BALITANG MARINO DAILY NEWS for November 15, 2019

BALITANG MARINO DAILY NEWS for November 15, 2019

HEADLINES

Trump wants Supreme Court to block subpoena for his taxes

India’s top court delays ruling on ban on women entering Hindu temple

A Combination of Approaches Needed for Carbon-Free Maritime Sector

Tanker Scrapping to Remain Low during Winter

Carnival Boosts Its Ethics and Compliance Team

Maritime law expert cautions Philippine on Code of Conduct

Robredo eyes drug info from China

Speaker rejects Duterte special powers for BBB

Go’s Malasakit Center bill breezes through 2nd reading in Congress

Over 60 solons sign petition vs. crackdown on progressive, opposition groups

Zarate thinks PH flooded with smuggled rice

Matteo apologizes to parents of Sarah for ‘events’ in the past

Hugh Jackman trolls Ryan Reynolds over John Legend’s “Sexiest Man Alive” win

‘School Service’ triumphs in Barcelona

Amazing’ Harden erupts for 47 points as Rockets down Clippers

Azkals frustrate Maldives in enemy turf to enhance World Cup qualifying bid

Doug Kramer set for final PBA game before retirement after 12-year career

FULL NEWSPAPER

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Trump wants Supreme Court to block subpoena for his taxes

WASHINGTON, November 15 —— President Donald Trump is asking the Supreme Court to block a subpoena for his tax returns, in a test of the president’s ability to defy investigations. The filing Thursday sets the stage for a high court showdown over the tax returns Trump has refused to release, unlike every other modern president. The justices also could weigh in more broadly on Trump’s claim that sitting presidents can’t be prosecuted or investigated for crimes.

The subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney is seeking Trump’s tax returns back to 2011 from his accounting firm as part of a criminal investigation. Trump wants the court to decide the case by late June, under a deal to keep the district attorney from enforcing the subpoena in the meantime. The justices may not decide whether to hear the case for at least another month. A second, similar case is headed to the court over a House committee subpoena demanding Trump’s financial records from the same accounting firm. The president has lost both cases at each step of the judicial system so far.

The Mazars USA firm has said it will comply with the subpoenas, if courts agree. A ruling against Trump would not require public release of the information. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is seeking the records back to 2011 in a broader probe that includes payments made to buy the silence of two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who claim they had affairs with the president before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied the claims.

Trump is asking for the Supreme Court’s intervention as the impeachment drama plays out elsewhere in Washington. Public impeachment hearings that began Wednesday are examining claims that Trump tried to get Ukraine’s leader to investigate political rival Joe Biden. If the House votes to impeach the president, Chief Justice John Roberts would preside at a Senate trial that is likely to begin in January. The justices usually fill their term’s calendar by late January.

The New York tax case is moving unusually swiftly through the federal courts. A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled last week that the tax returns can be turned over to New York prosecutors. The appellate judges emphasized the narrowness of their ruling, deciding only that a state prosecutor can demand Trump’s personal financial records from a third party while the president is in office. Their opinion upholding a trial judge’s earlier ruling noted that they did not consider whether the president is immune from indictment and prosecution while in office or whether the president himself may be ordered to produce documents in a state criminal proceeding.

The subpoena does “not implicate, in any way, the performance of his official duties,” 2nd Circuit Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann wrote. During arguments in a New York courtroom, Trump’s lawyer told the 2nd Circuit that Trump is immune from state criminal law, even if he shoots someone, because he’s president. The exchange stemmed from Trump’s campaign trail comment in 2016 that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”

Trump’s lawyers have said the probe by Vance, a Democrat, is politically motivated. The Justice Department, which intervened on Trump’s behalf in New York, has taken a narrower approach, saying Vance must prove “particularized need” for the records before they are released to a grand jury. In the Washington case, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform subpoenaed records from Mazars in April. They include documents from 2011 to 2018 that the House wants for investigation into the president’s reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest. The list of documents makes no mention of Trump’s tax returns.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit voted Wednesday not to reconsider an earlier panel opinion ordering Mazars to comply with the subpoena. Trump’s two appointees to the Washington court said the full court should have reheard the case. Judge Greg Katsas called the subpoena a “threat to presidential autonomy and independence.” There are two Trump appointees on the nine-member Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Source: inquirer.net

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India’s top court delays ruling on ban on women entering Hindu temple

November 15 —— India’s top court on Thursday delayed a verdict on the lifting of a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age entering a Hindu temple, asking more judges to consider the case involving gender discrimination and religion that has divided opinion. Upholding the right to equality of worship, a five-judge bench of the court last year ruled that the ban on women from entering the Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala could not be considered an essential religious practice and should be lifted.

