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❱❱ PAGE 20 Oklahoma twister

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A monstrous tornado at least a halfmile (800 metres) wide roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighbourhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds up to 200 mph (320 kph). At least 24 people were killed, including at least 7 children, and officials said the death toll

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Philippine News

3 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Poll watchdog says it was worse than 2010 elections BY JULIE M. AURELIO Philippine Daily Inquirer THE recently concluded 2013 automated elections were worse than the 2010 exercise because of the bigger number of errors and the “arbitrary and highly irregular decisions” which compromised the elections’ credibility and transparency, according to a poll watchdog group. The Automated Elections Systems Watch (AES Watch) deplored the glitches in the precinct count optical scan machines (PCOS) as well as the software licensing issues that came with it. “Compared to 2010, there are more data discrepancies as well as open and brazen possible manipulation of data at the stage of canvassing and consolidation,” the group said. Integrity in doubt

In a press briefing yesterday, AES Watch cited the 44-hour lag in transmission of election returns which it warned may cast doubt on the integrity of the results. IT expert and panelist Lito Azurin pointed out that even the practice of manual voting also poses risks to the credibility of the elections. “The ballot, since it is not immediately fed into the PCOS machine, is exposed to post-voting manipulation. The delay in transmission also means that the returns are open to manipulation,” he said. Azurin noted that as of Friday night, or five days after the elections, 23 percent of election returns had not yet been transmitted. Metro Manila, for example, has 10 percent untransmitted returns while the Autonomous Region in Muslim

Mindanao (ARMM) had 44 percent. More machine glitches

Compared to the 2010 elections, there were more PCOS machine glitches in last Monday’s polls, AES Watch claimed. It noted that delays in transmissions in 2010 took only two days. The 23 percent of untransmitted election returns affected 8.6 million voters, said panelist Temario Rivera. More than half, or 911, out of the 1,173 reports to AES Watch were PCOS-related, such as initialization errors, machine breakdowns, hardware problems and rejected ballots, while 1,432 clustered precincts reported transmission problems. ‘Ultra-fast, inflated’ count

The group also cited the “ultrafast and inflated” count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) caused by program error, the 44-hour lull at 69 percent transmission of returns, and the absence of random manual audit results up to now. AES Watch said it had called for 100 percent full random manual audit weeks before the polls to establish the accuracy of the elections, but this was ignored by the Comelec. The group also took the Comelec to task for its decision to proclaim the winning senatorial candidates after only 20 percent of election returns had been canvassed. It said the poll body’s action was “arbitrary and highly questionable.” “All these raise the issue of whether the Comelec is not only short-cutting the process but also dictating the results of the election in violation of the people’s right to suffrage,” the group said. Nelson Celis of the Philippine Computer Society added that before the May 13 elections, they did not see any document that would attest to the accuracy of the 82,000 PCOS machines deployed all over the country. Although the Comelec held mock elections in July 2012, the accuracy level was at 97 percent, which Celis said was below the 99.995 percent requirement. “It is poor project management,” he said. Licensing issues

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Philippine News

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 4

‘Archetypal villainess’ Bella Flores; 84 BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer THE COUNTRY has just lost “the archetypal Filipino villainess,” actress Boots AnsonRoa said of the death of veteran character actress Bella Flores yesterday. Flores, Remedios P. Dancel in real life, passed away at Quezon City General Hospital, where she was being treated for complications following hip surgery and a stroke she suffered in September last year, according to her daughter, Ruby Arcilla. Flores was 84. Doctors at Quezon City General Hospital declared Flores dead at 1:27 a.m. after several attempts to revive her, reported Arcilla. Her remains lie at the Loyola Memorial Chapels on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. “I thank all of her friends and fans. I hope they will continue to remember my mom and her contributions to local show business,” said Arcilla. She added that burial plans were still being finalized. Roa said Flores was a contemporary of her late father,

actor Oscar Moreno, in the nowdefunct Sampaguita Pictures. She said she became personally close to Flores when the two of them joined Baliksamahan, an informal group of veteran actors formed 10 years ago. “We attended retreats and participated in the group’s outreach projects, along with actresses Susan Roces and Nova Villa,” Roa recalled. “I remember her as someone with a kind soul. People remember Tita Bella for her raised eyebrows and arms akimbo, but what they didn’t know was that she had a great sense of humor. She will surely be missed.” When Flores’ health took a turn for the worse late last year, Roa said the Baliksamahan group got involved by bringing Flores to San Juan Medical Center. “The members took turns going to the hospital to visit her,” she said. “It had been very sad during her last days. She couldn’t communicate with us anymore so we just whispered encouraging words in her ear,” Roa said. “I remember telling her, ‘ Tita Bella, kulang lang sa mahjong ’ yan.’” Roa added that Flores and her late mother Belen Cristobal

Rich man, poor man in Aquino Cabinet BY MICHAEL LIM UBAC Philippine Daily Inquirer DOES joining the government make one poorer—or richer? Malacañang released to the media on Friday the copies of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of Cabinet secretaries for 2012, reflecting the rise and fall of the net worth of the members of President Benigno Aquino III’s official family in a year. Francis Tolentino, chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario were the biggest gainers, according to their SALNs as of Dec. 31, 2012. Tolentino’s net worth shot up to P43.7 million in 2012 from P22.5 million in 2011—an increase of 94 percent, or P21

million. The wealth of Del Rosario, the richest Cabinet member, ballooned to P705.4 million from P657.8 million, an increase of P47.6 million, or 7 percent. In the case of Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Peace Process Adviser Teresita

Actress Bella Flores in “Kontrabida 101,” a short film by Bench. Flores is known for playing villains—the kontrabida—in Pinoy cinema and TV. SCREENGRAB FROM ‘KONTRABIDA 101’

were mahjong buddies. Flores had hip-replacement surgery in September 2012. She also suffered a stroke that affected the right part of her brain, which resulted in difficulty speaking, moving and recognizing people, Arcilla said in an interview with the INQUIRER in February. Flores was born on Feb. 27, 1929, in Santa Cruz, Manila. The top movie kontrabida appeared in over a hundred films since she joined showbiz at age 14 in 1950 (“Tatlong Balaraw”). INQUIRER Entertainment columnist Nestor Torre described Flores as the “really

nasty villainess” who made life a living hell for the little Tessie Agana, a character in “Roberta” (1951). Incidentally, the box office success of “Roberta” saved its producer, Sampaguita Pictures, from financial ruin after the studio was ravaged by fire, Torre added. Flores won a best supporting actress award from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (Famas) in 1967 for her performance in “Ang Kaibigan Kong Santo Niño.” She was part of many films by Elwood Perez like “Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae” and “Mahal Mo, Mahal Ko.” She was also seen in the 2003 hit

“Crying Ladies,” by Mark Meily. In 2008, Flores received the Diwata Award, given by the University of the Philippines Film Institute, for her extensive contributions to the entertainment industry. The UP Film Institute website called her “irreplaceable, iconic.” She was last seen on TV in the adaptation of the komiks classic “Trudis Liit” (2011) on GMA 7. In 2012, she appeared in Jade Castro’s feature film “My Kontrabida Girl,” produced by GMA Films, and Jose Javier Reyes’ short film “Kontrabida 101: Kontrabida Pa Rin at 84,” produced by clothing company Bench. ■

Deles, the odds of getting poorer seemed to increase.

Compared to the other Cabinet members, Luistro did not declare any motor vehicles, furniture and fixtures, jewelry, clothes and accessories, paintings, lots and investment plans. But the wealth of a number of others increased.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson (P83.8 million) and Health Secretary Enrique Ona (P80.2 million). The wealth of the rest ranged from P550,000 to P63 million. Those who reported their wealth as P10 million or less were Presidential Adviser on Legislative Affairs Manuel Mamba (P10.8 million), Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang (P7.5 million), Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas (P5.4 million), Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (P4.2 million), Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman (P3.2 million), Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz (P2.9 million) and Luistro (P550,651). Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s net worth remained unchanged at P13.7 million. His liabilities stood at P767,474, mostly credit card debts. National Anti-Poverty Commission head Joel Rocamora reported a net worth of P22.3 million, down from P25.3 million in 2011. ■

No cars, no jewelry

Luistro’s net worth decreased by P188,355—from P739,006 to P550,651, while Deles lost P14.74 million of her wealth, which fell from P21.83 million to P7.09 million. Luistro, a La Salle brother and former president of De La Salle University, has only one entry under “personal and other properties” declared as “cash on hand/bank accounts”— P550,651.14.


12 richest

In 2012, the top 12 richest Cabinet members were: Del Rosario (P705.4 million), Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima (P270.7 million), Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez (P249.9 million), Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (P203.3 million), Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo (P150.7 million), Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa (P120.2 million), Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras (P116.4 million); Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla (P111.2 million), Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya (P104.7 million), Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala (P88.4 million),

5 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Philippine News

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 6

Drilon hems, haws on question of change in Senate leadership BY NORMAN BORDADORA Philippine Daily Inquirer THERE will be no leadership change in the Senate when the new Congress convenes in July, Sen. Franklin Drilon told reporters last week. There will be new leaders, though, he said. “The word ‘change’ is inaccurate because in every new Congress, you elect a new set of officers,” Drilon said at the Team PNoy headquarters in Makati City. “When Congress opens, we have to elect another set of officers. It could be the present officers of the 15th Congress who will be elected anew or somebody else,” he said. “So it is new in that sense because they must have the fresh mandate of the senators and the congressmen of the 16th Congress,” Drilon added. Drilon has downplayed reports that he’s about to take the Senate helm despite being

introduced as the next Senate President by reelectionist senators in the course of the administration campaign the past three months. Drilon was the campaign manager of the multiparty Team PNoy administration coalition that has dominated the senatorial race. “The term of office of officers ends with the termination of a particular Congress. So the terms of the present set of officers end with the termination of the 15th Congress on June 30, 2013,” Drilon said. “The elected can be the officers also of the 15th Congress, but they must be elected anew because the Congress is a new Congress. Day one, when the session starts, you elect,” he said. After the proclamation

Drilon said those interested in the Senate leadership are expected to start talking to their colleagues after all 12 senators-

elect have been proclaimed. The lawmaker said it was important for the administration to have control of the congressional majority. “It is important because of the number of pieces of legislation that we would have to enact,” Drilon said. “The President must have the capacity to continue with the reforms that we started,” he added. To be specific, Drilon said the administration “must put in place the legislative support for the ARMM peace agreement.” Drilon also mentioned measures for even more economic reforms. “We must continue to restructure our tax system, particularly the rationalization of fiscal incentives. So that we can plug certain loopholes,” Drilon said. “On the other hand, we must review how we can be—if there are certain laws that stand in the way of making us, prevents



us from being—attractive in terms of foreign direct investments,” he added. “So it’s important that the

President would have the majority in both houses. At least we have a majority in both houses,” Drilon said. ■




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7 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Comelec chief smells watchdog conspiracy BY NIKKO DIZON Philippine Daily Inquirer COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said he suspected a “conspiracy” orchestrated by an election watchdog aimed at discrediting the country’s election system. Brillantes vowed to unmask the people behind the conspiracy as soon as the canvassing of the party-list groups’ votes is completed. There is more to the Automated Election System (AES) Watch group than meets the eye, according to the Comelec chief. “I’ll just take a little rest, but I will make some punches on the side. I believe there is a conspiracy here. I am also trying to find out who is funding them,” Brillantes told the Inquirer by phone. He said he would name the people behind AES Watch. “Those who are talking against the Comelec now are not even the people whose names are listed on the group’s letterhead.” Brillantes was particularly irritated by the claim made by the AES Watch that the 2013 midterm elections were “worse” than the 2010 polls. “They have not even gone to the Comelec to talk to us and raise their concerns so that we can address them,” he said. AES Watch is a network of 40 organizations, institutions, nongovernment organizations, information technology professionals, researchers and academics. “This is not a perfect election. There were mistakes, several of them, but these were not major mistakes. Most of them involved human error,” Brillantes said. He said AES Watch’s criticisms appeared wellorchestrated. “They’ve been hitting the Comelec for the past three years…. Initially, I thought they wanted only the attention because they are not saying anything new.” He noted that a week or two before the elections, AES Watch “was suddenly all around.” He also said he believed that the alleged “conspiracy” included

some media people who had been giving the group a lot of airtime. After the group claimed that the 2013 elections were worse than the 2010 exercise, Brillantes apparently has had enough. He called AES Watch “outsiders” who did not bother to find out how the Comelec works. Celis, Lagman

One “outsider” Brillantes wants to talk to is AES Watch’s Nelson Celis of the Philippine Computer Society. “I want to meet and ask him who he really is and who he represents,” Brillantes said. He also mentioned Gus Lagman, a former Comelec commissioner-turned-staunch critic and member of the watchdog Kontra Daya, whom he described as someone who is “kontra mundo” because the latter did not seem to agree with anything else about the entire world. Brillantes, however, took with a grain of salt the criticisms hurled by fellow election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. The Comelec chairman said he never doubted that the poll body did the right thing when it made partial proclamations of the senators-elect on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Macalintal on Sunday rested his case after questioning the propriety of the proclamation by the national board of canvassers (NBOC) of the senators-elect without announcing the number of canvassed votes each one of them received.

that the commission itself had formulated. Macalintal had called the early proclamations “defective,” saying the NBOC violated its own rule in Resolution No. 9686 that it would conduct a proclamation upon the completion of the final canvassed result. He had said that the 2013 midterm election was the first time that winning senatorial candidates had no number of votes indicated in their certificates of proclamation, and that they were proclaimed in alphabetical order and not based on the number of votes they received. Political analyst Ramon Casiple agreed with the Inquirer when asked if President Aquino’s popularity among the people saved the Comelec from a public uproar over the early proclamation. Another factor, he said, was that the recent elections were not a presidential election. “It brought stability to the entire exercise that there is somebody that people know does not cheat. It’s a plus,” Casiple said. While there were issues in the midterm elections that cast doubts on the entire process, the critics “still have to prove their case,” he added. ■

Procedural lapse

“I respect the Comelec’s proclamation of the senatorselect. The canvassing is almost complete and the figures are clear. They (the proclaimed senators) won,” he told the Inquirer by phone. But Macalintal still reminded the Comelec that it should avoid committing the same “procedural lapse” in future elections so as not to set a “bad precedent,” especially for the local board of canvassers. He said the Comelec en banc, acting as the NBOC, should stick to the rules and procedures

Brillantes: “I’ll just take a little rest, but I will make some punches on the side.” TWITTER PHOTO


Go back to school, and other advice to newbies from Miriam BY CATHY C. YAMSUAN Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, Philippines— Neophyte senators would do their countrymen a favor by going back to school and not making the mistake of entering the Senate with guns a-blazing (“huwag magpasiklab agad”). The unsolicited advice came from Sen. Miriam DefensorSantiago who, despite her already impressive academic background, said she requested a personal tutorial from the late Sen. Arturo Tolentino before jumping into the Senate arena in 1995. Once the dust of victory has cleared, Filipinos who voted for the new senators would be scrutinizing them to see whether they made the right choice in electing these newbies to the upper chamber, she warned. “The adulation is temporary,” Santiago said in Filipino. For starters, there are three things that a new senator needs to keep in mind always— honesty, competence and professional excellence. “Honesty means one will not

steal. Competence does not simply mean being qualified. A senator has to have academic excellence and not be simply a graduate. A senator should have graduated with honors from a revered (“tinitingalang”) university known all over the world (and that would mean the University of the Philippines), Ateneo, or La Salle. Sana, naggraduate sa anuman sa tatlong ito,” she explained. Meanwhile, Santiago defined “professional excellence” as one’s experience “of practicing what one has studied “at naipakita sa karamihan. Otherwise, anong kuwenta ng degree? (and demonstrating it to the public, otherwise, of what value was the degree)?” And then she added a fourth requirement—one that a senator should have achieved before he or she joined the legislature. “You should have efficiency. Whatever it is you did before you became a senator, were you able to achieve the results that benefited a lot of people,” she asked. Santiago’s advice was solicited during a radio interview on Sunday. ■

Philippine News

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 8

Global disasters cost P2.5T in last decade, topping UN estimates

Tolentino: SALN form was different

BY JERRY E. ESPLANADA Philippine Daily Inquirer


explanation was already there on my SALN form. You can’t be more honest and transparent than that,” he added.

