Typhoon Cosme toll: 12 dead, 9 injured

May 19, 2008

Twelve persons have died and nine others were injured while more than 30,000 persons have been affected by tropical storm “Cosme” which is on the way out of the country’s area of responsibility, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said yesterday.

The storm lashed the northern part of the country Sunday, with the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union bearing the brunt of its fury.

Strong winds whipped up by the storm blew away tin roofs and uprooted trees and electricity posts, while the heavy rains flooded large areas, cutting off thousands, relief officials added.

The NDCC identified the four fatalities from Pangasinan as Rosario Luiti, 20; Jessa Ducusin, 15; and Pepito Estacio, 78, who died after they were hit by flying galvanized iron sheets. A fourth victim died due to drowning.

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Bishop calls on public to join transport strike

May 11, 2008

A prelate from Bacolod diocese has called on the public to support the transport sector in its nationwide strike against the unstoppable increases in the prices of petroleum products today and tommorow.

Bishop Vicente Navarra, in his pastoral letter posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Web site yesterday, noted the government is indifferent to people’s real economic condition as prices of oil and other basic commodities are on the rise.

“Let us call for immediate government intervention to cushion the impact of oil price increases on basic commodities, seek the scrapping of the 12-percent reformed value-added tax and the Oil Deregulation Law, the reclaiming of control of Petron and nationalization the oil industry,” Navarra, in his pastoral letter, said.

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‘Gloria’s neglect led to vulnerability to rice cartel’

May 2, 2008

Malacañang has only itself to blame for the country’s “vulnerability” to the dictates of a rice price cartel, the opposition yesterday said amid reports that Thailand has decided to withdraw from the country’s bid for crucial rice supply.

“Beggars can’t be choosers. The country is very vulnerable right now because of the skewed priorities of the Arroyo adminis-tration,” United Opposition (UNO) president and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay said.

He noted that the government prioritized projects such as the controversial broadband network deal “where it could get huge kickbacks and opted to import rice rather than invest in rice self-sufficiency.”

UNO spokesman Adel Tamano stressed the Palace has managed to unwittingly unravel the country’s inability to attain self-sufficiency in terms of food supply.

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Let’s surrender Spratly’s to China – Sec. Raul Gonzalez

April 24, 2008

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez’s statement that the Spratlys and the Scarborough Shoal may as well be given to China because the country risks a war with regional superpower while stressing that the Philippines will lose that war since China is a military power got Sen. Rodolfo Biazon’s gander up.He yesterday assailed Gonzalez’s pronouncements that effectively told Congress to give up its stake on the Spratly Islands.

Gonzalez Wednesday said the country was courting China’s displeasure if Congress pursues the adoption into law of the baseline bill and could be inviting a military stare-down with the regional superpower.

The chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security immediately scored Gonzalez on his statements, citing the implication of that uncalled for pronouncement on the country’s territorial sovereignty.

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Gloria woos troops amid rice woes, destab plot

April 18, 2008

In an apparent bid to convince soldiers not to break the chain of command and continue to support the government amid increasing prices of basic commodities and “destabilization” efforts led by fugitive Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon against the Arroyo administration, President Arroyo yesterday said access to cheaper rice would be available to soldiers and their families to ensure that they would be able to afford the staple.

In her speech during the Fellowship Meeting of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, she said they are enlisting the Armed Forces to be an outlet for distributing cheaper rice to the ordinary soldiers and their families who are “after all among the less privileged in our society.”

The President also thanked retired and active generals and flag officers for their continued support to the rule of law and the Constitution.

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RP falls short on rice imports by 175,000 tons

April 18, 2008

The country’s tender for 500,000 tons of imported rice has fallen short by around 30 percent with just 325,750 tons offered, the government’s main agency tasked with importing the grain yesterday said.

Though Philippine rice production reached an all-time high of 16.24 million tons last year, Manila has been scrambling to boost stocks and raise yields to avoid the sort of food riots that has rehit other countries.

The National Food Authority (NFA) said traders told the government agency there was simply no more rice available.

Manila now imports around 8 percent of the country’s daily consumption requirement of 33,000 tons.

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Convicted Magdalo officers seek pardon ‘Gloria’s Scripted clemency’ playing out?

April 11, 2008

NINE junior officers who have been meted prison terms by a Makati court for the 2003 Oakwood mutiny yesterday asked for forgiveness for their misdeeds as they said they are seeking “mercy” from President Arroyo.

The nine, led by Capt. Gerardo Gambala, faced the media in a press conference in Fort Bonifacio for the first time since the promulgation of their sentence last Tuesday.

Gambala said he and the eight other officers drafted the letter seeking pardon from Arroyo after the promulgation of their sentence. The letter is now with their lawyer.

Gambala and Capt. Milo Maestrecampo were sentenced to life imprisonment after Judge Oscar Pimentel found them guilty of coup d’état.
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