Updated: No Classes for Elementary, High School & College

Due to the unpredictable movement of typhoon “Frank”, the Department of Education (DepEd) has called off toady’s classes in Metro Manila. All Grade School (elementary) and High School classes in Metro Manila will be suspended.

In regard to classes in the College level, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) also declared the suspension of classes in the same areas covered by the DedEd declaration.

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Philippine News Roundup −15 May 2008

This is today's news roundup. Updates will continuously be posted during the day.

A few days after publicly declaring that the government can have Meralco if it wants to, the head of the Lopez group admits to soliciting proxies in a bid to stop GSIS from taking control of the power company. Within the last few days, the government side has been dominating the media scene with accusations of cheating and other unethical management practices to include the Meralco's sweetheart deals with companies owned by the Lopez family (this is the latest accusation). Starting today, the public can expect to start hearing from the other side. With the Lopez family admitting that it will fight the government's takeover attempt during the company's annual general meeting (May 27), it is but logical for the group to go all out in a public relations campaign.

Back to the rice issue, the government has already imported 1.7 million metric tons (MT) out of the 2.1 million MT that it plans to buy for 2008. With the international rice prices rising at a rate higher than petroleum, it should be better off making a serious attempt to increase the rice harvest during the 3rd and 4th quarter of this year. On top of the sensible suggestions posted here and here, it will probably be good to look at the Chinese plan to offshore rice production.

More on the government, the finance department declares that the Philippine government is on track to meet its revenue goals for 2008. Of course, with all its unexpected expenses for this year like the huge subsidies in rice, the new oil hikes and the current direction of the Philippine peso in the foreign exchange market, it will probably have to let go of its dream of a balance budget only for this year. All is still well, though. A balanced budget wouldn't mean anything if the country is in turmoil.

In the advice section, here's a good section for people wanting to finance and build a dream home.

For the weather, PagAsa reports that the Luzon and Visayas regions will experience cloudy skies and scattered rain showers as an active low pressure area was detected near Casiguran, Aurora. On top of that, Tropical Depression COSME was detected As of 2AM today, at 11.8N (latitude) and 116.8E (Longitude), with a maximum sustained wind of 55 kph, heading NNE at the speed of 02 kph and headed towards the direction of South China Sea.

By the way, Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby dropped their libel case against Lolit Solis after the later retracted her statements in a contested article. In a signed statement which she submitted to the court, Solis wrote, “There is no factual basis for my article, which came out on Oct. 15, 2007. I am extremely sorry for dragging the names of Sam and Piolo. Sam, Piolo, I am sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I caused.”

With that, today’s lessons are

“Beware of the tyranny of the pen.It hurts much worse than the sword”

and

“If you want to people to have fun, make fun of yourself”.

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Philippine News Roundup −13 May 2008


As the military underwent a turnover of command, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved the pardon for 9 military officers convicted of leading a 2003 coup attempt known as the Oakwood Mutiny. On top of that, she also ordered a 10% pay hike for the pardoned renegades. A few weeks ago, newspapers reported widespread speculations that the soldiers pleaded guilty in return for a promised pardon. All of these are happening as the government spars at the negotiating table with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who is into saber rattling mode. It currently accuses the government of stalling the peace talks. There were earlier pronouncements from various MILF sources that while they are pursuing peace talks with the government, they are ready for war. Hopefully, things will improve as new peace monitors from Libya are expected to come to replace the Malaysian contingent which pulled out.

In Metro Manila, the transport strike was hardly felt as reports say that less than 10% of the drivers participated. The story is different in other parts of the country, where a bigger percentage of drivers is said to have joined. Contrary to the pre strike declaration of the lead organizer, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON), that the event will be peaceful and done in accordance with the law, incidents of metal spikes scattered to paralyze vehicles and harassment of non participating drivers were reported in many parts of the country. The objective of yesterday's strike is to paralyze road transport all over the country in order to put pressure on the government to scrap the expanded value-added tax (E-VAT) on oil products and of the oil deregulation law.

In related news, the MERALCO issue heats up as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) prepares to submit its buyout proposal to the controlling Lopez group. One of the hot issues at during the past few days involve alleged Meralco sweetheart deals with businesses owned by the Lopez family as well as supposed unethical passing of its losses to the consumers. In separate statements, Meralco denies all charges.

Overseas, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake left approximately 5~10,000 people dead and 10,000 injured in Sichuan province in China.

For the weather, rain showers are said to have caused a creek to overflow. The MMDA reported that a creek in Quezon City overflowed and flood waters rose to approximately 4.5 feet. This made some residents along Sta. Clara St. in Bagong Silangan to climb to the roof of their houses. Rescue teams were deployed.

From PagAsa, rains are expected today until tomorrow and things are expected to worsen a bit on Wednesday and Thursday as gusty winds are also being forecasted. Friday is still expected to be rainy. All of these are because of a Low Pressure Area (LPA) which is estimated at 390 kms west southwest of Iba, Zambales (14.5ºN 116.3ºE).

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