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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 14, 2010 Major News Stories

LTO to comply with SC stop order on RFID

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) suspended the mandatory electronic tagging of motor vehicles in deference to a Supreme Court restraining order against the agency's Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) registration scheme.

Recto to LTO: Refund motorists now

Former Sen. Ralph Recto on Wednesday urged the Land Transportation Office to refund motorists who paid for the radio frequency identification (RFID) stickers after the Supreme Court ordered the project's suspension on Tuesday.

LTO-7 head says they won't return fees until SC ruling on RFID becomes final

THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 yesterday said they cannot make a refund for the payments made by vehicle owners for the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Group studies graft charges vs. LTO over RFID

Militant groups are considering filing graft and corruption charges against officials who approved and collected fees for an electronic vehicle identification system that was later stopped by the Supreme Court.

Task force to ensure stable power supply in May polls

The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to form a task force that will ensure continued power supply in the coming May 2010 elections.

PRC Changes Nursing Exam Schedule

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Wednesday announced that the 2010 licensure exam for nurses has been rescheduled.

PRC said that the nursing board examination for 2010 has been moved from June and November to July and December, following the Commission Resolution No. 2009-537 dated November 13, 2009.

Deadline for filing of applications for the July examination will be on April 14 for repeaters while first time examinees may file theirs until May 14.

For the December examination, repeaters may file their application until September 8 while deadline for first time examinees may file is on November 8, the PRC said.

Palace bothered by study on mental health of gov't workers

Malacañang expressed alarm on Wednesday over the 2007 study showing that three out of 10 government workers based in Metro Manila were suffering from mental disorder.

DOH to submit list of mentally-ill govt workers to agencies

The Philippines" health department will soon be tasked to provide agencies with a list of government workers suffering from mental illnesses. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita made this announcement on Wednesday, reacting to earlier reports that as much as a third of government employees are suffering from various kinds of mental disorders.

Rice supply sufficient to stabilize prices — DA

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap assured the public on Wednesday of sufficient rice supply to stabilize unwarranted spikes in retail prices in the country.

Farmers march to Palace to demand agrarian reform

Farmers belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) started on Wednesday a 10-day caravan that will connect them with their colleagues in Visayas and Luzon for a long march to Malacañang to dramatize their call for agrarian justice and to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre.

DTI to meet with bakers, millers on bread prices

Amid a looming price hike in bread products, trade officials will meet with bakers and millers to soften the impact of rising flour and wheat prices.

Gov't may increase sugar imports to steady prices

The government is importing as much as 150,000 metric tons (MT) of raw sugar to stabilize rising prices, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said on Wednesday.

Fires hit two city barangays

At least 15 houses were burned when separate fires hit two barangays of Cebu City yesterday.

Yesterday's blaze hit two sitios of Barangay Luz at around 1:25 p.m., destroying 10 houses with the amount of damage pegged at P700,000.

Fire fighters had a difficulty in penetrating the fire scene because of very narrow access road. But despite the problem, they were able to control the fire in 15 minutes.

The owners of 10 houses are identified as Jolling Montecino, Zenaida Arpon, Roberto Payusan, Ellen Igne, Nemecio Pagador, former brgy. Captain, Rebecca Bontilao, Prima Dunal,Pasensiana Tuquero, Ivy Amorado, Jerome Pagador and Ester Cañete.

Meanwhile, five houses were totally burned when a fire, which was believed to be intentionally triggered, occurred past 7 p.m. in Sitio Kaimbol, Caduloy riverside, in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City.

Barangay tanod Romy Quiño said the fire originated from the first floor of the two-storey house owned by Marilyn Alvarez, who was accused by couple Edwin and Emily Dela Cruz as the one who triggered the fire.

The Dela Cruz alleged that in the afternoon of that day, an argument ensued between them and Alvarez over rumors in which the latter later threatened by saying, "Bantay lang mo unyang gabii."

They believed that Alvarez lighted some of the clothing inside the house and the blaze spread through the house of the Dela Cruz and to the other three houses. The fire was put under first alarm and was controlled 20 minutes later.

One Junrey Gacayan, a neighbor, alleged that he saw Alvarez hurriedly walked away from the place while carrying some baggage.

Will Dumpit be served warrant?

WHERE is Adonis Dumpit? He was not at his office when agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 came around 3 p.m. yesterday to serve his arrest warrant for murder.

Court official says cops should arrest Dumpit

Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes yesterday challenged the policemen to arrest SPO1 Adonis Dumpit who is facing a non-bailable murder case over the death of a minor robbery suspect in 2005.

Immigration officers indicted for bribery

The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted an immigration officer and three confidential agents for direct bribery and graft and corruption for demanding half-million pesos from a Korean businessman in 2007.

