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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Major News Stories for December 24, 2010

Major News Stories for December 24, 2010
Major News Stories for December 24, 2010



DTI to stores: Keep noche buena price lists in conspicuous areas

The Department of Trade and Industry on Thursday reminded retail stores to keep DTI suggested retail price (SRP) lists in conspicuous areas, even as it said prices of noche buena food items have remained stable as Christmas nears.

A ‘first’: Most gov’t teachers receive full bonus before Christmas

Just a few days before Christmas, teachers finally got hold of their P10,000 bonus in full—a first after a tradition of partial releases in the past years.

Cash for senior citizens released

by By Rene U. Borromeo/JPM

Hundreds of senior citizens from different barangays of Cebu City trooped to City Hall yesterday to receive their cash incentives, at P4,000 each.

Leyte town employees get P35K in Christmas bonus each

Government employees of this bustling municipality received at least P35,000 each in Christmas bonus.

“This is P10,000 more than what they received from the previous administration,” said Emery Joy Roble, neophyte mayor of Hilongos, which has a population of 64,000, a yearly income of P17 million and P70 million Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

Roble said increased tax collections from four sand-and-gravel (SAG) concessionaires of this town’s Salug River and from the public market made the bigger bonuses possible.

“We were able to collect fees of about a million (pesos) in just two months from SAG concessionaires since I assumed office compared with just P500,000 for a year of the previous administration,” Roble beamed.

From the public market, he said they were able to collect at least P10,000 daily from the previous P2,000 to P3,000 daily.

Roble, who was president of the interisland commercial shipping company Roble Shipping Lines before he was elected mayor last May, has been criticized for supposedly increasing local taxes.

“I didn’t increase any local taxes as construed by my critics. I only implement to the fullest ordinances made by the previous administration,” the mayor clarified.

“Bringing corporate management to LGUs is no easy task. (But) I have to introduce a semblance of the corporate world to realize more income and services to our constituents,” said Roble.

Hilongos is also the rice granary of Leyte, with more than 5,000 hectares planted to rice. It has a busy seaport that links the western side of Leyte province to nearby island provinces of Bohol and Cebu.

Employees of the Southern Leyte provincial government and of Maasin City, meanwhile, also received their bonuses of P29,500 and P27,000, respectively, on Wednesday.

Holiday pay rules issued

THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has issued pay guidelines for regular and special holidays for the remainder of the year.

If the regular holidays of Dec. 25, 27 and Jan. 1, fall on a working day, an employee is entitled to 200% of the basic wage for the first eight hours and an additional 30% for succeeding hours.

If the employee does not go to work, he is entitled to 100% of his regular daily rate.

If the regular holidays fall on an employee’s rest day and he is compelled to go to work, he is entitled to 260% of the daily rate for the first eight hours.

If unworked, the employee is entitled to 100% of his regular daily rate.

For the special holidays of Dec. 24 and 31, working employees are entitled to an additional 30% of the daily rate.

Those working on a rest day are entitled to an additional 50% of the daily rate.

ATMs will churn out cash during holidays - BSP

To allay fears that automated teller machines might run out of cash during the holidays, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Thursday it will continue to service the ATM operations of banks.

Traffic between airport, mainland slows down turnaround time of cabs, rent-a-cars

by cebuweb

FINDING a taxi or a rent-a-car at the Mactan airport is hard this time of year, as most of them are stuck in traffic.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete said this has been the situation since last Wednesday.

“Some people reported that it took them almost two hours to reach Cebu City from the airport. Because the airport transport services (taxis and rent-a-cars) will take longer to reach the city, it will take them also longer to return, thereby causing a multiplier effect in longer turnaround time, hence their frequency and availability are very much diminished,” read Villarete’s statement e-mailed to Sun.Star Cebu.

Villarete and Director Ahmed Cuizon of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 discussed the matter, and both agreed to field MCIAA coasters to ferry stranded passengers to different areas in Metro Cebu.

Meanwhile, the LTFRB 7 has allowed bus companies to ply to areas other than their routes due to the increasing number of people who travel during the Christmas holidays.

