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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 22, 2010 Major News Stories

Girl, 5, dies of dengue

The dengue virus has claimed another life in Talisay City, bringing the number of fatalities to six.

The latest victim was five-year-old Ruby Jones Cabanero of sitio Tiago, Barangay San Isidro, who died of dengue while being treated in Miller Hospital in Cebu City last Sunday.

Roselle Lariosa, the victim's aunt, said Ruby was suffering from high fever and stomach pain for four days before she was admitted to the hospital. She was brought to Miller but since her platelet count was still normal she was sent back home.

The child was already complaining of stomach pains then, but her doctor had prescribed her a deworming drug instead. But when that drug did not alleviate her discomfort, they brought her again to the same hospital on Saturday.

Doctors had then noticed that her platelet count had dropped. The child expired Sunday night, said Lariosa, who came to the office of councilor Danny Caballero for financial assistance for their bills at the hospital which has reached P12,000.

The city social welfare office has given the family P6,000.

Ruby's elder sister, Pearl Kathleen, aged eight, was also treated for dengue last August 31, but has recovered from the illness.

Lariosa asked the city government to send its mist-blowing team to where she thinks the mosquitoes breed in their area.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health should be more specific where to declare a dengue outbreak since some areas are not experiencing a lot of dengue cases said Integrated Provincial Health Office medical specialist Catherine Marie Buscato.

"As far as I know dili pwede ma-declare by region or city ang outbreak, it should be by barangay kay not all barangays in that certain city are totally affected by dengue," she said.

DOH is to declare a dengue outbreak in Central Visayas.

According to Buscato an area will be declared an outbreak if the expected numbers of cases are more than the usual which will be based on the record of the last five years.

"We need to get the total number of cases for this year and compute for the average number before we compared it to the recorded result of the last five years, if taas ang increase outbreak na," Buscato said.

As of September 21, 1,609 dengue cases were recorded with 32 fatalities while the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit-Central Visayas recorded 1,095 cases in one week alone.

Toledo again tops the list of having the most number of dengue cases with three fatalities followed by Minglanilla, 122; Talisay City, 106; Danao, 100; Balamban, 89; Argao, 83; Medellin and Liloan, 76; Bogo, 71; Asturias, 53; and Daanbantayan 51.

DENR chief orders waterways cleanup drive vs. dengue

Environment and National Resources Secretary Ramon Paje on Tuesday ordered a massive cleanup drive of waterways and other breeding places of mosquitoes all over the country in an effort to curb the rising number of dengue cases nationwide.
In an administrative order issued on Tuesday, Paje directed the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and all its regional officials to coordinate with local executives and lead the cleanup drive on rivers, creeks and other waterways.

The DENR chief specifically ordered local officials to remove silt and garbage in these waterways, which impede the free flow of water and make them breeding places for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

"The unprecedented increase in the number of dengue cases in the country is definitely alarming. The DENR fully supports the call of the government for a massive cleanup," he said in a statement posted on the DENR website on Tuesday.

Paje added that he issued the order in response to a directive from Malacañang calling on the DENR and two other government agencies to undertake measures to arrest the spread of dengue.

The Department of Health earlier said that the number of dengue cases in the country for the past eight months already reached 69,594 — almost double the figure for the same period last year. (See: DOH: Mild dengue cases can be managed at home)

Paje likewise said that the waterways cleanup drive also seeks to address other environmental problems usually associated with the rainy season.

"The beauty of the clean-up campaign is that we are not only addressing the dengue problem, but also other environmental problems that also need immediate attention like flashfloods and landslides that we may face under the La Niña scenario," he said.

He added that he has also directed local environment officials to regularly submit reports on the progress of cleanup drives in their areas so that the DENR central office in Quezon City can monitor their activities.

The department is also planning to engage the help of the country's 100 top corporations in its "adopt-an-estero" program, where each waterway in the country will be placed under the watch of a particular firm, according to Paje.

