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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 22, 2010 Major News Stories



Cebu Archdiocese salutes OFWs

The Archdiocese of Cebu, together with other dioceses all over the country, paid tribute to Overseas Filipino Workers yesterday in celebration of the 24th National Migrants Sunday.

OWWA told: Publish statement of accounts

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration should publish its statement of account in the spirit of transparency and accountability, the Middle East chapter of Migrante said in a statement Sunday.

Lapu-Lapu City to give P5T aid to Barangay Pusok fire victims

VICTIMS of the fire in Barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City will receive a cash aid of not more than P5,000 for each family.

El Niño toll could worsen

Moderate' weather pattern seen having severe' impactTHE IMPACT of an ongoing El Niño-induced dry spell could be more severe than initially predicted, officials said, with some areas possibly seeing a repeat of 1998 wherein a drought took its toll on the economy.

The dry spell, a National Food Authority (NFA) spokesman yesterday said, could mean the Philippines -- the world's biggest rice buyer -- importing around 800,000 tons more this year.

The additional rice imports would bring total purchases to just over a record 3.2 million tons for the year. But bulging stocks from Thailand and Vietnam, the top two rice exporters, may cushion any impact on Asian rice prices which have eased considerably since Manila's last rice tender in December.

Last Friday, an Agriculture official said total farm damage from El Niño could increase as more and more provinces report losses.

"It could reach beyond P10 billion because more and more areas are reporting more water stresses. [The dry spell] in the northern [provinces] is becoming more intense," Undersecretary for Field Operations Joel S. Rudinas told reporters.

"The way things are going right now it is already alarming because it (the toll) is already within our expectations. So far, the damages have not yet reached [beyond our estimates] but we are still in February and as the days progress and unless relief is delivered, the impact [will be] felt more," he said.

But Mr. Rudinas held out the hope that the final cost would still be within the government's projected range: P8 billion under a mild El Niño and P20 billion under a severe dry spell.

A February 16 report by the Department of Agriculture's Central Action Center said 14 provinces in Luzon and the Visayas had been affected. The dry spell was said to have damaged over 200,000 tons of crops with an aggregate value of P2.84 billion.

Nathaniel A. Cruz, officer-in-charge of operations and services at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, said the weather bureau was still looking at a moderate El Niño that would likely last until June.

The impact in certain areas, however, could be as bad as in 1998 when the country was hit hard by the weather phenomenon.

"We can have a moderate El Niño but the impact will be that of a severe El Niño. The water level in Magat Dam in Isabela province, for instance, can already reach or even go below the 1998 water level," Mr. Cruz said.

A dry spell that began in mid-1997 lingered well into the following year, with officials reporting drought conditions in 68% of the country. Drastic water conservation measures were implemented as levels at the multipurpose Angat dam in Bulacan, which supplies drinking water for Metro Manila and irrigation water to nearby farmlands, fell to critical levels.

A paper on the 1997-1998 El Niño noted that the economy contracted by 0.5%, although it said the situation was exacerbated by the then-ongoing Asian financial crisis.

Yesterday, meanwhile, NFA spokesman Rex C. Estoperez told Reuters: "What is being harvested now by farmers is what was planted from around September last year when the ricefields were hit by typhoons."

"With the dry spell expected to last until July, there might not be enough water available for the planting season in May and June which will be harvested starting around September. This means we may need to buy about 800,000 tons more to offset any production shortfall."

Asked for more details, Mr. Estoperez told BusinessWorld: "We do not have a final figure as to how much additional imports [the country] will need because we still do not have final figure of the [total effect] of the El Niño damage."

Water levels at dams across the country have been dropping to near record lows due to the dry spell, putting at risk irrigation for farms as well as hydropower plants. Wide swathes of farmlands in northern Philippines, including rice-growing areas, have dried up completely.

The government has forecast the loss of 800,000 tons of rice if the El Niño-caused dry spell becomes severe. The harvest in the first half was projected to drop 1.7% from a year earlier to 7.25 million tons.

