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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 12, 2011 Major News Stories

January 12, 2011 Major News Stories
January 12, 2011 Major News Stories

Energy dep't questions oil firms on 50-cent oil hike

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - An energy official questioned the 50-centavo price hike for gasoline products of oil firms on Tuesday.

According to the energy department's computation, the price increase should only be 19 centavos per liter.

"It's higher than we expected (gas prices).kaya kung sobra, dapat ibaba nila," energy undersecretary Jay Layug told reporters on Tuesday.

Motorists had to deal with a fresh round of fuel price hikes on Tuesday. Aside from gasoline's 50-centavo hike, diesel was up for over 38 centavos per liter and kerosene prices were found to be higher by 25 centavos.

The energy department, however, did not question the price hike for diesel.

Layug recognized that since the oil industry has been deregulated, it is market forces -- not the government -- that dictate prices.

Group claims P6.72-per-liter overprice in gas pump price

Local oil prices remained overpriced by P6.72 per liter as of the end of 2010, according to the multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

NDRRMC: Death toll from floods climbs to 40

The death toll from floods and landslides that hit parts of the country in the last two weeks went up to 40 on Tuesday night, with most of the new fatalities from Eastern Visayas.

Death toll up in E. Visayas

TACLOBAN CITY -- Floods and landslides due to heavy downpour have claimed at least 12 lives in Eastern Visayas, according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC).

7 killed in Samar floods

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

EASTERN SAMAR, Philippines – Seven people have drowned in floods that hit Eastern and Western Samar, authorities said on Tuesday.

Six of the victims are from Eastern Samar province while one lived in Palapag, Northern Samar.

Jipapad and Maslog towns in Eastern Samar have been isolated because of floods, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Committee.

Around 2,400 families in Jipapad town had to leave their homes and are currently in temporary evacuation centers.

An estimated 1,153 families were affected in Maslog town.

Floods inundated 28 villages in Dolores, Eastern Samar, affecting 2,638 families.

Around 4,815 families, on the other hand, were affected in Can-avid and Borongan in Eastern Samar.

In St. Bernard, Southern Leyte, a total of 1,253 families were evacuated from 20 barangays.

State weather bureau PAGASA, meanwhile, said the region is experiencing heavy rainfall.

Since the start of the year, rainfall was estimated to have reached 397 millimeters in Tacloban City compared to the average amount of rainfall for the entire month at 288.5 mm.

Girl drowns, 369 families evacuated in Negros Occidental floods

The heavy rains in Negros Occidental caused flooding in three cities and one town in the province on Tuesday, pushing 369 families in one city to evacuate to safe ground and leading to the death of a girl.

Cardinal asks: Support Palma

by cebuweb

CARDINAL Ricardo Vidal’s last day as archbishop of Cebu ended with a mass at the St. Joseph the Patriarch Parish in Barangay Mabolo in Cebu City and an appeal for support for his successor.

“Let us accord him with a warm welcome. I also express the hope that you will support him as you have supported me during the 29 years of my tenure as archbishop of Cebu,” he said.

Mandaue honors Vidal for service to church

by By Flor Z. Perolina

Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes and some members of the City Council yesterday handed to outgoing Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal a plaque containing a resolution that expresses the city's gratitude to the Cardinal for his efforts in uplifting the spirituality of the people in Mandaue.

More Sinulog entries means ‘longer’ parade

by cebuweb

WITH more dancing contingents this year compared to the last Sinulog, organizers are preparing for a longer parade this Sunday, where 48 to 50 dancing contingents and 60 other entries in the float, higante and puppeteer categories will participate.

Because there are more contingents, organizers will start the parade early so they can end it by 8 p.m.

The number of dancing contingents joining this year is the second largest number in the 31-year history of the Sinulog, only three contingents fewer than the 51 contingents that joined the parade in 2008.

Force of 12,000 to secure Sinulog

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY -- To secure the public during the Sinulog, about 12,000 personnel from the police and military will be deployed.

Chief Supt. Ager Ontog, director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Central Visayas, said it will be quite a challenge for them to maintain peace and order in the festivities that are expected to attract two to three million spectators.

