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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 13, 2010 Major News Stories



Phoenix to increase fuel prices by P1

Independent oil player Phoenix Petroleum Inc. will raise pump prices by P1 per liter effective Wednesday, an official said.

Presidential bets urged to address oil regulation issue

As oil prices continued to rise, the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan on Tuesday challenged presidential aspirants to address the issue of the oil deregulation law and the Value Added Tax on petroleum products.

Supreme Court stops RFID

The Supreme Court has temporarily prohibited the Land Transportation Office (LTO) from collecting fees for the new car identification system that it implemented beginning this year.

Acting on a petition by several party-list groups, the high court on Tuesday issued a status quo ante order on the radio frequency identification system (RFID), the tribunal's spokesman Midas Marquez announced on radio.

The status quo ante order effectively directs the LTO to observe the situation prevailing before the filing of the petition.

Bayan Muna party list Representatives Satur Ocampo, Neri Colmenares and Teodoro Casiño, Gabriela Representative Liza Maza, Anakpawis Representative Joel Maglunsod and the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston, Unity of the Organization of Drivers and Operators Nationwide) filed a 56-page petition for a temporary restraining order and prohibition on the implementation of the RFIDsystem on December 16 last year.

The LTO started collecting for the RFID, an identification and tagging system for motor vehicles, on January 1. Casiño said the agency collected P520 to motor vehicle owners for the RFID even if the system would be implemented in October.

In a phone interview, Colmenares welcomed the Supreme Court's decision.

"This means we have to go back to the situation before the filing of the case on the controversy, it prohibits the LTO from collecting fees, which is just right because why are they collecting now when there are still constitutional issues and when the actual implementation will still be in October," Colmenares said.

In their petition, the party list groups alleged that the Department of Transportation and Communication and the LTO violated the Government Procurement Act because the project did not undergo public bidding.

They also alleged that the project was unconstitutional because it usurped Congress' legislative power.

The petitioners cited the absence of a law providing for the installation of radio identification tags on all motor vehicles as a requisite for registration and re-registration.

Another constitutional issue besetting the project, according to the petitioners, is the potential intrusions to a motorist's right to privacy that the system allegedly poses.

Arrest warrant issued vs. Dumpit

THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued a warrant of arrest against SPO1 Adonis Dumpit for Friday, upholding the validity of the non-bailable murder case against him and declaring that he can be taken into custody "on any day and anytime of the day or night."

Copies of the warrant, a clerk at the 6th branch of the RTC in Cebu City yesterday confirmed, have already been sent to the Cebu City Police Office for service; a fact that has convinced National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 agents that Dumpit already knows of the warrant's existence.

"We have secured a copy and we intend to give it to Dumpit's commanding officer (today) so he can voluntarily give himself up," said NBI Special Investigator Arnel Pura, the agent who, in 2005, lodged the complaint which resulted in Dumpit's indictment.

Omnibus order

The warrant followed RTC Judge Ester Veloso's Jan. 7, 2010 Omnibus Order canceling an earlier ruling that granted Dumpit's motion to get the Office of the Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (Moleo) to reinvestigate the charge against him.

A day after the order was issued, however, somebody furnished Veloso's court an "unofficial" copy of an Aug. 12, 2009 resolution from the Moleo indicating that the agency has reinvestigated the charge and is recommending that the case be downgraded from murder to homicide.

The murder case is pursuant to Dumpit's fatal Dec. 14, 2004 shooting of Ronron Go, 17, a suspected robber.

No classes in public schools on Monday

There will be no classes in all public elementary and high schools in Cebu City on Monday, the day after the Sinulog grand parade.

Department of Education-7 director Recaredo Borgonia yesterday said that this was what City Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud had requested to give the public elementary and high schoolsstudents, especially those who will join the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday, a break. Likewise, this would give time to schools to clean up the rooms that would be used as billeting quarters of the out-of-town contingents.

"Nihangyo na mi ni Doctor Borgonia nga i-consider lang nga rest day ang Monday pero mo-make up lang mi og klase inig ka-Saturday," Angtud said.

Borgonia said that he will issue a memorandum today declaring no classes on Monday for all public elementary and high schools in Cebu City.

The Deped-7 director also gives the discretion to all private elementary and high schools in the city whether they want to cancel their classes on the same day or not.

On the other hand, Borgonia disclosed that public elementary and high schools in the province who have participating contingents can also suspend their classes.

He, however, clarified that those schools which will not hold classes on Monday will be required to hold make-up classes.

"I will issue a memorandum for that matter considering that classes will be disturbed but they have to comply with the required number of school days," Borgonia said. He disclosed that elementary and high schools both public and private are required to follow the 204 school days.

Groups vow to give surprises

TANGUB City and Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City have "very new" and "surprise" presentations for the Sinulog grand parade this Sunday; they will give the competition a tough fight.

