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LOOK FOR GOD's PRESENCE IN YOUR LIFE, POPE SAYS


JANUARY 2 -In the final hours of 2015, Pope Francis encouraged humanity to hang on to recollections of good deeds, so that gestures of goodness can be seen triumphing over evil.
He also encouraged the faithful to look back at the events of 2015, telling them to be attentive to both the presence of God, and the signs he is giving in a brief homily during his celebration of Vespers on the eve of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, and the start of the New Year. “Retracing the days of the past year can be done either as a memory of facts and events which bring moments of joy and sorrow, or by trying to understand if we have perceived the presence of God, who makes all things new and sustains them with his help,” the Pope said on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. We are challenged, he said, to see if the world’s events have been done according to God’s will, or “if we have primarily harkened to the projects of men, which are often characterized by private interests, of unquenchable thirst for power and of senseless violence.” Francis also urged attendees to focus in a special way on the “the signs” that God has given us, saying they are a means of touching “with our own hands” the strength of his merciful love. Many days of the past year, he noted, were marked by “violence, death, the unspeakable suffering of many innocent people, of refugees forced to leave their homeland (and) of men, women and children without a stable home, food or sustenance.” Francis called attention to what he called “great gestures of goodness, love and solidarity” that don’t make headlines. Such acts of love and goodness “cannot and must not be obscured by the arrogance of evil. Good always wins, even if in some moments it appears weak and hidden,” he said. TE DEUM In addition to the praying of Vespers, the celebrations were also marked by the chanting of the Te Deum, an ancient prayer of praise which grants the one who recites it publicly on New Year’s Eve a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. Francis also presided over exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. READ MORE...

ALSO: Miss Universe prepares for homecoming


JANUARY 2 -Keep your faith and hold on to your dreams,” Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines posted in her Instagram account on New Year’s Day, as she looked forward to a homecoming that will likely be later this month.
“And now as I continue on with my journey as Miss Universe, I hope I inspired you all. Not just my fellow countrymen but all of you. Keep your faith, fight for what you believe in and hold on to your dreams! They do come true! I know I still have much to learn and a huge responsibility ahead of me. So thank you 2015 and bring it on, 2016!” said Wurtzbach, in her New Year’s message posted on her Instagram. So far no date has been finalized for the homecoming of Wurtzbach. But rumors said that the most popular beauty queen is expected to arrive home later this month. Miss Universe’s first television interview at home would likely be with multi-awarded television host Boy Abunda. In “Tonight with Boy Abunda,” aired over ABS-CBN on New Year’s Eve, Abunda said: “I received a text message from Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. In part, she told me, ‘Thank You, Tito Boy. I promise I’ll request the Miss Universe Organization to give me my first interview in the Philippines with you when I arrive for my homecoming. The date is not finalized yet. We will let you know when I find out.” Wurtzbach, 26, is now in New York City to begin her reign as Miss Universe. In her Instagram account, the Filipino-German beauty queen also thanked her supporters, as she again recalled her journey to the most prestigious pageant. “I know it took me a long time to post this. I needed some time to get settled in because everything was happening so fast. Now everything is sinking in and I’m almost done replying and thanking everyone as much as I can.” “First of all… Thank you, Lord! The countless times I begged you in tears to please grant me my one big wish! I prayed in every church I went into, in whichever part of the world I was. Wished on every wishing well I passed by and on every falling star I caught in the sky. When everything seemed unreachable or impossible, You found a way. I trained well and despite all the challenges, everything fell into place and I finally got the crown the whole country has been waiting for 42 years. It is true. Focus on the ordinary and God will take care of the extraordinary.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Fireworks-related injuries reach 760; Tondo fire leaves 3,000 homeless


