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TAIWAN MOVES TO PULL SKILLED FOREIGN LABOR

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By Recto Mercene

S the impetus of Saudization and similar policies continued to slash the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East, a new market, nearer to the Philippines, is emerging: Taiwan.

Due to its aging population and declining birth rate, Taiwan has a shortage of 120,000 jobs and has prepared plans to attract international students and migrant workers, according to ESG Consultancy Services Inc. founder Emmanuel S. Geslani. “Filipino migrant workers who have stayed in Taiwan for six years have a path to permanent residency while students can work part time,” Geslani, a

recruitment consultant, said. He cited as basis the announcement by Chen Mei-Ling, Taiwan’s National Development Council (NDC) Minister, who will propose the job opening to the Legislative Yuan, the country’s parliament. According to a draft economic immigration bill, the measure is aimed at retaining overseas students who receive high-school or vocational-school degrees in Taiwan. Also included are migrant

workers with six years of work experience in Taiwan. International students enrolled in specific education programs, such as the Overseas Youth Vocational Training School or Industry-University Cooperation Courses designed for youth from Southeast Asian and South Asian countries, are also eligible. If the bill passes the legislature, Hong Kong and Macau residents who meet the criteria can

also apply to work in Taiwan as a midlevel skilled workers. As of August last year, Taiwan’s industrial and service sectors had a manpower shortfall of 218,000 employees. According to a statement from the NDC, 55 percent of the total shortfall, or 120,000 people, are characterized as medium-skilled jobs. Midlevel skilled workers range from professional and technical See “Taiwan,” A2

From nothing to something: Thriving family business

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By Roger Pe

HE started as a tourism inspector in local government. Her job: Make sure accommodation facilities are up to standards. When political winds changed direction, she had nowhere to go. Her last recourse was to go on her own. ELLEI’S Place’s homey living and dining room

MERIDEN PAGAYONA-WAKEFIELD and family on the yard of Ellei's Place, a tourist inn built on pure hardship.

THE family’s eight-room villa, your happy residence in Puerto Princesa.

Her husband, whose business was also faltering, decided it was time to venture independently. Left with a seemingly unsure future, he sold a property in Cubao. Now faced with a new challenge,

ground zero, the long hard climb to build a family business began. It meant tightening their belts and doing away with the unnecessary. The year was 2011. On a 900-square-meter lot in Libis, San

the two joined forces and built a modest house on a property far from the business hub of the city. Not earning an income, the two held on tight to the only liquid asset they had. Starting from

PESO EXCHANGE RATES n US 52.2540

Pedro, Puerto Princesa City, Meriden Pagayona-Wakefield and her husband built their future. Inch by inch, slowly but surely, they started a new life, looked the other way around and moved forward. “Para

makalipat lang, nagri-rent lang kasi kami [so we can start anew, we were just renting].” She plunged into the tourist hospitality business even if she wasn’t sure how she’d compete with established pension houses and small hotels in Puerto Princesa. “When we moved in and developed the place along almostdeserted Lanzanas Road, we only had one room. But we persevered and took a leap of faith and began accepting guests. “My first guest was a friend,” she relates. Two years after, her baby would grow to three rooms by renovating parts of her house on the ground floor. By year end, it would grow further. An annex of eight rooms sprouted on the eastern wing of her garden, ready for occupancy the following year. It was tough at first, but she was beginning to see the fruits of her labor. Encouraged by what was happening, she officially rejoined

the city’s tourism industry, this time as an entrepreneur. How did she start marketing her new venture? “I didn’t overtly announce it. For one, we are in a secluded place of the city, the road leading to it was abominable. I refused to join booking websites because I hated our road. Nakakahiya [embarassing].” Den, as friends call her, started inviting her relatives and circle of friends. She, too, relied on referrals and word-of-mouth helped her get talk-value. When the road in front of Ellei’s Place (her tourist inn’s name) was finally paved, she joined Booking.com, the only site she is associated with today. She began to get accommodation bookings from all over the country. Her happy guests were her best endorsers. As the awareness level for her tourist inn increased, her brand of hospitality was gaining talk-value, fanned by people who had a pleasant stay at Ellei’s Place. “I guarantee you, when people’s experiences are pleasant, they will return. If not, you can be sure as the sunset, hindi na sila babalik [they won’t come back].” Den operated Ellei’s Place with her charming personal touch. During her struggling years, it was solely a family business with no employees. Everyone helped— children, relatives and her community of friends. A daughter, including two boys, used to be her all-around “employees.” Now that she’s pretty stable, they are building their own careers. One works with the office of the president of Palawan State University, one boy Continued on A2

n JAPAN 0.4718 n UK 70.6422 n HK 6.6568 n CHINA 8.2103 n SINGAPORE 38.9374 n AUSTRALIA 39.2375 n EU 61.6440 n SAUDI ARABIA 13.9336

Source: BSP (May 18, 2018 )


News

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A2 Saturday, May 19, 2018

Taiwan...

continued from A1

assistants to machine operators, drivers and skilled assembly-line workers. Under the proposal, foreign midlevel skilled workers must be paid a minimum monthly salary of NT$41,000 (P74,000 ) in the industrial sector and NT$32,000 (P57,000) in the social-welfare sector so that it does not affect employment opportunities for local Taiwanese workers, the NDC statement said. Chen said in a news briefing last month the relatively higher wage thresholds for migrant skilled workers would prevent foreign workers from taking jobs from Taiwanese workers, but are still low enough to draw interest from local employers because of the many positions that remain unfilled. At present there are 140,000 migrant workers who are factory employees earning NT$24,000 (P42,000) per month plus overtime. The take-home pay for a caregiver amounts to NT$19,000 (P34,000). The bill to be filed by Chen also includes regulations for migrant skilled workers to apply for permanent residency, naturalization and dependent visas for their family. Bringing in midlevel skilled workers is not only essential to meeting the needs of industry to upgrade but also to offset the aging of Taiwan’s population, Chen said. The number of births in the first quarter of the year was down several thousand from the same period of last year, she added, and

Taiwan’s population growth rate will begin to turn negative in 2025 if the trend continues. The government is also planning to try to attract foreign medium-skilled workers to the Republic of China, especially those who have been employed by overseas Taiwanese enterprises, but it will first assess the possible socioeconomic effects, she said. Latest data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reveal the total number of Filipinos in Taiwan in 2009 was at 94,283. For the whole of East and South Asia, the government’s stock estimates of Filipinos working in neighboring countries hit a total of 1,074,496 nine years ago. In 2009, Kuwait, which was classified as belonging to the West Asia region, was host to a total of 155,744 OFWs. The whole of West Asia posted 2,415,896 total OFWs in the 13 countries in the region that included Saudi Arabia. The POEA said there was a 4.42-percent increase in the deployment of Filipino workers to Taiwan from 62,958 in 2015 to 65,364 in 2016. Kuwait’s pull was stronger, registering a 27.43-percent increase in deployment to 109,615 in 2016 from just 86,019 in 2015. For the whole of Asia, there was a 22.35-percent increase in the deployment from 399,361 in 2015 to 488,615 in 2016. For the whole of Middle East, there was a 15.82-percent increase in the deployment from 913,958 in 2015 to 1,058,514 in 2016.

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From nothing to something: Thriving family business Continued from a1

is with her sister in Naga. “Sila ’yung mga katulong ko dito. Lahat kami gumagawa, naglilinis, nagluluto, nag-aayos [they all helped in putting up this business; they cleaned, acted as chefs, in operating my business]. When there are too many guests, I bring my other relatives and sister in,” she says. Through the years she was able to acquire vans for airport transfers and city-tour rentals. When her husband is not available, she herself drives and fetches her guests to and from the airport, a job that she enjoys doing. She recalls that 2016 was her best year, a time when the city was bursting at the seams and having conventions left and right. At its peak, she had a good share of the tourist arrival market pie. “There was no off-season dito, dire-derecho ang visitor bookings,” she recalls. She hopes to see the city maintain its record as a preferrred convention city to spur the local economy. “Ang laki ng binabalik nito sa tao, ultimo tricycle kumikita [the return on investment to the community is immeasureable, even tricycle drivers earn from it]. The more visitors come, the more tourist inns will be built and more people will benefit,” she says. Ellei’s Place is among a thousand family-owned tourist accommodation businesses in Puer-

to Princesa. Located in once a no-man’s land, it is now part of a burgeoning growth area in Barangay San Jose. Den makes extra effort in making her guests feel like they’ve never left home. She’s the last person to sleep at night and the first to wake up in the morning to make sure her guests are well taken care of. The layout of her tourist inn lobby resembles a wide living room, bright and colorful, airy and refreshing. A happy place, Ellei’s Place is your residence in Puerto Princesa, as she fondly calls it. How does she check out competition? “I visit them myself. I see the good and the bad. I benchmark with the good, improve on what is new and enhance what I think I can do better,” she says. Today, her place looks like an Italian villa with an invigorating garden that makes you feel like you are in a mindsoothing forest. Occasionally, guests would see birds of different kinds on her yard, by the fountain or hopping from one tree to another around the compound. Pied Fantails, Coucals, Hummingbirds, Parrots, Robins, among others, playfully visit her backyard and delight guests. You can spot squirrels, too. How is her brand of hospitality? How does she make her guests feel at home? “After a long business day or an exhausting tour, nobody wants to spend the night in

an unwelcoming room. I make it a point to stamp my mark in what I do—with a personalized service. “Kami mismo ang nag-aasikaso sa bisita. Kami mismo ang sumusundo sa kanila at hindi namin pinapaba­ yaan na mag-tricycle ang bisita namin [we take care of our visitors ourselves, we don’t leave them out in the cold by letting them take tricycles on their own to go to our place],” she says. She wants her guests to feel that they’re part of the family. “I establish a connection with them in a way others, especially busy big hotel chains, are not able to do. I make sure that we have something unique to sell. When there are too many competitors in your area, you need a differentiator,” Wakefield says. Lodging occupancy rates began to recover in 2016 and 2017 in Puerto Princesa after the decline that was witnessed in previous years. Hotels are predicted to record a value constant at 2017 prices over the forecast period, driven by the luxury and midmarket segment. Room rates will continue to be competitive. Domestic travel is expected to sustain tourism, resulting in marginally faster growth of midmarket hotels than luxury. Local developers will reap the benefits of this growing industry and will likely continue being a price-sensitive market. How is she

preparing for the fierce and sometimes roller-coaster state of tourism in Palawan? Wakefield knows for the fact that the majority of travelers are not loyal to any one hotel, and many hotels focus on creating personalized experiences from customer data to get traveler loyalty. “It’s a tough business, but whether you are small or large, the issue is really about how to connect with your market in a meaningful way. I still do the old-fashioned route—caring for my guests in our trademark Ellei’s Place’s personalized service way,” she says. “Competition is exploding on several different fronts, and only recently is the industry taking onboard the very real threat of Airbnb and the sharing economy. Iba-iba na ang standards ngayon. Dormitories for backpackers, bed-and-breakfast inns, pension houses, tourist inns, hotels, resorts. But in the end, a personalized, caring way always comes out the winner,” Waefield says. According to Wakefield, there’s one area where the best succeeds: it’s in innovating the experience they offer to their most loyal guests. “Every guest is important and should be treated to an exceptional experience. That’s the reason why most hotels, knowing that repeat customers provide an inexpensive and reliable source of revenue, go all out when it comes to courting their continued loyalty,” she says.


