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Philippines Today

BAGUIO CITY (PHLTODAYUSA)  October 22, 2015  Typhoon Lando swept Northern Luzon and Central Luzon with strong winds and heavy rains during the past few days, causing widespread floods and landslides and disrupting power, communications and air, land and sea transportation resulting to the death of at least 58 people and displacing some 300,000 people.

 

 

Damage to property, infrastructures and agricultural crops was initially placed at  almost P7 billion, with rice farms, vegetables, fisheries and livestock losses estimated at P6.3 billion alone.

 

Sixteen of the 58 killed were in Pangasinan but the Cordillera region that includes Baguio City, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao and Abra registered the highest number of fatalities of 20 as of Wednesday, October 21..Benguet alone had 13 dead, mostly due to landslides. There were also deaths in Western Visayas and Metro Manila due to the onslaught of typhoon Lando.

 

Due to high number of casualties, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Sarmiento ordered PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez to relieve Senior Supt. David Lacdan as provincial police director in Benguet.

 

Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. and Pampanga Governor Lilia G. Pineda personally led in rescue efforts and distributed food and relief goods immediately.

 

The Pangasinan relief and rescue groups were still conducting search and rescue operations for isolated individuals and families in 24 other barangays of Bugallon, Aguilar, Labrador, Infanta, Mabini and Mangatarem affected by flash foods as of Wednesday, but sought help from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) due to the big number of people to be rescued.

 

Gov. Espino, who directed operations at the PDRRMO tactical operations center, clarified that the flash floods came from accumulated rain waters in the mountains that cascaded and not from the swelling of adjacent rivers.

 

Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Rep. Leni Robredo were in Infanta, Dasol and Mangatarem on Wednesday to distribute relief goods for the typhoon victims.

 

Around 87 people were also reported injured while nine persons were still missing, according to official reports of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which listed the official death toll from typhoon “Lando" only at 35 as of Wednesday, October 21.

 

As of that day, NDRRMC Executive director Alexander Pama said that damages stood at P6.918 billion, the bulk of which of P6.359 billion were in agriculture.

 

The NDRRMC did not consider in its tally a boat mishap incident in Iloilo that resulted in the death of nine persons due to typhoon Lando.

 

The agency also reported that 992,707 persons were affected while 103,437 were staying inside the evacuation centers in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, at Central Luzon. 

 

The cyclone (international name Koppu) made landfall over Aurora province early Sunday and was forecast to remain within the Philippine Area of Responsibility until October 25, Sunday, as it weakened into a low pressure area.

 

As a result of the damage and widespread floodings, officials declared many areas under state of calamity like Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Isabela, Aurora, Cagayan.

 

The number of fatalities and those injured may still rise as the typhoon, the second strong howler to hit the country this year, continues to linger over the Ilocos region and pummel other parts of Luzon.

 

President Aquino, accompanied by some Cabinet members, and Vice President Jejomar Binay fanned out into the different areas, inspected the damage and distributed relief goods and seedlings.

 

The distribution of relief goods by LP presidential bet Mar Roxas and vice presidential bet Leni Robredo in Baler, Aurora, meanwhile, were made as they allegedly campaigned for votes in the area, an accusation which Malacanang immediately denied.

 

Malacañang clarified that the relief goods distributed by  Roxas and Robredo to families affected by Typhoon Lando in Baler, Aurora province were not from the government.

 

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepositioned goods in Baler and the relief goods brought by Roxas and Robredo were for augmentation.

 

"These relief goods that are being given by Mar and Leni are augmentation. Ibig pong sabihin may mga prepositioned goods po ang DSWD roon,” Secretary Laciera said..

 

The Palace official stressed that the Liberal Party's presidential and vice presidential bets went to Baler only to check on the typhoon victims and distribute relief goods.

 

"Bakit niya lalagyan ng pulitika ang isang bagay na hindi naman dapat lagyan ng pulitika? Nasabi po natin ay tutulungan po ang taumbayan," Lacierda said in reaction to reports that Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa denied receiving relief goods from Roxas and Robredo because the mayor belongs to PDP-Laban.

 

"Ang mahalaga sa amin ‘yung taumbayan. Ang taumbayan dapat ang makatanggap ng relief goods, at hindi si Mayor Bihasa," he said.

 

"May litrato pong nilabas ang media bureau po nila ay nakatanggap po ang taumbayan ng Baler ng relief goods. Ang mahalaga kasi rito ang relief goods mapunta sa taumbayan, hindi po doon sa mayor... At saka ang PDP-Laban, hindi ho kalaban, kasama ho sa coalition ang PDP-Laban," he added.

