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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 30, 2009 Major News Stories

Three A(H1N1) patients die in Baguio

BFAD warns public vs flu vaccine imitation

The Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) warned the public and drugstore owners against a fake flu vaccine using the brand name Vaxigrip.

"Reports have it that this flu vaccine purportedly contains only distilled water," the BFAD said in a public health advisory dated July 28, but issued only on Wednesday.

"In view of these (news) reports, the BFAD strongly warns all drugstore owners and their pharmacists to exercise due diligence in buying this vaccine and any other drugs and medicines" from the manufacturers of Vaxigrip, the BFAD stated in its advisory.

The agency reminded drugstore owners to only buy from BFAD-licensed sources and to always demand legitimate sales invoices or receipts that indicate the name of the medicines and their respective lot numbers and expiry dates.

"The refusal of the source to issue and indicate the aforementioned information should give rise to suspicion and must be reported immediately to BFAD," it added.

"Finally, all consumers are advised to purchase vaccines and other drugs and medicines only from outlets duly licensed by BFAD and to demand receipts as well," BFAD continued.

It asked the public to report cases of counterfeit drugs to BFAD's Regulation Division at 809-4390 local 1131.

Drugstores seek rebates from suppliers

The drugstores in Cebu are willing to comply with the 50-percent reduction in the prices of essential medicines but are seeking a rebate from the drug suppliers, according to Robinson Uy, president of the Cebu Pharmacists Association (CPA).

DOH: 2nd batch of drugs for 50% price cut

After bringing down by half the prices of 21 essential drugs, the government is preparing a second batch of medicines that will be subjected to a similar 50-percent price cut.

DILG: Nothing wrong with Tom's move

It is Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña's right not to accept anymore students – whose parents are not residents and voters of the city – who wanted to enroll at the Cebu City Medical Center-College of Nursing.

163 pass optometrist board exam

A total of 163 out of 263 passed the Optometrist Licensure Examination given by the Board of Optometry in Manila this month, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Thursday.

390 new physical, occupational therapists

A total of 390 out of 873 passed the Physical and Occupational Therapist Licensure Examinations given by the Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy in the cities of Manila and Cebu this month, the Professional Regulation Commission announced Wednesday.

See complete list of Physical Therapist successful examinees

See complete list of Occupational Therapist successful examinees

Move to add one year to courses opposed

The 44-member Association of Local Colleges and Universities is strongly against the addition of one year to four-year courses, contending that the move would mean additional expenses for parents.

Cops trace source of prank text

An official of the Police Regional Office-7 yesterday said they already traced the source of the bomb threat that caused a five-hour delay on the flight of Singapore-bound Silk Air last Tuesday afternoon at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Sr. Supt. Louie Oppus, chief of Regional Operations and Plans Divisions, assured the public that there is nothing to fear because the incident was just caused by a prank texter. He added terrorists would not send text messages before they attack. 

According to Oppus, they have already identified the person responsible for the prank text message but said they could not give the name yet because an investigation is still on going.

He said they met already with the owner of the cell phone who forwarded the text message to the airport officials and asked about the said incident. The said person allegedly claimed he was just in their house during the incident.

The police official said the original source of the prank text message is now using a different SIM (subscriber identity module) but added they cannot easily pin down the suspect as they have to do further investigation to know his identity.

On the other hand, Sr. Supt. Marcelino Garbo, PRO-7 deputy regional director for operations said they would be filing charges against the person who created the prank text message.

He added the said suspected person is not staying in Cebu but he is still in Central Visayas.

It was reported earlier that 127 passengers and six crew of Silk Air flight 541 were asked to disembark after MCIA general manager Danilo Francia received a bomb threat via text message at 1:17 p.m. The plane was scheduled to take off at 1:45 p.m.

Asking the people inside the plane to disembark, according to Francia, is a standard procedure during bomb threats.

While the passengers and crew were at the terminal, the cargo and the whole plane was checked by personnel of the Police Civil Aviation Security, Special Reaction Unit of the Mactan Airport backed by trained dogs, said Francia.

The message sent to Francia reads: "Mga kapatid allahu Akbar ipagdasal natin ang kaluluwa ng kapatid nating namatay sa pagsabug ng silk air minuto ngayon patungo Singapore Allahu Akbar.Ji."

Francia said they have to take precautionary measures and could not just dismiss the threat as a hoax.

Cuenco-Garcia tandem pushed

SC chief: Filipinos should run poll project

The Filipino firm, not the foreign partner should be in control of the technology consortium that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) tapped to automate the 2010 elections, Chief Justice Reynato Puno said during oral arguments on a petition to stop the project.

Locsin files media absentee voting bill

Arroyo has no pet nominees for SC

Malacañang on Wednesday insisted that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was not eyeing specific nominees for two Supreme Court seats when she returned the shortlist submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Bill: RP-wide observance of Lapu-Lapu Day

Lapu-Lapu Day, which is celebrated every April 27, is now observed as a special non-working holiday nationwide.

Rama: Road repair in city to start soon

With the P52 million funding for additional road repair already approved, Vice Mayor Michael Rama yesterday assured that asphalting of major roads in the city will be implemented once the ongoing asphalting of the city's interior roads would be completed.

1,525 marijuana stalks uprooted in Badian

Another operation in line with the provincial government's all-out war against illegal drugs was carried out which resulted to the arrest of a marijuana cultivator and the uprooting of 1,175 fully grown marijuana plants and 350 newly planted ones.

Glo foes warn Obama of her 'high crimes'

On the eve of a meeting between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and United States President Barack Obama, civil society leaders had written an open letter to him that would consequently rain on her parade.

