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

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 20, 2009 Major News Stories

Eastern Petroleum, Shell announce hikes in pump prices

MANILA - Eastern Petroleum Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp on Monday announced hikes in their pump prices effective Tuesday.

Eastern Petroleum president Fernando Martinez, in a text message, said the independent oil player will implement a P2.00 per liter increase for diesel and P1.50 per liter for all its gasoline products effective 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Martinez said the increase in prices is "due to the drastic change in prices in the international market."

Pilipinas Shell meanwhile said it will increase prices of diesel by P2.00 per liter, unleaded premium gasoline by P1.25 per liter, regular gasoline by P0.85 per liter and kerosene by P1.50 per liter. It said its price adjustment would be implemented 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Petron Corp. meanwhile also said it will increase its prices effective 6 a.m. Tuesday. The pump price of premium gasoline will be increased by P1.25 per liter (Value-Added tax included); regular gasoline by P0.85 per liter; diesel by P2.00 per liter; jet fuel/kerosene by P1.50 per liter; and fuel by P0.75 per liter.

Virginia Ruivivar, Petron Corp. public relations manager, in a text message said Petron's increase is "to reflect the significant increase in international oil prices."

Not in Northern Luzon

Total Philippines meanwhile said it will increase pump prices but only in areas not affected by typhoon "Pepeng"

Malou Espina, Total corporate affairs manager, said Total will maintain its prices in North Luzon - areas affected by the recent typhoon.

Espina said however, "to reflect the increase in international oil prices," the independent oil player will adjust pump prices in other areas by P2.00 per liter for diesel, P0.85 per liter for regular gasoline and P1.25 for liter on premier unleaded, E10 and Protec (all VAT included).

She said the price adjustment of Total would be implemented 6 a.m. Tuesday.

DoE seeks opinion on oil price controls

The Department of Energy sought on Monday the opinions of the justice and finance departments for the possible imposition of price control over local petroleum products during the imposition of a state of calamity in the country.

Court to ask for Reyes testimony on oil firms' alleged cartelization

A Manila court is set to summon Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes and ask him to testify whether the Phlippines" three biggest oil companies are guilty of predatory pricing.

Shell, Seaoil reprimanded for raising prices during typhoon aftermath

Two oil companies - including one of the Philippines" largest fuel firms - were reprimanded for raising fuel prices after two typhoons damaged the country, including the capital.

'Ramil' to hit northern Luzon Thursday

Typhoon Ramil (international name: Lupit) is forecast to hit extreme Northern Luzon by Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Monday.

Prepare evacuation plan, local execs told

Days before typhoon "Ramil" is expected to make landfall in the country, all local chief executives have been told to prepare their respective evacuation and disaster rescue plans for residents in typhoon-prone areas.

PAF airlift rice, goods to Benguet villages

The Philippine Air Force started airlifting Monday more than 10 tons of rice to isolated villages in Benguet in a bid to beat the rains accompanying Typhoon "Ramil," (international name Lupit) which the weather bureau said would hit Northern Luzon on Thursday.

DSWD vows "politico-proof" distribution of relief goods

Politicians will not get a chance to use donated items from the United Nations as political "campaign materials" to be distributed to victims of recent cyclones, the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) said Monday.

Red Cross relief prioritize elderly, disabled

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) has been giving priority to the elderly and the disabled in distributing relief goods.

NDCC: "Pepeng" damage over P16B; P11B in agriculture

Damage to property caused by tropical cyclone "Pepeng" (Parma) breached the P16-billion mark as of Monday, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said.

Gov't to borrow P280-B for reconstruction efforts

MANILA - The government is planning to borrow as much as P280 billion from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support reconstruction efforts in areas damaged by recent storms.

5.3-magnitude quake jolts Metro, Luzon areas

An earthquake of 5.3 magnitude rocked southern and Central Luzon and parts of Metro Manila Monday but did not cause any damage or casualties, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

Vietnam to sign export rice contracts with RP

HANOI (Xinhua) – Vietnamese rice exporters will sign export contracts with the Philippines for next year, the local newspaper Liberty Saigonreported today.

