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

PACMAN STILL RICHEST HOUSE MEMBER, LONE BILLIONAIRE SOLON


MAY 22 ---File photo of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando
For the fifth straight year, world boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao remained the richest member of the House of Representatives, with a net worth of P1.688 billion as of December 2014.
Pacquiao also remains the lone billionaire in the chamber since he was elected in 2010 based on the summary of the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of lawmakers that the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives released yesterday. The fighting congressman’s net worth grew by over P343 million since 2013, with real property worth P1.1 billion, personal property amounting to P734 million and liabilities of P155 million. Pacquiao’s net worth for 2014 jumped by some P343 million from the P1.345 billion he posted the previous year. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. was listed as the second richest lawmaker after his net worth increased by nearly P100 million from 2013 or to P921 million as reported in his 2014 SALN. Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos saw her net worth go down to P917 million in 2014 from P922 million in 2013 but she was still the third richest in the chamber. Fourth richest lawmaker is Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, who declared a net worth of P845 million. READ MORE...

ALSO: House panel approves house arrest for GMA


MAY 19 ---Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is under hospital arrest for a plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of about P360 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds. File photo
 The House of Representatives Justice Committee on Tuesday approved the resolution to place former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on house arrest. Voting 8-1, the committee approved Arroyo's request for humanitarian reasons. The resolution is non-binding and will be forwarded to the plenary for approval. Last April, the former president asked the Sandiganbayan to consider placing her under house arrest at her home in Lubao, Pampanga. Justice Committee chairperson Niel Tupas is confident that the resolution will be approved by the plenary, according to a report from radio dzMM. READ MORE...

ALSO: De Lima sees Veloso permanently saved from death row


MAY 22 ---Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso. AP/Slamet Riyadi
- Justice Secretary Leila de Lima believes the statements of the alleged illegal recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso will boost her quest to avoid being executed by firing squad in Indonesia. Speaking to reporters, De Lima yesterday said the statements of Maria Cristina Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao that Veloso did not know she was carrying heroin into Indonesia would be a “big help” to her lawyers in appealing her drug smuggling conviction and death penalty. “This is a good development and an indication that we are at the right direction, right track… If it will be proven in the ongoing investigation (that she is innocent), this will be a big thing for Mary Jane,” she said. “This shows that it was right to suspend the implementation of the death so the truth would first come out.”  The government will inform Indonesian authorities of the affidavits of Sergio and Lacanilao “for their own appreciation,” she added. De Lima said more information would come out in the preliminary investigation on the human trafficking, illegal recruitment and swindling charges against Sergio and Lacanilao. READ MORE...

ALSO: 5 Metro Manila areas highly vulnerable to quakes


MAY 22---Baseco compound in Manila has been identified as one of five areas in Metro Manila that are highly vulnerable in case of a 7.2-magnitude or stronger quake due to evacuation difficulties, being prone to fire and collapse of buildings and their big populations. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Five areas in Metro Manila have been identified during the Earthquake Resilience Conference in Makati City yesterday as “highly vulnerable” in case of a 7.2-magnitude or stronger quake due to evacuation difficulties, being prone to fire and collapse of buildings and their big populations. During the presentation of recommendations on the second day of the disaster preparedness seminar on Thursday, Ernesto Garilao, president of Zuellig Family Foundation, said these vulnerable areas were Bagong Silang and Batasan Hills in Quezon City, Addition Hills in Mandaluyong, Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal province, and Baseco compound in Manila. These places are not only those near the fault lines but also have a big population composed mostly of low-income families with limited access to basic services, he said. Called to identify gaps in the disaster preparedness and response and areas where collaboration and coordination are needed, the conference was attended by some 200 participants from the government, nongovernment organizations, business groups, civil society and the media.  READ MORE...

