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BALITANG MARINO DAILY NEWS for January 20, 2021

HEADLINES

Biden leads Covid memorial on eve of inauguration

China’s capital steps up COVID-19 measures as outbreak persists

Delays are Growing with Increasing Reports of Rollover Cargo Worldwide

Singapore to vaccinate over 10,000 frontline maritime workers by end of January

Cyprus to cut annual tonnage tax for ships that reduce their environmental impact

‘8 co-passengers of 1st variant patient test positive’

PH to secure 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines

House gives poor electric consumers 10-year extension of lifeline rates

Students slam scrapping of UP-DND accord

Romualdez is Philippines’ representative to Biden-Harris inauguration —embassy

Duterte orders Galvez to tell Sotto details of COVID-19 vaccine deals

Angel Locsin honored by Philippine Red Cross with Spirit of Philanthropy award

Toni Gonzaga gave her talent fee to displaced ABS-CBN workers, Olivia Lamasan reveals

Netflix says borrowing to end as global membership tops 200 million

Fiba fines Korea, China, Chinese Taipei for failure to participate in second window

Messi banned for 2 matches after historic Barca red

Australian Open organizers rule out change of dates, format

FULL NEWSPAPER

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Biden leads Covid memorial on eve of inauguration

January 20 —— President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday signaled a new tone for the US government by leading a powerful tribute to the 400,000 Americans lost to Covid-19 as he arrived in Washington on the eve of his inauguration. Biden, who has suffered deep personal tragedy and is known for his public displays of emotion, has stressed the need to unite the country after President Donald Trump’s chaotic four years in office.

“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” Biden said in somber remarks at the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The US on Tuesday recorded another 2,482 deaths due to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally. Inauguration eve is normally a time of massive crowds gathering in the capital, but Biden, joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, were almost alone on the empty National Mall due to Covid restrictions and heightened security after the deadly riot at the US Capitol.

On the Mall’s grassy expanse, some 200,000 flags have been planted to represent the absent crowds at the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday. Trump, who has not appeared in public for a week, broke days of silence with a pre-recorded farewell video address. For the first time he asked Americans to “pray” for the success of the incoming administration — a change from months spent persuading his Republican followers that the Democrats cheated their way to election victory.

– Trump snub –

Trump, whose efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and console its victims have been widely criticized, will snub Biden by not attending the inauguration. He has also yet to personally congratulate Biden on his win or invite him for the customary cup of tea in the Oval Office. In one of his last acts before he flies to Florida on Wednesday morning, Trump is expected to issue scores of pardons, with speculation rife over who might make the list.

The latest indications are that Trump will not take the legally dubious step of issuing himself and his children preemptive pardons. Outside the White House fence, central Washington has taken on a dystopian look ahead of Biden’s inauguration, swarming with National Guard troops and largely emptied of ordinary people. Fears of right-wing attacks in the wake of the pro-Trump riot in the Capitol building on January 6 have triggered unprecedented deployment of armed personnel, concrete barriers and secure areas dubbed “green” and “red” zones.

Adding to the tension, the Senate is expected to put Trump on trial soon, following his record second impeachment by the House of Representatives over the Capitol riot.

Source: mb.com.ph

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China’s capital steps up COVID-19 measures as outbreak persists

BEIJING, January 20 —— China’s capital Beijing said on Wednesday it will investigate all individuals who entered the city from abroad from Dec. 10 and shut down a subway station after reporting the biggest daily jump in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks. The measures come amid what has become the country’s most severe COVID-19 outbreak since March 2020 ahead of the key Chinese Lunar New Year holiday season, when hundreds of millions travel, raising fears of another major COVID-19 wave that could bring the country back into a debilitating standstill.

The National Health Commission said on Wednesday that a total of 103 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Jan. 19, down from 118 a day earlier. Northeastern Jilin province reported 46 new cases, however, setting another record in daily cases, while Hebei province surrounding Beijing reported 19 new cases. Beijing reported seven new cases, matching the total reported on Dec. 28. Of these new patients, six patients live in Daxing district and the city’s subway operator said it shut down the Tiangong Yuan metro station located nearby the Daxing patients as part of COVID-19 prevention measures.

Communist Party-backed Beijing Daily said the capital’s party and government leadership met late Tuesday and agreed to further tighten monitoring, minimize public gatherings and reduce passenger loads in public transport.

CONTAINMENT EFFORTS

China has opted to let local governments choose their own tactics to battle the latest outbreaks, an approach that avoids the kinds of widespread shutdowns during the height of the epidemic in 2020. Local authorities in northeast China, where most of the new cases are located, have employed a combination of measures including lockdowns, travel curbs and mass testing. Tens of millions have been put into home or centralized quarantine in Hebei, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.

