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

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 6, 2009 Major News Stories



Cory laid to rest beside Ninoy

Even in death, former President Corazon Aquino united the nation as an adoring and grateful people laid her to rest on Wednesday evening.

People rich and poor, staunch allies and critics came together to bring the woman in yellow to her final resting place, a scene that some said was reminiscent of the burial of her late husband, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. in 1983.

The leader of the 1986 People Power uprising that restored democracy in the country was buried in a simple tomb beside that of her husband's. The family mausoleum was elegant in its simplicity. It was painted in pure white, including its four arches that were adorned with yellow ribbons.

Atop the tombs of Cory and Ninoy were stargazers, chrysanthemums, and orchids that reflected hues of yellow and green.

Tents for guests were installed near the mausoleum. Some of the personalities who came early were Senator Manuel Roxas II and Anna Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal, Representatives Lorenzo Tañada III, Roilo Golez and Eduardo Zialcita, former Senator Ernesto Maceda, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, former Socioeconomic Planning chief Solita Monsod, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, and East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta.

The democracy icon's funeral procession inched its way from the Manila Cathedral for roughly eight hours, slowed down by tens of thousands who lined up on the streets and braved occasional heavy rains to bid her farewell.

She was given full military honors before the actual burial.

Initial police estimates placed the crowds that gathered along the funeral procession's route at 150,000.

"The procession brings back memories of 1983. Like 1983, the people lined the procession route to show their appreciation, gratitude and love to Tita Cory who served the country with her heart. Tita Cory loved the country the way she loved Ninoy – selflessly," Tañada said.

A sea of yellow welcomed the convoy as it entered the Sucat district in Parañaque from the South Luzon Expressway. Supporters wore yellow, Mrs. Aquino's trademark color. They also flashed the "laban [fight]" hand sign and waved yellow balloons.

Crowds along the procession route were also in yellow and flashed the hand sign that symbolized defiance against the Marcos dictatorship in the 1980s.

Aquino died last Saturday due to complications from colon cancer, which she fought for over a year. She was 76.

Mrs. Aquino's casket, draped with the Philippine flag and surrounded by a blanket of yellow flowers, was placed on top of a truck. Four honor guards from the military stood by it throughout the eight-hour procession.

Some 100,000 lined up along Roxas Boulevard from Intramuros to Quirino Avenue, said Superintendent Rommel Miranda, metropolitan police spokesman.

Another 30,000 gathered from Osmeña Highway to Buendia Avenue, 10,000 along the Sucat interchange, and 10,000 at the vicinity of the Manila Memorial Park.

A human chain was formed to contain the crowd and allow the convoy to pass through the stretch of Roxas Boulevard.

Among the mourners who lined up the streets were students and nuns of St Paul College, members of the Chinese-Filipino community, vendors, and ordinary citizens some of them as young as four years old.

The mourners were flashing a "Laban" (fight) sign and chanting "Cory! Cory!"

Some were carrying yellow flowers and laminated photos of the former leader.

Aquino's only son, Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino III and his relatives were on board a vehicle next to the truck that was carrying their mother's remains.

The senator and his nephew, Jiggy Aquino-Cruz, flashed the "laban" sign and said "thank you" to the crowd from the vehicle.

"Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Siguradong nakatingin ang nanay at tatay ko mula sa itaas. Sinisigaw niyo na ituloy ang laban. Sa tulong niyo magagawa natin yon. [Thank you to all of you. I'm sure my mother and father are watching from up above. You want to continue the fight. With your help, we can do that]," the senator said.

"Nasa panahon pa kami ng pagdadalamhati pero sa mga susunod na araw itutuloy natin ang laban. [We are still in mourning, but in the coming days, we will continue the fight]," he said.

Members of the August 21 Movement (Atom) sang the 1986 People Power anthem "Bayan Ko" and "Pilipinas Kong Mahal" during the procession as onlookers sang along.

Mourners stood still in the street even as heavy rains started to pour along Osmeña Highway.

A pregnant woman sharing an umbrella with her companion and a four-month-old baby carried by his father were seen on the street, waiting to see the truck carrying Aquino's body.

Eden Raz, 51, said she joined the funeral march in the hope that Mrs. Aquino's death would make a difference to the country.

