|Oct. 7 News|
by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon
Cebuanos can expect more brownouts, at least until today, in the absence of any assurance from the different power players that the situation has already stabilized.
Two-hour rotating brownouts have been implemented in the franchise area of the Visayan Electric Company the past two days following the loss of 160 megawatts from two power plants of the Cebu Energy Development Corporation in Toledo city whose connection to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines tripped-off Tuesday for still unexplained reasons.
The trip-off isolated the two crucial power plants of CEDC from the rest of the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid.
NGCP cannot determine yet as to when will the power outages will last, as it projected a 180 to 200 megawatts power shortage today in the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid.
The projected power shortfall however could not be confirmed by NGCP.
NGCP corporate communications officer Edna Legaspina cannot confirm this as of 8:30 p.m. yesterday as she still has to wait for the report of their Systems Operation.
The Freeman was told about the projected shortfall, but the source refused to be identified as the said information is confidential.
The source however said that the said power advisory came from NGCP.
Legaspina for her part said that NGCP is still investigating the cause why the NGCP's Naga-Sigpit transmission line tripped-off the other day at 2:00 am but was however restored at 7:30 am on the same day.
As a result of the transmission line's tripping off, the two coal-fired power plant of Cebu Energy Development Corporation, that have a combined capacity of 160 megawatts went offline from the CNP grid the other day.
As of last night, CEDC corporate communications officer Mae Melchor said that operators and technical people were still having a meeting to investigate the problem.
CEDC in their power advisory as of 10 a.m. yesterday stated Unit I is already producing 50 megawatts and the load is continually increasing.
Melchor said that while Unit 1 is already stabilized, their Unit 2 will proceed with its start-up procedure.
"CEDC is doing its best to immediately restore its two 82 MW power units which were shutdown due to the line problem of NGCP's Naga-Sigpit transmission line," Melchor said.
Natera said that out of VECO's power supply agreement with CEDC of 105 megawatts, the latter was only able to deliver 48 megawatts.
VECO has a total power demand 270 megawatts during peak periods in their franchise area, which covers Metro Cebu - Liloan in the north and San Fernando in the south.
VECO's franchise service covers an area of about 672 square kilometers with an estimated population of 1.73 million.
Natera said that aside from CEDC, they have a power supply contract with the National Power Corporation of 231 megawatts, but yesterday they only received 78.5 megawatts.
VECO also got 60 megawatts from the Cebu Private Power Corporation and another 10 megawatts from East Asia Power Utilities.
Natera said that as a result of power supply deficiency, they are left with no choice but to resort to two-hour rotation brownouts yesterday and the other day.
The Cebu City government vows to protect Sambag I fire victims from threats of the lot owners that they will no longer be allowed to rebuild their houses.
by By Ria Mae Y. Booc/WAB
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia wants to have the copy of the audio-video presentation, "Corruption in Media," so the Capitol can review it thoroughly and determine if there is a need to take action to clear its name or bribery allegations.
by By Mylen P. Manto/WAB
The prosecution failed to cross-examine cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr., yesterday after his counsel moved for its rescheduling as he allegedly suffered high blood pressure.
by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja/JMO
Months after rumors surfaced that Mayor Michael Rama will abolish the Mayor's Management Team, the mayor said yesterday he is "upgrading" the MMT by transforming it into a Research and Development Group.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) asked local government units on Wednesday to help shoulder the expenses of teachers acting as election tellers in the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections on October 25.
Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the reminder was contained in a resolution they passed on Tuesday, authorizing LGUs to contribute to transportation expenses and meal allowances.
“Ang LGUs, by operation of law, dapat they should contribute. The resolution we passed was a reminder sa LGUs dapat mag-contribute sila sa gastusin ng BETs para sa election," Larrazabal said in an interview on dwIZ radio on Wednesday.
(LGUs by law should contribute, so the resolution we passed was a reminder for them to contribute to the expenses of teachers acting as Board of Election Tellers.)
He said the Comelec has to operate on a tight budget as it also has to shoulder the pay of the teachers doing election duty in the October 25 electoral exercise.
Larrazabal said the Comelec stands to spend some P1.2 billion for teachers’ pay alone. This covers the P2,000 payment for each teacher acting as a BET member.
In the meantime, he supported the Philippine National Police’s aggressive campaign against election violence through their gun ban checkpoints.
