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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 16, 2010 Major News Stories



Dengue outbreak

AN official of the Cebu City Health Department (CCHD) said they might declare a dengue outbreak in the city as the number of cases is "abnormally high."

DOH wants faster release of dengue lab results

Umapela ang Department of Health sa mga pampublikong ospital na tiyaking isa hanggang dalawang oras lamang tatagal ang mga pasyente sa 'dengue express lane.' Ito'y para mabilis ding malunasan, sakali ngang dengue ang dumapo sa pasyente. 

Dengue cases shoot up in Metro

In a span of six days, the number of dengue fever cases shot up by around 1,000 cases in Metro Manila, clogging most public hospitals with new patients.

DOST develops mosquito trap in fight vs dengue

Prompted by persistent reports of dengue cases nationwide, the Department of Science and Technology has developed a mosquito trap that checks the spread of the virus and may soon become available next month.

The trap has successfully passed laboratory tests and will be subjected to field tests in 500 households in Quezon City and 500 households in Marikina City next week, Science Secretary Mario Montejo said at a press briefing in Malacañang Wednesday.

"If we get positive results which we expect, we can roll them out all over (the country)," Montejo said. "We have to be careful that what we're claiming is really validated, including implementation details."

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, has so far afflicted more than 50,000 people, killing 500 of them.

Montejo presented to reporters the mosquito trap, a small plastic black containerwith a black "organic" solution developed by epidemiologists and a piece of wood.

"Mosquitoes are attracted by the color, as well as the solution, which has fumes," he said.

The insects gather inside the container and lay their eggs, but the larvae end up being killed there, Montejo said. Laboratory tests showed the solution killing "100 percent" of the larvae, he added.

The secretary said he hoped the mosquito trap could be made available in a month.

The container and solution cost P30 or less, he said. People can just come up with their own plastic container and buy the solution, which, in turn, will cost only P5 a pack, he added.

Montejo said he expected the trap to last for two months as he noted that the life span of a mosquito was only one month. A female mosquito lays as many as 400 eggs four times in its life, and 80 percent of the eggs turn out to be female.

The science official said the device was not a new thing because as early as 12 years ago, it was used mainly to attract mosquitoes and monitor their number.

What is new is the development of the solution, and thus the trap is the first one to kill mosquito larva, according to Montejo.

A household may need between five and 10 mosquito traps, depending on where family members want to place them, he said.

Montejo also disclosed the DOST and the Department of Health would come out "in the near future" with diagnostic kits to help doctors determine if their patientshave contracted the disease.

In North Cotabato, dengue fever has killed 16 people from January to Sept. 14, health officials said. 

Dr. Hansel Amoguis, the provincial epidemiologist, described this year's dengue incidence as alarming, noting that a total of 3,809 cases had been reported or more than double the 2009 figure of 1,608. 

"Most of the fatalities were children and those who have weak immune system," Amoguis said. The deaths were recorded in Kidapawan City and the towns of Banisilan, Arakan, Libungan, Makilala, Pigcawayan and Tulunan. 

In Iligan City, residents were relying on juice extracted from "tawa-tawa" and papaya leaves to help patients survive, officials said.

The residents believe the concoction could increase blood platelet count although this has not been validated by medical studies, said Councilor Chonilo Ruiz, chair of Kidapawan's health committee.

Iligan has recorded nearly 1,000 cases, including nine deaths since January.

In Davao City, Army soldiers were deployed to remote villages to help patients suffering from dengue and other diseases. 

Lt. Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, said the latest medical mission was conducted by members of the 84th Infantry Battalion at Barangay Baracatan in Toril District on Sept. 13.

"With the cooperation of the city health office and the local officials, the military will assist in providing aid and medical care to residents in remote areas, who cannot easily avail of such services due to the distance and road conditions," Aguilar said.

In Negros Occidental, the acting head of the provincial health office said there was no need to declare a state of calamity even if the number of dengue cases recorded this year was the highest in five years.

Ernell Tumimbang said the cases were reported only in specific areas and were still manageable, and the number had been dropping in the last three weeks.

Deaths, however, have reached 28, Tumimbang said.