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Vatican scores offshore tax havens for hurting poor

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ATICAN CITY—The Vatican is denouncing offshore tax havens and financial instruments such as derivatives and credit default swaps as gravely immoral and unjust, calling them “ticking time bombs” that hurt the world’s poor the most. In a new document released on Thursday, the Vatican’s doctrine office teamed up with its social justice department to give a more solid moral foundation to the Holy See’s oft-repeated call for a more ethical global financial system. The document, approved by Pope Francis, calls for banks to create internal ethical committees to ensure decisions work for the common good and not just the “myopic egoism” of individual corporate bottom lines. It urged better regulation of financial products and for universities to educate the next generation of business leaders about ethics, not just profits. “The recent financial crisis could have been the occasion to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and a new regulation of financial activities neutralizing the predatory and speculative dimensions,” it said. Instead, the global financial players have returned to the “heights of myopic egoism” that excludes any consideration of the common good or the need to spread wealth and heal economic inequality, it said. Notably missing from the document was a call for a global political authority to regulate markets and tax financial transactions. The Vatican’s social justice office, which coauthored the new document, had recommended such an authority in a 2011 document that was widely dismissed even within the Vatican. Francis and popes before him have frequently denounced the growing income inequality and profit-at-all-cost mentality that drives global capitalism, including in encyclicals and other authoritative teaching documents. Officials told a news conference on Thursday that they thought it was worth articulating considerations about specific aspects of the current economic-financial system for officials who work in the field. The effort marks something of a shift in attention for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which under the past two popes has focused on issues of doctrinal orthodoxy and sexual morality, not social justice and the poor. History’s first Latin American pope, however, has made those issues the priority of his pontificate, and the document’s publication suggests the Vatican bureaucracy is getting the message. AP

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Lowest birth rate in 3 decades could pose risk to US economy

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ASHINGTON—Women in the United States gave birth last year at the lowest rate in 30 years, a trend that could weigh on economic growth in the coming decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics said on Thursday that the number of US babies born last year fell 2 percent from 2016 to 3.85 million, also a 30-year low. Births have fallen for three straight years. The fertility rate dropped 3 p e rce nt l a st ye a r to 6 0. 2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 through 44. An aging society has already weighed on economic growth in the United States in the past decade, with the vast baby boom generation retiring and fewer young people replacing them. Thursday’s data suggests that the trend is likely to continue.

Economic growth is generally driven by population growth and worker efficiency, both of which have slowed in the past decade in the United States.

Postwar

K ATHY Bostjancic, an econom i st at O x ford Econom ics, a consu lt ing f ir m, sa id t hat roughly 10 years ago, the number of A mericans working or looking for work was growing about 1 percent annually. With birthrates declining, that figure has since fallen to about a 0.3-percent growth rate. That essentially acts as a 0.7-percentage-point drag on the United States’s long-run growth.

“Demographics have a really powerful impact on the economy,” Bostjancic said. The US economy has grown at a 3 percent average annual rate since World War II. Yet, it hasn’t reached that pace for a full calendar year since 2005. The baby boomers first reached retirement age in 2008. The Federal Reserve in March upgraded its short-term economic growth forecast to about 2.7 percent for this year and 2.4 percent in 2019, partly because of the Trump administration’s tax cuts. But the Fed kept its longer-run annual growth forecast at just 1.8 percent, reflecting the demographic headwinds. Aside from fewer workers, an aging society can hold back growth because fewer people are buying homes, cars and other costly purchases. Savings generally rise as people age and prepare for retirement. And as elderly people live longer, they also slow their spending while in retirement, Bostjancic noted.

Diapers

MOST economists attribute the

low interest rates and low inflation of the past decade, in the United States, Europe and Japan, at least in part to aging. In Japan, where adult diapers outsell those for children, the impact of fewer births has kept growth nearly nonexistent for more than two decades. The economy has picked up recently and enjoyed two straight years of growth, the longest such streak since the late-1980s, before contracting again in the first three months of this year. The US accepts many more immigrants than does Japan, and that influx has boosted population growth. The Labor Department released separate data on Thursday showing that last year, there were 27.4 million foreign-born workers in the United States, the most since records began in 2005. Immigrants now make up 17.1 percent of the US work force. Economic research earlier this year found that US fertility fell sharply roughly nine months before the past three recessions. That suggests that such declines could signal economic downturns.

Fertility

BUT Kasey Buckles, an economics professor at Notre Dame who conducted the research with two colleagues, said that recent such declines aren’t sharp enough to point to a recession. Instead, she noted that fertility declines over the past three ye a r s h ave o cc u r re d most ly among women under 30. Birth rates among older women have risen or held steady. That suggests that the fertility declines largely ref lect a drop in unwanted pregnancies since the 2008 to 2009 recession. Fertility among women of all ages fell sharply in 2008 and 2009, Buckles said, but rebounded quickly for women 30 and over. Separate data from the Guttmacher Institute, a policy organization that tracks reproductive health, shows that unwanted pregnancies have fallen since the Great Recession, Buckles said. “It’s possible that the Great Recession may have been something of a triggering event that caused people to be more intentional about their fertility,” she said. AP

Bar’s closing: Suntory running out of Hakushu, Hibiki supplies

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T’S the last call for two iconic Japanese whiskies, for now. Suntory Holdings Ltd. said it will halt sales of Hakushu 12 and Hibiki 17, as demand for the aged grain liquor skyrockets around the globe. The exact dates when the barrels will run dry depends on inventory, but Suntory said it anticipates Hakushu 12 sales to end by June, and Hibiki 17 by September in Japan. Inventory overseas is expected to taper out after that, according to Hasumi Ozawa, a spokesman for the Osaka-based distiller. It’s the first time that Suntory has halted sales of a product, and the company doesn’t know when the two liquors will return to store shelves. “ We’ve been investing in additional distillation equipment and storage for our whiskies, and will continue to do so in the future to meet market demand,” Suntor y sa id in a statement on T hursday. It has invested around ¥29 billion ($262 million) in the past five years to boost whiskey production. W h i ske y consu mpt ion h a s sk y roc keted around t he globe, w it h ma rket volu me g rowi ng more t h a n 50 percent i n t he dec ade bet ween 20 0 6 a nd

2016, accord i ng to m a rket researcher Euromonitor Inter n at ion a l. Suntory, the third-largest whiskey maker in the world, began distilling whiskey in

1923 in Japan. Its oldest flagship brand Yamazaki has won multiple international awards, and a 50-year-old bottle of Yamazaki sold for about $300,000. Rare whiskies are

set to fetch even higher prices at an auction in Hong Kong this week. The Hibiki and Hakushu brands are younger, but also well regarded among aficionados. T he nu mbers

after finding that large volumes and falling prices hurt Chinese producers. Preliminar y antidumping tariffs of 178.6 percent on the crop, which is used primarily for animal feed and liquor, took effect on April 18. In the course of its investigation, the ministry concluded that, “Antidumping and countervailing measures against imported sorghum originating in the United States would affect the cost of living of a majority of consumers and would not be in the public interest,” according to a notice posted on its web site. It said it had received many reports that the investigation would result in higher

behind the name refer to the number of years the liquor has been aged. The Suntory name gained wider global recognition after its whiskey was featured in the 2003 movie Lost in Translation. The closely held company expanded its product offerings in 2014, when it paid $16 billion to acquire the maker of Jim Beam bourbon. Bloomberg News

A man checks a bottle of Suntory in this undated photo. The company behind the eponymous product is struggling with supply issues as demand zooms up. Bloomberg

As trade talks resume, China drops antidumping probe of US sorghum ONG KONG—As China-US trade talks resumed in Washington, China said on Friday it is dropping antidumping and antisubsidy investigations into imported US sorghum, saying it is not in the public interest. The Commerce Ministry said it was ending the antidumping probe because it would have raised costs for consumers. T he announcement was a possible sign Beijing is w illing to make a deal with Washington, amid talks between senior US and Chinese officials aimed at averting a trade war between the world ’s two big gest economies. China started investigating US sorghum in Februar y

Saturday, May 19, 2018

costs for t he l ivestoc k indu st r y, add i ng t h at m a ny domestic pig far mers were facing hardship because of declining pork prices. The probe had also sparked fears among American farmers that they would lose their largest export market for the crop. President Dona ld J. Trump’s administration has proposed t a r i f fs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products to pu nish Beijing for requir ing US companies to turn over technolog y in exchange for access to China’s market. China has responded by targeting $50 billion in US imports. Neither countr y has yet imposed tariffs. Tr ump met on T hursday

with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the leader of China’s delegation for the negotiations in Washington. Trump had told reporters earlier that he had doubts about the potential for an agreement. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading the talks with Chinese officials. AP


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F Willie Cauley-Stein will mentor the finalists of the 2018 Jr. NBA Philippines this weekend.

Cauley-Stein in town for Jr. NBA PHL final

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OR the first time in Philippine Tour history, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue—or simply Edsa—will play a major role as the Le Tour de Filipinas kicks off its ninth edition along the country’s busiest major highway tomorrow (May 20). From the Liwasang Aurora start inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, the 17 teams composed of 85 cyclists will pedal over the Elliptical Road and through Quezon Avenue before negotiating Edsa toward Monumento in Caloocan City for the race’s neutral zone that covers 9.5 kilometers. Ably assisting the race entourage is the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), headed by Chairman Danilo D. Lim, whose men in blue vowed to control traffic flow without disturbing movement of vehicles. The 157.50-km Stage 1 to Palayan City of the race copresented by Air21, Cignal and Cargohaus Inc. and

Saturday, May 19, 2018

organized by Ube Media Inc. will be flagged off at 8 a.m. The race column is expected to complete the Edsa neutral ride under 30 minutes. “Edsa is historic in many ways, but with the traffic conditions on the highway, especially at rush hour—and the concerns over clean air—it would be a milestone for the Le Tour de Filipinas to expand its advocacy on the major thoroughfare,” said Alberto Lina, PhilCycling chairman and the acknowledged godfather of Philippine cycling. The first of four stages of the International Cycling Union race will also tackle the McArthur Highway, where the major artery that connects Metro Manila to Central and Northern Luzon before the expressways, particularly the North Luzon Expressway, were built. One in Palayan City, the entourage will be warmly welcomed by the Nueva Ecija capital’s hospitality under Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas. Adding interest to the Le Tour de Filipinas are the nonbicycle and noncyclist components of the event.

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The entire race entourage consists of 416 personnel— from the cyclists down to the ground crew which takes care of the barriers and gantries—and 129 vehicles (44 motorcycles with a minimum of 400cc displacement, 36 cars/sedans, 39 SUVs/vans, nine trucks and one bus).

Stage 2 on Monday will bring the cyclists from Cabanatuan City to Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, on covering 157.90 kms with a climb over Dalton Pass. On Tuesday Stage 3 is the longest at 185.20 kms from Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, to Lingayen, Pangasinan, and finally, Stage 4 will be 154.65 kms from Lingayen to Baguio City via Kennon Road. The roster is up by two teams this year with 17—11 foreign and six local. They are 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines, Team CCN Philippines, Go For Gold, Philippine National Team, Bike Extreme Philippines, Standard Insurance-Navy, Terrenganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), Pishgaman Cycling Team (Iran), Nice Devo Cycling Team (Mongolia), Interpro Stradalli Cycling Team (Japan), Oliver’s Real Food Racing (Australia), Korail Cycling Team (South Korea), Team Sapura Cycling Team (Malaysia), Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall Cycling Team (China), KFC Cycling Team (Indonesia), Uijeongbu Cycling Team (South Korea) and Forca Amskins Racing (Malaysia).

