PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

PACQUIAO'S MOUTHGUARD DOES NOT COST $25K, BUT IT  WILL PROTECT HIM VERY WELL


APRIL 10 NEWS REPORT: Left: Pacquiao's colors-- Right: Mayweather's $25K  Reported by the dentist who made the mouthguard-----Early this morning, 6 am to be exact, I got a call from fellow PhilBoxing photographer, Jhay Otamias, telling me that a number of media folks need to talk to me regarding the issue about mouthguards after news came out that Mayweather Junior will be using a “$25,000 mouthguard encrusted with gold flakes, diamonds and a hundred dollar bill” for the fight on May 2nd. Besides, he said, Team Pacquiao is also looking for me. Otamias also suggested that perhaps it would be better if I make a trip to the Pan Pacific Park as Manny will be there and of course, the usual media folks and the Pacfans. You see, I do not go to the Wildcard Gym because I respect Freddie Roach’s request for some space for Manny while he trains. More importantly, I was confident the mouthguard Pacquiao used versus Algieri in Macao still fits and function well. In fact, he had used it in the past days for sparring. But he wants a new mouthguard. So, I made efforts to be at the Pan Pacific Park. I got there just after 7:00 am thanks to the very light traffic and waited till Pacquiao came running in. When Manny begun his stretching and other exercises, I walk to the little corner of the park that he usually occupy during training. As soon as he spotted me in the crowd, the first words that came off his mouth were:- “Where’s my new mouthguard?”. READ MORE...

ALSO: Parents’ group to petition Supreme Court to stop K to 12


APRIL 11...A group of parents as early as last year was urging President Aquino to postpone the nationwide implementation of the enhanced Basic Education Program or K to 12 Law in 2016. Aquino's Edu chief insisted K to 12 is ready.
April 11, Today, a group of parents from private and public schools will petition the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which gave birth to the controversial K-12 program that extends high school education by two years.
In a phone interview with GMA News Online on Saturday, Rey Vargas, founding chairman of the Parents for Children’s Education (PACE), said the group questions the legality of Republic Act 10533 as it did not go through the correct process before it was enacted by President Benigno Aquino III. He claimed that parents, who are the primary stakeholders in the program, were not at all consulted. He added that the parents fear the number of dropouts would increase because of the additional cost of two extra years in school. "Baka lalo pang dumami andropouts dahil sa dagdag gastos sa tuition," he said. READ MORE...

ALSO last month, SC seeks gov't side on plea vs. K-12


FLASHBACK MARCH 24, 2015...THE SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES 
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the side of the government regarding a petition to stop Republic Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which gave birth to the controversial K-12 Program that added two more years in high school education.
The SC required the respondents to comment on the petition and the application for a temporary restraining order within 10 days from notice, SC Public Information Office chief and spokesman Theodore Te said in a briefing. Named respondents were the secretaries of Education, Labor and Employment, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; the chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education; the secretary general of the House of Representatives; and Miriam College. The petition—filed by the "Coalition for the K to 12 Suspension," composed of four individuals and 16 groups led by the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines—claimed that with the K-12 Program, education workers are faced with the risk of early separation, forced retirement, constructive dismissal, diminution of salaries and benefits, labor contractualization, and a general threat to self-organization. The petitioners said the fact that a new legislation is being proposed via House Bill No. 5493, which seeks to “mitigate the adverse impact of the K to 12 Law,” shows that the RA 10533 is "incomplete." READ  MORE....

ALSO: 60,000 hectares hit, P450-m crops lost - Alcala


APRIL 12 ...Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala 
MORE than 60,000 hectares of farmland have already been affected by the El Niño drought in Mindanao and caused the loss of P450 million in crops since January, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said after visiting stricken areas in Central Mindanao and adjoining Moro provinces. Alcala said the affected area includes the four provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani and local officials are worried that thousands of families might not earn enough to for the school expenses of their children in June if the dry spell will continue until May. “I heard that some of the badly affected-areas have been placed under the state of calamity due to the dry spell and fighting that forced poor families to abandon their farms,” Alcala said on Saturday.

