BAGHDAD―Pentagon chief Jim Mattis was in Baghdad Tuesday to show US support for Iraqi forces as they pressed an assault on Tal Afar, the Islamic State group’s last major bastion in the country’s north. On Sunday they launched an assault on Tal Afar, once a key IS supply hub between Mosul -- around 70 kilometers to the east -- and the Syrian border. In the desert plains around Tal Afar, convoys of tanks and armored vehicles could be seen heading Monday for the jihadist-held city, raising huge clouds of dust. Iraqi forces “fought like the dickens in Mosul, (it) cost them over 6,000 wounded, somewhere over 1,200 killed,” he noted. Yet that comeback restored the confidence of the Iraqi security forces after their shock loss of Mosul to Islamic State group in 2014.
August 22, 2017 12:22 UTC
Two health advocacy groups joined the clamor to adjust the excise taxes on fuel under the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act to address air pollution and help mitigate the impact of global warming. Health Care Without Harm and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, in separate positions papers, called on the government to use Train as a tool to clear the way for the country’s quick transition to more renewable energy sources and help ensure a cleaner, safer and more sustainable means of supplying the needs of the power and transport sectors. ICSC also said it was supporting Train for “its progressive intent and equitable” effects, “as incremental revenues are needed for investments in human capital and badly needed infrastructure.”“The oppositors of tax reform contend that any increase on refined petroleum products is anti-poor. We don’t agree with that proposition. Instead, we support the assertion of the DOF [Department of Finance] that the poor can better be helped through improved targeting of poverty alleviation programs, instead of subsidizing pollutive behavior,” ICSC said in its position paper submitted to the Senate ways and means committee chaired by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.
August 22, 2017 11:37 UTC
So, it makes perfect sense to come up with a concert dedicated to the children of World Vision,” Alcasid told Manila Standard in an interview. Every year, since then, he would go to Zambales to visit the community and check how they’re doing. “The concert will not just feature a segment that will highlight World Vision and its effort in giving abused and underprivileged children a better life. We are working hard to come up with a grand musical experience, which started from recording section by section - the rhythm, strings, percussion and so on. And it’s the same experience that I wanted to share with people during my concert,” Alcasid concluded.
August 22, 2017 10:07 UTC
The intelligence report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) indicating 17-year-old Kian Lloyd delos Santos was a drug runner could be wrong, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night. Hindi mo masabi na, ‘itong intel na ito.’ Maya-maya mali iyan (You just can’t say, ‘this intel,’ later on it could be wrong),” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang. Delos Santos was shot dead on the night of August 16, by the police in a drug operation in Caloocan City. ADVERTISEMENTNorthern Police District Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo has said that Delos Santos was a newly identified drug suspect based on latest intelligence reports. But Duterte said police’s intelligence report has “no probative value” in court.
August 22, 2017 07:52 UTC
Militant lawmakers urged the House of Representatives on Tuesday to investigate the killing of a 17-year-old student in Caloocan City during an anti-drug operation of the police. Members of the left-leaning Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution No. 1209 directing the House committee on human rights to condemn and conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Delos Santos was killed on August 16 by members of the Caloocan City Police for allegedly fighting back. However, a CCTV footage showed Delos Santos being dragged by plainclothes policemen before he was found dead.
August 22, 2017 07:41 UTC
Rejecting Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano as agrarian reform secretary and terminating the peace talks will end the alliance between President Rodrigo Duterte and the Left, a progressive lawmaker warned on Tuesday. “The last nails of the coffin on the Duterte-Left torpedoed alliance will be the possible rejection of Ka Paeng Mariano as DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) secretary and/or the official termination of the peace talks. This will signal the end of the Duterte-Left alliance,” Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate told INQUIRER.net in a text message. Zarate said Duterte already “torpedoed” the alliance with the Left with his “anti-people, pro-imperialist, and fascist” policies and actions. He sanctioned military and para-military attacks on lumads and farmers as well as other human rights violations,” he explained.
August 22, 2017 06:11 UTC
CREDIT rater S&P Global Ratings maintained its 6.4-percent growth forecast for the Philippines, noting that the second-quarter expansion is in line with its expectation. “GDP [gross domestic product]growth remained strong at 6.5 percent in Q2, in line with our estimate of potential growth,” it said in a report released on Tuesday. S&P’s 2017 forecast fell short of the government’s 6.5-percent to 7.5-percent target, representing a slowdown from last year’s actual GDP growth of 6.9 percent. The Philippine economy grew by 6.5 percent in the second quarter of the year, down from 7.1 percent a year earlier but firmer than the 6.4 percent recorded in the first three months of 2017. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO
August 22, 2017 05:15 UTC
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Pinol has lifted the ban against the transport of poultry and poultry products from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao. The ban was previously put in place following the outbreak of bird flu in San Luis, Pampanga and in Jaen and San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. He said the poultry and poultry products must not originate from inside the seven-kilometer radius "controlled area" designated by the DA in three places where bird flu virus was detected. The haul must have also passed through inspection of government quarantine officers and sealed during the transport. Pinol reminds the public to first cook 'balut' (developing bird embryo) should they want to eat this delicacy.
