AQUINO'S STAND STILL THE SAME: NO HERO'S BURIAL FOR MARCOS 

SEPT 22  ---PHOTO: Former Philippine first lady and now congresswoman, Imelda Marcos, kisses the glass case
of
her late husband president Ferdinand Marcos during a visit to the mausoleum on her 85th
birthday in Batac town, Ilocos norte, north of Manila on July 2, 2014. President Aquino has not changed his mind about disallowing the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos among heroes at Libingan ng mga Bayani, Malacañang said on Sunday, the 42nd anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of martial law. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE.

Editor’s Note: Starting Sept. 21, the 42nd anniversary of the proclamation of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos, we have been running a series of articles to remember one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history. The articles are necessarily commemorations and more so a celebration of and a thanksgiving for the courage of the men and women who endured unspeakable pain and loss to overcome the Marcos dictatorship and regain our freedoms. These are some of their stories. Click here Freedom.

MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino has not changed his mind about disallowing the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos among heroes at Libingan ng mga Bayani, Malacañang said on Sunday, the 42nd anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of martial law. “The position of the President remains the same,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters in Malacañang. Lacierda said Aquino or any of his officials had never discussed the question of Marcos’ burial at Libingan and this meant that the President’s position had not changed. While campaigning for Malacañang in 2010, Aquino promised never to allow Marcos to be buried at the heroes’ cemetery in Taguig City, Metro Manila. Ninoy’s jailer ---Aquino’s father, Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was the leader of the opposition to Marcos. The dictator ordered him arrested and jailed him for nearly eight years before allowing him to go to the United States for a heart operation.

Senator Aquino returned to the Philippines on Aug. 21, 1983, and was assassinated at Manila’s international airport.
Although it has never been proven, it is widely believed that Marcos had a hand in the murder of Ninoy Aquino.
Marcos, who ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for two decades, fled to Hawaii after being toppled in the Edsa People Power Revolution in February 1986.*READ MORE...

(ALSO) Binay formula: Marcos burial with full military honors in Ilocos 

SEPT 22 ---Vice President Jejomar Binay has recommended to President Benigno Aquino III the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ remains in his native Ilocos Norte, with full military honors, the Philippine Daily Inquirer has learned. A Palace source, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Binay had made such a recommendation.

Edwin Lacierda, the President’s spokesperson, said Malacañang would issue a statement today. “We’re still studying the recommendation,” he told the Inquirer on the phone late yesterday afternoon. Asked to comment, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appeared warm to the idea. “It would seem to be a reasonable compromise … a good compromise,” said Marcos, who acknowledged that it was among the options raised and did not express surprise at Binay’s recommendation. Marcos said that while his family had pushed for his father’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani all these years, it was agreeable to a compromise. “We don’t want to create problems. We would just like to bury our father in a way that he deserved,” the senator said in an interview. After Reyes’ suicide ---The Marcos family reiterated its appeal to have the late strongman interred at the heroes’ cemetery among former leaders and soldiers after the late Defense Secretary and Armed Forces Chief Angelo Reyes was buried there in February. Reyes killed himself amid the controversy over purported corruption in the military.

Citing personal bias—being the only son of the late former President Corazon Aquino and the martyred former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., two of the strongman’s biggest political enemies—Mr. Aquino declined to make a decision and assigned Binay to the task. Shortly after Binay was given the assignment, Senator Marcos and his sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, met with the Vice President to present their thoughts on the matter. Marcos had earlier said that the burial of his father, who ruled with an iron hand for close to 20 years, should be seen as an opportunity for the “unification” of the country.

