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GOVERNOR Gwendolyn Garcia has told the contractor of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) to cease all civil works within Capitol-owned lots due to the alleged lack of a documentary permit.In a now-deleted post on the Provincial Government’s social media arm on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024, Garcia issued Memorandum 16-2024 ordering Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd. to immediately stop the construction of the bus station in front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City. SunStar Cebu was able to get a screenshot of the memorandum from the now-deleted post.In the memorandum, Garcia said the Capitol discovered that the project’s proponents lacked the necessary authorization from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for the construction of the bus stations along Osmeña Blvd.On Tuesday, Jose Eleazar Bersales of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Advisory Board informed the governor about the potential violation of the project against the Philippine Heritage Law.The project “appears to be located” within the buffer zones of the Capitol Building and the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda, both of which could easily qualify as heritage zones, according to the memorandum.Bersales is the Capitol consultant on museums and heritage.Garcia tasked the Philippine National Police to monitor the strict implementation of her memorandum. FindingsShe said the project violates the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, or Republic Act (RA) 10066, as the contractor has not secured the necessary authorization from the NHCP.RA 10066 mandates the protection of structures and edifices older than 50 years, and any construction within designated buffer zones requires the authorization of the NHCP, she said.The Capitol building was declared a National Historical Landmark and has a Grade 1 Level Heritage Structure Classification. Garcia said this entails a stricter implementation of RA 10066. Completed in 1938, the edifice features neoclassical and art deco style, with similarities to the US Capitol building.SunStar Cebu reached out to Norvin Imbong, the CBRT’s project manager, on Wednesday, February 28, for comment, but to no avail.In February 2023, Garcia told CBRT proponents that the project would traverse some lots owned by the Province and sought “just compensation” from the Department of Transportation (DOTr).Each bus station occupies an area of 160 square meters, with drainage systems on both sides of the sidewalk.The bus station along Osmeña Blvd. is part of Package 1 of the project, which stretches from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building.The entire CBRT project will start in Barangay Bulacao and in the South Road Properties in the south and run through Barangay Talamban in the north. It has a total project cost of around P28.78 billion.In a privilege speech during the regular session of the Cebu City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 28, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia requested the Office of the Building Official to issue a cease-and-desist order against the CBRT contractor.He said it should come up with a better design for the stations that can be submitted and proposed to the appropriate bodies, including but not limited to the NCCA, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (Chac) and the council.He also urged Chac to collaborate with counterparts in Cebu Province to explore alternative designs, ensuring that these are more complementary and in conformity with existing laws and policies.In his speech, the vice mayor said the infrastructure being introduced within the historical and cultural vista corridor is part of a project intended to benefit constituents in Cebu City.However, he argued that it poses a significant threat to the integrity of the city’s shared identity, heritage and culture as the people of Cebu.“One cannot be allowed to cancel the other, especially if the proposed design did not even pass through both the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission and the Sangguniang Panlungsod,” he said.President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the groundbreaking of the CBRT at the Fuente Osmeña Circle on Feb. 27, 2023, where he announced that it was one of the National Government’s flagship infrastructure projects.The Department of Transportation is the lead implementing agency. Both the governor and the vice mayor did not provide an explanation on why they waited one year to voice their objection to the design and placement of the CBRT bus stations. (EHP/AML) How to bet on Champions League football predictions? Philippines LONDON — The European Union leveled its first antitrust penalty against Apple on Monday, fining the U.S. tech giant nearly $2 billion for unfairly favoring its own music streaming service by forbidding rivals like Spotify from telling users how they could pay for cheaper subscriptions outside of iPhone apps.Apple muzzled streaming services from telling users about payment options available through their websites, which would avoid the 30% fee charged when people pay through apps downloaded with the iOS App Store, said the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer.“This is illegal. And it has impacted millions of European consumers who were not able to make a free choice as to where, how and at what price to buy music streaming subscriptions,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said at a news conference in Brussels.Apple — which contests the decision — behaved this way for a decade, resulting in "millions of people who have paid two, three euros more per month for their music streaming service than they would otherwise have had to pay," she said.It's the culmination of a bitter, yearslong feud between Apple and Spotify over music streaming supremacy. A complaint from the Swedish streaming service five years ago triggered the investigation that led to the 1.8 billion-euro ($1.95 billion) fine.The decision comes the same week new rules take effect to prevent tech giants from cornering digital markets.The EU has led global efforts to crack down on Big Tech companies, including three fines for Google totaling more than 8 billion euros, charging Meta with distorting the online classified ad market and forcing Amazon to change its business practices.Apple's fine is so high because it includes an extra lump sum to deter it from offending again or other tech companies from carrying out similar offenses, the commission said.It's not the only penalty that the tech giant could face: Apple is still trying to resolve a separate EU antitrust investigation into its mobile payments service by promising to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals.Apple hit back at the commission and Spotify, saying it would appeal Monday's fine.“The decision was reached despite the Commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast,” the company said in a statement.It said Spotify stood to benefit from the EU's move, asserting that the Swedish streaming giant met over 65 times with the commission during the investigation, holds a 56% share of Europe’s music streaming market and doesn’t pay Apple for using its App Store.“Ironically, in the name of competition, today’s decision just cements the dominant position of a successful European company that is the digital music market’s runaway leader,” Apple said.Spotify said it welcomed the EU fine, without addressing Apple's accusations.