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Well… that’s how excited Filipinos are for the Christmas holiday. Being a Catholic country, Philippines have earned the distinction of celebrating the longest and the merriest Christmas season in the world. The suffix “ber” in the months is the signal and it begins today, September 1st!

So… Merry Christmas to our Filipino friends in the Philippines as well as to everyone in the world!

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Lord we pray for no after shocks, no tsunami, no one hurt. IN THE MIGHTY NAME OF JESUS we all take refuge.

– if you prayed this prayer… Agree with Amen.

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Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1967 – September 23, 1972[1]
Presidential Adviser on Defense Affairs
In office
1949–1954
Governor of Tarlac
In office
December 30, 1961 – December 30, 1967
Vice Governor of Tarlac
In office
December 30, 1959 – December 30, 1961
Mayor of Concepcion, Tarlac
In office
December 30, 1955 – December 30, 1959
Personal details
Born November 27, 1932
Concepcion, Tarlac, Philippines
Died August 21, 1983 (aged 50)
Manila International Airport, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Resting place Manila Memorial Park, Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party Liberal (1959–1983)
LABAN (1978–1983)
Other political
affiliations
Nacionalista Party (1955–1959)
Spouse(s) Corazon C. Aquino
Children Ma. Elena Aquino-Cruz
Aurora Corazon Aquino-Abellada
Benigno S. Aquino III
Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee
Kristina Bernadette Aquino
Residence Times Street, Quezon City
Alma mater University of the Philippines
Ateneo de Manila University
San Beda College High School (Class of 1948)
St. Joseph’s College, Quezon City
Occupation Politician
Profession Journalist
Religion Roman Catholicism

 

Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. (November 27, 1932 – August 21, 1983) was a Filipino Senator and a former Governor of Tarlac. Aquino, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition to the Marcos regime in the years leading to the imposition of martial law in the Philippines. In 1973 he was arrested and incarcerated for 7 years, but was allowed to depart for the United States to seek medical treatment after he suffered a heart attack in 1980. He was assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon returning home from exile in the United States in 1983. His death catapulted his widow, Corazon Aquino, into the limelight, and prompted her to run for President as a member of the UNIDO party in the 1986 elections. Manila International Airport has been renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his honor, and the anniversary of his death is a national holiday in the Philippines, Ninoy Aquino Day.

Early life and career

Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. was born in Concepcion, Tarlac, to a prosperous family of hacenderos (landlords), original owners of Hacienda Tinang, Hacienda Lawang and Hacienda Murcia.[6]

His grandfather, Servillano Aquino, was a general in the revolutionary army of Emilio Aguinaldo.[7]

His father, Benigno S. Aquino, Sr. (1894–1947) was the vice-president of the World War II Japanese collaborationist government of José P. Laurel. His father was one of two politicians representing Tarlac during his lifetime. The other was Jose Cojuangco, father of his future wife. His mother, Doña Aurora Aquino-Aquino, was also his father’s third cousin. His father died while Ninoy was in his teens prior to coming to trial on treason charges resulting from his collaboration with the Japanese during the occupation.[citation needed]

Aquino was educated in private schools—St. Joseph’s College, Ateneo de Manila, National University, and De La Salle College. He finished high school at San Beda College. Aquino took his tertiary education at the Ateneo de Manila to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, but he interrupted his studies.[8] According to one of his biographies, he considered himself to be an average student; his grade was not in the line of 90s nor did it fall into the 70s. At age 17, he was the youngest war correspondent to cover the Korean War for the newspaper The Manila Times of Joaquin “Chino” Roces. Because of his journalistic feats, he received the Philippine Legion of Honor award from President Elpidio Quirino at age 18. At 21, he became a close adviser to then defense secretary Ramon Magsaysay. Aquino took up law at the University of the Philippines, where he became a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi, the same fraternity as Ferdinand Marcos. He interrupted his studies again however to pursue a career in journalism. According to Maximo Soliven, Aquino “later ‘explained’ that he had decided to go to as many schools as possible, so that he could make as many new friends as possible.”[8] In early 1954, he was appointed by President Ramon Magsaysay, his wedding sponsor to his 1953 wedding at the Our Lady of Sorrows church in Pasay with Corazon Cojuangco, to act as personal emissary to Luis Taruc, leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group. After four months of negotiations, he was credited for Taruc’s unconditional surrender.[9]

He became mayor of Concepcion in 1955 at the age of 22.[10]

Political career

Aquino gained an early familiarity with Philippine politics, as he was born into one of the Philippines’ prominent oligarchic clans. His grandfather served under President Aguinaldo, while his father held office under Presidents Quezon and Jose P. Laurel. As a consequence, Aquino was able to be elected mayor when he was 22 years old. Five years later, he was elected the nation’s youngest vice-governor at 27, despite having no real executive experience. Two years later he became governor of Tarlac province in 1961 at age 29, then secretary-general of the Liberal Party in 1966. In 1967 he became the youngest elected senator in the country’s history at age 34.[citation needed]

In 1968, during his first year as senator, Aquino alleged that Marcos was on the road to establishing “a garrison state” by “ballooning the armed forces budget”, saddling the defense establishment with “overstaying generals” and “militarizing our civilian government offices”—all these caveats were uttered barely four years before martial law, as was typical of the accusatory style of political confrontation at the time. However, no evidence was ever produced for any of these statements.[citation needed]

