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

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 21, 2010 Major News Stories



Napocor eyes power rates hike

State-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) wants to raise its power rates nationwide based on the petitions it filed before the Energy Regulatory Commission last week.

Govt' urges youth to go back to school

Hinikayat ng Department of Education ang mga tinatayang 1 milyon na out of school youth na magbalik na ulit sa eskwela. 

DepEd extends enrollment until June 29, targets fewer dropouts

THE Department of Education (Deped) extended the enrollment for elementary and high school until June 29 to make sure more children can go to school.

Binisaya itudlo sa eskuylahan

Gipangandaman na sa Department of Education (DepEd) 7 ang pagtudlo sa pinulongang Binisaya sa mga kabataan nga nagtungha sa primarya ug elementarya dinhi sa rehiyon7.

Nunot sa maong pagpangandam si DepEd 7 Regional Director Recarido Borgonia nakigtagbo na sa kadagkoan sa mga nagkadaiyang kahugpongan nga nagpalambo sa maong lumadnong pinulongan.

Si Atty. Cesar Kilaton Jr. nga maoy chairman ug founder sa Dagang Foundation Inc. (DFI) kun kapunongan sa mga magsusulat sa pinulongang Binisaya dinhi sa Sugbousa sanakatambong sa maong panagtigom.

Si Kilaton nga nahinabi sa Banat News miingon nga kabahin sa maong pagpangandam nga gihimo mao ang pag-ila sa mga dapit dinhi sa rehiyon nga napili nga pilot area sama saSugbo, Bohol ug Negros Oriental.

Matud pa ni Kilaton nga si Mayor Adelino Sitoy nga kanhi pamuno sa Lubasnong Dagang Bisaya (LUDABI)lakip usab sa mitambong sa maong panagtigom kinsa misugyot nga ang ilang dapit sa lungsod sa Cordova kinahanglangmahilakip usab sa mga mahimong pilot area dinhi sa Sugbo.

DepEd official opposes use of 'sex education'

AN education official is opposing the use of the term sex education for the new subject introduced this school year as this could confuse some sectors.

"The term 'sex education' is too insulting and may mean something else," said Dr. Recaredo Borgo-nia, Department of Education 7 director, said about the Adolescent Reproductive Health Care module, which is being tested in 170 pilot elementary and secondary public schools in the country.

Borgonia, in an interview, explained some sectors, such as the parents and the Catholic Church, are opposed to the integration of the subject in schools since it is entitled "sex education."

He said the subject, which is called Adolescent Reproductive Health Care, is not about sexual practices and contraception, but about reproductive health as a whole.

One textbook, Borgonia said, teaches the value of sexual abstinence.

But Borgonia said while the integration of the subject has been a controversy recently, "sex education" has been taught in schools since 1985 as this was integrated in related subjects, such as Science and Mapeh or Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health.

Borgonia showed reporters last week copies of the modules and books being used for students and teachers in pilot schools.

One book, "Population Education Lesson Course for Teachers," which serves as a lesson guide for teachers in grade five, has a module regarding abstinence from sex.

The guides are used in 80 elementary schools nationwide.

In Central Visayas, only nine elementary and nine high schools in Dauis, Baclayon and Buenavista in Bohol Province were included in the pilot areas.

However, Borgonia said the possible introduction of the subject to a majority of the public schools in the country will depend on their success in the pilot areas.

CBCP to ask court to stop sex education in public schools

The legal officer of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines will ask a court on Monday to stop the ongoing sex education program being enforced by the Department of Education.

LTO supports random test for all PUVs

Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 Director Raul Aguilos supports the suggestion that all public utility vehicles will be subjected to a random road worthiness test to ensure the safety of the riding public.

CIP to be transferred to Mandaue City?

The Cebu Port Authority plans to transfer the Cebu International Port to Mandaue City as its current location will be converted into commercial and business establishments and other tourism sites in order to compliment the development of the South Road Properties.

Mayor denies alcohol caused his infection

OUTGOING Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña yesterday denied a report that excessive alcohol intake caused his kidney infection that doctors found in a recent checkup abroad.