Yesterday, he said that the family had not changed its position that it was his father’s right to be buried in the Libingan “as a former President, as a former soldier, as a bemedalled soldier.” Weekend meeting ---The family, which also includes his mother, former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, and his younger sister, Irene Marcos-Araneta, will likely meet this weekend to discuss Binay’s recommendation, Marcos said. The senator said they would just “wait for the President” to decide, and take it from there. “Let’s see where it takes us,” he said, adding that there was no “cut and dried” procedure on the matter. “I don’t know how much room there is to negotiate. As a matter of fact we only learned about this from you,” he told the Inquirer.*READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino happy with gov’t response to ‘Mario’–Secretary Roxas 

SEPT 22 --PHOTO: A man dives in the background as rescuers use a rubber dinghy to
rescue trapped residents after continues heavy monsoon rains spawned by tropical storm Fung-Wong flooded Marikina city, east of Manila, Philippines and most parts of the metropolis Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. AP

President Benigno Aquino III was satisfied with the government’s response to Tropical Storm “Mario” in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said on Saturday. Mario, the 13th weather disturbance to hit the country this year, paralyzed the metropolis on Friday as it spawned heavy rains that inundated communities and displaced residents living near bodies of water and in flood-prone areas.

Roxas said the President, who flew to the United States after completing his whirlwind four-nation visit to Europe on Friday, was being briefed regularly about the situation.“The President is monitoring the conditions in the affected areas. He knows what’s happening. He wants to assure the people that the entire government is doing everything [it can],” Roxas told reporters.

Accompanied by Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and other government officials, Roxas visited four evacuation centers in Marikina, Pasig and Quezon City. “While the President is defending the country’s interests abroad, his thoughts are with you. He is thinking about you,” Roxas told the evacuees at the Bagong Silangan Elemenary School in Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, where about 900 families were relocated from their flooded communities.
“You don’t have to worry. We have enough supplies of food packs for you. Even the policemen and firemen are here to offer their services,” he said.*

ALSO: GMA suffers from life-threatening choking episode, says doctor 

SEPT 22 --Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has suffered from a severe choking episode which her doctor said was life threatening. In a medical abstract dated September 15, Dr. Martha Nucum, head of the Medical Team of the former President, said Mrs. Arroyo was rushed to the emergency room of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center around 12:30 p.m. last September 2 after she complained of coughing, hoarseness and difficulty of breathing. She was said to have choked on her food while having lunch in her room. An emergency flexible nasopharyngo laryngo endoscopy was done with the help of anesthesia which showed that a food particle was lodged in her pyriform sinus.

Nucum said rigid endoscopy was ordered and while she was being prepared for the procedure, she manifested loss of voice. This was followed by forceful coughing “after which she vomited the food particle,” which was a piece of broccoli stem. The whole episode lasted for almost two hours, according to sources. Because of the choking episode, the former president is being closely monitored and the proper swallowing technique is being imposed to prevent future incidents from taking place. Mrs. Arroyo is said to have been advised to swallow at a certain angle with tilting motion of her neck to prevent food from being lodged in her esophagus. But despite such measures, she still has bouts of choking. The latest episode is said to be her worst so far. Choking is considered a life threatening medical emergency because it blocks the flow of oxygen.*READ MORE...

ALSO: Pope, on trip to mainly Muslim Albania, condemns Islamist militants 

SEPT 22 ---TIRANA, Albania - Pope Francis, in his strongest criticism of Islamist militants to date, said on
Sunday no religious group which used violence and oppression could claim to be "the armour of God". Francis made his comments during a one-day visit to Albania, an impoverished Balkan country hailed by the pontiff as a model of inter-faith harmony because of good relations between its majority Muslim community and its Christian denominations. "Let no one consider themselves the 'armour' of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression," he said in the presidential palace in Tirana, responding to an address by Albanian President Bujar Nishani, who is Muslim.

"May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all to the right to life and the right of everyone to religious freedom," he said. Francis, on his first trip as pope to a European country outside Italy, made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq, but it was clear he had events in the Middle East in mind. About 70,000 Syrian Kurds have fled into Turkey since Friday as Islamic State militants seized dozens of villages close to the border. A Kurdish politician from Turkey said local people had told him the militants were beheading people as they went from village to village. Islamic State has declared a "caliphate" in the territories they control and have killed or driven out large numbers of Christians, Shi'ite Muslims and others who do not subscribe to their hardline version of Sunni Islam.

