera, Marlo dela Cruz,
Manolo Maralit and Federico Remo.
The court said the prosecution team of the Office of the Ombudsman failed to
establish that the PH Trams incorporators colluded with one another and with
Vitangcol before, during and after the bidding process for the maintenance
deal.
The ombudsman filed the cases in 2015, or three years after the awarding of
an interim maintenance contract to joint venture PH Trams and CB&T.


2 PASAY CONCERTS TO PUSH THROUGH

Meanwhile, two concerts by foreign performers will push through in Pasay
City despite the nCoV threat, accoring to the city government.
K-pop group Seventeen’s concert will push through at the Mall of Asia Arena
tomorrow but its organizer, Pulp Live, requested concert goers to come
early.
The concert of 1990s boy band 98 Degrees was moved from Feb. 25 to May 21.
The cancelled events were the Acer Predator League 2020 and a convention of
the Tzu Chi Foundation.
Yesterday, Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano asked organizers to “help ensure
the safety of patrons, performers and all other persons involved in these
events from the 2019 nCoV and other health concerns.”
“Pasay... is a regular host-city of big local and international events such
as concerts, stage acts, conventions and others which are usually attended
by thousands of people. We must therefore exert all efforts to ensure safety
as well as convenience for everybody involved in these events,” she said.
Rubiano said event organizers should use forehead thermometers, place hand
sanitizers in strategic locations and maintain the cleanliness of event
venues.


AGUILAR TO MEET WITH POGOS

In Las Piñas, Mayor Imelda Aguilar said yesterday she is set to meet with
representatives of POGOs to make sure that their workers who went home to
China for the Lunar New Year do not have nCoV.
Las Piñas has no reported nCoV cases so far.
Aguilar directed city health officer Dr. Ferdinand Eusebio to train all
medical personnel on how to handle nCoV cases.
She also underscored the importance of accurate information to prevent the
spread of nCoV.
Aguilar also reminded the city’s 20 barangays of the Department of the
Interior and Local Government directive to form their respective Barangay
Health Emergency Response Teams and visit households of travelers arriving
from countries affected by nCoV and record the daily body temperatures of
the travelers, who will be under home confinement, for the next 14 days.

LIZA AT ENRIQUE, NALUNGKOT SA HIWALAYANG JAMES, NADINE

MAYNILA -- Ikinalungkot ng magkasintahang sina Liza Soberano at Enrique Gil
ang naging hiwalayan nina James Reid at Nadine Lustre, o mas kilala bilang
JaDine.
Ibinahagi ng dalawa ang saloobin sa naging hiwalayan ng JaDine sa media
conference ng kanilang serye na "Make It with You."
"It's actually kinda sad kasi sanay na kami na in all events, lahat kami,
buo kami, kumpleto kami," ani Liza.
"And we are friends with James and Nadine, we were hanging out before. I
think we were also in London, we were hanging out there. It's just sad,"
dagdag ni Enrique.
Pag-amin ni Liza, hindi pa rin siya sanay sa katotohanang hiwalay na sina
James at Nadine.
"It's like there is no getting used to it, feeling namin sila pa rin. Kahit
'yung JoshLia (Joshua Garcia at Julia Barretto) feeling namin [sila pa
rin]," ani Liza.
Para naman kay Enrique, naniniwala siyang maaaring magbago pa ang lahat para
sa JaDine pagdating ng panahon.
"I'm not in the position to judge or intrude. So I mean... if they are happy
where they are right now, I totally respect it. But of course, sayang. But I
think hindi pa naman tapos eh, marami pang mangyayari in the future... There
is always a chance," aniya.


SHE SAID YES! KRIS BERNAL GETS SURPRISE PROPOSAL FROM NON-SHOWBIZ BF

MANILA—She was said to have arranged the whole thing, a birthday bash held
at a restaurant in Quezon City this Thursday night for her non-showbiz
boyfriend, chef and businessman Perry Choi.
But perhaps what actress Kris Bernal did not plan was saying yes to Choi's
surprise marriage proposal.
The lovely moment was captured by Nice Print Photography, which shared
photos with the caption: "So this just happened."
Bernal and Choi have been dating for more than three years.
They first revealed their relationship last 2017, and just last January
Bernal thanked her partner for loving her "endlessly, honestly, constantly,
completely, with all [his] heart, mind, and being."


NBA SCORES FEB 5


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Suns 20-31    31    30    25    22    108
team logo Pistons 19-34    38    26    25    27    116
SCORING LEADERS
    K. Oubre Jr. PHO
30 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST
    A. Drummond DET
31 PTS, 19 REB, 4 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Pacers 31-20    20    43    23    32    118
team logo Raptors 37-14    30    18    34    37    119
SCORING LEADERSM. Brogdon IND
24 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST
K. Lowry TOR
32 PTS, 8 REB, 10 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Warriors 12-40    25    22    17    24    88
team logo Nets 23-27    40    28    27    34    129
SCORING LEADERSD. Russell GS
17 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST
C. LeVert BKN
23 PTS, 4 REB, 8 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Magic 22-29    24    32    24    20    100
team logo Celtics 35-15    32    25    30    29    116
SCORING LEADERSE. Fournier ORL
26 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST
J. Tatum BOS
33 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Cavaliers 13-39    28    25    28    22    103
team logo Thunder 31-20    29    32    23    25    109
SCORING LEADERS
    C. Sexton CLE
23 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST
    D. Schroder OKC
30 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Hawks 14-38    36    28    32    31    127
team logo Timberwolves 15-35    24    32    21    43    120
SCORING LEADERS
    T. Young ATL
38 PTS, 4 REB, 11 AST
    A. Wiggins MIN
25 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Grizzlies 26-25    31    28    41    21    121
team logo Mavericks 31-20    32    24    22    29    107
SCORING LEADERSJ. Morant MEM
21 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST
K. Porzingis DAL
32 PTS, 12 REB, 2 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Nuggets 36-16    25    24    23    26    98
team logo Jazz 32-18    32    25    18    20    95
SCORING LEADERSJ. Murray DEN
31 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST
M. Conley UTA
21 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Heat 34-16    23    35    22    31    111
team logo Clippers 36-15    25    30    37    36    128
SCORING LEADERSD. Jones Jr. MIA
25 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST
P. George LAC
23 PTS, 5 REB, 10 AST

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