Songyuan city in Jilin on Wednesday ordered a lockdown for the main urban area under its jurisdiction and began mass testing. Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang province, has temporarily shut down businesses and public venues such as gyms, coffee shops, karaokes and religious institutions. One communist party official in a village in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, was suspended for mistreatment of a man who tried to enter the village to buy cigarettes against orders to turn back. The man was tied to a tree and verbally abused under the party official’s directions.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 58 from 91 cases a day earlier. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,557, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635. The figures exclude cases reported in Hong Kong and Macau, which are Chinese territories but independently report their data. The commission also excludes cases reported in Taiwan, the self-ruled island that China claims as its own.

Source: reuters.com

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MARITIME NEWS

Delays are Growing with Increasing Reports of Rollover Cargo Worldwide

January 20 —— For months, shippers, ports, and carriers have all highlighted the challenges they faced in response to the surge in container shipping volumes during the second half of 2020. Data analytics firm Ocean Insights released new data highlighting just how extensive the delays have been, which ports and carriers are experiencing under capacity, and a timeline of market volatility. During December, Ocean Insights reports that on average 37 percent of containers overall were delayed in the major cargo regions of Europe, the US, and Asia as well as less cargo intensive regions such as Latin America. According to Ocean Insights, on average, more than one in three containers is being rolled over based on the percentage of cargo carried by each line globally that left a port on a different vessel than originally scheduled.

“Ocean Insights’ cargo delay statistics show how the Bull Run is wreaking havoc on the market,” the company said in reporting its data. The result is delays and unpredictability of shipments and cargo laying stranded in the ports creating further chokepoints and backlogs. “Much of the recent concern for rollover cargo has focused on reefer containers,” highlights Ocean Insights. One consequence they are highlighting is reports that some ports in China have run out of the power ports used to supply electricity to reefer containers, jeopardizing perishable cargo. “Of the 20 global ports for which Ocean Insights collates data, 75 percent saw an increase in the levels of rollover cargo in December compared to the previous month,” said Ocean insights’ Chief Operations Officer Josh Brazil. “Major transshipment facilities such as Port Klang in Malaysia and Colombo in Sri Lanka recorded 50 percent or more of cargo delayed, with the world’s largest transshipment hub in Singapore and leading primary ports such as Shanghai and Busan rolling over more than a third of their containers, last month.”

While there has been extensive reporting about the shortage of containers and the efforts the shipping lines have been making to reposition the boxes, Ocean Insights highlights that it is only one of the consequences of the current conditions. “Today, even if a beneficial cargo owner can get an empty container for their cargo, there is no guarantee that the cargo will make it onto a ship,” the report highlights. The performance, of course, varies widely by individual ports in part due to the number of actual containers moving through the port. However, the raised level of demand is creating new challenges even for ports that had been making progress. For example, they cite, the extra loader policy in South Korea’s Busan Port, which saw a four percent reduction in its rollover levels in November, only to lose most of those gains in December.

The major ocean shipping companies are also experiencing similar increases in rollover values with the average rising from 35 percent in November to 37 percent in December. However, according to Ocean Insights, three lines left more than half their booked cargo at the departure port. Alliance partners MSC and Maersk they report managed to stem the rise of the rollover cargo month on month, both recording the same level of rollovers in December as in the previous month, while HMM, which had been successful in limiting its rollover cargoes, saw its rate double in December as volumes surged. With industry experts are now warning that the cargo surge could last well into 2021, Ocean Insights concludes that there is a strong likelihood that the prevailing conditions will continue throughout the first half of the year.

Source: maritime-executive.com

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Singapore to vaccinate over 10,000 frontline maritime workers by end of January

January 20 —— Singapore has become one of the first nations to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations of frontline maritime personnel as part of its national vaccination strategy to protect frontline personnel. Under the Sea – Air Vaccination Exercise (SAVE), over 10,000 frontline maritime personnel are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by the end of January. These frontline personnel include port workers, harbor pilots, cargo officers, marine surveyors and marine superintendents who are required to work onboard ships in our port. They carry out essential works including navigation, refueling, ship repair and maintenance, as well as operations to transfer cargos.

The Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore said that harbor craft and ocean-going crew who are Singaporeans and long-term residents living in the community are also prioritized for vaccination. More than 700 personnel have been vaccinated over the past few days to prepare for the full roll-out of SAVE. The MPA has received about 6,000 registrations for vaccination this week. The port authority said that due to the better protection offered by vaccination, frontline maritime personnel who have completed their full course of vaccination will be subjected to fewer testing requirements. Going forward, those who are currently on the 7-day Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) will be tested every 14 days; those who are currently on the 14-day RRT will be tested once a month.

“We rely on our frontline maritime personnel for the transportation of what we need everyday, including food, medical supplies, and consumer goods. We hope that the vaccination can give them peace of mind when they perform their work onboard ships. This will provide an additional layer of protection, and keep their family and the community safe. We strongly encourage them to come forward for early vaccination,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, MPA, said. The first maritime worker to be vaccinated was PSA Marine harbor pilot, Mr Loh Kah Wai, 55. “The vaccination keeps me safe and enables me to do my job with less worry. It’s one more layer of protection, not just for me but for my fellow harbor pilots and my family,” he said.

Source: offshore-energy.biz

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Cyprus to cut annual tonnage tax for ships that reduce their environmental impact

January 20 —— The Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) is launching a range of green incentives to reward vessels that demonstrate effective emission reductions. From the fiscal year 2021, annual tonnage tax will be reduced by up to 30% for each vessel that demonstrates proactive measures to reduce its environmental impact. In this way, the ministry wants to ensure shipowners are rewarded for sustainable shipping efforts.

The Cyprus SDM believes broad and diverse measures are needed at both a global and regional level to achieve emissions reduction targets and a sustainable future for the industry. “This includes the use of cleaner fuels, the deployment of the relevant fuel infrastructure, the electrification of ships, and the use of energy efficiency technologies. A combination of all of these options has the potential to improve the commercial and environmental sustainability of the sector, but shipowners need to be rewarded for investment in sustainable practices to accelerate uptake,” the ministry said. The Cyprus flag will provide a ‘discount’ on its Tonnage Tax System with what it actually achieves. For example:

* EEDI – vessels that have achieved further reduction of their attained EEDI compared to the required EEDI (Regulation 20 / MARPOL ANNEX VI) will obtain the respective annual tonnage tax rebate of between 5 – 25%.

* IMO DCS – the environmental incentive relating to the IMO Data Collection System (DCS) applies to ships of 5,000 GT and above that comply with Regulation 22A of MARPOL ANNEX VI. Ships which demonstrate reduction of the total fuel oil consumption in relation to the distance travelled, compared to the immediately previous reporting period will obtain an annual tonnage tax rebate of between 10 – 20%.

* Alternative fuels – vessels using an alternative fuel and achieving CO2 emission reductions of at least 20% in comparison with traditional fuels will receive a rebate on annual tonnage tax of between 15 – 30%. This will be reviewed on a case by case basis, following review of documents submitted from a class society.

The ministry said that any vessel detained for any reason during PSC inspection, that violates any regulation of the European Commission related to the environmental protection, or in laid-up condition (warm or cold) during the calendar year will not be eligible for the incentive. “As a leading maritime nation, we have an obligation to support efforts in reducing GHG emissions. We believe that flag states are well-positioned to support ship owners in making sustainable shipping choices which they can benefit from both operationally and financially. Striking the right balance between the green transformation and competitiveness is a challenge but also presents opportunities,” Vassilios Demetriades, Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, commented. “Cyprus believes incentives such as this will encourage greater environmental sustainability across the global industry while also enhancing Maritime Europe’s competitive advantage in new green technologies. This creates opportunities for jobs and growth, providing a first-mover advantage to the EU shipping industry. Clear objectives for 2030 and 2050 have been set by the IMO and all industry stakeholders must unite to create a clear pathway to achieve and exceed these goals.”

Cyprus flags over 1,000 oceangoing vessels with a total gross tonnage exceeding 24 million. Cyprus is also in the process of formulating a long-term strategic vision for shipping, maritime and marine-related activities, addressing the current challenges and opportunities and setting a vision, mission and objectives for the next two decades (2021-2040).

Source: offshore-energy.biz

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PHILIPPINE NEWS

‘8 co-passengers of 1st variant patient test positive’

MANILA, Philippines, January 20 —— Eight persons who were on the same flight as the country’s first case of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 were found positive for the original virus, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) reported yesterday. In a statement, PRC chairman and Sen. Richard Gordon said there were eight other positive tests from the same flight taken by the 29-year-old real estate agent who had traveled to Dubai with his partner.

Upon their return to the Philippines on an Emirates flight on Jan. 7, he tested positive for B.1.17 SARS-CoV 2, the new UK variant of COVID-19. His partner tested negative for the virus. According to Gordon, the swab samples taken from the eight individuals have been sent to the Philippine Genome Center to determine if they were also infected with the new variant.

