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

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 18, 2011 Major News Stories

January 18, 2011 Major News Stories
January 18, 2011 Major News Stories


NDRRMC: Floods death toll rises to 52; girl is latest victim

The death toll from floods and landslides that hit parts of the country in the past weeks rose to 52 Monday night, with a four-year-old girl as the latest fatality.

P40-M repairs of oval start in summer

by cebuweb

WITH the Sinulog over, the manager of the Cebu City Sports Center will now attend to repairing the rubberized track of the oval.

The P40-million repairs will start in summer, not now when it’s rainy, Sports Center manager Ricky Ballesteros said yesterday.

Deployed cops return to units

by By Niña G. Sumacot/LPM

Troops deployed to augment Cebu City Police Office’s force for the Sinulog Festival have returned to their respective units.

Sinulog workers to get 1 sack of rice

by By Rene U. Borromeo/FPL

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is giving one sack of rice as reward to all city employees who helped make the Sinulog celebration this year a success.

Give Basakanon time to reinvent itself: judge

by cebuweb

CONSISTENT placers and crowd favorites in the Sinulog grand parade, the Lumad Basakanon of Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City failed to wow both the judges and the hometown crowd last Sunday.

For the first time since joining the Sinulog free interpretation category some nine years ago, Basakanon failed to land among the top finishers.

Oldest Sinulog dancer performs at Casa Gorordo

by By Ryan Christopher J. Sorote/FPL

Popular “Sinug” (Sinulog) dancer Estelita “Titang” Diola once again performed at the Casa Gorordo Museum yesterday as part of the unbroken tradition of the Gorordo household.

For Next Year: Sinulog Foundation eyes robotics theme

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja and Gregg M. Rubio/FPL

After the successful Chinese-themed Sinulog 2011, the Sinulog Foundation Incorporated is thinking of a futuristic theme next year.

River current sweeps man away in Carcar

by cebuweb

A 20-YEAR-OLD man went missing after he jumped off a bridge into the river for a swim in Barangay Poblacion II, Carcar City yesterday morning.

Rescuers have not yet found Sherwin Cañada as of 8 p.m. last night, SPO1 Joel Pananganan said in a phone interview.

15 rescued from sinking boat off Bohol

Small boats have been warned against sailing due to rough seas after the rescue of 15 passengers aboard a motor banca that almost sank at the seawaters off Bohol Monday noon.

Captain Anelito Gabisan, deputy commander of the Coast Guard District Central Eastern Visayas, said motor banca M/B D & D had asked for assistance from the local government of Tubigon when the boat was about to sink at around 12 noon on Monday in the vicinity of Batasan Island, an island barangay (village) of Tubigon.

The motor banca D & D reportedly encountered strong waves, Gabisan said.

Gabisan said the local government of Tubigon immediately coordinated with the Coast Guard for the rescue of the passengers who were still on board the boat when they arrived.

“The motor banca was already half-submerged when our personnel arrived,” Gabisan said, adding that huge waves had damaged the boat, allowing seawater to enter the sea craft.

The rescue team brought the 15 passengers, including the crew, to Batasan Island, he added.

However, the Coast Guard report did not indicate where the motor banca came from and if it was registered.

Gabisan appealed to all fishermen and small boat operators to refrain from going to the sea at this time because of the rough seas.

Although there was no storm, the northeast monsoon created big waves that could reach four meters to five meters in height, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Pagasa Mactan weather forecaster Alex Padin urged fishermen and operators of small boats, including those that could carry 20 passengers, to refrain from going to sea at this time.

Aquino extends zero tariff on milling wheat, cement, cement clinker

To help stabilize the prices of bread and pan de sal as well as encourage more construction activities in the country, President Benigno Aquino III has extended the zero tariff on milling wheat, cement and cement clinker for six months.

Mayor drops Middle East job offers

by cebuweb

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama is discouraging Cebuanos to work in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia because of reports on “virtual slavery.”

Rama issued a policy statement yesterday, in line with his program to employ 2,400 to 3,200 people in the City.

The City also has a target of 10,000 jobs overseas.

There are job order openings in the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Australia and the Middle East.

Gov't starts recruiting 10,000 nurses


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment(DOLE), in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), started recruiting 10,000 registered  nurses for its “RN HEALS” program on Monday.

