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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 19, 2011 Major News Stories

January 19, 2011 Major News Stories
January 19, 2011 Major News Stories


4 oil firms to raise pump prices


Shell, SEAOIL, Phoenix Petroleum, and Eastern Petroleum announced on Tuesday that they will hike diesel, gasoline, and kerosene prices by Jan. 19.

They cited as the reason the movement in international product prices.

Shell will raise prices of diesel and kerosene by P1 per liter and unleaded gasoline (except regular gasoline) by P0.75 per liter effective 1:00 a.m. Wednesday.

SEAOIL will increase prices of its premium and unleaded gasoline by P0.75 per liter, while diesel and kerosene prices will go up by P1 per liter effective 6:00 a.m.

Phoenix Petroleum will also raise the price of diesel by P1 per liter and gasoline by P0.75 per liter effective 6:00 a.m.

Eastern Petroleum, meanwhile, will jack up the price of diesel by P1 peso per liter and P0.75 for all gasoline products starting 8:00 a.m.

High oil prices pose real economic risk, IEA says

Oil prices near $100 a barrel pose a real risk to the world economy, the International Energy Agency warned on Tuesday, as the global economic rebound led to the strongest growth in oil demand for nearly three decades.

Boatload of passengers rescued in Cebu

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY -- All 139 passengers of a ferry were rescued when the vessel encountered mechanical problems during rough weather Tuesday morning.

The Super Shuttle Ferry 17 was nearly an hour into its trip when its engine conked out at 7:55 a.m.

PH faces more rain as flood deaths mount

Hundreds of thousands of people already reeling from floods across the Philippines have been told to expect further heavy rains until March, authorities said Tuesday, as the disaster death toll rose to 53.

Calamity toll: P1.774B, 53 deaths; hazard map review pushed

DAMAGE FROM flooding and landslides in the southern part of the country has reached P1.774 billion and the death toll is 53, according to a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) yesterday.

2 kids die as flashfloods hit Davao Sur

Two siblings died when flashfloods swept this town starting late Monday.

Bread prices seen to drop next month

The signing of an executive order scrapping the 3-percent tariff on milling wheat may cause prices of loaf bread to drop by 50 centavos and of a 10-piece pack of pan de sal by 25 centavos by February, if prices of other bread ingredients become more stable.

Oversupply of nurses blamed for illegal recruitment

by By Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines – An oversupply of nurses in the country is resulting in nurses becoming victims of illegal recruitment, healthcare groups said Tuesday.

Franchise moratorium subject of DOTC study

by By Rene U. Borromeo/BRP

The Department of Transportation and Communications is presently conducting a study about the public transportation situation in Metro Cebu to determine whether or not there is a need to grant more franchises to public utility vehicles here.

Telcos cooking up new e-money schemes

Filipinos would be able to pay highway toll and household bills through their mobile phones, if plans being cooked up by telecommunications firms push through.

In a conference Tuesday on mobile money transfer, industry players said they plan to expand the range of services that Filipinos can pay for using e-money.


Smart Communications – which has sister companies in the power, water, toll road, and health care industries – plans to complement its affiliates’ services through e-money paying schemes.


Orlando Vea, co-founder and chief wireless advisor of Smart, said the company is cooking up prepaid schemes for water and electricity bills to help budget-conscious households in expense planning.


At the same time, Smart plans to improve its money transfer programs for overseas Filipino workers as a cheaper alternative to bank transfers when sending money to relatives in the Philippines.


By improving its ties with MasterCard, Western Union, Nokia, and Ericsson, the country’s largest telco believes it can achieve its e-money goals.


Ernesto Cu, Globe Telecom president and COO, said his company is helping government implement its conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.


To disburse money to qualified low-income families, he said government uses the company’s e-money system known as G-Cash.


For the scheme to work, Globe has established presence in around 100 of the 1,000 municipalities government has targeted for the program. This, Cu said, is progress from only four municipalities covered in November last year.


Officials at the conference said Telcos intend to bring financial services especially to Filipinos in rural areas with limited-to-zero access to formal banking.


Globe also plans to raise the capital base of its joint venture with Bank of the Philippine Islands — BPI-Globe BanKO, to widen its range of e-money services and include retail consumer loans and complement its wholesale lending operations.


