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

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 8, 2010 Major News Stories

Eastern Petroleum's oil price hikes to take effect Monday

Independent oil player, Eastern Petroleum Philippines, has hiked prices of regular gasoline by 50 centavos a liter and of diesel, kerosene and unleaded gasoline by 25 centavos a liter, effective 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

2 months after T. Padilla blaze: Many fire victims still live in tents

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja

It has been two months since a fire hit one of the sitios in barangay T. Padilla this city, yet most of the victims remain with no decent dwelling.

T. Padilla Barangay Captain Michael Ralota yesterday said that 90 percent of the victims and those affected by the road restoration in sitio F. Villa, still live in tents because poverty has forced them to depend on what the city government and a few Good Samaritans are willing to provide.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, upon learning that some construction materials have not been released yet, was "very disappointed" anew with the bureaucracy at the City Hall.

Six-year-old boy falls into river in Mabolo

by By Niña G. Sumacot/JMO

A six-year-old boy fell into the Lahing-Lahing River in sitio Kalinaw, Barangay Mabolo yesterday afternoon and was carried away by strong currents.

PO3 Candelario Maucesa of the Mabolo Police said Jerry Villacorda Sumampong was playing under the rain beside the river around 2pm with his brother Jason, 8, and at least 10 friends when he slipped and fell into the water.

The incident happened at the area right at the back of the barangay's sports complex.

One of the victim's companions reportedly jumped into the river in an attempt to rescue Sumampong, but the current was too strong that he lost grip of the child.

Sumampong was wearing a white shirt and striped shorts at that time. He remained missing as of last night.

The Cebu City Disaster Coordinating Council, led by its executive director Alvin Santillana, has set up a rescue unit at the Subangdaku Bridge located at the boundary of Cebu City and Mandaue City where the child was expected to be washed off to.

Santillana said they are not discounting the possibility that the strong current has carried the child to as far as the seawaters of Mactan.

The victim's mother, Marites, said she was sleeping at the time of the incident. She reportedly was not aware that her children had gone out to play during the rain.

Santillana reminded parents, especially those families are living near rivers, to always keep an eye on their children to avoid the same incident from happening.

Woman found dead in Lapu-Lapu

by By Ria Mae Y. Booc/BRP

The already decomposing body of a woman was found by a shoe repairman floating in a mangrove swamp in Sitio Buot, Barangay Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, around 6 a.m. yesterday.

Police estimated that the woman had been dead for about 10 days now.

Repairman Joel Gonzales said he went to a mangrove swamp to relieve himself when he detected a foul odor.

Gonzales followed his nose and came upon the dead body of the woman, at first he said he thought it was just a dead animal but upon closer inspection he found the remains were human.

"Abi nako og unsa unya lain man kaayo og baho, pagtanaw nako tao man diay," he said, added that he immediately called for assistance from the residents nearby.

The woman was estimated to be 23 to 25 years old and five feet tall. She was wearing a yellow spaghetti blouse but with no skirt while her undergarments were intact. She still had a black shoulder bag slung at her right shoulder.

SPO2 Rolito Jumaoas of Lapu-Lapu City Police Station said they searched the bag but it contained no ID or documents that may identify the corpse.

"Maglisod mi og trace kung taga-asa ug kinsa gyud ni siya kay wala man mi documents nga nakitan sa iyang bag," he said.

He also said they cannot determine if there is any foul play in her death until the autopsy result.

The cadaver was brought to the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes for autopsy while the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office is still conducting further investigation.

For kindergarten teachers: DepEd yet to release salaries for June

by By Rene U. Borromeo/JPM

The officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Cebu City are expected to release the salaries of the 114 pre-school teachers in the city by Thursday, but only for the month of June.

Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young criticized the DepEd officials for trying to pretend that they could already afford to shoulder the salaries of the pre-school teachers in the city while experiencing budgetary problems.

