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

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 9, 2009 Major News Stories

Petron offers books to DOE, DOJ for scrutiny

Oil industry leader Petron Corp. urged the joint task force of the Departments of Energy and Justice, on Sunday, to examine its books to determine, once and for all, whether the company has been overpricing its fuel products.

Petron dares govt: Examine our books if overpricing exists

MANILA - After an oil company asked a court to stop a Malacañang order to cap oil prices in calamity-stricken Luzon, the country's largest oil supplier, Petron Corp. on Sunday dared the government to examine its books to determine if it was overpricing its oil products. 

Petron stations close shop in Lucena

Petron gasoline stations stopped their operations since Sunday morning in protest of the oil price cap being imposed by the government.

Former NEDA chief says EO 839 more harm than good

MANILA - Malacañang had said the cap on fuel prices will stay for as long as Luzon remains under a state of calamity to shield storm victims from oil price increases. But a former socio-economic planning secretary said on Sunday that the oil price freeze will actually do more harm than good.

Price ceiling on food items remains

by by Cecille Lardizabal, ABS-CBN News
MANILA – The price control imposed by the government on the prices of basic commodities remains but some wet markets in Metro Manila have started raising prices.

Villar wants review of NFA's role

SEN. Manuel Villar wants a review of the role of the National Food Authority (NFA) after the government reportedly lost P50 million in questionable importation of rice since last year.

Keep Christmas party simple

WITH the holiday season fast approaching, the Department of Education (DepEd) reminded school officials and teachers not to compel students to shell out donations or contributions for their Christmas.

Probe sought on purchase of flu-testing machine

A labor group pushing for increased protection for workers from the Influenza A (H1N1) virus has urged the Ombudsman to investigate the recent awarding by the Department of Health (DOH) of a contract to supply influenza-testing machines to a foreign-owned firm.

DOH asks: Is your gift toxic?

Habang papalapit ang Pasko, kaliwa't kanan na rin ang bentahan ng mga gamit at laruang pang-regalo! Pero bago ma-engganyo sa itsura't presyo ng bibilhin niyo, may mahalagang paalala ang Department of Health: unahing isipin kung ligtas ba sa nakalalasong kemikal ang mga binibili. 

City Hall employees to get bonuses

There are several reasons for the job order, casual, contractual, regular employees and officials of Cebu City Hall to be happy starting this week.

First is because the city government distributes today the remaining balance of the P5,000 incentive bonus to all 4,437 officials and employees of the city.

This was revealed yesterday by city treasurer Ofelia Oliva who is coincidentally celebrating her birthdaytoday.

Oliva added that City Hall will also be releasing the other half of the employees' thirteenth month pay and half of their cash gift within this month.

The Cebu City Council already passed a resolution urging the City Treasurer's Office to release the said benefits on or before November 15.

Oliva gave an assurance to all the employees that they will receive the other half of the thirteenth month pay and half of their cash gift anytime soon.

"Dili lang nato ni dunganon kay daghan pa ning mga binepisyo nga ihatag sa city government ngadto nila," Oliva said.

But each official and employee will only receive P2,500 cash gift and thirteenth pay which is equivalent to half of their one-month salary.

This is because the first half of these benefits was already given by the city government to the officials and employees last May.

Oliva disclosed that City Hall employees will also receive a one-hundred percent salary increase starting January next year.

But the city treasurer, however, explained that the increase will be given in a staggered basis within a span of four years.

This means that the employees will receive 25 percent increase next year, an additional 25 percent by 2011, another 25 percent in 2012 and the last 25 percent in 2013.

It was learned that aside from City Hall employees, the city government will also give an additional honorarium to all barangay workers in the city.

Likewise, a sack of rice will be distributed to each barangay official and employee next month as a Christmas gift from the city government.

ABC president Eugenio Faelnar said that all 80 barangays can avail of the rice gift from the city as long as they will make a request through his office.

100 OFWs jailed in Qatar wish to be home by Christmas

About 100 overseas Filipino workers languishing in a deportation jail in Doha, Qatar, have urged the government to work for their speedy repatriation so that they could be reunited with their families in time for the holiday season.

OFWs keep up protest vs. proposed Macau tax

Migrant worker groups in Macau said on Sunday they would continue their campaign against a bill imposing taxes on the deployment of foreign domestic helpers and a six-month reentry ban on foreign workers who would pre-terminate their contracts.