Aquino became known as a constant critic of the Marcos regime, as his flamboyant rhetoric had made him a darling of the media. His most polemical speech, “A Pantheon for Imelda”, was delivered on February 10, 1969. He assailed the Cultural Center, the first project of First Lady Imelda Marcos as extravagant, and dubbed it “a monument to shame” and labelled its designer “a megalomaniac, with a penchant to captivate”. By the end of the day, the country’s broadsheets had blared that he labelled the President’s wife, his cousin Paz’s former ward, and a woman he had once courted, “the Philippines’ Eva Peron“. President Marcos is said to have been outraged and labelled Aquino “a congenital liar”. The First Lady’s friends angrily accused Aquino of being “ungallant”. These so-called “fiscalization” tactics of Aquino quickly became his trademark in the Senate.[citation needed]

Martial law, hunger strike

It was not until the Plaza Miranda bombing however—on August 21, 1971, 12 years to the day before Aquino’s own assassination—that the pattern of direct confrontation between Marcos and Aquino emerged. At 9:15 pm, at the kick-off rally of the Liberal Party, the candidates had formed a line on a makeshift platform and were raising their hands as the crowd applauded. The band played, a fireworks display drew all eyes, when suddenly there were two loud explosions that obviously were not part of the show. In an instant the stage became a scene of wild carnage. The police later discovered two fragmentation grenades that had been thrown at the stage by “unknown persons”. Eight people died, and 120 others were wounded, many critically. Aquino was absent at the incident.[citation needed]

Although suspicions pointed to the Nacionalistas (the political party of Marcos), Marcos allies sought to deflect this by insinuating that, perhaps, Aquino might have had a hand in the blast in a bid to eliminate his potential rivals within the party. Later, the Marcos government presented “evidence” of the bombings as well as an alleged threat of a communist insurgency, suggesting that the bombings were the handiwork of the growing New People’s Army. Marcos made this a pretext to suspend the right of habeas corpus, vowed that the killers would be apprehended within 48 hours, and arrested a score of known “Maoists” on general principle. Ironically, the police captured one of the bombers, who was identified as a sergeant of the firearms and explosive section of the Philippine Constabulary, a military arm of the government. According to Aquino, this man was later snatched from police custody by military personnel and never seen again.[citation needed]

President Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 and he went on air to broadcast his declaration on midnight of September 23. Aquino was one of the first to be arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and subversion. He was tried before Military Commission No. 2 headed by Major-General Jose Syjuco. On April 4, 1975, Aquino announced that he was going on a hunger strike, a fast to the death to protest the injustices of his military trial. Ten days through his hunger strike, he instructed his lawyers to withdraw all motions he had submitted to the Supreme Court. As weeks went by, he subsisted solely on salt tablets, sodium bicarbonate, amino acids, and two glasses of water a day. Even as he grew weaker, suffering from chills and cramps, soldiers forcibly dragged him to the military tribunal’s session. His family and hundreds of friends and supporters heard Mass nightly at the Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills, San Juan, praying for his survival. Near the end, Aquino’s weight had dropped from 54 to 36 kilos. Aquino nonetheless was able to walk throughout his ordeal. On May 13, 1975, on the 40th day, his family and several priests and friends, begged him to end his fast, pointing out that even Christ fasted only for 40 days. He acquiesced, confident that he had made a symbolic gesture. But he remained in prison, and the trial continued, drawn out for several years. On November 25, 1977, the Commission found Aquino guilty of all charges and sentenced him to death by firing squad.[citation needed]

1978 elections, bypass surgery, exile

In 1978, from his prison cell, he was allowed to take part in the elections for Interim Batasang Pambansa (Parliament). Although his friends, former Senators Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, preferred to boycott the elections, Aquino urged his supporters to organize and run 21 candidates in Metro Manila. Thus his political party, dubbed Lakas ng Bayan (“People’s Power”), was born. The party’s acronym was “LABAN” (in Tagalog). He was allowed one television interview on Face the Nation (hosted by Ronnie Nathanielsz) and proved to a startled and impressed populace that imprisonment had neither dulled his rapier-like tongue nor dampened his fighting spirit. Foreign correspondents and diplomats asked what would happen to the LABAN ticket. People agreed with him that his party would win overwhelmingly in an honest election. Not surprisingly, all his candidates lost due to widespread election fraud.[citation needed]

In mid-March 1980, Aquino suffered a heart attack, possibly the result of seven years in prison, mostly in a solitary cell. He was transported to the Philippine Heart Center, where he suffered a second heart attack. ECG and other tests showed that he had a blocked artery. Philippine surgeons were reluctant to do a coronary bypass, because it could involve them in a controversy. In additional, Aquino refused to submit himself to Philippine doctors, fearing possible Marcos “duplicity”; he preferred to go to the United States for the procedure or return to his cell at Fort Bonifacio and die. He also appeared in the 700 Club television ministry of Pat Robertson, where he narrated his spiritual life, accepted “Christ as his Lord and Savior” and became a born-again Christian, which sprang from a conversation with Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, who was involved in the Watergate Scandal during U.S. President Richard Nixon‘s administration.[citation needed]

On May 8, 1980, Imelda Marcos made an unannounced visit to Aquino at his hospital room. She asked him if he would like to leave that evening for the U.S., but not before agreeing on two conditions: 1) that if he left, he would return; 2) while in the U.S., he would not speak out against the Marcos regime. She then ordered General Fabian Ver and Mel Mathay to provide passports and plane tickets for the Aquino family. Aquino was placed in a closed van, rushed to his home on Times Street to pack, driven to the airport and put on a plane bound for the U.S. that same day, accompanied by his family.[citation needed]

Aquino was operated on at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. He made a quick recovery, was walking within two weeks and making plans to fly to Damascus, Syria to meet with Muslim leaders, which he did five weeks later. When he reiterated that he was returning to the Philippines, he received a surreptitious message from the Marcos government saying that he was now granted an extension of his “medical furlough”. Eventually, Aquino decided to renounce his two covenants with Malacañang “because of the dictates of higher national interest”. After all, Aquino added, “a pact with the devil is no pact at all”.[citation needed]

Aquino spent three years in self-exile, living with his family in Newton, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. On fellowship grants from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked on the manuscripts of two books and gave a series of lectures in school halls, classrooms and auditoriums. He traveled extensively in the U.S., delivering speeches critical of the Marcos government.[citation needed]

Planning return

A moving screen shot of Sen. Aquino as he was being escorted out of the plane by military personnel, minutes before being killed.