Arroyo 'summoned' by Obama—senator

Senator Rodolfo Biazon said Wednesday he thought US President Barack Obama had not so much as "invited" President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as "summoned" her to explain certain issues like political killings, human rights violations, and enforced disappearances here.

Protests to welcome Arroyo in US

Palace: Claudio acting executive secretary

Presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio has been designated as acting executive secretary at Malacañang while Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita accompanies President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her trip to the United States.

Aroyo visits Pampanga before flying to US

A few hours before leaving for the United States for a meeting with President Barack Obama, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo again visited Pampanga on Wednesday, her 20th visit in her home province since February.

23 lawmakers join Arroyo in US trip

At least 21 congressmen and two senators accompanied President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in her US trip to meet with President Barack Obama.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Manuel "Lito" Lapid "were brought with the President."

The House said the congressmen are entitled to travel tax exemption and "will be accompanied by their respective spouses who will be traveling at their own expense."

These congressmen were: 

1. Marikina Rep. Del de Guzman;

2. Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Jr.;

3. Pampanga Rep. Anna York Bondoc; 

4. Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr.; 

5. Manila Rep. Ma. Zenaida Angping; 

6. Cebu Rep. Ramon Durano, VI; 

7. Cebu Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz; 

8. Camarines Sur Felix Alfelor; 

9. Quezon City Rep. Mary Ann Susano; 

10. Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella; 

11. Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas; 

12. Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa; 

13. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romuladez; 

14. Palawan Rep. Antonio Alvarez; 

15. Abra Rep. Cecilia Seares-Luna; 

16. Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez; 

17. Malabon Rep. Alvin Sandoval; 

18. Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas; 

19. Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto; 

20. Ilocos Norte Rep. Vincent Crisologo; 

While he is not on the list, Speaker Prospero Nograles was also among the President's entourage.

FilAm activist denies being an NPA rebel

Filipino-American Melissa Roxas said Wednesday she was not the woman in a video presented by two lawmakers supposedly to prove she was a communist rebel, and wondered if the source of the video was one of her abductors.

Ex-rebels say FilAm with NPA – military

Two communist guerillas who surrendered will confirm that a Filipino-American activist, who accused security forces of torture, was a member of the New People's Army (NPA).

Fil-Am activist not on NPA list of members

Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas' name did not appear in previous Army intelligence reports identifying communist rebels operating in Central Luzon, said a top military official in the region.

FIl-Am activist, Palparan face off

MILF peace process back on track--officials

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process is now back on track with the signing of a joint communiqué where both sides agreed to re-establish contact with each other as a prelude to the resumption of the Mindanao peace process.

North Cotabato under state of calamity

North Cotabato Governor Jesus Sacdalan has declared 15 of the province's 17 towns under a state of calamity in the wake of floods that have inundated much of the region.

Gun amnesty application opens Aug. 1

The Philippine National Police Tuesday said it will start accepting applications for gun licenses under a new firearms amnesty program on Aug. 1.

PNP opens women's, children's desks

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to open more Women's and Children's Protection Desks (WCPD) in police stations in the provincial and regional levels to help victims of abuse and exploitation.

Cory Aquino stable—spokesperson

The condition of ailing former President Corazon Aquino has "stabilized" and her blood pressure has stopped fluctuating, her spokesperson Deedee Siytangco said Wednesday noon.

Aquinos thankful for public support

6 foreigners nabbed for poaching in RP

The Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday said three Taiwanese and three Indonesians were arrested for illegally fishing within the Philippine territorial waters off Dilasag, Aurora.

Sin tax collections down 14% in H1

EU turns to WTO in alcohol row with RP

The European Union said Wednesday it had begun action against the Philippines at the WTO over what the bloc claims are excessively high duties imposed on imports of EU brandy and whisky.

Microsoft-Yahoo! search deal confirmed

UN to get US reporters released

Australia firm on gay marriage ban--PM

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday said Australia's ban on gay marriage would remain, despite moves within his center-left Labor Party to have it overturned.

Pacman pushes for Cotto title fight

Estrada to start movie with Ai-ai

Former president Joseph Estrada will start shooting his movie with comedienne Ai-ai De las Alas on Wednesday, July 29.

Arroyo names 7 National Artists for '09

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has named seven National Artists for this year, including one of her advisers and pioneers in fashion design and local comic books, Malacañang said.

This years Order of National Artists roster, according to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, include: National Commission on Culture and the Arts executive director Cecille Guidote Alvarez for theater; Manuel Urbano, also known as Manuel Conde, for film and broadcast arts (posthumous); Lazaro Francisco, literature (posthumous); Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, visual arts, painting, sculpture and mixed media; Magno Jose Carlo Caparas, visual arts and film; Francisco "Bobby" Mañoza, architecture; and Jose "Pitoy" Moreno, fashion design.

Battle looms over Michael Jackson estate

Laguna's flower lei sets Guinness record

The Guinness World Records (GWR) has confirmed that San Pedro's 2.1-kilometer sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) lei set a new world record as the longest fresh flower garland, the town's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Baby with 2 heads in 'guarded' condition

The conjoined infants, who were born with two heads on one body, remain in "guarded" condition at the government-run Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila as of Wednesday afternoon.

3,000 donkeys drafted in for Afghan polls

Tourists told to stay out of Mayon resort

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has urged disaster councils to warn tourists to keep away from the lava front and a resort near rumbling Mayon Volcano, both within the danger zones.

Study proves texting and driving don't mix

Text messaging behind the wheel increases the risk of a crash or a near crash by 23 times, and is far more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving.

Ted Turner  - "Sports is like a war without the killing."

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