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Vol. 2. No. 17

LOS ANGELES

A Balita Media Publication

Wednesday - Tuesday, January 9-15, 2013

US judge orders LA Catholics to name abusers LOS ANGELES, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – A US judge Monday ordered Catholic leaders in Los Angeles to identify senior church officials accused of sexually abusing children, in a move welcomed by campaigners for victims. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles immediately pledged to comply with the order by LA Superior Court judge Emilie Elias, which reversed part of a 2011 ruling. “The archdiocese will abide by Judge Elias’ decision. We are now working with all parties involved to facilitate the release of the documents as promptly as possible,” said a archdiocese statement. In 2011 a judge ruled against naming senior clerics, due to fears that including the names of the hierarchy could be used to embarrass the church further. But Elias said the public’s right to know how the arch-

diocese handled abuse claims outweighed such concerns, and therefore ordered the names to be reinstated in documents where they had been blanked out. The judge and lawyers for the church and abuse victims met Monday to discuss how and when to release church records including psychiatric reports, reports of abuse and letters to the Vatican, according to the LA Times. The LA archdiocese, the biggest in the United States, said that “much of the information in question has already been made public” in a 2004 “Report to the People of God” and subsequent documents. Victims’ campaign group the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests welcomed the order. “We’re thrilled and grateful that a California judge is refusing to protect corrupt Catholic officials by keeping longsecret and long-promised church abuse records hidden any

longer,” it said in a statement. “For decades, the Los Angeles Catholic hierarchy has successfully kept under wraps thousands of pages of incriminating documents. Because of the courage and tenacity of hundreds of victims, that will soon end. “Children will be safer as a result,” it added. The Catholic church is the largest religious denomination in the United States, with nearly one in four Americans identifying themselves as Roman Catholic. As in other countries it has been rocked by scandals involving alleged abuse of children by Catholic clerics. A study last year showed many US Catholics still believe priests are sexually abusing children, despite a “striking improvement” in the way the Church deals with the abuse of minors by clergy.

Crashed US drone found in PHL waters: navy MANILA, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – A US drone believed to be used for reconnaissance was recovered on Monday in waters off the central Philippines, police and naval authorities said. Fishermen found the 3.65 meter (12-foot) drone floating off Masbate island and dragged it to shore, said provincial police chief, Senior Superintendent Heriberto Olitoquit. They initially thought they had hauled in a bomb and alerted police, Olitoquit said. “A technical evaluation determined that the object is one unmanned aerial vehicle,” Olitoquit told reporters. Olitoquit said the drone had

been turned over to the Philippine Navy, which would conduct a thorough investigation. “It appears to have been floating for quite some time,” Captain Rommel Galang, deputy commander of naval forces in the area, told AFP. “We will first study this drone but initially it appears to be a UAV used largely in reconnaissance.” He said it had inscriptions and a serial number that “indicate it is an American drone”. Galang said the US embassy had been informed of the discovery and local authorities would eventually turn it over to them. In an interview with AFP last year, President Benigno Aquino See CRASHED US DRONE, page 6

U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Toby Snowden, left, and Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Jesus Mendoza, with the targets detachment from Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa, signal that a BQM-74 target drone is prepared for launch from the flight deck of the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) while in the South China Sea, June 11, 2011. A similar drone was found by Filipino fishermen in Philippine waters.

Malacañang says Aquino to study proposal for ‘total gun ban’

In what could be another manifestation of a robust Philippine economy, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) breached the 6,000 level for the first time on Monday morning, taking many by surprise. (Photo: Rhony Laigo)

PSEi breaches 6,000 level for the first time MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) breached the 6,000 level for the first time on Monday morning, taking many by surprise. Brokers cheered as the PSEi hit 6,001.17 at 9:40 a.m. As of noon, the index stood at 6,031, up 59 points. This is the fourth time the PSEi set a new record high in as many

See TOTAL GUN BAN, page 6

trading days in 2013. April Lee-Tan, COL Financial group research head, attributed the market rally to improvement in general sentiment and liquidity. “During the second half of 2012, everybody was expecting 2013 to be a very positive year and I guess that is already being reflected in share prices, coupled with liquidity and See PSEI BREACHES, page 6

DOH looking into deteriorating hospital equipment MANILA, Jan 5 (Mabuhay) – The Department of Health is already validating a report by the Commission on Audit saying that P43-million worth of equipment were found rotting in several state hospitals. In a press briefing in Malacanang on Friday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte

MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – The Aquino administration will study the proposal for a total gun ban following the death of a sevenyear-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet in Caloocan City and the shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite, a Palace official said on Monday. Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement during the regular press brief-

WB calls for more 13 killed in shootout: police reforms to sustain MANILA, Jan 6, 2013 (AFP) arms were recovered from the gang – Police in the Philippines killed members, including an M16 assault PHL growth 13 members of a criminal gang in rifle. MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – The Philippines must enact more structural reforms, particularly in the areas of employment and infrastructure, to sustain its remarkable economic growth, a World Bank update stated. In “Philippine Economic Update: Accelerating Reforms to Sustain Growth,” the WB Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit for East Asia and Pacific See MORE REFORMS, page 6

said she spoke with Health Undersecretary Ted Herbosa who said that the DOH is currently assessing the specific observations made by the COA. “Undersecretary Herbosa told me that he will be validating the specific claims, the specific observations of the COA, and they will be See HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT, page 6

See WELL-BEING 1

a shootout on Sunday, the third violent incident within days amid widespread calls for stricter gun controls. The battle erupted after gunmen in two vehicles tried to smash through a police checkpoint near the town of Atimonan, according to the national police headquarters’ operations centre. A police statement said one senior police officer was wounded and taken to hospital, and 10 fire-

Provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Val de Leon said the road block was put up following a tip-off from a police informant that the gang was to pass through the area on the way to Manila “to make a major hit”. “The information we received came from a very reliable informer, and this is a big accomplishment,” de Leon said. He said the army had also been See SHOOTOUT, page 6

Man held as PHL probes deadly gun rampage BY CECIL MORELLA

MANILA, Jan 5, 2013 (AFP) – A man accused of helping a Philippine gunman kill seven people and wound 12 others has been detained as police investigate the motive for the drug-fuelled rampage, officials said Saturday.

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Passengers glance at the bullet-riddled vehicle of suspected criminals along a road in the town of Atimonan in Quezon province, about 140 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines late Sunday Jan. 6, 2013. Philippine army special forces and police killed 13 suspected criminals in a gunbattle Sunday in the latest violence to erupt in the country in the past week. (MNS photo)

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Witnesses told police the arrested suspect helped reload a semiautomatic pistol as the gunman, later killed by police, went house to house Friday looking for neighbours to shoot at a slum in Kawit town outside Manila. Police arrested John Paul Lopez in Imus town near Kawit late Fri-

day, hours after gunman Rolando Bae was killed in a firefight with police, national police spokesman Generoso Cerbo said. “We are investigating the level of his involvement, but definitely he faces criminal charges,” Chief Superintendent Cerbo said of the See GUN RAMPAGE page 6

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PNP may cut cell signals during Nazarene procession MANILA, Jan 5 (Mabuhay) -- The Philippine National Police is continuously evaluating preparations whether disrupting mobile phone signals would be necessary during the procession highlighting the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila, like it did last year. PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said they are constantly communicating with stakeholders about the preparations for this coming week’s event. “’Yan naman patuloy nating pinag-aaralan kung kailangan bang putulin ang signals o hindi. Ito naman ay subject to changes from time to time,” he said. He said they are evaluating possible threats from various groups, though he said the Metro Manila police may eventually decide on the matter. Asked if they have noted a specific threat to the Jan. 9 event, he said, “sa ngayon wala naman.” In last year’s feast, the government claimed a terrorist group was out to disrupt the activity, and had telecom firms disrupt mobile phone signals during the procession. Several people in the Quiapo area and surrounding places suffered from inconvenience as the procession lasted 22 hours. Millions of devotees are expected to flock to Manila this coming week to take part in the feast in honor of the Black Nazarene. Devotees believe the image, housed in Manila’s Quiapo Church, has miraculous powers. In Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the security preparations this year will be “equally strict” as they were last year. But she declined to elaborate on whether there will be special security preparations and a security briefing, which the Palace had called last year.

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Devotees from all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces join the procession during the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila. Every year, millions of devotees from all walks of life come to the district of Quiapo to take part in the procession as a way of strengthening their faith or fulfilling their “panata” (vow) to the Lord. The statue was brought to Manila by a Spanish priest in 1607 aboard a ship. The ship caught fire, burning the image but it was not destroyed, and it thus came to be known as the Black Nazarene. Since then, miraculous things have been reported by those who touch the image. (PNA photos by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

Comelec deputizes gov’t offices for 2013 polls MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is deputizing at least 7 Cabinetlevel agencies and several other government offices for the conduct of the May 2013 mid-term elections and the enforcement of related election laws. Resolution 9598 identifies these offices as the education, finance, transportation and communications departments, Philippine Postal Service Corporation, National Telecommunications Commission, Telecommunications Office, Department of Energy and electric cooperatives, Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Audit, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the Philippine Information Agency. In addition, the Comelec is also deputizing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Land Bank of Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of Philippines (DBP), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform

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(DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Food Authority (NFA), National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Printing Office (NPO), and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). In addition, Philippine Air Lines (PAL) and its President are hereby designated as deputies to perform the following functions and duties: Direct the officials and employees of P AL throughout the country to give preferential accommodation of “must-ride status” to officials, employees and deputies of the Commission traveling on official business; Direct said officials and employees of the airlines to effect immediate shipment, delivery and transmittal of COMELEC cargo and other election matters; and Perform such other duties and functions which the Commission may prescribe from time to time. The Comelec earlier deputized the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for the elections. By April 13 till the end of the election period, the Comelec shall have direct control and supervision over the PNP. (MNS)

