#ThewRap: Things you need to know, November 21, 2017

Hello and happy Tuesday, Rappler readers!

Will Filipinos finally get better telecoms services? This is now the big question after Malacañang on Monday, November 20, said President Duterte raised the idea of allowing a Chinese telecom company to operate in the Philippines. Will this finally break the current PLDT-Globe telecom duopoly?

Meanwhile, the mess that is the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3) continues to make commuters' lives miserable. Malacañang promises to solve its myriad of woes, from lack of trains to severe maintenance issues. Another development in the MRT3 saga: activist group Bayan filed a case against former transport chief Jun Abaya for alleged anomalies in the train line's maintenance contracts.

These, and more stories, are in today's wRap.

Duterte wants Chinese company to be 3rd PH telecom player

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offered to China the chance for one of its firms to be the 3rd major telecommunications company in the Philippines, with the goal of ending the duopoly in the vital industry.

Malacañang promises ‘better MRT’ under Duterte

Amid public frustration over the many problems besetting the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) system, Malacañang promised a better MRT during the Duterte administration. Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, on Monday, November 20, said, “We accept the challenge. We are moving forward and we promise better MRT to our riding public.”

Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terror

US President Donald Trump declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday, November 20, even as his top diplomat said Washington has not given up hope of a negotiated end to its nuclear standoff with Kim Jong-Un's regime.

House approves mental health bill on final reading

The House of Representatives on Monday, November 20, approved on 3rd and final reading a law that would establish a national mental health policy in the Philippines. The vote was made as Congress resumed session after a 5-week break. 223 lawmakers voted in favor of the measure, while none voted against it or abstained.

Army appeals for calm as Mugabe faces impeachment test

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe came under increasing pressure to quit Monday, November 20, as his ruling party said it would move to impeach him and the army revealed his likely successor would soon return to the country.

ASEAN 2017: A wasted opportunity for the West Philippine Sea

"The Philippines' chairmanship wasn't just a missed opportunity; it significantly weakened ASEAN's standing on political-security matters," Southeast Asia expert Gregory Poling tells Rappler.

Santiago fired for 'junkets' abroad, accepting favors from drug lords – Malacañang

Former Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Dionisio Santiago was fired by President Rodrigo Duterte, not just for his public statements, but also for supposedly going on "extravagant" trips abroad and bringing his "mistress" along with him.

Top photo: US first lady Melania Trump and Barron Trump arrive to receive a Christmas tree during an event at the White House November 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP