World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
25 February 2020

ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN CONVERGENCE SEEK DISMISSAL OF QUO WARRANTO PETITION

MANILA – ABS-CBN Corp on Monday asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the quo
warranto petition Solicitor General Jose Calida filed against its franchise
and that of its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence.
In a 56-page submission, ABS-CBN and its telecoms unit also asked the high
court to junk the Solicitor General's plea for a temporary restraining order
against KBO, its pay-per-view channel.
KBO’s operations is one of the grounds cited by the OSG in its petition to
revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise since it supposedly violated ABS-CBN’s obligation
to air without fees on a free-to-air frequency.
But ABS-CBN said it obtained the necessary permits and authorization from
the National Telecommunications Commission before it launched its
operations, contrary to the claim of the OSG.
It showed letter-approvals from NTC as well as an opinion from the
Department of Justice expressly authorizing it to offer pay-per-view.
It clarified that when KBO started, it was not part of the free channel
offerings of TVPlus, its digital terrestrial service, as it was a
value-added service for ABS-CBN Mobile under Convergence.
But when ABS-CBN Mobile folded, KBO continued to be offered on TV Plus on
the strength of the 2018 DOJ opinion which said:
“We find it clear enough that broadcast companies can engage in Conditional
Access (CA) or Conditional Access System (CAS) and, for the same reason can
offer TV pay-per-view services…There is nothing in said provisions that
would give any impression that ‘commercial purposes’ are limited only to
income derived by TV broadcast companies from paid advertisements.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra affirmed this opinion during the Senate
hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal at the Senate Monday afternoon.


ABS-CBN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZES TO DUTERTE

MANILA — Top executives of ABS-CBN apologized yesterday to President Duterte
for failing to air his political advertisements in the 2016 elections, but
it was unclear whether the Chief Executive would accept what the Palace said
was a long overdue apology.
“It has been a while since it happened. They only apologized after they were
lambasted. It’s up to the President. I don’t know how to respond to that.
It’s a personal decision,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at a
press briefing when asked whether Duterte would accept the broadcast giant’s
apology. “Dapat noon pa nila ginawa (They should have done that a long time
ago).”
ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak issued the
apology at a Senate committee hearing after Sen. Christopher Go demanded an
explanation on why the network failed to air Duterte’s political ads worth
P7 million and, instead, put out a “black propaganda” commercial funded by
then senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
The commercial, which also aired on other networks but was later banned by a
Taguig City regional trial court, featured children asking whether or not a
cursing politician is fit to be president.
“We are sorry if we offended the President (by airing the Trillanes ad).
That was not the intention of the network. We felt that we were just abiding
by regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” Katigbak told the
panel chaired by Sen. Grace Poe.
The network also maintained that it does not have a political agenda.
“Today, we want to make a categorical statement together with our chairman
Mark Lopez that ABS does not and will not have its own political agenda,”
Katigbak said.
He explained that Duterte’s campaign team bought commercial spots – P117
million for national ads and P65 million for local ads – for a total of P182
million, and the network has a policy of first-come, first served on such
placements.
The ads were ordered on May 3 or just four days before the last day of
campaign and there were already previous placements from other buyers,
Katigbak said, adding that local ads were limited to only two minutes per
hour as policy.
All of Duterte’s national ads were aired, he stressed.


BANGKO SENTRAL MAY CUT RATES 'PREEMPTIVELY': STANDARD CHARTERED

MANILA -- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas could cut interest rates earlier
than expected to "preempt" the fallout from a global slowdown, an analyst
said Tuesday.
The BSP could implement its second 25-basis point cut for the year "possibly
in May or even earlier," said Standard Chartered Asia economist Chidu
Narayanan told ANC's Market Edge.
The International Monetary Fund earlier this week said the coronavirus
outbreak that originated in China and is now spreading rapidly in South
Korea and Italy put the fragile global recovery at risk.
“We think that the central bank will be cutting rates as soon as possible if
required. The governor has been very clear that they are extremely keen to
act preemptively in case of negative impact on growth, any potential
slowdown in growth,” Narayanan said.
The Philippines is in “good shape” to withstand global shocks as growth
drivers come from the domestic side, he said.


