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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 28, 2011 Major News Stories

January 28, 2011 Major News Stories
January 28, 2011 Major News Stories

Floods kill 10, displace 1,000 families in Central Visayas

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

At least 10 people drowned while over a thousand families were displaced when torrential rains inundated large areas in the Central Visayas region, authorities said Thursday.

Six of the fatalities were from Tanjay City, Pamplona and Valencia town in Negros Oriental, while four were reported in Cebu City, said Minda Morante, chair of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Region VII.

In Mandaue City, 1,091 families from the villages of Subang-daku, Basak, Guizo and Tipolo were stranded in their homes. Some children were marooned in their schools.

Mandaue City officials have declared a state of calamity in the said villages to speed-up the release of government’s calamity fund.

In Cebu City, 12 villages were under water due to a cloudburst that hit Metro Cebu on Tuesday.

A “cloudburst” is a weather phenomenon that occurs when cumulunimbus clouds reach its volume capacity of more than 37milimeters of rains, said Pagasa weather specialist Oscar Tabada.

“The cloudburst that hit Cebu City on January 25 carried a 100mm rainfall. It’s like a one-month rain that fell in one day unfortunately, the heavy downpour severely hit the Mandaue area,” Tabada said.

Morante said that the cloudburst incident caused flood waters to rise from waist-deep to neck-deep in a matter of 30-minutes.

“The silted Mahiga and Tipolo creeks in Mandaue City overflowed that affected the low-lying areas of Barangay Subang-daku, Panagdait, Tipolo, Guizo, in Mandaue; Barangay T. Padilla, Tinago, Mabolo, Mambaling, Camputhaw, Apas, Tinago in Cebu City and Barangay Poblacion, Lapulapu City,” Morante reported.

The RDRRMC-7 provided affected families with food and financial assistance. Classes in the elementary level in Basak and Guizo have remained suspended.

More floods

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja, Niña G. Sumacot and Liv G. Campo

Heavy rains lasting for hours submerged parts of Cebu City, Talisay City, Minglanilla and Naga yesterday morning, causing damage to property and affecting hundreds of residents.

Illegal settlers bug Cebu mayors, guv

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY -- The mayors of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities are willing to work together to address the flooding problem that has beset Metro Cebu these days.

One area that will test their political will is the demolition of the illegal structures along creeks and rivers and the relocation of informal settlers.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama found thousands of informal settlers living in shanties along Mahiga Creek in Banilad to Mabolo, which he inspected on Thursday.

Mahiga Creek borders between Cebu and Mandaue cities.

Rama said in a press conference after his inspection that the problem of illegal structures needs to be addressed quickly and drastically by the local governments of Cebu and Mandaue cities, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the private sector.

He has called them to a meeting Friday to discuss concrete ways of addressing the problem.

Mayors Jonas Cortes of Mandaue and Paz Radaza of Lapu-Lapu said they are open to sitting down with Rama.

Cortes suggested the creation of a body similar to the Metro Manila Development Authority that can oversee the planning and execution of projects that will involve and affect Metro Cebu.

Radaza thought of an environmental summit where issues such as flooding, protection of the Mactan Channel and traffic can be discussed and acted upon with concrete steps.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia blamed the presence of informal settlers for the pollution in Cebu City because of their indiscriminate waste disposal.

They throw their waste in the backyard, river, and even roads, she said.

The problem with the informal settlers is, the governor said, "you can't touch them because they belong to the urban poor" and city officials seem to be coddling them because they "mean thousands of votes."

She criticized Cebu City for its lack of development planning and its being unable to keep up with change.

She said the informal settlers should be going back to their towns.

Capitol has come up with a social program called Balik Probinsya that encourages people to go back and settle in their hometowns.

FLI payment

Rama is looking at using the P255-million payment of Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) solely for the use of improving Cebu City's drainage system as a step toward solving the flooding problem.

The amount will be on top of the P50 million that the City Government appropriated for drainage improvements in last year's fifth supplemental budget.

FLI is scheduled to pay the City at least P255 million on March 11 as its third installment for the purchase of the 10.6-hectare waterfront lots at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Since the proceeds of all SRP lots, including FLI's property, has been appropriated and already forms part of the P4.5-billion target collection of the City Treasurer's Office for this year, Rama said "there is a need to look at the plan in a macro level."

Councilor Jose Daluz III, chairman of the City Council's committee on budget and finance, said the City can explore other options such as entering into a credit-line agreement with banks for the implementation of drainage projects.

FLI's payment and the P50-million appropriation for drainage may not be enough since the implementation of the City's flood mitigation and drainage master plan needs at least P552.6 million.

Local legislators are now drafting ordinances that would regulate the use of plastic in their areas.

The indiscriminate throwing of plastic wrappers and containers has been found to be causing drainage to clog. Clogged drainage causes the streets to flood when rains come.

