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Cebu News Digest: March 13, 2015: 60-year-old tanod in Carcar dies after trying to break up catfight; Taxi driver to LTFRB: I did not threaten couple with knife

A 60-year-old barangay tanod in Carcar City died when he tried to break up a fight between two women. Cesar Pantonial was kicked in the crotch by one of the women and was declared dead upon arriving at the local hospital.

Joel Ramos, 45, driver of SD taxi, was more upset about being lambasted on Facebook than getting fined P1,000 for overcharging, saying the negative publicity is distressing his family.

In light of the conflicting claims, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) asked both sides to bring witnesses when the first formal hearing is scheduled.

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SD taxi
Dave Seyjorca, who accused taxi driver Joel Ramos of threatening him and his wife with a knife, posted an account of their experience on his social media account.

Here are the top stories for today, March 13, 2015:

Death by kick

Cesar Pantonial, a tanod of Barangay Ocaña in Carcar City, was declared dead upon arriving at the local hospital after he was kicked in the crotch allegedly by Rosarie Sarsa, one of the two women who were fighting.

Sarsa denied doing so, claiming she fainted from the injuries received from her neighbors she had a fight with.

She was looking for her husband, Robin, earlier that day when she saw Alicia Padin, 40, her neighbor. She suspected Padin of having an affair with her husband. Padin, irked, confronted Sarsa. The confrontation turned violent and worse when Padin’s two daughters, husband and mother joined the fight.

Pantonial, who happened to be passing by, tried to break up the fight. During the incident, he got kicked in the crotch and passed out.

The police is preparing a homicide complaint against Sarsa.

“How can I kick him (Pantonial) when I was on the ground being mauled by Alicia and her companions.” –Rosarie Sarsa

Driver, passenger face off at LTFRB

Facing his accusers at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-7, Joel Ramos, driver of SD Taxi, denied the allegations that he threatened his passengers with a knife after he was told to follow the P10 flag down cut.

Ramos, 47, from Consolacion, challenged the couple to present the CCTV footage taken from the security camera of the establishments at the Cebu I.T. Park where the alleged incident happened.

“Di na tinuod nga giti-unan nako siya og kutsilyo. Wa na nahitabo… Naa man gyud nay CCTV ang I.T. Park, ipatan-aw nila og naa ba koy dala nga kutsilyo. Ako pa man gani ang nagsulti niya nga kung naa kay reklamo adto reklamo sa LTFRB.” –Joel Ramos

Due to conflicting claims, LTFRB asked both sides to bring witnesses when the first formal hearing is scheduled.

“Gipakauwawan ko niya ug gihimong criminal sa iyang Facebook nga ako daw ang tawo nga angay pugotan ug ulo sa ISIS… Akong pamilya ug akong mga igsoon ug my kaliwat, akong anak, nauwaw.” –Joel Ramos

Other top Cebu News stories:

The Freeman: Capitol freezes use of Balili property
Cebu Daily News: 3- to 5- year jail term for woman trader who sold fake Colgate
The Freeman: Impounded truck ‘mysteriously’ catches fire
Sun.Star Cebu: Filinvest turns over 633 units for social housing

Cebu Business headlines:

The Freeman: CV tourist arrivals up 16% in 2014
Sun.Star Cebu: Don’t accept notes without security thread: bank official

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News

Cebu News Digest: March 12, 2015: Court orders Balilis to refund Capitol P37.8 for submerged property; 3 fires hit Cebu City in one afternoon

The court has ordered the estate of Luis Balili, Amparo Balili and lawyer Romeo Balili to return to the Province of Cebu P37.81 million, the amount Capitol paid for the submerged and mangroves areas of their property in the City of Naga that the former administration purchased.

Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Raphael Yrastorza Sr. said:

“Whether or not plaintiff knew of the submerged areas, the law would not allow the other party to take advantage of the ignorance of the party affected.”

Halfway through the Fire Prevention Month in March, three fires were reported in Cebu City yesterday. One was in South Road Properties (SRP), another in Barangay Guadalupe and the third in Barangay Sambag I.

