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Rain dampens first day of 2018 in Visayas, Mindanao

Cloud clusters can be seen over much of the Visayas and Mindanao in this satellite photo released by the Pagasa on Jan. 1, 2018. PAGASA IMAGE

The Visayas and some parts of Mindanao should brace for heavy rain and thunderstorms brought by a low pressure area (LPA), the weather bureau said Monday.

In its daily weather forecast, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the whole of the Visayas, as well as Caraga and Northern Mindanao, would experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms caused by the trough of the LPA.

The Bicol Region and the rest of Mindanao will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms, Pagasa said.

The bureau warned that flash floods or landslides may occur in these areas.

As of 3 a.m., the LPA was spotted 545 kilometers east of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.

The northeast monsoon (amihan), on the other hand, will bring cloudy skies with scattered rain in the provinces of Cagayan Valley, Aurora, and Quezon, and the Cordillera region, Pagasa said.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will experience party cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain brought by the northeast monsoon. /cbb



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96% of Filipino to welcome 2018 with hope – SWS

HOPE. A record-high of 96% Filipinos enter 2018 with hope, according to Social Weather Stations or SWS. Photo by Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Around 96% of adult Filipinos – a record high – will welcome the new year 2018 with hope instead of fear, according to the latest survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The figure is the highest since the survey firm started asking the public the said survey question in 2000. The previous record high – 95% – were recorded in 2002, 2011, and 2016.

“Hope for the New Year has always been high,” said SWS, except in 2004 when it dropped to 81% from the 90% in 2003.

It saw a gradual increase until it recovered to 93% in 2010 “and has since then been at 90s levels, reaching a record-high 96% in 2017.”

Hope high across all classes

“Hopefulness for the New Year remained high across socio-economic classes,” the survey firm said.

It’s 96% among Class D, 97% among class E, and 97% among classes ABC.

“New Year hope continues to be widespread in all areas: it was highest in Balance Luzon at 97%, followed by Metro Manila at 96%, Mindanao at 95%, and Visayas at 95%,” SWS said.

In Mindanao – where there will be martial law for the entire 2018 – hope is at 95% which is also a record-high from a previous record of 94% in 2011.

Though high, hope in Mindanao has always been lower compared to Luzon and Visayas, according to SWS.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults, aged 18 years old and above nationwide. It was conducted from December 8 to 16, 2017.

The survey question was: Ang darating na taon ba ay inyong sasalubungin ng may pag-asa o may pangamba? (Will you welcome the coming year with hope or fear?) –


Bohol town ordinance penalizes trouble-making drunkards

ANTI-DRUNK LAW. Local officials of Trinidad in Bohol want less incidents caused by drunkenness in their town. Photo from

BOHOL, Philippines – Ahead of New Year's Eve festivities often marked by drinking sprees, officials of Trinidad town in this province passed an ordinance that penalizes drunkards who cause trouble to others and damage property.

The Sangguniang Bayan ordinance, approved by Trinidad Mayor Judith del Rosario-Cajes, was enacted to promote public health and to "discipline people who are habitual drunkards and who causes detrimental act to public morale and safety."

The "Anti-Drunkenness in the Municipality of Trinidad, Bohol" ordinance took effect this week.

Under the ordinance, a person could be deemed guilty of violating the local legislation "if he appears in any place manifestly under the influence of liquor, alcoholic beverage or narcotic drugs to the degree that he/she endanger himself/herself or other persons or property or annoy persons in his/her vicinity and has caused trouble."

Listed in the ordinance as alcoholic or intoxicating substances are beer, whisky, brandy, gin, rum, vodka, "other kinds of foreign wines," and homegrown drinks such as tuba (coconut wine), lambanog (Philippine coconut vodka), bahalina (aged coconut wine), basi (fermented beverage made from sugarcane), and "other intoxicating concoctions."

The local legislation lists as narcotic drugs methamphetamine (shabu), opium, morphine and heroin, which "blunt the senses" when used "constantly."

First-time violators will be slapped with a P500-fine and 5-day jail time. A second offense carries a P1,000-fine and 10 days in jail, while for 3rd and subsequent offenses, violators will be meted a P2,500-fine plus 15 days in jail.

All offenders will shoulder any damage to property due their drunken behavior, according to the ordinance authored by Trinidad Councilors Victoriano Dellosa, Antonino Cajes, Segundo Dungog, and Vidal Cajes.

The mayor, through the local police, and village chiefs of the town's 20 barangays, through their tanod or watchmen, are designated as the enforcement authorities in Trinidad town, located 94 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Tagbilaran.

The problem of drunkenness in the country has been addressed in other measures by the national government.

