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National Newsbits for August 26, 2014

CHURCH-DEPEDFEEDING PROGRAM

Hapag-Asa (Table of Hope), the feeding program of the local Church, continues to intensify its campaign to help reduce malnutrition among Filipino children. In a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News post,  Finda  Lacanlalay, executive director of the Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition  Program of Pondo ng Pinoy (PnP), said the program aims to reach about 1.8 million Filipino children once its planned team-up with the  Department of Education (DepEd) pushes through. “The PnP-DepEd partnership will regularly provide nutritious meals for six months to an estimated 360,000 undernourished grade school  students, not only in typhoon Yolanda-hit areas but also in regions  affected by recent calamities,” Lacanlalay said. The church-sponsored program implemented by more than 30  dioceses across the country has, so far, been feeding as many as 1.5  million Filipino children since its launch in 2005. (Christina I. Hermoso)

LOW-PRESSURE AREA SPOTTED

The low pressure area (LPA) east of Visayas is not expected to intensify into a tropical cyclone but will still bring light to moderate rains and thunderstorms over some parts of the country, the state weather bureau said Monday. As of Monday morning, the LPA was about 270 kilometers (km) northeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The weather disturbance will bring light to moderate rains and thunderstorms over Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, the entire Visayas and Mindanao, it said. Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorm mostly in the afternoon or evening. (Ellalyn B. De Vera)

AUTOMATED POLL SYSTEM DECISION

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc expects to decide today on the automated election system (AES) to be used in the May 2016 polls. “By Tuesday, probably, we will already have a decision on what we will use because the one given by the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) is just recommendatory,” Brillantes said in an interview. “We will try to see if we will have a consensus, at most Tuesday, which is our next en banc,” he said. Comelec wants to decide early on the AES to be able to conduct the necessary bidding immediately, he said.  “We want to start with the bidding by September because our target is to finish it by the end of the year,” he said. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

WEAPONS UPGRADES FOR NAVY FRIGATES

The BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz will get weapons and electronics systems upgrades, the Philippine Navy said yesterday. Lt. Cmdr. Marineth Domingo, Navy public affairs office chief, said upgrades will restore the ships to their original US Coast Guard configurations. “The intent of the Navy is to modernize the ships and revive them to their original capabilities,” Domingo said. “The Philippine Navy’s frigates will be installed with 25mm Bushmaster auto cannons that will complement the 76mm Oto Melara main gun. It will allow the vessel to handle targets coming fast and that are too close for the ship’s 76mm to engage,” she said. (Elena L. Aben)