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Quezon City News November 2012

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SMDC-QC int’l marathon starts early

(The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Organizers of the SMDC-Quezon City International Marathon have set an early start for the full marathon on Sunday at the QC Memorial Circle to ensure the safety of participants and motorists alike.

Executive Runners Club of the Phils. chairman and president Francisco Cayetano Jr. said that the 42K starting time has been moved back from 4 a.m. to 3 a.m., although the 21K (4:30 a.m.), 10K (5:50 a.m.) and 5K (6 a.m.) races will have the same times.

“We would like to have our runners racing in safe and secure surroundings, which is why we moved back the full marathon by an hour. We also want to clear the streets earlier for motorists and commuters to avoid traffic congestion in the area,” Cayetano said.

He added that the routes mapped out for all four races promise to be just as challenging with the event co-presented by SM Development Corp. and supported by BPI, Meralco, SSS, Manila North Tollways, AGC, Isuzu, Chris Sports, Maynilad, Manila Water, Summit, Gatorade, Salonpas, Fonterra and Maxima Machineries.

The event is jointly organized by Runnex and the QC government headed by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte with AKTV, The Philippine Star, Aksyon Sports, PTV-Auto Review, FrontRunner, Multi-Sport, Total Fitness, Manila Broadcasting Company, PBS-DZSR & DWBR as media partners.

The runners will run through a relatively flat out-and-back course starting from the Quezon City Hall. Sportshub ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Besides Commonwealth Ave., the widest roadway in the country, the route highlights some of Quezon City’s major landmarks such as the UP Diliman campus and La Mesa Water Dam Eco-Park.

The route for the QCIM’s 5-K run will initially pass the vicinity of Philcoa onward to Commonwealth, proceeding past its junction with Tandang Sora and Katipunan. Before reaching the Tandang Sora Flyover, the runners will turn around for the finish at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

The 10K course follows the same route but proceeds farther along Commonwealth to its turnaround point in the vicinity of the Don Antonio Sports Complex past the Diliman preparatory school and traces the same length back to the start/finish area.

The 21K route goes beyond the initial leg of the 10K distance and proceeds onward along Commonwealth Avenue to the La Mesa Eco-Park through Marlboro St. The turnaround is at the park’s gate for the return leg to the finish line.

The 42K course likewise passes in front of Philcoa and then takes a tour of the UP Diliman Campus via University Avenue and E. de los Santos, Kalaw, Pardo de Tavera, C.P. Garcia, Velasquez, and E. Ma. Guerrero streets before exiting to Commonwealth via Magsaysay Ave.

The race proceeds to the La Mesa Eco-Park also through Marlboro Road and takes the same Commonwealth–UP Diliman route back to the finish grounds at the Memorial Circle.

Motorists bound to these areas on race day are advised to take alternative streets, or they can join the QCIM’s car-free day initiated for those living in the Fairview/Commonwealth/UP Diliman districts.

This voluntary campaign encourages the residents to defer using their vehicles on Dec. w from 12 midnight to 12 noon not only to give way to runners in the SMDC-QC International Marathon but also to contribute curbing air pollution.

Day one of PAGCOR's Pamaskong Handog 2012 reaches out to 300 poor children


MANILA, Nov. 29 (PNA) -- The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) grand gift-giving activity, dubbed “Bayanihan: Pamaskong Handog ng PAGCOR 2012” kicked off today by making Christmas merrier and more meaningful for some 300 youth and children of LINGAP Pangkabataan, Inc. in Cubao, Quezon City.

LINGAP Pangkabataan is an organization that takes care of indigent, destitute, abandoned and orphaned children, their families and communities.

PAGCOR allocated more than P400,000 for the gift-giving in LINGAP. The agency gave the children and their families Christmas gift packs containing various grocery items. What made the gift-giving more relevant for the beneficiaries of LINGAP is PAGCOR’s turnover of a renovated reading center for their use. This is part of Pamaskong Handog’s “bayanihan” component.

Employees and workers of PAGCOR renovated the institution’s reading center by replacing its defective ceramic tiles, repairing and repainting the center’s ceiling, painting of its walls, installation of lights, windows, cabinets and computer tables. The state-owned gaming corporation also fulfilled LINGAP’s Christmas wish to have six sets of computers and printers for the use of their wards.

“Ang Pamaskong Handog ng PAGCOR ay programa sa pangunguna ni Chairman Cristino Naguiat, Jr. Every year ay pumipili ang PAGCOR ng mga institutions na ang adhikain ay ang tumulong sa mga mahihirap at itaas ang antas ng karunungan ng mga kabataan,” said PAGCOR Assistant VP for Community Relations Henry Reyes.

“Narito ang PAGCOR para tumulong sa adhikain ng Lingap Pangkabataan, inimprove kung ano ang meron sila, at nagdagdag ng mga computers para sa mga batang nangangailangan,” Reyes added.

Mario Liwag, Chairman of LINGAP’s Board of Trustees, said PAGCOR’s early Christmas gifts, particularly the reading center which is being used as an alternative learning venue will have a great impact on the less fortunate children under the institution’s care.

“These children come mostly from poor families. They lack access to reference materials. We are thankful to PAGCOR for choosing us as one of the beneficiaries of its gift-giving this year. The new reading center and the new computer sets will not only help in their studies but also motivate them to pursue a better life than be on the streets,” Liwag said.

The beneficiaries of LINGAP Pangkabataan were also given a grand Christmas party complete with food and entertainment. Gracing the event to entertain the beneficiaries are singers Duncan Ramos and Hansen Nichols.

From the time it was established in 1981, Lingap Pangkabataan has already helped and assisted more than 18,000 Filipino children and their families through various community-based and center-based programs and services in partnership with local churches throughout the country.

