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

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 7, 2011 Major News Stories

January 7, 2011 Major News Stories
January 7, 2011 Major News Stories

Cholera outbreak hits Catmon

by cebuweb

FECAL samples collected from suspected cholera patients in Catmon, Cebu tested positive, said health officials yesterday.

The Department of Health (DOH) urged local government units (LGUs) and their sanitary inspectors, to improve its monitoring of their water sources.

Dr. Susana Madarieta, Department of Health (DOH) 7 director, said yesterday rectal

samples collected from 19 patients confined at the Juan B. Dosado Memorial Hospital in Sogod, Cebu had vibrio cholerae bacteria.

'Pinoy Tasty' bread to rise by P2

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - After fuel and toll, prices of "Pinoy Tasty" and other branded loaf breads are also set to increase.

Only 8% of 45,000 taxis ready to enforce Jan. 15 fare hike—LTFRB exec

Only eight percent of 45,000 taxis in the country can implement the fare increase set to take effect on January 15, a transport official said in a report on Radyo Inquirer Thursday.

This is because the calibration of the taxi meters will start this Monday (January 10), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board director Manuel Iway was quoted as saying.

According to Iway, the LFTRB will start calibrating taxis with car plates ending in 1, 2, 6 and 7, it said.

Iway said calibrating all the taxis would be completed by June.

There are about 24,000 taxi units in Metro Manila, he said.

The LTFRB approved on December 23 the increase in the flagdown rates from P30 to P40, and the succeeding rate to P3.50 from P2.50.

Iway also said that taxi meters calibrated by private companies would have to be examined by the LTFRB to check on the accuracy of the calculation.

Veco set to grant 5% discount to senior citizens this month

by cebuweb

THE Visayas Electric Co. (Veco) is expected to implement the senior citizens discount on power bills this month as the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) released the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) last Wednesday.

Corporate communications manager Ethel Natera said as required by law, 15 days after the publication of the IRR in two newspapers of general circulation, power distribution utilities such as Veco can start granting the discounts.

Pia Cayetano lauds water, power discounts for elderly

Senator Pia Cayetano on Thursday lauded the implementation of a five-percent discount on power and water rates for senior citizens but warned that this should be “enjoyed responsibly.”

“I welcome the announcement of the five percent discount for water and power rates by ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) and major water companies as part of the benefits under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act. This should give our seniors much-needed relief, even as toll fees, public utility fares and prices of basic goods continue to increase,” Cayetano said in a statement.

 

“But these benefits, while well-deserved by our lolas and lolos (grandfathers and grandmothers), should be enjoyed responsibly and must not be abused under any circumstances,” she said.

 

Cayetano then urged the senior citizens to fully comply with the requirements to enjoy the discount, and for utility firms to step up their information drive about the discount guidelines “to make the application process simpler, faster and easier to understand for our elderly.”

 

Cayetano, one of three members of the minority bloc in the Senate, is the principal sponsor of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (Republic Act 9994).

 

The law laid down several benefits for the country’s elderly, including the five percent discount for power and water, as well as a provision exempting them from the 12 percent expanded value added tax so that they may fully enjoy the 20 percent senior citizens’ discount.

Veco union moves to suspend mediation

by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/JPM

The Visayan Electric Company Employees Union-Associated Labor Union is set to file a motion to suspend the conciliation and mediation hearing between the union and the management before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board-7th Division.

Rains displace over 92,000 families in 22 PH provinces

(UPDATE) The number of affected residents due to the continuous rains in several provinces has climbed to 92,606 families or 470,763 persons, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Thursday.

Downpour damage: P65.7 million; state of calamity widened

DAMAGE TO infrastructure and agriculture from continuous rains in the central and southern portions of the country has reached P65.7 million, with the death toll at 26, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in an update yesterday.

