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A new terror front in the South threatens entire philippines
The rise of Maute Group
By Rene Acosta
resident Duterte was correct, after all, in his prognosis on the state of peace and order in Mindanao, which partly became his basis in framing the anticriminality campaign as his administration’s major thrust.
In the league of ASG
When Duterte declared criminality as his administration’s focus, the previously unheralded Maute Group raced to meet this declaration by mutating into a full-blown terrorist group-cum-Moro jihadist that is in the league of the ASG in less than five months—more potent and bolder, in fact. From July this year, when Duterte mobilized the whole apparatus of the government in the campaign against crime, the terrorist group, which the military initially considered as being aligned with the regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah but confined in Lanao del Sur, has steadily built its reputation as a terror group that the government will contend with even in the years to come. The group has built its memberships from the rosters of young radicalized Moros and even hardened fighters of the Moro Islamic Libera-
LORENZANA: “The direct link maybe is already there, but formally, for them [Maute Group] to be considered as their [ISIS] men here, part of their caliphate here, we could not still confirm it.”
tion Front, whose stronghold area in Lanao del Sur was the same area that it has also initially operated on. Again, the Commander in Chief was correct in his reading when he prioritized the problem of terrorism in Mindanao, something that he coyly dismissed just so he can send home American Special Forces still present in Western Mindanao for counterterrorism operations. He may even be considered a soothsayer in the case of the Maute Group. While the Lanao-based terror group, led by seven Maute siblings, two of whom have already been killed in previous operations by the military, is still to duplicate the kidnapping activities of the ASG that put it on the map, it has already been on a par with the original terror group in terms of bombing credentials and record of violent confrontations with the government. While the ASG, which has been in operation since the early-1990s, has mostly committed its bombings in Mindanao, the Maute Group ushered its first publicly known bombing right in the hometown of Duterte in Davao City in September, killing 14 people and wounding at least 70 others. Before the bombing, Duterte was even advocating for stronger and tougher measures in dealing with crime, especially in the region, even mobilizing the military for the job in support of the Philippine National Police, which again showed his analytical gift in the area of law and order. The Davao City bombing gave the President the reason to push for
Zabelin | Dreamstime.com
However, the Commander in Chief may not meet his forecast of ending the problem of terrorism in the region by this month, given the results of the operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), which he had fully entrusted to Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya with an accompanying explicit order of finishing the group “to the last man”. Visaya is retiring on December 8 and yet, not only the campaign against the ASG in the provinces of Sulu and Basilan, which is being undertaken by 18 battalions of soldiers and six companies of militiamen, is still to reach its full operational tempo. The terrorism problem has even widened. Ironic or not, the assumption into power of the Duterte administration has also opened a new front in the campaign against terrorism, courtesy of the Lanao del Sur-based Maute Group, which corresponds to the President’s war against criminality.
one of his extreme measures by putting the entire country under state of emergency “on account of lawless violence,” a condition that Filipinos never before experienced in relation to the fight against crime. On Monday a bomb was recovered near the US Embassy in Manila, which the National Police chief, Director General Ronald M. dela Rosa, attributed to the Maute Group, judging from the similarity of the bomb with the one used by
the group in Davao City. It is also the terror posed by the Maute Group, lumped together with the notoriety of the ASG, why Duterte wanted to up his anticriminality measures by toying with the idea of suspending the writ of habeas corpus. However, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, a former soldier himself and who has “soothingly” contradicted some of the President’s security pronouncements in
the past, does not buy yet the timing of his Commander in Chief’s wishes, dismissing the ongoing campaign against the Maute Group as normal military operations. “As I see it, the operations against Maute is just normal military operations against lawless elements, and the bomb that was seen there [US Embassy] is not enough to suspend the writ of habeas corpus,” Lorenzana said during the anniversary of the Department of
National Defense on Tuesday. “I would advise not to do that yet, because it is still under control. All that is happening is still controllable,” he added. Lorenzana, however, agreed with the pronouncements of Duterte that the Maute Group already has direct links with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “The direct link maybe is already there, but formally, for them Continued on A2
Robredo to replicate San Juan City’s in-city relocation program to solve urban squatting
₧450K The maximum cost of a unit categorized under socialized housing
ust like other cities in Metro Manila, San Juan also had to deal with informal settlers who settled in government lands, a problem besetting many local governments that cannot simply be solved by demolishing makeshift homes. Many of these residents have family members who work or study in San Juan-based schools and companies: Driving them away could worsen the informal-settler problem in other Metro Manila cities. Instead of sending them packing to other locales or asking the national government to handle the problem, San Juan built a re-
PESO exchange rates n US 49.7740
location facility in the lands being occupied by informal settlers. The local government constructed the five-story low-rise buildings for informal-settler families (ISF) in Barangay Saint Joseph. Dubbed as Saint Joseph Ville, more than 300 ISFs now call the housing facility their home. Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said she wants to replicate the same project among other cities in Metro Manila that are grappling with the informal-settler problem. Robredo, also chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), said she was “inspired” by the San Juan housing project.
“Our main problem with incity relocation in Metro Manila is the high cost of land. This is the reason the only way to go is to build medium-rise homes to maximize the use of the land. We will not build single-detached units for incity relocations because of the cost of the land, which the poor will not be able to afford,” Robredo said. The HUDCC chief said she has recently asked Metro Manila mayors to furnish her an inventory of available government lands where medium-rise housing facilities could be built. Robredo also urged local governments to find out the number of ISFs in their areas, and whether See “Robredo,” A2
n japan 0.4366 n UK 62.6356 n HK 6.4175 n CHINA 7.2278 n singapore 34.9095 n australia 36.9224 n EU 53.0840 n SAUDI arabia 13.2752
Saiko3p | Dreamstime.com
By Cai U. Ordinario
Source: BSP (2 December 2016 )
A2 Saturday, December 3, 2016
The rise of Maute Group Continued from a1
But in April the Maute Group raided Purok 4, Barangay Sandab in Butig and kidnapped six sawmill operators, four of whom they released a week later. The two others were beheaded on suspicions they were military spies. In August the group raided the Lanao provincial jail in Marawi City and freed eight of their detained colleagues, including three women, in a daring rescue operation. Twenty other prisoners also bolted out from the facility during the attack that was carried out by at least 50 members of the group and led by Abdullah, the eldest of the Maute brothers.
to be considered as their men here, part of their caliphate here, we could not still confirm it,” he said. The Maute was just among the three groups after the ASG and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that have pledged their allegiance to the ISIS, which is already on the retreat in Syria and Iraq where it established its operations.
Attempt to bomb the capital
Bold and brazen as it is, the Maute Group has been attempting to penetrate Metro Manila with its signature of bombings, and this was confirmed in October by no less than the Army commander, Lt. Gen. Eduardo M. Año. It was the Army, in coordination with the National Police, which bagged in Cotabato City the suspects behind the Davao City bombing, confirming that the powerful blast was indeed a handiwork of the Lanao-based group. According to Año, the Maute Group has planned to carry out bombings in Metro Manila as early as May, targeting areas where a lot of people regularly converge. Año said among target of bombings were the branches of a popular department store, but this was prevented “by the intelligence community along with the other hatched bombings.” A part of the government’s effort was the arrest of the group of Michael Abrera in May. “Had those group not been arrested in May, they were supposed to have carried out big bombings of malls in Metro Manila…,” Año said. The bombings were still part of the grand plan of the Maute Group to get the recognition of the Daesh. Año added that based on their debriefing of the arrested Davao City bombing suspects, the Maute Group had also planned to conduct bombings in other parts of Mindanao through its cells, but all of
Raid of Butig President Duterte visits the site of an explosion that killed more than a dozen people and wounded several others at a night market in Davao City, his hometown, on September 3, 2016. Robinson Ninal/Malacañang Palace Presidential Communications Operations Office Presidential Photographers Division via AP
these plans were averted by government actions.
THE Maute Group was unknown until the early part of this year when it started to commit criminal activities in Butig town, where it established its camp. The MILF, particularly its 102nd Base Command, operates in that area of Lanao del Sur. Back then, the terror group was simply called by the military as a Maute Group—named after its leaders—although it has categorized it later as “foreign-aligned local terrorist group” that is confined in a barangay of Butig. While it is aligned with the Jemaah Islamiyah, military officials, however, initially dismissed its links with the Daesh. Before that, however, some
groups were already monitored meeting in other parts of Mindanao, where the black flag of the Daesh was being displayed. As it turned out, they were already cells of the Maute Group, as also confirmed by Año. At that time, Año was not yet the Army commander. Later, the Maute Group called itself as Dawla Islamiya or the Islamic State of Lanao. In February government forces attacked the group’s camp in Barangay Bayabao in Butig after it attacked a military detachment, also in the same barangay, that left three soldiers dead and six others wounded At that time, Armed Forces Spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the group has only about 40 members and he could not even name the group, although he said
that its members were members of the MILF’s 102nd Base Command. Reports from the Armed Forces Western Command, however, pegged the group’s membership at 100. The operation lasted for a week, after which the military claimed to have decimated the group and even killed Omar and Matti, two of the seven Maute brothers. Another brother was killed in another encounter. However, in May the Armed Forces was again forced to initiate an offensive against the group after it regrouped and established a temporary camp in Barangay Ragayan, also in Butig. The operation, the military claimed, resulted in the death of at least 54 terrorists, including an Indonesian jihadist identified as Mohammad Muktar.
ON Thursday last week, the Maute Group, which was supposed to have been weakened by the successive military operations, put up its “greatest show” yet by raiding Butig, wherein it even occupied its old municipal hall building and raised the Daesh flag. The group also displayed the same flag in some of the houses that were abandoned by families who were fearful of the attackers. The occupation of Butig created a humanitarian crisis, as the military struggled to regain the town from the control of the terrorists. After almost a week or by Wednesday, the Armed Forces Western Command spokesman, Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., said more than 80 percent of the town has been cleared of Maute fighters The town hall was also retaken around 9:20 a.m. on the same day, according to Armed Forces Public Affairs Office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo. Arevalo said the operation in the town may take a little more time, as the military has to conduct clearing operations even for homemade bombs that were planted by the terrorists.
Robredo… Continued from a1
ROBREDO: “The only way to go is to build medium-rise homes to maximize the use of the land. ” AP
they are occupying lands owned by the government. While government lands will be practically be awarded to ISFs under the scheme, Robredo said the medium-rise housing facilities that will be constructed will not be free. ISFs would have to pay for the units, but she said the cost will be less onerous compared to singledetached houses. Inputs from Metro Manila mayors would be included in the HUDCC’s so-called People’s Plan, which will detail the cost of their monthly payments. The plan would also detail the other terms that the government and ISFs would agree on with regard to the housing units. Aside from data obtained from the Metro Manila mayors, Robredo said the HUDCC continues to await for the Land Registration Authority’s (LRA) inventory of available government lands for relocation. She said earlier the LRA merely submitted a map of the government land and that it did not contain hectarage, use, and whether informal settlers live there. The HUDCC also could not yet come up with a list of ISFs in Metro Manila. HUDCC said these figures are “crucial” to enable the government to finally craft a comprehensive road map for housing in Metro Manila. The HUDCC estimates the number of ISFs based on the National Household Targeting System, which is being used for the Conditional CashTransfer Program. Apart from using government lands for in-city relocation, Robredo is also keen on making policy adjustments to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Section 18, or on Balanced Housing Development of Republic Act 7279, otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA). Based on the IRR, developers of subdivisions must allocate 15 percent of their project for socialized housing, while condominium developers need to reserve 5 percent for the poor. “I asked HLURB [Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board] to review their policy and come up with an amendment so that compliance to the 5-percent and 15-percent [requirement] on balanced housing strictly will be for this poor,” Robredo said. The Vice President said she has also asked the HLURB to review its policies to improve the access of the poor to affordable housing facilities. Currently, the poor, especially those who are not part of the formal sector, could not tap housing facilities from the Pag-Ibig Fund, which is available only to its members. The HUDCC earlier said the poorest 30 percent of Filipinos nationwide cannot afford socialized housing in the Philippines. The HUDCC report stated that socialized housing in the Philippines, which includes building a house and buying land, cost a maximum of P450,000. But this appears too high a price for the income of Filipinos in the bottom 30 since, more often than not, their expenses are higher or slightly lower than their incomes. Based on the 2015 Family Income and Expenditure Survey, the poorest 30 percent have an average income of P86,020 to as much as P132,983 every year.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Asia’s progress in closing gender gap slow, uneven
he Philippines and New Zealand are leading the pack in the Asia Pacific on having the best gender equality, but the rest of the region still has some way to go to improving its status.
