Comelec sees 20,000 media advance voters Created on February 15, 2013, 2:08 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections foresees up to 20,000 media practitioners to vote in advance of the May 13, 2013 elections, a Comelec official said Thursday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said 15,000 to 20,000 journalists and media technical crew members were expected to avail of the absentee voting option for media members.

“Local absentee voters shall vote any day on April 28, 29 and 30 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.,” the Comelec said in a resolution on absentee voting released Thursday.

To be able to vote, members of the press must first file on or before March 31 their application forms before the offices of the Provincial Elections Supervisors, City Election Officers and the Office of the Regional Election Director for those in Metro Manila, the Comelec said.

Those who can vote in advance include print, television, photo, online and radio journalists as well as documentary makers and television/radio production staffs.

Jimenez said media men should apply “individually,” and not course their application through their offices and also submit a certification from their superiors that they would not be able to vote on May 13 because of a conflict with their election coverage schedule that day.

Media voters’ list

Jimenez said the poll body would later release the list of media personnel who can vote in advance of May 13.

“That is why it’s important that they get the number of election office where they filed their application so that they can check if it was approved,” Jimenez said.

The Comelec said media men should also go to these election offices to cast their votes.

This is the first time that members of the media will be allowed to avail of the local absentee voting (LAV), which previously covered only concerned government employees like members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The Comelec decided to allow members of the press to vote in advance after media men Noel Angel Alamar, Ariel Ayala, Leslie Ann Aquino, Gerard Anthony Naval, Sheila Crisostomo and Jennifer Manongdo filed a petition on behalf of other members of the industry.

However, the voting for the local absentee will be manual. The ballots of local absentee voters will be placed inside sealed envelopes and sent to the Comelec head office in Intramuros, Manila.

The Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI) will convene on election day to count the votes cast by all local absentee voters.

 

In 18th year, PhilHealth expands coverage Created on February 15, 2013, 2:07 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines—Members of PhilHealth who have heart problems can now undergo treatment under the national health insurance program following the expansion of a package that previously covered only a few diseases.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona announced during PhilHealth’s 18th anniversary at Edsa Shangri-La Manila in Mandaluyong City on Thursday the release of the expanded Case Type Z Benefit Package, which now covers “catastrophic” illnesses such as severe coronary heart disease, congenital heart defects, and ventricular septal defects (holes in the ventricles of the heart).

Alexander Padilla, PhilHealth executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the package, which was released in July last year, previously covered treatments for breast and prostate cancer and leukemia in children; and dialysis only.

Under the expanded package, those with severe coronary heart disease can consume up to P550,000 for the coronary artery bypass surgery; those with congenital heart defects up to P320,000; and those with holes in the ventricles of the heart up to P250,000 in selected accredited hospitals.

Members with cervical cancer can also consume up to P120,000 for their treatment; and those who wish to undergo a prosthetic surgery for the lower limbs up to P15,000 per limb.

Ona said that authorities were also looking at the possibility of adding other sicknesses to the package in the future, and looking at ways to expand and partner with other accredited hospitals.

“As I said, we are still starting. We are still looking at the kinds of sicknesses that (Filipinos get inflicted with) and the costing in other hospitals,” he said.

In pursuance of this mandate, PhilHealth is tasked to ensure a sustainable national health insurance program, including an expanded government subsidy for the enrolment of the poor and the creation of local health service delivery system to all members.

In its 18th year, PhilHealth aims to rally the entire nation through the PhilHealth-DOH Nationwide Run to stage a push toward bringing universal healthcare into a reality.

The nationwide run on Sunday marks PhilHealth’s 18 years of service to the Filipino people, having been established in 1995. The event’s simultaneous gunstarts across 18 sites in the country emphasize the need for unity in aim and spirit.

In support of the country’s efforts toward achieving the Millenium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, proceeds from the event will be used to support national and regional institutions promoting the protection of mothers and children in the country. The national beneficiary of the PhilHealth Run 2013 is the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. The local beneficiaries vary per region.

RiteMed, the country’s leading uni-branded medicine, hosted Thursday’s press conference announcing PhilHealth’s thrust. RiteMed has an extensive portfolio of products for cardiovascular, respiratory, endo-metabolic, anti-infectious diseases, among others. In 2011, it started a campaign to push for the people’s right to health.

Will the Philippines Finally become an Asian Tiger Economy? Created on February 14, 2013, 8:29 am Posted by nup

We hope…but don’t hold your breath. We’ve been hearing a lot of rumblings about how great the Philippine economy is doing. The World Bank through its country director for the Philippines, Motoo Konishi stated that "The Philippines is no longer the sick man of Asia, but a rising tiger." And lately there are plenty of bright spots to point to, the most important of which is the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth: 6.6 percent in 2012—the highest in Southeast Asia—beating even the government’s high-end target of six percent.

Even tourist arrivals are up despite Hong Kong’s continued blacklisting of the country as a tourist destination since the 2010 Manila hostage crisis where 8 Chinese tourists were killed. And the Philippine Peso is now stronger than it has been since 2008—to the consternation of millions of OFWs who have seen the value their remittances steadily decline over time.

So are we seeing the start of the Philippines as a major economic player in the region, another Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, or maybe another Singapore? Well, as we stated earlier: don’t hold your breath because it is unlikely to happen anytime soon…probably not in our lifetime.

COA bans epal posters; violators face criminal raps Created on February 14, 2013, 6:47 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines - Putting up life-sized “epal” posters to announce government projects including dental missions and feeding programs is now a crime.

The new rules issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) cover even the little things that politicians do to grab credit like putting their names or faces on shirts, pens and candy wrappers.

The new policy on information and publicity for government programs, projects, and activities (PPA) said violators may face administrative liability or criminal charges.

COA chair Maria Grace Pulido-Tan and commissioners Juanito Espina Jr. and Heidi Mendoza signed Circular No. 2013-004 on Jan. 30, 2013 effectively making epal acts unlawful.

Bunawan: ‘Lolong’ stays with us Created on February 13, 2013, 6:30 am Posted by nup

s. Lolong will stay with us,” Elorde said, adding that so far, he has not received any communication or any offer for the remains of Lolong to be transferred from Bunawan.

The Guinness World Records had certified Lolong as the world’s biggest crocodile in captivity

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