LUCENA CITY — Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, one of the persons closest to President Rodrigo Duterte, has appealed to New People’s Army (NPA) rebels not to shut the door to peace negotiations with Mr. Duterte. “I call on the NPA to trust President Duterte,” Go told reporters in San Andres town, Quezon province, on Thursday. 360 that terminated peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the umbrella group of all underground communist organizations. The President then was considered by communist rebels an ally and sympathizer. The CPP called for the truce to allow rebels to celebrate its 50th founding anniversary on Dec. 26.
December 16, 2018 21:11 UTC
At riskHowever, the intensifying crackdown against Angkas riders — brought on by a recent Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) resolution ordering their apprehension — has placed Rillera’s main source of income at risk. “Those are just some of the disturbing ways they discriminate against motorcycle riders,” Rillera said. “We’re unfairly targeted by policies that criminalize us, as if we’re not legitimate workers trying to eke out a living.”Rillera is among the 25,000 Angkas riders affected by the LTFRB resolution issued on Dec. 12. ADVERTISEMENTThe LTFRB and Department of Transportation (DOTr) has warned Angkas against disobeying the high court’s order. But while Angkas has said it would continue operations, it denied allegations that it was defying the LTFRB.
December 16, 2018 21:00 UTC
’Tis the season to be jolly, but not when you’re stuck in traffic on the busiest thoroughfare in the metropolis. The MMDA has also intensified operations against illegally parked vehicles in addition to launching a crackdown on “colorum” public utility vehicles to clear roads. This includes, among others, a ban on drivers-only vehicles and provincial buses on Edsa during rush hour. In a previous news forum, MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said most of the agency’s problems in enforcement could be traced to inadequate funding. According to her, the MMDA severely lacked funds for procuring much-needed equipment like speed meters, breathalyzers in addition to hiring additional traffic enforcers.
December 16, 2018 21:00 UTC
The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has acquitted lawyer Arnel Manaloto of P16.67-million tax evasion charges over the alleged undeclared income used to purchase eight Davao City properties from his client, Maguindanao massacre prime suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr. In a decision dated Dec. 5, the CTA Second Division said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) did not follow the guidelines in order to properly audit the allegedly unpaid liabilities of the Angeles City-based lawyer. The BIR questioned his declaration of P1,495,200 in total income, because he was able to acquire Ampatuan’s properties for P20 million that year. On top of this issue, another P17,501,500 in deferred revenue was disclosed in Manaloto’s financial statement but allegedly not reported for tax purposes. In acquitting Manaloto, the tax court agreed with his argument that the BIR had “not aptly applied” the net worth or expenditure methods of computing undeclared income related to the purchase of the Ampatuan properties.
The Sandiganbayan has meted out a lifetime ban from public office on a resigned Lanao del Sur judge for ordering the release of a detainee without a lawful order. In a 15-page decision dated Dec. 7, the court’s Second Division found former Marawi City Municipal Trial Court in Cities Presiding Judge Baguinda-Ali Ahmad Pacalna guilty of violating Presidential Decree No. The judge was accused of “exerting undue influence” on the Marawi City jail warden to turn over to him Menor Saud on the sole basis of a handwritten acknowledgment receipt on Sept. 19, 2007. Saud was detained for illegal possession of a .357 revolver and had a pending arrest warrant for car theft. In 2012, Pacalna tried to apply to become judge of the Marawi City Regional Trial Court Branch 9.
US interior secretary quits over attacksBy ASSOCIATED PRESShome/News/World/US interior secretary quits over attacksWASHINGTON D. C.: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, facing federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest, will be leaving the administration at year’s end, President Donald Trump said Saturday (Sunday in Manila). In his resignation letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Zinke said “vicious and politically motivated attacks” against him had “created an unfortunate distraction” in fulfilling the agency’s mission. Trump, in tweeting Zinke’s departure, said the former Montana congressman “accomplished much during his tenure” and that a replacement would be announced next week. Zinke is leaving weeks before Democrats take control of the House, a shift in power that promises to sharpen the probes into his conduct. Zinke’s resignation letter, obtained from a Zinke aide on Saturday, cites what he calls “meritless and false claims” and says that “to some, truth no longer matters.”AP
December 16, 2018 20:37 UTC
Loreto Leo Ocampos and an Iranian-American investor to six to 10 years in prison over anomalies arising from a controversial marine wildlife park deal. However, both were acquitted of malversation charges due to lack of proof that public funds were misappropriated for private use. Unlicensed, unqualifiedOcampos was accused of entering into a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement with Akhavan for the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP), despite the businessman not being licensed or qualified to do business in the country. The two argued that the project was a joint venture agreement, and not a BOT agreement subject to the qualifications imposed by Republic Act No. Akhavan confirmed in a Dec. 20, 2011, certification to state auditors that the business did not earn any net income since 2007.