Comelec OKs random manual audit of 2013 polls MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has promulgated its rules and regulations for the random manual audit of the automated election system to ensure its accuracy for the 2013 mid-term elections. In its resolution issued late December 2012, the poll body ruled that it shall appoint a random manual audit (RMA) team composed of five (5) members per legislative district specifically designated to conduct the RMA and, in case of unavailability, a substitute member per legislative district shall be appointed. All RMAT members shall be under the direct control and supervision of the RMA Committee. The RMA Committee will designate Election Officers, or in lieu thereof, Provincial Election Supervisors or the Assistant Regional Election Director for NCR, as the case may be, as Coordinators for the conduct of the RMA. The RMAT shall be composed of five (5) members: The Department of Education (DepEd) (2) days prior’to the day of the Elections. shall submit a list of at least six (6) proposed One (1) clustered precinct per legislative RMAT members per legislative district not district will be drawn randomly using an aulater than the 15th of January of the year of tomated random selection program, subject to the Elections. Five (5) of the proposed RMAT Source Code Review by Political Parties and members per legislative district shall be pre- Accredited Citizen’s Arm Groups. selected by the RMA Committee to serve in Source Code Review must be initiated by the randomly selected clustered precinct per the last week of March the year of the eleclegislative district. The other proposed mem- tions but must be finished within thirty (30) ber shall serve as substitute, if the need for it days thereafter. arises. The selection of the clustered precinct will In case of absence or illness of an RMAT be open to the media, political parties and member, the RMAT members who are pres- other election stakeholders to ensure speedy ent shall call upon the substitute to perform dissemination of information and for transthe duties of the absent member. parency. The RMA shall take place in the pollThe RMAT is empowered to conduct the ing place of the randomly selected clustered RMA in the polling place of the randomly se- precinct. lected clustered precincts. The RMA shall be conducted immediately The honorarium for each RMAT member after the sealing of the ballot box by the BEI. shall be P2,000 which shall cover their remuThe RMA shall be conducted in the presneration for services rendered in performing ence of poll watchers, political parties, citizen’s the RMA, in addition to their meal allowance arm groups, media and the public. and their transportation allowance. Upon commencement of the RMA until Four (4) days before the day of the Elec- the same is terminated, the regular BEI shall tions, the List of Municipalities involved in not be allowed inside the polling place of the RMA shall be released. randomly selected clustered precinct or to The List of Specific Clustered Precincts communicate with RMAT in whatever manthat will undergo RMA shall be disclosed two ner. (MNS)

Smartmatic gets contract to supply CF cards anew MANILA, Jan 4 (Mabuhay) – Despite the issues it encountered in 2010, poll machine supplier Smartmatic-TIM will once again supply the compact flash (CF) cards that will be used in the national and local elections this year. According to the notice of award posted on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) website, Smartmatic-TIM will be supplying 82,200 CF cards for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the 2013 polls. Each CF card is priced at P550 each or a total of P45.21 million. “Pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 9600 promulgated on December 27, 2012, and in behalf of the Commission en banc, the undersigned hereby awards to your company the contract for the supply and delivery of CF cards main to be used for the May 13, 2013 national and local elections,” said Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. in the notice of award. During the 2010 polls, voting in some precincts were delayed because of some problems with the configuration of the CF cards. As a

solution, Smartmatic retrieved the problematic CF cards and replaced them with new ones. But aside from this contract, the supplier also won the bidding for 15,000 units of transmission modems for P10,305.12 per unit or a total of P154.58 million. Smartmatic was also awarded the contract for the electronic transmission of poll results for P486.51 million. The firm, however, withdrew from bidding for the contract to deploy the automated election system equipment and paraphernalia. “We have given considerable time and effort in studying the bidding documents, and we have come to determine that pursuing the project would no longer be commercially viable,” Smartmatic-TIM Corporation representative Filipinas Ordona said in a letter addressed to the Special Bids and Awards Committee chairman Atty. Helen AguilaFlores on Friday. (MNS)


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Risking life and limb to make Philippine ‘vodka’ BY JASON GUTIERREZ

to the Lord,” he told AFP in a recent early TAYABAS, Philippines, Jan 6, morning visit to Ta2013 (AFP) - With their huge yabas, a sleepy, piccopper vats and open fires, littleturesque rural town known backyard liquor makers about three hours’ have toiled for generations on drive from Manila. Philippine coconut farms to disWorkers climb the till their equivalent of Russian trees without provodka. tective harnesses to Once considered a lowly peasprune the coconut ant’s drink whose potency is said flowers before they to put other liquors and spirits turn into fruits. The worldwide in the shade, the “lamsap is allowed to drip banog” is the Philippine version into bamboo recepof coconut arrack also made in Sri Once considered a lowly peasant’s drink whose potency is said to put other tacles. liquors and spirits worldwide in the shade, the “lambanog” is the Philippine Lanka and Indonesia. version of coconut arrack also made in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Like high-wire “Many have compared it to performers, the tappers navigate a network of bamboo bridges Russian vodka or English gin but what sets our lambanog connecting the trees nine meters (30 feet) above the ground, apart is that you don’t get a hangover,” said 65-year-old dis- with blades on their waists and bags tightly strapped to their tiller Isabelita Capistrano. shoulders. The family-owned Capistrano Distillery in coconut-rich Pruning is mostly done in the afternoon, and the climbers Tayabas is one of two leading Philippine makers of lambanog, return at dawn to collect the liquid “even before the roosters which it sells to the country’s biggest supermarket chain. crow”, said Andaya, 53. “It is a very hard drink. Japanese and South Korean (tourFarmhands then deliver the sap to the distillery in big plasists) especially like it. Americans find it too strong, but tic containers that are carried behind their backs or on pack smooth,” said the former high school teacher. horses. The sap is fermented into a local wine called ‘tuba’, But if drinking it is a challenge, making it is a high-risk which if distilled further, yields the colorless ‘lambanog’, with pursuit that can lead to the death of those charged with methanol as a byproduct. climbing coconut trees to collect the frothy sap that is ferCheap and popular mented to produce the drink. Capistrano said the process of distilling the equivalent of “People have fallen and died or had broken bones,” said coconut vodka was first recorded in Tayabas in the early 19th Eugenio Andaya, who has been climbing the trees since he century. was a teenager. Founded by Spain in the 1580s as part of its move to Chris“It is a very difficult job but I just pray and leave my fate tianise its Asian colony, Tayabas lies in the shadow of Mount

DA still aiming for rice self-sufficiency in 2013 MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – Despite earlier expecting rice production to reach 20.04 million metric tons (MT) this year, the Department of Agriculture has stuck to its target output of 21.12 million MT, which would be enough to feed the nation for the whole year and make the Philippines self-sufficient in its main staple. “Now that we reached record levels in rice production, it will be easier for us to reach our target volume for the year,” Agriculture Rice Program Director Dante Delima said in an interview Monday. He added that total paddy rice production likely reached 18 million MT in 2012, slightly above the Department’s projection of 17.8 million MT, though the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics has yet to release official figures. To help reach sufficiency, the DA recently partnered with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for the production and distribution of high-quality, stress-resistant seeds that can adapt to climate change; the prioritization of the development of new and modern technologies to expand current production areas; and the dissemination of best agricultural practices and support tools, including skills-training for extension and field workers. The two agencies also plan to strengthen alliances with public and private networks to solidify the Philippines’ competitiveness in rice against other rice-producing nations. The government estimates it will need P84.2 billion in total to finance the rice sufficiency program until 2016, beginning with P31.11 billion for 2013, then P22.73 billion for 2014, P17.54 billion for 2015 and P12.82 billion for 2016. (MNS)

PHL shares end at new record high MANILA, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – Philippine share prices climbed 1.23 percent Monday to finish at a new record high as dealers grow confident in the Southeast Asian economy, dealers said. The composite index rose 73.46 points to 6,044.91, the first time the key index breached the 6,000 level, and already up almost 4.0 percent since the start of the year. Foreign fund managers have been increasingly investing in the local market due to the country’s strong fundamentals, analysts said. Jun Calaycay of Accord Capital Equities said breaching the 6,000-level had been expected. “The debates will now centre on whether the economy in general and listed firms in particular can provide the necessary numbers to justify and sustain trades above that level,” Calaycay said. And Reynaldo Montalbo, a senior vice president of First Metro Investments Corp, said the market, which grew almost 33 percent in 2012, would likely rise further this year as interest rates ease on the back of expected stronger economic growth. He also highlighted the growing prospects the country’s credit rating will be raised to investment grade, according to Dow Jones Newswires. San Miguel rose 3.13 percent to close at 108.70 pesos and Megaworld jumped 8.8 percent to end at 3.33 pesos. Philippine Long Distance Telephone added 0.5 percent to 2,662 pesos while Metropolitan Bank and Trust gained 1.6 percent at 103.40 pesos.

Banahaw, a spiritual place where shamans live and where rainwater rushing down the slopes keeps the land fertile. According to local lore, the first known Tayabas distillery was owned by a Spanish soldier named Alandy who settled in the area. Alandy’s line is now produced by the rival Mallari Distillery, whose owners trace their ancestry to the soldier and who still maintain the original recipe of a drink with a 90 proof grade, which means it contains 45 percent alcohol. While the Mallari Distillery remains in operation, the Capistrano family said it has taken a lead in promoting the drink abroad. Lambanog remains a cheap, popular drink across the Philippines. But official data on how much income it generates domestically remains sketchy, with the beverage sold locally through neighborhood shops that do not remit any taxes or reports. In 2001 the government approached the Mallari and Capistrano houses and 14 other smaller lambanog distillers with a plan to develop the product for export. It provided packaging expertise, introduced modern bottling operations and sponsored alcohol tasting tours for foreign buyers. The trade department said the drink had been slowly penetrating the beverage markets in Australia, Japan and Macau, though official data is unavailable. It faces competition from Sri Lanka in particular, which targets Japan, South Korea and the Maldives with premium blends. Capistrano’s best-seller is lambanog spiked with local wild blackberries called ‘liputi’ which offer a slightly sweet, tangy taste. “We want the world to know that lambanog is the official Philippine liquor,” she said.

Illegal drugs possibly caused Cavite shooting spree – psychiatrist MANILA, Jan 5 (Mabuhay) – Illegal drugs may be the reason behind Ronald Bae’s shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite Friday morning, a psychiatrist said. Dr. Bernadette Arcenas said that the use of illegal drugs may have influenced Bae’s state of mind, and may have given him delusions and hallucinations. “Ang droga ay nagpapaiba talaga ng kaisipan ng tao. Iba na ang takbo kasi eh, ‘yung tipong may mga delusions na ‘yan, hallucinations. Iba na eh, akala mo sa ‘yo ‘yung mundo,” she said. Maria Elena Bae, estranged wife of the gunman, admitted that her former partner used and even peddled illegal drugs. Police said they also found sachets containing suspected drugs and several drug paraphernalia inside the suspect’s house. Arcenas said it is very important, therefore, to take note of the signs that may indicate one’s state of mind has already been affected by the use of illegal drugs. This is to prevent possibly similar incidents such as this, the psychiatrist said. “Kapag nagiiba ang ugali, laging nagmumukmok, laging balisa at kung anu-ano na ang pumapasok sa isip at ‘di na siya nakakapagtrabaho, ‘yun ang mga senyales,” she said. “Kapag may kapamilya kang nakikitang ganun, asap (as soon as possible) ‘yan eh. Kailangang mapagamot, kailangang mapatingin kasi mase-save naman siya eh. Ang problema lang kung may denial.” “Kailangang immediate attention bago mangyari ang mga krimen,” Arcenas added. Bae killed at least 8 people and left 10 others injured during his shooting spree. He was shot dead by the police after he refused to surrender. Meanwhile, his alleged aide John Paul Lopez, who was seen helping Bae load his firearm, may face multiple murder charges, police said. Senior Supt. Dionisio Borromeo, deputy provincial di-

