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

Monday, October 5, 2009

October 6, 2009 Major News Stories

Typhoon 'Quedan' enters RP

Typhoon "Quedan" (international codename: Melor) entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) Monday afternoon and was expected to pull Tropical Storm "Pepeng" back to Northern Luzon in what government meteorologists called the "Fujiwara effect."

'Pepeng' still threatens north Luzon – Pagasa

Typhoon "Pepeng" (international name: PARMA) continues to threaten extreme northern Luzon provinces, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in its 5p.m update Monday.

'Pepeng' strengthens; storm signals raised again over N. Luzon

MANILA - Philippine weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) announced on Monday late afternoon that weather disturbance "Pepeng" (international codename Parma) which has been downgraded to a tropical storm has slightly strengthened but remains almost stationary northwest of Ilocos Norte. 

Ship sinks as 'Pepeng' loiters off Northwestern Luzon

MANILA/TAIPEI - A ship carrying refrigerated goods sank in the South China Sea, killing one person and leaving 10 crew missing, as a powerful storm stalled off the Philippines' northwestern coast on Monday, officials said. 

Christmas break to push through - DepEd

The Department of Education on Monday denied reports that it was canceling the Christmas vacation of students to make up for the suspended school days due to tropical storm "Ondoy."

No rice shortage due to cyclones, DA assures

There will be no rice shortage this year despite the massive damage caused by tropical storm "Ondoy" and typhoon "Pepeng" to rice crops in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Monday.

RP to import 2010 rice needs in due time

by Reuters
MANILA - The Philippines has enough rice stocks until year-end and will import for its 2010 needs in due time, a top official said on Monday, wary that more purchases by the world's largest rice buyer could push prices higher.

Lubricants, funeral services included in price freeze

MANILA - In the aftermath of tropical storm "Ondoy" and typhoon "Pepeng", Malacañang expanded the list of products covered by a price freeze.

Aside from canned goods, rice and other basic food products, medicines, cooking gas, and lubricants are now included in the list.

The government also placed a ceiling on prices of construction materials such as cement and hollow blocks, which would be used to repair flood-damaged properties and build new homes.

Even funeral services have been included in the "price freeze" list as the death toll from the two recent calamities that hit the country rose to over 300.

The Department of Trade and Industry is monitoring prices of all these products and services to prevent unscrupulous business owners from taking advantage of disaster victims who are in dire need of these.

Under the Price Act, automatic price controls and ceilings can be imposed on necessities in the event of a calamity or emergency or during times of war and rebellion, and if martial law is declared.

Pag-IBIG offers payment deferral, more loans for 'Ondoy' victims

Pag-IBIG Fund members whose homes were demolished by storm Ondoy were allowed to defer housing loan payments for three months, the agency said on Monday.

Funds needed to implement order to clear danger areas

Acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said that the order of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to remove all shanties near creeks and coastal areas can be implemented but hopes that the national government releases funds for such.

Ruiz to residents: Brace for floods

MORE than 1,000 informal settlers in Mandaue City's flood-prone areas will be at risk this storm season unless the City Council allows Mayor Jonas Cortes to relocate them in Barangay Paknaan.

Tom wants facility closed: South Bus Terminal has no biz permit

Mayor on-leave Tomas Osmeña plans to shut down the Cebu South Bus Terminal along Natalio Bacalso Ave., because it does not have a business permit.  ON orders of Mayor-on-leave Tomas Osmeña, Cebu City Hall officials are studying a move toward shutting down the Province-run Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) and the filing of extortion charges against Capitol officials for collecting P5 from each passenger.

Staff admits making voucher: Treasurer ordered docs prepared for Balili lot

The mystery on who prepared the obligation request and the payment vouchers for the controversial P98.9 million Balili transaction was finally solved yesterday after the admission of a staff from the provincial treasurer's office that she prepared the documents upon the order of the treasurer himself.

Although she found it "abnormal and irregular" Charity Saluntao admitted before the members of the ad hoc committee of the provincial board investigating the Balili transaction that she caused the preparations of the obligation requests and the payment vouchers.

