NAIA staff help recover P700K in cash misplaced by OFW

About P920,000 worth of cash was returned to its rightful owners in two separate incidents at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, ABS-CBN News reported.

“The honesty of the taxi driver and wheelchair attendant plus the immediate assistance provided by our airport police proves that coordination is essential in the recovery and I praised them all,” airport General manager Ed Monreal said the incidents were reported last January 19 and 21 at NAIA Terminal 3.

The first incident was reported by airport police Jamie Estrella, who said a departing passenger identified as Benjamin Cantanero of Las Piñas accidentally left behind his bag inside a taxi.

Cantanero sought the help of Estrella, who used his cellphone to contact Cantanero’s phone that was inside his bag.

Antonio Infanta, 71, of Bram Taxi, answered the call and returned the bag containing P220,000 in cash and travel documents.
Estrella said Cantanero rewarded Infanta for his honesty before proceeding to his flight.

The second incident involved an overseas Filipino worker identified as Mary Jane Gane, who misplaced her bag with more than P700,000 in cash and valuables.

Airport police Colonel William Dolot said Gane came from a currency exchange booth. She intends to use the money to purchase a house for her family.

Wheelchair attendant Rizaldy Ocde found Gane’s bag and notified Dolot. The bag was returned to Gane after authorities verified with the currency exchange booth and the airport CCTV.

More int’l cruise lines eye Philippines

Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo announced that many other international cruises are expressing interest in setting dock in the country.

“I’ve been meeting with the executives of Carnival Corp. and Genting. Both agreed that the Philippines has great potential to become one of Asia’s cruise hubs,” Teo told Philippine Star.

Star Cruises, a subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong, earlier announced its fleet flagship, Superstar Virgo, was set to establish Manila as its new home port this summer. This is the first time a company has chosen the city as its vessel’s base.

Michael Goh, SVP of Genting’s Dream Cruise Line, said the ships would start docking in Manila waters in March until May.

He said Superstar Virgo would then offer a five-day cruise itinerary starting from Manila as its home port, going to Laoag, then Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and finally to Hong Kong, before going back to Manila.

“It’s the first time we’ll do it and we want to test out the market. And we have confidence about it,” Goh said in an interview.
From January to October 2016, a total of 19 cruise ships carrying 24,712 passengers made calls to the Philippines. This was still short of the 72,350 passenger target set by the DOT under its National Cruise Tourism Strategy.

This year’s target, meanwhile, is to attract 85 port calls, bringing in 75,000 travelers into the country.
Superstar Virgo has a passenger capacity of 1,870.

Viral: Boy takes care of brother in classroom

An inspiring post from a Facebook user showing a little boy who brought his baby brother to school so he can take care of him while he is studying has broken the hearts of many netizens.

The heartwarming photo was taken by Shyla Blasico, a teacher from J. Blanco Elementary School in South Cotabato.

In the caption, Blasico said that the boy is one of their pupils. His mother died due to ectopic pregnancy last year.

“Dahil walang mag-aalaga sa kapatid niya dinadala niya na lang ito sa klase para di maka absent,” Blasico said.
The boy in the photo is nine-year old Mateo Baño, a grade 3 pupil.

The teacher said that since posting the photos online, she has been receiving words of encouragement from netizens as well as help from good-hearted people.

“Mayroong tumawag, magpapadala ng pera. Mga 8.30 a.m., may nagpunta dito nagbigay ng pera, P500. Yung iba nagtetext,” she said.

But more than the money, the teacher is appealing for food for the family.

“Wala daw silang bigas. Gusto namin food, damit at basic school needs,” she said.

She appealed to those who are still willing to help to give her a call first. She added that she and the principal are still discussing the best possible way to help out the children.

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‘Bato’ rejects call for resignation

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa has rejected House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ call for his resignation saying that he will only resign when the Philippines is drug-free.

