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MEDIA PARTNER OF THE YEAR

BusinessMirror

UNITED NATIONS

2015 ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIA AWARD LEADERSHIP AWARD 2008

www.businessmirror.com.ph

A broader look at today’s business n

Sunday, August 26, 2018 Vol. 13 No. 316

2016 EJAP JOURNALISM AWARDS

BUSINESS NEWS SOURCE OF THE YEAR

P25.00 nationwide | 2 sections 18 pages | 7 DAYS A WEEK

DIESEL DILEMMA

Oil firms protest as inflation rise prompts govt to bring back ‘dirtier’ diesel grade to market By Lenie Lectura

MEDAL TALLY R

Country

G

S

B

Total

1

China

71

48

29

148

2

Japan

33

31

43

107

3

South Korea

23

26

31

80

4

Iran

12

11

8

31

5

Indonesia

9

12

16

37

6

DPR Korea

9

5

6

20

7

Thailand

8

7

23

38

8

Chinese Taipei

6

10

12

28

9

India

6

5

14

25

10

Uzbekistan

5

10

7

22

11

Kazakhstan

3

7

24

34

12

Mongolia

3

2

4

9

13

Hong Kong

2

5

13

20

14

UAE

2

3

0

5

15

Singapore

2

1

6

9

16

Cambodia

2

0

1

3

17

Vietnam

1

6

9

16

18

Kyrgyzstan

1

4

5

10

19

Malaysia

1

4

1

6

20

Macau

1

2

0

3

21

Lebanon

1

1

2

4

22

Philippines

1

0

7

8

23

Jordan

1

0

3

4

24

Iraq

1

0

0

1

25

Turkmenistan

0

1

2

3

26

Bahrain

0

1

0

1

26

KSA

0

1

0

1

26

Lao PDR

0

1

0

1

29

Myanmar

0

0

2

2

30

Afghanistan

0

0

1

1

30

Pakistan

0

0

1

1

30

Qatar

0

0

1

1

N

O matter if it’s mandatory or merely optional, oil firms are still expected to sell Euro 2 diesel at their retail stations because competition will compel them to do so.

This was the message of the Department of Energy (DOE), which clarified early this week that the “directive”  for oil companies to provide Euro 2-compliant diesel fuel “has been really optional,” according to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi in a text message.  Department Order 2018-0812, signed by Cusi last August 10, stated “all industry players are hereby directed to provide Euro 2-compliant automotive diesel oil at the retail level as a fuel option for the transport and industrial customers.”  The order was part of a menu of “inflation busters” that government agencies came up with in a bid to stem the rising tide of inflation. Fuel was a particular concern because the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law had imposed higher excise taxes on fuel effective January 1, 2018, thus prompting people to heap the blame on TRAIN for the rising prices, even though officials kept saying the TRAIN alone wasn’t to blame as world oil prices had been increasing. Meanwhile, the DOE came up with its “optional” order for the oil players to offer Euro 2-compliant diesel as well, in a bid to ease prices, especially for the public transport sector. The same DOE order required oil firms to submit a monthly compliance report, indicating, among others, the list of participating retail outlets for proper monitoring by the DOE. “This department order shall

A JEEPNEY plies the Marcos Highway route along an unfinished stretch of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 East Extension Project in Cainta, Rizal. The Department of Energy has directed oil companies to provide Euro 2-compliant automotive diesel oil at the retail level. The shift in focus to lower-cost dirty fuel and away from the pursuit of cleaner air coincides with political pressure to shield the public from rising prices. ED DAVAD

take effect immediately,” the agency added.

Points of view

OIL firms had expressed their opposition to the new DOE order, saying this would entail significant investments in putting the

necessary infrastructure, including storage tanks, dispensing pumps and pipes. “We are doing this for the benefit of the public. We are looking at [it from] the consumer’s point of view, whereas [oil firms] are looking at [it from] a business

point of view,” commented DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella in a phone interview on Wednesday night. Representatives of oil companies were called to attend an emergency meeting at the DOE office last week.

According to the Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (Ippca),  “Secretary Alfonso Cusi agreed that the reintroduction of Euro 2 diesel will only be optional to those who would want to sell it.” Continued on A2

Oil’s surge clouds clean-air quest in emerging economies By Ann Koh and Claire Jiao |

O

Bloomberg News

IL rebound from the biggest price crash in a generation is sparking another revival: the use of cheaper, dirtier fuel in Southeast Asia’s two mostpopulous nations. Indonesia has sought to buy more lower-quality gasoline so far this year than the whole of 2017, while the Philippines is set to resume imports of higher-sulfur diesel after two years. The nations are embracing such supplies once

again as crude’s recovery exacerbates economic pain and boosts inflation, threatening to undermine efforts made during oil’s slump to curb pollution. The shift in focus to lower-cost dirty fuel and away from the pur-

PESO EXCHANGE RATES n US 53.4880

suit of cleaner air coincides with political pressure in the countries to shield the public from rising prices. Emerging markets are grappling with weaker domestic currencies and investors pulling out money, with everything from higher US interest rates to a stronger dollar and the American-Chinese trade war to contagion from the crisis in Turkey posing a threat. “Both Indonesia and the Philippines are for the very first time facing the pressure of what it’s like to have higher energy costs,” said Richard Gorry, a managing director at industry consultant JBC Energy. “This is an interesting way of getting around it, by asking for

lower-quality fuel, but that is a two-edged sword because you have environmental fallout.” Indonesian President Joko Widodo is reining in fuel prices to cap inflation in a bid to increase his chances of a re-election next year. After a two-year freeze on prices of subsidized fuels, Southeast Asia’s biggest gasoline buyer won’t raise prices for 88-RON gasoline and diesel throughout the year, Kompas reported last month, citing Energy Minister Ignasius Jonan.

Gasoline purchases

PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state oil giant, has sought more than 84 million barrels of 88-RON gasoline

so far this year via tenders, versus about 62 million for the whole of 2017, data compiled by Bloomberg show. By contrast, tenders to buy 92-octane grade slid 45 percent. A fuel with a higher octane number improves the performance of car engines and causes less pollution. In the Philippines, where inflation is at the highest in five years, the government this month told its oil companies to supply Euro 2-compliant diesel to transport and industrial users, an about-turn from the higher Euro 4 standard used since 2016. While the Euro 2 fuel - with 500 parts per million of sulfur - is more polluting than Euro 4 that has 50 ppm, it’s cheaper by

about 25 to 30 centavos per liter, government data show. The fuel downgrade means the country needs to buy the lowerquality grade from overseas as its refineries only produce Euro 4 fuel, with no Euro 2 imports made since January 2016. The net buyer of diesel wants to import Euro 2 diesel by October, said Rino Abad, a director at the Department of Energy. If the plan goes ahead, the Philippines will be the first Asian country to move from higher emission standards to a lower one, said Den Syahril, a senior analyst at industry consultant FGE. See “Oil Surge,” A2

n JAPAN 0.4806 n UK 68.5342 n HK 6.8139 n CHINA 7.7802 n SINGAPORE 38.9315 n AUSTRALIA 38.7414 n EU 61.7305 n SAUDI ARABIA 14.2619

Source: BSP (August 24, 2018 )


NewsSunday BusinessMirror

A2 Sunday, August 26, 2018

www.businessmirror.com.ph

DIESEL DILEMMA Continued from A1

Ippca has at least 16 members composed of the country’ leading independent oil players, among them Eastern Petroleum Corp., Unioil Petroleum Philippines Inc., Seaoil Philippines, Flying V, City Oil, Pryce Gases and LPGMA. When the DOE was asked why it has backtracked on its earlier stance mandating oil firms to reintroduce Euro 2 when the government itself mandated them to offer Euro 4-compliant diesel, Fuentebella said: “It’s been optional from the beginning. Even if one oil firm offers Euro 2 and motorists flocked to the stations of that oil firm to gas up because it’s cheaper, then that will force other oil firms to do the same. It’s called competition. They have to keep up with competition because they will be affected if they don’t.” After the meeting, the DOE released a news statement, clarifying that “the department’s directive… is meant to provide a cheaper diesel alternative, particularly for those operating older vehicles in the public transport sector.” “With rising prices, each centavo of savings counts,” Cusi stressed.

Inflation control

THE oil firms, though, were still required by the DOE-Oil Industry Management Bureau to submit their respective implementation programs on August 24. In their respective implementation plans, the oil companies are expected to indicate the participat-

ing retail outlets, the date of intended implementation and other related information for the provision of an additional diesel fuel alternative. Based on estimates, Fuentebella said, about half of the public-utility vehicles are compatible with Euro 2 diesel. The agency said bringing in Euro 2-compliant diesel fuel gives motorists an additional option. Euro 2 diesel matches diesel engines not equipped with catalytic converters. These are usually the 2015, 2014 and earlier models of vehicles. “The DOE is actively finding ways to help control inflation,” said Cusi. Inflation accelerated to 5.2 percent in June, the highest in more than five years, due to costlier food and higher “sin” taxes. Cusi said those owning older vehicle models from 2015 below, particularly in the transport sector, would benefit from additional savings that the Euro 2 diesel fuel would provide—around P0.20 to P0.30 per liter—compared to Euro 4.  

