Jason Faustino

5 killed in road mishap

Five people were killed while at least nine others were injured after a passenger jeep rammed a tree Saturday evening along Sitio Biga, Brgy. Bayugo in Jalajala, Rizal. Among those killed were Francisco Abisamis, the driver of the jeepney, and his wife Grace. Declared dead on arrival at a hospital were Winnie Rodriguez and her sons Karyll and Kiell Aaron. The jeep was en route to Bagumbong in Tanay. The impact was so strong the jeepney was almost folded in half. An investigation revealed the jeepney driver tried to overtake a car when he lost control of the vehicle. “Iniwasan niya itong lubak. Nasobrahan niya sa kabig, di na niya naibalik. Pataas pa mandin dito kaya nagdagdag ng speed (He oversteered around a pothole and added speed because of the road elevation),” said S/Insp. Amadeo Estrella of the Jalajala PNP.

Heavy rains seen in Luzon

State weather forecasters yesterday said heavy rains are expected in Luzon today with the southwest monsoon being enhanced by the now severe tropical cyclone “Florita.” As of press time, “Florita” was spotted 695 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes, packing top sustained winds of 90 kilometers per hour and 115-kph gusts, said PAGASA. “Florita” may trigger floods and landslides in low-lying and mountainous Luzon areas, the weather office said. “Florita” left the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) Sunday afternoon but continues to pull the southwest monsoon. Localized thunderstorms, meanwhile, are expected all over the country.

20 houses burn in Cebu

TWENTY houses made of light materials were razed during a pre-dawn fire yesterday at Sitio Pagatpat, Barangay Mambaling in Cebu. There were no reported injuries or deaths, according to SFO4 Jovito Abelgas of the Cebu City Fire Department. In Mandaue City, a rope factory caught fire on Plaridel Street, Barangay Alang-alang also Saturday. The fire which reached the third alarm was declared under control at 5:30 am. There were no injuries reported.

‘Florita’ exits PAR today

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) yesterday said Tropical Storm “Florita” is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) today. PAGASA forecaster Samuel Duran, however, said that “Florita” could turn into a severe tropical storm on its way out Sunday morning, although it would not make landfall. As of press time, the center of the storm was estimated at 775 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes. Duran said residents of the Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley should expect cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms due to the trough of the tropical storm. Metro Manila and the rest of the country would have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms.

Duterte‘s order on crackdown defended

A senior Palace official defended President Duterte’s order on a crackdown on minors loitering on the streets at late night, saying the move was aimed at protecting the youth from criminals, drug addicts and other victims of petty crimes. Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said it is a noble act as a “father” to the country. “He’s trying to protect the people. When minors loiter or drink liquor, then you’re creating a situation where crimes will arise from that,” Panelo told a television network. Panelo said there are local ordinances in parts of Metro Manila that ban drinking sprees in public places, going out half naked and loitering. “Following the law in this country has become just an option, not an obedience to the law. There is a law, there is an an ordinance, we have to strictly follow them,” he said. President Duterte earlier had said the government had the moral responsibility to protect the youth. He encouraged law enforcement agents, barangay authorities and government social workers to round up teenagers found loitering on the streets and “take care” of them. “Below 18, you arrest the teenagers there loitering, because we have to protect our children. Nagkalat na ang droga, nagkalat na ang lahat,” he said. However, during the same speech, President Duterte made it clear “minors are taken into custody but are not arrested… brought to a safe place for the night, for their protection, fed and then released the morning after.” Duterte on June 13 ordered law enforcers to be strict to late night loiterers. Some 8,000 people have since been apprehended or accosted in Metro Manila, with critics saying the President’s order is a prelude to nationwide martial law.

DA imposes SRP on farm products

The Department of Agriculture (DA) yesterday implemented the suggested retail price (SRP) on select agricultural products. The agency initially imposed the SRP on regular-milled rice, red onion, imported garlic, bangus (milkfish), galunggong (round scad), tilapia, among others. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said a technical working group was tapped to study the actual cost of producing goods sold in the market to establish the baseline for prices. Together with the DA, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the local government units will take charge of monitoring the proper implementation of the SRP. Piñol said the prices of goods may only go up by a maximum of 10 percent from the SRP. As an example, he cited price adjustment in rice, which has an SRP of P39. This means that a retailer may only sell ordinary regular milled rice not cheaper than P39, but not higher than P42.90, given the 10 percent ceiling. Piñol, however, stressed that the SRP would vary per region as location is a factor in setting prices. Areas near ports would have lower prices of fish, while those near vegetable farms would have lower prices of vegetables. Piñol said SRP violators may face fines ranging from P1,000 to P1 million. The department’s initiative came after the DTI earlier had imposed SRPs on sardines, bread, milk, instant noodles, bottled water, corned beef, meatloaf, luncheon meat, soy sauce, fish sauce, candles and bath soap.

SRA eyes importation to lower sugar prices

Sugar prices have gone up, this was confirmed by the Sugar Regulatory Administration yesterday. According to the SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, the price hike is due to the drop in production this year. Serafica said as of June 19, the price of raw (brown) sugar ballooned to P54.15 per kilo from P47 in September 2017 while the price of refined sugar rose to P64 from P53 for the same period. Local sugar production dropped 15 percent this month compared to the same period last year, he added. The SRA chief said they are now looking into an importation program to address the rising prices of raw and refined sugar. “This is one of the mechanisms to lower the price of the sugar,” Serafica said in a radio interview. He stressed the importation is not likely to affect local sugar producers since the proposed 200,000 metric tons are only meant to address the drop in supply. Meanwhile, Serafica said the demand for raw and refined sugar increased by 13.64 and 20.41 percent, respectively, after drinks sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup were taxed P12 per liter under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law.

That P10,000 bill is fake!

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) yesterday warned the public against the proliferation of fake P10,000 New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes. “The BSP has not produced and issued a 10,000-Peso NGC banknote,” the central bank said in an advisory posted on its Facebook page. The BSP said there are only six denominations of the NGC banknote currently in circulation: P1,000, P500, P200, P100, P50, and P20. “We advise the public to report immediately to the nearest police station or National Bureau of Investigation the forgery of Philippine banknote and/or use or possession of forged banknote, for appropriate filing of criminal complaint against those persons involved,” the BSP stated. The forgery of Philippine banknotes as well as the use or possession of forged banknotes are punishable under the law, the BSP said. “The BSP enjoins the cooperation of the public in preserving the integrity of Philippine currency through sharing of verified and truthful information,” it added.

Tambays: Joblessness or indolence?

Joblessness was blamed Saturday for so many “tambays” or loiterers on the streets following President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning against indolent bystanders. “Dapat ‘yung sinasabi nilang tambay, dapat po may mga trabaho po ‘yan (Those whom they tag as loiterers they should have jobs),” said Pepsi Cola Workers Association Vice President Ricardo Gandalla. “Kung walang trabaho, tatambay lang ‘yan, makikipag-kuwentuhan sila sa kapitbahay (without jobs, they just stand by and make small talk),” he added. But a Makati-based entrepreneur said that jobs can be had for those who really want to work. “The problem with many tambays is that they just don’t want to work,” said the employer of nine persons. The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier this month launched a nationwide crackdown on tambays. President Duterte said loiterers may create “potential trouble for the public” but clarified he did not order their arrest but only to persuade them to go home. PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier said police were not after loiterers but were out to arrest people who violate local ordinances. Albayalde also maintained that police have yet to receive any complaint of human rights violations since their intensified operations.
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