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Arroyo to NCRPO chief: Probe kidnap cases

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:25:00 04/03/2009

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the new chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to investigate reported kidnapping incidents in the metropolis.

The President issued the directive to Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales in a speech before the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. in Pasay City on Friday.

Arroyo said she had ordered Rosales to “look into the kidnapping incidents in Metro Manila.”

“He has done a good job in Manila. I’m sure you’re supporting him [in his new assignment],” Arroyo said of Rosales, who was Manila Police District chief before he took over the NCRPO from Director Leopoldo Bataoil.

The President said security forces should “become even more vigilant” in the face of kidnapping incidents in the country.

An anti-crime crusader, Teresita Ang See, has said there were 40 cases of kidnapping so far this year, but the police leadership has refuted the figure.

Chinese-Filipinos are common targets of kidnap for ransom groups.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2009-04-03T17:59:57+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 03 Apr 2009 17:59:57 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm04

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Arroyo talks to freed Red Cross worker

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Commends troops, crisis committee

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:03:00 04/03/2009

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she talked on the phone with Mary Jean Lacaba, a Red Cross worker freed by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, after over 70 days in captivity.

Arroyo also commended the military, the police, the interior and defense departments, and the local crisis committee for working for Lacaba’s release.

“This [Friday] morning, I was able to talk tot he phone with Ms Lacaba. I told her I was happy that she was back with us,” the President said in speech before Chinese businessmen in Pasay City.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2009-04-03T17:58:45+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 03 Apr 2009 17:58:45 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm04

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Guinness bet photo mosaic for Arroyo birthday

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:37:00 04/02/2009

MANILA, Philippines—Government agencies will take a crack at a Guinness World Record by rolling out the largest photo mosaic, featuring 1,000 pictures of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The 180 x 160-foot tarpaulin print will be unveiled at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila at 11 a.m. on Sunday, the President’s 62nd birthday, Malacañang said in a statement.

The photos that will be used in the mosaic were taken by veteran photojournalist Revoli Cortez, the statement said.

It could not be immediately confirmed if the President will witness the unveiling of her photo mosaic. According to her schedule, she will celebrate her birthday in her hometown of Lubao in Pampanga province.

The event will be sponsored by the Office of the Press Secretary, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-04-02T08:50:51+00:00UTC04bUTCThu, 02 Apr 2009 08:50:51 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Gov’t to evacuate 21,000 villagers in Sulu

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:21:00 04/02/2009

MANILA, Philippines—The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) has set an emergency plan to evacuate 21,000 people from five towns in Sulu province, should hostilities erupt between the military and Islamic extremists who have been holding three Red Cross workers, Malacañang said Thursday.

The contingency plan will be activated in a “worst case scenario” when civilians are in danger of being caught in a crossfire, deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said

“The NDCC is seeing around 4,200 families that will be affected, roughly 21,000 people in five towns in Sulu. The DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] has identified 19 evacuation centers,” Golez told reporters in the Palace.

Golez said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo instructed Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., who chairs the NDCC, to prepare the plan.

The five towns that will be evacuated are Indanan, Parang, Maimbung, Patikul, and Talipao, he said.

A state of emergency was declared in Sulu last Tuesday as the Abu Sayyaf threatened to behead one of the International Committee of the Red Cross workers after the government did not heed the extremists’ demand to withdraw all its troops in Sulu.

Swiss national Andreas Notter, Italian national Eugenio Vagni, and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba were seized by the Abu Sayyaf while on a humanitarian mission in Sulu on January 15.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-04-02T07:49:51+00:00UTC04bUTCThu, 02 Apr 2009 07:49:51 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Arroyo orders testing of pistachio products

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Possible risk of Salde pistachio products recalled

By Joel Guinto, Dona Pazzibugan,
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 11:20:00 04/02/2009

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) to test all pistachio products in the market for salmonella contamination.

She also ordered a “swift and relentless” pullout of all products contaminated with the virus, her spokesman said Thursday.

The BFAD has warned the public against consuming pistachio products from California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc., which was being investigated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for salmonella contamination.

“Because of the President’s instructions to make sure that the market is safe from salmonella, the BFAD is sampling all pistachio products, even if not related [to Setton Pistachio],” deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said.

“The President ordered the DoH [Department of Health], through the BFAD, to be relentless and swift in taking from our markets all products believed to be contaminated by salmonella,” he said.

The BFAD has issued an advisory warning the public against a number of US-made pistachio products recalled or withdrawn in the US market because of possible risk of Salmonella contamination.

The government regulatory agency posted the list of recalled products in its website,
http://www.bfad.gov.ph.

“The BFAD is working closely with the pistachio importers and distributors (and) immediately initiated the conduct of sampling of imported pistachio and pistachio-containing products, and will determine if there is Salmonella contamination,” BFAD Director Leticia Gutierrez said.

BFA warned consumers not to eat the recalled products and to “postpone eating other pistachio containing products until information becomes available about whether that product may be affected.”

Meanwhile, Golez said BFAD has completed the first wave of the recall of Yummy and Ludy’s brand peanut butter, which were found to be contaminated with salmonella.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-04-02T07:46:54+00:00UTC04bUTCThu, 02 Apr 2009 07:46:54 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Arroyo: NLEX project to create 100,000 jobs

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:05:00 04/02/2009

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the construction of an alternate entry point to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) via Mindanao Avenue would generate some 100,000 jobs.

The President led the groundbreaking of the NLEX Phase 2-Circumferential 5 project on Mindanao Avenue, near the Valenzuela City border on Thursday.

“One hundred thousand jobs are available in the construction of this network,” Arroyo said in a chat with construction workers and truck drivers at the site.

She said the alternate entry point to the NLEX, Metro Manila’s gateway to Central and Northern Luzon, would reduce travel time.

Traffic is usually heavy in the Balinatawak Area, where the main entry point to the NLEX is located.

This is aggravated by the construction of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) extension from North Avenue in Quezon City to Monumento in Caloocan City.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-04-02T05:25:54+00:00UTC04bUTCThu, 02 Apr 2009 05:25:54 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Palace to ask Dutch gov’t ‘expel’ CPP founder

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:03:00 04/02/2009

MANILA, Philippines – The government would press the Dutch government to “expel” Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison and send him back to the Philippines to face murder charges, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s security adviser said Thursday.

Since the Philippines has no extradition treaty with the Netherlands, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said Malacañang would write to the Dutch government to seek the communist leader’s return to the country.

“We will look into our laws and their laws to find ways to have Sison expelled from the Netherlands and back to the country. We will really go after him,” Gonzales said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Dutch prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to charge Sison over the deaths of former New People’s Army (NPA) commander Romulo Kintanar, and Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Masang Pilipino-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) leader Arturo Tabara.

The NPA is the guerrilla arm of the CPP while the RPMP-RPA-ABB is a breakaway group from the NPA.

“Sison may be free now from the suit against him in Dutch courts but not from the arm of our own justice system,” Gonzales said.

Sison has been on exile in the Utrecth since the mid 1980s.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-04-02T05:24:12+00:00UTC04bUTCThu, 02 Apr 2009 05:24:12 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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