Misspelling keyword that drives traffic in the Philippines

I will share with you some keywords that misspelled and drive traffic for it has significant number of searches every month. These keywords are extracted in Google Adwords. And I do hope this article will top the search engine for it is exactly the same word of what the researchers search for unless google will not offer search suggestion and correct the misspelled word.

These keywords are unintentionally typed in so, most of the time the search engine offer the right one. Sometimes, these misspelling keywords are competitive also even though they are misspelled.

Speech of President Aquino at the 2011 Philippine Development Forum

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the 2011 Philippine Development Forum

[Delivered at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City on February 26, 2011]

This is the first development forum to be held during this administration, and it comes at the right time. Our nation has always aspired for an economy where the growth powered by private enterprise is felt by a larger number of people. In the roughly eight months that I and my team have been in office, we have witnessed an upsurge of optimism in our economy. In a short span of time, we are fulfilling our promise to curb corruption and to reduce poverty.

1,491 OFWs already evacuated from Libya

A February 26, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment

Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz today said a total of 1,491 OFWs have already been safely moved out of Libya, most of them coming from Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city.

As of today, the DFA-DOLE interagency teams have confirmed that 1,491 OFWs have been evacuated from Libya mostly under their employers’ contingency and safety plans, said Baldoz.

Speech of President Aquino during the People Power Awards

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During the awarding ceremony of the People Power Awards

[Delivered at Rizal Ceremonial Hall, Malacañan Palace on February 26, 2011]

It has recently become fashionable in some circles to point at the unfulfilled promises of EDSA. Some have even dared to say that maybe one-man rule was not such a bad idea, never mind the oppression, and never mind the lack of liberties.

By now, some say, we could already have become another Singapore. The “some” is just one.

98 OFWs from Libya arrive today; 16 more tomorrow

A February 26, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment

The DFA-DOLE interagency team on the Libyan crisis headed by Ambassador Chito Brillantes and Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz today welcomed the safe arrival of 98 OFWs from Libya as both reiterated that the joint efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment continues to be intensified to ensure that OFWs still in Libya are located, cared for and protected, and safely repatriated.

Speech of President Aquino during the 25th-anniversary reenactment of the “Salubungan” at EDSA on February 25, 1986

Talumpati ni Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa pagsasadula ng Salubungan ng mga sibilyan at militar sa EDSA noong ika-25 ng Pebrero, 1986

[Inihayag sa People Power Monument, EDSA noong ika-25 ng Pebrero, 2011]

Alam niyo noong araw po ay iniisip ko: Ano kaya ang sasabihin ng nanay ko ‘pag dumating ang panahon na kailangan siyang magsalita sa 25th anniversary? Dahil napakarami na hong siyempre anibersaryo, siguro ho kapag tayo’y nagtagumpay ay dapat wala na tayong paguusapan—pinagiisipan na lang natin at pinaggugunita iyong talagang mala-milagrong pangyayari dito po sa EDSA.

Speech of President Aquino at the unveiling of the statue of Jaime Cardinal Sin

Talumpati niBenigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa pagaalis-tabing ng rebulto ni Arsobispo Jaime Cardinal Sin sa Rizal Park

[Inihayag sa Rizal Park, Manila noong ika-25 ng Pebrero, 2011]

Hinihirang po natin sa araw na ito ang kadakilaan ni Jaime Cardinal Sin. Marapat lamang po na ngayon, sa anibersaryo ng EDSA, ay kilalanin natin ang kanyang rebulto, dahil na rin sa ginampanan niyang tungkulin sa sambayanan.

Sariwain po natin: Sa EDSA, nakita natin ang mga simpleng tao, nakamaong at T-shirt, walang armas, humaharang sa tangke. Mga rosaryo at bulaklak, sinabit sa baril. Mga madre at pari, nakaluhod at nagdarasal, pinigil ang mga trak na puno ng armadong di umano’y loyalista.

Speech of President Aquino during the flag raising ceremony at the People Power Monument

Talumpati ni Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa flag raising ceremony noong umaga ng ika-25 anibersaryo ng EDSA Revolution

[Inihayag sa People Power Monument, EDSA noong ika-25 ng Pebrero, 2011]

Nang idineklara ni Ginoong Marcos ang martial law noong Setyembre 21, 1972, hindi naman lahat ng Pilipino ay nagimbal sa ideyang ito. Sa katunayan, may mga sumang-ayon pa dito dahil sa tingin nila, ito ang tatapos sa lumalaganap na kaguluhan daw noon.

Press briefing by President Aquino on efforts to evacuate the OFWs in Libya

Press Briefing by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte:
On the government’s efforts to evacuate the OFWs in Libya

Briefing Room, 2/F New Executive Building, Malacañang, Manila
February 24, 2011; 17:00 hrs. EST


DEPUTY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON VALTE: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. President Benigno S. Aquino III is here to take your questions. Good afternoon, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III: Good afternoon.

PRESIDENT AQUINO: Puwede bang magbigay muna ako sa inyo ng kaunting geography lesson? May dala-dala tayong mapa. Hopefully, you can see it, ‘no?

Ambassador Gaa feted at historic Blair House in Washington

A February 24, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs


The Philippine Embassy in Washington reported that Ambassador Willy C. Gaa was given the rare honor of being feted with a farewell reception at the Blair House by the United States State Department on February 18.

Philippine diving featured at Golden Dolphin Moscow International Festival

A February 24, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs


The Philippine Embassy in Moscow reported that the Philippines took center stage as the event’s country partner for Southeast Asia at the Golden Dolphin Moscow International Festival held in Gostiny Dvor on February 17 to 20.

A 42-square meter stand booth housed seven Philippine and Russian dive partners.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Marketing Team for Europe Director Verna Esmeralda Buensuceso headed the delegation from Manila which includes DOT Marketing Team for Europe Member Katherine A. Alcantara, Philippine Commission for Sport Scuba Diving Executive Director Geronimo Reyes, Marco Vincent Dive Resort’s Melando and Mercy Agudo and Atmosphere Resorts and Spa’s Birgit Bettina Eggert.