India is struggling to improve its rates of female health, despite gains on wage equality and educational attainment, while China’s gender gap has flatlined over the past decade largely due to a decline in the percentage of women joining the work force, said Samantha Amerasinghe, an economist with Standard Chartered Plc., in a recent report based on earlier findings by the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum (WEF). The Philippines and New Zealand are the only AsiaPacific countries ranked in the top 10 of the Global Gender Gap Index of 144 countries compiled by the WEF. Even so, both nations scored lower than they did a decade ago, while Singapore, India and Bangladesh were the only Asian nations to rise in the ranks over that period. To be sure, the number of countries included in the report has risen from 115 in 2006. But some Asian declines remain significant all the same, with Sri Lanka down 87 positions, China down 36 positions, Malaysia down 34 and Japan down 32. As in 2006, the Philippines remains nearest to closing the gender gap among Asian countries, with notable gains in economic participation and opportunity and in political empowerment, said Amerasinghe, who is London-based. The Philippines has also achieved gender parity on two indicators: educational attainment, and health and survival. The nation has made gains by moving women into professional and skills-based jobs, as well as having
Lucio Tan merging airlines to boost investor appeal
ycoon Lucio Tan will consolidate his airline ventures, as he focuses on expanding his flagship PAL Holdings Inc. and increase its appeal to potential buyers. PAL will acquire another company owned by Tan called Zuma Holdings & Management Corp. through a share-swap agreement, valuing the whole deal at P8.24 billion ($166 million), the company said in a stock-exchange filing on Friday. The purchase will consolidate Philippine Airlines Inc. and budget carrier Air Philippines Corp. “The integration of both businesses into a single organization structure would make PAL a more viable investment for interested investors,” PAL said in the statement. Consolidating the two airlines will also reduce costs and increase revenue, it said. PAL is in talks with potential investors and is seeking one with experience in running carriers so it can help manage its fleet, the carrier’s President Jaime J. Bautista said in June. The company is also open to private-equity funds and other strategic investors. The reorganization comes as competition intensifies among carriers in the Asia Pacific, where a dozen new airlines started operations in the past decade. “Consolidating the airlines is very positive and will allow PAL to fetch a higher price from potential buyers,” said Victor Felix, an analyst at AB Capital Securities Inc. in Manila. “Creating synergies for both carriers means that PAL is also intent on ramping up its domestic operations and get a larger piece of the market share.” Under the deal, PAL will issue to Zuma owners Cosmic Holdings Corp. and Horizon Global Investments Ltd. 19 shares in exchange for one Zuma stock, according to the statement. Trading of PAL shares, which closed 2 percent higher on Thursday, was suspended. Bloomberg News
more representation of females in positions of power in the government and private sector, Amerasinghe said. Overall, however, “the results from the 2016 report are disheartening,” she added. “ The slow rate of progress on the economic opportunity index for women increases the urgency for women to enter higher-growth areas that require science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
In fact, Asia is largely to blame for a global decline in the female participation rate, the percentage of working-age women who are actually part of the work force. The rate fell between 1990 and 2014 in both India and China according to the World Bank estimates, so that Asia as a whole saw a decline in this metric, even though the overall level remains high by international standards. Progress toward economic equality
also remains elusive, Amerasinghe said, noting that it’s slowed to the worst level since 2008, after a peak in 2013. In Asia no country ranks in the top 10 in the economic participation subcategory in 2016, even though both Singapore and Philippines are in the top 20. At the current rate, women will win global pay equality in 170 years, with the overall economic gender gap to be closed by 2196, according to WEF estimates. Bloomberg News
A4 Saturday, December 3, 2016
The World BusinessMirror
Indonesia blasphemy protest swells to crowd of 200,000
Deal on sale of Domecq brands to Emperador nears
ernod Ricard SA is close to a sale of its Domecq brandy and sherry brands to Emperador Inc. of the Philippines, according to two people familiar with the matter. The deal to sell the brand to Bodega Las Copas, a joint venture owned by Emperador and Gonzalez Byass, could be announced as early as Thursday, said the people who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. The world’s second-largest spirits maker is divesting the distilled and fortified wines to sharpen its focus on larger, international brands such as Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal scotch, said one of the people. Pernod Ricard declined to comment. Emperador representatives didn’t reply to requests for comment. More than 500,000 9-liter cases of Domecq brandy and sherry were sold last year, according to industry tracker IWSR. Parisbased Pernod Ricard has recently divested brands, such as Paddy
The number of 9-liter cases of Domecq brandy and sherry sold last year
whiskey and Fris vodka that aren’t central to its business, paving the way to add faster-growing liquors, including Monkey 47 and Ungava gins. Last month the company reported revenue growth that beat estimates, as demand for its Jameson Irish whiskey surges. Emperador, a unit of Philippine billionaire Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group Inc., is the world’s largest maker of brandy. A n acquisition would come about a year after it bought Beam Suntory’s brandy and sherry business in a deal valued at about €275 million ($292 million). Bloomberg News
Families prepare to receive the dead from Colombia crash
Indonesian Muslims gather during a rally against Jakarta’s minority Christian Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who is being prosecuted for blasphemy, at the National Monument in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday. AP
t least 200,000 conservative Muslims rallied in the Indonesian capital on Friday in the second major protest in a month against its minority Christian governor. Organizers had agreed to concentrate the protest around the vaulting national monument in central Jakarta to reduce disruptions, but the area quickly overflowed. The police say 22,000 officers and 5,000 soldiers can be called on to ensure the demonstration stays orderly. National Police Spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, said the police estimated 200,000 people were on the streets of central Jakarta. Separately, the police said they had arrested eight people suspected of treason including Rahmawati, who is a younger sister of former President Megawati Sukarnoiputri, and a well-known musician-turnedpolitician Ahmad Dani. Two other people were arrested for alleged crimes under Indonesia’s law on elec-
The maximum prison term for blasphemy case in Indonesia
tronic information and transactions. A protest on November 4 against Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who is being prosecuted for blasphemy, attracted about 100,000 people. After nightfall, it turned violent, with one death and dozens injured. The police want Friday’s protest to disperse in the early afternoon following prayers. The crowds massed in the area
of the national monument formed a sea of white that spilled into surrounding streets while gridlocked motorists sat on the sidewalks. Some held huge banners calling Ahok a blasphemer who should be jailed while others chanted and prayed. The blasphemy controversy erupted in September when a video circulated online in which Ahok criticized detractors who argued the Koran prohibits Muslims from having a non-Muslim leader. It has challenged the image of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, as practicing a moderate form of Islam and has shaken the government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Lisnawati Djohar, a resident of West Sumatra’s Padang city, said she flew to Jakarta with a dozen friends for the protest. “I’ve been called to defend Islam,” she said. “As a Muslim, I feel guilty if I refuse a demand to defend my religion. I believe Ahok insulted the holy Quran and it’s hurt us.” Roads leading into the city were also clogged, as white-robed protesters walked to the city center from corners of the sprawling metropolis.
Speaking on the main stage at the national monument, National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian called for the protesters to support the legal process in the blasphemy case. “We have worked to finalize the dossier and have handed over to the prosecutors. Therefore, I request support from all of you so that the legal process goes well,” he said, as the crowd cheered “God is Great”. Ahok is an ally of Jokowi and the accusation of blasphemy has animated their political opponents, including hard-liners who have used the issue to seize a national stage for their extreme agenda, which includes Shariah law. Ahok’s blasphemy case took a step forward on Thursday when it was formally accepted for trial. The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison. The police say Ahok can’t leave the country during the case. However, hard-line Muslim groups continue to demand he be arrested. Ahok, the first ethnic Chinese to be Jakarta governor and the first Christian in half a century, is campaigning for a second term in elections due in February. AP
EU police report highlights ongoing IS threat to Europe
he Islamic State (IS) group is likely to carry out new attacks in the European Union in the near future, probably targeting countries that are members of the US-led coalition fighting the extremist organization in Syria and Iraq, EU police agency Europol said in a report published on Friday. “Estimates from some intelligence services indicate several dozen people directed by IS may be currently present in Europe with a capability to commit terrorist attacks,” according to the report, which draws on counterterrorism intelligence from around Europe and also cites
media reports and previously publicized calls by IS leaders for attacks. But IS also is adept at inspiring marginalized youths, some of whom may have mental health problems, and inciting them to carry out attacks. The report also warns that tactics the group uses in Iraq and Syria—such as the use of car bombs—could also be deployed in Europe. It also said that past attacks such as those in France and Belgium over the last two years show that extremists acting in the name of IS can effectively plan complex attacks. Europol also notes a shift in attacks from symbolic targets like po-
lice officers and military personnel to indiscriminate attacks on soft targets, such as the Paris attacks in 2015. “Indiscriminate attacks have a very powerful effect on the public, in general, which is one of the main goals of terrorism: to seriously intimidate a population,” the report says, adding that the focus on socalled soft targets means that attacking critical infrastructure like power grids and nuclear facilities is “currently not a priority.” Europol also says that the consensus among intelligence agencies in EU memberstates is that “the cyber capabilities of terrorist groups are still relatively
low,” but adds that “the possibility of terrorist-affiliated cyber groups engaging in cyber warfare sponsored by Nation States—those with capacities to engage in this type of attacks—should not be discounted.” Meanwhile, a police raid in Morocco in February may have thwarted a possible attack by an IS cell using chemical or biological weapons, raising the specter that such weapons also could be used in Europe, though the report says automatic firearms, knives and vehicles are more easily available and that “the effectiveness, ease of use and access of these weapons will continue to be relevant.” AP
Members of Chapecoense soccer club’s board of directors stand in the parking garage of the San Vicente funeral home, where coffins containing the remains of the victims of the Colombian air tragedy have been placed, in Medellin, Colombia, on Thursday. AP
amilies are preparing to receive the bodies of the victims of this week’s air tragedy in Colombia, as experts develop a clearer picture of how things went so terribly wrong with a charter flight that slammed into a mountainside. Many of the 71 killed were players and coaches from a small-town Brazilian soccer team that was headed to the finals of one of South America’s most prestigious tournaments after a fairy-tale season that had captivated their soccer-crazed nation. On Thursday white sheets printed with the logo of the Chapocoense soccer club lay over row upon row of caskets at a Medellin funeral home. Most of the remains had been identified and were expected to be flown home on Friday. Bolivian aviation officials announced they were indefinitely suspending the charter company that operated the flight after a recording of conversations between a pilot of the doomed flight and air-traffic controllers, as well as the account of a surviving flight attendant, indicated the plane ran out of fuel. The jet, which took off from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was flying at its maximum range when it crashed on late Monday, killing all but six of the 77 people onboard. In Brazil grieving relatives of the dead spoke out in disbelief. Osmar Machado, whose son, Filipe, a defender on the Chapecoense team, died on his father’s 66th birthday, questioned why the plane was transporting the team. “Profit brings greed,” Machado said, speaking in the team’s hometown of Chapeco. “This plane ended [the lives of] 71 people.” Williams Brasiliano, uncle of midfielder Arthur Maia, said the crash could have been avoided if the team had chosen a commercial flight and not a charter. “Look how complicated that flight was going to be even if it had arrived,” Brasiliano said tearfully of the team’s itinerary, which included
a flight from São Paulo to Bolivia on a commercial airliner before the illfated flight to Medellin. “I doubt that a bigger club would have done the same,” he added. Chapecoense Spokesman Andrei Copetti defended the decision, saying more than 30 teams had used the Bolivia-based company, LaMia airlines, including the national teams of Argentina and Bolivia. He added that the team itself had flown on its flights before. “They had a good service then. It was the airline that got in touch with us because they have experience in doing these long flights in South America,” he said. A recording of the flight’s final minutes showed the pilot repeatedly requested permission to land because of “fuel problems,” although he never made a formal distress call. He was told another plane with mechanical problems had priority for the airport’s single runway and was instructed to wait seven minutes. As the jetliner circled, the pilot grew more desperate. “Complete electrical failure, without fuel,” he said. By then the controller had gauged the seriousness of the situation and told the other plane to abandon its approach to make way for the charter jet. It was too late. The lack of an explosion upon impact also pointed to a rare case of fuel burnout as a cause of the crash of the British Aerospace 146 Avro RJ85. The air-traffic controller said in an email sent to her colleagues and released to local media on Thursday that she had done everything humanly and technically possible to save the plane. The Bolivian Civil Aviation Authority announced it had indefinitely halted all flights operated by LaMia and also was suspending some aviation officials during the investigation. British aviation authorities said the flight data and cockpit voice recorders recovered from the accident site were being taken to Britain for study. AP
Saturday, December 3, 2016 A5
LET THE WAR BEGIN! By Joel Orellana
ITTER rivals Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle begin a finals showdown no one thought would happen in Season 79 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament. The Green Archers, the favorites, and the underdogs Blue Eagles start their best-of-three title series at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. La Salle was tagged as overwhelming favorite with Cameroonian Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng at the start of the season. They did not disappoint and emerged top seed on a 13-1 win-loss record in the eliminations and withstood the challenge of the pesky Adamson University in the Final Four, 69-64, to return to the finals since Season 76, where they also won the title. Ateneo? No one really expected the Blue Eagles to reach this far, especially after going 4-4 in their first eight games. Coach Tab Baldwin’s wards went on to win their next six games to finish No. 2, including an 83-71
triumph over La Salle in the second round that denied the Green Archers a sweep and an automatic finals seat. Does one win make them even with the Green Archers? Baldwin doesn’t think so. “If they don’t see that we’re the underdogs, they’re blind. We are the prohibitive underdogs in this tournament, but the confidence we take from having beaten them once is crucial,” Baldwin said. “But, I think, we have some momentum. We have certainly some inspiration that we’ll take from the win [in the Final Four], and we are going to stand in front of them,” Baldwin added. “We are not going to bow out of the way. We’re going to [bloody] them, just like I’m sure that they want to [bloody] us.” Baldwin is facing a coach who is starting to make a name for himself. Aldin Ayo caught the fancy of La Salle patron Danding Cojuangco after leading an unheralded Letran side over talented San Beda College in the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) finals last year. Ayo had little time to celebrate with the Knights, as
NASH’S LEGACY N
ASH RACELA is leaving Far Eastern University (FEU) proud and fulfilled. Since taking over Season 76, the Tamaraws have become the yardstick of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament, after Racela transformed FEU into a disciplined and organized squad that was previously hit by off-court issues. On Wednesday, when he celebrated his 45th birthday, Racela bid good-bye to the Morayta-based squad after falling short of overcoming the twice-to-beat advantage of No. 2 seed Ateneo de Manila with an overtime thriller, 68-69, in their do-or-die Final Four match. Racela was sad about the loss but happy to see his Tamaraws give their best, and were only a fraction of a second late of taking on De La Salle in the best-ofthree finals. “As a coach, sometimes you don’t really look at the wins or losses. Sometimes, if you win but your players only give their 60 percent, you don’t like that,” Racela said. “Even if we lost, I know they gave more than a hundred [percent]. So, I was so proud of how we played and how we performed the whole season,” he added. Expectations were high that the Tamaraws would repeat as champions—they won the crown at the expense of University of Santo Tomas (UST) last season. But FEU entered the season minus its Fab Four— Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy and Russel Escoto—all of whom have turned pro. Their absence was hardly felt, as Reymar Jose and those left
to man the court stepped up and even started the first 10 games with eight wins and two losses. But when news broke out that Racela is going to replace Jong Uichico as head coach of TNT Katropa in the 42nd season of Philippine Basketball Association, losses started to pile up for the Morayta-based squad. They finished the elimination round losing three of their last four games. That breakdown in the latter part of the eliminations put FEU at No. 3 and forced to win two in a row over Ateneo to return to the finals. The Tamaraws almost did. They won the first match, 62-61, on Jose’s 20-point and 23-rebound outing, but Ron Dennison was half-a-second late to pull off the stunner in
he was tasked to prepare Mbala and the Green Archers for the UAAP season. “I’m now on the other side. Last year [with Letran], we were the underdogs. This year, [although it’s from the media], we are the team to beat,” Ayo said. “The pressure is different [with the NCAA], it’s more difficult here [UAAP]. I feel that with 14 wins [with La Salle], we don’t need to celebrate. Every won game for me is just a relief. At Letran, every won game, we celebrated because nobody expected us to win. It’s a different situation. But if there’s one thing that makes it the same, it’s basketball.” Mbala, who will be named season Most Valuable Player, will be the biggest thorn the Ateneo defense has to endure in the series. But Isaac Go has been playing impressively for the Blue Eagles and could hold fort against their rivals’ dominant big man. Go, despite a bloodied nose, delivered the game winner against Far Eastern University in overtime, 69-68, to send Ateneo back to the finals for the first time since Season 75.