Let dancers have it

by cebuweb

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama would prefer if Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia will directly give financial assistance for the Sinulog to the contingents, particularly those in the towns under the Province of Cebu.

Garcia has offered to give financial assistance to the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) if the organization asks for it.

National Geographic magazine, French TV crew to cover festival

by cebuweb

SINULOG will gain more international exposure this year, with a French TV news team and a National Geographic writer documenting the grand parade and other religious activities.

Photographers from Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and other countries also have joined some 1,800 participants of the Sinulog photo contest.

For the first time, the National Geographic will feature the Sinulog in its magazine, which is distributed worldwide.

Dodong Gullas' Halad Museum reopens today

by By Nathalie M. Tomada

The Halad Museum, currently undergoing expansion, will open partly to the public beginning today for the Sinulog week, while the whole project is expected to be finished within the month.

Bogo execs serving suspension for 6-year-old graft complaint

by cebuweb

THE preventive suspension of two Bogo City Hall officials stays, pending the completion of the six-year-old investigation on their alleged participation in the P26.5-million Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) controversy.

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez affirmed her Jan. 8, 2010 order placing Bogo City treasurer Rhett Minguez and Cresencio Verdida, the city’s accountant, under a six-month preventive suspension without pay for dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

7 months after term expired Supreme Court: Tining won the 2007 congressional race

by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/JPM

Seven months after the May 2010 elections, the Supreme Court (SC) declared that it was former Bogo mayor Celestino “Tining” A. Martinez III who won the May 14, 2007 elections.

CA Cebu Station’s top post ‘up for grabs’

by cebuweb

THE incumbent executive justice of the Court of Appeals (CA) stationed here in Cebu will retire in June. Two justices, both former Cebu judges, are eyed as her most likely successor.

Justice Pampio Abarintos is the most senior among the nine justices in the CA Cebu Station and, based on that, sources said he will likely get the post Justice Portia Hormachuelos will vacate.

But if Justice Isaias Dicdican, chairman of the CA’s 17th Division in Manila, is

transferred back to Cebu, he will become the most senior magistrate.

Cutie moves for mandatory pre-audit

by By Garry B. Lao/JPM

Cebu City Rep. Rachel Marguerite “Cutie” Del Mar is pushing for the passage of a measure that requires all government expenditures to go through mandatory pre-audit examinations prior to the disbursement of public funds.

DILG to BFP: Impose fire safety requirements

by By Rene U. Borromeo/JPM

If fire officials strictly enforce the provisions of the Fire Safety Code as ordered by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, many commercial establishments in Cebu City will be closed, unless owners will correct deficiencies.

Aquino’s team identifies 32 bills for LEDAC

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Poverty reduction is one of 32 bills that Cabinet members are pushing to be included in the Palace’s agenda for the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

7 out of 10 OFWs positive for HIV

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has released new data on HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) in the Philippines.

Still, according to the data, of the 160 OFW HIV/AIDS positive, 83% were men and 18% were women.

PNoy extends operation of Cimatu's preparedness team

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has signed an executive order extending the operations of the Presidential Middle East Preparedness Committee (PMEPC) by another six months.

More 'mutineers' apply for amnesty

Thirty-five more soldiers, including a Navy officer, who were implicated in attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration applied for amnesty on Monday and Tuesday, bringing the total number of applicants to 126.

Trillanes attends committee hearing at Senate for first time

UPDATED 4:30 p.m. - For the first time since he was elected in 2007, formerly detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday attended a committee hearing at the Senate.

Arroyo’s former poll lawyer a bet for post of Comelec chairman

The former election lawyer of ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is emerging as a top contender for the next chairman of the Commission on Elections.

President Benigno Aquino III personally interviewed lawyer Romulo Macalintal at the Premier Guest House in Malacañang at around 5 p.m. Monday to formally offer the position, according to a source who saw the lawyer there.

Mr. Aquino apparently did not mind that Macalintal used to lawyer for his predecessor, whom he has been criticizing for alleged corruption and a general mismanagement of the bureaucracy.

Sought for comment, Macalintal said on Tuesday he was “flattered” that his name was included in the Malacañang list.

