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Misor lawmaker tells colleagues: make laws, not projects of the pork barrel system the Priority Developwith line item budgeting.” ment Assistance Fund This as she prod- (PDAF) commonly known as “pork barrel” ded the government to that has been alegstudy the possibility of edly abused by some “direct releases” to the VILLANUEVA, Misamis lawmakers and privete local government units Oriental--Members of the individuals. (LGUs) and barangays. House of the Representa “The abuse She said LGUs tives have primordial tasks spans years of throwing and barangays are at the of making laws over getting good money for bad that projects for their respective forefront of dsy-to-day governance--and are also has severely tainted the district as she pushed for under the strictest cover- legislature and deprived the scrapping of the pork age of the Commission on our people of the much barrel system. need services,” she said. Adult (COA). In a statement, Uy Likewise, Uy The neophyte law- said: “This is why I favor maker said the time has was open to the proposthe abolition and the recome for the government al to substract the PDAF placement to abolish. allocation from the proposed 2014 national Smoking linked to larger list of diseases By RUEL V. PELONE BWM Online

A new report by the US surgeon general has increased the list of diseases associated with cigarettes. The 980-page, researchbased report says smoking could cause liver and colorectal cancer,

diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, impaired immune function, ectopic pregnancy and erectile dysfunction, Politico reported.

According to the report, the risk for developing diabetes is particularly significant: as much as 40 per cent higher among smokers compared to non-smokers.

budget and re-allocate it to rural areas that have serious backlogs in infratructure, health, education and other social services. “Many of our constituents contunally need health, education, scholarship and livelihood assistance,” she said adding, “of course, in reallocating these and other funds available, stringent and transparrent guidelines for implementation should be issued by the executive that shall also be the agencies who shall execute these projects.”




Floods, landslides kill 37 in Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines— The death toll from floods and landslides in Mindanao triggered by Tropical Depression Agaton has risen to 37, the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Saturday. In its latest update, NDRRMC said 65 were injured while seven remained missing. It added that 9,956 passengers were stranded in Visayas and Mindanao.

The bad weather affected 564 villages in 92 towns in 15 provinces in Mindanao or at least 97, 705 families or 466, 911 people, the agency said. It also said at least 52 roads and 21 bridges remain impassable while 13 landslides and six flash flood incidents were reported around Mindanao.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in its latest According to the Philip- advisory said the pine Information Agency center of Tropical (PIA) in CARAGA reDepression Agaton gion, the entire province was located 145 of Dinagat Islands sufkilometers east of fered a total blackout due to heavy rains and strong Surigao City. It also said that Agaton has so far caused P256, 166,860.15 damage including P101, 043,750 in infrastructure and P155, 123,110.15 in agriculture.





“This could result in portfolio rebalancing away from emerging market economies that may cause short-term imbalances among prices of financial assets,” he continued.

MANILA, Philippines - The country may continue to experience capital flight as global investors move out of emerging markets on the back of improving prospects in advanced economies Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said yesterday the improving global economy may also provide more headwinds for the Philippines as more capital may be diverted to advanced economies. “While latest report from the International Monetary Fund projects a higher global economic growth for 2014, there could be a reversal of economic fortunes between advanced and emerging market economies that could tip the growth momentum toward the former,” Tetangco said.

MF managing director Christine Lagarde earlier said global growth momentum has strengthened in the latter part of 2013 and this is expected to continue this year. She noted that despite the rosy prospects for the global economy, growth is still seen to be below its potential. Tetangco, however, said the Philippines has enough buffer to counter any impact of capital outflows to the financial system. “The country... has enough ammunition to withstand the adverse impact of a sudden capital flows reversal away from emerging market economies,” Tetangco said. I“The BSP can deploy a menu of policy actions similar to those adopted during the recent 2008-2009 global financial crisis such

as providing liquidity through the BSP’s standing dollar facilities, preventing excessive volatility in the foreign exchange market, as well as access to regional financing arrangements,” he added. Tetangco also said that as global growth gains traction, the Philippines may benefit from increased trade transactions, growth in tourist arrivals, and continued inflows from remittances of Filipinos abroad. “Improving economic conditions in advanced economies could translate to higher exports receipts, foreign investments, tourism receipts and workers’ remittances from these countries,” Tetangco  said.

Early gene therapy trial for blindness promising LONDON -- A small, preliminary study using gene therapy to treat a rare form of blindness is promising and could trigger similar efforts for other causes of vision loss, British doctors say.

Gene therapy —inserting copies of a normal gene into a patient who has a faulty or missing gene — has previously been tried for other rare types of blindness with limited success.

They studied just six patients. Of those, two have had dramatic improvements in their vision and none has reported any serious side effects. The study was only designed to test the treatment’s safety, not its effectiveness.

All of the patients in the new trial were men with choroidermia, an inherited and untreatable form of progressive blindness. The disease is the result of a protein deficiency that kills eye cells that detect light.

“We’re trying to rescue cells that would otherwise have died,” said Dr. Robert MacLaren of the University of Oxford, who led the research. He and colleagues injected a harmless virus carrying the missing protein into the thinnest part of the patients’ retinas. Dr. Ian MacDonald, chairman of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Alberta in Canada, who was not part of the study but is planning a similar trial, called the new work “very promising because there is really no other way to deliver this protein.” Since the paper only had data up to six months after the patients’ surgeries, MacDonald said it was unclear if the treatment would last forever or if the men’s eyesight would continue to worsen. Dr. Jean Bennett of the University of Pennsylvania, who conducted earlier work for a different eye disease, called the new study results exciting and said the same approach might be useful for other causes of blindness, including macular degeneration. But she also said scientists should be cautious in trying future gene therapy treatments. “We can do as much work as we can in the laboratory and try to sort out all the variables, but there are always surprises,” she said.

There is an Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and there are units dedicated to fighting cybercrimes including Internet pornography, but Philippine law enforcers still need a lot of help from their counterparts overseas to track down purveyors of child porn. Laws against human trafficking have been strengthened. But a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court, as usual redefining the meaning of temporary, has suspended the

Child abusers Following the arrest and conviction of a pedophile in Britain, law enforcers from three countries are on the trail of a Philippine ring streaming child sex abuse videos on the Internet. Cyberspace has made vast amounts of information available at one’s fingertips, but it has also been a boon to purveyors of pornography, including those exploiting children. Most of the children are from impoverished families in developing countries. And it’s not surprising that the Philippines has been found to be one of the countries where the child sex trade is flourishing. Child welfare advocacy groups have expressed concern that children in areas hit by recent disasters in the Visayas and Mindanao are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

The world’s oldest profession has long been driven by economic need, and many children are forced into the flesh trade by their own parents or guardians. Orphans are among the most vulnerable. A jump in their numbers in the areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda has raised concern about human trafficking. Last Monday the National Bureau of Investigation raided an orphanage owned by an American in Lucena City, arresting him and two Filipinos running the institution after some of the wards complained of rape and sexual molestation. The NBI was reportedly tipped off by the US Homeland Security. Without such tips from overseas, can the Philippine government confront the problem of child sex abuse? Officials of the Department of Justice admitted yesterday that the government has limited resources to launch an intensified crackdown on those who engage in sexual exploitation of children.

implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. British authorities, in coordination with their counterparts in the United States and Australia, have launched an international sweep of those involved in the pedophile ring. The Philippines, which is home to many of the victims, should do its share by confronting the scourge with greater resolve and sufficient resources.

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