Jovelyn, Ara embark on semis mission
RC COLA-Army’s Jovelyn Gonzaga (left) and F2 Logistics’ Ara Galang are marked stars on Saturday in Legaspi City.
the knockout game. “That’s the way it goes. One team wins, one team loses. We were a second short or maybe a rebound short. But it does not take anything away from all of us,” said Racela, who compiled 40 wins and 16 losses in four seasons with FEU he capped by a title run in Season 78. “I think, it’s a character of FEU, being resilient in everything. These guys found a way to perform; these guys found a way to get better as the season went along,” he added. “I think, we all deserve to be in the finals, too, it just didn’t happen.” Setting aside modesty, Racela said he did well during his four years with the Tamaraws, and added he would always be available for the team. His chief assistant Josh Reyes, son of Gilas Pilipinas Coach Chot Reyes, is reportedly favored to replace Racela, but FEU management has been mum on the issue. Joel Orellana
NASH RACELA bids good-bye to four fruitful years with the Tamaraws. STEPHANIE TUMAMPOS
MABUHAY MILES CHAMP J
enz Vincent Tecson returned this year to the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Mabuhay Miles Elite Invitational Golf Tournament to claim the Overall Low Gross Championship trophy—on gross 75 and net 70—and the bragging rights for winning top prizes for two consecutive years. The young Tecson, a Premier Elite member, was the Men’s Class A champion last year at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club. A total of 257 Elite, Premium Elite and Million Miler members of PAL’s Mabuhay Miles battled for the 24 trophies at the two 18-hole courses of The Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite. Bernabe Punsalan brought home the Low Net trophy, while Christine Marie Valdehueza Naidoo emerged Ladies division champion. Tranquilino Magpantay ruled the Seniors’ division. Other division champions were Louis Bartolome Borja in Class A, Joseph Owen Fulo in Class B, Elson Jose Dagondon in Class C and Emeterio Dikitanan in Class D.
San Miguel Corp.-Northern Cement runs away with the Seniors Fil-Championship division crown of the Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament presented by San Miguel on Thursday at the Baguio Country Club course in Baguio City. The repeat champions beat Megafiber by one point. In photo are team members (from left) Jinky Tuazon, Team Captain Bobby Iñigo, Eddie Bagtas, Benjie Sumulong, Chito Laurete, Lovie Sison and Bong Sison. MAU VICTA
Rodrigo Perez scored the most number of birdies, while Vicente Solon had the most number of pars. Rodrigo Perez was the guest champion. PAL President Jaime Bautista and PAL Express head Bonifacio Sam hit the ceremonial balls of the event that had as major sponsors Master Card Philippines, Airbus, Omnipay, Unionpay, Petron, Philippine National Bank, myPAL Roam, Power Mac Center and Marianas Visitors Authority, and corporate sponsor PNB General Insurers and Boysen Paint and Pacsports Philippines are minor sponsors. Century Park Hotel and Pan Pacific Manila were the official hotels. A brand-new Toyota car was reserved for the golfer who scores a hole-in-one. Donors included Vita Coco, Clarks Shoes, Bluewater Resorts, Pico Sands Hotel, BDO Credit Cards, Taal Vista Hotel, Hertz, The Bellevue Hotels and Resort, Aruga by Rockwell, Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, Be Grand Resort, Makati Shangri-La, Airspeed International Corp., Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar, Asia Brewery, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Boulangerie 22 and Resorts World Manila.
C COLA-Army’s Jovelyn Gonzaga and F2 Logistics’s Ara Galang are out on a mission down south in Legaspi City. Their objective? Carry their respective teams past the knockout semifinals of the Asics Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera on Saturday at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation. Gonzaga, once an unassuming ace from Central Philippine University, and the Lady Troopers take on Foton at 10 a.m., while Galang, a former De La Salle University star, and the Cargo Movers clash with No. 2 Petron at 5 p.m. in a pair of no-tomorrow semifinal clashes. In between the two semifinal matches is a clash of playoff losers Cignal and Generika at 3 p.m. to determine which team finishes fifth or sixth place. Gonzaga admitted this is her most difficult conference yet, saying the quality of competition in the league and composition of the teams have rose rungs higher. The Lady Troopers—also led by Rachel Anne Daquis, Honey Royse Tubino and veteran setter Tina Salak and young imports Kierra Holst and Hailie Ripley—had a roller-coaster preliminary round before ending up fourth after disposing of Generika in the playoffs. “We’re slowly peaking. What happened in our past games gave us more drive to work harder in the semifinals,” Gonzaga said. “There’s more pressure for them [Foton] because they are on top, unlike us, we’re behind, which makes us more motivated to double time and exert extra effort.” Galang, on the other hand, considers her team as underdog against Stephanie Niemer-led Petron, which has beaten them twice in the conference “We are underdogs here,” said the the No.1 pick in this year’s draft, who will get adequate support from imports Cha Cruz, Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes, Aby Marano and Dawn Macandili. “But this is the real battle. We’ll see who the better team is and who deserves to go to the Finals,” she added. Galang hopes to stop Niemer, who had nine service aces in their first-round duel, as well as import Serena Warner and locals Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina, CJ Rosario and Jen Reyes. “We have to work on that, since Niemer had a lot of aces during our first meeting and we cannot afford to let her dominate,” Galang said. Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal led the city in rolling out the red carpet for close to 200 guests, composed of players, coaches, team officials and PSL staff, managers and executives. “The thrust of the local government right now is to promote the city,” said Rosal, who is being supported by Councilor Beth Dimaculangan and JCI Legazpi in hosting one of the league’s most important matches. Lance Agcaoili For almost 25 years, Mabuhay Miles established itself as one of the most prestigious names in airline loyalty programs, known for its generous rewards and first-rate service. Mabuhay Miles was launched in 1991 not only to delight frequent flyers but also to exceed their expectations. Last year Mabuhay Miles was relaunched with a host of exciting program enhancements. Today the new Mabuhay Miles stands out as a brand for the 21stcentury traveler.
A6 Saturday, December 3, 2016
Ayala Land to open executive course at Southlinks
Text & photo by Lloyd Tronco
yala Land is eyeing the creation of a nine-hole executive course at the Southlinks Golf Course as a way to support the younger set of golfers to get into the game. This was announced by the executive director of The Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP), Bobbet Bruce, at the conclusion of The 2016 Ayala Land Inc. Southlinks Junior Classic, on November 19. The creation of the nine-hole course on the other side of the driving range will help younger golfers from 5 to 12 years old enjoy the game with friendlier yardages. The opening of such an executive course will also help Jungolf parents manage their travel times when shuttling between two courses, especially if they have children playing in two different courses in two age groups. Ayala Land Inc. has long been a supporter of the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines. In addition to this development, the Junior
Golf Foundation of the Philippines invited National Golf Association of the Philippines’s (NGAP) Chairman of the Board, Gigi Montinola, to witness firsthand the efforts being done by the JGFP, showing that JGFP could align itself with the programs that NGAP has in the development of young golfers and in getting more individuals to take up the sport. It was an action-packed day at Southlinks, with the JGFP inviting the head coach of a Top 20 US Division I college to give a comprehensive talk on the ins and outs, and the nuances of US College Golf recruitment. The talk, done by coaches Drew and Ria Scott tackled various topics, including a road map of what junior golfers are supposed to do to be recruitable from Grade 9 or earlier all the way to Grade 12, academics, tournaments, overview of college golf (leagues, tournament, conferences), evaluation of skill, amateurism, maximizing schedules to get noticed, compliance and other similar topics. Overall, the future looks bright for Junior Golf in the Philippines.
The 18th green on the Palmer Course with the clubhouse in the background
Coach Drew Scott, former Men’s Golf coach at Rice University; Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP) President Bobby Dy, Chairman of the Board of NGAP Gigi Montinola, Ria Scott and Bobbet Bruce, executive director of the JGFP
Inaugural Philippine Masters to be played in 2018
he Philippine Masters is set to join the European Tour and Asian Tour schedules in 2018 as a cosanctioned tournament after the signing of a three-year deal, which will take the tournament through to 2020. The new event will be promoted by Salvador Zamora’s Tranzen Group. The event will mark the European Tour’s first visit to the Philippines since 1995, when American Fred Couples won the Johnnie Walker Classic at the Orchard Golf and Country Club. It follows the announcement of the Strategic Alliance between the European Tour and Asian Tour in July, which officially ratified a partnership that had developed and grown since 1999, when the two tours cosanctioned their first event, the Malaysian Open. Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “The Philippine Masters further increases the playing opportunities for our members, and strengthens our strategic alliance with the Asian Tour. “Salvador Zamora’s vision and support have been instrumental in bringing this new tournament to fruition, so we thank Mr. Zamora for his interest and his desire to bring the European Tour back to the Philippines. We look forward to working together to grow this tournament in the coming years.” Josh Burack, CEO of the Asian Tour, said: “The Asian Tour is delighted to welcome
the Philippine Masters onto our schedule in early 2018. “This new tournament will extend our long and successful association with professional golf in the country, and on behalf of our members, I would like to offer our gratitude to Salvador Zamora for his generous contribution to the game. We will work closely with our strategic alliance partner, the European Tour, to ensure the event’s success for the benefit of the game in the Philippines, Asia and around the world.” Zamora said, “I am delighted to be hosting the European Tour here in the Philippines from 2018 to 2020. This will be a cosanctioned event with the Asian Tour, bringing some of the best players across Europe and Asia together and battling it out here in the Philippines. “These are very exciting times for golf in the Philippines. My personal objective is to promote golf in the Philippines and to introduce the game to as many people as possible, with a special emphasis on the introduction of golf to children. Golf has been a major part of my life for many years and given me so much, so I now feel it is time for me to give back to golf.” The tournament organizers will announce the full Philippine Masters tournament details, including the venue, dates and total prize fund on offer, at a later date.