Asked specifically about Islamic State last month when returning from a trip to South Korea, Francis endorsed action by the international community to stop "unjust aggression". ‘Precious gift’ In Tirana, Francis lauded the mutual respect and trust between Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox Christians in Albania as a "precious gift" and a powerful symbol in today's world. "This is especially the case in these times where an authentic religious spirit is being perverted by extremist groups and where religious differences are being distorted and instrumentalised," said Francis. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Baguio hotel promotes environmental program  

SEPT 22 --A hotel in Baguio City is helping promote programs being launched by an environmental organization. The Manor at Camp John Hay is helping the World Wide Fund for Nature with its “Check Out for Nature,” a program created by the WWF Global Network and leading hotels in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, to develop easy but effective ways for guests to support WWF projects.

The WWF said the initiative allows hotel guests to add a dollar per night to their bills, as donation to WWF projects in the Philippines. “These projects include the conservation of Tubbataha Reefs in Palawan and other programs that enable Filipino communities to face climate change impact,” said Michelle Mohinani, WWF-Philippines marketing vice president. Mohinani said the “Check Out for Nature” aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire guests to take proactive steps in saving the planet. Ramon Cabrera, general manager of The Manor, said environmental degradation may not be reversed, but there is still hope if people act today.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO Editorial from Philstar: P-Noy woos Europe  

SEPT 22 --President Aquino is wooing European investments as business confidence in the country slipped in the latest survey. Still, there’s a lot of good news that the President can convey to European businessmen. His focus on the campaign against corruption is bearing fruit. In a country where corruption scandals in the past reached all the way to the top levels of government, having a president untouched by graft allegations is a refreshing change.

This cannot be said, however, of some of the President’s allies and friends. And while the Philippines has seen its ranking progressively improve in annual international surveys on ease of doing business, the country continues to lag behind many of its more competitive Southeast Asian neighbors.

Businessmen may also wonder if the President was referring to another country when he told European investors in Brussels that it takes only three days and one form to fill out to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to open a business in the Philippines. Enormous red tape in opening, operating and even closing a business in this country has to be one of the principal deterrents to the entrepreneurial spirit among Filipinos. The President’s reassurance of a level playing field in doing business will also raise eyebrows. *READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Aquino’s stand still the same: ‘No hero’s burial for Marcos’

Former Philippine first lady and now congresswoman, Imelda Marcos, kisses the glass case of her late husband president Ferdinand Marcos during a visit to the mausoleum on her 85th birthday in Batac town, Ilocos norte, north of Manila on July 2, 2014. President Aquino has not changed his mind about disallowing the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos among heroes at Libingan ng mga Bayani, Malacañang said on Sunday, the 42nd anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of martial law. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBEMANILA, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Gil C. Cabacungan |Philippine Daily Inquirer12:35 am | Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Editor’s Note: Starting Sept. 21, the 42nd anniversary of the proclamation of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos, we have been running a series of articles to remember one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history. The articles are necessarily commemorations and more so a celebration of and a thanksgiving for the courage of the men and women who endured unspeakable pain and loss to overcome the Marcos dictatorship and regain our freedoms. These are some of their stories. Click here Freedom.

MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino has not changed his mind about disallowing the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos among heroes at Libingan ng mga Bayani, Malacañang said on Sunday, the 42nd anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of martial law.

“The position of the President remains the same,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters in Malacañang.
Lacierda said Aquino or any of his officials had never discussed the question of Marcos’ burial at Libingan and this meant that the President’s position had not changed.

While campaigning for Malacañang in 2010, Aquino promised never to allow Marcos to be buried at the heroes’ cemetery in Taguig City, Metro Manila.

Ninoy’s jailer

Aquino’s father, Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was the leader of the opposition to Marcos. The dictator ordered him arrested and jailed him for nearly eight years before allowing him to go to the United States for a heart operation.

Senator Aquino returned to the Philippines on Aug. 21, 1983, and was assassinated at Manila’s international airport.
Although it has never been proven, it is widely believed that Marcos had a hand in the murder of Ninoy Aquino.

Marcos, who ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for two decades, fled to Hawaii after being toppled in the Edsa People Power Revolution in February 1986.

* He died in Hawaii three years later at age 72, after a long battle with heart, lung and kidney ailments.

