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philippines

Road fissure caused by volcanic tremors destroys homes in a town near Taal Volcano

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Road fissure caused by volcanic tremors destroys homes in a town near Taal Volcano
A family in a van crosses a damaged road in Lemery town in Batangas province Tuesday. Photo: EPA-EFE

The frequent tremors caused by the Taal Volcano activity have caused a 3-kilometer fissure on a road in the nearby town of Lemery, Batangas, destroying around 20 houses and triggering fears among residents that it could be an active fault line.

Teresa Atienza, village leader of Barangay Sinisian, said the crack originated from the Taal Lake and had since branched into several small fissures since it was first noticed in the morning of January 13, or just hours after Taal Volcano erupted on Sunday (January 12).

“Ako po ay natatakot na baka isa itong fault line…ako po ay humihingi ng tulong sa mga expert para malaman kung ano talaga ang dahlian ng pagbitak na ito,” Atienza said in an interview over radio station DZMM.

Lemery is only about 12 kilometers away from Taal. 

Atienza said residents of the damaged houses have been relocated. They were advised not to return to their homes as the structures are no longer safe due to the continuous quakes in the area.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said around 200 tremors of below Intensity 5 have been recorded since Taal Volcano heightened its activity.

Taal Volcano’s condition remains on Alert Level 4, which means a destructive eruption can happen within hours.

Atienza said the fissure, reminiscent of scenes in the 2009 movie “2012” when cracks started to appear on Los Angeles roads before it was totally obliterated from the map, could reach as far as the city of Muntinlupa in Metro Manila, where there is an existing fault line.

The whole province of Batangas is now under a state of calamity, with more than 16,000 people already evacuated from areas within the danger zone as of the afternoon of January 14.

EDITORIAL: Does US Senate Resolution 142 carry weight?

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Does US Senate Resolution 142 carry weight?
Image Credit: Tabloid PH

Does Resolution 142 passed by the US Senate (or S.Res. 142) carry weight? In Washington, maybe; but in Manila, especially under a maverick Chief Executive like Rodrigo R. Duterte, nada.

The world knows that the Philippines gained its complete independence from America in 1946 through the “Tydings–McDuffie Act”, or the Philippine Independence Act, signed by President Harry S. Truman.

This means that for the Philippines, S.R. 142 should be nothing but an expression of the sense of the US Senate regarding the detention of Senator Leila de Lima, the oft-criticized bloody war against illegal drugs launched by the Duterte administration, and the perceived muzzling of critical press and political opposition in the country.

S.R 142, titled “Condemning the Government of the Philippines for its continued detention of Senator Leila De Lima, calling for her immediate release, and for other purposes”, calls on the Philippine government to immediately release de Lima, “drop all charges against her, remove restrictions on her personal and work conditions, and allow her to fully discharge her legislative mandate, especially as Chair of the Committee on Social Justice.”

It also urges the government of the Philippines to “guarantee the right to the freedom of the press, and to drop all the charges against Maria Ressa and Rappler.” The resolution also calls on the President of the United States to impose sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (subtitle F of title XII of Public Law 114–32822 U.S.C. 2656 note) with respect to—

(A) members of the security forces and officials of the Government of the Philippines responsible for extrajudicial killings; and

(B) officials of the Government of the Philippines responsible for orchestrating the arrest and prolonged detention of Senator De Lima.

There is no way Malacanang would heed these calls of the US Senate. President Duterte had declared too many times that he wouldn’t mind losing the support of Washington and would prefer to be an ally of Beijing.

Not only that, Malacanang had repeatedly said also that the case of de Lima is now in the hands of the Judiciary. Any intervention on the case of de Lima from the Executive Branch, as what S.R. 142 is demanding, would prove the claims that— as mentioned in the resolution— “indeed, she has been the target of partisan persecution”.

President Duterte’s spokesman and chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, in response to S. R. 142, said de Lima and Ressa “have been criminally charged in accordance with the law. They have availed – and are still availing – of legal remedies for their defense.”

