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

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 17, 2009 Major News Stories

Ma dies after saving 10 kids in accident

A mother died after ensuring the safety of her 10 children from a collapsing wall in a private subdivision during heavy downpour early Sunday in Barangay (Village) Tisa.

Wilma Parba, said to be in her 40s, got her husband and 10 children out before the concrete wall of the Casa Rosita subdivision collapsed and crushed her house, killing her in the process, at around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Tisa village chairman Eduardo Cabulao said he was able to talk to one of Parba's children and learned that the noise coming from the concrete wall alerted Parba, who immediately woke up her husband and children and told them to immediately leave the house.

However, Parba was not able to get out when the concrete wall finally collapsed on her own house and died.

Walls collapse takes 3 lives in Cebu

Jeepney drivers seek 50-centavo fare hike

A group of passenger jeepney operators and drivers is seeking a 50-centavo fare hike that would bring back the Metro Manila minimum fare to P7.50 for the first four kilometers in jeepney routes.

Drugstores violating drugs price cuts

Health inspectors caught some drugstores and private hospitals violating a new executive order lowering prices of essential medicines, on Saturday, when the order took effect.

Undersecretary Dave Lozada reported from Cebu City that Rose Pharmacy had not implemented all the price adjustments but promised to finish the adjustments "either today or tomorrow."

DOH would impose sanctions and told customers to keep their official receipt if they were sold a medicine at prices higher than the maximum retail price.

Only small and medium size drugstores, which have not computerized their system, and the pharmacies of primary and secondary hospitals were given until September 15 to implement the new prices.

Malacañang placed five common but expensive medicines under price regulation. These medicines are the anti-hypertensive drug amlodipine, the anti-cholesterol drug atorvastatin, the antibiotic/antibacterial drug azithromycin, and the anti-neoplastics/anti-cancer drugs cytarabine and doxorubicin.

The voluntary 50 per cent price cut for these 16 drugs also took effect on Saturday.

These are telmisartan and irbesartan which are anti-hypertensive drugs; the anti-thrombotic drug clopidogrel; the anti-diabetic drug gliclazide; the antibiotic drugs piperacillin + tazobactam, ciprofloxacin, metronidazole and co-amoxiclave; and bleomycin, carboplatin, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, etoposide, mercaptopurine, methotrexate sodium and mesna which are anti-cancer drugs.

Republic Act 9502 or the "Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008" gave the DOH the power to impose fines and penalties against any person, manufacturer, importer, trader, distributor, wholesaler, retailer or any other entity who violates the imposed maximum retail price.

The fines range from P50,000 to P5 million.

But since the 16 drugs are under voluntary price cuts, BFAD director Nancy Tacandong said they could only invoke the Consumer Act and impose a P1,000 fine for violations.

But she warned that they could suspend a product's registration and revoke the license to operate given to the drugstore and pharmacy.

HK reports Tamiflu-resistant swine flu case

Hong Kong health authorities have reported the first local case of Tamiflu-resistant swine flu in the southern Chinese territory.

Malaysia confirms 6 new swine flu deaths

Malaysia's health ministry says six more people infected with swine flu have died bringing the death toll related to the virus to 62.

Members of OFW group nabbed in Saudi

Police have detained 10 leaders, members and employees of an overseas Filipino workers' group in Saudi Arabia on suspicion that they were harboring runaway OFWs who had been charged criminally by their employers.

No food, water for Filipino seamen

Twenty-three Filipino seamen who were kidnapped five months ago by Somali pirates are now with hardly any food and water aboard their hijacked ship MV Irene, their families said recently.

PB's Bolo to quit property duties

CEBU Provincial Board (PB) Member Juan Bolo denied yesterday that he benefited from the purchase of the Balili property in Naga, a flawed deal that compelled the governor to apologize this week.  Bolo said he was planning to submit his "irrevocable resignation" as chairman of the PB provincial and municipal properties committee today.

In Mike's hands

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña will now leave it up to Vice Mayor Michael Rama to handle the problem on the payment for the Ting property, and said that he should not be blamed for the foiled compromise agreement.

