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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 20, 2010 Major News Stories

AFP, PNP start security preparations for barangay, SK polls

Government security forces have started preparations for next month's synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will both reactivate its respective Task Force Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections (HOPE) for the October 25 political exercise.

In a statement released Sunday, newly installed PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo said he has already instructed the entire 135,000-strong police force to take on election duties as deputies of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

He said the PNP would also implement 45-day security operations nationwide for the elections. 

Bacalzo tasked Police Director Benjamin Belarmino, PNP deputy chief for operations, as commander of Task Force HOPE 2010-Bravo, while the military has yet to pick its task force's commander.

"There is no definite date yet as to when the task force will be reactivated, as the AFP just met with Comelec officials last Friday," said AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta on Sunday.

Bacalzo said the police task force's primary responsibility will be to oversee and supervise all election security operations by lower units. 

Mabanta said among the duties of the military's Task Force HOPE are conducting security operations against armed groups threatening the conduct of polls, and serving as escorts for the transportation of election paraphernalia.

Unlike the May 10 automated elections, the synchronized barangay and SK elections will be done manually.

In line with their security preparations, the PNP and AFP will put up Joint Security Coordinating Centers nationwide to ensure coordination in operations between the two forces against armed groups and other violators of related election laws. 

There are over 40,000 barangays (villages) throughout the country. 

Mabanta said they are considering the regions of western Mindanao, Davao, Masbate, Abra and Samar as among the possible hot spots for the barangay election, as these were previously declared election hot spots during the May 10 polls. 

He, however, said they are not expecting much violence in the coming elections. 

The campaign period for the barangay election starts on October 14 and ends on October 23. 

The Comelec has already ordered the PNP and AFP to enforce a nationwide gun ban from September 25 to November 10, or 30 days before and 15 days after the synchronized barangay and SK elections.

City lawyers: Hiring barangay captain as city consultant not a violation

The city legal office says there is no violation of the prohibition on double compensation in the hiring of Labangon Barangay Captain Felix Abella as City Hall consultant.

In an opinion rendered by Atty. Carlo Vincent Gimena, Abella's consultancy services in the field of land and real property acquisition and management under the of-fice of the mayor does not fall under double compensation.

DepEd orders no homework during weekends

by By Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – Students are used to being given lots of homework on Fridays.

But with the new Department of Education (DepEd) memorandum, students will now have more free time to enjoy their weekends.

Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro ordered all public elementary school teachers to refrain from giving their students weekend assignments.

"Hindi lang naman sa classroom dapat matuto ang mga bata," explained Luistro.

The education secretary believes that children should spend more quality time with their families and play with their friends.

Jonah Granada, a mother of 2 elementary school students, welcomed the DepEd's memorandum.

She said she is happy because she will also have more time to rest.

"Lunes hanggang Huwebes tutok naman kami kaya dapat weekend, pahinga," she said.

Teachers however think otherwise.

"Kaming mga guro, trained kami, hindi namin sasadyaing pahirapan ang mga estuyante. Kailangan yung homework para hindi malimutan ang lesson," said TDC spokesperson Emmalyn Policarpio. (We're trained. It's not our task to make life difficult for students. They need the homework so they won't forget the lessons.)

According to the group, students should instead be taught discipline and time management so they can balance school work and family time.

In a separate interview with ANC, Alliance of Concerned Teachers secretary general France Castro understands the rationale behind the memorandum.

"We understand the intention [of the DepEd] that the families need more time for bonding. It's more worthwhile if the parent gets to teach the children," she said.

Parents will be able to supervise more the studies of their children, especially those in public schools, she said.

"With a bigger number of students in our classes, a teacher can't attend to all these students. We also need the help and support of parents," she added.

No more Florencio Urot Memorial National High School

The Florencio Urot Memorial National High School in Barangay Mabolo has been renamed to Mabolo National High School.

The City Council unanimously approved the ordinance seeking to change the name of the high school during its regular session last Friday.

The move to rename the school was first proposed by former councilor Nestor Archival, but was continued by Councilor Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao after Archival's term of office ended.

Archival pushed for the change of name after the Mabolo barangay council passed a resolution, saying the land on which the school stands is a reclaimed property that is part of the North Reclamation Area, contrary to the prevailing belief that the land was donated by the late former city councilor and acting mayor.

