Information technology (IT) experts have been linking with election watchdogs throughout the country to validate the so-called “60-30-10” pattern in which senatorial candidates from Team PNoy consistently obtained 60 percent, those from the United Nationalist Alliance 30 percent and the rest 10 percent of the votes cast in various precincts. The experts, however, are not making claims that the results were manipulated.
II. PROCLAMATION OF PARTY-LIST WINNERS
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is poised to proclaim the results in the party-list balloting. With 95 percent of the certificates of canvass (COCs) accounted for, the top 10 party-list groups are: Buhay (1,255,734 votes), A Teacher (1,033,873), Bayan Muna (945,639), 1 Care (931,303), Akbayan (820,351), Ako Bicol (761,115), Abono (753,161), OFW Family (735,854), Gabriela (706,194), and Senior Citizen (671,916).
III. PH PROBE TEAM TO TAIWAN
Taipei has approved Manila’s request to send investigators to Taiwan to examine evidence and interview witnesses to the May 9 fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino coast guards. But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima declined to tell when a team from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) would leave for Taiwan.
IV. EASING OF PH-TAIWAN TENSIONS
The tension between the Philippines and Taiwan has somewhat eased after both countries agreed to make “coordinated efforts” to look into the death of a Taiwanese fisherman, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
V. SACKED TAIWANESE REPORTER OVER PH HOAX
A reporter in Taiwan, identified only by his family name Cheng, has been sacked for fabricating a story amid a diplomatic row over the recent killing of a Taiwanese fisherman. Cheng said that he “witnessed” a diner owner refusing to sell boxed lunches to two men after discovering that they were Filipinos. When Cheng’s superior asked to meet the owner to verify the story, the reporter sent an impostor and later admitted that he never saw the incident take place, Lih Pao newspaper said.
VI. AFFECTED FISHERMEN IN PANATAG SHOAL DISPUTE
Fishermen say Chinese maritime surveillance ships have shooed them off Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea and roped off the entrance to the vast lagoon that had been their fishing paradise for decades.
Some have paddled back in dugouts to sneak into the lagoon—teeming with pricey yellowfin and skipjack tuna, red grouper, blue marlin and lobster—while their mother boats hide from a distance.
But other Filipino fishermen in the northwestern towns of Masinloc in Zambales province and Infanta in Pangasinan province have sold their boats, or simply abandoned them on the coast, and turned to other work, including raising pigs in their backyards.
VII. CHINESE INCURSION IN AYUNGIN SHOAL
The Philippines is weighing what course of action to take in the wake of the latest Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) even as the country asserted its capability to defend its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that they are already coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy to plan a response to the presence of Chinese military and fishing vessels around the Ayungin Shoal.
VIII. PH SYMPATHY FOR US TORNADO VICTIMS
The Philippines joined other nations in expressing sympathy and grief for the residents of Oklahoma City in the United States who were severely affected by the tornado that struck on Monday. Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte expressed sadness over the loss of lives in the catastrophe, as she offered prayers for the victims, their families and friends.
IX. PRIORITY BILLS
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. met last Monday with Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III to explore the possibility of Congress approving six measures in “advance stages” on June 5 and 6.
On their wish list are bills delineating forest limits, reorganizing the Philippine Statistical System, providing science and technology scholarships, amending the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act, strengthening the witness protection program, and protecting whistle-blowers.
X. REP. RODRIGUEZ ON CHARTER CHANGE
Reelected Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said that he would file a resolution with the incoming 16th Congress calling for Charter change (Cha-cha). “I support the Cha-cha initiative of Speaker (Feliciano) Belmonte. My resolution will start the ball rolling on Chacha in the House of Representatives,” he said.
XI. PROTEST VS INCLUSION OF P120-BILLION COCO LEVY FUND IN 2014 BUDGET
Peasant groups are opposing the government’s plan to include P120 billion of the coconut levy funds in the 2014 national budget. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the claimants’ movement Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) issued the statement following proposals made by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. Secretary Abad said that a proposed “integrated coconut industry and poverty reduction roadmap” is now with President Aquino.
XII. CHED ON TUITION HIKE PETITIONS
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will formally decide on Monday whether to approve the application of 344 private colleges and universities to increase their tuition and other fees this school year. Various CHED regional offices have already forwarded their recommendations to the five-member commission.
XIII. CA RULING ON PHOENIX SMUGGLING CHARGES
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima reacted sharply to the Court of Appeals’ (CA) latest ruling stopping the government from filing smuggling charges against independent oil player Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, lambasting the intermediate court for what she said was its “apparent penchant for stopping the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting cases that had probable cause.”
XIV. FUGITIVE MANCAO
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has vowed to catch fugitive double murder suspect Cezar Mancao II. De Lima dared Mancao to come out from hiding if he was “man enough.” Exasperated by Mancao’s taunts against authorities who continue to look for the fugitive to no avail, De Lima asked Mancao “to stop his antics.”
XV. P25-MILLION FAKE MEDICINES
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized P25-million worth of fake medicines intended for the local market, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said. A 40-footer container van was loaded with 20 pallets of fake medicines from South Korea and consigned to Mountain Glory Agri Sales Corp.
XVI. P26-M NPA CAMPAIGN FEES
Communist insurgents were able to collect only P26 million of the projected P500 million from their extortion activities during the recent midterm elections, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.
