News Briefs: June 22, 2019

/ 05:03 AM June 22, 2019

BI charges Korean for human trafficking



The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has arrested a Korean national who allegedly employed 22 women to work as prostitutes in his bar in General Santos City. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said Korean Chang Suc-joo faced a charge of human trafficking following a raid last week in his bar.  Chang was also found to be overstaying in the country since his tourist visa expired in January.  While the BI has started deportation proceedings against Chang, who is detained at the BI’s holding facility in Davao, Morente said the Korean could not be deported yet pending the resolution of his criminal case. —JOVIC YEE

Grab’s hatchback drivers appeal to LTFRB


A group of drivers taken off Grab’s platform for driving a hatchback appealed on Friday to a Quezon City Regional Trial Court to order the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to enforce a 2018 memorandum circular that allowed hatchbacks to operate as ride-hailing cars until 2021. In their petition for mandamus, Aaron Paul Bernas, Ruth Ann Bataan, Mary Valerie Monzon, Maraya Bonifacio and Dianne Dizon Reyes argued that the board, “in whimsical, capricious and arbitrary manner,” refused to accept their application for franchises. According to the petitioners, they should have been allowed to secure their franchises under Memorandum Circular No. 2018-5, which allowed hatchback units to operate during a three-year transition period in Manila. —KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING

Australian shipbuilder joins bidding for patrol vessels

An Australian shipbuilder wants to make patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy, as the company has almost finished the $20-million expansion of its Cebu shipyard.  Austal Philippines is currently bidding to build six offshore patrol vessels—each of them over 80 meters long—for the Philippine Navy, marketing manager Paul Sparke said in a recent interview. The shipbuilder has invested $20 million to expand its Philippine shipyard in Balamban, Cebu, and increased its workforce to over 900 from 500 to 600 workers a few months ago, the official said. —ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL

DICT presents alternative automated poll systems

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) presented alternative automated election systems after President Duterte called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to scrap Smartmatic’s vote-counting machines. DICT acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. on Friday said their proposals, which would be further refined and presented to the Comelec on July 15,  would help win back voters’ trust in automated elections.  The DICT said it would bolster transparency in the voting process by flashing the image of the ballot on a screen and electronically tabulating the votes. This will allow observers to ensure that votes are counted. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

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TAGS: BI, DICT, Grab, Human trafficking, Korean, LTFRB
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