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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 21, 2009 Major News Stories

Several oil firms announced a rollback, which started at 6 p.m. Thursday, to reflect the reduction in product costs.  Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and Seaoil reduced by 1.50 per liter the cost of its gasoline and P1 per liter its diesel and kerosene products at 6 p.m.

Roberto Kanapi, vice president for communications, made the announcement for Shell.

At 12:01 a.m. Friday, the same price adjustments will be implemented by Petron Corp. and Chevron Corp., said Petron spokesperson Virginia Ruivivar and Chevron communications manager Toby Nebrida.

Meanwhile, independent oil firm Phoenix Petroleum will also slash gasoline and diesel prices at 6 a.m. Friday.

Cooking gas price up next month--sellers

Consumers should brace themselves for an increase in the prices of cooking gas next month, as global oil prices continue its uptrend, according to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers Association.

Geologist, electronics engineer exams

25 new professional electronics engineers

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced that 25 passed the Professional Electronics Engineer Examination given this August by the Board of Electronics Engineering in Manila.  The following were the successful examinees:

1. Aguilos, Grace Banguilan
2. Ancheta, Francisco Jr Cortez
3. Borja, Miriam Ruanto
4. Borres, Raymund Noel Lavapies
5. Bustarde, Romeo De Vera
6. Cabasal, Dennis Nacino
7. Cabural, Ismael Llenarizas
8. Choa, Emilio Gan
9. Cosalan, Isabelo Melchor
10. Delegero, Ramir Macalinao
11. Demition, Pricilla Francisco
12. Flores, Loreto Jr Villarin
13. Mabitazan, Raul Cabudoy
14. Macaso, Lilibeth Montemayor
15. Madarang, Nerio Parintela
16. Martinez, Mildred Montemayor
17. Mejias, Cristopher Bacolod
18. Mondilla, Elsienor Francisco
19. Penserga, Ronaldo Pajaron
20. Querido, Elmer Silapan
21. Rimando, Minarlo Maghanoy
22. Robles, Gretchel Reyson
23. Rotoras, Zarah Lynn Alasan
24. Villacorta, Oscar Sevilla
25. Villamorel, Thelma Dalag

CHED chief faces graft raps

Solon seeks probe of Palace dispersal

The 200 or so ralliers who barged onto Malacanang Palace's grounds the other day were right to demand accountability from the President over the reportedly lavish dinners she had during her recent visit to the United States, according to a party list lawmaker.  Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino also said the members of the police and Presidential Security Group who used violence in subduing and arresting the activists should be punished for violating the latter's rights. 

Arroyo lot sale: Buyer has ties to SMC exec

VIPs galore as Mike unveils new church

There was the customary sea of white handkerchiefs, raised hands, and cries of "Amen!" and "Praise the Lord!"-- all trademarks of the Catholic lay sect El Shaddai Movement.

But there was something special at its members' huge gathering in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City, Thursday night. They were opening their new home -- the sprawling El Shaddai International House of Prayer -- and celebrating the 70th birthday of their founder, Bro. Mike Velarde. 

No less than President Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated the P1-billion structure with a floor area of one hectare on the Velarde-owned Amvel City San Dionisio.

Among the VIPs spotted were Sen. Loren Legarda, Representatives Roilo Golez, Cynthia Villar, Del de Guzman, and Dan Fernandez, and NBN-ZTE whistleblower Jose de Venecia III.

Bro Mike: Let's unite for one candidate

Salonga raises Mar-Noynoy tandem

Yet another teamup has emerged for the 2010 elections, with former Senate President Jovito Salonga raising the possible tandem of Senators Manuel "Mar" Roxas and Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Cory once said "No way" to Noynoy as VP

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said his mother, the late former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino, had voiced her opposition to his running for vice president during a past conversation.

Army 'accountable' for Palawan slays

Nur Misuari, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), holds the military responsible for the firefight between government forces and his followers in Balabac on Wednesday which resulted in what he called "a massacre."  The internationally recognized Moro leader blasted the Philippine government for its handling of the Balabac firefight that led to the death of seven of his followers, including their leader and his two sons.  The military disagreed with Misuari's assessment, saying the soldiers only supported the "law enforcement operation" of the police serving the arrest warrant for Abdullah Abdulajak and two other MNLF members.

Priest urges military to vacate mosques

A Catholic priest is appealing to the military to immediately vacate a number of mosques in Mindanao currently occupied by soldiers to give way to Moros displaced by recent fighting so they can properly observe the holy month of Ramadan.

Bail for mayor, son in Drilon kidnap nixed

A petition to post bail by a mayor and his son, who has been linked to the kidnapping of a television anchor and her crew, has been denied by a local court.