License of Dubai drivers' recruiter revoked

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has cancelled the licenses of seven recruitment agencies and suspended the licenses of five others for duping 137 Filipino bus drivers into non-existent jobs in Dubai, it was learned Sunday.

80,000 more Filipinos in Italy in 2008

MANILA—Newly-released data on Italy's migrant population by that country's census registry showed that the number of documented Filipinos grew by 8,011 more in 2008. 

Chinese cargo vessel saves 4 Filipino fishers

Four Filipino fishermen, stranded and hopeless on high seas for four days, were rescued by a Chinese cargo vessel named Heng Sheng Men, which happened to pass by the waters to the northwest of Manila at 10 a.m. on November 5, it was learned over the weekend.

Franchise cancellation case stays

THE Maritime Industry Authority's (Marina) order to allow MV Princess of the South of the Sulpicio Lines Inc. (SLI) to sail again is only for the preventive suspension.

Marina Administrator Maria Elena Bautista said the Marina Board will soon hear the main case and if the SLI will be found negligent, the shipping firm's franchise will be

Victoriano Go of the SLI said they are confident they will be exonerated in the main case because mv Princess of the Stars sank during a typhoon.

Controversial Balili lot: 'New evidence' to reopen probe

Due to "new evidence," Provincial Board Member Victor Maambong will propose in today's session that their inquiry into the Balili lot purchase controversy be reopened.

This is the admission of beleaguered PB Member Juan Bolo of the 1st District that P50,000 was paid to the Provincial Treasurer as tax for the purchase.

Maambong said that Bolo allegedly admitted giving the amount to Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre representing taxes for the purchase of the property that was close to 25 hectares for P98 million.

PB mulls over plan today to reopen Balili inquiry

VICE Gov. Gregorio Sanchez said he was satisfied with the Provincial Board's (PB) investigation on the Balili property purchase, but will abide by the majority's decision if it chooses today to reopen the probe.

Council sets session to give authority to sue

Members of the Cebu City Council will convene in a special session today to deliberate the resolution that would give Mayor Tomas Osmeña authority to file a case against the provincial government on behalf of city residents.

The mayor is determined to sue Capitol officials before his term ends next year to protect thousands of occupants of the province-owned lots in the city.

This includes the beneficiaries of the Provincial Ordinance 93-1 in the different barangays and the residents of the property that is within the Camp Lapu-Lapu, which houses the Central Command, in barangay Apas.

Most of the 5,000 beneficiaries of 93-1 lots had earlier expressed fear of being evicted as many have failed to pay their monthly amortization, which is part of the ordinance that would allow them to own the property.

Signing of bill splitting district to be reenacted

PRESIDENT Gloria Arroyo will be in Cebu tomorrow to "reenact" the signing into law of the bill creating the lone district of Lapu-Lapu City.

Chiongs to check Paco in Spain

The parents of rape-murder victims Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong said they will be going to Spain to find out if one of those convicted for the crime, Juan Francisco "Paco" Larrañaga, is really jailed by the Spain authorities.

Mother sues hospital, claims it detained infant

A MOTHER has gone to court to compel a private hospital in Cebu City to discharge her infant, despite half a million pesos in unpaid hospital bills since her delivery last July.

Maria Lourdes Farro filed a special proceeding for habeas corpus before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Cebu Doctors' University Hospital. She said it refused to discharge her baby until she settles P503,000 in hospital bills.

NBI clears doc in rob gang leader's plastic surgery

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has cleared from any culpability the doctor who performed plastic surgery on the slain man believed to be robbery gang leader Alvin Flores and asked the health department to ensure doctors are protected from being used by criminals to hide their identities.

Cyclones slowed gov't drive vs NPA -- Teodoro

The series of killer storms that hit the country recently has kept government troops busy, thus hampering the Armed Forces' anti-insurgency operations, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said on Sunday.

House vows to pass P1.54-trillion nat'l budget for 2010

With the country steel reeling from the effects of the global financial crunch and the successive tropical cyclones that hit areas in Luzon, the House of Representatives has vowed to prioritize the passage of the P1.54-trillion national budget for 2010 when Congress session resumes on Monday, November 9.

