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VOL. 2 NO. 104

FEBRUARY 28, 2014






Escudero: Cunanan bolsters pork case

Santiago vows to lead fight against online libel

Solons got P5B during Corona impeachment trial

Filipino-Canadian in Focus: Alberto Rodil

Hot & cold

Chinese ships fire water cannon at PH fishers Military suggests probe before lodging protest BY NIKKO DIZON Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE REVOLUTION HAPPENED HERE. A worker puts small Philippine flags in the hands of statues representing the Filipino people in the People

Power Monument on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Quezon City for the 28th anniversary of the Edsa Revolution. PHOTO BY MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Aquino rallies Filipinos to face nature challenge


BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA AND NICO ALCONABA Philippine Daily Inquirer PRESIDENT AQUINO on Monday rallied Filipinos behind what he called a new kind of solidarity, not unlike the one they exhibited in toppling the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship 28 years ago.

“Today, the challenge is different. It’s the challenge coming from nature, not men,” the President told a crowd of about 1,000 in Cateel, a town in Davao Oriental province that was hit by Typhoon Pablo 14 months ago in a destructive sweep that left 1,000 people dead in Northern Mindanao.

Pagcor asked to remit P6B in missing dividends ❱❱ PAGE 4

❱❱ PAGE 7 Aquino rallies

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on Monday accused China’s Coast Guard of firing water cannon at Filipino fishermen last month to drive them away from a disputed shoal in the West Philippine Sea. Bautista said Chinese vessels fired water cannon on Jan. 27 near Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), a rich fishing ground off Zambales province in the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone. “The Chinese Coast Guard tried to ❱❱ PAGE 10 Chinese ships

FEBRUARY 28, 2014



no term contracts

Philippine News


TRC handled P. 6-B pork Cunanan says he got no kickbacks BY NANCY C. CARVAJAL Philippine Daily Inquirer AT LEAST P600 million from the pork barrel allocations of various legislators passed through the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (now known as Technology Resource Center, or TRC) when Dennis Cunanan was the deputy head of the agency. Cunanan, 42, who is on leave as director general of the TRC and a provisional state witness in the investigation of the P10billion pork barrel scam, told the INQUIRER that the funds were funneled to the TRC by Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. from their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations from 2007 to early 2009. He said the TRC was used as an implementing agency for PDAF-funded phantom projects proposed by dummy aid organizations set up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the pork barrel scam. “My estimate of the funds that went through the center could be around P600 million for Napoles and non-Napoles (nongovernment organizations),” Cunanan said. Cunanan was interviewed by the INQUIRER in a coffee shop along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) before he was received into the Witness Protection Program following the announcement of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima of his acceptance as provisional state witness in the investigation of the pork barrel scam. Luy’s record: P539M

According to the records submitted by principal witness Benhur Luy, the TRC received P539 million from lawmakers from 2007 to early 2009. The records showed that Napoles’ last transaction with the TRC involved a project funded by the PDAF allocation

of Enrile. Luy said P25 million in project funding covered by special allocation release order (Saro) 09-00847, dated Feb. 12, 2009, was given to Agrikultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation headed by Jocelyn Piorato. One of the respondents in the pork barrel scam case, Piorato is a niece of Evelyn de Leon, who was identified by Cunanan as the bagman of Napoles in the TRC. The financing was supposedly for livelihood projects in Rosales and Umingan towns in Pangasinan province; San Agustin town in Surigao del Sur province; San Juan town in La Union province, and San Luis town in Agusan del Sur province. Luy’s records also showed that Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) head Joel Villanueva funneled P4.3 million to Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka, a bogus aid organization formed by Napoles and headed by Marina Sula, now a state witness in the pork barrel scam investigation. The release of the fund was covered by Saro 007 08703, dated Nov. 9, 2007.

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Management fee

Cunanan said the TRC retained 5 percent of funds that passed through the agency as management fee. He said that apart from the 30-page sworn statement that he submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, he also submitted “voluminous” documents that would show the legislators had knowledge of the use of the bogus aid groups of Napoles in the expenditure of their PDAF allocations. The documents would corroborate the testimonies of the whistle-blowers, Cunanan said. Among the documents, he said, were letters of endorsement from the lawmakers designating Napoles’ dummy aid groups as recipients of their PDAF funds, memorandums of agreement,

Cunanan said he immediately filed for an indefinite leave after he was implicated in the pork barrel scam last year. PHOTO FROM PH.NEWS.YAHOO.COM

and other internal communication showing that the lawmakers cooperated with Napoles. Cunanan said he was still on indefinite leave from the TRC, but he planned to go back to work soon. “I will be back around March after a seminar abroad,” he said. Setting good example

Cunanan said he immediately filed for an indefinite leave after he was implicated in the pork barrel scam last year. “It was the dictate of delicadeza (decency) that drove me to go on leave and to make a good example to my coworkers in the government,” Cunanan said. He said he personally talked to legislators and their designated representatives about Napoles’ dummy aid groups as recipients of their pork barrel funds, but had no knowledge of kickbacks for them. Cunanan said he talked to Estrada, Revilla and Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s chief of staff, as part of the verification process of the TRC. Asked why he had to talk to the lawmakers, Cunanan replied, “It’s my personal protocol to talk to the lawmakers, to show respect for their position.” How much kickbacks did the legislators get? “I would not know how much kickbacks they received, but the pressure

they exerted on us to expedite release of funds to their personally designated organizations was very glaring,” he said. Christmas rush

He said that once Revilla ordered him to expedite the release of a check for a Napoles aid organization although it was two days before Christmas. “It was Dec. 23 and we did not do anything else and my staff had to work overtime because of the pressure from Revilla to release the money for the Napoles NGO before the Christmas break,” he said. “We had no choice. He is a senator. We had to do his bidding,” he added. Cunanan denied he made a deal with the Department of Justice (DOJ) so he could be taken in as a state witness. “I made no deal with the DOJ or with anyone because I believe I have strong evidence that could eventually lead to my being discharged from the case. But why should I wait long for the truth to come out when it can come out now if I offer to cooperate?” he said. Cunanan said no one pressured him to turn state witness. “I was among the first who wanted to come out and tell the truth when this broke out, but a process should be followed and I respect that,” he said. He said he knew the ultimate decision ❱❱ PAGE 14 TRC handled

Philippine News

FEBRUARY 28, 2014


Pagcor asked to remit P6B in missing dividends BY MICHELLE V. REMO Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES— State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) is being asked to remit to the Bureau of the Treasury P5.8 billion in dividends that it didn’t pay during the time of President Gloria MacapagalArroyo. The amount covered the period 2005 to 2010. Pagcor chair Cristino Naguiat Jr. said in a press briefing on Monday that the gaming firm was amenable to paying any liabilities. But Pagcor will have to first determine whether the amount is accurate, he said. “I’m not sure if we [Pagcor] can pay it in full in one tranche. Perhaps, we can settle it within two to three years,” Naguiat said. He said Pagcor may have failed to remit dividends annually to the Bureau of the Treasury in the few years before the Aquino administration. “I was not yet the head of Pagcor during that time. I will ask

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which operates its own casinos and regulates privately owned ones, earned P3 billion in net income last year. PHOTO FROM SKYSCRAPERCITY.COM

our accounting department to reconcile figures [with the Department of Finance],” he said. Government-owned and -controlled corporations are required by law to remit at least half of their income to the national government as divi-

dends. Pagcor, which operates its own casinos and regulates privately owned ones, earned P3 billion in net income last year, up from P2.8 billion in 2012, Naguiat said. At least half of last year’s

net income will be remitted as dividends while the rest can be used to partly settle the unpaid liabilities for 2005 to 2010, he said. Naguiat said Pagcor was confident it could remit its entire P3-billion net income to the

state coffers and afford not to have retained earnings. This is on account of a favorable outlook on the gaming industry. Investment bank Credit Suisse earlier published a report that projected the Philippine gaming industry surpassing that of Singapore by 2018. Credit Suisse expected Philippine gaming industry revenue to post an annual compounded growth rate of 28 percent up to 2018. Naguiat said the performance of the gaming industry was significantly influenced by the overall economy. The positive outlook on the Philippine economy supports projections that the gaming industry’s revenue would grow substantially over the medium term. The Philippine economy is projected to grow between 6.5 and 7.5 percent this year, and by at least 7 percent in the next few years, according to the government. At such growth rates, the Philippines is expected to remain one of Asia’s fastestgrowing economies. ■

Philippine News


NFA rice import P370M for 4 senators for losses to hit P1.4B, ‘stimulus’–Palace No explanation why they got money ahead of others say solons BY GIL C. CABACUNGAN Philippine Daily Inquirer MILITANT LAWMAKERS said the National Food Authority’s losses from the importation of millions of tons of overpriced rice from Vietnam since last year would hit P1.42 billion. Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said in a statement the NFA’s recent purchase of one million metric tons of rice from Vietnam for the country’s buffer stock for the third quarter this year was overpriced by P899 million. Colmenares said the NFA had already lost P521 million from last year’s overpriced purchase of 500,000 MT of Vietnam rice for buffer requirements in the first quarter this year. Colmenares cited the US Department of Agriculture’s Grains Report which showed that the prevailing market price of rice was only $377.86 per MT from Nov. 16 to 22 last year compared to the NFA’s purchase from Vietnam at $462.25 per MT during the same period. Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate warned the overpriced rice would lead to higher prices later this year. Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap said the NFA imports would “flood the local market and compete with the rice produced by our farmers because (the rice imports) would arrive during the harvest season from April to May.” Colmenares said Congress should investigate the NFA’s buying decisions to determine whether the agency was act-

ing in the best interest of the people. “I think that itwould be more prudent to hold the importation of the one million MT of rice until all has been done to ensure that the Filipino people are not being duped,” said Colmenares. But an agriculture industry alliance, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), defended the Department of Agriculture’s policy of keeping the NFA as the sole importer of rice amid warnings the Philippines could face sanctions for continuing to impose quantitative restrictions on rice. Sinag chair Rosendo So said in a statement the Philippines had 22 pending dispute cases with other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and adding one more infraction— keeping its rice market closed to foreign players to protect local players—would push it closer to being penalized by the global trading body. “If we follow the assumptions of so-called trade experts, there would have been global trade chaos given the number of cases filed by WTO-member complainants against each other. More than the Philippines, trade sanctions and penalties should have long been imposed on the US and EU since both of them—including our major trading partners—have hundreds of dispute cases between them,” So said. “Trade sanctions are never imposed at the first instance. Under WTO rules, the losing defendant should instead bring its domestic policy in line with the ruling,” So said. ■


BY MICHAEL LIM UBAC Philippine Daily Inquirer THE P370 million that went to Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vicente Sotto III and Ramon Revilla Jr. inMarch 2012, at the height of the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, was part of a stimulus fund of the Aquino administration, Malacañang said. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirmed that the amount came from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)—a little-known impounding mechanism for government savings that came to light in September last year after Estrada said each senator who voted to convict Corona had received P50 million in additional pork barrel funds as “incentive.” Lacierda, however, did not offer any cogent explanation for why the four senators were given DAP funds in March 2012 ahead of their colleagues, who started receiving DAP funds only in late August. “I think most of them—they were asked also if they have any (project). If I recall, they were asked if there were projects,” Lacierda said. He said he would examine the documents and could not say if the four senators were just the “early birds.” The constitutionality of the DAP, specifically the juggling of funds from one department to another from the program described as President Aquino’s pork barrel, has been questioned in the Supreme Court following Estrada’s revelations in a privilege speech. Estrada went on the offensive after being named, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., in a complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with an alleged P10-billion racket involving the diversion of the lawmakers’ allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects and kickbacks. Secretary Florencio Abad of the Department of Budget and

Former Chief Justice Renato Corona. PHOTO FROM EGYOLK.COM

Management (DBM) later confirmed what the senators got— as revealed by Estrada—came from the DAP but denied the additional funding was a “bribe.” Termination of DAP

During hearings in the high tribunal last month, Abad and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza announced that the DAP had achieved its objective of stimulating the economy and had been terminated, a point repeated by Lacierda yesterday in a news briefing. Abad and President Aquino introduced the DAP in 2011 primarily to “ramp up spending and help accelerate economic expansion.” Since 2012, the DAP has been used, according to Abad, as a source of additional funding for the senators’ development projects on top of their annual P200 million PDAF allocation. Following revelations that the legislative pork barrel funds had been coursed through dubious nongovernment organizations controlled by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the Supreme Court declared the PDAF unconstitutional. The high court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the DAP after the contending parties submit their memos summing up their respective positions. List

Abad on Sept. 28, 2013, released a list of senators who were granted additional funds taken from the DAP “in the interest of transparency” following the Estrada bombshell. It showed that the senators began receiving DAP funds the fol-

lowing month, in August, not March, as the INQUIRER said in a report yesterday. “To suggest that these funds were used as ‘bribes’ (in the impeachment trial) is inaccurate at best and irresponsible at worst,” Abad then said. Implementing agency probed

A ledger submitted by a whistleblower in the PDAF scam to the Department of Justice showed that the DAP releases of the four senators were coursed through the stateowned National Livelihood Development Corp., whose head, Gondolina Amata, is among those under investigation in the P10-billion pork barrel scam. In a text message, Abad clarified that the Saros (special allotment release orders) for the DAP funds were issued in October 2011, or about eight months before Corona’s conviction. The notice of cash allocations (NCA) were released in March 2012, he said. He said NCAs, like the Saros, were never released to legislators but to implementing agencies “to pay for work done or goods delivered.” P1.107B from DAP

Following Estrada’s disclosure in September last year that senators who voted for Corona’s conviction subsequently received at least P50 million in additional funding for their pet projects, Abad confirmed that P1.107 billion from the DAP went to the senators in 2012. Abad said the funds were released after the conviction of Corona for dishonesty in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. ■

Philippine News

FEBRUARY 28, 2014


DBM says ‘realignment’ of DAP call of 4 senators BY MICHAEL LIM UBAC AND GIL C. CABACUNGAN Philippine Daily Inquirer IT MAY have released P370 million from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr., Vicente Sotto III and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. between December 2011 and March 2012, but the “realignment” of the funds to Janet Lim-Napoles’ bogus non-government organizations was entirely the four senators’ doing, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said. The DBM was also adamant in claiming that the four senators were not “early birds” in receiving DAP funds for their pet projects to dispel the notion that the funds were given to induce the senators to vote to convict then Chief Justice Renato Corona, stressing that the funds were released only after Corona was found guilty by the Senate impeachment court.

In a statement released yesterday by its public information unit, the DBM said the P370 million was first released to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in December 2011, the same month that the House of Representatives impeached Corona in one day. However, according to the DBM, the four senators then requested that the funds be realigned to the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) which released the funds to the chosen foundations of the four in March 2012, in the middle of the Corona impeachment trial which ran from January to May 2012. “After the releases were made to DAR, however, the four senators requested the realignment of these funds to a different implementing agency, the National Livelihood Development Corp.,” the DBM said. “The four senators essentially asked us to change the implementing agency from DAR to NLDC. In their requests, Senators Marcos, Estrada, Sotto and

Revilla changed their nominated projects to programs for displaced or marginal families, for which NLDC was specified by the senators’ offices as the implementing arm,” the DBM said. It thus withdrew the earlier special release allotment order (Saro) for the DAR and issued these instead to the NLDC in March 2012, “exactly as the senators requested,” the DBM said. The state-owned NLDC has emerged as the implementing agency of choice for dubious projects proposed to be funded from senators’ and representatives’ pork barrel and DAP funds. According to affidavits and documents submitted by the whistle-blowers in the P10billion pork barrel scam, the NLDC was the main conduit used for billions of pesos of legislators’ pork barrel funds that ended up in seven fake Napoles-controlled NGOs carrying out nonexistent projects. The NLDC, which is man-

aged by the Land Bank of the Philippines, is the main lending agency for poor farmers in unserved, sparsely populated areas of the country. The P370 million is part of the P475 million in funds that the DBM gave the DAR as lump sum allocations for six senators, to bankroll livelihood projects of local government units, which the INQUIRER reported on Sept. 20, 2013. Malacañang confirmed that the P370 million that went to the four senators came from DAP—a little-known impounding mechanism for supposed government savings that came to light last September after Estrada said each senator who voted to convict Corona had received P50 million to P100 million in additional pork barrel funds as “incentive.” Aside from Estrada, Sotto, Revilla and Marcos, the other recipients of the aborted DAR funds were Senators Juan Ponce Enrile (P55 million) and Loren Legarda (P50 million). The INQUIRER has not yet ver-

ified where the funds of Enrile and Legarda went. According to the DBM, the release of funds from the DAP for projects endorsed by the four senators was in response to fund requests from the senators’ offices in November 2011, a month after DAP was launched as a so-called “stimulus fund” that October. In its statement, the DBM insisted that there were no “early birds” in the release of the DAP funds, claiming that several releases charged against DAP for various projects and programs were made from October to December 2011. The releases for projects nominated by Marcos, Estrada, Sotto and Revilla were first made in December 2011, after their offices had submitted the proper requirements, it said. “The fund releases for the projects backed by the four senators were originally made to DAR to support beneficiaries under the agency’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program,” said the DBM. ■

Philippine News


Miriam seeks probe of imported garbage BY TJ BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer

President Benigno S. Aquino III is greeted by students of Loon in Bohol as he arrives for the inspection of a newly reconstructed hospital in the area. The President is expected to visit rehabilitation projects in Leyte and Samar. PHOTO BY GIL NAREA/MALACANANG PHOTO BUREAU

Aquino rallies... Cateel was the first stop in the President’s tour of areas devastated by major natural disasters under his watch, his way of commemorating the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, which installed his late mother, former President Corazon Aquino. The President is set to lead anniversary rites in Cebu Tuesday morning, away from Edsa, the historic avenue that drew about a million Filipinos during the four-day uprising 28 years ago. Aquino said the government had done a lot to help the typhoon victims get back on their feet. He said housing units had been provided families whose homes were either damaged or destroyed by Pablo. The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it had built 1,038 shelters in the province, 520 in this town, although the President said only 110 permanent housing units had been completed in Cateel. Many in the crowd complained they had not received any help from the government since Pablo (international name: Bopha) hit the province in December 2012. Nectarina Tinoy, a resident of Barangay (village) San Alfonso, was one of them. Tinoy and her four children have been living in a tent-patched house, rebuilt a second time after flooding caused by a low pressure area destroyed it last month. “I have not received anything, not even GI sheets,” she told the Inquirer. Nelia Betana, another Cateel resident, said, “My house was destroyed by Pablo, yet until now I still have not received housing assistance from the ❰❰ 1

government.” In his speech, the President said construction was ongoing in relocation sites. He said the target was to provide 17,480 families of typhoon victims in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley province. He said the government planned to complete the construction of 1,179 shelter units in Cateel alone by August, to coincide with the death anniversary of his father, former Sen. Benigno Aquino. “What we want is to ensure that the structures that we will build are safer, more stable and with better condition,” he said. ‘Pablo chili’

Aquino also cited the Department of Agriculture’s move to help farmers plant chili, dry it and sell it as “hot Pablo chili.” Some farmers, however, said the price of chili had gone down from P50 to P35 as there were fewer buyers. He said he opted to go around disaster areas “because we believe that in every fall and rise, in every initiative ensuring that no one will be left behind in our journey toward the straight path, we are living the real spirit of people power.” “Truth be told, it was the right decision for me to go around and see what it really means for the Filipinos helping each other,” he said. In what was supposed to be a “town hall” meeting with Cateel victims, the President was instead treated to profuse praises coming from handpicked residents asked to deliver testimonials on how supposedly effective rehabilitation efforts had been. Amid all the good news pa-

raded during the “pulong bayan,” 24 of the 42 barangays in three municipalities were still without power—a situation that irked the President The President said he had been asking why electricity had not been restored in the region and said he wanted a response before he left the town. “They know I rarely lose my patience, but I hope they wouldn’t try to find out how far I would go.” Show to the world

Before the President’s speech, Gov. Corazon Malanyaon appealed to the National Electrification Administration and the Department of Energy to grant the fund request of the province’s local energy provider. Malanyaon said the amount would “complete the restoration of energy in all the barangays of the three municipalities and the conversion of the single phase line into the three phase line in selected areas.” “Adequate power supply is very much needed in our rehabilitation activities and in developing industries in these areas,” she said in a separate speech. Aquino said he was “surprised” there were still areas without power. Still, the President maintained that things were getting back to normal in Davao Oriental. “What we see now is far different from the situation we saw after Typhoon Pablo struck. Because of its strength, some communities were almost wiped off the map,” he said. “Like what he exhibited in 1986, we’re again showing the world the extraordinary care that a Filipino gives to his fellow Filipino.” ■

SEN. MIRIAM Defensor-Santiago is seeking an inquiry into the importation of waste materials from Canada which were misdeclared as scrap plastic materials. Personnel of the Bureau of Customs intercepted some 50 containers loaded with tons of waste materials at the Port of Manila. “It is imperative for the legislature to increase tariff and penalties, and create stricter guidelines in order to prevent this incident from recurring,” Santiago said in Resolution No. 509. The junk could have posed “biohazard risks” to Filipinos, Customs officials said. Both the Philippines and Canada are signatories to the Basel Convention, which provides that the exporting country must take back the waste materials if the receiving country refuses to accept them. ‘Heterogeneous’ plastic

The containers from the Ontario-based Chronic Inc. were declared to be containing scrap plastic materials for recycling. They arrived in six batches from June to August 2013 at the Manila International Container Port. But during a spot check in late January, Customs police found that these contained used mixed and unsorted or “heterogeneous” plastic materials, including household garbage and used adult diapers,

and not recyclable plastic scrap materials. Santiago, chair of the foreign relations committee, said the Senate should look into the possibility of the country becoming a dumping ground of waste materials from other countries following the seizure of such cargo from Canada. “There is a need for the Philippines to increase the penalty for Filipino entrepreneurs who improperly declare goods to the detriment of the Filipino people and the Philippine environment,” she added. She said that Chronic Plastics which is based in Valenzuela City could be held liable for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code and Republic Act No. 6969. Customs Commissioner John Sevilla has filed a complaint in the Department of Justice against the Filipino importer, Adelfa Eduardo of Chronic Plastics, and the company’s licensed customs brokers, Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon. The three were charged with a number of offenses, including violations of the Tariff and Customs Code, and the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 or RA 6969 which bans the importation of hazardous waste. Pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition welcomed the prompt filing of illegal smuggling charges against those behind the importation. ■ With a report by DJ Yap

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. PHOTO FROM INDAYVARONA.COM

Philippine News


E-mail of skater’s mom seeking help ended up as spam? BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer

“The possibility offered was that it went to the spam [folder].” Junk mailbox

AN E-MAIL seeking financial assistance for Michael Christian Martinez, the country’s first athlete in the Winter Olympics’ figure skating competition, might have ended up in Malacañang’s virtual trash bin or spam folder. At least, that’s the reason offered by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, whose Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) handles the e-mail address, Coloma claimed his office did not receive the e-mail sent to that address by the mother of Martinez, who drew praises for his inspiring story and strong finish at the XXII OlympicWinter Games being held in Sochi, Russia. In a newspaper report, Martinez’s mother, Maria Teresa, sought assistance in the e-mail on how President Aquino could be told about her 17-year-old son’s upcoming stint at the Olympics. The same message was purportedly sent to “three other officials of the Philippine News Agency” based on e-mail addresses in the government website. Backed by private donors, Martinez went on to place 19th among 34 contestants, garnering a cumulative score of 184.25 points. “I verified with my staff in charge of the website and according to the report, that email message was not received,” Coloma told reporters in Filipino.

PC Magazine Encyclopedia defines the spam folder as “the location for storing unwanted e-mail as determined by a spam filter.” A spam folder is also called a “junk folder” or “junk mailbox.” “Spam folders are created by mail servers as well as by the user’s e-mail program. In some mail programs, the messages in the spam folder can be sorted and viewed by the spam filter’s rating, which is a percentage of confidence that the message is junk,” PC Magazine Encyclopedia said. It, however, said that “messages with lower ratings, such as below 50 percent, can be reviewed more carefully to be sure they are not legitimate.” Coloma said his staff, “by protocol,” would not touch messages in the spam folder “because they have implications in the security of the entire website.” The PCOO is described in its website as the “lead communications arm of the government and a vehicle of understanding for a well-informed and enlightened citizenry.” One of its two missions is “to serve as a tool for informing, educating, enlightening the citizenry about matters of national importance for inspiring the citizenry to deepen their civic engagement.” Daily monitoring

Coloma said his staff checked the e-mail “every day” and referred concerns to appropriate government agencies for “specific action.”