Republic Act No. 10586, signed by then President Benigno Aquino III on May 27, 2013, penalizes persons driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and "other similar substances."

Under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code, intoxication is considered either a mitigating or an aggravating as alternative circumstances in the commission of a crime.

In September last year, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and 10 other representatives co-authored a House bill that seeks more stringent punishment for drunk and drugged driving. –


Duterte calls on Filipinos to emulate Rizal’s patriotism

RIZAL DAY. President Rodrigo Duterte with Vice President Leni Robredo leads the wreath laying and flag raising ceremony to mark the 121st Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Luneta Park in Manila on December 30, 2017. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to emulate and reflect on the patriotism of Dr Jose Rizal as the nation observed the national hero's 121st death anniversary on Saturday, December 30.

“May we take this occasion as an opportunity to recognize Rizal’s ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our country. Let us reflect on his patriotism as we strive to continue his work of building a more united, peaceful and prosperous Philippines,” the President said in his Rizal Day message.

Duterte cited the examples set by the national hero, and appealed to Filipinos to follow Rizal's lead.

“As an author and as a scholar, he denounced the corruption, greed and other social ills that up to this day continue to plague our society. Even in death, he imparted upon us his aspirations for a nation that is free from the scourge of injustice, tyranny and suffering,” Duterte said.

Duterte led the Rizal Day commemoration at the Rizal Park in Luneta. Vice President Leni Robredo stood beside the President during the flag-raising ceremony, along with former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

Vice President Leni Robredo joined the commemoration of the 121st Rizal Day, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, at the Rizal Park in Manila on Saturday, December 30, 2017. (Photo by OVP)
Vice President Leni Robredo joined the commemoration of the 121st Rizal Day, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, at the Rizal Park in Manila on Saturday, December 30, 2017. (Photo by OVP)

Robredo was not at the Luneta event last year. Earlier in December 2016, the Vice President was forced to resign from her post as Duterte's housing chief after she was barred from attending Cabinet meetings.

In separate messages, senators urged the people to follow the teachings and principles espoused by Rizal.

“Let us further take this opportunity not only to pay tribute to Rizal’s heroic and selfless deeds, but also to strive to emulate his sense of duty and burning passion to bring progressive and nationalistic reforms for the love of our Motherland,” said Senator Joel Villanueva."

“May we all take time to contemplate his teachings and principles, and ask ourselves what we can do to contribute in nation-building,” Villanueva added.

SenatorJuan Edgardo Angara called on Filipinos to use Rizal’s inspiration to fight the biggest social ills the Philippines is facing today.

“Today, we are in the middle of another battle – the war against poverty – and all of us are called upon to act and respond. Will we respond with all courage and willingness too? I am optimistic that we will,” Angara said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, remembered Rizal as "a farmer who soiled his hands and feet to learn the basics of agriculture, studying how to make the land he bought near Dapitan productive."

Rizal lived in exile in Dapitan from 1892 to 1896. (READ: Rizal's student in Dapitan recalls service, duty, sense of dedication)

"Ka Pepe left the haunting message that genuine independence cannot exist when Filipino farmers are still disrespected and poor. We need to measure development by how abundant their own dining tables are," he said. –


Robredo 'happy' over 'good' satisfaction rating in SWS survey

GOOD RATING. Vice President Leni Robredo leads her office's Metro Laylayan visit to Barangay Tumana in Marikina City on December 12, 2017. Photo by OVP

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said she is elated her net satisfaction rating “stayed good at +42” in December 2017, up by a point from her rating in the Social Weather Stations' (SWS) survey in September 2017.

“Parati tayong masaya kapag nakikita natin na tumataas iyong numero sa survey, kasi affirmation ito na nasa tamang landas, nasa tamang landas iyong ginagawa (We’re always happy whenever we see our numbers rising in the survey, because that is an affirmation that we are on the right path, that we are doing the right things),” Robredo told reporters on Thursday, December 28.

“Ito kasing mga surveys… ito iyong pulso ng ating mga kababayan, kaya parati tayong nakikinig kung ano iyong ginagawa natin na parang ina-affirm ng ating mga kababayan. Kaya iyong latest survey, masaya tayo na patuloy na umaakyat,” said added.

(These surveys… are the pulse of the people, that’s why we always listen whenever there’s an indication that the people are affirming what we do. This is why the latest survey and our rising numbers make me happy.)

The Office of the Vice President had just received its ISO 9001:2015 certification from the International Orgnization for Standardization.

The Vice President said the ISO certification is another affirmation for her office as well.

A day before, the Fourth Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey showed Robredo was able to maintain her good net satisfaction rating in December.