Weaker climate consensus, elevated climate change – especially in PHBy DAN STEINBOCKhome/Opinion/Op-Ed Columns/Weaker climate consensus, elevated climate change – especially in PHAs the UN climate conference concluded with the expected dissension, efforts to contain global climate change are weakening at the worst historical moment. AS representatives from more than 100 countries debated climate change in the COP24 — the 24th UN climate change conference — held in Katowice, Poland, the outcome could only be divisive. Based on the UN convention on climate change, it focuses on greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in 2020. A few powerful lobbying groups, energy giants and billionaires effectively hijacked the fight against climate change, which most Americans and US cities support. Regarding future climate change, the new Global Climate Risk Index can serve as a red flag for already existing vulnerability that may further increase in regions where extreme events will become more frequent or more severe due to climate change.
‘LGUs with no water waste treatment a failure’By TINA GANZON OZAETAhome/News/Regions/‘LGUs with no water waste treatment a failure’“LOCAL government units (LGUs) without waste water treatment are a failure.”This was the statement of lawyer Ipat Luna, executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Calabarzon, during an interview at the recently held Manila Bay Summit in Malvar, Batangas. According to her, 90 percent of the pollution in Manila Bay is from domestic waste. A presentation by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) revealed that LGUs are not keen on participating in the government’s National Sewerage and Septage Management Program (NSSMP). Not acting upon the problem now will result in a bigger expense for the LGUs in the future. She said LGUs would spend more for the medical needs of its constituents if water is not treated since this could cause pollution and would lead to mass casualty incidents.
PH external debt rises to $76.4Bhome/Business/Top Business/PH external debt rises to $76.4BTHE country’s outstanding external debt totalled $76.4 billion as of end-September, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data released on Friday showed, up from a quarter and a year earlier. Expressed as a percentage of annual aggregate output, external debt widened to 19.6 percent from 19.4 percent a year earlier. The country’s debt service ratio (DSR) also increased to 6.5 percent from 6.0 percent a year ago. About 82.4 percent of the Philippines’ external debt is medium to long-term in nature with maturities of over one year. This means that foreign exchange requirements for debt payments are well spread out and, thus, more manageable, the central bank added.
Bethlehem mosaics restored for Christmashome/News/World/Bethlehem mosaics restored for ChristmasBETHLEHEM, Palestinian Territories: Masked for centuries by the soot of candles and lately by scaffolding, the mosaics of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity have been restored to their Crusader-era splendour in time for Christmas. Now the restored remains shine against the white walls above the heads of visitors to the church in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem that marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus. One of the angels was discovered during the restoration work beneath a layer of plaster. “These mosaics are made of gold leaf placed between two glass plates,” Marcello Piacenti, who supervises the work on behalf of his Italian family restoration firm Piacenti, told AFP. “When you entered the church before, you could not even make out that there were mosaics, it was so black,” he said.
Desire, locals to decide PBA finalshome/Sports/Sports Columns/Desire, locals to decide PBA finalsWe predicted a close finals encounter in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governor’s Cup between the Alaska Aces and the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots. Compton has coached in three PBA finals already but lost all three title series to San Miguel Beer. On the other hand, Travis’ finals numbers are 22 points, 11 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals per outing. But I feel this series will boil down to two things – the locals’ performance and the team’s desire to win. In Game 5, only Enciso and Racal scored in double digits among Alaska’s locals, while Magnolia had four locals with at least ten points.
Alvarez overwhelms Fielding in third for super middleweight titlehome/Sports/Top Sports/Alvarez overwhelms Fielding in third for super middleweight titleNEW YORK: Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez brutally overpowered England’s Rocky Fielding with a dominant display on his New York City debut on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to become a three-weight world champion. Alvarez, who is the reigning World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association middleweight world champion following his thrilling victory over Gennady Golovkin in September, had little trouble in moving up in weight class and defeating Fielding, who held a second tier version of the WBA’s super-middleweight title. Alvarez sent Fielding to the canvas in the very first round with a crunching body shot and remained in complete control. “I thought he would use his distance but luckily he didn’t,” Alvarez said in the ring after becoming the ninth Mexican fighter to be a champion in three different weight divisions. Fielding just didn’t have the power to compete, and when he went down twice in the third, referee Ricky Gonzalez correctly stopped the fight with 22 seconds left of the round.
It was like meeting God — Lebron on Michael Jordanhome/Sports/Top Sports/It was like meeting God — Lebron on Michael JordanWhat’s it like to meet Michael Jordan for the first time? This is the Chicago Bulls fans have often asked LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers superstars had a ready answer: To him, meeting Jordan was a religious experience. James said meeting his idol for the first time was “godly,” and then added as quoted by Yahoo.“it was like meeting God for the first time.”That is, no pun intended, high praise for Jordan. James and Jordan have gotten to know each other much better after that first meeting. James continued his dominance over Charlotte, improving to 27-1 in his last 28 games against Michael Jordan’s franchise.
SHARES OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEKInvestors await Fed meeting resultshome/Business/Top Business/Investors await Fed meeting resultsTHE stock market’s direction this week is expected to be influenced by the results of a US Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, US time, when policymakers are widely expected to announce a fourth interest rate hike for the year. In a separate comment, online brokerage firm 2tradeasia.com said results of the meeting would help support views about the direction of rate hikes elsewhere. It said that locally, volatility would color the remaining trading days of 2018 as fund managers reposition portfolios. On Friday, the PSEi inched up by 0.02 percent or 1.45 points to close at 7,524.37. The wider All Shares dipped by 0.02 percent or 0.83 points to finish at 4,506.50.