MVP Group donates rescue equipment to AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines yesterday received disaster rescue equipment, including a P25-million helicopter, trucks and boats from the MVP Group of companies......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarJan 7th, 2021

Meet the scientist (sort of) spending a year on Mars

Living on Mars wasn't exactly a childhood dream for Canadian biologist Kelly Haston, though she'll soon spend a year preparing for just that. "We are just going to pretend that we're there," the 52-year-old told AFP, summing up her participation in an exercise simulating a long stay on the Red Planet. At the end of June, she will be one of the four volunteers stepping into a Martian habitat in Houston, Texas that will be their home for the next 12 months. "It still sometimes seems a bit unreal to me," she laughs. For NASA, which has carefully selected the participants, these long-term experiments make it possible to evaluate the behavior of a crew in an isolated and confined environment, ahead of a real mission in the future. Participants will face equipment failures and water limitations, the space agency has warned -- as well as some "surprises," according to Haston. Their communications with the outside world will suffer from the delays that exist between Earth and Mars -- up to 20 minutes one-way, depending on the planets' positions -- and 40 minutes two ways. "I'm very excited about this, but I'm also realistic about what the challenge is," says the research scientist, whose status as a permanent resident of the United States made her eligible for the program. The habitat, dubbed Mars Dune Alpha, is a 3D printed 1,700 square-foot (160 square-meter) facility, complete with bedrooms, a gym, common areas, and a vertical farm to grow food. "It's actually surprisingly spacious feeling when you go inside it," said Haston, who visited last year before her participation was confirmed. "And we do have an outdoor area as well where we will mimic spacewalks or Mars walks." This area, which is separated by an airlock, is filled with red sand, though it is still covered rather than being open air. The crew will have to don their suits to do "spacewalks" -- "probably one of the things that I'm looking forward to the most," says Haston, a registered member of the Mohawk Nation. Haston wasted no time in filling out her application when her partner told her about the opportunity. "It's aligned with many of my goals in life to explore different avenues of research and science, and then also to be a test subject, and to give to a study that will hopefully further space exploration." The four members of the mission -- herself, an engineer, an emergency doctor, and a nurse -- did not know each other before the selection process but have since met. "We really are close-knit already," says Haston, who has been named commander of the group, adding she looks forward to seeing these relationships grow even stronger. They might be simulating an important exploratory mission for humanity, but how the housemates get along as they share mundane chores including cleaning and meal preparation will be crucial. A month of training is planned in Houston before entering the habitat. A teammate could leave in case of injury or medical emergency. But a whole series of procedures have been drawn up for situations that can be handled by the crew themselves -- including how to tell them about a family problem that has arisen outside. What worries the Canadian most is how she will manage to be away from family. She'll only be able to keep in regular touch through email, and only rarely via videos, but never live. She'll miss being outside and getting to see mountains and the sea, she says. To cope, she plans to draw on her past experiences, such as a research expedition in Africa where she studied the genetic characteristics of frogs around Lake Victoria. She spent several months sleeping in cars and tents, with four people, without reliable cell phone coverage. Feelings of isolation "are things that I think feel very familiar to me." A specialist in the field of developing stem cell treatments for certain diseases, she has worked in recent years for start-ups in California, where she also studied. This mission is the first of a series of three planned by NASA, grouped under the title CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog). A year-long mission simulating life on Mars took place in 2015-2016 in a habitat in Hawaii, but although NASA participated in it, it was not at the helm. Under its Artemis program, America plans to send humans back to the Moon in order to learn how to live there long-term to help prepare for a trip to Mars, sometime towards the end of the 2030s. The post Meet the scientist (sort of) spending a year on Mars appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News15 hr. 44 min. ago

‘Prepare, coordinate, cooperate, save lives’ — Go tells frontline agencies

Senator Christopher ”Bong” Go, on Friday, 26 May, emphasized the importance of government preparedness and citizen awareness as Super Typhoon Betty entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility. With the potential for heavy rainfall and flooding, Go, during an ambush interview after attending the groundbreaking for the Super Health Center in Libertad, Misamis Oriental, called on the national government to coordinate with local government units to ensure the safety and well-being of affected communities.. “Nakikiusap po ako sa national government, sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), preposition of goods kaagad at coordination with LGUs,” he added. Go stressed the significance of effective coordination with LGUs, saying, “Napakaimportante po ng coordination with LGUs dahil sila po ang nakakaalam kung saan dapat ilikas, saan 'yung safe na lugar, saan dapat 'yung evacuation center.” He also emphasized the need for the national government to be on top of the situation to guide citizens needing assistance. The senator also urged citizens not to be complacent and to adhere to government advisories. “Sa ngayon pa lang, huwag tayong magpakakumpiyansa. Habang papasok pa lang, may panahon po tayo na mag-prepare,” said Go. “Sumunod tayo sa paalala ng gobyerno. Sundin natin kung kailangan na lumikas. Umalis na sa mababang lugar, 'yung mga prone sa flooding dahil delikado 'yan,” he urged. The senator urged citizens to stay informed through reliable information sources and to heed the guidance of local officials and authorities.  Go also stressed the necessity of LGUs having ready relief supplies, search and rescue teams, and appropriate equipment, including personnel trained in emergency response. The typhoon’s passing may result in significant rainfall, potentially causing flash floods and landslides, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration. The projected path of the storm indicates that it will be approximately 250 kilometers away from Batanes and the Babuyan Islands within the weekend. During the interview, Go also took the opportunity to push for his advocacy for the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience.  “Yun po ang aking pinapangarap at hindi po ako titigil na isulong po ito. Sana po ay maging batas ito someday, itong Department of Disaster Resilience,” he said. Go emphasized the necessity of more proactive measures when dealing with natural calamities, reiterating his long-standing appeal for the establishment of the DDR through his proposed Senate Bill No. 188, a cabinet-level department dedicated to disaster response and mitigation efforts. “Hindi 'yung panay task force, task force ng pangalan ng typhoon. Eh ang problema n'yan kapag bagong administrasyon, mawawala na naman po ang task force. Kaya dapat Cabinet level para tuluy-tuloy po ang rehabilitasyon at makabalik sa normal ang apektadong mga komunidad,” concluded Go. The post ‘Prepare, coordinate, cooperate, save lives’ — Go tells frontline agencies appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News15 hr. 44 min. ago

Over 12K AFP rescue units alerted for Typhoon ‘Mawar’