Negros Occidental had 1,466 dengue fever cases in 2005, 572 in 2006, 3,745 in 2007, 1,192 in 2008 and 1,430 in 2009. This year, Tumimbang said the highest number was 608. With reports from Williamor Magbanua and Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao; and Carla P. Gomez, Inquirer Visayas

PB member denies forcing Talisay to accept chemicals

Cebu provincial board member Sergio Restauro yesterday denied allegations that the province forced the Talisay C

Restauro, head of Task Force Dengue in the province, said the allegation was false since Talisay City health officer Dr. Lino Alansado requested for chemicals.

"I denied that, they even asked the province, particularly the Integrated Provincial Health Office, for chemicals for their barangays," he told The Freeman.

The World Health Organization said the Deluge, the chemical used in misting, is the world's safest pesticide.

Restauro said the province provides chemicals to barangays which have mist blower machines.

"We give the chemicals to barangays which have mist blower machines but not all barangays naay machines so magpaabot mi og request gikan sa mga barangay kung magpa-misting sila, mao to among adtoon," he said.

He also confirmed that they gave Talisay City eight liters of chemicals, four liters during the first misting and another four liters after it sent a request through the IPHO.

He said there should be strict implementation of DOH programs and policies, including the synchronization of LGU programs to those of DOH.

Capitol spokesperson Rory Jon Sepulveda said that representation of PB Restauro proves that the chemical used is effective since it will not only drive mosquitoes away but also kill the larvae.

Aside of being the head of Task Force Dengue in the province, Restauro as former city councilor of Talisay City is also the head of a task force against dengue in Talisay City.

Home pesticides harmful to unborn babies, says expert

A United States-based Filipino doctor who specializes in caring for premature babies or neonates yesterday warned against the use of pesticides and insecticides at home to combat mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.

Dr. Enrique Ostrea, a visiting neonatologist and professor of pediatrics at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, said popular insecticides such as Baygon and Katol (mosquito coils) contain toxic compounds such as propoxur and pyrethroids which are harmful to humans, especially to the unborn and children.

Instead of relying on pesticides, Ostrea recommended proactive measures to reduce the problems of mosquitos, flies and roaches at home such as the clearing of insect breeding grounds, general cleanliness and the use of screens.

"There should be judicious use of pesticides, particularly home pesticides. And spraying of pesticides should not be done by pregnant women and children," he said, citing local studies that showed that high exposure to pesticides could be detected in the hair, stool and blood of newborns.

The study, entitled "Fetal Exposure to Environmental Toxicants and Infant Outcome," was was initiated by Ostrea and associates in 2003 among 936 pregnant women at the Bulacan Provincial Hospital in Malolos who had reported the common use of pesticides in their homes and farms.

Ostrea, a visiting professor of the University of the Philippines-College of Medicine, said the study showed that "the higher the exposure to propoxur, which is a component of Baygon, the more significant the effects on the motor development of the child."

Ostrea spoke at a weekly health forum organized by the Philippine College of Physicians in Quezon City.

According to Ostrea, Baygon Mosquito Roach Killer, for example, contains the toxic ingredients cyfluthrin (73 percent) and propoxur, while mosquito coil Katol has bioallethrin (26 percent).

"Pesticides are toxic to the brain and the nervous system, and the fetal brain is highly vulnerable to these," Ostrea said.

He said that the development quotient was significantly lower for children who were exposed to pesticides and insecticides while inside the womb. Among the possible adverse effects of pesticides on children are autism, hearing loss, and abnormality in chromosomes that could lead to leukemia (chromosonal biomarkers).

Philippines developing low-cost computer for students

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government is working on a low-cost tablet computer that could bring an end to the days of children dragging heavy schoolbooks around, a Cabinet secretary said Wednesday.

The computer will cost around P3,000 pesos (US$70 US), according to science and technology secretary Mario Montejo.

"This is education in the future: no more heavy textbooks for our hapless school kids. Basically, we really should replace the books," he told reporters.

He also said the move would make Filipinos more competitive in science and technology.

However Montejo said the planned tablet would lack many features common to other such devices in order to make it cheaper.

"Every additional feature will add to the cost," he warned.

He did not say when the proposed tablet would be launched.