The joint venture does bulk lending to microfinance institutions around the country, which in turn lend to individual borrowers.


Cu said the company extended about P1-billion in microfinance loans last year.

Mayor ‘ready to let go’ of Sinulog chairmanship

by cebuweb

SINULOG 2011 was the 10th year Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama served as the overall chairman, albeit, the first time as mayor.

He said he does not wish to hog the chairmanship and, in fact, offered it to Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young, but the latter declined. Young did not disclose his reason for doing so.

Fact-finding probe fails to resolve Medellin shooting contradictions

by cebuweb

A FACT-FINDING team created by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 confirmed that Medellin municipal employee Edelberto Abao died of cardiac arrest, shortly after surgery on a gunshot wound.

But it also quoted Abao’s son as saying that his father, by his own admission, had been accidentally shot by Mayor Ricardo Ramirez.

Disrespectful: vice guv on 2 dept. heads

by cebuweb

THE two Capitol department heads who failed to heed the invitation of the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) were being disrespectful to the body, said Vice Gov. Gregorio San-chez Jr.

He said he and PB Member Arleigh Sitoy only wanted clarification on the purchase of a property in the northern town of Carmen for allegedly around P100 million, which the Province plans to use for a solid waste management project.

That was why the PB invited Nercis Bispo, provincial environment and natural resources officer, and Adolfo Quiroga, planning and development head.

Ex-public officials ‘not exempted’ from investigation

by cebuweb

THE allegations against the former mayor of Ma-dridejos will be docketed as a fact-finding inquiry.

Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago said the lapse of several years after the allegations were first made and the loss of Lety Mancio in last May’s elections did not mean the anti-graft office should let the matter go.

“We should still take a look, if only as not to leave the issue hanging,” she said, adding that Mancio should also be given the chance to clear her name.

NLRC exec fails to enforce writ, charged

by cebuweb

AN official of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) 7 faces an administrative complaint for failing to carry out a writ of execution against a bus company in 2005.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas indicted Matthias Navarro, NLRC 7 deputy sheriff, for neglect of duty for not pushing through with the sale of a levied bus, despite the fact that no temporary or permanent restraining order was issued by the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

EXCLUSIVE: PCOS machines considered for ARMM elections

Malaki ang posibilidad na bilhin na lang ng Comelec ang mga kontrobersyal na PCOS machines para gamitin sa darating na ARMM elections. Ito'y dahil kinakapos na naman sa panahon ang Comelec na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa naghahanda para sa halalan sa Agosto.

Senator vows to unmask the real Sixto Brillantes

Saying President Aquino was “misled,” Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano has vowed to unmask the real Sixto Brillantes, the newly-appointed chairman of the Commission on Elections, until he is forced to resign from his post or the President is compelled to withdraw the appointment.

New Comelec chief not confident of passing appointments body

Amid criticisms about his appointment, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. admitted on Tuesday that he was not that confident that the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) would confirm his nomination so easily.

Brillantes asks former law partners to drop cases before Comelec

Newly appointed Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., whose appointment is under fire, has "strongly suggested" to his former law partners to withdraw their cases that are pending before the poll body.

House works to trim down list of priority bills to 20

The House of Representatives is working on trimming down to 20 its list of priority bills it intends to pass on its first year, including the proposed measures on reproductive health, Marcos victims compensation, and Freedom of Information.

Bello absent at House ethics committee hearing

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello failed to show up Tuesday at the initial review of the case pending against him before the ethics committee of the House of Representatives.

Belmonte backs Roxas in Liberal Party elections

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Former Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas III may end up unchallenged as Liberal Party president, as it holds its elections on Wednesday.

SC junks Vizconde appeal

(UPDATE) The Supreme Court voted 7-4-4 Tuesday to favor the junking of Lauro Vizconde’s appeal for reconsideration of its decision acquitting Hubert Webb and six other co-accused in the celebrated Vizconde massacre case.

Vizconde ordered to prove claims against SC justice


MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court has ordered Lauro Vizconde and his lawyers to prove their allegations that a senior magistrate had masterminded the acquittal of Hubert Webb and 6 others for the massacre of his family in 1991.

