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Tax exemption for election honoraria of teachers pushed

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (File photo)

MANILA — As the registration for the May 2022 polls opens on January 20, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is urgently calling for the passage of a bill that aims to grant tax exemption to the honoraria, transportation allowance, and other benefits of poll workers, especially public school teachers.

Gatchalian’s proposed measure, Senate Bill 1193, introduces amendments to the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 so teachers can receive the full amount of their honoraria and other benefits.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue started imposing a 5 percent withholding tax on poll workers’ election service honoraria and other allowances since the 2018 barangay elections.

The bill also aims to exclude their honoraria and allowances from gross income.

Gatchalian said the proposed measure is the best way to thank teachers and other poll workers for ensuring clean, honest and orderly elections in the country.

Under the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA), chairpersons of electoral boards are each entitled to receive PHP6,000. Each member of electoral boards receives PHP5,000. Department of Education Supervisor Officials (DESO) receive PHP4,000 each while support staff receives PHP2,000 each. A travel allowance of PHP1,000 is also allotted to each of these poll workers.

The ESRA, though, has no provision for tax exemption.

The lawmaker emphasized that despite the continuous service that these poll workers render to ensure the transmission of results, they still have to pay income tax if their annual taxable income, which includes such honoraria and allowances, exceeds the PHP250,000 threshold under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“Mahabang oras ang inilalaan ng mga guro upang siguruhin ang kaayusan at integridad ng ating mga halalan. Kaya naman inihain natin itong panukalang batas na ito upang kilalanin ang kanilang mahalagang papel para pangalagaan ang ating demokrasya (Our teachers spend a lot of time for the peaceful and integrity of our election. That’s why I proposed this bill to recognize their important role in preserving our democracy),” Gatchalian said.

Aside from the necessity of paying income tax despite the poll workers’ arduous work during elections, Gatchalian also lamented the process that they have to go through to collect their pay.

To collect their election honoraria and benefits, poll workers have to go to the local Commission on Elections offices and submit a declaration of exemptions if they earn less than PHP250,000 annually.

He said the teachers don’t have to go through complicated processes just to get their pay and other benefits.

“Kung hindi na papatawan ng buwis ang sahod at benepisyo ng mga guro tuwing halalan, hindi lang sila basta makakatanggap ng kabuuang bayad, mas mapapadali din ang proseso para sa Comelec (If no tax will be charged, they will not only receive full payment but the process also be hastened in the Comelec),” he added. (PR)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

House vows passage of vital bills to support Duterte legacy

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MANILA — The House of Representatives has reaffirmed its commitment to pass President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority measures to help sustain the administration’s legacy in providing the Filipinos a safe and comfortable life.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano made the statement on Sunday as Congress resumes its session this week.

Cayetano said top-billing the priority list are the three proposed departments — Department of Disaster Resilience, Department of Overseas Filipinos and Department of Water.

Also included in the priority measures are the tax reform bills, which will help bankroll the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program as well as the health and social services.

“Our colleagues have committed to fast-track the passage of the creation of Department Resilience to better equip our country to respond to natural and man-made calamities as well as improve our rehabilitation efforts,” Cayetano said.

“We have good laws like the Universal Health Care, and Free Tertiary Education Act but we need to ensure that they are properly funded hence we need to pass all these tax measures,” Cayetano added.

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez echoed the Speaker’s statement, noting that the House aims to pass the measures proposing the creation of three departments before the next adjournment in March.

“We aim to hit the ground running when session resumes on Monday. Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time on vital legislative measures. The Speaker made a clear instruction to pass these bills,” Romualdez said.

“We hope to vote soon for second reading approval the proposed law creating the Department of Filipinos Overseas and Foreign Employment to keep an eye on the safety and protection of overseas Filipinos, including seafarers and household service workers, Department of Disaster Resilience to create a primary agency responsible for leading the national effort before, during and after disasters, the Department of Water Resources to avert water crisis, and other bills,” he added.

Romualdez vowed to work harder for another remarkable performance of the House by approving Duterte’s legislative agenda aimed at making the life of Filipinos more comfortable.

“We are committed and inspired to work harder, smarter and more efficiently this year,” said Romualdez.