rector of Cavite police, told ANC on Saturday there are witnesses saying suspect Lopez was indeed an accomplice of Bae. 5-yr-old brother says Stephanie Nicole still at hospital As for the case of five-year-old Ken “Ken-Ken” Ella, brother of seven-year-old stray bullet victim Stephanie Nicole Ella, Arcenas said it may help if the family seeks the assistance of an expert in making the boy accept the tragic death of her sister. Jay Ella, father of the victim, said Ken-Ken refuses to accept the fate of her sister. The boy just keeps on saying Stephanie Nicole is still seeking treatment at the hospital, Jay said. “Kasi nandun pa rin ‘yung confusion ng isang bata. Wala pa silang masyadong konsepto tungkol sa death. Kailangang mapaintindi ng mga eksperto. Pwede ring magpatingin siya nang maintindihan niya kung ano ‘yung nangyayari,” Arcenas said. She also noted it is vital that family members continue to support each other amid their grieving. “Ang importante dito tulung-tulong sila. They have to experience ‘yung loss and at the same time share the feeling with each other.” “Ngayon ‘pag nakikita mo na ‘di na talaga kaya, ‘yung behavior nagiiba na, ‘yun ‘yung sign na kailangan na talaga nilang magpatingin,” she said. Arcenas added, “The earlier na makabalik sila sa kanilang ginagawa, the better.” Stephanie Nicole died on January 2 after being hit by a stray bullet in the head while watching fireworks in Caloocan on New Year’s Eve. Police have started checking on Friday the .45-caliber pistols of 32 individuals living near the Ella residence for possible identification of the suspect that killed the sevenyear-old girl. A P400,000-bounty has been offered by the Caloocan and Valenzuela local governments for any information that would lead to the arrest of the suspect. (MNS)

PM Coalition protests disqualification at SC MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – A day before the Supreme Court (SC) resumes its en banc sessions on Tuesday, newlyformed party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition (PM COALITION) held a rally along Padre Faura on Monday morning to urge the high court to decide in favor of its petition against its disqualification in the 2013 polls. The group assailed its disqualification and labeled the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) ruling as “erroneous.” It said the coalition is “truly representative of the labor sector.” “The Comelec had made a mess of the so-called cleansing of the party-list system by still accrediting numerous bogus party-lists,” PM Coalition president Bong Palad said in a statement. Before the Christmas break, the group filed a petition

DA still aiming for rice self-sufficiency in 2013

interview Monday. He added that MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – Despite earlier expecting total paddy rice production likely reached 18 million MT rice production to reach 20.04 million metric tons (MT) this year, the Department of Agriculture has stuck to its target in 2012, slightly above the Department’s projection of 17.8 output of 21.12 million MT, which would be enough to feed million MT, though the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics the nation for the whole year and make the Philippines self- has yet to release official figures. To help reach sufficiency, the DA recently partnered with the International Rice Resufficient in its main staple. “Now that we reached record levels in rice production, it search Institute (IRRI) for the production and distribution will be easier for us to reach our target volume for the year,” of high-quality, stress-resistant seeds that can adapt to cliAgriculture Rice Program Director Dante Delima said in an mate change; the prioritization of the development of new

that sought a reversal of its disqualification “based on a mere technicality and the poll body’s misinterpretation of the law.” The petition sought the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the poll body from implementing its ruling so that the coalition can still be retained in the official ballots. “The Comelec’s half-serious purging of the party-list system has disqualified many groups but at the same time allowed many spurious groups and parties with no substantial qualifications to remain in the race,” Palad said. Unlike other party-list groups that were able to secure a status quo ante order (SQAO) from the high court, no such immediate relief was obtained by PM Coalition, so far. (MNS) and modern technologies to expand current production areas; and the dissemination of best agricultural practices and support tools, including skills-training for extension and field workers. The two agencies also plan to strengthen alliances with public and private networks to solidify the Philippines’ competitiveness in rice against other rice-producing nations. The government estimates it will need P84.2 billion in total to finance the rice sufficiency program until 2016, beginning with P31.11 billion for 2013, then P22.73 billion for 2014, P17.54 billion for 2015 and P12.82 billion for 2016. (MNS)


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Chiz sees no reason to re-impose death penalty Senator Chiz Escudero sees no reason to reinstate the death penalty, supporting President Benigno Aquino’s position amid calls for its re-imposition following a spate of gun-related incidents in the country. “The death penalty will not stop miscreants from carrying out their crimes. I have always said that it is still the certainty of punishment, not its severity, that will deter crimes,” Escudero said. He chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The senator, who voted to remove the death penalty from the country’s statute books in 1990, said strict implementation of the law, proper application of the justice system, and protection by government law enforcement agents carrying out the mandates of the law will deter crime. “Even if the death penalty is in place, criminals, especially the moneyed ones, will still find creative ways to escape the arms of the law. The likes of Jovito Palparan, charged with a non-bailable offense, the Reyes brothers of Palawan accused as master minds in the death of a journalist and environmental advocate, and Delfin Lee, said to have bilked thousands of poor housing aspirants, where are they? They can afford to hire good, expensive lawyers to keep them out of jail and outside the reach of the law,” Escudero said. While the senator acknowledged that criminals have become emboldened to perpetuate grisly crimes, it is still the certainty of punishment and not the kind and nature of punishment that will deter the commission on crimes. “Let no one go above or around the law. No sacred cows, apply the law to those who are guilty, have been found guilty. We have to improve and perfect our country’s criminal justice system, it should be strictly applied to make it valid and credible” Escudero said

Don’t pigeonhole gun-loving Aquino: Palace MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang said it is premature to conclude that President Aquino won’t support proposals for a total gun ban or stricter gun control just because he is a gun enthusiast. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino has not stated his position on these proposals. “Let’s not pigeonhole the President. Huwag po nating pangunahan ‘yung Pangulo. In the past marami pong nagsasabi na ‘Ah, si PNoy ito ‘yung gagawin niya kasi tingin natin ganito ‘yung preference niya,’” Valte said. “But allow me to say that the President has defied perception so many times in the past. Primarily ang lagi po nating sinasabi ‘yung sa sin tax, hindi naman po sikreto ‘yon (that he smokes), but he still supported the passage and the certification of the sin tax measure into law which has already happened and has already been [in] effect.’ “So huwag po nating pangunahan ‘yung Pangulo. We need to discuss this with him. The proposals need to be looked at and let’s give him a chance, essentially. Wala pa naman siyang sinasabi. Huwag po nating pangunahan,” she added. Calls for stricter gun laws have mounted following the death of 7-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella due to a stray bullet. Ella was watching a fireworks display outside their home in Caloocan on New Year’s Eve when she was felled by the stray bullet. The Palace has echoed the call of the police for witnesses and neighbors to come forward and give information on the one that fired the gunshot that killed Ella.(MNS)

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OPINION Police must heighten anti-illegal drug campaign after Cavite killings, Palace says MANILA, Jan 5 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang said Friday’s shooting rampage in Cavite should prompt the police to carry out extensive campaign against loose firearms and illegal drugs. Ronald Bae, a drug addict, went on a shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite on Friday morning attacking his neighbors with a .45-caliber pistol. Eight people were killed and nine others were injured in the attack. Police investigation confirmed that Bae was high on drugs when he carried out the rampage. “This should provide further impetus for our officials of the PNP (Philippine National Police) particularly in Region IV-A, to further heighten their drive against illegal drugs,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday. The Palace official also suggested that the PNP should look into reports saying police personnel in Cavite responded late to the shooting. The PNP in the national capital region has been implementing a two-minute response time for its personnel. Valte also fended off accusations that politics hin-

ders effective police work in Cavite. It was reported that Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla complained about not getting enough policemen in the province because he’s not an ally of the President. “Sa peace and order walang pulitika. We’ve always been very adamant about that. And if Governor Jonvic Remulla has any concerns, and I’m sure the leadership of the PNP will be more than happy to coordinate, and to listen to him,” Valte said. Friday’s shooting happened in Barangay Tabon 1 in Kawit, Cavite, at around 9:30 a.m. The suspect, who traded shots with responding policemen, was shot to death by the authorities at around 11 a.m. The suspect entered several houses and shoot everyone inside including children, according to witnesses. The police also found sachets containing suspected drugs inside Bae’s house. Witnesses also said Bae was assisted by a certain John Paul Lopez in the rampage. They said Lopez helped Bae reload his pistol. The Cavite provincial government is offering a reward for the capture of Bae’s alleged accomplice. (MNS)

Execs who milked Marcos firms told to return pay MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) – The Presidential Commission on Good Government is targeting more than 10 former government executives who received excess pay while in charge of companies sequestered from the family and cronies of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista said the agency has sent out demand letters to the former officials to return excess salaries and bonuses or risk facing cases before the Office of the Ombudsman. Bautista said that since its creation in 1986, the PCGG was able to sequester at least 5-10 big ticket companies as well as its subsidiaries from the Marcoses and their cronies. “The PCGG was sort of supervising these companies and there were several who were able to occupy these positions. We are coming out with reports that show how these companies were misman-

aged and that what the directors and officers did was, you know, get the money and put it in their pockets. They were milking cows,” he said. The PCGG chief said the agency is giving the former officials until this month to respond to the demand letters before the PCGG starts to file cases. He said at least 2 former officials of the Independent Realty Group (IRC) Group of Companies, which handles the 18.5-hectare Payanig sa Pasig property, have already offered to return nearly two million pesos in excess pay after receiving the demand letters. He denied that the PCGG is open to a settlement with the former officers. “We are giving them time to pay but in terms of amount, we have not reduced them. Ang kanilang hiningi is kung pwede daw amortization, installment, which I think naman is fair,” he said. (MNS)

US Supreme Court leaves stem cell research alone WASHINGTON, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – The US Supreme Court declined Monday to take up an appeal concerning stem cell research, thus allowing the federal government to continue funding it. The top US court did not give a reason for its decision, which ends a long judiciary saga. The appeal had come from two researchers working with adult cells rather than embryonic stem cells. They had asked the Supreme Court to halt financing for stem cell research on the grounds that federal law banned the creation and destruction of embryos for scientific study.

Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on such financing that had been imposed by George Bush. Stem cell research is said to be promising for finding new treatments for a variety of diseases. Financing through the National Institutes of Health was authorized for cells from frozen embryos that were left over from fertility treatments. A federal judge banned the financing in 2010, but an appeals court in Washington reversed the ruling in 2012. This court said the federal ban does not apply to previously existing embryos that resulted from in vitro fertilization procedures.