The congressman-elect, who arrived the other day from his twice-annual checkup in the United States, said the report (not in Sun.Star Cebu) is "a complete fabrication."

The report said doctors at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas diagnosed the mayor with a kidney infection caused by "too much liquor in the body."

"That's a barefaced lie. My doctor never said that, that's a complete fabrication. I did not tell anyone that it's because I'm drinking," Osmeña said.

He explained the bacteria possibly went to one of his kidneys following surgery last year to remove his urinary bladder, because of cancer.

"It's just an infection, I just have to take antibiotics. They only prescribed antibiotics that are available here," said the mayor, whose first term as congressman of Cebu City's south district begins on June 30.

The mayor disclosed, though, that he underwent a biopsy, a procedure in which a tissue sample is taken for further examination.

"They had to do a biopsy to see if it's cancer or not because the CT scan indicated what looked like an infection," Osmeña said.

Regular checks

The outgoing mayor said he has zero cancer and is ready to begin working in his first legislative position.

However, he still has to undergo regular checkups at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He is scheduled to fly back to Houston in December.

The mayor's health was one of the recurring issues of this year's election campaign, with his rival and critics asking whether he is healthy enough for the demands of congressional work.

Osmeña said he celebrated Father's Day yesterday with his family and took note of the fact that it is his last such celebration as "father" of the city.

Apart from the checkup, their son's graduation last June 12 was also one of the reasons the mayor and his wife, councilor-elect Margot Osmeña, travelled to the US.

He thanked Cebuanos for their support in his five terms as city mayor. He pointed out that his father, Sergio "Serging" Osmeña Jr., also served five terms as mayor.

"My father was able to prove that in Cebu City, you can't buy votes, and I was able to prove it also. That's one legacy I'm very, very proud of," Osmeña said.

The mayor is on medical leave up to June 23 but intends to serve the remaining days of his term at City Hall, until June 30.

Mayor-elect Michael Rama earlier disclosed they will take their oath of office on June 30 in front of the Cebu City Legislative Building and not at the South Road Properties.

Ediegul ngadtong Soc: Ipa-rehab gyud si Joavan

Subling giawhag ni Kong. Eduardo Gullas si Talisay City mayor Socrates Fernandez nga ipa-rehabilitate ang sinagop niining si Joavan samtang dili pa kaayo grabe ang gikalambigitang mga kalapasan sa balaod. Matud sa Kongresista dihang napriso si Joavan niadtong unang mga kaso giawhag na niya ang mayor nga kini ipa-rehab apan wala kini dawata sa mayor ug niining ulahi lang si Joavan gipasanginlang nanion og pusil ngadto sa usa ka registered nurse nga si Vincent Castrodes.

Ex-monk wants DOJ to review resolutions absolving Vidal

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) was asked to review the resolutions of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor's Office absolving Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and three Catholic Church officials.

Aboitiz residence catches fire

The househelp first heard a clicking sound from inside the circuit breaker near their quarters. Sometime later, fire was slowly eating up the house owned by businessman Enrique Aboitiz in Bauhinia Drive, Barangay Kasambagan late yesterday afternoon.

Iranian Cebu bus accident victims flown to Iran

Inilipad na pabalik sa kanilang bansa, ang mga labi ng 20 Iraninan nationals na nasawi sa isang malaging na aksidente ng nakaraang Linggo sa Cebu.

20 fatalities, 11 survivors back to Iran

The remains of the 20 Iranians, who died in a bus accident in Balamban, Cebu were already brought to Iran yesterday along with 11 survivors who chose to go back to their hometown to recover from the tragic accident.

Flights resume at NAIA

from mb.com.ph

The airport's navigational grid system that conked out Saturday morning has been repaired, resuming Sunday flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that had been suspended Saturday night.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) extended the Notice to Airmen about the limited operations of the Manila runways until 8 a.m. Monday as the system still needs to undergo reconfiguring and recalibration.

In Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar said the Palace was pleased with the news that flights had resumed at the country's premier airport but admitted that President Arroyo was initially "alarmed" by the faulty pilotguidance system.

