Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mayuga report: Garci aide tried bribing poll exec to favor Arroyo

A military officer who acted as former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano’s security aide during the 2004 polls tried to bribe a local election official to favor then administration candidate Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the so-called “Mayuga report" revealed.

Lawyer Helen Flores, then Commission on Elections regional director for Western Mindanao, said in the report that Captain Valentino Lopez —Garcillano’s security officer and distant relative — attempted to hand her a “huge amount" to “remedy" then presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.’s lead over Arroyo.

The supposed bribery attempt happened during the regional canvassing of votes at the Zamboanga Coliseum, she said.

“He [Lopez] was requesting her [Flores] to remedy the big lead of Fernando Poe Jr. in favor of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," the report said.

Flores added that Garcillano’s aide also asked her to favor then administration mayoralty candidate Le Peng We.

Garcillano is a key figure in the “Hello Garci" poll-fraud scandal that broke out in 2005.

The scandal involved wiretapped conversations between Garcillano and many personalities, including a female voice believed to be that of Arroyo, on rigging the 2004 poll results.
Garcillano insisted last month that he never talked with Arroyo on any plan to manipulate results of the 2004 elections. []

Bribe "blankly ignored"

However, Flores said she “blankly ignored" the bribe, and immediately told Col. Joel Ibañez, an official of the Armed Forces’ Southern Command, about the incident.

“She was already alarmed that in case something might happen to her, somebody knows," the report said.

The local election official also said, “no anomaly ever happened" in her area during the 2004 elections.

President Benigno Aquino III last week ordered the classified Mayuga report released.
It details the military investigation on claims that some of its ranking officers took part in rigging the 2004 elections.

The report was prepared by former Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, who headed the panel that looked into the allegations of the military’s involvement in electoral fraud.

Garci’s "advanced party"

The Mayuga panel interviewed Lopez in the course of its investigation, but there was no mention of the alleged attempt to bribe Flores in the in the final report’s summary of his statements.

The report merely said Lopez served as Garcillano’s “advance party" to where the canvassing was taking place.

“[He] met Atty. Helen Flores only once in a gym where the canvassing of votes is taking place during the election," the report read.

The document also cited that Garcillano personally requested for Lopez to serve as his security officer three months before the elections, an arrangement that was without proper consent from the military.

“His assignment with Commissioner Garcillano was sort of internal arrangements and not covered with proper orders from the Armed Forces of the Philippines... His duty as a security officer is to maintain the commissioner’s safety at all times and to see to it that his life will not be in danger," according to the Mayuga report. — VS, GMA News

Lawyer: Arrest of Arroyo firm bookkeeper ‘unfair’

The lawyer of Rowena Del Rosario, a former bookkeeper for the Arroyo-owned company LTA Inc., on Monday said it was “unfair" that the Senate had his client arrested just because they could not get the answers they wanted from her.

Earlier in the day, the Senate blue ribbon committee cited Del Rosario in contempt and ordered her arrest for supposedly being evasive in her answers and allegedly covering up for former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike" Arroyo and Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy" Arroyo.

But Del Rosario’s lawyer, Nunilo Marapao, said his client answered all questions honestly during Monday's Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) choppers mess.

“It is unfair because she never evaded any questions. She tried as much as possible to answer the questions of the senators to the best of her knowledge. She cannot invent answers just to please them," he said in a statement released on Monday evening.

“Ms. Del Rosario was just being honest to herself, and she tried her best to cooperate with the Senate. She answered all questions based on what she knew to be the truth," he added.

“Ms. Del Rosario was in fact, very consistent with her answers. She did not offer any false testimony. For instance, how can she testify that the transactions pertaining to the helicopters were in the books of the LTA, when she knows that they are not? Alangan namang sabihin niya andun?" he said.

“The order of arrest speaks for itself and shows how unfair it is to my client. The senators just want to hear what they want to hear. She cannot testify to something that she has no knowledge of," he added.

Earlier in the day, the former LTA bookkeeper said that the choppers sold to the PNP in 2009 were not owned by Mike Arroyo and were leased by LTA Inc. as stated by Iggy Arroyo.

But the senators insisted Del Rosario was being “evasive" when asked to explain why she had remitted $500,000 to Robinson Helicopters for the “advanced rental" of the five choppers and had paid P18 million in maintenance fees to Lionair from 2003 to 2011 when the choppers were just supposedly leased to LTA. — MRT/VS, GMA News

Makati to slap drunk drivers with stiffer penalties

Drunk drivers now face stiffer penalties in Makati City after Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun" Binay signed an ordinance that aims to curtail the disregard for traffic rules, the Makati City Hall said Tuesday.