Throughout his years of expatriation, Aquino was always aware that his life in the U.S. was temporary. He never stopped affirming his eventual return even as he enjoyed American hospitality and a peaceful life with his family on American soil. After spending 7 years and 7 months in prison, Aquino’s finances were in ruins. Making up for the lost time as the family’s breadwinner, he toured America; attending symposiums, lectures, and giving speeches in freedom rallies opposing the Marcos dictatorship. The most memorable was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, California on February 15, 1981.[11]

In the first quarter of 1983, Aquino received news about the deteriorating political situation in his country and the rumored declining health of President Marcos (due to lupus). He believed that it was expedient for him to speak to Marcos and present to him his rationale for the country’s return to democracy, before extremists took over and made such a change impossible. Moreover, his years of absence made his allies worry that the Filipinos might have resigned themselves to Marcos’ strongman rule and that without his leadership the centrist opposition would die a natural death.[citation needed]

Aquino decided to go back to the Philippines, fully aware of the dangers that awaited him. Warned that he would either be imprisoned or killed, Aquino answered, “if it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it. But I cannot be petrified by inaction, or fear of assassination, and therefore stay in the side…”[12] His family, however, learned from a Philippine Consular official that there were orders from Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to issue any passports for them. At that time, their visas had expired and their renewal had been denied. They therefore formulated a plan for Aquino to fly alone (to attract less attention), with the rest of the family to follow him after two weeks. Despite the government’s ban on issuing him a passport, Aquino acquired one with the help of Rashid Lucman, a former Mindanao legislator and founder of the Bangsamoro Liberation Front, a Moro separatist group against Marcos. It carried the alias Marcial Bonifacio (Marcial for martial law and Bonifacio for Fort Bonifacio, his erstwhile prison).[13] He eventually obtained a legitimate passport from a sympathizer working in a Philippine consulate through the help of Roque R. Ablan Jr, then a Congressman. The Marcos government warned all international airlines that they would be denied landing rights and forced to return if they tried to fly Aquino to the Philippines. Aquino insisted that it was his natural right as a citizen to come back to his homeland, and that no government could prevent him from doing so. He left Logan International Airport on August 13, 1983, took a circuitous route home from Boston, via Los Angeles to Singapore. In Singapore, then Tunku Ibrahim Ismail of Johor met Aquino upon his arrival in Singapore and later brought him to Johor to meet with other Malaysian leaders.[14] Once in Johor, Aquino met up with Tunku Ibrahim’s father, Sultan Iskandar, who was a close friend to Aquino.[15]

He then left for Hong Kong and on to Taipei. He had chosen Taipei as the final stopover when he learned the Philippines had severed diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan). This made him feel more secure; the Taiwan government could pretend they were not aware of his presence. There would also be a couple of Taiwanese friends accompanying him. From Taipei he flew to Manila on then Taiwan’s flag carrier China Airlines Flight 811.[citation needed]

Marcos wanted Aquino to stay out of politics, however Aquino asserted his willingness to suffer the consequences declaring, “the Filipino is worth dying for.”[16] He wished to express an earnest plea for Marcos to step down, for a peaceful regime change and a return to democratic institutions. Anticipating the worst, at an interview in his suite at the Taipei Grand Hotel, he revealed that he would be wearing a bullet-proof vest, but he also said that “it’s only good for the body, but for the head there’s nothing else we can do.” Sensing his own doom, he told the journalists accompanying him on the flight, “You have to be ready with your hand camera because this action can become very fast. In a matter of 3 or 4 minutes it could be all over, and I may not be able to talk to you again after this.”[17] In his last formal statement that he wasn’t able to deliver, he said, “I have returned to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedom through violence. I seek no confrontation.”

Assassination

The aftermath of Aquino’s assassination

Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983, when he was shot in the head after returning to the country. At the time, bodyguards were assigned to him by the Marcos government. A subsequent investigation produced controversy but no definitive results. After the Marcos government was overthrown, another investigation found sixteen defendants guilty. They were all sentenced to life in prison. Some were released over the years, the last ones in March 2009.[18]

Another man present at the airport tarmac, Rolando Galman, was shot dead shortly after Aquino was killed. The Marcos government claimed Galman was the trigger man in Aquino’s assassination.

Funeral

Sen. Ninoy Aquino’s grave (right) is next to his wife Corazon Aquino‘s (left) at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque, Philippines.