Before the Christmas break, Romualdez said the House of Representatives processed a total of 900 measures or an average of 28 measures per day during the 32 session days. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Baltazar goes for 20-20 in NBL debut to lift Pampanga over NE

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MANILA — Justine Baltazar debuted in the National Basketball League with a huge statement, dropping a 20-20 in Pampanga’s 86-76 win over Nueva Ecija at the Muntinlupa Sports Center on Saturday night.

The La Salle center put up 26 points and 23 rebounds to power the Delta to the huge win against the Bespren to go up to 3-1 in Group B play of the ongoing President’s Cup of the new league. 

Fellow Green Archer Encho Serrano added 17 points, while CJ Gania chipped in 15.

Isaiah Cabiga led Nueva Ecija with 18 markers.

In the nightcap, Muntinlupa barged into the win column with an 84-79 home victory against Pasig.

Danny Diocampo made two huge baskets down the stretch to keep the Emeralds in control over the El Pirata.

Arnold Danga paced Muntinlupa, which snapped a three-game slide to start the conference and tied its victim at 1-3, with 19 points and six rebounds.

Diocampo added 12 points and seven rebounds, while John Abis tallied a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Vitorio Vergara had 16 markers for Pasig. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

PEZA eyes 5-10% growth in investment pledges in 2020

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Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director General Charito Plaza (PNA file photo by Pamela Mariz Geminiano)

MANILA — Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza targets a 5 to 10-percent growth in investment pledges this year after the agency recorded a decline in approvals in 2019.

Plaza said there are big-ticket projects that are applying for incentives in PEZA, such as China’s Panhua Integrated Steel Industry and Canada’s North Star Argo Industrial Company which is looking for agricultural economic zones for cacao, avocado, mango, and raspberry plantation.

“There are many pending applications for expansions of existing locators and new investments who are waiting for CITIRA (Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act) that will be passed,” she said in a text message to reporters over the weekend.

Plaza added investment pledges could still head higher than this year’s target if an investor-friendly CITIRA is passed.

In 2019, investment approvals in PEZA declined by 16 percent to PHP117.54 billion from PHP140.24 billion in 2018.

Number of projects registered with PEZA went up by 2.1 percent to 540 projects last year from 529 projects a year ago.

In a speaking engagement last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said he hoped to see the CITIRA to be passed into law by March.

Under the CITIRA, the government aims to rationalize fiscal incentives in all investment promotion agencies in the country. It will reduce corporate income tax to 20 percent from the current 30 percent over 10 years. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

2 notorious drug pushers arrested in Aurora

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ANTI-ILLEGAL DRUG DRIVE. The two alleged notorious drug pushers who were arrested during a buy-bust operation in Baler, Aurora on Sunday (Jan. 19, 2020).  The success of the operation was achieved through the intelligence buildup conducted by the operatives in the community. (Photo by Jason de Asis)

BALER, Aurora — Two notorious drug pushers were arrested during a buy-bust operation in this capital town of Aurora on Sunday.

Capt. Ferdinand Beatriz Usita, chief of police of Baler Police Station, identified the two suspects as Carlos Molina II, 25, of Purok 4, Barangay Calabuanan this town and Kimberly Tan, 31, of Tuguegarao, Cagayan.

Usita said combined elements of the Baler Police Station, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Aurora, Provincial Intelligence Branch, PNP 1st Aurora Provincial Mobile Force Company, and local special drug enforcement unit nabbed the two drug pushers at around 5 a.m. in Purok 1, Phase 2, Barangay Buhangin here.

Usita attributed the success of the operation to the intelligence buildup conducted by the operatives in the community.

“Molina was monitored many times selling shabu that led to his arrest by the police who acted as poseur buy,” he said.

Seized from possession of Molina were four pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance, PHP1,000 marked money, and a Yamaha Mio motorcycle.

Tan, a surf instructor, reportedly distributes marijuana to tourists, surfers, and local drug users whom she claimed her clients.

“She (Tan) delivers five kilos of marijuana to her clients every Friday,” he said.

Seized from Tan were 10 pieces medium heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing marijuana, one green back pack, and one Keeway pink motorcycle.

The suspects are now in the custody of the Baler Police Station.

