President Rodrigo Duterte has met with Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza and Labor and government peace panel chairperson Secretary Silvestre Bello III. On Thursday night, Malacañang released the photos of the meeting held at the Malago Clubhouse in the Presidential Security Group Compound. In one of the photos, Duterte made the peace sign along with the OPAPP and GRP peace panel members and consultants. Pres. Duterte had a meeting with OPAPP officials and GRP peace panel members, consultants, advisers on Thursday. ????: Palace pic.twitter.com/VtPWom0Y2A — Trisha Macas (@trishamacas) October 20, 2017 Asked about the details about their meeting, Dureza told GMA News Online on Friday: “Sorry we cannot yet release any info.” Aside from Dureza and Bello, Dureza, OPAPP assistant secretaries Dickson Hermoso and Yeshter Baccay as well as GRP-Peace Panel chair members Rene Sarmiento, Angela Trinidad, Antonio Arellano, advisers Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Technical Committee members Brigadier General Raniel Ramiro and Chief Superintendent Francisco Balagtas. Malacañang has not released any statement on the matter. Bello has also not yet responded to request for comment. Duterte in a speech at the 43rd Philippine Business Conference And Expo Concluding Ceremony Thursday night said he needed to “deal” with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the attacks of the New People’s Army against soldiers and policemen. “I would try to talk to the enemies of the state if I can and strike a deal with the so many fronts. Then I would be referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the rebel, rebellion that they have so far, almost 50 years in the making. And I thought that it would be time to stop it or we fight for another 50 years,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News
Two senior high school students in Manila were turned over to drug enforcement authorities by their teachers for alleged marijuana use, according to a report by Jay Sabale on Unang Balita on Friday.
The two students, aged 18 and 17, were caught by two teachers after being the last to leave a bathroom from where marijuana smoke was wafting out.
According to an affidavit submitted by the teachers to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), one of the students allegedly took something out of his socks and threw it away while they were on their way to the Office of Student Affairs.
One stick of alleged marijuana leaves would later be found among one of the students’ things.
The students admitted to their teachers’ allegations.
Asked where he got the illegal drug, one of the students said he met the person who sold him marijuana through an online chat.
“Hindi ko po ano (alam) ‘yung pangalan pero nag-meet lang po kami,” he said.
He added he learned smoking the drug from his friends. “Barkada lang din po,” he said.
But an agent from PDEA wished the youths were first brought to school officials and their parents called for a conference.
“Kung mare-resolve nila ‘yan du’n sa eskwelahan, sa school level, mas maganda, kasi nga para maprotektahan din ‘yung mga bata,” said the PDEA agent, who refused to be named.
He did, however, acknowledge the teachers’ good intentions.
The 18-year-old will remain under the custody of PDEA, while the 17-year-old will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Marijuana is illegal in the Philippines, but the House of Representatives in late September approved a bill seeking to legalize and regulate its use for medical purposes. —Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/KG, GMA News
A Korean man was arrested and charged with estafa after he exchanged P160,000 worth of a demonetized currency in Binondo, Manila on Wednesday.
Kim Jae Song went to the moneychanger stall of businessman Johnny Hao, 71, at the basement of 999 Mall at around 11 a.m. and had his 10,000 kina (Papua New Guinea currency) changed into pesos, which is equivalent to P160,120.87.
Kim introduced himself as Rey Lee during the transaction and hurriedly left.
However, Hao’s nephew, Bryon Pedelos, later learned that the Papua New Guinea currency that the suspect swapped was no longer accepted as legal tender after he tried to sell it to other moneychangers.
They learned that the currency had been demonetized in 2013.
Two hours later, Kim went back to Hao’s shop and was trying to exchange his 50,000 kina to pesos.
The shop’s security guards apprehended the suspect and turned him over to the police.
During investigation, Kim failed to explain where he kept the money he initially swapped, according to Chief Inspector Joey de Ocampo, Manila Police District general assignment and investigation chief.
He refused to answer questions, forcing the police to coordinate with the Korean embassy, which said Kim is considered an undesirable alien and had been staying in the country without proper papers.