Aquino’s body lay in state in a glass coffin. No effort was made to disguise a bullet wound that had disfigured his face. In an interview with Aquino’s mother, Aurora, she told the funeral parlor not to apply makeup nor embalm her son, to see “what they did to my son”. Thousands of supporters flocked to see the bloodied body of Aquino, which took place at the Aquino household in Times St., Quezon City for nine days. Aquino’s wife, Corazon Aquino, and children Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, Noynoy and Kris arrived the day after the assassination. Aquino’s funeral procession on August 31 lasted from 9 a.m., when his funeral mass was held at Santo Domingo Church in Santa Mesa Heights, Quezon City, with the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Sin officiating, to 9 p.m., when his body was interred at the Manila Memorial Park. More than two million people lined the streets during the procession which was aired by the Church-sponsored Radio Veritas, the only station to do so. The procession reached Rizal Park, where the Philippine flag was brought to half-staff.[citation needed]

Jovito Salonga, then head of the Liberal Party, said about Aquino:

Ninoy was getting impatient in Boston, he felt isolated by the flow of events in the Philippines. In early 1983, Marcos was seriously ailing, the Philippine economy was just as rapidly declining, and insurgency was becoming a serious problem. Ninoy thought that by coming home he might be able to persuade Marcos to restore democracy and somehow revitalize the Liberal Party.[19]

and called him “the greatest president we never had”[19]

Legacy

In Senator Aquino’s honor, the Manila International Airport (MIA) where he was assassinated was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and his image is printed on the 500-peso bill. August 21, the anniversary of his death, is Ninoy Aquino Day, an annual public holiday in the Philippines.[20] Several monuments were built in his honor. Most renowned is the bronze memorial in Makati City near the Philippine Stock Exchange, which has become a popular venue for anti-government rallies and large demonstrations. Another bronze statue is in front of the Municipal Building of Concepcion, Tarlac.[citation needed]

Although Aquino was recognized as the most prominent and most dynamic opposition leader of his generation, in the years prior to martial law he was regarded by many as being a representative of the entrenched familial elite which to this day dominates Philippine politics. While atypically telegenic and uncommonly articulate, he had his share of detractors and was not known to be immune to ambitions and excesses of the ruling political class.[citation needed] However, during his seven years and seven months imprisoned as a political prisoner of Marcos, Aquino read the book Born Again by convicted Watergate conspirator Charles Colson and it inspired him to a religious awakening.[21]

As a result, the remainder of his personal and political life had a distinct spiritual sheen. He emerged as a contemporary counterpart of Jose Rizal, who was among the world’s earliest proponents of the use of non-violence to combat a repressive regime. Some remained skeptical of Aquino’s redirected spiritual focus, but it ultimately had an effect on his wife’s political career. While some may question the prominence given Aquino in Philippine history, it was his assassination that was pivotal to the downfall of a despotic ruler and the eventual restoration of democracy in the Philippines.[citation needed]

Personal life

On October 11, 1954, he married Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco, with whom he had five children (four daughters and a son):[citation needed]

  • Maria Elena Aquino-Cruz (Ballsy, born August 18, 1955), married to Eldon Cruz, sons Justin Benigno “Jiggy” Cruz and Eldon “Jonty” Cruz, Jr.
  • Aurora Corazon Aquino-Abellada (Pinky, born December 27, 1957), married to Manuel Abellada, son Miguel Abellada, daughter Nina Abellada
  • Benigno Simeon Aquino III (Noynoy, born February 8, 1960), the 15th and current President of the Philippines
  • Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee (Viel, born October 27, 1961), married to Joseph Dee, son Francis “Kiko” Dee, daughter Jacinta Patricia “Jia” Dee
  • Kristina Bernadette Aquino (Kris, born February 14, 1971), married to James Yap (2005–2010), sons Joshua Philip “Josh” Aquino Salvador and James “Baby James/Bimby” Aquino Yap, Jr.

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Lord God the father and creator of heaven and earth give your hand to Sec. Jesse Robredo and to the pilots of airplane for their safety and hopefully the rescue team they will found alive and safe. You are the most powerful in the world and nothing impossible to you. save the life of the pilots and the dilg sec. We pray in the name of Jesus your son. Amen.

Divers searching depths of up to 285 feet for DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo and to the Pilots of airplane. Divers searching for the plane of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo are probing depths of up to 285 feet, and face a host of dangers from diving that deep. Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas, who has been posting updates on the fruitless search so far, says that divers are searching in waters from 131 to 285 feet, and are being advised not to stay underwater more than 10 minutes to avoid nitrogen narcosis.

“Search area has depths of 40 to 87 meters. Human Scuba can only do 10 minutes at 40 meters (131 feet) before nitro narcosis,” Roxas tweeted Sunday morning, referring to a condition in which divers experience an effect akin to tipsiness from alcohol. The diver’s judgment is imparied, endangering himself and any dive companions.

In fact, according to experienced divers contacted by GMA News Online, divers can stay in water that deep for as long as 30 minutes with the right equipment and training.

“You cannot dive that deep with just air, you need mixed gases,” says dive instructor Chen Mencias.

Technical diver Dave Dy, who is certified to explore shipwrecks, says ten minutes do not give a diver much time to search, and advises that the scuba divers involved in the search breathe mixed gases and bring multiple tanks to enable a longer time underwater and increase the chances of finding the plane fast. But deep-water diving takes specialized training.

“It is possible to get out of deep water fast and safely using a blend of gases (in the scuba tank),” says Dy. “But the deeper one dives, the greater the chance of narcosis.”

A diver who dives that deep risks not only narcosis but bends or decompression sickness, which can cause paralysis or death, according to Dy.

Compression divers, or local fisherfolk who use improvised equipment to stay underwater for long periods of time, were reported to be assisting in the search on Saturday. “That’s even  more dangerous,” says Dy.

Most Filipino divers use feet as a unit of measurement when referring to depth.

Aside from Robredo, the two others missing are veteran pilot and flight instructor Jessup Bahinting and his Nepali co-pilot Kshitiz Chand. Bahinting is also the chief executive officer of the Mactan-based aircraft rental company and flying school Aviatour Air, which owns the plane that crashed. According to Chand’s Facebook page, he graduated from Aviatour Flight School in 2011 and identified himself as a commercial pilot.

