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National newsbits for May 10, 2014

Feast of Saint John of Avila

The Catholic Church celebrates today the Feast of Saint John (San Juan) of Avila, the venerated patron saint of the Spanish clergy and a Doctor of the Church. Commemorative rites such as feast masses and novenas will be held in several Catholic churches in many parts of the world in honor of the Spanish apostolic preacher, confessor, author, and mystic. Born in 1499 in Almodovar del Campo, Spain, St. John was ordained priest in 1526. His immense love and dedication to his poor brethren prompted him to sell all his properties and distributed the proceeds to the less fortunate. Many were influenced by his teachings, including holy men and women who were later canonized by the Catholic Church such as Teresa of Avila, John of God (San Juan de Dios), Francis Borgia, and Peter of Alcantara. St. John died in 1569 and was canonized by Pope Paul VI on May 31, 1970. (Christina I. Hermoso)


Water catchment

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) wants Congress to pass a law that would make it mandatory for shopping malls and big subdivision developers to install their own water catchment facilities to mitigate Metro Manila flooding. DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson made the proposal during the Flood Summit conducted by the House Committee on Metro Manila Development on Thursday. Singson said big shopping malls and subdivision should stop transferring huge amount of rainwater to smaller channels for local roads, saying this is being blamed for the overflowing of waterways and flooding of communities.  (Ben Rosario)


Japanese support

A visiting Japanese parliamentarian renewed his government’s support for the Philippines’ arbitration case which seeks to find a peaceful resolution to the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.  According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Norio Mitsuya said during his courtesy call on Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario Thursday that the filing of the case before the United Nations-backed Arbitral Tribunal that seeks to settle the longstanding territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea “adheres to international law.” (Roy C. Mabasa)


Cutting trees

Several trees believed to be over 50 years old have reportedly been cut down by workers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) despite the absence of tree cutting permits. In a privilege speech, Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said at least 18 trees lined up along a highway at the foot of Mt. Makiling in Los Banos, Laguna were cut to give way to a road widening project. Atienza denounced the DPWH for felling the trees, saying that even if it had sought a permit, government should not have allowed it. The DPWH project was pursued without necessary tree cutting permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. (Ben Rosario)


Defective clearance

The recruitment industry urged the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday to probe some local accredited clinics, which have been issuing defective medical clearance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for the Middle East. “The DOH should make surprise inspections on these clinics who are preying on Filipino applicants by fast-tracking medical procedures and issuing questionable laboratory results,” recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said. He noted that most of these clinics, which only have the capacity for 50 to 100 patients, have been processing the medical clearance of 300 to 500 aspiring OFWs daily. (Samuel P. Medenilla)