Aquino’s mother, President Corazon Aquino, who was swept to power by the revolution, refused to allow the return of Marcos’ body to the Philippines.

FVR allowed body’s return

But in 1993, her successor, President Fidel V. Ramos, allowed the body of Marcos to be brought home.

The body arrived in Laoag City, in Marcos’s home province of Ilocos Norte, on Sept. 7, 1993.

There were no military honors for Marcos, but 21 retired military generals who had served under his administration were there.

Ramos was represented by his sister, former Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani. Then Vice President Joseph Estrada, who supported Marcos during the Edsa Revolution, was also there.

Despite allowing the return of Marcos’ body, Ramos did not allow its burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Claiming that it was Marcos’ wish that he be buried in the heroes’ cemetery, his family preserved his body and kept it in a crypt in his hometown of Batac, waiting for a friendlier administration that would allow the fulfillment of the dictator’s wish.

But the succeeding administrations of Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also did not allow Marcos to be buried at the heroes’ cemetery.

Burial resolution

Three years ago, 193 members of the House of Representatives led by Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero III (now deceased) signed a resolution allowing the burial of Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Aquino declined to decide the issue and instead tasked Vice President Jejomar Binay to study the matter and submit a recommendation.

Binay recommended that Marcos be buried with military honors in Batac. The Marcoses refused, insisting on fulfilling the dictator’s wish.

Last week, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the dictator’s only son, reiterated his family’s wish to have his father honored by laying him to rest at Libingan.

“It is his right because he is a soldier and he served in the military and his record speaks for itself. And he was the longest-sitting president in our history. By rights, he should be buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Marcos said in a television interview. “We really need to start moving forward. I think bringing us back again to that conflict does not serve its purpose now.”

Reparation for victims

Thousands of Marcos’ opponents perished in military prisons during those years.

Thousands survived and are now entitled to reparations under Republic Act No. 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

As required by that law, the government has set aside P10 billion for the payment of reparation to the survivors of Marcos’ martial rule.

But Gloria Rodriguez, 60, who was tortured in prison, tied by her feet and hung upside down over the sea from a helicopter, has lost interest in being recognized and compensated.

“I applied for compensation. I was among the first one. But along with Ka Satur [Ocampo], I wasn’t put on the final list. I suppose because [Human Rights Chair] Etta Rosales knew I was in the movement,” Rodriguez told the Inquirer in an interview on Sunday.

“After that, I lost interest. I don’t want to do it anymore even if I’m being urged to,” she said.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has also lost faith in the reparation process.

“We stopped our campaign for the implementation of the claims process after a former policeman was appointed head of the screening committee,” Bayan spokesperson Andrienne Mark Ng said, referring to former Philippine National Police Director Lina Sarmiento, chair of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB). “When they find out the claimants are from progressive organizations, they don’t recognize them as victims.”

Pressing recognition


Remembering Martial Law victims September 21, 2014 11:38 pm. Students of the Universidad de Manila (UDM) look at the names inscribed on the martial law commemoration marker in Manila on Sunday. Martial law was imposed through Presidential Decree 1081 on September 21, 1972 by then-President Ferdinand Marcos. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI Students of the Universidad de Manila (UDM) look at the names inscribed on the martial law commemoration marker in Manila on Sunday. Martial law was imposed through Presidential Decree 1081 on September 21, 1972 by then-President Ferdinand Marcos. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI--FROM THE MANILA TIMES.

But the HRVCB promised to press the effort to recognize the heroism and sufferings of the survivors.

“The HRVCB commits to tilt back the scales of justice in favor of the victims by acknowledging the wrongs of the past toward healing the wounds of martial law,” the board said in a statement on Sunday.

The board has so far received 17,659 claims for reparation from the victims or their heirs at its office on the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City, its five regional desks, and through “across-the-country caravans.”

The desks are located at the Commission on Human Rights regional offices in the cities of Davao, Cotabato, Iloilo, Legazpi and Tacloban.

HRVCB Chair Sarmiento said the board was setting up nine more regional desks to accommodate more claimants.
The filing of claims began on May 12 and ends on Nov. 10.

