CANADA’S FIRST AND ONLY NATIONWIDE FILIPINO-CANADIAN NEWSPAPER VOL. 8 NO. 25
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
CANADA NEWS How KAPISANAN makes a difference in Toronto and the rest of the world (On pages 20-21) Saskatchewan immigrants say rule changes impacting families could lead to exodus (On page 25)
NINO JESUS ORBETA
Filipino-Canadian in Focus: KAPISANAN’s Caroline Mangosing (On page 24)
MAKING WAVES Children in frolic in the surf near the seawall in Navotas City on Thursday as floodwaters whipped by Typhoon “Gener” continue to swamp the coastal city. The overstaying typhoon has finally left the country and is now headed to China after battering Taiwan.
Enrile, Sotto, Honasan join anti-RH rally BY KRISTINE L. ALAVE Philippine Daily Inquirer THE CATHOLIC Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) leads tens of thousands in a prayer-rally at the Edsa Shrine in Mandaluyong City today to show Congress that most Filipinos oppose a bill that would curb the country’s population growth. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Vicente Sotto III and Gregorio Honasan will lead politicians who plan to attend the rally. Sotto said he knew about a plot involving a foreign group to make the bill include abortion. He said he would expose the attempt during the
What if Marilyn Monroe died today? (On page 33)
Church ‘show of force’
interpellation of the bill’s proponents in the Senate next week. In the House of Representatives, lawmakers will vote next to decide whether to close the interpellation and send the bill for amendments, a shortcut that will speed up adoption of the Malacañang-backed proposal. The Catholic Church views the Aug. 7 vote as a rush to impose birth control on the Filipinos. President Aquino supports the bill, and the Palace has called on Congress to approve the measure as a major step in dealing with the country’s socioeconomic problems, particularly poverty and unemployment.
But the bill, after 10 years of failure due largely to opposition from the Catholic Church, is coming up for approval at a most inconvenient time for most of the allies of the President in both houses of Congress. They are facing their first election next year since coming to power with Mr. Aquino in 2010, and the Church has promised to campaign against their reelection unless they drop the reproductive health bill. Next year’s midterm elections are mostly local races, and the Church believes it commands the local vote in this Catholic-majority country.
Road across Canada ends in Tofino on Vancouver Island, locals say (On page 36)
Philippine English (On page 42)
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News-Phils Bishops asked: Where’s morality in GMA tie-up FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 2
No De Lima in IBP’S top picks for CJ; Abad is No. 1
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima, who claims to have the edge among candidates for Chief Justice, was nowhere among the top picks in a mock vote conducted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for the vacant post. The insiders, led by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, edged the outsiders in the vote cast by the nine members of IBP’s board of governors and 13 national officers. The main national organization of lawyers in the country released yesterday the 10 names of those who landed on the top eight slots in the vote among the 22 nominees (two were later disqualified) for the post of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona. The top choices were 1. Abad 2. Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno 3. Associate Justice Arturo Brion 4. Former University of the Philippines law dean Raul Pangalangan 5. Associate Justice Leonardo de Castro 6. Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Presidential Commission on Good Government Chair Andres Bautista 7. Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza 8. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita Herbosa and former Rep. Ronaldo Zamora Abad at 68 is the most senior of the Supreme Court justices nominated. Because the retirement age for justices is 70, he will serve for two years if chosen. Commentators regard him as a convenient interim head of the judiciary in the wake of the fallout of Corona’s divisive impeachment trial. Abad has told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) the judiciary has been “wounded” by Corona’s impeachment trial and requires an insider in the healing process. The JBC, whose seven members include an IBP representative, is vetting the nominees in accordance with a constitutional mandate. It is to submit a short list of three candidates from which President Aquino is to choose Corona’s successor. “Please note that these votes reflect only the individual preferences of the members of the Board and the national officers and should in no way be construed or interpreted as IBP’s official vote in the JBC deliberations,” said IBP spokesperson Trixie Cruz-Angeles. In a statement, Angeles said the mock vote was conducted by the IBP on its members and 90 percent of them said they preferred an insider as the next Chief Justice. An IBP source said the 52 year-old De Lima was nowhere among the top 10 picks for the job vacated by the man she helped remove. De Lima has said she has the advantage among the candidates because of her closeness to President Aquino. n
Photo courtesy of athos11
BY CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO Philippine Daily Inquirer
The large golden statue of the Virgin Mary on the roof of the EDSA Shrine where the faithful is called to attend a mass and a rally against the RH bill.
BY KRISTINE L. ALAVE AND TJ BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE CATHOLIC Church has started to bring out the big guns in its campaign against the reproductive health (RH) bill. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle issued a circular urging the faithful to converge at the Edsa Shrine on for a Mass and rally against the bill. “Relying on the power of prayer and the necessity of informed awareness, we will gather together to be informed, enlightened and emboldened once more. We also wish to express why we believe the reproductive health bill is not the solution to our many problems as individuals and as a country as it will even give rise to many other problems more pernicious and pervasive than the ones we face in the present,” Tagle said. “I enjoin all parish priests and leaders of communities and lay movements to rally their members and endorse participation in this important gathering aimed at communicating a strong and sincere appeal to the goodwill of our legislators,” Tagle said in his letter. The prayer rally will be a show of force for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) after President Aquino in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week urged the swift passage of the bill, which would provide universal access and information on natural and modern family methods and reduce the number of mothers and babies dying during childbirth. On Aug. 7, the House will vote on whether to wrap up debate and move the bill forward. CBCP officials said they would have a vigil at the House on the eve of the vote and that mass actions would also be held in other dioceses. Time for a vote President Aquino said it was time to put the bill to a vote.
“I hope that the point when we need to vote comes. Otherwise, Congress may have already adjourned and we’re still in the period of debate; so we won’t know what the people want. Perhaps the debate should be wrapped up, and we should make a decision on this so-called responsible parenthood bill once and for all,” Mr. Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview. On the anti-RH rally, Mr. Aquino said: “We’re all pro-life, aren’t we? We want an improved quality of life for our countrymen. So that is their right and I’m sure they will not endeavor to do anything against the law. So we will secure this rally if it pushes through.” Malacañang also shrugged off an announcement that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now a Pampanga representative, will vote against the measure and that seven of her allies had withdrawn sponsorship of the measure. Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said that Arroyo and Catholic bishops have been vocal about their opposition to the bill. He said the Church’s invitation to her to join the anti-RH rally should not be given political meaning. Arroyo was freed last week from eight months of hospital arrest after posting bail on election sabotage charges against her. “I would not want to speak on behalf of the bishops about whether or not this is leading to some kind of support for the former President. This is a measure that should not be viewed in stark political terms because it actually got societal implications,” he said in a briefing. Not P-Noy-GMAshowdown A vote on the bill should not be seen as a showdown between Mr. Aquino, the bill’s chief campaigner, and Arroyo, Carandang said. “It’s an important measure and we’re not viewing it in terms of partisan politics. It’s something that we feel is long overdue. It needs to be done, and we’re doing it in that context. I understand that there are observers who are viewing this (showdown) in that way, but we’re simply looking at it right now as a measure that has oppositors, that needs to go through the process and we’ll leave it at that,” he said. Carandang said Malacañang respected the withdrawal of support by some lawmakers, but did not view the entire antiRH bill campaign as “Arroyo’s effort.” “We respect the democratic space in which the debate is being undertaken. At the same time, we hope that our friends in Congress will see the wisdom of this measure,” he added. While Catholic bishops have counted 140 lawmakers as opposed to the measure based on survey and public consultations, Carandang said it was too early to tell whether the administration had the numbers to defeat them. “You can never tell until the vote is there. But we are confident that we have support,” he said. “We’re hoping that those of us who are on the administration’s side will continue to support this effort.” n
3 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MANILA, Philippines - Torrential rains pounding the Philippine capital on Tuesday paralyzed traffic as waistdeep floods triggered evacuations of tens of thousands of residents and the government suspended work in offices and schools. Incessant downpours set off by the seasonal monsoon overflowed major dams and rivers in Manila and nine surrounding provinces and put authorities on alert. The death toll from last week’s Typhoon Saola, which battered Manila and the northern Philippines for several days, has climbed steadily to 51. The head of the government’s rescue agency, Benito Ramos, said there were no immediate reports of new casualties early Tuesday after the rains pounded already saturated Manila for more than 24 hours. Vehicles and even heavy trucks struggled to navigate water-clogged roads, where hundreds of thousands of commuters were stranded overnight. Many cars were stuck in the muddy waters. The La Mesa dam, which supplies water to the capital of 12 million
people, spilled excess water for a second time early Tuesday into the rivers flowing into Quezon city, a middle-class Manila suburb, as well as the neighbourhoods of Malabon, Valenzuela and Caloocan, where several villages were submerged. Along the swollen Marikina River, police were deployed to move more than 5,000 residents away from the riverbanks in what Vice Mayor Jose Cadiz said was an enforced evacuation. The operation started after the City Hall sounded the alarm bell. The Philippine Stock Exchange in the financial district of Makati, which was also flooded, was closed Tuesday. Also closed was the U.S. Embassy along Manila Bay in the historic old city, which was drenched out last week when a storm surge pushed the water over the seawall. ``The embassy is closed today due to excessive flooding in the streets and concern for the safety of our employees and consular applicants,’’ Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said in an announcement. The military, which is involved in rescue work, cancelled several events due
Photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory
Torrential rains paralyze Philippine capital, shut offices, schools, trigger evacuations
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of Typhoons Saola (left) and Damrey approaching mainland China on August 1, 2012.
to the flooding, including an awarding of bounties to tipsters who helped troops capture al-Qaida-linked militants. In 2009, massive flooding spawned by a typhoon devastated Manila and the surrounding areas and killed hundreds of residents in rampaging
flash floods. The state weather bureau said the current flooding was not as severe but warned of more rainy days ahead. Typhoon Saola was the seventh of 20 typhoons and storms expected to batter the Philippines this year. n
Palace urges solons to think of children’s future BY TJ BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer IN THE FACE of a spirited Church campaign against the reproductive health (RH) bill, Malacañang called on the House of Representatives “to vote on the future of our nation.” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the public debate on the legislation was far removed from the realities on the ground: Teenaged girls getting pregnant and bearing three to four children. And should the time come for them to vote on the bill, the lawmakers should think of the country’s future and set aside their political ambitions, Lacierda said. “This should not be a vote as to whether will I be reelected if I don’t vote on this bill or not? It should be a vote on the future of our country and the future of the children that we bring into the world. What kind of support, what kind of decent life can you bring if you have too many children that you have brought into this world without the means to do so—without
the means to support them?” he said in a briefing. “This is about having productive citizens that we can come up with. This is not about voting and being reelected in 2013. I hope the congressmen realize that this is a vote on the future of our nation,” he added. The legislation seeks to provide couples information on various family planning approaches, including modern contraception methods that the Church opposes. It also seeks to mandate wider reproductive health education in schools and government health centers. Teenaged mothers Lacierda said President Aquino himself encountered teenagers with several children at a slum area in the Baseco Compound in Tondo while campaigning in the May 2010 elections. “He saw a young lady who was about 15. It turns out she already had four or five children and, if you look at it, when we argue about responsible parenthood, we argue about reproductive health,
those things are—it’s so cold because we argue left and right,” he said. “But when you see someone, for instance, a mother whose age is only 16 and who has already five or six kids, who was not provided the proper information on family planning, who was not given the means to arrive at a decision as to family planning, then you see the urgent need for a responsible parenthood bill,” he said. “That was the sad story that the President saw in the Baseco Compound and that stuck to him. And that’s the reason why he feels strongly about having a responsible parenthood bill,” he added. Reacting to a purported Church survey, Lacierda countered that there was a survey indicating that 70 percent of the Filipino people supported the RH bill, even as he reminded lawmakers about Mr. Aquino’s pitch for the approval of the bill in his State of the Nation Address. “The President has made clear his statement on responsible parenthood. That was made clear in his Sona. We hope that the congressmen will take note
the comment made by the President,” he said. “The solons are well aware of the position taken by the President.” Church concerns considered In the same breath, Lacierda reminded the Catholic bishops that their concerns had been considered in the crafting of the consolidated version of the RH bill. “There were several meetings held by the bishops and there were certain issues that they raised. And those were studied by the administration and they were incorporated into the responsible parenthood bill. I hope the bishops realize that their concerns were noted by the President when we introduced the responsible parenthood bill in Congress,” he said. Lacierda said it was the right of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to vote against the bill. “We respect her decision. We know for a fact that she has been not in favor of the RH bill. So we respect the decision of every individual congressman,” he said. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 4
Belmonte: House to sit out Cha-cha while P-noy’s team studies it BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer THE HOUSE of Representatives will freeze for now any attempts to amend the Constitution to allow President Aquino’s economic and legal teams to study the proposals for Charter change brought forth by both Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. “We will stop in the meantime (Hinto muna kami). We will wait,” Belmonte told reporters. The Speaker, however, said the House should be told as soon as a decision had been reached either way by the President. “We should decide this fairly quickly so if (it’s a) no-go, we can put
all our efforts into our other priority measures,” he said. Enrile and Belmonte met with Mr. Aquino on Monday to try and convince him to support Charter change. The President reiterated to them his staunch opposition to amending the Constitution. “I stated my opposition, but we agreed to have the underlying basis studied by the economic and legal clusters [of the Cabinet] and with private sector participation ... ” Mr. Aquino told Enrile and Belmonte. Belmonte said the meeting could be considered a success “in the sense that (the President) did not say ‘no,’ but opted to have the matter studied by his economic and legal teams. “In that sense, the door is still open,” he said. Belmonte said he and Enrile both assured Mr. Aquino that any
Envoy has some explaining to do BY TARRA QUISMUNDO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs (DFA) summoned the Cambodian ambassador to the Philippines to explain his published letter accusing the Philippines and Vietnam of “dirty politics” when they pressed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to adopt an “inflexible and non-negotiable” stand on the territorial disputes with China. DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said the DFA summoned Cambodian Ambassador Hos Sereythonh to explain his letter blaming the Philippines and Vietnam for Asean’s failure to adopt a joint communique at last month’s ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh. “We summoned the Cambodian ambassador but he is indisposed. We got word he is not feeling well. This morning he sent his deputy, Second Secretary Tan Chandaravuth. We will continue to summon him until he is able to come,” Hernandez said . DFA handed Chandaravuth a note verbale when he appeared . The move appeared to further deepen divisions with the 10-nation regional bloc. Sereythonh’s letter, published in a national daily on Monday, was in response to a published article by a Philippine diplomat that blamed
Cambodia for Asean’s failure to issue a joint communique. Replying to the charges, Sereythonh had said the Philippines should not blame Cambodia for what happened. He countered that the Philippines and Vietnam “wanted to sabotage and hijack” the meeting by insisting the regional body “include their national bilateral disputes with China” in the joint communique. In summoning the Cambodian diplomat, Hernandez said “We want him to explain what he meant when he stated that the “inflexible and nonnegotiable position of two countries of Asean is dirty politics.” Sereythonh’s letter was in response to Foreign Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio’s article “Why there was no Asean joint communique” during the 45th Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM), a first in Asean history. In her article, published in the INQUIRER, Basilio said Asean had agreed on key points of a proposed Code of Conduct on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and the islands within, where several Asean nations have disputes with China. Basilio said the joint communique failed due to the Asean chair’s “firm position” to leave the West Philippine Sea issue out of discussions. n
amendments would be limited to economic provisions of the Constitution. “If other things start getting into the discussion, we will simply see to it that we won’t have the votes to push (them) through,” Belmonte, Enrile and House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II reportedly told Mr. Aquino. The fact that Congress does not seek to convene itself into a constituent assembly (con-ass) to amend the Constitution is a “guarantee” that discussions would not stray from the economic provisions, Gonzales told reporters. “If we do it the con-ass way, that’s where the danger would come in,” he said. Gonzales said any amendments would be done through a joint resolution and pertain only to
specific provisions. He said that each provision to be amended would require the concurrence of threefourths of the members of each chamber. In this respect, Belmonte said, the effort would need the President’s backing. “That in itself will have a check mechanism, because if we insert something there the Senate will not give its imprimatur,” he said, noting that the House could do the same to the Senate. In the meeting with the President, Belmonte said he and Enrile proposed “about six amendments that can be done, but some of them are not really as urgent as the others.” Gonzales said Congress could “concede” the amendments seeking to relax ownership of, say, “media and advertising.” n
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5 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
...from page 1
No Catholic vote Supporters of the bill, however, say the legislators have nothing to fear if they vote to approve the measure because there is no Catholic vote in the Philippines. Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family Life, acknowledged that, but said the supporters of the Church were a force to reckon with. An indication of that is the presence of senators in today’s rally at the Edsa Shrine. Castro said the senators and other politicians who opposed the bill were “informally invited” to the rally, but he learned about their plans to attend only through the media. “Everyone is welcome to attend,” Castro said. An “open invitation” to
Church supporters in Congress has been issued “verbally,” he said. Seven members of the minority in the House have withdrawn their support from the bill, winning praise from the Church. Asked if the House minority’s titular leader, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was welcome to the rally, Castro said, “It is up to them.” “This does not mean that we [give our] consent to any wrongdoing,” Castro said. Not Aquino vs Arroyo But Castro said he was “disheartened” by allegations that the rally will become a showdown between the Aquino administration and Arroyo and her allies.
“Don’t connect Arroyo’s cases to the RH issue,” Castro said. “We also respect the judicial process and let the former President face the charges filed against her,” he said. Politicians who will be at the rally should not expect the Church’s endorsement in next year’s elections. The Church does not endorse candidates, Castro said. Castro said the presence of the elders of the Senate and other politicians did not mean the rally was a political event. “They will be onstage but they will not give speeches,” he said. Rallies nationwide Church-led rallies against the reproductive health bill will also be held in dioceses across the
country today. The national protest is centered at the Edsa Shrine, where candles will be lighted this afternoon to signal the Catholics’ opposition to the reproductive health bill. Castro said lay people from Metro Manila and surrounding provinces would come to the shrine to show the lawmakers the public’s opposition to the bill. The CBCP is not projecting the size of participation in the rally. “We can only hope for a big crowd,” Castro said. Delegations are expected to come from Antipolo City and the provinces of Batangas, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, Sorsogon, Laguna, Nueva Ecija and Cavite, he said. n
GMA photo courtesy of Piercing Pens
Comelec: 10 new witnesses ready to testify vs GMA
BY JOCELYN R. UY Philippine Daily Inquirer THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) said it has 10 more witnesses that it can present in court to bolster its electoral sabotage case against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria MacapagalArroyo. Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. claimed that the new witnesses, who are mainly election officers, will be able to give a clearer picture of what really happened during a meeting two years ago in Malacañang where Arroyo was alleged to have ordered
the then Maguindanao governor to deliver a 12-0 result in favor of the administration’s Team Unity senatorial ticket in 2007. The additional witnesses will also provide testimony to show how really massive the plans were to rig the 2007 vote, Brillantes told reporters . He said the witnesses would “more or less” support the testimony of Norie Unas, the election supervisor of Maguindanao during the 2007 elections who is the main prosecution witness against Arroyo. Unas claimed that he was present at a meeting in Malacañang two weeks before the 2007 elections, during
which Arroyo had allegedly instructed the then Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. to deliver a 12-0 vote in Maguindanao in favor of the Team Unity ticket. Brillantes said one of the 10 new witnesses was present at that dinner meeting in Malacañang and would be able to corroborate Unas’ statements. “Though the witness did not hear the conversation [that transpired between Arroyo and Ampatuan], he would be able to tell the court that it happened… that the two officials along with Unas really talked in one corner,” he said. “If someone can say that they talked in one corner after the dinner meeting
in Malacañang, that would show the credibility of Unas,” he said. He declined to identify the witnesses, citing security risks. The Comelec chair admitted that the election body had to revisit its list of possible witnesses against Arroyo after Pasay Judge Jesus Mupas granted her petition for bail last week on the ground that the case against her was weak. Arroyo was released on bail last week from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, where she had been detained for the past eight months. Brillantes said the Comelec already had other witnesses aside from Unas, but it was perceived earlier that Unas’ testimony was sufficient to pin down Arroyo. “Judge Mupas cited Unas’ uncorroborated claims… nobody can really corroborate it because the conversation happened only between him, Arroyo and Ampatuan,” he said. But the new witnesses the Comelec was lining up would at least be able to testify that the conversation happened, he noted. Aside from the additional 10 witnesses, the poll body was preparing for even more, “if necessary.” “Primarily they are election officers, but we are also studying our list of possible witnesses. We thought when we presented Unas, it was enough. Now that the bail was granted, we are looking at our list again,” he said. n
News-Phils RH backers: Don’t fear Catholic vote in 2013
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 6
BY LEILA B. SALAVERRIA Philippine Daily Inquirer
Appalling insensitivity A statement from academicians from UP and Ateneo de Manila University lambasted the CBCP for “acting in a morally questionable way” and showing “an appalling insensitivity to the suffering and death of Filipino women.” Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros slammed Arroyo for attempting to turn the Aug. 7 event as a vote of no-confidence against the Aquino administration. “She wants to recover her political clout,” Hontiveros said, adding that Arroyo’s entry into the fray could be a “kiss of death” for the Church initiative. During the opening of budget deliberations in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas tackled the importance of the “demographic sweet spot.” Responding to a question by Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, he described this as a “spot where you have a good convergence of very robust economic growth and low inflation rate.” He said the economy grew by 6.4 percent in the first quarter but with an inflation rate of 3 percent. “In the past, it’s one way or the other—either we have a very high economic growth or a very high inflation or vice versa.” Guinigundo acknowledged that the country’s young population—set at a median age of 22.2—could be attributed to “more babies being born than people dying.” “That can be one factor,” he said. “The challenge remains with the public sector to provide the infrastructure, the job opportunities so that we would be able to leverage on the existence of our young
BUT IS IT right for the Church to welcome former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo, who is facing criminal charges, to join its campaign against the reproductive health (RH) bill? This question was raised after representatives of women’s groups, academics and students supporting the RH bill called on lawmakers not to fear the so-called Catholic vote in the 2013 elections because majority of Filipinos supported the measure. “What is the morality in turning your back and forgiving the corruption of the former administration to bargain for [votes against] the reproductive health bill?” Sylvia Estrada Claudio, director of the University of the Philippines’ Center for Women’s studies, said in a forum organized by pro-RH supporters. Arroyo, who is now a Pampanga representative, has declared that she would vote against the bill, and soon after, seven lawmakers affiliated with her withdrew support for the measure ahead of a critical vote on Aug. 7 to extricate the bill from endless debates and move action on it forward. Arroyo is out on a P1-million bail on election sabotage charges for which she had been detained in a hospital for eight months. Claudio urged the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) not to turn a blind eye to the “cold, hard, concrete facts” presented by academics, scientists and researchers that too many poor women were dying because of lack of access to contraceptives and proper reproductive health care.
population (to) provide a very productive labor force, at the same time, an expanded market for our goods and services.” Guinigundo said domestic demand was particularly important “at this point where external markets are not doing that well and therefore our exports have limited viability today.” “But if we have domestic demand that is robust—as one can see because of the young population, because of the inflow of those overseas remittances, investments have been going up—these are what will drive economic growth,” he explained. Senators back bill Also, Sen. Panfilo Lacson accused the Catholic Church of engaging in disinformation from the pulpit. “When I hear Mass, I hear their clear disinformation that abortion is allowed under the RH bill,” Lacson told reporters. He said abortion would not only remain illegal, penalty would also be increased. “It’s about time this is put to a vote,” Lacson said. He said the majority of
the senators supported the bill and that surveys had shown that 65 to 75 percent of Filipinos favored the measure. Patricia Gomez, president of the 60,000-strong Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines, said, “The keyword is planning, planning your family according to your means.” Gomez, who was close to tears during an interview, said it was tragic to see poor Filipino women with six or seven children coming to their centers. A lot of the women could not even take care of themselves or eat three times a day, she said. Last June, the Department of Health said the mortality rate for Filipino mothers had increased to 221 per 100,000 live births in 2011 from 162 per 100,000 live births in 2009. Under the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, the global set of targets for reducing poverty, the Philippines must lower the maternal mortality rate to 52 per 100,000 live births. n
Ampatuans may vote in Taguig, says Comelec MEMBERS of the Ampatuan family and other suspects in the Maguindanao massacre currently held in jail in Taguig City may cast their votes in the 2013 elections—but not as residents of Maguindanao. In an interview over Radyo Inquirer, Commission on Elections Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the Comelec had a resolution that allowed detainees across the country to register and vote, but only for candidates running for national office. Under the resolution, detainees become registered voters in the places where they are imprisoned. As for the
patrimonio designs limited / Shutterstock.com
BY JOCELYN R. UY Philippine Daily Inquirer
Taguig City, the city of many races, which may now be the future polling precinct of the Ampatuans.