Growing search and rescue effort

Roxas earlier tweeted that sonar equipment from Cebu was deployed to help in the search.
According to an NDRRMC report, the Coast Guard is conducting search and rescue operations with five Special Operations Group personnel with diving equipment, a search and rescue vessel with Navy medical personnel, and a helicopter.Naval Forces Southern Luzon also deployed two patrol gunboats for the search and rescue effort. The Philippine Red Cross, local divers, medical teams from LGUs, Bantay Dagat volunteers, and Philippine Navy all responded to the incident.

The US Navy has also offered the services of a Fleet Survey Team, composed of hydrographers who can collect and analyze ocean data in the area to assist in the search.

A portion of the right wing of the Piper Seneca four-seater was found Saturday evening. The wings of the plane contain the fuel tanks, so earlier reports that a fuel tank was discovered by fishermen Saturday night could  be referring to the same debris. – Howie Severino/Carmela Guanzon Lapeña, GMA News

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The MMDA, via their twitter account @MMDA, continues to list the areas considered impassable in Metro Manila.

  • As of 5:20 AM, Cainta Junction; waist deep, not passable to all types of vehicle. #mmda
  • As of 5:24 AM, Marcos Highway-Masinag; waist deep, not passable to all type of vehicle. #mmda
  • As of 5:55 AM, C4 Lascano NB/SB; 17-20 inches; R.Papa not passable to light vehicle
  • As of 6:07 AM, C.Raymundo/De Castro; Chest deep
  • As of 6:08 AM, Reina Reigente Recto is waist deep; Alvarado to Rizal Avenue is knee deep; CM Recto-Rizal WB is waist deep; Doroteo Jose Soler up to the knee; Ramon Magsaysay Blvd: V.Mapa, waist deep #mmda
  • As of 6:47 AM, EDSA P. Tuazon Tunnel is not passable. #mmda
  • As of 7:30 AM, Araneta Ave to Caliraya – neck deep; N.Domingo to Gilmore – subsided; Maria Clara-Araneta, not passable to all types of vehicle; Quirino Singalong Taft Roxas Blvd, subsided; CM Recto-Quezon Blvd, not passable to all types of vehicle; Ortigas de Castro, chest deep; Ramon Magsaysay Blvd-V.Mapa, waist deep; Doroteo Jose to Soler, knee deep
  • As of 8:00 AM, Aurora Blvd-Araneta Ave; waist deep, not passable to all types of vehicle.

9:26 am update

  • Quezon City: E. Rodrigez-Araneta, Talayan-Araneta, Araneta Kaliraya and Araneta Ma. Clara is not passable to all types of vehicle,(Waist deep).
  • Osmeña Hway: Gil Puyat is not passable.
  • San Juan Area: F. Manalo Blumentrit, Brgy. Salapan, Rivera St. , A.Fernandez, R.Fernandez, San Joaquin, San Perpecto, Aurora SM Center Point is not passable to all types of vehicles.
  • Western: CM Recto-Rizal W/b-(waist deep), Doroteo to Jose Soler- (Knee deep), RMD V.Mapa-(waist deep).
  • España, Manila City Hall, UN Taft, RMB Pureza and RMB Old Sta.Mesa is not passable to light vehicles.
  • Recto Underpass is not passable too all types of vehicles.

– AMD, GMA News

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Officials are now speaking about a “waterworld” in Manila

At least 16 people have died in severe floods in the Philippine capital, Manila officials say.

More than 80,000 people are taking refuge in emergency shelters, as heavy rain continues.

Soldiers and rescuers are using rubber boats to reach people stranded in their homes, but some are refusing to leave amid fears of looting.

The flooding – neck-deep in some areas of the city – forced the closure of offices and schools around the city.

In the worst reported incident, nine members of one family died after a landslide hit shanty houses.

More than half the amount of rain normally seen in August has fallen in the capital in 24 hours, with the head of the national disaster agency describing the situation as a “waterworld”.

President Benigno Aquino urged for the public’s co-operation, warning that the government did not have “infinite capabilities” to deal with the natural disaster.

Manila and the northern Philippines have suffered constant bad weather since Typhoon Saola struck just over a week ago, killing more than 50 people.

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Work in the private sector and in most government offices resume Wednesday after the Office of the President opted to not issue another directive suspending workplace operations, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said shortly after 3 a.m. of August 8.
Malacañang also decided to let classes resume in areas and at curriculum levels where it suspended classes on Tuesday.
But Lacierda said the declarations of some national agencies, such as the Commission on Audit, suspending work Wednesday will stand.
He also said announcements made by local governments concerning the suspension of work and classes in their jurisdictions will also remain in force.

Also, he urged the public “to remain vigilant, and aware of alerts and advisories from the authorities, concerning the weather.”

Lacierda said “occasional intense rainfall” had been observed from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday, but it is projected to lessen within the day.
“Even as the situation remains of concern for so many citizens affected by the rain and flooding, it is imperative that we begin returning to normalcy as soon as possible,” he said.
He said this means government workers should report to their offices “to continue, and accelerate, efforts at rescue, relief, and rehabilitation.”
On the other hand, he said the private sector needs to return to work as well.
“Goods and service must resume so as to speed up the repair of damaged infrastructure, the circulation of goods and supplies throughout the metropolitan area and other affected regions,” he said.
Lacierda also urged Filipinos to keep in mind thousands of fellow Filipinos who need their assistance and support.
He called on Filipinos to show the “empathy, sympathy, cooperation and can-do attitude that have served us so well during this emergency.”

