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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 22, 2010 Major News Stories

Labor office reminds firms:13th month pay mandatory

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) reminds employers in the private sector that all wage and salary workers are entitled to the 13th month pay as mandated by law.

POEA rejects deferment of mandatory insurance for OFWs

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board rejected a proposal of the recruitment agencies to defer the implementation of the mandatory insurance cover, it was learned Sunday.

DepEd readies plan for K+12 program

Girding for its planned extension of the basic education cycle from 10 to 12 years, the Department of Education (DepEd) is decongesting the current public school curriculum to ease "learning fatigue"—identified as a leading cause of poor performance and early dropouts among students in public schools.

DepEd Undersecretary for Programs and Projects Yolanda Quijano said the department has sought help from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) to study the 12-year curricula in New South Wales (Australia), Thailand and Vietnam to serve as models for the Philippines.

Quijano said DepEd has finalized its work plan for the implementation of its K+12 (Kindergarten plus 12 years) proposal, which aims to add two years of senior high school to the current 10-year cycle in line with international standards.

Quijano said the department will study which courses and competencies should be introduced in the additional two years, and review items that appear redundant in the current 10-year program.

The department will be looking at the most important skills and subjects that ought to be learned by students in junior high, and what other skills ought to be added for grades 11 and 12, where there would be specializations, Quijano said.

She said some complicated subjects crammed into the existing curriculum will be moved to the senior high school levels.

"They say that there are some subjects in fourth year (in science and math) that are too academic. That's what we will look at and maybe put that in Grade 11 (senior high school)," Quijano told the Inquirer.

DepEd hopes to usher in the first batch of senior high school entrants under the new K+12 program by school year 2016-2017. It will be holding regional consultations on the proposal.

A major education reform effort of the Aquino administration, the K+12 proposal has been criticized as an additional financial burden on families who can hardly afford to send their children to school.

Student groups have also protested the plan saying DepEd should instead focus on addressing perennial shortages in classrooms, teachers, textbooks and other study materials.

Some universities in Europe and North America, however, no longer recognize a Philippine high school diploma as adequate for admission to their schools because of its missing two years. Many other Asian countries have already adopted the basic 12 year system.

Comelec gives go signal to barangay polls proclamation

Blame it on the DILG. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has withdrawn its order postponing the proclamation of winning "fourth-termers" in the last barangay elections after it discovered the list of these officials submitted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) had errors.

Battle for ABC Presidency: 'Not a proxy war between Mike, Tomas'

The battle for the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) presidency is not a "proxy war" between BOPK founder, south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña, and Mayor Michael Rama, an ally of both leaders clarified yesterday.

Busay barangay captain Eliodoro "Yody" Sanchez, who is reported to be among those who will seek the ABC top post, expects a three-cornered fight between him, Capitol Site barangay captain Manuel Guanzon and T. Padilla barangay captain Michael Ralota.

Sanchez' candidacy is being supported by Basak San Nicolas barangay captain George Rama, the mayor's first cousin.

Sanchez however dispelled rumors that he is secretly being backed up by the mayor because George is his campaign manager while Guanzon is supported and endorsed by Osmeña.

Bulacao SK prexy eyes city council

Another Sangguniang Kabataan Chairperson-elect is eyeing for an ex-officio member seat at the Cebu City Council.

Ivonne Carl Samonte, 17, elected SK chairperson of Barangay Bulacao Pardo said he will run as president of the city's SK Federation which election was tentatively scheduled on December 3.

The next president will replace incumbent federation head Rengelle Pelayo and will sit as ex-officio member of the council. The council has allotted two seats that will be filled by ex-officio members, one for SK Federation president and the other one is for the president of the Association of Barangay Councils.

Samonte will be competing with seven other chairpersons who have already expressed interest for the post.

Other contenders are Aqua Jane Caruzca of Barangay Pahina San Nicolas, Clarence Jacques Lim of Tinago, Claudine Nicoles Dakay of San Nicolas Proper, John Eliazar Ruix of Mabolo, John Philip Po of Sto. Niño, Mark Glen Borbajo of Talamban and Orlane Quijada of Punta Princessa.

Sanchez has ample time to question Capitol budget

Vice-Governor Gregorio Sanchez has at least two weeks to question the proposed 2011 annual budget in court as the Cebu Provincial Board has no session for two successive Mondays.

Majority of the PB members are in Manila today to attend the national convention of the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines.

