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Vol. 3. No. 14


A Balita Media Publication

Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013

PHL asks US for immigration relief Temporary Protected Status could mean no deportation for the undocumented PHL formally asks US for immigration relief Temporary Protected Status could mean no deportation for undocumented Filipinos Los Angeles, 16 December 2013 – The Philippines has formally requested Washington for additional immigration relief measures to allow eligible Filipinos to stay and work in the United States so they could support the country’s long-term post-typhoon recovery efforts, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Monday, 16 December. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario said the request to designate the Philippines under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was officially conveyed on Friday, 13 December, by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. to

the Department of Homeland Security through a note verbale to the Department of State.

“Recognizing the intense desire of the Filipino-American Community to more effectively assist victims, we would like to formally request that eligible Filipino nationals in the US be granted Temporary Protected Status under Section 244 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act,” said the letter signed by Ambassador Cuisia and addressed to

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers. The request was made in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people; displaced more than 4 million and affected more than 12 million during its violent rampage

across the Central Philippines last month. More than 200 Filipino-American organizations across the US, backed by members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, the Catholic Church and other NGOs have requested for the additional immigration relief measures that a TPS designation would be able to provide to Filipinos. Secretary Del Rosario said if the request is granted, the Philippines will join four other countries that were placed under TPS after going through similar natural catastrophes. These are El Salvador and Haiti after these were devastated by earthquakes in 2001 and 2010 respectively and Nicaragua and Honduras after they were affected by See UNDOCUMENTED, page 10

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers arrival statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday (December 15) from Tokyo, Japan where the Chief Executive attended the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit. (MNS photo)

UN chief to see Tacloban City Yolanda death toll climbs to 6,069 UNITED NATIONS, December 16, 2013 (AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki-moon will go to the typhoonstricken Philippines city of Tacloban this week to highlight the growing number of weather disasters. “2013 was another year of extreme weather – as we saw most recently with Typhoon Haiyan. On Thursday, I will depart for Manila and Tacloban for a firsthand assessment of the aftermath,” Ban said Monday as he announced the visit. The UN secretary general is to arrive in Manila on Friday for talks with government leaders and will go to Tacloban on

Saturday, UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said. “He will visit affected communities in Tacloban,” Kaneko said. The UN leader will leave the Philippines on Sunday. The Philippines government says that more than 6,000 people died in the November 8 typhoon – one of the strongest storms ever recorded – which badly hit Tacloban and surrounding regions. Almost 1,800 people are still missing. Ban said that he is organizing a major summit on climate change for September 23 next year, just ahead of the UN General Assembly.

Pedestrians walk on top of an overturned bus as they try to cross the road after the bus fell off an elevated expressway and crashed into a van below in Taguig city, south of Manila December 16, 2013. At least 21 people were killed during the incident, according to the police. (MNS photo)

22 dead as bus plunges off highway MANILA, December 16, 2013 (AFP) – Twenty-two people were killed when a commuter bus plunged from an elevated highway onto a van in Philippine capital Manila on Monday, police said, warning the death toll could rise. Twenty of those who died in the accident in the sprawling city were on board the bus, with the other two fatalities from the van, traffic investigator Jose Abuyog said. “It (the death toll) could go even

higher,” as some of the injured are in serious condition, he told AFP, adding that the cause of the accident was still being determined. A further 20 people were injured when the bus fell six meters (20 feet) from the highway onto the road below. The bus driver, who survived, will undergo tests and questioning, said land transportation regulatory board chairman Winston Ginez. See 22 DEAD, page 10

MANILA, Dec 16 (Mabuhay) – The number of fatalities from super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) climbed further and reached 6,069 as of Monday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. In its 6 a.m. update, the NDRRMC also said 27,468 were injured while 1,779 people are still

missing in Yolanda’s wake. At least 3,424,593 families or 16,078,181 people in 12,139 villages in 44 provinces were affected, while 890,895 families or 4,095,280 people were displaced. Of those displaced, 20,949 families or 101,527 people are still staying in 381 evacuation centers. The NDRRMC also said Yolanda

destroyed 550,928 houses and damaged 589,404 others. It added the damage caused by Yolanda remained at P35,547,986,330.67, including P18,226,835,334.29 in infrastructure and P17,321,150,996.38 in agriculture. At least P1,163,480,956.23 in relief assistance had been extended to affected families. (MNS)

US backs PHL, warns China over air defense zone By Jason Gutierrez MANILA, December 17, 2013 (AFP) – US Secretary of State John Kerry warned China Tuesday against any move to declare an air defence zone in the South China Sea, as he affirmed defence ties with long-time ally the Philippines. Kerry, in Manila for a two-day visit, criticised China for its declaration last month of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea including over disputed islands. He warned Beijing against any similar move in the South China Sea, where it has overlapping claims with several Asian countries including the Philippines. Kerry also announced that Washington had committed $40 million to help the Philippines strengthen its sea defence capabilities.

The two sides are also in the final stages of hammering out a deal allowing more US troops, aircraft and ships to pass through the Philippines, where the last US bases closed in 1992. “Today, I raised our deep concerns about China’s announcement of an East China Sea air defence identification zone,” Kerry said after meeting his Filipino counterpart Albert del Rosario. “The zone should not be implemented and China should refrain from taking similar, unilateral actions elsewhere in the region, and particularly over the South China Sea,” he told a joint news conference. The Philippines had said last month that Beijing’s announcement of its ADIZ in the See DEFENSE ZONE, page 10

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, is welcomed by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg as he arrives in Manila’s on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.

Aquino: Capture of Obama highlights desire NPA land mine factory for vast Pacific trade deal WASHINGTON, December 16, progress had been made. to prevent injuries to 2013 (AFP) – The White House Hopes for a swift conclusion of noncombatants sent a strong signal Monday of the TPP were dealt a blow when TOKYO, Japan, Dec 14 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Friday night said the capture of a land mine factory of the communist New People’s Army by government forces in Agusan del Sur province in Mindanao will prevent injuries to innocent civilians. The President lauded the state forces (the Eastern Mindanao Command) that discovered and captured the facility last WednesSee CAPTURE, page 10

Misa de Gallo, the first day of the 9-day “Simbang Gabi,” the novena of dawn masses from December 16 to Christmas eve, at the Immaculate Conception Parish Church in Dasmariñas City, Cavite on Monday (December 16, 2013). In photo are the traditional favorites of “bibingka” (rice cake) and “puto bumbong” (rice cake cooked in bamboo tube) usually seen outside churches around Christmas season. (MNS photo)

its desire to create a huge Pacific free trade area, despite the slippage of its year-end deadline for the 12-nation project. President Barack Obama gathered senior trade advisors in the Oval Office and invited news photographers to document the meeting, in the wake of the latest ministerial talks last week on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Singapore. “This remains a top priority of the president because of the positive economic benefits that come from it,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “Congress and the American public have high expectations for the TPP. “The administration is determined to get the best deal possible, and we are pleased with the progress made towards achieving an ambitious, comprehensive, high-standard agreement.” Ministers gave up last week on meeting the year-end goal of concluding the TPP, but US Trade Representative Michael Froman, who was in Singapore, and in Obama’s Oval Office consultations on Monday, said significant

Obama was forced to delay his latest trip to Asia in October over a political crisis in Washington over a government shutdown. The White House has already announced that the president will return to Asia in April, a trip that may offer new momentum to TPP talks, a centerpiece of Obama’s “rebalancing” towards Asia strategy. The TPP is being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The potential members make up 40 percent of the global economy and other countries may join the pact later. Snags have appeared in negotiations on a number of issues, including opening up Japan’s auto and farm markets, government procurement and limiting the role of state-owned enterprises. Patent issues – in particular on medicines – have also been a sticking point. Obama’s meeting on Monday also included Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Asia earlier See TRADE DEAL, page 10

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Ping eyes 2016 finish of ‘Yolanda’ rehab MANILA, Dec 16 (Mabuhay) – Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson on Monday said the full implementation of the rehabilitation plan in areas stricken by super typhoon “Yolanda” will begin in February. In a press briefing, Lacson said the government is still in the process of gathering information on the extent of damage caused by the super typhoon. He said he hopes to finish the rehabilitation in four years. Lacson again called on the private sec-

tor to pitch in on the recovery efforts. “I am adhering to a policy of inclusion, meaning lahat ng tulong na i-o-offer sa effort na ito most welcome. Marami pa kaming ina-iron out. Naghahanap din kami ng legal basis to undertake the rehab efforts at smooth lahat hanggang sa mag deactivate kami after we accomplished our mission,” he said. Lacson said he has no choice but to deactivate the work by June 2016 once a new President comes in. “Pagpalit ng administrasyon, depende