Philhealth to assist leptospirosis cases

The government said it would extend assistance to leptospirosis patients confined in private hospitals as public hospitals are already overcrowded with people stricken with the life-threatening flood-borne disease.

He's provincial chairman, but Davide not the bet of LP for governor

Cebu City Councilor Hilario 'Jun-jun' Davide III is not the Liberal Party candidate for Cebu governor.

Tommy O returns to work next week

Cebu City Mayor On-Leave Tomas Osmeña is set to return to office sometime next week.

Davide to quit as councilor

CEBU City Councilor Hilario Davide III yesterday asked for his north district constituents to understand his decision to resign from the City Council so he can focus on the campaign for Sen. Aquino.

Tom scraps meeting with DOTC on LRT

Contrary to an earlier plan, the city government will no longer meet with representatives of the Department of Transportation and Communication and other proponents of the Light Rail Transit, at least for now, said City Planning and Development Head Nigel Paul Villarete.

Cebu South Bus Terminal journal gets checked today

With or without the approval from the Cebu Province, Cebu City treasurer Ofelia Oliva will inspect today the books of accounts of the Cebu South Bus Terminal.

PB ad hoc body marks exhibits for Balili land deal hearing

TO prepare for their deliberation next week, the Provincial Board (PB) ad hoc committee hearing on the controversial Balili land deal temporarily marked the exhibits.

Litigation ahead

THEY are going to court.

Residents and officials of Barangay Apas, Cebu City affected by the turnover of the Central Command (Centcom) lot to the Capitol last week will question the agreement before the court anytime this week.

Judges, reporters discuss proper guidelines in covering the courts

To observe proper guidelines in covering the justice beat, judges and reporters yesterday held a consultative meeting at the sala of Branch 9 Judge Geraldine Faith Econg.

Cebu still top emerging outsourcing city

For the second consecutive year, Cebu has emerged as the number one "Emerging Outsourcing City" of the world.

Provincial Board asked to intervene in coal ash dumping

The Global Legal Action on Climate Change, on behalf of residents of barangay Pangdan, Naga, sought the intervention of the Provincial Board on the alleged dumping of coal ash in the Pangdan River that has allegedly affected the water supply of the area.

Police to step up security in other malls

Police on Monday gave assurance they will secure SM Megamall and other major malls in eastern metropolis to prevent brazen daylight robberies similar to what happened Sunday at a luxury watch store Greenbelt 5 in Makati City.

'Alvin Flores Group' tagged in Greenbelt heist

MANILA -  The chief of the Makati Police on Monday said combined forces of the Alvin Flores and Colangco groups were behind a daring noontime robbery at a posh shopping mall in the country's financial district Sunday.

Public warned vs fake fire inspectors

The public has been advised against individuals posing as fire safety inspectors to extort money from owners of businesses and establishments.

US troops not taking part in priest rescue

American troops cannot participate in rescue operations for kidnapped Irish missionary, Fr. Michael Sinnott, because Philippine laws prevent them from doing so, according to US embassy spokesperson Rebecca Thomson.

Local missionary chief clarifies US request

The head of the Columban missionaries in the country played down the request made by their colleagues based in the United States for the government there to help rescue kidnapped Columban priest, Fr. Michael Sinnott.

Fr. Sinnott being held in Lanao provinces - AFP

Military intelligence reports are pointing to the Lanao provinces as the area where Irish priest Fr. Michael Sinnott is being kept by his abductors, a military official said on Monday.

MILF joins mission to rescue Irish priest

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has joined the search and rescue operation for kidnapped Irish priest Michael Sinnott of the Missionary Society of St. Columban in the Lanao provinces and Western Mindanao.

Abu Sayyaf bandits abduct school principal in Sulu - military

Abu Sayyaf bandits have abducted the principal of an elementary school in Patikul town in Sulu province Monday, a military report said.

200 sacks of ammonium nitrate seized in Tawi-tawi

MANILA - The military on Monday said it has seized over 200 sacks of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient in the manufacture of improvised bombs, in two separate operations in Tawi-tawi.