De Ocampo said they are also asking the Bureau of Immigration to help determine when Kim entered the country.
Like a fast-moving locomotive, the Philippines’ own version of TRAIN, otherwise known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, has traveled from the halls of Department of Finance to Congress with no intention of stopping in its tracks. Lest we forget, more trains are set to leave the station.
The first of five tax reform packages, as embodied in House Bill No. 5636, was approved by the House of Representatives on its final reading on May 31. Meanwhile, the Senate has ended the period of interpellations of Senate Bill No. 1592 and will resume deliberations for possible amendments when session resumes in November. The TRAIN bill is a priority measure and accordingly, has been targeted to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte by the end of the year.
In this first package alone, Filipino consumers are now faced with the reality of carrying a bulk of the tax burden. Among the pertinent provisions of the tax reform are the increased level of taxes of primary consumer products such as petroleum and sugar-sweetened beverages.
The first package: A sign of things to come
Under the proposal, oil excise tax rates will be staggered and adjusted gradually in the succeeding years. Diesel and essentials namely processed gas, kerosene, diesel fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gas, asphalt, and bunker fuel oil will increase from P0 in 2017, to P1.75 to P3 in 2018, P3.75 to P5 in 2019 and P6 in 2020. Gas and non-essentials such as lubricating oils and greases, naphtha, regular gasoline, premium gasoline, and aviation turbo jet fuel will increase from P4.35 in 2017, to P6 to P7 in 2018, P8 to P9 in 2019 and P10 in 2020.
As fuel is one of the major components in determining the transportation fare, an increase in fuel cost will directly affect its price. The impact will be most felt by the commuting public as the price hike will affect various modes of transportation such as jeepneys, buses, UVs, tricycles, habal-habal, rail and taxis. Concomitant with the fuel increase would be a surge in the prices in freight, electricity and food.
With the significant rise in prices of commodities, consumers can expect a concomitant surge in inflation rate. Based on the recent data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country’s annual headline inflation has increased to 3.4 percent in September 2017, one of the highest rates since 2015.
To take just one example, in terms of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), the Senate proposes to levy an excise tax amounting to P5 per liter of volume capacity on beverages having purely caloric or calorie-containing sweeteners, except for those using purely coconut sap sugar. It then proposes to levy another tax of P10 per liter of volume capacity on beverages using purely high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup in combination with any other sweetener. In addition, there will be a P3 tax per liter of volume capacity on drinks using purely zero-calorie sweeteners or a mix of caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, except those using purely steviol glycosides. The Senate-proposed excise tax excludes milk, 100 percent natural fruit and vegetable juices, meal replacement beverages, unsweetened tea and coffee.
The House version, on the other hand, provides a two-tiered system where taxes will be levied per liter of volume capacity for drinks containing purely locally produced sugar at P10 and all other sweeteners at P20. The House excise tax excludes milk, 100 percent natural fruit and vegetable juices, meal replacement beverages, and yogurt and fruit flavored yogurt beverages.
Are we targeting our efforts?
While the bills are laudable in their intent to promote a healthy lifestyle for Filipinos by curbing incidents of obesity and diabetes, data from the 2017 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations show that the problem is undernutrition, not obesity. In the Philippines, the prevalence of undernutrition in the total population is at 13. 8 percent, which is higher than the prevalence of overweight children at 5 percent and the prevalence of obesity in the adult population at 5.2 percent. Legislative priorities must be realigned to address real issues rather than passing the tax burden to low-income earners, as they are the ones most likely to be affected by this excise tax.
Adding packages on consumers’ shoulders
Given that the proposed tax reform affects consumers in their day-to-day living expenses, taxes on these commodities are burdensome enough as it is. Consumers must not be the ones to bear the tax burden as the responsibility falls on the government to address the leakages in the tax collection.
Government enforcement, by way of tax policy, administration and collection, plays a crucial role in influencing the level of tax revenues in an economy. To cancel out the need for new taxes as proposed in packages two to five of the TRAIN bill, the government shift its focus on correcting problems that render the country less competitive: plugging the leaks and inefficiencies in tax collection and administration will cancel out the need for more taxes.