The decision had enraged conservative Hindu groups, sparked protests and drew the Supreme Court into the controversy in what is still a deeply religious country. Many devotees refused to abide by the ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit the temple were blocked. On Thursday, after examining about 60 petitions that sought a re-imposition of the ban, the court ruled that a larger, seven-judge bench would look at issues arising out of this case and three other pending cases of gender discrimination, in the minority Muslim and Parsi communities. “The entry of women into places of worship is not limited to this temple only,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said while reading out the judgment.

Some lawyers and political analysts said the decision to scrutinize certain Hindu practices alongside those of other religions could pave the way for a public discussion on a uniform civil code, which is high on the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP maintains that gender equality cannot be attained until the adoption of a uniform civil code, which is opposed by some Muslim groups since it would likely dilute sharia, the Islamic legal code. “While the court cannot be faulted for doing what it is doing, but it definitely fulfils a major majoritarian demand. That if you’re trying to reform us (Hindus), reform them, too,” said political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay.

Last week, a Supreme Court bench headed by Gogoi awarded a bitterly contested religious site in the city of Ayodhya to Hindus, helping Modi deliver on a long-standing promise to build a temple where a 16th-century mosque once stood. In the ruling on the Sabarimala temple, the court has not issued a stay on its previous decision, effectively allowing all women to continue to visit the shrine, which is thronged by millions of devotees every year.

Those in favor of the ban argued it is necessary for rites related to the temple’s chief deity Ayyappan, who is considered eternally celibate. In some parts of South Asia, menstruating women are commonly forbidden from entering temples or taking part in religious rites. Since the Supreme Court’s ruling lifting the ban last September, about a dozen women attempted to enter the shrine, but only two succeeded in making it to its inner sanctum.

Kerala’s Communist-led government, which had initially sought to facilitate the entry of women, appeared to change its stance, instead dissuading them from visiting the shrine to prevent protests. Kerala police Chief Loknath Behra said that more than 10,000 police would be deployed at Sabarimala for the pilgrimage season beginning on Saturday.

Source: mb.com.ph

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MARITIME NEWS

A Combination of Approaches Needed for Carbon-Free Maritime Sector

November 15 —— With heavy fuel oil covering 82 percent of the shipping sector’s energy needs, decarbonizing global shipping will play a critical role in achieving climate objectives, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds.  Entitled “Navigating the way to a renewable future: Solutions to decarbonize shipping”, the report explores the impact of maritime shipping on CO2 emissions, the structure of shipping and key areas that need to be addressed to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.

Speaking at the launch of the report from the Global Maritime Forum’s Annual Summit in Singapore last week, Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General, said it’s clear that the industry has recognized the urgent need to address its decarburization options.  “Decarbonizing transport is critical to a sustainable future. Shipping is a major contributor to transport emissions and it is encouraging that the industry has shown a clear willingness to engage the energy sector to exchange ideas on low-carbon pathways,” La Camera pointed out.  “As the cost of renewables falls, the decarburization options available become increasingly competitive. By 2030 alternative low-carbon fuels could reach parity with heavy fuel oil, so it is vitally important that the ship industry prepares itself for a low-carbon future.”

Cutting carbon emission levels in 2008 by half in 2050, in line with IMO goals, requires a combination of clean energy options and alternative fuels based on renewables, the report says. This includes a shift from fossil fuels to alternatives like advanced biofuels and hydrogen-based fuels, upgrading onshore infrastructure and practices during docking, electrification and reducing fuel demand by improving operational performance.  Ready-to-use biofuels, such as Bio-LNG, hold tremendous potential as a transitional fuel which could gradually replace fossil fuels. Other synthetic fuels being considered as potential replacements for conventional ones include methanol, hydrogen and ammonia.

Although currently not economically competitive, in the medium- to long-term, alternative fuels are expected to become viable as their prices fall, adoption grows, and technology improves. Yet, a shift from heavy fuel oil to a clean fuel would also include adjustments to the refueling structure in around 100 ports which account for 80 percent of global freight and the retrofitting of around 25,000 ships, according to IRENA.