Michael Christian Martinez, ranked fifth in the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, was the first skater ever to represent the Philippines in the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. PHOTO FROM MICHAEL CHRISTIAN MARTINEZ’S OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

Asked what the government usually did with sent e-mails, he said: “I believe there’s an acknowledgment and updating process regarding this.” Seeking to put the issue behind, Coloma said: “Even then, we’re not technical in our approach here.” “The whole country knows, the whole world knows how good Mr. Michael Martinez is,” he said. “There’s a ground swell of support, which, as we have previously stated, we hope will generate enough momentum for him to qualify for the next Olympics.” “Even if he’s still young, he’s good, and he has a big potential to become an Olympic medalist,” he said. “In a sport that is not popular here, he has natural skill and ability that can earn more honor for the country.” House resolution

Lawmakers also heaped praises on Martinez but added

that he deserved support from the national government. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman Jr., one of the lawmakers who filed a resolution commending Martinez for his achievement, said he was saddened by stories of the struggle of the skater’s family to finance his dream of competing in the Olympics. “I believe, more than felicitations, he deserves the government’s full support in succeeding forays. It is disheartening to hear about his family’s financial sacrifices, just to fund his training for theWinter Games campaign,” Lagman said in a statement. He noted that the private sector had come through for Martinez by giving him financial support, but he said the government should not rely on the private sector to help its talented athletes. “The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) must be the primary and biggest source

of funding for developing and championing our athletes. It is the PSC’s duty and mandate to fund and support promising athletes like Michael Christian Martinez,” he said. He said the PSC should understand that it was in a position to support the country’s resurgence in sports since its athletes have been making waves. In the resolution, Lagman commended Martinez’s achievement given that he grew up in a tropical country and practiced his skill in a shopping mall’s skating rink. Despite the limitations, including the prohibitive cost of training, he went on to earn medals, the lawmaker said. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said he hoped for more future success for Martinez. ■ With a report from Leila B. Salaverria

US admiral says China’s 9-dash line not valid BY NIKKO DIZON AND TARRA QUISMUNDO Philippine Daily Inquirer CHINA’S SO-CALLED ninedash line, which encompasses around 90 percent of the South China Sea, including Philippine territories, has even the commander of the United States Navy baffled. “I don’t understand (its)

foundation. It’s almost like I woke up one day and somebody said, ‘so what is that, that’s the nine-dash line…I (ask) what’s the nine-dash line and that’s about all that it is, a nine-dash line,” said Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the US Chief of Naval Operations, in a forum last week at the National Defense College of the Philippines. Greenert was in the country on a four-day official visit,

which included a meeting with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Philippine military officials. Greenert said China’s Ushaped nine-dash line on its ancient maps that claims most of the South China Sea—a major international shipping route— was not based on any international laws or agreements. He echoed the Feb. 5 statement of Assistant Secretary of State

for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel to the US House committee on foreign affairs that China’s nine-dash line was not based on international law. It was the strongest statement yet the US had made against the controversial Chinese claim. “We look at it and, fine, that is interesting,” said Greenert. “It doesn’t appear to have a relevant foundation that we

describe geography, international agreements, international norms, international policy that we can base it on. So we just look at it with a sort of interest right now,” Greenert said. At the forum, Greenert also said the US would help the Philippines, as provided for under treaties between the two countries, should China forcibly take over the island of Pagasa in the Kalayaan island group. ■

Philippine News


Escudero: Cunanan bolsters pork case BY TJ A. BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES— Dennis Cunanan is crucial to the prosecution of the P10-billion pork barrel scam case because he is the first government official to come forward and corroborate witness testimony in the massive graft, Sen. Francis Escudero said on Sunday. Escudero observed that Cunanan’s testimony rebutted the denials by senators and representatives of allegations that they endorsed dummy nongovernment organizations (NGOs) as channels for financing phantom projects with their allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, too, is convinced that Cunanan’s testimony is valuable to the prosecution of the people involved in the pork barrel scam. In a text message to reporters, De Lima said on Monday that after evaluating Cunanan’s testimony, she was convinced that he was qualified as a state witness. De Lima said that like the testimony of Ruby Tuason, Cunanan’s account was “plausible and credible.” Tuason, who served as social secretary to ousted President Joseph Estrada, now mayor of Manila, admitted that she served as bagman for tens of millions of pesos in kickbacks to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, then chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. Like Tuason, Cunanan has been accepted as a provisional state witness in the investigation and prosecution of the pork barrel scam. De Lima said Cunanan’s testimony would be “useful and helpful in the successful pros-

The 42-year-old Cunanan (right) estimated that about P600 million in lawmakers’ allocations from the PDAF was coursed through the TRC when he was the agency’s deputy head. PHOTO FROM PHILIPPINENEWS.COM AND GMANEWS.TV

ecution of the most guilty” in the case. ‘Close the case’

If at all, the testimony of Cunanan, now on leave as director general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) that served as conduit for the funneling of funds to the bogus NGOs, would “close the case,” Escudero said. Being the first government official to testify in the pork barrel scam, Cunanan is in a “unique position,” he said. “This would strengthen, if not close the case,” Escudero said, stressing that Cunanan’s testimony would serve as a rebuttal to the claims of the lawmakers that it was not they but the implementing government agencies that chose the NGOs that carried out the projects financed by the PDAF. The 42-year-old Cunanan estimated that about P600 million in lawmakers’ allocations from the PDAF was coursed through the TRC when he was the agency’s deputy head.

The funds were funneled to the NGOs by Estrada, Enrile and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. from their PDAF entitlements from 2007 to early 2009, Cunanan said. The TRC was used as an implementing agency for PDAFfunded ghost projects proposed by dummy NGOs set up by Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the pork barrel scam. They knew it

In an interview with the Inquirer, Cunanan said that apart from a 30-page affidavit, he submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman “voluminous” documents that would show the lawmakers knew of the use of Napoles’ bogus NGOs in the disbursement of their PDAF allocations. Cunanan said he talked with Estrada, Revilla and Reyes as part of the TRC’s verification process. While he didn’t know how much kickbacks the lawmakers got, Cunanan said, they exerted pressure on him to release their

PDAF funds to the preselected organizations. Cunanan recalled an instance when Revilla ordered him to expedite the release of funds from his PDAF allocation to a Napoles NGO two days before Christmas. And contrary to the claims of Revilla and others, Cunanan said their signatures on their letters of endorsement submitted to the TRC were genuine. He said he personally called the lawmakers to verify the authorization for the use of their PDAF allocations. At the time, the TRC was headed by Antonio Ortiz. Both Ortiz and Cunanan are charged with plunder along with Napoles, the three senators and several former members of the House of Representatives and former government officials over the pork barrel scam. Cunanan took over from Ortiz in July 2010 and barred NGOs from the TRC. Not quite?

But a Commission on Au-

dit (COA) report released last October showed that the TRC continued to serve as a conduit for funds from the PDAF and the little-known Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) on Cunanan’s watch. The COA report said the TRC’s unreleased PDAF and DAP funds increased five times to P106.336 million from only P21 million in 2012. Speaking through lawyer Levito Baligod, Cunanan said on Sunday the TRC stopped processing PDAF projects when he took over as director general. As for DAP funds, Cunanan could not say how much the TRC received and which lawmakers and NGOs received the funds. He said, however, that he was sure all the blacklisted groups, including those owned by Napoles, had no part in the DAP transactions. He said the undisbursed and unliquidated PDAF funds in the TRC’s account were “remnants” of the PDAF released before 2010. The COA report said that as of 2012, the TRC had yet to liquidate P18.055 million in pork funds transferred to NGOs between 2008 and 2010. The report said the amount represented the pork barrel projects of former Representatives Juan Miguel Arroyo (P100,000 for Guagua Municipal Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative and P1.955 million for Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc.), Carlo Oliver Diasnes (P14 million for Bantayog Kalinga Foundation Inc.), Florencio G. Noel (P1.5 million for Bantayog Kalinga Foundation Inc.) and Robert Barbers (P500,000 for Eastern Samar Development Foundation Inc.). ■ With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Gil Cabacungan

Philippine News


Chinese ships... drive away Filipino fishing vessels to the extent of using water cannon,” Bautista told a forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines. He did not say if anyone was hurt, but added that the fishermen reported the incident to authorities and that China continued to maintain armed Coast Guard and other vessels at Panatag Shoal, 220 km off the Philippine main island of Luzon and 650 km from Hainan Island, the nearest major Chinese landmass. A senior military official in charge of monitoring the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea said the Chinese vessels used water cannon only to scare the Filipino fishermen off the shoal and the fishermen were not actually hit by the spray. The incident appeared to be isolated and no other acts of intimidation have been reported by Filipino fishermen, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. ❰❰ 1

Investigate first

Asked if the Philippines would lodge a protest over the incident, Bautista said Filipino officials would have to investigate before deciding what step to take. China’s defense ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying did not directly address the Philippine allegation when asked about it. “I would like to reemphasize that China has indisputable sovereignty over relevant waters and China’s maritime surveillance fleet [is] carrying routine patrols in relevant waters,” Hua told reporters in Beijing. The incident is considered one of the more aggressive moves of China against Filipino fishermen since declaring new fishing regulations for enforcement by the Hainan municipal government starting Jan. 1. Under the new rules, foreign fishing vessels must seek permission from Chinese authorities before entering waters administered by the Hainan government. Those waters make up 90 percent of the 3.5-millionsquare-kilometer South China Sea, including parts within the exclusive economic zones of

China’s neighbors. The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan, which have territorial claims in the South China, do not recognize China’s expansive claim. Standoff at Panatag

Philippine and Chinese Coast Guard vessels faced off at Panatag Shoal for more than two months in 2012. Manila broke the standoff by calling back its vessels as a storm approached, but Beijing did not recall its ships and instead cordoned off the area and stationed Coast Guard vessels there, effectively seizing it, after the storm. With nothing to match China’s firepower, the Philippines took the territorial dispute to the United Nations for arbitration in January last year. Five days before the Jan. 27 incident at Panatag, President Aquino told the Inquirer in an inteview that, with only a little more than two years left in his term, the territorial dispute with China was topmost on his mind, emphasizing that its national security implications were likely to remain beyond his tenure. Aquino said there had been no reports of untoward incidents in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea since the declaration of new Chinese fishing rules. Five days later, Chinese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannon at Filipino fishermen near Panatag to drive them away from the shoal. No confrontation

Asked how the military responds to such harassment of Filipinos in Philippine waters, Bautista said, “We do not want any confrontation with anybody, in this case the Chinese Coast Guard.” He said the military, as a matter of policy, preferred “to resolve the issue through peaceful legal means and that is through international arbitration.” “It is our national policy to renounce war as an instrument of policy. That is the reason for our posture in the West Philippine Sea,” he said. China has refused to take part in the arbitration at the United Nations, but the case can proceed even in its absence. The arbitration tribunal, however, has no powers to en-

A China Coast Guard ship numbered 2101 sails in waters 66 kilometers from the East China Sea islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China. PHOTO FROM TODAYONLINE.COM

force its decisions, although UN member countries can pressure China to accept a ruling in favor of the Philippines. “We continue to assert our rights and we believe that the international arbitration will resolve all of these issues. It is for the international community to judge whether the result of the arbitration is binding or whether China is supposed to comply with the result of the arbitration,” Bautista said. International opinion

Bautista noted that “there are no specific sanctions . . . available to the international arbitration court,” but said “international opinion will weigh down on China and I guess that is very important to any country.” “The rest of the international community will see whether it is a responsible member of the international community or whether it will continue to assert its own intent or its own interest regardless of what the international community will say, especially if it [uses] force or intimidation to do that. It’s something for the international community to judge in the future,” he added. “The Philippines is a small country and we are up against a big country but as I said, we have to assert our right. It doesn’t mean that if you are big you are right then we will continue to pursue our case in the international arbitration court because it is the right thing to do. I believe in that process and the wisdom of the court and the international community,” Bautista said.

Protector of the nation

Bautista added that the country’s adherence to the peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute with China has not weakened the military’s “resolve to perform our mandate as protectors of the people and the state and of our national territory.” “We will continue to perform that mandate with whatever we’ve got,” he said. Bautista said there were still Chinese vessels at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in Philippine waters in the Spratly archipelago. The Philippines has grounded a rusty naval ship on Ayungin Shoal to mark its territory in the disputed Spratlys. US support

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg told the same forum that China’s expansive claim in the South China Sea, indicated by a ninedash line on Chinese maps, had no basis in international law. “There’s no such thing,” Goldberg said. While saying it does not take sides in territorial disputes, the United States has said it has interests in freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway where a third of global commerce passes annually. The United States also supports the Philippine arbitration case in the United Nations and the conclusion of a code of conduct in the South China Sea between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Goldberg said the code of

conduct was “long overdue.” “The negotiating process should be accelerated,” he said. “We support efforts of the Philippines to resolve disputes on overlapping claims through diplomacy and recognize international legal processes. A key part of that framework is the inclusion of mechanisms such as hotlines and emergency procedures to prevent incidents in sensitive areas,” Goldberg said. He stressed that the United States was taking no sides “on regional territorial disputes but we do stand on our principles. We reject unilateral attempts to alter the realities on the ground, air or the sea.” “Consultation with neighbors and adherence to the code of conduct, respect for freedom of navigation, these should be the bywords of the 21st century,” he added. Defense treaty

Goldberg said the United States supported the Philippines’ program to build a minimum credible defense capability for its armed forces “as it is the right of sovereign nations.” “The US supports that effort. Nations need to be able to defend their borders and protect their people, not just from traditional aggression and threats of transnational crime, smuggling and international terrorism,” he said. The US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty “has been a cornerstone of stability and security in the region for decades and will continue to be so,” he said. ■ With reports from AFP and AP

Philippine News


Sharing, liking are not cyberlibel, SC shows why BY JEROME ANING Philippine Daily Inquirer CRIMINALIZING THE “aiding or abetting” of online libel and prosecuting those who simply receive and react to defamatory social media posts will be difficult if the complexities of cyberspace are ignored in the formulation of a cyberlibel law, according to the Supreme Court. In their Feb. 11 decision that was posted on the high court’s website on Friday, the majority justices demonstrated by analogy the difficulty of suing and penalizing all people who express their reactions via Facebook or Twitter by liking, sharing, commenting, “favoriting” or retweeting. The court last week struck down as unconstitutional the penalizing of people who aid or abet online libel, as provided under the controversial Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Criminalizes online libel

However, the court, through the majority opinion written by Justice Roberto Abad, upheld online libel as a crime, although only the “original author” is to be penalized. “Cyber libel brings with it certain intricacies, unheard of when the Penal Code provisions on libel were enacted. The culture associated with Inter-

net media is distinct from that of print,” the high court said. The Internet encourages “a freewheeling, anything-goes writing style” and is different from print media in terms of quickness of the reader’s reaction to defamatory statements, it said. Cyber libel’s intricacies

In an analogy, the high court puts forward an imaginary netizen, Maria, who posted a statement on her WordPress blog that a certain married public official has an illicit affair with a movie star. Linda, one of Maria’s friends, saw the post and commented online, “Yes, this is so true! They are so immoral.” Maria’s original post was then multiplied by her friends and the latter’s friends, and down the line to friends of friends and so forth. Nena, who is a stranger to both Maria and Linda, came across the blog, found it interesting and shared the link to this apparently defamatory blog on her Twitter account. Nena’s “followers” then “retweet” the link to that blog site. Pamela, a Twitter user, stumbled upon a random person’s “retweet” of Nena’s original tweet and posted this on her Facebook account. Immediately, Pamela’s Facebook friends started “liking” and making comments on the the post. A lot of them even pressed the share button, resulting in the further spread of the original post into tens, hundreds, thousands and greater postings.

Aiding or abetting

To answer the question as to whether online actions such as liking, commenting or sharing a defamatory statement may be regarded as “aiding or abetting” online libel, the justices used yet another analogy. If in the physical world, Nestor places on the office bulletin board a small poster that says, “Armand is a thief!,” he could certainly be charged with libel, according to the court. However, if Roger, seeing the poster, writes on it, “I like this!,” that could not be libel since he did not author the poster, the justices said. If Arthur, passing by and noticing the poster, writes on it, “Correct!,” would that be libel? No, the justices said, for he merely expresses agreement with the statement on the poster. “He still is not its author. Besides, it is not clear if aiding or abetting libel in the physical world is a crime,” the court said. But suppose Nestor posts the blog, “Armand is a thief!” on a social networking site. Would a reader and his Friends or Followers, availing themselves of any of the “like,” “comment,” and “share” reactions, be guilty of aiding or abetting libel? “[I]n the complex world of cyberspace expressions of thoughts, when will one be liable for aiding or abetting cybercrimes? Where is the venue of the crime?,” the justices asked.

Who will judge libel?

For the majority of justices, online reactions to a defamatory posts are “essentially kneejerk sentiments of readers who may think little or haphazardly of their response to the original posting.” “Will they be liable for aiding or abetting? And, considering the inherent impossibility of joining hundreds or thousands of responding ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ in the criminal charge to be filed in court, who will make a choice as to who should go to jail for the outbreak of the challenged posting?” the justices asked. Of course, the justices said, if the “comment” does not merely react to the original posting but creates an altogether new defamatory story against Armand like “He beats his wife and children,” then that should be considered an original posting published on the Internet. The justices agreed that libel in cyberspace can stain a person’s image with just one click of the mouse and that “scurrilous statements” can spread and travel fast across the globe like bad news. “Make no mistake, libel destroys reputations that society values,” the high court said. If allowed to cascade in the Internet, libel will destroy relationships and, under certain circumstances, generate enmity and tension between social or economic groups, races, or religions, exacerbating existing tensions, it said.

Common sense test

However, the legislators should also be careful when constructing a cyberlibel law that freedom of expression is not trampled on, they said. “The old parameters for enforcing the traditional form of libel would be a square peg in a round hole when applied to cyberspace libel. Unless the legislature crafts a cyberlibel law that takes into account its unique circumstances and culture, such law will tend to create a chilling effect on the millions that use this new medium of communication in violation of their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression,” they said. “Who is to decide when to prosecute persons who boost the visibility of a posting on the Internet by liking it? Netizens are not given ‘fair notice’ or warning as to what is criminal conduct and what is lawful conduct. When a case is filed, how will the court ascertain whether or not one netizen’s comment aided and abetted a cybercrime while another comment did not?” the justices asked. In sum, the court recognized the differences between libel committed online and on print media so it applied the “tests of common sense and human experience” to determine whether one can actually abet or aid cyberlibel. ■

Palace firm on claims board head BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer MALACAÑANG STOOD firmly behind President Aquino’s highly criticized decision to appoint a former police official to head the board tasked with facilitating the distribution of the P10billion compensation for victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said he had yet to discuss with the President former Sen. Joker Arroyo’s appeal to reconsider the appointment of ex-police Director Lina Sarmiento as head of theHuman Rights Victims Claims Board.

But Coloma maintained that “as the appointing authority, the President has a thorough understanding and appreciation of the mandate of the board.” Personal experience

He noted that Mr. Aquino “personally experienced the hardships and difficulties imposed by the dictatorship on victims of human rights violations, including his own family.” The Palace threw its support behind the Sarmiento board, saying it expected the panel to “fulfill its duty during a short period.” Coloma cited the “sunset provision” under Republic Act No. 10368, which gives the claims board a “limited period of two

years, from the effectivity of the implementing rules and regulations, within which to complete its work.” Brazen travesty

“Hence, it is imperative that the board be allowed to begin its task as soon as possible in order that it may fully comply with its mandate within the required time period,” he said. Arroyo, a longtime human rights lawyer, described the appointment of a former general as a “brazen travesty.” “The appointment of a general from the uniformed services to preside as chair over the adjudication of the claims for reparation and recognition of the human rights victims is a stinging repudiation of our 15 years

of struggle for freedom and democracy, which culminated in the national incandescence at Edsa,” he said in an “open letter” to the President. The letter was published in the INQUIRER on Feb. 23. “It is a brazen travesty of the historical legacy of the human rights movement that was integral to the people’s crusade against oppression during the Marcos regime,” Arroyo said. He argued that a member of the claims board “must have an ingrained stake in the campaign against human rights violations during the period 1972 to 1986, aside from having a profound appreciation of what human rights violations were during that time.” He said that Sarmiento’s

“credentials do not meet the minimum standards, albeit exacting, set under Republic Act No. 10368.” In P-Noy’s hands

“Mr. President, in your hands lies the final and real vindication for those who suffered indignities in their fight for freedom, but have been consigned to irrelevance by contemporary history’s tendency toward historical amnesia,” said the former senator, the first executive secretary of Mr. Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino. “We appeal for help to nurture our nation’s sense of history. The unsung heroes deserve the long-overdue recognition of a grateful nation.” ■

Philippine News


Jinggoy admits getting P100M but denies knowing it was from DAP BY NORMAN BORDADORA Philippine Daily Inquirer SEN. JINGGOY Estrada confirmed receiving P100 million in project allocations in March 2012 during the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, but denied knowing that it came from the Aquino administration’s questioned Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Ramon Revilla Jr. and Vicente Sotto III also were said to be beneficiaries of P370 million in additional funding from the DAP that was coursed through stateowned National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC), according to official documents made available to the INQUIRER. Marcos stood by his earlier statement that fabricated documents made it appear that he had received DAP funds. He alleged that the fund releases attributed to him might have been maneuvered and released to someone else. Sotto said he was unaware he had received additional pork barrel funding from the DAP. “I doubt if it’s true,” he said. Revilla has not returned calls from the INQUIRER seeking a comment from him.

Of the four senators, it was only Marcos who voted against Corona’s impeachment. “I had it checked at my office. I was told that there was but I didn’t know it came from the DAP. What I know is that it should have been taken from the GAA [the General Appropriations Act],” Estrada said in a telephone interview. “I don’t know about the DAP. Isn’t it that I have long been saying that I don’t know anything about the DAP?” He said he didn’t know how the funds were used or if the money went to the dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by Janet Lim-Napoles, who allegedly channeled P10 billion in lawmakers allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to phantom projects and kickbacks. Estrada recalled that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had admitted that 20 senators had received funding from the DAP. “Didn’t he admit that? Now, there’s just the four of us,” he said. Marcos called the new information linking him to the DAP as a “rehashed” issue. “I did not receive any DAP fund. And if it was indeed a bribe to secure the conviction of Corona, it was illogical for me to be rewarded with DAP funds because I voted

to acquit him,” Marcos said in a statement. He said he had written Magno Oasan, supervising auditor of the Commission of Audit concerning the authenticity of various documents involving NLDC. He said his signature was falsified in documents related to the DAP disbursements to the NLDC. Marcos said an investigation conducted by his office showed that his signature, which appeared in the NLDC endorsement letter dated 16 March 2012, was falsified and that it did not appear in the “docket system” in his office. Hesaid the signature of his chief of staff, Ramon B. Cardenas, which appeared in the memorandum of agreements (MOA) to the four NGOs, was also falsified. Marcos added that the MOAs were of dubious origin because they were allegedly notarized by a certain “Atty. Antonio M. Santos” in Makati City. He said the clerk of court in Makati City had reported that Santos was not a commissioned notary public from 2011 to 2013. “Considering all these facts, it is reasonable to conclude that some people must have maneuvered the documentation and appropriated the DAP funds themselves,” Marcos said. ■

P-Noy defends online libel ruling BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA, TJ BURGONIO AND JOCELYN R. UY Philippine Daily Inquirer PRESIDENT AQUINO defended a Supreme Court ruling upholding a provision in the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 penalizing online libel and brushed aside claims that it infringed on the freedom of expression. “Will it curtail freedom of expression? I don’t think that’s the objective,” the President said after the high tribunal ruled against a provision giving authorities sweeping powers to shut down websites or record Internet traffic data in real time

while affirming its online libel provision. “You as responsible journalists, you have rights. [But] those rights have their limits, right? We were taught in school that your rights end where they impinge on the rights of others,” Mr. Aquino said. “If there’s something wrong in what is said on TV, radio or in what is reported in newspapers or magazines, then you move to another format, should that be exempted?” he asked. “Perhaps, you won’t agree,” he told reporters, arguing that such a situation would go against the “equal protection” clause of the Constitution. “If what you’re saying is right, why would you be afraid of that libel

issue?” The President signed the law in September 2012, but its constitutionality was challenged by 15 petitioners. New arena of fear

Critics fear the government could misuse the law to go after journalists who report on official corruption. “By extending the reach of the antediluvian libel law into cyberspace, the Supreme Court has suddenly made a once infinite venue for expression into an arena of fear, a hunting ground for the petty and vindictive, the criminal and autocratic,” the National Union of ❱❱ PAGE 15 P-Noy defends

Former President Ferdinand Marcos


How much is suffering under Marcos worth? BY MARLON RAMOS Philippine Daily Inquirer THE CHAIR of the newly created Human Rights Victims Claims Board said that putting a monetary value on the abuse human rights victims of the Marcos regime went through was a thorny issue. Lina Sarmiento, who was named by President Aquino to head the board last week, said the nine-member panel would immediately buckle down to work to finish the body’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR). The board has 15 days to approve the IRR, which would be in force 15 days after its publication in two major newspapers. Human Rights Act

The board was created under Republic Act No. 10368, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, to process the applications of claimants and distribute the P10 billion in compensation that a Swiss court awarded to the martial law victims in 1997. Under the law, Sarmiento said, martial law victims would receive compensation according to the “gravity of the human rights violations” they suffered in the hands of the military and other state forces during the strongman rule of Ferdinand Marcos. To be discussed

“How much should each martial law victim get? I cannot answer that now. It will be discussed by the board and in-

cluded in the IRR,” she told reporters at Camp Crame. “The law says we should observe a point system. There are certain categories. Those who suffered more will get more,” she said. Sarmiento, a retired Philippine National Police director, said the panel would seek the help of “experts” in computing the amount of compensation each victim should receive. Point system

