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National Newsbits for June 28, 2014


The Catholic Church celebrates today the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in honor of the symbol of the Blessed Mother’s ardent love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for mankind. Special masses will be held at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City at 6 a.m., 6:30 a.m., and 6 p.m. In many Catholic churches and Marian shrines across the country, devotees will light candles, say their novena prayers, offer flowers, perform acts of devotion, and pray the Holy Rosary before the venerated image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is often represented with a pierced heart. (Christina I. Hermoso)


Mobile phone users will soon receive free alerts on imminent threats brought by natural disasters and other calamities as part of a new national public safety system. President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed Republic Act No. 10639 mandating the country’s telecommunications service providers to send free mobile notifications related to disaster preparedness and response. Under RA 10639, “The Free Mobile Disaster Act,” the government seeks to inform and protect the people in case of natural or man-made disasters and calamities to prevent injuries, destruction, and loss of lives and property. (Genalyn Kabiling)


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing to hold the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls in February, 2015. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said they already told Congress about this although nothing is definite yet. “There is nothing definite yet but we already told them we prefer to set the elections on February, 2015,” he said in an interview. Brillantes said if the SK polls push through in February, they will have to suspend their ongoing voters’ registration three months before the elections. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)


The state weather bureau said that cloudy skies with light to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms will continue to affect Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon today due to the effects of the low pressure area (LPA) and southwest monsoon. Alczar Aurelio, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecaster, said the LPA has a slim chance of becoming a tropical depression. The Visayas and Mindanao are expected to have good weather conditions. (Chito Chavez)


Labor groups have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to declare unconstitutional the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States signed last April 28. The petition filed by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement (Courage) was the third case against EDCA. The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, and the National Federation of Labor Unions-KMU joined the petition. KMU and Courage pointed out that EDCA violates the constitutional provisions on national sovereignty, territorial integrity, freedom from nuclear weapons, and autonomy of local government units. (Rey G. Panaligan)