The board expects 20,000 to 30,000 human rights abuse victims to come forward to file claims and tell their stories.–With reports from Julie M. Aurelio, Jamie T. Gamil and Inquirer Research

Binay formula: Marcos burial with full military honors in Ilocos
By Jerry E. Esplanada, TJ Burgonio |Philippine Daily Inquirer12:58 am | Saturday, June 4th, 2011


BINAY: The Marcos family reiterated its appeal to PNoy to have the late strongman interred at the heroes’ cemetery. Citing personal bias—being the only son of the late former President Corazon Aquino and the martyred former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., two of the strongman’s biggest political enemies—Mr. Aquino declined to make a decision and assigned Binay to the task.

Vice President Jejomar Binay has recommended to President Benigno Aquino III the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ remains in his native Ilocos Norte, with full military honors, the Philippine Daily Inquirer has learned.

A Palace source, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Binay had made such a recommendation.

Edwin Lacierda, the President’s spokesperson, said Malacañang would issue a statement today. “We’re still studying the recommendation,” he told the Inquirer on the phone late yesterday afternoon.

Asked to comment, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appeared warm to the idea.

“It would seem to be a reasonable compromise … a good compromise,” said Marcos, who acknowledged that it was among the options raised and did not express surprise at Binay’s recommendation.

Marcos said that while his family had pushed for his father’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani all these years, it was agreeable to a compromise.

“We don’t want to create problems. We would just like to bury our father in a way that he deserved,” the senator said in an interview.

After Reyes’ suicide

The Marcos family reiterated its appeal to have the late strongman interred at the heroes’ cemetery among former leaders and soldiers after the late Defense Secretary and Armed Forces Chief Angelo Reyes was buried there in February.

Reyes killed himself amid the controversy over purported corruption in the military.

Citing personal bias—being the only son of the late former President Corazon Aquino and the martyred former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., two of the strongman’s biggest political enemies—Mr. Aquino declined to make a decision and assigned Binay to the task.

Shortly after Binay was given the assignment, Senator Marcos and his sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, met with the Vice President to present their thoughts on the matter.

Marcos had earlier said that the burial of his father, who ruled with an iron hand for close to 20 years, should be seen as an opportunity for the “unification” of the country.

Yesterday, he said that the family had not changed its position that it was his father’s right to be buried in the Libingan “as a former President, as a former soldier, as a bemedalled soldier.”

Weekend meeting

The family, which also includes his mother, former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, and his younger sister, Irene Marcos-Araneta, will likely meet this weekend to discuss Binay’s recommendation, Marcos said.

The senator said they would just “wait for the President” to decide, and take it from there.

“Let’s see where it takes us,” he said, adding that there was no “cut and dried” procedure on the matter.

“I don’t know how much room there is to negotiate. As a matter of fact we only learned about this from you,” he told the Inquirer.

* And what if the President agrees to Binay’s recommendation?

Said Marcos: “Then we will carry on and plan.” But he pointed out that it was premature to say how the family would deal with Mr. Aquino’s response.

The strongman was overthrown during the Edsa People Power Revolt in February 1986.

He died in Hawaii on Sept. 28, 1989, and his remains were flown back to the Philippines during the administration of President Fidel Ramos, a distant relative.

His remains rest aboveground in a refrigerated crypt in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.

‘Very balanced’ stand

Early this week, Binay said he was hopeful that the President would announce “within the week” the government’s stand on the strongman’s burial.

He described it as “very balanced,” with “all sides considered.”

“Every opinion from every person who responded to the survey [conducted by the Office of the Vice President] was given consideration,” he said.

In April, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) sent out letters seeking the opinion of various groups and decision-makers on the issue. It also launched a text and e-mail survey to encourage public participation in the matter.

The OVP said it wanted to consult “as many people as possible” before Binay gave the President his recommendation on the best course of action.

Last month, Binay said lawmakers had not sent their official responses to the survey conducted by the OVP, “although some have already expressed their opinion through the media.”

“None of the 130 parties accredited by the Commission on Elections has so far replied to the OVP’s letter seeking their official stand on the issue,” he said.

But his office said it would still wait for “the official stand of the political parties.”