Fewer out-of-towners

THERE may be fewer out-of-town groups competing in this Sunday's grand parade but there will be more dancing contingents and entries in different contests this year than last year, organizers said.

As of yesterday, 42 contingents had registered to compete in the street-dancing contest and two more are expected to register. Last year, there were 42 entries.

There are also at least 33 entries in the float category, 18 puppeteers and 26 "higante" entries.

He lamented that only five out-of-town contingents have joined the street dancing this year, or barely half of the 10 to 12 groups that participated in previous years.

Registered

They are the Pintaflores Festival of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental; Placer in Masbate; Tangub City; Lanao del Norte; and Surala, North Cotabato have already registered.

Twenty-one contingents will be competing in the Sinulog-based and free interpretation categories.

Pilita, Raki Vega, Dulce praise Dodong

VISAYAN divas Pilita Corrales, Dulce and Raki Vega praised educator Jose Gullas for honoring Cebuano music composers whose works were not given enough recognition.

Cebuano culture gets boost with Gullas Halad Museum

Cebuano culture got a shot in the arm yesterday with the opening of the "Jose 'Dodong' R. Gullas Halad Museum" at the old The Freeman building at corner V. Gullas and Jakosalem Sts.

Old musical instruments like guitars, bandurias, violins and an antique piano owned by legendary songwriter Wenceslao 'Ben' Zubirri are also on display.

Cebuano songs also filled the air as the multi-titled and much praised University of the Visayas Chorale sang old Cebuano favorites.

Three of Cebu's brightest products in the music industry – Pilita Corrales, Dulce and Raki Vega, who are also the featured artists in tonight's Halad 2010 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, also attended the museum opening.

Gullas, chairman of the board of The FREEMAN, said he is praying that his parents Don Vicente and Inday Pining Gullas, who founded the University of the Visayas, will be happy of the museum he dedicated in honor of their memory.

Among the Cebuano composers and artists, who are featured in the museum are Maning Velez, Dominggo "Minggoy" Lopez, Manuel "Maning" Tan Villareal, Matring Ylaya, Francisco "Dodong" Maningo, Oscar Dominguez Pagcu, Stacs Huguete, Manny Cabase, and Ciriaco "Cacoy" Cañete.

Gov. Garcia, who said that she cancelled a meeting to grace the event, expressed her elation that somebody from the private sector has come forward to help preserve Cebuano heritage.

"Keep the flame burning and keep the passion going…this will propel us to forever be the number one province in the country," Garcia told Gullas.

Members of the Gullas family as well as Nena Gullas, wife of Dodong, were on hand for the ceremony.

The museum will be officially open to the public on February 2 yet. The entrance fee for adults would be P20 and P10 for students.

"With the passing of time, my love, my devotion, my passion for our many beautiful and timeless Cebuano songs and culture practices have grown more and more. My burning desire, my constant dream, is if I can in some humble way inculcate in the hearts and minds of both parents and childrenthe need to keep and cherish the vast treasures of our Cebuano heritage that have given life and meaning in these songs and cultural practices," Gullas said.

Gullas' fervent wish is that someday, sometime, someone may pass through the portals of our "Tipiganan sa mga Kinaiyang Sugbuanon" and be touched and stirred into loving and desiring to preserve and pass on these truly Cebuano legacies to the future generations.

"As long as God gives me the chance to pass it on, I will, in my own humble way, so that others may see how beautiful it is to be a Cebuano," Gullas concluded in a message engraved on a wooden tablet.

Registered nurse is Ms. Cebu 2010

A 21-YEAR-OLD registered nurse who hopes to promote medical tourism won the Miss Cebu 2010 crown at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino last night.

For the final question– "In light of the challenges the Philippines is facing today, what is the social responsibility of a beauty queen?"–Reena Elena Malinao, a graduate of Cebu Normal University (CNU), answered, "She should be a woman with substance and moral. But best of all, her responsibility is to stand for what she thinks. A beauty queen symbolizes femininity."

Joining the competition to learn and uphold Cebu's rich heritage and culture, Malinao admitted that she did not expect to win.

"I feel so blessed," she said, amidst a throng of well-wishers and supporters.

She said that her win was for her family, who supported her throughout the competition.

"I came into the competition with a positive attitude," she shared.

As the newly crowned Miss Cebu, Malinao said that she will be working with the Cebu City Task Force on Street Children.

"Since I am a registered nurse, I want to help the medical tourism industry grow in the city," she also said.

Malinao went home with a P50,000 cash prize and trips to the United States and other travel destinations, among others.

First runner-up is Ma. Gresa Lugo, 20, a BS Management Accounting student of the University of San Carlos (USC), while the second runner-up is Maria Eliza Zosa, 21, a nursing student of CNU.

