Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Who's the best puncher? Mayweather says it could surprise

Floyd Mayweather Jr. speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Las Vegas. Mayweather is scheduled to fight Conor McGregor in a boxing match Saturday in Las Vegas. | AP Photo/John Locher
LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. says it was the first punch of the fight. His promoter thinks it came during the second round.

One shot to the head, and suddenly Manny Pacquiao decided his night might better be spent fighting on the outside.

"I let him know it's not what you think it is," Mayweather said. "You're not just going to run in there. He felt a strength he didn't expect."

The knock on Mayweather — and the reason some people give Conor McGregor a chance Saturday night (Sunday morning Manila time) — is that he doesn't knock out people. Pacquiao never went down either, but Mayweather showed there are other ways to change a fight than putting a fighter on the canvas.

McGregor may find that out early if he goes after Mayweather at the opening bell as expected. The prevailing theory is that McGregor wins the power battle, but there's more than one fighter with power in this, the most unusual of fights.

"When he gets hit he's going to find out it's totally different," Mayweather said. "The brittle hands, they keep saying that, but when I come across his head he'll find out that it's totally different."

McGregor doesn't believe that, of course and predicted again Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) that the fight would end early with Mayweather on his back.

"I believe one or two rounds, with 8-ounce gloves I don't see him surviving," McGregor said. "I'm starting to think I'll toy with him once he goes down."

The two fighters got together for the final pre-fight press conference to further hype a fight built on hype. In contrast to the bombastic tone of earlier appearances it was a relatively subdued affair at the MGM Grand.

They posed together and didn't come close to exchanging blows. They did both manage to get in a few final words, though.

"It's not going to be easy Conor," Mayweather told his opponent. "I've got a great chin but remember this: The same way you give it you gotta be able to take it."

Though ticket sales have been tepid — largely because of astronomical prices — the pay-per-view is expected to be watched by some 50 million people in the United States alone and millions more worldwide.

It's half-fight, half-spectacle, a bout that matches a UFC star who has never boxed against a masterful ring technician with a record of 49-0. Born of internet hype, it has captured the curiosity of even those outside both sports and could end up being the richest fight ever.

And it's a bout Mayweather says he is taking very seriously, despite training at odd hours and holding meet-and-greets every night before the fight with fans who come to his strip club.

"I'm taking a gamble," said Mayweather, who is coming off a two-year layoff. "But it's worth it."

Mayweather's fight with Pacquiao ended up going 12 long rounds, and turning a lot of people off from boxing. But while Mayweather hasn't really knocked out anyone in a decade, he says the streak will come to an end in what he insists is his final fight.

Oddsmakers in this gambling town hope it's not McGregor stopping Mayweather early as he claims. McGregor fans have placed thousands of small bets at long-shot odds of their man knocking Mayweather out in the early rounds, and sports books could suffer their worst loss ever in what is expected to be the most heavily fight ever.

McGregor also believes that's exactly what is going to happen.. He said his years in the octagon and his varied skillset will translate well into the boxing ring, especially after a three-month camp where he used a former referee to help him adjust to boxing rules.

What he didn't bring in was any boxing trainer to teach him more about the sport, insisting that the team he has always been with knows him so well that it wouldn't have made a difference.

"We added what is useful and discarded what is not," he said. "As the final sparring session approached all the unnecessary was gone. It was a cleaner product, just the perfect product."

He was dismissive of Mayweather to the end, telling those attending the final press conference that Mayweather is not only a one dimensional fighter but more than likely not the sports bettor he claims to be when posting his winning tickets online.

Perhaps, he said, that's the reason Mayweather still owes the IRS $22.2 million in back taxes.

"I think he has a big-time gambling problem," McGregor said. "He always shows his winning bets but never his losers. Maybe that's why he's in the position he is and had to take this fight."

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Motorcycle-riding men gun down female driver in Las Piñas

A 32-year-old female driver of an SUV caught in a traffic jam in Las Piñas was shot dead by unidentified men on Wednesday afternoon.


Rachel Fajardo slumped on the driver’s seat of her grey Toyota Vios (ABR 6683) after she was killed by two assailants on motorcycle around 12:30 p.m.

