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

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 27, 2009 Major News Stories


Swine flu's rapid spread worries experts

Swine flu has swept the globe since its detection in March, now linked to hundreds of deaths, affecting nearly every country and raising concerns over what dangers await as the new virus develops.

"Weak" earthquake shakes parts of Cebu

An earthquake with an intensity of 3.7 on the Richter Scale rattled the residents of Tabogon, Cebu while intensity 3 was felt in Bogo and other parts of Cebu around 4:51 p.m. yesterday.

Pacquiao, senators turn up for TRO's party

WITH so many politicians around, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña likened his and wife Margot's joint birthday party last night to a national political convention.  It did have the same elements: a large crowd of 2,000 guests at the SM Trade Hall, speeches peppered with endorsements for 2010, at least 150 lechon and even some celebrity appearances, in this case by boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and his mother Dionisia.

The mayor and Sen. Mar Roxas introduced Vice Mayor Michael Rama as the "future mayor" of Cebu City. The local opposition was nowhere in sight, but the mayor was in such a good mood that he even welcomed a birthday cake sent by businessman Jonathan Guardo.

The mayor thanked his wife for never meddling in the affairs of the city, "unlike the first ladies of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu."

"She is one of the best first ladies you can find. Wala ko kita niya mag apil-apil sa activities sa City Hall." He also presented her with a senior citizen's vest and discount card.

But the most widely applauded senior citizen of the evening was Pacquiao's mother Dionisia, who was welcomed with a standing ovation. She later danced the boogie.

Pacquiao himself sang three songs, posed with guests and later, on his way to the restroom, had to bring his security team along to keep fans from mobbing him.

Also among the guests were Sens. Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero and Francisco Pangilinan; singer Danny Javier of the Apo Hiking Society; game show host and government executive Edu Manzano; Mayors Jonas Cortes of Mandaue City and Adelino Sitoy of Cordova; businessmen, city councilors and barangay captains.

The mayor, in his speech, paid tribute to Edward and Eleanor Hayco, as well as the 7,700 dancers who recently set a Guinness world record for the largest dance class. He also acknowledged "Raul and Steve" of Houston, who took care of him when he arrived in the United States to begin cancer treatment last year.

Headless body found

VILLAGERS of Buhisan, Cebu City got a fright yesterday morning after a headless corpse was found in a slope.

The man's head was later found some 15 meters away from the corpse.

He was identified as Jun Otum Ngoho, 23, a resident of Sitio Kalumboyan, Barangay Buhisan.

Suspects Richie Subkay, 21, of Pagadian City and a 16-year-old boy surrendered to the Punta Princesa police station past shortly past noon yesterday.

Subkay admitted beheading the victim with just a knife, but police doubt he would have been able to do that with just that weapon. He also did not surrender the knife he allegedly used.

Shirley Autor, 22, told police that at about 1 a.m. yesterday, she was awakened by the minor who was together with the victim and Subkay and they bought from her sari-sari store a bottle of rum and a pouch of concentrated iced tea. The three then allegedly sat and drank outside her store.

At the height of their drinking, Autor allegedly heard the three plan to go to a benefit dance at sitio Punso of the same barangay.

There was nothing heard of the three until the two suspects surrendered to the police almost 12 hours later.

Investigators said on their way to the benefit dance, the suspects and the victim, all already drunk, were allegedly trying to one-up each other on who was among them was the bravest.

The victim eventually got on the nerves of the other two and they killed him.

Police found the lifeless body of the victim was lying prone and his head about 15 meters away.

Police recovered a pair of green rubber slippers, another pair of black rubber slippers, and a half-empty bottle of rum nearby. The area was estimated to be about 50 meters away from Autor's store.

Classes go on despite strike

Despite the threat of a transport strike, the Department of Education (DepEd)-7 said that there would be no suspension of classes today.

LTFRB, LTO warn drivers vs. strike

THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 yesterday warned drivers and leaders of Nagkahiusang Drivers sa Sugbo (Nadsu) that they will be penalized if they will hold a transport strike in Metro Cebu today.

LTFRB 7 Director Romulo Bernardes said that in the last Nadsu-initiated transport strike, the franchises of seven jeepney operators were suspended and six other operators are still under investigation.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Government is ready for today's transport strike.

City Councilor Gerardo Carillo gave this assurance yesterday after meeting with members of the City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC) to prepare for the protesting drivers.

Carillo, the CDCC action officer, said command stations will be set up at Vice Mayor Michael Rama's office in the community police action center (Compact) office at the Plaza Sugbu outside City Hall.