Speech of President Aquino at the 25th Anniversary of EDSA Eucharistic Celebration

The large golden statue of the Virgin Mary on ...Image via WikipediaSpeech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
At the 25th Anniversary of EDSA Eucharistic Celebration

[Delivered at the EDSA Shrine, February 24, 2011]

It has been twenty-five years since EDSA, twenty-five years since our people poured out into the streets to achieve the unthinkable: the end of a violent regime through nonviolent means.

It is only appropriate that this milestone is commemorated here in this shrine. The images of EDSA, after all, cannot be divorced from the images of the church. Look at the pictures of EDSA—they show nuns, priests, rosaries, and people carrying statues of the Virgin Mary on their shoulders. This is because EDSA was not merely a political act; it was also an act of faith. And it was this faith that somehow helped keep EDSA from turning violent.

It is interesting to note that our celebration of 25 years of EDSA today coincides with the wave of democracy now sweeping parts of the Arab world. Even by just watching on TV, the emotion in Egypt and Tunisia was so palpable that it brought back memories of our own experience in 1986. While ours was less violent, the similarities between EDSA and Tahrir Square are uncanny. This shows that the human passion and thirst for freedom is so universal that no autocratic regime anywhere in the world could succeed in its attempt to stay in power forever.

It would seem that 25 years after the restoration of democracy through EDSA, this country should be well on its way toward making democracy truly felt by the people—through a better economy that produces quality jobs and services.

We, unfortunately, are not quite there yet. The past 25 years have been marked with significant gains, followed sadly by backsliding. We would sometimes take two steps forward, then one step backward.

This is what our government today is confronting: the challenge of making progress irreversible and growth equitable and felt by every Filipino. Only then can we say that the democracy we fought so hard for really works.

The good news is we are getting there. We passed a national budget on time for the first time in 11 years. We have put an end to excessive bonuses at government-owned and controlled corporations, to remind them that they are there to serve the people and not themselves. We have ordered some of the most comprehensive restrictions on commercial logging, not to hurt the industry, but to protect our environment for the sake of future generations. This year alone, we are building new irrigation and rehabilitating silted irrigation systems for our farms, so we can produce an additional 1.56 million metric tons of palay per year.

Moreover, we are fighting corruption—not only in the Armed Forces—by seeking to stop an unjust plea bargain between the Ombudsman and General Carlos Garcia. But beyond that, we are allocating to the AFP resources to benefit ordinary soldiers, as well as the PNP. This year, we will build 20,000 housing units for our soldiers and policemen, and providing it to them at very low prices—very much lower than what they are currently paying to rent dwellings that they do not own.

This good news does not always make it to the headlines, but it is happening, and we are committed to achieving more in the coming years.

If there is one key lesson from EDSA that I would like to impart to all of you, it is that the democratic struggle should go beyond a single event. People power did not end at EDSA. The work goes on toward building a more fair and equitable society

To fulfill the promise of EDSA, we have programs to ensure that the most needy among us are not left behind.

Conditional Cash Transfers will keep poor children in school, so that they can have a better future. More schools and public health centers will help keep them healthy as they acquire the skills to earn a decent living.

All of this and more are being done not so much for ourselves but for our children and our grandchildren.

Those who were spared the misfortune that was martial law must now be the beneficiaries of our hard-fought democracy. I would like to think that this celebration is for them, the young people. After all, this is what EDSA was really for.

Remember, our faith teaches us, we will be asked, “What did you do to the least of our brethren?” At EDSA, we stood side by side with complete strangers, with full confidence in them that they were with us in trying to transform our society. That is the key. That is what we have to do to get our country truly transformed.

Thank you. Good evening.

Speech of President Aquino during the People-Powered Development LGU forum

Commemorative statue of the Revolution at Camp...Image via WikipediaSpeech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During “People-Powered Development”: An LGU Forum on Integrating Community-Driven Development in Local Governance Practice

[Delivered at Heroes Hall, Malacañan Palace on February 24, 2011]

Tila po yatang sumunod kay [previous speaker Mayor Den Maxino]; at tama naman ho iyong sinasabi niya. Kung isusulat ho niyo ‘yan, kung gusto niyo babasahin ko lahat ng hindi niyo nasabi, dahil napaproceed ho kayo, at maraming marami ho tayong napupulot na aral sa inyo.

Alam niyo ho kasi noong araw ako po’y Congressman. Talagang in a sense parang mayroon kaming version nito na sinusubukan. Hindi ho iyong Congressman ang nagdidikta sa komunidad kung ano ang gagawin. Pinupulong ko po iyong ating mga Barangay Council, pinapanood ng buong kommunidad; at tinatanong ko sa kanila: “Ano ho ba ang pangunahing problema? Ano ba palagay niyong marapat na solusyon dito?”

At kadalasan po sila ang nasusunod. Of course mayroon ho tayong ibang mga Kapitan na mahilig hong gumawa ng monumento—“Kailangan ko ng bagong baragay hall.” Sabi ko: “Kap, parang wala kayong patubig yata dito.” At sa pakikipagugnayan ay kadalasan naman po hindi monumento ang ginawa namin—iyong kapaki-pakinabang doon sa mga nabubuhay.

Kapag sinabing People Power, ang kalimitang tumatatak sa atin ay ang martsa ng milyun-milyong Pilipino, ang mukha ni ng tatay ko na naka-imprenta sa dilaw na damit, ang malalaking tangke na itinutulak sa EDSA, ang mga imahen ng armalite na may bulaklak sa dulo o madreng nagrorosaryo sa kalsada habang nakaluhod. Ngunit sabi nga po ng aking Ina, ang tunay na lakas ng People Power may ibang mukha. Hindi ito nangyayari dahil lamang naipit ka na sa isang sulok, kung saan ang likod mo ay nakatulak na sa pader at tila ba wala ka nang ibang magawa kundi ang lumaban. Higit sa pagwagayway ng mga plakard, higit sa pagiging reaksyonaryo, higit sa pagiging matapang: kahandaan ang susi ng tunay na People Power. Kahandaan laban sa katiwalian; kahandaan laban sa kahirapan. At ito ang uri ng kahandaan na taglay ng mga kasama nating mga Mayor mula sa iba’t ibang munisipalidad na nagbabahagi ng kanilang kaalaman para mapabuti pa ang KALAHI-CIDSS [Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan - Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services] program.