The third runner-up is Rogelie Catacutan, 18, a nursing student of the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She also won the Ms. Photogenic and Ms. Friendship awards.

Three of the minor awards— Ms. Belo Beautiful, Ms. Belo Body Essential Star White Skin and Best in Evening Gown/Ms. Glamor Girl Cathay Pacific went to Carole Monique de Leon, 20, a psychology major of USC and the fourth runner-up.

She wore a white jersey dress, draped on the hips with wrought iron straps that extended to the back. It was designed by Cary Santiago, who also won the Best Evening Gown Designer award.

De Leon and Santiago were awarded by Pauline San Juan, editor-in-chief of Preview fashion magazine.

But of all the gowns worn by the candidates, the one Lugo wore drew attention.

The design on the hem of her skirt had faces of candidates Noynoy Aquino, Joseph Estrada, Mar Roxas, Loren Legarda and Gilberto Teodoro .

Aside from the special numbers from Manila-based singer Christian Bautista and Cebuano artist Verni Varga, designer Felix Yu was also given the lifetime achievement award during the pageant.

Gwen's allies tried to stop me - Greg

Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. yesterday admitted that two board members allied with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia tried to persuade him not to push through with his privilege speech and open his line of communication with the governor instead.

Tining wins protest

CELESTINO "Tining" Martinez III is the lawful representative of the fourth district of Cebu Province, a decision of the Supreme Court (SC) en banc yesterday declared.

The High Court, in the ruling penned by Justice Ma. Lusia Villarama, said Martinez defeated Benhur Salimbangon by close to 5,000 votes during the May 2007 elections, regardless of what the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) found.

"This decision is immediately executory," read the ruling.

It not only slammed the HRET for "grave abuse of discretion" but also chided the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for its "inefficiency and lethargy" as well.

Salimbangon said he will file a motion for reconsideration today.

Majority

According to the High Court, 5,401 votes cast for "Martinez" and "C. Martinez" should be counted in favor of Tining, instead of being declared stray, following the disqualification of motorcycle-for-hire driver Edilito C. Martinez as a nuisance candidate.

These votes give Martinez the majority, with 72,056 votes, against Salimbangon's 67,108. According to the Comelec, Martinez lost to Salimbangon by 104 votes. The HRET later ruled that Salimbangon's winning margin was 453 votes.

The latest SC ruling can affect future election controversies. It states that "ballots indicating only the similar surname of two candidates for the same position may, in appropriate cases, be counted in favor of the bona fide candidate and not considered stray even if the other candidate was declared a nuisance candidate by final judgment after the elections."

Martinez, interviewed last night, said he intends to take his oath and make the most of the four months or so which he has to hold office.

"It is not for me or because I want this position. What can we do in four months anyway? But this is victory for the people.

It is a vindication of all the allegations raised against us and against them," he told Sun.Star Cebu.

The decision "has vindicated me from all the accusations.

It's not a matter of occupying the position anymore. It's looking for justice for our district," he said.

Changes

He intends to fly to Manila to fight for his assumption of office as soon as possible.

"Actually, my priority is what I can do for the next remaining months. I hope that this will not happen again. All the troubles and problems came from our opponents," he said.

Martinez is again running for Congress against Salimbangon in May this year. He is allied with the Liberal Party, while Salimbangon is identified with One Cebu and Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Martinez said he has yet to take stock of the district he is returning to, admitting "there have been some changes in the alignments in the leaders of some of the towns."
Asked what he intends to do with the leaders who have defected, he answered: "God help them."

Then, more seriously, "we have to sit down first and hear the views (of the other leaders). I see it as a blessing. You know who your friends are."

Yesterday's ruling resolved the petition for certiorari that Martinez, through lawyers Roque Bello and Jude Perez, filed against the HRET. Martinez questioned the HRET's May 28, 2009 resolution dismissing his election protest, as well as the July 30, 2009 resolution denying the motion for reconsideration.

Crucial

The election protest targeted votes cast in 1,129 precincts in the fourth district—precincts that contributed to his loss to Salimbangon: 67,173 against 67,277.

According to Tining, votes cast for "Martinez" or "C. Martinez" all got declared strays because the name of Edilito C. Martinez was still written in the official ballots.

He had filed the necessary motions to declare the other Martinez a nuisance candidate, noting his lack of resources, machinery or capacity to launch a district-wide campaign, but the Comelec came out with its decision almost a month after the election.

Edilito C. Martinez indeed got declared a nuisance candidate, but the Comelec already proclaimed Salimbangon by then.

According to the HRET, the votes should indeed be declared strays because, given that Edilito C. Martinez's name still appeared on the ballots, "there was no way of determining the real intention of the voter."