Section 19 of the law says the board shall determine the severity of the abuses experienced by the victims using a point system ranging from one to 10. Those who were killed or remain missing, whose heirs would get the compensation, shall be assigned 10 points, while those who suffered torture or sexual abuse would get from six to nine points. The victims who were imprisoned would get from three to five points, while those who experienced other kinds of abuse would receive at least one point. During their first meeting last Friday, Sarmiento said the members of the panel pledged to expedite the processing of claimants’ applications and the release of their remuneration. She noted that the panel had only two years to complete its task as stated in the sunset clause of the law. “The victims and their families have waited years for this. We will not be the cause of any delay in their quest for justice,” she said. ■

Philippine News


Solons got P5B in DAP during impeachment trial of Corona I can’t remember... I’ll check–Speaker BY GIL C. CABACUNGAN Philippine Daily Inquirer THE AQUINO administration used P6.5 billion from the little-known Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) before, during and after the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona to bend Congress to its will, two members of the House of Representatives told the Inquirer. The sources estimated that the House got as much as P5 billion in DAP funds, while the senators received the remaining P1.5 billion, as admitted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) itself. The sources, who did not wish to be identified because of the confidential information involved, said the DBM released to the representatives at least P10 million each from the DAP, supposedly a novel scheme to stimulate the economy. The amount represented P7 million for farm-to-market roads and P3 million for soft projects, such as milk-feeding programs, under the DAP—an impounding mechanism supposedly for government savings that shifted funds from projects identified by Congress to those chosen by the executive branch in 2012. The funds released to congressmen from the DAP, whose constitutionality has been questioned in the Supreme Court, were on top of the P70 million in annual allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel. The sources said that the House leadership and its impeachment team were rewarded between P25 million and P50 million in DAP funds after Corona was convicted in May 2012, or seven months after Budget Secretary Florencio Abad announced the P70.5-billion spending plan for the DAP, including a P6.5 billion augmentation for the PDAF. They said they were asked by the DBM to give their preferred LGUs and beneficiaries for their DAP allocations. Asked for comment, Speaker

Feliciano Belmonte said: “I cannot remember the incident. Haven’t heard of DAP back then. We will check.” In a text message, Abad said: “I don’t have the information right now, it’s a Sunday. But I am sure that the rest of the funds did not go exclusively to representatives. Some were requested by and allocated to national government agencies, some were requested by local government units. Not all (DAP funds) were, I think, disbursed.” Abad was adamant that the DAP was not meant to bribe lawmakers into ousting Corona whose midnight appointment by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was widely reviled. “The allocations, if I recall correctly, were made irrespective of whether the representatives were for or against the impeachment,” Abad said. Corona was convicted for dishonesty in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. Special purpose

In a statement, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco said: “Based on reports and by its own admission, the DBM used the DAP before, during and after the Corona impeachment trial between 2011 and 2012. “Corona was impeached on Dec. 12, 2011, endorsed by 188 congressmen. Based on the timeline, the DAP was created in October 2011 and fund requests made by legislators were already in order in November 2011—or exactly during the time they were cooking up and gathering support for the Corona impeachment. “It’s a puzzle that only a few knew about DAP then.” Tiangco, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general, said the DAP was “used as an excuse to cover the P50million bribe to senators and P10 million given to congressmen for the conviction” of Corona. “The DAP was designed and created as a piggy bank to fund persuasive missions with a very special purpose,” Tiangco said. The DBM earlier claimed

that DAP funds were released after Corona’s conviction because it was wary it could be seen as an attempt to influence Corona’s removal. “No one knew about the DAP until September 2013 when Sen. Jinggoy Estrada disclosed that the administration tapped the funds to ‘bribe’ lawmakers to oust Corona. Until now, the Administration is not telling everything about the DAP—they’re twisting the facts to cover it up because they know it’s illegal and unconstitutional,” Tiangco said. DAR and NLDC

In a phone interview, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said that when his agency received several special allotment release orders (Saros) and notices of cash allocations (NCAs) on Dec. 6, 2011, he was unaware that these were DAP funds. He said supporting documents identified the funding from the 2011 budget for beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The Inquirer has copies of the DAR’s Saros and NCAs for six senators worth a combined P475 million—P100 million each for Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Ramon Revilla Jr.; P70 million for Vicente Sotto III; P55 million for Juan Ponce Enrile; and P50 million for Loren Legarda. De los Reyes said Abad had asked him to accommodate the release of the funds for the senators whose beneficiaries turned out to be fake foundations used by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scheme. He said he told the budget secretary that the DAR was yet to spend the P1 billion lumpsum funds that the DBM had allocated for 2011 and that he insisted that the new funds go through the required processes. “We spent lots of time and manpower to spend the P1

lion by the book, we couldn’t just accept fresh funds and just release [the money] without putting it through the same process,” De los Reyes said. Abad washes hands

The DBM had a different version. In a statement, it claimed that Estrada, Marcos, Revilla and Sotto had requested the realignment of the funds from the DAR to state-owned National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC). (The DBM has not yet revealed where the DAP funds of Enrile and Legarda went, although a government source said these were diverted to LGUs). “The requests—which were made by the senators’ offices in late December 2011 and early February 2012—were received by the DBM in early February and March 2012. The four senators essentially asked us to change the implementing agency from DAR to NLDC. “In their requests, Senators Marcos, Estrada, Sotto and Revilla changed their nominated projects to programs for displaced or marginal families, for which NLDC was specified by the senators’ offices as the implementing arm. We thus with-

drew the earlier Saros for the DAR and issued these instead to NLDC in March 2012, exactly as the senators requested,” the DBM said. In their letters to NLDC, the senators were adamant on the immediate release of the funds as these would be used for the victims of recent natural calamities. But just like the DAR, NLDC president Gondolina Amata told the DBM of her reluctance to have the state micro-lending firm used again as a conduit for the senators’ funds. Amata also thought the funds the DBM gave to her in March 2012 were from the PDAF that NLDC had stopped dealing with since the COA started its probe of the fake foundations getting pork barrel funds. The DBM, however, prevailed on her to release the funds as these were the DAP and not the PDAF. Abad practically washed his hands of any responsibility on the deployment of the funds, saying this was a matter between the implementing agency (IA) and the lawmaker. “You will have to ask the IA and the legislator what happened,” he said. ■

Philippine News


GMA appeals for bail anew Napoles seeks hospital detention BY CYNTHIA D. BALANA Philippine Daily Inquirer SAYING SHE is seriously ill and will not evade trial on the plunder charges filed against her, former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has pressed the Sandiganabayan anew to allow her to post bail. Arroyo, through counsels Jose B. Flaminiano, Laurence Hector B. Arroyo and Aufelene Anne P. Laxamana, submitted an eightpage supplemental motion for reconsideration to convince the antigraft court’s First Division to reverse its previous

ruling denying her bail petition. The defense counsels said their previous motion for bail pointed out the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence against their client while the supplemental motion cited a new ground in her appeal for bail. They said Arroyo should be entitled to temporary liberty even assuming the evidence of the prosecution against her was strong. They cited a 1953 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Montano vs. Ocampo which said bail may be granted even in a capital offense and regardless of a finding that evidence of guilt is strong. ■

BY JAYMEE T. GAMIL Philippine Daily Inquirer


ALLEGED PORK barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles has asked a Makati court to allow her to be examined for an ovarian tumor at the St. Luke’s Medical Center at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and possibly to be detained there as well. Napoles’ lawyer filed an urgent motion yesterday with the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, where Napoles and her brother, Reynald Lim, are facing serious illegal detention charges in connection with the alleged abduction of scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Napoles has been detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, while Lim remains at large. According to Napoles’ lawyer, Fay Singson, Napoles was rushed last Oct. 24 to the Southern Luzon Hospital and Medical Center where she underwent a CT scan after she suffered severe abdominal pains and “profuse menstrual bleeding for nine consecutive days.” Napoles’ endocrinologist from St. Luke’s, Michael Lim Villa, went to Fort Sto. Domingo on Dec. 14 to examine Napoles after the latter continued to complain of abdominal pain

“She identified herself as Jenny and told me she had a project with the TRC that had already been authorized by Ortiz,” Cunanan said. He said Ortiz issued a memorandum that bypassed him in all pork matters and that it was only when he took over Ortiz’s post that he “realized the magnitude of the transactions involved.” Cunanan also said that contrary to the declarations of Revilla and the other legislators involved, their signatures on the letters of endorsement submitted to the TRC were genuine. He said he knew the signatures were genuine because he personally called the lawmakers to verify the authorization for the use of their PDAF allocations. He said the documents he

submitted to the Ombudsman showed the lawmakers knew the designation of Napoles dummy organizations as conduits for their PDAF–funded projects. Validating signatures and endorsement letters was a standard procedure in the TRC, he said. Cunanan said the lawmakers or their staff called up the TRC to find out the status of the requests for release of funds and “verify if everything went well, like project proposals and financial plans.” In his affidavit, Cunanan disclosed that there were instances between 2007 and 2009 when congressmen personally showed up at the TRC to follow up the release of checks to Napoles’ phony aid groups. “Almost often the mere pres-

Napoles has been detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa. PHOTO FROM PH.NEWS.YAHOO.COM

and bleeding as well as “hypoglycemia, drastic weight loss, chest pains.” Ovarian tumor

“[Villa] explained to [Napoles] that the CT scan report [from the Southern Luzon Hospital) showed an ovarian tumor, that it was recommended by...[the hospital]... to have tumor markers, that the hemoglobin count of the accused had considerably dropped,” the motion read. Villa had suggested that Napoles consult her gynecologist, Elsie Badillo-Pascua, who recommended “further comprehensive gynecological work up, a transvaginal ultrasound examination, a comprehensive

medical checkup as well as the admission of [Napoles] to a reputable hospital.” “These comprehensive examinations and medical procedures cannot be conducted inside Fort Sto. Domingo... lack of facilities,” the motion said. Asking for “kindness and human compassion” of the court, Singson requested that the examinations be done by Napoles’ doctors at St. Luke’s. “Depending on the outcome of her examination and upon the advice of her doctor, should confinement be necessary, it is also most respectfully requested that [Napoles] be placed under hospital arrest also at St. Luke’s hospital” in BGC. ■

TRC handled... ❰❰ 3


to grant him immunity from prosecution lay with the Ombuds-

He didn’t get kickbacks

Cunanan maintained that he did not receive any kickbacks from Napoles although he was at some point a signatory to checks for her dummy aid organizations. “I never received any commission from her or from anyone who dealt with the TRC,” he said. Cunanan, however, admitted meeting with Napoles in his office when he was the second in command at the TRC. He said Napoles barged into his office and introduced herself, telling him she just came from the office of then TRC Director General Alan Ortiz.

ence of these visitors caused undue panic among our staff and they had to be welcomed at the lobby in deference to their position in the government,” Cunanan said. NGOs banned

He said that after he was appointed by President Aquino as TRC director general, he issued a memorandum of agreement, which was dated July 16, 2010, that barred 44 aid organizations, including Napoles’ groups, from the TRC. The ban came after the Commission on Audit (COA) reported that those organizations failed to fully implement and liquidate projects funded from the PDAF. Cunanan said he ordered that no agreement related to the implementation of livelihood

projects should be entered into by the TRC with aid organizations until all deficiencies noted in COA audit reports had been resolved. He said that prior to his appointment as TRC head, his role as deputy director general of TRC in the PDAF projects was “merely perfunctory and ministerial.” He maintained that PDAFfunded projects implemented by the TRC were processed and supervised under and approved by Ortiz. “They were the ones who actually dealt with the offices of the legislators concerned as well as the NGO that supposedly implemented the projects,” he said. Ortiz is one of the 38 people facing plunder charges in the Office of the Ombudsman. ■

Philippine News


P-Noy defends... Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement. Francis Allan Angelo, president of the Iloilo Press Club, said the ruling would have a “chilling effect on journalists” who had been subjected to “whimsical” libel cases and worse, targeted for assassination. Opponents have also said the law gives the government sweeping powers to curb Internet freedom due to provisions that impose heavy prison terms for online libel in a country where major protests have been organized through Facebook and Twitter. At least six senators have filed separate bills seeking to decriminalize libel. “There should be no libel punishable by imprisonment in our statute books. In modern democracy, if there’s a liability it should only be civil,” said. Sen. Francis Escudero, the author of one bill. He told reporters he disagreed with calls for the repeal of the cybercrime law, saying this was crucial to curbing cybersex crimes. Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. likewise pushed for the scrapping of online libel. He said the public should appreciate the ❰❰ 12

PMA Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia


Lacson, other PMA grads find Cudia act shocking BY NIKKO DIZON Philippine Daily Inquirer PHILIPPINE MILITARY Academy (PMA) Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia’s act of challenging the decision of fellow cadets who found him guilty of violating the Honor Code was unheard of, according to Panfilo Lacson, the presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery. “This is unprecedented. This is the first time I have heard of a cadet who resisted the decision of the honor committee,” said Lacson, an ex-senator and ex-national police chief who is amember of PMA Class 1971. “One cannot challenge the decision of the honor committee. We consider it infallible, rightly or wrongly. It cannot make mistakes because it is a committee of peers and the ones chosen to be in the committee are (cadets) who have the highest respect of their fellow cadets,” Lacson said in a phone interview. Those who are tried by the honor committee are “ostracized” by the entire cadet corps “until they are pressured to resign,” he said. “Because you will be all alone, no one will deal with you. You will be treated like you don’t exist. Even the plebes won’t salute you or call you ‘sir’ because you had violated a time-honored tradition. (Cudia’s) is a unique case where a cadet has been tried, found guilty, and he is now fighting the decision,” Lacson said. Cudia was subjected to a trial by the honor committee for allegedly lying about why he was late for class. Cudia was set to graduate as the salutatorian of “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014 and receive the Philippine Navy Saber as the top cadet to join the naval force. AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista (PMA Class ’81) has ordered a review and reinvestigation of Cudia’s case. Lacson’s comment was sought because only a week ago he was the key-

note speaker at the PMA homecoming where the central theme of his speech was the sanctity of the Honor Code. Only four days after Lacson exhorted the PMA alumni to live up to the Honor Code beyond the grounds of the academy, the controversy involving Cudia erupted and the corruption issues that had hounded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) all came back. On Friday, a number of PMA alumni began using their cadet photos as their Facebook profile pictures to show support for their alma mater, the Honor Code and the honor system that they followed at the academy. An attack on the Honor Code and the honor system “shakes the very foundation of the long gray line,” said an Army captain who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Many feel that the whole issue now is an assault on the PMA and the Honor Code,” the junior officer said. “Hopefully, it (the PMA) comes out stronger after all of this has passed,” Bautista said. Lacson does not agree that the Cudia controversy that has focused the spotlight on erring PMA alumni has shaken the long gray line. “There were those who had fallen out of the line but many are still staying in the line,” he said. Alumni of the PMA and the Officers Candidate School (OCS), which upholds the same Honor Code and system, said it would be difficult for non-cadets to understand the tradition followed by the cadets. “The Honor Code is inculcated in us from Day 1. At least in the four years of our cadetship, there is no compromise. When we graduate, then there are issues here and there but we are expected to retain the core values,” Lacson said. The honor committee convenes in the dead of night to try a cadet because it is a secret proceeding. Lacson said that as far as he knew, there is not even a transcript of the proceedings to emphasize its secrecy. ■

difference between a libelous statement in print and broadcast, and one on the Internet. Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara proposed scrapping the penalty of imprisonment for libel in the Revised Penal Code altogether. “I think this has been the trend worldwide—to decriminalize libel,” he said. “I don’t think these offenders should be imprisoned,” he said. Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy said the Department of Justice was proposing to Congress a new version of the cybercrime law. Sy said the proposed law would focus, not on libel, which is already sufficiently covered in the penal code, but more on fighting serious online offenses such as child pornography, hacking and “phishing”—trapping people to reveal sensitive information such as bank or credit card accounts. Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said the online libel law would not stop him from criticizing and “making fun” of the Aquino administration’s “tuwid na daan” in his blog, www.ovc.blogspot. com. ■




Unstoppable By Conrado De Quiros Philippine Daily Inquirer CAN AN Edsa still happen today? I spoke to a group of youth some time ago and that was the question they asked. I answered: It probably won’t anymore, though you never know, stranger things have happened. But People Power can and will. In fact, it continues to happen even as we speak. The two terms have always been used interchangeably, but it may help to distinguish one from the other. Edsa I’d put down as the act of massing in sheer numbers at some physical space—“Edsa” has acquired a mythical resonance over the years to refer to spaces beyond the literal avenue that now looks like an “Edsa” on ordinary days during rush hours— for the purpose of protesting an oppression and hopefully getting rid of its source. The fact that it never happened during Gloria MacapagalArroyo’s time when it seemed especially ripe and rife suggests its time has probably come and gone. I myself think the reason for that went far beyond Arroyo’s extraordinary talent for corrupting people, which included the generals and the bishops, to the people themselves

getting jaded about the exercise of that power. Where’s the sense in ousting an Erap only to install a Gloria? That is quite apart from the fact that over the past decade physical space has been greatly overrun by cyberspace. Why mass at Edsa, and endure “Edsa-like” traffic, when you can do so in the space created by text, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, reactions to articles, online forums? People Power is another matter entirely. I’d put that down as a spontaneous burst of concentrated activity to accomplish an end. That doesn’t have to be reactive, or opposing or protesting or stopping an iniquity, it can always be proactive, such as by pushing an idea or cause or advocacy. We’ve had three luminous examples of that over the last few years, which is why I say it is happening even as we speak. The first was P-Noy coming out of nowhere to become the frontrunner in the 2010 presidential election. A phenomenon triggered by the death of his mother, which reminded people of the storyline of good vs. evil. P-Noy wasn’t even a bleep in the presidential radar, the next president was going to be either Manny Villar or Chiz Escudero or Gibo Teodoro. Yet overnight, the landscape changed completely. PNoy lurched forward and strode fairly

comfortably to the finish line. That was as much a case of People Power as the ones that took place in 1986 and 2001, except that in lieu of ousting somebody—though it had that element, too in dashing Arroyo’s hopes to cling on to power—it pushed for an idea, a cause, a new president. It was spontaneous, instinctive, popular, powerful, irresistible. It captured the imagination of the nation. Overnight, it brought in droves of volunteers, who offered their services freely to make up for

[People power is] people coming together spontaneously, instinctively, heroically to do the right thing without anyone telling them to do it... a campaign that lacked money, resources and organization. But who were left behind afterward, Mar Roxas and Butch Abad first in line to reap the harvest of something they never sowed. You wonder why something like this cannot happen in 2016, with the people themselves bidding someone other than Roxas and Jojo Binay to come out of the shadows. After all, 2016 is the 30th anniversary of People Power. The second was the outpouring of generosity, malasakit, bayanihan, af-

ter “Yolanda.” That has always been there in the wake of calamities; for some reason those things bring out the best in us, but nowhere was it more in evidence than after Yolanda. Of course that drew in the same larger-than-life levels of altruism from abroad, other than from China, but the internal galvanization was a joy to behold. People didn’t just give money, they gave of themselves—men, women, and children volunteering to help the refugees at Villamor Air Base, musicians spending Christmas, which was when they normally earned a fortune in gigs, holding benefit concerts and donating all the proceeds to Leyte, students and professionals trekking to far-flung areas where the supertyphoon had cut a swath of destruction to distribute relief items. Again, this was people coming together spontaneously, instinctively, heroically to do the right thing without anyone telling them to do it. If that isn’t People Power, I don’t know what is. The third was the “Million People March” held appropriately enough on National Heroes Day last year, echoing a key People Power proposition that each one could be a hero, the people themselves could be heroes. They did not need a leader, they could be their own leaders. They did not need a messi-

ah, they could be their own saviors. The march of course arose in protest over pork, and though it was never quite duplicated on the same scale afterward, it produced a template that offered enormous possibilities in the future. What made it possible of course was the social media. That was where the idea began, gestated, and bore fruit. Which shows yet again how the physical space of Edsa has given way to cyberspace as the new site of People Power. The latter is the more natural soil for the idea of a spontaneous and leaderless—or nominally led—action to spring from and grow. Yet surprisingly, the one administration that had itself sprung from a show of People Power showed a lack of appreciation for it. I myself had thought it would welcome it in recognition of a common provenance. Alas, it would look at it with fear and distrust, going on to pass a law that would seek to sap it, weaken it, curtail it. The people who noted the irony of online libel being upheld by the Supreme Court on the eve of Edsa are right. It had the same taste as Arroyo, an undeserving beneficiary of People Power, doing everything in her power to disparage People Power. But that is the remarkable thing about People Power, too. When it happens, it is unstoppable. ■


The myths of the 1986 uprising By Amando Doronila Philippine Daily Inquirer FILIPINOS RECALL the 28th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution Monday with marked deep disillusion over the Edsa upheaval as a catalyst of profound political and social change. Euphoria over the Feb. 22-25, 1986, event is down to zero. For the first time, the celebration of the historic moment shifts to Cebu City, not in Metro Manila where the revolution broke out, upon the request of President Aquino. The shift is symbolic. It was in Cebu where the President’s mother, Cory Aquino, the then opposition leader, pursued her civil disobedience campaign after the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos came under heavy international and domestic condemnation for stealing the Feb. 7 snap election. Archival material on the Edsa Revolution tell us that at a “victory rally” at the Luneta on Feb. 16, attended by more than a million people, Cory called for strikes and boycott of Marcos crony media, banks and business establishments. Marcos was under pressure from the Reagan administration in Washington after the US Senate voted 85-9 for a declaration that the snap election was marked by “widespread fraud.”

US President Ronald Reagan had dispatched the veteran diplomatic “troubleshooter” Philip Habib to Manila to try to defuse the escalating crisis and break the standoff between Malacañang and the opposition forces. Compromise eyed The White House had grudgingly admitted that the election was “marred by fraud and violence perpetrated largely by the ruling party,” and instructed Habib to work out a compromise with Cory. Habib met with Marcos, then with Cory. She bluntly refused anything less than Marcos’ removal. The Inquirer’s archives reported that Habib, convinced that his mission had hit a dead end, flew out on Feb. 22. Before he boarded his plane, Habib told a US Embassy officer to tell US Ambassador Steve Bosworth that Aquino had won the snap election. Marcos himself called Habib to show that he still had the support of his countrymen. Habib told the embassy staff: “Marcos is finished and we ought to offer him asylum in the United States.” A few hours later, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and General Ramos pulled out the plug on the Marcos regime. They announced to journalists in Camp Aguinaldo they

had withdrawn from him. During those tense moments, my first clue that the crisis was coming to a head was when diplomats from 15 countries—Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Denmark and West Germany—called on Cory who told them she was determined to assume the presidency “at the earliest possible time.” I was then writing for the reopened Manila Times that had been padlocked by Marcos during the martial law regime.

Three decades after Edsa, the ruling political, social and economic structure has remained entrenched, even more firmly than they were in 1986. Where’s spirit? Except for the official commemoration rites in Cebu, there is little sign that the spirit that drove millions of people to the streets to overthrow the hated Marcos dictatorship has come alive again. Three decades after Edsa, the ruling political, social and economic structure has remained entrenched, even more firmly than they were in 1986. Beginning with the structure of

political leadership, the landscape of no-change is the dominant defining feature: first, since 1986, this country has had only five administrations, made up of offspring of three political dynasties—two from the Aquino clan (Cory Aquino, the first post-Edsa President, and the incumbent Benigno S. Aquino III, son of Cory, both belonging to the Cojuangco clan of Tarlac whose economic power is based on the landed wealth of Hacienda Luisita, one of the largest landlords of the country; the third is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal, who came from a poor peasant family in Lubao, Pampanga, but who nonetheless established a dynasty). Between these two dynasties were nonelite economic commoners, Fidel Ramos, who succeeded Cory Aquino, and Joseph Estrada, a former senator, who was deposed by Arroyo in Edsa II in 2001, after an aborted impeachment trial of Estrada in the Senate on charges of corruption. P-Noy can’t be too smug This history of regime changes in the post-Edsa I period allows us to draw some observations which raise issues over the stability and desirability of people power as a mode of regime change.

The above developments illustrate the instability and fragility of democratic restoration periodically rocked by extralegal people power disturbances. First, as evidence shows, there is no guarantee that the era of people power as a means to effect changes has come to an end. This means that the incumbent administration cannot be too smug that it will not face a people power movement that could dismount it from power before the end of its term, despite its still high popularity ratings on opinion poll surveys. This social gap between the rich and the poor has been aggravated by the fact that the economy has not been creating enough jobs to provide income to the poor. The 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution was never a social revolution that led to a shift of social power from one class to another. Its results were limited to regime change—not system change. The Luisita landholding class or their likes still are at the helm of political power. Their economic power bases have not been redistributed. Their dynastic bases have been replicated in the regions and the local governments where dynastic descendants are in political control.. ■




Skip the party By Juan L. Mercado Philippine Daily Inquirer “A TRADITIONALIST cardinal with a sense of his own splendor is a magnificent beast, like a mammoth draped in embroidery,” noted the Guardian. But under Pope Francis, “they may become an endangered species.” Francis is just two weeks shy of being a year on the Chair of Peter Saturday. He made his first appointments of 19 cardinals, including four Latin Americans, two Africans, and two Asians, one of whom is Orlando Beltran Quevedo, 75, from Cotabato. “They look remarkably businesslike,” the Guardian added. Born in Ilocos Norte, Quevedo was ordained priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1964. Thereafter, he served as bishop of Kidapawan, then as archbishop of Nueva Segovia in Ilocos Sur. He was archbishop of Cotabato when Cardinal Luis Tagle congratulated him an hour before the Vatican broke the news. Skipped over were archbishops in Venice and Turin, the New York Times noted. (What about Cebu?) Cardinals traditionally led these dioceses. In the past, an appointment to such dioceses, or Curia postings, meant a red hat would follow as a matter of course.