Exclusive: 200 villagers flown out of isolated S. Leyte town

Ni-rescue ng mga awtoridad ang mahigit 200 residente mula sa dalawang barangay sa St. Bernard, Southern Leyte. May apat na araw na kasi silang isolated dahil sa mga landslide na dulot ng tuluy-tuloy na pag-ulan doon.

Cebu City to give P300,000 to St. Bernard

by By Garry B. Lao/JPM

The Cebu City Government extends a helping hand to the Municipality of St. Bernard, Southern Leyte where hundreds of families lost their homes due to the flooding and landslide caused by continuous rains.

Osmeña, DSWD-7 give P1.3M aid to Duljo, Guadalupe fire victims

Cebu City south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña and the Department of Social Welfare and Development-7 have distributed cash assistance amounting to P1,347,000 to the fire victims from the barangays of Duljo Fatima and Guadalupe.

21 barangays get garbage shredders

by By Garry B. Lao and Ramil V. Ayuman/WAB

At least 21 barangays yesterday received shredder machines each worth P108,000 from the city government that is expected to help the latter solve its garbage problem.

Mayor Michael Rama yesterday said the barangays can use the machines in helping reduce the volume of wastes accumulated and dumped into the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill. These barangays are Adlaon, Apas, Binaliw, Kamputhaw, Ermita, Hipodromo, Lorega-San Miguel, Mabolo, Parian, Pulangbato, San Jose, Sto. Niño, Tinago, Tejero, Basak Pardo, Bulacao, Kalunasan, Mambaling, Quiot, Sawang Calero and Suba.

Nida Cabrera, chairman of the City Council’s committee on waste management and environment, explained that only 21 barangays received the shredder machines after completing the training for Barangay Environmental Officers.

The shredder machines will process about 500 to 800 kilos of solid biodegradable wastes into organic fertilizers, according to Cabrera.

She added that the city has already appropriated P2.8 million that will be used to buy the organic materials produced by the shredder machines from the 21 barangays.

“Kung unsa’y output nga compost paliton man pud sa syudad for organic materials diha sa city agriculture’s office,” Cabrera said.

The city will buy the organic materials at P5 per kilo.

Cabrera reminded the barangay officials the proper implementation of solid waste reduction by composting, recycling, reuse, and recovery.

Gwen warns vs. harsh statements

by By Gregg M. Rubio, Garry B. Lao

Now that the talks between Capitol and City Hall on the fate of the settlers in lots covered by Ordinance 93-1 will resume, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has warned those who might want to say something about the issue to be careful.

Ciudad to be part of study

by cebuweb

THE worsening traffic in the Banilad-Talamban area has pushed Citom chief Jack Jakosalem to offer to review the vehicular flow there that will consider the presence of a Ciudad project.

Motorists have long complained about the heavy traffic in Ban-Tal which has not been decongested by the overpass.

Gwen,Tom trade motions in court

by Ni Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/FPL

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday asked for a permanent mandatory and prohibitory injunction against the appointments of former city councilor Manuel Legaspi and Joel Mari Yu as board of directors of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District.

Lawyers want proof P24M account exists

by cebuweb

DOES the P24-million account of the Balili estate with the Land Bank of the Philippines exist?

The lawyers of the widow of Luis Balili are demanding from the executor to prove the “existence” of the P24-million account of the Balili estate, reportedly deposited with Land Bank.

Carlo Pontico Fortuna and Mark Werner Rosal, counsels for Amparo Balili, made the demand after lawyer Romeo Balili, the Balili estate executor, failed to comply with the court order to submit a bank statement certifying that an account containing the amount exists.

Ombud suspends 3 transport execs

by cebuweb

CEBU CITY -- The anti-graft office has suspended for three months without pay three officials of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in this city for failing to liquidate their cash advances about six years ago.

The Office of the Ombudsman Visayas suspended Alita Pulga, LTO Transportation Regulation Office chief; Joel Tangpuz, LTO finance and management officer; and Armando Bacul, LTO traffic adjudication officer, after they were found administratively liable of simple neglect of duty.