The drought developed while the military clashed with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters at the end of February, but farmers who evacuated because of the fighting have opted to remain in evacuation sites in seven Maguindanao towns because of the dry spell. Last March 11, the state weather bureau announced the onset of El Niño, the Pacific Ocean phenomenon that causes reduced rainfall and higher temperatures in some parts of the country. Although Alcala said the “dry spell” is very light compared to previous years, the North Cotabato towns of M’lang and Kabacan have already been placed under a state of calamity after respectively losing P40 million and P21 million in crops. Rice and corn fields in M’lang have dried up, forcing farmers to shift to heat resistant crops but these will take time to grow while rubber and banana, the town’s next most important products, have also been severely affected. READ MORE...

ALSO: Dry spell puts M’lang, Kabacan under state of calamity; S. Cotabato mulls same move


APRIL 12...NO RAIN SINCE JANUARY 
Cotabato City – The towns of M’lang and Kabacan – two rice producing towns in North Cotabato – have been placed under state of calamity due to severe drought that already destroyed about P230 million worth of crops in the province. Officials placed the damage to crops in M’lang and Kabacan at P40 million and P21 million respectively. The declaration came after the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s recommendation to allow the local government units to use their calamity funds. Among the heavily affected agricultural products are rubber and banana – two major agricultural products of M’lang next to rice. Rice and corn fields in M’lang have dried up, forcing farmers to shift to heat resistant crops which take time to grow. In Kabacan, Mayor Herlo Guzman Jr. said the local agriculture office is finalizing the list of farmers to be given assistance after rice fields, corn fields, banana plantation and rubber plantation have dried up. READ MORE.... VIEW ALBAY SUMMER PHOTOS FROM GMA NEWS ONLINE...:

ALSO: Cardinal Tagle: Reception, photographer not wedding must-haves
[Manila Archbisop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday reminded Christian couples that a lavish ceremony for weddings are not needed.]


APRIL 12 ...Manila Archboshop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (left) observers as Pope Francis holds up the host at a Catholic Mass in Manila in January 2015. AP  
Manila Archbisop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday reminded Christian couples that a lavish ceremony for weddings are not needed. Tagle, who delivered a homily in Nepomuceno Parish in Malibay, Pasay City, said statements that couples delay marriage because of a lack of money to hold a reception sadden him. "Hindi requirement ng Simbahan na para maging valid ang wedding kailangan mayroong napakarangyang reception," Tagle said in a Radio Veritas report. "Lahat 'yan pinag-iipunan ninyo kaya hindi kayo makapag-pakasal. Hindi 'yun ang kahulugan ng kasal," he said. Marriage directs couples to fulfill the will of God to live and love each other for life, Tagle said. Jesus himself did not have much expensive clothes nor held generous receptions. "Kahit walang marangyang handaan, kahit walang photographer, hindi mabubura ang mukha ng asawa ninyo sa puso ninyo," Tagle said. He also said that marriage is not an invention that can be done away with. "Napakalinaw sa simula't simula pa na nilalang ng Diyos ang tao nasa isip na ng Diyos ang pagsasama ng lalake at babae," he said. "Nasa isip ng Diyos noong nilalang niya tayo na ang lalake at babae ay magsasama at ang kanilang pagsasama dahil galing sa kanya, hindi dapat pakialaman ng tao," Tagle added.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

EXECUTIVE MAMASAPANO PROBE AT HOUSE: Solons vow to throw punches in closed-door session


