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ABE’S SOFT POWER PLAY WINS HIM BREAKFAST AT DUTERTE’S DAVAO HOME
Fine display of subtle and personal diplomacy
apanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat for breakfast on Friday at the modest home of President Duterte in Davao, making him the first national leader to set foot in the new Chief Executive’s green bungalow.
The personal touch shows Abe’s determination to maintain ties with the Philippines, as Japan competes with China for business deals. Security ties between the Southeast Asian nation and the US have deteriorated under Duterte and, with China growing increasingly assertive in the region, Abe is seeking to convince his counterpart to stick with Japan and the US. After a summit in Manila on Thursday, Abe said there is a link between the territorial spats in the South China Sea and regional peace, adding that he affirmed with Duterte the importance of not militarizing the disputed waters. Sure to strengthen the foundations of Abe’s relationship with Duterte is that unlike US and European leaders, he has refrained from criticizing Duterte’s war on drugs that has so far seen about 6,000 people killed. “Abe is using an exquisite combination of subtle and personal diplomacy, proactively reaching out to Duterte, who has maintained very close ties with Japan, while recalibrating relations with America and China,” Philippine-based political analyst Richard Javad Heydarian said. “Abe will likely try to convince Duterte to be wary of China and restore ties with America” under President-elect Donald J. Trump. Duterte visited Tokyo last October, days after announcing in Beijing a foreign-policy pivot to China, away from the US military ties between Tokyo and Manila appear solid, with the countries car-
The funding and investment commitments pledged by the Japanese prime minister during his PHL visit rying out small joint naval exercises near Subic Bay last week.
Abe pledged on Thursday to provide ¥1 trillion ($8.7 billion) in funding and investment to the Philippines. Japan is the Philippines’s largest provider of aid, a major source of remittances and was the second-biggest source of foreign investment in 2015 (after the Netherlands). Total trade between the countries was around $15.9 billion, about half that of the shipments between the Philippines and China. Bonji Ohara, the director of policy research at the Tokyo Foundation think tank, said a tug-ofwar between Tokyo and Beijing over business with the Philippines wouldn’t be meaningful. “I don’t think the Philippines has any intention of picking one side over the other,” said Ohara, who also served as a naval attaché at Japan’s embassy in Beijing. “President Duterte seems to have a favorable view of Japan, which Continued on A2
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with President Duterte following their joint statement at Malacañang on Thursday. Abe arrived on Thursday for a two-day official visit that includes a visit to Duterte’s hometown of Davao City. AP/Bullit Marquez
Beijing sends clearer signal on South China Sea, Aspac security
By Recto Mercene
hina on Thursday said it is ready to cooperate with Asia-Pacific countries for the promotion of common development, building of partnerships, improvement of existing multilateral frameworks, rule-setting, military exchanges and settlement of differences. “China is a staunch force in Asia-Pacific security, and its policies are particularly relevant, as Asia Pacific is the only enviable, tranquil place in the world—if you take into account Brexit, refugees, populism, terrorist attacks, Syria and uncertain US domestic politics,” Liu Qing of the China Institute of International Studies said. Liu’s statement was contained in a white paper outlining China’s policies on Asia-Pacific security cooperation, issued by the State Council Information Office and released to the local media by the Chinese Embassy in Manila. The white paper, which seeks
to clarify China’s stance on issues of regional concern, appeared on the same day Foreign Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay Jr. said the framework for the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea may be finally completed by the middle of this year.
At a news briefing, Yasay said the Philippines, as chairman of this year’s Asean, will intensify efforts to fast-track the discussions on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and eventually complete the COC. Asked whether the Philippines
PESO exchange rates n US 49.5300
Yasay: “The arbitral ruling of the PCA is something that is there; it’s a final and binding decision to the parties. Whatever is said outside of the case will not change the decision. ” AP/Bullit Marquez
TILLERSON: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.” AP/Steve Helber
will push China to accept the arbitral ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, which ruled that Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea are illegal, Yasay replied: “The arbitral ruling of the PCA is something that is there; it’s a final and binding decision to the parties. Whatever is said outside of the case will not change the decision. It is a firm legal basis for us to pursue
time, because to discuss it with the others will be counterproductive for our purposes.” Yasay said China has been discretely cooperating in the discussion of the COC, along with other Asean member-countries. “The formulation of the COC is precisely being discussed right now. I don’t want to preempt anything by revealing further information, but I hope that it will be
our claims when we engage China when negotiating for that ruling.” He added that the Philippines is not going to raise the issue during the crafting of the COC, because “we will not benefit from it”. “If any country will continue to pursue it, they can do so, and [they] can use the tribunal decision,” the country’s top diplomat said. “For us, we feel no special purpose or benefit, but we will in some future
achieved by mid-2017,” Yasay said. “There is now a convergence of national interest to come up with the COC, and we are fortunate to have gotten to this level.” In the works since 2002, the COC has been delayed and has not moved forward. Yasay said the COC might “open the door to speed up bilateral engagement” with China to eventually Continued on A2
n japan 0.4323 n UK 60.3028 n HK 6.3876 n CHINA 7.1886 n singapore 34.7189 n australia 37.1079 n EU 52.6207 n SAUDI arabia 13.2104
Source: BSP (13 January 2017 )
A2 Saturday, January 14, 2017
Fine display of subtle and personal diplomacy
President Duterte and his partner Honeylet Avanceña (right) chat with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie at the President’s residence at Doña Luisa Village in Davao City on Friday. Abe capped his two-day official visit to the Philippines by having breakfast with Duterte at his home in Davao City. Rene Lumawag, Presidential Photographers’ Division via AP
Continued from A1 makes it easier for Japan to act. Of course they would welcome investment from Japan—they may not necessarily want to rely exclusively on China.”
The Japanese premier’s trip is part of a weeklong swing through Asia, where he’ll also hold summits with the leaders of Indonesia, Australia and Vietnam. Japan remains a laggard relative to China. In the decade through 2015, Japanese trade with the six largest economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) increased by 27 percent, while China’s trade more than tripled. A visit to the private residence of a Philippine leader by a counterpart is “virtually unprecedented,” according to Manolo Quezon, grandson of a former Philippine president who worked in the previous administration. Duterte had warm words for Abe during a toast to the Japanese leader on Thursday. “In Tokyo I said that Japan deserves its own rightful place in the constellation of the Philippines’s friends,” Duterte
said. “Tonight, let me reiterate that Japan is a friend closer than a brother. That means that Japan is a friend unlike any other.” Abe is on his way to Australia after a two-day visit to the Philippines, during which he pledged $8.7 billion worth of business opportunities and private investments along with speedboats and other counterterrorism equipment. He left for Sydney on Friday from southern Davao City, Duterte’s hometown. The two leaders shared breakfast of mung soup and rice cakes in Duterte’s home. They posed for pictures with businesspeople in a hotel and attended a ceremony to name an endangered Philippine Eagle Sakura, or cherry blossom, in Abe’s honor. They ate durian fruit at the hotel’s garden as dancers performed to the beat of brass gong before sitting down for lunch. Abe welcomed the Philippine leader’s efforts to improve Manila’s ties with Beijing “in light of the arbitral award,” referring to the Philippines’s victory in an arbitration ruling declaring China’s claims to the South China Sea invalid. China has refused to recognize
the July 12 arbitration decision and has warned the United States and other countries not involved in the territorial row not to meddle in the disputes, which Beijing wants to be settled through one-on-one negotiations with other rival claimant countries, like the Philippines. Abe, however, said “the issue of the South China Sea is linked directly to regional peace and stability and is a concern to the entire international community.” His two-day visit to Manila aims to further solidify relations with the Philippines at a time when Duterte is cozying up to China and Russia while taking a hostile stance toward Tokyo’s main ally, the US. Japan is among the top trading partners of the Philippines and one of its largest aid providers. The Philippines is Abe’s first stop in a four-nation swing as he presses efforts to boost Japan’s trade and security engagements amid China’s rise to Asian dominance. He will later travel to Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Accompanied by his wife and a business delegation, Abe is the first head of state to visit since Duterte took office last June. It’s an important af-
firmation of Duterte’s leadership at a time when he faces domestic and international criticism for a brutal crackdown on illegal drugs that has claimed more than 6,000 lives. Japan will help the Philippines fight illegal drugs by helping formulate treatment programs and improve facilities, Abe said. In a bid to foster Philippine development, he said Japan “will create business opportunities through official development assistance and private-sector investments, which, together, will be in the order of ¥1 trillion [$8.7 billion] over the next five years.” Abe and Duterte witnessed the signing of a number of agreements and the exchange of documents, including a Japanese grant of ¥600 million ($5 million) for boats and other counterterrorism equipment for the Philippine coast guard. At the start of their talks, Duterte thanked Abe for Japan’s help to strengthen the Philippine coast guard and said he was looking forward for the delivery of additional Japanese assistance. After Manila, Abe will travel to southern Davao city, Duterte’s hometown, where Philippine officials said
the president may host breakfast for the Japanese premier at his home. China has backed Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drug users and pushers, and a Chinese realestate magnate financed the construction of the biggest drug rehab center in the country, drawing praises from the President. While Duterte has cozied up to China and Russia, he has railed at President Barack Obama’s outgoing administration for raising alarm over human-rights concerns. The brash-talking Duterte has repeatedly vowed to scale back joint military exercises and other defense engagements with the US, his country’s treaty ally, but has walked back on many of his threats. Duterte visited Japan last October when he and Abe agreed to cooperate in promoting regional peace and stability and acknowledged the importance of their alliances with Washington. About two dozen activists, led by four Filipino women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops in World War II, protested outside the Japanese Embassy, demanding justice for their sufferings in a call that has largely
been muted by the blossoming relations of the Asian neighbors. Narcisa Claveria, 87, said she and other former sex slaves were treated “like pigs” by Japanese troops during the war, lamenting that many of her fellow victims had died without getting justice. “Shinzo Abe, end the issue of women now,” Claveria said at the protest. “You are meeting again with the President, will you bring forces of aggression here again? Are you going to make women here like pigs again?” It’s not clear if the demand by the former sex slaves were raised by Duterte in his talk with Abe. A survey released on Thursday by independent pollster Pulse Asia shows most Filipinos trust Japan and the United States, while a majority distrust China and Russia. The survey found 76 percent of adult Filipinos trust the US, while 70 percent expressed trust for Japan. Sixty-one percent said they lacked trust in China and 58 percent distrust Russia. The survey of 1,200 adult respondents nationwide between December 6 and 11 had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. Bloomberg News, AP
Beijing sends clearer signal on South China Sea, Aspac security Continued from A1
enforce the ruling of an international arbitral tribunal in the disputed waters.