The anti-graft office ordered the filing of the criminal charges before the court against immigration officer Dilausan Sarip Montor and confidential agents Daniel Gumba, Mabert Impas and Maria Donna Bella Deriada for violation of section 3(b) of the Republic Act 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and direct bribery.

6 areas around Cebu could be 'hot spots'

Six places in Cebu have been recommended to be declared as election hotspots, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that such are still subject for validation so names of these specific areas could not be divulged yet.

7 of 14 requests for police guards granted

POLICE officials have granted the request of seven of 14 applicants who asked that they be provided with temporary security detail during the elections.

Man shot dead after posting bail

A man who has just posted bail for an illegal drug case was shot and killed by two unidentified men along Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City around 4 p.m. yesterday.

Tourists, OFWS welcomed

HUNDREDS of foreign tourists, balikbayans and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport yesterday to witness the 30th Sinulog Festival in Cebu City on Sunday.

Devotee City opens today

The Devotee City will start accommodating pilgrims today who could not afford to pay for hotel or pension house accommodations during the Sinulog festivity.  Such will include bus or ship tickets, aside from the identification cards and other documents like residence certificate or barangay clearance.

Gwen defends her dancing in Sinulog

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday defended her yearly participation in the Sinulog by dancing with a contingent from one of the towns in the province.  Garcia said she joined and danced and will be dancing again during the Sinulog Grand Parade because of her faith in the miraculous Sto. Nino.

'SRP' shirts on parade a petty move: Gwen

MAKING City Hall employees wear the shirts printed with the words "Suya Ra ang Probinsya (SRP)" on board a float during Sunday's Sinulog grand parade does not affect Cebu Gov. Garcia.

JBC member urges colleagues to submit SC chief shortlist

Taking cue from Malacañang, Quezon City Representative Matias Defensor on Wednesday said he would continue to press his colleagues in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to submit a list of nominees for the next Chief Justice to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Puno says Arroyo should wait for JBC list

Outgoing Chief Justice Reynato Puno on Wednesday said Malacañang should not deviate from the practice of picking the next head of the judiciary branch from a shortlist submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Lawyers' association opposes early nomination of Puno successor

The Philippine Bar Association said Wednesday there would be no leadership vacuum in the judiciary even if Chief Justice Reynato Puno retires on May 17 and his replacement is named only after a new President takes office on June 30.

Arroyo signs law giving judges more benefits

President Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday signed into law a bill increasing the retirement and other benefits of judges in a bid to keep them in the judiciary until their retirement.

Solons question Cafgu exemption from gun ban

Party-list lawmakers on Wednesday criticized the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) exempting the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) from the election gun ban.

Teachers worried over automation training as May polls near

Nangangamba na ang ilang guro sa magiging papel nila sa halalan! Malapit na raw ang Mayo pero hanggang ngayon, wala pa silang alam tungkol sa automation! Puna rin ng isang organisasyon, baka magahol na ang Comelec sa dami ng atrasadong trabaho!

Comelec urged to put in 'freezer' poll execs implicated in vote fraud

Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to put in the "freezer" officials who have been implicated in the 2004 and 2007 alleged massive election fraud.

Comelec says SC ruling on Ladlad might result in stray ballots

An election on Wednesday expressed concern that the Supreme Court ruling on gay party-list Ang Ladlad would result in stray ballots as other disqualified party-list groups might demand the same treatment.

Some bishops oppose SC ruling on gay group

A number of Catholic bishops have assailed the Supreme Court's order allowing the gay party-list group Ang Ladlad provisional accreditation with the Commission on Elections, insisting that gays do not need separate representation in Congress since all laws apply to them anyway.

NPC still won't back a presidential bet

The Nationalist People's Coalition, the country's second largest political party, will remain "neutral" in the May presidential elections even if the race narrows down to a showdown between Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manuel Villar.

Carlos Romulo presidential forum to be aired live on ANC, streamed for free on

On the birthday of the late former United Nations Secretary General Carlos P. Romulo (Thursday, January 14, 2009), presidential candidates will face-off once again in a forum on domestic and policy issues that will be aired live on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

Enrile vows never to let Lacson get arrested while in Senate

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile vowed never to allow Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson get arrested while in session at the Senate.

Arroyo to sign 2010 budget before Valentine's Day

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will sign the P1.54-trillion national budget for 2010 before Valentine's Day, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Wednesday.

Andal Sr. hatched Nov. 23 massacre - witness

(Updated 4:03 PM) Clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan, Sr. masterminded the slaughter of 57 people in Maguindanao last November 23, witness Rasul Sangki, vice mayor of Ampatuan town, told a Quezon City court on Wednesday.

Massacre suspect fired first shot—witness

(UPDATE 5) Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. fired the first shot that led to the November massacre planned by Andal Jr. and his father Maguindanao Governor Andal Sr., a witness told the court at the resumption of the trial against Andal Jr. Wednesday.