She said had been at the Manila Cathedral church since Monday to visit the former president's wake but did not endure the long hours waiting for her turn to see Mrs. Aquino.

"Naibsan naman yung paghihirap namin nung makita namin si Kris at nag thank you siya sa amin. [Our suffering was lessened when we saw Kris, who said thank you to us]," she said, referring to the former leader's youngest daughter.

Raz was among the hundreds of people who walked on foot to join the funeral procession from downtown Manila to Parañaque City.

Overhead, helicopters threw petals of red and white roses. The sky was overcast but the rain had stopped as Mrs. Aquino's casket was carried out of the Manila Cathedral at 11 a.m.

The streets of Old Manila were painted yellow as people said farewell to Aquino.

Outside, tens of thousands of supporters are waiting for Aquino's hearse to pass.

Upon reaching the corner of Kalaw and Roxas Boulevard, militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan greeted the hearse to pay their last respects.

People clad in yellow cheered and waved goodbye as yellow balloons were released in the air.

Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said, "It is our hope that the tremendous display of national solidarity of the past few days will carry on even after today. May Mrs. Aquino's life continue to inspire our people to fight tyranny and abuse whenever and wherever these are present."

A helicopter hovered above and showered confetti over the crowd that gathered to pay their last respects.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom Aquino had turned against over accusations of corruption in the Arroyo administration, made a brief pre-dawn visit to the cathedral to pay her last respects.

She shook hands with the former leader's son and prayed briefly over the casket.

Arroyo cut short a visit to the United States following Aquino's death on Saturday and was met by Aquino relatives.

But she was pointedly excluded from the invitation-only mass that was also attended by two past presidents, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, and foreign diplomats.

The family had rejected Arroyo's offer to hold a state funeral, reflecting the icy relationship between the only two Filipino women to have led the fractious and impoverished Southeast Asian nation of 90 million people.

Vice President Noli de Castro was the lone senior government representative at the mass, which was broadcast live on television and on giant monitors outside the church.

Two children of Marcos paid their respects on Tuesday and the late dictator's flamboyant wife Imelda said reconciliation between the families could prove a "miracle for the Philippines."

In a statement marking the funeral, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Aquino's "courage was vital to returning her country to constitutional democracy."


Nuns with Aquino till the end

Former President Corazon Aquino was guarded by her beloved nuns until the end.  Like honor guards, the nuns took their place on both sides of the aisle at the Manila Cathedral shortly before the funeral mass ended.

Aside from standing in honor, they also made sure no one interfered while Cory's flag-draped casket was being led out of the Manila Cathedral.

As dictated by tradition, nine generals escorted the casket through the long aisle, while the audience erupted into applause all the while.

* * *

Love poured out for late President Corazon Aquino outside the Manila Cathedral on Wednesday as common folk expressed thanks and wishes of eternal rest in banners, posters, ribbons, shirts, and button pins.

People were up early, braving the downpour and heavy traffic towards Intramuros to pay Aquino their last respects.

Artist Jojo Tartagena Jr., 45, paid tribute to Aquino with a charcoal sketch of her portrait, which captured her wide smile.

Tartagena drew the artwork in under 23 hours just outside the cathedral on Tuesday.

"This is history. This will never happen again, This is once in a lifetime," Tartagena said, while displaying his work on a sidewalk across the church.

"He allowed strangers to write down their messages for Aquino on the portrait's blank space" Volunteer Fire Engine 111 honored Aquino with a 25 foot by 20 foot tarpaulin of her photo flashing the "laban" sign.

Mourner took turns signing the tarp with their final messages.

One read: "if Ninoy fell in love with her three times, she loved us, the people, not only three times. She loved us, the people, by nurturing democracy and our freedom."

Others said "I love you", "thanks" and "tunay kang bayani [you're a true hero]."

***

They defied the fickle weather, cheered "Cory, Cory," applauded the elusive sun for its brief glow and wept with the family, relatives and close friends bidding adieu to the revered former President Corazon Aquino.

Thousands of ordinary Filipino mourners, either clad in yellow or carrying yellow umbrellas and balloons, flocked to the police barricaded side-streets of Intramuros for one last look at the former leader who toppled a dictator and restored democracy in the country in 1986.