Talisay

Governor Garcia experienced the flooded streets of Talisay City where she graced the medical mission for the elderly and distribution of cash incentives to barangay health workers and gadgets to tanods.

After Cebu and Mandaue cities, it was Talisay's turn to get flooded when downpour came Thursday.

The heavy rains clogged the canals and swelled the waterways in Poblacion, Cansojong and San Roque.

Talisay Councilor Celiapo Cabuenas said they had to lead Garcia to the side entrance of the city gymnasium, the venue, since the main entrance was flooded.

Talisay city officials blamed the indiscriminate throwing of plastic and other trash in the canals and drainage.

Councilor Rodi Cabigas, head of the committee on public infrastructure, said the dredging of rivers and canals, as well as the ban of plastic packaging, are among the immediate measures Talisay City Hall is working on.

Mayor Socrates Fernandez ordered the city disaster coordinating council to convene Thursday.

Naga, Santander

Similarly, rivers in the City of Naga and Santander town swelled but did not overflow.

Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong has designated the sports complex beside the old town hall as evacuation center if residents have to be moved out of their houses.

Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Sr. Supt. Erson Digal ordered all policemen to be in their search-and-rescue uniform and the police chiefs to submit a situational report every hour.

Bohol's Loboc river cruise stopped as water levels rise

from ABS-CBNnews.com by abs-cbnNEWS.com

BOHOL, Philippines - Disaster officials are closely monitoring Bohol's Loboc River following the opening of the floodgates of a hydroelectric plant upstream.

353 mm of rain in 26 days

by cebuweb

THE amount of rainfall in Cebu has reached three times the normal level.

According to weather bureau chief Oscar Tabada, 353 millimeters (mm) of rain fell between Jan. 1 and Jan. 26, which is three times more than the volume of 107.8 mm recorded in the same period last year.

Cebu will be cloudy in the next few days and will have light to moderate rain.

Tabada said measurements taken by the bureau showed 100 mm of rain may have fallen in the SM-Mandaue City area last Tuesday.

He said 10 times the normal amount of rain fell in less than two hours that day, flooding parts of Metro Cebu.

Normally, rainfall at this time of the month ranges between 3.33 mm and 3.67 mm. Last Tuesday, the rainfall was measured at 35.7 mm.

Tabada described the phenomenon that day as a “cloudburst” wherein clouds concentrated over the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Cebu. The rainwater collected in the clouds and poured in less than two hours in a small area.

He said the peak of La Niña, a phenomenon of rains, has passed but its effects will continue to be felt until March.

Expect a wet summer and an early rainy season, Tabada said.

He said he has noticed an increase in number of storm surges and soil erosion in Talisay City, signs that the sea level is rising as an effect of climate change.

He said local government units and agencies should implement climate change adaptation measures to cope with the change in global weather patterns.

The floods and heavy rains caused some schools to suspend classes.

Among them were the elementary schools in Kalunasan, Cebu City and in Basak, Guizo, Tipolo and Subangdako, Mandaue City.

The Valencia Vocational School in Carcar City, three schools in Naga City and another one in Talisay City also suspended their classes. Four schools in Negros Oriental did not hold classes as well.

The Department of Education (DepEd) gives the schools the discretion to suspend classes during typhoons, floods and other calamities.

The rains likewise prevented three fastcraft from sailing last Tuesday, stranding several passengers at the Cebu City port.

Weesam and Supercat cancelled their trips to Ormoc City, and Golden Express to Camotes Island, the Cebu Coast Guard said.

Rama to use Filinvest payments for drainage

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja and Rene U. Borromeo/JPM

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama wants the payment of Filinvest Land Incorporated to the City this year to be spent for the city’s drainage projects.

Filinvest is set to pay the city P255 million this year, due on March 11.

Rama said that due to the urgency of the need for a proper drainage system, he wants the P255 million to be used to implement the comprehensive drainage master plan which they figured as the solution to flooding.

“I am of the view na ang FLI payment of almost P300 million, dili na hilabtan, atong i-devote sa drainage. The flooding last Tuesday was a wake-up call. Please be reminded that we have to be working with each other,” Rama told the council and barangay officials in a gathering yesterday at the social hall.

Councilor Jose Daluz III, chairman of the committee on budget and finance, said that using the FLI payment for the drainage is a welcome development.

In the Annual Budget for 2011, only P50 million was appropriated for drainage. After last Tuesday’s incident however, the construction of a proper drainage system becomes more urgent.

Daluz said that if the City could no longer wait for March 11 to come, there is also the option for an open credit. “Anyway, P300 million is just a small amount. Pwede rana utangon sa City aron madali ang atong construction sa drainage. Makautang man gain ta’g billion for the SRP, why not for services,” Daluz said.

Meanwhile, Councilor Nida Cabrera, chairman of the committee on environment, said she will file an ordinance next week regulating the use of plastics that clog the city’s drainage and waterways.