Biofuel option

IPPCA said if the DOE truly wants an immediate and doable way of reducing the price of fuel, it strongly suggests  the relaxation of the implementing rules and regulations stipulated under Republic Act 9637, or the Biofuels Act of 2006, which requires oil companies to buy biofuels from local manufacturers, notwithstanding the huge difference between local and imported bioA PASSENGER jeepney undergoes repair work at a roadside repair shop on Marcos Highway, Antipolo City. A public-transport staple utilizing mostly surplus diesel engines, these jeepneys were originally American WWII Willys jeeps remodeled to accommodate 18 to 24 passengers. ED DAVAD

fuels, particularly ethanol. 
 “With the relaxation of the prescribed biofuels blend, motorists could expect a P2-per-liter and P0.30-per-liter reduction on the pump price of gasoline and diesel, respectively,” Ippca said. 
 The group said the DOE should revisit the mandatory purchase of locally sourced ethanol, which is more expensive than imported ethanol and reducing the CME (coco methyl ester) from 2 percent to 1 percent. Ippca added that it believes that relaxing the prescribed biofuel blend on fuel products would be more effective in bringing down local fuel prices, instead of reintroducing Euro 2 diesel that might not be feasible due to logistical concerns and minimal price reductions. Euro 4, in effect, is 10 times cleaner than Euro 2, Ippca said, so that blending of ethanol and biodiesel is no longer needed in achieving cleaner emissions from both gasoline and diesel products. Ippca pointed out that recent spikes and scarcity of table sugar could be attributed to the use of the same raw material, as sugar cane— which is used in ethanol production—is given higher priority due to its mandatory 10-percent blend in all gasoline products, thus, making locally produced ethanol more expensive by P4 per liter as against imported gasoline.

Setback

INDUSTRY sources, meanwhile, commented the “CME price impact on diesel pump price for B2 is only P0.30 based on today’s market prices. At 35 liters a day, that’s only

P10.50 a day. Still just two sticks of cigarette. [It’s the] same argument made against using Euro 2.” The DOE said such proposal needs legislation. “We can only come up with executive orders because the DOE was delegated to do so. What they are asking for requires legislative action,” Fuentebella said. He said that oil firms, during the meeting, agreed to form a group with the DOE to discuss in detail the concerns raised. Oil firms said the reintroduction of Euro 2 is a setback to the government and industry stakeholders’ campaign for cleaner air. It said going back to Euro 2 means reverting to fuel with 10 times more sulfur at 500 parts per million (ppm) as against the much cleaner diesel that is 90 percent less sulfur with only 50 ppm.  
 Ippca added that “offering Euro 2 is a logistical nightmare for oil companies, as it would require additional investments for the installation of underground tanks at the retail outlets, since Euro 4 diesel could not be commingled with Euro 2 diesel.”
 “The directive also undermines President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s directive banning smoking in public places to protect people from the ill effects of smoking and secondhand smoke. Now the DOE issued a department order that reverses the Clean Air Act of 1999—which is intended to protect Filipinos from the ill effects of polluted air,” Ippca pointed out with apparent dismay. Ippca said the DOE should take note that oil importers are already finished with  their fuel requirement procurement based

‘Oil surge’... Jeepney fuel

THE country wants to offer a cheaper option to users such as jeepneys and buses to help shield them from higher fuel costs, said Abad. Local diesel prices climbed about 23 percent this year, government data show. Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, has risen about 12

on their actual volume. Adding a new product at this point was not considered in that volume requirement.


Negligible savings

BESIDES, Ippca said, fuel stations would require retrofitting, which would take time and money. “Savings is negligible. Jeepney drivers require 35 liters of fuel a day. The 28-centavo price reduction, which they aim to get by the reintroduction of Euro 2, will only translate to P9.80 a day,” it explained. Moreover, Ippca said, Euro 2 no longer carries the Philippine National Standards tag since the time the government required oil companies to shift to Euro 4. Therefore, the DOE should first consult with the Bureau of Customs and other government agencies if the importation of Euro 2 will be permitted. “We explained to the DOE that considering it is merely a temporary measure to address the  current inflation, bringing in Euro 2 diesel will take time and cannot be done immediately even if the oil players would want to do so,” Ippca President Bong Suntay stressed. Laban Konsyumer Inc. said it does not agree with the Euro 2 directive. “Better to recall the order on Euro 2 and drop the matter,” said LKI President Victor Dimagiba in a text message. He said price discounts for petroleum products, including diesel, are already being implemented. “It’s one of the issues we wrote to [the] PCC [Philippine Competition Commission] and we are required to submit a more detailed affidavit complaint,” added Dimagiba.

Continued from A1

percent this year, heading for a third yearly advance. The Philippine central bank this month vowed to take all policy actions to tame inflation. Every one percentage point gain in global oil prices boosts the Philippine consumer price index by 0.03 percent, the bank estimates. “Making it cheaper could help

to cool down inflation, although I’m not certain how effective it will be,” said Weng Inn Chin, an analyst at FGE. “Even if the specification change is implemented, it is probably going to be a temporary move, and specifications should move back to Euro 4 in a couple of months.”


Editor: Angel R. Calso | www.businessmirror.com.ph

The World BusinessMirror

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A3

As trade war intensifies, China moves to bolster its economy By Keith Bradsher

New York Times News Service

S

HANGHAI—As China’s economy slows and the trade war with the United States intensifies, Beijing’s economic bosses are swinging into action. Chinese officials are pushing banks to lend more and allowing indebted local governments to spend money on big projects again. They have moved to shore up the value of the country’s currency. They have also helped out the stock market, say financial analysts, as the government works to avert a stock market collapse like the one three years ago that shook the world. “It’s a line in the sand for the leadership” of China, said Hao Hong, research director for the international operations of the Bank of Communications, a Shanghai-based financial institution. China is taking action as its problems mount. On Thursday the United States formally enacted its previously threatened tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese-made goods. Beijing said it would immediately retaliate with its own tariffs and file a complaint with the World Trade Organization. The moves intensify a trade war that has already affected more than $100 billion of goods and cast a shadow over growth prospects for China and the world. China is playing a difficult game. It must deal with its weakening economy without worsening its onerous debt problems. At the same time, it has to shore up the situation at home if it hopes to continue to retaliate against President Donald J. Trump’s trade war broadsides. So far, the trade war has had only a minor impact on China’s vast, $12-trillion economy. But the trade war complicates China’s deeper problems with its onerous debt levels. China has worked to wean its economy off its dependence on borrowing, but the resulting slowdown in growth has undercut that effort, leading Beijing to relent somewhat from that effort. Should the trade war take a greater toll, China could direct its banks to expand lending further. “The Chinese government always oscillates between maintaining stability and achieving quality growth,” said Zhigang Tao, a Hong Kong University economist. “When you see the government switch to stimulus, it generally means the government cares about stability.” China’s softening economy has led some within the Trump administration to believe Beijing is vulnerable, which could lead the White House to escalate the trade war even further. Larry Kudlow, director of Trump’s National Economic Council, pointed out during a Cabinet meeting last week that China’s own official statistics for business investment, retail sales and industrial production have shown weakness in recent months. “Right now, their economy looks terrible,” he said during the meeting, which was open to the media. China’s most recent quarterly economic figures suggest growth is continuing at a steady pace. But economists generally dismiss those official numbers, which are much smoother and more predictable than the economic figures posted by the United States and other major countries. Other indicators suggest a mild softening. Some consumers appear to be holding back. Infrastructure spending, which encompasses up to one-sixth of the Chinese economy, slowed sharply through the first seven months of this year. The city of Harbin, a provincial capital in northeastern China, ran out of money last month to pay pensioners, and had to rearrange its finances to pay them later. Corporate bond defaults have increased this year, although they are still low by international standards. The country’s banks acknowledged last month a fairly sharp uptick in nonperforming loans, although that was partly driven by tighter auditing standards.

