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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 25, 2010 Major News Stories



Chevron slashes oil prices

Chevron Philippines Inc. will reduce its oil prices by as much as P0.50 Monday, an official said Sunday.
Effective 12 a.m. Monday, the prices of premium gasoline, diesel, and kerosene will be reduced by P0.50 per liter, while regular gasoline prices will be reduced by P0.25 per liter, said communications manager Toby Nebrida.

'Katring' could bring more rain in Luzon, Visayas

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical storm "Katring" could bring more rain across parts of Luzon and the Visayas, weather bureau PAGASA said Sunday.  

Megi downgraded to tropical depression

by Agence France-Presse
BEIJING, China - Torrential rain battered southwest China Sunday as typhoon Megi (Philippine name, Juan) was downgraded to a tropical depression after wreaking havoc in Taiwan and the Philippines.

VECO: Power supply to stabilize today

by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/WAB

The Visayan Electric Company expects the power supply in Metro Cebu to stabilize today despite the non-operation of three power plants that provide a combined generation capacity of 164 megawatts.

VECO spokesperson Ethel Natera said the 150-megawatt high voltage direct current that was out for three days in the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid will be back online today and tomorrow.

Likewise, she added that power demand is expected to be low today as normally, during holidays, companies and commercial establishments do not have work and consume less electricity compared to weekdays.

President Benigno Aquino III has declared today a special non-working holiday in connection with the conduct of barangay and SK elections.

Natera explained that during weekdays peak power demand in their franchise area reaches to 350 megawatts but could drop to about 170 megawatts during holidays.

"Low in demand during holidays. We don't expect power supply shortage today," Natera told The FREEMAN.

The Cebu-Negros-Panay grid has been on a red alert during the past two years as it continues to suffer generation deficiency owing to very few power plants being built vis-a-vis the surge for power demand.

The three power plants that were shutdown two days ago were the 50-megawatt Cebu Thermal Power Plant I in Naga, Cebu; the 37-megawatt Palimpinon Geothermal Power Plant 2 in Leyte and the 77-megawatt EDC-Malitbog Unit 2.

On the other hand, the line that transmits power from Luzon to the Visayas will be online today until tomorrow and will undergo another preventive maintenance on October 27 to 31.

But despite the assurance of stable power supply, Cebu Provincial election officer Lionel Marco Castillano advised everyone directly involved in the elections, particularly the board of election inspectors, to bring flash lights, emergency lamps or have standby generator sets during the counting and canvassing of votes.

No work no pay policy on Oct. 25 holiday

by By Mayen Jaymalin

Workers who would rather participate in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections and not to report for work are not getting their day's pay, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported.

Military on red alert in Metro Manila

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Military troops in Metro Manila have been placed on red alert ahead of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Monday, the Armed Forces said Sunday. 

PNP, AFP see peaceful barangay, SK polls

The Philippine National Police will deploy some 110,000 police personnel to man Police Assistance Desks tasked to ensure the orderly and secure conduct of synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in over 40,000 barangays across the country on Monday.

25 dead in run-up to barangay, SK polls

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - At least 25 people have been killed in violence related to the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Monday, the national police said. 

Northern captain shot, hurt

MEDELLIN — Police arrested a man in Medellin after he allegedly shot, then flung a grenade at a barangay captain yesterday afternoon.

Vicente "Jojo" Arriesgado, 27, said he tried to kill Antipolo Barangay Captain Marianito Yaon because the latter hatched a plot to assassinate Medellin Mayor Ricky Ramirez.

But Cebu Provincial Police Director Erson Digal said the feud between Arriesgado and Yaon was tied to illegal drugs.

Digal personally interrogated Arriesgado yesterday, after conducting security inspections in the fourth congressional district of Cebu Province.

Three of that district's nine towns, excluding Medellin, were earlier declared "areas of concern" because of a history of heated elections: Bogo City, Daanbantayan and
Tabuelan. Medellin lies nearly 120 kilometers north of Cebu City.

The incident began at 2 p.m. yesterday, when Arriesgado allegedly tried to shoot Yaon, who was outside his house. Arriesgado is a resident of Barangay Mina, Medellin.

Yaon, however, saw Arriesgado, apparently anticipated the attack and fired at the latter, hitting him in the upper left thigh, near the groin.