The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday said it has alerted all its search, rescue and retrieval units for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations in areas that may possibly be affected once Super Typhoon Mawar enters the country. AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said more than 12,000 military personnel and reservists are now alerted as first responders in anticipation of the super typhoon. “All Unified Commands and Major Services were already directed to muster and check the readiness of HADR equipment and assets; preposition HADR units; assist local government units in evacuations; and participate in coordination meetings and planning activities,” he added. The AFP is also set to deploy more than 2,800 land transportation, air and water assets for its HADR operations. “Vehicles and personnel are already being prepared to assist in the mandatory evacuation of residents in vulnerable areas. Air and naval assets are also on standby for deployment for future aerial assessment, transport and evacuation operations,” Aguilar said. Aguilar added additional troops and assets “will be committed when necessary.” “We, therefore, call on the public to be vigilant and to take precautionary measures as advised by competent authorities. Let us all do our part in ensuring the safety not just of the affected communities but of our responders as well.” The post Over 12K AFP rescue units alerted for Typhoon ‘Mawar’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 26th, 2023

Go extends help to 1K families affected by Sta. Cruz fire

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally led a relief operation on Wednesday, 24 May, for the victims of a devastating fire that ravaged a densely populated area in Sta. Cruz, Manila City.  The fire which broke out on 15 May left two dead and affected more than a thousand families who are now in dire need of assistance. Held at the Manuel L. Quezon University basketball court, Go and his team distributed grocery packs, vitamins, masks, and shirts to 1,201 households. He likewise gave away bicycles, cellular phones, shoes, watches, and balls for basketball and volleyball to select recipients.  Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Go collaborated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which extended financial assistance to the affected families.  Through his speech, the senator recognized the efforts of Manila City officials, led by Congressman Joel Chua, Mayor Honey Lacuna, and Vice Mayor Yul Nieto. Go also thanked officials present during the operation, including Barangay 310 Chairman Roland Gacula, Kagawad Roywilhelm Lim, Kagawad Rodelito Jurilla, Kagawad Romulo Balincongan, and Kagawad Ryan Lacsina, among others.  “Marami pong nagtatanong sa akin kung bakit (ang isang) senador (ay) pumupunta sa mga nasunugan? Alam n’yo, hindi ko po matiis na nakaupo lang po sa opisina habang kayo rito nangangailangan po ng tulong. Iyan ang ipinangako ko sa inyo. Kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas, lindolin, bagyuhin, masunugan kayo, buhawi, pagputok ng bulkan basta kaya lang po ng aking katawan at panahon pupuntahan ko po kayo,” Go said.  “Nandito ako para makatulong sa abot ng aking makakaya, mapakinggan ang inyong mga hinaing, maalalayan ang mga may sakit na kailangang magpagamot, makasuporta sa mga proyekto na makakapagpaunlad ng inyong komunidad, at makapag-iwan ng kaunting ngiti sa panahon ng inyong pagdadalamhati,” Go added.  He likewise expressed his gratitude to former president Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2021. The senator then reassured the Filipinos that the bureau will be more equipped in addressing and preventing fire-related situations.  Under Republic Act No. 11589, which Go primarily authored and co-sponsored, the BFP is mandated to undergo a 10-year modernization program that includes acquiring and upgrading fire equipment, recruiting more fire personnel, and providing specialized training, among others.   “Ang gamit po (ay) nabibili ‘yan, ang pera po kikitain natin ‘yan magtrabaho lang po tayo, magsipag lang tayo. Pero ‘yung perang kikitain ay hindi po nabibili ang buhay. Ang nawalang buhay ay wala na po. A lost life is a lost life forever. Kaya mag-ingat tayo,” Go stressed. “Pasalamat tayo sa Panginoon na buhay tayo. At magtulungan tayo dahil kilala po ang Pilipino sa pagtutulungan. Magtulungan lang po tayong lahat para makaahon mula sa krisis, mga kababayan ko,” he encouraged.  Meanwhile, Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, offered to help those in need of medical attention. The senator highlighted that there are five Malasakit Centers in the city where they may avail of medical assistance programs by the government.  Principally authored and sponsored by Senator Go, Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health nationwide and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City to open their own Malasakit Centers.  Other public hospitals may also establish their own centers provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the sustainability of their operations. The program has so far assisted over seven million Filipinos since its inception in 2018, according to the DOH. The Malasakit Centers are located at Tondo Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, and in San Lazaro Hospital.  In line with his efforts to bolster the health sector, Go mentioned that DOH has identified several barangays in the city where it will establish Super Health Centers, including Valeriano Fugoso, Barrio Magsaysay, Esperanza, and Maria Clara.  Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds had been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where they will be constructed. Super Health Centers offer database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation center; and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done. Lastly, as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported several projects in the city, including road improvements, the construction of a multipurpose building, and improvements of public buildings within the Department of Justice. He also supported the acquisition of a multipurpose vehicle, rescue patrol, and an ambulance.  “Hinding-hindi ko po sasayangin ‘yung pagkakataon na magserbisyo sa inyo. Magtatrabaho po ako sa Pilipino. Sanay po ako sa trabaho… iyon po ang pwede kong ialay sa inyo, ang aking kasipagan po sa pagtatrabaho. Kaya magtulungan lang po tayo,” Go reassured.  On the previous day, Go was in Pasig City where he personally assisted indigents. The post Go extends help to 1K families affected by Sta. Cruz fire appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 25th, 2023

