Biden at 264 electoral votes, Trump at 214 – US media

Ethiopia sends army into Tigray region, heavy fighting reported

German Cruise Lines Resume Pause due to Travel Restrictions

New Boarding as Dryad Warns of Potential Activity in Gulf of Guinea

ONE Aquila loses containers in rough seas

Philippines logs 987 new COVID-19 cases, total at 388,137

Tropical storm ‘Siony’ approaching Batanes-Babuyan islands

Duterte may suspend abrogation of VFA for another 6 months — Palace

PET has no power to declare failure of elections, call for holding of special elections — Comelec

Duterte orders price range set for swab tests

DA extends P680-M worth of assistance to Rolly-hit farmers, fishers in Bicol

Kanye West votes for himself in 2020 US elections: ‘Someone I truly trust’

Nora Aunor still in the running as Nat’l Artist

Gov’t official answers Angelica Panganiban’s criticism over gov’t efforts during typhoon Rolly

Back-to-back playdates no problem, as Ginebra routs NorthPort

Rafael Nadal registers 1,000th win in empty stadium

Pinoy karateka Ramon Gonzales eyes bounce back win at ONE Singapore card



Biden at 264 electoral votes, Trump at 214 – US media

WASHINGTON, November 5 —— Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on Wednesday neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. As it stands, there are five states still left uncalled, including major prizes such as Pennsylvania, and key small state Nevada — meaning both Trump and Biden still have a path to victory.

US media outlets have projected wins for the Republican incumbent in 23 states including big prizes Florida and Texas, as well as Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio — all states he won in 2016. Biden has captured 22 states including his home state Delaware and big prizes California and New York, as well as the US capital. The former vice president has flipped three states won by Trump in 2016 — Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Nebraska split its electoral votes between the two — four for Trump and one for Biden. Maine was won by Biden, but he seized only three of the four electoral votes on offer, with the last allocated to Trump. So far, that gives Biden 264 electoral votes and Trump 214. The magic number of electoral votes is 270. If Biden were to win in Nevada, he would in theory have the necessary 270.

The following is a list of the states won by each candidate and the corresponding number of electoral votes, based on the projections of US media including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC/NBC News, ABC, CBS and The New York Times. In the case of Arizona, AFP used the projection made by the Associated Press.

TRUMP (214)

Alabama (9)

Arkansas (6)

Florida (29)

Idaho (4)

Indiana (11)

Iowa (6)

Kansas (6)

Kentucky (8)

Louisiana (8)

Maine (1)**

Mississippi (6)

Missouri (10)

Montana (3)

Nebraska (4)*

North Dakota (3)

Ohio (18)

Oklahoma (7)

South Carolina (9)

South Dakota (3)

Tennessee (11)

Texas (38)

Utah (6)

West Virginia (5)

Wyoming (3)

BIDEN (264)

Arizona (11)

California (55)

Colorado (9)

Connecticut (7)

Delaware (3)

District of Columbia (3)

Hawaii (4)

Illinois (20)

Maine (3)**

Maryland (10)

Massachusetts (11)

Michigan (16)

Minnesota (10)

Nebraska (1)*

New Hampshire (4)

New Jersey (14)

New Mexico (5)

New York (29)

Oregon (7)

Rhode Island (4)

Vermont (3)

Virginia (13)

Washington (12)

Wisconsin (10)





North Carolina


* Nebraska splits its five electoral votes — two electors are assigned based on the plurality of votes in the state, and the other three are awarded based on congressional district. Biden took one vote, in the 2nd congressional district.

** Maine has a similar method to Nebraska. Of its four electoral votes, three have been projected for Biden, while the fourth went to Trump.



Ethiopia sends army into Tigray region, heavy fighting reported

ADDIS ABABA, November 5 —— Heavy fighting flared in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on Wednesday, diplomatic sources said, after the prime minister launched military operations in response to what he said was an attack on federal troops. Tensions have been escalating since September, when Tigray held regional elections in defiance of the federal government, which called the vote “illegal”. In recent days, both sides accused each other of plotting a military conflict.

Early on Wednesday, the local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), tried to steal artillery and other equipment from federal forces stationed there, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said. “The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation,” it said, adding that the aim was to prevent instability engulfing the country and region.