Police brace for SONA protests

The Police Regional Office-7 has formed Task Force Kapayapaan Central Visayas for the security management in the area in relation to the State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today.

AFP, PNP on alert for SONA

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has placed on red alert status its National Capital Region Command in preparation for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

No classes, traffic rerouting in Metro

As the capital gears up for the State of the Nation Address and the grand anniversary of Iglesia Ni Cristo, education officials have cancelled classes in all levels in Metro Manila on Monday, while local governments have rerouted traffic in selected areas affected by these twin events.

Arroyo to come out fighting in Sona

A "fighting and determined" President Arroyo will paint—not unexpectedly—a rosy picture of her administration's performance, on Monday, going into the last 11 months of her term.

The President is expected to highlight the eight million jobs created during her term; a $185-billion economy based on the gross national product; the 98-percent barangay (village) electrification nationwide; and a network of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

An executive summary of Arroyo's Sona indicated that she would tackle Charter change: "The push for constitutional reform has to be continued, to achieve a more effective basis for legislation that can hasten the advancement of the nation to its desired status in the global community."

She provided highlights of her Sona on education, saying "our children must receive the food they need for a healthy body, the education they need for a healthy mind and the equality of opportunity for a meaningful job."

"Education is the great equalizer that allows every young Filipino a chance to realize their dreams," she said. "Everyone must do whatever we can to give our young people a good education and a good start."

In its 16-page report submitted to Arroyo on Sunday, the PTFE informed her about "a significant drop in the incidence of malnutrition among public elementary school children from 21 percent to 17 percent in 2007."

Pro-Arroyo banners hang in Metro

On the eve of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's last State of the Nation Address (SONA), banners were hung on footbridges and overpasses in several parts of Metro Manila, lauding her for her "achievement" in education.

Stop boasting, UP professor tells Arroyo

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should tell the true state of the nation and stop boasting in her State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, University of the Philippines professor and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Randy David said.

The truth, Manila Archbishop asks Arroyo

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has asked President Arroyo to tell the true state of the nation when she delivers her address before Congress on Monday afternoon.

Will Arroyo do a Cory in her last SONA?

Cory said 'Paalam' in final SONA Former President Corazon Aquino herself was being prodded to run for a second term as her stay in Malacañang was about to end.   

Former President Corazon Aquino herself was being prodded to run for a second term as her stay in Malacañang was about to end.

It was explained to Aquino that the single-term limit did not apply to her since she did not come to power under the present Constitution that bars presidents from seeking reelection.

"But my answer was a categorical no," Aquino remembers telling advisers in an essay in her book In the Name of Democracy and Prayer, an anthology of her selected speeches published in 1995.

"I had not been inaugurated under the present Constitution and it did not bind me in strict terms, but I had campaigned for it and therefore took upon myself the moral obligation to follow, if not its letter then its spirit, that a presidency must accomplish its goal within six years."

Aquino then used her final State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 1991 as an opportunity to say goodbye to the nation aside from spelling out the achievements of her presidency that ended a dictatorship.

"My term is ending. And so is yours. As we came, so should we go," Aquino first reminded her audience, made up mostly of her allies in Congress who were elected in the first free elections after the Marcos dictatorship.

Militants in Mindanao ready counter-Sona

Militant groups here will be holding a "State of the People Address", in response to what they call "lies" to be delivered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her 9th State of the Nation Address.

Evangelist delivers counter-Sona

Evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva on Sunday said it was difficult to be proud of the country when our very leaders manifest the worst of the Filipino.

Arroyo to seal peace deals by 2010

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's peace adviser expressed confidence on Sunday that the government would be able to conclude the stalled peace talks with Moro rebels and the communist insurgents before the end of President Macapagal-Arroyo's term in 2010.

NPA vows more offensives despite talks

Despite a looming resumption of peace talks between government and communist rebels, the New People's Army (NPA) has vowed to intensify its offensives in the coming months to ensure that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo does not extend her stay in power beyond 2010.

MILF observes ceasefire

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has started repositioning its troops in war-torn communities of Maguindanao and elsewhere in the region in an effort to reciprocate the government's attempts to restore normalcy in southern Philippines.

Rebel soldiers press fight vs corruption

Jailed soldiers who staged the Oakwood mutiny six years ago said they were prepared to finish their fight as the country continued to be riddled with corruption under the Arroyo administration.

Port security tightened after bomb found

The Philippine Coast Guard on Sunday ordered stricter security measures in all sea ports following the discovery of a cache of homemade explosives in an inter-island ship in Lucena City.