Nuisance

These were crucial votes because they represented 5,401 of the 7,544 ballots, which were denied as votes for Tining in 961 precincts.

"We sympathize with the protestant that he is the victim of the inaction of the Comelec," the HRET ruling read.

But in finding in favor of Martinez, the SC revisited the failure of the Comelec to resolve the motion against Edilito C. Martinez on time.

As far as the HRET is concerned, the SC declared that: "Laws and statutes governing election contests especially (in the) appreciation of ballots must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the electorate in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by technical infirmities."

Thus, it said, the HRET should have "properly counted in favor of petitioner and not nullified as stray votes after considering all relevant circumstances" when it resolved the subsequent election protest," adding that "such votes could not have been intended for Edilito C. Martinez who was declared a nuisance candidate by final judgment."

"Otherwise, potential nuisance candidates will continue to put the electoral process into mockery by filing certificates of candidacy at the last minute and delaying resolution of any petition to declare them as nuisance candidates until elections are held and the votes counted and canvassed," the High Court said.

Tomas to make hospitals, schools pay taxes by June

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña yesterday said he will "correct the injustice" and make hospitals and schools pay taxes before the end of his term this June.

14 applicants ask Comelec for police escorts

With the start of the election period last Monday, 14 individuals have applied to the Commission on Election-7 for police escorts, said Comelec-7 regional director Rey Rene Buac.

SC orders Comelec to count Ladlad in 2010 polls

The Supreme Court ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Tuesday to recognize the gay group Ang Ladlad as an accredited party-list group and to include its name when the poll body starts printing the ballots for the May elections.


Comelec worried about SC overtuning its decisions

The Commission on Elections said Tuesday it fears the Supreme Court might overturn some of the election body's decisions to disqualify certain candidates after the ballots have been printed.

Arroyo orders DILG, DND to look into 'permits to win'

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered both the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of National Defense to look into reports that New People's Army rebels have been issuing "permits to win" to 2010 wannabes.

CAFGUs among groups allowed to carry guns

The Commission on Elections have included the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) among the list of agencies authorized to carry firearms during the election period.

No time to pass 'stricter' law on illegal firearms—Nograles

The government has to make do with existing laws in prosecuting groups that possess illegal firearms because Congress does not have time to pass a "stricter legislation," House of Representatives speaker Prospero Nograles said Tuesday.

SC okays transfer of Ampatuan rebellion trial

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the Department of Justice's motion to transfer the rebellion case against members of the influential Ampatuan clan from Cotabato City to Quezon City.

'Ambush' interviews banned at Ampatuan trial

The Philippine National Police has prohibited media interviews outside the venue of the trial of Andal Ampatuan Jr. in Camp Crame, Quezon City, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Andal Jr: Allah knows I"m innocent

Andal Ampatuan Jr., the primary suspect in the Nov. 23 massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province, faced the media Tuesday and denied the accusations against him. He also appealed to the government and the court hearing his multiple murder case to give him a fair trial.

Armed militias outnumber cops, soldiers in Sulu, Basilan—source

There are more members of private armies in Sulu and Basilan than security forces combined, according to a source privy to police matters and operations.

Chiz: GMA wants an 'all-Arroyo' appointed Supreme Court

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants an "all-Arroyo appointed" Supreme Court, a senator and member of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) said Tuesday.

14 more bodies recovered from Catalyn B wreck—Coast Guard

(UPDATE 2) Fourteen more bodies were recovered Tuesday from the sunken MV Catalina, bringing to 25 the total number of confirmed fatalities in the Christmas Eve sea tragedy off Limbones Island in Cavite, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

Cabral calls for higher spending on healthcare

by by Karen Reyes Caringal, ANC
MANILA, Philippines - Newly-appointed Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral is not planning a major revamp of health programs when she officially takes over the portfolio this week, but she called for higher spending for healthcare.

Medical check-up of prisoners via internet proposed

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Filipino prisoners can seek medical help from doctors or nurses via the internet, if a health program by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) will be implemented nationwide.

The BJMP on Tuesday pilot-tested their program called "BJMP i-Health and Referral Consultation" which allows inmates to consult with city jail doctors elsewhere in the country through internet conference calls.

During their pilot-test, jail authorities demonstrated how a BJMP surgeon based in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City could offer prescription information and instructions to a nurse assisting an inmate who was mauled and injured at the Metro Manila District Jail.

Camp Bagong Diwa and the Metro Manila District Jail are located 315 meters apart.

In another demonstration, a nurse was able to receive instructions from a doctor via the internet about how to help a Makati City Jail inmate who was suffering from an epileptic fit.

Though BJMP authorities admit that personal consultations with doctors are best for inmates, the program will solve understaffing problems.

The i-Health project may encounter problems, however, like when a jail has no internet signal or if there are technical glitches in the broadband systems used by doctors.