Tigray’s population makes up 5% of Ethiopia’s more than 110 million people, but the area is wealthier and more influential than many other, larger regions and has a well-trained army. Abiy’s spokesman, Billene Seyoum, told Reuters later that military operations in Tigray had commenced, without elaborating. Two diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa said heavy fighting, including artillery fire, had broken out in the northern region, which borders Eritrea.

The prime minister’s office said the federal government had declared a six-month state of emergency in Tigray to be overseen by the chief of staff of the armed forces. Tigrayans’ influence has waned since Abiy came to power in 2018. Many senior Tigrayan officials have been detained, fired or sidelined, in what the federal government describes as a clampdown on corruption but Tigrayans see as a means to quell dissent. Last year, the TPLF quit Abiy’s ruling coalition.




German Cruise Lines Resume Pause due to Travel Restrictions

November 5 —— Germany’s renewed restrictions due to the current resurgence of the coronavirus are forcing the cruise lines to once again pause operations for cruises departing from German ports. Both TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff cruises, which is a joint venture with the Royal Caribbean Group, and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises are suspending cruises from Germany effective immediately. The cruise lines had been operating since the summer on short cruises. TUI had become the first company to restore a large cruise ship to operation, but due to the restrictions was limited to only cruising in the North Sea. The line had hoped to include Scandinavian ports on the cruises, but instead was cruising areas such as the Swedish archipelago and turning the ship in the harbors such as near Turku, Finland.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises was operating two smaller ships in short cruises. The Europa, which has a maximum passenger capacity of under 500 people, and the Hanseatic Inspiration, which accommodates a maximum of 230 passengers, were making port calls in Gothenburg, Sweden on their cruises. Gothenburg port officials reported that the ships had been arriving with approximately 100 to 150 passengers so that they stayed within the COVID-19 restrictions. “We were informed today by the responsible state authorities of Schleswig-Holstein at short notice that – contrary to the previous approval – we are not allowed to carry out cruises from and to Kiel starting tomorrow and until further notice,” a TUI Cruises spokesperson wrote to the Maritime Executive today. TUI noted that since its cruises were international travel it believed they did not fall under the domestic travel restrictions.

“Our first inquiry has shown that other German ports will not allow cruises either. Against this background, we have to cancel all of the “Blue Cruises” on Mein Schiff 1 planned for this year,” TUI concluded. The Mein Schiff 1 is at sea today due to return to Keil, Germany in the morning to disembark passengers. TUI had commenced its cruises with her sister ship Mein Schiff 2 sailing on July 24. TUI noted that since July over 40,000 passengers have sailed on its cruises with no outbreak of the virus. Hapag’s cruise ship the Europa returned to port yesterday from its cruise and was shifted to a lay-up berth. The Hanseatic Inspiration had not sailed on a cruise since mid-October.

While both lines were forced by local officials to pause their cruises from Germany, they are continuing with the international cruises. TUI is operating its ship the Mein Schiff 6 with fly-cruise programs from Germany to Greece. They plan to continue these trips and later in the month plan to start a similar fly-cruise program around the Canary Islands. While not announced, they are also reflecting cruises from Dubai starting at the end of 2020. The Mein Schiff 2 is currently sailing to Las Palmas where she is currently scheduled to arrive on November 5 to begin preparations for the cruises. Similarly, while Hapag was laying up the Europa, its sister ship the Europa 2 departed Bremerhaven on November 3 bound for Tenerife where she is due to arrive on November 10.  Hapag like TUI was approved by the authorities in the Canary Islands to begin cruises around the islands.

Last week, AIDA Cruises also announced that due to the German government restrictions it would pause operations in November. AIDA is hoping to be able to resume its cruises in December and while not one of the cruise lines initially approved to sail in the Canary Islands has also repositioned a ship to possibly start cruising around the islands.



New Boarding as Dryad Warns of Potential Activity in Gulf of Guinea

November 5 —— Another product tanker was approached and boarded in the Gulf of Guinea. Safety services are reporting an overall increase of activity in the region and increasing their warnings over potential additional activity during the remainder of the year. Dryad Global is reporting that the 10,000 dwt product tanker Nafeli II, operated by the World Carrier Corp. of Greece, was boarded off the coast of Nigeria, approximately 94 nautical miles southwest of the port of Brass. The Panama-flagged tanker built in 2003, operates with a crew of up to 23 people.