The Department of Health (DOH) is still validating if the eight people were paying passengers or flight staff. Gordon said the PRC intends to help in tracking down the co-passengers and test them for COVID-19. The DOH reported on Monday that seven of the 159 co-passengers of the first case of the UK variant could not be contacted based on the addresses and information that they provided.

Saliva testing

Meanwhile, Gordon urged the DOH to speed up the approval of saliva tests amid the threats of new variants of COVID-19. “If given the green light, the PRC will ensure volume testing for individuals coming in and out of the country for us to trace this new COVID-19 variant and hopefully, we will be able to contain the transmission of the virus as soon as possible,” he said.

Last week, the PRC kicked off the pilot testing of saliva tests involving more than 1,000 health care and media workers as a requirement of the laboratory expert panel that evaluated the test kits. Paulyn Ubial, former health secretary and head of the PRC molecular laboratories, said the “only way to prevent the spread of the new variant is to increase COVID testing.” Ubial added that the PRC strives to go from 30,000 to 50,000 tests a day to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The PRC has 13 molecular laboratories nationwide and has tested more than 1.6 million people for COVID-19.

Source: philstar.com

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PH to secure 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines

January 20 —— The government will secure 20 million doses of vaccines from United States-based Moderna to help protect Filipinos from the new coronavirus disease, Malacañang announced on Tuesday. The vaccine procurement from Moderna will boost the country’s supply deals to purchase 72 million doses from Novavax, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“‘Yung Moderna sabi ni (Philippine) Ambasador (Jose Manuel) Romualdez pwede na inanunsyo (Ambassador Romualdez said we can announce it)…We can look forward to 20 million doses of Moderna,” he said during a televised press briefing. The government has so far secured 30 million vaccine doses developed by Novovax and the Serum Institute of India, 25 million doses from China’s Sinovac, and 17 million from the UK-based AstraZeneca. Roque said the  government has already forged “term sheets” with these three vaccine makers.

The country’s initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive next month. Roque said a small supply of Pfizer vaccines is expected to arrive next month through the World Health Organization-backed COVAX facility, a global initiative to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Around 50,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines will also be delivered next month. On the efficacy of the vaccines, Roque said Pfizer is known to have 95 percent efficacy to prevent clinical disease. Moderna has 94 percent efficiency, AstraZeneca with 62 percent to 90 percent, and Sinovac with 50 percent to 91 percent.

At least P82.5 billion has been earmarked for the government’s procurement of coronavirus vaccines. Of the amount, Roque said P70 billion will be sourced from loans, P2.5 billion from the 2021 national budget, and P10 billion from the Bayanihan 2 law. Roque assured the nation that the government will make public the exact price of the vaccines once the sale contract is inked and the distribution of the supplies is approved.

Source: mb.com.ph

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House gives poor electric consumers 10-year extension of lifeline rates

January 20 —— The House of Representatives approved on Monday a 10-year extension of the implementation of lifeline rates for low income electricity consumers. With 208 affirmative and zero negative votes, House Bill 8145 was approved on third and final reading. Endorsed by the House Committee on Energy for immediate plenary approval, HB 8145 will amend Section 73 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

Section 73  provides for social pricing mechanism called the lifeline rate for the benefit of marginalized electricity end users for ten years since RA 9136 was enacted in 2001. Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, chairman of the energy panel, said the most recent amendment to RA 9136 puts an end to the lifeline rate this year. HB 8145 consolidated four bills filed separately by six congressmen. The authors include Reps. Wesley Gatchalian (NPC, Valenzuela City); Godofredo Guya (RECOBODA Partylist); Presley de Jesus (Philreca); Adriano Ebcas (Ako Padayon Pilipino); Joy Tambunting (PDP-Laban, Paranaque City) and Sergio Dagooc (APEC Partylist)

Gatchalian,  a deputy speaker, and Tambunting have sought an extension of 20 years for low income Filipinos to enjoy the lifeline rate for electricity consumption. “This will ensure continuity of the crucial assistance to low income electricity consumers, enabling them to access electricity and improve their lives,” said Gatchalian. He pointed out that members of the 15th Congress “saw it fit” to extend the lifeline rate implementation for another ten years because “a great number of low income households” benefitted from it.

However, the energy panel agreed to reduce the 20-year proposal to just ten years, thus, allowing the continued implementation of lifeline rates until 2031. HB 8145 defines marginalized electricity end users as low-income captive market end-users who cannot afford to pay their electricity consumption at full cost due to poverty.   These end users usually consume an average of 100 kilowatt-hours or less of electricity.