Apart from the Philippines, other Asean countries that have overlapping claims in the South China Sea are Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam and Malaysia. The white paper came out after Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobile chairman and Donald J. Trump’s choice for secretary of State, urged the United States to send a clear signal to China about its island-building in the South
China Sea during his confirmation hearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Foreign news reports said Tillerson told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China’s building of islands and dispatch of military assets to those islands were “akin to Russia taking Crimea.” A foreign news wire agency reported that, when asked whether he supported a more aggressive posture toward China, Tillerson said: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”
The former Exxon Mobil Corp. chairman and chief executive did not elaborate on what might be done to deny China access to the islands it has built up from South China Sea reefs and equipped with military-length airstrips and fortified with weapons. Tillerson characterized both China’s island-building in the South China Sea and declaration of an air-defense zone in waters of the East China Sea it contests with Japan as “illegal actions.” “They’re taking territory or control, or declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China’s,” he said. “Building islands and putting military assets on those islands
is akin to Russia’s taking Crimea [from Ukraine]. It’s taking of territory that others lay claim to.” Tillerson also said the US could not continue to accept “empty promises” China had made about putting pressure on North Korea over that country’s nuclear and missile programs. The white paper also said China is prepared to take on greater responsibilities for regional and global security, and provide more public security services to the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large, it said. The paper outlines China’s concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable
security and explains the Chinese approach to achieving peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Noting the role that major countries in the region play in maintaining peace and development, the white paper urged them to reject the Cold War mentality, respect others’ legitimate interests and concerns, and to pursue positive interactions. “Visions guide actions, and to solve new problems new visions are required. Old security concepts based on the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game and stress on force are outdated given the dynamic development of regional integration,” the white paper read.
“In the new circumstances, all countries should keep up with the times, strengthen solidarity and cooperation with openness and inclusiveness, make security vision innovations, work to improve regional security systems and explore a new path for Asian security,” the white paper added. The paper said small- and medium-sized countries need not and should not take sides among big countries. China said it supports the creation of international and regional rules set through discussion with all countries concerned rather than being dictated by any particular country.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Trump, Duterte force Vietnam to recalibrate
ietnam is moving to firm up key relationships, after the rise of unpredictable politicians in the US and the Philippines upset its trade and security strategy.
A trio of high-profile diplomatic exchanges over the next week highlights a careful balancing act, as Donald J. Trump prepares to take office. Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong began a four-day visit on Thursday to China—Vietnam’s biggest trading partner—that includes a meeting with President Xi Jinping. Outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Hanoi on Friday for talks. And next week Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes his first trip to Vietnam since 2013. During their meeting on Thursday, Xi said the two countries were as “comrades and brothers”, telling Trong that China viewed relations with Vietnam from a longterm perspective, and hoped that the two countries would properly manage and control disputes, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Xi also proposed expanding military and security cooperation, and coordinating on global issues. Vietnam in recent months has watched as key parts of its economic and foreign policy
were thrown into question. Trump vowed to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a trade deal in which Vietnam was seen as one of the biggest winners—while the new Philippine president, Rodrigo R. Duterte, shifted toward China, eschewing a more coordinated approach with Vietnam over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Vietnam’s leaders are concerned about political changes in Europe, the US and the Philippines, said Tran Viet Thai, deputy director general of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi, where the country’s diplomats are trained. “It’s a fast-changing world, an unpredictable world,” Thai said. “We have to react very carefully.” Ton Nu Thi Ninh, a former ambassador of Vietnam to the EU and Belgium between 2000 and 2003, and former vice chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said the focus would now be on the new administration in the US and said she didn’t think Vietnam would move closer to China eco-
nomically if TPP was unsuccessful. “Vietnam already is a member of several free-trade agreements,” Ninh said. “Vietnam is a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, in which China is a member. Vietnam has also boosted trade relations with Russia and Europe.”
Relations between China and Vietnam, shaped by decades of
war and suspicion, have been strained in recent years by Beijing’s moves to reclaim thousands of acres of land and increase its military presence in the South China. Ties hit a low in 2014, when China sparked an international incident by placing an oil rig within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. Tensions dissipated somewhat after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s six-day trip to Chi-
The Vietnamese feel that Manila’s decision not to push for Chinese compliance with the July arbitral award short-circuited any effort to bring international pressure to bear on Beijing.”—Center for Strategic and International Studies
na last September, his first since taking office last April. Chinese state media heralded it as “a new era of stronger bilateral ties.” Vietnam state media used similar language to preview Trong’s trip this week, saying it showed the country wanted to to deepen its ties with China and create a peaceful and stable environment. “China and Vietnam do have sources of tension on the national interests level that cannot be easily reconciled, such as maritime conflict and trade tension,” said Zhang Mingliang, a professor at the Southeast Asia Research Institute under Jinan University in Guangzhou. “However, at this moment of geopolitical uncertainty, it’d serve the interests of both to aim for a steady, working bilateral framework under which business can be done.” Duterte’s embrace of China h a s pa r t ic u l a rly st u ng Vietnam. He has softened the Philippines’s position on the South China Sea, sought to negotiate disputes bilaterally instead of as a group and downplayed a July international court ruling that rebuffed China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the waters. “ T he Vietnamese feel that Manila’s decision not to push for Chinese compliance with the July arbitral award short-circuited any effort to bring international pressure to bear on Beijing,” said Gregory Poling, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies in Washington. “They are not alone—Singapore, Japan, Australia, the US and others feel the same.”
Duterte’s move to distance the Philippines from the US, its longtime ally, contrasts with Vietnam’s improved relations with Washington under the Obama administration’s so-called Asia pivot. The two countries have started joint naval drills and two US warships paid a visit to Cam Ranh Bay in October for the first time in decades. The Obama administration was also the key driver of the TPP trade deal, which would represent nearly 40 percent of global economic output worth $30 trillion if it came into force. Japan’s Abe has been a key advocate of the agreement, and has sought to convince Trump of its merits. Abe will look to strengthen ties on his trip to Vietnam, including cooperation in the South China Sea, such as improving coast guard capacity in the region. “We expect a bigger role from Japan in security and defense,” Thai of Vietnam’s diplomatic academy said. “The game is changing.” As for Trump, he said, Vietnam’s leaders are at a loss. “The way he does politics will be quite different—whether it will be good or bad, we don’t know,” Thai said. “However, we do not think the US national interests in Asia will change.” Bloomberg News
Saturday, January 14, 2017
BM-NOVEMBER 18 & 25, 2016
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Expert suggests new tack to push privatization of 5 regional airports
By Lorenz S. Marasigan
he move to unbundle the regional airport-development deals under the key infrastructure program is only wise if the government decides to widen the scope of the projects to include the conversion of the air hubs from domestic to international gateways.
Avelino L. Zapanta, an industry pillar and an aviation professor, said the government must consider sweetening the deal by allowing the investors to open up the airports to international traffic. “I think that the move is positive if the airports like Bacolod, Iloilo, Tagbilaran and Laguindingan would be brought up to international airport category. These cities are international tourist destinations. It will be to our advantage if they [airline carriers] are flown nonstop from their foreign origins to those tourist destinations,” he told the BusinessMirror. The government is reportedly mulling over the unbundling of the P108.2-billion regional airport-development program and bid out each of the five contracts separately starting March. The previous administration started the auction for the contract to develop and operate five airports around the Philippines in two packages to make it more enticing to investors. T he first pack age consists of the Bacolod-Silay A ir port, P20.26 billion; and Iloilo Airport,
₧108.2B The total cost of the regional airport-development program comprising five airports
P30.40 billion, while the second bundle is composed of the New Bohol or Panglao Airport, P2.34 billion; Laguindingan Airport P14.62 billion; and Davao Airport, P40.57 billion. The private partner will undertake the operation and maintenance of the airport, as well as provide additional facilities and other necessary improvements to enhance passenger safety, security, access, passenger and cargo movement efficiency, and operational efficiency under a defined concession period. A quick check at the PublicPrivate Partnership (PPP) Center’s web site showed that the airports’ conversion to international gateways is not included in the contracts. Zapanta explained it will be beneficial for
all stakeholders should this be included in the contracts. “It will be attractive and convenient for the tourists, and it will decongest our gateways, e.g., Manila and Cebu. It’s a win-win situation for all concerned,” Zapanta said. There were five prequalified bidders for the project, namely: Filinvest-Jatco-Sojitz Consortium (Filinvest Development Corp., Filinvest Land Inc., Filinvest Alabang Inc., Japan Airport Terminal Co. Ltd. and Cyberzone Properties Inc.); GMR Infrastructure and Megawide Consortium (Megawide Construction Corp., GMR Airport Developers Ltd., GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. and Delhi International Airport Ltd.); Maya Consortium (Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.; Vinci Airports SAS, ANAAeroportos de Portugal SA, Vinci Constr uction Grands Projets SAS, Therma South Inc. and Hedcor Sibulan Inc.); Philippine Airports Consortium (Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Aeroports de Paris and ADP Ingenierie); and SMHC-IIAC Airport Consortium (San Mig uel Hold ings Cor p., Incheon International Airport Corp., Star Infrastructure Development Corp. and Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp.) T he Bacolod A ir por t, a lso known as the Bacolod-Silay Airport, commenced operations in 2008, and is one of the recently completed airports in the Philippines with modern facilities. The airport is in Silay City, Negros Occidental, and generally caters to traffic for Negros Island—including Bacolod City—which is one of the most populous cities in the Western Visayas region. Tourism is one of the main industries in Negros Occidental
and is fast growing, with domestic tourists reaching 1.33 million in 2013. The Iloilo Airport, on the other hand, is in Cabatuan, province of Iloilo, and is among the top 5 airports in the Philippines in terms of traffic data. It started its commercial operations in 2007, prov iding both domestic and international connectivity with seven domestic destinations and two international destinations. The airport served roughly 1.87 million passengers in 2013. Seen to start its commercial operations by 2017, the P3.36-billion New Bohol Airport in Panglao is designed to accommodate one million passengers annually. The contract to construct new aviation hub in Bohol was awarded to Japanese joint venture of Chiyoda Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp. last month.Found on the northern tip of Misamis Oriental, the Laguindingan Airport has a design capacity of accommodating 1.6 million passengers annually. It started its operations in 2013. It replaced the Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro, which was among the five busiest airports in the Philippines in terms of passenger traffic. Also known as Francisco Bangoy International Airport, Davao airport is the third-busiest airport in the Philippines after the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Located in Catitipan, Davao City, the airport has been operational for more than 15 years, currently serving both domestic and international operations. The Davao region is one of the faster-growing tourism destinations in the country, with passenger traffic settling at 2.79 million in 2013.
‘Shoe queen’ Imelda Marcos owned art, too H
ear the name Imelda R. Marcos and everyone, of course, thinks shoes. But, it turns out, the former Philippine First Lady had a thing for fine art, too, and amassed a collection of paintings worth millions of dollars. There were Monets and a Sisley, and for years they hung in an Upper East Side townhouse owned by the Philippines and a Fifth Avenue apartment across the street from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Today they sit in a high-security, climate-controlled warehouse in Brooklyn’s Red Hook section, the focus of a contentious legal battle raging across multiple New York courts to determine ownership of the artwork.