JANUARY 3 -A boy grimaces while being treated at a hospital after being injured in a firecracker explosion while celebrating the New Year in Manila, Philippines Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Despite the total ban of some firecrackers, many Filipinos welcome the New Year with fireworks allegedly to bring them good luck and to drive away evil spirits. AP/Linus Escandor II
The Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau (DOH-EB) on Sunday reported that the number of fireworks-related injuries rose to 760 as the 15-day monitoring and surveillance reached its 13th day.
DOH-EB Director IV Ira Asuncion report said based on the "Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction (APIR) 2015" campaign, the total number of fireworks-related injuries was lower by 18 percent or 168 cases compared with the five-year average from 2010-2014 for the same period. Asuncion also said that the number of fireworks-related injuries from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016 was lower by 79 cases or 9 percent than the recorded 839 fireworks-related incident in 2015. “Majority of the cases or a total of 427 equivalent to 56 percent were from the National Capital Region (NCR),” Asuncion said. The DOH-EB director said that there were three additional cases of stray bullet incidents involving a 77-year-old man from Barangay Asuncion, Cabaywa, Davao del Norte who was hit in the chest while at home; a 12-year-old girl from Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City, who was just watching a fireworks display when she was hit by stray bullet in the left foot; and a 37-year-old woman in Kamansi, Mabini, Cebu City who was walking in the street when hit in the head. Meanwhile, the firecracker ingestion cases remained at zero and there were no additional death monitored in the DOH hospitals. DOH-EMB said that 337 or 45 percent of the 760 fireworks related injuries were caused by piccolo while some were injured by kwitis, luces and 5-star. Most of the incidents were monitored in Manila with 135 recorded injured, followed by Quezon City with 85 cases; Mandaluyong, 52; Marikina, 37; Valenzuela, 25; Pasig and Navotas, 20 each; and Caloocan, 13. DOH Chief Janette Garin said the huge percent of cases happened in NCR since people have easy access to prohibited firecrackers there.READ MORE...

ALSO: Government urged to wage all-out war vs piccolo (bawang)


JANUARY 3 -Boxes of illegal firecrackers, a variant of the piccolo, bearing markings of being made in Angat, Bulacan. customs.gov.ph
 
The zero waste and chemical safety watchdog EcoWaste Coalition has urged the government to declare an all-out war against the banned piccolo firecracker, the top cause of firecracker-related injuries in the country. In its yearly “Iwas Paputok” campaign, the group also expressed support for a national ban on all firecrackers to curb the senseless injuries and sufferings inflicted on firecracker igniters as well as spectators. “An all-out war against smugglers, distributors and sellers of piccolo will stop this small but terrible monster in further harming more child victims,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator. The group had earlier tagged piccolo as “children’s enemy number one” during the festive season. “We urge the government to declare such crackdown now, not wait until December 2016, and assign the Bureau of Customs to accomplish this task before the next Christmas season,” Lucero said. “As what is at stake is the health and safety of young children, we urge the government to provide for a reward system that will lead to the identification and apprehension of culprits involved in the illegal trade of piccolo and other banned firecrackers,” she added. As of Jan. 1, the Department of Health (DOH) had documented a total of 380 cases of firecracker-related injuries, 219 of whom were piccolo victims.FULL REPORT, RELATED, ’Cracker injuries hit all-time low; New Year blaze leaves 3,000 homeless in Tondo...

ALSO Philstar continuing Sunday series: #Journeyto30 - A pole vault into our country's crisis