Samantalahin ko na ang pagkakataon [drinks water]. Sabi ho ng doctor ko, para gumanda ang boses ko kailangan bawasan ko ‘yung pagsasalita ko. Sabi ko, mahirap ho yatang patakbuhin ‘yung bansa nang sign language. Maliban nalang ho pagka-[makes a gesture]; iyon effective ho na sign language.

Kaya naman po hindi ko alam kung mas uunahin kong ihayag ang aking tuwa, o ipaabot na agad ang aking taos-pusong pasasalamat sa mga pinunong kasama natin ngayong umaga. At hindi po ako magdadalawang-isip na tawagin kayong lahat na bayani. Kung kaagapay ka ng bayan sa kaunlaran; kung inaakay mo ang mga mahihirap nating kababayan upang sila ay umangat; kung marangal mong ginagampanan ang iyong trabaho at hindi mo ninanakawan ang kaban ng bayan, walang duda na ikaw ay bayani. Bahagi kayo ng modernong rebolusyon para puksain ang kahirapan. Bahagi kayo ng martsa ng pamahalaan upang ituwid ang mali sa lipunan. Saludo po ako sa inyong lahat.

Ang mga nalikom na kaalaman at pamamaraan ng mga mayors mula sa kanilang mga bayan ay magagamit natin upang higit pang pagbutihin ang implementasyon ng KALAHI-CIDSS sa mga susunod na taon. Dahil sa inyong mabuting ugnayan sa mga sinasakupan ninyong mga pamayanan, mas madali po nating nagagapi ang gutom at kahirapan. Wala pong duda: Kung mas marami ang nakikilahok tungo sa kolektibong desisyon at nagkakaisang pag-aksyon, mas mabilis nating natatapos ang trabaho, mas nakakatipid pa tayo. Ngayon, kung sa lokal na lebel pa lamang ay marami nang nagagawa ang ganitong mekanismo, isipin na lamang po ninyo kung gaano kalaki ang mai-aambag nito para maibsan ang kahirapan sa pambansang antas. Habang dumarami ang naiipon nating kaalaman sa mas mahusay na implementasyon ng KALAHI-CIDSS, mas marami rin pong paaralan ang mapapasukan ng mga kabataan, magkakaroon ng mas modernong gamit ang ating mga hospital, at mas mabilis maihahatid ng mga magsasaka ang kanilang mga produkto sa mga palengke dahil sa sementadong mga daanang hindi po naguguho sa ulan. Sa madaling salita, ang ibinabahagi ninyo ay hindi lamang para sa mga kabarangay o kabayan ninyo: Umaabot ito sa mas maraming Pilipino.

Mulat kayong hindi hawak ng iisang tao ang lahat ng solusyon sa problema. Isa itong manipestasyon na buhay ang diwa ng People Power sa inyong puso at isipan. Bawat mungkahi sa mga pagpupulong, bawat sementong binubuhat para sa pagpapatayo ng health clinic, bawat pisong inilalaan mula sa isang pamilya, para sa kanilang barangay o bayan, ay may makabuluhang kontribusyon upang makabuo ng mas matiwasay na buhay sa mga naghihikahos na Pilipino. Ang nakakatuwa nito, hindi lamang ang lokal na pamahalaan, o ang ating administrasyon; hindi lamang ang DSWD o iba pang mga NGO ang kasama natin sa makabagong People Power na ito. Maging ang World Bank, pati na ang Millenium Challenge Corporation mula sa Estados Unidos ay kaagapay din natin sa bayanihan. Patunay ang mga ito na nag-uumapaw at tumutulay pa sa ibang bansa ang kumpiyansa sa ating mga adhika.

Kaya naman po hinihimok ko kayong imbes na magbangayan (lalo na’t sa hindi pa ako kasali), magdamayan na po tayo. Kapag nagawa natin ito, lumalakas ang mga komunidad, at nilalabanan din natin ang kawalang-malasakit. Habang umaayos ang lokal na pamunuan, nasusugpo din natin ang katiwalian. Habang kinakaharap natin ang kahirapan, natutugunan din natin ang gutom at ang kawalan ng tirahan. Mula pakikiaalam, tayo ngayon ay nakikilahok. Sa halip na maging reactive, tayo ngayon ay magiging proactive. Kapit-bisig tayong kumikilos, at kapit-bisig din tayong nagtatagumpay. Demokrasya mula sa kurapsyon, at kalayaan mula sa kahirapan: Ito ang kahulugan ng People Power; ito ang pamana ng EDSA. Ikinagagalak kong maging kakampi ninyo sa labang ito.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. Magandang araw po.

DFA: Teams ready to assist Filipinos in Libya

The That-El-Emad towers built by Daewoo Corpor...Image via WikipediaA February 24, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs


The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said today that the teams from the DFA office in Manila, and the Philippine Embassies in Cairo and Tripoli are in place to provide assistance to Filipinos in Libya in light of escalating tensions in the area.

The six-man team from the DFA in Manila led by DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) Executive Director Ricardo Endaya are expected to arrive in Tripoli today to augment the personnel complement of the Embassy and assist the Filipinos who are availing of the voluntary repatriation program implemented by the Embassy and the DFA.

A team from the Embassy in Cairo led by Consul General Renato Duenas, Jr. is already in place at the Egyptian border, and has set up a command post to receive and provide assistance to Filipinos who will be exiting Libya from Benghazi, Al Baida and environs.

