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Archived News Headlines from December 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015
(Please note: some articles may have been removed by their respective publications)


Senator Trillanes top spending senator in 2014; Congressman Umali at House
MANILA - The audited books of the Philippine Senate indicated that the chamber spent almost P1.6 billion in 2014, with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who is eyeing a shot at the vice presidency, listed as the top spender. The total expenditures in the Senate amounted to P1,587,361,251.97 for the year.

3 Supreme Court justices asked to inhibit from Grace Poe case
MANILA, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- The camp of Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares on Tuesday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking the inhibition of the three SC associate justices who unanimously voted for her disqualification as a Senator.

China angered as Filipino protesters visit South China Sea island
BEIJING - China expressed anger on Monday after a group of Filipino protesters landed on a disputed Philippine-held island in the disputed South China Sea. About 50 protesters, most of them students, reached Thitu island in the Spratly archipelago on Saturday in a stand against what they say is Beijing's creeping invasion ...

Chiz Escudero asks authorities to hasten probe on news team's ambush
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero condemned in the strongest terms the ambush of a three-member ABS-CBN News team in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur on Dec. 26, as he called on authorities to speed up the investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Upgrades slowly coming into view in 2015 for Philippine airports
MANILA, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- Little by little, upgrades and rehabilitation work in the country’s airports are slowly coming into view and improving to meet international standards. When the Philippines hosted the year-long Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit this year ...

Court stops Grace Poe disqualification
THE Supreme Court issued temporary restraining orders Monday to stop the Commission on Elections from disqualifying Senator Grace Poe and cancelling her Certificate of Candidacy for next year’s presidential election.

Pope Francis condemns the recent killings in Mindanao
MANILA, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- Pope Francis has condemned the "senseless attacks" that killed at least nine civilians in Southern Philippines recently. In a telegram sent to Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of the Cotabato Archdiocese by the Pontiff’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Monday ...

Filipino Joselito Zapanta executed in Saudi Arabia
MANILA, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- Filipino Joselito Zapanta who was convicted for the murder of a Sudanese national over a rental dispute was executed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. “We offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones for their loss ...



Supreme Court issues Comelec 2 restraining orders on Grace Poe's disqualification
MANILA – The Supreme Court on Monday afternoon issued two temporary restraining orders to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the issue of the poll body's prospective execution of its rulings upholding the petitions to disqualify Senator and presidential aspirant Grace Poe on residency and citizenship grounds.

Philippine Army refutes NPA rebels' superiority claim
MANILA, Dec. 27 (PNA) -- The Philippine Army (PA) denied on Sunday the New People's Army (NPA) claim that it is gaining ground versus government forces. "The statement of the NPA spokesman in Mindanao is another figment of imagination that aims to excuse their failures and continuous dwindling of strength ...

Philippine Gov't won’t talk to Joma Sison anymore
AFTER almost six years, the Aquino administration on Sunday declared they have been talking peace with the “wrong people” by going through self-exiled communist leaders Jose Ma. Sison and Luis Jalandoni, and said the next administration should deal directly with the communist rebels on the ground.

Malacanang talks Filipinos out of using firecrackers in welcoming the New Year
MANILA, Dec. 27 (PNA) -- From playing loud music to staging street parties, Malacañang has offered the public alternative noisemakers so they can celebrate the New Year safe and sound, instead of using the traditional fun yet dangerous firecrackers.

Department of Trade and Indstry lauds the success of the first Pinoy Cyber Sale
MANDALUYONG, Dec. 27 -- Department of Trade and Indstry (DTI) lauds the success of the first ever Pinoy Cyber Sale (PCS) held last November 27 to 30, where over 20 e-commerce leaders and players participated to provide a full online shopping experience to the public.

US govt issues alert on travel to southern PHL amid threats of attacks, abductions
MANILA - The United States government has issued an advisory to its citizens against travelling to the southern Philippines amid the persistent threats of kidnappings and terror attacks by Islamist extremists, who captured and executed nine farmers on Christmas.

5 people injured due to stray bullets – PNP
MANILA, Dec. 27 (PNA) -- Four days before the New Year revelry, the number of stray bullet victims has increased to five in different parts of the country, Philippine National Police (PNP)–Public Information Office (PIO) head Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said on Sunday.

Simbang Gabi and Parade of Parols in Los Angeles
MANILA, 25 December (PIA) – Christmas is definitely in the air as the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California USA participated in the recent 13th Annual Simbang Gabi and the Parade of Parols held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles located in downtown Los Angeles.



The Philippines gets $500 million World Bank credit line to reduce disaster risk
MANILA - The Philippines has secured a $500 million credit line from the World Bank to support efforts to manage risks posed by natural disasters. The country can get access to the credit line if its president declares a state of calamity, the bank said in a statement.

Grace Poe confident of swift action from Supreme Court
MANILA, Dec. 26 (PNA) -- Independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe on Saturday expressed confidence that the Supreme Court (SC) would decide in favor of genuine democratic elections that allow foundlings like her to run once it sees the evidence to be presented by her camp.