The vessel activated her SSAS emergency alert system and the crew consisting of Georgian, Russian, and Ukrainian seafarers reportedly retreated to the safe area. The boarders left the vessel and the crew was later reported safe. While the crew was unharmed, Dryad reports that it was the fourteenth such incident in the area this year. The total number of vessels illegally boarded in 2020 in the area of West Africa has now reached 58, which, according to Dryad is tracking slightly above trend when compared to 2019.

Dryad is also cautioning that the rate of incidents increases at the end of the monsoon season in the region. They are warning of a historical trend toward a sharp increase in activity during the latter part of the year. Reviewing the total number of incidents during the first nine months of the year, a report issued by the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) also highlighted a dramatic increase of activity off West Africa. According to the IMB’s data, there was a 40 percent increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea, compared with the same period in 2019. Pirates armed with guns and knives they warned are abducting bigger groups of seafarers at further distances off the West African coast.



ONE Aquila loses containers in rough seas

November 5 —— Several containers have fallen overboard from a Panama-flagged containership in bad weather off the US coast. At the time of the incident, the 14,052 TEU ONE Aquila was en route to its next port call, the Port of Long Beach. The New Panamax boxship is operated by Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) and deployed in the Pacific South Loop 7 (PS7) service. Built in 2018, it is owned by Japanese shipping major NYK Line, one of three founders of ONE. “According to our partner ONE …, a limited number of containers are affected by this incident,” German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd said in its customer advisory on 3 November.

“Considering the terminal congestion expected in the California ports, the vessel is expected to be significantly delayed and a schedule recovery plan will be shared once available.” Offshore Energy – Green Marine contacted ONE for more details on the incident, however, the company is yet to reply. According to ONE Acquila’s AIS data provided by MarineTraffic, the ship is currently en route to the Port of Tacoma where it is expected to arrive on 6 November.

Last year, another Panama-flagged ONE vessel lost containers while on its way to Wilmington, USA. After the 8,614 TEU Helsinki Bridge encountered rough weather, its container stacks fell over.




Philippines logs 987 new COVID-19 cases, total at 388,137

November 5 —— The Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tally rose to 388,137 on Wednesday after the Department of Health (DOH) announced 987 new cases, the lowest since July, partly due to the impact of Typhoon Rolly. “The relative low report in the new cases is part of the effects of the Typhoon Rolly. We further caution that this decrease may still be observed over the next few days, and may be followed by a relative ‘increase’ in newly reported cases in the coming days or week,” the DOH said.

Twelve laboratories also failed to submit reports to the DOH on time. The five areas with the highest number of new infections were Davao City with 136, Iloilo province with 67, Quezon City with 47, Taguig City with 43, and Iloilo City with 41. Meanwhile, the total number of recoveries rose to 349,091 after 140 more patients recovered from the respiratory disease.

The death toll also climbed to 7,367 with 49 new fatalities. “Moreover, 13 cases previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths,” the DOH added. The remaining 31,679 are active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine, 82.6 percent of which are mild, 10.1 percent are asymptomatic, 2.6 percent are severe, and 4.7 percent are in critical condition.



Tropical storm ‘Siony’ approaching Batanes-Babuyan islands

November 5 —— Tropical cyclone wind signal No. 3 may be raised due to severe tropical storm “Siony” (international name “Atsani”), as it will likely further intensify into a typhoon prior to its close approach or landfall over Batanes-Babuyan Islands between Thursday and Friday. In its severe weather bulletin issued at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) estimated Siony’s location around 735 kilometers (km) east of Basco, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 115 kph.

It reached the severe tropical storm category at 2 p.m. Siony was previously a tropical storm that had maximum sustained winds of 85 kph and winds gusts up to 105 kph. It could be further upgraded into a typhoon prior to its landfall or close approach over extreme Northern Luzon and may reach its peak intensity of 125 kph, PAGASA said. A tropical cyclone is classified as typhoon if it registers maximum wind speed of 118 kph to 220 kph.

Based on its latest track, the weather bureau said Siony may continue to move slowly or remain almost stationary in the next six to 12 hours. Afterwards, the severe tropical storm will move generally west or west-northwest towards the Luzon Strait and extreme Northern Luzon. “This will bring the center of Siony over or very close to the Batanes and Babuyan Islands between Thursday evening and Friday morning. As such, a landfall scenario over these localities is still likely,” PAGASA said.