Prisoner mortality rising

Chief Supt. Serafin Barreto, director of the BJMP-National Capital Region (NCR), said the program will help solve their medical team's lack of manpower, allowing the medical staff to provide medical attention to inmates without having to be physically present.

In the NCR alone, there are only 4 doctors servicing 18,000 inmates. Meanwhile, there are 6 doctors tasked to assist around 60,000 inmates nationwide.

The doctor-to-inmate ratio is currently at 1 doctor for every 10,000 prisoners. Further, the budget allotted to each city jail prisoner is rougly P3 per day.

The mortality rate for prisoners slightly increased in the past 2 years.

According to BJMP data, 325 inmates died in 2008 while 338 died in 2009. The leading cause of death among inmates is undetermined, BJMP data revealed.

The second leading cause of death is pulmonary tuberulosis, reportedly brought on by congestion in city jails.

The BJMP is tasked to administrate all district, city and municipal jails in the Philippines.

It is mandated to provide for inmates' basic needs, improve jail facilities and see to the welfare of inmates and personnel.


3 Filipina drug couriers get long jail terms in Hong Kong

Three Filipino women were sentenced to long jail terms last week by the Hong Kong High Court for drug trafficking after pleading guilty to the charges.

Filipino is parish priest in Sweden

A Filipino Roam Catholic cleric has the distinct honor of heading a Swedish parish.  Fr. Gabriel Baldostamon has been installed as parish piest of the Saint Nicolai Church in Linköping, Sweden on Jan. 10.  Baldostamon hails from Marbel, South Cotabato, and has been serving the Filipino community in Sweden for several years.

Magnitude 5 quake hits Luzon

(UPDATE) A magnitude 5 earthquake struck 50 kilometers west of Metro Manila Tuesday evening the US Geological Survey said.

Moderate quake strikes off Indonesia

A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake rocked the eastern Indonesian province of Maluku Tuesday but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami warning was issued, officials said.

PDIC aims to release unpaid Legacy claims by Q1

by By Michelle Orosa, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) is aiming to release all unpaid insurance claims from the closed Legacy banks within the first quarter of 2010.

To date, about 80% of the 54,198 insurance claims from the 12 Legacy-related rural banks have been paid out, according to PDIC President Jose Nograles.

"As of today, 80% of the claims have been processed, and P5.2 billion has been released. We still have some 20% to work on, but we've contracted an external auditor already to help out. We hope to accomplish all these by the first quarter this year," Nograles said.

Nograles said the PDIC tried to finish processing all the claims, but was dragged down by the closure of some 31 small banks in 2009.

"The 31 bank closures added several hundred thousand accounts to the 250,000 accounts we're already processing for the Legacy closures," he noted.

The PDIC has been on a roll with its campaign on safe and responsible banking, following the closure of the controversial Legacy banks in December 2008.

Based on senate investigations and cases filed by regulators at the Department of Justice, the Legacy group enticed its clients with higher-yielding financial products and offered them non-cash incentives for deposits.

The group acquired public funds and moved them around through a web of companies engaged not just in rural banking, but also in pre-need, credit cards, motor vehicle sales, realty, among others.

The central bank said these were unsafe and unsound banking practices.

NATO: 13 insurgents killed by missile

NATO says a missile fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle has killed 13 insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

Pacquiao, Clottey to fight at 147 lbs.

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
Mayweather foe still unnamed MANILA, Philippines – American trainer Freddie Roach clarified that the fight featuring his ward, Manny Pacquiao, and Ghanaian Joshua Clottey on March 13 will not have a catchweight.

Filipinos lured to Texas for Pacquiao fight

Top Rank Promotions big boss Bob Arum said he is delighted that the Manny Pacquiao vs Joshua Clottey fight will be held in one of the most magnificent stadiums, the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Viloria, Nietes to defend titles in Pasay City

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing champions Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Viloria and Donnie "Ahas" Nietes are set to defend their titles on their home turf this month.

Z Gorres undergoes 2nd major surgery

by by Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
'Z Gorres bill' proposed LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Two months after his victory that resulted to a brain injury, ZC Oliveros "Z" Gorres' survival is considered a miracle.

Gorres, who went through an emergency brain surgery in November, is recovering well from his head injury. He can now talk softly and eat regular food.

The Filipino fighter won over Luis Melendez of Colombia in their 10-round bout in November via unanimous decision.

Before his victory, a left straight punch from Melendez landed on Gorres' temple in the 10th round which caused the blood clot in his brain.

"Mga anak hintayin niyo ang pagbabalik ko, yung promise ko sa inyo, pag-uwi ko diyan. Sa mga taong sumusuporta at nagdadasal, salamat sa inyo," he addressed his young children.