Roxas not thinking of 2016 polls for now MANILA, Dec 16 (Mabuhay) – The 2016 elections is out of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II’s mind, at least for now. “Hindi ko pinag-iisipan sa ngayon yan,” Roxas said Monday when asked during a news forum if he will run in the next national elections. He said many people are telling him that he should run but he is not thinking about it now. “Hindi pumapasok sa isip ko (na kumandidato). Hindi ko naiisip. Maraming nagsasabi na dapat kang magkandidato pero hindi naman nila alam kung ano ang tumatakbo sa kaisipan ko, sa kalooban ko,” the DILG chief said. “Hindi yan kabahagi sa aking pinag-iisipan, pinagkakaabalahan,” he added. Roxas refused to elaborate when asked if running for an elective

post is still an option. “I think the question has been asked and answered 20 times already. Kahit anong bali-baligtad sa tingin ko nasagot ko na yan,” he said. Asked if he will run for vice president, the DILG secretary said he is busy now helping the people and doing his responsibilities. Roxas planned to run for president in 2010 but he shelved it after the public clamor for then-Senator Benigno Aquino III to seek the highest elective post snowballed following the death of his mother, former President Cory Aquino. Roxas then gave way to Aquino and sought the vice presidency instead. Aquino won but Roxas lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay. Roxas has filed an electoral protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. (MNS)

BIR chief: Govt to lose P43B from higher tax exemption on 13th-month pay MANILA, Dec 17 (Mabuhay) – The government will lose P43 billion in revenue if the Senate bill raising the tax exemption cap for 13th month pay and other bonuses is approved, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief Kim Henares said Tuesday. At a congressional hearing, Henares opposed Senate Bill 256, authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, saying it may reverse economic gains achieved by the Philippines this year. “The reason why maganda ang ekonomiya ay dahil maganda ang koleksyon, pero pasang-awa pa lang tayo. Hindi pa nga tayo very good e, mamimigay pa tayo. E di babagsak tayo. Ano na naman mangyayari sa atin?” Henares said. The BIR chief added that the legislature should be willing to pass new tax measures if it is bent on approving Recto’s bill. “Kung gusto nila mag-exempt, maghanap ng ibang bubuwisan. Papayag ba sila roon?” she said. Recto’s bill seeks to raise the

tax exemption cap for 13th month pay and other bonuses to P75,000 from the current P30,000. Republic Act 7833, passed in 1994, currently exempts 13th month salaries, bonuses and benefits not exceeding P30,000 from tax. Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs the Senate ways and means committee deliberating on Recto’s bill, said the BIR chief’s stand on the measure was expected. “Ayaw nila na maapektuhan yung koleksyon natin,” Angara said in an interview after the hearing. He added that while his panel understands Henares’s position, he must also consider the rising cost of prices affecting ordinary Filipinos. “Ang bigat na ng pasan ng mamamayang Pilipino. Sabaysabay ang pagtaas ng presyo. Hinahanap natin kung ano ang maibabalik ng lipunan sa kanila, whether in the form of better services o mas babaan ang kanilang buwis na hindi naman mapeperwisyo ang ating ekonomiya,” the senator said.



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Agency, United Nations Development Program and Presidential Working Unit for Development Monitoring and Control, which led the rehabilitation of Aceh, Indonesia after it was hit by calamity on Boxing Day 2004. Lacson, who visited Samar and Leyte last week, admitted that the damage left behind by Yolanda is so massive the rehabilitation process will take time. “In Palo, Leyte, the devastation was 99 percent while in Guiuan, it was 100 percent,” he said. (MNS)

Palace: Government doing part to keep prices in check MANILA, Dec 16 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang on Monday maintained the government is doing its part to keep prices of basic commodities and services in check, even as it chided a lawmaker for suggesting that people show their rage against a power rate hike by the Manila Electric Co. Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government has also managed to keep inflation and prices of fuel at “manageable” levels. “You don’t give us due credit when prices of gasoline go down. You forget gas prices go down. We kept inflation at a manageable rate,” he said. Besides, he said the agency with the power to approve power rate adjustments is the Energy Regulatory Commission, which he said is independent of the Executive Department. “It’s very clear it was a decision made by ERB which is independent of the Department of Energy,” he said. For now, Lacierda said an investigation is un-

derway to see if there was supposed collusion in Meralco’s power rate hike. Lacierda also said Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who reportedly called for people to rage against power rate hikes, “should not be so hasty in making general statements.” “I think he should appreciate the fact this government has managed to keep our prices within inflation... We also have monitoring of prices on a weekly basis from the Department of Trade and Industry. Don’t make general statements to that effect, give credit where it is due,” he said. Meanwhile, Lacierda said the Palace is leaving it to ERC Chairperson Zenaida Ducut whether to resign out of delicadeza, amid widespread criticism of Meralco’s rate hike. He said it would be a “personal decision” for Ducut whether to resign from her post. “We leave that to her personal decision if she will take a leave or resign,” he said. (MNS)

Energy department to restore power by December 24, Palace says MANILA, Dec 16 (Mabuhay) – The Aquino government expressed confidence that the Department of Energy (DOE) will be able to restore power in the typhoon Yolanda-stricken areas in the Central Philippines by December 24, a Palace official said. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during the regular press briefing in Malacañang on Monday that Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla started implementing necessary measures to bring back the power in the Visayas. “May areas na na-energize na... He was very confident when he made that promise. May kumpyansa kami kay Sec. Petilla,” Lacierda said. The DOE, along with its attached agencies, continuously addresses the problem of the energy facilities amid the massive effect of the typhoon. Petilla, together with the officials of the Nation-

al Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Electrification Administration, drew out all necessary measures to speed up the mobilization of the rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas, such as technical people, construction materials and equipments, among others, reports said. The NGCP reported that there were a total of 1,959 transmission facilities that were damaged including backbone transmission lines, steel poles, and a converter station. To speed up the repairs, the NGCP has been installing Emergency Restoration Systems in order to replace the transmission lines along with the continuous rehabilitation of the damaged facilities. Emergency Restoration Systems are temporary transmission poles that can last up to 10 years. Permanent poles will be erected as soon as the power situation in the affected areas stabilizes. (MNS)

SC upholds legality of senior citizens’ 20% discount, tax deduction MANILA, Dec 16 (Mabuhay) – The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the 20-percent discount and tax deduction scheme for senior citizens imposed on business establishments. Voting 13-1, the high court junked for lack of merit a petition for prohibition filed by two funeral companies – Manila Memorial Park, Inc. and La Funeraria Paz-Sucat – questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act 7432, as amended by RA 9257, that granted senior citizens privileges. The ruling was written by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo with Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio being the lone dissenter. Meanwhile, Associate Justice Arturo Brion did not take part in the voting. Thirteen of the 15 SC magistrates are senior citizens or 60 years old or older, while Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is 53 years old. Associate Justice Marvic Leonen will turn 51 on December 29. In its ruling, the high court said both the 20-percent discount and the tax deduction scheme were a “valid exercise of the police power ofthe state.” “There is no intention to say that price and rate of return on investment control laws are the justification for the senior citizen discount law. Not at all,” the justices said. In its petition, the two funeral homes clarified that they were contesting not the legality of the 20-percent discount for senior citizens but of the tax deduction scheme under the Senior Citizens

law, as well as the implementing rules and regulations issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Finance (DOF). According to the petitioners, under the tax deduction scheme, the private sectors shoulder 65% of the discount because only 35% of it is actually returned by the government to the companies. The firms said the tax deduction and the IRR ran contrary to Article III, Section 9 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that: “[p]rivate property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.” The memorial homes said because of the tax deduction scheme, the state’s constitutional mandate or duty of improving the welfare of the elderly to the private sector, in violation of Article XV, Section 4 and Article XIII, Section 11 of the Constitution. In their defense, the DSWD and the DOF said the petitioners failed to prove that the tax deduction scheme was not “fair and full equivalent of the loss sustained” by their companies. In its ruling, the SC ruled: “The justification for the senior citizen discount law is the plenary powers of Congress. The legislative power to regulate business establishment is broad and covers a wide array of areas and subjects.” The magistrates said: “It is well within Congress’ legislative powers to regulate the profits or income/gross sales of industries and enterprises, even those without franchises. For what are franchises but mere legislative enactments?” (MNS)

Cayetano suggests a floating VAT rate to temper effects of power rate hike

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na lang sa pag appreciate nila kung how to go about the rehab. That is why I’m thinking how to maximize the part of the private sector kasi mas mabilis pag nandiyan ang private sector,” he said. The rehabilitation czar earlier said two established companies are set to take care of the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in four areas in Leyte, Samar, Iloilo and Northern Cebu which were damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda. He is also consulting with experts from the Japan International Cooperation


MANILA, Dec. 17 (Mabuhay) – Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said that by implementing a floating value added tax (VAT) rate, the effects of a power rate hike could be tempered. He raised the topic following the Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) power rate hike, regarded as the highest-ever increase in power rate in the history of the Philippines. Meralco will charge a total of P4.15 per kilowatt per hour (kWh) beginning this month, which will cost an additional P830 to the monthly billing of consumers using an average of 200 kHw. “The increase on power rates will create a domino effect on prices of goods, commodities and services,” Cayetano told senate reporters. “For example, if LRT fare increases by five to 10 pesos – this is not only the effect – the prices of commodities will also increase and workers’ salary will no longer be enough to cover it,” he added. “Everything will increase,” he further explained. “Pretty soon, our economic gains will not go to where it should go.”