No bidding of voter list materials -- Comelec

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) will no longer conduct a bidding for the printing of voter lists given the tight schedule in the run-up to next month's barangay elections, an official said yesterday.

SC urged to reverse anew ruling on 16 cityhood laws

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Local officials are asking Supreme Court magistrates to change their minds yet again on the constitutionality of Cityhood Laws or Republic Acts (RAs) that converted 16 municipalities into cities.

Joavan's ex-bodyguard seeks police protection

A woman who claims to be Joavan Fernandez' former bodyguard came to Pardo Police Station yesterday to seek for protection after she and her family have been har-assed by people identified with the controversial son of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez.

Gillermina Barrido, 34, arrived at the police station trembling with fear past 4:00 p.m. yesterday to report that if anything happens to her and her family it is Joavan that should be made responsible.

SPO4 Gomersendo Mandawe, investigating officer, however, said Barrido did not file a complaint against Joavan nor have her statements entered into the blotter.

According to Mandawe, Barrido only came to inform them that should anything happen to her and her family the police should make Joavan answerable. Barrido told the police that she had been hiding from Joavan since she quit as the latter's bodyguard two weeks ago.

Barrido claimed she had been maltreated, frequently scolded and even pointed a gun at by Joavan forcing her to quit. Joavan and three unidentified companions went to the house of Barrido's brother, Guillermo, Monday looking for her allegedly to collect the money she owed from him.

Since she and her brother were not around, Joavan allegedly threatened a houseboy with a gun. According to the police, two days after that incident the Barridos trans-ferred to the house of their parents because they noticed people identified with Joavan kept on passing by their house in Barangay Cogon.

In fact, Barrido did not want to leave the police station last night because of fear for her safety. As of 8:00 p.m. she remains at the police station. 

Meanwhile, the personnel officer of Talisay City now owns Benedict Gabasa as job order employee of the City Hall assigned to assist in the feeding program of Joavan.

Emely Cabrera, human resource management office chief, clarified her earlier statement wherein she disowned Gabasa. She explained that she missed his name when went to check on the list of contractual employees during her interview with the media Tuesday.

Gabasa was allegedly hired from July 16 to December 31 under the quota of Mayor Socrates Fernandez. He was assigned to join his best friend Joavan's feeding pro-gram.

Gabasa was arrested Monday afternoon in Barangay Bulacao after a brief chase with the Mobile Patrol Group and the Pardo Police for driving without license and pos-session of drug paraphernalia.

He was driving the Talisay City-owned Toyota Revo when intercepted by the members of the Pardo Police because of reports that the vehicle is boarded with an armed group led by Joavan from Mango Square Mall.

Joavan, however, was no longer inside the vehicle when the police intercepted it. He was not also included in the charges that were filed against Gabasa.

Chief Inspector George Ylanan of the Investigation and Detective Management Bureau of the Cebu City Police Office said they did not have enough evidence to link Joavan to the drug paraphernalia found inside the vehicle.

The security guard of the Mango Square Mall whom Joavan allegedly threatened did not have the interest to press charges. Gabasa was charged with illegal possession of drug paraphernalia, driving without license and possession of Nubain ampules which is illegal in Cebu City.

The Department of Interior and Local government regional office already issued a memorandum directing the DILG officer of Talisay City to look into the unauthor-ized use of government vehicle.

DILG regional director Pedro Noval earlier said Mayor Socrates Fernandez could be held liable for unauthorized use of vehicle.

City treasurer wants SHS-J book of accounts

Cebu City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva is demanding from the Sacred Heart School-Jesuits to open its book of accounts for examination after the school claims they are ex-empted from paying real property taxes under the Constitution.

Economic managers' meeting: Bizmen urged to pay their taxes correctly

The economic team of President Benigno Aquino III led by Finance secretary Cesar Purisima yesterday urged the business sector to pay their taxes correctly as the new administration made assurance that taxes paid will be used wisely and efficiently.

DOE gives group 3 more mos. to look for oil in Visayan Basin

The Energy Department gave the consortium of service contract 69 three more months to explore for oil in the Visayan Basin.

Cebu asks for P4B

BUSINESS leaders in Cebu asked President Benigno Aquino III to fund P4.404 billion in infrastructure projects and raised six other concerns with him during his first official visit yesterday.