Hungry households declined by a million by end of 2012 MANILA, Jan 8 (Mabuhay) – Some one million fewer Filipino households said they went hungry in the last three months of 2012 compared to the previous three months, a new survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed. The survey, conducted Dec. 8 to 11, showed 16.3 percent of respondents, or extrapolated to about 3.3 million families, claimed to have gone hungry in the last three months. This was down from the 21 percent - about 4.3 million households - that claimed in August to have gone hungry in the past three months, it added. SWS said the hunger rate in December fell to a oneand-a-half year low. It was the lowest hunger figure since 15.1 percent (3 million families) in June 2011, and was a far cry from the high 23.8 percent (4.8 million families) in March 2012. The SWS attributed this to a better score for moderate hunger, or having had nothing to eat “only once” or “a few times” in the last three months. However, it also noted severe hunger, defined as “often” or “always” going hungry, marginally rose. The results of the survey were posted on SWS’ media partner BusinessWorld. “Compared to their 14-year averages, the new moderate hunger rate is now lower in Balance Luzon, equal in the Visayas, but still higher in Metro Manila and Mindanao,” the SWS said. The SWS December survey involved 1,200 adult respondents nationwide using face-to-face interviews. Error margins of +/-3% for national and +/-6% for area percentages applied to the survey. The respondents were asked, “Nitong nakaraang tatlong buwan, nangyari po ba kahit minsan na ang inyong pamilya ay nakaranas ng gutom at wala kayong makain?” Those who replied yes were further asked: “Nangyari po ba ’yan ng minsan lamang, mga ilang beses, madalas or palagi? (Did it happen only once, a few times, often or always?)” Improvements on hunger The SWS survey found improvements in all geo-

graphical areas, although overall hunger as of December was still above the 14-year average of 14.5 percent. It said moderate hunger went down to 12.7 percent (2.6 million families) in December from 18 percent (3.7 million families) in August. SWS also said hunger remained above the 11-year average of 11 percent. Severe hunger increase However, SWS noted severe hunger slightly increased to 3.6 percent (731,000 families) from 3 percent (611,000 families). It said this was similar to the 14-year average of 3.5 percent. Declined most in Mindanao The SWS said overall hunger declined the most in Mindanao to 20 percent (963,000 families) from 30.3 percent. It said the Visayas saw a four-point decrease to 13.3 percent (516,000 families). In Balance Luzon, hunger was down to 12.7 percent (1.1 million families). However, Metro Manila’s gain was 0.7 point to 25.3 percent (719,000 families). Moderate hunger Moderate hunger fell in Mindanao to 16 percent from 26 percent and in the Visayas to 10.7 percent from 15.7 percent. It also fell in Balance Luzon to 9.7 percent from 14 percent, and in Metro Manila to 19.3 percent from 20.3 percent. Severe hunger However, the SWS said severe hunger barely changed in Mindanao to 4 percent from 4.3 percent and Metro Manila to 6 percent from 5.7 percent. It also rose by a point in Balance Luzon and the Visayas to 3 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. “The new severe hunger rates are now lower than their 14-year averages in all areas except in Metro Manila,” the SWS said. (MNS)


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UTREACH NaFFAA lauds rule change on immigration visas Washington, D.C. – “We welcome the Obama administration’s recent decision to ease visa requirements for undocumented immigrants,” says NaFFAA National Chairman Eduardo Navarra. “This commendable action would make it easier for them to apply for permanent residency without going through the harsh restrictions that separate them from their families.  We are pleased with this rule change as it would benefit many in our community who are caught in visa backlogs, often experiencing the longest wait times of up to 22 years. Even if they are eligible for green cards, the bureaucratic barriers have caused unnecessary longterm separation from their  U.S.  citizen spouses and children.” The Obama administration directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week to permit certain visa applicants to file for family unit waivers within the United States, reducing the length of time families must spend apart. “This administration policy prioritizes family unity, something we’ve been advocating with our coalition partners in the Asian American community for years,” adds Navarra. “It complements the White House decision announced last June to stop deporting young people who were brought to the country as children and have contributed productively as law abiding residents. These are meaningful steps forward.” Currently, in order to become legal, undocumented immigrants must leave the United States and apply for a waiver forgiving their unlawful presence in the coun-

try. Only then can they apply for an immigrant visa. And if they don’t get a waiver, they are barred from returning to the United States for up to 10 years. But in the case of almost 1.9 million of applicants with close family members from the  Philippines,  India,  Vietnam and China, the wait times are even longer. As described by the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), the current process requires applicants with approved visa petitions to return to their home country for an interview, leaving the United States for an undetermined length of time. Departure, alone, can trigger a three or ten year bar to re-entry into the United States for family members who are undocumented and have been living in the  United States  for more than six months. Waivers are available for the re-entry bars but individuals can only apply for these waivers while waiting in their home country. Meanwhile, families are separated and spouses and children are forced to wait apart until a waiver decision is made and the visa process can be completed.  “Preserving family unity through this administrative rule change will go a long way in encouraging eligible immigrants to come out of the shadows and apply for legal status,” Navarra points out. “While this is an important step in fixing our broken immigration system, a major overhaul is long overdue. We call on Congress to give high priority to comprehensive immigration reform this year and once and for all institute policies that are reasonable, fair and humane.”

US home loan servicers to pay billions to borrowers WASHINGTON, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – Ten US home loan servicers will pay $8.5 billion in cash and assistance to homeowners for mishandling mortgages under foreclosure over the past two years, US regulators announced Monday. The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said the servicers will have to pay borrowers covered in the deal $3.3 billion in cash and $5.2 billion in mortgage assistance to settle claims of “deficient practices” in servicing mortgages and in foreclosure processing. The servicers covered in the agreement include Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase,

Wells Fargo, MetLife Bank, PNC, US Bank, SunTrust, Sovereign, and Aurora. Mortgage servicers are companies or units that process borrower payments on home loans after the loans are issued. “The agreement ensures that more than 3.8 million borrowers whose homes were in foreclosure in 2009 and 2010 with the participating servicers will receive cash compensation in a timely manner,” the two regulators said in a statement. “Eligible borrowers are expected to receive compensation ranging from hundreds of dollars up to $125,000, depending on the type of possible servicer error.”

Clinton returns to applause and a football helmet WASHINGTON, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won a standing ovation from her staff Monday and was given an American football helmet to protect her in rough-and-tumble Washington as she returned to work after a period of illness. A month to the day since she was last seen in public when she flew back from a trip to Europe on December 7, Clinton chaired her regular weekly Monday meeting with her closest staff and advisors. “It is a great day here in the department... Secretary Clinton is back to work,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, adding that the 75 people present at the meeting had given her a standing ovation. Clinton, who suffered a blood clot to her head after a fall in December was “looking terrific,” Nuland said. “She is in the pink, literally. She’s wearing a brilliant pink jacket today.” As a joke, the staff presented her with a white football helmet, with “lots of good padding” bearing the State Department seals, and a blue football jersey bearing the words “Clinton” and “112,” to signify the number of countries she has visited during her four-year tenure, Nuland said. Deputy Secretary Tom Nides presented the gift in a big box, handing it over with a warning

about life in Washington being “a contact sport,” she added. Clinton had first succumbed to a virulent stomach virus, but then became dehydrated and fell, suffering a concussion. Doctors say the blood clot found later in a vein behind her right ear most likely resulted from the fall. But now the 65-year-old top US diplomat, who was hospitalized for three days over the New Year, was keen to “get right back to business,” Nuland added. There is still some outstanding business for Clinton to finish before she steps down as secretary of state, with veteran Senator John Kerry already tapped to replace her. Notably, US lawmakers are expecting her to testify on the killings of four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens, in the September 11 attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya. Nuland stressed that Clinton will appear before lawmakers to discuss the findings of an internal review which faulted the State Department for grossly inadequate security, and that she would do so before stepping down. “Let me just say that she will testify. She will testify while she is still sitting secretary of state,” Nuland said. That would mean Clinton will testify before Kerry is confirmed by the Senate as the next secretary of state.

Bank of America to pay $11.6-B in Fannie Mae deal BY VERONICA SMITH

WASHINGTON, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – Bank of America said Monday it would pay $11.6 billion to settle claims on soured loans sold to government-backed mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae during the home price bubble. Under the agreements, Bank of America Corp. said it would pay $3.55 billion in cash to Fannie Mae and repurchase for $6.75 billion some residential mortgage loans it had sold to the government-controlled firm. In addition, Bank of America will pay $1.3 billion to address mortgage servicing issues, Fannie Mae said in a separate statement. “A favorable resolution of this long-standing dispute between Fannie Mae and Bank of America is in the best interest of taxpayers,” said Bradley Lerman, Fannie Mae executive vice president. Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest mortgage buyer, said the deal would compensate it for actual and projected losses resulting from the loans. The loans had been bundled into mortgage-backed securities and bought by the finance giant over 2000-2008, but had not met its underwriting standards. As the housing bubble collapsed, Fannie Mae and sister firm Freddie Mac were reeling on the brink of bankruptcy from soured loans. The government stepped in with a combined $180 billion taxpayerfunded bailout in September 2008 and put both firms – responsible for the bulk of US mortgages – under the control of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The government is not expected to recover much of the money it injected into the two. The settlement announced Monday covers residential mortgage loans originated by Bank of America’s own home loan unit and by entities related to Countrywide Financial Corporation, which the bank acquired in 2008. “These agreements are a significant step in resolving our remaining legacy mortgage issues, further streamlining and simplifying the company and reducing expenses over time,” said Brian Moynihan, Bank of America chief executive. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank estimated the measures would reduce pre-tax earnings for the 2012 fourth quarter by $2.7 billion. Separately, government regulators announced Monday a settlement with 10 mortgage servicers, including Bank of America, which will pay $8.5 billion in cash and other assistance to borrowers hurt by the servicers’ “deficient” practices. Shares in Bank of America were flat at $12.11 in morning trade in New York. For the struggling bank, the Fannie Mae settlement marks another milestone in its efforts to extricate itself from the US mortgage crisis that shook global financial markets in 2007-2008 and sparked the US Great Recession. Much of its problems stemmed from its acquisition of Countrywide, which was, at the height of the US housing boom in the 2000s, the largest mortgage origination company in the United States. As did many mortgage lenders, Countrywide resold most of its home loans to Fannie and Freddie, which fund more than half of the home mortgages in the country. In October, the United States sued Bank of America for at least $1 billion for allegedly dumping dodgy mortgages on the two. The Justice Department charged that Countrywide and Bank of America processed mortgages and shipped them to Fannie and Freddie as fast as possible with little effort made to vet the loans.

