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

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 11, 2010 Major News Stories

Bunok sa uwan timaan sa ting-uwan

MILABAW sa average nga gidaghanon sa tubig uwan ang natala sa rain catchment sa Pagasa Mactan human sa pagbunok sa uwan kagahapon sa kaadlawon.

Niabot og 32.6 millimeter ang level sa tubig uwan kagahapon sa kadlawon nga nagpasabot nga nasinati ang heavy rain fall.

Sumala pa ni weather forecaster Oscar Tabada nga ang average nga gidaghanon sa uwan moabot lang sa 25 millimeter kon adunay sunod-sunod nga pag-uwan.

"Onset of rainy season is here," pasabot ni Tabada ug gikabalak-an nga momugna kini og pagbaha sa mga low lying area, landslides ug daghang bagyo nga mosud sa Philippine areas of responsibility (PAR).

Sama sa naandan pipila ka mga balay sa sityo BRC, barangay Basak, dakbayan sa Lapu-lapu ang gisanapan sa baha kagahapon sa kadlawon.

Bisan kon aduna nay drainage plan ang siyudad, padayon gihapon masinate ang maong sitwasyon.

Matod pa ni Basak barangay kapitan Lolita Berdin nga sa usa mga culvert sa maong area nasira sa dihang gitukoran og paril sa land owner human gigamit na niini ang luna.

Aduna nay drainage nga gitukod ang kagamhanan apan di kini maka-ato sa pagpagawas sa tubig sanglit naingon sa usa ka water basin ang dapit gumikan sa kalupa niini.

Dugang pa ni Berdin nga ang Aboitiz Land, stakeholder sa Tamiya, Basak nitanyag nga mohatag og libre nga serbisyo ngadto sa mga lumolopyo pinaagi sa pag-provide og water pump nga maoy mosuyop sa napundo nga tubig baha sa area.

5.2-magnitude quake rattles southern Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATE) A moderate quake struck southern Mindanao on Thursday, state seismologists said.

No damage or injuries were reported following the 5.2-magnitude quake that hit the southern Mindanao region at around 10:13 a.m. local time, Eleazer Jorgio, science researcher of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology based in this city, said.

The US Geological Survey registered the quake at magnitude 5.

Jorgio said the quake was traced 59 kilometers northeast of the eastern seaboard city of Mati, in Davao Oriental province with a depth of 42 kilometers.

He said Intensity 3 was felt in Bislig City in Surigao del Sur province and outlying areas while Intensity 2 was felt in Davao City.

The quake which was tectonic in origin was traced from where the seismically active Philippine Trench lay which is the usual generators of quakes in the region, Jorgio said.

The Philippines sits in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where continental plates collide producing frequent quakes and volcanic activities.

Gov't says needs to import 100,000T more sugar

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - The country needs to import an additional 100,000 tons of sugar to plug a shortfall in production resulting from a drought and meet rising demand, the government said on Thursday.

PRC: 242 new dentists

MANILA, Philippine - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Thursday that 242 out of 340 passed the Dentist Licensure Examination given by the Board of Dentistry in Manila this June 2010.

100T people in region need blood

Health officials yesterday announced that of the five million people in Central Visayas, two per cent of them or 100,000 are in need of blood that is why the government's blood coordinating center is requesting the public to donate blood to help save lives.

DepEd chief defends "sex education" anew

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Mona Valisno yesterday defended anew the controversial "sex education" against those who are not in favor of including it in the school curriculum this year.

DepEd in Mandaue aims for no dropouts this year

The Department of Education, which is aiming for a "zero drop out" in schools in Mandaue City this year, is worried about the steady hold of internet cafés on students.

GMA opens tunnel but skips inauguration of school building

OUTGOING President Gloria Arroyo yesterday witnessed the soft opening of the P1.625-billion tunnel of the Cebu South Coastal Road Project (CSCRP).

Arroyo, in her speech, said she is happy to step down from the presidency, seeing several infrastructure projects in Cebu which her administration has funded, like the Cebu North Coastal Road, the concreting of major roads, the construction of school buildings, bridges and many more.

In behalf of the Cebu City Government and the people of Cebu City, Acting City Mayor and mayor-elect Michael Rama thanked Arroyo for funding the project.

Rama said the CSCRP and its component, the tunnel, can greatly decongest traffic and fast track economic growth.

"This project could not have been realized if not for the support of President Arroyo," Rama said.

However, the president disappointed a group of people waiting for her at the Zapatera Elementary School.