If approved, all plastics that are now being given for free by establishments will have to be paid for to encourage the use of recyclable bags. They are already consulting the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry about the matter.

Meanwhile, Rama also announced that he wants to demolish illegal structures constructed along the Mahiga Creek. But he said the Mandaue City Government should also do the same.

Mahiga Creek passes through Cebu City and Mandaue City, particularly Barangays Kasambagan, Subangdaku and Mabolo. It overflowed and flooded some parts of the North Reclamation Area last Monday.

Cabrera eyes Talisay dumpsite

by cebuweb

A CEBU City councilor proposed a partnership between Cebu City and Talisay City in developing the latter’s open dumpsite, with Cebu City dumping its garbage there.

Councilor Nida Cabrera, chairperson of the City Council committee on environment, said the Cebu City Government could tie up with the Talisay City Government in developing its dumpsite, instead of looking for another site for a new landfill.

“Since their dumpsite is big, we are exploring the possibility of entering into a partnership with them… We will have to go through a long process if we opt to build a new landfill,” she said.

Cabrera said it will take the City at least two to three years to build a new landfill in Barangays Kalunasan and Budlaan and will have to conduct feasibility studies before it can do so.

The councilor is set to meet with Talisay City officials to present the proposal.

Committee

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is forming a committee to solve the landfill problem.

The mayor has directed City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete to open official positions for the committee through an executive order.

Rama wants the committee to be co-chaired by Councilors Eduardo Rama and Cabrera, while its members should have exposure to environmental work.

He said the group will be tasked to look for a suitable site in the city for a landfill, as well as scouting other municipalities in the province willing to receive the City’s waste with a fee.

Earlier, Consolacion town offered to let the City use its newly inaugurated landfill in Barangay Pulog for a P700 per ton.

The City’s Solid Waste Management Board was scheduled to visit the landfill within the week.

Capitol, for its part, said they would welcome Cebu City Hall if it wants to use the Province’s Carmen property as a solid waste management facility.

Technology

However, Spokesperson Rory Jon Sepulveda said Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia's stand is not to put up a landfill but to build a state-of-the-art, technologically advanced waste-to-energy facility.

Apart from the Carmen lot, Sepulveda said two other Capitol properties that may be considered for the solid waste management facility: in Barangay Uling and the Balili property in Tinaan, both in Naga.

Sepulveda said the Province has been receiving a lot of proposals on waste-to-energy, believed to be more efficient in terms of managing solid waste.

The governor earlier said highly advanced countries use incinerators, which are more efficient and economically viable compared to other waste disposal methods such as landfills.

Warning

The City Government has been repeatedly warned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to comply with environmental laws in operating the Inayawan sanitary landfill.

The Inayawan landfill, which was built 22 years ago, was supposed to be closed in 2005 after reaching its maximum capacity, but due to the lack of an alternative, the City still uses it.

The DENR also noted the landfill lacks a water treatment facility.

The agency gave the City until March to make corrective measures, aside from reminding City officials to look for a new dumpsite.

“It is a very clear position of the City Government that we are serious in addressing (the landfill problem) and there have been steps and DENR is very much aware about it because I was also being guided”, Rama said.

NMIS-7 to conduct own meat tests in Metro Cebu wet markets

by By Edwin Ian Melecio, Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon , Jose P. Sollano

The National Meat Inspection Service in Region 7 will be conducting their own sampling of the meat sold in Metro Cebu’s wet markets next week to verify the earlier report of a meat dealer that a local meat contained more bacteria than imported meat.

City gives barangays P8M in rice subsidy

by cebuweb

CEBU City Hall distributed 6,400 bags of rice worth P8 million yesterday as subsidy to the barangay officials and employees.

Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said the rice subsidy is intended for the previous administration officials, and the newly-elected barangay officials and newly-appointed barangay employees are not included.

“Ang bugas para ra sa mga karaan na empleyado, way labot ang karong bag-o kay for 2010 man ni na-request (The rice is only for those from the previous administration because the request was made in 2010 yet),” he said.

Overdue

Young admitted the distribution of the rice was long overdue since it was supposed to be released in time for Christmas last year.

Councilor Jose Daluz III said in a separate interview that the delay was due to the new directive from the National Food Authority (NFA).

“They said only iron-fortified rice will be distributed to the local government units, but we want the well-milled rice, the white kind. If we want an exemption, we have to write to NFA Manila and we had to go through the process,” he said.

Daluz said the exemption was approved just last week.

Contunous

During the distribution yesterday, Mayor Michael Rama promised to continue giving the rice subsidy and other benefits to the barangay officials and employees.

“We will always be working out on how to continue this because you are the ones helping the City deliver services to the public,” he said.

The rice subsidy of the barangay employees and officials started during the term of Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), the former mayor.

Ombud 7 can act on Deped cases

by cebuweb

ERRING public school teachers in the Visayas, watch out.

