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National Newsbits for April 3, 2014

Germany Benefits

Filipinos residing and working in Germany shall soon be entitled to the same benefits granted to German nationals under its social security law. The optimism was shared by Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe Natividad following the holding of the final round of negotiations on a Philippine-German bilateral agreement on social security that recently took place at the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) in Berlin. Natividad cited “positive signs” for the prompt conclusion of the negotiations, such as the recent signing of a labor agreement facilitating the deployment of Filipino nurses to Germany as well as the “perfect timing” of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Philippines and Germany diplomatic relations in 2014. (Roy C. Mabasa)

Lotto Winners

Call it pure luck, but April Fool’s Day on Tuesday proved to be lucky for two lotto bettors in San Fernando City, Pampanga, and Marikina City. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said the punter in San Fernando City won Super Lotto 6/49′s P63-million prize while the Marikina City bettor hit Lotto 6/42′s P20-million jackpot. They got lucky on the same draw night on April 1, with 6/49 generating the winning numbers 22-20-17-09-13-29 for P63,332,184 and for 6/42, 27-08-04-40-33-12, with P20,109,076 at stake. For the year 2014, the PCSO has already produced 18 “instant lotto millionaires. As of April 1, Grand Lotto 6/55 has one; 6/49, four; Mega Lotto 6/45, four; and 6/42, nine. (Edd K. Usman)

Information Bill

The chairman of the House committee on public information assured yesterday they would come up with a consolidated Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which is acceptable to all concerned stakeholders following fears that the supposed adoption of the Malacañang version would “water down” the pro-transparency measure. Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge T. Almonte, the panel chairman, branded as baseless and premature the fears raised by Bayan Muna party-list group over the passage of a “weak, diluted or watered down FOI law.” “We have gone over the Senate and Palace versions and the bills referred to us more particularly the one filed by Congresswomen (Leni) Robredo and Deputy Speaker (Henedina) Abad and we observed the differences are not much on the substance. (Charissa M. Luci)

Tuition Hikes

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) should resolve all complaints against unwarranted increases in tuition and other fees before the start of the school term in June. The appeal was made by Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon who joined student leaders in calling for the swift resolution of the complaints against impending tuition hikes. Ridon, a member of the House minority bloc, said the House Committee on Technical Education has set a review of the Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order No. 3-2012.

Climate Change

In an effort to address the urgency of the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which provided clear scientific evidence that unmitigated climate change poses significant risks to human health, global food security and economic development, the United Kingdom said it is keen to working closely and support Filipinos who share the goal of every nation doing what is possible to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. “There are limits to how successfully the Philippines can adapt to climate change,” said British Ambassador to Manila Asif Ahmad in a statement issued yesterday. “The science is clear that a truly global mitigation effort, in addition to adaptation, is required to rise to the challenge of climate change,” he said. (Roy C. Mabasa)