Mabolo barangay captain Reynaldo Ompoc said Urot was not a resident of Mabolo, but of the adjacent barangay of Carreta.

Ompoc said that since 1985 when the school was established in Mabolo, barangay constituents have not been able to foster any kind of attachment with the school whose name is unfamiliar to them.

In his proposed ordinance, Archival pointed out that the move to rename the school will not diminish the honor and memory of Urot, as he has already been honored by the city by naming a street at the North Reclamation Area after him.

Urot was councilor of Cebu City from 1941 up to 1971 and sat as acting mayor for 108 days after former mayor Eulogio Borres and his vice mayor at that time sought other elective positions, requiring them to resign before they could campaign.

As first councilor, Urot then became the acting mayor while then Councilor Jose Rodriguez also assumed as acting vice mayor.

Urot was born in Tabogon town in northern Cebu in 1904 and later became the town's police chief before he moved to Cebu City after earning his law degree.

No kids below 10 on motorbikes: Police get serious on helmets

This time it will be for real - the police will strictly implement Republic Act 10054 better known as the Helmet Law.

Drive against "colorum" vehicles intensified

The Land Transportation Office is strengthening its campaign against the so-called "colorum" vehicles.

Last week alone, the LTO has taken into custody 200 public utility vehicles, including nine buses owned by Vallacar Transit for various violations.

Vallacar Transit, the operator of Ceres bus lines, operates over a hundred bus units plying the northern and southern parts of Cebu.

The nine buses were seized for travelling out of line and for illegal transfer of plates, but were released eventually after the company paid a fine of at least P100,000.

Guadalupe fire victims to receive P2,500 each

Victims of the recent fire that left 90 families homeless in Barangay Guadalupe will receive P2,500 each in assistance from the barangay which will be charged against its calamity funds.

Barangay Captain Eugenio Faelnar said they are fast tracking the release of the assistance. He, however, said that they are yet to decide whether to give it in cash or in a form of building materials or other things they need while staying at the evacuation center.

The barangay placed the area under state of calamity immediately after the incident that razed 44 houses. Faelnar called for a special session to discuss the assistance they can extend to the victims.

This is the second time that the area was struck by fire.

Also during the incident, a member of the Verano Family, owner of a potion of the area, went to the barangay to ask assistance from the captain how they can evict these people occupying the lot without their permission.

Since the captain was in the fire scene during the time, the owner was not able to talk to Faelnar but the latter said they will send a formal communication requesting the owner to allow the victims to rebuild their houses while the city government is yet to look for a relocation site.

The Department of Social Welfare and Services of the city government has also started distributing meals to the victims for three days.

They will then distribute take home goods such as rice, canned goods, mosquito nets, pails, plate and utensils, among others. Victims will also receive building materials shortly.

Increase in lab fees at City Health defended

The Cebu City Council's committee on budget and finance sees nothing unjust, excessive nor confiscatory in the proposed ordinance to increase the laboratory and other fees for various services offered by the City Health Department.

The burial permit fee will be increased to P50 from P10, fee for exhumation of cadaver shall go up to P50 from P15, removal or burial of cadaver from P15 to P50, permit to cremate will be P200 from P50, entrance from other town and transfer to other town will be from P25 to P30.

Cemetery fee will be increased to P150 from P15. Health inspection fees for business establishments based on capital will now range from P50 to P200 from just P25 to P50.

The health certificate fees for handlers will be increased to P20 from P10.

Those who want to secure medical, dental and other hospital certificates will have to pay P50 instead of P10 while those who want to secure medical and physical ex-amination for employment must pay P50 instead of P30.

A new service of swab sample rapid analysis will cost P250.

Media urged to be stewards of truth

As the Cebu media celebrates Press Freedom Week, practitioners were told to be stewards of the truth.

New MCIAA board members to take oath today

Four newly-appointed board members of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority will take their oath of office today before the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication in Manila.

DOTC undersecretary Aristotle Batuhan confirmed that Pericles Dakay, Francis Monera, Melanie Ng and Roger Lim will take their oath of office as private representatives to the MCIAA board.

Dakay, an engineer, is currently the vice chairman of Mactan Cebu Bridge Management Board. Monera is a former president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and In-dustry. Ng, a businesswoman, is the president of Philippine Retailers Association-Cebu Chapter. While Lim is the president of Cebu Power Private Corporation and president and chief executive officer of East AsiaUtilities.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority is a creation of Republic Act 6958 otherwise known as its corporate charter. The MCIAA is a government-owned and controlled corporation and is an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communication. RA 6958 was approved on July 31, 1990 but the Authority started to operate on December 18, 1990.