Execs deny Philhealth going bankrupt

Government officials on Thursday scrambled to deny reports that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) was on the brink of bankruptcy, and assured its 79 million members that it was financially stable.

GSIS holds dialogue on systems problem

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) continues to reach out to its members across the country through a series of dialogues on the impact of the systems crash that had occurred five months ago.

Yellow Ninoy's 26th death anniversary

Arroyo orders monument for Cory

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the construction of a monument in honor of the late former President Corazon Aquino at the Rizal Park in Manila.  The day will also be a day to honor the memory of Ninoy's wife, former president Corazon Aquino, who passed away last August 1.  A mass will be offered at the Don Bosco Chapel in Makati in the morning, where members of the Aquino family are expected to attend.

Aquino jail in military camp opened

The Philippine Army has opened to the media the detention cell of the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., in commemoration of his 26th death anniversary.

Galman kin thankful for Cory's sympathy

Like the Aquinos, the Galman family in Nueva Ecija will observe on Friday the 26th death anniversary of a loved one.

Glo urged: Drop Cha-cha in honor of Cory

Militant lawmakers have formalized their calls to halt Charter change efforts in the House of Representatives in deference to the late former President Corazon Aquino by filing a measure asking their colleagues to withdraw their support for a constituent assembly.

Taruc remembers Ninoy as peace envoy

Before he became everything else, the late Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. was first a journalist and a peace negotiator.

Imelda: Fight over Le Cirque bill shameful

Palace confirms Manzano's resignation

Malacañang confirmed on Thursday that actor Edu Manzano has resigned as chair of the Optical Media Board.

Pacquiao defends Caparas

Scientists fear collapse of Mayon crater

Scientists fear a collapse of a portion of Mount Mayon's crater, which holds an estimated 200,000 cubic feet of rocks, could cascade hazardous materials toward a barangay lying in the southeast sector of the volcano even without a major eruption.

In honor of my father and mother

Privilege Speech of Senator Benigno S. Aquino III Two days from now, we will commemorate the 26th anniversary of the assassination of my father, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Recalling that traumatic day in August 1983, I find a stream of memories running through my head. 

Our family's worst fears had come to pass and, in the face of unfathomable grief, shock and muted anger, we could only find solace in prayer. We hurriedly flew home from Boston, not knowing what to expect. Like my father, we wondered if our people would still welcome us after three years of exile in the United States.

The answer did not come immediately. It dawned on us with each passing hour as Filipinos--young and old, rich and poor--came in seemingly endless streams to pay their respects to my father, first at our home on Times Street and then at Santo Domingo Church. When hundreds of thousands marched with us to his grave, all doubt was erased from my mind.

Hindi po nagkamali ang aking ama: the Filipino is worth dying for. Kinilala nila ang kanyang sakripisyo at sinuklian nila ito ng kanilang paggalang at ng kanilang pagmamalasakit sa kanya, sa aming pamilya at sa ating bayan. Mula sa pagmumulat na ito'y umusbong ang People Power na siyang pumalis sa diktadurya at kumarga sa aking inang si Corazon Aquino sa pagka-Pangulo.

There followed the period of rebuilding our democracy which, while difficult, constituted some of our finest moments as a nation. We witnessed multiple sectors coming together to help uplift the lives of our marginalized countrymen and to infuse new vigor to our institutions of accountable governance and public service.

Unfortunately, anti-democratic forces bent on destroying the Cory Aquino administration decimated much of those gains and polarized our society anew. In stepping down from the Presidency in June 1992, my mother effected the first constitutional transfer of power in two decades and passed on the unfinished task of rehabilitating our democratic institutions to President Fidel V. Ramos and to successive administrations.

Citizen Cory cheerfully returned to private life, content with doting on her grandchildren and chipping in to the cause of people empowerment and good governance until she passed away on the first of this month.

In scenes highly reminiscent of August 1983, hundreds of thousands of our fellow Filipinos paid homage to my mother at La Salle Greenhills, the Manila Cathedral, and all throughout the route of the funeral cortege. So many thousands more from all over the world honored her through the mass media, on their mobile phones and on the internet.

Sa lahat po ng nagbigay pugay sa aking mahal na ina at nakiramay sa aming pamilya, nais ko pong magpasalamat muli. Tunay pong nakalalambot ng puso ang pagmamahal na pinadama ninyo sa kanya at sa aming lahat nitong nakaraang dalawang linggo.

