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

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 15, 2009 Major News Stories

Shell cuts fuel prices by 25 centavos

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. will slash prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene by 25 centavos a liter effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

SC asked anew: Allow 'Big 3' audit

The Social Justice Society (SJS) asked the Supreme Court to allow the audit of the accounts of the "Big 3" oil companies as ordered by the Manila City Regional Trial Court.

Power interruptions hit Metro Cebu

Several areas in the cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay and in the town of Consolacion were affected by brownouts due to power shortage.

Power shortage hits Metro Cebu

POWER shortage was experienced in Metro Cebu yesterday, affecting the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay and Consolacion town after four generation units of the Cebu Private Power Corp. (CPPC) suffered technical problems.

Ethel Natera, corporate communications manager of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco), said CPPC is supposed to supply 60 megawatts to Veco. But yesterday it lacked 28 megawatts because not all generation units functioned.

Belinda Canlas, regional corporate communications officer of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), issued a power advisory on the Cebu-Negros-Panay generation deficiency.

She said Veco dropped load by 11 megawatts at 10:16 a.m. yesterday, to prevent overloading of the Leyte-Cebu 230 KV submarine cable. Power supply was restored at 11:43 a.m.


Negros dropped load at 10:23 a.m. and restored power at 11:38 a.m. Panay dropped load at 10:28 a.m. and restored power at 11:58 a.m.

Canlas sent another power deficiency advisory to Sun.Star Cebu, saying Veco dropped load by 14.1 megawatts at 01:08 p.m. and restored power at 2:56 p.m.

She said Mactan Electric Co. (Meco) dropped load by 1.8 megawatts at 1:10 p.m. and restored power at 2:40 p.m.


Taiheyo Cement in San Fernando, Cebu dropped load at 1.8 megawatts at 12:56 p.m. and restored power at 2:43 p.m., Canlas said.

Cebu Electric Cooperative (Cebeco) 2 dropped load at 2.9 megawatts at 2;05 p.m. and restored power at 2:56 p.m.

Negros dropped load at 12:56 p.m. and restored power at 3:09 p.m. Panay dropped load by 7.9 megawatts at 12:38 p.m. and restored power at 4:07 p.m.

Natera said Veco customers who were advised to drop load yesterday were San Miguel Corp., A.D. Gothong Corp., Metro Mandaue, Ayala Center, Gaisano Country Mall, Metro Colon, SM City and Elizabeth Mall.

Natera said the expected Cebu-Negros-Panay grid system deficiency was 20 megawatts yesterday morning and 40 megawatts yesterday afternoon.

Two more kids die of dengue

The five-year-old daughter of a couple who are working in the media in Cebu City is one of the two latest casualties of dengue in the city, bringing to 25 the total number of dengue-related deaths since January.

Deadline today for compliance with drugs law

HEALTH officials announced yesterday that today is the deadline for compliance with the Cheaper Medicines law for small pharmacies that have non-automated capability.

El Niño expexted to hit country next month, to spare Cebu, region

WEATHER experts said yesterday that there will be a weak El Niño in the country next month, but will only affect the Luzon and Mindanao areas.

Telcos want P3-P8 for first 12 seconds of mobile call

MANILA - The country's telecommunication firms are asking the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for a "flag down rate" of P3 to P8 for the first 12 seconds or two pulses of a mobile phone call.

'Strong winds' sank SuperFerry 9—captain

The captain of the doomed SuperFerry 9 said strong winds may be the cause of the ship's sinking, off the coast of the Zamboanga peninsula, on Sept. 6, a theory rejected by the Philippine Coast Guard during the start of the investigation on the sea mishap on Monday.

Remittances to grow 2-3% in 2009

MANILA - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco said on Monday that remittances from overseas Filipinos, a key plank of the domestic economy, should grow between 2% and 3% this year over 2008, higher than government estimates.

66 bridge dwellers in Saudi repatriated

A group of 66 Filipinos who had stayed under the Khandara Bridge in Jeddah on Monday arrived in Manila after being repatriated by Saudi Arabia deportation authorities.

Some stranded OFWs in Jeddah already sick

Because of the hot weather and lack of supplies, many of the stranded Filipino workers staying at the Hajj terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia have been falling sick, most of them with high blood pressure and flu.

OWWA chief: Give Arroyo appointee a chance

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administration Carmelita Dimzon stood pat on the appointment Jose Jouelito Sapio as member of the OWWA board of trustees and appealed to critics to give the new official a chance to serve.

