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

HERE COMES THE RAINY DAYS, BUT EL NIÑO WILL CUT 'EM SHORT


JUNE 24 ---INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The good news is that the rainy season has officially begun after months of drought. The bad news is the rains will last only three months and will be cut short by a “moderate to strong” El Niño in the last quarter of the year. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) announced on Tuesday the start of the rainy season in the western section of the country after prevalent rains were recorded over the weekend.
“Intermittent to continuous rains and thunderstorms associated with the southwest wind flow will affect Metro Manila and the western section,” Pagasa said. At the same time, the state weather agency said that “breaks in rain events” lasting for several days to weeks would be experienced “due to the persistence of the ridge of the north Pacific high pressure area.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Davao City improves to 5th in ranking of world’s safest cities


JUNE 24 ---Davao City is now the fifth safest city in the world, improving from its ninth-place ranking last month, according to the data released by crowd-sourcing survey site Numbeo.com. As of this writing, Davao City has a crime index of 18.18 and a safety index of 81.82. This month’s rating is a significant improvement from the city’s crime index of 19.31 and safety index of 80.69 from the previous survey.
Curiously, the Philippines has a crime index of 43.11 and a safety index of 56.89 according to the website. The city, which is led by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, trails behind fourth safest city Bursa, Turkey which has a crime index of 17.66 and a safety index of 82.34. Osaka, Japan tops the list with a safety index of 84.47, followed by Seoul, South Korea (83.42) and Singapore (83.36). READ MORE...

ALSO BICOL U. in Legazpi: Bicol graduate tops nursing exams


JUNE 25 ---With a grade of 86.40 percent, Benedict Rey Serrano, a graduate of Bicol University in Legazpi City, bested the more than 17,000 nursing graduates who took the licensure examination. File photo
A graduate of Bicol University in Legazpi City topped the Nursing Licensure Examination, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has announced. With a grade of 86.40 percent, Benedict Rey Serrano bested the more than 17,000 nursing graduates who took the licensure examination. PRC said of the total 17,891 examinees, only 9,707 passed the examination held in the cities of Manila, Bacolod, Baguio, Cabanatuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, Laoag, Legazpi, Lucena, Pagadian, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga. Riverside College graduate Charlyn Villa placed second with a score of 86.20 percent, followed in third spot by another Bicol University graduate Marinell Atos, Southern Luzon State University graduate Kevin Babia and Our Lady of Fatima graduate Christine Mae Galeon who all obtained a grade of 85.60 percent. West Visayas State University graduates Regine Betita, Erika Bicol, Liesel Sindol and Catanduanes State University graduate Mariah Monica Condeno; Our Lady of Fatima graduate Michelle Abby Maranan and Cebu Normal University graduate Danielle Ann Suarez shared the fourth spot as they all scored 85.20 percent. READ MORE...

ALSO: Is your home catastrophe-proof?
7 ways you can prepare for unforeseen events


JUNE 24 ---No one can ever be fully prepared for disasters both natural and man-made, but we sure can ready ourselves for them. Despite not knowing when disaster will strike, being aware of what you can do to react is key.
In the wake of the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal, and the heightened media attention of our local “susceptibility” to the same, a national metro-wide earthquake drill has been scheduled on July 30. Awareness efforts continue to increase, while schools and workplaces offer regular emergency drills for fire and earthquakes to make its populace capable of responding to unforeseen situations. But it is also a good idea to have the same amount of planning for your home. Here are some ways your home and family can be prepared for catastrophes. 1 REGULARLY HOLD MEETINGS ABOUT EMERGENCIES. Make sure everyone pays attention and understands. Your teenager can’t be glued onto a gadget while you are explaining what everyone should do in different situations. READ MORE...