Due to her tight schedule, Arroyo skipped the inspection at the school, disappointing school officials and students who waited for her.

Vice mayor-elect Joy Augustus Young said the president's scheduled visit would have been a chance for the teachers and students to thank her for the education programs of her administration, and to bid her farewell before she steps down from the presidency.


He said if it were not for Arroyo, senator-elect Sergio "Serge" Osmeña III would not have been able to realign P100 million of his priority development assistance fund during his previous term for school buildings in the city.

"I'm disappointed that she's not here. Everybody really went out of their way and had wanted to see her because she's the president who gave us so much. We would have wanted to thank her.

Nevertheless, we bid her farewell and thank her for all
the support. Daghan gyud siya ug nahimo," said Young.

The vice-mayor elect represented the City Government for the scheduled inspection by the president of the four-story, 20-classroom school building inside the school in Barangay Zapatera.

Presidential Security Group staff had the whole school secured but by 2 p.m., the Presidential Management Staff received instructions that Arroyo could not make it.

Around 20 grade school pupils in costumes were in line, ready to dance the Sinulog despite the heat when school officials learned Arroyo decided to cancel the visit.

At the last minute, the Parent-Teacher Association officers and the teachers also gave their school facade a fresh coat of paint, in preparation for the president's visit.

She sent Department of Education Sec. Mona Valisno instead, who relayed to the teachers and school officials the President's regrets for failing to make it to their school, and assured them she would report to her their testimonies about the benefits of the different education programs of her administration.

Valisno thanked the City Government for funding the construction of the school building worth some P16 million.

The building was constructed last January and is expected to be finished next month.

Young, also the chairman of the Local School Board, said the 20 new classrooms will lessen the shortage of classrooms in the city, which is more than 100 rooms.

Fayette Riñen of the Philippine Information Agency said the president was pressed for time.

From the tunnel, Arroyo had to rush to a wedding at the Sacred Heart Church, just a few hundred meters from the Zapatera school.

In her speech at the inauguration of the tunnel, Arroyo said the project was conceptualized by the Cebu City Government and funded by the National Government using a loan from Japan.

Earlier, Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) said the Regional Development Council, which he chaired when he was Cebu governor, conceptualized the project.


The tunnel, which is due for completion this August, will be opened to the public, specifically to light vehicles, for limited hours every day to allow the work to be finished. It will be opened from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Japan's Ambassador to the Philippines, Makoto Katsura, said the CSCRP is part of the third phase of the Metro Cebu Development Project, in which the Japanese Government provided P9 billion (equivalent to 18.4 billion yen) through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

In his speech, Katsura said Japan recognizes the role and importance of infrastructure improvement in achieving economic development and in raising the living conditions of the Filipinos.

Katsura added the four-lane tunnel marks the completion of the CSCRP and will provide uninterrupted access from southern Cebu to the Cebu City business district, Cebu ports and Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

"I would like to reaffirm the Government of Japan's commitment to assist the Philippines in its nation-building efforts.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the Philippine Government's unwavering stance in promoting Japan-Philippines relations as we jointly pursue a strategic partnership between our two countries for the future," Katsura said.

While Arroyo's visit to Cebu yesterday may have been her last, two Cebu officials are optimistic Cebu will continue to receive projects from the National Government under the new administration.


Incoming Reps. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district) and Arturo Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City), who are both Arroyo allies, said they hope president-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III will continue to help Cebu realize its economic and development plans.

Radaza said he is willing to cooperate with Aquino if it is for the development of the country.

In a separate interview, Salimbangon said he is excited with Aquino's assumption as the country's head of state.

Salimbangon plans to sponsor a bill making his district an economic zone and he hopes to get Aquino's approval.

Ordinance making CITOM a department ok'd

A better and more orderly city in terms of transportation and traffic is now expected with the creation of a new traffic agency to be called the Cebu City Transportation Office.

Jailguard gipuli og priso

JAILGUARD sa Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LLCPO) detention cell gibalhog sa selda nga iyang gibantayan human moeskapo ang piniriso nga iyang gikuyogan sa korte.

Ang hepe sa LLCPO PSSupt. Mariano Natuel Jr., nimando sa pagpabalhog sa iyang jailguard nga si P02 Cirilo Lagumbay sukad kagahapon sa mga alas 8:00 sa buntag.

Napungot si Natuel sa pagka-eskapo sa lain na usab nga piniriso niadtong Miyerkules sa alas 3:00 sa hapon sa dihang gidala ni Lagumbay ang detainee nga si Miguel Manlapas, alyas Ege, 32.