Cayetano said that the implementation of a floating VAT rate was only one solution. Another option was to cease from collecting value added tax on natural gas for at least three months. He explained that Malacanang, while working with the Congress, can work on removing the tax on Malampaya natural gas (which is P1.46) for three months. “There is not much from the government that will be lost if for three months they would not collect tax from the Malampaya natural gas,” the senator said. “There is no absence of solutions; government should just be creative in finding one,” he added. Govt urged to tap road user’s tax for safety programs Meanwhile, with one vehicular accident every seven minutes, or 8.5 mishaps per hour, in Metro Manila alone, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Tuesday it is time Malacanang consider using a portion of the revenues from motor vehicle registration fees that the law earmarks for road safety programs.

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Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013


Aquino: We won’t stop hunting down perpetrators of media killings, other crimes TOKYO, Japan, Dec 14 (Mabuhay) – While it cannot promise a total end to the killing of journalists, the government can promise it will never stop in going after the perpetrators and making sure they pay for their crimes, President Benigno Aquino III said Friday night. In an interview with journalists, the President said that as far as the Executive Branch is concerned, it will go after the perpetrators of heinous crimes and build airtight cases against them to ensure their conviction. “Now we cannot promise that there will never be any shooting (or) killing of anybody. What we can promise is we will never stop in trying to come up with the suspects,” he said. But he also said there is a need to come up with a more holistic approach, such that people will learn to settle differences civilly and not take the law into their own hands. Still, he said people who commit crimes “have to be brought before the bars of justice,” and the government has not stopped its efforts toward this end. The President also said he has told all the people involved that filing charges should not be the measure of success as much as the conviction of the defendant. “I tell all the people involved, filing a charge is not the measure of success. It is the conviction. Up to now we really want conviction that will send the message you do a crime, you pay the price,” he said. In past weeks, three media practitioners were shot dead while a radio reporter in Iloilo was wounded in an ambush. (MNS)

Aquino calls for mechanism to combat Climate Change in wake of ‘Yolanda’ TOKYO, Japan, Dec 14 (Mabuhay) – To avoid a repeat of the devastation brought by super typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday called for an international mechanism to combat climate change. Speaking at the session of the ASEAN Japan Commemorative Summit here, the President said the consequences of global climate change do not discriminate between economic powerhouses and developing states. “It is incumbent upon all of us, especially for the countries that have the capacity to contribute significantly in combating climate change, to come up with an equitable mechanism that every nation, every corporation and every individual will adhere to. I have personally witnessed the degree of devastation brought by Haiyan. And it is my belief that we all have a crucial role to play in ensuring my nation or any nation for this matter does not once more suffer through a tragedy of this scale,” he said. Yolanda tore through the Visayas and Southern Luzon last Nov. 8, leaving more than 6,000 dead in its wake. While President Aquino thanked the ASEAN and Japan leaders for the help they extended to those affected, he also lamented less industrial nations such as the Philippines “bear a disproportionate amount of suffering from the effects of climate change.” “As we all know, our respective nations cannot be caught in a vicious cycle of preparation, devastation and reconstruction. Haiyan is a reminder to all of us that just as we are determined to safeguard the interest and welfare of our peoples by improving our capacities to prepare for and respond to natural calamities, we must also commit ourselves to dismantling the conditions that enhance the effects of these disasters,” he said. Still, he said the solidarity that ASEAN and Japan showed for Filipinos in the wake of Yolanda “reflects your people’s sincere and genuine regard for the welfare of my country.” “The support of the international community, particularly of Japan and our brothers in ASEAN, tells us the Philippines is not alone in confronting the many different concerns of our time, one of which is the need to effectively manage and prepare for natural calamities,” he said. On the other hand, the President stressed the need for connectivity, not just for trade but also for saving lives and ensuring a reliable and consistent flow of information, goods and persons. He thanked Japan and the Philippines’ fellow ASEAN members for allowing the use of their aircraft, ships and other vessels to deliver goods and humanitarian teams to affected areas. Also, he said the Philippines is hopeful for the continued support of Japan in implementing maritime infrastructure connectivity projects under the master plan for ASEAN connectivity. Meanwhile, the President said the Philippines looks forward to the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015 here in Japan. He said this gathering will provide an opportunity to develop concrete steps towards not only building more resilient communities but also in addressing climate change and natural disasters. (MNS)


OPINION Palace: Bus tragedies a reminder to common carriers to practice extraordinary diligence MANILA, Dec 16 (Mabuhay) – The deadly bus accidents that killed at least 20 people in the last two days should remind public transport operators of their duty to practice extraordinary diligence, Malacañang said Monday. Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda also assured the riding public the government is enforcing speed limits and other measures aimed at ensuring their safety. “I think tragedies like this fully serve to remind the common carriers that they have an obligation in transportation law, extraordinary diligence,” he said, adding sanctions are imposed upon them if an accident occurs. He said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya ordered the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to order the immediate automatic suspension of all 78 units of Don Mariano Transport Corp., whose bus figured in an accident at Skyway early Monday. During the 30-day suspension, LTFRB Chairman

Winston Ginez was instructed by Abaya to investigate the drivers and have them undergo drug tests, while reviewing the performance record of Don Mariano Transport Corporation. Also, Abaya ordered Toll Regulatory Board executive director Edmund Reyes to review video footage of the Skyway accident and draw up measures to avoid a repeat of the bus fall from an elevated tollway. Lacierda also said the owner of Don Mariano Transit had indicated she will comply with the directive. But he also said the government is bound by law to follow due process before imposing harsher sanctions on the bus operators involved in deadly accidents. “We are bound by law. There are processes involved which we have to follow,” he said. On the other hand, Lacierda said the Palace will emphasize to Abaya and Ginez to review the speed limits at major thoroughfares to avoid a repeat of the accident. (MNS)

PHL reaffirms support for prominent role of women in society, government TOKYO, Japan, Dec 14 (Mabuhay) – The Philippines, through President Benigno Aquino III, on Saturday reaffirmed its support for giving women a prominent role in various aspects of society, including spurring economic development. In his statement at the session of the ASEAN Japan Commemorative Summit here, the President said the Philippines has been committed to fostering inclusiveness and openness in society. “Just as we are determined to build disasterresilient communities, we too are committed to fostering inclusiveness and openness in society. Part of this agenda includes enabling women to take a more prominent role not only in rehabilitation efforts but also in spurring economic development and further strengthening the ties of communities,” he said. He added the Philippines welcomes the declaration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to

create a society where women “shine.” “This is a vision our administration shares as we have constantly worked to empower women in our country, whether by implementing initiatives in health and education, or by making certain that all Filipinos have equal access to opportunities,” he said. He added the Philippines looks forward to chairing the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2014. Also, President Aquino looks forward to deliberations on a draft resolution that Japan is to submit to the United Nations “that presents the role of women in times of natural disasters.” In the meantime, he said the Philippines encourages everyone to “continue finding ways to foster gender equality and women’s empowerment in the long term, which is fundamental to creating a truly inclusive global community.” (MNS)

US judge says NSA phone snooping probably illegal BY GUILLAUME DECAMME

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2013 (AFP) – A US judge struck a first blow against he National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records Monday, ruling it breaches citizens’ privacy to a degree that is probably unconstitutional. The ruling by the Washington District Court was stayed pending appeal, but if upheld it could lead to the spy agency being barred from indiscriminately gathering metadata on millions of private calls. While not a final judgement, the ruling put the administration on the back foot at the start of what will no doubt be a protracted series of legal challenges to the NSA’s global surveillance network. And it was seized upon by fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden to support his case that he is a whistleblower exposing official overreach rather than a traitor endangering national security. “I cannot imagine a more indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen,” Judge Richard Leon said. Leon argued that American founding father James Madison, one of the authors of the US Constitution, would be “aghast” at the government’s “Orwellian” breach of citizens’ rights to privacy. Contacted by AFP, the NSA refused to comment. Two plaintiffs, Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, brought a case against President Barack Obama’s administration after Snowden revealed the vast scale of the NSA’s digital dragnet. Documents provided by Snowden to the British daily The Guardian revealed that the NSA had compelled US telecoms giant Verizon to provide agents with its clients’ call metadata. Subsequent leaks from Snowden’s vast trove of classified documents suggest that other telephone and internet providers have also provided private details on both US and foreign clients. Leon’s ruling would bar the US government from continuing to siphon off metadata without judicial approval, but he did not issue an immediate injunction against the practice.

