(LEAD) Missing S. Korean traveler in Paris found safe after 2 weeks

SEOUL/PARIS, A South Korean reported to have been missing for over two weeks while traveling in Paris was found alive and unharmed, ministry officials said Saturday.

The South Korean Embassy in France said they were able to identify the whereabouts of the missing 30-year-old male, identified only as Kim.

He is reportedly safe, the embassy said, though it did not provide further details as per the family’s request.

Kim flew into France from India around April 17 but disappeared on April 19, a day after meeting an acquaintance in the 1st arrondissement of the city, according to the officials.

The embassy earlier said it recently reported the incident to the French police on behalf of Kim’s family and provided them with the necessary consular assistance.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

PAGASA warns of dangerous heat index in 30 areas

MANILA: The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned of dangerous heat index levels in 30 areas across the country on Saturday.

Based on the weather bureau’s forecast, the following areas may have a heat index ranging from 42°C to 47°C:

NAIA Pasay City, Metro Manila – 42°C

Sinait, Ilocos Sur – 42°C

Laoag City, Ilocos Norte – 45°C

Dagupan City, Pangasinan – 47°C

MMSU, Batac, Ilocos Norte – 43°C

Bacnotan, La Union – 44°C

Aparri, Cagayan – 46°C

Tuguegarao City, Cagayan – 43°C

ISU Echague, Isabela – 42°C

Iba, Zambales – 44°C

Casiguran, Aurora – 42°C

Cubi Pt. Subic Bay Olongapo City – 42°C

Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas – 42°C

Infanta, Quezon – 42°C

San Jose, Occidental Mindoro – 42°C

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan – 44°C

Aborlan, Palawan – 43°C

Cuyo, Palawan – 42°C

Virac (Synop), Catanduanes – 44°C

Masbate City, Masbate – 42°C

CBSUA-Pili, Camarines Sur – 44°C

Roxas City Capiz – 42°C

Dumangas, Iloilo – 43°C

La Granja, La Carlota, Negros Occid
ental – 42°C

Catarman, Northern Samar – 43°C

Borongan, Eastern Samar – 42°C

Guiuan, Eastern Samar – 42°C

Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur – 42°C

Cotabato City, Maguindanao – 42°C

Butuan City, Agusan del Norte – 43°C

PAGASA said heat index is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.

The weather bureau advised the public to limit the time spent outdoors, especially at noon, and drink plenty of water.

People going outdoors are reminded to use umbrellas, or wear hats and sleeved clothing.

PAGASA said the Davao Region and Sarangani will experience cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms due to the easterlies.

Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

The whole archipelago will have light to moderate winds and slight to moderate seas.

Source: Philippines News Agency

San Sebastian salvages 2nd win in NCAA women’s volleyball

MANILA: San Sebastian College rallied past stubborn Jose Rizal University, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-19, in a no-bearing match of the NCAA Season 99 women’s volleyball at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan on Saturday.

Katherine Santos finished with 22 points, while four others scored in double figures as the Lady Stags notched back-to-back wins for a 2-6 card.

Both teams are already out of contention.

Christina Marasigan contributed 16 attacks and two aces, while Kristine Joy Dionisio and Juna May Gonzales scored 13 points each for San Sebastian.

‘Gusto ko lang manalo para magkaroon ng confidence ang mga bata. Natuwa ako, from 11-17 [in the third set], nahabol namin. Kaya pala nila (I just want to win so the players will gain confidence. I’m happy that from 11-17, we were able to catch up. They can do it after all),” San Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb said after the one hour and 50-minute match.

‘Ganyan nangyayari sa previous games. Mananalo na kami, bigla magco-collapse (That’s what happened in our previous
games. We were about to win, then we suddenly collapse),” he added.

Gorayeb also praised Gonzales, one of the eight rookies this season.

‘Sa NCAA, eight lahat greenhorns ko. Si Gonzales napakalaki ng potential (In the NCAA, I have eight greenhorns. Gonzales has great potentials),” he said.

Von Dimaculangan produced 17 excellent sets while Chloi Florenci Lazarte made 12 excellent digs and 10 receptions.

Meanwhile, Karyla Rafaela Jasareno had 14 attacks and four aces for JRU, which absorbed its seventh loss in eight outings.