CH prepares to pay P400M for SRP loan

CEBU City Hall will shell out close to P400 million this week when it makes its 10th installment for the South Road Properties (SRP) loan, around P155 million of which will go to interest and other charges.

Cemetery for all religions to be opened

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is bent on putting up a cemetery to cater to people from all religions in barangay Kalunasan.

Umapad dumpsite still 'open'

AN OFFICIAL of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 said Mandaue City's dumpsite in Barangay Umapad is still being used, contrary to claims of Mayor Jonas Cortes.

Lite Shipping sues Sulpicio for cargo loss

Lite Shipping Corporation has filed a case against Sulpicio Lines, Inc. for the loss of its cargoes amounting to over P600,000 when SLI's M/V Princess of the Stars sank at the height of typhoon "Frank" last year.

Indians charged for "abusing" househelp

Abuse charges were filed in court against two Indian nationals for allegedly abusing their house help sexually inside their rented house in Maghaway, Talisay City.

Arroyo scraps plan to buy new jet

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has cancelled an order for a presidential jet amid public outrage over her alleged extravagant lifestyle during a financial crisis.  Her spokesman, Cerge Remonde said the purchase of the jet had been cancelled even though this would have benefited the next presidents.

He said Arroyo's office was also preparing a report for Congress on expenses incurred during her trip to the US, where she became the first Southeast Asian leader to meet President Barack Obama.

No funds used in Le Cirque--DFA

Contrary to some news reports, no funds from the Philippine consulate general in New York were used in the dinner at Le Cirque restaurant, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Sunday.

Le Cirque denies lavish dinner

"It"s a lie. It"s far from the truth." This was what an executive of Le Cirque restaurant said of the reported lavish dinner President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her entourage had at the upscale restaurant in New York during the first week of August.

Le Cirque manager Mario Wainer made the denial in an interview with Filipino-American newspaper The Filipino Reporter

Wainer, who declined giving the exact amount of the controversial dinner, also stated: "We do not involve ourselves in politics." 

Party-lists have until Monday to register

Party-list groups aiming to vie for legislative seats in the May 2010 elections have until Aug. 17 to register with the Commission on Elections.

SC urged to void poll automation

A group has asked the Supreme Court to grant its petition seeking to declare the Commission on Election"s awarding of the 2010 poll-automation project to a private consortium unconstitutional.

In a memorandum, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) affirmed its position that the poll body committed grave abuse of discretion for awarding the P7.2-billion automation contract to the joint venture of Smartmatic Corp. and its Filipino partner Total Information Management (TIM), Inc.

The Groups lawyer Harry Roque said Article 3.3 of the contract signed on July 10, 2009 constitutes a "wholesale abdication of its (Comelec) constitutional mandate since it gave complete control of the technical aspects of the May 10, 2010 elections to a foreign entity, Smartmatic."

Persons with disabilities' voting problems

Tourism chief Durano to remain with NPC

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said he would stay with the National People's Coalition (NPC) although Cabinet members have been urged to take their oath with the Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Solon misused pork, local execs charge

The officials of seven Negros Oriental municipalities have asked the House of Representatives to investigate Negros Oriental Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong for alleged misuse of her pork barrel.

P298M spent for infomercials

At least P298 million were spent for so-called government infomercials, acknowledged several Arroyo administration officials who have starred in the thinly veiled political campaign ads. The officials are all believed to be aspiring 2010 candidates.

Gonzales' party breaks away from admin

With nine months into the 2010 national elections, a political party headed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo"s security adviser on Sunday announced its formal breakaway from the administration coalition.  Norberto Gonzales, chairman of the Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP), said the party "is now pursuing its own track" and would field its own candidates, possibly including a standard-bearer, for next year's elections.

3 journalists hurt in Basilan chopper hit

Unidentified men on Sunday morning fired at a helicopter carrying three television journalists over Albarka town in Basilan.

3 soldiers killed in Basilan flown to Cebu

5 wounded in clash flown to Manila

Five of 22 troopers wounded in Wednesday's encounter with the Abu Sayyaf extremists, on Wednesday, arrived aboard an Air Force Fokker plane around 5 p.m. on Saturday and were immediately brought by ambulance to the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City.

