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National Newsbits for August 5, 2014


The Catholic Church commemorates today the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, Italy, one of the four major Roman basilicas, and the most important church dedicated to the Blessed Mother. In Rome, the traditional triduum in honor of the feast was observed from Aug. 1 – 3, followed by a two-day celebration that culminates today with a Pontifical Mass. Pilgrims traditionally drop white rose petals from the dome after the feast mass in commemoration of a miracle attributed to the Virgin Mary. In the country, special masses will be celebrated at the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan and at the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal, Batangas, which had been declared as affiliate churches of the Basilica of St Mary Major. Commemorative rites will also be held in Dumarao, Capiz; Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental; Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; and El Salvador, Misamis Oriental. (Christina I. Hermoso)


Nine persons with disabilities (PWDs) won the right to represent the Philippines in the 2014 Global Information Technology (IT) Challenge for Youth with Disabilities to be held in South Korea. The Department of Science and Technology – Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Office (DOST-ICTO) said the nine were the three top placers in three contest categories – e-Life, e-Tools, e-Sports — at the  “Kakayahan 2014,” the first ever National PWD IT Competition. The winners are for the  e-Life category– Janielle A. Salvador, first place; Erika Lauren S. Aguillon, second place; and Anne Charlaine Santos, third place; e-Tool category– Nathaniel Q. Dimalanta, first place; Gian Karlo C. Gonzales, second place; and Mark Christian D. Evangelista, third place; e-Sport category– Wawel A. Quidoles, first place; Mark Christian P. Evangelista, second place, and Venus Alexis A. Rescober, third place. (Edd K. Usman)


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is planning to pilot test Internet voting in the May 2016 polls for overseas absentee voters (OAV). Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chairman of the Comelec – Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV), said pilot testing could be conducted in the Americas, Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore. These areas have “adequate technology, internet connection, and large overseas Filipino concentration that are needed for the pilot testing,” Tagle said. “If everything goes well in 2016, come the 2019 elections, we can already use the Internet for voting and also probably for registration,” said Tagle. But Comelec still needs the help of lawmakers to legislate on-line voting for OAVs in 2016. “We need their help to immediately pass a law that will allow us to use Internet technology for OAV for 2016. Not to mention providing us the necessary budget to acquire the technology,” Tagle said. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)


The Japanese embassy yesterday announced that 25 Filipinos have qualified for the 12th Batch of Fellows of the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship Project (JDS). The embassy said the JDS aims to help build a pool of future Filipino leaders from various governmental institutions such as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Presidential Management Staff (PMS), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), who are expected to contribute to the country’s overall socio-economic development by returning to and working in the Philippines. To date, a total of 259 Filipinos have been chosen as JDS Fellows. (Roy C. Mabasa)