Instead the case will go to appeal. “In the months ahead other ... courts, no doubt will wrestle to find the proper balance consistent with our constitutional system,” he said, in a written judgement. Obama’s administration has condemned Snowden’s leaks and insists that collecting metadata – the time, duration and destination of calls but not their content – is not unconstitutional. US spy chiefs say that by joining the dots between archived calls and terrorist suspects they can keep America safe, but the Verizon case will not be the last legal challenge the program faces. On Friday, an official panel handed Obama a secret review of the NSA’s electronic surveillance program along with more than 40 recommendations to install safeguards and limit its scope. But the administration is not expected to significantly curtail the NSA’s mission, despite international outrage, and Snowden remains a fugitive from US justice granted temporary asylum in Russia. Leon said the appeal process would take at least six months and delayed his order “in light of the significant national security interests at stake ... and the novelty of the constitutional issues.” Snowden, who worked as a contractor for the NSA before quitting with a pack of documents, expressed satisfaction in a statement passed to the New York times by journalist Glenn Greenwald. “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts,” Snowden said. “Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns for Internet freedoms, also welcomed the ruling. “It shows that the judiciary is looking at this program and does not agree that it is legal,” said EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl.

Japan, ASEAN seek ‘freedom of overflight’ amid China tensions BY KYOKO HASEGAWA

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TOKYO, December 14, 2013 (AFP) - Japan and Southeast Asian countries agreed Saturday to strive for freedom of movement in the skies, in the first major gathering of the continent’s leaders since China ramped up regional tensions with a controversial air defense zone. The cautious show of support for Tokyo in its bitter row with Beijing came as Japan pledged $20 billion in aid and grants for the region. At a summit in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) “agreed to enhance co-operation in ensuring freedom of overflight and civil aviation safety”. The statement will be seen as a mild regional rebuke for China, which has sovereignty disputes with Japan and with four members of the bloc, and has been repeatedly accused of intimidation and coercion. The gathering also offered encouragement for Abe’s more muscular military stance, which some see as a necessary balance to the rising might of China, and which the communiqué described as a “proactive contribution to peace”. “The ASEAN Leaders looked forward to Japan’s efforts in contributing constructively to peace, stability, and development in the region,” the statement said. China and South Korea frequently invoke the horrors of the last century in warnings against a

more engaged Japanese military, but Tokyo’s relations with Southeast Asia – much of which it also brutally invaded – are less coloured by history. The endorsements for Japan came at the end of a special summit to mark its 40 years of ties with ASEAN, which saw Tokyo promise two trillion yen for the region over five years. The meeting was the first significant gathering of Asian leaders since China declared an Air Defence Identification Zone over the East China Sea last month, including the airspace above the Tokyo-administered Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus. At the time, Beijing said all aircraft entering the zone have to submit flight plans and obey orders issued by Chinese authorities, in an announcement that was widely criticized as inflammatory, and immediately flouted by Washington, Seoul and Tokyo. That came after more than 12 months of confrontations between Japanese and Chinese coastguards in the seas near the islands, as well as forays by military and paramilitary planes, and shows of strength by naval vessels. Some fear the ADIZ in the East China Sea is a forerunner to a similar zone in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost entirely. The summit and Japan’s cash pledge crowns a year of courting by Abe, who has visited all 10 countries in the grouping at least once since he came to power last year, always with one eye on wresting back influence in the region from China.

THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013



UTREACH By excluding millions, health care reform falls short BY LINDA LEU NEW AMERICA MEDIA

Dec 10, 2013 – Today, on the 65th anniversary of the day that the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it’s timely to remember one proclamation in particular: that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family.� It’s important to reflect on that as we roll out one of the biggest reforms to our health care system that this country has seen. Indeed, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was an important milestone for the United States, because it extended affordable and accessible coverage to millions of previously uninsured people across the country. However, as the law takes effect and the health insurance marketplaces open, not everyone has been included in the promise of reform.

Millions of people have been excluded from its benefits, including undocumented and some lawfully present immigrants (such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] grantees). In California, policymakers have taken steps to address those gaps, and there are health care options outside of the state marketplace for immigrants. That’s why Young Invincibles is releasing our “Roadmap to Coverage for Young California Immigrants.� As the roadmap shows, the state funds MediCal (our version of Medicaid) coverage for lowincome, lawfully present immigrants who have been in the US for less than 5 years as well as for DACA-mented youth. Additionally, 9 counties in California offer coverage programs that will not discriminate based on immigration status. Our statewide network of community clinics has grown by 46, thanks to new fund-

ing through the ACA. These clinics will continue to treat those who fall through the cracks, and our Roadmaps to Coverage infographics provide more information about these options. Despite California’s alternative routes to care for some young immigrants, too many people will remain without access to coverage. Experts project that in California, over one million undocumented immigrants will remain uninsured, without the peace of mind and financial security that health coverage provides. And other states have even fewer options. One young man we’ve met said it best. “Thanks to Obamacare my mom doesn’t have to wait 4 more years to get covered, which I am very grateful for,â€? Jesus Garcia, 22, told us. However, his sister was left behind and can’t get coverage. “I really have no idea what’s going to happen ‌her job doesn’t offer insurance and she has a

condition. She doesn’t have the luxury of not wanting insurance. She NEEDS it.� As the immigration reform debate ramps back up in the new year, health reform and immigration reform advocates must work together. While the Senate-passed immigration reform bill incorporates pathways to citizenship, guest work visa programs and financial assistance to DREAMers, it leaves out a pathway to health care for many immigrants. Young Invincibles will be fighting to reach that vision in this country set out by the United Nations all those years ago - to provide accessible, affordable health care for everyone. (Linda Leu is the California Policy and Research Director at Young Invincibles, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization committed to expanding economic opportunities for young people.)

Nearly 365,000 Americans selected plans in the health insurance marketplace in October and November 1.9 million customers made it through the process but have not yet selected a plan; an additional 803,077 assessed or determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that nearly 365,000 individuals have selected plans from the state and federal Marketplaces by the end of November. November alone added more than a quarter million enrollees in state and federal Marketplaces. Enrollment in the federal Marketplace in November was more than four times greater than October’s reported federal enrollment number. Since October 1, 1.9 million have made it through another critical step, the eligibility process, by applying and receiving an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan. An additional 803,077 were determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in October and November by the Health Insurance Marketplace. “Evidence of the technical improvements to can be seen in the enroll-

ment numbers. More and more Americans are finding that quality, affordable coverage is within reach and that they’ll no longer need to worry about barriers they may have faced in the past – like being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition,� Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Now is the time to visit, to ensure you and your family have signed up in a private plan of your choice by December 23 for coverage starting January 1. It’s important to remember that this open enrollment period is six months long and continues to March 31, 2014.� The HHS issue brief highlights the following key findings, which are among many newly available data reported today on national and state-level enrollment-related information: November’s federal enrollment number outpaced the October number by more than four times. Nearly 1.2 million Americans, based only on the first two months of open enrollment, have selected a plan or had a Medicaid or CHIP eligibility determination; Of those, 364,682 Americans selected plans

from the state and federal Marketplaces; and 803,077 Americans were determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP by the Health Insurance Marketplace. 39.1 million visitors have visited the state and federal sites to date. There were an estimated 5.2 million calls to the state and federal call centers. The report groups findings by state and federal marketplaces. In some cases only partial datasets were available for state marketplaces. The report features cumulative data for the two month period because some people apply, shop, and select a plan across monthly reporting periods. These counts avoid potential duplication associated with monthly reporting. For example, if a person submitted an application in October, and then selected a Marketplace plan in November, this person would only be counted once in the cumulative data.

Consulate attends Larry Itliong Village inauguration at Historic Filipinotown Los Angeles, 13 December 2013 – Consul General Maria Hellen Barber Dela Vega joined local government officials in inaugurating the Larry Itliong Village, a joint housing project of the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) and Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation (LTSC CDC) in Historic Filipinotown. Speaking at the ceremony, Consul General Dela Vega commended PWC for its continued commitment to provide affordable housing to marginalized individuals. She congratulated PWC and LTSCCD for their joint investment in efforts towards revitalizing Historic Filipinotown. Lastly, she noted that the housing project represents a fitting tribute to Larry Itliong, the Filipino labor leader who advocated for equal treatment, better working conditions and fair pay for farmers. PWC Executive Director Aquilina Soriano expressed her sincere gratitude to their partner organizations and donors for their strong support for the construction of the apartment complex. She said that the ceremony represents the culmination of nine years of planning, designing, fundraising and complex negotiations among PWC’s many dedicated partners involved in the project.

Bank of America provided over $20 million for the construction of the complex. Other donors, including the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Low Income Investment Fund, Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, and the City of Los Angeles Housing Department, provided grants to further finance construction costs. The Larry Itliong Village, which is composed of 45 apartment units for low income families, transition-age youth and homeless individuals, is both energy and water efficient. The project also houses community spaces for recreational activities, a technology center, and retail spaces for commercial use. PWC, the project’s service provider, was formed in 1997 to provide low income Filipino workers and their families with immediate services and resources. LTSC CDC, a Japanese-American service group, is the sponsor of several major community development projects servicing Asian and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County.