“I’m really honored and gratified to be considered for the position, considering that I was the lawyer of the former president, who is a known enemy of the current administration,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

Veteran election lawyer Sixto Brillantes confirmed the meeting between the President and Macalintal. He said it took place before he was himself interviewed by Mr. Aquino at the Palace on Monday night.

The Macalintal interview was arranged by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., who showed up in the 45-minute meeting, together with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, according to the informant, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk about it in public.

“I’m considering you as the next Comelec chairman. What are your plans in case you are appointed?” Mr. Aquino was quoted as telling Macalintal, who had served as his election lawyer when he first ran for Congress in 1995.

Asked if he felt the need to inform the former president, now a congresswoman, about the offer, Macalintal said: “No need to sound this off with her. I was her private lawyer. I’m sure she would also be glad (about it). It’s really a great honor to be called by the incumbent president.”

Brillantes said he was still thinking about joining the Comelec. He said he still had many cases pending before it and a possible appointment might create complications to them.

By his reckoning, Malacañang has been rushing the appointment of the next Comelec chairman before the resumption of Congress sessions on Monday. But for that to happen, he said, outgoing chairman Jose Melo would have to step down earlier than January 31, the effectivity of his resignation.

If the replacement was appointed before the resumption of Congress on January 17, Brillantes said the appointee would be able to immediately assume the Comelec post.

If the person is named while Congress is in session, he or she will be considered nominated—not appointed—and cannot occupy the post until the nomination is confirmed by Congress, according to Brillantes.

Macalintal said Melo’s replacement would serve the remainder of Melo’s term, which would end in 2015.

Ex-Chief Justice Puno calls for Charter Change

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno said Tuesday that the start of a new administration would be the perfect time to talk about amending the 1987 constitution.

VP Binay says no to Cha-cha

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday expressed his opposition to Charter change amid renewed calls to amend the Philippine Constitution.

SC rejects oral arguments on Vizconde MR

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court has denied Lauro Vizconde's request for the holding of oral arguments on his Motion for Reconsideration(MR) on the High Court ruling acquitting Hubert Webb and six other accused in the gruesome Vizconde massacre killing in 1991.

Aquino to back confirmation of DOF, DOE chiefs by CA

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras can count on President Benigno Aquino III's full support when they face the Commission on Appointments, a Palace official said Tuesday.

DoJ chief pushes for PCGG abolition

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima urged President Benigno Aquino III to push through with the abolition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

PAO chief, aides can keep their positions – CSC

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) ruled that there was no need for chief public attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta and her deputies to obtain civil executive service (CES) legibility to keep their posts.

Solon accused of badmouthing airline staff

Kakasuhan ng PAL Employees Association sa Ombudsman at sa House ethics committee si Rep. Eulogio Magsaysay ng party-list group na Alliance of Volunteer Educators. Dahil ito sa pagmumura at panghihiya umano sa isang ground crew.

Solon apologizes for 'offensive,' 'sexist' phrase

The partylist lawmaker who is underfire for calling a Philippine Airlines flight attendant a "menopausal bitch" has apologized for his utterance, but said that the ill-treatment he received made him say it.

No amnesty for tax evaders, says BIR

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has clarified that it is not granting tax amnesty to personalities charged with tax evasion.

IIRC reviews PNP crisis protocols

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Police officials, including Police Deputy Director General Benjamin Belarmino, Philippine National Police Deputy Chief for Operations, were invited to appear before the Incident Investigation and Review Committee today as resource persons as the committee meets to complete its second mandate - that of reviewing Philippine National Police (PNP)  standard operating procedures, manuals and protocols in responding to crisis situations.

PNP mulls forming teams to handle hostage crises

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is seriously considering the setting up of a rapid deployment team and tap trained psychologists to respond to crisis situations in the future.

Number of Chinese in PH reaches 61,000

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese citizens have topped the list of foreigners now staying in the Philippines, with their numbers rising to more than double in 2010 compared to the previous year, according to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

South Korean leader invites PNoy to visit Korea

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has invited President Benigno Aquino III to visit his country soonest, a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

Peso rebounds on expectation of rising interest rates in Asia

The peso regained the value it lost the previous days and closed higher on Tuesday amid expectations of rising interest rates in emerging Asia markets.