Pope Francis speaks out on conflicts, migrants
VATICAN - Pope Francis offered a Christmas message Friday of mitigated hope for an end to the world's conflicts, backing recent accords on Syria and Libya and praising those who shelter migrants. "We pray... that the agreement reached in the United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible ...

Permanent evacuation centers in calamity areas pushed
MANILA, Dec. 26 (PNA) -- Permanent evacuation and relief centers with comfort rooms and kitchen should be created for victims of calamities in the country, said Rep. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City).

PNP suspends offensive police operations against NPA until New Year
In line with the observance of the yuletide season, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ricardo A. Marquez, declares the Suspension of Offensive Police Operations (SOPO) against the New People’s Army (NPA) nationwide effective 12 midnight of 23 December 2015 to 12 midnight of January 1, 2016.

‘End Sea Dispute’ Filipinos want feud with China settled soon
MAJORITY of Filipinos agree that it is important to foster “strategic partnerships” with Japan and Vietnam and even approved of joint military exercises with the Japanese, but a majority also want a peaceful settlement of ongoing maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Philippines, European Union (EU) launch negotiations for a free trade agreement
Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on Tuesday agreed to start negotiations for a Philippines-EU free trade agreement (FTA). Both sides share the ambition to conclude an agreement that covers a broad range of issues ...

Banana industry ends year in bad shape; sees challenging year ahead
DAVAO CITY, Dec. 26 (PNA) -- The year 2015 is not a good year for the banana industry as stakeholders hardly recovered from losses due to unresolved problems. Industry leaders even anticipate a carryover of the difficulties into 2016.



Supreme Court: Chief Justice Sereno can issue TRO alone on Poe case despite recess
MANILA -- The Supreme Court shall act on important and imminent cases, including the disqualification of Senator Grace Poe for the May 9, 2016 presidential election, even if the high tribunal is on recess. This was the reaction of the high court after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ...

Philippines sails through uncertainties; still one of Asia’s fastest-growing major economies
MANILA, Dec. 25 (PNA) -- The Philippines has cemented its position as one of Asia’s fastest-growing major economies despite uncertainties in 2015, and now appears en route to becoming a member of the upper middle-income countries over the next six years.

WE WILL AMBUSH YOU | Magahat militia threaten media covering rebel anniversary in Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines -- A military-backed militia linked to atrocities against the lumad has allegedly threatened to ambush journalists intending to cover rebels in Mindanao celebrating the 47th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Firecracker-related injuries reached 25 as of Christmas morning
MANILA, Dec. 25 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau has recorded a total of 25 fireworks-related injuries (FWRI) as of 6 a.m. of Christmas Day on Friday. The number was 17 cases more than the eight injuries in the previous four days since Dec. 21, 2015, but 47 percent lower than ...

President Aquino ‘shocked’ by the passing of esteemed Inquirer editor-in-chief
MANILA, Dec. 25 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III counts himself among the many politicians “shocked” and saddened by the unexpected passing of veteran journalist and longtime Philippine Daily Inquirer editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc.

Corruption biggest problem, PINOYS say
DESPITE almost six years of the Aquino administration’s “Straight Path,” Filipinos consider corruption as the most important problem of the country, the latest The Standard Poll shows. Resident Junie Laylo said 31 percent of the surveyed 1,500 registered voters who said they are likely to vote ...

Land Transportation Office (LTO) holds plate replacement fees
MANDALUYONG CITY, Dec. 25 -- Due to the notice of disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit (COA), the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will temporarily stop collecting fees for replacement of old license plates.

'Bottled air' a hit in smoggy China
BEIJING. Dec. 24 (PNA/Xinhua) -- China's smog has made masks and air purifiers the hottest of commodities. Now, a new product is getting all the attention: bottled air. BBC screenshots of a woman breathing air from a can went viral on the Internet this week, with the broadcasting corp ...



Entire Comelec disqualifies Grace Poe
THE Commission on Elections en banc on Tuesday disqualified Senator Grace Poe from running for president in 2016 on the grounds that she is not a natural-born citizen and that she did not meet the 10-year residency requirement for the post.

EU, Philippines to launch negotiations for free trade agreement
BRUSSELS, Dec. 22 (PNA/Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) and the Philippines agreed on Tuesday to start negotiations for an EU-Philippines free trade agreement (FTA). The EU said in a statement the first round of negotiations was expected to take place in the first half of 2016 in the Philippines.

ASEAN, US leaders to hold special summit in Feb. 2016
SINGAPORE -- The United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are planning to hold a summit in the middle of February in California, an ASEAN official source said Monday. The "special summit" between US President Barack Obama and leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries, is expected ...

Militiaman, plantation supervisor die in Basilan bomb explosion
ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Dec. 23 (PNA) –- The authorities are conducting thorough investigation aimed to unmask the culprits behind the bomb explosion that killed two people, including a militiaman, in the nearby Sumisip town. Lt. Col. Joel Laso, Marine Battalion Landing Team-11 (MBLT-11) commander ...