Meanwhile, The House of Representatives on Wednesday declared a resumption of work in its offices, a day after it suspended session and office work due to floods brought by heavy rain in past days on Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

But the House, in an announcement posted on its website early Wednesday, said the plenary session was still suspended to let House members coordinate relief work for their constituents.
“Per declaration of the Hon. Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr., plenary session on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, is suspended to enable House Members to undertake coordinated relief work.  However, Secretariat work (is) NOT suspended until notice to that effect is issued,” it said.

Here is the full text of the Lacierda statement onthe resumption of work:

Statement of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:
On the resumption of work today
[August 8, 2012]
On the basis of the best available information at the present time, and the recommendation and the forecast of PAGASA, the Office of the President will not issue a Memorandum Circular suspending work for government or the private sector today, August 8. The public is therefore advised that work in national government offices and the public sector resume today. The declarations of some national agencies, such as the Commission on Audit, suspending work today, and announcements made by local governments concerning the suspension of work and classes in their jurisdictions, however, remain in force.
Occasional intense rainfall has been observed from 8 p.m. last night to 1 a.m. today, but it is projected to lessen within the day. Even as the situation remains of concern for so many citizens affected by the rain and flooding, it is imperative that we begin returning to normalcy as soon as possible. This requires government workers to report to their offices to continue, and accelerate, efforts at rescue, relief, and rehabilitation. The private sector, too, needs to return to work. Goods and service must resume so as to speed up the repair of damaged infrastructure, the circulation of goods and supplies throughout the metropolitan area and other affected regions.
As we emerge from this emergency, let us bear in mind the many thousands of our countrymen who will continue to need our assistance and support. We call on our fellow citizens to continue to demonstrate the empathy, sympathy, cooperation and can-do attitude that have served us so well during this emergency. Continue to remain vigilant, and aware of alerts and advisories from the authorities, concerning the weather. — Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, Malacañang

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‘Unprecedented’ heavy rain to continue until Thursday

t’s a flood without a name.

Unlike 2009’s Ondoy, the deluge of August 7 was not accompanied by a storm, hence the absence of a common handle for a flood that easily recalled its infamous predecessor.

The disaster is far from over, as forecasters say Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon will continue to experience heavy rain until Thursday. The southwest monsoon is being enhanced by a tropical storm near Taiwan.

In a briefing on Tuesday, GMA News’ resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz said the amount of rainfall dumped by the southwest monsoon is “unprecedented” since no cyclones have been spotted within the Philippine area of responsibility.
Cruz said that based on data from PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), the southwest monsoon has already poured 323.4 millimeters of rain during the past 24 hours — more than half the average rainfall of 504 millimeters for the entire month of August.
“We need to re-analyze what happened. As far as I am concerned, hindi pa ito nangyayari before na purely southwest monsoon lang ang nagpaulan ng ganito karami,” he said.

Cruz added that this figure is still below the amount of rainfall brought by Tropical Storm Ondoy as recorded by PAGASA in September 2009.

The weather disturbance poured 455 millimeters of rain over Metro Manila and nearby provinces from 8 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2009 to 8 a.m. the following day.

PAGASA said heavy rains experienced over much of Luzon, including Metro Manila, were caused by the southwest monsoon enhanced by Tropical Storm Haikui located 300 kilometers northeast of Taiwan.

The intense rainfall has caused neck-deep floods in parts of Quezon City and forced many families to flee their homes.

‘Antecedent condition’

Cruz likewise explained that the amount of rain brought by Typhoon Gener, which hit  Luzon last week, served as an “antecedent condition” for the southwest monsoon to cause heavy flooding in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.
“’Yung sinimulan ni Gener, tinatapos ni Haikui. Kaya kahit walang legitimate weather system sa Philippine area of responsibility, patuloy ang pag-ulan,” he said.
He added that while the expected average rainfall for Tuesday night will only be within the normal rate of 4 millimeters per hour, problems with drainage systems and land use may still amplify the effects of the southwest monsoon.
In its bulletin posted at 1 p.m. Monday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said over 8,000 people have already been affected by the nonstop rains caused by the southwest monsoon in four regions of the country.
President Benigno Aquino III has assured the public that the government is exerting its “maximum effort” to help those affected by the torrential rains. — RSJ/HS, GMA News

Manila, Philippines (CNN) — Flood waters were rising around the Philippine capital on Tuesday as torrential rains that have killed more than 50 people in recent weeks continued to drench the country.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a red alert signal for the metropolitan region of Manila, the capital, warning of serious flooding in the urban heart of the Philippines.

Deep water in many parts of metropolitan Manila blocked roads, stranded cars and flooded homes. In several areas, the water was waist deep or higher, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said in its Twitter feed.

Video from CNN affiliate ABS-CBN showed fast-flowing torrents of water carrying debris past submerged houses in the Manila region. People up to their necks in the water scrambled to get out.

Police officers and army reservists have been mobilized to help with rescue efforts, the network reported.

Local officials were urging residents to move to higher ground from affected neighborhoods. The authorities in Marikina City imposed a forced evacuation of areas near the Marikina River, which has risen above critical levels, the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported.

Typhoon, tropical storm hit Asia

Typhoon Saola batters Taiwan

The dam on the La Mesa Reservoir near Quezon City began overflowing on Monday night, sending more water toward low-lying areas, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

The rain and floods prompted the Philippine Stock Exchange to close Tuesday and the Philippine National Railways to suspend its provincial and commuter services, according to the PNA.

The heavy monsoon rains have inundated the island of Luzon, where Manila is situated. The downpours are expected to continue into Wednesday, PAGASA said, warning that landslides and flash floods were likely in mountainous areas.

