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

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 4, 2011 Major News Stories

January 4, 2011 Major News Stories
January 4, 2011 Major News Stories

Shell, Petron to cut LPG prices


MANILA, Philippines - Two major oil players in the country announced on Monday price cuts in their respective liquified petroleum gas (LPG) products effective Tuesday.

Roberto Kanapi, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. spokesman, told media in a text message that the local oil giant will implement a P0.40 per kilogram (P4.40 per 11-kg cylinder) reduction in the price of its Shellane LPG products effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Petron Corp, in a separate message, said it will implement a P0.40/kg (exclusive of Value-Added Tax) price cut but effective 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The 2 oil companies said their respective price reductions are due to the decline in international contract prices.

Death toll from Philippine rains rises to 9


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The death toll from heavy rains swamping the eastern Philippines has risen to 9 following reports of fresh landslides, government agencies said Monday.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Southern Leyte confirmed 5 persons died in the province, all of them children.

One of the victims is 3-year old Jordan Lakipon of Barangay Bolobbolod in St. Bernard town who was earlier reported as missing. Other fatalities are Jordan's neighbors, Fatima Discaryal, 5 years old, and Rodel Discaryal, 1 year old who died due to landslide.

Also confirmed dead were Patrick Pelaez, 11 years old, who reportedly drowned at a creek at Pancho Villa in Bontoc town, and Ricabelle Montederamos, 11 years old who reportedly drowned at Barangay Maanyag in Tomas Oppus town.

Floods and landslides over the weekend forced more than 1,000 families to flee their homes on Leyte and nearby Samar islands. Soldiers have been mobilized to conduct rescue operations and clear roads.

At least 4 landslides have been reported in Southern Leyte. The first was at Barangay Bolodbolod in St. Bernard town. Landslides were also reported at Barangay Mayuga in Libagon, town; Barangay Pancho Villa in Sogod town; and at Barangay Imelda of Silago town.

Two successive landslides were also reported to have hit the Diwalwal mining area in Barangay Mt. Diwata, Monkayo town in Compostela Valley in Mindanao on Sunday.

The first landslide occurred 4 p.m. in Purok 5 and partially damaged a bunkhouse of mine workers.

The second landslide crushed a residential house in Purok 16 and killed a 58-year-old woman.

Barangay Chairman Rodolfo Boyles identified the victim as Aplonaria Poras, a ballmill operator in the mining area.

She was reportedly asleep when part of the mountain fell on her house. Other members of the Poras family escaped unhurt.

Barangay authorities were only able to retrieve her body at noontime Monday.

Meanwhile, a government agency said a young woman who was reported missing in the Bicol peninsula of the main island of Luzon was found dead, raising the toll from bad weather in that area to 3.

All 3 Bicol victims were swept away by flash floods while they fled their homes last week, it added.

The Bicol floods forced more than 62,000 people to seek shelter at government-run evacuation camps, but most returned home as the weather improved a few hours before the year turned, it said.

However heavy rain was still pounding the eastern coast of the southern island of Mindanao for the third straight day on Monday, forcing about 900 people to flee their homes, it said.

The state weather service said cold air from northeast Asia was triggering heavy rain as it came into contact with warmer air in the tropical country.

6,000 families in Maguindanao hit by flashfloods


MANILA, Philippines – An estimated 6,000 households from 2 towns of Maguindanao province were affected by flashfloods Sunday evening after heavy rains.

Four more hit by diarrhea in Sogod

by By Mylen P. Manto, correspondent/BRP

Four more people suffering from diarrhea were admitted yesterday to the Sogod District Hospital, bringing the total number of diarrhea cases to 14 with one death.

5 more firecracker-related injuries recorded

by By Mylen P. Manto/JMO

Five more firecracker-related injuries were recorded in Region 7 yesterday, as shown by records of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of Department of Health (DOH).

DOH: 891 injured by firecrackers, stray bullets


MANILA, Philippines - At least 891 people were injured by firecrackers and stray bullets during the New Year revelry, the Department of Health said Monday.

Based on the latest DOH data, 844 people were injured by firecrackers, 36 were hit by stray bullets and 11 were hurt after ingesting firecrackers.

The casualty count is 13% lower than last year's total of 1,028 casualties, according to Dr. Eric Tayag of the DOH’s National Epidemiology Center.

Tayag said the leading cause of injuries is piccolo, followed by kwitis and 5-star.

He said most of the victims waited for 5 days before going to the hospital for treatment.