In a report by Supt. Jenny Tecson, spokesperson of the Southern Police District, Fajardo was driving along Naga Road and stopped near a glass and aluminum shop in Barangay Pulang Uno due to heavy traffic in the area.
As caught in the closed-circuit television camera in the area, the perpetrators then stopped at her side and started shooting her. Fajardo died on the spot due to a gunshot to the head.
The suspects were seen escaping toward the Tramo Street.

Scene of the crime operatives recovered two fired cartridges of unknown firearm. The shoulder bag and personal belongings of the victim were intact, police said.
The body of Fajardo was brought to People’s Funeral Services.
Investigation is still ongoing.

 

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Before Kian, there were Danica Mae, Oman, Rowena, etc.

Protesters display a banner as they march to join the wake for slain Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student, who was killed in a shootout with police five days ago Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in suburban Caloocan city north of Manila, Philippines. The killing of Kian has sparked protests and condemnation from the public. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


Before the killing of Kian delos Santos, 17, during a police operation in Caloocan City last week, youngsters in Pangasinan province had met violent deaths in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war that’s supposed to rescue them from the drug menace.
Those incidents that left victims as young as Danica Mae Garcia, 5, remain unsolved. She was felled by bullets meant for her grandfather, Maximo, at Barangay Mayombo in Dagupan City, exactly a year ago today. Along with her cousins, she was then preparing to attend her afternoon classes in a nearby public school.
The children were behind the curtain that separated the dining room that also served as a living room from their bathroom, where they were either brushing their teeth or taking a bath.

No CHR assistance
Maximo, seated on a wooden bed, managed to escape. He was on the police list of suspected drug pushers and was supposedly the target of the gunman.
Danica Mae was hit in the head and died in her grandmother’s arms, one of the youngest victims in the drug war.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) offered financial aid, but nothing has come of it, according to Danica Mae’s grandmother, Gemma.
Based on police records, 1,269 of 1,364 villages in 43 towns and four cities in the province were drug-affected at the start of Mr. Duterte’s campaign last year.
As of June 15, 1,088 villages, five towns and a city had been declared drug-cleared soon.
The government’s antidrug campaign also resulted in the arrest of 1,577 drug users and pushers.
Thirty-three people were killed when they shot it out with the police. The deaths of 66 others were under investigation, including that of Danica Mae.
Classmates
The unsolved cases include that of Roman Clifford Manaois, 20, and Rowena Tiamson, 22, who were classmates in a university until he transferred to another school. They both dreamed of building a house for their parents.

The two were killed on the night of July 19, 2016, when gunmen went on a rampage, attacking suspected drug users and pushers.
But Manaois and Tiamson were neither addicts nor drug traffickers, their parents, relatives and friends insist. They were at the wrong place at the wrong time, and perhaps, with the wrong company, when hit men killed them.
Oman
Manaois, nicknamed “Oman,” was fetching water when he was asked by John Mark Serrano de Vera, a neighbor, to accompany him to an eatery in Dagupan City to buy “kaleskes,” a kind of soup.
Manaois hopped on the back of the tricycle which De Vera owned. On their way to the eatery, they picked up one Zaldy Abalos.
At 2 a.m. the next day, De Vera’s father rushed to the Manaois’ house in Barangay Carael, crying out, “Go to barangay [Lucao] hall. Oman was shot,” said Dennis, father of Manaois.
“We thought Oman was only hit in the leg,” Dennis recalled, his eyes getting red. But when Dennis and his wife arrived at the barangay hall, they were told to proceed to a morgue where they found their son.
Abalos, the hit men’s apparent target, was also killed, but De Vera was able to run.
The parents of Manaois were at first angry with De Vera whom they blamed for his death until they learned that he, too, was hit, although not fatally.
After the hooded gunmen shot Abalos, they trained their guns on Manaois and De Vera. They started to run when a bullet struck the back of Manaois, piercing his heart. De Vera tried to help Manaois get up but the young man told him to run for his life.
“[Manaois] was a good son,” Dennis said. “He was a big help in the house. He cleaned the house, cooked food. He had no vices at all, let alone drugs.”
Rowena
Graduation did not come for Rowena Tiamson, who was killed also on July 19, 2016. She would have finished her mass communication course at Colegio de Dagupan in October last year. A school choir member, she also sang at two restaurants in the city to earn money.
At 10 a.m., Tiamson headed for school, which was just a walking distance from her house on Arellano Street, according to her mother, Teresita, 57.
“But at 5 p.m., she was not back home yet so I texted her to ask where she was. She said she went with her friends, a girl from Barangay Mayombo and a boy from Manaoag. At 9:40 p.m., I was already worried and called her up. Her telephone rang three times, then there was silence. I could not contact her anymore,” Teresita said.
The next day, the Tiamson family learned of Rowena’s death from a TV newscast.
Teresita said, “The newscaster asked if anybody has a missing daughter who has a tattoo of a musical note on her wrist, as a body of a girl was found in Manaoag.”
The family went there and found Tiamson. Her head was wrapped with packaging tape. Her body bore bullet wounds. A cardboard was strung around her neck with the words: “Don’t emulate, she is a pusher.”
The families of Manaois and Tiamson have realized they would not be able to find justice for the murder of their children, at least, not under the present administration.
“We cannot fight them. Duterte backs the police and the killers, to whom would we turn to?” Teresita asked.

