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

TROPICAL STORM 'EGAY': LANDSLIDES SHUT DOWN KENNON ROAD


JULY 6 ---Photo shows Baguio City's famed Kennon Road. File photo/Allan Reyes  Tropical Storm Egay yesterday caused landslides and massive flooding in Northern Luzon, leaving a number of roads impassable, including Kennon and Halsema Roads leading to Baguio City. Egay slightly weakened after crossing the mountains of Sierra Madre, but it continued to dump heavy rains in most parts of Northern and Central Luzon. The storm made landfall over Palanan, Isabela Saturday night. The Baguio City District Engineering Office closed Kennon Road after strong rains since Saturday night loosened the soil along the road, causing rocks and boulders from the mountain slopes to roll down. Local officials also closed the Baguio-Bontoc road (Halsema Highway) particularly along the Aw-awigan section in Sabangan town, Mountain Province because of landslide. The Itogon road in Benguet was also closed. Motorists were advised to use the Midas-Ucab road en route to Itogon town proper. The storm also caused massive flooding in 11 areas in La Union namely Bangar, Luna, Balaoan, Bacnotan, San Juan, San Fernando City, Bauang, Caba, Aringay, Agoo, Sto. Tomas and Rosario, according to Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Ilocos regional director Melchito Castro. Castro said even the regional offices of the social welfare and health departments were affected by floods. “The major roads here are almost impassable. Some houses were submerged,” he added. Castro said rescuers from member agencies of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council have been sent to flooded areas. Rescuers from Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan were also alerted for possible deployment. READ MORE...

ALSO: Ormoc ferry death toll at 60 still going up


JULY 6 ---Rescuers help passengers from a capsized ferry boat, center, in Ormoc city on Leyte Island, Philippines, Thursday, July 2, 2015. Ignatius Martin/Miquicar Photostudio via AP
  ORMOC CITY, Philippines – The number of fatalities from the sinking of a ferry off the coast of this city on Thursday hit 60 with two more bodies retrieved at the site yesterday.
There were reports that another body was retrieved off the coast of nearby Merida town but this has yet to be verified by authorities. The Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has reported the death toll from M/B Kim Nirvana at 61. Nelita Navales, Ormoc City health officer, however said the official body count remained at 60, as two more bodies – a woman and a young girl – were added to the list. Their bodies were found floating near the site where the ferry sank. Navales said another body reportedly fished out of the waters of Merida was not included in their official count pending verification. READ MORE...

ALSO: 7.1m Filipinos have phones, but no toilets - WHO, UN report


JULY 6 ---ABOUT 7.1-million Filipinos defecate in the open because they have no toilets, Senator Ralph Recto said Sunday as he quoted a joint report that the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund issued on Wednesday. “The family cellphone ownership rate in this country is higher than toilets per household,” Recto said. The joint report, “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Assessment,” says 570,000 Filipinos use “unimproved sanitation facilities” like buckets and open-pit latrines when defecating. It says more than half a million Filipinos have no toilets, 8.4 million have no access to clean drinking water, and about 2.3 million use untreated “surface water” from rivers, dams, canals for drinking. In addition, 6.1 million Filipinos get their drinking water from “unimproved drinking water sources” like unprotected dug wells and unprotected springs. Recto said the report, which tracks the access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals, should prompt the government to increase its investments on clean water and sanitation. “This should be part of the assumption of the 2016 budget,” Recto said. The Aquino administration’s sixth and final budget, which reportedly will breach P3 trillion, is expected to be submitted to Congress by the end of the month. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace leads manhunt for 2 Binay aides
[Limlingan and Baloloy are alleged to be the “most trusted” persons of the Vice President, who is the subject of an unending demolition job by his political opponents in the Aquino administration and the ruling Liberal Party (LP).]