The Philippines has so far contracted to import 2.25 million tons of rice from four tenders in November and December when it advanced 2010 purchases after strong storms purged 1.3 million tons of paddy, or unhusked rice, in September and October. The entire volume is expected to be delivered by June.

The NFA on Friday also allowed private firms to bring in 200,000 tons of rice tariff-free, under an annual allocation, until Sept. 15.

Mr. Estoperez said a government panel had increased the volume of NFA's rice imports for this year to about 3.2 million tons, from 2.4 million tons previously. This allows the agency, tasked to stabilize domestic supply and prices of the national staple, room to buy more rice overseas if needed.

"I understand there are ongoing discussions now for further purchases," he said.

Reuters earlier reported that the rice import limit for 2010 had been increased to more than three million tons as a caution against El Niño, a periodic warming in the Pacific Ocean that affects global weather patterns and occurs only once every two to seven years.

It is not clear whether part of Manila's additional imports would include a pending deal to buy 367,000 tons of rice from Thailand in exchange for not cutting tariffs on rice imports from the start of 2010 as stipulated under a regional trade pact.

The agreement, likely to be signed at a regional economic ministers' meeting towards the end of the month, was expected to take effect from 2010 until 2014.

Marina to take up ouster call

THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Board will meet today to discuss the demand of the Philippine Coalition of Shipowners for the ouster of the agency's administrator, Maria Elena Bautista.

Another teacher shot before studes

CEBU, Philippines - Eleven days after a public school teacher was shot before his horrified students in Argao, another teacher was gunned down in the company of two of his students while returning from a benefit dance yesterday dawn in Daanbantayan town.

The teacher, Adan Medrano, 28, is a resident of Bogo City and son of Bogo City police officer SPO4 Gibo Medrano. He taught Physical Education at the Daanbantayan National High School.

Daanbantayan police officer PO2 Ramil Claro said Medrano had attended a benefit dance during the fiesta of barangay Bagay, and was on the way home on a motorcycle with two of his students, whom police identified as Harry Pitogo and Jake Sanchez, when two men on another motorcycle overtook them and asked them to stop.

Stopped in the middle of the road, Medrano and one of the two men broke into a heated argument, although police did not make clear what the argument was all about.

As the argument escalated, the man Medrano was arguing with suddenly pulled out a gun and declared a holdup.

9 rapes in Philippines daily

A total of 3,159 rape cases were reported to the authorities countrywide in 2009, up 22 percent from the 2,585 recorded over the same period in 2008, Cotabato Representative Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said in a statement Sunday.

Planned takeover keeps town on edge

DESPITE complaints from the camp of Engr. Augusto Corro, members of the Special Reaction Unit and the Philippine Army will remain in Daanbantayan, as President Arroyo is scheduled to drop by the town tomorrow.


Alert raised on nearly 2M ballots without security features

The security of nearly two million ballots for voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) may have been compromised after they were printed without the security markings of the National Printing Office (NPO), the Philippine Daily Inquirer learned.

An NPO source confirmed that the ARMM-bound ballots for the May 10 general elections have no NPO security features. The autonomous region consists of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz and Fr. Joe Dizon of Kontra Daya (Against Cheating) and sources from two groups the Inquirer interviewed separately said they had received reports from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the NPO that the ballots for the ARMM did not have the government-mandated markings of the NPO.

"The ARMM ballots have no markings," said the NPO source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of his work.

The NPO employee said there was a plan to put NPO markings, but the machines encountered problems at the start of the printing for the ARMM batch.

Since Smartmatic TIM Corp., the supplier of the automated counting machines, was pressed for time, it could not wait to redesign or repair the security marks, the source said.

The NPO employee noted that the ones printed after the ARMM batch, the 8.5-inch by 25-inch ballots to be used for the rest of the country, were given NPO marks. [The country has 50.723 million registered voters.]

The source explained that all official materials that leave the NPO building [on Edsa corner NIA Northside Road in Diliman, Quezon City] should have the agency's security features so that the NPO would be able to authenticate its own product if it were to be called into question.