Bulk and container carriers, as well as oil and chemical tankers, represent one quarter of the global shipping fleet and emit 85 percent of global shipping emissions. Seven ports are responsible for nearly 60 percent of the bunker fuel sales around the world. Singapore alone delivers 22 percent of today’s total bunkering.  In terms of short-distance applications, such as ferries and other small vessels, electric ships powered by batteries are currently a feasible option. In the long term, with improved battery storage technology and decreasing costs, full electrical propulsion can become economically attractive also for bigger, long-distance ships, the report concluded.

Source: worldmaritimenews.com

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Tanker Scrapping to Remain Low During Winter

November 15 —— A lack of demolition activity has been one of the key developments in tanker supply this year, with scrapping likely to remain at low levels in the coming months, Gibson Shipbrokers said in its latest tanker market report.  During the first ten months of 2019, only 30 tankers over 25,000 dwt were reported sold for scrap. About half of all demolition activity has been in the Handy/MR size group, with 17 units removed since the beginning of the year.  There were three Panamaxes/LR1s demolished and just one tanker in the LR2/Aframax size group. The count is marginally higher for larger crude carriers, with five Suezmaxes and four VLCCs sold for removals.

As explained, this is in stark contrast to developments last year, when over 150 units were scrapped. However, Gibson said that this year’s dramatic decline in numbers is not surprising, considering that the pool of prime candidates for demolition has been considerably reduced following intense activity in 2018.  Weaker scrapping prices have also discouraged demolition, with lightweight values gradually falling from a high of USD 435/ton in March 2019 to under USD 375/ton in October, notably down from a peak of USD 465/ton seen in early 2018.  Throughout this year, there also has been less willingness from owners to send tonnage for scrap as expectations were running high that the rebound in the market is just around the corner.

“In addition to actual demolition sales, we have also observed an increase in VLCC floating storage demand in recent months, mainly for VLCCs around Singapore/Malaysia, as final preparations for IMO2020 got under way. According to our records, at the end of October 35 VLCC and converted VLCCs (FSOs) were involved in storage of crude, dirty petroleum products … and clean products,” Gibson said, adding that the vast majority of these units have been involved in storage operations for quite some time.

A temporary spike in tanker earnings in October to their highest level in over a decade boosted shipowners’ confidence, the London-based shipbroker further said.  “Scrapping activity is likely to remain at minimal levels over the next few months on the expectation that geopolitical uncertainty, seasonal strength in refining runs, weather related delays and the IMO2020 disruptions could support tanker earnings during the winter season,” Gibson Shipbrokers highlighted in the report.

Gibson indicated that this situation could change while moving into the second quarter of next year.  “Although at present there is some optimism about the US/China trade talks, the evidence is mounting that the current state of affairs is already reducing the gains in world oil consumption and is likely to translate into sluggish growth in demand next year, keeping a lid on the potential rebound in tanker earnings,” the shipbroker continued.

In terms of tanker supply, nearly 110 tankers will be celebrating their 20th birthday next year, with figures being particularly elevated for larger crude carriers. Not all of these units will head for the beaches. However, trading conditions for ageing and inefficient tonnage will undoubtedly become more challenging, with the bunker base shifting to more expensive 0.5% sulphur fuels. This will add an extra cost on top of typical extended off-hire periods and higher maintenance & repair expenses, according to Gibson.

What is more, there are also tankers more than 15 years old that will have to renew their International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) certificates and hence face the deadline for an expensive ballast water treatment system retrofit next year.  “The choice whether to bite the bullet will be individual for every vessel. However, arguments to support the demolition decision will certainly have more weight,” Gibson Shipbrokers concluded.

Source: worldmaritimenews.com

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Carnival Boosts Its Ethics and Compliance Team

November 15 —— Miami-based Carnival Corporation has strengthened its environmental compliance team with new appointments.  Namely, the company announced seven new hires and internal promotions as part of the development of its new ethics and compliance function, first announced in August 2019 and led by Peter Anderson, chief ethics and compliance officer.

The additions include three new corporate compliance leaders reporting directly to Anderson, who is building an extensive ethics and compliance program to drive a culture of compliance, learning and integrity inside the corporation and across its nine global cruise line brands.  “Compliance and ethics is at the heart of everything we do. The leadership, experience and passion of this very talented and determined team will play an instrumental role in our mission,” Anderson said.