For a speedy resolution of cases, the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas will act on all cases involving Department of Education (DepEd) personnel who have salary grade 15 (P11,000 to P15,000) and below.

Tanodbayan Merceditas Gutierrez issued Office Order 278 granting authority to the deputy ombudsman of the area sectoral office concerned to approve orders, resolutions, information and decisions of cases.

Fuel price hikes have minimal effect on cost of goods, says DTI chief

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

The rise in fuel and transportation costs would cause increases in the price of food but the effect would be minimal, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo told reporters on Thursday.

Hotel, restos urged to give leftovers to poor

Matagal nang problema ang matinding gutom sa bansa. Sa kabila nito, marami pa ring mga restaurant at hotels ang nagtatapon lang ng mga sobra nilang pagkain. Layunin ngayon ng Department of Social Welfare and Development at Philippine Red Cross na hikayatin ang mga ito na ipamigay na lang ang sobrang pagkain sa mga mahihirap.

Senate tackles proposals on equal employment opportunities for women

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

The Senate has started deliberations on proposals that seek to give equal employment opportunities regardless of gender. This includes allowing night work for women employees.

PRC releases results of Marine Engineer Officers' Licensure Exams

from ABS-CBNnews.com by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Thursday that 959 out of 1,729 passed the various grades of the written phase of the Marine Engineer Officers Licensure Examinations.

The successful examinees who garnered the ten (10) highest places in the SECOND MARINE ENGINEER OFFICER Licensure Examination (Written Phase) are the following:

RANK

                       NAME

SCHOOL

RATING(%)

 

1

ARNEL PONTEJO VILLEGAS

MINDANAO POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE

90.75

2

BONIFACIO MANIJA GOYONG JR

JOHN B. LACSON COLLEGES FOUNDATION-BACOLOD CITY

90.25

3

BRIAN CACHARO VENTURA

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

90.00

4

EMMANUEL SAN JOAQUIN MONTARDE

MARINERS POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE FOUNDATION-BARAS

89.75

5

DANIEL LEZACA DANZALAN

PALOMPON INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY-PALOMPON

89.50

CRISTOBAL WAGSEY LENGWA

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

89.50

BRIAN JAMES CABRERA ORIBELLO

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

89.50

6

AUDY FUENTES DEL PILAR

JOHN B. LACSON COLLEGES FOUNDATION-ILOILO CITY

89.00

CESAR TABLO FLORIDA

SAINT JOSEPH INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

89.00

7

ELMER CARBONEL DULAY

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

88.75

ALEXANDER CASTANEDA VALENZUELA

COLEGIO DE LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION

88.75

8

RONNIE SANCHEZ ANTONIO

ZAMBOANGA CITY STATE POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE

88.50

JUNJUN FUENTES MORALES

MISAMIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

88.50

FRANCISCO LANDAGAN TAGLE JR

MARINERS POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE FOUNDATION-BARAS

88.50

9

JULIANITO BALACE ARELLANO

PHILIPPINE MARITIME INSTITUTE-QUEZON CITY

88.25

ENGEL MARC DE LOS REYES BAUTISTA

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

88.25

JONATHAN SAMOYA  SAYSON

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU

88.25

10

FEDIES WILLIAM PALEC LAPATING

JOHN B. LACSON COLLEGES FOUNDATION-ILOILO CITY

88.00

ROLAN ALLAS MORALES

PHILIPPINE MARITIME INSTITUTE-QUEZON CITY

88.00

PEEJAY REYES RAMOS

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

88.00

 

The successful examinees who garnered the ten (10) highest places in the OFFICER-IN-CHARGE OF AN ENGINEERING WATCH Licensure Examination (Written Phase) are the following:

RANK

                       NAME

SCHOOL

RATING(%)

 

1

JAYSON DAGAAS CATALLA

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

91.75

JOSEPH BRIANNE SEÑO ESCALA

LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES UNIVERSITY-BATANGAS,INC

91.75

RAINIER CATAGUE ESPAÑOLA

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

91.75

2

MEL JOHN BANDICO ARLOS

JOHN B. LACSON COLLEGES FOUNDATION-ILOILO CITY

91.50

3

RODEL SEVILLA MATULA

TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF THE PHILIPPINES-QUEZON CITY

91.25

4

MANUEL ENERLAN ATENCIA III

PHILIPPINE MARITIME INSTITUTE-QUEZON CITY

91.00

ROBERTH PLATINO GOLOSINO

ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MARITIME STUDIES

91.00

5

FRANCISCO CHAVEZ ARPON III

EASTERN VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY (FOR.LIT)TACLOBAN