Some observers of this massive outpouring of affection, respect and gratitude for my mother saw this as proof that the so-called "Cory magic" continues to be a vibrant force. As Cory Aquino's son, I find this thought quite flattering but, perhaps, it is missing the point. To my mother, all her years in public service as President and as Citizen Cory were never about her--it was always about bringing power--and self-worth--back to the people.

Not too long after my mother was sworn into office in February 1986, she confided to us that many people seemed to be expecting her to solve all the problems of our country with all the power vested in the Presidency. In fact, some prodded her to extend her revolutionary government so that she could initiate the radical reforms necessary to purge the government machinery and statute books of every residue of the dictatorship.

After all, on the strength of People Power, my mother could wield absolute authority to change or enforce virtually anything she wanted at the outset. Instead, she quickly convened a group of men and women of known probity, independence and broad knowledge to craft a Freedom Constitution as the first vital step toward democratic restoration.

Whatever shortcomings my mother might have had as President, I can say with pride that she restored integrity, accountability and genuine compassion in the highest levels of government. And I would like to think that, in paying tribute to her these past three weeks, our people recognized these alongside her personal sacrifices to win back our democracy.

Ngunit upang tunay na parangalan ang ala-ala at sakripisyo ng aking ina--at pati na rin ng aking ama--marahil ay mas karapat-dapat nating tanungin sa ating sarili kung naging tapat tayo sa kanilang mga pinaglaban. Tinututulan ba natin, halimbawa, ang paglaganap muli ng katiwalian sa pamahalaan--o kontento na ba tayong magbulag-bulagan? Naa-alarma ba tayo sa patuloy na pagpaslang at pagkawala ng mga mamamahayag at ng mga tagapagtanggol ng mga api? Pahihintulutan ba natin ang garapal na mga tangkang palitan ang ating Saligang Batas para sa mga huwad na layunin? Ok lang ba sa ating tratuhin tayong para bang mga batang musmos na kayang-kayang tuksuhin at kutyain ng mga tagapaglingkod na ating hinalal?

Distinguished colleagues in the Senate, ladies and gentlemen, Ninoy and Cory Aquino would not have tolerated such arrogance of power and such disdain for the governed.

If we lapse into indifference, cynicism and despair, we may yet allow history to repeat itself. Ironically, dictatorships breed well under such desperate conditions, when people become only too willing to mortgage their freedoms for the promise of discipline and prosperity under an iron hand. If that were to happen, then all that my beloved parents--and we--have fought for would have been all for naught.

But I am confident that such a dire scenario would never come to pass. Looking into the eyes of those who queued for hours just to be able to pay their last respects to my mother, I could sense that they were longing for change--change they could be a part of. Most of those who flashed the Laban sign as the funeral cortege passed by were too young to have known my father and to remember enough of my mother. Yet, instinctively or perhaps with some counsel from their elders, they seemed to value the basic goodness that my mother represented in their eyes and were only too willing to make the sacrifices that would bring that cherished ideal to life.

In honoring my parents, therefore, I pay tribute to the Filipino people.

What I have experienced these past 19 days has strengthened my faith in our fellow Filipinos and in my hope for our motherland. My sisters and I are truly grateful to our people for all the love and support they continue to give us. To those who even prod us to continue the work of our parents by seeking higher office, we can only offer in reply our parents gentle reminder that the destiny of our country cannot be shaped by one family alone.

Of all the things that I have learned from my father and mother, what I value most is the virtue of humility in the eyes of our Creator. Time and again, both of them have taught us that, by ourselves as individuals, we can only do so much. But when we harness our collective courage, strength and compassion we can be a great nation, a great people. We could see glimpses of this latent greatness in the manifestations of self-discipline, mutual respect and genuine caring that were so abundant during the first week of this month.

Napatunayan pong muli na wasto ang pananalig ng aking ama't ina sa Sambayanang Pilipino. Inihandog nila ang kanilang buhay upang mabigyan ang kanilang mga kababayan ng pagkakataong mamuhay sa isang bansang malaya at puno ng pagkakataon upang sila'y umunlad.

Ngunit ang atin pong demokrasya ay hindi lamang isang regalong basta lamang tinatanggap. Ito po'y kailangan nating bantayan at alagaan araw-araw.

Bilang pagpugay kay Ninoy at Cory Aquino sa ika-21 ng Agosto, nararapat marahil na tanungin natin sa ating sarili: Sapat ba ang ating ginagawa bilang mga mamamayan upang patibayin ang mga haligi at pasiglahin ang mga institusyon ng ating demokrasya?

Ito po ang patuloy na Laban ni Ninoy, ni Cory, at nating lahat. At sa Labang ito, asahan ninyo na, kailan man, ay hindi kayo nag-iisa!

Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!

Maraming, maraming salamat po!

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