Fourteen-year old Reynaida Laja is proud to share how Lingap has helped her in many ways. “Pumupunta ako sa Lingap para gumawa ng assignment at mag-aral lalo na yung mga hindi namin masyadong naintindihan sa school. Tinuturuan din kami ng mga teachers dito,” she shared. Lingap has also taught Reynaida spiritual values, how to become strong and how to keep a positive view on life.

Reynaida is also thankful to PAGCOR for considering them as part of the agency’s Pamaskong Handog beneficiaries this year. “Salamat po sa pagbibigay sa amin ng mga regalo dahil malaking bagay po ito para sa mga batang katulad ko na walang-wala. At salamat din po sa panibagong reading centers at bagong mga computers. Makakatulong po ito para mas dumami pa ang aming kaalaman,” she said.

PAGCOR’s Christmas gift-giving program this year runs from November 29 to December 20, 2012. It will touch the lives of more than 8,600 beneficiaries in 41 charitable institutions nationwide.

Aquino spends time with QC pupils

By Aurea Calica, Sandy Araneta (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino spent time with pupils in Quezon City yesterday to commemorate the 80th birthday of his late father, Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Aquino read to the students and answered questions on national issues ranging from China and the West Philippine Sea to corruption, Cybercrime Law and being the country’s leader.

Aquino and his sisters Maria Elena Cruz, Victoria Eliza Dee and Kristina Bernadette first attended Mass at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque in the morning before he proceeded to Quezon City to meet the students.

Aquino read to select students from all the over the country Yvette Ferreol’s short story in Filipino: “Halo-halo Espesyal.”

The students had assembled in a classroom at the Teodora Alonzo Elementary School.

The story was about a girl who had been sick for a week and who got well after her mother and grandmother took care of her, feeding her different kinds of food including halo-halo. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

When Aquino asked the students what moral lesson they got from the story, one of them answered: “Masarap (delicious).”

Aquino explained that it was about the healing power of love and taking care of one another.

The “Araw ng Pagbasa” was the culminating activity for the National Reading Month. The event highlighted the month-long celebration to promote the love for reading and conducted through simultaneous storytelling sessions.

The program is part of Aquino’s 10-point education agenda promoting every child to be a reader.

Quezon City Rep. Jorge John Banal said the date was also special because it was the birthday of Ninoy.

Banal initiated the day of reading, drawing inspiration from the life of Ninoy, who found hope and inspiration in books and letters from his family during his incarceration in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

DOH leads 8th National Biotechnology Week


QUEZON CITY, Nov 27 (PIA) -- The Department of Health on Monday spearheaded the observance of the 8th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) and pushed for greater awareness and appreciation of the development in health care brought about by advances in biotechnology.

“Rotavirus, pentavalent and pneumococcal vaccines are products of biotechnology. Introducing these vaccines as part of the national immunization program for children is a step towards attaining our Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.

The agency, in its 2013 budget proposal, allocated P1.8 billion for the Expanded Program on Immunization that includes BCG(Bacille Calmette-Guérin), DPT(diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus), OPV (oral polio vaccine), Hepatitis B, Measles, TT (tetanus toxoid), MR (measles and rubella), Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine and Rotavirus vaccines.

The Dengue vaccine, another product of biotechnology’s advances and development in healthcare, which is already ongoing its efficacy trials in Asia including the Philippines and other countries in Latin America is set to likewise see its results in 2014.

“Vaccines are still the most cost-effective public health intervention that can prevent and control diseases, are easy to administer and in most cases, afford a lifelong protection; indeed, a breakthrough in healthcare and biotechnology,” stressed the health chief.

Worldwide, there are around 155 biotechnology drugs and vaccines that are approved for use and the biopharmaceutical industries are still working hard to develop more life-saving biotech products. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America reported (2009) that more than 600 biotech medicines are being tested to treat more than 100 diseases. Among these 600 biotech products under development, 210 medicines are for cancers, 22 for cardiovascular diseases, 50 for infectious diseases, 44 for autoimmune diseases and 22 for HIV and related conditions.

With the theme, ”Bioteknolohiya para sa Kalikasan, Kalusugan, Kagandahan, Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran” with the tagline: “OK ang 5K sa Kalusugan Pangkalahatan: Mamamayan at Kalikasan", the celebration began yesterday (November 26) and will go on on until November 30, 2012 at the Gateway Mall, Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.

The annual event will be highlighted by seminars and forum on advancement in medicine, safer and healthful biotech crops breakthroughs and scientific and technology forum on environment. Biotechnology products and services will be featured in week-long exhibits.

The 8th NBW is chaired by the DOH in collaboration with inter-agency committee members such as the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Environment & Natural Resources, Science & Technology, Trade & Industry, Interior & Local Government, and the Commission on Higher Education.

Observed every last week of November of every year, the NBW is celebrated to increase public understanding and knowledge on the benefits and impact as well as the safe and responsible use and application of biotechnology in the country.

AFP backs drive to end violence vs women

By Reinir Padua (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Defense department will conduct a series of activities in support of the government’s campaign to end violence against women.

AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the activities will be held within the 18-day campaign, which started yesterday and will go on until Dec. 12.

“The activities will aim for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and strengthening local and international efforts,” Burgos said.

The campaign’s theme is “Violence against women: Free society in times of peace, conflict and calamity.”

The campaign, which is being led by the Philippine Commission on Women, kicked off with an advocacy walk called “Walk and Roll” from the EDSA People Power Monument to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Military and defense personnel participated in the activity. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

A photo exhibit about domestic violence will be launched today after the flag-raising ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo.

A livelihood bazaar featuring programs and business opportunities for women will be set up during the campaign period.

Burgos said booths featuring different products sold by female entrepreneurs and their families would be erected at the parking lot of the Camp Aguinaldo Grandstand.

Data from the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey show that one in five women aged 5 to 49 has experienced physical violence since age 15.

The survey revealed that 14.4 percent of married women have experienced physical abuse from their husbands and more than one-third or 37 percent of separated or widowed women have experienced physical violence.