Aboitiz’s ‘Byaheng Digiskarte’ campaign wins IABC Gold Quill Award

The Aboitiz Group won the prestigious 2023 International Association of Business Communicators Gold Quill Award of Merit for its groundbreaking corporate social responsibility initiative, “Byaheng Digiskarte.” The initiative was crafted to spur the recovery and growth of micro, small and medium enterprises and cooperatives adversely affected by the pandemic. “Byaheng Digiskarte” comes from “byahe,” meaning journey, and “digiskarte,” a portmanteau of “digital” and “diskarte,” meaning strategy. Leveraging digital tools and innovative business approaches, the pioneering project empowers beneficiaries to adapt swiftly to an ever-evolving business environment. This included onboarding members to digital platforms so that they could start online businesses. Going beyond economic revitalization, “Byaheng Digiskarte” also aims to foster financial inclusion by encouraging the unbanked segment of the Filipino population to open their first-ever bank accounts through the Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines. Renowned globally as a community of accomplished communication professionals, the IABC confers its highly coveted Gold Quill Awards to acknowledge excellence in strategic communication. The Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel evaluators, made up of communication experts boasting decades of experience, reviewed 395 entries from 16 countries against the IABC Gold Quill Award criteria and Seven-Point Scale of Excellence. The Gold Quill Awards reception will be held in Toronto, Canada on 6 June 2023, where the Aboitiz Group’s “Byaheng Digiskarte” program will be recognized among exceptional communication works from around the world. Said one of the judges: “The entry was easy to understand and the opportunity, audiences and goals were easy to follow. It is apparent the team put thought into the different audiences, how to reach them and how to reinforce the key messaging.” Praising the Aboitiz Group’s exceptional work, another judge added, “You demonstrated a strategic mindset in showcasing a well-executed project that not only accomplished but exceeded its stated objectives during a challenging pandemic. Great work!” [caption id="attachment_135101" align="aligncenter" width="525"] After planting and harvesting their own farm produce, farmers and agripreneurs were provided equipment by the Aboitiz Foundation to process food products such as pickles, tea and jam.[/caption] As the Aboitiz Group advances on its “Great Transformation” to become the Philippines’ first “techglomerate,” “Byaheng Digiskarte” reflects this commitment to innovation, digital transformation and drive to positively impact surrounding businesses and communities. By leveraging technology to uplift businesses and promote financial inclusion, the Aboitiz Group sets the stage for a future where technology and innovation are at the forefront of operations. “This project is close to our hearts as we believe in the power of innovation to transform lives. We saw the need to bridge the digital divide in underserved communities, particularly in the area of digital literacy. Receiving the Quill Award is a great honor, but it is also a reminder of the responsibility we have to continue making a positive impact in the communities we serve. We take this recognition as an inspiration to do even more and to do it better,” Aboitiz Foundation president and chief operating officer Maribeth Marasigan said. Since its launch in April 2021, Byaheng Digiskarte has made significant headway, involving extensive visits to remote areas across the Philippines, collaborative consultations and partnerships with government agencies and private enterprises. Through mentoring sessions and the provision of cutting-edge tools, this initiative has assisted farmers and agripreneurs affected by the pandemic, leading to income growth. As of December 2022, over 127 cooperatives with nearly 10,000 members have received comprehensive training, which includes digital marketing, equipment handling, reputation building and financial management, among other vital skills. Two cooperatives, comprising over a thousand members, have successfully digitized their internal coop processes, while 19 cooperatives with more than 6,000 members have ventured into new cooperative businesses. “Byaheng Digiskarte” has also facilitated almost a thousand beneficiaries in opening their first bank accounts with UnionBank, solidifying the Aboitiz Group’s commitment to providing accessible financial services. The post Aboitiz’s ‘Byaheng Digiskarte’ campaign wins IABC Gold Quill Award appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 21st, 2023

El Salvador mourns 12 killed in soccer stadium stampede

El Salvador was in shock Sunday after 12 people died and hundreds were injured in a stampede at a soccer stadium, as the country's president vowed an investigation. Authorities said initial reports pointed to a crush of fans who tried to enter the 35,000-seat Cuscatlan Stadium in the Central American country's capital San Salvador to watch a game between two local teams, Alianza and FAS. The match was suspended as emergency personnel evacuated people from the stadium, where hundreds of police officers and soldiers gathered as ambulance sirens wailed. Carlos Fuentes, spokesman for the emergency services group Comandos de Salvamento, said they were treating more than 500 people for various injuries, while civil protection authorities said 88 people in total were hospitalized. The stampede apparently started after a stadium gate fell, causing people to crowd together, Fuentes said. Fredy Alexander Ruiz, a 28-year-old survivor, said he was "traumatized from seeing people thrown on the ground, dead, bruised, with their faces stepped on." The stampede started 10 minutes into the game and after it was suspended even the players joined in the frantic rescue efforts. "I had five people on top of me that were suffocating me," said Ruiz. "Thank God, I was able to grab the foot of a policeman, and he and a friend of mine pulled me out." El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele said authorities would investigate the incident and those responsible would be punished. "Everyone will be investigated: teams, managers, stadium, box office, league, federation," Bukele said on Twitter. He warned that "whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished." Survivor Sandra Guzman described chaos at the stadium in the moments the stampede began. "A huge crowd of people fell on me. I couldn't even breathe, they were choking me," Guzman, 40, told AFP early Sunday as she was leaving the Rosales National Hospital. When she was in front of the stadium gate that collapsed, she said, "people were pushing me to get in. They did not give me a chance to go back." She panicked when people toppled onto her, Guzman said. "I fainted, and when I woke up I was in the hospital." The Salvadoran Football Federation (Fesfut) said in a statement it "deeply regrets" the events that occurred at the stadium and "expresses its solidarity" with the families of those "affected and killed." "Fesfut will immediately request a report of what happened and will communicate the relevant information as soon as possible," it said. Due to the incident, the federation said "all soccer is suspended at the national level" on Sunday. The chief of world soccer body FIFA offered his condolences after the "tragic" stampede. The tragedy comes seven months after 135 people, including more than 40 children, were killed in a stampede following a football match in Malang, Indonesia. The post El Salvador mourns 12 killed in soccer stadium stampede appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 21st, 2023

G7 to squeeze Russia, weigh risk of China’s ‘economic coercion’