The DOH is now on tetanus alert in anticipation of the surge of complications from untreated firecracker injuries. Tayag said they are treating all victims of firecrackers as serious cases.

Manifestations of tetanus come out as early as 3 days to one month. Among the symptoms of tetanus are headache,lockjaw, high fever and weakness.

"Yung mga galing na sa ospital na naputukan dapat nyong tiyakin na nabigyan kayo ng anti tetanus na bakuna. Kung wala, kailangan niyong bumalik," he said.

Senate bill seeks to declare Chinese New Year a holiday

A senator is seeking the immediate passage of a bill declaring Chinese New Year a special working holiday as a sign of “goodwill and amity” to China. Chinese New Year falls on February 3 this year.

Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada filed Senate Bill No. 550 in recognition of the “immeasurable contribution” of the Chinese-Filipino community in the country and to further strengthen Philippine-Chinese relations.

BIR to get 10% from taxi sales

by cebuweb

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will collect 10 percent tax from the gross receipts of all taxicab units beginning Jan. 15.  When a taxi driver’s gross fare receipts reach P3,000 at the end of the day, the operator must pay the 10-percent tax of P300 to the BIR.

Jeepney, bus groups to seek minimum fare hikes


MANILA, Philippines – After the government approved the petition for an increase in taxi fares, jeepney, and provincial bus operators are also asking for a minimum fare increase.

LTO to implement ‘no certificate, no driving’ policy

Public transport drivers will have more to worry about aside from the impending increase on gas prices and the new toll fee as the Land Transportation Office gears up to implement a “no certificate, no driving” policy, radio reports said Monday.

The LTO will require all drivers to qualify for a certification proving that they have undergone and passed the road safety program from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Radyo Inquirer reported.

Law enforcers from the LTO, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and deputized traffic enforcement units will also be required to undergo training.

Drivers of government vehicles will also be put on training following several accidents involving ambulances that occurred over the holidays, the report added.

TESDA to provide free trainings for 50,000 PUV drivers

At least 50,000 drivers of public utility vehicles will be given free trainings in a bid to ensure the safety of their future passengers and improve road safety, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said it is willing to provide technical assistance for this.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said it made this commitment because of the string of vehicular accidents that occurred over the holidays, and as a response to a request of the Department of Transportation and Communications.


Villanueva explained that in Nov. 2010, Transportation Secretary Jose “Ping" de Jesus wrote him a letter asking if TESDA could certify more than 50,000 bus and truck drivers nationwide in the next two years.


"We gave our commitment to provide technical assistance for these drivers," he said. “We welcome the proposal considering this recent series of road accidents."


TESDA and the DOTC are set to meet this month to flesh out the training program, Villanueva said.


According to the DOTC, 85 percent of road accidents are "driver-related," indicating a lack of skills by drivers.


“Thus, it is important to assess their (drivers) capability on the road," Villanueva said.


The TESDA chief, however, said that private operators and traffic enforcers should also take part in the project.


"They should do their share of educating and training their drivers to guarantee that they can safely ferry their passengers and cargoes to their destination," he said.


If the proposal pushes through, drivers would have to undergo trainings at either TESDA schools or accredited private driving schools. Either way, they must still be assessed by TESDA, Villanueva said.


A three-way collision along STAR Tollway in Batangas on Sunday killed seven members of a family who were on their way to Manila.


Last week, a road accident in Sta. Rosa, Laguna killed six people in a jeepney, and the week before that, a bus collided with a car along Commonwealth Avenue, killing a retired Makati City Regional Trial Court judge and his wife who were on their way to midnight Mass.

Arroyos file bill for OFW hospital

They keep the economy afloat and so deserve a medical facility of their own.

Gwen, Mike meet

by cebuweb

CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama initially discussed how to resolve the plight of city constituents occupying Capitol lots, in a New Year’s Eve dinner hosted by a mutual friend.

Both officials separately confirmed the dinner and the mention of the 93-1 issue, but declined to reveal details. Businesswoman Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, a former Bogo City mayoral candidate, hosted the dinner.

Gwen: MCIAA Board to decide on COA's order

by By Gregg M. Rubio/FPL

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said she will abide by the decision of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority Board whether or not to refund the P500,000 severance pay they granted to former Department of Tourism regional director Patria Aurora Roa.

Pyro trader mulls raps vs. city government

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja

The camp of businessman Brian Lim, owner of Pyroworks Pyrotechnic Perfection, is mulling filing a case for grave abuse of authority against Mayor Michael Rama for the destruction of P3 million worth of pyrotechnics earlier seized for being sold in an undesignated area.