They will face charges for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Negros fluvial parade turns tragic as hanging bridge snaps, throwing people down to river

in World News

This photo, courtesy of Wilven Joy Gena Garzon, shows some spectators holding on to the hanging bridge to watch the fluvial parade below, minutes before a cable snapped, sending some of them hurtling into the river below.

KABANKALAN CITY, Negros Occidental – The annual fluvial parade of the Sinulog Festival in this city was marred by tragedy when a portion of a hanging bridge snapped, sending some of the spectators  into the Camugao River early morning on Sunday.

Eight victims who sustained major injuries, including four minors, were immediately rushed to the hospital while those who sustained minor injuries were treated beside the river.

The Kabankalan City Rescue Unit, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Philippine Coast Guard and local police helped in the rescue operation. The Ilog Rescue unit from the nearby municipality volunteered to help

Read More: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/01/19/negros-fluvial-parade-turns-tragic-as-hanging-bridge-snaps-throwing-people-down-to-river/

Photo Credit: BusinessMirror

PRRD won’t attack Catholic Church sans basis

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte will not launch a series of tirades against the Catholic Church without any basis, Malacañang said on Sunday.

In an interview with dzIQ, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it is no secret that Duterte has “personal” grievances against Catholic Church leaders.

“‘Yun namang kaniyang pag-banat, palagi namang may base. Hindi naman siya bumabanat ng walang batayan. Saka yung kanya, based on personal experience, yung banat niya (His attacks always have a basis. He does not criticize without basis. And his tirades are based on personal experience),” he said.

During the celebration of the 120-year existence of Baptist churches in the Philippines on Thursday, Duterte took pride that he was the “first” politician who spoke against the leaders of the Catholic Church for their supposed abuses.

Duterte has persistently slammed the Catholic Church, which is critical of his administration’s policies and programs, including the anti-narcotics campaign.

He has also revealed that he was once a victim of sexual abuse by a priest when he was young.

The Chief Executive attempted to mend ties with the Catholic Church when he created on June 25, 2018 a four-man panel that is tasked to hold a dialogue with various religious groups.

However, the committee seemed to have failed to reconcile with the leaders of the Catholic Church.

‘One God’

Despite his verbal attacks against the Catholic Church, Duterte on Thursday said he has “deep and abiding faith in God.”

Duterte’s sour relationship with the Catholic Church is not tantamount to his disbelief in God, his spokesman said.

Panelo said the Chief Executive believed that everyone is child of “one God”.

“Palaging sinasabi niya eh tayong lahat, ay anak ng isang pangkalahatang Diyos na isa lamang naman ang tinuturo sa ating lahat, magmahalan tayo, ‘yun ang tinuturo sa atin (He always says that all of us are children of one God, and that God teaches us to love each other. That’s the teaching of the Lord),” Panelo said.

Duterte, for the first time, is scheduled to lead the Sinulog festival in Cebu City on Sunday afternoon.

The Sinulog festival, a religious festival held every third Sunday of January, honors the Santo Niño, or the Child Jesus, through a dance ritual. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Pangasinan town celebrates 15th Talong Festival

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PINAKBET SA KAWA. Local folks of Villasis, Pangasinan, just like their fellow Pangasinenses and even Ilocanos, never get tired of pinakbet dish. As one of the highlights of the annual Talong Festival, the 21 barangays cooked their respective version of the dish in the Pinakbet sa Kawa event on Jan. 17, 2020. The cooking was followed by feasting on the pinakbet dish by all the people who attended the event.  (Photo by Liwayway Yparraguirre)

VILLASIS, Pangasinan — The smell of sautéed vegetables in bagoong, a fish sauce or paste, filled the air and the smiles of the town’s people were a common sight as the municipality of Villasis prepared its different versions of ‘Pinakbet sa Kawa’ as part of their annual ‘Talong Festival’ last January 17.

For more than a decade now, residents from the 21 barangays here have been celebrating Talong Festival, with Pinakbet sa Kawa (vegetable dish in a wok) and Talong (eggplant) Cookfest as highlights.

Pinakbet is a dish composed of varieties of vegetables such as talong, which is the main agricultural product of the town, ampalaya (bitter gourd), okra (lady’s fingers), and squash or sweep potato, sautéed with tomato and Pangasinan’s famous bagoong. It is best paired with fried fish or lechon kawali (fried pork).