Binay had said he would submit his recommendation to Mr. Aquino in the first week of June.

The Vice President, also the housing czar, was to leave last night on an official trip to the United States that includes taking an international housing finance program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; attending the Philippine Independence Day parade in New York City, the flag-raising program at the Philippine Embassy in Washington; the Rizal Day celebration in Monterey, California; and holding dialogues with leaders and members of Filipino communities.

‘Revisionism at its worst’

Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero has filed a resolution urging Malacañang to allow the burial of the strongman’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. As many as 216 congressmen have signed it.

Part of House Resolution No. 1135 states: “As the longest serving president of the republic, Ferdinand Marcos built the modern foundations of the Philippines.

“He remained a Filipino patriot to the end of his life and in death deserves to be honored as such.”

But the Makati Business Club (MBC) described the resolution as “historical revisionism at its deceitful worst in an attempt to recast the image of a disgraced leader.”

In a statement, the MBC said it was opposing the proposed burial of the strongman at the Libingan:

“In the end, titles and medals—especially those of dubious provenance—do not a hero make. No hero would deliberately bring suffering upon his people and ruin to his country.

“[T]he MBC believes that by virtue of his profoundly tainted record as the leader of our country, Mr. Marcos forfeited whatever rights he had to being buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“The claim that he built the modern foundations of the Philippines is a gross distortion of the late dictator’s true legacy of autocracy, ruined democratic institutions, violent political repression, unprecedented wholesale corruption, shameless nepotism, crony capitalism, a crushing debt burden, and widespread social inequity and marginalization.” With a report from Norman Bordadora

Aquino happy with gov’t response to ‘Mario’–Secretary Roxas
By Marlon Ramos |Philippine Daily Inquirer7:16 am | Sunday, September 21st, 2014


A man dives in the background as rescuers use a rubber dinghy to rescue trapped residents after continues heavy monsoon rains spawned by tropical storm Fung-Wong flooded Marikina city, east of Manila, Philippines and most parts of the metropolis Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. AP

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III was satisfied with the government’s response to Tropical Storm “Mario” in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said on Saturday.

Mario, the 13th weather disturbance to hit the country this year, paralyzed the metropolis on Friday as it spawned heavy rains that inundated communities and displaced residents living near bodies of water and in flood-prone areas.

Roxas said the President, who flew to the United States after completing his whirlwind four-nation visit to Europe on Friday, was being briefed regularly about the situation.

“The President is monitoring the conditions in the affected areas. He knows what’s happening. He wants to assure the people that the entire government is doing everything [it can],” Roxas told reporters.

Accompanied by Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and other government officials, Roxas visited four evacuation centers in Marikina, Pasig and Quezon City.

“While the President is defending the country’s interests abroad, his thoughts are with you. He is thinking about you,” Roxas told the evacuees at the Bagong Silangan Elemenary School in Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, where about 900 families were relocated from their flooded communities.

“You don’t have to worry. We have enough supplies of food packs for you. Even the policemen and firemen are here to offer their services,” he said.

* Roxas, vice chair of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the storm dumped rain equivalent to about 60 percent of that brought by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in 2009.

Erlinda Viernes, 47, of Barangay Malanday, Marikina, said she was thankful that Roxas and the local government provided food packs for them.

However, the mother of four said it would be better if the national government could help families living near the Marikina River to relocate to safer places.

“Since Ondoy happened, we have been living in fear every time the Marikina River reaches its critical level because of the floods triggered by the typhoons. I just wish the government could help us transfer to a flood-free area here in Marikina,” Viernes said.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

GMA suffers from life-threatening choking episode, says doctor Written by Charlie V. Manalo Monday, 22 September 2014 00:00


Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyohas suffered from a severe choking episode which her doctor said was life threatening.

In a medical abstract dated September 15, Dr. Martha Nucum, head of the Medical Team of the former President, said Mrs. Arroyo was rushed to the emergency room of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center around 12:30 p.m. last September 2 after she complained of coughing, hoarseness and difficulty of breathing.

She was said to have choked on her food while having lunch in her room.