AN AGITATED Francis Tolentino, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair, cried foul over insinuations his wealth had almost doubled in the past two years, saying the media had misinterpreted two different forms of the required statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) which were recently made public. “My SALN for 2011 and 2012 were the same; there was no increase. There were no new assets or properties acquired, no new improvements, just a new SALN form, [which] adds [to the assets] my existing declared [property] improvements,” said Tolentino, by way of explaining how his net worth shot up from P22.5 million in 2011 to P43.7 million in 2012. Yesterday, Malacañang said the burden of explaining the P21-million jump in the net worth of the MMDA chief lay with him. In a statement, Tolentino explained that in the old SALN form, before the Civil Service Commission released a revised SALN form effective 2012, property improvements were not added to the assets or to the total net worth, and were only listed in another page as an attachment. Tolentino said that his 2011 and 2012 SALNs listed the same assets and improvements, but the assets and their improvements were calculated and listed together in one column in the 2012 SALN. “Naturally, the [figures appear to have] increased,” he said. In an attempt to preempt misinterpretations, he said he had added a footnote to his 2012 SALN, marked by an asterisk, explaining the change in his declaration. “I was honest, I declared everything. I stated that the reason for the discrepancy (in the new form) was because the new form necessitated the addition of improvements in one column [along with the assets],” he said. “Even before being asked, my

Not 3 SALNs

ECONOMIC losses from disasters worldwide have gotten “out of control,” totalling $2.5 trillion in the past decade, which is more than 50 percent over previous United Nations (UN) estimates, according to UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon’s special representative for disaster risk reduction. In a statement, a copy of which was furnished the Inquirer, Margareta Wahlstrom reported that “a review of new data by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction indicates that direct economic losses from disasters so far this century are 50 percent higher than previous estimates.” “They are in the range of $2.5 trillion,” said the Geneva-based UN official, citing the UN’s Third Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. Wahlstrom said that in Japan, the multinational automaker Toyota lost $1.2 billion in revenue after the 2011 earthquake. “(Toyota car) parts shortages in the United States caused 150,000 fewer vehicles to be manufactured. Production in India and China dropped 70 percent and 50 percent, respectively,” she said. The UN official also said a UN study of some 1,300 small and medium enterprises in the Americas found that only 14.2 percent of companies with fewer than 100 employees had a business community plan or crisis management program. Approximately 25 percent of businesses “close their doors after a catastrophic event.” “This disturbing reality is not surprising given the overall lack of attention paid to disaster risk management in business schools and by economic analysts and forecasters. Currently, insurance pricing does not reflect risk levels or provide an adequate incentive for risk sensitive business investment,” she pointed out. But there’s good news, according to Wahlstrom. “Encouragingly, there is growing evidence that businesses, particularly global corporations, are starting to

pay more attention to disaster losses and to strengthen risk management in this regard,” she said. A case in point, she said, is New Zealand where “the business case for stronger disaster risk management— rather than simply business continuity planning—is compelling.” “New Zealand electricity networker Orion invested $6 million in seismic protection measures that saved the company $65 million in the wake of the 2010 and 2011 killer earthquakes in Christchurch,” she said. The UN official also reported that “the market for climate change adaptation is estimated at $100 billion a year until 2050, a huge opportunity for business.” “The green building sector, quake resistant construction and crop insurance products are all examples of emerging markets,” she said. Over the coming years, “trillions of dollars in new business investment are set to pour into hazard-exposed regions of the world.” “How the private sector, which accounts for up to 85 percent of this total investment, decides to allocate these funds will largely determine whether economic losses from disasters will continue to escalate. It will also have a considerable bearing on whether or not we can save lives, jobs and property, and reduce the number of people affected by disasters which currently average over 200 million a year,” said Wahlstrom. Next week, the UN is holding

the Fourth Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, where some 3,000 delegates, including the Inquirer, will be tasked to come up with a “revised international framework for disaster risk reduction where the private sector will be put at the center of global efforts to mitigate and prepare for the shocks and crises in the coming century.” Wahlstrom visited the country in early 2012 when she commended the Philippine government and Church and civil society groups for their “very good and prompt response” to the flash floods that devastated parts of northern Mindanao. She also praised the nongovernment organizations’ plan of action for the survivors of the disaster that left more than 1,200 people dead and many others injured and missing. She also cited the NGOs for being an “example of selforganizing communities working with local governments,” noting that “clearly, you have done very impressive work.” Wahlstrom visited the floodhit areas in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and met with local officials to discuss ways to improve the resilience of their communities to similar disasters in the future. She also called for increased government funding for disaster risk reduction and the establishment of a comprehensive land use policy to better protect communities against increasing and more climate-related hazards. ■


He also denied media reports that he had submitted three SALNs, with different net worths as of Dec. 31, 2012. “It is not true I submitted three SALNs for one year, unless somebody can show that to me. That’s not allowed,” he said. “Maybe they’re looking at my 2010, 2011, 2012 SALNs.” The Malacañang list showed Tolentino had a net worth of P22,540,381.52 in 2011 and P43,773,691.02 in 2012, or a P21,233,309.5 change in net worth in one year. The MMDA chief asked for an apology from whoever made it appear he had almost doubled his wealth in a span of a year. “If they don’t apologize, there is an insinuation there,” he said. Members of the Malacañang Press Corps—who on Friday had first crack at the SALN of members of President Aquino’s Cabinet—were confused when they saw three SALNs under Tolentino’s name. All three SALNs reflected different net worths (total assets less liabilities): P43 million, P9 million and P25.6 million. They were all dated Dec. 31, 2012. The first SALN, which bears the date stamp of “4.26.13,” listed under “assets” two commercial lots in Tagaytay City and one residential property in Muntinlupa City, for a combined (acquisition) total of P23.4 million. The other SALN listed additional three real properties in Tagaytay worth P11.9 million; and the third, P11.5 million, representing the (acquisition) value of three other lots and the Windy Ridge Hotel, which are all located in Tagaytay. He also declared law books and vehicles (worth a total of P5 million), and personal properties (dollar mutual funds, computers, receivables/bank deposits) worth P17.1 million. He has total assets of P83.3 million and total liabilities of P39.5 million, and thus a net worth of P43.7 million. Just like what other Cabinet ❱❱ PAGE 10 Tolentino: SALN

Philippine News

9 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Known as “Doc Gerry” or “Ka Gerry,” Ortega was a popular journalist, environmental activist, veterinarian, and community leader in his hometown of Palawan. Ortega stood against mining activity on the island. He was assassinated in January 2011.

Conviction of Ortega gunman draws int’l watchdog’s praise BY CYNTHIA D. BALANA Philippine Daily Inquirer MANILA, Philippines—The New Yorkbased Human Rights Watch (HRW) has lauded the Philippine government for the conviction of the hired killer of environmentalist Gerry Ortega— the first conviction of an extrajudicial killing since President Benigno Aquino III came to office in 2010. But it also urged the government to prosecute the mastermind and other accomplices in the killing of Ortega in Palawan in 2011. HRW, an international nongovernmental organization, said it was nevertheless pleased with the first conviction for an extrajudicial killing. On May 7, 2013, a court convicted Marlon Recamata for the Jan. 24, 2011, murder of Ortega and meted him 40 years imprisonment. Recamata was arrested moments after the shooting and subsequently confessed to the crime, implicating others. “The conviction of the gunman in the killing of activist Gerry Ortega is an overdue milestone for the Aquino administration,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “But the alleged mastermind is still at large and should not escape justice,” he said. While in custody, Recamata identified his accomplices, among them, Rodolfo Edrad, a former soldier who allegedly coordinated the plot. Edrad, in turn, pointed to Joel Reyes, the governor of Palawan from 2003 to 2010, as the mastermind. Ortega had hosted a radio program on environmental issues and corruption that frequently criticized Reyes. The gun used in the murder was traced to a person who had served as Reyes’ provincial administrator.

Seven other suspects in the case were taken into custody. Five are awaiting trial, one suspect died of natural causes, while a second died under unclear circumstances. According to the HRW, government officials and members of the security forces in the Philippines have been implicated in several hundred politically motivated killings. Successive administrations have failed to obtain any convictions. “The murder of Ortega, among the first extrajudicial killings during the Aquino administration, was one of the very few where the authorities gathered strong evidence and witnesses against the suspects,” the HRW said. In June 2011, a Department of Justice panel formed to investigate the case recommended the filing of charges against four suspects. But it removed Reyes, his brother Mario and five others, citing lack of evidence. After Ortega’s family protested the failure to charge Reyes and the others, the justice department created a new panel to reinvestigate the case, which in March 2012 proposed the filing of charges against Reyes, his brother and three others. After arrest warrants were issued for Reyes and his brother, they evaded capture by fleeing the country. Their lawyers then went to the Court of Appeals which ruled in March 2013 that the charges against the Reyes brothers and the others should be dropped, citing judicial overreach by the justice department. The case is pending in the Supreme Court. In its 2013 Impunity Index, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as the third most deadly for journalists in the world—after Iraq and Somalia—with 55 unsolved killings of journalists in the past decade. As president, Mr. Aquino has promised

Dr. Ortega and wife, Patty. Known as “Doc Gerry” or “Ka Gerry,” Ortega was a popular journalist, environmental activist, veterinarian, and community leader in his hometown of Palawan. Ortega stood against mining activity on the island. He was assassinated in January 2011. PHOTOS FROM JUSTICE FOR DR. GERRY ORTEGA ON FACEBOOK

to end impunity for extrajudicial killings. The number of killings has decreased significantly since the administration of his predecessor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, although they have not ended. The government has passed several key pieces of legislation on human rights. Yet the Aquino administration has made little progress in bringing perpetrators

of serious human rights violations to justice and ending the impunity. “This first conviction was easy, as the gunman had confessed,” Adams said. “Now the government has to do the more difficult work of successfully prosecuting those who ordered Ortega’s murder. This would demonstrate that the government is finally getting serious about political killings,” he added. ■

Philippine News

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 10

Poe seen as viable 2016 bet vs Binay BY DORIS C. DUMLAO Philippine Daily Inquirer AS investors and analysts ponder whether the Philippines would remain in a sweet spot beyond 2016 when the country elects its next President, New York-based think tank Global Source listed four “viable” presidential contenders from the administration party who could challenge incumbent Vice President Jejomar Binay. Binay has been touted by his political party, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), as the man to beat in 2016. “I’m saying he will be the next President,” UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco told the Inquirer this week. In a May 16 commentary on the midterm elections titled “Vote of Confidence,” Global Source named Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano and recent senatorial race topnotcher Grace Poe as the four potential standard-bearers within the Liberal Party (LP). “We agree with the prognosis that the results are a vote of confidence on a highly popular President, which means that President Aquino will continue to have tremendous political capital going forward,” said the report written by economists Romeo Bernardo and MarieChristine Tang. “This will be very important as [President Aquino] will need to hit the ground running when

the next Congress starts and show results quickly, to enable the economy to build on current momentum and translate the high business optimism into investments in hard assets that will sustain growth,” the commentary added. Election clout

Global Source said key pieces of legislation—such as the fiscal incentives reform that affects all sectors—would still be difficult to pass, but may stand a better chance with [Mr. Aquino’s] election clout still fresh in the winners’ minds. “We also think there is very little risk of President Aquino’s becoming a lame duck executive in the near-term,” the report said. “The administration likely has a two-year window to initiate priority reforms before uncertainty and nervousness creep in with the approach of 2016,” it added. Global Source added that President Aquino’s ability to influence the outcome of the 2016 election would hinge on the economy. The report said everyone would be looking for solid signs that the President was delivering on his promise of more jobs, investments and a sustained high economic growth.

members did, Tolentino did not use the “assessed value” or “current fair market value”— which are higher than the acquisition cost—in computing his total assets. Malacañang could not confirm whether the two other SALNs— which had different entries— were mere amendments. Lower property values On the other hand, Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Peace Process Adviser Teresita Deles showed declining wealth from 2011 to 2012. Luistro’s net worth decreased

Surprise topnotcher

“On the other hand, failure to bring the economy forward will hurt the President’s party in the final year, resulting in handing over [the] reins [of government] to the opposition

The report noted that “one cannot rule out the surprise topnotcher in the senatorial contest, political neophyte Grace Poe,” daughter of the late action star Fernando Poe Jr. who, many believe, won the controversial 2004 election against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Based on the results of Monday’s midterm polls, the administration’s senatorial candidates are expected to bag most of the 12 senatorial seats in contention. Global Source said members of the President’s coalition party were also likely to have won the majority of the congressional and local elective posts. “Political observers are starting to place bets on the

by P188,355—from P739,006 to P550,651. Deles’ declaration reduced her net worth by P14.74 million—from P21.83 million in 2011 to P7.09 million in 2012. Sought for comment, Deles explained the reason behind her apparently diminishing wealth was merely reduced values attached to the same property. “The big change in my net worth in my 2012 SALN from the one in 2011 is due to the much lower values reflected on the same real properties declared in my SALNs since 2010,” said Deles in a text message.

“The values for up to 2011 were only based on my personal estimations of comparative worth with similar properties in the market in the same community,” she said. For 2012, however, in accordance with the new Civil Service Commission guidelines on the filing of SALNs, “and as per legal advice, what we declared for the same real properties were based on assessed and market values on tax declaration certificates issued by the assessors’ offices’ in the cities and municipalities where these are located,” said Deles. Luistro, being a La Salle brother, is bound by a vow of poverty. ■

Fifth-place win

Tolentino: SALN... ❰❰ 8

led by the Vice President, who has demonstrated his own clout with his daughter’s fifth-place win in the Senate race,” the report said. “In the meantime, the conduct of the election, as orderly and peaceful as the first automated one in 2010, has itself been a confidence booster,” the commentary said. Within the LP, the research said Interior Secretary Roxas, who yielded to Mr. Aquino as the party’s nominee for the presidency in 2010, was “currently the likely anointed one.” But if, for some reason, Roxas drops out of the race, Global Source said the other “viable” candidates included reelected Senators Escudero and Cayetano.


leadership of the two houses of Congress, with Sen. Franklin Drilon seen as the likely Senate President, and incumbent Speaker of the House, Feliciano Belmonte, holding on to his post. Both are staunch allies of the President and high-ranking members of his Liberal Party,” Global Source said. Reform agenda

The report noted that supporters of the administration saw President Aquino’s control of both houses as positive for the government’s reform agenda and greatly increased the chances of passing “big ticket” political and economic legislation, among them the rationalization of fiscal incentives, a new mining law, the amendment to the 20-year Bangko Sentral charter, as well as the buildoperate-transfer law and the Bangsamoro basic law. Crucial factor




endorsement described as a crucial factor in winning the recent election, Global Source said he was expected to continue to hold sway in the next three years which would enable him, like his mother, to handpick a suitable successor to continue his reform program. “Naysayers, on the other hand, claim that the administration’s numbers, especially in the Senate, are of no consequence, not only because the Upper House has traditionally acted more independently of the executive branch, but also because the numbers reflect a coalition of parties that came together solely for the elections,” the report said. “The latter implies that the President’s legislative initiatives would continue to face uphill battles and, if the past were any guide, that there is no guarantee that the coalition will stay in place through 2016, much less beyond,” the think tank added. ■

Poll watchdog... ❰❰ 3

poll body. “But based on what happened, it would appear that there was no software license for the recent elections. We would be pirating software,” Manalastas said. He also questioned Smartmatic’s offer of a perpetual license to Comelec even if Smartmatic itself did not have a perpetual license since its license from Dominion was canceled in 2010. Conspiracy, he says

Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Saturday

accused AES Watch of being involved in a “conspiracy” to cast doubts on the credibility of the 2013 elections. Brillantes said he will come out next week with a formal announcement regarding the alleged conspiracy of the AES Watch. “I will no longer comment. I will be coming officially with a statement regarding AES later. Anytime next week. I’m going to show conspiracy on the part of some people in AES,” Brillantes told reporters. ■ With a report from Philip C. Tubeza

Philippine News

11 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Filipinos in Taiwan told: Limit activities PH advises OFWs: Just stay at workplaces, homes BY TJ A. BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer PHILIPPINE officials have advised thousands of Filipino workers to “limit their movement” in Taiwan, fearing a potentially violent backlash over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). Antonio Basilio, resident representative of Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) in Taiwan, issued the advisory following a reported upsurge of attacks on some of the 87,000 Filipinos working in Taipei, Malacañang said Sunday. “According to Mr. Basilio, they have issued an advisory to our countrymen to limit their going out … They should avoid doing unnecessary things, in other words, to keep within their workplace and their homes,” Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said over state radio. The Meco staff had also spoken to members of the Filipino community “to apprise them of what had happened, what the government has done,” Valte added. Any Filipino maltreated by a Taiwanese employer should contact the Meco “soonest” so its officials could make the proper representation and ensure that they get justice, she said. Meco Chairman Amadeo Perez said his office had confirmed the attack on a Filipino by a gang of youths wielding a baseball bat, and was documenting other cases. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has called for calm

and urged Taiwanese to act decently toward Filipinos. The May 9 killing of fisherman Hung Shih-chen by the PCG in waters off Balintang Island has sparked outrage in Taiwan and prompted Taiwanese sanctions, including a freeze on the hiring of new Filipino workers. The PCG said the fishing vessel had intruded into Philippine waters and tried to ram its patrol boat. Taiwan’s deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang told reporters on Sunday that a joint inquiry was the only way to establish the truth about the May 9 incident. “While our investigators can provide them with evidence they have collected, Filipino investigators can come to Taiwan to gather evidence, including talking to the other witnesses on board the fishing boat at the time of the shooting,” Chen said. J u s t i c e Secretary Leila de Lima, however, has rejected a joint investigation. De Lima said she has urged Taiwan to wait for the Philippines to finish its “fair, thorough and expeditious probe.” President Aquino has

apologized over the “unfortunate” incident, but the Taiwanese found this unacceptable. Malacañang also questioned the premature conclusion by the Taiwanese investigating team that Hung was murdered. One-China policy