So let the wheels of justice grind. If the prosecution couldn’t prove the guilt of both de Lima and Ressa, they would be freed in due time—with or without S.R. 142. The Philippines is an independent country with an independent judicial system. S.R. 142 should not carry any weight in their cases. Otherwise, the resolution would just be contradicting itself.

As 30th SEA Games nears, let us put aside politics and ‘We Win As One’

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As 30th SEA Games nears, let us put aside politics and ‘We Win As One’
Image Credit: Tabloid PH

The Philippines, it seems, has already lost in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) even before Filipino athletes could compete.

With politics again rearing its ugly head just days before the opening ceremonies on November 30, the Philippines already earned a “zero” scorecard as far as the 2019 SEAG theme is concerned—We Win As One!

Clearly, even an important event that we are hosting couldn’t zip the mouths of our politicians. Every “wise” word they say only further divides the nation, which should not be the case now. 

Can there be a political ceasefire for at least a few weeks?

In support of the Filipino athletes and in the spirit of the Game’s theme, local politicians should have opted to keep their mouths shut first and refrain from grandstanding until after the conclusion of the 30th edition of the biennial meet. That is only until December 11. But no, they just can’t.

Just because of a cauldron—be it overpriced, extravagant or a worthy work or art—focus was shifted to political bickering instead of boosting the morale of the athletes.

We commend Senator Sonny Angara for urging politicians to suspend the debates over the SEAG-related expenses, especially the P50-million cauldron. We also agree with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano that this matter should be better looked into right after the SEAG.

However, the damage has been done, obviously. The time spent debating over a cauldron should have been devoted by the opposition and administration in working together to address the needs of Filipino athletes. The issue obviously just distracted the athletes and the Filipino people. It was just another issue that divided the nation ahead of the SEA Games.

Seeing the political leaders working as one would have also united Filipinos so we could cheer as one for our athletes. It would have also united Filipinos in ensuring quality hosting by the Philippines. 

With just a few days before the opening of the games, we hope our politicians will listen to sound advice. Instead of debating, let’s us rally Filipinos to supporting our athletes in each game they will be competing in. Let us urge Filipinos to be good hosts to our neighbors, and let them experience the kind of hospitality that we are known for all over the world.

Putting politics aside, let’s cheer as one, and hopefully, we will also win one as one, at least in the 30th SEA Games.

Robredo to reveal all she discovered about Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs

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Robredo to reveal all she discovered about Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs
Image Credit: bise_leni / IG

If the Duterte administration believes that it has seen the last of Vice President Leni Robredo in the campaign against illegal drugs, it is mistaken.

Robredo, just a day removed from her former post as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), said on Monday (November 25) that she will reveal everything that she knew about Duterte’s flagship program in her brief stint at the agency. 

“Kung sa tingin nila, matatapos ito dito, hindi nila ako kilala. Nagsisimula pa lang ako,” Robredo said, as she threatened to expose all the things she discovered in the coming days.

She also vowed to continue her crusade to bring to justice all those who abused their authority in the administration’s bloody war against narcotics.”Kahit tinanggalan ako ng posisyon, hinding-hindi nila kayang tanggalin ang aking determinasyon — determinasyong itigil ang patayan, determinasyong panagutin ang kailangan managot at ipanalo ang kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga.”

Robredo earned the ire of President Duterte over reports that she was conferring with and inviting foreign governments and organizations to help in the war against illegal drugs. These include the United Nations, whose Human Rights Council wants to try Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity.

Robredo denied doing this, saying the President should not believe in “fake news”. Still Duterte decided to remove her from ICAD after just 18 days of leading the agency.

Duterte’s spokesman and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Robredo was just using ICAD for grandstanding.

Robredo said when she accepted the post, she already asked what the Duterte administration does not want the public to know about the anti-drug war.

“Noong tinanggap ko ang trabahong ito, ang una kong tinanong sa kanila ay, handa na ba kayo sa akin. Ngayon, ang tanong ko, ano bang kinatatakutan n’yo?” she asked.”Ano bang kinatatakutan n’yo na malaman ko? Ano bang kinatatakutan n’yo na malaman ng taumbayan?”