G7 leaders arrived in Hiroshima, Japan, on Thursday to weigh tighter sanctions on Russia and protections against China's "economic coercion", surrounded by reminders about the harrowing cost of war. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hosting leaders from six other wealthy democracies in his hometown -- a city synonymous with nuclear destruction and now peppered with peace monuments. Leaders including US President Joe Biden will try over three days to forge a united front on Russia and China, where the allies' interests do not always neatly align. Biden's delicate diplomatic offensive in Asia hit a bump even before Air Force One left US soil: A domestic budget row forced him to cancel stops in Papua New Guinea and Australia. He arrived in Hiroshima Thursday, becoming just the second US president after Barack Obama to visit a city levelled by his country's "Little Boy" atomic bomb. Russia's 15-month-old invasion of Ukraine will top the agenda when the G7 summit gets underway Friday, after a new spate of aerial attacks on Kyiv and a long winter of grinding warfare in Bakhmut and other frontline towns. "We stand up for the shared values including supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign territory and holding Russia accountable for its brutal aggression," Biden said as he met Kishida Thursday. The United States and its allies have poured weaponry into Ukraine to stall the Russian advance, but a long-anticipated spring counteroffensive by Kyiv's forces has yet to materialize. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to address the group by video link. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said leaders would discuss battlefield developments and tightening a sanctions regime that, according to official statistics, caused Russia's economy to contract a further 1.9 percent last quarter. G7 nations have already adopted sanctions on Russian banks and military firms, and placed price caps on Russian crude. Discussions are expected on tighter enforcement, and new measures on a range of goods, including Moscow's roughly $5 billion annual trade in diamonds. Nuclear shadow Putin's repeated threats to turn the Ukraine conflict nuclear have been roundly condemned by G7 leaders and dismissed by some commentators as little more than an attempt to shake European and American resolve. But a leaders' visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Friday is likely to pull those threats into sharper focus. The bombing on 6 August 1945 obliterated Hiroshima, claimed an estimated 140,000 lives and forever changed the world. Kishida wants to use the summit to press his guests -- nuclear powers Britain, France and the United States -- to commit to transparency on stockpiles and arsenal reductions. But expectations for a breakthrough are low. 'Economic coercion' Summit discussions on China are expected to focus on efforts to insulate G7 economies from potential economic blackmail, by diversifying supply chains and markets. In disputes with countries from Australia to Canada, President Xi Jinping's administration has shown a willingness to block, tax or hamper trade with little warning or explanation. White House official Sullivan said leaders were expected to decry this "economic coercion" and work to bridge transatlantic differences about how to engage with China. Washington has taken an aggressive approach, blocking China's access to the most advanced semiconductors and the equipment to make them, and has pressed Japan and the Netherlands to follow suit. But European policymakers -- most notably those in Berlin and Paris -- are keen to make sure that "de-risking" does not mean shattering ties with China, one of the world's largest markets. "This G7 is not an anti-Chinese G7," an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron told journalists before the summit. "We have a positive message for China, which is that we are ready to cooperate on condition that we negotiate together," the adviser added. Host Japan is also keen to talk to developing nations that have been wooed by Chinese investment, with leaders from India, Brazil and Indonesia among those invited by Kishida to Hiroshima. Evidence of Beijing's growing economic and diplomatic clout was on display Thursday in the former imperial capital Xi'an. There, Xi is hosting the leaders of five Central Asian countries that were once seen as firmly in Moscow's orbit but are increasingly drawn to Beijing. The post G7 to squeeze Russia, weigh risk of China’s ‘economic coercion’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2023

SM group to build new school buildings in Laguna, Batangas

Continuing its commitment to helping elevate the country's education system, SM Foundation, Inc., in partnership with SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and the Department of Education, have recently collaborated to construct two new school buildings in Laguna and Batangas. Upon the completion of the joint initiative, two two-story four-classroom school buildings will be donated to the Laguna Resettlement Community School in San Pedro City, Laguna and the San Antonio Elementary School in Sto. Tomas City, Batangas. Each of the school buildings is set to be equipped with learning materials, armchairs, handwashing facilities, emergency equipment and PWD-friendly facilities to ensure that students, especially from low-income communities, gain access to modern, safe and conducive learning facilities. Formalizing the partnership, representatives from the SMFI, DepEd and the local government units of said provinces attended the memorandum of agreement signing last 28 April 2023 at the National Educators Academy of the Philippines in Malvar, Batangas. SM Foundation, through its School Building Program, is an active partner of DepEd in various educational programs. This social good initiative aims to promote quality public education by building classrooms nationwide. To date, it has turned over more than 100 school buildings to grassroots communities. The post SM group to build new school buildings in Laguna, Batangas appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2023

PPP at its best

The immediate response of the Malampaya consortium to infuse P34 billion into energy exploration after the extension of Service Contract 38 speaks well of the extreme confidence of the Prime Energy-led venture that the natural gas area off Palawan holds huge promise. As the economy expands, the energy demand, which is a necessary component in increasing production and the setting up of new business projects, grows. Lately, power demand outstripped what is available resulting in red and yellow alerts indicating the possibility of electricity outages. Before the extension, the fate of the only large-scale energy source for the country, from which five major power plants source their fuel, was clouded with uncertainty. The nation was filled with apprehension over the timeline in which the Malampaya wells will run out by 2027 while output drastically falls starting next year. The prospect, however, is not hopeless since it turned out that the former operator, She’ll Philippines Exploration or Spex which is a unit of oil giant Royall Dutch Shell and responsible for the natural gas find in 1991, had stopped financing the search for new wells since 2014 after its parent company indicated that the region is not a priority in its global business. To dig one well, it is estimated that P500 million in investments would be required. The expenses mostly involve the drilling and extraction equipment that had to be obtained overseas. The extension of SC 38 gave the consortium until 2039 since the current contract will last until February next year. It took President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s approval to extend SC 38 after three failed tries during the previous regimes dating back to President Noynoy Aquino’s watch. The Udenna Group which had previously sought an additional 15 years for the deal ran into several conflicted interests in Congress which threw roadblocks to its proposal. The best argument for the extended contract was that after so many years it will be Filipino owners and workers who would be exploring the rich resource that based on estimates may still hold untapped gases with more than the volume already extracted. Prime Energy has retained the whole complement of technicians and workers that Spex left after it sold its interest in the consortium. In effect, there was only a transfer of investors through the purchase of shares. The Malampaya natural gas project started production on 23 February 1999 that puts the energy source in operation for 21 years with an initially estimated recoverable reserve of 3.4 to 4.5 trillion cubic feet. The lack of investments in exploration and development resulted in dwindled reserves. Based on the service contract map, areas that total the expanse of the Camago-Malampaya production area have not been explored or developed. Natural gas was the second-largest energy source for generator companies, next to coal as Malampaya supplies more than 20 percent of the electricity for the main Luzon grid. President Marcos’ imprimatur complemented by the immediate investments from the consortium is all that Private-Public Partnership should be to keep the nation’s growth momentum at maximum speed. The post PPP at its best appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 17th, 2023