Arriesgado, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, said that even if he was wounded, he fired a series of shots at Yaon.

Yaon allegedly fled toward some sugarcane fields nearby. He is not seeking reelection
in today's polls.

Arriesgado allegedly then threw a grenade toward the sugarcane fields. It exploded, but the authorities didn't know whether it caused Yaon any injuries.

Police later arrested Arriesgado after receiving reports he was being treated in a hospital in Daanbantayan, less than 10 kilometers north of Medellin.

Yaon remained at large last night.

While being barangay chief of Antipolo, Yaon was recently arrested for a charge of illegal drug possession.

Arriesgado admitted he tried to kill Yaon, but only because he wanted to protect the Medellin town mayor, whom the former allegedly wanted to kill.

Arriesgado claimed to be working for Ramirez as a member of the Bantay Dagat. This could not be confirmed yesterday.

He claimed that Yaon, who used to be his friend, had ordered him to kill the town mayor. He refused, in part because Medellin Police Chief Bonifacio Arriesgado, he said, is his third-degree cousin.

Police nab 29 persons for violating liquor ban

by By Niña G. Sumacot/WAB

At least 29 persons, mostly women, were arrested in Cebu City for violating the Commission on Election's Resolution 8730, or the liquor ban, implemented starting 12:01 yesterday in line with today's elections.

Delays projected

CITY and municipal treasurers scrambled last night to distribute election paraphernalia in time for the barangay and youth elections today.

The election returns (ER) finally reached the Capitol at 9 p.m., along with the last batch of ballots for the towns of Alegria, Ginatilan and Ronda, of the second congressional district, and Medellin town, of the fourth district.

Most of the municipal and city treasurers will have to return to the Capitol early today to receive the ER forms, which will be needed during the counting of votes.

Voting can start late if the materials are not yet ready, but has to begin before noon, or else, a failure of elections will have to be declared.

Precincts are supposed to stay open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

Because of the delayed supplies, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official and the Cebu City treasurer said they foresee delays in some areas, like mountain barangays.

'Normal'

Atty. Edwin Cadungog, the Cebu City south district's election officer, said some delays in the start of voting are "normal." Voters listed by the Board of Election Inspectors—meaning, those within 30 meters of the precinct as of 3 p.m.—can still cast their ballots.

Cebu Provincial Election Officer Lionel Marco Castillano said he is confident, though, that the election supplies can still reach the barangays on time.

He asked officials from the far-flung towns, like Camotes and Bantayan Island, not to wait for regular ferry schedules and to make special arrangements so the supplies can be delivered before the precincts open today.

Election supplies like pens, carbon papers, secrecy folders and indelible ink arrived in two batches at 6:45 and 10 a.m. yesterday.

Ballots arrived shortly before 6 p.m., except for those of Alegria, Ginatilan, Medellin and Ronda.

The municipal treasurers of these four towns were asked to stay behind for further instructions. Because they stayed behind, they had a complete set of election materials by day's end.

Most of the municipal and city treasurers already went home at 7 p.m. and will have to return today for the ERs.

In Cebu City, Treasurer Ofelia Oliva said the ballots were scheduled to be distributed from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. today to the 1,437 clustered precincts in the city.

Long day

She said they will work double-time.

"There will be some delays particularly in the mountain barangays. Even if the ballots arrive (Sunday night), we have to sort out the serial numbers of the ballots, then deliver these to the polling places," she explained.

The Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls, however, will not be affected since its officials ballots arrived earlier.

In the case of the province, Teresita Mercado of the Comelec had to call Xirex, the official forwarder of election supplies, and was told the ballots of the four towns and the election returns of all towns and component cities arrived early last night.

However, Xirex was still segregating the materials for delivery.

Cleofe Gonzaga, officer-in-charge and administrative officer of the Office of the Provincial Treasurer, pointed out that Pilar in Camotes Island will have the most taxing job because of the travel involved.

If the municipal treasurer managed to ferry the materials to Poro at 10 last night, these would arrive in Pilar at 3 a.m. The municipal treasurer will then have to segregate and deliver the materials to the barangays.

Pilar Election Officer Benedicto Santiago made arrangements for a pump boat to pick up the materials, rather than wait for the commercial trips.

Bantay

In Bantayan Island, where there are three municipalities, a Bantay Dagat crew was waiting last night for the materials of the towns of Bantayan, Sta. Fe and Madridejos.