ALSO: Erap inaugurates biggest Chinatown Friendship Arch in the world


JUNE 24 ---A crowd attends the ceremonial opening of the Chinatown friendship arch at the foot of Jones Bridge in Manila yesterday. The opening was led by Mayor Joseph Estrada and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua. Edd Gumban COURTESY OF PHILSTARFormer President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada led the unveiling of the new Chinatown Friendship Arch at the foot of Jones Bridge in Manila at 4 p.m. Yesterday. The arch, which is 63.8 feet in height and 74 feet in width, is the tallest and largest such arch in the world, outside of China. Before its construction, the Chinese Friendship Arch in Washington D.C. with a height of 60 feet and width of 74 feet was the biggest in the world. These dimensions were provided by District 3 Councilor Bernardito Ang, vice chairman of the Manila Chinatown Development Council. Ang added that the Arch was constructed at a cost of $650,000 or P28 million, without a single peso coming from the City of Manila. READ MORE...

ALSO: Erap ready to demolish 'Torre'


JUNE 21 ---With the Torre de Manila in the background, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada offers a wreath at the Rizal monument during the commemoration of the hero’s 154th birth anniversary yesterday. EDD GUMBAN
- Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is ready to facilitate the demolition of Torre de Manila if the Supreme Court (SC) so orders. “Yes, if the Supreme Court says so,” Estrada’s chief of media affairs Diego Cagahastian told The STAR in a text message yesterday. In an interview with GMA News’ State of the Nation, Estrada said the National Historical Commission of the Philippines is also to blame for declaring that the project would not affect the view of the Rizal monument. Former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim allegedly approved the construction of a 19-story building. However, Estrada presented documents showing Lim that signed a building permit to DMCI Holdings Inc. indicating the approval of a 49-story condominium building. Estrada said he is considering filing charges against Lim for saying he received money from DMCI to add more floors to the building. READ MORE...

ALSO: Army man is new Correctional chief: ‘No more VIPs in Bilibid’


JUNE 24 ---NEW BuCor chief Ricardo Rainier Cruz III takes his oath before Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday. RUEL PEREZ/RADYO INQUIRER
“Make all the country’s state penitentiaries drug-free.” This was the marching order of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, a retired Army general who took his oath Tuesday as the new director of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). “The job he’s going into is such a Herculean one, and therefore I’m sure that he is actually up to the challenge. I always have high expectations when it comes to those being given the opportunity to serve in very crucial institutions like BuCor. BuCor, as you very well know, is among the major constituent agencies of DOJ,” De Lima said at the rites.
In reply, Cruz said: “I’ve always promised to everyone whom I’m going to serve that I will really accomplish orders given to me. So, rest assured, Ma’am, you won’t regret choosing me.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Here come the rainy days but El Niño to cut them short


INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, JUNE 29, 2015 (PHILSTAR) @inquirerdotnet June 24th, 2015 - The good news is that the rainy season has officially begun after months of drought.

The bad news is the rains will last only three months and will be cut short by a “moderate to strong” El Niño in the last quarter of the year. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) announced on Tuesday the start of the rainy season in the western section of the country after prevalent rains were recorded over the weekend.

“Intermittent to continuous rains and thunderstorms associated with the southwest wind flow will affect Metro Manila and the western section,” Pagasa said.

At the same time, the state weather agency said that “breaks in rain events” lasting for several days to weeks would be experienced “due to the persistence of the ridge of the north Pacific high pressure area.”

READ MORE...

Full impact Pagasa was, however, quick to warn of a return of dry conditions, saying the current weak El Niño would intensify from moderate to strong from October to December this year.

From July to September, most of Luzon and the Visayas will still receive normal to above normal rainfall, according to Pagasa climatologist Anthony Lucero. “We’ll experience the full impact of El Niño in the last quarter of the year from October to December.

READ: Pagasa declares start of rainy season; 11-16 more cyclones before yearend

Most areas in the country will have below normal rainfall,” he warned. Drought in 17 provinces Lucero said major dams and river basins would reach critical levels owing to reduced rainfall.

Angat Dam, which supplies most of Metro Manila’s domestic water needs, will likely recover its normal operating level of 210 meters above sea level in the next three months, before the level goes down again during the El Niño months, Pagasa said.

Despite the onset of the rainy season, Pagasa said 17 provinces would continue to suffer from drought, or dry spell conditions, in July. Thirty-one other affected provinces will get some respite from the rains.