The ethics and compliance team leaders include Kelly Clark – Senior Vice President, Deputy Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer; Chris Donald – Senior Vice President, Environmental Corporate Compliance Manager; Gerry Ellis – Vice President, Health, Safety and Security Corporate Compliance Manager; Martha de Zayas – Vice President, General Corporate Compliance Manager; H Jordan Weitz – Senior Director, Compliance Risk Management Leader; Brigett Potts – Director, Compliance Training Leader; as well as Sandra Rowlett – Vice President, Incident Analysis Group Investigations Leader.

Source: worldmaritimenews.com

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PHILIPPINE NEWS

Maritime law expert cautions Philippine on Code of Conduct

MANILA, Philippines, November 15 —— The Philippines should tread carefully in adopting a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea as such document would only legitimize Beijing’s incredible maritime claim, according to a maritime law expert. In an interview with “The Chiefs” Thursday night on One News-Cignal TV, Jay Batongbacal, director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said Beijing’s real motive for pushing for a COC is to preserve the status quo in which it now enjoys effective control over areas within the domain of other countries including the Philippines.

“What we want is to preserve our own independence and autonomy in this area, to have access to our own resources, to be able to make our own decisions on who we want to partner with, who we want to work with in developing our resources and in charting our own economic development and what people would call the national destiny without the interference or influence of another state,” Batongbacal said. “That’s what we want. And if the Code of Conduct will keep us from doing that then we shouldn’t sign it,” he said. As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is following a consensus-based decision-making mechanism, Batongbacal said any member can keep a consensus from being reached.

“Yes, not a majority (vote), but the same thing now goes for the Code of Conduct. Even of just one country will not get on board with the COC, then there will be no COC,” he said. “All you need is one unfriendly country – and the one with the most stake at this point would be Vietnam, because its entire exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as well as its claims are now also being subjected to unilateral Chinese action,” he added.

China has even embarked on a unilateral petroleum exploration and drilling in the continental shelf of Vietnam that it claims is within its nine-dash line. Batongbacal emphasized that Beijing should not be allowed to have the recognition and cover of legality it desperately needs. “There’s no legitimacy. So without that they’ll always be seen essentially as a rogue state and as a regional bully. And for any country to be seen like that and to be surrounded by neighbors who see you as a bully is definitely not an ideal situation,” he added.

In a landmark ruling on July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based in The Hague found no legal basis for China to claim “historic rights” over almost the entire South China Sea, invalidating its nine-dash line. The tribunal also upheld the Philippines’ maritime entitlements. The Philippines filed the arbitral case in 2013. Batongbacal said he finds it strange that Beijing now wants a legally binding code after rejecting the same in 2002.

“A COC is foot dragging basically. Now that it (China) has achieved dominance, all of a sudden it has turned around and says it wants a legally binding code. So you have to ask yourself what has changed and why,” Batongbacal said. He said it is clear that China now wants superiority in the legal arena after achieving maritime dominance over its neighbors. Beijing announced it is ready to forge a COC with ASEAN, which it hopes to use to keep non-regional powers like the United States, Japan and Australia from interfering in developments in the South China Sea.

“So you can just stay away, you can just keep away and it also has proposals which would essentially exclude everyone else from the region, especially in terms of military activities and economic activities,” Batongbacal said. “China wants to establish itself not only as the dominant partner but as the exclusive partner of all these surrounding smaller states,” he added. China’s provocative activities, however, have sparked concerns among other global powers like Britain and France, which earlier sent vessels to the South China Sea to remind China of the need to preserve freedom of navigation.

“There’s growing international concern. France has gone so far as to send its own ship through the area. The UK has also made such statement and sending its ship through the area just to stress the point that the South China Sea should never be placed under the sovereignty of one state,” he said.

Source: philstar.com

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Robredo eyes drug info from China

November 15 —— Vice President Leni Robredo is looking at the possibility of turning to China for information needed in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs. The Vice President made the statement a day after her meeting with a delegation from the United States embassy, composed of officials from various US agencies. Robredo, co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), said she would study possible discussions with Chinese officials since a lot of illegal drugs entering the Philippines come from the Asian giant.

