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VOL. 11 NO. 88

1-888-578-7267 ext.2201

NOVEMBER 1, 2013






Millions of dollars sent to the US in suitcases

House passes budget; pork funds intact

On the Senate scandal

Global Filipinos: Jose and Lydia Morante

Celebrating All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day

Police say 5 killed, including 1 Filipino, as vehicle plows into crowd at Beijing’s Tiananmen BY CHRISTOPHER BODEEN The Associated Press

HANGING IN THE BALANCE This hanging bridge over Sipatan Village in Sevilla, Bohol, looks deserted after the powerful earthquake that hit Bohol on Oct. 15. Bohol officials are hopeful business will rebound as soon as tourists return. PHOTO BY MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Comelec: Incidents ‘minimal’ BY JERRY E. ESPLANADA, TINA G. SANTOS AND MARLON RAMOS Philippine Daily Inquirer “WE ARE happy. Everything appears to be OK,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said. The Comelec monitored “very minimal” incidents during the barangay (village) elections obn Monday, Brillantes told a news conference after the balloting.

The Philippine National Police said the barangay elections were “relatively peaceful” despite reports of violence in certain parts of the country. “We consider these barangay elections peaceful … because we did not have any major incidents that affected the general conduct of the elections,” PNP Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr. told reporters. Elections were held in 42,028 villages in the country, but the Comelec said voter


❱❱ PAGE 8 Police say

Roach: Pacquiao will KO Rios ❱❱ PAGE 7

❱❱ PAGE 7 Comelec: Incidents

BEIJING—A sport-utility vehicle plowed through crowds in front of Beijing’s Forbidden City before crashing and catching fire Monday, killing the three occupants and two tourists and injuring 38 visitors and security officers, police said. The dead included a female traveller from the Philippines, according to a statement on the Beijing police’s microblog. Three other Filipinos and a Japanese man were among the injured, it said, but gave no details about their condition.


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Philippine News


‘Millions of dollars sent to US in suitcases’ BY NANCY C. CARVAJAL Philippine Daily Inquirer JANET LIM-NAPOLES amassed millions of dollars from two local money changers and sent them to the United States, without central bank approval, either through bank-to-bank transfers or hand carried in suitcases that were cleared through US airports by Filipino contacts there, the INQUIRER has learned. The dollars were acquired to purchase properties in the United States, supply the needs of lawmakers traveling abroad, and provide allowances for Napoles’ family on their frequent trips overseas, according to Stephen Cascolan, counsel for a group of whistle-blowers who were former employees of the businesswoman. Cascolan said Napoles, the alleged brains of a P10-billion racket that turned allocations from the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, into ghost projects and kickbacks, had “millions of dollars abroad to purchase prime properties.” The government has asked the US Embassy in Manila to freeze assets of Napoles in the United States and turn these over if proven to have been illegally obtained. Cascolan said the method purportedly employed by Napoles to remit money abroad in violation of Philippine laws penalizing the salting of foreign exchange abroad would form part of the evidence to be submitted to Washington to recover her illegally acquired properties in the United States. Napoles is facing plunder charges, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and 34 other people. Affidavits executed by the whistleblowers and submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation said Napoles bought dollars from money changers identified as Hector Ang and Michael Ty. “Transactions of dollar conversions and purchases from them were paid through their accounts in Metrobank with the equivalent peso value,” said Marina Sula, a former Napoles employee. In his affidavit, Benhur Luy, a former Napoles aide who was detained by the businesswoman in a bid to prevent him from revealing the scam, said Napoles would give orders to him and other employees to contact either Ang or Ty and purchase dollars from them. Chinatown

“Before they would give us the dollars, the equivalent peso amount should have already been deposited into the accounts of Ty or Ang, inclusive of bank

The government has asked the US Embassy in Manila to freeze assets of Napoles in the United States and turn these over if proven to have been illegally obtained. PHOTO FROM THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE

charges,” said Luy, who has filed charges of serious illegal detention against Napoles, for which she is now under detention. Deposits were made in the name of Hector Ang—SA No. 073-300931776-7, MBTC (Metrobank), Magdalena branch; and Michael Ty—SA No. 600-360002018-9, MBTC, Dasmariñas branch, both in Manila. The whistle-blowers said Napoles also engaged Esquire International Financing Corp. and Edzen Enterprises to remit US currency abroad. Sula said the dollars were either deposited in various bank accounts abroad or personally brought out when she and her family went on extended vacations abroad. She said that Napoles and her family usually took a three-month vacation and brought “lots of cash when they leave.” She said that Napoles and her family sometimes brought with them dollars packed in their suitcases on their trips to the United States, where they were met by her brother, a US citizen. “The money is not detected because Reynald Luy Lim has contacts, who are Filipinos, in the airport of destinations where the suitcase their cash easily clears customs,” Sula said. Sula added that Ty and Ang would bring their available currency to one of the houses of Napoles, at No. 9 Narra St. Forbes Park, Makati City. She said that Napoles also would order her employees to buy dollars upon request of lawmakers for their trips abroad.

Jose Emmanuel Lim, Wells FargoPasadena Lake, 82S Lake Avenue, Pasadeña, California, Account No. 802-228-0062; Western Investment Corp.—DBA Days Inn. Wells Fargo Bank, North Tustin Avenue, Orange, California, Check Account No. 881-148-4107. The whistle-blowers’ records showed that monies were also remitted to the bank accounts of Western Venture Management, Western Investment and Jeane Catherine L. Napoles’ account in

Union Bank Manhattan Village. Among the identified Napoles properties in the United States were the Anaheim Express Inn registered under the Western Investment, with address at 620WOrangewood Avenue, Anaheim, California. Western Investment is purportedly owned by Napoles’ brother Reynald Lim and children, James Christopher and Jo Christine. Also in the list were a property at No. 32 Wedgewood, Canyon View, Irvine, California, registered under Lim and his wife, Ana Marie Dulguime; a two-bedroom apartment in the swank Ritz-Carlton at 900 Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, registered in the name of another Napoles daughter, Catherine Jeane; a Covina County commercial property in Los Angeles, West Covina, registered under the Western Ventures Management Inc. at 19545 E. Cienega Avenue. Western Venture’s two other addresses are Covina CA 91724 and 620 W Orangewood Ave. Anaheim CA 92802. Petitions to stop the sale or transfer of at least P5 billion worth of properties supposedly owned by Napoles have been filed in the Land Registration Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission by the whistle-blowers. ■


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Based on the records provided by the whistle-blowers, dollars were remitted to Jo Christine Lim Napoles at Wells Fargo Bank, 3951 Portila, Parkman, Irvine, California, Check Account No. 9200265958; Reynald L. Lim, Bank of America, Ranchos Peñasquitos branch, 13205 Black Mountain Road, San Diego, California, Account No. 1216143383;

RONALDO SISON, FIC Financial Representative

ELLEN JANE POLICARPIO, FIC Financial Representative


MARY JANE CASTILLO, FIC Financial Representative





647. 457. 1592


403.560 .2624


Philippine News


Freddie Aguilar on seduction rap: PH has bigger problems BY JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE Philippine Daily Inquirer “NOBODY’S CRYING for help. So how come somebody’s trying to help? Our country has a lot of problems bigger than this.” This was Freddie Aguilar’s response to the criminal complaint filed against him by a lawyer who claimed he was scandalized by the news that the music icon was planning to marry a 16-year-old girl who is also 44 years his junior. The complainant, Fernando Perito, took the online jeering that greeted Aguilar’s revelation to the next level by suing him for qualified seduction in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office. Perito, who said he had the obligation as a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to do what is right and prevent wrongs, was severe in denouncing Aguilar in a twopage complaint, calling him a “predator” from whom children should be “spared.”

In the lawyer’s view, the 60-yearold singer, an acclaimed artist in the local music industry since the 1970s, just “want(ed) to take advantage of the adulation of the child by pretending to be loving her and allegedly marrying her later.” “The offender ... has an authority and moral influence over the child because of his popularity,” he added. Perito figured in the news last year when he asked the Senate impeachment court then trying Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona to cite the House prosecutors in contempt for presenting their evidence in the media. The complaint was set aside. In 2011, he also asked the Supreme Court to disbar Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte after she punched a court sheriff. Last year, he sought the disbarment of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. In the complaint, the lawyer said he had seen photos of Aguilar and his teenage girlfriend on the Internet, which he found “lewd.” He also dismissed as “hogwash” Aguilar’s claim that

they were already in a relationship when he learned that the girl, who looked tall and mature for her age, was still a minor. The Revised Penal Code defines qualified seduction under Article 337 as “the seduction of a virgin over 12 years and under 18 years of age, committed by any person in public authority, priest, home-servant, domestic, guardian, teacher, or any person who, in any capacity, shall be entrusted with the education or custody of the woman seduced.” Reached for comment, Aguilar reiterated that his fivemonth-old relationship with the girl had the “blessing” of her parents and that of his family. The Department of Social Welfare and Development, he said, had talked with the parents “and they also told the DSWD that they had given their consent and would even fight for (ipaglalaban) the relationship.” “From what I understand, qualified seduction involves force (pamimilit) or deception (panloloko),” he said in Filipino. “I have never forced or de-

In his criminal complaint against Freddie Aguilar, lawyer Fernando Perito said he had seen photos of Aguilar and his teenage girlfriend on the Internet, which he found “lewd.” PHOTO FROM WHENINMANILA.COM

ceived a child.” “I don’t have any regrets. After more than a decade, I fell in love again. Is it really our fault that our age gap turned out to be that big?” He said he thought the girl was already “in her 20s” when they first met and learned about her true age later when

they were already dating. Aguilar recalled that he was also hounded by intrigue when it was reported in the late 1990s that he was going out with a 17-year-old girl. But unlike that earlier controversy, this one involving the 16-year old apparently refused to die down, he noted. ■

Philippine News


Ma’s photo stopped Luy from fleeing BY NANCY C. CARVAJAL AND NIÑA CALLEJA Philippine Daily Inquirer IT TOOK only a photograph of his mother, Gertrudes Luy, to stop him from escaping from his captors, a sobbing Benhur Luy told the court during the bail hearing on the serious illegal detention case filed against businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim. Wearing a bulletproof vest and looking far different from his giggling self when he previously appeared in a Senate hearing, the principal whistleblower in the alleged pork barrel scam that involved Napoles broke down several times when he recounted his ordeal during his alleged detention by the Lims, his former employers. “Pinagbantaan ako (I received threats) ... I was so afraid something might happen to my family ... especially my mother who was still working for Madame Janet if I (tried) to escape,” Luy said, turning emotional. “The photo of my mother shown to me by Kuya Jojo (Lim) said it all,” he said, adding that Lim left the photo on the table before he went out of the room. P5-million bounty

Lim, who has a P5-million bounty on his head, remains at large, while Napoles is being held without bail at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna. Luy’s mother and sister An-

nabelle who were present in yesterday’s hearing at the sala of Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, were also crying while Luy narrated the events during the early days of his detention. He said that on the first night of his detention on Dec. 19, Lim “checked him in” in one of the rooms at Discovery Suites, “without dinner and a phone connection.” He added that he had only “Skyflakes (crackers) for lunch” which was given to him by Nap Sibayan, a security officer of Napoles who was tasked to guard him. Luy told the court that Napoles had detained him on suspicion that he had betrayed her and was taking her clients from her. “Pu...ina mo, Benhur. Ikaw pa na kamag-anak ko ang magtatraydor sa akin. Kaya pala nababawasan ang PDAF dahil sa (Damn you. I never expected you, my kin, of all people to betray me. hat explains why my PDAF has been decreasing. It’s because of your) hidden transaction (with) senators and congressmen,” Luy quoted Napoles as telling him. He added that a fuming Napoles then ordered her security officer and brother to detain him. “Ikulong na yan, ikulong na yan,” a yelling Napoles had ordered, Luy claimed. The whistle-blower also bared new names in connection with his detention, among them lawyer Rocky Delson,

another Napoles counsel, Napoles’ brother William Lim, and “Mongsy,” or Msgr. Josefino Ramirez. Luy said that Lim had also threatened that policemen were going to arrest him, and that they were sent by “angry senators and mayors out to get him because he (had) double crossed her sister.” The witness said that Lim had told him on several occasions: “Benhur, I am a convicted criminal. I would kill you and your family just for my sister (Napoles).” “Sobrang takot na takot ako kasi alam ko kung gaano kalawak ang koneksyon niya. Kaya niya gawin lahat para hindi masira ang negosyo niya (I was terrified because I know how extensive their connections are. They’d do everything to keep their business intact),” Luy said. From Discovery Suites, Luy said he was transferred on Dec. 20 to Bahay San Jose, a Napolesowned house in Magallanes Village, Makati City, which was occupied by Ramirez. Lim had instructed him not to say anything to Ramirez, he added. Instead, Lim told the monsignor that Luy would be staying in the house under guard because he was being hunted down by “senators and mayors,” the whistle-blower said. Confession

Luy described Ramirez as the celebrant in the JLN Corp.’s first Wednesday Mass and who

Benhur Luy (middle), whistleblower in pork barrel scam.. PHOTO FROM SOLARNEWS.PH

receives P150,000 as a monthly stipend from Napoles. On Jan. 9, Luy said he took the chance to talk to Ramirez to appeal for his help in persuading Napoles to set him free. During that meeting which turned into a confession, the monsignor allegedly told Luy about his suspicion that Napoles and her brother had plans to kill him. “Baka ipaligpit ka dahil natatakot si Jenny (Napoles) na marami kang nalalaman (Perhaps they wanted you killed because Jenny was so afraid you knew a lot of things), Ramirez told him, Luy recounted. When he managed to corner Ramirez on Feb. 10, Luy said he was told that it would be difficult to untangle the cobweb he was in. Denied his whereabouts

Luy recalled how he spent Christmas and the New Year alone, far from his family in Zamboanga Sibugay. Luy said his family knew he was being detained at the Ma-

gallanes house and that they would eventually come to his rescue. In fact, he said, he learned from a man guarding him whom he identified as John Rey Mijares that his mother and brother had dropped by at the Magallanes house and asked for his whereabouts. But that the man had denied he was there. On the urging of his mother, Luy was rescued by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation from the posh Pacific Plaza Towers in Taguig City. The rescue led to investigation of the alleged P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF, also known as pork barrel) scam orchestrated by Napoles in connivance with some lawmakers and their senior officials. In her manifestation, defense counsel Lorna Kapunan said that it appeared “suspicious” that Luy has remembered all the details line by line. Judge Alameda reset the continuation of the direct examination on Luy. ■

Chavit cites delay for seeking cases’ junking BY CYNTHIA D. BALANA Philippine Daily Inquirer SAYING THAT the three graft cases against him were filed with “capricious delay,” former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson has asked the Sandiganbayan to immediately dismiss the charges that had been “sleeping” for more than 10 years in the Office of the Ombudsman. A motion to quash filed by Singson’s lawyer, Francisco Tolentino, in the antigraft court’s Fifth Division said that com-

plainant Estelita Cordero had filed suit against Singson on Dec. 5, 2002, but it was only on Dec. 10, 2012, that the Ombudsman issued an order directing Singson and the other respondents to submit their counter affidavits. On July 3, 2013, the Ombudsman issued a resolution recommending the indictment of Singson and his successor, former Gov. Deogracias Savellano, after it denied their motions for reconsideration. Singson posted bail totaling P90,000. His coaccused, Savellano, has yet to post a bond.

The court set Singson’s arraignment for Oct. 30 but his lawyers want the court to first resolve their pending motion claiming a “blatant violation of accused Singson’s constitutional right to a speedy disposition of his cases.” The Ombudsman’s complaint said that Singson, who was governor of Ilocos Sur from 1998 to 2001, entered into four memorandums of agreement with Multi-Line Food Processing International Inc. (MFPII) on Feb. 5 (P9.18 million), Feb. 20 (P4 million), May 28 (P3 million) and in June (P8 million),

all in 2001. The releases amounting to P24.18 million were allegedly intended to bankroll the private company’s unspecified livelihood projects. Savellano, Singson’s successor who served up to 2003, likewise forged a similar agreement with Multi-Line Food in December 2001, giving the company a grant of P1,880,500 in financial assistance. The combined allocations totaling P26,060,500 were obtained from the province’s share of the tobacco excise tax earmarked under Republic Act

N o . 7 1 7 1 (An Act to Promote the Development of the Farmers in the Virginia Tobacco Producing Provinces). Cordero, chair of the Save Ilocos Sur Alliance (Sisa) Foundation, alerted the Ombudsman to what she considered an unlawful release of public funds to MFPII. ■

Philippine News


Ombudsman OKs raps vs 5 DAR execs BY NANCY C. CARVAJAL Philippine Daily Inquirer THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman has recommended the prosecution of former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, four of his department’s officials and 36 others for allegedly diverting P200 million in funds meant for farmers to nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by Janet Lim-Napoles. The charges that the 41 officials face are violation of the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act and estafa through falsification of public documents, according to the case filed by prosecution officer Ryan Medrano and approved on Sept. 11 by Maria Olivia Elena A. Roxas, director of the General Investigation Bureau. Named in the charge sheet aside from Pangandaman were his aides in the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)—Undersecretary Narciso Nieto, Director Teresita Panlilio, Budget Officer Ronald Venancio and

Cashier Nilda Baui. The four are still with the department. Also recommended for prosecution were Angelita Cacanta, former DAR chief accountant, lawyer Editha Talaboc, Delfin Agcaoili Jr., Mark Oliveros, Lucita Solomon, Wilberto de Guzman, Mercedes Lindo, Margarita Guadinez, Gina Pascual, Noel Macha, Nemesio Pablo, Jun Damasco, Lorenz Suñas, Jocelyn Piorato, Hernanie Ditchon, Wanny Plaza, Aljerome Benito, Jeff Afuang, Jojo Flores, Ireneo Perrater, Mae-anne Kilapkilap, Jose Flores, Rose Guinto, Renato Ornopia, Theresita Samson, Mylene Encarnacion, Roman Briones and John Raymond Asis. Former Napoles employees Benhur Luy, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula were among those recommended for prosecution, obviously to be released later to turn state witnesses. They were the principal whistle-blowers against Napoles in her plunder cases involving the P10-billion pork barrel scam and the P900million heist involving the Malampaya Fund. A respondent in the Malam-

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the charges that the 41 officials face are violation of the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act and estafa through falsification of public documents. PHOTO FROM OMBUDSMAN.GOV.PH

paya Fund case, in which Napoles allegedly hijacked funds meant for victims of Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng,” is former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative who is under hospital arrest. Most of the accused in the P200-million DAR racket uncovered from 2007 and 2008 were likewise named in the plunder charges filed on Oct. 3

in connection with the Malampaya case. The Ombudsman’s investigators said in the charge sheet that it was “beyond dispute that the falsified documents were extensively employed to fully substantiate the release, disbursement and utilization of the funds” channeled through NGOs controlled by Napoles. “The DAR officials in conspiracy with the NGO officers,

the external accountant, notary public, took advantage of the situation and forged the signatures of the sitting mayors to show that the latter had assisted and facilitated in the implementation of the fictitious DAR project,” they said. “Their well-organized scheme clearly illustrates their fraudulent intent and motive to ❱❱ PAGE 13 Ombudsman OKs

Philippine News


Roach: Pacquiao will KO Rios

Comelec: Incidents... turnout appeared to be lower than the expected 79 to 80 percent. The Comelec had predicted a high voter turnout after 1 million voters registered earlier this year for the barangay elections. Brillantes said voter turnout in Metro Manila could reach 55 to 60 percent, and he would not predict a higher figure in the absence of actual voting records. Election officials in Western Visayas estimated voter turnout at 78 percent to 88 percent. Voter turnout in Central Visayas was estimated at 87 percent and in Eastern Visayas, 85 percent. There were no reports yet from other parts of the country as of early night on Monday. Polling precincts opened at 7 a.m. on Monday and the balloting ended at 3 p.m., followed by the counting of the votes. Counting the barangay votes was done by hand, as the elections were not automated, unlike the midterm elections in May that employed ballot scanners and counters. Brillantes said the Comelec’s monitoring center recorded 18 incidents of election-related violence that happened on Sunday and Monday as balloting went on in the villages. ❰❰ 1

‘Very, very minimal’

“Eighteen out of 42,000 contests all over the country is very, very minimal, almost nothing,” Brillantes said. “The incidents reported are very isolated cases when you compare them to statistics in 2010,” he added. Among the “isolated” incidents reported to the Comelec were shootings and snatching of ballots or ballot boxes. Brillantes said the delayed arrival of election materials and the snatching of ballots or ballot boxes were immediately remedied following the Comelec’s contingency plans, including reprinting or using improvised ballots. Violence was reported in Matti town and Digos City in Davao del Sur province; Midsayap town in Cotabato; and Mariveles town in Bataan. There were also reports of violence in Cuartero town, Capiz province, and in Toboso town, Negros Occidental. Ballots were reported miss-

Trainer can’t forget old insult BY ROY A. LUARCA Philippine Daily Inquirer

Although generally peaceful, among the “isolated” incidents reported to the Comelec were shootings and snatching of ballots or ballot boxes. PHOTO FROM MYCOMELEC.TV

ing in Tonsuya village in Malabon, Metro Manila, and ballots and other election paraphernalia in Barangay Bukut-Umus, Tabuan-Lasa, Basilan, were reported to have been snatched. A ballot box was also snatched from the board of election tellers in Barangay San Antonio, Catubig, Northern Samar. Among the other electionrelated violent incidents were an explosion at Don Mariano Marcos Elementary School and Isaac Ablayan Elementary School in Davao del Sur on Sunday and the holding of voters in Barangay Marfil, Rosario, Agusan del Norte, allegedly by supporters of a barangay chair on Monday. Elections reset

The elections on Calayan Islands in Cagayan were reset because election materials had yet to arrive there. The Comelec said the elections in five island barangays in Calayan, Cagayan, would be held on Oct. 31 while the barangays on the main island of Calayan would have elections on Oct. 30. Catherine Bangi-Allas, provincial election supervisor in Cagayan, reported that the ballots and other election paraphernalia were not delivered on time due to bad weather. Bangi-Allas said the election officer tasked with conducting the training for the barangay election tellers (BET) had not arrived on the island, also because of bad weather. Meanwhile, the Comelec said that in areas where there could be failure of elections, the incumbent barangay officials would not be allowed to serve in a holdover capacity. Brillantes explained that in cases where there were incidents of intimidation and irregularities such as ballot snatch-

ing, the Comelec may place those areas under its control. Vote-buying

The Comelec also received reports of vote-buying. Brillantes said, however, that the reports did not bother the election body. “As long as there’s evidence against the erring candidate, we can always go after them, disqualify them, even if they’re already proclaimed winners, as well as file criminal charges against them,” he said. Brillantes urged the public to “closely monitor cases of votebuying and report them to the Comelec.” “We will definitely act on their formal complaints,” he said. The Comelec also launched its “Voting in the Malls” project for senior citizens and people with disabilities at SM-Manila on Monday. “Aside from SM-Manila, similar pilot projects were also launched today in SM malls in Lipa City, Cebu City and General Santos City. We’re looking into the possibility of holding elections for the seniors and people with disabilities in 2016 not just in SM malls but also in other shopping centers nationwide,” he said. Election Commissioner Grace Padaca was in Cebu City on Monday to “monitor the launch of the Comelec pilot project there,” according to Brillantes. Contacted in Cebu City by phone, Padaca reported that the barangay elections in the island-province and other parts of Central Visayas were “generally peaceful.” ■ With reports from Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Joey Gabieta and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas

MANNY PACQUIAO’S showdown with Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 in Macau is going to end in a knockout. And Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach says it’s the Mexican who will kiss the canvas. Roach made this prediction to visiting Asian journalists last week in General Santos City, where Pacquiao is holding his training camp. “Manny will be doing me a big favor by knocking this guy (Rios) out,” Roach said. Roach’s ill-feeling toward Rios emanated from a 2010 video showing the MexicanAmerican mocking his slurred speech and mannerism in front of trainer Robert Garcia and Antonio Margarito. Undaunted by the brutal sixth-round knockout Pacquiao suffered against Juan Manuel Marquez last Dec. 8, Roach said Pacquiao’s hunger (of winning) is back. The Filipino also suffered a controversial split decision loss to American Timothy Bradley last June 9.

Roach said he wants Pacquiao to ease up on his training a bit so as not too peak too soon. Filipino assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez put Pacquiao’s physical condition at 85 to 90 percent, and there are four weeks left before the welterweight bout is staged at The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena. But Pacquiao said he needs to put in more work to regain his old form. “I need to train more,” he told the Inquirer. “I am hungry.” Renowned promoter Bob Arum, who accompanied the media horde with Sands China CEO Edward Tracy, was also impressed with Pacquiao’s performance in his sparring with Ghanaian welterweight Fredrick Lawson and Briton light middleweight Liam Vaughan. Tracy was quoted by South China Morning Post that tickets for Pacquiao-Rios are 80 percent sold out. Ticket inquiries reportedly came from fans from 31 countries, including Zimbabwe and Russia. Celebrities like Denzel Washington, George Clooney and Eva Longoria are also reported to have expressed their intention to see the fight. ■

Undaunted by the brutal sixth-round knockout Pacquiao suffered against Juan Manuel Marquez last Dec. 8, Roach said Pacquiao’s hunger (of winning) is back. PHOTO FROM SOLARSPORTS.PH

Philippine News

Return pork, DAR tells fake NGOs BY DJ YAP Philippine Daily Inquirer THE DEPARTMENT of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said it was collaborating with government lawyers to go after questionable nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that were able to access pork barrel funds in late 2010 to 2011. In a statement, Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said the agency would submit documents to the Office of the Solicitor General in order to file complaints against at least 14 NGOs and demand they return hundreds of millions of pesos granted to them. Many of these NGOs were endorsed by legislators to receive the funds. Parungao said his office began compiling and submitting documents to support legal action two weeks ago and he expected to submit more documents in the next two weeks. Parungao did not name the NGOs they were building cases against. “The filing of collection cases is in conformity with the recommendation of the COA (Commission on Audit),” Parungao said. Parungao did not preclude the option of filing criminal cases against individual members of the NGOs. Parungao also revealed that the DAR was aware as early as July last year that no projects were actually being implemented by these NGOs. In July 2012, Undersecretary Jerry Pacturan of the DAR’s Support Services Office began investigating NGOs that were allegedly involved in questionable fund releases, Parungao said.

