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

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 10, 2010 Major News Stories

Another kid, 5, dies of dengue

AMID efforts of the Cebu City Government in educating the public about dengue, another child died of the virus.

Independent and friendly was how Carmela Blanco described her youngest daughter Lara Jane Blanco, 5, the 12th casualty of dengue in the city.

Carmela, while sitting outside her small home in Barangay Ermita yesterday morning, told Sun.Star Cebu how unexpected the death of her daughter was.

Her daughter died of dengue shock fever syndrome (DSS), which Cebu City Health Department Assistant Epidemiologist Dorinda Macasocol described as the most severe case of dengue fever.

DSS, Macasocol said, is characterized by the dengue fever's symptoms of abdominal pain, hemorrhage as well as circulatory collapse.

On Aug. 30, Carmela said they found their daughter to be suffering from "normal" fever
but they still rushed her to Chong Hua Hospital.

They found out that Lara Jane's platelet count was only 80.

By 4 a.m. the next day, Lara Jane was placed in the hospital's intensive care unit since her platelet count dropped to 22.

"She had complained of stomach pains by then," Carmela said.

A few minutes later, Carmela said her daughter fell into a coma and blood started coming out of her nose.

At 7:30 a.m., Lara Jane died.

"Her death was really unexpected because we didn't see any signs or symptoms days before her confinement. Everything happened so fast. It's such a pity because she was only five," Carmela said.

Carmela said Lara Jane, her youngest daughter, did very well in school.

Asked where her daughter got the virus, Carmela said maybe she got it in school.

With the death of Lara Jane, Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo Rupinta said they have now been conducting weekly spraying in residences and in schools to prevent more deaths due to dengue.

DOH wages 'all-out war' vs dengue

MANILA, Philippines - Officials of the Department of Health (DOH), led by Health Secretary Enrique Ona, have begun going around the metro to make sure that health centers are well-equipped to deal with the rising number of dengue fever cases.

As of August 28 this year, dengue cases in the country have ballooned to 69,594, about 99% higher than the 34,997 recorded in the same period in 2009.

There were 501 deaths recorded across the country, a huge leap from last year's 369.

The DOH earlier devised a strategy to educate the public on home treatment of mild dengue cases in an effort to decongest hospitals.

Ona said, however, that patients should be brought to the emergency room if they exhibit dengue warning signs such as abdominal pain or persistent vomiting, red spots or patches on the skin, signs of bleeding, black stools, drowsiness or decreased consciousness, difficulty in breathing, and pale or cold clammy skin.

16 new dengue cases in city

CEBU City officials appealed to pharmacy owners not to take advantage of the dengue situation by jacking up prices of dextrose and other medicines for dengue

Mayor Michael Rama said he will give instructions to check drug stores on Monday to verify reports that some pharmacies have been increasing the prices of the medicines and dextrose without any basis.

Rep. Rachel "Cutie" del Mar also said she prefers to discuss the matter with the drugstore owners rather than pass another bill about the concern, which she said would take months or even years to be acted on.

"They cannot take advantage of the situation, that is in violation of the law, it's unconscionable and it could be an economic sabotage later on," Rama said.

Pharmacies, especially those near hospitals, have reportedly hiked prices of intravenous fluids and medicines given to dengue patients, causing additional burden to the families that have to bear with the unexpected hospitalization due to the dengue virus.

Enough stocks

At CCMC, hospital chief Dr. Myrna Go said they will not be affected by any price increase because they have sufficient stocks of dextrose and other fluids.

Aside from their present inventory, which is enough for the next three to four months, the City has already bid out additional supplies.

The City Health Department has recorded 12 deaths due to dengue so far this year. From Jan. 1 to Sept. 8, a total of 1,424 cases were reported in Cebu City alone.

Meanwhile, cleanup drives were conducted in different areas.

With four barangays in the dengue epidemic threshold level and another one declared a hotspot by the Department of Health (DOH), Lapu-Lapu City launched "Manglimpyo Ta" with Mutya ng Pilipinas second runner-up Sharon Grace Angel as guest yesterday
The show of force was seen in Barangay Mactan, where 19 of the city's 220 dengue victims with two fatalities are from.

"The best antidote against dengue is a clean environment," Angel told reporters.