Perfumes attract dengue mosquitoes, too—entomologist

Perfumes, which some people use to attract the opposite sex, give off hundreds of scents that dengue- and malaria-transmitting mosquitoes just love, an entomologist said on Tuesday.

Doctor Estrella Cruz, an entomologist at the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine, said people who spray on too much perfume, body sprays and cologne, those who sweat profusely and those who wear dark clothes, shorts and sleeveless shirts were more attractive to mosquitoes.

"Mosquitoes have hundreds of stimuli. They can smell humans, more so if one sprays perfume. The same is true when you are sweating," Cruz said at a health forum on "Balancing theDepartment of Health's Actions on Dengue" sponsored by the Philippine College of Physicians in Quezon City.

The Department of Health has said that dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, has so far afflicted more than 50,000 people, killing 500 of them. Most of the affected are children and those with weak immune system.

Cruz said a male mosquito has a life span of 8-10 days while the female can live up to 30 days.

While an infected female mosquito can transfer dengue to humans, an infected human can also infect a non-infected mosquito once it bites him/her, she said.

There are two types of dengue mosquitoes in the Philippines – the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus. Both are domestic species as they live close to humans. A. aegypti dwells in houses, mostly in dark places like closets and under furniture, while A. albopictus lives outside, usually in containers or plants where water collects.

Although dengue mosquitoes are day-biting insects, Cruz said that they could also bite at night although at a very low density level. Peak biting is early morning, or between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and late afternoon or sunset between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Cruz said it was very important to know about the peak biting time of mosquitoes for effective control measures like fogging. She warned against fogging during rainy or hot days as thechemical being used to kill the mosquitoes would just disintegrate.

Doctor Hazel Galang, an RITM virologist, said there were four strains of dengue virus in the Philippines.

News about a possible fifth strain has surfaced in the country but Galang said this has not been proven by research as there have not been enough samples to date.

Since 2005, she said, the RITM has been trying to determine which specific strains of dengue virus are unique to the Philippines and which are from other countries.

A person with dengue should not always be subjected to blood transfusion, said Dr. Allan Racho, a pediatric hematologist at the St. Luke's Medical Center.

Racho said that dengue fever was graded 1-4, according to severity.

As such, blood transfusion should not be an immediate procedure in the treatment of dengue cases but only in grade 3 or 4 cases as determined by laboratory tests.

Racho said that a person with fever or with dengue under grade 1 to 2 cases could stay at home and take paracetamol and plenty of fluids. Or they can be administered with just dextrose inhealth centers or hospitals even if their platelet count is low.

"Dengue primarily is a transient disease, meaning it follows its own clinical force. The problem with dengue is not dengue itself but the complications that set in," Racho stressed.

He said the virus primarily affects the body's three main systems – the vascular system, the liver, and the bone marrow. In some instances, the virus can attack the heart, brain and other parts of the body which can lead to death.

To be sure, he said, a person with fever that did not disappear in three days must see a doctor and undergo testing.

Engineer Nuna Almanzar of the Industrial Development Institute-Department of Science and Technology developed for the institute a dark mosquito trap with a specially formulated solution that attracts female mosquitoes.

In the same forum, Almanzar said the trap was now being tested in 500 homes in dengue "hot spot" villages in Marikina and another 500 homes in Quezon City.

Almanzar said that a female mosquito could lay eggs three to four times in a cycle, and can breed 200 eggs or 800 eggs in one cycle. Of these eggs, about 80 percent develop into female mosquitoes.

FDA explains recall of 2 milk products

Dahil sa ginawang pagpapa-recall sa 2 brand ng gatas na pambata, may mga nagtatanong kung nakakasama sa kalusugan ang gatas na may mababang level ng milk fat. Ayon sa Food and Drug Administration, importante ang mataas na fat content sa gatas para sa lumalaking bata. Paliwanag naman ng manufacturer ng mga pina-recall na gatas, hindi masama sa kalusugan ang kanilang mga produkto. 