Meanwhile, one in 25 women aged 15 to 49 had experienced forced sexual intercourse. The survey also revealed that one in 10 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced sexual violence.

“Development will not be possible without the full participation of women. That is entirely true especially in the AFP as we continue to build a stronger and more gender responsive military organization,” AFP chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa said.

QC to construct obstacle course in Camp Karingal

By Reinir Padua (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Quezon City policemen will soon have an obstacle course in their headquarters at Camp Karingal, Mayor Herbert Bautista announced Friday.

“This will help you enhance your physical endurance,” he said in his keynote address during the celebration of the Quezon City Police District’s (QCPD) 73rd anniversary.

Bautista said the construction of the obstacle course will start before the year end. His chief of staff, Aldrin Cuna, said the city government would fund the construction of the obstacle course inside Camp Karingal.

QCPD director Chief Superintendent Mario dela Vega thanked the city government for the logistical support to the local police, citing the additional firearms and vehicles given to the QCPD earlier this year.

QC marathon listup extended

(MST Sports)

Anticipating the rush of late entries, organizers of the 4th SMDC-Quezon City International Marathon 2012 have extended the registration of the running showcase scheduled to hit the road on Dec. 2 at the Quezon Memorial Circle to Nov. 28.

“We know that there are still a lot of runners who, for one reason or another, still have not signed up for the marathon so we are extending the registration deadline to Nov. 28,” Executive Runners Club Phils. chairman and president Francisco Cayetano Jr. said.

Cayetano also highlighted the fact that clubs and other organizations who register as a group of 50 participants will get a P100 discount from the regular entry fees in all the 42-kilometer full marathon, 21K, 5K and 10K races.

He added that the student rate for a group of 100 runners in the 5K and 10K is only P200 in the event co-presented by SM Development Corporation, sponsored and supported by BPI, Meralco, SSS, Manila North Tollways, AGC, Isuzu, Chris Sports, Maynilad, Manila Water, Summit, Gatorade, Salonpas, Fonterra and Maxima Machineries.

Now on its fourth year, the event and is a joint undertaking of Runnex and the QC government headed by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte with AKTV, Philippine Star, Aksyon Sports, PTV-Auto REVIEW, FrontRunner, Multi-Sport, Total Fitness, Manila Broadcasting Company, PBS-DZSR & DWBR as its media partners.

Delegates from all over the world to attend five-day forum in PHL Nov. 26-30


Hundreds of delegates from all over the world are expected to attend the 5th World Social Forum on Migration (WSFM) from November 26 to 30 in Miriam College, Quezon City.

On Thursday, in a press conference for the event, Aurora Javate de Dios, executive director of the Woman and Gender Institute (WAGI) of Miriam College said the Philippines is a big stakeholder in setting the agenda for the rights of migrant workers as nearly 10 million Filipinos reside overseas.

On its website, WSFM describes itself as "a summit of civil society, social movements and activist groups involved in the growing challenge of migration around the world."

During the five-day forum that will begin on Monday next week, there will be discussions and workshops on various issues related to the migration phenomenon.

Some of the issues that will be discussed in the WSFM are the consequences of global migration, the rights of migrants, and alternative models of migration.

The other issues to be discussed are debts of migrant workers, marriage and migration, and recruitment agencies.

Expected to speak at the event are United Nations Committee on Migrant Workers chair Abdelhamid El Jamri and House of Representatives committee on overseas workers affairs chairperson Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.

On the third day of the program, delegates will have the option to choose among three diverse field visits in Manila, Pampanga and Batangas to get closer looks at the effects of the migrant experience on Filipinos.

The participants of the summit will also conduct a march along España Boulevard on the last day of the program and a rally at Mendiola in Manila.

The Philippines is the first in Asia to host the WSFM. The past four summits were conducted in Brazil, Ecuador, and two times in Spain.

Good, bad examples of migration

De Dios noted the good and bad examples of migration in the context of the Philippines. She said as an example that the contribution of the remittances of OFWs to the Philippine economy is recommendable and admirable.

“On the other hand, we know that being a migrant is full of risks and danger,” De Dios said.

“Ibig sabihin nito di lang natin ipinagtatanggol ang mga Pilipino, ipinagtatanggol din natin ang karapatan ng lahat ng migrante, kahit saan pa sila manggaling,” De Dios said.

“So iyon ang papel ng Pilipinas: it plays a significant leadership in the human rights of migrant workers,” she continued, noting that “kailangan ng mundo ang mga OFWs.”

Not black and white

Rex Varona, a trustee of the Migrant Forum in Asia -- a network of civil society organizations and unions in Asia advocating for the rights of migrant workers and their families-- noted that the “face of migration is not black and white.”

He said there are many perspectives to issues related to migrant workers and their families, which the summit will discuss.

According to the 2010 Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, almost 9.5 million Filipinos can be found all over the world.

Data from the National Statistics Office, meanwhile, peg the number of Overseas Filipino Workers at around 2.2 million, based on the 2011 Survey on Overseas Filipinos.

Meanwhile, migrants worldwide are estimated at around 214 million, based on data from the International Organization for Migration.

President Aquino extols NGOs as partners of government in nation building and development


MANILA, Nov. 22 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded the non-government organizations as partners of government in nation building and development during rites commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Caucus of Development Non-Governmental Organization (CODE-NGO) Networks held at the Skydome of SM North EDSA in Quezon City on Thursday.

In his speech keynoting the event, the President called the civil society organization-members of CODE-NGO as “pillars of good governance” who act as “bridges” connecting the people and government through their active participation in his administration’s reform program.

He said that NGOs serve as the eyes and ears of government in getting the pulse of the nation and how to effectively address its needs and wants.