The SWS credited Robredo’s one-point increase due to a 16-point rise in Mindanao, which was offset by her steady score in Balance Luzon and an 8-point decrease in Metro Manila and a 5-point decrease in the Visayas.

In Mindanao, the Vice President’s net satisfaction rose from +31 points in September to +47 in December.

Robredo’s rating in the Visayas, however, decreased from +60 in September to +55 in December, while her rating in Metro Manila fell from +23 in September to +15 in December.

The Vice President’s net satisfaction rating in Balance Luzon remained at +42 in December.

In terms of socio-economic classes, Robredo’s net satisfaction rating among classes A, B, and C rose from moderate +24 to good +32.

Those who are aged 55 years old and above rated her with a very good +52, up from her good +40 in September.

College graduates also gave Robredo a very good +30 net satisfaction rating, higher than her moderate +17 from 3 months ago.

Class E, however, gave Robredo a lower rating of good +45 from September’s very good +50.

Respondents aged 18 to 24 year olds gave Robredo a moderate +29 in December from good +36 in September, while elementary school graduates gave her a net satisfaction rating of very good +55 this month compared to September’s good +45.

SWS conducted the survey on December 8 to 16 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults. –


Central Luzon LGUs identify more firecracker zones

Bureau of Fire Protection personnel inspect a fireworks store in Barangay Turo, Bocaue, Bulacan yesterday. Boy Santos
MANILA, Philippines — More firecracker zones have been identified in Central Luzon as the New Year celebration approaches.

Chief Superintendent Amador Corpus, Central Luzon police director, said 303 areas were added to the list of firecracker zones in Pampanga, bringing the total number to 331, while seven were added to 194 earlier identified in Bulacan.

Paombong town in Bulacan has yet to designate any fireworks display area.

At least 92 fireworks zones were also identified in Nueva Ecija.

The number of fireworks display areas in Aurora remains at 23; Bataan, 68; Tarlac, 27; Zambales, 163, and Angeles, Pampanga, 14.

Corpus said most firecracker zones are in basketball courts, vacant lots, along the seashore and public markets.

“We appeal to the public to refrain from using illegal firecrackers to avoid any injuries. Instead of firecrackers, we should all welcome the New Year with other forms of merriment,” he said.

Catalino Cuy, Department of the Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge, reminded local government units to issue permits indicating the date, time and specific areas where fireworks displays can be held.

Cuy said governors, mayors, the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection should also remind the public to ensure compliance with the ban on powerful firecrackers.

Cops to be deployed

In Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Chief Superintendent MaO Aplasca, regional police director, bared plans to deploy over 1,000 police personnel at firecracker zones across the region.

Aplasca directed police commanders to coordinate with local officials in identifying community fireworks display areas.

“I am appealing to the public for support and cooperation to achieve our goal of zero injury due to firecrackers and indiscriminate firing,” Aplasca said.

Superintendent Chitadel Gaoiran, Calabarzon police spokesperson, said local government units have yet to designate firecracker zones in the region. – With Ed Amoroso


PDEA chief surprised over Mark Anthony Fernandez’s release

In this October 2016 file photo, police question actor Mark Anthony Fernandez after they confiscated a kilo of dried marijuana leaves found in his car. PSN/Gary Bernardo
MANILA, Philippines — The head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency was not expecting the release of detained actor Mark Anthony Fernandez, who is facing charges for possession of marijuana.

In a statement published by the Philippine News Agency, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said he was "personally surprised" by Fernandez's acquittal. He said Fernandez was apprehended during his time as regional director of the Philippine National Police Region 3 branch.

Despite his reaction to the actor's release, Aquino, whose agency leads the government’s brutal war on drugs, said he would still respect the rule of law and the course of action of the PNP against Fernandez.

Fernandez, 37, was detained at the Angeles City Jail in San Fernando, Pampanga in October last year and was freed on December 22. This was also confirmed by his former girlfriend, actress Claudine Barretto, on social media.

Judge Ireneo Pangilinan Jr. of the Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 58 said that the actor was released due to procedural breaches committed by Angeles cops in handling the evidence against Fernandez.

Fernandez was arrested by the police for possession of 1 kilo marijuana at a checkpoint in Barangay Virgen delos Remedios in Angeles City, Pampanga in October 2016. The dried leaves were estimated to cost P15,000 in street prices.

He was deemed in violation of the Republic Act of 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Acts of 2002.

The actor denied owning the dried marijuana leaves found in his car, claiming that it was planted by the police. He was, however, tested positive for marijuana use.

Fernandez admitted that he had been smoking marijuana since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.— Rosette Adel

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