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SS edition  today may turn out brief. This corner just escaped from the Western Eagles Blood letting right in the busy entity of Citimart.

Thanks to the fraternal socio-civic consciousness of influential businessman Roger Tan, who convinced his employees there and of Young Mart’s to donate the loife-saving fluid.

Expected to line  up for blood screening are some one hundred willing donors courtesy of friend Roger.

Conducting actual blood extraction is the staff of the Zamboanga City Medical Center Blood Bank led by Dr. Maryanne Torregoza herself, supported by daughter-staff member, Jimbit and other co-workers.

At the time SS left, some twenty donors have already been bled.

Again, thanks to goodness of Roger Tan.

Next in line is likely to be Ramon Gan, aka “Ghengis Khan, the Conqueror” of the Lenin chairn of outlets.

And on either Saturday or Sunday, the 2nd round of operation Tulih, another Western Eagles Club activity in tandem with Baliwasan Barangay government under daughter Aimie, the young and petit barangay chair, is set  at the central school covered court.

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Some one hundred forty Abu Sayyaf members have reportedly been neutralized since January in the continuing operations launched by the military to meet the deadline this June.

The number is based on the Western Mindanao Command data. Of this number, 79 have been killed, 13 have been apprehended and 48 have surrendered.

Sources also said that there are a total of 39 Abu Sayyaf members who have been wounded in encounters with government troops.

The same report said that there have been a total of 57 firearms recovered and turned in by the Abu Sayyaf.

In a recent statement, Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt Gen Carlito Galvez expressed optimism that the military will be able to meet the deadline to crush the Abu SAyyaf by June this year.

There are still 27 kidnap victims in the hands of the terrorist group.  Of this number, 20 are foreign nationals while 7 are Filipinos.

Add to that number six more as Marine troops in Zamboanga City on Sunday nabbed the members.

The suspects were allegedly in the act of robbing a sari-sari store in Brgy. Buenavista when they were accosted by members of the 111th Marine Company at 10:05 p.m., said the Wesmincom.

Seized from the suspects were a caliber .45 pistol, two magazines loaded with ammunition and three motorcycles.

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Believe it or not, the Philippine economy sustained its lead as the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, according to official data released on Thursday, even though its growth slowed due to lack of election spending in the first three months of the year.

The country’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 6.4 percent, slower than the 6.8 percent forecast of Reuters polls’ economist, as well as the 6.6-percent growth in the previous quarter.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the growth was faster than other countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Also, it is second only to China - which increased 6.9 percent in the January to March period.

“The domestic economy is poised to maintain its growth momentum with the recovery of external trade and the private sector’s steadfast optimism,” Pernia said.

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Here’s another Digong radicalism. The Duterte administration turned down 250 million euros worth of development aid from the European Union (EU) for it “may be used as the reason for interfering in the internal affairs of the country,” a Cabinet official familiar with the issue said.

The high level source, who only agreed to speak under anonymity, told the Inquirer that the move aims to block the EU from questioning how the Philippines adopts and follows the rule of law, including respect for human rights.

“While we have always adopted and followed the rule of law and respected  human rights, the inclusion of those conditionalities will allow certain sectors within the EU community to continuously interfere or question our government on these matters,” the source added.

It remains to be seen how the government would compensate for the development aid it would lose, which would have primarily gone to the poorest communities in Mindanao.

When asked for the explanation behind the rejected development aid, EU Ambassador Franz Jessen told the Inquirer in a text message that “human rights were mentioned.” He did not expound.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been at odds with EU leaders for his anti-crime efforts, which stood at the receiving end of criticisms for the apparent lack of respect for human rights as the number of casualties pile up to reach the thousands.

“Our government simply wishes to have independence from foreign interference and would simply welcome the support of the international community in its fight against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality without any condition,” the cabinet official said.

The source of the story spoke on condition of anonymity. It, however must have spoken the truth, for the on the other hand, NEDA Sec. Ernesto Pernia  had said such a move may yet be reversed.

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Effective today, the use of communication devices and other electronic and computing gadgets, including cell phones while driving or even when stopping at intersections or at red traffic signals and if driver does not have a full view of the roadway, is taboo and carries with itpenalties .

The Anti-Distracted Driving Law (RA 10913) takes effect today prohibiting drivers from using communication devices and other electronic and computing gadgets while driving their vehicles

“Anything that can distract, blur, or obstruct the sight of the driver while operating the vehicle, , are not allowed anymore,” announced Land Transportation Office (LTO) chairman Edgar Galvante in a briefing yesterday.

Violators will be fined P5,000 for the first offense; P10,000 for the second offense;  P15,000 for the third offense plus suspension of license; and P20,000 for the fourth offense, plus a revocation of the driver’s license.

Under the law, drivers are only allowed to use the hands-free functions of the gadgets, such as speaker phones, provided that these do not block their line of sight.

However, motorists responding to emergency situations like crimes, accidents, calamities, as well as ambulances and fire trucks shall be excused from the penalties.

During its implementation, the LTO will be conducting public information campaigns for six months to make drivers more aware of the existing law.

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In the meantime, former Sen. Edgardo Angara has been named special envoy of President Duterte to the European Union (EU).

Angara was appointed on May 3, papers released by Malacañang showed. He will handle the post until Sept. 30.

His appointment came as Duterte is criticizing the EU for supposedly meddling in his war on illegal drugs.

This development just must also be an indication of Duterte shift in hard-line relative to EU dealings.

To SS, should the Philippine government accept the aid, the Duterte administration is not bound to change his strategy oin frcarrying his war versus illegal drugs. We still remain an independent country– free to do anything that to us is legal and lawful.

Killing in self-defense or of others, as DCuterte’s orders are, is legal and lawful.

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China is giving 23,000 assault rifles to the Philippine National Police for free, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Wednesday.

Dela Rosa said they are preparing the papers for the government-to-government project for the China  bonanza. Amnd they for free, swith no conditions.

“We will need these because our police stations in far-flung areas in the countryside were overrun by the NPA (New People’s Army) due to a lack of firearms. So, this is good,” he added.

The United States last year halted the sale of 26,000 to 27,000 assault rifles to the Philippines due to human rights concerns about the PNP’s war against drugs.

Dela Rosa said it would “still be OK” if the United States proceeds with the sale eventually.

“If it pushes through, then that is still OK. We are 175,000 and (China) will give us 23,000 so there is still a big shortage,” he added. (By Jimmy Cabato)

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