Breathtaking Muong Thanh paddy field in Dien Bien province

Muong Thanh rice field in Dien Bien province is the largest rice field in the northwestern region of Vietnam. The field has a span of 140 square kilometres and stretches over 20 kilometres through different communes and districts of Dien Bien province. In May, Muong Thanh rice field turns a bright green-yellow colour, attracting visitors for its breathtaking view and endless stretches of green fields. For many generations, Muong Thanh field has nurtured the ethnic people living here. However, during the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, Muong Thanh field was an artillery battlefield lined with trenches, giving it a significant historical value. Visiting Muong Thanh rice field, tourists will be satisfied with the peaceful view while also having a chance to learn about the glorious history of Dien Bien province.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

38% of Americans believe US doing too much for Israel

NEW YORK: Nearly four in 10 Americans said the US is doing too much to support Israel in its war in the Gaza Strip.

An April 25 – 30 survey of 2,260 adults by US News Ipsos revealed that Americans are divided on the US’ Israel policies.

The survey revealed that 38 percent said the US was doing too much to support Israel, 20 percent saw too little US support for Israel and 40 percent said Washington’s backing is about right.

The same survey also showed that 37 percent trust former President Donald Trump more than President Joe Biden to handle the issue, at 29 percent.

While 33 percent of respondents said they did not trust either, 1percent did not express an opinion.

The survey was conducted with English and Spanish-speaking adults who were randomly selected from the Internet at the national level.

Source: Philippines News agency

Marcos eases permitting process of flagship infra projects

MANILA: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the streamlining of the permitting process for the Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) to hasten the construction and implementation of the administration’s infrastructure program.

In a four-page Executive Order No. 59 signed by Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin on April 30, Marcos emphasized the need to expand and update the country’s infrastructure to achieve meaningful economic transformation.

There are currently 185 IFPs approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

‘There is a need to further streamline the process for issuance of required licenses, clearances, permits, certifications or authorizations to expedite the implementation of IFPs, consistent with RA (Republic Act) 9485, as amended,’ Marcos said.

EO 59 covers to all national government agencies, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and other government instrumentalities, local government units (LGUs) involved in the issuance of licenses, cl
earances, permits, certifications or authorizations required for approved list of IFPs.

According to the President, no other national or local permit or clearance may be required for the construction, installation, repair, operation, and/or maintenance of IFPs except for Environmental Compliance Certificate/Certificate of Non-Coverage issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Building permit/Occupational Permit/Certificate of Occupancy issued by the City/Municipal Building Official; Excavation Permit issued by the concerned LGU, National Commission for Culture and Arts, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, and /or the Bases Conversion and Development Authority; and other requirements as mandated by the Constitution and existing laws.

The streamlined requirements apply to all pending and new applications submitted by the NGAs and LGUs for projects included in the NEDA Board-approved list of IFPs.

EO 59 takes effect immediately upon publicat
ion in the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Source: Philippines News agency

Unbeaten Perpetual, Benilde advance outright to NCAA volleyball finals

MANILA: Perpetual Help and College of Saint Benilde ended the nine-game elimination round unbeaten to clinch automatic finals berths in the NCAA Season 99 volleyball tournament at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan on Sunday.

Three-time men’s champion Perpetual survived Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23, to enter the finals with a clean record for the fifth straight season.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Louie Ramirez scored 19 attacks and an ace; Jefferson Marapoc contributed 13 attacks; and Kobe Tabuga had nine points, including four blocks, for Perpetual.

Ervin Patrick Osabel finished with 20 attacks for the Generals, who lost for the first time in nine outings for second place.

Letran, already in the semifinals at 5-3, will face San Sebastian College on Wednesday.

The fourth and last slot in the men’s Final Four is still up for grabs.

CSB moved to the women’s championship round after pulling off a 21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 15-7 victory over Lyceum of the Philippines University.

defeated EAC, 25-16, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16, to boost its semifinal bid with a 5-4 card.

EAC ended its season without a win.

Gayle Pascual led CSB with 17 attacks and four blocks followed by Michelle Gamit with 14 points and Zamantha Nolasco with 11 points, including three blocks.

Lyceum, sporting a 6-3 record, was paced by Johna Denise Dolorito, who finished with 24 points, 23 on attacks.

Source: Philippines News agency

PBBM forms inter-agency body to create master list of gov’t lands

MANILA: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the creation of an inter-agency coordinating council to consolidate the master list of all government lands to ensure optimal use.

In his Administrative Order (AO) No. 21 signed by Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin on April 30, Marcos said one of the key strategies identified in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 to establish liveable communities ‘is the creation of a database containing a complete inventory of idle government lands.’

‘To ensure the efficient and effective allocation and utilization of land resources for the country’s national development goals, it is necessary to consolidate a comprehensive list of all government lands,’ Marcos said in the AO.

The coordinating council will be co-chaired by the heads of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) as co-chairpersons while the Department of Agriculture (DA) will serve as vice chair.

Members of
the Coordinating Council are the Office of the Executive Secretary; Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG); DA; Office of the Solicitor General (OSG); Department of Justice (DOJ); Land Registration Authority (LRA); Commission on Higher Education (CHED); and the Department of Information and Communications (DICT).

The DENR-Land Management Bureau (LMB) will serve as the Secretariat of the Coordinating Council.

All government offices are tasked to submit to the body their respective land inventories for consolidation.

Meanwhile, the coordinating council is tasked to submit to the President within 180 days from the effectivity of the implementing guidelines of AO 21 a digital master list of all government lands.

The AO 21 shall take effect immediately upon its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.

Source: Philippines News agency

No-sail zone in Ilocos Norte waters for Balikatan

LAOAG CITY: A no-sail zone will take effect Monday in the coastal waters of Ilocos Norte to give way to the counter-landing live-fire exercises at La Paz Sand Dunes in this city as part of the ‘Balikatan’ military exercises.

Balikatan 2024 executive agent Col. Michael Logico said the notice to mariners was published three weeks in advance as approved by the Philippine Coast Guard.

‘The displacement (of fisherfolk) will take effect tomorrow. It is for the safety of fishermen and commercial vessels entering the exercise area,’ Logico said in a press conference Sunday at the office of Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc.

The exercises will last until May 10.

He said around 600 Filipino and American troops have arrived in the province with high-powered weapons systems.

Counter-landing live-fire refers to a military tactic aimed at preventing or repelling hostile forces from establishing themselves in a country’s territory.

In a media advisory, the joint counter-landing fires will feature the United States Army,
Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps artillery, and the Philippine Marine Corps’ Littoral Combat Team Rifle Company.

The military assets to be used in the exercises include 105mm and 155mm howitzers from the Philippine Army and Marines; four tanks from the Armor Division; a fast attack craft from the Philippine Navy; caliber .50 platforms from the US Marine Corps along with their Javelin anti-tank missiles and multi-role anti-armor anti-personnel weapons systems; and the US Air Force MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle and B-52 heavy bomber.

Logico clarified that the B-52 heavy bomber will be used in the simulation but it will not be fired.

In welcoming the Exercise Balikatan troops, Manotoc assured residents that he would closely monitor the military exercises.

‘We just want our people to be informed and protected and our environment is not adversely affected. If anything happens or there is any untoward activity (during the exercise), my office door is open to any complaint. I want everyone to be safe a
nd well taken care of,’ he told reporters.

Source: Philippines News agency