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National Newsbits for May 1, 2014

St. Joseph the Worker feast today 

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez will celebrate a solemn

mass at the San Jose Manggagawa Parish in Manuguit, Tondo, Manila at 5 p.m. today in observance of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph the Worker  (San Jose Obrero),  coinciding with Labor Day.  A Mass Wedding will be held at 9:30 a.m., to be followed by a Mass Baptism at 11 a.m. Parish priest Fr. Bobby Titco has earlier encouraged parents of newborn babies to consider naming their child Joseph or other variants of the name like Jose, Josefa, Josefina or Josephine to avail of the free baptism offered by the parish.  Homilies in today’s masses will focus on how St. Joseph, as a skilled carpenter, taught Jesus not only basic carpentry skills but also appreciation and awareness of the dignity of daily labor. (Christina I. Hermoso)

SC lifts penaltyon ex-justice

After five years, the Supreme Court (SC) lifted the penalty of disqualification to hold public office it had imposed on retired Justice Ruben Reyes who was found guilty of leaking a draft decision in 2008. In 2013, the SC had lifted the other penalty that banned Reyes from the practice of law. In his appeal, Reyes told the SC to reconsider its order that disqualified him “to hold any office or employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations.” Reyes said he wanted to live a normal life as a retiree from the judiciary for his personal health and peace of mind and that of his family. (Rey Panaligan)

Cost of Obama visit

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) wants the Philippine government to release to the public the amount of money they spent during the two-day visit of US President Barack Obama. Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace, said the government should release the information to the public especially since it involves the people’s money. “That’s not the money of the President (Aquino), it’s the money of the people that were spent during the Obama visit. Since it’s the people’s money they have the right to know where their money was spent. The government should be transparent,” he said. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

Qur’an reading competition slated

A chance to represent the Philippines in international events, cash prizes, plaques, and personal honor await the winners of the 40th National Qur’an Reading Competition to be held on May 3 in Quezon City. There are two contest categories, male and female, with 17 contestants each. The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), headed by CEO Bai Yasmin Busran-Lao, hosts the annual event at the Alumni Association Building of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. The NCMF cited the institutionalization of Qur’an reading events in the country as “a reiteration” of the national government’s policy to promote, preserve, and enhance the Muslim Filipinos’ Islamic heritage. (Edd K. Usman)

JICA donation

The Department of Health signed a 1.4-billion yen (P700-million) Memorandum of Agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the rehabilitation of health facilities damaged by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).  The fund will cover the construction of the outpatient building of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) and the rehabilitation of Regional Health Units (RHUs) of Dulag and Abuyog in Leyte, Marabut in Western Samar, and Lawaan in Eastern Samar.  “We believe that this partnership will result in Rural Health Units and an Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center that will be built back better able to withstand catastrophes like Yolanda and sustain services even during such catastrophes,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said. (Jenny F. Manongdo)