Perez said issues like Manila’s “one-China” policy and comments by Taiwanese investigators had complicated the situation. “We are waiting for the right time because I was told by the secretary-general for Asian affairs, we should wait for the temperature in Taiwan to cool,” Perez said in an interview with dzMM radio. “The Taiwanese are highly emotional and … the media in Taiwan are heating things up so tempers are running high.” The Taiwan investigative team, which visited the country last week, described the shooting as “murder,” but Perez said the Taiwanese had not coordinated with local authorities before making the accusation. Perez, whose office is in charge of

relations in the absence of diplomatic ties, said lines of communication between his agency and the Taiwanese foreign ministry were still active despite the controversy. He said the Department of Justice was still studying a request for a joint investigation when the Taiwanese made their allegations this weekend. The investigators’ remarks “will further inflame the people of Taiwan,” he warned. Perez also said Taiwan wanted President Aquino personally to write a letter of apology, but this could be considered a violation of the country’s oneChina policy—recognizing Beijing rather than Taipei as the government of China. Last week, Aquino sent Perez to Taiwan to convey his apology, but Taiwan rejected the message. Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People, on Sunday urged Filipinos in Taiwan to document and report to Philippine authorities attacks against them. Willing to help

“The Church there in Taiwan is open to help out our fellow Filipinos. They are very accommodating and very generous. Their bishops DOWNTOWN TAIPEI. Filipinos in

Taiwan were urged to “keep within their workplace and their homes” fearing backlash from citizens over the shooting of the Taiwanese fishermen in Philippine waters. PHOTO BY JEREMY WOODHOUSE


have even established migrant ministries all over the island to assist migrants from across the world,” Corros said over Church-run Radio Veritas. He lamented that the country’s poor policies on labor export had placed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in danger, especially during conflicts between the Philippines and their host countries. Also on Sunday, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said in an interview over dzBB that the attacks by Taiwanese on Filipinos in Taiwan could be regarded as “acts of aggression” that could serve as basis for closing down the Manila office in Taipei. ■ With reports from AFP, AP, Jocelyn R. Uy and Cathy C. Yamsuan

Philippine News

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 12

Drilon vs Cayetano in Senate BY CATHY C. YAMSUAN AND TJ A. BURGONIO Philippine Daily Inquirer SEN. Miriam DefensorSantiago sees in her crystal ball the fight for the Senate presidency of the 16th Congress turning into a toss-up between Sen. Franklin Drilon of the Liberal Party (LP) and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party (NP). Drilon served as campaign manager of the administrationbacked Team PNoy senatorial slate, while Cayetano ran as an NP senatorial candidate who got the biggest number of votes among colleagues from the party who ran under the Team PNoy coalition. In a radio interview, Santiago said Drilon could be expecting the Senate presidency as his “reward” for his efforts in ensuring Team PNoy’s smoothrunning campaign. Team PNoy—the coalition forged by LP, NP, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), a member of PDP-Laban and independent candidates— won nine of the 12 Senate seats up for grabs in the midterm elections. Drilon attended more provincial sorties during the 90-day national campaign than most of the slate’s candidates. Observers note that while President Aquino has not openly stated his preference for Drilon as the successor of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the former’s allies have referred to Drilon as the next Senate President. “The Senate presidency is the will of the majority in the 16th Congress. In the coming weeks, we will carefully listen to the views of my colleagues on the Senate leadership,” Drilon said on Sunday. Cayetano could not be contacted for comment. For now, Enrile can rest easy. The administration won’t force any change in Senate leadership when senators resume sessions briefly in early June to close the 15th Congress, a senior Malacañang official said Sunday. “Numerically [we have it], but what for?” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said of the 13 votes needed to elect a new Senate President. “I think the senators would prefer to end

the 15th Congress in a friendly, amicable tone, rather than make it a point for division.” No need to rock boat

Besides, Abad added, there was no need to rock the boat since administration senators would still be working with Enrile, and Senators Vicente Sotto III, Jinggoy Estrada and Gregorio Honasan II in the coming 16th Congress. “Why do you create rancor when you don’t need to?” Abad, a senior political adviser to Aquino, said by phone. After adjourning in early February for the May 13 midterm elections, lawmakers will resume sessions on June 5 and 6. They’ll adjourn sine die from June 7 to July 21. Although the President “always holds his cards close to his chest,” he would have to make his choice known at some point and pick someone who will sustain his legislative agenda, said Santiago, whose term ends in 2016. As it is, Aquino should not worry about his pick being acceptable to other senators, she said. Vote of confidence

According to Santiago, the vote of confidence the President earned following the victory of a majority of his senatorial candidates is enough proof that he continues to have the support of the people. “But the obvious effect of the last political exercise is that President Aquino’s leadership has even strengthened and he could use this development to further his projects…. He will have more confidence to assert his leadership,” Santiago said. The LP would have only four senators in the 16th Congress, including Drilon, Ralph Recto, Teofisto “TG” Guingona III and neophyte Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV. The NP, on the other hand, has five—Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Pia Cayetano and neophyte Cynthia Villar. Santiago, an independent, is usually counted among the NP senators given her closeness to most of them. She said that while the LP was outnumbered, no senator at this point would dare antagonize the President’s political party. It is more likely that all

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. PHOTO FROM KASMNL (FLICKR)

senators friendly to the administration would support Aquino’s chosen one. [These may include Francis Escudero and Grace Poe, independents who won under the Team PNoy banner; Sonny Angara of LDP; and Koko Pimentel of PDPLaban—all of whom won in the Senate race as candidates of Team PNoy; and Senators Kiko Pangilinan and Serge Osmeña. Santiago does not discount, however, that Cayetano would consider putting up a fight for the Senate presidency. “Cynthia is the most senior among the NP senators. She could have a chance given that the NP members outnumber those from the LP but she is very shy,” she noted. “Alan may try to seek the (Senate presidency),” Santiago added. Santiago declared that the new membership of the Senate would spell the death knell for Enrile’s continued stay as its head. As it is, Enrile could only rely on himself and his loyal followers including Estrada, Sotto and Honasan. The four senators are fondly referred to as the “macho bloc” of the chamber. “Enrile’s ambition to stay as Senate President is dead,” Santiago said tersely. Apart from the macho bloc, Santiago said there was no one else that Enrile could rely on for support. Santiago dismissed expectations

Sen. Franklin Drilon.

that Jinggoy’s brother, Senatorelect JV Ejercito of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), would automatically vote for Enrile. “JV would go for whoever is supported by his father, former President Joseph Estrada. But remember that the situation is not static, just because Enrile and his father are allies now doesn’t mean they would stay that way forever,” she said. How about Nancy Binay who,


like JV, won her Senate seat under UNA? Santiago pointed out that Nancy’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, “is a member of the Cabinet of President Aquino. It’s not automatic that just because she ran under UNA, she is immediately pro-Enrile.” “I would place a question mark beside (Nancy’s) name,” the senator added. ❱❱ PAGE 15 Drilon vs Cayetano

Philippine News

13 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Banner year for PH indie Nancy Binay eyes films in Cannes lawmaking course in UP BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer

neophyte, having visited the city both as a participant and observer in the past.

BY CHRISTIAN V. ESGUERRA Philippine Daily Inquirer

CANNES—Once a year, this sleepy resort town south of France transforms into a “mecca for cineastes,” in the words of internationally acclaimed Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz, Scattered all over the city are giant black-and-white billboards featuring photos of Oscar winners like filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and actress Cate Blanchett taken on the Cannes red carpet. The mood on La Croisette, the city’s main thoroughfare, is undoubtedly electrified by Hollywood glamor mixed with touristy bonanza. On Thursday afternoon, there was a press presentation for Asian martial arts expert Jackie Chan’s latest potboiler, “Police Story 2013.”

Chaotic Cannes

WIN first, study later? Fresh from her victory in last Monday’s elections, Senator-elect Nancy Binay plans to enroll in a short course at the University of the Philippines to prepare her for the tough legislative work ahead. Binay on Friday said she was looking for a program specifically for legislators at the University of the Philippines (UP) National College of Public Administration and Governance. “It’s something about legislative procedures, among others. I think it will last for two weeks,” she told the Inquirer. The course is expected to supplement the regular orientation to be conducted at the Senate for new members of the chamber. Binay acknowledged that her plan to enroll at UP would likely trigger more criticism from her detractors. “But I don’t pay attention to negative things,” she told reporters in a press conference in Makati. “If I would focus

Eclectic lineup

The night before, the festival’s jury president, Steven Spielberg, was given a three-minute ovation by guests on opening night, as reported on an English-language radio station in the French Riviera. According to the Emirates in-flight mag, this year’s festival is “eclectic”— with films top-billed by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon (“Behind the Candelabra”), Ryan Gosling (“Only God Forgives”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (the opening film, “The Great Gatsby”) in the lineup. Hollywood A-listers hog the limelight, but true to the festival’s “mixed bag” nature—even smaller, edgier art house films can vie for the crowd’s attention. Among these more modest, independently produced films are two from the Philippines—both competing in the Un Certain Regard section, considered the “more artistic” sibling of the Main Competition. The two Filipino films in the Un Certain Regard race are Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” and Adolfo Alix Jr.’s “Death March.” It’s Diaz’s first time in Cannes, although he won twice in Venice’s Orizzonti section in 2007 and 2008. No festival in mind

Diaz explained to the INQUIRER that he doesn’t make films with specific festivals in mind. “There’s no deliberate plan to make films for festivals. I make films for cinema. They check and invite my works,” Diaz said. Alix, however, is not a Cannes

“Cannes is chaotic, crowded and crazy, but it’s a special place where filmmakers and film lovers can celebrate cinema once a year,” Alix said. Alix first attended the fest to watch Raya Martin’s “Now Showing,” an entry in the Directors’ Fortnight in 2008. In 2009, Alix’s twin bill “Manila,” which he codirected with Martin, was shown in the Special Screenings section. That same year was a windfall for the Philippines—when the country had three major entries—Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Kinatay,” Alix and Martin’s “Manila,” and Martin’s “Independencia.” To top it off, “Kinatay” won best director for Mendoza in the Main Competition. This year, the Philippines has four—including Erik Matti’s “On the Job” in the Directors’ Fortnight and the digitally restored version of Lino Brocka’s “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag” in the Cannes Classics section. “2013 is a banner year for the Philippines in Cannes,” said Briccio Santos, chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines. Coming of age

Making the Philippine participation more significant is the inclusion of Matti’s film, which was coproduced by major players in the local film industry Reality Entertainment and Star Cinema. Does this mark the coming of age of local movies? Matti himself dubbed his film as a “maindie,” a “collaboration between mainstream and indie filmmaking styles.” “I envision my film as an ‘event’ movie. I hope it will herald the return of action films in local theaters, too,” Matti said. Popular actor Gerald Anderson, one of the stars in the “On the Job” contingent in Cannes, told the INQUIRER: “At first, I thought it was an indie film. But when we started shooting, I noticed that the equipment, the cameras, the sets, the costumes, were at par with mainstream productions. Direk Erik and the production design team built an entire prison from scratch for this movie.” ■

on them, I won’t get any work done.” Binay also said she was banking on the support of seasoned allies such as Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, the Senate President Pro Tempore. She said she was also looking at Sen. Loren Legarda as a possible “mentor” on the Senate floor. Legarda, who ranked second in this year’s election, earlier offered to assist newcomers such as Binay and Grace Poe, who topped the balloting. Like Binay, Estrada was roundly ridiculed for his alleged lack of qualifications when he first ran for the Senate and won in 2004. He was then coming off a 12-year experience as mayor of San Juan. “I will learn a lot from him based on his own experience as a senator,” said Binay, who was criticized throughout the campaign for her lack of government experience prior to her senatorial run. But Binay pointed to her 20-year “on-the-job training” as a “personal assistant” of her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, even when he was still mayor of Makati City. ■

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Philippine News

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 14

P500-M road still impassable; DPWH probes execs, contractors BY JERRY E. ESPLANADA Philippine Daily Inquirer MORE than a dozen Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) personnel and at least 20 local contractors are being investigated by the DPWH in connection with the allegedly anomalous—and still unfinished—Burauen-Albuera road project in Leyte on which the government had already spent P500 million between 2004 and 2010. A top DPWH official said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson was “irked” and “very disappointed” by the unfinished state of the road. The official, who asked not to be named, quoted Singson as having ordered probers to “leave no stone unturned” and “get to the bottom” of the case. The source did not identify the DPWH officials and employees involved in the alleged irregularity. Singson earlier said he could “not figure out why this 13.7-kilometer road remains impassable and useless despite the amount of taxpayers’ money poured into this project.”

“With the amount of money spent on the road project, local residents should have already been using this road even if it is still on gravel surface. But there is no continuous road to speak of,” he said. In a report to Singson, the DPWH’s quality assurance unit ( QAU) said the government had “already poured some P500 million into the project that was undertaken by two DPWH engineering districts.” It was covered by at least 20 contracts entered into by the DPWH and local contractors between 2004 and 2010. “And yet, the road remains unfinished and cannot be used by local residents until now,” said the QAU. It also reported to Singson that “some sections of the Burauen-Albuera road cannot even accommodate any kind of land transportation, not even a motorycle, because they remain as mountain trails.” “Some sections of the same road are now covered by lush vegetation. Also, a crossing structure should have been put up over the Tabgas river in the Albuera section (of the road project). However, there is no such bridge structure,” the QAU added. ■



It’s final: 9-3 for Team PNoy BY DJ YAP Philippine Daily Inquirer IT’S 9-3 in favor of the administration coalition as the final three winning senators— Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito and Gregorio Honasan—were finally proclaimed Saturday night as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) completed the canvassing of all locally cast votes in the senatorial race. Five days after the voting ended, the Comelec, sitting as the national board of canvassers (NBOC), proclaimed as winners Villar, Ejercito and Honasan, after the last local certificate of canvass (COC) from Lanao del Norte arrived at 5.33 p.m. Honasan successfully hung on to 12th place, beating Richard Gordon by a margin of more than 700,000 votes. With the proclamation of all the winners, the scorecard of the mid-term senatorial election was 9-3, with the administrationbacked Team PNoy winning nine slots. Only Nancy Binay, Ejercito and Honasan belong to the opposition United Nationalist Alliance. After snubbing the Comelec’s previous proclamation ceremonies, winning candidates Binay and Aquilino Pimentel III showed up at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Saturday night, receiving their certificates of proclamation together with Villar, Ejercito and Honasan. Pimentel said he decided to show up Tuesday night after

Comelec officials addressed the concerns that he raised on Friday. “The proclamation [on Friday] was premature [but] I asked a lot of questions and I think the system is secure enough, and it’s now more difficult to manipulate than the one we used during the manual [voting],” he told reporters. He was wearing a barong Tagalog when he arrived at the PICC about an hour after Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. announced that the last three winning senators would be proclaimed Saturday night. “They showed me that 100 percent of [the local votes] are in and that they’re just waiting for the OAV [overseas absentee vote]. If you sum it all up, the overseas vote, even theoretically speaking, it will no longer change the results,” he said. Binay’s parents, Vice President Jojo Binay and Elenita Binay, were at the proclamation as were Ejercito’s parents, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez. Villar’s husband, Sen. Manuel Villar, and their two children were also at the ceremony where the Comelec commissioners took turns reading out the certificates of proclamation for Binay, Pimentel, Villar, Ejercito and Honasan. The Comelec on Saturday finished the tabulation of 129 COCs out of a total of 304, with only the overseas votes left uncounted. Spontaneous applause broke

out in the national canvassing center at 5:30 p.m. at the announcement that the last locally drawn COC from Lanao del Norte had been received electronically at the PICC. The 129 COCs represent 39,898,992 Filipino voters out of a voting population of 52 million. All the COCs from 106 cities and provinces in the Philippines had been canvassed, and the only ones left uncounted came from overseas absentee voting centers, many of which yielded only a few votes. Of the 304 COCs, 198 COCs are international, while 106 are local. Brillantes said the NBOC would go on recess after the proclamation and would resume the canvassing of the party-list polls on Monday. The ranking of the first nine senatorial winners, who were proclaimed in batches on Thursday and Friday, was unchanged, with Grace Poe, the surprise top vote-getter, leading the pack. She was followed by Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Nancy Binay and Sonny Angara. The six were officially proclaimed on Thursday night in alphabetical order. The seventh to ninth placers, who were proclaimed on Friday night, were Bam Aquino, Pimentel and Antonio Trillanes IV. In the final three places were Villar, Ejercito and Honasan, with Gordon in 13th place behind Honasan by more than 700,000 votes in the partial official tally. ■