He said the DAR was committed to get to the bottom of the issue, and that it would not hesitate to take other action once culpability was clearly established. Parungao clarified that according to prevailing guidelines at the time, “undersecretaries could sign contracts and fund releases up to a certain level.” He added that the department had since instituted more stringent measures on fund releases to NGOs and other private entities. These include, among other things, having private entities such as NGOs strictly undergo the process of competitive bid ding. There would also be a Needs Assessment and Design Assessment procedure if the NGO is the beneficiary of funds or of support services. He stressed that the reforms that they were starting to put in place early on precisely stipulated that all funds released to entities were subject to bidding. Parungao said it was unfortunate that funds were allocated to NGOs that were merely endorsed to the DAR. But in December 2011, several NGOs were again endorsed to facilitate programs amounting to P475 million. Parungao said that by this time, the DAR had insisted on the conduct of competitive bidding in selecting service providers. Subsequently, these funds were withdrawn from the department. The funds, it was later revealed, were transferred by the Department of Budget and Management to the National Livelihood Development Corp. reportedly on the recommendation of some senators, who also named certain NGOs as their conduits in the implementaton of the projects. ■


Police say... No word has been given about a possible cause behind the incident that closed one of the most politically sensitive and heavily guarded public spaces in the country, but authorities erected screens to hide the aftermath and hurriedly cleaned up the scene while images of the crash were taken down from the Internet. The police notice said they were investigating and taking “effective measures to ensure the capital’s safety and stability.” The injured were among the crowds in front of the iconic Tiananmen Gate, where a large portrait of Mao Zedong hangs near where tourists enter the southern entrance to the former imperial palace. The vehicle burst into flames after crashing into a guardrail of one of the ancient stone bridges leading to the gate, police said. The statement said the driver had veered inside of a barrier separating a crowded sidewalk from busy Chang’an Avenue then drove along the walkway to Tiananmen Gate, which stands across the avenue from the sprawling Tiananmen Square. Chang’an Avenue was closed as police and rescue services converged on the area, but the police statement said traffic was restored just over an hour later. Any incident in the area is considered sensitive because the square was the focus of a 1989 pro-democracy movement that was violently suppressed by the military. The square is still heavily policed to ❰❰ 1

Tiananmen Square, one of the most politically sensitive and heavily guarded public spaces in Beijing, was the scene of a crash where 1 Filipino was killed.

guard against political protests as occasionally happens on sensitive dates. The incident had every appearance of being deliberate, since the driver apparently jumped a curb at a nearby cross street and travelled about 400 metres (yards) to the spot where it was said to have caught fire while avoiding trees, street lights and at least one security checkpoint. Police did not immediately release any information about who was inside the car. Photos of the scene that circulated on the Internet before being taken down showed images of a vehicle emitting thick smoke at Tiananmen Gate. Injured people, including a young girl, lay on the ground, many of them bleeding heavily. Police said the other tourist killed was a man from the southern province of Guangdong. It didn’t say how the three

inside the vehicle died. Authorities swiftly cleared up the scene, first clearing the area of visitors then blocking views of the vehicle wreckage with rectangular screens. Later, there were no remaining signs of fire, car debris or damage to any of the structures in the plaza. Attendants and concession stand vendors nearby who were asked about incident all said they were not clear on what happened. Such employees are generally understood to be parttime police informants. The area around the square is one of China’s most closely guarded and politically sensitive public venues. Just to the west lies the Great Hall of the People, the seat of China’s parliament, while many of China’s top leaders live and work just a few hundred meters (yards) away in the tightly guarded Zhongnanhai compound. ■

P150M in DAR funds went to NGOs picked by Gringo, Jinggoy BY GIL C. CABACUNGAN Philippine Daily Inquirer TWO YEARS after the plunder of the Malampaya Fund, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) continued to be the clearinghouse of lawmakers’ pork barrel funds channeled to bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs). Documents obtained by the

INQUIRER showed that P230 million from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) went to 16 dubious NGOs in 2011 through agreements to distribute agricultural livelihood packages forged between local government units (LGUs) and DAR Undersecretaries Narciso Nieto, Jerry Pacturan and Perry Felix Villanueva. The DAR releases included

funding initiatives made by Senators Gregorio Honasan II (P100 million) and Jinggoy Estrada (P50 million) approved by Senate President Franklin Drilon (who was then chair of the Senate finance committee that served as the gatekeeper of PDAF releases of its members). The documents did not contain the identities of the law❱❱ PAGE 14 P150M in

Philippine News


P-Noy smells conspiracy Media told to distinguish the spin from the facts BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer SAYING MEDIA should keep their “eyes on the ball,” President Aquino is seeing a conspiracy behind the attacks against his administration in connection with its controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). “Since I am in a room full of journalists, perhaps I can leave it to you to connect the dots,” he told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap) forum in Manila. “All of these attacks came after plunder cases, among others, that were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman against a few well-known politicians.” The President did not name names, but was apparently referring to Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla. The opposition senators, along with 35 other respondents, were charged with plunder for allegedly taking part in a P10-billion pork barrel scam. Mr. Aquino said it was “difficult to fathom how one could equate” the DAP with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was enjoyed by both senators and members of the House of Representatives. He claimed that the stimulus program was being “unjustly and oddly vilified in the media ... nearly two years after the same media lauded the government for its resourcefulness.” The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on Nov. 19 on petitions questioning the constitutionality of the DAP, a little-known impounding mechanism for government savings from which was sourced, according to the De-

partment of Budget and Management (DBM), the P50 million in additional pork barrel funds given to each of the 20 senators who voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona in May last year. The DBM explanation was issued after Estrada, in a privilege speech, revealed that “incentives” were given to senators after the conviction of Corona. Veteran Senators Joker Arroyo and Miriam DefensorSantiago, along with a host of constitutional experts, including Fr. Joaquin Bernas, have averred that the Constitution prohibits the transfer of funds in the General Appropriations Act from one department to another. By the President’s own admission in the Focap forum, the DAP—just like the PDAF— allowed legislators to channel funds to projects of their choice. Still, he had his defense. Consultations with lawmakers

“The only thing one could remotely relate to PDAF were those projects undertaken through consultation with our legislators,” he said. “After all, just as we engaged regional offices, local partners, and civil society in identifying projects, was it not also appropriate to hear the proposals of the elected officials of the land?” Mr. Aquino added: “Taking this into account, such projects by the legislators made up a mere 9 percent of the program. Why, then, is the DAP being made an issue?” “Nine percent” meant that a total of P12.8 billion was given to legislators in additional projects from 2011 to 2012, based on official budget records. The amount (which was 9 percent of the P142.23-billion savings released through the

DAP) was a little less than half of the P24.8 billion in pork barrel senators and House member enjoyed during that period. In short, congressional pork barrel increased by almost 50 percent because of the DAP in 2011 and 2012. Mr. Aquino sought to justify his move to allow legislators to dip their fingers into DAP funds this way. Quoting an “older politician,” he asked: “Who will remember you come election time?” ‘Eyes on the ball’

“Those that you have managed to help find work, those that you have educated, those that you have helped gain-medical attention,” he said. “You’re a politician. You’d want to be reelected. Your work, therefore, has to devolve to constituency work.” In November 2011, a month after the DAP was announced, senators submitted projects amounting to P100 million each, to be funded from pooled government savings. Senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vicente Sotto III, Estrada and Revilla then sought to transfer their allocations from the Department of Agrarian Reform to National Livelihood Development Corp. Copies of letters bearing their signatures indicated that they nominated as project implementers foundations linked to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind the P10-billion pork scam. Mr. Aquino said he did not need to “remind” the media of “the true issue that has seemingly been drowned out by all the background noise.” “And so I ask you: Let’s keep our eyes on the ball,” he said. “The public was outraged by the audacity with which public officials allegedly stole from

During the open forum of the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at the Manila Hotel, the President noted that attacks against the DAP “coincided” with criticism against bonuses received by Social Security System (SSS) officials, and his administration’s “reforms” at the Bureau of Customs. PHOTO BY BENHUR ARCAYAN / MALACAÑANG PHOTO BUREAU

the national coffers through the PDAF. This is an outrage we share, and this is precisely why we abolished the PDAF, and followed the evidence so that we may hold all those who committed wrongdoing accountable.” “Our media and our people are far too good—far too wise— to be grossly and brazenly led to the wrong issue. Plunderers should be taken to account,” he added. SSS bonuses

The President noted that attacks against the DAP “coincided” with criticism against bonuses received by Social Security System (SSS) officials, and his administration’s “reforms” at the Bureau of Customs. SSS board members were assailed for gifting themselves

with a P1-million bonus each, even as the state pension agency was planning to increase monthly salary contributions by 0.6 percent. SSS president Emilio de Quiros (brother of the INQUIRER columnist Conrado de Quiros) was also in the hot seat for flying abroad—allegedly firstclass and all expenses paid—every two months since he assumed office. But Mr. Aquino insisted that the “framework” for the bonuses was “outlined” in the law governing government-owned and -controlled corporations. “In the midst of the cacophony of voices, the journalist must be able to separate the important from the frivolous, the spin from the facts, the malicious lies from the simple truth,” he said. ■

Philippine News


‘Cancel passports of JPE et al.’ De Lima issues request to DFA BY JEROME ANING Philippine Daily Inquirer JUSTICE SECRETARY Leila de Lima said she had asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to cancel the passports of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and 35 others charged with plunder in the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged P10billion pork barrel racket. In her letter to Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, De Lima said there was “sufficient basis in fact and law to cancel the passports.” She cited the Philippine Passport Act of 1996, which states that “in the interest of national security, public safety and public health, the secretary or any of the authorized consular officers may, after due hearing and in their proper discretion, refuse to issue a passport, or restrict its use or withdraw or cancel a passport.” The government considers graft and corruption a national security policy “because it saps public resources, undermines the morale of the civil service and affects the delivery of basic services,” De Lima said. The crime, she added, “breeds sociopolitical instability as scandals degenerates into crisis situations that undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the government.” Asked about the Department of Justice (DOJ) request, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said: “We have yet to receive a request from the DOJ on this issue. When we receive one, we will assess [it] and proceed from there.” Hernandez said the DFA would have to “see what are the justifications” of the DOJ for the cancellation request. “Let them do what they want. Let the DFA decide. We can’t do anything,” Estrada said on the phone. “They have already filed their report to the Ombudsman, and by that, they have no authority any longer to declare those they charge as ‘national security risks,’” said Joel Bodegon, Revilla’s lawyer. He also said his client was “wrongfully charged.”

Enrile’s staff had no immediate comment. On Sept. 16, the National Bureau of Investigation filed a complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam that ran for 10 years, channeling allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects and kickbacks. Charged with Napoles were the three senators and 34 other people. The passports of Napoles, who is under police detention, and her brother Reynald Lim were earlier canceled by the DFA. Enrile aide gone

De Lima noted that four of the 37 had already left the country: Enrile’s former chief of staff Gigi Reyes, Ruby Chan Tuason, Rodolfo Plaza and Antonio Ortiz. In the complaint, Tuason was identified as a representative of Enrile and Estrada. She is thewidow of the late cousin of former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Plaza is a former Agusan del Sur representative. Ortiz is a former director general of the Technology Resource Center. “Are we just going to wait so more of those we charged will leave the country?” De Lima replied when asked why she wanted to cancel the passports of peoplewho have not yet been charged in court. She described the respondents in the plunder case as “flight risks” who have the “capacity and the resources” to flee the country. She also pointed out that the four who had already left did so a few days before the NBI filed the first batch of PDAF cases in Office of the Ombudsman. “It can’t be helped if one thinks that they left because they wanted to avoid the cases. Look at the dates. And then where are they now? Nobody knows? They haven’t returned yet. So our suspicion is that they are trying to escape accountability. We don’t want that by the time the Ombudsman finishes its preliminary investigation and files the case in the Sandiganbayan, most

of those we want to prosecute have all gone. How will the case proceed if there are no more to be tried?” she added. The justice secretary said in the case of the legislators, she hoped Congress and its leaders would understand the DOJ was just performing its mandate. “We’re doing this to keep them within the reach of the lawful processes, whether it’s the Ombudsman or the Sandiganbayan, so that there will be no delays and that the proceedings will go unhampered,” she said. Money stolen from poor

In asking for the cancellation of the passports, De Lima likewise cited the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which the Philippines ratified in 2006. The convention regards corruption as a threat to social stability and security. The justice secretary said corruption threatened national security because money stolen from the rural poor “exponentially drives the incentive for disenchantment if not outright hostility against the government.” “Those who jeopardize government-spurred economic revitalization through grassroots projects effectively undermine the nation’s economic security, and expose Philippine society to all kinds of civil and political unrest. This is how corruption endangers the nation,” she said. De Lima said the NBI probe had found “clear and convincing evidence” that those charged participated in the unlawful diversion and misuse of PDAF. “The possibility that several of the subject persons will be in detention throughout the trial of their case is high, and therefore there is a strong probability that they will attempt to leave the country in order to evade arrest, detention and prosecution altogether. “The options for these subject persons are severely limited and as their time of reckoning with the Ombudsman fast approaches, many will begin to make the hard choice, as some of them already have, of simply fleeing the country, the same being the only real viable option against the certainty of imprisonment once warrants of arrest are issued,” De Lima said. ■

Gov’t debt rises to P5.46T; finance execs still upbeat BY MICHELLE V. REMO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE GOVERNMENT’S outstanding debt rose to P5.46 trillion in July—5.8 percent higher than the P5.16 trillion recorded in the same month last year, the Bureau of the Treasury reported. Finance officials said that, although the amount of debt grew, the government was now in a position to better manage its liabilities. This is because the rate of the economy’s expansion has outpaced the rise in the government’s obligations, they explained. The officials said that, in funding public expenditures, the government now borrows more from the domestic market than from foreign sources. Of the amount incurred in July, the bulk of nearly P3.5 billion was secured from the domestic market, while the rest came from foreign lenders and bondholders. National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon earlier explained that the government considered it more prudent to borrow more from local sources because the domestic economy was currently awash in cash. Because of this, government securities are in high demand while interest rates remain low. The amount of debt secured locally was 12.3 percent higher yearo n -y e a r. Fo r e i g n obligations meanwhile declined by 3.8 percent during the same period. The outstanding debt of the government has been on the rise since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s because its revenue collection contin-

ues to fall short of the country’s expenditure requirements. To plug the budget deficit, the government borrows from the domestic capital market through the sale of treasury bills and bonds. It also borrows from foreign lenders by selling bonds in the international capital market and securing loans from development institutions, like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan for International Cooperation Agency. The Philippine government’s outstanding debt is estimated to be equivalent to around 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The debt-to-GDP ratio has been on the decline since it peaked at 74 percent in 2004. At 50 percent, the Philippine government’s debt-to-GDP ratio is compliant with international standards for debt manageability. Finance officials said the debt-to-GDP ratio was expected to decline further over the m e d i - um term as growth of the economy continued to outpace borrowings. ■

Philippine News


Don’t just scrap pork, get rid of pigs, says bishop BY JOCELYN R. UY Philippine Daily Inquirer WANT TO save the country from corruption? Don’t just push for the removal of the pork barrel— go after the “pigs” as well. Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz gave that advice to Filipinos who have been outraged by the massive misuse of the pork barrel—officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)— by some senators and members of the House of Representatives. “So what if the pork is gone but the pigs remain?” Cruz, one of the vocal critics of the Aquino administration in the Church, wrote in his blog entry

titled “On Pork and Pigs.” Cruz noted that rallies had been held in Metro Manila and elsewhere, church bells had been tolled and “cryptic expressions” had been voiced against the PDAF and its variant, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). But all these actions would be futile, even if the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the pork barrel or a people’s initiative would lead to a law scrapping it, if those who had dipped their hands in the national coffers would remain in power, Cruz lamented. ‘Get rid of thieves’

Cruz was among the bishops

who have participated in protests calling for the abolition of the pork barrel, including the citizen led Million People March in Luneta in August and in Ayala this October. “The question is neither intended as a mere joke or simply meant to have fun,” Cruz said. “It is, in fact, equivalent to a statement that more than only doing away with the object of thievery, what is really needed is to get rid of the thieves.” The senior prelate said that for Filipinos to be able to save the country from corrupt practices committed by those in power, they must not only fight the cause of corruption but the crooked politicians, as well.

Top to bottom

“To say it another way, it is not enough merely to do away with the pork. It is necessary to get rid of the pigs and this means all the pigs from the top to the bottom of the government,” Cruz said. “How? Let those who love their country, who care for their fellowmen, who want a better future for their children decide. It is their concern. It is their option. It is their move,” Cruz said. Asked about Cruz’s statement that Filipinos must push for the removal of pigs in government, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said: “That’s a bit much (Masyado naman yan). But we won’t resort to name-

calling.” Senate President Franklin Drilon simply dismissed the question, saying, “I don’t understand it.” ■

Court junks Customs collectors’ plea to stop their transfer BY JERRY E. ESPLANADA AND JEROME ANING Philippine Daily Inquirer A MANILA court dismissed a petition by 13 port collectors seeking to block their transfer to another office as part of an ongoing revamp at the Bureau of Customs (BOC). But it was only a partial victory for Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon. The Manila court also dismissed the bureau’s petition to junk the case because of the court’s lack of jurisdiction. In a statement, Biazon directed the group of protesting port collectors to immediately report to the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO), a newly created office under the Department of Finance (DOF) At the same time, the BOC and DOF went ahead and asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Manila court’s decision regarding their own petition over jurisdiction, arguing that the proper venue for such complaints was the Civil Service Commission. The temporary restraining order (TRO) initially issued by Manila Trial Court Judge Marino de la Cruz Jr. has already lapsed. That same say, Judge Felicitas Laron-Cacanandin considered the collectors’ petition for a writ of preliminary injunction

Business as usual. In the midst of a petition by Customs port collectors to block their transfer, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon checks a container van loaded with alleged smuggled smartphones worth P6.1 million. The items were seized during a raid at San Marcelino Street in Ermita, Manila. PHOTO FROM GMANETWORK.COM

or an indefinite TRO and found it “not proper.” In a four-page decision, dated Oct. 21, the judge said “the court cannot enjoin an agency from performing an act within its prerogative, except when in the exercise of its authority it gravely abused or exceeded its jurisdiction.” However, she also denied the DOF and BOC’s motion to dismiss the case entirely for lack of jurisdiction. In granting the TRO extension, the court had said it was “tentatively convinced that the right of the petitioners exists and the implementation of the assailed Customs Personnel Order (CPO) is violative of their rights.” On Oct. 4, the Manila trial

court extended the 72-hour TRO earlier sought by the collectors to 20 days, including the original respite. The court had stressed that while it agreed with the administration’s policy to institute reforms in the BOC, “it lays clear that reforms should also be made under the purview of the dictates of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and must necessarily satisfy all questions of legalities.” Sought for comment, one of the leaders of the collectors’ group, told the INQUIRER they “would definitely comply with the CPO.” Meanwhile, in a 40-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, Biazon and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, through

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, said the Manila judges’ intervention in the revamp issue “constitutes a harrowing judicial straitjacket that impedes the reform agenda of this administration.” “Foremost, it sends a strong message that an act of patent nullity by the judiciary no less, could immediately paralyze and render inutile valid executive acts aimed at pioneering national reforms,” Jardeleza said. Biazon and Purisima accused the Manila judges of acting beyond their jurisdiction, citing previous Supreme Court decisions which stated that the Civil Service Commission had primary and exclusive jurisdiction over the cases involving

the transfer of government employees. “The issue at hand is not about who, but what; it is not about individual loss, but about national gain. Whether from the birth pains of reform, this nation can gain a foothold, nay, a stride, into restoring this nation into its prideful place from the clutches of a ‘kleptocratic mafia’ that had gained a stranglehold into one of the nation’s primary sources of revenue,” the petitioners said. On Sept. 17, Biazon transferred a total of 27 field collectors to the research office. Fifteen collectors initially filed the civil case in the RTC: Ronnie Silvestre, Edward de la Cuesta, Rogel Gatchalian, Imelda Cruz, Lilibeth Sandang, Raymond Ventura, Ma. Liza Torres, Arnel Alcaraz, Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang, Francis Agustin, Carlos So, Marietta Zamoranos, Carmelia Talusan, Are files Carreon and Romalino Valdez. Talusan and Carreon later withdrew from the case. The complainants claimed that their transfer from the BOC to the CPRO resulted in the diminution of their status, rank and privileges, and that their detail to the new body had resulted in their constructive dismissal, hence, a violation of their right to security of tenure. ■ With a report from Erika Sauler

Philippine News


Oversight body granted bonuses despite violations BY GIL C. CABACUNGAN Philippine Daily Inquirer A COMMISSION monitoring the pay of government corporations approved last year the grant of bonuses to directors of 20 state firms, including one that was used as conduit by dubious NGOs linked to the P10billion pork barrel scam, although the executives did not post online their compensation package in violation of the law. At the hearing of the House committee on government enterprises and privatization, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares wondered why the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) granted P67.6 million in performance-based incentives to the directors of the 20 government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) when practically none of them had bothered to post their compensations on their websites. Colmenares brushed off as “unsatisfactory” the excuses given by GCG Chair Cesar L. Villanueva to committee members that his office had overlooked this basic requirement in the law. Rubber stamp

Colmenares said the “bottom line” was Villanueva and the rest of the GCG acted like a rubberstamp office and turned a blind eye to the GOCCs’ violation. “The GCG should have demanded their compliance and withheld the bonuses. The GCG admitted during the congres-

sional hearing that they failed to follow the requirements under section 25 of Republic Act No. 10149, or the GOCC law, the need for the mandatory posting on the GOCC website of the complete compensation package of the board members, including travel and representation expenses and the five years financial statements of the GOCC,” he said.

from their own pork. GCG Commissioner Angela Ignacio told the House committee that NLDC directors were given bonuses because the agency performed well regarding its mandate—lending

Bonuses despite red flags

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio questioned the GCG decision to approve the grant of P666,000 in bonuses to National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) last year even after the Commission on Audit had been raising red flags on the microlending agency’s failure to check the pork barrel funds that went to NGOs set up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. Tinio noted that social impact and internal process were among the key target areas in the scorecard reviewed by the GCG before granting bonuses. “A large amount of PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel) was channeled to Napoles NGOs. And you called it good performance and gave them bonuses?” he asked. Tinio said the GCG itself was aware of NLDC’s role in the pork barrel scam as it was one of five GOCCs that were under review for abolition for being used by lawmakers in profiting

Ignacio said NLDC had stopped acting as an implementing agency since 2011 and the P666,000 bonus was given based on last year’s performance. Tinio, however, noted that NLDC had been handling pork barrel funds as late as last year based on news reports. “Instead of rewarding them, they should be held accountable for not doing their duty to protect taxpayer money,” he said. Return NLDC bonuses

to micro lenders—and that it had resisted the Department of Budget and Management’s decision to be an implementing agency for pork.