Saluntao, an administrative aide assigned for the preparations of payrolls and vouchers at the provincial treasurer's office, said she was ordered by provincial treasurer Roy Salubre.

According to Saluntao, there were documents that Emerciano Sabellano, staff of Provincial Board Member Juan Bolo, gave to Salubre before she was ordered to prepare the OBR and the vouchers.

Saluntao however could no longer recall the exact date and time when the documents were given by Sabellano. 

Town seeks PB's nod

THE Consolacion Municipal Government is asking a favorable endorsement from the Cebu Provincial Board on a 207-hectare reclamation project in the town.

ALU hold consultations on wage hike

The country's biggest labor union, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Congress Union of the Philippines is still having a series of consultations with regards to their plan to seek for a wage hike.

Fare hike petition still pending before LTFRB

The fare hike petition filed by Cebu's transport group is still pending before the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board head office in Manila.

Ace may run for governor after all

AFTER repeatedly saying that a gubernatorial bid was not in his mind, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano yesterday said he will listen to the people to help him decide his political career.

Granada wins in Comelec recount by 21 votes

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division in Manila proclaimed Demetrio Granada the winner of the Tudela mayoral race by 21 votes.

'Present proof vs. CCPO cops'

CEBU City Police Office (CCPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador yesterday challenged the wife of P03 Reynaldo Solante to produce the bank withdrawal receipt on the missing P300,000 cash allegedly stolen.

Thousands still displaced by floods in Zambales

As more than 3,000 evacuees in Zambales started returning home on Monday after typhoon "Pepeng" crossed northern Luzon, thousands more in Botolan town remained in evacuation centers due to severe flooding there since August, local officials said.

Floodwaters to remain for 3 months - WFP

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) – The World Food Programme (WFP) said today floodwaters in communities affected by tropical storm "Ondoy" (international codename: "Ketsana") are expected to remain in the next three months.

Solons question P10B calamity fund

Several party-list lawmakers on Monday told Congress to go slow in approving the P10-billion calamity fund being proposed as supplemental budget to the 2010 appropriation in the wake of the devastation brought by storms Ondoy and Pepeng.

2009 calamity fund depleted - DBM

MANILA - The government's P2 billion calamity fund in 2009 has been depleted following the damages caused by tropical storm Ondoy,  typhoon Pepeng, and other weather disturbances that have hit the country so far.

Use govt savings for disaster relief efforts: group

MANILA - Instead of the proposed P10-billion supplemental budget, the Arroyo government should just use part of its P140-billion "savings" last year for the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the wake of tropical storm "Ondoy" and typhoon "Pepeng" which battered Luzon over the past 2 weeks, a budget advocacy group said on Monday.

Party-list solons seek release of pork barrel to flood victims

Opposition party-list lawmakers are willing to donate millions of pesos in their pork barrel fund for the victims of Tropical Storm "Ondoy" (international codename: Ketsana) and Typhoon "Pepeng" (Parma), if they would be released at all by Malacañang.

Agri chief appeals for mitigation fund

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has asked for more funds for 2010 after the week-apart onslaughts of Tropical Storm "Ondoy" and Typhoon "Pepeng," and sought a typhoon mitigation fund to be embedded in the department's budget.

Teodoro calls for new urban plan study

A new study on urban planning and development must be commissioned by the Office of the President to prevent a repeat of the massive flooding in Metro Manila triggered by tropical storm "Ondoy," Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. suggested Monday.

Senate starts hearing effects of 'Ondoy'

The Senate on Monday started its hearing on the "lessons" that should be learned from the effects of tropical storm "Ondoy," which battered Metro Manila and nearby provinces and claimed nearly 300 lives and displaced more than half a million people.

Jail mayors violating waste laws—DENR chief

Local officials who do not comply with proper solid waste management laws should be imprisoned for the devastation their neglect caused in the flooding last week, Environment Secretary Lito Atienza said at a hearing in the Senate on Monday.