Here are the top stories for today, March 12, 2015:

‘Simple justice’

Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Raphael Yrastorza Sr. ordered the estate of Luis Balili, Amparo Balili and lawyer Romeo Balili to return P37.8 million to the Cebu Provincial Government. This is the amount Capitol paid nearly seven years ago for a property in the City of Naga, which turned out to be submerged (80,124 sq. m.) and covered by mangroves (14,402 sq. m.).

In his 16-page decision dated Feb. 16, 2015, RTC Branch 14 Judge Raphael Yrastorza Sr. wrote:
“It is only simple justice, therefore, that the defendants should return what plaintiffs claimed; otherwise, it would be an injustice to allow defendants to be unjustly enriching themselves at the expense of the plaintiff (Cebu Province) for the value of the submerged area of 80,124 square meters on Lot SP-07-01-000048, and the mangrove area of 14,402 square meters on Lot SP-07-01000062, a total of 94,562 square meters, at P400 per square meter.”

“In the case at bar, defendants who received the benefits are not entitled to it and there is no legal right to receive it, considering that the areas supposedly sold to plaintiffs are inalienable and indisposable parts of public domain.”

Atty. Balili said he will file a motion asking the court to reconsider its decision.

Speaking for Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, lawyer Christina Frasco said that the decision confirms that former governor now Congresswoman Gwendolyn Garcia should not be held liable for relying on the titles of the properties when the Province acquired these.

3 fires reported in Cebu City in 1 day

A grass fire was reported at 1:12 p.m. near the San Pedro Calungsod Shrine in SRP. The fire was put out at 1:46 p.m.

Another grass fire broke out in a subdivision in Barangay Guadalupe eight minutes later. Residents doused the fire before Cebu City firetrucks arrived.

At 2:24 p.m., another fire was reported in Barangay Sambag I, which began inside a room of a two-storey boarding house owned by Virginia Ngosiok. The blaze was controlled after 11 minutes.

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: LTFRB brushes off cab drivers’ objections
Cebu Daily News: Cabrera: Don’t let remaining trees die, plant more
The Freeman: 2 cities share traffic burden in new scheme
Cebu Daily News: Cab driver denies poking knife; passengers
The Freeman: Complaint filed vs hospital staff over ‘malpractice’
The Freeman: Mayor, et al face raps over abattoir deal
Sun.Star Cebu: Filinvest turns over 633 units for social housing

Cebu Business headlines:

The Freeman: Bancnet, Megalink to merge this year
Sun.Star Cebu: Smart takes home 18 Quill awards
The Freeman: Cebu Bionic Builder introduces power-efficient products
Sun.Star Cebu: Entrepreneur Slater Young unveils building tech
The Freeman: Paramount Property Ventures Inc. allocates P.5B for more projects in Cebu

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Cebu News Digest: March 11, 2015: Fastcraft rams Cebu City pier; Couple threatened with knife over flagdown rate cut

M/V St. Sealthiel of the SuperCat line owned by 2Go Shipping crashed into the docking area of Pier 1 in Cebu City early Tuesday morning. The accident wounded 18 passengers and three crew members.

A call center agent and his wife were allegedly threatened when a taxi driver flashed a knife at them and shouted curses when they asked for a P10 discount as mandated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

2Go Shipping said it would shoulder the medical expenses of the stranded passengers. Cited as the cause of the accident was a “maneuvering control failure.”

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M/V St. Sealthiel
The M/V St. Sealthiel crashed into a docking area of Pier 1 in Cebu City. (Photo taken from prworksph.com)

Here are the top stories for today, March 11, 2015:

‘Stay seated’ until the vessel has safely docked

M/V St. Sealthiel, coming from Tagbilaran City, was maneuvering toward its berth at 8:25 a.m. when it rammed the pier in Cebu City.

Many of the 130 passengers, who were already standing before the ferry could dock, were thrown by the impact. A “maneuvering control failure” was cited as the cause of the accident.

At least 21 persons were wounded and were rushed to Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City. 2Go Shipping will shoulder all the needed medical expenses.

Capt. Lyndon Landoy, assistant vice president for operations of SuperCat said that fewer passengers would have been injured if they had stayed in their seats until the vessel had safely docked.

He assured that the incident is an isolated one.

Angry driver points knife at him over P10 discount

Irked for being asked for the LTFRB-ordered P10 discount on the flagdown rate, Joel Ramos of SD Taxi allegedly pointed a knife at Dave Seyjorca who was with his wife.