Colmenares said: “The fact that GCG found NLDC, which was involved in the pork scam, as a performing GOCC says a lot about its very bad monitoring and evaluation process. The board members should return the bonuses for them to undergo another evaluation, this time following the requirements set by law.” Coop- Natco Rep. Crescente Paez said the GCG should independently make a set of targets for each GOCC instead of relying on the GOCCs themselves to set the targets. “These are self-imposed targets that are easy to realize. Why not benchmark these targets with other GOCCs?” Paez said. Tinio also questioned the absence at the hearing of Emilio de Quiros Jr., Social Security System (SSS) president and chief executive officer, ostensi-

bly because he was in the United States on official business. Tinio said lawmakers wanted to hear De Quiros explain why SSS board members deserved the P9.3 million in bonuses they received last year. Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president Robert Garcia and Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Gerardo Esquivel attended the hearing to personally explain their 2012 performance and justify their bonuses. The GOCCs that were granted bonuses for their board of directors were Development Bank of the Philippines (P10.5 million), GSIS (P10.4 million), SSS (P9.3 million), Land Bank of the Philippines (P7.8 million), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (P7.6 million), Bases Conversion Development Authority (P4.4 million), Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. ( P3.9 million), Clark Development Corp. ( P3.7 million), MWSS ( P1.7 million). Philippine National Oil Co. (P1.4 million), Poro Point Management Corp. (P1.1 million), National Tobacco Administration (P960,000), LBP-Leasing Corp. (P930,000), NLDC (666,000), People’s Credit and Finance Corp. (608,000), National Electrification Administration (P588,000), LBP-RDC (P543,000), Clark International Airport Corp. (P513,000), National Telecommunications Commission (P320,000) and Philippine National Oil Co. (P97,000). ■

India backs arbitration bid to solve sea dispute BY TARRA QUISMUNDO Philippine Daily Inquirer

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.. PHOTO FROM INDIATVNEWS.COM

INDIA HAS expressed its support for a peaceful resolution to the territorial conflict in theWest Philippine Sea (South China Sea), adding it hoped the Philippines’ arbitration bid would prosper and lead to the stability of international waters. “India has very clearly stated our position of support for free access to sea lanes and, of course, international law, the Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)

being the basis of peaceful resolution of any such disputes,” visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in a forum in Manila. The visiting Indian minister explained India’s position in response to questions following his lecture on India’s foreign policy at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in his first official visit in Manila. “[A]rbitration is one answer. I hope it works. But at the end of the day, whatever the institutional response is ... it is the will of the people of the region that is very important, and that

will of the people of the region is there should be a peaceful resolution,” said the official, when asked about his take on the turf issue between Manila and Beijing. China has rejected arbitration citing its “indisputable sovereignty” over the waters. It was also against internationalizing the issue, saying this was a bilateral issue between the two countries. India, as an outsider in the conflict, will not assume a role in the Manila-Beijing tension, ❱❱ PAGE 15 India backs

Philippine News


PH best in gender equality in Asia-Pacific BY DORIS C. DUMLAO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE PHILIPPINES is the best performer within the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to gender equality. The country has also improved its global ranking to fifth place from eighth in the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report. This latest annual gender equalityfocused report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked 136 countries on their ability to close the gender gap in four key areas—economic equality, political participation, health and survival, and educational attainment. “The Philippines remains the most advanced country in the [Asia-Pacific] region in terms of gender equality, ranking fifth in the global index. It improved as a result of advances in economic participation and opportunity, a subindex of the report, as well as by having a strong score in terms of political participation,” the WEF said in a statement. The report said the Asia-Pacific region had now closed 67 percent of its gender gap but still lagged behind every region in the world except the Middle East and North Africa when it comes to economic equality between the sexes, having closed only 56 percent. The eighth annual edition of the report ranked Iceland closest to equality for the fifth year running. Iceland, along with Finland (second), Norway (third) and Sweden (fourth), has now closed over 80 percent of its gender gap. Women in leadership

“Countries will need to start thinking of human capital very differently—including how they integrate women into leadership roles. This shift in mindset and practice is not a goalpost for the future, it is an imperative today,” said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chair. “Both within countries and between countries are two distinct tracks to economic gender equality, with education serving as the accelerator. For countries that provide this basic investment, women’s integration in the workforce is the next frontier of change. For those that haven’t invested in women’s education, addressing this obstacle is critical to women’s lives as well as the strength of economies,” said Saadia Zahidi, coauthor of the report and head of the Women Leaders and Gender Parity Program. Elsewhere in Asia, China continues to hold the 69th position after improving its overall score. Japan loses four places to 105, mainly because of a decrease in the number of women in parliament which overshadows a rise in its economic participation and opportunity score. Korea,

on 111, slips three places largely on account of a decrease in labor force participation and perceived wage equality. Germany, in 14th place, is the highest-placed individual G20 economy, although it fell by one notch from 2012. The best performer among BRICS (the grouping of fastgrowing emerging markets coined to refer to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is South Africa at 17th place, followed by Russia (61st), Brazil (62nd), while the two Asian BRICS ranked lowest, with China at 69th and India at 101st. Four areas

The report measured the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas: economic participation and opportunity—salaries, participation and highly skilled employment; education, access to basic and higher levels of education; political empowerment, representation in decisionmaking structures, andhealth and survival, life expectancy and sex ratio. Index scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men. At the global level, the report found that in 2013, 96 percent of the health and survival gender gap had now been closed. It is the only one of the four pillars that has widened since the report was first compiled in 2006. In terms of education, the global gender gap stood at 93 percent, with 25 countries having closed their gaps completely. The gender gaps for economic equality and political participation are only 60 percent and 21 percent closed, respectively, although progress is being made in these areas, with political participation narrowing by almost 2 percent in the past year. In both emerging and developed countries alike, relative to the numbers of women in tertiary education and in the workforce overall, women’s presence in economic leadership positions is limited. Europe’s progress toward eliminating its gender gap is polarized, with countries from Northern and Western Europe presenting a stark contrast to those from the South and East. Spain came in 30th, having closed 72 percent of its gender gap. France ranked 45th (70 percent closed) while Italy ranked 71st. Latin America’s leading nation when it comes to closing the gender gap is Nicaragua. At 10th place, it has now ranked in the top 10 for two years, largely on the back of a strong performance in terms of political empowerment. Cuba is next (15th), followed by Ecuador (25th). Mexico climbed 16 places to 68, due to increases in the number of female parliamentarians and the number of women in professional roles. Brazil held firm at 62nd despite a slight improvement in its overall score. ■

Ombudsman OKs ... obtain gain from a deceitful and anomalous undertaking to the prejudice and damage of the beneficiaries.” The P200- million fund, covered by a special allotment release order ( Saro), dated Dec. 4, 2007, was released to the DAR as implementing agency under Pangandaman. ❰❰ 6

Ghost deliveries

Apart from the statements of mayors who were supposed to receive the fund, whistle-blowers led by Luy also said the signatures of the mayors were forged to make it appear that they had requested financial assistance from the DAR and that the projects were implemented in support of agribusiness development in cooperation with seven NGOs identified with Napoles. Luy said the deliveries “were mostly ghost deliveries or grossly overpriced.” The P200-million fund was classified as an additional program fund to be generated by overall savings from the 2007 budget. The money was to cover fund support for agribusiness development under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. The NGOs implicated in the scam were Philippine Agri and Social Eco-

nomic Development Foundation, Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation, Agrikultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka Foundation, and Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation. The towns ostensibly given P5 million each were Talacogon, Jabonga, Tubay in Agusan del Norte; Sta. Josefa, San Agustin, Esperanza, San Luis, Bunawan and Veruela in Agusan del Sur; Bacuag, Gigaquit, San Benito, Burgos, San Francisco, Tubajon, Claver, Alegria and Socorro in Surigao del Norte; Bayabas, Lianga, San Miguel, Marihatag, Madrid and Cagwait in Surigao del Sur; Divilacan and Tumauini in Isabela; Doña Remedios Trinidad and Marilao in Bulacan; Esperanza in Masbate; Rosales and Mapandan in Pangasinan; Amadeo in Cavite; Barauen in Leyte province; Pitogo in Zamboanga del Sur province; Talusan in Zamboanga Sibugay province; San Jose in Batangas; and Sanchez Mira and Piat in Cagayan. Each town was supposed to be given 130 agricultural supply packages (seeds, farming tools and ergonomic knapsack sprayer) valued by the NGOs at P36,558 each. ■

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Philippine News


House passes budget; pork funds intact BY LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer


P150M in... makers behind the remaining P80 million. In a phone interview, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the fund releases were under investigation by Undersecretary Anthony Parungao. On Oct. 3, the National Bureau of Investigation filed plunder charges in the Office of the Ombudsman against former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo, three of her Cabinet secretaries and 20 others for allegedly stealing P900 million from the Malampaya Fund coursed through the DAR for victims of Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009. The Ombudsman is also poised to file a separate case of graft in connection with the diversion of P200 million in DAR funds meant to benefit beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). In both the Malampaya and CARP raids, Janet Lim-Napoles is a principal respondent. Napoles is also facing plunder charges for allegedly masterminding the P10-billion pork barrel scam. ❰❰ 8

Dubious NGOs probed

De los Reyes said the probe into the P230-million racket would determine how these NGOs with dubious background and tainted record during the past administration were able to access funds on his watch. “We want to know who are the persons responsible for these releases. We also want to know where these funds were sourced,” he said. Nieto, who resigned in October last year, signed some of the agreements on behalf of De los Reyes while other contracts

were signed by Pacturan. Both Pacturan and Villanueva (who handled the agency’s bidding and awards committee and finance division) oversaw the release of the checks to the NGOs. Based on the documents, Drilon approved the requests of Honasan and Estrada to release P150 million of their pork allocations to the DAR’s livelihood projects upon the request of local governments. Honasan requested De los Reyes that P100 million of his PDAF allocation be granted to 10 towns—Benito Soliven and San Pablo in Isabela; Samal, Bagac, and Mariveles in Bataan; Porac, Pampanga; Malolos, San Ildefenso, Paombong in Bulacan; and Carasi, Ilocos Norte. Each town was given P10 million. Estrada requested P50 million of his pork be released to 10 towns—Dinalupihan and Pilar in Bataan; General Nakar and Infanta in Quezon; San Nicolas, Batangas; Umingan, Rosales, Calasiao and San Nicolas in Pangasinan; and Sta. Maria, Bulacan. Each town was given P5 million. Honasan said he would verify the authenticity of the funds released under his name. “I want to stress that I have no discretion in choosing the recipient NGOs. I only endorsed the local government unit receiving the fund,” Honasan said in a text message. Request to Estrada

In a phone interview, Estrada said he would check his records whether he actually endorsed the release of the funds. Estrada, however, noted that he only endorsed the LGU as recipients to the implementing agency and that the mayors were left to pick the implementing NGOs.

In a letter to Estrada on March 16, 2011 requesting P5 million for financial assistance to her constituents, Infanta Mayor Filipina Grace R. America wrote, “I wish to request that the above funding support be implemented by Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. to manage the execution of the project.” The NGO is one of the fake foundations linked to Napoles, who is detained for the alleged illegal detention of a whistleblower in the scam. Although Napoles accounted for 10 of the 15 NGOs in the DAR pork barrel scam during the “daang matuwid” era, her group accounted for only 28 percent or P65 million of the P230 million released by the DAR to fake NGOs in 2011. These are the same NGOs allegedly used by Napoles to divert into her pocket P900 million from the Malampaya Fund in 2009 and P200 million from agrarian reform funds in 2007, both coursed through the DAR under then Secretary Nasser Pangandaman and Nieto. In 2011, Napoles had fierce competition for DAR funds from rival NGOs that were also believed to be fake: Workphil Foundation Inc. (P60 million); Divine Grace Enhancement Foundation Inc. (P40 million); Samahan sa Magsasaka sa Kapatagan at Kabundukan Foundation Inc. (P50 million); Focus on Development Goals Foundation Inc. or FDGFI (P10 million); and Gintong Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc. (P5 million). In 2011, Workphil and FDGFI also received P50 million and P140 million, respectively, in pork through Philippine Forest Corp. with the endorsement of Honasan. ■


Based on the documents, Drilon approved the requests of Honasan and Estrada to release P150 million of their pork allocations to the DAR’s livelihood projects upon the request of local governments.

THE HOUSE of Representatives approved the P2.268-trillion 2014 national budget, ostensibly with no pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) lump sum appropriation in it, but with the lawmakers’ proposed infrastructure projects for funding firmly in place. The House voted 219 to 22 to approve the bill on third and final reading. The approved budget contained the various proposed infrastructure projects of majority of the 289 members of the House, but with a specific provision that nongovernment organizations (NGOs) could not be involved in implementing the projects. The legislators’ chosen projects, consisting of local roads and bridges, school buildings, multipurpose buildings and water supply systems, were placed under the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways, which was one of the agencies that received a portion of the realigned P25-billion PDAF allotment. The House decided to cut out the P25-billion lump sum pork barrel funds from the budget amid the public outrage over reports that P10 billion in pork barrel funds were allegedly diverted to private pockets via fake NGOs and ghost projects from 2007 to 2009. The P25-billion PDAF allotment was apportioned among six departments—aside from the DPWH, the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Health and Department of Social Welfare and Development. Aside from ostensibly losing their pork barrel entitlements in the 2014 budget, the law-

makers can supposedly no longer fund scholarship programs and medical assistance for their constituents but they can make referrals to the line departments concerned. However, House members will still retain the power to propose infrastructure projects although they will have to identify them this early in the budgeting process so they can be included in the line-budgeting. The 2014 budget bill contained a specific provision on how the realigned pork funds under the DPWH could be used. It bans NGOs from the implementation of the projects. “In no case shall implementation of this program be delegated and/or transferred to any kind of civil society organization, whether it be a nongovernment organization or a people’s organization,” it states. The DPWH may engage a third party to monitor the implementation of the projects. The budget bill also states that the DPWH and the Department of Budget and Management should post the list of infrastructure projects covered and the municipalities and barangays where they are located, with corresponding costs per project, on their respective official websites. Also to be made publicly available are the project titles and descriptions, detailed estimation in arriving at the approved budgets for the contracts, names of the winning bidders and detailed estimates of the bids, the actual costs of the projects, and any changes to the proposals. The infrastructure projects for local governments to be funded from the realigned pork funds were listed by type and by district in the 2014 budget bill, although it does not state which lawmaker proposed which project. ■

Philippine News


Early verdict on China row seen BY TARRA QUISMUNDO Philippine Daily Inquirer FOREIGN Secretary Albert del Rosario is hopeful the Philippines will see a resolution of its arbitration case seeking clarification of maritime boundaries in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) while President Aquino is still in office, saying that the results of the legal action would be “legally binding and will not be appealable” despite China’s rejection of the proceedings. At the same time, Del Rosario said the Philippines did not have a “determination of facts” to officially protest the presence of concrete blocks at Scarborough Shoal, which Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin earlier said had been placed there by China and could very well be the beginning of Beijing’s fortification of the shoal just off the Zambales coast, well within the Philippines’ territorial boundaries. Del Rosario made the statement before former colleagues at the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), which he formerly headed as president. He reaffirmed the Philippines’ stand to peacefully resolve the dispute through arbitration and its commitment to finalize a binding Code of Conduct to instill discipline in the disputed waters. Quoting Washington-based Paul Reichler, the Philippines’ lead counsel

The Philippines filed the arbitration plea in January, seeking the nullification of China’s so-called ninedash-line claim. PHOTO FROM LEOGISTICSCORP.COM

in the arbitration case, Del Rosario said the United Nations tribunal hearing the case may likely issue its award or judgment earlier, with only one side taking part in the proceedings. “He (Reichler) believes that without China’s participation—they still refuse to participate—the award will come down faster. And his estimate is that it’s possible the award may come down by 2014. So our hope is that it comes down while the President is still in office,” Del Rosario said. The arbitral tribunal in The Hague has directed the Philippines to submit on March 30, 2014, its memorial or comprehensive pleading detailing the merits of its case against China and addressing the issue of whether the court has jurisdiction over the case. China earlier re-

jected the proceedings citing its “indisputable sovereignty” over the territory. “The arbitral tribunal, when they receive the memorial that will be presented by the Philippines, will look at it from the point of view of whether it is within their jurisdiction and they will also look at the merits of the case,” said Del Rosario. He said China’s absence from the proceedings should not diminish the value of the legal action. “That does not negate the importance or the significance of the result of the probable award that would be handed down,” he said.

India backs... Khurshid said. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario had briefed him on the matter on Monday, the first day of the latter’s twoday stay in Manila. “We don’t interfere. Anything that is a bilateral issue must be settled by the two countries and there is no place for a third country to intervene, even as a friend,” said Khurshid, adding that India has an important relationship with both the Philippines and China. Manila and Beijing are contesting ownership of the potentially oil-rich territories in the West Philippine Sea, a critical international trading lane where some $5.3 trillion worth of trade pass through annually. Saying all attempts at dialogue had failed, Manila brought its case to the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in January, questioning Beijing’s ninedash line that encompasses almost all territories in the South China Sea, including those in the West Philippine Sea. The tribunal, holding court at The Hague, took note of Beijing’s objection to arbitration but has continued the process. Last September, it gave Manila ❰❰ 15

six months to file its pleading tackling the merits of its case against Beijing. Khurshid spoke in Manila as India’s Prime Minister visited Beijing to ease continuing tension on the Himalayan border between the two countries. Khurshid cited India’s own experience in looking for a solution to its border dispute with China, which resulted in “something very ugly” in 1962, when war ensued between the two countries over the Himalayan delineation. He said both New Delhi and Beijing continued to pursue their bilateral relationship outside of the border conflict— an approach that Manila had also taken in dealing with China. In his lecture, the inaugural talk under the DFA’s Rizal Nehru Memorial Lectures series, Khurshid cited how the Philippines could take advantage of its strategic location in the Asia Pacific and also could serve as an international window towards Central Asia. “If you would only see yourself in that important geographic position, you would not be only an important collaborator but also a major hub as far as the world is concerned,” said Khurshid. ■

The Philippines filed the arbitration plea in January, seeking the nullification of China’s so-called nine-dash-line claim, which encompasses almost all of the West Philippine Sea, and to halt Chinese incursions into the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone within these waters. Addressing his MAP colleagues, Del Rosario said previous efforts by the Philippines to sort out the issue bilaterally had failed. He noted that there were “close to 50 bilateral consultations” between China and the Philippines from April 2012, when tensions rose in the disputed Panatag or Scarborough Shoal due to the presence of Chinese ships. The shoal is located some 124 nautical miles (230 kilometers) off Zambales, well within the country’s 200-mile EEZ. Del Rosario said it had yet to be determined when and who placed the concrete blocks in Scarborough Shoal. “I think you have two opposing views: The Philippines’ view is that there are concrete blocks there, except we don’t know how they got there, when they got there, who put them there. The Chinese view is that there are no concrete blocks, there are only rocks. So there you are,” he said. ■




Postscript to Teflon By Conrado De Quiros Philippine Daily Inquirer IT’S EASY enough to explain the Teflon. Which the foreign correspondents suggested P-Noy was—a “Teflon President.” Why were criticisms not sticking to him? The President answered: honesty and simplicity. On honesty: “I try to tell the truth at all times. It may be an unpopular truth, but I think I have been very consistent (in my stance). I stand by what I say and I do what I say.” On simplicity: “We were taught by our parents to live simple lives. We were taught to be very disciplined at a very young age. During martial law, we lived under an oppressive structure. I learned then that the more you are wedded to material things, to privileges, the less effective you will be in fighting oppressive structures.” Well, reality seems to bolster much of his self-diagnosis. The simplicity has been a lot more conspicuous of late. During the Zamboanga siege and the aftermath of the killer earthquake, P-Noy lived in fairly bare, if not Spartan, conditions for an extended period of time. Only recently, he camped out in Bohol and carried out his meetings in a tent by wind and

sea, in all its beauty and harshness, sleeping on a cot afterward. A gimmick? That’s how it would look if another person did it. But we are a people who read body language very well, which goes with being able to play things by ear, and can readily distinguish fake from genuine. Erap eats in a poor man’s hovel with his hands, that’s genuine. Gloria does the same thing, that’s fake. That P-Noy should go on to stay for days, or even weeks, in Zamboanga and Bohol, puts the genuineness of his concern past dispute. Just as well, the personal honesty is patent. Look at the criticisms. One is that he gave away P50 million to the senators who voted against Renato Corona, which is unethical. Two is that he made use of Butch Abad’s creation, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which is probably illegal: Several legal luminaries have come out to say it’s so. Three is that he retains pork in various guises, which an angry nation now finds immoral. But nowhere there is the charge, other than by imputation, implication, innuendo, that he is dishonest, that he is corrupt, that he stole money. Indeed, at no time in office has he been accused of diverting money into his pockets. Gloria was, Erap was, even Fidel was. That’s how the criticisms slide over P-

Noy. That’s what makes for Teflon. There’s another side to this coin however. First off is the question: Is he really completely Teflon? Pulse Asia had kinder findings but SWS did not. “Good” is still a pretty good rating, and one that will be welcomed by some other president. But “good” from “very good,” or specifically a fall of 15 points from +64 to +49, is not and will not. So grease is sticking to the pan after all, in this case one requiring a fairly strong detergent to

Although P-Noy himself has gotten off relatively lightly amid the collective broadside his enemies have fired at his administration, his people have not. remove. Arguably, it was the result of a “conspiracy,” as P-Noy himself puts it; or a furious, and probably expensive, PR snow job, as others do, and he can be expected to rise once more once he mounts his own communication counteroffensive. Which Janet Lim-Napoles’ hearing offers, when, or if, it takes place—the subject suffering from all sorts of maladies, real or imagined, at the prospect of it.

That P-Noy can rise and that he will rise are two different things however. That is so because there is a formidable obstacle to it. You see it in that although P-Noy himself has gotten off relatively lightly amid the collective broadside his enemies have fired at his administration, his people have not. His people in fact, chief of them Butch Abad, have been blasted to pieces. What this says is that the same goodwill P-Noy continues to enjoy among the public, his dip in ratings notwithstanding, does not extend to his people. The public won’t say, “They may not be able to account for billions of pesos (the Malampaya Fund, Customs), but they are basically honest, the money is just there.” The public won’t say, “They may be giving P-Noy more powers and more money than he is entitled to (the DAP, his own pork), but they mean well, they have the nation at heart.” That public is going to say, “They are devious, they have their own agenda, they have only their interests at heart.” And say it with sub-zero ratings for them. Over the first half of P-Noy’s government, those two forces have been at play. P-Noy has been pulling his people up, and his people have been pulling him down. Until lately, his immense popularity has pretty much given his

people an umbrella with which to take shelter. Which he has been only too willing to give, coming to their side when they fall into trouble. This government is the opposite of Fidel Ramos. Ramos fired his foreign and labor secretaries, Roberto Romulo and Nieves Confesor, after Flor Contemplacion was executed, though the two officials were little to blame for it. Today, P-Noy’s people point to him when they get into hot water, such as with the DAP, such as with the growing perception the Liberal Party is building a war chest from spoils for 2016. P-Noy does not need that chest, he isn’t running. What has worked before clearly doesn’t do so now. He’s not lifting them up, they’re pulling him down. Which force will prove stronger, or which tendency will prevail, we’ll know soon enough. But you have to wonder why even now, some of his people do not resign posthaste to lift the weight that’s sinking him. Since they cannot conceive of it as the honorable thing to do, they can always conceive of it as the practical thing to do: They bring him down, they all go down. Heaven forbid, well before 2016. There is a limit to the efficacy of Teflon. You scratch the Teflon pan violently and the oiliest pork will stick to it. ■

Hsien Loong cautioned. “Public debate cannot be on whose religion is right and whose is wrong,” but on rational considerations of public interest. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population (205 million) or 13 percent of the world’s Muslims. But “no one who believes in the power of one supreme God can claim exclusivity,” warned Endy Bayuni, Jakarta Post’s senior editor. “There is no such thing as the God for Catholics… or Allah for Muslims.” “Indonesia and Malaysia may rightfully claim to have developed a more moderate strand of Islam. But there’s a thin line dividing tolerance and intolerance. So we should not take this moderation for granted…” The claim to a monopoly on “Allah” is absurd, wrote opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Wall Street Journal. “Arabic’s sister Semitic languages used similar words for the Deity, namely ‘Elaha’ in Aramaic and ‘Elohim’ in Hebrew. Historical manuscripts prove Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christians and Jews collectively prayed to God… as Allah for over 1,400 years.” “Go into any church in the Middle East and you will hear: “Quddusan Allah, Quddusan al-Qawi (Holy God, Holy and Strong),” the Economist notes. “They’ve been doing so for centuries.”

Kuala Lumpur’s ruling party, the United Malays National Organization, welcomed the court straitjacket. “This is to appease extremist supporters after the party scraped thru with a thin majority,” wrote Parliamentarian Mujahid Yusof Rawa. The parties play the “radical and religious card” to woo votes. “Move to another country,” suggested spokesperson Abdullah Zaik Rahman to those who disagreed with the court. You “no longer accept the supremacy of Islam.” No, former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim told Malay Mail. “We should instead get (these hardliners) to move over to Saudi Arabia. There, the sovereignty of Islam is not questioned…. We have become a nation we were not.” The “beginning of wisdom is to call all things by their right names,” an Asian proverb teaches. “God Of A Hundred Names” is the title of a book on prayers of various faiths culled from the world’s major faiths. They all revere the Divinity’s names. Jews would not address God directly. Muslims have 95 other names for Allah. And many where scandalized when Jesus taught his disciples: “Say Our Father… Abba.” Tatay. Dad. Ama. ■


A hundred names By Juan L. Mercado Philippine Daily Inquirer MUSLIMS IN mosques from Quiapo to Cotabato call Divinity as “Allah.” In Cebu Daily News, an imam writes a weekly column on his faith. Liberties of faith and speech are constitutionally buttressed rights here. Muslims form 5 percent of the population, Catholics 83 percent and Iglesia ni Cristo 2.3 percent. In next door Malaysia, “Allah means God—unless you’re a Christian,” notes Time magazine. Or Sikh, Hindu or atheist. Only Muslims may invoke “Allah,” says a new court decision. Yet, four years back, Kuala Lumpur courts ruled that “Allah” transcended different faiths. Why this flip-flop? “Islam (is) vulnerable to conversion efforts by other faiths,” the decision says. Allah is “not an integral part… in Christianity.” No? Herald editor Fr. Lawrence Andrew, will appeal. Non-Muslim Malaysians were livid. “Appalling,” snapped Jagir Singh of the Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism. Sabah and Sarawak churches, where Christians are a majority, protested. Bahasa-speaking Christians used “Allah” even before the formation of Malaysia. They’ll

continue to invoke “Allah” and use “Al-Kitab”—the Bahasa bible allowed by Malaysia’s Parliament in 2011. These rekindled 2007’s uproar when government confiscated 15,100 bibles. Printed in Indonesia, the text used “Allah.” The high court however shredded that ban in December 2009. And non-Muslim places of worship, including Sikh temples, were ransacked. In Geneva, the 17th UN Commission on Human Rights, last week, grilled Malaysia. This “Universal Periodic Review” was second for Malaysia since 2009. Austria and others prodded Kuala Lumpur to allow the freedom to practice, even change, religions. Keep your pledge to abolish the 1948 Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984, the United States urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak: These laws leash media through permits. “The fear is Muslims will start practicing Christianity if both groups refer to God by the same name,” Waleed Aly wrote in Sydney Morning Herald. Do Malaysian Muslims need a form of protection from their own ignorance? “Young, educated, urban Malays in particular, are deserting this brand of politics in droves. They’re becoming increasingly skeptical of their own privileged status. Upwardly mobile,

they are unlikely to be swayed by a Mecca-oriented compass.” Not the “old guard Malays. (Yet) they confront the fact that the privileged position they’ve held for the first 50 years of Malaysian independence won’t hold for the next 50. Now they’re lashing out, as if trying to resist the death throes of their own supremacy.” That “supremacy” remains law for now. “Islam is the religion of the fed-

The fear is Muslims will start practicing Christianity if both groups refer to God by the same name. - Waleed Aly, Sydney Morning Herald eration, but other religions may be practiced in peace,” Malaysia’s Constitution says. Malaysia signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 undergirds the “freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Are ethnic Malays exempted? They make up two-thirds of the country’s 28 million people. Chinese and Indians number 22 percent and 7 percent respectively. About 9 percent are Christians. Religious intolerance can trigger strife, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee




The ‘gender gap’ and some questions By Rina Jimenez-David Philippine Daily Inquirer IT’S A piece of good news, certainly, but also puzzling, if not at times contradicting reality. I’m talking about recent news that the Philippines has just emerged as “Asia’s best performing country” in closing gender disparity this year, at least according to the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report. The Philippines has climbed three places—from eighth position to fifth— besting all other countries in Asia and even some in Europe and elsewhere. Iceland remains at the top while Finland placed second. The remaining top countries are: Norway, Sweden, Philippines, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland and Nicaragua. The World Economic Forum, which draws up the yearly report, noted that this is the first time the Philippines entered the “Top Five” in the list, ascribing the feat to “small improvements in the Economic and Opportunity sub-indexes.” The Philippines also ranked 10th on the Political Empowerment subindex and “remains the highest-ranking country from Asia in the Index… being the only country in Asia and the Pacific that has fully closed the gender gap in both education and health.” This is of course welcome recognition of the efforts of both governmental

and nongovernmental bodies to elevate the status of Filipino women. The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the lead policymaking and coordinating body on women and gender equality concerns, for one, says it is “elated that our efforts are now paying off.” “Though this improvement in rank reflects that gender disparities are narrowing, we cannot be overconfident because the index does not show overall development levels which are still wanting,” the PCW said. “Efforts to keep children in school especially boys, to expand economic opportunities for women and increase women’s participation in decision-making positions need to be accelerated and sustained in all spheres (of ) society as stated in the Magna Carta of Women (MCW),” the commission added. *** Observers though are still puzzled at the climb in rank achieved by the country given the still-abysmal status of women in the country especially in the field of health and of reproductive health in particular. “Frankly, I don’t understand the standards they used,” remarks Dr. Junice Demetrio Melgar, executive director of the NGO Likhaan which has led the way in the fight for reproductive health and rights, specifically through the Reproductive Health Law. (Disclo-

sure, I also sit on the board of Likhaan.) “To think that Filipino women continue to suffer the consequences of different forms of discrimination. Filipino women’s enjoyment of their human and sexual and reproductive rights continues to be obstructed. The current status of the RH Law is just one of our concerns,” added Melgar. Melgar cites disturbing statistics: the Philippines has one of the highest incidences of unintended pregnancies

Observers are still puzzled at the climb in rank achieved by the country given the stillabysmal status of women in the country especially in the field of health and of reproductive health in particular. (54 percent), teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortion (610,000 a year), stagnant contraceptive prevalence rate, and maternal mortality rate. “We’re one of the few countries that cannot meet MDG (Goal) 5 by 2015. In fact, with 221 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, we’re way, way behind our target of 52.” She likewise mentions the fact that “we have one of the most restrictive abortion laws (in the world). Even women seeking treatment for incomplete spontaneous abortions (mis-

carriage) are treated badly in public hospitals. Just imagine the harrowing experiences of those who had unsafe abortion. DOH and POGS (Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society) cannot even agree on the ‘gold standard of treatment’ for postabortion care (DOH prefers the more effective, less invasive MVA or manual vacuum aspiration). Incidence of violence against women remains high.” While Melgar concedes that “we do have improvements in healthcare,” she cautions that “the quality, affordability of services, and the proximity of health facilities continue to constrain our poor and marginalized women from enjoying their rights.” *** Their poor health situation “is very much interrelated to women’s economic situation and education,” Melgar adds. “Filipino women comprise almost 70 percent of our informal economy where workers do not enjoy the benefits their counterparts in the formal economy enjoy. Underemployment and unemployment among women are also high. A high number of our women are in jobs that are low-paying, under poor working conditions both here and abroad. Comments Melgar: “We may have more women in government. Unfortunately, this has yet to be translated into

more pro-women policies and programs. Many of these women are/were more anti-women than their male counterparts.” Indeed, while the number of women in public office has steadily been increasing (though not as fast as some would hope), many of our women elected and appointed officials have proven to be among the most difficult hurdles to overcome in the effort to bring about gender equality. This is seen not just in the vote on the RH Law (with women legislators being among the most vociferous opponents of the law) but also in the involvement of women in the current scandals concerning the PDAF and other government funds. *** Perhaps an antidote to the situation would be the whole-day forum next Tuesday, Nov. 12 called “Women Stepping Up: Conversations on Women Leadership and Empowerment.” The keynote speaker will be Sen. Grace Poe, who topped the last senatorial elections, together with Peggy Rockefeller Dulany, founder and chair of the SynergoInstitute, an independent global nonprofit organization “dedicated to creating effective, sustainable and locally based solutions to poverty.” The event likewise launches the Business and Women’s Network or BPW, and is cosponsored by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. ■

ity (Neda) and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center. This can be likened to judicial “forum shopping” (which is illegal under the law), designed to stop or stall the project if ALI does not get what it wants from Pasay City, some observers say. Its next step may be to file a case in court, which would definitely delay the project. We don’t know if Neda and the PPP Center would interfere. If it does, that would confirm the buzz circulating in business circles that ALI is one of the highly favored companies under P-Noy’s administration. ALI said in its letter to Mayor Calixto: “We are the Philippines’ leading real estate developer.” No one is contesting that. ALI already has 5,692 ha in the pipeline for development, as big as Hacienda Luisita, probably the biggest among land developers. These include the Sta. Ana racetrack, Food Terminal Inc., Fort Bonifacio, Alabang Estate, Cebu Park, Nuvali in Laguna, and the “Plastic City” of Gatchalian in Bulacan. Recently, it opened its UP Town Center inside the UP campus on Katipunan Avenue. Its UP-Ayala Technohub has been operating also inside the UP campus in Quezon City. Nearby is its Trinoma shopping mall,

directly competing with its neighbors, SM North Edsa and The Block. It is also ejecting the squatters around Trinoma and neighboring areas to build more condos and office buildings. There is talk that it is behind the planned Quezon City Business Center along Quezon Avenue, North Avenue and Agham Road, because of which the Quezon City government has been trying to grab pieces of land in the area, such as the sites or portions of the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, the National Children’s Hospital, the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and the Ninoy Aquino Park. Residents in the area are objecting to the planned business center as it would create horrendous traffic jams that would imprison them in their homes. People are asking: Why are ALI and City Hall lusting after the open spaces when there are the squatter colonies along Quezon Avenue and around the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Post Office buildings? ALI and City Hall would do the country a great service if they would clear these areas and develop them. Nobody would contest them but would thank them if they did that.. ■


SM Land vs Ayala Land By Neal H. Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer The rivalry between land developers SM Land and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is becoming bitter with Ayala emerging as the villain. The two billionaire giants have already tangled in the Ortigas land issue, the Bacolod land bidding case, and in the new SM Aura mall in Taguig where the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, said to be an ally of ALI, closed the street going to the newly opened SM Aura, which would compete with ALI’s Market Market in Bonifacio Global City. If ALI does not get what it wants, it could go to court and tie up the project in a lengthy court litigation. It seems ALI does not want to lose its reputation as “the biggest land developer” in the Philippines. Nobody is contesting that, but other developers plead: No foul tactics please. The latest arena for the two land developers is the reclamation of 300 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay, adjacent to SM’s Mall of Asia in Pasay City. SM Land submitted an unsolicited proposal to Pasay to reclaim the 300 ha. It will invest P54.5 billion in the project. It

will give at least 51 percent, or 153 ha, of the reclaimed land to Pasay. SM offered to shoulder all costs, including the costs of all permits and clearances from government agencies, and the expenses to be entailed to comply with all the government and legal requirements. Pasay published the notice of unsolicited proposal and invitation for competing proposals to SM Land’s proposed joint venture in the newspapers three times (on Oct. 1, 8, and 15, 2013). The deadline set for interested parties to counter the unsolicited proposal was Nov. 4, 2013. Enter ALI. In a letter to Pasay Mayor Antonio Calixto last Oct. 23, or barely 10 days before the deadline, it contested Pasay City’s Nov. 4 deadline. It said it learned about the notice last week, although it had already been published three times this month. Really? In its letter, ALI not only confirmed its interest to submit a counterproposal but also questioned some of the requirements set by the city government, like the purpose of the required previous project of the bidder, the nature of the invited counterproposals, the non-refundable bid document fee, etc.

Under the law, interested parties can submit counterproposals to an unsolicited bid. The original proponent can equal or surpass the counterproposal, after which the bidding ends and the project is given to the winning bidder. It appears, however, that ALI raised these points only to get an extension for the submission of a counterproposal. In a press statement, ALI admitted that it needed more time to study the issues and prepare a competitive proposal. It said the Nov. 4 deadline was too short for them to

It seems ALI does not want to lose its reputation as ‘the biggest land developer’ in the Philippines. Nobody is contesting that, but other developers plead: No foul tactics please. develop a master plan, study its financial and environmental impact, and other excuses. Obviously, ALI was buying time to get a deadline extension. In fact, a copy of the letter was given to two government agencies, the National Economic and Development Author-



Canada News

Things left unsaid: government’s answers on Senate scandal a moving target BY JENNIFER DITCHBURN The Canadian Press OTTAWA—”We would have a cup of coffee, I think, once or twice,” former prime minister Brian Mulroney told a 1996 deposition of his relationship with German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” U.S. President Bill Clinton famously told reporters in 1998 about his dalliance with a White House intern. Neither answer was necessary false, but both left out key information—Clinton had other kinds of intimate relations with Monica Lewinsky, and Mulroney received cash-stuffed envelopes in a business arrangement with Schreiber during those casual meetings. Similarly, the Senate expenses scandal has become a study in carefully chosen words and information left unsaid. The government has disclosed precious little detail about the $90,000 payment made to Sen. Mike Duffy by Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s former chief of staff. Monday offered a fresh example: after insisting for months that his chief of staff resigned in May over the controversy, Stephen Harper himself told radio station News 95.7 Halifax

that Wright was “dismissed” for writing the cheque. “I had a chief of staff who made an inappropriate payment to Mr. Duffy—he was dismissed,” Harper said in the interview. Here are some other key questions that have been posed in a variety of ways since May, and how the answers have evolved. The Documents

Thanks to RCMP court filings, Canadians know now that Duffy sent Wright a binder of emails and documents on Feb. 19. There was also a Feb. 20 email, copied to another one of Harper’s aides, in which Duffy allegedly describes the conversation he had with Wright the night before about repaying his expenses. Rewind back to the spring, however, and the government appeared to know nothing about any documents. The opposition has asked in every possible way about the existence of documents inside the Prime Minister’s Office related to an agreement. Access to Information requests have turned up nothing. “What precisely was the secret deal that the Prime Minister’s Office made with Sen. Duffy? Show us the documents,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said on May 21. “Our understanding is there is no

document,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird responded. In the case of the documents, the word “legal” became popular. “Can the Conservatives say definitively that there were no documents in the Prime Minister’s Office that related to the Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright scandal? To be clear: no emails, no memos, no notes. Yes or no?” NDP House leader Nathan Cullen asked on May 22. Said Baird: “In fact, no one in the government knows about any legal agreement with respect to this payment.” Another MP, the NDP’s Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe, called them out on the word “legal.” “Is there a non-legal document regarding the $90,000 payment that Nigel Wright made to Mike Duffy?” she asked, to no avail. “We are not changing the subject; we are talking about accountability and responsibility when it comes to taxpayers’ money,” responded thenheritage minister James Moore. Finally, on May 29, Harper acknowledged that something other than a strictly legal document did exist. “This is an email, I understand, of Mr. Duffy, a former Conservative ❱❱ PAGE 46 Things left

Flaherty says Ottawa will be in surplus in 2015, and ‘not a tiny surplus’ The Canadian Press OTTAWA—Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he will not only balance the budget in 2015, but the surplus will be significant. The finance minister says the government is well on its way to eliminating the deficit by the target date despite what he acknowledges is a weaker-than-expected economy.

Flaherty was responding to a Parliamentary Budget Office report that predicts balancing the budget in the critical 2015-16 fiscal year will be a close shave, with a relatively small $200-million surplus. But Flaherty says the PBO did not include the savings he will get from freezing costs for the public service, which were signalled in the throne speech earlier this month. Last week, the minister an-

nounced that last year’s deficit was $7 billion smaller than projected as a result of more effective costcutting. Meeting the 2015-16 target is critical to the Harper government heading into a fall election in 2015 because it would enable the Conservatives to campaign on having fulfilled their pledge to introduce income splitting for households, but only once the budget is in balance. ■



MORE THAN JUST STRESS HURTING EMPLOYEES TORONTO—The sedentary nature of Canadian workplaces is becoming as much of a health risk as stress for many workers. That’s according to a new wellness survey from Sun Life Financial, which found 24 per cent of Canadian employers consider work-related stress and sedentary lifestyles the most serious health risks affecting their employees. LESS THAN 10 PER CENT OF ALBERTANS IN FLOOD ZONE HAVE AGREED TO MOVE SO FAR CALGARY— Of the 250 eligible people in the floodway zone, 22 have accepted the offer to move in exchange for cash. The cost of the buyouts to date is $13.8 million. An Alberta flood task force official says another 67 people have expressed interest in the relocation program. People who live in this zone that was most affected by the devastating floods have until the end of November to apply. Homeowners who say No to the program and stay put will not be eligible for disaster money if another flood hits. HEALTH CANADA IS MANIPULATING A REVIEW OF CELL PHONE RADIATION OTTAWA—A safety advocacy group says Health Canada is ignoring science that shows some Canadians are getting sick from using cell phones and other wireless technology. Canadians for Safe Technology says they’ve obtained documents showing the government is controlling a so-called independent review of radiation from cellphones, cell towers and Wi-Fi. The Royal Society of Canada is holding public meetings in Ottawa to hear from people who say they suffer negative health effects from using wireless devices. Some of the symptoms reported include insomnia, heart palpitations and headaches.

Canada News


OTTAWA—The number of Internet users in Canada continues to grow, spurred by seniors who have discovered a new digital lifestyle. According to a new report by Statistics Canada, 83 per cent of Canadians aged 16 or older were Internet users last year, up from 80 per cent in 2010. The number of seniors using the web grew by 20 per cent in the two-year span, with 48 per cent of Canadians 65 or older saying they went online last year. It’s likely just a matter of time until seniors are no longer lagging other age groups in Internet usage, said Statistics Canada spokesman Mark Uhrbach. “The use of the Internet may not only be age (based)

but there’s also sort of a cohort effect,” Uhrbach said. “Once people start using the Internet they’re not likely to stop using it as they age. So as young users and boomer-aged users move through the age cohorts perhaps we’ll see that trend continue.” Mobile Internet usage exploded in two years by about 75 per cent. While just 33 per cent of those surveyed in 2010 said they accessed the Internet on a phone or tablet, it was up to 58 per cent in 2012. About 85 per cent of younger Canadians aged 16 to 24 were mobile Internet users last year. Statistics Canada also saw big growth in online shopping, with the value of web orders placed by Canadians hitting $18.9 billion in 2012, up 24 per cent

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from 2010 when the survey was last conducted. About 56 per cent of Internet users ordered goods or services online in 2012, up from 51 per cent in 2010, while 77 per cent researched goods or services on the web. The average Canadian online shopper made about 13 separate orders totalling approximately $1,450 in 2012. Among online shoppers, 58 per cent bought travel arrangements such as airline tickets or hotel reservations and 52 per cent purchased event tickets. Other trends in the report: • Social media usage was up by almost 15 per cent as about two-thirds of Cana-

dians reported using a social network last year • Use of voice or video calling over the Internet nearly doubled as 43 per cent of Canadians reported using a service like Skype or FaceTime last year, up from just 24 per cent in 2010 • Online video viewing has also grown steadily with just over half of the Canadians surveyed saying they downloaded or watched movies or video clips online in 2012, up by almost 20 per cent • When it came to “Internet intensity,” or the term Statistics Canada uses to describe highly active web users, 31 per cent said they spent 10 or more hours online a week last year ■

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World News

Hurricane force gusts batter Britain, France and the Netherlands; travel delays reported BY GREGORY KATZ The Associated Press LONDON—A major storm with hurricane-force gusts is lashing southern Britain, parts of France and Netherlands, causing flooding and travel delays, including the cancellation of roughly 130 flights at London’s Heathrow Airport. Express train services between central London and Gatwick and Stansted airports were suspended because of the storm, and the major English port of Dover was closed, leading to a cutoff in ferry service to France. Thousands of homes in northwestern France lost electricity, while in the Netherlands several rail lines were closed, airport delays were reported, and citizens were warned against riding their bicycles—a favoured form of transport—because of high winds. Amsterdam’s Central railway station was shut by storm damage. Sweden’s Meteorological Institute upgraded its advisory Monday, warning that a “class 3” storm that could pose “great danger to the public” was expected to hit western and southern Sweden on Monday evening. Some English rail lines shut down Monday morning, and some roads were closed due to fallen trees and power lines. There were severe delays on many parts of the London Underground network and the opening of the Overground network was delayed several hours. Air travellers and commuters were advised to check conditions before starting any journeys. Widespread delays were expected as major London train lines delayed their opening because of the winds and tree hazards. In Kent, police said a 17-yearold girl died after a tree fell onto the caravan home she was sleeping in. Hertfordshire police said a man in his 50s was killed when a tree fell on a car in Watford.

But damage was less than feared in the 48 hours leading up to the storm, when the British press raised alarm bells about a possibly catastrophic storm. British Airways said its long haul flights were expected to operate normally but domestic and European flights were operating on a reduced schedule with some cancellations expected throughout the day. It said Gatwick and City airport operations should not be affected. Weather forecasters say it is one of the worst storms to hit Britain in years. UK Power Networks officials said up to 220,000 homes were without power. Flood alerts have been issued in many parts of southern England and officials said hundreds of trees had been knocked down by wind gusts. Gusts of 99 miles per hour (160 kph) were reported on the Isle of Wight in southern England. Gusts in the 75 to 80 miles per hour range were reported on the mainland. The storm has hurricaneforce gusts but is not classified as a hurricane. It was not formed over warm expanses of open ocean like the hurricanes that often develop in the Caribbean and threaten the east coast of the United States. A blog from Britain’s national weather service, known as The Met Office, says Britain does not get hurricanes because hurricanes are “warm latitude” storms that draw their energy from seas far warmer than the North Atlantic. The severe storm does not have an “eye” at its centre as hurricanes typically do. A teenage boy was believed to have drowned Sunday after being swept to sea while playing in the surf. A search and rescue mission has been called off. ■ Cassandra Vinograd in London, Sarah DiLorenzo in Paris, Malin Rising in Stockholm and Michael C. Corder in Amsterdam contributed to this report.


Chemical weapons inspectors in Syria miss one of first deadlines due to security concerns BY MIKE CORDER AND RYAN LUCAS The Associated Press BEIRUT—International inspectors overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile have missed an early deadline in a brutally tight schedule after security concerns prevented them from visiting two sites linked to Damascus’ chemical program. Experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were to have checked all 23 of Syria’s declared chemical sites by Sunday, but the organization said Monday that inspectors have visited only 21 because of security issues. While there are no consequences for missing the deadline, the group’s failure to meet it underscores the ambitious timeline as well as the risks its inspectors face in carrying out their mission in the middle of Syria’s civil war. The OPCW did not say who was responsible for the security problems, but the organizations’ director-general has said in the past that temporary cease-fires may have to be negotiated between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad to reach some sites. The chemical weapons watchdog said it has not given up hope of gaining access to the two locations. “Negotiations continue to try to get security guarantees so our inspectors can go in,” OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said. The joint OPCW-U.N. mission faces a string of target dates for specific tasks as it aims to achieve the overall goal of ridding Syria of its chemical stockpile by mid-2014. Luhan said the next deadline is Nov. 1, by which time Syria has to complete “functional destruction of the critical equipment for all its chemical weapons production facilities and mixing-filing plants.” That step will ensure that Syria can no longer make new

chemical weapons. After that, the international community and Syria have to agree to a plan to destroy the country’s chemical stockpile. Syria is believed to possess around 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin. It has sent the OPCW a plan for full destruction of the stockpile that has to be discussed by the group’s executive council next month. The OPCW, based in The Hague, said such declarations by

member states “provide the basis on which plans are devised for a systematic, total and verified destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities.” The two sites the inspectors still need to check appear to be in rebel-held or contested areas. At least one of the locations is believed to be the town of al-Safira, which experts say is home to a production facility as well as storage sites. The area has been engulfed by fighting for months, and many of the rebels in the area are from alQaida-linked groups. The OPCW-U.N. mission stems from a deadly chemical attack on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus in August that killed hundreds. Assad denied any role in the attack, while the U.S. and its allies blamed his government and threatened to carry out punitive missile strikes. The U.S. and Russia then brokered an agreement for Syria to relinquish its chemical arsenal. Assad quickly agreed, and the

deal was enshrined in a U.N. Security Council resolution. That resolution also endorsed a roadmap for a political transition in Syria, and called for a peace conference to be held in Geneva as soon as possible. Diplomatic efforts to convene the meeting have sputtered, however, amid disagreements over the agenda and participants. U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi travelled to Damascus Monday as part of his regional trip to try to drum up support for the conference. Brahimi is expected to meet Syrian officials as well as members of local opposition groups. It is not clear whether he will meet Assad, who was furious with the envoy after Brahimi said in December that the Assad family’s 40-year rule of Syria was “too long.” Also Monday, Syrian government forces retook a Christian town north of Damascus, expelling al-Qaida-linked rebels after a week of heavy fighting, state media and opposition activists said. The state-run SANA news agency said the army “restored security and stability” to the town of Sadad, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Damascus, and that “a large number of terrorists” were killed. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the government had retaken the town but that rebels had successfully withdrawn. SANA also said that rebel fighters captured a member of parliament, Sheik Mahna el-Fayadh, on Sunday near the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. The Observatory said el-Fayadh was being held by rebels from the Ahrar al-Sham brigade as well as the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. ■ Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, and John Heilprin in Geneva contributed to this report.

World News


Putin promises that gays won’t face any discrimination during Winter Olympics in Sochi The Associated Press SOCHI, RUSSIA—Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Monday that gay athletes and guests at the Winter Olympics in Sochi will feel at ease, seeking to assuage fears fueled by a recent Russian law banning gay “propaganda.” Speaking at a meeting with heads of Russian winter sports federations, which was also attended by visiting IOC President Thomas Bach, Putin said Sochi would be fully tolerant. “On my own and on your behalf, I have assured Mr. President (Bach) that we will do our best, and our athletes and fans will do their best too, so that both participants and guests feel themselves comfortable at Sochi Olympics regardless of their ethnicity, race or sexual orientation,” Putin said. “I would like to underline that.” Preparations for the Sochi Olympics have been overshadowed by international criticism

of a recently enacted Russian law, outlawing “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors,” which many worry may apply to gay athletes and visitors to the games. The IOC has said it received assurances from the Russian government that it will respect the Olympic Charter, which prohibits discrimination of any kind at the games. Gay activists and international rights groups have accused the IOC of not doing enough to pressure Russia on the issue. Human Rights Watch on Monday urged the IOC to call on Russia to repeal the law. “The Sochi Olympics risk being remembered as the anti-gay Games, unless the IOC is willing to stand up and defend the principles of its own Olympic Charter,” Jane Buchanan, associate director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. The group also urged Bach to call on Russia to end alleged abuses linked to Russia’s prepa-

rations for the games, including illegal detentions and deportations of migrant workers involved in Olympic construction, harassment of journalists critical of the government’s policies in Sochi and evictions of some Sochi homeowners and their families without proper compensation. Bach, who also had a oneon-one meeting with Putin on Monday, voiced confidence that Russia will deliver successful games. Making his first trip to Sochi since being elected head of the IOC last month, Bach told Putin he was deeply impressed with the amount of work Russia has done to prepare for the Feb. 7-23 games. Bach said he expects the games will be held on a “magnificent level.” Bach asked if there would be enough snow for the games. The city of Sochi is a balmy, palm-lined Black Sea resort, while the snow events will be held in the nearby Krasnaya


Polyana mountains. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who is in charge of preparations for the Olympics, said organizers have stored 700,000 cubic meters (24.7 million cubic feet) of snow as a contingency in case of lack of snowfall. “And more will come we hope,” Putin said. Putin and Bach opened a

new railway station in Sochi that will serve as an important transport hub during the Olympics, linking the coastal zone with the mountain venues. Russia is spending more than $50 billion on the Olympics, Putin’s pet project. Putin said Monday the Olympic construction is largely complete, with only some details remaining to be finalized. ■



Saskatchewan firm offers to help farmers hire temporary foreign workers BY JOHN COTTER The Canadian Press SASKATOON—A company is offering to help farmers cut through the “paperwork jungle” of the federal temporary foreign worker program to hire the labourers they need. Farmers of North America says there is a chronic shortage of skilled and unskilled labour in almost every sector of agriculture from the grain fields of Saskatchewan to the cattle feedlots of Alberta to the orchards of British Columbia and Ontario. For a fee of about $4,000 a person, the Saskatoon-based firm says it will work with an international recruiter who has long experience with the federal program to help farmers hire help from areas that include Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Ireland. The company’s pitch is that it can get workers more quickly and with less hassle than farmers who deal directly with

Ottawa. “It is a difficult process. Farmers are busy. They don’t really have the time to be doing all that paperwork,” vice-president Bill Martin said. “If you don’t have that labour, you can’t increase your farm size or you can’t operate efficiently.” The Canadian Federation of Agriculture estimates the country is short about 30,000 seasonal and longer-term farm workers. Farmers of North America said it began its service this week after speaking with farmers frustrated with the requirements of the federal program, including the need to advertise locally for help before seeking to hire someone from abroad. Gerald Schiltroth, a grain, oilseed and pulse farmer near Ridgeland, Sask., said he gave up on filing his own application looking for combine operators, truck drivers and yard labour. He said the federal government told him to repost the ads for the jobs three times. One person

The problem, allegedly, is that fewer Canadians want to work in agriculture or are leaving farms to work at higher paying jobs in the energy sector or in cities.

he hired from New Brunswick wasn’t qualified and didn’t last a week. “At that point I said, ‘Screw it. We are done.”’ The problem, Schiltroth said, is that fewer Canadians want to work in agriculture or are leaving farms to work at higher paying jobs in the energy sector or in cities. Schiltroth said the service being offered by the Farmers of North America is expensive, but it may be worth paying the fee if it means he will actually get workers who can do the job. He hasn’t made his mind up yet as he ponders his labour needs for the next crop year. “I think sometimes it is better to pay the extra bucks and get it done.” What he would prefer is a federal program that is easier to use, he said. “I really think they are trying to make it so none of us will hire foreign labourers, because politically it will be easier for them to handle that.” ILC, a company working with Farmers of North America, has already posted job offers on its website seeking foreign workers for Canadian grain and livestock farms. The post seeks English-speaking agriculture college graduates or people with at least one year of farm-work experience. The grain farm job description says workers will operate, repair and maintain agricultural machinery and should be able to apply herbicides and fertilizers. Livestock farm workers must be able to care for cattle and pigs, including giving animals antibiotic injections. Salaries range from $14 to $34 an hour, depending on experience, minus deductions for accommodation. Job interviews are to be held in Ukraine this month through to January. Employment Canada acknowledges

there is a shortage of agricultural workers, but encourages farmers to apply for the people they need without paying a third party. The ministry says the best way for farmers to reduce the paper burden and speed up applications is to use the government’s website. “Employers do not need to use the services of a third-party representative or recruiter to apply,” Pamela Wong, a ministry spokeswoman, wrote in an email. “Employers who choose to use these types of services are required to cover all recruitment costs related to the hiring of the temporary foreign worker.” The ministry suggests farmers who want to use such a service should check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to verify that they are dealing with a qualified representative. The federal government made changes to the temporary foreign worker program this summer over concerns some employers were using it to replace Canadian workers with cheaper help. The changes included higher application fees for employers and a questionnaire designed to ferret out whether an employer is trying to replace Canadian workers. The requirements for employers to advertise job openings in Canada was also made more stringent. None of the changes applies to agriculture workers. Ron Bonnett, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, said, overall, the temporary foreign worker program has been a success, especially for short-term seasonal workers. Farmers who need longer-term help must decide if it is worth it to hire a company to help them rather than applying to Ottawa themselves, he suggested. “Whether it is good or bad, I think that depends on the farm situation and how comfortable the farmers themselves feel about going through the process.” ■