Aside from revealing what she discovered, Robredo said she will also report to the public her recommendations to reform the anti-narcotics campaign.

DOH, FDA raring to implement Duterte’s policy pronouncement on vaping ban

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DOH, FDA raring to implement Duterte’s policy pronouncement on vaping ban
Image via e-cigarette Reviewed

The Department of Health (DOH) welcomed the policy pronouncement of President Duterte banning vaping in public places.

Health Undersecretary Dr. Rolando Enrique Domingo said they will now wait for the executive order (EO) to be issued by the Office of the President to determine how it would be properly implemented.

“Very clear yung words ng Presidente, kung saan bawal magsigarilyo, bawal din mag-vape,” Domingo said.

For the enforcement side, Domingo said the DOH will coordinate with the police and the local government units.

As for the ban, the DOH will be working with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Domingo is also the officer in charge of the FDA.

Domingo said the DOH already released last August an administrative order (AO) tasking the FDA to regulate the sale of vapes. However, sellers managed to secure temporary restraining orders from two regional trial courts against the AO. 

“Because of the TRO, we had to put the regulation on hold; but we are fighting for it. So now they can continue selling vapes unregulated. But when we see the actual EO of the President, we will work on that immediately,” Domingo said.

He stressed that they would not just accept the argument that vaping is less harmful than cigarette smoking. “Even if you say it is less harmful, still it is harmful, and we need further studies on that.”

He recalled that some 40 years ago, regulators were saying that “cigarette smoking may be harmful to your health.” Now, it has confirmed that smoking really kills. “So we should not wait for another 40 years to say that vaping can really kill people,” he said.

EDITORIAL: Socioeconomic cost more compelling reason to raise liquor taxes than revenue generation

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Socioeconomic cost more compelling reason to raise liquor taxes than revenue generation
Image Credit: Tabloid PH

When you buy beer, gin, whiskey or wine in the coming months and find them more expensive, it’s because you’re probably a wife-beater when you are drunk, you drink and drive, you turn violent after a drinking bout, or you have diseases caused by alcoholic drinks like liver cirrhosis that burden public health care.

These are referred to as the socioeconomic costs of drinking alcoholic beverages and the main arguments of the proponents of bills seeking to increase the so-called “sin taxes” anew.

Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the upper chamber’s ways and means committee, is certainly aware that using revenue generation as a reason for another round of tax hikes on alcoholic drinks will not be enough to muster support both from her fellow lawmakers and the public for her proposed measure.

Higher tax rates

Senate Bill (SB) No. 1074, introduced in the Senate plenary by Cayetano, is estimated to generate P45.7 billion in additional tax revenues on Year 1 of implementation alone. This is by imposing on distilled spirits an ad valorem tax of 20 percent on the net retail price per proof and a specific tax of P90 per proof liter on the first year of its implementation, which will be increased by P10 every year until the fourth year. The specific tax rate will increase by 10 percent every year thereafter.

For fermented liquor (beer) and alcopops, SB 1074 seeks a specific tax rate of P45 per liter on Year 1, increasing by P10 every year until Year 4. The specific tax rate will increase by 10 percent every year thereafter. Wine products will be slapped with a specific tax of P600 per liter for sparkling wines and P43 per liter for still and carbonated wines. These rates will increase by 10 percent every year thereafter.

Revenue-leakage argument

Why revenue generation would never fly, even if it’s to the tune of P45.7 billion that will be funneled to the Universal Health Care (UHC) budget? It’s because lobbyists for the makers and distributors of alcoholic drinks will only throw back the issue of revenue leakage to the government.

The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), for instance, is saying that revenue losses caused by unabated smuggling alone are estimated at P250 billion annually. This is already more than five times the estimated revenues to be generated by the proposed higher taxes on alcoholic beverages. So why raise taxes that would surely hurt the industry and its workers when all the government needs is a better scheme to stop smuggling? 

That’s a tough argument to beat, right? Yes, and Cayetano, the Department of Finance (DOF) and supporters of SB 1074 are aware of that.

