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National newsbits for July 2, 2014


Catholic devotees celebrate today the Feast of Our Lady of Piat, the venerated patroness of Cagayan Valley. Feast masses will be celebrated at the Minore de Piat in Tuguegarao, Cagayan by the hour from 3 a.m. until noon, and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.  In Metro Manila, Our Lady of Piat devotees will gather for a special commemorative mass on Saturday, July 5, at 9 a.m. at the Santo Domingo Church on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. Tuguegarao Auxiliary Bishop Ricardo Baccay will preside over the concelebrated high mass. Devotion to Our Lady of Piat began in 1604 when the Dominican missionaries brought the image from Macau to Cagayan Valley.  (Christina I. Hermoso)


Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares continued yesterday the reshuffle of tax collectors and examiners nationwide in a bid to minimize the incidence of fraternization with taxpayers. More than 100 fieldsmen were issued new travel assignments, following the revamp of taxmen based in the Ilocos and nearby provinces early this year.  Like in previous personnel changes, they were transferred from one district to another within the revenue regional office in order not to dislocate them. Others were transferred to their home provinces upon their requests, while others were deployed in far-flung areas or hardship posts due to denunciations filed against them. Under the Tax Code, tax collectors and examiners are allowed to remain in their assignments for only three years.(Jun Ramirez)


The jackpot prize for today’s 6/45 Megalotto draw could reach P85 million, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said yesterday. PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II said no bettor correctly guessed the winning combination in Monday night’s draw.  The winning combination for the 6/45 draw was 43 – 05 – 28 – 18 – 08 – 19.  The jackpot prize stood at P77,239,620 for Monday’s draw.  The odds of winning the top prize of the 6/45 lotto game is one in 8,145,060. (JC Bello Ruiz)


The Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, issued an advisory calling on Filipinos to be vigilant of the modus operandi of drug syndicates in recruiting drug mules.  It cautioned travelers against accepting packages intended to be delivered to the Philippines or a transit destination. Filipinos bound for mainland China were also advised to comply with the pre-departure formalities being implemented by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration to ensure the safety of travelers and prevent the occurrence of transnational crimes, including drug-trafficking. The Consulate General cited a white paper released recently by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court which indicated a rise in the number of foreigners in the city who are involved in drug-related crimes.  The paper noted that “foreigners from Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe make use of the convenience of Guangzhou’s location and turned the city into a hub for drug consumption, manufacturing, selling and trafficking.” The Consulate General reminded of the harsh penalty imposed under Chinese laws in case of conviction for drug-smuggling. In 2010 and 2011, two Filipinos were executed as a result of a drug-smuggling conviction sustained by the Supreme People’s Court. (Roy C. Mabasa)