Aquino eyes more PPP projects vs Cebu's economic woes

CEBU CITY - President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on Wednesday disclosed he is eyeing more public-private partnership projects for the duration of his administration, only this time to alleviate Cebu province's economic woes.

Mactan airport upgrade among Aquino infrastructure priorities

President Aquino on Wednesday assured the business sector in the Visayas that infrastructure projects would be among his administration's top priority under the private-public partnership program.

Aquino upbeat on job creation from US trip

CEBU CITY - President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on Wednesday said the government might generate "tens of thousands" of new jobs within the next two years because of increased investments he will secure from his trip to the United States next week.

P. Noy won't return building to BOC

The Bureau of Customs may now kiss goodbye to their hope of recovering the Malacañang sa Sugbo because President Aquino is not keen to granting their request.

The President said he is looking at the possibility of using the MSS as a museum to boost the cultural and historical heritage of Cebu. He also considers making it as his quarter every time he visits Cebu.

Customs District Collector Ronnie Silvestre proposed to recover the MSS, which used to house the Bureau of Customs in Cebu. Silvestre's proposal was backed up by Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez believing that the property rightfully belongs to the agency.

The century old building was taken from the BOC in 2004 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she decided to establish the MSS in gratefulness for the Cebuanos overwhelming support for her during the 2004 presidential elections.

A face lifting was done to make the building looks like what it is today. Arroyo used to stay overnight at the MSS instead of staying in expensive hotels during her vis-its to Cebu.

It also houses the office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.

Aquino, however, said he has no plans of appointing presidential assistants, assistant secretaries and consultants, who only have huge staff but no performance except having their names printed on a calling card.

The building sits within a nine-hectare property including the Plaza Independencia which the BOC claims to own. After the building was taken from the BOC the latter rented a building from the Cebu Port Authority at the Cebu International Port for P50,000 a month.

Tomas vows to send allies to jail for misuse of funds

REP. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) vowed to send his allied barangay captains to jail if they are proven to have pocketed funds for government projects.

City owes PLDT P2 million, but CH points out "questionable" lines

The Philippine Long Distance Company has asked the city government to settle its outstanding telephone bill equivalent to at least three months of consumption.

Unauthorized incentives, honorarium at BFAR 7

The Commission on Audit has ordered the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 7 to require its employees to refund the incentives and honorarium they received in 2009, which were found to be disbursed illegally.

Hostage probe body seeks 2 more days to submit report

The investigating panel tasked to look into the August 23 hostage fiasco has asked President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III for a two-day extension to wrap up its committee report, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Wednesday.

'Running priest,' runners offer prayers for hostage fatalities

Activist priest Robert Reyes led on Wednesday a group of runners in offering prayers for eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage-taker who died during the botched August 23 hostage crisis.

Joker confident media can agree on common guidelines

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Joker Arroyo is confident broadcast media companies can create "common guidelines" that they will follow during crisis situations.

A day after grilling ABS-CBN, GMA-7, TV5 and RMN radio station executives at a Senate committee hearing, Arroyo said on Wednesday that he sees no need to create a new law that will control media.

"The new bill will only take place if media is unable to craft good, effective guidelines in crisis situations," he stressed.

He believes that the problem lies with the perceived inability of media company executives to meet and discuss common standards.

Arroyo, meanwhile, praised ABS-CBN for what he called as its objective reportage of the Senate hearing on Tuesday even if one of its top officials, News and Current Affairs chief Maria Ressa, was among those quizzed during the affair.

The veteran senator has drawn flak for accusing journalists of placing the country in a "bad light" abroad due to its extensive coverage of the botched rescue of Hong Kong tourists in Manila on August 23.

Do not blame media

Journalists and watchdog groups lashed out at the Senate after watching the hearing.

University of the Philippines journalism professor Luis Teodoro of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said the government should not blame the media for the botched rescue of hostage victims.

"Sabi nila kung hindi daw pinakita ng media sa TV hindi nalaman ng mundo iyong kapalpakang nangyari… Eh, kung ganoon talaga ang nangyari nandoon lang naman ang media para i-report iyon," he said. "Hindi trabaho ng media na protektahan ang image ng bansa. Ang trabaho ng media mag-report."