Philippine News

15 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Drilon vs Cayetano... ❰❰ 12

Enrile, former President Estrada and Vice President Binay are regarded as the “three kings” of UNA. Nancy and JV are expected to support Enrile in case he decides to make another go for the Senate presidency. Abad said a leadership change during the 16th Congress would be the natural consequence of having a bigger administration majority following the victory of nine administration coalition candidates. He said Aquino campaigned aggressively for his 12 handpicked Team PNoy candidates precisely to achieve this goal. “The President would like to see the majority in both chambers, and would like to see this reflected in the leadership,” he said. At least 16 Aquino allies

Going into the 16th Congress opening in late July, Abad has counted at least 16 administration allies, more than enough to elect a new leader from their ranks and push the President’s legislative agenda. Based on Abad’s list, the new majority would consist of Loren Legarda, Escudero, Cayetano, Pimentel and Trillanes; new senators Poe, Aquino,

Villar and Angara; veterans Drilon, Recto and Guingona, all of LP; Osmeña, Lito Lapid, Pia Cayetano and Santiago. “We will have a bigger majority, compared with the 15th Congress,” Abad said. But he said they would have to decide among themselves whom to elect to the Senate presidency. Abad ruled out the possibility of Aquino calling Enrile about the leadership change. “I don’t think that’s appropriate. The election of the leadership in Congress is a matter that is internal to the senators and House members. And knowing this President, he will not want to intervene in that process,” he said. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, who won a fresh term, is expected to coast to another term as Speaker in the 16th Congress, Abad said. “It’s his to turn down. But I think he (Belmonte) will continue on. He did very well; there’s no reason he should not. Members of the House will appeal to him to continue on,” he said. Talk things over

Santiago said the best strategy for Aquino’s allies in the Senate was to talk things over among themselves to strengthen their hold on the majority.


“If it’s going to be Drilon and Alan (as contenders), they must first resolve their intramural. Otherwise, the coalition would break and it would fall in the hands of Enrile. He will do everything he can to destroy the coalition of the LP, NP and NPC,” Santiago said. Asked about Marcos’ role in the majority, Santiago said the senator would be ready to talk to the LP, the people in Malacañang and even President Aquino. “Both know that in politics, you cannot be inflexible. You have to be flexible, you cannot fight with everyone like what I do,” she said in jest. “If I may not be so imprudent, I think



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both are willing to come to terms with each other and refuse to fight. Politics is addition. I don’t think they would dwell on the past because to do so is counterproductive,” she added. Santiago said she was not dismissing the possibility that Marcos was also looking forward to a higher position in 2016. Marcos’ father, the late dictator and his namesake, was the chief tormentor of President Aquino’s father, a former senator and namesake as well. It is still widely believed that the late Marcos may have played a role in the assassination of the late senator. ■


FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 16


Game changer By Conrado De Quiros Philippine Daily Inquirer BUT OF course Grace Poe topping the senatorial race is the one dramatic, phenomenal, game-changing feature of the last elections. I’ve been saying since early this year that all Grace needed was to raise her awareness level and she would break into the top five. With any luck, I said, she’d land in the top three. By awareness, I meant that she needed to get more people to know she was running. That wasn’t the case until about four months ago when she became more active in Team PNoy activities. It reached its peak during the last few weeks of the campaign when her ads tumbled in. By awareness, I also meant that she needed to get more people to know she was the daughter of Fernando Poe Jr., a fact that might have been blurred by “Llamanzares.” Grace I knew to be her own person, which was why I’ve also kept insisting that she, like Bam and Jun Magsaysay, did not reflect “dynastic politics.” I thought she ran the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board very well, making well thought-out decisions and standing pat on them afterward. Such as when she suspended the Tulfo brothers from Channel 5 for making threatening

statements on TV against Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barreto. She wasn’t borrowed light, but it didn’t hurt to exploit her strengths. Her ads that turned “po” into “poe” did the trick. I did think Grace was going to do very well, but I never thought she’d top the field. I was bowled over by it when the first results burst in. My surprise soon turned into elation as the significance of it dawned on me. A gamechanging event had just taken place in our midst. From out of the blue, from out of nowhere, from out of heaven, if you believe in these things, which Grace does. It hit me that way especially because I had just written a column that said that after this election we would be faced with a presidential one that looked pretty bleak. The way things had been shaping out, it would only be a fight between Jojo Binay, who had already announced his bid, and Mar Roxas, who hadn’t but whom most people expected to. Either one of them coming in after P-Noy would be the paralytic following the sublime. Then came Grace. The first thing I thought of was that this country has had more than its share of amazing graces. Enough to make you believe in divine intervention, deus ex machina, and miracles. Or enough

to make you believe, like Paulo Coelho’s “Alchemist,” that if you want something badly enough, the universe will conspire to make it happen. Four years ago, the horizon seemed even bleaker. There was no real alternative to Gloria MacapagalArroyo, a presidential candidate who would be the opposite to her. Worse, we didn’t even know if we’d have elections at all. There were a few things Arroyo wasn’t prepared to dare: extending

If a Grace Poe could emerge from out of the blue, somebody else could do the same thing before 2016 came along. Then I thought: Why not Grace Poe herself ? her rule wasn’t one of them. But after she wangled an invitation to visit from Barack Obama and “drumbeat” the triumph in the local media, holding a bacchanalia in Le Cirque by way of celebration, it seemed more than likely that she would think the unthinkable, she would dare the “un-dare-able.” Then Cory died, then P-Noy lived. And the rest is history. On a minor note, Grace’s victory gives a sense of that too. My first

thought actually was not of Grace per se but of the significance of her victory. People had been asking me some time before the election if I thought there could be an alternative to a BinayRoxas fight, if I thought we could find a third force, or way, or candidate to reshape or reconfigure that fight. I said hope springs eternal, though a P-Noy happened only once in a blue moon. But I said I myself would go into that search mode after the elections. Grace’s victory showed the voters were thinking along similar lines. Or at least that they were thinking out of the box. The surveys fell flat on this one, they completely misread the public pulse, or mood. People were prepared for change, people wanted change. If a Grace Poe could emerge from out of the blue, somebody else could do the same thing before 2016 came along. Then I thought: Why not Grace Poe herself? Of course as friends have been telling me, she will have to prove herself over the next three years first. But I’ve little doubt she’ll do very well in the Senate. Some friends of mine who started out being a little aloof toward her told me before the elections: “I’m voting for her. I saw her in the debates (or I heard her in a rally, or I heard her give a talk), and she’s smart. She’s got the head—and the heart. She’s just won me over.” Three

years should give her ample opportunity to replicate that reaction, to multiply that reaction. One thing she has over the others: She straddles the social classes, she’s acceptable from A to E. Which also means that this early, the two presidential wannabes, quite apart from all the others, deluded or sensible, who contemplate contesting the presidency three years from now, will be making a beeline for her doorstep, determined to woo her to become their running mate. Which is looking at the world through a rearview mirror. That was what happened too in 2010. Up till the 11th hour, several Liberals were still trying to convince me that the magic formula was Roxas-Aquino and not Aquino-Roxas. And I kept telling them that was a formula only for disaster. You made it Roxas-Aquino and you trashed the largerthan-life, mythological, goodversus-evil resonance of the Noynoy phenomenon. Like P-Noy in 2010, Grace will be courted by the presidential wannabes to be their vice in 2016. Like P-Noy, why in hell should she agree? Too early, as Grace herself says, to be talking about these things? Maybe. But the game has changed and, not altogether subtly, it and that has made me one very happy camper. It’s one truly amazing grace. ■


Nations and their governments By Randy David Philippine Daily Inquirer IN AN ideal world, how would the recent shooting by the Philippine Coast Guard of a Taiwanese fishing boat, which resulted in the killing of one of the fishermen, have been handled? I think that both Filipino and Taiwanese authorities might have immediately sought one another to express grave concern over the incident, and to offer cooperation to ascertain the facts. Both would have drawn assurance from the fact that, despite national differences, a legal order was in place and could be trusted to work. Alas, this is not what happened. Our diplomats were not fast enough in expressing official sympathies and pledging a thorough and impartial investigation. Granted, the incident happened on May 9, just four days before the midterm elections. But this is not an excuse. On the other hand, the Taiwanese authorities were quick to arrive at their own conclusion based solely on the account of the fishing boat’s crew. In strident language, the government demanded an official apology from no less than President Aquino, compensation for the family of the victim, and punishment for the erring Filipino soldier. These

demands came with an ultimatum and a threat of immediate sanctions. The self-righteousness and the implicit hostility behind the Taiwanese government’s message do not jibe with the presumably friendly relations between the two countries. The act of suspending the hiring of Filipino workers bound for Taiwan as a way of penalizing the Philippine government’s perceived failure to properly and promptly apologize for the shooting is pure arrogance. It treats workers as if they were dispensable commodities like bananas, rather than human beings with dignity. It puts the 87,000 Filipino workers already in Taiwan in a defensive position, setting them up as targets for harassment and racial violence. This is no different from the medieval practice of holding traveling merchants as ransom for debts left unpaid by their countrymen in a foreign country. One expects individuals to sometimes act impulsively, out of anger. But not governments. Unless they are trying to court approval from their own people by catering to the passions of the moment, governments are expected to be more circumspect and cautious in their statements and actions. This is what separates governments run by statesmen from those led by demagogues.

Perhaps it is unfortunate that this incident has happened at a time when the popularity of Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou in his own country is at its lowest level. Having been reelected to a second term in January in a very tight race, the pro-Beijing leader has seen his approval ratings sag in just a few months. The human rights record of his government has come under fire. In March this year, the opulent wedding of his daughter attracted so much

Governments are expected to be more circumspect and cautious in their statements and actions. This is what separates governments run by statesmen from those led by demagogues. public attention that he was reported to have decided to skip it altogether. Often, politicians in this position wrap themselves in the flag of their country in order to boost their image. There is not much we can do in response to the official message emanating from Taipei other than to ignore the threatening tone in which it has been communicated. We must stick to what is necessary for now, and that is, to quickly determine the facts

in accordance with legal procedures, and to keep the communication lines with the Taiwan government open. This is a complex situation, and we should avoid adding to its volatility. The Coast Guard has filed a report essentially admitting the shooting and justifying it as an act of self-defense. We cannot take this claim at face value. The fishing boat in question did not appear to be armed. The Coast Guard says that the Taiwanese boat tried to ram its vessel. That doesn’t seem like the rational behavior of a foreign fishing crew that has been ordered to stop by a clearly armed patrol boat. The report asserts that the soldiers fired at the boat in order to disable its engine, but that it managed to scamper away. Is firing at a fleeing vessel in conformity with the rules of engagement applicable to such situations? These and many other questions are begging to be answered. They can only be answered after an exhaustive investigation. The Taiwanese authorities understandably want to conduct their own investigation, and they have accordingly asked to interrogate our soldiers aboard the Coast Guard boat. So long as they file an official request to this effect, we must extend to them the courtesy of our assistance. In like manner, we expect

the Taiwanese government to permit our investigators to inspect the fishing boat and speak to its crew. It is this kind of respectful reciprocity that sustains the cordial relations among nations. Only after we get the facts right, based on mutually agreed legal procedures, can we proceed to assign blame and mete out penalties. Remembering that the incident happened in disputed territorial waters, Taiwan and the Philippines might find it in their common interest to sit down later, like friendly neighbors, to work out a protocol governing events of this nature. As human activity and communications become increasingly globalized, we all need to learn to shed the impulses based on identities that prevent us from seeing the human being in every fisherman, overseas worker, or foreign tourist or traveler who strays into our shores. Governments have the duty to instill this kind of international and humanist consciousness in their people. That, coupled with the recognition that global society has recourse to a legal order even when it has no central mechanism to enforce decisions, is what it takes to avoid the destructive wars that previously pitted one country against another. ■ ***


17 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013


Vote-buying in last polls raised inflation rate By Neal H. Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer WHEN THE newly elected senators assume office on June 30, there will be six women senators—Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay and Cynthia Villar, plus the two holdovers, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano. At least three new opposition senators— Binay, JV Ejercito and Gringo Honasan— will be added to the opposition ranks in the Senate. But although nine candidates of Team PNoy won in the Senate race, not all are members of the Liberal Party (LP). They come from several parties— the Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban) and, of course, the LP. Chiz Escudero considers himself an independent. Thus the LP will not have full control of the Senate. It is said that the 24 senators are 24 independent minds—with the exception, perhaps, of the three newly elected United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senators—Binay, Ejercito and Honasan—who are expected to toe the UNA line, at least in the beginning. Three of the newly elected senators are neophytes at lawmaking—Poe, Binay and Bam Aquino. The nine others are either reelectionists or come

from the House of Representatives. In the local elections, many of PNoy’s anointed candidates lost, including those for whom he personally campaigned, like Hernani Braganza who lost by a landslide to reelectionist Gov. Amado Espino of Pangasinan. Even in his own home province of Tarlac P-Noy’s candidate lost. Of the 46 congressmen from north and central Luzon, only 17 are LP members. And of the 22 north and central Luzon governors, only five are LP. Even so, the President may have enough clout in the House. He holds the key to the release of the pork barrel fund. Congressmen who cooperate with Malacañang get their pork promptly; those who don’t, don’t get any. And most congressmen live only for the pork. In fact, many of them run for Congress only for the pork. Expect a mad scramble for pork in the incoming Congress. With the massive vote-buying in the last elections, with some candidates paying thousands of pesos for each vote, the first priority of many winners would be how to recoup their expenses. And how else would they be able to do that other than by stealing from government coffers. Their salaries for the whole term would be far short of the hundreds of millions of pesos they spent during the campaign. And the easiest to steal from is the pork barrel.