Signal No. 1 remains hoisted over the northeastern portion of mainland Cagayan (Santa Ana, Gonzaga) and the eastern portion of Babuyan Islands (Balintang Island, Babuyan Island, Didicas Island, and Camiguin Island including their adjoining islets). PAGASA said strong to gale-force winds with “higher” gusts may affect Batanes, Babuyan Islands, and the northern coastal areas of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte in the next 24 hours due to the northeasterlies enhanced by Siony and tropical storm Rolly.

Based on available meteorological data, PAGASA said the highest wind signal that could be raised will be Signal No. 3 in areas near or along the projected track of the storm. PAGASA said the combined effects of the northeasterlies and the trough or extension of Siony may bring light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Bicol region, Aurora, Quezon, and the eastern portions of Cagayan and Isabela. It asked the public to stay vigilant against possible flooding, including flash floods, and rain-induced landslides during heavy or prolonged rainfall, especially in areas that are highly susceptible to these hazards.

Those in areas that received significant rainfall during the recent tropical cyclones, Pepito, Quinta, and Rolly were also advised to take extra precaution due to already saturated soil. Likewise, the combined effects of Siony, Rolly, and the enhanced northeasterlies will bring rough to very rough seas with waves that may reach 2.8 to 5.0 meters over the entire seaboards of Northern Luzon, northern seaboard of Camarines Sur, northern and eastern seaboards of Catanduanes, and seaboards of Aurora, Camarines Norte, Kalayaan Islands, and northern Quezon, including the northern and eastern coastal waters of Polillo Islands.

Sea travel is risky over these waters, especially for those using small boats, PAGASA said. Meanwhile, moderate to rough seas with wave heights up to 1.5 to 2.5 m will be experienced over the western seaboard of Central Luzon, eastern and western seaboards of Southern Luzon, and eastern seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao. PAGASA advised mariners of small sea vessels to take precautionary measures when venturing out to sea, while inexperienced mariners were asked to avoid navigating in these conditions. Based on its forecast track, Siony will leave the Philippine area of responsibility by Friday afternoon or evening.

If the projected track does not change, Siony will be about 404 km east of Calayan, Cagayan by Thursday afternoon; 195 km west of Basco, Batanes by Friday afternoon; and 655 km west of Basco or outside the PAR by Saturday afternoon.



Duterte may suspend abrogation of VFA for another 6 months — Palace

November 5 —— President Rodrigo Duterte may suspend the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States anew, Malacañang said Wednesday. “Perhaps the President will invoke the second six-month time to finally abrogate the VFA,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines. “But anyway, what I am saying is, there is no immediate rush for the President to decide because the notification we sent to the Americans gives them at least one year leeway before it’s abrogated.”

The Philippines in June suspended for six months the abrogation of the VFA, a decision that was reportedly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and developments in the disputed South China Sea. Duterte sought the termination of the VFA in February after the US canceled the visa of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, his close ally, reportedly over the former national police chief’s involvement in the controversial war on drugs. Ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1999, the VFA governs the conduct of visiting US personnel holding military exercises in the Philippines.



PET has no power to declare failure of elections, call for holding of special elections — Comelec

November 5 —— The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, November 4, said the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), composed of the justices of the Supreme Court (SC), has the power to annul elections but has no authority to declare failure of elections or direct the holding of special elections. In its comment filed in connection with the 2016 election protest lodged by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, the Comelec said it has the “exclusive jurisdiction” to declare failure of elections or to call for special elections.     

The Comelec’s stand slightly differed from that taken by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) which was also asked to file its comment. Solicitor General Jose C. Calida had told the SC that while the PET has the power to annul election results or declare failure of elections, the tribunal has no power to order the holding of special elections. Calida said the PET’s power to declare the annulment of elections or a failure of elections is provided in Section 4 (7), Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.        

In its comment, the Comelec also told the PET that eight cases filed to declare failure of elections in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan have been dismissed. It said the rulings on seven of the dismissed cases have attained finality. “Accordingly, no special elections were held or conducted in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao in connection with the 2016 national and local elections,” the Comelec also said.      

The Comelec and the OSG’s comments were required by the PET in its Sept. 29, 2020 resolution on the protest and counter protest involving the 2016 vice presidential election. Both the Comelec and the OSG were directed to comment on “whether the Tribunal is empowered by the Constitution to declare: a) the annulment of elections without special elections; and b) the failure of elections and order the conduct of special elections.” Also, they were asked to comment on “whether the Tribunal’s declaration of failure or elections and then the ordering of special elections, will infringe upon the Comelec’s mandate and power provided for in Article IX (C) (Sec. 2) of the Constitution.”