The effects of the monsoon are being exacerbated by Typhoon Haikui, which is moving toward the eastern coast of China, hundreds of kilometers to the north.

Besides the Manila region, which is home to nearly 12 million people, severe flooding was being reported in other areas of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines.

Nearly 19,000 people displaced by the rain and floods were staying in evacuation centers as of Tuesday, the national disaster council said.

The Philippines had already been lashed by heavy rain and wind in recent weeks resulting from Tropical Storm Saola, which plowed past the country before hitting Taiwan and China at the end of last week. The combination of Saola and monsoon rains had left a total of 53 people dead in the Philippines by Tuesday morning, according to the disaster council.

Infrastructure is poor and poverty is widespread in the Philippines. Many people live in crowded neighborhoods full of badly constructed houses.

The country is frequently the victim of flooding and landslides caused by heavy rain. In December, Tropical Storm Washi left more than 1,200 people dead after it set off flash floods that swept away entire villages in the southern Philippines.

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Mr. Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon, passed away, July 17, 2012 at 2034H (8:34PM) due to Multiple Organ Failure, secondary to complications brought about by Severe Pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Acute Renal Failure. According to Makati Medical Center .

Every Filipino People now give the sympathy to the Family of Dolpy because of his death. Six (6) decades of laughter given by the One and Only King of Philippine Comedy ” Rodolfo Quizon” Dolpy. Thank you for the joy you share for every Filipino and even to all people around the world who watch your movie, you are the model to us. I’m sure you are in the hand now of our  Lord.

Despite his high regard for the late King of Comedy Dolphy (or Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life), President Benigno Aquino III won’t intervene in the process to select the new set of National Artists.

“The President thinks very highly of Mang Dolphy. However, we have stated in the past that we do not want to politicize the process. We do not want to make any prejudgments,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday.
She issued the statement amid calls to declare Dolphy, who passed away on Tuesday night, as National Artist.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), together with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), manages the process for the award.
The selection of nominees is administered by the Special Research Group, which validates the works of the nominees, and the National Artist Award Council of Peers, which screens the nominees and recommends them to the NCCA and CCP boards. The boards then deliberate and make a vote.
The final list is then presented to the President, who confirms the list and confers the award.
Dolphy nominated
Valte said that Communications Group Undersecretary Manolo Quezon had spoken to the NCCA last week and was informed that Dolphy has been nominated for the Award.
She said the late comedian was nominated by the Manila City Council.
“They will be receiving other nominations. The NCCA has gotten clearance from the Office of the Solicitor General to proceed with the screening and the vetting of nominees for National Artist for 2012. So they will be proceeding with their screening and vetting,” she said.
Valte said that when Dolphy was nominated for the same award in 2009, he only managed to pass the first screening and not the succeeding ones.
She noted, however, that they don’t want to preempt the selection process.  She likewise refused to comment on Aquino’s inclination regarding the issue.
“The President obviously has very great respect for Mang Dolphy. Nakita naman din po natin ‘yung naging pahayag ‘nung Pangulo—‘yung naging pahayag ng Pangulo noong ginawaran po siya ‘nung Order of the Golden Heart—and apart from that the statement of the President yesterday,” she said.
“[Pero] magsasalita na lang po tayo kapag nakapagbigay na ng shortlist ang NCCA for the award,” she added.
Earlier in the day, the Palace official also said that the conferment of the award must go through the proper process.
The award
The National Artist Award (Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is considered “the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts.”
The award is given both to living artists and to those who died after the establishment of the award in 1972 who excelled in the following fields: Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Broadcast Arts, and Architecture and Allied Arts.

Of the 57 National Artists listed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 17 were recognized posthumously, including the country’s first National Artist Fernando C. Amorsolo.
Other National Artists who were recognized posthumously are Amado V. Hernandez (Literature), Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco (Painting), Ernani Joson Cuenco (Music), Felipe Padilla De Leon (Music), Ishmael Bernal (Film), J. Elizalde Navarro (Painting), Jose T. Joya (Painting), Lino Brocka (Cinema), Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), Rolando S. Tinio (Theater and Literature), Severino Montano (Theater), Vicente S. Manansala (Painting), Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (Theater), Gerardo “Gerry” De Leon (Film), Pablo S. Antonio (Architecture), and Ronald Allan K. Poe, more popularly known as Fernando Poe Jr. (Film).
Fernando Poe Jr. is the only film actor to receive the award.
Recipients of the award are entitled to a cash prize of up to P100,000, monthly life pension, medical benefits, life insurance coverage, and a state funeral.
Valte, meanwhile, said Aquino has expressed his intention to visit Dolphy’s wake but has yet to set a specific schedule for it.

She also said that the President will still have to hear proposals to declare a National Day of Mourning for the actor’s passing.

Close friends and family members pay their last respects to Comedy King Dolphy during the private viewing at the Dolphy Theater in Quezon City on Wednesday.

After Dolphy passed away at the age of 83 on Tuesday, Filipino celebrities in the Philippines and abroad took to Twitter to pay tribute to the Comedy King.

Actor, television host and politician Edu Manzano said on Twitter “Heaven became a happier place today. The angels will be laughing together with our one and only King of Comedy. Rest in peace, friend.”

Dolphy, born Rodolfo Quizon Sr.  in Tondo, Manila on July 25, 1928, passed away at the Makati Medical Center (MMC)due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Dolphy was embraced by the Philippines for his jokes as he appeared in various films and television shows such as “John en Marsha.”

One of Dolphy’s sons, Eric Quizon, an actor, said about his father just after midnight on Wednesday: “He lived a full life. He’s at rest. He’s at peace. He knew as he was going how much the country loved him.”

