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Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte troops the line escorted by the newly installed chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lieutenant General Eduardo Año during the commemoration of Dr. Jose Rizal's 120th death anniversary. Story on page 9. AVITO C. DALAN, OLIVER MARQUEZ & JESS ESCAROS / PNA

Du30: No cabinet shakeup BY LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer PRESIDENT DUTERTE has ruled out a cabinet revamp next year, saying he had no problem with his alter egos’ performance. Mr. Duterte issued the clarification during a media blitz Thursday. “No, no, no. Far from it,” Mr. Duterte said in an interview with TV5 when asked about claims of a shakeup.

“I’m quite comfortable with the Cabinet. I’m comfortable with the leadership of the military. I trust Bato [Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa],” he stressed. But in an interview over CNN Philippines also on Thursday, he said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano would be taking over the foreign affairs portfolio from Secretary Perfecto Yasay, who is expected to return to his teaching post in the United


Follow Rizal’s lead, Filipinos told

23 Year in Review: Headlines of 2016 ❱❱ PAGE 4

❱❱ PAGE 7 Du30: No cabinet



So, how do you start your own business?


JANUARY 6, 2017


Philippine News



Palace identifies 6 key areas where Duterte administration fared well BY JELLY F. MUSICO Philippines News Agency MANILA — Malacanang identified on Tuesday at least six key areas where the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has shown significant achievements in just first six months of his presidency. According to Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, these are in the fields of economy, employment, infrastructure, international partnerships, peace talks and war on illegal drugs. Regarding economy, Abella said the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia in 2016. “With a 7 percent GDP growth in the first three quarters, we are sure to achieve, if not surpass, our target of 6 to 7 percent growth for the whole of 2016,” he said. Abella said household consumption, as well as investments in construction, public infrastructure and durable equipment drove the economic growth. “This was supported by low inflation, low interest rates, better labor market conditions and the steady growth in the remittances of our overseas Filipino workers,” the Palace official said. He said other factors that boost the economy are Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps; agriculture sector which started to recover and finally breaking five consecutive quarters of decline; manufacturing; construction; utilities and, service sector. In 2017, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is expecting the gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 6.5 and 7.5 percent. “To accelerate poverty reduction, the fight for the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health or the RPRH Law. This is intended to make sure that women become more productive members of the labor force,” he said. Abella said the Philippine labor market is found to be in better shape “as employment rate as of October 2016 is at 95.3 percent.” “This means that there are approximately 41.7 million Filipinos employed, while unemployment rate also declined to a record low of 4.7 percent,” he said. With the improved local infrastructure and agricultural sector, Abella said employment is expected to improve again next year. “We also need to strengthen linkages with academe, technical education institutions, and industries to equip students

with competencies essential to thrive in today’s competitive work environment,” he said. In terms of infrastructure, the NEDA Board approved 17 projects in 2016 including Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Flood Management Project; the EDSA Bus Rapid Transit Project; the Plaridel Bypass Road Project; the New Cebu International Container Port Project; the South Line of the North-South Railway Project; and the New Nayong Pilipino and Entertainment City. “So what are the prospects for 2017? The government is ramping up public infrastructure spending next year, allotting at least 5 percent of the GDP to go to infrastructure projects until 2022,” he said. President Duterte also delivered remarkable job in improving international partnerships by embarking on foreign trips to Southeast Asian countries, China, Japan, and Peru. “It was a very fruitful series of trips as the Philippines has now opened more opportunities for trade and investment to a market of 1.8 billion people across the ASEAN region,” he said. “This is line with our desire for a closer integration in Asia through regional economic rebalancing and diversifying our foreign economic relations,” he added. In January next year, the Philippines will host ASEAN Summit, describing it “a perfect opportunity for the Philippine government to forge more partnerships with our neighboring countries.” The intensified campaign against illegal drugs highlighted the achievements of President Duterte, resulting in the surrender of more than 900,000 drug personalities and arrest of over 40,000 and the seize of over PHP7 billion worth of illegal drugs. President Duterte was surprised to know that illegal drugs have contaminated at least 4 million Filipinos. “Exposing the drug menace has now led the government to look at it not only as a national security but also now as a public health issue, hence, the building of rehab programs all over the nation,” Abella said. The Duterte administration also worked hard in reaching peace with the state enemies particularly with the New People’s Army and Moro rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front. “President Duterte’s ultimate dream is for all armed conflict to stop and for the Filipino people to live in peace, safety, and security,” Abella said. ■

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Philippine News



Hontiveros vows to keep campaign promise of prioritizing health bills PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY MANILA — Sen. Risa Hontiveros has vowed to keep her campaign promise of pushing for the passage of a measure meant to stop the practice of hospitals asking for advance payment before admitting patients in emergency situation among other health bills. Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, earlier filed Senate Bill No. 216 or the Amendments to the AntiHospital Deposit Act that seek heavier penalties on hospitals that continue to violate the law while providing tax incentives to those that will admit indigent or poor patients in cases of emergency. She said the Senate is set to

conduct another hearing on the issue, submit the bill to the technical working group (TWG) and release a committee report as soon as possible as the Senate resumes sessions on January 16. “The Anti-hospital deposit bill is part of my priority legislative bills this new year. We cannot allow the lives and health well-being of our people to be sacrificed any longer in the name of profit,” Hontiveros said. Hontiveros, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Women, said that she will also be pushing for longer maternity leave for women this year. Under Senate Bill No. 215 or the Extended Maternity Leave Act, Hontiveros seeks to extend the maternity leaves of working women from the current 60

days to 120 days and 150 days for solo mothers. The neophyte senator said that her committee is already in the process of preparing its committee report on the different versions of the bill. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed support for a longer maternity leave saying mothers should have a longer rest period to give them more time to breastfeed their babies. Hontiveros also vowed to push Senate Bill No. 935 or the Anti-Discrimination Bill which she filed to penalize discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in schools and workplaces, and offer equal protection to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. At present, the bill has al-


ready made its way to the plenary and is ready for second reading. LGBT advocates have said

that Hontiveros’ proposed measure is the first anti-discrimination bill to reach the Senate plenary. ■

Aid for workers displaced by ‘Nina’ rushed

Public satisfaction with gov’t dips

BY JULIE M. AURELIO Philippine Daily Inquirer

BY LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (Dole) said yesterday it would expedite the release of emergency employment and other aid to workers displaced by Typhoon “Nina,” which left three dead and 10 missing over the Christmas holidays. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has directed regional labor offices in areas affected by the typhoon to speed up the releases of funds from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers, a support program which provides short-term and immediate employment for victims of natural calamities. “Dole regional directors of the affected regions are under instruction to fast-track the profiling of displaced and affected workers so wecan implement the Dole’s emergency employment program and other interventions, including livelihood,” Bello said. The profiling of affected

workers is a standard operating procedure after each calamity, in coordination with local government units and the public employment service offices in the region. Typhoon Nina slammed into the country early this week, wreaking damage on the Bicol region. Bello said quick-response teams from Dole regional offices have been activated to assess the extent of damage to firms and establishments, after which they will deliver Dole’s package of assistance to displaced workers. Among others, the aid package includes employment guidance and counseling, facilitation of payment of separation pay, employment matching and assistance for Social Security System loan applications. “I told the regional directors to immediately provide the necessary assistance to our displaced workers by giving them income, and at the same time, enlist them for the rehabilitation, clearing and cleaning of their affected communities,” Bello said.

The Dole’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program has several programs for calamity workervictims. Under the program, workers in the affected areas work in community and rural rehabilitation work such in declogging, clearing and cleaning of communities, schools and evacuation centers. Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways said all national roads and bridges affected by the typhoon have been cleared of debris. Initial cost of damage to 43 affected road section, two bridges and 13 flood-control structures has been estimated at P216 million. Round-the-clock clearing operations on affected national roads, highways and bridges have been ongoing since Christmas Day. Silt and debris have been cleared at Bantayan Bridge 1 on Ligao-Tabaco Road and the Legazpi-Sto. Domingo-TabacoTiwi-Camarines Sur Road, which are now passable to vehicular traffic. ■

PUBLIC SATISFACTION with the top four state institutions fell at the end of the year, echoing the decline in the ratings of the country’s top government officials, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll showed. According to the Fourth Quarter Social Weather Survey, taken from Dec. 3-6, net satisfaction ratings of President Duterte’s Cabinet and the Senate were down four points each, while that of the Supreme Court and House of Representatives dipped by two points each. An earlier report from the same survey showed satisfaction ratings of the President slid by a point while decreases ranging from 7 to 12 points were recorded in the net satisfaction scores of Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. SWS used face-to-face in-

terviews of 1,500 adults nationwide and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent. The Cabinet’s net satisfaction rating in December was “good” +32 (50 percent satisfied minus 17 percent dissatisfied, correctly rounded), from “good” +36 (49 percent satisfied minus 13 percent dissatisfied) in September. The Senate’s net satisfaction rating was downgraded from “very good” +52 (66 percent satisfied minus 14 percent dissatisfied) to “good” +48 (63 percent satisfied minus 15 percent dissatisfied). Net satisfaction with the House of Representatives was still “good” and barely changed at +36 (52 percent satisfied minus 17 percent dissatisfied, correctly rounded) from +38 (53 percent satisfied minus 14 percent dissatisfied, correctly rounded). The Supreme Court’s rating was “good” +38 (56 percent satisfied minus 18 percent dissatisfied) from “good” +40 (54 percent satisfied minus 14 percent dissatisfied). ■


Philippine News

JANUARY 6, 2017


Amending the charter is now dangerous BY DJ YAP AND CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO Philippine Daily Inquirer AN OPPOSITION lawmaker said on Saturday it is “dangerous” to continue the moves in Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution after President Duterte’s remark that he should have the power to declare martial law without the approval of Congress and the Supreme Court. “It is dangerous to proceed in amending the Constitution either by constituent assembly (Con-ass) or constitutional convention (Con-con) when we have a President who wants the legitimation of dictatorial powers,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement. Lagman, a leader of the opposition bloc known as the “Magnificent 7” in the House of Representatives, said Congress should discard its plan to amend the Constitution via a Con-ass to allay fears of the return of the dictatorship that were stoked by Mr. Duterte’s statement.

“All initiatives to amend the Constitution must be consigned to the back burner to assure that the dismantling of congressional and judicial safeguards on the presidential declaration of martial law will not be realized,” he said. Lagman said Mr. Duterte’s remark betrayed “his authoritarian designs which must never be constitutionalized.” “The power of Congress to revoke a presidential declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus as well as the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to review the factual basis of such declarations were mandated in the 1987 Constitution to preclude abuses curtailing civil and political rights like the unrestrained imposition of martial law without time limit,” he said. On Thursday, Mr. Duterte, in a speech delivered in Angeles City, Pampanga, questioned why he as President would need to seek the approval of Congress or the Supreme Court to declare martial law in the event of war. “What if the Supreme Court


and Congress did not agree? Who will the police heed?” he said. Meanwhile, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said on Sunday that Congress was preparing itself for the big possibility that it may convene itself as a Con-ass to tackle amendments to the 1987 Constitution. Speaking on dzBB radio, Pimentel acknowledged that

there was more preference for convening a Con-ass than creating a Con-con. A Con-ass means members of Congress will convene to tackle Charter changes while people will have to elect delegates to form a Con-con. “We are preparing ourselves. As lawmakers, we are reading up the Constitution and thinking what changes should be

made there,” Pimentel said. Pimentel said that so far, the focus on the possible changes in the Constitution is changing the form of government from unitary to a federalist state. Pimentel tried to allay concerns on the possibility that among the Charter changes that may be raised include President Duterte’s pronouncements he wanted sole authority to be able to declare martial law in the country. But Pimentel said this was “not a shocking idea” as before the 1987 Constitution, this had happened when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial rule in 1972. The Senate president said such proposal could be heard and discussed as he made clear he did not think President Duterte was a dictator. Pimentel said he has not heard anyone from Davao City where the President used to serve as its longtime mayor of him being a dictator. “The President is just hard on drugs and crimes. He is just being consistent,” Pimentel added. ■

Philippine News



Year in Review: Headlines of 2016 BY KATHERINE PADILLA Philippine Canadian Inquirer YEAR 2016 is an eventful year for all parts of the world. The Philippines, as well as the United States, elected their new presidents. New alliances between countries were formed while some were scrapped. From the Miss Universe’s return to the country to the Philippine Vice-President’s cabinet resignation, here’s a look on the news that made the headlines in 2016:



Miss Universe is home Jeannette I. Andrade, Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE LAST time she was at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach barely turned heads. But early January 23 morning, her name was on everybody’s lips and people couldn’t have enough of her as they wantonly clicked away at the newly crowned Miss Universe using their mobile phones in her arrival. “Every time I think about my trip coming back here, I would tear up a little bit because I feel like it has been so long and I have so many things to share with all of you,” said Wurtzbach. Wurtzbach’s victory ended a 42-year title drought for the Philippines in the popular pageant generally dominated by South American beauties. FEBRUARY

Boxing star Manny Pacquiao draws flak for same sex comment The Associated Press

BOXING STAR Manny Pacquiao has created a firestorm in his home country after saying people in same-sex relationships “are worse than animals.” Pacquiao, who is running for a Philippine Senate seat, made the remark in a video posted Monday on local TV5’s election site. He also said animals are better than people in same-sex relationships because they recognize the difference between males and females. MARCH

Philippine Senate resumes probe into money laundering case The Associated Press


A PHILIPPINE Senate committee has resumed its inquiry into how $81 million stolen by hackers from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank account of Bangladesh's central bank was transmitted to four private Philippine bank accounts and then to three casino companies. March 17's hearing was likely to become a closed door session to hear the testimony of Maia Santos-Deguito, a branch manager of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., who refused to publicly speak about the case, invoking her right not to incriminate herself. Santos-Deguito's lawyer says she has emails and text messages to prove senior RCBC officials approved releasing the stolen funds to the casino operators. APRIL

Say it now: Donald Trump is the Republican party’s presumptive nominee The Canadian Press

BARRING A meteor, a miracle, or a massive, unprecedented plot twist, Donald Trump will become his party’s candidate for president of the United States. He was so dominant in the Indiana primary on May 3 that his chief rival, Ted Cruz, exited the Republican race, leaving Trump the improbable king of a hill that once comprised 17 candidates. MAY

Roxas concedes defeat, wishes Duterte success Cielito M. Reganit, Philippine News Agency

ADMINISTRATION PRESIDENTIAL bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas on May 10 conceded de-

feat to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and wished him success even as he profusely thanked all his supporters for sticking with him till the end. “Let us start the process of nation building. Let us respect and accept the will of the people. It is clear that Mayor Duterte is the winner of this elections,” he said at a jampacked Liberal Party headquarters in Quezon City. “Digong, I wish you success. Ang iyong tagumpay ay tagumpay ng ating bansa (Your success is the success of our nation),” JUNE

He will ‘live on in our hearts and minds,’ says family of slain hostage Robert Hall The Canadian Press

CANADIAN ROBERT Hall, held hostage by the militant Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines since September, was killed earlier this week by his extremist captors. On June 21, relatives of Hall issued a statement in which they recalled his life and values, and in which they said they agreed with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom for hostages. “We will persevere. Robert will continue to live on in our hearts and minds, in our memories, in our children, and in the very manner in which we live our lives. Don’t forget him. And don’t forget about the other families who continue to suffer through these circumstances. To the Ridsdels, the Sekkingstads and the Flors; we stand with you in your time of grief and struggle, as your loved one stood with our Robert.” JULY

Tribunal rejects China’s


expansive South China Sea claims Mike Corder and Jim Gomez, The Associated Press

AN INTERNATIONAL tribunal rejected China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea in a landmark ruling on July 12 that also found the country had aggravated the seething regional dispute and violated the Philippines’ maritime rights by building up artificial islands that destroyed coral reefs and by disrupting fishing and oil exploration. While the decision is seen as a major legal declaration regarding one of the world’s most contested regions, China immediately rejected it as a “farce” and the true impact is uncertain given the tribunal has no power of enforcement. Duterte: Palace gates open for graft and corruption complaints Jane Moraleda, Philippine Canadian Inquirer

IN HIS first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte laid out his plans for the next six years and vowed clean governance from his office down to the last barangay elect. “I assure you, this will be a clean government,” the Presi-

dent said in his two-hour speech, adding that he would rather focus on the present rather than point fingers at his predecessors. Duterte asserted that he would spare no mercy to corrupt government officials. AUGUST

Duterte fires ex-President’s men Marlon Ramos, Philippine Daily Inquirer

STARTING AUGUST 22, all presidential appointees of previous administrations would be considered resigned, President Duterte declared. The President ordered the government shakeup during a press conference in Davao City that began after midnight of August 20. Mr. Duterte expressed disgust over information he received that corruption persisted in state agencies despite his repeated warnings against unscrupulous dealings in government offices. SEPTEMBER Philippine leader riles at Western colonial powers at summit The Associated Press



❱❱ PAGE 14 Year in

Philippine News


JANUARY 6, 2017


Eternally optimistic The current mood seems to be separate from concerns about EJKs BY ERIC S. CARUNCHO Philippine Daily Inquirer

Publisher Philippine Canadian Inquirer, Inc. Correspondents Jane Moraleda Cheng Ilagan Katherine Padilla Deby Mangabat Socorro Newland Bolet Arevalo Gerna Lane Sotana Administration Head Victoria Yong Graphic Designer Shanice Garcia Photographers Angelo Siglos Vic Vargas For photo submissions, please email For General Inquiries, please email For Sales Inquiries, please email PHILIPPINE PUBLISHING GROUP Editorial Assistant Christelle Tolisora Associate Publisher Lurisa Villanueva In cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer digital edition Philippine Canadian Inquirer is located at 11951 Hammersmith Way, Suite 108 Richmond, B.C. V7A 5H9 Canada Tel. No.: +1 (888) 668-6059, +1 (778) 889-3518 | Email:, sales@ Philippine Canadian Inquirer is published weekly every Friday. Copies are distributed free throughout Metro Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Greater Toronto. The views and opinions expressed in the articles (including opinions expressed in ads herein) are those of the authors named, and are not necessarily those of Philippine Canadian Inquirer Editorial Team. PCI reserves the right to reject any advertising which it considers to contain false or misleading information or involves unfair or unethical practices. The advertiser agrees the publisher shall not be liable for damages arising out of error in any advertisement.


NOTHING, it seems—not even the fear of extra-judicial killings—can keep Filipinos from looking forward to a merry Christmas. According to the latest survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS), 73 percent of adult Filipinos expect to be happy during the holidays. Only five percent expect to be sad, while 21 percent feel neutral. “There is no shortage of optimism,” says Leo Laroza, director of Survey Data Archives, Library and Communication for SWS. “Filipinos are optimistic by nature, regardless of what’s going on.” The same survey highlighted public concerns about the rising body count in the wake of the government’s war on drugs. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents said they worried that they or someone in their family might become victims of extra-judicial killing (EJK), while 69 percent consider it a serious problem for the government. The same respondents also expressed some doubt about whether the police were being truthful about drug suspects supposedly being killed because they resisted arrest. There is divided opinion as to whether the police are telling the truth (28 percent) or not (29 percent). The majority (42 percent) are unsure. Taken alive

An overwhelming number of them (94 percent) also agree that suspects should be taken alive. It takes Despite these worries, however, public satisfaction with the government’s war on drugs remains high. Eighty-five percent are satisfied with the government’s performance in its anti-drug campaign, and 88 percent believe that the drug problem in their area has declined because of it. On the surface, there seems to be some dissonance in the findings: how can people be afraid (of EJKs) and still be optimistic? “You have to look at the questions,” says Laroza. “There are two parts: we discussed both EJK and the war against drugs. When we asked the questions on EJK, they’re constructed in such a way that we’re only talking about EJK: how fearful are you that you or someone you know will be a victim of EJK? Whether the respondent connects it with the war on drugs or not is up to them. If you just focus on the concept of EJK, this is how they feel.”


On the positive side, he adds, people are satisfied with the campaign against illegal drugs overall. “While there is fear of EJK, people still believe that the government is addressing the problem,” says Laroza. “Seventy percent say the administration is serious in solving the problem of extra-judicial killings. That gives you a picture that, yes, there may be worries, but they are still supportive of the campaign.” Public worries over the killings do not automatically translate into distrust of the president or his administration.

