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

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 22, 2010 Major News Stories

Phoenix Petroleum kicks off new round of oil price hikes

MANILA, Philippines - Independent oil company Phoenix Petroleum Philippines is the first to raise pump prices of both gasoline and diesel by P1 per liter, following a rise in the prices of refined petroleum products in the world market.

No tropical cyclone to hit RP till end of month - Pagasa

by By Helen M. Flores

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said today it did not expect any tropical cyclones to form and affect the country until the end of the month.

Valisno vows to look into rules on textbook errors

Education Secretary Mona Valisno on Monday said she would look into the findings of a University of the Philippines professor that Department of Education rules on textbooks "accommodate errors."

Prelate to Noynoy: Stop sex education in schools

A Catholic bishop on Monday urged President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to stop the government's sex-education program in schools as soon as she assumes the presidency on June 30.

PRC: 993 new architects

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Monday that 993 out of 2,004 passed the Architect Licensure Examination (ALE) given by the Board of Architecture.

Successful examinees who garnered the top 10 ratings in the Architect LicensureExamination

Roll of successful examinees in the Architect Licensure Examination

UP-Diliman grads dominate top 10 list of new architects

Eight of the 12 students in the top 10 list of 993 new architects were from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, according to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
Shamcey Gurrea Supsup topped the list with 86.60 percent, followed by fellow UP-Diliman graduates Alvin Dela Cruz Dimalanta and Francis Gonzaga Lanuza with 86.40 percent and 85.90 percent, respectively.

Jared Aaron Remias Cruz of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) was fourth with 85.40 percent followed by Jeremy Roy Aurora Sanchez of UP-Mindanao with 85.20 percent and Joana Lisa Reyes Dungca, also from UP-Diliman, with 85.10 percent.

Tied at seventh place were UP-Diliman graduates Christian Immanuel Ducante Cruz and Nerelyn Sausa Montuya, both with 84.60 percent. 

Tied at eighth place were UP-Diliman's Marquel Ruloma Macaballug and University of San Carlos' Neil Andrew Uy Menjares, both with 84.10 percent.

Astin Go Lee from University of Santo Tomas was at ninth with 84.00 percent followed by Mark Deo Layosa Mostoles of UP-Diliman with 83.70 percent.

DOJ junks motion to reverse ruling on "Princess" case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday junked the motion filed by one of the owners of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars seeking a reversal of a resolution affirming the string of charges slapped against him in connection with the June 2008 sea tragedy.

M/V PRINCESS OF THE STARS TRAGEDY: SLI challenges PAO over custody of five remains

Sulpicio Lines Inc. has filed a motion questioning the actions of the Public Attorneys Office in taking custody of five unidentified remains of victims of the sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars and turning them over to the Cosmopolitan funeral homes.

Princess of the Stars Task Force terminates retrieval of bodies from sunken ship

by By Evelyn Z. Macairan

Two years after the passenger-cargo vessel M/V Princess of the Stars (POTS) sank near Sibuyan Island, the Task Force yesterday officiallyterminated the underwater retrieval of skeletal remains from the sunken ship.

Ports to adopt "no ticket-no entry" policy

The "no ticket-no entry" policy among passengers at Cebu's domestic port will soon be implemented as one of the Cebu Port Authority's measure to ensure safety and security at the ports.

Lack of proper equipment at NAIA may endanger flights

Nagbabala ang samahan ng mga piloto sa bansa na lubhang mapanganib sa pagbiyahe ang kawalan ng sapat na instrumento ng Ninoy Aquino International Airport, gaya na lang ng pagkasira ng VOR o very high frequency omni-range nung Sabado. Pero minaliit ito ng pamunuan ng NAIA.

Airport execs optimistic RP won't suffer aviation downgrade

Airport authorities are optimistic that the Philippine aviation industry would not suffer another downgrading or blacklisting by foreign governments and international organizations following the failure over the weekend of a navigational equipment at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

JD drivers flunk LTO driver's test

Most of the drivers of JD Rent-a-Car — the owner of the bus that fell into a ravine in Cansomoroy, Balamban that claimed the lives of 21 persons, including 20 Iranians – failed the driver's test given by the LTO.

Cebu City to honor volunteers

THE Cebu City Government will commend civilians and groups who helped in the rescue efforts, after a tourist bus plunged into a ravine at the Transcentral Highway in Balamban last June 13.

