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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13, 2009 Major News Stories

Labor unrest brewing in PAL spinoff—group

Rank and file workers of the Philippine Airlines are flexing their muscles against imminent job loss after the management bared its plan to implement before the end of the year a major restructuring program that would affect some 2,000 workers, the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM or Workers Party) said in a statement Sunday.

OFW on death row seeks Arroyo's help

An overseas worker on death row at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is appealing for a reprieve and is hoping President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could take him home with her when she visits the country for the Saudi National Day and Eid'l Fitr.

Rodelio "Dondon" Celestino Lanuza, who has been sentenced to death by beheading for killing a Saudi Arabian, has sent a Facebook message to the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-governmental organization founded to help overseas Filipino workers, hoping his distress call could reach the President.

At the weekly Balitaan sa Tinapayan (news forum) in Manila, Blas F. Ople policy center president Susan Ople revealed that Lanuza has been languishing at the Damman Central Jail since August 15, 2000 for the killing, which the convicted claimed was committed in self-defense.

Ople said, "We are hoping that Dondon's appeal will reach the President and that his case as well as that of the other detained OFWs shall be included in bilateral talks between the two heads of state."

She was referring to the possible meeting between King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and President Macapagal-Arroyo, on her official visit to the KSA from September 21 to September 23.

Stranded OFWs in Jeddah to be home soon

Some 170 undocumented Filipino workers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will finally be sent home after more than a year of living under a bridge.

P1.8B for 1.2M kids in pre-school

A total of P1.8 billion has been earmarked to reinforce the government's Pre-School Education Program, Cotabato Representative Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said Sunday.

P1B set to retool teachers in Math, Science

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A total of P1 billion in fresh funding has been set aside to polish the abilities of public school teachers in the core competencies of English, Science, and Math, Cotabato Representative Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said in a statement Sunday.

Shipowners say Marina defying GMA's order

THREE associations of shipowners in Cebu are asking the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to audit and re-inspect vessels of the Aboitiz Transport System (ATS) and Sulpicio Lines Inc.

Marina Administrator Maria Elena Bautista said inspection may last up to Nov. 16, 2009.

The review of the SLI cargo manual, she said, will be finished by Sept. 15, while Sept. 17 to 30 is the schedule for the submission and review of SLI's addendum on the safety manual for passengers.

Oct. 1 to 15, Bautista said, is for the company audit, while Oct. 16 to Nov. 16 is the audit of ships with passengers and employees.

But Bautista said the good track record of ATS will help hasten the audit and re-inspection of Superferry and Cebu Ferries ships.

Gambito, however, said that to be fair, Marina should inspect vessels of the two companies at the same time.

Contrary to what Bautista claims, he said, ATS also has its own share of mishaps, like the mv Superferry 12 that met four accidents in five years.

The Superferry 12 bumped SLI's mv Princess of the South on Sept. 22, 2004; collided with mv San Nicolas on May 25, 2003, resulting in 116 deaths; and caught fire in the seawaters off Daanbantayan, Cebu in March 2006.

On Sept. 15, 2006, the same ship suffered an engine breakdown while carrying 848 passengers.

Tomas goes on leave once again

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is leaving for the United States today for a 10-day trip to have himself checked, following the surgery last April 2 that removed his urinary bladder.

Mike given free hand to deal with illegal stalls outside ANS

Mayor Tomas Osmeña is giving Vice Mayor Michael Rama the free hand in dealing with the illegal stalls of vendors constructed at the sidewalks of Osmeña Boulevard in front of the Abellana National School.

Ombuds vows easy access to SALN of public officials

While the members of the Cebu media will celebrate the Press Freedom Week starting Sunday, the Office of the Ombudsman has assured journalists of easy access to the copies of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth of government officials in their search for graft and corruption.

Kepco: Naga coal plant is safe

Contrary to what some environmentalist is saying about the hazardous effects of the coal-fired power plant, the Korea Electric Company (Kepco) assured Cebuanos that a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology, which would be used in their Naga plant in Cebu, is proven and tested to be safe on the environment and people's health.