BFP told: Review firetruck bid requirements

The Bureau of Fire Protection has been urged to review the terms of reference and specifications when bidding out firetrucks. Bicol Saro Partylist Representative and former Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Brian Raymund Yamsuan issued the call following allegations of corruption hounding the BFP over its acquisition of firetrucks. The lawmaker believes this action, with the BFP instituting change within the agency, will ultimately help eliminate the country's recurrent firetruck backlog. "You are the ones who will start the change in your agency. You should initiate change. Because if you don't, nothing will happen. It will reflect on us. What is happening to you is a reflection on us in the government," Yamsuan said. The House committee on public order and safety chaired by Santa Rosa Rep. Dan Fernandez carried its first deliberation on Tuesday on House Resolution 724, which seeks to scrutinize the BFP's "restrictive" and "questionable" firetruck procurement bidding in line with its modernization program. The resolution was filed by Makabayan bloc members ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel. The BFP, one of the agencies under the jurisdiction of the DILG, annually receives a substantial portion of the General Appropriations Law, primarily since the passage of the BFP Modernization Act, which provides for the expansion of the nation's firefighting capabilities through the acquisition of equipment such as firetrucks, among others. In their resolution, the three-member Makabayan bloc expressed concern over the BFP's restrictions in its published bidding documents, which they said appear to be "tailor-fit" to favor certain suppliers. The BFP, according to the solons, has given undue advantage to two joint venture entities since 2018. BFP Director Louie Puracan responded by saying the agency takes measures to ensure competitive bidding and no favored suppliers. "Our bidding is not tailor-fit, your honors. Many bidders are able to bid," he said. One of the restrictions the BFP imposed in its bidding documents, according to the resolution's proponents, is the limitation of qualified bidders to those that had been engaged in the manufacture or assembly of firetrucks and or rescue truck vehicles for at least 15 years in the Philippines prior to the opening of the bids. They pointed out that it is a major departure from the previous bidding process that allowed even those entities engaged in the sale and supply of firetrucks and/or rescue truck vehicles in the Philippines for at least 15 years immediately preceding the submission and opening of bids. But the 15-year threshold was eliminated last year to allow the BFP to review the bidder's track record, said Puracan. "There were suggestions to remove the 15 years [requirement] so that more people can join, and we can have more options of cheap but quality [firetrucks]. That is why the management decided to remove the 15-year requirement."   The post BFP told: Review firetruck bid requirements appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 16th, 2023

Globe Boosts Food-Security Program Hapag Movement

With the problem of involuntary hunger plaguing many Filipinos, leading digital solutions platform Globe and international food rescue organization Scholars of Sustenance Philippines Food Rescue took up the challenge of addressing this issue in a recent partnership under the former’s Hapag Movement banner program. In collaboration with Filipino-Chinese restaurant community group Fil-Chi Ho Tsia Ho Dim, Globe Business recently donated food that supplemented the evening feeding program of the Most Holy Trinity Parish for 100 beneficiaries within the community in Sampaloc, Manila. SOS PH, through its food rescue operations, utilizes safe surplus food by redistributing them to vulnerable communities in need. Recently launched in the Philippines, it aims to bring to the country its goal of reducing hunger and food waste. “In starting our operations in the Philippines, we are sincerely grateful for the assistance we are receiving from various sectors. We are one with Globe in their vision for the Hapag Movement. Through our combined efforts in fundraising through digital channels and supporting communities through food rescue programs, we hope to truly make a difference and alleviate the hunger situation in the country,” said James Leyson, managing director of SOS PH. The Hapag Movement is Globe’s platform that connects multisectoral partners who can contribute to addressing hunger and joblessness. It provides supplemental feeding while building the capacity of beneficiary families through livelihood training. “At Globe, we believe that through collective action and the use of technology, we can bridge the gap toward a world free from hunger. We are thankful to SOS PH for this initiative and we are looking forward to shaping a #GlobeOfGood with them,” said Apple Evangelista, head of Sustainability and Social Responsibility at the Globe Group. The food rescue program is a symbolic start to a meaningful partnership between Globe and SOS PH.  It is one of the major projects the two are working on under the Hapag Movement. Since its launch in October 2022, SOS PH has rescued and distributed a total of 10,000 kilograms of food, equating to more than 42,000 meals served and 13,000 kilograms of equivalent CO2 emissions reduction. Those who would like to send support to the Hapag Movement may donate via the GlobeOne app using Globe Rewards points. (Just follow the steps below.) Donations may also be made using Gcash or sent via credit card on the Globe of Good website. The post Globe Boosts Food-Security Program Hapag Movement appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 14th, 2023

UK missile for Ukraine ‘extremely hostile’ — Moscow

Moscow has called the United Kingdom’s decision to provide Ukraine with long-range missiles as an extremely hostile act and vowed to neutralize its threat. “We see this decision as an extremely hostile step from London, aimed further pumping weapons into Ukraine and leading to a serious escalation of the situation,” the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday. Britain became the first country to provide Kyiv with its Storm Shadow missile which has been used by British and French forces in the Gulf, Iraq and Libya. Meanwhile, German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall said Friday it will form a joint venture with Ukraine’s state weapons manufacturer to maintain military vehicles in Ukraine and later produce some equipment. The financial daily Handelsblatt reported that the joint venture will also see tanks built in Ukraine. Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Germany has dropped a traditionally pacifist stance and become one of Ukraine’s biggest military backers, delivering a wide array of weaponry to Kyiv, including Leopard tanks. In Kyiv, officials said Ukrainian troops had retaken swathes of ground near the frontline city of Bakhmut, but Moscow said it repelled the offensive along more than 95 kilometers of front near the eastern town of Soledar. Wagner mercenrary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said Russian flanks and front are collapsing in Bakhmut and said Russia’s leadership was downplaying the gravity of the situation. Prigozhin challenged his rival, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, to visit Bakhmut. “The enemy has launched a number of successful counterattacks,” Prigozhin wrote to Shoigu on social media, urging him “to independently assess the current situation.” The post UK missile for Ukraine ‘extremely hostile’ — Moscow appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 13th, 2023

Go measure to modernize Coast Guard

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go filed a bill last 3 May aimed at modernizing the country’s coast guard and enhancing its capabilities to better protect the Philippines’ maritime resources. The proposed Senate Bill 2112 aims to improve the capacity of the agency as it seeks to provide the coast guard with the necessary assets and resources to more effectively perform its duties and responsibilities. The proposed measure seeks to upgrade the agency’s vessels, aircraft and equipment to meet international standards and improve the coast guard’s response time during maritime incidents and emergencies. “As we all know, the Philippine Coast Guard plays a critical role in ensuring the safety and security of our maritime nation. They are our first line of defense against threats such as smuggling and terrorism, and they also provide vital assistance during natural disasters and other emergencies,” Go said. “However, our coast guard is facing several challenges that hinder their ability to effectively carry out their duties. These challenges include outdated equipment, inadequate training and insufficient funding. That is why I am proposing a bill that aims to address these issues and modernize our coast guard,” he explained. If SB 2112 is enacted into law, PCG shall undergo a modernization program that will focus on the elimination of accidents at sea, faster response times during search and rescue operations, and contribution to securing maritime zones from threats to national security and territory. Furthermore, it will also ensure the enforcement of Philippine laws in the maritime zone, and minimizing pollution and improving response times for recovering split pollutants. Go, on Tuesday, 9 May likewise emphasized the importance of addressing mental health issues in the country, saying that they are just as critical as any other health issue. During a public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Health chaired by Go, the senator lamented that despite the increasing awareness and efforts to address various mental health concerns, mental health stigma continues to exist in society, with many people failing to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, especially among the youth. The senator on Wednesday, 10 May,  sponsored a Senate resolution commending Filipino boxer Marlon Tapales for winning the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation World Super Bantamweight titles in San Antonio, Texas in the United States on 8 April. Senate Resolution No. 587 filed by Go and adopted by the Senate on Wednesday, 10 May, commends and congratulates the athlete for his dedication, hard work, and exemplary performance. In his sponsorship speech, Go highlighted Marlon’s hard work and dedication to his craft which have led to his recent win, adding that he is a source of pride and inspiration for all Filipinos. “Your achievement is not just a victory for you but for all of us who have supported you along the way. We look forward to seeing your continued success in the years to come,” Go said. Also on Wednesday, Go visited and extended assistance to the victims of a recent fire in Tondo, Manila City. A fire broke out last April 28 in Pritil Public Market, leaving 672 vendors adversely affected. In response, Go held a relief operation at Barangay 91 covered court and provided grocery packs, masks, vitamins, and snacks to the affected vendors. The senator also gave away bicycles, mobile phones, shoes, bags, watches, and balls for basketball and volleyball to select recipients. The post Go measure to modernize Coast Guard appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 12th, 2023