“Latest rainfall analysis showed that below normal rainfall conditions were experienced in many parts of the country,” Pagasa said in its latest El Niño bulletin.

11 to 16 cyclones El Niño was blamed for the delay in the start of the rainy season, which usually starts between the second week of May and the first week of June.

Even the arrival of typhoons was delayed, with no tropical storm hitting the country this month. The country usually gets one to two storms in June. Pagasa, however, still expects the country to be hit by 11 to 16 tropical storms the rest of the year.

Due to El Niño, the storms may be fewer but more intense, it said. Pagasa said slightly warmer than normal temperature would be experienced during the El Niño period.

“This El Nino episode may gradually weaken in the early months of 2016 and may likely terminate by May 2016,” it said.

El Niño is a weather phenomenon characterized by an unusual warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

Pagasa said the prevailing intertropical convergence zone across Mindanao would bring light to moderate rains on Wednesday over Mindanao, western and central Visayas and Palawan province.


INQUIRER

Davao City improves to 5th in ranking of world’s safest cities SHARES: 3535 VIEW COMMENTS By: Aries Joseph Hegina @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 04:11 PM June 24th, 2015

Davao City is now the fifth safest city in the world, improving from its ninth-place ranking last month, according to the data released by crowd-sourcing survey site Numbeo.com.

As of this writing, Davao City has a crime index of 18.18 and a safety index of 81.82.

This month’s rating is a significant improvement from the city’s crime index of 19.31 and safety index of 80.69 from the previous survey.

Curiously, the Philippines has a crime index of 43.11 and a safety index of 56.89 according to the website.

The city, which is led by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, trails behind fourth safest city Bursa, Turkey which has a crime index of 17.66 and a safety index of 82.34. Osaka, Japan tops the list with a safety index of 84.47, followed by Seoul, South Korea (83.42) and Singapore (83.36).

READ MORE...

Davao City is now safer than Espoo, Finland (81.16 safety index); Bergen, Norway (80.98); Heidelberg, Germany (80.78); Coimbra, Portugal (80.68); and Stuggart, Germany (80.53).

Numbeo.com is said to be the largest website which utilizes user-generated data on cities and countries worldwide.

The website features rankings of cities in topics such as health care, cost of living, and quality of life.

Research and data that are found in the site are not influenced by any government organization, Numbeo.com founder Mladen Adamovic claimed.

Data from the website have been cited by The New York Times, The Guardian, British Broadcasting Company, Forbes and Time magazine. IDL


PHILSTAR

Bicol graduate tops nursing exams By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 25, 2015 - 12:00am 0 6 googleplus0 0


With a grade of 86.40 percent, Benedict Rey Serrano, a graduate of Bicol University in Legazpi City, bested the more than 17,000 nursing graduates who took the licensure examination. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - A graduate of Bicol University in Legazpi City topped the Nursing Licensure Examination, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has announced.

With a grade of 86.40 percent, Benedict Rey Serrano bested the more than 17,000 nursing graduates who took the licensure examination.

PRC said of the total 17,891 examinees, only 9,707 passed the examination held in the cities of Manila, Bacolod, Baguio, Cabanatuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, Laoag, Legazpi, Lucena, Pagadian, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga.

Riverside College graduate Charlyn Villa placed second with a score of 86.20 percent, followed in third spot by another Bicol University graduate Marinell Atos, Southern Luzon State University graduate Kevin Babia and Our Lady of Fatima graduate Christine Mae Galeon who all obtained a grade of 85.60 percent.

West Visayas State University graduates Regine Betita, Erika Bicol, Liesel Sindol and Catanduanes State University graduate Mariah Monica Condeno; Our Lady of Fatima graduate Michelle Abby Maranan and Cebu Normal University graduate Danielle Ann Suarez shared the fourth spot as they all scored 85.20 percent.

READ MORE...

