Philippine Air Force cuts flying time due to fuel prices

High fuel prices and an escalation of violence on a southern island has forced the Philippines’ tiny air force to cut back on maritime patrols over its vast borders, according to a military report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The Philippines has about half a dozen Italian-made S-211 trainer jets on regular patrol over the country’s maritime borders, including the oil and gas-rich region near the western island of Palawan.

The rest of its fleet — helicopters and OV-10 Broncos — are not suitable for the job. It also has one C-130 Hercules transporter in flying condition.

Soaring prices of fuel in the first half of 2008 cut the military’s petroleum, oil and lubricants supply by about 18 percent, “grossly” affecting its air defense and maritime surveillance and disaster response operations, the document said.

The S-211 aircraft were expected to fly fewer air defense and maritime surveillance missions in the second half of the year due to fighting with Muslim rebels on the troubled southern island of Mindanao, a senior defense official told Reuters.

He said the reduction of maritime surveillance operations may open the country’s borders to activities that could hurt the economy, such as illegal fishing, smuggling and piracy.

Citing an Air Force accomplishment report, the senior defense official said the military would have to rely more on naval boats to patrol the country’s borders and protect its exclusive economic zones from poachers and illegal entrants.

“Given the rise in fuel prices and limited supply, the air force is constrained to allocate resources to its core function of providing air support to ground operations,” said the official, who declined to be named because he has no authority to speak to reporters.

“Surveillance missions and even disaster response would take a back seat until after the army terminates its offensive against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Mindanao.”

He said some of the S-211 planes had been moved to Mindanao to provide more lethal firepower to Vietnam War-era UH-1H “Huey” helicopters and propeller-driven OV-10 Broncos.

Nearly 300 people have been killed in more than two months of fighting in four southern provinces between soldiers and renegade members of the MILF, the largest Muslim rebel group in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic state.

Four people were killed in the latest incident on Wednesday, An army spokesman said.

The violence has forced Manila to scrap peace talks with the rebels to end the conflict that has killed 120,000 people and stunted growth in a region believed to be rich in deposits of minerals, oil and natural gas.


Independent lab confirms eight products contaminated with Melamine

An independent testing center has found out that eight food products, including a popular brand of processed meat and an iced drink sold by a popular coffee shop, have tested positive for melamine contamination.

ABS-CBN News on Thursday obtained exclusively the test results from the independent laboratory Progressive Laboratories (Qualibet Testing Center) in Quezon City, which tested 14 China-made products for possible melamine contamination.

Out of 14 products tested, eight were positive for melamine.

The testing center has no authority to release the brand names of the products tainted with melamine. It, however, said that these include two brands of milk candies, a brand of chocolate, a brand of milk powder for pregnant women and a brand of repacked coffee creamer used in restaurants.

Also included in the list are two brands of processed meats — one for a luncheon meat and another for corned beef.

All of the products tested came from China.

The laboratory said the results will be sent to the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) on Friday.

“Lately yung consumer products, yung commodities, tumaas yung presyo. Then China wanted to subsititute protein, so they used melamine,” Progressive Laboratories owner Pinky Tobiano said.

ABS-CBN News asked the laboratory to test the two meat products again. The results of the second test were similar to the first.

“Meron ngang melamine ang isang Chinese meat product. Medyo may kataasan… this proves na ang canned products also have melamine contamination… some of them, not all,” Tobiano said while showing the test results to ABS-CBN News.

Tobiano said the meats used in making the canned products possibly came from livestock that were given melamine-tainted feeds.

Recently, samples of whey powder and skimmed milk replacer, which are mixed into livestock feed, also tested positive for melamine after these were seized from a supplier.

A brand of iced coffee shake from a popular coffee chain also tested positive from melamine, based on more than a hundred tests by the laboratory.

“Kasi ang mga coffee shakes, pre-mixes na yan. So when they arrive in the Philippines hindi natin isa-isang tinitimpla iyan. And the milk that they source is from China. Though it may be repacked in the United States or in New Zealand, the raw materials are not from them,” she added.

The BFAD said it will not yet announce the names of the melamine-contaminated products tested by Progressive Laboratories, since the government did not commission the private laboratory.

Stay away from Chinese milk products,says BFAD.

The Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) on Friday advised mothers to stop buying Chinese milk products following reports that four children have died amid a China health scandal.

“I would advise the parents or mothers it’s better to probably buy milk brands from reputable companies…For the moment, stay away from [milk] products coming from China,”

BFAD Director Leticia Gutierrez told ABS-CBN News Channel.