With high winds, cold forecast, SCE reminds customers of safety ROSEMEAD, Calif., Dec. 3, 2013 – With high winds and potential hard-freeze conditions forecast for many areas of Southern California through Friday, Southern California Edison (SCE) reminds its customers that outages might occur and to never approach or touch downed power lines. If you see a downed line or dangling wire – even if it appears not to be live – don’t touch or approach it and call 911 immediately. The National Weather Service is forecasting strong winds and cold temperatures for the Inland Empire as well as the mountains and high desert, but windy and unseasonably cold conditions are also forecast for areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties. SCE is closely monitoring the conditions and has crews prepared to respond. If outages occur, customers can get the latest information using SCE’s smartphone application, visiting or at and, or they can report an outage at 1-800-611-1911. Customer safety is a top priority for SCE. Remember to check emergency supplies to be sure you have a batteryoperated radio, a flashlight and fresh batteries. SCE also offers these tips: Watch for traffic signals that may be out. Approach those intersections as four-way stops. If you’re in a vehicle with a fallen power line on it, stay in the vehicle and remain calm until help arrives. It is OK to use your cell phone to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle, remember to exit away from downed power lines

and exit by jumping from the vehicle. You must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then proceed away from the vehicle by shuffling your feet until you are several yards away. Water and electricity don’t mix. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Do not enter any water that a downed power line may be touching. Do not use any equipment inside designed for outdoor heating or cooking. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. Never use your oven to heat your home. If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into the generator, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,� which is dangerous to repair crews. Check on your neighbors to make sure everyone is safe. About Southern California Edison An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.






Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013



Leading creative talent agency Jed Root opens in Manila

Significant, sophisticated and savvy: The Asian American consumer

As the fastest growing multicultural segment in the U.S. with an outsized impact on the consumer marketplace, Asian Americans have emerged as a powerful economic force. The group’s buying behaviors and viewing patterns, however, are different and unique from the total population. The segment has grown at a rate of almost 58 percent between 2000 and 2013, mainly spurred by immigration. This is more than 4.9 times that of the general population. On top of this, the average Asian American household’s income continues to soar and represents the highest of all multicultural segments. Their spending power outpaces even that of the coveted Millennial demographic, those currently in their 20s and early 30s, by nearly 40 percent. Culture, value, efficiency, convenience and a strong emphasis on the family shape the buying behavior of Asian Americans and often drive their purchasing decisions. This includes the types of stores they visit, the number of trips they make and their online habits. Asian Americans make up the leading segment of online shoppers, with 77 percent making internet purchases in the past year, versus 61 percent of the general population. For marketers, understanding the Asian American population is critical for realizing the bottom-line potential of many key product and service categories. 2012 Annual Household Spending In 2012, Asian American households spent 19% more than overall households. Ringing up an average of $61,400 in expenditures, Asian Ameri-

can households particularly over-indexed on food, transportation, housing, clothing, and insurance. With a population that continues to grow rapidly and household incomes that are 54 percent more likely than overall U.S. households to reach $100,000 or more, Asian Americans have emerged as a powerful economic force according to Nielsen’s Asian American consumer report. Capturing this segment’s substantial purchasing power, however, requires a tailored approach; Asian American buying behaviors and viewing patterns are different and unique from the total population. Specifically, this group is more tech savvy than any other and has a growing penchant for shopping online. By building on Asian Americans’ heritage, academic achievement, adaptability and spending clout, businesses can find considerable growth opportunities among these consumers. SIGNIFICANT PURCHASING POWER Currently, 19 million Asian Americans live in the U.S., comprising approximately six percent of the country’s overall population. Asian Americans are the fastest growing multicultural segment, growing nearly 58 percent between 2000 and 2013,which is nearly five times faster than that of the general population. In addition, Asian Americans earn more than overall U.S. households and have a median household income of $63,400 versus $49,600. The segment is expected to have a collective buying power of $1 trillion by 2017. SOPHISTICATED SHOPPING STYLE

Asian Americans’ increasing buying power and unique purchasing behaviors make this group attractive to marketers. Asian Americans tend to shop more than the average consumer in four key categories including food, transportation, housing, insurance and apparel. When asked about shopping style, 35 percent said they were “swayable shopaholics,” meaning they enjoy the act of buying and can be impulsive and willing to pay extra for products. Brands are also important to Asian Americans, who on average are more likely to say that they’ll spend more for name brands. Asian Americans lead the way when it comes to e-commerce purchases. Seventy-seven percent of Asian Americans have made an online purchase in the past year, compared with 61 percent of the general population. Asian Americans are twice as likely as the general population to spend at least $2,500 or more per year on Internet shopping. DIGITAL SAVVY Asian Americans are heavy influencers in the digital and media spaces, with higher rates of smartphone usage, online video consumption, and internet connectivity than any other segment. In addition, many enjoy multi-platform lifestyles. Traditional TV viewing is still the dominant medium that the group watches based on time spent. However, Asian Americans spend an average of 12 hours and 23 minutes a month watching videos on the internet, which is twice as much as the general population. Also, 29 percent own a smartphone and a tablet and use both simultaneously while watching TV.

Holiday cheer. California Pacific RNs celebrate election vote.

California Pacific, San Francisco, RNs Say ‘Yes’ to CNA Despite anti-union pressure, RNs vote by 52% for union Resisting a heavy-handed pressure campaign by their employer and frontline managers, registered nurses at California Pacific Medical Center’s Pacific campus, Sutter Health’s largest hospital in San Francisco, have voted to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. The final count, in a secret ballot, mail campaign counted today by the National Labor Relations Board, was 351 for CNA to 321 for Sutter, a 52 percent margin. Though 42 challenged ballots remain outstanding, CNA today said it was confident the nurses, and their desire for a collective

voice for their patients and colleagues would prevail. A clear majority of nurses voted for CNA representation despite intensive pressure and intimidation by hospital managers in mandatory group meetings and one-on-one meetings with department supervisors that RNs say violates the letter and spirit of a free and democratic election. Management’s campaign featured a series illegal actions, that resulted in a series of unfair labor practice charges against the hospital, charges that have been found meritorious by the NLRB. “The election is now over,” said

CNA co-president Zenei Cortez, RN. “We salute the courage and determination of California Pacific RNs to work together to be able to more effectively advocate for their patients, and work with their CPMC colleagues to improve standards for all Sutter nurses.” “California Pacific and Sutter executives should respect the democratic decision of the Pacific nurses to be part of the CNA family, and work with us on a fair first contract that is in the best interests of CPMC patients, nurses, and the San Francisco community,” Cortez said. “We are thrilled that we won

Force behind some of the world’s top photographers, makeup artists and stylists set his sights on Asia with the opening of At East I Jed Root (December 2013 – Manila, Philippines) – Jed Root, founder of one of the world’s leading creative talent management agencies, has announced the opening of a Manila office to capitalize on the region’s economic growth and potential. The venture – At East I Jed Root – is in partnership with a local consortium and will join a network that includes offices in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. “By establishing our presence in Manila, we will be working with clients and talents in various key cities like Singapore, Jakarta, and also tapping into the demand from Hong Kong and China. Our intention is to create a bridge connecting the East to

the West and vice versa, with the objective of championing Asian talents worldwide,” said Root. Credited with shaping the career of the late legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, Jed Root parlayed this into a global creative network that currently represents the likes of leading fashion photographers Michael Thompson and The Sartorialist Scott Schuman and makeup artists like Dick Page, Laura Mercier, and Rumiko. The Manila office will be helmed by Au Mauricio, a Filipino –American business strategist, professional makeup artist and longtime associate of Jed Root, who recently relocated to the Philippines to help kick start the operations. At East I Jed Root will announce its talent portfolio by the first quarter 2014.

Japan in currency deals with Indonesia, PHL , Singapore TOKYO, December 13, 2013 (AFP) – Japan has expanded currency swap agreements with Indonesia and the Philippines, officials said Friday, as Tokyo looks to bolster regional relations to counter the growing influence of China. The deals—along with the renewal of an expired agreement with Singapore – came as Tokyo hosted a special three-day summit with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to mark the 40th anniversary of ties between the sides. Currency swaps are useful in times of economic stress, when normal foreign exchange markets can seize up, as they allow for financial authorities to buy local currencies with something much more liquid – usually the US dollar. Since the Asian crisis in the late 1990s, Japan has spearheaded efforts to build a regional currency swap agreement, now known as the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), which has ballooned to about $240 billion. On Friday, Japan said it has nearly doubled its bilateral swap arrangement with Jakarta to $22.76 billion from $12 billion, as concerns rumble about the possible impact of the US

Federal Reserve scaling back its massive stimulus program. The central bank, which holds a policy meeting next week, may start tapering its $85 billion-a-month bond buying scheme as early as this month. That may drive a flight back to the dollar and stoke potentially destabilizing capital outflows in emerging markets. “The authorities in Japan and Indonesia hope that the strengthened bilateral financial cooperation will contribute to the stability of financial markets,” the Japanese finance ministry said. Japan also agreed to boost its arrangement with the Philippines to $12 billion from $6 billion, although officials in Tokyo added that the two have yet to decide when the accord is to take effect. Separately, Tokyo and Singapore agreed to renew a combined $4.0 billion swap deal, which expired two years ago. A recent survey showed that the 10 ASEAN countries had re-emerged as Japan Inc.’s favored investment destinations, with China falling off the top of the list for the first time in more than two decades because of higher labour costs and diplomatic tensions.