Loose trailer kills 4 in fiesta

FOUR persons were killed while eight others were wounded after a trailer truck lost its brakes and hit a crowd selling toys and other goods for a fiesta in Barangay Poog, Toledo City.

City Hall to amend towing rules

SINCE Citom derives its highest income from parking fees, Cebu City Hall will designate more parking spaces in the city.

It will also review the guidelines for towing illegally parked vehicles.

EVACUATION PUSHED: Houses built above old tunnels

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau recommended a temporary evacuation of the residents of Salinas Drive in Barangay Lahug whose houses are identified, during the inspection last week, to be built atop the 12 other tunnels, possibly interconnected to the one that collapsed recently.

Poor litigants exempted from docket fees, says DoJ chief

The Department of Justice (DoJ) ordered all city and provincial prosecutors to follow provisions of Republic Act No. 9406 or An Act Reorganizing and Strengthening the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), which exempts its clients from the payment of docket and other fees.

Joavan joins values formation seminar

Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez believes that it is not too late for his controversial adopted son, Joavan, to take the right path.

One Cebu asks President Arroyo to administer oath

PRESIDENT Gloria Arroyo will administer the mass oathtaking of members of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia's One Cebu Party this June 28 at the Cebu International Convention Center.

Noynoy meets with rumored Cabinet appointees

It was like a sneak peek into the very near future. At least six personalities rumored to be President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's prospective Cabinet members met with him Monday inside his Quezon City home.
Those who were present at the meeting were incoming executive secretary Paquito "Jojo" Ochoa Jr.; Aquino's chief of staff Julia Abad, rumored incoming Presidential Management Staff head; retired Lt. Gen. Voltaire Gazmin, who accompanied Aquino to the Presidential Security Group reunion on Sunday and is said to be the incoming defense secretary; former trade and finance secretary Cesar Purisima who is rumored to be returning to his old finance post; Makati Business Club executive director Alberto Lim who is rumored to be the incoming tourism chief; and Bureau of Internal Revenue deputy commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares who is rumored to be the bureau's next commissioner.

Also inside Aquino's home are Liberal Party secretary-general and Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya and Cavite Governor and incoming Rep. Erineo "Ayong" Maliksi, who supported Aquino during the campaign. 

Also present at the meeting were Aquino's sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino-Abellada, who are both being consulted on major political decisions. The two, however, refused to be interviewed when they left the house around 5:30 p.m.

Soon after they left, Aquino's defeated runningmate, Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, arrived. Roxas is part of the official transition team that oversees the transition from the Arroyo Cabinet to Aquino's official family. 

Roxas also refused to be interviewed before entering Aquino's house. 

An insider who refused to be named said Aquino gave marching orders and directions in governance once the said individuals take over their respective departments. 

Aquino has confirmed only four future Cabinet appointees so far: Ochoa, lawyer Edwin Lacierda (presidential spokesman), Corazon "Dinky" Soliman (social welfare secretary), and Teresita Deles (peace adviser). 

Aquino had said he would announce the rest of his official family before his inauguration on June 30.

Neri evades arrest, posts bail

MANILA, Philippines—Former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Romulo Neri has posted bail even before the Sandiganbayan could issue an arrest warrant for his involvement in the botched National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE Corp. telecommunications deal controversy.

Army to honor Bangit today

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army will be giving a testimonial review to honor retiring Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Delfin Bangit today at the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Army public information officer Maj. Ronald Alcudia said the testimonial review for Bangit will be held around 3 p.m. at the Hunters ROTC Guerilla Parade Ground in Fort Bonifacio.

Bangit, who is said to be close to outgoing President Arroyo, had already made some rounds in a military camp in Rizal and bid his subordinates farewell.

Bangit has decided to retire early from military service after President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said he would replace the incumbent AFP head with someone else.

The AFP chief of staff was supposed to bow out of the military service next year.

Son of Comelec official reportedly abducted in Lanao Sur

MANILA, PhilippinesThe son of Commission on Elections Commissioner Elias Yusoph was reportedly abducted by unidentified men in exchange for nullifying the election results in some towns in Lanao del Sur province, a police official said on Monday.

Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, regional police director of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao police, said 22-year-old Nuraldin Yusoph failed to come back home after praying at the mosque in Barangay (village) Dansalang, Marawi City at 7:30 p.m.