Cuizon said that as of yesterday afternoon, his office issued 220 special permits to buses that make extra trips outside their mandated routes.

But Cuizon said special permits are only issued upon the recommendation of and in coordination with the Land Transportation Office.

Vidal thanks Cebuanos in last Christmas message

by By Joey Cindy M. Semblante

In his last Christmas message as the head of the Cebu Archdiocese, Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Cebuanos.

Comar: City fire stations rated fair

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja/FPL

Cebu City Fire Marshal Aderson Comar has conducted a random Operation Readiness Site Inspection in nine fire substations in the city to check their readiness to respond to fire alarms especially this yuletide season.

Watcher’s body found hacked

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY – Fishermen and the police on Thursday fished out of the Cordova seas the body of the missing Marine Watch volunteer Rodrigo Sultan.

Sultan, who could not be accounted for since Monday after escorting two men caught in the act of illegal fishing, bore hack wounds on his face.

He also had a hack wound on his arm, an indication that police said he had parried the blow.

He was last seen escorting fishermen Dongcoy Yongco and Luis Fernandez.

Police recovered Sultan’s body at 6:45 a.m. at the Kaloking Ledesma islet near the Cordova lighthouse in Barangay Day-as.

Cordova Police chief Felix Pacaldo said Yongco and Fernandez were suspects in the killing of Sultan.

Sultan had arrested Yongco months back also for illegal fishing. Yongco was fined P2,500.

Despite pronouncements by Pacaldo and Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy that Marine Watch volunteers are not allowed to carry firearms because they are civilians, Sultan carried with him a .45 pistol, his wife Peregrina said.

Marine Watch volunteers keep a shotgun in their pumpboat, their wives said.

Seeing Sultan armed could have made fishermen Yongco and Fernandez uneasy and hostile, Peregrina said.


Yongco and Fernandez had turned over a .45 pistol to a tanod (village watchman) shortly after their motorized boat arrived in the shores of Barangay Pooc, Talisay City Tuesday night.

They hurriedly left after they turned over the firearm to Nilo Balorio, a village watchman, around 10 p.m., said Pooc barangay captain Dorotheo Emit.

“Pre, diha na na nimo, ikaw na bahala,” were reportedly the words of the two upon handing over the handgun to Balorio.

Balorio, also a local fisher, lives in the shoreline of Pooc where his fellow fishermen’s pumpboats usually dock.

Balorio called up Emit, who advised him to record his acceptance of the firearm in the blotter at the Barangay Hall.

Emit said the handgun was turned over to the Cordova police.


Meanwhile, Talisay City Police Station Chief Henry Biñas visited the wife of Fernandez at their makeshift hut in the coastal area of Pooc last Wednesday afternoon.

He appealed to her to help the police locate or to persuade her husband to surrender.

Biñas made the same appeal to Yody Yongco, the pumpboat owner.

In a related development, Cordova Councilor Lemuel Pogoy said the Council will recommend that allowances of Marine Watch volunteers be increased and that they be insured.

A Marine Watch volunteer receives an allowance of P3,000 monthly. If he is a pumpboat operator, he gets P4,500 a month.

The Cordova Municipal Government issued financial aid of P10,000 and a sack of rice to Peregrina Sultan, said Pogoy who heads the environment committee.

Dynamited fish seized at checkpoint

by cebuweb

FIVE boxes of rabbit fish (kitong) from Bogo and San Remigio were confiscated by the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force (CPAIFTF) after Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources personnel discovered these were caught with the use of dynamite.

In his “post-market denial operation for illegally-caught fish report,” CPAIFTF assistant team leader Jeofrey Merencillo said four of the five boxes came from a truck driven by Danilo Salinas. The other came from a truck driven by Cecilio Estenso.

The report was submitted by former board member and now Capitol consultant Jose Mari Gastardo to Gov. Gwen Garcia.

Gastardo said the operation and inspection of trucks carrying fish will continue to prevent dynamited fish from reaching the market.