The airport's Very High Frequency Omni Radio Range (VOR) station, which is used to guide pilots land their aircraft during low visibility and bad weather, conked out last Saturday forcing aviation authorities to limit night time operations at the Manila runways.

In a press conference held Sunday noon by Ninoy Aquino International Airport general manager Melvin Matibag, he said that a replacement part was borrowed from the Subic airport and that it arrived in Manila around 3 a.m. Sunday (June 20).

The installation of the power supply took a couple of hours and by dawn, technicians from the CAAP started to power-up the navigation system.

But even with the replacement part installed, the CAAP extended the 'limited operations' of the Manila airport up to 6 a.m. Monday (June 21) as technicians still had to reconfigure the entire system.

CAAP technical assistant Lito Casaul explained that the power supply came from a similar but different navigation placement part was borrowed from the Subic airport and that it arrived in Manila around 3 a.m. Sunday (June 20).

The installation of the power supply took a couple of hours and by dawn, technicians from the CAAP started to power-up the navigation system.

But even with the replacement part installed, the CAAP extended the 'limited operations' of the Manila airport up to 6 a.m. Monday (June 21) as technicians still had to reconfigure the entire system.

CAAP technical assistant Lito Casaul explained that the power supply came from a similar but different navigation system.

"The technicians cannot just power up the system and go. They have to slowly power up each of the system's component to check if everything is working properly. If and when the system proves to be ok, they can then begin to reconfigure the unit," Casaul said.

He said they have extended the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) they issued Saturday morning to last until 8 a.m. Monday (June 21).

"We extended the NOTAM until Monday to give our technicians enough time to get the system up and running."

"Hopefully, we can have the system up before sundown so we can resume with normal operations at the two runways," Casaul said.

With the VOR inoperable, pilots have to rely on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) to land – meaning pilots would have to rely on the radar and other visual aids such as the runway lights in order to see the where to land.

The pilots could have done easily even without VOR and rely on the airport's Instrument Landing System (ILS) for guidance but unfortunately, the ILS at the NAIA is currently being replaced.

With both the VOR and ILS navigational systems down, the CAAP was forced to implement stricter rules on night landing and made the separations between airplanes much longer apart.

During normal operations--with all the systems running, flight separation between aircrafts are less than one minute. However, with the limited operations Saturday night, airplanes had to be separated by a minimum of five minutes to assure their safety.

At the same time, the CAAP gave the airline companies the discretion if they would allow their pilots to proceed to land at the airport even with the limited navigational aids. Matibag however said that should bad weather come into play, the Manila Control Tower will be forced to deny pilots permission to land.

Matibag said that should zero visibility blanket the airport vicinity, pilots can easily divert to either the Cebu, Clark or Subic airports.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, a total of 65 flights had already been cancelled.

The affected flights were mostly from Cebu Pacific. A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu and a Philippine Airlines flight from Fukuoka were diverted to Clark while two PAL flights from Cagayan and Tacloban had to be diverted to Cebu.

Olivar said President Arroyo will have to leave to the next administration the maintenance of the airport safety operations.

"Of course, the President was alarmed as all of us should have been. It was a good thing that the problem was solved immediately. The equipment was fixed to facilitate the night flights," Olivar said in his weekly media briefing aired over state-run radio Sunday.

Olivar said they expect airport authorities to address any problem in the navigational equipment to ensure smooth operations at the international airport.

"We expect that under former airport general manager Al Cusi, now head of the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines), will be able to give quick appropriate solution to this problem," he said.

Aquino taps Montelibano, Senate aides on media strategies

President-elect Benigno ``Noynoy'' Aquino III is turning to his cousin – television director Maria Montelibano – and his top aides in his Senate office in crafting his media strategy for his administration.

Senate presidency race: Pangilinan may bag post -- Enrile

THE LIBERAL Party (LP) will likely obtain the Senate leadership if it fields Senator Francis "Kiko" N. Pangilinan, said outgoing Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who has expressed preference for the looming LP bet.