Ampatuans, they will be considered registered voters of Taguig City but they cannot participate in its local election.
“We have a resolution which says that if you are more than six months detained in a particular area, you can register where you are detained,” said Brillantes. The Ampatuans have been locked up at the Quezon City Jail Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa for two years now so they are covered by the resolution, he pointed out. “We are not barring them from voting, but not in Maguindanao,” he said. No special treatment Brillantes said the Comelec would not grant a special registration solely for the Ampatuans, suspected of having
masterminded the grisly murders of 57 people, including journalists, in November 2009. Last week, Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes issued an order allowing the massacre suspects to register as voters in Bicutan, Taguig, should they file an application for registration. Brillantes took offense at the order, saying that trial courts cannot just order the Comelec to register a particular detainee upon request. “We will not give the Ampatuans special treatment. We will register them together with all the rest of the detainees at the appropriate time,” he said. n
7 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
SC sets stage for JBC fireworks
BY CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO AND NORMAN BORDADORA Philippine Daily Inquirer WITH LESS than a month to go before the constitutional deadline for President Aquino to name the successor to ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona, the Supreme Court has set oral arguments tomorrow on the contentious issue of congressional representation in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). The high court has set the oral arguments for the issue “of whether Congress is entitled to one or two representatives in the JBC,” SC spokesperson Ma. Victoria Gleoresty Guerra said . Guerra also announced that the JBC had reset its final deliberations on the selection of the next Chief Justice when the high court would be expected to resolve the matter. She said the Aug. 27 constitutional deadline for the President to appoint a Chief Justice was a “factor” in the decision to schedule the oral arguments in the case. “It was a matter of public significance and involves the three great departments in government,” Guerra said. The case stems from a petition filed in the Supreme Court by lawyer Francisco Chavez, a former solicitor general, questioning the presence of a senator and a congressman in the JBC when he said that the Constitution provided for only one representative from Congress. The Supreme Court on July 17 upheld Chavez, ruling that the current eightmember composition of the JBC, with its two congressional representatives, was unconstitutional.
The oral arguments tomorrow will tackle two pleadings before the high court—the July 23 motion for reconsideration filed by Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza on behalf of the two congressional members in the JBC, Sen. Francis Escudero and Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas Jr., and a July 25 manifestation filed by Chavez opposing the Jardeleza motion. Congress withdraws Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte earlier announced the withdrawal of Congress from the JBC deliberations following the high court ruling upholding Chavez’s petition. Last Monday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling on the JBC to suspend its selection process until the high court shall have made a final ruling on the issue. Guerra stressed that the high court decision to hold oral arguments tomorrow had more to do with the two pleadings before it rather than the Senate’s call for it to resolve the issue. She said the Senate resolution still had to be officially transmitted to the high court but acknowledged that it had been “widely reported in the media.” Sen. Joker Arroyo, who earlier said that Congress’ boycott of the JBC proceedings was “tantamount to defying the Supreme Court,” received a unanimous appointment to argue the case for two congressional representatives in the high court. Enrile said Arroyo accepted the job. “That’s a unanimous appointment. He’s the veteran lawyer that presents cases before the Supreme Court. I’m just a trial lawyer, he’s an advocate,” Enrile said.
Joker will obey “I must obey,” Arroyo said after the appointment was made official by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III during ’s session. “And I believe in the position of the Senate,” added Arroyo, who had argued for the Senate against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Executive Order No. 464 that invoked executive privilege and stopped members of the executive branch from attending congressional inquiries. Asked what the Senate would do if the Supreme Court were to rule that Congress should have only one representative in the JBC, Enrile said: “Let’s see. Let us not anticipate anything.” Belmonte said he would have to confer with Enrile and get the “consensus” of other House members on what to do. Acting in concert “Definitely when we get a final decision, I, representing the House, must talk to the Senate President. I will also get the consensus of the House members ... we cannot be acting unilaterally on these things,” he said. “The House and the Senate, we like to act in concert with each other, we cannot be divided,” Belmonte said. Malacañang distanced itself from the Senate call for the JBC to suspend its proceedings in choosing the next Chief Justice. “The statement of the Senate is obviously the thoughts of the institution as embodied in the resolution that they passed,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte. “We will defer to the judgment of the JBC on whether they will give way to the request of the Senate,” she said. Lawyer Jose Mejia, who represents the academe in the JBC, confirmed that the council had deferred for Monday its deliberations and preparation of a shortlist of nominees for Chief Justice to pave the way for the high court to resolve the issue on legislative representation. Mejia said the JBC was very much aware of the constitutional deadline of Aug. 27. According to the Constitution, the President has to appoint a Chief Justice within 90 days of the position’s being declared vacant. Corona was removed on May 29. n
Underwear yields illegal travel papers BY JOCELYN R. UY Philippine Daily Inquirer THE BUREAU of Immigration (BI) has intercepted two Filipino women who concealed their working visas and plane tickets in their underwear in an attempt to fly out to Lebanon despite a deployment ban to that country. Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said the mere act of hiding their visas was proof that they were victims of human trafficking. “If you hide your visa, it proves that you are a victim of human trafficking and we will not allow you to leave,” he said. The bureau withheld the names of the two women as Republic Act No. 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, prohibits the disclosure of the names of human traffickers and their victims. According to David, the two women were about to board a Philippine Airlines flight for Bangkok 12 days ago when they were stopped by the bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit. The women initially denied they were going to work abroad but later admitted to officials that their final destination was Beirut, where they said there were jobs waiting for them. The government has yet to lift a deployment ban it imposed on Lebanon for the latter’s failure to comply with RA 10022, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995. Lebanon has been tagged an “unsafe country” for deployment under the law. The total ban on the deployment of domestic workers to Lebanon was imposed in July 2007 in the midst of a violent confrontation between Lebanon and Israel. About 35,000 Filipinos were estimated to have been in the Middle East country then. However, the number has since jumped to some 50,000 with the continuing entry of undocumented Filipino workers. The two Filipino women revealed they concealed their work visas and plane tickets to Lebanon in their underwear. They identified their Lebanese employer as Fadi Antoine Abou Khalil, whom they claimed applied for their visas. The case is being investigated by the Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking (Iacat), and those responsible for trafficking the two women would be arrested and prosecuted, said lawyer Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, BI acting intelligence chief. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 8
Senate told SBMA execs in on rice smuggling BY NORMAN BORDADOR Philippine Daily Inquirer
A SENATE inquiry was told yesterday that certain officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), a free port zone locator and an Indian rice supplier connived in the attempt to smuggle almost P500 million worth of rice in April. Executives of Metro-eastern Trading Corp, the free port locator to whom the shipment of 420,000 50-kilogram bags of rice was consigned, admitted during the investigation conducted by the agriculture committee that an SBMA executive had asked their help to keep the rice in their warehouse and to look for a buyer in the Philippines. Cesar Bulaon, one of the owners of Metroeastern, identified the official as SBMA senior deputy administrator for trade and investment Stefani Sano. He said the persons who engaged them from the Indian rice supplier were a certain Mr. Protik of the New Delhi-based Amira Foods India Limited and a certain Bong Cuevas who was later identified by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as Vicente Cuevas. Enrile said Cuevas was influential during the Arroyo administration. The Indian rice shipment, official documents showed, was rejected by Indonesian port authorities and was reportedly looking for a free port that would accommodate it. On Tuesday, the Bureau of Customs announced the seizure of the shipment. “My information was this is not the only shipment that had gone through SBMA,” Enrile said. He indicated that a shipment of Mango brand rice had been smuggled into the country through Subic and found its way into the local market. Enrile noted that no such brand of rice was produced locally. SBMA officials questioned yesterday included administrator Roberto Garcia and senior deputy administrator for operations Redentor Tuazon. Sen. Francis Pangilinan, the committee chair, said the SBMA officials had a lot of explaining to do. “It’s clear there are many weird things that happened when this rice shipment entered the country. Many questions need to be answered by
officials especially those from the SBMA,” Pangilinan said. No import permit Bulaon said Sano called his company to help Amira by accommodating the rice shipment after it was turned back in Indonesia. As a free port locator, Metroeastern can accept the shipment in its warehouses as part of its business. “For the meantime, it’s just warehousing. They can even instruct us whether they can sell it outside or sell it in the domestic market,” Bulaon said. On questioning by Sen. Ralph Recto, Bulaon admitted that the plan was to sell the Indian rice locally, and they were asked by Sano to help out. Enrile grilled Tuazon for allowing the Indian rice to be unloaded at the port despite the absence of an import permit from the National Food Authority (NFA). Tuazon countered that while it was allowed into the port, there was a safeguard in place so that a case for abandonment would proceed if the
necessary permits were not submitted within 30 days. A document was presented during the hearing indicating that the NFA allowed the importation to waive certain taxes. However, NFA Administrator Lito Banayo told the panel that this was not valid unless the NFA already gave Amira an NFA import permit in March. He said Amira was not among the NFA’s authorized suppliers from abroad. Anticorruption drive Malacañang welcomed the Senate inquiry. “We hope that the investigation on rice smuggling will result in a clearly defined delineation of liability and that’s what we’re after. Again, we are going after corrupt officials, and so we will not (condone) any corruption in our government,” said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a Palace briefing. “I am not aware of a Cabinet member involved in smuggling,” said
Lacierda, when asked if the executive was already verifying rumors that high officials with close ties to the Palace were the new protectors of big smugglers. “The instructions given by the President to Commissioner Ruffy Biazon was to ensure that smuggling should stop. And this is another instance where the commissioner has stepped up efforts to curb smuggling in this country,” said Lacierda. Lacierda cited, for instance, the number of apprehensions Biazon made in the past few weeks. “We certainly commend the stepped up efforts of Commissioner Biazon—not only in rice smuggling but also in other areas of smuggling; not only blatant smuggling but also technical smuggling, where you undervalue your goods. “This robs the country of revenues and, therefore, the explicit instruction of the President to Commissioner Biazon is to ensure that we curb smuggling—that we are able to generate revenues as we curb smuggling,” said Lacierda. n
9 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Hazing kills another San Beda law student BY MARICAR CINCO, NANCY C. CARVAJAL, PHILIP C. TUBEZA Inquirer Southern Luzon, Philippine Daily Inquirer THE DREAMS of a freshman law student of San Beda College abruptly, violently ended on a farm in Dasmariñas City. Mark Andrei Marcos was the latest fatality in an apparent case of fraternity hazing. Police said the bruised body of Marcos, 21, was brought to De La Salle University Medical Center in Dasmariñas City, Cavite province, at 10:30 p.m. on by two women— identified as Marlen Guadayo and Soledad Sanda—and two unidentified men. Marcos was pronounced dead on . Senior Supt. John Bulalacao, Cavite provincial police director, said his men were looking for Gian Angelo C. Velus, a resident of Lt. Cantimbuhan Street, Barangay Zone 3, Dasmariñas City, to shed light on the death of Marcos five months after another San Beda law student, Marvin Reglos, succumbed to injuries in a fraternity hazing incident.
While the police said that Velus, described as a senior law student in San Beda, was not yet a suspect, the hazing ostensibly happened in his family’s 5-hectare farm in Dasmariñas City. Cooks from the farm The women who took Marcos to the hospital were identified by police as cooks in the Velus farm. The women gave statements to police and were later released, but the two men who helped them bring Marcos to the hospital in a car disappeared after Marcos was admitted. Bulalacao said an investigation showed that Marcos was “allegedly mauled by unidentified suspects” in the farm. He added that they were also looking for Sanda and Guadayo who “could no longer be found.” Bulalacao said that Sanda had received a text message from Velus directing her to take Marcos to the hospital and telling her that he had informed police about Marcos.
“The women said they did not know the men they were with, but I doubt it,” Bulalacao said. The Dasmariñas City police, in its initial report, tagged the case as a “mauling incident” for lack of witnesses who would claim that the victim died in hazing rites. At noon , Marcos’ body was taken to his hometown in Ramos, Tarlac province, according to his 16year-old sister Katrina. “We have accepted it already. All we want now is that justice be served,” she said. “He was kind and very protective. He said he took up law because he wanted to be a judge.” Lex Leonum Fraternitas Katrina said her brother—the second of four children—stayed with an aunt in Manila who informed the family about the tragedy. The aunt was reported to have said that Marcos had asked permission to go to Dasmariñas to work on a school project with classmates. Katrina said friends had reported that Marcos was asking for advice about
joining a fraternity in law school but the family had no idea which group that was. Bulalacao identified the fraternity as Lex Leonum Fraternitas. The San Beda Law Student Government on its Facebook page said it was coordinating with the school administration to find out which fraternity was behind the incident. “Violence will never be tolerated by this law school. San Beda will fully cooperate with the investigation and rest assured that everything is being done to see that justice is served,” the student council said. Council president Auvin Nieva said schoolmates described Marcos as “bright and popular.” “He belonged to the top 10 of his class and was a good speaker,” Nieva said. “We are angry at what happened.” The activist youth group Anakbayan condemned Marcos’ killing. “We call on the authorities and all concerned parties to swiftly and decisively act to bring to justice the perpetrators of this most heinous of crimes.” it said. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 10
Mitos rues nonrelease of ‘pork’ share, cries BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer SHE CAME out firing—and ended up crying. Frustration got the better of Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay when she could not get Aquino administration officials to explain why the “pork barrel” allocation for her district had been withheld for the past two years. Magsaysay broke down when she failed to get a straight answer from Budget Secretary Florencio Abad at Wednesday’s opening of congressional deliberations on the proposed P2.006trillion budget for 2013. For about half an hour, the lawmaker quizzed Abad on why the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for her district has not been released since President Aquino assumed office in 2010. The withheld allocation amounts to at least P140 million since a House
member is entitled to P70 million annually. But Abad stubbornly refused to give a categorical response when Magsaysay asked who was behind the decision to withhold her PDAF. “Ultimately, the buck stops with me,” he repeatedly told the administration-dominated committee on appropriations. After demanding that she be given an “unedited” video copy of the proceedings to show to her constituents in the first district of Zambales and Olongapo City, Magsaysay started to cry. “So they’ll know who to blame on why they can no longer go to college, can no longer have a skills training program, money for their hospitalization and a hope to improve their lives—all because of politics,” she said. Some of Magsaysay’s colleagues could be seen to be smiling, no
doubt because they are used to the congresswoman who is known for her fiery remarks during committee hearings and in the plenary. “If you do not feel what my people are feeling, well, I do!” Magsaysay continued, adding that her district should not be made to suffer if the Aquino administration had a “problem with the previous administration.” Withholding the pork barrel allocations of opposition lawmakers was also a perennial complaint during the nine-year administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative. Magsaysay then singled out Abad, a member of President Aquino’s inner circle. “Especially you, Secretary Abad! I don’t know where you got the arrogance to even state in public … you were boasting that you withheld the PDAF of my district and you even
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intend not to release it for 2013!” she said. “Mark this, Secretary Abad, you will not be in power forever. Your day will come!” she said. Magsaysay earlier warned that Abad was “breaking the law” by not releasing her PDAF. She said he was mandated to do so under the General Appropriations Act, which Congress passes every year. She said Abad could not cite “political realities” to justify the withholding of her allocation. “Let’s not fool each other. You are not talking to an idiot here,” she thundered. “For the last time, I would just like to ask Mr. Secretary Abad: Was it your decision to withhold the PDAF of the first district of Zambales and Olongapo? Please answer yes or no. I will not accept any other answer,” she said. n
News-Phils Gov’t protests MILF role in deadly clash
11 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
BY PHILIP C. TUBEZA Philippine Daily Inquirer THE GOVERNMENT has filed a formal protest against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for its alleged involvement in the July 26 clashes in Basilan that left 10 soldiers dead, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said. Gazmin said they filed a formal letter of protest with the committee overseeing the ceasefire between the government and the MILF but he did not expect the incident to adversely affect the peace talks with the rebels. “We sent a letter of protest because of the involvement of one MILF commander [in the clashes],” Gazmin said in a press conference .
He explained that even before the military launched its operation against Abu Sayyaf terrorists on July 26, it had already coordinated with Dan Laksaw Asnawi, the local MILF commander. Asnawi was involved in the infamous clash between government forces and the MILF in Al-Barka, Basilan, that left 19 soldiers dead in October last year. MILF was informed “What happened here is that even before the encounter, the MILF [forces] of Asnawi were already informed that this was a military operation against the Abu Sayyaf and they should not get in [the area of operation],” Gazmin said. He said that Asnawi agreed and that his men “did not move.”
“But while it was being coordinated, there were already MILF [men] inside [the area of operation] so the MILF got involved,” Gazmin said. “The problem here is that MILF and Abu Sayyaf members are oftentimes blood relatives. So among the enemy, there were three killed whose surnames were Asnawi,” he said. As this developed, the Philippine Army has replaced the head of the 104th Infantry Brigade which conducts military operations in the island province of Basilan. Army spokesperson Maj. Harold Cabunoc said Col. Carlito Galvez Jr., a veteran of Basilan and Sulu military operations, formally took over from Col. Arthur Ang, 52, during turnover ceremonies morning. The change of command was presided over by Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz, head of the 1st Infantry Division. Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes, head of the military’s West Mindanao Command, was the special guest. “At the age of 49, Galvez, a member of PMA Sandiwa Class of 1985, is the youngest military officer to command a brigade. He was the chief of the Operations Division, OJ3 AFP,
a sensitive post that he held for three years,” Cabunoc said. He added that Galvez was also assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division as acting chief of staff in 2008. “As a young officer, he distinguished himself in combat by leading the Scout Rangers in flushing out communist insurgents in southern Mindanao in the late 1980s,” Cabunoc said. He served as battalion commander of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion, First Scout Ranger Regiment, in 2000. “As a result of his extraordinary feats in combat, he received four Gold Cross Medals and various Military Merit Medals both for combat and administrative functions,” Cabunoc said. “The 1st Scout Ranger Battalion that he commanded in Sulu and Basilan was adjudged the Best Battalion for two consecutive years,” he said. Cabunoc said Galvez was also one of the awardees of Metrobank and Rotary Club Makati Metro’s The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers in 2007. He was likewise awarded the Distinguished Service Star, the third highest military award “for eminently meritorious and valuable service rendered in a position of major responsibility,” Canuboc added. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 12
Floods hit Metro Manila; Pagasa sees more rains BY JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE Philippine Daily Inquirer
AFTER two weeks of heavy rains in large parts of the country, including Metro Manila, expect more of the same in the next few days or even until next week. The ditty “rain, rain go away come again another day” may not work as a shallow low pressure area (LPA) off northern Luzon may enhance the southwest monsoon and bring more rain. Heavy rain again pounded Metro Manila late Sunday. The weather bureau said the volume of rainfall in the metropolis from 11 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. yesterday, was relatively high at 31 cubic meters. The amount of rainfall in the metropolis and other parts of Luzon increased water levels in several dams and rivers, causing flooding and the evacuation of thousands of residents in low-lying areas in Quezon City, Marikina City, and Rizal and Iloilo provinces. In Iloilo, one person drowned due to heavy rains since Sunday that forced the suspension of classes in seven towns on Monday. At least four domestic flights were canceled yesterday morning due to bad weather, the Manila International Airport Authority said. Green alert, flooding The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) hoisted yesterday the green alert over Metro Manila, as the “habagat” (southwest monsoon) continued to bring heavy rainfall in the metropolis. The green alert means that relentless rains will cause flooding and that residents are advised to prepare for floods. As of 5 p.m., Pagasa weather forecaster Ricky Fabregas said that Metro Manila was threatened with flooding. At 7 last night, many parts of Metro Manila were flooded. Storm ‘Haikui’ Pagasa weather forecaster Jori Loiz said the effect of the monsoon would continue until Wednesday, but an LPA, spotted 770 kilometers east of northern Luzon as of 4 p.m. yesterday,
might move closer to the Philippine Area of Responsibility and enhance the habagat. “For now the southwest monsoon is being enhanced by the pull of Tropical Storm ‘Haikui.’ But should the LPA develop more fully, it might enhance the southwest monsoon and bring more rains,” Loiz said. The monsoon is moving northeast toward Haikui, which is moving westward toward southern Japan. Evacuations Rising water at the Marikina River and flooding spawned by La Mesa Dam breaching its spilling level yesterday prompted the evacuation of close to 800 families in Quezon City. Heavy rains on Sunday forced officials to hoist Alert Level No. 3 over areas near the the Marikina River. By 2 a.m., yesterday, the river’s water level had reached 17 meters prompting officials to give residents the option of voluntary evacuation. A water level of 18 m would call for forced evacuation. Dennis Carlos of the Marikina Rescue 161 said 1,232 people from Barangays Malanday and Tumana opted to evacuate as soon as the second alarm was declared at around 1 a.m. A second alarm meant that water at the Marikina River was at least 16 mabove sea level. By 8:35 a.m., water at the river went down to 15.9 m but the number of evacuees increased. At about 11 a.m., the city government announced a suspension of afternoon classes at the preschool, elementary and high school levels in all public and private schools. Action officer Elmo San Diego of the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said that by 2 p.m. yesterday, 379 families, or 1,889 persons, had evacuated from Barangay Bagong Silangan, which is near the San Mateo River, a tributary of the Marikina River. Reports of La Mesa Dam reaching its spilling level likewise drove more than 400 families to flee from their homes near the Tullahan River. The level at which La Mesa starts to overflow is above 80.15 m. La Mesa does not have to open its gates to ease water levels since it is a spill dam that is much like a giant infinity pool.