August 22, 2017 04:52 UTC
In his inauguration speech in early August, Kim said that South Korea would pursue a “balance of interests” in any trade deal. South Korea describes Korus as a mutually beneficial deal, basing its argument on a surge in bilateral trade volume. The trade issue has emerged just as the US and South Korea need each other’s support to fight together against North Korea’s nuclear threat. South Korea is the US’s seventh-largest trading partner, while the US is South Korea’s second-biggest partner after China. US figures indicate its goods deficit with South Korea was $27.7 billion last year, or about $4.4 billion more than the number Korea came up with.
August 22, 2017 03:56 UTC
THE water level in Marikina River has reached the second alarm due to the monsoon rains enhanced by tropical storm “Isang”, according to the city government’s public information office. Under a three-level alarm system, Level 2 means that the water is 16 meters above sea level and that residents in affected areas should “prepare” for evacuation. Alarm level 1 is raised as a “warning” when the water is 15 meters above sea level while Level 3 means affected residents should “evacuate” as the water is 17 meters above sea level. As of posting time, the city government has not ordered an evacuation. JOVILAND RITA
August 22, 2017 03:45 UTC
OUTGOING Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of his resignation was best for the country in the midst of the controversy and public uproar over the P6.4 billion “shabu” shipment that slipped past the Customs zone. “My relief from my post is the best for our country. I urge everyone to continue to support the reform agenda and the development programs of the President,” Faeldon said in a statement on Tuesday. “I thank everyone who has supported the Bureau of Customs during my stay and I appeal to the BOC employees and to the public to support the new commissioner.”Duterte named Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Isidro Lapeña to replace Faeldon. READ: Lapena to replace Faeldon at CustomsFaeldon was first called to step down by Rep.
August 22, 2017 03:33 UTC
THE Senate blue ribbon committee has resumed its investigation on the illegal entry of P6.4 billion “shabu” (Methamphetamine hydrochloride) shipment but without Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon who resigned. READ: Lapena to replace Faeldon at CustomsSenator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee, started the hearing by questioning some customs personnel who were named by fly-by-night broker Mark Taguba as among those who allegedly accepted payoffs. The committee, upon the request of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, invited Nilo “Small” Abellera, a councilor of Davao City; Nanie Koh, chief of auction cargo disposal monitoring division of the Bureau of Customs (BOC); and Lourdes Rosario from the BOC’s imports and assessment service section. Faeldon resigned amid allegations of his alleged involvement in smuggling the illegal drugs that bypassed Customs inspection. Faeldon had offered to resign but President Rodrigo Duterte stalled him, expressing his confidence in the embattled Customs chief.
August 22, 2017 03:11 UTC
Embattled Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon skipped Tuesday’s Senate hearing, in connection with the P6.4-billion shabu shipment, barely a day after President Rodrigo Duterte accepted his courtesy resignation. At a late press conference on Monday, the President announced that he will replace Faeldon, who sought to be replaced thrice at the BOC. ADVERTISEMENTDuterte tapped former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director Isidro Lapeña to take over the BOC leadership. Faeldon on Tuesday said his resignation from his post is “the best for our country.”READ: Faeldon: Relief from Customs is ‘best for country’“I thank everyone who has supported the Bureau of Customs during my stay and I appeal to the BOC employees and to the public to support the new commissioner. Thank you very much,” Faeldon said.
August 22, 2017 02:48 UTC
The additional funding will allow Filipino diplomats, particularly in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to better serve distressed Filipinos working in these countries. In her consultation with some foreign service posts in the Middle East, Arriola said she was told that they could not effectively respond to ATN cases because of budget constraints. Cayetano said the additional funding could address the limitations being faced by ambassadors and consul generals as they would be provided more resources to serve Filipinos in their respective areas. Arriola, for her part, said the increase in ATN funding, would enable the DFA to fund not just the usual rescues and repatriations but also to open new shelters, hire more translators, interpreters and other personnel and purchase equipment needed by various Philippine posts. “Our ATN budget will be utilized to the fullest to allow our posts to respond more quickly and more effectively,” Arriola added.
August 22, 2017 02:37 UTC
Trump warned that the approach would now be more pragmatic than idealistic. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said. The Trump administration had originally promised a new Afghan plan by mid-July, but Trump was said to be dissatisfied by initial proposals to deploy a few thousand more troops. More than 2,500 Afghan police and troops have been killed already this year. One of the main voices arguing for withdrawal, Trump’s nationalistic chief strategist Steve Bannon, was removed from his post on Friday.
August 22, 2017 02:26 UTC