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CRASHED US DRONES

TOTAL GUN BAN

confirmed US drones were allowed to fly across the Philippines for reconnaissance purposes, but were not allowed to conduct strikes. The Philippines is a close American ally and has long relied on its former colonial ruler for help in dealing with its many security threats. The United States is also the Philippines’ biggest supplier of military hardware. About 600 US forces have been rotating in the southern Philippines since 2002 to help train local troops to deal with Islamic militants. However, Masbate, where the drone was found, is many hundreds of kilometers (miles) from the Muslim insurgency-wracked southern regions and no US troops are known to operate there. One major security problem in Masbate is the support there for

ing in Malacañang amid calls for stricter gun controls and a total gun ban. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said the government should consider the proposal from various groups to ensure the safety of the public. “Ang dami pong iba’t ibang proposal between stricter gun control to proposals for a total gun ban. So that has to be discussed with the President,” Valte said. Senator Gregorio Honasan said on Saturday that his committee on public order and dangerous drugs would review existing gun laws,

From page 1

communists who have been waging a decades-long rebellion that continues to claim dozens of lives every year. The US embassy in Manila released a statement on Monday saying it was looking into reports of the drone’s recovery, without confirming the plane belonged to the United States. “We are aware of reports that an apparently U.S.-made unmanned aerial vehicle was recovered in the waters off of Masbate this weekend,” the statement said. “The recovered vehicle appears to be of the sort that is used as an air defence target in training exercises. This type of vehicle is not armed and not used for surveillance. We are trying to confirm this interpretation and to determine how and when it may have landed in the sea.”

PSEI BREACHES From page 1

what has happened in the US, that is what driving the market higher right now,” she told ANC. However, Lee-Tan said one of the triggers for a possible correction could be the looming fight over the debt ceiling in the US. “We’re using technical indicators to help us identify the support levels, which is probably around the 5,700 level. As far as developments are concerned, one of the triggers for a possible correction could be the debt ceiling – that it will not be resolved at the last minute or if ever it will be,” she said. “If you think of the Philippines, since the market has gone up significantly nothing has changed as

far as economy is concerned. I hope we will see more surprises in the economy, so we can have some real drivers for the market going up, not only liquidity.” The Palace expressed hope the stock market’s bull run will be sustained. “We hope that it will be sustained at the close of the day. And, as the analysts have been saying, it’s due to the positive investor confidence that we enjoy,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said. Last year, the PSEi was one of the best-performing stock markets in the world. The bourse hit 38 record highs in 2012. (MNS)

HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT From page 1

acting appropriately on it,” she said. Valte said that hospital equipment not being utilized and being left to deteriorate because there is no qualified personnel to operate the said tools is a matter of concern. “The DOH is now, as we speak, validating the specific observations of the COA, and rest assured that the DOH will be taking appropriate steps to make sure that there is no wastage of public funds,” she said. In its 2011 report, COA said that hospital equipment, buildings and other facilities amounting to P42.6 million were either unutilized or idle due to defects, incompatibility,

non-conduct of repair and maintenance and lack of manpower training. Among the hospitals mentioned by COA in the report were Philippine Orthopedic Center, the Tondo Medical Center and the San Lazaro Hospital. COA also said that unused machines and buildings owned by government hospitals are located in the Cordillera Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol Region and the Zamboanga Peninsula. State auditors made recommendations for the health department to immediately conduct repairs on items that can still be salvaged. (MNS)

PHL holds five for Japanese husband murder MANILA, Jan 5, 2013 (AFP) – A Philippine woman and her son have been arrested along with three other local suspects for the gunfor-hire murder of her Japanese husband, police said Saturday. Hideo Niikura was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding gunman in Dasmariñas, a town about 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Manila on December 29, a police statement said. His wife Merlinda Soria, 46, confessed she and an adult son by another man had plotted the killing, the statement said. The son and one of his friends paid a third man 100,000 pesos (just under $2,500) to commit the murder, according to the statement, which added that the son’s friend also corroborated the woman’s deposition after their arrest. Police said the four were de-

tained in separate police raids in Dasmariñas on Friday, along with another male suspect also implicated in the conspiracy. Police seized two semi-automatic pistols from the alleged gunman and the woman’s son, it said. The statement said mother and son plotted to have her husband killed “over money matters and alleged physical abuses”, but did not elaborate. Local police sources said the couple met in Manila around 1990, got married seven years ago and have a five-year-old child. The husband decided to permanently relocate to Dasmariñas in September last year, they said. The victim’s home town was not stated in the report. Japanese embassy officials were unavailable for comment on Saturday.

US Supreme Court leaves stem cell research alone WASHINGTON, Jan 7, 2013 (AFP) – The US Supreme Court declined Monday to take up an appeal concerning stem cell research, thus allowing the federal government to continue funding it. The top US court did not give a reason for its decision, which ends a long judiciary saga. The appeal had come from two researchers working with adult cells rather than embryonic stem cells.

They had asked the Supreme Court to halt financing for stem cell research on the grounds that federal law banned the creation and destruction of embryos for scientific study. Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on such financing that had been imposed by George Bush. Stem cell research is said to be promising for finding new treatments for a variety of diseases.

THE US ASIAN POST

From page 1

consolidate related pending bills and conduct public hearings on gun controls when sessions resume on January 21. For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson proposed to the government the suspension of all permits to carry in the wake of Ronald Bae’s shooting spree. “Again, it depends on what the contents of that law will be. When you say comprehensive firearms law, that would involve everything from the importation – rules for importation, rules for procurement, for requirements, etcetera. So we will have to see what is in that proposal

for a comprehensive firearms law,” Valte said. Bae, an alleged drug addict, went on a shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite Friday morning. He attacked his neighbors with a .45-caliber pistol, killing eight people and injuring nine others. On the other hand, Stephanie Nicole Ella was watching a fireworks display outside her home in Malaria district, Caloocan City when she was hit by a stray bullet in her head on New Year’s Eve. Ella died at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City Wednesday afternoon. (MNS)

country’s “sound macroeconomic fundamentals” of low inflation, large current account surpluses and large foreign exchange reserves act as a buffer against “external headwinds” – even though these outside factors are still directly affecting Philippine economic growth, particularly remittances, “if the recession in Europe continues and the nascent United States economic recovery is undermined by fiscallyinduced contractions,” it said. The Bank noted that electronics exports – the largest subsector of Philippine exports – declined in 2012, but also that “a more diversified export basket” allowed total exports to post positive growth last year despite it.

program. And higher public infrastructure spending, combined with rising private sector investment, should push the country’s investment-to-GDP ratio to around 24 percent in the coming years, boosting potential growth,” the update said.

MORE REFORMS From page 1

Region noted that the Philippines “has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in East Asia, with growth accelerating to 7.1 percent in the third quarter. Higher economic growth was driven by the strong performance of the construction sector, buoyed by robust private consumption and the recovery of government spending.” However, it said, to sustain this growth the economy needs to implement more reforms that would allow the economy to shift from consumption toward public and private investment – which would mean “less dependence on lowwage and low-skill services and more on labor-intensive manufacturing and high value services, underpinned by rising productivity in agriculture.” This would mean policy reforms in various sectors and areas – agriculture, manufacturing, business and labor regulations, social protection – that would raise the incentive for entrepreneurship and the creation of more jobs, as the labor market has been less responsive to the economic growth the country has been experiencing. These would in turn require a greater investment in health, education and infrastructure, the global organization said. Buffer The World Bank noted that the

“Overall, the economy is expected to expand by over six percent [in 2012], up from 3.9 percent last year,” it added.

Commitment The WB noted that there is “high confidence in the Aquino government’s commitment to reform,” and noted that several reforms have already been implemented, particularly in the areas of pushing publicprivate partnerships for infrastructure development and shoring up government finances by tackling corruption and tax policy.

Vested interests The WB also noted that reform has historically been very difficult to implement and maintain in the Philippines, given “the nature of the country’s political and economic institutions, with strong vested interests in the status quo,” but expressed optimism in the current administration. “[Its] track record suggests that it does not shy away from making difficult choices in the interest of pursuing a more inclusive growth path. This difficult context, however, does challenge the government to prioritize its reform efforts wisely, with an emphasis on those economic and social reform efforts which also change the country’s institutions towards more inclusion,” it said.

“The recently passed tobacco and alcohol excise tax reform bill is estimated to yield nearly 0.4 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] in revenues earmarked for the universal healthcare

It brought up as an example the opening up of the telecoms sector which, it said, has led to the Philippines’ becoming a global leader in business process outsourcing. “[B]y scaling-up and broadening several open government/open data initiatives in the country, the strengthening of inclusive institutions would be greatly enhanced, in line with the core principles of this government,” it said. (MNS)

The incident occurred two days after a drug-crazed former village official went on a shooting rampage, killing seven people and wounding 12 others, some of whom have lifethreatening injuries. Rolando Bae was himself killed in a subsequent shootout with police. Also last week two children aged seven and four were killed by stray bullets fired during celebratory gunfire to welcome the New Year. The incidents triggered public condemnation and calls for stricter

controls on gun ownership, with official statistics estimating there are nearly 600,000 unlicensed guns across the Philippines. Some 1.2 million licensed firearms were on the registry as of 2012. Various civic groups as well as the influential Catholic church have called for a total ban on guns on the streets. President Benigno Aquino – himself a gun aficionado – has yet to respond to the demand. Other groups called for the return of capital punishment, which the government banned in 2006.

those shot, and that two of the children had died. They said Bae, whom police believe to be in his early 40s, had been an elected member of the village council but left the community after being defeated in a 2010 ballot for the post of village chief. Bae and Lopez began their drink and methamphetamine binge on New Year’s Eve, according to governor Juanito Victor Remulla, governor of Cavite province where Kawit is located. Derrick Carreon, spokesman for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said that drug use may have played a role in the killings, explaining that frequent methamphetamine use can lead to anti-social or even psychotic behavior. “They may start seeing demons during withdrawal. You take it from there,” he told AFP Saturday. Methamphetamine is the most commonly used narcotic by the nearly two million illegal drug users in the country, Carreon added. Friday’s shooting rampage followed the New Year’s Eve deaths of two children by celebratory gun-

fire in Manila, which has triggered outrage and condemnation of the Philippines’ poorly enforced gun laws. There were 1.2 million registered firearms in the country last year, with another 600,000 unlicensed weapons in circulation, according to police. But pro-gun lobby spokesman Ernesto Tabujara said Saturday it was unfair to punish licensed firearms owners like himself with a gun ban for the shooting deaths in Kawit as well as the two young victims of stray bullets in Manila. Less than one percent of gun crimes in the Philippines were committed by licensed gun owners, said Tabujara, secretary-general of Pro-Gun Philippines. “We feel we have an inadequate number of policemen protecting our citizens... Our 125,000 policemen could not possibly guard and protect 100 million Filipinos,” he told AFP. “In the critical moments before the police arrive (at a crime scene), homeowners have a right to protect themselves and their families.”

SHOOTOUT From page 1

told of the operation, and that some military personnel helped man the check point. “We made sure that all escape routes are sealed,” de Leon said. He said that as soon as troops and police flagged down the first vehicle, the gunmen aboard started shooting at them. The initial burst of gunfire wounded Superintendent Hansel Manahan, the police officer in charge of the operation in the town 173 km (108 miles) southeast of Manila.