JULY 6 ---COLOMA: Palace now on global witch hunt... Vice President Jejomar Binay’s feared witchhunt on his allies seems to have started as the government is now in the midst of a global search for Gerry Limlingan and Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, who have no court charges but are accused as Binay’s bagmen in the marathon Senate investigation undertaken by his political opponents.
The Palace said it had sought the help of the International Police Organization (Interpol) in tracking down Limlingan and Baloloy “to enforce warrants of arrest” issued by the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee based on charges of contempt for snubbing the hearings. The Palace also indicated plans to seek the cancellation of the passports for the two supposed Binay associates through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).The hearings started on the supposed anomalies hounding the Makati City Hall Building II but later on covered almost all allegations that can be dug up against Binay and members of his family. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, on radio, said Justice Secretary Leila De Lima mentioned that law enforcers may seek the assistance of the International Police Organization (Interpol) in tracking Limlingan and Baloloy, who allegedly fled the country in the face of the Senate order. READ MORE...

ALSO: Gov’t warns public against ‘fake rice’


JULY 6 ---Video grab from ANC shows the styrofoam-like appearance of the synthetic rice, which is reportedly made from potatoes, sweet potatoes and resin. Malacañang advised the public to be vigilant in buying rice as "fake rice" was reported to have reached Davao City. PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO  Malacañang yesterday warned the public anew for possibly purchasing “fake rice” which continues to be investigated by the National Food Authority (NFA) after reports reveal the first case in Davao City last week. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. aired the advisory over state-run dzRB, noting that the President has directed the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to locate where the synthetic rice came from. “We are calling out to the people to be careful of buying rice and only purchase from accredited and reliable sellers; those who are authorized rice dealers or rice traders with permission from the NFA and authorities,” Coloma said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pinoy seafarers ‘stay afloat’ in crisis-riddled Greece


JULY 6 --PINOY SEAFARER The country’s largest labor group said yesterday that majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are working for Greek employers will be immune from the impact of the ongoing debt crisis of Greece. In a statement, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) President Ernesto Herrera disclosed that majority of the OFWs in Greece are employed in Greek-flag ships which make up 16 percent of the world’s ocean-going vessels. He said shipping companies are expected to continue making profit even as the rest of the other industries in Greece face possible decline in their operations. “We are counting on Greek trading ships, which are earning quite a lot in US dollars, to stay afloat. They are fairly insulated from the Greek government’s extreme financial distress,” Herrera said. Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the TUCP pointed out there are around 53,000 Filipino seafarers in Greece who were able to remit around US$290 last year and US$92 million from January to April this year. “Greece is the Philippines’ fifth-largest source of dollar remittances from sailors, after the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan,” Herrera said. Herrera said they are anticipating this trend to continue even if Greece suffers from prolonged financial woes after it failed to pay its US$1.7-billion debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last Tuesday. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also earlier said it is not seeing any mass displacement in Greece since OFWs are considered as important members of its work force. The DOLE will keep monitoring the welfare of OFWs in Greece to provide them with the necessary assistance. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO EARLY RESULTS: Greek referendum final polls show ‘No’ vote ahead by small margin


JULY 6 --ATHENS - Opinion polls released after Greece's bailout referendum on Sunday showed the 'No' vote ahead, suggesting voters had defied warnings from across Europe that rejection of the creditors' terms would set their country on a path out of the euro. No exit polls were conducted, but three opinion polls by GPO, Metron Analysis and MRB all showed the 'No' camp' ahead by three points. A poll by Marc estimated 49.5 to 54.5 percent of Greeks voted 'No' compared to 45.5 to 50.5 percent voting 'Yes', based on surveys conducted through the week. The polls were released after voting ended on Sunday because of a ban on the publication of polls on the day before a vote is held. Nikos Filis, parliamentary spokesman for the ruling Syriza party said the result of the opinion polls would allow the government to move ahead quickly to reach a deal with creditors. "I think this is guidance for the government," he said after the polls came out. Athens' partners have warned over the past week that a 'No' vote would mean cutting bridges with Europe and driving Greece's crippled financial system into outright bankruptcy, dramatically worsening the country's 5-year-long depression. If confirmed, the result will also deliver a hammer blow to the European Union's grand single currency project. Intended to be permanent and unbreakable when it was created 15 years ago, the euro zone could now be on the point of losing its first member with the risk of further unraveling to come. Greek banks, which have been closed all week and rationing withdrawals from cash machines, are expected to run out of money within days unless the European Central Bank provides an emergency lifeline. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Landslides shut down Kennon Road


Photo shows Baguio City's famed Kennon Road. File photo/Allan Reyes

MANILA, JULY 6, 2015
(PHILSTAR) By Alexis Romero - Tropical Storm Egay yesterday caused landslides and massive flooding in Northern Luzon, leaving a number of roads impassable, including Kennon and Halsema Roads leading to Baguio City.

