• Pagasa: Drought may worsen

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The drought in 12 already dry areas in the country is expected to worsen as the summer season peaks next month, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. In an advisory, PAGASA said the provinces of Albay, Bataan, Batangas, Biliran, Cavite, Cebu, Ilocos Norte, Leyte, Misamis Occidental, Pampanga, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur will continue to receive “way below” or “below normal” rainfall in May. PAGASA defines drought as three consecutive months of way below normal rain or less than 60 percent of the average rainfall. PAGASA also warned four more areas in Southern Luzon are likely to experience drought or dry spell next month. More »Pagasa: Drought may worsen

  • Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The military has advised its pilots conducting surveillance in the West Philippine Sea to exercise maximum restraint even if they are being bullied by Chinese troops. Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said all actions of the pilots should be consistent with the declaration of conduct signed by claimant countries. Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the Philippines should remain on moral high ground when it comes to the territorial dispute. A Chinese ship fired illumination rounds last week at a Philippine military plane on reconnaissance patrol over the Kalayaan Island Group. More »Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea

  • MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday led the annual rescue march from Quezon City to Manila, giving rescue volunteers a glimpse of possible scenarios if the metropolis is hit by a strong quake or is inundated by a tsunami. Cora Jimenez, MMDA general manager, said 700 volunteer rescuers walked from the Quezon City memorial circle to the Bonifacio monument in front of the Manila city hall to simulate a response-exercise to a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Renato Solidum, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director, announced earlier this year in forum with business leaders that a movement of the Manila trench may cause a tsunami as high as 18 feet and isolate the whole of Metro Manila and neighboring provinces. He said the scenario happened twice in recorded history – on Nov. 9, 1828 and June 3, 1863 – where tsunamis of about two meters engulfed the eastern side of Luzon, including Metro Manila. More »MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami

  • Sereno told: Don’t scold lawyers

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    To avoid accusations of prejudgment in cases being heard by the Supreme Court (SC), justices must avoid scolding lawyers during oral arguments. Retired SC Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza gave this unsolicited advice yesterday to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who scolded lawyer Sandra Coronel during the oral arguments last April 21 on the preventive suspension case imposed by the ombudsman against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. More »Sereno told: Don’t scold lawyers

  • Lawmakers renew appeal for GMA house arrest

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    Lawmakers called again yesterday on the Sandiganbayan to allow former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be placed under house arrest due to her deteriorating health and old age. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives, said the continued detention of the 68-year-old Pampanga lawmaker at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City is not improving her health. “It would be a solid proof of true compassion of the Aquino administration if former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would be granted house arrest as soon as possible,” he said. More »Lawmakers renew appeal for GMA house arrest

  • Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario bared yesterday before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reports of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threat to the Philippines through the Black Flag Movement in Mindanao. Speaking before ASEAN foreign ministers, Del Rosario said the ISIS threat to Philippine security is real rather than imagined because of the Black Flag Movement’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. More »Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean

  • ‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    China’s occupation and buildup of its military structures in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea is causing the country’s top energy official to get the jitters as the encroachment is seen as a huge dent on the Philippines’ efforts to achieve energy security. “It is a concern but if we don’t bring it to the United Nations, where will we bring it? We cannot bang heads with them,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla told The STAR in an interview over the weekend. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that South China Sea has about 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas rated as probable reserves. More »‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’

  • P45 B sought for C. Luzon education program

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The regional development council in Central Luzon has approved the proposed budget for national government agencies based in the region, including P45.15 billion for the education program. The council endorsed the budget proposal for 2016, which included P2.6 billion for the Department of Health, P861 million for interior and local government and P793 million for environment and natural resources. The council also approved P302 million for the Department of Labor and Employment, P176 million for Trade and Industry and P381 million for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. RDC vice chairman and National Economic and Development Authority regional director Severino Santos said the Department of Education is seeking the bulk of next year’s allocations, as the funds will be used for the construction of classrooms and hiring of teachers for the K to 12 program. More »P45 B sought for C. Luzon education program