Three parties are vying for the assets. The current Philippine government and a group representing some 10,000 victims of Ferdinand E. Marcos’s brutal regime both insist they are entitled to the paintings and $15 million in cash found in the US. Imelda’s former assistant, who says the First Lady gave her paintings as a birthday gift, is also seeking some of the assets. A federal trial in Manhattan could begin later this year. The paintings, including Old Masters and Impressionist works, represent a fraction of the $10 billion in assets that the late Marcos and his wife were accused of plundering from
the country’s treasury during his presidency from 1965 to 1986. In the hours after Marcos was toppled, the art disappeared from their Manhattan townhouse so swiftly that all that remained were bare walls and the paintings’ name plates, according to the Philippine government. Works by Picasso, Renoir, Rembrandt and Cézanne have never been found. Marcos died in 1989 in Hawaii and, a few months later, Imelda dodged legal charges. In 1990 a Manhattan federal jury acquitted her of stealing more than $200 million from the country’s treasury and investing the money in jewels, art and four
pieces of Manhattan real estate. Her defense argued that she didn’t know the money had been obtained illegally. The whereabouts of the art and other assets had remained a mystery for decades, eluding a search begun in 1986 by the new Philippine government’s Presidential Commission on Good Government. The crack c ame in 2011, when Manhattan District lawyer Cyrus Vance Jr. seized 50 Marcos paintings that he said had been hidden in Manhattan and Long Island homes owned by Vilma Bautista, the former aide to Imelda. Bloomberg News
Chinese firm protests ‘maltreatment’of PHL partner
ue to alleged trade obstacles and unfair treatment received by its local affiliate, the Chinese partner of steel trader Mannage Resources Trading Corp. (MRTC) has expressed grave concern over the investment environment in the Philippines. In a letter to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, Shanghai-based SIICGM Development (Hong Kong) Ltd. sought the Chinese envoy’s help, in coordinating with the Philippine government, to swiftly resolve all issues preventing the release of MRTC’s steel shipment from China. MRTC’s shipment of 20,000 metric tons of deformed steel bars—used for infrastructure pro j e c t s l i k e bu i ld i n g s a nd road s —is he ld up i nside it s warehouse at the Port of Subic on orders of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), despite compliance with import rules and payment of more than P43 million in taxes, the company stressed. “We’re very worried and disappointed about the investment
environment in the Philippines. SIIC, as the pioneer enterprise of the Chinese government’s The Belt and Road Policy, came to invest in the Philippines to meet the increasing construction-material demands, and we are willing to supply high-quality and reasonably priced construction materials. But we encountered obstacles at the very initial stage. We obtest our ambassador to coordinate with the Philippine government to remove obstacles for economic and trade exchanges between the two countries, and create an equal and mutually beneficial trade environment,” the letter stated. The firm pointed an accusing finger at the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (Pisi), which, it said, was responsible for misleading the DTI and the Bureau of Customs, for spreading false rumors about the quality of their steel and for causing the baseless recall of a final import commodity clearance (ICC) issued by the DTI to MRTC. It added that Pisi was engaged in various schemes to prevent
MRTC f rom supply i ng h ighquality steel to the Philippine market at reasonable prices by hampering their customs and port clearances. Delayed delivery of steel bars already paid for by customers has led to project delays and irreparable losses to MRTC, SIICGM said. Last week MRTC President Lawrence Sy officially sought the help of President Duterte and Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. He asked for a thorough investigation of concerned government officials and agencies responsible for holding their steel shipment. “We have full confidence in President Duterte’s leadership, and his vow to rid government of corruption and red tape. We hope this issue would be resolved soon, so we can continue to do business, pay taxes and help build the country,” Sy stressed. He said MRTC’s steel products underwent thorough inspection and reinspection by DTI Region 3 officials. The agency even issued a final inspection report stating that everything was in order.
However, DTI officials recalled the final ICC and blocked release of MRTC’s steel shipment. On January 3 MRTC filed a graft and anti-red-tape complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against DTI Region 3 Director Judith Angeles and DTI-Bureau of Product Standards Assistant Director Marimiel D. Porciuncula. The two were accused of discriminatory conduct for the “ baseless” recall of a final ICC just nine days after it was issued by the same agency. Shanghai-based SIICGM is a large-scale integrated group company under the Shanghai State- ow ned A ssets Super v ision and Administration Commission of the State Council, which has investment in mining, shipping and other industries in the Philippines. During the recent state visit of Duterte to China, SIICGM signed a partnership agreement with MRTC to invest $200 million in the Philippines for a local steel plant and trading firm for construction materials like cement.
A6 Saturday, January 14, 2017 | Editor: Jun Lomibao
MOTORBIKES AND SAFETY IN A RACE
WHEN CAN YOU SAY SA Riders have died in the past due to inrace collisions with vehicles. In 1950 Camille Danguillaume died following a collision between two motorbikes during the French national championships and, in 1987, Spanish rider Vicente Mata was killed when he collided with a car at the Trofeo Luis Puig.
By Sadhbh O’shea Cyclingnews
NCIDENTS involving vehicles and cyclists during a race are nothing new to professional cycling. When mixing machine with manpower, there is always a chance that something will go wrong. However, there has been a flurry of such crashes in recent years, culminating in the horrible accidents involving Andoine Demoitié at Gent-Wevelgem and Stig Broeckx at the Belgium Tour last year. Following a long battle, Broeckx has officially come out of a coma, but it is unlikely that he will be able to race again. Tragically, Demoitié succumbed to his injuries soon after the accident. Seeing one of their comrades taken down at such a young age, and in such a manner, sent ripples of fear and anger through the peloton. “It changes the mood in the peloton,” Dimension Data’s Nathan Haas told Cyclingnews. “We’ve become more sensitive for the dangers because it hits home, and we see the reality of someone leaving the bus and after the race his stuff is still on the bus, but he doesn’t make it back. No one in cycling wants that to be a reality.” “For sure, we are more scared,” said Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing). “If we have a car or a motorbike close to us we are more nervous but, the way we race our bikes, the problem is not really in our hands.” Discussion has continued throughout the past year about what, if anything, has changed since that tragic day in March. How did we get here and what needs to be done? After all, Broeckx’s crash came two months after Demoitié’s, Elia Viviani was hit during ParisRoubaix two weeks later, Marco Marcato, who rode for WantyGroupe Gobert in 2016, was also hit by a race motorbike last October, and who can forget the incident on Mont Ventoux at the Tour de France when the huge crowds blocked the road and Froome, Porte and Mollema were unable to avoid a motorbike. Riders have died in the past due to in-race collisions with vehicles. In 1950 Camille Danguillaume died following a collision between two motorbikes during the French national championships and, in 1987, Spanish rider Vicente Mata was killed when he collided with a car at the Trofeo Luis Puig. However, the reaction to Demoitié’s death has been
much more forceful, and with the strengthening voice of organizations such as the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA), riders have finally been standing up for their rights and are being heard. Their power to enforce change was demonstrated by the introduction of the Extreme Weather Protocol. However, that had been an upward struggle as it was, and making more big changes was not going to be an easy task, even with a unified voice.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
THE issue of how motorbikes and cars act during races was a discussion point long before the 2016 Gent-Wevelgem race. A number of riders had been involved in incidents with race vehicles in recent years, including, but not exclusively, Peter Sagan, Greg van Avermaet and Jesse Sergent, who retired in the middle of last year as a result of his injuries. Broeckx had also been struck by a motorbike at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. At the time of Demoitié’s accident, the management and safety regulations surrounding the race caravan were largely up to the organizers. That’s not to say that it was a free for all. Prior to each race, there is a safety briefing where all involved are reminded about the regulations. All motorbikes must have permission from the commissaire and the regulator, who is employed by the race, in order to pass the peloton. “They are all briefed by the organizers. As organizer, you have to brief every driver before the race about the different systems, and what the rules are,” Tour of Flanders Director Wim Van Herreweghe said. “First, you have to consider how things are before the race, if it is good or bad weather, if there needs to be more of a distance from the riders. Second, you need to have the general rules. At the Tour of Flanders, you have rules for everything. You have different ones for the security bikes, the radio tour operators, the photographers, the television commentator or the TV camera bikes. Everyone gets from me a separate order.” Experience is often cited as an issue, but the driver involved in the collision with Demoitié had 20 years of experience, and the driver who hit Sergent was a former police officer who had previous experience in races. Something was going wrong, though, and incidents between vehicles and riders seemed to be on the rise.
Quinziato, who rode the 2016 Gent-Wevelgem, has his own theory. “The last two years there have been too many vehicles,” he told Cyclingnews. “I don’t know the numbers, but you see that there are more and more vehicles now.” “The average level of the peloton is going up. There’s no race where you’re going easy. There’s no bike rider that comes to a bike race without being fit and ready to perform, so this makes the level much higher. When you have more guys with the legs to be in the front, for sure there’s more stress to be in the front and maybe there are more crashes. Maybe there is less space for the vehicles to pass us, because there are more guys able to be up there and the roads are quite small.” Motorbikes and cars are a necessary part of bike racing, and without them it would be almost impossible to run a race. The police are needed to ensure roads remain closed and that nonrace vehicles can get on the course. Races also need medical staff, neutral service, commissaires and the race director must also travel with the race as do the teams. The media is a necessary part to ensure sponsors continue to be attracted to the sport. The work that the motorbike pilots and drivers do under immense pressure is incredible. To err is human, and it is inevitable that mistakes will be made, no matter how skilled an individual is. Some may break the rules, but the issue is eliminating the situations where these mistakes can be made. Following the accidents, there were calls by some on social media to drastically cut the number of media and photographers’ bikes, but even that is not straightforward. As International Cycling Union (UCI) commissaire and Belgian Cycling Federation management member Philippe Marin explained, it’s not about the quantity but the management of them. “It’s a very difficult one, to reduce to the motorbikes,” he says. “I refer to the meeting in June [where the Belgian Federation sat down with professional riders], where the riders said that it’s not about the number of motorbikes. It’s about the way that they behave and the way that we manage the traffic within the race bubble that moves from A to B.” In their security plan submitted to the UCI, the CPA also stated that the reduction in vehicles could actually do the opposite of what it intended and make the races less safe.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
FOLLOWING Demoitié’s death and not long before Broeckx’s crash, the UCI made a few amendments to its regulations on “circulation during a race,” which threatened fines of up to 10,000 CHF should any rules be broken, but it did little to tackle the root of the issue. The CPA pushed the governing body to make changes, but they accept that it will be a long road. “Every change requires a process of discussion and approval, and change of regulations which makes things more complicated,” CPA President and former rider Gianni Bugno explained. “Since the death of Demoitié, we wanted to see
many things change, and instead we are still discussing on the rules on security. This makes me sad, and it has also caused some of my conflicts with a few UCI managers, but I understand that we cannot act quickly in complex organizations involving so many people and parts such as bicycle races.” Some organizers and federations took things into their own hands, and over the summer the Belgian Federation sat down with riders to try and establish the major problems and potential fixes. In Belgium they were able to quickly make changes at a national level, reducing the number of riders, cutting the number of motorbikes and making plans to ban vehicles altogether from races for riders under 16. At an elite level, there were also a small amount of changes. Last June Belgian race Heistse Pijl trialed a traffic light-style system, where good and bad places to pass were indicated by green and red dots. The Vuelta a Burgos took it a step further last August by forcing all vehicles to take planned diversions, or what has been called “ways in and ways out,” in order to pass the peloton. The Eneco Tour also adopted this approach a month later, although it was technically harder to achieve with the large amount of road furniture that litters the road in Belgium and the Netherlands. The changes made for a much more pleasant atmosphere, said Quinziato, who also relayed his own close call with a
motorbike earlier in the season. “At the Eneco Tour they did a really good job. I really had the impression that there were no motorbikes around us,” Quinziato said. “I understand that the motorbikes have to do their jobs, but the safety of the riders should be in first place. I crashed in the Arenberg Forrest during ParisRoubaix, and the motorbike hit Elia Viviani. Well, Viviani crashed just 7 meters from me, so the motorbike was sliding along the road beside me. If it had been on the other side of the road the motorbike would have hit me really hard.” Later, at the World Championships, the UCI tackled the issue of the machine itself and used much less bulky bikes without panniers, while the circuit nature of most of the courses helped reduce the number of vehicles required.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
THE answer to that particular question is a lot, but there are plans in motion for the season ahead. At the end of November, the CPA sat down with the UCI in a meeting of the Safety and Technical regulation working group. The CPA, which represents the riders, presented the UCI with a comprehensive list of requests, the overarching theme of which was that the UCI should take the responsibility away from the organizers to ensure a blanket set of rules adhered to by all. The CPA put forward 10 points
specifically on the issue of “race caravan safety”. The first surrounded the idea of the certification and education of motorbike riders and car drivers. In their plan, all of those at the controls of a vehicle must study the course prior to each race so that they are aware of where the best and worst spots for passing are. Under the first point, they also suggest that a “fixed team of motorbike operators” work across the entire WorldTour calendar. They will be charged with maintaining a manual for circulation during a race, which will be followed by all in the remaining races on the calendar. Adding tiers of certification has also been put forward as an idea, allowing vehicle drivers and motorbike riders to earn higher levels of certification depending on their experience and conduct. Any “poor performances” could see riders and drivers demoted. Although not in the CPA document, fines have also been suggested as a punishment. “It’s a matter of awareness,” Quinziato said. “The vehicles at a bike race have to be aware of the risk that they pose and the consequences of what they do.” This ties into the CPA’s next point, which involves tracking the behavior of individuals. This would require all drivers in the race caravan to wear a number visible on their person, which would then allow people to identify individuals and report them for dangerous driving. A system of reporting, the CPA document
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AFE IS SAFE?