Russia admits toll of sanctions as market turmoil adds pain

T

he stranglehold of US sanctions and a succession of crises across emerging markets are taking a toll on Russia’s economy, hurting the currency and fueling outflows of capital, a top government official said. Updated forecasts to be released next week will show a smaller gain in gross domestic product this year and a weaker ruble than anticipated, with outflows accelerating in the next 12 months, Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said on Wednesday. Sanctions are compounding the impact of turmoil in Turkey, Argentina and Brazil, putting the Russian economy on track to grow 1.8 percent in 2018, down from an earlier projection of 1.9 percent, Oreshkin told reporters in Sochi. “All of this is clearly affecting the Russian market,” he said. He said the changes in the official forecast “will be of a largely cosmetic nature,” but the shift marks a setback for the government’s efforts to revive growth to meet President Vladimir Putin’s ambitious targets for boosting living standards. Speculation is swirling over the shape of the next round of US penalties as US midterm elections approach. American lawmakers are pondering curbs on Russian sovereign debt sales and tougher limits on some of the country’s biggest banks as punishment for election meddling. Thursday, the ruble traded close to its lowest level since 2016, sliding for a fifth day as traders awaited possible penalties over Russia’s alleged role in the nerve-agent poisoning of an ex-spy in the United Kingdom. The current official forecast calls for an average rate of 63.2 rubles per dollar in 2019, about 8 percent stronger than present levels. In June the central bank raised its forecast for this year’s net capital outflow to $30 billion from $19 billion. The central bank has been adding to the pressure on the ruble in recent days, buying foreign currency to build up reserves under a fiscal rule aimed at insulating the economy from volatility in oil prices. On Tuesday it bought the equivalent of 20.1 billion rubles ($293 million) of foreign currency, the third straight day of purchases after a six-day suspension from the market when the ruble was sliding. “I don’t rule out that Russia’s monetary authorities are hoarding foreign currency, expecting an increase in pressure on the country and a rise in foreign-currency demand,” said Vladimir Miklashevsky, a strategist at Danske Bank A/S in Helsinki. “Investors are getting ready for further worsening of the geopolitical situation between Russia and the US.” Legislators have called for softening some of the proposed sanctions to limit fallout on international markets. Still, David Hauner, a cross-asset strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says the risk of sanctions on sovereign debt has been underestimated and traders should brace for a bigger sell-off before the November elections. Russia’s Finance Ministry canceled Wednesday’s bond auction for the first time since April, citing heightened volatility. The ruble weakened 1 percent to 68.7050 against the US currency as of 12:02 a.m. in Moscow, poised for the lowest level since April 2016. “It’s not impossible” that the ruble could breach 70 per dollar, according to Inan Demir, an economist at Nomura International Plc. in London. “More rapid progress on the sanctions bill or a renewed deterioration in emerging-market sentiment” could push the Russian currency beyond that level, he said. Bloomberg News

Signals of serious financial and economic weakness have prompted Beijing authorities to rush out their series of measures since the end of July.

China is taking steps to make sure its companies and spenders have enough money. The central bank announced on August 10 that it would make sure enough credit

reached companies. China’s banking regulator announced on August 11 and again over the weekend that it wanted the country’s statecontrolled banking sector to provide ample

credit to exporters, small and medium-size businesses and infrastructure projects. Regulators are taking other steps to give banks the financial space needed to step up lending.


A4

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The World BusinessMirror

www.businessmirror.com.ph | Editor: Angel R. Calso

Trump allies’ downfall gives foes new fuel for House fight T

he Democrats’ edge in the battle for control of the House just got a little sharper. The convictions of two former top aides to President Donald J. Trump and the indictments of two of his earliest GOP House allies handed Democrats a campaign message that party members say writes itself. “The American people deserve

better than the GOP’s corruption, cronyism and incompetence,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said after Tuesday’s conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the guilty plea by the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and the indictment of California Rep. Duncan Hunter. For much of the midterm

election campaign, Pelosi and other Democrats have been mired in internal disagreements over how far to go in directly raising the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller— as well as potential presidential impeachment—because they doubt the message would win votes. But with just two and a half

months left before the election on November 6 —in which independent forecasters already give Democrats good odds of winning control of the House— Pelosi and other Democrats across the board have since Tuesday tightened their focus on corruption in inter views, statements and tweets.

“If you believe that the Republicans are behind in the race for the House, as many do, then they probably need some sort of positive development between now and the midterm,” said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of the Sabato’s Crystal Ball election forecast at the University of Virginia. The Cohen plea and the Manafort conviction “was not that,” he said. “The numbers are already bad.”

Difficult task

Two people close to Trump said keeping the House in Republican control has become a much-harder task in the wake of the Cohen and Manafort convictions. One of the people noted that voters tend to punish incumbents in the president’s party for White House problems. Senate Republicans largely dodged questions about the court cases as they made their way through the Capitol on Wednesday. “No comment” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Trump ally, said before heading to an elevator, in a typical response. Several highlighted that neither the Manafort nor Cohen cases were directly related to the Russia investigation, which Trump has labeled a “witch hunt.” “Nothing we heard yesterday has anything to do with Russia or the reason Director Mueller was appointed special counsel,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said on Wednesday. The House is in recess. Speaker Paul Ryan’s office released a statement on Tuesday night, saying the Wisconsin Republican needed more information about Cohen’s plea before commenting.

Losing races

Republicans are already swimming against a tide of history where the party in the White House typically loses dozens of House seats in midterm elections. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to win the chamber, and have opportunities in many districts heavy on suburban and high-income voters who lean Republican but backed Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 election. “ The House battleground is much more focused on aff luent, Trump-skeptical suburban voters than the Senate is,” Kondik said. “Some Republicans in those places already don’t like the president, and it’s hard to see how the Cohen-Manafort developments would improve their view of the president.” The Senate is a more complicated picture as the Democrats’ path to the majority runs through conservative pro-Trump states like Indiana, North Dakota and Tennessee this fall, thanks to an unusually friendly map for Republicans. The November election will determine whether Trump’s party or the Democratic opposition controls congressional committees that have subpoena power for documents and testimony and the authority to initiate impeachment. About a third of Democrats in the House voted in January for articles of impeachment, a move that was rejected by all Republicans and most Democrats. Democratic leaders have steered away from talking about impeachment, because the threat may motivate Trump supporters to vote in November. For the same reason, Republicans are increasingly talking about it.

Democratic ‘overreach’

“I have some confidence that our Democratic friends are going to overreach and this’ll all be about impeachment,” Cornyn said. Eric Brakey, a Republican making a long-shot bid to unseat independent Sen. Angus King in Maine, released a statement on Wednesday that “the Mueller investigation’s end-game is to impeach President Trump” and a vote for King is “a vote to move that impeachment forward. ” The news may embolden a faction in the Democratic Party’s liberal wing that wants to pursue impeachment. Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer, who has been funding a campaign for impeachment, called the Cohen guilty plea “further proof ” the president has engaged in unlawful behavior. “It’s time for the American people to make themselves clear: ‘Remove Donald Trump from office or we will remove you from office,’” he said. Steyer, who has already been running ads promoting impeachment, has said he’ll spend $50 million on his “Need to Impeach” campaign to motivate voters to back Democratic candidates. So far, the Russia probe and the question of impeachment haven’t figured into many Democratic House campaigns. “Democrats are smart to deploy a message that focuses on a culture of corruption within today’s GOP. It’s a safer message than specifically promoting impeachment, and likely ensures they take the House in November,” said David Jolly, a former Republican congressman from 2014 to 2017. Democrats also seized on Tuesday’s indictment of Hunter on charges he and his wife used campaign funds to pay personal expenses. It came less than two weeks after another House Republican, Chris Collins of New York, was himself indicted by federal authorities on insider trading charges. Unlike Hunter, Collins has since resigned from Congress. They were two of the first House Republican backers of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Democrats say giving their party a House majority would deliver meaningful oversight of the Trump administration. “This is just one of the lowest moments of Congress,” Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia, the top Democrat on the House Oversight subcommittee on Government Operations, said. “Essentially, the Republicans under Trump have completely given up even the pretense of government oversight—including cabinet members’ greed and self aggrandizement, ethics issues and conf licts of interest.” Bloomberg News


Faith

Sunday

Editor: Lyn Resurreccion • www.businessmirror.com.ph

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A5

Catholics consider withholding donations amid abuse scandals

F

or decades, Michael Drweiga has opened his wallet whenever the donation basket comes around at church, but the latest revelations of priests sexually abusing children brought him to the conclusion that he can no longer justify giving.

Saint Louis, painting by El Greco  (c. 1592–95) Wikimedia Commons

King Louis IX, Holy Man By Corazon Damo-Santiago

‘I

love you, my dear son, as a mother can love her child but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should ever commit a mortal sin,” said Queen Blanche to her son Louis IX. “My dearest son, you should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin,” wrote King Louis VIII in his spiritual testament to his son. The king educated his five sons and six girls just as his saintly mother took care of his spirituality. King Louis IX was born in Poissy in north-central France on April 25, 1215. The son of King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castille, he was crowned king when his father died. Too young to be king at 11, his mother, who served as regent, ruled the country wisely until he was 19. His mother took care of his secular and religious education. She did not entrust his safety to palace attendants, ensured his wellness and accompanied him even in his play activities in the forests and rivers. At 19, Louis married 12-yearold Margaret, the daughter of Ed mu nd B erenger, Cou nt of Provence. With 11 children, they produced descendants to the throne for over 500 years.

For the Glory of God

King Louis IX possessed exceptional human and administrative skills. A member of the Third Order of Franciscans, he personified exemplary living. He started the day with Mass attendance and recitation of the Divine Office. He ruled wisely, eradicated usury, corruption and improved the justice system in courts as well as the delivery of administrative services to the people. The king gave generously to the poor, unfortunate, sick and dowry for poor women. Homes were built for the homeless, hospitals, monasteries and orphanages, too. The house of Filles Dieu (Daughters of God) was built to improve the welfare of reformed prostitutes. The kingdom was not rich, with estate revenues as the principal source of income. Yet, he generously extended help to all who needed it. He delighted in inviting 13 guests to eat with him in the palace while serving in nearby places meals for poor families. His concern for the poor was exemplary, performing menial jobs for the sick. He delighted in helping the blind, who did not recognize him and the lepers of Royaumont. Jainville, the king’s companion for more than 20 years, was quoted by Joan Carroll Cruz in Secular Saints: “From his child-

hood up, Louis was compassionate toward the poor and suffering; and it was the custom that, whenever he went, six-scores of poor should always be replenished in his house with bread and wine and meat or fish everyday.” Encyclopedia Britanica (Vol. II, 118) described the king’s reign as the “high point of the ideal kingship of the Middle Ages in Europe. His love of peace, his reputation for piety, and his concern for the poor made him the most celebrated figure in French history.”