This is why they are now putting more emphasis on the socioeconomic costs of drinking alcoholic beverages. The equation is simple: higher taxes would lead to more expensive alcoholic drinks, resulting in less consumption and subsequently less socioeconomic costs.

The ‘moral issue’

As pointed out by Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua of the Strategy, Economics, and Results Group: “We are one with Senator Cayetano in her push for significantly higher rates in alcohol excise taxes. Her analysis is correct that beyond the personal health costs, the socioeconomic costs of alcohol need to be mitigated. The massive economic costs of alcohol abuse justify significantly higher rates. For behavior to change meaningfully, the tax rates have to be high enough.” 

In her sponsorship speech for SB 1074, Cayetano said: “The moral sense of any proposed ‘sin’ tax rate is that it should serve as a deterrent to drinking. It should not be so cheap as to allow minors to afford and have access to these drinks. It should not be so cheap to make it easier for drunk fathers to be wife-beaters, and for traumatized children to lead miserable lives.”

SB 1074 represents Package 2 Plus of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP). The House of Representatives has approved its counterpart version of this bill last Aug. 20, with an overwhelming 184 votes in favor.

The socioeconomic costs

Cayetano noted that Filipinos are now the top consumers of distilled spirits globally at 11 liters per capita, higher than the global and ASEAN averages of below 10 liters.

Dr. Orlando Ocampo of the Trauma Division of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) said 55 percent of the injured patients” treated in the PGH emergency room “have alcohol on their breath. 25 percent of these injured patients are blood alcohol content positive”.

The Department of Health (DOH) estimates that there has been a total of 10,372 road crashes resulting from alcohol consumption.

Cayetano said alcoholism is associated with at least 39 main diseases, including liver cirrhosis, cancer, pancreatic disease, hypertensive disease, tuberculosis, diabetes, and even behavioral and psychotic disorders.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) also showed that in 2016; 4,431 per 100,000 population of Filipinos died from liver cirrhosis; 16,418 from hypertensive diseases; and 8,526 from tuberculosis–all of which were due to excessive use of alcohol, Cayetano said.

Also, Cayetano stressed that “when heavy drinking is involved, severe physical violence is more likely to take place. Studies found alcohol misuse to be a significant contributor to family violence.”

Preliminary estimates from the DOF indicate that alcohol may have an economic cost of as much as 1.7 percent of gross domestic product (estimated at $331 billion in 2018), equivalent to about a third of the country’s annual health expenditure. That 1.7 percent of GDP is around P281 billion, quite a public burden indeed.

Surely, raising the taxes on alcoholic drinks will hurt the local producers and distributors, and subsequently their employees if lower consumption would lead to retrenchment. But as what President Duterte has pointed out numerous times, we should be looking at the greater good, the benefits to the economy and public as a whole, and not just of a few groups.

When Congress resumes sessions on November 4, we push for the passage of SB 1074.

Philippines now sourcing illegal drugs mostly from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, not China

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Philippines now sourcing illegal drugs mostly from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, not China

Filipino drug traffickers are now getting their supply mostly from Southeast Asian countries Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

This was disclosed by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Director General Aaron Aquino, who is also the co-chair of President Duterte’s Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“In the past mostly are coming from China but not now. Most are coming from the Golden Triangle region which borders Laos, Thailand and Myanmar,” Aquino said in an interview with GMA News on Friday (November 15).

This contradicts the statement of Vice President Leni Robredo, Aquino’s co-chair at ICAD.

Robredo earlier said that traffickers of illegal drugs are buying mostly from China. “Gusto kong kumalap ng mas maraming datos, pero iyong pinaka-report sa atin ngayon, karamihan ng mga pumapasok na supply ng [iligal na droga] rito, galing China. ‘Yung mga nahuhuling nago-operate, napakarami ring Chinese nationals or Filipino Chinese,” Robredo, who was appointed by Duterte as the country’s new anti-drug czar said.

But Aquino clarified that this was an old news, and that this information did not come from ICAD. “Maybe may iba siyang (Robredo) source na nagsabi drugs are mostly coming from China. That information did not come from ICAD.”

