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Asia

Change in school calendar in RP proposed

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MANILA (July 22) -- In a move that may be following the US, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said his office is reconsidering the option of moving the opening of classes from June to September.

Lapus made the statement after an association of private schools urged the Department of Education to study such plan in light of the many inconveniences caused by the rainy season, which starts in June.

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10 Filipino workers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan

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MANILA (July 22) -- Ten Filipino workers at a NATO base in Afghanistan were among the 16 civilians killed in a helicopter crash at NATO's largest air base in Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.  The Russian-owed civilian Mi-8 helicopter slammed into the tarmac at Kandahar Air Base shortly after takeoff.

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CHR vows to protect 'tortured' Fil Am human rights worker

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MANILA (July 20) -- In preparation for the arrival of Melissa Roxas, the Filipino American activist who claims to have been abducted and tortured by elements of the Philippine military,  Leila de Lima, Chair of the Commission on Human Rights, said the CHR "can give protective custody through Karapatan, a human rights group.

The CHR will have a hearing on Roxas's case on July 23, while the Court of Appeals will also consider her petition for a writ of amparo later this month.

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Senator calls for 'no-child-left-behind' policy in education

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MANILA (July 20) -- The government’s short-sighted approach to education remains the main stumbling block to the country’s long-term economic prospects, opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero said.

“The world has been moving from an economy of goods to an economy of knowledge. Unfortunately, education, which is the main tool in converting to an economy of knowledge, continues to get scant attention from the government,” Escudero said.

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Consumer group disputes NTC's claims; calls for lower cellphone rates

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MANILA (July 20) -- Consumer advocacy group TXTPower today rejected claims by the National Telecommunications Commission that it is allegedly "powerless" to stop spam messages unleashed by telecommunications firms and content providers on consumers.

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Fil Am activist pursues case vs. RP military

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MANILA (July 20)  — Melissa Roxas, the American activist who was kidnapped and tortured allegedly by Filipino soldiers in May, will return to the Philippines tomorrow, Monday, to pursue the case against her captors.

In a statement on Sunday, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it would provide protective custody to Roxas upon her return to the Philippines.

Roxas, who accused the military of abducting her and torturing her, is scheduled to appear on July 30 before the Court of Appeals, which is hearing her petition for writ of amparo.

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End premature 'presidential' forum, says labor group

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MANILA (July 18) -- The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has sought an end to all "presidential" forum, calling them "premature and inappropriate."

"Right now, we still don’t have a single presidential candidate. What we have now are individuals supposedly aspiring or planning to be presidential candidates. So it is not correct to be staging so-called ‘presidential’ forums this early," said TUCP secretary-general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera.

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PGMA to speak at NAM Summit in Egypt

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EGYPT (July 14) --  Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will represent the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations in the 15th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Egypt on July 15 to 16 as its spokesperson. The summit will be held in Sharm El Sheikh at the southern tip of the country.

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'It's difficult to unite the opposition' -- Pimentel

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MANILA (July 10) -- Citing a lack of genuine efforts to unite the opposition for the 2010 elections, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. has expressed doubts it will happen.

He said that although the former president Joseph Estrada has been busy going around the country, the biggest obstacle is the apparent determination of Senators Manuel Villar and Manuel to seek the presidency.

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Citizen's group asked SC to stop poll automation deal

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MANILA (July 9)  -- The Concerned Citizens Movement has asked the Supreme Court to stop the signing of a contract between the Comelec and a technology consortium represented by Dutch-owned Smarmatic International and its Filipino-owned counterpart Total Information Management, for the automation of the 2010 elections.

The contract, which is set to be signed this Friday, has several provisions, which violated the law, according to the petition fro certiorari, mandamus, and prohibition filed by the group's lawyer, Harry Roque.

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JEEP project launched in Mindanao universities

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JEEP project launched in Mindanao universitiesMARAWI CITY (July 1) --- Mindanao students will get a boost in their chances at landing better, market-driven jobs with a new project that seeks to enhance  students’ English proficiency skills and language training capabilities of Mindanao universities.

Launched by the USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) in six Mindanao universities,  the Job Enabling English Proficiency or JEEP project is designed to turn out graduates with the English language skills needed for productive employment in careers requiring reasonable proficiency in the language, a statement from the agency said.

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Filipinos in Korea win top prizes

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SEOUL (July 1) -- In recognition of their dedication to family and contribution to creating a more open Korean society, the Korea Exchange Bank acknowledged three Filipinos who won top prizes in the 1st Global Family Award it sponsored.