The bill also mandates the Energy Regulatory Commission to determine the socialized pricing mechanism for marginalized end-users of electricity. “Now, more than ever, as the country faces economic setbacks due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic, low income consumers need continuous relief and assistance to enable them to access electricity and uplift their lives,” authors of the bill who belong to the so-called power bloc stated in the explanatory note of the bill.

Source: mb.com.ph

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Students slam scrapping of UP-DND accord

MANILA, Philippines, January 20 —— University of the Philippines students and activists protested yesterday a government decision to allow security forces to patrol the campuses of the country’s biggest university after authorities accused UP of being a breeding ground for communist rebels. The Department of National Defense (DND) has unilaterally abrogated a 1989 agreement with UP that prohibited the uncoordinated entry of military and police forces inside UP campuses nationwide.

Academics and politicians also condemned the scrapping of the agreement, saying it threatened academic freedom and opened the door to red tagging. In a two-page letter dated Jan. 15, Lorenzana informed UP president Danilo Concepcion yesterday of his decision to terminate the agreement, claiming “ongoing clandestine recruitment” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) inside UP campuses. Lorenzana alleged that the agreement was being used as a shield to prevent law enforcers from conducting operations against CCP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

“By reason of national security and safety of UP students, this department intends to remedy this situation by terminating or abrogating the existing agreement in order for us to perform our legal mandate of protecting our youth against CPP/NPA recruitment activities,” said Lorenzana. The agreement was signed by then UP president Jose Abueva and then defense secretary, former president Fidel Ramos. The pact required law enforcers to seek prior notification from school officials before conducting operations inside UP campuses, except in cases of hot pursuit and emergency.

The agreement does not contain a provision on how it can be terminated.

Attack on academic freedom

In his letter to the defense secretary, the UP president expressed regret that the agreement was abrogated unilaterally, without prior consultation that would have addressed concerns that the DND raised. “I must express our grave concern over this abrogation, as it is totally unnecessary and unwarranted, and may result in worsening rather than improving relations between our institutions, and detract from our common desire for peace, justice and freedom in our society,” Concepcion said. “May I urge you, therefore, to reconsider and revoke your abrogation, and request further that we meet to discuss your concerns in the shared spirit of peace, justice and the pursuit of excellence,” he urged.

In response to the unilateral junking of the accord, members of the UP community, students, faculty and officials staged an indignation rally at the UP Diliman campus yesterday, calling the abrogation an attack on academic freedom and a threat to UP. UP Diliman chancellor Fidel Nemenzo said the move strikes a dangerous blow to academic freedom because it sends the message that intellectual and cultural inquiry has limits. Nemenzo is the son of former UP president Francisco Nemenzo, the faculty regent who witnessed the signing of agreement on June 30, 1989.

“The unilateral abrogation denied UP of its right to academic freedom. Claims about clandestine recruitment of communists in the campus, which require rigorous probe, are not grounds for unilaterally cancelling an agreement, which was founded on a constitutional right,” he said. For her part, Vice President Leni Robredo slammed yesterday the termination of the 1989 UP-DND agreement, saying it was meant to silence government critics. “The unilateral scrapping of the decades-old accord sends the opposite message: That under this administration, anyone, anywhere, at anytime, is fair game. Clearly, then, this is not a practical gesture, but a symbolic one. One designed to sow fear. One designed to discourage dissent. One designed to silence criticism,” Robredo said in a statement.

For human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, the DND cannot just terminate the agreement without the consent of the other party. “It’s clear under article 1308 of the Civil Code: contracts ‘bind both contracting parties, its validity or compliance cannot be left to the will of one of them,’” Diokno wrote on Twitter.

Source: philstar.com

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Romualdez is Philippines’ representative to Biden-Harris inauguration —embassy

January 20 —— Manila’s envoy to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez will represent the Philippines in the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health protocols are very strict for the presidential inauguration, where attendance of foreign leaders and top government officials is customary, the Philippine Embassy in Washington told GMA News Online.

“As the invited representative of the Philippine government, the Ambassador will be attending in-person the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at the US Capitol on Wednesday, 20 January 2021, together with other members of the Washington diplomatic corps,” the embassy said. A briefer on the presidential inauguration posted by the US State Department said the event will be a “seriously pared down ceremony” due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

The ceremony, it added, is ticketed and not open to the public, but will be televised and livestreamed, including the presidential parade. “They have encouraged the public not to attend,” Dr. Lara Brown of George Washington University said in a briefing arranged by the State Department’s Foreign Press Center. “Elected officials, members of Congress are literally only going to get one guest, so you can imagine that the stands are going to be quite sparse and there will not be many people there,” she said.

