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Duterte led 3rd presidential debate

By Tessa Distor and Dennis Principe Based on public engagement on Twitter during the final presidential debate Sunday, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte emerged the favorite with former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas showing much improvement from the second debate among the five candidates. This was the result of the Twitter Sentiment Analysis released by Futuregen International Pte. Ltd. – Manila Bulletin’s partner in data analytics for the said debate. The last leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 was co-hosted by the Manila Bulletin, ABS-CBN, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). Futuregen analyzed 65,000 tweets from users with at least 300 followers on April 24, 2016 and compared these to the same category of Twitter users from the second debate held on March 20. According to Futuregen President Wilson Chua, …

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SC rules on mining contract dispute

The Supreme Court (SC) has declared that the President has the power to cancel mining contracts in the country including one of the companies belonging to the campaign contributor of presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. In an 11-page decision, the Supreme Court Third Division made this determination after it denied the review on certiorari of petitioners Basiana Mining Exploration Corporation (BMEC), Basiana Mining Development Corporation (BMDC), and its president Rodney Basiana who sought the cancellation of Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) granted to SR Metals Inc. (SRMI) which is owned by Eric Gutierrez, a known campaign contributor of Roxas. The High Court upheld in its ruling the amended decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated June 18, 2009 which dismissed the petition of the petitioners and granted the motion for …

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Low turnout of overseas voting noted

After 17 days of overseas voting and with just two weeks before the deadline, only 13.40 percent of Filipinos living and working abroad have cast their ballots. Still, the Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Voting Secretariat is optimistic that there will be an uptrend in the number of overseas Filipinos who will participate in this year’s overseas absentee voting in the coming days. According to DFA-OVS chair Rafael Seguis, they expect the number of overseas voters to increase substantially as the deadline nears. “DFA-OVS target is 80 percent turnout but we will be happy with 60 to 70 percent,” said Seguis. Data from the DFA-OVS showed that as of 5 pm of April 26, a total of 184,327 out of 1,376,067 registered Filipino voters have cast their votes. In the Americas, 12, 022 (4.36 percent) of …

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CAAP revises rules on drones

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has amended its rules and regulations on drones to ensure public safety. Taking note of the surge in the number of drone enthusiasts, CAAP director general William K. Hotchkiss III recently issued a memorandum circular which amends existing drone operation regulations under memorandum circular 35-14 for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Memorandum circular 35-14 or amendments to the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR) pertaining to UAVs, was issued on November 20, 2014. “The operation of drones has grown exponentially over the past years and although the authority already has safety and security regulations and operational requirements for drones, we have to make adjustments to keep up with developments in the technology to enhance and ensure the safe and secure drone operations,” Hotchkiss said. He pointed out that …

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Pantar placed under Comelec control

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has placed Pantar, Lanao del Norte under its control, the first area to be controlled by the poll body. Comelec control will be in effect until the end of the Election Period on June 8, unless sooner lifted by the commission en banc. Aside from Pantar, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said they are also considering placing  Marawi City in Lanao del Sur and Northern Samar under their control. “This is to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised because of armed groups. There are many other requests,” she added. The grounds for placing an area under Comelec control include its history of intense political rivalry, presence of violence facilitated by private armed groups, presence of loose firearms, and presence of serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army, …

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Lacierda contests SWS survey results

A Malacanang official said the public should not merely rely on presidential surveys with the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) results showing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leading the presidential race by 33 percent.  Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in his Facebook page, said that “based on the estimates, the SWS weights  did not seem to tally with the actual percentage of voters.”  The SWS survey, conducted from April 18 to 20 had 1,800 respondents: 300 for NCR, 600 for Balance of Luzon, 300 for Visayas and 600 for Mindanao.   “According to SWS, the ‘area estimates were weighted by the 2016 Comelec data on validated voters to obtain the national estimates,’” Lacierda said.  He however said that based on the data by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), there are 54,363,844 valid voters nationwide, which …

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NFA chief resigns, cites health concerns

Citing personal and health reasons, National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Renan Dalisay yesterday confirmed that he has tendered his resignation. Dalisay was the Special Assistant for NFA Concerns to former Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan before he was appointed as NFA chief in November 2014. He said he has already submitted his resignation letter to the Malacañang but has yet to receive word if President Aquino has accepted or denied his decision to quit his post. Dalisay said his doctors have been recommending him to undergo a medical procedure, which he did not immediately disclose. He added that he has been postponing the said medical procedure due to busy work schedule. The NFA Administrator’s resignation came on the heels of the ongoing drought that has adversely affected agricultural …

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Lim, Atienza team up for a crime-free, better Manila

Returning former Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim and the BUHAY Partylist of Bro. Mike Velarde, which is represented in Congress by former Manila mayor Lito Atienza, have joined hands in the fight against all forms of criminality and illegal drugs which is plaguing the city, in line with their advocacy of preserving peace and order and ultimately, human lives. In a meeting, Lima and Atienza expressed solid support for each other in the coming elections to put an end to the prevalence of crimes involving riding-in-tandem criminals and the proliferation of illegal drugs in all barangays. Atienza had been holding meetings with various groups in the barangay level formally endorsing Lim as the only mayoral candidate in the city who can wage a serious campaign against all criminals. He also stressed how …

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Ombudsman dismisses Bulacan city mayor

The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has ordered the dismissal from the service of San Jose del Monte City Mayor Reynaldo San Pedro for grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct. The dismissal order stemmed from the illegal re-assignment and re-designation of city engineer Rufino Gravador, Jr. who testified against the mayor and 15 others in a graft and corruption complaint filed before the OMB. Gravador survived an ambush in Santa Maria town in December last year. He accused the mayor of masterminding the attack. Aside from dismissal, San Pedro was also perpetually barred from holding public office with forfeiture of retirement benefits and cancellation of eligibility. San Pedro is seeking reelection. The Ombudsman found that in July 2013, San Pedro issued an office order re-assigning Gravador as city agriculturist. Gravador’s appeal before the Civil Service …

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PH Navy flagship off to SG for joint maritime exercises

The Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF 15) departed at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday to participate in a maritime security and counter-terrorism exercises to be held in Singapore and Brunei. Navy flag officer-in-command Vice Admiral Caesar C. Taccad led a send-off ceremony at pier 13 in South Harbor, Manila. Aboard the PF15 are approximately 100 crew and around 50 complements from Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) and support team. Also on board is one Augusta Westland 109 (AW109) naval helicopter. The PN contingent will first participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting - Plus, Maritime Security and Counter Terrorism (ADMM - Plus, MS and CT) exercise commencing on May 2. Filipino sailors and marines will join their counterparts from the 10 ASEAN member states and eight other countries, …

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