JANUARY 3 -#Journeyto30 traces the most significant milestones in our country’s history as covered by The Philippine STAR. The series shall run from today until July 24, 2016, leading to The STAR’s 30th anniversary on July 28, 2016.
Since July 1986, The Philippine STAR’s pages have captured milestone after milestone in our country’s history – from dramatic and captivating news events to headlines that have had a major impact on our life as a nation. It stood as a journal of the Filipino story both in times of upheaval and achievement. Beginning today and for the next 29 Sundays, we look back at some of these historical headlines from the past 30 years that dominated the front pages. Jan. 3, 1997 throwback: The headline quotes former President Fidel Ramos in his annual report to the nation or Ulat sa Bayan at Malacañang the day before, heralding to Filipinos the economic and social progress ushered in by his administration. Among the achievements Ramos touted in his speech was the economic growth the country experienced in 1996, as proven by the 7.1 percent gross national product growth that year, record-low inflation rates since 1992, declining unemployment rates and increase in exports. Ramos noted that these achievements were the result of his administration’s efforts to establish peace and security through agreements with Moro rebels and intensified crime prevention and law enforcement. “This past year, we could say we have crossed the threshold from the point of takeoff toward sustainable development,” Ramos said in his address, adding that the country had come to a point when it ceased to be the Sick Man of Asia, but rather loomed as Asia’s newest tiger economy. This headline is crucial because that pronouncement would be turned upside down a few months later. By July of that year, the 1997 Asian financial crisis would affect the Philippines, raising interest rates, sending the peso plummeting from P26.00 to P46.50 versus the dollar, causing the Philippine Stock Exchange composite index to drop to 1,000 points from the previous 3,000, and contracting economic growth to a paltry three percent. It was a lesson on cautious optimism that we can use today, given our own economic achievements in recent years. THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Iglesia 2016 countdown breaks 3 world records


JANUARY 2 -After more than an hour of setting off colorful pyrotechnics, the INC broke Norway’s world record of having the largest fireworks display. STAR/File photo
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) greeted the New Year with three Guinness world records.
After more than an hour of setting off colorful pyrotechnics, the INC broke Norway’s world record of having the largest fireworks display. It had also successfully broken the world record of having the “longest line of sparklers lit in a relay” and “most sparklers lit simultaneously.”  Guinness World Records official adjudicator Christina Conlon confirmed the three world records “We were able to announce the certificates for the three titles that were attempted tonight by the Iglesia Ni Cristo: the longest line of sparklers lit in relay, the most sparklers lit simultaneously and the largest fireworks display,” she said. About 2,000 people took part in two of the Guinness events, namely for the sparklers lit in relay and for sparklers lit simultaneously, according to INC spokesman Edwil Zabala. The fireworks display lasted for about an hour, he added. Guinness officials also recognized the INC for having the largest-paying audience for a movie premier, “Felix Manalo.” It was earlier reported that 43,624 people watched the movie premiere. Shown in cinemas last October, the almost three-hour movie is a historical-biographical dramatization of the life of Felix Manalo, the first INC executive minister. Guinness made the announcement on the movie on the night of Dec. 31, while the three other announcements were done in the early morning of Jan. 1. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Look for the presence of God in your life, Pope says

VATICAN CITYA, JANUARY 4, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) January 2, 2016 By CAN/EWTN News/AP - In the final hours of 2015, Pope Francis encouraged humanity to hang on to recollections of good deeds, so that gestures of goodness can be seen triumphing over evil.

He also encouraged the faithful to look back at the events of 2015, telling them to be attentive to both the presence of God, and the signs he is giving in a brief homily during his celebration of Vespers on the eve of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, and the start of the New Year.

“Retracing the days of the past year can be done either as a memory of facts and events which bring moments of joy and sorrow, or by trying to understand if we have perceived the presence of God, who makes all things new and sustains them with his help,” the Pope said on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31.

We are challenged, he said, to see if the world’s events have been done according to God’s will, or “if we have primarily harkened to the projects of men, which are often characterized by private interests, of unquenchable thirst for power and of senseless violence.”

Francis also urged attendees to focus in a special way on the “the signs” that God has given us, saying they are a means of touching “with our own hands” the strength of his merciful love.

Many days of the past year, he noted, were marked by “violence, death, the unspeakable suffering of many innocent people, of refugees forced to leave their homeland (and) of men, women and children without a stable home, food or sustenance.”

Francis called attention to what he called “great gestures of goodness, love and solidarity” that don’t make headlines.

Such acts of love and goodness “cannot and must not be obscured by the arrogance of evil. Good always wins, even if in some moments it appears weak and hidden,” he said.

TE DEUM

In addition to the praying of Vespers, the celebrations were also marked by the chanting of the Te Deum, an ancient prayer of praise which grants the one who recites it publicly on New Year’s Eve a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. Francis also presided over exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

READ MORE...