“This decision sends a powerful message — no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers,” Spotify said in a blog post.The commission's investigation initially centered on two concerns. One was the iPhone maker's practice of forcing app developers selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.Those fees have turned into a significant part of Apple’s service’s division, which generated $85 billion in revenue during the company’s last fiscal year ending in September.Various legal and regulatory developments in the U.S as well as Europe that are threatening to undercut the Apple's commissions from the App Store have been weighing on the company's stock, which has fallen by 9% so far this year while the tech-driven Nasdaq composite index has gained 8%. Apple's shares declined 2.5% in Monday's trading in the U.S.But the EU later pivoted its focus to concentrate on how Apple prevents app makers from telling their users about cheaper ways to pay for subscriptions that don’t involve going through an app.The investigation found that Apple banned streaming services from telling users about how much subscription offers cost outside of their apps, putting links in their apps to pay for alternative subscriptions or even emailing users to tell them about different pricing options.“As a result, millions of European music streaming users were left in the dark about all available options,” Vestager said, adding that the commission's investigation found that just over 20% of consumers who would have signed up to Spotify's premium service didn't do so because of the restrictions.The fine comes just before new EU rules are set to kick in that are aimed at preventing tech companies from dominating digital markets.The Digital Markets Act, due to take effect Thursday, imposes a set of do's and don'ts on “gatekeeper” companies including Apple, Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and TikTok parent ByteDance — under threat of hefty fines.The DMA's provisions are designed to prevent tech giants from the sort of behavior that's at the heart of the Apple investigation. Apple has already revealed how it will comply, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems.Vestager warned that the commission would be carefully scrutinizing how Apple follows the new rules.“Apple will have to open its gates to its ecosystem to allow users to easily find the apps they want, pay for them in any way they want and use them on any device that they want," she said. (AP)

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LONDON — The European Union leveled its first antitrust penalty against Apple on Monday, fining the U.S. tech giant nearly $2 billion for unfairly favoring its own music streaming service by forbidding rivals like Spotify from telling users how they could pay for cheaper subscriptions outside of iPhone apps.Apple muzzled streaming services from telling users about payment options available through their websites, which would avoid the 30% fee charged when people pay through apps downloaded with the iOS App Store, said the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer.“This is illegal. And it has impacted millions of European consumers who were not able to make a free choice as to where, how and at what price to buy music streaming subscriptions,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said at a news conference in Brussels.Apple — which contests the decision — behaved this way for a decade, resulting in "millions of people who have paid two, three euros more per month for their music streaming service than they would otherwise have had to pay," she said.It's the culmination of a bitter, yearslong feud between Apple and Spotify over music streaming supremacy. A complaint from the Swedish streaming service five years ago triggered the investigation that led to the 1.8 billion-euro ($1.95 billion) fine.The decision comes the same week new rules take effect to prevent tech giants from cornering digital markets.The EU has led global efforts to crack down on Big Tech companies, including three fines for Google totaling more than 8 billion euros, charging Meta with distorting the online classified ad market and forcing Amazon to change its business practices.Apple's fine is so high because it includes an extra lump sum to deter it from offending again or other tech companies from carrying out similar offenses, the commission said.It's not the only penalty that the tech giant could face: Apple is still trying to resolve a separate EU antitrust investigation into its mobile payments service by promising to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals.Apple hit back at the commission and Spotify, saying it would appeal Monday's fine.“The decision was reached despite the Commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast,” the company said in a statement.It said Spotify stood to benefit from the EU's move, asserting that the Swedish streaming giant met over 65 times with the commission during the investigation, holds a 56% share of Europe’s music streaming market and doesn’t pay Apple for using its App Store.“Ironically, in the name of competition, today’s decision just cements the dominant position of a successful European company that is the digital music market’s runaway leader,” Apple said.Spotify said it welcomed the EU fine, without addressing Apple's accusations.“This decision sends a powerful message — no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers,” Spotify said in a blog post.The commission's investigation initially centered on two concerns. One was the iPhone maker's practice of forcing app developers selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.Those fees have turned into a significant part of Apple’s service’s division, which generated $85 billion in revenue during the company’s last fiscal year ending in September.Various legal and regulatory developments in the U.S as well as Europe that are threatening to undercut the Apple's commissions from the App Store have been weighing on the company's stock, which has fallen by 9% so far this year while the tech-driven Nasdaq composite index has gained 8%. Apple's shares declined 2.5% in Monday's trading in the U.S.But the EU later pivoted its focus to concentrate on how Apple prevents app makers from telling their users about cheaper ways to pay for subscriptions that don’t involve going through an app.The investigation found that Apple banned streaming services from telling users about how much subscription offers cost outside of their apps, putting links in their apps to pay for alternative subscriptions or even emailing users to tell them about different pricing options.“As a result, millions of European music streaming users were left in the dark about all available options,” Vestager said, adding that the commission's investigation found that just over 20% of consumers who would have signed up to Spotify's premium service didn't do so because of the restrictions.The fine comes just before new EU rules are set to kick in that are aimed at preventing tech companies from dominating digital markets.The Digital Markets Act, due to take effect Thursday, imposes a set of do's and don'ts on “gatekeeper” companies including Apple, Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and TikTok parent ByteDance — under threat of hefty fines.The DMA's provisions are designed to prevent tech giants from the sort of behavior that's at the heart of the Apple investigation. Apple has already revealed how it will comply, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems.Vestager warned that the commission would be carefully scrutinizing how Apple follows the new rules.