During the more than two-hour funeral rites at the cathedral, the mammoth crowd stood outside the church, chanting, flashing the "L" [laban, fight] sign and waving hand-lettered signs "Cory Itutuloy namin ang laban [We will continue the fight] and "Paalam mahal naming Pangulo [Goodbye, our beloved President."

Silence fell when the speakers installed outside the church transmitted Kris Aquino's trembling voice, thanking those who came to the funeral and bidding her beloved mother goodbye.

Heads bowed, women silently wept and even a couple of honor guards from the Philippine National Police, while in formation, wiped away tears as some choked back a sob while listening to Kris' speech.

But the assembly gave a loud applause and once again recited "Cory, Cory" when police generals brought out Aquino's flag-draped coffin from Manila Cathedral for the full honors service outside the church.

Amid the soft rains, yellow confetti and flowers in white, yellow and red fell from the skies as eight pallbearers in black gloves somberly carried the casket bearing Aquino's remains to the truck adorned with Malaysian mums and stargazer lilies.

Elsewhere, in major military camps, cannons boomed every minute for 21 minutes to give honor to the departed former commander-in-chief.

"She really loved our nation. I am here to bid her farewell," said Yolanda Cruz, 62, who only saw the shy widow sweep away a dictator through a people power revolt more than 20 years ago on television.

She was then a domestic helper working in Hong Kong, Cruz told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net). On Wednesday, she held a lit candle for the People Power heroine. She said she came as early as 6 a.m. to get a good spot in the cordoned streets of Intramuros.

Umbrellas, mostly yellow-- Aquino's color-- bobbed up and down in the crowd as the heavens poured rains at varying amounts and intervals. But the mourners surrounding Manila Cathedral, which police pegged at about 25,000, did not seem to mind.

They cheered and clapped when suddenly but very briefly the sun sent its warmth on the drenched crowd.

Aside from the cheers, tears and claps, and the impressive attendance of the crowd outside, grief and gratitude among regular Filipinos--who did not have the opportunity for a VIP entrance to the church-- took the form of yellow balloons being blown with air early morning yesterday; signatures and messages inscribed on a tarpaulin wall; in the lone yellow ribbon tied to an old bicycle; and in the warm and kind notes and blogs that flooded the Internet.

***

The grey skies rained with yellow, red, and white flowers the moment the flag-draped casket of former President Corazon Aquino was carried outside the door of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.

Many in the tens of thousands of mourners cheered, clapped and chanted Aquino's name as others reveled in the falling blossoms, a military custom accorded mostly to slain Air Force pilots, and yellow confetti that began to pour from nearby buildings in Intramuros.

Braving the terrible weather, pilots of the Philippine Air Force made it sure that the route-- from Intramuros to Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City -- of the funeral cortege of their former commander-in-chief was awash with flowers and petals.

Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gerardo Zamudio, said pilots earlier collected 18 sacks of flowers for the exercise, which was last accorded to two comrades who perished in a helicopter crash along with eight Malacañang officials and crewmembers in Northern Luzon in April.

Earlier in the day, the massive gathering in the fringes of Manila Cathedral delighted themselves with VIPs, government officials and celebrities arriving for the funeral mass.

The crowd applauded favorite dignitaries like former President Fidel V. Ramos, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando and actor Piolo Pascual when they alighted their respective vehicles. But they jeered not-so-favorite VIPs.

Actor and Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. received boos from the crowd but others still cheered him. In response, the senator gave them a tentative and uncomfortable wave, apparently confused by the crowd's greeting.

The horde also jeered at vans and cars that blocked their view of Manila Cathedral's facade.

Arroyo pays last respects to Aquino

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited the wake of one of her vocal critics, former President Corazon Aquino, immediately after she landed in Manila on Wednesday morning.

Arroyo, who cut short her official trip to the United States to attend Aquino's wake, flew in aboard a Philippine Airlines flight from San Francisco at 2:45 a.m. and arrived at the Manila Cathedral at 3:42 am.

Organizers immediately halted the public viewing during her brief stay at the church.