ACRAMENTO Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein is in the country to mentor the 75 finalists of the 2018 Jr. NBA Philippines this weekend at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City and Mall of Asia Music Hall in Pasay City. Cauley-Stein, along with Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) legend and former Houston Comets star Sheryl Swoops will coach the boys and girls aged 10 to 14 and select the top 8 to be named as Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars who will travel to Shanghai for the NBA China Games 2018 between Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers in October. The Kings’ seven-foot center, who vastly improved this season with an average of 12.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks, is excited to meet Filipino fans and teach the kids “I heard that the fan base out here is ridiculous, so I’m excited to see that especially coming from Kentucky and the Kings. They’re notorious for their fans so I’m excited to see how crazy the fans here are,” Cauley-Stein told reporters in a Makati City hotel on Tuesday. “I’m eager to work with these dedicated young players who have earned the right to be chosen as Jr. NBA All-Stars,” he added. “I’m excited to share my basketball knowledge and help this kids become the best version of themselves, on and off the court.” Cauley-Stein and Swoopes—a four-time WNBA champion, three-time Most Valuable Player and six-time All-Star—will train 75 kids from regional selection camps in Bacolod, Baguio, Butuan and Metro Manila, as well as Alaska Power Camps in Manila and Subic.

FASTEST ON TESTING DAY Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas

steers his car during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, recently. Bottas had the fastest lap on the final day testing in Barcelona on Wednesday, with a time of one minute and 16.904 seconds, just ahead of Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi. McLaren’s young reserve driver Lando Norris is the third fastest. AP

Lance Agcaoili

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TEPANAKERT, Azerbaijan—With the World Cup less than a month away, there is a budding national team in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh with no one to play against. The ethnic Armenian team in the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh has the shirts and the shoes, and even practices five days each week on an artificial field a short distance from the center of Stepanakert, the territory’s capital. But that’s about as far as the team goes. “UEFA doesn’t let us participate anywhere,” said Artsakh defender Aram Kostandyan, who wishes he could inspire the younger generation of players and show them “why they are playing football.” The reason for the lack of opponents has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with politics. The Nagorno-Karabakh region, as it’s known by its Soviet name, is considered part of neighboring Azerbaijan by the international community, located just north of Iran in the South Caucasus region. But since a six-year separatist war ended in 1994, it has been controlled by the local ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia. Living in a state of frozen conflict, the de facto Republic of Artsakh—in reference to the name of the region before Soviet times—is unrecognized by international institutions and the people of the region are prohibited from taking part in most international activities under their national flag. UEFA and Fifa have a general policy of not allowing teams into competition if they don’t represent an internationally recognized country or territory. That policy was weakened when Gibraltar and Kosovo joined Fifa in 2016, despite being only partially recognized. The Artsakh national team has made several unsuccessful requests for UEFA membership, the last time in 2017. Compounding political sensitivities is an Azerbaijani team playing under the name of Qarabag, which made it to the Champions League this year. The team was previously based in Agdam, a town in occupied territory

YOG slots staked in continental trampoline tilt

NO ONE TO PLAY AGAINST adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh that was entirely destroyed during the 1988 to 1994 war. Today, they are based in Baku, supported financially by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s government and with a fan base of refugees and their descendants. “They represent one country, we represent another,” Artsakh Coach Slavik Gabrielyan. “We see them using this name as a political statement.” The reality of life playing soccer in NagornoKarabakh is vastly different from the splendor of the Champions League. A mud road leads to the entrance of the Stepanakert Republican Stadium and an old Lada car

is parked on the track circling the field. Metal scraps rust away on the edge of the stands, and a youth team is practicing at the other end. All the players are professionals, but with a salary of about $120 per month, most cannot survive solely on soccer. Midfielder Arsen Sargsyan played in the Armenian league for more than seven years, but has now returned to Stepanakert. Besides playing soccer, Sargsyan also has a small business, helps out on the farms and generally does “every job I can get my hands on.” Despite the hardship, the team says it is united and holds on to the hope that one day it will be able to make the locals proud.

The few tournaments they can partake in involve other unrecognized states, or the pan-Armenian games which take place every four years. In 2015 they won that tournament by beating a team of Russians living in Armenia. “The Karabakh spirit is very high,” Sargsyan said with a smile as he spoke about a future where the Artsakh team can “play under our country’s flag.” That’s something pretty much everyone with the team can agree on. “We have hope. We believe,” said Gabrielyan, who has spent 18 years as a player and 30 as a coach. “This grassy field is my second home. Look how beautiful it is with its two goals on each side.” AP

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Cebu guarantees success of PNG

EBU Gov. Hilario Davide III assured the province’s full support for the Philippine National Games (PNG) after the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) recently at the Provincial Social Hall of the Cebu Capitol in Cebu City. “The whole province and the city of Cebu are grateful to be a part of this historic moment in Philippine sports. We are ready for the PNG,” Davide said. “The provincial government has stretched its funds across participating cities in Danao, Mandaue, Naga, Lapu-Lapu and Tabuelan to assure full support for the games,” he added. “Now that everything is set, let us all be excited to witness the best of our Filipino athletes,” said PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, officer in charge of the games.  More than 3,000 athletes from 96 local government units will compete for 2,576 medals in the games considered as the country’s Olympics. The opening program on Saturday with President Duterte will grace the opening ceremony today. He will be joined by sports heroes Elma Muros (athletics), Django Bustamante (billiards), Bong Coo (bowling), Onyok Velasco (boxing), Eugene Torre (chess) and 2016 Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz. 

High Flyers face Lady Oragons

P PLAYERS and the coach of the national team of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh in Stepanakert, the capital of the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, strike a pose. AP

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OVETED slots to the Third Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires this October will be up for grabs in the Fourth Asian Senior and Junior Trampoline Gymnastics Championships set today and tomorrow at the University of Makati basketball gym. Three YOG slots each in the boys and girls divisions will be staked in the two-day competition organized by the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the city government of Makati. “This international gymnastics event is important because the Asian juniors is a YOG qualifying

competition. So we can expect the best young trampoline athletes from all over the continent coming over to take part in this tournament,” Gymnastics Association of the Philippines President Cynthia Carrion said of the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Gymnastics Union. Obviously serious in making a 1-2-3 sweep in both divisions, China, which took gold and silver in the 2014 Nanjing YOG, is fielding four entries each in the individual boys and girls events of the meet also supported by Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay. A select group of 12 athletes from all over the world

will be competing in the YOG scheduled from October 6 to 16 in the Argentine capital. Not to be outdone, Japan, which garnered a girls’ silver medal from Rana Nakano also in Nanjing, is also sending four athletes in each bracket in what looms as a two-way fight for top honors in the championships. National Coach Ryan Rexel Fabriga said the Philippines will be represented by Shane Francis Peralta. Also seeing action in the competition are campaigners from Hong Kong, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

AYMAYA and Tacloban will try to keep hold of lead when they battle separate opponents in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Season 2 Reinforced Conference today at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum. The High Flyers, who won their first two matches but were halted by Creamline, 18-25, 23-25, 19-25, in Tuguegarao City last week, will try to bounce back against unscathed Iriga-Navy Lady Oragons (1-0) at 2 p.m. The Fighting Warays, also toting a 2-1 win-loss record with their lone loss dealt also by Creamline, battle the BaliPure Water Defenders (1-1) at 4 p.m. Air Force (1-0), meanwhile, eyes its second win against the winless Army (0-2) at 10 a.m. in the men’s division. PayMaya Head Coach Roger Gorayeb leaned heavily on imports Tess Nicole Rountree and Shelby Sullivan in their previous matches, with locals Grethcel Soltones, Jerrili Malabanan, Celine Domingo, Aiko Urdas, setter Jasmine Nabor and libero Lizlee Pantone also rising to the occasion. The High Flyers will face a tough Lady Oragons side, led by imports Macy Ubben and Lauren Whyte, who combined for 44 points in their debut. Tacloban Coach Nes Pamilar, meanwhile, wanted his Thai imports, Hyapha Amporn and Sasiwimon Sangpan, to remain in top shape. Lance Agcaoili


A6 Saturday, May 19, 2018 | Editor: Mike Besa

By Josh Burack Asian Tour CEO

Setting milestones in the Far East

It has been a momentous period for the Asian Tour through our return to key tournaments within East Asia. I’m writing to you now from Seoul at the 37th GS Caltex Maekyung Open, where we are sanctioning this prestigious event for the first time since 2009! Meanwhile, the 2018 Volvo China Open that happened the previous week marked a huge milestone for the Asian Tour, as we sanctioned China’s National Open following a 10-year gap dating back to 2008. Our strong cooperation with the Volvo China Open demonstrated our full restoration of ties with the China Golf Association (CGA). Title sponsor Volvo was also delighted with the Asian Tour’s return because the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) increased from 24 points in 2017 to 32 points in 2018 due to the strength our players brought to the field. We look forward to many years of collaboration with the CGA, Volvo and the European Tour. The tournament was also memorable for Alexander Björk. The Swede held off the challenge of Spaniard Adrián Otaegui and reigning Hero Indian Open champion Matt Wallace to win his first European Tour title. The Asian Tour had nearly 50 members in the field. Impressively, 28 of our players made the cut. A group of young stars did very well, including 22-year-old Jeunghun Wang, who finished tied-seventh; 25-year-old Scott Vincent, who ended tied-11th; and 21-year-old Shubhankar Sharma, who fought through a stomach bug to finish in tied-14th. These performances continue the trend that started last year of strong results from members aged under 30 years old. The results of these young players further justify the tagline we will use for phase three of our #whereitsAT campaign to be launched this summer: “Tomorrow’s Stars Today.” The videos, which are currently in production, will showcase the skill and cool styles of our ultra-talented young stars, and I can’t wait to see them. In addition to the next phase of the #whereitsAT campaign, our fans can look forward to the many tournaments that we’ve newly added to our growing 2018 schedule, such as the AB Bank Bangladesh Open, the Asia Pacific Classic in China, the CNS Open Golf Championship in Pakistan and the Ho Tram Players Championship in Vietnam. In particular, our grand return to Pakistan after an 11-year hiatus will be another important milestone in this historic year for the Asian Tour. Thank you once again for your support.   Best regards, Josh

Eastridge Golf Club

Hidden Gem of the East

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Story & photos by Mike Besa

hanks to the golf boom of the 1990s, the Philippines has been blessed with some of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses on the planet . When it comes to balancing beauty with playability and the challenges inherent in a championship golf course, few do so as well as Eastridge Golf Club. Carved out of the limestone hills above Angono and Binangonan in the province of Rizal, Eastridge provides the drama and beauty of a mountain course with the playability of a course in the flatlands. The views here are as good as any that you’ll find on a golf course in this country but can be played while walking without too much duress.