Filipino Psychiatrist Analyzes Nanny-Employer Problems BY PROD LAQUIAN Professor Emeritus, UBC THE BC Supreme Court sentencing on October 15 of Franco Orr Yiu Kwan to 18 months in prison for human trafficking highlights the problems of caregivers in Canada. Leticia Sarmiento, a Filipino nanny brought to Canada by the Orr family in 2008 had accused Orr of not paying proper wages and making her work 16-hour days under near slavery conditions. Justice Richard Goepel, reading the court sentence said Mr. Orr “must spend time behind bars in order to deter others who would violate Canada’s immigration laws.” In an effort to better understand the reasons behind the problems encountered by nannies in Canada, I interviewed Dr. Miguel P. Tecson, MD, FRCPC, a Filipino psychiatrist who has practiced in Vancouver since the early 1960s. Dr. Tecson, now retired, has analyzed the nanny-employer situation in Canada over the years. Pursuant to medical ethics, he clarified that his observations are more general and not based on specific cases in his practice. Dr. Tecson rejects the notion that “only crazy people visit a psychiatrist.” According to him, many other problems, such as those between nannies and employers, generally based on social-cultural factors, may be resolved through psychiatry. In this particular case, the factors include: (a) the different roles played by nannies in Asia and in Canada; (b) formal terms of employment under Canadian laws; (c) cultural differences between nannies and employers; (d) strong obligations of Filipino nannies to help families back home; and (e) the aspirations of Filipino nannies to become permanent residents and eventually, Canadian citizens. Roles of Nannies

In many Asian countries, nannies often do many chores— care for children, clean the house, cook, wash the car, etc. Often nannies are on call 24/7 although it is customary for employers to give them days off. Employers like to say they treat nannies like family members, which often means they end up

doing multiple jobs without adequate pay. Before the Canadian government passed the Foreign Domestic Movement (FDM) program in 1982 and the Live in Caregiver Program (LCP) in 1992, Dr. Tecson observed that cases of nanny-employer problems were extremely rare (most likely because there were very few nannies in Canada at the time). Most of them came with employers returning to Canada, after a stint in the Philippines, who wanted to bring along their children’s nannies with them. These nannies stayed with employers for many years, continuing to keep in touch even after they had become permanent residents themselves. Nannies under the LCP

The Canadian government’s passage of the FDM and LCP programs accelerated the entry of thousands of nannies into the country. The LCP specified that nannies should have at least a grade 12 education and must have taken a caregivers’ course to be accepted as caregivers in Canada. It indicated the duties and responsibilities of caregivers; set terms of remuneration, hours of work per day and pay for overtime work; specified standards for housing accommodation and clearly spelled out the responsibilities and rights of caregivers and their employers. As the number of nannies increased, so did specific problems. The most common problem involved non-payment of legal wages and overtime pay. Some families who had employed nannies in Asia often expected them to do multiple tasks despite contracts that specified nannies were hired only for child care or elderly care. Some nannies complained that their living arrangements were sub-standard and did not conform to legal requirements of lockable rooms (to ensure privacy) and access to toilet facilities. Hours of work were also not observed, with the employer sometimes asking nannies to look after children at night or on weekends but not paying them for overtime work. Although Dr. Tecson heard about a few employer-nanny problems in the early years, these did not result in serious

psychiatry cases. He observed that many of the cases were resolved amicably, especially after employers and nannies were made aware of the rules and regulations of the LCP. Some nannies, however, refrained from complaining about minor problems—they suffered quietly, afraid that complaining would endanger or delay their chance to become permanent residents after two years of live-in employment. Cultural Differences

As a rule, Dr. Tecson observed that most Canadian employers were greatly satisfied with the services of nannies. They saw them as hard working, accommodating, pleasant and eager to please. One minor complaint was that nannies tended to spoil the children—one mother said that the nanny always carried the child in her arms instead of letting him run around. The nanny, in turn, explained that she was afraid she would be blamed if the child got hurt while running around. Some parents worried that their children would pick up the Filipino accents of their nannies. Others, especially working mothers, became jealous because their children seemed to become too attached to their nannies. Most Filipino nannies are exceedingly polite and are hesitant to show their real feelings. Some employers complain that the nannies say “yes” even when they do not agree and “maybe” when they mean “no.” There are also complaints about lack of regard for time and punctuality. A common source of irritation among employers and nannies was food. Many Filipina nannies craved for Filipino food and found Canadian food bland and unappetizing. Cooking smells were annoying issues— the strong smell of garlic, vinegar and soy sauce used in Philippine adobo clings to clothes especially during winter when houses are hard to air. Filipino food like tuyo, tinapa, daing and bagoong all have very strong smells. Since most Canadian homes have only one kitchen, nannies find it difficult to cook their own food and feel bad when scolded about cooking smells. Most Filipino nannies are scrupulously honest and they

Dr. Miguel P. Tecson, MD, FRCPC

get very upset when accused of dishonesty. At times, employers misplace things (like money and small jewelry) and accuse nannies of taking them. Some employers also complain that nannies spend too much time talking on the phone or stay out too late with friends on their days off. There are also language problems as it takes time for nannies to learn Canadian idioms or to get used to Canadian pronunciation. Many of these problems are of a minor character and often easily resolved but once interpersonal relations between employer and nanny turn sour, they become serious issues. Strong Family Ties

An ethnic trait that Canadian employers find difficult to understand is the nannies’ strong ties with family members in the Philippines. Despite their meagre earnings, most nannies send a significant portion of their wages to relatives back home. They buy laptop computers, install Skype and get cell phones to maintain close contacts. One employer asked Dr.Tecson why family members back home were always asking for money, brand name shoes, specific canned goods and other “imported” items from Canada. She could not understand the need to fill and send out large balkbayan boxes with goodies especially at Christmas time. She said that the constant demand for money and goods tended to make the nanny sad and anxious so she felt a sort of moral obligation to help her. At the same time, she felt that the family members were taking advantage of the nanny’s generosity and were playing on her sense of guilt that she had left her small children behind. Becoming Canadians

A major motivation of Filipino nannies in becoming permanent residents is to bring their family to Canada. This, however, takes time and can cause

problems. Many of the nannies who came to Vancouver first worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, the Middle East or Europe. It is not uncommon for nannies who left children and husbands in the Philippines to be separated from them for eight to ten years. When the nannies’ dream of reuniting with their families finally comes true, a number of problems occur. During the early years of separation, nannies regale their children with money and gifts. The children get the impression that their mother must be wealthy to be able to send them such luxuries. Many years later, when they join their mother in Canada, they find out that she is a caregiver and they get disappointed, even embarrassed. Husband-wife relationships also encounter problems because of the long separation. In some instances, the husband finds a mistress or has another family back home. It happens that during the long years of living abroad, the nanny becomes independent and aware of her rights. The husband, used to being the macho head of the family, finds this intolerable and quarrels happen. Despite all the problems noted above, Dr. Tecson strongly believes that the great majority of nannies who come to Canada eventually succeed in finding a better life. Cases of serious nanny-employer problems published in the media are rare exceptions. The analyses of Dr. Tecson are confirmed by our own studies of nannies in Greater Vancouver conducted with the cooperation of the Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights (CDWCR). Our survey revealed that the great majority of nannies have found a better life in Canada. As such, most caregivers were critical of media coverage (such as those featuring crying nannies), saying that such images arouse pity instead of respect for their contributions to society. The caregivers also indicated that after 20 years, the LCP needs some revisions. For example, the compulsory requirement that nannies should live with employers can be made optional, thereby avoiding some of the problems noted by Dr. Tecson. ■

Seen & Scenes


PINOY ARCHITECT’S WORK ON DISPLAY AT BC ARCHITECTS ANNUAL CONFERENCE EXHIBIT A B.C. based architect’s project in the Philippines was among several projects selected to be displayed in the architectural exhibit during the recently concluded 2013 Architectural Institute of British Columbia Annual Conference held at the Vancouver Convention Center last October 2326, 2013. The exhibit entitled, “Diversity By Design” which runs alongside with the annual conference was jointly organized by the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the American Institute of Architects, Northwest and Pacific Region (Washington State). Architect Joe B. Larano, an AIBC registered architect whose project in the Philippines calls for the existing ruins of a Spanish-era church in Victoria, Laguna to be restored and converted into a municipal historical shrine. The submitted work of Mr. Larano was in response to the call for submissions made by the joint organizer to all British Columbia and State of Washington architects and architecture firms. The organizer noted that the exhibit highlights individuals and businesses in both Washington and B.C. whose works reflect the spirit of gender and cultural inclusiveness. The exhibit tells the story of diversity in the profession of architecture through final design products as well as processes that engage architects from gender or ethnic backgrounds that are under-represented in the profession. Architect Joe B. Larano is the current President of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) - British Columbia Chapter.

ASIAN BREEZE Asian Breeze, an evening of cultural performances, was held at the Michael J. Fox Theatre on October 5. For the story, please go to page 39. Photos courtesy of Passion Photography ( and John Paolo Narvaez.

MISS PHILIPPINES CANADA 2013 TO JOIN WINTER ESCAPADE IN THE PHILIPPINES Miss Philippines Canada 2013, Caitlin Pantaleon and Little Miss Philippines Canada, Anjali Pathmanathan of the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation (PCCF) to join Winter Escapade with Ambassador Gatan in the Philippines. Winter Escapade - It’s more fun in the Philippines, organized by the Department of Tourism will highlight a tour that showcases tourist destinations like the Ati Atihan in Aklan, white beaches in Boracay, Kaon ta sa Plaza in the beautiful Iloilo City, an island tour in the exotic Guimaras Island and a visit to Malacañan Palace. Prior to the Winter Escapade, to add to the Experience of a Lifetime of Miss Philippines Canada and Little Miss Canada, the Pageant Winners will visit and inaugurate the ANCOP PCCF village in Paranaque. Caitlin and entourage will also visit the Kapuso Foundation Office to present the PCCF Donation for the recent typhoon and earthquake victims worth over $2,000. To join the Winter escapade contact the Philippine Consulate or call Fe Taduran at (416) 456-4891 or visit

For photo submissions, please email

Seen & Scenes



PCTC’S VIN DE HONOR FOR CONGEN FERRER The Philippines Canada Trade Council (PCTC) welcomed Consul General Neil Frank R. Ferrer via a vin de honor held at the Coast Hotel on October 23, 2013. The PCTC has had the pleasure and privilege to work with the Philippine Consulate General Vancouver and to help introduce its newest head to the community in Vancouver. For more details, please go to page 39.

24 October 2013—Across Canada in the past month, Philippine Ambassador Leslie B. Gatan has been orchestrating the vigorous promotion of Team Philippines-Canada’s first-ever Winter Escapade tour through career and honorary consular posts in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Charlottetown, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. Tourism representatives based in San Francisco, Chicago and New York have also been pitching in their time and resources to the campaign. Live presentations at Filipino community events, email blasts, official website and Facebook posts, media interviews and advertisements are among the platforms from which Team Philippines-Canada (TPC) is marketing the tour which will take participants to six Philippine destinations from 18 to 24 January 2014. Winter Escapade is open to all parties throughout Canada at incredibly attractive rates starting from CAD 850for a sixnight, seven-day six-destination trip that offers the best of Philippine hospitality. The online registration page can be found at The Philippine Embassy in Ottawa and Consulates General in key Canadian cities offer booking guidance by email ( or telephone (613.233.1121).

MD RETREAT Liz Zetazate and her team of MDs had a retreat at Fairmont Hotel in Whistler, B.C.

Above: SSS President Emilio S. de Quiroz Jr. and Filipino newspaperman Romy Zetazate Right: SSS Senior Vice President for International Operations Judy Frances A. See

SSS OFFICIALS IN TORONTO Honorable Emilio S. de Quiroz, Jr., President and CEO of the Philippine Social Security System (SSS) interacted with members of the Filipino community in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on October 19 at St. Luke’s United Church Gymnasium. Accompanying him were SSS SVP for International Operations, Judy Frances A. See, SSS VP Maria Lourdes N. Mendoza, and SSS Representative for Hongkong Roberto V. Roldan. The SSS group was assisted and supported by the Philippine Consulate General’s Office in Toronto headed by Consul General Junever Mahilum West. Romy Zetazate and Manny Papa, St. Jamestown News Service



Beyond technology is a heart for the afflicted

BY MARIA JUDITH LAGARDE SABLAN SOMEWHERE IN Isabela province in the northern part of the country, there exists a company that does not only produce nutritious ready-to-drink healthy juice drinks, but is also involved in helping cancer patients and sick children. This company, owned by Mr. Jose and Dr. Lydia Morante, calls itself the JBM Food Products. Humble beginnings

Morante’s original business was trading and operating rice and corn mill. His wife was then focused in her practice as a doctor, and so he busied himself in making their business grow. He heard of DOST’s services and got interested in participating in the DOST-II’s food fermentation and food processing trainings in 2006. Soon he started his small-scale business of coco vinegar and soy sauce after acquiring an acetator in 2007. It was then when JBM Food Products was born. Realizing the potential of his neighboring town that has around 20 to 25 hectares of calamansi plantation in Aurora, Isabela, Mr. Morante again sought the assistance of DOST to learn calamansi juice production. He availed of the SETUP assistance in 2008 to purchase a pouch machine and take advantage of DOST’s services including product formulation, product analysis, shelflife testing, product labeling, and packaging. At first, he produced pure calamansi juice but later, after perfecting the technology of bottling calamansi, he expanded with variants using local fruits such as green tamarind, guyabano (soursop), bignay, wild passion fruit, and moringa-pandan concentrates.

Gaining enough confidence in producing produced other product lines, he later developed his own virgin coconut oil, nata de coco, coco jam, coconut vinegar, and food supplement product lines.

per) leaves, camote (sweet potato) tops, turmeric, and pandan. They found out that Jana-Lou’s condition somehow improved while she was on the 7-in-1 herbal juice regimen. She regained strength and lived healthy just like any normal child.

DOST SETUP assistance

Under the DOST SETUP, JBM was able to acquire a production equipment with a total cost of P984,900.00 (or CAD$25,000) payable within three years at zero interest. Because of the benefits brought by DOST SETUP assistance to their business and after having paid the initial loan, JBM again applied for a second SETUP loan for an amount of P2 million pesos (CAD$50,000) to acquire an automatic bottle filling machine and accessories. The shift from stand-up pouch to polyethylene or PET bottle packaging came after he learned that the aluminum pouch was not appropriate for calamansi because the pouch has chemical reaction with the citrus fruit. However, the pouch machine can still be used in packaging other products.

Power drink in memory of Janna-Lou

The cancer, however, recurred in 2011 and Janna-Lou succumbed in April 2012. The Morante couple thought of making the juice available commercially. The 7-in-1 juice was named Mighty Green as it was rich in natural vitamins, antioxidants, and micronutrients derived from its natural ingredients. The herbal juice is also free from food coloring or synthetic chemical. Mr. Morante said, “A child or even an adult does not typically get these natural vitamins and micronutrients from their usual diet. Drinking Mighty Green will help strengthen their immune system.” Mighty Green is duly registered with the Philippine’s Food and Drug Administration or FDA, formerly known as Bureau of Food and Drugs.

Family trial

Amid the hustle and bustle of their growing family business and his wife’s flourishing medical career, their daughter JannaLou, then six years old was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. As their child went through medication for her acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2006, the Morante couple also tried experimenting on various concoctions and formulations of locally available fruits and plants with hope that they may find possible cure or ease JannaLou’s pain. It was then that they developed a 7-in-1 herbal juice made up of plant concentrates such as malunggay (moringa), spinach, saluyot (jute), sili (pep-

The Morante couple Jose and Lydia Morante of JBM Food Products, Inc. with their three children. Inset: Daughter Janna-Lou in her jolly years. JannaLou succumbed to stage 4 cancer at age 11 and later became the couple’s inspiration for the Mighty Green, a healthy drink assisted by DOST SETUP. Part of Mighty Green sales is donated to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in support of cancer patients.

ple whenever they can. One lucky recipient of the couple’s help was Lydia Turingan of Tuguegarao City, an employee of DOST-II, who was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After getting help from the couple for her chemotherapy, Turingan said, “Cancer is really a burden for anyone afflicted with such disease. My family and I are very grateful for the financial help provided by Little Angel Foundation for my chemotherapy.”

JBM’s social responsibility

Understanding fully the pain and financial burden felt by families of cancer patients, the Morante couple also put up the Little Angel Foundation that provides financial assistance and moral support to families of cancer patients. For every bottle of Mighty green sold, JBM Food Products give 50 centavos to pediatric cancer patients at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC). This was the Morante couple’s commitment when their beloved daughter passed away. Their assistance in fact was not only limited to PCMC. The couple had also committed to lend help to peo-

Dreaded disease

Data shows that cancer is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Philippines next to communicable diseases and cardiovascular diseases. About 3 percent of cancer in the country occurs at age 14 years and below and according to the World Child Cancer website, the most common childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In a study of 80 t0 150 cases per million children, 2,655 to 2,975 cases of childhood cancer is expected every year. There is hope

The Morante couple is hap-

py with the big growth of JBM Food Products as they are able to help more children benefit from the Little Angel Foundation from their donation to PCMC. Aside from that, the company is also able to help others in various ways. In creating employment, for example, the company that began with five employees has now grown to more than 20 staff because of DOST SETUP. From a capital of less than P200,000 (CAD$5,000), JBM now enjoys an income of about P1 million (CAD$25,000) per year, which means more income too for the community out of the taxes paid. Despite the loss of their daughter, the Morante couple is happy that the company is able to share and help other cancer patients and their families. ■ The author is from the S&T Media Service, DOST-STII. Mighty Green is available not only in Isabela and nearby provinces of Region II but also in Metro Manila and other key cities. For every purchase, part of the proceeds go to helping a person fight cancer.


The Kingdom of

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Love is

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LOVE IS THE GREATEST v-1 Corinthians 13:1-13 reads, v-1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. v-2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. v-3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. v-4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, v-5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; v-6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; v-7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

v-8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. v-9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. v-10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. v-11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. v-12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. v-13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. GOD IS LOVE Do you believe God is love? The Bible says God is love. When you see love, you see God. What kind of love is it? It is not only Eros or Filio love because we categorize love into three: Eros is human love towards those that you love,

like your wife or love for the opposite sex. Filio is a love towards your relatives or those who you love so closely, like friends. But I’m talking here about divine love. DIVINE LOVE Divine love is the love of God

transcends culture. It transcends who you are. It transcends the basic of your being, like if you are a sinner or not, or if you feel you are righteous or not, or if you feel you are a sinner or not, that love does not determine that. It transcends who you are. (To be continued next week)


Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy on Gospel of the Kingdom aired all over Canada on JoyTV

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from 5AM-8AM (Vancouver time) 8AM-11AM (Toronto time) 8PM-11PM (Philippine time) Vancouver, Victoria and Fraser Valley Region (Channel 10 in Vancouver & Channel 7 in Victoria) Toronto, Southern Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador (Channel 11 in Winnipeg & via Rogers Digital Cable TV on their local channel 173) JoyTV is also available via Digital TV, visit: Novus ( Shaw ( Telus (

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All Saints’ Day, All Souls Day Pangangaluluwa: How Filipinos remember the departed BY CHING DEE Philippine Canadian Inquirer THE FILIPINOS have made a festivity out of an otherwise mundane albeit solemn task of paying respects to the dead. While Westerners think of Halloween as a night to dress up in costumes and be whoever you want to be and an excuse to eat as much candy as humanly possible, Filipinos see it as a three-day marathon of familial activities starting October 31. Festivities are usually preceded by non-stop Halloween specials on TV as early as two weeks before Halloween. Most of the time, people refer to Halloween as “Undas” or “Araw ng mga Patay” (Day of the Dead) or “Araw ng mga Kaluluwa” (All Souls’ Day), but with research, I found out that there’s a much deeper term we don’t use as much anymore. “Pangangaluluwa” or “Gabi ng Pangangaluluwa” is All Hallow’s Eve, so it is celebrated on October 31st. On November 1 and 2, most Filipinos flock to the cemetery to spend the day with their deceased loved ones. Management and staff of cemeteries start cleaning up at least one week before Pangangaluluwa. Staff usually cut grass and re-paint tombs and facilities in order to accommodate the throngs of families who will spend their day in the cemetery. In fact, the management of Manila North Cemetery, one of the biggest cemeteries in Metro Manila, have ordered the


installation of at least 16 units of CCTV (closed circuit television) and 6 new comfort rooms. Families also make it a point to clean up their family mausoleum and their loved one’s tomb, which often becomes more of a family reunion instead of a chore. Malacanang did not declare October 31st as a non-working holiday, but nonetheless, tons of working Pinoys most probably already filed their vacation leave from work in order to have enough time to go back home to their hometowns in the province. The police force is also usually on heightened alert on a few days from Pangangaluluwa, paying special attention to bus terminals, ports, and airports. By October 31st, the price of supplies for Pangangaluluwa like flowers and candles skyrocket, but Pinoys will still purchase their lot in order to pay their respects to the dead. Adults are usually busy preparing a feast for tomorrow’s visit



to the cemetery, making sure that there’s enough nourishment for family members and friends who might happen by their lot. By Gabi ng Pangangaluluwa, families will start making their way to the cemeteries to beat the rush and traffic of November 1. Up in Northern Luzon, the people of Sagada in Mountain Province commemorate their deceased loved ones with an event called Panag-apoy, a Kankana-ey (local dialect) term that literally means “to light up.” It is a centuries-old tradition of lighting pieces of

Pine wood called Saeng by their loved ones’ tomb and a priest goes around the cemetery to bless the tombs. By night, St. Mary’s Cemetery, the biggest Western cemetery in Sagada, looks like as if it’s on fire. November 1 and 2 are called All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, respectively—although both days are spent remembering the souls of the dead rather than the saints. Cemeteries and highways are teeming with people and vehicles. Police and local authorities are everywhere to ensure public safety and maintain order.

Small businesses also flock cemetery entrances selling all sorts of stuff—from candles to flowers to food to trinkets— and making the most out of the crowd. Perhaps foreigners might be wondering why thousands of Filipinos endure such a taxing event, from preparations to driving and transportation to finding the right tomb to rubbing elbows and butts (literally) with strangers clamouring for space. For Filipinos, it’s all done out of love and family. Together we remember the dead and celebrate time with the living. ■

All Saints’ Day, All Souls Day


Because my heart beats Halloween BY ANGIE DUARTE Philippine Canadian Inquirer I ADMIT it. I am a bit of a holiday humbugger. Actually, a LOT of a holiday humbugger. My birthday has lost much of its sparkle—I guess growing older and often a tad frustrated with life will do that to you. I try not to be all shades of blue, but—on many birthdays—I find that this is the color that paints my world; creeping up on me much like that new gray hair, and unwelcome wrinkle or two brought on with the addition of a new year. Now birthdays of OTHERS, I happen to love. I may be a holiday humbugger, but I am not heartless. I sometimes pretend to be, but the truth is oh-so-far from it. Christmas? Gone with the Grinch who stole it. That I blame on the absurd spirit of commercialism that has long usurped the holiday from the spirit of Christ. Case in point, Christmas carols play on loop in

malls across the Philippines— the country in which I live— as soon as the “-ber” months roll around. It is like holiday clockwork: September 1 on the calendar means non-stop top40’s infused carols in the malls. Think: “Hark, the herald angels sing...Glooo-ooooo-ooooooooopa Gangnam style.” Bah, humbug. One of the only remaining holidays that I seem to enjoy is Halloween. Although it generally lurks in the glittery, hollydecked shadow of Christmas, its black and orange ghoulish soul takes center-stage in my life. My heart beats Halloween; all year ‘round. You see, I have always been of the Halloween persuasion. I am among those who have been labeled many things: Goth, dark, tragic poet, the more recent and oh-so-cringe-worthy “emo”, and just downright strange. Vincent and strange lullabies

It all started many moons ago. Why, I can trace it back to the day I was born. Tropical Storm

signal number 3. The name has since been forgotten, but I was told it was a real howler. How fitting, I suppose. I grew up fascinated with what most my friends thought gross or scary: Bugs, spiders, lizard, bats; you know the kind. Late nights would see me quietly sneaking out of bed to catch Vincent Price’s show. His deep baritone voice would send delicious shivers up and down my spine, as I would listen to tales of vampires and things that went bump in the night. Then— happy, but too scared to seep in my own room—I would quietly creep into my parent’s room, and sleep beside my Dad. The Worm Song and the Fly Song were always my favorite lullabies. Truth be told, I had many faves: Mr. Sandman; Hush, Little Baby, Somewhere, Over the Rainbow were up on the list, too. But none of these fascinated me more than the thought of going to the garden to eat some worms, and old ladies swallowing flies. I surmised that there were others

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The author.

like me, else these children’s songs would not have been written. Others like me

Eventually, as grew through the teen years and matured into young adulthood, I realized that there were, in fact, others like me. Those who shared my penchant for a predominantly black palette of clothing. Slimming, elegant, and no-fuss with multiple loads to wash. Ironically, most of those same people

shared my penchant for cats, as well. So we all enjoyed yet another commonality—we were official card-carrying lint brush freaks. I found a slew of others who loved Carrol, Poe (Edgar Allan, mind you), and thought Tim Burton a demi-god of sorts. Our sensibilities were honed by the likes of these, imprinting their twisted and dark art into our souls; for future use. Skulls, skeletons, fangs, ❱❱ PAGE 31 Because my

All Saints’ Day, All Souls Day


Trick or Treating in the Philippines BY CHING DEE Philippine Canadian Inquirer HERE IN the Philippines, Halloween season used to be mostly for exchanging scary stories with your friends and an opportunity for media big players to produce documen-

taries of allegedly haunted places. These days, more and more Filipinos are adapting the perpetual Western tradition of trick or treating on Hallow’s Eve. Mostly the device of commercial establishments to celebrate Halloween, more parents are investing time, money,

and effort so their kids can put on a costume and experience trick or treating—even in some neighbourhoods. As proof that more establishments are putting the “care” in “scare,” here are trick or treat events just for Halloween 2013—and believe us, there are A LOT. ■




No Tricks, Just Treats October 30 & 31, 2013 Free for all Lunch and Dinner diners at Heat Activities: Treat or Treat (no tricks,) and donut-decorating activity. For reservations, (63 2) 633 8888 ext 2738/ 2739/ 2777 or email restaurantrsvns.esl@ or like them on Facebook for more information

Halloween Purr-ty Charity event for CARA Welfare Philippines October 31, 2013 at 10:00 am Activities for pets: parade and fashion show Fee of P250.00 (CAD$6) and must pre-register at the CARA Welfare website For more information, visit the website or like them on Facebook HOLIDAY INN MANILA GALLERIA

ACACIA HOTEL A Grimm’s Tale Halloween Party October 31, 2pm at Acacia Ballroom Activities: trick or treat, Loot Bags, Games, Raffle, and Snacks Fee: P995 (CAD$25) nett/person For more information, visit the website or like them on Facebook

Stay Spooktacular November 2 and 3, 2013 10:00 AM to 12:00 NN Activities: Glitter Tattoo, Face Painting, URC Lootbags For more information, like them on Facebook

WESTGATE CENTER ALABANG Fangtastic Halloween October 31, 2013 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Cul de Sac, Westgate Center Activities: Trick or Treat, Photo Op and Magic Show Admission is FREE.


