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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October 8, 2009 Major News Stories

Rape-slay convict now in Madrid prison

The Philippine Embassy in Spain is closely monitoring the detention of the rape-slay convict who is to serve the remainder of his life sentence in a Madrid prison, according to an embassy report to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

RP embassy in Spain to check on convicted rapist

A convicted rapist and murderer who will serve the remainder of his 40-year prison term in Spain will be checked at least once a month by Philippine embassy staff there, acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera said Wednesday.

Gwen reverses Byron on rules

DISSATISFIED with new rules at the Cebu South Bus Terminal, operators of buses and minibuses went to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for changes in the system.

Meanwhile, Byron Garcia challenged Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and critics of the terminal to inspect the terminal before they open their mouths against the entrance fee and other changes in the system.

Starting tomorrow, minibuses bound for Carcar can go back to the terminal.

But bus and minibus drivers should not pick up passengers within 300 meters outside the terminal, and should observe time limits for loading passengers.

The governor's order also means Ceres buses, which were tapped to ferry passengers for Barili and Dumanjug, will return to their long-distance routes.

Chan Transit, which gained an exclusive loading bay to cater to passengers bound for Sibonga and Carcar, will now have to line up for trips. It was previously given priority to handle the first six trips.


In related developments yesterday:

The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) denied the minibus operators' request for a terminal near Elizabeth Mall, a bus stop along Sanciangko St. and an alternative route for buses that will allow them to proceed to Fuente Osmeña.

Councilor Sylvan Jakosalem said the board instead agreed to allow the minibuses to set up a temporary terminal near the Barangay Mambaling access road that leads to the South Road Properties.

Near-'Baliligate' in Mandaue?

A 6.5-HECTARE lot in Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City that was being considered as a relocation site for riverbank dwellers is actually a submerged area, said Vice
Mayor Carlo Fortuna.

Coast bry. residents being evacuated

THE Cebu City Government yesterday started the nightly evacuation of around 300 families living near the shore of four neighboring coastal barangays of the city.

Glimmer of hope for nullified cities

THE Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) to answer two pending motions in the case that questioned the laws creating 16 new cities.

Yap: No rice shortage yet

MANILA - Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap claimed on Wednesday that the damage wrought by two storms that hit the country in the last two weeks has not affected the National Food Authority's (NFA) rice stock for this year.

Gov't could set 2010 rice import figure this week

by Reuters
MANILA - The Philippines, the world's largest rice buyer, will kick off its 2010 rice import process after a government panel determines the amount, possibly this week, the state's National Food Authority said on Wednesday.

Cyclone-destroyed rice crops enough to feed RP for 8 days

The total quantity of rice destroyed by the two consecutive cyclones that hit Luzon is enough to feed the entire country for more than a week, but the government is quick to assure that it would not lead to a rice crisis similar to last year's.

Senate approves bill condoning late SSS dues

The bicameral conference approved on Wednesday a one-time condonation of penalties for delinquent Social Security System (SSS) contributions ostensibly to help typhoon victims avail of loan privileges like salary or housing loan.

Selective lifting of 'state of calamity' eyed

Malacañang allayed fears of a prolonged national state of calamity, indicating that the declaration might be lifted in the Visayas and Mindanao by Thursday.

Gov't poised to lift nationwide state of calamity declaration

THE GOVERNMENT may lift the nationwide state of calamity declaration today and instead limit its coverage to heavily affected areas as Malacanang awaits the recommendation of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).

Prospects dim for P10-B supplemental funding

CONGRESS MAY be unable to provide the P10-billion supplemental budget to augment the almost depleted calamity fund due to lack of time with Congress going on a month-long break starting late next week without even starting talks on the proposal.

Ondoy, Pepeng toll: P11-B damage; 300 persons dead

DAMAGE FROM tropical cyclones Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) and Pepeng (international name: Parma) has reached over P11 billion, state agencies yesterday said, with casualties from floods and landslides reaching over 300 persons.

NDCC admits 'shortcomings' in disaster management—spokesman

Recent calamities that hit the country have prompted the National Disaster Coordinating Council to admit that it has "organizational shortcomings" when responding to these disasters.

The NDCC is also relying on help from other government agencies like the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Public Works and Highways, among others.