Interested applicants can file their papers at the DOLE website.

Those who will be hired will be sent to various government hospitals nationwide and will receive a monthly allowance of P8,000.

“Preferably newly registered nurses or yung mga walang experiecnce at yung funding gagamitin natin dito ay galing sa DSWD,” said DOLE Undersecretary Criselda Uy.

DOLE will accept applications for the program until February 4.

"Siyempre priority iyung living within the nearby deployment area kasi nga hindi naman malaki yung mabibigay sa kanila na rate,” Uy said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona earlier said that the project aims to make essential health services available to all Filipinos

RN HEALS, an acronym for Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement And Local Service, is expected to address the shortage of skilled and experienced nurses in 1,221 rural and far-flung communities.

Nurses will undergo training and development, Ona said.

He added that a certificate of competency and employment will be given by the DOH, DSWD, and the Professional Regulation Commission to those who will satisfactorily complete requirements.

While on deployment, the nurses will be given an allowance of P8,000 a month by the DOH while the local government unit where they are assigned shall supervise them, ensure their safety and security, and provide modest board and lodging, according to the DOH.

LGUs are also encouraged to provide additional allowances and benefits worth at least P2,000 for these nurses.

Compostela poll mess: Comelec Cebu gearing up for ordered recount

by By Gregg M. Rubio/BRP

Officials of the Commission on Elections in Cebu are getting ready for the recount of election returns of the May 10, 2010 elections for Compostela town as soon as they get the final order from the Comelec-Manila.

Revamp of poll regional directors tops Brillantes’ agenda

Newly appointed Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. disclosed plans on Monday to initiate a revamp of the poll body, starting with regional directors and provincial supervisors who may have already become ''intimate with politicians.''

He assured the public the Comelec would continue automated elections and counting in the 2013 mid-term elections, and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in August among his immediate challenges.

In an interview over dzIQ Radyo Inquirer, Brillantes said he had observed that the conduct and performance of Comelec officials posted in the provinces were not being monitored as closely as they should be.

''Maybe we can start reassigning those who have become too intimate with the politicians,'' Brillantes told dzIQ in Filipino. ''They have been in their posts for the last five or 10 years, so perhaps it's about time they were reshuffled or reassigned.''

On the future of computerized polls in the country, Brillantes said: “We will continue with the automation. We cannot return to manual because I think the people would no longer allow it.''

''Let's fine-tune what we have already done,'' he said. ''Chairman Melo (Brillante's predecessor) was actually successful in the automated elections but there were some minor deficiencies, which we will try to correct.”

Also on dzIQ, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento assured Brillante of support on behalf of the other commissioners, but conceded that Brillante might have a ''weak point'' coming in as head of an agency in charge of some 7,000 personnel nationwide.

Sarmiento said the top Comelec post was Brillantes' ''first job as a government official'' and that he had ''no experience'' as manager and supervisor of such a vast agency.

The commissioner also did not rule out that possibility that ''conflict of interest'' issues would hound Brillantes at Comelec, given the many election-related cases and high-profile clients he handled in the past as a top-caliber lawyer.

Sarmiento asked if Brillantes would formally resign from his law office or just consider himself on-leave from the firm while serving as Comelec chair.

Binay admits pushing for Brillantes


MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay may have unwittingly added more fuel to the fire, admitting today that he strongly urged President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to appoint poll lawyer Sixto Brillantes as the new chief of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Cayetano to question Brillantes' appointment before CA

Senate Minority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said he will question before the Commission on Appointments (CA) the appointment of Sixto Brillantes Jr. as chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

PB gives governor full power on 93-1

by cebuweb

THE Provincial Board had authorized Gov. Gwen-dolyn Garcia to determine the courses of action Capitol should take in connection with 93-1.

The legislative body’s authority, which was passed in mass motion yesterday also stated that it covers all related issues subject to the requisite approval and confirmation by the Board.

Sponsored by Alex Binghay, chairman on the committee of provincial properties, said the Province has a stake because it involves not only a provincial ordinance, but more importantly, a real property of the province.

Only suggestions, no compromise: Gwen: No deal yet with DILG on 93-1

by By Gregg M. Rubio

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia stressed that there is no compromise agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the resolution of the 93-1 issue.