Gutierrez said that while Chinese milk brands are not available in Philippine market, she has instructed BFAD inspectors to collect samples from different milk distribution outlets for testing. The samples will be brought to the BFAD laboratory for testing of presence of toxic chemical melamine, a chemical normally used in plastics but which can be used to mask low protein levels in foods.

“For the last two days, the inspectors have gone around and they’ve not found any milk powder manufactured by Sanlu group,”

she said.

At least four babies have died and some 6,244 other infants have become sick after consuming melamine-contaminated milk products. The scandal snowballed late this week, with the government admitting that melamine had been discovered in regular milk and other dairy products such as ice cream, leading to mass recalls across the country.

The Chinese government’

s quality watchdog has released an initial list of milk manufacturing companies using the deadly toxin.

The companies were:

1 Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co
2 Shanghai Panda Dairy Co Ltd
3 Synutra International Inc
4 Shanxi Gucheng Dairy Co Ltd
5 Jiangxi Bright & Hero Dairy Co
6 Baoji Huimin Milk Co Ltd
7 Mengniu Dairy
8 Duojiaduo Dairy Industry (Tianjin) Co Ltd
9 Guangdong Yashili Group Co Ltd
10 Hunan Peiyi Dairy Co
11 Heilongjiang Qining Dairy Co
12 Shanxi Yashili Dairy Co Ltd
13 Shenzhen Jinbishi Milk Co Ltd
14 Guangzhou Shien Dairy Co
15 Guangzhou Jinding Dairy Co
16 Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co
17 Ausmeadow Nutriment Co Ltd
18 Qingdao Suncare Nutritional Technology Co Ltd
19 Xi’an Baiyue Dairy Co Ltd
20 Yantai Leilei Dairy Products Co Ltd
21 Shanghai Bao’anli Dairy Co Ltd
22 Fuding Chenguan Dairy Co Ltd
as of 09/19/2008 5:57 PM

Jinkee didn’t want Manny to fight Oscar

Manny Pacquiao’s wife has said that she initially did not want her husband to fight Oscar de la Hoya because the Mexican-American obviously has the height advantage.

“De la Hoya is much bigger than him and I told him [if it] is possible for [him] to fight someone else first and not de la Hoya [at] this time,”

Jinkee Pacquiao told sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz.

Jinkee, however, said that Pacquiao already made the decision and she had no choice but to support him. Besides, she said Pacquiao is confident of his chances.

“I know he can make it and he is confident he can win and we will support him all the way,”

she said. lists de la Hoya at 5′ 10 1/2″ while Pacquiao stands four inches lower.

The blockbuster fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena has been the talk of the boxing world ever since de la Hoya announced his plan to retire though he would want to fight one last time before hanging his gloves.

Almost immediately, Pacquiao’s name came up as the possible cap to de la Hoya’s career that began as a member of the US Olympic boxing team in the 1990s.

Negotiations went back and forth for quite some time and there were announcement that it will not take place after all since both camps failed to agree on the revenue sharing.

But last month, hopes were rekindled after Pacquiao’s camp agreed to the deal.

Last weekend, Pacquiao reiterated that he remains confident against de la Hoya.

“Ako, kaya laging malakas ang loob ko, laging positive ang iniisip ko lagi, na lagi akong mananalo dahil nandiyan ang mga tao sa likod ko, na naninwala, lalong lalo na ‘yung mga fans ko na laging sumusuporta,” he said before leaving for the United States for his training.

Pacquiao added that he relishes being the underdog since this would help him strive more for the victory.

“Alam mo mas masarap lumaban nang dehado ka,” he said.

“Dahil dehado ka e gusto mong maipakita sa mga tao na kahit dehado ito, pwedeng panlaban,” he added.

With regard to the Golden Boy’s height advantage, Pacquiao said his trainer and coach Freddie Roach has tapped the services of bigger and heavier sparring partners to help him simulate de la Hoya’s taller physique.

“Matangkad yata ang kinuha ni Freddie Roach, at malalaki ang timbang para di ako manibago kay de la Hoya,” he said.

He also said that sparring sessions will start in October at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California

Woman Attempts suicide at NAIA

A day after a portion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3 collapsed, another incident shocked officials and passengers alike at NAIA’s new hub on Thursday when a woman from Quirino province attempted to commit suicide on the building’s fourth floor.

Quick responses from airport and rescue officials saved the life of 42-year-old Lerma Garma, a housewife from San Antonio town in Quirino.

Garma told ABS-CBN News that she attempted to end her life after learning that her husband had a lover.

The woman said she no longer knew what to do so she decided to end her life by hanging herself with a leather belt tied around her neck.