Finnish footbridge collapse injures 27, mostly children

Some 27 young people, mostly children, were injured in Finland on Thursday when a temporary footbridge near a construction site collapsed and they fell several meters onto a road, officials said. The accident occurred at around 9:20 am (0620 GMT) in Espoo, near the capital, Helsinki, when wooden planks are believed to have given way and the group fell five to six meters (feet) onto the carriageway of the small side road. Most of the injured were eighth-year pupils aged around 14 or 15, who were on a school field trip, city officials said. Their teacher was among the injured. Twenty-four people were taken to various hospitals in the Helsinki region. "No one has life-threatening injuries," Helsinki hospital service HUS said, adding that the majority had limb fractures. "There has been no indication of any risk of paralysis but there are some head injuries involved as well," HUS medical director Eero Hirvensalo told reporters. Photos from the scene showed the sides of the footbridge largely intact but a gaping hole across half of it and a pile of wooden planks in a jumble under one end. Rescue workers could be seen treating multiple people lying injured on the road shortly after the accident. Cause unknown The cause of the collapse has not been confirmed and is being investigated, the Espoo city authorities said. "I saw the bridge was no longer up and many people (were) on the ground," Jaakko Markkula, who lives on the fifth floor of a building near where the accident took place, told AFP. The head of the Helsinki city education department, Satu Jarvenkallas, told AFP the injured were pupils from the Kalasatama comprehensive school in the capital. "They were on a normal field trip to the Emma Art Museum. And then the accident took place," she said. A crisis team has been set up at the school, she added. The city of Espoo said weekly inspections had been conducted on the structure, most recently on May 5. The contractor whose company built the bridge, Jarno Tuuri, told the Iltalehti daily "nothing out of the usual was observed" during the weekly checks. "The situation is of course very bad. We're now checking all the structures and making the necessary additional reinforcements," he said. "We're assisting the authorities in every way we can," he added. The director of Espoo city services, Jukka Makela, expressed his "regrets" to the injured, adding: "This simply should not happen." "Shocking news from Espoo. Our strength to those injured in the accident and their loved ones. You are in our thoughts," Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Twitter. The post Finnish footbridge collapse injures 27, mostly children appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 11th, 2023

Go comforts fire victims in Pritil

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go visited and extended assistance to the victims of a recent fire in Tondo on Wednesday, 10 May. A fire broke out in the neighborhood on 18 April gutting parts of Pritil Public Market and leaving 672 vendors adversely affected.  In response, Go held a relief operation at Barangay 91 covered court and provided grocery packs, masks, vitamins, and snacks to the affected vendors. The senator also gave away bicycles, mobile phones, shoes, bags, watches, and balls for basketball and volleyball to select recipients.  That day, the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave financial assistance to all qualified vendors. “Mayroon lang po akong paalala sa inyo. Kung ano ‘yung matatanggap ninyo ngayong araw na ito, dalahin n’yo po sa inyong mga pamilya, pagkain po, baon sa inyong mga anak, unahin n’yo muna. ‘Yun lang po ang aking pakiusap sa inyong lahat,” said Go in his speech.  Upon the request of Go, the DSWD also conducted further validation and assessment for possible sustainable livelihood grants that can be extended to the fire victims.  “Ang (Sustainable Livelihood Program) ay isa po sa programa na sinusuportahan ko, under ito sa DSWD. Bibigyan kayo ng puhunan, tuturuan po na magnegosyo at paano palaguin ito. Mas masarap po ang pakiramdam kapag pinaghirapan at pinagpawisan ninyo ang inyong pagnenegosyo,” he cited during the ambush interview after the event.   “Palaguin n’yo ang inyong negosyo. Importante ‘wag pong malugi… kapag kumita ay dalahin n’yo sa inyong pamilya,” he added.  Go also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the firefighters who worked tirelessly to put out the blaze. For his part as a senator, Go primarily authored and co-sponsored Republic Act No. 11589, otherwise known as the BFP Modernization Act, which mandates a ten-year modernization program for the bureau that includes the acquisition of new fire equipment, hiring of additional personnel, and provision of specialized training for firefighters.  It also directs the BFP to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in every local government unit, in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.  “Mga kababayan ko, tandaan natin ang gamit nabibili, ang damit (ay) nalalabhan, ang pera kikitain, ang damit (ay) nabibili. Pero ang buhay ay hindi nabibili ng pera. A lost life is a lost life forever. Kaya mag-ingat tayo at magpasalamat tayo sa Panginoon na buhay po tayo at huwag po tayong mawalan ng pag-asa,” expressed Go.  The senator was accompanied by Congressman "Ernix" Dionisio, Jr. and other local officials who continue to serve the community.  “Magtulungan lang po tayo at makakabangon tayong muli. Kilala po ang Pilipino sa pagtutulungan. Kaya po kami nandirito para makatulong man lang sa inyo kahit papaano. Hindi man namin masagot ang lahat, pero importante po magtulungan tayo na maka-recover at makapaghanapbuhay kayong muli,” he continued.  He likewise urged those with health concerns to seek the services of the Malasakit Centers located in the city, including Tondo Medical Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Hospital, and San Lazaro Hospital. A brainchild of Go, the Malasakit Centers program provides one-stop shops designed to help particularly poor and indigent patients with their medical expenses by bringing partnered agencies under one roof, such as the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.  The senator likewise supported DOH in its initiative to build more Super Health Centers nationwide, including those in Barrio Magsaysay in Tondo, Valeriano Furgoso in Santa Cruz which were funded in 2022, as well as in Esperanza in Sta. Mesa, Maria Clara in Sampaloc, Atang dela Rama, and Palomar, both also in Tondo, which were funded in 2023.  Super Health Centers offer health services including database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation center and telemedicine where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done. In line with his efforts as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go also supported the construction of multipurpose buildings and road improvements in several barangays, the structural improvement of public buildings, and the construction of evacuation centers.  He also supported the acquisition of medical and educational supplies, surveillance system, rescue patrol service, ambulances, and multipurpose vehicle; and the purchase and installation of solar-powered street lighting for the city.  “Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. Kami po’y mga Bisaya na mga taga-Mindanao. Nakita ko kanina maraming mga Bisaya dito. Kaya ako po’y nagpapasalamat sa inyo na binigyan ninyo ako ng pagkakataon. Wala pong masasayang na oras, ako po’y magtatrabaho para sa Pilipino,” assured Go. “Iyan po ang pwede kong ialay sa inyo, ang aking pagseserbisyo sa abot ng aking makakaya. Sanay po ako sa trabaho. Umaga, tanghali, hapunan, kahit sa panaginip, kahit sa kubeta nagtatrabaho ako. Iyan na po ang nakasanayan ko at magtatrabaho po ako para sa inyo,” he stressed.  The post Go comforts fire victims in Pritil appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 11th, 2023