In Rizal province, more than 1,500 families left their homes on Monday due to flooding, according to the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon). The continuous rain flooded the towns of San Mateo where 111 families were evacuated and Cainta where 10 families left their homes as of 10 a.m. In Rodriguez town, 1,466 families from four villages were evacuated to public schools and covered courts at around 5 a.m. on Monday. DRRMC Regional Director Vicente Tomazar said forced evacuation was implemented after the water level in the Marikina River rose to more than 20 m between 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. Rodriguez Mayor Cecilio Hernandez ordered the suspension of classes in all levels. Iloilo At least 35 families, or 182 persons, were also evacuated in New Lucena town in Iloilo, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC). Classes up to the elementary school level were suspended in the towns of Oton, Zarraga, Leganes, San Miguel, Banate and Anilao due to flooding. Jerry Bionat of the PDRRMC identified the fatality as Arlie Castillon, 35, who drowned in Oton town on Sunday afternoon. The heavy rains also forced the temporary closure of Iloilo City’s dump in Barangay Calajunan in Mandurriao District. Dam gates opened As heavy rains continue to pound Luzon, four dams have kept their gates open to release water in an attempt to stabilize levels and avert possible damage to the facilities. But the Pagasa hydrometeorology division (HMD) alerted residents in San Carlos City and at least 17 municipalities in Pangasinan province that they may be flooded as a result of water released from San Roque Dam. As of 2 p.m. yesterday, the Pagasa HMD reported that Ipo Dam in Bulacan had kept one gate open after the water level reached 100.42 m, short of its 100.80-m capacity.
Ambuklao Dam in Benguet kept two gates open by 1.5 mafter its water level reached 751.46 m, close to its overflow level of 752 m. Three gates of Binga Dam in Ifugao, Benguet province, remained open after water levels reached 574.40 m. The normal water level at the dam is 575 m. San Roque Dam in Pangasinan province, which catches most of the water from Ambuklao and Binga Dams, kept two gates open by 1.5 m after the water level breached its normal holding capacity of 280 m and by noon yesterday was measured at 283.55 m. Virgilio Garcia, in-charge of the flood forecasting and warming system for dam operations of National Power Corp. (Napocor), said San Roque Dam would continue spilling water until its elevation dropped to 280 m. The dam’s maximum water elevation is 290 m. Avert disaster But Gov. AmadoEspino Jr., fearing a repeat of the 2009 massive flooding in the province, urged Napocor to keep the dam’s water level below 280 m to provide space for rainwater that may be dumped by incoming typhoons. The dam was blamed for flooding in 2009 that submerged 38 towns and cities and ravaged some P4-billion worth of crops, fish, roads, bridges and dikes after Napocor’s dam operators opened all the dam’s spillway gates whenit was about to reach its full capacity. Spillage from the three dams is expected to further bloat the Agno River, where the water level had been raised by its tributaries—the Ingalera, Tagamusing and Sinocalan Rivers. The swelling rivers caused flooding in low-lying areas of the municipalities of Sta. Barbara, Calasiao, Binmaley, Binalonan, Malasiqui as well as Dagupan and Urdaneta cities in Pangasinan. In Bulacan province, Felicisima Mungcal, provincial disaster chief, said that as of Monday, the floodwaters in Calumpit town was about a foot high. Obando town was under 2.5 feet of floodwater aggravated by the high tide, Mungcal said. n
13 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Supreme Court upholds gov’t cash transfer program BY CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE SUPREME Court has sustained the constitutionality of the Aquino administration’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, saying the government did not encroach on the autonomy of local governments when it implemented the antipoverty program. In a 12-page en banc decision dated July 17, the high court dismissed the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. and barangay officials Nelso Alcantara and Sergio Tadeo in March last year, saying the petitioners “failed to discharge the burden of proving the invalidity of the provisions under the GAA (General Appropriations Act)” that allocated P21 billion for the CCT program. The decision was penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe. Pimentel and the two barangay officials had questioned the CCT’s implementation through the
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and not through the local government units (LGUs), which are responsible for delivering social welfare and other services to the people under the Local Government Code of 1991. Pimentel, principal author of the Local Government Code, and the barangay officials contended that the allocation of the P21 billion to the DSWD resulted in the “recentralization of basic government functions” that had been devolved from the national government to the LGUs.
Give PWDS more time to list up–casiño BY JOCELYN R. UY Philippine Daily Inquirer
DPWH chief warns against extortionists BY JERRY E. ESPLANADA Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tony Magdaraog / Shutterstock.com
A LAWMAKER appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the one-day special voter registration for persons with disabilities to at least a week to ensure that more PWDs would be able to participate in the 2013 elections. “We appeal to the Comelec to give more than one day for PWDs to register, taking into consideration their physical limitations,” said Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño . “It would be better if the special registration for PWDs would be held for one week,” he added. The Comelec on Monday announced that all its local offices across the country, except in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, will hold a special registration for PWDs on Aug. 11. Casiño lauded the Comelec for creating special polling precincts for PWDs. “It is good that it did not have to wait for a proposed law on this and took the initiative to create such special polling precincts for PWDs,” said the lawmaker. He pointed out that during the 2010 elections, senior citizens left polling
But the high court said that while the Local Government Code provides for the duties and functions of LGUs, pertaining to their job of delivering basic services and facilities, the same law also provides a “categorical exception in cases involving national funded projects, facilities, programs and services.” It cited a provision in the law that states that “other facilities, programs and services funded by the national government under the GAA, other special laws, pertinent executive orders and those wholly or partially funded
centers instead of climbing up two flights of stairs to reach their voting precincts. “We do not want this to happen again both for our senior citizens and PWDs,” said Casiño. Casiño is the primary author of House Bill No. 4048 or the Polling Center Accessibility Act of 2011 which has been approved on third reading by the House of Representatives as HB 5509. “We are also appealing to the Senate to pass a counterpart bill so that PWDs, senior citizens and expectant mothers will be assigned special voting rooms on election day. Their ballots will be collected and forwarded to the corresponding precincts,” he said. n
from foreign sources, are not covered under this section...” “The essence of this express reservation of power by the national government is that, unless an LGU is particularly designated as the implementing agency, it has no power over a program for which funding has been provided by the national government under the annual general appropriations act, even if the program involves the delivery of basic services within the jurisdiction of the LGU.” Among the cases cited by the high court in maintaining its position include Ganzon v. Court of Appeals, where it held that “the concept of local autonomy does not imply the conversion of local government units into ministates.” It said it cannot be implied that the Local Government Code provides for the “complete relinquishment of central government powers on the matter of providing basic facilities and services.” n
PUBLIC Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has warned against extortionists using his name for nonexistent Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-sponsored golf tournaments and other fake fundraising activities. “Should anyone knock on your door, send e-mails or text messages for the purpose of asking donations for a hoax DPWH golf tournament or any fundraising project, please report to DPWH telephone number 536-3477, or text to 2920 or contact our Call Center Hotline 165-02,” the DPWH public information division said in an advisory. In a statement, Singson said he does “not allow anybody to solicit funds or get favorable considerations either personally or through e-mail, text messages or letters.” The DPWH head said he had personally received reports that some unscrupulous individuals have been dropping his name and that of the DPWH to solicit sponsorships for non-
existent golf tournaments, among other supposed fundraising activities. The same individuals, he said, have been targeting project contractors and other people doing business with the DPWH. Singson noted that “with national road projects being implemented according to approved plans and specifications by better equipped and qualified contractors with closer inspection and monitoring by civil society groups, some unscrupulous individuals are now thinking of other ways to make easy money from contractors and other business people.” “Our commitment is to ensure the quality and safety of our national road network by upgrading and maintaining the roads properly, not to sponsor golf tournaments,” he emphasized. The DPWH has also encountered attempts by some powerful individuals acting as fixers to solicit projects and facilitate budget releases for DPWH projects, he said. “Please do not entertain fixers or brokers for projects that are anyway included in our regular budget,” said Singson. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 14
THERE’S THE RUB
Compelling needs BY CONRADO DE QUIROS Philippine Daily Inquirer FIRST, THE matter of decorum. One sentiment, possibly the overriding one, says right beef, wrong venue. P-Noy, they say, may have had every reason to complain about the ways news about the government was being treated by ABS-CBN, specifically by Noli de Castro, but he could not have picked a worse time and place to register it. It’s like being invited to a wedding, someone told me, and going on, not to toast the bride or bridegroom, but to remind the world of their infidelities. I’ve done a survey of sorts among friends and acquaintances, and that seems to be the majority sentiment. Most of them are sympathetic to P-Noy, but their view on his tirade last Friday is: wrong venue, wrong occasion. It wasn’t just Kabayan who took a blow there, decorum did. From the other end, most of these same friends and acquaintances are also ardent in their agreement with P-Noy’s complaint. “Tama naman siya,” said one who had been pissed off by the penchant of the anchors of “TV Patrol” to comment on the news, especially De Castro, though she also mentioned Korina Sanchez’s refusal to say “Vice President” whenever she mentioned Jejomar Binay. Does this outweigh the demands of decorum? A friend told me: “Look at it this way, pare, if P-Noy had said those things in, say, an appearance on, well, TV, or in a speech before the Rotary, do you think it would have had the
same effect? Do you think people would have heard? Do you think ABS-CBN would have listened? Maybe the President thought desperate times called for desperate measures.” I leave others to debate the point, principally because I am of two minds about it myself. I am not inappreciative of our culture, which prescribes strict rules of conduct about hospitality and accepting it. That is to say, that prescribes how hosts and guests should behave in one’s home. But I am not inappreciative either about compelling needs. I’m not the most decorous person myself, believing that the rules of hospitality end where the need to press a truth begins. I’ve always said that decorum should never have stopped us from doing to Gloria what that Iraqi journalist did to Dubya, which was to hurl a pair of shoes at him in a press conference. Some things just need to be said, some things just need to be done. That brings me to the second part, which is the matter of substance. I’m of one mind about it: I sympathize with P-Noy’s complaint completely. The problem, in fact, is far more basic than the fairness of TV Patrol’s anchors’ comments. Though that is a huge enough problem in itself, as P-Noy himself demonstrated by his litany of De Castro’s transgressions. The first item alone stands out, and the way P-Noy took issue with it felt like a knife being twisted inside De Castro. That was the case of a reporter reporting that Naia 3 had experienced a 20-percent increase
in passenger arrivals, to which De Castro commented, yes, but what about Naia 1? To which, in turn, P-Noy commented last Friday (translating into English): “What’s the connection of Naia 1 to the story? But leaving that aside, wasn’t this guy among those who held the reins of power for six years? Let’s assume they inherited the problem (a Naia in a decrepit state) themselves, but they left us with a far worse problem than they got. Do we need to be faulted by the one responsible for the fault?” It does raise questions about the objectivity— or never mind objectivity, the personal baggage—of TV Patrol’s anchors. But it’s more than that. The problem is not just the fairness of the comments, it is the right of the anchors to make them. That’s been a disturbing trend in Philippine media—opinion mixing with news in the most violently startling ways. On the occasions that I’ve watched TV Patrol (I take my news largely from newspapers and the Internet), I’ve found it astonishing that the anchors, particularly De Castro, were actually commenting on the news. I didn’t particularly mind that they held views in direct opposition to mine. That’s what we have a democracy for. But I did greatly mind that they were commenting on the news as the news was being read. Not as a designated editorial, not in a section called views and opinions, not at the end of the program by way of summing up the news with the usual disclaimers, but right in the middle of the news itself.
Before someone shoves it up my face, let me hasten to add—which is the part where I become indecorous myself—that I know we have the same problem in the INQUIRER. We’ve had several letters to the editor, one of whom was written by Vicente Paterno, demanding to know why Amando Doronila’s view of things appears on our front page. As Paterno put it, he didn’t particularly care what Doronila’s opinion was, though he left no doubt about his disapproval of it, but he did care that it was being passed off as news. Or, he asked, was the INQUIRER saying his views stood for the whole newspaper? (Amando Doronila’s Page 1 commentary every Monday is tagged “Analysis.”—ED.) What can I say? I am disturbed by all this. It does journalism a horrendous disservice. I’ll be the first to agree, even without invoking postmodernist ideas, simply invoking common sense, that you can never really tell a story purely objectively; every writing, or documenting, of it entails interpretation, and every interpretation entails subjective perception. But it is one thing to say this and quite another that therefore all lines between opinion and news may be blurred. You write news, you say, “This is as best as I can describe how something happened.” You write opinion, you say, “This is what I think this event signifies.” Those are two different things. And more than Kipling’s East and West, ne’er those twain shall meet. Ne’er those twain should meet. What can I say? Some things just need to be said. Some things just need to be done. n
An ‘old-fashioned’ campaign for Lim BY RINA JIMENEZ-DAVID Philippine Daily Inquirer HE PROMISES a good, old-fashioned campaign, the third he will mount for his second round as mayor of Manila, and perhaps his last hurrah in electoral politics. Although, as Ate Vi once famously said, “you can never can tell” when it comes to Manila Mayor Fred Lim, who is in his 80s but has the looks, stance and memory of a man many decades younger. “My opponents will probably mount large rallies,” he says when asked if he will be “running scared” next year, against a most formidable opponent, a former President no less. “But that has never been my style,” he declares. Instead, as has been his wont, during the campaign period, “I spend each morning going from house to house, especially in the urban poor areas. Many people there tell me I am the only candidate who goes around their area on foot, knocking on doors.” And when noontime comes round, he stops at a convenient corner sari-sari store, orders canned goods, bread, drinks and snacks and feeds the hungry horde accompanying him on his walk-through. “In the afternoon,” he adds, “I like to go on a ‘motorcade.’” But instead of driving around in expensive, gas-guzzling vehicles (“mahal na ang gasolina,” he quips), he prefers to roam
around in a calesa, a horse-drawn carriage. “There are many advantages,” he tells the women of the Bulong Pulungan at Sofitel, a weekly media gathering, in going around in such a rudimentary form of transport. “You don’t move too fast, and the people can follow you on foot. You can gather quite a crowd by the time you reach your destination.” Indeed, by the time next year’s campaign draws to a close, promises Mayor Lim, “you would have seen me in only two rallies: the proclamation rally where I will announce my lineup, and, of course, the miting de avance,” held on the eve of voting. Maybe we’ll know if Fred Lim is “running scared” only if he changes his “old-fashioned” style, driving around in fancy SUVs (or colorful jeepneys) and holding frenetic rallies, left and right. *** If he wins, it will be Mayor Lim’s third term as mayor of Manila, an occasion to punctuate many decades’ worth of public service, since he began as a humble foot patrolman when his hair hadn’t yet turned platinum. Which may be why the accusation that he ran Manila to the ground during the last six years rankles the usually calm mayor. To accusations that the city has been left “bankrupt,” he challenges accusers: “How can a bankrupt city continue to build hospitals in all the districts of Manila, build school buildings such that there are no shortages of classrooms in the city, and provide ‘womb to tomb’ services for citizens?”
“Womb to tomb” is not just a rhyming slogan. For Lim it is very much a reality. “When a woman in Manila gets pregnant, she can avail herself of prenatal services for free in our health clinics. When she has to deliver, she can do so for free in any of our public hospitals. Children and adults get free health services, whatever their age. We provide free nursery, grade school and high school education. And if a youth wants to go to college, we have two universities (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila—for honor graduates—and the City University of Manila) that do not charge tuition or other fees. When you get sick, you get free treatment and even medicines in city hospitals, and when you die, you can even avail yourself of a free casket (‘rescued’ from those who prefer cremation at the city crematorium), free funeral services and even free cremation or burial.” *** Mayor Lim brought with him City Treasurer Marisa de Guzman to explain the situation that led to the charge that Manila is currently “bankrupt.” “No truth to the matter,” said De Guzman, who, Lim hastened to clarify, is not his appointee and who falls under the supervision of the Department of Finance. The shortfall in the city’s finances, said De Guzman, resulted from several lawsuits where “big” companies were able to win tax breaks from the city. As a result, Manila faced a deficit, and to meet all its budgeted expenses, Mayor Lim met with his department heads, including Vice Mayor Isko Moreno who presides over the City Council, to trim their employee
rolls, starting with “casuals,” consultants and advisers. But Moreno and the councilors, said Lim, refused to submit the names of staff to be stricken off the payroll. “When I learned that the practice before was for the paymaster to simply turn over the amount for the salaries of councilors’ staff to the councilors, I issued an order requiring all the council staff to join the other City Hall employees in lining up each pay day to collect and sign for their salaries,” said the Mayor. But strangely, none of the councilors’ staff turned up to get their salaries, leading to the suspicion that many of them may have been simply “ghost” employees. “Have you checked the signatures they were submitting before?” I asked. To that, the Mayor simply smiled and said: “That’s our next step.” *** Despite being “just” a city mayor, albeit of the nation’s capital, Mayor Lim has been a national political figure. In fact, one of his messages at the media gathering was to invite everyone to the observance of the third death anniversary of the late “democracy icon,” former President Cory Aquino. “The best President the country ever had,” he declared unabashedly when asked what he thought of “Tita Cory.” Even better than her son, the current President? “History will judge P-Noy,” Lim said. “But I can promise you one thing: President Noynoy will never be involved in a huge corruption scandal. He has a legacy to live up to.” And maybe, so does Alfredo Lim. n
15 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Meddling in Supreme Court rampant BY AMANDO DORONILA Philippine Daily Inquirer THE OUSTER of Chief Justice Renato Corona did not see the end of the executive branch’s intervention in the affairs of the Supreme Court. The bad habit dies hard. Indeed, the successful removal of Corona by impeachment has emboldened the executive branch to become even more aggressive in interfering in the selection of Corona’s replacement. Even up to the final week of the selection by the Judicial and Bar Council of the short list of three nominees from whom President Aquino will choose Corona’s replacement, Malacañang didn’t exercise restraint in trying to influence the JBC not to exclude from the short list its preferred candidate— the pugnacious Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. On Monday last week, the President’s spokesperson Edwin Lacierda expressed hope that De Lima would be included in the short list. He said: “We’re happy with her being our secretary of justice. We’re very comfortable with her. Either way we would certainly welcome her—as chief justice or as [secretary] of the DOJ. But, again, that’s up to the JBC.” To make sure of what Lacierda really meant, Malacañang’s Press Office issued a news release after his press briefing saying that the administration “would welcome De Lima’s appointment as the next
chief justice as she has the confidence of the Chief Executive.” Lacierda went on to argue that De Lima should not be scratched off the list solely on the basis of a pending disbarment case against her. Apprehension gripped the Palace that De Lima would be eliminated from the short list after the Integrated Bar of the Philippines dismissed her petition to set aside a disbarment case against her, raising the possibility of her disqualification from the JBC’s screening process for Corona’s replacement. At a hearing of the JBC last week, in which De Lima was interviewed, it was pointed out that under a JBC rule, a nominee facing criminal or administrative proceedings would have to be disqualified. De Lima replied that the case was “politically motivated” and had been subjected to administrative proceedings. De Lima was accused of calling Corona a “lawless tyrant” in a TV interview during the then Chief Justice’s impeachment trial— an allegation that had something to do with her fairness in the administration of justice. Two other disbarment cases have been filed against her for disobeying the temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court that allowed former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo to leave the country for medical treatment last year. De Lima is one of two “outsider” nominees favored by the administration for chief justice; the other is Internal Revenue Commissioner
Kim Henares, who has declined the nomination. The focus is now on De Lima as the sole hope of the administration to plant a compliant Trojan horse in the Supreme Court, which has had only one “outsider” (meaning a non-member of the court) as chief justice in a century of its existence. De Lima is running into this brick wall of tradition, which poses an obstacle to her aspirations of becoming the next chief justice—unless President Aquino defies this tradition. The interventions of Malacañang in the selection of the next chief justice came amid the crystallization of three important concerns and issues, in which De Lima is entrapped. These issues are: First, the hardening sentiment and opinion in the judiciary that the next chief justice should come from the ranks of “insiders.” Second, the main issue involved in this succession process is that the next chief justice should not only be a person of outstanding integrity but, more so, capable of restoring the independence of the judiciary vis-à-vis the unwarranted interventions of the executive branch. The recent interventions recall the President’s interference in Corona’s impeachment trial, in which he employed the full weight of his powers to ensure Corona’s conviction. Third, it’s not remote from reality to say that the public will be loath to see the next chief justice and the Supreme Court subservient to the executive branch.