ALSO: Mild Quakes, 3.3 rock Batangas, Cagayan, Dinagat


MAY 24 ---Three mild quakes were recorded in various parts of the country on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
The first earthquake, which occurred at 2:04 a.m, measured magnitude 3.3 and was recorded off Calatagan town in Batangas. The quake’s epicenter was located seven kilometers north west of Calatagan. Fourteen minutes later, Phivolcs recorded a magnitude 3.8 earthquake with its epicenter located 119 kilometers northwest of Calayan in Cagayan at 2:18 a.m. The third quake occurred off Loreto town in Dinagat province at 2:23 a.m. The magnitude 3.0 quake was located 51 kilometers northeast of the said town. The three quakes were tectonic in nature. Phivolcs said that no damage and aftershocks were expected from the three temblors. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO U.S. BUILDS: US ambassador unveils climate-resilient school in Yolanda-hit Tacloban


MAY 22 ---Pupils at a school in typhoon-devastated Tacloban City can now have climate-resilient classrooms with the inauguration of a US-funded school building on Friday.
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg led the inauguration of the climate-resilient school building at San Fernando Central School in Tacloban City. The US Embassy in Manila posted photos of the inauguration and turnover of the project, implemented by the US Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development, on its social media accounts. LOOK AND READ MORE...

ALSO: P165-M anonymous Yolanda donations can’t be tapped


MAY 23 ---STAR/File photo
- Anonymity is not always the best policy. As much as P165 million in cash donations for relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda remain undisbursed because donors failed to identify themselves, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) bared yesterday. About P165 million of the total P1.15 billion in cash donations that were deposited in the bank accounts of the DSWD have yet to be used because of a government regulation requiring the identification and acknowledgment of donors, said DSWD spokesman Javier Jimenez. “We really wanted to utilize the funds and get them out the door. But... we have very vigilant and very specific guidelines and procedures governing the transfer of funds,” Jimenez said. “If we make a misstep, it could become a COA (Commission on Audit) disallowance,” he said, noting that such disallowances could mean penalties on concerned government officers. READ MORE...

ALSO: US travel advisory vs Mindanao 'justified' - AFP


MAY 22 ---jANUARY 2015 Photo from beforeitisnews-KIDNAPPED IN MINDANAO: It is hard for most of us to imagine how difficult life is for Christians in many parts of the world. Living as a minority is a hostile context is a daily struggle. Many times, our Christian family members are threatened or attacked because of their faith. MANILA -- A military official on Friday described as "justified" the travel advisory issued by the United States to its citizens in the Philippines. "The warning may have been brought about by the recent incidents of kidnapping where the victims were brought to Sulu," said Rear Adm. Reynaldo Yoma, commander of the military's Joint Task Force Zambasulta. Task Force Zambasulta is in charge of all military operations in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, areas infested by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. The group is tagged in recent cases of kidnapping in the area, including that of a Malaysian couple snatched in Sabah and allegedly brought to Sulu. "Tourists especially foreigners are likely targets for kidnapping so I believe the advisory is justified," said Yoma. Armed Forces of th Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said the military respects the US advisory. He said the military and the police are on top of the security situation in southern Philippines, particularly in Sulu, Basilan and the whole of Mindanao. He added that they have yet to receive any information about possible threats in said areas. Nonetheless, the military are continuously monitoring the situation. He urged the public "to be always vigilant against lawlessness and terrorism." THIS IS THE FULL REPORT


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pacman still richest House member


INQUIRER

5 Metro Manila areas highly vulnerable to quakes Maricar B. Brizuela @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:48 AM | Friday, May 22nd, 2015


Baseco compound in Manila has been identified as one of five areas in Metro Manila that are highly vulnerable in case of a 7.2-magnitude or stronger quake due to evacuation difficulties, being prone to fire and collapse of buildings and their big populations. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Five areas in Metro Manila have been identified during the Earthquake Resilience Conference in Makati City yesterday as “highly vulnerable” in case of a 7.2-magnitude or stronger quake due to evacuation difficulties, being prone to fire and collapse of buildings and their big populations.

During the presentation of recommendations on the second day of the disaster preparedness seminar on Thursday, Ernesto Garilao, president of Zuellig Family Foundation, said these vulnerable areas were Bagong Silang and Batasan Hills in Quezon City, Addition Hills in Mandaluyong, Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal province, and Baseco compound in Manila.

These places are not only those near the fault lines but also have a big population composed mostly of low-income families with limited access to basic services, he said.

Called to identify gaps in the disaster preparedness and response and areas where collaboration and coordination are needed, the conference was attended by some 200 participants from the government, nongovernment organizations, business groups, civil society and the media.