XVII. PNP SEARCH FOR LOOSE FIREARMS
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue to look for over 400,000 loose firearms all over the country even after the election gun ban ends on June 12. PNP Director General Alan Purisima said that the police had been able to account for more than 200,000 unlicensed guns since the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) launched a crackdown on loose firearms dubbed “Oplan Katok.”
The Commission on Audit (COA) is urging the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to scrap its P70-million agrarian reform education program. The COA said that the Fund for Agrarian Reform Education (FARE) has not been utilized and no programs or projects were implemented while the money remained unused for more than five years.
XIX. PHASEOUT OF STL BY JUNE 30
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has given small town lottery (STL) gaming firms until June 30 to operate, to allow the entry of the Pambansang Loterya ng Bayan (PLB). PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II said that the implementing rules and regulations for the PLB are now under review by Malacañang, and are expected to be approved soon.
XX. UN: 40% OF GLOBAL ASSETS BELONG TO 1% OF POPULATION
About 40 percent of global assets belong to the richest one percent of the world’s population, with the bottom half clinging to just one percent, according to a study commissioned by the United Nations.
The study conducted by a group of independent human rights experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council showed that inequality has increased in most countries and in almost every region for the past decade.
XXI. MANILA AS ‘GATES OF HELL’ IN DAN BROWN’s NOVEL
Controversial novelist Dan Brown’s “Inferno” has the character of one Sienna Brooks, who was traumatized by Manila in what she described as a chaotic world of “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.” “I’ve run through the gates of hell,” she said, even as the book went on to describe Manila as the “most densely populated city on earth” with a sex industry whose lifeblood is fed by children “many of whom had been sold to pimps by their own parents.”
XXII. BI SUPPORT FOR NEW IMMIGRATION LAW
The Bureau of Immigration said that it was backing calls to change the existing immigration act, saying that the law is already “antiquated” and no longer attuned to present realities. Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. urged the next Congress to prioritize the passage of a new Philippine immigration law, saying that the enactment of such was already long overdue.
XXIII. RESCUED RUSSIAN CLIMBER IN MAYON
Ignoring warnings and the six-kilometer permanent danger zone imposed around the crater of the volcano, a Russian tourist attempted to climb Mayon by himself last Sunday but had to be rescued after he broke his leg.
XXIV. NINOY AQUINO’s BIRTHDAY AS ‘ARAW NG PAGBASA’
President Aquino has approved a proposal seeking to declare Nov. 27 –the birth anniversary of his father former Sen. Ninoy Aquino– as “Araw ng Pagbasa,” a regular working holiday to be celebrated in all elementary and secondary schools starting this year.
I. IMF ON 6% PH GROWTH IN Q1
Economic growth could hit no less than six percent in the first quarter of the year as consumption and investments offset a weakness in the trade sector, International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative Shanaka Jayanath Peiris said. First-quarter growth data will be released on May 30.
II. $8-BILLION TOURISM RECEIPTS BY 2016
In line with heightened efforts to boost the country’s tourism industry, the government is eyeing to double its tourism receipts to $8 billion in 2016. Tourism Promotion Board chief operating officer Domingo Ramon Enerio III said that for this year alone, tourism receipts –money spent by foreign visitors in traveling to the country– is seen to reach $4.95 billion.
III. PH-BRAZIL AIR SERVICES AGREEMENT
The Philippines and Brazil have inked an agreement on air services to further boost travel between Manila and Sao Paolo. Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said that the agreement would allow seven flights for the Philippine designated carriers and seven flights for airlines designated by Brazil. This is the first air service agreement (ASA) with Brazil.
IV. NO PROPERTY ‘BUBBLE’
Property market growth in the Philippines has so far been healthy, Moody’s Investors Service said, with no reason to believe a bubble is forming. Record-low interest rates have set the stage for a real estate boom but the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is keeping close watch to make sure these don’t allow speculation, noted Jean-Francois Tremblay, Moody’s Associate Managing Director for Financial Institutions.
Job generation is crucial to an economy’s continued strength so the government should do more to attract investors, the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said. The ECOP, which today holds its annual National Conference of Employers (NCE), is looking to come up with a set of resolutions that will be presented to the Aquino administration.
VI. US FIRM ON IMPORTING COCO WATER AND CALAMANSI JUICE
Sysco, an American marketer and distributor of food products, is planning to import coconut water as well as calamansi from the Philippines, according to a statement from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
VII. SINGAPORE-BASED IT PROVIDER ON PH AS ITS GLOBAL HUB
Singapore-based information technology solutions provider Danateq Pte. Ltd. is bent on transforming the Philippines as its global production hub to complement its research and development (R&D) operations in Russia.
VIII. PH IT ROADMAP
The government plans to spend P5 billion a year to boost the share of the country’s offshore industry in gross domestic product (GDP) growth. A total of P25 billion is being allotted by the government to meet the goals and objectives of the Philippines’s Information Technology Road Map (IT-RM) 2012-2016.
Share prices climbed for the second straight day yesterday on the back of Wall St.’s rally given signs of continued US Federal Reserve stimulus. The Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 0.78 percent or 57.49 points to settle at 7,385.07.
PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGIC PLANNING OFFICE (PCDSPO)