Arroyo given high marks on infrastructure accomplishment

WITH A little over a week before she steps down, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was acknowledged for her infrastructure development accomplishments amid scandals that rocked her nine-year term leadership.

Bad legal advice hurt Arroyo – Enrile

Even if President Macapagal Arroyo did well in keeping the country's economy strong for the past nine years, bad legal advice on how she should deal with scandals that rocked her administration as well as the killings of journalists had made her government a very unpopular one.

New coalition seeks to uncover May 10 automated poll fraud

Critics of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic TIM Corp. formed a new coalition on Saturday, to press for further investigation of the alleged fraud in the May 10 automated national elections.

Hallucinogenic herb may be placed in dangerous drugs list

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) is studying the possibility of including a hallucinogenic herb in the list of dangerous drugs following reports that the plants have been smuggled into the country.

DDB vice chairman and doctor Rommel Garcia revealed that the board has been considering including Seer's Sage or Diviner's Sage (scientific name salvia divinorum) in the list of dangerous drugs.

Garcia described salvia divinorum or simply "SD" as a meter high plant with broad leaves, white flowers and square hollow stems. "It looks like an orchid but it produces a hallucinogenic effect much like marijuana or shabu," he told reporters at the forum.

Although its effect lasts for only 15 to 90 minutes, shorter than that of the more common varieties of illegal substances, it can still be classified as "dangerous" because it "produces visions and hallucinations and distorts perception" when the leaves are smoked, chewed, or their extract is swallowed, according to Garcia.

The DDB vice-chair pointed out that SD originated from Mexico where it has been used, since time immemorial, for healing and divination in rituals.

"We are still in the area of studying if SD should be prohibited here. We have formed a technical working group and after that, a public hearing has to be conducted," Garcia stressed.

People who smoke or chew SD leaves usually get fits of uncontrollable laughter, harbor strange thoughts, and have a floating feeling and light-headedness, according to Garcia.

"This is commonly an anti-depressant but it impairs coordination," Garcia emphasized.

One of the primary factors to be taken into consideration before SD is classified as a dangerous drug, is its medicinal effect.

"SD is said to be a diuretic and controls diarrhea by decreasing intestinal motility… It was also used for anemia and to relieve headaches," the DDB official explained, but added that this could be disputed by other readily available medicine for the illnesses.

He revealed that the DDB only decided to study SD's inclusion in the list of dangerous drugs following a drug sting operation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at Teacher's Village in Quezon City, which yielded a quantity of shabu and several SD leaves.

20,000 villagers flee from floods in Maguidanao town

Rampaging waters, spawned by heavy rains in surrounding hinterlands, forced thousands of villagers here to evacuate to higher grounds Sunday afternoon, the third mass evacuation in two months due to the inundation of their villages.

Another journalist shot dead, 3rd in RP in a week

An unidentified gunman shot dead a newspaper writer in southern Philippines Saturday night, the third journalist killed in the Philippines in a week.
Investigators could not immediately establish the motive behind the attack on Nestor Bedolido, who was shot six times with a pistol outside his karaoke pub in Digos city in Davao del Sur province.

Bedolido, 50, was a writer for the weekly local paper Kastigador. He was rushed by bystanders to the nearby Gonzales Hospital but died before receiving treatment.

$1: P45.900

$1: P45.900

Euro 1: P57.2057

BIR fails to meet monthly goals for first time this year

THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue missed its collection target for May, the first time this year that the state agency failed to meet its monthly goals.

NGO urges tougher fight vs human trafficking

by By Caroline Howard, ANC
MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines is the third largest exporter of migrant workers in the world, next to India and China.

BSP lifts service fee on banks with OFW money for 6 months

MANILA, Philippines -- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approved the lifting for six months of the service fee charged on banks that facilitate the sending of remittances from Filipino migrants using the BSP's Philpass system.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the move will reduce the cost of sending or receiving remittances, something that is consistent with the goal of encouraging the sending of remittances through formal channels.

Philpass is the electronic clearing system for inter-bank transactions, such as check payments, and transactions between banks and the BSP.

