Items filtered by date: Thursday, 17 August 2017

Mac Cardona thankful to Franz Pumaren for giving him chance to make PBA return

PBA Media Bureau
Almost a year after getting hospitalized due to drug overdose, Mac Cardona is within reach of a PBA comeback. And he has GlobalPort Batang Pier coach Franz Pumaren to thank for.

The former scoring champion is currently practicing with GlobalPort Batang Pier after Pumaren, who handled Cardona in his collegiate years in the UAAP, gave him another chance to return to the game he loves.

“Nung na-hospitalize ako a few months ago, si Coach Franz yung isa sa mga special people na bumisita sa akin,” Cardona said. “Sabi niya sa akin noon, kung ready ka na mag-basketball, sabihin mo lang.”

Pumaren said opening his doors to Cardona is his way to help “The Captain Hook” start anew.

“Tayo naman willing tayong tumulong be it sa pagbibigay ng opportunity sa players or even sa buhay ng tao,” Pumaren said.

Pumaren clarified Cardona is not guaranteed to make it to the active roster. But he said that the player is really determined to get back on track.

“Medyo nabigla lang kasi ang tagal hindi naglalaro eh,” Pumaren said.

Cardona, who had a brief stint with Zark’s Burger in the PBA D-League, said he has been religiously practicing with the Batang Pier.

“Araw-araw pa rin akong nasa ensayo ng GlobalPort. Medyo natigil lang ako dahil sa minor calf injury pero OK na ako,” Cardona told InterAksyon.

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Philippines will host 2019 SEA Games after all

Philippine Navy personnel prevent the giant flag from touching the ground at the start of celebrations on Sunday (May 28) for the National Flag Days 2017 and celebration of the victory in the 1898 Battle of Alapan in Imus, Cavite (PNA photo by Avito C.Dalan)
The Philippines is back as host of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

That after Philippine sports officials had a change of heart following their announcement last July that the country would no longer host the biennial games to give way to the rehabilitation of conflict-stricken Marawi.

In contrast to the original plan of staging the event in Davao, organizers are looking at Zambales, Pampanga and Bulacan as possible host cities.

Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano was appointed as the SEA Games Organizing Committee Chairman.

This will mark the fourth time that the Philippines will serve as host of the regional games. The country last staged the event in 2005.

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South Korea has the tools to regain Asian basketball supremacy, say Guiao and Black

FIBA photo
The competition in the Asian basketball scene may be tough especially with the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand in the region this year, but multi-titled coaches Yeng Guiao and Norman Black believe that South Korea
South Korea has the tools to regain supremacy in the continent.

The two coaches who once handled the national team in the past made that observation after watching Gilas Pilipinas get a 118-86 drubbing at the hands of the Koreans in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup quarterfinals.

“Hindi lang siya designed para talunin tayo. Designed rin siya to beat China, New Zealand and even Australia. In short, Korea’s basketball philosophy is geared towards regaining basketball supremacy in Asia,” Guiao said.

“I think they’ve sent their best team in the competition and not only did they send their best team, they are obviously well-prepared,” Black said.

Guiao is in awe of the discipline and selflessness of Korean basketball which thrives on ball movement, three-point shooting and team defense.

“It’s the culture they bring which made the team great. They veered away from emulating the Americans and developed their own style of play. In fact, yung game natin against them was a battle between style and substance. We have the best talent, but we lost to a better team. Kung ang Gilas, puso ang pinaiiral, yung Korea naman, utak,” Guiao said.

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Village chief shot dead in Negros Oriental city

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — A village chief was shot dead while two of his companions were wounded by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental Thursday.

Police are considering the possible involvement of the New People’s Army in the killing of Leudigario Gargoles Binera, 40, barangay captain of Hinakpan.

Hinakpan is near barangay Magsaysay, where the NPA ambushed and killed Guihulngan police chief Superintendent Arnel Arpon and five of his men, wounding three other officers, as they responded to a rebel attack on Councilor Edison dela Rita in which the official was hurt and his driver wounded on July 21.

Witnesses told investigators that around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Binera and his companions were drinking coffee outside the home of Angelito Villarmente in Barangay Tinayunan when a gunman shot at them with a .45 caliber pistol before fleeing on a waiting motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

The victims were rushed to the Gov. William Billy Villegas Hospital where Binera died.

In an interview, acting provincial police director Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas hinted of a possible link between the July 21 ambush and Binera’s murder.

Noting that Magsaysay and Hinakpan are “infiltrated with the NPA,” Biñas, without going into detail, said it appeared some people are seeking justice for the slain and wounded policemen, adding that there was a seeming pattern of retribution in recent shooting incidents in Guihulngan.