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BOC ‘tara’ trail leads to Davao City

Senator Richard Gordon questions Mark Ruben Taguba II and points to the list of the alleged bribes paid by Taguba to BOC officials during the resumption of hearing of the 6.4 Billion pesos shabu shipment from China in the Senate on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.
INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

A “fixer,” who helped smuggle into the country P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) from China, testified on Tuesday that he gave P5 million in “enrollment fee” to a Davao City councilor with alleged close links to Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, a son of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Mark Ruben Taguba II told the Senate blue ribbon committee that he gave payoffs to members of the “Davao Group” in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) so that shipments he would bring in would not be inspected.
Taguba said he went to Davao City to meet Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. and handed him P5 million in cash.

Both Vice Mayor Duterte and Abellera declined to comment.
Earlier, Vice Mayor Duterte also refused to comment on Taguba’s claims saying, “One does not dignify lies with a response.”
Abellera was invited by the blue ribbon committee, but he did not show up at the fourth hearing on the shabu smuggling, pleading hypertension.

Small, a certain Tita Nani and a certain Jack were earlier identified by Taguba as members of the Davao Group in the BOC.
He gave the blue ribbon committee at a previous hearing a list of people he was bribing as part of the “tara” (grease money) system in the BOC.
The trucker-turned-fixer helped bring in 604 kilos of shabu that got past the BOC on May 17 and ended up in a warehouse in Valenzuela City.
The shipment was recovered by BOC agents following a tip from China and Richard Chen, whose company had shipped what turned out to be illegal drugs.
At the hearing, Taguba confirmed that the man in a picture shown by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was Abellera, who, he said, he had met in a restaurant in Davao City.

“I am trying to establish here that Mr. Small Abellera is known in Davao as close to Mr. Paolo Duterte and you could see several pictures here to show their closeness,” Trillanes said.
Taguba read to the committee his Jan. 11 communication with Tita Nani in which he asked that he be “enrolled” so that he could be in the “market.”
In her text message response, Tita Nani said she would make the “final arrangement” with Jack, whom she described as the “handler of Paolo.”
“Now we have to advance d lmln so he can fly dwn to davao to arrange ur mtng with Pulong asap. During the mtng u personally turn over d 5mln. Same manner u likewise turn over d lmln to jack wn we meet,” according to the text message.
Asked by Trillanes if he was sure that Abellera was representing Vice Mayor Duterte before he handed the P5 million, Taguba said he was told that this was the case.
He said he had no choice at that time but to meet with Abellera because his shipment had been placed on alert by Mike Sabban, a technical assistant at the BOC who had a fight with his father.
Taguba said he would pay P10,000 per container to the Davao Group afterward or P1 million weekly depending on the number of containers that arrived.
He earlier said that customs brokers paid as much as P34,500 in grease money per container to BOC employees to speed up the processing of their shipments and avoid being flagged for issues that would have led to stricter inspections.
The amount was on top of the P40,000 value-added tax, he said.
10,000 containers daily
Some 10,000 containers go through the BOC daily.
Taguba said he dealt with the Davao Group because Sabban, who he said was a brother of retired Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, had placed his shipment on alert as a result of Sabban’s falling out with his father.
Trillanes later told reporters that the connection between Abellera and Vice Mayor Duterte was very clear.
“We will solidify these links when Abellera attends the next hearing,” the senator said.
President Duterte has vowed to resign if critics can prove that members of his family are involved in corruption.