Aquino signs P3-T national budget; social services to get largest allocation
QUEZON CITY, Dec. 23 -- The President signed Tuesday the P3.002 trillion 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA), setting a record for the administration in creating a budget that is vastly different from the budgets that were created before President Aquino’s term.

Binay, Poe tie for top spot in SWS poll; Digong drops to 3rd, Mar rises to 2nd
MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe are tied as the most preferred presidential aspirants in the Social Weather Stations’ December 2015 pre-election survey published on Tuesday by BusinessWorld, the media partner of SWS in the polling.

Debt-to-GDP ratio for Philippines improves as of September 2015
MANILA, Dec. 23 -- As of September 2015, the General Government debt to GDP ratio improved to 36.8% from 37.2% in Q3 2014. The General Government debt was listed at P4.8 trillion, a 5.1% increase from the P4.6 trillion recorded during the same period last year.

US intercepts cyanide-laced Chinese pharmaceuticals -- FDA
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (PNA/Sputnik) -- The United States blocked the import of two shipments of pharmaceuticals from a Chinese company after detecting the deadly poison hydrogen cyanide, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in a news release.



Jejomar Binay regains lead in new Pulse Asia survey
Vice President Jejomar Binay has surged to regain the lead among presidential candidates in the latest Pulse Asia survey as Senator Grace Poe, who had ousted him as front runner months ago but has been hounded by disqualification cases, sharing second place with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

President Aquino attends Armed Forces’ 80th anniversary celebration
CLARK AIR BASE, Pampanga, (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday expressed his gratitude to the unwavering commitment, passion and dedication of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which celebrated its 80th anniversary at the Air Force City here.

Poe leads in Laylo Research presidential survey
In a survey commissioned by the broadsheet newspaper The Standard, 28 percent of 1,500 respondents chose Senator Grace Poe over other presidential candidates. Poe was followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay at 23%, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas at 22%, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ...

Pia Wurtzbach's Miss Universe crown a great Christmas gift for Filipinos - Palace
MANILA, Dec 21 (PNA) -- Malacañang considers the victory of 26-year old German-Filipina Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach in the just concluded 2015 Miss Universe pageant as a great Christmas gift for Filipinos. Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. and Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda both congratulated Wurtzbach ...

Franklin Drilon lauds Aquino administration for approving national budget on schedule for 6 straight years
MANILA, Dec. 22 (PNA) – Senate President Franklin Drilon congratulated the administration of President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday for having achieved a consistent record of approving the national budget on schedule for six succeeding years.

Chiz Escudero keeps big lead for VP
SENATOR Francis Escudero retained a wide lead over other vice presidential candidates for the 2016 polls even as other contenders, except for Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, saw their ratings go up in the latest The Standard Poll. At least 33 percent of the respondents—all of whom are registered voters ...

Philippines tourism earnings up 8.24% at PHP186.89-B from January-October
MANILA, Dec. 22 (PNA) -- Tourists visiting the Philippines for the first 10 months of this year generated PHP186.89 billion in visitor receipts, an 8.24 percent increase from the PHP172.66 billion acquired in the same period last year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported Tuesday.

Mar Roxas shrugges off shoulder in the latest Pulse Asia survey
MANILA, (PNA) -- Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas on Tuesday shrugged off the latest Pulse Asia survey that shows Vice President Jejomar Binay retake the top choice. Roxas said he was not saddened by the latest survey conducted nationwide from Dec. 4 to 11 showing him steady at fourth place.



Digong Duterte to Mar Roxas on debate challenge: Mag number 2 muna siya sa survey
MANILA, Philippines - To Liberal Party's standard bearer Mar Roxas' challenge to debate him, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has this to say: Get to number 2 in the surveys first. "Ayoko, mayabang siya. He wants to ... eh number four siya, mag-number two muna siya sa survey," Duterte said.

Health Department succeeds in managing and controlling infectious diseases in 2015
MANILA, Dec. 20 (PNA) -- One of the notable accomplishments the Department of Health (DOH) can best be remembered in 2015 is its success in managing and controlling the possible spread of emerging and threatening infectious diseases in the country.

Cast of Clans: From Aguinaldo to Aquino, dynasties rule
MANILA, Philippines -- From the country’s first president, Emilio Aguinaldo, to Benigno Aquino III, the incumbent, Philippine politics has always been essentially a family business. And, by all indications, the May 2016 election is unlikely to change this.

DOST awards two schools as best implementers of inquiry-based science lessons
QUEZON CITY, Dec. 20 -- The Science Education Institute (SEI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) named Taguig Integrated School and CP Sta. Teresa Elementary School as two of the Most Promising School for Implementers of Project HOTS or Hands on Teaching and Learning of Science.

Philippines to receive 5-millionth foreign visitor on Monday –DOT
MANILA, Dec. 20 (PNA) -- The five-millionth foreign tourist to the Philippines this year is expected to arrive on Monday (Dec. 21), the Department of Tourism (DOT) said in an advisory Sunday night. DOT said the visitor, whose name and nationality have yet to be revealed, will be arriving at 3:48 a.m. Monday.