Garnering a score of 85 percent, Cebu Doctors graduate Devin Edjohn Michael Aballe, University of Pangasinan graduate Alexis John Castro, Centro Escolar University graduate Janesa Lara Comilang, University of Bohol graduate Euben Hope Gamutan, Ateneo de Zambonga graduate Darwana Ibbang, Cebu Medical Center graduate Ma. Rejena Grace Palatan, Cebu Normal University graduate Arielle Joy Rosales and Xavier University graduate Nina Sabardan captured the fifth spot.

Sixth placers were San Beda College graduate Julius Bryan Abesamis, Bicol University graduate Kristine Marie Basas, Benguet State University graduate Keren Joy Compelio, University of the Philippines graduate Kerima Danica Gayo, Makati Medical Center graduate John Dene Patrick Job, Holy Name University graduate Krissa Mae Lapiz, Notre Dame graduate Tazmeen Mariwa and Angeles Foundation graduate Mikaela Marie Medina who all got a score of 84.80 percent.

Sharing seventh place with a grade of 84.60 percent were Universidad de Santa Isabel graduate Al Gian Dialogo, Perpetual Help College graduate Jada Bianca Diaz, Cebu Normal University graduate Chara Maive Amor Gabiana, Chinese General Hospital Colleges graduate Karla Patricia Giorla, Manila Tytana College graduate Suharto Jundam, Philippine Women’s University graduate Ma. Therese Lafayette Magtibay, University of the Phililippines-School of Health and Science graduate Daisyrie Aidyl Pamogas, St. Paul College Foundation graduate Jake Taladro, De La Salle University-Health Sciences Institute graduate Elmera May Toledo, Mindanao Sanitarium and Hospital College Medical Arts Foundation graduate Tarquin Orpheus Tomada and Ateneo de Zamboanga graduate Ma. Kristel Rose Vesagas.

Eight place 84.40% ---Carla Mae Abrigo of Silliman University, Cebu Normal University graduate Elisha Gine Andales, University of Pangasinan graduate Camille Billote, University of La Salette graduate Cathlyn Mae Carlos, Cebu Doctors University graduate Rose Jessamae Cultura, Lyceum of the Philippines graduate Cristhine Jane de Castro, Velez College graduate Mika Marie Desiderio, De La Salle University graduate Fleurdelyn Garing, Southern Luzon State University graduate Ellaine Gayle Imperio, University of Pangasinan graduate Jean Laluan, Southville International School and Colleges graduate John Anthony Ngo, Cebu Normal University graduate Christine Joy Roferos, Benguet State Unversity graduate Rencel Finnos Sabog, West Visayas State University graduate Frances May Soberano, Adventist University of the Philippines graduate Gienel Alodia Tatlongmaria and Mariano Marcos State University graduate Carlo Magno Vistro all scored 84.40 percent and placed eighth.

Ninth placers who scored 84.20 percent were Chinese General Hospital graduate Aira Mae Asagra, University of Saint Louis graduate Dominic Asuncion, West Visayas State University graduate Ma.Fesa Barrio, Cebu Normal University graduate Jansel Buencaloloy, University of Perpetual Help System graduate Louanne Tracy Calixjian, University of Pangasinan graduate Kate Lowin Cardona, University of Cordilleras graduate Elleine Ruth Canero, Dr. Yanga’s Colleges Inc. graduate Dennis del Mar, Bicol University graduate Dayanara Dimatulac, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center graduate John Paolo Espina, University of Pangasinan graduate Sarah Estrada, another University of Pangasinan graduate Alben Fernandez, Bicol University graduate Michelle Ann Hilis, Xavier University graduate Trisha Camille Lagrito, Iloilo Doctors College graduate Stephanie Locsin, Bataan Peninsula State University graduate Marc Anthony Manalili, University of the Cordilleras graduate Joji Mheple Mangiyo, Velez College graduate Mary Frances Penalosa, Chinese General Hospital Colleges graduate Kimberley Kaye Sosmena, Bicol University graduate Ma Jella Turallo, and Far Eastern University graduate Aaron Vinluan.