GALEDO, LIM, FELIPE TO MISS NEW ZEALAND RACE 7
-ELEVEN Sava Road Bike Philippines’s campaign in the Herald Sun Tour hit a snag after three of its Filipino riders failed to secure visas in time for the New Zealand Cycling Classic, which the team will be using as a warm-up race for Australia’s biggest cycling race. Veteran Mark Galedo, Rustom Lim and Marcelo Felipe, perhaps the finest elite Filipino riders to date who share thousands of kilometers of racing on foreign soil, will miss the New Zealand race because of visa problems. “We were told before that if you possess an Australian visa, you no longer need to apply for a New Zealand visa. That was the practice before. But it’s no longer being done today, and we were saddened that we might not be able to get the visas in time for the race,” 7-Eleven Sava Roadbike Philippines Team Manager Ric Rodriguez said. To remedy the crisis—the team already registered for the New Zealand race and a withdrawal won’t augur well for the Philippine-based team’s reputation—
Rodriguez said they tapped three Australians to take the three Filipinos’ place. “We are committed to race in New Zealand and we don’t want to renege on that,” said Rodriguez, stressing their campaign Down Under is the team’s biggest challenge yet since being formed four years ago. Australians Jesse Ewart, Josh Berry and Craig Evers will wear the team’s colors in the race, which is calendared in the UCI Oceania Tour. The 22-year-old Ewart stands out among the three Aussies for having earned podium finishes in the Le Tour de Filipinas and Tour de Singkarak. He also have several stage victories in the Jelajah Malaysia Tour. Besides Kiwis, 7-Eleven riders will face topnotch teams from Colombia, Italy and the US. The New Zealand Cycle Classic is celebrating its 30th anniversary from January 22 to 26 with new stage routes for riders and an exciting lineup of community events that are part of Huri Huri: Wairarapa’s Festival of Cycling. The
Wairarapa region is one of the best areas for cycling in New Zealand. Six New Zealand teams have been accepted in the race, where five riders are competing per team. Individual entries will be placed on a list to make up one composite team. The New Zealand Cycle Classic has been an annual sporting fixture and recognized as the premier international road cycling event in New Zealand. Rodriguez said the team will be in full force for the Herald Sun Tour, which will run from February 1 to 5. Tour de France champion Chris Froome and Team Sky are expected to participate anew in the race that is traditionally staged in Melbourne and Victoria province. The race started in 1952 and is named after Melbourne’s only daily tabloid newspaper. The invitation-only race will cover 624 kilometers. This marks the first time that Filipino cyclists are racing in one of world’s topnotch stage races. Ramon Rafael Bonilla
750-mile cycling-hiking trail plan for NY state up
A said, would also help engage riders and others involved in the races in actively solving any problems. Next, the CPA suggested a speed limit, something that is not currently used, while passing the peloton. When within 5 meters of a rider, it said, a car or motorbike should not go more than 10 kph quicker than the current speed of the peloton. Point four states, “Wherever possible, motorbikes should use off-course roads to pass the peloton.” This particular point is one that Flanders director Van Herreweghe is keen to push. “Passing the peloton is always a risk. Whether we have 10 or 20 security motorbikes, that’s not important, the motorbikes shouldn’t have to pass the peloton,” he said. Points five and six both look at the size of the peloton and the size of the caravan, which the CPA said shouldn’t be reduced. With relation to the size of the peloton, it believes a proper study should be done prior to making any changes to the number of riders per team. Regulators should be placed at the front and the back of the peloton to indicate when it is safe to pass, it said, lighter bikes are needed throughout, passing should be banned on any descent and no motorbikes or vehicles should be allowed near riders in the final 10 kilometers of a race. The document also puts forward a suggestion that the secondary team car should be placed in front of the peloton until a breakaway
is formed. Once the break comes together, the cars will pull over to the side of the road and those who have representation will move in behind the break while the remainder will wait until the peloton passes before continuing. Separate to the CPA and UCI, Flanders Classics, which runs GentWevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, among others, has made a few of its own plans. This will involve increasing the number of regulators to four, all of whom will have a deep knowledge of the course. Vehicles will only be able to pass when they have permission from both a commissaire and a regulator. The UCI plans to bring in a Race Convoy Guide for this season, although that is currently still in production. The other issue is the management of fans on the side of the road. People saw what can go wrong when a big race convoy met too many hypedup fans at the Tour de France in 2016. Tackling the behavior of fans is challenging with so many open roads. This is still largely down to the organizers too. More barriers can help, as can heavier policing and steward presence, but education is also a must. It shouldn’t have needed the death of a rider to hurry things along, but it showed that safety in races is a pressing issue that needs addressing as soon as possible. Van Herreweghe puts it best when he says, “It only works when we don’t have any crashes.”
WITH all the elements trying to jostle for the right moment to strike, safety will always be a primary concern on the road.
LBANY, New York—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to complete and connect two greenway trails crisscrossing the state from Manhattan to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo to create a 750-mile paved biking and hiking route that will be marketed as a national tourist destination. “We want to build the largest multi-use trail in the nation,” said the Democratic governor at a state speech recently in Westchester County. Cuomo proposed spending $200 million over three years to pave 350 miles of gaps in the existing greenways and connect them to create what he calls the Empire State Trail. Legislative leaders had no comment on the proposal, which would need legislative approval in the state budget starting with $53 million this year. The trail will incorporate the existing Erie Canalway and the Hudson River Valley
Greenway. State Bike Route 9 that runs along Lake Champlain to Canada would complete the trail from Manhattan. It is expected to bring millions of dollars in revenue to the surrounding communities each year. The Erie Canalway is nearly 80-percent complete, with the Hudson River Greenway nearly 50 percent. The state already owns most of the land needed to complete the project. “The trail is great as it is, but closing those gaps will make it so much better,” said Erie Canalway Spokesman Jean Mckay, who has cycled the trail end-to-end three times. “If you’re riding with your kids across the state, it feels a little scary when you have to go on the road for a couple of miles.” The Hudson Valley segment of the trail starts at New York Harbor and skirts the Adirondack Mountains. It features historic sites such as Olana, the home and studio of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church; the popular Walkway Over the Hudson, an old
Poughkeepsie railroad bridge transformed into a pedestrian and bike path; the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook; the Saratoga National Battlefield and Fort Ticonderoga. The western leg of the trail follows the Erie Canal and Mohawk River through cities, villages and farmland, and features Buffalo Harbor State Park; the Salt Museum on Onondaga Lake; the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge; and the Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome. Parks and Trails New York, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the Erie Canalway Trail attracts more than 1.6 million visitors annually. “I think greenways are absolutely wonderful, whether you’re a runner, walker, biker or pushing a baby carriage,” said Dick Beamish of Saranac Lake, who has bicycled with his wife on rail trails and greenways in San Francisco, Virginia, Vermont and Albany. “They’re a great way to promote health and well-being, as well as help local economies.” Beamish, a retired news magazine publisher, is an advocate for a new 34mile rail-trail the state is creating in the Adirondacks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. Cuomo’s office said the Erie Canalway Trail has an economic impact of $253 million from visitor spending and the Hudson River Greenway generates more than $21 million annually. AP
Dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of cycling enthusiasts and health buffs pack the Daang Hari Extension in Las Piñas on weekend mornings. One of the cyclists activities besides simply sweating it out is to keep themselves competitive by spicing up their ride with what is popularly called the “20-20” races. In Tagalog, it is the Bente-bente, meaning cyclists bet P20 each for the race with the winner going home with the total pot (which depends on how many cyclists join the race). NONIE REYES
A8 Saturday, January 14, 2017 • Editor: Efleda P. Campos
Australian study: Elderly caregivers live up to 5 years longer
YDNEY—Elderly people who care for others live longer than those who don’t, an Australian study has found.
He said the benefits of caregiving clearly extended beyond looking after grandchildren. “Older people who cared for their own adult children or other members of the community showed the same increase in longevity,” he said. However, separate research conducted by Coall’s team at ECU found elderly people who cared for their grandchildren full-time exhibited negative physical- and mental-health impacts. Coall said there was no strict limit for the amount of time an elderly person should care for another. Rather, it depended on the person in each case. “It is very important every individual decides for themselves what ‘moderate amounts of help’ means,” he said. “As long as you do not feel stressed about the intensity of help you provide you may be doing something good for others, as well as for yourself.” PNA/Xinhua
The study, released by Western Australia’s (WA) Edith Cowan University (ECU) on Wednesday, found grandparents who provide occasional care for their grandchildren live up to five years longer than those who don’t. The research found half of the elderly people who provided occasional care for grandchildren or other members of the community lived for up to five more years after first being interviewed for the research. Alternatively, half of those who did not provide care died within five years of the initial interview. David Coall, a researcher from ECU’s School of Medical and Health
Sciences, said the study showed caregiving helped improve longevity among the elderly. “This research shows the positive link between caregiving and a longer lifespan in older people. However, we can only speculate as to why,” Coall said in a media release on Wednesday. “Previous research points to helping behavior as a stress buffer, which involves, for example, the hormone oxytocin, which can strengthen bonding between people. This link could be a mechanism deeply rooted in our evolutionary past when help with childcare was crucial for the survival of the human species,” Coall said.
