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DILG to Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto: Don’t take sides on RFC labor dispute

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MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ao on Tuesday advised Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto not to take sides on the labor dispute between Regent Food Corp. (RFC) and some of its workers.

 

Ao said that the issue is between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the company, and its workers.

 

“Para sa akin dapat ang LGU [local government unit] dito ay mag-maintain ng peace and order, but do not take sides, because it is between the [Department of Labor and Employment], and the company, and the workers,” Ao told reporters.

 

(For me, LGUs should maintain peace and order, but do not take sides …

Keep on reading: DILG to Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto: Don’t take sides on RFC labor dispute

6K Central Luzon cops deployed for SEA Games

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OFF TO SEA GAMES. Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, acting regional director of the Police Regional Office-3 and commander of Task Group Central Luzon, delivers his message during the send-off ceremony for the cops who will secure the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Challenger’s Field, Air Force City, Clark Field, Pampanga on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019). The 30th SEA Games will be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in different venues in Luzon. (Photo courtesy of PRO-3)

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga—More than 6,000 police personnel in Central Luzon tasked to ensure peace and security during the staging of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games from November 30 to December 11 were deployed on Tuesday to the different venues in the region.

The send-off ceremony was held at the Challenger’s Field, Air Force City, Clark Field and led by Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, Officer-In-Charge, Philippine National Police.

Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, acting regional director of the Police Regional Office-3 and commander of Task Group Central Luzon, asked his men and women on the ground to do their work with utmost diligence and due regard for public safety.

He also assured that they are ready to ensure the safety and security of the delegates and other spectators who will witness the sporting events in the biennial meet.

“In all, around 11,000 security response troops and force multipliers are ready to secure the delegates and spectators to attain our goal of ‘zero incident’ during the duration of the SEA Games,” Sermonia said.

Military personnel and other security providers will be alongside the police in ensuring peace and safety at the different sports venues.

Sermonia said the “no-fly zone” and “no sail zone” will be implemented in these areas.

He added that while all security preparations are covered by Task Group Central Luzon, full support and cooperation of the public are necessary.

“We appeal to the public to report suspicious activity to prevent any eventualities or unfortunate incidents,” he said. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Creation of Philippine Marshal Service to ensure security of judges sought

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MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to establish a Philippine Marshals Service Unit, an independent arm that would ensure the security of judges and assist in the administration of justice, has been filed in the Senate.

Senator Richard Gordon filed Senate Bill No. 118, also known as “An Act Creating the Philippine Marshal Service Under the Control and Supervision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes” after Supreme Court chief justice Diosdado Peralta stressed the need for a security force patterned after the United States Marshals Service.

“Our judges make every effort to guarantee fairness in every case that they handle. T…

Keep on reading: Creation of Philippine Marshal Service to ensure security of judges sought

SC orders copra firm to pay almost P1-B loan to BDO

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MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) ordered a local copra exporting firm to pay close to PHP1 billion representing its unpaid loan obligations to Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc (BDO).

In a resolution dated November 11 released on Tuesday, the SC’s Third Division affirmed with modification the Court of Appeals’ (CA) Nov. 22, 2018 decision which upheld the ruling issued by the Regional Trial Court of Makati City on Jan. 25, 2017, directing International Copra Export Corporation (ICEC), Interco Manufacturing Corporation (Interco) and their affiliated security companies owned by the Luy family to pay BDO a total of PHP833,589,999.

The Court imposed a 6-percent interest per annum from the finality of the decision until fully paid instead of the 10 percent previously imposed by the Makati RTC.

The SC also increased the attorney’s fees awarded to BDO from PHP25 million to PHP41.67 million.

“Acting on the petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision and resolution, dated November 22, 2018 and July 3, 2019, respectively, of the Court of Appeals, the Court resolves to deny the petition for failure to show any reversible error in the challenged decision and resolution as to warrant the exercise by this Court of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction,” the SC resolution read.

BDO’s predecessor-in-interest, Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCI Bank) which later on became Equitable PCI Bank (EPCI), has been extending loan and credit facilities to ICEC and Interco.

On account of the good standing of the two copra companies, the loans were consistently renewed without any collateral.

Between 1995 to 2007, a surety agreement and deed of suretyship were executed between the bank and the Luys.

In June 2006, the parties negotiated the collateralization of ICEC and Interco’s loans due to the drastic drop in their export volumes.

EPCI proposed that a portion of the total obligation be secured by a real estate mortgage over the LKG Tower, a building in Makati City owned by ICEC Land but was rejected by the copra companies.

