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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 29, 2010 Major News Stories

RTWPB rejects wage hike petitions

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Central Visayas has rejected the twin petitions of the labor groups demanding for P100 and P128 across the board wage increases to workers.

Department of Labor-7 regional director Elias Cayanong said the employers representatives to the seven-man wage board strongly objected to the petitions of the labor groups.

Although the employers are willing to grant wage increase, but Cayanong explained that they cannot afford to give an increase of P100 everyday to the workers' salaries.

Cayanong said the wage board conducted a series of public hearings in different parts of the region after the Alliance of Progressive Labor and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines demanded a P128.60 increase and a P100 wage increase, respectively.

The wage board is composed of two representatives from the labor sector, two from the government and two others representing the employers, while the labor regional director will only vote to break a tie.

Cayanong explained to dyLA yesterday that because one of the labor sector representatives resigned from his post a few months ago and until now has not been replaced, the workers may not be able to pursue their intentions.

Joe Tumongha of the Alliance of Progressive Labor has strongly criticized the government representatives to the board for siding with employers that prompted him to challenge them to resign from the board.

The government representatives to RTWPB-7 are National Economic Development Authority-7 regional director Marlyn Rodriguez and Department of Trade and Industry regional director Asteria Caberte.

But Cayanong said the members of the board may again meet next week to discuss on the final amount of wage increase to be implemented in the region.

TUCP Partylist Rep. Raymond Mendoza explained that there is a need for a minimum wage increase this year because the prices of basic goods and services, including power and water, have already increased.

But Cayanong said the businessmen behind the furniture and sugar industries strongly opposed the rate of increase demanded by the labor groups.

The furniture industry players claimed that they are still experiencing a financial crisis saying that the export furniture shipments from Cebu fell about 70 percent from 2007 to 2009.

"Magtigum mi pag-usab og basin maka-come up na kami og amount nga acceptable sa tanan," Cayanong added.

Western Visayas workers slam P15 wage increase

Labor groups in Western Visayas on Tuesday scored the P15-increase in the daily minimum wage for workers in the private sector in the region as "measly and an insult to workers."

Comelec moves registration for barangay polls anew

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has moved the registration for the barangay elections for the second time, this time to August 4 to 13. The registration period for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, however, will still be held from August 6 to 15.

Rice stocks to last till Dec, says NFA chief

MANILA, Philippines - The country has sufficient rice stocks up to the end of the year, the National Food Authority (NFA) said on Tuesday.

NFA sets up audit team to look into rice imports

MANILA, Philippines - National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Angelito Banayo said a systems and management team will be created to look closely into the operations of the agency, especially rice importations.

NFA Administrator Angelito Banayo said the mandate of the group will be look into specific areas of  concern raised by President Benigno Aquino III in his state of the nation address last Monday.

These include allegations of overstocked warehouses, P177 billion debts of NFA since June 30, rice wastage, inability  to help farmers, allegations of anomalies in rice importation, local purchase, contracting of services and selling.

In his speech, Aquino said that NFA's debts swelled to P177 billion because of its excessive rice importations over the years.

"It is a peculiar situation that we find ourselves in," said Banayo, adding that the systems audit will be very thorough."

"The systems audit will investigate the purchase and importation protocols insofar as timing and volume. Kailan dapat  mag-import at mamili, gano kadami ang dapat bilhin. We may need 1 million ton, pero hindi naman bibilhin yan ng ora orada," said Banayo.

He said the team will study the inventory system to prevent waste and spoilage of stocks, the methods and procedures of selling stocks to ensure these are sold efficiently.

Aquino also said there is a lot of wastage at NFA's warehouses, and Banayo said there could be a basis for the allegations of  corruption as well, particularly in the area of rice distribution.

"May posibilidad ang corruption. Kasi sino ba ang nagde-decision kung alin nga ang bulok na bigas - di po ba mga tao sa bodega, mga NFA managers, nasa 740 or more warehouses all over the country. May posibilidad na kwentahin na bulok ang bigas  at ibenta na sa merkado, at ang kumikita ay hindi magsasaka, kundi mga traders, those are the possibilities."

A major problem he said, is NFA's inability to help farmers. Because NFA warehouses are full and they buy at prices higher than private traders, it does not have enough facilities to store the commodity.