“Apple will have to open its gates to its ecosystem to allow users to easily find the apps they want, pay for them in any way they want and use them on any device that they want," she said. (AP) Is online betting legal in Philippines? TUDELA town in the Camotes Islands is one of 75 municipalities nationwide selected to receive P13.3 million in funding for enhancing local water supply and sanitation services.The funding will come from the Support and Assistance Fund to Participatory Budgeting (SAFPB), as announced by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos during the program’s national launch in Cebu City on Feb. 21, 2024.Abalos said the program aims to improve water supply by expanding and upgrading local water systems in identified municipalities. It will also support sanitation and hygiene facilities involving the construction and rehabilitation of sanitary toilets with hygiene facilities in public places.He added that the national program supports President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s open government partnership, promoting good governance, participatory governance, and public accountability. Civil society organizations are involved in the project development.Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said they have allocated a total of P1 billion in funding for the program covered by the fiscal year 2024 General Appropriations Act or Republic Act 11975.This funding will be shared equally among the chosen beneficiaries of the program's partner local government units (LGUs), with each town receiving P13,333,333.Water, sanitation accessPangandaman said the program will complement the United Nations' sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which aims to ensure universal access to water and sanitation."We are still under red in that part. Many areas in our country still lack water supply or access to water. It was shown there that those really lacking are the fourth to sixth class municipalities," she said in Filipino, referring to the study by the World Bank released in 2023 on the implementation of the UN's SDG.Abalos said municipalities that belong to the fourth to sixth income class are eligible for a targeted initiative aimed at enhancing their water and sanitation infrastructure."They should have a well-managed LGU utility, and of course they are project-ready. Third, they should be validated by a civil society," he said.Abalos said that across the country there are a total of 75 towns identified for the project implementation of SAFPB, of which seven of them are from Central Visayas.The secretary said that aside from Tudela in Cebu, included are the towns of Albuquerque, Bien Unido, Dagohoy and San Miguel in Bohol; Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental and Larena in Siquijor.SunStar Cebu tried to obtain the full list of the 75 towns identified for SAFPB implementation from DILG 7. However, a representative said they cannot provide the details at that time.In his presentation, Abalos said 455 municipalities in the country lack access to water. As of 2023, 340 of these municipalities have successfully addressed their water scarcity issues, leaving 115 still grappling with this challenge.He said that 88 out of these 115 LGUs are located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Abalos did not disclose the names of these LGUs.Funding guidelinesTo ensure effective fund utilization, Pangandaman said there is a stringent process to follow for fund release and project management has been outlined.Beneficiary towns are required to submit a notarized omnibus sworn statement endorsing the necessary documents to the DILG by April 30, 2024.Upon verification by DILG regional offices, the endorsed documents will be forwarded to the DILG Central Office for review and recommendation to the DBM for fund release.Upon receipt of the allocated funds, they are mandated to record the SAFPB fund as a trust fund and notify DILG of the fund transfer within 30 calendar days.Between March and April of this year, various government agencies will collaborate to gather all the requirements and documents for the program.The funds are planned to be released to the 75 LGUs in May, and the procurement process is scheduled to take place between June and July.The projects should be implemented no later than December 31, 2025.The budget secretary said any unutilized or undisbursed funds are required to be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury, and the DILG must be notified of any funds reversion.Pangandaman said the program imposes strict prohibitions on fund utilization, prohibiting diversion for purposes other than the designated projects, funding projects already covered by other sources, and expenditures on specified items such as personal services, administrative expenses, travel, and procurement of non-project-related assets.Abalos said that project implementation must adhere to approved designs, plans, and specifications in compliance with relevant laws, circulars, and regulations governing procurement, budgeting, accounting, and auditing.SunStar Cebu tried to contact Tudela Mayor Greman Solante for an interview on Thursday to discuss their implementation of the SAFPB assistance but to no avail.

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TUDELA town in the Camotes Islands is one of 75 municipalities nationwide selected to receive P13.3 million in funding for enhancing local water supply and sanitation services.The funding will come from the Support and Assistance Fund to Participatory Budgeting (SAFPB), as announced by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos during the program’s national launch in Cebu City on Feb. 21, 2024.Abalos said the program aims to improve water supply by expanding and upgrading local water systems in identified municipalities. It will also support sanitation and hygiene facilities involving the construction and rehabilitation of sanitary toilets with hygiene facilities in public places.He added that the national program supports President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s open government partnership, promoting good governance, participatory governance, and public accountability. Civil society organizations are involved in the project development.Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said they have allocated a total of P1 billion in funding for the program covered by the fiscal year 2024 General Appropriations Act or Republic Act 11975.This funding will be shared equally among the chosen beneficiaries of the program's partner local government units (LGUs), with each town receiving P13,333,333.Water, sanitation accessPangandaman said the program will complement the United Nations' sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which aims to ensure universal access to water and sanitation."We are still under red in that part. Many areas in our country still lack water supply or access to water. It was shown there that those really lacking are the fourth to sixth class municipalities," she said in Filipino, referring to the study by the World Bank released in 2023 on the implementation of the UN's SDG.Abalos said municipalities that belong to the fourth to sixth income class are eligible for a targeted initiative aimed at enhancing their water and sanitation infrastructure."They should have a well-managed LGU utility, and of course they are project-ready. Third, they should be validated by a civil society," he said.Abalos said that across the country there are a total of 75 