The Orchard Golf and Countr
The best value Story & photos by Mike Besa
he Orchard Golf and Country Club is, by my reckoning, one of the most undervalued golf clubs in the country. The shares, which once hit a heady P3 million during the height of the golf boom in the 1990s, were trading at less than P100,000 last year but have recovered slightly to just under twice that, as per the web page of club share broker G&W Clubshares. I was in a meeting with Nilo Famy of the Orchard when he lamented that the club was tremendously undervalued. Based on assets alone, the club was worth easily a million pesos per share at book value. This is remarkable, because the Orchard is one of the most progressive clubs in the country. It’s home to two of the best golf courses in the Philippines, and is one of the most profitable clubs in the land. It’s one with a social conscience, too. One of the great initiatives of The Orchard is its devotion to preserving and enhancing the environment. It’s all the trend to spearhead environmental programs these days but The Orchard has been at it for years. It has expanded many of the lakes and streams and has built new catch basins, in an effort to quarantine enough water to make the club less reliant on ground water in the dry season. It has increased the acreage of the club’s environmentalsensitive areas, in an effort increase the habitat range of the area’s indigenous fauna.
The club’s regulars are witnesses to increases of sightings of an increasing number of bird species, snakes and monitor lizards as a result. In 2015 the club was recognized for its efforts when it won the Asia-Pacific Golf Group’s Custodian of the Environment Award. This award is presented annually to a deserving club in recognition of its effort to maintain a balanced and sustainable environment on a golf course. The Orchard has also been a recipient of a certificate of recognition from Zero Carbon Resorts, a European non-governmental organizations, for its continuing effort to lower the carbon footprint of the Philippines’s tourism sector. The Orchard is one of the most juniorfriendly in the country. It has adopted a resolution that grants the members’ grandchildren playing privileges at the club. The club also offers juniors what amounts to associate membership for just a thousand pesos. It holds regular clinics for juniors and never fail to host several tournaments a year for the golfers of the future. Juniors are not secondclass citizens here. They are encouraged and nurtured. The hugely successful Superal clan is its most famous junior exponents. The Palmer and Player courses are consistently regarded as two of the best golf courses in the country. The Palmer Course played host to the world’s best golfers, when it was chosen as the site of the 1995 Johnny Walker Championships. That field had more star power in it than most Professional Golfers’ Associtaion tournaments
outside of the Majors. The two courses are markedly different; the Palmer was designed as a classic Parkland track, while the Player was envisioned as an inland links layout. The Orchard’s management subsequently accentuated that difference by planting different grasses on either courses’ greens; the Palmer’s greens are covered with tifeagle, a micro-Bermuda that tolerates our weather very well, while the Players are planted with Seashore 2000, a variety of paspalum that was specifically bred for greens’ surfaces. This presents golfers with two distinct greens that must be approached differently for optimum results. They are a wonderful challenge for both members and their guests, especially when the Founders Cup, the club’s annual memberguest tournament and one of the largest such tournaments in the country, rolls around. Both golf courses are always in superb condition; a wonder since the Orchard hardly ever closes its golf courses for maintenance. Because of this and the reputation of the club for being an excellent tournament venue, the club plays host to hundreds of outside golf tournaments a year. They are heavy contributors to the club’s bottom line. Kudos, therefore, go to the club’s management. President Conrad Benitez leads the club with his passion for the game. He is an avid golfer who plays at the Orchard twice a week. Like everyone else, he must text for a tee time with his golf buddies. No special favors here. Benitez has been recognized for his
The Modern Golf Coaching Summit
The brightest minds in the game make their way to the Philippines T
he Modern Golf Coaching Summit was held at the Green Sun Hotel in Makati from November 14 to 18. It was a milestone event for the Philippines and marked the first time the leading minds in golf instruction made a trip to the Philippines. It was a first for the country and put the Philippines on the map as country that loves its golf. This summit featured a world-class collection of speakers that delved into all aspects of golf coaching and performance. It was best lineup of speakers anywhere in 2016. The subjects covered by the industry’s leading experts included their latest research on swing mechanics, biomechanics of the swing, the
statistics of a golf score, the latest research in the full swing, the short game and putting and much, much more. Speakers included Hall of Fame golf Coach Mike Adams, professor and Vice Dean at Columbia University Mark Broadie, author of Every Shot Counts a groundbreaking study of how shots contribute to score in golf, Mark Timms, founder and CEO of Cool Clubs who will discuss club fitting, Dr. Scott Lynn who specializes in orthopedic biomechanics, Dr. Will Wu of the Sport Training and Research Institute, Terry Rowles who pioneered integrating mind, body and swing and high tech assessment into a complete teaching system.
Another by-product of the Summit was that Philippine golf seems to have found a new godfather in the person of Salvador Zamora. In a show of support for the game and personal generosity, Zamora stepped up and paid the fees of 50 local teaching professionals. It would have been a huge boost to the quality of instruction in the country if only more of them had attended. But the few that did were most impressed with the wealth of knowledge that the speakers had to share. Unable to attend all the sessions because of other commitments, I caught just enough of it to cause my head to spin. What is amazing is the amount of science that has been applied to learning all that we can about the golf swing.
The gentlemen that gave the talks at the summit are on the sharp edge of the sword. Current technology has exponentially increased the amount we know about the golf swing. Using force plates and 3D mapping technology coupled with launch monitors and the proper analysis tools, it’s become necessary to brush up on your physics before attempting to fully wrap your head around some of the topics discussed. The detail and the depth of their understanding is unparalleled. All told, even with the meager attendance figures, the Modern Golf Coaching Summit was a revelation for all those that attended. We all left with a deeper sense of understanding of
the inner workings of the golf swing. We can only hope and pray these gentlemen find their way back to the country next year to follow up on the seeds they’ve planted. Hopefully, more professionals will make time to sit in and listen. It will work miracles for the standard of golf instruction in the Philippines. Mike Besa
Terry Rowles, Dr. Mark Broadie, Mark Timms, Mike Adams, Buddy Zamora, Dr. Scott Lynn, Dr. Will Wu and John Dunigan at the Modern Golf Coaching Summit in Green Sun. MIKE BESA
leadership in the golf industry. He was recently named to the list of the most powerful men in golf by Asian Golf Monthly and continues to work actively in the industry serving on the boards of the Federation of Golf Clubs, as well as the National Golf Association of the Philippines. The club’s general manager, Rene Garrovillo, gets the bulk of the credit for how well the Orchard is run. After leaving a career in banking, Garrovillo took the reins at the Orchard and the club has been all the better for it. He’s brought in good people with the right attitudes, and all of them working together have made the club what it is today. It is, therefore, unfathomable why The Orchard’s share values continue to languish. I purchased my share for less than a hundred thousand pesos. It was such a good deal, I had to pinch myself. I couldn’t be happier with the investment. In the last year, the club has accepted over 150 new members, and more aspiring members are posted on the bulletin boards around the club each month. Given all that and the fact that the club’s shares are trading for a fraction of the club’s assets, it’s easy to see why The Orchard Golf and Country Club is the best value in Philippine golf. If you’re looking for a golf club to call home, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better club than this. Best to hurry, though. The share values have climbed steadily in the last year. The cat might just be out of the bag and someday soon, the club will no longer be the value leader it is today.
Saturday, December 3, 2016 A7
When professionals get to choose what they play
7 is a postcard-perfect par 3
in the Philippines The Founders Cup @ 20 T
he Founders Cup started 20 years ago as the club’s way to thank members of other clubs that had invited members of The Orchard Golf and Country Club to their member-guest tournament by allowing them to reciprocate in kind. Today the Orchard Founders Cup has grown into one of the most successful and the best attended memberguests in the country, with some 400 members and their guests vying for the trophies and the prestige of being named champions in their respective divisions. In typical Orchard fashion, the event is run with almost military-like precision; four days of play with four shotgun starts on two courses with cocktails every night go off without a hitch. There are few complaints that I have become aware of in the 11 editions that I’ve played here. On the golf course, you’d be hard-pressed to tell that you’re in one of the largest tournaments in the country. The pace of play has always been excellent. Waiting for your next shot is almost nonexistent here. I’m not sure how they do it, but like all that play, I’m delighted that they manage to pull it off year in and year out. This 20th edition of the Founders Cup showcased just how far the tournament had come. The atmosphere and camaraderie enjoyed at The Orchard have always been what one would expect to find at a smaller club; it’s friendly and welcoming, there is no snobbishness here. There was music and dancing to fill the night, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. The Founders Cup is a tournament that seems destined to meet with success after success, and I hope to play in all of the future events. It’s become a tournament that many aspire to play and rightly so, it is one of the best member-guest tournaments in the country today.
hen Nike announced that it would stop making golf equipment earlier this year, the golf world waited with bated breath to see what Rory, Tiger and the rest of the Nike-sponsored touring professionals would put in play. For the professionals, it wasn’t a difficult proposition; when pressed, you put the best clubs in your bag, period. The results of which driver these orphaned pros would press into play garnered more interest than any other out there. In the end the big winners were TaylorMade’s M1/M2 drivers. Rory, Tiger and our very own Miguel Tabuena went with the M2. Rory and Miguel each gained almost 20 yards off the tee. The jury is still out on Tiger, who hasn’t seen a competitive round since his switch, but he sees action at the Hero World Challenge this week. I think, we can expect his distance off the tee to be competitive with the young bombers. The Carlsbad giant’s M-siblings are, by far, the most successful drivers on Tour. Of the 20 longest drivers on the PGA Tour, 14, or 70 percent, of them use either the M1 or M2. Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark put an M1 in his bag for the ISPS Handa World Cup of golf and striped a drive 403 yards. Dustin Johnson, now the second-ranked golfer in the world, has a 397-yard under his belt this year. He has a special red, white and blue edition of the M1 that TaylorMade built for his Ryder Cup appearance. I’m a beneficiary of the M-family myself. My M1 outdrove my previous gamer by almost 20 yards on a Trackman launch monitor. I put it in play earlier this year at Manila Golf’s Golden Tee, and my caddy was shocked at how much further it went. So which one is better? That’s tough to say. It depends on what your needs are, and what kind of ball you hit with your tee shot. If you hit the ball low off the tee without too much spin, then you should be looking at the M2. It spins a bit more than the M1 and launches the ball higher. If you hit your driver really high with a lot of spin, then the M1 is probably a better choice for you. Of course, there will be overlaps. You could use an M2 with low launch, low spinning shaft, even if you fit into the M1 profile then tweak the club’s loft to get you optimal results or you could go the other way, using a high-launch, higher-spinning shaft in the M1 if you want that extra bit of adjustability. Whatever the case, it’s clear that TaylorMade has a couple of winners here and has already leaked spy shots of the 2017 versions of both drivers. I can’t wait, and I’ll bet neither can you. Mike Besa
Bridgestone JGR Hybrid Forged Irons
Forged for the rest of us M
ore of us should be playing super game improvement irons. Sure, they sometimes look like garden implements but they make the game so much better for the rest of us. The Bridgestone JGR Hybrid Forged irons are a great example of the genre. The JGR Hybrid Forged irons are up front with their intended purpose—to make as super gameimprovement club that makes it a cinch to hit a golf ball as far as possible without the harsh feel at contact like many of its competitors. What a concept; a club that has that soft, forged feel that simply doesn’t exist in the SGI category, and one has the lowest and deepest center of gravity of any forged iron on the market. The JGR Forged Hybrid irons are a home run. To accomplish this, the sole of the Forged Hybrid irons is
impossibly wide. The wide sole lowers the center of gravity and pushes it backwards, far behind the clubface. This added a lot of height to the initial trajectory of the golf ball that it necessitated strengthening the lofts to give golfers familiar trajectories with each iron. However, the stronger lofts lengthen the distance each iron flies the ball. The look is somewhat of an acquired taste, but the ball flight, distance and trajectory that you can eke out of these clubs will make all that much more palatable. One need mind the lofts of the individual clubheads though; the pitching wedge has 38-degrees of loft on it, making it essentially an eight-and-a-half iron. Bridgestone supplies a second pitching wedge with 44 degrees of loft and an approach wedge with 50 to round out the set. You’ll need the whole caboodle to cover the distances closer to the pin. The stock steel shaft is the 85-gram Nippon NS Pro
Zelos 8, while the stock graphite offering is the UST Mamiya Recoil, both with Bridgestone’s stock grip. Unfortunately for you lefties, the JGR Forged Hyrbrid irons are available in a right handed version only. To give the golf ball as much initial velocity as possible, Bridgestone used their Ultra Strong Metal for the clubface; an ultra-thin steel that wraps around the sole for more forgiveness on thin hits. They then used their proprietary Turbo-Rubber insert to dampen harsh vibrations resulting from the high rebound face. We’ve seen this before with other super game improvement irons—the more the face flexes at impact, the more ball speed and distance you’ll get. For most golfers, that’s seldom a bad thing. The feel isn’t quite as soft as a touring pro’s blades, but it’s certainly a huge improvement over others in this
category. The feel is nice and dense, but with a hint of slightly sharper vibrations from the thin face. The results make that one compromise exceedingly easy to live with. The JGR Hybrid irons fly the ball a good 30 percent further than your irons. They do it with ridiculous ease and are more tolerant of mishits than most of us deserve. More of us should play clubs like this. The game would be so much easier if we did. The Bridgestone JGR Forged Hybrid irons are available at Pacsports proshops everywhere. Mike Besa
A8 Saturday, December 3, 2016 • Editor: Efleda P. Campos
Govt remains committed to release of elderly, women political prisoners
AVAO CITY—A member of the government peace panel negotiating with the National Democratic Front (NDF) is positive a substantial number of political prisoners will be released soon based on humanitarian grounds, particularly the women, sickly and senior citizens. This was revealed on November 28 by panel member Angela Librado, who said their release is part of the commitment of President Duterte to free detained members of the NDF. This is also in accordance with the signed agreements between the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines (GRP) and NDF panels in Oslo, Norway, during the resumption of formal talks in August. While she was positive on the release in December, Librado said there are legal and judicial issues that need to be addressed. “We are looking to release a substantial number,” Librado said.