Boy, 15, lives to tell his sea tale

by cebuweb

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy who was adrift in the seas for three days was rescued yesterday morning by residents after his boat went ashore in Sitio Libon in Barangay Guinsay, Danao City.

Mark Sanico, who is dark and slim, was rushed to the Danao City District Hospital for treatment.

Before he was found at 9 a.m., Sanico, a grade six pupil, said in a separate phone interview that he did not attend his classes at Tinghob Elementary School last Monday for he was told by his grandmother Virle to fish.

Sanico left the shores of Barangay Kayangian, Villaba, Leyte around 8 a.m. and was only bringing cooked corn grits with him.

He said the sea was turbulent, but there was no rain.

At around 10 a.m., the boat conked out after the pipe that connects its engine to the plastic container containing the gasoline fell into the sea.

The boat turned on its side and the hose fell, Sanico said.

Sanico kept on rowing until he forgot he was hungry.

“Wa nako kahuna-huna og kaon. Gihuna-huna nako nga makauli (I was always thinking how to get back home),” Sanico said.

For three days, Sanico had nothing to eat and drink. He did not drink the seawater.

He said he survived his ordeal by depending on his saliva.

he said he was trembling from the cold. He was only wearing a blue shirt and green shorts.

Sanico said he would be rescued after he saw a fisherman on a boat.

He waved his hands, but the fisherman did not see him.

Sanico said it was useless to shout at the fisherman, who was was too far from his boat.

Sanico, who only learned to fish about a month ago, said he was not bringing a watch and so he was disoriented with the time. He just kept on rowing until he reached Danao City.

The residents who saw him immediately informed City Councilor Roland Reyes and the police.

Virle asked for helped from an employee of Villaba municipal government after she heard on radio that her grandson was in Danao City.

They were jubilant after they learned their grandson is alive, Pañares said.

“Hay salamat, buhi pa diay (He is still alive)!” Pañares heard Sanico’s grandmother through the phone.

Sanico will be fetched by his relatives today.

SFI sponsors can't sell beer

by By Rene U. Borromeo/FPL

Even before Sinulog Foundation Incorporated executive director Ricky Ballesteros could make a formal request to allow their sponsors to sell beer products at the Fuente Osmeña during the grand parade, Mayor Michael Rama has already denied it.

Marina, Coast Guard urged: Ensure safety of life at sea

by By Rene U. Borromeo/FPL

The Cebu City Council has requested the Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard to ensure the safety of the passengers who will be coming to Cebu for the Sinulog festival.

"Balikbayans" start to arrive for Sinulog

by By Jose P. Sollano

The first batch of "balikbayans," numbering thirty-two, who earlier had said they were coming for the Sinulog Festival, arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport yesterday morning and were met by the Cebu City Tourism Commission and airport employees.

Central Visayas cops to undergo retraining

by By Niña G. Sumacot/JPM

Following the administrative cases that policemen in Central Visayas are implicated in, some policemen in the region will undergo a re-training on basic policing.

Honasan wants maximum penalty for erring cops

Dahil sa sunud-sunod na kasong kinasasangkutan ng mga abusadong pulis, nanawagan ang isang mambabatas na patawan ng pinakamabigat na parusa ang mga alagad ng batas na nasasangkot sa krimen. Tambak naman ngayon ang mga nakabinbin na kaso ng mga tiwaling pulis na umaabot sa halos 1,200 kaso. Nangako rin ang NAPOLCOM na reresolbahin ang mga kasong ito sa loob ng isang buwan.

Labella seeks ban on posters of women in bikinis

by By Rene U. Borromeo/JPM

A Cebu City legislator has recommended that all establishments like bars and night clubs shall not be allowed to post obscene photos of women wearing bikinis outside of their premises.

84 mutineers avail of PNoy amnesty

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - At least 84 military officers and men who participated in 3 military uprisings during the Arroyo administration have filed their applications for amnesty, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday.