towns identified for the project implementation of SAFPB, of which seven of them are from Central Visayas.The secretary said that aside from Tudela in Cebu, included are the towns of Albuquerque, Bien Unido, Dagohoy and San Miguel in Bohol; Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental and Larena in Siquijor.SunStar Cebu tried to obtain the full list of the 75 towns identified for SAFPB implementation from DILG 7. However, a representative said they cannot provide the details at that time.In his presentation, Abalos said 455 municipalities in the country lack access to water. As of 2023, 340 of these municipalities have successfully addressed their water scarcity issues, leaving 115 still grappling with this challenge.He said that 88 out of these 115 LGUs are located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Abalos did not disclose the names of these LGUs.Funding guidelinesTo ensure effective fund utilization, Pangandaman said there is a stringent process to follow for fund release and project management has been outlined.Beneficiary towns are required to submit a notarized omnibus sworn statement endorsing the necessary documents to the DILG by April 30, 2024.Upon verification by DILG regional offices, the endorsed documents will be forwarded to the DILG Central Office for review and recommendation to the DBM for fund release.Upon receipt of the allocated funds, they are mandated to record the SAFPB fund as a trust fund and notify DILG of the fund transfer within 30 calendar days.Between March and April of this year, various government agencies will collaborate to gather all the requirements and documents for the program.The funds are planned to be released to the 75 LGUs in May, and the procurement process is scheduled to take place between June and July.The projects should be implemented no later than December 31, 2025.The budget secretary said any unutilized or undisbursed funds are required to be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury, and the DILG must be notified of any funds reversion.Pangandaman said the program imposes strict prohibitions on fund utilization, prohibiting diversion for purposes other than the designated projects, funding projects already covered by other sources, and expenditures on specified items such as personal services, administrative expenses, travel, and procurement of non-project-related assets.Abalos said that project implementation must adhere to approved designs, plans, and specifications in compliance with relevant laws, circulars, and regulations governing procurement, budgeting, accounting, and auditing.SunStar Cebu tried to contact Tudela Mayor Greman Solante for an interview on Thursday to discuss their implementation of the SAFPB assistance but to no avail. Is online betting legal in Philippines? GOVERNOR Gwendolyn Garcia has told the contractor of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) to cease all civil works within Capitol-owned lots due to the alleged lack of a documentary permit.In a now-deleted post on the Provincial Government’s social media arm on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024, Garcia issued Memorandum 16-2024 ordering Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd. to immediately stop the construction of the bus station in front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City. SunStar Cebu was able to get a screenshot of the memorandum from the now-deleted post.In the memorandum, Garcia said the Capitol discovered that the project’s proponents lacked the necessary authorization from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for the construction of the bus stations along Osmeña Blvd.On Tuesday, Jose Eleazar Bersales of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Advisory Board informed the governor about the potential violation of the project against the Philippine Heritage Law.The project “appears to be located” within the buffer zones of the Capitol Building and the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda, both of which could easily qualify as heritage zones, according to the memorandum.Bersales is the Capitol consultant on museums and heritage.Garcia tasked the Philippine National Police to monitor the strict implementation of her memorandum. FindingsShe said the project violates the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, or Republic Act (RA) 10066, as the contractor has not secured the necessary authorization from the NHCP.RA 10066 mandates the protection of structures and edifices older than 50 years, and any construction within designated buffer zones requires the authorization of the NHCP, she said.The Capitol building was declared a National Historical Landmark and has a Grade 1 Level Heritage Structure Classification. Garcia said this entails a stricter implementation of RA 10066. Completed in 1938, the edifice features neoclassical and art deco style, with similarities to the US Capitol building.SunStar Cebu reached out to Norvin Imbong, the CBRT’s project manager, on Wednesday, February 28, for comment, but to no avail.In February 2023, Garcia told CBRT proponents that the project would traverse some lots owned by the Province and sought “just compensation” from the Department of Transportation (DOTr).Each bus station occupies an area of 160 square meters, with drainage systems on both sides of the sidewalk.The bus station along Osmeña Blvd. is part of Package 1 of the project, which stretches from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building.The entire CBRT project will start in Barangay Bulacao and in the South Road Properties in the south and run through Barangay Talamban in the north. It has a total project cost of around P28.78 billion.In a privilege speech during the regular session of the Cebu City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 28, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia requested the Office of the Building Official to issue a cease-and-desist order against the CBRT contractor.He said it should come up with a better design for the stations that can be submitted and proposed to the appropriate bodies, including but not limited to the NCCA, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (Chac) and the council.He also urged Chac to collaborate with counterparts in Cebu Province to explore alternative designs, ensuring that these are more complementary and in conformity with existing laws and policies.In his speech, the vice mayor said the infrastructure being introduced within the historical and cultural vista corridor is part of a project intended to benefit constituents in Cebu City.However, he argued that it poses a significant threat to the integrity of the city’s shared identity, heritage and culture as the people of Cebu.“One cannot be allowed to cancel the other, especially if the proposed design did not even pass through both the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission and the Sangguniang Panlungsod,” he said.President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the groundbreaking of the CBRT at the Fuente Osmeña Circle on Feb. 27, 2023, where he announced that it was one of the National Government’s flagship infrastructure projects.The Department of Transportation is the lead implementing agency. Both the governor and the vice mayor did not provide an explanation on why they waited one year to voice their objection to the design and placement of the CBRT bus stations. (EHP/AML)