Two hours after, the Comelec official reportedly received a phone call from an unidentified man, demanding the official nullify the election results in the towns of Malabang, Pilong, Taraka, and Masiu in exchange for the release of his son.

Latag said police are still investigating the incident.

NUJP: Media killings part of PGMA?s legacy

MANILA, Philippines--President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will be leaving behind a legacy—the largest number of journalists killed during her administration compared to the numbers of past administrations combined.

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) vice-chairman Nonoy Espina described Arroyo's legacy a "legacy of blood" that could not be erased by claims that she has done a lot for the country.

This came amid news that 3 members of the media had been killed in only 5 days, a new record of her administration, he said.

Broadcaster Desiderio Camangyan was shot dead last June 14 by a lone gunman while he was on stage hosting a village singing contest in Mindanao. Less than 24 hours later, radio commentator Lito Agustin was ambushed while on his way home.

The killing of Davao del Sur-based reporter Nestor Bedolido on Saturday night brought the death toll under Arroyo's administration to 103.

The Philippines is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) chairman Vergel Santos, on the other hand, said the number has ballooned to 103 because of the culture of impunity.

Those who are liable for the crimes have not been punished, he said.

Only 1% of the suspects have been convicted. Worse, these are mere fall guys, he added.

The rights of the members of the media have never been part of Arroyo's priorities, Espina added.

He asked President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to reform the justice system in order to give justice to the victims. Unless no one is brought to justice, the killings will continue, he said.

Cops to file raps vs suspect in slay of Davao Or. radioman

Police are set to file criminal charges against the suspect in the killing of Mati City broadcaster Desidario "Jessie" Camangyan last week.

Bishop to Aquino: Replace department heads

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III not to retain the incumbent heads of the departments of environment and agrarian reform.

Manila Auxiliary bishop Broderick said that the incoming administration should also consider replacing the head of the Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of Education.

Current DepEd Secretary Mona Valisno has been pushing for the teaching of sex education in schools to address the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

Pabillo, also chairman of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace, added that Aquino would not merely place political appointees in the different government departments and agencies.

JBC opens nomination for SC, Sandiganbayan posts

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Monday opened the nomination for the vacancies in the Supreme Court and at the Sandiganbayan.

100 NGOs ask Noynoy: Adopt pro-poor agenda

MANILA, PhilippinesSome 100 non-government organizations from all over the country under the umbrella network of Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP or Dignified Life for All Campaign) are asking incoming President Benigno Noynoy Aquino III to adopt their pro-poor agenda.

The agenda, which will be presented to the public and key legislators and possible Cabinet secretaries on Tuesday, June 22, in Sulo Hotel, seeks to prioritize people's rights to work, food, and essential services like housing and health.

The start of this administration is filled with hope. We hope that President Aquino will focus all his energy at the alleviation of poverty and inequality, said Ana Maria Nemenzo in a news release to media outfits.

Under the call for decent work for all, KAMP proposes the adoption of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee and Labor-Based Equipment-Supported technology; the passage of the bill ensuring security of tenure; and the reversal of OWWA Omnibus Policies to give inactive OWWA members access to $12-billion OWWA Fund.

To ensure adequate food for all, KAMP recommends that school children in public schools be fed in school. The network of NGOs wants to formalize the subsidy of agricultural inputs, especially eco-friendly ones that ensure sustainability. Implement food price subsidy program and ensure that subsidized rice reach the targeted poor, KAMP said.

KAMP also seeks a three-year moratorium on demolitions while a program for housing especially of those affected families are being developed and calls for in-city housing development. It seeks government-abled universal quality health care (health services) by instituting reforms in the PhilHealth system and increasing government spending in health care services. It calls for a subsidy of 6 cubic meters per poor household per month (water), as well as a subsidy of electricity connection of poor households and a review lifeline subsidy rates (electricity)

For social insurance, KAMP seeks universal pension for the elderly, agricultural insurance for subsistence agricultural workers, unemployment insurance to job seeking workers, among others.

The agenda presentation is part of a three-day series of activities on social protection. Prof. Kamal Chenoy, a prominent scholar-activist from the Jawarhal Nehru University, is also scheduled to share India's experience with similar programs, and how India has struggled with the concept of rights to work and food and how it is expanding definition of social protection. He will share relevant lessons from the Indian experience, including strategies that worked and did not work.