“Isa po sa mahalagang bunga ng mapayapang rebolusyon sa EDSA ang pag-usbong ng ating Non-Government Organizations. Sa pagbagsak ng diktadurya, bumangon ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag at lumawak ang pakikibahagi ng mamamayan sa mga isyung panlipunan. Dito tumingkad ang diwa ng sama-samang pagkilos upang maisakatuparan ang mabubuting adhikain para sa bayan,” the President said.

“Sa ating administrasyon, isa kayong matibay na haligi ng mabuting pamamahala. Mga mata kayong nagbabantay laban sa katiwalian; mga taingang nakikinig sa suliranin ng taumbayan; at mga tinig na inihahayag ang saloobin ng mga naisasantabi sa lipunan,” he added.

This year’s celebration coincides with the holding of CODE-NGO’s 5th Congress themed “Breaking Barriers in Civil Society’s Constructive Engagement for Development.”

It is considered the largest gathering of civil society leaders in the country which includes six national networks and six regional networks, representing more than 1,600 development NGOs, peoples’ organizations and organizations nationwide and serves as the culmination of CODE-NGO’s 20 years of influencing public policy and contributing to increasing the effectiveness of civil society’s social development work in the country.

CODE-NGO holds its Congress every five years to evaluate its work for the past years and set its directions for the future. This year’s congress will approve the coalition’s Strategic Plan for the next five years.

Joining the President were Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, CODE-NGO chair Andrea Patricia Sarenas and Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles.

QC shuts down 'unsanitary' slaughterhouse in Cubao

(LBG, GMA News)

The Quezon City government on Tuesday shut down a chicken slaughterhouse after finding its workers were engaged in unsanitary practices.

City veterinarian Dr. Ana Maria Cabel said the slaughterhouse at Ermin Garcia Street in Cubao did not pass sanitation standards, radio dzBB reported.

The report quoted Cabel as saying they found the slaughterhouse had no business permit, and some of the workers there were working half-naked (no shirts).

But the workers explained they had to work that way because it was very hot inside the slaughterhouse, which was an abandoned building.

Also, the report said residents are complaining of a foul smell from the slaughterhouse, a mixture of human sweat and chicken blood and feathers.

Health officials have been inspecting slaughterhouses and similar facilities in Metro Manila as the holidays draw closer and demand for meat rises.

The National Meat Inspection Service, for its part, is also monitoring meat in markets to look out for "botcha" or tainted meat.

DOTC leads motorbike caravan for road safety

By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan (DOTC/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

QUEZON CITY, Nov. 20 (PIA) -- The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) led over the weekend the culmination of the motorcycle caravan for road safety dubbed as 2W Relay for a C.A.U.S.E. (Call to Action Towards Unity, Safety and Equality) at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

The motorbike caravan, participated by different motorbike associations nationwide, started in September and went around selected cities in the country, where programs advocating road safety were also held.

The DOTC said that caravan aims to raise the level of awareness of motor bike riders in the country on road safety and call on everyone, including the private sector, the national government, the local government units (LGUs) and the civil society to work together in reducing road accidents.

It particularly calls on LGUs to implement road safety measures such as training enforcers to be emergency responders; constructing and re-constructing pedestrian cross paths; putting road markings in schools, markets, and other strategic places where people normally congregate, and pass ordinances that promote road safety including the "no texting while driving," "no drunk driving" and the like.

The caravan started in General Santos City in Mindanao Sept. 22 and traveled through 23 other cities in Mindnao, including Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Iligan.

In the Visayas, it roamed through the cities of Bacolod, Ormoc, Calapan and the municipality of Laoang, Northern Samar. It then proceeded to Luzon where it paraded through the provinces of Batangas, Sorsogon, Cavite, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Bulacan.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, 1.3 million people die every year due to road crashes, more than 80 percent of which take place in less-developed countries like the Philippines.

Fatalities due to road crashes in the country increase 14.6 percent annually reaching 1,399 in 2011.

Of these, 79 percent are due to driver error; 11 percent, to defective vehicle condition; and, 10 percent to bad road condition.

If no interventions are made, whether from the national or local government or the private sector, it is projected that by 2020, the end of the UN-declared Decade of Action for Road Safety: 2010-2020, about 300,000 people will perish in the country due to road accidents.

Motorcycles rank second among the vehicles with the highest involvement in traffic incidents. LTO records show that of the 6.2 million registered motor vehicles last year, 3.2 million are motorcycles or more than 50 percent of road users are motor bike riders, enough reason why they are the most vulnerable to accidents today.

The program also inculcates in motorbike riders to be responsible riders through the culture of road safety. With their sheer number, they can also be tapped to spread the message of road safety nationwide with LGU support.

The DOTC led the caravan in partnership with the Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO), Alliance of Road Users and Motorcycle Advocate Society (ARMAS), the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc. (MDPPA) and the A4 Telemedia and in support to the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety: 2010-2020.

Likewise, the DOTC also led the country’s observance of the World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims through a program which will be held at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims is celebrated every third Sunday of November every year worldwide, according to a declaration of the United Nations General Assembly in 2005.

Grass Residences 97% sold–SMDC

By Doris C. Dumlao (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines–SM Development Corp. has reported a 97-percent take-up of residential units under its Grass Residences project in Quezon City alongside the rise of property values in the 6,000-unit project.

In a press statement on Monday, the Henry Sy-led property firm reported that from an average selling price at launch of P50,000 per square meter for Grass Residences in 2007, the value per square meter now ranges between P90,000 and P115,000.

The 97-percent sales take-up was reported by SMDC as of end-October this year.

A three-tower development, with each tower standing 38 stories high, Grass Residences sits on a 3.6-hectare property on Nueva Vizcaya St., Quezon City located next to SM City North EDSA.

After its launch in 2007, Tower One of Grass Residences has been completed while Towers 2 and 3 are currently under construction and are slated for completion in 2013 and 2014.

The amenities of Grass Residences include a clubhouse, two multipurpose function rooms, one Olympic-size pool, an adult pool, two kiddie pools, and Wi-Fi-enabled common areas. The project also features jogging trails, six badminton courts, a basketball court, as well as landscaped gardens and courtyards.