90.75

6

ROGELIO ORIEMO ESPADA JR

JOHN B. LACSON COLLEGES FOUNDATION-ILOILO CITY

90.50

MARK ANTHONY GREGORIO ESPIRITU

ZAMBOANGA CITY STATE POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE

90.50

OLIVER LABAYO PALOMARES

TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF THE PHILIPPINES-MANILA

90.50

GERARDO SORROSA ROXAS

UNIVERSITY OF PERPETUAL HELP SYSTEM DALTA-LAS PIÑAS

90.50

7

RONALDO ALCANTARA AMIDO

LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES UNIVERSITY-BATANGAS,INC

90.25

MONSELETO GUJILDE LERION

PHILIPPINE MARITIME INSTITUTE-BOHOL

90.25

MARLO DELA CRUZ LIQUIGAN

PHILIPPINE MARITIME INSTITUTE-QUEZON CITY

90.25

JECRIS PANERIO OBOY

UNIVERSITY OF THE VISAYAS-CEBU CITY

90.25

8

MARCK DAVID ALAMBRA CHAN

NORTHERN PHILS. COLL. FOR MARITIME & TECHNOLOGICAL STUDIES

90.00

JERAMEEL TECSON DIZON

BALIWAG MARITIME ACADEMY

90.00

POL ELWOOD DONGSAL EBREO

LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES UNIVERSITY-BATANGAS,INC

90.00

MARK WILSON TAN FERNANDEZ

PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

90.00

KYLE WYRLO LLEGADO SALILIN

ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MARITIME STUDIES

90.00

9

JERRY BARREGA CAPIN

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU

89.75

CHRISTOPHER LEONARDO FLORES

PHILIPPINE MARITIME INSTITUTE-QUEZON CITY

89.75

RYAN ALBERTO NATIVIDAD

ZAMBOANGA CITY STATE POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE

89.75

10

KRISTOFFER JOSEF DE TORRES CAPELO

ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MARITIME STUDIES

89.50

JAYSON ORGANO PICO

TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF THE PHILIPPINES-MANILA

89.50

JONATHAN CABRERA  QUIMADA

CEBU TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY-MAIN (FOR.CSCST)

 

 

House minority urges PNoy to be 'hands-on' leader

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - An ally of former President, now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today noted that unlike Arroyo, President Benigno Aquino III doesn’t seem to work “hands on” in terms of the country’s peace and order situation.

Palace blasts ‘noisy minority’

from ABS-CBNnews.com by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration has blasted minority lawmakers for discrediting its capacity to secure the country by politicizing all issues.

Lacierda: No need for PNoy to appoint anti-crime czar

There is no need for President Benigno Aquino III to appoint a crime czar amid the recent series of violent crimes that hit the country, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Thursday.

Reyes amassed more than P100 million in his 20-month tenure

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

Former AFP chief of staff Angelo Reyes allegedly amassed more than P100 million during his 20-month tenure, said Colonel George Rabusa, former AFP budget secretary, at the Senate hearing Thursday afternoon.

This included the “pabaon” of not less than P50 million when he retired back in 2001. Rabusa testified in the Senate hearing concerning the plunder case of former military comptroller Major General Carlos Garcia.

"Upon retirement we give some amount to the retiring chief of staff," bared former Army Col. George Rabusa during the Senate hearing on the controversial plea bargain agreement entered into by former AFP comptroller Maj. General Carlos Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman.

 

Rabusa said he and then AFP comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot, his superior, personally brought the money to Reyes at the AFP chief of staff quarters dubbed as the "White House."

He said since it was "very bulky" to carry the P50 million, they had it converted to dollars.

 

Military sources described the send-off money as "the uncalled for practice being undertaken by a particular chief of staff and the comptroller division."

 

"Wala sa record pero diskarte lahat ng comptroller yan. Walang ibang nakaka-alam [niyan] kundi and CS [chief of staff] at comptroller lang," a ranking officer told GMANews.TV.

 

(The amount is not entered in records but the comptroller knows it. Only the chief of staff and the comptroller know it.)

 

The same sources, however, said that the "practice" does not automatically apply to all chiefs of staff.

 

Converted cash funds

 

Rabusa, who hinted that Reyes was not the only chief of staff who benefited from the "pabaon" practice, said the money came from the AFP's Provision for Command Directed Activities (PCDA), which is pooled from the different units within the military organization.

 

"When he (chief of staff) retires during his tenure . . . the balance in the PCDA are all converted into cash and given to the retiring chief of staff," he said.

 

Rabusa, who was called to the Senate inquiry by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, said chiefs of staff also get around P10 million monthly while in service, half of which supposedly goes to their pockets.

 

Calculating the amounts, Estrada said Reyes probably received around P100 million during his 20-month tenure as AFP chief of staff.

 

Rabusa said others on the PCDA's payroll were the office of the vice chief of staff, which allegedly received P1.5 million; deputy chief of staff, P1.5 million; secretary of joint staff, P1 million); personnel of the House legislative office, retired generals, and members of the Defense Press Corps, among others.

 

Rabusa said former AFP chiefs of staff Gen. Diomedio Villanueva and Gen. Roy Cimatu, the current ambassador to the Middle East, also received P10 million each as "start-up" funds when they assumed office.