“Mikuha gyod siyag kutsilyo, then giti-unan mi. Nangurog na pag-ayo akong asawa. Dayon miingon ang driver, ‘Mosukol mo? Isog mo? (He pointed a knife at us. My wife was shaking in fear. Then, the driver said, ‘Will you fight back? Are you brave?’),” –Dave Seyjorca

This prompted Seyjorca to file a complaint at the LTFRB 7.

SD Taxi is owned by operator Sinforiano Doncillo of Barangay Cambinocot, Cebu City. Doncillo and Ramos were summoned by LTFRB 7 for a hearing on March 12.

The incident took place on the first day of the implementation of a nationwide rollback of the taxi flag down rate from P40 to P30 due to lower fuel prices.

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: Mandaue proposes to Rama road schemes to solve traffic congesting in NRA
Cebu Daily News: Rama backs earthballing of trees on S. Osmeña
Cebu Daily News: Police nab ‘leader’ of Cebu Hackers Gang
The Freeman: Not even ‘summer’ yet 32 grassfires recorded in Cebu City in 3 months
The Freeman: Luigi files bill creating Metro Cebu traffic body

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: Asean an ‘important’ bloc for US
Sun.Star Cebu: DOT backs eco-tourism zone for Ga-as, Balamban
Sun.Star Cebu: Cebu exporters welcome Fair Competition Act
The Freeman: RDC-7: Port woes may cause food price hikes

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Cebu News Digest: March 10, 2015: MCWD assures no water shortage during dry season; Heavier traffic felt in Mandaue City

Due to the dry season, Buhisan Dam is now at a “critical level” but the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MWCD) assured consumers that there is sufficient water supply.

After the rerouting plan at the North Reclamation Area was carried out, Mandaue City’s traffic congestion become heavier compared to Cebu City whose traffic condition is described as “manageable.”

Some taxi drivers and operators in Cebu refuse to follow the P30 flagdown rate, calling the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 order unreasonable. The board urged passengers to report these taxi drivers.

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Buhisan Dam
The Buhisan Dam is at ‘critical’ level due to the dry season. (Creative Commons photo by LeylanR.)

Here are the top stories for today, March 10, 2015:

As dry season starts, Buhisan Dam is drying up

MCWD confirmed that the Buhisan Dam is drying up and is already at a “critical” level. The dry season has just began.

There will be no water shortage, MCWD assured, because it gets additional water from the Carmen Bulk Water Supply Project. Buhisan Dam is not the main water source of MCWD.

From the usual 7,000 cubic meters of water per day, Buhisan Dam now only produces 3,000 cubic meters of water per day.

“On our own, we define it as a critical level, but we would like to assure the consumers nga di gyud maapektuhan ang ilang supply even if modugay pa ang dry season (that their supply will not suffer, even if the dry season lasts long).” –MCWD public affairs manager Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara

Still, MCWD is asking the public to conserve water, such as by recycling water to flush toilets.

Traffic in Mandaue heavier than in Cebu City

Cebu City Traffic Operations Management Executive Director Rafael Yap said that heavier traffic congestion is felt in Mandaue City while the traffic in Cebu City had turned “manageable” after the rerouting plan at the North Reclamation Area was implemented.

Hence, there is a need for coordination between the traffic organizations of the two cities. The identified bottlenecks are found along Ouano Avenue near the Aboitiz Football Field.

“It is unfortunate that Mandaue City is suffering the brunt of traffic impact, but this is simply reality. We (Mandaue City and Cebu City) both agreed that roads need to be repaired. We both agreed that it is an urgent necessity. We both agreed that it is for APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation).” –Cebu City Traffic Operations Management Executive Director Rafael Yap

Some taxi drivers refuse to give P10 rate cute

Some taxi operators and drivers in Metro Cebu did not follow the order of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 to lower the flagdown rate from P40 to P30, saying it was unreasonable.

The Metro Cebu Taxi Operators’ Association (MCTOA) under Chairman Richard Cabucos and Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative (Citrasco) under Chairman Benjamin Ryan Yu said that on their behalf, the Philippine National Taxi Operators’ Association (PINTOA) has filed a motion asking LTFRB to reconsider the flagdown rate cut.