The corporate powers of the Authority is exercised by and vested in a board of eleven members, which is composed of a chairman, a vice chairman and nine members.

The DOTC secretary and the MCIA general manager shall act as ex-officio chairman and vice chairman, respectively. The assistant secretary of the Air Transportation Office and the secretaries of the following executive departments or any undersecretary or assistant secretary designated by the respective secretaries shall be ex-officio members, to wit: the Department of Finance, the Department of Justice and the Department of Tourism.

In addition, four members recommended by the governor of the Province of Cebu shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines for a term of four years from the private sector.

The governor of the Province of Cebu or his duly authorized representative shall be the ninth member. 

House lawmakers protest 'hostage report taking'

Lawmakers at the House of Representatives protested Malacañang's decision to submit its investigation report on the Aug. 23 hostage fiasco to the Chinese government ahead of the Filipinos, accusing it of ``hostage report-taking.''

Joker: Malacañang is like a student govt running RP

An opposition senator on Sunday aired his tirades against President Benigno Aquino III's neophyte administration for running the country "like a student government."

Govt warned vs haling media to court over hostage tragedy

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, one of the biggest media organizations in the country, has warned the Aquino government against charging several media practitioners in court in connection with the August 23 hostage tragedy. In a statement, the group said the media has already acknowledged its shortcomings and therefore should not be used as a "scapegoat" for the government's lapses.

AFP: Combining military, police elite forces not a good idea

President Benigno Aquino III will be asked by the military to drop his plan to combine the various elite forces in the military and police into a joint commando unit, according to the military spokesman.

'We are recommending that there is really no need to integrate all of these elite forces because they have their own specialization," Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said over dzBB on Sunday.

He later clarified there was no formal recommendation given to the President so far. He said he was relaying the observations made based on initial discussions among the top brass.

Aquino to continue taking charge of government while in US

President Aquino will continue to be in charge of the government while in the United States starting on Monday for an official trip, his spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Sunday.

US court gives Erap, others 21 days on suit

CHICAGO - A US court has given former Philippine president Joseph "Erap" Estrada, incumbent Senator Panfilo Lacson, and five other accused 21 days to respond to the $120-million civil suit filed against them by the daughters of slain publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer.
The United States District Court for the Northern District California in San Francisco, through its Clerk of Court, issued summons against the accused to answer the charges. If they fail to respond, the court said, "judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. You also must file your answer or motion with the court."

Aside from Estrada and Lacson, also named as accused were former BW president and chief executive officer Dante Tan, former head and CEO of the Philippine Games and Amusement Corp. (PAGCOR) Reynaldo Butch Tenorio, former police Senior Supt. Michael Ray Aquino, former police Supt. Glenn Dumlao, and former Chief Inspector Vicente Arnado.

Last week, Carina Dacer, Sabrina Dacer-Reyes, Amparo Dacer-Henson and Emily Dacer-Hungerford filed their 19-page complaint asking for compensatory and punitive damages for the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture and extrajudicial killing of their father. They demanded at least $20 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit was based on the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. The said statutes allow US courts to hear cases of human rights abuses brought by foreign citizens against officials of a foreign government for conduct committed anywhere in the world.

The accused

Estrada had since denied ordering the abduction and murder of Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito, on Nov. 24, 2000. Reacting to news on the Dacer daughters' lawsuit, Estrada said he does not have the money to pay for the civil damages.

Lacson, for his part, went into hiding in January this year. At the time of the killings, Lacson headed the Philippine National Police and the now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Task Force, the unit implicated that allegedly carried out the murders.

Tan had been missing since the aftermath of the BW stock manipulation scandal in 1999. Tenorio headed PAGCOR when Dacer and Corbito were killed.

Aquino, Arnado, and Dumlao were Lacson's subordinates at the PAOCTF. Aquino's extradition proceedings are ongoing in the US, while Arnado remains missing. Dumlao returned to the country in July 2009 and is among the witnesses in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case pending at a Manila court.

Court dates

United States Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, who was assigned to preside over the case, set for Dec. 17, 2010 the "last day to meet and confer initial disclosures, early settlement, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and discovery plan."