"(They said that if the media did not air the incident on TV, the world will not see the fiasco that happened. However, the botched rescue happened and the media was only there to report it. It is not the media's job to protect the country's image. The media's job is to report.)"

He also warned that the August 23 incident could be used by government officials to control media.

"Nakakatakot dito e, baka mag-legislate sila ng mga batas na magko-kontrol sa media. Pag nangyari iyon ay hihina ang ating demokrasya," he said.

Former Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. echoed Teodoro's statements.

He said senators are just looking for a scapegoat.

"They are shooting the messenger. Kung may proper liaison naman iyan, I'm sure susunod ang media sa instructions nila (If police had a proper liaison, I'm sure the media will follow their instructions)," he added.

New PNP chief a jueteng coddler, says whistleblower

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - A day after being installed as Philippine National Police chief, Director General Raul Bacalzo is already being linked to illegal gambling by a former Senate witness who testified on the jueteng controversy 5 years ago.

In an interview on ANC's Headstart, former jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam claimed that Bacalzo was one of the police officials identified as a jueteng coddler during a Senate inquiry on the illegal numbers game in 2005.

Bacalzo has denied the charge and said he does not know Cam.

Palace urges Cruz anew to name 'jueteng' coddlers

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang renewed its call on Wednesday for retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz to identify high-ranking government officials involved in the illegal numbers game or "jueteng".

Puno, Verzosa receiving monthly juetang payola?

Ibinunyag ng  isang opisyal ng simbahan at isang mataaas na opisyal ng gobyerno na sina DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno at kareretirong PNP chief na si Jesus Versoza ang umanoy dalawang mataas na opisyal ng tumatanggap ng payola sa jueteng.

Puno snubbed Robredo letter about jueteng payola

Kinwestiyon na ni DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo sina dating PNP chief Jesus Verzosa at DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno sa isyu ng jueteng payola.

DILG to verify list of jueteng lords

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said on Wednesday he already has a long list of "jueteng lords" which still needs to be verified. 

High-ranking police officials get jueteng bribes too, says retired bishop

Policemen, including top-ranking officers, are on the take too. A staunch crusader against the illegal gambling racket "jueteng," retired Bishop Oscar Cruz said Wednesday the growing list of officials receiving jueteng bribes mostly belong to the Philippine National Police.

Philippine constitutional crisis redux?

by By Caroline J. Howard, ABS-CBN News Channel
House minority warns of constitutional crisis over Ombudsman impeachment MANILA, Philippines - The House justice committee is bent on pursuing impeachment deliberations despite a Supreme Court (SC) status quo ante order barring the conduct of impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

Ombudsman Gutierrez says she will not resign

Sa unang pagkakataon matapos ihain sa Kongreso at ipahinto ng Korte Suprema ang impeachment complaint laban sa kanya, nagsalita na si Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Muli niyang itinanggi ang mga akusasyon sa kanya at iginiit na hindi siya magbibitiw sa puwesto.

Ombudsman shows up at Senate for budget hearings

Ombudsman Merceditas "Merci" Gutierrez attended a Senate hearing on Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court ruled to stop the impeachment proceeding against her.

Lacson assured of 'fair' trial at Senate

Senate Minority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday assured fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson that he will be given fair treatment once the proceedings on the ethics complaint filed against him begin.

Miriam asks Congress to check use of road-users fund

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Wednesday asked Congress to intervene in the way the multibillion peso road-users fund is handled by bureaucrats, saying the move would prevent state officials from abusing public money.

GOCCs to get 40% of 2011 budget

Mapupunta sa mga korporasyon ng gobyerno ang halos 40% ng P1.6-trillion budget ng bansa sa darating na taon. Pero nababahala ang ilang mambabatas dahil exempted ang mga naturang ahensya sa budget review ng Kongreso kaya may pangambang maabuso ang pondo.

CA powerless on presidential appointees in acting capacity—Enrile

The powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) is powerless when it comes to officials appointed in an acting capacity by the President.

Aquino risking impeachment in appointing acting secretaries, Enrile says

President Benigno Aquino III is risking impeachment if he will continue to appoint Cabinet officials on acting capacity, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile warned on Wednesday.