Although a new player in the residential property market, SMDC has grown rapidly in the last few years by bringing to the property market affordable residential units in prime locations. Its products cater to mid-range home buyers.

Read-Along bags its 4th Philippine Quill Award

(Philippine Daily Inquirer)

THE Inquirer Read-Along program bagged another award at the 11th Philippine Quill Awards held at Crowne Plaza Galleria in Quezon City Monday night.

The program received an Award of Merit for staging the 1st Inquirer Read-Along Festival in November last year, the biggest and most diverse group gathered in a single venue to celebrate the joy of reading with a marathon of events.

“We take pride in this advocacy of developing the habit of reading through Inquirer Read-Along, and in the process empowering the community of readers to become agenda-setters and positive contributors to society,” said Inquirer senior vice president for sales and marketing Rene Reinoso, who received the award.

Hundreds of children from all over Metro Manila joined the two-day event last year, which was held at the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center on the University of the Philippines campus. It featured six storytelling sessions, a living museum of well-loved storybook characters, a book fair, storytelling competition and a seminar for elementary and preschool teachers on the strategies for teaching early love of reading.

With the theme, “The Filipino Child and the Stories of the World,” the event featured Miss Earth beauty queens, representatives of the Spanish, Japanese and South African embassies, veteran celebrities Cesar Montano, Jon Santos and Gary Valenciano as readers.

The sessions also featured kid champion storytellers from the Alitaptap-Lampara storytelling contest, Trumpets Playshop and members of the University of Santo Tomas Communication Arts Students Association.

They were joined by regular Read-Along partners Rich Rodriguez of Alitaptap Philippines, Dyali Justo of Adarna House and Ann Abacan of Sophia School.

Also crowned during the two-day event was Festival Storytelling King Quemer Bagaporo, a 15-year-old high-school student from Sauyo High School in Quezon City, who bested six other storytellers during the first Inquirer Read-Along Storytelling Competition.

Given out by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines, the Philippine Quill is an annual award recognizing excellence in business communications.

This is the fourth time the program was recognized by the Philippine Quill Awards. After its first year, the program received an Award of Excellence, and bagged an Award of Merit the following year for expanding the read-along sessions to the regions. Last year, it received the grand prize in the Communication Division for staging 25 simultaneous nationwide Read-Along sessions in December 2010, for which it also received an Award of Excellence.

The program, launched in May 2007 by Inquirer Research and Junior Inquirer, has also been recognized by the Reading Association of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

This year’s Inquirer Read-Along Festival will be held on Nov. 26-27 at the Amphitheater at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center and will feature six storytelling sessions, including three storytelling competitions for students aged 7-9, 10-12 and adults.

Nativity scene ushers in the true meaning of Christmas

By Jeannette I. Andrade (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines - For 20 years now, the Araneta Center has put up the Belen, a traditional Filipino Christmas icon that depicts the birth of Jesus Christ. This life-sized depiction of the Nativity at the Farmers Market, which serves as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, has come to be a yearly local attraction, and Christmas at the Araneta Center is not the same without the Belen.

Following the Giant Christmas Tree lighting last November 9, the Araneta Center continues the tradition of ushering in the holiday season with the annual Belen Lighting ceremony.

This year’s Belen Lighting ceremony was held on November 16 at Farmers Market. Present to witness the solemn ceremony were Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, Quezon City 3rd District Congressman Jorge Banal, Barangay Socorro Barangay Chairman Joey de Guzman, Quezon City 3rd District Councilor Pinggoy Lagumbay, and Quezon City Market Department OIC Noel T. Soliven.

The Christmas cheer continues at the Araneta Center after the Belen lighting, so be sure to check out all the holiday sights, sounds, treats, and activities lined up for the whole family from November until January 2013:

Buy all things Christmassy at the Parolan bazaar in Farmers Garden; get your fill of fresh-cooked puto bumbong and bibingka, plus other mouth-watering treats at the Christmas food fair in Quadrant C (Giant Christmas Tree area); and be dazzled with the showcase of brightly-lit electric capiz floats also in Quadrant C. Get great bargains as well during the Araneta Center Pre-Christmas Sale on November 23 to December 2.

Be serenaded by the different chorale groups as they sing your favorite Christmas carols every weekend from November 17 to December 23 during the Chorale Competition; marvel at the fireworks display every Friday and Saturday all throughout the holidays; and get your kids to meet Santa at Gateway Mall, Ali Mall, and farmers Plaza every Friday to Sunday from December 1 to 25.

The British are coming to Manila, as well as your favorite Disney Princesses and Heroes, this December! Catch Sir Elton John and Sting as they stage back-to-back concerts at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on December 8 and 9. And on December 25 to January 3, see your favorite Disney princesses Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Tiana, and their equally dashing princes in Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes! Log on to www.ticketnet.com.ph or call (02) 911 5555 for tickets.

Quezon City gov’t to destroy, rebuild Quezon house

By Jeannette I. Andrade (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

An exact replica of President Manuel L. Quezon’s house on Gilmore Avenue in Quezon City will soon be built at Quezon Memorial Circle.

City planning and development office chief Tomasito Cruz said that the Quezon City government had already allocated a budget of P9.943 million for the project, which is expected to start in the early part of 2013.

“Except for the swimming pool, all structural parts of the ancestral house of the Quezon family shall be reconstructed and rebuilt by the city government,” Cruz added.

The 500-sqm house is where Quezon stayed for two months while he was recuperating from tuberculosis in the 1930s. Although it has not been officially declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) a heritage site, Mayor Herbert Bautista has expressed interest in preserving it as part of the city’s historical heritage.

The NHCP previously said that the Quezon-Avanceña home has “no major or significant association with the political or personal life of President Quezon” and fell short of the requirements that could qualify it as a heritage site.