She declined to give the exact figure recommended for release on humanitarian grounds. There are 434 personalities on the list of detainees as submitted by the NDF panel to the government. Forty five of those recommended for release are women. The planned release is part of continuing efforts to expedite and accelerate the peace negotiations and processes that are also brokered by the Royal Norwegian government. Librado said the recommendation for the release of detainees on humanitarian ground is not tied to the bilateral ceasefire. She said they have already completed the guidelines for the release of detainees and have submitted a list of those who will be included in the second batch on humanitarian grounds. Duterte earlier ordered the release of 22 high-ranking NDF leaders to allow them to participate in the peace negotiations.
“We hope the release could be had. We understand the release is an issue of urgency, but there are things to be done to ensure this will not be subject to any legal and judicial question,” she said. Librado said they are doing their best to meet what has been agreed in Oslo. “Probably, it will not be the best, but at this point in time, we are exerting all our efforts that the release will happen,” she said. Librado clarified there are two different modes of releases of political prisoners. One is based on humanitarian grounds, while the other is through amnesty, which needs the concurrence of Congress after the President signs the proclamation. The draft proclamation was earlier submitted by the panel for the signature of Duterte. The draft proclamation also included NDF consultants already released on bail and now participating in the peace negotiations. PNA
China plans to bolster service consumption
EIJING, China—The government on Monday issued guidelines to boost consumption of services as part of efforts to build the tertiary sector to a new growth driver. “We will manage to unleash potential consumption by improving service quality and increasing service supply,” the State Council document said. Tourism, elderly care and cultural, sports and health industries were highlighted, as well as education and training. The government believes more consumption in these areas will help improve people’s livelihoods, as well as contribute to economic restructuring and new growth. Specific measures include expanding visa-free policies for inbound cruises, pretax reductions on health insurance, less administration for nursing homes and Chinese-foreign cooperation in schools. Confronted with a prolonged slowdown, China has channeled energy into the services sector to offset flagging manufacturing and lackluster exports. In the first three quarters, services made up 58.5 percent of GDP growth, up 3.4 percentage points from a year ago. The government will also impose higher standards on domestic products in hopes of attracting consumers that usually spend big on foreign products. PNA/Xinhua
Experts decry lack of accredited nursing homes on Virgin Islands By Jonathan Austin | The Virgin Islands Daily News, St.Thomas/TNS
ITH no federally certified nursing home in the territory, residents are left wondering what is available for seniors and others in need of nursing home care. The US Census Bureau said slightly more than 5 percent of the 65-plus population in the nation occupy nursing homes, congregate care, assisted living, and board-andcare homes. About 4.2 percent are in nursing homes at any given time. With a territory population of about 105,000, the census statistics suggest the territory has 18,595 people age 65 or older. If the nationwide standard nursing-home occupancy averages is 4.2 percent of those people, that means 781 territory residents need to be in a nursing home “at any given time.” Yet, the territory has zero federally approved nursing homes. Sea View Nursing Home lost its Medicare and Medicaid provider agreement last year after what the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—or CMS—described as years of serious quality-of-care and safety deficiencies. CMS set repeated deadlines for when it would stop covering Medicaid services at the facility. Sea View’s federally funded patients were removed from the facility in September, and Gov. Kenneth Mapp has said he could offer no assurances that the patients will be allowed back in Sea View. “ Weekly, Sea View gets requests from families who have love ones at home who need placement in a nursing home setting , and we also receive calls from families who want to bring their loves back home to the islands,” said Adeline Williams-Connor, the administrator at Sea View. “ There is a great need when you consider that the population is getting older. There is a need for many more nursing home beds in the territory,” she said. “I think the 781 potential residents in the territor y may be a conservative number,” Williams-Connor said. “ There may be younger persons who have other disabilities or conditions that may require nursing-home ser vices. She said if you have facilities averag ing 40 beds,
“then that would translate to about 20 facilities that would be needed on the islands. Or the territor y would need facilities with larger numbers of bed space,” she said. Richard Mollet, director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a New York-based watchdog and advocate for long-term care residents, said last week he knew of no other community of 100,000 people in the nation that didn’t have a single federally approved nursinghome bed. “It’s very disturbing there is no nursing home access,” Mollet said. He said nursing homes provide care for postsurgery recuperation for people of all ages. “Regarding postacute care, nursing homes have a lot to offer for that. If you need 24-hour-a-day supervision and skilled nursing, you belong in a nursing home. The fact that’s not available—where are those people going? That is very troubling.” Asked to comment on what can be done to provide nursing-home care for residents, Anita Roberts, the commissioner designee at the VI Department of Human Services, didn’t have much to offer. “The Mapp administration welcomes any entity that will stimulate any economic development, particularly one that addresses the needs of our growing elderly population. This is not a problem that government alone can solve. We welcome all private-sector assistance,” she said. Senate Majority Leader Sammuel Sanes said, “it’s not a good feeling” to know that there are no qualified nursing homes in the territory. “There’s an uneasiness, knowing there’s not an adequate place,” he said last month. Sanes, who has a background in counseling and social services, said the Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged, on Saint Croix, “in my opinion is one of the best places I have seen.” He said recent government conversations suggest an expansion at Grigg and “there are plans in motion to not only improve quality of life for our elderly but also in terms of housing them,” he said. “We really need to expedite whatever it takes to be CMS certified,” which would mean a facility could again get federal funding for nursing-home beds, he said. “This is something that needs to be our front burner. This
An older Ark Angel: Handmade Noah’s Ark replica fulfills promise to a friend By Shawn Ryan
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn./TNS
GRANDMA AND GRANDKIDS AT THE BEACH Nanay Dorlina, 76, enjoys time at a beach in Subic, Zambales, with her grandchildren.
needs to be prioritized.” Sen. Kurt Vialet, the chairman of the Committee on Health, Hospitals and Human Services, said the problems with Sea View were “very unfortunate, and something has to be done to provide nursing home services in the territory. “Money is not enough; we can’t continue pouring money into a money pit,” he said last month. “It’s unfortunate that this incident took place. But I believe it was a wake-up call” He said the government is “now obligated to expedite and do whatever is necessary to address this problem.” Danielle Liss, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Region II, told The Daily News that “if a facility wants to participate in the Medicare program, CMS will determine whether the facility meets all of the conditions of participation. That is CMS' role.” Region II covers New York, New Jersey and the Caribbean islands. Asked about what other US communities lack certified skilled nursing beds and if she knew how many VI residents are housed in stateside facilities, she replied: “I’ve been advised that you should submit a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act.” Mollet, with the New York advocacy coalition, said CMS’s response is troubling by not altogether unexpected. He said that
regional office “has been very, very poor in responding to the needs of residents in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. “I don’t have a lot of sense that they are very invested in making sure people have access to appropriate services,” he said. He said studies show CMS fails to do enough of what’s called ‘lookbehind’ inspections, where the federal agency chooses 5 percent of the nursing homes inspected by state agencies for follow-up inspections. The surprise inspections, usually done a few weeks after the state agencies graded the facility, regularly “find four times as many problems as the state does,” he said. “Not only do they find the same problems, they find four times as many problems,” he said. Yet, Mollet said CMS has not been performing those critical checks on the nursing-home system. He said travel restrictions are in place, so the agency might not be performing “look-behind” inspections in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “You just get a sense of the lax nature of the system,” and the territory is “bearing the brunt of that in many ways,” he said. “Obviously, it’s something to be concerned about,” he said. Williams-Connor, the Sea View administrator, said many communities in the states are coming up
with alternatives to housing people in nursing homes. “In some areas on the mainland there are creative ways being looked at how to take care of the elders, including keeping elders at home in familiar setting, and paying families for in-house care services in the home settings, and/or adult day care options. This supplements the available nursing-home beds,” she said. “There are various creative options being explored across the nation, that we may look at in a comprehensive manner, to determine what is best for the territory,” she said. “We, as a territory, have to look closely at our territory health plan and see what options are available to address this growing need,” she added. Vialet said the government should seek investors to build nursing homes that cater to continentals, as long as the facility is required to provide nursing home beds for territory residents. He said such medical tourism could be very valuable. “We have to stop thinking about traditional tourism. Our weather here is great, for the most part.” Seniors in northern climates “would love to come here,” he said. “I think it’s a viable idea to establish nursing homes” or assisted living facilities for retirees from the states, he said. “People want to invest, want to be in a warm climate. Basically, they want to run away from the cold.”
HEN you’re making a wooden replica of Noah’s Ark that’s about 4-feet long, 4-1/2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, the job probably requires the patience of Job. And when you’re dealing with circular saws, table saws and other crazy-sharp tools, rushing through the work is inadvisable. So, Pam Lewis took her time after a friend asked in July if she would build the Ark as a hands-on visual aid for teaching Bible stories. Having previously created wooden figures and sets for the friend on such Bible stories as Jonah and the Whale, a Nativity scene and the Sermon on the Mount, Lewis said, “Sure.” Then she had to figure out how to live up to her promise—a commitment that just kept growing. “It’s a huge project,” she said, the tone of her voice a clear indication of just how much more complicated it was than she initially believed. And “huge” is accurate for both the complexity and the size; at 5 foot 1, Lewis can almost curl up in the Ark’s interior. But her friend, Kay Sutherland, knew the project would be big when she first brought up the idea. “She said, ‘You know that’s going to be huge.’ I said, ‘I know, but that’s the point,’” said Sutherland, who teaches kindergarten through second grade at Gentry Ozark Adventist School in Northwest Arkansas. About four months after Sutherland’s request, Lewis is near to finishing. She hoped to take it to Arkansas before Thanksgiving but, since the construction proved more involved than she expected, she’s now hoping to get it out there over Christmas break. The Ark “is just way more” than the other Bible-story projects, said Lewis, who has a degree in commercial art and lives in Apison. Although Lewis has come up with the designs for the other Bible figures on her own, she found detailed instructions for building the Ark, then added elements from her imagination. Helped by woodworker Julian Oliver in his basement shop on East Brainerd Road, the 57-year-old Lewis also created 30 pairs of animals and seven pairs of birds because, after all, the Ark’s not the Ark without animals. There also are eight humanesque figures representing Noah and his family. But there was an added concern. While building the Ark, Lewis also had to make sure it would be safe enough for children to touch without getting splinters, cut on sharp edges or breaking any of the pieces.
The Millennials BusinessMirror
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Among postcolonial Pinoys, ‘alipin mentality’ thrives–young historian Story & photo by Oliver Samson
EVENTY years after over 420 years of rule by colonial masters— Spain and the United States—that shaped the alipin mentality among the free natives, this state of mind restrains the freedom of some Filipinos to selfrespect, dignity and progress, young historian Ose Martija observes. Martija, 24, said the alipin (slave) mentality was thriving among Filipinos when plunder convict and former President Joseph E. Estrada was elected into office as mayor of Manila in 2013. Estrada was reelected mayor of the same city during the 2016 national and local elections. As a historian, Martija knew well that Estrada, a former actor, was found by the Sandiganbayan on September 12, 2007, guilty of plunder involving $80 million in bribes and anomalies, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. But he was granted pardon by former President and now Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on October 25, 2007, only over a month after his conviction by the Sandiganbayan. Arroyo herself was charged (November 2011) of rigging the 2004 presidential election and plunder (July 2012) for the misuse of a P366million intelligence fund from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Martija was still a student at the Philippine Normal University (PNU) when Arroyo was placed under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center until her release this year. The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed her plunder case in an 11-4 vote on July 19, barely a month after Rodrigo Duterte took office as the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines. Martija said he again witnessed the existence of the alipin mentality among Filipinos when Arroyo was reelected to Congress in a landslide vote against three contenders in 2013. She was again elected into the same office unopposed during the 2016 local elections. Arroyo was first elected Pampanga representative in 2010, after she stepped down
and prior to her electoral sabotage and plunder cases. For Martija, a society with a sense for self-respect, decency and justice would in no way risk to elect or appoint politicians whose reputation is tainted with corruption back to any public office.