Young, former education consultant in Cebu City before he was elected as vice mayor last May 10, said he was bombarded with several complaints from teachers handling kindergarten classes.

There are thousands of kindergarten pupils in various public schools in Cebu City that are being handled by the affected teachers.

With Young's constant follow-up with the DepEd City Division, a personnel at the DepEd's accounting section informed the vice mayor that the salaries of the pre-school teachers for the month of June might be released by Thursday.

The DepEd Cebu City is using its budget for the Monthly Operating and Other Expenses (MOOE) just to pay the P6,000-honorarium for each of the pre-school teacher for the month of June.

Young said the DepEd city officials assured him that if there is still enough balance in their MOOE after paying the teachers salaries for the month of June, they may also pay the salaries for July.

A pre-school teacher assigned in barangay Basak-San Nicolas also asked the media to help them to facilitate the early release of their salaries, saying, "Grabeha na usab kadugay uy, hapit na kami kahuralon kay wala na g'yoy magamit panggasto."

Young explained that before, it was the parents of the pupils who contributed money for the payment of their teachers and for the needed school materials.

But after the DepEd claimed that it can afford to shoulder the teachers' honorarium, the collections of donations from parents stopped.

"Nagpatuga-tuga man tawon sila uy. Maayo pa og ang mga ginikanan na lang ang ilang gipabayad," said the vice mayor. 

In Cebu City's public elementary schools, school officials will no longer accept grade one pupils if they did not pass kindergarten.

The purpose of requiring the children to go through kindergarten classes is to enhance the children's intellect even before they start primary school.

Young even introduced the so-called "Genius Baby" program for day-care pupils to make sure students can perform well in grade school.

The "Genius Babies" is to subject the children to intensive training, particularly on how to use the computers.

Young cited scientific studies that prove that the first six years of a child is considered his best formative years and the most crucial stage of a child's mental growth.

BIR-Talisay deployed collectors sans approval of regional director?

by By Rene U. Borromeo/WAB

The Commission on Audit had discovered an irregularity in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Talisay City when the latter allowed seven of its personnel to act as tax collectors without the approval of the BIR regional director.

Ombuds denies motion of dismissed revenue officer

by By Mylen P. Manto/WAB

The office of the Visayas Ombudsman denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Mandaue City who assailed the decision on the administrative case dismissing him from service.

Revenue officer II Omar Mamongcara reiterated in his argument that the complaint against him was not an offshoot of an entrapment operation but a frame-up done by the people who wished to destroy his reputation.

In March 2006, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Mamongcara in an entrapment operation in Lapu-Lapu City for demanding P50,000 'grease' money from a land owner.

However, Mamongcara said he worked for the office of BIR Mandaue for almost 27 years and claimed that he had a clean record.

DFA asks 6 embassies to explain travel advisories

The Department of Foreign Affairs has sent notes verbale to six foreign embassies asking them to explain the travel advisories their governments issued regarding alleged terror threats to the Philippines, thus formally raising the matter to the diplomatic level.

DFA seeks intelligence info, not travel advisories

On President Benigno Aquino III's directive, the Department of Foreign Affairs has asked foreign governments to provide the country "any intelligence information regarding threats of terrorism" so that precautionary measures could be immediately undertaken by local authorities.

Travel advisories won't affect tourism: DOT

by By Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed confidence that the series of travel advisories on the Philippines won't have a huge effect on the tourism industry.

Birdstrike grounds Cebu Pac budget planes

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine budget carrier Cebu Pacific on Sunday said a birdstrike had grounded one of its passenger jets, delaying six domestic and international flights.  It did not provide further details, but a spokesman said a "birdstrike" meant a bird hitting part of the aircraft, usually the cockpit windshield or an engine, posing a safety risk.  

Woman rescued after 2 days floating at sea

by By Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A 22 year-old woman has been rescued after she was found floating in the sea for 2 days in Maguindanao province.  Flora Bad-i, a resident of Esperanza in Sultan Kudarat, was found by a local fisherman near Bonggo Island in Parang, Maguindanao.