Amending Makati City Traffic Code of 2003, the ordinance provides for the impounding of a drunk driver’s vehicle in addition to the P2,500-fine and/or imprisonment that the code prescribes for the first offense.

The penalty will cover not only drunk drivers but also those who drive motor vehicles under the influence of drugs, according to the city hall.

“Traffic violations aggravate the traffic situation in Makati, which has an average of 800,000 vehicles passing through its roads daily. This new ordinance aims to curtail the disregard for traffic rules, which is largely to blame for vehicular accidents that occur in our city," Binay said.

Makati’s local government will also recommend the suspension or revocation of a drunk driver’s license to the Land Transportation Office.
In a related provision, the ordinance meanwhile requires business establishments to refrain from serving liquor or intoxicating beverages to customers who drive a vehicle. “They are also required to post reminders against drunk driving in conspicuous areas in their place of business," the Makati City Hall said.

Establishments that fail to comply with this provision will be meted out a P2,500-fine and the suspension of the their business permit. — PE/VS, GMA News

Monday, August 15, 2011

QC official to go after billboard operators

A RANKING official of the Quezon City government has threatened to file criminal charges against the operators of some 600 billboards along the city’s main roads whom he said lack the necessary permits in violation of the National Building Code.
Isagani Versoza, city building official, warned these billboard operators that he would not hesitate to sue them should they be found operating without a permit.
About 600 outdoor billboards have thrived along the city’s major roads despite a moratorium that froze the issuance of permit to erect and install the structures, he said.
“After a thorough evaluation, we would file charges against erring billboard operators,” he told the Manila Standard.
He said he has fielded his men to inspect 600 billboards along major roads—-Quezon Avenue, Edsa, Commonwealth Avenue, East Avenue, West Avenue, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, and Elliptical Road.
“We believe all of those outdoor billboards do not have permits because of the moratorium. Still, we would want to give them the due process to come over to our office and explain,” he noted.
He raised concerns over the dangers posed by oversized billboards and those encroaching the road’s 10-meter setback requirement. Rio N. Araja

MMDA blames squatters for floods

THE Metro Manila Development Authority on Sunday blamed informal settlers for the perennial problem of floods in the metro.
Chairman Francis Tolentino said over the agency’s weekly radio program that floods are as much a “social problem” as it is an “engineering problem.”
“Flood is an indicator of a problem on human settlement,” he said.
Tolentino attributed much of the flooding in many areas in the metro to dumping of garbage by informal settlers staying along the waterways.
But he added that his agency was coordinating with the National Housing Authority for the relocation of informal settlers living along metro waterways.
Metro Manila is home to 544,609 squatter families, with 75,000 of them staying along esteros, creeks, canals, and rivers.
“We hope the government could come up with a comprehensive shelter program soon,” the MMDA chief said.
The MMDA recently inked the so-called “Estero Declaration” with the 17 metro mayors to come up with solutions for perennial floods. The campaign seeks to protect waterways, and calls on mayors to support the MMDA’s drive to dismantle and clear waterways of illegal structures and encroachments as provided for under the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.
Metro Manila has a history of vulnerability to floods, according to a study prepared by the International Institute for Asian Studies. The study said the metro area “now constitutes a vast urbanized drainage basin that experiences frequent inundations from overflowing rivers and stormwaters, rendering the existing system of esteros, modified natural channels constructed during the colonial period, inadequate.”
The dangers posed by metro floods have been exacerbated by climate change and severe changes in weather patterns, other studies have pointed out.
In 2009, typhoon Ondoy dumped 455 millimeters on Metro Manila in just 24 hours, the highest rainfall level in 42 years.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Retired military chief turns tables on whistleblower

