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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 30, 2010 Major News Stories

DOLE reminds employers of pay rules on Monday

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is reminding employers of the pay rules for Monday, National Heroes' Day.
August 30 is a nationwide regular holiday, to honor heroes who fought for the country's freedom, which means pursuant to the provisions of Labor Code, private sector employers must comply to appropriate core labor standards protecting workers during the observance of the regular holiday.

The pay rules are as follows:

* If the holiday falls on an employee's regular workday:

- If worked, the employee is entitled to 200 percent of his or her basic wage on the first eight hours and, for work in excess of the eight hours, to an additional 30 percent of his or her hourly rate on the said day.

- If unworked, the employee is entitled to 100 percent of his or her regular daily rate, provided he or she was present, or was on leave with pay, on the workday immediately preceding the holiday.

* If the day is the employee's rest day:

- If worked, the employee is entitled, on the first eight hours, to 200 percent of his or her daily rate plus 30 percent and, for work in excess of eight hours, plus 30 percent of his or her hourly rate on said day.

- If unworked, the employee is entitled to 100 percent of his or her regular daily rate, provided he or she was present, or was on leave with pay, on the workday immediately preceding the holiday.

* In case the day immediately preceding the holiday is a non-work day in the establishment, or is the scheduled rest day of the employee, the employee shall not be deemed on leave of absence on that day, in which case he or she shall be entitled to the holiday pay.

Malacañang has earlier said the observance of the holiday this Monday — traditionally observed on the last Sunday of August — is already provided for under Republic Act 9492.

The DOLE said inquiries and feedback on core labor standards may be made with the DOLE Call Center at Hotline 2917 from Globe or TM phones, 908-2917 from landline phones or text at 2910.

Shellfish ban ordered in 6 bays

The Department of Health has banned the buying, eating and selling of shellfish harvested from six bays across the country.

Citing a laboratory report from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the health agency said poisonous toxins were found in shellfish collected from Honda Bay in Palawan, Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur, Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar, Murcielagos Bay in Zamboanga del Norte and Misamis Occidental, and Sorsogon Bay in Sorsogon.

The health bulletin also said Carigara Bay in Leyte was found positive for "red tide" toxins. All other coastal waters in the country were free from paralytic shellfish poisoning.

"All types of shellfish and alamang gathered from the areas mentioned are not safe for human consumption," according to an advisory issued by BFAR Director Malcolm Sarmiento Jr.

However, fish, squids, shrimps and crabs gathered from these areas are safe for eating, provided they have just been taken out of the water, washed carefully and their internal organs, such as gills and intestines, removed before cooking.

Among the symptoms of red tide poisoning are dizziness, nausea, severe stomach ache, tingling sensation in the mouth or face, partial paralysis of the hands and feet, diarrhea and inability to breathe, which can lead to death.

Navy offers best men for planned strike force against hostage incidents

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Navy has offered its elite Special Operations Group and Marine Force Reconnaissance for the planned joint military and police strike force that would deal with incidents similar to the hostage crisis on Monday.

Hostage negotiator accepts failure in bus siege

MANILA, Philippines - Police Superintendent Orlando Yebra, a negotiator in last Monday's hostage crisis, has accepted failure even if all efforts were exhausted to calm down the gunman.

Hostage-taker involved in more cases

Natuklasan na may mga iba pang kaso kung saan nasangkot ang hostage-taker at dating pulis na si Rolando Mendoza.

Hong Kong stages march over Manila hostage tragedy

HONG KONG-- Tens of thousands joined a rally in Hong Kong on Sunday to demand justice for victims of the Manila hostage bloodbath, as the city's Filipino community staged its own memorials for the dead.

Pangilinan: flag-draping on Mendoza's coffin a non-issue

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Francisco Pangilinan on Sunday said  China should not condemn the draping of the Philippine national flag on the coffin of slain hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza.

What about the Filipinos killed in Tiananmen Square?

by By Rosanna Mina,
MANILA, Philippines – The killing of 2 Filipinos in China in 2005 is the subject of e-mails, blogs and online forums amid Hong Kong's sorrow and rage over the Manila bus siege which claimed the lives of 8 Hong Kong tourists last August 23.

Philippine police 'certain' tourists were shot by gunman

MANILA-- Philippine police said Sunday they were certain that Hong Kong tourists who died in a hostage siege last week were killed by the gunman, amid continuing investigations into the botched rescue.