Sandiganbayan acquits ex-Navy captain, 3 others

MANILA, Philippines - Retired Philippine Navy Captain Vicente Escala and his 3 co-accused have been acquitted by the Sandiganbayan First Division of falsification charges on an appeal.

MILF files complaint with ceasefire body over Cotabato bus bombing allegation

DAVAO CITY -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has filed a complaint with the joint ceasefire committee against Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin for issuing statements linking the rebel group to the bus bombing in Central Mindanao that killed 10 civilians.

Lagman to bishops: No threat of jail

Nobody ends up in the slammer for opposing the reproductive health (RH) bill. 

$1: 42.700

$1: 42.700 (P42.53)

Euro 1: 60.4067

House out to OK 2011 budget today

CONGRESS resumes session today after a three-week break, with the House of Representatives scheduled to approve next year's P1.645-trillion budget on third and final reading.

DOLE forms panel to probe 'abusive' PHL attaché in HK

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has formed a fact-finding committee to look into the alleged abusive behavior of a Philippine labor attaché assigned in Hong Kong toward an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) there.

Recruiters 'strike' to protest mandated insurance

Recruitment agencies have vowed to stop processing workers due for deployment over unresolved issues on the compulsory liability insurance mandated by a provision in the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act for 2009, recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said in a news release Sunday.

Filipino activists deported from South Korea

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - Six Filipino activists who had planned to take part in alternative meetings that are set to run parallel to the G20 summit in South Korea have been deported from Seoul, their colleagues said Sunday.

Travel chaos as volcanic ash grounds Indonesia flights

International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia on Sunday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama.

Obama calls on Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi

MUMBAI—US President Barack Obama on Sunday called for the release of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, criticizing the first elections in Myanmar for 20 years as neither free nor fair.

Scientists meet to ensure supply of Asia's staple, rice

by Agence France-Presse
HANOI, Vietnam - Scientists from around the world meet in Vietnam on Tuesday aiming to ensure a steady supply of rice -- the staple food for Asia's poor -- against threats that include climate change and urbanization.

Death toll rises to 23 in Costa Rica mudslide

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica—Rescue brigades on Saturday recovered three more bodies of people who died in a huge mid-week mudslide triggered by heavy rain, raising the death toll to 23, the Costa Rican Red Cross said Saturday.

Pope sanctifies Sagrada Familia, faces gay kiss-in

(UPDATE) Pope Benedict XVI Sunday consecrated a world monument to family, the Sagrada Familia church, but faced a gay kiss-in protest before he attacked abortion and defended male-female marriage.

PWDs in Cebu province hold first sports event

by By Rene U. Borromeo/JPM

A four-year-old girl who was born without her left foot was the youngest among the two hundred participants who joined the first ever province-wide sports event for the Persons With Disabilities (PWD).

The Junior Chamber International Philippines (JCI) Cebu-Mactan Channel in partnership with the Province of Cebu and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan held its first ever "PWD Run, Walk 'n Roll" early morning yesterday at the Cebu Provincial Capitol grounds.

"Amo chapter ni promote niini kay kahibaw man mi nga kini nga sector sa ato mga kaigsuonan wa kaayo makiti mao amo ni gilusad to create awareness na we have these people and they have these talent and skills nga ilang ipasigarbo," said Eli Espina, President of the JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel.

The said event was participated in by hundreds of PWDs coming from the sixth district, Federation for the Welfare of Person with Disabilities in Mandaue City, Inc. (FWPDMI), Carcar and some other parts of Cebu.

About 38 PWDs joined the run category with one female participant. There were 117 in the walk category and 39 participants in their manual wheelchairs joined the roll category, nine of them females.

The "roll participants" who were in their blue t-shirts started the raise in front of the Capitol around 6:00 a.m. yesterday. They were followed by the "run participants" wearing their green t-shirts. Meanwhile, the walk participants who were wearing red t-shirts and gathered just outside the Fuente Osmeña Circle followed the runners.