Another disadvatange of the NFA is that  unlike the private traders, it cannot pay farmers in cash or even in advance. This forces farmers to agree to a lower price  of P11 to P13 a kilo of palay, substantially lower than NFA's buying price of P17 a kilo.

It is very likely, Banayo said, that anomalies also occur in the importation, as well as local purchases of rice. The situation is made worse by smuggling, he said.

"Smuggling is a problem of the Bureau of Customs. In the same way that oil and sugar are smuggled...we need help because if there is an oversupply due to smuggling, it is the rice farmers that suffer."

He said that annually, the volume of rice illegally brought into the country is 400,000 to 500,000 metric tons, which is equivalent to 8 million to 10 million sacks of rice.

Banayo said that the systems and management audit team will have partial results in half a month, and which will be the basis for some major reforms in the structure of the NFA.

He said the team will make recommendations, and may propose changes or ammend procedures that are defective, add systems and fiscal safeguards and reshuffle or remove personnel accordingly. 

Bonuses of other GOCCs will also be checked - Palace

MANILA, Philippines - Now that the Aquino administration let the cat out of the bag, Malacañang said officials of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) should take heed.  Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Office of the President will also scrutinize the benefits received by high-ranking officials of other GOCCs.

MWSS retirees enraged over perks of execs

Galit at dismayado ang mga retiradong empleyado ng Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System o MWSS! Ito'y matapos isiwalat ni Pangulong Aquino sa kanyang State of the Nation Address ang mga naglalakihang bonus at allowance ng mga opisyal ng ahensya. Habang nagpapakasasa raw sa pera ng MWSS ang mga opisyal nito, pahirapan naman ang pagkuha ng pensyon ng mga MWSS retirees.

DPWH chief vows to clean agency

Bilang na ang araw ng mga tiwaling tauhan ng Department of Public Works and Highways! Sa ating panayam, siniguro ni DPWH secretary Rogelio Singson na masisibak ang mga taong responsible sa mga ma-anomalyang kontratang pinasok ng nakaraang administrasyon.

Truth Commission to cover Aquino's SONA exposés

MANILA, Philippines - A 5-man Truth Commission will most likely handle the exposés made by President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III during Monday's State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Aquino has "prima facie evidence" for revealing the alleged faults of the previous administration.

She said Malacañang is now finalizing the executive order that will create the Truth Commission, including the cases that it would be focusing on.

The Truth Commission will most likely look into major cases between 2001 and 2010, she said.

Based on the draft order, the commission will be composed of 5 members, including the appointed chief, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr.

On the sidelines of the SONA yesterday, De Lima said "1 or 2 [of its members] will be former Associate Justices of the Supreme Court."

One could be former Associate Justice Romeo Callejo, who had given a "positive feedback" on the invitation, she said.

She said the Department of Justice (DoJ) will have a big role to play in the investigations.

In a separate press conference, De Lima however explained "we need to come up with a list na tutukan ng DoJ…either in coordination with the Truth Commission or not. Hindi lahat mahahandle ng Truth Commission, depende sa gravity. Pag masyadong grave at malaki, pasok sa kanila yun."

She said the DoJ will come up with a shortlist of its "best prosecutors" who will help the Truth Commission. At least 2 will be appointed, she said.

Truth Commission's powers

De Lima said the Truth Commission will have the power to "compel the production of documents, the appearance of [parties] under the pain of contempt."

She said the body will not be in conflict with the tasks of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Aquino has been criticized for failing to give a clearer view of the role of the commission.

Lawyer Theodore Te said "[what I understand] is that it will make the Ombudsman irrelevant." He noted the Office of the Ombudsman is a constitutional body.

De Lima told ANC "about cases to be lodged…as you know, it will basically be fact-finding, gathering of evidence and facts, the evaluation of facts and the appropriate recommendations."

She explained "the recommendations can come in various forms: more investigations, the filing of appropriate charges in court and also referring it to Ombudsman."

As an institution, the Ombudsman will then have to process it, she said.

"If right evidence is there, they have no choice but to accept it, pursue and act on it in the Sandiganbayan," she said.

