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Makati announces closures, rerouting around South Cemetery for Undas

Makati’s traffic authorities have announced road closures and traffic rerouting around the Manila South Cemetery from October 31 to November 2. These are part of the “Oplan Kaluluwa 2016” of the Makati Public Safety Department (MAPSA) to ensure a solemn and orderly tradition for the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2. MAPSA advises motorists that the following roads will be closed starting midnight of October 31 to midnight of November 2: Kalayaan Avenue from Zapote to N. Garcia Street South Avenue from Metropolitan to JP Rizal Street Vito Cruz from South Avenue to Zapote Street Pililia Street from JP Rizal to Kalayaan Avenue Meanwhile, two-way traffic will be allowed on the following streets: JP Rizal Street from Pasong Tirad to Makati Avenue Kalayaan Avenue from Pasong Tirad to Zapote One-way traffic will be in effect …

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Petition to take down Mocha Uson Blog gains support

An online petition calling for Facebook to take down the page of the Mocha Uson Blog, which staunchly supports President Rodrigo Duterte, is gaining support from netizens. Paul Quilét, who started the petition on Change.org, described Mocha Uson as a “Filipino entertainer-turned-Duterte die-hard supporter” who he said “uses her Facebook page to spread fictitious and false information about pressing issues in the Philippines.” He enumerated the inaccuracies stated in the blog: “from the role the USAID plays in the country to malicious and false news concerning other government officials, eliciting unwarranted hate from the public.” The petition also said the said page “widens the rift between those who support the current administration and those who are critical of it.” In his own Facebook account, Quilét said his petition “aims not to curtail anyone’s right …

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Monday markets: Peso-dollar rate at P48.19; stocks lower

The trading week commenced with the peso and stock market in opposite directions Monday, October 24. The Philippine peso–US dollar exchange rate at the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corporation (PDEX) closed at P48.19, stronger than Friday’s (October 21) rate at P48.33. At the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reference exchange rate bulletin, the exchange rate was pegged at P48.28 to the greenback. On the other hand, the bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) lost 40.91 points (0.53%) to close at 7,609.31. The all-shares index also slipped by 19.16 points (0.42%) at 4,498.95.

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Investment firm, Chinese company to put up high-end cable company in PH

Investment firm MVP Global Infrastructure Group and Chinese conglomerate Tianjin Suli Cable Group Co. Ltd. is putting up a cable manufacturing enterprise in the Philippines.  The two companies signed an understanding agreement on October 19, 2016 in conjunction with President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China. MVP Global, also known as MVP, is focused on co-investing with large mainland Chinese companies in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines with over $1 billion. Its principals hold interests in real estate, food and beverage, steel, technology, telecoms, and construction. Tianjin Suli Cable Group Co. Ltd (also widely known as the Suli Group) is a state-owned high-technology company that is into manufacturing, research and development, logistics, finance and international trade. It is the first company to receive funding from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Under the terms of the …

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‘We ate rats,’ says Pinoy among 26 freed by Somali pirates

A Filipino sailor who was among the 26 freed hostages of the Somali pirates shared the harrowing ordeal they endured for more than four years in the hands of their captors. Arnel Balbero told The Newsroom program of the BBC World Service how little food and water they had consumed, to the point that they ate rats just to survive. “You don’t say, ‘I don’t like that.’ No. You just eat. We eat rat. We cook it,” Balbero narrated. He likened himself and his fellow sailors to “the walking dead” as they had a hard time adjusting to their surroundings after four years in captivity. “I don’t know what is... outside of this world when this [is finished], so it’s very hard to start again,” Balbero said. The 26 sailors were aboard the fishing boat …

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DSWD to launch internal probe on Yolanda aid irregularities

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will look into alleged irregularities on the disbursement of funds for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, in a press briefing at Malacañang Monday, October 24, said they found that there are around 200,000 claimants of post-Yolanda emergency shelter assistance, including farmers and fisherfolk, who did not receive any financial assistance. She said the aid should have been urgently released and “not two years or three years after.” Taguiwalo said the department will have an internal assessment of Yolanda donations given to DSWD, adding that they will make a report on or around November 8. The DSWD head said the findings would provide an idea of regulations within the department in past administrations. She stressed the need to deliver aid to those …

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Daniel Russel: U.S. ‘welcomes easing PH–China ties’

The United States welcomes the relaxation of the relations between Philippines and China, visting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R. Russel told the media Monday, October 24. Russel said the U.S. wants countries to have their own choices, adding that it is ready to honor its commitments. The U.S. official also expressed support for the government’s crackdown against illegal drugs but reiterated the importance of due process. Russel, who arrived Sunday, met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. in a closed-door meeting, apparently to discuss the state of the US–Philippine relations and seek explanation for President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of the Philippines’ “separation” from America. With reports from Roy Mabasa

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DSWD chief on lack of typhoon foreign aid: ‘We have enough funds’

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo took to Facebook to explain why the government is not appealing for foreign aid for the victims of the typhoons Karen and Lawin. In a Facebook post Sunday, October 23, the secretary said: “hindi tayo humihingi ng foreign assistance o donations mula sa ibang bansa para sa Karen o Lawin dahil nakitang may sapat na pondo ang gobyerno at mga ahensya nito para saklolohan ang mamamayang apektado. (The government is not appealing for foreign assistance or donations from other countries for the victims of Karen and Lawin because the government and its agencies apparently have enough funds to extend help to the affected residents.)” She attributed this to the transparency of and lack of corruption in their process, promising to further enhance and clean up the …

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Rumbling Mount Bulusan spews ash anew

Mount Bulusan erupted anew lasting 15 minutes Sunday afternoon, October 23, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. The eruption at 3:31 p.m. produced a dirty-white to grayish ash column 2.5 kilometers high, Phivolcs reported in its 5:00 p.m. bulletin. It originated from the summit crater, with a smaller eruption at the southwest vent. Bulusan’s seismic monitoring network also recorded 24 volcanic earthquakes since 5:00 a.m., Phivolcs added. Prior to the eruption, the agency already noticed an increase in sulfur dioxide emission to 578 tons a day. Alert level 1 remains in effect over Bulusan in Sorsogon. Phivolcs reminds the public that entry into the 4-km-radius permanent danger zone remains strictly prohibited, while those within the 2-km extended danger zone must remain vigilant due to “increased possibilities of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruptions.” Pilots are …

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Duterte: PH fisherfolk may soon return to Scarborough Shoal

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared that Filipino fisherfolk may soon return to the contested Scarborough Shoal. “Baka makabalik na tayo sa Scarborough Shoal, ang mangingisda nating kababayan,” the president said before residents in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, where he handed out aid after the province was battered by Super Typhoon Lawin amid his four-day state visit to China last week. Duterte said it was among his points of discussion with the Chinese side during his state visit but he did not elaborate further. Filipino fishermen have been largely off-limits to the shoal, locally known as Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, after Chinese vessels began occupying it as part of China’s nine-dash line. An international arbitral tribunal, where the Philippines lodged a complaint, invalidated China’s claims over the South China Sea territories, a ruling that China refused …

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