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News Briefs: May 18, 2019

/ 05:00 AM May 18, 2019

Nur Misuari asks Sandigan’s OK to go on pilgrimage

Moro National Liberation Front founding chair Nur Misuari has filed a motion before the Sandiganbayan Third Division to go on a two-week pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. In his motion to travel, Misuari said he wished to undertake an “urma,” or a pilgrimage to the holy cities of Medina and Mecca to fast there during Ramadan. Misuari faces two counts each of graft and malversation for allegedly giving “undue advantage” to CPR Publishing House, MBJ Learning Tools and White Orchids for the procurement of “ghost textbooks” from 2000 to 2001 during his term as governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. On Friday, Misuari personally appeared before the antigraft court’s third division to appeal for the approval of his motion to travel. Misuari intends to depart Manila on May 23 and return on June 15. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu

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PH tightens measures vs African swine fever

The Philippines has strengthened its security measures against African swine fever (ASF) after the virus was able to penetrate another country, this time closer to home. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol cited on his Facebook page an international news report on Hong Kong detecting ASF in one of its slaughterhouses located close to its border with China, where the virus has decimated a significant portion of its hogs. The Hong Kong government has already ordered the culling of 6,000 hogs. This has prompted Piñol to order tighter security protocols on the entry of meat products and place quarantine officers on high alert. Dogs have also been trained to detect ASF in meat products and foot baths have been placed on every entryway across the county, including airports and seaports. —Karl R. Ocampo

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BI arrests 4 Koreans for abduction, extortion

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) recently arrested four Korean nationals wanted either for abduction or for extorting money from their compatriots. Immigration spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said the suspects were arrested in separate operations in Pampanga, Makati and Cavite this week, and are detained in BI’s detention facility in Taguig City. Sandoval said Lee Sang-min, 33,  allegedly abducted fellow Korean national Han Jong-wook. In Angeles City, Sandoval said they arrested Eum Ki-tae for swindling his compatriot of 43 million won in a nonexistent money exchange business in Singapore. In Tanza, Cavite, BI personnel arrested on Tuesday Kim Yoon-young, who has an outstanding warrant for invasion of residence and task obstruction. They also arrested Yoon Juong-yul for allegedly swindling 270 million won from his compatriots. —Jovic Yee

ACT seeks additional poll pay for teachers

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Friday wrote a letter to the Commission on Elections to request for additional compensation for this year’s teacher-poll workers. ACT said an estimated 10,000 teacher-poll workers had rendered more than 24 hours of continuous service since May 13. Some teachers, said ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio, had to stay at the polling precincts for two to three consecutive days due to the malfunctioning vote-counting machines and the problematic transmission of election returns caused by dysfunctional secure digital (SD) cards. “The technical difficulties with SD cards have forced thousands of teachers to render poll service twice, thrice or more, much longer than the usual period,” it added. —Mariejo S. Ramos

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TAGS: ACT, African swine fever, arrested, ASF, BI, Graft, Korean, Misuari, news briefs, poll duty, Sandiganbayan, Teachers
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