“If my son [Paolo Duterte] was really into it or is in there, all you have to do is to produce the paper,” Mr. Duterte said on Aug. 11. “Just give me an affidavit and I will step down as President of this republic.”
The blue ribbon committee chair, Sen. Richard Gordon, said he would invite Abellera to the next hearing scheduled for Aug. 30.
Taguba said at the hearing that his meeting with Abellera became possible after he was introduced to him by the group of Tita Nani, whose last name he did not know but who was known to be “influential” in the BOC.
He said he met with Tita Nani in Eastwood in Pasig City. A certain Jojo Bacud introduced Tita Nani to him, he said.
Bacud in turn was introduced to him by his father, Michael Ruben Taguba Jr., when Nicanor Faeldon became customs commissioner.
Taguba said that Bacud was also from Cagayan like his father and that all he knew was that he was connected with the BOC’s Special Studies and Project Development Office.
But BOC officials told the committee that there was no Jojo Bacud working in the bureau.
Taguba said he gave Bacud P5,000 per container so that his shipments would not be put on alert in the bureau.
But when his shipment was placed on alert by Sabban, Taguba said he asked Bacud for help but was told that Sabban was indeed influential in the BOC. It was then that Bacud introduced her to Tita Nani.
Airport exec on leave
An official at Ninoy Aquino International Airport has gone on leave after a witness in the Senate probe tagged him as part of the Davao Group.
Retired Col. Allen Capuyan, assistant general manager of security and emergency services, filed a leave of absence, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal said in a statement.
Taguba named Capuyan, alias “Big Brother” and “Noel,” as a member of the Davao Group.
He said he did not know Capuyan’s full name but it was provided by Trillanes, who said Capuyan was a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983. —With a report from Jerome Aning

 

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‘Top-to-bottom corruption at BOC’

Biggest payola recipients at Customs areNicanor Faeldon and his five deputy commissioners,
according to Sen. Panfilo Lacson. —PHOTOS BY RPSANTOS/PRIB

Five big playerswho enjoy speedy release of their shipments are unmasked.
A “welcome gift” of P100 million awaited Nicanor Faeldon when he took over the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the start of the Duterte administration in July last year, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Wednesday.
“Loud whispers in the four corners of the BOC compound tell of a P100-million ‘pasalubong’ to the newly installed commissioner, a quarter of which, or P25 million was retained as a finder’s fee by his middleman named Joel Teves,” Lacson said in a privilege speech titled “Kita kita (sa Customs) [I see you at Customs].”
Teves was among the 44 alleged bribe givers, or “players,” that Lacson identified at the BOC.

“Hell is empty and all the devils are at the BOC,” Lacson said, paraphrasing Shakespeare’s “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

“And for the devils, the BOC is heaven — a heaven that is a haven for crooks, criminals, malefactors and faeldons … sorry, I meant felons,” the senator said.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday that he had accepted the resignation of Faeldon and that he had appointed Isidro Lapeña, head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, as his replacement.
Faeldon called for a third-party investigation into the issues hounding the BOC as he denied Lacson’s allegations that he was among those who received bribe money at the agency.
“I have not asked anybody to collect tara for me nor have I accepted any tara from anybody,” Faeldon said in a text message.
“The country will appreciate if a third-party investigation by a competent body will be conducted so that justice will be served,” he said.

 

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Duterte says son engaged in ‘ukay-ukay’ not smuggling in ports

President Rodrigo Duterte said his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who is being linked to a group of smuggling protectors at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), had a history of working in the ports.