Nasayran nga gidala sa Hall of Justice ni Lagumbay nga si Manlapas aron ka-isyuhan og commitment order ug madala na sa City Jail uban sa laing priniriso nga babaye, kinsa nga moatubang usab sa huwes aron mopiyansa.

Giingong nihangyo si Manlapas kang Lagumbay nga mosud sa usa sa mga pansayan sa korte sanglit naglain ang iyang tiyan ug aron sa pagtuman sa sugo sa lawas.

Nipasabot si Lagumbay ngadto sa mga tigbalita nga iyang gitangtangan sa pusas si Manlapas samtang anaa na sud sa cubicle.

Samtang gibiyaan una sa jailguard ang binilanggo sanglit gipatawag siya sud sa korte nga magsilbi nga witness niadtong laing priniriso nga iyang gikuyogan aron mopiyansa sa iyang kaso.

"Ako pud nga gisigihan siya (Manlapas) og lili diha sa may pultahan kay makita ra man kay aduna may bildo. Wa nako kabantay nga nakagawas," pulong pa ni Lagumbay.

Gituohan nga diha ra usab miagi sa pultahan si Manlapas ug wa mamatnguni sa dihang gihubo ang yellow t-shirt nga adunay marka nga detainee ug nisul-ob sa laing t-shirt nga maoy gigamit niini sa pagpurong sa iyang ulo.

Si Manlapas, lumad nga taga-Zamboanga del Sur ug kasamtangan nga nagpuyo sa barangay Canjulao, Lapu-Lapu city, nasikop niadtong Sabado sa Theft and Robbery Section gumikan sa kasong illegal possession of firearm.

Siya suspek usab sa sunod-sunod nga mga pagpanulis sakay sa motorsiklo.

Nakuha diha sa posisyon ni Manlapas ang tulo ka mga laptop, duha ka cellular phone, portable play station (PSP) ug video camcorder.

Atol niining pagsuwat padayon nga gipangita sa kapulisan si Manlapas.

Dugang pa ni Natuel nga kalapasan sa Article 224 sa Revised Penal Code o evation through negligence.

Kahihumduman nga ikaduha na kini nga kaso sa pag-eskapo sa binilanggo diha sa detention cell sa LLCPO.

Niadto lang Mayo 16 gigabas sa binilanggo nga si Joshua Sayson sud lang walo ka minutos ang rehas dihang nigawas ang jailguard aron sa pagtuman sa sugo sa lawas.

'I didn't violate law'

TALISAY City Mayor Socrates Fernandez said he did not violate any law when he retrieved a small red bag from his son's sports utility vehicle (SUV) even if this was cordoned off by police.

Joavan Fernandez, meanwhile, said he is willing to be subjected to a fingerprint test to prove he does not own the .45 pistol found by lawmen inside SUV.

For the first time, the father and son answered questions in a public affairs program of dyHP yesterday morning, nearly a week after Joavan allegedly pointed a gun at nurse Vincent Joe Castrodes over a traffic altercation in Bulacao highway, Talisay City.

Joavan, who figured in a string of cases for gun pointing and manhandling, faces charges for grave threats, illegal possession of firearms and violation of the election gun ban. He is currently out on bail.

Joavan said he was driving his Isuzu Bighorn (YEZ-460) and took a right turn on the highway from Vista Grande Subdivision when the SUV nearly collided with the southbound BMW car (LEV 777) of Castrodes.

Joavan countered Cas-trodes's version of the incident and denied getting off his vehicle and pointing a .45 pistol at him.

Since the driver's side window was opened, the mayor's son said he merely pointed his finger, not a pistol, at Castrodes, signaling him not to force his way.

Castrodes earlier said Joavan blocked his path after the latter recklessly cut in to the side of the concrete center island, forcing him to hit the brakes and honk his car's horn.

Upon reaching an auto repair shop in Lawaan Highway, Joavan said three policemen with their hands on their gun holsters arrived with the complainant about 15 minutes later.

"Ako man gani sila gikomedyahan, asa man mo manung ug gubat? (I even joked and asked them where they're going to war)" he said.

Much to his surprise, Joavan said the policemen ordered him to fold his shirt up and later arrested him.

"Gi invite ra ko nila sa police station, nikuyog na lang sab ko," he said.

As to the gun found by lawmen the next day in his SUV, Joavan said he is willing to undergo a fingerprint test to prove he does not own the firearm.

In the same radio interview, Mayor Fernandez said he saw nothing wrong when he retrieved a small red bag, reportedly owned by Joavan's female friend, from the Isuzu Bighorn.