City Councilor Harry Radaza said the city-wide campaign aims to stop the spread of dengue.

"As the spread of dengue threatens the city, there is no room for complacency," he said.

Majority of the 27 barangays in the city conducted last Saturday their own cleanup drives.

In Pusok, Barangay Captain Jimmy Ybañez formed a 15-man team to identify dengue-prone areas and locate stagnant waters.

Those caught indiscriminately dumping household waste were also issued citation tickets.

In Barangay Lawaan I, Talisay City, officials, health workers and tanods conducted yesterday a cleanup drive with reports that four more children were afflicted with dengue.

Members of the women and youth groups also helped in the anti-dengue operations, led by Lawaan 1 Barangay Captain Jonathan "Joy" Tumulak, in a residential area of the University of the Philippines lot.

The rising trend of dengue cases prompted the City Government to allocate some P1 million for dengue prevention and financial aid to patients.

Meanwhile, over 100 personnel from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), civilian volunteers and students did another kind of saturation drive Tuesday afternoon.

They did not go after criminals but dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

"Mora to'g saturation drive sa mga lamok (It was like having a saturation drive against mosquitoes)," said Senior Insp. Pedro Quevedo of CCPO operations branch.

"Magda nya ta'g prisohan sa mga lamok (Next time, we will bring a jail cell for mosquitoes)," joked Senior Insp. Bonifacio Garciano, chief of Theft and Robbery Section.

Quevedo and Garciano were among the police officials who carried brooms and dustpans to clean an area near a school in Barangay Camputhaw.

CCPO Director Ramon Melvin Buenafe said they conducted the cleanup drive in Camputhaw because their headquarters is part of the barangay.

Buenafe said the cleanup drive showed that the police are role models in promoting a healthy environment.

Ovi traps

Meanwhile, a village in the City of Naga that was identified by the DOH 7 as a dengue hotspot conducts regular search and destroy activities to contain the spread of the disease.

Brenda Cinco, a midwife assigned in Barangay Tinaan, said they utilize ovi traps inside and outside houses to attract mosquitoes.

These traps are made from tin cans painted black and small pieces of lawanit.

"The cans are black to attract the mosquitoes. They lay eggs on the lawanit and we collect these and bring them to the Med Tech assigned at the municipal government to identify the kind of mosquito in the area," she told Sun.Star Cebu.

"Once we learn that Aedes mosquitoes are identified, we would be expecting dengue cases within the vicinity where we set up the ovi traps," she added.

The health center recorded a total of 16 cases since January, but was identified as a hotspot when eight dengue cases were reported in August alone.

At the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), dengue patients continue to be admitted. As of Sept. 8, there are 65 dengue patients at the tertiary hospital.

VSMMC spokesman Nonoy Mongaya said there are eight adult admissions, with a total of 10 patients, 15 pedia admissions with a total 65 patients in Ward 10 or the Communicable Disease section.

Prayer vs. dengue out soon

While a formula for the prayer against dengue has not been released by the Archdiocese of Cebu, Episcopal vicar Msgr. Esteban Binghay encouraged all parishes and chaplaincies to include in their intentions during every Mass.

DENR tells LGUs to clear rivers and coastlines of illegal structures

An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that the chief executives of various local government units (LGUs) shall be the one responsible to clear the rivers and coastlines of illegal structures.

DTI to go after sugar retailers selling above P52 per kilo

Retailers selling sugar above the P52 suggested retail price will be charged as profiteers unless they can justify their acquisition cost warrants a higher selling price of the commodity.

20 vendors in Taboan market face eviction

At least 20 stall vendors at the Taboan Public Market are scheduled to be forcibly evicted by the market authorities on Monday because of their violation of the policy against living and sleeping in their stalls at night.

Deactivation decreases number of voters for barangay, SK elections

The Commission on Elections noted a decrease in the number of registered voters for the coming synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections compared to the last May 10 national elections because of the deactivation of voters who have failed to vote twice.

Comelec asks CH to help defray casuals' salary

The Commission on Elections in Cebu City is asking the city government's help to defray the salary of 20 casual employees who stand to lose their jobs because the poll body did not have the budget.

Comelec short on funds, needs P500T for salaries

THE Cebu City Comelec has run short on funds intended for the salary of its casual workers and will ask City Hall for financial help, election officer Marchel Sarno said yesterday.