Mead Johnson says 2 milk products safe for consumption

MANILA,Philippines-A food and nutrition company on Tuesday has defended  itself from the recent recall ordered by the Philippines' Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Mead Johnson, the manufacturer of Sustagen Junior Milk Drink Powder Vanilla Flavor (for toddlers 1-3 year old) and Alactagrow Bibo Trio Milk Supplement told Umagang Kay Ganda that these products are safe for consumption.

"Ang lahat ng produkto ng Mead Johnson passed FDA healthy requirement and considered to be safe for consumption and of high quality," said Janryll Fernandez of Mead Johnson Philippines.
The two milk products were earlier recalled by FDA for fat level content that were non-compliant with FDA standards. The FDA said the standard required for fat is between three and six grams per 100 calories.

FDA reported that Sustagen Junior Milk Drink Powder Vanilla Flavor only contained only 1.5g fat per 100 calories.

The Alactagrow Bibo Trio Milk Supplement, on the other hand, has fat content of 1.34g per 100 calories.

Fernandez said the findings of the FDA was merely a technical compliance issue since a new Code of Standards was released.

"We have a certificate approved by FDA. We have passed all health requirements, it is just that the new code is implemented," Fernandez said.

According to Fernandez, Mead Johnson will be accepting "recalled" products, in cooperation with its distributors and retailers as mandated by FDA.
"Muli po, we would like to assure all Mead Johnson Nutrient products, kasama yung dalawang gatas ay pumasa sa pinakamahigpit na pagsusuri ng FDA, safe for consumption," said Fernandez.

Mead Johnson Nutrition is set to resolve issues with FDA as they will launch new formulation this week.

Zero NFA budget could lead to shutdown of warehouses

National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses in three regions and over 10 provinces are at risk of being closed down next year due to the decision of the government not to provide any budget allocation to the agency.

Canada needs 20,000 workers

Magandang balita para sa mga gustong magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. 20,000 empleyado ang kinakailangan sa Manitoba, Canada.

Ombuds urged to probe MCIAA 'midnight contract'

Self-styled anti-graft crusader Crisologo Saavedra is asking the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to investigate the so-called "midnight contract" allegedly entered into by the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).

Saavedra said the MCIAA board violated the government procurement reform law when it hired the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as consultant in the purchase of the Instrument Landing and Distance Measurement Equipment (ILS/DME) worth $2.2 million allegedly without competitive bidding.

He also alleged that the board committed technical malversation when it transferred the $2.2 million to ICAO "putting it into risk against the policy of COA and in violation of RA 9184."

Saavedra said the country's procurement law does not allow bidding of government project outside the Philippines such as what reportedly happened in the purchase of the equipment.

He alleged the MCIAA board abused its power and discretion and violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when it allowed ICAO to conduct the bidding and allowing it further to disburse MCIAA corporate funds.

"May we respectfully urge the Ombudsman Visayas to conduct immediate investigation and stop the illegal transaction, recall the P2.2 million USD from ICAO to safeguard the funds from risk and for the MCIAA to conduct another bidding and cancel the contract andblacklist ICAO from entering into contract with the MCIAA for the alleged transaction which is disadvantageous to the government," the complaint reads.

Named in the complaint are MCIAA board members Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Valeriano Avila, Renato Osmeña, Winglip Chang, and Gordon Joseph; MCIA General Manager Danilo Francia; Romeo Bersonda, ICAO and Philox (Philippines Inc.).

In an interview with The Freeman, Gordon said Saavedra is just showing his ignorance and insisted that they did not violated any law because a bidding was actually conducted internationally to hire a consultant for the project.

The Freeman tried, but failed to contact the other respondents. Garcia and Avila are currently outside the country. 

Mandaue City College conflict: Grievance confab set for tomorrow

The Office of the Ombudsman Public Assistance Bureau has ordered Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Mandaue City College president Paulus Mariae Cañete to appear for a grievance conference before the anti-graft office tomorrow.