In his interview with the JBC, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, who was nominated to the post on the basis of his seniority in the high court’s hierarchy, warned that the President risks demoralization if he breaks tradition and appoints an outsider. “You have impeached the Chief Justice and his person, you have not impeached the rest of the court,” Carpio said. “I will not deny that it will be bad for their morale. The tradition encourages the incumbents in the appellate court [and] the Supreme Court to look forward to the day that they will be senior, and will have a chance to be chief justice.” Carpio added that he did not think it was necessary to appoint an outsider to reform the judiciary, and emphasized that decisions were not reached in the Supreme Court as a body and only after intensive debates. “We are not a club, and we have heated discussions,” he said. On the other hand, the administration’s warrior in shining armor did not run short of modesty in projecting her qualifications for chief justice. She said she had an edge against the other contenders because she had the “strong personality to institute reforms in a judiciary tarnished by the impeachment of Corona.” We did not know that hubris and combativeness are among the most valued qualifications of a chief justice. She could convert the Supreme Court into a gladiatorial arena headed by an amazon. n
AS I SEE IT
Many Charter provisions have no enabling laws BY NEAL H. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer WHY AMEND the Constitution now when it still has 82 economic provisions that still have no enabling laws? This was asked by former Comelec Commissioner Antonio Gorospe, a member of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), at a news forum in Quezon City. He said most of the economic provisions of the Constitution have the condition “As may be provided by law.” However, 82 of these provisions still have no enabling laws. Can’t the changes that Congress wants be achieved through enabling laws, he asked. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte are leading the bandwagon to amend the Constitution, a move that President Aquino and the public do not want. “It is not a priority,” the President said. The public is afraid that once the Constitution is opened to amendments, members of Congress will make changes that would benefit themselves. They would abolish the term limits. They would abolish the provision against political dynasties, another provision that still has no enabling law. That is why political dynasties are increasing. With their increasing cadre of supporters and grassroots leaders, candidates of political dynasties have the advantage over rivals who do not belong to any political dynasty. Provinces
and congressional districts become virtual fiefdoms of political dynasts. Enrile and Belmonte say only the economic provisions would be amended. But the public feels that once the Constitution is open to amendments, there is no stopping the introduction of other amendments. In fact, many suspect that the claim that only the economic provisions would be changed is only a ploy to open the Constitution to other amendments. “And what economic provisions need to be changed when a great majority of them are still not in effect, they having no enabling laws yet?” Gorospe asked. “What needs to be done is to strengthen the Anti-Dummy Law,” he added. “The law is obeyed by corporations only when they file their corporation papers,” he said. “After that the government does not monitor their activities, so these corporations can do what they want in violation of the Anti-Dummy Law.” The law must be strengthened to prevent this, he stressed. Former Rep. Mariano Tajon, who was also at the forum, favors Charter change, “at whatever cost.” He estimated that Cha-cha, by Constitutional Convention (Con-con) or Constituent Assembly (Con-ass), would cost the taxpayers at least P8 billion. “What is that?” he asked. “That is nothing compared to the benefits that we would get. Who would mind?” “The taxpayers would,” somebody in the audience shouted. Imagine what P8 billion can do to help the people? Imagine what P8 billion can do to
initiate projects to help create more jobs. When the people have jobs, they will have the money to buy the products that factories produce. With more buyers, the factories can produce more, and the economy will improve. Besides, we all agree that the economy has improved, somebody commented. That is under the present Constitution. So the Constitution works. So why change it? Besides, Congress has many pending bills to attend to. A Con-ass to amend the Charter would take up much of its time and efforts, to the detriment of the pending bills. The impeachment trial already took up much of the time and energies of the legislators, now a Chacha would take up more. Besides, the people do not trust the present batch of legislators. So why not a Con-con where delegates would be elected? But the same politicians and their relatives would run for election as Concon delegates. It is as if having the current legislators as the Con-con delegates. It is true that other independent candidates can run for the Con-con. But the candidates of the political dynasties would always defeat them. So the situation would be the same: as if the Concon would be a Con-ass. Besides, in a Con-con the whole Constitution would be open to change. The Con-con can even draft a new constitution. And you never know what crazy provisions the Con-con delegates would put into the new constitution. If the Charter really has to be amended, I have repeatedly suggested in earlier columns that we
amend it the way the United States has done it— one amendment at a time, enacted by Congress. The US constitution has been unchanged since it was written by its founding fathers. (We have already changed ours four times, each succeeding an imperfect one and needing further changes.) The US Charter has only been amended, one at a time. That is why there is Amendment 1, Amendment 2, etc. in the US Charter. They were enacted by Congress at no extra cost. Besides saving precious taxpayers’ money, the US method gives the people enough time and opportunity to study and discuss each amendment thoroughly before voting for or against it in a plebiscite. In our Con-con or Con-ass method, so many provisions have to be voted upon. And the people are presented with a package deal. They either approve or reject the whole package. The bad provisions are approved together with the good. And you can be sure that our politicians will smuggle selfserving provisions that the people don’t want (such as no term limits) among provisions that people want. So that if the people want the good provisions so much, they would have to ratify the bad provisions with them. This would not happen with one-at-a-time amendments. The people would be able to discuss and debate that one amendment thoroughly and minutely before voting on it. Besides, it would save the people precious tax money. It can be presented to the people for ratification during the regular elections. So there would be no need for additional appropriation for the plebiscite. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 16
Protected areas show ravaged reefs can recover Smuggled rice will stabilize our stocks, jokes DA chief
BY DJ YAP Philippine Daily Inquirer MOST coral reefs located in Philippine waters are under dire threat, save for three marine habitats that serve as havens for fish, whales and dolphins and replenish the country’s lost sea riches. Tubbataha Reef in Palawan, Apo Reef in Occidental Mindoro and Sarangani Bay in Mindanao are examples of how effective management of marine protected areas (MPAs) can dramatically improve ravaged reef conditions, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has said. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the most potent way of managing coral reefs is to let them be. MPAs are regions where human activity are restricted to a minimum to allow for the conservation of the natural environment and ecosystems of the area, the DENR said. “Improved MPA management, therefore, reduces human pressures on the marine environment and allows coral reefs and other forms of marine life to recover and replenish themselves,” Paje said. The Philippines hosts about 1,000 local MPAs—patches of coral reef or sea grass beds that are protected in various degrees by law—the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF)Philippines said. Tubbataha Reef, Apo Reef and Sarangani Bay, along with about 30 other areas, have been designated national MPAs under the National Integrated Protected Areas System, which lays out the ground rules for the management of protected areas, including stringent penalties against violators. “This has boosted fish diversity, as well as enhanced the fisheries contribution at an annual rate of 10-30 tons of fish per square kilometer of reef in the area,” Paje said. Recent DENR studies have shown that the three MPAs, which have each enjoyed protected status for several years, produce greater fish densities and healthier fish populations, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Mundita Lim said. “Even though they are protected, there is still fishing in these areas, but there are restrictions which are set by the local government and other stakeholders,” she said.
BY DJ YAP Philippine Daily Inquirer
She said the DENR was studying commonalities among Tubbataha Reef, Apo Reef and Sarangani Bay in order to determine the best practices in managing MPAs. At Tubbataha and Apo, for instance, Lim noted that their strategies were geared towards improving facilities and pouring resources into ecological tourism. Fisher folk there are earning more income because of tourism, she said. To ‘replicate success’ In Sarangani Bay, the fisheries sector has been strengthened with seascape managers in close coordination with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to boost tuna populations in the traditional fishing grounds. The goal, Lim said, is to replicate the success of the three in other provinces with poor reef management systems. “Next year, we will come out with the Protected Area Awards which will recognize the best managed protected areas,” she said. The WWF identified three effective practices in administering MPAs: deployment of patrol guards against illegal fishermen; use of renewable sources of energy, such as solar panels; and proper solid waste management along the coastline. Tangible results The non-governmental organization cited as a “model for every ecotourism development in the Philippines” its partnership with Costa del Hamilo in the management of three coves— Santelmo, Etayo and Pico de Loro in Batangas. The coves “are continuously protected, and the results speak for themselves—improved fish yields, more reef fish, the regrowth of corals,” Gregg Yann, WWF’s communications and media manager, said.
Since most of the country’s MPAs are managed by local government units, policies in enforcement, funding and other management issues are often affected by shifting priorities, especially when there is leadership change after elections, Paje said. This is where civil society and other stakeholders can do their share, he said. Paje said the participation of civil society was necessary to replicate the successes of Tubbataha Reef, Apo Reef and Sarangani Bay. In a statement in July, he called on local fisher folks, the tourism, fishing and aquaculture industries, the academe, conservation organizations, and water hobby or sports organizations to participate in managing MPAs. World Heritage site The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which has been declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), lies at the center of the Sulu Sea. Including the Jessie Beazley Reef, it protects almost 100,000 hectares of high quality marine habitats containing three atolls and a large area of deep sea. The park is home to whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and Napoleon wrasse and supports over 350 species of coral and almost 500 species of fish. The reserve also protects one of the few remaining colonies of breeding seabirds in the region, Unesco said. Sarangani Bay, on the other hand, encompasses an area of 449 square kilometers that features several coral reefs and reef fish communities, according to a 2001 study by the DENR. Almost 200 species of fish have been observed in the area, and it is frequented by marine mammals like dolphins and sharks, including the whale shark, the study said. n
“IF THERE is smuggled rice coming in, that will only add to our stocks. Our stocks will become more stable,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Tuesday, tongue in cheek. Turning serious, Alcala said rice smuggling was a symptom of the larger problem of local rice farmers not being competitive enough. “We need to study how we will be competitive, and how to lower the cost of production,” Alcala said at a press conference on the review mission of the second phase of the World Bank-funded Mindanao Rural Development Program. “The reason smuggling is so inviting here is that it is so cheap overseas. The returns are higher there. We need to be more aggressive in lowering the cost of production,” he added. Alcala did not, however, address a question on the impact of rice smuggling on efforts of the Department of Agriculture to be self-sufficient in the staple by 2013. Food security is a priority of the Aquino government, with rice selfsufficiency topping the agenda. In his third State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 23, the President underlined his administration’s goal of making the Philippines a rice exporter by next year “if the weather cooperates.” The government has boasted of reducing the annual shortage of 1.3 million metric tons of rice to just 860,000 metric tons in the first year of the Aquino administration. “This year, it is down to 500,000— including a buffer stock to dip into in times of calamity. And, if the weather cooperates, we’ll be able to export rice next year,” President Aquino said during his Sona. n
17 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
GMA visits House, preps for RH vote SHE’S BACK. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, wearing a neck brace and lumbar support, paid a brief visit to the House of Representatives. The Pampanga representative, out on bail after eight months of hospital detention on charges of electoral sabotage, described her appearance at the plenary hall as a “dry run” for the chamber’s crucial vote on the reproductive health (RH) bill. “That’s why I’m strengthening myself today so that I’ll be sure to be here on voting day. I’ll take today like a dry run for Tuesday,” she told reporters. On Aug. 7, proponents of the RH measure are expected to move to close the period of interpellation so the chamber could proceed to the period of amendments on controversial House Bill No. 4244. “I’m voting against (it),” said Arroyo, who has consistently opposed the RH bill. Arroyo arrived at about 4 p.m. and was met by fellow members of the minority. She was escorted by her son, Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo. Arroyo settled into her seat in the second row and stayed for 18 minutes. She proceeded to the South Wing lounge where she chatted with colleagues like Minority Leader Danilo Suarez and Representatives Amelita Villarosa and Milagros Magsaysay. After 20 minutes, the House roll was called and it was not sure if her attendance was recorded. Suarez said Arroyo was offered some soup but she declined it because she had difficulty swallowing. Arroyo then described the laborious process of her food intake. “Crispy is better than hard because it’s cut into small, small pieces. Then I will have to turn my head left so that the food will go down. It’s a complicated procedure that’s why sometimes I’d rather not (eat),” she said. Not ready for surgery Arroyo said she had been advised by her doctor to go through another surgery. But she said she was “not
physically and emotionally ready” for it. “The substitute for that now is extensive therapy,” she said. Suarez said that Arroyo’s visit was brief because of her medical condition. “One thing I noticed from the time she alighted from her vehicle up (to the time she took) her seat (at the plenary hall) was that she was really gasping,” he said, noting that Arroyo could not even go up to her office on the second floor. However brief the visit was, Suarez said it was a “sentimental” one for Arroyo. “That’s her job. She’s an elected official. Of course, she feels bad that she cannot actively participate as a congressman because of her condition,” he said. Arroyo said her participation in the upcoming deliberations on the proposed P2-trillion national budget next year would depend on her “dayto-day” condition. Arroyo was detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on charges of electoral sabotage. But a Pasay court ruled last week that the government’s evidence against her was weak. She was granted bail of P1 million. The Commission on Elections, which filed the case against her, has submitted a motion to reconsider the grant of bail. A hearing on this motion set for has been reset to Aug. 10. The judge granted the pleading of Arroyo’s lawyer, Ray Montri Santos, to postpone the hearing since the defense counsel had yet to receive a copy of the motion. The head of the Comelec’s law department, Esmeralda Ladra, maintained that the evidence against Arroyo—from a lone witness—was not weak. “(Our witness) did not just overhear Arroyo instructing (former Maguindanao Gov. Andal) Ampatuan Sr. He heard it himself... he was a foot away from them,” Ladra told reporters at the Pasay Regional Trial Court 112 which is hearing the case. n
Photo courtesy of Philippine Embassy in London, United Kingdom
BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer
PH uses Olympics to let world know where it’s more fun
Philippine Ambassador to Britain Enrique Manalo and Deputy Chief of Mission Rey Catapang join Chef de Mission Manny Lopez and the rest of the PHL Olympic Team for a photo in front of one of the It’s More Fun in the Philippines buses in London.
BY TARRA QUISMUNDO Philippine Daily Inquirer FROM London to Bangkok, the world is learning—and experiencing— why it’s “more fun in the Philippines.” Spreading the Filipino brand around the globe, Philippine embassies and consulates are getting the word out about the country’s new tourism slogan. Just after the London Olympics opened on July 27, the Philippine Embassy in the British capital hosted a reception for Irish students who cheered for the Philippine Olympic team as part of the Olympic Guard of Honor. The embassy hosted students from Dundonald Primary School and Orangefield High School in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in a reception that gave them a taste of what the Philippines is all about through food, cultural performances and handicraft. “We congratulate all of you and your schools for having been chosen as part of the prestigious Olympic Guard of Honor and we truly appreciate all the support you have given to Team Philippines,” Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom Enrique Manalo told the group at a reception on July 28. The students are part of some 2,000 Britons from 250 schools around the United Kingdom who cheered as they lined up along the athletes’ route from the Olympic Park to the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies last week. They were chosen through London 2012’s education program Get Set Network for showing the “commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic values and incorporating them into their school lives and curriculum,” the embassy said in a statement.
The embassy said the Irish students handcrafted Philippine flags and other symbols to cheer for the Filipino Olympic team. “The boys and girls heartily waved their banners and personally greeted the Philippine Olympic Team as the latter made their way to the stadium for the opening ceremonies,” said the Department of Foreign Affairs in a statement. At the embassy reception, the Irish guests partook of a spread of Filipino delicacies and were handed tokens of Filipino handicraft. They were also entertained with a cultural show, with London-based Filipinos performing dances from across the country. The performance ended with Irish teachers literally dipping their feet in a “tinikling.” London-based Philippine martial arts group Doce Pares also impressed the British guests with a demonstration of eskrima, a traditional Filipino martial art that uses rattan sticks. Irish school officials said the students enjoyed their visit and are planning on “setting up links with a school in the Philippines.” Earlier that week, the Bicol Tourism, Trade and Investment Mission flew to Los Angeles to discuss Bicol tourism and business prospects with the Filipino community and local media. In Bangkok, Philippine embassy officials took part in an exhibit of the Thai Ministry of CommerceDepartment of Foreign Trade’s Asean Economic Community Pavilion from July 26 to 28. The Philippine booth featured Philippine delicacies such as dried mango balls and popcorn from Filipino company Chef Tony’s. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 18
China ropes off Panatag Shoal BY PHILIP C. TUBEZA AND TJ BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer
Keep talking In spite of the dispute, Gazmin said he and Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie agreed to “keep the lines of communications open” when they met in Cambodia recently . “We need to talk to secure a solution,” Gazmin said. “Our talks will continue.” The Philippines and Vietnam are pushing a code of conduct in the West
Photo courtesy of NASA
TO CUT or not to cut? Chinese fishing vessels left Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) but they roped off the mouth of its lagoon to prevent other fishermen from getting in, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said . Speaking at a news conference, Gazmin said the Coast Guard had reported to him that the Chinese left a long rope held by buoys at both ends of the entrance to the lagoon of the horseshoe-shaped reef. Gazmin said the defense department was studying what steps to take about the rope. Stormy weather in the West Philippine Sea has prevented Philippine vessels from going to the shoal in recent days. “It might be meant to prevent us from getting in because they are claiming [the shoal], but, of course, we are also claiming that it is ours,” Gazmin said.
occupied Pag-asa Island, drawing a warning from Manila not to come any closer. Without hardware to defend its borders against Chinese intrusions, the Philippines has threatened to take the dispute to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. China, however, rejects international arbitration, insisting on its policy of dealing with its rivals for territory in the West Philippine Sea in one-on-one talks. Philippine Sea through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). A code of conduct would prevent the rival territorial claims of Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan in the West Philippine Sea from deteriorating into armed clashes. Without a code of conduct, any of the claimants could not explore for resources in the disputed waters, Malacañang said . Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said it would be difficult for any country to go into the area without a code of conduct that spelled out the “ground rules” for any exploratory activity by any of the claimants. “While we may be open to some way of jointly exploring those areas and jointly exploiting those areas, I think the first thing that needs to be done is we need to have a binding code of conduct,” Carandang said at a briefing for reporters. “So [joint exploration]
remains an aspiration until certain agreements can be reached with other claimant countries.” Carandang said diplomats and legal experts could figure a way out for a joint exploration, but this would fail without a code of conduct. China and the Asean countries, however, have signed the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea to deal with the territorial disputes peacefully. Carandang appealed to China and all the other claimants to observe the declaration so as to prevent an increase in tensions in the West Philippine Sea. Panatag standoff Chinese poaching at Panatag Shoal provoked a maritime standoff between the Philippines and China from early April to mid-June. Last month, 20 of 30 Chinese fishing vessels in an expedition to the Spratly Islands traveled close to Philippine-
When? Beijing has said it is open to discussions of a code of conduct with the Asean countries. But Carandang said China had shown no sign it would soon sit down with the other claimants to draft the code. “We expect them to continue to participate in these discussions,” Carandang said. “[But] whether they are going to participate in the next high-level discussion is a question mark.” Carandang said the Philippines would provide shelter for fishermen who would be stranded in the country’s territory in the West Philippine Sea despite the tensions there. “In general, for humanitarian reasons, if fishermen were in trouble and we were in a position to help them and save their lives, we would, whether they be Filipino, Vietnamese or Chinese.” Carandang said. n
Photo courtesy of Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Manila
P-noy won’t stop tirade vs media
BY TJ BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer
IT WON’T be the last of President Aquino’s tirade against the media. Malacañang said that the President won’t be holding his punches against the media despite criticisms from various groups over his tirades against TV Patrol anchor, former Vice President Noli de Castro. “You can expect the President to be always frank about his statements. The President has always been forthright with what he thinks is proper; what he thinks should be; what is not proper,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters.
Malacañang also doubted there would be less invitation for the President because of the incident. “And will media, again, invite him? Of course, you want the head of the country to be invited to your occasion and there’s no reason why you should cower in fear from inviting the President,” Lacierda said. Mr. Aquino criticized executives and staff of TV Patrol for highlighting the negative in their early evening newscast during their anniversary on night, and swiped at an anchorman for his “baseless” comments in
between news, referring to De Castro. Lacierda disagreed with statements by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) that Mr. Aquino had been engaged in a “whine and bash” routine. “We believe it was a proper moment to inform ABS-CBN TV Patrol on the actuations of their anchorman,” he said. “We believe the President was not in error when he made and decided to make that speech on the 25th anniversary of TV Patrol.” n
19 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Photo courtesy of by Jay Nigel Siggers
Talackova rides a wave of gratitude in Vancouver gay pride parade
Transgendered beauty queen Jenna Talackova helped lead Vancouver’s annual gay pride parade Sunday.
THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER - Months after she took on the beauty pageant establishment, transgendered beauty queen Jenna Talackova helped lead Vancouver’s annual gay pride parade Sunday. The seemingly at-times-bashful Talackova was one of the parade marshals and rode atop a silver coloured BMW waving a rainbow feather boa over her head. It was a scorcher as the parade wound through Vancouver streets in near 30 degree weather. Talackova gained international attention for fighting for the right to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant after being kicked out because she was not born a woman.
Talackova has said she always felt like a woman and began taking hormone therapy at 14 years old, eventually having sexual reassignment surgery at age 19. She accused the pageant of discriminating against her and pageant owner Donald Trump allowed her to compete. She finished in the top 12 in the pageant and now said she considers herself an advocate for equal rights. Earlier this summer pride parade organizers said they chose her as a grand marshal because of her struggle for the rights of transgendered people. Vancouver Canucks’ player Manny Malhotra also made good on his promise to be the first Vancouver Canuck to ever take part in the city’s decades old pride parade. Malhotra was at the parade in association with the You Can Play project, an effort to bring acceptance of gay people into the world of athletics. The Mississauga, Ontario native said he joined the effort because he believes people should not feel they cannot play sports based on their sexual orientation, religion or race. The city’s annual parade draws around 600,000 people. n
Canadian Helicopters wins US$40M Philippines offshore oil and gas contract THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL - Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. says its HNZ subsidiary has won a US$40 million, four-year Philippines offshore oil and gas helicopter support contract from Shell Global Solutions International B.V. The Montreal-based company said Helicopters NZ Ltd. will provide crew change helicopter services from
Manila to Shell’s offshore petroleum platforms beginning in September 2013. A second helicopter will be deployed beginning in the second quarter of 2014 to support oil and gas exploration and development work by Shell in the Philippines. The initial term of the contract is four years with potential five one-year option periods. Revenues for the initial terms are about US$40 million. The
NEWS BRIEFS by The Canadian Press Maple Leaf warns of rising food prices TORONTO - Grocery shoppers may need to dig deeper into their pockets as drought conditions inflate food prices well into next year and maybe beyond, Maple Leaf Foods president and CEO Michael McCain warned Wednesday. Because Maple Leaf (TSX:MFI) buys ingredients in advance, consumers likely won’t see higher prices for its products until the end of this year, McCain said. n
Quebec election called for Sept. 4 MONTREAL - Jean Charest has called a Quebec election for Sept. 4 under an unpredictable backdrop as he seeks a record-tying fourth consecutive win in the province. The names of other Quebec premiers who have won four straight terms - Lomer Gouin, Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, Maurice Duplessis - are immortalized on major arteries. n
Harper won’t meet with premiers on economy HALIFAX - A spokesman in the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday that Stephen Harper wouldn’t attend a first ministers meeting on the economy, derailing plans by the premiers to bring him back to the table. The provincial leaders joined together last week in calling on Harper to meet with them in Halifax in November to talk about the state of the world economy and its effects on Canadians. n
B.C. to get least pipeline cash: report VANCOUVER - Based on straight math, British Columbians shouldn’t be surprised to learn they will draw far fewer economic benefits than Alberta - or even Ontario - from the Northern Gateway project, says a new report. B.C. Premier Christy Clark has argued her province has taken on 100 per cent of the marine risk while receiving not much more of the economic benefit than provinces that have no risk at all. n
Judge hears arguments in Ronald Smith lawsuit CALGARY - A Montana judge has heard arguments in a legal challenge on behalf of Canadian Ronald Smith about how the state carries out its death penalty. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a civil lawsuit in 2008 that argues the lethal injections the state uses to execute people are cruel and unusual punishment and violate the right to human dignity. n
aircraft will be obtained by purchase or lease. ``We are extremely pleased to have been selected by Shell for this major piece of business in Asia’’ stated president and CEO Don Wall. ``This is not only a win in terms of building on the strong relationship we have built with Shell in New Zealand, but it is also consistent with our strategy to grow the business and expand from our historical areas of
strength in Australia and New Zealand deeper into the Asian market.’’ Canadian Helicopters Group (TSX:CHL.A) is an international provider of helicopter transportation and related support services in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and regions of Southeast Asia. The group also delivers contracted on demand support in Afghanistan and Antarctica. It operates about 140 helicopters and employs approximately 800 personnel. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 20
Creating avenues and providing a stage for Filipino-Canadian youth to shine How KAPISANAN makes a difference in Toronto and the rest of the world
BY NICOLE CAJUCOM ONE OF THE challenges facing FilipinoCanadian youth is finding their identity. Whether they are newcomer Filipino youth who immigrated with their families, or Canadian-born Filipinos who were raised in this great country, there seems to be a common struggle from both groups to define themselves as Filipinos in a very multicultural community. This is the issue that Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture (KAPISANAN) wishes to address. Through communitybased arts and cultural programming and presentation, Kapisanan creates a space for Filipino-Canadian youth to explore Filipino culture and heritage, fostering pride and self-confidence, inspiring and empowering them to realize their full potential. It is because of this mandate that KAPISANAN has been recently recognized for the Global Bayaning Pilipino Award in Canada. A collaborative effort between Philippine media giant ABS-CBN and UGAT Foundation, the award aims to honour organizations that serve Filipinos in their respective communities around the world. The global search was launched to recognize the modern bayani or heroes from different countries/regions around the world: United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe, and the Middle East. On June 21st the North American ceremonies in Redwood City, California was attended by notable community organizations from the United States and Canada. The event provided the opportunity to meet representatives from other Filipino organizations in North America, learn more about the hard work that they give to their respective communities, and ultimately share the collective passion to recognize and celebrate Filipino culture. “I noticed that KAPISANAN is the only organization in the fold who is youth-led and youth-focused,” says Kat Estacio, KAPISANAN’s Operations & Marketing Manager, who represented KAPISANAN for the Global Bayaning Pilipino awards ceremony. After winning the award for Canada, KAPISANAN participated in the global award ceremony on July 19th in Manila, Philippines to celebrate with the winners from the Global category, as well as to witness the winners for the Individual, Family, and Teacher categories. “It is so inspiring to see the bayanihan spirit across and beyond the Philippines, to know that all these other individuals and organizations are responding to various and sometimes urgent needs of the Filipino community around the world. But we at KAPISANAN feel that the Filipino-Canadian youth is a cause in itself,” Kat Estacio adds. Housed in Kensington Market, in downtown Toronto, KAPISANAN is often flooded with talented and culturally curious young individuals who are keen to explore their personal stories within a grander narrative. These stories are expressed
CanadianFinalists at Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Global Bayaning Pilipino Awards in RedwoodCity, California. (L-R) ABS-CBN Canada Marketing Manager Rosary Escaño, Consolacion “Mama Ching” Quejas of Kalayaan Cultural Community Centre, Kat Estacio of KAPISANAN, Judy Montenegro of KCCC, ABS-CBN Canada Managing Director Marco Amoranto, Tomas “Tatay Tom” Avendaño of Multicultural Helping House Society, and Fr. Nilo Tanalega of UGAT Foundation. Photo courtesy of Judy Montenegro/KCCC.