Most municipal treasurers camped at the Capitol yesterday, thinking the supplies would arrive then.

Some were already at the Office of the Provincial Treasurer since Friday night, like Ronda Municipal Treasurer Esperato del Socorro. He had to borrow a shirt because he did not bring any, not knowing he had to sleep at the Capitol for two nights.

He had to wait longer, too, because Ronda's ballots were among those not delivered until 9 p.m.

He told Sun.Star Cebu last night that Mayor Mariano Blanco ordered him to wait for the ballots, which have to be delivered on time.

Ronda's farthest barangay is Langin, an hour away from the town proper.

The treasurers had to shell out their own money for food, not just for themselves, but also for their aides and escorting policemen.

Improvised

Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre arranged for their lunch and dinner last Saturday and their meals today were shouldered by the Association of Municipal Treasurers.

Had the ERs and ballots of the four towns not been delivered, the election officers would have had to make improvised ERs and ballots.

The election materials, after segregation by the treasurers, were scheduled to be delivered at dawn today to the different polling precincts.

Most towns hired vans to transport the materials, while others used their police cars. All deliveries have to be escorted by the police.

Election Supervisor Castillano earlier explained the procurement was delayed because the bids and awards committee was constituted only last month, after some members inhibited themselves from it.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo has ordered for helicopters to transport materials not yet delivered.

Barangay and SK polls today: Provisions set in case of delay

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja, Gregg M. Rubio

Due to the delays in the shipment of the official ballots, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) prepared a resolution authorizing election officers to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls in their areas to Tuesday.

The said resolution of the poll body was to take effect for towns or cities where the election materials would not arrive by 12 noon today.

The proposed resolution was circulated in the regional offices of the Comelec late afternoon yesterday.

The resolution seeks to hand over to election officers, of towns that will receive the election supplies later than 12 noon today, the discretion to hold the elections on the same day or postpone it tomorrow.

Veronico Petalcorin, acting director of Comelec Region 7 said that as of 6 p.m. yesterday, the resolution has not been signed by the members of the commission except for Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal.

Petalcorin said that they expect all the commissioners to sign the resolution by last midnight if they will see that deliveries could not make it on time in some areas.

The case is not however much of a problem in Cebu as election paraphernalia are expected to reach their respective precincts on time.

As of 6 p.m., the Comelec office in Cebu City has received 34 of the 38 items needed for the polls. Not all were distributed immediately as they still need to be segregated by the City Treasurer's Office and would be handed over at dawn.

There are a total of 1,536 precincts in Cebu City, which are broken down to 1,438 for the barangay elections and 98 for the SK.

City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva said that supplies that they were not able to distribute yesterday will be delivered dawn today together with the official ballots.

The CTO has designated six Kaohsiung buses, seven multi-cabs and four dump trucks to deliver the supplies.

Petalcorin said that according to the law, the original deadline for distribution of supplies and other paraphernalia is until 5 am today so city BETs need not worry.

He, however, said that it could have been better if all supplies have been distributed a day or two before the elections so that teachers will not have to stay late in preparation for the whole day of election and possible late night canvassing.

Even if teachers render extra time, their honorarium will remain at P2,000 for each BET. There will be, however, an additional P2,000 for BETs, who will handle the canvassing for the entire barangay and additional P500 for BETs who will handle the canvassing for SK elections of the barangay.

The Cebu City government approved the P2 million budget request of Comelec, which means an additional P500 allowance of teachers who will serve in the elections.

Petalcorin said that they will also request other local government units in the Region on behalf of the teachers.

The regional director of the Comelec also said yesterday that the power companies have assured of stable supply today. Nevertheless the Comelec has given instructions to those who will serve in the elections to bring emergency lighting like flashlights.

Voting centers will be open at 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Precincts that will receive their supplies late may extend up to 5 p.m. After the closing time, only voters within 30 meters from the precinct will be accommodated.

Voters are reminded to prepare a list of the candidates they have chosen. They are advised to vote one barangay Captain and seven councilmen.

Provincial Situationer

After at least three days of waiting, municipalities got the paraphernalia for today's elections.

The provincial treasurer's office was able to dispatch all election paraphernalia through the municipal treasurers and election officers at around 7 p.m. yesterday when all items from Manila arrived.