Filipino resilience

It says a lot about the muchvaunted Filipino resilience, and our ability to see the glass as half full instead of half empty, and that it is not connected with the change in government. “It takes a lot to dampen Filipino optimism,” says Laroza. Based on their opinion surveys, he adds, Filipinos turn pessimistic only if their hearts, or their stomachs, are affected. For instance, the execution of Flor Contemplacion in Singapore, which the government was unable to prevent, was an emotional time for Filipinos that directly impacted optimism. a lot to dampen Filipino optimism. “We were saddened after one of our countrymen was executed abroad,” he says. “It affected the “Even if they look at EJKs as a serious heart.” problem, they also see the administraThe double whammy of the Asian tion as serious in solving it,” he adds. financial crisis and the rice shortage “There’s good will, and the trust rating is in the late 1990s also dealt Filipinos still very high.” According to the survey, a body blow that affected their optiDuterte’s net trust rating is at a high +72. mism. The current mood of optimism seems “Somehow, the ability to buy food was to be separate from concerns about affected, and it affected the well-being of EJKs. In fact, there has been a rising the respondents: their outlook became trend in optimism among Filipinos dur- bleak. They felt they were worse off than ing the holidays for the past three years: the previous year, and were pessimistic from 71 percent in 2014, to 72 percent about the coming year.” last year, to the current 73 percent. Otherwise, hope seems to continue The question on how Filipinos feel to spring eternal for Filipinos. Not during the Christmas holidays has been even a cataclysm such as Supertyphoon part of the SWS survey for the last 15 “Yolanda” was able to dampen our optiyears, with a record high of 82 percent in mism. 2002. The current figure of 73 percent is “We are modest as a people,” says the highest since 2003. But in general, Laroza. “We see ourselves as just getting optimism has been consistent, never by and there’s no way to go but up. That’s dipping below 62 percent. what makes us optimistic.” ■

Philippine News



Chinese magazine names Pres. Duterte as ‘Person of the Year’ PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY MANILA — Yazhou Zhoukan, a popular Chinese language magazine, has granted President Rodrigo Duterte “Person of the Year” award, according to Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Tuesday. Abella said the famous Chinese magazine picked President Duterte based on the new

Filipino leader’s independent foreign policy that consists of his distancing away from the United States and forging closer ties with China. “The article also praises Duterte’s program of good governance and anti-corruption campaign as a reason for his popularity among the Filipinos,” Abella said. Yazhou Zhoukan is the world’s only Chinese language weekly international magazine

with circulation in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. Last October, President Duterte received a grand welcome from top Chinese leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, when the Filipino leader visited Beijing. Duterte, who took office only in June last year, said it’s time to renew the Philippines’ relationship with China.

President Duterte’s four-day trip to China has calmed down tensions brought by the decision of the international arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands in favor of the Philippines’ arbitration case against China over the disputed West Philippine Sea or South China Sea. The ruling concluded that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights using a nine-dash line map that cov-

ers most of the South China sea which also being claimed partly by Brunei, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. President Duterte has said he would not insist the arbitral ruling which China did not recognize. The President’s recent visit to China has resulted to USD24 billion worth of investments and financing agreements. ■

DOH: Fewer injuries due to fear of Du30 BY AIE BALAGTAS SEE, JODEE A. AGONCILLO AND DEXTER CABALZA Philippine Daily Inquirer THE NUMBER of casualties during New Year’s Eve revelry has dropped by 60 percent to 350 people, a decade low, according to the health department. The decline was attributed to fear instilled by President Duterte, who has vowed to ban firecrackers nationwide. The country indulges in an annual orgy of New Year’s Eve merrymaking that leaves hundreds maimed as people set off firecrackers and fire guns into the air in the belief that noise would drive bad luck away. But Ubial said injuries in this year’s revelry were the lowest in 10 years after the President warned of banning firecrackers nationwide to expand a move he introduced as mayor of Davao City 15 years ago. “People are now afraid to light firecrackers because of the President,” Ubial told a news conference. “They have this impression that somehow they will get caught or they will be punished.” This year’s figure “is the lowest ever,” she said. “We can’t say it’s just a coincidence. This is remarkable and very significant.” Ubial said 350 were injured by firecrackers and fireworks this year compared to an average of 1,000 a year in the past decade. Conflicting figures

However, Inquirer research showed that in January 2016, the health department reported a total of 384 firecracker-

related injuries from Dec. 21, 2015, to Jan. 1, 2016. This represents a decrease of only 8.8 percent, year on year. Mr. Duterte, 71, has drawn widespread criticism, including from the United States and the United Nations for his war on drugs that has killed over 6,000 people. He won last year’s elections in a landslide on a promise to eradicate narcotics by killing tens of thousands of criminals. He also vowed to roll out Davaostyle law and order measures nationwide, including banning smoking in restaurants and hotels and curbing drinking in public places. Last month, the President said he would issue an order to ban people from using firecrackers, limiting their use to community fireworks displays. But banning the firecrackers could affect an industry which employs at least 100,000 people in several townships in Bulacan province, the center of the multimillion-peso fireworks trade in the Philippines. Local authorities had initially banned several factories following a huge fire in October that killed two and injured at least 24 others, but later allowed some of them to resume operations following safety checks. Trend continues

Ubial said the bloody trend continued this year, with a 3-year-old suffering a hand injury at Cabanatuan City in Luzon. She said the worst case involved a 15-year-old girl, who slipped into a coma after she was hit in the head by a stray bullet while watching a fire-

Quezon City’s East Avenue Medical Center reported a drop in firecrackerrelated cases it treated but its chief of emergency department expected the number to rise, citing trends from previous years. JOAN BONDOC / PDI

works display in Malabon. “This is one of our saddest incidents,” Ubial said. “Even if it’s now down to 350 (injuries), that is still a lot of misery.” At Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC), staff reported a total of 43 firecracker-related injuries and four cases of gunshots since Dec. 21, a big drop compared to previous years. The hospital tally showed that most of the injuries involved children who were hurt by piccolo and lucis, mostly in the hands and eyes. By early Sunday, the hospital said only four new cases were added. JRMMC said this year’s figure was 106 cases less compared to the previous year. “Although our goal is zero casualty, we are very happy there are fewer people affected by firecrackers this year,” said Dr. Daverick de Jesus, the hospital’s officer of the day. De Jesus also noted that most of the cases that involved children were caused by piccolo, a small cylindrical stick filled

with gun powder that is banned but remains popular among kids. One of them, 9-year-old Matt Jolo Arenas, injured his finger, while another said he was prodded by friends to try it. “I envied my friends who knew how to light firecrackers,” the teary-eyed boy told the Inquirer. “I will not try it again.” A few hours before New Year, 2-year-old Kyo Manga, his father, Cristopher, and 62-yearold grandmother, Josefina dela Cruz, were on the street when hit by fireworks. “Kyo was just holding her grandmother’s hand to bless when bursts of fireworks injured them,” Cristopher said. 2 shooting incidents

De Jesus said there were two shooting incidents recorded at the hospital, but said they appeared to be “intentional and some witnesses claimed to know the perpetrator.” De Jesus said one of those shot was a 15-year-old girl in Malabon. Police were still in-

vestigating the case while the girl underwent operation last night. Nurses and doctors were also surprised as Jonas Manlapig, 21, walked toward the emergency desk complaining of blast injury. Manlapig, who wore a black lace see-through dress, was injured by a kwitis that he lit along V. Serrano Street in Manila. He was fully made up, wearing a dress and rubber shoes for a costume contest on New Year’s Eve. He had injuries to the hands, eyes and body. “Every year, our barangay hosts a New Year party where we get to wear costumes. The winner gets P200, we were having fun,” he said. “I should not have been injured had I not volunteered to light the fireworks.” There was also a stabbing case, a hit-and-run incident in Navotas City, and adults who were accidentally hit by fireworks while on motorbikes. Elsewhere in Manila, more people preferred to be on the safe side. Village watchman Josie dela Cruz of Barangay 334 in Quiricada, Manila, said she and her husband tied cans to their tricycle as they roamed the streets to create noise. “That’s a lot better and sweeter,” she said, adding that the money they would have spent on firecrackers would now go to buy food. The Eastern Police District reported a 54-percent drop in firecracker injuries in San Juan, Marikina, Pasig and Mandaluyong. East Avenue Medical Center ❱❱ PAGE 18 DOH: Fewer injuries


Philippine News

JANUARY 6, 2017

Duterte kills ‘legit’ Palace says Duterte’s killing of crime suspects part of ‘legitimate police action’ UN human rights chief says killings by ex-Davao mayor constitute murder Senators say UN rights commissioner ignorant of PH legal system BY LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer PRESIDENT DUTERTE’S killing people when he was mayor of Davao City was part of “legitimate police action” and had already been investigated, Malacañang said on Wednesday following a call from the United Nations human rights chief to investigate Mr. Duterte for murder. UN High Commissioner for Human-Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued a statement on Tuesday urging Philippine authorities to “demonstrate their commitment to upholding the rule of law and their independence from the executive by launching a murder investigation.” Setting example

Mr. Duterte said last week that when he was mayor of Davao City, where he served three terms between 1988 and 2016, he patrolled the streets on a big motorbike and “personally killed” people to set an example for police. He made the comments in a speech to businessmen in Malacañang as he discussed his brutal war on drugs, which has seen police and unknown assailants kill about 6,000 people since he became President on June 30. “The killings committed by Mr. Duterte, by his own admission, at a time when he was a mayor, clearly constitute murder,” Zeid said. Asked by reporters on Wednesday what action the government would take, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the killings referred to by Mr. Duterte were part of “legitimate police action.” “Let me just remind one and all, that the incident referred to by the President was actually already covered by [the] media and it was legitimate police action and that the UN commissioner is free to express his views regarding that matter,” Abella said. “It’s already been under scrutiny in the past, but it has already been addressed as far as

Russia eyes naval drills with Philippines as 2 ships visit THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


we know,” he added. Abella also said Zeid’s comments were nothing more than “his opinion.” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, speaking in a radio interview, said Mr. Duterte had been investigated when he was mayor and no evidence had been found linking him to extrajudicial killings in Davao. “Sen. [Leila] de Lima herself said that when she was still chairman of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR),” Andanar said. He was referring to the CHR investigation of extrajudicial killings in Davao in 2009. Andanar said that while Zeid had a duty to look into human rights violations, he should follow “proper protocol” instead of just relying on news reports. “[T]he proper protocol is to go through the Department of Foreign Affairs, they could ask questions,” he said. PH legal system

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Zeid was apparently not knowledgeable about the Philippine legal system. “Forgive them for they do not know our internal procedures and processes here,” Pimentel said in a text message. “[O]ur President enjoys immunity from suit during his term,” Lacson said, also in a text message. “[N]o matter how many times a person in our

country admits having committed murder, as long as there is no other evidence to corroborate his extrajudicial confession, the case cannot stand in any court of law.” Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III asked why Zeid was urging an investigation only now when Mr. Duterte had been talking about the Davao killings since the campaign for May’s presidential election. Mr. Duterte’s chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said in a radio interview that the only use for any investigation of Mr. Duterte for murder was to destroy his name. He said that as President, Mr. Duterte is immune from suit. Panelo said Mr. Duterte’s critics were people who did not clearly understand what the President was saying. UN rapporteur inquiry

Zeid’s call for an investigation of Mr. Duterte comes as the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings is grappling with the government over the terms of her proposed inquiry into the killings of thousands of drug suspects in the Philippines. The government has invited special rapporteur Agnes Callamard to look into the killings, but Mr. Duterte has set conditions for the inquiry, including a public debate in which Callamard would be under oath and where he could question her on the “authenticity” of her findings. ■


MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Russia is eyeing naval exercises with the Philippines and deployed two navy ships for a goodwill visit to Manila on Tuesday as Moscow moves to expand defence ties with a Filipino president known for being hostile to the U.S. Rear Adm. Eduard Mikhailov, deputy commander of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, led the five-day visit of vessels including an anti-submarine ship and showcased what his country can offer to a Southeast Asian nation that’s long been a staunch American treaty ally. “You can choose ... to cooperate with United States of America or to co-operate with Russia,” Mikhailov told reporters through an interpreter at the Manila harbour after a welcoming ceremony. “But from our side we can help you in every way that you need.” “We are sure that in the future we’ll have exercises with you. Maybe, just manoeuvring or maybe use of combat systems and so on,” he said. The anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs and sea tanker Boris Butoma have a wide range of combat features. Filipinos will be allowed to tour the huge ships and Russian marines will demonstrate their combat capability during the high-profile visit, according to the Philippine navy. With an underfunded and underequipped military, the Philippines has struggled to deal with attacks by ransomseeking Abu Sayyaf militants and allied gunmen, who have kidnapped crewmen of tugboats and ships from neighbouring Malaysia and Indone-

sia in the Sulu Sea and outlying waters. Russia can help through future combat drills, Mikhailov said. “We have an experience in fighting these (threats),” he said. “We will share to you our knowledge on these problems, how to solve piracy and terrorism.” After Russian and Philippine officials met in Manila in August, the two countries began drafting a proposed defencecooperation accord that could be signed during a planned visit by President Rodrigo Duterte to Russia in April. The visit by the Russian navy ships is the third to the Philippines and the first under Duterte, who took office in June. Duterte has lashed out at outgoing President Barack Obama and his administration for criticizing Duterte’s deadly crackdown on illegal drugs which is feared to have left more than 6,000 suspected drug users and dealers. Contrastingly, Duterte has reached out to China and Russia — whose leaders he has met recently — in a dramatic shift in Philippine foreign policy that has put Washington in a dilemma. The Philippines has depended heavily on the U.S., its treaty ally, for weapons, ships and aircraft for years, although it has turned to other countries for defence equipment. After visiting Moscow last month, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippine military was considering purchasing sniper rifles from Russia. Duterte has repeatedly threatened to scale back U.S. troop presence and joint exercises with the Americans in the Philippines. ■

Du30: No cabinet... States. Over state-run PTV-4, Mr. Duterte said he would give his Cabinet members an average grade of 80 to 85, but refused to rank ❰❰ 1

each Cabinet officials whom he said were doing his or her best. “All of them are working, they’re doing the best shot they can muster,” President Duterte said. ■

Philippine News



No to Martial Law We won’t take this sitting down, says Robredo of Duterte threat of one-man rule Challenging safeguards in the Constitution he swore to uphold is appalling–Leni Lawmakers join uproar, warn of Duterte’s dictatorial tendency BY DJ YAP AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer “THIS IS not a battle we will take sitting down,” Vice President Leni Robredo said on Friday, joining her voice with those of lawmakers and victims of military abuses alarmed by President Duterte’s statement on Thursday that he wanted the Constitution amended to allow Philippine leaders to wield martial law powers without judicial and congressional approval. “The threat of a return to martial law and one-man rule is the worst Christmas gift to the Filipino people,” Robredo said in a statement, urging the public to show indignation against Mr. Duterte’s implied threat to democracy. “As Filipinos, we have demonstrated our courage to stand up and make our voices heard for the sake of protecting our freedom and fighting for the truth,” Robredo said, reminding the nation about the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that toppled the dictator Ferdinand Marcos from power. She said Mr. Duterte’s desire to eliminate hindrances to the proclamation of martial law was an insult to the Filipino experience under the Marcos dictatorship. Appalling

“[F]or President Duterte to challenge the democratic safeguards in the very Constitution he swore to uphold on June 30, 2016, is appalling,” Robredo said. Responding to Robredo, presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the Vice President’s fears caused by Mr. Duterte’s comments were “misplaced.”

He said Mr. Duterte wanted the amendment not only for himself but also for all Presidents who would succeed him. Speaking in Pampanga province on Thursday, Mr. Duterte said he wanted the martial law provisions in the Constitution amended to remove the requirement of legislative and judicial review. He said conflicting findings of Congress and the Supreme Court could spell trouble. Only the President should be giving directions in a situation that has warranted the proclamation of martial law, he said. “If I declare martial law and there is an invasion or war, I cannot proceed on and on, especially if there is trouble. I have to go to Congress, I have to go to the Supreme Court if anybody would file a complaint to look into the factual [basis of the declaration],” he said. Constitutional requirements

Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution states that in case of rebellion or invasion, when the public safety requires it, the President may, for a period of 60 days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part of the country under martial law. Within 48 hours of the proclamation of martial law, however, the President must submit a report to Congress in person or in writing. Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in regular or special session, may revoke the proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, which the President cannot set aside. If martial law is proclaimed while Congress is not in ses-

sion, Congress must convene within 24 hours of the proclamation without need of a call. The provision also states that the Supreme Court may review a petition filed by any citizen of the Philippines questioning the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and the court must promulgate its decision within 30 days from the filing of the petition. Single authority

“But what if the world is in chaos?” Mr. Duterte asked. “That’s why there is martial law, so that only one person would be giving directions.” In case of conflicting findings by Congress and the Supreme Court, the police and the President would not know which to follow, Mr. Duterte said. “That’s why I want to change that. But there is a safety measure there. I’ll tell you later,” he said. The 1986 constitutional commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution provided the safeguards to make it hard for any President to repeat the abuses under Marcos. But Mr. Duterte called the provision of those safeguards in the 1987 Constitution an “almost reckless reaction” to the rule of Marcos, in whose Cabinet his father served. Lawmakers balked at Mr. Duterte’s idea. ‘Dictatorial tendency’

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, a member of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives, said on Friday that Mr. Duterte’s words betrayed his “dictatorial tendency.” “The people should be wary of such pronouncements of the


President,” he said. “We should remember Duterte was a virtual dictator for over two decades in Davao City, where thousands died under questionable circumstances,” he said. Now, Alejano said, Mr. Duterte wants the same kind of power at the national level. “He has a dictatorial tendency. That explains why Duterte keeps on floating the issue of martial law and probably the reason why he allowed the burial of Marcos [at Libingan ng mga Bayani],” he said, adding that Mr. Duterte wanted to see whether Filipinos were ready for martial law under another dictator. “We understand what the President is saying, but . . . we cannot once more allow one man to also make the decision by himself,” Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said. “We learned from Mr. Marcos. We say never again!” Congress and the Supreme Court “will not allow that to happen,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Maximo Rodriguez said. “Remember, in Congress it’s a coalition only, and the Supreme Court will strike down any attempt to betray our Constitution.” Drug war truth

Sen. Grace Poe also opposed Mr. Duterte’s plan, saying it was the wrong reason to amend the Constitution. She said there was no need to proclaim martial law if Mr. Duterte’s claim that his administration was winning the war on illegal drugs was true. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Brod-

erick Pabillo, who ministers to the Tondo slum district where many drug suspects have been killed by police in Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs, said the country was now under virtual martial rule due to the crackdown. “It is not necessary that you have a declaration of martial law to have martial law,” he said. Shifting position Sen. Francis Pangilinan said Mr. Duterte’s shifting position on martial rule was not reassuring. “He said a few days ago that martial law was stupid and didn’t work, and yet now he says something else. His lack of clarity is a serious cause for concern,” he said. Bonifacio Ilagan, imprisoned and tortured under Marcos’ martial law reign, said Mr. Duterte could be floating a “trial balloon” to gauge public opinion before taking actual steps to amend the Constitution. “I honestly believe that the people will resist,” he said. Safety measure

In Malacañang, Panelo reminded reporters that Mr. Duterte had repeatedly said that he had no intention to declare martial law. Panelo said the safety measure mentioned by Mr. Duterte was the Filipinos themselves. The Filipinos have kicked out two Presidents, he said. “So that’s the safeguard. It’s us. We still have the voice. We will decide. No President can decide for us,” he said. ■


Philippine News

JANUARY 6, 2017


DBM won’t Follow Rizal’s lead, Filipinos told recommend use of taxpayers’ money to fund SSS pension hike — Diokno BY JEROME ANING AND CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO Philippine Daily Inquirer

PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY MANILA — Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Tuesday that he won’t recommend the use of taxpayers’ money to fund the proposed PHP2,000 pension hike of the Social Security System (SSS) pensioners. “Historically, it is not being done. We don’t burden the taxpayers to support a private fund,” Diokno said in a press Palace press briefing. “It is unfair for us to call on everybody to increase pension of a few. Our tax system is such that even the jobless, they pay taxes in the form of value added tax. Why should you burden them to give benefit to a private pension system,” he added. Diokno said the job of looking for the source of PHP2,000 monthly pension increase should not be given to President Rodrigo Duterte. “To me, it’s unfair to give the problem to him. In fact, it’s unfair for Congress to have passed that law which, as you know, (former) President (Benigno) Aquino vetoed,” Diokno said. “It should not have reached the President’s desk. The Board of Trustees should have exercised leadership,” he added. The DBM official said the SSS Board of Trustees can find solution to fund the proposed pension hike such as increase the collection efficiency.