A FORMER general charged with receiving millions skimmed off from the military's discretionary funds turned the tables on his accuser, saying that he may have lied during testimony.
Retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Roy Cimatu, who is charged with plunder, is also asking that the case filed against him at the Department of Justice be dismissed.
These, among others, are contained in his 40-page affidavit that was filed before Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.
In his counter-affidavit, he said that plunder charges and fund conversion allegations filed against him by retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa are mere fabrications devoid of evidence.
Previously, Rabusa accused Cimatu, together with other retired AFP chiefs-of-staff Diomedio Villanueva and Efren Abu, of receiving at least P50-million in AFP funds as send-off money upon retiring from the service.
"We’re trying to show in the defense of General Cimatu that the entire scheme that was stated is false. They are all concocted lies, and we are trying to prove that some of those documents were fabricated," said Cimatu’s counsel, Sixto Antonio.
Cimatu's counter-affidavit also claimed that some of the documents submitted by Rabusa were unsigned, indicating that these were probably manufactured or forged.
Official documents are usually signed and certified, reflecting the name of the department where it came from, unlike the ones submitted by Rabusa.
“We have been able to establish that it is not his initial and not his signature. We got certification from AFP attesting to the signature of Gen. Cimatu based on official files,” his counsel said.
Villanueva and Abu already submitted their respective counter-affidavits in earlier hearing last July 28.
Besides the three former AFP chiefs, other respondents including former military comptrollers Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia have also submitted their counter-affidavits.
Others officials who have also submitted their affidavits include Col. Cirilo Tomas Donato, Col. Roy Devesa, Maj. Emerson Angulo, retired Maj. Gen. Hilario Atendido, B/Gen. Benito de Leon, retired Lt. Col. Ernesto Paranis, Capt. Kenneth Paglinawan, Col. Gilbert Gapay, Col. Robert Arevalo, Maj. Gen. Epineto Logico, retired Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, and retired Maj. Gen. Ernesto Boac.
Two auditors from the Commission on Audit – Generoso del Castillo and Divina Cabrera – were likewise charged.
In his complaint, Rabusa alleged the respondents are liable for misuse and conversion of some P2.3-billion in military funds for the period of 2000 to 2005 for their personal benefit.
To prove his corruption allegations, Rabusa brought 20 folders of documents, including receipts of conversion of AFP funds and the amount of budget approved by the former chief of staff during the period 2000 to 2001, which would serve as documentary evidence for the case.
To further boost his claims, Rabusa also submitted the affidavits of former civilian budget officer Perla Valerio and former military disbursement officer Romeo Mateo who corroborated his allegations. (JCV/Sunnex)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Can you believe this, freedom of expression, freedom of press, there is no freedom in the Philippines.

Penalty, fine under penal code

Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code imposes the penalty of prision mayor and/or a fine ranging from P6,000 to P12,000 on those who: Publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals;

Publish obscene literature in any form with their knowledge

Exhibit — in theaters, fairs, cinematographs or any other place — indecent or immoral scenes or shows, including those which offend any race or religion, and/or are contrary to morals and good customs

Exhibit prints, engravings, sculpture or literature that are offensive to morals.Imbong and Dayrit said the CCP exhibit “directly attacked" Christianity, pointing out that the freedom of expression “has limits" particularly when the rights of others were already being violated.

In their complaint affidavit, they said Cruz had “made a blasphemous and offensive use of sacred icons, pictures, and representations of Jesus Christ who is worshiped by Christians, the Blessed Virgin Mary who is revered and loved by Christians, as well as religious articles such as the holy rosary, the Christian cross, crucifix, scapulars and medals which are sacred instruments of Christian faith and tradition in a vulgar, insulting and blasphemous manner."

In particular, they alleged that 13 artworks in Cruz’s “Poleteismo" portrayed religious images that “insult and mock Christian belief and Christian worship, and offend the religious sensibilities and faith of the Christian faithful comprising an overwhelming majority of the Filipino population."

To bolster their allegations, Dayrit cited articles and editorials published by The Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippine Star, and The Manila Bulletin, submitting copies as annexes, together with photographs of the 13 artworks they found offensive. — ELR/VS, GMA News

Catholic lawyers make good on threat to drag 'Kulô' to court

No such thing as freedom of expression in the Philippines.   It also looks as if anyone can file a criminal charge against another person.   There is so much corruption in the Philippines, why doesn't this so called Catholic Lawyer help clean up his own profession?  Worry about corruption, and not freedom of expression.

Lawyer Manuel Dayrit of Ang Kapatiran party-list group filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday a complaint affidavit against officials of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) over the exhibit Kulô, as well as versus the artist Mideo Cruz for his artwork “Poleteismo", accusing them of violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code on obscene exhibitions and indecent shows.

This came after Catholic lawyer Jo Aurea Imbong and the group Pro-Life Philippines had hinted over the weekend that they were working on the criminal case over the “sacrilegious" art exhibit.
“Religious belief is more superior than that; that is why artistic expression has to yield to a limit which is to respect religious rights," insisted Imbong in an interview with GMA News TV.