In December 2009, the central bank and industry members signed an agreement allowing the use of the same system to facilitate the sending of remittances starting 2010.

Prior to the decision of the BSP to temporarily waive the service fee, each transaction involving the sending of remittances using Philpass was charged a fixed amount of P50. The decision to waive the fee for six months was made during the meeting of the BSP's Monetary Board last week.

"The Monetary Board has approved the waiver for six months. This will help enable banks to lower their remittances fees," BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said over the weekend.

Under the agreement between the BSP and industry members, a bank that receives a remittance from abroad shall use the central bank's Philpass system to electronically transfer the money to another bank, which is closer to where the intended beneficiary resides.

Prior to the signing of the agreement, many banks transfer money to another bank through courier service, which Tetangco said has been costlier and has required more time for settlement than electronic means.

The use of the Philpass system has also made the sending or receiving of remittances much less costly. Previously, banks were paying a fee ranging from P100 to P550, depending on the amount of remittance, to facilitate the sending of remittances.

The central bank chief said that with lower cost, even more Filipinos would be encouraged to use the banking system rather than informal channels to send remittances to their families and other intended beneficiaries

The BSP estimates that three to four percent of total remittances annually are sent through informal channels, much lower than the 30 percent estimated at least five years ago.

"With this project, the percentage share of remittances sent through informal channels could go down even further," Tetangco said.

He said the central bank pushed for this project to help OFW families, who have been burdened by still high remittance cost.

Remittances are considered a big boost to the Philippine economy, helping it avoid a recession last year. BSP estimates said remittances, which stood at $17.3 billion in 2009, were equivalent to 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

PAL employees to fight DoLE 'midnight' decision

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The labor union of the country's flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), is  seeking to reverse a Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) ruling that allowed management to outsource its critical operations, resulting in the mass layoff of some 3,000 employees.

Death toll from floods in China reaches 132

by Agence France-Presse
BEIJING – The death toll from torrential downpours battering China for the past week has reached 132, state media reported Sunday, as more heavy rain was forecast.

10 Pakistani pilgrims killed in Saudi bus crash

RIYADH Ten Pakistani Muslim pilgrims were killed and 25 injured, including women and children, when their bus crashed north of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi media reported on Sunday.

The bus carrying the pilgrims overturned on the highway between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina near Khulais, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Jeddah, according to the reports.

The group was on an umrah, or minor pilgrimage, to the holy cities.

Arsenic in water poisoned 77 million Bangladeshis

DHAKA-- Up to 77 million Bangladeshis have been exposed to toxic levels of arsenic from contaminated drinking water, and even low-level exposure to the poison is not risk-free, The Lancet medical journal reported.

Over the past decade, more than 20 percent of deaths recorded in a study that monitored nearly 12,000 people in the Araihazar district of the capital Dhaka appear to have been caused by arsenic-tainted well water.

By some estimates, between 35 and 77 million people in Bangladesh have been chronically exposed to arsenic-contaminated water as a result of a catastrophically misguided campaign in the 1970s.

Millions of tube wells were drilled in the aim of providing villagers with clean, germ-free water. Many wells were inadvertently dug into shallow layers of soil that were heavily laced with naturally occurring arsenic.

The UN's World Health Organization (WHO) has called Bangladesh's arsenic crisis "the largest mass poisoning of a population in history."

Several previous investigations highlighted the health risks of contaminated groundwater, but they failed to explain how much of the tainted water a person may have drunk and what level of contamination was enough to cause sickness.

In the new study released Saturday, physicians checked the volunteers' overall health and took blood and urine samples every two years. They also took samples of local well water to monitor for arsenic levels.

After six years, 407 deaths had occurred from all causes, 21 percent of which could be attributed to arsenic concentrations above the UN's recommended threshold. Of deaths linked to chronic disease, 24 percent were associated with exposure to the poison at such levels.

The death rate rose in line with the exposure.

Bangladesh authorities reacted cautiously to the study.

"To be frank, I have my doubts about these findings -- I would like to examine their methodology more closely," Bangladeshi Health Minister A.F.M. Ruhal Haque told AFP on Sunday.