FESTIVAL SUPERMALL ALABANG October 31, 2013, 1:00 PM 2L Carousel Court Activities: Scariest costume contest open to kids aged 4—10 years old. Fee: Minimum purchase and pre-registration is required For more information visit their website or like them on Facebook

Little Garden of Horror at the Garden Cafe November 3, 2013, 11:30 AM— 2:30 PM for Lunch Buffet; 2:00 pm—5:00 PM for Halloween Kiddie Party Fee: P899 (CAD$22) net /person Activities: Games, balloon twisting, magic show, face painting, loot bags giveaway. Win a prize when you come in your best costume. For more information, like them on Facebook

SM STA. MESA October 31, 2013 10 AM—Trick or Treat, Mall area 2 PM—Halloween Costume Contest and Parade, 4/F For more information, like SM City Sta. Mesa on Facebook


SM MEGAMALL No Tricks, Just Treats Cartoon Network Irregular Halloween Adventure October 31, 2013 11:00 AM— 7:00 PM SM Megamall Event Center For more information, like them on Facebook

Monster Invastion Trick or Treat October 31, 2013 Activities: Merienda buffet, hosted games, Trick or Treat with Loot Bags and a tour of our own version of “Monster’s University”. Prizes to be given away to: Best Child in Costume/Best Parent in Costume Limited seats available. Firstcome, First served. For inquiries and reservations, please call Discovery Suites at (02) 719.6930-32 / 719.8888 or e-mail More details here: DkfbNX

TakoTown (A Pinoy Halloween Event) October 31, 2013, 3:00 pm— 9:00 pm SMX Convention Center Halls 1&2 Get 2 free tickets to Takotown with a minimum of P1,000 (CAD$25) single-receipt purchase of any toy at participating Toy Kingdom and Toy Kingdom branches. SOFITEL PHILIPPINE PLAZA SoBewitched at Sofitel October 31, 2013, 3—6pm Facepainting and Storytelling for kids Lunch buffet rate is set at Php1,980+++ (CAD$50) per person and Php1,400 (CAD$35) nett per child 5 to 11 years old. Limited tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. For more info, like them on Facebook

Bratzy Halloween and Monster High Boo Jour October 31, 2013, 4:00 PM SM Aura Premiere Atrium Activities: Pin the Winker’s Eye game, photo booth, candy booth, contests, a film showing and hourly raffle. Fee: Bratzillaz doll purchase at any Toy Kingdom branch from October 1 to 31, 2013. OR purchase any Monster High items amounting to P800 (CAD$20) from participating Toy Kingdom branches from October 1 to 31. This entitles the customer to 1 Scaris Passport which will serve as an entrance ticket for 1 kid participant and 1 companion. For more information, like them on Facebook

All Saints’ Day, All Souls Day


New ride for the Headless Horseman: TV show buoys interest, tourism in NY’s real Sleepy Hollow BY JIM FITZGERALD The Associated Press SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y.—In the real village of Sleepy Hollow, where the tour guides say “Halloween is our Christmas,” the fall season is even busier than usual, thanks to a hit TV show that plays off the legend of the Headless Horseman. The new Fox series “Sleepy Hollow,” which brings Ichabod Crane into the present day with a save-the-world mission, has fostered interest in Washington Irving’s 1819 short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In the original, Crane is a skinny, superstitious schoolmaster who has a nightmarish encounter with a decapitated Hessian soldier. It mentions several places in modern-day Sleepy Hollow, located on the Hudson River 25 miles north of New York City. One of them is the Old Dutch Church, which Susan Laclair, of Granby, Conn., explored with her husband this month. “We were watching the show, and I was remembering the old story I’d read as a kid. I love anything to do with history, and I said, ‘There’s a real Sleepy Hollow. Let’s go for a few days.”’ Also in town was the Werner family of Greenwood, Ind., which

headed for Irving’s gravesite at the historic Sleepy Hollow cemetery and planned to visit his home in nearby Tarrytown. Christian Werner, 10, wore a cemetery-appropriate skeleton T-shirt. “We’ve always kind of wanted to come here, and we love the TV show,” said his mother, Jill Werner. She said her younger son, 7-year-old Colin, planned to dress as the Headless Horseman for Halloween back home. Anthony Giaccio, the village administrator, said, “We’ve always had people from all over come to our Halloween events, but the Fox show has really added to that.” On the local tourism website, “every time there’s a show, the hits spike, and we’re at three times more than last year,” Giaccio said. The extra attention fits the village’s goal of encouraging tourism to support a downtown that has struggled since General Motors closed an assembly plant in 1996. Later that year, the village voted to change its name from North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow. In 2006, on Halloween, an 18-by-18-foot sculpture depicting the climax of Irving’s story was installed alongside Route 9. With a haunted Horseman’s Hollow at an 18th-century mill and performances of the “Legend” at the Old Dutch Church,

the village is part of Historic Hudson Valley’s increasingly popular Halloween attractions. Giaccio said the tourist season seems to be getting longer, starting in mid-September and stretching into mid-November, but the village hopes to encourage people to visit at other times of the year as well. A current TV ad, created using a state grant, says Sleepy Hollow “isn’t all about horror”—but the characters intoning the phrase include the Grim Reaper and a disembodied head. Mark Goffman, an executive producer of “Sleepy Hollow,” said Irving’s tale was inspirational. “Every Halloween I was read it as a kid, and I have loved it,” he said. “The idea that you can take this short story, which has such iconic characters in it, and then recreate it and reinvent it and involve the Revolution and put it in modern times, all told it just makes for a really epic kind of drama.” Even apart from the time travel, many liberties are taken on TV. To name just a few, Ichabod Crane is handsome, there are several Starbucks in Sleepy Hollow and the population is 144,000 instead of 10,000. An upcoming episode will suggest a “blood tie” between Crane and the Horseman, Goffman said. ■

have not heard, nor care to discover. Up and down such avenues of self-expression, we traverse; more than a tad left-off-society’s Bell-Curve-dictated center.

heightened level. My interest in the “morbid and macabre”— as you may perceive these to be—propels me ever onward toward life; reminding me to seize each day, because we won’t be around forever. Perhaps this is what I like most about Halloween: We remember the dead, so that we remember to live. And to make every moment of life truly count for something. For to me, nothing is more dark and tragic than a life gone to waste. Which brings me back to where I started with this piece, and reminds me each time to maybe get rid of the holiday humbuggery. Just maybe. ■

Because my... crosses: Among our well-loved icons, appearing on most everything we own. Ink; appearing on most of our skin by some strange force of tattooed nature. Costumes are likewise a common interest, as are masks and disguises; Halloween or not. The anonymity, creativity, and the sheer genius of being able to walk in someone else’s shoes—or the semblance of it— are priceless. Musical tastes range from Type-O Negative to Rob Zombie, the Cult to the Cure, Alice Cooper to Alice in Chains, Echo and the Bunnymen to Siouxsie and the Banshees. Names many ❰❰ 29

Life balance

We are those who keep life in balance. The Yin to your Yang: Complementary forces; without which, the other would simply cease to be. Has this dark psyche turned me into a morose, brooding deadweight to society? Morose and brooding; sometimes. Deadweight; hardly. On the contrary. It has enabled me to live at a more

The author’s brother with his birthday cake.

A birthday cake for All Saints’ Day BY KATHERINE MARFALTEVES Philippine Canadian Inquirer ALL SAINTS’ Day is not just like any other holiday for our family. Yes, we gather at one place, prepare some food, catch up with each other’s lives, but we don’t just light candles beside the tombs of our departed loved ones—we also light a birthday candle—for my youngest sibling. A celebration of life that was taken and life that was renewed. It is indeed ironic, but we, Filipinos are known for our ability to make things a bit less complicated—and that’s we have been doing for the past 23 years. We have to admit that it’s quite difficult to commemorate the dead and celebrate life. Sometimes, our emotions are also confused as to what emotion to show—especially when our loved one has just died. The memory of our beloved grandmother passing away unexpectedly around the time of All Saints’ Day is still clear on my mind. We were actually preparing for my brother’s 16th birthday, when suddenly our ‘mamang’ (that’s how we called her) complained that she could hardly breathe. As we reached the nearest hospital, her heart also stopped beating. In an instant, the idea of a perfect party has turned into random thoughts on how we would arrange mamang’s burial. The birthday party was

cancelled and on the eve of All Saints’ Day, we cried as we ate the supposed birthday cake, mourned as we counted the strands of spaghetti in our plate and watched as the ice cream melted before our very eyes— instead of a birthday song, we chanted a prayer for our dear grandmother. Mamang is known to be a very strong person. She is the foundation of our family. And though she has passed away, she continued to help us stay strong amid a family tragedy. On the last few days of her burial, my auntie (Mamang’s daughter) said that she saw mamang smiling at her. She was said to be ‘at peace,’ wearing a beautiful smile. As her family, we were somewhat relieved hearing about this. Next year’s All Saints’ Day was still a painful one for us. But unlike the first one, we tried our best to celebrate it a bit lighter and happier. We even consulted a priest as to the rules of celebrating a birthday around the time that our loved one also died. The priest simply smiled at us and said, “All Saints’ Day is not just about mourning for the dead. It is also celebrating the life that the dead has had.” True it is. So, from then on, we have found more reasons to celebrate All Saints’ Day—the wonderful life that my grandmother had and the promising life that my brother continues to live. ■




Determined to move on, Sunshine Cruz buys a new house BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer “THERE’S NO turning back after this,” says the actress. Determined to “move forward” after her highly publicized separation from husband Cesar Montano, actress Sunshine Cruz recently bought a brand-new home in Parañaque City. Cruz is scheduled to move to the three-story house in February. “I fell in love with it the first time I saw it,” she told the Inquirer. “Lakasan lang ng loob, especially since I only started working again less than a year ago. I kept praying because I didn’t really have enough money. Luckily, my mom lent me some money. I now have a house I can call my own. Imagine how it felt to be dependent on someone for 13 long years.” Cruz quit show business when she married Montano in 2000. They have three daughters—Angelina Isabelle, 11; Samantha Angelene, 8; and Angel Francheska, 7. “There’s no turning back after this. I’m so excited,” said Cruz, adding that she did not ask Montano’s permission for the purchase. “We don’t talk anymore. He promised earlier to help me buy a new house, but things turned bad between us. I can’t keep renewing my lease for the house in Quezon City— I had to do something. I’m just concerned now (because) I owe my mom so much money. I have to work doubly hard.” Cruz said, although she had a

choice, she felt more comfortable in the Parañaque house. “Even my daughters are excited. I’m definitely bringing them with me. I will not allow anyone to take them away from me.” Cruz said she planned to enroll her daughters, now studying in Quezon City, in a school closer to Parañaque. The actress was one of the celebrity models during the recent unveiling of Petit Monde’s latest collections at the ongoing 2013 Philippine Fashion Week. Cruz sat down with the Inquirer for an hour-long chat after the fashion show. Here are excerpts:

This started when Cesar posted an old picture of ours on his Instagram account. People saw it and said, “You’re back together! We’re happy for you.” He responded, “No, this is an old picture of Sunshine. Apparently, she now has a new boyfriend. You can ask her.” There’s this thing called digital karma. People asked, “Why are you doing this to your wife? It’s good [that she now has a boyfriend.] Natauhan na pala siya.” Although he deleted the post, many people already got a screen-grab. Asked by the media later, he said the Instagram account wasn’t his.

You admitted feeling threatened with all the beautiful women around your husband. Was that difficult for you? It was difficult because I had to make sure I looked good and sexy all the time—and I was not doing it for myself but for someone else. Yes, I felt insecure because of all the pretty, sexy and young girls around my husband. It had been like that for 13 years.

What’s wrong with your dating someone new? I believe that God is trying to fix my life right now. Imagine how a woman with three kids, who decided to quit acting 13 years ago, was able to return to show biz so easily. There are many younger and more talented actors out there, but projects were offered to me. I consider this a blessing. I believe that if I were to meet [a new guy], it would happen in God’s time. Cesar and I have been separated—although not legally yet—for almost a year so I see nothing wrong with dating again. (But) I’m not ready yet. I want to pay for the new house first and look for a new school for my daughters.

How difficult was it to talk about the separation publicly? It was hard because in all the interviews, I had to act like I was OK even though deep inside I was not. The sad truth is not all relationships have a happily-ever-after ending. I really wanted the marriage to last, but there were things that forced me to leave him. Is it true you now have a boyfriend? I find this rumor really funny.

How did you make the girls understand and accept the separation? They are smart children. When it happened, Cesar didn’t

CRUZ takes the ramp with other Petit Monde endorsers Maja Salvador, Anna Roces, Cheska Garcia-Kramer and daughter Kendra. PHOTO BY RICHARD REYES / INQUIRER

come home for four days. When he returned eventually, the girls didn’t want to see him. I told them, “Say hello to your dad. Keep loving him. He cares for you so much.” My girls are open-minded. They once told me, “We want you to be happy, too. You should have an inspiration, but you have to find someone who will love us as well.” Do you let them see you cry? Before I decided to break up with Cesar, I talked to them and we all cried. I told them, “You know that I did everything I could. I can’t stay with him anymore. What happened between your dad and I was wrong. I’m leaving him because I don’t want you to grow up thinking our relationship was normal. When you’re old enough to be with someone, find a person who will love and respect you— respect is really important.” I took the job offers as a sign from God for me to move forward. Tinutulak na niya ako. My ex-husband has his weaknesses and maybe he also found me lacking in some aspects. I really tried to make it (mar-

riage) work, but I eventually realized that the relationship was no longer worth keeping. What is the most difficult thing to deal with now that you’re alone? I feel lonely when my daughters aren’t with me. Cesar and I have decided that they would stay with him for three straight days and then, three days with me—we alternate on Sundays. I can’t wait for the court to decide finally who gets full custody. This temporary setup is not working well for the kids. They are having a hard time adjusting—this is so unfair to them. What made you decide to go to court? I had no choice because Cesar tried to hide the kids from me for many days. When I fetched them, they weren’t allowed out of the house to see me… I know Cesar did that to force me to return to him. He asked me to give him a month to prove that he had changed, but I said, friends na lang tayo. I wish him well. After all, he is the father of my daughters. ■



Best actress at 15 Only 11 when she played a child prostitute, Sandy Talag wins an international award four years later BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer SANDY Talag was getting dressed for school when she first heard the good news. Eunice de Asis, local producer of Jacco Groen’s “Lilet Never Happened,” called up to congratulate her one fine day. “I said, ‘ thank you,’ thinking all the while that it was for the award ( audience prize) ‘ Lilet’ had won earlier in the Buster film fest in Denmark,” Sandy recalled. “But Tita Eunice said the trophy was for me.” Befuddled, Sandy started “jumping, screaming and crying.” “It was a different kind of excitement,” she recounted. “Maybe that’s what people call tears of joy.” Sandy, a 15-year-old junior high school student, won best actress at the Oaxaca International Film Festival held in Mexico recently. Belated reward

The honor is a belated reward for the former “StarStruck

Kids” discovery. She was only 11 and a graduate of wholesome GMA 7 shows like “Mahiwagang Baul” and “Majika,” when she auditioned for the risqué part of Lilet—a child prostitute in the slums of Manila. “My mom was hesitant at first,” she related. “During the audition, my mom told me not to give 100 percent.” Still, she handily aced the tryout. Although the director and the producers tried to convince her reluctant mom, she remained unmoved until Sandy stepped up to the plate. “I explained to my mom that this movie was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Needless to say, the role of a flesh peddler can be difficult for a girl of any age—much more for the then 11-year-old. “I couldn’t do research and visit nightclubs. I couldn’t read the script. I couldn’t ask questions,” she said. “So how did I prepare? I simply used my imagination. I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t shooting a movie; that it was real life.” A psychologist was constantly on call to guide Sandy on the set. “The psychologist helped

me understand the situation of the characters in the film. They really didn’t want to be in that position. But they didn’t have a choice. Prostitution was their only way out of poverty.” Luckily, the mood on the set was always cheerful, in spite of the film’s grim subject matter. “Direk Jacco made sure that the atmosphere on the set was light, not depressing. He was fun to be with … a real genius,” she quipped. As a bonus, she got to interact with the best Filipino actors in today’s indie scene: John Arcilla, Marife Necesito, Timothy Mabalot, Angeli Bayani, among others. Another award

The entire cast won a best ensemble honor at the International Film Festival Manhattan recently. “It was an honor to work with them,” Sandy said. “They were not only great actors; they were also kind.” She likewise considered herself fortunate that she got to share the screen with Johanna Ter Steege, an award-winning

DUTCH actress Johanna Ter Steege, right, taught Sandy Talag how to act with her eyes.

Dutch actress. “I know that she’s famous in Europe. On the set, she taught me how to act with my eyes, to make our scenes realistic.” The international award came at the right time, she said. “I’m 15, what industry people call the ‘awkward stage.’ Producers don’t know what kind of roles to give me, whether [for] a kid or a teenager.” The victory is sweet vindication for her. “Until now I couldn’t believe that I was able to portray such a demanding role. I waited for a role like this for a long time … I always thought that I was not able to prove my versatility in my previous show biz projects.” Apprehensive

Since she’s currently enrolled in a Catholic school, she was initially apprehensive about

letting her teachers and classmates know about her rather daring role in the international film. “After finding out that I had won abroad, they watched the film’s trailer online and told me that they were proud of me. They’ve been very supportive since,” she noted. That is precisely what she loves about acting. “It allows me to live the life of a different person, to explore emotions that I otherwise wouldn’t get to feel,” she remarked. “It’s also heart-warming that I am able to inspire other young people.” In the future, she would like to portray more complex characters. “I want to be a contravida or a superhero. I always cry and do heavy drama roles. I want something different … something more challenging than Lilet.” ■

Iza Calzado still not ready to tie the knot BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer ACTRESS IZA Calzado said she would give herself two or three more years before marrying her boyfriend, Filipino-British commercial model Ben Wintle. “Of course, I’m already thinking of marriage, but I’m not ready for it yet—I hope I’ll be, sooner than later. Children will definitely be around when I get to be 35. I want to focus on myself first,” the 31-year-old actress told the INQUIRER. A recent shampoo commercial featuring the couple had netizens buzzing that Wintle had already proposed. Calzado arrived at the venue for a photo shoot but Wintle, in a suit, came bearing gifts and a bouquet of white flowers. He then treated her to a formal dinner. “My boyfriend is a very private guy. He will never propose

with watching how people react when they are caught by surprise—maybe because I’m an actor. I feel that there are things in life that you just can’t act out, that genuine reaction comes out especially in big moments. These are very beautiful to watch and experience,” she explained. “That’s my only request—for someone to please record (the event) so I can watch myself and see my transition from shock to elation.” Waiting pays off

“I WANT to focus on myself first.” INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

in (a very) public (way). He can’t even understand our tradition of proposing in front of family members—that’s something new to him,” Calzado said.

If the proposal were to happen soon, Calzado said she hoped one of her friends would be there to record her reaction. “I have this fascination

Calzado, reacting to comments that she made a bad decision by leaving GMA 7 and transferring to rival network ABS-CBN, said, “People said nothing good had happened to my career since the transfer. ‘ Di ako papatol. All I can say is that it pays to wait and to trust that the right projects will come your way. Now I’m so grateful.”

Unknown to many, Calzado is working on the second season of “The Biggest Loser: Pinoy Edition” for quite some time now. “We tape twice a week. I realized that people were talking because they didn’t see me on TV as often as they used to. We’re already halfway through with ‘Biggest Loser.’ I just can’t post anything about what we’re doing because of the nature of the show,” she explained. Calzado also started working on the Olivia Lamasan film “Unlove You,” which also features Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga. Recently, ABS-CBN hosted a media gathering to announce her inclusion in the primetime drama series “You’re My Home,” which will air early 2014. “Ang biyaya sabay-sabay kung dumating,” she said. “While on ❱❱ PAGE 34 Iza Calzado



Iza Calzado... a break, I went on short trips. I had time to detox and to sleep. I think these short trips will have to be put on hold now that work has begun. [Ben and I] will always make time for each other. It’s just that now, he’ll have more time for himself.” Calzado, who admitted struggling with weight problems growing up, said “Biggest Loser” was special to her. “It’s such an inspiring and amazing show. I can’t wait for the whole world to watch it. The contestants showed determination and discipline. I’m so proud of all of them.” She added that, as host, she participated in the activities. “Let’s just say I joined them in all their challenges. I also pushed myself until I was dead tired.” In “You’re My Home,” Calzado will be working alongside Dawn Zulueta, Richard Gomez, Cherrie Pie Picache, Shaina Magdayao and Enchong Dee, among others. “My character is a blogger. She is fashion-savvy (but) there are a lot of things in her life that need fixing. She hopes for a house she can call home. This is a complicated and challenging role. I hope I’ll be able to do justice to it.” ❰❰ 33

Continuing struggle

The actor lost her father, choreogra-

pher-television director Lito Calzado, to liver cancer in 2011. She said coping with his death had been a continuous struggle. “He was my home. I’m sure that wherever he is right now, he’s watching over me,” she said. Calzado’s mother also died of cancer when she was 19. “I also miss her, but I only have a vague memory of her. I cry whenever I miss my dad. Sometimes, I talk about him with my brother [rap singer Dash].” She added, “I’m not the type who often visits my dad’s grave. I feel I don’t need to travel all the way to the cemetery unless it’s his birthday or I’m in the area. I look at his pictures all the time. Now that I’ve agreed to work on this show, I think about him more often.” Calzado said it also helped that she got to discuss death and grief with colleagues like Maxene Magalona, Isabel Oli and Drew Arellano, who also lost their fathers recently. “I don’t talk to them regularly but when I see their posts [on social media websites], I reply to them. Drew’s father was my lawyer. When he said he missed buying siopao for his dad, I thought of my dad, too. I understand where he’s coming from. This makes me feel better because I realize that I’m not alone and that life goes on.” ■

DIRECTOR Dandin Ranillo with boxing champ Nonito Donaire PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK

A ‘Flashy’ homage to Gloria and Mat Jr. With a movie starring Nonito Donaire, Dandin Ranillo pays tribute to his parents, the King and Queen of Visayan movies BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer ACTOR-DIRECTOR DANDIN Ranillo can’t think of a better way to pay homage to his parents, actors Gloria Sevilla and Mat Ranillo Jr., than by reviving Visayan cinema. After two decades in the United States, Dandin came home to remake a movie his parents produced in 1969 “Palad Ta ang Nagbuot,” with worldrenowned boxer Nonito “the Filipino Flash” Donaire in the lead. The original “Palad Ta ang Nagbuot” paired his mom with thenreigning boxing champ Gabriel “Flash” Elorde. It was quite fitting that another Filipino “Flash” would take over Flash Elorde’s role. Dandin’s parents were also considered champs in local cinema, regarded as the King and Queen of Visayan movies in the 1960s—a golden era when the regional film industry was so vibrant that it churned out five movies a year. His parents were behind MG Productions, which produced landmark movies like “Badlis sa Kinabuhi (Destiny),” which was screened at the Berlin fest in 1970. “Visayan movies did well even in Manila,” Gloria recalled. “When ‘Badlis’ opened in Times theater I was so nervous that I locked myself in my room.” By the end of the day, the MG checker called her with good news. “Our movie was a hit. Times theater was filled with Visayans.” She recalled: “We must’ve produced four movies in 1969. When the Famas (awards) time came, my husband asked me to field ‘Badlis’ instead of ‘Palad’ in the awards derby. Our house director, the late Leroy Salvador, agreed.” The request proved serendipitous because “Badlis” turned out to be the couple’s last collaboration together. The elder Mat died in a plane crash later that year. Most of the films produced by his parents had been irretrievably lost, related

Dandin, the fifth among seven children of the MG couple. “My brother Juni found a video copy of ‘Badlis’ in the United States, but some scenes were missing,” he related. Unfortunately, there is no existing copy of “Palad Ta ang Nagbuot.” Dandin decided to remake “Palad”—to revive the Visayan film industry and pay tribute to his parents. Apart from playing Nonito’s grandmother, Gloria also acted as an unoffi cial consultant in the film as her son often had to ask her about the original’s story. “We updated the story to make it more current,” Dandin clarified. “But the basic concept is as timeless as the original. Nonito plays a gym janitor who is forced to fight in the boxing ring for his family.” Gloria, who now top-bills the ABS-CBN series “Be Careful With My Heart,” explained that the film could help young Visayans reconnect with their elders’ traditions. “It shows the harana (serenade) and the dance curacha. We want the youth to get reacquainted with our culture.” Dandin wishes to remake his mom’s other films like “Badlis,” “May Luhang Nahibilin sa Baybayin” and “Gimingaw Ako (I Long for You),” which was screened at the Moscow fest in 1971. Sneak previews