Poll automation a 'black hole of risks'

The P7.3-billion automated election system that Smartmatic-TIM has been contracted to deliver in the 2010 polls carried a "gaping black hole of risks" that could lead to a "power vacuum" when the President's expires on June 30, 2010, a Supreme Court justice said.

In his 26-page dissenting opinion from the majority Supreme Court ruling upholding the contract, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was unimpressed by the Commission on Elections and the consortium's arguments that Smartmatic's precinct count optical scan system would not need to be pilot-tested and that it would be foolproof in next year's national and local elections. 

Noynoy tops SWS survey in vote-rich Luzon areas

by By Ricky Carandang, ABS-CBN News Channel
MANILA - This is the result of the first presidential survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations that includes Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. 

The survey was taken between Sept. 5 and 6 and was commissioned by a number of private individuals, including some members of the business community.

It was not a national survey but it covers Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Region 3 and Region 4A, an area that covers an estimated 40 percent of registered voters.

10 percent of the respondents belonged to the A, B and C classes, or the wealthy and middle class, while 90 percent belong to the D and E classes, or the poor.

Despite having declared his candidacy after the survey, a whopping 50 percent of respondents said they would vote for Aquino, followed by 14 percent who said they would vote for Sen. Manuel "Manny" Villar.

Statistically tied with Villar for second place is former president Joseph Estrada with 13 percent. Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero had 12 percent and vice president Noli de Castro came in last with 7 percent.

Liberal Party leaders expected Aquino to benefit from public sympathy over the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, but were surprised by how high his numbers are.

With 8 months to go before the election and his relatively late entry into the race Aquino is still putting his campaign together, but already he seems to have has become the front runner.

However, in an election season that is becoming full of surprises, the challenge is to keep those sky high numbers for falling back to earth.  

Solve Hacienda Luisita massacre first, Noynoy urged

Militant organizations on Sunday appealed to Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to help give justice to the victims of the so-called Hacienda Luisita massacre if he is truly sincere in helping the hacienda"s farm workers.

Aquino is a formidable opponent, admits Lakas-Kampi official

But says survey results will change after administration standard bearer is chosen MANILA - Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is now seen by the administration party as its most formidable opponent, according to a senior official of the Lakas-Kampi CMD party. 

It's either Gibo or BF for Lakas-Kampi-CMD

Vice President Noli de Castro has formally informed the administration party that he will not run for president under its banner in the 2010 elections —if ever he decides to run at all, according to a source to privy to the discussions.

Arroyo cancels New York trip

MANILA – President Arroyo has cancelled her planned trip to New York next week where was supposed to speak before the United Nations General Assembly.

"Traveling" Arroyo to go on a 3-nation trip

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is set to embark on a three-nation trip this week to "look after the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)" and to strengthen bilateral relations and economic cooperation, according to a Malacañang statement.

Lacson to "set record straight" on Dacer case

After getting flak from his former boss, Sen. Panfilo Lacson is set to disclose on Monday all he knows not only about the Dacer-Corbito murder case but also about former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada.

Radar breakdown suspends NAIA flights

(UPDATE) Hundreds of passengers were stranded after more than a dozen local and international fights were unable to take off from, or land at, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday following a breakdown of the radar system.

Rebel threat vs US soldiers in RP is just propaganda - AFP

MANILA - The Philippine military on Sunday has downplayed as "just propaganda" a call made by a communist spokesman for an "all-out struggle against US forces in Mindanao." 

3,000 killed in RP insurgency since 2001

Violence spawned by the communist insurgent movement in the country has claimed more than 3,000 lives over the last eight years, figures released by the military on Sunday showed.

Fil-Am activist appeals to choose protectors

Filipino-American activist and alleged torture victim Melissa Roxas has asked the Supreme Court to change the decision of the Court of Appeals that gave her the writ of amparo but ordered her protection by the military that she blamed for her abduction and torture a few months ago.