Next Monday, November 29, the PB still could not hold its regular session because it is declared holiday by Malacañang in line with the celebration of the Bonifacio Day.

But Sanchez, who sits as chairman of the PB, said it doesn't mean relax days for him as he will be working on his petition asking the court for declaratory relief on the P3-billion proposed annual budget for next year and to restrain PB from approving it in their next session.

The vice governor insists that the budget is illegal as it has no signature of the concerned department heads like that of the Office of the Vice Governor as head of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Because of this, Sanchez returned the copy of the proposed budget to the Office of the Governor before a budget hearing was conducted.

But despite legal threats from Sanchez, the members of the committee on budget and appropriation approved the proposed P3 billion annual budget during their committee hearing last week.

Committee chairman, PB Member Peter John Calderon, announced the approval of the budget in the committee level in toto. The committee will endorse its report for plenary discussion next month.

During Lapu-Lapu City fiesta: Amok hurts 7, is shot by cops

The Lapu-Lapu City fiesta celebration in honor of the Virgin of the Rule (Birhen sa Regla) turned bloody when a man ran amuck and started hacking people in barangay Poblacion yesterday leaving eight, including himself injured.

The suspect was identified as Rosalio Tariman, 22 years old and a native of barangay Aurora Tinago, Zamboanga City, but presently staying in Lapu-Lapu City. He does not, however, have any permanent address as police said that Tariman sleeps on the sidewalks of their city.

Tariman was also hurt in the incident as quick-acting policemen shot him twice to stop his carnage. He is now confined at the Cebu City Medical Center, but was first brought to the VSMMC.

The police said that the suspect was sitting along the road near the city auditorium when he suddenly took out an 11-inch knife and started hacking people at Plaza Rizal, which is just outside the church.

PO1 Archie Borres and PO1 Roel Pelones, who were detailed in the area to help secure the people, rushed to the area where Tariman was and tried to stop him.

The suspect refused to heed the policemen and instead went for them with his knife.

Pelones tried to get the attention of Tariman while Borres maneuvered to the area behind the suspect.

When Tariman tried to lunge at Pelones, Borres shot the former twice hitting him on the back.

The policemen then handcuffed Tariman and brought him to the hospital. He is out of danger.

The victim, who is in critical condition, was identified as Felicita Makalipay, 60 years old and a resident of V. Rama Ave., Cebu City. She was in the area to sell ice drop.

Makalipay was still undergoing surgery as of late afternoon yesterday but was already in stable condition.

The others who sustained injuries were identified as Rosita Gilig, 56 of Sta. Rosa, Olango Island; Roel Cerencio, 26 of sitio Salvage, barangay Looc; Andrecia Sumalinog, 38, sitio Ilaya, barangay Marigondon; Lorry Cañete, 33, Puso Center, barangay Mactan; Bebelyn Amabao, 26, Bakilid, Mandaue City; and Jeffrey Vargas, 35.

The other victims are also confined at the VSMMC.

PO3 Discoro Arong of Lapu-Lapu City Police Station said that Tariman suddenly shouted "akong pamatyon kay nay planong mupatay sa akong ginikanan."

The people who frequent the area said that Tariman suffered a nervous breakdown and has been known to hang out in the park and sleep there at night.

Lapu-Lapu City Police Office director Sr. Supt. Mariano Natuel, Jr. told The FREEMAN that he will request the Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 to give a commendation to the two policemen for their bravery.

He said it is not also necessary to confiscate their service firearms as part of the investigation as they were only responding to a call of duty.

Pope's pronouncement on condoms strengthens RH bill – Lagman

A staunch advocate of the reproductive health bill welcomed on Sunday Pope Benedict XVI's pronouncement that HIV-infected male prostitutes could use condoms to prevent the spread of the disease, adding that this weakened the local Catholic Church opposition to the RH bill.

Pope says some condom use 'first step' of morality

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has opened the door to the previously taboo subject of condoms as a way to fight HIV, saying male prostitutes who use condoms may be beginning to act responsibly.

New appointments bared; posts seen filled up in Dec.

THE PALACE yesterday announced fresh appointments, with all posts expected to be filled up next month.

At the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Corazon T. Jimenez has been named general manager while Ma. Christina I. Velasco was designated as assistant general manager for planning.

Alicia Dela Rosa Bala is Philippine Representative for Children to the ASEAN Commission for Promotion and Protection of Women and Children while Camilo G. Gudmalin has been appointed Social Welfare assistant secretary.