These include official ballots for barangay and SK, election return forms, tally sheet, paper and metal seal, certificates of votes, certificates of receipts of the official ballots and other forms and envelopes needed by the Board of Election Inspectors and Board of Canvassers; supplies such as carbon paper, bond paper, ballot secrecy folders, indelible stain ink, marking pens, ballpens, padlocks, thumbprint or fingerprint takers and self-locking fixed-length seals.

The delay has blamed on the Comelec bids and awards committee that was not constituted until September because some of the members inhibited themselves from the body.

Provincial election supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said that the committee should have been formed as early as August.

Because of the delay, the bidding and procurement of materials was also delayed.

Castillano said that delay in the start of the voting in some municipalities in the province of Cebu is possible.

Election paraphernalia have to be segregated upon arrival at the town hall for distribution to barangays until this morning.

Municipal treasurer Analiza Booc of Poro, Camotes Island told The FREEMAN last night that they will try their best to start the voting by 9:00 this morning.

Booc waited for the election materials since Friday. She said that she has to catch up the 10 p.m. boat trip to Camotes from Danao City, which is expected to arrive this 3 a.m.

The same is the case for other ties in the outlying islands of Cebu.

Municipal treasurers Charlita Sequiño of Bantayan and Fe Pabualan of Madridejos both expressed disappointment of the situation. "Unsaon ta man nga trabaho man ni," they told The FREEMAN.

A boat of the Bantay Dagat of Sta. Fe town fetched the election materials including that of Bantayan and Madridejos in Hagnaya wharf in the town of San Remigio.

"Ang problema namo ani ang paghatud sa mga gamit sa mga isla nga barangay," Sequiño said. 

Most municipal treasurers and election officers expressed that it was the first time in serving several elections that municipalities in the Province of Cebu got the election paraphernalia 12 hours before the official voting time begins.

42,025 villages hold elections

Poll suspension mulled in some areasABOUT 52 million voters will troop to polling precincts today for elections in over 42,000 barangays (villages) nationwide.

"There are 52,720,603 eligible voters for the barangay elections and 2,461,032 registered voters for the SK (Sangguniang Kabataan or youth council) elections in the 163,484 clustered or grouped precincts nationwide," James Arthur B. Jimenez, Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman, told BusinessWorld in a telephone interview yesterday.

A total of 672,400 village and SK positions in 42,025 barangays will be filled up, all having a three-year term. Up for grabs are one village chief, seven village councilors, one SK chairman and seven SK councilors.

As of yesterday afternoon, Mr. Jimenez, said Comelec is mulling suspending polls in areas other than three Isabela towns severely hit last week by typhoon Juan.

"Besides the suspension in three towns in Isabela [Divilacan, Maconacon and Palanan], we are still studying areas of concern on the matter but we're looking at Tarlac, Tineg in Abra, Natonin and Tadian in Mt. Province, Butuan, Itbayat and Sabtang in Batanes," Mr. Jimenez said.

Comelec Chairman Jose A. R. Melo has earlier said the law provides that in case of failure of elections, special elections will be held within 30 days from Oct. 25.

"There are also security concerns for teachers in the South. For this, we have been training police cadettes to take over the functions of the BEIs (Board of Election Inspectors) if absolutely necessary," he added.

For his part, Senior Superintendent Agrimero A. Cruz, Jr., Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, said police are on full alert.

"All police units have been placed on full alert status starting 8 a.m. on Saturday," Mr. Cruz said in a text message.

The PNP on Saturday has deployed at least 85% of its troops in election hot spots, or security-risk area, mostly in Luzon and Mindanao.

"There are 3,635 barangays under the PNP's election watch list areas or hot spots," Mr. Cruz said. "Majority of these barangays are found in Luzon and Mindanao."

Areas classified as election hot spots are based on presence of threat groups, history of political rivalries, recorded cases of election-related violence and presence of active partisan armed groups.

Meanwhile, the military has also placed troops on red alert.

"All AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) field units are on red alert status since Friday midnight," said Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, vice-chief of staff.

Mr. Jimenez said Comelec expects a low voter turnout compared to the May general elections. "Traditionally there is really a lower voter turnout for barangay polls than the national polls due to people's lack of appreciation for the structure of the barangay," he said.