 

The NDRRMC earlier reported the fatalities and injured were from Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Tarlac,  Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Mt. Province, Benguet, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Zambales and Metro Manila. In Quezon City, two people were killed when hit by a tree toppled due to strong winds. In Laguna Lake, a fisherman in Mabitac town drowned due to strong waves.. 

 

Binay visited flooded towns in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan on Wednesday as his office continued to provide relief and other assistance to families displaced by typhoon Lando.

 

Binay visited San Simon, Candaba, and Arayat in Pampanga; Cabiao, San Isidro, and Gapan in Nueva Ecija; San Miguel, and San Ildefonso in Bulacan.

 

He talked with local leaders to know the needs of the affected residents and what assistance his office could give them. Aside from relief goods, local officials requested hybrid rice seedlings from the Vice President to replace damaged crops. 

 

The Vice President said his office will provide relief goods and seedlings.

 

So far, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has delivered 9,500 packs of relief goods in Nueva Ecija, 5,000 in Isabela, 4,600 in Bulacan, 2,400 in Pampanga, 4,500 in Pangasinan, 3,200 in Tarlac, 3,000 in Quirino, 3,000 in Nueva Vizcaya, and 5,000 in Aurora.

 

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Typhoon Lando has claimed 58 lives and inflicted around P6 million-worth of damage to the agriculture sector.                

 

On Tuesday, Binay visited the towns of Gerona and Pura in Tarlac; and Guimba, Cabanatuan City, Bongabon, and Licab in Nueva Ecija. He is scheduled to go to Isabela, his mother’s home province, on Thursday.

 

The Central Luzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Mangement Council (RDRRMC 3) reported that Benita Farmanilay, 62, of Barangay Asinan, Subic, Zambales died of head injuries after a wall collapsed on her while her husband, Gregorio suffered minor injuries and was brought to hospital.

 

Sixteen persons were confirmed dead and three others injured when typhoon "Lando" pounded Pangasinan with powerful winds starting early dawn of Saturday, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said.

 

Among the fatalities in Pangasinan were identified as Mauro Nuerong, 75, of Barangay Pampano, Mangatarem, who died when  a santol tree fell and crashed his house; Regina Sabangan, 85, of Bongato, Bayambang, who slipped off the floor inside his house and died on arrival at the Bayambang District Hospital; and one-year old Jan Kerby Capina of Barangay Ilog, Malino, Bolinao, who was pinned down by a mango tree which fell on their house.

 

Residents of flooded farming villages in those areas were seen on television trapped on their rooftops and animals floated down the swollen rivers.

 

NDRMMC spokesperson Romina Marasigan added that seven people have been confirmed injured.

 

She said that as of Tuesday, a total of 60,170 families or 290,797 people were displaced in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, Bicol, National Capital Region and Cordillera Administrative Region.

 

Of said number, 15,603 families or 70,503 people are staying in 376 evacuation centers in the seven regions while 27,142 families or 132,621 people are outside evacuation centers.

 

The agency recorded 74 incidents -- 72 incidents of flooding in the provinces of Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Zambales and Pampanga; collapsed wall in Zambales; and toppled trees were monitored in Regions 1, 2, 3 and National Capital Region (NCR).

 

A total of 36 roads sections and 18 bridges were rendered unpassable due to flooding and landslides in Regions 2, 3, 5 and CAR.

 

Power interruptions/outages were reported in three cities and 65 municipalities in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 4-B and Cordillera Administrative Region; while province-wide power outages were reported in Pangasinan, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Apayao and Kalinga.

 

As of October 18, power supply has been restored in five cities and 48 municipalities in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Tarlac, Laguna and Benguet.

 

A total of 5,011 passenger, 61 vessels, 55 motorized bancas, 215 rolling cargoes are stranded due to rough sea condition caused by severe tropical storm Lando.

 

Total cost of government assistance for the affected families has reached P2,176,345 worth of relief goods provided to affected families in Regions 1,2, 3 and 5.

 

School classes were suspended in many areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog.

By ARMIE CARVAJAL LLAMAS

 

SUBIC FREEPORT (PHLTODAYUSA)  The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has added another feather to its cap of achievements in the management and administration of the country’s first free port.  

 

After the agency’s record highs for three consecutive years, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia announced that the Freeport garnered two (2) major awards in the recently concluded survey for the Global Free Zones of the Year 2015 awards: overall winner in Asia and overall winner in the sub-region of South and Southeast Asia.