“Ano ba akala nila, nag-e-enjoy ako sa trabaho ko? Gusto nila ako na mag-resign? Sabihin ‘nyo kay Presidente Rodrigo Duterte na paalisin ako. But mayroon pa kaming misyon na ginagawa, may misyon pa kaming gagawin. Tapusin muna namin ang war on drugs. Kapag drug-free na ang Pilipinas, puwede na akong mag-resign,” dela Rosa said.

Alvarez called for dela Rosa’s resignation yesterday after the justice department probe showed that Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was killed by cops within Camp Crame, the PNP headquarters.

“Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa should immediately resign as chief of the Philippine National Police to save President Rodrigo Duterte from further embarrassment and restore respect to the Office of the PNP Chief,” the Davao del Norte representative said.

Meanwhile, dela Rosa did not see the need for his resignation amid the controversy.

“When one little finger is sore and wounded, do we cut the head to cure it?” he said.

Senators said the incident was a wake-up call that the PNP chief should not ignore.

Banks implement stricter lending requirements

It will now be more difficult for companies and individuals to secure a loan from commercial banks, as they tightened their lending standards for companies and households.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) cited less favorable economic outlook and reduced risk tolerance as the main reasons for the banks’ move.

Based on the central bank’s Fourth Quarter 2016 Senior Bank Loan Officers Survey (SLOS), credit standards—measured by the diffusion index (DI)—pointed to a net tightening on loans sought by enterprises and households.

For lending to companies, the diffusion index in the fourth quarter stood at 3.4 percent, up from a negative 3.2 a year earlier.

For households, the DI rose to 5 percent in the quarter from negative 9.1 percent a year ago.

A positive DI indicates the proportion of banks that tightened credit standards is greater than those that did otherwise, while a negative count indicates more banks relaxed their rules.

The net tightening of credit standards for firms reflected the banks’ less favorable economic outlook, deterioration in the profitability of banks’ portfolio and perceived stricter financial system regulations.

“In terms of specific credit standards, the DI-based results indicated stricter collateral requirements and loan covenants, as well as increased use of interest rate floors amid narrower loan margins, increased credit line sizes and longer loan maturities,” the central bank was quoted by The Manila Times.

In terms of borrower firm size, banks’ responses showed net tighter overall credit standards for large middle-market enterprises while those for top corporations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as micro enterprises, were unchanged.

Hunt on for missing Filipino seaman in Indonesian waters

A search and rescue operation has been launched as a Filipino seafarer from Barangay Taloc, Bago City, Negros Occidental, has gone missing in Indonesian waters, according to his family members.

Michael John Abibiason, 22, works as an engine cadet at Cardiff Crewing Filipinas Inc. onboard M/V Shinumi. He was reported missing while the vessel was in Indonesian waters, reported ABS-CBN News.

According to his father Eric, they received a call from their son’s company informing about the incident on Thursday.

However, he has not received any further information about his son from the company, the report said.

Indonesian news reported that a crew of M/V Shinumi went missing on Tuesday in the waters around Bangka Beitung. A search and rescue operation was conducted but it failed to find the missing person so far.

The Abibiason family remains hopeful that they will find and see Michael alive, the reports said.

PH seeks to hire more Filipino teachers from overseas

The Philippine government is seeking to hire more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to overcome the looming shortage of licensed teachers in the Department of Education (DepEd).

Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello has urged more qualified OFWs to avail of the ‘Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir’ (SPIMS) program, which will provide more manpower to DepEd for its K to 12 program, reported Manila Bulletin.

DepEd had earlier said it will need an additional 65,000 personnel for Grade 12 classes this June, the report said.
Bello reportedly said SPIMS has already contributed to the previous manpower needs of DepEd since it implemented its K to 12 basic education program last year.

“The program has helped ease the country’s insufficient supply of public school teachers, especially in the provinces and remote areas in the country,” Bello was quoted as saying.

SPIMS is a joint reintegration project of DepEd aimed to enticing OFWs, who already passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET), to work as public school teachers.

Aside from helping DepEd, Bello said SPIMS will allow OFWs to finally work in the country and be with their families.