For his part, President Benigno C. Aquino III said in a statement at the weekend: "I am encouraging everyone to participate in the barangay elections. This is an important opportunity to strengthen our barangay which is the front line in serving the public."

The President is voting at the Central Azucarera Elementary School in Barangay Central in Tarlac City, in Tarlac province.

Polling precincts will be open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Elections will be held manually.

Security alert level

Meanwhile, security alert level in Mindanao has been raised.

In Davao City, Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio ordered law enforcers to enforce stricter security measures following last week's bus bombing in Matalam, North Cotabato that resulted in the death of 10 passengers.

Authorities, meanwhile, banned village police units and government militia from duty today to avoid involvement in partisan politics.

A total of 25 villages in Davao City were placed under the Comelec watch list due to insurgency.

In Northern Mindanao, 204 barangays were identified as areas of concern.

Most of the hot spots are in the province of Lanao del Norte, 138; Cagayan de Oro City and the rest of Misamis Oriental as well as Misamis Occidental, 13 each; Bukidnon, 45; and Iligan City, eight.

In the Islamic City of Marawi in Lanao del Sur province, candidates in 26 barangays that were earlier declared as election hot spots signed a peace covenant.

In Surigao del Sur, a barangay captain seeking for reelection for the third time was shot dead last week in the municipality of Carmen, which was not among 32 towns declared as election hot spots in Caraga Region.

In Koronadal City in Central Mindanao, Inspector Rolly Oranza, city police intelligence section chief, said two barangays -- Assumption and Cacub -- have been declared as hot spots due to threats from the New People's Army.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Benjamin D. Dolorfino, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said troops have been alerted for possible hostilities in the autonomous Muslim region.

4,410 village chiefs seeking reelection may be disqualified – Comelec

A cloud is hanging over the candidacy of over 4,000 village chiefs seeking reelection for the nth time as the country holds barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections on Monday.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Sunday that it would file disqualification cases against barangay candidates whose names were on the list of "multiple termers" the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) had provided the poll body.

The DILG inventory has identified 4,410 village chiefs nationwide who were found to be on their third or fourth terms but are still seeking reelection.

Under the law governing the synchronized barangay and SK elections, no elected village official can serve for more than three terms.

"Our election officers are now checking the records against the list of candidates in their respective jurisdictions," said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez at a press briefing in Intramuros, Manila on Sunday.

"And if there are matches, the Comelec law department will right away file disqualification cases against those people," he said.

Appropriate criminal charges — perjury and material misrepresentation — would be filed against these candidates, he said.

The list provided by the DILG has been distributed to all the election officers nationwide on Saturday for validation.

The elections on Monday are expected to fill 672,400 elective posts in 42,025 villages across the country.

Sixteen positions are to be filled in each barangay — eight in the barangay council (one barangay chair and seven council members) and eight in the SK council (one SK chair and seven SK council members.)

More than 50 million Filipinos (18 and above) are eligible to vote in the barangay elections and 2.46 million (15 to 17 years old) in the Sangguniang Kabataan balloting.

To notify voters of "multiple termer" candidates in their respective villages, an annotation will be provided in the list of candidates attached to either the ballot secrecy folders or tables where they will be filling up their ballots.

"The names of candidates found on the list will be annotated so voters will be aware that there is a cloud hanging over these candidates and if they happen to win, their proclamation will be suspended until such time that they are cleared," Jimenez told reporters.

Voters should watch out for asterisks beside the names of candidates found to be "multiple termers" to ensure that their votes would not end up as stray votes, he advised.

Should these "multiple termer" candidates win in the elections, the Comelec will suspend the proclamation until they have completed the process of clearing their names.

If the suspension of proclamation has not been lifted by Nov. 30, the Comelec would direct the DILG to appoint an ad interim official to take the place of the winning candidate, whose name has not yet been cleared, Jimenez said.

Jimenez said that as of 2 p.m. on Sunday, the deliveries of election paraphernalia to election sites were "close to 100 percent."

"We are very optimistic that we will have regular elections in the whole country except for those areas affected by the recent typhoon," he said.

The poll body, nevertheless, has prepared contingency measures should it decide to postpone the elections in some towns.

The measures include deferring the elections to Tuesday or extending election hours in some places. Polling precincts will accommodate voters from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday

But the elections could be extended according to the number of hours of delay in problematic areas, said Jimenez.