Expected in attendance are former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Jimmy Carter, America’s oldest living president at 96, will not be present due to health reasons. In a break from tradition, outgoing President Donald Trump, who contested the election results, is skipping the event, but his Vice President, Mike Pence, will be in attandance, reports said.

Source: gmanetwork.com

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Duterte orders Galvez to tell Sotto details of COVID-19 vaccine deals

January 20 —— President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to disclose to Senate President Vicente Sotto III the details of the Philippine government’s deals with COVID-19 vaccine makers for the sake of transparency. Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former special assistant and long time confidante, made the disclosure on Tuesday.

“Kausap ko po si Pangulo at inatasan niya si Secretary Galvez na ipaalam po ang kasunduan kay Senate President Sotto at nagkausap na rin po kami ni Senate President Sotto ukol dito para magkaroon po ng transparency,” Go said in a video statement. Asked if Galvez would do so in an executive session with Sotto, the Senate Committee on Health chairperson and close ally of the President said: “‘Di ko alam anong paraan but mag-uusap yata sila ni SP.”

“For transparency naman ang gusto ng pangulo… pero importante ‘wag maantala ang vaccine implementation,” he added. Earlier in the day, Galvez said the Philippines would lose 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines if the prices would be disclosed at this point, citing the confidentiality disclosure agreements with manufacturers. During previous Senate hearings, lawmakers pressed executive officials to reveal the prices of COVID-19 vaccines that the government would procure but those in charge of the procurement invoked the said non-disclosure agreement.

Senator Panfilo said he suspected an attempt to overprice the vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac even though the Palace previously said it was given to the country at a price fit for best friends. This coming Friday, the Senate Committee of the Whole is expected to resume its inquiry on the government’s COVID-19 immunization program.

Source: gmanetwork.com

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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Angel Locsin honored by Philippine Red Cross with Spirit of Philanthropy award

January 20 —— Angel Locsin received a new recognition, this time from the Philippine Red Cross  The Kapamilya star was honored with the Spirit of Philanthropy award by the organization.  The actress posted a snapshot with her award on her Instagram page. “Thank you @philredcross,” she wrote.

Netizens were quick to congratulate Angel for her new recognition. “Truly you deserve to be awarded my idol Angel Locsin,” one netizen wrote. “A well deserved recognition! [I’m] proud of you idol!” another netizen commented.  The actress has been active with humanitarian causes with the Philippine Red Cross throughout the years. She has been working hand in hand with the organization for its relief efforts like bringing food items and hygiene essentials to victims of calamities.

She has also been an advocate for blood donation.  This is not the first time that Angel got recognized for her philanthropy and humanitarian efforts.  In 2019, she was included in Forbes Asia’s “Heroes of Philanthropy” list.

Source: push.abs-cbn.com

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Toni Gonzaga gave her talent fee to displaced ABS-CBN workers, Olivia Lamasan reveals

January 20 —— Actress and television star Toni Gonzaga gave away her talent fee to ABS-CBN workers who were displaced following the denial of the network’s franchise renewal bid. ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc. managing director Olivia Lamasan revealed to the public Gonzaga’s good deed during the Jan. 17 episode of the latter’s talk show, “I Feel U,” for her upcoming birthday on Jan. 20.

“Happy birthday Tin. I am sending you my heart so full of love and gratitude for everything, for all the support that you have given ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN Films, Star Cinema,” Lamasan told Gonzaga in a recorded video greeting. “Sobrang maraming salamat anak (Thank you very much, child). Thank you so much for staying on with us,” she added.

While Gonzaga received a heartwarming surprise from family and friends for the birthday special, the Ultimate Multimedia Star became more emotional after hearing Lamasan’s greeting. “Alam niyo po mga kaibigan, ito pong si Toni gave a generous portion of her talent fee, if not all, diba anak? Para po sa mga empleyado ng ABS-CBN na nawalan po ng trabaho nung inorder po ng Congress na i-shutdown kami,” Lamasan recalled.

“I will never forget that kasi napaiyak mo ako noon sa sobrang kalakihan ng puso mo at kabutihan mo, Toni. Maraming maraming salamat,” the director stressed as she turned emotional. “I pray that God returns your generosity a thousandfold and that blessings may continue to abound you in all aspects of your life,” she added.