The President, who was wearing a cream blazer over a black ensemble, and her entourage entered the left entrance near the altar, which is usually used by priests, and was received by Aquino's only son, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Arroyo, her Cabinet members and other politicians with her group viewed Cory Aquino's remains for a few seconds before sitting down with the senator at the front pew of the church.

Aquino and Arroyo chatted for a few minutes, with Lupita Kashiwahara often joining the conversation. Kashiwahara is Aquino's aunt – she is the sister of the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. – and is currently Arroyo's public image director.

A few minutes later, Arroyo stood up and walked to Mrs. Aquino's casket alone. She stood there for a few seconds and made a sign of the cross, before she and her Cabinet officials left the church. The visit lasted about seven minutes.

Arroyo was with Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando and his wife Marikina City Mayor Marides Fernando, Presidential Management Staff chief Hermogenes Esperon, and Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Arroyo's son, Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo were also part of the entourage. Senator Santiago once served as agrarian reform secretary and immigration chief during Aquino's time.

"She (Arroyo) really felt it was her obligation to pay her last respects to the former President," Press Secretary Cerge Remonde later told reporters.

Remonde said she wanted to stay longer, but decided to leave after noticing that the long queue of mourners was stopped in deference to her.

Palace holds Mass for Cory

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday morning led government officials in a mass at the Palace for former President Corazon C. Aquino, who will be buried at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque hours later today.

Arroyo read the novena prayer for Aquino at the Heroes' Hall at the end of the 8 a.m. mass at the Heroes' Hall in Malacañang.

"We pray for the healing of unhappy feelings President Corazon Aquino's death now leaves in our hearts. Be with us Lord, during our moments of sorrow and loneliness. You are our Rock, our fortress, and our strength,'' she said in the prayer.

FVR, Erap hold politics at bay for Cory

However awkwardly, prominent political personalities of the country held their differences at bay to sit side by side and honor the late President Corazon Aquino during a requiem mass held for her at the Manila Cathedral on Wednesday.

Former president Joseph Estrada and his family had to take the front row seat with former president Fidel V. Ramos, who helped in the ouster of Estrada in 2001 over corruption charges.

The two former chief executives shared the front row with visiting Timor Leste President Jose Ramos Horta. (Horta's country was deeply inspired by the People Power Revolt led by Mrs. Aquino in 1986 and won their independence from Indonesia in the 1990s)

Apparently to ease the tension, Estrada's son, Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and the former president's wife, former Senator Loi Estrada, sat between Ramos and Estrada.

It was the young Estrada who first approached the front row where Ramos and Horta were already seated. He extended a hand to Ramos Horta and Ramos. Ramos was seen taking a pause before rising to shake hands with Senator Estrada, then with Loi and then with former president Estrada.

Some minutes later, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita arrived and approached Ramos and Ramos Horta. The two stood up to chat with Ermita. Then, moments later, a grinning Ermita approached the Estrada family to shake hands with Senator Estrada, Loi, and former president Estrada.

Estrada was in gray barong tagalog shirt, with a Cory pin on his chest. Also with Estrada was his daughter, Jackie and her husband Beaver Lopez.

Booklet w/ Cory painting of rosary, roses

A pamphlet with former President Corazon Aquino's painting of a rosary amid roses, especially printed for her funeral mass Wednesday morning, were distributed inside the Manila Cathedral as souvenir from her family.

Ballsy: It feels like 1983

Aquino son, niece walk with mourners

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, his cousin, equestrienne Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworksi, and several other family members got down from their vehicles and joined the crowds in the funeral procession of the late President Corazon Aquino.

Almost a state funeral for Cory


Visayans mark burial with Masses

Bells rang, balloons and doves soared to the sky, people wore yellow clothes or pinned yellow ribbons, making the color prevalent across the Visayas.

Most people stayed off the streets to watch the television coverage of the funeral of former President Corazon Aquino or attended Masses held in her honor. 

In Cebu City, traffic enforcers reported that the number of vehicles in city streets went down considerably and public utility jeepneys carried few passengers, according to traffic operations center operator Eric Laurente, an indication that the people had gathered before television sets to watch the coverage of the former President's funeral.

Aside from the Masses offered by churches in Cebu, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, as of presstime, was to officiate a Mass for Aquino at 5 p.m. at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu City.

