Building PH rail

THE Asia Pacific Rail Summit 2017, held March 21 to 22 in Hong Kong, covered innovation, technology and strategy for Asia Pacific’s rail industry. New officials have been appointed to manage the Department of Transportation, PNR and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA). LRTA manages the LRT- 2 that runs from Santolan to Recto, and oversees the Light Rail Manila Corp., the private operator and maintenance contractor of the LRT-1 that runs from Baclaran to Roosevelt. Imagine a majority of Metro ns using the light rails, leaving their private vehicles at home. MTR’s model is so robust that today, rails and trains form just a portion of its business portfolio.

March 27, 2017 16:07 UTC

Bill moving barangay polls to 2020 filed

An administration lawmaker has formally sought the postponement of the October barangay (village) and youth polls to October 2020 to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint caretakers. As a result, barangay officials retained their posts for another year. “We have time to approve the bill postponing the barangay polls, especially when the President certifies the bill as urgent,” Alvarez said in a separate interview. Without this new law, barangay elections will push through,” he said. “The passage of a new law postponing the barangay elections will make all barangay positions vacant.

March 27, 2017 16:06 UTC

‘Constitution bars appointment of barangay execs’

“They can amend the Local Government Code, but not give powers to appoint barangay officials even on a temporary basis,” Casiple said in an interview. Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal warned that appointing caretakers to barangay posts would contravene Article 10, Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution, which lumps together barangay officials along with other “elective” local officials. “The passage of a new law postponing the barangay elections will make all barangay positions vacant. “They can delay (the elections) but the incumbent barangay officials will stay on a hold-over capacity until new officials are elected,” he added. The President wants to postpone the elections and declare all barangay positions vacant for him to appoint new officials.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

Abu rebels release 3 Malaysians

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) rebels freed three kidnapped Malaysian sailors in Sulu where security forces are battling the ISIS-affiliated jihadist group blamed for the spate of cross-border attacks in Malaysia. Two of their companions – Abd Rahim Summas, 63, and Tayudin Anjut, 46, – were released by the Abu Sayyaf on March 23. The sailors, crew of Tugboat Serudong Tiga 3, were abducted off Lahad Datu town in Sabah on July 18, 2016. It was unknown if Malaysia or their employer paid ransom to the Abu Sayyaf, but the jihadist group had originally demanded P30 million ransom for each of the sailors. Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Año said they are determined to rescue other remaining foreign and local hostages of the ASG.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

Bangsamoro deal marks 3rd year

The Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the CAB and its annexes on March 27, 2014. However, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was stalled in the previous Congress following the brutal massacre of 44 police commandos in a botched anti-terrorist raid in Maguindanao where Muslim rebels were implicated. In November last year, Duterte signed an executive order reconstituting the 21-member BTC that will craft an enabling law for the Bangsamoro. The commission consists of 11 members from the MILF, seven from the government, and three from the Moro National Liberation Front. The BTC is expected to submit the draft law to Congress by July for deliberation.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

25-centavo cut in diesel pump rates announced

MANILA — Local oil firms have again cut pump prices of diesel by 25 centavos per liter, which will take effect as early as 12 a.m. Tuesday, but made no changes for gasoline. Monitoring by the Department of Energy (DoE) show that in Metro Manila, the latest price changes would bring prices of diesel to the range of P27.33 to P38.49 a liter at the pump. “In the United States, they are still building inventories due to production of shale (oil),” Obillo said. “There is really too much output in the market.”She said that since the start of the year and as of last week, changes in diesel prices have accumulated to a net reduction of 35 centavos per liter. She added that, at the same time, changes in gasoline prices have accumulated to a net reduction of 31 centavos per liter.

March 27, 2017 15:33 UTC

Iloilo village chief killed, son hurt after gun accidentally goes off

ILOILO CITY – A village chief in Pacatin, Cabatuan town in Iloilo province was killed while his eight-year-old son was wounded after a gun accidentally went off during a motorcycle accident on Monday afternoon. Engelbert Banquillo, Cabatuan police station chief, said Virgil Zuñiga was driving a motorcycle with his wife and three children as passengers. ADVERTISEMENTWhile traversing the rough road along Barangay Jelicuon Lusaya, Cabatuan, the motorcycle skidded and fell on its side. The bag had a hole believed to be caused by the bullet that was accidentally discharged when the gun on the ground. The family however said the gun was not owned by the victim.

March 27, 2017 15:29 UTC

No eviction for Kadamay ‘invaders’

NO eviction will be enforced on the leftist urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) that occupied “idle” units in at least five resettlement housing projects of the National Housing Authority (NHA) in Pandi, Bulacan. Rep. Antonio Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said instead of eviction, the NHA agreed to conduct on-site validation and processing of applicants at the resettlement projects occupied by Kadamay members. He added that first to be processed were 171 members who signed an information form given to them during an earlier series of dialogues after their “invasion” of the housing units. The agreement was reached during a dialogue between the Makabayan bloc in Congress and officials of the NHA on Monday afternoon as Kadamay members reinforced their barricade to fight the eviction. “There will be continuous processing and profiling on-site starting on April 3 for the rest of the Kadamay members,” Tinio said.