With a grade of 84 percent, Angeles University Foundation graduate Alexandra Marie Silanigue, Gordon College graduate Darwin Anthony Antigua, Silliman University graduate Sabrina Kristine Avancena, Ateneo de Zamboanga graduate Charmaine Rose Jean Bayan, West Visayas State University graduate Ma. Gay Biscaro, Bicol University graduate Mabelle Consulta, Xavier University graduate Ruel Ray Cuay, West Visayas State University graduate Joanna Francessca de Matias, Wesleyan University graduate Ma. Paola Joy Esposo, Ateneo de Zambonga graduate Jomarie Mhel Himor, Olivarez College graduate Jezreel Bon Juanitez, Arellano University graduate Josua Lacsina, Cebu Normal University graduate Renee Camielle Laguda, Xavier University graduate Llybe Kristen Lobido, Perpetual Help College graduate Rodilyn Anne Maravillo, University of Makati graduate Carmela Lea Mira, De La Salle University graduate Liana Monique San Lorenzo, University of Cebu graduate Dann Francis Sarnillo, Cebu Normal University graduate Jasafe Rinon Taborada, another Cebu Normal University graduate Kathlyn Tan and Angeles University Foundation graduate Nico Eulogio Tiu placed 10th.


MANILA BULLETIN

Is your home catastrophe-proof?
7 ways you can prepare for unforeseen events
by Joyce Reyes-Aguila June 24, 2015 Share1 Tweet1 Share0 Email0 Share4

No one can ever be fully prepared for disasters both natural and man-made, but we sure can ready ourselves for them. Despite not knowing when disaster will strike, being aware of what you can do to react is key.

In the wake of the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal, and the heightened media attention of our local “susceptibility” to the same, a national metro-wide earthquake drill has been scheduled on July 30.

Awareness efforts continue to increase, while schools and workplaces offer regular emergency drills for fire and earthquakes to make its populace capable of responding to unforeseen situations.

But it is also a good idea to have the same amount of planning for your home. Here are some ways your home and family can be prepared for catastrophes.

1 REGULARLY HOLD MEETINGS ABOUT EMERGENCIES.

Make sure everyone pays attention and understands. Your teenager can’t be glued onto a gadget while you are explaining what everyone should do in different situations.

READ MORE...

Involve your house help as well. Give examples of emergencies and discuss what they should do. Encourage questions so that all situations may be covered. If you change the location of flashlights or emergency kits, update everyone with the information. Your family’s emergency plan is everybody’s business.

2 DESIGNATE ROLES.

No matter how old your children are, involve them in completing or attending to your emergency checklist. Task teenagers with ensuring that windows are closed or appliances are unplugged.

Make them check the household’s water supply for drinking, cooking, and for taking a bath. If your area is prone to flooding, assign an older child to take a younger sibling to a higher floor.

If you have an elderly or disabled member in the family, assign someone to partner with them, too. If you have to evacuate, ensure that every family member knows what they should do and bring.

3 ASSEMBLE A RED CROSS-APPROVED SURVIVAL KIT.

One of the three main tips of the organization is to ready a bag of essentials that you can quickly grab when you have to vacate your home. The contents of this bag should include drinking water, with the recommended amount of a gallon a day per person.

Pack food that does not spoil like cookies or canned goods with pop tops that can be opened without a can opener. Red Cross also advises that a flash light and a first aid kit be included in the kit.

Other essential items: A battery-operated radio; disinfecting wipes; medicine (with a supply that is good for seven days for family members taking regular medication); bleach for purifying water; and copies of important documents like insurance policies, birth certificates, and passports.

4 CHECK AND FIX, IF NECESSARY, YOUR HOME’S PHYSICAL STRUCTURE.

Your home is your family’s fortress from disasters like flooding. If the ceiling gives in during a typhoon due to heavy downpour, it is obviously not safe for your family to be there.

Regularly check your roof, walls, windows, and water pipes for any damage. It is cheaper to repair before disaster strikes than incur more costs because of the aftermath.

5 CLEAR YOUR HOME’S SURROUNDINGS.

Don’t forget to check around your property to prevent further damage. Fold and secure garden umbrellas, grills, and outdoor chairs.