Eastridge Golf Club is the work of James Martell Jr., once an apprentice of Robert Trent Jones Jr. whose golf courses in the Philippines are among the best we have to offer. Martell built the course around most of the land’s natural attractions while creating many scenic spots from which to enjoy the incredible views of Laguna de Bay and beyond. The golf course straddles a ridge; the front nine sits on one side, the back nine on the other with the clubhouse in between. The outward nine has a more open feel to it, while the back nine turns toward the mountain; it’s tighter and requires the golfer to put more thought into each shot. The changes in the topography change the nature of the game, as well. The course is very well constructed and drains better than most. The greens are

gorgeous; they run hard and fast year-round, further testament to the course’s build quality. That’s not to say that the golf course is not without its challenges, but thus far, Eastridge has walked the line better than most. Eastridge is a fair course to play and truly offers something for golfers of all abilities. It’s accessible for the novice and yet offers plenty to challenge the more skilled. It’s not overly long, but it has some holes that play much longer than they read on the scorecard. A good score here is most dependent on how one handles the greens. Most are very generous targets but are devilishly difficult to decipher. Being cognizant of the prevailing slope is imperative, as is an experienced caddy. There is great variety in the design, and this is its greatest appeal. The hilly topography guarantees it. There are some great short

holes here, something that so many other golf courses have in short supply. These are holes that make you think and, if played correctly, they are ultimately rewarding but will penalize the errant shot severely. There are also holes that will challenge the golfer to his limits, but they are fair tests of golf, and most are stunning to look at. The opening hole sets the tone for the rest of the round. The 458-yard first hole at Eastridge offers you a choice of two distinct ways into the green. Longer hitters might elect to carry the three fairway bunkers just to the right of the rock feature that divides the fairway. Doing so will leave a shorter shot into the green, but one that requires the most precision to hold the putting surface. Driving your ball to the left of the rocks provides the better angle into the green but from further away. Four is a beauty. The elevated tee shot requires carrying a small hazard to a fairway that runs downhill. Expect a lot of roll but cross bunkers restrict the landing area as you get closer to the green. The green slopes dramatically away from the mountains toward the lake. Be prepared to aim much further away from the flag than you think. The three closing holes on the front side present the greatest challenge. Seven plays much longer than its 439 yards on the card would have you believe. It’s a spectacular tee shot (one of many here) from the elevated tee; so be sure to take it all in. The approach plays uphill into a deceptively difficult green so be sure to club accordingly. Eight is Eastridge’s signature hole—a 223-yard par three across a yawning ravine. The hole plays downhill significantly and, thus, shorter than its published length would have you believe. It is a gorgeous hole. At 387 yards, nine doesn’t sound like a very difficult hole, but it plays on the very edge of the property with superb vistas of Laguna de Bay all the way up the left side. The ravine plays tricks with the mind and makes this one of the toughest fairways to hit on the golf course. The hole plays quite severely uphill to the multitiered green. The view from behind the

green looking back down the fairway is sublime. Eleven is a gem of a par 4. Everything is in front of you. The fairway is an island of green guarded by out of bounds on the right and a hazard on the left. The fairway rises sharply to the elevated green nestled in the bosom of the mountain. It is quite something. Thirteen is one of the great driving holes on the golf course. The tee shot must cross the largest lake on the property to a fairway that doglegs away from you to your right. The challenge here is to cut off as much of the dogleg as you dare. Bunkers and rock features obscure the second into the green forcing most golfers to the right before playing the approach into the green. Fourteen and fifteen are among the shortest of the par fours but are two of the most diabolic. One must take particular care with the approach shots, as both greens run away from the fairway. Sixteen is the big boy; the longest par four on the property. The ideal line to the fairway lies over the boulders that guard the right side, a proper test of your intestinal fortitude. Given the quality of golf at Eastridge, it’s a wonder the fairways aren’t choked with golfers. The real challenge for the club is access. Traffic chokes the small streets of Taytay and Binangonan on the West and the way up from the North on Ortigas Avenue isn’t much better. Taking C6 has been iffy with the road’s rehabilitation and expansion, but this situation should ease up soon as the work there nears completion. Traveling on off-hours helps to a great degree, but you need to be prepared for the unexpected, as the city’s traffic is famous for its unpredictability. Even so, nothing can dampen the golf experience here. Eastridge is a very playable, exceedingly beautiful golf course that will take your breath away. It is always in superb condition, and its proximity to the city make it a tantalizing prospect for the golf tourist that demands great golf without having to travel a great distance. It is unique among the Philippines’s mountain golf courses and is a great value given the golf that is on offer. It is the hidden gem of the East.

Rock & Roll: Oakley hosts 6th Golf Cup in support of the Junior Golfers League

The Junior Golfers League members with their trophies as they receive the P100,000 donation from Oakley Philippines at the Oakley sixth Golf Cup in Pampanga.

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nternational sports-accessories brand Oakley proudly hosted the recent sixth Golf Cup at Pradera Verde in Lubao, Pampanga, for the benefit of the young aspiring golfers of The Junior Golfers League (TJGL), the development league of the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines. With intense competition and weather condition, participants swung their golf clubs

toward victory during the 18-hole system 36 game with divisions consisted of Men’s Division Classes A, B and C; Women’s Division, as well as Boy’s Division and Girl’s Division for junior golfers. In the Men’s Division Class A, Raymund Lacdao emerged as Champion with 71-04 = 67, Mike Besa winning first runner up with 75-06 = 69 and Allan Umali bagging the second runner up, 82-13=69. Meanwhile in the Men’s Division

Class B, James Roy Linao came out on top with a 97-25 = 72, followed by Marlon Dizon as first runner up, scoring 98-26 = 72 and Lorenzo de la Paz as second runner up with 95-22 = 73. In the Men’s Division Class C, Eric de la Rosa championed other golfers with a score of 101-26 = 75, with Mathew Lean Mendoza coming in as first runner Up scoring, 102-26= 76 and Mark Fowler as second runner up with 103-27=76. In the Ladies’ Division, Vangie Omlang took home the Champion trophy scoring 89-17= 72, followed by Grace Montilla winning first and Cora Aguinaldo winning second runner up scoring 89-16 = 73 and 95-88 = 73, respectively. The Junior Golfers also showcased their excellent skills during the Sixth Oakley Golf Cup. Under Boys Division, Josh Jorge was named as Champion with a score of 68-02 = 66, while in the Girls Division, Mariel Tee came in first with 73-04 = 69. Hosted by renowned multimedia motoring journalist James Deakin, the sixth Oakley Golf Cup played up more fun and exciting golfing experience with its theme “Rock n Roll Music + Golf” where

thematic activities were set per hole for extra challenge among participants, such as loud rock music, spotlight, sprinklers and many more. Oakley donated P100,000 to TJGL after the awarding of winners in commitment to their continued support for the young golfers of the country to help them grow their athletic skills. “We’re grateful for Oakley because every year, they support and hold this charity event for TJGL. Out of this tournament, we are able to help kids who are financially incapable but talented,” said TJGL President Chona de la Paz. “We will utilize the money for partially funding the needed resources of the junior golfers to encourage them more in honing their skills.” Chona also mentioned that this pledge by Oakley will help TJGL golfers Josh Jorge and Sean Granada who will soon represent the country to International Management Group Junior Golf 2018 in San Diego, California, this July. “It’s a good initiative for Oakley to help the young ones to enhance their talent and skills in golf. These kids represent our country, and it’s good that Oakley was able to help and be a part of achieving

Professional and junior golfers swing their golf clubs with game face on despite the intensive heat during the sixth Oakley Golf Cup at Pradera Verde Golf Club in Pampanga.

their dreams especially in this sport [golf],” shared Oakley Marketing Head Louren Lacanlale. Oakley also invites all participants for this year’s Golf Cup and other enthusiasts to wear their commitment and love for the sport with pride as they continue promoting their #CantStop Campaign. Oakley continuously innovates specific gears to help sports enthusiasts have better and improved performance, and offers opportunities such as the Oakley Golf Cup that allow individuals

to sharpen up their athletic skills. Ensuring an optimized gaming experience, Oakley highlights their PRIZM Lens Technology that features various lenses made for specific tasks—the golf lens improves contrast for better separation of color and gives you more depth cues to gauge distance and grass conditions to predict ball speed. And, for added comfort while hitting the golf course, Oakley releases new golf apparel to complete your golf game essentials.


www.pinoygolfer.com | Saturday, May 19, 2018 A7

Equipment long-term updates

Long-term reports on the hottest clubs on the market D

on’t you just hate it when you test a club at the driving range and are just striping it perfectly? Take out the credit card, pay for it, and for the first round or two, it is absolute bliss. Then, by the third round or so, the magic wears off and the club just stops working. Now you’re furious because you just paid retail for what was supposed to be the latest and greatest but turned out to be a dud. We’re going save you some heartache by revisiting some of the new clubs that we featured earlier in the year; specifically, the TaylorMade M4 driver, the Callaway Epic Subzero fairway wood and the Odyssey O-Works Red 7s.

Odyssey O-Works Red 7s

The putter is generally a difficult club to replace, especially if the old one is working well. I’ve been gaming an Odyssey O-Works 7 in the Versa black/ white/red color scheme. It’s been very effective and has largely provided what I need in a putter. The requirements of distance control, forgiveness and feel have all been addressed with the

O-Works 7, but the putter wasn’t a natural fit for a golfer accustomed to a blade putter. While it cannot be argued that mallets offer the golfer the ideal putting solution, it is with the more feel based players that there is more resistance to the head shape. This has less to do with how the putter works and more to do with how it looks. Optics are a vital component of a good putter. The golfer has to know where the putter is pointing instinctively. You might adjust to it, but one can never be completely comfortable with a putter if you can’t be sure where it’s aimed. Another part of the equation is the balance of the putter. Most blade putters are balanced with the toe of the putter pointing down from four-to-six o’clock, while most mallets are face-balanced, which means that the putter face points skyward. Golfers used to one have a great deal of difficulty with the other. This deprives the golfer of the rest of the technological package that Odyssey has put on offer—the enhanced forgiveness on mishits, which is the result of the optimization of the mallets’ center of gravity. The effectiveness of the latest breed of roll-enhancing technology is something that shouldn’t be passed up on either. The short, slant hosel on the Red O-Works 7s addresses the issue of looks and balance. Balanced slightly toe-down, it feels natural in the hands. Aiming is now instinctive, and the putter moves as it should throughout the stroke. Misses on the toe were forgiven but for a bit of distance. Heel hits suffered in both areas. Not a real problem, but just something of which to be aware. The O-Works insert is Odyssey’s best yet. It is the best-feeling insert they’ve produced thus far, and it seems to work as advertised. There’s no skidding of bouncing around with it; the ball just

rolls smoothly and silently toward the hole. The Red color is just fun. If it matters, you can also get it in Black, and if the number 7 isn’t your cup of tea, Odyssey makes three other iconic mallets with the short, slant neck. Still not for you? The O-Works insert is available in a slew of head shapes, and there’s bound to be something that will work for you. Odyssey’s plan to put a mallet in every golfer’s hands is a good one, and putters like the O-Works Red 7s will go a long way to making it a reality.

TaylorMade M4 Driver

Every year manufacturers make bolder and bolder claims for their drivers, so it was a bit of a shock when the two largest antagonists in the distance wars changed direction with their ad campaigns; instead of touting the greater distances their driver would send the golf ball, both were promoting technologies to help the average Juan find more fairways.