The ten CCP officials charged before the Ombudsman are CCP chairperson Emily Abrera and CCP president and artistic director Raul Sunico, as well as CCP board members Florangel Rosario Braid, Jaime Laya, Isabelo Caro Wilson, Zenaida Tantoco, Cristina Torralba, Antonio Yap, Carolyn Espiritu and Karen Ocampo-Flores.

“That by hosting and allowing the… exhibit of respondent MIDEO CRUZ to be installed at the CCP Gallery which is a public building, public respondents violated their public trust and duty to the Filipino people," the complaint affidavit alleged.

Flores, the CCP’s Visual Arts division head, resigned on Wednesday, a day after the exhibit was closed as senators demanded CCP officials to quit.

Pimentel case proves 2007 poll fraud – SET exec

Results of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) recount of votes for newly proclaimed Senator Aquilino Pimentel III prove that massive cheating marred the 2007 elections, an official of the tribunal said Thursday.

After Pimentel’s proclamation in Pasay City on Thursday, SET Secretary Irene Guevarra told reporters “just the fact that there were many spurious ballots is an indication of electoral fraud."

Deliberating on Pimentel’s electoral protest, the tribunal found more than 250,000 fake ballots from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Lanao del Norte, said Guevarra.

The spurious ballots did not have security markings, such as watermarks and ultraviolet spots, but were included in the official count four years ago, the SET secretary said.

The SET decision also said a single person accomplished some ballots as shown by consistent and similar handwriting. Other ballots, meanwhile, had two distinct handwritings — proof that two people filled up single ballots.

Guevarra said the electoral tribunal plans to turn over the results of Pimentel’s case to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“I think in the meeting this afternoon there was a suggestion that the tribunal prepare a resolution endorsing all these findings to the pertinent government agency so that the appropriate action may be taken against whoever may be responsible for this electoral fraud," Guevarra said.

The DOJ and the Comelec have constituted a joint panel that will investigate the massive cheating that supposedly marked the 2004 and 2007 elections to determine those responsible for what had happened. — ELR/VS, GMA News

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zubiri may be charged for abandoning post – Santiago

Just another one of the "I can't believe this" or "only in the Philippines"   This Senator resigned because he may be under investigation for voter fraud, a claim made by another man who was running at the same time, and who felt this senator stole the votes along with the former President who was running for president.  From what you read about in the papers, and hear on the radio, the entire 2007 Presidential election was stolen by the former President.   Corruption is so wide spread here in the Philippines.