BACOLOD CITY GOVT GIVING OUT CAKES, CASH GIFTS TO SENIOR CITIZENS
Swedish population boom comes to rescue as inhabitants grow old
ACOLOD CIT Y—Starting this month, the City of Bacolod is giving out cakes and cash gifts to senior citizens as part of the program dubbed “Malipayon nga Kaadlawan, Lolo kag Lola.” As of January 6, 101 senior citizens have each received a birthday cake and a cash gift of P200 during their actual birthdays this week. The program is provided in Ordinance 09-16-791 authored by Councilor Dindo Ramos, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Senior Citizens and Veteran Affairs. It was launched as part of the “Salute to the Seniors” event during the New Year’s Eve Countdown at the Bacolod City Government Center on December 31, 2016. Mayor Evelio Leonardia said in a report on Friday he immediately signed the ordinance so the city government can implement the program right away. “Now, we will have something to celebrate with senior citizens,” he said. He added: “Every time their birthdays come, the city will remember them with birthday cakes, our humble tribute to them who each helped build Bacolod into what it is now.” Ramos said most senior citizens in Bacolod are not financially self-reliant and are primarily dependent on their children, relatives or even friends for their daily needs and subsistence, more so for their amusement and entertainment. To recognize and maximize their contribution and participation in the development of the community and the advancement of the youths pursuant to the objective of Republic Act 9257, birthday cakes and cash gifts should be given to qualified senior citizens during special occasions, he said. To qualify, the senior citizen must be a member of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affair and a holder of a valid senior-citizen identification card issued by the City Mayor’s Office. They must not earn more than P60,000 a year, either as salary, pension or business profit, or a combination of these, at the time of the special occasion as certified by the barangay captain where the senior citizen resides, the ordinance stated. PNA
WEDEN’S population is about to cross 10 million. W hile that’s an arbitrar y t h reshold , t he record popu l at ion g ro w t h t h at m a d e it happen goes a long way to expl a i n i ng t he n at ion’s booming economy. It w il l a lso—if hand led the r ight way—help Sweden tack le the cha l lenges posed by an increasingly aging societ y better than other advanced economies, such as Ger many or Japan, where the population is projected to drop. The Nordic nation could reach the landmark of 10 million inhabitants as early as next month, according to a countdown by Sta-
tistics Sweden. Eleven million will be crossed in 2024, the fastest 1-million gain in its history, the statistics agency said. The main reason is record immigration. But an increase in the number of babies is also helping Sweden buck the trend. The development could be a blessing for a country that already spends a sizable proportion of its money on pensions and senior care. The number of Swedes aged 65 and above will account for a quarter of the total population by 2060, up from a fifth in 2016, according to Statistics Sweden. At the same time, net migration and a rising number of births will feed
An elderly farmer proudly displays his produce of large-size cabbages in his farm in San Mateo, Isabela. Many farmers like him continue to manage personally their farms despite their elderly age. SUZANNE JUNE G. PERANTE
into the work force. “An increase in the number of people of working age can help counter the increased dependency burden that we’ll see as the number of elderly people grows,” Anna Breman, chief economist at Swedbank AB, said by phone. That’s because a rapidly expanding popu lation tends to boost economic growth and tax revenue. Breman argues a rising population may also help lift investments in infrastructure and the public sector. But the sparsely populated Nordic country would still need to address a number of challenges. “While we have the space for
another 1 million people, we have a housing shortage in the big cities,” Breman said. “The Swedish labor market is also very divided,” she said, and matching people to jobs won’t be easy. According to the statistics agency, the main driver of the population growth until 2040 will be net migration. The country had a relative open-doors policy until the refugee crisis of 2015, when it welcomed an unprecedented 163,000 asylum-seekers. Beyond that, it will mostly stem from the number of births exceeding the number of deaths—the so-called natural increase. T hanks to gender-equa lit y
measures and generous parentalleave conditions, Sweden already has one of the highest birthrates in Europe. And today’s immigration is expected to boost the fertility rate even further going forward. Still, many of the country’s newly arrived don’t have the appropriate qualifications, which will put pressure on the system in terms of providing jobs and education. The population increase “is very good in the long term, but we need to address the housing shortage, the divided labor market and the problems with matching,” Breman said. Bloomberg News
Red Cross calls UK hospital crowding ‘humanitarian crisis’
ONDON—Overcrowding in UK hospital emergency rooms has become a “humanitarian crisis,” the British Red Cross has said, urging the government to spend more on social care for the sick and elderly. The charity said it has dispatched volunteers in several areas of the country to help patients go home and free up hospital beds. It claims cuts to social-care funding by the Conservative government mean some patients can’t be discharged because there is no support available, putting pressure on hospitals. “We’ve seen people sent home without clothes, some suffer falls and are not found for days, while others are not washed because there is no carer there to help them,” British Red Cross Chief Executive Mike Adamson said. “If people don't
receive the care they need and deserve, they will simply end up returning to A&E [accident and emergency], and the cycle begins again.” Government supporters and health service managers accused the Red Cross of exaggerating the scale of the problem. The often-overstretched National Health Service generally sees a surge in demand during the cold winter months, and NHS England, which manages care in England, said on Saturday “plans remain in place to deal with additional demands.” The state-funded service, which provides free care to all Britons, is a source of national pride. It is also a political punching bag, with politicians, patients and health-care workers trading allegations of underfunding and mismanagement.
Elder in Hanoi A villager doing a home work and business by stocking fish oil in the clay jars in front of his house. mau victa
Antique provincial govt to activate monitoring board for elderly
AN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, A ntique—T he prov incial government here will soon activate its monitoring board for the elderly created through an ordinance passed last year. The board is chaired by Antique Gov. Rhodora J. Cadiao with the
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) as secretariat. Its members include the Provincial Health Office and other concerned government agencies. PSWDO head Lazaro Petinglay said in an interview on Tuesday its activation was discussed during their
meeting on Tuesday with the Federation of Senior Citizens Association of the Philippines Antique Chapter officers headed by Edgar Maghari. Its activation is necessary with their plan to further reach out to other seniors who are not active and those with special needs. PNA
RETIRED After 15 years of serving as bishop of the Diocese of Baguio City, His Excellency and Most Reverend Carlito J. Cenzon turns 78 this month. He made his farewell to the city on January 10. MAU VICTA
Editor: Jun Lomibao • firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, January 14, 2017
By Ramon Rafael Bonilla
LYMPIC silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is trekking a path less traveled by athletes: Earn a college degree. After banking a total of P2 million in cash, and earning keys to a brand-new house and lot and a car, Diaz is looking forward to someday march onstage in her black toga and grasp her diploma in business management. “Sports is not forever. You won’t be an athlete forever,” said Diaz, who turns 26 on February 20. Diaz ended the country’s 20year drought for an Olympic medal when she finished second in the women’s 53-kilogram class of weightlifting in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last August. And as automatic as her form in the clean and jerk and snatch, the windfall of incentives came down on the lass from Barangay Mampang
in Zamboanga City. But unlike the so-called one-day millionaires—athletes or not— Diaz is doing the smart thing: continue her college education, and finish it well and done. “Many athletes I know retire and have nowhere to go. That’s where education steps in,” said Diaz, who took up a computer course at the University of Zamboanga only to drop out and concentrate on her career as a weighlifter. The decision turned out well, if not pretty well, for Diaz. And now she is enjoying a scholarship at the College of Saint Benilde. Weightlifting took six years away from everything else from Diaz. In those six years, though, she qualified to two
ALYSSA VALDEZ is set to fly to Thailand on Sunday, but she has yet to secure a clearance from the national federation. By Lance Agcaoili
LYSSA VALDEZ flies to Thailand on Sunday to immerse herself in an entirely new environment where she has to prove why she owns the reputation of changing the landscape of Philippine volleyball. But here’s a possible hitch: the national federation for volleyball—Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI)—has yet to officially release Valdez to Thai club 3BB Nakornnont, which tapped the former Ateneo Lady Eagle for its campaign in the 2017 Women’s Volleyball Thailand League.
WO homegrown combatants are looking to kick off the Philippine mixed martial arts (MMA) industry’s promising new year with victories in the One: Quest for Power, which unfurls today (Saturday) at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rene “The Challenger” Catalan squares off with strawweight prospect Adrian Matheis, while Vaughn “The Spawn” Donayre takes on Dutch-Indonesian kickboxer Vincent Latoel in a three-round lightweight bout. Catalan, a highly decorated wushu practitioner, seeks to
RIO DE JANEIRO Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is back to school to earn a college degree. ALYSA SALEN
Olympics—London in 2012 and Rio in 2016—not to mention her Games debut as a 17-year-old in Beijing 2008. On Wednesday a bespectacled Diaz talked with reporters in a roundtable at the Vatel Restaurant of the Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle, courtesy of her new alma mater.
“We have yet to talk to Alyssa. We wanted to officially get her decision if she agrees with the terms and agreement [3BB Nakornnont] has offered to her,” LVPI President Joey Romasanta told the BusinessMirror. “That’s because the LVPI should monitor her [status]. Before we release her, it must be important that all sides have agreed [to the terms of the contract],” Romasanta added. International volleyball regulations tasks a player who intends to play outside of his or her country to secure release papers from his or her mother federation. LVPI Vice President Peter Cayco said Valdez should follow the process. “Unlike in basketball, volleyball has what you call a ‘release’, where a league must first secure a clearance [from a national federation] before acquiring a [foreign] player,” Cayco said. Valdez has not made an official statement on the issue. The three-time Most Valuable Player of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and Shakey’s V-League is expected to play for the Thai club starting on January 29. 3BB Nakornnont is currently running fourth with a 4-3 won-lost card in the eightteam tournament. The team also bared that it wants to keep Valdez for the Thai-Denmark Super League that kicks off in March.
continue his winning ways inside the One Championship cage after picking up an impressive decision victory over China’s Zhang You Liang last September. “This is my chance to establish my first winning streak in One Championship. It’s not impossible. That’s why I am exerting a tremendous amount of effort in training. I want to keep on winning,” Catalan said. According to the 38-yearold Catalan, he is inspired to win against his Indonesian foe because it gives him another chance to represent the Philippines on a global platform. “I am inspired to win the
fight because I am representing the Philippines. It is always an honor to fight for my country. My goal in this fight is to win and bring pride to my nation,” Catalan said. Donayre, meanwhile, is keen on breaking his four-fight losing skid in the One Championship at the expense of Latoel. Donayre, who is no stranger to international combat competitions, vowed that he will not let the Filipino MMA fans down in his marquee match-up against Latoel. “They were always there by my side in my tough times. I will make sure to win this one for them,” Donayre said.