On account of defendants-appellants’ refusal to collateralize their loan, EPCI offered them two options : (a) renew the PHP900 million loan on a clean basis but subject to a PHP25 million quarterly amortization beginning November 2006; and (b) the outstanding obligation of PHP255 million shall be amortized for five years beginning January 2007 through five annual payments of PHP51 million.

Both options are nevertheless subject to a condition that all the creditors of defendant-appellants shall remain on “pari passu” (equal footing).

Under the said arrangement, their creditors would be treated on equal footing with respect to the uniform absence of collaterals. And, should they provide collaterals to any of their creditors, excluding the real estate mortgage with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), or if any of their creditors enjoy preferential terms over that of EPCI, these circumstances shall be considered as events of default.

By reason of the pari passu agreement, BDO extended the maturity date of defendants-appellants’ loans and even extended credit facilities in various dates in November and December 2008 and January and February 2009, as evidenced by promissory notes.

However, BDO discovered that contrary to their representations, ICEC and Interco had been mortgaging and disposing their properties to secure their indebtedness to other creditors.

It claimed that ICEC mortgaged units of the LKG Tower to Allied Banking Corporation (Allied Bank) as a security for its loan.

The bank also found out that the maturity dates of the promissory notes have lapsed without the obligation being settled by the copra companies.

This prompted BDO to seek redress from the court through a complaint for sum of money with an application for preliminary attachment.

In upholding the ruling of the trial court, the appellate court did not give weight to the claim of the copra companies that there was actually no pari passu agreement between them and BDO due to lack of written agreement between the parties.

“In this case, the absence of any written conformity of defendants-appellants to the pari passu agreement is not fatal to plaintiff-appellee’s case. The latter only needed to show by a preponderance of evidence that there was indeed an oral representation on the part of the former, which the bank did,” the CA ruled.

“Conspicuously, the evidence submitted by plaintiff-appellee weigh more than defendants-appellants’ bare denials. Other than denial, no other evidence was submitted by defendants-appellants to prove its defense. As aptly pronounced by the RTC, their plain denial that there was no pari passu representation deserves no weight and cannot overcome the straightforward, unequivocal and categorical declaration of plaintiff- appellee’s witnesses,” it added. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Motorcycle rider dies in Makati City road crash

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MANILA, Philippines — A motorcycle rider died after figuring in an accident in Makati City Tuesday morning.

 

Col. Rogelio Simon, Makati City police chief, said Jesse Andrew Obsina died at 6:02 p.m. after his motorcycle collided with a utility van of the Makati City Public Safety Development. driven by Ocampo Crisostomo Jr.

 

 

 

Simon said that Obsina was traveling along Malugay Street while the vehicle driven by Crisostomo was traversing Tordesillas Street when the incident happened at around 7:40a.m.

 

Obsina was rushed to Makati Medical Center where he eventually expired.

 

Simon said a case or reckless imprudence resu…

Keep on reading: Motorcycle rider dies in Makati City road crash

Another judge takes over Jee Ick Joo kidnap-slay case

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MANILA, Philippines – A new judge has been assigned to handle the case against police officers involved in the death of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo who was killed in 2016 inside the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 60 Judge Eda Dizon-Era took over after Angeles RTC Branch 56 Judge Irin Zenaida Buan recused herself from the case.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the court rescheduled the testimony of Choi Kyun Jin, wife of Jee pending the submission from the Korean Embassy of the official accreditation of a language translator. Hearing is set on Dec. 3.

Aside from Mrs. Choi, the prosecution has around…

Keep on reading: Another judge takes over Jee Ick Joo kidnap-slay case

DILG vows support for Leni’s efforts as ICAD co-chair

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Published November 19, 2019, 6:40 PM

By Chito Chavez

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) expressed its support for the proposal of Vice-President and Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) co-chairman Leni Robredo to create a Technical Working Group (TWG) that will study, review, and recommend bills or legislative measures to further strengthen the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign.

VPLR visited the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday to meet with officials about their efforts in the campaign against illegal drugs. She was briefed by the DILG and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on their respective anti-drug strategies. (Photo by Jay Ganzon / OVP / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a recent meeting, the DILG showed gratitude for the opportunity to interact with

Read More DILG vows support for Leni’s efforts as ICAD co-chair

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

Korea Town in Manila in the offing

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MANILA, Philippines—South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man on Tuesday bard plans for the development of a “Korea Town” in Malate, Manila.

Speaking at “The Virtual Presser” hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office Global Media Affairs, Han said they are now working on the planned establishment of the hub in coordination with the city government.

“In Manila, particularly in Malate area, there are many Korean restaurants and there are many Korean tourists visiting there so we are envisioning to make that area as ‘Korea Town’,” Han said.