Mayor Nonato Abrenica said the municipal government, through its agriculture office, gave each of the 21 barangays about 70 kilos of the basic ingredients of pinakbet dish, while the add-on vegetable ingredients are shouldered by the barangays.

“The ‘sahog’ or special ingredient also varied, some barangays used the usual sliced pork. Others went further by adding sliced lechon kawali, tahong, or shrimp,” he said in an interview Saturday.

By the time the clock struck lunch time, the cooked dishes of the 21 barangays and the municipal government were shared to all the people who attended the event. This is the common practice during the festival which started 2005 through Abrenica’s initiative.

“The objective is to thank God for the vegetable bounty, especially for the main vegetables being produced by our farmers here,” he said.

The harvest of vegetables, rice and corn by the farmers here, Abrenica said, has been good for the past years as lesser typhoons hit the province.

The national and local government’s seeds and fertilizer subsidy program has been a big help to the farmers in maintaining good production, he added.

Abrenica also thanked the farmers for their cooperation in the festivities.

Meanwhile, this year’s popularity contest, search for Mrs. Villasis, has earned over PHP10 million gross income. Minus all the expenses, the net income will be used to buy the town’s new fire truck.

“Almost all the municipal buildings here, including the town hall, were constructed from the funds generated from the search for Miss or Mrs. Villasis contest. We are very thankful to the candidates and to their respective supporters here and abroad for their unending support to our town,” Abrenica said.

He said he was glad that the residents’ enthusiasm and cooperation for the event is “vibrant” again.

“We did not conduct the said popularity contest for the past two years because of what seemingly what we call ‘donor’s fatigue’,” he said.

Other activities during the festival were Farmer’s Day and the Street Dancing competition.

The day’s festivities culminated with the Barangay Night with Sarah Geronimo as guest performer, together with The Voice Kids champion Vanjoss Bayaban who incidentally hails from Pangasinan. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Malacañang assures Ayala, Pangilinan of due process

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MANILA — Malacañang assured Fernando Zobel de Ayala and Manuel V. Pangilinan of due process in case warrants of arrest are issued against them.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador made this clarification after President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday threatened to arrest and indefinitely detain the owners of Metro Manila’s water concessionaires.

Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corp. owns a controlling stake in Maynilad while Manila Water is a subsidiary of the Ayala Corp.

Ang ibig sabihin, idedemanda ang mga dapat idemanda (This means that government will file cases against them),” Panelo said in an interview over dzIQ on Sunday. “That is on the assumption that there are warrants of arrest.”

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said once cases are filed against the water firm owners, it would still be up to the judges in court to issue warrants of arrest against them.

“Lahat ‘yan padadaanin sa proseso (All of it will be accorded due process),” he added.

In a speech in Davao City on Friday, Duterte warned the water concessionaire owners against filing temporary restraining orders (TROs) against the government or he just might arrest them “one night”.

“One night, hulihin ko silang lahat. At diyan lang kayo. Kailan ko kayo palabasin? Hanggang gusto ko. Si Marcos, 27 years. Gawain ko akin, 30 years (One night, I’ll just arrest them all. And you’ll stay behind bars until I say so. Marcos had 27 years, I’ll make mine 30),” Duterte said.

Marcos was President for 20 years, ruling for 14 years as a dictator after imposing martial law in 1972.

Panelo said Duterte and Marcos were alike in such a way that they both shared a strong sense of “political will.”

Currently, the government is attempting to strike a new deal with the two water concessionaires after discovering that the original contracts contained “onerous” provisions.

Ayala and Pangilinan have both expressed willingness to cooperate with the government.

Duterte’s verbal attacks against the Ayala and Pangilinan firms began when the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore, in its separate rulings, compelled the Philippine government to pay PHP3.4 billion and PHP7.39 billion to Maynilad and Manila Water, respectively, for supposed losses and damages suffered by the two water firms.

On January 7, the President gave Manila Water and Maynilad the option to either accept the new water contracts or face cancellation of their present deals.

Since finding out that the contracts were “disadvantageous” to the government and the public, Duterte said he would not hesitate to have the tycoons detained over syndicated estafa or plunder raps and floated the possibility of asking the military to take over water operations.