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GOVERNOR Gwendolyn Garcia has told the contractor of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) to cease all civil works within Capitol-owned lots due to the alleged lack of a documentary permit.In a now-deleted post on the Provincial Government’s social media arm on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024, Garcia issued Memorandum 16-2024 ordering Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd. to immediately stop the construction of the bus station in front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City. SunStar Cebu was able to get a screenshot of the memorandum from the now-deleted post.In the memorandum, Garcia said the Capitol discovered that the project’s proponents lacked the necessary authorization from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for the construction of the bus stations along Osmeña Blvd.On Tuesday, Jose Eleazar Bersales of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Advisory Board informed the governor about the potential violation of the project against the Philippine Heritage Law.The project “appears to be located” within the buffer zones of the Capitol Building and the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda, both of which could easily qualify as heritage zones, according to the memorandum.Bersales is the Capitol consultant on museums and heritage.Garcia tasked the Philippine National Police to monitor the strict implementation of her memorandum. FindingsShe said the project violates the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, or Republic Act (RA) 10066, as the contractor has not secured the necessary authorization from the NHCP.RA 10066 mandates the protection of structures and edifices older than 50 years, and any construction within designated buffer zones requires the authorization of the NHCP, she said.The Capitol building was declared a National Historical Landmark and has a Grade 1 Level Heritage Structure Classification. Garcia said this entails a stricter implementation of RA 10066. Completed in 1938, the edifice features neoclassical and art deco style, with similarities to the US Capitol building.SunStar Cebu reached out to Norvin Imbong, the CBRT’s project manager, on Wednesday, February 28, for comment, but to no avail.In February 2023, Garcia told CBRT proponents that the project would traverse some lots owned by the Province and sought “just compensation” from the Department of Transportation (DOTr).Each bus station occupies an area of 160 square meters, with drainage systems on both sides of the sidewalk.The bus station along Osmeña Blvd. is part of Package 1 of the project, which stretches from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building.The entire CBRT project will start in Barangay Bulacao and in the South Road Properties in the south and run through Barangay Talamban in the north. It has a total project cost of around P28.78 billion.In a privilege speech during the regular session of the Cebu City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 28, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia requested the Office of the Building Official to issue a cease-and-desist order against the CBRT contractor.He said it should come up with a better design for the stations that can be submitted and proposed to the appropriate bodies, including but not limited to the NCCA, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (Chac) and the council.He also urged Chac to collaborate with counterparts in Cebu Province to explore alternative designs, ensuring that these are more complementary and in conformity with existing laws and policies.In his speech, the vice mayor said the infrastructure being introduced within the historical and cultural vista corridor is part of a project intended to benefit constituents in Cebu City.However, he argued that it poses a significant threat to the integrity of the city’s shared identity, heritage and culture as the people of Cebu.“One cannot be allowed to cancel the other, especially if the proposed design did not even pass through both the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission and the Sangguniang Panlungsod,” he said.President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the groundbreaking of the CBRT at the Fuente Osmeña Circle on Feb. 27, 2023, where he announced that it was one of the National Government’s flagship infrastructure projects.The Department of Transportation is the lead implementing agency. Both the governor and the vice mayor did not provide an explanation on why they waited one year to voice their objection to the design and placement of the CBRT bus stations. (EHP/AML), In BingoPlus, you will have the best service and the best gaming experience. And we provide the most popular games in BingoPlus. To be a millionaire. check the following table to see what categories most online casinos in the Philippines fit in.

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LONDON — The European Union leveled its first antitrust penalty against Apple on Monday, fining the U.S. tech giant nearly $2 billion for unfairly favoring its own music streaming service by forbidding rivals like Spotify from telling users how they could pay for cheaper subscriptions outside of iPhone apps.Apple muzzled streaming services from telling users about payment options available through their websites, which would avoid the 30% fee charged when people pay through apps downloaded with the iOS App Store, said the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer.“This is illegal. And it has impacted millions of European consumers who were not able to make a free choice as to where, how and at what price to buy music streaming subscriptions,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said at a news conference in Brussels.Apple — which contests the decision — behaved this way for a decade, resulting in "millions of people who have paid two, three euros more per month for their music streaming service than they would otherwise have had to pay," she said.It's the culmination of a bitter, yearslong feud between Apple and Spotify over music streaming supremacy. A complaint from the Swedish streaming service five years ago triggered the investigation that led to the 1.8 billion-euro ($1.95 billion) fine.The decision comes the same week new rules take effect to prevent tech giants from cornering digital markets.The EU has led global efforts to crack down on Big Tech companies, including three fines for Google totaling more than 8 billion euros, charging Meta with distorting the online classified ad market and forcing Amazon to change its business practices.Apple's fine is so high because it includes an extra lump sum to deter it from offending again or other tech companies from carrying out similar offenses, the commission said.It's not the only penalty that the tech giant could face: Apple is still trying to resolve a separate EU antitrust investigation into its mobile payments service by promising to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals.Apple hit back at the commission and Spotify, saying it would appeal Monday's fine.“The decision was reached despite the Commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast,” the company said in a statement.It said Spotify stood to benefit from the EU's move, asserting that the Swedish streaming giant met over 65 times with the commission during the investigation, holds a 56% share of Europe’s music streaming market and doesn’t pay Apple for using its App Store.“Ironically, in the name of competition, today’s decision just cements the dominant position of a successful European company that is the digital music market’s runaway leader,” Apple said.Spotify said it welcomed the EU fine, without addressing Apple's accusations.