Jakosalem pushes for opening of Fuente access road

by By Rene U. Borromeo

Cebu City Traffic Operations Management chairman Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem said he will personally request Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to permanently open the access road that links Don Mariano Cui St. to the Fuente Osmeña rotunda.

CH ordered to stop collecting P20M from Velez College

by cebuweb

THE Cebu City Government is temporarily barred from collecting P20 million in taxes from Velez College.

In an order issued last week, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 Judge Gabriel Ingles approved the temporary restraining order (TRO) the school filed against the City, while he hears the preliminary injunction the school also sought.

Crimes lesser by 55%: MCPO

by cebuweb

THE number of crimes in Mandaue City fell by 55 percent in 2010, according to PNP statistics.

Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) Director Noel Gillamac said the number of crimes in the city dropped to 1,740 in 2010 from 3,113 in 2009.

He attributed this positive development on the intensified anti-drug operations of the police.

“Drugs are the cause of all crimes and (the source of all) evil. So we (conducted) continuous operations against it,” Gillamac said.

Ombud to probe ex-mayor for illegal use of funds

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY - The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas will look into allegations that former Madridejos mayor Lety Mancio ordered the use of public funds to pay for her husband's bail in a criminal case.

Felixberta Pabualan, a municipal treasurer who had supposedly withdrawn a total of P360,000 from the ASPAC Bank, will be included in the fact-finding.

Ex-Catmon vice mayor reprimanded

by cebuweb

THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas found basis to reprimand former Catmon vice mayor Avis Monleon.

Based on the complaint lodged by Ruben Ares, Monleon used as her service vehicle a van the Municipal Government had made available for the use of the council and other departments.

SC urged to lift order on Ombudsman impeachment

by By Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, retired  Brigadier General Danilo Lim, UP Law Prof. Ibarra Gutierrez III, and Pepe Pestano have  filed before the Supreme Court (SC) an urgent motion to resolve the  case involving the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

AFP set to comment on Garcia plea bargain

by By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is preparing to comment on its petition filed through the Solicitor General to intervene and oppose the plea bargain deal involving former retired Major General Carlos Garcia.

Golez seeks probe of Reyes, other AFP chiefs

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez on Monday called on the military to investigate Angelo Reyes and other former Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) chiefs of staff who may be involved in corruption.

Lim refuses to admit guilt over coup plots


MANILA, Philippines – Retired Brigadier General Danilo Lim refused on Monday to admit guilt for alleged wrongdoings he committed during the Arroyo administration.

Landmine explosions rock NCotabato village

KIDAPAWAN CITY - Two loud explosions rocked a hinterland village in Magpet, North Cotabato early Monday, hours after suspected communist guerillas stormed a banana plantation in a nearby village where they reportedly disarmed security guards and barangay tanod members.

Miriam sets Cha-cha hearings in February


MANILA, Philippines - Ignoring statements from Malacañang and the Senate leadership that constitutional amendments will not be a priority, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has already set debates this coming February.

Pirates release tanker, 18 Pinoys held for months: EU

by Agence France-Presse

BRUSSELS - Pirates released a Greek-owned oil tanker with a crew of 18 Filipinos that was seized more than six months ago, European Union naval officials said on Monday.

Report: Hopes rise for OFW on Saudi death row

Hope remains alive for an overseas Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia, who was sentenced to death in 2000 for killing an Arab national, after the victim's father showed willingness to settle the case.

Emirati man gets 10 years for raping Pinay in UAE

A 20-year-old Emirati man in the United Arab Emirates was convicted to 10 years in jail for raping a 24-year-old Filipina at knifepoint in front of her son on Jan. 28 last year.

PAL crew files raps vs solon for 'menopausal bitch' remark

by by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) customer service agent Sarah Teresa Bonnin Ocampo on Monday sought the suspension  of Alliance of Volunteer Educator (AVE) Party-List Rep. Eulogio "Amang" Magsaysay for calling her a "menopausal bitch."

Aquino urged to stop 'exploitation' of nurses in hospitals

Militant lawmakers on Monday urged President Benigno Aquino III to order hospitals in the country to stop charging trainee nurses with "exorbitant" fees for volunteer work.

