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DOJ driver slain, 2 others unhurt in SoCot gun attack

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Manila, June 3 — A driver of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) was killed while two others were unhurt in a gun attack in Tantangan town, South Cotabato, Wednesday morning. Col. Jemuel Siason, South Cotabato police director, said the victim and his two companions–one of whom said to be a vital prosecution witness in the Ampatuan massacre–were inside a vehicle traversing a portion of the national highway Barangay Bukay Pait when they were waylaid by unidentified gunmen at around 10 a.m. Siason said the suspects who were on board another vehicle reportedly maneuvered to the left side of the DOJ’s silver-gray Toyota Innova and opened fire. Siason said the group was on official travel and was heading to the airport here, adding that based on witness accounts, two vehicles and a motorcycle tailed the victims prior to the attack. The DOJ vehicle lost control after the shooting, hitting a nearby furniture shop and house about 60 meters away from the highway. Siason said the driver, identified as Richard Escobilla, was declared dead upon arrival by attending doctors at the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center in Koronadal City. He said the two other unhurt passengers are currently under the protective custody of joint police units. The police official said one of them, whose identity was withheld, was a security escort of the DOJ under the Witness Protection Program and managed to return fire during the shooting. The other passenger was Ampatuan massacre witness Mohamad Sangki, as later affirmed by prosecution counsel Nena Santos. “The investigation is still ongoing and we’re considering a number of angles,” Siason told reporters, adding pursuit operations were ongoing against the suspects. Witnesses said one of the vehicles and a motorcycle were last seen heading towards Koronadal City and the other towards the direction of Tacurong City. In an interview over Bombo Radyo in Koronadal City, Santos said the DOJ personnel were escorting Sangki who was on his way back to Manila. She said Sangki, whom she described as a “vital” prosecution witness in the Ampatuan massacre case, just came from Tacurong City. Santos, a counsel of Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangungudadatu, said the incident clearly targeted the witness and was meant to silence him. Last March, Sangki also survived an ambush in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao. “Our authorities, especially the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and the police should get into the bottom of this and immediately identify the perpetrators and the masterminds,” she said.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency
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PBA awaits IATF nod on return to practice

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Manila, June 4 — The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is set to submit a list of guidelines regarding how teams can practice again during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas said this following the board’s first physical meeting Wednesday at its office in Quezon City. He said that Commissioner Willie Marcial may submit the protocols to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) as early as Thursday.

“There are some people who offered to help us to follow this up with the IATF,” Vargas added.

The proposed guidelines are said to be stricter than the rules provided by FIBA regarding the resumption of training.

Marcial said that only six people, four players, one trainer, and another staff member, will be allowed to practice at a certain time.

Once their time is up, they must quickly leave the practice facility to make way for the next batch of players and staff members.

“It’s a process; dahan-dahan lang (we’re taking it slowly),” said PBA board vice chairman Bobby Rosales.

The practice hall should also be disinfected before and after training.

Vargas and Rosales added that players who have not yet been tested for Covid-19 are not allowed to join the practice.

“Testing is a must. Hindi puwedeng bumalik kung walang testing (They cannot return if there is no testing),” Vargas said.

Players from the San Miguel Corporation-owned clubs have already tested negative for Covid-19, while testing will also be done to the players of the MVP Group-owned teams by next week.

Once approved, teams can return to practice by the end of June provided that all the players are free from the virus.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency

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House panel okays extension of Duterte’s special powers

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Manila, June 4 — The House of Representatives Committee of the Whole on Wednesday night approved a measure to extend President Rodrigo Duterte’s special powers under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law for another three months or up to September 30.

The lower House constituted itself into a Committee of the Whole to approve a substitute bill consolidating House Bills 6811, 6868, 6952, and House Resolution 910.

The special powers granted to the President to combat the Covid-19 health emergency is only valid for three months, unless extended by Congress. The law was signed on March 24, 2020.

Another provision specified in the proposed measure is a PHP162-billion standby fund to support response measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

This standby fund includes PHP12 billion for the procurement of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and extraction kits; PHP18 billion for the implementation of the cash-for-work program; PHP5 billion for the implementation of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation Program; PHP21 billion for the unemployment or involuntary separation assistance for displaced workers; and PHP50 billion for the infusion of capital to government financial institutions.

Also included in the funding are various forms of financial assistance for affected sectors: PHP21 billion for the agricultural sector; PHP21 billion for the transportation industry; PHP10 billion for the tourism industry; and PHP4 billion for the education sector.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency

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Warm, humid weather in Luzon, Visayas on Thursday

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Manila, June 4 — Warm and humid weather, with chances of thunderstorms especially in the afternoon or evening will be experienced over Luzon and Visayas on Thursday, a weather specialist said.

Samuel Duran of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Mindanao, on the other hand, will experience fair weather with chances of thunderstorms.

This weather condition is caused by the easterlies affecting the eastern sections of Visayas and Mindanao, he said.

Light to moderate winds with slight to moderate seas will prevail over the whole country.

Duran said the low-pressure area (LPA) that PAGASA has been monitoring has a low chance of becoming a typhoon.

The LPA, last spotted 510 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes or 595 kilometers east northeast of Calayan, Cagayan, may dissipate in the next hours, he said.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency

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