Aquino opposes extradition over Dacer-Corbito murder case

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Former police Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino is opposing his extradition from the United States in connection with the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.

Webb asks SC to junk Vizconde's appeal

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of Hubert Webb has asked the Supreme Court to strike out Lauro Vizconde's motion seeking a reversal of his acquittal and that of 6 others for the 1991 Vizconde massacre.

PNoy confident Sandiganbayan will junk Garcia plea bargain

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday said he is confident that the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court will grant the Office of the Solicitor General's (OSG) motion to nullify a plea bargaining agreement between the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.

PNoy appoints new POEA, PDEA chiefs

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday bared its latest appointments to a labor office and an anti-crime agency.

Carlos Oca Jr. was appointed administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Oca replaces POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili.

Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, expressed her willingness to work hand-in-hand with the new POEA chief.

“We hope the new POEA administrator will lead the fight against illegal recruitment, especially the reprocessing of job orders,” Ople said.

Ople added, “We are willing to work with him to obtain urgent reforms in overseas employment practices.”

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Valte said Gen. Sonny Gutierrez was also appointed as the new Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) executive director.

He will be replacing PDEA Chief Dionisio Santiago.

Casiño warns vs moves to remove PAO lawyers

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño on Thursday revealed there are efforts to remove Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta and her deputies on a technicality.

Casiño said the Department of Justice issued an opinion dated January 3, 2011 rendering the security of tenure of the Chief Public Attorney, Deputy Chief Public Attorneys and Regional Public Attorneys of the PAO as temporary because the current appointees are non-Career Executive Service Officers (CESO).

"Our PAOs and public prosecutors have never been required to be CESOs. Removing them on that flimsy basis would be a violation of the PAO Law and a major major mistake for the DOJ and Malacañang,” he said in a press statement.

The party-list lawmaker is the principal author of R.A. 9406 or An Act Reorganizing and Strengthening the PAO which was enacted in the 14th Congress.

Casiño said the questionable DOJ opinion was forwarded by Justice Undersecretary and Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras III to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

He noted that removing the top PAO lawyers would not only scuttle the PAO’s work but would endanger their clients, many of whom are too poor to get a lawyer.

Casiño said RA 9406 states that top positions in the PAO cannot be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law and that incumbent PAO officials and personnel "shall continue holding his/her position without the need of a new appointment."

"It does not authorize the removal of permanent appointments in the PAO using the technicality provided by Usec Paras. Chief Acosta and the PAO have consistently been credible to the public. Removing the PAO’s top lawyers will definitely be a big blow to the government if this is allowed by Malacañang,” he said.

PAO chief responds to DOJ: We are qualified under RA 9406

Public Attorneys Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said the Department of Justice (DoJ) legal opinion saying she and her deputies were not qualified for their positions was "erroneous."

In her letter dated January 4 to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Acosta said that Republic Act 9406, or the law that strengthens PAO, the positions of Chief Public Attorney, Deputy Public Attorney and Regional Public Attorney are permanent in nature and enjoy security of tenure.

According to Acosta, the law, which took effect March 23, 2007, "is a special law which takes precedence over other general laws and implementing rules," and that the Career Executive Service (CES) Board Resolution on the coverage of CES thus has no effect on the PAO law.

RA 9406, Acosta added, provides that the chief public attorney "shall have the same qualifications for appointment, rank, salaries, allowances and retirement privileges as those of the Chief State Prosecutor....The Deputy Chief Public Attorneys shall have the same qualifications for appointment, rank, salaries, allowances and retirement privileges as those of the Assistant Chief State Prosecutor."

She said the regional public attorneys shall have the same qualifications as those of state prosecutors.

Under the qualification standards issued by the Civil Service Commission, Acosta said chief state prosecutors, assistant chief state prosecutors, state prosecutors, as well as that of the chief state counsel, are not required to be CESO eligible.

The said officials, according to Acosta, are qualified based on Republic Act 1080. Under RA 1080, those who passed the bar and board examinations shall be automatically considered as Civil Service eligible.