The NDCC estimated that more than four million people were affected by tropical storm "Ondoy" and typhoon "Pepeng." More than P10 billion worth of infrastructure and agriculture were also damaged because of the calamities.

RP warns of epidemics amid flood victims

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA - The Philippines warned Wednesday there was a high probability of epidemics among the 340,000 people crowded into poorly equipped makeshift evacuation centres following recent deadly floods.

Relief goods raffled off to flood victims?

Officials are looking into reports that relief goods re-packed in Malacañang and transported by trucks to disaster-stricken areas in Metro Manila are now being raffled off to flood victims.

REUTERS FACTBOX: Foreign aid for RP floods

by Reuters
Here is a breakdown of more than $17 million worth of humanitarian aid promised and sent so far to help people in storm-hit areas of the Philippines:

European Union

- The European Union and some member-states, including Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland, have contributed a total of $5.6 million.

United Nations

The World Food Programme has committed to deliver about $500,000 worth of rice and brought in 3 helicopters and 7 boats to help deliver food and relief materials to flooded areas.

The World Health Organization has promised $42,000 in relief funds while UNICEF has initially provided $226,350 in food and relief materials.

Asian Development Bank

- $3 million in cash donation.

United States

- $100,000 in relief efforts. Jerry cans and hygiene kits worth $400,000 were being brought by chartered flight last week. The US military has deployed two ships, 11 heavy-lift helicopters and engineering equipment to help in the clean up effort.


- $140,000 in donations, including contributions from Huawei Corp.


- $220,000 worth of relief goods, including thousands of blankets and sleeping bags, waters tanks and water purifiers.

South Korea

- $300,000 in the form of rubber boats, tents, rice, medical supplies and other relief materials. Another $50,000 was donated by Korea's OCI Company Ltd.


- $879,000.


- About $4.7 million was promised by Ottawa and an additional $50,000 was raised by its Manila embassy staff.


- The government was sending $30,000 and an additional $20,000 was raised by the Singapore Red Cross.


- Indonesia's PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk pledged to donate one million packs of instant noodles.


- Taiwan sent knock-down tents for temporary shelter areas.


- $314,000, including portable water pumps, generator sets and water purifiers and tanks.

Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)

- $15,000

Development and Peace

- The Montreal-based humanitarian group sent $50,000 donation to the Catholic church-based Caritas charity in Manila

United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society

- $100,000 cash donation to the Philippine National Red Cross through the UAE embassy in Manila.

Japan Platform (JPF)

- $333,333 in relief and medical missions. Three other Japan-based non-government organizations distributed relief goods worth more than $124,000


- Potable water and non-food items, such as blankets, soaps, cleaning equipment, clothes and water containers.

World Vision

- The humanitarian agency appealed for $2 million help to provide food and relief goods to 100,000 people in flooded areas near the capital.


The Association of South East Asian Nations has offered to set up an emergency relief fund for member-states hit by typhoons and earthquake.

Obama condoles with RP storm victims

US President Barack Obama expressed on Tuesday his "deep condolences for the loss of life and devastation caused by recent storms in the Philippines, particularly tropical storm Ketsana (Ondoy).

Italy sends aid to storm-hit Philippines

Italy was to dispatch aid worth 284,000 euros ($400,000) Wednesday to the Philippines to help the victims of two massive storms, the foreign ministry said.

RP hopes int'l aid for "Ondoy" victims will last for months

The government is optimistic that the international community"s overwhelming generosity for the victims of tropical storm "Ondoy" (international name Ketsana) would continue in the coming months.

'Ondoy' victims can renew passports for free

People whose passports were lost or damaged because of the recent floods caused by tropical storm Ondoy can apply for a new one free of charge, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

4 trapped as health office collapses in Palawan

Four people, all female, were reportedly trapped inside the municipal health office in Palawan Wednesday after the one-storey building collapsed due to continuous rains, the provincial police chief said.

House set to pass P1.5-trillion budget bill next week

The proposed P1.541-trillion budget for 2010 will be passed in the House of Representative by next week, leaders of the chamber said Wednesday.

Arroyo's unfulfilled promises in Congress speech

With just eight months in office and with huge budget cuts in the 2010 appropriations, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may step down next year without completing all the infrastructure projects that she promised to deliver to the country in her State of the Nation Address.