  • 30 lawmakers want to watch Pacquiao in US

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    Around 30 lawmakers have in the past weeks sought permission from the House leadership to travel to the US apparently to watch the fight between boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 2, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. Belmonte did not identify the lawmakers who sought permission from him but said his colleagues were traveling to the US at their own expense. This type of travel authority does not indicate the details of the trip unless on official business. He earlier said the expensive ticket prices of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight have discouraged many of his colleagues from going to the US. More »30 lawmakers want to watch Pacquiao in US

  • Balikatan features new weapons

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Filipino troops participating in the annual Balikatan military exercises had the opportunity to use some of the advanced “toys for the big boys” used by their American counterparts. The Stryker tanks contained mobile gun systems (MGS) coupled with Infantry Carry Vehicle and Fire Support Vehicle with medical support tanks. Capt. Michael Merril, chief of the US Army mobile public affairs, said the howitzer 47s can be operated digitally. The Filipino troops expressed their appreciation in the opportunity to use some of the high end military hardware brought by the US military in the Balikatan exercises. More »Balikatan features new weapons

  • Sevilla tags Ochoa, Purisima as lobbyists

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    Resigned Customs commissioner John Sevilla has identified Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and   Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima as among those who were pushing for the appointment of a bureau official who purportedly had the backing of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). Ochoa and Purisima could not be reached for comment yesterday. More »Sevilla tags Ochoa, Purisima as lobbyists

  • Laude’s ma, sis to take witness stand today

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The mother and sister of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude will take the witness stand today at the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 in a murder case against suspect US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton. Laude was found dead in the toilet of a room in Celzone Lodge along Magsaysay Avenue in the city on the night of Oct. 11 last year. Witnesses identified Pemberton as Laude’s companion when they checked in at Celzone Lodge. More »Laude’s ma, sis to take witness stand today

  • ‘Immigration consultancy agencies cannot recruit OFWs’

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The POEA stressed that immigration consultancy agencies and similar firms are prohibited from engaging in recruitment activities. “Agencies that engage in recruitment and placement of workers, whether on worker’s visa or employment-based immigrant visa, without authority from the POEA shall be subject to prosecution for illegal recruitment,” the POEA said in a statement. More »‘Immigration consultancy agencies cannot recruit OFWs’

  • P-Noy to seek mercy for Veloso

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    As the clock ticked for the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, President Aquino is set to make a last-ditch appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare the life of the Filipina maid. Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Veloso, who is due to be put to death tomorrow, when he meets Widodo at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in this Malaysian capital. Reports from Indonesia said Veloso and nine other drug convicts, most of them foreigners, had been notified of their looming execution and asked for their final wish. “Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case,” Aquino said in his departure speech yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. More »P-Noy to seek mercy for Veloso

  • Comelec eyes sale of 81,000 PCOS machines

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The 81,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines may soon be up for sale. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking into the possibility of selling the PCOS machines once there are replacements for the old voting equipment. “If we arrive at a situation that the PCOS machines will no longer be refurbished, the Comelec intends to sell them,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said yesterday. Jimenez said the PCOS machines are now undergoing assessment in order for the Comelec to have a good idea of the value of the machines. More »Comelec eyes sale of 81,000 PCOS machines

  • First public park in Parañaque to feature vintage plane

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The Parañaque City government aims to create a public park that has an old McDonnell DC-9 plane as its main attraction, park project manager Mike Nocum said yesterday. “We want the city park to become another landmark, where people may go to relax and take pictures beside the plane,” he said, implying that the plane is a fitting symbol of Parañaque, which is home to Metro Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Both Nocum and city administrator Raquel Tamayo said Mayor Pablo Olivarez wanted a park set up at a vacant lot beside a mall in Sucat as the city has no existing public park. Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority general manager Jose Honrado said his office is in the process of ridding the airport of at least 12 unserviceable aircraft that were abandoned by their owners. More »First public park in Parañaque to feature vintage plane

  • Noy to certify BBL as urgent

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    President Aquino is expected to certify as urgent the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) once the House of Representatives approves the measure, which seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao, by next month, a lawmaker said yesterday. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the 75-member special panel deliberating on the measure, said committee hearings on the BBL enter the homestretch this week with members of the Malacañang-backed “citizens’ peace council” as among the last resource persons. “The President has promised that once we’ve already approved the BBL, the draft of the committee will be certified by him as urgent,” Rodriguez told radio station dzBB. The working deadline for both the House and Senate to pass their versions of the BBL is on June 11, or before Congress adjourns, Rodriguez said. More »Noy to certify BBL as urgent