In his reflections, Francis said that the Church often feels the joy and duty of praising God with the words of the hymn, which, through “the joy of thanksgiving,” allows one to recognize the loving presence of God throughout history.

He also stressed the importance of community, saying that this individual prayer of praise and thanksgiving must also be “reinforced” by the company of the entire people of God, “who in unison make their song of thanksgiving heard.”

JUBILEE OF MERCY YEAR

Francis then pointed to the Jubilee of Mercy, which began Dec. 8, 2015, and closes Nov. 20, 2016.

The Holy Year, he said, provides the opportunity to overcome the difficulties of the present time, adding that the “companionship of mercy is a light to understand better how much we have lived, and is a hope that accompanies us at the beginning of the new year.”

He closed his homily by noting how Rome is not immune to the present challenges of the world, and encouraged the city’s inhabitants to go beyond the difficulties of the present moment and to recover the essential values of service, honesty and solidarity.

Following the celebration of Vespers and the benediction of the Eucharist, Pope Francis made a brief visit to the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square.


MANILA BULLETIN

Miss U prepares for homecoming by Robert R. Requintina January 2, 2016 Share0 Tweet1 Share0 Email1 Share5

“Keep your faith and hold on to your dreams,” Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines posted in her Instagram account on New Year’s Day, as she looked forward to a homecoming that will likely be later this month.

“And now as I continue on with my journey as Miss Universe, I hope I inspired you all. Not just my fellow countrymen but all of you. Keep your faith, fight for what you believe in and hold on to your dreams! They do come true! I know I still have much to learn and a huge responsibility ahead of me. So thank you 2015 and bring it on, 2016!” said Wurtzbach, in her New Year’s message posted on her Instagram.

So far no date has been finalized for the homecoming of Wurtzbach. But rumors said that the most popular beauty queen is expected to arrive home later this month.

Miss Universe’s first television interview at home would likely be with multi-awarded television host Boy Abunda.

In “Tonight with Boy Abunda,” aired over ABS-CBN on New Year’s Eve, Abunda said: “I received a text message from Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. In part, she told me, ‘Thank You, Tito Boy. I promise I’ll request the Miss Universe Organization to give me my first interview in the Philippines with you when I arrive for my homecoming. The date is not finalized yet. We will let you know when I find out.”

Wurtzbach, 26, is now in New York City to begin her reign as Miss Universe.

In her Instagram account, the Filipino-German beauty queen also thanked her supporters, as she again recalled her journey to the most prestigious pageant. “I know it took me a long time to post this. I needed some time to get settled in because everything was happening so fast. Now everything is sinking in and I’m almost done replying and thanking everyone as much as I can.”

“First of all… Thank you, Lord! The countless times I begged you in tears to please grant me my one big wish! I prayed in every church I went into, in whichever part of the world I was. Wished on every wishing well I passed by and on every falling star I caught in the sky. When everything seemed unreachable or impossible, You found a way. I trained well and despite all the challenges, everything fell into place and I finally got the crown the whole country has been waiting for 42 years. It is true. Focus on the ordinary and God will take care of the extraordinary.”

READ MORE...

“Second, thank you to the amazing team behind me. Aces and Queens. I am grateful for all the training I did with you. You were my family away from family. I found my confidence when you found my potential.”

“To my family in London, Mama, Papa, Sarah, Charlie and baby Lara. Thank you for being so supportive in all my decisions. You guys are really the one I turn to when things get rough. And I’m so grateful that even when you’re far away, I never feel alone.”

“And last but definitely not the least, to YOU. Thank you for cheering and rooting for me. Whether you were a die-hard supporter at the Axis Theater in Las Vegas, or just a silent supporter watching me from TV, thank you. Especially to those who voted for me during the Global Fan Vote. You were all instrumental to my victory.”

“Mga kababayan, when I was walking on stage in that blue gown, wearing the Philippine sash in front of billions of viewers on TV and online, I’ve never been more proud to be a Filipina. I’ll never forget it. It was a proud yet humbling experience,” she said in her Instagram post.