The first day of school looked weird for Diaz. She was like a 4- or 5-year-old
stepping in a classroom for the first time. “I felt uncomfortable at first [attending school again]. Everything looked new to me. And the numbers made me [dizzy],” said Diaz, who has vowed to work harder in her quest for the gold in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. “But I got used to it in the next few days.” Saint Benilde, Diaz added, was also perfect for her. “I only walk to school,” she said. The Saint Benilde campus in Taft is a stone’s throw from the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, where she regularly trains. Business management was a personal choice for Diaz. The course, she said, would guide her into making wise investments for her future. “I need to get a college education. I want to safeguard my future,” said Diaz, who, perhaps unwittingly, has set an
ARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco go out-of-town hoping for a change of fortunes in their Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup campaign that hardly has gone north at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City today (Saturday). Game time is 5 p.m. The Gin Kings are coming off a loss— 70-72 to the San Miguel Beermen, last Sunday—and will be facing a hard-lucked Bolts, who haven’t won in five games— their last was a 92-105 beating at the hands of Phoenix. The Governors’ Cup champion Gin Kings have won only three of their seven assignments and are doing slightly better than their victims in the import-laced conference last season, the Bolts, who are 2-6 won-lost. “We’ll just go there and play our best game,” Ginebra Head Coach Tim Cone said. LA Tenorio could have sent the game to overtime against the Beermen but missed a floater in the final 10 seconds left went. Japeth Aguilar played big for Barangay Ginebra in that loss with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ginebra beat Star, 86-79, in a Christmas Day match at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, but could not sustain their form in the new year. The Bolts could not also get their game going. “We actually had games where we could have actually won. We must do a better job to finish the games well,” Meralco Head Coach Norman Black said.
Ramon Rafael Bonilla
Saturday, January 14, 2017
First-time UN gathering aims to delve into using global data
NITED NATIONS—More than 100 countries don’t keep accurate counts of births and deaths. More than 70 don’t have robust data on poverty. There’s a dearth of accurate, comparable figures on the number of disabled children in almost every nation, UN statisticians say.
The world body hopes to help change that by convening its firstever conference on global data starting this weekend in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 1,000 government statisticians, private-sector data scientists, politicians and others are expected at the UN World Data Forum, which aims to spark new ideas about using the world’s everexpanding stream of digital information. Tech giants, including Google, Facebook and Amazon,
have signed up to send representatives the four-day event that starts on Sunday, UN organizers said. The companies didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about their plans. Planned discussions include gleaning information on refugees’ migration from phone records, using data to illustrate people’s concerns, and mapping poverty and measuring crop yields by scouring satellite images. “Data are not only for policy-
makers—data are also for citizens, who need to have access to data to understand what is happening in their various communities...and to be able to hold the various layers of government accountable,” Stefan Schweinfest, director of the UN’s Statistics Division, said at a news conference on Tuesday. “This is something really that we are well placed, at the UN, to invest in.” The UN already collects and puts out information on subjects ranging from trade to temperatures to how people spend their time. But data can be patchy. For example, the world body estimates nearly one-fourth of the world’s children under 5 have no record of their births. Without birth certificates, they may not be able to go to school or get health care, among other problems. The UN has flagged the problem for over a decade. A 2002 report by Unicef, the UN’s children’s agency, called for free birth registration and new laws to facilitate registration, among other
measures. The UN is continuing work with many countries on systems for recording births and vital statistics, Schweinfest said. The world body also is increasingly looking for ways to measure such issues as security and public safety, particularly as new Secretary-General Antonio Guterres prioritizes efforts to prevent conflicts. That could entail developing ways to pick up early on data that signal a spiral toward trouble. The UN has made strides in boosting nations’ interest in the idea, but acting on it can be a challenge for countries, said Jennifer Ellis, who works on public-health issues at Bloomberg Philanthropies, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s foundation. It’s putting $100 million into improving health data in poor and middleincome countries and is sending a technical expert to be on a panel at the UN forum. “Our hope would be that this meeting makes some of that interest more concrete and informs action,” Ellis said. AP
Asia’s accelerating cloud app-vancement Oscar Visaya
N Asia the application economy is an unstoppable juggernaut advancing at full speed. Wielding the power to make or break the customer-brand relationship, applications that fail to deliver a positive user experience risk losing about a third of their customer base. Recognizing the potential of this digital strategy today, F5 Networks Inc. has found that organizations across this region depend on about 200 applications each, to streamline and introduce efficiencies in functionalities ranging from enterprise productivity, informationtechnology deployment to supply chain management. This number is, however, set to rise as digital workplaces become commonplace. More employees want to, and are given the autonomy of choosing the apps and processes to work with to maintain a high intensity of corporate functionality anytime, anywhere, across any device. In spite of its diverse and uniquely fragmented economies, where technology maturity is polarized across developed and developing nations from Singapore to Myanmar, one common technology denominator stands out in Asia: mobile. The strong growth of mobile is ubiquitous across countries in the region, further driving the demand for applications and creating a level playing field for businesses in this heightening app-centric landscape. With the surging demand for applications, information-technology (IT) departments are facing increasing pressure to deploy them more rapidly, leading to increasing complexity of their infrastructures and, more worryingly, increasing the number of new attack vectors for malicious actors. What businesses need today are, therefore, solutions that enable them to deploy, scale and manage the growth of their application population—quickly and securely—while creating a seamless experience between the application and the end-user.
Asia’s Cloud-y outlook
This undated photo, courtesy of Robert Bosch gmbh, bares the company’s “Connected World” concept that it says “tightens the links between communication and conversion as much as possible.”
Bosch launches content platform R
obert Bosch GmbH announced it has launched a corporate content hub. In a statement, the German firm said the hub called “Connected World” pools all of the company’s Internet of Things (IoT)-related content at a single digital location. With the “Connected World” platform, we have “created an attractive content hub on all things
of the IoT,” Christoph Zemelka, head of Bosch corporate communications, was quoted in a statement as saying. We provide explanations, entertain and offer access to our entire product catalog, Zemelka added. Bosch explained that the platform is geared to opinion leaders, media professionals and influencers, as well as interested customers. Zemelka said the company
also aims to provide support through communication w ith the new technology. “ The benefit of IoT solutions must be emphasized even more,” Zemelka said. “We must have an open discussion about the challenges of new technologies, while, at the same time, demonstrating their potential.” One of the potentials lies in the smart home, which turns down the
heat to reduce costs and turns on the alarm system on its own. This example shows that billions of things are already communicating with each other, sharing information and acting independently, the company said. “And that’s not all: devices and technical hardware are also connected to one another via the cloud. The IoT is set to become a megatrend.”
cont inues to increase in si ze. Samsung sa id its QLED T V can generate pea k lu m i n a nce a s h igh as 1, 50 0 to 2,0 0 0 nits, w it h no impact on its abi l it y to del iver acc u rate a nd impeccable color. Wit h its met a l a lloy Qu a nt u m Dot tec hnolog y, br ight ness no longer has to be comprom i sed to boost color p e r for m a nc e , w h i c h i s a l s o ma int a ined rega rd less of how
w ide the v iew ing angle may be. L enovo Cor p., mea nwh i le, said two PCs it launched at CES 2017 will be sold in the Philippines before the second quarter of the year. In a statement, Lenovo said its ThinkPad X1 and Legion laptops w ould be available in the local market around March at a still undisclosed prices.
Rizal Raoul Reyes
I.T. brands cite products launched at CES 2017
el l a nd S a m s u n g re cently cited separately the products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dell said it unveiled its entire personal-computer (PC) portfolio that features Windows 10 and new seventh-generation Intel Corp.’s processors. The company also bared its first virtual reality (VR)-ready mobile workstation and a monitor with a 32-inch 8K resolution display. Most of the products would be sold first in the US.
Samsung Electronics Corp., on the other hand, rolled out its new Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diodes (Qled) TV series. “[The year] 2017 will mark a major paradigm shift in the visualdisplay industry, ushering in the era of QLED,” HyunSuk Kim, president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics, was quoted in a statement as saying. Sa msu ng sa id it rol led out t he products as pict u re qu a lit y rema ins a top pr ior it y for consumers around the world— espec i a l ly as t he average T V
Rizal Raoul Reyes
THE industry has come a long way from the time when security and performance concerns hindered companies from migrating even basic applications to the cloud. Today the cloud acceleration is tangible, as chief information officers are already prioritizing the move of business critical applications, such as enterprise resource planning and human resources functions, to the cloud as their top agenda. The cloud is transforming the way businesses deploy and manage applications, by improving agility, automating processes and increase speed to market in ways traditional IT infrastructure cannot touch. Key value points include: n Flexibility: Cloud provides organizations the flexibility to scale up or down its cloud capacity ondemand. This level of elasticity enables businesses to be more agile and higher performing. n Improved mobility: Applications are available to employees anytime and anywhere. Employees can access apps across smart phones and tablets—catering to the demands of the increasingly mobile-savvy population. n Cost savings: As companies do not have to purchase equipment and operate a data center, they have reduced expenses on hardware, facilities and other operational aspects. Cloud enables organizations to reduce operational costs while increasing IT effectiveness.
To cloud or not to cloud?
HOWEVER, Asian businesses still remain cautious. A survey by F5 Networks revealed that the AsiaPacific market lags behind the rest
of the world in tapping the cloud for application development and operations. The study also revealed that businesses in Asia remain hesitant about deploying cloud projects that are mission-critical and production grade, and instead only deploy noncritical low-risk applications, such as e-mail, collaboration and web sites. T he i n herent c h a l lenges i n cloud migration—such as determining which workloads are suitable for the cloud; the lack of control and visibility; the application delivery and security capabilities of the cloud provider; and the real possibility of rewriting your entire application to take advantage of the capabilities provided by the cloud provider—can give pause to even the most digitally mature businesses. In Asia Pacific, in particular, integration between a provider’s cloud technology and on-premises systems stands out as a key factor three in weighing the adoption of the service. In addressing these challenges, organizations need advanced and programmable application delivery services, which span across data centers and cloud providers, and provide business flexibility to enable a smooth and successful cloud migration. Organizations require a unified platform that enables them to deliver and manage application services consistently across different application, environments for existing applications, as well as new cloud native applications.
COMPANIES cannot ignore the rise of cloud. However, what they can do is to ensure that their individual journeys to the cloud are secure and successful, by ensuring that the application delivery service that they choose provides the following three key considerations for every app regardless of deployment model: n Availability —Especially for mission critical workloads, businesses need to ensure that application delivery services can provide persistent app availability across disparate environments. n Performance —With the increased urgency to deliver ondemand content to a variety of devices, app delivery needs to be optimized regardless of the deployment model in order to enhance end-user experience.
n Security—The increasing frequency with which organizations experience attacks and vulnerabilities, drive security needs as one of the core app services necessary to ensure the survival of apps and business today. Imagine application developers and IT coming together to rapidly develop and launch an application on the cloud that helps scale a line of business from hundreds to millions of customers—all with the same reliability, security and control of a traditional data-center deployment. Every company has a cloud journey unique to its own needs. As a leading provider of application delivery services, F5 is enabling this future today, without compromises, empowering organizations to power their digital transitions without challenges.