MANILA, Philippines — Alleged Visayas drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa pleaded not guilty Friday, October 20, to the charges filed against him before a Manila trial court.
The criminal charges are related to the drugs recovered from his home in Leyte last year.
Espinosa is the son of the late mayor of Albuera, Rolando Espinosa Sr., who was killed in his jail cell at the Baybay City sub-provincial jail during what police claimed was a shootout when they served a search warrant but is widely suspected to have been a rubout.
The mayor and his son were publicly accused of involvement in the drug trade by President Rodrigo Duterte soon after he assumed office. Following the mayor’s death, Duterte vowed that the policemen involved would not be jailed even if convicted of murder.
Since then, the Department of Justice downgraded the charges against the policemen, mostly from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Region 8, from murder to homicide, allowing them to post bail and, subsequently, return to active service.
Explaining his plea before Manila Regional Trial Court branch 26, Kerwin said he could not be charged for the seized drugs since he was not present and was, in fact, out of the country during the raid.
He left soon after being named by Duterte but was arrested in the United Arab Emirates and returned to the country.
Espinosa also claimed the evidence against him had been “planted” by the police.
Judge Silvino Pamplona Jr. granted the request of Espinosa for a speedy trial and set weekly hearings with the aim of reaching a verdict by June next year, at the latest.
Another complain against Espinosa is pending before the Department of Justice. This one involves his alleged operations in the Visayas and includes another purported drug lord, Peter Lim of Cebu.
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV confirmed meeting with U.S. officials but denied this included an attempt to stop a visit to the Philippines by President Donald Trump.
“I would like to confirm the information that I met with senior US government officials to include Senator Marco Rubio,” Trillanes, an outspoken critics of President Rodrigo Duterte, said in a brief statement sent from overseas.
Following a tweet by Rubio about meeting with Trillanes to discuss the “U.S.-Philippine alliance, combating corruption and protecting human rights amid their narcotics crisis,” rumors immediately swirled about the opposition lawmaker’s intentions, among these a purported bid to stop a Trump visit.
Rubio, a Republican, and Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin filed in May the proposed “Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017,” seeking to restrict exports of certain arms and equipment to the Philippine National Police because of the killings that have marked the Duterte government’s war on drugs.
Malacañang itself weighed in on Trillanes’ visit, with Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, saying: “We do hope the correct information has been given and not biased information designed to adversely affect US-Philippines relations.”
Trillanes confirmed the topics Rubio said they had discussed but said: “Unlike the officials of the Duterte Administration, I presented only factual information.”
“Besides, you cannot fool the US government; they know what’s happening in our country,” he said.
As to trying to stop Trump from visiting the country, Trillanes said such trips “are carefully planned and cannot be stopped on the mere say so of a Philippine senator.”
And while giving assurances that “I pushed for the interests of our country,” Trillanes said: “But let me emphasize that the interests of our country are not necessarily the same as the interests of Mr. Duterte.”
According to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is still facing supply chain constraints for the upcoming iPhone X. The company will have around 2 to 3 million units before the launch on November 3rd, which shouldn’t be enough to meet demand.
While Apple didn’t disclose exact numbers for first weekend sales last year, the company sold 13 million iPhone 6s units during the first weekend, 10 million iPhone 6 units and 9 million iPhone 5s/5c units. The iPhone 8 is already available, which could mitigate demand for the iPhone X, but it sounds like many buyers will be disappointed by Apple’s initial stock.
In many ways, the iPhone X packs more innovative components than your average new iPhone. Apple usually adds cutting-edge components when its suppliers can produce tens of millions of them. But multiple parts of the iPhone X are generating supply chain issues.
According to KGI Securities, Apple now uses a flexible printed circuit board for the antenna. This is not your average circuit board, so Apple has had issues finding suppliers that can produce those components at scale. Murata was supposed to be the main supplier for this part, but it sounds like the company can’t meet Apple’s strong requirements. Since then, Apple has found a new supplier, which created some delays.