PHILSTAR

Fireworks-related injuries reach 760 By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated January 3, 2016 - 6:05pm 2 23 googleplus0 0


A boy grimaces while being treated at a hospital after being injured in a firecracker explosion while celebrating the New Year in Manila, Philippines Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Despite the total ban of some firecrackers, many Filipinos welcome the New Year with fireworks allegedly to bring them good luck and to drive away evil spirits. AP/Linus Escandor II

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau (DOH-EB) on Sunday reported that the number of fireworks-related injuries rose to 760 as the 15-day monitoring and surveillance reached its 13th day.

DOH-EB Director IV Ira Asuncion report said based on the "Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction (APIR) 2015" campaign, the total number of fireworks-related injuries was lower by 18 percent or 168 cases compared with the five-year average from 2010-2014 for the same period.

Asuncion also said that the number of fireworks-related injuries from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016 was lower by 79 cases or 9 percent than the recorded 839 fireworks-related incident in 2015.

“Majority of the cases or a total of 427 equivalent to 56 percent were from the National Capital Region (NCR),” Asuncion said.

The DOH-EB director said that there were three additional cases of stray bullet incidents involving a 77-year-old man from Barangay Asuncion, Cabaywa, Davao del Norte who was hit in the chest while at home; a 12-year-old girl from Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City, who was just watching a fireworks display when she was hit by stray bullet in the left foot; and a 37-year-old woman in Kamansi, Mabini, Cebu City who was walking in the street when hit in the head.

Meanwhile, the firecracker ingestion cases remained at zero and there were no additional death monitored in the DOH hospitals.

DOH-EMB said that 337 or 45 percent of the 760 fireworks related injuries were caused by piccolo while some were injured by kwitis, luces and 5-star.

Most of the incidents were monitored in Manila with 135 recorded injured, followed by Quezon City with 85 cases; Mandaluyong, 52; Marikina, 37; Valenzuela, 25; Pasig and Navotas, 20 each; and Caloocan, 13.

DOH Chief Janette Garin said the huge percent of cases happened in NCR since people have easy access to prohibited firecrackers there.


PHILSTAR

Government urged to wage all-out war vs piccolo By Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 3, 2016 - 12:00am 0 20 googleplus0 0


Boxes of illegal firecrackers, a variant of the piccolo, bearing markings of being made in Angat, Bulacan. customs.gov.ph
 

MANILA, Philippines – The zero waste and chemical safety watchdog EcoWaste Coalition has urged the government to declare an all-out war against the banned piccolo firecracker, the top cause of firecracker-related injuries in the country.

In its yearly “Iwas Paputok” campaign, the group also expressed support for a national ban on all firecrackers to curb the senseless injuries and sufferings inflicted on firecracker igniters as well as spectators.

“An all-out war against smugglers, distributors and sellers of piccolo will stop this small but terrible monster in further harming more child victims,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator.

The group had earlier tagged piccolo as “children’s enemy number one” during the festive season.

“We urge the government to declare such crackdown now, not wait until December 2016, and assign the Bureau of Customs to accomplish this task before the next Christmas season,” Lucero said.

“As what is at stake is the health and safety of young children, we urge the government to provide for a reward system that will lead to the identification and apprehension of culprits involved in the illegal trade of piccolo and other banned firecrackers,” she added.

As of Jan. 1, the Department of Health (DOH) had documented a total of 380 cases of firecracker-related injuries, 219 of whom were piccolo victims.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

’Cracker injuries hit all-time low; New Year blaze leaves 3,000 homeless in Tondo January 2, 2016 Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share11 By Charina Clarisse L. Echaluce, Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos, Elena L. Aben, and AFP


FIERY START TO 2016 – The silhouette images of these residents show that they could barely do anything to stop the huge fire that engulfed 1,000 houses in Dagupan, Tondo yesterday, in a pitiful start to 2016 that also rendered 3,000 persons homeless. (Jun Ryan Aranas)

Stray bullets and exploding firecrackers killed three and injured hundreds around the country amid the traditional riotous New Year celebrations, officials said yesterday. But the Department of Health (DOH) said the number of firecracker-related injuries recorded during the revelry was an all-time low.