Spero also set for Dec. 31, 2010 the last day to file "report, complete initial disclosures or objection, report and file Case Management Statement."

A case management conference will then be held in court on Jan. 7, 2011.

COA uncovers anomalies at Home Guaranty Corp

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Audit (COA) said it has uncovered several anomalies at the state-run Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC) that  led to billions of losses.

COA on Sunday, alleged that HGC has been suffering losses since 2002 due largely to mismanagement.

HGC is tasked to operate a credit guaranty program to  support the government's housing programs. It is authorized to provide risk guarantees and fiscal incentives for housing credits extended by financing institutions.

It said that one of the reasons for incurring its huge losses is that HGC sold several properties below market prices. And even as the agency's coffers were bleeding, the management approved an early separation package for its employees, including a 2-month pay for each year of service. This amounted to more than P224 million.

The COA report on HGC will be the subject of a hearing to be conducted next week by the House of Representatives committee on housing.

Former HGC President, Gonzalo Benjamin Bongolan has refused to comment, saying he had already stepped down as head of the agency since July 31.

Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chairman Jejomar Binay has asked HGC to respond to the COA report.

Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing said the COA report is just the "tip of the iceberg," and there has to be a deeper investigation into reports of irregularities committed by the former management of the HGC.

Bagatsing said Bongolan will be called to shed light on various issues highlighted by the COA report.

Both the lower house and the Senate are conducting probes of government owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions accused of giving excessive salaries and bonuses to its top-level executives and employees.

Pag-IBIG fund has no cash-out yet to Globe Asiatique's P6B housing project

The Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) has not released a centavo to the P6-billion Xevera Subic housing project of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. in Zambales because the firm met delays in preparing requirements, a report from the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay showed.

Palace assures Congress support of whistleblower bill

Amid threats of whistleblowers snubbing government inquiries into anomalies and corruption scandals, Malacañang assured Congress of its full support in ensuring the swift passage of a law protecting whistleblowers.

Senator eyes 'super agency' vs financial scams

A bill is likely to be filed in the Senate seeking to shield banks from financial scams by incorporating the powers of the central bank, the securities regulators, and the Insurance Commission in one entity.
Senator Sergio Osmeña III, the lawmaker who is eyeing to file the bill, said the "super agency" could be called the Monetary Authority of the Philippines or the Financial Authority of the Philippines.

DFA: Better conditions for exiled Pinoys in Saudi

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has committed to work closer with Saudi Arabian authorities in order to improve the conditions of Filipinos temporarily staying in deportation centers.

Troops seize NPA camp in Samar

MANILA, Philippines - Government troops were able to capture a New People's Army (NPA) camp following a fire fight at the boundaries of Northern and Western Samar on Saturday.

Missionary couple's kidnapper gunned down

MANILA, Philippines - A member of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf who was involved in the kidnapping of a missionary couple in May 2001 was killed in a gunfight with government troops in Lantawan, Basilan on Sunday morning.

Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino said a joint military and police force conducted "law enforcement operations" around 3:00 a.m. at the Lower Mangas village where Abdukarim Sali was found.

Sali, alias Benjamin Sali and Ben Raffy, has a standing warrant of arrest for his involvement in the kidnapping of 20 tourists from the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan, including Americal missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham.

Gracia was rescued in a military operation in Zamboanga del Norte a year after. Her husband was not lucky enough.

Sali supposedly resisted arrest, leading to a 10-minute clash with government troops.

The military was able to recover from him an M16 rifle, grenade launcher, ammunitions, and cell phones. 

RP Coast Guard to get P1.6B for 2 new choppers

Hoping to boost the country's capacity to respond to sea tragedies, the Aquino government has allotted P1.6 billion for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to acquire two new choppers equipped for search and rescue operations and other functions.

Fil-Am couple pleads guilty to Florida forced-labor charges

Some 39 Filipino workers allegedly duped into forced labor in country clubs and hotels in Southeast Florida are likely to get justice after a couple who supposedly recruited the victims pleaded guilty to the charges against them.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said Sophia Manuel, 41, and Alfonso Baldonado Jr., 45, made false promises to entice the victims to incur debts.

Manuel and Baldonado, owners of Quality Staffing Services Corp., a labor contracting service, "pleaded guilty to conspiring to hold 39 Filipino nationals in compelled service in country clubs and hotels in Southeast Florida," the US DOJ said in a release on its website.