Gorres went through his 2nd major surgery because doctors needed to put back the part of the skull that was taken out in the 1st surgery.

"Katatapos pa lang ng operation niya. The operation lasted for 2 hours and according sa doctor nakausap natin sa loob hindi naman nagkaroon ng komplikasyon dun sa operasyon. Maganda naman ang pagkakaopera. Wala naman major bleeding na nangyari sa loob," said University Medical Center (UMC) physician Dr. Benito Calderon.

Attending physicians are hopeful that Gorres will recuperate fast and that no infection would occur.

Surging hospital bills

Meanwhile, his hospital bills at the UMC are increasing. The surgery even drove up his already costly hospital bills.

Because of this, doctors who performed Gorres' 2nd surgery volunteered their service for free.

Gorres' insurance covered for only $50,000, which was used up on his 1st day at the hospital.

His family physician, Dr. Calderon, said the UMC management tried to release the boxer last week as the hospital management believed that Gorres is stable and fit enough to travel back to the Philippines.

His family, meantime, continues to seek financial help especially with his impending return to the Philippines in the next few weeks.

'Z Gorres bill'

Gorres' plight touched the hearts and raised awareness in the boxing community.

Frank Slaughter, a boxing coach at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), is calling for a state bill that would protect all fighters—the "Z Gorres bill" would give additional protection for underinsured fighters in case of injury.

"Our country has been very good to the Philippines. We've always sent aid to the Philippines. As a matter of fact, UMC has sent humanitarian aid in the past to the Philippines. We want them to step up," said Slaughter.

Gorres' trainer, Tony Martin, sent a call for help to the Philippines' most famous boxer, pound-for-pound king and 7-division champion Manny Pacquiao.

"Manny, if you're watching, take time out from what you are doing in the Philippines right now. Just take one hour of your time to visit UMC [where] a fellow countryman and a fellow boxer [is] and say 'how are you?' That's all we require," Martin pleaded.


Singapore to pull out as 2013 SEA Games host

Singapore's sports minister confirmed Tuesday the city-state wants to pull out of hosting the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games because of delays in the construction of a new sports hub.

MTRCB remains firm on 'Showtime' suspension

Pinanindigan ng MTRCB ang pagpataw ng preventive suspension order sa Showtime live bunsod ng kontrobersyal na mga pahayag ni Rosanna Roces. Pero nagpahiwatig ang ahensya, maaring hindi tumagal ng 20 araw ang suspensyon ng programa.

PBB Update: Big Brother is back, while Melason gets a 'TRO'

May big comeback mamaya sa PBB Double Up! Maririnig na muli ang boses ni Big Brother na mahigit isang linggo ring nagpahinga matapos maospital dahil sa sobrang pagod noong holiday season.

Gibo ready to stop using Rico Blanco"s song in campaign jingle

Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. is ready to stop using singer-composer Rico Blanco"s song in his political advertisement. In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Teodoro urged all parties involved in the issue to meet with him and settle the dispute.

Chito Roño directs first Pinoy musical film 'Emir'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Well-acclaimed director Chito S. Roño finally bared his dream project -- the Philippine's first full-length musical feature.

Solons say no to 'renewable' marriage

Several lawmakers on Tuesday slammed the doors on a proposal for a renewable marriage even before it reached Congress.

Expect an early, hotter dry season—PAGASA

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is anticipating an early onset of "summer" in the country and a dry season that will be hotter than usual.

One-third of gov't employees have mental problems

As many as three out of 10 government employees have mental health problems, a recent survey has found out.

The most common mental disorders found among state workers were depression and anxiety disorder, which require professional intervention, said Dr. Edgardo Tolentino Jr. of the Philippine Psychiatric Association.

He said the 2007 survey, an initiative of the Department of Health, used the diagnostic tool Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association to get a picture of the mental health of Filipino government workers.

Employees of major government departments based in the National Capital Region were covered by the survey.

"Surprisingly as much as 30 per cent of the respondents were found to have mental health problems. There was one or two who were even possibly suicidal," Tolentino said at a forum organized by the Philippine College of Physicians on Tuesday.

"We think that people are just normal, but they are actually harboring mental health problems which could be picked up by a diagnostic tool," continued Tolentino, who practices at the Makati Medical Center.

He explained that depression is not to be confused with the sadness caused by the loss of or separation from a loved one.

"Depression is an illness triggered, even without any loss or separation... (by) brain chemical imbalance. It has to be treated because of the danger of suicide. So we help non-psychiatrists detect this," Tolentino said.

Dr. Tante Delia of the PPA who practices at the Philippine General Hospital, said the recent findings jibe with the findings made more than a decade ago by the late Dr. Antonio Perlas, then one of the country's leading practitioners of mental health care.