“I understand some corporations have been indebted to SSS. Maybe they could call on them. But you know, when you pass the buck and give it to the President, that to me, is unfair for the President,” he explained. He said another solution could be to adjust the contribution of the SSS members. “What we are proposing is a contribution adjustment, a higher pay but we are not recommending it right now,” Diokno said. “What we’re recommending is maybe to do it after tax reform because in the tax reform, you get more money in your pockets and therefore you are now in a position to contribute a small amount for the pension of those who are already receiving pension. So that’s our solution,” he added. Diokno said even the late former President Ferdinand Marcos did not touch the SSS considering it is a private pension fund. “You contribute to that fund, and when you retire, you get benefits from that fund,” he said. Last Monday, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Andanar said President Duterte is looking for a “win-win solution” without affecting the SSS’ current fund life. According to SSS chairman Amado Valdez, the SSS’s current fund life would be shortened from 2042 to 2031 if even half of the PHP2,000 will be given beginning January this year. ■

DR. JOSE Rizal, whose martyrdom is being commemorated today, is the perfect example of a “magnificent” Filipino, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said on Thursday. Sueno said Filipinos should be motivated by Rizal’s life, noting that aside from his political thoughts, his studies also covered medicine, language, arts and other fields. “With the might of his ideas and writings, Rizal awakened and moved our ancestors towards reclaiming Filipino freedom and dignity,” Sueno said. “Rizal is a magnificent Filipino and I believe that modern day Filipinos can take much inspiration from him.” The National Historical Commission of the Philippines, which is in charge of this year’s national Rizal Day commemoration, has adopted the theme “Rizal: Bayaning Global, Aydol ni Juan.” “Rizal Day is a day of appreciating Rizal as a hero, an icon and a perfect example on how to be a Filipino,” Sueno said in the circular. The secretary also called on the public to use the long holiday weekend to read about Rizal. “Rizal is a visionary, prolific Filipino yet he is just as human as we are. He was able to hone his potentials through perseverance and diligence. Any Filipino can also be a global Pinoy and be worth emulating by Juans and Juanas,” Sueno said. “The values he espoused are still relevant up to our time such as citizen participation and participatory governance,” he added. The secretary recalled that character Crisostomo Ibarra in Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere” urged citizens to take part in

A Philippine Honor Guard member carefully holds on the the Philippine flag as other honor guards prepare to raise it to full mast in preparation for the 120th martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal. AVITO C. DALAN / PNA

matters that concern them. Federalism

Sueno noted that President Duterte believed that Rizal was in favor of a federal form of government. In Rizal’s essay, “Filipinas Dentro De Cien Años” (The Philippines a Century Hence) published in the reformist paper La Solidaridad, the hero predicted that the Philippines, once liberated, would probably adopt a federal republic. Many historians believe that Rizal was influenced by his mentor, Francesco Pi y Margall, President of the short-lived First Spanish Republic in 1873, who advocated autonomy and a federal setup of government that would benefit his native region of Catalonia. The Duterte administration has been pushing its allies in Congress for constitutional amendments to transform the country’s system of government from unitary to federal. The President tasked the In-

terior Department to undertake a nationwide information campaign on federalism in partnership with various alliances and with local government units, civil society, grassroots and faith-based organizations. Sen. Grace Poe said Rizal’s heroism “lies in loving our country in thoughts, words and deeds.” “There need not be bloodshed to show our love for the motherland,” Poe said, but did not elaborate when asked by the Inquirer whether she was referring to the government’s antidrug war. “Although Rizal made the ultimate sacrifice with his life having been executed, it is his written works that serve as a chronicle of history, patriotism and culture that inspire generations of Filipinos long after his death,” she said. ■

Philippine News



Ombudsman secures conviction of 7 DPWH execs over PHP7.8-M vehicle repair scam PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY MANILA — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has secured the conviction of seven officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), including three private individuals, involved in the PHP7.8 million “ghost” repairs and purchases of spare parts for the DPWH’s service vehicles undertaken in 2001. The Sandiganbayan found DPWH Director III Burt Favorito, Officer-inCharge Assistant Director Florendo Arias, Chief Maximo Borje, Equipment Inspector Rolando Castillo and Chief Erdito Quarto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of estafa through falsification of public documents and two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act.” Likewise, Officer-in-Charge Nelson Umali and Storekeeper Felipe San Jose were also convicted of one count each for estafa and graft. Also convicted were representatives from the car repair shops Janette Bugayong of GK & J Auto Repairs, Augusto Capuz of BIZTRADE and Vicente

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Santos of VIC-SAN Motorworks. The accused were sentenced to suffer six to 10 years of imprisonment for each count of graft and 10 to 20 years for each count of estafa. They were ordered to indemnify the government with a total amount of PHP7,866,631 as civil liability. The DPWH employees were also meted the accessory penalties of perpetual

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time during ‘Nina’ onslaught — Robredo PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday admitted that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time when typhoon “Nina” (international name: Nock-Ten) walloped Bicol Region, her bailiwick and several parts of the country on Christmas day. She said that she “felt really bad” while she was in the Unites States while Nina battered Visayas and Bicol Region. Robredo said her family decided to cut short their trip and decided to return to Manila, but they run out of luck when they found it hard to book return tickets on peak season. She explained that their scheduled return flight is January 4 but they were able to get tickets for New Year’s Eve. She said they have tried all available airlines bound for Manila but looking for five tickets gives them headache. She was accompanied by her three

daughters and her 80-year-old grandmother. The vice president said her physical absence from relief operations at the height of the Christmas typhoon was just a case of “bad timing.” “It was just a case of bad timing,” she pointed out. She even recalled that she is always present assisting needy Bicolanos every time a typhoon hits their region even when she was still a private citizen. She stressed that anyone can asked her constituents who will attests that she is always present during onslaught of typhoons. She emphasized that the Office of the Vice President announced that Robredo helped in “coordinating relief from the US,” she admitted that it was not enough. “Paglapag ko lang sa US nung pumunta ako, inareglo ko na kaagad yung relief operations... Pero iba din kasi kung ako mismo yung andito,” Robredo lamented. ■


disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of civil service eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits. Ombudsman prosecutors proved during the trial that the accused connived with each other to facilitate and effect reimbursements amounting to PHP7,866,631 over “ghost” vehicle re-

pairs and purchases of spare parts by committing fraudulent schemes such as: repetitive procurement of spare parts; splitting of job orders; excessive costs of repairs; and false claims of emergency repairs. Even a vehicle involved in an accident was falsely reported as repaired, and vehicles with rehabilitations allotments were subjected to emergency repairs — all in violation of existing DPWH and Commission on Audit (COA) policies. Prosecutors presented evidence to show that Favorito, et. al. fraudulently claimed that 192 vehicles were repaired with 1,052 disbursement vouchers issued from March to December 2001. With several irregularities established by the prosecution and “considering that there were never any repairs done on the subject vehicle, the facts narrated by the accused are absolutely false,” the Sandiganbayan said. “Since the only reason for the reimbursements made was to steal money from government coffers, and not to allocate them for the repair of the vehicle in question, it is clear that the intention of the accused was to injure the government,” the Sandiganbayan ruling said. ■

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Year in... Rodrigo Duterte took a thinly veiled dig at the United States on September 8, complaining that colonizers who killed many Filipinos are now raising human rights concerns with him. President Barack Obama was among several world leaders who listened to Duterte’s brief speech at the East Asia Summit in the Laotian capital of Vientiane. ❰❰ 7


Hope turns into worry in 100 days of Duterte DJ Yap, Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE BRIGHT afterglow of the May elections appears to be dimming for President Duterte as he marks his 100 days in office, with many investors spooked by his unforgiving war on crime and drugs, opposition leaders interviewed by the Inquirer said. The government’s focus on the antidrug war has killed

thousands, and the President’s propensity for outrageous statements have served to overshadow his administration’s early gains, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said. NOVEMBER

Trump claims astounding victory as America's 45th president Julie Pace and Robert Furlow, The Associated Press

ments of President Barack Obama. Trump has pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama's landmark health care law, revoke America's nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada.

ance with the country’s new leader, President Duterte. It was Mr. Duterte who allowed the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery, a decision challenged in the Supreme Court by opponents of martial law and survivors of torture, who argued that an honorable burial for the dictator was “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice.”

principles and values” with the brash-talking president and a plot to remove her from the vice presidency. Duterte: I personally killed drug suspects Marlon Ramos, Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE PHILIPPINE vice-president resigned her Cabinet post on December 5 after citing irreconcilable differences with President Rodrigo Duterte, who had banned her from attending Cabinet meetings, in a new political dilemma for the leader. Leni Robredo, who stepped down as housing secretary but will stay on as vice-president, spoke of “major differences in

JUST HOURS after declaring he was “not a killer,” President Duterte told a group of business leaders on the night of December 12 that he “personally” killed drug suspects when he was mayor of Davao City. Mr. Duterte said he rode a big bike—presumably his streeteating Harley-Davidson motorcycle—to patrol the streets, spoiling for a fight and seeking to kill. He was defending his scorched-earth policy in the fight against illegal drugs for which he had drawn criticism from the United Nations, United States, European Union and international human rights groups. ■

eyes is beyond redemption. That that has been committed, and with people would not harm him despite is why He sent His only son to our no resolve not to do it again, a plea what he had done (Gn 4:1-11).” world to teach us how to live, how for forgiveness cannot be anything I am not a student of the Scripto love, and how to forgive. Indeed, but hollow. tures, so this is all new to me. I used so great is God’s mercy that it outIn their recent book, “The Gos- to think that the friars who came shines His justice. pel of Mercy According to Juan/a,” to our shores under the auspices In despair, I have also often coauthored with Nina L.B. Tomen, of colonial Spain had brought with asked how much we take our faith my brother Ambo, a scholar of the them a fearsome, Old-Testament seriously. For, nothing contradicts Scriptures and current bishop of God precisely as a weapon of subthe meaning of this faith more di- Caloocan, makes the point that jugation. But Ambo challenges this rectly than the apparent ease with mercy is not an idea that is intro- belief. He does so by taking off from which we accept the judgment that duced only in the New Testament. I Pope Francis’ episcopal motto some people’s lives are so worth- think this is important because we “Miserando atque Eligendo” (Latin less and depraved that they deserve are wont to think of the Old Testa- for “By giving mercy and by choosto be terminated. Are we so fault- ment as a purveyor of the “eye-for- ing”). I never quite understood the less that we can make such deter- an-eye” way of life. meaning of this motto—not until mination without now, when in the blinking? light of Bishop For, nothing contradicts the meaning of this faith more When I heard Ambo’s interpretadirectly than the apparent ease with which we accept the the chief of the tion, I could hear judgment that some people’s lives are so worthless and depraved Philippine Nationits powerful mesthat they deserve to be terminated. al Police Ronald sage amid the drug “Bato” dela Rosa killings, under a ask for forgiveness for all the killBishop Ambo writes: “The God sinful president chosen from the ings, I thought that perhaps the who relents of His punishment, periphery. spirit of the season had, at last, whose sense of justice is immeIn past columns, I have tried to caught up with him. But, although diately superseded by His mercy make sense of what is happening visibly filled with emotion, he said whenever He saw any little sign of to our country using the analytical nothing more. Was something repentance, is a constant motif in heritage of my field of study, sociolgenuinely troubling this usually the Hebrew Bible. It begins right ogy. But there have been moments voluble man? Or was it just another at the start: with the portrayal of a when the secular sciences seem inone of those naive statements that God who, before banishing Adam adequate to sustain our hopes for seem to flow spontaneously from and Eve from Eden, made garments a better world. So, today, I turn to his mouth? We don’t know. But, as a of skin for them and ‘clothed them’ hermeneutics, and summon help Christian, he must know that with- (Gn 3:21). Even Cain, the murderer, from my brother, the biblical exout a clear admission of the wrong is protected; he is marked, so that egete.

“Miserando—this is the proper title to the Old Testament God, contrary to His portrayal as a vengeful God. Those on whom He bestows mercy He also chooses (Eligendo). He chooses them, not because they are deserving, but because they are the least (Dt 7:711). Having been chosen despite their wretchedness and unworthiness, they would know how to behave like Yahweh: with mercy and compassion. That is how the Lord chose His first disciples…. Why? So that they would see the true face of God in His mercy. And having experienced God’s mercy, hopefully they could be come merciful themselves.” Hope. On that single word rests the core message of Christmas Day and all the days leading upto the New Year. We need to cling to that sentiment in this season of grace as we pray for an end to the killings, drawing inspiration from the thought that God indeed does His work in the strangest ways. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mt 9:12-13) I hope the President heeds these timeless words. A Hopeful Christmas to one and all! ■

DONALD TRUMP claimed his place Wednesday as America's 45th president, an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters' economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House. His triumph over Hillary Clinton, not declared until well after midnight, will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achieve-

Marcos buried on the sly Tarra Quismundo and Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer

EX-DICTATOR FERDINAND Marcos was buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18, in a secrecy-shrouded ceremony that stunned the nation and sparked protests from the opponents of martial law and survivors of his mailed fist rule. The burial of Marcos with military honors came as another stunning development in the remarkable political comeback of his family, a phenomenon that was given fresh energy this year by the clan’s strong alli-


Robredo quits Cabinet in new Duterte dilemma Jim Gomez, Associated Press


A meditation on mercy By Randy David Philippine Daily Inquirer About 13 Filipinos have been killed every day these past six months as a result of the Duterte administration’s so-called “war on drugs.” Police forces have acknowledged their responsibility for only a third of these killings, which they justify as acts of selfdefense. The rest of these incidents have been filed away as “deaths under investigation,” even as the police have shown no urgency to offer a credible account of these deaths. The lives of more than 6,000 drug suspects have been claimed in the name of this war. Yet, the Duterte administration has remained self-righteous, defiant, and unfazed by criticism of its command to kill. Despite the daily killings, recent surveys have showered the President with very high approval ratings, suggesting that the killing spree may continue indefinitely. In this season of grace and forgiveness, I have wondered if the murderous machine behind these deaths will somehow take a Christmas break. Mercy lies at the heart of Christmas. It is what defines the nature of this celebration. We greet the birth of the Redeemer. No one in God’s





The irony of Christmas By Rina Jimenez-David Philippine Daily Inquirer It’s a music video like no other. An exercise in irony, it juxtaposes the melody of the Jose Mari Chan contemporary Yuletide classic “Christmas in our Hearts” with the most disturbing images of ordinary people holding out messages scrawled on cardboard placards. No, these were not displayed on corpses of drug suspects, victims of “cardboard justice,” condemning them to execution in the street because they were alleged addicts, pushers or simply petty criminals. Instead the messages are held up by ordinary folk, with pleas to the authorities to stop the extrajudicial killings, meant to be sung along with the lilting melody. It is the creation of Project Resbak, for “Respond and Break the Silence against the Killings,” a collective of creative people, with the caveat that “the collaborators who worked on the video … in no way intend to demean

or disparage the song but hope more thoughtful responses, for Ninety-four percent said it was to connect it to the spirit of the the renewal of our commitment “important that suspects arbirth of Christ which is to bring to values we once treasured as a rested in police operations were hope to the suffering Filipino people, prided ourselves in, pro- kept alive.” This is perhaps in masses.” moted to the rest of the world. reaction to news that many of Indeed, it is the contrast, the If Christmas is indeed in our those rounded up by police in sharp irony between the bright, hearts, is there still room in it community raids, or who had optimistic lyrics of the original for a few seconds of sympathy turned themselves in, ended up and the silent messages of the for the thousands who have died dead either at the hands of alcardboard signs, held by folks ever since the “war on drugs” was leged “vigilantes” or of police clearly from the poorest neigh- launched? who claimed the suspects resistborhoods who are the most likely While the approval scores for ed arrest. to fall victim to the EJKs, that President Duterte have dipped, When asked if those suspectlends the video ed drug dealers its power to pinch and users were If Christmas is indeed in our hearts, is there still at our hearts indeed fighting room in it for a few seconds of sympathy for the thousands and awaken our back as the police who have died ever since the “war on drugs” was launched? consciences. claim, the 1,500 Yes, even at this adult respontime of the year dents respondwhen our thoughts turn to mak- they are still high enough to ed with “indecision,” or chose ing merry and bingeing on food, merit an “excellent” rating. But “don’t know.” drinks, and all things material. more telling is the growing perStill, despite the fear and A friend, posting on Facebook, centage—8 out of 10—who say trepidation they expressed, the shares this reflection: “Tears and they worry that they or someone respondents said they stood rage this Christmas…/Amidst the they know might become an EJK “staunchly behind the Presipain, renewed commitment…/ victim. dent’s war on drugs.” The camFresh determination and fervent Authorities would also do well paign received what SWS deemed hope…/Let’s light our candles to heed the public’s sentiment an “excellent” score of 77 net satnow… and march out tomorrow.” about the conduct of the police isfaction. It’s a call to action, a prayer for actions against drug suspects. I wish pollsters, or analysts

who examine these public opinion polls with a finetoothed comb, would take a closer look at the “indecision” behind the finding on the police claim that the killed suspects had fought back, “nanlaban” in street slang. The reluctance to share their honest opinion is, I think, a reflection of the very real fear that people harbor about being identified or singled out for a negative or disapproving opinion they tell the pollsters. I suspect the overwhelming approval ratings for Mr. Duterte are a reflection of the atmosphere of nervousness and insecurity enveloping the country, but especially the poor and powerless. After all, it is difficult to tell if strangers knocking on our doors and asking for our opinion on volatile issues of the day are indeed who they say they are, and not covert agents seeking out those who might hold contrary views. In these days of cardboard justice, even on Christmas Day, not all will have Christmas in their hearts. ■


Loose strands of Philippine history By Ambeth R. Ocampo Philippine Daily Inquirer Among the engaging items in the rich Filipiniana collection of the library of the Augustinian friars in Valladolid, Spain, are 69 bound volumes of clippings labeled “La Prensa de Madrid” (The Madrid Press) and consisting of articles, notices, editorials and news on the Philippines painstakingly collected by Fr. Eduardo Navarro, OSA, for the period 1894-1899. These were culled from various Madrid newspapers of the time (La Epoca, El Imparcial, El Nacional and El Heraldo de Madrid), as well as some papers from Manila (La Oceania, El Comercio, El Español, and Diario de Manila). This focused collection will save a scholar many hours of going through microfilm or digitized copies of the newspapers one by one to extract all the items relevant to the Philippines. The Navarro collection is arranged chronologically and with a notation that separates

the morning from the afternoon from two newspapers published their past because of language. newspapers. in the Spanish capital (El HerThe Rodriguez-Alvarez volFrom the Navarro collection, a aldo de Madrid) and the capital umes may be available in univerfive-volume selection was made of the Philippines (Diario de Ma- sity and college libraries in the by the Augustinians Isacio Rodri- nila) were chosen. The diligent Philippines, but they remain unguez Rodriguez and Jesus Alvarez scholar will still have to make a opened even by interested readFernandez for the period August pilgrimage to Valladolid to con- ers who cannot read the original 1896 (the outbreak of the Philip- sult the 69 volumes of clippings Spanish. If a translation were pine Revolution against Spain) and supplement these with the considered, it would have cost to August 1898 (shortly after the main newspaper library (or much in time and money, and the June 12 declaration of Philip- Hermeroteca) in Madrid. volumes would not have made it pine independence from Spain in While a lot of Philippine mate- out in 1998. Kawit and the surrender of Span- rial has been uploaded online by The entries for December ish Manila and 1896—120 years the Philippines to ago—read like This focused collection will save a scholar many hours the United States, a time capsule. of going through microfilm or digitized copies of the thereby robbing News from an ofnewspapers one by one to extract all the items relevant to the the Filipinos of ficial telegram Philippines. their hard-won dated Dec. 21, freedom). 1896, talks about The Rodriguez-Alvarez vol- the Spanish Biblioteca Nacional, encounters between the Guardia umes, now out of print, were the Hermeroteca, and a digital Civil and Filipino revolutionaries published in Madrid in 1998 by Cervantes library, there is still so in Calatagan, Batangas, or how the Agencia Española de Coop- much awaiting Filipino research- 1,000 revolutionaries entered eracion Internacional as a con- ers in Spain. It is unfortunate San Ildefonso, Bulacan, on Dec. tribution to the 1998 centennial that because of a misguided na- 20 and burned the tribunal and celebration of Philippine inde- tionalism that struck out Spanish convent in town. There is news pendence. While these volumes from the Philippine college cur- of rebel attacks in Las Piñas and are useful to the scholar who has riculum during Corazon Aquino’s Laguna, and of 13 people arrested access to them, it is only a dip in term, a whole generation of Fili- by the police or Filipino soldiers a wide pond because only news pinos have been separated from in the Spanish forces who were

charged with desertion. There is a list of the Spanish Squadron and the commanders of the various ships and steamers, like the cruisers (Reina Cristina, Castilla, Velasco, Don Juan de Austria, Don Antonio de Ulloa, Elcano, General Lezo, Marques del Duero), the gunboats (Quiros, Villalobos, Manileño, Mariveles, Mindoro, Panay, Albay, Calamianes, Leyte, Arayat, Bulusan, Callao, Pampanga, Paragua, Samar), the transports (Manila, Cebu, General Alava, Argos), etc. Sounds very impressive, but in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, the US Asiatic Squadron with armored ships under George Dewey were superior to the wooden Spanish fleet described as “floating antiques” that were all sunk. Taken individually, these news may seem trivial against the backdrop of the Filipino struggle for freedom, but these are loose strands that, woven together, complete the yet unfinished tapestry that is Philippine history. ■


JANUARY 6, 2017


Canada News Fireworks, performances across the country to mark start of Canada’s 150th year THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — A Canada Day tradition was repurposed Saturday night to herald the start of Canada’s 150th year. A massive fireworks display over Parliament Hill — usually reserved for July 1 — took place Saturday evening to mark the beginning of 2017 and a year-long birthday bash across the country. A kaleidoscope of colours cascaded behind the Parliament Buildings under a dark, overcast sky. Hours later a second, even more spectacular display of pyrotechnics, was staged at midnight to ring in the new year. Revellers took in the festivities under snowy skies. Gov. Gen David Johnston, wearing a parka and toque, was on hand to help kick off a year of Canada 150 events and joined Heritage Minister Melanie Joly in relighting the centennial flame. Candles were distributed to onlookers. A stage with a giant red and white “Canada 150” banner dominated Parliament Hill. Young people were on hand to carry flags of the provinces and territories. And the huge crowd of spectators was kept entertained by Canadian artists that included Radio Radio, Brett Kissel and Carly Rae Jepsen. Heritage Department spokesperson Katherine Cyr had said the celebration in the capital was set to cost about $2.5 million.