Allow graphic warnings on cigarette packs: former DOH chiefs

by By Ira Pedrasa,

MANILA, Philippines - Former Health secretaries have asked the Supreme Court to allow the placing of graphic warnings and other health information on cigarette packs.

$1: 44.490

$1: 44.490 (P44.23)

Euro 1: 59.1139

Nov 2010 remittances up 10.5% to $1.6-B

by Reuters

MANILA, Philippines - Remittances reached $17.07 billion in the month of November 2010, a 10.5% increase.

PSE ordered to pay P1-M daily fine for violations


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) en bank has denied the request of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to waive an over P1 million daily fine for the hiring of an executive who was hounded by conflict-of-interest issues and law violations.

Brazil flood death toll keeps climbing

PETROPOLIS—(UPDATE) The death toll from devastating floods and landslides in Brazil rose Monday to 640, as the military stepped up efforts to reach isolated communities near Rio.

Tunisia in turmoil amid power vacuum

Tunisian protesters called for the abolition of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ruling party on Monday amid a chaotic power vacuum as politicians prepared a government of national unity.

Singapore fertility rate falls to record low

SINGAPORE - Singapore's fertility rate slumped to a new low in 2010, meaning the city-state must keep bringing in foreign workers to support economic growth as the population ages, a senior cabinet official said Monday.

Congressman Pacquiao to fight until 2013

The world will see more of boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, at least for the next three years. Promoter Bob Arum gave this assurance after recently sitting down with the 32-year-old Filipino southpaw and discussing what his plans as far as his boxing career is concerned.

Spoelstra wants to hold a mix basketball and boxing clinic with Manny Pacquiao

CHICAGO - Filipino-American Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra hopes to spend his summer break in the Philippines for the third consecutive time and hold a mix basketball and boxing clinic for Filipino youths, together with Sarangani Rep. and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

Suns G Carter scores 20,000th point (AP)

Phoenix guard Vince Carter has scored his 20,000th point, becoming the 37th NBA player to reach that plateau. Carter came in needing nine points in the Suns' game against the New York Knicks on Monday, and he got there quickly after scoring eight in the first quarter. He became the eighth active player to reach the milestone.

Miriam compares PNoy’s Porsche to a ‘girlfriend’

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago sees nothing wrong with President Benigno Aquino III buying an expensive car.

Zsa Zsa: Less projects, more time with Dolphy


Divine Diva Zsa Zsa Padilla’s career will take a  backseat this 2011 to focus more on her family and 82-year-old partner  Dolphy, the country’s King of Comedy.

PAGASA expects above-average rainfall for most of first semester

THE WEATHER bureau expects the country to experience above normal rainfall for most of the first half, a development seen easing power supply concerns but raising crop damage fears.

Filed bill seeks to make legal separation easier

A bill filed in the House of Representatives Spouses seeks an easy way out of marriage for those who are battered by their partners, abandoned for one year or are victims of infidelity.

House Bill 3952, filed by Representative Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party list, amends the Family Code of the Philippines and recognizes spousal violence, infidelity and/or abandonment as “presumed constitutive of psychological incapacity,” which is one of the grounds for annulment of marriage.

“This bill seeks to make the proceedings less costly and accessible to those who cannot afford the inordinately expensive cost of the petition by simplifying the proceedings and cutting the period of time for resolving the petition,” Colmenares explained in a statement.


According to him, the proceedings under Article 36 of the Family Code has proven to be “expensive and discriminatory in favor of the rich and powerful,” who can afford to hire lawyers, psychologists and psychiatrists to prove the psychological incapacity of their spouse.


Worse, he said, judges exercise a wide discretion and often rule against an opinion of clinical psychologists or psychiatrists “on the basis of their liberal or conservative moral, rather than legal, tenets.”


“The appeal, if one is taken, could take years, taking its toll on the finances of the petitioners except for the rich executives, movie stars and the wealthy. In sum, the law has become a long, complicated and expensive process rendering it almost inaccessible to the poor who are similarly trapped in a void marital relations with a spouse who cannot fulfill his/her obligation to love, support, cohabit or respect his/her spouse,” he said.


With this measure, Colmenares said that judges who maintain that a spouse who regularly inflicts violence on his/her partner is not psychologically incapacitated are now limited from exercising such discretion unless the respondent spouse provides ample evidence to rebut the allegation.


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