Apart from illegal drug shipment, the Vice President also noted that most of those previously involved in illegal drugs operations were Chinese or Filipino-Chinese nationals. “It is something that we should look into,” she told reporters after attending the closed-door meeting of the ICAD’s law enforcement cluster in Quezon City. Robredo is open to seeking assistance from other countries as long as they can help in solving the drug problem in the Philippines. “Actually, ang dami pang information out there na hindi pa sa akin nakakarating (Actually, there is a lot of information out there that has not reached us),” Robredo said. “Kailangan talagang ayusin. Kailangan organized. Kailangan tingnan (It needs to be fixed and organized. We have to look into) how we have been reacting or responding to all the information, and how we can improve on what we have already been doing,” she added.

The ICAD co-chair wants the government to have a clear baseline data on the current drug situation in the country to set metrics and measure the effectivity of the campaign. Among these are the exact number of drug users and pushers who were arrested and those who surrendered to authorities since 2016, as well as the status of their cases, and those recommended for rehabilitation. Robredo set a target for ICAD agencies to finish the baseline data by year-end.

Source: mb.com.ph

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Speaker rejects Duterte special powers for BBB

MANILA, Philippines, November 15 —— Saying it was too late in the day, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has rejected a proposal to give President Duterte special powers to speed up Build, Build, Build (BBB) flagship projects under his administration. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, on the other hand, agreed with the recommendation of Albay Rep. Joey Salceda. “I think the suggestion of Congressman Salceda is good because one of the reasons why there are delays in the projects is there are (issues on) right of way. We are encountering problems with the owners who would bring the ROW concerns before the courts to get temporary restraining order,” Panelo said yesterday. He noted that if there are no obstacles, then it would be easier for the concerned agencies to proceed with their activities and allow the government to meet targets before the President ends his term in 2022.

Panelo was quick to say that he was just stating his own opinion since he has yet to discuss the matter with Duterte. Salceda, who is filing a measure, said the emergency powers would remove “roadblocks” to projects such as right of way issues. While he finds the construction seemingly slow, Salceda added that it is too early to say that the flagship projects are a “dismal failure” – contradicting the statement of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who does not see any need for emergency powers to boost the BBB program.

“The emergency power for the transportation sector has been there for a couple of years. They could not come to an agreement because they do not know what their plans are. They failed to submit what the plans are. So what is the need for an emergency power if we don’t know what we are planning to do?” he said. “If you need 2,000 engineers for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), there’s no need for emergency powers. You don’t need emergency power to spend money allotted on time,” he added.

Cayetano yesterday said the House of Representatives will designate the lawmaker son of tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. as head of a new committee that will ensure the implementation of the government’s big-ticket infrastructure projects. “We will put (Tarlac) Rep. Charlie Cojuangco (to) look over flagship programs and projects, and the duty will not only be to criticize, but also to propose how we can speed up projects,” Cayetano told reporters in a chance interview in Tagaytay City.  

Source: philstar.com

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Go’s Malasakit Center bill breezes through 2nd reading in Congress

November 15 —— The House of Representatives has passed on second reading Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go’s pet bill proposing to institutionalize Malasakit Centers in all Department of health hospitals. The Senate version of House Bill 5477 was earlier approved by senators while the Lower Chamber took just at least two hours to pass the measure on second reading on Wednesday night. A consolidation of at least 18 legislative measures, HB 5477 proposes the institutionalized operation of Malasakit Centers. It provides for nearly P300 million in the budget for payment of personnel services to be provided by 73 one-stop-shop center for indigent Filipinos needing financial assistance for medical expenses.

The bill seeks to create Malasakit centers in all DOH hospitals and the PGH to serve as a one-stop-shop for medical and financial assistance. The centers would also provide patient navigation and refer them to a health care provider network. Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman (LP, Albay) assailed the alleged railroading of the bill’s approval, saying that plenary discussions on the proposal have not been fully exhausted. “ It is bad enough when a bill is approved by a tyranny of numbers over the ascendancy of reason, but it is worst when a bill is deemed approved by a paucity of numbers in derogation of parliamentary rules,” said Lagman.

Only a handful of House members were present during the voice vote for approval of the measure. Lagman’s protests against the voting were heard but were ignored by then presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu of Batangas. “It turned out that the substitute bill was a carbon copy of Senate Bill No. 1076 authored by Senator Cristopher “Bong” Go which was previously approved on November 11, 2019, by the Senate,” lamented Lagman. He noted that the so-called “copycat version” allegedly lifted in its entirety from the Senate bill was not even given to Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, chairperson of the Committee on Health who was tasked to defend the bill during plenary debates.