Milton, Ont., woman identified as Canadian killed in Istanbul attack: reports BY DANIELA GERMANO The Canadian Press

New Year’s Eve events with a 150th birthday flavour were held in 19 cities across the country.

New Year’s Eve events with a 150th birthday flavour were held in 19 cities across the country, including St. John’s, N.L., which was the first to hit the midnight milestone. Joly is in charge of more than $210 million being set aside for 150th anniversary projects and events planned for 2017. More than three dozen national programs have received federal funding, ranging from history exhibits to a dance day being put on by Canada’s national ballet school. A red leather couch is set to travel the country, beginning with a tour of the North in March and a journey from Newfoundland to B.C. in June and July, after organizers received $155,000 in federal dollars. Ela Kinowska, the manager of the tour, said it will involve

compiling stories shared on the piece of furniture from Canadians about what the country means to them. “It is a very expensive operation to be in every province so what we get for that is the unifying factor,” she said. “It is a nation-building sofa.” The federal government has also established a national infrastructure program to support renovation, expansion and improvement in community and cultural infrastructure. The initial $150-million program was created by the previous Conservative government, which was accused of doling out much of the money to ridings represented by Conservative MPs ahead of the 2015 election. The current Liberal government has added a further $150 million for more projects. ■

TORONTO — Global Affairs Canada has confirmed the Canadian woman killed in an attack on a Turkish nightclub is Alaa Al-Muhandis. She was one of the 39 people killed, most of them foreign tourists, when a gunman opened fire in a popular nightclub in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations. Ghada Saad, a friend of AlMuhandis, said the 29-year-old lived in Milton, Ont., with her husband and two children. She said she met her two years ago when Al-Muhandis hired her to help with a baby shower for her youngest son. “She was a very, very nice girl, full of life and always so stylish,” Saad said of Al-Muhandis, who she said started her own business recently as an event planner. “She was like my little sister.” Saad, who owns Mosaic Event and Party Rentals in Milton, said she had been working with Al-Muhandis recently. Mohammed Hamoudi, the president of non-profit organization Mesopotamia Group, said he was shocked to hear of Al-Muhandis’ death. He said he knew her professionally through her business,

Looloo’s Arrangements. She had set up a booth at a cultural event the group organized in April. In a Facebook post Monday, Conservative leadership candidate and Milton MP Lisa Raitt expressed condolences to AlMuhandis’s family and neighbours. Raitt wrote that “we never think that something like this can happen to us in Milton.” Late Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed a Canadian was killed in the attack that also left as many as 70 others wounded. “We mourn with the people of Turkey today and with all countries who lost citizens in this vicious attack,” Trudeau said in the statement. “We also grieve the senseless loss of a Canadian citizen and remain steadfast in our determination to work with allies and partners to fight terrorism and hold perpetrators to account.” The Islamic State claimed responsibility Monday for the shooting and the lone gunman who carried out the attack remains at large. ISIL is claiming the attack is revenge for Turkish military operations against the group in northern Syria. ■ With files from The Associated Press


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JANUARY 6, 2017


Winnipeg man Newfoundland man diagnosed accused of human with schizophrenia sues over trafficking in forced injection in car Edmonton; police say may be others BY JOHN COTTER The Canadian Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS EDMONTON — A Winnipeg man is facing 18 charges involving human trafficking in Edmonton. Earlier this month Edmonton police got information that an 18-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted in the area of 154 Street and 111 Avenue. Further investigation determined the woman had been assaulted and trafficked over several days by a man. On Wednesday, police responded to an assault call in the area of 38 Avenue and Gateway Boulevard and found a 20-yearold woman had been trafficked by the same man. Investigators believe the suspect, who they say has family in Edmonton, has trafficked other women in Alberta and Saskatchewan and may be using social media to approach women. Twenty-four-year-old Omar

Abdi Ahmed, also known as Jojo, is facing charges of human trafficking, advertising sexual services, withholding travel documents, receiving a financial or material benefit from sexual services, advertising sexual services, sexual assault and unlawful confinement and other charges. “Human trafficking and exploitation of sexual services providers are a concern not only in Edmonton but in cities and towns across Canada,” acting Staff Sgt. Melanie Grace of vice unit said in a news release. “I encourage anyone who has been approached or feels they have been trafficked or exploited by him to contact police as soon as possible,” Grace said. “The Edmonton Police Service Vice Unit, along with the support of its dedicated community partners, is committed to thoroughly investigating reports made by any person who believes they are a victim of, or witness to, these types of exploitation.” ■

DOH: Fewer injuries... said cases dropped 57 percent year-on-year in the 10 days leading to New Year’s Eve. But Dr. Emmanuel Galor, chief of the emergency department, said the number could still rise, citing trends from previous years. ❰❰ 9

Fires, shooting

In Mandaue City in Cebu, three separate fires razed a warehouse and more than 200 homes, leaving some 450 families homeless as they greeted the new year. No casualty was reported, but the cost of damage was estimated at P3 million, said Senior Fire Officer 1 Edgard Vergara. In Iloilo City, Daniel Melczer, a 37-year-old from Hungary, died from at least four gunshot

wounds on Sunday. Police said they arrested his neighbor Luendo Lim, 42, a seafarer with whom the victim had an argument over his firecracker use. Health officials there said there were 63 firecracker injuries in the region since Dec. 21. But the downward casualty trend continued in the southern Mindanao region, which had zero casualties, while health officials in Bicol region reported a 57 percent decline to only 56 injuries. In Luzon provinces, only 57 people were treated for various injuries. Meanwhile, police said seven were arrested in Bulacan, including two persons who were caught firing an M16 rifle. There were no reports of any injuries from stray bullets in the province. ■

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A man diagnosed with schizophrenia who says he was forcibly injected by a health worker in the back of a car is suing Newfoundland’s largest health authority. Marc Arsenault says the forced injection last January is one of many times Eastern Health violated his Charter rights. He said two Eastern Health workers arrived at his St. John’s home, asking if he wanted his monthly shot. “They were taking me out to McDonald’s to have a coffee,” Arsenault said in an interview. Arsenault has been under various community treatment orders (CTOs) since Aug. 2, 2013, including “the compulsory injection of mind-altering medications,” says the statement of claim. CTOs force patients to accept treatment or face arrest. Arsenault said he was not under a CTO at the time that forces injections. But he said they kept asking if he’d take it voluntarily. “They kept on manipulating me, mentally abusing me,” he said. They stopped at a church while he rode with them to McDonald’s, and “they injected me right in the parking lot there, in the back seat of the car.” Arsenault, 59, is seeking unspecified compensation from Eastern Health for negligence, unlawful detainment and battery. The health authority has not filed a statement of defence in response to the unproven allegations. Arsenault’s lawyer, Ches Crosbie, said the incident is “simply intolerable.” “It just illustrates the cavalier approach that Eastern Health seems to be taking toward observing the rights of some of our most vulnerable citizens.” CTOs are designed for psychiatric patients who are otherwise in and out of hospital. Families and mental-health officials say they offer a lifeline in the most desperate situations

when psychosis takes over. But they are also among the most coercive medical interventions, criticized as abuse-prone tools of control. CTOs are governed by legal safeguards to protect Charter rights and have raised concerns in other parts of Canada, especially Ontario, where orders have drastically increased in recent years. Eastern Health declined to specifically comment on Arsenault’s lawsuit and has not yet filed a defence. “Eastern Health takes any concerns regarding community treatment orders very seriously and has taken steps to ensure they are administered as per provincial legislation,” said an emailed statement. The provincial government last March announced it had discovered 13 recent cases where patients subject to CTOs “did not receive advice from rights advisers as required by law.” “This is a very serious issue and the regional health authorities are in the process of contacting all those affected to ensure rights are protected and treatment is not disrupted,” Health Minister John Haggie said at the time. He also apologized and said two rights advisers were fired. The health department said it would improve how community treatment orders are issued and monitored. As of mid-December, there were 13 CTOs in effect across the province. Crosbie said his client’s case is

especially troubling because alleged oversight gaffes and rights violations continued even after a judge admonished them. Judge William Goodridge ruled in September 2015 that a community treatment order against Arsenault was invalid in part because the psychiatrist did not provide supporting facts that he met required criteria. Goodridge wrote that legal protections to shield vulnerable residents from “significant state intervention in the context of no criminal activity” must be upheld. “There is no option for noncompliance or partial compliance with these provisions.” Still, oversight lapses continued, Crosbie alleges. “Either Eastern Health takes these seriously and follows the procedures that are established before people are compulsorily treated, or they don’t,” he said. “If it’s necessary to seek punitive damages to make them pay attention, then that’s what my client will do.” Arsenault said he was asked in mid-December if he wanted another injection but said no. He will meet again with health workers in January. Soft spoken and cheerful, he blamed the shots for weight gain, tremors and skin sores. Arsenault said he’s not convinced he was properly diagnosed with schizophrenia. “My hope is to stop the abuse and the injections,” he said of the lawsuit. “I want it stopped.” ■



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JANUARY 6, 2017


Calgary police allege Sunwing pilot was impaired, passed out in cockpit THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY — A Sunwing Airlines pilot faces charges after police allege he was impaired before takeoff. Police say the pilot boarded the Boeing 737 in Calgary early Saturday for a flight that was scheduled to make stops in Regina and Winnipeg before continuing on to Cancun, Mexico. But before it took off, police say the gate crew as well as crewmembers on the aircraft indicated he was behaving strangely. Police allege the co-pilot found the pilot passed out in the cockpit. “They found him slumped

over in the seat. He was the captain,” Sgt. Paul Stacey told a news conference. The pilot was escorted from the plane and later charged with having care and control of an aircraft while being impaired, as well as having a blood-alcohol level exceeding .08 while in care and control of an aircraft. Calgary Police issued a written statement late Saturday night identifying the pilot as Miroslav Gronych, 37, of Slovakia. The release says his next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 5. Stacey said police allege the suspect had three times the legal amount of alcohol in his system.

Sunwing spokeswoman Janine Massey praised the rest of the crew for handling what she called a “very unfortunate matter.” “We can confirm that shortly before 7 a.m. local time, the gate agents, first officer and crew of Sunwing flight 595, departing from Calgary and destined for Cancun, determined that the captain was unfit to fly and reported this accordingly,” Massey stated. “The captain was immediately escorted off of the aircraft and the incident is now under investigation with local authorities.” Police said there were 99 passengers on the flight and six crew. Sunwing said the plane took off a short time later with

another captain. “We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority,” Massey said. Stacey said Transport Canada had been contacted and he expected the suspect could face additional charges. “It had all the potential for a disaster but I’ll tell you this much — the likelihood of a pilot on a major airline like this actually being able to take off when they’re impaired like that is pretty slim, because there’s a lot of checks and balances. There’s the other flight crew and there’s gate crew and they’re all about safety,” Stacey said. “So, I’m not surprised that he

got caught before (the plane) left the terminal.” Transport Canada spokesman Dan Dugas said in an email that it is a criminal offence in Canada for a flight crew to work within eight hours of consuming alcohol or while under the influence. Dugas said Transport Canada is reviewing the pilot’s records and Sunwing Airlines’ procedures and protocols. “As more information becomes available, the department will not hesitate to take enforcement action, including issuing fines and revoking licenses if appropriate. The airline is responsible for taking any disciplinary action against the pilots,” the email said. ■

Conservationists concerned about free entry to Canada’s national parks in 2017 BY JOHN COTTER The Canadian Press EDMONTON — Parks Canada is preparing for an increase in visitors this year as people across the country and around the world request free annual passes to explore the nation’s natural treasures as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration. Conservationists say it is important for people to connect with nature, but there are concerns about how more tourists may affect the ecological integrity of some of the more popular parks. Ben Gadd, a retired nature guide and author of “Handbook of the Canadian Rockies,” said he is worried about increased vehicle traffic. “Clearly the highway system in the mountain parks — it is going to be terrible next summer all summer long,” said Gadd, who has been hiking in the region since 1968. “When you have that situation and animals trying to cross there are going to be more accidents, more animals killed.” Gadd said he is also concerned about crowded attractions, trash and people feeding or getting too close to wildlife. He hopes there are enough

staff to properly maintain the parks and to explain the rules to visitors, especially newbies. According to Parks Canada, more than 900,000 people ordered a free Discovery Pass in the first two weeks after they became available last month. The government predicts visits to national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas will top last year’s attendance of about 24.5 million. Eric Hebert-Daly, national executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said the Parks Canada plan is a good idea in principle, but there are some dangers. Some parks such as Banff, Jasper and the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario are already very busy. Adding more people could take away from their grandeur, he said. Hebert-Daly said the government should consider better ways to handle traffic in busy parks, including the increased use of shuttle buses. There are also not enough wardens and scientists to monitor the health of the parks, he said. “This may be the year where we realize just how overstretched some of these places are,” Hebert-Daly said. Canada’s national parks have a long history of attract-

ing tourists eager to view wildlife and wilderness. Increased media attention is expected to draw even more visitors. National Geographic Traveler magazine has put the Banff area on its “Best of the World” list of 21 must-see places in 2017 and Parks Canada has been busy promoting on social media as part of theCanada 150 campaign. On Dec. 1 so many people jumped online to get a free annual pass that the department’s computer system slowed to a crawl. Ed Jager with Parks Canada said staff know they are in for a busy year. The number of cleaning and maintenance crews has been increased to ensure facilities will be kept in shape and that garbage doesn’t attract wildlife, he said. Jager said online orders for annual passes are being tracked to get a sense of which parks will see more traffic. Information about park rules is being sent to visitors. Parks Canada is also trying to take some heat off of more popular parks by promoting other, less-visited destinations. The department has released a list of “ten hidden gems” across Canada for people to explore including the Mingan


Archipelago National Park reserve in Quebec, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland and Labrador and Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. “We can’t actually love our parks to death — I think the death of our parks is when nobody wants to come to them and when they don’t care about them anymore,” he said. “We would much rather be in this place then in a place where

nobody is showing up.” Parks Canada plans to open its online reservation system ( for campsites starting with some parks in British Columbia on Jan. 3 and adding more parks across the country throughout the month. While annual park passes are free in 2017, there are still fees for campsites, firewood and backcountry passes. ■

World News


17 still missing after Indonesia boat fire kills 23 BY ALI KOTARUMALOS The Associated Press

utes after the ferry left the port of Muara Angke. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear. Some pasJAKARTA, INDONESIA — A sengers told local media that search resumed Monday for 17 they first saw smoke coming people reported missing after a from the ferry’s engine. ferry fire off the coast of IndoThe director for sea transpornesia’s capital that left at least tation, Tonny Budiono, said the 23 dead, officials said. initial suspicion was that the The victims died Sunday fire was “most probably caused when the vessel, Zahro Express, by a short circuit in the engine carrying more than 260 people room.” from a port near Jakarta to TidHe told a news conference ung, a resort island in the Kep- the short circuit might have led ulauan Seribu chain, caught to the fuel tank exploding. fire, officials said. Most of the TV footage showed people passengers were Indonesians in the water with the ferry in celebrating the New Year holi- flames in the background. A day, according to local media woman in the water can be reports. heard screaming Denny Wahyu “Ya Allah! Ya AlHaryanto, head lah!” or “Oh God! of the Jakarta DiOh God!” saster Mitigation Another womAgency, said the Some an told the TV report about the passengers station that she 17 missing was told local and other pasreceived before media that sengers were the burned ship they first rescued by a was towed to the saw smoke small boat. port, where rescoming from Minister of cuers found 20 the ferry’s Transportation bodies inside. engine. Budi Karya said He did not rule that the chief of out that those the Muara Anreported missing gke port authorcould be among ity has been rethe 20 bodies moved from the found inside the ship. post for alleged negligence in He said that of the 224 pas- overseeing the voyage. sengers who were rescued, 19 Despite the high number of were still being treated at hos- people who were rescued, the pitals. ferry’s manifest showed that The National Search and only 100 were registered as pasRescue Agency deployed at sengers, along with six crewleast five ships and a number of men, said Haryanto, the Jakarspeedboats and rubber boats, ta Disaster Mitigation Agency along with 15 divers, in the head. search. Col. Hero Hendrianto, chief Seply Madreta, an official of maritime police, said six from the Jakarta Disaster Miti- people, including the vessel’s gation Agency, said the fire gut- captain, two crewmen and two ted about half the vessel, and port officials, were detained for that 23 bodies had been recov- questioning. ered. Ferry accidents are common The 20 bodies that were in Indonesia, the world’s largest found inside the vessel were archipelagic nation, with more burned beyond recognition than 17,000 islands. Many acciand were transferred to a police dents are blamed on lax regulahospital for identification, said tion of boat services. ■ Col. Umar Shahab of the Jakarta police health department. Associated Press writer Niniek Witnesses told MetroTV that Karmini contributed to this rethe fire broke out about 15 minport.


Obama, Pence to Capitol as health care overhaul fight begins BY ALAN FRAM The Associated Press WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is travelling to the Capitol to give congressional Democrats advice on how to combat the Republican drive to dismantle his health care overhaul. Vice-President-elect Mike Pence is meeting with GOP lawmakers to discuss the best way to send Obama’s cherished law to its graveyard and replace it with — well, something. The separate strategy sessions were coming on the second day of the new, GOP-led Congress. In 16 days, Republican Donald Trump replaces Obama at the White House, putting the party’s longtime goal of annulling much of the 2010 health care overhaul within reach. Plenty of questions remain, including the repeal bill’s details, costs and when it would take effect. Republicans also face divisions over the next step — replacement legislation — that will likely take months or years to resolve. While they can hardly prevent the GOP repeal effort from proceeding, the president and House and Senate Democrats were meeting Wednesday to discuss how to best defend a law that’s extended health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans and which Obama considers one of the proudest pillars of his legacy. “The more the people understand what’s included in the Affordable Care Act and how they benefit from it, the more popular the program is, and the harder it is for Republicans to have political support for tearing it down,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday, using the law’s formal name. “The president’s message to them is that they should be out there telling the stories of their constituents who are benefiting from this law,” Earnest said. “I think that’s certainly the most important thing they can do.” Pence was meeting Wednesday morning with House Republicans to discuss their health care drive and planned to attend a lunch with Senate Republicans. Republicans eager to show


quick action against Obama’s health care law took an initial procedural step Tuesday, introducing a budget bill that would have to be considered under a parliamentary procedure that would prevent Democrats from using a Senate filibuster to protect the health care law. Republicans control the Senate by a 52-48 margin, but it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, a procedural roadblock that can kill legislation. The Senate was expected to complete the budget by next week. House approval would follow. “This is the first step toward relief for Americans struggling under Obamacare,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The budget legislation gives congressional committees until Jan. 27 — a blink of an eye for lawmakers — to write legislation repealing major parts of the health care law. Likely targets include the law’s tax penalties for people who don’t obtain insurance, its requirement that many companies cover workers and tax increases on higherearning individuals and many health care firms. Aware they have no chance of quickly agreeing on replacement legislation, Republicans plan to delay when their repeal would actually take effect. A range of 18 months to three years — perhaps longer — has been under discussion. Trump has provided few specifics about how he would revamp the nation’s $3 trillion-ayear health care system. Steps he and congressional Republicans have mentioned include greater reliance on tax credits to help people afford coverage. Republicans don’t want to abruptly end health care cov-

erage for millions of voters who live in GOP-represented districts and states, or cause chaos in health care markets and prompt insurance companies to stop selling policies. So they are considering including provisions in their repeal bill to protect consumers and insurers during the transition period. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., a member of the GOP Senate leadership, said that could include money to temporarily continue helping people afford to buy coverage and language letting the Department of Health and Human Services help stabilize insurance markets. “Everyone realizes there’s going to have to be a phase-in, phase-out period,” Thune said Tuesday. Underscoring one challenge facing Republicans, a report Wednesday from a nonpartisan anti-deficit group estimated that repealing the health care law entirely would add to federal deficits, and that replacement legislation would require significant funding. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget analysis found that complete repeal would add up to $350 billion to federal deficits over a decade. That’s because the Medicare cuts and tax increases used to finance Obama’s law exceed the amount of money spent to expand the breadth of coverage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in December 2015 that an earlier bill repealing much but not all of Obama’s law would save around $300 billion over 10 years. Obama vetoed that bill. ■ Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