The PNP had placed the SUV, which was still parked at the auto repair shop, under its custody when the mayor showed up past 5 p.m.

Fernandez said he noticed there was no yellow police line and the guards on duty – SPO1 Ciriaco Luab and PO2 Epifanio Comedido – never told him the SUV had been placed under their custody.

Comedido earlier said he tried but failed to stop the mayor, as the latter merely shrugged him off by saying, "Wa ni problema du, ako ning sakyanan."

Mayor Fernandez said he was even glad there were policemen guarding the vehicle then.

He said he would have allowed the policeman to check the contents of the red bag but he wasn't requested.

"Pero wala man, so ako na lang gihatag derecho sa amiga ni Joavan (The policemen didn't say anything so I just gave the bag to Joavan's friend)," he said.

Fernandez was referring to the young woman who was with Joavan when the near collision occurred in Bulacao highway.

Contrary to insinuations the bag contained a firearm, the mayor said the bag was not heavy and was too small to contain a

The Cebu Provincial Police Office is poised to file this week a case of obstruction of justice against Fernandez, based on the testimonies of Comedido, Luab and some civilian witnesses.

Joavan tries another ploy

Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez's controversial son, Joavan, is willing to be fingerprinted to prove that the gun allegedly found in his sports utility vehicle Saturday night was not his.

Ballot boxes from San Fernando now with RTC

The 49 ballot boxes from San Fernando town arrived yesterday morning at the sala of Judge Ramon Daomilas of the Regional Trial Court Branch 11 following the request for a recount by San Fernando incumbent Mayor Lakambini Reluya.

Arroyo to keep tradition, to accompany Aquino to inauguration

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) A draft script has emerged for the transfer of power on June 30and it includes a most interesting road trip.

On his way to the site of his inauguration, President-elect Benigno Noynoy Aquino III is to make a stopover in Malacaang, his official workplace for the next six years, for a courtesy call on outgoing President Macapagal-Arroyo.

From the Palace, the two leaders will then proceed to Aquinos oath-taking venue in the same black limousine with Plate No. 1, one of the symbols of the highest post of the land.

At the end of the historic ride, Ms Arroyowho has been behind the wheel, so to speak, for the last nine yearsis to literally hand over the keys of the presidential car to her successor.

Ms Arroyo will then leave in her personal vehicle.

Protocols like these to usher the countrys 15th President into office were tackled during the first formal meeting Thursday afternoon between the respective transition teams of Aquino and Ms Arroyo in Malacaang.

Aquinos team appeared receptive to the scenarios initially discussed, but the script would still be open to revisions in subsequent meetings, according to a Palace official.

The President-elect was represented in the meeting by Maria Montelibano, Sonny Coloma, Mike Musni, and Pio Batino.

Ms Arroyos team included Presidential Management Staff chief Elena Bautista-Horn, Press Secretary Crispulo Icban, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Deputy Executive Secretary Pete Venturanza, Ambassador Linda Basilio, and National Historical Institute Chair Ambeth Ocampo.

Horn explained that as part of tradition, the outgoing President would leave before the new Chief Executive takes his oath and delivers his inaugural address.

Horn recalled that an exception was made in 1998 when then outgoing President Fidel Ramos stayed on for Joseph Estradas oath-taking at the historic Barasaoin Church in Malolos, Bulacan.

This was mainly because the country was also marking its centennial that year, Horn said.

But Horn noted that Ramos was no longer present when Estrada delivered his inaugural address at another venuethe Quirino Grandstandin the afternoon that day.

Its not the law, but nobody (among the outgoing presidents) stayed for the oath-taking because they wanted the new president to have the stage all for himself, she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Horn dismissed speculations that such a send-offwith Ms Arroyo and Aquino sharing the same ridewould not sit well with both because of their political differences. Aquino, for instance, built his campaign on pledges to undo what he called the ills left behind the Arroyo administration.

I dont think so, Horn said. I think both presidents statesmanship will evolve to go through the tradition and for the (sake of the) country.

Horn said Aquinos team could always revise the protocol since the inauguration would ultimately be the day of the incoming president.

So we want to give them the liberty to make the plans and decisions and we are here to support them, she said in press briefing at the newly refurbished Arlegui Mansion, one of the houses being considered as Aquinos official residence.

Aquino earlier announced that he considered taking his oath at Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

Emerging from the hourlong meeting, Horn said NHI Chair Ocampo gave Aquinos representatives a historical perspective on how past inauguration ceremonies were conducted.