READ MORE...
Garilao said it was estimated that 5 million out of the 12 million population in Metro Manila were considered “highly vulnerable” in case of a strong earthquake.

“The vulnerable sector is important because in case of an earthquake, initial chaos breaks out,” he said, noting that these people would do anything to have access to food, even forcing open stores and other business establishments.

Garilao said the present response capability in the capital was inadequate. 

“Current local city management capability will always be inadequate primarily because of the magnitude of the disaster,” Garilao said. There is a strong need for collaborative efforts between the local government units (LGUs) and the private sector.

The LGUs of Quezon City, Makati City and Pasig City, which presented their disaster response plans for a strong earthquake, revealed that their response teams could only operate in the first 72 hours after the disaster.

If there will be no food and water for a day, the representatives of Makati and Pasig said they already have in place water purifying stations which will make use of the Pasig River.

In terms of emergency health services, the cities said hospitals could not accommodate the expected hundreds of injured individuals but said they will have field hospitals and personnel to accommodate residents.

Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the Valley Fault System Atlas, a handbook of large-scale maps of the possible disaster zone, was released by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) to inform people which areas would be greatly affected by a quake.

“The best way for us to be prepared is to inform and educate our people. This is our first line of defense,” Pama added noting a disaster only happens when people are not prepared for it.

The active fault line could generate a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that could pulverize communities along its path, Phivolcs warned.

An earthquake that strong could leave 37,000 people dead, cause 140,000 serious injuries and an economic loss of P2.5 trillion in an 11-million square meter area, according to a study released in 2013.

Francis Tolentino, chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, in a radio interview yesterday proposed a one-day Metro-wide earthquake simulation exercise for people to know what exactly they needed to do in case the disaster hits the National Capital Region.

He said every office or building should also have a public safety officer, echoing a proposal during the resilience conference.


INQUIRER

Mild Quakes, 3.3 rock Batangas, Cagayan, Dinagat Aries Joseph Hegina @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 12:31 PM | Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Three mild quakes were recorded in various parts of the country on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

The first earthquake, which occurred at 2:04 a.m, measured magnitude 3.3 and was recorded off Calatagan town in Batangas. The quake’s epicenter was located seven kilometers north west of Calatagan.

Fourteen minutes later, Phivolcs recorded a magnitude 3.8 earthquake with its epicenter located 119 kilometers northwest of Calayan in Cagayan at 2:18 a.m.

The third quake occurred off Loreto town in Dinagat province at 2:23 a.m. The magnitude 3.0 quake was located 51 kilometers northeast of the said town.

The three quakes were tectonic in nature.

Phivolcs said that no damage and aftershocks were expected from the three temblors.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

U.S. BUILDS: US ambassador unveils climate-resilient school in Yolanda-hit Tacloban May 22, 2015 7:38pm 0 0 0 New

Pupils at a school in typhoon-devastated Tacloban City can now have climate-resilient classrooms with the inauguration of a US-funded school building on Friday.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg led the inauguration of the climate-resilient school building at San Fernando Central School in Tacloban City.

The US Embassy in Manila posted photos of the inauguration and turnover of the project, implemented by the US Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development, on its social media accounts.

READ MORE...

Included in the project are eight fully-furnished classrooms "designed to withstand strong typhoons and earthquakes."

The embassy said this is part of the US government’s "larger effort to help rebuild and furnish 250 classrooms" to restore access to education for some 30,000 students in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Yolanda left more than 6,300 dead after devastating the Visayas in November 2013.

Goldberg also posted more photos of the turnover on his Twitter account.

He also led the turnover of the newly build TB-DOTS facility in Tacloban.

The envoy likewise attended a ceremony where USAID Manila is to build 100 sari-sari stores. — Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News


PHILSTAR

P165-M anonymous Yolanda donations can’t be tapped By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 23, 2015 - 12:00am


STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Anonymity is not always the best policy.

As much as P165 million in cash donations for relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda remain undisbursed because donors failed to identify themselves, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) bared yesterday.

About P165 million of the total P1.15 billion in cash donations that were deposited in the bank accounts of the DSWD have yet to be used because of a government regulation requiring the identification and acknowledgment of donors, said DSWD spokesman Javier Jimenez.