2 Chinese RM awardees cancel trip due to hostage crisis?

MANILA, Philippines - The hostage crisis last week could have prompted 2 Chinese recipients of the 2010 Ramon Magsaysay Awards to cancel their trip here, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

The news publication said it was supposed to interview farmer and village chief Fu Qiping and Ministry of Environmental Protection vice minister Pan Yue last Saturday.

Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) however informed the Inquirer that the former "might have taken ill." It did not give a reason for the latter's non-appearance.

The honors would be given on August 31.

RP to get depositions of bus hostage survivors in Hong Kong

Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar said on the Sunday the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine consular office in Hong Kong had made representations to Hong Kong authorities in a bid to get depositions from the survivors of the bus hostage tragedy at the Quirino Grandstand last Monday.

HK team to probe hostage incident Monday

Forensic experts from Hong Kong will start on Monday their own investigation on the August 23 bloody hostage-taking incident in Manila, a week after the carnage that left eight Hong Kong tourists - as well as the hostage-taker, a dismissed policeman - dead.

Ombudsman should shed light on hostage-taker's grievances --solon

The grievance of slain hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza –- his dismissal from the Philippine National Police by the Ombudsman without ``due process'' –- has been lost in the post-mortem of Monday's embarrassing hostage drama in Manila.

Hostage-taker killed in QC -- report

A suspected robber was killed after he held hostage a family in Quezon City Sunday night while attempting to flee chasing policemen, a radio report said.

Chief Superintendent Benjardi Mantele said the still unidentified suspect was shot by responding members of the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Police said the suspect had just robbed a bakery in Barangay (village) Pagasa and was running away from pursuing cops when he chanced upon the unlocked door of the home of Benoy Cornesta at 8:30 p.m.

Cornered, the suspect shot Cornesta dead and when the suspect refused to surrender, SWAT team members shot him.

Superintendent Gerardo Ratuita, the local station commander, said the police were taking the suspect to the hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds.

US increases 2011 aid to RP police

Good news. From nearly P495 million in 2010, the United States government has increased its law enforcement aid to the Philippines to close to P630 million in 2011, according to the US Embassy in Manila.

Aquino vows stronger PNP, AFP


President Aquino has vowed to enhance the capabilities of the military and the police, including the hiring of new recruits and purchasing of equipment, next year.

Under the proposed 2011 national budget, the President said the Department of National Defense (DND) would get a budget of P104.7 billion, while the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) would receive P88.2 billion to ensure peace and order and public safety.

Of the DND budget, the President said P5 billion would be utilized for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) would get P130 million to restore the S-211 aircraft while the Philippine Army (PA) will be provided with some P28 million for the upgrading of Trauma Management Infrastructure and Health Services Equipment.

"The people's security and safety are a top priority of my administration.

We will strengthen the police and the armed forces," the President said in his budget message.

The President said at least P69.4 billion would be allotted to modernize the police force, or 79.8 percent of the total budget of the DILG, which has control over the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The government will spend P2 billion for the purchase of equipment for the police and P221 million for the hiring of 3,000 police officers next year. Around P100 million will also fund the construction of police stations.

The latest budget support for the PNP comes amid criticisms over its bungled rescue attempt in a bus hijacking last Aug. 23 that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

To enhance the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the government also plans to spend P1.3 billion for the hiring of 500 jail officers, the purchase of 500 short firearms, and funding for subsistence and medicine allowances of detainees.

At least P8.2 billion has been set aside for the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). Of the amount, P138 million will be for the salaries and allowances of 500 Fire Officers who will be hired, as well as for the acquisition of firefighting gear.

8 towns to get new police chiefs

The Cebu Provincial Police Office has submitted to the personnel division of the Police Regional Office-7 the list of names of police officials who will sit as chiefs of police of eight towns in the province.

The lawyers then demanded from Digal to submit immediately the list of the eight nominees as chief of police for the municipalities of Barili, Boljoon, Asturias and Moalboal among others as regular replacement to designated OICs for Napolcom's review and confirmation and for immediate transmittal to and selection by to the concerned local chief executive as provided for by law.

PB finds no basis in text complaint sent to ombud

THE Cebu Provincial Board (PB) ruled that the governor has the authority to allow the use of Capitol offices in connection with a complaint relayed to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

The committee on provincial and municipal properties, chaired by PB Member Alex Binghay, recommended that the complaint be referred to Provincial Administrator Eduardo Habin.

The anti-graft office received an anonymous text message on Oct. 24, 2008, asking for an investigation on the use of provincial properties by a private organization and two congressmen.

The texter complained that the CFI Cooperative used a part of the legislative building for free when its office was gutted by fire in 2006. While it was constructing its own building, the organization also allegedly used water from the legislative building.