Dolphy has been confined at the MMC since June 9 due to difficulty in breathing, pneumonia, and kidney ailments.

“He knew how everyone was praying for him. And if he could, he would have stayed just so he could thank you personally. But where his spirit was strong, his body had so weakened. He had to go,” Eric said.

“Pray for his eternal repose and in his honor, please smile at the person standing next to you. Heaven is a happier place with him there. And for us whom he’s left behind, comedy is dead but long live comedy,” he said.

On Twitter, Filipinos here and abroad tweeted their reaction to Dolphy’s death:

Boy 2 Quizon: “I love you lolo!”

Bruno Mars: “RIP Dolphy. King of Comedy. Made in the Philippines!”
Lea Salonga: “RIP, Comedy King. You are sorely missed. Condolences to the Quizon Family, you are in our prayers.”

KC Montero: “Dolphy has them all laughing”

Tim Yap: “A moment of silence for The King of Comedy. RIP Mang Dolphy.”

Jim Paredes: “Farewell King of Comedy.. We love you. Salamat sa lahat..Naiiyak ako…”

Bea Binene: “May you rest in peace, The Great Dolphy. R.I.P.”

Allan K.: “They say its not how long but how sweet you have lived life. Dolphy had the luxury of enjoying both. Rest in peace now. Hail to the king!!!”

Sharon Cuneta: P.9 my beloved Tito Dolphy. I will continue to do my best to follow the beautiful example you set for all of us, even when you didn’t”

Vice-Ganda: “Lord we thank you for giving us THE DOLPHY who unselfishly and passionately dedicated his whole life to make this world happy. Amen.”

Pia Magalona: “RIP Tito Dolphy. Thank you for being family to me and Francis. We love you <3”

Clara Magalona: “RIP Dolphy ☹ You have made lots of Filipinos smile because of your comedy. Our prayers are with you †”

Edu Manzano: Thank you for paving the way for those of us who tried to walk the path you made. You will be missed, my mentor and friend.#RIPDolphy

I pray for the soul of the comedy king dolpy. May his Soul Rest In Peace eternal Grant O Lord for eternal Life , In Jesus Name… Amen….

Thank you for the 6 decades of laughter and Goodbye The Comedy King , You Always in our Heart.

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Good at bad news sa mga Pilipino na nais magtrabaho sa ibang bansa.

Isang panukalang batas ang inihain sa Kamara de Representantes na naglalayong madagdagan ang pondo na magagamit sa agarang pagpapauwi ng mga magigipit na overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).

Ngunit sa ilalim ng House Bill (HB) No. 6195 na inihain ni Manila Rep. Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David, ang pondo ay manggagaling sa kontribusyon ng mismong mga Pinoy na nais makipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa.

Nakasaad sa panukalang batas na kailangan magbigay ng kontribusyon ang mga aalis na OFW ng $50 sa Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) na ilalaan naman sa Emergency Repatriation Fund.

“The bill intends to provide the necessary measures for the government to carry out its responsibilities to assist distressed OFWs in cases of war, epidemic, disaster or calamities, natural or man-made, and other similar events, and promote their general welfare,” paliwanag ng kongresista.

Aamyendahan ng panukalang batas ang Republic Act 8042 o ang Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, upang mailagay ang probisyon na nagtatakda sa mga aalis na OFW na magbigay ng $50 para sa Emergency Repatriation Fund ng OWWA.

Sa kasalukuyan, nagbibigay ng $25 OWWA contribution ang mga umaalis na OFW.

Naniniwala si Bonoan-David na hindi sapat ang kasalukuyang pondo na nakapaloob sa Emergency Repatriation Fund na nilikha sa ilalim ng RA 8042, at pinamamahalaan ng OWWA.

“There are millions of OFWs all over the world which the Philippine government is mandated to protect and safeguard under RA 8042 but it seems incapable to efficiently help distressed OFWs due to financial constraints,” paliwanag niya.

Itinatakda rin sa HB 6195 ang pagbuo ng up-to-date database at locator system, disaster preparedness at mitigation measures para sa mabilis na paglilikas sa mga OFW.

Ang mga OFW ay maaaring ilikas kapag ang lugar na kinaroroonan nila ay may digmaan, epidemiya, kalamidad, at iba pang mapanganib na sitwasyon. – RP/FRJ, GMA News

If this amendment would be approved, it would be an additional burden to millions of Overseas Filipino Workers who are already contributing so much for the Philippine Economy. We, the OFWs around the world, the one they called Modern day Heroes, are actually their Modern day Milking cows!

here is the petition page, http://www.change.org/petitions/ofws-oppose-50-additional-fee-for-owwa-repatriation-fund-stop-the-amendment-of-republic-act-8042-of-rep-ma-theresa-bonoan-david?fb_action_ids=4216423328071&fb_action_types=change-org%3Arecruit&fb_ref=__hlSfgSwrsB&fb_source=other_multiline

Better DON’T VOTE That Congresswomen this coming 2013 election.

Every money earn of every OFW they need to sacrifice their self for the sake of their family and sometimes they only low salary rate then if the bill will pass what will happen. Congresswomen are you STUPID? to create that kind of bill? try to work as OFW and then you can experience how difficult to work abroad and sometimes their boss or employer they tread them bad, you need to think 1st before creating that STUPID BILL.

How about instead you create that BILL create a a certain bill for additional taxes for SIN TAX because very filipino died because of the cigarette and instead creating that STUPID BILL create some additional project or lesser the Pork barrel. The taxes of every Filipino people and consider the taxes gain from OFW, you don’t have your salary as congresswomen in manila..

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