Stiffer penalties for intellectual property piracy MANILA, Dec 16. (Mabuhay) – Congress could soon amend the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines by imposing stiffer penalties against piracy. “Making the provisions of the said Code under R.A 8293 more stringent and imposing stiffer penalties would help stifle intellectual property piracy which has become evident in almost all nooks and corners of the country,” Rep. Teodorico T. Haresco, Jr. said. Haresco is author of HB 2324 which proposes to amend the penal provisions of R.A. 8293 currently provided under Section 217.1 by increasing the penalties for violators, including those abetting or aiding such infringement of the Code. “The government’s effort to stop piracy has become an exercise in futility,” the author lamented. The proposed increased penalties are: (a) imprisonment of one year to four years plus a fine rang-

ing from one hundred thousand pesos (P 100,000) to five hundred thousand pesos (P 500,000) for the first offense; (b) imprisonment of four years and one day to eight years plus a fine ranging from P 500,000 to P 1-Million for the second offense; (c) imprisonment of eight years and one day to 12 years plus a fine ranging from P 1-Million to P 2-Million for the third and subsequent offenses. The purpose of this bill is to strengthen the provisions of R.A. 8293 as regards infringement so as to deter the production and manufacture of counterfeit articles such as but not limited to compact discs, bags and apparels, Haresco stressed. “We have to make sure that the exclusive rights of scientists, inventors, artist and other gifted citizens are shielded from illegal reproduction of their works as guaranteed by the Constitution under Article XVI, Section 9 and Article XIV, Section 13,” Haresco concluded.(MNS)

by 30 votes despite management’s nasty campaign,” said CPMC Pacific RN Amit Shaham. “We have built an incredible network of RNs for our hospital and we now belong to the most powerful and largest RN organization. RNs will now be able to ensure quality patient care is provided at our hospital.” “Sutter is going more corporate and we needed this to make sure our hospital does not just become a profit generator,” said Alden Allarde, CPMC Pacific RN. “We wanted to have a voice so that we can improve patient care and make sure the interest of the patients, community and RNs are represented.” With this election, CNA extends its role as the voice of Sut-

ter RNs. The vote by CPMC RNs unites them with RNs at two other California Pacific facilities, CPMCCalifornia and St. Luke’s hospital who are already represented by CNA. All told, CNA will now represent more than 1,600 RNs at the three hospitals. System-wide, nearly 8,000 RNs at 14 Sutter hospitals will be CNA members with this vote. Overall, CNA represents more than 85,000 California RNs, and is the largest member of NNU which represents 185,000 RNs across the country. Since its 2009 founding, NNU has won elections for more than 17,000 RNs, including three this month in California and Washington, DC.



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THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013





Heart decides to ‘be with Chiz for the rest of my life’ Despite her parents’ strong disapproval of her relationship with Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Heart Evangelista said she has decided that she wants to be with the politician for the rest of her life. The 28-year-old actress confessed that even though she’s not ready to marry just yet, she’s certain that Escudero would be the man waiting for her down that aisle one day. “I can see marriage down the road, just not tomorrow. [But] I have already made a decision to be with Chiz for the rest of my life,” she said. Whether Evangelista’s parents would be at the wedding still remains a question. Her parents earlier voiced their concerns over the relationship, citing that age difference and Escudero’s marital history could pose problems. The 44-year-old lawmaker’s 10-year marriage with ex-wife Christine Flores was annulled

in June 2012. Since her parents publicly criticized Escudero last year, Evangelista said she has yet to speak and iron things out with her mother, Cecilia Ongpauco. “I saw her once on my dad’s birthday, but I haven’t spoken to her. I speak to my dad (Rey Ongpauco) though. My dad’s already 70, and he just wants to be okay with me,” she shared. ‘Becoming a better person’ Evangelista, whose previous partners include actors Jericho Rosales and Daniel Matsunaga, said that her relationship with Escudero has helped her mature and become a better person. “It’s so much better to be with somebody older for the times when i’m being childish. He lets it go. Or he would really talk to me when there’s something I don’t understand. It’s really nice,” she explained. “I used to fear the bank before. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t hold any money. He

KC on Phil: Hindi ko siya kilala KC Concepcion is clueless as to how rumors romantically linking him to Phil Younghusband started, saying the only instance they ever spoke was during a televised interview more than a year ago. “Honestly, ang tagal ko na ring naririnig ‘yan,” Concepcion said, when asked to explain her supposed ties with Younghusband. “Ayoko na nga mag-comment about it, kasi nakakapagod na rin ‘yung tsismis na wala namang pinaggagalingan.” She continued, “Ako, unang-una, wala akong... Hindi ko siya kilala. I mean, once ko lang siya nakausap siguro, which is ‘yung interview pa with ‘yung girlfriend KC Concepcion niya at the time.” Concepcion was referring to the defunct ABS-CBN talk show “The Buzz,” which she co-hosted from 2010 to 2011. Younghusband’s girlfriend at the time was actress Angel Locsin, who confirmed her breakup with the football player in October this year. In denying rumors linking him to Concepcion last week, Younghusband similarly mentioned the interview, saying it was the only time he ever met the “Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala” actress. As to how the rumor about her and Younghusband surfaced, Concepcion mentioned the possibility of it being a supposed publicity stunt for Locsin’s upcoming series. The “One More Try” star is set to make her drama series comeback via “The Legal Wife,” which also stars Maja Salvador, Jericho Rosales and JC de Vera. “Ang hindi ko rin alam kung part ‘to ng promo ng magiging teleserye ng ex-girlfriend niya,” Concepcion said, referring to Younghusband and Locsin. “Pero sana naman, huwag na nila ako idawit or isama sa gano’n kasi may mga iba namang nangyayari sa buhay ko.” “Parang hindi ko na kailangang bigyan pansin ‘yung ibang bagay na... Napaka-busy ko rin. Ang dami kong ginagawa, bakit ako tsinitsismis?” Concepcion clarified, however, that she bears no ill feelings toward Locsin or Younghusband. “I have nothing against him. Pero hindi ko siya... Pati si Angel, hindi ko naman siya... Hindi kami magkaaway, hindi rin kami close, so hindi ko alam kung saan nanggagaling.” “Baka naman may mga tao sa paligid na gusto kaming i-connect, o gusto kaming sirain, or siraan,” she added. “Pero wala talaga kaming konek, so hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit kailangan akong isama sa ganyan. Alam naman nilang wala.” In a separate interview early this week, Younghusband was asked on the possibility of having a romantic relationship with Concepcion. The Azkals striker brushed off the question, saying he is “still in love” with Locsin. (MNS)

Nikki gives scathing account of Billy’s ‘inconsistencies’ Nikki Gil regrets that her relationship with former boyfriend Billy Crawford lasted five years, saying she chose several times to ignore “warnings” of the singer’s supposed indiscretions. While she still did not specify the cause of their breakup in July, the 26-year-old actress brought up instances when she had been suspicious of Crawford’s behavior during the relationship. “I’m sure we had our good times, but at this point, I honestly can’t remember any,” Gil said. “Now everything is questionable to me. It’s rushing back to me how [inconsistent] the timeline was. When he did this... but then may bawi,” she said. Gil recalled “always getting a lot of warning, but I chose to ignore them.” “I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it could be done to me. I’d ask him, ‘Why were you [at this place]?’ Then, I’d back off and say, ‘Neve rmind, I was just asking.’ You just brush it under the rug, until one day, it all blows up in your face,” she said. At the time, the actress said she ruled out the idea that Crawford could do anything to hurt her. “Para sa akin, mabait naman ako, they can’t do this to me. Imposibleng kakarmahin ako, or that life will slap me with this, ‘diba? But no, it did.” In his first interview following the breakup, an emotional Crawford said it “all boils down to me,” and that he was “lost and confused.” Rumors later surfaced, romantically linking him to actress Andi Eigenmann and TV host Coleen Garcia.

told me, ‘You have to learn to handle your money and how to save. You need to know how to world works, you have to know these things.’ And I’ve learned so much,” the actress added. Escudero, who expressed his desire to keep things private between them, has admitted that the public attention on their relationship has actually been helpful to the both of them. “We are secure in who we are already, we have less to prove to other people, especially to the other person,” he said. “That’s the best thing about having a public life – whether in showbiz or in politics – it’s so easy to find things out, and it’s difficult to hide whatever.” But Escudero, who has twins with his former wife, emphasized that he wants to keep things private when it comes to his children. “I want them to decide when they come of age what they want up,” he said. (MNS)