Teodoro assures UN of RP peacekeeping pledge

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has assured the United Nations that the Philippines will continue to send troops to help the world body keep the peace in conflict areas abroad despite constraints brought about by the country's own security requirements.

4-year USAID-funded anti-TB program closes

Catholic Relief Services, a non-government organization that oversees the local government's implementation of the four-year provincial tuberculosis control program with funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), closes down this month.

Pinay mail-order brides still rampant in SKorea

Despite an ongoing ban on illegal matchmaking agencies, a number of Filipino women were married to their South Korean partners as mail-order brides, according to a Philippine envoy.

Wait for Cabilao investigation results—DFA

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday urged the public to wait for the findings of Malaysian authorities on the death of Filipino Social Welfare attaché Finard Cabilao.

Tens of thousands rally against Obama government

by Agence France-Presse
WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of people marched from the shadow of the White House to the footsteps of the US Capitol Saturday to protest against President Barack Obama and his "big government" policies.

School closure most effective at start of swine flu outbreak: WHO

GENEVA - The World Health Organisation said Friday that school closures appear to be the most effective way of preventing the spread of the swine flu virus when implemented early in the outbreak.

Iraqi shoe thrower to be released Monday

BAGHDAD - The family of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former President George W. Bush is preparing a festive welcome for the TV reporter, who is to be released from prison Monday after nine months behind bars.

Nietes defends WBO crown in Mexico

Donnie Nietes scored a split decision versus Mexican Manuel Vargas to successfully defend his World Boxing Organization minimumweight title.  While Z "The Dream" Gorres won via technical knockout after Carbajal failed to come out for the sixth round because of a dislocated arm, noted.

Mayol loses to Calderon

MANILA – Rodel "Batang Mandaue" Mayol lost a close fight in his rematch with WBO junior flyweight champion Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Sharon stands by Kiko in backing Noynoy

Singer-actress Sharon Cuneta has refused to get dragged into a word war with broadcaster Korina Sanchez over the support extended by her husband, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, to the presidential bid of Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, instead of Korina's fiance, Senator Mar Roxas.

'Engkwentro' bags Venice filmfest prize

Filipino filmmaker Pepe Diokno's "Engkwentro" won the top prize in the Orizzonti (New Horizons) section of the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

'Eva Fonda,' 'Engkwentro' grab top awards abroad

 Umani ng tagumpay sa ibayong dagat ang "Eva Fonda" ng ABS-CBN.  Mismong si "Eva Fonda" star Crisitne Reyes ang tumanggap ng parangal. Nanalo naman bilang best director si Pepe Diokno sa 66th Venice Film Festival para sa pelikulang "Engkwentro."

Arroyo adviser hits CCP tribute to Imelda

The presidential adviser on culture has criticized the holding of a tribute to former First Lady Imelda Marcos by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, saying the event mocked the suffering of her husband Ferdinand Marcos's martial-law victims.

APO to celebrate friendship through concert

MANILA - After staging a farewell concert last year, the Apo Hiking Society is back as the group marks its 40th anniversary with a big concert at SM North EDSA Skydome dubbed as "APO Kayang-Kaya Pa."

Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger form 'dream team'

by Reuters
VENICE – It is the action hero dream team. Sylvester Stallone will shoot a scene with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger soon for his upcoming adventure "The Expendables," due to hit theatres in 2010.

Violence, accidents are killing world's youth: study

by Reuters
LONDON - Road accidents, pregnancy and childbirth complications, suicide, violence, the AIDS virus and tuberculosis are the biggest killers of young people across the world, according to a study published Friday.

"Nando" moves away from RP, leaves 3 dead

Three people were killed while three others were wounded in the wake of tropical depression "Nando," which caused heavy rains in central and northern Luzon over the weekend and is now moving away from Philippine territory.

Pagasa: Mild El Niño sets in; impact on water supply feared

Since June, sea temperature has been rising, slowly developing into a weak El Niño condition, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has said.

Smoking: New research helps itch to quit

PARIS - European scientists said Sunday they could explain why nicotine patches designed to help smokers kick their habit can cause skin irritation. 

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach  - "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

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