Egay slightly weakened after crossing the mountains of Sierra Madre, but it continued to dump heavy rains in most parts of Northern and Central Luzon. The storm made landfall over Palanan, Isabela Saturday night.

The Baguio City District Engineering Office closed Kennon Road after strong rains since Saturday night loosened the soil along the road, causing rocks and boulders from the mountain slopes to roll down.

Local officials also closed the Baguio-Bontoc road (Halsema Highway) particularly along the Aw-awigan section in Sabangan town, Mountain Province because of landslide.

The Itogon road in Benguet was also closed. Motorists were advised to use the Midas-Ucab road en route to Itogon town proper.

The storm also caused massive flooding in 11 areas in La Union namely Bangar, Luna, Balaoan, Bacnotan, San Juan, San Fernando City, Bauang, Caba, Aringay, Agoo, Sto. Tomas and Rosario, according to Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Ilocos regional director Melchito Castro.

Castro said even the regional offices of the social welfare and health departments were affected by floods.

“The major roads here are almost impassable. Some houses were submerged,” he added.

Castro said rescuers from member agencies of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council have been sent to flooded areas. Rescuers from Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan were also alerted for possible deployment.

READ MORE...

There were no reports of casualties and cost of damage in the region as of yesterday.

Meanwhile, the OCD-Cordillera yesterday ordered the conduct of preemptive evacuation of residents in high-risk areas.

Andrew Alex Uy, regional director of the OCD-Cordillera, said the evacuation would ensure the safety of residents in hazardous areas.

Regional disaster management officials are now assisting local governments in carrying out the evacuation.

But even before the OCD-Cordillera ordered the preemptive evacuation, some families have already been displaced by flash floods. A total of 36 families were evacuated in Barangay Cabetayan in Kabugao, Apayao. The residents were brought to the barangay hall, which was converted into an evacuation center.

Three families were also displaced in La Trinidad, Benguet, according to the OCD. A family composed of six individuals was brought to the Puguis Barangay Hall, while the two other families went to their relatives for temporary shelter.

The storm was also felt in other parts of Luzon. A landslide occurred at Km 35 and 37 Montible-Napsan Road in Puerto Princesa City Saturday afternoon, displacing two families. A flood 20 inches deep caused by heavy rains also hit Barangay San Jose in the same city.

The operations center of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has been placed on red alert to ensure continuous monitoring of the situation in affected areas. The red alert, which took effect 8 p.m. last Saturday, placed all NDRRMC personnel on standby.

The social welfare department’s standby fund in Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Metro Manila and Cordillera regions totaled P32.83 million. The agency has also stockpiled 288,540 family packs worth P99.37 mllion for distribution to storm-hit areas.

Expect heavy rains in next 3 days The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned residents of Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Mimaropa and Calabarzon against possible flashfloods and landslides as Egay and the southwest monsoon would continue to bring moderate to heavy rains over these areas in the next three days.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, Egay’s maximum sustained wind decreased from 95 kilometers per hour to 85 kph and gusts from 120 kph to 100 kph, according to PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio.

Storm warning signal No. 2 remained hoisted over Batanes, Cagayan including Calayan and Babuyan group of islands, Apayao, Kalinga, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Abra.

These areas could expect winds of 61 to 120 kph in at least 24 hours. The strong winds may cause light to moderate damage to high-risk structures, PAGASA said.

PAGASA also warned of possible storm surges in coastal areas, with waves expected to reach between 4.1 to 14 meters.

Storm warning signal No. 1 was still raised over Pangasinan, Isabela, Benguet, La Union, Mountain Province and Ifugao. Areas under signal No. 1 could expect winds of 30 to 60 kph in at least 36 hours.

PAGASA also advised fishermen and operators of small sea vessels not to venture out to the seaboards of Luzon and Visayas due to big waves generated by the cyclone.