Police chief says there's proof: Digal: No apology to Mayor Ramirez

by By Ria Mae Y. Booc

Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Erson Digal will not apologize to Medellin town Mayor Ricardo Ramirez, who he tagged as the prime suspect in the death of Edelberto “Delbi” Abao last week.

Business permit renewal‘done’ in 30 mins.

by cebuweb

WHAT took 15 days to a month to renew business permits will now take only 30 minutes in Mandaue City.

“This is one way of thanking the businessmen for their confidence in the present administration,” Mayor Jonas Cortes said during yesterday’s launching of new procedures to streamline processing of permits.

The mayor also promised that within the first quarter, once all systems are installed, payment of real property taxes can be done in any of the 27 barangay halls.

CCMC gets new chief of hospital

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja/BRP

A 34-year-old doctor sat yesterday as the new OIC-Chief of Hospital of the Cebu City Medical Center.

Sinulog stage to be ready next week

by By Rene U. Borromeo and Gregg M. Rubio/BRP

The preparation of the stage facing the grandstand of the Cebu City Sports Center for the holding of the Sinulog grand mardigras and finale on the third Sunday of this month is expected to be completed on January 12.

8 suppliers want to bid for track oval repairs

by By Rene U. Borromeo/BRP

Eight suppliers want to participate in the bidding for the repair of the 16-year-old 400-meter rubberized track oval at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Gov't likely to issue new EO on Truth Commission

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino government will likely craft a new executive order in place of Executive Order (EO) No. 1, which was thumbed down by the Supreme Court on grounds that it violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Monday.

Palace bids to save 'Truth'

from Philippines News Headlines

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang Thursday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to reconsider its decision striking down as unconstitutional Executive Order No. 1 (EO 1), creating the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC). In a 60-page motion for reconsideration filed through Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, the Palace said the High Court erred in concluding that EO 1 violated the equal protection clause by singling out for investigation the administration of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. "The plain language of EO 1 shows that there is no intent to unfairly discriminate against the previous administration," Cadiz pointed out. Under EO 1 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III, PTC is tasked to look into corruption scandals that rocked the previous administration. But the SC, in a vote of 10-5, ruled that EO 1 is a "transgression of the equal protection clause" enshrined in the Constitution. Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws." The SC said that the PTC, to be true to its mandate of searching for the truth, must not exclude the other past administrations. Cadiz, however, insisted that "no invidious classification of the transactions during the previous administration since such classification is based on substantial distinctions that make for real differences." "EO 1 does not single out individuals but refers to questionable transactions during the Arroyo regime," he pointed out. He said the fact that not all administrations are included in the investigation does not render the presidential fiat unconstitutional. Besides, Cadiz pointed out that the SC itself declared that the President has "the inherent power to investigate." With such declaration, Cadiz said the SC "cannot prescribe the subject, purpose and manner of his (President's) investigation." Cadiz represents Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and PTC, which were named respondents to two petitions questioning EO 1. President Aquino earlier vowed that his government will continue to look for ways to seek justice against the corrupt practices done during the past administration after the Supreme Court decided earlier this month that Executive Order No. 1 creating the Truth Commission was unconstitutional. President Aquino signed EO1 on July 30, 2010, making former Chief Justice and Philippine Representative to the United Nations (UN) Hilario Davide Jr. the head of the investigating body. It aims to unearth anomalies of the past administration in the last nine years.

DOJ: Brillantes, others being considered for Comelec post


MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said it is possible that President Benigno Aquino III is considering veteran election lawyer Sixto Brillantes as the new chairman of the Commission on Elections.

Comelec accused of granting 'selective' incentives

An association of rank and file employees of the Comelec on Monday accused the poll body of supposedly granting "selective" incentives when it gave bonuses to Comelec chairman Jose Melo and other officials last Christmas. The Comelec spokesman has denied the accusation.

Aquino prefers Cabinet cluster meetings


MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III prefers to hold Cabinet meetings in clusters because the President believes it is more productive to meet officials on specific concerns rather than have officials sit through a meeting on concerns that do not concern them.

Executive Secretary 'reorganizes' Office of the President

Executive Secretary Paquito "Jojo" Ochoa Jr. said on Monday he made organizational changes in the Office of the President to improve the efficiency of the legal and administrative offices under it.