Palace cures defective Romulo appointment

Malacañang has antedated the appointment papers of Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo to cure the original that the Commission on Appointments found defective.

Romulo, a holdover from the Arroyo administration, took his oath and had been functioning as foreign secretary in the first 40 days of the Aquino administration without an appointment, documents showed.

Romulo took his oath of office on July 1 in Malacañang together with the other Cabinet members. But while the appointment papers of the other secretaries were signed by President Aquino that same day, Romulo's wasn't. His original appointment papers were dated Aug. 10.

Malacañang sent the copy of Romulo's Aug. 10 appointment to the CA third week of August. It said, "Pursuant to the provision of existing laws, you are hereby appointed ad interim Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs."

But the CA secretariat informed Malacañang that Romulo's appointment was illegal because "ad interim" (Latin word for "in or for the meantime") appointments are done only while Congress is not in session. The 15th Congress convened only on July 26.

An Aug. 10 appointment would have created legal complications as it would open Romulo to charges of usurpation of authority and misrepresentation for his acts from July 1 to Aug. 9, said a foreign affairs official who is also a lawyer.

On Aug. 31, Malacanang submitted another appointment of Romulo to the CA. This time, it was dated July 1.

The foreign affairs official said, "July 1 should be correct. Issuing two appointments shows the Palace is sloppy doing something and withdrawing it after being found to be wrong."

Another lawyer said antedating appointments undermines Malacañang cases against Gloria Arroyo's midnight appointments, many of them antedated before March 10 to circumvent the election ban on presidential appointments.

Palace sources said Aquino was reluctant to sign and submit Romulo's appointment, which was an accommodation to his sisters and the Iglesia ni Cristo, as Aquino doesn't plan to keep him for long.

Romulo, however, is accompanying the President to the United States next week to attend 65th United Nations General Assembly, and to Hanoi for the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in October. It would create diplomatic and legal problems if the foreign secretary, the point man in foreign visits, had no official cover.

Romulo's lack of official appointment had prevented him from attending the 43rd meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Hanoi on July 20.

Romulo's appointment was opposed by the Union of Foreign Service Officers on grounds of incompetence. UNIFORS also questioned the legality of the extension of appointments, from June 30 to Sept. 30, of 21 political ambassadors whose terms were supposed to end when Arroyo finished hers.

Upon Romulo's recommendation, Aquino extended the service of noncareer ambassadors appointed by Arroyo "in a holdover capacity for a period of three months."

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa earlier said in a press statement, "Everybody stays until they are replaced or until the agreed period (Sept 30), whichever comes first." He justified the extension, saying it would adversely affect relations with countries political ambassadors were posted.

But in a letter to Aquino last July, UNIFORS said, "There is no basis for claiming that the failure to grant the three-month extension would create a vacuum of power in our missions abroad."

They cited Sections 26 and 293 of Department of Foreign Affairs Regulations authorizing the next ranking officer, as charge d'affaires, "to take over the affairs of our embassies and consular offices upon the expiration of the term of noncareer ambassadors."

UNIFORS also cited Article 19 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which states, "If the post of head of the mission is vacant, or if the head of the mission is unable to perform his functions, a chargé d'affaires ad interim shall act provisionally as head of the mission."

Preliminary conference on Roxas poll protest set on Sept. 30

The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), will hold on September 30 its first preliminary conference on the election protest filed by former Senator Manuel Roxas II against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Suspected NPA men attack banana plantation in North Cotabato

Some 100 members of the New People's Army (NPA) rebel group stormed the plantation of banana company A.M. Soriano (AMS) in Tulunan, North Cotabato early Wednesday, the police said.

Int'l rights lawyers discuss 'Morong 43' case with DOJ chief

Members of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers met with Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday to discuss the condition of the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal early this year on suspicion that they are communist rebels.

Study: Only 1% of extrajudicial slays solved in last 9 years

Only 1 percent of the extrajudicial killings during the nine years of the Arroyo administration and the first two months of the Aquino administration has been resolved in court, a recent study showed.

Peace adviser sees peace talks with MILF before November

Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles said on Wednesday that formal negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) could start earlier than November.

Gov Mangudadatu seeks probe on Ampatuan wealth

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said there should be an investigation on how the most influential family in the province have acquired much wealth.