Despite the sudden rain fall, all the PWDs who joined the race as well as their family who supported them continued the activity and made it to the finish line at the Cebu City Sports Complex.

Mayor Michael Rama said that when it comes to sports, any person could join. He said that through sports one will be able to discover the bad traits he has to improve and through this, one can be able to develop a good personality and establish a healthy well being.

"We can conquer all our disabilities if we just run, roll and walk hand in hand," said Vice Gov. Greg Sanchez who was also present in the event.

JCI Sen. Arleigh Jay Sitoy, chairman of the Provincial Board committee on differently-abled persons, said that he was thankful that the JCI approached him and partnered with him in making the event possible.

With the positive response that the organizers received, another event is being planned for next year and this time, the team will make sure that the crowd will be much bigger.

The event also highlighted the talents of persons with disabilities through the "PWD Got Talent."

Winners were given trophies, medals and cash prize.

Rain or Shine ends San Miguel's winning streak

Sol Mercado scored 19 points in the second half and Doug Kramer unloaded 11 in the fourth quarter as Rain or Shine won a shootout with the PBA's most talented team on paper Sunday night in the Philippine Cup eliminations.

Texters struggle, but outlast pesky Boosters

In a week filled with upsets, Talk N Text was flirting with disaster against a team that has more defeats than victories the past three seasons - the Barako Bull Energy Boosters.

Pacman training enters last phase

Pukpukan na ang training ni Manny Pacquiao lalo't isang linggo na lang bago ang kanyang laban kay Antonio Margarito. Maaga namang dumating sa Dallas, Texas si Margarito.

I'll beat Margarito to the punch, says Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao has one thing in mind to underscore his quickness over Antonio Margarito in their Nov. 13 title fight at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Beat him to the punch.

Margarito's trainer on Roach: Be careful what you wish for

Robert Garcia, Antonio Margarito's trainer, won't take Freddie Roach's fiery words sitting down. The soft-spoken, former world champion warned Roach to be careful of what he wishes for after the four-time Trainer of the Year stood by his earlier prediction Manny Pacquiao will knock out Margarito in either the 8th or 9th round of their World Boxing Council (WBC) super-welterweight title fight on Saturday.

'JuanMA' retains WBO featherweight title

MANILA, Philippines - Puerto Rican champion Juan Manuel Lopez passed the toughest test of his career yet after retaining his World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight title and stopping 2-time world champion Rafael Marquez.

Shalani's mom defends daughter

MANILA, Philippines – The mother of Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad on Sunday spoke out for the first time to defend her daughter from her critics.

For one, Evelyn denied that Shalani dated Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian.

She maintained: "Even before and pagkatapos, there is no relation between Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian [and Shalani]. May I say this, kung maririnig mo ako mayor, maraming salamat sa pagtingin mo na maganda sa anak ko. You're a decent guy and we have respected you so much."

The mother also disputed talk that her daughter and her first boyfriend have a love child. "No, wala pong anak ang Shalani ko."

When asked about Aquino, Evelyn has only good words for the 50-year-old President.

She said she believes that the 2 loved and respected each other.

"Ang pinakita naman niya sa amin taong tao. We welcome him and I feel naman na mahal niya si Shalani that's why minahal namin siya… [Pero] it's not meant to be," she said.

Shalani Soledad to debut as TV host on "Willing-Willie" Monday night

"This is hard work," Shalani Soledad said as she watched Willie Revillame, for the nth time, go over the music-and-spiel sequence that he had put together, on the spot, as intro for possibly her biggest entrance to date.

Oyo, Kristine's ex-partners not invited to wedding

MANILA, Philippines - Former partners of bride-to-be Kristine Hermosa and actor Oyo Boy Sotto will not be invited to their wedding.

