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National Newsbits for February 17, 2014


The Catholic Church commemorates today the Feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of the Servants of Mary, also known as the Servites’ Order, one of the oldest Roman Catholic congregations dedicated to the propagation of devotion to the Blessed Mother.  The seven noble men, six of them ordained as priests, from Florence, Italy were Buonfiglio Monaldo, Alessio Falconieri, Benedetto dell’ Antella, Bartolomeo Amidei, Ricovero Uguccione, Gerardino Sostegni, and Giovanni Buonagiunta. They dedicated their lives propagating devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, the Seven Sorrows of Mary, preaching the Gospel, and cultivating the spirit of penance. Before the holy men had a vision of the Blessed Mother on the Feast of the Assumption on Aug. 15, 1233, they had already formed a confraternity of laymen called “Laudesi,” which means ‘Praisers’ of Mary.  Pope Leo XIII canonized the Holy Founders and introduced their feast in 1888. (Christina I. Hermoso)


The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is celebrating the 23rd Philippine Arts Festival this February 2014 in line with National Arts Month. In celebration of the event, the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) will be holding the month-long and nationwide activity, which will highlight the empowerment of Filipino imagination and creativity on the use of art as a tool for therapy and rebuilding, particularly in Bohol and Tacloban City. In line with this, the department is calling on all local chief executives (LCEs) to support the Philippine Arts Festival through the display of streamers with the theme “Arts on the Edge,” or a chosen sub-theme relevant to local conditions and community aspirations. (Czarina Nicole O. Ong)


The House Committee on Justice has approved a bill seeking to provide additional forfeitable sick and vacation leave benefits to judges. House Bill 3318, authored by siblings Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr., provides additional 15 days sick leave and 15 days vacation leave annually to all judges of the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in cities, Municipal Circuit Trial Courts and Shari’a Circuit Courts. “The grant of additional leave and vacation benefits will put them at par with their colleagues in the Regional Trial Court and Shari’a District Court,” the Abante Mindanao lawmaker said. (Charissa M. Luci)


The prevailing northeast monsoon or hanging amihan will continue to bring slightly colder weather over Luzon and Visayas today, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The amihan will persist over Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Quezon, and Aurora. Meanwhile, a trough of low pressure area (LPA) prevailing over Southern Mindanao will bring cloudy with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms over Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani. (Ellalyn B. De Vera)