Other appointments are Games and Amusement Board member Mohammad Aquil A. Tamano, Filomer C. Torio as executive director of the Public-Private Partnership Center under the National Economic and Development Authority with the rank of assistant secretary, Human Rights Commission Chairman Loretta Ann P. Rosales and National Commission on Indigenous People Director Leonor O. Quintayo.

Earlier, Deputy Spokesman Abigail D. Valte said around 1,300 positions have yet to be filled up, but later on clarified that the number excludes appointments in government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs).

"We are not yet sure if the appointments in the GOCCs and GFIs have been included in the 1,300," she said over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

"Hopefully by December we can finish all the appointments in the key positions in the government," she added.

Mancao's lawyer suggests reward for Lacson's capture

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) should offer reward money for information leading to the capture of fugitive Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, a lawyer said Sunday. 

2 people hurt in Shariff Aguak explosion

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines – Two people, including the second wife of a local official, were wounded after an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in the municipality of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao Sunday morning.

De Lima links Maguindanao blast to massacre anniversary

(Updated 5:08 p.m.) An explosion rocked Shariff Aguak Central School in Maguindanao province early Sunday, wounding two civilians, prompting Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to brand the incident as the work of those who are "heartless and evil" trying to discourage people from commemorating the first anniversary of the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre.

RP-MILF talks hit snag anew

MANILA, Philippines – Peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have yet to resume because of a dispute regarding the Malaysian facilitator, the secessionist group's spokesman said Sunday. 

MNLF seeks release of captured soldier

DAVAO CITY -- The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has appealed to the New People's Army (NPA) to release Cpl. Daiem Hadajaei, a noncommissioned officer of the 25th Infantry Battalion abducted in Compostela Valley province.

Filipino seafarers from hijacked vessel return home

Some 19 Filipino seafarers from the recently-freed MT Samho Dream arrived home and have met with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials.

Slogan booboo will not affect Aquino's trust in DOT chief

MANILA, Philippines - Despite the setbacks suffered by his department, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim still enjoys the full trust of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Japan to deploy troops near disputed islands by 2015 – report

Japan plans to deploy around 100 ground troops to an island near a group of disputed islets in the East China Sea by 2015, in response to Beijing's growing assertiveness in the area, a report said Sunday.

US envoy heading for talks on North Korea

by Agence France-Presse
WASHINGTON - The top US envoy for North Korea was to arrive in Asia Sunday for talks with regional leaders on issues involving Pyongyang, the State Department said.

Flood traps 28 in China mine

A flood in a coal mine in southwest China trapped 28 people on Sunday 28, state media reported.

Pope elevates 24 new cardinals

VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday elevated 24 new cardinals from around the world, bringing them into an elite club which will eventually elect his successor.

Tabuena fails to win gold, jins win 3 bronze

GUANGZHOU, China - Miguel Tabuena fell short in his bid to clinch the men's individual gold in golf while three taekwondo jins ended a string of near misses by nine of their teammates as the 16th Asian Games entered its first full week of competitions.

Manny tells Asiad bets: Pray, give your best

by By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao has called on all Filipino athletes competing in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou to give their best in their quest for honor for the country.

One more fight for Pacquiao before retiring

Eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao said that he is ready to fight any boxer hoping to get a chance to face him inside the ring.
Asked who between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Sugar Shane Mosley he wants to meet for his farewell match, Pacquiao said: "Kahit kanino sa kanilang dalawa, handa ako. Kaya natin sila, basta paghahandaan natin ang laban."

Pacquiao unaffected by $10-M lawsuit

MANILA, Philippines - Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao has shrugged off the reported US $10-million lawsuit filed against him by a recording company for breach of contract.

GenSan to give hero's welcome to Pacquiao

Abala na ngayon pa lang ang mga taga-Gen. Santos sa hero's welcome kay pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao sa Huwebes. Nagpa-imprenta na ng mga T-shirt at gumawa pa ng flaglets ang mga isklolar ng Emmanuel Pacquiao Foundation. Paraan nila ito para maipakita kay Pacquiao ang kanilang pasasalamat at pagkilala sa karangalang natamo ng kanilang idolo. Ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Sarangani, naghahanda na rin ng magarbong pagsalubong sa kanilang kongresista

Martinez KOs Williams to retain WBC title

by Agence France-Presse
ATLANTIC CITY, USA - Argentina's Sergio Martinez knocked out American Paul Williams with one explosive second-round punch Saturday to retain his World Boxing Council middleweight world title. 