Not anymore. “Francis does not accept mechanisms used before to make careers. Instead, he favors men who worked long years as priests before becoming bishops and shown the merciful pastor style he advocates.” Most of the new cardinals come from the poorest countries in the world, including Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Haiti. And Francis wrote the then cardinals-to-be an unprecedented letter: See the red hat, not as an honor but a call to service. Accept the nomination with joy, but avoid any sign of worldliness. It was a gentle but firm corrective to the way the College of Cardinals has traditionally been crammed with people from the bankrolling countries rather than from countries where Catholics form the majorities, the US-based National Catholic Reporter pointed out. In the last two conclaves, cardinals from the United States cast more ballots to elect the next pope than Brazil and the Philippines combined. Yet, these two nations together represent roughly four times the Catholic population of the United States. “This contrasts starkly with the past when wealthy donors threw lavish celebrations,” commented John Allen of Boston Globe. “Normally, this week in Rome is like Oscars week in Hollywood. Everyone has a party, a cocktail, and of-

ten these are swanky black-tie affairs.” Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent for the British Catholic weekly The Tablet, says Francis has begun reforming not only the Vatican but also the papacy itself. As he held the new cardinal’s hands, Francis murmured: “Quevedo, Quevedo.” Said Quevedo of Mindanao, “I really appreciated that,” the new cardinal from Mindanao said. Along with the new cardinals, Quevedo then went on to embrace the

Francis wrote the then cardinals-to-be an unprecedented letter: See the red hat, not as an honor but a call to service. Accept the nomination with joy, but avoid any sign of worldliness. white-haired former pope. Before the ceremonies started, Benedict XVI, using a cane, discreetly slipped into St. Peter’s Basilica through a side entrance. A wave of applause erupted from the 185 cardinals present and stunned people in the pews. Some wept when Benedict removed his zuchetto or white skullcap in a show of respect as Francis approached to embrace his predecessor. How can so much history be crammed into a two-hour rite? The first

people to be called cardinals, in the sixth century, were deacons of Rome’s seven districts, the Economist recalls. “It was not until much later that non-Italians were given the title and an equivalent status to the cardinals of Rome.” Benedict resigned voluntarily end of February 2013. He was the first pontiff to do so since Gregory III quit in 1415 to avert schism. Francis’ first job was as nightclub bouncer. He became the first nonEuropean pope since 741 AD. He is the first Jesuit elected pontiff. In 1534, Saints Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, Peter Faber and companions organized the Society of Jesus. The Society was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. Quevedo’s paper titled “Injustice: The Root of Conflict in Mindanao” sums up his work in the past—and in days ahead as cardinal. “My central conviction is that the root cause of insurgency in the South is injustice to the Moro identity, political sovereignty, and integral development.” “This task is far from simple. Muslim and Christian religious leaders have a major role in this. Both the Koran and the Bible teach respect, understanding, reconciliation, and love.” Muslim leaders here welcomed his appointment. Quevedo is an “architect of Asian

pastoral churches,” the National Catholic Reporter’s Thomas Fox asserts. More than any other living prelate in the region, Quevedo “advocated and designed structures of pastoral Asian churches.” He is a former secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and “played an influential role in developing [key] Asian pastoral statements in recent decades. He is widely respected among his Asian peers,” the magazine adds. “The Church in Asia strives to be inculturated in Asia, rooted in Asia, incarnate in Asia,” Quevedo says. “At the same time, the Church considers the task of interreligious dialogue a pastoral imperative in the common journey of Asian peoples to the Reign of God.” “In a continent of massive poverty, the Church has to be in dialogue with the poor, so that as a Church of the Poor it can be a humble servant of the peoples of Asia and credibly proclaim the Gospel…” That resonates with what Francis insists on: “The pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. … God’s face is that of a merciful father who is always patient. A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just… Jesus did not preach his own politics: he accompanied others.” ■

was Eggie Apostol, publisher of Mr. & Ms., and later, the Inquirer. (Years later, Tita Eggie would merely shrug off the “compliment.” She would blithely reply, “A for Apostol.”) *** The next morning, I woke up feeling cramps in my belly. And when I sat down for my morning ritual, I found a strange clump of blood and mucus, the telltale sign that labor had begun. We still didn’t have telephone lines in our village those days (and cell phones were unheard of ), and so the hubby said he would drive to his place of work and call my obstetrician. For some reason—actually, he confessed that since it had taken me 12 hours of labor to birth our son, he thought he had plenty of time—he decided to do a spot of work while he was there (men!). I writhed in bed, moaning as the contractions came closer and closer and grew in intensity. I began to feel my baby’s head begin to push down, and it was all I could do to stop from cursing the hubby when he finally made an appearance at around noon. We drove pell-mell to the hospital. At one point, I wondered if we had survived the Marcoses only to die on the road while I was in labor. At the

delivery room, the doctors said they would no longer shave me because my baby’s head was “crowning.” When she came out, her head was long and pointed like an eraser, testament to how long it had taken her to negotiate her way down the birth canal. To this day, when I tell her the story of how she was born, I point out that she owes her pointy head to her father. *** My daughter is turning 28 tomorrow. And it is her painful fate that I must tell the world the story of her birth every time the Edsa anniversary comes up. It is a source of endless embarrassment, I imagine. I don’t know what this story means in the long term. I have hopes my “Edsa baby’s” life will turn out to be extraordinary in one way or another, given the circumstances and timing of her birth. But that is an unjust burden, I concede. It’s okay for me if the trajectory of her life turns out as “normal” as it has been for me. While we as a nation may have laid our dreams of democracy, prosperity and peace at the foot of Edsa, only to see these shattered at times, I as a mother can only watch from the sidelines as she carves out her own story, her own way. ■


Another Edsa story By Rina Jimenez-David Philippine Daily Inquirer TWENTY-EIGHT years ago today, I was nine months pregnant and both impatiently waiting for the birth of my second child and wishing the blessed event would not take place just yet because we had yet to overthrow the Marcoses. Two days before we were all taken for a loop when, first, “Radyo Bandido” announced that the Marcoses and their party had left the country, only to have our jubilation crushed when the dictator himself had his picture taken reading the newspaper edition of the day. Soon after the news of the Marcoses’ departure was prematurely announced, I gleefully announced to the hubby: “That’s why this baby doesn’t want to be born yet, it’s waiting for the Marcoses to leave!” Disheartened by subsequent events, I took to bed, vowing not to move until we were rid of The Apo and His Family. So it was that we heard the news, over TV, the following evening that finally our fervent wishes had come true: The occupants of Malacañang had finally fled the premises. I don’t know what came over me. But I just had to be in Malacañang to witness “history in the making.”

Despite his reservations, my husband agreed to drive both of us to Malacañang, but not before making me promise to tell him the moment I felt any pains or contractions. We told the yaya to look after our six-year-old son, crossing our fingers that we would be able to make it home before he woke up. *** By the time we reached the foot of the Santa Mesa bridge (in the area of what was still known then as “Stop and Shop,” after a defunct department store), traffic had stalled. The boulevard was filled with cars and pedestrians, people calling out “Happy Birthday!” “Happy New Year!” “Mabuhay ang Pilipino!” as they passed. The hubby parked the car at the foot of the bridge, and we decided to foot it to Malacañang. We felt no sense of danger or risk, as the crowd, already growing, was quite friendly and affable, people holding up “V” signs with their fingers in every direction. Near J.P. Laurel, I bent to pick up a length of barbed wire, torn from the street barricades knocked down by the mob that now occupied Malacañang, and decided to take it home as a souvenir. As we neared the Palace, though, the crowd had become dense and immovable, and while the people remained euphoric, we could smell

in the air the mood turning sour and angry. My husband and I looked at each other and decided we had pushed our luck far enough. We turned back, somewhat disappointed that we hadn’t reached the gates of Malacañang, as was our original plan, but relieved just the same that nothing untoward had happened. Back on Magsaysay Boulevard, the impromptu celebrations were still going on. Cars and jeeps were filled with revelers, who somehow managed to find cardboard horns (left-

My daughter is turning 28 tomorrow. And it is her painful fate that I must tell the world the story of her birth every time the Edsa anniversary comes up. It is a source of endless embarrassment, I imagine. over from New Year’s Eve?), whistles, drums and noisemakers to fill the streets with the sounds of jubilation. We got home at around midnight, to a quiet house, one which I had thought I would have to flee if the Marcoses managed to prevail. We all knew the “mosquito press” would be one of the early targets of a crackdown, and indeed, it turns out that No. 1 on the list



Canada News

As Kenney agrees to province’s demands, Canada Job Grant deal inches closer BY LEE-ANNE GOODMAN The Canadian Press OTTAWA—The federal government has agreed to two key demands from the provinces and territories on its contentious Canada Job Grant, a development that could pave the way for a deal on the national job-training program, The Canadian Press has learned. Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney sent what he called a final counter-proposal to his provincial and territorial counterparts on Friday that addresses the primary obstacles to an agreement. The offer, obtained by The Canadian Press, states that the federal government “agrees with the main request by provinces and territories in their most recent offer and will allow maximum flexibility in the source of funding for the program.” That means, essentially, that the provinces and territories can commit $300 million to the job grant from whatever federal funds they choose—or from their own coffers. They had railed against being forced to use money from so-called labourmarket agreements, the federal cash

the provinces insist successfully provides job training to their most marginalized citizens. Ottawa, meantime, will continue to transfer $2.1 billion a year in training-related funds to the provinces. The counter-proposal also reiterates that the provinces are not required to match Ottawa’s contribution to the program. As well, the provinces now have until July 1 to start delivering the Canada Job Grant, instead of the original April 1 deadline. “The enclosed revised federal proposal should be considered final,” Kenney writes in a letter accompanying the offer. “I will require a response to the government of Canada’s offer no later than the end of this month. Otherwise, as I have stated previously, the government of Canada will deliver the Canada Job Grant on its own as of April 1, 2014.” The provinces and territories received the counter-proposal on Friday. Some provincial officials sounded upbeat. “After receiving the federal government’s response, I look forward to reviewing and discussing it with my provincial and territorial colleagues, as well as with our respective pre-

miers,” said P.E.I. Innovation Minister Allen Roach, one of three provincial officials leading the negotiations with Ottawa. “I want to thank minister Kenney for his ongoing engagement and collaboration on this file. I’d also like to thank my colleagues across the country for their leadership on this file, which has helped bring us to this point.” Shirley Bond, B.C.’s labour minister, said she was “cautiously optimistic” that a deal was possible, but noted it would require a thorough review by the provinces. “We need to do the analysis,” she said. Ontario’s minister of training, Brad Duguid, said he would thoroughly review the offer before commenting. Jean-Thomas Grantham, spokesman for Quebec Employment Minister Agnes Maltais, said his province is still talking to Kenney. Quebec has been among the most vocal critics of the program, saying it wants to opt out, and didn’t get the offer from Kenney because of the ongoing dialogue with the feds. “We still have the same stand: either we withdraw from the program ❱❱ PAGE 22 As Kenney

Canadian families experience robust growth in net wealth despite high debt BY JULIAN BELTRAME The Canadian Press OTTAWA—Canadian families have become wealthier over the past several years, with net worth rising despite the well-documented growth in household debt and a setback from the recession, a new Statistics Canada study shows. In a report that takes a long view on the state of Canadian finances, the agency finds that the 2012 median net worth among family units—

of two or more persons and unattached individuals—has risen 44.5 per cent since 2005 to $243,800 and up almost 80 per cent since 1999. Those family units have also accumulated more debt, a total of $1.34 trillion in 2012, up from $864.6 billion in 2005. Most of the debt— about $1 trillion—has been used to finance home purchases. All figures are in inflation-adjusted dollars. The Conservative government said the report shows that Liberal criticism of their policies as not benefiting Canadians generally is

wrong. “That is a very significant increase ... after-tax disposable income has increased by 10 per cent across all income bracket,” said Employment Minister Jason Kenney. But while the overall picture of family finances was positive, the report also pointed to continuing disparities across regions, age groups and types of families. The biggest single reason for the improvement in finances overall ❱❱ PAGE 40 Canadian families



ONTARIO WANTS FAST FACTS FOR FAST FOOD TORONTO—Ontario could become the first province in Canada to require restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores to post calorie counts on their menu boards and menus. Health Minister Deb Matthews has introduced legislation that would apply the new rules to food service places that have 20 or more locations in the province. BAD SPELLING, GRAMMAR SIGNS OF AN EMAIL SCAM MONTREAL—Digitally connected young Canadians have become regular targets of phishing scams—fraudsters trying to steal personal information for financial gain, according to a new survey by Visa Canada. The survey found that 92 per cent of respondents under age 35 confirmed they had been targeted by phishing scams for information such as bank accounts, passwords, card numbers and social insurance numbers. LOBBY GROUP SAYS REVAMP CURRICULUM CHOICES TORONTO—Ontario students should not have to choose between so-called applied and academic programs at the start of high school, an education lobby group said in a report released Monday. People for Education said research it has done, as well as past studies by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, suggest splitting students into separate streams contributes to lacklustre grades for those from lower income families. WHATSAPP TO ADD VOICE TO MESSAGING SERVICE BARCELONA—WhatsApp, the popular messaging service for smartphones acquired this week by Facebook, will soon be offering a voice service. CEO Jan Koum said the voice service will be deployed for Android and iPhones this spring, with Blackberry and Microsoft and Nokia phones coming later.

Canada News


Canadians go hockey mad as Olympic men’s squad nets gold medal BY WILL CAMPBELL The Canadian Press HOCKEY-CRAZED CANADIANS from coast to coast thought nothing of an early morning start and streamed into bars— and even a Halifax church—on Sunday to watch and triumphantly celebrate Team Canada capturing Olympic gold. The diehard crowd at the Real Sports bar in downtown Toronto exploded in an earsplitting roar as Canada topped Sweden 3-0 to win its second consecutive Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey. Beer—which began flowing when the puck dropped thanks to relaxed liquor rules—was tossed into the air from red hockey-boot mugs, while revellers mounted chairs and tables in unbridled joy as red-and-white streamers fluttered down on them. Superfan Mike Berks knew what to wear for the big game— a hockey helmet mounted with

a working red goal light—and didn’t give second thought to getting up well before sunrise for the gold-medal contest. “This is our team, this is what we live, this is what we breathe, this is what we do—4:30 in the morning is nothing to watch this,” he said as fans decked out in red-and-white jerseys hooted and hollered around the bar. “There’s no doubt that Canada’s the No. 1 hockey team in the world. This is it, Canada’s No. 1.” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was among the capacity crowd, and briefly pulled many eyes away from the jumbo screen as he posed for photos with fans. “This is what Canada’s all about—it’s hockey right? When people say how do you define Canada, I say, wait until there’s a hockey game,” Ford said. Crowds then spilled into the streets, with a throng of fans paralyzing a major downtown intersection. Snowy weather, no booze and an early 4 a.m. game time didn’t

stop the outpouring of jubilation at a downtown Vancouver sports bar. David Addison stayed up all night to make sure he’d get a spot at the Sin Bin Sports Grill and said the fact the taps were dry due to provincial liquor laws didn’t take away from a fantastic win. “The energy in there is electric,” said Addison pointing the crowd in the bar. “We’re just going to high-five and hug a bunch of strangers and feel really, really awesome.” Montreal fans packed into a stretch of downtown pubs to watch the gold medal matchup. One group of women decided to wear their pyjamas to the game. “When I’m on vacation, I don’t usually get up at 6:30, so I decided to come like this,” said Montrealer Nathalie Theoret. For many, the celebratory eruptions started as the clock ticked away the final seconds of the game and Canada’s decisive


3-0 lead no longer in any doubt. The hockey faithful jumped out of their seats and waved flags over balconies at a two-storey sports bar in downtown Halifax just before the final buzzer. A local church even took fans into its pews to watch the contest. Some cried as they watched the players receive their gold medals, and fans in Sidney Crosby’s hometown let out a deafening cheer when it was his turn to accept gold. Bonnie Forrestall said Cros-

by’s breakaway goal during the second period that cemented Canada’s lead was the highlight of the game. “Sidney Crosby showed who he really is,” said the Halifax resident, who was amid the crowd at HFX Sports Bar and Grill. “(He’s) always in the moment when he needs to be. He’s there, always.” Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Chris Kunitz scored their first ❱❱ PAGE 37 Canadians go

World News

FEBRUARY 28, 2014


Countries apply different rules on the question of who has a right to national citizenship BY ROBERT H. REID The Associated Press ISRAEL IS not the only country to struggle with the question of what defines nationality—place of birth, loyalty or ethnicity? Any child born in the United States becomes American at birth, regardless of its parents’ origins. But that’s by no means the global standard. Here’s a look at how other countries define who belongs and who does not—an issue becoming ever more complex in a globalized world: Germany

Germany’s system has been traditionally based on the “law of blood,” meaning a child is born German if at least one parent was German, regardless of place of birth. The system evolved from Germany’s centuries-long historical experience as a collection of small, independent states whose people developed a sense of national identity based on common language and customs that transcended borders. The system was perverted by the Nazis, who stripped German Jews of their citizenship and absorbed Austria and other

German-speaking areas as part of the German homeland. This sense of ethnic identity as a basis of citizenship persisted through the Cold War, with anyone who escaped Communist East Germany being recognized as a full citizen of West Germany. After the war, ethnic Germans living in former Communist Eastern Europe could get German citizenship nearly automatically. But the system is changing and more non-Germans are qualifying for citizenship. Germany now requires all immigrants— including ethnic Germans—to pass a language and cultural awareness test before obtaining citizenship. It is also now possible for children born in Germany to longtime legal residents to obtain citizenship regardless of their ethnicity. Iran

Iran considers children of Iranian fathers to be Iranian citizens, regardless of whether they are born in Tehran, London or Los Angeles. That provision of the law backfired on ex-Marine Amir Mirza Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian parents and was arrested in 2011 on spying charges during a visit to his Iranian relatives. The

Iranians refused to allow him to meet with Swiss diplomats, who represent U.S. interests in Iran, because they considered him an Iranian citizen on the basis of his parentage. There are provisions in the law for children born inside to non-Iranian parents to be recognized as citizens, including cases of resident aliens who lived for a year in Iran after their 18th birthday. Women who marry Iranian husbands can also become Iranian. Ireland

With Ireland losing about 80,000 people a year due to emigration, the country is among the most liberal in the West in granting citizenship to foreigners who move there and take up jobs. The overwhelming majority of new Irish citizens are African and Asian immigrants who’ve been there legally for at least five of the previous nine years. Ireland also has the “grandparent rule,” which allows foreigners to take citizenship if they can prove at least one grandparent was an Irish citizen at birth. That enables many Americans, Canadians, Australians and others to travel on Irish passports even if they’ve never lived in Ireland.


Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory and half its population in treaties after World War I. The border changes then left large communities of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries including Slovakia, Romania and Serbia. Successive Hungarian governments have considered promoting the welfare of those communities to be a national obligation—something which has often caused friction with its neighbours over the years. The government also fast-tracks citizenship applications for ethnic Hungarians living outside the national borders. More than a half million applicants have been granted citizenship since January 2011. Armenia

The kingdom of Armenia dates from the 6th century B.C. but by the 19th century the area had been carved up by the Russian and Ottoman Empires; it later became part of the Soviet Union. As a result, Armenians fled oppression and dispersed throughout much of the Middle East and Europe, many retaining their language and national identity. Armenia won its independence in 1991 after the fall

of Communism, leading to a groundswell of ethnic and national pride in a people long denied their full identity. As part of the national revival, the Armenian government reached out to the ethnic Armenian diaspora, offering expedited citizenship to Armenians living abroad. The Vatican

Perhaps the world’s most unusual set of citizenship rules comes from the world’s tiniest state— the Vatican. The 110-acre (44 hectare) sovereign city state is located in the heart of Rome and is home to the pope and the Holy See, which governs the Catholic Church. The Vatican doesn’t claim to be the homeland of any single people—but in practice, everybody’s Catholic. About half of the 600 or so residents have Vatican citizenship, which is limited to the pope, resident cardinals, diplomats of the Holy See and some people who work there. Employees must take an oath that includes a profession of faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the official religion. The Church’s code of canon law and the civil law that governs life in the Vatican City State are derived from Catholic doctrine. ■

Witnesses: 70 Muslims killed in massacre in rural Central African Republic BY KRISTA LARSON The Associated Press CARNOT—Christian militiamen killed at least 70 people in the remote southwest of Central African Republic, at one point ordering a group of Muslims to lie on the ground and shooting them one by one, witnesses said Monday. The militiamen, known as the anti-Balaka, slaughtered the Muslims in the village of Guen earlier this month, a Catholic priest, the Rev. Rigobert Dolongo, who helped bury the bodies, told The Associated Press. At least 27 people were slain in the first day of the attack, while 43 others were killed on the second day, he said. Ibrahim Aboubakar, 22, said the anti-Balaka stormed Guen

and killed his two older brothers after they were heard speaking in Arabic. “Later that day they rounded up dozens of people and forced them all to lie down on their stomachs. Then they shot them one by one,” he said from the refuge of a Catholic church in Carnot, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) away, where he is among 800 seeking shelter from attack. At least two other families who survived the attack are here now, including Gisma Ahmed, who is now a widow at 18 with two young children. Sitting in the shade breastfeeding a 4-month-old while her 3-year-old daughter played nearby, she could only weep when asked about the killings. Relatives said that her husband was shot while trying to flee.