HONDA TO 'GENEROUSLY' COMPENSATE PH WORKERS AFFECTED BY SHUTDOWN: TRADE
CHIEF

MANILA – Honda is shuttering its manufacturing operations in the Philippines
in response to a global slowdown and 387 employees who will lose their jobs
will be "generously compensated," Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday.
The Japanese carmaker cited higher production costs and lower volumes in the
Philippines as among the reasons for its decision to shut its Santa Rosa
City plant, Lopez told DZMM radio.
Other Honda plants in the UK, Mexico, Argentina and Turkey were also closed,
he said. The Philippine facility in Laguna produces 8,000 units per year
compared to 200,000 in Thailand.
“Sinasabi nila na global decision, ibig sabihin ang headquarters nila ang
nag decide nito dahil sa overall pati buong mundo humina rin ang negosyo ng
Honda," Lopez said.
"Ang nangyari, syempre pag naghihigpitan ng sinturon, isasara nila ang medyo
mababa ang volume, competitive 'yung market at 'yung cost nila ay mataas
din,” he added.
Despite the global car sales decline, Honda’s motorcycle business is
expanding in the Philippines, Lopez said.


CONGRESS WILL NOT BE A RUBBER STAMP IN ABS-CBN FRANCHISE ROW: SOLON

MANILA - Congress "will not be a rubber stamp" of the Duterte administration
as it decides on the fate of ABS-CBN's license to operate, a lawmaker said
Tuesday.
At least 91 lawmakers have signed a petition urging the House of
Representatives to "immediately" hear measures on the renewal of ABS-CBN's
franchise, according to PBA Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles, one of the
authors of bills seeking to renew the network's franchise.
It was "highly unlikely," however, that the chamber will tackle the issue
before it adjourns mid-March, he added.
"We’re excited and anxious to hear the merits of the renewal of the
franchise of ABS-CBN. We generally wish it was sooner than later but again,
the scheduling is really up to the leadership," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"Congress will not be a rubber stamp and members of Congress will be given
the independence to weigh the pluses and minuses on the renewal of the
ABS-CBN franchises."
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises said Monday it would start
accepting position papers in support and opposition of the broadcast
company's franchise renewal.


WILDFIRE DESTROYS 1,000 HECTARES OF BENGUET FOREST

TUGUEGARAO — At least a thousand hectares of pine forest have been destroyed
in an ongoing wildfire near Mount Pulag in Benguet.
The fire started last Tuesday in the jungles straddling the towns of Kabayan
and Bokod.
The blaze has spread to Barangay Daclan in Kabayan, according to Fire
Inspector Roy Mayao of the Bokod Bureau of Fire Protection.
Bokod has only one firetruck, Mayo said. He said efforts to suppress the
fire is augmented by villagers and personnel of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources.
No casualties have been reported as the blaze is far from residential
areas.On Sunday morning, another fire hit the jungles in Barangay Eddet,
located at the foot of Mt. Pulag.
Prior to this, a nine-day forest fire was declared out last Wednesday in
Barangay Kabayan Poblacion.
The forest fires have left local authorities helpless as the areas were made
inaccessible by rocks falling from the burning slopes and smoke along the
trails.
Authorities have closed areas leading to the summit of Mt. Pulag.
Meanwhile, authorities in Tublay, Benguet decided not to declare a fireout
on its side after an inspection conducted yesterday showed smoke emanating
from the forest in Sitio Nasleb, Barangay Ambassador.
As of yesterday, firefighters and police officers were trying to suppress
the thinning fire, which could be fanned by the wind.
Mount Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon at 2,926 meters, straddles the
provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya.