Former Arroyo secretary denies P10M payoff

Former press secretary Jesus Dureza denied receiving the alleged P10 million payoff in exchange for allegedly helping Andal Ampatuan Sr. out of the rebellion case.

Zaldy Ampatuan planned to squeal on brother Andal Jr - witness

Suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan attempted to distance himself from the Maguindanao massacre case and let his brother, Andal Ampatuan Jr., take the fall.

Gulf Air baby's suspected mom now with NBI

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - A woman suspected to be the mother of Gulf Air baby George Francis Dimaano is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Zambales mayor accused of raping 12-year-old girl

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
SAN MARCELINO, Philippines – A 12-year-old girl has accused Mayor Jose Rodriguez of San Marcelino town in Zambales of rape.

Dead OFW with stab wounds, acid burns identified

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The Filipina household service worker who died of acid burns and stab wounds in Saudi Arabia has been identified, an online news provider in the Middle East kingdom reported.

According to the Arab News online, the victim was identified as Romilyn Eroy-Ibanez, 22, of North Cotabato.

The report said Labor Attache David Des Dicang of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in the Eastern Region Operations identified the victim.

RP seeks arrest, detention of OFW's killer in Saudi

The government is seeking the arrest and detention of the person or persons who tortured and killed a Filipino woman with acid burns and stab wounds in Saudi Arabia last week, INQUIRER.net learned Wednesday.

Zambo social workers visit children of death row couple

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
ZAMBOANGA City, Philippines – Social workers from the local government here visited the family and children of a Filipino couple sentenced in Malaysia to assess their situation.

SC upholds conviction of 5 men for ex-intelligence chief slay

The Supreme Court today affirmed the conviction of the killers of Colonel Rolando Abadilla, former Chief of the Metropolitan Command Intelligence and Security Group of the Philippine Constabulary, now the Philippine National Police ambushed in broad daylight while driving along Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City in 1996.

PRC: 5,880 new criminologists

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Wednesday that 5,880 out of 16,644 passed the Criminologist Licensure Examination.
The successful examinees who garnered the ten (10) highest places are the following:
RANK
NAME
SCHOOL
RATING (%)
1
CHRISTIAN TIGLAO PASCUAL
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS (BAGUIO COLL. FNDTN.)
89.85
2
JOHN ROMER LAGAN VENTURILLO
PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF CRIMINOLOGY
89.10
3
RAE MARC TABAMO ALIMURONG
ARAULLO UNIVERSITY
88.85
4
ARIEL MATEO LIOAD
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF ASIA & THE PACIFIC
88.50
JANICE JOY GANO PAIT
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS (BAGUIO COLL. FNDTN.)
88.50
5
MAY CLAIRE SALOMES DURAN
CAPITOL UNIVERSITY (CAGAYAN CAPITOL COLL.)
88.40
6
JASON RYAN MONSION PONLAROCHE
PAGADIAN COLLEGE OF CRIMINOLOGY & SCIENCES
88.20
7
RUBY ANN LEE ESPINELI
DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY-DASMARIÑAS
88.00
RYAN CASAO GABIA
PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF CRIMINOLOGY
88.00
8
KIRK FERNANDEZ MAIGNES
UNIVERSITY OF MINDANAO-TAGUM
87.95
9
DENIEBELL JABALLA BORBON
UNIVERSITY OF CEBU-BANILAD
87.90
10
JEFFREY ANANAYO BINWAG
SAINT MARY'S UNIVERSITY
87.85

Peso likely to reach P40-$1, says Barclays Capital

The peso-dollar exchange rate would average at P40:$1 in the next 12 months, Barclays Capital said Wednesday revising its earlier forecast of P44-$1.

$1: P44.260

$1: P44.260 (same)

Euro 1: P57.4696

Philippine leader gives Asia-Europe summit a pass

by Agence France Presse
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Wednesday he would skip an Asia-Europe summit in Brussels next month on the grounds that the forum's most important leaders would be absent.

Imelda Marcos stays as MDG committee chair

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has no plans to replace Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos as chairman of a special congressional committee on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Congress leaders noncommittal on RH bill passage

Despite their promises to push for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Congress leaders on Wednesday were noncommittal on the approval of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill.