"Arsenic is a problem in Bangladesh, there is no question about that, but the risk that contaminated groundwater poses to the majority of the population has been blown out of proportion by this study," he said.

"Tube wells are a problem, but the government has been testing all wells, and when we find a contaminated one, we clearly mark them and stop villagers using them."

The government is distributing a new peat filter which can purify arsenic contaminated water in the worst-affected areas of the country, and it also expanding its surface water cleaning and distribution network, he added.

The study found that when compared to those exposed to the lowest arsenic levels (less than 10 microgrammes of arsenic per litre of water), people with levels of 10-50 microgrammes had a 34 percent higher risk of death.

Those with the highest level of exposure (between 150 and 864 microgrammes) had a 64-percent higher risk of death.

But even exposure at relatively lower levels carried a risk, a finding that is important for other countries -- there are more than 70 of them, including the United States, India and Mexico -- that face a serious arsenic problem.

In the study, 23 percent of the volunteers were exposed to water with up to 10 microgrammes of arsenic per litre, which is the UN recommended maximum.

Twenty-one percent were exposed to concentrations of between 10 and 50 microgrammes, with 50 microgrammes the current Bangladesh standard.

Thirty-one percent were exposed to between 50 and 150 microgrammes; and 25 percent to between 150 microgrammes and the maximum tested level, of 864 microgrammes.

Chronic exposure to arsenic is linked with cancers of the liver, kidney, bladders and skin, as well as heart disease.

Given the long-term effect of arsenic, taking a temporary break from exposure was no solution, for the risk of death remained the same, the researchers found.

12 dead in Iraq unrest

BAGHDAD Seven people were killed in attacks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad overnight and the bodies of five women were found in the city center, security officials said on Sunday.

Three roadside bombs planted in Hurriya, a Shiite neighborhood in the north of the capital, killed four people and wounded 16 late on Saturday, a security official told AFP.

Fire from a Katyusha multiple rocket launcher killed three people and wounded four in Al-Obeidi, an anarchic Shiite slum district in the far east of the capital beyond the sprawling Shiite bastion of Sadr City, an official said.

In the Zayouna neighborhood in central Baghdad, police found the bodies of five women.
A security official said they were believed to have been killed two or three weeks ago.

There has been a spate of attacks by hard line Islamists against women accused of breaking the mores of their ultra-strict brand of the Muslim religion.

Mayol loses WBC title to Mexican

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Rodel "Kid Rapido" Mayol yielded his World Boxing Council (WBC) junior flyweight championship belt to Omar Niño Romero, after losing to the Mexican by unanimous decision.

Alaska beats Sta. Lucia to keep semis bid alive

MANILA, Philippines -- Alaska Aces kept alive, its bid for a playoff for the 2nd automatic semifinal spot after scoring a 103-95 come-from-behind win Sunday night over the Sta. Lucia Realtors at the KFC-PBA Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Express stun Kings to stay alive for wildcard

Leroy Hickerson went on a big offensive rampage in the final four minutes and powered Air21 to a nail-biting 98-97 upset of Barangay Ginebra Sunday night in the main game of the PBA Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

In Beating Celtics, Bryant Had Help From a Son of Boston

from NYT > Pro Basketball by By JONATHAN ABRAMS
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Procopio, who joined the Celtics as a scout, still ingests more Celtics basketball than nearly anyone, although his loyalty can be debated. He spent the postseason watching, editing and analyzing game footage with Kobe Bryant. Throughout the postseason and particularly in the finals, Procopio delivered Bryant scouting reports through meetings, late-night e-mail messages and phone calls.

"I sort of felt like Matt Damon in 'The Departed' a little bit," Procopio said, referring to Martin Scorsese's film of undercover agents and informants that was set in Boston. "I don't think half my family is talking to me at this point of time."

Bryant compared Procopio to the fictional special agent of "24."