ABC to hold last assembly in Camotes Island

THE Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in Cebu City will hold its last general assembly tomorrow in Camotes island.

ABC president Eugenio "Jingjing" Faelnar said this is the first time their general assembly will be held in the island, particularly in the town of San Franscisco.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Faelnar said aside from their general assembly, they will also have their last educational tour in the town prior to the holding of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Oct. 25.

The Municipality of San Francisco was a recipient of Expanded-Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures and My Cebu Grand Champion award of the Province of Cebu for its vegetable farming, coastal and forestland rehabilitation and solid waste management.

Faelnar said they are concerned about solid waste management and they would want to learn how the town did it.

"Magpalahi lang gud ta kay last naman pud namo ron. Unya, tan-awon sab namo ang solid waste disposal ug composting nila kay awarded man pud nang San Francisco bahin ana, so, magpakisusi ta (We just want something different since it's our last assembly. We also want to learn from them)," Faelnar said.

The ABC president said they don't have any serious matter to be taken up in the assembly aside from their financial statements.

But he expects some City officials, including Mayor Michael Rama, Reps. Rachel del Mar and Tomas Osmeña to go with them in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Faelnar, who has been barangay captain of Guadalupe for four terms, is still interested in running again.

The ABC president admitted, though, he will be having a hard time winning this elections after he was dragged into a controversy recently.

Osmeña accused Faelnar of conniving with two other barangay captains in the south district to allow E.M. Arante Construction win the bidding for 16 of the 34
infrastructure projects in the south.

Faelnar denied the allegation and welcomed any investigation to clear his name.

The questioned projects were funded by the P182-million aid from the City which Osmeña, the city's former mayor, distributed directly to the barangays.

Osmeña sought help from the Department of Public Works and Highways in Manila to evaluate and look into the alleged substandard and overpriced infrastructure projects in the barangays.

Local officials' leagues to get P2 million cash aid from Capitol

Each of the three leagues of local government officials will receive P2 million financial assistance from the provincial government of Cebu which could be used for various infrastructure projects.

Partylist for gays opposes separate restrooms for third sex

Ang Ladlad, a partylist for gays, slams the proposed ordinance of Provincial Board Member Arleigh Jay Sitoy requiring business establishments to designate separate rest-rooms for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs).

'Friendly fire' suspected in hostage deaths: de Lima

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine investigators said for the first time Thursday that police may have shot some of the tourists in a bungled operation that left eight Hong Kong residents dead on a bus in Manila.

President Benigno Aquino III said he expects to get the investigators' final report into the hostage incident on September 15, and pledged to fire officials found to have failed in their duties or file criminal charges against them.

"Our government is now focused on taking the necessary steps to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again," he said in a live interview on national television.

"Let me just say that this incident will not define this administration."

Armed with an assault rifle and a pistol, sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza took a busload of tourists hostage on August 23 in a desperate bid to clear himself of extortion charges and get his old job back.

Eight of the tourists were killed and seven others were injured in the central Manila standoff.

Police initially insisted the bullets that killed the tourists were all fired from Mendoza's guns. Other bullets were fired into the bus by police snipers and an assault unit but they did not lead to fatalities, they had said.

But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday: "There is a big possibility that there (was) friendly fire."

De Lima, head of an official inquiry, also said the forensic reports on some of the slain victims did not match the account of the driver of the tourist bus, who had told investigators the gunman shot the tourists at close range.

"What is crucial, occupying our minds, is if the shots were made at close range, (these) are not consistent with forensic findings," she added.

The entry points of the wounds did not exhibit burn marks caused by the muzzle of a gun that was fired close by, she added.

Asked whether at least some of the victims could have been killed by "friendly fire," de Lima said: "We are not focusing (on that), but we should never miss that. Otherwise our report will be less than thorough."

The panel has asked the Hong Kong police to help with the ballistics aspect of the investigation, she added.

"Where did the shots come from, the hostage-taker, the assault team, or other teams? We doubt they all came from snipers and assault teams," said de Lima.

Ballistics experts say some of the bullets that hit the bus were fired from a distance further than the location of the snipers, raising the possibility that other units deployed in the area could have fired into the bus, she said.