LRT deal

Meanwhile, Panelo also assured that all contracts with private firms that would be found detrimental to the Filipino people will be rectified.

Duterte earlier sought the review of the state-run Light Rail Transit Authority’s existing contract with the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) after he learned Ayala and Pangilinan also have key roles in its operations.

“Lahat ng anomalya titignan ng goberyno (All anomalies will be reviewed by government),” Panelo said.

The LRMC is a consortium of the Ayala-led AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Pangilinan-owned Metro Pacific Investments Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.

In April 2019, there was also a directive from the President to the Office of the Solicitor General, the Department of Justice, and other state legal departments to look into all of the government contracts with private companies and other countries.

Duterte’s order in April last year was meant to remove all “onerous” provisions of the contracts that would “put the Filipino people at (a) disadvantage or are in violation of the Constitution.”(PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

State-of-the-art cement, port facilities open in Bataan

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CEMENT AND PORT FACILITIES. Ambassador Jose Cuisia (extreme left), PHINMA president and CEO Ramon del Rosario (3rd from left), PhilCement president and CEO Eduardo Sahagun (4th from left) and other officials cut the ceremonial ribbon signaling the operation of the cement and port facilities in Mariveles, Bataan on Saturday (Jan. 18, 2020). The cement and port facilities that sit in 1.9 hectares of land have total investment of PHP1 billion. (Photo by Ernie Esconde)

MARIVELES, Bataan — PHINMA Corporation inaugurated on Saturday its first state-of-the-art cement and port facilities under its subsidiary, the PhilCement Corp., at the Freeport Area of Bataan here.

The inauguration and blessing signaled the operation of the plant with highly-automated equipment that initially has an annual capacity of 2 million tons of cement.

The cement and port facilities that sit in 1.9 hectares of land have a total investment of PHP1 billion.

“We want to contribute what we can in nation-building to making lives better,” PHINMA president and chief operating officer Ramon del Rosario said.

He said one of the best ways to making lives better is to support the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in the infrastructure development programs.

“’Build, Build, Build’ program is a very important component of this administration and I think it is worthy of support,” del Rosario said.

He said domestic manufacture of cement is inadequate to meet the demand so the entry of PhilCement in the industry will help fill the gap.

Cement is a key to infrastructure and a reliable supply of quality cement is a “golden key”, he added.

Del Rosario further said he believes that the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program is long overdue and that they wanted to help by offering the highest quality cement.

Only the best quality cement has to be used to build roads, bridges, railways, airports, and ports, as well as school buildings and public housing, he said.

Del Rosario said they were fortunate to be able to get together with one of the world’s largest exporter of cement from Vietnam, which he said has a facility for “very well-secured to export” cement-like in Mariveles.

“PhilCement in Mariveles is only one of its kind and also the largest independent cement bulk terminal in the whole world,” he said.

Del Rosario said they have revived Union cement that became their brand.

PhilCement president and chief executive officer Eduardo Sahagun dispelled doubts on pollution.

“I want to assure that there is no emission that will be harmful to the community especially along the seashore,” he said.

Sahagun said their unloaders and loaders are meant to make sure that there is no emission at all.

He further said their conveyor system that flows from the vessel to a certain portion of the conveyor has a zipper.

“There is a zipper that zips it and can only be found here. This is the only plant that zips the conveyor while in operation,” Sahagun said.

In his many years in the cement business, he said: “I have not seen a plant with elastic equipment, filter, to make sure it is actually clean and we will add some more.”

Emmanuel Pineda, chairman of the Freeport Area of Bataan, said PhilCement has placed Bataan in the map of the world in cement production being the biggest cement facility in the entire world.

He committed full support for the successful operation of the plant and port facilities. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Gapay seen to steer Army to ‘greater heights’

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GUEST OF HONOR. Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal (left) presents a plaque to Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, new commanding general of the Philippine Army, during the Army’s 4th Infantry Division celebration of its 50th anniversary in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday (Jan. 17, 2020). Gacal expressed hope that Gabay’s leadership will steer the Army to greater heights of service. (Photo courtesy of 4ID)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A top official of the Philippine Army’s (PA) 4th Infantry Division (ID) expressed hope that Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the Army’s new commanding general, will be able to lead the PA to greater heights of public service.