NDRRMC said a total of 990 passengers, 48 vessels and 32 motor boats have been stranded in Cagayan, Calabarzon, Bicol and Central Visayas because of bad weather.– With Artemio Dumlao, Helen Flores, Roel Pareño


PHILSTAR

Ferry death toll still going up By Lalaine Jimenea (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 6, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Rescuers help passengers from a capsized ferry boat, center, in Ormoc city on Leyte Island, Philippines, Thursday, July 2, 2015. Ignatius Martin/Miquicar Photostudio via AP

ORMOC CITY, Philippines – The number of fatalities from the sinking of a ferry off the coast of this city on Thursday hit 60 with two more bodies retrieved at the site yesterday.

There were reports that another body was retrieved off the coast of nearby Merida town but this has yet to be verified by authorities.

The Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has reported the death toll from M/B Kim Nirvana at 61.

Nelita Navales, Ormoc City health officer, however said the official body count remained at 60, as two more bodies – a woman and a young girl – were added to the list. Their bodies were found floating near the site where the ferry sank.

Navales said another body reportedly fished out of the waters of Merida was not included in their official count pending verification.

READ MORE...

Officials said 11 more bodies were brought to various funeral homes with three of them still unidentified.

Vice President Jejomar Binay extended his condolences to the families of the fatalities.

Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said the Vice President visited yesterday the families of Abigail Salenas and Jobert de la Cruz, two victims of the sea mishap.

He said the Vice President was accompanied by Ormoc City Mayor Edward Codilla.

Salgado said Binay gave cash assistance to the families.

Binay and Codilla also went to a funeral parlor where most of the fatalities were brought.

The Vice President also met some of the survivors and inspected the accident site.

The two-deck vessel carrying 173 passengers capsized at 12:20 p.m. last Thursday about 200 meters from Ormoc port, just 20 minutes after it left the port for Pilar town in Camotes Island.

Officials pointed out there was human error on the part of the boat captain.

Passengers are also blaming the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for allowing the ferry to sail despite being overloaded with passengers and cargo.

The police and six survivors have filed criminal charges against the owner, captain and crew of the ferry.

The PCG, on the other hand, could face raps over concerns of overloading.

The ferry’s manifest only listed 173 passengers, but it has since been found that 185 passengers and 19 crew were on board.

The PCG earlier said the ferry had a capacity of 194 people.

Boat owner Juge Bong Zarco, a survivor himself, said he was willing to help the victims but cannot commit how much he can extend, saying he also suffered heavy losses.

Zarco defended the boat captain, Warren Oliverio, saying he was a veteran boatman and what happened was an accident.

Police regional director Chief Superintendent Asher Dolina, however, said the initial findings revealed there was human error on the part of the captain.

Dolina said the boat was hurriedly maneuvered, causing it to be blind-sided by big waves. – With Helen Flores


MANILA STANDARD

7.1m Filipinos have phones, but no toilets By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Jul. 06, 2015 at 12:01am

ABOUT 7.1-million Filipinos defecate in the open because they have no toilets, Senator Ralph Recto said Sunday as he quoted a joint report that the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund issued on Wednesday.

“The family cellphone ownership rate in this country is higher than toilets per household,” Recto said.

The joint report, “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Assessment,” says 570,000 Filipinos use “unimproved sanitation facilities” like buckets and open-pit latrines when defecating.

It says more than half a million Filipinos have no toilets, 8.4 million have no access to clean drinking water, and about 2.3 million use untreated “surface water” from rivers, dams, canals for drinking.

In addition, 6.1 million Filipinos get their drinking water from “unimproved drinking water sources” like unprotected dug wells and unprotected springs.

Recto said the report, which tracks the access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals, should prompt the government to increase its investments on clean water and sanitation.

“This should be part of the assumption of the 2016 budget,” Recto said.

The Aquino administration’s sixth and final budget, which reportedly will breach P3 trillion, is expected to be submitted to Congress by the end of the month.

READ MORE...

In the annex of the WHO-UNICEF report is the scorecard on how countries have progressed in bringing clean water and sanitation to their citizens.

“To our credit, we have made great progress on these two items,” Recto said.