 

The Subic Freeport also received commendations in the form of bespoke awards for infrastructure developments and reinvestment.  “Some locations, which were particularly outstanding, were acknowledged with honorable mentions and bespoke awards,” Garcia explained.
 

According to Garcia, the publication received a total of 76 entries from all over the world, which were individually studied by a panel of judges who then nominated their winning and runner-up locations in each region.

 

“Emerging as overall winner in Asia, as well as in South and Southeast Asia, is a significant indicator of Subic Freeport’s level of competitiveness among other zones in the region,” Garcia said.

 

Garcia added that the awards also underscore the Freeport’s attractiveness and potential as an investment site and validates the strategies that the Subic agency has been undertaken to spur the zone toward further growth. 

 

South and Southeast Asia, is a significant indicator of Subic Freeport’s level of competitiveness among other zones in the region,” Garcia said.

 

Garcia added that the awards also underscore the Freeport’s attractiveness and potential as an investment site and validates the strategies that the Subic agency has been undertaken to spur the zone toward further growth.

 

The survey was conducted by the fDi Magazine, an 11-year old bi-monthly publication of The Financial Times, Ltd. of London, to acknowledge the most promising free zones across the world.  Invited to join were free zones, government entities, and investment promotion bodies, which were asked to complete a short survey, detailing their zone’s attractiveness, facilities, and incentives offered to investors.

  
Survey questions included growth performance measures for 2013 and 2014; what multinational companies have chosen to locate in the zone and why; which tenants have chosen to undertake recent expansion of their presence in the zone; and what initiatives have been implemented to offered in the last 12 months to increase tenant numbers, including any special incentives, programmes, or facilities 
catering specifically to small medium enterprises or start-ups.

 

Also asked were infrastructure developments or facilities upgrades in the last 12 months, as well as major development plans to facilitate future expansion.

 

Wrapping up, the SBMA chairman pointed out, “These awards also mean that we’re on the right track and doing the right thing, and exerting our best effort as a team”.

 

After hitting record highs in financial performance for three consecutive years, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has reported another 104-percent hike in net income for the first half of the year.

 

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said unaudited figures from the agency’s Finance group placed the agency’s January-to-June net income at P 687 million, showing a significant improvement from P 337 million for the same period last year.

 

“Revenues for the first semester were pretty good as well,” Garcia said, referring to a 15 percent revenue increase from last year’s level.

 

Sharing the agency’s operating revenue pie were port services and regulatory fees, which increased by 29 percent and 24 percent, respectively over the same period last year.

 

Also contributing substantially to the agency’s financial status, Garcia said, were a 33 percent buildup in current assets, including a 38 percent increase in cash assets, and a 56 percent rise in miscellaneous assets such as prepaid expenses, guaranty deposits, mobilization funds given in advance to contractors, and others.

 

Tight control was also implemented as far as operating expenses were concerned.

 

Meanwhile, SBMA’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) jumped 18 percent.

 

”This means that the agency is not only pursuing effective strategic initiatives, but is implementing them efficiently as well," Garcia added.

 

The SBMA top executive also noted that the first semester saw a much improved business climate in the Freeport, which led to better bottom lines for the Subic agency and its locators, as well as the start-up operations of many new ones and a bigger workforce that would soon breach the 100,000-mark.

 

With this profit increase, Garcia said the SBMA was looking forward to a more positive outcome to further strengthen and sustain the agency’s financial turnaround over the past three years record performances.

 

“We need to provide funds for our strategic plans, including the implementation of the long-overdue salary increases for SBMA employees and the procurement of badly needed equipment for security, maintenance and infrastructure development work,” he added.

MANILA  The Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court finding probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against controversial television host, actor, singer and composer Willie Revillame in connection with the child abuse and exploitation case filed against him.

 

In an 11-page decision, the CA’s Thirteenth Division through Associate Justice Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla resolved that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Quezon City RTC, Branch 86, Presiding Judge Roberto Buenaventura in issuing the arrest warrant against Revillame on Oct. 4, 2013.
 

Revilla's lawyer, Leonard de Vera, reacting to the CA ruling, stressed that there was no need to arrest Revillame because he has posted bail as early as in 2013 as he clarified the ruling.
 

The former San Francisco, California-based lawyer Leonard de Vera said in a statement that Willie's camp wants to correct the reports that came out in the media. "We wish to correct news reports appearing today that Mr. Willie Revillame refused to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court and that a warrant of arrest should be issued against him for a child abuse case that was filed back in 2011," de Vera said.
 