The M4, TaylorMade’s horse in this race, heralds TM’s latest innovation, something called Twist-Face Technology. Looking down at the clubhead in hand, you barely notice it, in spite of the branding there to tell you otherwise. It’s subtle and has proven to be quite effective. But while Twist Face has taken the lead role in the campaign, it is the other technologies that work in concert to guarantee the effectivity of the package. You can’t argue with physics. Therefore, the work to lighten the structure and come up with twice the discretionary weight in the M2 guaranteed that the M4 would be easier to hit and yield better results on misses. Hammerhead technology strengthened the face structure, returning more energy directly into the golf ball. The cherry on top was the aero package, which, in most un-TaylorMade fashion, wasn’t even branded. The M2 as a package works fabulously. Let me say that I loved my M2. I was supremely confident with it more so than with any other driver. I felt it would be nearly impossible to surpass, but the M4 did so with ease. It swings perceptibly faster than the M2. The M4 cuts through the air like a knife and, although I haven’t tested this configuration on a launch monitor, the added distance I’m seeing in real life is more than enough validation. The M4 continues its stellar performance. Though visually smaller than its predecessor, the M4 surpasses it in ease of use. This is an incredibly easy driver to hit. Mishits almost travel as far as the good shots with only a slight penalty in direction. Say good-bye to the M2. The M4, in my humble opinion, TaylorMade’s best driver ever. It is everything that you could ever want in a

driver, and I cannot imagining anything being better. But I said that about the M2, and look where we are today.

Callaway Epic Subzero Fairways

Fairway woods are the most difficult clubs to replace in the bag. In twenty-something years of golf, I’ve only had four different sets; the first was a knock-off component strong 3-wood that served double duty as a driver for quite some time until I cracked the face. Then came my trusty TaylorMade V-Steel. That served me for almost a decade and gave me my first hole-in-one. The last two were sets of Nike VR Pro Limited-Edition fairways and then the first of the adjustables; a pair of TaylorMade RBZ Stage II TPs. The RBZs were getting long in the tooth, and I was looking for fairways that were easier to hit when the Callaway Epic Subzero fairways appeared on my radar. I considered the Epic fairways initially but loved the way the smaller head sat. The fact that I got on

quite well with the Fujikura Speeder 4 that the Epic Subzero came with pretty much sealed the deal, so taking a leap of faith, I sprung for the Subzeros. Any concerns about the smaller head being harder to hit vanished almost immediately. The Subzero fairway features a pair of moveable weights (22 and 3 grams) that amount to 25 grams of discretionary weight. That’s huge for a small fairway wood and makes the Epic Subzero quite easy to hit. It is very stable through impact and sends the ball off at the optimum trajectory (to my eyes). The precisely located weights paired with the ultralight crown make for ideal CG locations in the clubhead. The Optifit hosel offers meaningful adjustments to further tweak ball flight if need be but I didn’t find it necessary. My samples came with Fujikura Speeder 4 60-gram shafts in stiff flex. Having come from heavier shafts in my fairways and hybrids, I was anxious try a lighter shaft in the hopes of finding a few more yards in a club that was easier to hit. Things worked out perfectly. The Callaway Epic Subzero fairways were everything I hoped they would be. They are longer and easier to hit than my much loved RBZ Stage II TP. They feel more responsive and more solid off the clubface. It doesn’t improve performance, but it’s a welcome development. These things are weapons for the given distances. They work so well, they’ve made me more aggressive from longer distances. Although I’ll have to temper said aggression, this is certainly a good thing. The Callaway Epic Subzero fairways are going to be awfully hard to get out of my bag. Mike Besa


OurTime

A8 Saturday, May 19, 2018 • Editor: Efleda P. Campos

BusinessMirror

www.businessmirror.com.ph

A surprising bullying battleground: Senior centers

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AN FRANCISCO—The unwanted were turned away from cafeteria tables. Fistfights broke out at karaoke. Dances became breeding grounds for gossip and cruelty.

It became clear this place had a bullying problem on its hands. What many found surprising was that the perpetrators and victims alike were all senior citizens. Nursing homes, senior centers and housing complexes for the elderly have introduced programs, training and policies aimed at curbing spates of bullying, an issue once thought the exclusive domain of the young. “There’s the clique system just like everywhere else,” said Betsy Gran, who until recently was assistant director at San Francisco’s 30th Street Senior Center. “It’s like

Mean Girls, but everyone is 80.” After the cafeteria exiles and karaoke brouhahas, the 30th Street Center teamed up with a local nonprofit, the Institute on Aging, to develop an anti-bullying program. All staff members received 18 hours of training that included lessons on what constitutes bullying, causes of the problem and how to manage such conflicts. Seniors were then invited to similar classes, held in English and Spanish, teaching them to alert staff or intervene themselves if they witness bullying. Signs and even place mats around

the center now declare it a “bullyfree zone.” “I think in the past I would have just stayed out of it,” said Mary Murphy, 86, a retired real-estate agent who took the classes. “Now I might be inclined to help.” Robin Bonifas, a social work professor at Arizona State University and author of the book Bullying Among Older Adults: How to Recognize and Address an Unseen Epidemic, said existing studies suggest about 1 in 5 seniors encounters bullying. She sees it as an outgrowth of frustrations characteristic in communal settings, as well as a reflection of issues unique to getting older. Many elderly see their independence and sense of control disappear and, for some, becoming a bully can feel like regaining some of that lost power. “It makes them feel very out of control,” Bonifas said, “and the way they sort of get on top of things

and make their name in this new world is intimidating, picking on people, gossiping.” There is far less recognition of bullying as a problem among seniors compared with young people. Even among those who have been called bullies, many are unaware how problematic their behavior is until it’s labeled. Campaigns around the country have sought to spread the word, including a booklet circulated last year by the National Center for Assisted Living. “In the life cycle, it doesn’t go away,” said Katherine Arnold, a member of the city Human Rights Commission in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, which created a public-service announcement on its community-access station that included a portrayal of a man who was excluded from a card game and became the subject of gossip by other seniors. “There’s really not a lot of escape.”

Most senior bullying isn’t physical but rather involves name-calling, rumors and exclusion, said Pamela Countouris, a longtime schoolteacher who now runs a Pittsburgh-based consultancy that offers training on bullying. Women constitute the bulk of the bullies Countouris encounters among seniors, a reflection of lifespan disparities and the gender makeup of those who live at or participate in programs at senior facilities. Countouris’s business began with a focus on school bullying but now centers exclusively on seniors. In the next month alone, she has more than a dozen training sessions planned. After four years immersed in the wrath of older bullies, Countouris has heard all manner of stories. At a senior high rise, a woman who saw herself as the queen of the parking garage would key the cars of those who crossed her.

Elsewhere, laundry rooms became vicious places where the bullied had their detergent stolen and their clothes thrown on the floor. Bingo rooms so often devolved into battlefields—with lucky newcomers badgered and accused of cheating by veteran players—she came to call it “the devil’s game.” “I didn’t realize it was an underground society where people could be mean to each other,” Countouris said. In the worst cases, bullying goes far beyond bingo squabbles. Marsha Wetzel moved into a senior apartment complex in Niles, Illinois, after her partner of 30 years died and her partner’s family evicted her from the home the couple shared. At Glen Saint Andrew Living Community, she said she was met with relentless bullying by residents mostly focused on her being a lesbian. AP

My friend’s grandmother was his pillar of love

Keeping dead client’s money proves challenge for Japan’s banks

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HERE there’s a will, there’s a way. That’s what Japanese banks are counting on as they try to keep hold of the $460 billion in wealth left by their customers each year when they die. With more than a million people dying annually in Japan, smaller banks are losing not only customers, but also their savings, as heirs migrate to large cities where the biggest lenders hold sway. Regional banks lose about 60 percent of funds that are subject to inheritance, Fidelity Investor Education Institute estimates. Now, in a country where about a quarter of the population is over 65, local lenders, including Mie Bank Ltd., are turning to trusts to secure the next generation of clients and their deposits. They’re selling so-called testamentary substitute trusts, an inheritance product that helps to quickly unlock funds when an estate holder dies. Setting them up enables banks to form relationships with heirs. “When succession occurs through the death of an elderly customer, often their sons and daughters live in or around Tokyo, and it was a problem that our deposits were flowing out into the big city,” said Kazuhito Wakiuchi, a manager at Mie Bank in western Japan. It plans to start selling such trusts in July in partnership with Mizuho Financial Group Inc., the nation’s third-largest banking group. Banks began offering such trusts about a decade ago, and more than 150,000 were in effect as of December, Trust Companies Association of Japan data show. The products have grown in popularity because they can help heirs cover immediate expenses, such as funeral costs, and

HOMEWARD BOUND On her way home, an elderly Ifugao woman carries on her head bundles of “Tinawon” native rice. “Tinawon”

means yearly.

LEONARDO PERANTE II

estate holders can choose to leave lump sums or have their funds distributed gradually over time. Working on inheritance is also helping banks reduce dependence on lending income that’s eroding as Japan’s rock-bottom interest rates squeeze margins, Fitch Ratings Ltd. said. With competition for lending intensifying, the nation’s financial regulator has been urging banks to find other ways to build a sustainable business model. “Succession business is a key area to secure the survival of regional banks,” said Kaori Nishizawa, a director for financial institutions at Fitch in Tokyo. Demand for trust products will rise as the population ages, and banks earn fees when they sell them, she said. Fidelity Investor Education Institute estimates ¥50 trillion ($460 billion) in financial assets are passed on to successors each year in Japan.

The amount is expected to grow as the number of citizens dying annually increases over the next two decades. Many of those estates are large, given that Japan has among the highest number of millionaires in the world, with cumulative assets of $7 trillion, Capgemini said. Still, even though succession business is enabling local banks to form ties with their customers’ heirs, it’s no guarantee that they will keep their assets. Because only about a fifth of the nation’s regional lenders are licensed to manage trusts themselves, most have to sell products of larger banks that require beneficiaries to open accounts with them. A net ¥40 trillion in household financial assets is expected to flow out of regions other than Tokyo and Osaka as a result of succession over the next two decades, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. said. Greater Tokyo will get most of these, receiv-

ing more than ¥30 trillion on a net basis, the bank’s estimates show. That’s why Mie Bank decided to work with Mizuho, which last year developed a trust product that enables the funds set aside for inheritance to remain under the regional bank’s control. “With these testamentary substitute trusts, we can have the account that receives the estate,” Wakiuchi said. “We also have the point of contact with the children, giving us the opportunity to make proposals, including investment of the assets left to them.” Tsukuba Bank Ltd. also turned to Mizuho to avoid a drop in its client base, said Hisashi Kaneda, a manager who oversees the trust product at the Ibaraki-based lender. Sales have exceeded expectations since the bank —whose customers are mostly older than 60—began offering the product last year, he said. Bloomberg News

The Nordic countries: The key to getting much richer is all about how you treat women

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OVERNMENTS interested in generating much more economic growth need to get more women into the work force. The proof lies in the Nordic countries. The region has grown a lot richer, thanks to decades of policies designed to improve gender equality, according to a report published this week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “TheNordiccountriesareaninspiration,”AngelGurria,secretary-generalof the OECD, said in prepared comments. He pointed to structures designed to

support families as being key. The region, which coincidentally also tends to top world happiness indexes, has spent the past 50 years bringing more women into the work force in a shift that has added as much as 20 percent to economic growth per capita, the OECD estimates. The Paris-based organization says continued progress on gender equality in the labor market could add another 30 percent to economic growth rates by 2040. Gurria pointed to what he called the region’s “continuum of support to families with children” as key. This

includes “generous paid leave for new parents; subsidized and high-quality early childhood education and care; and out-of-school-hours care.” Female employment rates in the Nordic region range from 68 percent to 83 percent, the study said. That compares with an OECD average of 59 percent. Higher Nordic employment rates follow official steps in the region to punish discrimination. For example, it’s illegal to fire women after they have children. Henriette Laursen, head of the Danish Centre for Research and Information on Gender, Equality and