Lamasan added that she is looking forward to the day they will be able to work together again as a director-actor duo, emphasizing that their 2014 film “Starting over Again” remains one of her favorites. Aside from Lamasan, Gonzaga’s parents, Pinty and Bonoy, her sister Alex, her husband, Paul Soriano, and their son Seve appeared on the birthday special to greet Gonzaga.

Source: entertainment.inquirer.net

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Netflix says borrowing to end as global membership tops 200 million

January 20 —— Netflix said on Tuesday its global subscriber rolls crossed 200 million at the end of 2020 and projected it will no longer need to borrow billions to finance its broad slate of TV shows and movies. Shares of Netflix rose 12% to $564 in extended trading as the financial milestone validated the company’s strategy of going into debt to take on big Hollywood studios with a flood of its own programming in multiple languages.

The world’s largest streaming service had raised $15 billion through debt since 2011. On Tuesday, the company said it expected to break even on free cash flow in 2021, adding in a letter to shareholders, “We believe we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations.” Netflix said it will explore returning excess cash to shareholders via share buybacks. It plans to maintain $10 billion to $15 billion in gross debt. “This is in sharp contrast to Disney and many other new entrants into the streaming market who expect to lose money on streaming for the next few years,” said eMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom.

From October to December, Netflix signed up 8.5 million new paying streaming customers as it debuted widely praised series “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Bridgerton,” a new season of “The Crown” and the George Clooney film “The Midnight Sky.” The additions topped Wall Street estimates of 6.1 million, according to Refinitiv data, despite increased competition and a price increase in the United States. Fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.19 missed Wall Street expectations of $1.39. With the new customers, Netflix’s worldwide membership reached 203.7 million. The company that pioneered streaming in 2007 added more subscribers in 2020 than in any other year, boosted by viewers who stayed home to help curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, Netflix is working to build its customer base around the globe as big media companies amp up competition. Walt Disney Co in December unveiled a hefty slate of new programming for Disney+, while AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros scrapped the traditional Hollywood playbook by announcing it would send all 2021 movies straight to HBO Max alongside theaters. “The big growth in streaming entertainment has led legacy competitors like Disney, WarnerMedia and Discovery to compete with us in new ways,” Netflix said in its letter. “This is, in part, why we have been moving so quickly to grow and further strengthen our original content library across a wide range of genres and nations.”

For January through March, Netflix projected it would sign up 6 million more subscribers, behind analyst expectations of roughly 8 million. Revenue rose to $6.64 billion during the quarter compared with $5.47 billion a year ago, edging past estimates of $6.63 billion. Net income fell to $542.2 million, or $1.19 per share, from $587 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.

Source: entertainment.inquirer.net

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SPORTS NEWS

Fiba fines Korea, China, Chinese Taipei for failure to participate in second window

January 20 —— KOREA, China, and Chinese Taipei have been fined for their failure to participate in the second window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. Fiba announced the sanctions late Tuesday night with the Disciplinary Panel handing out the penalties to the three national federations. All three were slapped with a disciplinary fine of CHF 160,000 (P8.6 million), half of which amounting to CHF 80,000 (P4.3 million) being given to each national federation who will participate in the next window of the qualifiers.

Aside from that, Korea, China, and Chinese Taipei will be deducted two points from their overall standings., with one point going to the other teams participating in the February window. That means that although Korea remains unbeaten at 2-0 in Group A, its points will drop from four to two, with one point to be given to the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia if all participates in the said window in Clark.

Korea begged off from joining the Bahrain bubble due to health concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. The same goes for Chinese Taipei (1-1 record, three points) and China (0-0, 0 points), with fellow Group B foes Japan and Malaysia standing to benefit from those deductions. Group B was unable to hold games in the second window in November due to the non-participation of the aforementioned two nations. Tokyo will host the remainder of the games for this bracket in February.

Source: spin.ph

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Messi banned for 2 matches after historic Barca red

January 20 —— Lionel Messi was handed a two match ban on Tuesday following his first ever sending off for Barcelona. The Argentine forward was shown a red card at the end of Sunday’s 3-2 extra-time defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final after lashing out at Asier Villalibre.

Messi had twice been sent off playing for Argentina, including at the 2019 Copa America, but never in 16 years and 753 matches with Barcelona’s first team. The six time Ballon d’Or winner’s ban was announced by the Spanish Football Federation. Messi shook off a thigh problem to start in Seville and was required to play all 120 minutes as Barca attempted to take the game to penalties.