GUN RAMPAGE From page 1

alleged accomplice. Lopez, the caretaker of Bae’s house, said he was blameless because the gunman forced him at gunpoint to load the clip of the .45-calibre pistol between the shootings, Cerbo told AFP. “If that is proven false, he would be charged with many murders,” Cerbo added. The arrested suspect tested positive for methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant, said Kawit police investigator Plaridel Daprosa. He told AFP the authorities were looking into the possibility that the murder spree, which police said was preceded by a fourday drug and alcohol binge, was triggered by problems in Bae’s marriage. “That’s a possible reason that we’re looking into. We know that the couple split a few months back,” Daprosa added. Cerbo, the national police spokesman, said 12 people were being treated for gunshot wounds in hospitals in Manila and Cavite following the rampage. Police said a pregnant woman and four children were among


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Top four reasons why diets fail – and how to succeed (Relaxnews) – Underestimating the number of calories consumed and not getting enough shut-eye are some of the reasons why dieters fail to win the battle of the bulge. That’s according to one medical expert who doled out some helpful advice this week, at a time when the weight loss industry churns at fever pitch, gyms the world over are filled to capacity and dieters take on a steely resolve to win the battle of the bulge. But like every year, good intentions often fall by the wayside, dissolving at the sight of chocolate cake or morning snowfall. Conquering one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is also about identifying some of the top reasons why weight loss efforts fail, says Dr. Jessica Bartfield of the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care in Chicago, who points out that only 20 percent of people who vow to lose weight succeed. Here are Bartfield’s top four reasons why diets fail—and how to avoid them:

1. Underestimating the number of calories consumed Most people sabotage their weight loss efforts by underestimating their daily caloric intake, says Bartfield, a theory that builds on a steady stream of research. A study out of Cornell University, for example, found that overweight people underestimate the number of calories consumed by as much as 40 percent. Bartfield suggests writing down everything you eat in a day, including drinks, snacks and ‘bites’ of food to increase selfawareness. She also advises looking up nutritional information of favorite take-out meals before going out to eat. 2. Overestimating activity and calories burned “Typically you need to cut 500 calories per day to lose one pound (0.5 kg) per week. This is very difficult to achieve through exercise alone, and would require 60 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day. A more attain-

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able goal would be to try to increase activity throughout the day and get a total of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week. Buy a pedometer and track your steps. Try to increase to a goal of 10,000 steps per day. But be careful – exercise is not an excuse to eat more.” 3. Poor timing of meals When it comes to weight loss, timing is everything. Try not to go longer than five hours without eating a healthy snack, Bartfield advises. Eat breakfast within one hour of waking up, and eat every three to four hours. That will keep the metabolism steady. 4. Inadequate sleep People who get fewer than six hours of sleep have been shown to have higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates the appetite, particularly for high-carb, high-calorie foods, says Bartfield. Fatigue can also raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to weight gain.

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New app lets you track down culprit who gave you the flu (Relaxnews) – Sniffly, stuffy, sneezy and achy and want someone to blame, just to make yourself feel mildly better? There’s now an app for that. “Help, I Have the Flu� is a new Facebook app that trolls through friends’ profiles looking for keywords such as ‘sneezing,’ ‘coughing,’ and ‘vomiting’ as well as check-ins to find the culprit who may have passed on the virus. “Hello. I’m sorry you have the flu,� reads the app. “Nothing will make you feel better like finding somebody to blame.� Clicking on the “Who Made Me Sick� button on the Facebook page will track down prime suspects, such as those who’ve mentioned the word ‘flu’ in their status updates or those who’ve had multiple late night posts, as sleep deprivation, the app reasons, puts people at increased risk for catching a cold. The app also allows users to send a message to the offending virus-spreader or purchase

remedies from the healthcare company that runs the app, Help Remedies in the US. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has an app that tracks flu activity reports in the US through podcasts and feeds, while the Flu Defender provides handy tips on how to protect yourself this season.

Beauty tutorials: Audrey Hepburn-inspired make-up (Relaxnews) – January 20, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of British actress and icon Audrey Hepburn. With her gamine look, unlike that of the typical Hollywood beauty of the time, she became a role model for many women. Here are a few tips for imitating her timeless make-up tech-

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niques. Hepburn’s eyes are perhaps the feature she was most known for. In this 12-minute video, make-up artist to the stars and Chanel collaborator Lisa Eldridge reveals the secrets of the look that become famous in films like “Roman Holiday� (1953) and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s� (1961). The most important step (starting at 1:30) involves applying a eyeliner along your lashes and finishing with a flick at the edge of each eye. False lashes are applied, and flesh-toned pencil is used under the eyes to make them look bigger. Natural, even complexion Audrey Hepburn had an even, luminous complexion. For skin like hers, use a base that gives you a lightly powdered matte look. The Pixiwoo Sisters, two British sisters and professional make-up artists, show the final touches for getting a beautifully porcelain complexion, including pink blush, applied on the cheekbone.  In the 1950s and 1960s, lips were lined to enhance fullness. To reproduce this part of Audrey Hepburn’s look, Lisa Eldridge and the Pixiwoo Sisters line their lips in a shade that is almost identical to that used on the lips. In keeping with the color palettes of the time, choose pink or apricot. The British actress favored classic or satin-finish matte lipsticks over glossy textures.

New Year’s resolution for Israeli fashion: no anorexic models (Relaxnews) – Last week a new law in Israel went into effect banning models with a BMI (body mass index) level below 18.5 from the catwalk as well as from photo shoots and advertising campaigns. Produced by measuring a person’s weight (in kg) against their height (in meters) squared, the Body Mass Index has become an increasingly common tool used to classify body types, with subjects classed into ‘underweight,’ ‘normal,’ ‘overweight’ and ‘obese.’ It’s now being used by the Israeli authorities in the fight against eating disorders. According to the Jerusalem Post, “every year, some 1,500 teenagers develop an eating disorder, and 5% of those suffering from anorexia die each year.� Placing the blame at the foot of the fashion industry, and an obsession with unattainable female physiques, lawmakers have responded by banning models with BMIs of below 18.5 (the minimum A runway model with a slender silhouette. The ‘normal’ weight) from the runway and the Israeli government is joining a number of other organizations in setting BMI limits for models. media in Israel.  AFP PHOTO / JOHN D MCHUGH The Israeli government joins a number of other organizations like Milan Fashion Week, Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America in setting minimum BMI limits. However this is the first time that a country has set down legislation for a wholesale ban on what are viewed by some as unhealthily skinny models.  Having starred in shoots for Vogue Italia, British Elle, and Harpers Bazaar, the Columbia University and Sciences-Po-educated model Yomi Abiola founded Stand up for Fashion (STUFF) in October 2012. STUFF is a global campaign promoting diversity, equality and inclusion, which aims to “transform lives through the power of fashion.� According to Abiola, the move by the Israeli state is well-intentioned: “legislation certainly creates a context and framework for changes around body image to be made,� she said in an email to Relaxnews. In reality, though, the problems lie much deeper as “eating disorders and female body image are beyond a number on the body mass index.�  “Ultimately, the step made by Israel is an effort to address an issue that transcends models and the fashion industry,� adds Abiola.  In 2006 the organizers of Milan Fashion Week demanded a minimum BMI of 18.5, and in the same year Madrid Fashion Week set a target BMI of 18 for all models taking part in runway shows.

Blinking gives your brain a mini-nap: study (Relaxnews) – While blinking every few seconds serves to keep your eyes lubricated, scientists have spotted another benefit: blinking gives your brain a mini-power nap. Scientists from Japan’s Osaka University examined 20 healthy young adults in a brain scanner as they watched segments of the British comedy “Mr. Bean.� When subjects blinked, the researchers noticed a power-down within the brain’s visual cortex and somateosensory cortex, as well as in areas that manage attention. In a separate experiment, the team inserted about nine 165-millisecond segments of blank

screentime per minute into the “Mr. Bean� video. Interestingly, although the video gave them a mini-break similar to blinking, subjects’ brains didn’t respond to it in the same way as a blink – they remained attentive without powering down parts of the brain. The study was published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. A 2008 study finds that blinking is also a giveaway for lying: fib-tellers blink less frequently during the lie and then speed up to around eight times faster than usual afterwards. The findings were published in the Journal of Non-verbal Behaviour.

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Megastar Sharon Cuneta with special guest KC Concepcion at Pechanga Resort & Casino On January 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. the “Megastar” of the Philippines, Sharon Cuneta will perform at the world-renowned Pechanga Theater. The performance will also feature a guest performance by Sharon’s eldest daughter, KC Concepcion. In recent times, Pechanga Resort & Casino’s Theater has given host to a multitude of talented Filipino performers; in November, veteran Filipino actor Richard Gomez and OPM legend Rico J. Puno gave masterful performances to the Pechanga Theater audience. Now, for a two-night limited engagement, Sharon Cuneta and her daughter KC Concepcion will treat the audiences to an eclectic night of music. Sharon Cuneta, who is commonly referred to as “Mega”, is arguably one of the most legendary figures in the Filipino entertainment industry and has been for several generations. Most notably, she is known for her extremely successful career as an actress, having been nicknamed the “Box Office Queen” of Philippine cinema; regardless, she has also enjoyed a

successful career as a singer, TV host, and a public personality. During her musical career she has recorded 40 albums, many of which have become contemporary and classic hits both in the Philippines and internationally. Sharon Cuneta’s performance will also feature her daughter, KC Concepcion. KC, like her mother, has become an entertainment phenomenon in the Philippines with a successful career as an actress, singer, MTV Asia host and also as a National Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN’s World Food Program. This performance will undoubtedly satisfy the desires of fans that are interested in either classic or contemporary OPM genre. Tickets are available at the Pechanga Box office or online at www.Pechanga. com/tickets. Experience it all at Pechanga Resort & Casino As the largest casino in the Western U.S., Pechanga offers an all-inclusive AAA Four-Diamond luxury resort in the heart of Southern California’s Wine

Country of the Temecula Valley. With more than 3,800 slots, 130+ table games, and a 54-table poker room, the resort boasts the soaring elevation changes of the Journey at Pechanga course, ranked as the 4th “Best New Course You Can Play” by  GOLF Magazine  in 2009. The 445acre resort also includes a full-service spa, featuring a couple’s massage suite; nine award-winning restaurants and a 24hour food court; superstar concerts in its theater; a comedy club; world title box-

ing events; and three clubs and lounges, including Silk, the largest nightclub in Southern California. Come experience it all at Pechanga Resort & Casino! Luxury Tour Bus daily departure Take a ride on their comfortable and convenient buses that frequent Pechanga Resort & Casino every day. For more information please call: 1-877-711-2win or visit website at www.pechanga.com Address: 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA 92592