SC almost an Arroyo court as new justice assumes post

The 15-man Supreme Court is almost an Arroyo court. The President has appointed senior Court of Appeals justice Martin Villarama Jr. to the high tribunal, bringing to 13 the number of justices picked by the chief executive.

Next president to be replaced by Arroyo via Cha-cha - JDV III

The country"s next president won"t be able to warm his seat in Malacañang as he is sure to be replaced by his predecessor, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

'Sensing' defeat in 2010 polls, allies leave Arroyo's party

Probably sensing that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and imminent administration presidential bet Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro Jr. would not be potent forces in the 2010 elections, members of ruling party Lakas-Kampi (Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino)-CMD started shifting allegiances to rival parties.

Liberal Party said it has sworn in about 125 local officials and other key administration allies that have left Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

These include Alaminos, Pangasinan Mayor Hernani Braganza, Pangasinan Rep. Victor Agbayani, North Cotabato Rep. Bernardo Pi ñol Jr., Cavite Gov. Erineo "Ayong" Maliksi, the Osmena clan of Cebu, and Cesar Montano – the actor who ran for senator in the 2007 elections under the administration party, but lost.

Villar's Nacionalista Party, for its part, included in its roster the following former Lakas members: Governors Luis Raymund Villafuerte (Camarines Sur), Rogelio Espina (Biliran), Douglas Cagas (Davao del Sur), and Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte).

Lakas-Kampi 'unfazed' by defections

Ray Roquero, executive director of the Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats, on Sunday shrugged off reports of defections from the country's largest political party to resurgent, old school parties Liberal and Nacionalista.

Arroyo egged on to run for VP in 2010

Only President Macapagal-Arroyo can save the ruling party from disintegration by running for the number two position in the 2010 elections.

Arroyo may face-off with sis in Pampanga

Macapagal versus Arroyo? President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 62, will likely face her older half-sister, former Vice Gov. Cielo Macapagal-Salgado, if they both heed a clamor to contest a congressional seat in Pampanga in the May elections.

Teodoro to resign Nov 16; Palace readies replacement

Next Sunday, November 15, will be the last day of work for administration standard bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. as Defense Secretary, even as Malacañang said it is ready to replace him.

Ace Durano nixes team-up with Teodoro in 2010

He may be one of those being eyed to team up with administration party standard bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. in the 2010 elections. But Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano is not interested.

Bro. Eddie: Poll ratings manipulated by survey, media companies

by By Dindo Amparo, ABS-CBN News Middle East Bureau chief
DUBAI - Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church founder and leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva has accused poll and media organizations of manipulating surveys especially on presidential aspirants for the 2010 national elections. 

Chiz statement gets bishops fired up

by By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines - Opposition Sen. Francis Escudero has earned the ire of Church officials over his recent statement that "there are no angels and saints in politics."

Good vs. Evil Movement is formally launched

More than 500 representatives from non-government organizations and church and youth groups attended the launch of the Good vs. Evil Movement at the Cardinal's palace yesterday afternoon.

Ebdane declares 2010 bid, seeks Ramos support

Former public works secretary Hermogenes Ebdane formally declared, on Sunday, his intention to run for president in 2010 and announced that he has been seeking the support of former President Fidel V. Ramos.

Miriam's reso seeks charges vs Ebdane over road tax mess

Graft charges over the multibillion-peso road users" tax mess threaten to haunt former Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. in his presidential bid next year.

Senator wants Arroyo to discuss VFA review with Clinton

Arroyo, RP officials expected however to show strong support for VFA MANILA - Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Sunday said he wants President Arroyo to include the review of the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the Unites States discussed when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the Philippines next week.

Clinton, Arroyo to also tackle VFA - Bayan

by By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines - Militant group Bayan today claimed that the two-day meeting between President Arroyo and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this coming Thursday in Malacanang will also involve the Visiting Forces Agreeement and the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines.

Clinton's agenda is to save VFA -- Santiago

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting the country this week because of US concerns over a Senate resolution asking President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to rescind Manila's Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Washington or seek for a renegotiation, according to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Philippines to reaffirm defense ties in Clinton visit

The Philippines will seek to reaffirm its defense ties with the United States when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the former American colony this week, an official said Sunday.

MILF invites Hillary Clinton to Mindanao

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front wants US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit Mindanao and see the situation a year after fighting erupted following the failed signing of a deal that would have led to the setting up of a Bangsamoro homeland.