14 mayors under watch for illegal drugs

Fourteen of the country's mayors were placed under close watch because of their alleged involvement in illegal drug activities, Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said on Saturday.

Employers urged: Allow workers to register during office hours

With just 12 days before the voter"s registration ends, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has urged employers in the private sector to allow their eligible workers to register for the 2010 elections even during office hours.

Legarda declares 2010 bid with NPC, but mum on post

Senator Loren Legarda announced Monday that she would be running for higher office in 2010 under her own party, the Nationalist People's Coalition.

Arroyo and son eye Congress seats in 2010

With President Macapagal Arroyo bent on running for Congress in her hometown Pampanga in 2010, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo is reportedly gearing up to run as party-list representative.

Actor-politicians face poll ban over movies

Actor-politicians might be barred from showing their movies or television shows during the campaign period after they have filed their certificates of candidacies for the 2010 polls.

Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body has been looking at the possibility of banning actor-politicians from appearing in movies or television shows during the campaign period, the same way as TV and radio broadcasters, film, and print workers take a leave of absence from their jobs when they run for public office.

The reason for this is to prevent one sector -- in this case showbiz personalities -- from having an undue built-in advantage over non-showbiz politicians.

Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, on Monday, also warned actor-politicians that the showing of their movies or television shows immediately after they have filed their certificates of candidacies might constitute premature campaigning.

Aquino girlfriend eyes seat in Congress

Will the country have a First Lady with a public mandate of her own as a congresswoman?  Valenzuela councilor Shalani Soledad, the girlfriend of leading presidential aspirant Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is eyeing a possible run for Congress in 2010, according to former Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) general manager Angelito "Lito" Banayo.

Talking with Inquirer editors and reporters last week, Banayo said that this was the reason behind the decision of Valenzuela second district Rep. Magtranggol Gunigundo II to bolt the Liberal Party.

DOJ gives Lacson new chance to submit counter-affidavit

MANILA - Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera on Monday confirmed that Sen. Panfilo Lacson has been given another chance to submit his counter-affidavit to a complaint filed on his alleged involvement in the twin killings of publicist Salvador "Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito last 2000.

Military to review decision freeing 11 coup plotters

MANILA - The military on Monday said it will review the ruling of a military court that cleared last week 11 of the 28 officers implicated in a February 2006 coup plot against President Arroyo.

Ombudsman Gutierrez seeks SC post

by By Aries Rufo, Newsbreak
OMBUDSMAN Merceditas Gutierrez, who has been highly criticized for being too cozy and soft with the Arroyos, is one of the 36 applicants to the Supreme Court post to be vacated by retiring justice Leonardo Quisumbing.

Old guns recycled into farming tools

Some 700 old and unserviceable firearms were burned at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame on Monday to be recycled into farming tools and implements.

'Standard time' aimed at solving 'Filipino time'

Convinced that the meaning of "Filipino time" should be changed, Senator Edgardo Angara is pushing for a legislation that will put a Philippine Standard Time (PST) to be followed as official time.

Senate Bill 3479 will have all clocks in all government agencies, private firms, homes and schools to follow the official time set by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Pagasa will also have large, synchronized time devices in all of their field offices across the country, to be followed by everyone.

But more than just getting Filipinos to follow one clock only, Angara explained that the purpose of the PST is to make Filipinos adapt a culture of punctuality.

Supreme Court affirms pay parking in malls

The Supreme Court has upheld the right of mall owners to collect parking fees from their customers.  The Court, in a 26-page ruling authored by Associate Justice Minita Chico-Nazario, junked the petition for review on certiorari filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), which seeks to annul the decisions issued by the Regional Trial Court of Makati City in favor of major mall owners like Ayala Land, Robinsons Land Corporation, Shangri-La Plaza Corporation and SM Prime Holdings Inc.

The High Tribunal, in its decision, reaffirmed the lower court's ruling against the OSG, which said that shopping mall owners are not obligated to provide free parking to their patrons.

The OSG's argument that mall owners are obligated to provide free parking space, which would protect "life, health, property and public welfare" and alleviate traffic jams, as mandated by building laws was deficient, the Court ruled.