Diversity, said government subsidies for child and elderly care are essential for making the services affordable for all families. “The main issues here are not only the possibility of having your children and elderly cared for, but also the prices for that,” Laursen said. “In the UK, for instance, you have good child care, but people can’t earn enough to pay for it, so only the better-off families use it.” “I see no reason other countries shouldn’t be able to copy” the Nordic model, Laursen said. “Aside from political reasons.” Bloomberg News

LOLA Felicita Reyes with her first grandson Jasper Oliverio By Nikko L. Bajado

Special to the BusinessMirror

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EOPLE who grew up close to a grandparent have certainly heard many stories of old. These were stories about the past that showed how much we need to respect and cherish our heritage because the present is a debt we owe to those who came before us. Similarly, the experiences of our elders are something that we also have to take pride in because it is from them that we can make sense of our identity. A few years ago I was in a speech and oral communication class where we shared our personal life experiences in front of the whole class. Although it was a simple exercise, the stories I heard were eye-openers. I was fascinated by the story of a classmate of mine, Jasper Oliverio, who smiled recalling his wonderful memories of his late grandmother, Felicita Reyes. Jasper was a first grandson. He said his grandmother was very hands-on and protective of him. She would really spoil him with a lot of things, especially food. “That’s why I got really big. I would already eat at home but my grandmother would still feed me when I was sent to her place. She was a really good cook. Also, I always sought refuge in her house

whenever my mother was angry with me. My grandmother was able to explain things to me better,” he recalled. His grandmother was already diagnosed with an enlarged heart. He said that when the diagnosis was made around the year 2000, his grandmother was advised to get a heart bypass surgery as soon as possible or she might die in one year. “She really didn’t want to have a surgery. She was firm in her belief that if it’s her time to go, then so be it. She was also very religious,” he said. She attended a televised Catholic charismatic movement known as El Shaddai founded by Brother Mike Velarde. “After one year, my grandmother was still alive. This was when she decided to make a testimony in El Shaddai,” he said. Since then she would give a testimony every year about how she continued to live through faith in God. She testified for 16 years. Oliverio said his grandmother was the most influential person in his life. He looked up to her, especially because she remained faithful until her very last moment. “Who I am right now is because of my Lola. Growing up under her care was the reason I learned to have compassion, generosity and faith,” he added. “Miracles are forever” were her final words, Oliverio said.


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BOSTON Dynamics Chief Executive Marc Raibert speaks about his four-legged robot SpotMini during a SoftBank World presentation at a hotel in Tokyo. AP

Walking robot maker prepares to unleash its dog-like machine

THE Corol Roller mimics the effects of a Shiatsu massage and is waterproof so you can use it in the tub.

THE E-Clear Lean Set mimics a muscle workout by itself, and could be worn while stretching or doing training exercises.

Gadgets for good health PRIMETIME

DINNA CHAN VASQUEZ @dinnachanvasquez luckydinna@gmail.com

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HERE’S no doubt that people can’t live without gadgets. The first thing we do when we wake up is check our mobile phones. We clean our house using high-tech vacuum cleaners. We style our hair using blow-dryers that cut the drying time by half. Even our watches are now gadgets. They measure our heartbeat and the number of steps we’ve taken in a day. Health is an area where many gadgets have been developed to make things more convenient for users. I remember owning a watch that had a heart-rate monitor. I also had another watch that also functioned as a pedometer. There are now gadgets that are solely for health purposes. Elecom, one of Japan’s leading gadgets and accessories store, has made health technology available for health-conscious Filipinos.

For those who seek a toned body but don’t have the time to go to the gym, the E-Clear Lean Set (P3,390 for one set that includes the device and gel pad) introduces muscle tightening to help activate your muscles during short exercises. Applying medium and low frequency to activate the muscles through pulsation, the E-Clear Lean Set mimics a muscle workout by itself, and could be worn while stretching or doing training exercises to further stimulate the tightening of muscles. The E-Clear Lean Set has four programs built into the main device and comes with a gel pad, which can be applied to key muscle points that you want to tighten: arms, triceps, the obliques, lower belly, quads or buttocks, legs and hamstrings, and lower legs. Using the gadget’s deep frequency setting, parts of the body with thicker fat (such as the thighs and the belly) can be stimulated and put to work. The low frequency allows the body to perform longer exercises without feeling fatigue. To get E-Clear Lean’s full effectivity, it is recommended that you use it while stretching so that your tendons are activated and flexibility is improved. The Elecom Corol Roller (P2,990), meanwhile, is perfect for aching muscles and body parts. This wireless roller is an electric, rechargeable device that relieves sore muscles and swelling in the lower limbs. Making use of strong vibrations made more impactful by pointed wheels that roll against the skin, the Corol Roller mimics the effects of a Shiatsu massage. Shiatsu

is a Japanese finger-massage method that involves applying pressure to several points in the body, releasing tension and relieving the body of muscle aches. The Corol Roller’s ergonomic, handy design allows the user to expertly target pain and acupressure points in the body, effectively relieving specific aches and pains. It targets lower limbs, such as the sole, the dorsal area of the foot, ankles, lower legs and knees, as well as certain parts of the upper body like the shoulder blade area and arms. The Corol Roller is also waterproof and canbe used while taking a hot soak in the tub. It comes with a main body and a dedicated USB cable for charging. Health-related gadgets aren’t supposed to make us lazy. Rather, they were made to help cut the down the time we spend exercising. Some people would still rather spend more time working out and that’s great. Others don’t have the time but they’d still want to be fit; these gadgets are for them. Get the E-Clear Referee, E-Clear Lean and Corol Roller in all Elecom stores, or follow @elecomph on Facebook and Instagram for more information. Elecom products are available in the following stores: Elecom SM City Marikina, Elecom SM City North Edsa, Elecom SM Southmall, Elecom Ayala Nuvali Solenad, Urbanize Shangri-La and Urbanize Uptown Mall. For more information about its products, follow Elecom on Facebook and Instagram. ■

BERKELEY, California—A robotics company known for its widely shared videos of nimble, legged robots opening doors or walking through rough terrain is preparing to sell some after more than a quarter century of research. Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert said last Friday that his company plans to begin selling the dog-like SpotMini robot next year, likely to businesses for use as a camera-equipped security guard. But he thinks other applications for the fourlegged contraption will be likely developed by other companies, because the robot has a flat platform to allow other equipment with its own computer programming to be easily mounted on top of it. SpotMini gets around with the help of cameras on its front, sides and one mounted on its rear—a position that Raibert calls the “butt-cam.” Boston Dynamics already has made 10 SpotMinis with plans to manufacture about 100 more for additional testing this year before going into mass production by the middle of next year, Raibert said. No price has been set for the robot yet, though Raibert said making the latest prototype costs about onetenth the price of earlier versions. Raibert unveiled the SpotMini plans at the University of California, Berkeley, during a TechCrunch conference focused on the rise of robotics and its potential to perform a wide range of tasks and jobs now handled by humans. Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics rarely reveals its plans except by posting YouTube videos that have impressed and terrified people. Most of Boston Dynamics’s robotics research had been applied in the military until Google bought the Waltham, Massachusetts, company in 2013. Japanese tech giant SoftBank bought Boston Dynamics from Google last year. Although Boston Dynamics never released a commercial robot under Google, Raibert credited his company’s former owner for helping it to start thinking of ways to bring its technology to a broader market. Toward that end, he also showed the conference a video of Atlas, a two-legged robot that has learned how to sort and pick up packages, jump up and off blocks, jog and perform back flips. He said Boston Dynamics still hasn’t figured out how to make money from Atlas yet. “This machine is really trying to push the boundary of the future,” Raibert said. He also mentioned the possibility of building robots to help with construction projects, though he didn’t provide any further details about that ambition last Friday. AP

Philippines’s largest tech conference is back bigger than ever THIS year QBO Innovation Hub, the first and only public-private sector partnership aimed at developing the Philippine start-up ecosystem, is joining the organizing team, along with Original Pitch Venture Capital (OPVC), a Philippines-based venture capital firm that invests and supports companies to become leaders in their own categories, to bring “Techtonic Summit 2018: Disrupting Southeast Asia,” at the SMX Convention Center Manila on June 22 and 23. Among those being highlighted in the conference are Sen. Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV; Monchito Ibrahim, undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology; Nora K. Terrado, undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); John Rubio, country director of Facebook Philippines; Jojo Flores, Cofounder of Plug and Play Tech Center and

Cofounder of Launchgarage; Brian Cu, country manager of Grab Philippines; and Manny Ayala, managing director of Endeavor Philippines. In addition, speakers from global start-ups, venture capital firms and corporate accelerators include Marcus Tan, founder and CEO of Carousell; Jeffrey Paine, founding partner of Golden Gate Ventures; Paul Meyers, head of muru-D Singapore; and Michael Blakey, managing partner of Cocoon Capital. “It has always been QBO’s goal to unite the startup ecosystem,” said Rene Meily, president of QBO Innovation Hub. QBO’s founding partners are DOST, DTI, JP Morgan, and IdeaSpace Foundation. “Techtonic Summit is the perfect opportunity to bring together start-ups and stakeholders from across Southeast Asia. Headlined by speakers and a conjugation of some of Asia’s top VIPs, Techtonic Summit 2018 is the tech conference to attend.” Last year Techtonic Summit made history as the

Philippines’s largest tech conference with over 6,000 attendees. As a follow-up to this huge success, the 2018 will be an even bigger groundbreaking formation with 10,000 attendees, 200 start-ups, and 100 investors. The two-day summit aims to make Southeast Asia the epicenter of groundbreaking innovation by bringing together the movers and shakers from across Southeast Asia—start-ups, investors, corporates, the academe, media, and government, to create a bigger network for start-up ecosystem, gain local and international exposure, and secure successful funding for start-ups. Attendees can look forward to explosive speaker lineups, rattling start-up pitches and exhibits, and a landslide of ideas and innovative breakthroughs. “Summits like Techtonic Summit are really valuable opportunities for both start-ups and investors to get acquainted with some of the best ideas and technologies in the market. It’s really a venue for collaboration and idea generation and I look

forward to getting to know some of Southeast Asia’s top entrepreneurs,” says Francis Simisim, partner of OPVC and CEO of Social Light Inc. The main event will be the Ring of Fire Pitching Competition where start-ups will battle it out onstage not just for exposure but also for a chance to win $10,000. In addition to that, the top 20 startups automatically become Start-up Exhibitors at the two-day summit, which includes a free cocktail booth, as well as an exclusive showcase to a curated list of VIPs consisting of venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate and government representatives via business matching and an inviteonly VIP dinner. Tech-enabled Filipino start-ups who are currently operating or intend to operate outside of the Philippines in the next 12 months, as well as techenabled foreign start-ups that currently operate or intend to operate in the Philippines in the next 12 months are eligible to join.