World News


JANUARY 6, 2017



Filipina cited as ‘Global Visionary’ BY DORIS DUMLAOABADILLA Philippine Daily Inquirer SHE WAS born into a poor family — her father was a family driver and her mother a househelp — but brains, perseverance and innate leadership skills propelled Analisa Leonor Balares into getting an Ivy League education that eased her way into becoming a rainmaker at Wall Street, a valuable manager who brings in business from wealthy clients. But wanting to work toward a more inclusive and sustainable world by helping empower women and girls made her quit the corporate world in 2008 to put up Womensphere Foundation, a global organization that seeks to accelerate women’s advancement in leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. New York-based Balares was recently handpicked by Swiss global banking giant UBS as one of its inaugural batch of “Global Visionaries,” described as a select pool of 10 extraordinary people who dedicate their lives to projects, research, movements and technologies that have the potential to profoundly impact our lives and the society we live in. “Analisa understands the economic benefits of higher participation rates of women in the workforce and that a holistic approach needs to be applied to women’s education and development,” said Simon Smiles, chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management. Added Smiles in an Inquirer e-mail interview: “Analisa has drawn on her own experiences

to design Womensphere’s distinctive community and ecosystem approach (and) apply it for women’s development in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects across all socioeconomic classes and generations.” Since its launch in early 2008 when the markets were crashing, Womensphere has reached more than 10,000 leaders, and inspired and trained more than 5,000 emerging women leaders on leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation and STEAM. “That is just the very tip of the iceberg,” Balares said in an e-mail interview with Inquirer. “As we scale through technology, our digital initiatives alone will enable us to reach, inspire, educate and empower many times that number within one year.” Born in Leyte, Balares juggled living in the world of the ultrarich, urban poor and rural countryside when she was growing up. Both her parents worked for a benevolent American family who lived in Forbes Park, where she stayed while attending Guadalupe Elementary School in Makati. “Despite growing up poor in the Philippines, I felt empowered to succeed because of the mentors and role models I had when I was really young,” she said in a video produced by UBS. Balares spent the first 16 years of her life in the Philippines before going abroad on educational scholarships. While she lived in North Forbes Park, she was well-exposed to Makati’s poor neighborhoods which she had to traverse on

Analisa Leonor Balares.

her way to school. Since age 13, Balares had been organizing leadership training conferences and science camps for high school students in Metro Manila as Manila and NCR chair of the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs. At Manila Science High School, as part of the team that won national competitions, she found herself representing the country in science fairs in Singapore and Thailand. By the time she was 16, Balares’ academic achievements and student leadership experience opened up a number of scholarship opportunities. She accepted an offer from the Canadian International Development Agency and Ayala Foundation for a two-year International Baccalaureate program at Lester Pearson United World College in Vancouver. While in Canada, she received a full scholarship to study at Mount Holyoke College, the first college for women in the US, where she majored in Economics and Math. In New York, Balares joined

Goldman Sachs in High Technology Investment Banking, where she worked on $1.5-billion worth of high-tech corporate financing and merger and acquisition deals. She also worked at asset management firm Milestone Capital. In 2005, she obtained her MBA from Harvard Business School. Prior to the UBS citation, Balares was honored as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. She was also handpicked as one of “30 Outstanding Women Leaders” by the National Council for Research on Women, and received the Madam C.J. Walker Leadership Award from the National Minority Business Council. The New Leaders Council honored her as well as one of its “40 Under 40 New Leaders in America.” Balares takes such leadership recognition in stride. “Within Womensphere, we have a view that everyone can be a leader, an innovator, (or) an entrepreneur and that you don’t have to

go to an Ivy League institution to achieve this. “This is why it is important to democratize access to knowledge. We need to take the best practices coming from Ivy League institutions, companies, governments and communities, and disseminate this information,” Balares said. Womensphere, she said, is building a global network of incubators designed to empower women and girls, with each incubator offering them five things: ecosystem, community, connections with inspiring role models, training and education, as well as recognition and awards. It is also important to have a digital component to reach the over 1.5 billion internet users who are women and girls, Balares added. The internet allows Womensphere to deliver the same type of training and education it offers live in communities. For women in rural communities without internet, Womensphere reaches out through local partnerships. An example is its partnership with Sen. Bam Aquino, which enabled the group to reach women in rural areas. “For a program to succeed, it needs to be integrated— through partnerships—into local communities and within institutions where women are learning and working,” Balares said. “We also have a range of programs that focus on women— from first-time entrepreneurs or those just starting college, to women who are in the middle of their careers and need help progressing to the next level of leadership.” ■

China says some factories have violated anti-smog measures THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BEIJING — China’s environmental ministry said Tuesday that an unspecified number of companies had violated measures meant to reduce smog during a period of particularly noxious pollution in the country. The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that 10

inspection teams found companies resuming production despite a government ban and not complying with emission reduction measures. The announcement came as 24 cities were under a pollution “red alert,” the highest warning level in China’s four-tiered system. When authorities issue red alerts, some manufacturing companies are required to cut

production and heavily polluting vehicles are banned from the roads. The official Xinhua News Agency said the ministry had given out punishments after finding that more than 500 construction sites and enterprises, including metallurgy, agricultural chemical and steel plants, and 10,000 vehicles had breached pollution response

plans. Xinhua gave no details on the punishments. Beijing has been on “orange alert” — the second-highest alert level — since Friday. The alert was originally due to end on Sunday, but authorities extended it for three days as the smog persisted. “The smog has a big negative impact on people’s emotions,” said another man, Gao Yan, who works for a consulting compa-

ny. “We really hope we can live with a blue sky and be healthy.” China has long faced some of the worst air pollution in the world, blamed on its reliance of coal for energy and factory production, as well as a surplus of older, less efficient cars on its roads. Inadequate controls on industry and lax enforcement of standards have worsened the pollution problem. ■

Community News



So, how do you start your own business? skills for. It is better for a car enthusiast to start a car repair shop than for a fashionista to open a fruit stall, which is so totally out of her line and passion. Most importantly, as many have advised, if you are not prepared to be on the job 24 hours a day, then you cannot be in your own business. If you will have to spend more than the usual eight-hour job clock to your own business, it better be something that will not bore you. It should allow you to exercise your own creativity and resourcefulness.

you need to know or you could get your hands on about it. BY BOLET Be also careful about joining AREVALO the bandwagon or blindly following trendy business ideas. Trends are just trends, and AS IN MANY SERIOUS chances are they’ll fade away ENDEAVOURS, BUSINESS as enthusiasm declines and STARTS WITH MATCHING new ideas come in. Unless you YOUR OWN INTEREST TO are prepared to immediately A CAREFUL STUDY OF THE substitute a new idea yourself MARKET. and roll with the punches, then you’d better be safe than sorry, THERE ARE three (3) possible If you are putting in your own ways to do it: you create a new hard-earned money, especially business, buy an old business, your lifetime savings or retireor get a franchise to an existing ment proceeds, you should be business. very circumTo my mind, spect about in any of these everything. If routes, there this business are also at least As with anything new to you, you will only be the three (3) things must take time to study the business source of your that you need: and study it well indeed. family income, your personal inthen the risks are terest in it, your higher. It is best money, and your that one memdesire to learn ber of the family about it. Unless you find an industrial or other members of the family The best business to go into partner, where you provide are gainfully employed someis one that you will enjoy do- the labour and he provides the where else when the business ing and have the talents or capital, then you will need your is just starting. Prepare them to own money to start your join you part-time or full-time business. Sufficient later only when things are more capital is important stable and running smoothly. because businesses There are three (3) possible generally take time ways of starting a business: creto break even or ate a new business, buy an old make money. Start one, or buy a license to operate small, they say, be- an existing one. There are also cause a small busi- three (3|) ingredients necesness means small sary to starting one: your own capital required. A interest, your capital, and your small business is also careful study of the business. If easier to manage for the business is new, it is better someone just starting that it does not become the only out or still experi- source of family income. Some menting. other members of the family As with any- may have to find another job for thing new to sustenance and contribute full you, you must efforts later when business is take time to more stable. ■ study the business and study it Bolet is a marketing communiwell indeed. Ask cations practitioner and dabbles around. Survey in writing as a personal passion. people and places. She is author-publisher of the Read business book: The Most Practical Imjournals or trade migrating and Job Hunting Surmagazines. Go to vival Guide, proven simple steps a school if there to success without the fears and is one that the doubts. book is available in trains people, Barnes & Noble, for it. Devour Chapters/Indigo, the Reading and assimi- Room and other online booklate all that shops worldwide.


B.C. government reviews homeowner grants amid rising property assessments BY DIRK MEISSNER The Canadian Press

the agency, said assessment increases are spread almost uniformly across much of the Lower Mainland from Squamish to VICTORIA — Homeowners Chilliwack, and in the Victoria across parts of southern Brit- area. ish Columbia have received big The data shows the assessincreases in the assessed value ment on a single-family home of their homes, prompting the on Vancouver’s west side ingovernment to review who creased 41 per cent to $2.74 milqualifies for a grant that helps lion from $1.94 million in July reduce property taxes. 2015. A similar home on VanProperty assessments from couver’s east side increased 41 2016 were posted online Tues- per cent to $1.33 million from day by BC Assessment, which $947,300 in 2015. announced last month that “There are large increases homeowners can expect values being reported for most of the for single family Lower Mainhomes in much land, but it’s very of B.C.’s Lower important to reMainland and member these the Victoria area I know how large increases do on Vancouver much house not automatically Island to jump prices went translate into a between 30 and up and then I corresponding 50 per cent from looked at my increase in proplast year. assessment erty taxes,” said The grant prothis morning, Grant. gram offers $570 and damn, “Don’t be too to homeowners of that’s a big panicked when properties with an number. you see the big assessed value of number.” less than $1.2 milProf. Tsur lion. The Finance Somerville of Ministry said the grant covers 91 the University of British Coper cent or more than one million lumbia’s Sauder School of Busihomes in the province. ness said he felt a jolt of sticker “We are actively looking at shock when he looked at his the threshold level and con- own property assessment. sidering the effect of rising as“I know how much house sessments on the homeowner prices went up and then I grant,” the ministry said in a looked at my assessment this statement. morning, and damn, that’s a big The province increased the number,” he said. threshold by $100,000 to $1.2 Somerville said he doesn’t million last year because of have much sympathy for homesoaring real estate prices. owners concerned about losThe B.C. government said no ing their grant because the inother jurisdiction in Canada of- creased value of their property fers the same type of assistance puts them above the threshold. as its homeowner grant, but “If you are a renter or a poor Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba person, to have someone who and New Brunswick offer in- has just gained $400,000 in come tested tax credits. wealth complaining about BC Assessment is the agen- spending another $600 a year, cy that collects, monitors and that doesn’t really carry a lot of analyses property data. The water,” he said. assessments are based on the B.C.’s advocate for seniors estimate of a property’s market has said many elderly people on value as of July 1 and its physi- fixed incomes are struggling to cal condition as of Oct. 31. stay in their homes because they Jason Grant, a spokesman for can’t afford property taxes. ■


JANUARY 6, 2017


Entertainment MMFF success cited as ‘new era’ in PH cinema BY MARINEL R. CRUZ AND DJ YAP Philippine Daily Inquirer A “NEW era” has dawned in Philippine cinema with the success of Filipino “quality films” at the revamped Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), a lawmaker said on Friday. At the awards presentation on Thursday night, “Sunday Beauty Queen,” the only documentary to be included in the MMFF’s 42-year history, won best picture. “Sunday Beauty Queen” follows a group of Hong Kongbased house maids as they prepare for a beauty contest dubbed the “Miss Philippines Tourism Hong Kong.” The pageant, held annually on the three-lane Chater Road in Hong Kong Central, serves as a diversion for the women who want to forget their identities as migrant workers, even for a while. The docu also won the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Memorial Award and the best editing trophy for Chuck Gutierrez. “In the beginning, we felt like we were a bunch of salingpusa (someone joining an activity though not a full-fledged member of the group),” director Babyruth Villarama said of being the only docu in the lineup. “It’s a big honor for me to present the stories of these OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) in Hong Kong. I thank them for giving us access to their private homes and lives,” Villarama said.

Eight entries

“Sunday Beauty Queen” is among the eight official entries to the 2016 MMFF. Recalling the time he agreed to become the executive producer of “Sunday Beauty Queen,” Vincent Nebrida said, “If we didn’t help, it would be like denying our own humanity.” Nebrida, president of TBA Films, said he was moved to tears after Villarama showed him the first 30 minutes of the documentary. “There was no way we could turn our backs on it,” he said. He added that he felt “touched” by the messages he read on social media sites, especially from competing directors. “We realized how generous people can be with their positive comments about the film,” he said. Adlawan best actress

Irma Adlawan copped the best actress honor for playing the feisty barangay captain Mercy Sueno in Alvin Yapan’s “Oro.” The film is based on true events. It tells the story of four miners who were massacred as a result of a gold mining dispute in Barangay Gata, Caramoan, Camarines Sur province. The perpetrators are reportedly a group of armed men pretending to be environmentalists. They strike terror in the community under the care of “kapitana” (female barangay captain). Adlawan said she met the kapitana only after they shot

Despite initial backlash, cinemas were filled over the holidays for the MMFF. SHANICE GARCIA / PCI

the film. “I asked her if she felt scared because she has been getting death threats even two years after the massacre. The barangay captain said she wasn’t afraid to die and she would do what’s needed to be done for the sake of her people,” Adlawan told the Inquirer. Ballesteros best actor

Her costars in the political drama also copped the best ensemble honor. The film was also given the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence. Paolo Ballesteros was proclaimed best actor for his work in Jun Robles Lana’s “Die Beautiful,” while Christian Bables won the best supporting actor trophy for the same film. Ballesteros, a TV host and model who became known for

transforming himself into popular Hollywood stars through makeup, failed to attend the awards show at Kia Theater in Quezon City. “Die Beautiful” won the “My Favorite Film” award (People’s Choice) and the best float trophy. It tells the story of Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman, who suddenly dies while being crowned at a beauty pageant. Her last wish was to be presented as a different celebrity on each night of her wake. Rhed Bustamante took home the Special Jury Prize and Phoebe Walker, the best supporting actress award, both for “Seklusyon.” Best director

Erik Matti copped the best director award for the horror-

thriller that was set in the 1940s. It also won for Anton Santamaria the best screenplay honor. “Seklusyon” likewise bagged most of the technical awards: best cinematography, best production design, best original theme song award for “Dominus Miserere” by Francis de Veyra, and best sound design. The animated film “Saving Sally” by Avid Liongoren got the best musical score award. The Children’s Choice for full-length films are “Saving Sally,” “Sunday Beauty Queen” and “Vince & Kath & James.” Winning in the short film category were “EJK,” best picture; “Manila Scream,” Special Jury Prize; and “Mitatang,” best screenplay. Lawmaker pleased

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chair of the House Metro Manila development committee, said he was pleased with the performance of the participating films—practically all independent or “indie” movies—at the box office since the festival kicked off on Christmas Day. “Now it can be said that indie films can make it in the box office during MMFF,” said Castelo, whose committee last year investigated a number of controversies involving the film festival. He said this year’s MMFF, which eschewed big-budgeted entries from major studios in favor of smaller productions, proved that indie filmmaking could succeed with enough government support. ■

Bangs gets a luxury sports car from her fiancé BY CHENG ILAGAN Philippine Canadian Inquirer MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The 28-year-old sexy actress Valerie “Bangs” Garcia got surprised with a BMW luxury sports car from her FilipinoBritish fiancé Lloydi Birch-

more as a Christmas gift and Wedding present. In an Instagram post by Bangs Garcia on Christmas day, she said that, “My 2016 definitely started with a big surprise from @lloydiboi24 by proposing to me in Boracay last January and now he made sure that my year is going to end with another

big surprise as well by giving me a BMW 4 series M Sport as Christmas/Wedding Gift.” “He said he wanted to give me more and more incentives to hurry up and move my ass to UK already! Lol. He’s usually not so good at surprising me with his presents but he sure did surprise me yesterday.

“And Oh! I took the car out for my first spin last night and it was good fun! Thank you for always being so thoughtful baby ko (My baby) @lloydiboi24? I love you so much!” Bangs is such a lucky wife-tobe. The couple got engaged in Boracay last January 2016 and they

planned to have two weddings. Last July, Bangs was interviewed in a TV show “Magandang Buhay,” she said that they are planning to get married first in Boracay, where her fiancé proposed. And their second wedding will be in London. Bangs and Lloydi are getting married next year. ■




‘Rogue One’ tops Dick Clark Productions rejects box office for third Mariah Carey’s sabotage claim straight weekend BY JAKE COYLE The Associated Press NEW YORK — The new year at the box office is starting where 2016 left off: with Disney on top. The “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One” led the box office for the third straight week, taking in an estimated $64.3 million over the four-day New Year’s weekend, according to studio estimates Monday. The success of Gareth Edwards’ “Rogue One” has only further cemented a record year for the Walt Disney Co., which ran up $2.7 billion in domestic ticket sales in 2016 and accounted for more than 25 per cent of the market. “Rogue One,” which has now grossed about $440 million in North America and nearly $800 million globally, currently slots in as the year’s No. 2 movie, following “Finding Dory” (also from Disney). The studio notched four of the five top films and has, in a year marked by franchise struggles, made a routine of churning out wellreviewed, hugely profitable blockbusters. The weekend pushed the industry to $11.4 billion in ticket sales in 2016, topping the $11.1 billion record set in 2015. The record revenue, propelled primarily by the Disney juggernaut, masks undeniable challenges in the business. Attendance was largely flat. Streaming and television continue to grow as competitors. Some glaring failures (“Suicide Squad”) and flops (“Independence Day: Resurgence”) showed considerable franchise fatigue with audiences. And several studios (Paramount, Sony) endured much leaner years. But Hollywood’s 2017 is starting out with brisk business. In its second week of release, the animated “Sing,” from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, again came in second with $56.4 million. The poorly reviewed sciencefiction romance “Passengers,” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, came in third with $20.7 million over the four-

day weekend. It’s made $61.4 million thus far, a somewhat disappointing total for a film that cost north of $100 million to make. Another Disney title, “Moana,” came in fourth with $14.3 million in its sixth weekend. A pair of Oscar contenders is also packing theatres. Despite playing in more limited release, Damien Chazelle’s Los Angeles musical “La La Land” grossed $12.3 million over the fourday weekend. The lead Golden Globe nominee has grossed $37 million and yet is playing in only 750 theatres. (Wider releases play in 3,000-plus theatres.) It’s the year’s top limited release title. Denzel Washington’s acclaimed August Wilson adaption, “Fences,” also took in $12.7 million over the holiday weekend. Since opening wide on Christmas, the Paramount release has made $32.4 million, making it one of the more lucrative stage-to-screen adaptations in recent years. Debuting in a handful of theatres was Mike Mills’ family drama “20th Century Women,” starring Annette Bening, and Jim Jarmusch’s poetic “Paterson,” with Adam Driver. Each drew strong per-theatre averages playing on four screens. They joined a large contingent of films in limited release making awards-qualifying bows before expanding in January. Among them: Martin Scorsese’s Christian epic “Silence,” the grieffilled fantasy “A Monster Calls,” Peter Berg’s Boston Marathon drama “Patriot’s Day,” Ben Affleck’s crime thriller “Live By Night,” and the 1960s NASA tale “Hidden Figures” (which earned $1.1 million over the weekend in 25 theatres). In the coming weeks, those films will try to kick start the box office of 2017. On tap in the new year are new installments from “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Fast and the Furious,” “Alien” and, of course, “Star Wars” — a new (and yet very familiar) fleet of blockbusters that will hope to drive the industry to even higher revenue records. ■

BY NEKESA MUMBI MOODY The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Dick Clark Productions is hitting back against Mariah Carey’s claim it sabotaged her live performance on its “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special. Carey’s disaster during the annual New Year’s Eve special in Times Square made international headlines: The superstar vocally stumbled through her short set, failing to sing for most of it despite a pre-recorded track of her songs playing in the background. Carey was visibly upset during the performance and afterward tweeted “(expletive) happens.” Her representative Nicole Perna blamed technical difficulties, and in an interview with Billboard she said Dick Clark Productions hampered Carey’s performance. “She was not winging this moment and took it very seriously,” Perna told Billboard. “A shame that production set her up to fail.” Perna said Carey’s earpiece wasn’t working and she flagged the issue to the production team but was told it would be OK when she got on stage. “However, that was not the case, and they were again told that her earpiece was not working,” Perna said. “Instead of endeavouring to fix the issue so that Mariah could perform, they went live.” In a statement released on Sunday, the production company called such claims “absurd.” “As the premier producer


of live television events for nearly 50 years, we pride ourselves on our reputation and long-standing relationships with artists,” it said. “To suggest that dcp (Dick Clark Productions), as producer of music shows including the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and Academy of Country Music Awards, would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd.” It said that in “very rare instances” there are technical errors that can occur with live television. It said an initial investigation, however, indicated it had no involvement in the challenges associated with Carey’s performance. “We want to be clear that we have the utmost respect for Ms. Carey as an artist and acknowledge her tremendous accomplishments in the industry,” it said.