"He's my Jack Bauer," he said after clinching his fifth title in the LakersGame 7 victory over Boston. "He gave me all the edits and scouting reports and wrote defensive rotations of the Celtics. He was my eyes and ears, so when I played the game, I'd use all the scouting reports and all the information, and it was huge for me."

Their relationship is an N.B.A. version of the odd couple. Bryant, one of the league's premier players, has a select inner circle. Procopio, who is shorter than some of the ball boys and never played more than a few minutes in high school, is in the middle of it.

This year's postseason served to expand the alliance that developed during the Lakers' title run last year. When Procopio, 35, left the Celtics four years ago, he joined the trainer Tim Grover's Chicago-based Attack Athletics and is now its director of basketball operations. Grover snatched Procopio when he watched his workout with Paul Pierce.

"After watching him work out Paul for 10 minutes, I offered him a job on the spot — he's that talented," Grover said. "That's the thing. He's had to overachieve at everything he's had to do because he's the furthest-looking basketball person there is. But once you get past that and talk to him about the game, he'll blow you away."

Grover, known for his work with Michael Jordan, soon became Bryant's trainer and also has Dwyane Wade andGilbert Arenas as clients. Soon after he began working with Grover, Procopio showed him his capabilities in video editing. For some, it could be information overload.

"I said there's probably only one guy I know of who's currently playing who would probably be interested in what you do on a regular basis, and that was Kobe," Grover said.

The timing worked. The New York Times Magazine had just published an article detailing Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier's use of analytical methods to defend players, particularly Bryant. If there was an advantage to be had, Bryant wanted in.

After games, Procopio edited clips of Bryant, the Lakers and their opponents using film from Synergy Sports Technology. When it was finished, Bryant was delivered a package of his touches; those of many of his teammates; and defensive situations, separated quarter by quarter.

The two used a Web site for the video database and changed the password every couple of days to protect it.

Bryant's response could arrive immediately, at 4 a.m., or not until after the next game.

"I always tell him I'm like a McDonald's drive-through," Procopio said. "I never close."

Procopio said he was used as a soundboard. Most of the information, he said, Bryant had heard in one form or another from the Lakers' coaches.

"Maybe one out of 20 things, I'll suggest he hasn't heard from the staff," Procopio said.

But he was an aid to Bryant, especially during a playoff run that Bryant called the toughest of his career. When Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook stymied the Lakers at the start of their first-round series, Bryant switched to him on defense. Before Game 5, Bryant and Procopio discussed how to defend Westbrook.

"Force him to his left," Procopio told Bryant. "That's where most of his turnovers come from. If he gets to his right, he turns from a streaky shooter into a solid one."

In the pivotal game, Westbrook turned the ball over eight times and missed 9 of his 13 shots. The Lakers won, 111-87.

Hours after the Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals, Procopio had compiled all of Bryant's possessions against the Celtics this season, showing not only the best place to get Bryant the ball, but also where his teammates were most efficient. Procopio had been an assistant with Boston's Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

After Game 2 of the N.B.A. finals, Bryant asked Procopio and Grover to join him in Boston. They remained with him the rest of the series.

On defense, they planned for Bryant to pick up Rajon Rondo near the free-throw line, use his length, and escort him into interior defenders. On offense, they noticed that Boston never left the ball-side corner and hoped to counter that with quick passes to the weak side for open shots before Boston could recover.

The results were not always pretty: Bryant made 6 of 24 shots in Game 7. Boston's defense was suffocating, but the series resulted in another finals Most Valuable Player award for Bryant.

And maybe, in time, Procopio will hear from his family.

Willie Revillame appears on rival network - report

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Controversial television personality Willie Revillame made a surprise appearance on another network's musical variety program, a celebrity talk show reported on Sunday.

Mike Arroyo celebrates Father's Day at St. Luke's

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo on Sunday celebrated Father's Day at St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City with his family.

Dick Israel's wife appeals for financial aid

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Veteran actor Dick Israel is undergoing physical therapy after suffering from heat stroke, his wife confirmed Saturday.