The late president’s house, a two-story colonial-style residential structure built on the 3,678-sqm Quezon-Avanceña property on Gilmore Avenue, was donated to the city government after the lot it is sitting on was sold in August last year.

Cruz explained that the new owner of the property, Zenara Holdings Corp., had turned over the house to the city government.

“Since they have no use for the old house, the new owner decided to just donate the house to the city,” he said in a statement.

The city government has started looking for a contractor to carry out the project.

DSWD conducts forum on foster care act


MANILA, Nov. 15 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducts a forum today, November 15, dubbed, “Foster Care, Anong Bago?” at the Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City.

The forum presents the newly-signed Republic Act No. 10165 or the Foster Care Act of 2012. Atty. Melissa D. Gorospe, Attorney IV of DSWD’s Legal Service, will discuss the salient features and provisions of the law while Atty. Eric Henry Joseph F. Mallonga, Founding President and Executive Director of the Meritxell Children’s World Foundation Inc., will tackle the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10165.

Foster care is the provision of planned temporary substitute parental care to a child by a foster parent duly licensed by the DSWD.

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said that foster care is a very nurturing alternative parental care for abandoned, neglected, orphaned children and other children with special needs.

Under the law, Secretary Soliman explained that a foster child will receive monthly subsidy from the DSWD and will automatically become a PhilHealth beneficiary of the foster parent.

Moreover, foster parents will be provided with support care services such as counseling, training on child care and development, respite care, skills training and livelihood assistance. In addition, foster parents will be entitled to personal tax exemption and additional exemption for dependents.

“Social workers would first determine the capacity and motivation of applicant-foster parents. Then, qualified foster parents, after receiving their licenses, would be made to undergo matching process supervised by DSWD-accredited institutions,” Secretary Soliman added.

Foster parents may also apply for a Long-Term Foster Placement Authority (LTFPA) if the child under their care has been with them for at least seven (7) years.

Under the law, the program will have an initial budget of P25 million in 2013 to support the foster care programs of the DSWD and other child-caring agencies.

The measure was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 11, 2012.

For the First Semester of 2012, the DSWD has provided temporary family care to 367 children through foster care.

The Social Welfare and Development Forum is convened quarterly by the DSWD to inform, consult and coordinate with major stakeholders of SWD programs in the national and local levels.

Ateneo sports achievers honored Saturday

(The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame holds its 12th awards rites on Saturday with the school’s top sports achievers the last three years to be feted at the Ricardo and Dr. Rosita Leong Hall Auditorium, Loyola Schools, Ateneo de Manila University in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

Dubbed as FABILIOH XII, the event will start at 4:30 p.m. to be preceded by a Mass, registration of awardees and guests, and photo sessions with the awardees with members of their families.

Fr. Jose Ramon “Jett” Villarin S.J., president of the Ateneo de Manila University, will be the guest of honor and speaker.

The Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF) Committee, formerly under the Ateneo Alumni Association Board of Directors until 2005, and now an independent corporate entity, has been giving awards to Ateneo sports luminaries every three years since 1979. To date, 152 sports heroes have been inducted into the ASHOF.

Invited to grace the event are current Ateneo teams and athletes who have done the school proud by their outstanding and rare achievements in their respective sports, including the five-peat UAAP men’s basketball champions and the eight-peat UAAP boys’ swimming champions.

Quezon City, Bacolod set for sisterhood

(Visayan Daily Star)

Quezon City, the biggest city in the country that is composed of six districts, is forging a sister-city relationship with Bacolod City.

Bacolod Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez, the proponent, said he was assigned by Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia to facilitate the sisterhood between Bacolod and Makati City in October, a press release from City Hall said.

He will meet with Quezon Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte soon on the details of the agreement that he said was passed on second reading at the Quezon City Sanggunaing Panlungsod, the press release said.

Quezon City officials may come to Bacolod before the end of November or in December this year for a chance to see the environment in Bacolod, it added.

Salary standardization


Manila, Philippines – The Quezon City has set aside at least P1.85 billion to fund the fourth and final tranche of the salary standardization scheme for government workers.

Mayor Herbert Bautista said the new round of salary increase, which will take effect not earlier than January 1, 2013, will benefi t some 5,000 regular city hall employees. At least 26 percent of the city’s total appropriations for salaries and wages next year were earmarked to implement the new pay scheme.

A gigantic way to light up the Holidays

By Matikas Santos (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines – A giant tree lit up the sky Friday night, adding to the glitter that Filipinos have come to associate with the Christmas season.

“What is unique about the Filipino Christmas is how long it goes on for, people are excited about celebrating as early as September to as late as January,” Anubha Sahasrabuddhe, Marketing Director of the Coca-Cola Company, said in an interview, at the traditional lighting of the tree at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.

“Our job is to bring the most happiness at this very special time of the year. Filipinos love big and small celebrations and this is a big celebrations to really kick off all their families’ small celebrations,” she added.

Guillero Aponte, president and general manager of Coca Cola Philippines, which is celebrating its 100th year anniversary, said that it was a “major, major accomplishment for the company” to have been celebrating Christmas with Filipinos for the last century.

“Once again … I’m here celebrating the longest Christmas in the world, which only happens here in the Philippines,” Aponte said during his remarks before lighting up the tree.

“We have a history of 100 years, imagine today when we will light up this beautiful three, we will be starting officially the 100th Christmas together with Filipinos, and that’s a major, major accomplishment for the company I represent tonight,” he said.

The gigantic tree was lit up to the joy of thousands of Filipinos who were watching. While the tree’s twinkling light bulbs, fireworks illuminated the cool night sky, a shower of confetti danced to the beat of Christmas songs that filled the air.

Aponte praised the Filipinos’ cheerful nature and said that their “warmth and hospitality” are what make Christmas in the Philippines very special and unique in the world.