1 of 23 soldiers slain in Basilan hacked

The military said on Saturday that only one of the soldiers slain in Wednesday's close-quarter combat in Basilan sustained a hack wound, contrary to relatives' accounts.

Arroyo condoles with slain soldiers' kin

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Saturday condoled with the families of the 23 slain soldiers at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters here.

Biazon raises lapses in Basilan operations

Did the military send combat support for its men who launched a raid last week against an Abu Sayyaf training camp in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan that left 23 soldiers dead?  Senator Rodolfo Biazon said on Sunday he was disturbed by accounts of soldiers that there were "no artillery, no armor and no air support'' provided during the military offensive, one of the bloodiest under the Arroyo administration.

Military increases firepower in Mindanao

The Armed Forces of the Philippines will be using more arms and ammunition in Mindanao in response to the call of President Macapagal-Arroyo to completely wipe out the Abu Sayyaf bandit group, according to a military spokesman.

1,300 families affected by Basilan clashes

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help the more than a thousand families affected by the recent violence in the southern Philippine province of Basilan.

OFWs 'extremely vulnerable' to HIV

Worried over the growing number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) infected with HIV, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) wants government agencies to build up efforts to heighten awareness of the disease among foreign-bound laborers.

Pregnancy not a cause for expulsion

Pregnancy outside of marriage may not be used as a reason to expel or refuse teachers and students from school with the passage of the Magna Carta of Women, Senator Pia Cayetano pointed out Sunday.

American in Aung San case leaves

American national John Yettaw left Yangon on a military aircraft Sunday after the ruling junta released him from a seven-year jail sentence, accompanied by United States Senator Jim Webb, a Myanmar official said.

41 perish in Kuwait wedding blaze

Forty-one people, mainly women and children, were killed when a fire ripped through a packed wedding party in Kuwait, triggering a panicked stampede, officials said on Sunday.

Jet Li helps Taiwan typhoon relief

Chinese action star Jet Li unloaded relief supplies and comforted typhoon survivors Saturday as Taiwan struggled to cope with floods and landslides that may have left up to 500 dead.

UD for Donaire vs Concepcion

Rising Filipino fighter Nonito Donaire earned a 12-round unanimous decision over a bloodied Rafael Concepcion Saturday to capture the World Boxing Association interim super flyweight title.

Honolulu title defense for 'Hawaiian Punch'

UAAP: Ateneo crushes DLSU, 81-65

Ateneo reaffirmed its mastery over La Salle with an 81-65 crushing Sunday at the jampacked Araneta Coliseum.

UAAP: UE beats Adamson, 60-56

University of the East slipped past Adamson, 60-56, in the UAAP men''s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

Pinoy math whiz bags gold medal in China

Young Filipino math aces did it again, winning a total of 90 medals in three international math competitions hosted by the People's Republic of China.

"Palawod" wins top plum in Pasigarbo

Thousands sign online protest vs Caparas

An online petition to declare comic book writer-illustrator and film director Carlo J. Caparas as "not deserving" of his recent National Artist award has collected 2,594 signatures as of Sunday evening.

Pia Moran arrested in drug raid

Cory adviser: 'Father of Asian Theology'

The longtime spiritual director to the late President Corazon Aquino was recognized as the "Father of Asian Theology" by the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference (FABC) to highlight the conclusion of its 9th plenary assembly.  Manila, Father Catalino Arevalo, SJ, the "Dean of all Filipino Theologians" and a professor emeritus of the Ateneo de Manila University Loyola School of Theology, was bestowed by the FABC an award of recognition for his service to the federation in actively founding and developing the congregation since its inception in Manila on 1970.

Hugh Jackman to reprise role of Wolverine

Australian actor Hugh Jackman will resume his role of Wolverine from the hit "X-Men" action movie series for the fifth time, Hollywood press said Friday.

Aerosmith cuts short US tour

Rock group Aerosmith announced it had cut short its US tour due to injuries suffered by its vocalist, Steven Tyler, during a concert in South Dakota.

Tyler fell from the stage during an August 5 show that was part of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in western South Dakota, the group said in a statement.

The accident resulted in a broken shoulder and stitches to the singer's head.

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