A Mass was held at the Cebu Carmelite Monastery where 25 brown-capped nuns led by 81-year-old Mother Superior Mary Aimee Ataviado and well attended by supporters and friend of the late President, offered a special prayer for Aquino.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command (Centcom) based in Cebu City offered a 21-gun salute for Aquino at exactly 12 noon as the funeral cortege was slowly making its way through the streets of Metro Manila Wednesday afternoon en route to the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

In Tagbilaran City, some 100 yellow balloons with words "Salamat President Cory" and nine doves soared into the blue sky following a holy Mass at the St. Joseph Cathedral as onlookers led by Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso applauded and cheered at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.

In Tacloban City, streets corners decorated with yellow ribbons were practically empty.

Palo Archbishop Jose Palma was scheduled to officiate Mass at 5 p.m. at the Santo Niño Church's grounds which was also festooned with yellow bows.

In Catarman, Northern Samar, the streets were silent as most stayed inside their homes to watch the live nationwide telecast of the funeral of Cory Aquino. All flags were flown at half-staff and schools and other buildings tied yellow ribbons on their doors or windows.

In Maasin City, 500 city and provincial employees wearing yellow shirts or with yellow ribbons on their shirts attended the Mass at the Maasin Cathedral officiated by Maasin diocese Bishop Precioso Cantillas.

At door of the church, a big poster with a black and white photo of Aquino was put up beside a big wreath of yellow flowers.

In Bacolod City, Negrenses gathered at homes Wednesday, many weeping, as they watched the requiem Mass for Aquino. At the Capitol, many homes and businesses and on vehicles in Bacolod City, yellow ribbons hang as a final tribute to her.

After her funeral Mass, drivers belonging to the Barangay Alijis Roundtripper Drivers and Operators Association-United Negros Drivers Operators (Bardoa-Undoc) held a caravan around the city as their way of bidding goodbye to a great leader. The jeeps in the caravan adorned with yellow ribbons cruised with headlights on and honking as they drove around the city.

In the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan, yellow ribbons dotted the Pastrana Park, the town's public plaza, where hundreds of Aklanons held a program to honor Aquino.

In Iloilo City, church bells rang, Edsa I music blared as Ilonggos joined the nation in saying goodbye to the People Power icon.

There was a marked decrease in traffic as most Ilonggos were glued to live broadcasts of the Mass and funeral on television and all radio stations.

Around 30 Ilonggos, mostly members of the Iloilo chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines viewed the Mass and funeral procession on a wide screen at the La Isabelita Hall inside the Jaro Cathedral compound. Many of them wept and one woman raised a clenched fist as Lea Salonga sang "Bayan Ko."

MILF remembers Cory's peace efforts

Murad Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said on Wednesday the revolutionary group was joining the nation in mourning the death of former President Corazon Aquino "because of her role in bringing back peace efforts to solve the Mindanao's decades old problem."

A(H1N1) flu death toll passes 1,000 mark

The death toll in the swine flu pandemic has passed the 1,000 mark, with 1,154 deaths since the outbreak was uncovered in April, data published by the World Health Organization showed.

No oil price hike

Petron yesterday announced that it did not increase the prices of its fuel products in Cebu.  The announcement came after the implementation of an oil price hike nationwide. Petron assured that its fuel prices will stay the same.  Last Tuesday, several oil companies implemented a P1 increase in the prices of gasoline and diesel.

P250,000 endowment fund to indigents

Indigent families can now avail of additional free drugs and medicines, aside from some other medical services offered at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development had already transferred an endowment fund worth P250,000 to the hospital after DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral and VSMMC director Gerardo Aquino signed a memorandum of agreement to this effect.

DSWD public information officer Jaybee Binghay-Carillo explained that the increasing number of clients seeking medical assistance recorded at the DSWD's Crisis Intervention Unit shows that most number of families experienced difficulty meeting the expenses needed for medical treatment of a family member.

It prompted the DSWD to initiate a tie-up project with government tertiary hospitals nationwide, including VSMMC, to attend to the needs of indigent families who will be confined or are seeking physical check-up at said hospital.

Binghay-Carillo said that the indigent families can avail of benefits for medical procedures and medicines from the DSWD, aside from those provided by the hospital.

