By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent Sen. Chiz Escudero considered “unfortunate” the resignation of CHED (Commission on Higher Education) Chairman Patricia Licuanan and cited the reforms and good job that she has done in the past years. However, Escudero said,” I respect her decision and wish her well in her future endeavors.” Licuanan quit CHED amid questions over her travels abroad. Sen. Bam Aquino said higher education has lost a dependable ally with the...

By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent MANILA – The Philippines ranks 72nd in the 2018 release of the Henley Passport Index – a three-notch climb from its 75th ranking last year. From 61 countries Filipinos can visit visa-free last year, its three-notch climb gives Filipinos two more countries to visit visa-free (now up to 63 countries). (Go to DFA’s website for a complete list of visa-free countries.) Last January 13, Malacañang welcomed the upgrade to the Ph...

By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent MANILA – According to the latest release of Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey through radio station dzBB, majority of Filipinos believe President Rodrigo Duterte is “better” than former President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III. According to the survey, 70 percent of those surveyed believe Duterte has performed better than Aquino, with only eight percent saying otherwise. In a report by The Philippine Star, SWS asked the q...

By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent Health Sec. Francisco Duque III will start visiting schools with students who face possible severe dengue symptoms after being injected with the controversial Dengvaxia. In a news forum, Duque said he will go first to a Marikina school, and will also inspect certain schools in the rest of the National Capital Region, Regions 3 and 4-A, and Cebu. The visit, Duque said, is part of heightened monitoring efforts for the 837,000...

By Lara Climaco | FilAm Star Correspondent Pre-paid load bought in bulk, at minimum denominations of PHP 300, is now valid for one year in the Philippines. As announced last month, the one-year validity should cover pre-paid load credits regardless of amount starting January 5 but the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) gave telecom companies a grace period of six months to fully comply with the directive. “We allowed this to prevent their sys...

By Daniel Llanto | FilAm Star Correspondent As the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law begins to figuratively run over consumers in terms of much higher prices, the Makabayan bloc of lawmakers in Congress is all set to file this week a petition questioning its legality and propriety before the Supreme Court. ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said they will file a petition seeking to invalidate the TRAIN Act, which President Duterte signed into...

By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent Commission on Higher Education Chairwoman Patricia Licuanan went abroad eight times last year without President Duterte’s permission, a party-list lawmaker said. Deputy majority leader and Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said that instead of securing her travel authority from the Office of the President (OP), as a 2005 Executive Order (EO) requires, Licuanan made herself the approving authorit...

By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent MANILA – In its 41st annual Global end of Year Survey, Gallup ranked the Philippines as the third happiest country in the world. The survey, which was conducted in late 2017 and spanned 55 countries worldwide said the Philippines got a net score (happy minus unhappy) of +84, just behind the happiest country in the world, Fiji (at +92) and Colombia (+87). The Philippines also placed 3rd among 66 countries in 2016, obtainin...

By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte re-appointed former Bureau of Customs Chief Nicanor Faeldon as deputy administrator for the Office of Civil Defense. Malacañang released Faeldon’s appointment letter last December 22. Faeldon gave his resignation later three times before President Duterte accepted it. His resignation was triggered by the PHP 6.4 billion shabu shipment that slipped past Customs when he was still the Burea...

By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent Leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Malacañang and defense officials were ordered by the Supreme Court to comment on petitions seeking to stop the one-year extension of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao. The respondents — Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Budget...