The ballots for the ARMM elections were printed from Feb. 7 to 15, another source said.

Cruz said he received the same report from a Comelec source: "They proudly announced the printing of 1.7 million ballots for Mindanao in case of early elections in the ARMM. But the ballots lacked security markings. And consequently, they are useless."

Dizon, who said he met with NPO sources, said he received the same report from reliable sources. He said the ballots for the ARMM only had the markings of the Comelec and Smartmatic TIM Corp.

NPO Director General Servando Hizon said he did not know of such reports. All questions about the printing should be directed to the Comelec, said Hizon.

"Everything about the printing, you should ask the Comelec. That's the rules given to us," he said in a phone interview.

Comelec Chair Jose Melo confirmed that there were problems with the placement of NPO marks.

But these were ironed out, he said, when Smartmatic TIM agreed to put ultraviolet signs on the ballots. However, because of alignment problems, the marks will not be read by the machines, Melo said.

The Inquirer called Smartmatic TIM, but company officials could not be reached by their phone numbers.

Unlike in the past elections, Filipino voters will not have to write down the names of their chosen candidates in the blank spaces on the ballot paper supplied by the NPO.

Because of the automated balloting, voters will cast their votes for national and local posts by shading the oval space beside the candidate's name on the ballot.

The ballot, 25 inches long, will be fed into a Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine that will record and count the votes.

Another watchdog source, a former NPO official who also declined to be identified for security reasons, corroborated the statements of the two prelates. He said NPO employees were apprehensive of the lack of security marks on the ballots for the ARMM.

"Some NPO employees were afraid because of this," the source added.

Both the source and Cruz noted that Smartmatic TIM did not factor in the NPO marks in the contract it won from the Comelec. The company, he noted, wanted the NPO to pay P1 per ballot to have the agency's marks printed.

The source noted that the ballots for the ARMM had been packed and ready for shipping.

With less than three months before the elections, poll watchdogs said they were concerned about the news from the NPO, saying it could be used to commit electoral fraud.

The source, a printing expert, said it would be easy to duplicate the ballots, noting that the markings were "weak."

For one, the paper used did not have embedded security marks of the Smartmatic TIM and the Comelec. Furthermore, the bar code could not be used as a reliable security tool because it was mostly used for sorting and tracking the ballots.

With the advent of technology, the source noted that anyone with the right printer and paper could make copies of the ballots. The source also raised the security issue inside the plant.

According to the source, it would be easy for anyone to pick a ballot, hide it, and sell it to the highest bidder.

Election observers said the Comelec and Smartmatic TIM should come clean about the fate of the ballots, saying the mistake was a "red flag" and could only fuel fears that the automated elections were headed for failure.

"Where are the ballots now? Were they stored, delivered, or shredded? And what are the security marks? Are these approved by the NPO?" the source said.

"Why was there a mistake in printing? It's too gross a mistake. There must be a purpose," Cruz said.

"Those ballots should be burned in public and should be shown in public. They could be used for other purposes," Cruz added.

The source feared that the fraud he witnessed in Lanao del Sur during the ARMM elections in 2008 could happen again on May 10.

"They photocopied the ballots using high quality paper. This is what they gave to the voters and collected them. The corrupt BEIs [Board of Election Inspectors] hid the real ballots and filled these up and fed them to the machines," the source said. "They are laying the groundwork for something anomalous."

Comelec to voters: Shade fully the ovals

Mas sensitibo na ang bagong PCOS machine na ginamit sa pagsasanay sa Department of Science and Technology. Kahit hindi namarkahan nang buo ang bilog, tinatanggap pa rin ng makina ang balota. Pero giit pa rin ng Comelec sa mga botante, dapat fully-shaded ang balota! 

Influential pastor still not backing any presidential bet

Politicians trooped to the Cebu International Convention Center on Sunday to join the gathering of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ led by religious leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.

But Quiboloy endorsed no one at the gathering.

At one point in his nearly hour-long preaching before some 1,000 followers, he said that he had asked God the Father whom he should endorse for President because the media have been asking him, but he said the Father has not identified the chosen one.