Grace Poe still ahead in tighter race
DESPITE two decisions disqualifying her from the 2016 presidential polls, Senator Grace Poe posted a slim lead over other candidates as the race for the highest post in the land became tighter, the latest The Standard Poll showed.

Immigration Bureau exceeds one billion peso mark in tourist visa fees
MANILA, Dec. 20 -- Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Siegfred Mison announced on Monday that the BI has exceeded the one billion peso mark in its income for tourist visa extension fees—a milestone reached for the first time this month.

Fil-Am NOW! Is Set for a Sizzling Debut Featuring Momma Cuisine
The long-awaited lifestyle show aims to entertain the next generation of Filipino-Americans. Today, Momma Cuisine, Inc., parent company of the In the Kitch with Momma Cuisine cooking series presented by Kenmore, announced the permanent participation of the series on Fil-Am NOW!, a lifestyle show ...



Grace Poe asks for consolidation anew
THE camp of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe asked the Commission on Elections to consolidate the two motions for reconsideration filed before the poll body’s 1st and 2nd divisions to save time. In this way, the Comelec en banc could more effectively resolve the controversies and finalize ...

Personal remittances climbs to US$22.8 billion in October
MANILA, 17 Dec. (PIA)--Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) reached US$2.5 billion in October 2015, bringing cumulative remittances for the period January–October 2015 to US$22.8 billion. On a year-to-date basis, personal remittances increased by 3.5 percent, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas ...

Japan's East China Sea defense plan seeks to turn tables on China
TOKYO -- Japan is fortifying its far-flung island chain in the East China Sea under an evolving strategy that aims to turn the tables on China's navy and keep it from ever dominating the Western Pacific Ocean, Japanese military and government sources said.

Department of Agriculture initially places typhoon 'Nona' damage in E. Visayas at PHP92.57M
TACLOBAN CITY, Dec. 18 (PNA) –- The farming sector in eastern Visayas suffered PHP92.57 million production losses due to typhoon "Nona", the Department of Agriculture regional office here reported. Of the total, PHP3.57 million losses were recorded in Biliran province, PHP5.47 million in Samar ...

Typhoon 'Yolanda' survivors rush to aid 'Nona' victims
TACLOBAN CITY, Dec. 18 (PNA) –- Donations are now pouring in for victims of typhoon "Nona" in northern Samar as different organizations, government agencies and private groups are stepping up efforts to extend their helping hands.

Pacquiao gives away car, motorcycles on 37th birthday
GENERAL SANTOS CITY - It was an 'austere' party when ranged against the last five years' merrymaking, but Thursday's birthday celebration of Rep. Manny Pacquiao was nonetheless star-studded – the political kind, that is. Referred by hosts Joanna Banting-Lapore and Joey Concepcion as the next senator ...

MMDA asks for patience for heavy traffic during holiday rush
MANILA, Dec. 18 (PNA) -- With the worsening traffic condition in the metropolis due to Christmas rush, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Emerson Carlos appealed to motorists to be more patient. He attributed the bad traffic situation in major thoroughfares to the high volume ...

Bill exempting persons with disabilities from VAT nears enactment
PASAY CITY, 18 Dec. (PIA)--The Senate and the House of Representatives have ratified the bicameral conference committee report of a bill exempting persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the 12-percent value added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services.



Philippines remains among most resilient to increased rates, says Purisima
MANILA - Touting current account surpluses, ample reserves, a stable currency, less volatile capital flows, among others, the Finance chief said the Philippines will remain "resilient from increased rates" as the US Federal Reserve announced its first rate hike after nearly a decade of near-zero rates.

President Aquino signs laws creating more Trial Court branches
MANILA, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into laws five bills creating additional branches in the country's trial courts. Republic Act (RA) No. 10711 creates five more branches of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and five additional branches of the Metropolitan Trial Court ...

Duterte's Certificate of Candidacy OK’d with conditions
The Commission on Elections on Thursday said that it accepts the Certificate of Candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the presidential candidate for the PDP-Laban in 2016, but said he had to hurdle a pending disqualification case filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor.

P495-M project contract signed to develop IT system for Public Financial Management
MANILA, Dec 17 -- The National Government launched today the P495-million contract for the Budget and Treasury Management System (BTMS) Project, a joint venture with Free Balance Canada and Innove Communications, a subsidiary of Globe Telecom, Inc.

Congress to exert effort to pass draft Bangsamoro Law in January, says Palace
MANILA, Dec 17 -- Leaders of Congress have assured that they will exert all efforts to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) when sessions resume in January after their month-long holiday break, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Election commissioner Guanzon: En banc's Duterte Certificate of Candidacy ruling premature
MANILA - Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon considered it premature for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc to have issued a positive ruling on the substitution of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban political party.

President Aquino approves measure renaming Batasan Hills High School after Cory Aquino
MANILA, Dec 17 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law an Act renaming Batasan Hills National High School in Quezon City after his mother, the late President Cory Aquino. President Aquino signed last Dec. 10 Republic Act No. 10716, which changes the name of Batasan Hills National High School ...