Check on your vehicles, and find proper storage for bicycles and motorcycles.

Heavy rain and strong winds can damage these or cause them to hit parts of your home or even people.

6 CLEAR YOUR HOME’S SURROUNDINGS.

Don’t forget to check around your property to prevent further damage. Fold and secure garden umbrellas, grills, and outdoor chairs.

Check on your vehicles, and find proper storage for bicycles and motorcycles.

Heavy rain and strong winds can damage these or cause them to hit parts of your home or even people.

7 AGREE ON A MEETING PLACE.

In case some family members are not home during an emergency, an alternative safe place should be designated just in case you can’t get in touch with them. It can be a residence of a relative, or a family friend.

Always remind your children not to take risks in commuting just to reach home. If school is the safest place to stay, assure them that it is a good option.

If you frequent a mall, assign a place near the mall in case it is evacuated and the family gets separated.

You can opt for an open space like the entrance of a particular parking area, the front door of a convenience store, or waiting shed across the mall.


TRIBUNE

Erap inaugurates biggest Chinatown Friendship Arch worldwide Written by Pat C. Santos Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:00


A crowd attends the ceremonial opening of the Chinatown friendship arch at the foot of Jones Bridge in Manila yesterday. The opening was led by Mayor Joseph Estrada and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua. Edd Gumban COURTESY OF PHILSTAR

Former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada led the unveiling of the new Chinatown Friendship Arch at the foot of Jones Bridge in Manila at 4 p.m. Yesterday.

The arch, which is 63.8 feet in height and 74 feet in width, is the tallest and largest such arch in the world, outside of China.

Before its construction, the Chinese Friendship Arch in Washington D.C. with a height of 60 feet and width of 74 feet was the biggest in the world.

These dimensions were provided by District 3 Councilor Bernardito Ang, vice chairman of the Manila Chinatown Development Council.

Ang added that the Arch was constructed at a cost of $650,000 or P28 million, without a single peso coming from the City of Manila.

READ MORE...

It has been funded by donations from businessmen in the People’s Republic of China, and solicited by the Philippine-Chinese Amity Club and Councilor Ang.

Mayor Estrada said the new Friendship Gate is part of the restoration effort of the city to make the Manila Chinatown regain its leadership in the field of business and local tourism.

He cited that although most countries have their own Chinatown, the one in Manila is the biggest in terms of territory and population outside of China itself.

Councilor Ang cited that trade between China and the Philippines started some 400 years ago.

Formal diplomatic relations, however, started in 1975 during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.

When Estrada became mayor in 2013, he promised to pursue the restoration of Binondo and Escolta areas, as part of the overall efforts to make Manila regain its premiere status as capital of the Philippines, especially in the areas of trade, business, and tourism.


PHILSTAR

Erap ready to demolish Torre By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 21, 2015 - 12:00am 15 2718 googleplus0 1


With the Torre de Manila in the background, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada offers a wreath at the Rizal monument during the commemoration of the hero’s 154th birth anniversary yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is ready to facilitate the demolition of Torre de Manila if the Supreme Court (SC) so orders.

“Yes, if the Supreme Court says so,” Estrada’s chief of media affairs Diego Cagahastian told The STAR in a text message yesterday.

In an interview with GMA News’ State of the Nation, Estrada said the National Historical Commission of the Philippines is also to blame for declaring that the project would not affect the view of the Rizal monument.

Former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim allegedly approved the construction of a 19-story building.

However, Estrada presented documents showing Lim that signed a building permit to DMCI Holdings Inc. indicating the approval of a 49-story condominium building.

Estrada said he is considering filing charges against Lim for saying he received money from DMCI to add more floors to the building.

READ MORE...

‘Solomonic solution’

Amid the controversy, Nueva Ecija provincial board member Joseph Ortiz proposed the painting of the façade of the building with the Philippine flag as a “Solomonic solution.”

“I think it’s a win-win solution...If heritage advocates are claiming that the Torre de Manila is spoiling the view in Rizal Park, then a giant image of the Philippine flag serving as a backdrop to the Rizal monument would surely not spoil the view of people. That’s the only solution I could think of,” he said.