That’s why P-Noy, whose promise is to stop corruption in government, does not want to abolish the pork barrel system, which is the main root of corruption. He can easily do that by not having any appropriation for the Priority Development Assistance Fund— which is the polite term for the pork barrel—in the annual budget proposal. Congress can only reduce, but not add, to the budget submitted by Malacañang. But every President does not want

The inflation rate probably went up because of [votebuying]. Many voters went to the polling centers early but not to vote. They hung around in the polling center waiting for somebody to bid for their votes. to stop the pork barrel system because it is their way of bribing the lawmakers. It is the carrot and stick that keep legislators in line. *** The Commission of Elections should devise a foolproof way to prevent votebuying. The degree of vote-buying in the just ended elections was too much. The inflation rate probably went up because of it. Many voters went to the polling

centers early but not to vote. They hung around in the polling center waiting for somebody to bid for their votes. You could easily spot them. They stayed there for hours waiting, until they had their fill. Some accepted money from rival candidates. Some candidates bought the votes of whole families. Some families known to be followers of certain candidates were bought just not to vote at all. It is easier to monitor them that way. You can never be sure whom they voted for in the polling booths even if they had accepted your money. Vote-buying corrupts the vote-buyer (politician), the vote-seller (voter) and the politician’s worker who does the actual vote-buying. The money ban was Comelec’s way to prevent it. Without cash on hand, politicians would not be able to buy votes. But the bankers, the businessmen and the Supreme Court did not see it that way. The fact is, some businessmen donated campaign funds to politicians as a sort of lobby. In case their business interests would be jeopardized by a bill in Congress, they can expect the lawmakers to whom they have been generous to protect them. But even if the Comelec’s weapon was not shot down by the high court, Comelec could have used it only once. In the next elections, politicians would withdraw

cash from the banks well ahead of the money ban. The Comelec should think of something more foolproof. *** The delay in the canvassing of votes was really scary and suspicious. Delayed counting gives losing candidates more time and opportunity for “dagdagbawas.” Sure, the elections are now automated and it is difficult to add and subtract votes the old way. Still, many paranoids got worried, fearing that IT technicians could manipulate the voting machines to alter the vote count. Expect many poll protests alleging that the PCOS machines have been manipulated. One example is the contest between actor Aga Muhlach and reelectionist Rep. Wimpy Fuentebella for the seat of the fourth congressional district of Camarines Sur. Aga was leading in the counting when the canvassing was suspended, purportedly because of glitches in the voting machines. When the canvassing was resumed, Wimpy spurted ahead and won by a slim margin, just enough to make him win. Angered and suspicious of the long wait, supporters of Aga stormed the municipal hall of Tigaon, Camarines Sur. Soon after, the board of canvassers proclaimed Fuentebella as the winner. Naturally, Aga will file an election protest. ■

might be replaced by neoclericalism…. “The Christian presence in society is not achieved by the imposition of a manifesto or simply by high-profile social criticism (like Team Patay or Team Buhay?—JLM). It is more about the witness people give to Christian principles, mediated within the particular responsibilities they carry…. “Take a brief look at the changed demographics. Church attendance is very low in some areas, especially in socially deprived areas…. The presence of young people in the life of these parishes, however, is minimal. The strong backbone of good Catholics is an aging group…” Youth participation in church is among more conservative young Catholics. They are limited in numbers and make few inroads into the lives of their peers. Is this where the future lies? A Social Weather Stations survey on Catholics who scurry out the back door and faltering church attendance, even among non-Catholics, raised hackles mid-April. SWS found that 9.2 percent did toy with the idea. Only 37 percent of Catholics go to Mass once a week—a dip from the 64 percent who did so in 1991. Church attendance among nonCatholics is also on the skids. “The reaction has been a denial that a problem even exists,” INQUIRER

columnist Solita Collas-Monsod wrote. “Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Iloilo [stressed that] churches are filled. But are the data incompatible?” Economist Monsod did a little arithmetic, starting with 2013 midyear population estimate: 97.3 million. Bottom line: Churches crowded with worshippers and the results of the SWS survey are completely compatible. Stop playing ostrich, and face the problem, Monsod wrote. And what is that? “Rather than empty churches, it should be empty souls that should sow terror in our hearts,” Sun Star’s Melanie Lim answers. “We should not be afraid of people no longer going to church. We should be afraid about people no longer caring about their neighbors.” The Church (here) requires lay men and women whose faith will challenge us to expand the parameters of our hope beyond the narrow confines that each of us individually and as communities consciously or unconsciously fix for ourselves. The Church has to refind its ability to form leaders in a country that faces (radical) challenges. Now for the credit lines. The excerpts are from the paper “A PostCatholic Ireland,” which Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin presented at Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture last April 24. ■


Shell shock By Juan L. Mercado Philippine Daily Inquirer THE CATHOLIC bishops of Bacolod and Lipa were shell-shocked by the election results. Earlier, they listed the candidates who supported the reproductive health bill under “Team Patay.” Through ads and sample ballots, they urged repudiation. But Juan Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero easily coasted into the winning circle, reported the INQUIRER’S Carla Gomez from Bacolod. Bishop Vicente Navarra insisted he was “happy” that “Team Buhay” candidates Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar won. In Lipa, Church groups tried to guide the electorate, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said. They failed. “I am not happy,” he texted the INQUIRER. Elections are not about making bishops “happy”; seeking the electorate’s will is. Most of the 16 archdioceses and 72 dioceses sought precisely that. The Cebu archdiocese banned Team Buhay/Team Patay posters. The Church backed the nationwide Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting. By focusing on single issues like the RH Law, the Church squanders

credibility, cautioned an INQUIRER editorial: That loss came when “a force for social justice” was needed most. “The Church could have raised the flag for social justice, better governance, the war on poverty and corruption…” Arguelles, Navarra et al. didn’t agree. So, can they try this one, please. An “inward-looking Church … becomes self-referential, sickens and fails to go to the outskirts of existence. That leads some to expend most of their energy censuring others… If the Church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age…. Still no go? That’s the core of a fourminute intervention, at the last Rome conclave, by Argentina’s Jorge Bergoglio. We now know him as Pope Francis. Will insights on a “post-RH Philippines” be helpful? Excerpts: “For far too long, the Church felt it was safely ensconced in a ‘Catholic country.’ [But] the demographic majority hid many structural weaknesses. The roots of change were there but were not seen…. “There was already a deep dissatisfaction and a desire for change. And the Church leadership was out of touch with the religious sentiment of the people. In many ways, the Church had been trapped in an illusory self-image. And it became insensitive to its weakness… “The Church had become conformist

and controlling, both with its faithful and society… One of the keys to understanding is precisely the measure in which the Church has become self-referential... “Certainly, the majority of priests … lead an exemplary moral life. They carry out their ministry with dedication and enjoy support and affection from their people. But we face strong remnants of inherited clericalism…. “The days of the dominant, or domineering, role of the clergy, within

The Church requires lay men and women whose faith will challenge us to expand the parameters of our hope beyond the narrow confines that each of us individually and as communities fix for ourselves. what people call the ‘institutional Church,’ have changed. But part of the culture remains. From time to time, [it] reappears in new forms…. The term ‘institutional Church’ has meaning only in a context of clericalism…. “Understanding the nature of the Church will come not from media strategies or simply by structural reforms… If we focus only on structures and power, there is a risk that clericalism

Canada News

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013


PM Harper sheds light on Senate spending scandal

Baird takes the heat, Harper sheds little light on Senate spending scandal ❰❰ 1

OTTAWA—A “very upset” Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to settle down a scandal-rattled Conservative caucus Tuesday with talk of accountability and Senate reform, but shed no new light on the $90,000 transaction that cost him his chief of staff. Conservative MPs and senators heading into Tuesday's caucus meeting had hoped Harper would provide more facts behind the growing scandal that forced his righthand man, Nigel Wright, to resign over the weekend. But if Harper's speech— opened up on this occasion to the media, a rarity—was any indication, they didn't get much. “I don't think any of you are going to be very surprised to hear that I am not happy,” Harper said in his first public comments since revelations last week that Wright wrote a personal cheque worth $90,000 to embattled Sen. Mike Duffy. “I'm very upset about the conduct we have witnessed, the conduct of some parliamentarians and the conduct of my own office.” Harper didn't go into detail, however, about just how involved he or his office was in helping Duffy repay living expenses he shouldn't have claimed in the first place. Nor did he go any farther behind closed doors; sources told The Canadian Press that while MPs pressed for more details during the meeting on his office's role in bailing out Duffy, they didn't get any. The matter is in the hands of the federal ethics commissioner who can be trusted to sort things out, many suggested. “Trust me, they ask all the questions and they get to the bottom of the matters and that is the appropriate place, and that's where the ethics commissioner's report comes up,” said Labour Minister Lisa

Raitt. “It will be transparent and we will be accountable.” Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson confirmed she had “today launched an examination under the Conflict of Interest Act of Mr. Nigel Wright's involvement in the repayment of a Senator's expenses.” The commissioner had no further comment on whether Wright broke ethics rules by giving Duffy what was initially described as a gift to help pay back his disallowed housing expenses. The payment was used by Duffy as an excuse to stop cooperating with an ongoing audit of his expenses. The issue of Duffy's expense claims is also set to be reviewed anew by the Senate internal economy committee, which Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird referred to as an “independent” body on Tuesday. “We look forward to the results of these reviews,” Baird said. The prime minister's office said last week that Wright was not expecting to be repaid by Duffy, but suggested there was an agreement in place between the two men. “The only stipulation on the money to Duffy—sent to him through his lawyer—was that an equal amount be sent to the Receiver General from Duffy on the same day to cover the impugned claims,” Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall said in an email. CTV reported on Monday that a formal agreement was written up governing the terms of the payment but Baird repeatedly fended off a barrage of questions Tuesday in the Commons by saying there was no written deal. “Our understanding is that there is no such agreement,” he said.

Benjamin Perrin, the lawyer reportedly used by the Prime Minister's Office to draft the arrangement, also issued his own denial. “I was not consulted on, and did not participate in, Nigel Wright's decision to write a personal cheque to reimburse Sen. Duffy's expenses,” Perrin said in a statement. “I have never communicated with the prime minister on this matter.” Meanwhile, questions still linger as to whether the transaction between Duffy and Wright came with a commitment that the Senate committee investigating Duffy's claims would go easy on him. That matter was to be raised in the Senate when it resumed sitting Tuesday evening. Senators were to consider the report into Duffy, as well as those investigating Sen. Patrick Brazeau and Sen. Mac Harb— all of them deemed to owe taxpayers thousands of dollars in improperly claimed living expenses. A fourth report, containing recommendations for changes to the rules, is also up for discussion. Harper said he has discussed the situation with Sen. Marjory LeBreton, the government leader in the Senate. “She has my full support to accelerate changes to the Senate's rules on expenses and close any loopholes in those existing rules,” Harper said. “And I expect Conservative senators, regardless of what opposition you may face, to get that done.” A fifth report looking into expenses claimed by Sen. Pamela Wallin remains outstanding. She and Duffy have already left caucus. Brazeau was removed earlier because of criminal charges on an unrelated matter. Harper reminded his caucus

Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

about a pointed warning he first issued in 2005: no one seeking elected office to line their own pockets is welcome in the Conservative fold. “Anyone who wants to use public office for their own benefit should make other plans, or better yet, leave this room,” Harper said, jabbing his finger for effect. Anyone who takes money to which they are not entitled should pay a price, said Quebec Sen. Jacques Demers. “If these people have done what has been speculated that they have done, they should be fired, they should not just be going to Independent,” he said. The former Montreal Canadians hockey coach stressed that he supports the prime minister, but is pondering his own future. Demers said he may have to leave if the scandal isn't cleared up to his satisfaction. “I really, really trust Mr. Harper,” he said. “I'm in a reflection period. It means I'm going to see what's going to happen. I want to see if I'm going to stay in the Senate.” Some observers have painted the crisis as the most serious test the Conservatives have faced since winning their majority in 2011, but Harper framed the issue more as a minor distraction. “We have an active and important agenda on the issues that matter to hardworking Canadian families and there is much work to be done,” he said.


“When distractions arise, as they inevitably will, we will deal with them firmly.” Harper's speech was greeted with an ovation and his caucus broke out into chants at the end, drowning out reporters who tried to ask the prime minister questions. Harper needs to be a lot clearer with Canadians, the opposition said, using up a third of Tuesday's question period to grill the government. “They think we're fools,” said Francoise Boivin of the NDP. “They're trying to make us believe that (Harper) knew nothing.” Complained New Democrat Nathan Cullen: “These guys will not be accountable.” Charlie Angus, the New Democrat who has been worrying at the issue since it began, called it “abuse of the public trust.” The government “has lost its moral compass,” boomed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. “The prime minister is in this up to his neck.” Liberal colleague Ralph Goodale called it “an insidious scheme.” Through it all, Baird maintained an uncharacteristic calm, glancing periodically at his notes and insisting Harper only knew of the payment to Duffy when it became public last week. The minister, who can be a vitriolic opponent, never raised his voice. “I can't be any more clear,” he said repeatedly. ■

Canada News

19 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013


Juan Radio... ❰❰ 1

the 70’s up to the current millennium, breaking news from the Philippines, local community events and public service, and all pertinent topics that matter to Filipino-Canadians. Alan Yong, CEO of Juan TV Inc., says, “Juan Radio in Vancouver is only the first step. Our plan is to have Filipino radio programs across Canada in the major cities where Filipinos reside on or before the end of next year.” Juan TV Inc. Executive VicePresident, Socorro Newland added, “this undertaking is pretty unprecedented. It has never been done before where Filipino radio programs are aired 6 times a week.” “Radio has always been in the psyche of the Filipino. In the pre- and post-war eras, and even during the Edsa Revolution when TV has been plagued by power outages and power struggles, radio has been the solace of the population. Now that the Filipinos have a radio station in Vancouver through Juan Radio 96.1 FM, where Filipinos can listen to OPM and have sounds from home, there’s no other word to describe it—it’s epic,” quipped Juan TV Inc. Vice-President for Legal Affairs, Melissa Briones. About Juan TV

Juan Radio is division of Juan TV Inc. is a Canadian-based Radio, Television and Talent Management Company focusing on Filipino demographics in Canada. Juan TV Inc. will be launching its own television channel to be known as Juan TV with a combination of original production to

GROUP WANTS TO RENAME VICTORIA DAY A group of certain Canadian actors, writers and politicians is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to change the name of Victoria Day. The group—which includes author Margaret Atwood, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and actor Gordon Pinsent—has signed an online petition to rename this Monday’s public holiday “Victoria and First Peoples Day.”

FORD SHOULD ADDRESS VIDEO SCANDAL: EXPERT Juan Radio’s EVP Socorro Newland, Fairchild Radio Group’s President George Lee, Juan Radio’s CEO Alan Yong, Fairchild Radio’s AVP Seme Ho and Juan Radio’s VP, Melissa Briones.

include but not limited to local news, commentaries/talk shows; as well as news and television programs from the Philippines. As well, Juan TV Inc. will be offering “linear” programming to some of the Philippines’ entertainment giants and major players such as Viva Entertainment, Solar TV and others. Juan TV, via its radio division, Juan Radio 96.1FM, launched Vancouver’s first and only Filipino radio program that airs 6 days a week for the Vancouver Filipino community bringing breaking news, talk shows and interplay of Original Pilipino Music or OPM. Juan TV Inc.’s affiliate also includes Canada’s first and only nationwide Filipino paper and daily news website with a readership of over 480,000 readers monthly – The

Philippine Canadian Inquirer which is in cooperation with the Philippines’ largest circulating newspaper–The Philippine Daily Inquirer. About Fairchild

The Fairchild Group is a business conglomerate in Canada, with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Fairchild Group operates various media properties under the Fairchild Media Group name. Fairchild currently operates the Cantonese channel Fairchild TV, Cantonese & Mandarin radio network Fairchild Radio, and Mandarin channel Talentvision. Fairchild Group is also involved in film production, real estate development, retail, telecommunications and wholesale trade. ■

TORONTO—A public relations expert suggests Rob Ford’s decision not to host his weekly radio show today may indicate the Toronto mayor has yet to fully figure out how to respond to allegations he was recorded on video appearing to smoke crack cocaine. Queen’s University Professor Monica LaBarge says Ford should come out and directly say whether the video is authentic— something she says he could have used Sunday’s edition of his Toronto talk radio show to do.

HARPER HEADS TO SOUTH AMERICA FOR TRADE TALKS OTTAWA—The prime minister heads to South America this week to suss out membership in a new trading bloc that many aren’t sure Canada ought to join. The Pacific Alliance was formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru in 2011 and Canada took a spot on the sidelines the next year, along with several other countries as observers.

QUEBEC PROTESTERS WANT TO CUT MONARCHY TIES MONTREAL—The Queen would likely not be amused by the way Victoria Day was observed in a small pocket of Montreal. At a rally of hardcore Quebec nationalists, a handful of people Mon -Fr i 1 0-1 1 am threw darts at a photo of the Queen and held up signs saying ``down with the monarchy.’’