The CPAIFTF team inspected three trucks loaded with fish from the north of Cebu.

The first one, carrying 128 boxes of assorted fish from Hagnaya, San Remigio, was


The other two trucks, driven by Salinas and Estenso, were found to be carrying five boxes of dynamited fish, which were immediately confiscated.

Salinas told the team the fish was loaded to his truck at Bogo port, but he believes the fish came from Masbate Province. He could not remember the name of the shipper because they only picked the cargo from a multicab, which had engine trouble.


Three of the boxes were turned over to Barangay Captain Lorena Yungco of Cotcot, Liloan, where the team conducted the checkpoint.

Yungco said she will distribute the fish to indigent constituents to serve as presents from the Province.

The remaining boxes were turned over to the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center for the inmates’ consumption.

The confiscation of dynamited fish was first initiated by the late Jojo dela Victoria, executive director of Bantay Dagat Visayas, who donated the fish to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other charitable institutions.

Stray bullet hits boy, 14, in chest

by cebuweb

A TEEN is in stable condition after he was shot in the chest last Wednesday night. The gunman is also in the hospital after he was shot while trying to flee.

The first shooting took place in the living room of Ritchie Rubin, 14, in Sitio Kinner, Barangay Poblacion, Toledo City.

The suspect is 48-year-old Ricardo Baricuatro, who claims to be a former media practitioner.

According to initial investigation, Ritchie and his parents were watching the TV around 8 p.m., when they heard a drunk Baricuatro shouting and throwing things at the house.

Baricuatro was reportedly looking for his nephew whom he had a fight with.

“Gawas diha (Get out of there),” Baricuatro was heard shouting.

He drew out his gun and fired into the house.

Richie’s mother Rosalie heard her son shout for help. “Ma tabangi ko, naigo ko. Dad-a ko sa ospital (Help me. I’m hit),” he said.

Baricuatro tried to flee on a motorcycle without a plate number. Panicked neighbors called the police for help.

It was Poblacion’s chief tanod, Bernardo Layan, who went to the house of PO3 Lorenzo Gutang, who was not on duty at the time.

After hearing what happened, Gutang, accompanied by Layan, went after Baricuatro.

Upon seeing the two, Baricuatro drove his motorcycle straight at them.

Baricuatro hit Gutang, who fell on the ground. The policeman fired at Baricuatro when he saw the latter poke a gun at him. Baricuatro was hit in the left leg and thigh.

Police recovered Baricuatro’s .38 revolver, still loaded with two bullets, and two empty shells.

Baricuatro, who is recovering in a hospital, will face charges of frustrated murder, direct assault and illegal possession of firearm.

Chief Insp. Jovito Canlapan, Toledo City Police Station chief, said the suspect has a record of harassing people, but no one pursued a case against him.

Vice mayor posts P30T-bail

by cebuweb

FORMER Aloguinsan, Cebu mayor Cynthia Moreno will be spending Christmas with her family.

She posted the P30,000-bail before Regional Trial Court Judge Eric Men-chavez yesterday after a Sandiganbayan warrant was issued against her.

Bail denied for ‘operators’ of brothel

by cebuweb

A CRIMINAL case for large-scale trafficking in persons was filed yesterday against four persons the police said are behind the operation of Gate 3, a casa, or brothel, in Banilad that is mentioned in such Internet sites as and

Cebu City Prosecutor Nicolas Sellon didn’t recommend bail for the respondents, who remain in custody following the entrapment at Gate 3 last Dec. 3 by operatives of the Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

Court sheriff suspended for ordering demolition

by cebuweb

THE Supreme Court (SC) suspended for six months a Regional Trial Court (RTC) sheriff for gross ignorance of court rules for issuing a demolition order without a court order.

RTC Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes said the court sheriff belongs to one of the branches in the Palace of Justice in Cebu City.

But Paredes won’t name him, as the SC has yet to decide on the motion for reconsideration the court sheriff had submitted.

Consult Council on 93-1, Rama told

by cebuweb

CEBU City Councilor Alvin Dizon suggested to Mayor Michael Rama to first have a dialogue with the City Council, the negotiating body and urban poor leaders occupying Province-owned lots before he talks to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Rama, however, does not see the need for it at this time.