ACCORDING to him, the alipin mentality was especially evident when some Filipinos wished to dignify former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos as hero, despite being accused of bringing thousands of lives to ruination. “A segment of the society, however, is firm with its conviction that the late strongman does not deserve last rites at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, much more the respect reserved for heroes,” Martija told the BusinessMirror. “These people include the recipients of the roughly $2-billion class suit won by human right victims in a US federal court in Hawaii in June 2012.” Martija cited the Amnesty International (AI) as placing the number of people killed during Marcos’s military rule at 3,240. According to AI, some 34,000 were tortured and about 70,000 imprisoned. Martija cited that in 1997, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that millions of dollars stashed in Marcos’s five dummy Swiss accounts (Azio-Verso-Vibur; XandyWinthrop; Charis-Scolari-ValamoSpinus-Avertina; Trinidad-RaybyPalmy; Rosalys-Aguamina; and Maler) are owned by the Philippine government. The SC of the Philippines, in 2003, ordered the money, about $356 million, forfeited in favor of the government. A total of P167.5 billion (about $4 billion) from Marcos’s and his
Young Filipino historian and musician Ose Martija poses for a photo at the Andres Bonifacio Shrine near Manila City Hall.
cronies’ ill-gotten wealth was already recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) from 1986 to 2014, according to Martija.
THE alipin mentality is being encouraged and reared to live forever on social media, where disinformation campaigns are storming the gullible people today, Martija said. “Many are well-informed, but only a few are taking actions to help others understand issues,” he told the BusinessMirror. And some of the well-informed who try to help enlighten others, he added, are doing it the wrong way. “You cannot liberate others from ignorance by telling them ‘bobo ka!’ [You are stupid],” Martija said. For him, “educating others requires passion, hard work, patience and the ability to make them understand at the level of [what] their [minds can] grasp.” He is saddened at the unfortunate reality that some people make a firm stand based on conviction shaped by false information. “It’s ironic that we call our time the ‘Information Age,’ yet many are misinformed,” he said.
THE World Wide Web is an immense pool of free and accessible information, according to Martija.
“Some people, however, do not research to validate things and, instead, easily and unsuspectingly accept memes and fake news as true.” Sadly, the misinformed, trying to defend their belief and pride, engage in discourses by bashing and arguing in ad hominem (an argument assailing the character of the person rather than the substance of the argument itself) because they argue without basis, he explained. Martija said he tries to help people keep track and understand issues not only through lectures, discussions and social media posts.
MARTIJA composes the songs his band Punk Magalona performs at several watering holes in Manila. His pieces include “Utak,” “Lason ng TV” and “Sobrang Bobo.” His “Utak” piece speaks of the absence of critical thinking among many people on social media. His love for music unfolded during high school at about the same time his love for history did in the third year. Moving on without setting things right is not the right way to start over again, Martija said. “This ‘Moving on’ [gimmick]— forgetting the lessons and without learning from them—is one reason the country does not really move on.” The alipin mentality hates the tyrants for the present, but later
embraces them after presuming the services and favors made have overridden the abuses, he explained. “The events in history are kept repeated, because we do not learn,” Martija told the BusinessMirror. “History does not repeat itself. The people do.”
THE emancipation of people from alipin mentality may not only help achieve national progress, but also the personal progress of individual Filipinos, he said. Currently mastering Philippine Studies at the De La Salle University, he approaches completion of his thesis: “Kasaysayan ng Kilusang Punkista ng Kamaynilaan” (History of the Punk Movement in Manila). These people “are not only musicians,” Martija said. “Their music has social criticism and relevance. And being so, they are part of politics.” Martija taught at PNU, where he took BSE in History, for some time prior to taking his masteral degree. He said he would continue to teach and use his own music to help others understand issues and history. For Martija, who is a teacher inside and outside school, as well as online and offline, no society with sense for justice and self-respect would dignify or elect again to public office individuals smeared with fraud, especially those involved in massive corruptions.
PBEd rolls out scholarship for teachers
OR millennials interested to pursue higher st ud ies to become a competent teacher, the Scholarships for Teacher Educ at ion P rog ra m s to Upgrade Teacher Quality in the Philippines (Step Up) recently announced the opening of its Certificate in Teaching Programs for 2017. If admitted to the program, a student will get P140,000 annually worth of scholarship benefits. The scholarship package is composed of free tuition, P4,000 monthly stipend and P2,000 monthly dormitory allowance. Other benefits include graduation and miscellaneous fees, one-time relocation allowance, uniform allowance for every semester, practice teaching allowance, one-time return allowance, semestral book allowance, basic hea lth assistance, professional mentoring and Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) review assistance. To qualify for the program, applicants must be graduates of any bachelor’s degree, except BS Education, and must have at least a general weighted average of 85 percent in college, pass the LET, must not drop subjects and has a teaching experience in a public school for at least three years. The Step Up is a scholarship campaign by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), a group that lobbied hard for the adoption of the K to 12 system of education. T he Basic Education Sector Transformation program seeks to attract goodperforming college graduates and professionals into the teaching profession by offering them competitive scholarship packages. A total of 1,000 scholarships will be awarded to deserving candidates between the years of 2015 and 2019. The goal of the program is to produce 1,000 highquality teachers ready for public-school employment by 2019. Rizal Raoul Reyes
Cuban-American millennials anticipate role in evolving Cuba By Tamara Lush
The Associated Press
IAMI—When 25-yearold illustrator Michelle Alfonso traveled to Cuba this year, she became the first in her family to go back to their ancestral homeland in more than a half-century—and it made her feel “whole again”. Alfonso, a New Yorker, says more Cuban-Americans should make the trip, especially now that the nation’s longtime leader and the nemesis of many exiles, Fidel Castro, has died. She is part of a shift among many younger Cuban-Americans toward favoring engagement with the Communist-led island. “I had grown up with this mysterious Cuban culture, and now, my whole life made sense,” she said. However, she said she doesn’t “necessarily feel entitled to choose their future,” putting her at odds with many Cuban-American millennials in Miami. The city’s CubanAmerican community is the center
of hard-line sentiment against the Castro government, now led by Fidel’s brother Raul Castro. Take Isabella Prio, 20 and a junior at Boston College, who was born in Miami. She fully expects to return to Cuba someday and help shape the island’s future, though she’s never been to the country where her grandfather was once president and refuses to visit until it’s a democracy. Castro’s death at age 90 could bring changes that would make that possible, she said. “It’s a new chapter for us,” Prio said. “It’s definitely in the hands of the young people to take it over. We just have to be careful about how we go about it.” A dialogue with the US had begun under President Barack Obama, who visited Cuba in March. But the future of diplomacy is uncertain under President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has indicated he may roll back some of the warming of ties. Guillermo Grenier, a professor of sociology at Florida International in Miami, said attitudes are changing
In this November 25 file photo, the Cuban community in Miami celebrates the announcement that Fidel Castro died in front of La Carreta Restaurant early in Miami. For the hundreds of thousands of children born of Cuban exiles, some who are two and three generations removed from the island, Castro’s death potentially opens a door to a world previously off-limits. AP
among youth eager to engage somehow with the island. However, “how younger CubanAmericans feel about Fidel Castro dying is kind of independent” of
that interest, said Grenier, a lead investigator of the FIU Cuba Poll, an annual poll of Cuban-Americans co-sponsored by the Cuban Research Institute.
The most recent Cuba Poll was taken in August. It showed that Cuban-Americans ages 18 to 39 are disenchanted with the embargo, desire expanded business opportunities and favor the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “There’s been a shift of millennial Cuban-Americans, who are more open to President Obama’s policies,” says Cherie Cancio, 29, who was born in Miami and runs tours through a nonprofit called CubaOne to the island for young Cuban-Americans eager to explore their heritage. Cancio’s father reached Florida on the Mariel Boatlift in the 1980s. She admits that the children of exiles grapple with wanting to learn about their heritage while being respectful of their parents’ struggles. Many millennials want to go to Cuba but are hesitant to do so out of respect for their parents’ position that the Castro regime must relinquish power. That’s why she believes in educating Cuban-Americans, while building
bridges with folks in Cuba. Still, Cancio doesn’t believe that she, or the Miami-born children of exiles, has a role to play in reshaping Cuba. “I have the freedom here to support whatever policies I want, she said. “I don’t know I should have that freedom in another country, even if my father was born there.” Javier Gonzalez, a 21-year-old University of Miami junior, feels that Cuba is his birthright. His father came from Cuba and hasn’t returned. Gonzalez also hasn’t visited. “A free Cuba or nothing,” said Gonzalez, who is majoring in political science, economics and aquaculture. Gonzalez attended Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami—a private school that was once in Havana, only to be seized after Castro took power and expelled from the island. Castro himself was a 1944 graduate of the school. Gonzalez says many of his teachers knew Castro or studied with him, and the exile experience permeated daily high school life, as it did for him at home.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Over 40% of business lost data this year–Kaspersky
O less than 43 percent of the business organizations suffered from data loss in the last 12 months, Kaspersky Lab ZAO said.
“All companies today are faced with cyber attacks in some form or another,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement. “In the last 12 months [these] businesses experienced data loss as a result of breach.” About 20 percent of the big enterprises, or one in every five, on the other hand, encountered four and more breaches during the period, the cyber-security firm said on December 1. Citing its 2016 global survey, Kaspersky Lab said some 49 percent of companies experienced a targeted attack and no less than
50 percent were threatened by ransomware attack. Twenty percent of the companies had their data held hostage by ransomware attackers, the firm said. “Another serious threat, which was exposed by the survey, is the carelessness of employees: this vector contributed to a security incident in almost half [48 percent] of the companies.” Kaspersky Lab cited the top 3 security incidents include improper use of mobile devices (54 percent), physical loss of ha rdwa re e x posing sensit ive
information (53 percent) and inappropriate use by personnel of information-technology (IT) resources (50 percent). Malicious software, Trojan and viruses (57 percent), phishing and social engineering (50 percent) and crypto-malware and ransomware (50 percent) were the top three threats during the period. “The survey results indicate the need for a different approach to tackling the growing complexity of cyber threats,” Veniamin Levtsov, Kaspersky Lab VP for Enterprise Business, was quoted in a statement as saying. “The difficulties come not necessarily from the sophistication of attacks, but the growing attack surface that requires a more diverse set of protection methods. This makes matters even more complicated for IT security departments who have more points of vulnerability to lock down.”
Using an algorithm, employees’ carelessness and data exposure due to improper sharing, is too difficult to mitigate, he added. “This adds up to the grim reality of the modern threat landscape, where businesses have to repel the efforts of organized crime, rather than simply block the malicious software,” Levtsov said. “A truly efficient strategy, therefore, requires a combination of security technology, the analysis of external cyber-threat intelligence, constant monitoring and the application of the best practice for incident response.” Kaspersky Lab’s 2016 global survey centered on the comparison of the perception of security threats with the reality of security incidents encountered. About 52 percent of the business organizations admitted they need to get prepared for threats. Oliver Samson
Vivo Y55 leaves good impression By Faye Pablo
Special to the BusinessMirror
am not fond of using Android smartphones because of past experiences in using Android phones that I didn’t like. That is why I am a fan of non-Android devices and have been using one for almost four years already. The Vivo Y55, however, may be getting back my trust on Android phones. Here are my eight reasons: Let me share you this eigth reasons why you will love and hate the Vivo phone:
8 CEO William Rahr looks into the steeper at the new $68-million malt house at Rahr Malting Co., a family-owned production facility, on November 15 in Shakopee, Minneapolis. Renee Jones Schneider/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS
World’s largest single-site malting hub up, running outside Twin Cities M
I N N E A P O L I S —T h e world’s largest singlesite malting facility is now operating outside the Twin Cities, though its owners could have processed barley into beer ingredients elsewhere. This fall, Rahr Corp., a family-owned company that employs 240 employees in the metro area, opened a new $68-million malt house, which processed its first batch of grain earlier this month. As craft beer saturates the beverage industry, an on-site “research brewery” will open by spring so that small brewers can test new products using sophisticated equipment from Germany. Rahr’s latest expansion, located in the suburban town of Shakopee, depended on state and local tax-increment financing and is part of Shakopee’s subsidization of other big-name newcomers, like Amazon and Shutterfly,
with the idea to create more jobs and build its industrial tax base. Rahr, which was originally Rahr Ma lting, moved to Sha kopee from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, in 1936. It also has operations in North Dakota, Washington and Canada, exporting malt primarily throughout North America, but also to international clients. “Rahr is truly our oldest company here in Shakopee,” said Samantha DiMaggio, the city’s economic development coordinator. “If you can’t help the company that’s helped everyone in town, then you’re really failing, in my mind.” The facility now includes six malt houses, a 20,000-square-foot research brewery and technical center, and an 80,000-square-foot distribution and packaging facility. Rahr provides malt for about 90 percent of Minnesota’s breweries, as well as mainstream suppliers, like Anheuser-Busch.
“They’re a little bit like Willy Wonka,” DiMaggio said. “You see it, but you don’t know what goes on in the inside.” The local touches are evident, from facility design down to packaging. Local construction companies and engineers helped build the new malt house, and Rahr bought parts from companies in the state.