“What is special in the Philippine Christmas is the warmth and hospitality of the people. They always celebrate Christmas with family and friends and that’s something Coca-Cola can only take advantage of. We are very proud to be a sponsor of Christmas in the Philippines,” Aponte said.

Aside from the gigantic star atop of the Christmas tree, stars from rival networks GMA and ABS-CBN added glitter to the event: Louise Delos Reyes, Alden Richards, Jeric Gonzales, and Thea Tolentino from GMA and Joseph Marco, Matteo Guidicelli, Jessy Mediola, and Enrique Gil from ABS-CBN.

Beauty queens Shamcey Supsup, Janine Marie Togonon, and Elaine Kay Moll were also present to witness the lighting ceremony.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Representative Jorge Banal joined in the celebrations.

DND to celebrate 73rd founding anniversary on Nov. 12


MANILA, Nov. 10 (PNA) -- The Department of National (DND will be celebrating its 73rd founding anniversary on Monday, November 12.

The celebration will be held around 3:00 p.m. at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Commissioned Officers’ Club in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

This year's anniversary theme is “Kaisa ng Sambayanan sa Mapayapa, Maunlad at Ligtas na Bayan.”

The celebration will be highlighted with an awarding ceremony for DND officials and employees, to be led by Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin.

The DND is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for guarding against external and internal threats to peace and security in the country. It is also responsible for disaster preparation and management in the country.

The DND exercises executive supervision over the AFP, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), National Defense College of the Philippines, and the Government Arsenal.

Quezon City joins Kabuhayan 2012 national livelihood trade fair


QUEZON CITY, Nov 9 (PIA) -- The Quezon City government is showcasing its products and services at "Kabuhayan 2012,” a National Livelihood Trade Fair 2012, which opened yesterday at SM Megamall's Megatrade Hall 2-Building B in Mandaluyong City.

The city adopted the theme “Quezon City: Great. Green. Growing” to highlight the proud heritage and opportunities for growth and development, Vice Mayor Josefina Belmonte said.

Among the featured products are delicacies, fashion accessories, handicrafts, products made from recycled materials and other services of its local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Tourist destinations in the city including heritage sites and monuments, museums, art galleries, and "green" destinations are also being featured in the trade fair. Among these are the Quezon City Memorial Circle and the La Mesa Eco Park.

Eat bread, be happy

(The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Gardenia Bakeries Philippines Inc. (GBPI), the company that makes Gardenia bread, celebrated a fun-filled “Happy Bread Day” fair last Oct. 16 at the Eastwood City Mall Open Park in Libis, Quezon City.

The day started with the Gardenia Taste-Surround 3D (Delightful, Delicious, Delectable) Experience, which ran for the duration of the “Happy Bread Day” Fair.

The “Sweet Corner” provided people, particularly kids, the time to indulge in sweet treats using Gardenia breads while the “Healthy Corner” was for the health-conscious who love Gardenia bread. There was also a “Savory Corner” and a “Beverage Corner” for a thirst-quenching treat.

The Gardenia “Happy Bread Day” fair ended with “Happy Bread Day Show” hosted by Regine Tolentino, with performances by the RT Studio Dancers and Tuloy sa Don Bosco Choir. There was a special cooking demo featuring chef Rosebud Benitez, former host of the well-loved cooking show Quickfire together with actor and host Drew Arellano.

“We made sure that ‘Happy Bread Day’ Fair will not just be an enjoyable bread experience, but memorable as well as it aims to help the less-privileged kids. This has been our responsibility, our commitment to build a stronger nation through nutrition and health,” explains Simplicio Umali Jr., president and general manager of Gardenia.

For more about Gardenia Bakeries Philippines Inc. and Happy Bread Day, visit www.gardenia.com.ph.

Churches in Metro Manila install CCTV vs theft

By Jimmyley I. Guzman (CBCP/PNP/RJB/JEG-PIA NCR)

MANILA, Nov 7 (PIA) -- To address the increasing cases of theft, a growing number of Catholic churches in Metro Manila are installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside churches.

According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the Philippines (CBCP), several parishes under the Diocese of Cubao have already been installed with CCTV cameras to ensure close monitoring of their vicinity.

“CCTV cameras are really helpful. In fact, some of our churches already have CCTVs at least in the convents and some important areas,” said Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.

The bishop cited the importance and necessity of CCTVs especially when an incident occurs.

“It’s necessary so that in case something happened, you can easily review and identify the perpetrators,” Ongtioco added.

Churches are among the common targets of thieves who are after old bells and antique religious icons.

Meanwhile, Bishop Ongtioco also believes that the new policy on CCTV by the Quezon City government can help a lot in addressing crimes in the metropolis.

The prelate was reacting to the Quezon City government’s “No CCTV, no business permit policy” which takes effect in January 2013 to prevent and resolve crimes.

On the other hand, Ongtioco believes the new policy could help a lot to address increasing incidents of crime within the city but to make it mandatory is another issue.

“To make it a requirement is another big issue. It should be discussed. It’s a good measure but then the important question is can everyone afford it especially those with small business,” he said.

Last month, the Philippine National Police (PNP) also proposed to business establishments nationwide to install CCTVs.

PNP chief Nicanor A. Bartolome explained that the CCTV security system can help in the peace and order situation, aside from being a good security investment.

QC Int’l marathon next month

By Clyde Mariano

Manila, Philippines – Organizers of the fourth Quezon City International Marathon which kicks off on December 2 has put up a separate category for local runners apart from the division for foreign runners.

“We decided to put up two divisions for local and foreign runners because the last three stages have been dominated by Kenyans and Ethiopians,” said organizer Francisco Cayetano Jr. of Executive Runnex Club.

Close to 12,000 local and foreign runners are expected to compete in the fourth edition of the race, one of the highlights of the 73rd founding anniversary of Quezon City.

“We are optimistic the target will surpass the 10,000 entries last year because of the growing popularity of running in the country,” said Cayetano.