The election protest filed by Marcos against Robredo has three causes of action — annulment of the proclamation of Robredo; recount and revision of ballots in 36,465 protested clustered precincts; and annulment of election results for vice president Vice President in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan on the ground of alleged terrorism; intimidation and harassment of voters as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts.      

In its resolution the SC also directed the Comelec to report “if petitions for failure or elections were filed in the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao; the corresponding resolutions to the said petitions (if granted or denied); whether special elections were held in areas declared to have had a failure of elections in the said provinces; and the results of the special elections.”        

Also, the Comelec was also asked to comment “… on certain issues related to the 3rd cause of action of the election protest, in particular the annulment of elections on the ground of terrorism, intimidation, harassment of voters, and pre-shading of ballots in the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.”  Citing the SC’s 2016 decision, the Comelec said the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has the power to annul election results “as an indispensable consequence or concomitant to” its power to decide election protests involving members of the House of Representatives.       

Thus, it said, that based on the decision, the PET also has the power to annul election results “in order to give full effect to its constitutional duty to determine the winning candidate in the contested position.” It pointed out that the PET, being the sole judge of all contests relating to election, returns, and qualifications of the President and the Vice President has also the attendant power to annul election results. But the PET, it stressed, “cannot declare failure to elections and conduct special elections, the latter, being within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Comelec.”



Duterte orders price range set for swab tests

MANILA, Philippines, November 5 —— President Duterte yesterday signed an executive order that directs the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure the affordability and accessibility of all types of coronavirus disease tests. Under Executive Order 118, Duterte ordered the DOH and DTI to determine, formulate and implement a price range for COVID-19 tests conducted by hospitals, laboratories and other health establishments and facilities. This will include the test kits used in such tests, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.

The DOH has considered the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as the gold standard for establishing if a person is infected with the virus. There are still those who use rapid and antigen tests, however. “The DOH and DTI shall ensure that the price range for COVID-19 test kits is just, equitable and sensitive to all stakeholders,” the EO read.

As the price cap is set for COVID-19 test services, Duterte said all hospitals, laboratories and other health establishments with existing accreditation to operate a COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory should abide by the price range to be set by the government. “Failure to comply therewith may be considered as a ground for the revocation of existing licenses or accreditation,” the EO said.

It added that compliance with the price range shall form part of the standards and requirements for the licensing and accreditation of hospitals, laboratories, health establishments and facilities as COVID-19 testing centers. “The DOH shall institute measures to ensure that all accredited COVID-19 laboratories observe transparency in the pricing of tests and ensure that the public is fully informed of the component costs of medical services and procedures relating to COVID-19,” the President said in the EO.

To ensure compliance, Duterte directed the DOH and DTI to “continuously monitor and review the prices and market supply of COVID-19 test kits and other basic medical items and supplies, and issue price control measures and adjustments as may be necessary.” The move is pursuant to Republic Act 7581, which provides protection to consumers by stabilizing the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, and protecting the public from undue price increases during emergencies.

The EO takes effect upon publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Earlier yesterday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said market forces are pushing down the prices of the COVID-19 tests. Roque urged the public to go to government hospitals, which offer swab tests at lower rates compared with those offered by private hospitals. He said the President signed the EO even if he has been busy monitoring rehabilitation and recovery efforts in areas ravaged by Typhoon Rolly.

The Department of Tourism welcomed Duterte’s signing of the EO, saying it may drive more demand for domestic travel. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the COVID tests, now made affordable and accessible to Filipinos, will help regain travelers’ confidence to enjoy nature, culture and heritage destinations. Puyat added that the signing of EO 118 signals the government’s commitment to revive and boost the economy through the slow but safe and sure revival of domestic tourism.



DA extends P680-M worth of assistance to Rolly-hit farmers, fishers in Bicol

November 5 —— The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday said it has extended P680 million worth of initial assistance to farmers affected by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly in the Bicol region. Bulk or P592,432,000 of the said amount are allotted, through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), as indemnification fund for 32,761 Bicol farmers, whose insured crops were damaged by the disaster.