Hundreds of Muslims remain in Guen, hiding in the town’s Catholic church and also at the imam’s home. Those Muslims still in Guen appealed by telephone for African peacekeepers in Carnot to rescue them, according to two Muslim residents who insisted on anonymity because they feared for their lives. They also confirmed that heavily armed

anti-Balaka were still in control of the village Tuesday. The local commander for the peacekeeping mission said he needed permission from his supervisors in the capital, Bangui, to go to Guen. Like much of the violence in Central African Republic, the true toll from the attack on Guen may never be known. Most survivors fled deep into the rural bush, hiking to safety in towns further west. News of the massacre came nearly three months after Central African Republic’s political crisis erupted into violence between the country’s Christian and Muslim communities, leaving more than 1,000 dead in Bangui alone in a matter of days. Many hoped the crisis would stabilize after the Muslim rebel president agreed to

step down and go into exile, clearing the way for elections by early next year. However, both Muslim rebels and the Christian fighters are implicated in a growing number of attacks fanning out far from the capital all the way to the country’s southwest near the border with Cameroon. Human rights groups have documented hundreds of deaths since early January, when the Muslim rebel government crumbled and Christian fighters sought to avenge the regime’s abuses. Tens of thousands have fled for their lives to neighbouring countries, leaving some towns in Central African Republic without any Muslim residents. Before the outbreak of violence Muslim’s made up about 15 per cent of the country’s 4.6 million people. ■

World News


Putin faces high risks over Ukraine with Russia’s clout at stake BY VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV The Associated Press MOSCOW—A SUCCESSFUL Olympics behind him, President Vladimir Putin is facing what may become the most dramatic challenge of his rule: how to respond to the turmoil in Ukraine, a country he has declared vital for Russia’s interests, which is home to millions of Russian-speakers and hosts a major Russian navy base. Some in Ukraine’s Russianspeaking east and south already have begged the Kremlin to help protect them against what they fear could be violence by the victorious protesters who toppled Ukraine’s Moscowbacked leader. Putin has refrained from taking a public stance on Ukraine amid the Sochi Games, but the mounting tensions could quickly leave him with a stark choice: Stick to diplomacy and risk losing face at home, or open a Pandora’s box by entering the fray. If Moscow openly backs separatist-minded groups in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula that serves as the base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, it could unleash devastating hostilities that Europe hasn’t seen since the Balkan wars. And ignoring pleas for help from pro-Russian groups in Ukraine could shatter Putin’s carefully manicured image of the tough ruler eager to stand up to the West, eroding his conservative support base at home, where his foes could be encouraged by the Ukrainian example. Facing such high risks, Putin has remained silent, weighing his options. His premier, Dmitry Medvedev, on Monday poured scorn on the new Ukrainian authorities who replaced President Viktor Yanukovych, and questioned their legitimacy. But he wouldn’t say what

action Russia might take to protect its interests. “If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kyiv to be the government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government,” Medvedev said. The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the West for turning a blind eye to what Moscow described as the opposition reneging on its agreement signed Friday to form a unity government and aiming to “suppress dissent in various regions of Ukraine with dictatorial and, sometimes, even terrorist methods.” Amid spiraling tensions and increasingly tough rhetoric, Putin’s best hope for striking a peaceful compromise on Russian interests in Ukraine could paradoxically be former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was freed Saturday after more than 2 1/2 years behind bars. Tymoshenko, who narrowly lost the 2010 presidential vote to Yanukovych and landed in prison on abuse of office charges that were denounced by the West, immediately jumped to the forefront of Ukraine’s political scene. She flew to the capital immediately after her release to speak to tens of thousands of demonstrators on Kyiv’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan. Her charisma, ambitions and unparalleled political skills would make her all but certain to win the Ukrainian presidency in early elections set for May. Putin, who had good ties with Ukraine’s fiery ex-premier in the past, could hope for striking a deal with her that would safeguard Russian interests without the need to resort to force. “If she consolidates power, Putin will be quite happy. They understand each other perfectly well,” said Stanislav Belkovsky, a political consultant who advised the Kremlin and worked in Ukraine. “He has good ties with

Tymoshenko, and her triumph would suit him.” Tymoshenko, who comes from eastern Ukraine, could be an ideal peacemaker, restoring an uneasy balance between Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east and south, and its western regions that abhor Russian influence. She is burdened, however, by the legacy of insider deals and corruption allegations during her business and government careers, which may challenge her campaign. She also faces the tough task of winning the trust of some of the protesters, who are suspicious of old players and want fresh faces and strong action. And she will have to walk a fine line between publicly taking an anti-Kremlin posture to win votes in western regions and assuaging residents of the east that their interests will be protected. For Putin, she could actually make a more convenient partner than the hesitant and

indecisive Yanukovych, who had tried to manoeuvr between Russia and the West and provoked public anger by abruptly shelving a pact with the European Union in favour of a bailout from Moscow. Russia’s state-controlled broadcasters heaped scorn on Yanukovych, casting him as a leader who was too weak to use force to establish order and betrayed police who had stood behind him. That’s a clear sign the Kremlin sees him as a discarded asset. Reports about Yanukovych hiding in the Crimea, which hosts Russia’s naval base, could encourage some activists in Kyiv and western Ukraine to pressure the government to apprehend him. They want to put him on trial for sanctioning the use of force against protesters that resulted in scores of deaths. Such a move could set the stage for violence in the Crimea, where most of the population speaks Russian and abhors na-

tionalist groups from western Ukraine. Any such clashes would in turn put pressure on Putin to intervene, and he could come under the influence of more hawkish figures in his administration who have been advocating a tough line on Ukraine to expose alleged Western plots to pry the country from Russia’s sphere of influence. The talk about reclaiming the Crimea long has been rife in Russia’s political circles. The region fell under Russia’s control in the 18th century under Catherine the Great and only became part of Ukraine in 1954, when then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred it from Russian to Ukrainian administrative control. Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine and head of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policies, said that for the Kremlin the key indicators would be the action by the new government regarding the Black Sea Fleet’s presence in Ukraine and authorities’ pledges to stay away from military blocs. He said that if Moscow sees Kyiv reneging on these issues, it would set off alarms in the Kremlin as a possible signal of Ukraine joining NATO. “Ukraine in NATO has been a red line,” Lukyanov said. “If that happens, various options will come under consideration, including appeal to certain parts of Ukraine, including the Crimea.” He warned that a violent confrontation between proMoscow protesters and demonstrators supporting the new Ukrainian authorities could force Russia to act. “If clashes occur in the Crimea, Russia will start by issuing harsh statements and put the Black Sea Fleet on high alert,” Lukyanov said. “Russia couldn’t ignore it. There are all kinds of risks.” ■

sun 9-10am at am 147.0


FEBRUARY 28, 2014

Filipino Groups Unite to Push Consular Office Campaign in Alberta EDMONTON—“Open A consular office in Alberta, now!” This call will echo in the four corners of Alberta as Filipino groups converged in two main cities on Feb. 22. Leaders of Filipino groups gathered simultaneously in Edmonton and Calgary to reiterate to the Philippine government their need for a consular office in Alberta. A petition making its rounds in the province that kickstarted the campaign in August 2013 has gathered around 5,000 signatures from Filipinos. Led by Filipino group Migrante Alberta, the gathering aims to unify the broadest number of Filipinos and Filipino groups and form a coalition to push the campaign. As of yet, the coalition building will be participated in Edmonton by Kabisig society of Fort Saskatchewan, Filipino Support Services Society Edmonton, Philippine Cordillera Association and Kalinga Association. Joining in Calgary will be Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association of Calgary, CIWA (Calgary Immigrant

Women’s Association) - Filipino Community Dev’t Program, Possibilities in Motion, Philippine Independent Organizing Committee, Babae (Women), UP (University of the Philippines) Alumni Association of Calgary, CAFFA (Council and Assembly of Filipino Organizations and Associations), PCC (Philippine Cultural Center Foundation), Knights of Columbus, Filipino Catholic Society, Mabuhay Calgary and Quezonian. “The gathering of Filipino community groups in Edmonton and Calgary is an important milestone in our campaign to have a consular office in the province,” says Marco Luciano, Migrante-Alberta spokesperson. “This further solidifies and validates our demand for accessible services from our own government,” he added. Luciano said that the campaign aims to address the ever-growing needs of the more than 100,000 Filipinos in Alberta. Citing statistics, Migrante Alberta noted

that Filipinos ranked 4th among the most visible minorities in Alberta. It said that the Philippines topped as source country for immigrants landing in Alberta from 2007 to 2010, based on the 2011 Alberta Immigration Progress Report. In 2010 alone, the number of immigrants from the Philippines who entered the province jumped by 40% from the previous year, it added. Meanwhile, booking an appointment to renew passports through the Philippine consulate’s outreach services is proving to be more and more difficult for Filipinos. On January 27, the Philippine Consular Office in Vancouver opened its online booking for passport renewals which will be held in Edmonton in an outreach activity from March 8-11. In monitoring this, Migrante Alberta noted that it took only 10 minutes until the website went down with a message ❱❱ PAGE 39 Filipino Groups


As Kenney... with full compensation or we renew the (labour market agreements) purely and simply, with the criteria we had before,” Grantham said. If a deal is imminent, it would represent a significant feather in Kenney’s cap. The prospects of an agreement were bleak just a few months ago, when the provinces were united in opposition. But provincial officials conceded that Kenney, known as a Mr. Fix-It in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, was conciliatory and respectful in subsequent negotiations, while he also managed to persuade the Conservative government to agree to concessions. Kenney’s cabinet colleague, Jim Flaherty, lacked a similar diplomatic touch last week when he slammed the provinces for complaining about the job program. “Job training in Canada is not provincial tax money, it’s federal tax money,” Flaherty said. “And it’s not for a provincial government to tell the federal government how to spend federal tax money. ... The provin❰❰ 18

cial governments have taxation powers; they can raise their own taxes.” The Conservatives have been consumed with addressing a skills shortage in the country’s labour force that the Conference Board of Canada has called the biggest barrier to Canadian competitiveness. The original Canada Job Grant proposal aimed to provide $15,000 per eligible worker, divided equally among Ottawa, the provinces and employers. In the face of the hue and cry from the provinces, Kenney then offered to cover the provincial portion of the grant, upping the federal share to $10,000. Ottawa has been pushing employers to participate in training, as they did relatively robustly in the early 1990s. Since then, employer investment in training programs has decreased significantly. “I encourage all provinces and territories ... to make their training programs more employer-driven and more attuned to the realities of local labour markets,” Kenney wrote in his letter. ■



Citizenship minister challenges critics of proposed changes to Citizenship Act BY MICHAEL MACDONALD The Canadian Press HALIFAX—Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander is challenging critics who suggest the federal government is making it more difficult for immigrants to become naturalized citizens. Chris Alexander, in Halifax as part of a cross-country tour to promote proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, said Friday there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response to the amendments tabled earlier this month. “Every time we’ve made the criteria slightly more demanding for citizenship... we have seen the number of permanent residents applying to be citizens go up,” he told a news conference at an immigration museum on the Halifax waterfront. “When you do these things to underline the meaning and value of citizenship, you make it more valuable.” The minister said a new provision that requires applicants to be present in Canada for a total of four out of their last six years is not an onerous demand. As well, the amendment says applicants must be in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years. “It’s not a dramatic change,” Alexander said. However, some critics have suggested that highly skilled immigrants who travel the world to find work will find it more difficult to meet such a test. Alexander said most immigrants who typically apply for citizenship have already been in Canada for at least four years, which means the requirement won’t be hard to meet. Besides, he said, the requirement used to be five years before it was dropped to three more re-

cently. More importantly, Alexander said, the amendments include key changes aimed at thwarting people who pay consultants to pretend they are living in Canada when they have no intention of ever setting foot in the country. “Under these new provisions we won’t be vulnerable to that,” he added. Alexander also suggested there has been confusion over amendments that deal with terrorism. Under the proposed changes, citizenship can be revoked from dual nationals convicted of terrorism, high treason and spying offences or who take up arms against Canada. As well, permanent residents who commit these acts will be barred from applying for citizenship. Alexander said the rule would only apply to those facing such charges in a Canadian court. “We would not accept such convictions from a dictatorship or countries that don’t have the rule of law,” he said. “By doing this, we are only catching up with (most of ) our allies in NATO.” He said the change would act as a deterrent to those with dual nationality who might think of “going off to Syria or elsewhere to ... fight with extremist groups.” Alexander said the changes are needed because the Citizenship Act hasn’t been overhauled in 36 years. He said the amendments are meant to strengthen the value of a Canadian passport and to improve the efficiency of how citizenship is acquired. The minister said he hopes the changes will help cut a backlog of citizenship applications that has grown to 320,000 files. On average, Canada admits about 250,000 immigrants every year and the Immigration Department plans to admit more than 261,000 in 2014. ■

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander at Richmond, B.C.


FEBRUARY 28, 2014



Alberto Rodil

BY ANGIE DUARTE Philippine Canadian Inquirer ALBERTO RODIL is no stranger to struggle and sacrifice. Thankfully, however, his sacrifices have paid off, and he now reaps the fruits of very difficult labour. Beyond that, he finds himself in a position to share the fruits of his labour; in the service of others who—like he once was—are well-acquainted with struggle and sacrifice. A hard knock-life

A Filipino immigrant to Canada, Rodil put his hand to the Canadian plow, working varied survival jobs for the first five years within moving to the country. Like many others before him, all Rodil wanted was a better life for his family, and better opportunities for his children. As such—as any loving and responsible husband and father would—he did whatever it took to provide for his family. Also like many others before him, his dreams for his life were far different from mere survival. Realizing that these dreams would not come to pass if he got stuck in the vicious cycle of working to simply survive, Rodil decided to go back to school. He attended George Brown College in Toronto, where his persistence and diligence earned for him a degree in the school’s Social Service Worker Program. Despite having to juggle his duties as student, father and provider, he managed to not only finish his studies, but also graduate with honours. Mind you, it was far from easy. Throughout the two–year period of his full-time study, he worked nights, as a cleaner at the Belmont House (a retirement home for seniors). Early mornings before school were spent studying. Plus of course, time devoted to his obligations as head of the home. With all he had to juggle, relaxation was a commodity with a ridiculously high price tag, and sleep became a luxury enjoyed for a scant 2-3 hours daily. Still, Rodil pressed on. On a new path

Shortly after his second year

Photo with late Girlie Dioquino, a Live-In- Caregiver who died of lung cancer in 2012

working at Belmont, Rodil decided to venture out onto a different career path; one that he mapped out and strategized based more on his life’s dreams, and less on the instinct for survival. Much of his work on this path was founded on volunteerism and his genuine desire to help fellow-immigrants; and although the benefits to others were innumerable, it was to be an investment into his own life, as well. Rodil actively volunteered for eleven non-profit organizations of his choice, working nine-to-five, and sometimes into the night, as often as six or seven days a week. Finally, a breakthrough. In December 10, 2010, he was employed full-time as a Settlement Worker at the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office in East York, Toronto. He was likewise given the designation of Settlement Worker for Seniors and Support Settlement Worker for Live-In Caregivers. He fulfilled his duties with an eagerness and excellence that gave credence to his commitment to the organization and to the community. The extra mile

With his newfound career and life course, skills acquired from countless hours spent on volunteer work, as well as knowledge gained from his collegiate studies, Rodil found himself in a position to be of great help to others. As such, he chose to provide free assistance to hundreds of newcomer immigrants, helping them get jobs in the Toronto area by assisting

them in putting together a good resume, aiding them in the job search, and ultimately connecting them with local employers. Rodil’s exemplary work for the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO) included service to the multicultural senior citizens of East York, Don Mills, Flemingdon, and St. Jamestown communities; all part of the agency’s extension offices. But he went the extra mile, beyond what was expected of him. Rodil also offered his services to more than 600 Live-In Caregiver clients of the organization. Care for Caregivers

Going the extra mile meant sometimes handling complicated cases of Live-In Caregivers. As Support Settlement Worker for Live-In Caregivers, Rodil face a variety of challenging situations; from stories of abuse and harassment by employers, to unpaid overtime, privacy issues, health issues, loss of status, even finding a new employer. Rodil, because of his care for his caregiver clients, has thus far served, supported and helped over 600 caregivers, who are now members of the TNO Caregivers in Transition Program. He helps the members of the program understand the intricacies of the immigration process, and assists them with their varied needs for permits, applications, and papers— tasks which can be quite daunting for the new immigrant. Perhaps among his more significant efforts was the contribution he made towards the repatriation of Filipino nanny

Rodil is nominated for Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants of 2014 award.

Girlie Dioquino’s body from Canada to the Philippines in May 2012. Dioquino, who succumbed to a quick but painful battle with lung cancer, had no life insurance and no assets. While she was battling the disease, she expressed her desire to either return home, or send for her parents to be with her in Canada. Neither came to pass, due to the aggressiveness of the cancer. Dioquino’s final request before her death was to have her body repatriated to the Philippines. Not being a registered member of the Philippine Overseas Workers Welfare Association, unfortunately, she was not entitled to repatriation benefits, the cost of which is pegged at $6,000-$8,000. Rodis’ efforts to initiate a fund raising drive for Dioquino’s repatriation enabled Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office to give the nanny some dignity in her passing. This, despite the fact that fundraising for a client was really “not a part” of Rodil’s job at the agency. It was, however a part of his job as a human being to respond to the plight and crisis of fellow-humanity.

Awards and Accolades

For all his tireless efforts, Rodil has received awards and accolades. And rightfully so. He was a recipient of the Thorncliffe agency’s Dedication and Leadership Award, and was also nominated in 2012 for the prestigious United Way Bhayana Family Foundation Award in the Dedication Category. The Selection Committee acknowledged his drive and perseverance in his field, and gave him the award. Out of more than a hundred likewise deserving and competent nominees from different nonprofit organizations in the General Toronto Area, Rodil was the one who was deemed most dedicated. Beyond these, his accomplishments in Canada serve to inspire other immigrants to work harder, sacrifice, and strive to become successful. Alberto Rodil has become an icon of change and hope for thousands of newcomers to Canada—people he is proud to call not only his clients and country folk, but also his friends. And therein lies his true reward. ■



Hot & Cold

Burning Passion for the Ice Three reasons to love Michael Christian Martinez even more BY CHING DEE Philippine Canadian Inquirer MICHAEL CHRISTIAN Martinez has certainly become a household name to many Filipinos with his history-making stint at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. As the sole delegate of a tropical country to the Winter Olympics, millions were curious how Martinez would fair in the games. The mere fact that he qualified to the Olympics is more than enough proof that he’s got what it takes, enough to shut up naysayers. Martinez made history not only by being one of the youngest Olympians in the 22nd Winter Olympics, but also by being the lone delegate from Southeast Asia. He surely made Filipinos proud and on February 23rd, he came back home to the Philippines where he received a heroes’ welcome. He also visited three SM malls as part of SM’s way to honor the Olympian who trained under their roof. Here are just three of the many reasons to love Michael Christian Martinez. He’s young, humble, and full of promise

Born on November 4, 1996, he began skating in 2005 at the age of 8. He joined his first skating competition in 2009, the Tirnavia Edea Ice Cup held in Slovakia, where he got the first place

in the advanced novice men’s division. He was only 13. A year later, in 2010, he began training with John Nicks and Ilia Kulik. He had to move from Paranaque City to California in order to fulfill his training. In 2011, he placed 7th and 8th in the junior novice category of the Youth Olympics and Junior Grand Prix, respectively. He placed first in the 2012 Crystal Skate of Romania, an international figure skating competition, which featured disciplines in men’s singles, ladies’ singles, and ice dancing. He started training under Viktor Kudriavtsev in 2013, and just a few months before he joined the Olympics, Michael competed in the Skate Helena (Pajovic) Cup where he skated to the first place. In praise of his Olympic stint, former Summer Olympian Mikee Cojuanco-Jaworski said, “Michael worked very hard to be here. He’s here because he deserves to be here. He’s driven and passionate.” “You don’t become an Olympian without having those traits. Hopefully he can continue his athletic dreams. It is my prayer that he can do both. He is still young and he has a lot in front of him,” Cojuanco-Jaworski continued in her television interview. In all his competitions, Michael draws his strength from one source. “Every competition I ask [God] for help and confidence,” he told Simone Orendain of the Catholic Register. “It really works!”

He can land a triple axel like nobody’s business

At the tender age of 17, Michael has already achieved way more than most people twice his age. In his short program routine in Sochi, he scored 64.81—33.31 technical, 31.50 component— after skating to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The commentators cannot help but commend Martinez’s flexibility and versatility, even throwing spins and the cantilever flawlessly. “That was fantastic!” exclaimed one commentator during Martinez’s routine. His score was enough to get him a slot to the final Free Skate event. Skating to the tune of Ernesto Lecuona’s “Malagueña,” Martinez earned a score of 119.44 for his routine, which lasted four minutes and thirty seconds. Making his Sochi 2014 performance a total of 184.25. Right at the start, the commentators commended Martinez for starting “like a rocket” with his nearly flawless jumps. On the first half of his routine, Martinez suffers a slight fumble but immediately recovers and went on to perform the rest of his routine with passionate determination. “He’s giving everything that he’s got… He’s fighting right to the finish,” one of the commentators mentioned as Martinez nears the end of his routine. When Martinez finished his routine, one of the commenta-


tors described his performance as “impressive.” He finished 19th out of a total of 30 skaters in the Sochi 2014 men’s figure skating event— making history for himself and the flag he held at the opening ceremonies. As of February 3, 2014, he ranked 30th in the International Skating Union World Standings. He fought the odds

When Michael was only two months old, he was diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis. Due to his respiratory problems, he was often confined in the hospital. He was lured to the graceful swiftness of the skaters who were enjoying themselves in a skating rink inside a mall.

Despite his bouts of asthmatic bronchitis, which prevented him from dabbling with sports, he decided to try out skating. “Year after year my health keeps improving, so my mother fully supported me to continue skating. She said it’s better to spend the money on skating than in the hospital,” Michael said in an interview. The more he skated, the more he honed his skills. And just like any athlete, he had more than his share of injuries. He’s torn several ligaments and obtained blade cuts more than once and endured painful recovery periods that kept him off the ice. Nonetheless, he always ❱❱ PAGE 30 Burning Passion

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FEBRUARY 28, 2014


Fireproofing what’s important to you BY KATHERINE MARFALTEVES Philippine Canadian Inquirer SUMMER IS coming, and March will definitely be a hot, hot month. And while you’re busy planning your summer getaway, don’t forget that March is also the Fire Prevention Month in the Philippines—make sure you begin fireproofing. Here are a few safety tips from the Bureau of Fire Protection in line with the country’s observance of March as fire prevention month. 1. Make sure that you have an organized list of the phone numbers of the nearest fire station. Place them right beside your telephone. 2. Do not store unnecessary rubbish such as papers, gasoline, paint and other combustible materials in your home. 3. When using oil lamps, gas lamps and candles, make sure that you place them away from curtains and put out the flame before going to bed. If possible, simply use battery-

operated or rechargeable lamps. 4. Matches are not for kids to play with. Make sure that you keep them out of reach of children. 5. The LPG tank should be placed outside the house or in a well-ventilated area. Make sure to also replace its hose regularly.

6. A lit cigarette or cigar pipe, when left unattended in close proximity with flammable materials, could start a fire. Easily combustible household items include curtains, clothes, appliances, furniture and other items made of paper, plastic, wood and rubber. 7. When not in use, unplug appliances to avoid over-

heating. 8. One of the most common causes of fire is faulty electrical wiring at home. It is a must to have it checked and repaired by a licensed electrician. Overloading of electrical circuits is a no-no. Don’t replace blown fuses with wires or any metal. 9. Keep at least one fire extin-

guisher at home. 10. Educate your family with some important fire preventive measures. Map out a clear Escape plan. 11. In case of emergency, a first aid kit should be kept handy. With all these in mind, you can enjoy the hot season minus all the worries. ■





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Hot & Cold


Cool Make-Up Tips for Hot Days! BY ANGIE DUARTE Philippine Canadian Inquirer WE’VE ALL heard about it, and we’ve all certainly felt its effects. Mother Nature’s fury unleashed on the not-so-unsuspecting lot of us in the form of global warming. Yes, we SHOULD have known better; yes, we should have seen it coming; yes, the geeks were right; yes, they did try to warn us; and yes, many of us are still in denial. Let’s face it, folks, the weather is going bonkers; waxing bipolar at every turn, and leaving us with one certainty: uncertainty. Back on the Philippine islands, summer is officially in, hoodwinking all of us just as we were enjoying the nice, cool temperature brought by the Siberian winds. Bye-bye layered clothing, hello bare essentials. Short of stripping down to our undies, there are things we can do to help us stay cool when things get hot: wear light and natural fabrics, sandals, slippers, and open shoes. And—gasp!—way less make-up. Guys (and by that I do mean the male populace), this is where you can now zone me out. Unless of course you wish to be an authority on beauty tips, then by all means keep reading. Heavy make-up in the heat is not only an uncomfy no-no, making your face feel thick and sticky-icky as freshly mixed concrete; it is all an unsightly no-no, as it tends to crack and cake. But fear not, you need not bare it all. Here are some tips to keep you looking fresh-faced and cool and avoid that dreaded make-up meltdown: 1. Slap on some sunscreen. This is the very first step, to protect from the heat and sun, and to keep your skin hydrated. Choose a lightweight, non-greasy, non-comedogenic (in English, one that won’t clog your pores) kind specially formulated for the face. I personally am a sucker for the Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 from the Pevonia Botanica line. Works like a charm!

2. Go for flawless! Keep the dessert off your face and on your plate, and pick a foundation that won’t cake or melt on you. Cakey or melting foundation is a common problem in hot weather, especially if you choose a product that is heavy and rich to the touch. My pick would be a mineral-based, lightweight powder foundation, which still offers coverage, without looking like a mask; settling into creases, crinkles or wrinkles (my absolute peeve!); or going all cakey on you. Some awesome brands out there include MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, and Sephora’s Bare Minerals SPF 15 Foundation. I like to use a large, round make-up brush for application, buffing the powder in even, circular strokes to create a perfect finish. Oh, an added tip: after applying the powder, spray a light mist of mineral water on your face and let this air dry. This adds to the flawless finish, as well as helps the powder set, to create lasting perfection. 3. The eyes have it. Pay special attention to the eyes, as they will be the focal point of your bare look. You will need a lash curler, and good waterproof or smudge-proof mascara. Sweat tends to make mascara clump and run, and unless you are aiming for the raccoon look, shy away from washable mascara in hot weather. Begin by crimping your lashes, for that nice wide-eyed, bright-eyed look (this is a MUST for women of a more mature age—it does wonders to brighten your face and defy the droops.) Then, apply even coats of mascara to your lashes (remember to roll the closed container between your palms a few times before application to de-clump the mascara. It is a common mistake to plunge the wand in and out of the mascara tube—this will only cause your product to dry out faster.) Wait a few seconds in between applications, allowing each coat to dry. Keep coats to two, maximum. My best picks are Revlon PhotoReady 3D Volume ❱❱ PAGE 31 Cool Make-up

How to be a real hottie when you’re preggy? BY KATHERINE MARFAL-TEVES Philippine Canadian Inquirer PREGGY BUT still hottie? Achievable? Surely. Gone are the days when pregnant women had to deprive themselves of stylish, oh-so revealing wardrobes—and seductive aura during their entire pregnancy. Demi Moore’s revealing cover photo on Vanity Fair in 1991—made us all realize that—yes, pregnant women can still be beautiful and hot. So, if you’re pregnant like me, go out of your way, feel proud of your growing belly and widening thighs and say to the world: “I am sexy and beautiful!” 1. Flaunt it. Early on in your pregnancy, you will notice that your breasts get fuller. Take advantage of it. Go and purchase some sexy, lacy and racy bras from your favorite lingerie store. “A [maternity] bra with good support is an investment worth making,” fashion designer Liz Lange said. As for underwear, she recommends non-maternity styles—even thongs—as long as they fit under the belly. “It’s not about showing it all off,” Lange, who is also the president and founder of Liz Lange Maternity added. “It’s about sophistication and style.” Shop for a close fitting dress that hugs your curvier figure. With overflowing breasts, wider hips, and plumper booties, you will surely be a hottie preggy, especially in the eyes of your hubby. Swimming is one of the few exercises that you can engage in when pregnant. Make it as an excuse to wear a bikini and flaunt your baby bump. Who says you can’t be sexy with tees and jeans? A white tee paired with tight fitting jeans can emphasize your growing breasts, widening hips and flabbier booties. 2. Pamper yourself. Most pregnant women experience dizziness, vomiting,

headache, and food aversions especially in the first trimester. So, don’t we deserve some pampering? A professional massage, specifically designed for pregnant women, will surely awaken your senses and lighten up your mood. So go ahead and visit the nearest spa (make it as an excuse to date your hubby!) How about your hair? Are you still happy with your hairstyle? Majority of pregnant women notice extra hair growth sometime in their pregnancy. Take advantage of it and get yourself a new hairstyle. It is an old myth that you can’t treat yourself with a manicure and pedicure when pregnant—newly cleaned and colored fingernails and toenails look sexy with your favorite wristwatch and flip flops. What perfume scent do you flaunt? As your hormones are in high gear, any scent can be heavenly enhanced. Some engaging fragrances you can consider include Brazil Bea Avon, Beautiful Estee Lauder and Body Victoria Secret. Before going to bed with your husband, indulge your beautiful body with shower gel and lotion—surely, he will turn the lights off—and make a romantic and (sensual) night out of it. 3. Refresh yourself. Pregnancy is not the right time to feel ugly. Remember, we all have that pregnancy glow that we just need to enhance. Keep your hair combed. Though you can’t get a hair treatment, you can still make it fabulous by wearing a cute wig if you wish. But basically, a well-combed hair will do the trick. Heavy makeup and daily cream are not recommended when pregnant—lighten up your face by adding a little bit of lip gloss— and of course—a nice, genuine smile. 4. Set up a relaxing mood for a romantic date. Being pregnant is not an excuse to not date your husband. Guess what? ❱❱ PAGE 31 How to

Seen & Scenes

FEBRUARY 28, 2014



For photo submissions, please email

The Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation (PCCF) is donating funds to build homes for victims of leprosy through ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) organization. Last January a group of PCCF officials led by EVP Rosemer Enverga, with Miss Philippines Canada Caitlin Pantaleon, Mrs. Philippines Canada Chona Stinson and Little Miss Philippines Canada Anjali Pathmanathan visited the site at Tala, Caloocan to meet the recipients of the first ten houses. Another ten houses were pledged to complete the village.