At press time, only the towns of Divilacan, Palanan and Maconaco in Isabela, hardest hit by Supertyphoon "Juan," will hold the elections at a later time.

The Comelec was still studying whether to postpone the elections in some towns in Tarlac, Abra, Mt. Province and Batanes.

"These are four other provinces were there are a lot of reports of impassable roads and unusable facilities as some are still being used as evacuation centers," Jimenez said.

"We are monitoring the situation there on a 24-hour basis but as of [yesterday], all of these places will have the elections until we come out with an announcement," he said.

Voting delays feared as delivery of poll materials hits snags

Election officials in Cebu, Negros Occidental and the provinces on Samar and Leyte islands have raised concerns about the possible delays in voting in some remote villages in these provinces because the official ballots.

In Cebu, some election supplies arrived on Friday but these could not be released without the official ballots and important documents, such as the election returns and the minutes of voting forms.

Around 3,000 teachers and other members of the board of election inspectors (BEI) for the 1,438 voting precincts in Cebu City waited in vain since 7 a.m. at the City Hall for the arrival of the election supplies.

Cebu city treasurer Ofelia Oliva said they were later informed that the military plane (C-130) that would transport the ballots and other election forms to Cebu was to leave the National Capital Regionat 4:30 p.m. yet, arriving in Cebu at around 5:45 p.m.

From the airport, the election supplies are supposed to go to the warehouse of the forwarding company before these are transported to the different cities. Those bound for the towns would have to be brought first to the provincial Capitol, said Oliva.

At the Cebu Capitol, Virgilio Ramirez, municipal treasurer in San Francisco town of Camotes Island and president of the Cebu municipal treasurer's association, said he was dismayed by the delay as he and other municipal treasurers had been waiting at the Capitol since early Saturday.

Ramirez said he was lucky for having a house in Cebu city but the others had to sleep at the provincial treasurer's office.

Cebu provincial election supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said the problem was traced to the late completion of the printing of the ballots.

"I was told that the printing of ballots was finished (only on Saturday) last night, Castillano said Sunday.

The delayed arrival of official ballots has been a problem not only in Cebu but in the whole Visayas and Mindanao as well, he said.

The delayed arrival of officials ballots has also been worrying election officials in Negros Occidental and Eastern Visayas.

Negros Occidental election supervisor Jessie Suarez said they would have to work until early Monday delivering all the materials to ensure the elections would push through in all areas in the province.

He said the election materials were expected to arrive at the Bacolod-Silay airport at 4 p.m.

In Roxas City, meanwhile, nine soldiers were deployed to the city's island-village of Olotayan on Sunday to assist police in ensuring peaceful elections in view of the hotly contested race between two contenders for barangay chairman.

Supt. Kasmir Disomangcop, Roxas police chief, said the military was asked to assist the police because of the heated political situation Olotayan. The barangay chairmanship is being contested between incumbent barangay captain Manuel Aninang and former village chief Anita Alimosurin.

'Multi term' brgy. chiefs are disqualified, Comelec says on eve of polls

Winning candidates in Monday's synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will be automatically disqualified if they have already served three terms, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on the eve of the polls.

Special polling precinct set up for Talisay inmates

The Commission on Elections office in Talisay City will set up a special polling precinct at the Talisay City Jail in Barangay Maghaway so inmates can practice their right to suffrage.

Aquino's appeal: Go out and vote in village, youth polls

On the eve of the barangay (village) and the Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections, President Aquino called on the people on Sunday to vote for their local leaders and assured them of peaceful and orderly elections.

Soldiers told to stay clear of politics

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should stay away from partisan political activities, the head of a task force organized to secure Monday's elections said. 

Comelec, police, AFP to keep close watch over ARMM's hotspots

The Commission on Elections will keep 768 barangays in the violence-prone Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) under a close watch on Monday as Filipinos there troop to the polls for grassroots elections that some fear may turn out to be more violent than national elections.

Two BIR officials dismissed

by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/FPL

Two Bureau of Internal Revenue officials were dismissed from service after they were administratively found guilty of grave misconduct by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

The anti-graft office upheld its January 18, 2006 decision that ordered the dismissal from service of BIR intelligence division chief Bonifacio Ybañez and intelligence officer 3 Francis Mercado.