San Roque dam not opening gate despite rising water elevation
DAGUPAN CITY, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- The Agno Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (AFFWC) said it has no plan to recommend the opening of any gate of the San Roque dam even if the elevation at the dam's reservoir already reached 278.89 meters above sea level (masl) as of 3:00 p.m. Thursday.



Supreme Court orders oral arguments on David disqualification case vs Poe
MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday the holding of oral arguments next month on Rizalito David’s petition to overturn the Senate Electoral Tribunal decision that dismissed the disqualification case he filed against Senator Grace Poe.

President Aquino gets 'good' rating in latest SWS survey
MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) -- President Benigno Aquino III continues to enjoy a "good" public satisfaction rating based on the fourth quarter 2015 Social Weather Station (SWS) survey. Results of the survey showed a +32 rating for the President for the quarter, a tad lower than the previous quarter's +41 rating ...

Death toll from weakened 'Nona' rises to 11 as 'Onyok' poised to enter PAR
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE - 5:59 p.m.) Rescuers on speedboats hauled rain-soaked residents off rooftops after typhoon “Nona” (international name: Melor) caused heavy flooding and killed at least 11 people and cut power to millions even as a new tropical depression, "Onyok,” is expected to enter ...

President Aquino vows to boost anti-corruption campaign
MANILA, Dec. 16 -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday pledged that the government will boost its anti-corruption campaign to better empower the Filipino people. In a speech delivered during the 3rd State Conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption at the Rizal Hall ...

Typhoon Nona has weakened slightly and is moving slowly over West Philippine Sea
QUEZON CITY, Dec 16 -- Typhoon Nona has weakened slightly and is moving slowly over West Philippine Sea. As of 10:00 AM today, the eye of typhoon “NONA” was located 90 km West of Ternate, Cavite. It has maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph.

Roxas, Duterte ‘War’ escalates
LIBERAL Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II challenged his opponent Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to a fistfight Tuesday, but the latter suggested using guns instead, marking a sharp escalation in the word war between the two candidates. “A gun duel. Rich folks are afraid to die.

Company commander among 3 soldiers killed in Basilan clash
MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) --- A company commander, with the rank of captain, was among the three soldiers killed during the operation at Barangay Macalang, Albarka, Basilan which resulted in the killing of 15 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits and wounding of seven other brigands.

Facebook's new feature to help locate reputable businesses
HOUSTON, Dec. 16 (PNA/PTI) -- Social network giant Facebook has quietly launched a new desktop-only feature on its site which allows users to find highest-rated local businesses based on customer reviews, entering in direct competition with companies like Yelp and Angie's List.



Mar Roxas dares Digong Duterte to a slapping match over Wharton issue
UP Diliman, Quezon City - Former Interior and Local Government Secretary and presidential aspirant Manuel "Mar" Roxas on Monday put on an equally tough face against the tough-guy posture of his rival, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte, by issuing a slapping challenge.

World Trade Organisation conference pledges USD90-M to boost trade in poor countries
NAIROBI, Dec. 15 (PNA/Xinhua) -- Ministers of trade from around the world have pledged 90 million U.S. dollars to finance initiatives to boost trade in poor countries over the next seven years, officials said. With the threat of failed talks hanging over the Nairobi Ministerial Conference ...

Philippine Peso plummets to 6-year low
The peso fell to a new six-year low against the US dollar, losing P0.11 to close at 47.345 a dollar Monday, as the anticipated rate hike by the US Federal Reserve this week buoyed the greenback against most currencies. This was the local currency’s weakest level since closing at 47.47 against the dollar on Oct. 28, 2009 ...

Japan official warns of military purpose in S. China Sea reclamation
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (PNA/Kyodo) -- A top Japanese defense official warned Monday that China has a military purpose in its creation of islands in the South China Sea, citing the possibility of Beijing declaring an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, over the waters.

Philippines can meet 2015 GDP growth target—NEDA
MANILA, Dec. 15 -- Government economic planners are confident that the Philippines can achieve its target of six (6) percent to seven (7) percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This means that the expected economic growth of 5.9% for the 4th quarter of the year should be achieved ...

Worrying about negative Comelec ruling, Grace Poe trains sight on Supreme Court for her disqualification cases
MANILA – Worrying that she would not get a favorable ruling from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after two divisions disqualified her, Senator Grace Poe trained her sight on the Supreme Court for her disqualification cases. In an interview after her speech commemorating the 11th death anniversary of her father ...

Richard Gordon receives this year’s Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award
For advocating volunteerism that leads to real, significant, and sustainable change through the years, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman Richard J. Gordon is this year’s sole recipient of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency’s Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award.

Update as of 4 p.m.: Passengers stranded in various ports due to 'Nona' now over 7,000
MANILA, Dec 14 (PNA) -- A total of 7,366 passengers were reported stranded in various ports nationwide due to typhoon ‘Nona’, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on its latest advisory on Monday afternoon. PCG said that those stranded include 79 vessels, 17 motor bancas and 466 rolling cargoes.