ABS-CBN Star Cinema’s ‘One More Try’ wins Best Picture at 38th Metro filmfest Lead actor Dingdong Dantes wins Best Actor; ABS-CBN Star Cinema’s ‘Sisterakas” is runaway box office champ and MMFF 3rd Best Picture   MANILA, Philippines - “One More Try” was proclaimed Best Picture and one of its lead actors, Dingdong Dantes, won Best Actor during the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Awards night held at the Meralco Theater in Ortigas, Pasig City on Thursday, December 27.  Starring Dantes, Angelica Panganiban, Angel Locsin and Zanjoe Marudo, and directed by award-wnning ABS-CBN Creative Head and Director and TV Production Business Unit Head Ruel S. Bayani of “No Other Woman” and “Budoy”   fame, among others, “One More Try” will be shown in 22 theaters in the U.S. starting January 11, 2013.  The Star Cinema movie bested the film “Thy Womb,” which was originally predicted to win several major awards. Overall, “One More Try” won six awards, including the inaugural Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence. “El Presidente” was named 2nd Best Picture while “Sisterakas,” won 3rd Best Picture. “Thy Womb,” meanwhile, was awarded the Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award. The complete list of winners: Youth Choice Award: “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Festival Float: “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Sound: “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Musical Score: “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Theme Song: “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Make Up: “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Child Performer: MIGUEL VERGARA FOR “ONE MORE TRY” Full Length New Wave Best Actor: ALLAN PAULE FOR “DAYAK” Full length New Wave Best Actress: LIZA DINNO FOR “IN NOMINE MATRIS” New Wave Best Picture: “THE GRAVE BANDITS”

New Wave Special Jury Prize: “AD IGNORATIAM” New Wave Best Director: TYRONE ACIERTO FOR “THE GRAVE BANDITS” Best Visual Effects: “SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL 14: THE INVASION” Best Production Design: “THY WOMB” Best Editing: VITO CAHILIG FOR “ONE MORE TRY” Best Cinematographer: ODYSSEY FLORES FOR “THY WOMB” Most Gender Sensitive Award (MAINSTREAM): “THY WOMB” FPJ Memorial Award for Excellence: “ONE MORE TRY” Best Supporting Actor: CESAR MONTANO FOR “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Supporting Actress: WILMA DOESNT FOR “SISTERAKAS” Best Original Story: HENRY BURGOS FOR “THY WOMB” Best Screenplay: “ONE MORE TRY” Best Director: BRILLANTE MENDOZA FOR “THY WOMB” Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award: “THY WOMB” 3rd Best Picture: “SISTERAKAS” 2nd Best Picture: “EL PRESIDENTE” Best Picture: “ONE MORE TRY” Best Actor: DINGDONG DANTES FOR “ONE MORE TRY” Best Actress: NORA AUNOR FOR “THY WOMB” (Source: ph.omg.yahoo.com by Chuck Smith with reports from Karen Valeza) “Sisterakas” widens lead in the box office After two days in the theaters, the Wenn V. Deramas-directed film “Sisterakas”, starring Kris Aquino, Ai Ai de las Alas and Vice Ganda,  continues to rank first in the list of the

highest-earning film entries to the yearly film festival, two days since all eight participating movies opened Christmas Day in theaters nationwide. At the close of screening in Metro Manila and provincial theaters last Wednesday, “Sisterakas” has turned in a nationwide twoday gross of P71.2 million, according to data from the film fest organizer Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).  The figure is almost double the comedy flick’s total first-day earnings of P39.2 million.  From an approximate lead of P10 million over the fantasy-comedy film “Si Agimat, Si Enteng Kabisote at Si Ako” after their first day in theaters nationwide, the Star Cinema film is now leading by P23.8 million.  Still ranking no. 2 in the list of nationwide top-grossers as of Wednesday, “Si Agimat” has turned in P47.4 million in earnings from

Metro Manila and provincial theaters after two days. Starring Judy Ann Santos, Vic Sotto and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., the movie’s first-day gross nationwide was P29.4 million.  The drama movie, “One More Try,” starring Dingdong Dantes, Angelica Panganiban, Angel Locsin, and Zanjoe Marudo, managed to turn in more than P10 million on top of its first-day earnings of P13.1 million nationwide.  The Ruel Bayani-directed film, which is also a Star Cinema entry, has grossed P24.3 million in Metro Manila as well as provincial theaters as of Wednesday.  Now on its 14th installment – its eighth consecutive entry to the annual MMFF – “Shake, Rattle & Roll” ranks fourth in the list of second-day top-grossers nationwide. It has so far garnered P16.7 million. (Source: www. abs-cbnnews.com) 

Why Lovi Poe won’t say yes to Jake Cuenca and become his girlfriend? Although Jake Cuenca meets her three criteria for a potential boyfriend, Lovi Poe is cautious about entering another relationship, even after the Kapamilya actor admitted his feelings for her on live television. “I found it really sweet of him,” Poe, 23, said, referring to Cuenca’s “The Buzz” confession that he “loves” the actress. “For someone to say something like that on TV, coming from him pa, it’s really, really sweet. Kahit ako nagulat, I didn’t expect that at all,” Poe added. Cuenca’s confession on TV came after months of speculation on the real status of his relation-

ship with the actress. The hunk actor maintained, however, that he and Poe are only friends, citing the demands of their respective careers. For the “Thy Womb” actress, however, her hesitation to say “yes” to Cuenca stems from her experience in her past relationship. Poe was previously in a relationship with former Ilocos Sur Congressman Ronald Singson. Although Cuenca meets Poe’s criteria for a potential partner -- a good sense of humor, good to her friends and presentable -- the actress “wants to take it slow with anyone that I meet.” “Siguro I was really impulsive before. Siguro I was really drained with my past relationship

that I don’t know what to give anymore sa next. I don’t know what to give again,” Poe said. At this point, the actress said she prefers being friends with the “very sweet” Cuenca, “since he’s also busy with work.” Cuenca recently finished his starring role in the afternoon drama series “Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo.” Currently, he topbills another drama series, “Kahit Puso’y Masugatan,” which airs during ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida block. The drama actor is also set to tackle his first role in a comedy project, via Ronnie Velasco and Jinky Laurel’s “Tuhog,” where Cuenca co-stars with Eugene Domingo.

Lovi Poe


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Lara Quigaman says giving birth like winning pageant For beauty queen-turned-actress Precious Lara Quigaman, giving birth gave her the same kind of high when she won the prestigious Miss International pageant in 2005. Quigaman admitted she is just starting to realize that she and her husband, actor Marco Alcaraz, received their most important reward in their lives. “Yung naramdaman ko nung nanalo ako ng Miss International, sobrang overwhelming. Pero compared nung naging mommy na ako, parang everyday, sobrang overwhelmed ako. Naiisip ko na may baby, totoo na, hindi siya mawawala. Kahit anong mangyari nandiyan na siya.

Hindi na mababago iyon,” she gushed. “Kapag tinitignan ko yung baby ko, hindi ko maiisip na paano ko sasabihin na walang Diyos? Kasi paano nabuo itong batang ito, paano nagkasya sa akin, paano lumabas ito? Kahit sabihin nating there’s science to explain it, parang hindi ko masabi yun sa sarili kasi sobrang miracle ang baby ko talaga,” she added. The actress also shared how she occasionally talks to her baby, telling him the things she wants him to learn when he grows up. “I talk to him. Sinasabi ko na ‘Anak mahalin mo ako kasi ang hirap pala maging nanay.’ Pero lagi kong dine-declare ang

gusto ko for him. Lagi kong sinasabi na sana good boy, healthy boy,” she said. And now that she is already a mom, will her career take the backseat? “Parang mas magiging madali nga sa akin eh. Siyempre mahirap dahil may inaalagaan akong baby. Pero karamihan kasi ng roles ko mommy na kahit nung hindi pa ako nanay. Ngayon maiisip ko ganun pala ang feeling dapat. Hindi na ako umaarte, alam ko na kung ano ang nararamdaman,” she explained. Quigaman gave birth to her first child at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City last November 10. Precious Lara Quigaman (MNS)

Bianca Manalo doesn’t regret being single

Bianca Manalo

Former beauty queen Bianca Manalo has no regrets that she has no love life as the year 2012 came to an end. Manalo said being single actually made her closer to her family, whom she was able to spend the entire holidays with. “Usually kapag may partner ka, sige hanggang 12 midnight kasama ko ang family ko. Ngayon family lang talaga,” she said. While saying she is not in a rush to get into another relationship after her romance with actor John Prats failed, Manalo maintained her heart will always remain open to a new love. Asked of her ideal man, Manalo said: “Gusto ko ‘yung may pangarap sa buhay, gusto ko ‘yung may marangal na trabaho, ‘yung kaya akong suportahan at kaya akong buhayin. Siyempre ‘yung mamahalin ako at may takot sa Diyo at mapagmahal sa pamilya.” Meanwhile, Manalo said one of her New Year’s resolutions is to learn how to drive. Manalo said she also wants to join a Metro Manila Film Festival entry this year so she could experience riding in a float during the annual Parade of Stars before Christmas Day. (MNS)

‘Showtime’ host Ryan Bang wants to have a girlfriend in 2013 “It’s Showtime” host Ryan Bang admitted that he wants to have a special someone in 2013. Bang said he feels lonely that he does not have a girlfriend. “Sa 2013 sana, gusto ko girlfriend. Malungkot na ako ngayon. ‘Pag nasa bahay na ako, malungkot na ako. ‘Yung totoo, gusto ko magkaroon ng girlfriend,” Bang said. But he was quick to add that he is willing to wait for the right person to come. “Pero siyempre hindi ako naghahanap, may darating diyan pero natatakot na ako maghintay. Gusto ko talaga may girlfriend,” he said. Asked if he prefers foreign women over Pinays, Bang said: “Pinay, Spanish, French, basta hindi ako choosy kahit ano. Pero siyempre gusto ko Pinay para gumaling ako sa Tagalog, ‘di ba? Basta mabait.”

Miss Universe first runner-up Janine Tugonon of the Philippines waves, escorted by a member of Philippines’ student cadet corps, upon arrival at the University of Santo Tomas during her victory parade in Manila January 7, 2013. Tugonon, the 23-year-old Miss Philippines, took second place in the pageant held last month in Las Vegas. (MNS photo)


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KITCHENOMICS

Clockwise from upper left: Asparagus, Orange and Prosciutto di San Daniele Salad; Parmigiano Reggiano-Spinach Puffs; Ziti with Roasted Cauliflower, Prosciutto di Parma and Toasted Breadcrumbs; Bruschetta with Skillet-Seared Mushrooms and Grana Padano

FAMILY FEATURES

M

aking dishes worthy of a choice restaurant menu doesn’t mean spending hours in the kitchen. It’s more about choosing topdrawer ingredients — and here are a few you can pick up in the deli department. They’re all members of an elite club of authentic foods made according to traditional methods and are certified PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) by the European Union.  Grana Padano, a cheese made only in the Padana Valley in Northern Italy, is terrific for easy but sophisticated dishes.  Prosciutto di San Daniele is a special ham, produced in San Daniele del Friuli, in the Northeast of Italy, and like all PDO products, it must pass the strictest inspection.  Parmigiano Reggiano, renowned for its complex flavor, is made exclusively in Parma, Reggio Emilia and three other neighboring Italian provinces.  Prosciutto di Parma, a delicately flavored, all-natural ham, is produced in the gently rolling hills near Parma. With legendary European foods, it’s easy to make restaurant-quality dishes like these. For more serving ideas and information about the PDO system, visit www.legendsfromeurope.com.