In Sta. Mesa, Manila, a drunk man died after he embraced a giant firecracker, called “Goodbye Philippines,” as it was about to explode, Health Secretary Janet Garin told reporters.

Ronald Vericio, 45, a pedicab driver, of Buenos Aires St., Sta. Mesa, Manila, was already drunk when he sneaked out of his house at 12:10 a.m. yesterday, lit the powerful Goodbye Philippines firecracker and started hugging it. The firecracker exploded on his face and was immediately taken to the Ospital ng Sampaloc.

“His jaw was shattered. He was so intoxicated he hugged the Goodbye Philippines,” Garin said, adding the man was pronounced dead at about 1:45 a.m. at the Ospital ng Maynila, where he was transferred later.

In Tondo, Manila, the left leg of Jerry Flores of Almeda Street had to be amputated after the Goodbye Philippines firecracker he repeatedly stepped on accidentally exploded. Flores thought that the unexploded firecracker would no longer explode.

Eighty percent of the country’s 100 million people are Catholic but Filipino superstition dictates making ear-shattering noises during New Year’s Eve to ward off bad luck.

Revellers set off firecrackers and shoot guns into the air to celebrate the December festive season.

ALL-TIME LOW

The Department of Health (DOH) reported 384 firecracker-related injuries from December 21 to 6 a.m. of January 1, 2016, an all-time low. It was a decrease of at least 57 percent or 506 cases compared to the five-year (2010-2014) average, and 53 percent or 430 cases lower that the 814 injuries recorded in the same time period last year.

In many hospitals around the country, firecracker victims rushed into emergency rooms grimacing in pain as they held their bloodied limbs.

An eight-year-old boy in Nueva Vizcaya had three of his fingers amputated after a firecracker exploded in his hands, Garin said. At least nine other children had their fingers amputated due to firecracker injuries, she said.

Most fireworks-related injuries came from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 243 cases or 63 percent; followed by Region 5 with 31 cases or eight percent; and Region 4-A with 27 cases or seven percent.

In NCR, most cases were from Manila with 73 out of 243 cases; followed by Quezon City with 46 cases, and Marikina City with 28.

However, a report from the Quezon City Police District Tactical Operations Center showed 131 individuals from the city were taken to various hospitals due to injuries caused by firecrackers and pyrotechnics. Caloocan police also reported 70 firecracker-related injuries.

The Muntinlupa City public information office likewise reported nine injuries. The youngest was 5-year-old Ruel Domasian, who was injured by the “pla-pla” firecracker and was taken to the Alabang Medical Clinic. The other injured was Jonathan Corpuz, 18.

At the Ospital ng Muntinlupa, those who were injured by piccolo were Albert dela Cruz, 17; John Paul Parejence, 12; and Jaylord Benabaye, 16. Other patients who were treated were Miguelito Banay-Banay, 46, who was injured by “pla-pla”; Raymond Sampaga, 14, fountain; Jerlyn Ordona, 11, pillbox; and Jonathan Galo, 19, “pla-pla.”

In the eastern Visayas, only eight injuries were reported during the New Year’s Eve revelry, DOH 8 Regional Sentinel Nurse Boyd Cerro said.

But for the first time, the DOH has no reported case of firecracker ingestion.

However, in terms of firecracker injuries, majority or 244 cases are children less than 14 years old.

STRAY BULLETS

READ MORE...

The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, recorded 28 stray bullet incidents and eight cases of illegal discharge of firearm during the holiday season, from Dec. 16 to Jan. 1.

Data released by the PNP showed zero fatality so far, but there were 19 reported injuries – 17 from to stray bullets and two due to illegal discharge of firearm.

Of the 28 stray bullet incidents, 15 were recorded on Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. in Antique, Gen. Santos City, Cebu City, Albay, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Sulu, and Ilocos Norte, resulting in 11 injuries.