It has made contact with an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Engineer Judith Tuvera who crossed from Tobruk in Libya to Alexandria with her employer. It is also coordinating with 24 OFWs planning to cross from Tobruk to Alexandria today.

Meanwhile, a team led by DFA-OUMWA Principal Assistant Melvin Almonguera will arrive in the Tunisian border at 5 p.m. (Manila time) to also set up a command post to assist Filipinos who will be exiting from Tripoli and environs. The Tunisian government has approved landing rights for aircraft chartered to fly out OFWs and visa upon arrival.

Together with the Filipino community coordinators, the team from the DFA and the Embassy will reach out to the Filipinos and move them to safe relocation sites in Tripoli, Benghazi and Al Baida. The Embassy has activated relocation sites in Tripoli and Benghazi for the Filipinos—the Philippine School and the St. Francis Catholic Church in Tripoli and the two Philippine Schools in Benghazi.

For Filipinos employed by companies with repatriation plans, they are encouraged to join the effort. The DFA and the Embassy is encouraging the companies to commence repatriation efforts, in tandem with the Embassy.

Repatriates from Tripoli will proceed to Tunisia while those from Benghazi and Al Baida will proceed to Alexandria in Egypt by land. From there, they will catch flights to Manila.

The DFA has officially requested the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for assistance in arranging commercial flights and ensuring that OFWs are included in any IOM-sponsored evacuation of migrant workers from Libya.

The DFA has released an initial amount of US$150,000 to the Embassy, while DOLE has committed P25 million to assist in the repatriation efforts. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will release P100 million for the same purpose.

Meanwhile, Embassy officials and community coordinators in Libya are contacting the Filipinos to inquire and to inform about their condition and inform them of the Embassy’s voluntary repatriation program. They have also advised Filipinos not to venture outside, especially if tensions are nearby.

The DFA has activated a 24-hour hotline number for families of Filipinos based in Libya. The hotline number is 834-4580.

NCRPO Announces 25th People Power Anniversary Traffic Rerouting

An iconic photo of the EDSA Revolution in the ...Image via WikipediaA February 23, 2011 press release by the National Capital Region Police Office

The National Capital Region Police Office announced the traffic rerouting scheme for the culminating activities of the 25th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution on Friday, February 25.

NCRPO Chief PDir Nicanor A Bartolome said that the stretch of EDSA Northbound from the Ortigas Service Road until Santolan will be the center of celebration for the People Power anniversary and will be closed to traffic during particular activities. EDSA southbound will be totally open to traffic the whole day.

“Northbound stretch of EDSA from Ortigas to Santolan will be the center of celebration. We expect thirty to fifty thousand (30,000-50,000) people to converge in the area to celebrate in a fiesta atmosphere,” said Bartolome.

Bartolome said that total closure will be implemented in that stretch of EDSA from 6:00AM to 9:00AM on Friday during the flag raising ceremonies.

The inner two (2) lanes of EDSA will be reopened to traffic at 9:00 AM while the other three (3) lanes will be used for the People Power anniversary celebration.

Bartolome added that all lanes of the same stretch will be again closed to traffic at 3:00 PM during the reenactment of “Salubungan,” after which the inner two (2) lanes will be opened at 5:00 PM.

The stretch is again expected to be totally closed to traffic at 7:00 PM until the concert at the vicinity of the People Power Monument is over.

The NCRPO will assist the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and event organizers in implementing traffic rerouting schemes along key areas on Friday.

Bartolome also encouraged the public that will take part in the celebrations to not to bring bulky items or packages, as random inspections will be implemented in the different venues for security purposes.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area and to take alternate routes to avoid inconvenience. Traffic aides will be deployed and appropriate signage will be installed to guide the motoring public of the alternate routes.

Traffic Rerouting Scheme

EDSA Northbound

All northbound private vehicles shall turn right at J. Vargas Street, turn right to San Miguel Avenue, take the U-Turn Slot to Meralco Avenue, then turn left to Ortigas Avenue. Other possible routes for private vehicles: take Guadix, turn left to San Miguel Avenue towards Ortigas Avenue then turn left E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue.

Take a left turn to Boni Serrano Avenue and turn right to EDSA. From Boni Serrano Avenue turn right Katipunan Avenue or turn right 20th Avenue then turn left P. Tuazon Boulevard, right EDSA, from 20th Avenue turn left Aurora Boulevard, all the way to EDSA.

Public utility vehicles (PUVs) shall turn right to Shaw Boulevard then take a left to San Miguel Avenue, then turn right to Ortigas Avenue, turn left E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, then turn left to Boni Serrano Avenue, and turn right to EDSA.

Other possible routes for PUVs: from Boni Serrano Avenue turn right to 20th Avenue then turn left P. Tuazon Boulevard then turn right toward EDSA, or from 20th Avenue turn left to Aurora Boulevard, all the way to EDSA.

EDSA Southbound

All southbound vehicles shall turn right Aurora Boulevard, left at Gilmore straight to Ortigas Avenue all the way to EDSA; from EDSA, vehicles shall turn right Boni Serrano Avenue, left Gilmore Avenue, straight Ortigas Avenue, all the way to EDSA.

Schedule of EDSA 25 Related programs on NBN Channel 4

Commemorative statue of the Revolution at Camp...Image via Wikipedia
February 23, 2011 (Wednesday)
TIMEPROGRAM
10:30 AM – 11:30 AMEDSA: The World Remembers
01:00 PM – 02:00 PMThe Challenge of EDSA
05:30 PM – 06:00 PMKalayaan (People Power)
10:05 PM – 11:30 PMWinning the Peace
February 24 (Thursday)

Statement of the Presidential Spokesperson on COA Chairman Villar Resignation

Statement of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:
On the decision of Commission on Audit Chairman Reynaldo A. Villar to step down from his position pending the appointment of his replacement

[Released February 23, 2011]

We appreciate the decision of Reynaldo Villar to step aside from the position of Chairman of the Commission on Audit as soon as his replacement is appointed. Mr. Villar has pointed out that he is the first to have risen from the ranks to become Chairman of the Commission on Audit. His decision to step aside is a welcome demonstration of his affection and institutional loyalty to the COA and the country. We wish him a comfortable and happy retirement.