No water release from dams in Ondoy floods

The flooding in low-lying areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces at the height of tropical storm Ondoy was caused by excessive rainfall and not by the release of water from the Angat and Ipo dams, the chief of the state-owned weather bureau said.

DOF: No tax on relief donations

MANILA - The Department of Finance (DOF) clarified on Monday that relief donations from abroad are not taxed as long as the recipient non-government organizations (NGOs) are accredited with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

One-stop shop for donations causes confusion

by by Ellen Tordesillas, VERA Files
MANILA - The Bureau of Customs has sought to allay public distrust arising from the directive of President Gloria Arroyo to course all foreign donations through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by setting up a multi-agency, one-stop shop system at all its offices, including at the airports, to facilitate the release and delivery of goods for victims of Storm "Ondoy."

UNDP to donate $75M in relief goods

The United Nation's Development Program (UNDP) will donate US$75 million worth of aid in food and non-food items to victims of tropical storm "Ondoy."

Comelec awaits 20 poll machines

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will receive within the month 20 poll machines that will be used as demo units to educate voters nationwide in preparation for next year's automated elections.

SC asked: Compel Comelec to release source codes

MANILA - A group asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reveal the source codes that will be used in the precinct counting machines to be used in the 2010 poll automation. 

Slow response to Ondoy may hurt Gibo in 2010

The government's response to the devastation wrought by tropical storm "Ondoy" would be on the minds of voters in the 2010 elections and it would not be remembered fondly, according to a militant lawmaker.

JBC pushes 3 appellate justices for SC nomination

The Judicial and Bar Council on Monday voted to include three appellate court justices in the short-list of nominees to replace the newly retired Senior Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago who turned 70 on Monday.  In a meeting on Monday morning, the JBC included in its short list appellate court associate justices Noel Tijam, Martin Villarama and Hakim Abdulwahid.

Negros farmer shot dead; vigilantes blamed

An alleged leader of a farmers' group was shot dead on Sunday in Barangay (Village) Bug-ang, Toboso, Negros Occidental.

6 hurt in land mine blast

Six persons were injured when a land mine exploded along a road in Baliguian town in Zamboanga del Norte on Monday morning.

Bomb explodes in Cotabato City, no one hurt

(UPDATE) Unidentified men lobbed an improvised explosive device along the main road in Cotabato City early Monday morning, but no one was reported hurt, the city police chief said.

Displaced in Sulu rise due to military offensives vs ASG

The Department of Social Welfare and Development office in Indanan town in Sulu province has already registered 1,757 families or a total of 6,868 individuals displaced or evacuated because of the continuous military offensive in the area against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). 

DILG seeks 10,000 more cops to ease shortage

The Department of Interior and Local Government wants to hire some 10,000 new policemen in 2010, in a bid to bring down the shortage of policemen across the country.

DepEd: Transferees can now be honor bets

by By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines – Transferees in the elementary and high school levels are now eligible to become honor students when they graduate, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus announced today (Oct. 5).

'New deal' for migrant workers urged

PARIS, France — Governments worldwide should look at changes to their immigration policies with a view to offering a "new deal" to migrant workers whose skills can help spur economic recovery, a UN report said Monday.

IT to generate 5.8M new jobs by 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, California, United States — Information technology will be an employment machine, generating 5.8 million new jobs in the coming four years, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) research released Sunday.

3 killed in blast inside UN-Islamabad office

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Two Pakistani women and one foreign national were killed Monday in a bomb blast inside a United Nations office in the capital Islamabad, senior police officials said.

Thai train derails, killing 8 people

BANGKOK (AP) – A train derailed during heavy rains early Monday near a popular seaside resort in central Thailand, killing at least eight people and injuring 54 others, officials said.

Mubarak urges Israel to resume peace talks

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged Israel to resume peace talks with the Palestinians where they broke off more than a year ago, warning that the peace process "can't take another failure."