Based on latest ICAD information, Aquino disclosed that the main source of cocaine is South America, particularly Colombia and Peru.

Ecstasy, on the other hand, is mostly coming from Netherlands.

Robredo just met with ICAD members, including representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police, where she reiterated the need to revise the government’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs. “I reiterated my suggestion for them to rethink the campaign, especially Tokhang. They agreed and they promised to assess and come up… with an improved version of what we already have.”

She added: “In fact, it is now used as a verb. When you say na-tokhang, it does not have a good connotation.”

PH economy expands 6.2 percent in Q3 to outpace growth of China, other neighbors

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PH economy expands 6.2 percent in Q3 to outpace growth of China, other neighbors

The Philippine economy grew 6.2 percent in the July-to-September period, lifting the year-to-date growth to 5.8 percent, or just a little slower than the government’s full-year target of 6 percent to 7 percent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Philippines performed better in the third quarter of the year compared to other Asian countries.

“The Philippines likely ranked second behind Vietnam’s 7.3 percent but higher than China’s 6.0 percent, India’s expected Q3 growth of below 6.0 percent, and Indonesia’s 5.0 percent for the period,” Pernia said.

The economy now needs to expand by at least 6.7 percent in the final quarter of 2019 to reach the lower end of the government’s full-year growth target.

This, according to Pernia, is still doable, with the expected surge in private consumption for the holiday season, as well as the higher spending from the government and more investments from private firms.

“Yesterday, the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet level and the Committee on Infrastructure approved the updated list of infrastructure flagship projects of the Duterte administration, subject to further refinements. We deem that these projects are more feasible, responsive to medium and long-term demands and challenges towards uplifting the quality of life of the Filipino people, especially those being left behind. Thus, we call on our colleagues in the government, the private sector, partner international organizations, and the citizenry at large to work together to overcome hurdles and ensure that these projects get completed on time, or at least started substantially,” Pernia added.

He added: “For the remaining months of the year, the benign inflation outlook, and more upbeat consumer confidence, are expected to stimulate private consumption, especially with the nearing holiday season that has begun.”

“Meanwhile, the expansionary monetary policy stance of the government is expected to encourage private investments. The Central Bank has already cut its key policy rates by a cumulative 75 basis points this year. It has also lowered banks’ reserve requirement by a total of 400 bps – including the recent 100bps reduction for thrift banks effective December 2019.” 

The agriculture sector is also expected to boost growth in the last quarter of the year, especially with the relatively favorable weather conditions providing the opportune time to ramp up agricultural production, particularly of high-value crops. 

“We note that the upbeat performance of the agriculture sector, growing by 3.1 percent in the Q3 from 0.8 percent earlier this year, was driven by increased production of corn, coconut and pineapple.  We urge the Department of Agriculture and other concerned agencies to swiftly implement the programs and projects under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.  Perhaps, among the priority projects should be the provision of mechanical dryers, particularly in areas where we lack “solar drying” facilities. As the harvest season is ongoing, the government should continue to directly buy palay from local producers affected by the unprecedented decline in farm gate prices to help curb their losses,” Pernia said.

To counter the risk of the spread of African Swine Fever, the government must continue to enforce its biosecurity measures. More stringent quarantine checkpoints, provision of disinfection facilities, and intensified anti-smuggling and meat inspection efforts are also needed, he added.

“As we can see, the Philippine economy has been steadily growing for the past three years. We expect to sustain this momentum in the following years and cement the Philippines’ standing as one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia,” Pernia said.

Philippines eyes safeguard measure in curbing influx of imported rice

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Philippines eyes safeguard measure in curbing influx of imported rice
Image Credit: National Food Authority

The Philippines is now looking at the possibility of using a trade remedy available to World Trade Organization (WTO) members in stopping the downtrend in rice prices that has been hurting Filipino farmers since the Rice Tariffication Law was implemented. 

In an advisory of the WTO, the multilateral trading body said the Philippines has initiated last September 11 a preliminary safeguard investigation on rice.

