News Briefs: February 10, 2017

Fire leaves 100 families in Albay homeless 

LEGAZPI CITY – At least 100 families recovering from the impact of Typhoon Nina are homeless again after a fire hit their shanties in Barangay  28, Victory Village, here on Thursday, February 9. 

A resident said the fire started from the defective electric post of the Albay Power Energy Corporation (APEC), which members of the community had been complaining about. 

Residents said local firemen did not come immediately, and the first fire truck that came did not carry any water. Firemen from the towns of Camalig, Daraga, and Sto Domingo in Albay, as well as those from Donsol and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon came to help put out the fire. – Rhaydz B. Barcia


Lanao de Sur most visited by tourists in ARMM 

CAGAYAN DE ORO – Lanao del Sur, which had made headlines for conflict-related incidents, turned out to be the province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) most visited by tourists in 2016. 

The Department of Tourism-ARMM reported that 69,606 tourists visited Lanao del Sur, spending P1.2 billion during their stay. “Lanao del Sur had an increase of 14 per cent visitors compared to 2015 with 61,058 tourists,” said ARMM Tourism Secretary Ayesha Mangudadatu-Dilangalen.

Among the attractions in Lanao del Sur are Lake Lanao, the second largest lake in the Philippines and one of the 15 ancient lakes of the world; the Aga Khan Museum, which houses Maranao and other Moro artefacts; and the Maranao houses called torogans.  

In 2016, the entire region had 212,649 tourists, who spent roughly P3.7 billion. The other provinces welcomed the following number of tourists:

 – Bobby Lagsa 


Iranian investor barred from leaving PH due to corruption case 

MANILA – The 6th division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan rejected the appeal of Iranian investor Foad Akhavan for him to be allowed to travel abroad to seek treatment for a heart ailment.

Akhavan is facing graft and malversation charges along with former Misamis Occidental Governor Loreto Leo Ocampos over the construction and operation of the Misamis Oriental Aquamarine Park (MOAP).

Investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman said Akhavan got the contract for the project in 2005 even if he was not eligible to operate an aquamarine park in the Philippines.

Employees of the park were paid their salaries amounting to P559,925 allegedly from the provincial funds, even as Ocampos failed to collect from Akhavan the 30% of the park’s income that was due the provincial government. 

The Sandiganbayan Third Division and the Supreme Court have decided that Akhavan, being a foreign national, is considered a flight risk. 

The 6th division upheld this ruling on November 29, 2016. In addition, it said the accused failed to show anything that would guarantee he would return to the country. –