COA reiterates findings: PAGCOR ignores advice to recover P20.4 million from hotel

by By Rene U. Borromeo/FPL

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has ignored the recommendation of the Commission on Audit two years ago to recover the P20.4 million it paid in advance to the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino for a contract that did not materialize.

NDRMMC: 'Juan' death toll up to 31

The death toll from typhoon "Juan" (Megi) rose to 31 Sunday night, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Police to file raps vs Cotabato blast suspects

(Updated 3:20 p.m.) Police are set to file next Tuesday multiple murder and frustrated murder complaints before the North Cotabato provincial prosecutor's office against five suspects implicated in the bomb blast that killed at least 10 people on Oct. 21.

Armed marshals sought for public buses

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The government should train and deploy armed marshals to secure public buses nationwide, Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said on Sunday. 

Lean delegation set

FIVE CABINET officials will join President Benigno C. Aquino III when he leaves for Vietnam tomorrow to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, a Palace official said yesterday.

Miriam falls on Istanbul forum stage

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – The show must go on for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago – with or without hypothyroidism. The senator fell on stage at an annual forum of the Parliamentarians for Global Action in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday.

The senator fell on stage at an annual forum of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday.

Santiago picked herself up and proceeded to deliver a paper after a standing ovation.

The lawmaker, who was examined by doctors after her speech, was declared in stable condition.

Hypothyroidism is a disease caused by the insufficient production of hormones by the thyroid gland.

Pirates seize tanker with 14 Filipino crew

Somali pirates seized on Saturday a Singaporean liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker with 14 Filipino crew members off Kenya.

Another Filipina worker killed in 'OFW-friendly' Kuwait

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has confirmed that the decomposing body of a woman found on the roof of a building there over a week ago was that of a Filipina worker's. Vice Consul Rea Oreta said in a phone interview Sunday that the victim was identified through her passport as Jenny Dechosa, 33, from Misamis Oriental.

$1: P43.300

$1: P43.300

Euro 1: P60.2512

Subsidies to GOCCs cut by 23%

by by VG Cabuag, Business Mirror
MANILA, Philippines - The government's subsidies to nonfinancial state-owned firms were slashed by 23% in the first 9 months of the year, although the National Housing Authority (NHA) still received the highest monetary aid for the period.

'Open skies' urged by Cabinet execs

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Cabinet officials have recommended adoption of an open skies policy and President Benigno C. Aquino III is open to considering the proposal.

Light earthquake injures 12 students in central China

A light 4.7-magnitude earthquake hit central China on Sunday afternoon, injuring 12 school pupils and levelling 24 houses, state media said.

Thai capital prepares for floods as waters rise

Bangkok braced for rising waters encroaching on the city on Sunday as the death toll from two weeks of nationwide flooding rose to 38, emergency officials said.

Haiti cholera epidemic kills 220: official

by Agence France-Presse
PORT-AU-PRINCE - A sudden cholera epidemic has killed 220 people, officials said Saturday as Haiti scrambled to contain a wider outbreak 10 months after an earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation.

Leaked Iraq war files portray weak, divided nation

The enormous cache of secret war logs disclosed by the WikiLeaks website paints a picture of an Iraq burdened by persistent sectarian tension and meddling neighbors, suggesting that the country could drift into chaos once US forces leave.


Pacquiao to earn $25M from Margarito fight

CALIFORNIA, United States—World pound-for-pound champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao stands to earn as much as $25 million from his November 13 fight against Mexican American Antonio "Tijuana Tornado" Margarito, according to his promoter Bob Arum.

PBA: Bolts snap skid, outlast Painters, 87-79

Meralco put an end to its alarming skid in the PBA Philippine Cup Sunday night, outlasting Rain or Shine, 87-79, in a tightly-fought game at the Araneta Coliseum.

Kings spoil Llamados' celebration with a win

The Derby Ace Llamados received their championship ring just before tip-off of their PBA Philippine Cup game against Barangay Ginebra Sunday night. It turned out the team chose the wrong time to celebrate its success from last year's title run of this same All-Filipino meet.

Charice gets standing ovations during David Foster show

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines- International singing sensation Charice received several standing ovations from her fellow Filipinos during the highly successful "David Foster and Friends Live in Manila" concert on Saturday.