One of the displays at last year’s Kultura Filipino Arts Festival, encouraging festival goers to become part of the community. Photo by Angie Torres.
KAPISANAN representatives Kat Estacio (Operations & Marketing Manager) and Kristina Guison (Member, KAPISANAN Board of Directors), with ABS-CBN President and Chief Operating Officer Charo Santos Concio in Manila, Philippines for the National Awarding Ceremony, July 19, 2012
in multiple media forms, including but not limited to visual arts, music, theatre, and writing. And with programs such as Filipino language and history workshops, Filipino-Canadian youth are encouraged to closely examine their cultural heritage to fuel their artistic expression. Another key program that KAPISANAN offers is the CLUTCH program, a free six-month arts-based program for young Filipina women to start a dialogue with each other, get mentorship from professional artists within the community, access to professional tools to hone their creativity, define their identity, and tell their stories on their terms. “Though we do provide mentorship and internship programs, and help young people open their minds to diverse career options, we also focus on the intangible. Building confidence and self-esteem, being comfortable in your (Filipino) skin. That’s really the foundation for success for all young people, not just Filipino youth,” explains Caroline Mangosing, KAPISANAN’s Executive Director. KAPISANAN believes that empowering the youth is the only way that Filipinos as a whole will be uplifted, and it is a way to pass on our culture to the next generation. “Perhaps one of the reasons why KAPISANAN won the Global Bayaning Pilipino Award for Canada is because we focus on engaging Filipino-Canadian youth to know about who they are, and what it means to be a Filipino in Canada. It is important to share success stories, to link youth with inspiring mentors and say, hey, this is what a Filipino is capable of. This is who we are, and we are proud of it,” Kat Estacio explains further.
Poetry is our Second Language or PSL, is a KAPISANAN program that explores traditional Filipino poetry through a 4-week workshop. It offers young Filipino poets, writers, and spoken word artists an outlet to creatively express themselves through word and voice. PSL provides an avenue where the youth can speak out about issues that matter to them, stylized with rhyme and rhythm. Caroline Mangosing adds, “KAPISANAN creates an amazing stage for Filipino-Canadian talent to shine, a place where Filipinos are visible to the rest of Canada. We are here to change the way the rest of the broader community see us. Because Filipinos are also very diverse people with many different kinds of talent.” Whilst building a meaningful foundation for youth, KAPISANAN aims to keep things accessible, ensuring that programs and events are free, and most importantly, that KAPISANAN programming adopts a fluid nature, changing alongside a changing community. Filipinos are the fourth largest visible minority group in the city, and KAPISANAN looks forward to serving this massive community by holding their 7th Annual KULTURA Arts Festival. The two-week event kicks off on Thursday, August 17 with a visual art exhibit at KAPISANAN’s Kensington Market facility. Filipino artists will showcase their visual artwork to the theme of Pamahiin/Ritual, which will be on display throughout the entirety of the festival, also serving as an artistic backdrop to the film screening of Markova: Comfort Gay on August 18, playwright readings on August 24 and 25, as well as a Filipino Leaders & Legacies VIP event on August 25.
Since 2005, KAPISANAN has cultivated a strong sense of community through arts and culture. Now, with the growing popularity of Filipino food in Toronto, KAPISANAN will gather together the broader community in true Filipino fashion - with a spoon and fork. KULTURA’s grand finale, ADOBO Masters Cook-Off + KULTURA Live!, in partnership with San Miguel Beer, will take place on Sunday, August 26. It will feature live music performances and specialty regional styles and modern deconstructed styles of Adobo by selected Filipino restaurants from across GTA. Rain or shine, this will be the first cultural food event held at Artscape Wychwood Barns and the first time KULTURA will be held outside of KAPISANAN’s Kensington Market home. Hosted by Norman ‘Big Norm’ Alconcel (comedian, actor at Prison Dancer the Web Series, community leader at Manifesto Festival Toronto), the title of Best Adobo in Toronto to be judged by stand-up comedian Ron Josol (writer and performer on Much Music’s Video On Trial), and various local Toronto musicians slated to perform, Adobo Masters Cook-Off + KULTURA Live! event promises to be the biggest festival that KAPISANAN has produced thus far. With KULTURA Filipino Arts Festival’s programming as varied as it is, there will surely be something for everyone to enjoy: from visual arts, to theatre and film, to music and Filipino cuisine. Mounting this yearly festival is just one way that KAPISANAN is giving visibility to the otherwise unnoticed Filipino in Toronto to the broader community. n
21 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
– 1 8 7 1 , 2 st 4 u – 26 g u
KAPISANAN in partnership with SAN MIGUEL BEER
THE 7 TH ANNUAL FILIPINO ARTS FESTIVAL KAPISANAN PHILIPPINE CENTRE FOR ARTS & CULTURE 167 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
AUG. 17–31 Pamahiin/Ritual - Visual Arts Exhibit FRI. AUG. 17, 7–9PM Opening Night Reception SAT. AUG. 18, 8PM Film Screening in community partnership with KAPATID
Markova: Comfort Gay (2000), A film by Gil Portes Starring Dolphy Quizon
FRI. AUG. 24, 7–9PM Novice Playwright Reading
in community partnership with
✹ ! ee fr
Carlos Bulosan Theatre
For More Details On KULTURA Scheduled Events Go To: kapisanancentre.com firstname.lastname@example.org 416.979.0600
SAT. AUG. 25, 1–3PM So You Think You Can…Write a Play?! Reading in community partnership with Toronto Public Library and Carlos Bulosan Theatre SAT. AUG. 25, 6–8PM Filipino Leaders & Legacies VIP Event
Guest list only. RSVP with your name & organization to email@example.com
SUN. AUG. 26, 12–6PM Adobo Masters Cook-Off + KULTURA Live! at Artscape Wychwood Barns 601 Christie Street, Toronto
Hosted by Big Norm with Adobo Masters Cook-Off Judge, celebrity comic, Ron Josol & Live music by April Aliermo (Phaedra, Hooded Fang), Casey Mecija (OhBijou) & Maylee Todd, Alexander The (Times Neue Roman) & Romeo Candido + more!
The Official Chronicler of the 7th Annual KULTURA Filipino Arts Festival:
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 22
World stock markets rise on stronger than expected US hiring figures
BY ELLIOT SPAGAT THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 2 per BANGKOK, Thailand - World stock cent to finish at 8,726.29 and Hong markets rose Monday, boosted by Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.7 per stronger-than-expected U.S. hiring for cent to 19,998.72. South Korea’s July following three months of weak Kospi added 2 per cent to 1,885.88 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 1.2 per job gains. Investors scooped up shares on news cent higher at 4,272.60. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, that the pace of hiring in the world’s Thailand and the Philippines also biggest economy was improving and rose. In mainland China, the Shanghai were also heartened by a softening Composite Index gained 1 per cent to of Italy’s and Spain’s sovereign bond yields - a sign of less worry about those 2,154.92. ``Markets might keep on rising in the economies. That helped dispel fears short term due to investor expectations that the 17-nation euro currency union could face a breakup as it wrestles with of more positive policies, while economic data that will be released a massive debt crisis. ``I think people are no longer worried later this week could be getting better,’’ that the eurozone will collapse, so said Zhang Yang, an analyst at Sinolink confidence has returned to the market,’’ Securities, based in Shanghai. Japanese export-reliant vehicle said Francis Lun, managing director of makers were among the session’s big Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong. European stock markets rose in gainers. Isuzu Motors Ltd. surged early trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 was 6.4 per cent and Mazda Motor Corp. almost 0.1 per cent higher at 5,792.45. jumped 5.6 per cent. Beer and beverage maker Kirin Germany’s DAX added 0.5 per cent to Holdings Co. added 3.6 per cent. But 6,898.32 and France’s CAC-40 rose Sharp Corp. fell 5.7 per cent, days 0.2 per cent to 3,381.39. Wall Street appeared set for a slightly after the struggling electronics maker higher opening. Dow Jones industrial announced it would slash 5,000 jobs futures were marginally higher at over the next year amid tumbling sales. Energy companies also posted solid 13,062 and S&P 500 futures gained 0.2 gains. Japanese energy explorer Inpex per cent to 1,390.90. A weekend statement by the People’s Corp. rose 4.1 per cent while Hong Bank of China indicating it would Kong-listed China National Offshore intensify policy fine-tuning also helped Oil Corp., or CNOOC, added 2.1 per investment sentiment by raising hopes cent. Among Australian mining for more monetary easing, analysts companies, Rio Tinto Ltd. Rose 4.1 said. ``It seems that policy focus in China per cent. Fortescue Metals rose 1.9 per has indeed shifted quite dramatically cent after it announced it had secured towards supporting growth,’’ Dariusz $1.5 billion in new funding for the Kowalczyk at Credit Agricole CIB expansion of its flagship iron ore in Hong Kong said in a market operations in Western Australia. On Friday, a closely watched commentary. That was among factors helping government report said 163,000 jobs to lead Asian stock markets sharply were added in the U.S. last month, an improvement following three months higher.
of sluggish hiring. Between April and June, the economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month compared with 226,000 jobs per month in the first three months of the year. Still, the gains weren’t enough to bring down the unemployment rate, which rose to 8.3 per cent from 8.2 per cent in June.
Benchmark crude was down 27 cents at $91.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract vaulted $4.27 on Friday to settle at $91.40 in New York. In currencies, the euro fell slightly to $1.2376 from $1.2377 late Friday in New York. The dollar fell to 78.42 yen from 78.59 yen. n
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FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 24
Filipino-Canadian in Focus: Caroline Mangosing BY MELISSA REMULLA-BRIONES Philippine Canadian Inquirer
CAROLINE MANGOSING is notorious for her strategic vision and immovable drive. When she became the Executive Director of the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture, this photographer, actor, producer, designer (who, by the way, also loves to clean her house obsessively) steered Kapisanan to be Canada’s premiere Filipino-Canadian arts and cultural facility in Toronto. She embraced and celebrated cultural identification and expression early on in life when she found she could not hide from it (not that she wanted to). The vibrant community of Kapisanan – of artists and entrepreneurs and hyphenates – is living proof. You were born in the Philippines but grew up in Los Angeles and Vancouver. How was it growing up as a Filipino immigrant in those cities? What were the challenges you faced, if any? Growing up in Southern California was just the same as being in the Philippines. There were so many Filipinos there, that I didn’t even feel culture shock as a newcomer. When we moved up to Vancouver in 1989, that was when it became a challenge. That was right before the influx of Hong Kong Chinese immigrants. We settled in Richmond, a suburb 15-20 minutes from downtown Vancouver. The population there at the time was mostly white folks. No one spoke to me in school for 2 months because everyone thought I was a “gang member” from Los Angeles. Vancouver is a beautiful place, and it has a much more diverse population now, but at that time, it wasn’t like that. I had one Filipino friend in highschool and, had two Filipino friends in college. Even at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, where I went to art school, at that time, there were maybe 4 Filipinos in the entire school. It was a white professor who told me about The Philppine Women’s Centre in the downtown eastside. It was a bit of a slap in the face, because I never thought about my cultural / racial identity, and especially not as a place to start my artistic process and expression. My professor telling me about PWC really made me realize that I can’t hide where I come from -- because I am not white. No matter how much I say I am Canadian, people
for Filipinos in Canada, and hopefully, eventually all Filipinos in the diaspora. But like the legacy the Marcoses left, they just went overboard -- with trying to create this picture of them being the mother and father of the nation, among other damaging eccentricities. Filipinos have this thing for icons, maybe it’s from being Catholic, but the Marcoses took advantage of it. I am not into being the face of this movement I am helping build. It’s not about me. I am just a facilitator, an enabler.
will always say “No, but where are you from?” Then I realized -- I need to know where I am from, and the stories of my people. Once I started that exploration into reclaiming my cultural identity, I felt even more isolated. That’s why I decided to relocate to Toronto. Of all of Canada, why Toronto? At that time, I just graduated from art school, and just finished my internship that took me to Africa, I came back to Vancouver thinking all I wanted was to go somewhere where I could start an arts collective with other FilipinoCanadians. I actually did some research to find where the largest concentration is of Filipinos in Canada. And 50% of all Filipino immigrants make Ontario their home. And I was a big city girl anyway, coming from Manila and Los Angeles, I craved to live in a bigger city. So when I was 27 yrs old, I sold everything I owned except for 2 boxes, found an apartment on Craigslist, and went off to the Big Smoke to “seek my fortune” as they say. Can you tell us about Kapisanan Centre? What is its vision? KAPISANAN is a non-profit organization that gives FilipinoCanadian youth opportunities to cultivate a positive sense of cultural identity and leadership potential. Through community-based arts and cultural programming and presentation, KAPISANAN creates a an amazing stage for Filipino-Canadian talent to shine, as well as a safe space to explore Filipino culture and heritage, fostering pride and self-confidence, inspiring and empowering them to realize their full potential.
Though we do provide mentorship and internship programs, and help young people open their minds to diverse career options, we also focus on the intangible. It’s the “knowing where you come from to know where you are going” thing. Building confidence and self-esteem, being comfortable in your (Filipino) skin. That’s really the foundation for success for all young people, not just Filipino youth. Also part of what we offer is to be a place where Filipinos are visible to the rest of Canada. In the past, Filipino associations and community initiatives have been very Filipinocentric. KAPISANAN creates a space for Filipinos so that we can be seen by others. Yes, there are many care-givers in the community, but so many of my Filipina friends who have mixed race children complain that other moms in the parks always assume they are the nanny, rather than the mother -- and that’s not a good thing. And that can be attributed to the kind of visibility we have. We are here to change the way the rest of the broader community see us. Because Filipinos are also very diverse people with many different kinds of talent. KAPISANAN’s vision is to be the premiere Filipino-Canadian arts and cultural centre in Canada. You said your Filipino icon is Imelda Marcos but that you are trying to correct where she went wrong. Can you expound on that? Well, I say that facetiously -- I mean in the same way that Imelda focused on arts and culture as a way to inspire the nation, and also inspire to world to look at the Philippines in a different way, I am trying to do the same thing
Have you been to the Philippines recently? What do you like most about it? What do you dislike? I go back to the Philippines often. Mostly every year or every two years. Most recently I was there this past May and June for 5 weeks trying to start up a social enterprise as a way to create income for KAPISANAN to help the organizational sustainability. Also my parents moved back there when I was still in college. Despite growing up mostly in Canada, I feel very much at home in the Philippines. I mean, I have had the option to move back and work there, but you know, I do like the amenities the first world affords me. The Philippines can be a very chaotic place. There’s so much going wrong with the government, with corruption, the infrastructure is just not improving very much. Just the controversy with the RH Bill-- it’s insane. The Church getting involved with the state, it’s a step backwards, and that’s just one example. At the end of the day I feel like I can contribute more by being in Canada. That said I couldn’t survive without visiting at least once a year or every two years. It’s a part of me. And every time I have a chance to go home, I make a point to visit a different island that I had not been to before. I wouldn’t be able to survive without the inspiration I get from home. Producer, director, photographer, actress, artist, community leader, trailblazer. What is your advice to other Filipino immigrants who want to follow your path and do well in the world? Be FEARLESS. Step out of your comfort zone. Push the envelope. Change doesn’t happen when you don’t step out to make the change. We don’t have to be relegated to the same place as Filipinos, we have just as much potential as everyone else. n
25 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Saskatchewan immigrants say Ottawa boosts Alta rule changes impacting families loan program that helps could lead to exodus immigrants get Canadian
credentials THE CANADIAN PRESS
CALGARY - Ottawa has added Alberta to the list of provinces where it’s funding microloans for skilled immigrants to help them get Canadian credentials. Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley has announced a $3.3 million boost for the Immigrant Access Fund Society of Alberta. The money is meant to provide 300 additional small loans to
THE CANADIAN PRESS
REGINA - Some members of Saskatchewan’s immigrant community are predicting another exodus due to the changes in the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. The program was created back in 2009 as a means to speed up the immigration process for several categories of people, including skilled workers and family members of immigrants. Those seeking to bring over family members had to have resided in Saskatchewan for at least a year. Then in May the province agreed to make some changes to SINP at the behest of the federal government, tightening some restrictions in order to prevent abuse of the program. Part of the problem was that families were moving to Saskatchewan, bringing over any number of family members, and then immediately leaving the province for larger cities elsewhere in Canada. NDP immigration critic Cam Broten says some immigrants who were at various stages of the program feel betrayed by the change. ``The change really has turned many lives upside-down and they
feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under them.’’ He says hundreds have reached out, insisting the changes shouldn’t apply to them if they were here before May. That includes Afzaal Siddiqui, who arrived in Canada 14 years ago and was drawn to Saskatchewan when the program was announced. ``I was doing my business in Ontario and I had a job, so I gave away my business and decided to move to Saskatchewan,’’ he says. He says family is the most important thing to many immigrants and he had hoped that the SINP would allow him to bring his sister to Canada. The mechanical engineer says neither he nor his wife, who is a doctor, have been able to find work in their chosen field. But they were happy to try and make ends meet with lower-paying jobs because Saskatchewan offered the promise of bringing their family back together. ``Many, many, many families are planning to go back,’’ he cautions. ``They’re selling their homes and giving away their jobs.’’ n
internationally-trained professionals so they can get licenced in their chosen fields faster. Some of the money will also help the Alberta society expand its employment counselling and credential assessment services in smaller and rural communities. Similar announcements have already been made in B.C., Saskatchewan and Ontario. Finlay says the loans important in addressing vacancies in professions like doctors and engineers. n
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service providers and also the Special Education Head will gather BY: ALPHA MIGUEL information about your daughter’s - SANFORD, M.ED, academic performance through CAGS formal and informal interviews, classroom observations, teachers’ reports and feedback, psychological behavioral assessments, ASK & READ: THE SPECIAL EDUCATOR and educational assessments, home visits (if necessary), health assessment (again, if applicable) and other test strategies. By law, the evaluation process has to be completed within a 45-day period from the time that the consent form that you signed was received by are unfamiliar with the educational the school. terms that they use, you must politely The evaluation process includes the ask them to interpret the terms. This is the time when you should openly Last month we talked about Alice’s following: ask them for clarifications. son concerns in school on how he can get support in his academics. We 1. Information Gathering – this Another thing that you should talked about the “referral process” is the time that the school TEAM which is the first step in assessing a including yourself will collaborate keep in mind while at the meeting child’s current level of performance. in order to assess your daughter’s is that you should be a huge part of This process includes a TEAM areas of limitations and strengths. the TEAM. This means that when meeting, TEAM’s agreement on The psychologist and other school the facilitator of the meeting asks for referring the student for the next step evaluators will conduct an interview your input, you should say what you and then proceeding with a consent regarding your daughter’s history, know about your daughter, including form. including the time when she was her goals, your vision for her and This month, another Mom writes to still in your womb. Just be prepared your concerns. Near the end of the meeting, the us and is asking us about evaluation. to divulge your medical and family facilitator, usually the Head of This is her question: background to them as the more information that they can get from the Student Services or a School QUESTION: Hi Mrs. Sanford, I you, the better they can evaluate her. Administrator, will go through a set of questions to will determine whether recently read your article about the referral process and my daughter was 2. A TEAM meeting – a letter of the the TEAM deems your daughter recently referred for an evaluation. meeting will be sent to you within eligible for special education services What does that mean? What shall I five days after the consent form was or other specialized programs. It is expect after that? – Leonora Wycoco. received by the school. It is at this at this point that the results of the Leonora, thank you very much for point that the head of the student evaluation will play a very important writing to me, I appreciate it. services in your school will contact role in the educational future of your First and foremost I am very you directly via phone or other means daughter. If, for any reason, your daughter glad that your daughter has been of communication to establish the does not qualify for special education recently referred for an evaluation. most convenient meeting time and designed instruction, do not despair This means that she is on her way to date within the 45-day window. You getting the help she and your family should set the meeting at the earliest as she has already benefitted from need in order to understand her possible date. I would also suggest the free evaluation, which will teach learning styles, her weaknesses and having the meeting in the morning you an important thing or two about her strengths. as most teachers are more relaxed in your daughter. This free evaluation is shouldered Being evaluated is the next the morning than in the latter part of by the school district, through step after she was referred. What the school day. which their licensed school this means is that a TEAM of 3. A DECISION – At the team educational professionals, including meeting, the evaluators will present psychologist conducts a battery your daughter’s teachers, social your daughter’s scores in the of tests including the Wechsler worker (if she is assigned one), different tests that she took with Intelligence Scale for Children the school psychologist, the nurse, them. If during the meeting you (WISC), the Wechsler Individual
The IEP Process
Achievement Test (WIAT), which includes subtests on Reading, Writing, Math (Problem Solving, Word Problems and Vocabulary) and IQ score. Sometimes, when the parent or the TEAM requests for additional testing such as speech and language assessment, OT (occupational therapy), PT (Physical therapy) and Rules-based Reading (Orton-Gillingham or the Wilson’s Reading), these are also available upon recommendation and approval by the Office of the Student Services. These scores and evaluation results will remain in your file and you can always use this if there is a problem in your daughter’s progress in school. If, by any chance you are dissatisfied with the results of the tests/evaluation, you may request an appeal or for an independent evaluation, which is normally shouldered by you privately. If, by any chance you feel that the results of the tests are accurate but the decision of the school does not reflect what you think your daughter needs (i.e., your daughter is found ineligible for special education services or programs), then you must state your disagreement at the meeting and you may request for another meeting for reconsideration of the decision. Good luck Leonora – and please let me know if there is anything else you would like to ask. n Alpha Sanford may be contacted through email@example.com.