Oscar Visaya is country manager of F5 Networks Inc. The views he expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the BusinessMirror’s.
Eastern leadS I.T. firms to help government ward off ransomware
OMMUNICATIONS service provider Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc. (ETPI) announced recently it gathered government information-technology (IT) experts to update and prepare them for the latest threats to the country’s cybersecurity. “Our reports say [this] will be the year of extortion,” Christina Bautista, a senior consultant to a global solutions company, was quoted in the statement as saying. “Whereas in previous years, ransomware was not that popular in the Philippines, now we have clients coming to us and saying they’re infected with it. There’s now an actual threat.” Presidential Management Staff Officer Angelo Quimson confirmed that multiple attacks have been launched against their agency. Quimson added their function and direct line to the President make them clear targets, so they exercise clear measures to keep threats at bay. “In the government, information is crucial,” Quimson said, explaining these are requisites in delivering vital services to the public. “More than storing confidential information, we must be able to access data when we need it.” ETPI Marketing Services Head Jed Estanislao, meanwhile, reiterated that in this age institutions cannot afford data loss.
“For businesses, these affect bottom line figures. In the government, this translates to the dampening of public trust,” Estanislao said. “That is why we should allocate as much capital in warding off cyber attacks, as we do on keeping the trust of our clients and our public.” Estanislao added that protecting the people’s data is the new mandate for all public institutions, and one that must be observed at every level of the organization. Bautista shared a guideline to her audience: “For end-users, don’t just click. Middle management must ensure defense solutions are in place, while top management must provide the necessary support to develop their IT arm.” Bautista cautioned that old notions on cyber attacks no longer hold. Attackers are engineering more personal and informed ways to engage their targets. Online profiling is now commonplace and top-level executives are the ones most at risk. Authorities in technology are now building up multisectoral defenses for increasingly aggressive cyber attacks. Estanislao assured the audience that they will extend their expertise in this pressing matter. “Organizations cannot combat cyber threats alone.” Estanislao said. “Companies should do their part.” Oliver Samson
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Govt privacy unit urges hiring protection execs
By Oliver Samson
HE National Privacy Commission (NPC) has reiterated that chief executives of public and private organizations that process personal information must designate their own data-protection officers (DPOs). NPC Chairman Raymund Enriquez Liboro said organizations that have yet to comply with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 should immediately appoint their own DPO. Liboro said the DPO would be accountable for ensuring compliance as regards everything related to data privacy and security. Officially designating a DPO signals an organization’s “commitment to comply” with the law, he said in a statement.
“Personal-data handling is a public tr ust, and car r ies w ith it a burden of accountabilit y,” L iboro s a id . “ No a mou nt of ig norance or lega l naiveté can erase that accountabilit y.” Liboro explained that the Data Privacy Act of 2012 is about making sure “those we entrust with our personal data are actually trustworthy by compelling them to do everything they can to protect it.” “If you process a lot of personal
data, you could be a disaster waiting to happen, if you fail to apply the principles provided in the law,” the privacy commissioner said. In Section 21 of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, the DPO is defined as an “individual or individuals who are accountable for the organization’s compliance” with the privacy law, so designated by the organization in the exercise of its duty as a “personal information controller,” or PIC. T his requirement is echoed in the law’s implementing rules and reg u lations (IR R), under Section 26, which states that such indiv idua ls “sha l l f unction as data protection officer” and wou ld “ be accountable for ensur ing compliance w ith applicable laws and reg u lations for the protection of data pr ivacy and security.” “ The DPO is essentially tasked to champion people’s pr ivac y r ights f rom within his or her organization,” the NPC statement said.
“ I n so doi ng , t he DPO i s able to minimize the r isks of pr ivac y breac hes, add ress u nderly ing problems, a nd re duce t he d a mage a r ising f rom breac hes if a nd when t hey do occ u r. Complying with the law produces a lot of upside.” Showing the public your commitment to protect their personal data, lead to increased consumer trust and, thus, higher patronage, Liboro said. “What is absolutely required of the DPO is willingness to understand information security and privacy principles and the capability to monitor compliance based on the law,” he added. “Or in short, he or she has to be an advocate for privacy rights of the data subject.” The privacy body issued the statement after saying the Commission on Elections failed to designate an accountable officer for data privacy, as required under Section 21 of the Data Privacy Act.
IoT seen as weakest link for attacking the Cloud
S cloud-based services continue to increase in scope and scale, there isn’t a single organization that wouldn’t benefit in some way from the cloud, Fortinet Inc. said. “Indeed, with the promise of lowering Opex [operating expense], while reducing o r e ve n a b o l i s h i n g Ca p ex [c a p i t a l expenditure], the cloud can enable an organization to better focus on its core business, which is something that every C-level executive wants to hear these days,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, the cloud has seen immense growth over the last couple of years.” But the security risks that arise from
such a profound change are not to be taken lightly, Fortinet said. Citing industry research, Fortinet said more than 95 percent of all enterprises today have at least one system on the cloud, with 71 percent of these companies having some of their assets running on a hybrid cloud. “The cloud is here to stay, and has already shifted the way these companies conduct their business.” One of Fortinet’s predictions for 2017 is that the Internet of Things (IoT) will become the weakest link for attacking the cloud. “That threat can come in many forms, as IoT devices have been shown to be more likely to contain easily exploitable
vulnerabilities, making them a growing target for cyber criminals seeking, for example, to expand their botnets and ‘weaponize’ them,” the company said. It explained that IoT-based Distributed Denial of Service attacks have already shown their power to disrupt business. Fortinet cited as example a recent attack that was so massive that it reached the 1 terrabyteper-second mark, with all traffic being sent from IoT devices. “Not only are IoT devices an attractive target because of their inherent insecurity, but also for the role they play in some organizations, such as closed-circuit television cameras, which can provide real-
time information about everything that is happening at a given location,” Fortinet said. But vulnerabilties are not the only issue. As IoT devices are being deployed, they must also be managed, and they are increasingly being managed by cloud solutions that require a communications channel between the IoT device and its master controller in the cloud. “We expect to see attacks leverage this trust model in order to poison the cloud, and then use that beachhead to start to spread laterally,” Fortinet said. “These end devices can then be exploited to misuse their trusted relationship to upload malware to, and distribute it from the cloud.” Oliver Samson
Start-up gathers far-flung Medicaid information in cloud database
INI Kim’s relationship with Medicaid is business and personal. Her San Francisco startup, Nuna, while working with the federal government, has built a cloud-computing database of the nation’s 74 million Medicaid patients and their treatment. Med ic a id , wh ic h prov ides health care to low-income people, is administered state by state. Extracting, cleaning and curating the information from so many disparate and dated computer systems was an extraordinary achievement, health and technology specialists say. This new collection of data could inform the coming debate on Medicaid spending. Andrew M. Slavitt, acting director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, described the cloud database as “near historic”. Largely because Medicaid information resides in so many state-level computing silos, Slavitt explained. “We’ve never had a systemwide view across the program,” he said. This week, for the first time, Nuna’s executives are talking about the company’s funders, business strategy and work for Medicaid, starting on Monday evening at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. Health data on its own—billing, diagnostic and treatment information, typically recorded in arcane, shorthand codes—is not very useful. But if it can be aggregated and analyzed economically and quickly, that data is seen as a vital ingredient in transforming health care.
THE health-care marketplace in the traditional fee-for-service model values volume. More doctor visits, hospital stays, operations
Jini Kim, founder of start-up Nuna, in a Sesame Streetthemed office—her autistic brother likes the show—at the company in San Francisco on January 6. Working with the federal government, Nuna has built a cloud-computing database of the nation’s 74 million Medicaid patients and their treatment. Jason Henry/The New York Times
and pills mean more revenue and profit for health-care providers. But the push in recent years has been toward what is known as value-based health care. In the value model, medical groups are paid for outcomes: patients treated more efficiently and people who are healthier. But that transition only becomes possible with accurate, reliable data as the raw material for measuring outcomes and discovering what works and what does not. That is the reason for the excitement about and investment in health-information technology, and the goal of the Medicaid work with Nuna. The data set will be stripped of iden-
tifying information before it is released to researchers. K im, 35, a for mer Google product manager, has firsthand experience with Medicaid. Her brother, Kimong, who is a year younger, is severely autistic. When he was 8, Kimong started having monthly grand mal seizures, which are characterized by loss of consciousness and v iolent musc le cont ract ions. The ambulance, hospital, doctor and therapy bills piled up. As a 9-year-old, Kim helped her Korean immigrant parents complete the Medicaid application forms. “Our family would have gone bankrupt without Medicaid,” she said. “It saved us.”
T he Med ica id system covers millions of working families, older people, children and people with disabilities. In fact, 40 percent of Medicaid spending goes to the people with disabilities. Half of long-term care in the United States, mainly for older people, is through Medicaid. And nearly half the children born in the United States are in the Medicaid system.
THE trouble with traditional health-data warehouses, specialists say, is that they resemble digital vaults. It is difficult and time-consuming to get information in or out, and only people with
specialized skills can use them. But the new cloud-based technology, using Internet-era software, is flexible and interactive. It opens the door to real-time monitoring of emerging disease clusters, billing patterns and program effects. For example, did the percentage of low birth-weight babies decline after a Medicaid program was put in place? If so, how much? “This kind of data can help move health-care policy from a partisan ideological debate to one informed by knowing who the people affected are and what will likely happen to Medicaid recipients,” said Drew Altman, president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health-policy research organization. T hough young, K im has s p e nt y e a r s l e a r n i n g h a r d ea r ned lessons about hea lt h care. At Google, she was a product manager on Google Health, a failed effor t to attract millions of people to use its free, online personal health records. “Health care is hard, and humility is important,” Kim said. “You can’t just put technology on something and assume it’s going to work. You really have to understand the ecosystem in health care.”
IN late-2013, Kim got a call from Washington and became one of the small cadre of Silicon Valley technology specialists called on to fix HealthCare.gov, the application web site for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. That was six months of 18-hour days, seven days a week through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and beyond, until the end of the spring 2014 enrollment period.
That government experience, Kim said, “paved the way” for Nuna’s work with Medicaid data. It demonstrated, she said, that Internet technology and software methods could be applied to government health data from the mainframe era. Her brother is still on Medicaid, and caring for him is a family affair. Kim lives with her parents and Kimong in Hercules, California, in the Bay Area, about 10 miles north of Berkeley. When excited, Kimong waves his arms. When frustrated, he bangs his head against a wall. He can be loud and disruptive when he is anxious, and the family has been escorted off a few plane flights. “He’s a challenge,” Kim said. To relieve her parents, Kim takes Kimong with her to work some days. He can only say a few words, and one of them became the start-up’s name—“Nuna,” or “big sister” in Korean.