Supreme Court bans development of genetically engineered products
MANILA - Voting unanimously Tuesday, the Supreme Court en banc expanded the Court of Appeals’ writ of kalikasan (environment) order that permanently stopped the field trials of Bt talong, a genetically modified eggplant engineered with a bacterium to deter pest insects.

Ban Ki-moon calls for final push for climate agreement based on 'global vision'
PARIS, Dec. 12 (PNA/Xinhua) -- Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on negotiators and ministers to reach a final outcome the Paris climate talks. "As secretary general of the United Nations, I'm urging the negotiators to make their decision, based on global vision ..."

Rodrigo Duterte, Mar Roxas exchange barbs
AFTER Liberal Party presidential bet Manuel Roxas II criticized him for promoting a “mythical” image as crime-buster, independent candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte lashed back at the LP bet and depicted him as an inexperienced manager who has to call on his wife to take hold of a situation.

Reparations process for Martial Law victims of human rights abuses need to be through, says Claims Board chair
MANILA, Dec. 12 -- The reparations process for the victims of human rights violations during Martial Law in the Philippines need to be thorough, Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) Chair Lina Castillo Sarmiento said.

President Aquino wants his presidency to be remembered as a bringer of hope, optimism
MANILA, Dec. 11 (PNA) --President Benigno S. Aquino III wants Filipinos to remember his presidency as a story of overcoming adversities, when he steps down from power next year. During this year’s Bulong Pulungan Forum at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Hotel on Friday, the President was asked ...

Beyond the bloodshed: The Aquino administration's socioeconomic rights violations
The Aquino administration has the duty to uphold, protect and promote the human rights of all Filipinos. This is the responsibility of every government. The administration's civil and political rights violations are already well-documented and widely known. But it should be as well known that ...

Supreme Court asked not to lift TRO on "no bio, no boto" policy
MANILA, Dec. 11 (PNA) -- The petitioners against the "No Bio, No Boto" policy of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday filed a manifestation before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to counter the Comelec's allegations with regard to the ramifications of the SC's temporary restraining order ...

Hypertensive and diabetic patients nationwide to get free maintenance medicines starting January 2016 --DOH
MANILA, Dec. 11 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday that starting January 2016, hypertension and diabetic patients nationwide may avail of free maintenance medicines for their illnesses from the DOH regional rural health units (RHUs).



P11.8-billion Clark solar plant rising
The state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority signed Wednesday a lease agreement with Sunray Power Inc. to build a 100-megawatt solar power plant costing P11.75 billion on a 260-hectare area in Clark Green City. “We look forward to the long-standing partnership with SPI to provide clean and renewable energy ...

NBI files criminal raps vs. 2 OTS, 4 PNP personnel in 'talaba' scam at NAIA
MANILA, Dec. 10 (PNA) -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Task Force Talaba (Tanim-Laglag Bala) on Thursday filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal complaints against two employees of the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) and four personnel of the Philippine National ...

Grace Poe takes swipe at Duterte over human rights violations
MANILA - Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday took a swipe at Davao City Mayor and fellow presidential aspirant Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte over his alleged human rights violations by saying the country needs leaders who respects human rights and upholds them.

77 units of US-donated M-113A2 armored carrier now in the Philippines
MANILA, Dec. 10 (PNA) -- Seventy-seven units of US-donated M-113A2 armored personnel carriers, intended for the Mechanized Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, have arrived in Subic Bay, Zambales province Wednesday evening.

Palace denies Php1.5-B offer to congressman in exchange of BBL passage
MANILA, Dec. 10 (PNA) – Malacanang on Thursday denied reports that President Benigno Aquino III has offered Php1.5 billion worth of projects to congressmen in exchange of the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The offer was allegedly made to the 150 congressmen who attended a luncheon ...

Seneres denies justices asked him to give way to Duterte
MANILA, Philippines -- Presidential aspirant Roy Seneres denied reports two Supreme Court justices tried to convince him to abandon his bid and give way to Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. In its banner story Wednesday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, quoting a source, said the attempt to get Seneres to give way ...

Philippines decries lack of financial commitment in the draft Paris deal
As the clock ticks away at the United Nations (UN) climate change talks with only four days left to finalize a legally-binding agreement, the Philippines called out other countries in a high-level meeting for failing to include crucial adaptation finance in the current draft of the Paris agreement.

President Aquino underscores holistic approach to end corruption in the Philippines
MAKATI, 10 December (PIA)--“The only way we can truly end corruption in the Philippines is by taking a holistic approach—one that involves both government and the private sector.” This was the statement made by President Benigno Aquino III during the Integrity Summit 2015 held at the Makati Shangrila.



21 cops sacked, 11 suspended over Maguindanao massacre
Twenty-one policemen have been dismissed from service while 11 others were suspended after a police investigation found substantial evidence pointing to their alleged involvement in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre. The National Police Commission (Napolcom), which investigated the administrative cases ...

Over 100 countries commit for binding climate change deal
MOSCOW, Dec. 9 (PNA/Sputnik) -- The European Union and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states agreed Tuesday that a climate change deal should be "binding, inclusive, dynamic and transparent," said in a press release. "[The representatives of the EU members and ACP states] agreed that the 79 ACP ...