“Due to the imposition by Go that a House bill identical to his must be approved and the House leadership’s acceding to his insistence, the committee system of the House, as well as the import of its plenary deliberations, were put to naught in favor of exigency and conscripted unanimity,’ said Lagman. Authors of HB 5477 said the creation of the Malasakit program is expected to “reduce, if not eliminate, out-of-pocket expenditures” of indigent patients. The bill provides a centralized office to process and allocates financial assistance extended by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development and other state agencies that grant such service.

Authors of the bill were Reps. Anna Marie Villaraza-Suarez (ALONA Partylist); David C. Suarez (PDP-Laban, Quezon); Yul Servo (NUP, Manila); Eric Go-Yap, Jocelyn P. Tulfo and Rowena Taduran of ACT-CIS Partylist; Eleandro Jesus Madrona (PDP-Laban, Romblon); Ma. Lourdes Arroyo (Lakas-CMD, Negros Occidental); Elpidio Barzaga (NUP, Cavite); and Vincent Franco Frasco (PDP-Laban, Cebu).

Source: mb.com.ph

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Over 60 solons sign petition vs. crackdown on progressive, opposition groups

November 15 —— More than 60 House lawmakers across party lines have signed a petition expressing concern over the ongoing “crackdown” on progressive groups and opposition groups during the Duterte administration. A total of 64 House members have so far signed the petition led by the six-member Makabayan Bloc. “We members of the House of Representatives, air our growing concern on the ongoing crackdown against progressive groups like the Makabayan Bloc and the opposition,” the petition read. “We live in a democratic country and whatever ideology is espoused by individuals and organizations, as long as they act within the framework of the law, they should be respected and protected,” it added.

The petition also recognized the Makabayan Bloc as a “productive” and “dynamic” part of the House minority bloc. “We are united in expressing our concern on the attacks on the elected representatives, members, and supporters of the Makabayan Bloc, and demand that these be stopped immediately,” it read. “Such attacks have no place in a democracy,” it added. The petition came after the successive raids of the offices of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Gabriela Negros Center, and the Negros Federation of Sugar Workers in Bacolod City, which led to the arrest of at least 57 activists, and of the office of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Tondo, Manila, where three activists were apprehended.

Defense officials have also named the Gabriela Women’s Party, one of the party-lists belonging to the Makabayan Bloc, as a front organization “communist terrorist groups” during a recent House hearing.

Source: gmanetwork.com

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Zarate thinks PH flooded with smuggled rice

November 15 —— Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate believes that an untold amount of smuggled rice has entered the country ever since the Republic Act (RA) 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law came into effect. Zarate, a Senior Deputy Minority Leader, lamented during a press conference Thursday over how the National Food Authority (NFA) has been stripped of its monitoring powers as far as rice imports are concerned under this new regime of tariffication.

Zarate and his fellow Makabayan solons like to call this the “rice import liberalization” regime since the imposition of tariffs on rice imports did away with the old quantitative restrictions on the commodity. “So ngayon talaga bulag tayo at ako’y naniniwala na talagang maraming smuggled na bigas. Sinasabayan na nila dahil kahit sino na lang ngayon ay pwede nang mag-import, hindi ka na kailangang kumuha ng import permit,” he said.

A recent report from the United States’ Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Services (USDA-FAS) projected the Philippines’s rice imports to reach a record three million metric tons (MT) by the end of 2019. This is highest in the world and the highest for the country, which has a population of 105 million. In comparison, China, which has a population over 10 times that of the Philippines (1.4 billion), is expected to import 2.5 million MT of rice.

“Tinanggal na yung monitoring powers ng NFA. Dati kasi namo-monitor talaga natin ilan pumapasok, ngayon wala na iyon. Wala tayong datos talaga kung ilan ba ang pumapasok sa mga aduana, yung tunay na numero, ilang metriko tonelada ba talaga ang pumapasok,” Zarate asked. Zarate said the Department of Agriculture (DA) may have accumulated rice importation records based on their issuance of certifications that the rice is pest-free, but then the agency doesn’t perform inspections. “Sa nakikita natin ngayon, talo pa rin ang mga mamamayan dahil sa halip na yung pangako nilang bababa ang presyo, mahal pa rin ang presyo ng bigas. Pero ang daming bigas. Talagang bumabaha ang bigas ngayon.”

