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

Monday, November 16, 2009

November 17, 2009 Major News Stories

Arroyo lifts cap on fuel prices

President Macapagal-Arroyo has issued Executive Order 845 lifting Executive Order 839 which put a cap on fuel prices in Luzon at their Oct. 15 levels.

Petron pledges oil price discounts

Petron Corp. on Monday welcomed the lifting of Executive Order 839, which placed a price cap on fuel at October 15 levels.

Petron, however, said that despite of the issuance of Executive Order 845 lifting EO 839, the company would still implement price discounts on gasoline, diesel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas to "assist our countrymen in areas that were directly affected by the recent calamities," said Petron President Eric Recto.

The oil price discounts, Recto said, would be implemented in select areas until the end of November.

Petron said it would also freeze the prices of automotive and motorcycle lubricants until December 31.

"We wish to assure the public that we are doing our best to ensure a continuous and reliable supply of fuels while ensuring that price moves are in line with international price changes," Recto said.

No legal recourse vs oil firms, says justice chief

Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera admitted that the government has no legal recourse against oil companies if they will renege on their promise to give discounts in typhoon affected areas.

OPEC head says $80 a barrel 'good price'

(UPDATE) The president of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) told reporters Monday that $75 to $80 a barrel of oil is a satisfactory price.

Price freeze for basic goods to continue

Kung tanggal na ang price freeze sa petrolyo, tuloy naman ang 60-day price control sa mga pangunahing bilihin. Pero sa palengke, nagtaas pa rin ng presyo sa mga karne ng baboy, baka, manok at iba pang bilihin. 

RP to import 1.4 million tons of rice in 2010

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Philippines will import at least 1.4 million tons of rice next year to beef up government stocks and stabilize domestic supply, an official said on Monday.

Wage increase petition set for discussion

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board is scheduled to discuss this week what to do with the wage hike petition filed by the Cebu Labor Coalition.

Pacquiao back in Manila Friday

MANILA – Manny Pacquiao attended a thanksgiving mass Sunday morning (Monday in Manila) after he defeated Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto by technical knockout Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tommy proposes to build Pacquiao museum at SRP

A Manny Pacquiao museum as a tourist attraction in the South Road Properties (SRP), why not?

Pacquiao eyes megafight with Mayweather

Manny Pacquiao hopes his stunning victory Saturday over Miguel Cotto will put him in line for a mega welterweight showdown against Floyd Mayweather in 2010.

Senate OKs 5 resolutions commending Pacquiao

The Senate on Monday commended and even asked for the conferring of highest national honors on Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao for beating Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) and setting a new world record.

Fans die, literally, of excitement watching Pacman fight

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Hindi bababa sa 10 ang iniulat na nasawi sa Metro Manila at iba pang mga probinsya sa gitna ng mainitang sagupaan kahapon nina Pacquiao at Cotto! Lahat, inatake sa puso dahil umano sa magkahalong nerbyos at tuwa habang nanunood ng laban.

Historic to propel Pacquiao's riches further

Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao stands to earn tens of millions of dollars in endorsements as firms at home and abroad rush to link themselves with the charismatic champion, observers say.

FVR calls on athletes to be like Pacquiao

MANILA – Former President Fidel V. Ramos praised Manny Pacquiao's feat of winning seven world titles in seven different weight divisions after claiming the WBO welterweight title from Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto. 

Pirated DVDs of Pacquiao fight hit Manila streets

Pirated copies of Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao's historic demolition of Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto were selling like hot cakes on Manila streets Monday, less than 24 hours after the fight.

Z Gorres 'recovering well'; net purse: $13,500

MANILA – Filipino fighter ZC Oliveros "The Dream" Gorres is showing signs of recovery after undergoing an emergency brain surgery Saturday in Las Vegas following his unanimous decision victory over Colombian Luis Melendez.

Capitol to give financial aid to Gorres' family

The provincial government will be giving financial assistance to the family of Z "The Dream" Gorres after the boxer suffered a major injury following his fight against Colombian Luiz Melendez last Sunday (Manila time).