Navy urged: Prioritize ships for disaster response

Senator Francis Escudero has urged the Philippine Navy to prioritize acquiring locally-made ships that can be used during disasters and set aside purchasing submarines, stressing that buying floating hospitals and rescue boats can be utilized in Philippine Navy’s humanitarian response efforts, especially in assisting typhoon-hit areas. “I am for stronger a Navy. I am great fan of our sailors. But the reality is we cannot realize our submarine dreams if what we have is a salbabida budget,” Escudero said. While he supports the modernization program of the Navy, the lawmaker stressed that the government should increase its inventory of boats that can be used for disaster response and relief assistance. “Perhaps when our finances improve, then we can give the Navy the ships it deserves. As they say: A rising tide raises all ships. With economic buoyancy comes the ability to buy more Navy ships,” Escudero said. According to Escudero, the Philippine Navy is planning to buy two diesel-electric attack submarines. On Monday, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said President Ferdiand Marcos Jr. was “warm to the idea” of purchasing with an estimated cost of P70 billion. “I think this should be shelved at the moment. One good suggestion is to commission the building of multipurpose vessels which can serve as floating hospitals, barracks of rescue workers, cargo bays for rescue equipment, emergency power plant, and food pantry,” Zubiri said. The senator said such equipment can be rapidly deployed in critical areas during disasters while responders can also have their own space when conducting rescue operations. “These boats can be built and outfitted by local shipbuilders, “thus helping the economy by creating jobs. No outflow of dollars,” Zubiri said. The post Navy urged: Prioritize ships for disaster response appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 10th, 2023

Rocket fire kills AFP journalist

A journalist from the French news agency Agence France-Presse has been killed in a rocket fire in eastern Ukraine, with co-workers witnessing his death. AFP’s Ukraine video coordinator Arman Soldin died in the attack Tuesday at around 4:30 p.m. on the outskirts of Chasiv Yar in the eastern region of Donetsk. The town is close to Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine for several months. The AFP team came under fire by Grad rockets while they were with a group of Ukrainian soldiers. Soldin, 32, was killed when a rocket struck close to where he was lying. The rest of the team was uninjured. “The whole agency is devastated by the loss of Arman,” AFP chairman Fabrice Fries said. “His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers faced by journalists every day covering the conflict in Ukraine.” French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Soldin on Twitter, hailing his “bravery.” “With bravery, from the first hours of the conflict he was at the front to establish the facts. To inform us,” Macron wrote, saying he shared “the pain of his relatives and all his colleagues.” Ukraine’s defense ministry offered its “heartfelt condolences” to Soldin’s family and co-workers in a statement on Twitter. “He dedicated his life to informing the world about the truth. His legacy, as well as his cause, will live on,” it said. Soldin’s death brings to 11 the number of journalists, fixers or drivers for media teams killed while covering the war, according to the media advocacy groups Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.   Ukraine aid Meanwhile, the United States on Tuesday announced a new $1.2-billion security assistance package for Ukraine to boost the country’s air defenses and provide it with additional artillery ammunition. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the new assistance, saying on Twitter that “we appreciate this sign of solidarity with Ukraine shown on a symbolic day for us — Europe Day and the Day of Victory over Nazism in WWII.” “Together we’re moving towards a new victory!” he added. The package features unspecified air defense systems and munitions as well as equipment to integrate Western systems with Ukraine’s existing gear, which is mainly of Soviet vintage.   Ukraine’s defense ministry offered its ‘heartfelt condolences’ to Soldin’s family.   Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder told journalists Tuesday that the specific air defense systems have not yet been selected, saying the announcement represents “the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine.” The post Rocket fire kills AFP journalist appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 10th, 2023

AFP journalist Arman Soldin killed in eastern Ukraine

AFP's Ukraine video coordinator Arman Soldin was killed on Tuesday by rocket fire near Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine, AFP journalists who witnessed the incident said. The attack happened at around 4:30 pm (1330 GMT) on the outskirts of the town close to Bakhmut, the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine for several months. The AFP team came under fire from Grad rockets while they were with a group of Ukrainian soldiers. Soldin, 32, was killed when a rocket struck close to where he was lying. The rest of the team was uninjured. "The whole agency is devastated by the loss of Arman," AFP chairman Fabrice Fries said. "His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers faced by journalists every day covering the conflict in Ukraine." French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Soldin on Twitter, hailing his "bravery". "With bravery, from the first hours of the conflict he was at the front to establish the facts. To inform us," Macron wrote, saying he shared "the pain of his relatives and all his colleagues". Ukraine's defense ministry offered its "heartfelt condolences" to Soldin's family and coworkers in a statement on Twitter, saying he was killed in a Russian missile attack on Chasiv Yar in the eastern region of Donetsk. "He dedicated his life to informing the world about the truth. His legacy, as well as his cause, will live on," it said. Born in Sarajevo, Soldin was a French national who began working for AFP as an intern in its Rome bureau in 2015 and was later hired in London. He was part of the first AFP team to be sent to Ukraine following the start of Russia's invasion on February 24, 2022, arriving on the following day. Soldin had been living in Ukraine since September, leading the team's video coverage and traveling regularly to the front lines in the east and south. Soldin's death means at least 11 journalists or fixers and drivers for media teams have been killed covering the war in Ukraine, according to the media advocacy groups Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In Washington, the White House also paid tribute to Soldin, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying the world was "indebted" to the journalists who lost their lives covering the conflict. "Journalism is fundamental to a free society," she said in a statement. "Arman's brilliant work encapsulated everything that has made us so proud of AFP's journalism in Ukraine," the agency's Global News Director Phil Chetwynd said. "Arman's death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers of covering this war. Our thoughts tonight are with his family and friends, and with all our people on the ground in Ukraine." AFP's Europe Director Christine Buhagiar remembered Soldin as "a real on-the-ground reporter, always ready to work even in the most difficult places," she said. "He was totally devoted to his craft." Colleagues said Soldin knew in particular how to recount the lives of ordinary people caught up in the Ukraine conflict, desperately trying to survive amid the chaos. In Kyiv, he found a tender moment between a conscripted father and his young son who had fled abroad, bonding over a strategy game online. Earlier this month, he even rescued an injured hedgehog from a trench and nursed it back to health. He named it Lucky. The founder of the Ukrainian animal rights organization UAnimals, Oleksandr Todorchuk, spoke of Soldin's "absolute kindness" when he came to the hedgehog's aid. UAnimals was setting up a grant for volunteers and shelters that rescue hedgehogs "in memory of Soldin and his great heart", Todorchuk wrote on Facebook. The post AFP journalist Arman Soldin killed in eastern Ukraine appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 10th, 2023