JV Ejercito slapped with graft raps
THE Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday indicted Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito for graft and corruption and technical malversation over the questionable procurement of high-powered firearms in February 2008 when he was still mayor of San Juan City.

Philippine athletes bag 17 medals at the Seventh ASEAN schools games
QUEZON CITY, Dec. 9 -- The Seventh (7th) Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Schools Games came to a close, after five days of friendly competition among student-athletes from the region, with the Philippine contingent bringing home 17 medals – three golds, three silvers and 11 bronzes.

Philippine Stock Exchange warns public anew on investment scams
MANILA, Dec. 8 (PNA) -- The Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) has advised the public to exercise caution in dealing with individuals who are not licensed to solicit funds for stock market investments. “We are alarmed by reports that have reached us on unscrupulous practices that are perpetuated ...

bicameral conference committee approves P3-T national budget for 2016
The bicameral conference committee on Wednesday morning approved the proposed P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016. House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the House of Representatives will ratify the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed budget by next week.

‘Put back P8-billion cut in 2016 DSWD budget’—Soliman
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the agency “cannot accept” the P8 billion reduction in its 2016 budget and called for the Senators to put back the said amount as it will serve as cash grants for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.

PLDT Home, Microsoft partner for Tvolution device
MANILA, Dec. 8 (PNA) -- Listed Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has partnered with global technology giant Microsoft to unveil Tvolution Stick, the country’s first device that transforms a television into a fully functional personal computer.



Comelec dangles possibility of postponing May 2016 polls
MANILA - (UPDATED W/ VIDEO) In the event the Supreme Court (SC) does not lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the “No Bio, No Boto” policy, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not discounting the possibility of postponing the May 2016 elections.

Business confidence in the Philippines hit 2-yr high in 4th quater this year
MANILA, Dec. 4 (PNA) -- The Christmas season and election-related spending boosted businessmen's outlook resulting to the two-year high overall business expectation survey (BES) confidence index (CI) in the last quarter of 2015.

Comelec clears way for Rodrigo Duterte
THE Commission on Elections on Monday dismissed the petition of its own legal department to declare PDL-Laban candidate for president Martin Diño a nuisance candidate, removing a major obstacle for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to run as his substitute.

DSWD open to probe on buried relief goods in Leyte
QUEZON CITY, Dec. 7 -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) welcomes the probe on the buried relief goods in Dagami, Leyte which is being pressed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that she is open to any investigation that would give ...

Philippine Airlines' SFO-MNL flights to use NAIA Terminal 1
MANILA, Dec 7 (PNA) -- The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 will be utilized as the "airport of arrival" for all Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights from San Francisco to Manila until March next year.

UN chief warns Paris talks of climate catastrophe
LE BOURGET, FRANCE - Time is running out to avert "a climate catastrophe," UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned Monday as ministers opened a frenetic week of talks in Paris to forge a 195-nation accord to brake global warming. Scientists predict Earth will become increasingly hostile for mankind as it warms ...

Inmate killed inside Bilibid's maximum security compound
MANILA, Dec. 7 (PNA) -- Another inmate from the Maximum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City was stabbed to death early Monday morning. Based on the incident report, the victim was identified as Felicito Braga who was pronounced dead on arrival at the NBP Hospital.

Australia boosts disaster response capacity of DSWD
QUEZON CITY, Dec. 7, (PIA) - -The Australian Government has strengthened disaster response capacity of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through a P104 million (A$3 million) grant under a three-year Support Program for Disaster Response.



Malaysian police gains access to Abu Sayyaf suspects
THE Philippines has agreed to allow Malaysian police to question two Abu Sayyaf extremists who were arrested last week over their supposed involvement in the beheading of Malaysian engineer Bernard Then, according to Malaysian media.

PNoy: Court ruling on Pemberton case will strengthen US-PH relations
ROME, Italy, Dec. 6 -- President Aquino said he believes the court ruling on the case of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton will further strengthen the relationship between the Philippines and the US because the two countries both respect the rule of law.

President Aquino on Poe's DQ case: 'It's not up to me'
ROME, Italy - President Benigno Aquino III said the decision to disqualify Senator Grace Poe from the presidential race is not his to make, but expressed hope that the senator would still find ways to appeal her case. Aquino was reacting to the ruling of the Commission on Elections second division ...

Preparations underway for 5-day visit of Japanese imperial couple to the Philippines
MANILA, Dec. 6 (PNA) -- The government has begun its preparations for the five-day visit of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in the Philippines in January next year. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Department of Foreign Affairs ...

Palace congratulates Angelia Ong for winning Miss Earth 2015 title
MANILA, Dec. 6 (PNA) -- Malacañang on Sunday congratulated Filipina Angelia Ong for winning this year’s Miss Earth beauty pageant. The 25-year-old Ong was crowned Miss Earth 2015 during the coronation night held in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), giving the Philippines its first back-to-back win.

Aquino leads turnover, blessing of new air assets
MANILA - Fresh from a three-state European trip, President Benigno S. Aquino III on Saturday led the formal turnover and blessing of newly acquired air assets, including FA-50PH lead-in fighter jets and attack helicopters.