12 bombs found aboard ferry in Masbate

Twelve bombs were found hidden inside a bathroom in a ferry in Masbate, raising fears of another bombing campaign by suspected Islamic militants, the coast guard said Sunday.

'Arroyo using Obama as political cover'

US President Barack Obama's meeting with President Arroyo at the end of the month in Washington is a "mistake" because he is only being used as a "political cover" for her "troubles at home," according to the July 26 editorial of the Washington Times that was posted on its website.

Discuss lower remittance fees with Obama

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should push for reduced American bank remittance charges when she meets United States President Barack Obama in Washington on July 30, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said Sunday.

Bayani protests Teodoro entry to Lakas

There's no room for a "Gibo" or a "Noli" at the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party.

Estrada: Aquino RP's 'most loved' woman

Former President Joseph Estrada led thousands of Manila folk in a prayer Sunday for the healing of ailing democracy icon Corazon Aquino, whom he described as "the most loved woman president of the Philippines."

Lacson ordered to respond in Dacer case

The Department of Justice panel looking into the Dacer-Corbito double murder case has subpoenaed Senator Panfilo Lacson to answer the allegations leveled against him by ex-police officer Cezar Mancao II, a former subordinate at the Philippine National Police.

Another Dacer case witness is back

Former police officer Glen Dumlao is back in the country after more than seven years of hiding in the United States. He is expected to testify on the killing of publicist Salvador Bubby Dacer and driver Emmanuel Corbito.

Rains flood Central Mindanao villages

Two days of heavy rains spawned flash floods that submerged more than a hundred low-lying villages here and in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato, destroying crops and forcing hundreds of families to evacuate to higher ground, officials said.

Quake rattles Taiwan

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 rocked Taiwan Sunday, the Seismology Center said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

Pope hails grandparents' role in education

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday praised the role that grandparents play in children's education, saying they keep fundamental family values alive.

French president rushed to hospital

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy was rushed to hospital on Sunday after suffering a "minor" nervous complaint while exercising at his woodland weekend retreat outside Paris.

Ousted Zelaya on Honduras border

Defying US criticism, ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned for a second day to Honduras' land border to try to put pressure on the coup leaders who threw him out of the country last month.

Alaska governor Palin steps down

With questions swirling about her next move, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin steps down Sunday after bursting into the US political spotlight last year as John McCain's presidential running mate.

Contador crowned in Tour de France

Alberto Contador of Spain was crowned Tour de France champion for the second time after the 21st and final stage on Sunday.  Contador, 26, finished the 96th edition of the world's toughest bike race with a lead of 4min 11sec on Luxembourg's Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank.

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, Contador's teammate at Astana, was third overall at 5:24.

Web, mobile phones drive eco growth

The Internet and mobile phones have definitely made life much easier.But technology is not only good for improving people's lifestyles.

The World Bank said the Internet and mobile phones had given businesses a much wider customer base, translating into higher profits.

The Philippines, tagged as the "texting" capital of the world, is one of the top investment sites for firms engaged in IT (information technology) and IT-enabled services. Revenue generated by IT firms reached $6 billion last year, a substantial leap from the $100 million seen in 2001, World Bank said.

More jobs are also being created by the two sectors. As of mid-2008, the report added, the two industries employed 345,000 people in the Philippines, up by more than three times from 100,000 in 2004.

Bill Gates says he gave up using Facebook

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he was forced to give up on the social networking phenomenon Facebook after too many people wanted to be his friend.

Regine-Aga tandem set for new movie

Sampung taon mula nang huling magsama sa isang pelikula, susubukan muli ang tambalang Aga Muhlach at Regine Velasquez sa isang proyekto sa direksyon ni Joyce Bernal!

Last Supper No. 3 wins top prize

"Last Supper No. 3" bags Cinemalaya Cinco's Best Film award, while "Colorum" and "Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe" tied for the Special Jury award.

Pacquiao to head VIPs at Arroyo SONA

Filipino boxing icon Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao will head the list of VIPs at President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo"s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

Billy Joel ill, postpones 2nd NY show

Billy Joel and Elton John have postponed a second upstate New York concert on their top-grossing tour after Joel fell ill with flu-like symptoms.

Rains forecast during Sona -- Pagasa

Metro Manila and Southern Luzon will experience moderate rains on Monday, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivers her final State of the Nation Address (Sona), due to a low pressure area or brewing storm, the chief of the country's weather bureau said.

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