Acosta also scored the legal opinion, which states that the PAO cannot conduct mediation proceedings.

Mediation is an assisted negotiation by an impartial party to resolve disputes without the need to take it to courts and resort to judicial proceedings, which take time.

Acosta said the PAO has been rendering mediation cases since 1972. Through mediation, Acosta said, 416,056 cases were resolved by PAO in 2009.

"This undeniably resulted in the declogging of cases filed in court," Acosta said.

She added that PAO is also allowed to conduct investigations on allegations of torture pursuant to Republic Act 9745, which was echoed by then Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez in a legal opinion he issued.

"From the foregoing, with due respect, it is clear that the erroneous opinion should be set aside for being inordinate, contrary to law and absence of legal and factual basis," Acosta said in her letter to De Lima.

Palawan ex-vice gov accused of P14-M swindle

Residents of Busuanga, Palawan Thursday sought the help of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in pursuing criminal cases against former Palawan Vice Gov. David Ponce de Leon who allegedly duped them of some P14 million in the sale of their properties on the island.

Air Force to get 5 refurbished Hueys

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense is set to receive 5 refurbished Huey helicopters from the United States government as part of the 20 aircraft pledged by former US President George Bush to former President Arroyo several years ago.

3 soldiers, 3 civilians killed in NPA attacks

(UPDATE 2) Six people – including three soldiers – were killed in separate attacks by suspected New People'’s Army in Mindanao, a few days after the 19-day bilateral ceasefire agreement expired.

BI prevents 9 women from illegally flying to Lebanon

The Bureau of Immigration said on Thursday it has intercepted nine Lebanon-bound women who attempted to leave the country via Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) using passports with fake immigration departure stamps.

$1: 43.920

$1: 43.920 (P43.77)

Euro 1: 57.5702

Bertie Lim: Open skies promote competition, lower fares

In an interview with Business Nightly on Jan 6, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said the upcoming aviation policy on "pocket open skies" will benefit not only tourists, but also exporters and overseas Filipino workers. He said even troubled Philippine Airlines (PAL) may benefit from this as "necessity is the mother of improvement." Legacy airlines may even find the new aviation market a more profitable set-up, while travellers will enjoy with lower fares.

Tourism industry condemns Boracay sex scandal

Nagpahayag ng pagkabahala ang Department of Tourism sa insidente sa isla ng Boracay kung saan huli sa video na nagtatalik ang ilang turista nu'ng New Year.

Onion smuggling raps filed at DOJ

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Officers and brokers of 3 companies who reportedly tried to bring in 14 containers of onions misdeclared as microphones and accessories were charged at the Department of Justice (DOJ) today for smuggling.

Banks' resources reach P6.7-T as of end-Sept

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The banking sector's resources as of end-September 2010 was P6.7 trillion, up 8% from P6.2 trillion as of the same period in 2009.

South Korea, US lukewarm on North's call for talks

by by Park Chan-Kyong, Agence France-Presse

SEOUL, South Korea - The United States and South Korea responded cautiously Thursday to North Korea's call for unconditional talks, saying Pyongyang must be judged on actions rather than words.

US sends 1,400 more Marines to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON—The United States has ordered an additional 1,400 Marines to southern Afghanistan to preempt a Taliban spring offensive, despite a planned troop drawdown starting in July, the Pentagon said Thursday.

28 bodies plucked from sea off Yemen after sinking

Yemen's coast guard has recovered 28 bodies from the sea out of 46 Africans feared drowned after their boat capsized at the weekend, a security official said on Thursday.

Indonesia rock star faces jail over web sex videos

BANDUNG—Indonesian prosecutors on Thursday sought a five-year jail term for a rock star accused of spreading his homemade sex videos on the Internet in breach of the country's anti-pornography law.

Pacquiao No. 1 in Ring Magazine's 100 list

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao was chosen by Ring Magazine as its top boxer among the "100 best fighters in the world" for 2010.