President Aquino hopes COP 21 yields binding climate change agreement
ROME, Italy, Dec. 6 -- President Aquino said he hopes that the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris will yield enforceable commitments from countries to address climate change. The President, who attended the Paris climate conference on November 30, said the good thing about the debate ...

Shift in mindset on respect for human rights key to AFP reforms under PNoy administration
QUEZON CITY, Dec. 6 -- It was during the term of President S. Benigno Aquino III that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) took concrete steps to institutionalize respect for human rights in the military establishment, given the administration's direction of pursuing security, peace and justice ...



‘Blame Yourself’ I didn’t file your CoC, Mar Roxas tells Grace Poe
ADMINISTRATION standard bearer Manuel Roxas II insisted Thursday that Senator Grace Poe had nobody but herself to blame for her misfortunes, and denied having a hand in an alleged conspiracy to take her out of the presidential race. “Wasn’t it her lawyer who filed her papers?

Palace urges Poe to respect, follow process of law
MANILA, Dec. 3 (PNA) – Malacanang on Thursday urged leading presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe to respect the law following the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify the lady solon from running for president in 2016.

BuCor readies Pemberton detention quarters inside Camp Aguinaldo
MANILA - From a modified 20-footer container van, the homicide convict US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton will soon be transferred to a "bungalow-type" detention quarters renovated and retrofit to US jail facility standards, where he is to serve his prison term.

Poe’s lawyer: Comelec Second Division committed grave abuse of discretion
MANILA, Dec. 3 (PNA) – A lawyer of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on Thursday said the Commission on Election (Comelec) Second Division has committed “grave abuse of discretion” when it ruled to cancel the candidacy for president of the lady senator.

PNoy now in Italy; gets one step closer to meeting Pope Francis again
ROME, Italy, Dec. 3 -- President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here Tuesday evening (Wednesday in Manila) to begin the Italian leg of his three-state European trip following a two-day working visit in Paris, France. The Chief Executive and his official delegation took a nearly two-hour Philippine ...

SET junks motion for reconsideration, upholds Poe citizenship ruling
MANILA – Two days after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rule to nullify Senator Grace Poe's certificate of candidacy for the presidency in next year's election, the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) on Thursday upheld its earlier decision affirming her status as a natural-born Filipino citizen ...

Philippines pushes for grants-based adaptation funds in Paris climate change talks
PARIS, France, Dec. 3 (PNA) -- As the UN climate change negotiations enters its fourth day (Dec. 3), the Philippines calls for adaptation funds that will not result in additional financial burden for Filipinos. Alicia Ilaga, the country’s lead negotiator for adaptation and director of the Climate Change ...

President Aquino forges stronger tie up with Airbus
PARIS, France, Dec. 3 -- President Aquino met with officials of Airbus on Tuesday to discuss enhanced cooperation between the Philippines and the European airplane manufacturer. Significant components for Airbus A350 are sourced from the Philippines such as actuators, galleys and toilets ...



Comelec disqualifies Grace Poe on residency issue
MANILA - The lawyer of Senator Grace Poe, George Garcia, disclosed on Tuesday afternoon that the Commission on Election has ruled to disqualify presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on her residency issue. The ruling comes on the heels of several disqualification petitions received by Comelec...

US serviceman Pemberton found guilty of homicide for Laude's death
OLONGAPO CITY, Dec. 1 (PNA) –- The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Tuesday found US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton guilty of homicide in the death of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in October last year.

Pemberton meted 6 to 12 years for homicide in Jennifer Laude case
MANILA, Philippines - US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was found guilty of homicide on Tuesday for the killing transgender Jennifer Laude on October 11 last year. He was sentenced to 6 to 12 years imprisonment for the crime.

Grace Poe disappointed with Comelec’s ruling disqualifying her to run for president
MANILA, Dec. 1 (PNA) – Senator Grace Poe said on Tuesday she felt disappointed with the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division disqualifying her from running for president due to failure to meet the residency requirement in the Constitution.

Philippines hopeful on sea row case against China
MANILA, Dec. 2 -- The Philippines has expressed optimism that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague would hand down a “truly just solution” to its case against China over disputed waters. According to a bulletin issued by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte from The Hague on Monday ...

Comelec ruling disqualifies Grace Poe
THE Commission on Elections on Tuesday night disqualified Senator Grace Poe, the frontrunner in opinion polls for next year’s presidential race, saying she was guilty of material misrepresentation in her Certificate of Candidacy.

Moral imperative to cut carbon emissions needed at Paris summit
MANILA, Dec. 2 -- The moral imperative to curb carbon emissions worldwide was underscored as the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) convened on Monday.

Villar Group to build 14 hospitals in 5 to 10 years
MANILA, Dec. 1 (PNA) -- The Villar Group plans to build 14 hospitals offering 3,000 beds nationwide over the next five to 10 years, with the goal of eventually publicly listing its hospital unit, Vitacare Healthcare Inc.

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