The MOA signed between Cabral and the VSMMC director shall provide free medical services for out-patient consultation or confinement, laboratory test, electrocardiogram, all kinds of X-ray as well as CT scan.

Ultrasound, including 2D echo-cardiogram, electro-encephalogram, medicines and other medical and laboratory procedures available at the hospital can also be availed by the indigent patients as recommended by the attending physician.

She explained that financial assistance for medical expenses that are not provided by the government hospital to indigent patients, which shall not exceed P5,000, will be covered by the said fund.

The MOA provides that to avail of the program, the applicant must present an updated medical abstract of the patients signed by the attending physicians, diagnosis and plan management, and assessment of the local social welfare officer.

The applicant patient or his representative is also required to present barangay certification that will identify them, aside from any of the identification cards from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Postal Corporation, Comelec, passport, driver's license and latest company ID.


Province honors outstanding Cebuanos

Three institutions and one personality from business, music and culture and government service were honored as this year's recipients of the "Garbo sa Sugbo" (Pride of Cebu) awards that were given as the province's 440th founding anniversary celebration during the Governor's Night yesterday. 

Profoods International Corp. represented by its president Justin Uy, was given an award for making a mark in international trade as a genuine and innovative Cebuano company, imbued with the strong, indomitable and entrepreneurial spirit of the Cebuano.    

Uy was recognized by the Philippine Center of Entrepreneurship as one of the most inspiring entrepreneur of the year as well as by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.    

The Cebu Arts Foundation, Inc. led by founding chairman Rep. Eduardo Gullas, was recognized for its firm belief in the Cebuano creative spirit, for nurturing and cultivating love and appreciation of Cebu music, Arts and Culture, and for bringing recognition and honor to our gifted Cebuano artists and musicians.    

Known as Cebu Pop Music, the foundation, which is on its 30th year, has successfully carried out its mission of bringing Cebuano music and artists to the country and to the world.  

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. represented by its president Ramon E. Aboitiz was given the award for being architects of positive change in Cebu, in the Visayas and Mindanao, uplifting the lives and leading communities to sustainable change for a better future with equal with opportunity, justice and hope for all.      

 Lt. Gov. Michael Cruz, M.D. of Guam was also recognized for his excellence and outstanding achievement in the service of the government of Guam, his dedication and commitment to healthcare and humanitarian service, and his faithfulness to his Cebuano roots, and upholding the true and indomitable spirit of the Cebuano.    

Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) headed by Capitol consultant on security matters Byron Garcia was given the Governor's commendation. 

Study long-term effects of coal ash

Environmentalists, in a forum yesterday, gave further explanation on coal ash and other hazardous wastes that contribute to greenhouse gases, emphasizing the "need to delve first into the long-term effects of coal ash to public health, being a worthwhile investment."


Two Pinoys killed in Saudi Arabian fire

At least two Filipino workers were killed in a blaze that engulfed a makeshift camp near a gas plant in Saudi Arabia last weekend, an online news site reported Wednesday.

No public bidding for Southrail?


Clinton, US journalists land in Japan

The aircraft carrying former United States president Bill Clinton and the two US journalists freed by North Korea landed at a US military base in northern Japan Wednesday for a refueling stop, broadcaster NHK said.

LeBron and Shaq open season v Celtics


Palace firm on choices of National Artists

Malacañang will listen to artists protesting President Macapagal-Arroyo's choices of this year's National Artists, but is ruling out a recall of any of the awards, Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Tuesday.

Paula Abdul quits 'American Idol'

US singer Paula Abdul has announced she will not be returning for a ninth season as a judge on the hugely popular television reality show "American Idol."

Tropical storm 'Kiko' returns to RP

Tropical cyclone codenamed "Kiko" returned to the country's area of responsibility and brought rains to parts of Luzon including Metro Manila Wednesday morning, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

17 killed in Central Mindanao floods

At least 17 people died as floods hit Central Mindanao, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said.

Mayon gas emission doubles

Disaster authorities directed the police and military personnel manning various checkpoints to strictly enforce the non-entry prohibition into off-limits zones around Mayon Volcano as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported a high volume of sulfur dioxide emission.

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