#ThewRap: Things you need to know, February 21, 2018

Hello! Here's a roundup of news you need to know this Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and newly-appointed Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander Colonel Lope Dagoy witness the program proper during the Change of Command Ceremony at the PSG Compound in Malacañang Park on March 23, 2017. ROLANDO MAILO/ Presidential Photo

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Hello!

Hello Rappler readers,

US intelligence agencies described Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as among the "regional threats" to democracy in Southeast Asia, citing his remarks on a possible revolutionary government and nationwide martial law.

Duterte also drew flak for "joking" that the Philippines can become a province of China. For some lawmakers, the "joke" is simply not funny.

On the issue of Rappler being barred from Malacañang coverage, the Presidential Security Group commander said reporter Pia Ranada should even be thankful she wasn't physically hurt.

Below are the big stories you shouldn't miss.

U.S. intel agencies: Duterte a 'threat' in Southeast Asia

The CIA and 16 other US intelligence agencies said President Rodrigo Duterte is a "regional threat" to democracy in Southeast Asia. "Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a 'revolutionary government,' and impose nationwide martial law."

Alejano slams Duterte over Chinese province 'joke'

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano hit President Rodrigo Duterte for "joking" that the Philippines can just become a Chinese province. Alejano said Duterte's "irresponsible banter" is a "slap in the face of the many Filipinos... who work tirelessly to defend our territorial integrity from China."

PSG to Rappler reporter: Be thankful you didn't get hurt

Presidential Security Group Commander Brigadier General Lope Dagoy had this message for Rappler reporter Pia Ranada: "Pasalamat kayo hindi kayo sinaktan sa pagbabastos na ginawa 'nyo." For Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Dagoy's remark is "uncalled for."

Duterte to extend Dela Rosa's term further

President Rodrigo Duterte plans to extend the term of Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa "a little bit longer." Duterte said he wants Dela Rosa to continue reforms in the PNP.

LIVE: Senate hearing on Dengvaxia

Watch the hearing on the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine controversy live on Rappler.

7% economic growth 'very achievable' this year – BPI

The Bank of the Philippine Islands predicted that the Philippine economy can achieve 7% growth for 2018, if the government's infrastructure buildup progresses.

Secret U.S.-North Korea meeting scrapped

US officials revealed there was supposed to be a meeting between US Vice President Mike Pence and North Korean officials during the 2018 Winter Olympics. But Pyongyang scrapped the talks after Pence denounced abuses from the "murderous regime."

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