MCTOA and Citrasco have passed resolutions supporting the motion for reconsideration filed by PINTOA.

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: Rama asks: What’s up with case vs. Tomas?
Sun.Star Cebu: 1 of 4 female MTCC judges gets Ungab case
The Freeman: Dumanjug mayor suspended for appointing council secretary

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: Cebu vital to Lexmark success
Sun.Star Cebu: Qatar preparations for World Cup present opportunities for Filipino workers: Dole
The Freeman: Insurance firms beef up Cebu operations

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Cebu News Digest: March 9, 2015: LTFRB to taxi drivers, operators: Impose P30 flagdown rate starting today or be fined P5T-P15T; Get protection order, battered husbands told

Taxi drivers or operators who will refuse to reduce their flagdown rate by P10 starting today, as ordered by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), will face stiff penalties.

Battered husbands can secure a Barangay Protection Order from the barangay captain to prevent their spouses from staying at their conjugal homes and avoid another incident of domestic abuse.

This school year’s graduates of Cebu City public schools are spared from paying fees, after the City Government decided to subsidize the P150 that each student was supposed to pay this month.

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taxi flagdown rate rollback
The P30 flagdown rate for taxis takes effect today. (Creative Commons photo by Daniel Y. Go.)

Here are the top stories for today, March 9, 2015:

P5T-P15T fines await taxi operators, drivers for noncompliance

Under the Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-001, taxi drivers and operators refusing to follow the new LTFRB en banc order of P30 flag down rate starting today will be fined P5,000 each for the first offense.

A fine of 10,000 will be imposed for the second offense. The taxi unit will also be impounded for 30 days.

On the third offense, the driver and operator will be fined P15,000 each and the Certificate of Public Conveyance or franchise for the taxi will be revoked.

According to LTFRB, passengers can file complaints of noncompliance. Once filed, both the driver and operator will be summoned. If the evidence is sufficient, LTFRB can impose penalties immediately.

LTFRB also informed the public that the P40 flag down rate will still reflect in the taxi meter until it is re-clibrated but the drivers should already deduct P10 from the total fare.

This does not include yet the 20-percent discount for senior citizens, students and Persons with Disabilities.

Protection order available for maltreated husbands

A battered husband can proceed to the barangay hall and ask for a Barangay Protection Order, which will disallow the wife of the complainant from entering their conjugal house to prevent more incidents of domestic abuse.

This is covered by the domestic violence ordinance authored by Cebu City Councilor Gerardo Carillo, which also gives equal protection to husbands who are being maltreated by their wives.

“Amo g’yud nga gihatagan og equal protection ang mga bana diha sa ordinansa kay duna may mga sitwasyon nga ang mga bana maoy gidagmalan sa ilang mga asawa.” –Cebu City Councilor Gerardo Carillo

The ordinance was crafted a few years after the enactment of Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act, in 2004, which only covers the rights of women and children.

2 men behind bars for cursing, insulting cops

Jurevel Simeni, 18, of Iligan City, and Vivencio Rocamora, 20, of Barangay Luz, Cebu City are jailed for allegedly insulting and cursing policemen who confronted them following a complaint by tourists whom they kept on following.

They are believed to be “gays” looking for customers.

During the confrontation, Simeni allegedly shouted at the police, said “buang ang mga pulis sa Cebu City,” and spat on the faces of PO1 Berlino Ricafort and PO1 Ariel Nuñeza.

Simeni resisted arrest while Rocamora tried to pull him away from the policemen. The former fractured his shoulder during the struggle, prompting the police officers to immediately bring him to Cebu City Medical Center for medical attention.

City Gov’t to subsidize graduation fees of public school students

The Cebu City Government decided to disburse P3.7 million as subsidy for the P150 graduation fee each of the students were supposed to pay this month.

Some 26,050 elementary and high school students are expected to graduate in Cebu City public schools.

The subsidy is covered by the newly approved City Ordinance 2412 (Ordinance Providing for Graduation Fees Subsidy to all Public Elementary and secondary Schools in the City of Cebu) that City Councilor Alvin Dizon authored.

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: 4 employees file complaints vs. OWWA 7 chief
Sun.Star Cebu: Search for missing Filipino crew of sank cargo vessel ends; Dinoy family mourns
The Freeman: After 2 years, fishermen still waiting for pay

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: More Filipinos poor in 2014
Sun.Star Cebu: Pag-ibig sets P5.22 B as Visayas loan target
Sun.Star Cebu: Local furniture market doing well: Cobonpue
The Freeman: PEZA: CV has 42 registered ecozones
The Freeman: Retail prices of chicken and pork down by P5
The Freeman: Cebu CFI Community Cooperative mulls real estate investments
The Freeman: International retail brands drive Phl tourism growth
Sun.Star Cebu: Belo beauty company sees double-digit growth this year

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Cebu News Digest: March 7, 2015: Taxi flagdown rate reduced to P30 starting Mar. 9; Tiu open to settlement in Ungab case, wants apology; Road repairs may not be finished by APEC events in August

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered the drop of the flagdown rate for taxis nationwide from P40 to P30 starting Monday. Commuters welcome the move but taxi operators plan to go to court to stop the rollback.

Lawyer Jiecel Tiu, according to her spokesperson lawyer Rex Fernandez, is amenable to enter into a compromise agreement but would like to set the conditions. One of the things she’s asking for is a written public apology from the vice mayor, his wife, and two other family members.

flagdown rate rolldown
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered a P10 cut in the flagdown rate for taxis nationwide. Creative Commons photo by Andrionni Ribo.

The bidding process and securing approval from the Cebu City Council for road rehabilitation projects is causing the delay of road repairs.

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Here are the top stories for today, March 7, 2015:

While the flagdown rate for taxis will be reduced by P10 from P40 to P30, the rate of P3.50 for each succeeding 300 meters of travel remains. The yellow taxis that serve the Mactan-Cebu International Airport are also included, with flagdown rate from P70 to P60.

The provisional rollback is due to lower fuel rates. Pump prices of premium gasoline and diesel have dropped more than P10 per liter between September 2014 and March 4, 2015.

The rollback is a welcome move for the commuters but some taxi operators in Cebu are planning to go to court to stop the rollback.

The last time the flagdown was P30 was in December 2010.

‘Ridiculous, stupid offer’

Tiu’s camp turned down the offer Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab presented when he visited Tiu’s residence in Minglanilla, Cebu Thursday night, calling it a ridiculous and stupid offer.

Fernandez denied that Tiu asked for P500,000 from Ungab to settle the case.

Tiu wants to set the conditions to the settlement, first of which is that Ungab, his wife Pearl and two of the vice mayor’s family members issue a written public apology to Tiu.

Pearl Ungab allegedly rammed Tiu’s car and attacked Tiu with a baseball bat last Feb. 26 over suspicions of an extra-marital affair between her husband and the lawyer.

Tiu is also seeking “restitution for damages incurred.”

Road repairs may be delayed, new traffic schemes to be explored

Cebu City may not be able to finish the road rehabilitation projects in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) whose meetings would start in August this year.

According to City Department of Engineering and Public Works Chief Jose Marie Poblete, accomplishing all the required documents may take two to three months. Also, since the appropriation for road projects are in lump sum, the budget per project need to be forwarded to the council for approval.

If there is no problem in the road right of way, road projects would usually take at least three months to finish in the urban areas.

Meanwhile, another traffic experiment will be implemented along Escario Street in Cebu City, with the inclusion of the internal road of the Capitol grounds for vehicular access, to address the traffic congestion in the Capitol area.

In the North Reclamation area, Mandaue City Traffic Manager Edwin Ermac said he would seek another coordination meeting next week to restore the two-way access in Ouano Avenue, to ease the severe traffic congestion in Mandaue City after the closure of S. Osmeña Road for rehabilitation work.

  • The Freeman: Road repairs may go beyond APEC dates
  • The Freeman: Traffic trial to use inner Capitol road

Other top Cebu News stories:

Cebu Daily News: Mandaue seeks 2-way access to ease S. Osmeña traffic
The Freeman: No BIFF, MILF in Cebu Province
Cebu Daily News: Men, boys walk on heels for Women’s Month
Sun.Star Cebu: ‘Fire those cops’
Cebu Daily News: 40 days after Mamasapano, pray for peace

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: Delegates fine-tune Cebu Action Plan
The Freeman: Phl at risk of losing designing advantage
The Freeman: Business groups encourage members to conserve power