Introducing Montasio Cheese Montasio, with a savory, wellbalanced flavor, is new to many Americans, but its origins can be traced back to a 17th-century monastery. To this day, it is made only in northern Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia and East Veneto and has earned membership in Europe’s “hall of fame” as a PDO product. Young semi-soft Montasio is terrific on a cheese platter or on sandwiches. Aged Montasio can be grated for pasta, risotto and other dishes.

Asparagus, Orange and Prosciutto di San Daniele Salad Yield: 6 portions 1 pound asparagus, trimmed 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon orange juice 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 8 slices Prosciutto di San Daniele (4 ounces), halved lengthwise 2 navel oranges, peeled and segmented 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted In salted water, cook asparagus until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water; pat dry. In small bowl, whisk olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Divide asparagus on salad plates and drizzle with dressing. Arrange Prosciutto di San Daniele and orange segments over asparagus; sprinkle with pine nuts.

Ziti with Roasted Cauliflower, Prosciutto di Parma and Toasted Breadcrumbs Yield: 4 portions 2 slices country-style bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces 1/3 cup olive oil, divided 1 large cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds), trimmed and chopped 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 slices Prosciutto di Parma (4 ounces), cut into 1-inch squares, divided 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 8 ounces dry ziti, cooked and drained, reserving 1 cup pasta water 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste Preheat oven to 425°F. In food processor, pulse bread to form crumbs. In shallow pan, mix breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil; toast until golden, stirring once, about 5 minutes. In large baking pan, mix cauliflower with 3 tablespoons olive oil and salt. Roast until browned, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil; add half prosciutto and cook until crisp. Stir in garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in pasta, cauliflower and wine. Stir well, adding pasta water as needed for a saucy consistency. Stir in parsley and hot pepper flakes. Spoon into shallow bowls; top with remaining Prosciutto di Parma and breadcrumbs. Garnish with additional Prosciutto di Parma slices, if desired.

Parmigiano Reggiano-Spinach Puffs Yield: about 3 dozen 4 cups baby spinach (6 ounces), cooked, cooled 3/4 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3/4 cup milk 5 tablespoons butter 3 large eggs, at room temperature 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Wrap spinach in a towel, squeeze until dry; chop fine. In small bowl, mix flour, salt and cayenne. In medium saucepan, bring milk and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour mixture; with wooden spoon, beat until it thickens and pulls away from sides, about 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well until incorporated. Stir in spinach and cheese. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm. (Puffs can be held at room temperature up to 1 day or frozen; reheat in 400ºF oven, 3 to 5 minutes.)

Bruschetta with Skillet-Seared Mushrooms and Grana Padano Yield: 4 portions 4 slices country-style bread 4 ounces Grana Padano, coarsely grated 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced 1 small red bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch pieces 2 cloves garlic, cut in slivers 2 teaspoons flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup half-and-half Preheat oven to 400°F. On baking sheet, toast bread until crisp, about 10 minutes. Scatter one-third of the Grana Padano over toast. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil; add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they give off liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and garlic; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, 2 minutes; add half-and-half and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Divide over bruschetta and top with remaining Grana Padano.


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MOTORING US auto sales roared in 2012 as Toyota leads pack CHICAGO, Jan 3, 2013 (AFP) – US auto sales roared ahead in 2012, with Toyota, Honda and Chrysler outpacing their rivals with double-digit gains as Ford and General Motors posted modest growth Thursday. Ford estimated that total 2012 sales would come in at about 14.8 million vehicles when all automakers have reported, about a 14 percent gain from a year earlier. It forecast that 2013 sales would rise to between 15 and 16 million vehicles in the United States, which will represent a near full recovery from the crash of 2008. “Overall, we expect global sales to grow this year, supported by an ongoing recovery in the US as well as improving sales in China,” Ford economist Ellen HughesCromwick said in a conference call. “Gains in these markets are offset somewhat by the weakness in the European markets.” GM estimated that US sales would come in at about 14.5 million units for 2012 and forecast somewhat more modest growth in the coming year. “GM’s strong finish in 2012, the industry’s momentum and the overall health of the US economy make us optimistic about 2013,” GM sales chief Kurt McNeil said. “The budget compromise reached in Washington this week removes uncertainty and clears the way for full-year light vehicle sales to rise to the 15 million to 15.5 million unit range in 2013.” Toyota and Honda saw sales climb sharply as they recovered from the devastating Japanese tsunami, which smashed their supplies in 2011, and lured customers with popular new models. Toyota reported a 27 percent gain in 2012 sales to nearly 2.1 million vehicles as December sales rose nine percent to 194,143 vehicles. “With sales nearly doubling the increase of a healthy industry, Toyota had a breakout year in 2012,” said Jim Lentz, chief of Toyota Motor Sales USA. “As we move into 2013 and the market sees continued growth, we expect to outperform the industry once again with another nine product launches on the horizon.” Honda sales jumped 24 percent to more than 1.4 million vehicles last year – its fourth best year ever and the strongest performance since 2008 – as December sales rose 26 percent to 132,774. “Honda began the year intent on recovery,” said John Mendel, head of sales at American Honda. “We ended 2012 with multiple product awards, a host of sales records, Honda’s second best December ever, and tremendous momentum as we head into 2013.”

Ford reported its best December sales since 2006, though they grew just two percent from the same month a year earlier to 214,222 vehicles. The number two US automaker’s 2012 sales rose five percent from 2011 to nearly 2.3 million vehicles on the strength of the Ford brand, which was the only nameplate to top 2 million in annual US sales. “We are looking forward to a great 2013 as we begin this year with the product and capacity in place to expand our share,” Ken Czubay, head of Ford sales, said in a conference call.

GM’s sales grew four percent in 2012 to 2.6 million vehicles after it posted its best December in five years with deliveries up five percent year over year to 245,733. The sluggish growth was expected to push GM’s share of the US market to its lowest level in decades. “We’re always concerned about market share. Always,” Mark Reuss, head of GM North America, said in a conference call. “But we’re not going to give it away like we did in the past, and burn the residuals and the brand values in anticipation of the biggest

product portfolio launch that we’ve had in history.” Chrysler – which has posted nearly three years of consecutive sales gains – saw its sales jump 21 percent to nearly 1.7 million vehicles in 2012. The third largest US automaker’s December sales grew by a more modest 10 percent from a year earlier to 152,367 vehicles but nonetheless marked Chrysler’s best December since 2007. Chrysler estimated that its US market share had grown to 11.2 percent in 2012 from 10.5 percent

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in 2011, which ought to place it squarely in fourth place behind General Motors, Ford and Toyota. Volkswagen – which sees strong growth in the US market as key to its attempt at gaining the global sales crown –also celebrated strong gains. The German automaker’s sales jumped 35 percent to 438,133 vehicles in 2012 after it posted its best December since 1970 with sales up 35 percent. Results from other automakers and total industry sales data was expected later Thursday.

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have strengthened the case that the convenience of charging could be a major factor in purchase decisions,” says editorial director Richard Martin. “They have also made other benefits of wireless charging, including the alleviation of range anxiety through frequent, brief top-offs via embedded, automatic wireless charging systems, much more evident.” At the moment, EV owners have to physically plug their cars into a charging point and wait until the battery is sufficiently recharged to continue their journey. By embedding wireless charging technology into parking spaces or even along major roads, the range of electric vehicles could be significantly increased so that they almost match their fossil-fuel burning counterparts. BMW is currently working with Siemens to test and develop the technology for its next generation of electric cars (it began tests in June 2011) and Nissan said in June that it expects to offer a wireless charging system as an accessory for the 2015 Infiniti LE fourdoor luxury electric car. The Japanese carmaker has also demonstrated an automatic parking feature, installed in one of its Nissan Leaf electric cars that ensures an electric vehicle is not only parked safely, but perfectly over a charging plate to ensure optimized charging. And while Nissan’s and BMW’s efforts are quickly moving beyond the prototype and testing Freddy Salaguit phases, in Italy, the techSales Consultant nology has been in use for a full 10 years for powerCall Direct ing buses. Wireless charg562.326.1826 ing enables electric bus fleets in Turin to complete a 200 km route every day without having to stop for a full recharge. Wireless charging plates are located at each bus stop as well as the terminus and a brief connection while picking up or setting down passengers can top the batteries up by as much as 15 percent.

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Carmakers are searching for ways of addressing customers’ fears over electric vehicle range anxiety. Photo:Markus- /Shutterstock.com

(Relaxnews) – As the name suggests, wireless charging allows current to pass to a battery without a physical connection; the technology is already appearing in smartphones and other mobile devices and there are great hopes that it will offer a boost to consumers’ adoption of electric cars. Pike Research estimates that sales of wireless charging systems for electric vehicles could surpass 280,000 by 2020 as carmakers look for ways of addressing customers’ fears over electric vehicle range anxiety – that is, running out of power and being stranded miles away from their destination. In the last 12 months, all of the major electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers have announced partnerships for developing the technology, motivated in part by the growing issue of ‘range anxiety’ that haunts existing EV owners and deters other motorists from relinquishing their petrol-powered vehicles for something more environmentally friendly. “The experiences of EV owners

Hyundai wants to turn the smartphone into a car key (Relaxnews) – The Korean carmaker’s Connected Car concept uses NFC technology to allow users to open and close doors with their phone. Near Field Communication (NFC) might have so far failed to get consumers excited as a technological alternative to debit and credit card transactions, but maybe its future lies in the connected car. South Korean carmaker Hyundai on Friday revealed the first working prototype of its Connectivity Concept that incorporates an NFCenabled smartphone for accessing certain functions. The system, which Hyundai hopes will go into production in 2015, allows the driver to lock and unlock the car with an NFC-enabled smartphone and then, once inside, dock the device to activate the car’s telematic systems and to upload the driver’s personal profile – such as seat position, favorite radio stations, satellite navigation history and climate control settings. The profile information is streamed to the vehicle’s 7-inch touch screen which also mirrors the smartphone’s content so that the driver has hands-free access to their contacts and address book.

US Asian Post January 2, 2013  

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