PRC releases results of Licensure Examination for Teachers

MANILA - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Monday released the results of the 2009 Licensure Examination for Teachers, held in October.

18,837 pass October '09 teacher licensure exam

A total of 10,792 hopefuls passed the October 2009 licensure exam for teachers in the secondary level, while 8,045 examinees passed the teacher licensure exam for the elementary level, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) said.

2009 LET results: Accelerated Teacher Education Program

List of successful examinees under the Accelerated Teacher Education Program, released Monday by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) as part of the results of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).

Demolition of houses along Mahiga Creek reset

Informal settlers living beside the Mahiga Creek in Barangay Mabolo can heave a sigh of relief, for now, as Mayor Tomas Osmeña yesterday said the scheduled demolition in the area is suspended until the end of classes due to humanitarian reasons.

No relocation

CEBU City officials don't see any need to temporarily relocate residents living near the Inayawan sanitary landfill despite the continuous fire at the dump site.

Osmeña, Villarete criticize DOTC official for 'bias' for LRT

CEBU City officials accused a Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) official of being biased for the 19-kilometer Metro Cebu Mass Rail Transit Project, and asked why he is acting like a lawyer for the private sector proponent.

Cebu City gets 31T more voters for 2010

CEBU City now has 517,798 registered voters who will be able to vote in next year's election, which means an increase of 6.4 percent or some 31,000 voters compared to the number recorded in the October 2007 polls.

Although the number is lower than the 10-percent increase they projected, Commission on Elections (Comelec) 7 Election Director Rene Buac said that local poll offices have done their best to accommodate all registrants up to the last minute of the registration period.

Comelec Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano lamented that the Central Office only gave each election office a copy of the COC per position.

The implication is that candidates would have to photocopy the Comelec's copy to file the COC.

A candidate needs six copies to be an official candidate, one copy would be for the candidate's copy.

In Cebu City, Comelec's offices in the north and south district recorded the total number of voters registered since Dec. 2 last year, but the election officers said the number could still increase or decrease by a few hundreds.

The south district office recorded a total of 280,505 registered voters with 55,393 new registrants, while the north district office has 237,293 registered voters, with at least 22,000 new registrants from July to Oct. 31.


Cebu City had 486,711 voters in the October 2007 barangay elections, and 460,978 voters in the mayoral elections in May 2007.

Lawyer Marchel Sarno, north district election officer, said they will still have to remove from the list those who registered twice and add or remove those who transferred
their voter's registration records.

Those who died in the last quarter of the year would also be removed from the voter's list if the local registrar bothered to inform the poll offices of the deaths they recorded, Buac said.

For his part, Sarno said he finds the six-percent increase regular since his office expected a five to 10 percent hike, "anything beyond that could be doubted because it is more than the expected statistics."


"We were hoping for a 10 percent increase in the number of voters but daghan man tingaling gikapuyan ug parehistro, although gamay ra man sad ang kuwang. Mu-fluctuate pa hinoon ang number because the ERB hearing has just started today," he said.

Sarno said they had completed their Election Registration Board (ERB) hearing yesterday, and did not receive any petition opposing the registration of former senator John Henry "Sonny" Osmeña and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President Winston Garcia.

Osmeña transferred his voters' registration records from Toledo City to Cebu City's north district poll office in preparation for his candidacy for city mayor.

Garcia is now a registered voter of the city's north district after transferring his records from Mandaue City.

Assistant election officer for the north district Tessie Mercado said they hope to receive all records of double registrants and those who transferred their registration records by second week of December.

In the south district office, assistant election officer Sonny de los Reyes said they also have to remove the double registrants and transferred records before they complete the final list.

Meanwhile, the ERB in Cebu Province is currently in the process of approving the list of registrants from yesterday until Friday, which is also the first day of the filing of COCs.

The ERB is also accepting oppositions to registrations.

The oppositions will be filed before the local ERB composed of the election officer, the local civil registrar and the highest ranking Department of Education (DepEd) representative in the municipality or component city.