Aquino has taken responsibility for the fiasco that has chilled ties with Hong Kong and damaged the Philippine tourism industry.

He vowed Thursday to form an elite force, based on Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) to deal with similar hostage incidents in the future.

"We will copy to a degree the formation of that national unit," which would be made up of between 200 and 400 soldiers and police capable of responding to any threat in any part of the country, he said.

Aquino said de Lima's report will serve as the basis for dealing with police and government officials who handled the Hong Kong tourist bus hostage crisis. This could include possible criminal cases, he added.

The president said he has asked the former Manila police chief Rodolfo Magtibay, who went on leave amid criticism of his role as ground commander during the hostage crisis, to file for an early retirement.

PNoy faces media on hostage crisis

Napikon nang husto si Pangulong Noynoy Aquino sa naging kalakaran ng hostage crisis noong August 23. Ito ang tahasang inamin ng Pangulo sa kanyang pagharap sa amin sa isang "live" interview mula sa Malacañang nitong Huwebes. Laking hinayang din niya na hindi siya naging aktibo para tiyakin ang pagdating ng Special Action Force na dapat rumesponde sa Quirino Grandstand.

Aquino reveals receiving insulting letter from HK

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday said the Philippine government is very conscious of the need to repair relations with Hong Kong, which were marred by the August 23 hostage fiasco which saw 8 Hong Kong tourists killed.

Aquino: hostage crisis has not derailed growth prospects

MANILA, Philippines - The botched attempt to rescue the Rizal Park hostages has not derailed the government's efforts to put the economy back on track, President Benigno Aquino III said on Thursday.

NCRPO chief says he offered to quit 2 days after bus siege

Embattled Metro Manila police commander Director Leocadio Santiago on Friday revealed that he offered to leave his post two days after the hostage carnage in Manila, where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.

Ground commander in hostage crisis wants to retire—Aquino

President Benigno Aquino III said on Thursday that Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay, former Manila Police District chief and the ground commander, during the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis, has expressed his intention to retire from the police service.

Verzosa takes responsibility for PNP lapses in hostage-taking

Kung kailan siya paparetiro na, sunud-sunod ang mga kontrobersyang bumalot sa pulisya sa panunungkulan ni Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Jesus Verzosa. Sa aming exclusive interview, inamin niyang maaring maging itim na marka muli sa kaniyang panunungkulan kung mapatutunayang may anomalya sa pagbili ng substandard equipment sa PNP. Tanggap din niya ang pananagutan sa pumalpak na pagtugon ng pulisya sa hostage crisis. Sinabi ni Versoza na magbabakasyon siya ng 1 buwan matapos magretiro sa Setyembre 15. Pero nagpahiwatig siya na maaari siyang mahirang sa ibang posisyon sa gobyerno.

Elite police force shows off caliber

The "what ifs" and the "what could haves" on how authorities responded to the hostage taking of Hong Kong tourists last August 23 were highlighted Thursday, as the elite police unit expected to respond to that situation showed off their caliber.

President Benigno Aquino III himself said he wants to know why the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police was not utilized during the hostage drama, where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.

Aquino himself witnessed the adeptness of the SAF men as they presented three possible options in dealing with a hostage-taking situation involving a bus—similar to the August 23 incident where a bus-load of tourists were seized by disgruntled former policeman Rolando Mendoza.

The SAF men were complete in their uniform and equipment: sub-machine guns, bulletproof vests, helmets, and gas masks. A tactical commander was also giving orders to his personnel, always repeating the words: "This is the commander. I am in control of the situation."

In the same scenario involving a bus-load of passengers being held hostage, the SAF unit presented three possible options in their assault.

The first option involves the use of charges to break the bus windows and entering the bus. The second option involves using explosives to blast through the bus door for the assault team to gain access inside.

The third option involved the use of a V150 that rammed into the bus, providing a diversionary tactic to the hostage taker so the assault team could enter through the bus window.

An explosive and ordnance division team was also readily on standby, as well as K-9 units.

National Capital Region Police Office Director Leocadio Santiago, also a former SAF commander, said all of the equipment shown at the demonstration exercise were readily available during the time of the hostage incident, including the charges used to break the bus windows.

During the hostage incident, Special Weapons and Tactics personnel were caught on camera having difficulty breaking open the bus windows.