Manila notified the WTO Committee on Safeguard of its action last September 13.

“[I]interested parties are requested to submit their comments and position on this matter thru the Policy Research Service (PRS), 3rd Floor, Department of Agriculture, Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City, 1100, within five (5) days from the date of publication of this notice. For inquiries and other details, please contact the PRS at tel. nos. (02) 926-7439, 920-4084 or at fax no. 928-9590 an email address: [email protected],” the WTO said in its advisory.

A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or is threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry. During a safeguard investigation, importers, exporters and other interested parties may present evidence and views and respond to the presentations of other parties.

A WTO member may take a safeguard action (i.e. restrict imports of a product temporarily) only if the increased imports of the product are found to be causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury.

The latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed said rice prices in the country have dropped by an average of 5.2 percent in August 2019 compared to the same month last year. This was the fourth consecutive month of deflation for rice.

The record-low inflation rate was largely due to the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law, or Republic Act (RA) 11203. The new policy replaced the quantitative restriction scheme in the importation of rice.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, the former chief of the DA,  said the massive inflow of imported rice “has boxed out local farmers producing ordinary rice from the market resulting in very low farm gate prices, to as low as P10 to P12 in many parts in Mindanao.”

Duterte to cops: Accept gifts from grateful people

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President Duterte is allowing policemen to accept gifts—be they in cash or in kind—from people recognizing their efforts without fear of being charged with graft.

“Especially if you’re a policeman, if you’re able to solve a crime, and the family would like to be generous to you, or would nurture a feeling of gratitude for what you accomplished, then by all means, accept it,” Duterte said in his address at the 118th Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Service Anniversary on Friday (August 9).

Duterte stressed that he does not see the logic in the provisions of the anti-graft law barring policemen from accepting gifts given out of generosity or gratitude.

What he does not allow, the Chief Executive stressed, is for uniformed men to become greedy and engage in corruption by demanding more than what was given to them. 

“If you are just content of, maybe you want ₱50,000 and you’re able to get something like ₱25,000 or ₱20,000, be content. Do not allow your greed to run away with all the alam mo na, kalokohan.”

This is still consistent with his pronouncement in his last State of the Nation Address, where he encouraged the public to create a scene when a government employee would demand bribes from them.

Duterte is known for thinking—and acting—outside the box, and is brazen enough to challenge conventional governance to accomplish his goals through his political will.

He assured the policemen that he will not sanction those that will accept gifts from generous people recognizing their efforts because it is not bribery. 

“It cannot be bribery because it is allowed by law,” said Duterte, who previously worked as a prosecutor.

‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ airs 1,000th episode

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Ang probinsyano
image credit: ABS-CBN

The Philippines’s top primetime TV series “FPJ’s Ang Pobinsyano” starring Coco Martin just aired its 1,000th episode on Thursday night (August 8).

The series, based on the hit movie of the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) in 1997, has been the top draw of ABS-CBN Channel 2 since its first episode aired on September 28, 2015.

The lead character, Ricardo Dalisay (played by Coco Martin), a provincial cop who transferred to the metropolis, has faced many villains in the series, from syndicates to rebels, terrorists and corrupt politicians.

It has featured budding and veteran artists, including action star-turned-politician Lito Lapid, who managed to win another senatorial seat in the May 2019 midterm elections.

Coco Martin, prior to the showing of the 1,000th episode of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano”, thanked the fans and all those responsible for the success of the series in a video posted on the ABS-CBN website. 

He said: ”Sa lahat po ng hanggang ngayon ay sumusubaybay at nanonood po ng ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ kami po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa inyo. Sa lahat po ng staff, crew at sa lahat po ng artista, sa lahat po ng bumubuo ng ‘Ang Probinsyano’, maraming, maraming salamat po sa walang sawang pagmamahal at suportang ibinibigay niyo sa amin gabi-gabi. Kaya pilit po naming pinagbubuti at pinapaganda ang bawat episode para matumbasan po namin ang pagmamahal na ibinibigay niyo. Maraming, maraming salamat po.” 