House minority counters SONA point by point

Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday described as defective and deficient President Benigno Aquino III's first State of the Nation Address (SONA), which exposed alleged anomalies under the nine-year rule of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Arroyo not keen on disputing SONA claims - spokesperson

Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not keen on personally countering the allegations hurled at her by her successor President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, but welcomes a Congressional probe as the proper forum to air her side, a former Palace official said.

Cebu prelate unhappy SONA silent on sex ed

Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu was dismayed by the failure of President Benigno Aquino III to voice out his stand on reproductive health and sex education issues in his State of the Nation Address, a spokesman said Tuesday.

150 positive in city in 6 months: Alarming rise in HIV cases

Health officials yesterday confirmed that the number of persons found positive of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Cebu City has reached 150 from January to June 30 this year.

Court stops Capitol from taking over DA compound

Saying that the provincial government violated the status quo order earlier issued by the court, the Regional Trial Court has ordered Capitol to refrain from taking over the compound occupied by the Department of Agriculture along M. Velez Street.

For purchase of buses: P24 million slashed from Rama's P221 million SB

Some P24 million from the proposed P221 million Supplemental Budget (SB) intended for the projects and programs during the first 100 days of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama had to be slashed by the council's committee on budget and finance to give way to the city's statutory obligations on the 20 buses purchased last year and donated to the mountain barangays.

Items affected are the proposed P15 million for the purchase of dredging equipment, P4 million of P20 million for the purchase of brand new garbage trucks, P4 million of P30 million for the fuel expenses of the city and P1 million of P2 million for the establishment and purchase of instruments and other equipments of the planned City Hall band.

The P24 million comprises 20 buses procured at P1.6 million each last year. It was not included in the initial proposal because of the delays in the submission of necessary documents to consider it as accounts payable.

The office of the councilor Augustus Pe Jr., wrote a request to councilor Jose Daluz III, chairman of the committee on budget and finance, to include the obligation in the appropriation.

"By law, as a statutory obligation, we have to include that. The committee on budget was informed of that contractual obligation so we have to put it up and the council approved its inclusion. In effect however, we had to slash some of the items in the original proposal," Daluz said.

There are two appropriations, SB 3 of Special Accounts and SB 4 of the General Fund, which the council is set to approve during their regular session on Friday.

Yesterday, the council's committee on finance conducted the budget hearing and so far came up with items approved by the committee which include among others P30 million for the city's medical assistance, P9 million for the burial assistance, P31.5 million for the paving and retreading of city streets and bridges P15 million for traffic maintenance and P15 million for the renovation of the city hall building including the purchase of additional furniture and fixtures for offices in City Hall.

Some P8 million is appropriated for the supplies and repairs of city's motor vehicles. The renovation of the Plaza Independencia gets P20 million while P7 million is allotted for the purchase of 44 motorcycles for the city police.

The purchase of dredging equipment for the dredging project of the committee on infrastructure headed by councilor Roberto Cabarrubias will no longer be included. Cabarrubias agreed to just get the funding from the next supplemental budget that the mayor promised to pass in August or September.

The P2 million intended for the establishment of the band, the brainchild of Rama, which aims to promote culture and arts, fun and recreation for the 5,000 employees of city hall were also reduced to P1 million where half shall be used for the seminars and workshop of the group while the other half is for the purchase of equipments and instruments.

The proposed budget for the instruments was originally for P1.5 million but since the proponent of the project was not able to submit a breakdown and the council believes that it is not a priority at this time, they slashed it to P500,000.

During the budget hearing, councilor Margot Osmeña questioned the establishment of the band which she said is a duplication of the function of the Culture and Historical Affairs Commission.

But Rama said that the performing arts group he is planning to create does not aim to compete with the CHAC but to coordinate with it and to other non-government organizations that seek to promote the culture and arts of Cebu.

It will also be joined by city hall employees and later may expand to the outsiders. Rama said he only wants to give color to the life of City Hall employees.

But Osmeña instead wants the money for CHAC that only has about P30,000 left.

"We have five coming city sponsored activities and yet we don't have money which is ironic," Osmeña said.

Other members of the council agreed to reduce the proposed P30 million fuel budget to P26 million and the P20 million budget for the purchase of five garbage trucks to P16 million since the need for these are not so urgent.