Aquino starts meetings; ASEAN chairman leads list

PRESIDENT BENIGNO C. Aquino III will meet with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyan Minh Triet, on Tuesday in New York (today, Manila time), the first of several bilateral meeting with other leaders of Southeast Asia on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

"Vietnam is the chairman of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) so it's necessary to meet with Vietnam. Traditionally, you go to the chairman of ASEAN and we didn't do that this time around," Palace communications group secretary Ricky A. Carandang told reporters.

Mr. Aquino is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in addition to the ASEAN-United States Leaders' Meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA on Sept. 24.

The standing offer of the Philippines to host the region's human rights body called ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights may be discussed during the ASEAN-US meeting, Mr. Carandang added in a phone interview.

Other concerns, he said, are ASEAN-US cooperation; the ASEAN-US Eminent Person Group that will recommend a strategic partnership between ASEAN and US in the fields of political-security, economic and sociocultural cooperation and; the Code of Ethics in the South China Sea.

The Philippines is the country coordinator for the ASEAN-US dialogue relations for 2009-2012.

UN affairs

Mr. Aquino is also meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss Philippine commitment and achievements to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, express support for UN's peace-keeping mission, and initiatives to implement the outcomes of the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty last May 3-28, among others, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said.

There will be no bilateral meeting, however, between Mr. Aquino and US President Barack Obama, said Mr. Carandang, adding such dialogue may happen sometime next year.

"There were examinations on both sides whether there would be a bilateral [meeting with US] and I think a mutual decision was made that perhaps a bilateral could take place at some other time," said Mr. Carandang.

Mr. Aquino will have a chance to meet the US President during the ASEAN-US meeting.

"The meeting with President Obama is not a bilateral, it's a meeting with the ASEAN so it will be a group meeting," he added.

The Palace did not disclose other details of the week-long trip, the President's first official sortie abroad.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said it will announce developments on a daily basis as advised by Presidential Security Group head Col. Ramon U. Dizon.

No final word yet on Aquino-Obama meeting

NEW YORK - President Benigno Aquino has arrived here for the United Nations General Assembly, but it is not yet clear if he will be able to meet with US President Barrack Obama.

Aquino taps Roxas as adviser

MANILA, Philippines - A Malacañang spokesman confirmed Tuesday that former vice-presidential bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas is working as an adviser to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Aquino's room at Sofitel still fit for a head of state—envoy

NEW YORK, United States—President Benigno Aquino III may be staying at the less costly Sofitel instead of the elegant and pricey Waldorf Astoria but the head of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations said the country's leader would still have a room fit for a head of state.

PNoy goes for New York hotdogs, pizza

NEW YORK CITY, USA – President Benigno Aquino III said he is looking forward to having New York City's world-famous hotdogs sold by street vendors. 

More cops may face raps for hostage fiasco - De Lima

MANILA, Philippines - The list of those liable for the hostage crisis may still get longer once the legal team of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III finishes its review, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Tuesday.

Other people may have aided Mendoza - IIRC report

Rolando Mendoza had planned to hold hostage a busload of Chinese tourists possibly with the help of several individuals, according to the report by the inter-agency panel that investigated the August 23 Manila hostage tragedy.

IIRC: We cannot be judge and jury

MANILA, Philippines – A multi-sectoral panel tapped to investigate the August 23 hostage-taking crisis in Manila stressed on Tuesday that it does not have the mandate to prosecute those liable for the fiasco.

Ombudsman to conduct own probe on hostage crisis

MANILA, Philippines - Apparently critical of the report issued by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), the Office of the Ombudsman will conduct its own probe into the hostage crisis.

Mayor Lim: Reputation gone because of IIRC report

Galit si Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim sa pagdawit sa kanya ng IIRC sa mga opisyal ng gobyernong nagpabaya sa August 23 hostage crisis. Isa-isang sinagot ni Lim ang findings ng komite sa umano'y mga naging kapabayaan niya bilang pinuno ng local crisis management committee.

China needs time to study IIRC report

MANILA, Philippines – China will need time to carefully study the Philippine government's final report on the August 23 Manila hostage crisis, the Chinese embassy said on Tuesday.