A person familiar with the production of the show who asked for anonymity to speak publicly about the incident said all of the other performers, including Gloria Estefan, rehearsed onsite for their performances and Carey was there but had a stand-in for her rehearsal, atypical for the show’s performers. The person said all of the monitors were working and no technical problems were found. Perna later disputed the claim that Carey did not rehearse. “Mariah did in fact rehearse at 3:00 p.m., Perna said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. “She went through vocals and her team ran through sound. All was well at rehearsal. She was prompt for rehearsal and her performance.” Ironically, Carey was Dick Clark Productions’ first live performer for the broadcast in 2005, when it went off without any such problems. ■

Ryan Gosling: Debbie Reynolds inspired ‘La La Land’ cast THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — Ryan Gosling says the late Debbie Reynolds served as an “inspiration” to the cast and crew of his critically-acclaimed musical “La La Land.”

Gosling thanked Reynolds “for her wonderful career of work” while accepting an award for the film at the Palm Springs Film Festival on Monday night. Gosling says the cast and crew watched Reynolds in the 1952 classic musical “Singin’ in the Rain” every day for inspiration.

Gosling calls Reynolds “a truly unparalleled talent.” Reynolds died Wednesday at the age of 84. She died a day after her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher, died at the age of 60. Fisher died four days after reportedly suffering a heart attack. ■


JANUARY 6, 2017



Tips from the pros on how to lose weight BY MARILYNN MARCHIONE The Associated Press WE MAKE ‘em, we break ‘em. New Year’s diet resolutions fall like needles on Christmas trees as January goes on. Genes can work against us. Metabolism, too. But a food behaviour researcher has tested a bunch of little ways to tip the scale toward success. His advice: Put it on autopilot. Make small changes in the kitchen, at the grocery store and in restaurants to help you make good choices without thinking. “As much as we all want to believe that we’re master and commander of all our food decisions, that’s just not true for most of us,” said the researcher, Brian Wansink. “We’re influenced by the things around us — the size of the plate, the things people are doing ... the lighting.” He heads the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, has written books on taking control of food choices, and has had government and industry funding. Some tips are gimmicks, and some may not work as well for you as they did in tests. But they “make a lot of sense” and many are backed by other studies, said one independent expert, Dr. William Yancy, a weight specialist at Duke University’s diet and fitness centre. To start: Make goals that are SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound, Yancy said. Instead of resolving to eat better,

plan how to do it, such as having chips once or twice a week instead of every day. Rather than vague vows to get in shape, resolve to walk half an hour every day after dinner. Other tips from Wansink and research to support them: In the kitchen

Redo the pantry to put healthy stuff in front. You’re three time more likely to eat the first food you see than the fifth one. Tidy your kitchen before eating. Women asked to wait in a messy kitchen ate twice as many cookies as women in the same kitchen did when it was organized and quiet. Redo the fridge. Even though it shortens shelf life, move fruits and vegetables out of crisper drawers and put them at eye level. Keep good foods in clear bags or containers and less healthy things like leftover pizza in aluminum foil. In one study, people who put fruits and vegetables on the top shelf ate nearly three times more of them than they did the week before. Keep no food out except a fruit bowl. Researchers photographed 210 kitchens to see whether countertop food reflects the weight of women in each home. Those who left breakfast cereal out weighed 20 pounds more than neighbours who didn’t; those with soft drinks out weighed 24 to 26 pounds more. Those with a fruit

bowl weighed 13 pounds less. At the table

Beware the glassware. Use narrower glasses, pour wine when the glass is on the table rather than in your hand, and use a glass that doesn’t match the colour of the wine. A study found that people poured 12 per cent more wine when using a wide glass, 12 per cent more when holding the glass, and 9 per cent more when pouring white wine into a clear glass versus a colored or opaque one. Pour any glass only half full — this cuts the average pour by 18 per cent. Use smaller plates and pay attention to colour.

makes the food stand out more. Keep the TV off and eat at a table. A study of dinner habits of 190 parents and 148 children found that the higher the parents’ body mass index (a ratio of height and weight), the

was linked to lower BMI. Try small portions of “bad” foods. Eat a bite or two, then distract yourself for 15 minutes to see if you feel satisfied. A study gave people different portions of chocolate, apple pie and potato chips and had them rate hunger and craving before and 15 minutes after eating. Bigger portion folks ate 103 calories more, but didn’t feel more satisfied than those given less. At the grocery store

Divide your shopping cart in half. Use a partition, purse or coat for a visual cue to fill at least half of your cart with fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. In two studies, half of shoppers were given divided carts and told to put healthier items in front. They spent more on produce than those given regular shopping carts. Be careful when buying in bulk . A study found that people who bought big containers of chips, juice boxes, cookies, crackers and granola bars ate ❱❱ PAGE 29 Tips from

Big plates make portions look small. In one study, people given larger bowls took 16 per cent more cereal than those given smaller bowls, yet thought they ate less. People also take more food if it matches the colour of their plate. But they eat less when the tablecloth or placemat matches the plate; it

m o r e likely they were to eat with the TV on. Eating at a table




Michelle Obama A first lady who charted her own course BY DARLENE SUPERVILLE The Associated Press WASHINGTON — When Michelle Obama considered the daunting prospect of becoming first lady, she avoided turning to books by her predecessors for guidance. Instead, she turned inward. “I didn’t want to be influenced by how they defined the role,” Mrs. Obama once said. She instinctively knew she had to define the job “very uniquely and specifically to me and who I was.” That meant doing it her way: shaping the role around her family, specifically her two young daughters, and not letting her new responsibilities consume her. Throughout her eight years, Mrs. Obama has been a powerful, if somewhat enigmatic, force in her husband’s White House. She chose her moments in the often unforgiving spotlight with great care and resisted pressure to become more engaged in the mudslinging of partisan politics. At times, she’s been more traditional than some expected — or wanted from this first lady. At other times, she’s been eager to update stuffy conventions associated with the office. As she navigated her way through, the woman who grew

up on the South Side of Chicago discovered a talent for television and a comfort with Hollywood A-listers, haute couture and social media. And she used all of those elements to promote her causes — childhood obesity, support for military families, girls’ education — with at least some success. When she leaves the White House next month just a few days after celebrating her 53rd birthday, Mrs. Obama will do so not just as a political figure, but as a luminary with international influence. Friends say she charted that path largely on her own. “What she did was she sort of listened to herself and allowed her own inner voice and strength and direction to lead her in the way that felt most authentic to her,” Oprah Winfrey told The Associated Press. “And I think watching somebody makes you want to do that for yourself.” *** Mrs. Obama grappled with the childhood obesity issue before becoming first lady; a doctor had warned her about her daughters’ weight. At the White House, she decided to share her experience with the country and started by planting the first vegetable garden there in more than 60 years. That led the following

year, in 2010, to the launch of her anti-childhood-obesity initiative, “Let’s Move.” The first lady appealed to elected officials, food makers, sellers, restaurant chains and others to try to make healthy food more accessible. She lobbied lawmakers to add more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and limit fat, sugar and sodium in the federal school lunch program. That led to the first update to the program in decades, and for Mrs. Obama the process was akin to a crash course in Washington sausage-making. Mrs. Obama’s effort was not universally welcomed. Republicans in Congress wanted to reverse the rules. Others said Mrs. Obama was acting like the “food police.” Even the kids she wanted to help added to the backlash. Some students posted photos of lunches they found unappealing on Twitter with the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama, or simply tossed the food into the trash. Mrs. Obama had won. But she would never again try to work closely with Congress on an issue. She chose instead to use her platform to press industry to change its ways. It’s too early to know how Mrs. Obama’s efforts may affect childhood obesity rates long term, but advocates believe

she helped change the national dialogue around healthy eating. And although incoming Republican President Donald Trump, a proud patron of McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, has yet to comment on school meal regulations, advocates worry about the fate of Mrs. Obama’s effort under a White House and Congress that will be controlled by the GOP. Reflecting on her childhood obesity work, Mrs. Obama said some people initially wondered why she would bother with such a “softball issue” but “now, all those challenges and criticisms are off the table.” She told talkshow host Rachael Ray that “at least we’ve become very aware as a society that this is one of our most important health issues.” *** Mrs. Obama’s push to put the country on a health kick extended to exercise — and she made herself exhibit A. To promote “Let’s Move,” the first lady often donned athletic wear and ran around with kids at sports clinics, some on the South Lawn. She twirled a hula hoop around her waist 142 times and kick-boxed in a video of the gym workout that helped tone the upper arms she showed off regularly, as in her official White House photo. She did push-ups with Ellen DeGeneres, raced in a potato sack against late-night TV’s Jimmy Fallon in the East Room and shimmied with a turnip in a brief video popular on social media — all to show that exercise can be fun. “I’m pretty much willing to make a complete fool of myself to get our kids moving,” she once said. Instead of going the fool’s route, Mrs. Obama turned herself into a fitness guru and a figure significantly more popular than her husband. *** First lady was never a position Mrs. Obama imagined for herself, given her modest upbringing, her distaste for politics and having never seen her skin colour on a U.S. president and first lady. Her early aversion to politics developed while watching her father navigate Chicago politics for his job with the city water department, and was reinforced by her husband’s pursuit of a political career. Both Obamas have said his political ambition had strained their marriage and family. Once in the White House, Mrs. Obama vowed to protect her


then 10- and 7-year-old daughters’ right to a normal childhood. She declared being “mom in chief” to Malia and Sasha as her priority, irking women who hoped the first lady might be less constrained by stereotypes. She showed few signs of trying to push those boundaries. Mrs. Obama was an enthusiastic White House hostess. She rarely spoke about issues that were outside of her portfolio. She crafted her public schedule around her daughters’ activities and limited her travel so she could spend time with them. The Obamas’ parenting style — often described by both Obamas as warm, but strict — made them role models on that front, a point of pride, particularly in the African-American community. “We have heard no Obama children drama,” said Ingrid Saunders Jones, national chairwoman of the National Council of Negro Women. Mrs. Obama didn’t really begin to open up about the historic nature of her service as the first black woman to become first lady until the end of the presidency was in sight. She mostly addressed the subject in interviews when she was asked to reflect about it, and discussed how important it was for children to see a black president and first lady. Longtime friend and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said Mrs. Obama was often reluctant to talk about such matters earlier because she wanted her legacy to be more than just her place in history. “Her goal is not what she is, but what she does,” Jarrett said. *** In the final weeks of the presidential race, Mrs. Obama set aside her distaste for politics to wage one last campaign, an ultimately futile attempt to help elect Democrat Hillary Clinton. She quickly became one of most passionate Democratic voices opposing Trump and calling him out for “bragging about sexually assaulting women” in comments caught on a 2005 video. “I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics,” she said at a Clinton rally shown live on cable TV news, rare exposure for a first lady in a campaign. If Trump’s past words are “painful to us as grown women,” she asked, “what do you think this is doing to our children?” It was yet another moment when Mrs. Obama again seemed to be following her path rather than precedent. ■



JANUARY 6, 2017


The story of Negros laid bare in the ancestral houses of Bacolod and environs BY CONSTANTINO C. TEJERO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE ILONGGOS’ perceived boastful nature is encapsulated in that statement “Ang kwarta sa amon ginapiko, gina-pala” (In our place, money is handled with pickaxe and spade). It’s an overstatement, of course, bordering on urban legend—but it should be clarified it may probably apply to the Ilonggos of Negros. Because the Ilonggos of Panay are among the most laidback people in the country, while Negros is a land of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Negros Occidental being the country’s highest-income province naturally breeds this polarity of extremes, turning the place into a hotbed of rebellion. It is the Sugarbowl of the Philippines, with 15 centrals producing more than half of the country’s sugar output. When sugar was the country’s No. 1 dollar-earner, the Negrenses really lived it up. This was exemplified by the premartial-law annual gathering of prominent Ilonggos, the legendary Kahirup Ball (which the Kapampangan elite’s Mancomunidad tried to rival). Where else did women change gowns 18 times in one night but in this exclusive society ball? Or wear heirloom jewelry with diamonds as big as gumballs? When legendary beauty Susan Magalona married Charlie Ledesma, champagne was reportedly flowing from a fountain. A wedding gift was a truckload of peanuts from one of the prankish Lizares boys. City of Smiles

The Negrense lifestyle’s excesses and deprivations can be gleaned in the Negros Museum beside the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod. In dioramas, murals, artifacts and archival materials, the island’s history is depicted from the aboriginal Ati (or Negritoes, whence came the island’s name) and how Malay settlers drove them to the foothills of Kanlaon (highest peak in the Visayas)—through the sugar boom during the Industrial

The construction of Bacolod's famous landmark is a classic tale of a husband professing his everlasting love to his wife. RACHEL LEYRITANA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Revolution, to the sugar industry’s decline in the 1980s, and the fluctuations of the lifestyle that goes along with it. A large part of the exhibition traces how, after the collapse of the textile industry in Iloilo in the 19th century, the Ilonggo elite moved their capital to Negros across Guimaras Strait and fueled the sugar industry, with the sacadas (migrant sugarcane workers) serving as the backbone of the economy. Here are scale models of the typical plantation house and the primitive sugar mill called molino de sangre. There are sample lyrics of folk songs such as “Dandansoy,” sung by migrant workers separated from their families across the strait; and “Ay, ay! Pagkakapoy” (Oh, oh! How Weary), sung by sacadas after a back-breaking day. It is here where the visitor would learn about República Cantonal de Negros. In 1897, revolutionary generals Aniceto Lacson and Juan Araneta waged a psychological warfare. Armed only with knives, bolos, spears, nipa- palm stems crafted to look like rifles, and sawali mats rolled and mounted on carts to look like cannons, they made the Spaniards surrender in a bloodless battle. From November 1898 to February 1899, Negros was a republic, with Lacson as president and Bacolod as capital. Bacolod was a coastal village driven uphill by raids of Moro pirates (thus, bakólod, Hiligaynon for “hilly”), and re-

turned downhill only when the slave-trade raids stopped. It became a barrio of Bago, a municipality in 1756, a city in 1938, and was considered highly urbanized in 1979. Now known for its MassKara festival in October, it is called the City of Smiles. Bacolod is a relatively young city. Most of its heritage structures were built in the 1930s, while the concentration of Spanish-era structures is in the two neighboring cities to the north—Talisay and especially Silay. Paris of Negros

Silay is considered the seat of arts, culture and ecotourism in Western Visayas, thus it is referred to as the Paris of Negros. National Artist Leandro Locsin, mezzo-soprano Conchita Gaston, culture writer Doreen Gamboa Fernandez and society columnist Maurice Arcache are from here. Over 30 of its ancestral houses have been declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as part of the Silay National Historical Landmark. Of these, probably the most seen and written-about is the Victor Gaston House, popularly known as Balay Negrense. Built 1897, this was the home of the eldest son of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston, the Frenchman from Iloilo who settled here in the 1840s and became Negros’ first sugar baron. The house has been turned

into a lifestyle museum showcasing the grand living of the typical hacendero. It memorializes a time when these people would go around town in carriages driven by Arabian horses. (Decades later, certain luxury cars reportedly could be seen in Negros even before they were out on the market. And the most number of red sports cars were found in Bacolod when red was a status symbol.) The Mansion on Calle Ledesma, or the Adela Mansion, is an eerie spectacle in Silay. Built in the Neoclassic style in the 1930s, the stately structure had been cut in half, the second floor torn down. Behind this is a story of love and betrayal, the stuff of gothic romances and movies. A scion has turned it into a café frequented by youngsters. It has a gallery of art installations. Also somewhat eerie is the José Corteza Locsin House. Built in the ’30s in the Art Deco style, this was the home of Sen. José Locsin, author of the Filipino First policy. When his four-year-old boy Julio Cesar died, Locsin was “so stricken with grief that he had the body mummified.” He commissioned Guillermo Tolentino to cast a bronze bust of the boy and had it placed on the steps leading to the upper floor. More storied mansions

Talisay, between Bacolod and Silay, was where Negros’ sugar industry began in the 18th

century, when an Augustinian Recollect friar propagated seedlings from Spain. Talisay has more of those storied mansions. Balay ni Tana Dicang, or Enrica Alunan Lizares House, was constructed in 1883. It typifies the Spanish-Filipino architecture called bahay-na-bato. The Simplicio Lizares House is of relatively recent vintage but more opulent. Built in the ’30s, it’s a blend of Italianate design and Philippine Art Deco. The Aniceto Lacson House, or Claparols Mansion, is known to locals as Casa Grande. Built in 1880, it served as the country’s first presidential residence when Lacson presided over Negros’ revolutionary government. Lino Brocka shot “Gumising Ka, Maruja” in this grand structure with a wraparound verandah and a chapel at its left wing. It is now a derelict building, neglected due to disputes over ownership and management. Another derelict structure but surprisingly resurrected even in skeletal form is The Ruins, formerly the Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion. Built in the early 1900s, it is called the Taj Mahal of Negros because behind its construction is another love story that will be told and retold from generation to generation. Don Mariano’s great-grandson Raymund Javellana, who manages the place, leads us to the structure’s restricted areas up to the second floor. Designed in Italianate architecture, the mansion has a belvedere and Renaissance-style balustrades. There is a lily pond on the terrace just outside the master’s bedroom. It is a truly capacious place, like a castle. A replica of the Stonehenge looms at the park’s entrance, where tourists pose for selfies. There’s also a replica of the David by the restrooms on the lawn. Javellana plans to build a boutique hotel beside the souvenir shop, with design inspired by the Colosseum. This is considered one of the 12 Most Fascinating Ruins in the World. Early this month, it was declared as Best Heritage ❱❱ PAGE 38 The story



Sports 2016 breakout year in summer sport for Canada, but money for medals scrutinized BY LAUREN LA ROSE The Canadian Press CALGARY — Canada proved in 2016 it could compete with the world’s top summer sport countries, equalling its best showing at a non-boycotted Summer Olympics with 22 medals at the Rio Games. Four gold was the most for Canada at a Summer Olympics since the country won seven in 1992, and after falling short of the goal of a top-12 finish in the overall medal count in both 2008 and 2012, Canada finally cracked the top 10 in Brazil (10th). Despite the success, the system that helped put Canadians on the podium is under scrutiny. Canadian taxpayers are the largest investor in their high performance athletes to the tune of almost $200 million annually. Own The Podium makes funding recommendations directing $70 million — about $6 million of it comes from the Canadian Olympic Committee — to sport federations whose athletes demonstrate medal potential. The strategy is called “targeted excellence” and is defined as identifying “a subset of athletes and/or teams that have a high probability of attaining stated desired Olympic and Paralympic performance results, and to provide them with focused support and funding to attain those

results.” In other words, the money and resources are doled out based on the ability to produce medals. The Department of Canadian Heritage, with Sport Canada under its umbrella, is currently reviewing targeted excellence among other aspects of the sport system. Own The Podium has its critics as the organization whose opinion holds sway in determining which sport federations get how much targeted excellence money. Some federations have received a small sliver of that funding pie, or sometimes, none at all. Under pressure to win medals, coaches and high performance directors have made controversial decisions at Olympic Games in the makeup of men’s bobsled crews and rowing boats. OTP works with significantly more taxpayer money now than the $23 million per year pre2010. The organization also oversees a sport science and technology program, monitors sport federations’ high-performance programs and has established a program of identifying and developing the next generation of Olympians and Paralympians. The government decided it’s time to look at whether the sport system is getting desired results affordably and if it is adapting to changing needs. “Fourteen years ago we

thought this was a good idea, this was the path and this was a cutting-edge approach to high-performance sport internationally,” Minister of Sport Carla Qualtrough told The Canadian Press in 2016. “So like any coach will tell you we need to keep reviewing the game plan. Medal performances say how well we’ve done under this particular plan, but maybe there’s a different direction we need to go to achieve even better results next time.” OTP was established five years out from the 2010 Winter Games and Paralympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., to get the host country’s athletes on the podium. Anne Merklinger, OTP’s third chief executive officer following Roger Jackson and Alex Baumann, believes Canada’s results in the Olympics and Paralympics in the last 11 years are an argument for the targeted approach. But that doesn’t mean change shouldn’t happen, she added. “The government of Canada’s decision to deploy a targeted excellence approach has delivered in spades,” Merklinger said. “The data speaks for itself. It’s been incredibly successful.” “That said, can we improve? That’s the value of this review. Own The Podium has been tasked with delivering the targeted approach, but how does the whole system get better? That’s the kind of thoughtful dialogue I would say needs to happen once the report is tabled.”

on fruits and vegetables versus those given no sample or a cookie. A healthy snack may prime people to buy better foods, not the fast, processed foods they gravitate to when shopping hungry. Circle every island in the produce section. In a study of 1,200 shoppers, every minute spent

in the produce section meant $1.80 more in fruit and vegetable sales.