APRIL 12...Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina, right, talks to Police/Director Benjamin Magalong at the start of the Lower House probe on the incident Jan. 25 wherein 44 elite police commandos known as SAF (Special Action Force) were killed allegedly in a clash with Muslim guerrillas, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 in Quezon City northeast of Manila, Philippines. Espina became emotional as the latter revealed an autopsy report that showed some of his anti-terror commandos were wounded but still alive when shot to death at close range by Muslim insurgents. The Lower House has postponed indefinitely the deliberation on the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL in southern Philippines following the killing of 44 commandos in southern Philippines, the worst combat loss by the Government in a single day in recent memory. AP/Bullit Marquez
 — The closed-door executive session will be a venue where members of the inquiring House panel will ask more substantive questions to resource persons on the "Mamasapano clash," lawmakers said Sunday. ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao said members of the Committee on Public Order and Security looking into the January 25 incident where 44 government forces were killed by rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao will raise sensitive matters on national security in the session. "Out of the public eye, there will be no more reason to [pull] punches on the part of the House members and the resource persons will have to answer all the questions propounded," Pagdilao said. "I mean that all questions of national security importance which were voluntarily withheld during the open hearing because of sensitivity can now be freely asked," he said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PACQUIAO’S NEW MOUTHGUARD: IT DOES NOT COST $25K, BUT IT WILL PROTECT HIM VERY WELL


The author, Dr. Ed Dela Vega and Pacqiao's new mouthguard: Pacquiao checks his new mouthguard with the author and closs on the mouthguard

MANILA, APRIL 13, 2015 (PHILBOXING.COM)  By Ed de la Vega, DDS  Fri, 10 Apr 2015 - Early this morning, 6 am to be exact, I got a call from fellow PhilBoxing photographer, Jhay Otamias, telling me that a number of media folks need to talk to me regarding the issue about mouthguards after news came out that Mayweather Junior will be using a “$25,000 mouthguard encrusted with gold flakes, diamonds and a hundred dollar bill” for the fight on May 2nd.

Besides, he said, Team Pacquiao is also looking for me.

Otamias also suggested that perhaps it would be better if I make a trip to the Pan Pacific Park as Manny will be there and of course, the usual media folks and the Pacfans.

You see, I do not go to the Wildcard Gym because I respect Freddie Roach’s request for some space for Manny while he trains. More importantly, I was confident the mouthguard Pacquiao used versus Algieri in Macao still fits and function well. In fact, he had used it in the past days for sparring. But he wants a new mouthguard.

So, I made efforts to be at the Pan Pacific Park.

I got there just after 7:00 am thanks to the very light traffic and waited till Pacquiao came running in.

When Manny begun his stretching and other exercises, I walk to the little corner of the park that he usually occupy during training.

As soon as he spotted me in the crowd, the first words that came off his mouth were:- “Where’s my new mouthguard?”.

READ MORE...
Without saying a word, I whipped out the new mouthguard and handed it to him. I had it ready for two weeks but I am just so busy at work I didn’t have time to bring it over to him. He took a couple of minutes to admire the color then winked to me in approval before he placed it in his mouth.

I waited for him to comment as he jumps around and did shadow boxing simulating a fight. After a few minutes he tried to take it off but had a difficult time removing it because he was pulling it off from the wrong side. I yelled a few instructions and Buboy Fernandez took it off without any problem.

Such are the mouthguards I make for Pacquiao or any other athlete.

They will not come off with push of the tongue or if pulled off the wrong way. They are made to stay particularly during combat. But there is a special way to remove them. Buboy and Freddie Roach know the technique.

Pacquiao’s comments? “Fits good and I like the color!”

Fernandez then handed me the mouthguard after he washed it so I can show it to the media and answer their questions.

Funny, the predominant question I was asked was “what are the benefits of the $100 encrusted in the mouthguard of Mayweather?”

My reply was short and simple. “The $100 inserts with the reported gold flakes and diamonds incorporated in Mayweather Junior’s mouthguard and its ridiculous cost will not in any manner, shape or form aid in the true functions of a mouthguard.”

“But they will satisfy Junior’s gigantic ego.”

“The whole issue is a charade. It is nothing but a hype”!

Incidentally, I did not gave the mouthguard to Pacquiao this morning although he says it “fits well.”

This afternoon I met him at the Wildcard gym and with the approval of Freddie Roach and the Team, I was ushered to his dressing room, with only assistant trainer Roger Fernandez witnessing the private procedure, I re-checked the fit to assure that the mouthguard is not too tight or too loose, the occlusion is correct, there are no over or under extensions of the borders, the muscle attachment are provided enough space to move around and do not cut when the mouthguard is used.