DepEd cuts class hours in public schools

Alarmed by the overcrowding in some public elementary schools, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus has ordered classes in those schools reduced to four or five hours.
Lapus said class length for the various grades in the affected schools shall be as follows: For grades 1 and 2, four hours of learning time; grade 3, four and a half hours; and grades 4, 5 and 6, five hours.

"To compensate for the reduced number of hours per day, Edukasyong Pantao will be integrated into all learning areas from grades 1 to 6, (while) Sibika at Kultura will be integrated into Filipino from grades 1 to 3," he said.

"Musika, Sining at Edukasyong Pagpapalakas ng Katawan will be integrated into Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika (Hekasi) in grades 4 to 6," he said. 

The order included a sample classroom program, which suggested that English be taught for 90 minutes in grades 1 to 3, and for 60 minutes for grades 4 to 6.

Mathematics could be taught for 90 minutes for grades 1 to 3, and for 60 minutes in grades 4 to 6. Filipino, Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan, MSEP and Hekasi could be taught for 40 minutes in grades 4 to 6.

The sample also suggested that Science and Health be taught for 40 minutes for grade 3 and 60 minutes for grades 4 to 6.

More schools yet to have computers -DepEd

The Department of Education (DepEd) is urging more private sector support to build the country's education system through information technology.

Of 24.7 hectares Balili property: DENR: Dry land is only 4.5 hectares

The ground survey conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources confirmed that almost the entire 24.7 hectares Balili property, which the Cebu Provincial Government bought for P98 million last year is actually underwater and mangrove area.

'Void ab initio'

OF THE 24.7-hectare Balili property that Capitol has bought, only 18 percent or 4.5 hectares is dry land while the rest, about 82 percent or 20.2 has. is timberland.

The dry land, however, is characterized as alienable and disposable as re-classified in 1986, Aurelio Caña, geodetic engineer of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, said.

Also, the Balilis got two special permits from DENR.

The first one was issued on Jan. 16, 1973 and expired in June 1974. The second one was for a bathing establishment issued in 1973 and was continuously renewed until it expired on Dec. 31, 2008.

The bathing establishment represented 2.6 has. and is within the property that Capitol bought.

However, the land titles for the Balili property that the province bought were issued in 1978 to the late Luis Balili but with the nature of the property, land titles should have been issued in 2016 yet based on the law, said DENR lawyer Tranne Ferrer at the hearing of the Provincial Board (PB) ad hoc committee on the Balili lot purchase yesterday.

She also said that the titles were void from the start, "void ab initio."

"How can you transfer something that you don't have any right (to) from the very start?"

"I'm not here to point fingers at whose fault it is. What I'm concerned with is that the DENR has admitted the fault of why it the titles were issued. That's why we are recommending the reversion," she said.

The hearing will continue on Thursday at 2 p.m.


While she admitted that the DENR was at fault for the issuance of the titles and was pursuing the reversion, she said both the buyer and seller should have exercised prudence in the purchase.

PB Member Juan Bolo, who is being blamed for the controversial lot purchase, asked Ferrer why it took DENR more than 20 years to file a recommendation for reversion.

Ferrer said the Bureau of Forestry and DENR were merged only in 1999, the year government launched the anti-fake titles program.

On the reversion order given to the Balilis, Ferrer said the matter is now with the Solicitor General and the affected parties can regularly follow it up.

She said she can't say if the Balilis had sold the property in bad faith.


The first application for the special permit was filed before the land was titled. The permit was regularly renewed pending the issuance of the title, she said.

The heirs of Luis Balili will have to answer questions about the purchase, she said.

DENR confirmed that the special permit covering 2.6 hectares was within the property bought by Capitol.

Meanwhile, PB Member Victor Maambong informed the ad hoc committee that Banco de Oro has signed a certification that the account of the estate of Luis Balili and his widow Amparo exists.

However, the certification would only be for P39 million, not for the P99 million.

The certification was signed by BDO branch manager Edward Alquizalas and bank cashier Mary Ann Campilan.

Balili said the amount indicated the savings fund and that the certification was intended to let the court know if the heirs had the money to reimburse Capitol for the property, if it reached to that.

Maambong said a certification of the availability of the full amount was what the committee needed.

Privilege speech on Balili issue: Bolo sheds tears, says family is hurt

 Embattled Provincial Board Member Juan Bolo could not contain his tears when he delivered a privilege speech during yesterday's board session to state his case on the controversial Balili lot deal.