“Importante ma-check yan (It is important for them to curb illegal firearms), that’s for the safety of the public," he said.
Deactivated’ teachers may serve as BET members
Meanwhile, the Comelec said public school teachers whose registration records were already deactivated may serve as BET members for the October 25 elections.
The Comelec said this was a gift of sorts to teachers who marked World Teachers Day on Tuesday.
“For purposes of the October 25, 2010 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections and future elections, there is a need to reinstate above-cited policy in order to address possible shortage of public school teachers by reason of inadvertent deactivation so
that they shall continue to serve in the elections," the Comelec said in Resolution 9034, promulgated on September 21.
Excerpts of the resolution were posted on the Comelec blog site on Tuesday.
Comelec spokesman James Arthur Jimenez said more than 500,000 thousand public school teachers are expected to man 36,739 voting centers across the country on October 25.
MANILA, Philippines - Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday opposed the Department of Education’s (DepEd) plan to add 2 more years to basic education, or the “K+12” plan.
The proposed additional two years for the country’s secondary education will not address its declining quality and the growing number of out-of-school youth or lift the employment rate, the Kabataan partylist said Wednesday.
by by Joel Caballero, ANC
MANILA, Philippines - Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the budget for the education sector should increase annually in order for the "K+12" program to succeed.
State-run insurer PhilHealth has P110 million that can revitalize the ailing healthcare system, the Senate finance committee learned Wednesday that Sen. Franklin Drilon stopped the Health Department budget hearings until an agreement is forged on what to do with the money.
Naayos na ang gusot sa pagitan ng Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines at Philhealth. Nangako na ang Philhealth na sa loob ng 2 buwan ay mababayaran na ang claims nila sa mga ospital.
(UPDATE 2) The Department of Health has set aside P400 million for the purchase of natural and artificial means of family planning, including two million condoms to be distributed next year, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said Wednesday.
Senators on Wednesday scolded health officials over a plan to use taxpayer money to buy condoms and other contraceptives to curb the high birth rates in slums.
MANILA, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started its macro-etching process on the fragments recovered from the September 26 Bar blast -- to no avail.
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said its review of the the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report is “being finalized at the moment,” and that there is no definite date yet when this will be released.
President Benigno Aquino said on Wednesday he will release the Palace’s report on which officials will be charged in connection with the August 23 Manila hostage crisis only after he marks his 100th day in office later this week.
Although the scheduled release of the full report of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) probe on the August 23 hostage tragedy was postponed, the Palace has already finished its review of the report and has modified some of the IIRC's recommendations, according to GMA News sources.
The IIRC full report was to have been released on Wednesday, together with the results of the review of report by the Palace legal team composed of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and presidential legal counsel Eduardo de Mesa.
But the release was postponed by Malacañang supposedly to make sure that “everything is ironed out" and to avoid generating “more questions."
President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III will give a report on his first 100 days in office on Thursday, a Malacañang official said.
Clashes erupted between protesting farmers and police operatives in Mendiola Wednesday night, as militant groups started their two-day vigil to mark President Benigno Aquino III's 100th day in office.
President Benigno Aquino will round out his first 100 days in Malacañang with a sky-high approval rating despite a hostage fiasco that killed eight Hong Kong tourists, said a poll released Wednesday.
Polled a month after the carnage sparked by a disgraced ex-Manila policeman who hijacked a tourist bus, 71 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Aquino's initial performance in office, with 11 percent unimpressed.
Palace Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Social Weather Stations (SWS) national survey for BusinessWorld daily reflected the new leader's efforts to fulfill his campaign pledges for the May election which he won by a landslide.
"The President's social contract with the Filipino people is being implemented in ways our fellow citizens see and feel in their daily lives," he said in comments carried by the Manila newspaper.
"This rating is a reminder for the whole team to stay focused on reforms needed to make opportunities for fighting corruption and lowering poverty as reality."
SWS, a Manila-based research institute, said it will publish the full details of the poll on Friday adding the result was down from Aquino's approval rating of 88 percent in his first three weeks in office in June.
It did not give an explanation for the dip.
Aquino, son of the late democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino, took office on June 30 pledging reforms and vowing to fight corruption.
Aquino on Wednesday pushed back to an unspecified date a planned announcement on possible criminal sanctions against officials deemed responsible for the August 23 bus hijacking, spokeswoman Abigail Valte said.
