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National Newsbits January 20, 2014

FEAST OF SAN SEBASTIAN TODAY

Bishop Teodoro Buhain will preside over a concelebrated high mass at 4 p.m. today at the Basilica de San Sebastian on Plaza del Carmen in Quiapo, Manila in solemn commemoration of the Feast of San Sebastian, the patron saint of athletes and soldiers. A procession bearing the venerated image of one of the most illustrious martyrs of the Catholic faith follows the mass. Feast rites will also be held by the Diocese of Bacolod City as well as in Lumban, Laguna. A native of France, St. Sebastian died fighting for his faith during the third century, when Christians were being killed and persecuted. (Christina I. Hermoso)

EXEMPT OSANG

OFW Family partylist Rep. Roy Seneres has asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue not to pressure Israel-based caregiver Rose Fostanes into paying taxes from income she won in capturing Israel’s X-Factor talent contest. Seneres said BIR should instead grant the 47-year-old Filipina singing sensation tax exemption for being “much pride and joy to the Philippines and the millions of OFWs” throughout the world. “I will file a bill exempting earnings like that of Osang’s from tax payment.  In the meantime, BIR should focus its attention on other types of incomes,” he said. (Ben R. Rosario)

P153M JACKPOT

The P142.5-million jackpot  of last Saturday’s Grand Lotto 6/55 draw  eluded bettors despite a total of 3,257,974 individual bets placed. However, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said that 23 bettors got at least five numbers of the winning combination of 27-08-48-09-46-45 that entitled them the second prize of P141,650 each. PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II estimated that Monday’s Grand Lotto jackpot would reach at least P153 million. (Edd K. Usman)

M.I.L.F. APPEAL

Under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “is travelling fast and covering much of the ground,” said MILF Chairman Al-Haji Murad Ebrahim.  Because of this, the MILF appealed to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) “to come to grip with reality that during the current Aquino administration, the only viable and pursued peace track is the one with the MILF.” The peace panels of the MILF and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) are scheduled to resume peace negotiation through the 43rd formal talks this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Edd K. Usman)

ARTLETS BATCH ’81

The University of Santo Tomas-Faculty of Arts and Letters (UST-Artlets) Batch 1981 will be launching a social assistance program called “TARALETS Help Project” during their Grand Reunion on Jan. 25 at the Manila Yacht Club (MYC), Manila Bay, Roxas Blvd., Manila. Jun Regalado, head of the reunion’s media committee, said the reunion will also feature a “Manila Bay Sunset Cruise,” with registration at 3:30 p.m., and program proper kicking off at 7:30 p.m. He said the “reunion will be a fellowship event that will not only re-kindle old ties but also evolve into fellowship to kinship — to be there for each other and the community at large, especially where help and assistance are needed.” (Edd K. Usman)