"Manuel also pleaded guilty to making false statements in an application she filed with the US Department of Labor to obtain foreign labor certifications and visas under the federal H2B guest worker program," it added.

The DOJ cited court documents where Manuel and Baldonado conspired to "obtain a cheap, compliant, and readily available labor pool."

Court documents also showed the two defendants compelled the victims' labor and services through threats to have the workers arrested and deported, knowing the workers faced serious economic harm and possible incarceration for nonpayment of debts in the Philippines.

"After the victims arrived at the defendants' residence in Boca Raton, Fla., the defendants confiscated their passports; housed them in overcrowded, substandard conditions without adequate food or drinking water; put them to work at area country clubs and hotels for little or no pay; required them to remain in the defendants' service, unpaid when there was insufficient work; ordered them not to leave the premises without permission and an escort; and threatened to have the workers arrested and deported for complaining about these terms and conditions," the DOJ said.

"These defendants victimized vulnerable individuals for profit. Forced labor robs victims of their freedom and their dignity, and it will not be tolerated in this country," said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.

Wifredo Ferrer, US attorney for the Southern District of Florida, added that the Filipinos left their families and homeland in search of a better life.

Yet, he said the 39 Filipinos were subjected to a nightmare in the US. 

"Each day, people leave behind their families and homelands in search of freedom and a better life in the United States. The individuals in this case were no different. They came here seeking a better life, but found their dream of freedom and a better life transformed into a real-life nightmare of servitude and fear. With today's guilty pleas, we come one step closer to punishing the defendants for their crimes," he said.

The case was investigated by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the US Department of Labor, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Department of State - Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Florida Office of the Attorney General.

It is being prosecuted by trial attorney Susan French of the Civil Rights Division's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and Assistant US Attorney Shaniek Maynard, the Justice Department said.

Duped OFW in Jeddah forced to scavenge for food

An overseas Filipino worker in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ended up scavenging for food after running away from a job that, according to him, was not the one he applied for in the Philippines.
Jason Ortalla, 34 years old, said he applied for a trailer driver position but when he arrived in Jeddah, his employer asked him to collect trash instead. He said he relented as he wanted to be able to send money to his family in the Philippines. 

Ortalla, however, said he never received any salary two months after he started working, prompting him to scavenge for food such as fruits just to get by.

When he could no longer bear his condition, Ortalla escaped from his employer and sought refuge at the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, where he has been staying for two months now. It is still unclear when he will be repatriated. 

Officials of the Consulate who declined to be named said they have already endorsed Ortalla's case with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for proper action. 

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration meanwhile said Ortalla's case has been stalled following a two-week holiday in the Kingdom in light of the Ramadan. The agency added it has been unable to reach Ortalla's employer. 

Ortalla is now seeking President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's help to speed up his repatriation.

"Nananawagan ako sa mahal na Pangulong Noynoy Aquino na sana naman tulungan niyo kami na makauwi sa lalong madaling panahon (I am appealing to President Noynoy Aquino to help expedite my repatriation)," he said in a report on GMA News' "24 Oras" on Sunday.

He said he just wants to return to the Philippines to find a new a job and provide for his family. 

OWWA representatives are set to meet with Ortalla's employer next week, hoping to resolve the worker's problem.

OFW remittances in 2010 may reach over $18 billion

The money sent home by overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) may expand by 8 percent this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said over the weekend.

RP tourism ends Hong Kong push after hostage deaths

by By Mynardo Macaraig, Agence France Presse
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has announced it will stop marketing its tourist attractions to Hong Kong as the key market is lost after a hostage-taking fiasco left eight people from the southern Chinese territory dead.

DA scraps rice seed subsidy, shifts aid to 8 programs

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Sunday it is shifting its regular rice seed subsidy for farmers to support 8 other programs that will have a wider and long-term impact on the farm sector.

Sen. Angara scores Palace on Agri Dept's 2011 budget cut

A senator on Sunday criticized the Aquino administration for cutting the 2011 proposed budget of the Agriculture Department, saying it would lead to a "decline" in agricultural production.

Poultry stakeholders agree on prices of dressed chicken

The Agriculture Department, poultry raisers, and market vendors have agreed on a standard reference price of P100 per kilogram for "unbranded" dressed chicken and P110 for "branded" chicken.

