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

METRO MANILA SHUTDOWN EYED FOR BIG QUAKE DRILL; 6 SCHOOLS WARNED


MAY 23 ---STAR/File photo 
- Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed.
That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a movement in the West Valley Fault. The West Valley Fault has moved four times in the past 1,400 years at an interval of 400 to 600 years. It was 357 years ago or in 1658 when the last big earthquake occurred in the country. Another major earthquake could take place should the West Valley Fault move again, according to Phivolcs. The 100-kilometer West Valley Fault transects 42 barangays in Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa and 30 barangays in Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite. Phivolcs has released the Valley Fault System Atlas, a handbook of large scale maps, which has been distributed to local government units. A source said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) plans to hold a metro-wide earthquake drill on July 16 to commemorate the massive earthquake that struck Luzon on July 16, 1990. However, Chairman Francis Tolentino is having second thoughts about the metro-wide drill being done on that date, the source added. READ MORE...

ALSO No stopping Binay in 2016, VP states anew: ‘Next leader needs executive experience’


MAY 25 ---File photo shows Vice President Jejomar Binay in front of the Seal of the President of the Philippines at Malacañang. At left, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas chats with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to Davao City last Friday. WILLY PEREZ 
- Vice President Jejomar Binay vowed anew yesterday that he would not back out from the presidential elections in 2016 despite the continued attacks against him and his family. Residents gave Binay a warm welcome in Iloilo as ordinary folks cheered and requested to take pictures with the Vice President. Political observers said the warm welcome showed that Binay is still popular in Iloilo, considered the bailiwick of Liberal Party leaders Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Senate President Franklin Drilon. “Lahat ng kasiraan, akala ko wala ng katapusan pero hindi po ako aatras. Kakandidato po ako sa darating na 2016 (They threw everything at me, I thought it would never end but I won’t back out),” Binay told his welcomers that included senior citizens at the public market of New Lucena, Iloilo, where he distributed wheelchairs and medical equipment. New Lucena is a sister town of Makati where Binay is former mayor. Iloilo has only one congressman supporting Binay — Rep. Hernan Biron of the 4th District. Among the welcomers were Mayor Liecel Mondejar-Seville, her brother board member June Mondejar and Mayor Peter Paul Lopez of San Dionisio town. READ MORE...

ALSO Binay: Why aren’t Abad, Drilon probed by AMLC?
[Binay said ruling LP is attacking me, they perpetrated lies against me because I am a candidate for president, and my ratings are high. If I were not a candidate, or if I did not have high ratings, they will not fabricate lies against me,” he said.“We are considering a number of people to be my vice president,” he said. He said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whom he said has the executive experience and competence, is among those being considered.]


MAY 25 ---LP leaders, Aquino allies Drilon and Abad: Uninvestigated. Vice President Jejomar Binay is asking why neither Senate President Franklin Drilon (left) nor Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. (above) have been investigated by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
VICE President Jejomar C. Binay blasted the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Sunday for failing to investigate the bank accounts of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon and other leaders of the Liberal Party who have been linked to anomalous transactions Abad was the brains behind the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada said was used to bribe members of Congress. In a privilege speech in 2013, Estrada revealed that several senators received P50 million to P100 million after the Senate impeachment court voted to convict President Benigno Aquino III’s political enemy, Chief Justice Renato Corona. Abad said some P10 billion or 7 percent of the P144 billion of savings pooled under DAP went to projects identified or endorsed by senators and congressmen. Drilon topped the list of senators, getting P100 million from DAP. The Supreme Court later struck down significant provisions of Abad’s DAP as unconstitutional. READ MORE...

ALSO: Massive 'political migration' from LP looms if PNoy picks ‘wrong’ 2016 bet


MAY 25 ---Warming his seat? INQUIRER FILE PHOTO President Aquino’s choice of a winnable standard-bearer for the 2016 presidential polls would make or break the Liberal Party (LP) and a “wrong” pick is likely to trigger migration from the ruling party in the last quarter of the year, a lawmaker warned yesterday. “The fate of LP as the dominant party will certainly depend not on who it will support, but if its candidate will (have a big chance to) win the 2016 elections,” said AKO BICOL partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe, spokesman of the 39-member Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCF). As LP chairman, “Aquino should prudently choose the party’s standard bearer because failure to do so would put the LP in a losing end,” said Batocabe. “If its (LP’s) candidate wins, we can all be assured that the LP will be dominant. If it loses, you can be assured that almost everybody will jump from a sinking ship,” he said. ‘MIGRATION’ AND ‘COLLAPSE’  He said the so-called “massive political migration” may be seen as the filing of certificates of candidacy (CoCs) in October nears. “It is still too early to tell. Wait until the last quarter of this year and the realignment of forces will slowly become more clear and defined,” Batocabe said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Garbage men, construction workers eye seats in Congress party lists


MAY 25 ---Based on the initial list of party-list groups that filed their application for accreditation and manifestation of intent to run in 2016, Samahang Magbabasura Inc., Sandigan ng mga Manggagawa sa Konstruksyon and Kapatirang Magmamais sa Pilipinas are looking at seats at the House of Representatives. File photo
 Garbage collectors, construction workers and corn farmers are among the 243 groups seeking to be accredited as party-list organizations by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the party-list race next year.
Based on the initial list of party-list groups that filed their application for accreditation and manifestation of intent to run in 2016, Samahang Magbabasura Inc., Sandigan ng mga Manggagawa sa Konstruksyon and Kapatirang Magmamais sa Pilipinas are looking at seats at the House of Representatives. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told The STAR yesterday that the poll body is currently conducting hearings to screen qualified groups. He said because of the April 2013 ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) on the Atong Paglaum case, the groups are thoroughly examined to see if they meet the basic requirements like track record and membership. READ MORE...