Paolo eloped at 18 with a daughter of a Tausug and a Maranao, and had to work for his in-laws whose business was importing jars and “ukay-ukay” (used clothes), the President said.
“He worked in the ports, hauling used clothes… as well as jars,” Mr. Duterte said, speaking to members of the Philippine Air Force’s dragon boat team on Tuesday evening.
The video of the speech was uploaded online by Malacañang.
The President doubled down on his defense of his son on Wednesday when he spoke at the inauguration of a solar panel plant.

Senate testimony
Customs “fixer” Mark Taguba testified in the Senate on Tuesday that he paid P5 million to Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. to facilitate the release of his shipments.
Taguba also read his text message to a certain Tita Nani about his “enrollment” in the system, and the latter said she would make the arrangement with a certain Jack, the “handler of Paolo.”
The same text message also mentioned the arrangement of a meeting with “Pulong,” the nickname of the Davao City vice mayor.
Taguba said he was told that Abellera was representing Vice Mayor Duterte.
After paying the enrollment fee, Taguba said he paid P10,000 per container to the Davao Group.

Taguba helped smuggle into the country P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) from China in May.
The shabu shipment of 604 kilos got past the Bureau of Customs on May 17 and ended up in a warehouse in Valenzuela City. It was recovered by BOC agents following a tip from China.
New BOC chief
Malacañang said it would leave it up to new BOC chief Isidro Lapeña to handle the controversy about bribes being given to the Davao Group to facilitate the release of shipments.
“The President trusts that the newly appointed customs commissioner will ably manage the issues at hand,” said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Wednesday.
Asked about the attempt to link Vice Mayor Duterte to the Davao Group, Abella said any evidence or witness had to be checked thoroughly.
“First of all, evidence would be vetted … Is this a credible witness, stuff like that. There has to be verifiable evidence, not just hearsay,” he told reporters.
He also said Abellera should cooperate with the Senate probe and accept the lawmakers’ invitation to their inquiry into the issue.

 

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Calls for justice for youngsters killed in drug war mount

Kristine Joy, 12, died after she was hit by a bullet meant for a suspected drug dealer in Biñan City, Laguna province.—NIKON CELIS


Public outrage over the murder of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos has prompted calls for justice for other youngsters killed in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Investigations of these cases, perpetrated either by lawmen or vigilantes and hidden from media spotlight, have grounded to a halt for a host of reasons, like fear of reprisals, lack of witnesses and plain lack of interest by local authorities, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
In Biñan City, Laguna province, Rodelito Sailog recalled the death of his daughter Kristine Joy, 12, when gunmen attacked a drug suspect eight months ago.

Dawn Mass
Kristine’s pictures share a small table with a broken stove, empty tin cans, uneaten crackers and wilted flowers. Like an altar with a crucifix and rosaries hanging on the picture frames, the table occupies a corner in the family’s 12-square-meter home occupied by the girl’s coffin during her wake six months ago.

A stray bullet hit Kristine in an attack that killed Allan Fernandez, a suspected drug dealer in their community. It happened in a church compound where the girl was attending a dawn Mass with her family, four days before Christmas.
“I still remember her watching TV from morning till noon. She would sit around with her cousins, teasing her older brother. She was a cheerful girl,” said Sailog, 40, a seasonal construction worker.
Sailog said he had yet to hear from the police about their inquiry into his child’s death.
The war on drugs has claimed the lives of several thousands in police operations or vigilante violence.
Calabarzon deaths
In the Calabarzon region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), police records as of June showed 373 drug suspects were killed allegedly while resisting arrest and engaging policemen in a shootout.