Blame entire PB: Bolo

THE purchase of the Balili property in Barangay Tina-an, Naga, was a collective action of the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) when it passed a resolution allowing the governor to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the heirs of Luis Balili.

South bus terminal now imposing P5 terminal fee

All passengers bound for the southern part of Cebu province will now have to pay a terminal fee before entering the Cebu South Bus Terminal effective today.

Tomas hits Cuenco's inaction over move to split Guadalupe

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has more harsh words for Cebu City South District Rep. Antonio Cuenco, this time calling him "incompetent" for allegedly sitting on the barangay Guadalupe issue in his more than 20 years as congressman.

Prosecution wants judge to cancel Ecleo's bail

The prosecution panel in the parricide case against Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association cult supreme master Ruben Ecleo Jr. has asked the new judge assigned to the case to rule on their three-year-old motion seeking the cancellation of the bail bond and the return of the accused to the Cebu City Jail.

Colon has now 24-hour mobile police outpost

The Cebu City Police Office yesterday launched the 24-hour mobile police outpost along Colon Street as complimentary program to the successful Task Force Colon.

FVR's "no-el" warning unfounded - Palace exec

Malacañang has branded as "unfounded" former President Fidel Ramos" warning that the government might use the military to postpone next year's elections and extend President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo"s term beyond 2010.

FVR's "no-el" warning unfounded, Palace exec says

Malacañang has branded as "unfounded" former President Fidel Ramos" warning that the government might use the military to postpone next year's elections and extend President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo"s term beyond 2010.

PMA Class '78 head vs coup, 'No-el'

Lieutenant General Roland Detabali, current president of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Makatarungan" Class of 1978, defended his class from allegations that its members are plotting to keep President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in power beyond the end of her term in 2010.

'It's an advocacy, not advocacy group'

It's an advocacy not an advocacy group, the military said of a campaign launched by the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP).

"Aagapay is not an advocacy group but rather, it is an advocacy," said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr. Monday amid allegations it may be political machinery being readied for the 2010 elections.

"It is an advocacy that they are trying to push for character building and values formation, and it is focused on the family as the basic unit," Brawners told reporters.

It promotes the reading of the Bible for Christians or the Koran for Muslim members of the intelligence community, who are at the same time encouraged to help spread it other groups, he said.

Brawner said the reform campaign was initiated by ISAFP Chief Major General Romeo Prestoza, a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1978, which includes President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as an honorary member.

Lacson links Estrada to illegal gambling

(UPDATE 2) Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday exposed former President Joseph Estrada's extensive involvement in the illegal numbers game "jueteng," rice smuggling, and "other misdeeds" during his short-lived administration from 1998 to early 2001.

Estrada calls Lacson a liar

He's a liar. This was how former Joseph Estrada branded Senator Panfilo Lacson, who accused him on Monday of being behind the illegal numbers racket games, smuggling, and other criminal activities to harass and neutralize his political and business enemies.

PLDT denies Lacson's claim, says deal is 'aboveboard'

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) denied claims made by a senator that the Yuchengco family was coerced into selling its holdings in a company that owned PLDT shares.

Lacson's speech vs Erap to have "part 2" next week

Senator Panfilo Lacson"s scathing privilege speech against his former boss, deposed President Joseph Estrada, will have a second part next week.

Chavit concurs with Lacson statements

Itong pagdadawit kay dating pangulong Estrada sa jueteng, naidetalye na ito sa impeachment hearing laban sa kaniya sa Senado. Ang sabi ni deputy national security adviser Chavit Singson, uulitin lang niya ang mga sinabi niya noon! At kahit na wala pang sinasabi si Lacson sa Dacer-Corbito double murders, nagpauna na si Singson na may kinalaman din doon si Erap.

Roxas hints at accepting offer to be Noynoy"s running mate

Senator Manuel Roxas II on Monday hinted his inclination to accept the offer to be Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III"s running mate in the 2010 elections.

Group formed to protect Aquino campaign

A new group is being organized by non-political supporters of Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the Liberal Party standard bearer, to secure his candidacy against power brokers and big business interests offering to fund his campaign.

10,000 sign up as poll volunteers for Aquino

They are not merely pledging their votes to him. Peachy Prieto, one of the conveners of the Noynoy Aquino for President Movement (NAPM), said 10,000 have so far signed up as volunteers for the presidential campaign of Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in the 2010 elections.

RH bill endangers Church support for Noynoy

May nagbanta namang nanganganib na mawala ang suporta ng simbahang Katolika kay Sen. Noynoy Aquino dahil sa pagsuporta niya sa Reproductive Health Bill.

