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

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 8, 2009 Major News Stories

Oil firms slash prices

(UPDATE 3) Pilipinas Shell, Petron Corp., Chevron Corp. and Phoenix Petroleum separately announced Monday that they will cut oil prices by as much as P1 per liter effective midnight Tuesday.

Petron hikes LPG prices

Petron Corp. announced on Monday that it will increase the prices of its liquefied petroleum gas products effective Tuesday.

At 6 a.m., Petron will raise LPG prices by P1.45 per kilogram and autoLPG prices by P0.91 per liter, said spokesperson Virginia Ruivivar.

Petron's price adjustment came after Pilipinas Shell implemented the same adjustments Monday.

Marina suspends sail of Aboitiz vessels

(UPDATE 2) The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has suspended the operation of the entire passenger fleet of Aboitiz Transport System Corp. following the sinking of SuperFerry 9 last Sunday.  The 10 vessels ordered suspended were: MV Superferry 1, MV Superferry 2, MV Superferry 5, MV Superferry 12, MV Superferry 19, MV Our Lady of Good Voyage, MV Our Lady of Rule, MV Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, MV Cebu Ferry 1, and MV Cebu Ferry 2.

Ships face audit

THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has suspended the operations of all SuperFerry vessels of the Aboitiz Transport System (ATS) and Cebu Ferries Corp.

Marina Administrator Maria Elena Bautista, in a text message from London where she is attending a conference, said the ships covered in the suspension order are SuperFerry 1, SuperFerry 2, SuperFerry 5, SuperFerry 12 and SuperFerry 19.

She also identified the suspended vessels under Cebu Ferries as MV Our Lady of Good Voyage, MV Our Lady of Rule, MV Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, MV Cebu Ferry 1 and MV Cebu Ferry 2.

Rivera said that Aboitiz has informed Marina that Cebu Ferries vessels should not be included in suspension because they are not solely owned by the Aboitiz family.

As this developed, Vicente "Tet" Gambito, spokesperson of shipowners and shipping operators from three shipping groups based in Cebu, has urged Aboitiz to resign from the Marina board not only for delicadeza but to avoid influencing the Marina Board decision on his shipping firm.

Gambito was named spokesperson of the Visayan Association of Ferryboat and Coastwise Service Operators, United Trampers Association of the Philippines and the Roro Association of the Philippines.

Gambito said that Bautista should also implement Marina Circular 18, which grants monetary aid of P50,000 to each survivor of a sea mishap.

Circular 2009-18 was approved by the Marina Board during its 196th regular meeting on June 19, 2009. Aboitiz also voted for its approval.

"If Bautista strictly implemented this circular to other shipping firms, then there is no reason she will not do the same to Aboitiz Transport System", Gambito said.

Loud thud key to SuperFerry 9 probe

Rescued passengers of the sunken SuperFerry 9 heard a loud thud from the bottom of the ship moments before the ship sank off the coast of Zamboanga Peninsula, according to the chief of the Philippine Coast Guard.

Reasons for ferry sinking still unclear

Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Wilfredo Tamayo said on Monday that authorities have not determined the exact reason for the sinking of the SuperFerry 9 off the Zamboanga coast.

PCG: All SuperFerry 9 passengers accounted for

Wala nang nawawala sa mahigit 900 pashero ng lumubog na SuperFerry 9, ayon  sa Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)! Nakita na ang isa pang pasahero kanina.  Tamayo identified three fatalities as James Calero, 2; Carina Amepere, 23 and Fernando Estrada, 45. Three men and three women remain unidentified.

Female ferry passenger rescued off Zamboanga

A female survivor floating off the seas of Siocon town in Zamboanga del Note was rescued Monday morning, more than 24 hours after SuperFerry 9 sank.

Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces in Western Mindanao, said Lita Casumlum, a native of Badiangan in Iloilo City, was seen floating with the help of a life jacket.

"The 505th Air Wing spotted her and literally plucked her out from sea," Pama said. 
Casumlum said she tried her best to stay alive without food and water.

"It was so cold, but I prayed and prayed that I would live," Casumlum said as she asked about the fate of her husband and son who were also on board the SuperFerry 9. Pama assured her they are alive.

Major Marvin Wee of the 505th Air Search and Rescue Team said they saw Casumlum between the waters off Siocon and Sirawai towns.

Casumlum is suffering from stomach and throat pains due to ingestion of saltwater.

Grandma recalls Superferry 9 ordeal

Irene Samis, 84, lost most of her belongings when she jumped from the SuperFerry 9 shortly before the ship sank off the coast of the Zamboanga Peninsula Sunday morning.

Survivors of SuperFerry tragedy head home

Survivors from SuperFerry 9, which sank Sunday morning off Zamboanga Peninsula, started heading for Iloilo, Bacolod and Manila on Monday aboard SuperFerry 1 and 5, according to the ship's owner Aboitiz Transport System (ATS) Corp.