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FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 20

Yahoo buys blogging forum Tumblr for $1.1 billion in boldest move yet under CEO Marissa Mayer BY MICHAEL LIEDTKE The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO—Yahoo is buying online blogging forum Tumblr for $1.1 billion as CEO Marissa Mayer tries to rejuvenate an Internet pioneer that had fallen behind the times. The deal announced Monday is Mayer's boldest move since she left Google 10 months ago to lead Yahoo's latest comeback attempt. It marks Yahoo's most expensive acquisition since the Sunnyvale, Calif., company bought online search engine Overture a decade ago for $1.3 billion in cash and stock. Yahoo is paying mostly cash for Tumblr, dipping into what remains of a $7.6 billion windfall reaped last year from selling

about half of its stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba Holdings Group. Taking over Tumblr will devour about onefifth of the $5.4 billion in cash that Yahoo had in its accounts at the end of March. While hailing Tumblr as a fount of creativity that attracts 300 million visitors each month, Mayer told analysts Monday that she is "making a sincere promise to not screw it up." David Karp, a high school dropout who started Tumblr six years ago, will remain in control of the service in an effort to retain the same "irreverence, wit and commitment to empower creators," Yahoo said. Karp, 26, may now have a managerial mentor in Mayer, 37. Tumblr, which will remain based in New York, has about

175 employees while Yahoo has 11,300 workers. Mayer, who worked closely with Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin during her time at the company, had high praise for Karp during Monday's conference call. "David Karp is one of the most inspiring, insightful entrepreneurs that I have ever met," she said. In his statement, Karp predicted Yahoo would help Tumblr grow even faster as he strives "to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas. " The deal is expected to close during the second half of this year. Tumblr will now play a pivotal role in Mayer's attempt to reshape Yahoo. To take on the challenge, Mayer ended a highly successful 13-year career at Google, which she helped

loved ones were OK. A man with a megaphone stood Monday evening near St. Andrews United Methodist Church and called out the names of surviving children. Parents waited nearby, hoping to hear their sons’ and daughters’ names. While some parents and children hugged each other as they reunited, others were left to wait, fearing the worst as the night dragged on. Crews continued their desperate search-and-rescue effort throughout the night at Plaza Towers Elementary, where the storm had ripped off the school’s roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal as students and teachers huddled in hallways and bathrooms. Children from the school were among the dead, but several students were pulled out alive from under a collapsed wall and other heaps of mangled debris. Rescue workers passed the survivors down a human chain of parents and neighbourhood volunteers. Parents carried children in their arms to a triage centre in the parking lot. Some students looked dazed, others terrified. James Rushing, who lives

across the street from the school, heard reports of the approaching twister and ran to the school where his 5-yearold foster son, Aiden, attends classes. Rushing believed he would be safer there. “About two minutes after I got there, the school started coming apart,” he said. As dusk fell, heavy equipment rolled up to the school, and emergency workers wearing yellow crawled among the ruins, searching for survivors. Crews used jackhammers and sledgehammers to tear away concrete, and chunks were being thrown to the side as the workers dug. Another school, Briarwood Elementary, was also damaged by the tornado, but not as extensively as Plaza Towers. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin deployed 80 National Guard members to assist with rescue operations and activated extra highway patrol officers. Fallin also spoke Monday with President Barack Obama, who declared a major disaster and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. In video of the storm, the dark funnel cloud could be seen marching slowly across the green landscape. As it churned

Tumblr’s founder. At 26, David Karp, high school dropout, has shaped an entire generation with the massive popularity of the blogging platform. Tumblr was launched February 2007. Within two weeks, it had 75,000 registered users. To date, Tumblr hosts over 108 million blogs. PHOTO BY SCOTT BEALE / LAUGHINGSQUID.COM

surpass Yahoo as the Internet's most influential company. Since coming to Yahoo, Mayer has concentrated on improving employee morale, redesigning services and bringing in more engineering talent through a series of small acquisitions that have collectively cost less than $50 million. Yahoo will still focus on mostly

small deals, Mayer said. She seized the opportunity to buy Tumblr because she believes the service can accelerate her efforts to turn around Yahoo. "Tumblr is a game changer," Mayer assured analysts. As popular as Tumblr has become, the service remains

through the community, the twister scattered shards of wood, awnings and glass all over the streets. The tornado also destroyed the community hospital and some retail stores. Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis watched it pass through from his jewelry shop. “All of my employees were in the vault,” Lewis said. A map provided by the National Weather Service showed that the storm began west of Newcastle and crossed the Canadian River into Oklahoma City’s rural far southwestern side about 3 p.m. local time. When it reached Moore, the twister cut a path through the centre of town before lifting back into the sky at Lake Stanley Draper. The National Weather Service issued an initial finding that the tornado was an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale, the second most-powerful type of twister. The Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma forecast more stormy weather on Tuesday, predicting golf ball-sized hail, powerful winds and isolated, strong tornadoes for parts of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The area at risk does not include Moore, Oklahoma.

Monday’s powerful tornado loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region in May 1999. The weather service estimated that Monday’s tornado was at least a half-mile (800 metres) wide. The 1999 storm had winds clocked at 300 mph. Kelsey Angle, a weather service meteorologist in Kansas City, Missouri, said it’s unusual for two such powerful tornadoes to track roughly the same path. It was the fourth tornado to hit Moore since 1998. A twister also struck in 2003. Monday’s devastation in Oklahoma came almost exactly two years after an enormous twister ripped through the city of Joplin, Missouri, killing 158 people and injuring hundreds more. That May 22, 2011, tornado was the deadliest in the United States since modern tornado record keeping began in 1950, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Before Joplin, the deadliest modern tornado was June 1953 in Flint, Michigan, when 116 people died. ■

❱❱ PAGE 46 Yahoo buys

Oklahoma twister... ❰❰ 1

neighbourhoods where Monday’s powerful twister flattened home after home and stripped leaves off of trees to see if they could hear any voices calling out from the rubble. The storm left scores of blocks barren and dark in Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles (16 kilometres) south of Oklahoma City. Rescuers walked through neighbourhoods where Monday’s powerful twister flattened home after home, to listen for any voices calling out from the rubble. A helicopter buzzed above, shining lights on crews below. As Monday turned into Tuesday, Moore braced for another long, harrowing day. “As long as we are here ... we are going to hold out hope that we will find survivors,” said Trooper Betsy Randolph, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 50 children. Amy Elliott, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office, said Tuesday that there could be as many as 40 more fatalities from Monday’s tornado. Families anxiously waited at nearby churches to hear if their

Associated Press writers Sean Murphy, Nomaan Merchant and Sue Ogrocki contributed to this report.


21 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Canadian minister visits N. Calif. on a campaign to lure Silicon Valley tech workers The Associated Press SAN JOSE, Calif.—The Canadian government has launched an aggressive campaign to lure Silicon Valley tech workers frustrated by U.S. visa policies northward, just as Congress wrestles with a longsought overhaul of America’s immigration system. Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, arrived in the San Francisco Bay area Friday for a four-day visit aimed at snapping up talent for his country’s high-tech economy by offering startup entrepreneurs a new visa. “I think everyone knows the American system is pretty dysfunctional,” Kenney said in an interview with The San Jose Mercury News. “I’m going to the Bay Area to spread the message that Canada is open for business; we’re open for newcomers. If they qualify, we’ll give them the Canadian equivalent of a green card as soon as they arrive.” The new “startup visa” will grant permanent residency to entrepreneurs who can start a business in Canada and raise enough venture capital.

Earlier this week, a billboard sporting a giant red maple leaf went up in South San Francisco, part of a Canadian ad campaign encouraging tech workers to head north. “H-1B problems?” asks the billboard on the road to Silicon Valley, referencing the temporary visa issued to skilled foreign workers in the U.S. “Pivot to Canada.” The current immigration bill before the U.S. Senate the result of months of negotiations among eight influential senators is on track to greatly increase the number of highly skilled foreign workers allowed to work in the U.S. under an H-1B visa, from 65,000 to 110,000. “The Canadian perspective is they would love to re-create Silicon Valley in Canada,” said Irene Bloemraad, a professor who chairs the Canadian studies program at UC Berkeley. “And they recognize that under the current immigration system in the United States ... there are people who are having a hard time getting permanent legal status.” Bloemraad said Kenney’s trip would underscore the differences between U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney PHOTO FROM MOSTLYCONSERVATIVE (FLICKR)

and Canada immigration systems. While two-thirds of immigrants to the U.S. gain their permanent residency thanks to family connections, she said, Canada’s pointsbased ranking system means that two-thirds of immigrants are chosen for their work skills.

Under the current H-1B system, thousands of foreign tech workers in the Silicon Valley can stay in the United States for a maximum of six years, and must stick with the employer who sponsored them. Kenney plans to promote the new visa and to meet with tech


leaders, speak with Stanford students and run the Canadian booth at this weekend’s TiEcon entrepreneurship conference in Santa Clara. “There’s an option,” said Kenney, a member of his country’s ruling Conservative Party. “It’s north of the 49th parallel.” ■

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FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 22


Do You Have the Right Attitude? BY BOLET AREVALO

REMEMBER: when everything seems unreachable, only your positive attitude can make you hold on and reach out for what you want. How difficult can being positive be?

Is it a choice or is it something you are born with? Are there really negative people vs. positive people? Are there really people who are pessimists vs. those that are optimists? With the world around us contributing to our own set of anxieties, it seems so much easier to be unhappy, discouraged, or passive. We may even be in a situation where no matter how hard we work, the returns do not improve and we do not become happier or richer. Maybe we cannot even figure out what could dramatically change our situation. I caught one-liner plug on TV that went: “Our deepest fear is our potential for inadequacies.” There will always be that gnawing fear in our hearts that daily provisions will not be enough, that our efforts will not pay off, that our energy may run out, that our capacity to keep trying may be gone faster that we could ever imagine. Have you ever wondered why man is born naked? Well, other than the physiological reasons, it tells us that we are born into this world with nothing except our being. At first, everything has to be provided to us. Later, we provide for ourselves. Pretty soon, we provide for others, too—family, loved ones, friends, and even to people we do not even know. It is that possibility of not being able to provide anymore or receive provisions that discourages or threatens us and destabilizes our sense of confidence. And when you are not confident, it is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to

stay positive. The key to staying positive is being able to preserve your self-esteem. When you are in a new place with fewer friends or relatives, or none at all, it is quite a challenge to hold on to that level of confidence from where you had taken off. And I must say, this is worst for those who had successful careers as skilled professionals in their own country. Of course you hear that a strong support system is important. But some of us may not have that. You may only have yourself and this new world around you. So what do you do? Gather your little victories every single day. Find things to do, and find happiness in doing them. And you need to say that aloud to yourself. It could be anything at all. It could be assembling IKEA furniture, cooking a meal straight off of an internet recipe, being able to find the right direction from Google map, getting the best bargains, or moving to a new, more comfortable apartment. You may not always be adequate but you can certainly choose to be happy. You can choose to trust yourself, and have faith that when you are down, there is no other way to go but up. The key to staying positive is being able to preserve our self-esteem. Gather triumphs every day. Find things to do and find happiness in doing them. The positive attitude will be our strongest weapon in claiming what we deserve in this new place. Can You Look Forward?

If excellence is a way of life with you, it will shine through so that looking forward and moving on will never be impossible. Allow me to differentiate between being positive and being forward-


looking. Although both traits imply that we should not sulk, being positive presents a state of mind, a happy disposition. To me, to be forwardlooking is to make a decision to take a certain direction or path into the future and not to go back to where you had come from regardless of whether it was the better place to be. I must admit, in the beginning, when it was very difficult, for as simple a reason as the weather getting too cold for comfort—there was always the temptation to run back to the life I left behind. I chided myself for the masochism. Why move to a wooden bed when you are sleeping on the softest mattress? I may not have had the best life in my home country, but it was good. I’m pretty sure that many of those who have migrated can say the same of theirs. Thus, to the barest minds, it is unthinkable to leave your good life and move to one that is full of uncertainty. When you had this good life, is it easy to look forward to better things ahead? Probably—it is a hope, the hope to continue doing well. But if it is not so good and is not turning well as easily as we had thought it should, isn’t being forward-looking even easier? That is the best time when being forwardlooking becomes almost inevitable. As mentioned before, the past good times must inspire you; looking back must trigger in you the desire to do just as well, if not better. Or maybe, it must trigger the thought that you once had it good in your life, and any more good that comes must be a bonus. When you look forward, it is because you have made a decision to move on. You have decided that life needs to go on and that the future is the best place to move into. Moving on also implies

a lot of hope and confidence not only in your ability to stay afloat, but also confidence in the opportunities that your circumstances present to you. Best of all, look forward because it is the best thing to do. It is the best direction you can take. There is no basis for living in your past and dwelling on old glories. Do not be afraid that you cannot do it again, that you cannot be good again. If you are good, you are good, no matter the time, the circumstances, and the people around you. The real you and your excellence will shine through because there can only be you, and this will sooner or later be discovered or reflected in everything you do. To look forward is to decide to move into the direction of the future. To do that, you have to trust that your good works will follow you everywhere. When you find that first job, all that is past will help you look forward to a next successful chapter in your life. ■ Nobody ever said that our journey, will be easy. But as I write and as you read, we share our strengths and we can hold to the promise that “where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them” – Matthew 18:20. Bolet is a marketing communications practitioner and dabbles in writing as a personal passion. She is authorpublisher of the book “The Most Practical Immigrating and Job Hunting Survival Guide, proven simple steps to success without the fears and the doubts”. The book is available at, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo and other online bookshops worldwide, and in National Book Store and Power Books in the Philippines. Check out com/author/boletarevalo.

My Story

23 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013


sing ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ and ‘Amazing Grace’, followed by Psalms 91:1 to 16, the protection of the Lord for whom who trust in Him, Psalms 51:1, 2, 10, for daily forgiveness and repentance and Matthew 5:16,” says Blesilda. These verses held her up through the tough times, gave her the strength and perseverance to achieve her goals. Blesilda adds: “I always apply at work the goodness of the Lord, to provide real and genuine service beyond the guest’s expectations.” “I always fulfill the Sheraton brand standard.”

Blesilda Pagaoa

What’s next?

BY KATHERINE MARFAL-TEVES Philippine Canadian Inquirer WORKING for the Housekeeping Department of a hotel may not be the best first job for a Journalism graduate, but for Blesilda Pagaoa, it turned into the stepping stone to her best job ever. Better education for her children, great health benefits, and career opportunity—these were the factors that pushed Blesilda and her three daughters to pack their bags for North America. They emigrated to Canada on November 5, 2005. Despite the “greener pasture,” they didn’t know anyone, and it was intimidating. “We had no relatives here,” says Blesilda. “At first, we were intimidated of the multi-cultural environment in our vicinity. We felt inferior, speaking English as our second language amongst our fellow colleagues,” she shares. And then there was the employment process, which required Blesilda to sign up for various agencies just to find jobs. To her dismay, she couldn’t get a job related to her degree. Housekeeping

Blesilda waited patiently for a job offer until the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel called her up—for a housekeeping job. With no hesitation, she accepted the offer, and she did her job well. Soon after, she was transferred to the Food and Beverage Outlets Department. To Blesilda, waiting was tiresome: she had to work from 7–11 a.m. as a coffee shop attendant; 11 a.m.–5 p.m. as a host; and 5 p.m.– 1:30 a.m. as a cashier. There were times that she needed to work from 5 a.m.–12:30 p.m. too—a whopping total of 18 hours of work.

But Filipinos, as we all know, are famous for their work ethic. There was nary a single complaint from Blesilda. “Our managers were very supportive. I always worked, and I never said ‘no’ to any shift or the hours offered to me,” Blesilda relates.

Sheraton Hotel names Blesilda Pagaoa Front House Employee of the Year 2012. PHOTO FROM THE SHERATON TORONTO GALA

The climb

Barely a year after, she rose again in the ranks as a Front Desk Agent; after eight months, she bagged another promotion as a Host/Receptionist and Concierge in the Sheraton Executive Club Lounge. In just two years, Blesilda managed to prove her worth as a committed and trustworthy employee. She became the Front House Employee of the Year in 2012. The Sheraton Hotel relates: “Although Bless is a host in Club Lounge, she never [restricted herself to her job]. She will do anything it takes to make sure the Guest is satisfied. To connect personally with our guests, Blesilda learned to say ‘good morning,’ ‘how are you?’, ‘enjoy your food’ and ‘thank you’ in 15 different languages.” Pleased customers have also spoken: “I must have stayed with you, Sheraton Hotel, at least 30 nights. Outstanding is Blesilda Pagaoa who works in the lounge on the 43rd floor. She knows and remembers everyone’s name. Sends personal e-mails before my arrival. A true breath of fresh air. Cruises the lounge, from time to time, checks with everyone if all is well. I refuse to stay anywhere in Toronto except in your hotel. I get personal attention. Love it. Just thought I’d let you know … you’re lucky.You have superb employees.” —Mr. Jimmy Ghadiali, guest Divine hand

“First thing in the morning, I always

Sincerity and integrity—these two traits hold Blesilda afloat in her line of job. She attests: “I always try my very best to be consistent at all times . . . the services that I have to provide should be warm and comforting, because first and lasting impressions—they count.” There are just two more things that she wants to pursue: to hone her professional strengths at Sheraton Hotel and to sing as a choir member of the People’s Church Worship and Arts Ministry. Commitment and faith—the unbeatable tandem Blesilda continues to live by. ■

Seen & Scenes

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 24

CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY: DAFFODIL MONTH Since 1938, the Canadian Cancer Society has worked tirelessly to raise funds for cancer research and support programs. This April, Daffodil Month, thousands of volunteers across Ontario and Canada knocked on doors and worked at local malls and stores to collect donations and promote awareness by way of wearing the daffodil pin. Pictured: Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak joined (L-R) Chanelle Wilson and Joanne Dinardo from the Canadian Cancer Society to help raise funds during Daffodil Month.

FRIENDS HAVING DINNER at BC Coalition dinner at Continental Seafood Restaurant, Richmond B.C.

TOP: Mr. Woo Kar Mo, Lucy Quinn, Amelia Ho BOTTOM: Anthony Remedios, Amado Mercado and Gloria Mercado

The Block Rosary Crusade of Toronto prayed their Living Rosary at St. Aidan Catholic Church in Scarborough, in May 2013. The Block Rosary Crusade of Toronto is known as the largest organized religious group in Canada. It was founded in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada in Oct. 1982. This group is composed of over 600 families who prays the Rosary Daily. A thirteenth group of 52 families is in a formation stage, on their 31st year of their existence.