Asked why the charges were not used to break the glass on the actual hostage incident, Santiago declined to comment due to the ongoing probe.

Aquino was pleased with what he saw, saying, "This is what I was expecting."

"You can see how fit they were and how organized they were," he told reporters at the SAF headquarters in Taguig City.

But he said he wanted to know why the SAF personnel were not used to rescue the hostages.

Aquino said he was given three reasons why SAF men were not used, but declined to elaborate pending the results of the IIRC.

China welcomes Aquino vow to prevent cover-up in hostage-taking probe

President Benigno Aquino has assured the Chinese government that there would be no "unprincipled protection and cover-up" in the ongoing investigation of the bloody August 23 hostage-taking at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, the Beijing's ambassador to the Philippines, said on Thursday.

3 hostage victims laid to rest in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, China – Three people who were killed during the August 23 hostage crisis in Manila were laid to rest in Hong Kong on Thursday.

Senate summons media execs on hostage crisis coverage

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Top officials of major broadcast news organizations have been summoned to next Tuesday's Senate's inquiry into the media coverage of the August 23 hostage crisis.

Lawyer completes 5-member Truth Commission

MANILA, Philippines - True to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's word that other relevant issues have not been sidelined by the probe on the hostage crisis, a lawyer has been chosen to complete the 5-member Truth Commission.

Menardo I. Guevarra has agreed to assist the Aquino-created panel that will investigate the anomalies during the 9-year term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Guevarra, an active faculty member from the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law, is also the senior partner of the De Borja, Medialdea, Bello, Guevarra law office.

The firm was created after some partners left the Ponce Enrile, Cayetano, Reyes and Manalastas Law Offices.

As the firm's head of the litigation department, Guevarra has handled thousands of cases involving contract disputes, family and property relations, intra-corporate controversies, tax appeals, criminal actions, etc.

He also provided legal presentation for several regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Prior to his law practice, he worked as a staff economist at the International Division of the National Economic and Development Authority until 1983.

He also worked with the then Central Bank's Department of Economic Research.

As the newest member of the Truth Commission, he will be joining another Ateneo Law professor, Carlos Medina, Jr.

Retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. has earlier agreed to head the panel. They will be joined by former SC Justice Romeo Callejo, Jr. and retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Flerida Ruth Romero. 

Malacañang has not announced when the Truth Commission will commence its operations.

An executive order creating the commission is still the subject of a case before the Supreme Court.

Signature drive to impeach Ombudsman blocked

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. on Thursday said he has blocked attempts by congressmen to gather the 90 signatures needed to send the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez directly to the Senate for trial.
The Speaker, meanwhile, defended Justice Committee Chairman Niel Tupas Jr. from questions of impropriety. The minority has urged Tupas to inhjbit in the case since he and his father are facing cases filed by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan.

Ombudsman suspends 'Euro generals'

MANILA, Philippines -  Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on Thursday ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa to suspend for 6 months 6 active police officials for their alleged anomalous travel to the Russian Federation in 2008.

In a 16-page order, Gutierrez placed under preventive suspension without pay the following police officials:

Special disbursing Officer Samuel Rodriguez; 
Finance Service Director Orlando Pestaño; 
Budget Division Director Tomas Rentoy III; 
Superintendent Elmer Pelobello; 
Directorate for Human Resources and Doctrine Development Director German Doria; and 
Directorate for Operations Director Silverio Alarcio, Jr.

The police officials have been charged administratively along with now retired police officials -- former PNP chief Avelino Razon Jr., Romeo Ricardo, Emmanuel Carta, Ismael Rafanan, Jaime Caringal and Eliseo dela Paz -- with grave misconduct, dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The Ombudsman explained that the other respondents were not included in the suspension order because they are already retired from the service.

The case stemmed from the officials' alleged anomalous travel on October 7 to 11, 2008 as delegates to the 77th Interpol General Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.

The alleged anomalous travel was discovered after Dela Paz and his wife were held at the Moscow International airport for carrying 105,000 euros (P6.9 million) in undeclared cash, which was above the allowable limit, as the two were about to take a flight back to the Philippines.