DUTERTE PICKS NEW PSG CHIEF

DAVAO CITY — President Duterte has chosen an Army colonel to head his
close-in security detail.
Col. Jesus Durante III, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of
1992, replaced Brig. Gen. Jose Eriel Niembra as commander of the
Presidential Security Group (PSG).
Durante has been with the PSG since Duterte assumed office in June 2016.
He is the fourth PSG chief under Duterte.
A member of the Philippine Army’s Scout Ranger, Durante is highly trained on
anti-guerrilla warfare, raids and ambuscades.
Niembra will head the Army’s 701st Brigade in Mati City, Davao Oriental,
according to Armed Forces chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.


SHEENA HALILI GETS MARRIED

MANILA – Actress Sheena Halili tied the knot with her boyfriend, lawyer
Jeron Manzanero, over the weekend.
The Christian ceremony was held at The Blue Leaf Cosmopolitan in Quezon City
and was attended by their family and close friends, including Halili’s
showbiz colleagues.
Some of the celebrities in attendance include Marian Rivera, Jennylyn
Mercado, and Camille Prats, who served as secondary sponsors along with
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto.
Maine Mendoza, Katrina Halili, Ria Atayde, Rich Asuncion, Glaiza de Castro,
and Chariz Solomon, on the other hand, stood as Halili’s bridesmaids.
Also spotted in the celebration were Dingdong Dantes, Regine Velasquez,
Jolina Magdangal, Dennis Trillo, and Julius and Christine Babao, to name a
few.


SARAH G RETURNS TO WORK AFTER TYING THE KNOT, SHOWS OFF WEDDING RING

MANILA – Sarah Geronimo has returned to work just days after tying the knot
with her longtime boyfriend Matteo Guidicelli.
A glowing Geronimo showed up at the ABS-CBN compound Monday morning for the
taping of the Battle Rounds of “The Voice Teens Philippines,” where she is
one of the coaches.
The singer-actress was notably wearing her wedding ring on the same finger
where she has her sparkling engagement ring.
The celebrity couple tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in Taguig on
Thursday.
The supposed private gathering was marred by controversy after Geronimo’s
close-in detail filed a blotter report early Friday accusing Guidicelli of
punching him in an altercation after the civil wedding.
Guidicelli has already denied this by Geronimo’s bodyguard insists the
incident happened.
Geronimo, 31, and Guidicelli, 29, first confirmed their relationship in
2014, after nearly a year of being a couple.
While they are among the most visible stars in showbiz, Geronimo and
Guidicelli have largely kept their relationship low profile.


NBA SCORES FEB 23


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Celtics 39-17    19    35    33    25    112
team logo Lakers 43-12    28    28    31    27    114
SCORING LEADERSJ. Tatum BOS
41 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST
A. Davis LAL
32 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Pacers 33-24    12    20    23    26    81
team logo Raptors 42-15    34    29    22    42    127
SCORING LEADERSD. Sabonis IND
14 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST
P. Siakam TOR
21 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Timberwolves 16-39    38    27    22    29    116
team logo Nuggets 39-18    43    30    24    31    128
SCORING LEADERSK. Martin MIN
21 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST
P. Millsap DEN
25 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Spurs 24-32    29    26    18    30    103
team logo Thunder 35-22    29    32    37    33    131
SCORING LEADERSR. Gay SA
14 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST
S. Gilgeous-Alexander OKC
22 PTS, 13 REB, 4 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Wizards 20-35    31    27    27    32    117
team logo Bulls 20-38    35    38    28    25    126
SCORING LEADERSB. Beal WAS
53 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST
C. White CHI
33 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Pelicans 25-32    29    17    31    38    115
team logo Warriors 12-45    33    23    21    24    101
SCORING LEADERSZ. Williamson NO
28 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST
D. Lee GS
22 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Pistons 19-40    24    27    34    19    104
team logo Trail Blazers 26-32    40    13    27    27    107
SCORING LEADERS
    C. Wood DET
26 PTS, 9 REB, 1 AST
    C. McCollum POR
41 PTS, 9 REB, 12 AST

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