“This decision sends a powerful message — no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers,” Spotify said in a blog post.The commission's investigation initially centered on two concerns. One was the iPhone maker's practice of forcing app developers selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.Those fees have turned into a significant part of Apple’s service’s division, which generated $85 billion in revenue during the company’s last fiscal year ending in September.Various legal and regulatory developments in the U.S as well as Europe that are threatening to undercut the Apple's commissions from the App Store have been weighing on the company's stock, which has fallen by 9% so far this year while the tech-driven Nasdaq composite index has gained 8%. Apple's shares declined 2.5% in Monday's trading in the U.S.But the EU later pivoted its focus to concentrate on how Apple prevents app makers from telling their users about cheaper ways to pay for subscriptions that don’t involve going through an app.The investigation found that Apple banned streaming services from telling users about how much subscription offers cost outside of their apps, putting links in their apps to pay for alternative subscriptions or even emailing users to tell them about different pricing options.“As a result, millions of European music streaming users were left in the dark about all available options,” Vestager said, adding that the commission's investigation found that just over 20% of consumers who would have signed up to Spotify's premium service didn't do so because of the restrictions.The fine comes just before new EU rules are set to kick in that are aimed at preventing tech companies from dominating digital markets.The Digital Markets Act, due to take effect Thursday, imposes a set of do's and don'ts on “gatekeeper” companies including Apple, Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and TikTok parent ByteDance — under threat of hefty fines.The DMA's provisions are designed to prevent tech giants from the sort of behavior that's at the heart of the Apple investigation. Apple has already revealed how it will comply, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems.Vestager warned that the commission would be carefully scrutinizing how Apple follows the new rules.“Apple will have to open its gates to its ecosystem to allow users to easily find the apps they want, pay for them in any way they want and use them on any device that they want," she said. (AP) How to bet on Champions League football predictions?. here is how to register at an online casino site in the Philippines:

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GOVERNOR Gwendolyn Garcia has told the contractor of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) to cease all civil works within Capitol-owned lots due to the alleged lack of a documentary permit.In a now-deleted post on the Provincial Government’s social media arm on Tuesday night, February 27, 2024, Garcia issued Memorandum 16-2024 ordering Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd. to immediately stop the construction of the bus station in front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City. SunStar Cebu was able to get a screenshot of the memorandum from the now-deleted post.In the memorandum, Garcia said the Capitol discovered that the project’s proponents lacked the necessary authorization from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for the construction of the bus stations along Osmeña Blvd.On Tuesday, Jose Eleazar Bersales of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Advisory Board informed the governor about the potential violation of the project against the Philippine Heritage Law.The project “appears to be located” within the buffer zones of the Capitol Building and the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda, both of which could easily qualify as heritage zones, according to the memorandum.Bersales is the Capitol consultant on museums and heritage.Garcia tasked the Philippine National Police to monitor the strict implementation of her memorandum. FindingsShe said the project violates the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, or Republic Act (RA) 10066, as the contractor has not secured the necessary authorization from the NHCP.RA 10066 mandates the protection of structures and edifices older than 50 years, and any construction within designated buffer zones requires the authorization of the NHCP, she said.The Capitol building was declared a National Historical Landmark and has a Grade 1 Level Heritage Structure Classification. Garcia said this entails a stricter implementation of RA 10066. Completed in 1938, the edifice features neoclassical and art deco style, with similarities to the US Capitol building.SunStar Cebu reached out to Norvin Imbong, the CBRT’s project manager, on Wednesday, February 28, for comment, but to no avail.In February 2023, Garcia told CBRT proponents that the project would traverse some lots owned by the Province and sought “just compensation” from the Department of Transportation (DOTr).Each bus station occupies an area of 160 square meters, with drainage systems on both sides of the sidewalk.The bus station along Osmeña Blvd. is part of Package 1 of the project, which stretches from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building.The entire CBRT project will start in Barangay Bulacao and in the South Road Properties in the south and run through Barangay Talamban in the north. It has a total project cost of around P28.78 billion.In a privilege speech during the regular session of the Cebu City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 28, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia requested the Office of the Building Official to issue a cease-and-desist order against the CBRT contractor.He said it should come up with a better design for the stations that can be submitted and proposed to the appropriate bodies, including but not limited to the NCCA, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (Chac) and the council.He also urged Chac to collaborate with counterparts in Cebu Province to explore alternative designs, ensuring that these are more complementary and in conformity with existing laws and policies.In his speech, the vice mayor said the infrastructure being introduced within the historical and cultural vista corridor is part of a project intended to benefit constituents in Cebu City.However, he argued that it poses a significant threat to the integrity of the city’s shared identity, heritage and culture as the people of Cebu.“One cannot be allowed to cancel the other, especially if the proposed design did not even pass through both the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission and the Sangguniang Panlungsod,” he said.President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the groundbreaking of the CBRT at the Fuente Osmeña Circle on Feb. 27, 2023, where he announced that it was one of the National Government’s flagship infrastructure projects.The Department of Transportation is the lead implementing agency. Both the governor and the vice mayor did not provide an explanation on why they waited one year to voice their objection to the design and placement of the CBRT bus stations. (EHP/AML) Is online betting legal in Philippines? . It’s always a good idea to take your time and make sure you’ve found the best online casino in the Philippines on the online gambling market that can give you what you want.