The Ombudsman said Pelobello prepared the computation of the travel allowances of the delegates without consideration on the limits provided in the required daily subsistence allowance (DSA), rules on austerity measures (AO No. 13) and 1-year travel ban for retiring PNP officials.

Rodriguez, Rentoy and Pestano allegedly disbursed PNP Confidential and Intelligence Funds, which they said was the source of the seized currency from Dela Paz.

A team of investigators led by Assistant Ombudsman Joselito Fangon, however, said the money came from private funds and recommended the filing of graft charges against the 12 police officials.

Don't abolish losing GOCC's with 'missionary' services—senator

Government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) that are losing money but performing "missionary" services should be exempted from any abolition plan by the new administration, a senator said on Thursday.
Senator Ralph Recto cited at least four government corporations – the National Food Authority, National Electrification Administration, Local Water Utilities and Administration, and the Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost).

LWUA employees file plunder complaint vs Pichay

MANILA, Philippines - An employees' group of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) on Thursday filed a plunder complaint against their chairman, Prospero Pichay, for allegedly using the agency's money for his personal interest.

30,000 sitios across RP still without electricity

The 30,000 sitios all over the country groping in the dark cannot expect light soon after Malacañang thumbed down the proposed P2 billion electrification project of the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

'Subpoena GMA to clarify Saliao testimony'

MANILA, Philippines - The "smoking gun" testimony of a witness before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Wednesday further strengthened calls to subpoena President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to clarify her relationship with the Ampatuan family.

Defense chief denies favoritism in AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin denied on Thursday that he is giving choice assignments and promotions to some favored military officials.

PAF to get more planes next year

The military will have a robust air fleet next year, but in the meantime, the Philippine Air Force has to make do with what is available to perform its job, an Air Force official said Wednesday.

1,125 Lumad evacuees in Surigao return home

BUTUAN CITY- Some 1,125 Lumad evacuees from six villages in Marhatag, Surigao del Sur have returned home after fleeing their homes two weeks ago because of fighting between the military and the rebels.

PRC announces 338 new chemists

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Thursday announced that 338 out of 603 passed the Chemist Licensure Examination given by the Board of Chemistry in Manila, September 2010. 

The successful examinees who garnered the ten (10) highest places are the following:

 Nathaniel Tison Carolina
University of the Philippines-Los Baños
Harold Henrison Chang Chiu
University of the Philippines-Manila
Jan Paulo Tañafranca Zaragoza
University of the Philippines-Manila
Sharine Noelle Orito Bendulo
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Martin Ian Paguio Malgapo
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Jennifer Victoriano Obligacion
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Zakariya Tocalo Muripaga
Mindanao State University-Marawi City
Kevin Anthony Samson Sison
University of the Philippines-Manila
Arianne Christy Cardenas Bernabe
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Fatima Joy Consul Cruz
University of the Philippines-Manila
Franklin Villacarlos Amandy
University of Santo Tomas
Haydee Agustin Dalafu
Ateneo De Manila University-Q.C.
Kathleen Beverly Alog Pe
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Kim Christopher Chua Aganda
University of Santo Tomas
Miguel Carlos Inocentes Gonzalez
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Cherize Genido Maliksi
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Karl Patrik Gerard Keith Go Narvacan
University of the Philippines-Manila
John Hero Alfonso Salvador
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Norberto Cala-Ong Cabatea
University of the Philippines-Visayas-Iloilo City
Elvis Teng Chua
Ateneo De Manila University-Q.C.
Julius Andrew Porte Nuñez
University of the Philippines-Manila

'Grace period' given to erring taxpayers

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – Businesses and individuals that owe income taxes to the national government have been given until October 29 to settle their dues.

$1: P44.120

$1: P44.120 (P44.25)

Euro 1: P56.4787

Speaker eyes early passage of 2011 budget

MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte on Thursday said he is eyeing a November passage of the 2011 General Appropriations Bill at the Lower House.

Importer complains of continuing corruption in Customs

Sa kabila ng pangako ng Pangulo na bawasan ang katiwalian, nagsumbong sa Bandila ang 1 importer dahil sa Bureau of Customs daw, lalo pa umanong lumala ang kotongan ng ilang tiwaling tauhan. Pero buwelta ng Customs, mga smuggler ang sangkot sa lagayan sa ahensya.