Horn said there appeared to be a pattern, a template in the way the past four presidents spent their inauguration day: After the ceremony, they all held their first Cabinet meeting, followed by a vin dhonneur at the Palace.

Asked how Aquinos team took the inauguration scenario presented in the meeting, Horn said: They were nodding. I think it was okay. They were very, very cordial. Its like were all working in the same office.

But she said Aquinos people had not decided whether to follow the scenario, saying the matter would still be discussed in the next meetings leading to the inauguration.

Arroyo telling political appointees to stay put: Kiko

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan revealed Thursday that President Arroyo is allegedly building up a group of loyalists in government by calling up appointed officials and urging them not to submit their courtesy resignations to the incoming administration.

Dinky: Noynoy to fill up anti-poverty, peace offices first

MANILA, Philippines - Incoming Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman said on Thursday that first on the list of government positions to be filled up by President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III are those that deal with poverty alleviation and peace and order.

Binay to hold office in old Makati City hall

MANILA, Philippines - Vice-President-elect Jejomar Binay on Thursday said he plans to convert the old Makati City Hall into his new office once he takes over the VP post on June 30.

Boy Saycon: NoyBi tandem in the works since November

Inamin ng ilang tagasuporta nina president-elect Noynoy Aquino at vice president-elect Jejomar  Binay na Nobyembre pa lang ay isinusulong na nila ang tambalang Noy-Bi. Pero nagkulang din daw ang kampo ng natalong LP vice presidential candidate Mar Roxas kaya't naungusan siya ni Binay.

GMA urged to sign int'l pact vs disappearances before June 30

by By Purple S. Romero,
MANILA, Philippines--Signing the global convention against enforced disappearances should be one of the last acts of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo before she steps down on June 30, a human rights group said in a lecture organized recently by the European Union-Philippines Justice Support Programme.

Gonzales: Aquino doing 'loyalty checks' on PNP, AFP

Kung sina AFP Chief of Staff General Delfin Bangit at PNP chief Jesus Versoza, tanggap ang desisyon ni incoming president Aquino kaugnay ng kanilang panunungkulan, si Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, nagpatutsada! Naglo-loyalty check na raw sa militar ang kampo ni Aquino!

Bangit won"t be allowed to stay another year - Noynoy

AFP Chief Gen. Delfin Bangit will not be allowed to stay one more year, President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said on Thursday, reiterating a previously-announced decision to let go of the head of the Philippines" armed forces. For his part, Bangit remains undecided but said he will "follow orders, as what professional soldiers do."

AFP grand send-off parade for GMA set

MANILA, Philippines The Armed Forces of the Philippines is set to roll out on Friday a big military farewell parade to honor outgoing President Macapagal-Arroyo.

The last testimonial display for Ms Arroyo would also draw attention to the "significant reforms" introduced to the 120,000-strong military organization during the nine-year term of the outgoing administration, said AFP spokesperson Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. in an interview with reporters.

Presenting the plan for the hour-long ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo, Burgos said the testimonial display would be attended by roughly 1,500 soldiers equivalent to 12 battalions. A skydiving exhibition would cap the rites, he added.

"It is part of our tradition to render military honors to an individual [and] this will be the last testimonial parade in honor of Ms Arroyo as President and commander-in-chief of the AFP," Burgos said.

Kiko: LP could tap allies to bag Senate presidency

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan estimates that the Liberal Party could get 12 votes in the Senate - only one vote short of the 13 needed to secure the Senate presidency.

13 'neophytes for reforms' seek to change Congress' image

MANILA, Philippines Keep the good, old ways and shun the bad habits.

This is what 13 neophyte lawmakers vowed to do when they assume their seats in the House of Representatives in July.

Calling themselves the Neophytes for Reforms, the group, who are mostly members of the Liberal Party, said they would start by making sure they would diligently attend sessions and encourage their colleagues to do the same to solve the quorum problem.

Representative-elect Winston Castelo of Quezon Citys second congressional district, said his group would like to help give the chamber a good image by showing the public that lawmakers were doing their duties.

We want to change the image of Congress because if you would base it on surveys, it has a low approval rating, so we would like to reverse the image, particularly when it comes to mustering a quorum in session, Castelo said in a phone interview.

He also said his group would be monitoring the foreign trips of the President and congressmen to make sure they were legitimate trips and within the budget.

In a separate statement, the group said it would support the legislative agenda of President-elect Benigno Aquino III and would push for Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr., an incoming congressman, to be the next Speaker.