New billing method to hike cellphone call usage

Charging mobile phone calls per six-second increments, instead of per minute, will boost voice call usage, a new report from a US-based analyst firm said.

Immunity ruled out for Lucio Tan's brother

Government lawyers maintained that the brother of Lucio Tan must not be given immunity from suit in exchange for testifying on the pending ill-gotten wealth cases against the business tycoon.

Local BPO can grow to $100-B industry—execs

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The Philippines business process outsourcing industry (BPO) can raise revenues of up to $100 billion by 2020 by properly developing the talent pool and increasing the value chain of services, Indian outsourcing officials said on Monday.

Arroyo set to attend ASEAN summit in Thailand

MANILA -  President Arroyo is set to go to Thailand to attend the 15th annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) even as another powerful typhoon is threatening to hit the northern part of the country.

GMA to push through with trip despite typhoon

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - President Arroyo will push through with her trip to Bangkok on Friday to attend the ASEAN Leaders' Summit despite the forecast of a potential super typhoon striking the country in the next few days.

Myanmar premier to attend Asean summit

Myanmar's prime minister, General Thein Sein, will attend the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Thailand this week, an official announced Monday.

Iran accuses US, Britain, Pakistan over lethal bombing

TEHRAN - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini on Monday pointed a finger of blame at the United States for a devastating suicide bombing which killed 42 people, ISNA news agency reported.

New US medical marijuana policy issued

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, under new policy guidelines to be sent to federal prosecutors Monday.

Roach: Cotto won't weather Manny's onslaught in ring

MANILA - Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto won't last long against Pinoy boxing champ Manny Pacquiao in the ring, coach Freddie Roach said Monday. Roach made his prediction after they came back to Manila from Baguio to continue Pacquiao's training for the November 14 bout. He said that even if Cotto is used to fighting heavier opponents, Pacquiao's speed and strength would be the Pinoy's edge in the ring.

PBA suspends Arboleda until 2010

MANILA – Wynne Arboleda of the Burger King (BK) Whoppers has been suspended without pay for the rest of the 2009-2010 season, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) announced Monday.

Actress, son, want robbery arraignment deferred anew

Actress Amalia Fuentes and her son have asked a local court to defer their arraignment again against the robbery case that had been filed against them.

In a motion heard before the court on Monday, Fuentes (Amalia Muhlach Stevens in real life) and her son Gerard asked the Quezon City regional trial court said they were seeking the postponement because the Department of Justice has not yet issued a resolution on their petition for review.

The two are facing a robbery case filed by the First Mindanao Agriculture Corp., in which they were accused of stealing items from the FMA office in Cubao, which is owned by Fuentes' estranged husband, Joey Stevens.

Lyka Ugarte's daughter confirms ma's suicide try

Inamin ng 19-year-old daughter ni Lyka Ugarte na apat na beses nang nagtangkang magpakamatay ang kaniyang ina. Depression daw at financial problems ang karaniwang dahilan nito.

Sharon Cuneta assures she's healthy

by By Bernie Franco,
MANILA - Nilinaw ni Megastar Sharon Cuneta sa "The Buzz" noong Linggo na hindi delikado ang kanyang kalusugan gaya ng mga nasusulat sa mga tabloid.

Kris to start shooting 'Mano Po 6' this week

MANILA – Actress-host Kris Aquino will start filming her much awaited movie, "Mano Po 6," under Regal Films on Thursday.

A 'diva' Sharon in 'Mano Po 6'

Magtataray sa "Mano Po 6" si Sharon Cuneta! Hindi naman tumanggap ng talent fee si Kris Aquino na supporting role kay Megastar!

Tacloban 'Oktubafest' makes Guinness bid

TACLOBAN CITY - In a local twist to the German beer-fiesta "Oktoberfest, residents of Eastern Visayas feted a local brew made from coconut sap in the 2nd installment of "Oktubafest."

Hardness is the way to happiness: sex survey

LONDON - Men's confidence in their erections varies widely across Europe with Spanish men most worried and Germans the happiest, a survey for the makers of Viagra showed on Monday.

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