MANILA -- Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri's resignation from his post on Wednesday could constitute abandonment of office punishable under the Philippines' Revised Penal Code, said Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
"The Penal Code prohibits the crime of abandonment of office. It is committed by any public officer who, before the acceptance of his resignation, shall abandon his office to the detriment of the public service," she said in a press statement Thursday.
She said the offense carries a penalty of imprisonment from one month to six months.
Zubiri announced his resignation Wednesday, saying he wanted to spare his family from further pain due to allegations of vote fraud in 2007 elections. He denied being a part of cheating and said he would seek a fresh mandate in 2013.
Zubiri, an ally of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, won the twelfth and last Senate seat in 2007 midterm elections by a slim margin of about 18,000 votes over his closest rival, lawyer Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
Pimentel has protested Zubiri's victory, saying several poll officials attested to fake ballots being used in the polls.
Santiago, a lawyer, said until the Senate accepts Zubiri's resignation, it will just be a "courtesy resignation," which she said is not a resignation "in the legal sense."
Citing the Supreme Court ruling on Joson v. Nario, Santiago said "acceptance is necessary for the resignation of a public officer to be operative and effective."
She said the Senate has to formally accept the resignation.
She said if the Senate votes on whether to accept Zubiri's resignation, she will vote against it.
She said Zubiri's resignation should only be effective after the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) decides on an election protest filed against him by Pimentel.
But Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said the Senate has decided to make any resignation from the Senate irrevocable.
He added the Senate will inform the SET that Zubiri has resigned.
On Thursday, Zubiri's counsel George Erwin Garcia appeared before the SET to formally inform the body that Zubiri has resigned.
Former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., Koko Pimentel's father, confirmed to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Thursday that Zubiri has withdrawn his counter-protest from the SET at exactly 1:40 p.m.
In said counter-protest, Zubiri alleged that Koko Pimentel cheated in Metro Manila and in Bulacan province in the 2007 senatorial race. Pimentel, meanwhile, alleged Zubiri cheated in Maguindanao.
Zubiri said Thursday night that withdrawing his counter-protest would render moot any evidence he had previously submitted to the tribunal.
SET is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the Senate. It is composed of Supreme Court justices and senators elected to the tribunal.
On Wednesday, Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Antonio Trillanes IV were elected as members of the SET. Senators Pia Cayetano, Gegorio Honasan II, Manuel Lapid Jr., and Francis Pangilinan are also members of the SET.
"If you ask me, we can decide at the soonest (in) one week, or two weeks," Pangilinan told reporters Thursday.
He said that if Zubiri withdraws his counter-protest against Pimentel as expected, the SET may be able to skip revising ballots claimed by Zubiri.
According to a television report Thursday, former SET member Senator Edgardo Angara said Pimentel might be proclaimed a senator "next week."
"Although all these proceedings still need to end with all the necessary formalities and paperwork, (Zubiri's) resignation from his post would likely prompt the SET to make an early resolution," Angara said in a separate statement.
Former senator Nene Pimentel on Thursday expressed gladness over the "brave" decision of Zubiri though he said "it’s long overdue."
"Many years have been wasted in his counter protest. But it's a welcome development so that Koko can rightfully take seat in the Senate," said Pimentel, author of the law creating the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
The Armm region has been dragged into controversy following the reported fraud in the 2007 midterm elections where the younger Pimentel was believed to be among the "victims."
Two witnesses — an election supervisor and a former governor of an autonomous Muslim region — have alleged that former President Arroyo and her husband ordered the rigging of the 2007 senatorial elections to favor administration candidates like Zubiri.
Arroyo, now a congresswoman, has denied giving orders to cheat in the polls.
Since Zubiri’s installation in the Senate in 2007, Koko Pimentel contested the 12th and final slot in the senatorial race.
Zubiri announced his resignation from office on Wednesday through a privilege speech before the Senate, which was witnessed by his family.
Many government officials were amazed for his unusual "gentleman's move" as he earned praises from both national and local leaders for his "rare political act."
Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay (first district) lauded Zubiri's decision to resign due to allegations that he benefited from massive fraud in Maguindanao in the 2007 polls.
Magsaysay believed that Zubiri's decision to quit is not an admission of guilt but rather a means for the electoral body to decide freely on the election protest lodged by Pimentel and the counter protest filed by Zubiri's camp, especially with the surfacing of testimonies from former election officer Lintang Bedol and former Armm governor Zaldy Ampatuan.
"Migs has delicadeza. He is a true statesman and has served his country well. His four years in the Senate has not gone to waste because he has pushed many bills that favor not only the consumers but also the environment,” she said
She added Zubiri's move speaks of his strong moral fiber and integrity many public officials of today lack.
Even the younger Pimentel commended Zubiri for his "unprecedented" move.
However, the older Pimentel would not want Zubiri to think of getting free from charges of violating the election code following his resignation as the Pimentels believed that "somebody has to answer."
"As to my personal stand, whoever is liable should face the courts," the older Pimentel said.
Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano, for his part, admired the decision of Zubiri to resign from his post due to allegations of massive election fraud.
He said that this is not the end of Zubiri, saying that part of his privilege speech on Wednesday is his willingness to serve the public again.
Emano added there is no concrete evidence that Zubiri points to his involvement in the 2007 election fraud. "Not even Bedol and Ampatuan could directly pinpoint Zubiri on the fraud. That is really hard to prove," he said.
Also, Emano welcomed the possible entry of Koko Pimentel at the Senate to replace Zubiri.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said Thursday that Zubiri can still run and serve as a member of the chamber for two straight terms -- the most allowed under the law -- if he is replaced by Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
Zubiri's four-year stay as a member of the chamber will not be counted as a full-term in the event that Koko Pimentel is proclaimed 12th senator in the 2007 race.
"Kapag nanalo si Koko sa protest niya, considered one term ni Koko yun (since 2007). Wala pa term si Zubiri," explained Brillantes.
Pimentel, meanwhile, would only be able to run for another six-year term upon the expiry of his term in 2013. (AMN/AP/Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MMDA: Houses along esteros major cause of Metro floods

You can also add the trash from the slums floating in the waterways, at times you may think your looking at a trash dump, but in fact it a river, creek, drain canal, some kind of a moving waterway.  In some cases the water can't move, it is another embarrassment tot he Philippines.  

It is like no one cares what their country looks like to the outside world. Trash piles up on the street in most areas, construction trash piles high next to construction sites,  this is just the tip.