On the camera front, Apple is using a different circuit board for each sensor. Other phone makers only use one circuit board. This custom design has also been a challenge.
Finally, the iPhone X features a ton of sensors on the front of device. Apple has packed a tiny Kinect in the notch of the device. One component in particular projects a network of infrared dots to create a 3D map of your face based on the reflection of those dots on your face. Apple has had issues finding a supplier that can produce enough dot projectors for the iPhone X.
iPhone X pre-orders start on Friday, October 27th at midnight Pacific time. If you plan on getting the new phone, you shouldn’t delay your pre-order. Chances are that shipping estimations are going to slip to multiple weeks after just a few minutes.
Production should ramp up in the coming weeks, but it sounds like it could take months before you can just walk in an Apple store and buy a new iPhone X. It’s going to be interesting to hear Tim Cook’s comments on those supply chain issues when Apple announces its quarterly earnings in a couple of weeks.
Phishing uses the name of a trusted entity – often financial institutions – to get sensitive personal information such as passwords and credit card details via bogus email or texts.
“Scam or phishing emails typically have one of two strategies: fear or greed,” Jonathan Penn, Director of Strategy at security software firm Avast, told Fox News. “Fear includes email notifications that your account has been locked, there are charges that you didn’t make, or just that there’s been suspicious activity you need to check. Greed includes notifications about free gifts, trips, or gift cards; stock advice or debt consolidation or financial advice.”
Phishing scams are often presented as a call for immediate action. That should always be a tip off.
“Consumers should remember that urgent requests for personal information or call for immediate action are almost always a scam,” a Bank of America spokesperson told Fox News.
Needless to say, never click on links inside suspicious emails. Here are five of the most common phishing strategies.
Your account has been disabled or suspended
This arrives as an email or text that claims a user’s account has been or will be locked, disabled or will expire and asks for login credentials.
A very recent example is an Apple text/email phishing scam that states: “Your Apple ID is due to expire today.” This is one of the more sophisticated scams since it contains no glaring grammatical or spelling errors, a frequent failing of scams.
AppleID’s do not “expire” and the malicious URL, in the case, does not point to a real Apple domain.
Irregular or fraudulent activity detected
This scam poses as a “security” update. The scammer will claim fraudulent activity has been detected on your account or your account has been subjected to a “compulsory ‘security update’ and you need to login to enable this security update,” Symantec, a Internet security company, told Fox News.
Tip: If a login link is provided, it’s invariably a scam.
Online retailer scams
With the holiday season just around the corner, these scams have the potential to be effective because they can appear as relatively innocuous and appeal to greed rather than fear.
One that has increased over time is fake orders associated with Amazon. “If you received correspondence regarding an order you didn’t place, it likely wasn’t from Amazon.com,” the tech giant wrote on a customer-help page on its website.
While not technically phishing, fake pop-ups are an old trick and still widespread.
The ultimate net effect can be similar to phishing if the scammer gets you, in the end, to provide sensitive information.
“The scammer will typically attempt to get the victim to allow remote access to their computer,” said Malwaretips. “After remote access is gained…the scammer relies on confidence tricks…in order to gain the victim’s trust to pay for the supposed ‘support’ services, when the scammer actually steals the victim’s credit card account information.”
While not necessarily one of the largest scams, one that is increasing in popularity is tax-themed phishing.
Themes range from updating your filing information to IRS warnings that you owe money. “One thing that’s for sure is that the IRS doesn’t communicate via email or text message, they still send snail mail,” Symantec told Fox News.
For detailed information on email security threats, see this Symantec Internet Security Threat report issued this month.