Valte rejected suggestions Aquino shelved the announcement so as not to spoil the release of his high numbers in the poll of 1,200 adults, which had an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.
"I don't think that is the case," Valte told reporters.
Aquino had been roundly criticized for allegedly failing to show leadership during the hostage incident, when local officials and police allowed the crisis to drag on for 10 hours before making a bungled rescue attempt.
The fiasco chilled diplomatic ties with Hong Kong and China and hurt the tourism industry.
Valte said Aquino has not decided when to make public his decision on the Hong Kong hostage case.
An official inquiry had recommended criminal and administrative charges against at least 13 people including police and government officials as well as members of the press.
MANILA, Philippines - Members of the minority in the House of Representatives dismissed Tuesday the high survey numbers of President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino as voters’ mere refusal to acknowledge a ‘mistake’ in the last elections.
MANILA, Philippines - After much flip-flopping, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno said he will not resign anymore from the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
How difficult is it really to stamp out “jueteng”? With a directive, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III can stop operations of the P30-billion underground lottery, according to Eduardo “Among Ed” Panlilio, former governor of Pampanga, the so-called “Vatican of Jueteng.”
by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - A 4-hour standoff between members of the majority coalition in the lower House over the 2011 budget has ended, with lawmakers getting higher allocations for their districts.
The move effectively scuttled the Aquino administration’s insistence on line-item budgeting.
The squabble between the legislators nearly threatened to derail the swift passage of the 2011 national budget.
After a meeting with Department of Budget (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad and other congressmen, Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“Of course, I’m happy now. We got what we wanted,” he said.
Garcia led members of the majority bloc, who are mostly from the old ruling administration party, Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
Two other lawmakers, who asked not to be named, said the meeting resulted in the restoration of congressional insertions for projects on lump sum items.
The Palace wanted to end the practice of lawmakers making insertions in favor of a more transparent menu-based enumeration of projects.
This is the same old practice of congressmen being able to propose projects wherein their Priority Development Assistance funds (PDAF) are spent per district.
House Majority Leader Boyet Gonzales, meanwhile, said Abad earlier promised Malacañang that the projects will be funded by the lump sum appropriations and for congressmen to also be allowed to submit own proposals for projects.
The Visayas-Mindanao bloc of lawmakers were also assured that more money will be given to their constituencies.
Gonzales said congressmen’s proposals will be entertained during the period of amendments for the proposed budget bill.
Lawmakers from the Visayas and Mindanao forced the suspension of plenary deliberations at the House of Representatives Wednesday in protest of the measly appropriation for their regions under the proposed 2011 outlay.
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone warned that budget deliberations would not move and the Aquino government might have a re-enacted budget instead if their concerns would not be addressed.
Taking the floor to deliver a privilege speech, Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia began complaining about the small budget allotted to Visayas and Mindanao, a sequel of the same speech delivered by Leyte Representative Roger Mercado late Tuesday.
When questioned why he was delivering a privilege speech when the session should be devoted to budget deliberation, Garcia made a motion to suspend debates on the budget bill.
The proceedings were immediately suspended and House leaders, led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte moved to pacify his protesting colleagues.
There are 54 district congressmen from the Visayas and 58 from Mindanao, Evardone said.
Evardone said they held a luncheon meeting Wednesday where they firmed up their position to raise the matter on the floor and call for suspension in deliberation of the proposed budget if their concerns would not be resolved.
Asked if they were prepared to have a re-enacted budget instead, Evardone said, “Maybe, if that will be the case.”
“We want a more equitable distribution of government resources, this 2011 budget is lopsided,” he told reporters.
Citing figures from the Department if Budget and Management, Evardone said that the Visayas region would only get 7.7 percent of the total budget of P1.645 trillion proposed for next year, while Mindanao would get only 10 percent.
Luzon will get 16.3 percent, while the NCR will have a 3.6 percent share.
Evardone lamented that the bulk of the budget would go to lump sum funds for nationwide projects to be implemented by various departments. He said the amount was about P1 trillion.
But Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Representative Neptali Gonzales II said the demand of the Visayas and Mindanao lawmakers to give equal outlay to all districts was impossible.
“It’s impossible to give equal budget to all districts. It has never happened before,” Gonzales said in a phone interview.