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LONDON — The European Union leveled its first antitrust penalty against Apple on Monday, fining the U.S. tech giant nearly $2 billion for unfairly favoring its own music streaming service by forbidding rivals like Spotify from telling users how they could pay for cheaper subscriptions outside of iPhone apps.Apple muzzled streaming services from telling users about payment options available through their websites, which would avoid the 30% fee charged when people pay through apps downloaded with the iOS App Store, said the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer.“This is illegal. And it has impacted millions of European consumers who were not able to make a free choice as to where, how and at what price to buy music streaming subscriptions,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said at a news conference in Brussels.Apple — which contests the decision — behaved this way for a decade, resulting in "millions of people who have paid two, three euros more per month for their music streaming service than they would otherwise have had to pay," she said.It's the culmination of a bitter, yearslong feud between Apple and Spotify over music streaming supremacy. A complaint from the Swedish streaming service five years ago triggered the investigation that led to the 1.8 billion-euro ($1.95 billion) fine.The decision comes the same week new rules take effect to prevent tech giants from cornering digital markets.The EU has led global efforts to crack down on Big Tech companies, including three fines for Google totaling more than 8 billion euros, charging Meta with distorting the online classified ad market and forcing Amazon to change its business practices.Apple's fine is so high because it includes an extra lump sum to deter it from offending again or other tech companies from carrying out similar offenses, the commission said.It's not the only penalty that the tech giant could face: Apple is still trying to resolve a separate EU antitrust investigation into its mobile payments service by promising to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals.Apple hit back at the commission and Spotify, saying it would appeal Monday's fine.“The decision was reached despite the Commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast,” the company said in a statement.It said Spotify stood to benefit from the EU's move, asserting that the Swedish streaming giant met over 65 times with the commission during the investigation, holds a 56% share of Europe’s music streaming market and doesn’t pay Apple for using its App Store.“Ironically, in the name of competition, today’s decision just cements the dominant position of a successful European company that is the digital music market’s runaway leader,” Apple said.Spotify said it welcomed the EU fine, without addressing Apple's accusations.“This decision sends a powerful message — no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers,” Spotify said in a blog post.The commission's investigation initially centered on two concerns. One was the iPhone maker's practice of forcing app developers selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.Those fees have turned into a significant part of Apple’s service’s division, which generated $85 billion in revenue during the company’s last fiscal year ending in September.Various legal and regulatory developments in the U.S as well as Europe that are threatening to undercut the Apple's commissions from the App Store have been weighing on the company's stock, which has fallen by 9% so far this year while the tech-driven Nasdaq composite index has gained 8%. Apple's shares declined 2.5% in Monday's trading in the U.S.But the EU later pivoted its focus to concentrate on how Apple prevents app makers from telling their users about cheaper ways to pay for subscriptions that don’t involve going through an app.The investigation found that Apple banned streaming services from telling users about how much subscription offers cost outside of their apps, putting links in their apps to pay for alternative subscriptions or even emailing users to tell them about different pricing options.“As a result, millions of European music streaming users were left in the dark about all available options,” Vestager said, adding that the commission's investigation found that just over 20% of consumers who would have signed up to Spotify's premium service didn't do so because of the restrictions.The fine comes just before new EU rules are set to kick in that are aimed at preventing tech companies from dominating digital markets.The Digital Markets Act, due to take effect Thursday, imposes a set of do's and don'ts on “gatekeeper” companies including Apple, Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and TikTok parent ByteDance — under threat of hefty fines.The DMA's provisions are designed to prevent tech giants from the sort of behavior that's at the heart of the Apple investigation. Apple has already revealed how it will comply, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems.Vestager warned that the commission would be carefully scrutinizing how Apple follows the new rules.“Apple will have to open its gates to its ecosystem to allow users to easily find the apps they want, pay for them in any way they want and use them on any device that they want," she said. (AP) licensed online casinos TUDELA town in the Camotes Islands is one of 75 municipalities nationwide selected to receive P13.3 million in funding for enhancing local water supply and sanitation services.The funding will come from the Support and Assistance Fund to Participatory Budgeting (SAFPB), as announced by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos during the program’s national launch in Cebu City on Feb. 21, 2024.Abalos said the program aims to improve water supply by expanding and upgrading local water systems in identified municipalities. It will also support sanitation and hygiene facilities involving the construction and rehabilitation of sanitary toilets with hygiene facilities in public places.He added that the national program supports President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s open government partnership, promoting good governance, participatory governance, and public accountability. Civil society organizations are involved in the project development.Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said they have allocated a total of P1 billion in funding for the program covered by the fiscal year 2024 General Appropriations Act or Republic Act 11975.This funding will be shared equally among the chosen beneficiaries of the program's partner local government units (LGUs), with each town receiving P13,333,333.Water, sanitation accessPangandaman said the program will complement the United Nations' sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which aims to ensure universal access to water and sanitation."We are still under red in that part. Many areas in our country still lack water supply or access to water. It was shown there that those really lacking are the fourth to sixth class municipalities," she said in Filipino, referring to the study by the World Bank released in 2023 on the implementation of the UN's SDG.Abalos said municipalities that belong to the fourth to sixth income class are eligible for a targeted initiative aimed at enhancing their water and sanitation infrastructure."They should have a well-managed LGU utility, and of course they are project-ready. Third, they should be validated by a civil society," he said.Abalos said that across the country there are a total of 75 towns identified for the project implementation of SAFPB, of which seven of them are from Central Visayas.The secretary said that aside from Tudela in Cebu, included are the towns of Albuquerque, Bien Unido, Dagohoy and San Miguel in Bohol; Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental and Larena in Siquijor.SunStar Cebu tried to obtain the full list of the 75 towns identified for SAFPB implementation from DILG 7. However, a representative said they cannot provide the details at that time.In his presentation, Abalos said 455 municipalities in the country lack access to water. As of 2023, 340 of these municipalities have successfully addressed their water scarcity issues, leaving 115 still grappling with this challenge.He said that 88 out of these 115 LGUs are located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Abalos did not disclose the names of these LGUs.Funding guidelinesTo ensure effective fund utilization, Pangandaman said there is a stringent process to follow for fund release and project management has been outlined.Beneficiary towns are required to submit a notarized omnibus sworn statement endorsing the necessary documents to the DILG by April 30, 2024.Upon verification by DILG regional offices, the endorsed documents will be forwarded to the DILG Central Office for review and recommendation to the DBM for fund release.Upon receipt of the allocated funds, they are mandated to record the SAFPB fund as a trust fund and notify DILG of the fund transfer within 30 calendar days.Between March and April of this year, various government agencies will collaborate to gather all the requirements and documents for the program.The funds are planned to be released to the 75 LGUs in May, and the procurement process is scheduled to take place between June and July.The projects should be implemented no later than December 31, 2025.The budget secretary said any unutilized or undisbursed funds are required to be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury, and the DILG must be notified of any funds reversion.Pangandaman said the program imposes strict prohibitions on fund utilization, prohibiting diversion for purposes other than the designated projects, funding projects already covered by other sources, and expenditures on specified items such as personal services, administrative expenses, travel, and procurement of non-project-related assets.Abalos said that project implementation must adhere to approved designs, plans, and specifications in compliance with relevant laws, circulars, and regulations governing procurement, budgeting, accounting, and auditing.SunStar Cebu tried to contact Tudela Mayor Greman Solante for an interview on Thursday to discuss their implementation of the SAFPB assistance but to no avail.