Arroyo seeks Obama anew on Mindanao peace issues

In her final participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Singapore this week, President Macapagal-Arroyo will seek a possible one-on-one meeting with US President Barack Obama to discuss a variety of issues including the Mindanao peace process.

Confirm or deny Sinnott kidnapping, MILF urged

by By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines - Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro has called on the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to deny or confirm that kidnapped Irish priest Fr. Michael Sinnott is in the custody of a rogue MILF group.

Police nab MILF leader allegedly involved in beheadings last 2007

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Police arrested an alleged deputy commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Saturday afternoon at the Zamboanga International Airport who was reportedly on his way to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim pilgrimage. 

DENR renews call for LGU action on garbage

by By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has renewed its call on local government units to seriously consider a measure that would turn garbage into something useful.

March set Monday for senators to rush Freedom of Info Law

Members of a multi-sectoral network will march to the Senate on Monday to press senators to immediately pass Senate Bill No. 3308, or the Freedom of Information Act, before it adjourns for the May 2010 elections.

Sandiganbayan OKs Disini trip abroad

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan First Division late Friday issued a travel permit to businessman Herminio Disini for a week-long trip to China, overruling objections from government prosecutors.

GSIS still playing gadfly to Meralco

Pension fund says it has 4%, wants tender offer MANILA - The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) may end up back on the board of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), with the state pension fund's chief claiming it has again accumulated a stake that could be sold to either of the utility's largest shareholders or leveraged for a director's seat.

Mayor among 10 killed in Pakistan suicide bomb

PESHAWAR--At least 10 people including a local mayor were killed and 20 others wounded Sunday when a suicide bomber blew up a car in Pakistan's northwest Peshawar city, officials and police said.

US House OKs sweeping health care overhaul

WASHINGTON DC, United States—The US House of Representatives late Saturday approved the broadest US health care overhaul in a half century, handing President Barack Obama a major victory on his top domestic priority.

Obama confronts an Asia reshaped by China's rise

Days after coming to power in September, Japan's new prime minister broached forming a new East Asian trading bloc with rival China — one that would exclude the United States.

'Made in China' now made in Egypt

PORT SAID, Egypt—With cheap labor, investment incentives, and unrestricted exports, one Chinese textile group has turned to Egypt as an ideal location to produce its ready-made garments, beating stiff competition at home.

Thaksin to visit Cambodia this week: PM

PHNOM PENH - Ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia this week in his new role as the government's economics adviser, the Cambodian Prime Minister told reporters Sunday.

Government: 40 dead in El Salvador flooding

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador - Forty people have died in El Salvador following three days of heavy rains, Interior Minister Humberto Centeno said Sunday.

Pacquiao: Cotto"s weight woes a factor in fight

HOLLYWOOD - Manny Pacquiao knows exactly what Miguel Cotto is undergoing. Having done the same thing before, Pacquiao pointed out that the weight reduction the Puerto Rican is doing may play a crucial role in the outcome of their showdown.

Special LA send-off for fight-bound Pacquiao

Dinumog ng mga fans ang send off party para kay 'Pound for Pound King' Manny Pacquiao. Nakarating naman na sa Los Angeles ang kanyang asawang si Jinkee, na mismong si Pacman ang sumundo.

Comelec helpless vs political ad placements in Pacquiao fight

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be helpless against politicians who will place ads in the upcoming bout of Filipino boxing icon Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao next week.

Giants tear Texters off the boards for win

Purefoods turned to its shock troopers for the needed muscle underneath the boards in reasserting their dominance over Talk "N Text, 108-102, Sunday in the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

'Mommy D' doesn't want to get married again

by by Rachelle Siazon,
At this point in her life, Dionisia Pacquiao - or Mommy D, as she likes to be called now - confessed that she has no plans to remarry anytime soon, saying that she has more important things to do than falling in love again.

Baby born with heart out to undergo surgery today

The baby girl, who was reported to have been born with her heart outside her body, is scheduled for surgery today in a private hospital in the city.

Malaysian lawmakers put marriages on line in oath

A party official says lawmakers in Malaysia's opposition Islamic party had to pledge they would divorce their spouses if they left the party and joined the ruling coalition.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach  - "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

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