While there’s no specific timeline for the project, Han said he has already met with the Korean Business Asso…

Keep on reading: Korea Town in Manila in the offing

Labor groups score Regent’s move

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Published November 19, 2019, 6:37 PM

By Leslie Ann Aquino

Labor groups on Tuesday scored Regent Food Corp.’s plan to move out of Pasig City.

Rene Magtubo, chairperson of the Partido Manggagawa, said the company’s plan to move out of Pasig showed their corporate values or lack of it when it comes to respecting workers’ rights as enshrined in the constitution and stipulated in the labor code.

“If only other local government officials emulate Mayor Vico’s (Sotto) view and stand against repression of workers’ rights, unscrupulous employers will not be given the privilege to do business and as a result of which, the country will soon have a sound and productive labor relations conducive to the sustainable development of the country’s economy,” he said in an interview.

Read More Labor groups score Regent’s move

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

PH, Korea to sign deals on education, social security, fisheries and tourism

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MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine and South Korean governments are set to sign memoranda of understanding (MOU) on education cooperation, social security, cooperation on fisheries, and tourism implementation, South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man said Tuesday.

Speaking at “The Virtual Presser” hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office Global Media Affairs, Han said the deals would be signed when President Rodrigo Duterte visits Busan to take part in the 2019 Asean-Korea Commemorative Summit later this month.

Han added that Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will also discuss other issues “affecting our bilateral relationships” includin…

Keep on reading: PH, Korea to sign deals on education, social security, fisheries and tourism

Jee Ick Joo wife's testimony reset to Dec. 3

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JEE ICK JOO SLAY CASE. The Angeles City Regional Trial Court says the testimony of the wife of slain South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019) was reset to December 3. Jee was kidnapped by two unidentified men from their residence in Friendship Plaza Subdivision, Angeles, Pampanga on Oct. 18, 2016 and was later killed. (File photo)

MANILA — The wife of murdered South Korean businessman, Jee Ick Joo, was not able to take the witness stand for the prosecution on Tuesday and will instead testify on Dec. 3.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera said Choi Kyung Jin’s testimony will be presented on the said date, as the delay arose from the absence of a certification of accreditation for the translator of the testimony.

A new judge, Judge Eda Dizon-Era of the Angeles City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 60, took over the case after RTC Branch 56 Judge Irin Zenaida Buan recused herself from ruling on the second motion filed by the Department of Justice prosecution panel for her to inhibit from the case.

Aside from the prosecution, accused Police Chief Master Sgt. Ricky Sta. Isabel and Jerry Omlang filed separate motions asking that she inhibit from the case.

Last May 23, the panel of prosecutors sought her inhibition but Buan denied the motion last July 31.

The team of prosecutors said Buan denied their motion almost two months after it was filed but they have yet to receive a copy of her order, thus, they opted to file a second motion.

The second motion was filed also upon orders of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.

In their first motion filed on August 7, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon asked Buan to voluntarily inhibit herself from the case.

The motion was also signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera, Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas, and Ethel Rea Suril.

The judge had granted the petition for bail of Police Supt. Rafael P. Dumlao III, despite the positive testimonies of discharged state witness Roy Villegas that he was part of the conspiracy in the kidnapping for ransom of Jee, being the alleged team leader, mastermind, and instigator of the crime.

Jee was kidnapped by two unidentified men from their residence in Friendship Plaza Subdivision, Angeles, Pampanga on Oct. 18, 2016.

After their arrest, the kidnappers — who turned out to be members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) — accused Jee of being involved in the illegal drug trade.

Choi made the statement that one of the kidnappers, Patrick Joseph Banez, demanded a ransom of PHP8 million, and she reportedly paid PH5 million on Oct. 30, 2016.

On Jan. 17, 2017, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) went to a funeral parlor in Bagbaguin, Caloocan where the body of Jee was believed to have been brought and cremated and his ashes flushed down the toilet.

The panel said Buan’s subsequent actions and later orders indicate clear badges of partiality in favor of Dumlao and the other accused in the case, such as when she persisted to set periods to file pleadings from both parties despite the opposition of the prosecution who contend that the proceedings be deferred pending the issuance of the order on the motion for inhibition.

The prosecution said Buan granted Dumlao’s petition for bail despite the fact that Villegas told the court that he harassed and even threatened him not to implicate him and not to identify him as one of the perpetrators.

Aside from Dumlao, Sta. Isabel and Omlang, the DOJ also charged Gerardo “Ding” Santiago, the owner of the Gream Funeral Services in Caloocan City where the body of the victim was brought, and Villegas for kidnapping for ransom with homicide.