Heart Evangelista with Sen. Chiz Escudero

Erich opens all-day breakfast restaurant Actress Erich Gonzales, who played a pastry chef in the movie “Suddenly It’s Magic,” has joined a growing list of celebrities who have opened their own restaurant. Gonzales announced that her restaurant, The Breakfast Club, opened just recently on Quezon Avenue, near the Santo Domingo Church. “Breakfast all day, mayroong comfort food, desserts. We have a little bit of everything,” Gonzales said about the restaurant’s concept. She also admitted that her partner in the restaurant is her nonshowbiz boyfriend. “Just the two of us,” the “Juan dela Cruz” star said. Despite their joint investment, Gonzales stressed in a previous interview that she is not yet ready to settle down. “Alam niya rin naman na marami pa akong gustong gawin sa buhay ko,” Gonzales said at the time. Just in the recent months, several celebrities have opened their restaurants. Inspired by her son’s fondness of milkshakes, actress Jodi Sta. Maria has put up a chain of milkshake

bars, Happy Barn Milkshake Factory, in addition to her Mardi Grasinspired restaurant Rue Bourbon in Eastwood in Libis. Meanwhile, her “Be Careful with My Heart” leading man Richard Yap opened a Chinese restaurant called Wangfu in Quezon City. Fellow Kapamilya talent actor Sam Milby also put up his own res-

taurant, Prost Braumeister at the Bonifacio Global City, together with his friends. (MNS)





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Dior’s “Golden Winter” makeup collection includes glamorous shades for holiday parties. ©Dior A bout of daily exercise can help lessen the effects of holiday overeating, a new study finds. ©l i g h t p o e t/

Daily exercise can help counteract holiday indulgence: study (Relaxnews) – For those of us who tend to overindulge during the holidays, new research finds that a bout of daily exercise lessens the harmful effects of your seasonal feasting. Published Sunday, December 15, in The Journal of Physiology, the study finds that daily exercise “generates vast physiological benefits even when you consume thousands of calories more than you are burning,” the researchers said. “This new research shows that the picture is more sophisticated than ‘energy’ alone: exercise has positive effects even when we are

actively storing energy and gaining weight,” said researcher James Betts of the University of Bath in the UK. In the study, 26 healthy young men were asked to be generally inactive in their daily activities. Half of the group then exercised daily on a treadmill for 45 minutes. Everyone was asked to overeat: the non-exercising group increased their caloric intake by 50 percent, while the exercising group increased by 75 percent, so everyone’s net daily energy surplus was the same. After just one week of overeating, subjects showed poor blood sugar control

and their fat cells were expressing genes that lead to unhealthy metabolic changes and disrupted nutritional balance. However, these negative effects were markedly less in those who were exercising. “If you are facing a period of overconsumption and inactivity, which is probably quite common around Christmas time,” said senior author Dr. Dylan Thompson, “then our study shows that a daily bout of exercise will prevent many of the negative changes from taking place even though you are gaining weight.”

Is Modo Yoga the next big thing? (Relaxnews) – The hot and sweaty yogic world of Modo Yoga, devised by two former Bikram yoga studio owners in Canada, is growing. Previously known as Moksha Yoga, the brand recently changed the name of its studios to Modo Yoga, with studios popping up in 75 locations in the US and Canada. Toronto-based founders Jessica Robertson and Ted Grand got the idea to create their own form of yoga after opting to change the carpet in their Bikram studios to sustainably harvested

cork, which counters traditional Bikram branding requirements, the New York Times reports. A constant of Bikram is that notorious sweat smell, often due to the carpet that every studio is required to have due to the fact it’s thought to be more forgiving to joints and less slippery than hardwood floors. Launched in 2004, Modo Yoga, while hot yoga, is certainly no Bikram, but rather based on a sequence of gentle, fluid postures that can be modified.

Classes run 60, 75, or 90 minutes, and temperatures are set at below 100 degrees, so the practice is considerably cooler than Bikram’s self-described “torture chamber,” the New York Times writes. Also, very importantly, studios are required to be green, from top to bottom—from the cork floors and VOC-free paints to the natural mat disinfectants and filtered water. Modo Yoga has particularly taken off in cities like New York.

Makeup: Shimmer and metallic tones a must this Christmas season (Relaxnews) – This year’s holiday makeup is directly inspired by the Fall-Winter 2013-2014 collections, but with even more shimmer and with a number of more traditional colors (including gold and silver). As always at this time of year, beauty brands have presented enchanting collections worthy of the most special occasions, including Christmas and New Year’s parties. We take a look at some of the highlights. Golden Winter by Dior The gold-leafed interior of the Château de Versailles provided the inspiration for this limited edition holiday makeup collection. Designed by Dior’s creative director of makeup, Tyen, the “Golden Winter” collection features gold and iridescent tones for an enchanting and extremely glamorous look. The Diorific Perfumed Illuminating Powder, scented with the iconic “J’adore” fragrance is among the highlights of the collection, along with a winter version of the Diorific lipstick, and the “Golden Flower” and “Golden Snow” eye shadow palettes. Nuit Infinie by Chanel Metallic and iridescent tones

are also found throughout Chanel’s Christmas 2013 collection, romantically titled Nuit Infinie (Endless Night). Cosmetics for the face, eyes, and of course the lips are characterized by radiance and sophistication. The Poudre Universelle Libre loose powder covers imperfections and mattifies the complexion, while the Ombres Matelassées palette provides a range of metallic bronze and purple tones for the eyes. Finally, the Cils Scintillants sparkling mascara in iridescent bronze-platinum adds a very festive touch to the lashes. Old Hollywood by Bobbi Brown Represented by Katie Holmes in campaigns, this special Bobbi Brown collection pays tribute to the cinema icons of the 1950s. The collection offers bold red lipstick shades and – of course – the season’s trendy gold and bronze tones. The Old Hollywood collection includes a limited edition eye shadow palette with nine shades, the Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in limited edition 24 Karat and Bronze, and the High Shimmer Lip Gloss in Candlelight, Rosé and Pure Gold. Six Heart Princess by Shu Uemura & Takashi Murakami For the holidays, Shu Uemura has collaborated with artist Takashi Murakami to create a particularly creative collection inspired by the artist’s Six Heart Princess animation. Glitter and iridescent shades dominate in this festive line. The two centerpieces of the collection are palettes for cheeks and eyes: Pink Princess, for a bohemian-inspired look, and the more glamorous Black Princess. Also on offer are an eyeliner, a lip and cheek tint, nail polish duos, and false lashes. Sicilian Jewels by Dolce & Gabbana The Italian design house drew inspiration from its native Sicily and from the colors of four precious stones – Topaz, Ruby, Emerald, and Amethyst—to create these unusual, flashy lipsticks and nail polishes. Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Cream Lipstick and its Intense Nail Lacquer are each available in the four shades of the precious jewels, for a look that is as festive as the Christmas tree.


THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013




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22 DEAD Don Mariano Transit, the bus company involved in the accident, has been suspended for 30 days as its other vehicles are examined, Ginez told the popular TV network ABS-CBN television. In 2011, three people were killed and four injured when a bus fell from the same elevated highway.




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Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013


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this month, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. The talks also focused on Obama’s push to convince Congress to offer him Trade Promotion Authority – which would allow him to fast-track trade deals through Congress.

day (December 11), saying the Philippine government is a signatory to an international agreement against the use of land mines. “It has prevented injuries especially to noncombatants,” he said, noting such land mines had wounded many innocent civilians who should have been spared from the fighting. He added the discovery of the factory is “a very significant find,” with more than 100 as-

sembled mines and components. President Aquino said land mines had been very destructive even to those not involved in fighting between government forces and the communist guerillas. But he also noted the National Democratic Front insisted that there are “exemptions” where certain types of mines are legal. “Bakit pa (kailangan ng distinctions) kung mines are indis-

criminate? Theoretically dapat ang combatants lang ang napapasok sa sagupaan, pero itong mga landmines, in particular, marami nang napinsala na hindi mga combatants (Why make a distinction when mines are indiscriminate? In theory, only combatants should be involved in fighting. But these land mines kill or injure people regardless of whether they are combatants or not),” he said.(MNS)


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Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Ambassador Cuisia said the Philippine Embassy has also been in discussions with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State and the DFA in Manila since the TPS was first brought to his attention a few days after Haiyan struck the country. Ambassador Cuisia said the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulates General in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Agana made the rec-

ommendation to Secretary Del Rosario during their annual conference in Washington, D.C. last week and after extensive consultations with leaders of the Filipino Community in their respective jurisdictions. Ambassador Cuisia explained that a TPS designation for the Philippines would allow eligible Filipinos currently in the US to support the longterm relief and rehabilitation efforts in the country because they could be given temporary authorization to stay and work for a limited period.

He said the request will have to first be evaluated by US authorities and may take some time. If approved, eligible Filipinos can start filing their applications, which will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis. H e said that in addition to TPS, Filipinos already in the US can also take advantage of the immigration breaks announced by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service on 15 November of which some Filipinos have already availed themselves.

kyo-controlled islands -- known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China -- where ships and aircraft from the two countries already shadow each other. “I told the (Philippine) foreign secretary that the United States does not recognise that (East China Sea) zone and does not accept it,” Kerry said. Kerry also threw his support behind the Philippines, calling it a “key treaty ally”. “The United States is committed to working with the Philippines to address its most pressing security challenges,” he said. “That is why we are negotiating a strong and enduring framework agreement that will enhance defence cooperation under our alliance, including through an increased rotational presence in the Philippines.” John Blaxland, a defence analyst at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and

the Pacific, earlier said Kerry’s visit was meant to assure the region that America “is not just a fair-weather friend”. “Kerry’s visit can be expected to act as a catalyst for change,” Blaxland told AFP, and underscored the Philipines’s important role as Washington embarks on its so-called pivot to Asia. Kerry was expected to meet President Benigno Aquino Tuesday night, and visit the typhoon-ravaged central city of Tacloban Wednesday. Kerry said the United States stood ready to assist the Philippines in the long road to rebuilding, more than a month after Super Typhoon Haiyan left more than 6,000 people dead and over four million homeless. The United States provided massive humanitarian assistance, deploying an aircraft carrier and mobilising 1,000 Marines.