Gov't to spend P8.2-B to prevent infant, maternal mortality in 2011

As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) draws near, the Aquino administration has earmarked P8.2 billion in the 2011 budget for curbing infant and maternal mortality, according to lawmakers.

Unemployment rate goes down to 6.9% or 2.7 million Filipinos

The unemployment rate eased to 6.9 percent in July from 8 percent in April, the National Statistics Office said.

Still no agreement in PAL labor row

After seven hours of mediation talks, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) management and the association of flight attendants and cabin crew came up empty after both sides refused to back down on their original demands.

Remittances up 7.1% in Jan-July

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Money sent home by overseas Filipinos grew 7.1% to $10.68 billion in the first 7 months of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Wednesday.

BIR misses tax goal in August

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P79.1 billion in August, P10.7 billion lower than the target for the month, the agency reported, based on preliminary figures.

Congress asks: Do tax perks, cash grants work?

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Leaders of Congress are now eyeing a review of the effectiveness of the conditional cash transfer program in alleviating poverty as well as tax perks to attract investors.

Myanmar election body confirms end of Suu Kyi party—media

YANGON—Myanmar's election body has confirmed the abolition of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party along with nine others ahead of November elections, state media reported Tuesday.

9 dead after US-Iraq raid to nab Qaeda leader

FALLUJAH—Violence killed 18 people in Iraq on Wednesday, including nine in a firefight that broke out during a joint US-Iraq raid in search of a top Al-Qaeda leader in the former rebel base of Fallujah.

Netanyahu, Abbas try again to fix settlement dispute

by by Joseph Nasr, Reuters
JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hold a second day of talks on Wednesday to try to overcome a row over Jewish settlement building that could sink their push for peace.

'Damage done' by threat of Koran burning—US commander

The commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday said a Florida pastor's threat to burn Korans had done damage to US interests in the country even though the church minister did not go ahead with his plan.

Eiffel Tower evacuated after bomb alert

Police evacuated some 2,000 people from the Eiffel Tower and the park surrounding the Paris landmark on Tuesday following a bomb alert that turned out to be a false alarm, the police said.

After 2 days of training, Pacquiao resumes congressional duties

On the third day, Manny Pacquiao rested. The Filipino boxing superstar opted to skip training Wednesday after sweating it out for two straight days at the Elorde gym in Quezon City.

200 Filipino athletes to join Asian Games in November

Around Filipino 200 athletes, aside from government officials and supporters, are expected to go to China for the 16th Asian Games (Asiad) in November.

Young RP players leave for street soccer tournament in Rio

An eight-member team of Filipino youths left for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. on Wednesday night, for the 2010 Homeless World Cup, a street soccer tournament participated in by teams made up of homeless people.

ABS-CBN says ready to oppose Willie's new contract

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN has filed its reply to Willie Revillame's attempt to rescind his contract with ABS-CBN.

Kris Aquino reconciles with James Yap?

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines- Television host-actress Kris Aquino has clarified speculations that she and her estranged husband, James Yap, have reconciled.

PEP: Lea Salonga is excited to sing at Ogie and Regine's wedding

Filipino international singer and Broadway actress Lea Salonga expressed excitement on the possibility that she will be singing at Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez's wedding.

Kokey returns in Primetime Bida with Kekay

"Out of this world" ang paglulunsad sa bagong seryeng Kokey @ Ako. Agaw-eksena ang bidang taga-ibang planetang si Kokey, kasama ang kapatid niyang si Kekay na kapwa pinagkaguluhan ng media.

British-Filipino band sings youth anthem of Papal visit in UK

by By Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
LONDON - Through pop music, the Pope hopes to touch the hearts of the younger generations in Britain and the Pontiff has British-Filipino electro-pop band Ooberfuse to help him do just that.

AFP launches high definition news video wire

Global news agency AFP will launch the world's first high definition news video service Wednesday, providing client websites and broadcasters with daily footage in the latest industry format.

Twitter revamps website as usage soars

SAN FRANCISCO, California, United States—Twitter began rolling out a new home page Tuesday that lets people more easily sift through the growing mountain of micro-messages and creates more opportunity for advertising.

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