Aquino gave uncut version of IIRC report to China

MANILA, Philippines - The Chinese government now knows everything about the hostage crisis report down to the last word.

Filipinos, on one hand, still have to wait a bit longer on who would be facing charges.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda reiterated the need to not disclose the whole report to the public.

He said President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III wants to study the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) "in fairness to the people named."

The hostage crisis caused diplomatic strains between the Philippines on 1 hand and China and Hong Kong on the other.

As a matter of courtesy, Aquino decided to give the Chinese government the first crack at the report.

Immediately after sending the IIRC findings to the Chinese embassy here, Aquino finally disclosed in a press conference those who may be liable in the hostage fiasco.

He said the IIRC found liable 13 individuals and 3 broadcast networks.

He did not release the report in its entirety, including the possible charges that will be filed against those liable. Several pages are also missing in the uploaded file in

Lacierda said Aquino does not want to fire people while his legal team is still studying the IIRC recommendations.

The president does not want to act "in haste," he said.

Chinese foreign ministry responds to IIRC report

The Chinese Foreign Ministry (CFM) responded on Tuesday to the formal report of the Philippines on the August 23 hostage crisis, "express[ing] its appreciation that Filipinos had handled the incident in a sincere and serious manner."

'Credible IIRC report key to lifting of HK travel ban'

by By Caroline J. Howard, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Tourism Secretary Alberto  Lim said a credible report by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), tasked to look into the Manila hostage crisis, is now critical to the lifting of Hong Kong's travel advisory on the Philippines.

Hostage crisis survivor lashes out at Manila inquiry

HONG KONG - A survivor of the Manila hostage crisis has lashed out the Philippine government's report on the bloodbath which left eight Hong Kong citizens dead and sparked criticism of an ill-fated rescue mission.

Li Yick-biu, 72, the first hostage released by gunman Rolando Mendoza, said in remarks published Tuesday that the inquiry was full of holes and failed to answer how teenage survivor Jason Leung sustained severe head injuries.

Leung, 18, remains in hospital, while his father and two sisters were killed in the August 23 hijacking of a tourist bus in a Manila tourist district.

"There are so many doubtful points in the report, especially how Jason was injured," Li told the South China Morning Post.

"Were his injuries caused by the handle of hostage-taker Mendoza's rifle or by the police sledgehammer?"

Hong Kong lawmaker Ronny Tong told the Post: "This report will not help clear the doubts and worries of Hong Kong people."

The official inquiry, released Monday, heaped criticism on the rescue operation and recommended prosecutions against 13 people including police officers, government officials, and media employees deemed culpable for the bloodbath.

Li rejected accusations that media were partly responsible for the incident's bloody conclusion.

"The media were just doing their job," he was quoted as saying.

"They should not be made a scapegoat."

Manila's inquiry called for the country's top three television networks to be punished, saying their reports allowed Mendoza to follow police movements on the bus television set.

A Philippine radio station on Tuesday rejected accusations that its live interviews with Mendoza had prevented a negotiator from contacting him.

A Hong Kong government spokesman on Monday called on authorities to do more to pin down whether Mendoza was responsible for all the casualties.

Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said last week that the investigators concluded all eight tourists had been shot by Mendoza, despite earlier suggestions police bullets could have hit some victims.

After a tense stand-off, police stormed the bus and killed the hijacker, a disgruntled ex-cop who was bent on getting his old job back after being sacked for alleged extortion.

Eight of the tourists were killed and seven other hostages were wounded after the day-long negotiations broke down. The bungled police rescue bid was aired live on global television.

Malacañang to construct situation room

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration will build a "situation room" where officials can monitor crisis situations such as hostage-takings, a Palace official said Tuesday.

Bishop names alleged jueteng players at Senate

Dawit sina DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno at dating PNP chief Jesus Versoza sa mga nakikinabang umano sa jueteng. Kasama ang dalawang opisyal sa ipinasa ni retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz sa Senado na listahan ng umano'y jueteng lords, kolektor at tumatanggap ng payola. Mariin namangg itinanggi Puno ang akusasyon, pero aminado siya na may mga jueteng lord na gusto siya umanong kausapin.

