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National Newsbits for July 5, 2014

SAINT ANTHONY MARY ZACHARIAH FEAST

Today is the feast day of Saint Anthony Mary (San Antonio Maria) Zachariah, one of the most popular Italian saints and the founder of the Clerks Regular of St. Paul. Commemorative masses will be held at the St. Anthony Mary Zachariah Parish in Silangan, San Mateo, Rizal in honor of its patron. Born in 1502 in Cremona, Italy, St. Anthony was a physician by profession but because of his intense desire to serve Christ and His Church, he studied theology and was ordained priest in 1528. A devotee of the Blessed Mother, the crucified Christ, and St. Paul, he founded the Clerks Regular of St. Paul in 1530 with the purpose of renewing the Church. He popularized the 40-hour prayer ceremony, promoted the use of altar sacraments, and introduced the ringing of church bells every Friday at 3 p.m. Also known as the Barnabites because their headquarters was in the monastery of St. Barnabas in Milan, Italy, the religious order also worked for the welfare of the poor and the sick. St. Anthony died in 1539 and was canonized on May 15, 1897 by Pope Leo XIII. (Christina I. Hermoso)

WET WEEKEND

The country may experience a wet weekend as another weather disturbance just off the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) has gained strength and may likely enter the country as a Tropical Storm on Sunday. Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said the tropical storm with international name Neoguri remains just outside PAR 1,630 kilometers from the Visayas. Aurelio said Neoguri has maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 80 kph and is expected to move northwest at 20 kph. Meanwhile, a low pressure area (LPA) at 270 kilometers east northeast of Baler, Aurora, will bring moderate to heavy rains and thunderstorms in the Ilocos Region, the Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon. The rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, will experience moderate rains and thunderstorms. (Chito Chavez)

PRO GUN TARGETS PNP CHIEF

A group of gun owners has asked the Supreme Court to cite Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima and other PNP officials for contempt for violating the temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the new firearms licensing system. In a petition, the Peaceful Respondent Owners of Guns Inc. (PRO Gun) claimed that Purisima and officials of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) continued to implement the new scheme despite the halt order issued by the high court last April. The group said the FEO still requires licensed gun owners to go to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, to personally renew their licenses, the very act enjoined by the TRO. (Leonard Postrado)

RISE IN RICE PRODUCTION

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the country’s rice output grew by 2.7 million metric tons from 2010 to 2013. DA Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Edilberto de Luna, concurrent director of the National Rice Program, said the country’s rice production increased from 15.7 million metric tons (MT) in 2010 to 18.4 million MT in 2013. “For the past three years, our rice production grew by an average of 900,000 MT yearly,” De Luna said. He attributed to the growth to the DA’s proper interventions which included investing in irrigation facilities and small water impounding dams. The DA also provided the needed technological support. “The farmers promptly responded and adopted the proper technology, resulting to increased yield,” De Luna said. (Chito Chavez)