Expected to participate are former marathon champions Julius Sermona, Eduardo Buenavista, and the Sabal brothers, Cresenciano and Elmer.

The four age-division footrace has two categories: local and foreign. At stake are 5k, 10, 21k, and 42k.

Winners in men and women in the 42k win P8,000 each, 21k P6,000, 10k P5,000, and 5k P4,000.

Men and women champions in the foreign category in the 42k get $72 (P3,000) each, 21k $48 (P2,000), 10k $24 (P1,000), and 5k $18 (P75).

Maynilad spends P45-M to replace old pipes in South Fairview

By Euan Paulo C. Anonuevo (InterAksyon.com)

MANILA – Maynilad Water Services Inc said it has completed the replacement of nearly 12 kilometers of old leaking pipes in South Fairview, Quezon City.

The P45 million project will benefit more than 7,000 people, and help prevent water contamination in the area, the company said in a statement. With this amount, Maynilad spent P6,428 for every project beneficiary.

Replacing the leaky pipes will also allow Maynilad to recover around 500,000 liters of water per day, which is enough to supply the daily requirement of almost 1,428 accounts.

“When we took over Maynilad in 2007, the pipe network we inherited included the oldest water system in Asia. We are committed to rehabilitating and upgrading our network for the benefit of our customers,” Ricky P. Vargas, Maynilad president and chief executive officer, said.

The company earlier programmed P8.4 billion in capital expenditures for the year to improve its distribution network and service standards in its concession area.

Maynilad has the biggest customer base among private water concessionaires in the Philippines.

It is a concessionaire of state-run Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for the west zone of Metro Manila and parts of Cavite Province.

Maynilad is owned by Metro Pacific Investments Corp and DMCI Holdings Inc.

Manuel V. Pangilinan chairs Maynilad, MPIC and TV5, of which InterAksyon.com is the online news portal.

QC gov’t employees to get salary hikes in January

By Jeannette I. Andrade (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines—Some 5,000 regular city employees stand to benefit from the P1.85 billion allocated by the Quezon City government for the final tranche of its salary standardization program. The new round of salary increases is expected to take effect in January next year, an announcement said.

The P1.85 billion for the fourth tranche in the implementation of the salary standardization law is about 0.27 percent higher than the P1.67 billion set aside by the city this year for the third tranche.

In a press statement, Mayor Herbert Bautista described the grant of the increase as a means of helping city hall employees cope with their daily needs.

He said that the funding requirement for the implementation of the final tranche of the salary standardization scheme is a priority in the city’s expenditures for next year, an election year.

The fourth and final tranche is provided for under the Salary Standardization Law. Under the measure, the city council is tasked to determine the rate of increase based on the local government unit’s income class and financial capability provided that the salary allocation does not exceed the personal services cost limitation of the city budget.

QC to develop 'manufacturing districts'

By Janvic Mateo, (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Quezon City local government is eyeing the development of “manufacturing districts” to boost investment opportunities in the city.

Mayor Herbert Bautista announced his administration’s plan to allocate more areas along Quirino Highway for manufacturing companies in a bid to develop the newly created Districts 5 and 6 as “manufacturing districts.”

Bautista earlier expressed his intention to make the city a global growth generator, saying that the city intends to attract more investors especially this time that manufacturing industries in China are looking for other countries where they could do business.

Recently, Bautista instructed business permit and licensing office (BPLO) chief Garry Domingo to ensure that the public would not have a hard time applying for business permits.

The BPLO set up 11 “easy steps” to secure business permits and a special “Millionaire’s Club” lane for business establishments that will pay P1 million or more in taxes.

No CCTV, no business permits in QC

By Jing Villamente

The Quezon City government will start implementing the no closed-circuit-television-camera-system or no CCTV, no business permit policy in January 2013.

Mayor Herbert Bautista has directed Business Permit and Licensing Chief Garry Domingo to send notices as early as November to inform business owners of their responsibility to install in their establishment a CCTV before applying or renewing their mayor’s permit.

Bautista said that the city will be strict in enforcing its requirement that establishments operating within the city must have their own CCTV, especially those big businesses including banks, pawnshops, gas stations, malls, supermarkets and even schools.

He warned that business owners could only get their permits once they install CCTV in their establishment.

The mayor believes that business establishments will benefit from using CCTV especially in the prevention/resolution of crimes.

Bautista said that even QC hall premises will be having CCTVs next year as part of its security measures.

Rolando Montiel, head of the General Services Department, revealed that he already submitted to the Bids and Awards Committee the new Terms of Reference (TOR) for the security agency that will be watching the city hall compound. The revised TOR includes the CCTV requirement in their contract.

Montiel said that Lockheed Security Agency’s contract will expire on February 1, 2013. Earlier, the mayor already gave the green light for the procurement of P100 million worth of CCTVs to be installed on major and secondary streets in the city’s 142 barangays.

5 robbers killed in Quezon City

By Reinir Padua (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Five alleged robbers, one of them a woman, died after they traded shots with policemen following a heist in Quezon City Tuesday night.

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Chief Superintendent Mario dela Vega said they have yet to identify the slain suspects, who yielded three caliber .38 guns and a hand grenade.

He said the suspects were killed in an encounter with operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit and the District Intelligence Division.

Dela Vega said the suspects robbed a shop along Fairlane street in Barangay East Fairview prior to the shootout.

Inspector Elmer Monsalve, head of the homicide investigation section, said they recovered P19,700 cash, two laptops and a mobile phone taken by the suspects from the shop.

Shop owner Michael Minoza and his employee, Dabreb Florano, were about to close at 8:30 p.m. when the five suspects entered the establishment and announced a heist.

They said the female suspect was the one who took the shop’s daily earnings.

She also lobbed two grenades at the shop but failed to explode.

Roving policemen noticed the commotion inside the establishment. The robbers allegedly engaged the cops in a gunfight, prompting policemen to retaliate, killing the five suspects.