Ortiz said he came up with the idea shortly after Independence Day. He said the Philippine flag would complement the iconic Rizal monument.

“I don’t see any reason why heritage advocates would oppose my proposal if only in keeping with their argument that national heritage should be protected. No national heritage is more symbolic than the flag itself,” he added.

He said he is confident his proposal would be acceptable even to foreigners who are fond of taking pictures of shrines and heritage sites.

He said demolishing the building and leaving only seven stories would not solve the problem.

Ortiz said the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the SC on the construction of the building, with a vote of eight in favor and five against, is not conclusive.

“If it’s 13-0, then we can say the order was overwhelming but it is not. The fact is, there may even be a chance it would be reversed,” he said.

Pleased with TRO

In a statement, the Department of Tourism said it was pleased with the TRO on the construction of Torre de Manila.

“The DOT is one of the government agencies which raised concerns… it threatens the sanctity of Rizal monument… an important site in Philippine history and a major tourist attraction in the city of Manila. We support the advocacy of preserving the country’s historical and cultural sites, which serve as visual icons of our country’s proud heritage and rich culture,” the statement read.

In their petition, the Knights of Rizal alleged that by defacing the visual corridors of the monument, DMCI violated laws on the protection and preservation of the Rizal monument.

These laws include Republic Act 4846 or the Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act, RA 7356 (creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts) and RA 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 or the Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of the National Cultural Heritage).

The petitioners said the project could also be considered a nuisance under the Civil Code of the Philippines. They cited Article 694 of the code, which defines a nuisance as “any act, omission, establishment, condition of property or anything else which annoys or offends the senses; or shocks, defies or disregards decency or morality.”

The project violated the zoning ordinance of the city of Manila, they added.

They said Torre de Manila is within the city’s “institutional university cluster,” an area reserved for schools and government buildings under the ordinance. – With Jess Diaz, Mike Frialde, Manny Galvez


INQUIRER

Army man is new BuCor chief: ‘No more VIPs in Bilibid’ SHARES: 1087 VIEW COMMENTS By: Jerome Aning @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:47 AM June 24th, 2015


NEW BuCor chief Ricardo Rainier Cruz III takes his oath before Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday. RUEL PEREZ/RADYO INQUIRER

“Make all the country’s state penitentiaries drug-free.” This was the marching order of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, a retired Army general who took his oath Tuesday as the new director of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). “The job he’s going into is such a Herculean one, and therefore I’m sure that he is actually up to the challenge. I always have high expectations when it comes to those being given the opportunity to serve in very crucial institutions like BuCor. BuCor, as you very well know, is among the major constituent agencies of DOJ,” De Lima said at the rites.

In reply, Cruz said: “I’ve always promised to everyone whom I’m going to serve that I will really accomplish orders given to me. So, rest assured, Ma’am, you won’t regret choosing me.”

READ MORE...

Asked about his priorities, the new BuCor chief said he would focus on “cleaning” the country’s biggest penitentiary, New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, whose past officials had been repeatedly exposed for extending VIP treatment to moneyed inmates.

“We have to clean the NBP. We have to apply equal treatment to the inmates. With that, we can now look into the welfare of the inmates. So, I have to remove the VIP treatment. I have to stop the entry of luxury items,” Cruz said.

He said he would also launch an anticorruption drive at the BuCor, citing his experiences in fighting corruption in the military.

Cruz, 57, handled various provincial commands during his 38-year stint in the Philippine Army, where he had served in bidding committees and intelligence units.

Cruz replaced Franklin Jesus Bucayu who resigned last April, citing health reasons. De Lima, however, asked Bucayu to stay on until his replacement is found.

“When I saw his accomplishments as an officer in the Armed Forces, I told myself that I think he has the right mettle,” the secretary said, referring to the new appointee.

Cruz, she said, should also start the preparations for the planned construction of a new prison facility in Laur, Nueva Ecija province, that would house inmates from the NBP and the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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