"This is still subject for approval by the council on Friday. But since we already have 10 councilors here who attended, I think mao na to. If other councilors have questions, they can raise it during the session," Daluz said.

Eighty percent of the source of the two SBs is from the realignment of previous appropriations that were not utilized.

The biggest chunk would come from the realignment of this year's Financial Assistance to barangay projects amounting to P153.5 million.

Some P20 million will come from the realignment of the unused funds of the city's Scholarship Program. The city can also use about P4 million from the realignment of unused funds for the Special Program for Employment of Students.

Other sources are from the Internal Revenue Allotment Difference in the years 2000, 2001 and 2004 that would reach almost P26 million while P17 million will be sourced from the reversion of accounts payable in 2007 and 2008.

City scholarship for public students now in jeopardy

Cebu City's scholarship program for deserving students from the city's public high schools might be affected after Mayor Michael Rama decided that the P20 million that was part of the budget appropriated for the project will be used for other purposes, particularly for his priority projects to be implemented within his first 100 days in office.

Budget officer Nelfa Briones explained that while the city appropriated P100 million for the scholarship program of former mayor and now South District Rep. Tomas Osmeña, only about P6 million of the amount can be used for the project during the first semester of this school year as there were only around 5,000 students who availed of the city's grant.

The city appropriated P10 million estimating that 10,000 graduates from public secondary schools in Cebu City will avail of the grant, but statistics showed only half of the graduates decided to go to college.

Councilor Jose Daluz III, chairman of the City Council's committee on budget and finance, told Briones to be sure that the city can find other funds that can be used to augment the budget for the city's scholarship program.

"Let him just justify it to the people. But the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswa-gan's program is to help our high school graduates go to college," Osmeña's said regarding Rama's move.

Osmeña said Rama should continue granting the scholarship program to deserving students, otherwise the people will get mad at him.

It was agreed that for students who are scholars in some schools, the P10,000 scholarship grants can be also used to cover other expenses like books and miscellaneous expenses and not only tuitions fees.

Malacañang won't seek supplemantal budget

Malacañang won't ask for supplemental money from Congress even though only 38.4 percent of the P1.54-trillion budget for 2010 is left in the national coffers.

Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines goes online

The Office of the President yesterday launched the cornerstone of what it hopes will be a comprehensive online presence for the Philippine government: the digital version of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines.
The print version of the Gazette contains matters of public interest, including newly-enacted laws and generally applicable executive and administrative orders. 

SC moves Hacienda Luisita case hearing to Aug. 18

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court hearing on the oral arguments regarding the distribution of  Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac has been moved to August 18.

NDF, MILF say open to resuming peace talks

by by Manny Mogato, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - The main Philippines rebel groups said on Tuesday they were willing to resume peace talks after an offer from President Benigno Aquino III, but ending insurgencies that have hobbled development remains far from certain.

AFP backs Aquino call to resume peace talks with NDFP

(Updated 2:28 am) Saying that it has "tried everything" to defeat the insurgency, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday expressed support for President Benigno Aquino III's proposal for resuming the long-stalled peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Comelec's Yusoph denies receiving bribe from Lanao politicians

(Updated 11:55 p.m.) Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Elias Yusoph has denied that he received money from local candidates in Lanao del Sur province before the May 10 elections as accused by a military official.

Did Singson get special treatment at NAIA?

MANILA, Philippines - Did Ilocos Sur 1st District Congressman Ronald Singson get special treatment from immigration when he left the Philippines for Hong Kong last July 11?

Sotto to take drug test next week

Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III will take a drug test next week as he revived his proposal for government and elected officials to have a mandatory testing for illegal drugs use.

OICs named for PCGG, Immigration

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima designated two officials of the Department of Justice to act as officers-in-charge of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Bureau of Immigration(BI).
De Lima named Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras as OIC for PCGG, replacing its resigned chairman Camilo Sabio, and justice undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar as OIC for the BI, replacing commissioner Marcelino Libanan, who also quit his post.

Pinoy shot dead in Oakland: report

MANILA, Philippines – A retired Filipino Navy veteran was shot and killed in what his neighbors described as a case of senseless killing in Oakland City, the Oakland Tribune reported.  Cristorey Mariano, 53, was assigned a night shift job in housekeeping at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.