'Boom Boom' to hold public sparring

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino featherweight Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista will hold a public sparring at the Piazza, Park Mall in Cebu on Saturday to promote “Pinoy Pride 3: The Rematch.”

POC targets 2011 SEA Games crown

Nothing less than the overall crown in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia is the target of the Philippine Olympics Committee.

PBA update: Express still without a coach

Six days after the turn of the year and Air21 is still left without a coach. The Express management headed by board governor Johann Ramos and team manager Allan Gregorio had a lengthy meeting with multi-titled coach Yeng Guiao Thursday - a meeting that started in the afternoon and lasted until 9 p.m. The meeting ended in a deadlock.

Lakers dominate boards, hold off Suns (AP)

from Yahoo! Sports - NBA News

The Lakers weren't great, just good enough. The Suns weren't awful. They just came up short, quite literally. Kobe Bryant scored 24 points and four other Los Angeles players reached double figures as the Lakers held off Phoenix 99-95 on Wednesday night. "Oh," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said sarcastically, "we're a powerhouse now."

Rondo has 22 assists, Celtics beat Spurs (AP)

from Yahoo! Sports - NBA News

Rajon Rondo had already played two games since returning from a sprained ankle. It wasn't until Wednesday night, though, that he really returned. The Celtics point guard had 22 assists, 12 points and 10 rebounds for his 11th career triple-double, adding six steals to help Boston beat the San Antonio Spurs 105-103 in a matchup of the NBA's top two teams.

Angel dismayed at slowness of niece’s murder case

Dismayado ang bida ng “Imortal” na si Angel Locsin sa kawalan pa rin ng hustisya para sa pinaslang na pamangkin sa Cebu. Hanggang ngayon, tinutugis pa ang mister ng pamangkin na suspek sa krimen.

De Lima to prosecutors: Solve tax cases or face sanctions

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima wants the immediate resolution of tax evasion and smuggling cases filed under the Aquino administration.

DoJ chief wants Richard Gomez tax raps resolved

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima ordered the Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutors to fast track the resolution of the tax evasion complaints against actor Richard Gomez and 11 other pending tax complaints from 2005 to 2006.

Matteo is Kim's next leading man

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from Piolo Pascual, young actress Kim Chiu is also set to be paired with young actor Matteo Guidicelli in a television project.

Ai-Ai excited for 'Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Comedy Concert Queen Ai-Ai delas Alas has revealed on Tuesday that she is looking forward to the second season of “Pilipinas Got Talent” (PGT).

Celebrity doc Joel Mendez found guilty of tax evasion

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Celebrity doctor Joel Mendez was found guilty in 2 cases of tax evasion by the Court of Tax Appeals second division.

Jay Sonza, UNTV execs sued for allowing Bro. Eli’s show despite rape case

A former member of Bro. Eli Soriano’s “Ang Dating Daan” has filed charges against former UNTV station manager Jay Sonza and 12 others for allowing Soriano’s live broadcasts even as he is wanted for rape.

4 na pulis, sugatan nang lusubin ng ibon

Four police officers from Zamboanga City were injured in battle Tuesday, not to a pack of communist rebels but a flightless cassowary bird.

Police Inspector Leonardo Panes said he and several police trainees were resting at a store inside the Regional Training School-9 of the Philippine Public Safety College when the 4-foot bird passed by and started attacking them.

Panes said he used a stool to push the bird away, which then attacked the others with its powerful claws.

Police Inspector Nicanor Bautista said he was scratched 4 times by the angry bird. "Binubugaw na siya palabas ng mga recruit tapos sumigaw ang ibon, hinabol kami. Nakita ko pakpak niya, tapos sinipa niya ako," he said.

Police Inspector Media Lapangan Jr. said he fell down after trying to run away from the bird. He said he tried to kick the bird away, which made it even angrier.