“Palad” had sneak previews in Los Angeles, Vallejo and Redwood City, California, last year. Independently produced by Dandin’s own MYR Productions, “Palad,” however, is still looking for a local distributor. “It’s not hard to find investors. What is more difficult is distributing your film in local theaters,” conceded Dandin who took a leave from his job as a nurse in the United States to do the film. “I hope distributors and the public will give my son a chance. There is a market for Visayan films. In Metro Manila alone, over half of the population speaks Visayan,” Gloria said. “It’s an untapped movie market,” Dandin concurred. “Palad” is in Cebuano with English subtitles ■



Richard and Dawn back in each other’s arms BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer “BEING IN love makes people happy. It affects them no matter how old or young they are,” said Richard Gomez when asked about the secret to his effective onscreen partnership with Dawn Zulueta. Gomez and Zulueta will soon be seen in the drama series “You’re My Home,” which will air on ABS-CBN in the first quarter of 2014. At a media gathering on Thursday, both actors said they were flattered by the comparison of their love team to that of the popular and much younger tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. “Our (love team appeals) to a wider audience,” Gomez explained. Zulueta added, “I think the advantage we have over other love teams is that Richard and I had a history. This makes it easier for us to express emotions to each other onscreen. We have chemistry.” Zulueta said, unlike other tandems, she and Gomez “don’t need to exert too much effort improving our working relationship. We don’t need workshops or focus groups. We’re friends so things come naturally. We enjoy each other’s company.” She added, “When we work on sensitive scenes, we sit down and discuss what we should do. We’re very technical. First, we set our limitations, then discuss our angles … We don’t have to

Ariella Arida is ready for the Miss Universe battle Philippine Canadian Inquirer


worry about tender moments. Anyway, what we’re doing now is nothing compared to what we used to do when we were younger.” Both insisted that their marriages remained unaffected by what they did at work. “We don’t discuss the past. We don’t have ‘what ifs?’” said Zulueta. Gomez said his wife, Ormoc City Representative Lucy Torres, was a big fan of their love team. “She knows about all my projects with Dawn. Like our fans, she has long been waiting for a follow-up to the series ‘Walang Hanggan,’” the actor said. The pair is also slated to do the Iglesia ni Cristo film “Sugo”

in 2014. Not the meddling type

Zulueta’s husband, Davao del Norte Representative Anton Lagdameo, is not the type to meddle in her show biz commitments. “His only request was for me to set limits on my work hours—that was why I have a cut-off (time). As for my roles, for obvious reasons, I decided not to accept those that would require me to be more daring than what I did in ‘Walang Hanggan.’” Asked how their roles in “You’re My Home” were different from the previous show,

THE PRESSURE to bring home the Miss Universe crown is indeed on Binibining PilipinasUniverse Ariella Arida after Megan Young and Mutya Datul recently won in the Miss World 2013 and Miss Supranational 2013, respectively. That is why she is working so hard in preparation for the Miss Universe pageant set on November 9 at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow. In her grand send-off at Gloria Maris restaurant at Gateway Mall, the 24-year-old beauty from Alaminos, Laguna revealed that she needed to go on a strict diet, which is difficult for her as she used to eat a lot. She also needs to sacrifice her time with family and friends. Ariella, meanwhile, used her fellow beauty queen’s success as her

❱❱ PAGE 44 Richard and

motivation to strive harder. “It’s a good sign that Megan and Mutya won. It serves as motivation for me to work harder, it pushes me to the highest level, especially when I go to Russia,” she said. She added, “My greatest competition is myself. I will rely on myself and be positive to get the crown.” It will be recalled that Arida received criticism about her communication skills, but she defended herself by saying that she can do well in the question and answer portion. The whole country will pray that the UP (University of the Philippines) Chemistry graduate will be the third Filipina to bring home the Miss Universe crown (Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran won the first two in 1969 and 1973, respectively). We can all help by voting for her through the Miss Universe website. ■


Sarah Geronimo wants to keep her love life private Philippine Canadian Inquirer


IN HER ten years in show business, Sarah Geronimo has undoubtedly learned a lot, not just from singing, but from the matters of the heart. It is not unknown to many that she had failed twice when it comes to her previous relationships. The first was with Rayver Cruz and the second was with Gerald Anderson. In an interview with Yahoo

OMG Philippines, she said, “Kakantahin ko ang mga sarili kong awitin na may bagong areglo, bagong atake ng pagkanta. Kasi concert ko naman ito. Talent ko ang sino-showcase dito, hindi ang love life ko o sino mang nai-li-link sa akin.(I will sing my personal songs with a new arrangement, with a new way of singing. Because it’s my concert anyway. I am showcasing my talent, not my love life or whoever is being linked to me).” She added, “Sana naiintindhan nyo that this time, sana gawin

kong private. Ayaw kong haluan ng showbiz. Kung sino man yung taong mapapalapit sa puso ko, andon ang takot ko. At the same time, gusto ko makita gaano siya ka-sincere. (I hope you understand that this time, I want to make it private. I don’t want to mix showbiz with my personal life. Whoever will be close to my heart, fear is always there. At the same time, I want to see how sincere he is). The 25-year-old singer concluded that in time the truth will come out. ■



Pinoy Pride Vancouver Co-Presents “Born to Dance This Way” at the VAFF VANCOUVER, BC—Pinoy Pride Vancouver is proud to be a Community Partner for the 2013 Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF), now in its 17th year! PPV is thrilled to join VAFF in its mission to support up-and-coming North American Asian filmmakers and bring diversity to film. Born to Dance This Way (2012) follows Joo Si (pronounced Juicy), who arrives in Los Angeles with a single goal: to be a dancer. He auditions for the opportunity of a lifetime to be a principal backup dancer for the sexy female pop singing sensation, the 4Play Ladies. As the girls get to know him in his interview, we get to know his struggle: with masculinity and society’s expectations, as a flamboyant feminine and overweight male dancer, as he trains

in Alec Bald-Nguyen’s Ballet Conservatory and Shadynasty’s music video auditions. A review from the Huffington Post’s Arts and Culture section singles out the director, “During the 2013 SFIndie Film Festival, Bay area filmgoers were exposed to some fresh new talents. One who quickly caught my attention was Filipino-American Jerell Rosales, whose short film Born To Dance This Way not only demonstrates his solid skill as a rising filmmaker, but introduces a classic comedic character who has “feature film” written all over his fat little face.” Gary Lising, PPV’s Co-chair, points out that the film’s main character is a delight to watch as he projects all the self confidence and positivity that should rub off on the audience.

“The movie shows perseverance and belief with self. As a dancer he has unsurpassed passion and breaks all stereotypes and marginalization.” “We encourage everyone to come and see this 12-min short from another talented kababayan (fellow Filipino). The film has won many awards and citations including Director’s Spotlight and Best Editing at the UCLA Film Fest and Best Supporting Actress from Asians on Film, adds Stella Reyes, Cochair of PPV. Born to Dance This Way will be shown on November 9, 2013 (Saturday) at 10.00pm at Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas (3rd Floor, 88 West Pender, Vancouver). For tickets: vaff-17-day-3-program-11 ■

Monsters, vampires and Ontario officially launches $45M witches increasingly fund to boost music industry populate TV series along with gore BY ETHAN LOU The Canadian Press

BY BILL BRIOUX The Canadian Press AS HALLOWEEN approaches, network TV schedules are getting spookier than ever. What’s with all the scary shows? Thank “The Walking Dead” for being such a monster hit. On Oct. 13, the AMC series returned for a fourth season to

Scene from “The Walking Dead

16.1 million U.S. viewers and stands as the top-rated entertainment telecast of the season among 18- to 49-year-oldsahead of such hits as “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS.” It is easily basic cable’s mostwatched series of all time and has a major impact on Canadian Sunday schedules. ❱❱ PAGE 44 Monsters, vampires


TORONTO—A $45-million fund aimed at supporting the music industry in Ontario was officially launched Monday. Michael Chan, minister for tourism, culture and sport, said the Ontario Music Fund—first announced in May—will support four sectors of the industry over the next three years: record labels, industry associations, music startups and promoters. Speaking at the Revolution Recording studio in Toronto, Chan said applications are open immediately for record labels and industry associations, while startups and promoters have to wait until Nov. 7. Chan said the fund will speed up growth in the province’s already strong music sector. “Ontario is the heartland for music in Canada, generating over $420 million in revenue, representing more than 80 per cent of the national total,” he said. The fund, administered through the Ontario Media

velopment Corp., will create a healthy “music ecosystem,” he said, which will in turn boost the province’s economy. Celebrated Toronto rapper and producer Jason D. Harrow, better known as Kardinal Offishall, attended the launch. Kardinal, who began his career in Toronto during the mid1990s, is often dubbed Canada’s “hip hop ambassador,” and has won three JUNO awards. He said there was some form of government funding available then—”many moons ago”— which helped propel him to success. “I’m a direct example of what can happen if additional funding comes from the province and from the country,” Kardinal said, adding, “The other thing is the money also helps people to stay here, and that is key—that is a real, real, real key. “Hopefully, it’ll help keep the legacy here, and have the stars blossom in Canada first before they go elsewhere. “ The program’s funding categories, dubbed streams, are formally called Music Company

Development, Music Industry Development, Music Futures and Live Music. Music Company Development—for record labels—will fund business expansion, recording or production. Eligible firms must be based in Ontario, and earn above $100,000 in annual revenue. They have until Dec. 9 to apply. Music Industry Development—for industry associations—seeks to develop talent through events such as training. Non-profits or training organizations are eligible. The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2014. Music Futures is for emerging music startups, artist entrepreneurs and small-scale record labels. Applicants must have annual revenues between $35,000 and $100,000. Live Music is a category created for increasing the number of performances held in Ontario. Eligible are music promoters, presenters and agents. Those interested can start applying Nov. 7 for Music Futures and Live Music, and will have until Jan. 6 next year before applications close. ■




This is Design Philippines BY CHECHE V. MORAL Philippine Daily Inquirer WHEN BUDJI Layug was tasked for the second time this year to design the creative showcase of Manila FAME, he was clear about his goals: to push the “Design Philippines” brand and to mentor new designers. A pillar of Philippine home design, Layug brought together companies which he believed had “capabilities of doing design at a global level.” A platform for Philippine craftsmanship and design for the worldmarket, the Center for International Trade and Expositions and Missions (Citem)led biannual event drew foreign buyers to the SMX Convention Center on its four-day 58th edition. It ended Sunday. Citem is the exports marketing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry. “I think that this is the beginning of mentoring new designers, to expose them, to have a hands-on experience with manufacturers, and to fasttrack their creativity,” Layug said. Through Citem’s Design for Exports Program, Layug tapped 15 young and new designers to collaborate with SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and their in-house designers for unique products that were showcased at Manila FAME. “I made sure everything that comes to the floor is fresh, no repeats,” said Layug, who also headed the creative team at Manila FAME last March. “It was difficult and a big challenge; that’s why I say I used not just a magic wand, but a magic whip.” Among the fresh names were Leeroy New, Heima, Lilianna Manahan, Buensalido Architects, and Layug’s son David, among others. The selection was notably less of merely ornamental pieces, and more of highly utilitarian furniture and decor. That’s

not to say, however, that the pieces weren’t striking. Multimedia artist

At the main Design Philippines booth by the entrance, a massive skeletal-like wall piece made of corrugated fiberboard by Leeroy New dominated the area. On a table beneath it was a bowl of intertwined metal wire, also by the multimedia artist, and which mimicked New’s lamps that were hanging at the opposite panel. David Layug’s backlit sculptural wall art also made for an arresting counterpoint to Rene Alcala’s mother-of-pearl-inlaid console table below it. The wall art follows the same abstract lines of the young man’s hanging lamp. On the other side of the hall, the young designer Lilianna Manahan shyly answered queries about her works, a set of metal nesting tables and pastelcolored tableware, including a quirky toy. Layug himself designed several pieces for various companies. “I am no longer aiming for new markets; I’m doing these just for myself,” said Layug, who’s kept busy by projects for resorts, hotels and private residences. “What I want is a fresh approach to new markets, and I want to push the branding of ‘Design Philippines,’ which we started in Milan. I want to create the image that we have brands, lifestyle brands.” Layug worked closely with his architect-partner Royal Pineda for the home furnishings and furniture showcase on the ground floor, and with Kenneth Cobonpue, the furniture designer whose name is now a global brand. Layug gives credit to Citem executive director Rosvi Gaetos for helping define the concept of “Design Philippines.” “The goal is to find the true character of Philippine design, to be able to identify and shape what Philippine design, artistry and craft is,” he said. “This time

it’s about what we feel as a people, how we feel as a people now. It’s not about getting inspired by what has come to pass, but to bring about the Filipino-ness of the young design eye.” “The Design for Exports Program fortifies our efforts to position the Philippines, through the country brand Design Philippines, as the purveyor of highcaliber and design-forward products crafted in the Philippines, for the world,” Gaetos said in a statement. “The Filipinos’ inventive portrayal of the country’s rich culture speaks a lot about the level of craftsmanship in the Philippines.”

ABLE and chairs by Budji Layug, planter by Ramir Bonghanoy for Bon-Ace Fashion Tools Inc. PHOTO BY AUGUST DELA CRUZ

WOVEN chairs by Andy M. Garcia

Ahead of the times

Layug said that while the Philippines creates products for specific markets, their efforts also aim to advance the idea that “Design Philippines” is for a global market. “We’re not creating styles for the American or European markets; we are creating our styles to present to them, for them to understand who we are. We’re advanced in terms of ideas and this is really our strength. We’re ahead of the times.” He said imitation will always be a problem, but he sees China as competition only in terms of pricing. “If your demarket sign is unusual, it’s very difficult for them to copy, so it’s no problem. We have to make the market understand that what we’re offering is original.” However, Layug doesn’t believe that lowering price points is key to being competitive in the global marketplace. “If you design something good,” he said, “you find a niche market, you don’t have to compromise in terms of prices. If you compromise because of price, it affects creativity. It will kill creativity.” He advises upstarts to understand their strength as designers and try to create a story for their intended market. He also said that the formerly western-centric Filipino

designers and manufacturers would soon be making their products available locally and elsewhere, as they’re feeling the effects of the slower economy of North America. The United States is traditionally the biggest buyer for Filipino furniture and crafts. “We have to be open to sell to the local because the western economy is in a crisis,” he said. “We have to open our approach to marketing and distribution. “The bigger market is actually the west. But what I’m saying is, the whole world is now the marketplace. There are emerging markets like South America and China, and Europe will continue to be there. And if you put them altogether, it’s even bigger. “We have to open our designs to retail, too. Manufacturers and designers are now beginning to understand. If you’re not open to selling to the local market, you’re limiting yourself. To sustain yourself, you have to sell retail, in which case you will get a bigger profit anyway.” Asked what he thought of the news of American home furnishing brand Pottery Barn’s entry into the Philippines, and the longtime rumor of Ikea coming in, Layug said, “It shouldn’t be a problem. If international brands are coming

in, our own companies should also brand themselves.” The challenge, he added, is “to bring everybody to the standard of quality and sophistication.” “This is just the beginning,” Layug said. “Hopefully the reputation of the Filipinos’ creativity will become more evident. It will have to be a longterm commitment to product development.” ManilaWear

The scene was also vibrant at Manila Wear on the second level of SMX. Manila Wear, the fashion and accessories arm of Manila FAME, which is on its second year, was curated by Josie Natori with visual artist Jinggoy Buensuceso and Philippine based Japanese designer Wataru Sakuma. Among the exhibitors were Dennis Lustico (day and evening bags), Joel Escober ( jewelry), Joyce Makitalo ( jewelry), Arnel Papa ( jewelry), Carissa Cruz-Evangelista ( jewelry and evening bags), Amina Alunan (evening bags), Lally Cruz-Dizon (crocodile bags and belts), Jun Artajo (apparel and accessories), Jinggoy Buensuceso ( jewelry), JC Buendia (apparel), Betina Ocampo (Tshirts), Hindy Weber-Tantoco (accessories) and Natalya Lagdameo ( jewelry). ■



‘Adobong bagnet’ with ‘sugpo at taba ng talangka’—aka please be careful with your heart On a trip to Pampanga, Boni Pimentel had ‘adobong lechon kawali’ with ‘taba ng talangka.’ He thought of recreating it, this time using Ilokano ‘bagnet’ BY VANGIE BAGA-REYES Philippine Daily Inquirer HE FIRST visualized the taste in his mind, then the look on the plate. Next, Boni Pimentel blended spices for that lingering aftertaste. Then he went to work. The result? Adobong Bagnet with Sugpo at Taba ng Talangka. While it may sound too rich and too intense, with heart-attack-inducing flavors, Pimentel’s stewed dish is nonetheless a uniquely delicious experience. “I just thought of mixing all the good stuff in one dish,” says Pimentel, owner of Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila. “It’s perfectly matched with a heaping mound of steaming hot rice or garlic rice.” Pimentel says he got the inspiration for his adobo on one of his trips to Pampanga, when he tasted adobong lechon kawali with taba ng talangka (crab fat). He thought of recreating the dish, but this time using Ilokano bagnet for a tastier bite,

then cooking it adobo- style with the usual vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, garlic and bay leaf. He mixed it with prawns and finished it off with taba ng talangka for a richer crustacean relish. “I know it’s very rich, but you can enjoy it once in a while,” says Pimentel. “It’s like eating bagnet. You don’t eat bagnet everyday. Same thing with lechon.” With the addition of crab fat and bits of garlic, the adobo sauce comes out thick and orangey in color. As is done in Pimentel’s restaurant, the bagnet is marinated for 24 hours in sukang Iloko, pepper and garlic, then boiled the following day with the marinade. After the marinade is disposed of, the meat is halfroasted and left in room temperature. The bagnet is then sliced into chunks and fried to perfection whenever an order is placed. For the adobo, the bagnet used is precooked while the

sugpo is pre-grilled, seasoned with just salt and pepper. The clincher is the addition of crab fat, which just melts into the rest of the sauce. “I always want some combinations in my pork adobo,” Pimentel adds. “So I added sugpo for those who do not eat pork. Everybody loves prawns.” Bestseller

Pimentel’s adobo was an instant hit among friends and family, which gave him the idea of including it on his restaurant menu. It has become one of the resto’s bestsellers. Even his foreign guests look for his adobo. The taba ng talangka is available in major supermarkets; Pimentel gets his stash of bottled crab fat from the food stalls in Market! Market! in Taguig. Don’t get the salmon-colored ones; get those with oil that looks more orangey in color, because it has the real taste of taba ng talangka. Pimentel, who hails from Pangasinan, grew up eating the

typical adobo with spices and seasonings. But he preferred his adobo dry. So, he would cook his own version of adobo, marinating the liempo or pork ribs in vinegar and seasoning overnight. He would then boil the meat the next day, fry the meat separately with more garlic to keep the powerful aroma and flavor of the garlic intact, and simmer it with the marinade until totally reduced. “I want it nagmamantika na,” says Pimentel. “I really love to eat and cook. For me, if you love to eat, cooking will just come naturally. And exposure to different kinds of food will help you a lot in preparing good food in the kitchen.” “I get to visualize the food and imagine the taste even without tasting the actual food. It’s all because of exposure,” he adds. Hands-on experience

Pimentel started Ilustrado in 1989 with wife Rose. Neither of them had any professional culinary background, but they

learned the rudiments of running a food business on the job. Now, Pimentel is assisted by children Betina, Beatrice, Bernice and RJ. When Rose died four years ago, Pimentel became both father and mother to his children: doing the groceries; getting the fresh produce from the wet market for the family’s meal; preparing the week’s lunch and dinner menu for the house help to follow. The family eats breakfast and dinner all together at home. On Sundays, Pimentel makes sure every member of the family is complete for lunch or dinner after he plays golf in Alabang. He cooks mostly on weekends. The children love his kalderetang baka, baked bangus belly (flavored with calamansi, garlic, soy sauce and leeks) and adobo. Pimentel pairs his adobo with fried fish. “My children love everything I cook for them. They like it when I cook, because they know they will have a good meal,” says Pimentel. ■

Adobong Bagnet with Sugpo at Taba ng Talangka

Bagnet: 1 kg pork belly 1 c vinegar (white) ½ c fish sauce 1 whole garlic clove 10 pcs whole black pepper 3 pcs laurel leaf Vegetable oil Marinate pork belly in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, laurel leaves and pepper for 30 minutes to a full hour. (Depending on your flavor profile, the more flavorful you want it to be, the longer the marinade should stay.) Drain and set aside. Slice into pieces. Fry the pork belly in a pan on high flame. TOO-rich and too-intense Adobong Bagnet with Prawns and Crab Fat

Adobo: ¼ c vegetable oil 3 cloves garlic ½ c vinegar ½ c soy sauce ½ tsp black pepper, cracked 2 pcs laurel leaf 1 c chicken stock (or 1 pc chicken cube) 8 pcs sugpo ½ ctaba ng talangka 3 pcs sili sigang Sauté garlic in oil until brown. Add the slices of bagnet. Then, add remaining marinade, soy sauce, vinegar, laurel leaves, peppers and chicken stock. Lower the heat and simmer until pork is soft and tender (about 45 minutes to, roughly, an hour). Add sugpo. Cook for about fiveminutes. Do not overcook the sugpo. Add the taba ng talangka and sili sigang. Cook for another 10 minutes. Ready to serve. Serves four.

BONI Pimentel enjoys cooking for his children.



PCTC holds Vin de Honor for new congen Asian Breeze Drives the

Fog Out of Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC October 23, 2013—The Philippines Canada Trade Council hosted a vin de honor for Vancouver’s new Philippine Consulate General, Neil Frank R. Ferrer. A number of the Philippine community leaders came together to meet and join the PCTC in welcoming Ferrer. Juan TV covered the event. ■ In this picture, from left to right: Joseph Lopez, Lino “Boom” Dayupay, Andre Endique, Gino Echavez, Philippine Consulate General Neil Frank R. Ferrer, Anezka Alvarez, Tess Sumagui, Gigi Astudillo, Melissa Remulla-Briones, and Laarni Liwanag.

Max’s Restaurant Supports BC Hydro’s Candlelight Conservation Dinner 25 OCTOBER, 2013: VANCOUVER CANADA—MAX’S RESTAURANT Cuisine of the Philippines Vancouver took lead in the Filipino Business Community in supporting BC Hydro’s Candlelight Conservation Dinner. On October 24, 2013, restaurants across British Columbia hosted “Dine by Candlelight”, an initiative of BC Hydro to help spread awareness of the importance of conserving energy, and encourage BC residents to become more environmentally conscious and friendly. All participating restaurants dimmed their lights, displayed candlelights, and turned up the ambiance to show how simple actions can save energy. Restaurants offered an exclusive discount or special deal on the

night, anything from free appetizer to Buy 1 Get Free Entrée. Max’s Restaurant gladly offered their scrumptious Sizzling Tofu, one of their newest additions to their menu as the FREE entrée for the evening. The Tofu cubes were served with chopped onions, red and green pepper, glazed with a special sauce, and topped with chillies. It has a bit of a spicy touch to it adding to its already flavourful taste. Filipino Community Leaders and Members of the Media including Deputy Consul General Anton Mandap from the Philippine Consulate General Vancouver & Wife, Irene Yatco & Lilia Tiamzon of Philippine Journal, Melissa Briones of Philippine Canadian Inquirer and Family, and Rey & Cely For-

taleza of Reyfort Media Group, kindly graced and supported the initiative. “Our customers and guests were very impressed with how the ambiance had changed by simply dimming our lights for a few hours; giving it a finedining feel and a more intimate atmosphere to the restaurant. Not only did we save energy, knowing we have about 200 light bulbs in our 4,000 square feet area, but it also made our customers very happy. We are now seriously considering a monthly Dine by Candlelight offer during fall/winter season.” Says Cecile Pratt, Managing Director of Max’s Vancouver. “BC Hydro, together with the ❱❱ PAGE 46 Max’s Restaurant

AS GREATER Vancouver cooled down with fog and mist all day long—it was a warm gentle breeze inside the Michael J. Fox Theatre. It was an “Asian Breeze”—the name of the show—billed as an evening of cultural performances from Bangladesh, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Singapore. From a Laotian romantic dance under the moonlight, to a heart-stopping Tinikling bamboo poles clashing from the Philippines, the show was a delightful mosaic of Asian artistry. Hundreds of people attended the event on October 28th which included an energetic duo of minstrels in the lobby and greeters in national costumes welcoming the audience. Ms. Germania Djimino from Chile said, “I really enjoyed all the show, the beauty of the dances, the dresses, all were perfect!”

A student from Simon Fraser University, Cynthia Mao, remarked, “The show was great. I am impressed and enjoyed it” From Indonesia, Martin Prijatna said, “It’s great to see all the ASEAN community in one place celebrating our inherited cultures. Yes, we were all having fun! Big thanks to MHHS.” The show was produced by Tatay Tom Avendano’s Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) to celebrate the diversity and richness of the culture of British Columbians. Event organizer Joseph Lopez said, “Asian Breeze was a wonderful opportunity for Canadians to know more about their neighbors from other countries and for new Canadians to showcase their wealth of talent to the general public. Moreover, this event will help the Society raise funds to support its numerous community outreach programs.” ■



BSP further eases forex rules for foreigners


Why People Fail To be Financially Successful

BY PAOLO G. MONTECILLO Philippine Daily Inquirer

BY SURRINDER VARPAUL AND KUYA BOY WHEN WAS the last time you and your spouse reviewed your financial goals? Do you have a plan in place to achieve those goals if so are you on track? These are the questions that you can’t afford to postpone any longer. Human nature is such that if it a decision doesn’t have an immediate effect on us, it’s too easy to put off and often it is. We all have the best intentions to be good human beings and provide a wonderful future for our loved ones yet when it comes down to the point of action we decide to take the easy route. Start planning today by setting short-term and long term goals. Checkup your cash flow, insurance coverage, taxes etc. A proper budget will help you to achieve your family’s and your personal financial goals, as well as get you on the right track to financial freedom. A budget is the first step towards implementing a financial plan. Everyone has their own story and situation. The truth of the matter is there will not be any perfect circumstance to save

Start Age 30 Scenario 1 Total Deposits $10,000 Accumulated Value $76,861 @age 65

Start Age 40 Scenario 3 Total Deposits $10,000 your money but it’s necessary for the future. Time is the biggest asset we have to becoming financially successful. Below are three scenarios of a person who invests $10,000 at a hypothetical annual rate of return of 6% to age 65, at which point this person will look to enjoy their retirement savings. The impact that five or ten years can make is enormous which is the difference between being wealthy and average. Ev-

Start Age 35 Scenario 2 Total Deposits $10,000 Accumulated Value $57,435 @age 65

Accumulated Value $42,919 @age 65

eryday we put off dealing with the financial matters at hand is another day wasted in the pursuit of becoming financially independent. ■ For more information about this topic and other valuable financial information listen to our weekly radio program— “YAMANG PANGKINABUKASAN” every Saturday from 1:30pm to 2pm on JUAN Radio 96.1 FM, hosted by Surrinder Varpaul and Kuya Boy.