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People-watching in Sona cocktails; brand-watching for President Aquino’s ‘exes’ BY THELMA SIOSON SAN JUAN Philippine Daily Inquirer SOMEHOW I got the feeling that this year’s Sona cocktails at the Batasan were different. Held after the President’s State of the Nation Address last Monday, it had the same sumptuous, finger-licking fare, by Millie Reyes’ The Plaza, as last year’s, and I presume, the same exclusive list of invitees, from diplomats and top government officials, to legislators and their spouses. But what I found different was the crush of people. There seemed to be a lot more this year. This became evident as President Aquino made his appearance at the South Wing lobby, the cocktails venue—he was mobbed, sending the PSG to form a really supertight cordon. Even the seasoned head of Protocol Miguel Perez-Rubio looked so harassed warding off people. Everybody—men and women, in barong and terno or Filipiniana, young and old—jostled for spots near the President. Good luck to that; just people-watching could leave you with crushed toes. The PSG cordon was at least three people deep. This was so unlike last year, when the President freely walked the cocktail area, posed for photos, and exchanged a word or two with some guests. This year, he was whisked in and out of the cocktails area by the PSG. While the columnists/pundits and the headlines have given their verdict on Aquino’s Sona—more praise than pun—to me, another gauge of the President’s stronger hold on power was the behind-the-scenes of the Sona cocktails. There’s no doubt that the son of the country’s democracy icons has come into his own; he’s made us realize that at the end of the day, good governance rests on moral ascendancy, a leader’s sense of decency and core values that must prevail over vested interests. Aquino bandwagon But the Sona cocktails showed one more thing—the political establishment has embraced him, albeit literally more than it did last year. Everybody’s hopping on the Aquino bandwagon. Indeed, they’re now lured by the aura of power—which Aquino, whether he’s aware of it or not, now exudes. As for the post-Sona mood of the President, it’s work as usual even as he tries to physically recover from the
Sona activities. I don’t think he even noticed that the swarm of cocktails guests around him included pretty 20or 30somethings. We’re now inclined to believe what he said a while back—“Can’t afford any distraction, can’t affect the work.” In the meantime, the beautiful women who have been linked to Mr. Aquino have moved on to their respective brand endorsements. While being romantically associated with the country’s most eligible bachelor could be stifling and stressful—under the media microscope—you must admit it has its major plus: The woman becomes a national celebrity, hopping over even show-biz fame. Shalani Soledad became the face the country has come to love; she now endorses Facial Care Center. She also became a household name through Willie Revillame’s show, where, it is said, she merited a generous talent fee and thoughtful gifts from the host. Now the wife of Rep. Roman Romulo, Shalani wasn’t able to attend the Sona because she was sick. For sure, she would have been a red-carpet favorite. Stylist Liz Uy not only has become a premium stylist (six-figure fee), hers is also the name and face now popular even among the D and E markets, more than when she was John Lloyd’s girlfriend. And she herself has many brand endorsements, the latest of which is the fashion line Plains & Prints. Grace Lee—well, everybody knows how she’s risen from media talent to multi-brand celebrity. Not only does
she have a TV show, she also endorses many brands, including noodles—more than her talent manager Arnold Vegafria can count with his fingers. As Vegafria himself said with a big smile: “Many.” Of course, as brand endorsers, these desirable women are the images on giant billboards, from the SLEX to Edsa to NLEX. They’re also on the covers of glossies. As a magazine publisher (for Inquirer’s Look magazine), I can’t complain. Shalani was the highestselling cover of Look. The current Grace Lee issue isn’t doing bad, either. These days, however, there’s no highprofile presidential love life, so brand marketers will simply have to wait and sit it out. And—they might be in for a long wait. Anyway, back to the Sona cocktails. Looking so simple and svelte was Julia Abad, head of the Presidential Management Staff. Julia was in a beige terno with subtle draping and supple fall. She gave birth only 10 months ago and it’s interesting to know that, despite her hectic schedule, she’s managed to keep up the breastfeeding of her baby. (Sometimes even during Cabinet meetings, she would excuse herself briefly to repair to a room to pump milk.) Baubles Carissa Cruz-Evangelista, in an Ivarluski Aseron skirt, showed off the t’nalak bags she produces for Kultura— she let the congressional spouses use them. Indeed, this was one Sona where indigenous weaves were highlighted.
I also noticed the women flashed their baubles this year, more than they did last year. I hardly remember last year’s armory. Last Monday there were pretty impressive pieces. Linda Floirendo Lagdameo had a stunning neckpiece. Dawn Zulueta Lagdameo had mouth-watering ruby drop earrings. Gloria Angara opted not for glitter, but for a vintage look, the fine woman that she is. Sen. Loren Legarda wore a t’boli belt and excavated gold earrings, a hand-me-down from her late mother Bessie. (Loren preferred an antique piña off-shoulder gown, shorn of embroidery—she wanted it simple yet elegant because she knew the red carpet would have color overload.) Violet Reyes wore her diamonds so elegantly. Trina Reyes’ diamond choker was even in the shape of a P-Noy ribbon. Now the women even wear “P-Noy.” Just as mouth-watering as the jewels was the cocktails buffet prepared by Millie Reyes and her daughter Karla. There were assorted sushi and sashimi, shrimp cocktail in shot glasses, vegetable spring rolls with tofu, pan de sal with kesong puti—my favorite, which I alternated with roast Angus corned beef, so tender and tasty. There were also salmon belly brochette with caper butter sauce, turkey wraps with gravy and cranberry, spaghettini with sauce options: putanesca or sun-dried tomatoes with olives and tuyo flakes. Of course, there was the signature The Plaza premium baked ham. There were also the bite-size Plaza desserts that included cream cheese brownies, maja blanca, pandan kutchinta. If my heels weren’t killing me, I would have stayed longer both for the people and the food. But I left the ballerina flats I brought (to change into, just in case) on my Plenary Hall seat, forgot all about it. Going back to the scene at the Plenary Hall during the President’s Sona, one couldn’t but notice this pretty spouse of a legislator who, so obviously, didn’t stand up, like everybody did, to give the Chief Executive a standing ovation after his speech. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that she was the only one seated in the gallery, she held her chin up and flashed that snobbish (or was it defiant) look. Oh well, she could just be having a bad hair day—but then she was so well-coiffed. n
29 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
‘That can happen to my brother’ BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer
TWO SISTERS, Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong, disappeared in July 1997. Two days later, the body of Marijoy Chiong was found blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten. Paco Larranaga and six others were arrested for her rape and murder, although dozens of reputable witnesses and photographic evidence placed Larranaga 300 miles away at the time of the crime. According to writer Ronnie Scheib, “Give Up Tomorrow” chronicles Paco Larranaga’s story, exposing a major miscarriage of justice. How does it feel to finally bring the documentary here? Marty: We’ve been doing this for about 15 months, traveling the world with the film and bringing it wherever we’re invited. I feel all that was just practice to bring it to the Philippines. Ultimately, we knew, I knew as a Filipino that it was all about bringing it home. I was a little nervous, I wasn’t sure how it would be received. But we’re ecstatic. Michael: The day we picked up the camera and started shooting, we always envisioned showing it here. This is where we were meant to show it. It’s kind of funny that it’s taken us so long to get here but it’s always been our intention. The audience’s reaction today was intense. Is it the same at every screening? Marty: It was much more vocal here. It felt like it was personal, people were taking it personal here. I guess people are familiar with the injustice and the corruption and they can relate and it’s very close to home. Why did you decide to make the film? Michael: Marty shared a letter from the Unheard 35, 35 of Paco’s witnesses who were frustrated because their voice wasn’t heard. They laid out in this letter all the injustices that they suffered through the whole process. When I read that, I felt such a connection to Paco. He had been in jail for seven years at that point. I moved to New York seven years earlier and I thought about how much I had grown and changed in all those years, and I thought of him and his co-accused and how they were sort of plucked from their lives, if in fact this was true. I said to Marty, we should try and make this into a film. The things I was reading, you can’t make this stuff up. There was an injustice that I knew no one else was really paying attention to and it’s a universal story other people could relate to all over the world. We did a couple of interviews with Paco’s witnesses who were living in California, a sort of preproduction to see if there was a story there. We realized that what we read in the letter was just the tip of the iceberg. Marty: For our first production shoot, we came for four weeks and four weeks became four months. We just stayed on and on and on.
How hard was it shooting the film? What were your biggest challenges? Michael: What was difficult was we were approaching it as sort of an investigation so we didn’t have a set production schedule. We knew we wanted to reach all those involved in the case, we wanted to tell every single side. The prosecution, the Chiongs, the Llarañagas, the witnesses, the police, so we were working very hard to secure those interviews, which was not easy. One interview would lead to another and lead to another. Every time we came to the Philippines—we probably came five times— we’d plan to be here a certain amount of time and it would inevitably be three or four times that long for each trip. Marty: The challenge was getting access. We had access to Paco’s family but there were many people who were afraid to talk. We would ask them and they would deny our request. The next year, when we came back, we would try again, and I think they just got tired of us and just granted the interviews. It’s a story with a lot of the underbelly. There’s a lot going on so understandably not everyone wants to get involved. In another interview you guys mentioned that people were warning you that what you were trying to do was very dangerous. Did you really feel that danger? Michael: I think that journalists put themselves in situations that are much much more dangerous than we ever did. We were warned. We were precautious, we were careful. We tried to stay under the radar, we tried to be quiet. When we did certain interviews that made us feel uncomfortable, that felt like we were exposing ourselves too much, after the interview, in Cebu for instance, we’d go to the airport and go back to Manila. Marty: We felt vulnerable in prison especially early on when we would visit. Shooting in prison was a big challenge. But eventually, we visited enough times that we actually felt comfortable and safe. One year it happened to be Michael’s birthday and I asked him how he wanted to spend his birthday and he said, “I want to spend it in prison with Paco and the others.” Marty: We’ve really been lucky. Audiences really react positively. We always like to do a Q&A and connect and meet with the audience. Most of the audience, 99% of the audiences always stay for the Q&A. I’ve been to other films where half the audience leaves, nobody’s really interested in listening to the filmmakers, but with us, everybody has questions. Michael: It’s a film that many people can relate to all over the world. This kind of injustice is happening in the US right now. There are elements of the case that are fascinating that people always want to talk about. On an emotional level, people can relate to it because they think, “That can happen to my brother. That can happen to my cousin.” Or people will come up to us and say, “That did happen to my brother.” We get a lot of that. That’s what’s been so nice about bringing the film all over the world.
Paco was finally able to see the film in the festival in San Sebastian. When was this and what was it like for him? Marty: This was in March, just a few months ago. We were invited by the San Sebastian Human Rights Festival. They organized everything, they requested permission from prison officials if Paco could attend. Not only did Paco attend, but the prison warden and his teachers in the prison, they all came. I think that was a big turning point. Michael: All the administrators were there. It was funny because Paco was up there onstage and everyone knew that he had to go back to prison. The audience didn’t know that the prison administrators were there. They were like, “We don’t want you to go back.” or “We’d bar the doors to the theater and keep you in here.” It was really funny. Marty: It was really special. At that festival we ended up winning the audience award. The mayor of San Sebastian awarded the prize to Paco. We ended up on the front page of the newspaper the next day and the headline was “Paco says, “Finally, I won something.” How has his family reacted? When was the first time they saw the film? Marty: At our world premiere in Tribeca. They all came. Michael: It was the first time that the family’s story was told in such a public venue and they were there to witness it. They didn’t know how people were going to react. They were just overwhelmed. They said, “We feel like we’re surrounded with so much love for the first time in 14 years.” What Mimi, Paco’s sister, shared with us is that it’s given them the opportunity to heal in a way that nothing has before. Mimi was here for the premiere last week and she said to be here in the room in the Philippines, where everyone is seeing this side of the story, she said it’s the most healing that’s ever happened. Michael: Going into this story, I didn’t know that Paco was innocent. When I read that letter, I thought, this guy sounds like he’s innocent but we really made sure that we learned that on our own and weren’t just taking people’s word for it. We had to discover that for ourselves. And the more that we learned, our belief that he was innocent never wavered. Then we realized, “Oh my god, it’s not just Paco, all these guys are innocent.” Even the state witness is innocent. This couldn’t even have happened the way the police said it happened. They totally made this up. It’s clear as day. The further we got into it, it just strengthened the fact that he was innocent. The filmmakers behind the documentary “Paradise Lost” came out with sequels as the case of the West Memphis Three was evolving. When Paco’s case develops, will you do another film? Marty: That’s a really good question and I’m glad you brought that up because it’s the “Paradise Lost” trilogy that inspired us. We got to meet the filmmakers, we got to meet Jason Baldwin, one of the film subjects, at an awards ceremony earlier this year.
Michael started to get emotional and cry because we studied those films. I’m not opposed to it. We always thought that our film’s last scene would be Paco coming out of prison into his mom’s or his sister’s arms. But it hasn’t happened. Michael: In the meantime, what we’re going to do is work on a series of webisodes. We have about 450 hours of footage and we’re going to do a series of shorts and to put that up on the Internet as companion pieces to this. We may not do a sequel but we’re gonna try to get more information out about the story that didn’t fit in the film. Ultimately, what do you wish to achieve with the film? Marty: We’re no activists. We’re not human rights experts. We’re filmmakers. Ultimately, that’s why it was important for me to bring the film to the Philippines, I hope that the film can inspire people to take a stand, to make sure that this doesn’t happen to other Pacos, to future Pacos. I hope the film can be used as a teaching tool in schools, for students. That would make me really happy. Michael: Of course there’s piece of us that wants to see these guys all get justice—not just the Chiong 7 but the Chiong sisters. But I think, ultimately, we’d just love to see the film be used to inspire change. What do you want people to take away from the film after they watch it? Michael: That they need to take an active role in protecting the human rights of each other. That we can’t just take everything we read at face value. That we need to question things. You need to participate in a democracy to keep it strong. We’d love for people to understand the important role that investigative journalism plays in safeguarding human rights. That’s sort of a part of the justice system. It’s what keeps it in check. And when that doesn’t happen, things sort of fall apart. Yoko Ono has been promoting the film— how did she get involved? Michael: One of the artists who contributed to the soundtrack, her name is Yuka Honda and she’s in a band called Cibo Matto. She also plays in the new Plastic Ono Band. Marty: Yuka came to our world premiere and then shared the film with Yoko and right away, Yoko had tweeted it. Michael: I think this film really spoke to her and she decided she was not only going to make people aware of the film, but she really focused on Paco’s cause and make people aware of the injustice that he suffered. She has, I think, a million and a half Twitter followers. She has a really loud voice. It was really overwhelming when she did that. “Give Up Tomorrow” will air in the US on PBS on Oct. 4. The DVD will also be released in October. The documentary is also expected to have a theatrical run in the Philippines. Students who wish to screen “Give Up Tomorrow” in their schools can contact the filmmakers at www.pacodocu. com. n
30 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Cinemalaya 2012’s colorful conclusion BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer THE SPEECH of Cinemalaya Foundation Inc. chair Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco at the close of the 8th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival on Sunday night left more questions than answers about the annual indie fete. Cojuangco did not address the controversies hounding Cinemalaya, foremost of which was the sudden resignation of two of its officials. During the awards night held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), there were rumors that the venue (one of Cinemalaya’s biggest sponsors) had plans of withdrawing support from the festival. Competition committee chair Laurice GuillenFeleo said Cojuangco could not give specific answers yet because “there are unique problems this year that the board members still have to talk about.” Tess Rances, deputy festival director and CCP administrative services department manager, denied speculations that the CCP was considering withdrawing support as Cinemalaya sponsor. She told the Inquirer that people spreading the rumors were “just jealous that the CCP and the Cinemalaya still have a good relationship.” It will survive Cojuangco, in his closing speech, expressed optimism that Cinemalaya would survive “as the laws of nature favor the strong.” He added: “It will live on in our budding and seasoned filmmakers, in our audience and in all those who have been exposed to Cinemalaya—its experience in one form or another these past eight years. The Cinemalaya spirit will invade the local film industry, the homes and media devices of our audience, and the Internet.” Like The Beatles He likened his “baby,” the Cinemalaya, to The Beatles “that burst into the music scene (at a time when it was) well-populated by instrumental groups like The Ventures and The Shadows. “At that point in The Beatles’ career, its melodies were great but its lyrics were pathetic. They went on their world tours and were inevitably exposed to other music icons, notably Bob Dylan, a songwriter and poet,” Cojuangco observed. “This experience led The Beatles to write about their world views and advocacies.” He noted that, despite the group’s eventual breakup, people—even the young—continue to sing their songs today.
He compared The Beatles’ experience to that of Cinemalaya. “She (Cinemalaya) was born when the local movie scene was drowning in pathetic films,” Cojuangco said. “She was a breath of life. We have seemed to expose our baby to other life challenges … (She) has now created a feeding frenzy among the young and seasoned filmmakers. The quality of this year’s festival is proof of this.” Announcement The only announcement Cojuangco made that night was that Cinemalaya will be shouldering the travel expenses of “four or five” finalists invited to the Rome International Film Festival in Italy in November. In his welcome address, Cinemalaya Foundation president Nes Jardin admitted that “the road to where we are now had not been paved with roses all the way.” Jardin resigned as festival director in the wake of the controversy surrounding the disqualification of Emerson Reyes’ “MNL 143” in May. Robbie Tan has reportedly also resigned as monitoring committee head of the festival. “We’ve had to contend with problems and issues of financial viability both for the film production and the festival, technical and logistical concerns, marketing and distribution problems, and even issues about artistic expression and freedom,” Jardin said. “But Cinemalaya has forged ahead, in full force, despite all the road blocks.” Jardin announced that the festival’s audience increased by 12 percent from 58,000 in 2011 to this year’s count of 65,000. “Next year, we will endeavor to add more cinemas and locations, and who knows, perhaps five years from now, we will be covering practically the whole of Metro Manila just like the MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival),” he said. Aside from three venues at the CCP, Cinemalaya films were screened at the Greenbelt Mall in Makati City in 2011. They were likewise shown at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City starting this year. An hour late The awards ceremony held at the CCP’s Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) in Pasay City started almost an hour late from the 7 p.m. call time, due to heavy rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm “Gener.” The program, almost three hours long, was marred by technical problems. Actor Jonathan Tadioan, who hosted the show with singer-actress Ciara Sotto, kept complaining about his TelePrompTer.
Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco
Award-winning writer Ricky Lee, who was also a jury member, apologized for the “kinks in the show’s script.” Explanations Lee, as well as National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, had to go up the stage to explain why the jury had decided to give only one acting award to four female actresses—Iza Calzado, Judy Ann Santos, Agot Isidro and Janice de Belen— in Jose Javier Reyes’ “Mga Mumunting Tinig.” He told the Inquirer after the show: “We decided not to give separate awards for best actress and best supporting actress. Instead, we gave one to the ensemble for their performance.” Lumbera sat as chair of the jury composed of Lee, Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino chair and UP College of Mass Communication dean Rolando Tolentino, Malaysian filmmaker U-Wei Bin Haji Saari and Italian movie and TV director Italo Spinelli. Lee also explained that Mes de Guzman’s “Diablo,” which bagged the best picture award in the New Breed category, won because “of the director’s unique approach to a material that’s already familiar to us.” “(De Guzman) lent a new style to the simple story of a wife and a mother to five kids handling a death in the family. It is evident even in the cinematography and acting,” Lee stressed. Jarell Serencio’s “Victor,” which won best picture in the Shorts category, got more rave reviews from the foreign jurors, said Lee. “They liked it because it shows the Filipino way of life but not in a manner that’s overdramatized and melodramatic.” Playing safe Asked to react to comments that the jurors played it safe by distributing awards to most of the entries, Lee explained: “This could not be avoided. The recipients of the individual awards were all outstanding. The results were based on the decision of not just one person but a whole group. ” n
31 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
“Be Careful with My Heart” Makes ABS-CBN a Nationwide Daytime Leader
QUEZON CITY, Philippines, August 6, 2012--Newest “primetanghali” (afternoon primetime in the Philippines) romantic-comedy TV series “Be Careful With My Heart,” top-billed by Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap, has successfully paved way for ABS-CBN in the Philippines to claim daytime (6AM to 6PM Manila Time) leadership for the entire month of July. Based on the latest data of Kantar Media, “Be Careful With My Heart” achieved the 15th spot in the country’s top overall programs in July with an average national TV rating of 19.7%. ABS-CBN’s hit ‘kilig-serye’ did not only top all daytime programs, including independent blocktimer “Eat Bulaga” which only got an average national TV rating of 15.8%; it even outperformed GMA’s primetime TV shows including “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” (15.9%), “Luna Blanca” (15.7%), and “Makapiling Kang Muli” (14.3%). Since it premiered last July 9, “Be Careful With My Heart” has changed the daytime viewing habit of Filipinos in the Philippines as it gained a new legion of fans that consistently give the show its primetimelike ratings. In fact, last July 20, the newest TV craze reached its all-time high national TV rating of 23.4%. Fall in love with the new-age fairytale of Yaya Maya (Jodi) and Mr. Lim (Richard) in “Be Careful With My Heart,” on The Filipino Channel Monday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. London Time; 4:35 p.m. Pacific Time; 3:40 p.m. Saudi Time; 10:10 p.m. Japan Time; and 11:10 p.m. Sydney Time via TFC’s cable service in the U.S., Canada, Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan and satellite services in the U.S., Middle East, Europe, Australia, Guam and Japan. “Be Careful With My Heart” can also be enjoyed through TFC’s video-on-demand (IPTV) service in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan; mobile service in U.S., M.E. and Hong Kong; and via its official online service worldwide. For more updates, log on to www.abs-cbn. comglobal.com, follow @becarefulheart on Twitter; and ‘like’ the show’s official Facebook fanpage at www.facebook.com/becarefulwithmyheartofficial . n
Entertainment Court of Appeals reinstates charges vs Richard Gutierrez in car mishap BY JEROME ANING Philippine Daily Inquirer THE COURT of Appeals has reinstated the charge of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against actor Richard Gutierrez in connection with the May 2009 car accident in Silang, Cavite province, that resulted in the death of Gutierrez’s aide. In a decision dated July 19, the appellate court’s 11th Division, chaired by Justice Magdangal de Leon, set aside the March 1, 2010 and May 28, 2010 resolutions issued by the Department of Justice dismissing the charges filed against Gutierrez by Lorayne Pardo, the widow of the actor’s personal assistant, Norman Pardo. The appellate court granted the petition filed by Lorayne seeking the nullification of the two resolutions that had been issued by former justice secretaries Agnes Devanadera and Alberto Agra, respectively. It reinstated the Sept. 28, 2008 resolution issued by the provincial prosecutor of Cavite that recommended the filing of charges against the actor. “The assigned prosecutor on [the] case is directed to refile the information and to proceed with dispatch in the prosecution of private respondent Richard Rama Gutierrez for reckless imprudence resulting [in] homicide until its final termination,” said the decision penned by Justice Stephen Cruz. De Leon and the other division member, Justice Myra Garcia-Fernandez, concurred in the ruling. The justices ruled that Lorayne’s appeal was “impressed with merit” as it was supported by the traffic accident report issued by the Silang town police. The police report belied Gutierrez’s claim that he was driving prudently when the vehicular accident happened, the appellate court said. “To the mind of this court, if indeed private respondent was not driving fast, it would have been
easy for him to stop his car and thwart any untoward incident,” it said. Gutierrez attributed the accident to the slippery condition of the road. Lorayne, on the other hand, blamed the actor’s alleged “utter disregard of traffic rules” for the death of her husband. The justices noted that that the car Gutierrez was driving, a Nissan GT-R Sedan with plate number ZTU-775, was found resting in a ravine approximately 35 meters away from an electric post that it had hit. The court also noted that the photographs showing the wrecked car further confirmed that it was running at a very high speed. However, the court did not give credence to Lorayne’s claim that Gutierrez failed to extend onthe-spot assistance to her husband, noting that the actor had also been injured in the accident. n
Estrella Kuenzler takes final bow BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Estrella Kuenzler – the character actress who worked on stage, radio, television and the movies—passed away on August 1 after a lingering illness, according to granddaughter Ace Antonio. The news spread on the social networking site Facebook on Sunday night. Kuenzler’s passing was confirmed by colleagues in the entertainment industry, including fellow actors Anita Linda and Odette Khan. “She was a kind person,” Linda recalled. “She was a favorite of [the late National Artist for Film] Lino Brocka.”
Kuenzler appeared in some of Brocka’s best films, including “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang,” “Angela Markado,” “PX,” “Stardoom” and the “Hellow Soldier” episode of “Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa,” which topbilled Linda. Casting coordinator Anthony Roquel worked with Kuenzler in her last movie, the Topel Lee thriller “Sundo” in 2009. “She was suffering from diabetes then,” said Roquel. According to Roquel, Kuenzler’s wake is at the St. Peter’s Chapel, along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City. Actress Harlene Bautista said that Kuenzler was 87 at the time of her passing. Bautista said Kuenzler was the cousin of her grandfather, Graciano Valenzuela Bautista who also appeared in sarsuwela plays with the late actress. n
Entertainment Matteo’s tip: Don’t mix personal, professional stuff
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 32
BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer MATTEO GUIDICELLI says the key to staying out of controversies in show biz is to separate personal life from one’s job as an actor.
He admitted that, after being jealous of his girlfriend’s co-actor once, he has learned to separate his profession from real-life relationships. “They are two totally different things,” Matteo told the Inquirer during a recent media gathering for ABS-CBN’s reality talent search, “Promil I-Shine,” which he is currently cohosting with Dimples Romana and Xian Lim. Matteo learned his lesson the hard way. He got involved in a controversial brawl with fellow ABS-CBN contract artist Coco Martin at the 2011 Star Magic Ball. The two actors fought over actress Maja Salvador. “You have to change your mindset,” Matteo said. “You can’t think, ‘She’s my girlfriend; she’s off limits.’ You have to understand that everything is just work. You have to be professional.” To avoid petty quarrels, he said, he always discusses work with Maja now. This was true of his coming drama series “Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Isla” in which he will be paired with young actress Jessy Mendiola.
Respect “Maja and I have good communication but the most important thing is that we respect each other,” Matteo stressed. “When we work on our respective projects, we give our 100 percent attention. But when it comes to our relationship, we’re truthful and honest.” Matteo said he felt extremely proud of Maja when she bagged the best actress award from the recent 35th Gawad Urian for her performance in the independent film, “Thelma,” directed by Paul Soriano, about a runner. “Maja worked very hard on that. Her skin got darker because she was always training under the hot sun, with the best running coaches, including Elma Muros. She really transformed herself into a runner,” Matteo said. The actor added that he wouldn’t mind, should Maja decide to take on more mature roles, or those that would require her to bare skin. “If she believes she can do it, I will support her.”
New look During the “Promil I-Shine” event, people noticed that Matteo was sporting the mullet—a hairstyle that’s short at the front and sides but long in the back. He explained it was for the new character he would be playing in “Isla.” “I just wanted to create a new me for the show,” he said. “My character’s name is Brennan. He comes from a rich family. He’s cool and fearless, until he gets stuck on an island with an attractive girl (Jessy). Brennan is married, though, and as the show progresses, we’ll see how he relates with Jessy’s character.” Work on “Isla” has started; the production spent a week on the Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur. (The “Promil Pre-School I-Shine Talent Camp” helps 12 kids hone their talent potentials through fun workshops and mentoring by Kapamilya stars Karylle, John Prats and Luis Manzano. The winner gets a Star Magic talent contract, plus P500,000 in cash.) n
Jackie Rice recounts journey from jobless club-hopper to TV star BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer Time was when GMA 7 soap star Jackie Rice’s life was in limbo. “I was jobless for two years,” she recalls, without rancor. She concedes that she can’t blame her bosses for putting her career in the deep freezer. Once dubbed pasaway (incorrigible), she was suspended several times due to her unprofessional attitude which was widely reported. Young, restless She was young, she explains, only 16. And restless. To make matters worse, she fell in love. “I didn’t consider acting as a job at the time,” she says. “I didn’t take it seriously.” She would rather party and bar-hop all night. Soon enough she was tired of the club scene as well. “I got bored, just like that,” she recalls. “Every night, you see the same people.” Looking back, she sees that it was a waste of time. “I gave up precious sleep—and for what? I didn’t get anything in return,” she adds. On the bright side, having experienced such a loss, she now knows how to make her time at work productive. These days, the afternoon soap opera “Kasalanan Bang Ibigin Ka?” keeps her on her toes. Long hours She doesn’t mind the long hours on the set. On the day of a cover pictorial for FHM magazine, she had
taping until 6 a.m. “My call time for the shoot was 9 a.m. I had only three hours of sleep!” she recalls. She’s not complaining. “I’m thankful; it’s good to be always busy,” she points out. After all, being in show biz allowed her to invest in a real estate property at a young age. Notes Jackie, now 22: “The house was my priority; I really saved up for it. I had little interest in designer bags and shoes.” A flourishing career inspired her to get in shape as well. “I used to be chubby,” she recounts. “Now, I am into boxing, Zumba and swimming.” Not anorexic She swears she’s neither bulimic nor anorexic, as malicious talk would have it. “I’m not afraid to eat carbs! I usually have rice for breakfast and lunch. I’m confident of burning all the calories during all-night tapings.” Thanks to her timely transformation, even her personal life is doing well. She’s been involved for the past three yeas with the same non-show biz guy who shows his affection in very practical ways. “He’s very supportive,” says Jackie. “He votes for me in the FHM [sexiest Filipinas] poll.” She made it to No. 7 on the latest list. Missing Marky And now that her career is on an upswing, Jackie says she misses former screen partner and fellow (reality talent search) “StarStruck” winner Marky Cielo the most. Marky passed away in 2008.
“I regret that he wasn’t able to see me doing well,” Jackie says. “When I was jobless, he pushed me on, saying I shouldn’t give up on my dreams. He never stopped encouraging me, and cheered me up whenever I was down.” As a friend, she describes Marky as “one of a kind.” She adds: “He was talented. He could sing, dance and act—everyone noticed—but still he remained humble.” If only he could see her now, Jackie says wistfully: “I’m sure I’d make him very proud.” n
What if Monroe died today? Tech advances would provide more tools, data and maybe, answers
TORONTO - The first clue that the Barenaked Ladies’ breakthrough debut ``Gordon’’ is 20 years old has to be the album’s cover. Well, it’s a bunch of clues, really. The ugly fonts. The proto-photoshop graphic quality. The freshly scrubbed faces of the barely-out-of-high-school quintet. Perhaps most importantly, the haircuts - frontman Ed Robertson wearing a pineapple-like ‘do, his black hair sprouting wildly atop his otherwise shaved head, while drummer Tyler Stewart has his own strands organized into dreadlocks. To the band, the album feels like it came out yesterday. But it sure doesn’t look that way. n
Steven Tyler says ‘Idol’ wasn’t his ‘cup of tea’ Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
NEW YORK Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler says he liked the paychecks on ``American Idol’’ but had a love-hate relationship with the show. He says in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine the Fox reality series isn’t his ``cup of tea.’’ But he says it was a ``great job’’ because he sat next to Jennifer Lopez and ``made a ton of money.’’ n
Cuba Gooding Jr. faces summons in bar turmoil NEW ORLEANS - Cuba Gooding Jr. met Wednesday with New Orleans police and was issued a court summons after a Bourbon Street bartender told authorities that the actor pushed her.On Tuesday, police issued an arrest warrant on a misdemeanour charge of municipal battery for Gooding. Police say the unidentified bartender told them that Gooding became upset after patrons started asking him to pose for photos with them at about 3 a.m. that morning. n
Andrew McCarthy says Toronto has grown up TORONTO - Former ‘80s heartthrob Andrew McCarthy has spent the last 10 years establishing a career as a travel writer. So while he’s in southwest Ontario to film a TV movie, he can’t help but notice that Toronto is much cooler than it used to be. n
aspen rock / Shutterstock.com
proved useful if there was a suggestion that her prescriptions had been tampered with, said Weedn, who is an expert in the use of DNA testing in death investigations. Houck said perhaps the biggest development for investigators to mine in a case similar to Monroe’s is a star’s digital footprints: their phone calls, emails, texts, tweets and other online activities. Those all now ``play a huge role,’’ he said. Monroe’s phone records were incomplete, showing her outgoing but not her incoming calls, according to the 1982 DA’s report. ``That’s not going to happen today,’’ Houck said. Despite other advances, autopsy techniques have not changed dramatically since Monroe’s death. Aside from its dimensions (Monroe’s autopsy report is printed on legal-size paper as opposed to current, 8 1/2 by 11 inch reports), the contents are similar to those prepared after recent celebrity deaths: a description of how she was found, detailed descriptions of her body - surgical scars, organs and all - and an accounting of prescription medications found at the scene. ``We forensic pathologists do talk about how much we’re clinging to an old method,’’ Weedn said, noting that basic autopsy procedures have been the same for centuries. New technologies are available, such as CT scans of bodies, but they are outside the budgets of most coroner and medical examiner’s offices, Weedn said. The DA’s investigation generally credited medical examiner Dr. Thomas Noguchi with doing a thorough autopsy of Monroe, including examining her body with a magnifying glass to check for needle marks. However toxicology testing, which has improved since 1962, was lacking in Monroe’s case. Samples from Monroe’s stomach and intestines were destroyed before they were tested for drugs, Noguchi acknowledged in his 1983 memoir ``Coroner,’’ and he quickly realized that would prompt alternate theories about her death. ``A variety of murder theories would spring up almost instantly - and persist even today,’’ Noguchi wrote. Despite lingering questions, photographer Lawrence Schiller doesn’t believe foul play was involved. Schiller knew Monroe in her final days and recently released the memoir, ``Marilyn & Me: A Photographer’s Memories.’’ ``Was there a conspiracy to kill her? No. I don’t think so,’’ he said in a recent interview. He saw Monroe mixing champagne and pills and forgetting what she had taken several times, he said. ``Did she lose track of what she was taking that night, to me that’s more than likely’’ than any of the conspiracy theories. Schiller said it wasn’t apparent to him at the time, when he was 23-years-old, but Monroe had reached a low point. ``She was deeply a lonely person at the end of her life,’’ he said. The DA’s office agreed. ``Our inquiries and document examination uncovered no credible evidence supporting a murder theory,’’ the report stated. Weedn said that while death investigators around the country are better trained than they would have been in the early 1960s, their offices are often considered low budget Policy makers ``should recognize that everything we do is for the living,’’ he said. In Monroe’s case that is certainly true, with generations looking at how Monroe died and still finding questions and ``What If’’ scenarios. n
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
LOS ANGELES - A half century has not dimmed skeptics’ suspicions about the death of Marilyn Monroe at age 36, but the intervening decades have seen technological leaps that could alter the investigation were it to occur today. DNA, more sophisticated electronic record-keeping, drug databases and other advances would give investigators more information than they were able to glean after Monroe’s Aug. 5, 1962, death - 50 years ago last Sunday. Whether any of the tools would lead to a different conclusion - that Monroe’s death from acute barbiturate poisoning was a probable suicide - remains a historical ``What If?’’ ``The good news is we’re very advanced from 50 years ago,’’ said Max Houck, a forensic consultant and co-author of ``The Science of Crime Scenes.’’ ``The bad news is, we’re still trying to put it in context,’’ he said. Monroe’s death stunned the world and quickly ignited speculation that she died from a more nefarious plot than the official cause of death. The theories stem from the 35-minute gap between when Monroe was declared dead by her physician and when police were dispatched, incomplete phone records, and toxicology tests on digestive organs that were never done. Interest has also focused on whether Monroe kept a diary filled with government secrets that was taken from her bedroom, or if she was killed to prevent her from revealing embarrassing secrets about President John F. Kennedy or his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. An investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office 20 years after her death found no evidence of a murder conspiracy, although it theorized that Monroe may have died from an accidental overdose. The district attorney’s report employed an outside coroner’s expert who concluded ``that even with the more advanced -1982 - state-of-the-art procedures would not, in any reasonable probability, change the ultimate conclusions’’ reached 20 years earlier. The Internet, digital imaging and more sophisticated testing mean that Monroe’s death if it occurred today would be subject to even more forensic scrutiny. Houck said some of the important stages of the investigation remain unchanged, including the necessity to quickly interview witnesses, control access to the crime scene and document its appearance. ``Like an archaeologist, you’re trying to reconstruct past events,’’ he said. In Monroe’s case, the first police officer on the scene later said he saw her housekeeper using the washing machine in the hours after the actress’ death. The 1982 DA’s report also states roughly 15 prescription bottles were seen at the scene, but only eight are reflected in the coroner’s report. ``In cases of intense public interest, there’s a tendency to not follow standard protocol,’’ Houck said, which is a mistake. ``You’re going to be under that much more scrutiny.’’ While Monroe’s autopsy report includes an accounting of the medications taken from her bedroom, investigators are now able to do far deeper analysis of prescriptions than in Monroe’s time. A state database allows investigators to scrutinize prescriptions issued to patients and their aliases. Doctor’s records are routinely subpoenaed, as in the cases of the deaths of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Brittany Murphy and Corey Haim. In Monroe’s case, the DA’s report noted, one of the doctors could not be located. Houck said investigators in some cities now employ toastersize scanners to document crime scenes, giving them the ability to create ``a 3D reconstruction that you can walk through.’’ In Monroe’s case, it might have been employed to show the relationship between where her body was found and the location of other important items, such as her telephone and prescriptions. Improved fingerprint collection procedures might have also aided Monroe investigators, said Dr. Victor W. Weedn, chair of the Department of Forensic Sciences at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. DNA evidence, which police typically collect, might have only
BY ANTHONY MCCARTNEY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Barenaked Ladies’ debut ‘Gordon’ turns 20 Paul McKinnon / Shutterstock.com
33 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Canada: Seen and Scenes
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 34
Rev. Fr. Luis Calleja blessed Dave & Carmen Poblete - Jose on their 45th Wedding Anniversary at St. Barnabas Church. Among those with them was her brother Sir George and Lady Dolly Poblete, the Jose’s children Marites Dadula and Maristella Yap, and grandchildren Tyler Dadula and Cristina Yap.
Conradio de Quiros (left), columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Eva Agpaoa (right), board member of Philippine Press Club Ontario (PPCO) during De Quiros visit recently in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Eugene Deocareza, PPCO) - Manny Papa
Ed Tapia, with wife Lita Tapia and friends, during his birthday celebration in New Westminster.
Philippine Press Club – Ontario’s (PPCO) annual general membership meeting held on July 30, 2012 (Tuesday) at the HEAVEN’S GRILL Restaurant at 424 Wilson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, with Consul General Junever Mahilum West and Labor Attache Frank Luna as guest of honors. The PPCO is headed by President Ricardo J. Caluen. The highlight of the event was a question and answer activity and discussion on the forthcoming installation of the PPCO new set of officers and members of the board of directors slated on September 8, 2012 (Saturday) at the Toronto Don Valley Hotel, 175 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Ariel Ramos, PPCO) - Dindo Orbeso
One of the oldest established Filipino women’s association in Canada, the Ontario Filipino Women’s Club (OFWC), will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary Foundation with a Masquerade Ball on September 22, 2012, at the Ellas Banquet Hall, 35 Danforth Road, Toronto, from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am. The OFWC was initially conceptualized and formed by Filipino working women in Canada in 1982 to offset homesickness and loneliness while assimilating to the Canadian way of life, working in their various field of dreams. For ticket sales, please contact Annabelle Migalbin (416-560-0115) and Rebecca Reyes (416-844-1131).
Canada: Seen and Scenes
Photo by Angelo Siglos
35 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
On August 5, Bamboo rocked with FYE Vancouver artists at the River Rock Casino
Pinoy Pride Vancouver at Vancouver Pride. On August 5, Vancouver hosted the Annual Gay Pride Parade and Festival, and Pinoy Pride Vancouver participated with a float. The event was heralded by concerts, parties, lectures, boat cruises, art exhibitions, and other similarly enticing events. Photos by Stella Reyes.
Times Telecom partnered with SUCCESS for a free WELCOME TO CANADA phone card for new immigrants, shown here during a SUCCESS event in Coquitlam, B.C.
To all you globe trotters - travel with PCI and be published! If you take the Philippines Canadian Inquirer to your trips and take a photo of a famous or scenic landmark or backdrop - we will feature you and your photo! Please e-mail your photos with photo caption (names of people in the photos, details about the trip) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have fun on your adventure!
36 WEDNESDAY JULY 25, 2012
Road across Canada ends in Tofino on Vancouver Island, locals say
BY MIKE FUHRMANN THE CANADIAN PRESS TOFINO, B.C. - The black-and-white sign in Tofino’s harbour is a pretty low-key affair, an arched orca adding a decorative flourish at the top, but there’s nothing modest about the statement it makes. It’s literally at the end of the road beyond it is the water’s edge, a wooden wharf and the green mountainous backdrop of Meares Island in Clayoquot Sound. That road stretches for some 8,000 kilometres to St. John’s, N.L., at the other end of Canada. The sign declares the spot on the west coast of Vancouver Island to be the ``Pacific terminus’’ of the TransCanada Highway. Trouble is, it isn’t at least, not officially. As a Mile Zero sign emphatically states in Victoria at the southern point of the island, the highway ends - or starts, depending on your point of view - in the B.C. capital. Tofino’s sign is ``patently wrong,’’ says Calgary-based Mark Ruthenberg, who runs a Trans-Canada Highway website and has researched the crosscountry network extensively. ``That’s a municipal designation, not a federal or provincial designation. It’s like a bakery saying ‘we’re the world’s best bakery.’ ... It doesn’t really mean anything.’’ Ruthenberg notes there is no TransCanada Highway signage on any of the
roads leading up to Tofino, which has a winter population of about 2,000 and a summer crowd of considerably more. Fifty years ago - on July 30, 1962 - the Trans-Canada Highway was formally opened at Rogers Pass in southeastern British Columbia after the federal government, under the Trans-Canada Highway Act of 1949, had provided millions of dollars to the provinces to share construction costs. The project would later be finished in 1970 to become the largest national highway in the world. Tofino first erected a sign declaring itself the western terminus of the yetto-be built highway in the late 1930s or early ‘40s, says Ken Gibson, a former member of community’s chamber of commerce and son of a former town mayor. Local boosters of the designation hoped it would stimulate tourism and draw attention to the fabulous beaches nearby. But the town was later ``doublecrossed’’ by government officials who had promised that it would get the terminus status, says Gibson, who has spent all his life in Tofino and adds that he was ``hatched about 100 feet from where that sign is.’’ Asked why the sign has been left up all these years at the foot of First Street, the 77-year-old Gibson replies: ``Because we’re just a stubborn, determined bunch.’’