Dizon, a member of the ad hoc committee that the mayor created to resolve the concerns of the occupants of the Province’s properties, said it will be wise and prudent for the mayor to consult the council or the negotiating team before talking to the governor.

MCWD to ask court to reconsider ruling on guv’s appointing power

by cebuweb

THE Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will file a motion for reconsideration on the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) allowing Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to appoint board members of the utility firm.

Lawyer Benjamin Militar, a board director and is himself handling the case, argued that the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973, which RTC Branch 18 Judge Gilbert Moises used as basis to rule against the appointment of Jose Mari Yu as MCWD director, has been amended by the 1987 Constitution.

POEA to process OFW exit permits even on weekends

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has announced that it will process exit permits for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) even on weekends.

In a statement on Thursday, the POEA said returning OFWs or balikmanggagawa can secure their exit permits, even on Saturdays and Sundays, in Global Pinoy Centers in selected SM malls in Metro Manila.


According to the POEA, the centers will accept applications for overseas employment certificates (OECs) from vacationing OFWs until January 15, 2011.


OFWs can process their documents at these centers from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the holiday season, except on December 25 and January 1.


The centers are located at the fifth level of The Block SM North EDSA in Quezon City and at the second level of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City.


Meanwhile, the POEA central office in Mandaluyong City will remain open on regular working days.


POEA officer-in-charge Stella Banawis reminded OFWs to present their valid passports, working permits and other relevant employment documents for verification by POEA officers.


Banawis, however, clarified that the POEA will not process the papers of workers returning to Afghanistan, lraq and Lebanon, following the existing deployment ban on sending workers to those countries.


Returning household service workers bound for Jordan are also advised to proceed to the POEA main office.


A deployment ban on domestic helpers to Jordan has been enforced since 2008, in light of the alarming number of abuse cases reported by Filipino workers there.


Thousands of Filipino helpers continue to defy the ban, mainly because the Jordanian government does not recognize the ban, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.


The POEA did not say if OECs for domestic helpers returning to Jordan will be processed.

Aquino to present year-end report

President Benigno Aquino III will address the nation soon to present a year-end report on the accomplishments of his six-month-old administration as well as his plans for the new year.

Aquino to sign 2011 budget on Dec. 27 - official

President Benigno Aquino III will sign next year's proposed P1.645-trillion budget on December 27, the first time in 11 years that the budget will be signed on time.

Allies. opposition to get equal pork from budget—Speaker

In his administration's first approved budget, President Aquino will make no distinction between allies and critics in the allocation of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), more popularly known as pork barrel.

Palace asks SC to reconsider decision on Truth Commission

by By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its December 7 decision declaring the Truth Commission unconstitutional, arguing that its creation does not violate the equal protection clause.

OSG: No need to amend Truth Commission EO

by By Ira Pedrasa,

MANILA, Philippines - The executive order that created the Truth Commission does not discriminate against the past administration, thus there is no need to amend it, the Office of the Solicitor General said.

Palace: Aquino consults De Lima on Garcia case

UPDATED 12:10 p.m. - President Aquino has consulted Justice Secretary Leila de Lima about legal measures to deal with the case of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia who gained temporary liberty despite the plunder case filed against him. Presidential Communications office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said Garcia's plea bargain agreement gave the government's anti-corruption drive a blow.

Faeldon allowed to post bail


MANILA, Philippines - Another leader of the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny has been allowed to post bail but lack of resources is preventing him from leaving the custody of the military.

Court junks Lacson bid for new probe in double murders

The Manila City regional trial court Branch 18 dismissed the bid of Senator Panfilo Lacson calling for a reinvestigation of his alleged involvement in the deaths of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and driver Emmanuel Corbito.

Senate okays only four bills before holiday break

Only four out of the 2,626 bills filed at the Senate were approved by the chamber on third and final reading before the holiday break, the records of the Senate Legislative Bills and Index Service Department (LBIS) showed.