 

Denial

 

Ligot, for his part, repeatedly said during the inquiry that he could not remember being with Rabusa when they allegedly gave the money to Reyes.

 

"I'm trying to recall, hindi ko po talaga maalala ang specifics (but I really can't remember the specifics)," he said, even when Estrada threatened to detain him at the Senate until he remembers giving the money to Reyes.

 

Reyes, on the other hand, denied Rabusa's accusation and said he never asked anything from him.

 

"Hindi ko po natatandaan na tumatanggap ako ng ganyan. Hindi ako santo (pero) hindi po ako tumatanggap ng iligal (I don't remember receiving anything like that. I am not a saint but I don't accept anything that is illegal)," he said during the hearing.

 

Reyes, however, admitted that his office received a certain amount of funding, but quickly added that it didn't reach P5 million.

 

He likewise lamented the "wrong impression" that the allegation was causing his name. "I have my name to protect. I've served this government for a long time," he said.

 

Trillanes vs Reyes

 

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy officer, said Reyes has no one to blame regarding his tarnished reputation but himself. "If you're so concerned with your namesana nag-ayos kayo (you should have been good) while you were in office," he told him during the hearing.

 

"I was incarcerated for more than seven years. During those times all of you (said my) allegations are baseless. I believe this is the time of reckoning, you better find good lawyers," added Trillanes, who led a military uprising in 2003 and accused the AFP and Defense leadership of corruption.

 

Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit of the Office of the Ombudsman, who was present in the hearing, said they would conduct an investigation into Rabusa 's allegations.

 

"Mag-umpisa kami ng bagong imbestigasyon at sumasang-ayon ang aking mga kasamahan (My colleagues and I agree that we need to conduct a new investigation)," she said during the inquiry.

 

Rabusa as state witness?

 

Rabusa's lawyer Noel Malaya said his client wishes to become a state witness. "Considering he is not the most guilty of them... we want to tell the truth," he said.

 

Estrada has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to place Rabusa under the witness protection program. Senator Franklin Drilon said Rabusa can be placed under Senate custody until he is not yet under the DOJ's protection.

 

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he will take responsibility over Rabusa "because he is a witness who was personally appeared before the chamber."

 

Rabusa first testified in a Senate investigation in 2004 when the chamber held an inquiry into the Garcia corruption case.

 

Rabusa was earlier charged with three counts of perjury and unlawfully acquiring property and vehicles amounting to more than P43 million despite only having an annual salary of P275,000.

 

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, his net worth increased from P618,000 in 1990 to P7.18 million in 2003. His wife and father-in-law were likewise charged with conspiring with him.

 

A Newsbreak article said after Garcia's arrest in 2004, the military also put Rabusa under house arrest. The Ombudsman included him in the charge sheet but only Garcia was implicated in the plunder case. The case against the Rabusa in the military never prospered. He opted for early retirement in 2004 to run for mayor.

 

Estrada, however, noted that they did not intend to "pin down" anyone during the hearing. "We are just doing this to purge corruption from the military," he said in Filipino.

 

Reyes, a former military chief, headed the Defense Department from 2001 to middle of 2003. Garcia was military comptroller from March 2001 to September 2003.

 

Rabusa served as budget officer during the time of Garcia as J6 (deputy chief of staff for comptrollership, now defunct) and Ligot, Garcia's predecessor.

Lawmaker wants prosecutors in Garcia case replaced

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - A party-list lawmaker on Thursday urged the Office of the Solicitor General to push for the replacement of government prosecutors handling the P303 million plunder case against retired military comptroller Major Gen. Carlos F. Garcia and his family.

House likely to subpoena Ombudsman

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

The House of Representatives is intent on summoning Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to make her talk about the plea-bargain agreement that she approved with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Plunder evidence vs Garcia strong - Miriam

from ABS-CBNnews.com by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has joined officials who said there should be enough evidence in the plunder trial of former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia to get a conviction.

Trillanes, 94 other military ‘rebels’ take oath of allegiance to constitution

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

The first batch of junior officials and enlisted personnel linked to various military mutinies during the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo was granted amnesty Thursday.

MILF has 'restrained optimism' for peace talks

from GMA News.tv

Guarded or "restrained" optimism will be the attitude of secessionist rebels when they resume formal peace talks with the government in February.

3 leftist rebels killed in Davao clashes: military

from philstar.com - Breaking News

Three leftist rebels were killed and three surrendered following a series of clashes with government troops in the southern Philippines yesterday, the military said today.

Charter change not among House priorities—Belmonte

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

For now, Charter change is not among the priorities of the House of Representatives, saying it needs ample time to be debated in plenary, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Thursday.

Belmonte favors Con-ass; sets Cha-cha as next agenda

from ABS-CBNnews.com by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte has finally bared his favored mode of Charter change, saying the country would be better of with a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass) than a Constitutional Convention (Con-con).