Khreiszantha Gayle Batara scored 12 points, including three blocks, while Shanine Pretta added 10 points, nine on attacks.

San Sebastian’s last match will be against Letran on Wednesday while JRU will end its season against Arellano.

Source: Philippines News Agency

PH, Japan, US, Aussie defense chiefs call out Chinese actions in SCS

HONOLULU: The respective defense chiefs of the Philippines, Japan, the United States, and Australia have collectively called out China’s ‘dangerous use’ of coast guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea (SCS).

The statement was made after the quadrilateral meeting among Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, Japanese Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru, and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Richard Marles at the Indo-Pacific Command (Indopacom) Headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 2.

In a joint readout, the four ministers said they ‘strongly’ object to the dangerous use of coast guard and militia vessels; and that they are seriously concerned over the ongoing situation in the East and South China Sea.

‘They reiterated serious concern over the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) repeated obstruction of Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and the disruption of supply lines to Second Thomas Shoal, which
constitute dangerous and destabilizing conduct,’ it read.

They also emphasized the need to uphold freedoms of navigation and overflight, and called on China to abide by the 2016 Arbitral Ruling on the South China Sea.

The ministers pledged to further strengthen cooperation among the Philippines, Japan, the US, and Australia ‘in support of regional security and stability.’

During the meeting, the four discussed ways to advance their defense cooperation – through continued maritime cooperation in the South China Sea, enhanced procedures to enable coordination and information sharing arrangements, as well as strengthening capacity building.

The meeting follows China’s most recent harassment and use of water cannon on Filipino civilian vessels conducting routine humanitarian mission to Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal on April 30.

The Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Bagacay suffered some damage to a part of its superstructure while the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel sustained
damage to its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; electrical, navigation, and radio systems; and superficial hull.

The meeting marks the second time the defense ministers of the four nations met, an engagement the US Department of State described as a reflection to the Philippines, Japan, the US, and Australia’s common goal to ‘advance a shared vision for a free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.’

What needs to be done

In a recent meeting with Filipino journalists in Arlington, Virginia, former US Air Force General Herbert ‘Hawk’ Carlisle said the Philippines is ‘doing exactly what it needs to do’ amid China’s continuing harassment in the West Philippine Sea.

He lauded its efforts to fortify partnerships, including with the US, Japan, and Australia, citing the need to further improve interoperability with like-minded countries in the region.

‘The primary thing is to continue to grow those relationships and that interoperability with friends, partners, allies in the region,’ he sai

In addition, he cited the need for Manila to improve its air and missile defense systems.

Carlisle said China’s arsenal of weapons, including long-range bombers, ‘indicate that integrated air and missile defense for every nation in the Pacific region is critically important.’

‘I think the homeland defense of the Philippines is critical. I personally think that air and missile defense is one of the things that every nation in the Pacific has to invest in,’ he said.

A pressing concern

Even from far away back home, Filipinos in the US remain concerned over the situation in the South China Sea.

In an interview in San Francisco, California, 67-year-old Delma Lumo said she is ‘very much concerned’ about the developments in the area since she has a family in the Philippines.

She said she supports the path the Marcos administration is taking to defend the country’s rights over the area.

The same goes for 59-year-old Manolo Aquino, a Filipino-American aircraft mechanic from Newark who also had his fair shar
e of interactions with the Chinese in the South China Sea when he was still working as a helmsman before he immigrated to the US.

‘I like the policy of PBBM (President Bongbong Marcos) right now, because he is concerned about the West Philippine Sea, and it’s good for the future of the Philippines,’ he said in an interview.

Aquino said he also supports the improving relations between the Philippines and the US on the issue of the South China Sea.

‘I was a former seaman and I know that passage is very important in the maritime industry,’ he said.

Aquino retired as a helmsman in 2014 but he already witnessed what he described as ‘the Chinese expanding their power to control’ in the South China Sea has brought to the area.

‘At that time, wala pang problema, wala pang militarization masyado pero naririnig na namin na they require to call Chinese maritime entities na kapag dumaan ka doon, tatawag sila to identify yourself. This was around 2010 to 2014 (At that time there was not much militarization yet but we
were already hearing that they require to call Chinese maritime entities whenever you pass there. They’ll call to ask you to identify yourself. This was around 2010 to 2014),” he recounted.