Rescuers immediately took Garma to the airport’s medical clinic. She is now in stable condition.

Airport general manager Alfonso Cusi, meanwhile, said officials will wait for Garma’s relative before she is transferred to a regular hospital.

On Wednesday, a ceiling of the Terminal 3 building collapsed before dawn.

Robert Uy, Terminal 3 deputy general manager, said the ceiling over the arrival section collapsed around 2 a.m. He said there were no people around when the collapse took place.

“No cause for alarm. We assure the safety of the passengers,” Uy said, adding the area of the collapsed ceiling had been closed for repair.

He said the Terminal 3 management is already investigating why the ceiling collapsed.

After a six-year delay, the controversial terminal finally opened last July.

The terminal was supposed to open in March 2007, but its ceiling collapsed, raising suspicions that the terminal’s construction was rushed for the opening.

James Mangahas


James Mangahas and the rest of the Archers will try to level the UAAP championship crown against Ateneo starting Sept. 21.

Count out the other colors this time of the year because come Sunday, September 21, Araneta Coliseum will virtually be a sea of green and blue as college basketball’s most bitter rivals face off for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 71 men’s basketball finals.

The three-game series will see defending champions De La Salle Green Archers slugging it out with the Blue Eagles of the Ateneo de Manila University for the fourth time in a decade.

Ateneo’s trip to the finals came from a lopsided win against the University of the East Red Warriors, 70-50, during the second game of Sunday’s double header, also at the Big Dome.

The Eagles’ Jai Reyes was named best player of the game following a superb performance that saw him with 13 markers, three rebounds and an assist.

Eric Salamat added firepower to Ateneo’s offense as he finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Both La Salle and Ateneo had twice-to-beat advantages. And both of them finished their tasks early, with the Archers coming from behind with 67-62 win over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws during the first game Sunday.

Ateneo now commands the league with a 14-1 win-loss record — the best in the league. Three wins behind are the Archers with 11-4.

The Warriors, meanwhile, suffered its sixth loss in 15 outings. FEU, on the other hand, dropped to its fifth loss against 10 wins.

During the first game, James Mangahas and the rest of the Taft Avenue-based squad made it sure that FEU would not live another day in the Final Four as theyAteneo's Eric Salamat and the Eagles go head-to-head against the Archers as they attempt at their third UAAP crown against La Salle. sealed the win, 67-62.

Mangahas, who was named best player, used a missed three-pointer from the Tams’ James Sanga to go for a layup in the closing seconds game.

Before Mangahas’ game-winning basket, the Tams’ James Sanga tried in desperation to nail a three-pointer but this failed to connect.

FEU coach Glenn Capacio decided to send Sanga in after Mac-mac Baracael failed to sink two of his charity shots courtesy of a foul from Rico Maierhofer.

Mangahas ended the game with a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds, ably helped by fellow Archers Jvee Casio and Maierhofer.

La Salle came from behind a 10-point deficit and had its biggest lead only by two points, 64-62 with 35.2 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter.

Fourth face-off in 10 years

The most heated rivalry will come alive again — the fourth time — within a span of 10 years.

Ateneo and La Salle first faced each other in the UAAP finals in 1988 when the Eagles clawed the Archers to strike first blood and claim the championship. The games were then held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Come 2001, it was the Archers’ turn as they defeated their rivals. By then the UAAP games were already being played at the Big Dome.

Ateneo then ended its 14-year title drought in 2002. At the losing end was nobody else but the Archers.

In 2007, the bitter rivals clashed once more for the college hoops finals. This time, the Archers made it sure that they would emerge victorious against the Loyola dribblers.

Massacred Family In Bulacan.

All four members of a family massacred in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan province, died of gunshot wounds in the head.
A radio dzMM report said the bodies of couple Teofilo and Florita Mojica were found at their bungalow’s kitchen while the bodies of their daughter, Mary Grace and niece Dina Sangandaan were found outside in one of their home’s room.

The report said all four victims bore gunshot wounds in the head.

Police initially told reporters that the Mojica family could have been slain around 3:30 a.m. Police said the victims’ neighbors in Block 2, Phase 5, Petal Street in Pleasant Hill Subdivision in Barangay San Manuel, were awakened by four gunshots at the said time.

Police said Teofilo was a board director of the Department of Agriculture’s employees association and his niece Dina was one of his staff. Mary Grace, meanwhile, was a graduating student of Miriam College.

Scene-of-the-crime operatives have recovered spent shells from a .45 pistol near the victim’s bodies.

Investigators have yet to determine if the victims were slain by a lone gunman or a group.