Comelec issues guidelines on filing of COCs

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has released guidelines for the filing of certificates of candidacy or COC for official candidates and registered political parties in next year's national elections.

Under Comelec en banc Resolution 8678, those running for president, vice president and senator should file their CoC at the agency's law department in Intramuros, Manila within November 20 to 30.

Those who will run for members of the House of Representatives for legislative districts in Metro Manila should file with the office of the National Capital Region regional election director, said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

The office of the provincial election supervisor (OPES) shall receive the CoCs of those who will run as members of the House of Representatives of legislative districts in provinces and for
provincial officials.

City election officers will receive CoCs for members of the House of Representatives for legislative districts in cities outside NCR, which comprise one or more legislative districts and COCs for city officials of cities with more than one election officer.

CoCs for local positions in cities and municipalities should be filed with the city and municipal election officer concerned.

"Candidates should file their CoC in the form prescribed by the Comelec in five legible copies personally or through his duly authorized representative with the specified Comelec office," Jimenez said.

"Certificates shall be sworn before a notary public or any official authorized to administer oath and must contain all the prescribed data," said Jimenez.

Legarda wooed by 5 presidential bets to be VP

Senator Loren Legarda claimed that at least five presidential aspirants were courting her to become their running mate in the upcoming elections.

Loren ready to give way to Chiz

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Handang magparaya si Senator Loren Legarda kay Senator Francis Escudero bilang pambato ng Nationalist People's Coalition sa pagkapangulo! Kaya marami ang nag-aabang sa posibilidad ng tambalang Escudero at Legarda sa halalan sa 2010. 

Gibo on premature campaigners: Don"t use Ondoy relief for 2010 ambitions

Defense chief and presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro said the public should be wary of candidates who take advantage of the ongoing Ondoy relief operations for early campaigning in the 2010 elections, saying these acts are "insensitive" to the needs of the people.

Palace to critics: Stop politicking in times of calamity

Malacañang on Wednesday urged its critics to set politics aside as the nation struggles to recover from the havoc caused in succession by tropical storm "Ondoy" and typhoon "Pepeng."

Arroyo visits hometown for 38th time this year

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday visited her hometown for the second time in three days to distribute relief goods to flood-stricken villages.

5 Magdalo soldiers to seek public office

Five Magdalo soldiers involved in the brief occupation of a posh hotel in Makati in 2007 plan to run for elective posts next year, their attorney said Wednesday.  Among those who signified their intention to run in the 2010 elections were Lt.(s.g.) Andy Torrato, Lt (j.g.) Arturo Pascua, Jr., Lt. Billy Pascua, 2nd Lt. Jonnell Sangalang and Ens. Armand Pontejos.

DILG chief's 'authorized' leave defended

Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno is on "authorized" leave, contrary to a senator's claim that he did not get the permission of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government said on Wednesday.

RP courts hampering death squad probe—rights group

Philippine courts are not cooperating in the investigation of vigilante killings that have claimed nearly 1,000 lives in the country's south, Human Rights Watch said.

2 security escorts of Sulu mayor killed, 4 hurt in ambush

2 security escorts of a mayor in Sulu province were killed wile 4 others were injured after they were ambushed Sunday afternoon, a belated report said Wednesday. 

RP remains confident on restarting talks with Muslim rebels

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A senior Philippine official Wednesday said he remains confident that the stalled peace talks between Manila and the country's largest Muslim rebel group will soon resume.

SC upholds BSP ruling on Legacy banks

The Supreme Court stood by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monetary Board in its ruling on undercapitalized banks under the controversial Legacy Group of Companies.
The BSP earlier placed Rural Bank of Paranaque, Inc., Rural Bank of San Jose (Batangas), Inc., Rural Bank of Carmen (Cebu) Inc., Pilipino Rural Bank, Inc., Philippine Countryside Rural Bank Inc., Rural Bank of Calatagan (Batangas) Inc. (now Dynamic Rural Bank), Rural Bank of DARBCI, Inc., Rural Bank of Kananga (Leyte), Inc. (now First Interstate Rural Bank), Rural Bank of Bisayas Minglanilla (now Bank of East Asia) and San Pablo City Development Bank Inc. under receivership, prohibiting them from transacting business.