Among the 100 organizations are: Akbayan; Alab Katipunan (AK), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Angono-Binangonan Central Allied Tricycle Operator's and Driver's Association (ABCATODA), Coalition of Services for the Elderly (COSE),

Kilos Maralita (Kilos M), Laban ng Masa, Lakas Manggagawa Labor Center (LMLC), League of Urban Poor for Action (LUPA), Liga Manggagawa-Quezon City (LM-QC), Makati Transport Group, Medical Action Group. Inc. (MAG), National Federation of Labor (NFL), National Federation of Labor Union (NAFLU),

National Labor Union (NLU), National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO), Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (KAISAKA), Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid (PKMM), Pambansang Katipunan ng Maralitang Pilipino (PKMP), Pambansang Katipunan ng Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), Partido Manggagawa (PM), Pesante-Pilipinas,

Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions (PAFLU), Progresibong Alyansa ng Mangingisda (PANGISDA), Progressive Organization of Worker Advocates (PROWORKER), Rural-Urban People's Linkages (RUPEL), San Roque Coordinating Council-North Triangle Alliance (SRCC-NTA), Union Network International-Philippine Liaison Council, Urban Missionaries Inc. (UM-AMRSP), WomanHealth Philippines, Workers Welfare Watch.Philippines, and Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND).

OFW abuses, labor malpractices up this year - Migrante

MANILA, Philippines – Cases of labor malpractice and abuse on overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East for the past six months have risen dramatically, a migrant workers' rights group disclosed.

Migrante-Middle East said from the average of 3 to 5 cases reported to its office chapters daily, the number has increased to 7 to 10.

The group said the unprecedented rise in the number of the cases referred to its offices this year are no longer individual complaints but by bulk.

Migrante cited the cases of the more than 200 OFW nurses in Jeddah, the 17 stranded caregivers in Riyadh, and the more than 20 trailer drivers in Dammam, among other cases.

"What is quite alarming is that OFWs abuses are not only confined to Middle Eastern countries but as well as in countries like Sudan, Libya and other African countries," the group said.

Migrante added that the rampant cases of OFWs abuses and maltreatment should be an eye-opener to the incoming Aquino administration to seriously review the government's intensified exportation of human labor and to stop the local economy's dependency on OFWs remittances.

"We would like to see an Aquino administration realizing that an intensified labor export program is merely commoditization of human labor," the group said.

Heat blamed for Filipino engineer's death in Saudi

A Filipino engineer in Saudi Arabia died of heart attack last week while at work. Labor Attaché David Des Dicang of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Al Khobar confirmed that 60-year old Wilfredo Bautista suffered a heart attack inside his office past noon on June 14.

Appointments for passport applicants 2 months away

MANILA, PhilippinesIf a passport applicant goes online today to set an appointment for when he can go to the new consular office to apply, he will get a September schedule.

The recruitment sector calls this situation totally unacceptable and deplorable for overseas Filipino workers who cannot afford the delay in the processing of their travel documents. Most go home only for a couple of weeks, renewing their passports, work permits, visas, and other papers during their short stay.

In a news release, recruitment leader Jackson Gan, vice president for marketing of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters (FAME), said OFWs have to be at their jobsites at the agreed time and any delays in their arrivals are hurting their chances in earning income for their families.

Passport processing time, he said, has gone from 20 working days to 40 working days or two months as the backlog continues to pile up at the supposedly state-of-the-passport facility where over half a billion pesos lent by the DBP was spent by the DFA in the latest information and communication technology.

The delay has spawned fixers who charge P5,000 for three-day processing, Gan said.

He said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo may be too busy trying to keep his job with the incoming administration that he has not paid attention to this problem.

Gan warned that long delays in passport processing will cost some OFWs their jobs.

When asked to comment on the complaints, Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor Ledda of the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Consular Affairs said he has already added more shifts, even during lunch time, to address the problem but there are just too many applicants for the electronic passport.

Ledda said he has already increased his offices capacity from 2,500 per day in March to 3,500 now, but it is still not enough.

The number of applicants has been increasing since March and weve been trying to adjust to the surge since.

To address the problem for OFWs, Ledda said a satellite office has been set up at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Ortigas. It opened today and can 250 handle walk-in applicants a day.

17.3M Filipinos are smokers, says NSO

Some 17.3 million or 28 percent of Filipinos 15 years and older are smokers, according to the National Statistics Office.

Blast rocks Cotabato City drug store

An improvised explosive device (IED) rocked a drug store in Cotabato City Monday afternoon, but no one was reported hurt in the incident, the city police chief said.