Salted nut roll
BEFOR E shipping bags of malt, employees add a sa lted nut rol l f rom Pea rson’s, a not her Minnesot a compa ny. “If you’re going to build a malt house today, you look at European or German desig n— or t he Chinese desig n,” said Jesse T heis, chief operating officer of R ahr Cor p. But the company looked, instead, to its own neighbors. Drivers-by may see steam rising from the newest 115,000-squarefoot malt house. Inside, employees
process barley—primarily sourced from Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho, Montana and Alberta, Canada—into malt in three stages. “The closer we are to this plant, the better,” said Ronald Johnson, president of Rahr Malting. “But we believe in geographic diversity.” First, they immerse barley in a steeping process. Then, it germinates for four days. Last, the malt is dried out for use by distilleries, brewers and even food suppliers, such as Miller Milling Co. The newest malt house is vertical rather than horizontal because of the site’s limited footprint, CEO and President William Rahr said. Rahr decided to stay local because of the company’s history and employees, who earn a “familysustaining wage,” he said. “The two projects would have done better someplace else, competitively,” Rahr added. “But this is homegrown.”
You will love the Vivo Y55 phone because it only weighs 142 grams. You might think you forgot it on the top of your drawer when you already leave home for the office, in the end, finding out that it was in your bag all along. The Vivo Y55 just doesn’t consume too much space, as it measures 147.90 x 72.90 x 7.50 (height x width x thickness).
If you’ve always wanted to have an iPhone but can’t afford to buy one, try Vivo Y55. From afar, it almost looks like an iPhone because of its shape and lining. The problem here is that other people might also think you have an iPhone and try to steal it from you. And just like the iPhone, the Vivo Y55 is available on gold, rose gold and space gray.
Who doesn’t love a long-lasting battery life? This phone takes a whole day and a half before getting totally low on juice. Your friends will hate you for having a half battery life while they are already plugging-in their phones to their power banks. It is a life-saver phone.
We are obviously in the selfie generation, as they call it, and Vivo Y55 would be a favorite tool in taking selfies. It has many features, like one-tap makeover, beautification adjustment and different filters to enhance your selfie. It has also watermarks wherein you can put the name of the place, the date and time, your statement or even greetings. You’ll hate it because you just can’t stop yourself from taking selfies.
Vivo Y55 has only 2 Gigabytes (Gb) random access memory (R AM). Small space for selfies and music, huh? The good thing about this, it is expandable up to 32 GB. Normally, in some of the android phones that I used, the memory is small and not expandable, causing the device to lag and work very slow. Because the R AM of the Vivo Y55 is expandable, you can store more files, selfies and music files.
A powerful chip. Even though you don’t expand the Y55’s RAM, it will not lag or work slowly because of its 1.4-Gigahertz (gHz) octacore chip. Modern octacore chips, meanwhile, simply have two sets of quadcore processors, which split various tasks between them, according to type. Most of the time, the lowerpowered set of cores will be employed. When advanced tasks are needed, however, the faster set of four cores will kick in, according to the Trusted Reviews web site. Maybe you’ll just hate your phone’s memory when you have too many stored memories that needs to be deleted, but you can’t.
This is the best feature that I ever experience in using an Android phone: the lock screen. Likewise, the Y55 offers two password settings: one exclusive for the user and a guest user password. The latter allows your friend to use your phone but have limited access to your files. One example is hiding your last #TGIF photos from your mom who suddenly borrows your phone for no reason. Your mom would just hate you for not sharing the pictures with her, I guess. Again, this is a life-saver phone.
You will love the Vivo Y55 more because it is only worth P7,990. It is very affordable but offers a way lot many than other expensive phones. The Vivo phone sounds like the word “bibo,” which means to impress. And the Y55 phone is really making pa-bibo in select aspects.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Hitachi rolls out new smart storage solution
To unleash PHL potential, C.I.O.s and C.E.O.s must be on same page infographic courtesy of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp.
I TACHI Data Systems (HDS) Cor p., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., recently announced the launch of a new intelligence solution that is an addition to its Hitachi content portfolio (HCP). The addition, according to HDS, is the industry’s only object storage portfolio with search and analytics capabilities. “For today’s enterprises, data is the most strategic asset, and connecting the right people to the right data in a timely and meaningful way is critical to staying relevant and competitive in their market segment,” Scott Baker, HDS senior director of emerging technologies, was quoted in a statement as saying. Baker said the firm’s new solution it calls “Hitachi Content Intelligence,” or HCI, allows “customers [to] organize, transform and
package organizational data into factual information, making it invaluable to the business.” T he rollout of the HCI came nearly three months after International Data Cor p. (IDC) marked Hitachi and Dell at a tie in terms of market share in enter prise-storage systems during the second quarter. According to IDC, Hitachi garnered a 7.4-percent in terms of market share in the worldwide external enterprise-storage systems in the April-to-June period. IDC said Hitachi ’s revenue increased 14.7 percent to $419 million in the second quarter, compared to the $365.9 million the company posted in the same per iod in 2015. T he revenue does not ref lect HDS’s original equipment manufacturer sales to Sun Microsystems and HewlettPackard, IDC said. Rizal Raoul Reyes
Avaya seeks to lead local I.T. as CX becomes biz standard
HE foremost challenge for the country’s digitalization today is the top-level struggle between chief information officers (CIOs) and chief executive officers (CEOs), and reconciling their visions for technology and business, according to an information-technology (IT) expert.
“Digitalization means creating new business models, opening new opportunities and generating ROIs [returns on investment] never had before,” Sudev Bangah, International Data Corp. (IDC) country manager for Indonesia and Philippines, said in the recent CIO Summit. “While most of the CIOs in this country are extremely talented, having that understanding of business is key to realizing these advantages,” Bangah added during the summit organized by IDC Philippines, Executive Networks Media and Eastern Communications. According to Bangah, Philippine CEOs are aggressive. “Sixty percent of them want to
help you and get involved in the digital transformation,” Bangah said, as he invited his audience of CIOs to lead the transformation of business. Mike Soriano, Eastern Communications product management and development head, echoed this challenge in his talk on connectivity and digital transformation. Citing author Steven Covey, Soriano asked his audience, composed of CIOs and senior IT officials from all over Asia, to “begin with the end in mind.” He said it is through this clear objective that they can identify the opportunities taking form in the country today.
Reaching the cloud for business
THE CIO attendees weighed on the feasibility and challenges of digitally transformed business during the breakout discussions. Panelist-experts from IT companies and service providers offered solutions to the top executives, sharing technology hindrances and opportunities. LBC Inc. Senior Vice President and Head of IT Alfie Deato and Eastern Communications Marketing Head Alfredo Solis also talked about cloud computing as they engaged the daring proposition and addressed the infrastructure gap noted by the table of IT executives from the academia, industry and government sectors. Deato shared LBC’s business model of nationwide delivery systems, while Solis explained the technologies out in the market. The survey on cloud computing emphasized the crucial role of developing reliable, customized Internet connections in delivering outcomes for growth, as the roundtable audience shared the intent to move further into the digital world.
Putting customers at forefront
IDC Philippines Operations Head
Jubert Alberto affirms this trend as he noted that, even with some CEOs still keeping to their established methods of success and having reservations on investing heavily in technology, more are recognizing its inevitability. Alberto explained there is a general consensus on the cost of lagging behind innovations. “The CEOs have to imagine themselves as their customers,” he said. “If they don’t ride technology’s wave of change, then they lose so much of the market and, of course, the business.” Building on the summit’s insights on leadership by innovation, integration and incorporation, Alberto provided an image of digital transformation as it affects the companies. “It is putting your customer’s needs at the forefront. It is about getting information from your customer-partners and using it to develop business advantages,” Alberto said. “Digital transformation is making sure that your work force is evolving and your partnerships, as well.” The CIO Summit is an annual gathering held to introduce Asia’s top information officers to industry breakthroughs. Rizal Raoul Reyes
Cyber Monday transformed as shoppers more connected
N This November 25 photo, courtesy of Avaya Philippines Inc., shows Avaya Vice President Frederick Sabty interacting with local media during a news briefing organized by Avaya in Taguig City. Avaya Philippines Inc.
VAYA Inc. moves to put a leadership stake in the local informationtechnology (IT) landscape, as customer experience (CX) appears to become the new standard for business growth. “In the era of software-defined everything and instantinformation access, [CX] will become the new battleground for organizations,” Avaya Vice President Frederick Sabty said in a forum the company organized on November 25. Citing IT research firm Gartner, Sabty said 89 percent of businesses today expect to compete primarily on the basis of CX. “With IDC [International Data Corp.] also predicting 80 percent of business-toconsumer organizations in the Philippines to create an immersive and authentic omni-experience for customers, partners and employees by 2020, companies need to place digital transformation and customer engagement at the top of their agenda,” Sabty added. “In this new age of digital transformation, organizations will have to effectively use next-generation
communications technologies to enhance customer engagement and create new value for customers,” IDC Financial Insights Associate Vice President and Research Director Michael Araneta was quoted by an Avaya statement as saying. “By delivering seamless and consistent omnichannel customer experiences, companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and build customer loyalty.” Across the Asia-Pacific region, service providers are already rolling out new products and services along with significantly enhanced customer experience, IDC Asia Pacific Telecom Practice Associate Director Shiv Putcha said in a separate statement. While IDC dubbed 2016 as the year of platforms, the research firm sees digital engagement, which will enhance CX, as a feature of the IT landscape next year. Sabty is urging Philippine companies to “take the initiative on transforming their customer-engagement strategies or risk being left behind in today’s disruptive digital landscape.” Rizal Raoul Reyes
EW YORK—The Monday after Thanksgiving is still a time when millions of Americans pause to check out online deals and check off items from their gift list—but a one-day Cyber Monday frenzy appears to be going the way of the dial-up modem. Shoppers who have high-speed connections at home and on their phones are pouncing on deals that stores are spreading out over several days, leaving the so-called Cyber Monday online shopping bonanza in danger of losing its title as the top online sales day. “Because Cyber Monday is no longer about the connection, it’s just another sales day that I can plan for, like a Labor Day sale or Fourth of July sale,” Gartner analyst Gene Alvarez said. “I know it’s coming: Does it fit into my schedule, and will I do my holiday shopping that day, Black Friday or wait to see what comes up later?” So i nstead of door -bu ster markdowns on a select few products, retailers are shifting to a stream of discounts and alerts during the entire week via e-mail and social media. Cartwheel, Target’s digital app, started offering holiday deals,
including 50 percent off one toy per day on November 1. Amazon started offering 35 days of Black Friday deals on November 16. And Walmart kicked off its Cyber Monday deals on Friday for the first time as it aimed to grab customers ahead of its competitors. “It’s really this weeklong flow of deals,” said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association.
ing online on Saturday. They saw more discounts early this year and use services like buying items online and picking them up in the store, Cannata said. “We are casting a wide net on any and all types of gifts,” he said. On Monday he bought an Amazon Tap smart speaker for $40 off at $90 on Amazon.com and Bluetooth stereo headphones for $30, $100 off the original price.
LEA Bishop from Carmel, Indiana, picked up tickets to the Texas Tenors at her local performing arts center because they had a rare buy-two, get-two-free deal. “It’s those once-a-year deals that I’m looking for today,” she said. Otherwise, she noticed retailers have been spreading out deals. “It seems like they shou ld rename Black Fr iday to Black Fr iday Week and rename Cyber Monday to Cyber Monday weekend,” she said. Matthew Cannata of New Britain, Connecticut, said he and his wife meticulously map out their shopping weekend. They hit the stores on Thursday night and Friday morning, and started brows-
THE Monday after Thanksgiving has been the busiest day of the year for online shopping since 2010, and “Cyber Monday” referred to the day when people returned after the holiday weekend to offices where they had high-speed internet connections. Cyber Monday still packs the biggest punch in terms of a single online shopping day—for now. As of 7:30 p.m. EST on Monday, shoppers were on track to hit a record of $3.39 billion, up 10.2 percent from a year ago, according to a tally by Adobe Digital Insights, which tracks online retail transactions. But other days are catching up. On Black Friday, consumers spent
$3.34 billion, a 21.6-percent jump from last year, according to Adobe. “Because of technology, the shopping process has been deconstructed, and the consumer constructs their own flow,” Alvarez said.