The purported bane of some 2.5 million Filipino rice farmers is RA 11203, which liberalized the entry of imported rice to the county. Since imported rice is cheaper, local farmers have found it difficult to sell the rice that they themselves planted and harvested. Zarate said the farm gate price of local palay (unhusked rice) has gone down to as little as P8 a kilo. “Patay na patay na ang ating magsasaka (Our farmers are dead).” “Nakakalungkot at nakakapanggalit talaga na ang isang agrikultural na bayan tulad natin ay tambakan ng imported na bigas (It’s saddening and frustrating that an agricultural country like ours is being turned into a stockroom of imported rice),” he stressed.

The Mindanao-based solon reiterated Makabayan’s call to repeal RA 11203, which he described as a “poison.” “Maling gamot ang kanilang ibinigay, ang kanilang gamot ay lason. Lason sa industriya ng palay, lason sa ating mga magsasaka, lason sa ating mamamayan. Kailangang ibasura yang lason na yan,” he said.

Source: mb.com.ph

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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Matteo apologizes to parents of Sarah for ‘events’ in the past, vows to give Sarah a happy life

November 15 —— Following the announcement of his engagement to Sarah Geronimo, Matteo Guidicelli took to social media to express how elated he is to start a new chapter of his life with his fiancée. “Family is my number one priority. In this next chapter of my life, I’m extremely excited to start my own family with the love of my life, my fiancée Sarah G,” the actor said. Matteo extended his gratitude to his parents who taught him the “values of a solid family.” He remarked that he would want to teach the same values to his future family.

The actor also admitted that his relationship with Sarah faced challenges. “People might be thinking that our relationship has been smooth sailing. But let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy. Sarah has been tough. I saw her grow, mature, and develop into an independent beautiful woman that I am extremely proud of! My love, thank you,” Matteo said.

In his message, the actor also apologized to the parents of the pop star for some events that transpired in the past. “Tito Delfin and Tita Divine, if there have been hard feelings or events that were not supposed to happen in the past, I humbly apologize. I assure you that I will give Sarah a happy life with the best of my capabilities. With pure, honest love and respect. We wish to move forward with our life plans and begin this brand new chapter of our life,” he said.

To conclude his message, Matteo said that he loves Sarah dearly. “Mahal na mahal ko po si Sarah. Mahal ko din po kayong magulang nya at mga kapatid nya. Hangad ko po na maging isang pamilya tayo. Pangako ko po na aalagan ko si Sarah na kapareho ng pangangalaga nyo sa kanya,” he stated.

Source: push.abs-cbn.com

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Hugh Jackman trolls Ryan Reynolds over John Legend’s “Sexiest Man Alive” win

November 15 —— Hugh Jackman has posted a video trolling fellow actor Ryan Reynolds over the People magazine “Sexiest Man Alive” title. The Greatest Showman star, 51, was congratulating John Legend on the singer’s announcement as Sexiest Man Alive 2019. Both Jackman and Reynolds previously won the title in 2008 and 2010 respectively. In an Instagram video, the pair are seen joking around with each other after a copy of Jackman’s People magazine cover falls out of his hoodie. “Oh, it’s your People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue,” Reynolds says. When Jackman asks if he’s seen it, Reynolds replies: “I have an issue somewhere, I have a few of yours. “Usually I cut the eyes out or the mouth, but that’s just me.”

The actor is referring to a scene in the film Deadpool, in which his character cuts out the eyes and mouth of Jackman’s People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue and wears it as a mask. Jackman also jokingly hits back at Reynolds, writing in the video caption: “Dear John. Massive congrats on joining this very very prestigious group. “99% of the time, People Magazine gets it right. Such as Blake, DJ, etc … But a word of caution. “There is the 1%. Exhibit A. “It’s important that you fall in with the right crowd.” Reynolds and Jackman are not the only celebrities to have responded to Legend’s win. The singer’s wife – model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen – changed her Twitter bio to read: “Currently sleeping with People’s sexiest man alive.”

Grammy Award-winner Legend has also commented on the pressure of following in the footsteps of Idris Elba, who was crowned 2018 Sexiest Man Alive. He told People magazine that he felt “excited” and “a little scared”, adding it was “not fair and is not nice to me!” Legend later tweeted a photograph of Elba alongside an old photo of himself, writing: “1995 John would be very perplexed.” Other previous winners of the award include Chris Hemsworth, David Beckham and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Source: news.sky.com

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‘School Service’ triumphs in Barcelona

November 15 —— “It’s no longer new, but it still keeps on winning,” said Louie Ignacio, director of the indie drama “School Service,” which won another honor—this time, at the 7th Asian Film Festival Barcelona in Spain. Ignacio’s film received a Special Mention from the festival under the Netpac (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) category, according to producer Ferdy Lapuz, who received the news via e-mail on Nov. 11.