DFA Sends Six-man team to Assist in Libya Repatriation Efforts

The former Benghazi Cathedral, which was later...Image via WikipediaA February 23, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will send a six-man quick response team to Libya on Wednesday night to augment the personnel complement of the Embassy in Tripoli in the light of increasing tensions in the country.

The team, to be led by DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) Executive Director Ricardo Endaya, will assist the Filipinos who are availing of the voluntary repatriation program implemented by the Embassy and the DFA.

Together with the Filipino community coordinators, they will reach out to the Filipinos and move them to safe relocation sites in Tripoli, Benghazi and Al Baida.

For Filipinos employed by companies with repatriation plans, they are encouraged to join the effort. The DFA and the Embassy is encouraging the companies to commence repatriation efforts, in tandem with the Embassy.

The DFA has also instructed the Philippine Embassy in Cairo to dispatch staff members to the Libyan border to meet up and provide assistance to Filipinos who will be crossing the border to Egypt.

The DFA also has arrangements with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the latter’s aid in the repatriation of Filipinos. The Embassy is also in touch with the IOM office in Libya.

In a press conference Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban B. Conejos said that in light of recent events, the alert level in Libya was raised to alert level 3–voluntary repatriation.

For Filipinos in Tripoli who wish to avail of voluntary repatriation, they are advised to call the Embassy or community coordinators in their area. They are asked remain indoors and not go out alone in the streets.

Those in Benghazi, Al-Baida and other areas are similarly asked to communicate with their sectoral coordinators. They are also advised to stay put and not venture outdoors alone.

The Embassy officials and community coordinators are contacting the Filipinos in Libya to inquire about their condition and inform them of the Embassy’s voluntary repatriation program.

The DFA also made available an additional US$50,000 to the Embassy, and will further augment it with US$100,000 for the voluntary repatriation program. The Departrment of Labor and Employment has also committed P25 million to assist in the program.

It has activated a 24-hour hotline number for families of Filipinos based in Libya. The hotline number is 834-4580.

Limited passport processing at DFA-POEA Passport Extension Office on February 24 and 25

EDSA shrineImage by uckhetA February 23, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs

In anticipation of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution at the Ortigas area, the Department of Foreign Affairs Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (DFA-POEA) Passport Extension Office will have limited passport processing activities on February 24 and February 25.

On February 24, Thursday, the DFA-POEA Passport Extension Office will operate on a first-come-first-serve basis until lunch time. Walk-in passport applicants are requested to secure their appointments.

On February 25, Friday, only applicants with confirmed appointments will be accepted. Walk-in applicants are requested to sign up for a passport appointment, which will be honored the following week.

Meanwhile, the DFA Office of Consular Affairs at the Aseana Business Park in Paranaque City will continue to operate on February 25. Passport application by appointment and other consular services will be rendered on the said date.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration adds repatriation fund for OFWs in Libya

Department of Labor and Employment (Philippines)Image via WikipediaA February 23, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is adding P75 million more to the initial P25 million it has earlier allocated for the voluntary repatriation of OFWs from Libya per the instruction of H. E. President Benigno S. Aquino III. The amount is now P100 million.

Baldoz made the announcement as the Task Force Libya established by the DOLE and composed of former labor attaché to Libya Nasser Mustafa, Roberto Bassig and Orlando Nadora of OWWA prepares to leave early tomorrow morning for Tripoli to complement the POLO team in that country and to coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs the movement of OFWs who would like to voluntarily leave Libya.

“The DOLE team is leaving tomorrow after they have obtained their entry visas,” Baldoz said.

The DOLE chief said that since last Tuesday, Feb. 22, the Task Force has been profiling the whereabouts of OFWs in Libya, including monitoring their situation there, in coordination with the OFWs’ local recruitment agencies. The Task Force is also regularly releasing updates to the media on its work.

“We have already received reports during our meeting with local recruitment agencies last Feb. 22 as to the names of foreign employers and the number of OFWs under their employ. We have been assured by most of them that our workers are safe and being taken care of under their own contingency and safety plans,” Baldoz said.

“A Task Force team composed of Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa, Robert Bassig and Orlando Nadora of the OWWA has been issued travel authority to proceed to Libya immediately to assess and monitor the situation there.

“Meanwhile, I have ordered the suspension of the processing and deployment of OFWs to Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen.”

Mar Roxas: Philippine-Taiwanese Communication Channels Remain Open

Talakayan 2010 August 9, 2009 ISO, Ateneo de M...Image via WikipediaA February 23, 2011 press release by the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson

Former Senator Manuel A. Roxas, in a press conference held today in Malacañang, said the communication links with Taiwan remain open and measures are being made to normalize relations eventually.

Roxas, fresh from his unofficial diplomatic mission to Taipei, detailed his objectives, which included talks on a mechanism for a reconciliation process, stabilizing the current situation, conveying to Taiwan the official statement of the Philippines, and ensuring the safety and welfare of the 90,000 OFWs in the island.

Sent by President Benigno S. Aquino III in his capacity as a private citizen, Roxas announced that relations between the Philippines and Taiwan can potentially normalize with initial, exploratory talks on a mechanism for mutual legal assistance and the feasibility of closer and stronger economic ties.

Asked if the Taiwanese demand of an apology from the Philippines was granted, Roxas said it was not given. The former lawmaker, however, expressed optimism with regard the efforts of his counterparts to protect the rights and security of Filipinos in Taiwan.