He appealed to the families of the slain policemen to let justice take its course even as he said they had reported receiving threats recently, with at least one person appearing at his office seeking assistance.

Biñas said he has offered the provincial police office as a refuge for those under threat.

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18 more slain in Camanava as Kiko decries earlier killings

(Reuters file)
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 12:17 p.m.) At least 18 more persons were reported killed overnight in the Camanava area (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) of Metro Manila even as Senator Francis Pangilinan decried the 57 deaths in Bulacan and Manila, mostly in police operation, over the past two days.

In Manila at least five more killings happened while in Quezon City a man his partner acknowledged was a “runner” for drug peddlers was gunned down inside his home in Payatas.

Caloocan accounted for the most deaths, 11, from 5 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, according to a tally by News5:

CALOOCAN – 11

Brgy. 120 – 3
Brgy. 13 – 1
Bugallion -1
Bagong Silang -1
Brgy. 176 PH7 -1
Phase 6- 1
Brgy. Daangbakal -1
Brgy. Tala – 1
Pamasawata – 1
MALABON – 2

Tinajeros – 1
Longos – 1

NAVOTAS – 2

Brgy. NBBN R10 -1
Brgy. San Jose – 1
VALENZUELA – 3

Maysan – 1
Canumay East – 1
Arkong Bato – 1
The recent killings, which included that of 17-year old senior high school student Kian Loyd delos Santos in Manila, prompted Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, to ask: “Kahit sino na lang kakaladkarin ng pulis para umabot sa quota? Makuha ang reward money (Are the police trying to meet a quota? Trying to earn the reward money)?”

Delos Santos’ death, in particular, has stirred public outrage over the continuing bloodshed in the government’s war on drugs.

Manila police claim Delos Santos shot it out with operatives but witnesses and closed circuit television footage have since tended to belie that account, showing the young man being dragged away before he was found dead.

Pangilinan decried the “killing right and left of the poor and defenseless while tons of shabu slip through the BoC (Bureau of Customs),” referring to the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of the illegal drug that Congress is now investigating.

He urged resistance to the “massacre of the poor” and for drugs to be treated not only as a police but also a health and economic problem.

In Manila, a CCTV camera captured the attack along A. Rivera Street in Tondo that left businessman Willie Liu dead. Although he too was fired on by the killer, Liu’s business partner, Nikko Go, managed to escape unscathed.

The footage showed the SUV parking and, as Liu and Go got down, the gunman drive up on motorcycle and open fire. After felling Liu, the killer got off his motorcycle and shot at Go, who managed to run to safety.

In Ermita, a suspected snatcher supposedly opened fire on police who were stopping the motorcycle he was riding on because the driver had no helmet.

Senior Inspector Randy Veran of the Lawton police precinct said a woman had reported that her mobile phone had been snatched as she waited for a ride. When precinct personnel flagged down the motorcycle, the driver ignored them, triggering a chase during which the alleged snatcher, identified only as John Rey, opened fire.

A gun and two sachets of shabu were recovered from him, police said.

In Sampaloc, alleged pusher Eric Kailaw died on Paltok Street in a supposed shootout around 11 p.m. with police who had gotten wind of a drug deal in the area.

Two more drug suspects were killed in a buy-bust operation on Hermosa Street, Tondo.

In Payatas, Dannyfel Balad, 41, was shot dead inside his home on Daisy Street.

His partner, Rowena Pilar, said they were sleeping when the gunmen kicked in their door. In fear, Rowena said they hid in the toilet with their 10-year old child.

The suspects asked who Balad was and then shot him six times.

A team of Reuters journalists went to five communities in Manila on Thursday night, where four men died in shootouts with undercover police in drug ‘buy-bust’ or sting operations.

Police prevented the journalists from getting near the scene in the northwestern neighborhood of Caloocan but they saw three body bags being taken from a maze of narrow alleys. Elsewhere in Caloocan, they saw the corpse of a man slumped on an iron fence at the back of a mini-bus terminal.

Another man was killed near the Manila post office building, four died in hospitals in the northern area of Malabon and another died on the spot near a former garbage dump in the sprawling Quezon City district.

Three others were killed elsewhere on Thursday night, according to a radio report, including a man who was shot by masked men on a motorcycle in the eastern area of Marikina City.

Call for protest

“The killing spree must stop even as we also demand a stop to the proliferation of illegal drugs,” Renato Reyes, secretary-general of the left-wing Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said.

“A long-term and thorough solution is necessary. A fascist solution is doomed to fail.”