Seen & Scenes

25 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013



The beauties of Miss Philippines Canada 2013. The pageant is an undertaking by the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation (PCCF), a Filipino-Canadian umbrella organization based in Toronto. Final judging and coronation of winners will be held during the Pinoy Fiesta and Trade Show on June 22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. The candidates (L-R): Melissa Calanza, Dawn Flora Angue, Kimberly Ann Dulay, Michelle Veloso, Caitlin Pantaleon, Alannah Sagici, Analyn Concepcion, Meryl Rae Villacastin, Lourdes Calanza, Jurice Encarnacion & Rouzine Fe Dapat. (Photo by Willy Santiago, St. Jamestown News Service, Manny Papa)

Amanda Migrino, owner of Quezon Apparel (4438 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, Ontario), holding the poster of the Pinoy Fiesta & Trade Show Sa Toronto to be held June 22, 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event features GMA Pinoy TV Kapuso stars Dennis Trillo, Rafael Rosell, Glaiza de Castro, and the participation of Mikey Bustos and Martha Joy. For tickets, get in touch with Ms. Migrino at 416 - 826 - 8097 or 647 - 347 - 8247. (Romy Zetazate, St. Jamestown News Service)


MEETING FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY Metrotown, Burnaby—At the One Philippines Alumni Association of British Columbia (OPAABC) meeting for the Philippine Independence Day Celebrations. In attendance were alumni representatives from UP, Ateneo, Don Bosco, Assumption, Mapua and Adamson.

GENERATION ONE ART EXHIBITION From the opening ceremony of Generation One Art Exhibition, held May 20th at the Asian Centre Auditorium in Metro Vancouver. The distinctive exhibition featured artworks of inter-cultural and cross-generational Pan-Asian artists. The opening reception featured an oil portrait demo by featured artist Edgardo Lantin; a papercutting demo by Diamond Zhou; and performances by Dr. Jan Wallis and MELD. Dimasalang III artists include Sym Mendoza; Edgardo Lantin, SFCA; Rod Pedralba; Jesse Hipolito; Leo Cunanan Jr.; Esmie Gayo McLaren; Stuart Dee; Jacqueline Loh; Danvic Briones; and Reynato Pablo.

Special Report: Post-Elections

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 26

B.C. NDP’s 24 hour bus ride goes beyond Hope and crashes on election night BY DIRK MEISSNER The Canadian Press HEDLEY, B.C.—Adrian Dix was inside the Hitching Post Restaurant drinking from a mug stamped with twin sixshooters while outside on the old mining town’s main street, with dusk starting to cover the mountaintops, his campaign workers were counting potential seats in what appeared to be a shoo-in win. How many? Forty-seven? Fifty-three? Maybe even 60 seats. There’s 85 seats in B.C. legislature, and the feeling— right out there in the open—was an NDP majority was only a few hours away. The confidence of impending victory for Dix’s New Democrats on election night was oozing, overflowing—for the party and seemingly most everyone else— on Monday night, less than 24 hours before the polls closed. It was as if Dix’s orange NDP campaign bus was running on a tank filled with over-confidence. But it ran out of gas at polling booths across B.C. The NDP’s unbridled sense that the keys to the gates of power were about to be handed over is similar to the 1996 B.C. election campaign that saw former premier Gordon Campbell’s Liberals running as if they were destined for government. They lost to Glen Clark’s New Democrats in the last days with Campbell denying he made a deal with the virtually dead Social Credit party to secure faltering right-wing votes. Embedded campaign reporters and those who packed the bus last week for the NDP’s final day and night’s push to Hope, B.C., and beyond were

there to witness a victory tour. What they got was a historic campaign crash that saw Dix steer the NDP into the ditch and Christy Clark’s Liberals cruise to a fourth term. “He is a giant egghead,” said one disgruntled New Democrat who said the campaign started on a high note but kept sliding downwards as the weeks wore on and Clark’s Liberals framed Dix as negative and an economic risk. “He thought he would win a policy war during an election campaign. That proved to be fatal,” said the NDPer who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Adrian kept talking about how he had one (crappy) suit and Christy looks like a million bucks.” Dix frequently mentioned during campaign stops that he had two suits, but noticed on the first day he mixed up his pants and jackets. At one stop, he addressed a Surrey town hall with birthday cake icing stains on his pants and tie. Campaign workers were seen carrying fresh shirts after the cake incident. As the Dix bus pulled out of Hedley and onto the winding Hope-Princeton highway, the first song out of the exceptionally fine bus speakers was “Come Together” by the Beatles. The irony of the song choice and what was to transpire a few hours down the road was epic. The bus stopped at the entrance to Manning Park and Dix looked up at the expanse of shimmering stars above him. “I’ve got all kinds of Hope,” deadpanned Dix as he strode into Hope’s Tim Horton’s just after midnight and ordered a medium coffee, one milk. He was greeted by ChilliwackHope NDP candidate Gwen O’Mahony, who won a historic by-election in Liberal territory

last year. “Don’t say we don’t know how to close in this campaign,” Dix said. “Today we’ve got to work one more day to bring change to British Columbia.” Dix reminded the dozen New Democrats out for a late-night snack at Tim’s that O’Mahony’s Chilliwack-Hope by-election win offered “some real hope for everybody. You can win everywhere.” O’Mahony was among those who lost Tuesday night. The 24-hour victory lap covered some 1,700 kilometres and was scheduled to make 14 community stops, starting in Courtenay on Vancouver Island and concluding in Dix’s own Vancouver-Kingsway riding just as the polls opened. Kamloops, Williams Lake, Prince George and Penticton were airport stops where Dix met diehard party supporters whom he reminded to work every last minute of the campaign to get out the vote, ending with a rephrased version of the Sam Cooke ballad “A change is going to come” to British Columbia in 24 hours. But the chain-link, barbwiredtopped fences at the airports that formed an ominous barrier between Dix and his supporters did little to foster the impression his campaign was building spontaneous momentum on the journey home. In Prince George, Dix took reporters’ questions and spoke at length about his decision to run a positive, issues-focused campaign, but reporters were hustled onto the waiting plane and left without a chance to file his comments for about two hours when the flight landed in Penticton. At Williams Lake, Dix was greeted by a supporter who spoke with real excitement,


enthusiasm and anticipation of an NDP victory. “I tell you, the Liberals devastated everybody I know, including myself,” said Wayne Potter, a former BC Rail worker. “I’ve been waiting for 10 years to see this and I tell you, I think it’s going to happen and I pray to God when I wake up Wednesday morning it’s the NDP and Adrian running this province.” The NDP’s John Horgan, who was re-elected in the suburban Victoria riding of Juan de Fuca, likely shared Potter’s sense of disappointment and dismay Wednesday morning. Horgan told Victoria radio station CFAX the NDP campaign fell flat. “The NDP, my party, has to take a good look at our soul and say what are we?” he said. “Are we a perpetual opposition party or are we going to be putting forward a platform that people are excited about and vote in favour of? Clearly, that didn’t happen this time.” Horgan, who ran for the NDP leadership against Dix in 2011 but is considered one of his strongest supporters, suggested the campaign message to keep things positive and stay out of the gutter politics of the Liberals needs to be deeply re-examined. “Adrian Dix is a very good friend of mine,” said Horgan. “He ran the campaign he wanted to run, and I supported every step of that. Clearly, I was hearing on the doorstep that people wanted to hear more about the Liberal record and we did a bad job of that, there’s no question.”

Dix allowed the Liberal negative attacks on past New Democrat governments and the NDP’s campaign spending promises to take root, and it wasn’t until the last week of the campaign Dix started to counter the Liberal messages with examples of their failures, but by then, it was too late, said the disgruntled New Democrat. Others said the campaign went off course during the televised leaders debate and Dix’s Earth Day decision in Kamloops to reject Kinder Morgan’s plans to expand its oil pipeline operations in Metro Vancouver. Dix said British Columbians don’t want Vancouver to become a major oil exporting port. Former B.C. NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh who later was elected as a federal Liberal, said Dix’s decision to take a strong stand against Kinder Morgan in an effort to win Green votes threw the Liberal campaign a life ring. “This is one of these defining differences that make or break a campaign,” Dosanjh said. The disgruntled New Democrat said party brass and grassroots members now have the next four years to examine why the NDP was on cruise control in the final days of the campaign, working harder on transition teams and victory speeches than considering the significance of having just spent 12 years eating Liberal dust. The long road for the NDP now sits at 50 Liberals, 33 New Democrats, one Independent and one Green. ■

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Women’s Health: Breast Cancer What are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes? Primer on genetic mutations linked to cancers BY LAUREN LA ROSE The Canadian Press


TORONTO—Angelina Jolie’s bombshell revelation of her double mastectomy due to a genetic cancer risk has brought renewed attention to specific genes linked to the development of both breast and ovarian cancers. The Oscar-winning actress revealed in an op-ed piece in the New York Times that she carries the “faulty” BRCA1 gene and opted to remove her breasts as a preventive measure. BRCA1 stands for breast cancer susceptibility gene 1. Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes known as tumour suppressors, which normally prevent cancer from developing. Women found to have mutations in the genes have a very high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, said Kelly Metcalfe, an associate professor in the faculty of nursing at the University of Toronto. Risks can change depending on the woman’s personal situation, looking at factors such as age and family history, she added. The genetic mutations are not common, said Dr. Barb McGillivray, medical director of the hereditary cancer program at the B.C. Cancer Agency. “About one in 500 to one in 1,000 individuals will carry a mutation or a gene change in one or another of these genes,” she said from Abbotsford, B.C. Certain populations are more likely to carry the genetic mutation. Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern European ancestry have about a one in 40 chance of having the mutated BRCA gene—considerably higher than

the general population, says the Canadian Cancer Society. “It’s generally when populations tend to stay together and don’t have offspring with people from other types of ethnicities that we see these mutations tend to stay within one group of individuals,” said Metcalfe, an adjunct scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute. According to the Cancer Society, the chance of breast and ovarian cancers being linked to the mutated genes are highest among the following families: • Those with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer; • Early onset of breast cancer in one or more female relatives before age 50; • Breast and ovarian cancer in a single relative; • Family members developing cancer in both breasts; • A male relative with breast cancer. What distinguishes BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is where they’re located in the chromosomes, said Metcalfe. There are also slight differences in terms of the types of cancers associated with the two genes. Carriers of the BRCA1 gene mutation have a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer compared to those with BRCA2. But BRCA2 carriers have risks of different types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer and melanoma, said Metcalfe. For men with the BRCA2 mutation, there’s a heightened risk of both prostate and breast cancers, she added. Metcalfe said there are certain criteria an individual must meet to be eligible for genetic testing, including a strong family history of cancer,

young ages of onset of cancer within the family and being a member of ethnic groups known to be affected. “So if you’re a woman with breast cancer and you’re Jewish, because we know you have a higher risk of having one of these mutations, you’re eligible for testing. But there are very strict guidelines on who’s eligible.” Canadians who don’t meet the criteria but still want to be tested can opt to do so south of the border—and at a steep cost. Metcalfe said U.S.-based Myriad Genetics will conduct the test for about $3,000. In Canada, the lifetime risk of breast cancer for any woman is between one in eight and one in nine, or between 12 and 13 per cent, said McGillivray. A woman with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation has a lifetime risk of up to 85 per cent for getting breast cancer. By having a prophylactic (or riskreducing) mastectomy—as Jolie has done—she reduces her risk to under five per cent, she noted. As for ovarian cancer, women with a mutated BRCA1 gene have a 25 to 65 per cent lifetime risk of developing the disease, says the Cancer Society. Those with a mutated BRCA2 gene have a 15 to 20 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer. “The problem with ovarian cancer…is we don’t have good ways to pick it up early,” said McGillivray. As a result, more women actually opt to voluntarily remove their fallopian tubes and ovaries, she noted. Part of McGillivray’s

hereditary cancer program involves the operation of a high-risk clinic in Vancouver for women who don’t have cancer but are found to have one of the genetic mutations. Participants can attend for ongoing surveillance, including MRIs and mammograms. In the last year, McGillivray said among the 300 women in the program who didn’t have cancer, 27 per cent chose to have mastectomies. Fifty-five per cent chose to have their tubes and ovaries removed. “Generally, women make the decision about having ovaries and tubes out when they’ve had their families, when they’re approaching the age of menopause,” she said. Women may choose to have their breasts removed after they’ve had children so they’ve had the opportunity to breastfeed, McGillivray said. “But women might choose that surgery at any point…It depends on how your family history has affected you, what your own experience has been.” Opting for a preventive mastectomy can be an emotional struggle for many women, said Metcalfe. But for those at a high risk of developing cancer, having the surgery can reduce cancer-related stress. “Most women that I’ve spoken to actually describe waking up from the surgery thinking: ‘I no longer have to be consumed by that thought about when or if I will develop breast cancer.’ So for those women, it offers psychological benefits as well.” ■

29 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

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Women’s Health: Breast Cancer

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 30

Study finds one kind of mammogram less effective at detecting breast cancer BY SHERYL UBELACKER The Canadian Press


The “X”-Factor of women's health BY ANGIE DUARTE Philippine Canadian Inquirer SEVERAL studies both through the years and in recent times have yielded the same results: women tend to have a stronger immunity to infections and most diseases, and are less likely to get cancer than men. And it's all primarily because they have the “X”-Factor. The X-chromosome factor, that is. These findings were discussed in research led by Dr. Claude Libert from Ghent University in Belgium and published in the medical journal Bio Essays. The study focused on the X- chromosome and the microRNA—or tiny strains of ribonucleic acid— that it contains. Men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, and women have two X’s. Their microRNA tells our genes what to do or not to do. Libert recounted that “Statistics show that in humans, as with other mammals, females live longer than males and are more able to fight off shock episodes from sepsis, infection or trauma. We believe this is due to the X chromosome which in humans contains 10% of all microRNAs detected so far in the genome. The roles of many remain unknown, but several X chromosome-located strands

of microRNA have important functions in immunity and cancer.” This shows that women, perhaps, might have been dealt the upper-hand in warding off certain ailments. As suggested by Dr. Libert's team, the biological workings of the X chromosome bear a significant impact on an individual’s genes, what is known as genetic imprinting, and this gives women the immunological advantage. Dr. Libert and his team mapped out all of the microRNA found on the X chromosome in both humans and mice, emphasizing the microRNA that plays a role in our immune system’s ability to fight off infections and cancer. A good deal of this microRNA is found on the X chromosome. One related theory is that some genes on the X chromosome may be silenced or inactivated, leaving men at a disadvantage because they only have one X. Women, on the other hand, have a back-up X to buffer the effects from what may be defective or silenced on a single X chromosome. To say that health and longevity are solely dependent on the X-factor, however, would be misleading. One cannot discount the impact of a healthy lifestyle upon overall well-being. ■

TORONTO—Not all technologies used for mammography are created equal, say researchers, who found one type is far less effective at detecting breast cancer than others. A study by Cancer Care Ontario researchers found that digital computed radiography (CR) mammography is 21 per cent less successful at uncovering breast tumours than either digital direct radiography (DR) or screenfilm mammography. “This is the first Canadian study to compare the performance of digital mammography to screen-film mammography,” said Dr. Anna Chiarelli, a senior scientist at Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) who led the study. To conduct the study, published Tuesday in the journal Radiology, researchers analyzed screens for almost 690,000 women who had mammograms as part of the Ontario Breast Screening Program from 2008 to 2009. Based on the results and on CCO’s recommendation, Ontario’s Ministry of Health is spending about $25 million to phase out all CR devices and replace them with DR technology. “The evidence was very clear that one particular technology wasn’t as good as others,” Health Minister Deb Matthews said Tuesday. “So that’s why we are removing them and replacing them with more effective technology.” Matthews said she wants to replace the equipment as quickly as possible, and the province has already put out a request for proposals. For the individual woman, Chiarelli said the chance of missing a cancer with CR mammography is still low. In women 50 to 74—the age group involved in the study— about five out of every 1,000 women screened will have a breast tumour detected, she said. With CR, the figure would be slightly lower.a— “So this would be about


a 20 per cent difference to about four per 1,000—or one less cancer for every woman screened,” Chiarelli said. A woman who is concerned about what technology was used for her last mammogram and whether a tumour was missed may decide to wait for her next scheduled appointment for breast screening, said Dr. Linda Rabeneck, CCO’s vicepresident of prevention and cancer control. “But if she wants to know if her last mammography was with CR or what type, she can call the clinic where she had her mammogram,” Rabeneck said. “And then if she learns that it was CR, she has a choice: she can ask to be rescreened when they replace their equipment and have new DR equipment (or) she can go to another site where they have DR technology.” To a woman having screening, mammography machines look the same and work in the same way—X-rays take images of the breast. It is the way these images are recorded that differs. Screen-film mammography captures an image on film, which is then printed for examination. This was long considered

the standard technique, but with advances in technology, digital mammography allowed breast images to be viewed and assessed on a computer screen instead. With direct radiography, or DR, the image taken is immediately processed electronically as a digital image; with computed radiography, or CR, the image is captured within a cassette on an image plate, then processed as a digital image. An external reading device is needed to generate that digital image. Chiarelli said CR may not provide as much accuracy in detecting breast abnormalities because the images are less sharp and are “a little bit more granular.” Ontario has a mixture of the three recording technologies: about 60 per cent are DR, 24 per cent are CR and the remainder are screen-film, said Rabeneck. Across Canada, those figures differ depending on the province. Nova Scotia, for instance, has no computed radiography machines, while CR makes up a small proportion of mammography technologies in B.C. and Alberta. “We know the other