Vilma Montanegro received the Grand Prize for Model Family, while Young-mi “Maritess” Lee and Narlita Quinal were respectively declared runners-up in the Model Family and Filial Piety categories during an awarding ceremony held at the bank headquarters on June 24.

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Whatever Happened to Two Companions of Melissa Roxas?

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MANILA – Ever since Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas filed a petition for writ of amparo before the Supreme Court accusing military men of abducting and torturing her, the public has never heard from her two Filipinos companions, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Jandoc.

The three were abducted by suspected military agents on May 19 in La Paz, Tarlac. Roxas was released on May 25 and soon went back to the United States to reunite with her family and seek medical treatment.

But whatever happened to Carabeo and Jandoc?

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Pardoned overseas worker in Kuwait arrives in Manila

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MANILA (June 30) -- Filipina overseas worker in Kuwait May Vecina arrived this morning in Manila less than a month after the Emir of Kuwait granted her an Amiri pardon.

Vecina arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 8:45 a.m. via Qatar Airways. She was accompanied by Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya and welcomed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Administrator Carmelita Dimzon.

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RP now ranks 12th in H1N1 cases, says WHO

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MANILA (June 25) -- The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has urged the government and the private sector to adopt more aggressive strategies to contain the spread of Influenza A(H1N1), warning that the lingering virus, if left unchecked, could soon invade the country’s factories and diminish labor productivity in a big way.

TUCP secretary-general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera cited the case of the House of Representatives, which was compelled to temporarily shut down after one of its employees, a 49-year-old woman, became the country’s first Influenza A(H1N1) fatality.

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DOJ files criminal charges vs. Sulpicio Lines VP, captain

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MANILA (June 22) -- After a year the M/V Princess of the Stars capsized in the stormy seas off Sibuyan Island, killing hundreds of people, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has finally filed criminal charges with the Manila City Regional Trial Court.

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KC Concepcion's anti-hunger advocacy gets credit from Mindanao solons

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COTABATO (June 22) --  Lawmakers from Mindanao have credited young celebrity Kristina Cassandra "KC" Concepcion for her exemplary humanitarian work as the country’s ambassador against hunger.

"We applaud KC for her outstanding efforts to raise public awareness here and abroad of the need for effective solutions to the growing humanitarian needs of Mindanao," Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Taliño-Meñdoza said.

"The people of Cotabato and the whole of Mindanao are highly grateful to KC for using her sway as a celebrity to help address widespread hunger and the conflict-induced dislodgment of people," Taliño-Mendoza said.

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Solons warns of 'midnight deals' on privatization of government assets

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MANILA (June 21) -- Sen. Manuel Villar Jr, through his Nacionalista Party, has urged the Department of Finance (DOF) to suspend any eleventh-hour plans to privatrize residual government assets, saying these are better left the next administration to act on.

"Our sense is, it would be better for government asset privatization managers to avoid potentially controversial last-minute disposals," said NP spokesperson and former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla.

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Mancao's Fathers' Day Gift

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CHICAGO (June 21) – On this Father’s Day, Sunday, Cezar O. Mancao is one happy camper.

Through his lawyer, Arnedo S. Valera, Mancao said, "maligaya ako at kapiling ko si Maricar at ang aking mga anak, aking mga magulang, kapatid at mga kaibigan. Ako ay nakahanda pa ring maglingkod sa ating bayan kung kinakailangan." (I am happy to be with my Maricar and our children, my parents, siblings and friends. And I am still ready to return to serve the public if needed.”)

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Overseas absentee voters' registrants break 100,000 mark

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MANILA (June 18) -- Nearly two months before registration of overseas absentee voters closes, the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reports that more than a hundred thousand Filipinos overseas have registered with various diplomatic posts.

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RP's association of human rights lawyers to host region conference

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HANOI (June 16) -- The Philippines will host the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in the Asia and the Pacific (COLAP V) on September 18 to 19, 2010, the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) has announced.

The theme of the event in Manila is "Human Rights, Development and the International Economic Crisis". Expected to attend are more than 200 hundred lawyers and jurists from the region such as Japan, the Asean member-countries Vietnam and Korea; the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the South Asian countries India and Pakistan.  One of the main issues that will be discussed during the conference is the human rights situation in the Philippines including the killings of judges and lawyers.

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