A man of peace, but...

The king is a man of peace and compassion, but he strongly believed he had to help free the Holy Land from the Turks in 1248. The Crusades was well planned with able and loyal crusaders. But famine and disease were no match for the crusaders. Forced to surrender, the king was subjected to insults, but his religious fervor, prayers and devotions never waned. He was ransomed and returned to France. Rev. Alban Butler, in Lives of Saints, wrote: “They were masters of his body and might do with it what they please but his soul, the most important part being the possession of God.” Twenty years later, King Louis joined another Crusade. Landing in Sardinia, he did not proceed to Egy pt but sailed to Tunis. Historians claimed that he was tricked to believe that the Moslem Emir was ready to convert to Christianity. The overwhelming heat, lack of food and water and various diseases crushed the Christian troops. John Tristan, the king’s son died. Thousands died fighting, more from dysentery and others mercilessly slain by Egyptians. Of the king’s concern for his men, Sir John de Valeri wrote: “The good king performed gallant deeds that I ever saw in any battle. Whenever he saw his men distressed, he forced himself in and gave such blows with battle, ax and sword, it was wonderful to behold.” Dying, he prayed for his troops. “God have mercy on these thy people, lead them to safety in their own lands.” His last words were: “Lord, into your hands, I commend my spirit.” He was canonized by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297. He is the patron saint of the Franciscan Third Order together with Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. His feast day is August 25. Damo-Santiago is a former regional director of the Department of Education National Capital Region. She is currently a faculty member of Mater Redemptoris Collegium in Calauan, Laguna, and of Mater Redemptoris College in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

Brice Sokolowski helps sma l l Cat holic nonprof its and churches ra ise money, but he too suppor ts t he recent ca l ls to w it hhold donations. And Georgene Sorensen has felt enough anger and “ just total sadness” over the past few weeks that she’s reconsidering her weekly offering at her parish. Across the US, Catholics once fa it hf u l w it h t heir f inancia l support to their churches are searching for ways to respond to the constant sex-abuse scandals that have tarnished the institution in which they believe, with back-to-back scandals in the past two months. The most recent came last Tuesday when a grand jury report revealed that hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania molested more than 1,000 children in six dioceses since the 1940s—crimes that church leaders are accused of covering up. The report came two months after Pope Francis ordered disg raced ex- Cardina l T heodore McCarrick removed from public ministry amid  allegations the 88-year-old retired archbishop sexually abused a teenage altar boy and engaged in sexual misconduct with adult seminarians decades ago. Last month, Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation as cardinal and ordered him to a “life of prayer and penance.” T he most recent “whopper of a report” from Pennsylvania, Drweiga said, was enough to make him wonder where his money was going and whether it was being used to cover up abuses. “In an organization that spans the whole world like the Catholic Church, you don’t know where your money is going. And when you read about these priest-abuse scandals it just raises that question to the highest power. What is this money going for?” said Drweiga, 63, who lives in Wilmette, Illinois.

Sokolowski, an Austin, Texas, resident who founded Catholicfundraiser.net to provide advice to Catholic nonprofits and churches, said he’s heard from many who are “really sick and tired” of hearing about priests abusing children. “So the big thing that people are saying is, ‘We just need to stop funding their crap,’” said Sokolowski, 36. He said he encourages people to stop giving money to their diocese, which oversees the network of churches in an area, but to keep supporting their local parish and tell their priest and bishop what they’re doing. Calls to financially boycott the Catholic Church are not new. Five years ago, after sex-abuse scandals rocked the archdiocese in Saint Paul, Minnesota, parishioners talked about withholding their donations in protest. But Catholics face a delicate ba lance because some of the money dioceses raise are shared with parishes, cautioned Dr. Edward Peters, the Edmund Cardinal

I chose to stay

Msgr. Josefino S. Ramirez SUNDAY GOSPEL IN OUR LIFE

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a decade ago and has intensely studied through three years of night school to earn a master’s degree in theology. “I am struggling with it—it’s not easy for me,” said Shih, a Taiwanese immigrant who lives in New York City and attends several Catholic churches. “I don’t think I’ll leave the church but I can imagine a lot of people...will just drop out of the church.” Tim Lennon, the president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said his organization has fielded calls from Catholics who have pledged to stop giving to their church. “It’s an action as opposed to just sitting here doing nothing,” he said, but added that it’s a symbolic gesture. “That in itself will not protect children. That in itself will not support survivors. That in itself will not compel...an attorney general to take action,” he said. “It’s just a message to the church that it’s not just survivors knocking at their door as we have been for the last 30 years.” Ilene Kennedy, a San Antonio resident who attended Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on Sunday, said she doesn’t know “what the fix would be” aside from “holding the higher-ups accountable.” Still, she doesn’t think withholding her money from the collection basket is the answer. “I don’t think we should punish all churches just for that,” she said. “I don’t think that’s right.” AP

Bishop David Zubik, current bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, takes questions from reporters after a vocation Mass at Saints John and Paul Parish in Franklin Park, Pennsylvania, on August 18. Zubik is pushing back against a call for his resignation and says the diocese has “followed every single step” needed for responsible action after allegations of child sexual abuse. Michael M. Santiago/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: ‘John 6:60-69’

he great crowds that had followed Jesus were leaving one by one in disgust. Jesus had told them that unless they ate His flesh and drank His blood, they would have no part with Him. How cou ld such a lear ned Teacher the great Miracle worker, make such a proposal? The Jews, so particular with matters of cleanliness and purification in their eating habits, were taken aback by what seemed to be cannibalism. The 12 Apostles were also in doubt, so Jesus tells them, “Do you also want to go away” (John 6:67)? Almost without thinking, Peter blurts out what he had in his heart. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life

Szoka chairman at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. “I’m just saying, be careful about punishing the Spouse of Christ and her dependent children because some priests and even bishops, men presumably wedded to her as Jesus was wedded to her, abandoned her so shamelessly,” Peters wrote in a blog post last Thursday, referring to the Catholic Church. Sorensen, who lives near Tucson, Arizona, said after the McCarrick story broke, her prayer group sent a letter to her bishop voicing their concerns. “Then came the Pennsylvania scandal and we thought, ‘Oh my God, this isn’t over. We thought it was over,’” the 72-yearold Sorensen said. “We thought we were building the new church again.” Sorensen sa id she doesn’t plan to w ithhold money that she has pledged, including her diocese’s A nnual Catholic Appeal, but she has spoken w ith ot hers about t he possibi l it y of not giv ing a regular week ly contribution or only offering money to specific projects. As for future major giving, she said, “we are definitely waiting to see where all the chips are going to fall.” “It comes down to one thing: It’s the message, not the messenger,” she said. “I’m a faithful Catholic.... I will never leave the church. I will fight to save it.” For Eddie Shih, however, the scandal has shaken his faith— one to which he converted about

and we have come to believe and to know that You are the Holy One of God ” (John 6:68). No, they were not going to abandon the Master even in this difficult moment. They still could not understand that Jesus was foretelling the institution of the Holy Eucharist. But they had developed a certain loyalty to His person. There is a story of a certain Demetr ius whose f r iend had been unjust ly condemned to death and had no time even to inform his mother. Demetrius vouched for the integrity of his friend and volunteered to remain in prison and even suffer the death sentence so that his friend could be allowed and say good-bye to his mother. A long time elapsed

and the released friend had not yet shown up while the time for the death sentence drew close. The cynics and the skeptics rubbed their hands in glee—here is another betrayal of friendship; whoever talked about the virtue of loyalty and friendship? O n t he d ay of e xec ut ion , Demetr ius stil l kept his faith w ith his fr iend, confident that he wou ld fina l ly ar r ive. A nd he did, all f lustered and in a hurr y. He had been detained by some accident, but had r ushed to the scene of the proposed execution to ta ke his proper place and released Demetr ius. The king then realized that such a noble person and such a noble friend could not have been guilty of the crime he was accused of, and both Demetrius and his friend were released. Present-day skeptics may still raise their eyebrows over this fable of loyalty. But most of us would certainly wish to have such loyal friends. Even more important, we can ask ourselves if we are loyal to our friends. We are loyal to our friends if we engage in a friendship not because of what we can gain but what we

can give. True friends seek the benefit of the other person, not their own. Therefore, friendship based on evil, in which we do harm to the other while also doing harm to ourselves, cannot be a true friendship. Such friends are really “accomplices,” and such friendships often end up in bitter quarreling and enmity. One vice that often destroys friendships is detraction or calumny. False friends could f latter a person to his face and then say negative things about him in his absence. A loyal friend would say nice things about us to others and save the negative things in a personal and private conversation, with the object of showing us our defects in order to help us improve. So if we want to be loya l friends, we should not be afraid to talk to others about their need to improve, in a spirit of constructive help. Likewise, we can put into practice that practical advice in our conversations: “Don’t make negative criticism. If you can’t praise, say nothing” (The Way, 443).