Veteran actress Susan Roces, widow of FPJ and grandmother of Ricardo Dalisay in the TV series, also thanked the fans for their continuing support: “Mga ka-Probinsyano, kayo ang nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa aming mga ginagawa dito. Kahit anong pagod namin sulit na sulit. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.”

Rumored Bea-Gerald-Julia love triangle now a ‘national issue

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Bea-Gerald-Julia love triangle

Even a justice of the Supreme Court (SC) and a lawmaker couldn’t resist the itch of sharing their thoughts on the Bea Alonzo-Julia Barreto rift via the social media on Wednesday morning.

image credit: Supreme court of the Philippines

SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s tweet on Wednesday morning directed a question on the two actresses: “Dear Bea and Julia, is he really worth it? #JustAsking”.

Justice Leonen, of course, was referring to Gerald Anderson, who was accused by Bea—not yet directly though—in her social media posts of having an affair with Julia that led to their breakup.

Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon then re-tweeted Leonen’s “query” and commented: “You know it has become a national issue when a justice of the SC asks a clarificatory question. Now I’m contemplating to file an inquiry in aid of legislation.”

Gerald already denied in an interview with ABS-CBN last Monday the innuendos of a third party—particularly Julia—causing his split-up with Bea.

But as a retort, Bea “liked” an instagram post of actor John Lloyd Cruz that says: “Kung magsisinungaling ka galing galingan mo!!” Apparently, Bea was sending the message that Gerald was lying.

Julia also went to Instagram to deny involvement with Gerald and also to tell Bea that she became a subject of social media attacks because of hints that she was the third party in the love triangle.

She said: “I would like to disassociate myself from the breakup of Bea and Gerald. Their issues are entirely their own…Bea, you kept your hands clean by not mentioning me in your controversial post, but with a click of your finger, in your sly way, you have charged everybody to destroy me FOR YOU. You have encouraged a culture of hate by purposely liking harmless photos, putting malice into the minds of many, which resulted in the outrage of insults against me. You are a woman of great influence and following. You could have used that power to promote strength and grace in women, but instead, you’ve used that to promote social media irresponsibility. That is downright bullying. You can play victim all you want. But I refuse to be your victim…This is me setting myself free and getting my soul back.”

Their showbiz friends and family were also dragged into the social media rampage, with Bela Padilla getting “super hateful” comments after a picture of her having dinner with Bea came out.

The root of the feud was a video that circulated wherein Julia and Gerald were seen together.

Now, the names Julia, Bea Alonzo and Gerald are trending topics on Twitter worldwide. And with top government officials now also saying their piece on the matter, it has indeed become a national issue.

86% of Pinoys say sweep of admin bets in 2019 senatorial polls ‘believable’

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The 12-0 sweep of senatorial candidates allied to President Duterte in the May 2019 polls has been accepted by nearly nine out of 10 Filipinos to be “believable”, according to the post-election survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS).

The survey, conducted from June 22 to 26 with 1,200 respondents nationwide, revealed that 86 percent of Filipinos do not doubt the resounding victory of the administration-endorsed bets in the midterm polls, which analysts say reflects the continuing strong support being enjoyed by Duterte from his countrymen.

Cynthia Villar topped the senatorial race with 25,273,727 votes, followed by Grace Poe, 22,029,788; Christopher “Bong” Go, 20,657,702; Pia Cayetano, 19,789,019; Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, 19,004,225; Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, 18,161,862; Lito Lapid, 16,965,464; Imee Marcos, 15,882,628; Francis Tolentino, 15,510,026; Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, 14,668,665; Ramon “Bong” Revilla, 14,624,445, and Nancy Binay, 14,504,936.

The SWS survey also showed the 88 percent of Filipinos accept the election results for the House of Representatives, 84 percent for governors and 89 for mayors.

Overall, 80 percent were satisfied with the conduct of the May 2019 elections, with only 12 percent dissatisfied and 7 percent undecided.