Reyes urged Filipinos to join a protest organized by a group of artists in Quezon City, saying in a flyer on social media: “Let us condemn the recent spike in the killings under the Duterte regime”.

Police say there has been no instruction from higher authorities to step up their anti-drug operations and they are only doing their job.

“The president did not instruct me to kill and kill,” national police chief Ronald dela Rosa said on Thursday. “I also don’t have any instructions to my men to kill and kill. But the instruction coming from the president is very clear that our war on drugs is unrelenting. Those who were killed fought back.”

Critics maintain that members of the Philippine National Police PNP are executing suspects and say it is likely they have a hand in thousands of unsolved murders of drug users by mysterious vigilantes. The PNP and government reject that.

Although the violence has been criticized by much of the international community, Filipinos largely support the campaign and domestic opposition to it has been muted. (with reports from Reuters | Jennylyn Calimon and Ivy Gale Bernardo, News5)

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Govt probing suspected bird flu in Nueva Ecija

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Animal Industry will investigate suspected cases of bird flu in two farms in Nueva Ecija province.

Lawyer Alejando Abesamis, the provincial administrator, said the suspected avian flu was detected after laboratory tests on samples from a layer farm in Barangay San Roque in San Isidro town and a farm that breeds quail in Barangay Imbunya in Jaen town.

The samples have been forwarded to the BAI for confirmatory tests.

Nevertheless, Abesamis said they are in talks with the farm owners to convince them to agree to voluntary depopulation.

At the same time, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said they are studying how best to utilize chicken dung, which he admitted was becoming a problem since it cannot be shipped out of Pampanga, the epicenter of the bird flu outbreak.

He said a possibility is to process the waste into fertilizer and use this for vegetable production in lahar-covered areas.

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Robredo tops Mocha’s Twitter poll on possible replacements for Taguiwalo

File photo of Vice President Leni Robredo from Philstar


MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo overwhelmingly topped a survey conducted by Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson on social media platform Twitter on a possible replacement for Judy Taguiwalo, who the Commission on Appointments rejected as Social Welfare secretary.

But presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said it was unlikely President Rodrigo Duterte would base his choice on Uson’s poll.

Uson asked Twitter users who they preferred to replace Taguiwalo from among Robredo, Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Lorraine Badoy, former congresswoman Nikki-Prieto Teodoro, and “others.”

A screen capture as of 11:35 a.m. showed Robredo with 81 percent of the votes, with Badoy taking only 6 percent and Teodoro with 2 percent. “Others” took 11 percent.

Screengrab of the results of Mocha Uson’s Twitter poll as of 11:35 a.m.
Asked to comment on the results, Abella said: “I’m sure the President has other ways of measuring a candidate’s capability aside from surveys.”

Asked why Robredo was not a likely choice for the Social Welfare portfolio, he said, “For the plain and simple reason that, for example she has already resigned, you know, that particular job is a Cabinet level job.”

In July last year, Duterte named Robredo to head the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, a Cabinet-level post. However, he later instructed her to stop attending Cabinet meetings after which she resigned the position.

Abella said his reply did not mean he was against Robredo. “I’m just saying that it seems to be a difficult choice,” he said.

Many netizens reacting to the survey, meanwhile, mocked Uson, saying the poll results backfired on her alleged motive to “bash” Robredo.

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Pickup in Cavite accident yields dog meat

Slaughtered dogs are seen in a pickup whose driver fled after figuring in a traffic accident in Imus, Cavite. (News5 photo)
IMUS CITY, Cavite — Authorities checking a pickup truck whose driver had fled after colliding with an SUV in Imus Cuty, Cavite Thursday morning found the carcasses of 72 dogs apparently being transported to be sold as food.

Although Republic Act No. 8485, or “The Animal Welfare Act of 1998,” bans the killing of animals other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabao, horse, deer and crocodiles except for cultural, religious, scientific and health reasons, dog meat is still consumed and is considered a delicacy by some.

Although the slaughtered animals were believed being transported to northern Luzon, Imus Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi ordered the inspection of restaurants in the city for the possible sale of the banned meat.

Aside from violating the Animal Welfare Act, the driver of the pickup, identified by police as Terry Baybay, could also be charged for violating the Meat Inspection Act, and be subject to a fine of between P5,000 to P1 million per animal and possible jail time of one to 12 years.

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Spanish police stop second attack after 13 killed in Barcelona

Spanish police say they have killed five suspected terrorists in the town of Cambrils to stop a vehicle attack, after an earlier one in Barcelona.

The men, wearing explosive belts, were linked to the first attack, police say.