Former military chief welcomes probe in connection with Garcia plunder case

Former Armed Forces Chief of Staff retired General Dionisio Santiago on Tuesday welcomed calls to conduct an investigation on former military chiefs for suspicions that they might have been in cahoots with retired Major General Carlos Garcia in plundering the AFP's budget.

SolGen wants ex-Gen. Garcia back in jail

The Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) on Tuesday asked the Sandiganbayan to nullify the arraignment of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller Major General Carlos Garcia for direct bribery.

Police found witnesses on car dealer’s disappearance

The police have found witnesses who could give information on the disappearance of a car dealer on January 12, Quezon City Police District director Chief Superintendent Benjardi Mantele said Tuesday.

Family identifies body of nabbed car dealer

Positibo nang kinilala ng pamilya Evangelista ang sunog na bangkay na natagpuan sa Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija na si Venson Evangelista, ang car dealer na limang araw nang nawawala. Nakilala si Venson sa pamamagitan ng dental matching at sa mga gamit na nalikom sa crime scene.

Police rule out car smuggling in slay of Lozano son

Police have discounted vehicle smuggling as a possible link to the murder of Emerson Lozano, son of lawyer Oliver Lozano, whose burnt remains were found in Pampanga last week.

Motive of Lozano son killer not yet known, police say

Despite the gruesome deaths of Emerson Lozano and his driver Ernanie Sensil, a police official said Tuesday that it was still "premature” to say that that killer did it out of personal grudge.

Police probing link between Lozano and Evangelista killings

Tikom ang bibig ng Task Force Lozano tungkol sa usad ng kanilang imbestigasyon sa pagpatay sa anak ng Marcos lawyer na si Atty. Oliver Lozano. Ayon naman sa PNP, hindi sila tumitigil para malutas agad ang kaso.

Car dealers in panic

by By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Owners of car dealers fear the emergence of a new syndicate that not only carnaps a car being test-driven but also kills the owner of the car.

Senate to probe car dealer killings

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate committee on public order will conduct a series of hearings beginning next week on the spate of murders targetting car dealers.

PNP chief assures thorough investigation on car dealers’ murders

Director General PNP chief Raul Bacalzo assures the carnapping-murder cases on car dealers Emerson Lozano, his driver Ernani Sensil and Vernon Evangelista will be solved very soon though he refused to give a definite time-frame.

Drilon files bill restricting carrying of firearms

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Franklin Drilon has filed a bill authorizing only law enforcers like policeman and soldiers to carry firearms.

Militiaman killed, 9 hurt in Davao NPA clash


DAVAO CITY, Philippines – An Army militiaman was killed while 9 other government troopers were injured in an encounter with New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Guinobatan, Brgy Pacquibato Proper, Pacquibato District in Davao City on Tuesday morning, the military said.

Norway sends two peace monitors to Mindanao

Two Norwegian nationals had joined the international team helping the Philippine government enter into a peace agreement with Moro rebels and hopefully end the decades-old armed conflict in Mindanao.

Gov’t-MNLF panel OK’s changes to autonomy law

A BILL amending the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanano (ARMM) law has been drafted by a joint legal panel of the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

DFA assists Pinay run over by ex-lover in Korea


MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said it is extending assistance to a Pinay worker allegedly run over by her estranged lover in South Korea.

$1: 44.550

$1: 44.550 (P44.49)

Euro 1: 59.0382

Philippines to offer medical tourist visas

by Agence France-Presse

MANILA - The Philippines said Tuesday it would introduce special medical visas for foreigners, as the country seeks to grab a bigger share of Asia's booming health tourism industry.

Jinggoy wants to probe DOTC's P4B contract for air traffic control system

Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said he will file a resolution seeking an investigation into the P4-billion contract awarded by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to a foreign consortium for the improvement of the country's air traffic control system.

Estrada said the public should know if "due diligence" was exercised by the DOTC when it awarded a P4-billion contract to the Sumitomo company of Japan and the Thales Group of France.


“There is more to this deal than meets the eye. There is a need to remove all doubts and clear the air of suspicion about this deal because not only billions in taxpayers’ money are involved here but also innocent lives," he said.


He alleged that Thales, a global electronics company mainly catering to the aerospace, defense and security markets, has a “trail of bad records" over the years, including "failed" products that cost lives and bribery allegations.