On Noynoy's advice, Kris puts a lid on her 'Twitting'

from mb.com.ph

Kristina Bernadette C. Aquino-Yap's followers on Twitter are up for a big disappointment as the celebrity sister of President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" C. Aquino III decided to put a lid on her "micro-blogging" in the interactive messaging website.

Kris, as she is more popularly known, said she will suspend her activities on Twitter after the incoming President called her attention to the fact that "Twitting" has not or does not lead to her solving her personal problems.

The apparent unsolicited advice from big brother to little sister pertained to Kris' occasional differences with husband and basketball star James Yap.

marital problems unless consulted,Although Mr. Aquino told reporters last week that he prefers not to meddle with his youngest sister's it was apparent that he told Kris to keep her private life private.

"I received this tweet several days ago – 'Bakit hindi nyo mine-mention si James sa mga tweet nyo, only Josh and Baby James?' – I replied to it with honesty (and) my attention was called by Noy about this. So, in the interest of keeping what is left of our privacy, I will suspend being active on Twitter," Kris tweeted over weekend.

Kris, who is noted for being overly frank and public about her private life, had earlier given up hosting daily TV talk show "Showbiz News Ngayon" and weekly "The Buzz" to prevent her candidness to be considered a "liability" to her brother who is set to be inaugurated as the 15th President of the Republic at noon of June 30.

"(But) it doesn't make sense for me to leave 'SNN' and' The Buzz' and keep this avenue open for people to speculate and judge. Sometimes being quiet, (which) is obviously difficult for me, is the only prudent course when you are the sister of the country's President-elect," Kris said, thanking her 233,031 listed followers on Twitter.

Last week, Mr. Aquino declined to comment on how Kris and James are working out their misunderstanding, saying he would only give advice only when asked.

"Sabi ng tatay ko, di ka gumigitna sa problema kung may problema [ang] mag-asawa ," said the soon-to-be President, who is bachelor at 50.

"So hanggang di ka hahanapan ng payo o abiso, di ako manghihimasok," he said.

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Phivolcs warns tourists flocking to Mayon of sudden blasts

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) office here has warned tourists who have canceled their trips to restive Taal Volcano in Batangas and proceeded instead to Mayon Volcano here that the near-perfect cone-shaped volcano is still dangerous with threatening rockfalls and sudden small explosions.

Resident volcanologist Eduardo Laguerta told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in text messages Sunday that the Phivolcs has been constantly monitoring the slight increase in the number of earthquakes recorded around the edifice, aside from the brighter crater glow compared to previous months of manifestation.

Rockfalls kill and aside from that, there is still possibility that sudden explosions could occur, that is why we cannot lower the alert status from level 1 to zero because the volcano is still under abnormal condition, Laguerta explained.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council chair, has alerted the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office and the Provincial Tourism Affairs Office to closely monitor incoming tourists as Taal tourists could have moved to Mayon because of the no-mans land order on the Batangas volcano.

I also instructed them to watch and monitor the activities of local tour guides who have been violating the warnings against venturing into the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone," Salceda said.

Laguerta warned local and foreign tourists to refrain from climbing the slopes of Mayon Volcano due to the recurring rockfall events recorded in the past days as the crater glow also turned more visible.

Alex Baloloy, Phivolcs Lingon Hill observatory science research analyst, said rockfall-triggered tremors of at least five times a day were recorded since early this week, a dangerous condition for climbers who were confirmed to be trekking the volcano's upper slopes.

Baloloy sternly warned climbers and tourist guides not to get near the upper slopes because falling rocks could just hit them at great force and velocity unexpectedly.

The Phivolcs warning came at least five months after Mayon's alert level was lowered to 1 in January, after a month-long restiveness in December that forced over 10, 000 families to take refuge in safe ground.

Salceda also said the more visible crater glow could have attracted more tourists to climb Mayon and watch its glowing summit at a closer viewing distance.

Tourists watch the old lava deposit in Barangay Mabinit and the new lava deposit in Barangay Padang, both in this city, and Barangay Lidong in Sto. Domingo town.

But according to authorities, the safest and nearest viewing site of Mayon's glowing crater is at the Mayon Resthouse in Barangay Buang, Tabaco City.

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