Military, police 'rebels' can now apply for amnesty


MANILA,  Philippines - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Monday said military and police rebels who want to avail of the amnesty can now apply.

The Department of National Defense (DND) committee, headed by Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta, can now accept and process applications. The applications will be submitted to Gazmin, who would make a recommendation to President Aquino. The final approval of any amnesty application is with the President.

Faeldon granted provisional liberty


MANILA, Philippines - Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon, an alleged participant in two failed attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration, was granted provisional liberty for 2 days by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and was released on Monday morning.

Only 3 guerrilla fronts destroyed by AFP in 2010

Only three guerrilla fronts of the New People's Army had been dismantled by the Armed Forces last year, and the military attributed this dismal accomplishment to its being occupied with preparations for the May 10 and Oct. 25 elections.

Rep. Singson to colleagues: Don't judge me yet

Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson has again asked his colleagues at the House of Representatives to defer their judgment against him until the courts issue a decision over the drug case he is facing in Hong Kong.

Guilty plea to kick-start disciplinary proceedings vs Singson

... as House ethics committee looks at options on lawmakerTHE HOUSE committee on ethics will begin disciplinary proceedings against Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald V. Singson (1st district) once he enters a guilty plea in a Hong Kong court for narcotics-related charges, the vice-chairmen of the committee said yesterday.

De Lima ‘feeling pressure’ over gov’t failure to bag Lacson

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has admitted feeling pressured by the authorities’ failure to find fugitive Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who has been in hiding for a year now.

Expelling Ping not so easy: Gringo

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Gregorio Honasan on Monday said expelling his colleague Sen. Panfilo Lacson from Congress is not as easy as Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson thinks.

‘Gringo’ would make Yanks pay

The government should use the ongoing review of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to demand that Washington pay for most of the long-delayed modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

DILG to tap Chinese-Filipinos as firefighters

The Department of Interior and Local Government is looking at tapping Chinese-Filipino communities in towns and cities to help address the lack of fire trucks and other fire equipment.

Philippine justice chief to attend Hong Kong inquest

by Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines' justice secretary said on Monday she would attend a Hong Kong government inquest over a bus hijacking that left eight of its citizens dead last year.

Riyadh jail frees OFW detained for smuggling attempt

A homebound overseas Filipino worker (OFW), who had been detained in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia after airport authorities found 150 kilos of scrap bronze in his baggage, has been released, an OFW advocacy group reported.

Ampatuan protests bid for state witnesses

The main accused in the Maguindanao massacre, Andal Ampatuan Jr., has asked a Quezon City court to junk a motion of state prosecutors to turn three of his co-accused into state witnesses.

DILG to bid out contracts for building of new jails

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has announced a plan to bid out contracts to private firms for the construction of new jails in a bid to decongest jails throughout the country.

$1: 43.770

$1: 43.770 (P43.84)

Euro 1: 58.6279

Customs misses December revenue goal

by Reuters

MANILA, Philippines - Cash collections by the Bureau of Customs, the Philippines' second biggest revenue agency, were P19 billion ($435 million) in December, falling short of a target of P23.1 billion, Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said on Monday.

South Korea tells Pyongyang door to dialogue open

by By Jack Kim, Reuters

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said on Monday he was open to dialogue with Pyongyang, as the U.S. envoy for North Korea prepared to travel to the region to discuss how to reduce tensions.

Pakistan plunged into fresh political turmoil

by Agence France-Presse

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan was struggling with a major political crisis on Monday after the second largest party in the ruling coalition quit the fragile government.

5 Taiwan dog-eaters face 3,000 dollar fine

by Agence France-Presse

TAIPEI - Five Taiwanese men are facing a fine of more than 3,000 US dollars each for killing and eating two dogs in what an official said was the first such case in a decade in the Taipei area.

Mosley seen as underdog despite reach, height advantage over Pacquiao

Will Shane Mosley be the next member of Manny Pacquiao’s lucky loser club?

‘Boom Boom’ Bautista to face off with Barrera anew on Jan. 29

Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista sparred even on Christmas Day and trained right through the holidays for his rematch with Mexican featherweight Alejando Barrera on January 29 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.

Grizzlies roll by lifeless Lakers 104-85 (AP)

Rudy Gay and the Memphis Grizzlies didn't get overly excited about beating the Los Angeles Lakers so thoroughly that the Staples Center crowd booed its two-time champions off the court. The Grizzlies were just pleased they had seized their second chance for a fresh start to the new year. Gay scored 27 points, Zach Randolph added 21 points and eight rebounds.