The original was made of wood; the current one is steel planted in concrete to deter vandals and thieves, who walked off with the sign several times. On a recent sunny afternoon, a group of kayakers congregated 100 metres down the shore for an outing to Meares Island, and tourists were checking out the galleries, gift shops and surfboard rental outfits nearby. But the area around the sign was deserted. Tofino’s current mayor, Perry Schmunk, calls the sign ``a bit of an undiscovered gem,’’ saying visitors do snap photos ``when they find it.’’ Tourism groups in town have discussed giving the sign a promotional boost, adds Schmunk, who’s also
the general manager of Long Beach Lodge. There are certainly no plans to take it down. ``No, definitely not,’’ Schmunk says. ``I’ve heard the double-cross story, but most Tofitians believe that we are, without question, the official - maybe only in our minds - terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway.’’ The fact that there is an official terminus elsewhere on Vancouver Island seems to be irrelevant. ``One coffee shop has got a great slogan, and I think it sums up the town quite well,’’ says Schmunk. ``It says ‘End of the road culture.’ It’s true. There’s a lot of fairly independent thinking out here.’’ n
37 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
Wandering among the fields, forests and villages of Thailand’s northern hill tribes BY BRIAN CAROVILLANO THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CHIANG RAI, Thailand - The Kok River is a cocoa-colored expressway into the heart of hill tribe country. Rushing down from Myanmar and through Thailand’s northern mountains to the city of Chiang Rai, its banks and the surrounding slopes and valleys shelter hundreds of villages of a half-dozen major tribes - Lahu, Lisu, Karen, Hmong, Yao and Akha - which in turn are subdivided into many smaller groups. These communities range from secluded mountain hideaways reachable only by foot or four-wheel-drive, to roadside attractions where tribal people dressed in elaborate traditional costumes pose for photos and peddle handicrafts to busloads of tourists. The hill tribes and their unique culture have been on the backpacker’s Southeast Asia itinerary for decades. This has led to widespread exploitation by unscrupulous tour operators, as well as rampant drug abuse and prostitution. In recent years, luxury resorts have also sprung up. So if you’re looking for some sort of primitive time-capsule village, you’re out of luck. But this remains a place of breathtaking natural beauty, with a fascinating blend of cultures coexisting at close proximity, and there are a growing number of opportunities to visit the hill tribes on their own terms. One of these is Akha Hill House, a rustic guest house operated by an Akha community in a mountain hamlet 14 miles (22 kilometres) west and 5,000 feet (1,500 metres) above Chiang Rai. Village headman Apae Amor runs it and employs many of the villagers. A portion of the proceeds goes toward tribal educational programs, he says. It’s also highly affordable. The most basic rooms at Akha Hill House start at about $10 a night, and free transportation is offered to and from Chiang Rai in the back of a pickup truck. Or, you can opt to go by water, as I did. I caught a long-tail boat from the public dock on the outskirts of Chiang Rai for a noisy hour-long ride up the river, called Mae Kok in Thai. The once-a-day public boat is 100 baht (about $3.25), though you could spend a lot more chartering a private boat that would stop wherever and whenever you want. I had the boat to myself when other tourists disembarked at a riverside elephant camp. As the boatman chugged up a waterway swollen by monsoon rains, I sat near the bow and took in a landscape in a million shades of green: fields of corn and rice planted at impossibly steep angles; limestone peaks covered in jungle. There were small villages of bamboo and wood houses, people fishing the shallows with nets, a huge white Buddha looming over a bend in the river. I was dropped at a grassy field containing a steaming hot spring and the headquarters
of Lamnamkok National Park, which encompasses the surrounding hills. My destination was a three-mile (fivekilometre) uphill walk from there. ``Follow signs,’’ said the website. Easy enough. After a half-hour search, I finally found a single hand-painted sign pointing up a dirt road toward Akha Hill House, and started walking. It was the last sign I saw. But if I was lost, it was a pleasant kind of lost. The road snaked through fields and forests. Grazing water buffalo looked up from fields and chickens scampered away as I passed through Lahu and Karen villages. Asking directions was a challenge. I can usually manage enough Thai to find my way, but many people here, particularly the elderly, speak tribal languages. Eventually, a smiling young guy with a motorbike offered a ride back to where I’d gone astray. Like most men in these parts, he carried a sheathed, machete-like knife on his hip for cutting bamboo. After a wild bumpy ride on the back of his bike, he stopped and pointed up a steep track that I’d walked right by an hour earlier. The home stretch was a quadricepsbusting climb along a stony brook, past flooded terraces of young rice plants to a Lahu village where the road suddenly deadended. A narrow path continued through open fields, offering panoramic views all the way to Myanmar. Finally, after cresting a saddle between two forested summits and descending through coffee and citrus groves, I arrived at Akha Hill House. The guest house sits at the edge of an Akha village, perched at the head of a curving valley on the slopes of Doi Hang mountain. Most houses are still made of traditional bamboo, raised on stilts with covered outdoor platforms. But a few concrete houses have appeared, and even a handful of satellite dishes poking from the thatched rooftops, signs that despite the Akha’s reputation as the most impoverished of the hill tribes, this particular village
is more prosperous - and modern - than some. A retired American couple staying in Akha Hill House and volunteering as English teachers at the village school proffered that the lack of signage might be a way to ensure steady work for local guides. The accommodations are rustic. My room was a mud and wood shack with an electric fan, cold-water shower and mosquito net draped over the bed. But it was perched on a steep slope with a spacious balcony that offered an amazing view. The common area has cold beers and inexpensive, tasty food, especially after a long day on the trail. The Akha share this lovely vale with a Chinese village where some of the wooden houses are decorated with red paper lanterns. Together, the two villages have no more than a few hundred people living among rushing streams, hillside orchards and a sprawling tea plantation. Many Chinese nationalists came south from Yunnan Province when the communists took power. Some settled in the border region where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet - the notorious Golden Triangle, once epicenter of the world’s heroin trade. Both the hill tribes and the Chinese were prolific growers of opium poppies, but an aggressive government eradication campaign has led most fields to be replanted with coffee, tea and fruit, though the continued use of primitive slash-and-burn agriculture can be seen in the blackened stumps amid the greenery. These days, tourism pays the bills. Apae Amor and several other village men are registered guides who can arrange mountain treks of up to seven days, by foot, elephant or bamboo raft, as well as sightseeing tours of the temples, museums and other sights of Chiang Rai Province. I, however, came for fresh air and solitude. The beautiful Huai Kaeo waterfall is a 15-minute walk from the village through the
dripping jungle. The falls plunge over three drops, each with a swimmable pool at the bottom and plenty of big rocks to sit on and read a book or listen to the sounds of the forest. Climbing another 30 minutes on a muddy track will bring you to an open summit that offers more stunning views of the countryside. One day, walking through the village toward the falls, I heard the familiar sound of Christian hymns sung in the unfamiliar tones of the Akha language. It was Sunday morning and churchgoing villagers were inside a little wooden house of worship. Like most of Thailand’s hill tribes, the Akha started in southern China and moved south into Myanmar (then known as Burma) where they were exposed to Christianity by British and American missionaries. While some tribes trace their history in Thailand over hundreds of years, the Akha are more recent arrivals, crossing over from Myanmar over the past 50 years to escape persecution by that country’s military rulers. Even today, their brand of Christianity is blended with traditional animist beliefs and ancestor worship. The Akha are perhaps most famous for their traditional dress. The most decorative of the hill tribe costumes, it is highlighted by colorful embroidered fabrics and headdresses intricately decorated with beads, feathers, shells and silver coins. These days, you are more likely to see Akha women in traditional dress selling trinkets at the Chiang Mai night bazaar. Most here dress in sarongs and flip-flops; the men wear T-shirts with logos of their favourite English football teams. This is not a place where the outside world has been kept at bay, nor is it a tourist trap where bygone village life is re-enacted for the benefit of visitors. But it is a wonderful place to spend a few days relaxing amid stunning natural wonders and learning a little bit about a vanishing culture. That is, if you can find it. n
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 38
Lucio Tan consolidates assets into Tanduay Taipan names son Michael to head P200B holding firm
TYCOON Lucio Tan is consolidating all his major businesses—liquor, airline, cigarette manufacturing, real estate and banking—into a single publicly listed holding firm with an estimated asset pool of P200 billion and will be headed by son and heirapparent Michael Tan. Tanduay Holdings Inc., for now the holding firm for the group’s hard liquor business, will become the vehicle for the consolidation to create a large conglomerate to be named LT Group Inc. (LTG), which will hold the group’s interests in Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillers, Fortune Tobacco, Eton Properties and Philippine National Bank-Allied Bank. The younger Tan, who was recently named president of Tanduay, will head LTG, which will serve as the flagship conglomerate similar to George Ty’s GT Capital Holdings, Henry Sy’s SM Investments Corp., John Gokongwei’s JG Summit and Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group Inc.
Photo courtesy of Cambodia Trust
BY DORIS C. DUMLAO Philippine Daily Inquirer
The transfer of assets to Tanduay, which recently approved an increase in its authorized capital to pave the way for the consolidation, was approved by Tanduay’s board of directors on Tuesday. It is widely believed to be part of the estate planning of the taipan, the second-richest man in the Philippines, and the anointment of a successor in son Michael. Some of the official reasons for the consolidation, however, was to “broaden the group’s investment horizon” and achieve synergies—such as by merging the distribution capabilities of Tanduay
and Asia Brewery and realizing costsavings from the merger of PNB and Allied Bank. Another reason for the consolidation, one source from LTG said, would be to make it easier to raise funds for future expansion. After the consolidation, the source said LTG would conduct a follow-on offering at the stock market. While the estimated value of all assets to be pooled into LTG was P200 billion, the source said there would also be liabilities to be absorbed amounting to P50 billion to P60 billion. A disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange showed that the board of Tanduay agreed to amend its bylaws to change its corporate name as well to invest in various operating units under the group. Tanduay will acquire a 90-percent stake in beer brewer Asia Brewery, at least 83 percent of cigarette manufacturer Fortune Tobacco Corp., 98.1 percent of Eton Properties, 49.84 percent of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, 50.97 percent of budget carrier Air Philippines Corp., 34.79 percent of PNB and 27.62 percent of Allied Bank.
The corporation will use the proceeds of the P5-billion investment of Tangent Holdings Corp. to finance these investments. “These acquisitions are expected to be completed before the end of September [this year],” the disclosure said. “The foregoing transactions will materially expand and diversify the investments held by the corporation. The board of directors believes the enlarged portfolio will provide the corporation with significant opportunities for synergies and business growth, including but not limited to synergies in marketing and distribution, enhanced flexibility in funding, as well as improved financial profile, all of which, the board believes, will contribute to enhance shareholder value,” the disclosure said. The proposed amendment of the corporate bylaws will also include a provision for a “non-compete” clause, which will disqualify business competitors from becoming directors or officers in the corporation. n
Talks of GMA sale to MVP seen concluded in 2012 A number of issues yet to be resolved, says Gozon
Photo courtesy of IRRI Images
BY DORIS C. DUMLAO Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE TALKS involving the sale of local broadcasting giant GMA Network Inc. (GMA 7) to the group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan will be resolved one way or another by the end of the year.
“It will either terminate or go through within this year if that’s the parameter that you’ll give me, because that’s too long already to be talking,” GMA 7 chair Felipe Gozon told reporters on Monday. He was asked whether he thought negotiations would go beyond this year given Pangilinan’s timeline of the discussions wrapping up within 2012. “In any discussions there are outstanding issues to be resolved because if there were none, then we would have signed yesterday,” said Gozon. Gozon, who was at the Philippine Stock Exchange at the opening bell to celebrate GMA 7’s 5th year as a listed company, said he was not at liberty to disclose the remaining issues that needed to be resolved. On whether the P52-billion valuation for GMA 7 was acceptable, Gozon said “no comment.” The INQUIRER earlier reported that Pangilinan’s group was moving closer to a deal to buy GMA 7 at an estimated price tag of P52.5 billion based on an “enterprise value” for the entire company. Enterprise value factors in preferred stocks, debt and cash reserves that are usually not captured by mere market capitalization.
In this case, the package includes 1.5 billion in preferred shares that have five times more voting rights than common shares (now at 3.36 billion) but convertible at par to common shares at 1:1 ratio. “I’m not going to say anything about the price that will be acceptable to us. In the first place, we are not peddling GMA 7. Somebody wanted to buy and we attended to it. We were not selling,” Gozon said. The GMA 7 chair also clarified that he was joking when he said that the controlling shareholders would sell the broadcasting company “with eyes closed” if somebody offers to buy it for P100 billion. “That P100 billion is out of this world,” he said. Right now, he said the controlling shareholders of GMA 7 were talking to only one party: the group of Pangilinan, who chairs the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., the country’s dominant telecommunications company. But if a deal doesn’t push through, Gozon said the current owners of GMA 7 were “ready, prepared and willing to continue running” the company. Gozon has been at the helm of GMA 7 for 12 years. n
Sports Too much weight on Hidilyn’s shoulders
Photo courtesy of Wonderlifter Photo courtesy of Wonderlifter
39 FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012
BY ARTEMIO T. ENGRACIA JR., NEWS EDITOR Philippine Daily Inquirer
LONDON—Hidilyn Diaz had the weight of the entire country on her shoulders even before she could see action in the weightlfting competitions of the 30th Olympic Games here. The 21-year-old Zamboangueña had the singular honor of carrying the Philippine flag during ’s opening ceremonies, but there was a price to pay for the distinction. As standard bearer, she obviously had an extra burden to carry when it was time to see action on Monday at the ExCel, London’s cavernous exhibition and convention center. And the load was probably just too much for her to bear. “I’m sorry I disappointed a lot of people,” she cried after failing in three attempts to put a score on the board in the women’s 58-kilogram category of the weightlifting competitions. “And to think I was the flag bearer in the parade.” Hidilyn, who had to put her Computer Science studies at the Universidad de Zamboanga in 2010 on hold while she pursued her Olympic dreams, came up empty in her second stint in the Games and was unable to explain why she could not clean and jerk the weight she
She then aimed for 97 kg, which was a kilo better that her personal best of 96. She failed in her first attempt, but she easily made it two minutes later, beating her personal best by a kilogram. After a 10-minute break, the women in the 58-kg weight class were back in action for the clean and jerk. Hidilyn booked for 118-kg first lift, the heaviest first lift in Group B of the division. That gave her a break much longer than 10 minutes while the other women struggled with the lighter weights. When her number came up, she let out a shrill scream to pump herself up. As she raised the weight, the bar scraped her knee—a foul which the officials did not call—and cleaned it up to her chest. “I thought it was a foul, but it was not called,” she said. “Then I got dizzy.” The barbell hit the floor with a loud thud and she fell backward, collapsing to the platform. For a few
anxious moments, she lay on her back. Cheered on by the obviously pro-underdog crowd, she slowly rolled over, picked herself up and walked away. Hidilyn had to come back in two minutes to make another attempt. Again, she failed. And by the time she came on again for her third and last try, she was a spent athlete. Following her third and final failure, she waved to the crowd, which gave her a rousing ovation. Then she turned around and walked off the platform in tears, collapsing into the arms of her coach, Tony Agustin. The second guessing came as soon as she left the biggest stage in her life. Why did she start with 118 kg when she could have opted to start with a lighter weight and worked her way up? “That’s her coach’s decision. He knows better than anyone of us,” said Puentevella. n
had chosen to start the second part of her event. Three times she tried, and three times she failed, to lift 118 kilograms. It was more than twice her body weight, but it was a weight that had seemed so easy in training. Monico Puentevella, Philippine Olympic Committee chair and president of the country’s weightlifting federation, was also at a loss. BY TED S. MELENDRES “I don’t mind being the underdog,” “Nanlambot (she weakened). Philippine Daily Inquirer said Javier, the pride of Dumaguete Maybe the stress and excitement got to her,” he said. “It has nothing to do LONDON—Archer Mark Javier City. “I will go there, play my game with being the flag bearer. But that’s came into the 30th London and see what happens.” Javier and the 23-year-old Brady, Olympics with only one target: the Olympics. What can you do?” Hidilyn came to England a month Make it past the first round and let the former world No. 3 and reigning ago with modest Olympic targets. fate take him wherever it fancies Pan American Games champion, play matches out of five sets of She was aiming to just break her him to be. He hopes to slay the ghost of three arrows in the Olympic Round personal best in the event, going for a high target of 225 kilograms Beijing 2008 where he crashed out of 64 at Lord’s Cricket Grounds, to finish somewhere around eighth of the initial knockout stage after the century-old home of the British place. Had she achieved that, leading his Taiwanese foe with only sport of cricket. The winner of each set gets 2 she would have ended up only in five arrows left. set points. If the set is tied, each But after ’s classification 10th place, behind eventual gold medallist Li Xueying of China, who round of the men’s 70-meter Fita protagonist gets 1 set point. “It’s a new Olympic format and competition, the urgency of Javier’s had a 246 total. gives everyone an excellent chance task seems to have multiplied. Li set two Olympic records for His classification score of 649 left of scoring an upset,” Javier added the snatch and total. Thailand’s Pimsiri Sirikaev took the silver and him 55th in a field of 64 archers. in Filipino. “Mark has a chance,” said Korean Ukraine’s Yuliya Kalina the bronze. He drew the 10th seeded American Ellison Brady, who shot 674, in ’s coach Chung Jae-yun through It was Thailand’s first medal here. Hidilyn started well enough, lifting KO duel set at 3:15 p.m. (10:15 an interpreter. “He only needs to focus.” n 92 kg in her first attempt in the snatch. p.m. in Manila).
‘Underdog’ Javier hopes to slay Beijing’s ghost
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 40
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PHILIPPINE ENGLISH (Part 1) NOT VERY many know that the Philippines, a country in South East Asia with a 93 million population, is the third largest English speaking country in the world percentage-wise behind that of the United States and surprisingly India, unless you are pretty keen on accent and colloquialism. The United Kingdom comes fourth. But the Filipinos are notably more proficient than their Asian neighbors both in accent and pronunciation. However, no matter how the Philippines is ranked, the fact remains that Filipinos can speak proper English which is “impressive and functional sometimes even better grammatically than the American and British English” according to Expedia, which call center in the Philippines is its hub in Asia. And that is a statement. By virtue of the 1898 Treaty of Paris after the Battle of Manila Bay where the American fleet vanquished the Spanish Armada, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. Thus started the “Americanization” of the Philippines with the US military taking over. Pres. William McKinley ordered the gradual implementation of English as the medium of instruction in the schools. This ushered in the coming of American educators called “Thomasites” to establish a nationwide system of public education. Their linguistic task involved the imposition of English as a medium of instruction over Spanish, then the spoken language through 377 years of Spanish rule. In 1935, the country became a Commonwealth of the United States as envisioned in the Tydings-McDuffie Law with a ten-year transition period to full independence and sovereignty in 1946. . American Governors-General composed the officialdom with a bicameral legislature patterned after that of the US with English the language of deliberation. The Stars and Stripes and the Philippine flags flew side-by-side in all public buildings. School children sung the StarSpangled Banner upright and with gusto, and with equal zest “Land of the Morning”, then the Philippine national anthem which has evolved into “Bayang Magiliw.” Then
the recitation of the oath of allegiance followed. To ensure the effective use of English in the schools, speaking in the vernacular was strictly forbidden, with fines or demerits meted to violators especially in exclusive private schools. When MacArthur’s forces landed to liberate the country, English suddenly became a necessary tool of communication for grateful Filipinos who came to embrace the GIs and welcoming them with calls of “Victory Joe” and flashing the V sign, and the Americans in turn flash their chocolates, Lucky Strikes and their chewing gums. In 1936, the National Language Institute was tasked to study Philippine dialects for the purpose of evolving and adopting a common national language. The institute recommended Tagalog, which was widely spoken in all regions of the country, as the basis for the “Wikang Pambansa” or
national language. In 1959, the Department of Education called Tagalog-based national language “Pilipino” to dissociate it from the Tagalog ethnic group. Thus, Pilipino became the medium of instruction in the primary up to the secondary levels in all public and private schools. The Corey Constitution finally designated “Filipino” to replace “Pilipino” as the Wikang Pambansa and the Philippine Congress took steps to sustain its use as a medium of official communication and a language of instruction in the educational system. Thus the Philippine national language evolved from Tagalog to Pilipino to Filipino in order to instill nationalism and for it to sink in the Filipino psyche and as a unifying concept of national identity as do the Japanese with Nippongo and Chinese with Mandarin. To obliterate any vestiges of American presence, Independence Day is now celebrated on June 12 instead of July 4. Dewey Boulevard was renamed Roxas Boulevard, Camp Murphy became Fort Bonifacio, and the name changes went on. The United States vacated Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Station in 1992 ending its long military presence in the country. At that time there was also a strong anti-nuclear and anti-imperialist mass movement and a majority vote in the Philippine Senate that abrogated the 99-year lease of the US of the two military bases.
Through the years, this nationalism issue had exacted a price and this is the decay of English spoken in the schools. What is tragic and funny is the deliberate crossbreeding that resulted into a fractured pidgin called “Taglish” that further diminished the purity of our English. As a consequence, many present-day college graduates are found deficient in speaking and writing correct English. School authorities, or the whole of Philippine officialdom, are to blame. Where before the teaching profession was the most revered and noble of all professions and teachers were looked up to as molders of youth, they were otherwise neglected and received only meager salaries. So these teachers entered the global village as tutors in English of the children of the world, as chambermaids of rich families in Europe, or nannies in Singapore or Hongkong where their paychecks, when converted, amount to a princely sum compared to their salaries as school teachers back home. But teachers leaving their teaching jobs to go abroad do not mean they are unpatriotic; they only do so out of economic necessity. We know the story – the loneliness and depraved life abroad as long as they can put their kids to school, put body and soul together, and enjoy little luxuries. As we all know, they are lauded as the “modern heroes” by a grateful government because their dollar remittances buoy up the Central Bank reserves without which the economy would have collapsed. However, take heart my dear kababayans. Be that as it may, the quality of our present English is still not that bad compared to others. Here are some quotes to prove my point: Sign outside a Paris dress shop: “Order your summer suite. Because is big rush, we will execute customers in strict rotation.” On the door of a Moscow hotel room: “If this is your first visitor to the USSR, your welcome to it.” In a Bangkok temple: “It is forbidden to enter a woman, even a foreigner if dressed as a man.” An instruction booklet in a Japanese hotel on how to use the A/C: “Cool and Heats. If you want just condition of warm in your room please control yourself.” Outside a Rome laundry: “Ladies, leave your cloth here and spend the afternoon having a good time.” Hello, Yoguslavia?: “The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.” Hotel in Japan: “You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.” Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: “Would you like to ride on my ass?” Araaay! What do you think, guys? Without bias, I think Filipino English – despite our pronunciation and misplaced accent – isn’t that bad after all. n
The Philippine Canadian Inquirer welcomes your views and opinions. Please e-mail the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.Thank you.
FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2012 42
Publisher Philippine Canadian Inquirer Editor Melissa Remulla-Briones Correspondents Lizette Lofranco Aba Jeffrey J.D. Andrion Gigi Astudillo Laarni de Paula Dr. Rizaldy Ferrer Maria Ramona Ledesma Frances Grace H. Quiddaoen Rodel J. Ramos Stella Reyes Sarah Taguiam Agnes Tecson Graphic Designer Victoria Yong Illustration Danvic C. Briones Photographers AJ Juan Solon Licas Ryan Ferrer Angelo Siglos Art Viray Sales and Operations Laarni de Paula Alice Yong (778) 889-3518 HINGE INQUIRER PUBLICATIONS CUSTOM PUBLISHING GROUP Managing Editor Maita de Jesus Graphic Artists Reggie Goloy Maud Villanueva Editorial Assistants Phoebe Casin Anne Lora Santos Associate Publisher Lurisa Villanueva Jr. Associate Publisher Millicent Agoncillo Project Coordinator Lychelle Ang In cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer digital edition
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