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AXA BAGS FINALS SPOT IN THE EFMA-ACCENTURE INNOVATION IN INSURANCE AWARDS 2018

ONE of the top insurance companies in the country, AXA Philippines (www.axa.com.ph) has been chosen as a finalist in the prestigious Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards for 2018 for its MyAXA Café, an online insight community. MyAXA Café provides secure, ongoing and realtime feedback from AXA Philippines’s customers. The recognition follows last year’s win where AXA France was awarded for AXA Sure (an app that allows information on household contents to be digitized and stored). MyAXA Café is nominated under the Customer Experience and Engagement category, which recognizes innovations that create customer and consumer value by radically enhancing the way companies engage customers. MyAXA Café was developed in order to generate faster research-driven insight to help AXA create better products for its customers, improve their experience and enhance the customers’ satisfaction and loyalty. “We aimed to cultivate a deeper understanding of our valued customers’ perceptions and attitudes toward insurance. By understanding our customers better through MyAXA Café, we are then able to design even better products and solutions, and enhance the AXA customer experience,” said Rahul Hora, AXA Philippines president and CEO. To date, MyAXA Café has 1,200 members with a crosssectional representation of various customer profiles. The Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards is a global competition, which has served as a catalyst for innovation in the insurance sector, and has helped insurers develop better disruptive strategies. Nine innovations have been shortlisted by the Awards Committee out of the more than 300 entries for each of the award categories. MICROSOFT CEO Satya Nadella delivers the keynote address at Build, the company’s annual conference for software developers in Seattle. AP

Microso�t launches $25-M program to use AI for disabilities

M FACEBOOK SUSPENDS ABOUT 200 APPS THAT MAY HAVE MISUSED DATA

NEW YORK—Facebook is suspending about 200 apps that it believes may have misused data. The social-media giant said in a blog post on Monday that the suspensions resulted from its investigation into all apps that had access to large amounts of information before Facebook changed its platform policies in 2014. Those changes, according to Facebook, significantly reduced the amount of data that apps could access. Ime Archibong, vice president of product partnerships, says that if any evidence is found that the suspended apps or other apps have misused data, they will be banned. Users that may have been exposed will be notified, as was the case when the Cambridge Analytica case broke. The company says that it’s canvased thousands of apps so far. AP

BY MATT O’BRIEN The Associated Press

ICROSOFT is launching a $25-million initiative to use artificial intelligence (AI) to build better technology for people with disabilities. CEO Satya Nadella announced the new “AI for Accessibility” effort as he kicked off Microsoft’s annual conference for software developers. The Build conference in Seattle is meant to foster enthusiasm for the company’s latest ventures in cloud computing, AI, Internet-connected devices and virtual reality. Microsoft competes with Amazon and Google to offer Internet-connected services to businesses and organizations. The conference and the new initiative offer Microsoft an opportunity to emphasize its philosophy of building AI for social good. The focus could help counter some of the privacy and ethical concerns that have risen over AI and other fast-developing technology, including the potential that software formulas can perpetuate or even amplify gender and racial biases. In unusually serious terms for a tech conference keynote, Nadella name-checked the dystopian fiction

of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, declared that “privacy is a human right” and warned of the dangers of building new technology without ethical principles in mind. “We should be asking not only what computers can do, but what computers should do,” Nadella said. “That time has come.” The five-year accessibility initiative will include seed grants for start-ups, nonprofit organizations and academic researchers, as well as deeper investments and expertise from Microsoft researchers. Microsoft President Brad Smith said the company hopes to empower people by accelerating the development of AI tools that provide them with more opportunities for independence and employment. “It may be an accessibility need relating to vision or deafness or to something like autism or dyslexia,” Smith said in an interview. “There are about a billion people on the planet who have some kind of disability, either permanent or temporary.” Those people already have “huge potential,” he said, but “technology can help them accomplish even more.” Microsoft has already experimented with its own accessibility tools, such as a “Seeing AI” free smartphone app using computer vision and narration to help people navigate if they’re blind or have low vision. Nadella introduced the app at a previous Build conference. Microsoft’s translation tool also provides

deaf users with real-time captioning of conversations. “People with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to technology advances, but Microsoft sees this as a key area to address concerns over the technology and compete against Google, Amazon and IBM,” said Nick McQuire, an analyst at CCS Insight. Smith acknowledged that other firms, especially Apple and Google, have also spent years doing important work on accessibility. He said Microsoft’s accessibility fund builds on the model of the company’s AI for Earth initiative, which launched last year to jump-start projects combating climate change and other environmental problems. The idea, Smith said, is to get more start-ups excited about building tools for people with disabilities—both for the social good and for their large market potential. Other announcements at the Build conference include partnerships with drone company DJI and chipmaker Qualcomm. More than 6,000 people are registered to attend, most of them developers who build apps for Microsoft’s products. Facebook had its F8 developers’ gathering last week. Google’s I/O conference begins Tuesday. Apple’s takes place in early-June. This is the second consecutive year that Microsoft has held its conference in Seattle, not far from its Redmond, Washington, headquarters. ■

A closer look at the most powerful smartphone camera ever CLAIMING the best-ever scores for a smartphone camera from renowned image quality reference site DxOMark, the Huawei P20 Series has quickly developed a reputation for capturing what you see at its finest. With several innovations to offer, the P20 Series is created to give everyone a chance to enjoy photography without having to buy a professional camera. The Huawei P20 Pro, in particular, has gone all in on its camera abilities. The device has three camera lenses on the back of the phone, one of which has a 40-megapixel coengineered with Leica camera, an advanced image and color-temperature sensor, a 4D predictive focus, a 3x and 5x hybrid zoom and a newly developed technology, Master AI, to automatically suit different lighting conditions and by reading camera data in real time. So far, Huawei P20 Pro has the industry’s largest CMOS image sensor (1/1.7 inch) to date, which is 2.5 times and 2.7 times larger than the sensors on Galaxy S9+ (1/2.55 inch) and iPhone X (1/2.8 inch) respectively. The massive sensor allows for more detailed images, as well as a virtual bokeh effect, which is rarely offered in today’s mainstream devices. Huawei’s desire to offer its consumers the best makes them even more creative and motivated. As Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, the P20 Series plays by its own rules. Compared to other modern smartphones, P20’s most outstanding feature has to be its groundbreaking triple camera setup. Beside focusing on how clear your photos will be, Huawei focused on improving the performance of the

camera in low light and has succeeded in that—enabling the P20 series to shoot clear photos in extreme dark scenarios and still capture those where even the human eye has a problem seeing clearly in. Another important feature that Huawei has perfected is its zooming capabilities. Huawei raised the bar by greatly enhancing the 3x zoom and a 5x hybrid zoom particularly on the P20 Pro. (10x digital zoom is also available.)

For example, for anything beyond 3x zoom, the third lens automatically kicks into action. Huawei’s engineers made sure to achieve the synchronization of autoexposure, auto whitebalance calculation and autofocus, resulting in the perfection we see today in the P20 devices. Even in 5x zoom, the P20 series can still reproduce the true colors of objects, as well as accurately present the finest details in a photo. Living in an era where we want to capture real-time

moments, we always aim to capture every moment we deem worth capturing without it being blurry and unfocused. Thanks to Huawei’s instant shutter, the P20 Series has minimal shutter lag, letting you capture exactly what you see. Let us examine what makes it significant. They say that the reason behind unfocused shots are slow autofocus and poor tracking, among them. Fortunately, the P20 Series now have a choice: the 4D predictive focus. True to its name, the 4D predictive focus means that the objects’ motions can be tracked accurately and quickly and can detect objects up to 3 meters away. Also, the P20 Series apply the brand-new technology named AIS (AI Image Stabilization) in the night scene mode, allowing users to shoot superb night shots by carrying out continuous exposure for up to six seconds in a handheld manner. It uses AI technology to analyze, sort out features from each image, recognize shapes and edges of objects and, at the end, automatically captures images with a foursecond exposure time. With AI algorithms, Master AI filters and corrects handshakes that cause tilted or blurry images, builds superimposed images and balances each element of photography to obtain a perfect night shot. With the P20 Series (www.facbook.com/Huawei MobilePH), Huawei has finally stepped ahead of its competitors. Not only does it have an incredible camera, but the phone is also beautifully designed and comes with tons of amazing features.


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Vatican reminds cloistered nuns not to tweet too much VATICAN CITY—The Vatican has issued new guidelines for cloistered nuns, reminding them that they’re supposed to live separated from the world and in silence—and therefore shouldn’t be tweeting too much or downloading too much news. The instructions from the Vatican’s office for religious orders cover a host of administrative and financial issues. Included are norms for when a monastery must be closed because the number of nuns shrinks to the point that the community is no longer viable—an increasingly frequent occurrence. The document released on Tuesday also reminds contemplative nuns that theirs is a silent vocation. It says social communication must be used “with sobriety and discretion, not only with regard to the contents but also to the quantity of information and the type.” AP

Facebook: We’re better at policing nudity than hate speech

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BY MICHAEL LIEDTKE The Associated Press

AN FRANCISCO—Getting rid of racist, sexist and other hateful remarks on Facebook is more challenging than weeding out other types of unacceptable posts because computer programs still stumble over the nuances of human language, the company revealed on Tuesday. Facebook also released statistics that quantified how pervasive fake accounts have become on its influential service, despite a long-standing policy requiring people to set up accounts under their reallife identities. From October to December alone, Facebook disabled nearly 1.3 billion accounts—and that doesn’t even count all the times the company blocked bogus profiles before they could be set up. Had the company not shut down all those fake accounts, its audience of monthly users would have swelled beyond its current 2.2 billion and probably created more potentially offensive material for Facebook to weed out. Facebook’s self-assessment showed its screening system is far better at scrubbing graphic violence, gratuitous nudity and terrorist propaganda. Automated tools detected 86 percent to 99.5 percent of the violations Facebook identified in those categories. For hate speech, Facebook’s human reviewers and computer algorithms identified just 38 percent of the violations. The rest came after Facebook users flagged the offending content for review. All told, Facebook took action on nearly 1.6 billion pieces of content during the six months ending in March, a tiny fraction of all the activity on its social

network, according to the company. The report marked Facebook’s first breakdown on how much material it removes for violating its policies. It didn’t disclose how long it takes Facebook to remove material violating its standards. The report also doesn’t cover how much inappropriate content Facebook missed. “Even if they remove 100 million posts that are offensive, there will be one or two that have some really bad stuff and those will be the ones everyone winds up talking about on the cable-TV news,” said Timothy Carone, who teaches about technology at the University of Notre Dame. Instead of trying to determine how much offending material it didn’t catch, Facebook provided an estimate on how frequently it believes users saw posts that violated its standards, including content that its screening system didn’t detect. For instance, the company estimated that for every 10,000 times that people looked at content on its social network, 22 to 27 of the views may have included posts that included impermissible graphic violence. The report also doesn’t address how Facebook is tacking another vexing issue—the proliferation of fake news stories planted by Russian agents and other fabricators trying to sway elections and public opinion. Fake accounts on Facebook have been drawing more attention because Russian agents used them to buy ads to try to influence the 2016 election in the United States. Even though it has been focusing on shutting down bogus accounts, Facebook has said that 3 percent to 4 percent of its active monthly users are fake. That means as many as 88 million fake Facebook

accounts were still slipping through the cracks in the company’s policing system through March. It’s not surprising that Facebook’s automated programs have the greatest difficulty trying to figure out differences between permissible opinions and despicable language that crosses the line, Carone said. “It’s like trying to figure out the equivalent between screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater when there is none and the equivalent of saying something that is uncomfortable but qualifies as free speech,” he said. Facebook said it removed 2.5 million pieces of content deemed unacceptable hate speech during the first three months of this year, up from 1.6 million during the previous quarter. The company credited better detection, even as it said computer programs have trouble understanding context and tone of language. Facebook took down 3.4 million pieces of graphic violence during the first three months of this year, nearly triple the 1.2 million during the previous three months. In this case, better detection was only part of the reason. Facebook said users were more aggressively posting images of violence in places like war-torn Syria. The increased transparency comes as the Menlo Park, California, company tries to make amends for a privacy scandal triggered by loose policies that allowed a data-mining company with ties to President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign to harvest personal information on as many as 87 million users. The content screening has nothing to do with privacy protection, though, and is aimed at maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere for users and advertisers. ■