He ended by singing a praise song asking for "a sign" as he asked the candidates present to come forward to the stage for a special blessing.

At the religious group's gathering were Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar and running mate Sen. Loren Legarda; Lakas-Kampi presidential bet and former defense chief Gilbert Teodoro Jr. and his running mate Edu Manzano; environmentalist and independent presidential bet Nicanor Perlas; senatorial candidates Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. of the NP, ex-general Jovito Palparan, Raul Lambino, Silvestre Bello, and Franklin Drilon, and local candidates.

Miriam dares Villar critics to fistfight

A star-studded grand rally in Cebu was launched last night by the Nacionalista Party headed by its standard-bearer Manuel Villar Jr. at the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City.

Villar's running mate Loren Legarda, senatorial bets Rep. Gilbert Remulla, Adel Tamano, Senator Pia Cayetano, Ramon Mitra, Rep. Liza Maza, Rep. Satur Ocampo, Susan Ople, Gwen Pimentel, Martin Querubin (son of Ariel Querubin), Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and guest candidate, Senator Miram Defensor-Santiago also joined the grand rally.

Santiago was quick to get into her antics again, challenging all the critics of Villar to a fistfight.

"Salita sila nang salita wala namang nagawa. Gusto nila ng debate, kung gusto nila, suntukan na lang tayo," Santiago said as the crowd kept chanting her name.

Santiago, a noted graft-buster said in her speech that if Villar will be elected as president Cebu will be the center of trade and commerce in the world as God will liberate the Filipino people from their "self-inflicted poverty".

Arroyo reiterates reconciliation offer to opponents

President Macapagal-Arroyo would be open to reconciling with her political opponents with only four months left in her nine-year term, her spokesperson said on Sunday.

LP not keen on reconciling with GMA

by By Dennis Carcamo

Liberal Party stalwart and senatorial candidate Franklin Drilon today said there is no need for them to reconcile with President Arroyo.

Villar to rivals: Reveal campaign donors

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar on Sunday dared his rivals in the presidential race to reveal their political campaign donors as he criticized those who claim to be running a "people's campaign."

Militants to see if Villar fulfills poll promises

Militant groups who have allied with the Nacionalista Party (NP) of Senator Manuel Villar for the May election said they would remain critical of the senator and see if he fulfills his campaign promises if he wins the presidency.

Erap, Villar belittle survey with 'Noy back on top

Minaliit nina dating Pangulong Joseph Estrada at Senador Manuel Villar ang latest survey ng TNS kung saan namayagpag sa unang pwesto si Senador Benigno Aquino III.

A national survey by London-based Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) showed Aquino leading by 11 percent over Villar of the Nacionalista Party. 

The survey, commissioned by LP's senate slate campaign manager Sen. Francis Pangilinan, was conducted from January 28 to February 3.

"The results of the survey confirm our long-standing position that our people yearn for real change in their lives and aspire for a new direction for our nation," Pangilinan said in a statement. 

A previous survey by Pulse Asia showed Villar cutting Aquino's lead to just two percent. 

Some 42 percent of the 3,000 respondents in the TNS survey chose Aquino over Villar, who only got 31 percent. Ousted President Joseph "Erap" Estrada (Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino) came in at third with 12 percent.

Fourth in the ranking was administration party bet Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) with 5 percent, while evangelist Bro. Eduardo "Eddie" Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas) and Sen. Jamby Madrigal (independent) both received 2 percent.

Ang Kapatiran's JC delos Reyes, Vetellano Acosta and Nick Perlas all gained fractional percentage points in the survey. 


Statistically tied in another survey

Another survey, this one by the Issues and Advocacy Center (the Center), showed Aquino and Villar statistically tied at 27 percent among 1,800 respondents. Coming in at third is Estrada with 17 percent, followed by Teodoro with 14 percent; Gordon, 8 percent; and Villanueva 3 percent.

The survey was conducted on February 1 to 8, with a +/-2.5 percent error margin.