Records show that one of the latest victims, 11-year-old Sarpina A. Jadjong, a Grade 4 pupil from Barangay Mauboh, Patikul, Sulu, was hit in the head.

Other victims who were by hit by stray bullets during the New Year’s revelry were Kisses Trix Monemayor Montenegro, 29; Alden Blase, 33; Janome Diaz, 22; Mary Claire Dela Lilan, 12; Jovelyn Cogtas Pucot, Gerry M. Gato, 42; Emmanuel D. Pacheco, 72; Nadzmer Aranain Jikiri, 32; Jean Angelika S. Galam, 16; and Melody Escobat Lamigo, 36.

They sustained injuries either in the neck, back, shoulder, arm, buttocks, knee, or foot.

Reports culled by the PNP National Operations Center in Camp Crame likewise showed that police have confiscated firecrackers worth over P1 million.

The confiscated firecrackers include lolo thunder, atomic, big triangulo, super lolo, goodbye Philippines, watusi, picollo, mother rockets, pillbox, boga, big judas belt, big bawang, kwiton, and kabasi.

In Malabon, Renalyn Roque and her male companion Jomar Amita were hit by stray bullet while on board a motorcycle during the New Year’s Eve revelry. Roque was hit in her right breast, while Amita was hit in the right side of his body.

In Marikina, police arrested Reynaldo Ruiz last Thursday on suspicion he was the person who fired a stray bullet that hit Grade 3 pupil Francia Grace Aragones last Dec. 30. in Malanday.

ILLEGAL DISCHARGE OF FIREARM

Six out of the eight suspects for indiscriminate firing of gun during the holiday season have been arrested while two remain at large.

The PNP identified those still at large as Erol Cimatu Calivoso, ABC president in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte; and Marianito Alob of of Sariaya, Quezon.

Of the six arrested, one is a member of the PNP, PO1 Francis Nepomuceno Flake, 29; one security guard identified as Jerry Masaoay Divina, 40; and four civilians.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said efforts to arrest those individuals that have fired their firearms indiscriminately during the New Year’s Eve revelry are continuing, adding that investigation of the reported cases is ongoing.

3,000 RESIDENTS HOMELESS

In Tondo, a lit “kwitis” firecracker started a slum inferno that razed 1,000 houses, mostly shanties, fire bureau spokesman Renato Marcial told AFP.

The blaze destroyed a cramped maze of wood and cardboard huts in the early hours of Friday, leaving 3,000 people homeless, city disaster officer Johnny Yu said.

A resident told arson investigators that the fire started when a piece of watusi that went inside an abandoned house made of light materials on Raxabago Street.

Residents reportedly tried to extinguish the fire but it quickly spread to the other houses and nearby Laong Nasa and M. Dizon Streets, and Dagupan Extension due to strong wind.

The Barangay Hall of Barangay 155 was also razed by the fire.

Authorities placed the damage to property at P10 million.

The victims of the fire, which was extinguished at 6:10 a.m., are currently seeking refuge in a nearby covered court.

FIRE KILLS 2

Two deaths were reported in the fire – Danilo Francisco, 40, of Barangay 155 and former barangay kagawad Erlinda Benedicto, 65, from Barangay 160.

Authorities found Francisco’s body bent inside a cramped toilet with his right hand holding a pail of water.

“He was helping firefighters putting out the fire. I think it came to a point when he could no longer breathe well because of the thick smoke. We are aware that he was diagnosed with emphysema in the past,” Irene Martinez, Francisco’s cousin told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.

Benedicto died from a heart attack as she watched her house burn, Yu said. (With reports from Jenny F. Manongdo, Ed Mahilum, Jonathan M. Hicap, and Nestor L. Abrematea)


PHILSTAR

#Journeyto30 - A pole vault into crisis By Epi Fabonan III (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 3, 2016 - 12:00am 0 59 googleplus0 0


#Journeyto30 traces the most significant milestones in our country’s history as covered by The Philippine STAR. The series shall run from today until July 24, 2016, leading to The STAR’s 30th anniversary on July 28, 2016.