THE BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has further relaxed foreign exchange regulations to allow more nonresidents to participate in the local stock market. The new memorandum circular approved by the Monetary Board (MB), the BSP’s policymaking body, would facilitate the entry and exit of foreign investors in the country ahead of the Southeast Asian region’s economic integration in 2015. “The new FX liberalization policy aims to facilitate crossborder investment transactions consistent with our commitments under the Asean Economic Blueprint 2015,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo yesterday said. Under the new set of rules, custodian banks of foreign investments may register in shares of foreign companies to be listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). The BSP also approved the conversion to foreign currencies of money made by foreign investors from the sale of locally listed shares. These changes will pave the way for foreign investors to invest in foreign companies that are listed on the PSE.

“The listing and trading of nonresident securities in the domestic market can promote greater confidence in the economy and its capital market,” Guinigundo said. The BSP said these investments by foreigners in foreign companies listed on the PSE would have to be registered with the central bank, which tracks the movement of foreign capital in the country. Registering these investments will allow foreign investors to buy dollars or other currencies from local banks, allowing them to remit their profits from investments in the Philippines to their respective home countries. Last July, the BSP said it would allow the prepayment of BSPregistered short-term loans. “This will facilitate access to the banking system for the legitimate transactions requiring payment in foreign exchange,” the BSP said. Prepayment of short-term loans, or those that mature one year or less, was previously not allowed. The new rules also simplify and reduce the reporting burden on banks. This is through the waiver of reportorial requirements for import transactions, provided that banks maintain adequate records that the BSP can verify if needed. ■

Export growth seen to slow down in ‘13 BY AMY R. REMO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE COUNTRY’S total exports may grow by a much slower pace this year than that of 2012, when export receipts of $60 billion were posted, an industry official said. The growth of merchandise exports alone may be flat, compared with the $51.994 billion recorded last year, said Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport). “We have already accepted the fact that we will not meet our [export] target, but we are hoping [we’ll end the year with a] positive growth. From a pro-

jection of 10 percent, we are hoping to book a 3-4 percent growth at least,” Ortiz-Luis said on the sidelines of the 39th Philippine Business Conference. The projected growth in total exports will be driven by the services and non-electronics sectors including agriculture, wood-based products, furniture, metal manufacturing and garments, he added. These sectors will help offset the expected decline in electronics exports, which an industry group earlier projected to contract by 12 percent this year. Ortiz-Luis’ projections were much lower than the target set by the Department of Trade

and Industry earlier this year. As previously reported, the DTI was targeting to chalk up $81.53 billion in export revenue this year on the back of rising nonelectronics shipments and a robust services sector. Of the amount, $61.10 billion will comprise of merchandise shipments, and $20.43 billion in services. Next year however, Philexport expects the country’s total exports to grow by a much faster pace with the recovery of most major markets, Ortiz-Luis said. The DTI earlier announced that the services and non-electronics exports would buoy up the country’s export receipts. The target of the government

and private sector to “double up” exports to $120 billion by 2016 remains unchanged. Senen M. Perlada, director of the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP) at the DTI earlier said that the services industry referred not only to business process outsourcing sector, but also services in the areas of tourism, health management, architecture, education and engineering, among others. The services sector has been performing well and is expected to account for 22 percent of total exports by 2016— u p from only 9

percent in 2002. “At present, electronics exports is down at 40 percent of total exports. Nonelectronics exports account for 60 percent, and these are what is keeping us afloat. Merchandise exports is expected to be positive over the next month or so, driven by agriculture products, woodcraft and furniture, processed products, gifts, toys and housewares,” Perlada earlier said. ■



FilCans rule Vancouver chess GM Wesley So Leads Netherlands Elite Chess Tourney BY JOE SOLIVEN HE’S THE 2012 British Columbia Closed Chess Champion and although he’s unable to defend the title successfully this year having lost it to 16-year old junior champion Tanraj Sohal, Butch Villavieja remains a formidable chess competitor in the Vancouver and Canadian chess circuits. Last weekend, he dominated the field to clinch the October 2013 Active Championships held at the Arbutus Shopping Centre and brought home the first prize solo. This feat he achieved following yet again a solo first in the September edition of the Active monthly championships held at the same venue in Vancouver Westside and a tie for first in the October 2013 Active Blitz Cham-

pionships held at the Bridge Centre—located along East Broadway and Penticton Street, Vancouver—together with perennial nemesis and champion Mayo Fuentebella. Not to be outdone, the Landingin brothers, Primero and Jofrel, went on to win separate titles. Primero, a construction foreman, came up tied for first in the recently-concluded 42man Vancouver Open held in Surrey, British Columbia during the Thanksgiving weekend. The older brother, Jofrel, who regularly campaigns in the US chess circuits, had easy going in the earlier rounds of the Vancouver September Open U1800 category and was poised to claim solo first till he faltered in the last round against Luke Pulfer, a young but talented player. Eventually, both came up tied for first place.

Jofrel Landingin also competed in the tough 2013 Langley Open and although he was less successful, it was his fellow FilCans Butch Villavieja and Joe Soliven who took up the cudgel for the Pinoy pride. In the end, it was Butch and IM Piasetsky who provided a scintillating thrill as they tried to outmaneuver the other with time ticking away only to split the point in a drawish king/bishop/pawn vs king/knight/pawn ending. On his part, Joe Soliven had to rally with the white pieces to nail down the full point which he did when he disposed of the higher-rated Jason Kenney in the last round. Both Butch and Joe tallied 4.5 pts good for 2nd place with four others. The August 2013 Active Open saw Jofrel Landingin, Butch Villavieja and Joe Soliven competing among a field of 32 including

the dangerous young FIDE master Jason Cao from Victoria, BC. This time it was the latter who emerged with unblemished record to claim victory. Other FilCan players who are regulars in the local chess circuit are Isabelo ‘Jun’ Bandong, Kennedy Roxas, Marionito Jose, Daniel Salcedo—the Vancouver Active August edition champion, and Manuel Omana Escandor, among others. Meanwhile, GM Wesley So, the leading Filipino chess grandmaster is competing in the elite 4-man double roundrobin UNIVE CROWN Group Tournament held in the town of Hoogeveen, Netherlands. The Toronto-based grandmaster who turned 20 last October

9, 2013 leads the quartet with 2 wins and 1 draw. Leading chess experts predict So to win the event handily despite the presence of England’s top player, Michael Adams. Against the 18yr old Dutch grandmaster Robin van Kampen, GM Adams fell short of defending with Black using the French Winawer variation in their first encounter. Unable to advance his c-pawn, he was promptly punished in the kingside. Saddled with a double pawn on the g-file, Adams sac-ed a piece to no avail. He resigned on the 51st move without waiting for further loss of material. The event ended on October 26, 2013. ■





(MARCH 21 - APRIL 19)

(JUNE 22 - JULY 22)

(SEPT 23 - OCT 22)

(DEC 22 - JAN 19)

Troubles with friends and possibly a romantic partner over the past day or two could have you feeling unloved, insecure, and emotionally blocked. All signs indicate that these feelings aren’t accurate. Your friends haven’t changed their attitude toward you. There’s still a lot of love directed your way. Whatever problems you may have had are just a bump in the road.


Responsibilities at home may weigh on your mind today and interfere with other obligations. This could cause some inner conflict, but you have a personal life and it’s important to take care of these things, too. Upsets in your circle of friends could distract and stress you. Make an effort to balance it all and you’ll make it through the day.

An unexpected event might cause you to be temporarily separated from the special person in your life. Confusion surrounding the incident and your mate’s role in it might plague you, and you might doubt your friend’s motives. Money may be on your mind, and the need for it may have you brainstorming ways to increase your income. Don’t make any decisions now.



(JULY 23 - AUGUST 22)

(APRIL 20 - MAY 20) You may have sniffles or a sore throat, possibly necessitating taking time off from work. This could be unwelcome, as it keeps you from going out on a date as well. Try to keep your mind occupied with activities that don’t tire you physically. And take some vitamin C!



(OCT 23 - NOV 21) Disappointing emails or calls could come your way today. Perhaps someone you were hoping to visit with won’t be able to make it, or perhaps a friend had to turn down an invitation to a party. Don’t let it spoil your mood. Things happen. Keep yourself busy with preparations and enjoy your day. Don’t go to the opposite extreme and work too hard.

Mild cold symptoms could affect your ability to tend to your chores today. You’re an active person, so this could affect your self-confidence and ability to do what you want to do. Upsets beyond your control within your circle of friends could also affect your concentration. Don’t dwell on them. Dose yourself with juice and tea and get through the day.



(AUG 23 - SEPT 22) Lack of contact with a close friend or romantic partner might find you feeling lonely and insecure, wondering if he or she has forgotten you or simply doesn’t care to be around you anymore. This is more likely your insecurity than anything based in reality. Sometimes people are busy! Give your friend a call. Chances are the person will be very glad to hear from you.

You likely want to take the day off, perhaps to take care of an unfinished creative project you’ve been working on for some time. But you aren’t likely to get very far since disagreements within your friends keep your mind occupied and you may be upset. Despite it all, try to stay focused. That’s the only way to get anything accomplished.

You’re thinking about friends and family members who live far away and wondering what they’re doing. You could feel a little nostalgic, longing for times long past. Don’t dwell on it. Call your friends. They’ll be glad to hear from you and you’ll feel more positive about the day. In the evening, give some attention to those you love who live nearby.

PISCES (FEB 19 - MAR 20)

(NOV 22 - DEC 21) You may feel worried about your financial situation today. You may have been expecting to receive some money that’s now delayed. A temporary separation from a romantic partner could have you feeling a little blue. If you keep yourself busy and don’t dwell on it, time will pass quickly until you’re together again. In the evening, take some time to relax.

The special someone in your life might feel a little jealous of your friends now. Perhaps you’ve had a number of invitations that only involve you and your pals. It might be a good idea to turn down one in favor of being with your partner. Goals and projects may be blocked temporarily, which is frustrating. Let them ride for now.

Money matters might be tangled today. There could be a delay in receiving funds due you, which could prove frustrating but can be straightened out. This isn’t a good day to make investments, buy property, or seek a loan. The strain of dealing with this might cause a few doubts about your money management skills. Don’t despair. This is temporary and probably beyond your control.




A Quebec monastery boasts world class cheese BY BENJAMIN SHINGLER The Canadian Press ST-BENOIT-DU-LAC, QUE.— To reach the source of one of the world’s most celebrated blue cheeses, turn off the main highway—and head to a Quebec monastery where monks have been perfecting the art for generations. Here, talk of how imported cheese could flood the market under Canada’s new trade deal with Europe seems a distant concern, far removed from an ancient way of life. In fact, the Europeans arrived here long ago. The monastery was founded in 1912 by Benedectine monks who were driven from France by anticlerical laws. A country road about an hour from Montreal winds past family farms and rain-beaten wooden fences before climbing through a stretch of forest. At the top of the hill, in a clearing overlooking Lake Memphremagog, sits the architecturally striking Abbey of StBenoit-du-Lac. The monastery, which celebrated its centenary last year, is still home to some 35 monks. They have devoted their lives to prayer, scripture and meditation. In their spare time, they supervise the production of cheese and apple cider. From the outside, the abbey in the heart of Quebec’s Eastern Townships looks as much like a medieval castle as a centre for religious devotion. The long, L-shaped building of polished white stone and ornately-patterned tiles is surrounded by manicured shrubs and, farther afield, an apple orchard. A bell tower at the building’s centre stretches high into the sky. Visitors are welcome to tour the grounds and bring home the delicacies on offer in a shop in

the abbey basement. Some sections, including the cheese factory, are closed to the public. The monks spend most of their day in silence and follow a strict schedule. On a recent autumn afternoon, a few dozen visitors made the trek to St-Benoit-du-Lac to walk the scenic trails and dine on monk-made treats. “It’s a calming place. I’ve been coming here for years,” said Gabrielle Dallaire, 63, who lives in nearby Sherbrooke, Que. Dallaire stopped by the orchard to pluck a single Cortland apple before ducking into the abbey for an afternoon service. For many, though, the cheese is the main attraction. When the monks first started making cheese in 1942, they focused exclusively on blue cheese. Now, there are a dozen options, ranging from hard, sweet Swiss-type cheeses to something more creamy or smoky. Several have won international awards. The Bleu Benedictin, a hard, blue-veined cheese with hints of Roqueforti mushrooms, has garnered the most accolades, winning first prize at several recent international competitions. L’Ermite (which translates as “hermit,” a nod to the monk’s closed-off lifestyle), another blue cheese with a taste of a wild mushrooms, has been on the market since 1943. For those seeking lighter fare, Le Moutier, a goat cheese with a sweet flavour, is also an option. To this day, the monks continue to live separated from the world, seeking God through study of the scripture, prayer and “manual as well as intellectual work.” Echoes of Gregorian chants draw visitors down the hallway, to a chapel where a dozen monks can be seen taking part in prayer service open to the public. Signs instruct visitors to

keep silent and not disturb the monks, many of them elderly, as they shuffle back to their rooms. Other monasteries, including Oka Abbey, famous for its semisoft cheese by the same name, have been forced to relocate to smaller locations due to their dwindling numbers. Nevertheless, the tradition of monk-made delicacies continues and serves as a key incomegenerator for monasteries. At the store, chocolates, jams and honeys produced by monks elsewhere in Quebec are also on offer. Among the highlights: dark and milk chocolate rosettes made at a monastery north of Quebec’s Lac St-Jean, by the Trappists of Mistassini. Visitors are welcome test out the offerings— and wash them down with a glass of one of the abbey’s ciders— at a picnic table overlooking the lake. If You Go...

The Abbey of St-Benoit-duLac is about an 1:30 drive from Montreal and there are several bed and breakfasts in the area. The monastery is free and open to the public, except where areas are marked pri-


vate. Visitors are asked to dress conservatively and rooms are available for an overnight retreat.

Through the winter until May 31, 2014, the shop is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. and from

11:45 a.m. until 5 p.m. The shop is closed on Sundays. For more information, visit ■






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Richard and... Zulueta said, “This time we start off as a married couple. We struggle with (the) usual … conflicts, differences.” Gomez added, “Of course there would be kilig moments, absolutely! It’s important that viewers learn from this series the value of family, of coping with problems, of taking care of each other no matter what happens.” Zulueta’s other drama series, “Bukas na Lang Kita Mamahalin,” is currently airing on ABS-CBN and will end in December. “I doubt that it would have an extension. Its story is only good for 13 weeks,” she said. Zulueta plays Zenaida, mother to Gerald Anderson’s character, Miguel, who is accused of rape and is imprisoned. Zenaida helps her son seek justice at all cost. Zulueta has only good words for her costar. “Gerald is such a sweet boy. He is very promising. He has already showed so much potential to be a really good actor. He just has to continue what he started in ‘Budoy,’ then his movie ‘On The Job’ and our show. I saw a lot of improvements in him in terms of acting.” Aside from Gomez and Zulueta, “You’re My Home” also features Cherrie Pie Picache, Iza Calzado, Shaina Magdayao and Enchong Dee. Zulueta said she expected to have ❰❰ 35

Monsters, vampires... “fun” on the set. She explained, “We’re with people that are so easy to work and to get along with. I’ve been friends with Cherrie Pie for a long time now. Iza was my daughter in [the GMA 7 series] ‘Encantadia.’ I get along with everybody— it’s really just the kids (Shaina and Enchong) that I haven’t worked with. I’m looking forward to that.” Education first

Zulueta, mother to Jacobo, 7, and Ayisha, 4, in real life, is determined to have them finish school first before allowing them to join show business. “I don’t encourage it now that they’re still young. Once they’re done with school, they are free to do what they want,” she told the Inquirer. “Jacobo is into commercials but my daughter cannot since she is enrolled in an exclusive all-girls school that doesn’t allow it.” Of the two, it is Ayisha who is inclined to go into show biz, according to Zulueta. “She likes to dress up. She’s interested in makeup. She’s taking up ballet. She likes the stage and isn’t shy at all, but she’s only 4 so it’s too soon to really know what she likes.” While she wanted to have more kids, she said: “‘Di na kaya ng powers ko. That would have been possible if I were five years younger, but not now that I’m already 44.” ■

Since, as radio wit Fred Allen once quipped, imitation is the sincerest form of television, several horror genre shows are lurching onto screens. FX’s “American Horror Story,” starring Emmy- and Golden Globe Awardwinner Jessica Lange, is in its third season with its current “Coven” story arc. The Vancouver-based Lifetime series “Witches of East End” launched just last month with Julia Ormond as the lead. Toronto is home to two upcoming horror series: “The Strain,” an FX vampire drama from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy”), and “Bitten,” a series about a female werewolf starring Laura Vandervoort (“Smallville”). That series, based on Canadian author Kelley Armstrong’s “Otherworld” novels, finds werewolves mingling with unsuspecting humans. It premieres in the new year on Space. Predating even “The Walking Dead” is HBO’s “True Blood.” That explicit drama unleashed vampires, werewolves and witches at audiences. A seventh and final season has been ordered for next summer. “The Vampire Diaries” is in its fifth season and this fall has spawned a spin-off, “The Originals,” a fantasy-romance centred on a bloodsucking New Orleans brood. In addition, the fourth season of the popular Showcase series “Lost Girl,” featuring all manner of beasties, begins Nov. 10. TV hasn’t seen this many monsters, vampires and witches in almost 50 years. Back then, however, the genre was played for laughs. “Bewitched,” “The Munsters” and “The Addams Family” were basically all family sitcoms with Halloween twists. North American audiences, having just suffered through the Kennedy assassination, had seen enough horror on TV by the time these shows premiered. Much more frightening were a couple of anthology series which date back even further into the “duck and cover” age of nuclear testing: “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits.” Along with “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” they rattled viewers with a blend of realism and fiction as they crossed over into a dimension—as creator/narrator Rod Serling used to say in his “Twilight Zone” introductions—”not only of sight and sound, but of mind.” As a cable drama, “The Walking Dead” is far more explicit and gorier than anything Serling could show on network TV back in the early ‘60s. “The Strain” is supposed to push boundaries even more, with grotesque monster/vampires as well as other plagues unleashed on the public. FX entertainment president John Landgraf promises it will go further than “True Blood.” “What ‘The Shield’ did for cop shows,” he says, “this will do for vampire shows.” Old-school broadcast networks have ❰❰ 36

not completely surrendered the horror turf to cable networks. NBC and Fox have pushed back by testing the limits of violence and graphic content on broadcast on shows such as “The Following” and “Hannibal.” This brings us to “Dracula,” which premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on NBC and Global. The series stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“The Tudors”) as a McDreamy vampire in this tale set in London in 1896. Paired with NBC’s season 3 premiere of “Grimm,” “Dracula” finds this new count disguised as an American inventor trying to come up with an elixir that will allow him to appear in daylight. There are gory scenes of torture over the first five episodes that seem cable scary. NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke admitted to reporters at the most recent Television Critics Association press tour that NBC has had to ramp up the gore to compete with cable. She feels it’s important, “in a world where these cable shows are beloved and infringing on real estate that was once network real estate,” to send a message to the creative community that they are still open for “big, risky, event kind of vision.” Especially at 10 p.m., where Salke says NBC is more willing to support a series that was “a little bit out there on the gangplank as far as content.” NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt also sees Fridays as a night where networks can take more of a risk with genre shows. Last year right before Halloween they tested “Mockingbird Lane” there. Fridays have also been home to “Grimm.” The Peacock network will continue to try to scare up viewers with a remake of “Rosemary’s Baby” as well as a new version of Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers.” King’s “Under the Dome” was the No. 1 scripted series this summer on CBS. How far will fourth-place NBC go with this horror revival? Says Greenblatt, “I’ll take any vampire fan I can get.” ■ Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.







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Things left... senator,” Harper said. “As we know well, the activities of Mr. Duffy are being looked into by the appropriate authorities. Of course, any and all information we have will be shared with those authorities.” Last week, Harper confirmed that his office had actually provided information to the police. “We have given all information to those authorities that are looking into this matter,” he said. None of the documents in question have been made public, either by Harper’s office, Wright or Duffy. ❰❰ 18

Who knew what

From Day 1, the Prime Minister’s Office portrayed Wright’s decision to give Duffy $90,000 as a completely personal one, insisting he “acted alone.” But early media reports named PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin as having been involved. RCMP documents filed in court later named two other staffers, and the head of the Conservative Fund of Canada, Sen. Irving Gerstein. According to Wright’s lawyers, the party was prepared to foot the bill for about $30,000 of Duffy’s expenses. Last week, Duffy said even more people were involved—another unnamed lawyer at the PMO and one at the party headquarters. Duffy alleged the $90,000 repayment came with numerous strings, including a threat that if he didn’t play ball he would be expelled from the Senate. Back in May, when the opposition was asking who else was involved, the government was less than forthcoming. “Nobody, including the prime minister, has come clean about what happened in the Prime Minister’s Office, so who else in the Prime Minister’s Office knew about this deal...?” asked NDP MP Charlie Angus on May 22. Baird would only emphasize that Harper didn’t know: “It was very clear that he was not consulted about this payment. He did not know about this payment in advance.” It was far from the only example of the government refusing to directly answer the question. “Let us keep this one simple. Were any lawyers in the PMO aware of what Nigel Wright and Sen. Duffy were cooking up?” asked NDP MP David Christopherson.

Publisher Philippine Canadian Inquirer Editor Melissa Remulla-Briones

The Senate chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the centre of the recent scandal.

“We are not aware of any legal agreement between Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy,” Moore said in response. Blanchette-Lamothe had this very precise question the next day: “Who else knew about the dealings between Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright?” Said Moore: “Nigel Wright was the only one involved. That is what he said in his statement and that is why he resigned.” On June 5, Harper said definitively that no one else in his office was told what Wright was up to. “As I have said repeatedly, it was Mr. Wright who made the decision to take his personal funds and give those to Mr. Duffy so that Mr. Duffy could reimburse the taxpayers,” Harper said. “Those were his decisions. They were not communicated to me or to members of my office.” When the Commons returned to question period on Oct. 17, with RCMP documents now in the public domain, the message shifted, subtly but significantly. The phrase “sole responsibility” was applied to Wright, rather than suggesting he acted alone. “Now that he has been contradicted by the police, does the prime minister wish to amend his evidence?” Deputy Liberal Leader Ralph Goodale challenged Harper last week. “I already answered this question several months ago. I answered based on the information I had at that time,” Harper said. “Of course, the reality is that these actions were the responsibility of Mr. Wright.” The meeting with Duffy

Harper’s critics suggest that Wright must have been given marching orders to fix the Duffy expenses mess to keep it from becoming a bigger political problem. When Duffy told the Senate last week

that he had a private meeting with Wright and Harper on Feb. 13 following a caucus meeting, the opposition seized on that as proof Wright wasn’t operating in a vacuum. But the fact that the meeting even occurred took some time to come out, and Wright’s presence was never mentioned even when specific questions were asked over the months. It was Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, a parliamentary secretary at the time and a veteran question period defenceman, who on May 31 first made reference to the February conversation. “The prime minister has always said that all inappropriate expenses would have to be repaid,” said Poilievre. “He said that to Mr. Duffy directly in February, and he has been saying it openly and publicly throughout Canada for a long time.” “Was Nigel Wright present at the meeting between the prime minister and Mike Duffy or not?” NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked the next day. Harper replied: “I already said that I made my view known to the entire caucus and all my employees.” Last week, now armed— thanks to Duffy’s explosive speech in the Senate— with the knowledge that Wright was part of the conversation between Harper and Duffy, Mulcair returned to the issue. “Was Nigel Wright present when the prime minister instructed Mike Duffy to repay his expenses, end of discussion?” asked Mulcair. For the first time, Harper acknowledged Wright was in the room. “Once again, I have indicated that I made these statements in a caucus room,” said Harper. “I made them to an entire caucus and senior staff, not just to Mr. Duffy and to Mr. Wright but to many others who were present and who heard them.” ■

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Associate Editor Laarni de Paula Correspondents Gigi Astudillo Angie Duarte Maria Ramona Ledesma Katherine Marfal Frances Grace Quiddaoen Agnes Tecson Ching Dee Socorro Newland Graphic Designer Victoria Yong Jennifer Yen Photographers Solon Licas 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 Suite 400, North Tower | 5811 Cooney Road, Richmond, B.C., 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. Member

City of Vancouver, has been aggressively reaching out to businesses including Ethnic Business Communities to encourage lowering their energy usage to help reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The plan is for Vancouver to become the Greenest City in the World by Year 2020. And at Max’s Restaurant, we feel that it ❰❰ 39

is our obligation to participate in this socially conscious endeavor. We hope that all Filipino establishments will support this initiative for a great cause, even if it takes one Candlelight Dinner at a time!” Explains Faye Nalicat-Auyong, PR, Media & Community Relations O/B Max’s Vancouver. Max’s Restaurant Cuisine of the Phil-

ippines officially opened its doors in Vancouver on May 2012. It is located at 3546 Kingsway Vancouver BC V5R 5L7. For inquiries, call Tel: (604) 435-3505 or Email: maxs.vancouver@maxschicken. com. For more information on how to save energy at home and at work, visit www. and ■



Philippine Canadian Inquirer Issue #88