"Our top two contenders are currently tied, for the simple reason that if you look at the advertising factor, for the whole month of January, Villar practically consumed 460 minutes of airtime," said the Center's director Ed Malay.

He added there was a surge in Teodoro's ratings after visiting colleges and universities, while Gordon's showed a slight increase in light of his ubiquitous posters.

"It will be a five-way race. No one can be sure up to the last minute because this is an automated election. For your vote to be counted, you'd have to be careful with shading the circles in the ballot," Malay explained.

LP vice presidential bet Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II maintained his lead at 37% over NP's Senator Loren Legarda, who got 28%. Former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay meanwhile had 15%; former Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando, 9%; and actor Edu Manzano, 4%.

Surveys as 'psywar'

The survey had a margin of error of +/-2 percent, and included registered voters per region. Respondents who were perceived not likely to vote were not included, according to TNS.

NP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda, however, said she is not giving much attention to survey results which she branded as mere tactics at "psywar."

"Psywar ito, media war ito. Kailangang ilabas ang balita na sila ang nasa front page para kunwari malakas, pa rin sila (This is psywar, media war. They had to release this news to land on the front page and appear as if they still have the people's votes)," she said at a press conference in Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu.

NP senatorial candidate Gwen Pimentel likewise said at the same press conference that surveys should not be "over-analyzed," saying they are just a "reflection of certain biases or [they] can be manipulated as any."

Legarda belittles survey showing Aquino, Roxas ahead

Nacionalista Party vice presidential candidate Senator Loren Legarda said the latest opinion poll survey released by the Liberal Party showing a spike in voters' preference for its standard-bearer Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was nothing but a "psy war."

Defense chief wants a stop to PMA 'adoptions' of politicians

To shield the Armed Forces of the Philippines from "narrow and partisan" politics, the practice of adopting politicians into the Philippine Military Academy must discontinue, Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said on Sunday.

Biazon to Ibrado: Reconsider extension as AFP chief

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines - Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, chair of the Senate committee on national defense, wants Armed Forces' chief Gen. Victor Ibrado to rethink his stance against the possibility of the extension of his tour of duty beyond March 10.

Villar open to hero"s burial for Marcos

LAHUG, CEBU CITY - Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. sees no problem with allowing the late Ferdinand E. Marcos to get buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

Dry spell won't stop marijuana growing -- PDEA

Will the long dry spell end marijuana cultivation?

ICRC abductor, 5 others killed in Sulu clash—military

(UPDATE 3) Abu Sayyaf leader Albader Parad was among the six suspected members of the group killed in a gun battle with government troops early Sunday, the military said.

Suspect killed in robbery try at house of Maguindanao vice mayor

by by Lerio Bompat, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao
More or less 20 fully armed men attempted to rob the residence of Datu Saudi Ampatuan Vice Mayor Hadji Nashir Datumanong in Shariff Aguak, capital town of Maguindanao Friday evening.

Arroyo intervention sought on steel workers' strike

The "wild cat" strike of some 500 workers of Global Steel Philippines, Incorporated (GSPI) in Iligan City entered its first week Sunday with the protesters calling on President Macapagal-Arroyo to step in and help resolve their differences with management.

Thailand braces for explosive Thaksin verdict

BANGKOK, Thailand—Thailand has stepped up security and is braced for fresh turmoil this week as the country's top court decides the fate of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra's $2.2-billion fortune.

Saudi could allow women lawyers in court: reports

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia could soon allow women lawyers to appear in court, though apparently only representing other women, the country's justice minister said in comments published on Sunday.

Militants blow up 2 boys' schools in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Militants blew up two boys' schools in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, the latest in a wave of attacks by Islamist extremists targeting educational institutions, local officials said.

Indian student dies after setting himself ablaze

NEW DELHI – An Indian student has died after he set himself on fire in an apparent show of support for the creation of a new state in southern India, a report said on Sunday.