The host country won 14 gold medals, which was a record for any country at a single Winter Games, and ranked third in the overall medal count in 2010 with 26 medals. The stated objective for 2010 was to win more medals than any other country. The goal was the same four years later in Sochi, where Canada ranked fourth with 25 medals, including 10 gold. Canada is a winter sport power. The country ranked second in world championship medals in 2016 with 18 behind Germany at 19, according to OTP statisticians. Canada has also won more medals to start this 2016-17 World Cup winter season (73) than any other country, OTP said. Gains in summer sport have taken longer. Canada’s one gold medal among 19 won at the 2012 Sum-

mer Games in London was unremarkable when compared with three gold in 19 four years earlier in Beijing. While Canada remains a topthree country in the Winter Paralympic Games, the country has lost ground in the Summer Games. Other nations are more putting effort and resources into their summer para-sport athletes than they were a decade ago. Canada dropped from 50 medals to 31 to 29 over the last three Summer Paralympics. The company hired to gather data encompassing pre-2010 to the Rio Games is expected to complete its work in January, a Heritage department spokesperson told The Canadian Press in an email. Findings will be submitted to Sport Canada, which will in turn make recommendations to Qualtrough in 2017. ■

likely to order healthier fish, vegetables or white meat rather than fried food or dessert. Diners in dim rooms ordered 39 per cent more calories. Sit near a window. Researchers analyzed 330 diners’ receipts after they left. The closer they were to a window, the fewer foods and alcoholic

drinks they ordered. Ask for a to-go box in advance. Half of diners in a study were told before they ordered that the portions were big and that they could have a doggie bag. Those told in advance wound up taking more food home. To-go boxes encourage people to eat about a third less. ■

Tips from... half of it within the first week — twice as fast as they normally would. Tip: Repackage into single-serve bags or containers, or store it out of reach, such as the basement. Eat an apple first. People given a sample of an apple at the store increased spending ❰❰ 26

At a restaurant

Let the light shine. Researchers checked sales receipts of patrons at four casual chain restaurants. Those in brighter rooms were more


JANUARY 6, 2017


Business Top CEOs will earn more by today than average Canadian does in 2017: CCPA report BY DAVID PADDON The Canadian Press TORONTO — Before noon today, Canada’s highest-paid CEOs will earn more than the average working person’s income for all of 2017. That’s the conclusion of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, an Ottawa-based think-tank that has tracked CEO compensation in this country for a decade. It says this year’s elite group of chief executive officers will earn the average, full-time Canadian wage by 11:47 a.m. on Jan. 3 — the second working day of 2017. Last year, it would have taken about half an hour longer — until 12:18 p.m. on the second working day of 2016. Hugh Mackenzie, a Torontobased independent economist who wrote the Policy Alternatives report, says the clock analogy is a powerful way to illustrate a widening gap between what top executives get paid and what average Canadian workers earn. “There’s clearly been an explosion in the compensation of senior executives in Canada and the United States. And that serves as a very potent symbol, I think, of the growth of income ine q u a l i t y,” Mackenzie said in an interview. T h i s y e a r ’s report, b a s e d on information released by Canadian publicly traded compa-

nies in 2016, estimates the average compensation of the Top 100 chief executives was $9.5 million in 2015 — 193 times the average annual industrial wage. That’s up from $8.96 million in 2014 — 184 times the average annual industrial wage that year. Mackenzie says the problem lies with the way CEOs earn this money — often with stock grants and stock options that can lead executives to make decisions that reward them in the short term rather than the company or public at large. He suggests Ottawa should level the playing field by ending a tax break for proceeds from stock options “The proceeds of stock options in Canada are taxed at half the rate of ordinary income,” Mackenzie says. “The (Trudeau) government actually

promised to get rid of that but then backed down in the face of opposition from the business community.” “One of the things that I’m going to be watching with some interest is what the government does in its next budget with respect to that campaign commitment.” Mackenzie says the trend to higher CEO compensation has been pretty consistent over the years — regardless of the broader economic downturns or shareholder attempts to get more say on executive pay. But he admits there always seems to be at least one or two individual CEOs each year who are far ahead of the others, possibly distorting the overall averages in the Top 100. Most of the year-over-year increase in the Policy Options report was due to just one person — Michael Pearson, formerly CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (TSX:VRX) — who vaulted to No. 1 with $182.9 million of compensation in 2015 from No. 15 at just under $11.35 million in 2014. Pearson’s rise was due mostly to $179.4 million of share compensation in 2015 — a year when Laval, Que.-based Valeant was at times Canada’s most valuable company with a stock above $300 per share for a two-month stretch in the summer. Since then, Valeant has lost more than 90 per cent of its market value following a series of problems — including U.S. investigations into price hikes for some of its drugs — that emerged before Pearson departed in early 2016. ■

Proposal seeks bigger budget for irrigation BY RONNEL W. DOMINGO Philippine Daily Inquirer A PROPOSED law is being prepared to provide the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) with funds for its operations as the Duterte administration continues to find ways on how to sustain free irrigation services. Rep. Arthur C. Yap (Bohol, third district) said he was preparing a bill that would also enable the NIA to modernize and to receive sufficient funds to carry out its work. Following a meeting with NIA Administrator Peter Laviña and other NIA officials, Yap said 1.7 million hectares of riceproducing farms were irrigated and half a million hectares could still be irrigated. Citing NIA data, Yap said that of the 1.7 million hectares of irrigated rice lands, cropping intensity, or the number of times a crop was planted a year in a given area, was only about 1.55 times. This means that even in irrigated farms, rice could not be planted twice a year mainly because some irrigation facilities need repair or rehabilitation. Yap was agriculture secretary during the Arroyo administration, when NIA was under the supervision of the Department

of Agriculture. During the Aquino Administration, the NIA was transferred to the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization created in 2014. Currently, it is under the supervision of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary. Yap said that in order for the NIA to attend to irrigation facilities that needed repair— and thus enable all irrigated farms two crop cycles a year— the agency needed P87 billion. “[Also,] there are still about one million hectares of potentially irrigable land and which will cost about P325 billion in 10 years time,” he said. Considering that water infrastructure could be used for sanitation, transportation, power and irrigation, he said the expenses could be justified, especially since an improved cropping intensity would lessen the country’s rice importation. “President Duterte promised free irrigation to farmers as part of his campaign promise but without a comprehensive financial and construction program to restore, rehabilitate, maintain and expand the current irrigated lands in the country, there won’t be sufficient water to distribute, if water actually even reaches the farms,” Yap said. ■




6 money resolutions you can actually keep BY LIZ WESTON The Associated Press LET’S FACE the grim truth: Those 10 pounds you want to lose will likely be among your New Year’s resolutions next year, too. If you really want a sense of accomplishment, take care of money tasks that don’t require ongoing discipline and that you typically don’t have to repeat every year. Some of these are “one and done,” while others you may have to revisit as your life changes, but all will give you a sense of progress toward your financial goals. Consolidate retirement accounts

Consolidating makes it easier to monitor your investments and can save you money. Investment choices in 401(k)s typically cost significantly less than those available outside the plans, and many large-company 401(k)s offer dirt-cheap funds not available to retail investors. If you have a good 401(k), ask your employer if you can transfer your old retirement accounts into it. Otherwise, consider rolling old accounts into a single IRA at a discount brokerage. For even more simplicity, consider low-cost target-date retirement funds that relieve you of the ongoing need to rebalance your accounts. Buy life insurance

Not everyone needs life in-

surance, but if you do, you likely need a lot of it. If anyone else depends on your paycheque or your child-rearing services, you need to calculate your future obligations and subtract your current resources to see how much insurance to buy. Life insurance calculators can help you refine the numbers; USAA has a good one. Then get quotes from several carriers. Most people will need to opt for term insurance, which is vastly cheaper than insurance that has an investment component, such as whole life.

ware or a site like LegalZoom to draft a simple will. If you have a more complicated situation or you want expert help — not a bad idea when it comes to end-of-life issues — your local bar association can offer referrals to estateplanning attorneys. Check your beneficiaries

Set up savings buckets

Imagine never having to scramble to pay a big bill, whether it’s holiday expenses, a car repair or your property taxes. That’s possible when you set timate likely costs. income-based repayment plans up savings accounts dedicated and more generous forbearance to specific costs. Online banks Refinance your student loans and deferment options. That typically allow you to set up If you have good credit, you may be a gamble worth taking if multiple accounts at no extra may be able to lower the inter- you have a solid job and can pay cost. For each goal, figure out est rates on your education debt. off the debt quickly. Otherwise, how much you’ll need to pay Refinancing to a lower rate is consider refinancing any private the bill when it’s loans separately due, and divide and apply the by the number of amount you save paychecks you’ll to your federal get between now Not everyone needs life insurance, loan bills. That and then. Set up but if you do, you likely need a lot of will help you get a regular transfer it. rid of them faster. for that amount, and the cash will Write your will be waiting for If you don’t you when you need it. For less pretty much a no-brainer when have stuff or pets or minor chilpredictable bills, such as car re- you have private student loans. dren — or you do, but don’t care pairs, you can use the previous With federal student loans, what happens to them — keep year’s bills or’s you’d be giving up some pretty putting this off. Otherwise, you True Cost to Own feature to es- important protections, such as can use Quicken WillMaker soft-

You typically have to name beneficiaries when you open retirement accounts and buy life insurance, but you also may have named them for bank or other financial accounts. Some states allow you to designate “transfer on death” beneficiaries for vehicles and even real estate. The people you name in most cases will get the money, even if you’ve since divorced or named somebody else in your will or living trust. You can check and change many financial beneficiary designations online. Self-help legal site Nolo has information about naming, changing and revoking beneficiaries for cars and homes. You’ll want to review your beneficiaries and most of the other tasks on this list after any major life change, such as a birth, adoption, marriage, divorce or death. Until then, count these as resolutions you were able to keep. ■ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a certified financial planner and columnist at NerdWallet.

SMDC to sell bargain house and lots BY DORIS DUMLAOABADILLA Philippine Daily Inquirer RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY developer SM Development Corp. (SMDC) is preparing to diversify into provincial areas and begin offering “economic” house and lots to address the huge housing backlog in the country. “We would like to offer the cosmopolitan lifestyle to as many Filipinos to allow them to live in lifestyle districts anchored on the synergies of SM’s property developments,” SMDC executive vice presi-

dent Jose Mari Banzon said in a press statement. SMDC, a subsidiary of property giant SM Prime Holdings, is expected to launch its first economic housing project in Central Luzon in 2017. A commercial development will rise right beside the planned gated community. Based on its 2015 resolution, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) defines “economic” housing as those priced at P1.7 million or below. The price ceiling was adjusted from P1.25 million earlier, taking into account higher prices of raw land, land development, construc-

tion materials and labor costs. With the government seeking to spur development in the regions, SMDC said it is “aligning” its expansion plan to help narrow the huge gap in the Philippine housing sector with a reported backlog of over 5.5 million. To help address the gap, SMDC is also building mediumrise buildings (MRBs) outside Metro Manila. These planned MRB developments will mostly be located in SM’s mall complexes to give residents the convenience of going to a supermarket, department store and other dining and entertainment venues just a stone’s

throw away. “The key is to make our offerings as affordable as possible and at the same time, give our residents luxury-like living in all our developments,” Banzon said. Last October, SMDC launched Vine Residences, located within the complex of SM City Novaliches. The condominium project has a central park with sunken gardens, swimming pools, a nature’s park and a camp site. SMDC launched during the fourth quarter its very first MRB project outside Metro Manila called Cheer Residences within the SM City Marilao

complex in Bulacan. “The market remains huge especially in the affordable segment. SMDC’s main strength is its ability to make good its promise to deliver homes in prime locations,” Banzon said. Prior to the aggressive entry of SMDC into the housing market in 2007, Henry Sy Jr., the eldest son of businessman Henry Sy, had a vision to make housing more affordable for Filipinos without sacrificing quality. This gave birth to SMDC’s aggressive move into vertical housing development. In just 10 years, SMDC was able to launch a total of 28 projects. It has sold more than 83,000 units to date. ■


JANUARY 6, 2017


Technology Wider access to livestreaming signals growth of ‘in the moment’ video in 2017 BY LAUREN LA ROSE The Canadian Press TORONTO — Oneika Raymond has spent years documenting her globetrotting adventures online, but the Canadian travel blogger says broadcasting her experiences live has brought a whole new dimension to digital storytelling. The Toronto-raised, New York-based Raymond has visited more than 90 countries and lived in London, France, Hong Kong and Mexico. In addition to publishing photos, articles and travel diaries, Raymond has been producing videos as a way to bring viewers along on her travels, while also encouraging them to embark on their own adventures. Since adding livestreaming to her digital toolkit, Raymond has been enthralled by the ability to broadcast to her more than 28,000 Facebook followers with a few taps on her smartphone. “There’s something about visual storytelling via video that I think is so authentic and so real,” said Raymond, the blogger behind the website Oneika the Traveller. “For me, livestreaming on social media — particularly on Facebook — has been exhilarating,” she added. “(People) can send you hearts and likes and questions, and the interactivity is, quite frankly, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.” With Facebook and Instagram adopting the livestreaming trend in 2016, the social

networking sites joined Twitter’s Periscope app among the tools helping to widen access to on-demand broadcasts. Facebook Live was described as “having a TV camera in your pocket” during its April launch, but few could have anticipated the powerful ways the tool would be put to use. After Philando Castile was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Minnesota in July, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds livestreamed the grisly aftermath. “I think it speaks to the impact that technology can have on the public consciousness, and how it can be used in a good way, to a certain extent, because it makes people aware of issues and systemic problems,” said Patrick O’Rourke, senior editor for the Canadian tech website MobileSyrup. Beyond offering a platform for journalists, politicians and activists to bring attention to conflicts, protests and notable causes, livestreaming has also been embraced many seeking to share more light-hearted moments, from footage of kids’ parties to cooking demonstrations. Candace Payne became an instant celebrity in May after a Facebook Live video of her trying on a Star Wars Chewbacca mask went viral. The “Chewbacca Mom” video has since been viewed more than 164 million times, and got her an invite to Facebook headquarters from founder Mark Zuckerberg. “All you need is a phone and an app and you can livestream

now, and that wasn’t the case even a few years ago,” said O’Rourke. According to Facebook, nearly 80 per cent of Canadians have watched a Live video on the social network, and the equivalent of more than 11 years worth of Live video is watched daily in Canada. Facebook product director Daniel Danker said Live has “overwhelmingly” been a mobile experience, and one that continues to evolve heading into 2017. Users now have the ability to add in friends during a broadcast, and to share “immersive” stories with 360-degree video from a variety of angles. Another new addition centres on audio. “They can connect without even having the camera on, which is a different form of storytelling,” Danker said from San Francisco. “We’re seeing authors and radio personalities and others taking it up ... but you can’t always predict how these things will get used. I think we’re going to find some interesting ways that gets used.” University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist said the popularity of livestreaming is unsurprising given the immediacy it offers. The technology is also appealing for use in other settings, like enabling connec-

tivity in classrooms, he added. At the same time, there is a significant impact from a privacy perspective. “We, frankly, long ago reached the point

that the cameras are always on,” said Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and Ecommerce Law. “We have, I think, at this stage, an expectation that regardless of the event, regardless of the venue that someone will have recorded something. And that world is one that, at least up until fairly recently, people thought about I think with a fair amount of trepidation. “The ‘Big Brother’ kinds of feelings that people often had envisioned government as being the all-seeing entity. It turns out we’re doing govern-

ment’s job for it.” An August survey from Toronto-based Solutions Research Group showed teens and millennials outpacing Generation X and boomers in their live video use, such as Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime and Periscope. In the poll, 59 per cent of teens and 55 per cent of millennials had made use of live video within the last month, compared to 43 per cent of GenXers and 22 per cent of boomers. “There’s no question that extending two or three years out, in-the-moment live video is going to be very commonplace for people to use. You’re already seeing a lot of use right now,” said SRG president Kaan Yigit. “I have to believe that every social platform will have a onetouch live broadcast capability within the next six to eight months.” ■




New discovery Musicians weigh in on whether may lead to faster smartphone cameras ruin concerts electronics production BY DAVID FRIEND The Canadian Press


With potential applications in printed electronics, solar cells, gas sensing and photocatalysis, IPL sintering allows SAN FRANCISCO — Research- for densification in a matter of ers have uncovered a relation- seconds over larger areas comship between film temperature pared to conventional sintering and densification in photonic processes such as oven-based sintering of silver nanoparticle and laser-based. films, namely the use of intense Earlier research showed that pulsed light, or IPL, to rapidly nanoparticle densification befuse functional conductive gins above a critical optical flunanoparticles, that may lead to ence per pulse but that it does faster production of advanced, not change significantly beyond flexible electronics. a certain number of pulses. The findings, by engineers with The OSU study, published in the College of Engineering at Nanotechnology, explains why, Oregon State University (OSU), for a constant fluence, there is indicate that there is a tempera- a critical number of pulses beture turning point in IPL despite yond which the densification no change in pulsing energy, and levels off. that the turning point appears “The leveling off in density because densification during occurs even though there’s IPL reduces the been no change nanoparticles’ in the optical ability to absorb energy and even further energy though densifrom the light. For some fication is not Densification applications complete,” Malin IPL increases we want hotra said. “It the density of to have occurs because a nanoparticle maximum of the temperathin-film or patdensity ture history of tern, with greater possible. the nanoparticle density leading film, i.e. the temto functional imperature turning provements such point.” as greater electrical conductivity. A smaller number of highThe previously unknown fluence pulses quickly produces interaction between optical high density. For greater denabsorption and densification sity control, a larger number of creates a new understanding low-fluence pulses is required. of why densification levels off “We were sintering in around after the temperature turn- 20 seconds with a maximum ing point in IPL, and further temperature of around 250 enables large-area, high-speed degrees Celsius in this work,” IPL to realize its full potential Malhotra was quoted as saying as a scalable and efficient man- in a news release. ufacturing process. “More recent work we have “For some applications we done can sinter within less than want to have maximum density two seconds and at much lower possible,” said Rajiv Malhotra, temperatures, down to around assistant professor of mechani- 120 degrees Celsius. Lower cal engineering at OSU. temperature is critical to flexi“For some we don’t. Thus, it ble electronics manufacturing.” becomes important to control “To lower costs, we want to the densification of the mate- print these flexible electronics rial. Since densification in IPL on substrates like paper and depends significantly on the plastic, which would burn or temperature, it is important to melt at higher temperatures. understand and control tem- By using IPL, we should be able perature evolution during the to create production processes process. This research can lead that are both faster and cheapto much better process control er, without a loss in product and equipment design in IPL.” quality.” ■

TORONTO — When the lights dim at concert venues as the show begins, often it’s smartphones that first emerge from the darkness. Even before the performers take the stage, some fans are fumbling with their devices hoping to capture every moment on their cameras — regardless of whether they’re even close enough for a good shot. Phil Collins has seen it happen countless times with concertgoers who yank themselves out of the emotional experience to play amateur cinematographer. “They’re half consumed with whether it’s in focus or they’re getting the best light — just so they can go home and enjoy it,” he says. “When the lights used to swing out into the audience on the Genesis tour everybody had (sun)glasses on. Now the lights swing out and you see 15,000 cameras.” It’s a debate that got musicians particularly rankled in 2016, as they fought against the tide of the YouTube generation. Alicia Keys grabbed international attention early in the year for her decision to sign with Yondr, which enforces “phone-free spaces.” The company locks devices in a patented case that can be carried by the owner but only unlocked outside the venue. Snubbing cameras ignited a debate over whether Keys, once a spokeswoman for BlackBerry, was taking too strong a stance against her own fans and ubiquitous technology. But it’s not like the standoff between musicians and cameras is entirely new. For years it was considered a faux pas to sneak personal cameras into shows. Music icons like Beyonce and Prince warned fans that digital cameras would be confiscated by security at their shows. Prince even made it part of its famous “Purple Rules” posted outside of arenas. “Violators will be asked to access another experience,” he


warned. As high-quality smartphones hit the market, the fight against cameras became almost futile. Everyone suddenly had a lens at their disposal and with it came the urge to snap a good picture. Metric frontwoman Emily Haines is hopeful that more fans might think twice before pulling out their devices. “I feel like Metric shows used to be like rock ‘n’ roll church,” she says. “The doors (would) close and this was our home for the next couple hours.” Haines says it’s become tougher to recapture that energy in larger venues as more people try to document their experience. “You’re trying to convey to thousands of people something that will unify everyone ... and instead realize someone is taking a super unflattering closeup picture of you. It’s like, ‘OK, I’m not here for the world’s worst photo shoot. I’m here to play music.”’ Haines is also cautious of how some concertgoers are looking for the viral clips that’ll catch fire on social media. Countless artists have been forced to defend their off-the-cuff remarks to fans or rewatch embarrassing stage tumbles that wound up online. “It feels like the risk of being totally spontaneous is not worth the consequence, if somebody has posted it on YouTube before you’ve even left the

building,” she says. “You bring on the ire of whoever you’ve offended.” Australian singer Troye Sivan, who rose to fame on YouTube before launching his mainstream pop career, is used to seeing his Internet-savvy fans throwing up their phones at his shows. “It’s almost a different form of reward,” he says. “When I start playing a song and see all the phones coming up, I’m like, ‘Oh people want to share this, that’s a good thing.”’ But that doesn’t necessarily mean Sivan likes shooting amateur concert footage himself. “I might film for like 10 seconds to get something for my Instagram story, but I’ve never been the person that films the whole song,” he adds. “My mom does that, and I’m like, ‘Mom, are you going to go home and watch it back later? What’s the goal here?”’ Vine star Ruth B shares his sentiments, even though she launched her career by offering a glimpse into her most intimate musical moments sitting at her piano. The singer rose to fame after encouraging fans to interact with the creation of her debut song “Lost Boy.” She thinks filming concerts is a totally different situation. “I’ve always been a really big advocate for living in the moment,” Ruth B says. “I’d rather see something through my own eyes than a phone screen.” ■

JANUARY 6, 2017




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Travel ‘Try before you buy’ VR experiences becoming a big part of tourism campaigns BY ADAM STANLEY The Canadian Press ONE MINUTE you’re looking at the bright lights of Las Vegas from 150 metres in the air. Then, you’re bouncing in a safari in an African jungle. Finally, you’re navigating the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb on a stunning spring day. And you haven’t even left your living room. Virtual reality, sometimes called VR, is a growing marketing tool for the tourism industry, giving potential travellers the chance to sample cities and special events from the comfort of home. Nick Mattera, senior director of digital engagement at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association, says offering a VR experience for the city, with its impactful visual content, made sense. “Virtual reality has had a huge impact” on tourism, he says. “When we first started doing it, we wanted to have a few of those ‘wow’ experiences, experiences that give people the opportunity to think a little differently about Las Vegas,” says Mattera, whose organization states more than 1.5 million Canadians visited Las Vegas in 2015. There are now 30 videos on the association’s VegasVR app — from the aforementioned helicopter ride, to a Richard Petty NASCAR driving experience, and hotel and restaurant tours. Robin Ritchie, an associate professor of marketing at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in Ottawa, says Las Vegas is the perfect desti-

“It’s hard to imagine what a trip to British Columbia might be like — the nature, the scenery, and the wildlife — so we felt using VR was a great way to do that,” says Maya Lange, vice president of global marketing at Destination British Columbia.

nation for virtual reality due to its seemingly never-ending visuals. “It’s a very content-rich, dense environment where no matter where you look there’s something interesting to see,” he explains. “We’re not talking about every small town here, there and everywhere getting involved in VR. It’s about immersing yourself in an experience and knowing, ‘I have to go there.”’ Ritchie mentions a few Canadian cities where VR would make sense as a promotional tool, including Banff and Jasper in Alberta, Whistler, B.C., and Vancouver. Destination British Columbia devel-

oped its own VR content back in 2014, which it calls “The Wild Within VR Experience.” “It’s hard to imagine what a trip to British Columbia might be like — the nature, the scenery, and the wildlife — so we felt using VR was a great way to do that,” says Maya Lange, vice president of global marketing at Destination British Columbia. “What compels people to want to visit British Columbia is nature. It’s (now) something that can be tangible and you can really give people the sense of what it’s like to stand in the middle of a huge forest. It’s a pretty powerful feeling.”