The SWS classified the +68 net satisfaction score as “very good”, although it was 5 percentage points lower than the net satisfaction score recorded in the post-election survey for the May 2016 national polls, where Duterte emerged as the landslide winner in the presidential race. 

Even the Commission on Elections (Comelec) received a good review in the survey, with 79 percent of the respondents saying the polling body “performed independently without favoring any candidate or group.” Only 10 percent disagreed that Comelec conducted the May 2019 elections independently.

Reports confirm John Lloyd Cruz – Ellen Adarna split-up

in Entertainment/Tabloid PH Showbiz
ellen john llyod bea

Showbiz reports are abuzz with the breakup of John Lloyd Cruz and Ellen Adarna. The two have a one-year-old son who is now with Ellen.

It was Ellen who told John Lloyd that she is no longer in love with him, and reports said the actor is now barred from meeting the former sexy actress, who belongs to a wealthy family in Cebu.

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Motherhood looks good on you 😍 @emg.a

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John Lloyd is now reportedly in Vietnam, while Ellen is in Thailand.

Two days ago, the news on their breakup was only in the form of blind items. Now, showbiz writers are openly writing about it, and even confirming that it was Ellen who called it quits.

Ellen reportedly revealed her feelings to her friends first, and then people started hearing about it through the grapevine.

It was a pity for John Lloyd, who opted to stay away from showbiz to focus on his relationship with Ellen and their son. But being together a lot—because both of them don’t work—was also cited as one of the reasons for their split-up. Ellen probably grew tired of it, or was just too bored already to keep the relationship.

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❤️❤️❤️

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Will John Lloyd make an immediate comeback to the film industry? This could be a good timing because his love interest in past movies, Bea Alonzo, also just parted ways with Gerald Anderson. 

The Bea-Gerald breakup was actually the talk of the town in the previous days — the reason being their frequent fights. 

Seems like a good plot already for a John Lloyd-Bea movie.

Declaration of ‘national dengue epidemic’ likely

in News/Tabloid PH News
Declaration of ‘national dengue epidemic’ likely
Image Credit: Gov.PH

The Department of Health (DOH) has set a meeting today to validate figures that will be used as basis in upgrading the current “national dengue alert” to a “national dengue epidemic” to enable the government to better mobilize resources in preventing the further spread of the deadly disease.

Interviewed at the ABS-CBN News Channel, DOH Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said they are now getting all the data from the previous weeks. They have found out that in just a span of one week—or in the third week of July—there were 10,000 cases of dengue reported.

Current estimated cases of dengue nationwide have reached 146,000 already.

Last July 15, Health Secretary Francisco Duque declared a national dengue alert. Data reaching Duque that time showed the dengue cases had risen to 106,630 from January 1 to June 29, 2019, from only 57,564 cases in the same period last year. Regions Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao had exceeded the epidemic threshold. Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera Administrative Region, on the other hand, exceeded the alert threshold.

Today, Domingo said more regions exceeded the epidemic threshold, including Calabrazon, Bicol and Eastern Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula. Bordering between alert and epidemic levels are Ilocos region, Central Visayas and BARMM.

A national epidemic can be declared if at least half of the country’s regions have reached the epidemic level.

“We are going to consolidate all the data today and have a meeting at the department for that,” Domingo said. “Once we get all the information in, yes, it is very likely (that we will declare a national dengue epidemic).”

He noted that by declaring a national epidemic, government resources and instrumentalities will be mobilized further.

“We get to work with other govt agencies, the DILG, PNP, Department of Education, and tighten up our activities a little more and raise up the bar, because when we have these cases going on. we really have to do everything to make sure they don’t increase,” he added. “You can activate the NDRRMC and (have) all the government (agencies) working together for one particular activity, in this case, prevention of dengue.”

The problem, he said, will likely persist up to September due to the rainy season, noting that water that remained stagnant for three days is enough to breed mosquitoes. 

The best thing to do on the part of the public for now, Domingo added, is to ensure they maintain cleanliness in their surroundings, remove all stagnant water and have proper attire for kids. 

The hospitals are ready to treat patients suspected with dengue, especially those with continuous fever for three days.

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