Thirteen people died and dozens were hurt when a van hit crowds in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona on Thursday. The driver fled and is still at large.

Spain's PM Mariano Rajoy described it a "jihadist attack", which so-called Islamic State said it had carried out.

Mr Rajoy has announced three days of national mourning and a minute's silence will be held later on Friday.

The authorities are now also linking the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils with an explosion at a house on Wednesday evening in the town of Alcanar that left one person dead.

Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said it appeared the residents at the Alcanar house had been "preparing an explosive device".

In Cambrils, seven people, including a police officer, were wounded when a car was driven into them early on Friday, Catalan emergency services said. One person is in a critical condition.

Spanish media reported that the attackers' vehicle overturned and when the men got out they were quickly fired upon by police.

A series of controlled explosions was then carried out.

Police in Cambrils inspect the car used in an attempted attack, 18 August 2017Image copyrightEPA
Image captionPolice inspect the vehicle used in the Cambrils attack

Police say the situation in Cambrils - a popular seaside resort to the south-west of Barcelona - is now under control.

Meanwhile police are continuing to search for the driver of the van used in the Barcelona attack, who fled on foot. He is believed to be the sole attacker there.

Tourists and locals fled when the rented vehicle sped down Las Ramblas in the centre of the city, mowing down people.

Witnesses said the van deliberately targeted people, weaving from side to side as it drove down the boulevard.

Two people have been arrested, but police say neither was the driver.

Driss OubakirImage copyrightSPANISH NATIONAL POLICE/ HANDOUT
Image captionPolice released this photo of Driss Oubakir, whose documents were used to rent the van

Police have released a photo of a man named as Driss Oubakir, whose documents were used to rent the van involved in the attack.

Local media say he is in his 20s, and was born in Morocco. However, latest reports suggest he has told police he was not involved, and that his documents were stolen.

So-called Islamic State has said it was behind the Las Ramblas attack, saying in a brief statement carried by its Amaq news agency that it was carried out by "Islamic State soldiers". The group gave no further evidence or details to back this claim.

Vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in a series of attacks across Europe since July last year.

In another incident, police shot dead a man who drove into officers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Barcelona, but the authorities said there was no evidence that he was connected to the attack in Las Ramblas.


Barcelona map

Analysis: A worrying trend

Gordon Corera, BBC News security correspondent

Barcelona is just the latest European city to witness the terrible effects of a vehicle attack on an iconic or "soft" target. 

In Nice a year ago, Bastille Day celebrations were targeted, then a Christmas market in Berlin. In London, Westminster and London Bridge, as well as Finsbury Park, saw cars and vans used as weapons. 

In the UK, new barriers have been put in place to mitigate some of the risks at key locations and there is discussion of imposing checks on those renting vans, but security services in Britain - as well as across Europe - are all too aware that there are limits to what they can do to spot and stop those planning murder in this way. 

The weapons employed are readily available and there is little or no training, co-ordination or planning required. This means there are few points where individuals can be spotted by the intelligence services.

Although so-called Islamic State has released a statement saying what it calls its "soldiers" had carried out the Barcelona attack, it is not yet clear whether there was any direct link to the group or if they were simply inspired by its call to act. The language used often indicates the latter.

Either way, authorities will be bracing themselves for the possibility of further attacks of a similar nature.


What did people see in Barcelona?

A businessman from New Orleans, who was just arriving in a taxi in Las Ramblas, said: "I heard a crowd screaming. It sounded like they were screaming for a movie star.

"I saw the van. It had already been busted on the front. It was weaving left and right, trying to hit people as fast as possible. There were people lying on the ground."

 
Media captionFootage shows police surrounding a white van moments after the attack

Aamer Anwar said he was walking down Las Ramblas, which was "jam-packed" with tourists.

"All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids," he told Sky News.

"Police were very, very quickly there, police officers with guns, batons, everywhere. Then the whole street started getting pushed back.

"Police officers who got there just started screaming at people to move back, move back."

 
Media captionFootage captures people using a shop as an escape route on Las Ramblas

Kevin Kwast, who is on holiday in Barcelona with his family, said: "I was eating with my family in La Boqueria market very near where the crash occurred. 

"Hundreds of people started stampeding through the market... we started running with them going outside right into where casualties were already on the ground. 

"Police pushed us into a money transfer shop and we've been sheltering there for over an hour."