Kris introduces self to Isabel Oli

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Television host Kris Aquino disclosed on Sunday that she introduced herself to an actress who is being romantically linked to her estranged husband, cager James Yap.

After 30 years, Celso Ad. Castillo's film screened again

by by Boy Villasanta, abs-cbnNEWS.com
1 person liked this
MANILA, Philippines - Although the film "Mga Lihim ng Kalapati" was done almost three decades ago, internationally acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza is still proud of his production design work for the Celso Ad. Castillo masterpiece.

Postpaid cellular war persists

by by Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror
MANILA, Philippines - THE battle for postpaid subscriber count continues. It started on September 22 when Sun Cellular, the mobile brand of the country's third-largest mobile phone network operator Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc., claimed it's now the leading postpaid mobile phone service provider after it registered its first million postpaid subscriber count.

At end-September, Sun Cellular's official figures for postpaid subscription reached 1,010,289.

"Sun Cellular is clearly the number one in postpaid business. We achieved this never-before-attained milestone only seven years from start up and with our rivals enjoying a 10-year headstart. We are getting seven out of every 10 new postpaid subscribers," said Charles Lim, Sun Cellular business unit chief executive officer.

Sun Cellular's rivals Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. have indeed registered lower postpaid subscribers compared with that of Sun Cellular. Official and available figures as of end-June this year showed that Globe recorded 909,466 postpaid numbers while Smart registered 439,844. The numbers of Globe and Smart, however, only cover the period of end-June compared to Sun's end-September figures.

Between Globe and Smart, the latter kept mum on Sun Cellular's claim while Globe disputed this in its many paid advertisement and press releases claiming it is still unbeaten in terms of postpaid subscription numbers.

Industry regulator National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) confirmed the numbers provided by Sun Cellular.  "Those are the same subscriber count provided by Sun Cellular. We all know that Smart has the largest subscriber base largely because of its huge prepaid numbers. Based on numbers periodically provided, Sun's postpaid subscriber base has  overtaken Smart and Globe but we don't know if that stays the same now because Globe and Smart have yet to release their third quarter numbers," said the agency's director Edgardo Cabarios.

Since Globe is not authorized to disclose its end-September figures until it releases its third-quarter numbers next month, the cellular firm cited Nielsen's April-to-August research which showed that it maintained a significant lead over competitors in the postpaid segment. Aggregate data showed Globe cornered 48 percent of the total base of all consumer postpaid owners nationwide, definitely higher than Sun's 28 percent and Smart's 23 percent postpaid SIM share. 

Globe also claimed that it has the highest mobile postpaid revenue share in the industry. Company filings for the first half of the year showed that Globe has postpaid service revenues of P6.8 billion while Smart has P3.4 billion.  Sun and its listed parent company Digitel have not disclosed any comparable figure. 

Sun Cellular, which started commercial operations in 2003, is not threatened. "With every seven out of 10 new postpaid subscribers coming to us, we have found the sweet spot. We expect to gain more market share in the near future since our rivals will not be able to match our unlimited packages," said Lim.

The key, said Lim, is Sun Cellular's unmatched unlimited service and rates. Both of these are possible because Sun's network uses the latest technology available.

"We can meet peak load demand without congestion. This is the advantage of being a latecomer in the business. We got the latest and the best infrastructure, and are offering rates that could reduce a subscriber's cost anywhere from 40 to 80 percent per month," he said.

Posted on its website, the lowest postpaid plan offered by Sun Cellular is P350 a month. The subscriber has three options to choose from.

The subscriber can opt for unlimited call and text within the same network, plus with 250 free text messages to other networks.

Or, for the same plan, a subscriber can enjoy unlimited SMS (short message service) within the same network, plus P200 consumable which may be used for calls to other networks or for Sun to Sun multi-media service or for SMS to email service.

Also, for P350 a month, this plan is fully consumable which may be used for calls to other networks or for Sun-to-Sun multimedia service or for SMS to email service. The P350 plan also has comes with 250 free SMS to other networks.

On the average, the postpaid subscriber count of any cellular firm account for about two to three percent of its total subscriber base. At end-June, Smart registered a total of 45.3 million subscribers; Globe with 24.6 million; and Sun Cellular with over 16 million.

Their numbers are changing and by next month when they report their third-quarter numbers it will be known which of the three landed on the No. 1 spot for most postpaid subscriptions.

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