Alleged traffickers no links with CDC

CLARK FREEPORT — The Clark Development Corporation’s Business Development and Business Enhancement Group on Sunday clarified that the Colorful and Leap Group Company is not a registered business enterprise of the agency. In a statement, the CDC said that the CLGP involved in the alleged human trafficking inside the Clark Freeport Zone is not a registered locater here. It added that the enforcement of the search warrant against CLGP, led by the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, was made in the 2.5-hectare sub-leased premises of Sun Valley Clark Hub Corporation. SVCHC is a sub-lessee of Donggwang Clark Corporation II, a CDC registered business enterprise of a 300-hectare mixed-use development. “The sublease agreement between Donggwang and SVCHC was approved by CDC on 16 January 2019,” the statement said. The SVCHC has an approved business activity of “renting out office and business spaces as well as providing residential spaces to residents in the Clark area which includes improving and/or managing the properties and spaces by providing administrative, maintenance and security services to the tenants” as reflected in its CDC Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption issued last 21 December 2021. “CDC shall wait for the official report of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group and the Bureau of Immigration which shall bring to light additional information such as the names of the rescued victims of the alleged human trafficking and the perpetrators,” the agency said. To recall, a total of 1,163 foreign nationals and Filipinos were rescued by the authorities on Thursday night at the CLGP office inside the Clark Freeport Zone. The operation was carried out on 4 May 2023 at the Clark Sun Valley Hub, Jose Abad Santos Ave., Mabalacat City, Pampanga by the elements of the Anti-Cybercrime Group, Special Action Force and Intelligence Group together with the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Department of Justice, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Bureau of Immigration and Interagency Council on Anti-Trafficking. The rescue operation resulted in the rescue of 1,090 individuals consisting of foreign nationals from Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar and Filipinos. According to the Philippine National Police, the rescued victims were forced into working for a fraudulent cyber-enabled industry, victimizing their fellow citizens. “We will continue to work closely with other agencies to ensure that those who engage in such heinous crimes are held accountable. We must all unite in this fight against human trafficking and help put an end to this inhumane practice,” said PNP chief Police General Benjamin Acorda. The rescued foreign nationals were documented for booking and possible deportation. Judge Hermenegildo Dumlao of the Regional Trial Court Branch 81 in Malolos City, Bulacan issued a warrant against the CLGP for violation of RA 10364. Meanwhile, CDC shall generate from its Electronic Visa Implementation System for Aliens database, the list of foreign nationals issued with special visas in favor of SVCHC to aid the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group and the Bureau of Immigration in their respective investigation and eventual prosecution. With Mar Supnad. The post Alleged traffickers no links with CDC appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 7th, 2023

A patriotic act

The Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that relies heavily on the travel and tourism industry to bolster the growth of its economy. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the travel and tourism industry accounted for as much as 12.9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. At the height of the outbreak in 2020, its share plunged to 5.1 percent after the lockdowns caused the closure of many businesses that resulted in massive job losses. When the situation began to normalize somehow, travel and tourism were again looked to revive the ailing economy. With the rebound, better facilities and services were needed to leave a long-lasting impression on visitors. With the recent electrical problem at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, the need for a major upgrade once again became the talk of the town. Last 1 May, a power outage hit Terminal 3, affecting 9,000 passengers, following a “fault current” or an abnormal amount of electrical current flowing through a circuit. This may have caused the circuit to trip and the power outage. Technical personnel of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) were quick to arrive and resolved the power outage. This was the second time this year that NAIA was in the news for all the wrong reasons. The first, on New Year’s Day, was when more than 200 flights were canceled, rerouted, and delayed after an equipment mishap triggered a breakdown in the airport’s Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management or CNS/ATM system. Following the twin incidents, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista vowed to conduct a full electrical audit of NAIA Terminal 3, as well as Terminals 1 and 2. Businessman and philanthropist Manuel V. Pangilinan or MVP, who currently chairs Meralco, patriotically offered to conduct a full electrical audit of the facility at no cost to the government. A full electrical audit will help the government find the problem, address it, and map out the projects needed to modernize and upgrade the terminal. “The good news is the group of Mr. Manny Pangilinan has offered to do a free electrical audit. I talked to them earlier. Maybe by Monday (8 May) we would have our first meeting,” Bautista said in English and Filipino in a radio interview on 2 May. Government support Even before the Covid-19 pandemic emerged, MVP had been supportive of the government, crafting initiatives geared toward nation-building. When Typhoon Odette hit the Visayas and Mindanao in December 2021, companies under the MVP Group extended assistance to the affected families, such as power restoration, relief packages, and financial assistance, among others. He has also supported the government’s goal of digitalization and achieving food security. Earlier this year, through Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the group acquired a 34.76-percent stake in Axelum Resources Corporation as well as a controlling stake in The Laguna Creamery Inc. The twin investments form part of MVP’s goal and priority “to feed our people first,” and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. MPIC’s subsidiaries have also embraced the digitalization of their operations and initiatives that encapsulate the group’s overall goal to be a leader in sustaining the country’s expanding digital landscape. His support for the public through his various businesses is a clear definition of patriotism for the country as not only will it support the government’s initiatives and goals, but ultimately, will provide better services to the public it serves. The post A patriotic act appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 6th, 2023