Korean missing in Surigao del Norte


MANILA, Philippines - A Korean national has been reported missing after going on a boat trip to a famous island in Surigao del Norte province over the weekend.

US coast guard to admit Filipino cadets for training

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has been invited by its US counterpart to nominate students for the latter's international cadet program.

PRC launches online professional verification system

To help weed out fake doctors, dentists and the like, the Professional Regulation Commission on Thursday launched an online verification system that would allow interested persons to check if an individual is a licensed professional or not.

$1: 44.040

$1: 44.040 (P44.20)

Euro 1: 57.9570

N. Korea 'ready for sacred war' as South holds major drill

SEOUL—North Korea on Thursday said it was ready for a "sacred war" using its nuclear weapons as the South held a live-fire drill in a show of strength a month after Pyongyang's deadly attack on a border island.

Prime minister of Laos resigns—gov’t

HANOI—Laos on Thursday announced a new prime minister after the surprise resignation of Bouasone Bouphavanh months before his term was scheduled to end.

Pacquiao plans 8-week training for Mosley fight


MANILA, Philippines – Eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao believes he will need a longer training period to prepare against former world welterweight champion “Sugar’ Shane Mosley.

Pacquiao is taking advantage of his free time by bringing his family to Boracay and Australia during the Christmas break.

The Filipino champion said it will be all business when he returns after his vacation.

“This is going to be a difficult fight,” said Pacquiao, the World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight and World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title holder.

Pacquiao’s fight promoter, Bob Arum, has announced that the Filipino will fight Mosley on May 7, 2011.

"We came to a meeting of the minds," Arum told "I believe it will be an exciting fight. Shane knows how to fight and how to deal with the speed. Manny is in for a hellacious fight. I really believe styles make fights."

Pacquiao in Boracay for exclusive family time


MANILA, Philippines – After a busy year in the ring and political arena, Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took his family to Boracay for quality time with his children this Christmas.

Pacquiao denies bodyguard gun-toting incident


MANILA, Philippines - Sarangani Rep. and 8-division boxing champ Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao denied Thursday media reports that his bodyguard pointed a gun at a reporter at the House of Representatives.

‘Bata’ loses top ranking in billiards money list


MANILA, Philippines – Filipino billiards legend Efren "Bata" Reyes, one of the most widely recognizable figures of the sport, has lost his top placing in the world’s billiards money list.

Celtics push win streak to 14, top 76ers (AP)

There's something about the Boston Celtics' 14-game winning streak that doesn't seem quite right to coach Doc Rivers. Point guard Rajon Rondo, after getting off to the best start of his career, has missed six of the 14 wins. Backup Delonte West missed the last 12.

Cardinal to filmmakers: Be circumspect in making comedy films

On the heels of protests against some supposedly disrespectful and offensive scenes in the movie "Father Jejemon," Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales reminded filmmakers to be more prudent and discerning in producing comedy flicks.

Bea, Robin start taping for TV soap


MANILA, Philippines –Young actress Bea Alonzo has started taping for her upcoming project with action star Robin Padilla.

'Pilipinas Win na Win' bows out New Year's Eve


MANILA, Philippines - Noon time show Pilipinas Win na Win (PWNW) will have its last episode on Dec. 31, 2010, ABS-CBN Corporation announced Thursday. pays courtesy call on PNoy


MANILA, Philippines – of the famed Black Eyed Peas on Thursday paid a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang.

'Prince of Popera' is a Filipino

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

MANHATTAN, New York - A Filipino singer is belting out popular pop music tunes in operatic style and drawing in fans of both genres.

Jonathan Badon is known as the “Prince of Popera”—a pop music performed in operatic style popularized by operatic singer like Josh Groban.

Like Groban, Badon, classically-trained Filipino artist, is bridging the gap between opera and pop.

“I mix pop and classical to reach out to the common people so that is more appealing kasi,” said Badon.

He is the son of Remedios Badon, a sarzuela singer in the 70s and the younger brother of Kelly Badon, a former guitarist of the band Side A.




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