Las Ramblas (file photo 2015)Image copyrightREUTERS

Las Ramblas

  • Central boulevard that runs 1.2km (0.75 miles) through the centre of Barcelona
  • Runs from the city's Plaça de Catalunya (Catalonia Square) to the Christopher Columbus monument at the seafront. 
  • Popular with tourists because of its market stalls, bars and restaurants
  • Barcelona city council restricted traffic flow because of heavy pedestrian use of the street

Europe's deadly vehicle attacks

  • Paris, 9 August 2017: A man rammed a BMW into a group of soldiers, injuring six.
  • London, 19 June 2017: A man is killed in a van attack on Muslims outside a mosque in Finsbury Park.
  • London, 3 June 2017: Eight people died when three jihadists drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then stabbed passers-by. 
  • Stockholm, Sweden, 7 April 2017: Uzbek Rakhmat Akilov killed four people when he drove a lorry into a department store.
  • London, 22 March 2017: Four people died when a car rammed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, and the driver then stabbed to death a policeman.
  • Berlin, Germany, 19 December 2016: Tunisian Anis Amri ploughed a truck into a Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz, killing 12 people.
  • Nice, France, 14 July 2016: Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a truck into crowds on the Promenade des Anglais, killing 86 people on Bastille Day.
  • France, December 2014: A van was driven into a Christmas market in Nantes and a car rammed pedestrians in Dijon, leaving more than 20 wounded.
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MAJOR CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION LAW PROPOSED BY THE SENATE

If you’ve watched the news, browsed a media website, perused a newspaper, or scrolled through social media newsfeeds in the last few days, chances are that you’ve heard about a new immigration bill recently introduced to Congress. If so far you haven’t paid too much attention to the proposals and nuances of the bill, it is now the time to listen and take appropriate action as the potential legislation could seriously impact you and your noncitizen friends and family members.
On Wednesday, August 2, President Trump appeared at the White House along with two U.S. senators to reveal the “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act,” or the “RAISE” Act. The Act, which is aimed at reducing legal immigration by 50% within the next ten years, proposes significant cuts to family-based immigration and the refugee program. In addition, the Act seeks to implement a skills/merit-based point system for employment-based immigration.
In regards to family-based immigration, the proposed legislation eliminates all family-based immigration categories except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Currently, as the law stands, U.S. citizens may petition their noncitizen spouses, parents (if the U.S. citizen is over 21 years old), and children under the age of 21 as immediate relatives, providing the noncitizen with immediate visa availability. U.S. citizens may also petition their siblings as “non-immediate” relatives who are subject to limited visa availability. The law also currently allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to petition their adult children. However, under the proposed regulation, adult U.S. citizens would no longer be able to petition their noncitizen parents or siblings for a green card. Further, U.S. citizens would no longer be permitted to petition their adult children and lawful permanent residents would no longer be permitted to sponsor their unmarried adult children. It should be noted that while the bill restricts adult U.S. citizens from petitioning their parents, it does create a nonimmigrant classification for parents of U.S. citizens which is rather restrictive. Parents of U.S. citizens would not be eligible for work authorization or public benefits and their adult child would be responsible for arranging for health insurance coverage prior to visa issuance.
While it is uncertain whether this proposed legislation will actually become law, the clock on various avenues for immigrating family is ticking. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who want to bring their adult children, siblings, or parents to the U.S. should act now. Those who are eligible to naturalize should do so in order to be able to bring family
members here while they still can. Don’t delay - consult with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney as soon as possible to discuss family-based immigration options which may no longer be available in the near future.
The allocation of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually was also addressed in the recent immigration bill. If the RAISE Act passes, the current employment-based immigration categories will be replaced with a skills/merit-based system whereby applications will be evaluated and ranked pursuant to a number of factors including English language proficiency, age, educational level, investment in a commercial U.S. enterprise, and achievements such as an Olympic medal or Nobel Prize. If you believe you may be qualified for an employment-based petition such as a petition for an individual of extraordinary ability, multinational manager/executive, or an outstanding professor/researcher, you or your employer should consult with competent immigration counsel to discuss your options before a highly competitive merit-based system is implemented.
Some additional changes outlined in the RAISE Act include the total elimination of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, or the “green card lottery” which currently awards 50,000 green cards to noncitizens from countries with low rates of immigration, as well as the reduction of the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 50,000 per year.
If the RAISE Act is passed by Congress, the President has indicated he will sign it. It will become law. If it does not, the bill gives a clear indication of what Congress intends for the future of immigration in the United States. In the past, when immigration laws changed, the old law was “grandfathered” to allow those who had filed before the change to still take advantage of the old law. There is no reason to believe that will not still be the case. But to be grandfathered, you have to have an existing petition. Anyone who has any interest in reuniting their family in the U.S. or who is thinking of immigrating through employment should contact a knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer now. The clock is ticking.

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