We urge fellow neophyte solons to rally behind the reform agenda. Our advocacy for reform and good governance is anchored upon our long-tern commitment to provide a better life for our people, especially the poorest of the poor in our respective districts and sectors, they said.

The group is composed of Castelo, Jorge Banal Jr. (Quezon City), Dakila Carlo Cua (Quirino), Arnel Cerafica (Taguig-Pateros), Hadjunan Hataman-Saliman (Basilan), Arnel Ty (LPGMA partylist), Eric Owen Singson (Ilocos Sur), Miro Quimbo (Marikina), Imelda Calixto-Rubiano (Pasay City), Linabelle Villarica (Bulacan), Lucy Torres-Gomez (Leyte), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon partylist) and Randolph Ting (Cagayan).

Comelec lining up reforms in preparation for next elections

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) will ask the incoming Congress to pass a law requiring registration with biometrics data to cleanse the voter list in time for the next elections, a poll official said yesterday.

Comelec still prefers PCOS for 2013 polls

Despite the problems encountered by the voting machines in the recent automated elections, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official on Thursday said he would still prefer the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the 2013 polls.

PNP, AFP personnel who violated gun ban to be sent to Maguindanao

A total of 108 police and military personnel who violated the election gun ban will soon be deployed to Maguindanao province, where 57 people - including 32 journalists - were killed in the November 23, 2009 massacre.

DFA starts repatriating 274 stranded OFWs in Kuwait

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has started repatriating the first batch of 274 stranded household service workers in Kuwait.

In a report posted in the DFA's official website (, the government agency said that Kuwaiti authorities will be shouldering the Filipino workers' repatriation expenses. 

The DFA's Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs (OUMWA) said the first batch of household service workers, totaling 67, arrived last June 6 and 7. 

"A team from OUMWA, led by officer-in-charge Enrico Fos, and representatives from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), welcomed and assisted the Filipino workers upon their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport," the DFA said.

Fos added that the repatriation arrangements for the remaining two batches, consisting of 78 and 129 household service workers, are currently being finalized.

Military grounds MG-520s after near crash in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA City, Philippines - The Philippine Air Forces (PAF) on Thursday grounded all its M5-520 attack helicopters following an incident in Zamboanga City on Wednesday.

Moros clash in Maguindanao; 1,000 families displaced

MANILA, Philippines - Thousands of villagers have been forced to leave their homes to avoid being caught in crossfire between warring members of 2 Moro rebel groups in Maguindanao province, the military said Thursday.

Beetles ravage 2,000 hectares of Mindanao coco farms

MANILA, Philippines - At least 2,000 hectares of coconut plantations have been damaged by coconut leaf beetles that have been feasting on farmlands in Mindanao for the last 3 years, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said Thursday.

$1: P46.690

$1: P46.690

Euro 1: P55.8496

Eliminate Corruption in 1st 100 days

Business groups are challenging President Benigno Aquino to make good his campaign promise to eliminate corruption in his first 100 days in office. They said good governannce will encourage more investors to set up shop in the country.

January-April exports up 38.9%

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine exports in the first four months (January-April) grew 38.9% from a year ago, but exports in April was the slowest pace since December, as demand was tempered by uncertainties over the pace of the global economic recovery.

DOLE assures aid for distressed Pinoy workers in Jeddah

The country"s labor department has assured the unpaid Filipino medical workers in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that the government is pursuing conciliation efforts to address their complaints in the face of impending closure of their jobsite.

South Korea rocket crashes in second straight failure

by by Jack Kim, Reuters
SEOUL, South Korea - A South Korean space rocket carrying a scientific satellite exploded two minutes into its flight in the second failure in two tries to put a payload in orbit, dealing a major setback to the country's space programme.

Hatton now also claims Pacquiao may be taking drugs

MANILA, Philippines – A year after his stunning 2nd round loss to Manny Pacquiao, British boxer Ricky Hatton has voiced suspicion that the Filipino champion may be using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Bynum's knee discomfort may keep him out of Game 4

Lakers center Andrew Bynum is experiencing swelling in his right knee and might not play Thursday night, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Bynum has been slowed by torn cartilage in the knee since April 30 after hyperextending it in the first round against Oklahoma City. He did not take part in the team's Thursday shoot-around.

Will he play in Game 4 of the NBA finals?

"I'm not positive about that," Jackson said. "He had a little bit of a struggle this morning. He's going to try it."

Bynum has been a defensive presence for the Lakers against the Boston Celtics, averaging 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots through three games. The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1.

Bynum was hopeful he would play after aggravating the knee in Game 3 while blocking the shot of Celtics center Kendrick Perkins.