Seen & Scenes


FRANCISCA DE LEON CELEBRATES HER 60TH BIRTHDAY Francisca de Leon (6th from left) celebrated her 60th birthday with friends and members of her family on February 15, 2014 at Andona Crescent. Shown in photo (left to right) include Jennifer, Liz, Dawn, Roselyn, Anna, the birthday celebrant, Francisca de Leon, her daughter Anamarie and Lei. St. Jamestown News Service, Romy Zetazate

SAMPAGUITA SENIORS Sampaguita Seniors hold a Valentine and birthday celebration. Crowned as Mr. and Ms. Valentine were Ernie Macaranas and Merlina Fayuzal. The birthday queens were Dominica Bagunu and Pacita Ong.

MALIGAYA TRAVEL OPENS VANCOUVER OFFICE Maligaya Travel officially opened their Vancouver Office located at 500 Kingsway, Vancouver BC. Owners Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Rodriguez, Maligaya Travel Manager Rey Gamboa and staff Imelda and Elvie welcomed guests including Consul General Neil Frank Ferrer, Labour Attache Bernie Julve, PAL’s Allan Coo and Ed and CarmelitaTapia.

WEST COAST DOMESTIC WORKERS’S ASSOCIATION The West Coast Domestic Worker’s Association held a fundraising dance on February 22, 2014 at St. Mary’s Ukranian Church.

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FEBRUARY 28, 2014


Burning Passion... ❰❰ 25

strapped his skates back on as soon as the doctor gives him the

go signal. Not only did he fight against physical challenges, but he— with the help of his family— also managed to get through the rather draining process of sending him to international competitions. With the help of business magnate Manny V. Pangilinan, Michael was flown to Russia to participate in the Olympics. There were reports of the family having to mortgage their home in Paranaque in order to finance his trip to Sochi, which his mom shared with the Catholic News Service. According to his mother Maria Teresa Martinez, they had no choice but to mortgage their house due to lack of financial support from the government. “My house is mortgaged. It’s a crazy investment,” said Mrs. Martinez. “I don’t even think anyone at the president’s office knows there’s a Filipino skating

in the Olympics.” She detailed that they sent a letter to President Benigno Aquino III, asking for support, but got no response. “For one reason or another,” she writes, “I believe my letters did not reach the President himself,” she said. “Before there was no one to hold on to, only my mom but no one else,” Michael said in an interview with the Catholic Register. “So I’m holding on to God.” However, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that they did not receive the said letter. If they have, Malacanang would have certainly responded in any way, said Lacierda in a press conference. The Philippine Sports Commission also said that they extended their help to the young Olympian, saying that they pledged to assist Michael when it comes to his daily allowance ($50 - $1,250 a day) for 24 days during Sochi 2014.


Gina Calaguas, executive secretary of the Philippine Olympic Committee, also said that she paid $7,200 to Michael’s coach Viktor Kudriavtsev for his coaching services. On February 18th, Mrs. Martinez clarified her statement and expressed her gratitude to those who helped her son go to Sochi. “We are truly thankful to Shoemart (SM), to the Philippine Skating Union, and to the Philippine Olympic Committee

(POC) for their help,” she said. According to Mrs. Martinez, “From SM we are getting about $111 a day. That is already a big help but it is still not enough since, when we train in the US, we spend at least $400 a day just to cover the coaches’ fees ($100-$150/hour) and $40 for ice rink time ($10-16/ hour). That amount is just not enough to prepare an athlete for the Olympics. And it takes many years of training to be in the Olympics, not just 10 months.”

After Michael’s successful and historical journey to Sochi, one of his principal sponsors Manny V. Pangilinan gave him a US $10,000 bonus for a job well done and for bringing pride and honor to the Philippines. “My goal is to qualify again for the next Winter Olympics,” Michael said. “If I can get more support financially, I’m thinking about the next Olympics.” Michael is a truly testament to the power and triumph of the human spirit against all odds. ■

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Gino Echavez

Hot & Cold


Mutual funds that were hot last year continue to be despite a rough start to 2014 for stocks BY STAN CHOE The Associated Press NEW YORK—Hearts raced faster as stock markets around the world stumbled in January, but that didn’t stop investors from plugging more money into mutual funds. For a seventh straight month, investors put more cash into mutual funds than they withdrew, according to Lipper. Funds that invest in a mix of U.S. stocks attracted $10.6 billion, for example. That was despite the worst start for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index since 2010. To be sure, January is historically the month when savers are most inclined to put money into mutual funds. It’s their first opportunity to invest in individual retirement accounts in the new tax year. But a look at which individual funds were attracting— and bleeding—the most dollars last month illustrates several trends that took hold last year. Among them: INDEX AND TARGETDATE FUNDS CONTINUE TO SHINE. The most popular fund last month was Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index fund, which took in $3.1 billion in net investment, according to Morningstar. It’s not a big surprise. It was the third-most popular fund of 2013, attracting $17.5 billion. It is also the largest mutual fund, with $302 billion in assets at the end of January. It’s participating in a broader tide of dollars flowing to index mutual funds. Such funds try to mimic a broad market index rather than beat it. Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index fund tracks an index that covers nearly every stock that trades on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, from small companies like cupcake bakery Crumbs Bake Shop to giants like Apple. Because index funds don’t research individual investments,

they charge lower fees. Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index fund has an expense ratio of 0.17 per cent, which means that $17 of every $10,000 invested in the fund is used to pay manager salaries and other operating costs each year. The average expense ratio for the category is 1.11 per cent. The Total Stock Market Index fund also is benefiting from increased interest in targetdate retirement funds. These are funds built for people who don’t want to worry about how to divvy up their retirement savings among stocks, bonds and cash. When investors are far away from retirement, target-

date funds automatically keep most of their accounts in stocks. As their retirement date comes closer, the funds automatically shift more assets toward bonds. The Total Stock Market Index fund is a major part of Vanguard’s target-date fund lineup. For example, Vanguard’s target-date fund for people retiring in 2045 has 63 per cent of its $12.5 billion in assets in the Total Stock Market Index fund. FOREIGN STOCK FUNDS ARE STILL HOT. Demand has been strong for foreign stock funds: They attracted a total of $17.4 billion in net investment in January, more than any other category. It was the same story last year, when investors deposited a net

$146.2 billion, triple what they invested in U.S. stock funds. Investors are looking to diversify their stock investments and get them more in line with the overall world’s makeup. The Oakmark International fund attracted $1.5 billion in net investment last month, for example. That’s even though it is mostly closed to new investors. European stocks have also been a particularly strong lure for investors, as the region moves further away from its debt crisis. Europe ranked as the most attractive stock market among the more than 2,000 professional investors at the Goldman Sachs Global Macro conference in Asia earlier this month. It was the “default option of choice,” Goldman Sachs strategists wrote in a report. UNCONSTRAINED BOND FUNDS ARE GAINING IN POPULARITY. Rising interest rates would knock down bond prices, and that’s making investors worry. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is close to 2.76 per cent, up from 2.01 per cent a year ago. Unconstrained bond funds pitch themselves as ways to protect from the risk of rising rates. That’s because they can invest in exotic corners of the bond market, and some even make investments that profit when bond prices fall. The risk, though, is that many of these unconstrained funds own bonds that carry a higher risk of default, analysts say. Last month, Goldman Sachs Strategic Income fund was the second-most popular fund, attracting $2.4 billion. Morningstar classifies it as a “nontraditional bond fund,” and the category as a whole drew $4.1 billion in net investment. That compares with the $6.1 billion withdrawn from intermediateterm bond funds last month. Intermediate-term bond funds are the largest category of bond funds and would be hurt by rising interest rates. ■

How to... You can actually start something special and seductive by taking a candle-lit bath or coddling your body with some perfumed bath salts. Set the mood of the night by lighting some candles and playing some soothing, sexy music. 5. Believe that you are beautiful. Never mind your expanding waistline, hips and thighs; ignore ❰❰ 27

your pimples or your dry lips; worry not about your dry hair or your varicose veins—embrace them—and learn to live with them—for the next nine months. They are signs that you are growing and nurturing a beautiful creature inside you—and for this sole reason—you are indeed, beautiful! Sending baby dust magic your way! ■

Cool Make-up.. Waterproof Mascara, CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara, and Maybelline Magnum Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara. Remember to keep a good eye make-up remover handy, to avoid unnecessary rubbing of your eyes (I use coldpressed virgin coconut oil to remove all my make-up.) Finish off by grooming your eyebrows with some light-tone eyebrow pencil and some clear mascara. MAC’s Eyebrow Mascara is one of my faves for this job. ❰❰ 27

4. Be a Blushing Beauty. Use a bronzer of blush to brighten your face, and create a healthy, natural glow. Smile, and apply a bit of colour with a soft blush brush (Kabuki brushes are hot for this job, as they create a softer, naturally flushed look) to the apples of your cheeks. You may also opt for a nice, rosy cheek stain, but remember that all you need is a dab or two. And do make sure to spread the colour evenly with the tips of your

fingers. Best powder blushes and bronzers for me are Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights bronzer, MAC Mineralize Blush in Gleeful or Warm Soul shades, and Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Tint. 5. Put on that Perfect Pout. And lastly, the lips—the POUTY lips. As a girl, I was taught that it isn’t nice to pout; granted, it isn’t—but it IS oh-so-sexy! Especially on a bare face. Grab a tube or pot of plumping lip gloss or plumping moisturizer for perfectly kissable lips. Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Collagen Active Lip Gloss (yes, a tad pricey, but oh-so-kissy! And its vanilla-mint scent is oh-soyummy!) and DuWop Lip Venom (one of the very first, and now tried-and-tested, products on the lip-plumping scene) are my top two must-haves for this purpose. So go on and bare it all and keep your cool in the heat! Well, not really totally bare; but that will be our little secret. ■




Maricel lets go, moves on BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer BY TURNS candid and reticent, jovial and pensive, actress Maricel Soriano took listeners on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. At a small media gathering last Wednesday, she would crack jokes one minute and then turn wistful about departed loved ones the next. She had just signed a contract with GMA 7, for a new primetime show (tentatively titled “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real”) that would also feature Dingdong Dantes and Lovi Poe. The station’s top executives, led by chair and chief executive officer Felipe L. Gozon, were on hand, to welcome Maricel to the Kapuso network. Although this was a major cause for celebration, Maricel couldn’t help feeling a bit jittery. “Of course, I felt nervous at first,” she told the Inquirer. “But there’s also excitement.” She explained that she was with ABS-CBN for quite a long time before moving to TV5 (in 2010) and then to GMA 7. “Everything is new to me. This is a new workplace. There are new coworkers. I’d have to feel my way around at first,” she said. Baggage

She admitted, however, that she shed tears after receiving the Kapuso offer. “You have to let go of whatever heavy baggage you’re carrying. It’ll take a toll on your heart [if you don’t],” she said in

a mixture of English, Filipino and swardspeak. When she turned her back on past hurts, things fell into place, she recalled. “When I let go, I met with GMA 7 soon after. On cue! Ang bongga! I really prayed for it intently. That made me cry. Then I prayed to give thanks for this blessing.” What was the reason behind the tears? “This was unexpected. I was caught by surprise,” she quipped. “Not everyone would be given this kind of importance after all that had happened.” Sensing that she might divulge too much, she stopped herself. Perhaps rephrasing the question would do the trick: What were the lessons from those experiences? “I have a question,” she turned the tables on her inquisitors. “What kind of lesson would you learn if you gave your all, if you were totally loyal, but still it was disregarded? It would hurt ’di ba?” Reminded that she was with ABS-CBN for over two decades, she asserted: “I was there as long as (network president) Charo (Santos). Is that enough?” Again sensing that she had disclosed too much, she pleaded with the interviewers: “Tama na … I might reveal everything and end up getting sued. That’s more than enough. What’s the use of moving on, if you have a pending case!” All she wanted, she implored, “was to be happy. In any case, I’ve already prayed about it. I just

The actress lamented being “disregarded” by her former network despite her “total” loyalty. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABS-CBN NEWS

want everything to be positive.” On that note, she said she is looking forward to working with Dingdong. She recalled meeting Dingdong through her late manager Wyngard Tracy. “Actually, I asked Wyngard to introduce us,” she recounted. “I never imagined he would become my leading man someday.” ‘MHL’ fan

She also hopes to share the screen with Dennis Trillo. “His acting in ‘My Husband’s Lover’ was nuanced. They were all good in that show.” She was a self-confessed MHL fan. “My friends were always talking about it. So I checked it out and was hooked.” So much so that she was uncharacteristically tongue-tied

when she met Dennis and Tom Rodriguez at the “Bekikang” premiere last year. Apart from the new GMA 7 soap (which will start taping next month and will debut in May), there is also a new Viva movie in the works. A sitcom is also something she would like to try on GMA 7. “Maricel reminds me of Nida Blanca. I want to do a remake of ‘John en Marsha,’ but Dolphy is irreplaceable,” Atty. Gozon told the Inquirer. “‘John en Marsha’ was timeless,” Maricel agreed. Talk of Mommy Nida and Daddy Dolphy never fails to make strong-willed Maricel wax nostalgic. “At the wake of Mommy Nida, I was staring at her casket. My Daddy Dolphy

suddenly went up to me and casually said: ‘Paano ba ’yan … iniwan na tayo ng mommy mo?’” She was inconsolable. Whenever she feels the need to vent, she goes to the memorial park where Daddy Dolphy and her biological mother are buried. “I would talk to them,” she related. “When I won (Best Actress at the Metro Manila Film Festival last December), I went to the park and stayed there until 2 a.m. Whether I am happy or sad, I share the news with them. Sisa lang ang peg!” She was referring to the iconic mad woman in Jose Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere.” That’s Maricel in a nutshell. “I’m loka-loka,” she owned up, laughing heartily. ■



Andi raising daughter to be honest BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer


Cabanero’s sworn affidavit, contradicted by Vice Ganda and hotel director BY KATHERINE MARFALTEVES Philippine Canadian Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES— Roxanne Acosta Cabanero, a former beauty pageant contender, filed a rape case against TV host-actor Vhong Navarro at the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday, Feb. 19. According to her sworn affidavit, she met Navarro on April 24, 2010 when she, along with the other contestants of a beauty contest, watched the noontime show “Showtime” where Navarro was one of the hosts. She added that a staff of the show approached her and said that Navarro was asking for her number. The aspiring beauty queen then gave her number and revealed that she was flattered with the attention that the actor had given her. Soon after, she agreed to meet Navarro, saying that she was picked up by the comedian at Astoria hotel in Pasig City where she and her fellow contestants were staying. She said that Navarro violated her while inside the car. The incident happened around midnight, she added. In an interview with GMA news, she explained why she didn’t report the incident right away, “Nahihiya ako eh... Takot kasi ako, I was scared, I was

young...Kasi alam kong wala akong laban at takot ako kasi baka patayin niya ako eh.” (I was embarrassed… I was scared, I was young… I knew I had no chance against him and I was scared because he might kill me). Cabanero added that Navarro brought her back to the hotel after the alleged rape incident, threatening her not to tell anyone about what happened. She said that one of her co-contestants saw her as she went down the car. Contradicting statements

Following the new rape case filed against Navarro, sources surfaced contradicting Cabanero’s sworn statement. In an interview with “Buzz ng Bayan” on Sunday, Feb. 23, Vice Ganda said that she was indeed with Vhong Navarro on April 24, 2010. The show, he said, started at 9:30 p.m. and ended at around 12:30 a.m. “Nung araw na nagpunta sila para mag-promote ng pageant [sa ‘It’s Showtime’], hindi ko na po ‘yun naaalala. Nung nalaman ko ‘yung date, ipinaalala ng mga tao na concert ko ‘yun at guest ko sila Kean Cipriano and Vhong Navarro. Sa Cavite po ang leg ng concert ko na ‘yun,” he said. (The day when they went to promote the pageant on “It’s Showtime,” I could hardly re-

member that. However, when I learned about the date, people reminded me that it was the date of my concert and my guests included Kean Cipriano and Vhong Navarro. That leg of my concert was held in Cavite). In the same interview, Astoria Plaza project director Ric Valenzuela denied that Cabanero and other contestants stayed in their hotel on April 24, 2010. “Actually that event was offered to us but unfortunately, the event organizer was asking for too many rooms because of the candidates. We could not accommodate them all. We have limited rooms here. We declined the offer of the promotion.” He added, “They decided to transfer to another hotel. We did the negotiations with the event manager but it didn’t push through… That one is confirmed because I was the one who negotiated for that. Confirmed na we declined because we cannot provide the rooms.” “We checked the database. These are the arrivals and guestings from April 22 to 25 para covered because we don’t know how many days. There was none. There was no Roxanne Cabanero.” However, he conceded that it is possible that someone checked in for her or that she was merely a guest of one of their clients. ■

AS A SINGLE mother, Andi Eigenmann promised herself to raise her daughter “to become an honest person.” The actress also said she would allow Ellie, now 2, to meet her father if the child would ask for it someday. “I will never lie to my daughter. I will make her grow up to be someone who is not afraid to be herself in front of other people,” the 23year- old actress said during a press gathering for ABS- CBN’s latest fantasy series “Dyesebel,” where she plays the villainess. Andi has identified actor Albie Casiño as Ellie’s dad, but the latter denied it. Ellie or Adrianna Gabrielle was born on Nov. 23, 2011. Commitment

“I don’t edit what I say to Ellie, especially if it’s about her roots,” Andi pointed out. She said she had already embraced motherhood. “It’s not as

easy as most people think, but at the same time, it’s not as hard, too. When I became a mom, I’ve learned that as long as you commit yourself to something, nothing will be too hard.” Andi, who is rumored to have reunited with former boyfriend Jake Ejercito, insisted: “My daughter is my priority.” She said: “You will never run out of time for important people.” Privacy

The actress, however, refused to go into detail about the real score between her and Jake, son of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. Jake left Manila in 2012 to study in London. “I know that since I’m part of show biz, I owe my story to the public,” said Andi. “It’s just that there are people in my life who are not celebrities. I hope people will respect it if I choose not to reveal too much.” She also downplayed the controversy that Jake’s dad does not approve of her. “I don’t think he ever said that.” ■

Kristine Hermosa pregnant with second child BY KATHERINE MARFALTEVES Philippine Canadian Inquirer “NOTHING IS impossible with God. You just have to have faith. Believe,” Kristine Hermosa said as she reposted the photo of her ultrasound result, first posted by her husband, Oyo Sotto on Feb. 24 on Instagram. The celebrity couple considers it a miracle pregnancy as the Kapamilya actress was previously diagnosed with polycystic ovaries. But the couple kept their faith and got what they prayed for. “Thank you Lord for this wonderful blessing! We just want to share our short beau-

tiful story of how amazing God is.. When 2014 started, we believed God for so many things.. One of those is to have another baby WITHOUT having to take any medication since Tin has polycystic ovaries. And now, God answered one of our top prayers. To have another baby. Tin is now on her 6th week!!!!! With NO signs of polycystic ovaries! We are witnesses of how powerful prayers are. God hears them,” Oyo said in his Instagram post. The 30-year-old actress is six weeks pregnant and is expected to give birth before the end of 2014. Kristine gave birth to their first child, Ondrea, in 2011. They also have an adopted son named Kiel. ■



No wedding bells for Geoff and Carla just yet Though he’s certain he has found the one BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer EVERY TIME they meet with the media, it seems the persistent question is the possibility of tying the knot this year. GMA 7 actors Geoff Eigenmann and Carla Abellana, however, are the first to dismiss the talk as empty hype. “It only gets talked about at press cons,” Geoff quipped. “But Carla and I don’t really discuss it.” Wedding bells are not ringing—just yet—for the Kapuso pair this year. “There are no concrete plans

yet,” Geoff told the INQUIRER. “It’s not a priority as of now.” “I can wait. We still have to save up for the future,” Carla told the INQUIRER in a separate interview. Especially since they are both busy with their respective careers, Geoff explained. As soon as he wraps up work on the primetime series “Adarna,” he will start work on a new show. Although Carla is not visible on television these days, she is juggling three movies under Regal. She just finished work on Aloy Adlawan’s thriller “Third Eye” and is shooting two romantic comedies, Jun Robles Lana’s “Let’s Take a Chance on

Love” and Jose Javier Reyes’ “Somebody to Love.” “I’m not really on vacation. I’m very busy now,” Carla remarked. A trip to the altar is virtually impossible, in light of their hectic schedules . Geoff agreed: “She is always there to stop me from eating junk food. She is very supportive.” In spite of the glare of the limelight, Geoff said that the secret of their relationship was rather simple: “Communication. We’re like other normal couples. It’s just that our job requires us to be on TV. In the end, we’re like everyone else.” ■

Kaye Abad ends relationship with Guji Lorenzana

Josie de Leon plays Tessie in Bayan-Bayanan

Philippine Canadian Inquirer

MISS JOSIE de Leon plays Tessie in the upcoming theatre play “Bayan-Bayanan: Letters from Home.” Miss de Leon known in the Filipino-Canadian Community as Toronto’s Diva, will now show her acting prowess as she plays the role of an OFW Nurse. “I am very lucky and blessed to work under the wings of internationally recognized playwright and director Dr Anton Juan” she says with a smile. Dr. Anton Juan, erstwhile known as the enfant-terrible of Philippine Theatre, is the mentor of many emergent directors, actors, and playwrights. His expressive physical style of theatre has certainly created an impact on audiences and recent generations of artists—in the Philippines and other countries—he has taught. Bienvenido Noriega’s “Bayan-Bayan: Letters from Home” is a tapestry of funny and touching stories. The setting is Geneva in the 1980s, when migrant Filipinos from all walks of life gravitate towards the house of Manang, a Filipina mother figure with a penchant for cooking. As the seasons change, their lives intertwine with the ups and downs of living in a foreign land—eating, laughing and crying their way through a maze

KAYE ABAD and Guji Lorenzana have called it quits. This was revealed by Abad on the February 21 episode of “Kris TV”. Though she didn’t specify the reason of her breakup with longtime boyfriend, she said that they have managed to remain friends, which, according to her is not ideal. She added that she’s not dating anyone now. It will be recalled that last year, the 31-year-old actress admitted that Lorenzana is husband material, but cleared that she’s not yet ready to tie the knot. She expressed fears that her marriage would fail. On staying friends

In the same interview, Abad said that it was Lorenzana’s idea to stay friends with her. “I try to (stay friends). Gusto niya. Pero mas mahirap kasi hindi siya makaka-move on.” (He likes it that way. But it’s more difficult because he won’t be able to move on). Though she believes that it is proper to wait for at least three months before she can start dating again, she is not closing her doors if the right man comes earlier.