Needless to say, Pacquiao was pleased with his new mouthguard. Pacquiao’s new mouthguard did not cost him $25,000. It does not have any un-necessary foolish inserts like a $100 dollar bill, gold flakes or diamond dust. It was presented to him as a free gift to show respect for what he has done for the Filipino people. Such is the Filipino culture! Many times there is more to life than money.

FLASHBACK: FROM MANNY'S NEW OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Pacquiao humors to Mayweather Jr. chopping wood by The Official Manny Pacquiao Website. Posted on March 20, 2015  By Vitali Shaposhnikov (MP8 contributing writer)


Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.36.45 PM

On March 15th Mayweather Jr. posted a video on his Instagram account of himself chopping wood in preparation for his upcoming bout against Manny Pacquiao onMay 2, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Back in the day, and even in some cases today, wood chopping is used as preparation for a physical challenge. There are clearly benefits to this exercise, but knowing Mayweather Jr. and his approach to training, it is clear that this video was made for entertainment purposes only. Is Mayweather Jr. trying to say that he and Rocky Balboa are alike? Probably not, since their fighting style couldn’t be more unlike.

In a recent interview, Manny Pacquiao responded to the video with humor: “Maybe he’ll cook rice. Maybe he’s going to cook, that’s why he’s chopping wood,” commented Pacquiao.

Sense of humor is always a good thing.

Partly, the difference in the characters of both fighters is what makes this fight even more appealing.

Pacquiao is always smiling, with no hard time showing sarcasm and wit. Mayweather Jr. on the other hand, is always seems to be serious, talking strictly business and legacy.

Of course come May 2nd, it will be business for both men in the ring.


GMA NEWS TV

Parents’ group to petition Supreme Court to stop K to 12 By AMANDA FERNANDEZ,GMA News April 11, 2015 3:31pm


A group of parents as early as last year was urging President Aquino to postpone the nationwide implementation of the enhanced Basic Education Program or K to 12 Law in 2016.

Today, a group of parents from private and public schools will petition the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which gave birth to the controversial K-12 program that extends high school education by two years.

In a phone interview with GMA News Online on Saturday, Rey Vargas, founding chairman of the Parents for Children’s Education (PACE), said the group questions the legality of Republic Act 10533 as it did not go through the correct process before it was enacted by President Benigno Aquino III.

He claimed that parents, who are the primary stakeholders in the program, were not at all consulted.

He added that the parents fear the number of dropouts would increase because of the additional cost of two extra years in school.

"Baka lalo pang dumami ang dropouts dahil sa dagdag gastos sa tuition," he said.

READ MORE...
He added that the two extra years is high school are no guarantee that students would perform better.

"Unang-una, alam naman nating ang mga Pilipino, magagaling kahit 10 taon lang [ang education system] sa bansa, kung ikukumpara sa ibang bansa na 12 years," he said.

"Walang guarantee na kung magkaroon ng dagdag 2 years, gagaling na," he said.

The Department of Education said on its website that a "12-year program is found to be the adequate period for learning under basic education" and is a standard for recognition of students and professionals abroad.

He added that the K-12 program is not the answer to having quality education.

"Kung quality of education ang habol, hindi guarantee ang dagdag dalawang taon," he said. "Sana i-improve na lang ang facilities, teacher trainings, maraming puwede gawin, puwede rin namang dagdagan ang subjects o dagdagan ang school hours."

He noted that the government may deprive students the opportunity to find work.

"Sa halip na nagtatrabaho na, nag-aaral lang sila," he said. "Superficial lang 'yang extra two years."

In October, National Industry-Academe Council (NIAC) secretary general Chito Salazar said that the 12-year curriculum will help students qualify for work right out of high school.

Salazar added different business associations in the country, including the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have vowed to accept high school graduates for work in their companies if they prove competent.

"Ang sinasabi ng industriya, kapag ipinatupad ang K to 12, at tama ang pagtupad, kahit hindi na sila maghahanap ng college diploma para sa iba't ibang posisyon na hindi naman talaga kailangan ng degree," Salazar, who is also president of Philippine Business for Education, also said.