ERB will hear the opposition.

BIR to proceed with imposition of 5% campaign tax

by By Michelle Orosa, ABS-CBN News
MANILA - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said it is all systems go for the implementation of Regulation 8-2009 or the imposition of a 5% withholding tax on candidates' expenses for the 2010 elections.

Comelec conducts voting process simulation

Using about 150 of its employees, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday conducted a mini-simulation of the voting procedure at the poll body office to test whether the efficiency of the process during the 2010 automated elections.

Comelec taps new media for voter's education

MANILA - The Commission on Elections on Monda jumped on the Internet media bandwagon through two new websites that are part of its national voters education campaign.

SC to resume session, election cases priority

MANILA - The Supreme Court en banc is set to resume its session Tuesday after a 3-week recess with pending election-related cases on top of their agenda. 

Voters looking for leader against corruption - survey

Lider na hindi corrupt at kayang labanan ang katiwalian. Ito ang hinahanap ng mga botante ayon sa Pulse Asia survey. Kung gagawin ang halalan ngayon,  si Senador Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III ang mananalong pangulo base sa resulta ng pinakahuling Pulse Asia survey. 

Aquino tops Oct. survey of presidential bets

Liberal Party's Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III emerged on the top spot of the October 2009 Pulse Asia survey with the "big lead" over other presidential hopefuls for next year's elections.

The nationwide survey, conducted from October 22 to 30, was undertaken solely by Pulse Asia on the "Filipinos' Presidential Preference for the May 2010 Elections."

Forty-four percent of the respondents said they would elect Aquino as the next President if the May 2010 elections were held now. Following Aquino were Senator Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party (NP) with 19 percent, Senator Francis G. Escudero with 13 percent, and former President Joseph Estrada with 11 percent. 

The other presidential hopeful included in the survey registered at most 4 percent, including Vice President Noli De Castro who got 4 percent and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, standard-bearer of the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD, who got 2 percent. 

Less than one in ten Filipinos (4 percent) does not have a favored presidential candidate at the moment, according to the survey.

Last month, Escudero resigned from the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), but did not say if he is no longer seeking the presidency.

In expressing their voting preference, respondents cited the presidential hopefuls' clean public record (malinis) or alternatively, not being corrupt (hindi kurakot), according to the polling agency.

The survey, which had 1,800 respondents who are of voting age, was conducted through face-to-face interviews. It had a +/-2 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level. 

According to Pulse Asia, the following developments dominated the news headlines during the conduct of the survey: (1) the formal declaration of former President Joseph Estrada of his bid for the presidency in 2010 and questions raised regarding the legality of this bid; (2) Senator Loren Legarda's declaration of her plans for the May 2010 elections and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno's withdrawal from the vice-presidential race; (3) Senator Francis G. Escudero's departure from the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC);

(4) the continuing search for a running mate by both Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilbert C. Teodoro Jr. and Senator Manuel B. Villar Jr.; (4) the long lines of late registrants catching the last days of registration for the May 2010 elections; (5) the resignation of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr.; (6) continuing relief efforts in the aftermath of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, as well as the arrival of two new storms; and (7) the freeze on oil prices and other energy products, as well as basic commodities, imposed by the government.

Mar leads Loren by 14% in Oct survey

MANILA - Senator Manuel 'Mar' Roxas II of the Liberal Party would have been chosen by 4 in 10 Filipinos as the next vice-president if elections were held in October 2009, Pulse Asia said Monday.

Roxas got 37% preference or a 14% margin over Nationalist People's Coalition bet Sen. Loren Legarda's 23% in the October 22-30 Ulat ng Bayan survey of Pulse Asia.

Ulat ng Bayan surveys are done by Pulse Asia on its own "without any party singularly commissioning the research effort," the polling firm said. 

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, the running mate of former President Joseph Estrada, was statistically tied in third place with incumbent Vice-President Noli de Castro with 13% and 11% preferences, respectively.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD's vice-presidential candidate, actor-TV host Edu Manzano, was not included in the survey since he only declared his bid last Friday (November 13) after accepting the offer from the ruling party.

Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon 'Bong' Revilla were tied with 4% preference each.

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando, Sen. Richard Gordon, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno were tied with 1% preference each.

"There are  no significant movements in the voter preferences of those  individuals included in Pulse Asia's August and October 2009 vice-presidential probes as changes range only from -4 percentage points for Vice-President de Castro to +4 percentage points for Sen. Legarda," Pulse Asia said.

The survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,800 respondents. It has a margin of error of plus/minus 2%.

Respondents were asked: "Of the people on this list, whom would you vote for as vice-president of the Philippines if the elections were held today and they were vice-presidential candidates?" 

Aquino to meet kin on Luisita issue

Amid political pressure, as well as those coming from farmers' groups, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy'' Aquino III said Monday he will meet with his sisters and cousins in the Cojuangco side to discuss the fate of the family-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

Luisita management holds off eviction of farmers

The firm managing the Cojuangco-family owned Hacienda Luisita extended the Nov. 15 deadline for the registration of farmers in the disputed sugar estate, company officials said on Monday.

Hacienda Luisita massacre remembered

MANILA, Philippines—Five years after the bloody Hacienda Luisita massacre, justice has yet to be served to the victims and their families.

Aquino urged to address Luisita land dispute

Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III should face the land dispute involving the Cojuangco family-owned Hacienda Luisita, according to Bayan Muna party list Representative Satur Ocampo.

Liberal Party national slate out

Senators Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Manuel "Mar" Roxas II were formally nominated as presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively, of the Liberal Party (LP) during its national directorate meeting Monday in Quezon City.

Villar, Legarda team up for 2010 elections

Sen. Loren Legarda called it a victorious day for two Mannys.

Villar ethics complaint dismissed

MANILA -  The Senate on Monday dismissed the ethics complaint filed against Senator Manuel "Manny" Villar, in connection with the C-5 road project controversy.

Rectos' departure a big loss—Lakas-Kampi-CMD

Former Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos are a "big loss" to the administration, stalwarts of the Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats admit.

Teodoro steps down as defense chief

(UPDATE 2) With only 14 days to go before the deadline for the filing of the certificate of candidacy, presidential hopeful Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro, Jr. on Monday officially stepped down as defense secretary.

New defense chief Gonzales allays 'No-El' fears

In an attempt to quell speculations, newly-installed head of the Department of National Defense (DND) Norberto Gonzales on Monday assured that clean and "credible" elections would push through next year.

Teodoro reacts: 'Inspiration not enough'

Lakas Kampi presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said on Monday that the ability to inspire people was not the overriding qualification the country's chief executive must have in solving the nation's most complex problems.

Lakas confident despite low ratings

The ratings of administration standard bearer, resigned Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, may still be in the cellar, but these are expected to go up when the local candidates are officially allowed to campaign and the full force of the Lakas-Kampi's nationwide machinery kick in.

Claudio: Gibo's low rating due to poor exposure

MANILA - The administration coalition attributes Gilberto Teodoro's lackluster performance in surveys to Teodoro's lack of publicity. 

Comelec: No religious undertone in denying Ang Ladlad petition

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) stressed Monday that laws, and not religious beliefs, were the bases used in rejecting the petition of a gay and lesbian organization to be accredited as a party-list group and join next year"s national elections.

Court stops Neri suspension over NBN-ZTE deal

The Court of Appeals has granted Social Security System president Romulo Neri's petition to stop the Ombudsman from suspending the SSS chief in connection with the cancelled $329-million ZTE-NBN deal.

PCGG chief denies irregularity raps

Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chair Camilo Sabio defended himself Monday against allegations of nepotism in his office, saying he was allowed by government rules to hire family members as confidential assistants.

IED recovered in Cotabato bus terminal

Police recovered an improvised explosive device (IED) in a Cotabato City bus terminal early Monday morning, the city police chief said.

Mayor urges gov't to revive talks with CPP-NDF-NPA

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte urged the government to pursue formal peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), after the rebel group released an Army soldier in Compostela Valley, on Sunday.

