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142 families homeless in Cebu fire

Cebu City – At least 142 families and 342 individuals lost their homes in an early morning fire that gutted an urban poor village in Cebu City at dawnTuesday. The blaze, triggered by an unattended candle lamp, destroyed at least 60 houses in Barangay Suba at past 4:20 a.m. and was placed under control after an hour. The fire department initially said the blazed totally leveled 36 houses but a subsequent assessment conducted by the city’s social welfare department and barangay officials showed that the fire destroyed 60 houses. According to Senior Fire Investigator 1 Edwin Handayan said the fire started in the house of one Edwin Bacalso. Barangay officials were set to convene Tuesday afternoon to declare a state of calamity in the affected sitios to allow the barangay to utilize its calamity …

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Army optimistic about peace in Panay

Aklan — The Philippine Army predicts that the island of Panay will be more peaceful as a result of the ongoing peace negotiations between the Duterte administration and the National Democratic Front (NDF). “The peace process is necessary for our common good,” said Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tumnog of the 12th Infantry Battalion. Based on intelligence gathered, Tumnog said there are still 140 active members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in Panay. Additionally, there are also 150 communist rebels in legal front groups. Tumnog added the army wants to declare the entire Panay Island (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo provinces) as insurgency-free by the first quarter of 2017.

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‘Dissolved oxygen caused fish float’

Trece Martires City, Cavite — The reported fish kill in Tanza, this province, recently was, in fact, a “fish float” caused by dissolved oxygen or low oxygen levels in the water, the Provincial Government-Environment and Natural Resources (PG-ENRO) officer clarified yesterday. Citing the report by Tanza Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), Engineer Roliño Posas said that low oxygen due to changing water temperature was the cause of the incident which the PG-ENRO tagged as a “fish float.” “Lumutang ang mga isda dahil mababa ang oxygen. Kapag nag-iiba ang water temperature  nagkakaroon ng BOD (biological oxygen demand). Actually mga sariwa at buhay ang mga isda na lumutang at nakuha  (The fish floated due to low oxygen. There is the biological oxygen demand when water temperature changes. The fish gathered were fresh …

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Public hearings on Central Visayas wage petition

Cebu City — The Central Visayas Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWBP) has announced the schedule of consultations and public hearings on salary increase petitions for the region. These are: November 9 at the Sarrosa International Hotel in Cebu City; November 16 at R&F Pension House in Bogo City; November 25 at the MetroCentre Hotel in Tagbilaran City; December 2 at Bethel Guest House in Dumaguete City, and December 9 at Sarrosa International Hotel in Cebu. The consultations will discuss the wage increase petitions filed by three labor groups in the region, said Exequiel Sarcauga, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment and concurrent chairman of the RTWPB. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines filed for a P161 across-the-board daily wage increase in the region while the Philippine Agricultural …

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Banana exporters eye Russian market

By Antonio L. Colina IV Davao City – After getting a huge boost from re-established relations with China, banana exporters in Davao Region are now eyeing Russia as another major international market for their products. Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) 11 executive director Edwin Sotto said in an interview that some large banana companies have been sending trial shipments Russia for the last three to four years, and are optimistic about the big potentials there. “We have trial shipment already. We would like to look at in the near future to ship on a regular basis to Russia,” he said. He added that they were still verifying the exact quantity and frequency of banana exports that would satisfy demand in Russia. Sotto likewise pointed out that there was also a need to open a new route …

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Boracay SMEs urged to go solar

Boracay, Aklan — The Department of Tourism (DOT), European Union (EU) and Center for Appropriate Technology Philippines are urging entrepreneurs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in this popular resort island to consider using  solar energy in their operations. Kristoffer Leo Velete of the DOT regional office in Boracay said the three groups are part of the “Zero Campaign Resort for Sustainable Tourism.” For years, Boracay has been experiencing frequent power interruptions, Velete said. Solar energy is a viable alternative for SMEs which are affected most by blackouts.

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DENR-Zambales officials face raps before OMB

Olongapo City, Zambales — The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) officer in Zambales, the chief of the Olongapo City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and a CENRO special investigator are facing charges before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) for their actions that allegedly resulted in a group of complainants deprived of ownership of a one-hectare beach property here. In a case filed before the OMB for Luzon last September 30, PENRO Officer-in-Charge Laudemir Salac, CENRO Marife Castillo, and CENRO Special Investigator Emelita Lambinicio were charged by Samuel Montecastro, representing the owners of The Cliff Beach resort in Barangay Barretto, this city. Montecastro, in his complaint to the Ombudsman, said the three environment officials caused the issuance of the Order of Award, Miscellaneous Sales Patent and Original Certificate of …

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P12.5-B WV infra projects 50% complete

Iloilo City — The P12.5 billion worth of government infrastructure projects undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-6) in Western Visayas region this year are half way done. DPWH-6 Assistant Regional Director Jose Al Fruto was referring to the status of 604 infrastructure projects in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and Iloilo provinces as of September 30. DPWH-6 is urging private contractors to reach the target rate of construction or repair before the year ends. Fruto said DPWH-6’s priority projects include widening of the national highway leading to the country’s premier beach destination of Boracay Island in Malay town, Aklan province. Other priority projects are the Circumferential Road in Roxas City, Capiz province and road widening in the city and province of Iloilo.  Both projects aim to decongest heavy traffic. Meanwhile, DPWH-6 will …

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Bulacan gov wants stop to killings, shutdown of main source of drugs

Malolos City, Bulacan — Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado wants a stop to the killings in Bulacan and, in a meeting with top police officials in the province yesterday, he challenged law enforcers to get to the main source of drugs in the province, shut it down, and put all its operators, financier, and protectors in jail. Alvarado said he was just as concerned about the illegal drugs problem as he is with the bloodshed that has not stopped since the police waged its war on illegal drugs in the province. Coming face-to-face with Senior Superintendent Romeo M. Caramat  Jr., Police Provincial Office (PPO) director, the governor urged all chiefs of police in the province, operational units, and intelligence and investigation officers under Caramat to come together and plan a strike at the …

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28 Central Visayas policemen relieved

Cebu City – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has just sacked 28 commissioned and non-commissioned officers in Central Visayas, bringing the total relieved policemen in the region to 123. The batch, which is composed of 8 commissioned and 20 non-commissioned officers, allegedly received drug money from suspected Cebuano drug lord Franz Sabalones. The Police Regional Office (PRO 7) has received the order from Camp Crame and the policemen may be assigned to the head office or to other regions, especially in Mindanao and Cordillera, said Senior Supt. Renato Dugan, chief of the Regional Personnel and Human Resource Development Division of PRO 7. From July to October of this year, a total of 123 policemen from the region have already been relieved and transferred to Cordillera, ARMM, and other parts of Mindanao. Dugan assured that …

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