Purefoods gains PBA finals slot

The Purefoods TJ Giants turned to their defense when they needed it most and held off a charging San Miguel Beer squad in the fourth quarter for an 87-78 victory yesterday at the Cuneta Astrodome to book a ticket to the finals of the KFC PBA Philippine Cup.

Kris Aquino to undergo tests before being discharged Monday

Actress and television host Kris Aquino, who has been confined at the Makati Medical Hospital since Friday night for "cerebral and labyrinthine concussion" as a result of a bad fall, would be discharged at noon Monday if tests would turn out well, a source close to Aquino told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Sam Milby, Anne Curtis deny 'silent war'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Former sweethearts Sam Milby and Anne Curtis have brushed off rumors that they were involved in another big fight. Rumors have it that the 2 were heard screaming and cursing at each other at the backstage of musical variety show "ASAP XV."

Concert producer pays bounced check to Lea Salonga

by by Boy Villasanta, abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - You would think that a Filipino cultural icon and an international star like Lea Salonga would be spared from the shady deals that, unfortunately, do happen from time to time in the local entertainment industry. Think again.

Pacquiao gives mom P7-M 'dream mansion'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines -- The new house of 'Mommy' Dionisia Pacquiao in General Santos City has become a tourist attraction to the Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao's legion of fans.

"Shutter Island" makes waves with $40.2M debut

LOS ANGELES - Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio's voyage to "Shutter Island" has landed them at No. 1 at the weekend box office.

Nepal"s shortest man in quest for world record

KATMANDU, Nepal - A man who is only 22 inches (56 centimeters) tall left his home country of Nepal on Sunday in a quest to be recognized as the world's shortest living man. Khagendra Thapa Magar is traveling to Europe to campaign for the Guinness World Record title.

2010 drought not the worst in RP

The current El Niño phenomenon in the country is not the worst the country has seen in a decade or in the past 15 years.

Cellphones become pocket banks in poor countries

BARCELONA, SPAIN -- An Afghan police officer gets his salary in a text message on his mobile phone. A Kenyan worker dials a few numbers to send money to his family.

The rise of banking transactions through mobile phones is giving a whole new meaning to pocket money in parts of the developing world that lack banks or cash machines.

Mobile money applications are emerging as potent financial tools in rural and remote areas of the globe, allowing people with no bank accounts to get paid, send remittances or settle their bills.

"One billion consumers in the world have a mobile phone but no access to a bank account," said Gavin Krugel, the director of mobile banking strategy at the industry group GSM Association.

"We see it as very big opportunity," he said last week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the industry's annual four-day event that ended on Thursday.

Mobile banking began to emerge six years ago in the Philippines and South Africa, where 8.5 million and 4.5 million people, respectively, use such services. Today, 40 million people worldwide use mobile money, and the industry is growing, according to the GSMA.

"Africa and Asia are the most active regions right now," Mr. Krugel said. "We expect Latin America pick up this year."

There are 18,000 new mobile banking users per day in Uganda, 15,000 in Tanzania and 11,000 in Kenya, he said.

Mobile phones can offer a wide range of banking solutions, from sending transfers to a relative to buying goods in a store or putting money aside for a rainy day-all by dialing a few numbers on one's handset.

Mobile banking can also make life easier for people in parts of Africa where paying a simple bill can be time-consuming, said Reg Swart, regional executive of Fundamo, a company that makes banking applications.

In Afghanistan, the national police has been testing a service from mobile operator Roshan to pay its officers -- which helps limit corruption, the firm said.

"We are currently moving from a trial to a full launch in paying the Afghan national police," said Roshan's head of mobile commerce, Zahir Jhoja.

Every month, police officers receive a text message in the language they prefer informing them they have received their salaries, Mr. Jhoja said. A voice message is also left "because a lot of them are illiterate and cannot read," he said.

The officer can then go get his money from an authorized Roshan agent.

"The benefit is that police and police officers don't have to carry cash anymore: from their post they are able to send their money home, buy items, and take whatever cash they want from an agent, or to store for future," he said.

The system has helped officers who were not receiving their full salaries due to "corruption and skimming.



Pablo Picasso  - "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."
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