ALSO: Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning


MAY 24 --Composite photo shows a US Navy P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft which was asked to leave the area by the Chinese navy as it approached contested islands in the South China Sea. Photo also shows construction on Fiery Cross Reef, from where the warning could have been issued.
WASHINGTON – The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea.
The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and international law prevail in the area we are talking about does not change. That is why this is not affected by the new development,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told a press briefing yesterday. “Our position on this matter is consistent and resolute. While we recognize that there is tension, we will remain assertive and determined to push for our position by adhering to international law,” Coloma said. US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said it was unclear on what basis the Chinese navy issued the warning to a US military plane that was flying over the Spratlys in the South China Sea. Harf said the verbal warnings aired by the Chinese to the US plane could not be classified as a confrontation. READ MORE...

ALSO: A sunset party for APEC delegates


MAY 24 ---Dancers perform during a welcome dinner for delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting of trade ministers at Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s Banyugan Beach in Boracay yesterday. APEC 2015 MEDIA OPERATIONS CENTER
MANILA, Philippines - Greeted by the beat of Ati-atihan drummers, delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers meeting enjoyed a welcome dinner and cultural presentation at sunset yesterday. Dubbed FuntaSea, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s Banyugan Beach was transformed into a fantasy island, complete with mermaids, fire dancers, and choreographed paraws (sailboat) representing the best of Boracay. With APEC meetings being held all over the Philippines, each presentation is conceptualized to showcase the local culture of each host province. “The overall concept was set by Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez,” said project director Nestor Jardin. “He gave the creative guideline that the cultural presentation should project a unified statement that the Filipinos are a young, progressive, inclusive, forward-looking, youthful, innovative society.” READ MORE...

ALSO LRT CRASH: Thousands stranded, 1 hurt after LRT slammed into another train


MAY 23 ---LOCO MOTIVE Personnel of the Light Railway Transit authority examine the position of the two trains that were involved in the Saturday morning crash. PHOTO By MIkE DE JUAN
THOUSANDS of weekend rail commuters were stranded after a train of the Light Railway Transit Line 1 slammed into another train near the Monumento station on Saturday morning. A train operator was hurt after the impact caused his head to slam into the dashboard, Hernando Cabrera, spokesman of the Light Railway Transit Authority said. The LRTA immediately shut down the railway forcing passengers who were waiting for their ride in various stations to get down from the elevated terminals and look for alternative transport. Operations went back online at past 1 p.m. The Department of Transportation and Communications ordered the LRTA to investigate the incident. Cabrera said the accident was caused by power fluctuation that affected the railway’s signaling system. “The power fluctuation triggered the system to send command to stop all trains as a safety protocol, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and for that, the system was able to send command to all signal lights to turn red and stop all trains,” he said in a statement. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned


MANILA TIMES

LRT CRASH: Thousands stranded, 1 hurt after LRT slammed into another train May 23, 2015 11:09 pm by JAYSON CRUZ LUNA REPORTER


LOCO MOTIVE Personnel of the Light Railway Transit authority examine the position of the two trains that were involved in the Saturday morning crash. PHOTO By MIkE DE JUAN

THOUSANDS of weekend rail commuters were stranded after a train of the Light Railway Transit Line 1 slammed into another train near the Monumento station on Saturday morning.

A train operator was hurt after the impact caused his head to slam into the dashboard, Hernando Cabrera, spokesman of the Light Railway Transit Authority said.

The LRTA immediately shut down the railway forcing passengers who were waiting for their ride in various stations to get down from the elevated terminals and look for alternative transport.

Operations went back online at past 1 p.m.

The Department of Transportation and Communications ordered the LRTA to investigate the incident.

Cabrera said the accident was caused by power fluctuation that affected the railway’s signaling system.

“The power fluctuation triggered the system to send command to stop all trains as a safety protocol, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and for that, the system was able to send command to all signal lights to turn red and stop all trains,” he said in a statement.

READ MORE...
The trains involved in the incident were taken to the LRTA depot in Pasay City for inspection.

“The DOTC has instructed the LRTA to conduct a through but swift investigation in order to identify the exact cause of the incident,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message.

He added, “We want to ensure that no similar incidents will occur in the future specially since passenger safety remains our priority.”

In an interview with radio station dzMM, Cabrera said the train was running on a low speed when it slammed into the parked train.

A passenger interviewed over radio narrated that the train driver tried to hit the brakes but it failed to stop the train.

In 2011, operations of the LRT-1 was suspended after a train hit another train between the Balintawak and Roosevelt stations

Commuters’ lives Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares criticized the DOTC for “playing with the lives” of the commuters.

“Billions of pesos have been allocated to the DOTC for the MRT and LRT yet they play around with the lives of the commuters. Fortunately, there were no casualties but somebody should be held responsible for this,” he said.

“The LRT accident along with the MRT derailment last year is deplorable for the simple fact that it could have been prevented with the proper maintenance of the trains. The DOTC should not wait for a fatal accident before acting,” Colmenares added.

The group Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (Riles) Network blamed poor maintenance for the incident.

Riles spokesperson Sammy Malunes, a former employee of the LRTA, belied LRTA spokesperson Cabrera’s claim that a power fluctuation disrupted communication between the trains.

“No, power fluctuations should not cause trains collision. Any LRT worker can tell you that. Adjustments can be made by workers when there are power disruptions as long as the trains’ maintenance is okay,” Malunes said.

The group’s spokesperson said many accidents in the country’s train systems are caused by poor maintenance.

“Incidents like these force us to confront the problem with the country’s train systems. Private contractors are pocketing too much money while refusing to improve their service to the public,” Malunes added. WITH ROSALIE C. PERIABRAS AND NEIL A. ALCOBER


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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