JOSEPH Jaconi, whose company TechArmor sells smartphone accessories through Amazon, other outlets and his e-commerce site, said Black Friday was his biggest sales day of the year. He said he expected Cyber Monday to outpace that, with sales about double or triple that of a normal day. Amazon kicking off its deals on November 16 helped give the whole month a sales lift. “Cyber Monday has kind of become Cyber Month,” he said. Research firm comScore predicted that online spending on Cyber Monday will jump to $3.5 billion from $3.12 billion last year, and will release its tally for the day on Wednesday. The firm’s preliminary holiday shopping forecast, which includes November and December, is for online sales to rise as much as 19 percent to $81 billion. Mae Anderson/AP
A12 Saturday, December 3, 2016
Man named Jordan bares moves to enhance angel investing in PHL By Rizal Raoul S. Reyes
GENTLEMAN named Jordan recently arrived in the country not to boost Philippine basketball. It’s neither because he’s not into the sport nor because he’s Green. Jordan Green, an internationally known and sought-after expert in the fields of early stage investing and “angel investing,” came to the Philippines to encourage local entrepreneurs to tap a group that can help them grow their business. Green recently spoke at the PanAsian Angel Investing and Venture Capital Congress to promote angel investing to local entrepreneurs. The Australian expert urged Filipinos to tap angel investors to grow their businesses. “The Asian region is an engine of growth and has large potentials,”
Green said during the forum on November 25. At present, Green is mentoring the MFT Group of Cos., an angel investing group led by CEO Maria Francesca Tan. Green, currently the president of Melbourne Angels, is providing the skills to future investors in applying their money and skills to potential high growth businesses. He is also known to advice governments on policy and programs for the early stage investment and entrepreneurial space. Since angel investing is relatively
a new concept in the Philippines and Southeast Asia as well, Green said there is a need to promote angel investing to develop the awareness among entrepreneurs. Generally, angel investors are entrepreneurs loaded with cash active in several businesses and communal activities. Typically working as a self-employed consultant, angel investors allocate 15 percent to 50 percent of investment portfolio to private equity investments and 5 percent to 20 percent in angel investing. The co founder of the Australian Association of Angel Investors described angel investors as individuals who possess altruism and are economic savvy. Green said the steady momentum in the growth of angel investors is attributed to the rise of high-earning individuals who are utilizing their personal wealth to address the financial problems of start-ups. The 2015 Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups made by the Department of Science and Technology noted funding is particularly lack-
ing in the Philippines, which forces start-ups to seek funding outside the country. “Developing continuous support network for s start-up’s various stages can benefit the development and growth of the local ecosystem,” the report said. Green said the country can harness the skills and resources of angel investors in their public-private partnership (PPP) projects. Since they are usually business-savvy individuals who consider risk and potential in an investment, he said the proponents of the PPP must market their projects properly to attract angel investors. Moreover, entrepreneurs and government, as well, must put up a well-crafted business model and corporate blueprint to attract the angels, Green added. He said angel investors and venture capital companies also consider other economic factors that may make or break a business such as the stock market, current events, current demand, risks and trend shifts.
Editor: Dennis D. Estopace • firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook holds hackathon to promote digital literacy
OCAL executives of social-network operator Facebook recently conducted a threeday hackathon that they said promotes digital literacy among its online audience. From November 24 to 26, six teams of 30 individuals from around the country gathered together to develop the tools, products, services and initiatives that will strengthen digital literacy of Filipinos and promote positive online engagement and dialogue, Facebook said in a statement. “The hackathon is an example of our commitment to maintain authentic, informative and inspirational conversations on the platform,” said Clair Deevy, Facebook’s AsiaPacific head of economic growth initiatives. According to Deevy, more than 54 million Filipinos are on Facebook “connecting on topics that they care about.” “As the online space removes boundaries and allows individuals to connect and create common bonds with anyone, we see it important to help foster an environment where people can engage with each other positively,” she added. Named after the popular Filipino dessert halo-halo–which when translated means mixed together—the hackathon symbolized the diversity that is the strength of Philippine culture, Deevy said. “We’re excited to partner with Facebook to help unlock innovation for good across
the Philippines,” said Shahed Amanullah, co founder of Affinis Labs, Facebook’s partner in the hackathon. “As one of the most social countries in the world, we recognize the importance of building tools that help Filipinos connect with each other online through positive dialogue and openness.” Facebook and Affinis Labs said they will work closely with the winning team for at least six months after the hackathon, providing mentorship, funding, and the necessary support to turn their ideas into a working online tool that reaches millions of people. Affinis Labs will guide project business development, provide mentorship and access to stakeholder networks and resources, and help successful candidates generate publicity and attract additional partners, investors and allies. Winners will also receive $5,000 seed funding to further develop their ideas and bring them to life. Facebook has partnered with Affinis Labs, a company with a strong record of running social impact competitions abroad, in hosting similar hackathons in Indonesia and Bangladesh. Through this hackathon Facebook hopes to bring together the brightest minds to help generate creative, community-driven solutions that help address global challenges that people see each day in society. Rizal Raoul Reyes
Q&A: Amazon’s commander of the Cloud shares his vision vices. This is what people commonly call the Internet of Things (IOT). These sensors have a small amount of (computing power) and memory. Which means the cloud becomes disproportionately important to supplement their capabilities. Most of the big IoT cases today are built on top of AWS. We are at the start of what we think is possible. Over time, many enterprises are going to think about their own infrastructure as servers and also as devices they use to collect data, do analytics and take action back on these devices. So that’s another area of significant investment for us.
By Angel Gonzalez The Seattle Times/TNS
EATTLE—Andy Jassy, a 19-year Amazon veteran, is arguably the most powerful man in the cloud. He heads Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing division that drives much of Amazon.com’s profitability and that dwarfs most competitors, including ventures by crosstown rival Microsoft and search giant Google. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who calls AWS a “pillar”, earlier this year upgraded Jassy’s title to division “CEO”. In an interview with The Seattle Times, Jassy said that AWS could one day evolve to become an even bigger business for Seattlebased Amazon than e-commerce because it’s addressing markets potentially worth “trillions of dollars worldwide.” But a spinoff is unlikely because there’s “no compelling reason” to do so, the executive said. Jassy’s comments come before re: Invent, AWS’ annual mammoth Las Vegas conference, which runs through Friday. More than 32,000 are expected to attend, reflecting, in Jassy’s words, the growing “movement” of builders embracing the possibilities of the cloud. “It is palpable when you’re there,” he says. Here’s an edited excerpt of the conversation.
AWS has evolved into a $12-billion business in a decade. Why did it grow so quickly so fast? Was that growth a surprise?
I don’t think any of us had the audacity to predict it would grow to be that big when we were starting it. Before, companies and start-ups had to lay up all this capital for data centers and servers, and take your scarce resource, which in most companies is engineers, and have them work on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of infrastructure. What the cloud has done is completely flipped that model on its head so that you only pay for what you consume. You’re able to get work done so much faster than ever before.
What are the biggest bottlenecks you’re seeing? Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, talks about the future of the division before AWS’s annual Las Vegas conference, which more than 32,000 are expected to attend. Johnny Andrews/ The Seattle Times/TNS
Start-ups and smaller companies got that revolution started, but we always expected large enterprises and government agencies to be very large AWS companies, because they have very large amounts of infrastructure to spend.
Where is AWS now? Where is it going next?
We have a pretty significant marketleadership position, and we’re not close to being done delivering capabilities for our customers. We have a very broad geographic footprint, but we’re not close to being done. Over time we can expect we’ll have an AWS “region” (a cluster of data centers) in practically every Tier 1 country and a lot of developing countries, as well. We have a machine-learning service that we launched about a year-and-a-half ago, and there are a lot of artificial intelligence (AI) machine-learning capabilities coming. We have a large number of people working in AI. If you look around homes and the workplace, there are all these sensors in many de-
There are only 24 hours in the day. There is so much that we’re doing simultaneously. We’re going to launch 1,000 significant services or features this year. We are hiring so many people all over the world and we have a very high hiring bar. We’re not willing to compromise in order to make sure we have the right quality of folks. That always takes a fair quality of focus and work from the team.
How do you see the competition? Who keeps you up at night?
Probably the single biggest surprise is just how long it took for other large technology companies to build an offering here. I don’t think any of us believed, in our wildest dreams, that we would have a six-year head-start. It’s not a surprise to us that every large technology company is trying to build an offering like AWS’ because it’s such a good
value proposition for customers. But the offerings and the platforms are in very different spots today. AWS has a lot more capability and functionality than anybody else by a large margin, and is also iterating at a faster clip than anybody else. We have an impression we use internally: There’s no compression algorithm for experience.
What are your thoughts on “moving up the stack” (offering clients more sophisticated applications beyond storage and computing power)?
You’ll increasingly see us build services a little bit further up the stack. The ones we choose to add are the ones our customers tell us they’d like us to build. The vast majority of applications that are really having success in the market today are run by AWS partners. We have a very large ecosystem of partners that cover the gauntlet of applications that our customers love using.
Will AWS become the largest business within Amazon?
If it came to pass, it would likely take time. But I do think it’s possible that in the fullness of time AWS could be the largest business in Amazon. Part of that is because, if you look at the market segments AWS addresses—infrastructure software, hardware, data center services, plus some capability to build further up stack, as well—that’s trillions of dollars worldwide. It’s a very large opportunity and we’re very optimistic about where AWS will be in the long term.
n Title: CEO, Amazon Web Services n Age: 48 n Education: Bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Harvard n Back story: Part of Amazon.com’s senior executive team since 2002.
Joined the company in 1997. Conceived the company’s entry into the music business, was director of marketing, served as technical assistant to CEO Jeff Bezos, and in 2006 launched AWS, the largest computing cloud business in the world.
Illustration courtesy of Kaspersky Lab ZAO
Kaspersky Lab sees defenders facing challenges in 2017 as I.o.C.s get useless By Oliver Samson
ECURING data would be a more challenging job in 2017 as Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) had become nearly useless in detection of infection, Kaspersky Lab disclosed in a statement on November 29. The IoCs used to effectively facilitate information security practitioners in unmasking infections, the cybersecurity firm explained. The discovery of Project Sauron by Global Research and Analysis Team’s (GReAT) in 2016, however, put the IoCs almost meaningless. “Analysis of the group revealed a bespoke malware platform, where every feature was altered for each victim, rendering IoCs unreliable for detecting any other victim, unless accompanied by another measure, such as strong YARA rules,” Kaspersky Lab said. This advanced persistent threat is capable of creating new tools for every target, effectively eliminating IoCs, the firm noted. Kaspersky Lab also is anticipating the emergence of “memory-resident malware” in 2007. This malware has “no interest in surviving beyond the first reboot that will wipe the infection from the machine memory.” “Such malware, intended for general reconnaissance and the collection of credentials, is likely to be deployed in highly sensitive environments by stealthy attackers keen to avoid arousing suspicion or discovery,” Kaspersky Lab said. Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, Kaspersky Lab GReAT senior security expert, saw these
as “dramatic developments”, but also saw defenders would not be left helpless if YARA rules would be adopted. “These will allow researchers to scan far-andwide across an enterprise, inspect and identify traits in binaries at rest, and scan memory for fragments of known attacks,” Guerrero-Saade said. “Ephemeral infections highlight the need for proactive and sophisticated heuristics in advanced antimalware solutions.” YARA is a tool used in detecting malicious files or suspicious systems and networks activities. “YARA rules—basically search strings— help analysts to find, group and categorize related malware samples and draw connections between them in order to build malware families and uncover groups of attack that might otherwise go unnoticed.” The year 2017, Kaspersky Lab sensed, would see attribution would flounder among false flags, rise of information warfare, escalation in vigilante hackers, mobile-device espionage, compromise of payment systems, commoditization of financial attacks, rise in malware threats and criminal digital advertising. “Over the next year, we will see the kind of tracking and targeting tools increasingly used in advertising being used to monitor alleged activists and dissidents,” the firm said. “Similarly, ad networks—which provide excellent target profiling through a combination of IPs, browser fingerprinting, browsing interests and login selectivity—will be used by advanced cyberespionage actors keen to precisely hit targets while protecting their latest toolkits.”
Cloudfone brand-maker launches new smartphone
ELLPRIME Distribution Corp., manufacturer of the homegrown Cloudfone mobile technology brand, recently launched the Hyundai Aero Plus. The gadget was rolled out in partnership with online retailer Lazada and Hyundai dealer Autohub. Cellprime said it expects the Hyundai Aero Plus “to resonate strongly with design-and-styleconscious men and car enthusiasts.” According to CEO Eric Yu, he expects the Hyundai Mobile brand to
attract the country’s population of young achievers. Cellprime said the device was produced via a partnership with Korean automotive titan Hyundai. The Hyundai Aero Plus is the second phone model to be launched under the Hyundai Mobile brand in just a little over a year of partnership. Beginning with the successful release of Hyundai Aero earlier this year, Hyundai Mobile will continue to bring mobile devices for mid-to high-end smartphone
users in the Philippines, Cellprime said in a statement. “Driven by our commitment to understand the market, our partnership with Hyundai helps us to fill the gaps in smartphone adoption by catering to Filipino gentlemen,” Yu said. “Hyundai Mobile expands our reach and solidifies our position as a driving force in the industry.” The company is selling the device from P13,990 (32 Gigabytes) to P15,990 (64Gb). Both are powered
by a high-performance 3,000 mAh battery that can last at least 20 days on standby or 18 hours of talk time. The Hyundai Aero Plus is a limited-edition phone which will be in Lazada and other channels beginning December 7, Cellprime said. The launch of the new phone came as the International Data Corp. said it expects worldwide smartphone shipments this year to reach 1.45 billion units with a year-over-year growth rate of 0.6 percent. Alladin S. Diega