Perlas' 1994 survey conducted in communities in Region VI with 3,000 respondents showed that 14.3 per cent or nearly two out of 10 persons suffered from a range of anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, phobia and general depression.

"They needed professional help, medication or psycho-therapy," Delia explained.

Tolentino said a nationwide survey is being planned to get a bigger picture of the mental health among Filipinos.

He said the findings of the 2007 survey indicated that those who showed mental problems were those with less formal education and those in difficult family situations.

"The more stressors you have and if you don't have enough resources to deal with the problem, it may turn to be a mental health problem," Tolentino said.

He stressed the "life-saving" importance of diagnosing mental disorder.

In some celebrated cases of suicide, the "psychological autopsy" revealed that the suicidal person had given out several warning signs which were unfortunately undetected.

Tolentino cited one case where the suicide left not only a note but gave his bank automated teller machine PIN number to his staff to give to his family after his death.

"There were a lot of signs but the people around them didn't detect that there was already depression. It's life-saving to detect depression. It's preventable, there's something we can do to prevent it," he stressed as he noted the high number of patients suffering from anxiety attacks.

"Over the past 10 years, there's a high incidence of anxiety among Filipinos. We are an anxious people," Tolentino said.

But he also noted how Filipinos use humor as a coping mechanism during times of disaster and national upheavals.

"Is it good or bad? It could be good. But the mature way of coping is if we can use it to find a solution," he said.

The Philippine Psychiatric Association is lobbying Congress to pass a mental health bill to strengthen and institutionalize services for mental health care.

Australian research says TV can kill

SYDNEY- People who spend more than four hours in front of the television each day have a far higher risk of dying early than those who limit their viewing, an Australian study said Tuesday.

Watching the small screen for prolonged periods is also bad for your heart, according to the research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Compared to people who watch less than two hours of television per day, people who watch more than four hours per day have a 46 percent higher risk of death from all causes," researcher David Dunstan told AFP.

They also have an 80 percent increased risk from cardiovascular disease, he said.

Sitting down for long periods stops the body from using its muscles and adequately processing sugars and fats, Dunstan said.

The findings come from a six-year study into the viewing habits of some 8,800 Australians which stripped out the influence of other health factors such as age, sex, smoking, weight and exercise.

Australians watch an average of three hours a day, said Dunstan, a researcher with the Melbourne-based Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

The study found that even people who exercised regularly were potentially hurting their bodies by sitting down for extended periods, he said.

"What these findings suggest is that in addition to regular exercise, people need to consider avoiding prolonged periods of sitting; whether it's in front of the television, working long hours or driving for prolonged periods.

"And for TV, a specific message could be: switch off, stand up and keep moving," the researcher said.

Pinoys can't resist food--survey

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - When it comes to eating food, Filipinos just can't say "No", a survey by Reader's Digest magazine found.

The survey, covering 16 countries, asked over 16,500 people around the world about their views on weight and eating.

Filipinos are the likeliest to admit that "lack of willpower" in refusing good food is the top cause for being fat, compared to other countries that blame other factors.

The survey found that 95% of Filipinos said they enjoy good food, and that 82% of Filipinos admit to "simply not having the willpower to resist it."

Countries like America, with almost half saying they enjoy good food, are likely to blame their weight problems on lack of exercise (84%).

The Reader's Digest survey also found that the French are the most likely to blame fast food for rising cases of obesity (79%), followed by Americans (70%) and Germans (69%).

The Russians, meanwhile, are likeliest to blame their genes (70%).

Data from the Nutrition Research Institute found that obesity is on the rise, with 20 out of every 100 Filipinos aged 20 and above overweight. (See article: "1 out of 4 Pinoy adults fat--survey")

Ways to diet

SURVEY SUMMARY

In 10 of the 16 countries surveyed, at least half of the people said there's too much emphasis on weight.

Everywhere, women were significantly more likely than men to feel the pressure.

Source: Reader's Digest

While Filipinos find it difficult to control their appetites, many countries are trying their best to edge out cravings.

The survey found that the Chinese are the world's most avid diet pill users, with 37% of them saying they have used slimming pills to try and lose weight.

Meanwhile, Russians bested other countries in using smoking to lose weight, with 23% of men and 18% of Russian women admitting to using the method.

Sixty-one percent of Americans resort to depriving themselves of food in order to lose weight. The survey noted that this method has had a "dismal success rate" based on clinical studies.

The country with the most sensible weight-loss strategies was found to be Mexico, with 93% of Mexicans reporting that they switched back to healthier food to lose weight, and 86% reporting that they have tried to become more physically active.

The survey noted, however, that although Mexicans know the right way to a sexy body, most don't practice what they preach.

According to Mexico's National Institute for Public Health, 70% of Mexican adults are overweight or obese.

Being fat can't get you love?