“We really wanted to utilize the funds and get them out the door. But... we have very vigilant and very specific guidelines and procedures governing the transfer of funds,” Jimenez said.

“If we make a misstep, it could become a COA (Commission on Audit) disallowance,” he said, noting that such disallowances could mean penalties on concerned government officers.

READ MORE...
Jimenez said the DSWD had announced, when they issued calls for donations for post-Yolanda efforts, that donors would have to send their names and the amount donated through the fax numbers or email addresses of the department.

“Normally, we ask them to email their deposit slips or send any fax or email that will verify that they deposited a certain amount in our bank account, so that we can properly acknowledge their donations,” he said.

However, for donations making up the P165 million still in the account, donors had failed to send any such fax or emails.

Jimenez said these unidentified donors could still send in their deposit slips if they still have them.

Of the P1.15 billion donated to DSWD bank accounts, P986 million have already been disbursed, noted Jimenez.

The amount was spent in supplemental feedings projects and sustainable livelihood programs, among others, he said.

He said issues on strict regulations governing unidentified donations have already been raised by the DSWD with COA officials and they intend to discuss these anew with newly appointed COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo.


ABS-CBN

US travel advisory vs Mindanao 'justified' - AFP ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 05/22/2015 7:33 PM


Photo from beforeitisnews-KIDNAPPED IN MINDANAO: It is hard for most of us to imagine how difficult life is for Christians in many parts of the world. Living as a minority is a hostile context is a daily struggle. Many times, our Christian family members are threatened or attacked because of their faith.

MANILA -- A military official on Friday described as "justified" the travel advisory issued by the United States to its citizens in the Philippines.

"The warning may have been brought about by the recent incidents of kidnapping where the victims were brought to Sulu," said Rear Adm. Reynaldo Yoma, commander of the military's Joint Task Force Zambasulta.

Task Force Zambasulta is in charge of all military operations in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, areas infested by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

The group is tagged in recent cases of kidnapping in the area, including that of a Malaysian couple snatched in Sabah and allegedly brought to Sulu. "Tourists especially foreigners are likely targets for kidnapping so I believe the advisory is justified," said Yoma.

Armed Forces of th Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said the military respects the US advisory.

He said the military and the police are on top of the security situation in southern Philippines, particularly in Sulu, Basilan and the whole of Mindanao.

He added that they have yet to receive any information about possible threats in said areas. Nonetheless, the military are continuously monitoring the situation.

He urged the public "to be always vigilant against lawlessness and terrorism."

----------------------------------------------------

INQUIRER

US citizens warned against traveling to Sulu, parts of Mindanao Frances Mangosing @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net 12:29 PM | Friday, May 22nd, 2015

The US state department has warned its American nationals against traveling to Sulu and parts of Mindanao due to “continuing threats in those areas due to terrorist and insurgent activities” and “high threat of kidnapping.”

“The Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu Archipelago, certain regions and cities of the island of Mindanao, and the southern Sulu Sea area. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated November 20, 2014, and reflects continuing threats in those areas due to terrorist and insurgent activities,” it said in an advisory updated last May 20.

The American nationals should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago and exercise extreme caution, it said.

It further said that “based on history of kidnappings and attempted kidnappings of foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and in the southern Sulu Sea area by terrorist or insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago, US citizens should continue to exercise extreme caution if considering travel in the southern Sulu Sea region from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao.

READ: US issues travel warning to PH over kidnapping threats

Separatist and terrorist groups continue to conduct bombings, kidnappings and attacks against civilians, political leaders and Philippine security forces.

The US state department also cited the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters as a threat, as it continues to remain active in Central Mindanao, particularly in Cotabato City, Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

There were no reported terrorist threats or incidents within the Davao City or Surigao City limits however.

“There have been no reports of US citizens in Mindanao targeted specifically for their nationality; however, general threats to US citizens and other foreigners throughout Mindanao remain a concern.

While US government officials in the Philippines travel to Mindanao for official business without any incident, the US state department said the Embassy is still imposing a strict restriction on all but most essential travel to the area, requiring them special authorization from Embassy security officials to travel to any location in Mindanao and Sulu.

“We strongly recommend that US citizens traveling to or residing in the Philippines enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest US embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest US embassy or consulate,” it said. IDL


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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