“We know and believe that through his leadership and guidance he will steer the Army to greater heights,” PA’s 4ID commander, Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal said during the 4ID’s 50th founding anniversary celebration here on Friday.

Gacal assured the new Army chief will work hard to “support and follow his every command in upholding our mandate of serving the people and securing the land”.

For his part, Gapay acknowledged the 4ID’s major contribution to the execution of Executive Order (EO) 70 that prompted the communist rebels and their sympathizers to return to the fold of the law.

“I commend 4ID for your significant and laudable accomplishments in 2019. You are a pioneer in implementing EO 70 which is very commendable. We know and see that we have gaps and limitations but despite that, 4ID delivered service beyond expectation,” Gapay said.

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 70 which institutionalizes a ‘whole-of-nation approach’ against insurgency.

After talking to the 4ID troops, Gapay visited the different booths of the “Barrio Peace-TA sa Kampo 2020” which featured the different tourists’ spots and local products of Northern Mindanao and Caraga Region’s as part of the anniversary celebration.

Gacal is hoping that Gabay’s visit would not be his last as commander of the Army.

“His visit is very timely for we were able to show our Barrio Peace-Ta as part of the Golden Founding Anniversary of the Division,” Gacal said. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Malonzo looms as PBA D-League Draft top pick

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MANILA — AMA looks poised on selecting Jamie Malonzo as the first pick of the PBA D-League Draft.

Owning the top pick for the fourth straight year, the Titans set their sights on the former Portland State Viking and De La Salle Green Archer to headline the draft on Monday at the PBA office in Quezon City.

AMA first got the first pick in 2017, using it on another La Salle alumnus, Jeron Teng, who has eventually become a key player for Alaska in the PBA.

Last year, the Titans took former Saigon Heat star Joshua Munzon, and he scorched the D-League with multiple 30-point games as well as starring in domestic and international 3×3 play.

Munzon is part of the Gilas Pilipinas Men pool for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

12 teams to play in Aspirants Cup

AMA is one of 12 teams that confirmed their participation in the first conference of the D-League season, the Aspirants Cup.

La Salle, playing under the EcoOil banner, will also field in a team in the said tournament.

In fact, 11 of the participating teams in the Aspirants Cup are collegiate squads.

Also joining are Wang’s-Letran, UST-Builders Warehouse, Mapua, Centro Escolar University, San Sebastian, Far Eastern University, Diliman College, Technological Institute of the Philippines, and Enderun.

Only Marinerong Pilipino will play in the season-opening conference as a club.

The Skippers (Marinerong Pilipino) will take the second pick of the Monday, while CEU-Scorpions will choose third overall. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Siargao gears for 2020 Caraga Regional Athletic Meet

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READY FOR REGIONAL MEET. The gymnasium and two-unit dormitories inside the Siargao Sports Complex in Dapa town were already completed and ready to be utilized in the upcoming 2020 Caraga Regional Athletic Meet slated on March 7 to 15 this year. The Siargao Island will host for the first time the athletic meet of Caraga Region. (Photo courtesy of DPWH-13 Information Office)

BUTUAN CITY — The provincial government of Surigao del Norte and the local government units (LGUs) in Siargao Island have expressed preparedness to host the upcoming 2020 Caraga Regional Athletic Meet (CRAM 2020).

The sporting event is slated from March 7 to 15 in the town of Dapa in Siargao Island, and will be hosted by the Department of Education (DepEd) Siargao Division.

“This will be the first time that Siargao Island will host the athletic meet of Caraga Region,” Governor Francisco Matugas said on Saturday.

Matugas said series of coordination meetings attended by concerned government agencies, particularly the DepEd, together with the provincial government of Surigao del Norte, the Office of 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas, and the LGUs were already conducted in line with the ongoing preparations for the sporting event.

He added officials from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) were also present during the coordination meetings.

Around 8,000 to 9,000 athletes, school officials, and parents are expecting to attend the upcoming regional meet.

“This is the first time that athletes from different provinces in the region will cross the sea to attend the meet. This will also be the first time that more parents and guardians will join athletes to visit and see the various tourist spots in Siargao Island,” Matugas said.