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa has commended the Calabarzon police for carrying out the most number of antidrug operations in the country that had resulted in the arrest of 15,580 suspects and the surrender of 144,726 others.
“We too were surprised by what was happening. We were not ready for that,” Dr. Rio Magpantay of the Department of Health said of the number who had surrendered in an area with little facility for drug treatment.
There was another youngster killed in Cebu province.
Stray bullet
Wilson Batucan recalled that his 7-year-old son Niño was watching television in their house in Barangay Cansaga, Consolacion town, last Dec. 3 when he was killed by a stray bullet fired by a group of bonnet-wearing men who were chasing a teenage boy accused of selling drugs.
The father cried for justice, claiming that his son’s killers were policemen.
Batucan himself was killed on March 8 in an attack by still unidentified gunmen while he was about to park his motorcycle outside his house.
He had confided to his wife before the incident that he had turned down an offer to settle his son’s case in exchange for money.
His wife, Marilou, 45, said she wanted justice for her husband and son but had decided to remain silent to protect her other children and relatives.
No complaints
Many families of those killed by unknown assailants and police officers in the war on drugs have chosen not to file any complaints for similar reasons, according to CHR’s Edgar Luis.
“All the investigations we are doing are motu proprio (by the agency’s own initiative) because no one is interested or willing to file a complaint or seek an investigation,” Luis said.
The CHR is investigating 21 cases of suspected extrajudicial killings in Western Visayas and 59 cases in Central Visayas involving either policemen or operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. These cases have been elevated to the Office of the Ombudsman.
One of the cases involved the killing of Jerald Inesola, 22, who was picked up from his house in Cebu City and was later killed in what the police claimed was a shootout on July 23, 2016.
The CHR has filed a complaint in connection with the case against SPO2 Renante Nioda and PO2 Arnold Cabildo at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Snail-paced probe
Nicolasa Inesola, 72, a rice cake vendor, said the family was dismayed by the snail-paced investigation. She and her daughter had traveled to Manila to pursue the case.
“We spent for it, but we just could not travel to Manila regularly because the fare was expensive,” Inesola said.
“I want those two policemen to rot in jail. How could they kill my grandson? They don’t have any right to do so even granting that he committed a mistake,” she said as tears welled up in his eyes. —With reports from Nestor P. Burgos and Leo Udtohan

 

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Duterte inaugurates solar panel factory

CUSTOMIZED PANEL President Duterte receives a token of a customized solar panel with his
image during the inauguration of Solar Philippines’ factory in Batangas province. With him are
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Solar Philippines president Leandro Leviste and Charito Plaza. JOANBONDOC


SANTO TOMAS, Batangas — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday inaugurated the first Filipino-owned solar panel factory that would enable Filipino homes to cut their electricity bills by 30 percent.
Solar Philippines president Leandro Leviste said the solar factory in Santo Tomas, Batangas province, would produce 2.5 million panels a year, establishing the Philippines as a player in the global renewable energy revolution.
The solar panels will also be exported to the United States and the European Union, he said.

“We have an agreement with Chinese manufacturers that, instead of making the panels in China, they will be made here in the Philippines for export to the US and Europe,” Leviste told reporters.
‘Made in the Philippines’

“The Americans and Europeans prefer those ‘Made in the Philippines’ because the quality is better,” he added.
Leviste said Solar Philippines had submitted to the country’s electric utilities an offer to replace many planned fossil fuel plants with solar farms that could produce 5,000 megawatts of electricity at lower costs.
Solar panel prices have fallen 90 percent over the last 10 years—50 percent in the last three years alone—prompting countries like China and India to source the majority of their future power from renewables.
“Electricity from coal plants costs around P5 to P6 per kilowatt but solar farms would cut that down to P2.99 per kilowatt. So, the charge for solar energy from solar farms is almost one-half,” Leviste said.
“Filipinos can save 30 percent on electricity, and the average family paying P3,000 will see their bill [drop] to P2,000 a month. And now with the latest batteries, entire towns can use solar energy for 24 hours a day,” he added.
For individual homes
Leviste said the Santo Tomas factory would also produce panels so that individual homes could have their own solar panels on their roofs.
“Before, these were only for SM or Robinsons malls but, because of this factory, all Filipinos who have an electricity bill of P1,000 to P3,000 a month can get a solar panel and pay it on installment,” he said.
Leviste said Solar Philippines had received 10,000 inquiries from people who were interested to buy solar panels.
“We started production in March for our projects with SM and solar farms in Tarlac and Mindoro. But with this grand launch, we will now offer these to the retail market,” he said.
“So, we can get rid of those fossil fuel plants and replace them with solar farms. The Philippines can save P200 billion every year or P1,000 per month per family,” he added.
Solar Philippines also announced during Wednesday’s plant inauguration a new initiative that would help communities with poor electricity service to form their own “solar power associations” and benefit from low-cost 24/7 power.
“We don’t measure our success in terms of profits or revenues, but our contribution toward the development of the Philippines. This factory will create 50,000 jobs for the solar industry, from manufacturing to installation, and show the world that Filipino ingenuity is second to none,” Leviste said.
Global leader
A statement from Solar Philippines said that by 2018, the Santo Tomas factory would manufacture panels that could produce 800 MW, “greater than the solar production capacity in the entire United States, making the Philippines a global leader in solar panel manufacturing.”
“Around the world, consumers are going solar because they see the renewable energy revolution has already arrived. We are optimistic that not only will Filipinos think the same, but also soon see that the Philippines can become the leader in this global energy transition,” Leviste said.