"Natumba ako. Sinipa ko siya sa dibdib kaya umatras siya pero bumwelo lang pala. Nagroll na kami. Nakita ko sa side ng pakpak niya, may secret weapon pala," he said.

Some of the policemen thought about shooting the bird but decided against it since they did not know if it was valuable. In the end, the police worked together to capture the bird.

The policemen said the bird seemed to get angry with their common green uniforms. None of the trainees, who were wearing uniforms of a different color, was attacked.

It was later learned that the cassowary, which is similar in appearance to an ostrich, had escaped a local aviary.

The police officers have no plans to sue the aviary caretaker but asked that he pay back their medical bills.

For his part, Bautista said it was the first time that he had ever been injured since entering the police force.

Tiger kills bus driver in China —report

A tour bus driver was mauled to death by a tiger at a breeding center in northeast China this week after he got out of his vehicle to check on a mechanical problem, state media reported on Thursday.

Japanese politician, 50, gives birth to first child

TOKYO—A 50-year-old Japanese politician gave birth to her first child Thursday after undergoing fertility treatment involving a US egg donor – a procedure she says should be legalized in her own country.

Rains seen in Luzon areas, Metro next week

The rains that were experienced in Northeast Mindanao and Eastern Visayas will be felt in Northeast Luzon and Metro Manila early next week as the cloud band brought by the cold front is expected to move up on Sunday, the weather bureau said on Thursday.

Graciano Yumul Jr., officer-in-charge of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration, said: “On Sunday or Monday, the cold front will move up to Northeast Luzon so NCR will be affected.”

He noted that the rain band could bring light to moderate rains in Luzon, including Metro Manila. The forecast, Yumul said, could change in the next few days.

Present models so far showed that the cloud band would not dump as much rains as seen in the Caraga region, Yumul said.

He added that the Pagasa has been in contact with local government officials in Luzon to notify them of the weather conditions.

At present, heavy rains were felt in the Bicol and Samar-Leyte regions, where thousands of residents have been evacuated from mountainous and low-lying areas for fear of flash floods and landslides.

The cloud band is also expected to affect the temperature in northern and central Luzon, the country's granary and major source of high value crops.

Temperature in the region has been chilly due to the northeast monsoon, or the cold winds coming from wintry Siberia.

On Wednesday, Baguio City's temperature dropped to 9.5 degrees Celsius, the lowest this year.

Yumul said pressure maps from Siberia showed that there would be no cold surge in the next two-three days, which means that the possibility of multi-day frost is unlikely.

Yumul said he hoped that the rains would only cause the temperature to drop in a day or two. Farmers in Benguet and nearby provinces cannot afford to have frost on their crops for as long as 4 days as it would ruin their harvest, he said.

With the rains pounding the country's eastern seaboard, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje reminded local government units to follow the geological hazard maps issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

“With incessant rains being experienced in the Visayas and Mindanao in the past weeks, we expect the soil to have been fully saturated. With forecast from the weather bureau of more rains coming in until February, it is a matter of time that more landslides and flashfloods would be expected in disaster-prone areas such as in Southern Leyte,” Paje said.

Paje said the loss of lives in Barangay (village) Bolod bolod in St. Bernard town could have been avoided if local government officials have notified residents there that the area is susceptible to landslides as it is located along the river valley of Himbungao River and flanked along the eastern portion by the slopes of the valley edge.

According to Paje, St. Bernard was one of the first places to undergo MGB’s geohazard mapping and assessment in 2006, which covered 1,618 municipalities.

The assessment report also states: “As can be gleaned in the geohazard map prepared for the area, the eastern section of Brgy. Bolod bolod is clearly within the landslide susceptible area with the remaining portion of the barangay within the landslide debris accumulation zone. This portion, which immediately straddles the Himbungao River, is also highly susceptible to floods and flashfloods.”

Paje said that the MGB, which is under the DENR, has already completed the geohazard mapping and assessment of the whole country last year. It has likewise finished distributing geohazard maps to local government units.

 


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