He said the government had brought clean water to 40 million people since 1990 and 41 million Filipinos had also gained access to clean toilets since that year.

He said that had prompted the WHO and UNICEF to rate the Philippines as having “met [the] target” on MDG goals on clean water.

But on sanitation facilities, “due perhaps to the number of people resorting to ‘open defecation’”, the Philippines was graded as having merely made “good progress.”

To wipe out the backlog of homes needing piped in water, Recto called “for the opening of the budget taps for clean water and sanitation projects.”

Among the ongoing projects that should get more funds next year is the construction of toilets and communal drinking faucets in public schools, a component of the Basic Educational Facilities program of the Department of Education this year.

The Interior Department is also administering grassroots-identified water projects under the SALINTUBIG program.

“To truly gauge how much we are spending for clean water, I think we should identify in the national budget the amounts for clean water because, at present, it is lumped together with flood control,” Recto said.

He said clean-water projects must be pursued “because water-borne diseases cost Filipinos P2.8 billion annually in treatment costs and lost economic opportunities.

“Hand-washing cuts by one-third to one-half the number of diarrhea cases. If we use the number of people diarrhea downed in 2010, which was 269,000, imagine how many cases will be avoided and lives saved if we can bring more clean piped water to homes.”


TRIBUNE

Palace leads manhunt for 2 Binay aides Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 06 July 2015 00:00



TO SERVE SENATE WARRANTS FOR CONTEMPT

Vice President Jejomar Binay’s feared witchhunt on his allies seems to have started as the government is now in the midst of a global search for Gerry Limlingan and Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, who have no court charges but are accused as Binay’s bagmen in the marathon Senate investigation undertaken by his political opponents.

The Palace said it had sought the help of the International Police Organization (Interpol) in tracking down Limlingan and Baloloy “to enforce warrants of arrest” issued by the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee based on charges of contempt for snubbing the hearings.

The Palace also indicated plans to seek the cancellation of the passports for the two supposed Binay associates through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The hearings started on the supposed anomalies hounding the Makati City Hall Building II but later on covered almost all allegations that can be dug up against Binay and members of his family. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, on radio, said Justice Secretary Leila De Lima mentioned that law enforcers may seek the assistance of the International Police Organization (Interpol) in tracking Limlingan and Baloloy, who allegedly fled the country in the face of the Senate order.

READ MORE...

Limlingan and Baloloy were among 14 individuals cited for contempt by the Senate subcommittee of the troika Senators Aquilino Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano over the reportedly anomalous transactions in putting up Makati City Hall Building 2.



“Our law enforcement agencies, like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), are helping Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia, in enforcing the arrest warrants,” Coloma said.

“Secretary De Lima said that according to the record of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) given to her by Commissioner Siegfried Mison, Mr. Limlingan and Ms. Baloloy are presumed to be still in the country, although she added that it’s possible the two could have left the country using chartered aircraft,” he added.

Limlingan and Baloloy are alleged to be the “most trusted” persons of the Vice President, who is the subject of an unending demolition job by his political opponents in the Aquino administration and the ruling Liberal Party (LP).

The objective of the campaign against Binay is to pull down his survey ratings which remains formidable in the runup to the presidential elections next year.

The two Binay associates were alleged by Trillanes to have fled the country despite immigration records showing otherwise.

De Lima, on the other hand, has ordered the NBI to gather additional evidence on the revelation of Trillanes.

Trillanes has been openly attacking the Vice President and members of his family.

Limlingan and Baloloy were among those listed as owners of bank account belonging to a company that dealt with the city government of Makati for infrastructure projects.

According to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, P180 million was spent on such projects, which was made the basis for the petition with the Court of Appeals (CA) to freeze several bank accounts supposedly associated with the Vice President.

Asked on whether the government is seeking to shed light on the alleged irregularities involving the Binays in pursuing Limlingan and Baloloy, Coloma merely said that there is no political color that should be imputed on the actions of the government which was meant to enforce the law.

“All steps being done by the government are all meant to enforce the law, and that includes proceedings in the Senate and the decision on contempt. That is included in the process of the law that we are implementing,” Coloma said.

Ain’t it too obvious?



