An intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) will bring warm weather and rains in most parts of the Visayas and Mindanao this week, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. PAGASA senior weather forecaster Robert Sawi said the ITCZ would prevail in the next five days, adding no tropical cyclone is expected to affect the country this week. PAGASA said the regions of Cagayan Valley, Cordilleras, Ilocos and Central Luzon would be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated light rains.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said yesterday he remains optimistic over the passage of vital economic measures that will further boost the economy. Drilon said senators were expected to start the week by passing on third and final reading Senate Bill (SB) 2042, which prohibits “the development, production, stockpiling, use of chemical weapons, and providing for their destruction,” in order to safeguard the country from the threats and hazards of chemical weapons. He also expects significant progress on the Senate’s version of the Fair Competition Act, or SB 2282, after senators finished introducing amendments to the measure.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman called on international humanitarian groups going to help a disaster-stricken country to “trust” and work with local agencies for quick, orderly and effective disaster relief response. The Department of Social Welfare and Development and other government agencies have been accused of hampering efforts by international groups to ensure that survivors of Typhoon Yolanda received the goods they donated. At the Disaster Response Government Dialogue Global Conference held at the Manila Diamond Hotel last week, Soliman told the heads of countries and organizations involved in humanitarian activities that trust paves the way for cooperation needed among governments, donor institutions and non-government organizations in rebuilding the lives of people affected by disasters.
Lava flowed out from the southeast flank of Mayon Volcano yesterday, indicating a high level of unrest towards an imminent eruption as it threatens four villages within the extended seven-kilometer danger zone whose residents have not yet evacuated. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned barangays Matanag, Mabinit, Buyuan and Bonga could be initially hit by lava pouring out from the volcano once the explosion occurs. Phivolcs regional volcanologist Ed Laguerta said the lava poured out 100 meters from where the lava dome was located at 5 a.m. yesterday.
Eight Filipinos have been named United Kingdom education ambassadors to the Philippines after they completed post-graduate studies from the best British universities. They are Juliet Sio-Aguilar, Nassreena Sampaco-Baddiri, Danilo Concepcion, Amifaith Fider, Glenda Gloria, Beatriz Latay, Elcid Pangilinan and Michael Toledo. British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said the education ambassadors come from different sectors, including business, the judiciary, media and academe.
The government hopes to declare 404 barangays nationwide as child labor-free before President Aquino’s term ends in 2016, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) would continue anti-child labor programs in the next two years. “The target is to declare 163 barangays as child labor-free in 2015 and another 241 barangays by 2016,” she said.
As Congress resumes session today after a three-week break, the Senate will look into the country’s preparedness to address the Ebola outbreak should the virus reach Philippine shores. Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chairperson of the Senate committee on health and demography, is set to conduct a public hearing on Ebola possibly before Congress goes on another long break for the All Saints’ Day weekend, sometimes referred to as “Undas.” Guingona’s staff said the date of the public hearing would be announced as soon as the committee finalizes the list of resource persons, among them Health Secretary Enrique Ona.
While government continues to uphold its no-ransom policy, there are still ways of finding out if ransom was indeed paid for the release of two Germans held captive by the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao. Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. yesterday said the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is the specific government agency tasked to trace the money trail if a minimum of P60 million to as much as P250 million changed hands in Sulu to release the captives. “Assuming that there was ransom paid by other parties, AMLC has existing processes under the law for detecting irregular transactions and looks into these as part of its regular functions,” Coloma said.
Pemberton, witnesses may not appear for probe American witnesses in the killing of a transgender Filipino need not appear for the preliminary investigation tomorrow after submitting their sworn statements to the Olongapo City prosecutor’s office, the US government said. Depending on the advice of his lawyer, US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is accused of killing 26-year-old Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, may also skip the probe for now.
Malacañang reassured airline operators using the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 that the government would continue to operate the facility despite a court ruling stopping the government from taking over the NAIA-3. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told state-run radio dzRB that “legal issues should not alarm us because the government would maintain the stable operations of the airport.” The government acknowledges that operation of NAIA-3 is important and vital to the local economy, especially since the Aquino administration is focused on attracting more tourists and foreign investors in the country.
About 70,000 survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda from different provinces in the Eastern Visayas will finally have new homes next year, the Philippine Red Cross said over the weekend. Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon said they are sending galvanized iron (GI) sheets and construction materials for the houses of Yolanda victims in Leyte, Cebu and Ormoc. He said the Red Cross’ recovery program for Yolanda survivors is in full gear.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) yesterday slammed the Senate over its investigation of the alleged corruption committed by Vice President Jejomar Binay. IBP national president Vicente Joyas said the ongoing probe of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee is no longer true to its mandate of aiding legislation but had become “in aid of election.” Joyas said the senators are obviously ganging up on Binay instead of using their investigative powers to address more pressing concerns and needs of the people.
Twenty-two private companies have agreed to run their own generators to ease the projected electricity shortage in Luzon between March and June next year, a lawmaker said yesterday. Deputy Minority Leader Arnel Ty, who represents party-list group Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers Association, said the 22 firms have informed the Department of Energy (DOE) of their intention to participate in the government’s interruptible load program (ILP). He said the program seeks to encourage business establishments, particularly malls and big factories, to run their own generators during the summer months of next year instead of sourcing their supply from the Luzon grid.
The silence of President Aquino on the murder of a Filipino transgender by a member of the United States Marine Corps more than a week ago in Olongapo City is deafening. Jennifer Laude, 26, a citizen of this country was killed brutally (severely beaten, strangled, drowned , her head shoved in the toilet bowl) almost midnight of Oct. 11 by Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is here as part of the PH-US military exercises. No representative from Malacañang nor from the Department of Foreign Affairs has visited the grieving family of Laude.