BIR files two tax cases totaling P862.3M

THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) yesterday filed two cases at the Department of Justice under its Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program.

PAL flight attendants file notice of strike

MANILA, Philippines - The Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) will file a notice of strike with the Department of Labor and Employment Thursday.

Palace cut more than OFWs' legal aid fund

Malacanang cut more than the legal assistance fund of distressed overseas Filipino workers, it also slashed by almost half this year's foreign affairs' P200-million budget for overall assistance to OFWs down to P109.3 million next year, it was learned Thursday.

16 OFWs held in Singapore due to unconfirmed e-tickets

Some 16 Middle East-bound Filipino workers were briefly held at an airport in Singapore last week after authorities found they were traveling with unconfirmed electronic tickets (e-tickets).
Department of Foreign Affairs said the workers were prevented from boarding their connecting flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Riyadh at Singapore's Changi Airport due to unconfirmed e-tickets. 

Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Minda Calaguian-Cruz is thus urging the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to investigate this "new deployment scheme" by no less than accredited recruitment agencies.

Another US lawmaker supports full equity for Filipino vets

by By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino World War II veterans and their supporters have more reason to celebrate.  

Last July, United States Congresswoman Jackie Speier pledged to introduce legislation that would give them monthly pensions.

On Tuesday, Congressman Mike Honda committed to co-sponsor the full equity bill.

"We are glad there are members of Congress that recognize our rights and our fight for recognition," said veteran Apolonio Ladia.

For full equity to pass, the Justice for Filipino Veterans (JFAV) said they need to get the support of lawmakers seeking re-election this year, in areas where there is a large number of Filipino voters.

JFAV said that to get the Filipino votes, politicians also have to support full equity.

"Out of convenience, they will have to take our side," said JFAV coordinator Ago Pedalizo.

The veterans and their supporters said the more legislators support full equity, the bigger the chance that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would commit to co-sponsor the equity bill.

"People who did not commit to support full equity in the past will see the growing support for it and they might change their minds," said Pedalizo.

Veteran Restituto Ibanez said: "I hope Pelosi does not forget about us because we sacrificed a lot to fight for America during the war."

Besides increasing congressional support for full equity, JFAV is also filing a lawsuit against the Veterans Affairs on October 8, which pushes for monthly pensions for the veterans and their widows.

"Widows should also get monthly pension because our husbands suffered just like the rest," said widow, Ramana Battung.

"Out of the 66 nationalities that fought for America during World War II, the Filipinos were the only ones left out. This is an outright racial discrimination," maintained Pedalizo.

To add the growing list of full equity supporters, JFAV said Filipino-Americans should personally convince their own representatives in Congress to give justice where it is due.

3 unexploded bombs found in Bangkok area

by Agence France-Presse
BANGKOK – Three unexploded bombs were found in Bangkok and surrounding suburbs in a matter of hours, one of them in front of a school and one in a shopping mall, police said Thursday.

Malaysian Muslims detained over early Eid celebration

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Religious officials here said Thursday they had detained and fined nine members of an Islamic sect for celebrating the Eid'l-Fitr holiday two days early.

World condemns planned Koran burning

KABUL—World leaders lined up Thursday to condemn a US church's plan to burn the Koran, warning it would invite an extremist backlash, as thousands of Muslims took to the streets of Afghanistan in protest.

Pacquiao starts training for Margarito bout

MANILA, Philippines -- "Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao started on Thursday preparations for his November 13 bout against Mexico's Antonio Margarito.

Pacquiao team not worried with Margarito's height

Pinagsasabay ngayon ni Manny Pacquiao ang pagiging kongresista at Pinoy champion boxer. Nitong Miyerkules ng gabi, isang fundraiser para sa ospital sa Sarangani ang inilunsad ni Manny at itong Huwebes, sumabak siya sa ensayo para sa laban kay Margarito.

Pacquiao to apply Cotto training regimen vs Margarito

Against the biggest opponent he'll ever face in his career, Manny Pacquiao is applying the same kind of training regimen he did in beating Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto.

Pacquiao dedicates Margarito bout to John Arum

MANILA, Philippines – Seven-division world champion Manny Pacquiao said he will not only dedicate his upcoming bout with Antonio Margarito to his fellow Filipinos but will also fight in memory of John Arum, the son of veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum.