‘Naririnig ko iyon as helmsman (I used to hear it when I was a helmsman). They require you to report. It’s like you’re entering the maritime area of the Chinese. That was in the area between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea until Taiwan,’ he said.

Before that, Aquino said, they could freely pass by the area without the need to report to China.

For seafarers, he said, the South China Sea is a vital sea-lane to safely ferry commercial goods from Africa and the Middle East, to Asia and the Americas.

‘We can sail on the other side of the Philippines, the Pacific Ocean pero kapag dumaan ka dito very rough, kaya dito talaga sa South China Sea ang safe passage (but if you go by that side, it’s very rough. That’s why the safe passage is here in the South China Sea),’ Aquino said.

‘Bihira ang dumadaan via Pacif
ic kasi ang iko-konsumo mo na fuel mas marami (Ships rarely use the Pacific route because this consumes more fuel).’

Source: Philippines News Agency

Calamba City incrementally increasing pay of JO workers

CALAMBA: The city government is implementing incremental salary increases for its contractual employees so they would closely match the pay received by permanent or ‘plantilla’ local government unit workers.

In an interview on Saturday, Vice Mayor Angelito Lazaro Jr. said his office was surprised to learn that many of the city’s contractual or job order (JO) employees are paid about PHP250 per day only.

Incremental wage adjustment elevated the daily pay to PHP350 in 2023 and further to PHP400 by the third quarter this year.

“Our vision is to align JO workers’ remuneration with the minimum wage for private sector counterparts. We recognize Calamba’s role as a burgeoning hub in the Calabarzon Region, experiencing rapid urbanization and industrialization,’ Lazaro said.

The minimum wage in Calabarzon currently stands at PHP520 per day.

Lazaro, also the city council’s presiding officer, explained that an ongoing reorganization in the city government epitomizes inclusivity, ensuring no individual is left behin
d. Appointments are also based on meritocracy.

The overarching aim is to bolster efficiency and efficacy in municipal governance, he added.

“By prioritizing the enhancement of city employees’ welfare and acknowledging the invaluable role of volunteers and collaborative partnerships, the current administration underscores its unwavering commitment to fortify worker conditions and foster synergistic growth for the city,” Lazaro said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Filipino conjoined twins to fly to KSA for surgery

MANILA: Filipino conjoined twins are set to fly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on May 5 for surgery.

In a media briefing on Friday, KSA Ambassador to the Philippines Hisham Sultan Abdullah Alqahtani said the medical help that would be provided to the twins Akhizah and Ayeesha Yusoph is part of their commitment to care for and concentrate on humanitarian work.

‘This humanitarian work reflects one of the prominent achievements of the kingdom in the field of separating conjoined twins and providing outstanding medical care, where the kingdom has become a pioneer in the field,’ he said.

‘It is expected that this noble humanitarian direction will positively impact the Filipino society, as it will help provide conjoined twins the opportunity to receive necessary treatment and overcome the health challenges they face.’

The KSA has performed 100 separation surgeries for conjoined twins from various countries.

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman and CEO Richard Gordon said the initiative is a ‘big help’ for
the Yusoph twins who could get good jobs and a better life in the future.

‘This is a strong gesture of Kingdom of Saudi people, of their King to help these people, these children. For PRC, usually, we provide support, maybe to their nutrition when they come back,’ Gordon said.

He noted that this is the second time that the KSA is performing surgery for conjoined twins from the Philippines, after the successful separation of Ann and Mae Manzo in Riyadh in March 2004.

The twins will be accompanied by their 19-year-old mother, Hashima Yusoph, throughout the whole procedure, which costs more than PHP500,000.

‘Wala naman akong iniisip na kaba, kasi wala naman sila sinasabi sa akin na ganun, na komplikasyon. Iniisip ko kung paano ko sila maaalagaan bilang nanay, at may nag-refer sa amin na matulungan kami (I don’t have worries because I am told there would be no complications. I was thinking how I could care for them as a mother, and someone referred us so we can get help),’ she said in an interview on the side
lines of the media briefing.

The twins are 16 months old and were born in Panabo City, Davao del Norte province. Their bodies share one liver.

The Saudi medical team and members of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, headed by Mr. Ibrahim Nasser Alsakran, arrived in Manila on Friday to bring them to KSA aboard a medically equipped evacuation plane.

Source: Philippines News Agency