"This close to the championship, I've got to play," Bynum said Wednesday afternoon. He was not available for comment Thursday.

If Bynum can't play, Pau Gasol moves to center and Lamar Odom comes off the bench to start at power forward, a lineup that didn't fare well two years ago when the Lakers lost to the Celtics in the finals in six games.

Mandela intends to appear at World Cup opener

by by Paul Radford, Reuters
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Nelson Mandela, 91-year-old former South African president, firmly intends to make a brief appearance at Friday's World Cup opening match, organisers and his family said on Thursday.

Balls Channel, Studio 23 to air 2010 World Cup

MANILA, Philippines -- Balls Channel, "the official broadcaster of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™," will be airing the 64 football matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.

Obama ready to offer advice if Aquino quits smoking

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) US President Barack Obama is willing to offer advice President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III should the he decide to quit smoking.

Obama himself was a heavy smoker but quit the habit after he won.

And this smoking habit was one of those discussed by the two leaders when they talked over the phone Wednesday night when Obama congratulated Aquino on his proclamation.

"At some point I attempted some humor," Aquino said.

"I said, 'Mr. President I understand we have the same issue with smoking.' He told me, 'Well, I quit that already. I quit, it's your sole problem but I'm ready to offer advice.'"

Aquino said the US leader promised to send the advice "at the time that you decide to quit."

But Aquino had previously said that he would only quit smoking at a proper time.

The 50-year-old Aquino, said by former colleagues to smoke up to two packets a day, conceded during the election campaign that stopping smoking would be good for his health and that he intended to kick the habit eventually.

However he changed his mind after learning he had won, saying quitting now would add stress to his life, and he has pointed out that as long as he follows smoking regulations and does not bother anyone, he should be free to smoke.

Obama, 48, promised his wife he would quit smoking when he ran for president but has admitted succumbing to the occasional cigarette several times since moving into the White House.

Aquino described his conversation with Obama as "very pleasant" and said he found the US leader "very sincere" in strengthening ties with the Philippines, a former colony and a military ally in Asia.

The two men touched on a possible visit by Aquino to Washington, Aquino told reporters, but the Filipino stressed he would have to attend to other concerns of the state first.

Numbers trivia: Noynoy's 3, 5, 6, 9 & 10

MANILA, Philippines - President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's rise to the presidency meant crunching a lot of numbers. Read on to know some of them.

The numbers, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 10 seem to play a huge role in Aquino's life and political career, based on data gathered by historian, columnist and ANC's "The Explainer" host Manolo Quezon.

Here are some of them:

Number 3

Aquino is the third to bear his name, and the first to use the suffix "III". At 50, he is the 3rd youngest elected president.

Number 5

Aquino is the Philippines' 15th president in the 5th republic. He is the 5th president who is a smoker.

Number 6

Aquino is the 6th president to get elected to a 6-year term, and the 6th to take his oath on June 30.

Number 9

Aquino was proclaimed on Wednesday, June 9, or exactly 9 months after he proclaimed his candidacy on September 9, 2009 (09/09/09).

He is the 9th president to be proclaimed president-elect by a Philippine Congress, and the 9th president to have served in the House.

Number 10

Aquino was elected on May 10, 2010 (05/10/10). He is the 10th president to have served in the Senate.

Kris on Noynoy: He's his own man

MANILA, Philippines – The youngest sister of president-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has defended her brother from critics who lambasted him over possible appointments of celebrities to government posts.

Madam Auring sees no 2010 wedding for Noynoy, Shalani

MANILA, Philippines – Will President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III make history by being the first president to tie the knot while in office?

Lack of 'meddling' First Lady a plus for Noynoy —analysts

MANILA, Philippines—Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, 50, will be the first unmarried president of the Philippines—a fact that analysts say is good for government.

Noynoy's thanksgiving dinner

MANILA, Philippines - A smiling and more relaxed Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino joined a dinner celebration of family and friends after his proclamation on Wednesday.

Noynoy, Binay talk about shoes in first chat after proclamation

After being proclaimed as the persons who will figuratively slip into the shoes of the nation"s most powerful officials, the Philippines" next top leaders talked literally about a fitting topic: their brand-new shoes.
Vice-president-elect "Jojo" Jejomar Binay said on Thursday that his first conversation with President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III after they were proclaimed on Wednesday was very casual and was focused on their new pairs of shoes.

"Wala. Napag-usapan lang namin sapatos namin na parehong bago," Binay said in an interview aired over Bombo Radyo.