From page 1

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East China Sea raised the prospect of it doing the same in the South China Sea. China claims almost all the South China Sea but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims. Tensions between the Philippines and China have risen in recent years as Beijing becomes more aggressive in asserting its claims. Earlier this year Manila took Beijing to a United Nations tribunal over the contested Scarborough Shoal, which has been controlled by Chinese government vessels since last year. Beijing’s East China Sea zone requires aircraft to provide flight plans when traversing the area, declare their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication, or face “emergency defensive measures”. The zone covers disputed To-



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MOTORING Rinspeed’s take on the autonomous car will be better than flying (Relaxnews) – While other manufacturers are working to develop road sensing technology and autonomous parking apps, off-the-wall Swiss car creator Rinspeed is more concerned with how the driver and passengers are going to make the most of their time once the car is taking care of the driving. As Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht explains: “So far hardly anyone has taken this to its logical conclusion from the perspective of the driver. After all, traveling in a driverless car will no longer require me to stare at the road, but will let me spend

my time in a more meaningful way.” Rinderknecht believes the logical conclusion is a cabin that more closely resembles a business class than a family hatchback. Called the “XchangE” the car has been built in partnership with 21 other companies and organizations and will make its full debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, where all will be revealed. But in the meantime, Rinspeed has released some images and little bit of information to whet people’s appetites. The reclining seats can be moved and turned so that all occupants can

face each other for conversation, while the steering wheel can be moved into the middle of the dashboard to save space, thanks to drive-by-wire technology. The idea being that a family can play games or watch films together or colleagues can hold a meeting with multimedia presentation at speeds of over 120km/h. As such, Rinspeed believes that in the not-too-distant future, cars like the XchangE will replace the train or even the short-haul flight as business and leisure travelers’ preferred means of transport.

Rinspeed thinks ahead on “autonomous driving:” It brings a new definition to the term lounge concept seating. ©Rinspeed

Istanbul plans floating car parks Ford demos driver(ISTANBUL-AFP) – Istanbul is planning to introduce floating car parks to try to resolve the chronic traffic problems of Turkey’s largest city, local officials said Tuesday. The municipal car park operator said it will use out-of-service ferries anchored in the Bosphorus to create multi-storey lots near traffic hotspots. The floating car parks will also have facilities such as cafes, recreation areas and art galleries, according to ISPARK. Traffic congestion and a lack of parking is a major problem for the bustling metropolis of 16 million people. The car park plans are among several mega projects launched in Turkey’s main gateway city by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In October, Turkey opened a

less Fusion hybrid

sea tunnel under the Bosphorus – the world’s first linking two continents – and is also planning a third airport in Istanbul and a

Strong car sales drive eurozone recovery hopes PARIS, December 17, 2013 (AFP) – Demand for new cars in Europe rose for the third month running in November, according to trade figures published on Tuesday, bolstering hopes of a moderate eurozone recovery next year. A total of 938,021 new passenger cars were registered in November, data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association showed, a 1.2-percent gain on sales the previous month. The gain was powered by demand in Britain, which was up 7.0 percent and Spain (+15.1 percent). Registrations were down by 2.0 percent however in Germany, Europe’s top economy, and in struggling France (-4.0 percent). “The overall situation is truly improving: month after month, more and more European markets are returning into the black,” said Carlos da Silva, analyst at IHS Automotive.

third bridge across the Bosphorus. The city, with its wealth of spectacular Ottoman and Byzantine monuments, is Turkey’s most visited, welcoming over 9.7 million foreign tourists this year, according to official figures. Erdogan came under fire during mass street protests in June over the government’s grandiose construction projects, which critics say are aimed at wooing voters with a series of elections looming in 2014 and 2015. Initially, a 400-vehicle floating parking lot costing $12 million (almost nine million euros) will start operating in Istanbul, ISPARK said, but did not give a timeframe.

(Relaxnews) – The American manufacturer has just unveiled an autonomous version of its hybrid car, built for research purposes. Equipped with cameras and numerous sensors, this version of the Fusion glides down the road with no one in the driver’s seat. This automated version of the Ford Fusion hybrid, which can analyze its environment and detect obstacles without human intervention, will be used to develop and enhance various automated driving technologies. Ford aims to position itself among the leaders in this field, and it has demonstrated cars that can park themselves, follow voice commands, detect driving hazards and trigger emergency braking when necessary. In a partnership with the University of Michigan and State Farm, Ford developed the research vehicle as part of its vast “Blueprint for Mobility” program, which it says “envisions a future of autonomous functionality and advanced technologies after 2025.” The company estimates that in the mid-term, vehicle-to-vehicle communications enabling certain autopilot functions will become commonplace. Further in the future, Ford predicts that vehicles will be able to navigate almost entirely on their own, improving safety on the road and reducing traffic congestion. Earlier this year, at its test center in Lommel, Belgium, Ford demonstrated a number of advanced autonomous functions – including the ability to park itself and avoid accidents – on a version of the Focus. Ford is not the only manufacturer actively working to develop an entirely autonomous vehicle. Volvo recently made headlines with the announcement of a new pilot project, in which 100 autonomous cars will make their way along public roads around the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, which elicited mixed reactions from all over the world. Nissan plans to market an entirely autonomous vehicle by 2020, and last September the brand announced that it had equipped a Leaf with a number of automatic driving technologies, enabling it to legally travel along Japanese roads without a driver. This was not the first time an autonomous car has been approved to take to the open roads: Google is already testing its driverless cars in California and Nevada. Watch a video on the automated Ford Fusion Hybrid: youtu. be/1SQ4LnFtkIE



Wednesday - Tuesday, Dec. 18-24, 2013



ATHLETICS PHL protests lost gold at Myanmar SEAGames MANILA, December 16, 2013 (AFP) – The Philippines said Monday it had protested a decision by officials at the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar to strip a Filipina swimmer of her gold medal, the latest controversy surrounding the games. The move comes after the Philippines questioned the huge number of obscure sports at the Myanmar games which seem designed to ensure that the host countries and its allies reap the most medals. The Philippine Olympic Committee in a statement said it had sent a letter asking that Filipina swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi be given back her gold. Alkhaldi, 20, won the 100 metre freestyle on Thursday, but it was quickly taken back after Thailand protested, saying there had been a “false start.” A re-swim was then ordered the following day, in which Alkhaldi came in third behind athletes from Thailand and Singapore, respectively. A member of the Philippines’ SEAGames task force said the “re-swim” had put the

Filipina at a disadvantage. “You cannot regain that adrenaline from the first final swim. The momentum of our athletes was diminished,” said task force member Paul Ycasas. The head of the Philippine mission to the Myanmar games Jeff Tamayo also said the order for a “re-swim” did not follow the rules set up by FINA (International Swimming Federation), the sport’s governing body. “The settlement of Thailand’s protest by calling for a re-swim is simply out of order,” Tamayo said in a statement. The Philippines’ head swimming coach, Carlos Brosas also charged that Singaporeans who dominate the region’s swimming federation, had favoured the “re-swim” and had already advised him that the Philippines’ protest would be unsuccessful. “The guys that really run the show, the bigwigs so to speak, are Singaporeans,” Brosas said in a statement from Myanmar. He said Friday’s “re-swim” had benefitted the Singaporeans as well which may explain why they favoured it.

Death sparks calls for PHL school boxing ban MANILA, December 16, 2013 (AFP) – A 16-year-old Philippine athlete died after a week in coma following a boxing match, triggering calls for the sport to be banned in schools, an official said Monday. Jonas Garcia, a high school athlete, suffered internal bleeding after a boxing match in a regional sports competition and died on Sunday. Boxing is hugely popular in the Philippines, which has produced many international champions, including Manny Pacquiao, once regarded as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. The death has sparked calls for the suspension of boxing from national school sports competitions, said Tonisito Umali, assistant secretary of the government education department. “Requests are being made for the suspension of boxing. Other regions are also saying they will not continue boxing,” he told AFP.

“We will not force them,” he said, adding that boxing would still be part of the national sports competition but regional teams will not be forced to send representatives. Pacquiao, who has parlayed his sporting fame into a massive fortune and election to Congress, had previously expressed sympathy for Garcia but had also said boxing programs for the youth should continue. “The answer isn’t to cancel boxing. This is where we get fighters for the Olympics. We just have to take the proper precautions,” he told broadcaster ABS-CBN. Pacquiao, who has won world championships in eight weight divisions, started as a teenage amateur boxer while living on the streets.



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