Speech of President Aquino during the “Pilipinas Got Bukas” General Assembly

Pasig City Science High SchoolImage via WikipediaTalumpati ni Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa kanyang pagdalo sa Pilipinas Got Bukas: isang general assembly ng mga “EDSA Baby,” estudyante, youth leader, at mga kasapi ng YesPinoy Foundation

[Inihayag sa Rizal High School, Pasig City noong ika-23 ng Pebrero 2011]

Pagpunta ho dito, sinabi sa akin, marami kayong mga talagang dapat nating dakilain na graduates, tulad ni Rene Saguisag, Jovito Salonga, Neptali Gonzales, Lucio San Pedro. Sa pinamalas niyo sa akin nitong araw na ito, talaga nga naman yatang napakahusay ng eskwelahang ito. Pansin ko nga kanina, klarong- klaro sa akin na talagang nauna akong ipinanganak sa inyo. Hindi ko na yata kakayanin ang flexibility na ipinamalas niyo at ang sigla niyo sa ganitong oras.

Pipilitin kong—pinatanggal ko ‘yung teleprompter sa harapan ko. Hindi ko kasi gusto ‘yung talumpating naisagawa; hindi po maisasabi iyong dapat sabihin sa inyo sa araw na ito.

Ambush interview with President Benigno S. Aquino III during the Youth Day “Pilipinas Got Bukas”

Mr. Noynoy AquinoImage via WikipediaAmbush Interview with President Benigno S. Aquino III during the Youth Day “Pilipinas Got Bukas” in Rizal High School:
On the meeting with former Senator Mar Roxas about the discussion with Taiwan officials, the contingency measures for the Filipinos in the Middle East, the possibility of the increase in oil prices, and other topics

Rizal High School, Pasig City
February 23, 2011; 9:30 hrs. EST


Q: Sir, have you spoken to former Senator Mar Roxas?

PRESIDENT AQUINO: I got a text from him yesterday and before that he was in touch with me. He was reporting the progress or the lack of progress in the discussion. But, I’m supposed to meet him today for him to give me the full report.

Q: Sir, what’s the initial feedback that you’ve got from him?

Embassy team on the way to Madagascar mining site

The port of Toamasina (Tamatave) serves as the...Image via WikipediaA February 23, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippine Embassy in Nairobi reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that two Embassy personnel were sent to Madagascar Wednesday to obtain first-hand information on the conditions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are working at the Ambatovy Project in Tamatave.

The Embassy personnel were despatched in the light of the concerns raised by OFWs in the area about contracting malaria at the site.

The Embassy personnel will meet with the Ambatovy and Kentz management to discuss the issues and concerns raised by the OFWs and the repatriation requests by OFWs working at Kentz. They will also meet with Madagascar’s health officials on the reportedly increasing number of malaria cases.

Recent unconfirmed reports to the DFA stated that around 16 OFWs working at Kentz Engineers and Constructors tested positive for malaria. There has likewise been an increasing number of OFWs who are trooping to the clinic to be tested for possible malaria.

A number of OFWs has already been released from medical confinement and are recuperating.

Earlier, the Embassy already sought the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Madagascar to confirm reports of a malaria outbreak. However, in a report to the Embassy, WHO’s Dr. Luciano Tuseo has denied that there is a malaria outbreak in the area or in any other parts of the country.

Dr. Tuseo said that Madagascar “is not a malaria epidemic prone area, but endemic or holoendemic area”.

Kentz has assured the Embassy that it takes the threat of malaria seriously and will continue to undertake precautionary measures such as providing advice on personal protection methods, providing 2, 000 mosquito nets, and making available anti-malaria medications to the workers.

Kentz Engineers and Constructors has around 2, 000 OFWs working in the Ambatovy Project, a large tonnage mining project that integrates many facilities to process and refine nickel laterite into pure nickel briquettes.

Embassy team headed to New Zealand Earthquake site

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 18:  Austral...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeA February 23, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippine Embassy in Wellington reported to the DFA that an Embassy team is on the way to Christchurch to look after the welfare and make an accounting of the Filipinos affected by the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck the city yesterday at 12:51 PM (New Zealand time).

According to the Philippine Embassy, a certain Jay Payot sustained injuries in his arms.

The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) received calls that five Filipino students are reportedly trapped in the CTV Building, which collapsed during the quake. This report is currently being verified.

The DFA-OUMWA has also set up a hotline for families of Filipinos based in Christchurch. The hotline numbers are 834-4448 and 834-4596.

Philippine Charge d’Affaires Giovanni Palec reported that rescue efforts are ongoing. Philippine Honorary Consul to Christchurch Zedric Peter Wait is leading these efforts on behalf of the Filipino community, in coordination with Filipino community leaders who are also closely monitoriong the situation.

According to Honorary Consul Wait, electricity was restored in some areas. However, telephone lines are still down, thus making it difficult to establish contact.

There is an estimated 2,000 Filipinos in Christchurch.

While the earthquake was lesser in intensity compared to the 7.1-magnitude one that occurred September 2010, it seems that the damage was more extensive and with more injuries and fatalities suffered in view of the time when it happened that most people are going about their daily activities.

Police, Rescue and Civil Defense teams are out and are providing assistance, especially to those who are shocked. Water pipes have been reported to have burst while some roads have been affected. There are also reports of buildings that have collapsed.

Authorities in Christchurch advised their citizens to remain at home and monitor the situation, as well as boil their water before drinking. They have also asked unhurt residents to check their neighbors, and see if they are hurt or in need of assistance as rescue authorities cannot cope with the huge number of calls for help.

New Zealand declared a state of calamity after the quake, which reportedly left nearly 400 people dead or missing. Prime Minister John Key scheduled an emergency cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon, and has flown to Christchurch to gain first-hand knowledge of the situation.

Speech of President Aquino at the PinoyME People Powered Markets Trade Fair

Mr. Noynoy AquinoImage via WikipediaSpeech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
5th anniversary of President Corazon Aquino’s PinoyME Foundation and the People Powered Markets project

[Delivered at the NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City on February 22, 2011]

Twenty-five years ago, we introduced People Power to the world. We proved that tyranny can be toppled by peaceful means. This week, we are once again reliving the events that transpired in Metro Manila’s streets in February 1986.