Signature drive

Meanwhile, Vargas said the group is now urging other parents "to speak up" against the K to 12 program.

He noted that some parents may be hesitant to speak up as it may have adverse effects to their children.

"Baka takot sila sa mga principal ng kanilang mga anak," he said. "Pero nananawagan kami sa mga magulang na magsalita, panahon na."

He noted that in their petition, which they will file on April 20, they will attach signatures of parents in support of their request.

"Nagsimula kami noong Holy Monday, at sa ngayon, mayroon na kaming 10,000 signatures," he said, adding that their members have been going around different barangays nationwide to gather signatures.

In March, administration ally Senator Antonio Trillanes IV urged Aquino and the Supreme Court to suspend the implementation of the K to 12 education program.

"Nanawagan ako kay PNoy [at sa] Supreme Court para ipa-suspend ang K to 12 dahil hindi pa handa ang ang ating public education system at hindi talaga kaya ng mahihirap na magulang magpaaral pa ng dagdag na two years sa high school," he said in a text message to GMA News Online. — JDS, GMA News


FLASHBACK: GMA NEWS ONLINE MARCH 24, 2015

SC seeks gov't side on plea vs. K-12 March 24, 2015 4:39pm


THE SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the side of the government regarding a petition to stop Republic Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which gave birth to the controversial K-12 Program that added two more years in high school education.

The SC required the respondents to comment on the petition and the application for a temporary restraining order within 10 days from notice, SC Public Information Office chief and spokesman Theodore Te said in a briefing.

Named respondents were the secretaries of Education, Labor and Employment, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; the chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education; the secretary general of the House of Representatives; and Miriam College.

The petition—filed by the "Coalition for the K to 12 Suspension," composed of four individuals and 16 groups led by the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines—claimed that with the K-12 Program, education workers are faced with the risk of early separation, forced retirement, constructive dismissal, diminution of salaries and benefits, labor contractualization, and a general threat to self-organization.

The petitioners said the fact that a new legislation is being proposed via House Bill No. 5493, which seeks to “mitigate the adverse impact of the K to 12 Law,” shows that the RA 10533 is "incomplete."

READ MORE...
The House bill seeks to establish the tertiary education transition fund to develop and sustain tertiary education institutions during the transition period of the program.

According to the House bill, more than 70,000 college faculty and non-teaching personnel stand to lose their jobs because of the lack of first year college and second year college enrollees during the transition period starting 2016.

The petitioners said the controversial law failed to provide "full protection to labor and promotion of full employment and equality of employment opportunities, et al," in alleged violation of Article XIII, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution.

The group also said the Implementing Rules and Regulations dated September 2013, the Joint Guidelines dated May 2014, and Department of Education Order Memo No. 2 Series of 2015 dated January 2015, which were all formulated based on the law, are against the law and subject school workers to unjust labor practices.

Under the enhanced basic education program of the Department of Education—called K to 12 or Kindergarten plus Grades 1-12—a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.

The implementation of universal kindergarten began in school year 2011-2012, followed by a new curriculum for Grade 7 in school year 2012-2013.

School year 2016-2017 will mark the nationwide implementation of the Grade 11 curriculum, to be followed by the Grade 12 curriculum in school year 2017-2018.

An earlier report said that universities and colleges will lose 500,000 freshman college enrollees and more than 300,000 sophomore college enrollees once the implementation of the senior high school program starts in 2016. —Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News


MANILA STANDARD

60,000 hectares hit, P450-m crops lost By MST News | Apr. 12, 2015 at 12:01am

MORE than 60,000 hectares of farmland have already been affected by the El Niño drought in Mindanao and caused the loss of P450 million in crops since January, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said after visiting stricken areas in Central Mindanao and adjoining Moro provinces.


Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala

Alcala said the affected area includes the four provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani and local officials are worried that thousands of families might not earn enough to for the school expenses of their children in June if the dry spell will continue until May.

“I heard that some of the badly affected-areas have been placed under the state of calamity due to the dry spell and fighting that forced poor families to abandon their farms,” Alcala said on Saturday.

