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  • ‘China may be building airstrip on Subi Reef’

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    China appears to be building an airstrip on Zamora (Subi) Reef in the Spratlys archipelago, boosting notions that the Asian superpower is conducting reclamation in disputed areas to display its military might. In a span of ten weeks, China has built an island compatible with an airstrip over Zamora Reef, according to a report published by online magazine The Diplomat over the weekend. “The dimensions and shape of the landfill, which is still underway, are compatible with a potential airstrip 3,300 meters long,” The Diplomat reported. The dimensions of the landfill, the report added, are similar to the prospective length of the runway  being paved on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, the site of another Chinese construction project. More »‘China may be building airstrip on Subi Reef’

  • Noy: China must honor pact with Asean

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    China must honor the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea that it signed with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, President Aquino stressed yesterday as he pointed out Beijing’s “direct violations” of the pact and the need for ASEAN to reach a common stand on the issue. More »Noy: China must honor pact with Asean

  • ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Security officials yesterday maintained that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not penetrated the Philippines following an expert’s warning that the group poses a threat to the country. Abu Sayyaf, BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), private armed groups to our knowledge are the people making problems down south,” Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said. The BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the ISIS but it remains uncertain whether they are receiving funds from the terrorist group. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the military is continuously tracking down the armed bandits. More »ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP

  • Santiago wants day-care center for adults

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is batting for the creation of adult day-care programs and the establishment of centers that will address the needs and provide care for Filipinos living with neurological diseases. In filing Senate Bill 2694, Santiago cited a World Health Organization (WHO) report which noted that neurological disorders – ranging from migraines to dementia and epilepsy – are bound to affect one billion people as the world’s population ages. In its “Neurological Disorders: Public Health Challenges” report, WHO recommended that governments include neurological care in the basic health care it offers, thus enabling early diagnoses and treatment for under-detected disabilities. Santiago envisions an adult day program that offers medical care, rehabilitation therapies, dignified assistance in day-to-day activities, nutrition therapy, health monitoring, social interaction, stimulating activities and transportation for seniors, people with disabilities and younger adults with chronic diseases. More »Santiago wants day-care center for adults

  • Heartrending final farewells for Indonesia’s death row convicts

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Led by the hand through a scrum of reporters to an Indonesian prison island, the six-year-old Filipino looked confused and frightened as he made one of his final visits to his mother before her execution. “She tried to explain again,” Veloso’s elder sister Marites Veloso-Laurente told AFP during an interview in Cilacap, the port town that is the gateway to the island. As the clock ticks down on the execution by firing squad of eight foreign drug convicts, heartbroken relatives who have fought for years to save their loved ones are rushing to say final farewells. Veloso, 30, was convicted of trafficking heroin into Indonesia in 2009, but says her only crime was to fall victim to international drug gangs who are now threatening to kill her family if they speak out. More »Heartrending final farewells for Indonesia’s death row convicts

  • Cerbo named national police intel chief

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina yesterday ordered the appointment of PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. as chief of the Directorate for Intelligence. More »Cerbo named national police intel chief

  • De Lima mulls inclusion in LP Senate slate

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    “The LP has not formally talked to me about it  – only informal talks,” De Lima told reporters in an interview. De Lima said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas would often tease her about it. “I’m considering it, but at the moment I am really focusing first on my job here at the DOJ (Department of Justice). De Lima said that she does not want to confirm her plans at this time so as not to be accused of politicking this early. More »De Lima mulls inclusion in LP Senate slate

  • Pump prices up anew

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Oil companies announced yesterday another round of price hikes with independent oil firms among the first to issue their respective announcements. PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm, and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, another independent oil company, were among the first to issue their respective advisories. Seaoil Philippines also issued its announcement. More »Pump prices up anew

  • Palace to be consulted on bill scrapping 12% electricity VAT

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    The Senate and House of Representatives have to consult the executive branch first before Congress approves a measure scrapping the 12-percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity, Malacañang said yesterday. Authored by Sen. Serge Osmeña III, SB 2714 seeks to do away with VAT on electricity to ease the burden of the public in paying high electricity rates. More »Palace to be consulted on bill scrapping 12% electricity VAT

  • Asean concerned but won’t confront China

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have for the first time expressed serious concern over China’s massive reclamation activities in the South China Sea. The grouping is expected to push for a code of conduct in disputed waters but will reportedly avoid taking a confrontational approach in dealing with China. China’s construction of an airstrip and other structures on coral reefs threatens to “undermine peace, security and stability” in the region, ASEAN leaders warned yesterday. The closing statement by Malaysia – which holds the rotating chair of the 10-member ASEAN this year – instructs the region’s foreign ministers to “urgently address this matter” under dialogue mechanisms set up between the bloc and China. More »Asean concerned but won’t confront China

  • MMDA men help secure Bacolod APEC event

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    BACOLOD CITY – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has deployed its Task Force Phantom here to help manage traffic and secure delegates to the two–day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting tomorrow and on Thursday. More »MMDA men help secure Bacolod APEC event

  • PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    The Philippine National Police will simplify requirements for getting a firearm’s permit under the new gun control law, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said yesterday. Espina said they are working to simplify the process to secure a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF) amid complaints of excessive requirements from gun holders. Espina directed the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to make it easier for legitimate gun owners to comply with the requirements under Republic Act 10591 or the new gun control law. He, however, said that simplifying the process for LTOPF should be complemented with an intensified effort to crack down on loose firearms. More »PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing

  • Jinggoy’s P14-M assets frozen

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    The Sandiganbayan has frozen the assets of detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, including his real properties and bank deposits amounting to P14.8 million. Acting Chief Judicial Officer Albert de la Cruz said that of the major banks and financial institutions ordered by the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division to comply with the freeze order, only Metrobank has replied. His real properties in Quezon City were also garnished. Dela Cruz said garnishment of Estrada’s other assets is underway. More »Jinggoy’s P14-M assets frozen

  • Sevilla: No lobbying, just discussions with execs

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    There were only “discussions,” but no lobbying by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and two other officials for the transfer of an official of the Bureau of Customs, resigned Customs commissioner John Sevilla said yesterday. “I am deeply saddened by the emergence of a number of erroneous and misleading reports regarding my resignation from the Bureau of Customs,” Sevilla said in a statement. “No one at any point lobbied me to appoint attorney Teddy Raval as director of the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS),” he said. “I was initially told that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) was pushing for his reassignment to the Intelligence Division,” he added. More »Sevilla: No lobbying, just discussions with execs

  • OFWs may return home from Oman – DOLE

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are likely to return home from Oman in the coming weeks. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said yesterday that the Sultanate of Oman is implementing an amnesty program that may require hundreds of illegal Filipino migrants to return home. Labor attaché Nasser Mustafa said the Oman police had been conducting a crackdown on undocumented migrants since the start of the three month-amnesty program on April 1. Mustafa said the Oman government initiated the amnesty program in an effort to legalize the stay of foreign workers in the Arab country. More »OFWs may return home from Oman – DOLE

  • Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out yesterday from final preparations for his $400-million megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face unbeaten American Mayweather in the richest fight in boxing history in Las Vegas on Saturday, appealed to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare Veloso from the firing squad. “On May 2nd, I will be fighting in Las Vegas, Nevada against Floyd Mayweather, which is considered the fight of the century. More »Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals

  • Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Foreign rescue teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies were landing round the clock at Nepal’s only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake. “We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas,” said Nepal Home Affairs spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal. In a statement issued yesterday, Aquino said a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi, India would travel to Nepal to meet the needs of Filipinos affected by the earthquake. “More than this, the Philippine government will be communicating with our counterparts in Nepal to offer assistance. More »Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700

  • Comelec not closing doors on Smartmatic

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not yet closing its doors on Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. in case it decides to enter into a negotiated bid for the refurbishment of 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the Supreme Court (SC) decision junking the poll body’s deal with Smartmatic does not say that the joint venture is disqualified from being directly contracted to do the refurbishment. “SC did not point out to the vendor but on the contract as it was… Based on the decision, we can still do direct contracting for the refurbishment. More »Comelec not closing doors on Smartmatic

  • Peace council asks lawmakers to pass BBL

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Members of the Malacañang-backed citizens’ peace council pleaded yesterday before the House of Representatives to approve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying the country can no longer sustain the loss of lives and economic opportunity due to the continuing conflict in Mindanao. The peace council, composed of several prominent civil society and business leaders, aired the appeal before the 75-member House ad hoc committee deliberating on the BBL chaired by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez. Manila Archbishop Antonio Cardinal Tagle appealed to congressmen to pass the proposed BBL, saying it would be “foolish” to scrap it and end the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Joel Tabora before the House ad hoc committee, Tagle said the proposed legislation is the product of years of peace talks between the government and the MILF, which led to the signing of a peace agreement. More »Peace council asks lawmakers to pass BBL

  • New BOC chief to answer questions on FB

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will personally and immediately answer the public’s queries posted on the agency’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, even as the bureau’s operation time has been extended to 12 hours or from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. New Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina made this announcement during the flag-raising ceremony at the BOC yesterday, his first day in office after being reappointed to the bureau. He explained that the BOC would utilize its social networking accounts more to improve its communication with the public and address their concerns. “Facebook and Twitter would be operated 24/7, so all Filipinos would be able to ask their questions… Our collectors, deputy commissioners and commissioner would answer. More »New BOC chief to answer questions on FB

  • Heat index to rise to 39.9ºC on Friday

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    People in Metro Manila should stay indoors on Friday, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water as the heat index – the temperature as felt by the human body – may reach 39.9 degrees Celsius on that day. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said this level of apparent temperature may cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. “Heat index is a human discomfort index that gives the apparent temperature, or what humans perceive or feel as the temperature affecting their body,” PAGASA said. More »Heat index to rise to 39.9ºC on Friday

  • End of the line for Veloso

    Philippine Star - 6 hours ago

    Filipina death convict Mary Jane Veloso has lost her last legal recourse to stay the hand of the executioner with the Indonesian court’s rejection of her second appeal for a judicial review of her case. The court’s decision yesterday came hours after President Aquino reported getting a “sympathetic” ear from Indonesian President Joko Widodo on his plea for mercy for the 30-year-old single mother of two whose execution by firing squad for drug smuggling is expected to be carried out today. More »End of the line for Veloso

  • Pagasa: Drought may worsen

    Philippine Star - Mon, Apr 27, 2015

    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 - Mon, Apr 27, 2015

    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 - Mon, Apr 27, 2015

    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

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