We are doing this not out of mere nostalgia, but rather to recognize that it was only the beginning of a greater revolution, one that continues to this day. The spirit of change that invigorated and empowered our countrymen to take the streets has been channeled into a continuing commitment to making every Filipino part of the solution to our problems. Suffice it to say: People Power lives, and it has already manifested itself in many sectors of our society.

It was originally my mother who wanted us Filipinos to continue tapping into the spirit of People Power so that we may create better lives for our less fortunate countrymen. And I must congratulate PinoyME for doing just that through their continued work toward giving our countrymen more opportunities to defeat poverty through their own efforts—specifically through microfinance and microentrepreneurship.

These activities of PinoyME have been a significant help in our administration’s efforts to alleviate poverty. Through your help, less fortunate Filipinos are able to earn additional income. This reduces their dependency on state subsidies, and strengthens their resistance to external shocks such as calamities or family emergencies.

But in fact, all microfinance institutions deserve recognition for taking the lead in promoting a lasting way of lifting the poor out of poverty. In their own right, they are also revolutionaries. The risks they have taken in lending to the poor have long been considered unbankable—but they did it. They developed a unique model in which profits can be made while the lives of the poor are improved. In short, they changed the paradigm of banking all over the world.

This means a lot for our private sector. A new opportunity for turning us into a nation of savers and entrepreneurs, and at the same time, another way of practicing corporate social responsibility has been introduced to them. Eliminating poverty in this country is no easy task, and if our private sector can make even larger contributions, then we will be able to help more people transform more lives.

On the part of this administration, we would like to tell you that we will continue the revolution that my mother and others started in making entrepreneurship among the poor a strategy for poverty alleviation. We will make microentrepreneurship one of the key elements of our framework for poverty reduction and inclusive economic development. Most of all, we will work to institutionalize the National Strategy for Microfinance that was formulated way back in 1998. We will also make sure that microcredit will not be used as a tool for political patronage. And we will likewise consolidate the remaining credit programs for the poor under the more competent branches of government to make them more efficient and effective.

Many of us here have backgrounds in Economics, so I should tell you: People Power is one of our country’s biggest competitive advantages. As Filipinos, we value this yearly opportunity to reignite our commitment to unity. We have this one event to look back to so that we can be reminded of our common dream: A Philippines that fulfills its great potential; a Philippines that can bring about a better quality of life for its citizens. And thus, we must keep utilizing this People Power to its fullest extent.

I applaud the People Powered Markets project as an effort by different stakeholders to give new meaning to people power—one that makes poverty alleviation a long-term social project. We must change the rules of the marketplace so that we can give the poor and the marginalized opportunities to participate in an even playing field. We must bring the disadvantaged sectors of our society into the mainstream of our economy if we want to restore our national pride and push our nation toward progress.

Addressing this challenge is a collective responsibility of all Filipinos. Each one of us must remember the time when the streets were buzzing with our genuine hankering for reform. And each one of us must act as if we are still wearing the same yellow ribbon in our hearts, and work as one nation, one Philippines, toward the fulfillment of the revolution that began in 1986.

And before I end, may I just share with you and prod your memories to remember what EDSA was? For us, the iconic image would be our citizens pushing against the behemoth tanks, armed only with prayers and love for their fellow Filipino, who in most instances was a stranger to them. They stood tall, they stood side by side, they were ready to give up everything if only to improve our lot. Those of you want a changed Philippines, we must take care of the least of our brethren.

Thank you. Good afternoon.

Speech of President Benigno S. Aquino III during the inauguration of the DND Conference Room and Mini-Museum

P-NoyImage via WikipediaTalumpati ni Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa kanyang pagdalo sa inagurasyon ng Conference Room at Mini-Museum ng Kaggawaran ng Tanggulang Pambansa
[Inihayag sa Campo Aguinaldo noong ika-22 ng Pebrero 2011]

Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Hihingi po ako ng kaunting pasensya sa inyo ngayong araw. Mayroon po tayong talumpating hinanda. Kung mararapatin po niyo’y, ipapapatay ko nalang itong teleprompter para lang po iyong galing sa puso natin ang ating ibibigkas sa araw na ito.

Unang-una po, pasalamatan ko si President Ramos. Tinawag po tayong younger ; matagal-tagal na po tayong hindi natawag na younger. Salamat ho at mayroon pa ring kumikilalang bata-bata pa tayong kaunti.

Speech of President Aquino at the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Freedom Obelisk of Naga City

P-NoyImage via WikipediaTalumpati ni Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa groundbreaking ceremonies ng Freedom Obelisk ng Lungsod Naga

[Inihayag sa Plaza Quezon, Naga City noong ika-22 ng Pebrero, 2011]

Nang makita ko po ang planong pagpapatayo ng isang obelisko sa bayang ito, sa pangunguna ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), hindi po ako nakatanggi na dumalo sa okasyon para pasimulan ito. Bukod sa alam nating ang nasa likod nito ay ang mahusay na pinuno ng Bicol na si Kalihim Jesse Robredo, isa po itong pagkakataon para makasama ang magigiting at magigiliw na Nagueños.

Alam po niyo, noong tayo po’y tumakbo, sinabi ko po sa inyo na hihiramin ko po si Jesse Robredo. At sa sobrang galing po nito: Alam niyo dito sa Naga, pati po iyong informal settler problem, halos natapos na. At least iyong first generation naayos na po—‘yung second generation nalang ang inaayos. Sa galing po niyang iyan, gusto po naming i-replicate sa buong Pilipinas. Mayroon po kasing hindi bababa sa 1.4 million families na nabibilang sa sector ng informal settlers. At sa susunod naman po, inaasahan kong matatapos na ang plano kung paano nga natin isasaayos ang problema ng ating informal settler community.

Kapag natapos po ang proyektong ito—ito pong obelisko naman—tiyak na mapapatingala dito ang bawat mapapadaan, motorista man o namamasyal lang, dahil bukod sa isinisimbolo nito ang mayamang kasaysayan ng Naga, tampok din po dito ang mga pampublikong anunsyo ng mga proyekto at pangyayari sa inyo pong bayan.