The drought developed while the military clashed with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters at the end of February, but farmers who evacuated because of the fighting have opted to remain in evacuation sites in seven Maguindanao towns because of the dry spell.

Last March 11, the state weather bureau announced the onset of El Niño, the Pacific Ocean phenomenon that causes reduced rainfall and higher temperatures in some parts of the country.

Although Alcala said the “dry spell” is very light compared to previous years, the North Cotabato towns of M’lang and Kabacan have already been placed under a state of calamity after respectively losing P40 million and P21 million in crops.

Rice and corn fields in M’lang have dried up, forcing farmers to shift to heat resistant crops but these will take time to grow while rubber and banana, the town’s next most important products, have also been severely affected.

READ MORE...
In Kabacan, Mayor Herlo Guzman Jr. said the town was placed under a state of calamity after farmland planted to rice, corn, banana and rubber plantation dried up even as grass fires threatened the crops that are still salvageable.

North Cotabato provincial agriculturist Dr. Eliseo Mangliwan said the province has already lost P230 million worth of crops and recommended cloud seeding operations in the province which has not had rain since January and that is expected to last until June.

“The extent of damages to crops could even go higher and we don’t have any immediate solution yet in sight,” Mangliwan said.

But the Department of Agriculture regional office said cloud seeding cannot be carried out right away because there are no “seedable clouds.”

Thick clouds have been rare in the province, even over the country’s highest peak and North Cotabato’s rain forest, Mangliwan said.

Mangliwan said the irrigation system of North Cotabato was also affected by the three-month dry spell and the National Irrigation Administration confirmed that the water level of all irrigation systems in the province have been cut by about 50 percent.

But the DA cannot just seed clouds, said Alcala, because the measure could destroy other standing crops such as mangoes that are about to bear fruit.

Alcala advised farmers of corn crops that if there is already no chance to save their crops, they better harvest it and then sell it as feeds or food for farm animals.

Officials of neighboring South Cotabato are also studying to declare a state of calamity after the province sustained crop damage amounting to about P78.8 million as of April 9.

South Cotabato agriculturist Justina Navarrete said almost all the 10 towns have suffered heavy losses of agricultural products.

“You can see our forests, corn and rice fields and even plantations have turned from green to color brown,” Navarrete said.

She said corn products have suffered the biggest loss with an estimated P67 million worth while palay losses have amounted to P11 million.

Navarette said the drought has dried up 1,379 hectares of corn fields in 31 villages and affected more than 930 farmers.

Polomolok, situated at the foot of Mt. Matutum, was the hardest hit with 880 hectares affected followed by Tantangan which has 280 hectares in 20 villages affected.

Navarette said the amount of damages could even go higher as there is no rain in sight in the next few weeks.

The agriculture officer said her office has recommended to South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes to place the province under state of calamity to help farmers cope up with the calamity and allow the use of calamity fund by the provincial government.


MANILA  BULLETIN

Dry spell puts M’lang, Kabacan under state of calamity; S. Cotabato mulls same move by Philippine News Agency April 12, 2015


NO RAIN SINCE JANUARY

Cotabato City – The towns of M’lang and Kabacan – two rice producing towns in North Cotabato – have been placed under state of calamity due to severe drought that already destroyed about P230 million worth of crops in the province.

Officials placed the damage to crops in M’lang and Kabacan at P40 million and P21 million respectively.

The declaration came after the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s recommendation to allow the local government units to use their calamity funds.

Among the heavily affected agricultural products are rubber and banana – two major agricultural products of M’lang next to rice.

Rice and corn fields in M’lang have dried up, forcing farmers to shift to heat resistant crops which take time to grow.

In Kabacan, Mayor Herlo Guzman Jr. said the local agriculture office is finalizing the list of farmers to be given assistance after rice fields, corn fields, banana plantation and rubber plantation have dried up.

READ  MORE...
Grass fires which occur every now and then also threaten crops that can still be recovered.