Science

BusinessMirror

A6 Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sunday

Dirty Pasig River water can be potable—through Israeli tech

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Story & photo by Recto Mercene

he Pasig River has been declared “dead” decades ago. So dead that it could no longer sustain marine life due to pollutants and other toxic substances thrown in the waterway by city inhabitants, industries and factories along its bank. However, Israel Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau drank water from Pasig River to guarantee that it is safe—after the water passed through an Israeli-made mobile water filtration system. Matityau urged members of the media to drink the same water— which they did without ill effects on them. Since its foundation in 1948, Israel has placed great emphasis on maximizing its water supply, turning much of its arid land into fertile agricultural soil, “making the dessert bloom.” Today, the Israeli water industry is recognized as a global leader in the industry, thanks to breakthrough technological innovations in areas, such as desalination, drip irrigation and water security. The areas of expertise of Israeli companies in the water arena, include: management, agriculture, treatment; desalination; safety and security; information technology and communications.  “The immediate problem in many areas in the Philippines is where to get potable water for the residents following a flood or typhoon,” he said. “This is the solution,” Matityau added, showing the photograph of a mall jeep, called GalMobile, that carry a water filtration system. The GalMobile—which is not for sale—can purify up to 20,000 liters of sea water a day and 80,000 liter of brackish, muddy or contaminated river water. The filtered water has been tested and found to conform to World Health Organization standards. “It is a unique independent, integrated water purification system and it could be transported to remote communities, villages devastated by calamities, or anywhere that drinkable water is not available so long as there is a nearby lake, canal, dam or sea [which it can filter],” Matityau said.

One unit of the mobile system was donated to the Philippine National Red Cross and another unit is destined to the Visayas. “It can deliver potable drinking water from any source, anytime, anywhere,” Matityau said. The jeep, which runs on 12 volts low-voltage system, is mobile, self-contained, independent and automatic. It contains an integrated water-storage tank with a capacity of 265 gallons to 2,650 gallons and can be deployed in less than 30 minutes by two people. Israel’s technology is a source of envy across the world because even in the seeming absence of copious amount of water—as one could imagine for desert-like environment where Israel is located—the tiny country is able to raise fruits and vegetable in large quantities for export to European nations. It has also excelled in animal husbandry, being able to raise cattle that produces large amount of milk, and which technology they share with the Philippines, a long time friend. “Israel is currently training 600 Filipino students for one year to learn agriculture and animal husbandry,” he announced.  Israel is among the developed countries, and is known for its high-technology designs and manufactures. It is considered as the start-up nation. “Israel started from nothing. The country is a start-up,” Matityau pointed out. Today, Israel, a country with a population of just 9 million people, continues to produce an impressive number of highly successful technology companies. 

Israel Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau drinks water from Pasig River after it passed through an Israeli-made water filtration system.

Multinational technology companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft all have research centers in Israel. Some of the local companies  are specializing in drones, cybersecurity and autonomous driving technology.  Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently announced that it aspires to be the world’s 15th-largest economy by 2025. The country is ranked 16th in the 2017-2018  World Economic Forum’s  Global Competitiveness Report. Matityau said Israel’s diverse market economy, which includes agricultural, service, tourism, high-technology, textiles and diamond sectors continues to support the Philippines’s fast-growing economy. The envoy also announced that he is winding up his tour of duty in the Philippines. During his four-year stint, the embassy’s main efforts focused on tourism, innovation hi-tech, agriculture and food security, emergency preparedness and humanitarian action. T he  a mba ssador, toget her with the Commission on Higher Education and state universities and colleagues (SUCs) participating in the Agrostudies Program, initiated the “Lighthouse Projects” a demonstration of agriculture farms and units that will engage collaboration among universities, LGUs, business sector and student-returnees from the

It can deliver potable drinking water from any source, anytime, anywhere.”—Matityau

Agrostudies Program. Before leaving for retirement, he will inaugurate two Lightouse Projects that will highlight technology in education in Davao City and urban farming in Taguig City. Foreign Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano’s bailiwick of Taguig City will showcase urban farming, focusing on hydro/aquaponics vertical growth on the rooftop of Taguig City University. It will be turned into a training and extension center for the project. “ These projects are carried out through  the generous contr ibution of Pass It For ward Foundation as part of their development fund,” Matityau said. He added: “ The foundation was organized by Israeli nationals, which has a global network and business centers, including one in the Philippines.” To promote tourism exchange, Matityau initiated the visit of Israel’s Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin in September 2015, which led to the signing of a special agreement on tourism promotion. Israel’s Ministry of Tourism data showed that around 23,5000 Filipinos traveled to Israel in 2017, up 61 percent from 14,600 in 2016. For the first half of this year, around 11,7000 Filipinos visited Israel, up 30 percent from 9,000 during a comparable period in 2017. The Philippines and Israel being complimentary economies, Matityau initiated a partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, and with startup acceleration, such as IdeaSpace Foundation and Kickstart Ventures, in conducting joint competition where winning start-up founders participate in Tel Aviv’s annual competition.

Maynilad mounts 2nd ‘Junior Water Camp’ for PSHS

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he Maynilad Water Academy recently organized its second implementation of the “Junior Water Camp” (JWC)—an educational program that promotes the application of science and technology in the water industry. Now on its second year, the program features lectures, demonstrations and hands-on activities on topics, such as water sources, water and wastewater treatment, logistics, meters, leaks, research and design thinking and customer service. Junior high-school students of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) main campus take their practical exam on leak detection as part of their eight-day science immersion program in Maynilad. “Maynilad Water Academy will continue to engage with PSHS and other learning institutions so that we can produce the future water professionals and experts that will help ensure water sustainability for our country,” said Executive Director Rodora Gamboa of Maynilad Water Academy. “The JWC experience is definitely worth your time. You will learn many concepts regarding water distribution, treatment and sanitation, and also be immersed in actual field demonstrations of water operations,” JWC graduate Francis Matthew A. de los Reyes said.

www.businessmirror.com.ph • Editor: Lyn Resurreccion

Study: PHL bamboo industry lacks comprehensive policy

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nitial findings of a study suggest that imposing a certificate of verification (COV) for harvested bamboo dampens private-sector investment, discourages planting of bamboo and breeds bureaucracy. There is a need for a more comprehensive policy that would ensure sustainability of the bamboo industry, economically and environmentally, said the study funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD). Th e p ro j e c t, t i t l e d “Cre at i n g a n Enabling Environment for a Vibrant Philippine Bamboo Industry: Addressing Poli c y Con st ra i nt s a n d I n fo rm at io n Needs,” aims to provide the scientific basis for policy environment on bamboo that is in sync with societal needs; g e n e rate d at a b a s e i n f o r m at i o n f o r dissemination and propose a draft policy that will encourage bamboo resource development by both the government and the private sector. Preliminary results reveal that the government does not have enough basis and lacks of coordination in implementing the existing bamboo policies, particularly the issuance of CoV. As per Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DENR) Administrative Order 59 series of 1993, CoV is a legal document used by traders and shippers for the movement of bamboo from point of origin to destination. It serves as a proof of the legality of source. The use of CoV, as a control mechanism against the unauthorized movement and disposition of illegal bamboo products, is inconsistent with the bamboo plant’s persistence and ability to grow, develop and expand. However, it fails to recognize the ecological nature of bamboo as a grass—

bamboo grows more as it is cut. “CoV does not achieve the desired protection of this plant resource. It becomes a hindrance in maximizing the economic benefits we can get from bamboo resource as a raw material in housing, construction and furniture industrie,” the study said. Furthermore, there are inconsistencies in the implementation of CoV in terms of the application procedure and fees collected. Where CoV is strictly implemented, some respondents asser ted that authorities are taking advantage by collecting higher fee as payment for the release of CoV. Meanwhile, traders of bamboo are stopped at checkpoints, where they still end up shelling out token amounts to avoid being inconvenienced, despite having secured CoV for their shipment. To address the issues, the study proposed a comprehensive policy that will include the following: advocacy programs for bamboo planting in forest and private lands; sustainable management of bamboo resource; community-based data collection and monitoring system; protection of bamboo traders and transporters from undue harassment; provision of incentives and loans; and institutionalization of an agency that will oversee the bamboo development in the country. Led by Dr. Ramon A. Razal, professor at the Department of Forest Products and Paper Science of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, the project will run for 18 months, and is expected to end in November. The projec t team members have conducted review of existing policies, gathered statistics and related literature, held workshops, roundtable, site visits, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. S&T Media Services