Puno still enjoys President's trust: spokesman

MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno still enjoys the trust of President Aquino despite being accused of receiving jueteng payola, a Palace spokesman said Tuesday.

Senators divided over legalization of jueteng

MANILA, Philippines - Senators hearing the latest revelations of illegal numbers rackets in the country were divided over the issue of legalizing jueteng.

Morato doubts STL can replace jueteng

Walang ipinagkaiba ang small-town lottery (STL) at jueteng. Ito ang iginigiit ni dating PCSO chairman Manoling Morato at mga dating kubrador ng jueteng. Gayunman, hindi raw naging epektibong pamalit ang STL sa jueteng.

Bongbong Marcos defends martial law

MANILA, Philippines – Martial law implemented during the rule of then-President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. benefited the country, his son said on Tuesday. 

SC sets oral arguments on Ombudsman's impeach plea

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear oral arguments on the petition of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to stop the impeachment proceedings against her at the House of Representatives.

Gunmen kill American, 1 more person in Iligan City

MANILA, Philippines - Two persons, including an American national, died after an ambush in Iligan City in Lanao del Norte province on Monday night.

Police identified the fatalities as American national Steve Kindy and Paulrafe Cameon, employees of Garner's Internet Cafe in the city.

Investigators said the victims were on board a passenger jeepney with a woman named Merlyn Obial when they were waylaid by 2 unidentified gunmen.

The trio was immediately brought to the nearest hospital, but Kindy and Cameon were declared dead-on-arrival.

No irregularities in bidding for attack choppers - DND

The Department of National Defense (DND) has denied allegations on possible irregularities in the bidding for seven attack helicopters for P3.2 billion from a Polish company.

DPWH eyes shorter bidding period for infra projects

THE Department of Public Works and Highways on Monday said it wants to shorten the bidding process and speed up the flow of infrastructure projects.
It is now looking at ways to reduce the requirements, the submissions of which cause undue delays in procurement procedures and construction of roads and bridges, said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.

If the plan is approved, the department would be able to award contracts within a shorter period. "Instead of more than five to six months procurement period, it can be shortened to at least 30 days if only these requirements are reduced," according to Singson.

Once the new process is in place, the DPWH will ask contractors the bid price, bid security, compliance certificate [that they have complied with all the registration requirements], and their latest financial capability.

"In terms of the requirements, some of them are already in the database that should no longer be reviewed. On the day of bidding, they only have to check the bid security and the price. These are the standard requirements compared before that they have to submit everything for every project they bid for," he said.

$1: P44.005

$1: P44.005 (P44.06)

Euro 1: P57.7036

RP may buy 1 million tons of rice in 2011

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines  - The country's  farm output is expected to be flat this year as it slowly recovers from typhoon damage in 2009, Romeo Recide, head of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, said on Tuesday. 

NFA to reach P120B debt ceiling by March

The National Food Authority (NFA) is expected to reach its debt ceiling of P120 billion by March next year, but agriculture officials and lawmakers are still asking appropriation for the agency to avert a rice crisis.     

NTC to reallocate more frequencies to broadband

MANILA, Philippines - The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is going to reallocate more frequency bandwidths for broadband access use as the number of subscribers is seen to increase exponentially over the years.

"The Commission is in the process of considering other frequency bands to be re-allocated to broadband access networks," said NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba. "This is where the future lies."

Cordoba said broadband subscribers will continue to register 3-digit growths in the next 2 to 3 years.

Last year, broadband subscribers reached 3.6 million, up 102.81% from 1.77 million in 2008.

The NTC has also reallocated over 800MHz (megahertz) of radio spectrum to broadband access networks.

"The NTC has taken bold steps in helping roll out broadband services all throughout the country. I think that we are all one in saying that this is where technological growth has its highest potential at present," said Cordoba.

To facilitate the development of mobile broadband networks, the Commission also reallocated frequencies for 3G (third generation) networks in 2005. Four public telecommunications entities were qualified and assigned frequency bands.