Senate probers and accusers of Vice President Jejomar Binay are out to spoil his presidential bid next year, the reason why investigations against him goes on and on, Sen. Nancy Binay said yesterday.

“To my view, the ultimate goal is to pressure Vice President Binay to quit his presidential bid for next year. What they wanted is that the Vice President to give up his plan to serve the nation and the only way to do it, is to throw at him an unending stream of lies through the subcommittee hearings,” she said.

“We’re being used as publicity stunt by the committee. Perhaps this is the only outlet for them to be talked about (by the public) and the better way to do it is by inviting the Vice President anew,” she said.

Although she did not name names, the senator said two of the accusers of her father are “declared” candidates and by that, she was obviously referring to Senators Cayetano and Trillanes, reported to be eyeing the presidential and vice presidential seats respectively.

The Vice President had been invited for the nth time by blue ribbon subcommittee chairman Sen. Pimentel, through a letter sent to the former last week, to air his side on the numerous charges being hurled at by Cayetano, Trillanes and other supposed whistleblowers, before the upper chamber panel.

But Sen. Binay said the possibility of her father appearing to defend himself before Senate probers is nil especially since the Vice President had already submitted his sworn affidavit to the subcommittee denying all the allegations against him.

The Vice President will not appear in the proceedings scheduled on Tuesday as she his father considered the Senate as being not the proper forum to air his side on the allegations against him, she said.

“We all were witness on the unfair treatment rendered in the subcommittee hearings. Even the resource persons, when they say something not in accordance with the allegations in the hearings are harassed and intimidated. If the testimonies are against the Binays, all the time are given for all those unsubstantiated allegations,” she lamented.

One of the resource persons was already caught lying before the said Senate committee, yet the senators participating in the inquiry continued to hear his testimony to this day, she said.

The senator was referring to lawyer Renato Bondal who claimed that the birthday cakes being given to senior citizen-constituents in Makati City were overpriced and his accusations proved to be baseless as he later on admitted that he was merely “guessing” the price that it’s worth P1,000 each.

“Did they censure Bondal? No. Instead he is allowed to present his unproven allegations inspite of the fact that he was already caught lying in the hearing,” she said.

Pimentel, for his part, dared the Vice President to refute the allegations in person by attending the hearing and by pointing out or highlighting before them the issues he claimed to have addressed in his sworn affidavit submitted to the panel.

“He should highlight which part in his affidavit the things that he had been claiming to be important and that we overlooked. He’s been claiming to the media that we disregarded his affidavit but when you read it, there’s really nothing significant about it,” he said.

The senator said he’s not actually expecting the Vice President to attend the hearing especially since there was no formal reply from the latter whether he’s begging off from the proceedings for whatever reason.

Yet he issued a warning to the Vice President not to complain if he’s side is not taken into consideration by the committee as it would be his own doing in the first place.

Pimentel said that he had assured the Vice President that he will be treated with utmost respect befitting his position by the committee, if and when he attends the hearing.
Angie M. Rosales


TRIBUNE

Gov’t warns public against ‘fake rice’ Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 06 July 2015 00:00


Video grab from ANC shows the styrofoam-like appearance of the synthetic rice, which is reportedly made from potatoes, sweet potatoes and resin. Malacañang advised the public to be vigilant in buying rice as "fake rice" was reported to have reached Davao City. PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

Malacañang yesterday warned the public anew for possibly purchasing “fake rice” which continues to be investigated by the National Food Authority (NFA) after reports reveal the first case in Davao City last week.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. aired the advisory over state-run dzRB, noting that the President has directed the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to locate where the synthetic rice came from.
“We are calling out to the people to be careful of buying rice and only purchase from accredited and reliable sellers; those who are authorized rice dealers or rice traders with permission from the NFA and authorities,” Coloma said.

READ MORE...

According to the Palace official, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilina is also studying the matter. The NFA, through the Food Development Center, is conducting laboratory tests on the sampled submitted to them.
The results of the study will be released in the soonest possible time, Coloma said.
Earlier last week, NFA directed all its inspectors nationwide to conduct daily inspection in rice stores as it began investigations on the sale of alleged fake rice in Davao City.
According to a report by the NFA office in Davao City, the incident was reported last June 26 after Carmencita Grinio of Matina Aplaya, Davao City complained of their rice having a styro-like appearance.