Mexicans know they should switch to healthy food and exercise more in order to lose weight. But they don't always practice what they preach. Photo by Kristine Servando.

The survey also found that many countries believe obesity interferes with their careers, love relationships, and even their sex lives.

Americans had the most number of married women (51%) who reported that they wish their husbands were thinner, while 47% of married American men also desire the same thing in their wives.

Indians had the most number of married men (48%) who admitted to being dissatisfied with the shape of their spouse, with 46% of married Indian women saying the same.

Hungarians are the most content with the shape of their spouses, with only 11% of married men and 14% of married women saying they wanted their mates to slim down.

Adding to India's hang-ups, the country had the highest number of respondents (67%) who said being overweight can "seriously interfere" with their career advancement. This is 10 percentage points higher than any nation surveyed.

The survey said this notion is also pervasive in the Philippines and Germany.

Lastly, Australia and Mexico are countries where being fat interferes the most with one's sex life.

A majority (52%) in these countries said being fat holds them back from having great sex. Australia followed closely with 51% saying the same thing.

The Hungarians (15%) and the Dutch (18%) are the least likely to say that being fat makes a difference in their sex lives.

Slimmers world

People in Finland are the most devoted when it comes to slimming down.

The survey found that 83% of Finns said they had tried to lose weight at least once in their lives followed by the Dutch at 73%.

Meanwhile, Indians reportedly had the least number of respondents (21%) who reported an interest in slimming down at some point in their lives.

The Philippines ranks low in terms of interest in slimming down, with only 38% of respondents saying they have tried to lose weight at least once in their lives.

Brazilians topped the poll for being the most "figure-conscious", with 83% of Brazilians saying they believed their society placed too much importance on slimness.

They are followed by India (68%), the United States (62%), and Britain and France with 55% each.

Hungarians are the least figure-conscious society, with only 28% reporting that their compatriots were too fixated on slimmed-down figures.

The global survey tried to find solutions to the World Health Organization's findings that world deaths from obesity outnumber deaths from hunger.

The study was conducted in September and October 2009 by polling firm Synovate.

It covered the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.

Record-high hunger incidence among Pinoys–SWS

by By Jesus F. Llanto, Newsbreak
4.4 million households went hungry involuntarily at least once the past quarter MANILA, Philippines - A new record-high of 4.4 million households experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past 3 months, the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

The Fourth Quarter 2009 Social Weather Survey conducted Dec. 5-10, 2009, showed that 24% of families experienced involuntary hunger at least once for the past 3 months because they did not have anything to eat.

"The latest hunger rate surpassed the previous record-high incidence of 23.7% in December 2008," the SWS said.

The figure is 5.2 points higher than the hunger incidence recorded in October 2009. The 5.2-point increase resulted from a 4.3-point increase of families that experienced "moderate hunger" and 1-point increase for those who experienced "severe hunger" in the last 3 months.

The number of families experiencing moderate hunger—defined as those who experienced involuntary hunger "only once" or "a few times"—went down to 19.3% or 3.6 million in December, from 15% or 2.8 million in October.

Meanwhile, families that experienced severe hunger—those who experienced involuntary hunger "often" or "always"—increased to 4.7% (870,000) in December, from 3.8% or 700,000 families in October.

The survey was based on interviews with 2,100 adults—300 in Metro Manila and 600 each for the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. It has a margin of error of 2.2% for national percentages, 46% for Metro Manila, and 4% for other areas.

The survey also show that hunger incidence increased across all areas. Families in Metro Manila that experienced hunger rose to 665,000 (27%) in December, from 394,000 (16%) in October.

Hunger rate in the Visayas, meanwhile, increased by 8 points to 27.9% or almost a million families, from 20.3% or 750,000 families. In Mindanao, it increased by 6 points to 24.5% or 1 million families, from 18% or 755,000 families.

The rest of Luzon registered the lowest increase of 2 points in overall hunger. The hunger rate in the region rose to 21.2% or 1.7 million families in December, from 19.3% or 1.6 million families in October .

The survey also show that self-rated poverty and food poverty declined in most areas, except in Mindanao.

"Self-rated poverty and food poverty declined in most areas, but either rose or barely changed in Mindanao," the SWS said.

Self-rated poverty declined in Metro Manila by 2 points—from 40% in October to 38% in December. It also went down by 6 points in the rest of Luzon (from 49% to 43%) and by 10 points in the Visayas (from 60% to 50%) but barely changed in Mindanao during the same period (from 54% to 55%).

Meanwhile, self-rated food poverty declined in the rest of Luzon (from 43% in October to 36% in December) and in the Visayas (from 46% to 41%), but rose in Mindanao (from 37% to 48%) and in Metro Manila (28% to 30%).


Stephen Leacock  - "I detest life-insurance agents: they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so."

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