The PCIC-insured farmers and fishers in Bicol region will receive insurance claims, ranging from P10,000 to P15,000 for their crops, farm equipment, fishing boats and gear damaged by Rolly. Meanwhile, P90 million worth of other assistance including seeds of hybrid rice, corn and assorted vegetables, urea fertilizer, farm implements, and fishing gears and paraphernalia were distributed to affected farmers and fishers in Albay, one of the hard-hit provinces in Bicol.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that affected farmers and fishers can also avail of an emergency and rehabilitation loan worth P25,000 from the DA’s Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC), under its Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program. The DA-ACPC has allotted an initial P100 million for Bicol under its Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan program. The loan is non-collateral, has zero interest and is payable in 10 years.

According to the DA, the combined amount of damage and losses from Typhoon Quinta and Super Typhoon Rolly stands at P4.56 billion affecting 77,958 farmers and 115,148 hectares of agricultural areas in Regions III, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, V, VI, and VIII. Volume of production loss is at 262,539 metric tons. The affected commodities include rice, corn, high value crops, fisheries, livestock, irrigation and agri-facilities.

For Quinta alone, the total amount of damage and losses in agri-fisheries is now at P2.56 billion from the previously-reported P2.2 billion, with 145,577 MT of volume loss, affecting 47,864 farmers and fisherfolk with 88,252 hectares of agricultural areas in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula. Affected commodities include rice, corn, high value crops, fisheries, livestock, irrigation and agri-facilities.

As for Rolly, the total damage and losses has increased to P2 billion from the previously-reported P1.75 billion affecting 30,094 farmers and 26,896 hectares of agricultural areas. Volume of production loss is at 116,962 metric tons. The affected commodities include rice, corn, high value crops, livestock and agri-facilities in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas.

All the reported damage and losses values are still subject to validation, the DA said.

The DA assured affected farmers and fishers of the following assistance:

total of 4,263 bags of rice issued by the National Food Authority (NFA) to the provinces of Marinduque, Albay, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Cavite for relief operations

total of 133,326 bags of rice seeds, 17,545 bags of corn seeds, and 1,980 kilograms of assorted vegetables from DA regional field office

animal stocks, planting materials, feeds, drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry

around 10 million pieces of available tilapia and milkfish fingerlings, as well as fishing gears and paraphernalia for distribution

Quick Response Fund amounting to P400 million for the rehabilitation of areas affected by Rolly

Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program of Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) amounting to P300M wherein an emergency loan of up to P25,000 (P5,000 for emergency and P20,000 for recovery) will be provided, with zero interest and no collateral, payable in 10 years

Indemnification fund from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) amounting to P1 billion to pay for the losses incurred.




Kanye West votes for himself in 2020 US elections: ‘Someone I truly trust’

November 5 —— Kanye West has finally cast his ballot for the 2020 United States elections — his first time voting ever — and he has proudly disclosed that he voted for himself. “God is so good [smiling emoji] Today I am voting for the first time in my life for the President of the United States, and it’s for someone I truly trust… me,” the American hip-hop icon tweeted, Nov. 3.

The tweet, which has gained around 148,000 likes and over 16,000 retweets, has since been receiving mixed reactions from thousands of netizens. A handful of Twitter users have been branding him a “narcissist,” while others call out West for being already 43 years old but is only voting for the first time this year. “Voting first time… for yourself… and you are 43? Just saw TV news piece about a new citizen from Nigeria who had to wait [six] years to get citizenship. He voted for the first time as soon as he could. His story is touching. Your story is just sad,” Twitter user @malesapiens replied also yesterday.

One user with the handle @JumpInMyPoole meanwhile told the rapper, “Congrats on your wasted vote.” West also shared a short video clip of what appears to be his ballot, showing that he has indeed voted for himself and vice-presidential candidate Michelle Tidball, his running mate. “KEEP BELIEVING KANYE 2020 Thank you Jesus Christ,” West said on the tweet posted yesterday.

West also posted a series of tweets of pictures and a video showing him inserting his ballot into a voting machine. “The first vote of my life We are here to serve We pray for every servant leader in the world,” he said on a tweet of the video showing him cast his ballot. Donning a blue hoodie and a black face mask, West said in one photo of himself, “I VOTED.”

In his most recent tweet, West seemed to have accepted that he has no chance of winning the current elections as incumbent President Donald Trump and Joe Biden have taken the majority of the votes, as of writing. “WELP KANYE 2024,” the rapper said, implying that he will be running for the presidency again in the next elections. Fellow U.S. celebrity, actress Jennifer Aniston has previously stressed that voting for West is “not funny” after revealing that she had voted early for Biden and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.



