The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 14, 2009 Major News Stories

Unioil cuts prices

At present, Unioil has 40 retail stations in Metro Manila.

Pilipinas Shell and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines lowered the prices of their petroleum products by P1.50 per liter on Saturday to reflect softening international oil prices.

LTO revokes all deputation orders

The Land Transportation Office has cancelled all deputation orders to non-government organizations and government employees enlisted by LTO to help enforce traffic laws.  LTO Regional Director Raul Aguilos said the cancellation took effect last July 6 upon orders of Department of Transportation and Communication Assistant Secretary Arturo Lomibao. Lomibao also acts as chief of LTO.

Aguilos said Lomibao wants all deputation orders to come from his office for proper evaluation. In effect, all apprehensions made by deputized agents after July 6 are null and void.

Still, Aguilos said he will recommend the issuance of deputation orders to NGOs that have reportedly been very useful and helpful in LTO's campaign against erring drivers.

In Central Visayas there are about 400 LTO deputized agents, including the members of Task Force Alpha and Task Force Delta in Cebu.

LTO deputized agents have been the subject of several complaints from motorists because of alleged abuses. Aguilos, however, clarified the complaints have nothing to do with the cancellation of the deputation orders.

2 men with H1N1 die – health dept.

Two more people with the Influenza A(H1N1) virus in the country have died, bringing the total number of deaths related to the disease to three, an official of the Department of Health (DoH) said.  However, it was not immediately clear whether the fatalities died because of A(H1N1), Arnel Rivera, officer-in-charge of the DoH operation center for A(H1N1) told

One of the casualties, a 19-year-old male also had asthma aside from A(H1N1) while the other, a 74-year-old man, also had emphysema, Rivera said.

The country's first A(H1N1)-related death, a female employee of the House of Representatives, had other illnesses before she acquired the novel flu virus. She died in late June.

The two new fatalities were among the 2,668 confirmed A(H1N1) cases as of late last week, Rivera said.

Of the total number of cases, 2,543 or 95 percent have recovered.

WHO:  A (H1N1) 'unstoppable'

Drug firm offered govt P100M of discounts

A big pharmaceutical company has allegedly offered the government five million "sulit" discount cards with an estimated worth of P100 million – a move which Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile described as a "bribe" meant to prevent the enforcement of the cheaper medicines law.  Reiner Gloor, executive director of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, said Pfizer Philippines reportedly made the offer to the Department of Health before the list of the maximum retail price (MRP) for essential medicines was released last month.

But the offer, Gloor said, was rejected by Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

Enrile said the offer was "tantamount to a bribe in order to obviate" the enforcement of the law.

'We're denying it,' says company exec

An official of a drug company denied that it tried to stop the implementation of the cheaper medicines law by offering five million discount cards to the government.  "Syempre, we're denying it. There was no intention to bribe," Pfizer Philippines' corporate legal counsel Millete Asuncion said. 

She did not say, however, if the offer actually took place as earlier claimed by Reineer Gloor, executive director of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, at the hearing at the Senate by the congressional oversight committee of the cheaper medicines law. 

Arroyo snubs Senate inquiry on meds

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other Palace officials were a no-show at the congressional inquiry on her alleged secret meeting with multinational pharmaceutical firms last week.

Arroyo to sign rent control law Tuesday

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will sign into law on Tuesday the bill imposing a year-long moratorium on rental increases and a seven-percent ceiling on subsequent adjustments until 2013.

Legacy boss arrested in hospital

Police in Quezon City served an arrest warrant for fraud against the owner of the troubled Legacy group of companies at the hospital on Monday.  But Celso delos Angeles was allowed to remain in the hospital, where he was being treated for cancer of the tonsils, lawyer Noel Malaya said.

Norway open to Filipino workers

Norway is open to Filipino professionals from the fields of engineering and information technology seeking to land a job there, Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Marianito Roque said on Monday.

PRC announces list of new agriculturists

Bishops to good people: Run in elections

Aside from their usual call on the laity to vote wisely, Catholic Church leaders are encouraging good and competent persons to run for public office in the May 2010 presidential and national elections.

Comelec seeks help of religious, militants

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is seeking the help of religious and militant groups to encourage Filipinos overseas to register to vote in the 2010 elections, as the August 31 deadline for registration nears, a spokesman for the poll body said.

Civic group for Open Election System

With OES, the voters still need to write names of the candidates and manual counting will be done. The number of votes will be recorded in the OES software by people and will be published on the Web. PIN codes are needed in order to edit or manipulate data.

Noli's Pag-IBIG ads cost taxpayers P500-M

Glo, Obama must tackle military, economy

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should make a pitch for increased military assistance and strengthened economic partnership with the United States when she meets with President Barack Obama, leaders of the House of Representative said on Monday.

Opposition doubts Arroyo-Obama meeting

The public must be wary of the upcoming meeting of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and United States President Barack Obama which could be "for their own gain" only.  United Opposition and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay said Arroyo might use the meeting to secure Obama's support for efforts to amend the 1987 Constitution, in exchange for the return of US bases in the country.

Clarify Puno status in Cabinet, Glo asked

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno's silence is deafening, bolstering suspicions that he is on his way out, Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said, as he urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to clarify Puno's status in her Cabinet.

Italian trader denies ransom for Vagni

Italian businessman Armando De Rossi denied on Monday that he provided ransom money in exchange for the release of his compatriot, Eugenio Vagni, by the Abu Sayyaf.

Vagni resting in undisclosed place

The whereabouts of Eugenio Vagni, the Italian aid worker released from Abu Sayyaf captivity last Sunday, were kept secret but Senator Richard Gordon said he was doing very well.

Vagni learns what's important in life

Tutors: Don't forget our colleagues

Pursuit, not probe in Sulu – Teodoro

Troops will focus on pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf, not on investigating the circumstances behind the release of an Italian Red Cross worker that the bandits held for six months, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said.

Biazon backs 'all-out war' vs. Abu Sayyaf

Senator Rodolfo Biazon has backed a local official's call for an all-out war against the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, as he proposed tapping civilian volunteers for the offensive.

Gordon calls for talks with Abu Sayyaf

Contrary to calls for an all-out war against the Abu Sayyaf, Senator Richard Gordon urged the government to talk peace with the extremist group that kidnapped Red Cross worker Eugenio Vagni.

Sayyaf mulls amnesty talks – Sulu official

Abu Sayyaf bandits who held three Red Cross workers in the southern province of Sulu are "open" to talks with government for a possible amnesty, Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla said.

DoJ to court: Drop Mancao as accused

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has already asked the court to drop former police official Cesar Mancao from the list of accused in the killing of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.

CBCP deplores 'culture of violence'

Japan to call August 30 general election

Prime Minister Taro Aso is to call a snap election for August 30 following talks with ruling party officials Monday, public broadcaster NHK and other media reported.

Barangay Ginebra wins Game 5

Magma buildup towards Mayon crater

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology monitored more volcanic quakes and a continuing buildup of magma towards the crater of Mayon volcano in Albay, as local disaster management officials prepare for an eruption.

Storm 'Huaning' moves away from Batanes

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