$1: 44.125

$1: 44.125 (P44.31)

Euro 1: 57.2398

BIR Central Visayas beats target

by cebuweb

WITH a collection target of P11.4 billion for 2010, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Region No. 13 (Central Visayas) exceeded its collection target by 11.9 percent and increased its collection by 33 percent from the previous year.

BIR 13 Regional Director Jose N. Tan considers his agency lucky, saying taxpayers were cooperative with them in 2010.

“We campaigned hard to convince the taxpayers to pay the right amount of taxes and the taxpayers cooperated,” Tan said.

He admitted, however, that when they first received their target, they felt that the amount was rather high.

DoE probes bribe controversy involving Ileco III power

The Department of Energy has begun investigating the alleged bribery charge involving an electric cooperative and the alleged anomalous sale of the 146-megawatt (MW) Panay and 22-MW Bohol diesel power plants.

NTC grilled by consumers for circular on broadband connection

Various representatives of telecommunications companies, broadband internet stakeholders and subscribers questioned the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for their draft memorandum circular on broadband connection.

Groups to NTC: curb 'telco abuses' on broadband internet

A consumer group and a party-list group have scored the National Telecommunications Commission for considering the placement of data volume caps on local broadband plans.

Ondoy-like floods in Australia affect 3,000 Filipinos

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

QUEENSLAND, Australia - Floods in Queensland, Australia are getting worse. Many houses in the region have been destroyed, with some residents climbing to the roofs of their homes to avoid the raging waters.

Thousands flee Brisbane, flash floods kill 10

BRISBANE—Thousands of people fled central Brisbane Tuesday as the panicked city braced for its worst flooding in 120 years, after terrifying flash floods left 10 dead and 78 missing nearby.

Haiti begins mourning earthquake dead

PORT-AU-PRINCE—Haiti on Tuesday began two days of remembrance ceremonies in honor of the nearly quarter million people who died in an earthquake that leveled the impoverished country a year ago.

Assange: We're stepping up release of leaked docs

LONDON - WikiLeaks will step up its publication schedule of secret documents, founder Julian Assange announced Tuesday, promising more revelations based on the group's stash of confidential US embassy cables and other leaks.

Pacquiao to get at least $15-M for Mosley fight

The fight between boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and Sugar Shane Mosley is officially on after the Filipino ring icon formally signed the contract for the May 7 bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Donaire wants to go for early kill vs Montiel

More than his stunning win over Vic Darchinyan four years ago, Nonito Donaire considers his coming 12-round title fight with Mexican Fernando Montiel as the one that will define his boxing career.

3 PBA refs sacked for various lapses —PBA commissioner

The Philippine Basketball Association has removed three referees from the 12-man pool assigned to work the Philippine Cup playoffs for various reasons involving different games.

Boston loss pushes idle Heat atop East (AP)

Struggling near .500 barely a month ago, the Miami Heat now lead the Eastern Conference. Boston's loss to Houston on Monday night dropped the Celtics behind Miami in the East standings. Miami is 30-9; the Celtics are now 28-9. The last time Miami led the East this late in a season was at the end of the 2004-05 campaign, according to STATS LLC.

Sam falls off bike during motocross practice

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Hunk actor Sam Milby has assured his fans that he is in good condition after meeting an accident during a motocross practice.

Jackson doctor 'ordered 255 vials of propofol'

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson's personal doctor ordered 255 vials of the powerful sedative that killed the singer in the two months before his death, a court deciding whether to try the medic heard Monday.

Two hours of TV-watching boosts heart disease risk

WASHINGTON—People who spend more than two hours per day of leisure time watching television or sitting in front of a screen face double the risk of heart disease and higher risk of dying, said a study Monday.

Filipinos told to eat more veggies, camote to ease pressure on rice

Go easy on rice. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Filipinos should diversify their diet to include more vegetables and tubers to ease the pressure on rice, which the Philippines has to import from other countries.

 


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