The NTC has yet to assign the 5th and last 3G frequency.

The NTC expects that the number of cellular subscribers will still register a double-digit increase by end of this year. In 2009, there were 77.04 million mobile phone subscribers, up 13.14% from 68.09 million in 2008.

Nido Petroleum finds major oil and gas find in Palawan

MANILA, Philippines -  Australian oil and gas exploration company Nido Petroleum Ltd. said it has discovered a potentially big oil and gas reservoir in northwest Palawan.

Helicopter crash kills 9, makes 2010 worst year of Afghan war

by by Tim Gaynor, Reuters
KABUL, Afghanistan - A helicopter crash killed nine troops from the NATO-led force in Afghanistan's south on Tuesday, making 2010 the deadliest year of the war for foreign troops just as attention turns to plans to start withdrawing them.

7 dead, 20 missing as landslide buries road in Mexico

MEXICO CITY—A hillside bloated by heavy rainfall in central Mexico collapsed Tuesday and buried part of a roadway, killing at least seven people and leaving 20 others missing, the mayor of Villa Guerrero said.

Rare North Korea meeting on Sept 28, eye on succession

by by Jeremy Laurence and Ju-min Park, Reuters
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea's ruling party will hold its biggest meeting in decades on Sept. 28 to pick a new leadership, state media reported on Tuesday, and likely anoint an heir to the dynasty as Kim Jong-il's health deteriorates.

Pacquiao's goal: 7,000 more calories per day

MANILA, Philippines – Conditioning expert Alex Ariza plans to fill Manny Pacquiao's frame with added bulk for the Filipino champion's November 13 fight against the bigger Antonio Margarito of Mexico.

Margarito develops leg power for Pacquiao fight

MANILA, Philippines – While Manny Pacquiao is packing the pounds for his fight with Mexico's Antonio Margarito, the "Tijuana Tornado" is strengthening his legs to get ready for his clash with the speedy and powerful 7-division world champion.

Donaire likely to face former Ukrainian champ

MANILA, Philippines – Super flyweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire will likely face a former world champion from Ukraine in an undercard to a Miguel Cotto fight in December.

So, Torre head RP team for Chess Olympiad

MANILA, Philippines – Teenage GM Wesley So and Asia's first GM Eugene Torre will head a young Philippine chess team to the 39th World Chess Olympiad at the Complex "Arena Ugra" of Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

PBA on track to build P4-billion coliseum

BANGKOK - Four years after it was first broached, the ambitious project of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to have its own coliseum remains very much on track.

Sharon Cuneta: Give PNoy a chance

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has found an ally in Megastar Sharon Cuneta, who has come to his defense for his poor crisis management of the Manila hostage-taking incident.

Robin Padilla reveals he married Mariel in India last Aug 19

Inamin na ni Robin Padilla na ikinasal na sila ni Mariel Rodriguez at naganap ito noong August 19, 2010, sa Taj Mahal sa Agra, India sa ilalim ng Muslim ceremony.

Robin Padilla: I married Mariel in India (full interview)

Actor Robin Padilla and his Mariel Rodriguez have been hounded by marriage rumors lately. Photos of a supposed Ibaloi wedding in Baguio City even surfaced but Robin's relatives have said it was only an engagement ceremony. Joining us now in the studio to tell us the real score is Robin himself and Mariel Rodriguez. Interview by Tina Monzon Palma in The World Tonight, ABS-CBN News Channel , September 21, 2010

OPM dismayed over tax exemptions for foreign artists

Ikinadismaya ng Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-Aawit ang umano'y tax exemption sa international artists imbes na paboran ang mga lokal na mang-aawit. Dahil dito, isinulong ng OPM ang pag-amyenda sa batas na magbibigay ng proteksyon sa Pinoy singers.

Christian Bautista to work with Regine Velasquez

MANILA, Philippines - Singer Christian Bautista is appearing in his first independent film that will feature actress-singer Regine Velasquez as the lead star.

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