Cone not satisfied with Aces' 87-76 triumph vs Boosters

Alaska downed Barako Bull in the PBA Philippine Cup Sunday night, but it wasn't good enough to impress multi-titled coach Tim Cone.

Beer over gin: SMB halts Ginebra's PBA streak

San Miguel put a halt to Barangay Ginebra's winning run in the PBA Philippine Cup, edging out the erstwhile hottest team in the tournament, 79-78, in a thrilling Sunday game at the Araneta Coliseum.

Row rages on over Rizal mom's alleged house

by By Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News Southern Tagalog
LAGUNA, Philippines – A conflict has continued between the city government of Biñan and the descendants of Jose Rizal over the plans of transferring what is reportedly his mother's 200-year-old ancestral home to a heritage resort in Bagac, Bataan.

Jake, Jason in heated confrontation

MANILA, Philippines – Jake Cuenca admitted Sunday that he and fellow actor Jason Abalos were involved in a heated argument Saturday night in Davao.

Gladys Reyes welcomes new baby boy

Ibinahagi ni Coco Martin ang matagumpay na special screening sa Amerika ng indie film niyang "Noy". Nagsilang naman ng healthy baby boy si Gladys Reyes.

Britons want William for next king, not Charles: polls

by Agence France-Presse
LONDON - Britons want Prince William and his new fiancee Kate Middleton to be their next king and queen, instead of the current heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, three polls showed Sunday.

Grand Lotto jackpot to reach P574-M by Monday night – PCSO

The 6/55 Grand Lotto jackpot is expected to grow to P574 million by the next draw Monday night after no winner emerged in last Saturday's draw for the P544-million jackpot.

Income gap narrows slightly

Despite global crisis, families earning more as of last year from 2006 -- NSOFILIPINO FAMILY INCOMES have improved in the last three years despite the period having encompassed the worst of the global financial crisis, latest government data indicate.

An economist pointed to the country's substantial growth in 2007 as a factor, while a state planner claimed that the implementation of conditional cash transfers directed at the poor had contributed.

Initial results of the latest Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), released last Friday by the National Statistics Office (NSO), put the Filipino family's average income and spending in 2009 at an annual P206,000 and P176,000, respectively.

The FIES is a nationwide survey conducted by the NSO every three years, the results of which provide information on levels of living, income disparities and spending patterns among Filipino families.

Data for the 2009 FIES was collected in two rounds, in July 2009 and December 2010.

The latest figures translate to average annual family savings of P31,000 in 2009, NSO administrator Carmencita N. Ericta said in a statement posted on the agency's Web site.

On a monthly basis, the average monthly family income as of last year was P17,200 while the average monthly expenditure was P14,700.

Considering 2006-2009 inflation and adjusting it to prices in 2000, the average 2009 annual family income would be P129,000 compared to P125,000 for 2006. Yearly family expenditure, meanwhile, would be at P110,000 in 2009 and P107,000 in 2006.

Average annual savings came out the same, at P19,000, for both years.

The NSO said the income gap between the richest and poorest Filipino families narrowed slightly during the past three years. In peso terms, however, the divide remains substantial.

On average, the average annual income for families in the lowest 10%, or decile, was at P41,000 while that for the top decile was P728,000. Put another way, those in the top 10% were earning 18 times more than those on the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Three years earlier the results were P32,000 for the lowest income group and P617,000 -- 19 times higher -- for families in the highest bracket.

Using the Gini coefficient -- a measure of inequality in a population -- gives a ratio of 0.4484 for 2009, slightly lower than 2006's 0.458. The measure ranges from zero to one, with zero indicating absolute income equality and one indicating absolute income inequality.

Asked to comment on the data, economist Solita C. Monsod of the University of the Philippines said the slight narrowing of the income gap could be attributable to the 7.3% gross domestic product growth in 2007, the highest in 31 years. The uptick eased to 3.8% in 2008 and further to 1.1% in 2009 but the country still managed to grow unlike many other nations, she added.

"[The 2009 Gini coefficient] is the lowest that it's ever been as far as I can remember," she said, adding there was a good chance poverty also decreased during the period.

For his part, National Economic and Development Authority Deputy Director-General Augusto B. Santos pointed to the 2007 launch of the government's conditional cash transfer program and its expansion nationwide the following year.

The scheme, targeted at the poorest households, involves the distribution of P10,000 per family on the condition that children are sent to school and pregnant women subject themselves to regular checkups.

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