Palace orders swift probe of ferry sinking

Malacañang on Monday vowed swift justice for victims in the latest maritime tragedy that killed at least 12 passengers off the coast of Zamboanga del Norte Sunday.

Oil spill reported in Zamboanga Peninsula

Oil spill was seen in the Zamboanga Peninsula where SuperFerry 9 sank, the Philippine Navy on Monday reported.

4 Japanese tourists safe after sea mishap off Cebu

 A sea vessel carrying 12 local and foreign tourists has capsized in waters off Camotes islands Monday but all the passengers were rescued alive.

The vessel owned by World Big Four Corporation capsized and sank after reportedly encountering mechanical trouble and then struck by big waves mid-afternoon Monday.

Heruyuki Ozasa, manager of JWP hotel hotel which is also owned by the Lapu-lapu City-based World Big Four Corporation, said onboard were 4 Japanese and 12 Filipino tourists.

The tourists, who were supposedly on an island-hopping tour, endured 5 hours floating at sea hanging on to debris from the vessel.

Foreign cargo ship sinks off East Samar

An international cargo vessel sank off Eastern Samar hours after the ship reportedly listed Sunday afternoon amid foul weather.

2 dead, 2 hurt as boat sinks in Laguna Lake

Two men drowned and two others were hurt after a fishing boat sank in Laguna de Bay Monday afternoon, the provincial police chief said.

DOH exec: A(H1N1) vaccine may be delayed to January

The release of the vaccine being developed to counter A(H1N1) influenza might be delayed to January 2010, a health official said Monday.

Drug firms can't take back price cuts

Even if there is a setback in revenues, pharmaceutical companies cannot unilaterally take back the voluntary price reduction they offered for 38 medicines.

Oscar Aragon, president of the Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association of the Philippines, said they are legally bound to honor the voluntary price cuts they offered to the Department of Health last month.

"We can't take it back because it's an undertaking, a legal document. If after three months or so the company affected has some issues on revenues, then we sit down with the government and ask for a review. It's not automatic, we can't take it back," he told reporters Monday.

Price cuts on drugs could lead to retrenchments

The reduction in revenues brought upon by the implementation of 50-percent price cuts on 21 essential drugs might force local pharmaceutical firms to trim down their workforces, an industry leader said on Monday.

No more sponsored golf, other perks for docs

Sponsored golf games and seminars in posh resorts here and abroad for doctors are no longer allowed among drug companies belonging to the Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association of the Philippines as it tried to police its ranks against unethical promotional activities.

SC waives legal fees for poor clients

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) has now given the poor better access to justice and legal assistance through a new resolution waiving the payment of legal fees.

Gov't to spend P2.5-B for green programs this year

MANILA - The government is set to spend P2.5 billion for environmental programs this year, a move seen to generate some 114,000 emergency jobs in the country.

SC's help sought on rape-slay convict's transfer to Spain

An anti-crime group on Monday asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the impending transfer of rape-slay convict Juan Larrañaga to Spain.

Lawyer ends up in jail while facilitating release of his client

The former Cebu provincial attorney was arrested yesterday for threatening to file criminal charges against the policemen if they will not release his client who was detained for a traffic-related case.  Atty. Danilo Pilapil, who served ad provincial attorney during the stint of then Governor Vicente dela Serna, went to the office of Cebu City PNP Traffic Group to facilitate the release of his client Harvey Igot Magali, but ended up arrested and detained in the police stockade.

COA: Capitol consultants have to reimburse 'gifts'

The Commission on Audit has ordered the immediate refund of almost P1 million that the provincial government of Cebu paid last year for the extra cash gifts of the 28 consultants, which state auditors found to be without legal basis.

Cuenco challenges Tomas to a debate on Guadalupe

REP. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City, south) has challenged Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to a debate on the split of Guadalupe into three barangays instead of just two.

Tomas to speak on family's behalf

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña will speak in behalf of the Osmeña family when the City Government commemorates the 131st birth anniversary of former president Don Sergio Osmeña, Sr. tomorrow.

Tining backs Noynoy-Mar tandem

CITING the need for change in politics, former Bogo mayor Celestino "Tining" Martinez III, said he favors a Noynoy-Mar tandem in next year's elections.

Following the Mikey trail: 2004, 2007 declarations show no campaign contributions

by By Ellen Tordesillas, Avigail Olarte, Yvonne Chua and Luz Rimban/Vera Files
Presidential son Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo failed to declare to the Commission on Elections contributions that he said he received when he ran for Congress in 2004 and 2007.

Palace mum on Mikey's alleged non-declaration of campaign donations

Presidential son and Pampanga Representative Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo is old enough to defend himself against allegations that he failed to declare campaign contributions he received in the two previous elections, Malacañang said Monday.