Rondo returns, Celtics beat Raptors (AP)

It was a lot easier for the Boston Celtics with Rajon Rondo back in the lineup. Paul Pierce scored 30 points, Ray Allen had 23 and the Celtics marked Rondo's return with a 93-79 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night. "With him, because he knows everything we run, we were back into running stuff we'd basically put into hibernation while he was out," Boston coach Doc Rivers.

Kuh Ledesma wants foreign acts regulated


MANILA, Philippines - Filipino pop diva Kuh Ledesma is calling for the immediate regulation of concerts by major international idols such as Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars.

TV shows, films, concerts in 2011 unveiled


MANILA, Philippines – New beginnings, new shows.  ABS-CBN network has unveiled its line-up of exciting TV shows for 2011.

First on the list is ABS-CBN's remake of hit Korean series "Green Rose." The TV series stars Jake Cuenca, Anne Curtis and Jericho Rosales.

Feel the excitement as the new love team of Robin Padilla and Bea Alonzo will introduced in the series "Guns and Roses," with Ejay Falcon and Empress Schuck.

The Kapamilya network also brings the new love team of Gerald Anderson and Jewel Mische in shows "Bagwis" and "Buhawi Jack."

For reality programs lovers, ABS-CBN offers "Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2," "The Biggest Loser: Pinoy Edition" hosted by Megastar Sharon Cuneta, and "Junior Master Chef" hosted by Judy Ann Santos.

The Queen of Game Shows Kris Aquino will be back to host TV game program franchise "The Price is Right."


Movies and films

Meanwhile, new movies and concerts have also been lined up for this year.

Curtis and Luis Manzano will reunite in the movie "Who's that Girl" under Star Cinema.

Feel the action fever as Padilla and Cesar Montano are set to work together in an action film.

As early as now, Regal Films is already preparing for the comeback movie of young superstar Santos.

For indie lovers, director Paul Soriano's indie sports film "Thelma," starring retired Filipina track and field athlete Elma Muros and young actress Maja Salvador, will be shown in March.

Director Joel Lamangan will do a movie about media killings titled “Deadline” based on the Maguindanao massacre.

For music lovers, watch for the big concert Charice and Gary Valenciano this year. They are set to invade SM Mall of Asia this January 8 to launch their own perfume line.

On January 25, Lani Misalucha will stage her comeback concert. Kuh Ledesma and Hitmakers Rico J. Puno, Marco Sison, Rey Valera and Nonoy Zuñiga will join force for a Valentine concert on February 12 and 13 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Rock legend Chuck Berry collapses on stage

CHICAGO—Rock legend Chuck Berry is in good health after collapsing on stage during a performance in Chicago due to exhaustion, a spokesman said Monday.

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor may have leg amputated—husband

LOS ANGELES—Ailing actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was taken to hospital over the weekend and may have to have her leg partially amputated, her husband said Monday.

DOLE reports high minimum-wage compliance rate

by Business Mirror

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Sunday reported a high compliance rate of the private sector in the minimum wages set by the various Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPBs).

“In the minimum-wage compliance, ang report sa amin is 81% compliant ang mga companies natin…ito ang pinaka-importanteng benefit na kailangan,” Labor Undersecretary Lourdes Trasmonte said.

Labor officials expect the compliance rate to increase further when the inspection of companies nationwide has been completed.

The department has been undertaking an expanded and enhanced Labor Enforcement and Action Program (LEAP) to achieve a higher rate of compliance with general labor standards by companies and establishments since September.

At the same time, Trasmonte reported that only about 50% of companies in the country have complied with the payment of the holiday pay to their employees.

Based on the inspections conducted by the Dole under LEAP, Trasmonte said that only half of the 35,680 establishments inspected nationwide have complied with the holiday payment rules.

She explained that based on the labor standards inspection nationwide, employers are more often found violating the holiday pay regulation than the minimum wage standards.

“Nahihirapan silang sumunod sa holiday pay kasi marami tayong holidays,” Trasmonte said.

“There is about 50-percent compliance rate, although ang target namin diyan eh it will go up to 65%-70% compliance,” Trasmonte added.

Under the law, employers are required to pay their employees, who will go on duty on an officially declared holiday, an additional percentage based on their regular pay depending on the type of holiday declared by the government.

The inspection program has been suspended from December 1, 2010 until January 16, 2011 to prevent DOLE personnel from soliciting Christmas gifts from employers.


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