Another issue the texter raised is the holding of office of Reps. Pablo Garcia (Cebu, 2nd district) and Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), the governor's father and brother, in the Capitol building.

Invoking the Local Government Code of 1991, the committee stated that as chief executive, the governor can "allocate and assign office space to provincial and other officials and employees who, by law or ordinance, are entitled to such space in the
Provincial Capitol and other buildings owned or leased by the Provincial Government."

As to the use of the legislative building by the CFI, particularly the canteen area, the governor had the authority of the PB to temporarily lease the area to the private entity.

"The Cebu CFI Community Credit Cooperative has been doing exemplary service not only to our Provincial Capitol employees but also to employees and constituents of some component cities and municipalities of the Province of Cebu by granting reasonable loans, collateral financing, dental services, medical insurance, groceries and appliances financing," the 2006 resolution sponsored by then PB member Victor Maambong read.

This was the resolution that authorized Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to allow CFI the use of a portion of the legislative building.

But the committee wanted to verify the issue, which is why it was forwarded to Habin's office.

Mayor still looking for 2 chiefs

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama is considering letting doctors at the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) vie for the position of hospital chief.

Del Mar to allocate P17M for repair of Guba hospital

REP. Rachel "Cutie" del Mar (Cebu City, north district) will allocate P17 million for the rehabilitation of a community hospital in Barangay Guba, which is reportedly in disrepair.

City markets hurt by lack of access for jeepneys

The lack of accessibility for public jeepneys plying the route is affecting the viability of some of the public markets operated by the Cebu City government.

Transport group questions operation of NRA terminal

The Alliance of North Bound Transport Workers Association is demanding investigation into the alleged malpractices at the North Consolidated Terminal located at the North Reclamation Area near White Gold Club.

City clears ex-Capitol consultant

THE Cebu City Legal Office found no legal basis to file any complaint against former Capitol security consultant Byron Garcia, even if he took back from City Hall's traffic enforcers his aide's motorcycle.

Sitoy: Separate CR for third sex

For Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy the answer is yes. He believes that it is high time to end the confusion of what public restroom should a member of the third sex enter given the present set up wherein there are only male and female comfort rooms available.

CCMC, 18 schools to get laboratory, science equipment from Japanese firm

The Cebu City Medical Center and 18 high schools in Cebu City will be receiving P100,000 worth of laboratory and science equipment each from Toyoflex Foundation.

DENR wants to convert seized timber, forest products into tables, chairs

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has asked the Commission on Audit to conduct an inventory of confiscated timber and other forest products in its 16 regional offices so that the same can be donated to the Department of Education.

Cebu City prepares for national clean-up month

A series of river and coastal clean up activities will highlight the Cebu City Government's observance of the "National Clean-up Month" on September.

Trade agreements expected: 5 Ambassadors attend Mandaue Charter Day

Five ambassadors and two embassy officials will attend today's 41st Charter Anniversary of Mandaue City.

The ambassadors from Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Iraq are expected to join today's festivities with their wives, as well as embassy officials from Vietnam and Venezuela.

Roger Paller, acting public information officer of the Mandaue City Government, said that the officials will also attend the business forum organized by the City and the Mandaue City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Cebu City officials say they'll protect SRP investor

CALLING the project a "dream come true" for Cebu City, city officials promised to help make sure that Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI).

Aquino pays tribute to martyred dad, national heroes

President Benigno Aquino III called on the nation Sunday to remember and honor its national heroes for serving the people and offering their lives to help attain democracy for the nation.

Urban poor ask Aquino: 3-year moratorium on demolitions

A nationwide coalition of 300 urban-poor groups is asking President Benigno Aquino III to order a three-year moratorium on demolitions while his government crafts a comprehensive in-city housing program for the poor.

Ampatuans ask QC court to defer trial

MANILA, Philippines - Former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and his son and namesake have asked Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to defer the Maguindanao massacre trial slated on different dates in September until she resolves all pending motions related to it.

Police arrest another Maguindanao massacre suspect

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - Police on Sunday arrested one of over 100 fugitives wanted in connection with the country's deadliest political massacre.

Politics eyed behind ambush, slay of 5 in Masbate

A local politician said the ambush-killing of five people on Saturday afternoon in a village in San Pascual, Masbate, might have been motivated by politics and done by a private armed group.
A police report identified those killed as Wenceslao Sinagpulo Jr., town councilman; Rolito Aragon, a baptist pastor; Ronnie Orcales; Rael Ponte, driver; and Raffy Francisco--all residents of Barangay Mapanique in San Pascual.