Wen meets NKorea's Kim amid bid to restart nuclear talks

SEOUL - Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il late Monday amid efforts to bring Pyongyang back to nuclear disarmament talks, Beijing's state media reported.

Marquez trainer picks Pacquiao over Cotto

by By Dino Maragay
MANILA, Philippines – Take it from maestro Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, the master tactician who plotted one of the few game plans that could beat Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao.

Angel Locsin, 'Kahit Isang Saglit' bag International Emmy nominations

2 out of 3 nominations from RP are from ABS-CBN MANILA -  ABS-CBN's Angel Locsin and the teleserye "Kahit Isang Saglit" were declared as official nominees in the 37th International Emmy Awards, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS) announced Monday.

Premiere night of Toni's first indie film a success

MANILA – Celebrity couple Toni Gonzaga and filmmaker Paul Soriano were thankful to moviegoers who supported their first independent film together, "A Journey Home."

Fil Am White House chef feted in DC

by By Rodney J. Jaleco, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
WASHINGTON D.C. - White House executive chef Cristeta Pasia Comerford was feted at a special weekend reception at the Ambassador's residence, receiving another award for culinary excellence.

No beer for Joe Jackson

by Bang Showbiz
Michael Jackson's father has been banned from a German beer festival because he should not be partying after his "child has passed away."

RP behind Asian neighbors in human development

by by Jesus F. Llanto, Newsbreak
UNDP study doesn't reflect effects of global crisis yet The Philippines ranked 105th among 182 countries whose human development index (HDI) were rated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for 2009, showing a slight improvement in its HDI value from three years ago.

Norway tops UN human development index

PARIS, France — Norway takes the number one spot in the annual United Nations human development index released Monday but China has made the biggest strides in improving the well-being of its citizens.

The index compiled by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) ranks 182 countries based on such criteria as life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment, and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

Norway, Australia, and Iceland took the first three spots while Niger ranks at the very bottom, just below Afghanistan.

China moved up seven places on the list to rank as the 92nd most developed country due to improvements in education as well as income levels and life expectancy.

Colombia and Peru rose five spaces to rank 77th and 78th while France—which was not part of the top 10 last year—returns to the upper echelons by moving up three places to number 8.

The UNDP said the index highlights the grave disparities between rich and poor countries.

A child born in Niger can expect to live to just over 50, which is 30 years less than a child born in Norway. For every dollar a person earns in Niger, 85 dollars are earned in Norway.

This year's index was based on data from 2007 and does not take into account the impact of the global economic crisis.

"Many countries have experienced setbacks over recent decades, in the face of economic downturns, conflict-related crises, and the HIV and AIDS epidemic," said the UN development report's author Jeni Klugman.

"And this was even before the impact of the current global financial crisis was felt."

Afghanistan, which returns to the list for the first time since 1996, is the only Asian country among the bottom ten which also include Sierra Leone in the 180th spot, just below the Central African Republic.

The top ten countries listed on the index are: Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland, and Japan.

The United States ranks 13th, down one spot from last year.

Older women sleep better than men, but gripe more

by Reuters
NEW YORK - Older women may complain about their sleepless nights more than men do, but new research shows they're actually catching more Z's.

Half of babies born in rich world will live to 100

by Reuters
LONDON - More than half of babies born in rich nations today will live to be 100 years old if current life expectancy trends continue, according to Danish researchers.

US trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for research into ageing

by Agence France-Presse
STOCKHOLM - Australian-American researcher Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider and Jack Szostak of the United States won the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday for identifying a key molecular switch in cellular ageing.

4 to 6 more cyclones to enter RP before yearend

After "Ondoy," "Pepeng" and "Quedan," about four to six more cyclones are due to enter Philippine territory in the last three months of 2009, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said Monday.

Never trust Mayon's lull—Solidum

Volcanic quakes, sustained inflation of the edifice, gas emissions and crater glows are very important signs of a coming eruption of Mayon Volcano and people around it should never trust its momentary lull, this was the warning from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum Monday.

Jonathan Swift  - "May you live every day of your life."

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