He said the European Aviation Safety Agency had decided to ban the use of Thales' speed censors after authorities ruled it was the reason for the crash of an Air France Airbus A330 in the Atlantic in 2009, where all 288 passengers on board were killed.


“Then there is an article from the AFX news wire service in 2005 stating that the French police raided Thales’ headquarters that December after one of its own officials accused the company of ‘organising a centralised slush fund to bribe and corrupt officials to win contracts,’" he said.


Estrada likewise cited a report that the Commission on Audit (COA) had recommended that Thales be banned from doing business with the goverment after it reneged to deliver P1 billion worth of 19 global marine distress safety systems meant to improve the safety of sea travel in the country.


“Against such known facts, why did the DOTC, even under the new administration, seen it fit to turn a blind eye on this company’s performance and continue awarding it with fat contracts," he said.


Estrada said Thales would be the technology partner of Sumitomo for the installation of a modern communication, navigation surveillance, and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system at the country’s international airport.


Just like the controversial national broadband network project in 2007, the CNS/ATM project would be financed thru a Y9 billion loan package (roughly P4 billion) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).


“I wonder if indeed, as Sec. Ping de Jesus claimed, he has thoroughly investigated the record of Thales or if he has taken into consideration the lessons learned from the NBN scandal before agreeing to award the contract to this company," said Estrada.

Cold spell in Vietnam hospitalizes hundreds

An extreme cold snap in northern Vietnam has sent hundreds of people to the hospital and killed 9,000 cows and buffaloes.

State-controlled media said Monday that forecasters predict the cold snap will spread to parts of the central region. The temperatures have fallen as low as -3.6 degrees Celsius (26 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures would usually be around 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit).

Hundreds of people, mostly children and the elderly, have swamped hospitals, mostly due to respiratory illnesses. Vietnam's northern provinces are among its poorest, with most flimsy houses.

Tainted Afghan parliament set to open in days

by by Usman Sharifi, Agence France-Presse

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan's long-delayed new parliament could be inaugurated within days after September elections that were beset by fraud and violence, but politicians and experts warn it may only fuel instability.

US contractors start terminating OFWs in Afghanistan


MANILA, Philippines – A recruitment and migration expert on Tuesday said that some US civilian contractors in Afghanistan started terminating Filipino nationals or third country nationals (TCNs) this month.

Suicide bombing in Iraq kills 40 police recruits

(Updated 5:41 p.m.) BAGHDAD - Iraqi officials said at least 40 people have been killed and 75 others wounded in a suicide bombing outside a police station where recruits had gathered to apply for jobs.

Maritime watchdog: Pirates take record 1,181 hostages in 2010

(Updated 4:42 p.m.) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Pirates took a record 1,181 hostages in 2010 as ship hijackings in waters off Somalia escalated, a global maritime watchdog said Tuesday.

Haiti police take Duvalier to court

PORT-AU-PRINCE—(UPDATE) Haitian officials Tuesday whisked former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier away to court, two days after his surprise return from exile stunned the nation he ruled with an iron fist.

Dela Hoya: Mayweather will beat Pacquiao


MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao’s former foe, Oscar de la Hoya, claimed that unbeaten and controversial boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has the boxing style that can upset the applecart of the Filipino superstar.

Pacquiao named Sportsman of the Year in UAE

Dubai - Manny Pacquiao, the Fighting Pride of the Philippines, has been named the 2010 Sportsman of the Year by Sport360°.com in an online poll conducted by the Abu Dhabi-based English sports daily.

ABAP to field new boxers for upcoming SEA Games

The Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines plans to field a squad of newcomers in the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia to allow its elite team to focus on the Olympic qualifying tournament.

30 college cagers to be invited to SEA Games tryouts

Thirty collegiate players will be invited for tryouts as coach Norman Black opens camp next week for the national team set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games.

Charice's mom apologizes, appeals for understanding


MANILA, Philippines- After drawing negative feedbacks from the entertainment press, the mother of international singing sensation Charice on Monday came into the defense of her daughter.

Baron accused of touching actress's breasts

Nahaharap sa panibagong reklamo ang kontrobersyal na aktor na si Baron Geisler. Hinipuan daw ni Baron sa dibdib ang kasamahan sa seryeng “Noah" na si Cherry Pie Picache.



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