SC refers plagiarism case to ethics committee

The Supreme Court has constituted its ethics committee to investigate a complaint of plagiarism against one of its associate justices.
Supreme Court spokesman and administrator Jose Midas Marquez said Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo would be investigated by a six-member ethics committee chaired by Chief Justice Renato Corona and co-chaired by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro.

438 pass licensure exams for physical and occupational therapists

A total of 434 out of 938 examinees passed the Physical and Occupational Therapists Licensure Examinations given in Manila and Cebu earlier this month, according to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

[Click here for complete list of successful Physical Therapist examinees.]

[Click here for complete list of successful Occupational Therapist examinees.]

Ella Mae de Guzman Cruz from the University of the Philippines in Manila topped the list of successful Physical Therapist examinees with 88.15 percent rating, while Kim Gerald Granil Medallon from University of Sto. Tomas topped the list Occupation Therapist examinees with 81.60 percent rating.

The other top Physical Therapist examinees are:

2. Mary Grace Calma Morales Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila with 85.75%
3. Patcholo Yap Paglinawan, UP-Manila, 85.70%
4. Joma Guerrero Cabrela Galang, PLM, 85.60%
5. Katrina Torres Roberto, UP-Manila, 85.50%
6. Paul Daniel Garcia Nerit, Manila Central University, 84.65%
7. Louis-Albert Go Lee, UST, 84.50%
8. Mary Grace Lagrana dela Peña, UP-Manila, 84.45%
Keziah Loren Pascual Shan, Velez College, 84.45%
9. Peter Julian Rivera Menorca, University of Perpetual Help System, 84.35%
10. Kristin Mae Uy Decena, Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation, 84.24%
Marcial Merina Patrocinio Jr, PLM, 84.25%

The other top Occupational Therapist examinees are:

2. Amy Fritzi Chiu Yee, Velez College, with 80.60%
3. Anna Louisa Young Tiu, UP-Manila, 80.20%

Peso rises to P45.97 against US dollar

The peso bounced back to the 45:$1 territory Tuesday amid a string of favorable developments both within the country and abroad that prompted investors to bet on currencies of emerging markets like the Philippines.

$1: P45.970

$1: P45.970

Euro 1: P60.0459

PSALM wants to recover Napocor debts

  MANILA, Philippines - State-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) is seeking to recover stranded debts of National Power Corp. (Napocor), which will mean higher electricity costs for consumers, Department of Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said.

Gov't puts foot down on Bataan nuke plant

The Aquino administration has permanently shelved plans to rehabilitate and operate the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, given the social complexity and safety concerns hounding it.

Gov't says not raising deficit forecast further

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - The government is not prepared to further raise the target for the budget deficit in 2010 and nor does it plan to seek a supplementary budget, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said on Tuesday.

Solon wants automatic debt payment in state budget scrapped

Allocating billions for automatic debt payment, which eats up a large chunk of the budget yearly, may soon end with the bill filed by Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez.

US braces for blowback over Afghan war disclosures (AP)

WASHINGTON – Intelligence officials, past and present, are raising concerns that the revelations could endanger U.S. counterterror networks in the Afghan region and damage information sharing with U.S. allies.

People in Afghanistan or Pakistan who have worked with American intelligence agents or the military against the Taliban or al-Qaida may be at risk following the disclosure of thousands of once-secret U.S. military documents, former and current officials said.

Meanwhile, U.S. allies are asking whether they can trust America to keep secrets. And the Obama administration is scrambling to repair any political damage to the war effort back home.

Audit: US can't account for $8.7B in Iraqi funds (AP)

BAGHDAD – The U.S. Defense Department is unable to properly account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the U.S. for rebuilding the war ravaged nation, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The report by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction offers a compelling look at continued laxness in how such funds are being spent in a country where people complain basic services like electricity and clean water are sharply lacking seven years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The audit found that shoddy record keeping by the Defense Department left the Pentagon unable to fully account for $8.7 billion it withdrew between 2004 and 2007 from a special fund set up by the U.N. Security Council. Of that amount, Pentagon "could not provide documentation to substantiate how it spent $2.6 billion."