Cardo Dalisay vs YouTube CONTINUED FROM A12 prepaid subscribers free access to YouTube and soon to other online video services until July 15. These subscribers can watch YouTube for one hour for free daily by simply registering to load packages like GigaSurf99, AllOutSurf99, GigaSurf 50, AllOutSurf 30, Panalo Data 30, Panalo Combo 30, Super Combo 20 and Big Time Data 70. They can enjoy this special offer for the duration of the packages that they buy. Oscar A. Reyes Jr., SVP of Consumer Business Market Development for PLDT and Smart, said that through the path-breaking partnership, they hope to encourage more Filipinos to pursue their passions like music and entertainment, and learn a wide range of skills, hobbies, educational material, news and information through the massive library of video material of YouTube. He added that this special promo will soon be available to postpaid subscribers, as well. “We are proud to partner with YouTube to bring the service closer to our customers. This is just the start of a fruitful partnership, and we’re working on a lot of other exciting initiatives that

will enhance the digital lifestyle of Filipinos,” Reyes said. Aside from YouTube, another video service is also set to be part of the offer. Access to Smart360 (360. smart.com.ph), a Web portal where Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers can access various digital content like live TV, movies, series, music and games, will soon be free for a limited time. Other video content providers are also eligible to be included in the offer, subject to mutually agreed terms with Smart. Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers are now better able to enjoy video-streaming services like YouTube as a result of Smart’s massive network investments over the past several years, which have enabled the wireless communications carrier to provide highspeed mobile data services via its expanded LTE and 3G networks throughout the country. Smart is accelerating the deployment of LTEAdvanced (LTE-A) and carrier aggregation technology to more areas this year. Carrier Aggregation, a feature of LTE-A, enables the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and much-faster data speeds, which are crucial in providing the best video-streaming experience to mobile phone users. ■

FIRST Vice President and Head of Consumer Business Market Development at PLDT and Smart Oscar A. Reyes (left) with Google Philippines Country Manager Ken Lingan

Take it super slow RESPONDING to the way people communicate and express themselves, tech giant Samsung’s Galaxy S9/ S9+ flagship series packs a revolutionary camera— touted by the company as their most advanced yet— with amazing features that reimagines the way we experience the world. The most awesome moments in life often happen in a blink of an eye. That nail-biting photo finish between two racers, the spontaneous laugh of cute babies, or fireworks blooming in the pitch-black sky— they all occur before we even get to relish them. With the Galaxy S9/S9+’s Super Slow-mo feature, you can capture the extraordinary like never before. The smartphone’s dual aperture camera creates vivid and crisp images and videos even in low light. It also has motion detection capabilities so you won’t miss out on all the lightning-quick and dynamic action. “Imagine the possibilities. You can stretch moments with your family to see all of the details. You can instantly make awesome videos to share with your friends. You can add scale and drama to almost anything,” says Chad Sotelo, marketing director of Samsung Electronics Philippines Corp. Outsmarting the human eye, this feature allows you to record up to 960 frames per second (fps). That’s four times slower than your normal slow-motion (240 fps) and 32 times better than a normal video. In terms of time, what happens in just 0.2 seconds gets stretched out into approximately 6 seconds of reel time. The best part? Once the Galaxy S9/S9+ is set up, a sensor can automatically detect motion within the camera’s field of vision, prompting the phone to start recording. Events that happen in a heartbeat play out in crisp, vivid detail for everyone to see. The Galaxy S9/S9+ allows users to customize the whole video process, from recording and editing, to the finishing touches. You can do one slow-mo capture, or multiple portions (up to 20) for a longer video. You can also add sounds from 35 preset background music options, or from your personal playlist. The fun does not stop here. You can save or share your masterpiece as a GIF file from three choices: video loop, reverse video or swing-type. You can also save your epic slow-mo video as your home or lock screen. Capture your super slow-mo videos with the help of the Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+, which comes in Midnight Black, Coral Blue and the new Lilac Purple color variant.


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YOUTUBE FanFest brought together 14 creators to headline this year’s biggest event for digital stars. The show, which started in 2015, invites fans to see their Internet heroes beyond their channels, to meet-and-greet sessions and a live show performance. This year YouTube FanFest welcomed onstage (seated, from left) gamer and cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao, dance talents Ranz Kyle, AC Bonifacio, Niana Guerrero and Matt Steffanina; Fil-Canadian comedian Mikey Bustos, top travel vlogger Wil Dasovich (standing, from left), music artists Sungha Jung and Reneé Dominique, dance powerhouse D-trix, charming vloggers Janina Vela and Merrell Twins (Vanessa and Veronica), makeup guru Michelle Dy and young comic Pamela Swing.

Cardo Dalisay vs YouTube

Or how the sensational video-sharing platform became a breeding ground for new stars THE TECHNIVORE ED UY

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PRIL 23, 2005. A young man stands in front of some elephants at the San Diego Zoo and starts to ramble self-consciously into the camera; “Uhm, the whole thing about these guys is they have really, really, really long trunks...And that’s pretty much all there is to say.” The 18-second video was titled “Me at the zoo,” and it would go down in history as the very first video to be uploaded on what would eventually be the world changing-phenomenon called YouTube. The young man on the video was YouTube cofounder Jawed Karim, who, along with cofounders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, saw the need for a service that allowed people to share personal videos easily. Who would have thought that need would fuel a demand and eventually evolve into a craving and an obsession for the millennial generation? According to social-media monitoring web site Brandwatch.com, YouTube is now the world’s secondlargest search engine and third most-visited site after Google and Facebook. With 400 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, people spend over 1 billion hours watching YouTube videos a day—more than Netflix and Facebook video combined. The platform has launched in over 88 countries and is available in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95 percent of the Internet population). More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices with an average 1,000,000,000 mobile video views per day. From its mumbling beginnings just 13 years ago, YouTube has not only fundamentally changed how we work, rest and play—and it also gave way to a new breed of celebrities. Video might have killed the radio star, but YouTube

has certainly given lots of people a chance to pursue their dreams of stardom. Over the years, YouTube users, commonly referred to as “YouTubers,” have turned their videos into their careers and this has had an outstanding impact on the state of the entertainment industry. Television may still be more prestigious than the Internet, but there is no doubt that YouTube is the new TV and since 2005, the platform has become the de facto launchpad for the next generation of celebrities where creativity rules over connections. From singers, dancers, comedians, gamers and all kinds of vloggers, YouTubers have generally built their followings outside of the control of big media corporations—and there is power and independence in having a huge fan base. And because of this, YouTubers have forced the rest of the media industry to view them as legitimate content creators and entertainers, recognizing their popularity and acknowledging them in mainstream entertainment. Names like PewDiePie (Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg), DanTDM (Dan Middleton), Benny and Rafi Fine, KSI (Olajide Olatunji), Jenna Marbles, Markiplier (Mark Fischbach), NigaHiga (Ryan Higa), Yuya, Vegetta777 (Samuel de Luque), VanossGaming (Evan Fong), Smosh (Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla), Dude Perfect, Canal KondZilla (Konrad Dantas), Whinderssonnunes (Whindersson Nunes), ElRubiusOMG (Rubén Doblas Gundersen), HolaSoyGerman (Germán Garmendia), etc., have become so popular, amassing millions of subscribers in their respective channels and earning just as much as some Hollywood celebrities via YouTube’s ad-revenue sharing partner program and even more lucrative endorsement deals. So while your grandma (or moms) are still glued to the TV screen watching the 670+ episode of the invincible Cardo Dalisay every night, the younger members of your family are probably on their favorite YouTube channels watching trending videos, tutorials or some funny cat video shared by other friends who have also ditched the remote control in favor of their mobile phones.

YOUTUBE FANFEST IN the Philippines there are now over 230 local channels that reach 100K subscribers, and more than

15 channels on YouTube with more than a million subscribers—a big jump from just 70 channels with 100K subscribers, and eight channels with 1 million+ subscribers announced last year. So it was no surprise that Filipino fans again trooped to the World Trade Center, Pasay City, to see 14 of their favorite YouTube creators live at the YouTube FanFest (YTFF). The show, which invites established and emerging YouTube stars and their fans from the Philippines and around the world, drew in crowds for a night filled with music, dance and lots of fun. Now on its fourth year, YouTube FanFest also raised anticipation for the country’s biggest talents, with 10 homegrown YouTube creators headlining the electrifying grand show. Local sensations Janina Vela, Mikey Bustos, Ranz Kyle and Niana Guerrero, Wil Dasovich, Alodia Gosiengfiao, Michelle Dy, Pamela Swing, AC Bonifacio and Renee Dominique joined four international creators (Matt Steffanina, Sungha Jung, the Merrell Twins and D-trix) for epic performances that kept the audience on their feet. Chris Schremp, YouTube’s Director of Global Creator and Artist Development, said they love coming to the Philippines because of the fans’ energy and enthusiasm, and to see international creators and homegrown Filipino talents shine onstage. Unlike regular concerts, there were daytime activities, a pregame show, and several meet-andgreet sessions that kept the audience pumped up as the festival culminated in one epic performance one after another.

DIGITAL ADS AWARDS A DAY before the fans met their fave YouTube creators, the finest digital stories from the marketing and advertising front received recognition at the first YouTube Ads Awards, held on May 10 at the BGC Arts Center. Top brands received recognition from industry captains, seasoned creatives, and decorated storytellers for their outstanding work on the platform. Held for the first time in the Philippines, the YouTube Ads Awards celebrates the growth of brand stories in the country. Among the forerunners that

made the event possible include adobo Magazine and the members of this year’s panel: MullenLowe Philippines President and Chief Creative Officer Leigh Reyes, Digital Measurement Board of the Philippines Cochairman and Unilever Philippines Head of Media Dennis Perez, Cebu Pacific Air Vice President for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog, McCann Worldgroup Philippines Executive Creative Director Joe Dy, television host and three-time recipient of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature Lourd de Veyra, and singer, performer and one of the Philippines’s top YouTube creators Mikey Bustos. Early last year YouTube Ads Awards sounded the call for entries for digital ads that offered high-quality content, poignant and uplifting stories, and fresh advertising executions. Entries were then weighed by a judges’ panel based on their content, effectiveness, engagement and business impact. “Filipino creativity and imagination is on full display with tonight’s awardees. We’ve seen how digital advertising, in its many narratives and formats, can deeply engage audiences and give them a truly satisfying experience on platforms like YouTube,” Google Philippines Country Marketing Manager Gabby Roxas said. McDonald’s “Wait Lang Po” came out as the night’s biggest winner, after being named the YouTube Ads Awards “Ad of the Year.” The video also won two top category awards, or “Crystals,” for Food and Beverage and Storytelling for Occasions. Two other Crystals went to Unilab’s “Son,” a moving depiction of a mom’s sacrifices; and, Globe’s “Kaleidoscope,” a mini-series on modern-day artists. Apart from these, YouTube Ads Awards presented six Second Prizes and 20 Third prizes. Globe and Jollibee brought home the most number of winnings, with five awards each. The awards concluded with 31 prizes bestowed to the best digital ads on the platform, and some entries winning multiple prizes across its 17 categories.

FREE YOUTUBE EVERY DAY BECAUSE of the popularity of YouTube in the country, Smart Communications is giving Smart, TNT and Sun

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Businessmirror may 19, 2018  
Businessmirror may 19, 2018  
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