“You can’t tie the hands of government by equalizing the budget of districts. You need to give the national government leeway to do its programs. Anyway, the entire country, including the Visayas and Mindanao benefits from all government programs,” he added.
Quoting Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, House appropriations committee chairman, Gonzales said the Visayas and Mindanao regions were not completely left behind in terms of allocation of lump sum amounts. He said Visayas would get 21 percent of the lump sum amount, while Mindanao, 26 percent.
by By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Senators on Wednesday sounded the alarm over the P66.9 billion unprogrammed funds in the proposed 2011 national budget.
(Updated 7:33 p.m.) Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday went to the Department of Justice, despite her lawyer Estelito Mendoza questioning the agency's impartiality, to attend the preliminary investigation of a P72-million plunder complaint filed against her by a private citizen last August.
MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo faced the justice department's preliminary investigation on plunder charges filed against her.
Representing her is former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, who also defended former President Joseph Estrada in his plunder trial.
Arroyo's plunder charge is in connection with sale of the Iloilo Airport to Megaworld back in 2007.
The complainant is Danilo Lihaylihay, president of the Philippine Association of Revenue Informers Inc., and chief investigator of the Vanguard Anti-Graft Task Force inc.
Lihaylihay said that while the Arroyo administration had paid the treasury P18 million for documentary stamp tax on the sale, it did not remit the P72 million-peso capital gains tax it collected.
This is the first plunder charge filed against the former president since she stepped down last June 30.
by By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – With 17 senators voting in favor, the Senate adopted Resolution No. 217 asking President Benigno Aquino to grant amnesty to Sen. Antonio Trillanes and other soldiers charged during the Oakwood mutiny, Marine stand-off in Fort Bonifacio, and the Manila Peninsula siege.
by Agence France-Presse
MANILA - A witness at the trial of the Philippines' worst political massacre told the court Wednesday that the victims begged for mercy as they were beaten before being taken away to be shot.
About 5,000 Muslims going on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, fear they will not be able to make the trip for the annual Hajj because of a leadership struggle in the office of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
MANILA, Philippines – A deaf person will file a discrimination case before the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) after an airport immigration officer prevented him from boarding his flight to Qatar.
Through an interpreter, Franklin Corpuz said he was supposed to leave for Qatar on Monday after he was invited to train for a week as a chef in the said country. If the company likes him, he could be hired as a chef.
However, Corpuz said he was held by an immigration officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Through interpreter Jojo Esposa, Corpuz told Bandila, “Siguro deaf ako or what or hindi ko maintindihan yung pinaguusapan nila. Sana ipinaliwanag nila sa akin ng maayos”.
Corpuz said he talked to an immigration officer by way of writing. He, however, failed to understand some questions and was sent home.
$1: P43.505 (P43.76}
Euro 1: P59.8420
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) management welcomed on Wednesday the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) decision to assume jurisdiction over its labor dispute with its cabin crew.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has assisted 12 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrested for participating in an illegal religious activity.
SAUDI Arabia – An advocate of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Wednesday urged the Philippine post to probe the 2 alleged incidents of rape and abduction involving Filipina nurses in Saudi Arabia.
by Agence France-Presse
KUWAIT CITY - Abuse of domestic workers in Kuwait is rising, and maids in the Gulf emirate face prosecution when they try to escape, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has identified 10 countries, including Kuwait where two Filipinas were brutally murdered in July, where the rights and welfare of migrant workers are protected.
There are now 10,100 slots made available for Filipino workers in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture and fishery sectors in South Korea.
WASHINGTON—The United States deported a record 392,000 illegal immigrants over the past year, nearly half of them people with criminal records, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.
One day after Manny Pacquiao committed to get into better shape, the pound-for-pound king fell ill and was forced to skip training.
MANILA, Philippines – Boxing historian Bert Sugar thinks boxing fans may never see Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight Philippine pride Manny Pacquiao because of the American boxer’s legal troubles.
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing superstar and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has chosen 24-year-old Zyrene Parsad to sing the Philippine anthem for his fight against Mexican boxer Antonio Margarito in Texas, USA on November 13.
According to Parsad, Pacquiao personally chose her to sing “Lupang Hinirang” after he heard her perform in an Investor’s night in Sarangani.
With all the controversies surrounding the rendition of “Lupang Hinirang” during previous Pacquiao fights, Parsad vowed to sing the anthem correctly.