NUNA, founded in 2010, had only one full-time employee, Kim, until 2014, when it got an early round of venture financing. And no one was paid until then. David Chen, the company’s cofounder and chief data officer, holds a PhD in bioinformatics from Stanford University, but he also was a data scientist at Netflix for three years while Nuna was getting off the ground. Today, Nuna has 110 employees. It has raised $90 million in venture capital led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and prominent individual investors, including John Doerr, Kleiner’s chairman, and Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab. New York Times News Service
A12 Saturday, January 14, 2017
Lenovo bares top PC trends for 17 L ENOVO Corp. said its study reveals young people are spending more time with their personal computers (PCs) than ever before. “Studies indicate that the average time spent on a PC has gone up by 12 minutes since 2012,” the company said in a statement.
“In addition, consumers are spending twice as much time watching movies and TV shows on PCs rather than tablets and smartphones combined.” “While this generation is consuming more content on their mobiles, to assume that they are letting go of their personal computers is misguided,” Lenovo Philippines Country General Manager Michael Ngan was quoted in a statement as saying. “Depending on their personal usage and needs, some users today still prefer PCs over mobile.
With PCs and laptops becoming more affordable than ever, PC use will continue to thrive this year.” As consumers become prolific creators, sharers of content and end-users, Lenovo believes that display innovations will be a key feature that will drive customer satisfaction. The company has already implemented these features in its products. Against this backdrop, there will be plenty to look forward to in the personal computing space in 2017, the company said.
THE augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) gaming space is projected to explode as a trend this year, according to Lenovo. With over 50 different headsets already confirmed to be displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, gaming systems are set to dominate the PC market. “We can anticipate that these technologies will grow beyond the PC gaming world as new uses are discovered for the technologies,” Lenovo said. The company cited as example schools that are piloting “VR Corners” to diversify the learning process, bringing headsets and AR-compatible devices into the classroom. Benefits of a world with AR/VR are limitless and, in line with Gartner’s predictions, this immersive experience will evolve dramatically through 2021, as the technologies transform our interaction with one another and with software systems.
THANKS to the growing consumer
interest for AR/VR gaming, display innovations subsequently follow on the fast-track to growing PC trends. Lenovo claims it was one of the first last year to bring curved gaming monitors to market for more immersive gaming with its curved gaming monitor. The company said it continues to invest in this space to match display capabilities with AR/VR technology that calls for vibrant, snappy visuals.
THE Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to leave an impression in 2017 as industry observers are already predicting the “Internet of Everything” to be a disruptive trend in technology for the year. “Ex pect to see sig nif icant growth in both the consumer and B2B [business-to-business] market, where smart connectivity extends to virtually any endpoint in the home or workplace,” Lenovo said. The company added it is on the path to innovate in this space with research and development
plans in place to make PCs and other smart devices even more integrated and intuitive.
Versatility in laptops, tablets
IN a recent report, the International Data Corp. (IDC) forecasts that detachables can be considered as a PC replacement in the commercial space, with the detachable category expected to account for 31 percent of the tablet market by 2020, an increase from its current market share of 16 percent. “[The year] 2017 will undoubtedly see an abundance of convertible and detachable devices on the market as portability and versatility remain top of mind for PC users who are becoming more mobile at work and at home,” Lenovo said.
Extended PC lifecycles
IN the commercial space, analysts forecast PC-as-a-Service (PCaaS) will help PC vendors transform transactional PC sales into longerterm and more profitable engagements by expanding their services
portfolios bundled with PC sales. The IDC also surveyed IT buyers across a range of company sizes about PCaaS, and found that almost half of respondents said they engaged in the past 12 months or are considering engaging in the next 12 months in PCaaS. This means IT decision-makers are positioned to drive and grow the PC market with customized add-on services to maintain and extend the lifecycle of the device. The IoT will continually change the way we live in the coming year, Lenovo said. For businesses, the potential from IoT growth will boost productivity and enhance customer engagement. On the consumer front, as we get increasingly connected and adopt new technologies, there will be a blurring of the digital and physical world. “IoT devices can help businesses enhance customer profiles and create more effective marketing campaigns,” Ngan said. “We’re optimistic to see what IoT will bring in 2017 as more organizations and people begin to adopt IoT.” Rizal Raoul Reyes
Globe rolls out health services DirecTV Now: A trial is free, A but it’s a hard sell for some Globe Telecom Inc. (GTI) affiliate recently formed a partnership with the Department of Health to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the government for years 2016 to 2022. Through a partnership with Salud Interactiva, GTI offers KonsultaMD to both prepaid subscribers and postpaid subscribers. The service provides Filipinos with access to licensed Filipino doctors. With phone consultation, patients can receive medical assessment for
general health-care inquiries, which lessens the instance of self-medication that could lead to more severe problems. “Good health contributes to a better quality of life,” Mike Frausing, Globe senior advisor for enterprise and IT enabled services group, was quoted in a statement as saying. “We strongly believe that Filipinos deserve both.” Frausing said the company also offers awareness, counselling referrals, testing and treatment programs on human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with the help of the Philippines National Aids Council (PNAC). He added the company offers a suicide prevention and emotional crisis line wherein customers can call for free. Frausing said the company also partnered with the government-operated Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to allow the public to donate funds to the pediatric clinic rehabilitation through their prepaid credits or charged to their postpaid bill. Rizal Raoul Reyes
By Tali Arbel
AP Technology Writer
EW YORK—AT&T says the market for its new Internet cable service, DirecTV Now, could be as large as 20 million households. To put it to the test, I farmed out part of this review to several friends and relatives. It’s TV, it’s fun, it’s a free trial with no hassle. Why wouldn’t people jump at the chance to try something new? As it turned out, almost nobody did. This could have been my fault. December is a busy month. Maybe I wasn’t a persuasive enough saleswoman or didn’t nag people artfully enough. And maybe my picks, while a diverse bunch, just aren’t “early adopters”—those who jump to try out new technology. But their hesitation might also foreshadow some challenges for AT&T. Most of my friends and family are happy enough with their current TV options that they felt no need to try something different, even when it was free. (DirecTV Now costs $35 and up after a one-week free trial.)
Obstacles for streaming cable
THE appeal of services, like DirecTV, is simple: You can watch scores of live TV channels online for less than you’d pay for a typical cable subscription. These services are aimed at the legion of “cord cutters” who are abandoning expensive, inflexible cable packages for other options. My testers, not all of whom had cut the cord, were pretty happy with the streaming services they already have, like Netflix and Amazon. Several said they had access to plenty oftt TV. Others lacked the extra gadgets needed to watch DirecTV Now on a TV set, though they could use phones or tablets. One friend who tried the service protested the commercials and frequent bugs. Only one said he might become a customer in the future. My testers didn’t even mention the viewing restrictions that bedevil live Internet TV. For example, NFL games are blacked out on mobile, the Golden Globes award show wasn’t available, and a lot of people can’t get the major broadcasters to begin with because of rights issues like these. Such issues might help explain why customers remain scarce, nearly two years after DirecTV Now rivals Sling TV and PlayStation Vue launched. Neither releases customer numbers, but Sling, thought to be the more popular service, is estimated to have fewer than a million subscribers. Here are some of our reviewers’ stories.
Too much TV
My sister Dana Arbel, 27, yoga teacher and volunteer coordinator for an education nonprofit, lives with my parents and her dog in Phoenix. She relies on Netflix
IN this May 19, 2014, file photo, traders gather at the post that handles AT&T on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. AT&T says the market for its new Internet cable service, DirecTV Now, could be as large as 20 million households. AP
and Amazon and found it hard to break her existing habits. “[I] don’t watch live TV,” she said via WhatsApp. “Go for movies or old shows. Mostly.” My college friend Pooja Chitneni, 32, doctor, lives with roommates in Boston, with cable and access to Netflix, the commercial-light version of Hulu and HBO Go. Although she was excited to try DirecTV Now, she kept forgetting to start it up with so much else to watch. “There’s no void,” she said. My college friend Celina Montoya, 33, nonprofit consultant, lives with her husband and two children in San Antonio. She’s been cable-free since 2006, but uses Hulu, Amazon and Netflix, has a TV antenna for local channels and visits friends or relatives to watch basketball games. She forgot all about DirecTV Now. It “didn’t have any sense of urgency for me,” she texted me. “[I] don’t feel like I’m missing out on any programming.”
The tech’s not right
MY mother Ana Arbel, 60, program manager for a nonprofit, lives with my father and my sister in Phoenix. My parents pay for cable, watch Netflix on their TVs and catch overseas shows on a computer. “Sorry Tali, too much technology, that’s hard for me,” my mother said of DirecTV Now. “I want somebody to organize everything for me and explain and I only do the click and watch.” My high-school friend Rebecca Kaufman, 32, nurse, lives with her husband and two daughters in Tucson, Arizona, where they haven’t had cable for five years. Although eager to try DirecTV Now, she couldn’t—the service doesn’t work with her streaming gadgets, an Xbox and a PlayStation, and her family doesn’t stream much to phones or computers. When I told her the price, she also said it wasn’t worth it. My college friend Soni Obinger, 32, graphic designer, lives with her husband and toddler near San Francisco. She’d been thinking of canceling cable and wanted to try DirecTV Now as a substitute, but it
didn’t happen because the service didn’t work with her Roku streaming device. (AT&T says DirecTV will be on Roku by March.) My coworker, Barbara Ortutay, 38, tech reporter, lives with her boyfriend, toddler, mother-in-law and cat in New York City. A recent cord cutter, she watches Netflix and free local channels. She passed on DirecTV Now because she couldn’t watch it on her TV. “Why would I watch TV on my phone? It’s too small and I can’t check Facebook while I watch,” she said.
Watching is a chore
I am a 32-year-old journalist who lives with my cat in New York City. I use Netflix, Amazon and watch some broadcast and cable TV shows on network apps, although I rarely watch live TV. I hated the fact that DirecTV Now doesn’t have a DVR that stores live shows for later viewing (AT&T says it’s coming). I’m also used to binge-watching full TV seasons commercial-free; DirecTV Now’s stock of “on-demand” video, by contrast, was underwhelming. Playback also occasionally froze up while watching on-demand episodes. My friend John Bega, 37, ad producer, lives with his dog in New York and watches Netflix, Amazon and one-off events via a family cable account. With DirecTV Now, he binged on-demand episodes of FX’s new show Atlanta and logged in a few times for cable news and independent films. But frequent ads and video freezets and cut-outs bummed him out.
My sister’s friend Chris Pullen, 25, student, lives with roommates in Boston and uses Netflix; he’ll sometimes watch football at a friend’s house. He couldn’t get DirecTV Now to work well on his TV, but he liked watching shows on his phone and computer, and didn’t have technical issues. He says he’d choose an online option, like DirecTV Now, over regular cable service if they cost about the same: “It felt more convenient to be able to watch it wherever.”