Nora Aunor still in the running as Nat’l Artist

November 5 —— Nick Lizaso, chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), believes Nora Aunor should still be considered among contenders for the National Artist plum.

Lizaso told ABS-CBN News Aunor this must be as “she already passed through the process of two deliberations.” He added, “What is crucial is if she will still be included in the third and final deliberation of the board commissioners and trustees of the NCCA and the Cultural Center of the Philippines and living National Artists.”

The deadline for filing of nominees is on Dec. 15. Among names already mentioned as nominees this year include that of Cecille Guidote Alvarez, Ramon Revilla and Eddie Garcia.   The incumbent president will still approve the final list.



Gov’t official answers Angelica Panganiban’s criticism over gov’t efforts during typhoon Rolly

MANILA, Philippines, November 5 —— Department of Transporation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddes Hope Libiran answered Kapamilya actress Angelica Panganiban’s tirade against government officials who were absent during the onslaught of super typhoon Rolly last weekend.

Angelica, over the weekend, asked on her Twitter what’s the plan of the government in the middle of the typhoon. “Ano ng plano? Tulog na lang? Kilos Kilos naman para sa sinumpaan para sa bayan at mga Pilipino,” Angelica wrote.

Libiran posted the screenshot of Angelica’s tweet on her Facebook account, saying that government officials like her had no sleep in monitoring the typhoon. “Ma’am, wala pa nga po kami halos tulog. Alam n’yo po ba ang dapat ginagawa kung may nararanasang kalamidad ang bayan? BAYANIHAN po, hindi HILAAN PABABA. Just saying. Hindi po ako galit. Puyat lang,” Libiran wrote.

#NasaanAngPangulo trended on Twitter last Sunday as Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was absent at the government meeting called as response for the typhoon. Senator and longtime aide Bong Go, meanwhile, said that Duterte was on the top of the situation, monitoring the typhoon at his home in Davao.




Back-to-back playdates no problem, as Ginebra routs NorthPort

November 5 —— The concept of playing games on consecutive days is unusual in the PBA; winning under those circumstances rarer.  Barangay Ginebra looked comfortable with the 24-hour turnaround, though. Stanley Pringle finished with 17 points to lead 7 teammates in double-digit scoring, as Ginebra downed NorthPort 112-100 in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Aljon Mariano added 15 points off the bench for Ginebra, which raised its record to 6-2, tying TNT Tropang Giga atop the standings.  Coach Tim Cone and co. showed no signs of fatigue, coming into the game having played 24 hours prior, a victory over Alaska. “We’re sharp tonight. I’m really proud of our guys for the effort they made tonight. They showed a lot of character playing right,” Cone said.  NorthPort jumped on Ginebra to take a 23-13 lead in the first quarter, but it was a different story in the second, where Ginebra outscored them 39-14 for a 57-48 halftime lead.

A 3-pointer by Renzo Subido cut the deficit to 66-65, but Ginebra baskets by Mariano and Japeth Aguilar denied NorthPort a chance to retake the lead. After Ginebra went up by 19 in the fourth quarter, a bucket by Christian Standhardinger put Batang Pier within 104-96 with 2:35 remaining.  But an Aguilar layup stopped NorthPort’s momentum, and coach Pido Jarencio and his crew couldn’t force a deserving stop, thus preserving the win for Ginebra.

“There’s a lot of things we got to improve to get better,” Cone said. “Offensively, we moved the ball with a lot of assists. We’re trying to get a teammate open and did really well in terms of passing. LA Tenorio finished with 13 points and 7 assists, Mariano chipped in 5 rebounds and 7 assists, Aguilar had 13 points and 8 rebounds, while Scottie Thompson tallied 11 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Standhardinger and Kevin Ferrer each had 23 points to lead NorthPort, which sunk to 1-6, a half game ahead of last-place TerraFirma Dyip (0-6).



Rafael Nadal registers 1,000th win in empty stadium

PARIS, November 5 —— Becoming only the fourth man to reach 1,000 match wins should have drawn deafening cheers and a standing ovation for tennis great Rafael Nadal. Instead, he reached his milestone amid a cathedral-like silence Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time) in a 20,000-seater stadium left completely empty because of the coronavirus pandemic. There was only a fist-bump from Feliciano Lopez, after Nadal beat him 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a subdued atmosphere more worthy of a library study area than a sports arena.