Dr. Eliseo Mangliwan, North Cotabato provincial agriculturist, has recommended the conduct of cloud seeding operations to the Department of Agriculture.

But while the DA-12 is ready for cloud seeding, Mangliwan said it cannot be carried out right away due to the absence of “seedable clouds.”

NO RAIN SINCE JANUARY

Thick clouds have been rare in the province, even over the country’s highest peak and North Cotabato’s rain forest.

The province has not experienced rain since January.

Mangliwan said the dry spell cut the water level by about 50 percent affecting the irrigation system in North Cotabato.

In South Cotabato, local officials placed the crop damage to about P78.8 million as of April 9 with agricultural products suffering heavy losses in all 10 towns.

“You can see our forests, corn and rice fields and even plantations have turned from green to color brown,” Justina Navarete, South Cotabato acting agriculturist told a news conference Friday.

CORN MOST AFFECTED

Corn production suffered the biggest loss with an estimated P67 million while palay incurred losses amounting to P11 million.

Navarette said the drought has dried up 1,379 hectares of corn fields in 31 villages and affected more than 930 farmers.

Polomolok, situated at the foot of Mt. Matutum, was the hardest hit with 880 hectares affected followed by 280 hectares in Tantangan covering 20 villages.

Navarette said the losses could increase as there is still no rain in sight in the next few weeks.

18 TOWNS HIT

The dry spell also hit 18 towns in Maguindanao damaging at least P66.27 million worth of crops mostly corn followed by rice grains and affected about 8,000 farmers.

Data from the Maguindanao Provincial Agriculture Office show that at least P1million worth of livestock were damaged by the drought.

In General Santos, grass fires caused by the severe dry weather destroyed around 53 hectares of tree plantation.

Wahid Amella, acting head of the Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) said some grass fires were traced to charcoal-making and other related activities of residents.

SOIL MOISTURE

But there is a bit of relief.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the dry soil moisture conditions will likely prevail in most regions nationwide starting April 11-20.

Such conditions can be expected in regions I, II, IV-B, VI, VII, IX, X, XI and XII as well as Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), National Capital Region (NCR) and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Among agricultural activities already in progress are harvesting of rice, corn and other crops.

PAGASA’s forecast rainfall during the reference period ranges from zero to 25 millimeters in regions I, II and XII, CAR and NCR.

Average number of rainy days 0.1 millimeter or more varies from zero to three days (Regions I, XII and NCR), one to four days (Region II) and two to five days (CAR), the agency said.

Between zero to 50 millimeters of rainfall can be expected in Regions IV-B and VI as well as ARMM, noted PAGASA.

Such regions can likely experience an average zero to four rainy days, zero to three rainy days and one to four rainy days, respectively, the agency added.

Forecast rainfall of zero to 75 millimeters is possible in Regions IX, X and XI while Region VII will likely experience 25 millimeters to 75 millimeters of rainfall.

An average of one to four rainy days in Regions IX and VII as well as two to five rainy days in regions X and XI are possible, PAGASA said.

WEAK EL NINO

PAGASA made the forecast, noting the whole country will “generally have good weather conditions aside from having localized rain showers or thunderstorms” during the reference period.

Ridge of a high-pressure area and the easterlies are weather systems likely to affect major parts of the country during the period.

“Weak El Nino condition is currently on-going in eastern and central equatorial Pacific,” PAGASA added.

PAGASA said soil moisture conditions will likely be dry in Region III except Aurora province where the agency expects moist conditions to prevail.

The agency also expects dry conditions in Region IV-A except in Infanta (wet) and Alabat (moist).

In Region V, PAGASA forecast mostly moist soil conditions but clarified Albay and Masbate provinces will likely have wet and dry conditions, respectively.

Expected conditions are wet in Catarman and moist in Borongan while the rest of Region VIII will be dry.

For Region XIII, PAGASA said conditions will be wet in Surigao del Sur, moist in Surigao del Norte and dry in the Agusan provinces. (With a report from Malu Cadelina Manar)

GMA PHOTO NEWS ONLINE


Tourists take a splash in giant Albay pool to beat the dry-season heat while enjoying the perfect view of majestic Mayon Volcano in Albay province. Michael B. Jaucian


Sumulang Lake is new tourist attraction in Albay Uploaded April 11, 2015---
The Sumlang Lake in Albay's Camalig town is new addition to the list of tourist destinations surrounding the majestic Mayon Volcano.