According to Masbate Representative Narciso "Bong" Bravo (1st District, Liberal Party), the victims were all his political allies.

Teenager hurt as grenade explodes in Bukidnon church

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – (UPDATE) A 15-year old boy was hurt when a grenade exploded inside a Catholic Church in Kalilangan, Bukidnon on Sunday morning.

NPA men execute soldier, seize 23 firearms in Negros Occidental – report

Suspected New People's Army rebels executed an Army detachment commander, overran an isolated military outpost and carted away 23 high-powered firearms in Barangay Bug-ang, Toboso, Negros Occidental on Saturday afternoon, field reports reaching the Philippine Army stated on Sunday.

Female NPA rebel killed in Surigao del Sur clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Government troops on Saturday killed a female member of the communist rebel group New People's Army in a series of clashes in the southern Philippine province of Surigao del Sur, officials said Sunday.

Phivolcs: Taal shows increased activity

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has recorded an increased activity from the Taal Volcano in Batangas.

Philippine Information Agency website hacked

Malacañang alerted all government agencies to improve the security of their respective official websites following the hacking of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) website today.

Filipino WW2 Vets Fight For Denied Lump Sums

by by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
Los Angeles, CA – During a meeting with the Filipino community, Filipino World War 2 veterans presented Los Angeles Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra with a memorandum, demanding that he call for a congressional hearing on the denied lump sum payments.

Pirated goods seized im Jan.-Jun total P2.3 billion

Government seized P2.3 billion worth of pirated items in ports where the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines) was intensifying its anti-piracy campaign in the first half of the year.

Indonesia issues red alert as volcano erupts

by Agence France-Presse
JAKARTA - Indonesia issued a red alert Sunday after the Sinabung volcano on the island of Sumatra erupted, spewing smoke and ash 1,500 meters into the air and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Vietnam to release more than 17,000 prisoners

HANOI, Vietnam - Vietnam's president has ordered more than 17,000 prisoners freed as part of the country's annual National Day amnesty, officials said Saturday.

Wen urges Japan to raise wages of China workers

BEIJING- - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday urged Japanese companies operating in China to raise workers' wages, after a series of strikes led to costly factory shutdowns, Japan's foreign ministry said.

China to stage war games in Yellow Sea

BEIJING- - China will hold live-fire naval exercises in the Yellow Sea this week, state media reported Sunday, after voicing opposition to similar war games to be staged there by the United States and South Korea.

Cholera outbreak hits eastern China

BEIJING, China—At least 30 people in eastern China have been stricken by cholera in recent weeks, with unsanitary food conditions believed to be behind the outbreak, state press said Sunday.

Pakistan troops on 'war footing' to save city

THATTA-- Pakistani troops and workers were on a "war footing" Sunday as they battled to save the deserted southern city of Thatta after most of the population of 300,000 fled the advancing flood waters.

Malaysia may try genetically-modified anti-dengue mosquitoes

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysia is considering releasing genetically modified mosquitoes designed to combat dengue fever, in a landmark field trial that has come in for criticism from environmentalists.

In the first experiment of its kind in Asia, 2,000-3,000 male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes would be released in two Malaysian states in October or November.

The insects in the study have been engineered so that their offspring quickly die, curbing the growth of the population in a technique researchers hope could eventually eradicate the dengue mosquito altogether.

Females of the Aedes species are responsible for spreading dengue fever, a sometimes deadly illness that has killed 100 people so far this year in Malaysia alone.

The World Health Organization estimates worldwide infections at 50 million annually. Numbers have grown dramatically in recent decades, due to rapid urbanization and enhanced mobility that has carried the virus further afield.

The proposal field trial follows a series of lab tests conducted in Malaysia since 2006, and the government is seeking public feedback before moving to the next step.

But environmentalists are not convinced, and are concerned the genetically modified (GM) mosquito could fail to prevent dengue and could also have unintended consequences.

"Once you release these GM mosquitoes into the environment, you have no control and it can create more problems than solving them," said Gurmit Singh, head of the Center for Environment, Technology, and Development.

"There are a lot of risks involved," he told AFP.

Singh said the larvae will only die if their environment is free of tetracycline, an antibiotic commonly used for medical and veterinary purposes.

"If the larvae come into contact with the tetracycline, the chances of the larvae surviving is higher than it dying off," he said.

"We don't know how the genetic flow will be affected. The non-targeted species might be adversely affected and increase the risk of ecological harm."

"We shouldn't take the risk, it is better to play safe," Singh said, adding that current measures to contain dengue outbreaks such as spraying insecticides are still effective if enforcement is beefed up.

