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National newsbits for March 4, 2014

Feast Of Santa Barbara Today

Catholics commemorate today the Feast of Santa Barbara, one of the most popular saints of the Catholic Church, and a great martyr of the Christian faith. Masses, novenas, and processions will be held in several Catholic churches in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, where commemorative rites and festivities will be held in several towns placed under her patronage. Venerated as the patron of artillery and mining, St. Barbara is often invoked against lightning and fire. Individuals who face the danger of sudden and violent death at work invoke her intercession and protection as well. Having lived a life of prayer and charity during the 4th century, she was listed by the Church as one of the 14 Holy Helpers, a group of saints venerated together for their effective intercessory powers against various diseases. (Christina I. Hermoso)

 

Vi Not Eyeing Vice Presidency

Batangas Governor Vilma Santos is not eyeing to run for a higher post in 2016, her husband Senator Ralph Recto disclosed yesterday. The administration senator branded as “rumors” the reported Vice President Jejomar Binay-Santos tandem in the 2016 elections. “Walang plano si Vilma na tumakbo sa 2016 na alam ko,” Recto told reporters at the Senate. Reports said Binay, who decided to leave Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas (PDP)-Laban and form a new political party, is wooing Santos to be his running mate. Recto said Binay and his wife never talked about politics when the Vice President visited Batangas. They only talked about housing concerns of the people of Batangas, he said. (Charissa M. Luci)

 

Doctors Hurt By Bir Ad

Filipino doctors yesterday cried foul over a newspaper advertisement depicting them as tax cheaters. The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) reacted to a print advertisement by the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) that was published in newspapers last Sunday. “The newspaper advertisement came as a surprise to us mainly because it was not discussed in our various consultations and joint information campaign activities with the BIR. The PMA will not tolerate tax cheats among our ranks and we will act immediately if these isolated cases can be brought formally to our attention. However, to project to the entire nation through the tri-media that medical doctors are tax cheats per se is absolutely unfair,” Dr. Leo Olarte, PMA President said in a media statement. (Jenny F. Manongdo)

 

Field Hospital

Canadian Ambassador to Manila Neil Reeder yesterday assured that the Canadian government will continue to assist the Philippines in the reconstruction and recovery phase of areas severely devastated by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Visayas region. Reeder made the assurance after the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) turned over an emergency field hospital to the Philippine Red Cross to assist in providing basic health services to the victims of the killer storm. The field hospital includes equipment from the CRC emergency response unit, locally-procured medical and technical supplies to fully restock the hospital, and ongoing training and technical support. “In times of large scale emergencies or disasters, these field hospitals can be deployed in any flat surface ground to serve a total of 30,000 people with its sufficient medical supplies that can last up to three months,” said PRC chairman Richard Gordon. (Roy C. Mabasa/Chito Chavez)

 

Akbayan Protest

Members of Akbayan Partylist yesterday stormed the Chinese Consular Office in Makati City to protest the firing of water cannons on Filipino fishermen by Chinese maritime vessels in the West Philippine Sea. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this latest act of hostility from China. This act is exceptionally contemptible not only because of the violent behavior displayed by China’s maritime vessels against our poor and defenseless fishermen but also because this was perpetrated within Philippine territory. It is a clear act of aggression by a trespasser,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said, in a statement. (Anna Liza Villa Alavaren)