“We are glad for the beneficiaries because they are already back for good, closer to their families and loved ones and they now have regular teaching positions in their respective hometowns,” Manila Bulletin quoted Bello as saying.

According to data from the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), a total of 275 SPIMS beneficiaries have already passed necessary screening as of November last year.

The number of SPIM beneficiaries is expected to further increase this year as more OFWs have expressed interest in applying for the program, the report said.

UAE offers improved medical care to hearing-impaired children

The annual Emirates Otorhinolaryngology Audiology and Communication Disorders Congress has pledged to offer improved access to medical care for children with hearing loss.

The Help Me Hear initiative, backed by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, will provide support to deaf children by making free treatment available, reported The National.

Although hearing tests for newborns are compulsory in all government hospitals, this is not the case in private hospitals, where most births take place.

“The initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of children to communicate and reintegrate into society, which in turn will contribute to the sustainable development of the country,” Dr. Hussein Al Rand, the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for health centers and clinics, reportedly said.

“This will be done through covering the cost of operations and implants, depending on the situation,” he was quoted as saying. “The campaign will initially be limited to children already residing in the UAE and will be supported by manufacturers of audio device implants and charities.”

A cochlear implant operation can be performed on deaf babies at six months of age to give the child the best chance of developing normal speech, but operations and follow-up care can cost at least Dh150,000, said the news portal.

Hearing loss is understood to affect 4 per cent of the UAE population. Free treatment will be offered to deaf children whose families cannot afford procedures, especially those who are not citizens or who are from low-income families, reported The National.

Duterte warns governors against getting into drug business

President Duterte has urged governors to help in the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Don’t go into the drug business, I will kill you,” Philippine Star quoted him as telling the provincial executives in his talk at Malacañang.

He also reportedly urged the governors to not provide protection for drug lords or he would be left with no choice but hold them accountable, hinting that it might lead him to look into how their funds are spent.

“Do not give protection. I will run after you. I will scrutinize your budget. I’ll explain item per item because if your city or town is in disarray and there is massive influence of drugs, (you need to) justify to me your operational (budget). If your city is in disarray and you are not working (to solve it), then you don’t need those extra money,” Duterte reportedly said.

He added that the assessments would be true for everyone, both the police and the governors.

“If your name happens to be here (referring to the narco-list), kindly… I don’t know how you’ll make arrangements,” the President also said, pointing out that the “staggering” drug problem is affecting all sectors of society and has destroyed the lives of millions of Filipinos.

The President explained to the governors how he considers the drug problem as a threat to national security and which greatly impacts on the welfare of the Filipino as a human being.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba reportedly said Duterte was cordial and formal during the meeting and did not scold any of them.

He added that the President revealed to them that 40 percent of barangay captains nationwide are into drugs.
Also in attendance were governors Susan Yap-Sulit of Tarlac and Al Francis Bichara of Albay, reported Philippine Star.

BI stops departure of 45K Filipino ‘tourists’ in 2016

More than 45,000 Filipinos, mostly women, were not allowed to leave the country last year as part of the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) pledge to continue its no letup campaign against the human trafficking.

The airline passengers were offloaded for their failure to comply with the government’s requirements for departing Filipino tourists under the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking guidelines, reported Tempo.

Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other ports will remain vigilant in screening departing Filipino travelers to make sure that they do not fall prey to human traffickers and illegal recruiters, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reportedly said.

Morente added that several BI personnel suspected of conniving with these syndicates are already being investigated by the Board of Discipline.

“We cannot allow these syndicates to continue preying on our poor countrymen who are forced to go abroad because of their poverty,” the BI chief added.

Of the 111,947 referred for secondary interview last year, 66,631 were allowed to depart while the departure of 45,316 passengers was deferred, said the news portal.

They included 667 suspected human trafficking victims and 601 others believed to be victims of illegal recruiters who were immediately turned over to the IACAT for further investigation, reported Tempo.