Iloilo City reaps fruits of successful APEC hosting PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY ILOILO CITY — Iloilo City is now reaping the benefits of its successful hosting of several meetings of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, according to City Tourism Officer Junel Ann P. Divinagracia. Divinagracia on Wednesday disclosed

that big conventions are already lined up to be held in Iloilo City even until 2018. On March 6-15, 2017, this city will be welcoming delegates for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. In line with this, the city government is looking for 40 volunteers who will serve as liaison officers (LO). ❱❱ PAGE 36 Iloilo City

Lange admits it’s hard to find a direct correlation between the VR experience and an impact on tourism numbers, but she says this year they hit five million international visitors for the first time. Ottawa is also expecting a big boost in tourism in 2017 as Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary. While VR will not be a part of any official Ottawa 2017 events, according to Ottawa Tourism, two museums have collaborated with Ottawabased VR company SimWave to create high-tech content. At the Canada Science and Technology Museum patrons will be able to go “inside” an old steam locomotive and “drive” it. SimWave will also collaborate with the Canadian War Museum to create a Vimy Ridge experience — where patrons can interact with the environment and soldiers during battle — as part of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. “The idea is that we wanted to create something for the museums that people couldn’t at home,” says Matt Thomas, head of business development at SimWave. “When people hear they’ve got these cool (experiences), they’re going to want to see that.” Whether it’s encouraging people to visit a museum or a city, it all comes back to content — real or imaginary. “Vegas is unlike any other destination in the world. If you look at the types of products we have and the kinds of entertainment, there are so many opportunities to create unique virtual reality content,” says Mattera. “Virtual reality is like the ultimate ‘try before you buy.’” ■



JANUARY 6, 2017


Not just for skiers: Gondolas Blizzards, ice seen as urban transit solution storms wreak havoc across northern plains BY MARY ESCH The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — Instead of fighting traffic or waiting for a taxi, rail travellers arriving at New York’s capital may one day soar across the Hudson River in glassy pods suspended from cables. That futuristic image could become a reality if an engineering firm’s urban gondola plan comes to fruition. It’s one of several aerial cable projects being pitched in cities from Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to solve public transportation problems by going above the existing maze of congested highways, bridges and rails. “We haven’t seen any major adoption in North America, but there has been so much change and such growth in the technology in the last decade that it’s only a matter of time,” said Toronto-based urban planner Steven Dale, who created The Gondola Project to provide technical assistance for such ideas. Cable-propelled urban gondolas are similar to those used for decades to transport skiers up mountains. While there are only a couple used for public commuter transit in the U.S. — Portland, Oregon’s Aerial Tram and New York City’s Roosevelt Island Tramway — the technology is quickly gaining traction in European countries such as Italy, Germany, Portugal and France. Medellin, Colombia, launched the first aerial gondola mass transit system in South America in 2004, and Mexico City inaugurated its new Mexicable gondola transit system in October. In the U.S., gondola projects have been proposed, with varying degrees of interest, over the Potomac River between Georgetown and Rosslyn, Virginia; across the centre of Austin, Texas; from downtown Miami to the Marlins ballpark; across New York City’s East River; and along an 8-mile route from Branson Landing to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. In Albany, the gondola is aimed at a specific problem: The city’s busy Amtrak sta-


Gondola proposals have been slow to gain traction in the U.S., with objections including “pie-in-the-sky” skepticism, political opposition and residents’ concern about privacy with commuters peering down on their homes. DSHUMNY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

tion is actually located across the Hudson River in the city of Rensselaer, a 1.3-mile cab ride from the downtown government and entertainment district where most people are headed. Travelers have long complained there are never enough taxis and people often have to wait or share. “I took Greyhound from New York City and thought I’d walk from the Albany bus station to the train, since it’s only a mile,” said Rosemary Scheibel of Auburn as she waited for a train on Friday. When she discovered there’s no way to walk along the elevated highway and bridge over the river, “I had to pay $13 for a taxi,” she said. The gondola plan would offer up to 1,200 riders an hour the chance to soar 100 feet above the Hudson in enclosed, airconditioned eight-person cabins with an expansive view of the river and Albany’s skyline. The trip would take about five minutes, and like a ski lift, the cars would move continuously, slowing enough that even people in wheelchairs can easily get on and off. “It’s an elegant solution,” said Albany Democratic Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “There are those who say, ‘Why do we need it?’ But there has been more interest than skepticism.” West Nyack, New York-based McLaren Engineering Group, which pitched the idea, estimated construction at between

$17 million and $20 million, with annual operating costs of about $2.4 million. If approved by a series of state and federal agencies, McLaren says costs could be covered by a mix of private and public funds, ticket revenue and advertising. “The purpose is twofold,” said Peter Melewski, national director of strategic planning for McLaren. “One is to solve a transportation problem. The other is as a natural draw for tourism.” Gondola proposals have been slow to gain traction in the U.S., with objections including “piein-the-sky” skepticism, political opposition and residents’ concern about privacy with commuters peering down on their homes. Dale said a lack of accessible research was another roadblock before he launched his information centre. “And no city wants to be first,” Dale said. “They want to be able to point to someone and say ‘We can do it, too.’” Will Handsfield, transportation director for the Georgetown Business Improvement District, which is promoting the Potomac project, said cable gondolas provide an alternative in areas where new highways or rail systems are too expensive or impossible to fit. “I think it would be useful,” said 19-year-old Abbey McGrath as she waited for a train. “And it would be super interesting.” ■

Bismarck, North Dakota, predicted snow accumulations of 8 to 15 inches in western parts of CHICAGO — Travel conditions the state and thunderstorms in remain hazardous across much the central region. of the northern Great Plains The North Dakota Transporas a winter storm continues to tation Department closed most sweep across the region. of a 240-mile stretch of InterThe combination of freezing state 94 Sunday night, from the rain, snow and high winds that Montana border to Jamestown. forced the shutdown Sunday of Portions of U.S. Highways 2, vast stretches of highways in the 52 and 281 were also closed Dakotas was forecast to contin- because of snow, ice and “near ue into Monday morning. zero visibility.” The storm also Bismarck Pohas caused widelice Chief Dan spread power Donlin issued a outages in the no travel advisoDakotas, NebrasBetween the ice ry for the North ka and western and snow, and Dakota capital, Iowa. winds howling where stranded As of 1 a.m. like crazy, there vehicles blocked Monday, the will be nothing roadways and inSouth Dakota moving. tersections. Rural Electric Authorities in Association was South Dakota reporting 10,231 shut down Inter“member-constate 90 from the sumer-owners” were without Wyoming border to Chamberpower. In Nebraska, high winds lain — a distance of about 260 were cited for hundreds of pow- miles. er outages in central and eastIcy conditions in Aberdeen, ern portions of the state. South Dakota, prompted the “Between the ice and snow, Brown County Sheriff’s Office and winds howling like crazy, to issue a no travel advisory. Abthere will be nothing moving” erdeen was also under a weather until late afternoon Monday, service flash flood warning after said National Weather Ser- rain and snowmelt flooded mavice meteorologist Greg Gust jor intersections in the city. in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The weather service warned “Then it’s dig-out time.” anyone who “must travel” on Gust’s advice to travellers: icy roads in central Minnesota “Stay put.” to have an extra flashlight, food The weather service office in and water. ■

Iloilo City... Those who are interested are advised to submit their resume at the City Tourism Office before the year ends. Training will start in January. The SSEAYP International General Assembly (SIGA) will be held in this city from April to May 2017. This event will gather delegates of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) who are ex❰❰ 35

perts in their respective fields. In July or August 2017, national and international players of the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) will convene in Iloilo City and in October the Association of the Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP). Divinagracia added that these events will have a big contribution to the economic activity of Iloilo City. ■



Food as needed • 4 Boston lettuce leaves • 2 cups steamed jasmine rice • 1 red Fresno chili, sliced paper thin • 1/2 cup Crispy Shallots, (optional), recipe follows Combine the onion slices with enough cold water to cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Combine the chicken, rau ram, mint, cilantro, and Thai bird chili slices in a large bowl. Drain the onion slices and add them to the chicken. Add the lime juice, peanut oil, fish sauce, and sambal to the salad and toss gently until combined. Season to taste with sugar, salt, and pepper. Arrange the Boston lettuce on chilled plates. Top with the salad and serve with steamed rice and the Fresno chili. Garnish with crispy shallots if desired.

Vietnam inspires a healthy post-holiday chicken salad THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA CALL IT a resolution or just a last-minute attempt to button your pants, but come January, many of us strive to put the cookies behind us and make thoughtful food choices. But one sure-fire way to find yourself off track on a healthier eating plan is to fill your refrigerator with bland and boring foods after a month of decadent party snacks. Fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats and proteins are important foundations for a well-balanced diet, but, on their own, they’re not always a thrilling culinary experience. If you need some inspiration to take your healthy post-holiday dinners from fine to fabulous, look no further than our neighbours on the other side of the globe. Vietnamese cuisine is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world, for its lean meats and proteins, fresh vegetables and limited use of dairy. Vin-

egars, spicy chilies, and fragrant and flavourful herbs are characteristic of familiar Vietnamese dishes, like the banh mi sandwich and cold rice noodle bowls. Layered together, they elevate minimal ingredients like boiled chicken and raw carrots to create exciting recipes that can help you out of that boring salad slump. This recipe for Hue Chicken Salad is the perfect dish to ease you into your meal-plan reboot. Though it starts with a base of plain boiled or steamed chicken (don’t stop reading), it’s packed with bright and fresh flavours, and every bite is a new experience. There may be some ingredients in this recipe you haven’t used before, so take this opportunity to get to know them. Or, you can always replace them with more familiar ingredients. Rau ram is a Vietnamese herb that can easily be substituted with cilantro, and sambal is a spicy chili sauce that can be replaced by Sriracha or omitted entirely if

spicy isn’t your thing (in that case, don’t add those Thai bird chilies either). If you aren’t familiar with fish sauce, allow us to make this exciting introduction. Fish sauce is a very common ingredient in southeast Asian cuisines made by extracting the liquid from salted fermented fish. Despite its strong aroma, the flavour of fish sauce almost disappears in a dish, becoming more of a seasoning than a distinct flavour. CIA Chef Michael Pardus calls it “the duct tape of the kitchen” for its ability to repair any bland recipe. This recipe recommends serving the chicken salad with rice for dinner, but it’s also great used as a topper for salad greens, served with riced cauliflower, or scooped over toasted whole-grain bread. It is also the perfect make-ahead recipe, since its flavours will deepen in the refrigerator, and leftovers will make for a lunch you can really look forward to. Just be prepared for the longing looks from your co-workers with

Crispy Shallots

their boring salads. Hue chicken salad

Start to finish: 20 minutes Servings: 4 You can use either poached or roasted chicken to make this salad. If you can’t find rau ram, substitute an equal quantity of additional cilantro and mint. Vietnamese sambal is a fiery hot chili paste. You can substitute a good hot sauce if it cannot be found. • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin • 1 1/2 pounds shredded cooked chicken meat • 1/4 cup rau ram leaves, torn • 1/4 cup mint leaves, torn • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves and stems • 1 Thai bird chili, thinly sliced • 2 tablespoons lime juice • 1 tablespoon peanut oil • 1 tablespoon fish sauce • 1 tablespoon Vietnamese sambal • 2 teaspoons sugar, or as needed • Salt, as needed • Freshly ground black pepper,

Select a large, firm shallot with smooth skin. Use a sharp paring knife to trim away the ends and pull off the skin. Cut the shallot into thin slices and separate them into rings. Plan on about 1/2 cup of sliced shallots to make enough garnish for 4 servings. That works out to about 1 large shallot. Pour an inch of oil (canola, peanut, or olive oils are all suitable) into a small, heavy-gauge saucepan. When it reaches 350 degrees F, add the shallots and fry, stirring them occasionally, until they have a rich, sweet aroma and a good brown colour, usually about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift the fried shallots from the oil. Transfer them to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels. You can hold them at room temperature for up to one hour. Nutrition information per serving: 321 calories; 52 calories from fat; 6 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 55 mg cholesterol; 528 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 24 g protein. This article was provided to The Associated Press by The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.



JANUARY 6, 2017


Festive take on risotto creates special New Year’s Eve dish BY ELIZABETH KARMEL The Associated Press EVEN THOUGH risotto is a simple rice dish, I associate it with special occasions. A northern Italian rice dish cooked in broth to a creamy consistency, risotto is most often served as a first course. But in the U.S., we serve it as a side or a main course. It most always includes butter, onions and wine. I have made white wine risotto with spring peas and crab meat and red-wine risotto with caramelized shallots and mushrooms. But I never thought about making Champagne risotto until my friend and fellow chef, Bob Blumer mentioned it to me. I immediately knew that Champagne risotto would have to become my New Year’s Eve staple — it’s comforting on a cold night and easy to prepare while talking and drinking with friends. And it’s the perfect choice for an at-home New Year’s Eve celebration. Bob makes his risotto with asparagus which is out of season right now. I opted to make mine with my one of my favourite ingredients, mushrooms — any kind of mushrooms work, or a mixture of wild mushrooms.

The combination of garlic, shallots, butter, Champagne, Parmesan and thyme is so rich that this recipe is excellent with button mushrooms and only gets better with more interesting mushrooms. My favourite two mushrooms are meaty morels and chanterelles. And since it is New Year’s Eve, why not spurge with Champagne and chanterelles!? The key to risotto is setting up two pots, one for the chicken stock and the other for making the risotto itself. Keep the chicken stock warm so that it is absorbed quicker and doesn’t “shock” the risotto as you stir it in, little by little. Champagne risotto

Servings: 2 dinner portions or 4 side dishes Start to finish: 45 minutes

• 2 large shallots, chopped (about 1/3 cup) • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • 4 tablespoons butter, divided • 4 ounces mixed chopped mushrooms (A generous cup of cooked mushrooms) • 1 cup Champagne • 32 ounces unsalted chicken stock

• 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided • 1 generous cup Arborio rice • 1 generous cup Parmesan Cheese, grated In a heavy-bottomed medium-size (about 6 quarts) pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Immediately add shallot and garlic and stir for 3-4 minutes, or until the shallot is translucent and beginning to brown around the edges. Add rice to the shallots and garlic and stir vigorously for about 30 seconds until all of the

rice grains are coated in oil. Let rice toast in the pan for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and let melt. Season butter with salt and add mushrooms. Let cook down until lightly sauteed and set aside. In a second pot (about 4 quarts), warm chicken stock and 1/2 cup of Champagne over medium-low heat. Add about 4 whole sprigs of thyme to infuse the stock. Add Champagne to the rice mixture and reduce heat to medium. Add in the sauteed

mushrooms. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Use a ladle to add 1/2 cup of the hot chicken stock to the rice. Stir frequently. Each time the stock is almost fully absorbed, add another 1/2 cup. Continue stirring and adding stock until rice is creamy yet still a little firm to the bite. (It may not be necessary to use all of the stock.) The total cooking time, once the rice has been added, should not be more than about 25 minutes. To keep the rice slightly creamy, don’t wait until the last ladle full of stock is totally absorbed before pulling it off the heat and serving. Remove from the heat. Stir in the reserved thyme (leaves only) and the Parmesan cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Season with a touch of white pepper and salt if desired. You shouldn’t need to use much salt, if any. Serve in flat bowls with a sprig of thyme. Nutrition information per serving: 343 calories; 174 calories from fat; 19 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 37 mg cholesterol; 475 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 12 g protein.

The story... Destination in the Philippines— beating Calle Crisologo in Vigan; Chocolate Hills of Bohol; Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte; and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan.

❰❰ 28

Most beautiful house

The José Gaston Mansion in Hacienda Rosalia in Manapla town is the typical plantation house, complete with a chapel. Built in 1933, it was home to Leopold Gaston’s grandson. It was here where Peque Gallaga shot parts of his masterpiece “Oro, Plata, Mata.” Overlooking the wide, wide lawn is the terrace where the infamous mahjong session was filmed. The Generoso Villanueva Mansion, or Balay Daku (Big House), is a landmark on

Burgos Street, Bacolod’s Millionaires’ Row. Political and business rivalry fueled Don Generoso to build this threestory mansion in 1933—the first Art Deco house constructed in Bacolod, and the tallest structure in the city until 1959. Gracefully designed like an ocean liner, it is known to locals as the Boat House. It has porthole windows, viewing decks, a sweeping salon with elaborately patterned hardwood parquetry, endless corridors with walls of Venetian finish, and a staircase that spirals like the inside of a conch shell. It is considered the most beautiful Art Deco house in the country. An astonishing feature is an orchestra pit on the terrace overlooking the front lawn. Here Bacolod’s 400 used to

party. An unlikey heritage structure can be found in the Central Market amid sordid scenes of traffic and hawking. When fire razed downtown Bacolod in the mid-’80s, only one structure remained relatively intact. It was a government building built in the ’30s, and though made mostly of wood, its Art Deco features are astonishingly well-preserved. “No Smoking” signs can be found all over the place. Interweaving stories

Juicier stories await in Silay Cemetery. Divided between the Church-owned and the public cemetery, it is respectively divided between prominent residents and ordinary citizens. A whole-afternoon tour of the

14-hectare place has a local guide that can elaborate on these families’ interweaving stories, their wild eccentricities, shame and scandals, quarrels and reconciliations—which family stole another family’s heirloom recipe of napoleones (puff pastry popularized by Roli’s bakeshop of Bacolod); which society matron belittled the First Lady’s pearls; or who had to pawn off the family jewels when the sugar industry declined. A statuary of a female figure prostrate with grief mutely memorializes a mother mourning the death of her little boy, recalling Rachel weeping for her children. One mausoleum has an empty tomb now mossy with age, with a lapidary stone inscribed in Spanish, which reads:

“Where are you, Ester?” The young woman had been disowned by her family after eloping with a man beneath her station. Her parents and siblings had died and been interred in the family mausoleum but no one knows her whereabouts. A tomb has been set aside for her whenever she returns. Another mausoleum has a tomb for Yaya Sally, an illiterate woman who didn’t even know her last name. For 54 years she had lived with the family of her master so that when she died they took her as their own and interred her remains in the family mausoleum. Despite the hacenderos’ social conscience, however, it is their decadence and feuds that have become the stuff of legend. ■




JANUARY 6, 2017



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