G.M.O. eggplant crop expands in Bangladesh

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armers are continuing to rapidly adopt Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) brinjal (eggplant) in Bangladesh, resulting in reduced pesticide use and higher incomes, according to a new paper authored by scientists involved in developing and releasing the pioneering genetically modified (GM) crop. Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechology, the scientific team, led by Cornell University’s Professor Tony Shelton, revealed that this year 27,012 Bangladeshi farmers benefited from the pest-reducing technology. The latest figures show a substantial increase from the 6,512 farmers who had adopted Bt brinjal during the previous 2016-2017 season. Bt brinjal was first rel ea sed ex pe ri me nt al ly to ju st 2 0 farmers in 2013-2014, 108 farmers in 2014-2015 and 250 farmers in 2015-2016. The paper confirms that pest-resistant Bt brinjal has enabled the small-scale family farmers, who grow the crop to make big reductions in their use of pesticides and consequently dramatically increase their income from selling the vegetables in local markets. A study in the 2016-2017 cropping season compared 505 Bt brinjal farmers with 350 non-Bt brinjal farmers. This indicated a 61-percent saving in pesticide cost, which translated to a 650-percent (sixfold) increase in returns, from $2,151 per hectare for Bt brinjal as compared to just $357 per hectare for non-Bt brinjal. These cost savings and increases in returns show not just a significant environmental gain due to pesticide reductions, but a huge potential improvement in livelihoods for these farmers, many of whom live in impoverished conditions. Despite these clear benefits, anecdotal reports collected by the Alliance for Science suggest that anti-genetically modified organism activists spent more than one season touring the countryside i n B a n g l a d e s h a n d e n co u ra g i n g Bt brinjal-adopting farmers to give up using the GMO crop and instead return to using more insecticide. Bt brinjal was initially intended for three countries: Bangladesh, India and the Philippines. However, anti-GMO activists successfully blocked the deployment of Bt brinjal in both India and the Philippines, with the result that eggplant farmers in both countries continue to be dependent on toxic insecticide spraying.

An economist in the Philippines recently reported  that Filipino farmers are losing as much as P33.85 billion annually due to noncommercialization of the crop. The new paper also shows—contrary to repeated asser tions by anti-GMO groups based in Dhaka—that Bt brinjal has been fully effective in protecting crops against the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) pest. Experiments showed less than 1-percent infestation, as compared to 35-percent to 45-percent infestation for non-Bt eggplant, even with weekly spraying. The scientists caution that Bt brinjal is not designed to counter all pests, and that control methods are still needed to tackle other insects, such as whiteflies, thrips and mites. This means insecticides may still be needed occasionally, though in much reduced quantities. They write: “Results indicated that high-quality EFSB-free brinjal could be produced without insecticide treatments but that insecticide control of ‘sucking insects’ provided even higher economic returns on the Bt lines.” Regarding the development of the technology, the paper describes how Bt brinjal “was provided to the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute [BARI] through a public-private partnership between Mahyco, Cornell University, S athguru Management Consultants, BARI and the United States Agency for International Development [USAID] under the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II cooperative agreement [ABSPII].” Although ABSPII ended in 2014, USAID still supports the project through the South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership, part of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative. Discussing the provision of seeds to farmers, the authors write: “BARI has distributed seed for free to growers but BADC [Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation] charges a minimal fee. Of note is that the four Bt brinjal lines that have been released are not hybrids, so growers can save seed, although they are discouraged from doing so for agronomic reasons.” Hybrids may be offered to farmers in the future, however, to further improve yields. The scientists also emphasized the importance of proper stewardship, with farmers required to provide refuges of 5-percent non-Bt brinjal to help forestall the evolution of resistance among the target fruit and shoot borer pest. The paper also outlines other strategies that also need to be employed.


Tourism&Entertainment BusinessMirror

Editor: Carla Mortel-Baricaua

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A7

In Bohol, you can fill your tummies well within your budget

Foodies flock Fusion Nights at Sandugo Festival Story & photos by Gelyka Ruth Dumaraos

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hat can be more exciting than feasting on a highquality food that you can afford for a few bucks?

The recent Fusion Nights, a twoweek food bazaar that ran during the Sandugo Festival from July 21 to 29, recently made it possible to feast on reasonably priced culinary treats from different restaurants and hotels in Bohol on a fraction of its original menu price. “We wanted to showcase the best that we can offer to visitors, expats and guests,” said Maria Fe Dominise, head of Bohol Investment Promotion Center, organizer of the weeklong food festival. “The Fusion Nights was an opportunity to bring in an added attraction to the monthlong festivities, presenting a cultural parade and the exchange of the flavor, beauty and color.” Fusion Nights, now on its fifth year, aims to bring people to a hub where they can taste the best offerings of hotels and restaurants in Bohol without having to spend too much. Featured in the food festival were international cuisines and Bohol’s versions of local authentic Filipino food. Rommel Gonzales of Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and

Restaurants (BAHRR) and general manager of The Bellevue Resort said Fusion Nights gives the opportunity to showcase and promote hotels and restaurant through their respective food. He said, “There are a lot of people who can’t go to Panglao and visit the resorts, so they come here for the opportunity to enjoy the food that now had become affordable.” With over 20 concessionaires, including restaurants, hotels and startup businesses, the Fusion Nights guaranteed foodies a price drop up to 50 percent of its original price tag.

Bringing back hope

Fusion Nights started way back in the 2014 Sandugo Festival, nine months following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol in 2013. Dominise said that Gov. Edgar M. Chatto then posed a challenge to various sectors and communities to come up with projects that can bring back hope and excitement to Bohol’s Sandugo Festival despite the tragedy. She said, “Food is the easiest way

Locals show off Bohol’s rich culture and history during the street dance competition. AirAsia

Winners of Miss Bohol 2018 grace the Sandugo Festival Streetdance Competition AirAsia

to attract people. The Fusion Nights boosted the morale of the community as we converged and worked together.” With the high turnout of diners and visitors, more and more concessionaires were encouraged to participate in the event. Its annual increasing sales is a clear proof of its success. Dominise noted a boost in sales from all concessionaires that started from P600,000 in its

first year to over P1.5 million this year. This year’s concessionaires included the following: Acacia de Bubu, Astoria Bohol, Belian Hotel, Bluewater Resort Panglao, Bringhouse Resto, Cake Garden, Chef Loy, Donatela Hotel, Fred’s Book Café, JJ’s Dimsum, Kew Hotel, Kitchen with Rose, Lola Lilia’s, Paeng’s Fried Chicken, Potato Twist, Reyna’s, Socorro’s, South Palms Resort, Wings St., and Wok Express.

AirAsia for Sandugo Festival

Held every July, Sandugo Festival is a yearly commemoration of the historical blood compact between local chieftain, Datu Sikatuna, and the Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565. This year’s festivities centered on the theme “Legacy @ 30: The 30th year of Sandugo Festival,” with major activities that are spread the whole month such as the Sandugo Street Dancing Competition (Ku-

radang contest and reenactment), and the Fusion Nights. Also a major highlight of the Sandugo Festival was the crowning of Miss Bohol, Raclaire Stephan Dinsay Cesar Trigo of Tagbilaran City. Hailed as Miss AirAsia 2018, Trigo is set to encourage tourists to travel to Bohol and experience the local hospitality and fun adventures the island has to offer. AirAsia is a major and the only airline sponsor for this year’s Sandugo Festival. The partnership signed in February by Bohol Provincial Gov. Edgar Chatto and the airline’s Chief Executive and Captain Dexter Comendador involved joint brand advertising, promotional activities and campaigns, familiarization trips for consumer and trade associations, media, travel agencies, greater tourism development and route network synergy, joint road shows to trade partners and many more.


A8

BusinessMirror

Sunday, August 26, 2018

www.businessmirror.com.ph

dance of th

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By Corazon Ramos Imbang

nce upon a time there was a thumb and a mouth that were born on the same day, on the same hour. They were named Little Mouth and Little Thumb. The moment Little Mouth cried his first cry, Little Thumb was drawn to him and they were one. From the moment they were born, Little Thumb and Little Mouth were inseparable and grew to know each other well. As they grew up, Little Thumb and Little Mouth came to know that their life in the hut was simple. Every day, when Little Mouth was quiet, Little Thumb saw that there were bigger Thumbs and Mouths like him and Little Mouth

and they did a lot of things. Big Burly Thumbs chopped wood and lifted heavy things. Meanwhile, Big Mouths, in swinging colourful dresses, were always busy with cooking, washing and sweeping up the hut. Little Thumb could see Big

Thumbs and Big Mouths work well together but somehow, this made him a bit sad for Big thumbs and Big Mouths, though friends, were not inseparable like him and Little Mouth. It was a day like any other but Little Thumb was particularly nervous. The heat was oppressing inside the hut where they live. The walls of the hut, which were made of dried straw, did nothing to relieve the heat and there was no wind to help chase the warmth away. Little Thumb thought the heat made the flies extra frenzy. Normally, he did not mind the flies at all. In fact, its hypnotic song and dance were a soothing lullaby to him and Little Mouth. But not today. Little Thumb anxiously watched the flies zoom in circles around Big Burly Thumb and Big Mouth who never got up from the night before. They were both lying very still in the corner of the hut. Big Mouth’s colourful dress looked dull and flat. He

missed the sashay of her dress. The sun had once again shifted its position from the sky and there was no movement inside Little Thumb’s hut and he grew more worried. Not only did Big Thumb and Big Mouth failed to get up from their beds but his friend Little Mouth, had started to groan as if in pain. To make matters worse, the flies were coming inside the hut in an alarming rate. One by one, they came in from the window and through the door as if called by an invisible force. Little Thumb was almost sure it was from the funny sweet smell that emanated from the now not-so-nice Big Thumb and Big Mouth, which lured the flies to come in and investigate. They dance in tight circles, disturbing Big Mouth’s colourful dress and made it look like her dress had a life of its own. Mesmerized, Little Thumb and Little Mouth hardly dared to move. Sing, land, fly, dance.