Soldier, NPA rebel killed in clash

A soldier and a communist rebel were killed as government troops and New People's Army (NPA) guerillas clashed on Sunday, hours before the rebels freed an Army corporal whom it seized early in the month.

2 militiamen killed in Samar ambush

At least two militiamen were killed while another soldier was injured in an ambush by alleged members of the New People's Army in Samar early Monday, a military spokesman said.

Remittances up 8.6% to $1.4B in September

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Monday that remittances from Filipinos based overseas amounted to $1.4 billion in September, climbing 8.6 percent from only $1.33 billion in the same month last year. The rise was faster than the 2.8 percent registered in August.

Obama pushes for Internet freedom in China

SHANGHAI—US President Barack Obama Monday pushed for an unshackled Internet and expanded political freedoms as he sought to get around China's media curbs with a webcast town hall event in booming Shanghai.

Taiwan, China may develop electric cars together

TAIPEI—Taiwan and China are looking into developing electric cars together and will hold a conference here next week to seek areas where they can cooperate, a Taipei official said Monday.

Pope slams 'greed' of speculators at UN summit

ROME—Pope Benedict XVI on Monday warned against the "greed" of speculators in cereals markets as the UN summit on food security opened in Rome.

Salvador storm toll rises to 192—official

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador—Salvadoran authorities raised the death toll from devastating floods and mudslides this week to 192 from 184 as more bodies turned up in storm-ravaged areas of the country. Another 80 people were reported as missing.

Young Pinay captivates APEC leaders in concert

MANILA - Thirteen-year-old Julia Abueva dominated a concert for 21 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, in Singapore's Esplanade Saturday night.

Dionisia, Imelda Papin's 'showdown' in Vegas

MANILA – The "Firepower" clash between Filipino boxing icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and Puerto Rican fighter Miguel Cotto is currently the talk of the town in Las Vegas, Nevada. Manny's spiritual adviser said prayers had helped the boxer in his quest for his 7th world title.

Roxanne back on primetime TV

MANILA - Actress Roxanne Guinoo is back on primetime television as she stars in ABS-CBN's upcoming series "Dahil Mahal Na Mahal Kita." In the said series, Guinoo will be reunited with her on-screen partner Sid Lucero. Guinoo and Lucero worked together in "Ligaw na Bulaklak."

Piolo: 'Ninoy' role a dream come true

MANILA - Actor Piolo Pascual said it will be "a dream come true" for him if he is called on to play former Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. in an upcoming biopic about former president Corazon "Cory" Aquino. Pascual, who is back in Manila after his successful Europe concert with other heartthrobs Sam Milby and John Lloyd Cruz, said that he will consider the project as "one of the biggest gifts" he will ever receive.

Joanne Quintas-Joey Marquez 'affair' denied

MANILA – Former beauty queen Joanne Quintas is not dating actor-politician Joey Marquez, her handler has clarified. "It's all about business. There is nothing going on between them. Joanne is very much married, and Joey is in a relationship with a non-showbiz girl right now. Please stop the issue. Joanne is busy with her business and living privately," Quintas' handler said in a text message sent to the "The Buzz."

John Estrada not supporting kids financially?

MANILA – Actor John Estrada has denied accusation hurled by former wife Janice de Belen that he failed to fulfill his financial obligation to their four children. Estrada told "The Buzz" that he knows what his obligations are to Inah, Moira, Kyla and Yuan, and that as their father he is faithfully fulfilling his duty to support them financially.

Taiwanese poses as father-and-son team in sex scam

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A 55-year-old Taiwanese man tricked up to 20 women into having sex with him in an elaborate scam where he posed as both a handsome young man and that man's ailing father, local media said Monday.

Pagasa: 'Leonids' to light up skies for 2 days

by By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines – A "prolific" meteor shower is expected to light up the skies of Asia and Europe for two days – tomorrow night (Nov.17) and Wednesday (Nov.18), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Mike Ditka  - "If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms."

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