  • CA upholds penalty imposed on ex-PCGG chair

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the penalty imposed by the Office of the Ombudsman on former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Camilo Sabio for influence-peddling in a 2008 ownership case involving the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). It dismissed the petition of Sabio, which sought the nullification of the Ombudsman’s decision on Oct. 25, 2011. The CA held that the ombudsman was correct in finding Sabio guilty of administrative charges of grave misconduct as well as conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for trying to influence his brother, then CA Justice Jose Sabio Jr., in the Meralco case. “Accordingly, a public servant must exhibit at all times the highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in the performance of his official duties but in his personal and private dealings with other people,” the CA added. More »CA upholds penalty imposed on ex-PCGG chair

  • Phl to Asean: China getting de facto control

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The Philippines yesterday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to unite and stop China’s massive reclamation in disputed waters as it will give China “de facto control” over the area and cause $100 million in marine wealth losses annually. At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told his counterparts that the situation in West Philippine Sea had worsened just a year after the Philippines began to draw international attention to destabilizing activities in the area, particularly China’s massive reclamation. More »Phl to Asean: China getting de facto control

  • Travelers urged to keep destinations smoke-free

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    Travelers should keep tourist destinations smoke-free while enjoying their summer vacation to help prevent smoke and pollution-related diseases, a group of advocates against smoking said yesterday. NVAP president Emer Rojas said people can still enjoy going to Baguio, Boracay, Batangas and other summer destinations without the risk of getting sick from smoking-related illnesses. Citing data from Tobacco Atlas, Rojas said tobacco products contain 7,000 harmful chemicals, including 70 carcinogens or cancer-causing ingredients. An average of 24 million Filipinos are exposed to tobacco smoke daily and are at risk of acquiring diseases. More »Travelers urged to keep destinations smoke-free

  • Gov’t spends P11.8 M for Noy’s Asean trip

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    The government has allotted about P11.8 million for President Aquino’s attendance at the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia from April 26 to 28. “President Aquino’s participation to the 26th ASEAN Summit is important as the region gears toward the creation of an ASEAN community, which is envisioned to provide new opportunities for the peoples of this region, including the Philippines,” Ochoa said in a statement. He was with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Andrea Abad and presidential protocol chief Celia Anna Feria. More »Gov’t spends P11.8 M for Noy’s Asean trip

  • Mary Jane: Shun drugs, get legit recruiters

    Philippine Star - 22 minutes ago

    As Mary Jane Veloso held on to vestiges of hope that her life might be spared, she thanked Filipinos for their support and had some pieces of advice.  Efforts to save Veloso from the firing squad continued after Indonesian authorities issued the notice of execution to the Filipina worker who had written four letters – including one for President Aquino – expressing hope that justice will prevail and her gratitude to her countrymen. Veloso’s relatives arrived in Nusa Kambangan Island on Saturday to meet her after Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel from the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) and the Philippine embassy in Jakarta assisted the family. Veloso handed to DFA personnel four handwritten letters addressed to Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay, the Filipino youth and Filipino women, and to those responsible for what happened to her. More »Mary Jane: Shun drugs, get legit recruiters

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    Philippine Star - Sun, Apr 26, 2015

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when asked to comment on reports published by China Daily Mail that China would be deploying “ground effect vehicles” to its occupied territories in the Spratlys. A senior security official said that if China pushes through with its aggressive behavior, the Philippines would launch massive infrastructure developments in its territories in the region. More »AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    Philippine Star - Sun, Apr 26, 2015

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the Australian tropical city of Darwin, the country’s closest city to Asia, for training. More »US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

  • New Sandigan divisions may have to wait

    Philippine Star - Sun, Apr 26, 2015

    Unless a funding source can be immediately identified, the operation of the two newly created divisions of the Sandiganbayan may have to wait until next year, a lawmaker said yesterday. Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the committee on appropriations of the House of Representatives, said if an appropriation source is identified and the National Treasurer certifies that actual funds are available from it, then Congress can pass a supplemental budget to run the two new divisions. President Aquino has signed a law expanding the divisions of the anti-graft court from five to seven. More »New Sandigan divisions may have to wait

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