Villegas was later discharged as state witness while Santiago’s case was downgraded to being that of an accessory. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Gov't, industry players join hands to solve low sugarcane yield

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PNA file photo

MANILA — The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and stakeholders have collaborated to address low yields in sugarcane farming.

Emilio Bernardino Yulo, SRA Board Planters Representative, in a chance interview over the weekend, said they are looking to map out a consolidated plan on how to increase sugarcane production to meet the local demand and compete with Asean neighbors.

“We hope to come up with a consolidated plan, we will take a look at productivity (and) efficiency. We want short term, medium term and long-term solutions with the end in view of at least being in parity with our Asean neighbors because that’s always the benchmark used against Philippine sugar,” he said.

Yulo said they are scouting at some new areas for sugarcane plantation, and hopefully come up with a roadmap as stakeholders and government hold a sugar summit in February 2020.

“This is not just a roadmap for the industry made up by the industry. We will have government with us, the Senate will be there (summit),” he said.

Sugar stakeholders met last week and agreed to collaborate on the following projects:

* Regional benchmarking of best practices in sugarcane farming — the best practices and modern technologies at the various sugarcane regions will be surveyed and packaged as training material in sugarcane farming.

The output of the benchmarking project will be used in roadshows or incorporated in the training modules of the Outreach Program of the Sugarcane Industry (OPSI) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-accredited training centers.

* Capacity building — SIMAG Foundation and Planters Associations with TESDA-accredited training centers will handle the training incorporating the best practices in sugarcane farming and SRA will provide the funds, including the acquisition of necessary farm machinery and equipment that can be used in their sugarcane farming training modules.

* Upgrading of PhilSuRin (Philippine Sugar Research Institute) Research Laboratory — SRA will fund the acquisition of various laboratory equipment of the PhilSuRin for its breeding projects and extension services to the farmers in proximate sugarcane mill districts.

The SRA and the industry players have the resources and expertise which can be bundled into one to make the industry competitive next year and beyond.

Low farm productivity can be addressed through the joint efforts of industry players and sugar end-users, specifically the beverage manufacturers which are large consumers of sugar.

At present, Yulo said the country’s domestic consumption is about 2.4 million metric tons (MMT) to 2.6 MMT.

“We’re producing roughly 2 MMT so the shortage is about 400,000 MT to 600,000 MT. If we improve 10 percent, that would be 200,000 MT every two years. So, for after six years, we will have sufficiency in sugar,” he noted.

Yulo said if sugar production reaches 2.5 MMT to 2.6 MMT “we don’t have to talk about importation, we just have to talk about pricing,” he said. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

Why appoint me as drug czar if they don’t trust me? – Robredo

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MANILA, Philippines — If they don’t trust me, then why did they appoint me?

 

Such was the question raised by Vice President Leni Robredo after presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte has “reservations” about her getting classified information regarding the administration’s war on drugs.

 

“Sa akin, kung wala silang tiwala, bakit nila ako dinesignate? Kasi dinesignate nila ako as co-chair ng ICAD [at] isa sa mga kailangan kong gawin [ay] masigurado na ‘yung nasa listahan na mga high-value targets [ay] mahuli,” Robredo told reporters on Tueday.

 

(For me, if they do not trust me, then why did they designate me? Be…

Keep on reading: Why appoint me as drug czar if they don’t trust me? – Robredo

Davao Occidental gov offers Reds cash to surrender: P2M per ranking NPA leader

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DIGOS CITY—The provincial government of Davao Occidental is offering as much as P2 million each to lure ranking leaders of New People’s Army (NPA) to surrender.

 

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Gov. Claude Bautista.

 

Bautista said the sooner guerrillas yield, the better. He did not explain where the money would come from.

 

Aside from the cash offer, house and lots and scholarships await families of rebel leaders if they gave up, said the governor.

 

Ranking rebel leaders could get P2 million each while those with lower ranks could get P1 million each, he said.

 

He said the cash offer doesn’t run into conflict w…

Keep on reading: Davao Occidental gov offers Reds cash to surrender: P2M per ranking NPA leader

Duterte, Moon Jae-in to sign several agreements in Busan meeting

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Published November 19, 2019, 6:26 PM

By Genalyn Kabiling

The Philippines and South Korea are expected to forge cooperative agreements on education, fisheries, social security and tourism next week, according to South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man.

The agreements seeking to enhance bilateral relations will be sealed following the meeting between President Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of a regional summit, the ambassador said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, left, speaks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in  (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon. Pool / MB FILE PHOTO)

President Duterte is expected to visit Busan, South Korea to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Korea commemorative summit from November 25 to 26.

“This is the second meeting between President Moon Jae-in and President Duterte

Read More Duterte, Moon Jae-in to sign several agreements in Busan meeting

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

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