Ka Erdy laid to rest

(UPDATE 2) Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Erano Manalo was laid to rest at the Tabernacle near the INC Central Temple Monday noon.

Arroyo, VIPs pay final respects to Ka Erdy

(UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, high ranking government officials, and Cabinet members paid their last respects to Iglesia ni Cristo Exective Minister Eraño Manalo before his burial set Monday noon.

Church urges probe of Samar priest slay

Church and human rights officials in Eastern Visayas condemned last Sunday's killing of Father Cecilio Lucero and were one in asking police authorities in the region to immediately solve the gruesome murder.

10 NPA rebels killed in Agusan clash

At least 10 New People's Army rebels were killed Sunday when army soldiers raided their camp in Loreto, Agusan del Sur, a military official said Monday.

Duterte fires back at CHR over Davao killings

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who now considers himself free from any involvement in police business, has challenged the Commission on Human Rights to come back here and figure out why summary executions by the so-called Davao Death Squad vigilante group, continue.

AFP, MILF ceasefire holding, officials say

The ceasefire between the Arroyo government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is holding, according to Army and rebel leaders.

SC urged to junk plea to nullify VFA provisions

MANILA - The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition filed by former Senate president Jovito Salonga asking the court to rule on the constitutionality of the contentious provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) despite the acquittal of United States Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith.

WHO sets $1M aid to Mindanao

The United Nations health agency is seeking close to $1 million in assistance to hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

Australian firms may lay off OFWs

As the global financial crisis continue to wreak havoc across the global, companies in Australia might lay off foreign migrant workers, including Filipinos, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith said.

Comelec may extend voter registration hours

Although the Commission on Elections has rejected suggestions to extend the registration period, a senior poll official raised the possibility of extension to accommodate more eligible voters.

Teopisto Elnas, Comelec official who is in charge of the registration, said he has proposed extending by two hours the work hours in local Comelec offices as Oct. 31 deadline for registration nears.

"There is a pending request to extend the registration hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. This was also the request of the election officers," Elnas said in a recent interview.

Comelec awards P1.6B biometrics deal

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has awarded the P1.6 billion project for cleansing the computerized voters' list to the Unison joint venture, an official said.

De Castro given deadline to join Lakas-Kampi

Vice President Noli De Castro has only a week left to make up his mind if he wants to join the ruling administration party Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and subject himself to its selection process for the party's choice of standard-bearer, an official of the party said Monday.

4,200 cops to secure Asian environment forum

The Philippine National Police will be deploying some 4,200 policemen as security contingent to the three-day international environmental forum at the Philippine International Convention Center from September 9 to 11.

At least 100 likely dead in Indonesia quake

JAKARTA — At least 100 people were likely killed by a major 7.0-magnitude quake that rocked Indonesia's main island of Java last week, an official said Monday.

Singson on Palace rest plea: Just fire me

Deputy National Security Adviser Luis "Chavit" Singson said he would not heed a Malacañang advice to take a leave of absence as he faces the battering charges filed by his former common-law wife.

Palace assures justice in ally's "wife-beating" case

Malacañang on Monday assured justice in the alleged wife-beating incident involving deputy national security adviser Luis "Chavit" Singson, a close ally of President Arroyo.

Singson backtracks, now claims he saved partner"s life

Deputy national security adviser Luis "Chavit" Singson on Monday backtracked from his earlier public admission that he beat up his live-in partner Rachel Tiongson and her lover, saying instead that he had saved their lives by stopping the private detectives he had hired to stalk the pair from killing them.

Che Tiongson's townhouse emptied

Pinag-iisipan ngayon ni Che Tiongson kung sasampahan ng kasong kriminal ang dating ka-live in na si deputy national security adviser Chavit Singson! Nakabalik na si Tiongson sa tinitirahan kung saan niya sinasabing binugbog siya ni Chavit. Ang inirereklamo niya ngayon, nalimas daw ang mga gamit niya.

Chavit to skip hearing on "wife-beating" issue

Deputy national security adviser Luis "Chavit" Singson will skip Tuesday"s preliminary hearing into the case filed against him by Rachel "Che" Tiongson, his common-law wife partner whom he allegedly assaulted last week, a television report said.

Miss RP on possible showbiz career: Why not?!

MANILA – Miss Philippines 2009 Pamela Bianca Manalo confessed that she got depressed after she failed to make it in the top 15 of the 2009 Miss Universe last August 24 in the Bahamas.

Trouser-wearing women fined $200 in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan - A Sudanese judge convicted a woman journalist on Monday for violating the public indecency law by wearing trousers outdoors and fined her $200, but did not impose a feared flogging penalty.

Ted Turner  - "Sports is like a war without the killing."

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