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LONDON — The European Union leveled its first antitrust penalty against Apple on Monday, fining the U.S. tech giant nearly $2 billion for unfairly favoring its own music streaming service by forbidding rivals like Spotify from telling users how they could pay for cheaper subscriptions outside of iPhone apps.Apple muzzled streaming services from telling users about payment options available through their websites, which would avoid the 30% fee charged when people pay through apps downloaded with the iOS App Store, said the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer.“This is illegal. And it has impacted millions of European consumers who were not able to make a free choice as to where, how and at what price to buy music streaming subscriptions,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said at a news conference in Brussels.Apple — which contests the decision — behaved this way for a decade, resulting in "millions of people who have paid two, three euros more per month for their music streaming service than they would otherwise have had to pay," she said.It's the culmination of a bitter, yearslong feud between Apple and Spotify over music streaming supremacy. A complaint from the Swedish streaming service five years ago triggered the investigation that led to the 1.8 billion-euro ($1.95 billion) fine.The decision comes the same week new rules take effect to prevent tech giants from cornering digital markets.The EU has led global efforts to crack down on Big Tech companies, including three fines for Google totaling more than 8 billion euros, charging Meta with distorting the online classified ad market and forcing Amazon to change its business practices.Apple's fine is so high because it includes an extra lump sum to deter it from offending again or other tech companies from carrying out similar offenses, the commission said.It's not the only penalty that the tech giant could face: Apple is still trying to resolve a separate EU antitrust investigation into its mobile payments service by promising to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals.Apple hit back at the commission and Spotify, saying it would appeal Monday's fine.“The decision was reached despite the Commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast,” the company said in a statement.It said Spotify stood to benefit from the EU's move, asserting that the Swedish streaming giant met over 65 times with the commission during the investigation, holds a 56% share of Europe’s music streaming market and doesn’t pay Apple for using its App Store.“Ironically, in the name of competition, today’s decision just cements the dominant position of a successful European company that is the digital music market’s runaway leader,” Apple said.Spotify said it welcomed the EU fine, without addressing Apple's accusations.“This decision sends a powerful message — no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers,” Spotify said in a blog post.The commission's investigation initially centered on two concerns. One was the iPhone maker's practice of forcing app developers selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.Those fees have turned into a significant part of Apple’s service’s division, which generated $85 billion in revenue during the company’s last fiscal year ending in September.Various legal and regulatory developments in the U.S as well as Europe that are threatening to undercut the Apple's commissions from the App Store have been weighing on the company's stock, which has fallen by 9% so far this year while the tech-driven Nasdaq composite index has gained 8%. Apple's shares declined 2.5% in Monday's trading in the U.S.But the EU later pivoted its focus to concentrate on how Apple prevents app makers from telling their users about cheaper ways to pay for subscriptions that don’t involve going through an app.The investigation found that Apple banned streaming services from telling users about how much subscription offers cost outside of their apps, putting links in their apps to pay for alternative subscriptions or even emailing users to tell them about different pricing options.“As a result, millions of European music streaming users were left in the dark about all available options,” Vestager said, adding that the commission's investigation found that just over 20% of consumers who would have signed up to Spotify's premium service didn't do so because of the restrictions.The fine comes just before new EU rules are set to kick in that are aimed at preventing tech companies from dominating digital markets.The Digital Markets Act, due to take effect Thursday, imposes a set of do's and don'ts on “gatekeeper” companies including Apple, Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and TikTok parent ByteDance — under threat of hefty fines.The DMA's provisions are designed to prevent tech giants from the sort of behavior that's at the heart of the Apple investigation. Apple has already revealed how it will comply, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems.Vestager warned that the commission would be carefully scrutinizing how Apple follows the new rules.“Apple will have to open its gates to its ecosystem to allow users to easily find the apps they want, pay for them in any way they want and use them on any device that they want," she said. (AP) How to bet on Champions League football predictions?

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