“The real feeling, the personal feeling is completely different,” Nadal said. “It makes a big difference that the court is empty.” The 34-year-old Nadal joins towering company in Jimmy Connors (1,274), Roger Federer (1,242) and Ivan Lendl (1,068) as the only men’s 1,000-club members since the Open era began in 1968. “I know it is a very special number, one thousand,” Nadal said. “Even if it’s not the same to celebrate something like this without a crowd.” Nadal smiled as he posed at the net with the number 1,000 displayed on the court in a brief ceremony, and then walked off center court like after any other match.

It was the second milestone he reached in Paris this year, having won the French Open last month to tie Federer on 20 majors. But while 1,000 fans cheered him at Roland Garros, none were at the Bercy Arena. “Of course it’s sad, the level of energy is difficult to compare,” Nadal said. “So the feeling, even if 1,000 (fans) or 1,500 or 2,000 is not a lot.” The 34-year-old’s first win came in May 2002 at the age of 15, when he beat Paraguayan Ramon Delgado in the first round at Mallorca. A year later, the 16-year-old Nadal stunned the tennis world by beating French Open champion Albert Costa under floodlights in the second round at the Monte Carlo Masters.

By the age of 24, he had already reached 500 wins. His career tally also includes 35 Masters titles and 86 tournament victories overall. The 39-year-old Lopez won their first meeting back in 2003 and had beaten Nadal four times overall. He had 22 aces and troubled a sluggish Nadal, who failed to convert six break points in the second set but broke immediately at the start of the third. “I started the match the worst way possible, especially against a big server like Feli,” Nadal said. “After that I played under a lot of pressure the rest of the match, but I found a way.”

Nadal, who has never won this tournament, next plays Jordan Thompson of Australia, who upset 15th-seeded Croat Borna Coric 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. Alexander Zverev joined Nadal in the third round by beating Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-2. The fourth-seeded German did not face a break point against the 42nd-ranked Serb. Zverev hit eight aces and converted his first match point. Chasing a third title of the year, he next faces Adrian Mannarino of France. Fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev easily won 6-1, 6-2 against Radu Albot for a tour-leading 40th win of the year, moving one ahead of top-ranked Novak Djokovic. Rublev won the Erste Bank Open in Vienna last Sunday for a tour-leading fifth title of the season and next plays three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.

The 12th-seeded Swiss won 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 against unseeded American Tommy Paul. Meanwhile, No. 3 Russian Daniil Medevev advanced after Kevin Anderson retired when trailing 5-2 in the first-set tiebreaker because of a right leg injury. No. 6 Diego Schwartzman beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-3, keeping the Argentine on course to clinch the final spot for the Nov. 15-22 ATP Finals in London. He can guarantee that by reaching the semifinals in Paris. No. 10 Milos Raonic also advanced by winning 6-4, 6-4 against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The big-serving Canadian, a runner-up here in 2014, had 11 aces and concluded with a sliced volley at the net. He next faces American Marcos Giron. No. 16 Alex de Minaur also advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Italian Lorenzo Sonego — the runner-up to Rublev last Sunday.



Pinoy karateka Ramon Gonzales eyes bounce back win at ONE Singapore card

November 5 —— Filipino karateka Ramon Gonzales has long wanted to return to the ONE Championship Circle and atone for a previous loss.  Now he gets the chance he has been wishing for, though it won’t be easy.  Gonzales returns to action this Friday when he battles Eko Roni Saputra in a flyweight clash at the previously recorded ONE: Inside the Matrix II, which went down at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

He is reeling from a unanimous decision loss to Hexigetu last year, ending an impressive run that saw him win 3 straight bouts by submission.  Gonzales will need to flash that same form if he wants to avoid falling once more, especially since he’s facing an opponent as dangerous as Saputra. Against the Indonesian fighter, Gonzales can expect to be on his toes, because the Evolve MMA star likes to pressure his opponents from the opening bell and use his wresting to finish the job.

Moreover, Saputra has also won all his previous 3 bouts in the first round, making this an interesting bout between two finishers with contrasting styles.  It will also be an action-packed main event as well when ONE welterweight champion Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov defends his gold for the first time against the seemingly unstoppable James Nakashima. This will be Abbasov’s first return to the Circle since beating Zebastian Kadestam via decision late last year, and now he takes on Nakashima, who has been unstoppable in all of his 12 bouts.