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News Briefs: August 2, 2019

/ 05:00 AM August 02, 2019

LPA, southwest  monsoon to trigger rain in parts of PH

A low pressure area (LPA) and the southwest monsoon will bring rain over both eastern and western parts of the country on Friday, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). As of 3 p.m. on Thursday, the LPA was spotted 980 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes province. Its trough will bring cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms in the Bicol region, Eastern Visayas and Caraga, Pagasa said in its 4 p.m. bulletin. Similar weather conditions will persist in the Ilocos Region, the Cordillera Administrative Region and the provinces of Zambales and Bataan due to the southwest monsoon.—JHESSET O. ENANO

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Offer Mass, prayers for bishops and priests—Tagle

Manila Archbishop, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle on Thursday asked the clergy and the faithful to offer Masses and prayers beginning on Aug. 4 for bishops and priests, especially those who suffer because of “persecutions and false accusations.” Tagle also composed a  “Prayer for the Nation” that he requested to be recited in all Saturday evening and Sunday Masses for the whole month of August.—TINA G. SANTOS

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$12,000 hidden in phone box seized at Naia

Customs inspectors at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) seized on Wednesday $12,000 (about P614,000) in cash concealed inside a cellular phone box sent from the United States. Naia customs district collector Mimel Talusan said the $12,000 in $100 bills was wrapped in aluminum foil. The parcel was shipped through FedEx from Arkansas.  Talusan said the money was discovered when it passed through the X-ray machine of customs at the FedEx warehouse.—JEROME ANING

BOC execs face graft, usurpation charges

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero and several BOC officials are facing criminal complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged illegal appointments within the bureau. Guerrero, his chief of staff, Teodoro Jumamil, Deputy Commissioner of the Intelligence Group Ranil Ty Ramiro, and Risk Management Office Chief George Patrick Avila face graft and usurpation charges, after Joana Marie Gonzales of the group Transparency in Public Service filed a complaint on Thursday morning.  Gonzales alleged that Guerrero, through a memorandum, assigned Jumamil as deputy commissioner of the Revenue Collection Monitoring Group, an “illegal” appointment under  civil service rules, she said, since Jumamil is a noncareer personnel. Guerrero said he had yet to receive a copy of the complaint.—PATRICIA DENISE M. CHIU AND TINA G. SANTOS

NFA releases rice assistance for Batanes quake victims

The National Food Authority (NFA) has released 437 bags of rice as assistance in the ongoing relief operations for earthquake victims in Itbayat, Batanes. The island municipality suffered the most casualties in the twin quakes that struck Batanes on Saturday, leaving eight people dead and dozens injured. NFA administrator Judy Carol Dansal said the agency has enough rice reserves to supply the province “until the situation gets back to normal.” The NFA said it held more than 10 million bags of rice in its warehouses nationwide, with buffer stock ready for release through relief agencies and local government units for calamities and emergencies.—KARL R. OCAMPO

Law signed to screen children for vision problems

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President Duterte has signed a law creating a program that will help screen young children in school for any visual problems or impairment. Republic Act No. 11358, or the National Vision Screening Act, establishes the National Visual Screening Program for kindergarten pupils that will be under the Department of Education (DepEd).  The DepEd will work with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Eye Research Institute (Peri) to implement a referral system for schoolchildren so that they may be checked and treated by eye care practitioners. Teachers will be trained and certified in conducting the vision screening program using a visual screening kit. Under the law, private schools are encouraged to adopt their own system of vision screening for kindergarten pupils enrolled in their schools. For its part, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. will develop a benefit package for the consultation and treatment of eye diseases in children.  In addition, a Vision Screening Continuing Research Fund will be created from donations or grants to the DepEd, DOH or Peri.—JULIE M. AURELIO

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Low pressure area, NAIA, Rey Leonardo Guerrero
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