Sing, land, fly, dance. It went on and on forever. Upset by the ghastly scene before them, Little Mouth moaned and Little Thumb went to console him and he knew no more. Day lengthened into afternoon and Little Thumb felt very much alone. His friend seemed to grow weaker as the heat pressed down on the hut. He tried to cajole Little Mouth with a bit of water from the bowl but his friend turned away. Little Thumb fretted and worried. Unrelenting heat. The hut stank more of the sickly sweet smell and the f lies doubled in numbers. Some f lew to Little Thumb which he feebly swatted away. Outside the hut, he saw Big Thumbs and Big Mouths walking around listlessly as if they were asleep. Little Mouth gave a piteous cry when they saw thick red f luid come out of one of the Big Mouths outside the hut. One by one, as if struck

by an unseen hand, they all slowly crumpled to the ground and everything grew completely still. Except for the punishing heat. Except for the flies that came in droves – that danced in tight circles. That sang a hypnotic deadly song. Sing, land, fly, dance. Sing, land, fly, dance. Merry flies, still Mouths and Thumbs. Merry, still. Merry. Still. At last, twilight came and the hut began to cool down. To Little Thumb’s relief, the flies, as if tired of its merry dance, started to leave one by one. The sickly sweet smell, though still present, had softened as the heat bade its farewell. Maybe now, Little Thumb thought, Big Thumbs and Big Mouths would get up and everything would be the same again. Twilight deepened into night and the moon rose and shone through slats of straws. Little Thumb could see the eerie


BusinessMirror

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e flies

Sunday, August 26 , 2018

A Non-Feminist Moment By Malachi Edwin Vethamani And now just for a moment I want to see you spared of all labels.  Unburdened of all ideologies  that you don   and that dress you.  Free from the many causes  that the world  has driven you to bear.  Now for one  unimaginable  non-political moment I long for you to be  all that you chose to be in a world  that you see in all its imperfections.  A woman unencumbered; just you.

BM GRAPHICS | 082418

silhouettes of Big Thumbs and Big Mouths outside the hut lying still, their skin covered with oozing sores strangely luminescent under the light of the moon. The sweet sickly smell that was fanned by the heat had now changed to a pointed cloying smell that attracted nocturnal animals from the desert. Little Thumb heard them prowling outside the hut, their hunger fueled by the cloying smell. The night was restless, punctuated by growling and terrible crunching noises. Little Mouth piteously moaned no matter how much Little Thumb consoled him. Weak with hunger and thirst, they fell asleep on the cold, dirty floor of the hut. The moon rose to its highest peak and was soon eclipsed by the sun and when Little Thumb woke, the day was hazier, blurrier, like looking through a glass filled with water. Where they lay,

Little Mouth made terrifying noiseless sounds like the mouse Little Thumb once saw drowning in a bucket of water. Like the day before, the heat came. And the flies. They came, they sang, they danced. Sing, land, fly, dance. Sing, land, fly, dance. Merry, still. Merry. Still. Little Thumb, frightened and weak from hunger, watched it all as if in a dream. A dream that took on a new quality when out of nowhere, Big Thumbs and Big Mouths came inside the hut. But they were no ordinary Big Thumbs and Big Mouths. They were covered with white rubbery material and Little Thumb could see these Big Mouths were hiding behind some clear wall that he could not put a name to. They were white apparitions. Many of them hovered over the lifeless Big Mouths and Big Thumbs, disturbing the

merrily dancing flies. They were mouthing strange words that Little Thumb could not fathom. “Doctor Lishart, we are now running initial tests, it appears to be a new strain of Ebola virus. We need to inform CDC…” “Entire village, wiped out…” Wiped out. Wiped out. And the flies continued to sing, land, fly, dance. Sing, land, fly, dance. Merry, still. Merry. Still. Wiped out. Wiped out. Little Thumb sought Little Mouth only to find him unmoving and a shock of thick red f luid poured forth from his beloved friend. A light feeling swiftly came over him as Little Mouth cried out in anguish. In a blurry haze, Little Thumb saw the white apparitions turn to him and Little Mouth and they were swiftly lifted way. He knew no more.

A9


A10 Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sports

BusinessMirror

Editor: Jun Lomibao | www.businessmirror.com.ph

CALUAG BAGS BMX BRONZE J

By Jun Lomibao

IT’S a thriller of a finish for Jobim Carlos.

AKARTA— Daniel Caluag isn’t retired and not even overweight.

Those he proved after bagging a bronze medal in cycling’s men’s BMX at the Jakarta International BMX track on a hot and humid Saturday morning in the 18th Asian Games. “I didn't get the result I aimed for but I am happy to contribute a medal for the Philippines,” said Caluag, now 31, told the BusinessMirror. As predicted by the BusinessMirror, Japan’s Yoshitako Nagasako, a former Asian champion, clinched gold in 33.699 seconds, with Indonesia’s Gusti Bagus Saputra claiming silver in 34.314. Caluag was an unrelenting third in 35.842 in the event raced over a UCI-regulation track which the Filipino-American, who works as a nurse in the US, described as “excellent” both for training and competition. PhilCycling President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino hailed Caluag’s accomplishment despite falling short of the gold he won in Incheon 2014. “Danny [Caluag] didn’t race in any UCI

PHL KEGLERS FALL SHORT OF BAGGING THIRD PLACE

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AKARTA—The Philippine women’s squad fell short of a bowling bronze medal on Friday night as the Filipinas lost their touch for a heart-breaking finish in the 18th Asian Games bowling at the Jakabaring Bowling Center in Palembang. The Filipinas appeared to have the bronze within their grasp when they tallied 7837 with one game left—only 137 pins behind the final output of 7969 of thirdrunning Chinese-Taipei, which waited with collective bated breath to see if the lead would hold. But Asian Games rookies Rachelle Leon and Dyan Coronacion wilted under pressure, leaving open frames in the final game to deliver the bronze to the Taiwanese, who heaved a sigh of relief as Lara Posadas closed out the Pinoy campaign with a strike. Together with Liza del Rosario, Alexis Sy and Maria Lourdes Arles, another Asian Games tyro, the Pinay bets wound up with a 7951 aggregate, just 18 pins short of the Taiwanese bronze medalists and 19 for an outright podium finish. Korea (8338) and Malaysia (8149) bagged the gold and silver, respectively. “We just couldn’t make our spares in the crucial stages, but I am still proud of these girls,” said head coach Paeng Nepomuceno of the spirited stand of his charges. “We still have the men’s team tomorrow and—who knows?—we might just have our breakthrough.” At least, it won’t be the end of the road for Posadas and Alexis Sy, who were among the 16 qualifiers to the women’s masters eliminations starting on Sunday after finishing No. 11 and No. 14, respectively, after tallying their total scores from the trios and team events. The Filipinas showed signs of life as early as the fifth game when Coronacion exploded with 256 to show the way, and also got big games from Del Rosario (244), Sy (235) and Posadas (233). Leon, however, slumped to 187. The squad had pooled 6588 by then, a mere 40 pins behind the Taiwanese (6628). Up next is the men’s team competition on Saturday with Enzo Hernandez, Merwin Tan, Jomar Jumapao, Kenneth Chua, Raoul Miranda and Kenzo all seeing action. “After seeing what happened to our women’s team, my boys will know what to do. Our story will be different,” vowed men’s coach Biboy Rivera, who was the last Filipino bowler to bag a gold medal in the Asian Games when he ruled the men’s singles in the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, China. Jun Lomibao

CARLOS WINS ILOILO GOLF CHALLENGE BY 2 STROKES

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DANIEL CALUAG proves his doubters wrong with his BMX bronze medal. NONIE REYES event ahead of the Asian Games but still, he managed to deliver,” Tolentino said. “He has beaten the Japanese gold medalist before but in this race, Danny gave him a scare—to think that the Japanese is UCI ranked while Danny isn’t.” The bronze, Tolentino said, is good enough for Caluag and Philippine cycling. “Not bad after four years. When it comes to BMX, the Philippines is still the team to beat,” he added. Caluag won the only gold the country won in Incheon four years ago. In these Games, the Philippines has only one gold so far courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting.