On settling down

“Hindi ko pa nararamdaman na mag-settle down. Kasi ang bilis lang sabihin na gusto kong magpakasal, tapos pwede kayong magpakasal anytime. Tapos ang dami ko pang nakakausap na nanay at tatay na nagsasabi na kapag nag-asawa na kayo, doon mo pa lang malalaman yung totoong ugali kapag

magksama na kayo sa bahay.” (I haven’t yet felt the urge to settle down. It’s so easy to say that I want to get married, and you can get married anytime. I was able to talk to a lot of couples who say that when you get married and live in one roof, that’s the only time you will discover the other person’s true colours). ■

of experiences. Ultimately, they are faced by the fragments of their own memories, hopes and dreams, as well as the desire, and fear, of returning to their native country. Miss de Leon is going to be joined by an equally talented Toronto based cast: John Alix as Pol, Jill Alvarez as Aling Pia, Ethelrida Zabala-Laxa as Manang, Deo Moreno as G. del Castillo, Chyrell Samson as Gng. Del Castillo, Veronica Javier as Anna Marie, Matthew Sabido as Ricky, Larry Sabido as G. Luz, Ramon Istaris as Alex, Paul Timothy Lim as Dino and MJ Agra as Connie. “This play will surely touch your heart! It will make you laugh and cry!” Miss de Leon enthuses…” Bayan Bayanan sa Toronto (Letters from Home), presented by Eskwela Inc. with the support of the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulate General of Toronto and brought to you Western Union, will be playing on Friday, March 7 at 7pm, Saturday, March 8th at 2pm and 7pm. The venue is St. Michael's College Centre for the Arts Theatre at 1515 Bathurst St. Toronto. Tickets are at $10.00 and can be purchased via or call 416-7315322. ■



A green light often biggest obstacle on road to the Academy Awards BY JAKE COYLE The Associated Press NEW YORK—This year’s Academy Awards nominees reflect a Hollywood truism: The margin between the dust bin and the Oscar red carpet is often razor thin. The development process of any film can be lengthy and arduous, full of challenges in obtaining financing or a studio executive’s stamp of approval. The biggest obstacle on the road to the Academy Awards is, for many films, simply getting a green light. That’s especially true nowadays, when studios have pulled back on their output and turned their focus almost exclusively to blockbusters. It makes for an annual Oscar irony: When Hollywood gathers to celebrate itself at the Academy Awards, it fetes not its standard business, but its oddities, its rarities, its freaks that somehow managed to squeeze through the cracks. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” for example, might seem like a no-brainer: Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, loads of sex and drugs. But even “The Wolf,” nominated for five Oscars including best picture, came very close to never getting made. After developing the film, Warner Bros. dropped it in 2008. Scorsese would later lament having “wasted about five months of my life” waiting for the Warner Bros.’ OK that never came. It wasn’t until years later

(and after other directors were considered) that the project came together, with independent film company Red Granite Pictures financing the film’s $100 million budget, and Paramount Pictures distributing. “It’s actually kind of a miracle that this movie happened, especially the fact that we were allowed to keep the tone that we wanted all the way to the end,” says DiCaprio. “When was the last time you saw a film like this happen? I don’t know. It doesn’t fit into any specific category or box. It’s an epic. It’s a giant Hollywood epic. It’s almost like a film you’d have to make 30 or 40 years ago when directors had free rein.” The bet paid off not only in accolades, but at the box office. “The Wolf of Wall Street” has made more than $335 million worldwide. The case of “Dallas Buyers Club” (six nominations, including best picture) is even more remarkable. A film that’s now counted among the nine best of the year by the Academy took nearly two decades to get made. Co-producer and co-screenwriter Craig Borten first sold the script in 1996 after meeting and interviewing Ron Woodroof, a Texan who combated AIDS with drugs smuggled from other countries. At one time, Woody Harrelson was attached to star with Dennis Hopper directing. Later, after the script was sold to Universal Pictures, Brad Pitt was lined up to play Wood-

roof, with Marc Forster directing. Another iteration brought in Ryan Gosling and director Craig Gillespie. It was only revived with Matthew McConaughey (the best actor front-runner) and director Jean-Marc Vallee after the rights to the screenplay went dormant and Borten and coproducer Melisa Wallack were able to buy them back. And still, just weeks before filming began, investors pulled their money. The breach was filled partly because McConaughey gave it an air of inevitability. He had already begun losing weight for the role and discussed it on TV talk shows. Made for just $5 million and shot in 25 days, “Dallas Buyers Club” finally got made, long after AIDS dwindled from the headlines. Specialty division Focus Features acquired the film, which has made $30.5 million worldwide. Several of the Oscar nominees have relied on a single person to change their fate. When “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen accepted the Golden Globe award for best drama, he thanked producer Brad Pitt: “Without you, this film would have never got made.” Similar kudos have gone to the young producer Megan Ellison, whose Annapurna Pictures bankrolled two best-picture nominees: David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” ( jointly with Sony Pictures) and Spike Jonze’s “Her” (released by Warner Bros.). The 28-year-old El-


lison, daughter of billionaire Larry Ellison, has been roundly hailed for backing the kind of edgy, auteur-oriented films that are struggling to find financing. (In recent years, she’s produced “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Master” and “True Grit.”) But such deep-pocketed, director-friendly financiers are few, and the route is exceptionally narrow for the kind of prestigious pictures honoured at the Oscars. With “Nebraska” (nominated for six Oscars, including best picture), filmmaker Alexander Payne managed a seemingly impossible feat: getting a studio (Paramount) to produce a black-and-white film. But it took lengthy negotiations, and had to survive a series of film division closings. “Nebraska” was first with Paramount Classics, then Paramount Vantage, and finally ended up with Paramount Pictures. The domino-effect journey of “Nebraska” reflects a larger shift in the industry. Particularly over the last decade, studios have moved away from smaller and medium-sized dramas, in-

stead concentrating resources on blockbuster and genre releases that can earn hundreds of millions globally. Payne’s mantra is advocating for the $20-25 million adult comedy or drama. Instead of always swinging for the fences, he believes in the more reliable double. In the current climate, the handful of ambitious, adultoriented films that do get produced are almost exclusively appraised through the prism of Hollywood’s awards season. The strange effect is that these few films that have clawed their way onto screens are then set against each other for months of Oscar wrangling. “The eight, 10, 12 good English-language films are all released in the last quarter of the year and expected to gird for battle for Oscars and Golden Globes and all that stuff,” says Payne. “And they’re just movies. They may be fragile movies, human movies. They just need to find an audience on their own without having comparative judgment made along with it.” ■

Bestselling US author Albom launches drive to rebuild libraries in typhoon hit Philippine city The Associated Press MANILA, PHILIPPINES— U.S. author Mitch Albom has launched a drive to rebuild 10 libraries in Tacloban, a central Philippine city ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in November. National Book Store Founda-

tion, his Philippine partner in the project, said Tuesday that Albom has pledged to raise $160,000, starting with his own contribution of $10,000 for the libraries. He has enlisted famous writers to contribute their books to the Donated Reading for Youth of the Philippines project, in-

cluding Stephen King, Amy Tan and JK Rowling. The author of the bestselling memoir “Tuesdays with Morrie” visited Tacloban on Monday and also donated 40 boats to help fishermen in the region. He said during a visit to a damaged school in Tacloban that he was blessed to have many

no readers, and that he wanted to do something to help. “I’ve seen my own books pulled from the flood-damaged homes, mouldy, discolored, yet brought to me to sign,” Albom said. “It’s incredible and heartwarming.” Many areas of Tacloban were flattened by the powerful ty-

phoon and the tsunami-like storm surge it unleashed. National Book Store Foundation has said it will match funds raised by Albom on a dollar for dollar basis until the goal is met. Albom is on a promotional tour in Manila for his latest book, “The First Phone Call from Heaven.” ■




For a better mood–and better health– you’ve got to feed your brain, too BY ANNE A. JAMBORA Philippine Daily Inquirer MOOD IS a very complex matter. It is a change in emotional state that involves a cascade of chemicals triggered by the things that happen in our lives—our relationships, stress from our jobs, state of finances, our activities (or lack thereof ), and ultimately, what we eat. Food is a bag of chemicals that instantly affects your mood. Before food is broken down in your body to distribute the nutrients it carries, it has already affected your brain. The mere sight of food that makes you salivate means your brain is already working. The brain is the first organ affected by food. “People think it’s all about how much we weigh. But in the end, it’s all about how we feel,” said Dr. Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., author of the book “Power Eating: Add Muscle, Lose Fat, Improve Energy.” Kleiner was in the country as guest speaker of Healthy Options’ “Power Eating” seminar at Shangri-La Manila, Makati City. She is a nutrition consultant of the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Brown, Miami Heat and Thunderbirds, among other pro sports teams and team members, including Olympians Kelly Stephens, Trish Zuccotti and Jill Kintner. Just about any diet, Kleiner says, will make you lose weight because you’re changing the way you’re eating. But most people go off that diet because it makes them feel bad. It’s a survival mechanism, she said. You will need, for instance, to keep your blood sugar even, because the minute it drops, you will crave for sugar. “If you don’t feed your body every two-and-a-half hours, if you don’t feed the body what it needs throughout the day, your

Among those who attended the seminar were Rovilson Fernandez, Marc Nelson and Dyan Castillejo.

brain is going to drive you to eat,” she said. Keep the serotonin levels in your body high enough that you feel good the entire day, she added. And when you’re feeling good, you’ll have a much better chance of sticking to your diet for the long haul. People need to flip the paradigm and develop a positive relationship with food. Kleiner said a scientifically studied food combination allows your body to function at an optimum level, making the food you eat work for you. That means fueling your body to keep it in an anabolic state, effectively burning off fat, increasing muscle mass and keeping you energized. Eating by default

“Think of what you need to eat, not what you can’t eat next. Many of us are eating by default. We are constantly told what we are not supposed to be doing. What a negative message. The diet world tells you your body doesn’t work, ‘but we’re going to fix you if you follow this plan.’ But what you need to think is how great your body is and how strong your mind can be,” Kleiner said. You need to feed your brain just like you feed your muscles, she said. The most abundant

Kleiner signing copies of her book “Power Eating: Add Muscle, Lose Fat, Improve Energy.”

Dr. Susan Kleiner, Ph.D.: “The secret to successful eating is to switch your food to work for you.” PHOTOS BY KIMBERLY DE LA CRUZ

and well-understood neurotransmitter is serotonin. Neurotransmitters, to put it simply, are chemicals that communicate information in our brain and body, carrying messages from one nerve cell to another. Serotonin is manufactured in the brain. Tryptophan, an amino acid from proteins in our diet, is the building block for serotonin in the brain. A carrier molecule will latch on to tryptophan in the blood stream and usher it into the brain. If your tryptophan is low your serotonin drops, and you will feel depressed. But while tryptophan is found in protein, it does not follow that a high-protein diet will

make you feel good, Kleiner said. A security system in the brain called the blood barrier system keeps large compounds from crossing. There are seven other amino acids similar to tryptophan that the same carrier molecule recognizes. On a high-protein diet, too much amino acid creates fierce competition for the tryptophan to get into the brain. Ultimately, tryptophan doesn’t get in—at least, not in high enough quantities to raise serotonin levels, Kleiner said. Don’t ditch your carbs. Kleiner said a healthy combination of carbs and protein keeps the serotonin levels even. When carbs is mixed with proteins, it feeds your brain and slows

down digestion, giving you a time-release of carbs to get to your blood stream. As fuel, the carbs helps the protein create an anabolic hormonal environment. “So all day long you are getting this wash of low levels of carbs that are high enough to keep your blood sugar even and serotonin levels high and feeling good. It keeps your mood elevated,” she said. And there’s the good side to sugar. It is rapidly absorbed in the body so you feel good instantly. This is especially helpful when taken during or after a workout. Unfortunately, when your blood sugar level spikes on a regular basis, it becomes stressful to the body. The body’s stress response requires an abundant production of enzymes. To produce all the enzymes, it needs to break down the proteins very quickly,. When that happens, your tryptophan levels drop from breaking down the protein. It is now using tryptophan for the wrong reason. Tryptophan will no longer be going to your brain to produce serotonin. Feel-good serotonin

“So now you need to eat sugar again to get the tryptophan in ❱❱ PAGE 39 For a better



Cooking class, culinary magazine or new ingredient can provide inspiration The Canadian Press IF YOU’RE cooking for one or two, here are some tips from registered dietitian Shannon Crocker of Ancaster, Ont., to provide inspiration when making meals: • Stir-frys, sandwiches and dinner salads can easily be tailored to one or two and varied with different vegetables and proteins. • Sign up for a cooking class. Try the local college, a kitchen shop, small cooking school or community centre. If you need help with basic technique, go for a class that focuses on cooking skills. For new ideas, look for a class focusing on cuisine that you enjoy eating, such as Mexican or Thai. • Subscribe to a cooking magazine or borrow one from the library. The recipes, photographs and stories can get your creative juices flowing. • Challenge yourself with a new ingredient. Look for an ingredient in the grocery store or specialty food shop that you haven’t cooked with before and find new and tasty ways to cook with it.

• Cook with your grandkids. It’s a great way to spend time with your grandchildren and pass on family recipes or traditions at the same time. Let them choose foods they’d like to create with you. “I still have my grandma’s shortbread cookie recipe!” Crocker says. A few simple tools can also make life easier when it comes to cooking: • Citrus juicer: “Citrus juices add such amazing flavour and lets you cook with a little bit less oil, a little bit less salt and that’s really great because then you can cook healthier for sure,” she says. • Steamer basket: “The steamer basket is quick, it’s easy and can be used for a variety of vegetables and it’s inexpensive.” • Box grater: This inexpensive multipurpose tool lets you grate small amounts of cheese, vegetables, citrus zest and chocolate. • Immersion blender: This tool can easily puree healthy soups, create smallbatch smoothies and quick sauces. “Saute some cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, then use an immersion blender to make sauce in no time,” Crocker suggests. ■

Free of charge career seminars VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA— Ashton College extends its hand to the community by offering a unique series of free career services seminars to the public. This exciting new endeavor is a first for Ashton College and it allows us to not only connect with the community, but also provide them with invaluable career information. These seminars will focus on careers which have risen in popularity due to recent media attention and new government regulations. These up-and-coming careers include Home Inspection, Immigration Consulting, Bookkeeping, and International Trade. The seminars will be hosted by Ashton College Career Services Coordinator, Tamara Papo. Mrs. Papo has been with Ashton College since 2011 and has a BA in Psychology. In 2013, Papo completed a Post Graduate Degree in Employment

Facilitation from Yorkville University. Held at Strawberry Hill Public Library and Newton Public Library on March 11 from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM and on June 24 from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (respectively), these free drop-in seminars will allow attendees to gain valuable knowledge on the Canadian job market as well as learn how these in-demand careers are not only financially rewarding but stable as well. ■ Ashton College is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The college has been in operation since 1998, helping students gain practical skills and knowledge to start rewarding and successful careers. Ashton College offers both in-class and online programs taught by industry professionals. Ashton College is internationally recognized for its value and quality of instruction, helping students reach their full potential in a variety of careers.

Canadians go... goals of the tournament in the gold medal game, while goaltender Carey Price earned his second straight shutout. Prime Minister Stephen Harper honoured the hockey heroes. “Today’s exciting victory by this exceptional group of players has demonstrated once again that hockey truly is Canada’s game,” he said in a statement. Canadians watching the game both here and aboard lit up Twitter as the squad in Sochi took home the coveted medal. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau tweeted “This is OUR game! Congrats to #TeamCanada on completing the sweep of hockey gold!” “Congratulations to the best hockey players in the world! Canada, numero 1 au monde. Bravo!” said his NDP counterpart Thomas Mulcair. Many Canadians proudly posted posted photos of friends and family crowded around TVs worldwide as they cheered on Team Canada. “Dubai celebrity chef Michael Smith, along with a photo of himself in a hockey jersey surrounded by cheering fans. Several hockey devotees used Twitter to track down a pub in London, U.K., that would show the Olympic hockey final instead of Premier League soccer. ❰❰ 19

And Canadian eyes were firmly cast on the game even in Yangon, Myanmar— until recently closed to the rest of the world—where roughly a quarter of the 200-odd Canadian ex-pats living there revelled at the novelty of watching the game together at a swanky new bar. The spectators were handed lapel pins intertwining the Canadian and Myanmar flags by Canadian ambassador Mark McDowell, who called it a “very interesting evening.” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, attending meetings with his G20 counterparts in Australia took in the game in Sydney. He was joined by Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz and the Bank of England’s newly imported Canadian governor Mark Carney. “It was a very good hockey game last night,” said Flaherty, speaking from Sydney where it was already Monday morning. “I watched the game with the governor of the Bank of Canada and the governor of the Bank of England. A whole group of Canadians here in Sydney. There was great joy.” ■ With files from Steven Chua in Vancouver, Aly Thomson in Halifax, Ben Shingler in Montreal Bruce Cheadle in Ottawa and Tamsyn Burgmann

“Attracting and retaining the best international talent to fill skills shortages in key occupations is critical to Canada’s economic success.” - Hon. Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Employment and Social Development

Respond to Canada’s need for immigrants.

Become a Regulated Immigration Consultant Full-time | Part-time | Online Apply online at or contact a program adviser at (604) 899-0803.

Ashton College | Vancouver, BC 604 899 0803 | 1 866 759 6006 w w w. a s hto n co l l e g e. co m



‘Which (blank) are you?’ Online personality quizzes go viral on social media BY MEGHAN BARR The Associated Press NEW YORK—For a compulsive online quiz-taker like Chrissy Noh, the temptation was too great to resist: “Which sandwich are you?” After answering a series of unscientific, seemingly unrelated questions, which included selecting her favourite doughnut from a lineup of frosted pastries, she had her answer (grilled cheese, for the record). And she’s not the only one who’s comparing herself to sandwiches lately. Go on, admit it: Chances are, you’ve been doing it, too. A recent explosion of silly online personality quizzes, most of them created by the young social media mavens at, has everybody talking about which state they really ought to be living in and which Harry Potter character they really are. Buzzfeed says the quizzes are smashing traffic records and generating more Facebook comment threads than any viral posts in the site’s history. Experts say the phenomenon isn’t surprising given the age-old fascination with that central question—”Who AM I?”—and a desire to compare ourselves with others in a social media-obsessed society. On a recent snowy day, the 37-year-old Noh, who lives in New York City, admitted that she and several friends spent the afternoon taking quizzes and texting each other screen shots of the results. “It turned into an all-day group text message fest, where it was just picture after picture of, oh, what rapper are you?” she says, laughing. “What career should you actually have? Which sandwich are you? Which member of One Direction should you marry?” Personality quizzes have been around for decades, gracing the covers of women’s and teen magazines with questions designed to lure us in. Nor are they new to the Internet, where online quizzes can be found


aplenty on sites like Zimbio. com, among others. But the recent wave of quiz popularity can be traced directly to Buzzfeed’s New York City headquarters, where a team of about 100 content creators have been producing one to five quizzes every single day for the past two months. The most popular quiz— “Which State Do You Actually Belong In?”—has generated about 41 million page views. “For our most viral quizzes, the results have to be meaningful in some way,” says Summer Burton, BuzzFeed’s managing editorial director. “It’s not that they are scientific. It’s just that what they say means something to people as far as their own identity.” A quiz for everyone

A scroll through the “QUIZZES” page on reveals a bewildering assortment, many infused with pop culture references. Which celebrity cat are you? Which pop diva? Which “Girls” character? What career should you actually have? Which generation do you actually belong in? What kind of dog would you be? The intense push to pump out as many quizzes as possible started a couple of months ago after Buzzfeed editors realized that a quiz called “Which ‘Grease’ Pink Lady are you?” ranked among the most-trafficked posts of 2013. Then, in mid-January, a quiz called “Which city should you actu-

ally live in?” went viral, and the whole venture just took off like wildfire, Burton says. The ability to create a quiz was encoded into Buzzfeed’s in-house content management system a little more than a year ago. Essentially any staff member has the autonomy to create one. There are no specific rules regarding quiz-making, but each one follows the same age-old general format: You start with the results and work backward based on general personality traits that go with each answer. “If you take a ‘Parks and Rec’ quiz and you get Leslie Knope, then you’re very enthusiastic,” Burton says. “It’s almost like you pick three or four adjectives, and then those kind of go into figuring out what the answers for each question are going to be. And assigning them to a result.” Staff members generate the quiz ideas themselves and create the entire thing on their own, though they do receive an edit and feedback before the quizzes are published. “We hire really creative people and kind of tell them to run wild,” Burton says. The trick to creating an addictive personality quiz is similar to the art of writing a good horoscope. It has to be broad and all-encompassing yet make people believe the answer applies to them personally. We know there’s little substance to them, and yet we can’t seem to stop taking them.

What makes these online quizzes so alluring is that they can be instantaneously shared with hundreds of friends on Facebook for instant feedback, says Denise Friedman, who teaches psychology at Roanoke College in Salem, Va. “In our age, we’re constantly reflecting on who we are, and technology has really changed the way we interact,” Friedman says. “I think we are constantly engaging in social comparison and thinking about where we stand.” ‘A way to kill time’

John Egan, 50, who lives in Austin, Texas, says he gets sucked into the quizzes partly because he’s curious about himself—and because he wonders how his answers will stack up against his Facebook friends’. But the quizzes have little staying power in his brain. “There was one recently about what state you should be living in. Honestly, I don’t remember what state I got,” he says. “Which says something about these quizzes. That it’s kind of this momentary thrill, if you will, and then you move on. And it’s like a shiny object: ‘Oh—there’s another quiz!”’ The quizzes are overwhelmingly upbeat and lighthearted in nature, a calculated decision by the people engineering them. After all, they’re designed to be an affirmation of how you see yourself, not an assessment of who you really are. “Quizzes are an investment of someone’s time,” Burton says. “So it feels like it would almost be mean for someone to go through the process of taking the quiz and have it say, ‘You’re really cynical and negative and nobody likes being around you.’ The ideal is that the qualities are specific enough that it feels

personal, but they’re also a compliment.” And you can take them over and over until you get the answer that validates your own assumptions about yourself. Noh says she may have (ahem) taken the “Which rapper are you?” quiz quite a few times until she was satisfied with the result. “I kept getting Eminem, which I was unhappy about,” she says. “I was like, ‘I really want Kanye, so I’m gonna answer these questions until I get Kanye West.”’ But will people eventually burn out on these things? Is there such a thing as one Beyonce quiz too many? “They don’t alienate anyone. They’re a way to kill time. They’re fun,” says Laura Portwood-Stacer, who teaches media culture and communication at New York University. “Once the novelty of the interface and the results wear off, the trend might dip a bit. But I do think this kind of impulse won’t necessarily go away. It might just take a different form.” Ultimately, the quizzes offer a superficial way to connect with distant friends and allow people to share personal information without compromising their own privacy, says Gwendolyn Seidman, an assistant professor of psychology at Albright College in Reading, Pa. In other words, taking a Buzzfeed quiz is like driving through a fast-food drive-thru on the Internet. “Those questions are easier to answer than a real personality test,” Seidman says. “It’s very easy to say, ‘This is the candy that I like, this is the movie that I like.’ You can turn it into some information about yourself— without actually doing the hard work of really thinking hard about yourself.” ■



For a better... the brain and manufacture the feel-good serotonin. We do this over and over, so that within a week to 10 days, you will notice you will be craving more and more sugar to keep your mood elevated,” Kleiner said. It takes a while for your body to change from overconsumption of sugar, but the brain has already been affected. It is important, she said, to get the right amount of protein and carbs in your body to keep the serotonin levels even throughout the day. Low blood sugar is also bad news, as it makes your body go into a catabolic state, slowing down your metabolic rate and breaking down tissues. “There has to be a balance in our lives and a balance in our body. If your diet is lower than 40 percent of calories from carbs, the research is clear that it’s going to get depressing. You won’t be getting enough carbs to raise your serotonin all day long,” she said. Rice, the Filipinos’ staple source of carbohydrates, is a high-glycemic-index food. ❰❰ 36

Filipino Groups... There is not much difference between brown and white rice except for the fiber, Kleiner said. Both can quickly raise the blood sugar. When combined with protein and healthy fats, it is still a good-mood food. But you need to make that rice work for you, she said. “You need an active lifestyle. If you had rice for breakfast, go out and exercise, or eat rice after a workout,” she said. Adding fat into your diet is important. Kleiner said a diet with fat consumption lower than 25-30 percent of total calories inhibits the body’s ability to cope with stress. Choose healthy fat from marine oils, olive oils, nuts, seeds, avocado and egg yolks. “There was never research that proves an egg yolk a day raises cholesterol levels and increases your chance to develop heart disease. Four studies today show that an egg yolk or two absolutely does not raise cholesterol levels. In fact, dietary cholesterol is not the culprit; it’s saturated fat,” she said. Refrain from eating food that promotes inflammation,

such as fried food, refined starches, fastfood and packaged food. Anti-inflammatory food includes apples, onions, citrus fruits and juices, fatty fish, pineapple, prunes, green beans, kale, nuts, olives, extravirgin olive oil, seeds, turmeric, vegetable oils and wheat germ. Feel-great food are airpopped popcorn, bananas, grape juice, green tea, beans, lean pork, blueberries, low-fat/ fat-free dairy, mango, broccoli, nuts, one to two servings of caffeine-containing beverages, cocoa powder or chocolates in small amounts, olives, olive oil, oranges, pomegranate, soy, dark leafy greens, spinach, strawberries, sunflower seeds, turkey, unrefined vegetable oils, whole grains, garlic, ginger, grapefruit, flax seed, egg yolk, fish and seafood. “Eat five fish meals a week, minimum. Fish protein, among all proteins, is the most effective in helping burn abdominal fat,” Klein said. “Power Eating: Add Muscle, Lose Fat, Improve Energy” is available at Healthy Options. ■

“server error.” Many Filipinos, including Migrante Alberta members Jhong dela Cruz and Elena Sebastian, spent hours trying to book their respective appointments. The office later stated that this was due to “capacity overload or heavy traffic.” Another schedule created confusion for anxious applicants when the consulate office suddenly changed its online booking schedule for Calgary set from March 1315. From its original Feb. 10 schedule, the consulate announced on Feb. 7 it will commence online booking within the next 48 hours. “This unexpected change caught Filipinos unaware and unprepared to book a day earlier,” said Luciano, adding that many were surprised to log in on Feb. 10 only to learn that the outreach schedule has already been filled. “For those unlucky Filipinos that couldn’t get a time slot in those outreach services, they have to go to Vancouver to simply renew their passport—a process that could cost individuals up to $700 in airfare, accommodations and the $69 passport fee,” lamented Luciano. ❰❰ 22