An emergency flexible nasopharyngo laryngo endoscopy was done with the help of anesthesia which showed that a food particle was lodged in her pyriform sinus.

Nucum said rigid endoscopy was ordered and while she was being prepared for the procedure, she manifested loss of voice. This was followed by forceful coughing “after which she vomited the food particle,” which was a piece of broccoli stem. The whole episode lasted for almost two hours, according to sources.

Because of the choking episode, the former president is being closely monitored and the proper swallowing technique is being imposed to prevent future incidents from taking place.

Mrs. Arroyo is said to have been advised to swallow at a certain angle with tilting motion of her neck to prevent food from being lodged in her esophagus. But despite such measures, she still has bouts of choking.

The latest episode is said to be her worst so far. Choking is considered a life threatening medical emergency because it blocks the flow of oxygen.

* Nucum said the former president often has frequent bouts of choking because of esophageal stenonis or the narrowing of her esophagus which makes it difficult for her to swallow solid food. The said condition came after she underwent triple operations in 2011 due to cervical spondylosis radiculopathy or more commonly known as pinched nerve in her spine.

Dr. Roberto Anastacio, a cardiologist of the Makati Medical Center who checked on the former president in 2012 after her operations, said based on her CT scan, the titanium plate placed in her cervical cage had shifted which has serious effect in her breathing, swallowing and blood circulation. He had said such poses a life-threatening condition to her.

At present, Mrs. Arroyo is diagnosed to be suffering from Cervical Spine Radiculopathy and Degenerative Lumbar Spine Disease. Her recent cervical X-ray showed that “spur formation along C3 to T2 which denotes osteodegenerative changes.”

Nucum said despite being on a twice-a-week physical rehabilitation and therapy, Mrs. Arroyo’s condition has not improved as she “continues to complain of moderate to severe pain in the lumbosacral area, calf area and nuchal area which is relieved temporarily by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).”

“Her response has reached a plateau with no such significant clinical improvement,” she said.

Nucum and her other doctors, Arnulfo Lopez and Ernesto Palanca had supported Mrs. Arroyo’s bid to be granted her freedom, saying her continued detention has contributed to the deterioration of her health.

“They recommend a holistic approach involving family support, emotional stability and spiritual upliftment which they said cannot be attained while being confined in a hospital. Charlie V. Manalo

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Pope, on trip to mainly Muslim Albania, condemns Islamist militants By PHILIP PULLELLA and BENET KOLEKA, ReutersSeptember 22, 2014 2:35am 63 5 0 71

TIRANA, Albania - Pope Francis, in his strongest criticism of Islamist militants to date, said on Sunday no religious group which used violence and oppression could claim to be "the armour of God".

Francis made his comments during a one-day visit to Albania, an impoverished Balkan country hailed by the pontiff as a model of inter-faith harmony because of good relations between its majority Muslim community and its Christian denominations.

"Let no one consider themselves the 'armour' of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression," he said in the presidential palace in Tirana, responding to an address by Albanian President Bujar Nishani, who is Muslim.

"May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all to the right to life and the right of everyone to religious freedom," he said.

Francis, on his first trip as pope to a European country outside Italy, made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq, but it was clear he had events in the Middle East in mind.

About 70,000 Syrian Kurds have fled into Turkey since Friday as Islamic State militants seized dozens of villages close to the border. A Kurdish politician from Turkey said local people had told him the militants were beheading people as they went from village to village.

Islamic State has declared a "caliphate" in the territories they control and have killed or driven out large numbers of Christians, Shi'ite Muslims and others who do not subscribe to their hardline version of Sunni Islam.

Asked specifically about Islamic State last month when returning from a trip to South Korea, Francis endorsed action by the international community to stop "unjust aggression".

‘Precious gift’

In Tirana, Francis lauded the mutual respect and trust between Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox Christians in Albania as a "precious gift" and a powerful symbol in today's world.

"This is especially the case in these times where an authentic religious spirit is being perverted by extremist groups and where religious differences are being distorted and instrumentalised," said Francis.

* The pope said a Mass before some 250,000 people in a square in central Tirana named after the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an ethnic Albanian who is a national heroine.