Pinoy jins cart 7 golds from Korea

Humakot ng medalya ang Philippine Taekwondo Team sa Korea International Open Tournament na ginanap sa Gumi, South Korea.

Django, Bata lose to Indons in World Cup of Pool

MANILA, Philippines – Billiard partners Efren "Bata" Reyes and Francisco "Django" Bustamante failed to advance into the next round of the 2010 World Cup of Pool after bowing to Team Indonesia, 8-6, on Thursday.

Llamados, Yap agree to 3-year, P12.6-M contract

Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap has agreed verbally to stay with the B-Meg Derby Ace Lllamados for the next three years. But the team has to wait for his recovery before he could sign the contract. That's because the prized-cager underwent operation on his nose polyp and will have to rest for the next 10 days.

Kris praises P.Noy for 'honesty, courage'

MANILA, Philippines – Television host-actress and presidential sister Kris Aquino lauded her brother for being honest and courageous as a panel of TV news anchors grilled the President in a televised no-holds-barred interview about the August 23 hostage crisis.

Mayor confirms use of short siren bursts by Lani Mercado's convoy

Mayor Joseph Peñas has confirmed that police escorting Cavite Representative Lani Mercado Revilla used sirens in accompanying her out of the city on Wednesday, but he stressed that they used short siren bursts and the long-high pitched siren.

Sharon Cuneta is 'Biggest Loser's' host

by by Reyma Buan-Deveza,
MANILA, Philippines - Megastar Sharon Cuneta will host the local version of hit American reality series "The Biggest Loser."

Aga Muhlach: Atasha wants to venture into showbiz

by by Julie Bonifacio,
MANILA, Philippines - Very vocal si Aga Muhlach sa pagtutol na pasukin din ng kambal na anak nila ni Charlene Gonzales na sina Andres at Atasha ang show business. Bagaman kinakikitaan niya ang dalawang anak ng pagkahilig sa showbiz especially ang kanyang anak na babae na si Atasha.

PBB's Jason, Paul Jake: No fight during Star Magic Ball

MANILA, Philippines - Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) former housemate Jason Francisco denied a rumor that he got into a fight with Paul Jake Castillo, also an ex-PBB housemate, during the Star Magic Ball in Makati last Sunday.

Eggs: Delicious, cheap, nutritious

MANILA, Philippines - A nutritionist from the Health Department's Food and Nutrition Institute notes that eggs are one of the very few things that most kids -- if not all - find delicious. On top of these, she says eggs are nutritious and easy on the pocket.

Philippine medics protest airline's refusal to carry kidney

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine medics had to throw away a donated kidney when a local airline refused to fly it, transplant doctors said Thursday.

Cebu Pacific Air said it was protecting passengers from possible infection or contamination when it refused to allow the team who harvested the organ to carry the kidney in the cabin on the flight last month.

Benjamin Balmores, president of the Philippine Society of Nephrology (PSN), said the kidney could no longer be used after doctors instead tried to drive it nearly 400 kilometres (250 miles) to its destination.

"According to NKTI (the government-run National Kidney and Transplant Institute), this is the first time that the team was not allowed to hand-carry the human organ," Balmores told AFP.

Cebu Pacific said it offered to carry the kidney on priority cargo, but the doctors declined because the organ was too fragile.

Candice Iyog, a spokeswoman for the airline said: "The way (the kidney) was packed was not in accordance with prevailing internationally accepted standards."

Balmores, whose group represents the country's kidney doctors, urged airlines to commit to a set of guidelines on transporting harvested human organs.

"It seems there is no standard policy nor a consistent implementation of such policy as seen in the past experience of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute retrieval team," he said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona confirmed the incident, and said the government needed to educate airlines about the importance of organ transplants.

Balmores called on the government to provide more funds for the state's donor programme.

"(It) would not be too ambitious to have a dedicated helicopter to transport organs for transplantation," Balmores said.

Health department data show 9,000 Filipinos die from renal failure every year.

Balmores said 11,000 people are on dialysis nationwide, 3,000 of whom would be fit enough and could afford a kidney transplant.

The PSN said it performed 511 kidney transplants last year.

The Philippines has been encouraging more transplants from deceased donors to discourage the underground practice of poor people selling their kidneys.

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