The funds are separate from the $53 billion allocated by Congress for rebuilding Iraq.

HBO exec breaks silence on Pacquiao-Mayweather talks

MANILA, Philippines – HBO President Ross Greenburg has finally broken his silence regarding the question on the minds of most boxing fans—Did the camps of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao negotiate for the November 13 fight?

Thai challenges Filipino for WBC crown

MANILA, Philippines -- Thai challenger Wandee Singwancha will try to cut Silvester Lopez "down to size" when he challenges the Filipino for his WBC international super flyweight crown at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City on Saturday.

London celebrates 2-year countdown to 2012 Games

LONDON - London marked the two-year countdown to the 2012 Summer Games on Tuesday by having star athletes test its Olympic venues, issuing a call for 78,000 volunteers and opening the first official Olympic souvenir store.

Official statement on ABS-CBN's new noontime show

On Saturday (July 31), ABS-CBN is launching a new noontime show called Pilipinas For The Win (FTW).   The new show will be hosted by Robin Padilla, Mariel Rodriguez, Valerie Concepcion, Pokwang, and Kris Aquino. It is a game and variety show that will surely bring joy, energy and hope to Filipinos all over the world.

Pilipinas For The Win will replace Wowowee. Willie Revillame, through his manager, was already informed about this new development.  He was also notified about the new program being planned for him and this will be announced in due time.

Pilipinas For The Win will be managed by director Johnny Manahan, creative director Bobot Mortiz, business unit head Jay Montelibano, and executive producers Phoebe Anievas and Rancy Recato. It will be aired after Showtime.

Pacquiao delivers first privilege speech in House

Saranggani Representative and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is ready to rumble.

But the fight now is not the boxing ring, but against poverty in his impoverished district.

Delivering his first privilege speech in plenary, the boxing champion-turned lawmaker made a pact with his constituents to give them livelihood, their first provincial hospital, employment and schools.

He also thanked the people who supported him and his family, mentioning his wife Jinkee, at least three times.

"One question that occurs to me again and again is: Can I be a good congressman? And my resounding answer is, with my heart in the right place, my work ethic, my discipline amid my commitment to learn from wiser and more experienced people, yes I can be a good congressman" he said.

Tito Sotto: Sharon and I are OK

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III assured that he and niece Megastar Sharon Cuneta are now okay.

Did Kim Chiu attempt to commit suicide?

MANILA, Philippines - Reports about young actress Kim Chiu's alleged attempt to commit suicide have been spreading like wildfire in the Internet.

According to reports, Chiu tried to take her own life after purportedly breaking up with long time on-screen partner and rumored boyfriend Gerald Anderson.

When sought the actress's camp for comment, Star Magic, which is handling her career, maintained that the actress is doing well.

The news site was also told that Chiu is now in Florida in the United States for ABS-CBN's "Teleserye Royale Tour."

An source said Chiu will answer the controversy once she returns from the US tour.

Chiu and Anderson recently starred in hit television series "Kung Tayo'y Magkakalayo (KTM) " wherein they ended up as husband and wife.

Anderson is now rumored to be courting Bea Alonzo.

In her previous interview, Chiu expressed her support to Anderson and Alonzo. "Kung saan sila masaya suportahan ko. Hindi ko kasi alam kung totoo 'yan o ano pero choice nila and bahala na sila."

In a separate interview, meanwhile, actor Coco Martin, Chiu's former co-star in KTM, gave his reaction to the news.

"Naku, hindi niya gagawin 'yon. Diyos ko si Kim pa, hindi niya gagawin 'yon," said Martin.

He also denied that he is Chiu's newest suitor after her alleged break-up with Anderson.

"Kapatid ko na 'yon. Wala, wala [talagang katotohanan]," the actor said.

Coco Martin keeps hands off Kris-James marital woes

by by Reyma Buan-Deveza,
MANILA, Philippines – Young actor Coco Martin is keeping his distance from Kris Aquino and James Yap's impending separation.

Jovit's debut album hits number 1!

Number one na sa OPM record sales ang debut album ng Pilipinas Got Talent! grand champion Jovit Baldivino! Sa panibagong tagumpay, totoo nga bang lumaki na ang ulo ng dating siomai-vendor?

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