Both the Vatican and Albanian officials dismissed media reports of concern for the pope's safety. Security appeared normal for a papal trip overseas and in some places lighter than in some previous trips.

Some 60 percent of all Albanians are Muslim, while Roman Catholics account for just 10 percent of the population.

The pope returned to the theme of tolerance during a meeting with leaders of other religions, telling them that "all those forms which present a distorted use of religion must be firmly refuted as false ..."

Earlier, aboard the plane taking him on the short trip across the Adriatic from Rome to Tirana, Francis said he wanted to visit Albania because it had "suffered very, very much". He is the first pope to visit Albania in 21 years.

The late communist dictator Envier Hoxha banned religion in 1967, driving Albania's Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim faithful alike underground in his drive to create what he boasted was the world's first atheist state.

Nearly 2,000 churches, Orthodox and Catholic, were destroyed under Hoxha, whose paranoid rule lasted four decades until his death in 1985. Many were turned into cinemas or dancing halls.

More than 100 Catholic priests or bishops were executed or died under torture or in labour camps. Just 30 survived in what Francis referred to in his address as "a winter of isolation and persecution".

At a vespers service on Sunday night in Tirana's cathedral, the pope wiped a tear from his eye when an 84-year-old priest, Ernest Troshani, described how he had spent nearly 30 years in prison or forced labour in mines, during which he was told by his captors that he was up next for execution as an enemy of the state.

The pope was so moved that he kissed the man's hand, put aside his prepared address, and delivered an impromptu sermon. "Today, here, we have touched martyrs," he said. — Reuters

FROM PHILSTAR

Baguio hotel promotes environmental program By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 22, 2014 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0


Pedestrians walk past fallen tree branches in Burnham Park, Baguio City Friday. ANDY ZAPATA JR.

MANILA, Philippines - A hotel in Baguio City is helping promote programs being launched by an environmental organization.

The Manor at Camp John Hay is helping the World Wide Fund for Nature with its “Check Out for Nature,” a program created by the WWF Global Network and leading hotels in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, to develop easy but effective ways for guests to support WWF projects.

The WWF said the initiative allows hotel guests to add a dollar per night to their bills, as donation to WWF projects in the Philippines.

“These projects include the conservation of Tubbataha Reefs in Palawan and other programs that enable Filipino communities to face climate change impact,” said Michelle Mohinani, WWF-Philippines marketing vice president.

Mohinani said the “Check Out for Nature” aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire guests to take proactive steps in saving the planet.

Ramon Cabrera, general manager of The Manor, said environmental degradation may not be reversed, but there is still hope if people act today.

EDITORIAL - P-Noy woos Europe (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 18, 2014 - 12:00am 2 4 googleplus0 0

President Aquino is wooing European investments as business confidence in the country slipped in the latest survey. Still, there’s a lot of good news that the President can convey to European businessmen.

His focus on the campaign against corruption is bearing fruit. In a country where corruption scandals in the past reached all the way to the top levels of government, having a president untouched by graft allegations is a refreshing change.

This cannot be said, however, of some of the President’s allies and friends. And while the Philippines has seen its ranking progressively improve in annual international surveys on ease of doing business, the country continues to lag behind many of its more competitive Southeast Asian neighbors.

Businessmen may also wonder if the President was referring to another country when he told European investors in Brussels that it takes only three days and one form to fill out to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to open a business in the Philippines. Enormous red tape in opening, operating and even closing a business in this country has to be one of the principal deterrents to the entrepreneurial spirit among Filipinos. The President’s reassurance of a level playing field in doing business will also raise eyebrows.

* Those reassurances, however, can serve as objectives that the President can pursue in his last two years in office. He can support the passage of anti-trust legislation and, within his executive powers, approve more measures to open up the economy. He can task the Department of the Interior and Local Government to work with local executives and pertinent national agencies to approve simplified and, as much as possible, uniform requirements for doing business.

The President’s trip will help raise European awareness of the Philippines as a destination for investment and tourism. Once his sales pitch starts bearing fruit and more Europeans come to the Philippines for a closer look, he must see to it that the visitors will not be disappointed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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