March 27, 2017 14:15 UTC

Benham Rise development body proposed

House Bill (HB) 5360, which seeks to create a technical government agency that would protect and manage Benham Rise in the South China Sea, has been filed by Buhay party-list representative and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza. “Our bill seeks to create the Benham Rise Protection and Development Authority, which will protect and manage this vast area and to ensure that all natural resources that are rightfully ours would not be exploited and abused by other countries claiming it to be their own. As then-Environment secretary, Atienza was instrumental in the inclusion of Benham Rise in the Philippines’ extended continental shelf. “Our country has sovereign rights over this protected economic development area. Under HB 5360, the Benham Rise Protection and Development Authority will be headed by the Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority as Chairman of the Board, an Administrator as Vice Chairman, together with eleven other board members composed of the secretaries of the Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Finance, Tourism, Public Works and Defense departments.

March 27, 2017 14:15 UTC

Boat found; no sign of life

The Coast Guard (CG) Bataan station in Limay town said it received a radio message from the CG Batangas station of finding motor boat Christian Angel with one of its outriggers broken. A call to CG Batangas station confirmed the report and relatives identified the boat as the one used by the missing persons. The Bataan Coast Guard said it was in continuous search for the missing persons in Corregidor and Bataan but results were negative. An unconfirmed report said that tied on the boat were two goats that the passengers brought with them but that the animals were already dead. CG Batangas station would not confirm finding the dead animals.

March 27, 2017 14:03 UTC

Pirated DVDs tolerated in General Santos?

The local government of General Santos City is accused of tolerating Muslim businessmen engaged in selling pirated DVDs smuggled from Zamboanga City. A businessman and mall owner Chan Suy Lam said a private investigation they commissioned showed that most of about 200 businessmen engaged in wholesaling and retailing smuggled pirated DVDs were from the Maranao tribe. The investigation supposedly showed that the trader of the pirated DVDs is allegedly a big-time smuggler from Zamboanga City supplying voluminous orders in the cities of Davao and General Santos. Maximo Layugan, GenSan police director, said they are ready anytime to raid and confiscate the pirated DVDs upon request of the Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), the authorized agency to impose and implement DVD anti-piracy law. A staff at the office of City Administrator Arnel Sapatos told The Manila Times that their office is investigatingr the reported rampant proliferation of DVDs at GenSan public markets.

March 27, 2017 14:03 UTC

4 PDEA tipsters get P4.9-M reward

Four tipsters or drug informants received a total of P4.9 million in cash rewards from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday. Their instant cash came from the agency’s Operation: Private Eye (OPE), a reward and incentive scheme designed to encourage private citizens to report any suspected illegal drug activity in their community. “To fully encourage the participation of private citizens in the war against illegal drugs, PDEA continues to give monetary rewards to deserving informants. With the increasing numbers of them coming out in the open to report illegal drug activities, soon we will have a vast network of eyes and ears in our communities,” Lapeña said. There is acorresponding scale agreed upon by the reward committee,” Carreon told The Manila Times.

March 27, 2017 13:52 UTC

BOC limits luggage inspection

Passengers arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other airports in the country will no longer be subjected to luggage scrutiny unless marked with “X” that may contain valuable or taxable items. Customs District III Collector Ed Macabeo cited the directive from Malacañang putting a stop to the opening of luggage and set up “green and red lane” counters at the arrival areas where passengers choose where to exit. Passengers who have to declare taxable items must pass through the red lane while green lane is for those with nothing to declare. But passengers caught passing the green lane with taxable items luggage will be stopped and their belongings subjected to inspection and must pay additional charges for non-declaration. The directive was issued by Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. during the First National Anti-Poverty Commission en banc meeting after President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the Bureau of Customs to refrain from opening the luggage of passengers arriving in the country.

March 27, 2017 13:52 UTC

Nothing irregular in ePassport–DFA

The two others are the National Printing Office and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas security printing plant. An e-passport costs P950. With 17,000 e-passport applications a day, APO nets about P2.8 billion or P28 billion for a 10-year contract. Reports said the actual cost of printing an ePassport will not exceed P500. The APO labor union–Asian Productivity Employees Association (APEA)– has filed plunder and graft complaints against former officials under the Aquino administration.

March 27, 2017 11:03 UTC

Singaporean couple jailed for starving Filipina maid

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean couple who starved their Philippine maid until she weighed just 29 kilograms (64 pounds) were jailed Monday, in a case described as “shocking” by prosecutors who are appealing for stiffer sentences. Trader Lim Choon Hong, 48, was sentenced to three weeks in jail and fined Sg$10,000 ($7,200), while his wife Chong Sui Foon, also 48, was jailed three months, the couple’s lawyer told Agence France-Presse. State prosecutors, who have described the systematic starvation as “downright shocking in its extremity and severity” are appealing the sentences and pushing for the pair to be jailed for the maximum 12 months. She was taken to a migrant workers’ shelter which helped her file a complaint with the manpower ministry. In 2016 there were 239,700 foreign maids working in the affluent city-state, mostly from Indonesia and the Philippines.

March 27, 2017 10:18 UTC

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