Two American astronauts floated outside the International Space Station Friday for the third spacewalk this month aimed at repairing the orbiting outpost’s robotic arm and replacing old video cameras.NASA’s Joe Acaba and Randy Bresnik officially began the spacewalk at 7:47 am (1147 GMT) when they switched their spacesuits to battery power, then ventured outside the airlock into the vacuum of space.The pair hope to replace a degraded camera at the end of the 57-foot (17-meter) robotic arm, finish lubricating its newly installed latching end and replace a blown fuse, among other tasks.The aging arm, made by Canada and named the Canadarm, is used to move objects around outside the station and to grab incoming cargo ships.Installed 16 years ago, its latching end lost its gripping ability in August. A key piece of equipment called the latching end effector was replaced during the October 5 spacewalk. Further lubrication work was done on the October 10 spacewalk, and a new high definition video camera was also installed outside the research lab.On Friday, astronauts plan to replace another camera, nicknamed “Old Yeller” because it broadcasts in yellow hues.The spacewalk is the 205th in the history of the space station, an international collaboration involving more than a dozen countries.Bresnik, 50, a former Marine Corps aviator who goes by the nickname “Komrade,” has led all three of the October spacewalks, and on Friday is making his fifth career excursion outside the space station.His colleague Acaba, 50, is the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to become an astronaut, according to his NASA biography. The former hydro-geologist and educator became an astronaut in 2004 and spacewalked twice in 2009 during the space shuttle era.Friday’s outing is the ninth this year for NASA. Russian cosmonauts have ventured out on one spacewalk this year.
NASA has already found tons of exoplanets around nearby stars, and will spot countless more once the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launches. The problem is that scientists aren’t exactly sure which planet-star combinations are most likely to support life. A new NASA study has found that planets orbiting small stars like Trappist-1 could retain their oceans for billions of years, even if they’re quite close — provided the star emits just the right amount of infrared radiation.
For the foreseeable future, astronomers will be scanning red dwarf stars for habitable planets, rather than other types like our sun. That’s because they’re easier to find and small enough that the wobble of small, Earth-like planets is detectable. On top of that, the amount of light dip is noticeable when a planet passes in front, and scientists can detect the composition of its atmosphere based on how much starlight it absorbs.
Because of that, scientists are obviously very concerned about which red dwarf stars and planets can support life. That’s where the new study, done by a team from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, comes in.
If a planet is too cold, any water will freeze into ice, making life formation challenging. If it’s too hot, water will evaporate and rise up into the stratosphere, where it will get broken into hydrogen and oxygen by the star’s UV (ultraviolet) light. The latter state, called a “moist greenhouse,” eventually leads to the loss of all oceans, killing any chances for life.
Unlike on Earth, planets on red dwarf systems are often tidally locked, with the same side always pointing toward the star. That leads to extreme heating on one side and cooling on the other, but luckily, such planets zip around their stars quick enough to create a circulating atmosphere. That atmosphere can be enough to keep the planet at the right temperature for liquid water, while blocking it from evaporating into the stratosphere.
Using a new, advanced 3D atmospheric model, the NASA and Tokyo-based researchers simulated the atmospheric circulation on a planet in a hypothetical red dwarf system. “We found an important role for the type of radiation a star emits and the effect it has on the atmospheric circulation of an exoplanet in making the moist greenhouse state,” Fujii said.
Until now, scientists figured that if a planet’s surface was too warm, around 150 degrees F, it would create an ocean-destroying moist greenhouse state. However, the team found that on red dwarf, Trappist-1 type planets, that wasn’t necessarily the case. If a star emitted enough near-infrared radiation, it could kick off a moist greenhouse effect, even at temperatures around those at the Earth’s topics.
However the model showed that, surprisingly, if an exoplanet was closer to its parent star, the infrared heating would increase moisture in the atmosphere more gradually. That means that, contrary to findings from previous models, it could remain habitable.
If the study proves valid, it will help narrow down habitable exoplanet candidates. Scientists can first measure the radiation of a star, knowing that cooler stars emit more near-infrared radiation. Then, if possible, they could measure its planet’s atmospheric composition using spectroscopic methods. Those methods mostly target a planet’s stratosphere, so the presence of water — unlike what you might think — could be negative for life.
“As long as we know the temperature of the star, we can estimate whether planets close to their stars have the potential to be in the moist greenhouse state,” said co-author Anthony Del Genio from NASA. “If there is enough water to be detected, it probably means that planet is in the moist greenhouse state.” If so, the planet is likely shedding water quickly — so the oceans, and any potential life in them, could be doomed.