Instead, the 33-year-old lost his temper at the end of a combative contest, reacting to a late challenge from Villalibre by swiping his hands across the back of his opponent.  Messi was red-carded 15 years ago for Barca but it was with the reserves in a third division match, according to Spanish statistician Alexis Martin-Tamayo. Ronald Koeman’s side face third-tier Cornella away in the Copa del Rey on Thursday and Elche on Sunday in La Liga where they are placed third, with Messi missing both games.

Source: news.abs-cbn.com/sports

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Australian Open organizers rule out change of dates, format

MELBOURNE, January 20 —— Organizers of the Australian Open on Tuesday ruled out reducing the men’s tournament at the Grand Slam to best-of-three sets due to players’ inability to train at required level amid the strict COVID-19 quarantine rules. A total of 72 players are currently not allowed to leave their hotel rooms for 14 days after some passengers on three charter flights to Australia tested positive for COVID-19 infections.

The rest of the players, who traveled by 14 other charter flights from across the world, are allowed five hours daily outside their hotel rooms to spend on preparing for the year’s first tennis major from Feb. 8-21. Some players and pundits have said they feared the lack of training activities could make athletes vulnerable to injuries during the Grand Slam and called on organizers Tennis Australia to consider reducing the men’s event from best-of-five sets.

“A few players came up with the idea to bring it down to three sets this time, which I think would make a lot of sense,” Japanese player Taro Daniel told the Herald Sun. “Because even for guys who are able to train these two weeks, it’s not optimal training. You’re limited to two hours a day and one hour of gym – so five sets would be pretty brutal this time. “I have no idea if they’ll be able to do it or not, but I think perhaps they should.”

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley rejected the call. “We’re a Grand Slam at the end of the day and right now, three out of five sets for the men and two out of three sets for the women is the position we plan on sticking to,” Tiley told the Nine Network on Tuesday. While the majority of players are isolating in Melbourne, top players like Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep have traveled to Adelaide to quarantine and play an exhibition event.

Tiley denied accusations of preferential treatment for top players and said the organizers will try to help those affected by the positive cases on their flights. There will be no changes to the Australian Open dates, however, but leadup events, scheduled to start from Jan. 31, could be pushed back. “Two or three days could make a massive difference because then players could come out and have five maybe, maybe close to six days of extra preparation,” Tiley told reporters.

Source: sports.inquirer.net

Our Services

MOT-BARKO MANILA, INC. CORPORATE MANAGEMENT PLAN
From November 2010 to present, MBM deployed over 900 seafarers on board 23 vessels comprising of the following types: 2 Pure Car Carrier, 18 Bulk Carriers, and 3 Wood Chip/Cargo Ships that added real value to seafarers, customers and other stakeholders. This is undoubtedly due to combine efforts and hard works of all involved, in principle therefore as a manning agent we will;

  1. Devote every managerial effort to become more efficient and profitable.
  2. Continue to employ competent and fully certified seafarers for our customer in order to gain excellent standing with both local and foreign governments, maritime unions, training institution, P & I Correspondent and the likes.
  3. Control the manning process systematically; be flexible and proactive in fulfilling both seafarers and customers’ requirements, presenting innovative solutions wherever possible.
  4. Keep excellent market knowledge and ability to respond quickly to any changes in order to provide a sustainable service to customers.
  5. Become a market preference in terms of high quality service.

Our Mission

  1. Maintain pools of highly qualified, motivated and dedicated seafarers who fulfill the demanding requirements in safeguarding the safety of ship and the environment.
  2. Lifetime Profession- Develop training and education program that involves many initiatives geared towards ensuring that personnel starting their employment with MBM are given every opportunity to progress their career through the ranks and via shore-based employment.
  3. Provide a decent and stable working environment so that both seafarers and shore staff can contribute to the best of their abilities.
  4. Transparency and Honesty- Be fair and have corporate financial activities comply with rule of law.

2012 CAR CARRIER OF THE YEAR AWARD

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We are please to announce that 10 vessels have demonstrated excellence in safety, delay-free, and bunkering-saving operations and have thus been selected to receive the Car Carrier of the Year Award for 2012

The M/V Santa Lucia saved human lives.

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The M/V Santa Lucia, an 180,000-ton bulk carrier we operate with 22 Pilipino crew, saved human lives.
In the early hours of March 16, while sailing in the Molucca Sea, Indonesia, on a voyage from Japan to Australia, the ship received a distress call from an Indonesian fishing boat.
The M/V Santa Lucia proceeded to the site and rescued all 15 crew members from the boat. All the rescued crew were safe and sound and handed over to Indonesia’s coast guard in the afternoon of the same day.