All fast crafts with regular routes to Siargao Island were already coordinated by PPA and Marina to schedule special trips in March before the opening of the sporting event.

“I already made arrangements with the owner of Fast Cat that ferry passengers from Lipata to Liloan in Leyte to help ferry the athletes and officials to Siargao and back to the mainland,” Matugas added.

He said athletes from the province of Dinagat Islands will no longer proceed to Surigao City as arrangements were already made for a special trip from San Jose, Dinagat town direct to Dapa in Siargao Island.

Billeting and other needs of the athletes are also being prepared with assurance from the BFP to mobilize their fire trucks to supply enough water for the participants.

Earlier last week, the Department of Public Works and Highways in the region (DPWH-13) announced the completion of the PHP200-million sports complex in the town of Dapa.

The completed facilities inside the sports complex include the PHP50-million, two-unit dormitory and the PHP150-million sports complex gymnasium.

The DPWH-13 said the dormitories are also designed as the two-story six classroom multipurpose buildings will not only serve as housing facilities for athletes during sporting events but also as learning facilities for high school students in the area.

“By February this year, all school superintendents in Caraga Region, including top officials from the DepEd regional office, will conduct an inspection on the sports complex and other areas where the games will be held and the delegates will be billeted,” Matugas said.

He also invited all residents in Siargao Island to watch the games and other events for free.

“We invited President Rodrigo R. Duterte as the guest of honor during the opening ceremony of 2020 CRAM on March 7,” Matugas added. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Agusan Sur road mishap kills 7, injures 3 others

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Google map of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur

BUTUAN CITY — Seven members of a family died and three others were injured in a road accident on a national highway in Barangay Patin-ay in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Saturday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported.

Prosperidad police said the accident that happened 8:45 a.m. involved a tricycle where all the victims were onboard and a pickup truck.

Investigation showed the pickup turned sharply on the left lane of the highway and hit head on the incoming tricycle.

The collision resulted in the death of passengers of the tricycle identified by the police as Dionesio Daga-ang Dahili, 27; Imelda Daga-ang Dahili, 50; Jenalyn Daga-ang Dahili, 28; Bernadeth Daga-ang Dahili, 25; Sabrena Daga-ang Dahili, 3; Stephany Hular Dahili, 7; and Ysia Banque, 1.

All the victims are residents of Purok 4, Patin-ay, Prosperidad town.

Two more passengers of the tricycle identified as Dionebelle Llamas Dahili, 7; and Maria Diosebelle Llamas Dahili, 5, were brought to a nearby hospital due to serious injuries they sustained during the road accident.

The passengers of the pickup truck were identified as Julieta Minoza Flores, 63; and Alfredo Arañez Minoza, 44, both residents of Pirada, Del Pilar Cabadbaran City.

Minoza was brought to a nearby hospital in Prosperidad town for the injuries he sustained, while the other passenger only sustained slight injuries, the police said.

The pickup is owned and driven by a certain Mark Minoza Flores, 29, and a resident of Sitio Pirada, Barangay Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City.

The police are conducting further investigation into the road accident. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

CamSur boxer knocks out Indonesian foe

in News

DAVAO CITY — Southpaw Michael “Captain Barbel” Mendoza knocked out Stevanus Nana Bau of Indonesia to win the World Boxing Foundation International Flyweight title on Saturday at Pili Capitol Convention Center in Pili, Camarines Sur.

The 21-year-old native of Pili, Camarines Sur stopped Bau right in the first opening round to post his 11th victory, including 4 knockouts, against one defeat and two draws.

Bau absorbed his 12th defeated in 24 fights.

Mendoza had three wins in 2019 including the unanimous decision over Vincent Bautista of Bohol to win the vacant Philippine Boxing Federation flyweight title at San Fernando City on March 22.

He also won his first fight outside the country last year, pulling out a unanimous victory against Japanese Kento Yabusaki at Karakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

Meanwhile, Al “Catain A” Sabaupan, another fighter from Camarines Sur, also knocked out Ray Rahardjo of Indonesia in the third round of their lightweight’s eight-rounder.

Sabaupan improved his ring record to 26-3-1 while Rahardjo suffered his 14th loss with only six wins and five draws.

The promoter is Juan Monis of Hardstone Boxing Promotion. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

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