Ipinapaalala ng obeliskong ito ang kagitingang ipinamalas at patuloy na ipinapamalas ng mga Nagueños. Sagisag ito sa tapang ng inyong lungsod na makipaglaban sa pananakop ng mga dayuhan hanggang sa pakikibaka ninyo sa diktadurya, lalo pa’t nagsilbing sentro ng oposisyon sa rehimeng Marcos sa buong Bicol ang Naga. Patunay ito na ang pakikipaglaban sa Batas Militar ay hindi lang naganap sa EDSA. Hindi lamang ang EDSA Shrine o ang People Power Monument ang mga bantayog ng rebolusyon ng 1986. Lumalampas sa Metro Manila ang kagitingan at dedikasyon ng ating mga kababayan na labanan ang katiwalian at pang-aabuso sa lipunan. At dumaan man po ang ilang dantaon, patuloy ninyong pinatutunayan ang inyong pakikiisa sa pagtataguyod ng pagbabago sa bansa, nang suportahan po ninyo ang inyong lingkod noong nakaraang halalan. Maraming salamat po sa inyong pakikiisa at pagtitiwala sa ating mandatong magdulot ng reporma.

Huwag po nating hayaang maulit muli ang mga madidilim na bahagi ng kasaysayan. Magsilbi sanang paalala ang obeliskong ito, hindi lang sa mga Nagueños o sa mga Bicolano, kundi sa lahat ng mga Pilipino, na ingatan ang atin pong kalayaan. Huwag nating balewalain ang mga naging sakripisyo ng ating mga bayani.

Sa pagtindig ng isang estrukturang sumasagisag sa kadakilaan at paninindigan ng mga Nagueños, muli rin nating binubuhay ang diwa ng pagkakaisang ipinamalas natin sa EDSA People Power Revolution. Sa ating mga reporma, at sa maigting ninyong pakikiisa, wala pong makakapigil sa ating tagumpay na pabaunan ng kapaki-pakinabang na bukas ang susunod na henerasyon. Gaya ng obeliskong itatayo dito, nakaturo ang direksyon ng ating bayan pataas. Sama-sama nating lampasan ang mga hamon at problema, at isang bansa tayong humakbang paakyat sa mas mapayapa at mas masaganang bukas.

At bago po ako magtapos, may mga nagsasabi “Ano naman ang silbi ng demokrasya; hindi naman po nakakain iyan.” Dito po, gusto ko pong ipabatid sa lahat—pormal na iaanunsyo ko na ho: Sa atin pong kapulisan at kasundaluhan, may umiiral na problema. Sila rin po, marami sa kanilang hanay ay hindi nabibilang doon sa mga taong masasabi nating may tiyak na tirahan. Ngayon po, ang inyong gobyerno ay talaga naman may mga repormang naisagawa. Kaya mayroon na po tayong kakayahan ngayon para magpatayo ng hindi bababa sa 20,000 tahanan para naman po sa ating mga nagsasakripisyong miyembro ng Kasundaluhan at Kapulisan. Ang kinaganda po nitong ng mga pamamahay na ito: tinataya po kasi na ang gastusin nila tuwing buwan para sa kanilang tirahan na inuupahan ay mula P2,000 hanggang P5,000 kada buwan. Sa itatayong pong mga bahay—mga anim hanggang walong buwan lang po nang maumpisang tirhan ito—ang pangako po sa atin ng NHA [National Housing Authority], sa kanilang financing program ay magbabayad nalang po ng P200 piso kada buwan para ariin na po iyong bahay at lupa. Umpisa pa lang po iyan. Sabi ko nga ho sa inyo, dito sa Naga, sa inyong pagtutulong, naiayos na po ninyo ang kabuuan ng informal settler problem. Kaya naman po si Jesse Robredo ang itinalaga nating hepe sa pagsasaayos ng problema ng informal settlers: 1.4 million pong pamilya ang tutulungan po natin. Mamadaliin natin mailagay sila sa maayos.

Maraming salamat po at tuloy-tuloy na po ang pagangat natin.

PHL Embassy in Libya raises alert level

libya-protests_006Image by Crethi Plethi A February 22, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli has raised its alert level and is making arrangements to repatriate Filipinos in Libya who wish to come home in light of protest actions in the country.

In a press conference today, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban B. Conejos said that in light of recent events, the alert level in Libya was raised to alert level 3—voluntary repatriation.

For Filipinos in Tripoli who wish to avail of voluntary repatriation, they are advised to call the Embassy or community coordinators in their area. They are asked remain indoors and not go out alone in the streets.

Those in Benghazi, Al-Baida and other areas are similarly asked to communicate with their sectoral coordinators. They are also advised to stay put and not venture outdoors alone.

If their companies have repatriation arrangements, they are advised to join said repatriation efforts.

The Embassy officials and community coordinators are contacting the Filipinos in Libya to inquire about their condition and inform them of the Embassy’s voluntary repatriation program.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) dispatched a quick response team from its Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) to Libya to augment the Embassy staff. The team, which departs Tuesday evening, is composed of DFA-OUMWA Executive Director Ricardo Endaya and two other staff.

The DFA also made available an additional US$50,000 to the Embassy, and will further augment it with US$100,000 for the voluntary repatriation program. The Departrment of Labor and Employment has also committed P25 million to assist in the program.

The DFA activated a 24-hour hotline number for families of Filipinos based in Libya. The hotline number is 834-4580.

Undersecretary Conejos added that the DFA has made arrangements with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the latter’s aid in the repatriation of Filipinos. The Embassy is also in touch with the IOM office in Libya.

There are around 30,000 Filipinos in Libya—15,000 in Tripoli, 10,000 in Benghazi and Al-Baida areas and 5,000 scattered in other parts of the country. Majority of them are professionals, skilled and semi-skilled workers.

In addition to fresh violence in several cities, heavy gunfire also broke out in downtown Tripoli for the first time since the uprising began a week ago.