Floods tend to quickly build up in portions of Metro Manila partly because of clogged or unusable waterways, GMA News’ “24 Oras" newscast reported Tuesday based on data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Using infographics, “24 Oras" explained this perennial problem following the floods in the National Capital Region due to a heavy downpour spawned by the southwest monsoon.

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Citing MMDA data, the newscast said the problem is with residential structures built on top of or along the path of waterways, clogging these systems and rendering them unusable as natural drainage.

Pateros, Manila, and Pasay stand out as the localities with the most houses on top of or along creeks, according to the MMDA. The city with the most number of waterways that are difficult to declog is Quezon City, the MMDA added.

In general, the agency explained it can only declog 43 percent of stagnant esteros in Metro Manila, according to GMA News’ “State of the Nation" newscast Tuesday.
The MMDA said it will not be able to declog 57 percent of stagnant waterways in the metropolis, because many are too narrow to dredge and those wide enough have been encroached upon by squatters who have built houses on top of or along them.

The newscast said approximately 61,000 households, or 2.35 percent of the 2.6 million households in the National Capital Region, are located along waterways.
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Living in danger zones

A year after the onslaught of Tropical Storm Ondoy — which inundated Metro Manila and nearby areas in September 2009 — experts noted over 150,000 households living in the most flood-prone areas in the metropolis remain at risk.

A map by GMA News Online helps users find out if they live in a flood-prone area.
Do you live in a flood-prone area? Type your address to search for potential evacuation centers, barangay halls, and health facilities nearest your home.
NOTE: This map is best viewed in full screen.

View the map in full screen

Meanwhile, western Luzon and the Visayas will continue to endure thunderstorms and monsoon rains until Wednesday morning because a low pressure area, formerly named Tropical Storm Lando, still hovers over the West Philippine Sea northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur.

Late Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its Twitter account that Pangasinan province was getting up to 18 millimeters of rain per hour (mm/hr). Southern parts of Nueva Vizcaya were receiving rainfall of up to 12 mm/hr.

Satellite images showed that enhancing the rains is Typhoon “Kabayan." Though it was moving further away from the country, the typhoon’s tail end is tugging at the southwest monsoon, pulling rain clouds across Luzon’s northern and central regions, according to state-run weather forecaster.
Luzon will experience rains Wednesday due to a low-pressure area, according to the state weather bureau PAGASA website
PAGASA said coastal waters throughout the archipelago will be moderate to rough.

Typhoon Kabayan is expected at 810 km northeast of Basco, Batanes by Wednesday evening, and 570 km north northeast of Basco, Batanes or 200 km southwest of Okinawa, Japan by Thursday evening, PAGASA said in its 11 p.m. bulletin Tuesday. — VS/HS, GMA News

Bus drivers to receive TESDA safety training

Speed is not the only safety issue with bus drivers, just a basic knowledge of driving, safety could do wonders.  Maybe bus inspections,  operators license inspections, insurance inspections, retraining ALL bus driver, and I would include the Jeepney, and taxi drivers.  They all are in the same vehicle so to speak, lack of driving knowledge, driving laws, safety for their passengers, the other vehicles on the road, and themselves.

***Bus drivers of a leading transport firm that plies the Manila-provincial routes will undergo training with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as part of government’s drive to ensure they are skilled and disciplined.

A memorandum of agreement was signed between TESDA and Genesis Transport Service Inc. on Tuesday to train its drivers not only in heeding traffic rules and regulations but also in safe driving.

The training, which starts Aug. 8, will test the drivers’ skills to see if they qualify for a national certification.

Genesis Transport will provide the training supplies and the venue to assess the drivers. The exams will include written tests and a hands-on driving test.

“It is said the toughest place to be a driver is in the Philippines," said TESDA director-general Joel Villanueva.

“Our solution is to retrain them so they will [shift] from being kings of the road to kings of safety driving," he added.

“Our drivers may be skilled but one equally important aspect they sometimes forget is the discipline and safety of their passengers," Villanueva said.

Last May, bus drivers said the cause of over speeding was the “boundary" system imposed by transport operators. The boundary system forces drivers to over speed in order to carry more commuters within their respective shifts.

“We are aware of the pressures to earn more, but all these would be put to waste when accidents strike…" Villanueva said.

Last March, 13 female bus drivers completed a driving course from TESDA. The Metro manila Development Authority said the female drivers were qualified to drive trucks and buses after the TESDA course. — BC/VS, GMA News