Thousands flee floods in Maguindanao, Cotabato

About 4,500 families fled their homes as floods swamped several areas in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces in southern Philippines due to heavy rains during the weekend, a radio report said.

PNP buys 85 new rubber boats

In a bid to strengthen its operational capabilities on sea, the Philippine National Police on Monday announced its purchase of 85 new rubber boats that will be deployed throughout its units nationwide.

Be ready for big quake, military told

Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to come up with a comprehensive plan for massive rescue operations should a magnitude-7 and stronger earthquake hit Metro Manila.

$1: P45.450

$1: P45.450

Euro 1: P56.8691

Peso ends firmer on China yuan move

MANILA, Philippines - The peso continued to gain strength against the US dollar on Monday, boosted by China's plan to relax constraints  on its currency, the yuan.

Salceda: Poverty blunts Arroyo's economic gains

by By Ira Pedrasa,
MANILA, Philippines--Albay Governor Jose Clemente "Joey" Salceda gave his former boss, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a dismal score of 7 out of 10 in terms of lifting the economy.

PAL to push through with restructuring

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) said on Monday it will proceed with the airline's planned restructuring after the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) nixed employees' opposition, and said it is management's prerogative to outsource its key operations.

BP oil spill prompts review of RP drilling procedure

Prompted by the ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico where a BP oil rig exploded in April, the Energy Department is calling for a review of government's drilling procedures with stakeholders taking part in it. A meeting is scheduled this Thursday at the Energy headquarters in Taguig City.

Indonesian quake death toll hits 17

At least 17 people died in a powerful earthquake that struck Indonesia's Papua province last week, an official said Monday.

Flooding death toll rises to 175 in southern China

BEIJING - Widespread flooding in southern China has caused 175 deaths, with 107 more people missing and more storms expected, the government said Monday.

Iran bars UN inspectors in escalating nuclear row

TEHRAN, Iran/VIENNA, Austria - Iran has barred two U.N. nuclear inspectors from entering the Islamic Republic, adding to tension less than two weeks after Tehran was hit by new U.N. sanctions over its disputed atomic programme.

Countdown to the start of NBA free agency

The countdown to the start of the July 1 NBA free agency period, when stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others are expected to hit the market:

Federer survives Wimbledon shock

LONDON—Roger Federer averted one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history when the defending men's champion recovered from two sets down to beat Colombia's Alejandro Falla in the first round Monday.

Charice to sing anthem at Aquino inauguration

by by Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN Zamboanga
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Kris Aquino disclosed here on Monday that it would be the Philippines' international singing sensation Charice Pempengco who will sing the national anthem during her brother President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's inauguration on June 30.

Arroyo dines and dances with media

Nakikanta, at nakisayaw si Pangulong Arroyo sa mga reporter na tumututok sa Malacañang. Pero hanggang sa huli, iniwasan niyang mapag-usapan ang pulitika. 

FG Arroyo may be released ahead of birthday

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo is recovering ahead of schedule and may be released before his birthday on Sunday, June 27.

Krista Ranillo engaged; Pacquiao 'intrigue over'

MANILA, Philippines – Young actress Krista Ranillo is getting married next year, and she and 7-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao are now "good friends." 

Vina Morales happy for Shaina, John Lloyd

MANILA, Philippines – Vina Morales on Monday said she is happy for younger sister Shaina Magdayao and her boyfriend, John Lloyd Cruz.

Willie Revillame spends free time playing golf, says daughter

by by Boy Villasanta,
MANILA, Philippines - Amid criticisms, comedian and television host Willie Revillame is taking life in stride.

Jovit Baldivino hurt by claims he's not poor

by by Trina Lagura,
MANILA, Philippines – Rising star Jovit Baldivino, the 1st grand winner of "Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT)," said he's hurt by insinuations that he lied about his background in order to win the sympathy of the public as well as the nod of the 3 PGT judges.

Arnel Pineda OKs duet with Jovit Baldivino

MANILA, Philippines - After singing with some of the country's top talents, Journey frontman Arnel Pineda is now setting his sights on singing a duet with Pilipinas Got Talent champion Jovit Baldivino.

South African doctor invents female condoms with 'teeth' to fight rape

by By Faith Karimi, CNN
Dr. Sonnet Ehlers is distributing the female condoms in the various South African cities where the World Cup soccer games are taking place.

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