Caluag’s younger brother, Christopher John, meanwhile, failed to make the finals after bombing out of the three motos (heats). Sienna Elaine Fines, on the other hand, made the finals but finished fifth in the women’s final topped by China’s Zhang Yaru, Thailand’s Chutikan Kitwanitsathian and Indonesia’s Wiji Lestar. “So close—only two tads short,” Fines, one of the most popular Filipinas in the Asian Games because of her good and innocent looks, told the BusinessMirror. But the Asian Games, she said, gave her the motivation to work harder. “This has been a great experience. This

is the Asian Games and it’s like the Olympics already,” said the 19-year-old who skipped school for the last three years to focus on BMX racing. Zhang clocked 39.643 to win gold in the cycling discipline that drew a big crowd. Kitwanitsathian finished .736 of a second behind, with Lestar coming in 1.145 seconds later. Thai Chamavee Kerdmanee finished ahead of Fines. With Caluag’s bronze, the Philippines improved to a 1-0-7 gold-silver-bronze haul to remain in 22nd place on the tally board. China continued to drift further away on top with 22 gold, 48 silver and 29 bronze

medals. Japan had 33 gold medals to keep a safe distance over Japan, which has 23 golds. Iran (12) and host Indonesia (9) completed the magic five. In pencak silat, Filipina Cherry May Regalado reached the medal round of the form event also on Saturday at the Pencak Silat TMII Hall. Regalado finished joint second with Vietnam’s Vuong Thi Binh on aggregate scores of 447 in Group A of women’s single preliminary round. Vilaysack Tunee of Lao PDR topped the round with 455 points, while Malaysia’s Ratius Norshahirah placed fourth with 440.

HIGHWAY ROBBERY IN ASIAN GAMES? J

AKARTA—Nesthy Petecio’s controversial loss to China’s Yin Jun Hua in women’s featherweight of boxing could go down as one of the ugliest in amateur boxing history—not only in the Asian Games but also in the world championships and Olympics as well. The Chinese booked a close 3-2 decision on Friday night at the Jakarta International Expo Hall, earning herself a berth in the quarterfinals, while denying Petecio a fair chance of taking a shot at the gold medal in her second Asian Games after Incheon 2014. “It was very ugly,” national women’s team coach Nolito “Boy” Velasco told the BusinessMirror. “In my experience as a national coach, this one goes down as the most controversial that I have ever seen or experienced.” Velasco, eldest brother to Olympic silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” and bronze medalist Roel, is a certified authority on boxing—he has seen them all, having been a boxing coach for 38 years—almost all of them he spent with the national team. “I’m sorry, Nesthy,” Velasco told Petecio in their corner moments after the decision was announced. “It’s not your fault. It’s them [judges and referee] who have wronged us.” Petecio burst into tears after the loss, prompting Velasco to seek the Philippine delegation’s sports psychologist to attend to his boxer. “She cries each time someone talks to her,” said Velasco, admitting he himself could not help but cry over the defeat.

JUDGES’ SCORES

PETECIO was the obvious aggressor and tactical fighter in the bout, connecting punches that hit their targets. But each time the Filipina connected, Yin Jun Hua would simply turn her back or stoop low to avoid further beating. “The Chinese employed dirty tactics. She turned her back all the time, magulang talaga,” Velasco said. Yin was penalized in the second round for head butt, giving Petecio a point. But in the end, the decision emerged otherwise. Korea’s Kim Jongin and Bulgaria’s Pavel Pavlov scored it 29-27 for Yin, while Turkmenistan’s Ishanguly Meretnyyazov had it 29-27 and Japan’s Katsunori Hanabusa 30-26 for Petecio. France’s Johany Maden saw it 28-28

OBIM CARLOS bucked putting woes with clutch pars in the last two holes, averting a final-round meltdown and clinching a two-stroke victory over Tim Stewart despite a closing two-over 70 in the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Iloilo Golf Challenge in Iloilo on Saturday. What was expected to be a cruise turned out to be a thriller of a finish as Carlos lost his touch on the tricky Iloilo Golf and Country Club surface midway through the last 18 holes, enabling Guido Van der Valk and Stewart to pull within one four flights ahead heading to the stretch. But the Dutchman faded with backto-back bogeys from No. 12 and the power-hitting Aussie, who led in the first round of the P3-million event sponsored by ICTSI, flubbed a six-footer for par on the 17th and blew his bid for a playoff, paving the way for Carlos’s triumph on a 272 total. “It’s better to survive and win,” said Carlos, after pocketing another P550,000 for his third triumph in the last two-anda-half months. He scored a breakthrough at Philippine Golf Tour (PGT) Asia Riviera leg and dominated the Apo stop of the PGT Mindanao swing, both in June. He also turned in a couple of runner-up finishes and two top six efforts with his latest victory firming up his hold of the Order of Merit lead heading to last two tournaments of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. Stewart wound up with a 68 and settled for second at 274 worth P370,000, while American Lexus Keoninh rallied with a 67 and tied Rene Menor and Van der Valk, who carded identical 69s, at 275. Each received P170,000. Jun Lomibao

MODERN INFRA, AIRPORT NEEDED FOR HOSTING MAJOR EVENTS

T

NESTHY PETECIO is smiling all right, but deep within she’s in pain after absorbing a controversial loss to China’s Yin Jun Hua. NONIE REYES with a point deducted from the Chinese. But because International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) rules do not honor ties, he was made to choose whom he thought won—he picked Yin.

OFFICIALS ARE BLIND?

VELASCO couldn’t help but slam the judges. “It's too much. It appears that they didn’t watch the bout at all,” he said. “Are they on the payroll?” Velasco said he was confident Petecio would beat Yin Jun Hua. “Nesthy beat her the last time they fought,” said Velasco, referring to their clash in the semifinals of the Korotkov Memorial Cup in Russia in May. Petecio, Velasco said, even knocked down Yin in the first round. The Filipina went on to win gold in the tournament.

BOXING MAFIA AT WORK?

IT took uncomfortably awhile before a decision was announced—a little longer than normal. And when the stadium barker announced the winner, Petecio could noticeably be seen looking at someone just below the ring in front of her, uttering some words as if complaining. “Nesthy was looking at the official whose task is to raise one of two ping-

pong paddles—one red and the other blue—to eliminate any mistake by the referee as to whose hand he would be raising,” Velasco said. “The official was about to raise the blue paddle, but the announcer [or barker] said ‘red corner,’” Velasco added. Velasco wouldn’t confirm nor deny what the BusinessMirror has learned— a “collusion” has allegedly been forged among China, Korea, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to influence the boxing results. The BusinessMirror was told that right from the draw, the competition has already been marked with controversy—boxers from the four countries were drawn in such a way that they won’t be clashing in the earlier rounds, thus paving the way for their smooth entries to the gold medal rounds.

DECISION IS FINAL

VELASCO said they had no choice but to accept the decision. “We have no choice,” he said. “Besides, we have five more boxers fighting in the next few days. Anything we say may backfire and compound our woes.” Bantamweight Mario Fernandez, lightweight James Palicte, flyweight Rogen Ladon and women’s flyweight Irish Magno fight on Saturday and flyweight Carlo Paalam and middleweight Eumir Felic Mar-

cial climb the ring the next day. According to Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines Secretary-General Ed Picson, protests are not allowed in the Games. “An appeal will be made that the judges in Nesthy’s [Petecio] bout be barred from being assigned in the coming fights of the other Filipinos as judges or referees,” Picson said. The other Filipino boxer, Joel Bacho, lost to Iran’s Sajjad Kazemzadeh, 4-1, on Friday night.

ADDING LOG TO THE FIRE

BOXING has been walking the tightrope in as far as its inclusion as a medal event in the Olympics is concerned. This is because of controversial decisions that officials, judges and referees of the AIBA have been accused of even in high-level competitions. And Petecio’s controversial loss could add to the AIBA’s woes. “There’s really nothing much we can do,” Picson said. “It's just so sad that at a time when boxing is fighting hard to retain its spot in the [Summer] Olympics, something like this happens. It’s heartbreaking.” “I will try to talk to the fight supervisor tomorrow [Saturday],” he added. “He even emphasized that we could expect fairness in this competition.” Jun Lomibao

HE Philippines will be ready to host international sports competitions on the Asian Games or Olympics scale in the future once adequate infrastructure, including a modern international airport, is built. Party-list Rep. Michael Romero of 1-Pacman, speaking as a longtime sports official and as a member of the partylist organization that advocates sports development, also said it is high time for the administration to look at international sports events as a way to draw in tourists and as a source of economic growth. “Many studies show the positive correlation of sports tourism through the hosting of sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup with the boost in tourism revenues, as well as economic activities for the hosting country,” Romero said. To boost the country’s stature as a sports host, Romero pointed out that better ancillary infrastructure is needed. He said one example when the lack of infrastructure cost the Philippines when it vied for the hosting rights of 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup against eventual winner China. “While we were trumpeting our passion for basketball, China had the decided edge in government support and infrastructure, as well as transportation facilities like roads, playing venues and even its airport. It even had the sterling record of hosting international competitions like the Asian Games and even the Olympics,“ Romero recalled. “So if we are even to dream of hosting the Asian Games, which we have not hosted since 1954, or even the Olympics, then we should really take a look at our tourism as well as transport infrastructure like a new international gateway,” he said. Romero pointed out that while the Philippines has already started building modern sports infrastructure in preparation for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, it is also the opportune time to start building an airport in preparation for bigger sports competitions. Romero added that in the mold of modern airports like those in Singapore (Changi) and Incheon (South Korea), San Miguel’s proposed Bulacan or the New Manila International Airport appears to be the most suited for the country’s growing needs as it can accommodate more tourists, and spur development both locally and at a national level. Romero said that as compared to the limited runway facilities of the Naia, the proposed Bulacan airport has four runways with the provision for two more in the future. It also has a modern terminal and transportation infrastructure like roads, train system and even a ferry route. Jun Lomibao

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