“School Service” follows the story of Maya, a young girl taken against her will in the province and placed as a beggar in Manila by a small-time syndicate. “While there was only one Filipino film that won, it’s still a reason to celebrate. At least we’re still very much in the consciousness of international film fests,” Ignacio said. The victory came on the heels of “School Service” earning a Special Jury Prize and best actress award for lead star Ai-Ai delas Alas in the Directors’ Week section of the 2019 Fantasporto-Oporto International Film Festival in Portugal.

Source: entertainment.inquirer.net

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SPORTS NEWS

Amazing’ Harden erupts for 47 points as Rockets down Clippers

November 15 —— James Harden was labeled “amazing” by Houston coach Mike D’Antoni after erupting in a fourth-quarter scoring spree to lead the Rockets to a 102-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Harden led the scoring with 47 points, including seven three-pointers, while the former NBA MVP also added six rebounds and seven assists. The Houston talisman plundered 17 points late in the fourth quarter to help transform an 84-80 deficit with 5min 52sec remaining into victory. “It’s not like we haven’t seen it before, and we’ll see it again,” Rockets head coach D’Antoni said.

“He’s amazing. He’s just a master of the game. It’s what I expect. He’s a special player, no doubt about it.” Harden shouldered the bulk of the Rockets’ offensive duties, with Russell Westbrook (17) and Clint Capela (12) the only other Houston players to score double figures. The Clippers were led by Kawhi Leonard, who had 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Lou Williams had 20 off the bench for the Clippers while JaMychal Green added 14 as the Clippers fell to 7-4 with the defeat.

The Clippers also had coach Doc Rivers ejected in a surreal exchange late in the fourth quarter which saw his son — Rockets shooting guard Austin Rivers — urging officials to toss him. “It was a really good moment,” Austin Rivers joked afterwards.  “I enjoyed it a lot. I’m not gonna lie to you. I really did enjoy that.” The Rockets improved to 8-3, leaving them hard on the heels of the Los Angeles Lakers, who cruised to a blowout 120-94 win over the injury-decimated Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

Source: gmanetwork.com/sports

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Azkals frustrate Maldives in enemy turf to enhance World Cup qualifying bid

November 15 —— THE Philippines beat Maldives, 2-1, in the Asian qualifiers for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Thursday at the National Stadium in Male, Maldives. The Azkals gained three points in order to stay in third place in Group A with seven points, behind a China squad that took second place due to superior goal difference.

Iain Ramsay scored the first goal in the 52nd, followed by John Patrick Strauss in the 68th. Goal keeper Neil Etheridge nearly had a clean sheet if not for a late goal by Haisham Hassan in the 90th. The Azkals will play Syria at a neutral site in Dubai on November 19. Syria leads Group A with nine points.

Source: spin.ph

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Doug Kramer set for final PBA game before retirement after 12-year career

November 15 —— VETERAN big man Doug Kramer will play in his final PBA game Friday as he’s set to formally retire by the end of the season. The 36-year-old center, selected no. 5 overall in the 2007 draft by Air21, is suiting up for Phoenix one last time against Blackwater in Friday’s Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Fuel Masters coach Louie Alas confirmed about the team’s sendoff for Kramer at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. “Yes last game niya,” said Alas on Thursday. Alas said Kramer already said his goodbye to the entire team and management last week.

In the eight games he played in the season-ending conference, Kramer averaged 1.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in nine minutes of playing time. In his 12-year playing career, Kramer, known for his bicep flex, laso had stints with Barangay Ginebra, Air21, Rain or Shine, Powerade, Barako Bull, Petron, NorthPort, and finally, Phoenix. In an Facebook post, Team Kramer thanked everyone who had been part of his basketball career starting with his college stint at Ateneo. “I’ll explain in depth soon why I’m hanging it up. And no, it’s not injuries. I’m healthy as ever,” he said. “There’s still so much to do. I’m 36 years young and got so much to prove and make an impact outside of basketball,” Kramer added. “To my brothers in the PBA, and my brothers in Phoenix, it’s this brotherhod I’ll miss.”

Source: spin.ph