MANILA, Philippines – Since July 1986, The Philippine STAR’s pages have captured milestone after milestone in our country’s history – from dramatic and captivating news events to headlines that have had a major impact on our life as a nation. It stood as a journal of the Filipino story both in times of upheaval and achievement.

Beginning today and for the next 29 Sundays, we look back at some of these historical headlines from the past 30 years that dominated the front pages.

Jan. 3, 1997 throwback: The headline quotes former President Fidel Ramos in his annual report to the nation or Ulat sa Bayan at Malacañang the day before, heralding to Filipinos the economic and social progress ushered in by his administration.

Among the achievements Ramos touted in his speech was the economic growth the country experienced in 1996, as proven by the 7.1 percent gross national product growth that year, record-low inflation rates since 1992, declining unemployment rates and increase in exports.

Ramos noted that these achievements were the result of his administration’s efforts to establish peace and security through agreements with Moro rebels and intensified crime prevention and law enforcement.

“This past year, we could say we have crossed the threshold from the point of takeoff toward sustainable development,” Ramos said in his address, adding that the country had come to a point when it ceased to be the Sick Man of Asia, but rather loomed as Asia’s newest tiger economy.

This headline is crucial because that pronouncement would be turned upside down a few months later. By July of that year, the 1997 Asian financial crisis would affect the Philippines, raising interest rates, sending the peso plummeting from P26.00 to P46.50 versus the dollar, causing the Philippine Stock Exchange composite index to drop to 1,000 points from the previous 3,000, and contracting economic growth to a paltry three percent. It was a lesson on cautious optimism that we can use today, given our own economic achievements in recent years.


PHILSTAR

Iglesia countdown breaks 3 world records By Robertzon Ramirez, Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 2, 2016 - 12:00am 0 5 googleplus0 0


After more than an hour of setting off colorful pyrotechnics, the INC broke Norway’s world record of having the largest fireworks display. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) greeted the New Year with three Guinness world records.

After more than an hour of setting off colorful pyrotechnics, the INC broke Norway’s world record of having the largest fireworks display.

It had also successfully broken the world record of having the “longest line of sparklers lit in a relay” and “most sparklers lit simultaneously.”

Guinness World Records official adjudicator Christina Conlon confirmed the three world records

“We were able to announce the certificates for the three titles that were attempted tonight by the Iglesia Ni Cristo: the longest line of sparklers lit in relay, the most sparklers lit simultaneously and the largest fireworks display,” she said.

About 2,000 people took part in two of the Guinness events, namely for the sparklers lit in relay and for sparklers lit simultaneously, according to INC spokesman Edwil Zabala.

The fireworks display lasted for about an hour, he added.

Guinness officials also recognized the INC for having the largest-paying audience for a movie premier, “Felix Manalo.” It was earlier reported that 43,624 people watched the movie premiere.

Shown in cinemas last October, the almost three-hour movie is a historical-biographical dramatization of the life of Felix Manalo, the first INC executive minister.

Guinness made the announcement on the movie on the night of Dec. 31, while the three other announcements were done in the early morning of Jan. 1.

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INC chief legal counsel and Ang Maligaya Development Corp. chief operating officer Glicerio Santos IV organized the New Year’s countdown to 2016 that concluded the longest fireworks display with around 700,000 pieces lit up for almost an hour.

The INC’s New Year countdown was held at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad de Victoria, Bocaue, Bulacan, the world’s largest outdoor arena.

It was shown on INCTV and Net25 – the INC-run television network with more than 100,000 INC members and non-members attending.

Hosting the fireworks display were actors Bela Padilla and Sam Yg. It started at midnight and ended after almost an hour.

Among the performers for the night were Pops Fernandez, Erik Santos, Angeline Quinto, Janice Javier, Jessica Reynoso, Apl.de.ap., Arnel Pineda, Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo and Paolo Ballesteros.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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