The field trial for the GM anti-dengue mosquitoes—which was developed by a British-based insect bio-tech company, Oxitec—will be undertaken by the Malaysia's Institute for Medical Research, an agency under the health ministry.

The two groups, through their media firm, declined comment on the trial or respond to the environmental concerns, saying it was inappropriate as their "application is now going through the final stages of regulatory scrutiny."

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said on its website that the field trial, if approved, would be conducted on two consecutive days and "in strict adherence to requirements" by the National Biosafety Board.

It said the GM mosquitoes proposed for release contain "a fluorescent molecular marker and a self-limiting construct."

A ministry official confirmed the plan to AFP and said that anti-dengue GM mosquitoes had previously been released in a trial in Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

Dengue infection leads to a sudden onset of fever with severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, and rashes.

The virus has historically been found in tropical regions, particularly in urban and semi-urban areas, but has spread in recent years to colder and higher places and is now endemic in more than 100 countries.

'Pacquiao bout a chance for Margarito to prove himself'

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao will return to the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas in November to face Mexican Antonio Margarito, whom critics say is an unworthy opponent for the 7-division world champion.

Pundits predict another title for Lakers, but team falls short in player rankings

LebronmiamiheatIt's summer, and the pundits of hoops are busy.

ESPN recently asked 93 of them: Which team wins the NBA title next June?

The Lakers topped the list, with 52 votes, followed by the Heat with 34, and in the back of the bus were the Magic (five votes), plus the Celtics and Thunder (with one each).

ESPN's panel didn't include ex-Knicks coachJeff Van Gundy. But earlier this month he said the Heat, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wadeand Chris Bosh, is history-about-to-happen on the hardwood.

The Heat "will break the single-season win record" of 72 wins, set by Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1995-96, Van Gundy said. "And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers' 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72] as well. And only the Lakers have even a remote shot at beating them in a playoff series. They will never lose two games in a row this year…

"There is now no good way to defend them. They are unguardable. They are indefensible. They are just too good and have added so much shooting and are so versatile that they will score at will."

Meanwhile, Yahoo's Kelly Dwyer ranked, from 1 to 30, the top NBA players at each position, and the Lakers didn't fare particularly well.

His rankings of point guards start with No. 1. Chris Paul and 2. Deron Williams. His list continues to the bottom dwellers: Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Rodney Stuckey and Kyle Lowry (No. 30). But there's no Derek Fisher anywhere.

Dwyer wanted to "rank players [who] will be more valuable to a hypothetical team in a vacuum. So while Derek Fisher might be more important to a triangle offense than someone like John Wallwould be…come on, it's Derek Fisher vs. John Wall." Wall, the top pick in the NBA draft, is ranked 17th.

Other samples from his rankings:

Shooting guards: 1. Dwyane Wade. 2. Kobe Bryant.

Small forwards: 1. LeBron James. 2. Kevin Durant. No 15. Ron Artest.

Power forwards: 1. Pau Gasol. 2. Tim Duncan. 19. Lamar Odom.

Centers: 1. Dwight Howard. 2. Andrew Bogut. 5. Andrew Bynum.

Be calm; training camps start in four weeks.

--Barry Stavro

James Yap draws inspiration from Baby James, fans

Star basketball player James Yap said he looks to his fans and his son Baby James for inspiration to do better in his game amid problems between him and estranged wife, TV host-actress Kris Aquino.

'ABS-CBN reminds rival networks of Willie's contract'

MANILA, Philippines – Two rival networks had been told by ABS-CBN not to ink an agreement with Willie Revillame, citing the controversial television host's existing contract obligations with the Kapamilya network, the camp of Revillame has disclosed.

Sarah Geronimo leaving ABS-CBN after 'Idol?'

by by Rachelle Siazon,
MANILA, Philippines - There have been reports that Sarah Geronimo would no longer renew her contract with ABS-CBN when it expires this December.

'Exorcism' has slim box-office lead over 'Takers'

LOS ANGELES - The fright flick "The Last Exorcism" and the heist thriller "Takers" are in a photo finish for the top spot at the weekend box office.

Internet wiping out printed Oxford Dictionary

The publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary says waning demand for printed versions means that the authoritative guide to the English language may only live online in the future.

Tropical storm Glenda enters RP

A tropical depression east of extreme northern Luzon has intensified into a tropical storm as it entered Philippine territory Sunday afternoon.

Essay on the Manila Bus Tragedy: The Safety in the Cliche

What we should hope for is not defensiveness but openness from our media, less adherence to company rules and more awareness of the ambiguous power of visibility that they wield and most tragically take for granted.

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