MANILA BULLETIN

Pinoy seafarers ‘stay afloat’ in crisis-riddled Greece by Samuel Medenilla July 6, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share2


PINOY SEAFARER

The country’s largest labor group said yesterday that majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are working for Greek employers will be immune from the impact of the ongoing debt crisis of Greece.

In a statement, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) President Ernesto Herrera disclosed that majority of the OFWs in Greece are employed in Greek-flag ships which make up 16 percent of the world’s ocean-going vessels.

He said shipping companies are expected to continue making profit even as the rest of the other industries in Greece face possible decline in their operations.

“We are counting on Greek trading ships, which are earning quite a lot in US dollars, to stay afloat. They are fairly insulated from the Greek government’s extreme financial distress,” Herrera said.

Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the TUCP pointed out there are around 53,000 Filipino seafarers in Greece who were able to remit around US$290 last year and US$92 million from January to April this year.

“Greece is the Philippines’ fifth-largest source of dollar remittances from sailors, after the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan,” Herrera said.

Herrera said they are anticipating this trend to continue even if Greece suffers from prolonged financial woes after it failed to pay its US$1.7-billion debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last Tuesday.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also earlier said it is not seeing any mass displacement in Greece since OFWs are considered as important members of its work force.

The DOLE will keep monitoring the welfare of OFWs in Greece to provide them with the necessary assistance.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Greek referendum final polls show ‘No’ vote ahead by small margin By GEORGE GEORGIOPOULOS and MICHELE KAMBAS, Reuters July 6, 2015 12:16am

ATHENS - Opinion polls released after Greece's bailout referendum on Sunday showed the 'No' vote ahead, suggesting voters had defied warnings from across Europe that rejection of the creditors' terms would set their country on a path out of the euro.

No exit polls were conducted, but three opinion polls by GPO, Metron Analysis and MRB all showed the 'No' camp' ahead by three points. A poll by Marc estimated 49.5 to 54.5 percent of Greeks voted 'No' compared to 45.5 to 50.5 percent voting 'Yes', based on surveys conducted through the week.

The polls were released after voting ended on Sunday because of a ban on the publication of polls on the day before a vote is held.

Nikos Filis, parliamentary spokesman for the ruling Syriza party said the result of the opinion polls would allow the government to move ahead quickly to reach a deal with creditors.

"I think this is guidance for the government," he said after the polls came out.

Athens' partners have warned over the past week that a 'No' vote would mean cutting bridges with Europe and driving Greece's crippled financial system into outright bankruptcy, dramatically worsening the country's 5-year-long depression.

If confirmed, the result will also deliver a hammer blow to the European Union's grand single currency project. Intended to be permanent and unbreakable when it was created 15 years ago, the euro zone could now be on the point of losing its first member with the risk of further unraveling to come.

Greek banks, which have been closed all week and rationing withdrawals from cash machines, are expected to run out of money within days unless the European Central Bank provides an emergency lifeline.

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However central bankers warned before the vote that a 'No' would make it almost impossible for the ECB to turn on the taps, leaving the Greek financial system without funds and facing imminent collapse.

A 'No' vote would leave Greece and the euro zone in uncharted waters. Unable to borrow money on capital markets, Greece has one of the world's highest levels of public debt. The International Monetary Fund warned last week that it would need massive debt relief and 50 billion euros in fresh funds.

Greece's leftwing government called the referendum only a week ago after it rejected the tough terms offered by international creditors as the price for releasing billions of euros in bailout funds.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras denounced the bailout terms as "blackmail" and declared that a 'No' vote would strengthen the government's hand to get a better deal that would allow the banks to re-open this week.

A succession of European leaders and policy makers warned, however, that the bailout terms were no longer on the table. They said the vote was now effectively about whether Greeks wanted to remain in the euro or return to the drachma.

Opinion polls show a large majority of Greeks want to remain in the euro. But, exhausted and resentful after years of austerity cuts imposed under successive bailout programs, many appear to have shrugged off the warnings of disaster, trusting that a deal can still be reached. — Reuters


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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