Still no winner of P333-M Grand Lotto pot

MANILA, Philippines - There's still a chance to become a multi-millionaire in the 6/55 Grand Lotto jackpot.

PH ranked 97th out of 169 nations in UN quality-of-life report

The Philippines ranked 97th out of 169 countries worldwide in the 2010 United Nations (UN) Human Development Index (HDI), which pertains to the quality of life in UN member countries.

In a November 4 report, the UN Development Program (UNDP) said the Philippines' HDI rose from 0.523 in 1980 to the current 0.638, which gave the country (with a life expectancy of 72.33 years) a rank of 97 out of 169 countries.

However, the HDI of East Asia and the Pacific rose from 0.391 in 1980 to 0.650 today, placing the Philippines below the regional average.

In 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2005, the country's HDIs—0.523, 0.552, 0.597 and 0.619—were higher than the region's 0.391, 0.474, 0.567 and 0.608.

The rankings of other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are Singapore, 27; Brunei, 37; Malaysia, 57; Thailand, 92; Indonesia, 108; Vietnam, 113; Laos, 122; Cambodia, 124; and Burma (Myanmar), 132.

In the latest HDI report, Norway, with its 81 years of life expectancy, led the world in human development achievement. Australia and New Zealand placed second and third.

Also in the Top 10 were the United States, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden and Germany.

Three African states—Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe—were at the bottom, along with Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Burundi.

According to the UNDP, East Asia and the Pacific had by far the "strongest overall performance of any region in the world, nearly doubling average HDI attainment over the past 40 years."

China, which ranked 89th in the HDI, made it to the UNDP's list of Top 10 Movers, along with Nepal, Indonesia, Laos and South Korea, "due to income rather than health or education achievements."

"China's per capita income increased a stunning 21-fold over the last four decades, also lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. Yet, China was not among the region's top performers in improving school enrollment and life expectancy," the UNDP said.

South Korea ranked highest among East Asian countries at No. 12. At No. 155, Afghanistan ranked lowest among Asian nations out of 169 countries.

Other Asian states and their rankings: Japan, 11; Hong Kong, 21; Iran, 70; Sri Lanka, 91; India, 119; Bangladesh, 129; and Nepal, 138.

At least 14 countries, including Cuba, Lebanon, Oman, Grenada, Samoa, Bhutan, Eritrea, Seychelles and Vanuatu, as well as the Palestinian territories, have been dropped from the HDI "due to a lack of internationally compiled and verified data."

The UNDP described the premise of the HDI as "simple." It said that "national development should be measured not just by economic growth, but also by health and education achievement."

"Life expectancy remains the main indicator for health. In education, the expected years of schooling for school-age children replaces gross enrollment and the average years of schooling in the adult population replaces adult literacy rates to provide a fuller picture of education level," the UN attached agency said.

Pinoy undergoes cutting-edge kidney stone removal in UAE

A 44-year-old Filipino was the first beneficiary of a kidney-stone removal using a cutting-edge technique in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
According to Dubai, UAE-based Khaleej Times, Baltazar Miana is now recovering well after undergoing the procedure, called the percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), at Ras Al Khaimah Hospital.

Miana's first physician in Dubai had first opted for a laser treatment for him, the report quoted Miana as saying.

But since a laser treatment would mean frequent trips to his physician, Miana went to another hospital, Ras Al Kaimah, to seek another opinion on what surgical procedure seemed convenient for him.

Miana said he could not afford to be absent from work so he had to look for the best alternative.

Dr. DR Thakar, Miana's physician, is a UK-trained urologist with nearly three decades of experiencing spanning several geographies.

PCNL is a procedure which involves passing a fiber-optic instrument through the patient's kidney to remove medium-sized and large kidney stones.

The procedure uses an ultrasonic or laser probe to break up the large kidney stones, and the pieces are suctioned out with a scope. A nephrostomy tube drains the kidney of urine.

During the procedure, the surgeon inserts a needle through the patient's lower back directly into the kidney.

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