House to pass Repro health, Freedom of Info bills by March?

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The controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill and the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill are two of 25 measures that leaders of the House of Representatives plan to pass before the lower chamber goes on break in late March, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Thursday.

$1: 44.170

$1: 44.170 (P44.34)

Euro 1: 60.8598

SSS waives penalties for delinquent members

from GMA News.tv

To encourage delinquent members to pay their loans, the Social Security System will condone penalties on overdue principals and interests until the end of June.

Oil inches higher above $87 a barrel in Asia

from philstar.com - Breaking News

Oil prices inched higher above $87 a barrel Thursday in Asia as traders weighed President Barack Obama's plans to boost the US economy against the possibility that China, the world's biggest energy consumer, will soon raise interest rates to slow growth and contain inflation.

Aquino cites P3-B savings on coco-based road, flood control projects

from ABS-CBNnews.com by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino cited on Thursday how the coconet technology used in road and flood control projects could save the government around P3 billion.

“A recent meeting with a company called Coconet has introduced to us the possibility of using coconut coir instead of concrete to line our roads and some bodies of water to prevent flooding," he said during the Aquino during the awarding ceremony of the Philippine Quality Awards in Malacañang.

"This will save us more than P3 billion in road maintenance, while at the same time uplifting the lives of coconut farmers. And this came from our resourcefulness—a P3-billion idea,” the President added as he joined in recognizing the Filipino creativity at the event.

The President said Filipino creativity can even extend to names of some business establishments like barbershops “Sylvester Salon” and “Scissors Palace".

This year’s recipients of the Philippine Quality Awards include Sunpower Philippines Manufacturing Limited, Mariwasa Siam Manufacturing Inc. and RCM Manufacturing Inc. They were cited for achieving “exceptional performance in overall organizational processes.”

The President thanked the companies for contributing to the economy and challenged them to do more. “Thank you for contributing to the growth of our local industries, which leads to more jobs and better lives for our countrymen,” Aquino said.

Coconet

The coconet technology taps cocofiber or coconets made from coconut husks and replaces the use of concrete in constructing creeksides and embankments to prevent flooding.

In August 2010, Public Works secretary Rogelio had noted that the cost of using coconet is only a third of the cost of applying concrete.

Coconut-based geotextiles, manufactured mainly in the Bicol region, reduces soil erosion since it is known for its absorption abilities. Singson had said the Philippines is exporting cocofiber to China, Japan, Germany and Malaysia.

The Philippines is the world’s largest producer of coconuts but the Filipino coconut farmer is among the poorest of the tillers of the soil.

The coconet technology was one of the finalists that made it to the World Challenge contest of UK-based broadcasting firm BBC in 2010.

Tetangco agrees to 2nd term as central bank governor

from ABS-CBNnews.com by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Amando Tetangco Jr., current governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has agreed to a re-appointment when he retires in July, President Aquino told reporters on Thursday.

From VAT to Vast

by cebuweb

THE House committee on ways and means presented to Cebu stakeholders yesterday House Bill 3850, which is meant to replace the 12-percent Value-Added Tax (VAT) with the six-percent Value Simplified Tax (Vast) on the importation of goods and on the sale of goods and services.

An economist, however, said the new sales tax scheme will cause prices of goods and services to increase.

BOC: Coal power plants top taxpayers in Cebu for 2 years

by cebuweb

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu has collected a total of P2.4 billion from the taxes paid by three coal-fired power plants in Cebu in 2009 and 2010.

Port of Cebu District Collector Ronnie Silvestre said the coal-fired power plants were big contributors to government revenues in 2009 and 2010.

Thai government, army deny coup claims

by Agence France-Presse

BANGKOK, Thailand - The Thai government on Thursday denied opposition claims that it faces a military coup amid intensifying street protests and ahead of expected elections.

Baghdad car bomb hits mourners, 53 dead in attacks

BAGHDAD—A massive car bomb ripped through a funeral ceremony in a Shiite district of Baghdad on Thursday, killing 48 people in Iraq's bloodiest day in more than two months.

Mandela, 92, hospitalized for tests in S. Africa

JOHANNESBURG - Former South African President Nelson Mandela was in the hospital Thursday for what his office said were routine tests, as the 92-year-old anti-apartheid icon's overnight stay drew extraordinary media attention.

Berlusconi prostitution probe widens in Italy

ROME - A parliamentary committee in Italy examined 200 more pages of documents Thursday assembled by prosecutors investigating Premier Silvio Berlusconi on suspicion he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl.

Pacquiao feels pressure of winning

from ABS-CBNnews.com by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Eight division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao said the pressure for him to win every fight feels like a heavy burden on his shoulder.

Boom Boom Bautista ready for rematch with Barrera

Former world super bantamweight title challenger Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista will be quicker and stronger in his rematch with Mexico's Alejandro Barrera on Friday at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu.