Residents, tourusts beat the heat in Legazpi City: Residents, local and foreign tourists in Legazpi, Albay, swim in Legazpi Bay on Sunday April 12, to beat the dry-season heat.

PHILSTAR

Cardinal Tagle: Reception, photographer not wedding must-haves (philstar.com) | Updated April 12, 2015 - 5:15pm


Manila Archboshop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (left) observers as Pope Francis holds up the host at a Catholic Mass in Manila in January 2015. AP

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Archbisop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday reminded Christian couples that a lavish ceremony for weddings are not needed.

Tagle, who delivered a homily in Nepomuceno Parish in Malibay, Pasay City, said statements that couples delay marriage because of a lack of money to hold a reception sadden him.

"Hindi requirement ng Simbahan na para maging valid ang wedding kailangan mayroong napakarangyang reception," Tagle said in a Radio Veritas report.

"Lahat 'yan pinag-iipunan ninyo kaya hindi kayo makapag-pakasal. Hindi 'yun ang kahulugan ng kasal," he said.

Marriage directs couples to fulfill the will of God to live and love each other for life, Tagle said.

Jesus himself did not have much expensive clothes nor held generous receptions.

"Kahit walang marangyang handaan, kahit walang photographer, hindi mabubura ang mukha ng asawa ninyo sa puso ninyo," Tagle said.

He also said that marriage is not an invention that can be done away with.

"Napakalinaw sa simula't simula pa na nilalang ng Diyos ang tao nasa isip na ng Diyos ang pagsasama ng lalake at babae," he said.

"Nasa isip ng Diyos noong nilalang niya tayo na ang lalake at babae ay magsasama at ang kanilang pagsasama dahil galing sa kanya, hindi dapat pakialaman ng tao," Tagle added.


PHILSTAR

EXECUTIVE MAMASAPANO PROBE AT HOUSE: Solons vow to throw punches in closed-door session (philstar.com) | Updated April 12, 2015 - 11:36am


Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina, right, talks to Police/Director Benjamin Magalong at the start of the Lower House probe on the incident Jan. 25 wherein 44 elite police commandos known as SAF (Special Action Force) were killed allegedly in a clash with Muslim guerrillas, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 in Quezon City northeast of Manila, Philippines. Espina became emotional as the latter revealed an autopsy report that showed some of his anti-terror commandos were wounded but still alive when shot to death at close range by Muslim insurgents. The Lower House has postponed indefinitely the deliberation on the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL in southern Philippines following the killing of 44 commandos in southern Philippines, the worst combat loss by the Government in a single day in recent memory. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The closed-door executive session will be a venue where members of the inquiring House panel will ask more substantive questions to resource persons on the "Mamasapano clash," lawmakers said Sunday.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao said members of the Committee on Public Order and Security looking into the January 25 incident where 44 government forces were killed by rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao will raise sensitive matters on national security in the session.

"Out of the public eye, there will be no more reason to [pull] punches on the part of the House members and the resource persons will have to answer all the questions propounded," Pagdilao said.

"I mean that all questions of national security importance which were voluntarily withheld during the open hearing because of sensitivity can now be freely asked," he said.

READ MORE...
Congress resumed public hearings on the police anti-terrorist operation that spiraled into a bloody encounter the past week.

"Motions raised and objected will either be intensely debated or immediately voted upon to preclude this," Pagdilao added.

Deputy House Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao also noted that it was the guests from the police and military who asked for an executive session so they could freely speak on touchy subjects.

"[The resource persons] thought some of the questions asked by House members are very sensitive which cannot be freely discussed in public," Aggabao said.

Among the topics expected to be raised is the involvement of the United States in the operation to arrest Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

The House committee was earlier criticized for conducting a disorderly proceeding where no ground rules were observed by inquiring members.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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