PCGG thumbs down offer of Lucio Tan's brod

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) yesterday turned down the offer of Mariano Tanenglian to testify against his estranged brother, business tycoon Lucio Tan, in a Marcos ill-gotten wealth case.

Peso eases to 46.75:$1

by Reuters
MANILA - The Philippine peso shed a third of a percent to 46.75 per US dollar on Wednesday as the unit was technically overbought after its recent rally.

DOF urged to remove DST on remittances

In the wake of the devastation inflicted by tropical cyclones "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" on the Philippines, a lawmaker has urged the Department of Finance (DOF) to remove the documentary stamp tax on the remittances of overseas Filipinos.

RP condemns terror attack on UN food agency in Pakistan

The Philippine government "condemns in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack against the United Nations World Food Program agency and its employees on October 5 in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Wednesday.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi meets with junta minister: official

YANGON - Detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with a minister from Myanmar's ruling junta Wednesday for the second time in a week, in the first signs of a resumed dialogue between the two sides.

Top court overturns Italian premier's immunity

A top Italian court on yesterday overturned a law granting Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution, allowing trials for corruption and tax fraud to resume in Milan and prompting immediate calls for his resignation.

Denmark turns on the screws to fight juvenile delinquency

COPENHAGEN - The Danish government Wednesday proposed to lower the age of criminal responsibility by a year to 14 and called for the use of electronic bracelets on juvenile delinquents to fight rising child crimes.

RP chess great in BBC-HBO documentary

ASIA'S first Grandmaster Eugenio "Eugene" Torre is appearing in a documentary being filmed by the BBC-HBO on the life of late Robert "Bobby" Fischer, one of the greatest chess player that ever pushed a pawn.

New rules, more excitement for PBA 35th Season

MANILA -- The 35th Season of the Philippine Basketball Association will open this coming Sunday as the league unveils several rule changes that aims to make the games more competitive and entertaining. 

Court affirms Moreno, Eala as BAP-SBP heads

The Supreme Court has affirmed the 2008 elections of the BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc. (BAP-SBP).

Grizzlies in no rush to start injured Iverson

RICHMOND - Allen Iverson suffered a strained left hamstring in a scrimmage and missed the first NBA pre-season game Tuesday night for his new club, the Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA general managers predict Lakers, LeBron repeats

by Agence France-Presse
NEW YORK - LeBron James is predicted to repeat as NBA Most Valuable Player and the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to defend their league crown in a survery of club general managers released Tuesday by the NBA.

Arnel Pineda back in RP to help Ondoy victims

MANILA – Arnel Pineda, the Filipino lead singer of American rock band "Journey," flew home early Wednesday from San Francisco, California in the United States.

'Kimerald' to do a romantic-comedy flick in 2010

by By Bernie Franco,
MANILA - Last October 5, Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson confirmed to some members of the press that they will do a movie together in 2010, one which is slated to be Star Cinema's first offering for the year.

Pacquiao places 24th in AskMen's influential list

Manny Pacquiao further validated his place among the world's powerful, making it to No. 24 in AskMen.Com's Top 49 Most Influential Men list in the esteemed company of US President Barack Obama, the world's fastest runner Usain Bolt and the late pop icon Michael Jackson, among others.

Ilonggos launch cause for sainthood of Filipino nun

Fireworks exploded and church bells rang as around 2,500 Ilonggos on Wednesday welcomed the first step in the long and tedious process for the canonization of Mother Rosario Arroyo, whom they hoped would be the country's first woman and Ilonggo saint.

Elizabeth Taylor in hospital for heart operation

Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor is to undergo a heart operation to repair a "leaky valve," the iconic Oscar-winning actress announced Tuesday.

2 Americans, 1 Israeli win Nobel chemistry prize

Two Americans and an Israeli scientist won the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry on yesterday for atom-by-atom mapping of the protein-making factories within cells — a feat that has spurred the development of antibiotics.

Strengthened El Niño to last till 2010 - Pagasa

After the heavy rains brought by tropical storm "Ondoy" (Ketsana) last September 26, the country is in for a dry spell with El Niño strengthening and lasting through the first quarter of 2010, state weather forecasters said.

Ogden Nash  - "The trouble with a kitten is that when it grows up, it's always a cat."

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