Cebu archbishop 'dismayed' with Noynoy

MANILA - Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal on Monday said he is thinking of withdrawing support from Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III after learning that the lawmaker supports the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.

Bongbong belittles Noynoy's chances

by by Carmela Fonbuena,
MANILA - The Marcos children have made peace with the Aquinos, but they are not prepared to throw their support behind the presidential bid of Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.   

Retired generals may back Noynoy, says Montaño

MANILA - Retired military and police generals who were part of the first EDSA people power revolt may throw their support for Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino, according to former Philippine Constabulary chief Ramon Montaño.

Lakas-Kampi CMD to decide standard bearer Wednesday

MANILA - The Arroyo administration's party Lakas-Kampi CMD is set to announce on Wednesday the standard bearer of the ruling party. 

Noli to settle 3 issues this week, says aide

The chief of staff of Vice President Noli de Castro on Monday said de Castro will make an announcement in a week if he'll run as president under the Lakas-Kampi party or as an independent or if he'll run at all in next year's elections.

PNP forms team to investigate Davao killings

The Philippine National Police has assembled an investigation team to look into alleged fresh reports of vigilante-style killings in Davao City and other parts of southern Mindanao.

Communist founder sees peace talks with gov't

Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison said the rebel movement could still win its revolution for the poor in 10 years and the day would come that the government would have no choice but to seek peace negotiations with the insurgents.

RP, MILF keep Malaysia as peace mediator

Malaysia, a member-state of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, remains as third-party facilitator of the government peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, according to the government chief negotiator.

RP to send 336 Filipino peacekeepers to Syria

The Philippines has assured the United Nations (UN) that it will send a 336-strong peacekeeping battalion to the Golan Heights in Syria to help them keep peace in the conflict-ridden area, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Monday.

Palace orders radar system breakdown probed

Malacañang on Monday ordered an investigation into the breakdown of a radar system that paralyzed international and domestic flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for several hours last Sunday.

Register prepaid phone cards vs crime—Sotto

Registering prepaid call and text cards will help fight crime, Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Vicente Sotto III said as he urged telecommunications companies to do so.

Arroyo's 3-nation swing to start with Turkey

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will visit Turkey on September 16-17 on the invitation of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

President's office budget OK'd in 5 minutes

The proposed budget of the Office of the President for 2010 swiftly breezed through the House of Representatives, with the committee on appropriations approving it in less than five minutes on Monday.

Son of ex-general Garcia lives in style despite US house arrest

He may be under house arrest in New York and his whole family may be facing plunder charges, but none of these could strip Timothy Mark Garcia off his Gucci jacket, Yves Saint Laurent boots, plush apartment, and lavish lifestyle.

Bin Laden reportedly calls Obama 'powerless'

(Updated 12:08 p.m.) WASHINGTON - In a tape released Sunday by al-Qaeda's media wing, terrorist leader Osama bin Laden said President Barack Obama is "powerless" to stop the war in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden appears weakened in new message: analysts

DUBAI - Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appears to be a man weakened under pressure in his latest message, which is addressed directly to the American people, analysts said on Monday.

40% of swine flu patients young and healthy: WHO

VIENNA - About 40 percent of people who have died of swine flu or fallen seriously ill were young and otherwise healthy, an expert from the World Health Organisation told a conference in Vienna Monday.

Clijsters caps comeback with US Open win

NEW YORK, United States — Kim Clijsters of Belgium won the US Open for the second time on Sunday, defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 7-5, 6-3 just five weeks after returning to action following a 27-month retirement.

Amazing shot sends Federer to US Open final

Hitting the greatest shot of his amazing career on the penultimate point, Roger Federer advanced to the US Open final on Sunday by defeating Serbian fourth seed Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-5.

Williams sisters win US Open doubles crown

NEW YORK – US fourth seeds Serena and Venus Williams won the US Open women's doubles title on Monday, defeating top seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of the United States 6-2, 6-2.

Anti-tobacco group offers to help Aquino

An anti-tobacco group has offered to help Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III quit smoking so he could withstand the rigorous presidential campaign.

Meryll Soriano: No annulment case yet

by By Reyma Buan-Deveza,
MANILA - Actress Meryll Soriano has yet to file an annulment case to end her short-lived marriage to actor Bernard Palanca.

107-yr-old Malaysian woman seeks 23rd hubby

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A 107-year-old Malaysian woman says she is ready to marry for the 23rd time because she fears her current drug addict husband might leave her for a younger woman, a report said Monday.

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

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