The young singer said she is already preparing for the much awaited Pacquiao-Margarito bout.
She said she tries to sing the national anthem every morning so she can be more familiar with its tempo and lyrics. She also jogs every day to improve her breathing.
National Flag Law author Salvador Escudero III, meanwhile, said he will give Parsad references on the proper way to sing the national anthem.
Parsad is set to meet with the National Historic Institute on Friday or Monday to give her tips on how to sing the anthem correctliy.
According to Section 37 of Republic Act (RA) 8491, the rendition of the national anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.
Section 20 of the law also states: "The rendition of the flag ceremony in official or civic gatherings shall be simple and dignified and shall include the playing or singing of the anthem in its original Filipino lyrics and march tempo."
RA 8491 prescribes that any person who will violate its provisions may be punished by a fine of at least P20,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year.
MANILA, Philippines – Drama actor Sid Lucero expressed how ecstatic he is over his nomination for the “Best Performance of an Actor” category in the International Emmy World TV Festival.
71% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied with President’s performance so farA BUNGLED HOSTAGE RESCUE notwithstanding, President Benigno C. Aquino III has started his six-year term with a "very good" net satisfaction rating, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
Results of the SWS poll, made exclusive to BusinessWorld, had 71% of the respondents saying they were satisfied with Mr. Aquino’s performance, compared to the 11% who said otherwise, for a net satisfaction score of +60.
It is not the highest initial rating for a Philippine president, however, based on SWS data beginning 1986. While better than the +53 received by his late mother, Corazon C. Aquino, in May 1986 and well above the +24 notched by his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in March 2001, Mr. Aquino’s starting score just matches that of Joseph E. Estrada (+60, Sept. 1998) and is topped by Fidel V. Ramos’s +66 (Sept. 1992).
Mr. Aquino, who overwhelmingly won the May elections and secured a "very good" net trust rating of +83 just before he took his oath on June 30, quickly saw his administration fumble: late last August, eight Hong Kong tourists died in a botched hostage rescue attempt that made international news.
That, plus several minor policy and administrative miscues, was expected to dent his ratings.
The results of the Sept. 24-27 SWS survey, however, had a Palace official claiming that people were benefiting from the President’s commitment to reforms. A political analyst, meanwhile, said Filipinos could still be anchoring their hopes on Mr. Aquino given their dissatisfaction with previous administration.
The SWS said Mr. Aquino received "very good" ratings in all geographical areas, with a net score of +66 (76% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied) in Metro Manila, +65 in the Balance of Luzon (73% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied), +54 in the Visayas (68% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied) and +52 in Mindanao (67% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied).
Respondents in urban areas gave Mr. Aquino a +62 net rating (72% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied) while in rural areas his score was +58 (70% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied).
By socioeconomic class, Mr. Aquino was rated "very good" by those in Class E and D: +64 (73% satisfied, 9% dissatisfied) and +59 (71% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied), respectively. His score was a "good" +49 among the class ABC (65% satisfied and 16% dissatisfied).
By gender, Mr. Aquino obtained a "very good" +62 (73% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied) among women and +68 (69% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied) among men.
The quarterly survey polled 1,200 adults nationwide via face-to-face interviews. The sampling error margins are ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages.
The SWS rates scores of +70 and above as "excellent"; +50 to +69, "very good"; +30 to +49, "good"; +10 to +29, "moderate"; +9 to -9, "neutral"; -10 to -29, "poor"; -30 to -49, "bad"; -50 to -69, "very bad"; and -70 and below, "execrable".
Asked to comment on the results, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said: "The President’s social contract with the Filipino people is being implemented in ways our fellow citizens see and feel in their daily lives. This rating is a reminder for the whole team to stay focused on reforms needed to make opportunities for fighting corruption and lowering poverty as reality."
Earl G. Parreño, an analyst at the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms, said: "To put this in context, there was hopelessness in most people during the previous administration. The people now see hope in the President’s programs amid the problems early on [in his administration]."
He cited the Aug. 23 Manila hostage crisis -- Mr. Aquino has so far held off announcing sanctions -- and the alleged involvement of some of the president’s trusted men in illegal gambling.
"The people are [still] ready to accept him, hoping he would concretize promises [made] during his campaign," Mr. Parreño said. -- A. M. G. Roa
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