Binay, who is eyeing the Interior and Local Government post, said nothing political was raised during the informal meeting.

Aquino and Binay were officially proclaimed by Congress on Wednesday as the winners of the May 2010 polls after nearly three weeks of canvassing. (See: Congress proclaims Aquino as president, Binay as VP)

In the same interview, Binay likewise refused to further talk about his role in Aquino's Cabinet, saying he wants to finalize the matter first with the president-elect before making any statement. 

Binay — who first entered politics when he was appointed by Aquino's mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, as acting Makati mayor in 1986 — added that he expects to have a more formal meeting with the president-elect in the coming days. 

"Mahirap mag-speculate, 'di naman ako mag-a-approve. So, ha'mong makarating tayo sa yugto na mapag-usapan namin kung papaano ako sasama sa kanyang gabinete (It's hard to speculate, since I won't be the approving authority. So let's just wait until that stage when he and I can talk about how I should join his cabinet)," he said.

Noynoy's PSG chief has served 3 presidents

MANILA, Philippines -- Col. Ramon Mateo Dizon, hand picked by President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to be the next Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief, has already served 3 presidents under the PSG.

DoJ clears Revillame in Wowowee stampede

MANILA, PhilippinesThe Department of Justice (DoJ) has affirmed its decision absolving former TV variety show host Wilfredo Willie Revillame of any criminal liability in a stampede that killed 71 people four years ago.

In a resolution issued Thursday, Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said he saw no reason to reverse the findings of his predecessor, former justice secretary Raul Gonzalez, clearing Revillame in the case of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and serious physical injuries.

After a careful examination of the motion and the records of this case, we find no cogent reason to alter or modify, much less reverse our findings, Agra said in his order.

About 30,000 people were gathered outside the PhilSports Stadium, also known as Ultra, waiting to participate in the first anniversary episode of ABS-CBN variety show Wowowee on February 4, 2006 when the accident occurred. About 400 people were also injured.

On August 22, 2007, the DoJ threw out the complaint against Revillame.

In his resolution, Gonzalez said that Revillame could not be held liable for the stampede just because he invited televiewers to attend the shows anniversary special.

The invitation was not, so to speak, the spark that eventually led to the explosion, Gonzalez said in his order. More importantly, not by any stretch of the imagination can the act of Revillame, by itself, naturally and adequately lead to the stampede that killed 71 people and injured hundreds more.

Kiko Pangilinan not threatened by Sharon-Gabby TV reunion

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis Pangilinan is not jealous of actor Gabby Concepcion, who is the former husband of Sharon Cuneta.

Sri Lanka arrests kissing couples

by Agence France-Presse
COLOMBO - Sri Lankan police have rounded up hundreds of young lovers for kissing in public following complaints that the overt displays of affection caused embarrassment to others, an official said Thursday.

Saudi convicts young man for kissing woman in mall

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A Saudi court convicted a man and sentenced him to four months in prison and 90 lashes for kissing a woman in a mall, a government-owned daily reported Thursday.

109th Anniversary of the Supreme Court


The Supreme Court observes its 109th Anniversary on June 11, 2010. While there were many other judicial arrangements before its formation, June 11 was the date in 1901 when Act 136 of the Second Philippine Commission, the Judiciary Law, was passed. The Act granted the Supreme Court judicial independence, an attribute that prior tribunals did not enjoy.

In 1917, the Administrative Code was passed and it declared the Supreme court the highest court of the land. The last reconfiguration came as a result of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution when the Supreme Court was vested with greater independence and authority as a bonafide co-equal arm of government.

Since 1987, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, have worked tirelessly to maintain its independence, integrity, and a healthy militancy. The Supreme Court has championed civil liberties, safeguarded the Constitution, professionalized the entire judicial system, and advocated what some would call third generation or collective rights, including the right to a balanced ecology under the evolving Writ of Kalikasan.

Through the years, especially after the democratic transition of 1986, the Supreme Court has proven to all that it can rise above partisan politics in defending fundamental rights, in enforcing the rule of law, and in securing speedy and fair justice. All told, 109 years after its founding, the Supreme Court has truly contributed to a deepening of our democratic order.

We congratulate Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Conchita Carpio Morales, Presbiterio J. Velasco Jr., Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, Arturo D. Brion, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Mariano C. del Castillo, Roberto A. Abad, Martin S. Villarama, Jr., Jose P. Perez, and Jose C. Mendoza, Court Administrators, Clerks of Court, Officials, and Staff on the occasion of the 109th Anniversary of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and wish them success in all their endeavors.

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