 

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2 cops into ‘shabu’ or peanuts?

Wow, mani!
The Sandiganbayan is looking into claims of witnesses that two Quezon City police officers were caught on security camera repacking “shabu” (crystal meth) in their patrol car inside the court’s compound on Tuesday night.
Without confirming the incident, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang said in a text message on Wednesday that she was “still awaiting full and complete report from our security on duty last night.”

Tang said she had directed the sheriff and security services division to turn over the footage, which had not been shown to reporters yet, making it impossible to verify the incident independently as of press time.
At least two Sandiganbayan sources claimed that closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera caught two policemen repacking what looked like shabu in their patrol car, which was parked on the court’s premises.
The sources, who asked not to be identified for their protection, also claimed that the two policemen were puffing something using what looked like tooters.

A third source, however, said the two informants could just be speculating.
The patrol car was marked “Patrol #57.” It is detailed to Police Station 6, located across from the House of Representatives, just minutes down Batasan Road.
The patrol car was parked in the Sandiganbayan compound for six and a half hours—from 8:48 p.m. to 3:20 a.m.
It returned to the scene on Wednesday afternoon, and reporters saw two police officers on the court premises.
The footage was sent to the Philippine National Police for evaluation on Wednesday.

Eating peanuts
Sought for comment, Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), said the two officers who used patrol car No. 57 had been identified, although he refused to name them.
Eleazar said the two officers had claimed they were just “eating peanuts” inside the patrol car, not sniffing or repacking shabu.
“They already underwent four drug tests, which all came out negative,” Eleazar said.
Another test conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory on the two officers also returned negative results.
A police inspector who had reviewed the footage from the Sandiganbayan CCTV said the two officers appeared to be snacking on what looked like peanuts inside their patrol car while waiting for dispatch orders.
Another QCPD official said one of the officers rolled up one of the packets and put it between his teeth, which on the footage looked like the officer was using a tooter.
The official, however, noted that a tooter would not bend like a peanut packet would, as shown on the footage.
Eleazar said the QCPD was waiting for the footage to be released before confirming the explanation of the two policemen.

 

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Priests can only listen to horrors of ‘nanlaban’

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and Senator Risa Hontiveros on protection of the witnesses to the killing of Kian Delos Santos during press conference in Manila.INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES
If the confessional in Catholic churches could speak, they would reveal the horrors of the word “nanlaban (fought back).”


Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan City said people afraid to go public had turned to the confessional to disclose how some suspects had been killed in cold blood during police operations.
“We have been hearing the reaction of people on those who fought back in police operations. There are witnesses in many instances in which the suspects did not fight back but were nevertheless killed,” David said.

“Unfortunately, they are afraid to testify. They could only say it in confession,” he said. “When we advise them to come out and testify, the most common response is ‘What about my family? We might be harmed.’”
Confidentiality

The confidentiality guaranteed by the seal of confession prohibits David from further discussing what the witnesses had told the priests.
This was why, David said, he was glad that witnesses had come to testify against the Caloocan policemen who killed 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in Barangay 160 last week.
According to David, the cities in his archdiocese—Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas — have been “turned into killing fields” in the war on drugs.
“For the first time, because of the outpouring of support, families have summoned the courage to file a case and for witnesses to testify. I am happy that government agencies are now helping to resolve the case,” he said.

 

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