Don't buy substandard Christmas lights - DTI

With 97 days to Christmas left and ticking, trade officials started cracking down on substandard holiday lights that may endanger life and property.

BSP urges exporters to go beyond weak peso to compete

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has urged Filipino exporters to adopt intelligent strategies to keep them competitive in the international market despite a strong peso, which recently hit a two-year high that elicited complaints from their sector.

Obama, ASEAN to call for peaceful end to sea spats

President Barack Obama and Southeast Asian leaders will call for the peaceful settlement of South China Sea territorial disputes and urge claimants not to resort to force, according to a draft communique.

Powerful typhoon lashes Taiwan

by Agence France-Presse
TAIPEI – Taiwan was lashed by winds of almost 200 kilometres an hour Sunday as the most powerful typhoon of the year smashed into the island, just a year after a devastating storm left hundreds dead.

Powerful typhoon heads for China after lashing Taiwan

Typhoon Fanapi churned towards mainland China on Sunday after pounding Taiwan with fierce winds and torrential rains, leaving dozens of people hurt, sparking landslides and gridlocking traffic.

World leaders aim to boost Millennium goals

by Agence France Presse
NEW YORK - World leaders start a summit on Monday aiming to inject a new sense of urgency into a global campaign to cut poverty and millions of preventable deaths.

Six held in Britain over pope visit alert freed: police

by Agence France-Presse
LONDON - British police freed six men without charge after they were arrested over an alleged plot to launch an attack during Pope Benedict XVI's state visit, Scotland Yard said on Sunday.

Twin Baghdad car bombs kill 23, wound dozens

BAGHDAD - Two car bombs exploded in Baghdad Sunday morning as commuters were starting their work week, killing at least 23 people and wounding dozens of others, Iraqi officials said.

Roach arrives with 2 big sparring partners for Pacquiao

Trainer Freddie Roach arrived at 3:45 a.m. Sunday, bringing with him with two big sparring partners for Manny Pacquiao, light middleweight Michael " Murder Man" Medina ( 24-2-2, 19 KO's) and undefeated welterweight Glen Tapia (7-0, 5 KO's).

Ricky Hatton denies drink or drugs problem

by Agence France-Presse
Former world boxing champion Ricky Hatton blames his downhall on depression, blackouts and the defeat that ended his career, but denies he has drug and drink problems.

PBA teams await Board's decision on loaning of players to Asiad

BANGKOK - Like the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the RP-Smart Gilas national developmental team, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) ball clubs, whose players are being eyed to reinforce the national squad, are also eagerly awaiting the decision of the league Board about the sensitive matter.

Ibaloi 'mambunong' dismayed over Robin Padilla's denial

MANILA, Philippines – An Ibaloi mambunong, or native priest, has expressed disappointment after Robin Padilla publicly denied his and Mariel Rodriguez's Igorot wedding in Baguio City.

Robin Padilla re-opens school for Muslim kids

MANILA, Philippines – The preparatory school founded by action star Robin Padilla has been re-opened after last week's decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to dismiss a case seeking to shut down the school.

CA drops claims by Belo, Santos in Flawless

The Court of Appeals has denied the consolidated petitions filed by Vicky Belo, and her former live-in partner, Jose Santos, in their dispute over the ownership of 24,998 shares of stock of Forever Flawless Face and Body Center Inc.

Filipina wins in Harvard school elections

A Filipina has won in the Harvard University's Kennedy School student government elections, it was learned recently.

Merliza Makinano, formerly of the Philippines' Department of Labor and Employment, was elected as one of the five class representatives for the mid-careers, a class consisting of ministers, diplomats, and chief executive officers in the private sector and non-government organizations.

The only Southeast Asian in the group, Makinano said she feels "truly humbled" by her election. 

Makinano is in Harvard for a year to take up her mid-career Master in Public Administration under the Edward S. Mason program. She is also a recipient of the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program.

Before this victory in school politics, she has been a member of Institute for Multi-Track Democracy (Washington, DC since 2003), a fellow of the Armed Forces and Society (Chicago, USA since 2008), and a member of the International Visitors Program (IVP) - Alumni Foundation Inc. (Philippines, since 2003).

She is currently the recipient of the Ayala Scholarship and the Minnie Osmena Fellowship. She was also a fellow of the Transatlantic Forum on Migration and Integration of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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