Furthermore, the campaign also includes calls for reasonable and affordable fees for consular services for Filipinos in Canada, said Luciano. He said that renewal of a Philippine ePassport in Canada costs $69, over 30% more compared to the $23.75 fee in the Philippines. He added that exorbitant fees are also collected for other services such as passport replacement and criminal record checks. The campaign is also gaining attention in the Philippines. In a statement through Philippine media, a representative from the Philippine’s Foreign Affairs department was quoted as saying that they have received Migrante’s petition and the proposal for a consular office will be studied in its budget planning this year. The Philippine Consulate in Vancouver serves approximately 200,000 to 250,000 Filipinos annually in Western Canada, including Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Alberta alone is home to over 100,000 immigrant Filipinos, including permanent residents and temporary foreign workers. ■



Tim Hortons to add 500 Canadian locations by 2018; grow internationally BY ROMINA MAURINO The Canadian Press TORONTO—Tim Hortons Inc. (TSX:THI) is planning a flurry of changes to its operations, including healthier food choices and the addition of 800 new stores over the next several years as it looks to maintain its edge in an increasingly competitive market. Chief executive Marc Caira, who took the helm of the popular coffee and doughnut chain eight months ago, says speed will be a key component, saying he wants to see the company “move and move quickly.” “The plan is aggressive but very achievable,” Caira said during an investor day in Toronto. “It’s a very pragmatic plan where we need to make choices. We will not do everything, we cannot do everything. It’s a plan that forces us look at our business differently, but with a very high sense of urgency.” The plan includes a big focus on Canada, where the company is seeking to improve the customer experience at its stores and make better use of technology. “We believe that our enviable guest loyalty, strong restaurant

base and differentiated brand position, coupled with initiatives planned in our strategic plan, will present significant opportunities to grow our Canadian business over the next five years,” said Caira. But the company is also “energizing the Tim Hortons brand in all of our geographic markets and we are focusing on driving long-term, sustainable profitable growth, which we believe will return us to above market total return to shareholders.” Tim Hortons plans to add 500 locations in this country and 300 in the United States by 2018. It expects between 215 and 255 new restaurants will be added this year, including between 140 and 160 in Canada, building on the 3,588 restaurants Tim Hortons currently has in its Canadian system, the 859 in the United States and 38 in the Persian Gulf region. Canadian competitor Second Cup operates more than 350 coffee shops across the country, while Starbucks has more than 1,300 stores in Canada and is planning to open 100 stores per year over the next five years. Caira says he has no doubt he’ll be able to implement the changes, adding that while

there may be some “fine tuning” as a result of the strategical changes, he doesn’t expect any major restructuring to follow. The company has been paying close attention to customer preferences and says improved menu selection as well as packaging products in ways that increase the number of items purchased per visit will help drive store profits. Tim Hortons will also look to extend its brand reach through new restaurant formats and sizes that target specific locations such as offices, sports venues and hospitals and find ways to tap into both the aging population and the millennial market. The company, which came under pressure in June from shareholders calling on it to revamp its U.S. expansion plans and borrow money to buy back shares, also said its U.S. expansion will include a new push to drive brand awareness and develop more franchises. Among franchises it has lined up south of the border are 40 in St. Louis, 25 in Youngstown, Ohio; 15 in Fort Wayne, Ind. and 15 in Fargo and Minot, N.D. Beyond North America, its international approach will be “pragmatic and disciplined,”

and seek further expansion in the Persian Gulf region where it has had initial success. It has a road map for adding about 220 locations in that area over the same period. The changes come after Tim Hortons said last week that it was pulling the Cold Stone Creamery brand from its Canadian restaurants and removing about two dozen items from the menu to simplify operations as it tries to make service faster and the customer experience easier as it attempts to boost profits. The company reported last Thursday that its fourth-quar-

ter profits grew marginally to $100.6 million from $100.3 million a year earlier, with earnings increasing to 69 cents but falling below analyst estimates of 77 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue grew 10.7 per cent to $898.5 million from $811.6 million. It expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $3.17 to $3.27 for 2014, with same-store sales growth of one to three per cent in Canada and two to four per cent in the U.S. Tim Hortons shares were up 33 cents at $58.27 Tuesday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ■

report found that the wealthiest 20 per cent of family units accounted for 67.4 per cent of the total national net worth, although that was slightly lower than the 69.2 per cent the top quintile possessed in 2005. Meanwhile, the top 40 per cent of families possessed 88.9 per cent of total net worth, leaving the bottom 60 per cent with a mere 11.1 per cent of the pie. The lowest quintile—the poorest 20 per cent of families—had an overall negative net worth, meaning that as a group they had more debts than assets. That segment of the population saw its family median net worth drop from about $1,300 in 1999 to $1,100 in 2012. By

contrast, the top quintile saw its family median net worth rise from $981,400 in 2005 to $1.38 million in 2012. Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said the data, while positive, still shows household debt remains a concern. “The standout is the tremendous growth in net worth over the 13-year period. It works out to average annual increases of better than five per cent, which is quite impressive,” he said. But that doesn’t mean household debt is a non-issue, he added, predicting that the biggest impact on the economy will be to act as a check on consumer spending going forward.

Overall, total family assets in Canada rose to $9.4 trillion in 2012, with the value of families’ principle home representing one third of the total assets. Pension assets, including employer plans and private pension plans, made up 30 per cent of the total, while other real estate holdings—rental properties, cottages, timeshares and commercial properties—represent almost 10 per cent. But the report confirms large disparities in net worth depending on age, the nature of the family unit and regions of the country. For instance, median net worth was highest for families where the person with the highest income was 55 to 64 years

old in 2012. For that group it came in at $533,600, more than double that of the overall population. And lone parent families had the lowest median net worth— only $37,000. Regionally, British Columbia reported the highest family median net worth at $344,000, followed by Saskatchewan ($271,400), Alberta ($267,500), and Ontario ($265,700). B.C. families had the biggest improvement since 1999, jumping from $150,700 when the province placed fourth. At the bottom, family units in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island had a median net worth of $167,900 and $150,300 respectively. ■


Canadian families... has been due to house prices reaching record levels, notes economist Andrew Jackson of the Broadbent Institute, and those prices are widely projected to moderate or even fall in the next few years. Real estate prices have risen faster than mortgage debt and other assets, he notes, but if the trend reverses, some Canadian families may discover their wealth rests on “shifting sand.” For those who owned their homes, the median reported value of the residence was $300,000, up 46.6 per cent from 2005 and 83.2 per cent from 1999. In terms of inequality, the ❰❰ 18



Alaska Aces launch Aces App BY ANGEL JONES Special to Philippine Canadian Inquirer I HAD the privilege of hosting the launch party of the Alaska Aces Smartphone App. The night was celebrated at the Imperial Ice bar in Taguig Manila. The event was filled with great music, overflowing drinks and gorgeous people. The Alaska Aces, one of the most successful franchises in the Philippine Basketball Association, formally launched the Alaska Aces App, another innovation which brings the team closer to the public and its fans all over the world. “Launching the Alaska Aces app is about giving our fans continuous access to the team. In the connected and digital world

we live in, we realize how people tend to engage and this app provides such an opportunity.” Said Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Aces Team Owner. We have always sought to be a pioneer in the PBA, so whether it be the first team to provide rings to a Championship team, to retiring a players number or develop a dedicated website, Alaska has been at the forefront of new developments. “My favorite saying is GOOD ENOUGH, NEVER IS. And that applies to all aspects of our franchise. I’m confident this new feature will be enjoyed by all our fans and perhaps attract new ones.” Uytengsu added. The Alaska Aces became the first team in the PBA with their own Smartphone Application which allows the public unlimited access to the Alaska Aces. The Alaska Aces App is free and may be downloaded

through any android or iPhone. Learn about the latest news, schedules and features about the team, and listen to audio interviews of the Alaska Aces players. The Alaska Aces App allows everyone to interact and communicate directly with their favorite Alaska Aces player and see their activities on and off the court. The Alaska Aces have become one of the most successful PBA teams while adhering to the guiding principle set forth by team owner Fred Uytengsu of winning with integrity and always practicing fair play. Like other PBA teams the Alaska Aces have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. In addition Alaska is the only PBA team with its own website (, YouTube channel, Instagram account and now a Smartphone App. ■

Author hosting with the team captain Tony Dela Cruz.

The Alaska Aces team.





(MARCH 21 - APRIL 19)

(JUNE 22 - JULY 22)

(SEPT 23 - OCT 22)

(DEC 22 - JAN 19)

There are plenty of opportunities out there, and you’re tempted to seize every one of them. Well, Aries, a bit of discrimination is in order if you’re going to make the best use of the auspicious atmosphere. Travel is definitely in the picture, as is continuing your education in some way. It could be something simple, such as enrolling in a cooking class at an adult education center. Or perhaps you’re going to fulfill a lifelong ambition and apply to business school.

TAURUS (APRIL 20 - MAY 20) You’re likely to receive a windfall of some sort today. Be cautious with it, Taurus. If you invest it wisely, it will serve you long and well. Your curiosity has been piqued about some rather esoteric subjects, perhaps the dark arts. Why not visit your local library to check out some books on these topics of interest?


It’s possible that you could fear for your job today, Cancer. Fortunately, those fears are unfounded. There is a lot of upheaval occurring at work. You’re best advised to steer clear of it, if you can. If you continue to do your job well, you’re likely to receive a bonus or promotion as a result of your efforts. You’ve earned it.

Today you could sit down at the computer for just a minute to research something on the Internet and wind up spending most of the afternoon entranced by what you’re reading, Libra. You could very well stumble upon some information on the occult and mysticism. It’s always fascinated you, and now that you’ve begun learning, you don’t want to stop.

LEO (JULY 23 - AUGUST 22) It’s hard to deny the power of a chemical reaction to another person. You’ll likely meet someone today or perhaps you’ve just met someone who has a strong influence on you, Leo. You can’t get this person out of your mind. It isn’t clear whether this is a one-time fling or a long-term romance. Whatever it turns out to be, you’re thrilled to be feeling so excited and alive.

(AUG 23 - SEPT 22)

(MAY 21 - JUNE 21) A change of scene is in store for you, Gemini. It’s unclear whether or not this is a voluntary move, but it’s clear that chaos and confusion reign over the next few days. Fortunately, your organizational abilities will serve you well. You don your general’s hat, wield your clipboard like a sword, and get everybody doing your bidding. The move is completed in record time!

“The person who dies with the most toys wins” may well be your philosophy, Virgo. And today you certainly move ahead in the race as you add yet another technological wonder to your home. What is it this time? A scanner, digital camera, DVD player, or all of the above? It’s a small indulgence for all the hard work you do. If these things really give you such pleasure, then you deserve to have them.



(OCT 23 - NOV 21)

(JAN 20 - FEB 18)

You’ve always had a knack for all things financial, Scorpio, but today your ability is especially enhanced. You’ve discovered all the free investing information available over the Internet, and you absorb it like a sponge. Your natural fiscal sense enables you to separate the nonsense from the sound investment advice. Your portfolio and your mood benefit immediately!


You’re likely to be feeling the tug of distant lands, Aquarius. Today you could stop at the travel agent’s office, the one you’ve walked by countless times, and stare at the pictures. Thailand, Hong Kong, and New Zealand are just a few of the places you’d like to see. Go ahead. Your wanderlust indicates a fundamental restlessness that must be resolved.



(NOV 22 - DEC 21)

(FEB 19 - MAR 20)

Keep your eyes wide open today, Sagittarius, as you may meet the person of your dreams! It’s likely to be a most unusual day, so keep your wits about you and your mind open to all possibilities. If an intriguing new business opportunity comes your way, don’t accept it right immediately. Take down all the information and review it when life has settled down.

A change of profession may be in the stars for you, Capricorn, or a change of hobby at the very least. The latest technological advances have really captured your interest. Making films, in particular, gets your creative juices flowing. Perhaps it’s time to sign up for a weekend workshop or splurge on that video camera you’ve been eyeing. The diversion will do you a world of good.

Change, even when it’s for the better, can sometimes be a little scary, Pisces. You could feel some hesitation about taking a new job or upgrading your home. Nevertheless, you’re being given a terrific opportunity. If you don’t seize it, you’ll likely regret it for the rest of your life. What’s occurring is for the best, so stretch your arms up high and reach for that brass ring!




New pride of Vigan is the only museum-hotel in the country BY CONSTANTINO C. TEJERO Philippine Daily Inquirer VIGAN, THE only World Heritage City in the country (as declared by Unesco in 1999), has a new high-end address right in its heritage district: Hotel Luna at Gen. Antonio Luna St. cor Ventura de los Reyes St. It had a grand opening on Feb. 8. This is a four-story boutique hotel with four-star accommodations: 44 guestrooms, five loft suites, five executive suites, plus touring services for Vigan’s heritage sites. Its main building is a heritage structure itself, the Benigno Que House, built in 1882 by Don José Florentino as a wedding gift for his daughter Carmen. “We’re trying to raise the standards for hotels in the city,” says Kristine Singson Meehan, vice president for operations of the family’s group of boutique hotels. “Since we already have Rembrandt in Quezon City and Le Monet in Baguio, we decided to name this one after another painter.” She says the choice of name is quite apt because Juan Luna was an Ilocano from Badoc town, and the hotel also stands on Luna Street. A Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate from La Rosey in Switzerland, Meehan is the middle child of Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson’s six children. She’s Manila-based but she says she has to be in Vigan at least once a week. “I have to do the purchases for the first few weeks,” she says. “Everything needs my approval. I have to see to the delivery of things needed, even what’s to be part of the minibar. I chose the pillows. I have the key people to do the daily operations, so later these things should be automatic. They have to do what’s needed without me going into details.” Entranceway

In transforming the heritage

The new high-end address in the Mestizo District.

The grand sala has been transformed into the main art gallery.

structure, architect Mario Benzon says they had to constantly consult with the Vigan Conservation Council—from the design to the types of materials to be used. He worked in close tandem with engineer Edward Yu, the overall chief of construction. After tearing down one solid wall to make way for an archway, they had to build the arch with the bricks from the original wall. An annex, where majority of the guestrooms are, had to be constructed in the style of the period. The entranceway is flanked by two bulols, a male and a female with child, from the BenCab Museum in Baguio. The passageway to the lobby is flanked by two bronze female figures by Napoleon Abueva, one with salacot and windswept skirt, the other a nude in contrapposto; BenCab’s latest “Sabel” and Araceli Dans’ “Shawl of the Innocents.” The ceiling here is adorned with a sculptural piece by Mulawin Abueva depicting a sun of bronze with 21 rays of carved wood (in five species of indigenous Philippine hardwoods), based on a design by his father Napoleon.

man himself. F&B manager is Astrid Serrano, while chef is Raymond Quitilen as supervised by executive chef Robby Goco. “I do the wine selection,” says Meehan. She admits select spices and the steak selection have to be sourced from Manila, but the vegetables and meats they use are mostly local produce. She says the house specialty later will be paella. The chef has concocted an Ilocano paella that may incorporate the ingredients of pinakbet and diningdeng, and Vigan longaniza, of course. The signature bread will be sourced from Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, a local bread that comes either soft or toasted, mildly flavored with anise, similar to the Italian biscotti.


The lobby is surrounded by a pregnant nude in alabaster by Fred Baldemor; a streamlined “Maria Clara” in bronze by Abdulmari Imao; stainless-

steel human figures poised for flight by Daniel de la Cruz; a small bronze bas-relief of the Deposition from the Cross by Napoleon Abueva; “Lavandera” by Fernando Amorsolo; works in paper by Romulo Olazo and Manuel Baldemor. The centerpiece here is a low chandelier, an assemblage of readymades in cast iron, copper and crystal created by Yu. By the time you’ve reached the reception area, while standing on the veined green marble and touching the carved wooden pillars by the counter, you would have guessed what this hotel is all about: This is the only museum-hotel in the country. While hotels usually boast specialty cuisine, recreation facilities or the spa, this one is unique in that it is selling itself by pushing Philippine art and cultural heritage.

Grand sala Bar and resto

Chula Bar is, of course, named after Luna’s series of paintings of the working-class women of Madrid. It’s a quaint, goldenly lit lounge with numerous stone figurines and several lightboxes showcasing Luna paintings. Comedor Restaurant is adorned by works of contemporary masters, among them Ramon Orlina, Emmanuel Garibay, Elmer Borlongan, Andres Barrioquinto—plus 11 classic chandeliers of Swarovski crystal. Both bar and restaurant were designed by the congress-

The grand sala on the second floor has become the hotel’s main art gallery, housing the extensive art collection of Singson, which he says he started accumulating 15 years ago. From the staircase landing through the foyer to the salon, an ordinary hotel guest is whelmed by a surfeit of sculptures, paintings and sketches by National Artists and contemporary masters—Olazo, Malang, BenCab, Romulo Galicano, Ed Castrillo, Vicente Manansala, Cesar Legaspi, Arturo Luz, José Joya, Guillermo Tolentino, HR

Ocampo, Jerry Elizalde Navarro, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz— and Luna, of course. With fake art becoming an issue recently, Singson tries to meet the artists (if still alive) before buying the artworks, to make sure he gets the real goods. His taste for art he traces to his mother Minervina Dario, a classical singer who had to choose home and family life over career in her prime. Her MDS Foundation takes custodianship of the impressive art collection, and supports seven music scholars at St. Paul’s College in Manila. Veranda and ‘azotea’

The veranda has been converted into a performance stage overlooking an open courtyard and a swimming pool. It is backdropped by Rene Robles’ high relief of the city’s scenic spots and historical landmarks, in hammered brass, copper and silver. Here, too, is installed on a pedestal a large bronze bust of Luna, a collaborative work by Imao and son Juan Sajid. The open space is surrounded by opera balconies and can be seen from the glass elevator as you go up to your room. The azotea is the roofdeck of the annex, perfect viewdeck of the heritage neighborhood of the Mestizo District. The wide ❱❱ PAGE 44 New pride


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and long lounge with chill-out music is open for booking for special occasions. Benzon says they had to backtrack a few times while building the structure as they had to conform to the VCC guideline that no new construction should be higher than the 14.5-meter bell tower of St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral. Meehan says that later they will be charging an entrance fee or donation for a tour of the museum. Peak season

At breakfast in Comedor the morning after the hotel’s formal opening, a couple from Portland, Oregon (she a Pampangueña, he an Irish-American), is heard conversing with a mayor of a neighboring town, talking about the hotel’s amenities, from the art gallery to the state-of-the-art bidet. Apparently they’re with an NGO visiting the country, staying at Manila Hotel, and have gone up north on a medical mission. “I’ve been around, I’ve stayed


The Retired Plaintiff

New pride... ❰❰ 42

FEBRUARY 28, 2014

in several hotels,” she is saying, “so I can say that soon this is going to be the hotel of the North.” Meehan says peak season for guest booking starts October, then January and February, based on the fiestas of Vigan, when domestic and foreign tourists come. For slack days, that is, the rainy season, they have strategized with booking for government people, for seminars and conferences. Her youngest brother Ari is helping her in marketing operations. “Leisure and business hotels have inverse slack days,” observes Meehan, who’s been in the hotel business for 18 years. Hotel Luna is a leisure hotel. The family has two more boutique hotels under development in Palawan and Boracay. On a cove in Santiago town, the family runs a beach resort with 20 rooms. Meehan says they’re planning to connect it to the hotel. That is, hotel guests who may want to go surfing may avail of a shuttle service that will take them to their heart’s desire. ■

WE ARE often approached by older people who have been involved in accidents. Many of these people have long since retired from employment. They worry that they are wasting my time by commencing an insurance claim because there is no income loss. In many cases, after listening to their story, I am of the opinion that they are entitled to a valuable award for future care costs. The law in British Columbia requires the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for all reasonable expenditures found to be necessary to preserve and promote mental and physical health in the future. A good example of this is the elderly person who had independently performed household maintenance prior to an accident. If after the accident the individual can no longer physically manage the household duties, the cost of hiring someone to perform the household duties must be quantified and paid by the defendant’s insurer. A future care award is not an easy thing to asses. In most cas-

es the award is based upon the opinion of a designated professional called an Occupational Therapist. These experts have the training to accurately assess the cost of a plaintiff’s future care needs. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident make sure to get legal advice, whether or not you have a claim for income loss. ■

The author, Joel Zanatta, is the managing partner of Hammerberg Lawyers, one of Vancouver's foremost law firms specializing in personal injury and ICBC claims. Joel and his team of lawyers have represented thousands of injury victims throughout British Columbia. Questions? call 604 269 8500 x126 or email

Have you been in a car accident? Know your rights. You have rights, entitlements, and choices with your ICBC claim and should never be told differently. Joel leads our team of personal injury lawyers. They’ve worked successfully on thousands of files winning significant settlements for people just like you. We will help resolve your claim comfortably and get you the time you need to recover fully before returning to work. We provide a translator and also welcome your enquires at no cost to you.




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FEBRUARY 28, 2014


Kids helping kids: a Haiyan story BY MELISSA REMULLA-BRIONES Philippine Canadian Inquirer Publisher Philippine Canadian Inquirer

PRECOCIOUS, PRINCIPLED. A kid who forever changes you with her exuberance and sunshine smile. She will rally a whole school behind her cause. She will give you your change, even if it is just one cent. She will save the world. She is Abi. Her world and the Philippines collided because of Haiyan. Her sheet, a tablecloth which carries with it all good wishes, spoke of all that she and her friends had done, their good wishes, Canada’s good wishes. Their message: You are not alone.

Editor Melissa Remulla-Briones Associate Editor Laarni de Paula Correspondents Gigi Astudillo Angie Duarte Katherine Marfal Frances Grace Quiddaoen Ching Dee Socorro Newland

Abi, Sophia and Cailin.

Abi, Cailin and Sophia

Abigail “Abi” Blyth, Sophia Trainor and Cailin McIntrye came to me, leaping and bouncing, excited for a photo shoot and an interview, a first in their 8-year old lives. We were at the playground of their school, Ecole Jules Quesnel, their mothers—Sian Blyth (Abi’s mum), Kristie Trainor (Sophia’s mum) and Caroline McIntrye (Cailin’s mum)—looking on, proud and beaming. They told me how it all began. “It was Abi’s idea,” Sophia and Cailin chorused. “I kind of just thought of it,” Abi answered. The three knew all about Haiyan, saw it on TV, saw the people affected by it, the devastation, the loss. They could not yet fully fathom the gravity of the situation, but they felt it and thought they had to do something. “I was kind of just thinking, how many people have lost their homes? How many people have lost their loved ones? How many families have lost their families?” said Abi. The girls talked about what they could do and thought about doing a bake sale to raise funds for the victims of Haiyan. Their school allowed the three girls to go from room to room to make the an-

nouncement and the plea. Abi even wrote a speech, which the three girls shared. The girls also thought a memento would be apt and carried with them a sheet that they asked everyone to sign. “But not the kindergartners,” Cailin disclosed. “They were a little too young. They might, like, doodle on it and stuff like that. We don’t like people’s names scratched out by kindergartners.” “And then we signed it ourselves after everyone at school signed it and we went and decorated it at my house. We wrote a message that said, ‘Best wishes for Christmas’,” said Abi. The girls are hoping the sheet can be sent to the Philippines. “It can be used to cover up a wall in someone’s house or used as a bedspread. I did it with Sophia and Cailin just to tell some kids from the other side of the world that some kids were thinking of them,” said Abi. Bake sale

“The bake sale was pretty successful,” the three chorused. They each baked cookies—icing decorated, M&M and oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies. Other parents pitched in. They made $80. This was topped up by Abi’s parents to

$150 then they went to the bank, where they were told it is doubled because of the “matching” announced by the federal government. The girls are ecstatic. They donated all the proceeds to the Canadian Red Cross. What was hard about the experience? The three revealed, referring to the sheet, “Apart from trying to get the grade 2s not to sign their names twice, none.” We laughed, then turned poignant. “It’s pretty good, feels really great. [We are] just excited that we got to help people and that people know that people are thinking of them,” said Abi. We talked about their messages to the victims. “I hope they get better and the money that we sent to them is used for good and there’s no more hurricanes or storms and people are more happy,” said Cailin. “We haven’t forgotten you. We’re still thinking of you,” said Sophia. “Some kids in the world, not just the Red Crosses, are trying to help you. Some kids are actually trying to do something for you,” said Abi. Their sheet is en route to the Philippines via Carlo Figueroa, Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines. With it are their hopes and their good wishes. ■

Graphic Designer Victoria Yong Photographers Angelo Siglos Danvic Briones Operations and Marketing Head Laarni de Paula (604) 551-3360 Advertising Sales Alice Yong (778) 889-3518 Antonio Tampus (604) 460-9414 PHILIPPINE PUBLISHING GROUP Editorial Assistant Phoebe Casin Graphic Designer Shanice Garcia Associate Publisher Lurisa Villanueva In cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer digital edition Philippine Canadian Inquirer is located at 400-13955 Bridgeport Rd., Richmond, BC V6V 1J6 Canada Tel. No.: 1-888-668-6059 or 778-8893518 | Email: info@canadianinquirer. net,, sales@ Philippine Canadian Inquirer is published weekly every Friday. Copies are distributed free throughout Metro Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto. The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors named, and are not necessarily those of Philippine Canadian Inquirer Editorial Team. Member

The girls with their mums.

Their message for Haiyan victims.



FEBRUARY 28, 2014


Philippine Canadian Inquirer Issue #104  
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