"Upon the finding of probable cause by the regional trial court of Quezon City Branch 86, Mr. Revillame sought and was immediately granted bail in the amount of P80,000.00 in September 4, 2013 or more than two years ago.
 

"Accordingly, it is unnecessary for the trial court to issue a warrant of arrest against Mr. Revillame," De Vera said.
 

De Vera also explained that, as part of his client's right, Willie appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA)  the decision against him, but this petition remained pending until the ruling.
 

"The inaccurate reports spreading in social and mass media are regrettable and are being misinterpreted by certain quarters on account of Mr. Revillame's success in his new show Wowowin now being aired in GMA-7. It is evident that these reports are intended merely to taint and besmirch Mr. Revillame and his new show in the Kapuso network," de Vera said.

De Vera also said that Willie is innocent until proven guilty, and there is no evidence that he is guilty of the charges against him. 

“As a final note, we observe that the resolution of this case had long been delayed because of the petitioner’s refusal to submit to the trial court’s jurisdiction and his erroneous invocation of the Rules in his favor,” the appellate court stressed.

 
The lawyer also said the new development would allow Revillame to have his day in court.

"Let the trial proceed so that the government can prove its case and Willie can exercise his right in the trial. That's all it meant," he said.

"I hope we would emphasize is what the CA is saying is you may proceed for the trial so that the guilt or innocence of Willie can be determined by the court.

"So now we will proceed with the trial."


Associate Justices Normandie Pizarro and Samuel Gaerlan concurred with the ruling.
 

According to the appellate court, Judge Buenaventura did not arbitrarily issue the warrant of arrest against petitioner as it was issued after his personal evaluation of the factual circumstances that led him to believe that there was probable cause to apprehend petitioner for his commission of a criminal offense.
 

The case arose from the controversial incident on March 12, 2011 in his defunct prime time game show “Willing Willie” aired on Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC) 5 Network wherein  one of the contestants was a six-year-old boy.
 

Revillame then made the boy perform a dance featuring gyrating moves associated with “macho dancers” or male strippers.
The   host even encouraged the boy to repeat his dance moves and   tried to imitate the child’s dance steps. Revillame then gave the boy P10,000 as his price and allowed the boy to repeat his performance several times.

 

Several days after the episode, the Department of Social Welfare and Development   filed a complaint with the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
 

The DSWD alleged that the  episode constituted psychological abuse, cruelty and emotional maltreatment of the boy and debased, degraded and demeaned his dignity, thus, constituting child abuse.
 

Consequently, the QC Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause to charge Revillame with child abuse case before the QC RTC.
On Sept. 4, 2013, the RTC  found probable cause on the crime charged against Revillame and issued an arrest warrant against him.

 

 

Tacloban City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez and husband, Mayor Alfred Romualdez

 

TACLOBAN CITY/ORMOC CITY  More celebrities are running for various posts in the 2016 elections.

 

At the close of filing of certificates of candidacy, the latest to surface are actor Richard Gomez who is running for mayor of Ormoc City and actress and Councilor Cristina "Kring Kring" Gonzales, wife of outgoing Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who is also running for mayor in, hoping to succeed her husband.

 

Councilor Gonzales-Romualdez, a former actress and daughter of former actor and San Juan City congressman Jose Mari Gonzales, joined Tacloban City politics as a councilor in 2007. She is on her third and final term as councilor.

 

Councilor Romualdez, who has Spanish and British blood on her mother's side, has appeared in 40 movies or so since the 1980s but had to leave show business since she married Mayor Romualdez of Tacloban.

 

In nearby Ormoc City, actor Richard Gomez is running again for mayor of the city.

 

Gomez, accompanied by his wife,  Rep. Lucy Torres of the fourth district of Leyte, filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor.
While Gomez is running under the administration Liberal Party, Councilor Gonzales-Romualdez is running under the opposition party.

 

There are reports, however, indicating that Gomez is running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition while Torres under the Liberal Party.
 

Gomez is running against Mayor Edward Codilla, who will seek reelection for a third and final term. Incumbent Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin Jr. is the actor’s running mate.
 

It would be the fourth time that Gomez is seeking an elective post. He ran but lost for senator in 2007, was disqualified as a party-list congressman in 2010 and lost his first mayoralty bid in Ormoc City in 2013.
 

Torres said she is supporting the candidacy of LP standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II even though the party did not endorse her husband’s mayoral bid.

 

Torres will be pitted against Violeta Codilla, the wife of the mayor.  Violeta is running under the banner of Aksyon Demokratiko.

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