Smart Gilas reaches Dubai semis by trouncing Lebanese

Smart Gilas thrived from three-point range and backed it up with a pesky defense in crushing Hoops of Lebanon, 86-69, Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Invitational basketball tournament.

Heat G Wade to try tinted glasses (AP)

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade plans to wear tinted glasses for the start of Thursday's game against the New York Knicks to protect his eyes from the bright lights as he recovers from a migraine headache. "I'll feel the game out, see how I feel," he said after Thursday morning's shootaround.

Djokovic strips Federer of last Slam title

MELBOURNE—Novak Djokovic sensationally knocked Roger Federer out of the Australian Open semi-finals Thursday, leaving the defending champion without a Grand Slam title for the first time in eight years.

ABS-CBN brews new noontime show with Toni, Mariel

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – ABS-CBN’s entertainment website Push.com.ph announced on Twitter Thusrday that the network is currently brewing a new noontime variety show.  According to the tweet, the show will be topbilled by hosts Toni Gonzaga, Mariel Rodriguez, Randy Santiago and John Estrada.

Kobe Bryant to star in ‘The Black Mamba’

from INQUIRER.net Breaking News

Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant has been cast by director Robert Rodriguez along with Bruce Willis and Danny Trejo to star in an upcoming film entitled "The Black Mamba."

DOH 7 comes up with ‘to-do’ list

by cebuweb

WITH the country suffering from the ongoing effects of La Niña, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 advised the public to take vitamins, eat healthy foods and wear protective gear.

It also issued a warning against water-borne diseases, influenza, leptospirosis and dengue.

“People with low resistance to cough and colds should take vitamin C. Eat foods rich in vitamins,” said Dr. Expedito Medalla, DOH health and management staff coordinator.

He urged the public to protect themselves against the cold by wearing a jacket and to use umbrellas when going out in the rain.

Medalla warned floods can cause water-borne diseases like diarrhea.

Water-borne diseases—which also include cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid fever—are caused by virus or bacteria transmitted through infected food or water.

The public is advised to make sure their drinking water is safe by boiling or adding chlorine to the source.

Fruits and vegetables should be properly washed. People are also advised to eat only properly prepared food.

Bracing against diseases

The DOH also urged people to wash their hands often.

Those who are infected with influenza should drink plenty of liquids and take paracetamol. Symptoms associated with influenza are fever with temperature of up to 38 degrees Celsius, headache, sore throat, clogged nose and body pains.

Medalla advised people not to wade in flood waters to avoid leptospirosis, which is from the urine and feces of rats.

In an earlier interview, DOH 7 dengue program coordinator Dr. Jocelyn Abellana warned to expect an increase in the number of dengue cases with the rainy season.

The dengue virus is transmitted from one person to another by the day-biting Aedis egypti mosquito that breeds in clean and stagnant water in tires, dish drains and flower vases, among others.

The symptoms of dengue include high fever, body weakness, abdominal pain, vomiting and in worse cases, nose bleed.

She advised people to maintain clean surroundings, clear possible mosquito breeding places and with the onset of fever, seek early medical treatment.

MGB 7 issues tips on how to survive natural disasters

by cebuweb

FIND out if your house is in an area that is prone to floods or landslides. Store food and water.

These are some of the tips given by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB 7), which identified flood- and landslide-prone areas in Cebu.

MGB 7 advises residents to come up with a flood evacuation route and identify a relative as a contact person in case families get separated.

It also recommended that households keep first-aid supplies, a battery-powered portable radio and flashlights.

Vehicle owners should not park their cars along streams.

MGB 7 also urged everyone to be updated on the latest storm information.

If advised by authorities, residents should turn off the main power switch and close gas valves.

People should avoid flooded areas and should not cross streams and rivers.

People should regularly inspect the foundations of their houses for cracks or other damage.

MGB 7 said those who are ill should seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital or clinic.

MGB 7 Director Loreto Alburo said the agency conducted a geohazard assessment in 2007.

Risky areas

In the assessment, MGB identified five barangays in Cebu City that are considered to be most hazardous: Kasambagan, Kinasang-an, Labangon, Mabolo and Bonbon.

Seven barangays in Mandaue City—Subangdaku, Mantuyong, Umapad, Opao, Alang-alang, Guizo and Pakna-an—were also identified as at risk.

Alburo said places that are near rivers or creeks have poor drainage facilities. Low-lying areas and coastal areas are also prone to floods, he said.

Heavily silted rivers or creeks and waterways that are constricted by structures also cause floods.

Waterways that are likely to be affected by floods in Cebu Province are Mananga, Carcar, Argao, Balamban, Sapangdako, Langoyon and Guinabasan Rivers.

 


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1 comment:

Jane Kaylor said...

I am one of those people prone to headaches, migraine and colds. Usually, my first recourse is White Flower Embrocation (embrocation.50webs.com), also called White Flower Oil

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