Mangudadatu satisfied with testimony of star witness

Buluan town vice mayor Ismael "Toto" Mangudadatu on Wednesday welcomed the testimony of the star witness who directly implicated Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. in the brutal slay of 57 people in Maguindanao province last November 23.

Suspect dead, 4 cops hurt in grenade blast

A suspected member of a private armed group was killed and four policemen were hurt when a hand grenade exploded during a police search for illegal firearms in Cavite, Tuesday evening, an official said Wednesday morning.

1 killed, 3 wounded in Samar clash

A communist rebel was killed while two of his comrades and one government soldier were wounded in a clash in Eastern Samar, a military official said.

Thousands feared dead in Haiti—president

MIAMI – Thousands are feared to have been killed in a massive earthquake in Haiti, President Rene Preval told a US daily Wednesday as he issued a plea for international help.

Filipino peacekeepers in Haiti assist in rescue efforts

Filipino peacekeepers were the first to rush to the headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and take part in rescue efforts after the seven-story building was levelled by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on Tuesday night.

PNP peacekeeping team in Haiti safe, so far

No one from the 15-man peacekeeping contingent of the Philippine National Police in earthquake-struck Haiti was hurt, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.

RP troops trapped in Haiti buildings – contingent head

Some Filipino troops serving as members of the United Nations peacekeeping forces were trapped in several buildings in Haiti following the Magnitude 7 quake that rocked its capital, according to the military officer who heads the Filipino peacekeeping contingent.

Pope urges generous response to Haiti's 'tragic situation'

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday urged a generous response to the "tragic situation" in Haiti where hundreds are feared dead following a massive earthquake.

Obama wants record $708 billion for wars next year

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of a record $708 billion for the Defense Department next year, The Associated Press has learned - a request that could be an especially hard sell to some of the administration's Democratic allies.

Pacquiao-Clottey presscon set in Dallas on Jan 19

by by Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
MANILA, Philippines -- The contract is already signed for the pay-per-view fight of Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey, according to Top Rank Promotions.

Ex pro cager Distrito freed, back in Manila

Rudy Distrito is back in the Philippines and plans to rebuild his life back that the former professional cager is mulling to return as a coach or a staff in any of the 10 teams playing in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Players to discuss World Cup proposal - Djokovic

A revolutionary plan for a World Cup of tennis will be discussed among the players during this month's Australian Open, Novak Djokovic said here on Wednesday.

Filipino transsexuals arrested in Japan for fake marriages

Police near Tokyo said Wednesday they had arrested three Japanese men and their transsexual "wives" from the Philippines for faking their marriage registrations.

For the love of SC, Ala Paredes sketches massacre trial

Ala Paredes, the daughter of APO Hiking Society member Jim Paredes, returned to court Wednesday to once again capture courtroom moments in the Maguindanao massacre trial on her sketch pad.

APO Hiking Society bidding adieu to music industry

by By Reyma Buan-Deveza,
MANILA, Philippines – After 4 decades of great music and timeless hits, The APO Hiking Society is bidding farewell to the music scene.
APO's Jim Paredes, Buboy Garrovillo and Danny Javier, the ageless triumvirate of the '70s and '80s pop music, announced in a press conference Wednesday that their series of shows from February until the end of May will be their final curtain call.

Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts reunite for 'Larry Crowne'

LOS ANGELES - Oscar-winning actors Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are reuniting on the big screen for a new movie about a middle-aged man forced to find a new career, Daily Variety reported Tuesday.

It"s anti-women, feminists say of proposed marriage expiry period

Not only the clergy, but feminists, too, are against the proposal for a 10-year expiry period on marriages. Calling it "ridiculous" and "absurd," lawyer Evalyn Ursua and Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza said the proposal would turn marriages into ordinary contracts.

No smoking in public vehicles, terminals to be fully enforced

Drivers, operators who can't stop smoking passengers face fine, cancellation of franchise Tired of commutes where you have to cover your nose to avoid second-hand smoke from another passenger? A new rule from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) may just provide you the relief.
The agency, in an effort to protect the public from tobacco smoke, issued a memorandum that orders public transport drivers and operators to put "No Smoking" signs inside vehicles and terminals starting January 7.

With the LTFRB's new rule, public transportation operators are obliged to affix "No Smoking" signs at the entrance or waiting areas of their terminals.

Drivers, on the other hand, should place signs that are at least 3.5 square inches in height at the back of their windshields, and at least 10 square inches long inside their vehicles in spots visible to the passengers.

Drivers and operators are also responsible for commuters who would violate the 100% smoking ban in public vehicles and terminal. If they fail make smoking passengers comply, they could be fined up to P10,000 and have their franchises canceled.

Though the memorandum does not identify who would apprehend the violators, the LTFRB says that it will partner with other government agencies to fully enforce it.

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

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