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National Newsbits for September 30, 2013


Bishop Gabriel Reyes will preside the high mass at 9:30 a.m. today at the St. Jerome Parish Church in Morong, Rizal in commemoration of  the Feast of Saint Jerome (San Geronimo), the greatest translator of the Holy Bible, and the patron of theological learning, translators, and librarians. In Duenas, Iloilo, the “Anihan” Festival will be celebrated in honor of its patron. Festivities will also be held in Tapaz, Capiz; and in Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. In ancient Latin Christianity, St. Jerome was considered as the second most voluminous writer, next to St. Augustine. (Christina Hermoso)


Vice President Jejomar Binay has assured Filipino seafarers that they will not be blacklisted by European-flagged vessels amid the looming audit of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) next month. “There is no need to worry,” Binay said during the 18th National Seafarers Day in Manila. Binay said he got assurances from businessmen that the Philippines would not be blacklisted by European-flagged vessels. “This was again reaffirmed to me last July by the Vice President for External Affairs of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Henry Schumacher,” he said. (Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren)


The Bureau of Customs’ accreditation arm was given a new lease after Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima approved the reinstatement of lawyer Rhea Gregorio, head of Interim Customs Accreditation Registration (ICARE), and 15 officers, evaluators, and inspectors of the ad-hoc office. Purisima reinstated Gregorio and her team who had earlier been included in a massive BIR reshuffle starting off with those who don’t have plantilla position.  “In the exigency of the service and in order to prevent the disruption of operations, the following Customs personnel in the ICARE unit shall temporarily hold-on to their respective assignments/designations,” Purisima said in a one-page order. (Raymund F. Antonio)


An award-winning study shows that “angkak,” or red yeast rice, contains “lovastatin” which has the potential to lower cholesterol. The study on angkak presented by Dr. Dulce M. Flores, Ph.D., of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao in Davao City won 1st Place for the Oral Presentation Competition at the 7th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, according to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). (Edd K. Usman)


The cheap and ubiquitous “toasted siopao” would be available again soon after the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) lifted a closure order issued against its maker, 3N bakeshop. BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares allowed the resumption of baking operations after 3N owner Salvacion Santamaria agreed to make an initial payment of more than P6 million with the balance to be paid once the reinvestigation of the case is completed. The BIR padlocked last week the bakery’s main office in Barangay Potot, Libmanan, Camarines Sur and its 28 branches in Metro Manila, and in towns and cities in Bicol after the owner protested the original P81 million deficiency tax assessment for being “excessive” and “arbitrary.” (Jun Ramirez)