Women’s Health: Breast Cancer

31 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

‘You Don’t Need a Mastectomy or Chemotherapy’ Excerpts from Natural News and the tale of a cancer survivor BY APRIL SESCON Philippine Canadian Inquirer “SHE’LL have empowered millions of women all over world. She is sexier than ever.” The quote is by one Sharon Osborne, famous celebrity, pertaining to another famous celebrity, a household name, a sex icon: Angelina Jolie. Jolie revealed in a New York Times oped that she had her breasts removed—a mastectomy. The actress was diagnosed with the “breast cancer gene.” There was up to 87 percent likelihood that Jolie would get breast cancer, said the doctors. With the risks sky-high, Jolie went under the knife for preventive measures. Jolie wrote: “I wanted to write this to tell other provinces will be looking at what we’re doing in Ontario very closely, and frankly jurisdictions beyond Canada,” she said. Meanwhile Tuesday, the Ontario Association of Radiologists (OAR) said it had identified mammography equipment problems in a 2010 report, but the Ontario health ministry had ignored its concerns. That report said the province lagged behind the rest of Canada in its adoption of digital mammography, and provided a plan to transition away from screen-film and CR mammography units. “Had the Ministry of Health listened and acted in October 2010 on the OAR’s recommendations concerning the critical need for digital mammography to provide Ontario women with the best diagnostic equipment to detect breast cancer, we would not be having this crisis today,” president Dr. Mark Prieditis said in a statement. Dr. David Jacobs, chair of the diagnostic imaging section for the Ontario Medical Association, echoed those concerns, saying radiologists have complained to the ministry for years about chronic underfunding for new diagnostic equipment, particularly for mammography. “The significance of this failure to listen to radiology experts is that an unknown number of the 1.1 million women who annually receive a breast screen or diagnostic mammogram have had their health care compromised,”

women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.” Following the revelation, Hollywood, the world—everyone sang praises. It was a courageous decision, no doubt (no one contested that)—and more so to put it out in public. “This absolutely blew my mind. Angelina Jolie speaking out about a difficult decision that will inform + empower others,” said Nina Dobrev from hit teen show “The Vampire Diaries”. On the other side of the equation, however, journalist Mike Adams wrote on that Jolie was “duped by cancer doctors into self mutilation for breast cancer she never had.” “Angelina Jolie was lied to. She didn't have an 87 percent risk of breast cancer in the first place. All the women reading her NYT op-ed piece are also being lied to,” said Adams on his essay. “The very idea that breast cancer is a ‘percent risk’ is a complete lie. In reality, everyone has cancer microtumors in their bodies, including myself. Cancer is not a disease you just ‘get’ like being randomly struck by lightning.

Jacobs said. Rabeneck countered that Chiarelli’s study is the first in Canada to examine the outcome in patients related to the three types of mammography. “We never had this evidence before. It’s new science and it’s new evidence,” she said, adding that CCO bases all of its programs, including mammography screening, on “rigorous scientific evidence,” and the data from the study was only recently available. Online

A list of all Ontario clinics that offer breast mammography is available at Women can also contact Cancer Care Ontario at 1-800-668-9304 for more information. ■ With files from Maria Babbage

It's something you must ‘manage’ or ‘prevent’ day by day, meal by meal, through a lifestyle choice.” “Even Jolie with her BRCA1 gene that's linked to breast cancer can quite easily follow a dietary and lifestyle plan that suppresses BRCA1 gene expression . . . It can be done with simple foods that cost a few dollars a day. Those foods include raw citrus, resveratrol (red grapes or red wine), raw cruciferous vegetables, omega-3 oils and much more.” In the rather lengthy essay, Adams concludes with the following summary: • The claim that you have a “percent risk” of breast cancer is a big lie which implies you have no control over cancer. • BRCA1 genes can be kept quiet (suppressed) through proper foods and lifestyle choices. A gene is not a death sentence. • The implication that there is only ONE way to reduce breast cancer risk is a complete lie. There are thousands of options and strategies for preventing cancer. Never be cornered into surgery by a group of surgeons pushing irrational fear. • Cancer micro-tumors exist in everyone. Cancer must be “managed” in everyone to keep it in check and avoid the growth of tumors. • The cancer industry tricks women using unethical fear tactics to scare women with false statistics into highprofit cancer procedures that only cause them harm. • The claim that cutting off healthy breasts somehow “empowers” women is sick and demented. Women are far more empowered by honest information on nutrition and healthy living that allows them to keep their bodies intact rather than being sliced up by dishonest cancer surgeons. Nancy, a Filipina nurse, blogged about how her mother beat cancer without chemotherapy on nancysniche. “Mama was 60 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage IV. She was irradiated only twice, had no chemotherapy whatsoever, but she lived for another 27 years,” Nancy wrote—the surgeon had told them that “he couldn’t give her a year, or a month.” Nancy’s parents were both physicians, and she herself was a nurse (“an Oncological Nurse-Intern at the James Ewing Hospital of the Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases in New York City in the mid-1960s”). They knew the damage that chemo and radiation inflict on the body. Instead of taking that route, the family opted for day-by-day healthy living. They followed the advice in “World Without Cancer: The Story of Vitamin B17” by G. Edward Griffin: “…avoid excessive damage or stress to the body, minimize foods that pre-empt the pancreatic enzymes for their digestion, and maintain a diet rich in all minerals and vitamins—especially vitamin B17.” Nancy and siblings took over the


family’s farm to reduce their parents’ workload and stress. They switch to a vegetarian lifestyle with organic fruits and vegetables (“Absolutely NO animal protein”). Her mother took Amygdalin, which “destroys cancer cells without damaging other body tissues,” pancreatic enzymes (with chymotrypsin, given her mother’s age) to induce enzymes that “also prevent and destroy cancer”; and a selection of multivitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E and C. The author wrote: “Except for a benign cyst found and excised from just above her collar bone a year after her mastectomy, my mother’s battle with the dreaded metastasis was quite successful. The crucial factor . . . was that her healthy cells had not been damaged by the two exposures to radiation. And because she had no chemotherapy whatsoever, Mama never experienced the rigors of nausea and vomiting, or the angst over losing her hair; best of all, she never lost her appetite.” 27 more years: “In her memory, and in memory of the war she won against cancer, I speak up, every chance I get, on the merits of Vit B17 and the pancreatic enzymes,” the author concludes. Mastectomy, chemotherapy—in the end, and whatever the case, it seems best that women are informed of more options, especially in the context of the Philippines, where top health professionals pack their bags for bigger paychecks abroad; and where mastectomy and breast reconstruction are affordable only to those with pockets as deep as a Hollywood star’s. ■ More:

“My Medical Choice” by Angelina Jolie: opinion/my-medical-choice.html “How Angelina Jolie was duped by cancer doctors into self mutilation for breast cancer she never had” by Mike Adams: www.naturalnews. com/040349_Angelina_Jolie_breast_ cancer_surgery.html “My Mother Survived Cancer Without Chemotherapy”: nancysniche.


FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013



2013 BC Junior Talent Search at Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair 3 Filipino-Canadian kids grabbed preteen top three slots BY BABES NEWLAND It was a Victoria Day Long Weekend (May 17-20, 2013) celebration of cowboys, cookoffs, skateboarding, sun and the Grand Finals of 2013 BC Junior Talent Search. This year’s Talent Search showcased fourteen (14) aspiring Michael Bublés, Taylor Swifts and Carly Ray Jepsens as grand finalists for two different contest crown categories—teens and preteens. All donned in

fancy cowboy hats, leather belts and cowboy boots—sans horses, these kids all came out to shine. Finalists in the teen category (ages 13 to 18) were Caitlin Rose Beauregard, Hannah Poulton, Jenny Kalicharan, Kaitlyn Santa Juana, Manuela Cobaleda Gutierrez, Sera Kasikci and Tabitha Chacanot. While preteen category finalists were Jasmine Stacey, Tyson Venegas, Avery Amores, Connor Nelson, Jada Mckenzie-Moore, Madison Bell and Sophie Poulton. Unfortunately, some finalists

remarkably outshone the others. Taking home the muchcoveted grand prize cup for preteen crown was cute 7-year old Tyson Venegas. A budding crooner himself, Tyson wowed the judges and audiences with his own take on rhythm and blues standard, “Route 66”. And 10-year old diminutive belter Avery Amores’ rendition of Beyonce Knowles’ “Listen” landed her the second top spot as first runner up; while third placer/second runnerup Jasmine Stacey amazed

the crowd with her stage presence and unique vocal delivery of Natalie Cole’s old standard hit, “Orange Colored Sky”. Previous years’ BC Junior Talent Search winners MJ Ancheta and Alyssa Gutierrez graciously rendered their special guesting spot numbers that got the audience reminded once again as to why they are indeed called “champions.” The panel of judges was headed by Vancouverbased musician/songwriter Henri Brown. ■


33 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

At Cannes Film Festival, Emma Watson revels in her post ‘Harry Potter’ freedom BY JAKE COYLE The Associated Press CANNES, France—Emma Watson is reveling in her post“Potter” freedom at the Cannes Film Festival, relishing a Valley Girl role far from her wisebeyond-her-years Hermione. The 23-year-old “Harry Potter” actress stars in Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” which premiered Thursday at the French Riviera festival. The British actress plays a celebrity-obsessed, thickly accented Los Angeles teenager who, with a group of friends, burgles Hollywood stars such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. At Cannes, Watson told reporters that while she remains proud of her work on the “Potter” films, they now feel long ago. “I’m not trying to run away from it,” she said. “I’ve just had

an amazing three or four years. I’m really re-enjoying having the chance to transform into new roles and work with new creative people.” “The Bling Ring” is based on a Vanity Fair article about the true story of teenagers who robbed celebrities like Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom while they were out at premieres and other events. The character Watson plays, Nicki, is modeled on Alexis Neiers, who starred in the reality series “Pretty Wild.” Watson said she watched American TV shows like “The Hills,” “Keeping up With the Kardashians” and “The World According to Paris” to prepare for the role. “It’d be very easy for Nicki to feel like a parody,” Watson said. “Somehow I had to understand and empathize with her and that was really biggest challenge, second to getting the accent down. It’s quite a

Movie tie-in books like 'Gatsby' can influence sales but also imagination BY VICTORIA AHEARN The Canadian Press TORONTO—Book lovers who haven’t yet read “The Great Gatsby” but hope to do so before seeing the new Baz Luhrmann film adaptation may still find themselves being influenced by the Hollywood machine. Like many novels that are adapted for the big screen, the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic has been reprinted with a movie tie-in cover featuring the stars—in this case, a tuxedo-clad Leonardo DiCaprio looming over his castmates in all their Roaring Twenties glamour. While movie tie-in books can drive sales of novels, they can also irk some readers who find their imaginations tainted by the cinematic interpretations depicted on the cover. “When you read the book, it doesn’t matter how they describe that character, you’re most likely going to see the

cover character,” author David Korinetz, who runs the book distribution company Red Tuque Books in Penticton, B.C., said in a telephone interview. Still, he said he’s not bothered by movie tie-ins, noting they do what a cover is supposed to do— attract the eye. “If I see a book sitting there and it’s got an actor I recognize, I will most likely pick it up to see what it’s about,” said Korinetz, who’s self-published three fantasy books. “It would make no difference to me, one way or the other, whether I’m going to enjoy the book or whether I would buy it. I think it’s effective and I don’t think there’s any stigma.” Author Alison Wearing, who recently published the memoir “Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter,” feels differently. “It cheapens the experience of the book for me. It commercializes it,” said the Stratford, Ont.-based writer/performer. “I’m far, far, far less inclined to pick up a book

specific dialect.” Since the “Harry Potter” films concluded in 2011 with the second part of “Deathly Hallows,” Watson has gravitated to more adult films, including last year’s coming-of-age tale “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical epic “Noah,” which recently finished shooting. She also makes a cameo as herself in this summer’s “This is the End,” an apocalyptic comedy. “For Emma, it was, I think, really interesting to see an actress that you’ve seen in other things really transform into a completely difficult character,” Coppola said. Young actors often treat Cannes as a coming-out-party, a place to introduce themselves on a more artistically-minded stage. Watson shined with enthusiasm for her experience with the improvisationfriendly Coppola.

“I could work in a way that was a lot more loose than I was used to,” said Watson. “I’m used

to really having to stick to my lines because a lot of people know them by heart.” ■

if the cover has some sort of movie reference, even though I would have very happily picked up that novel. “I often actually look for the old version. I’ll look for it in a second-hand book store before I’ll buy that new flashy, Hollywood version, because that’s what it feels like.” CBC Radio “Writers & Company” host Eleanor Wachtel recalls “Notes on a Scandal” author Zoe Heller expressing dismay about the movie tie-in that had Judi Dench’s image on the cover. Heller voiced her opinion during a panel discussion at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India in late January. “She said ‘No one’s going to be able to read my novel now without thinking of Judi Dench,’ which is not who she had in mind when she was writing the book,” said Wachtel, who also hosts TIFF Bell Lightbox’s “Books on Film” subscription series. Vintage Canada publisher Marion Garner says the paperback imprint, which handled the recent movie tie-in for Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi,” wrestles with such issues when designing covers. “Some people feel very strongly—editors and publishers and authors—that they don’t

like photographic images of what are supposed to be main characters or key characters in the book, because it does give you an association,” she said. But for “every person that doesn’t want to be seen reading a classic book because it’s got a star on the front, there’s probably three people who are buying the book because there’s a star on the front and there’s a movie,” added Garner. “We are concerned about esthetic, absolutely, but we can’t change what the movie art is, we can just decide not to use it,” said, noting film executives decide on the art, not the publishers. “Depending on the size of the release and star power and marketing power and everything else, it would often, I’m sure, be a silly decision not to use the movie tie-in art because of the play it was going to get in advertising and trailers and movie theatres everywhere.” Bahram Olfati, vicepresident of procurement for books at Indigo Books & Music Inc., says every time there’s a movie tie-in for a book, “sales go through the roof, regardless of the cover, especially if the movie is a blockbuster.” “With ‘Gatsby,’ we actually noticed the spike (late) last year when the original trailer came

out and it’s just been increasing week over week. So with movie tie-ins there is always a tremendous interest,” he said. “We’re seeing it with ‘Gatsby,’ we saw it with ‘The Road,’ we saw it with ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,’ we definitely saw it with ‘The Help,’ and so on.” The recent movie tie-in for Martel’s “Life of Pi,” depicting star Suraj Sharma and a tiger drifting on a boat at sunset, was also popular, said Olfati. “I think ‘Life of Pi’ hit a home run with their movie cover because it wasn’t the blatant movie poster and it really depicted the story really well,” he said. “And for a book that’s over 10 years old ... we’ve sold hundreds of thousands. The sales were unbelievable.” Garner said “Life of Pi” is a good example of how a movie tie-in can give a facelift to a book that’s been in print for many years while introducing it to a new generation of readers and film viewers who might not necessarily be bookworms. Movie tie-ins also give publishers a better space in stores. “I think retailers love the idea of having piles of movie tie-ins with big stars on them, so we like the idea of that too,


❱❱ PAGE 34 Movie tie-in


FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 34

Hilda Koronel, Lino Brocka take Cannes by storm once again BY BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR. Philippine Daily Inquirer CANNES—If Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” had Kim Novak, Lino Brocka’s “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag” had Hilda Koronel. Both vintage films are featured in the world’s biggest festival, specifically in the Cannes Classics section, currently going on in this coastal city in the south of France. The fest website reported that Novak would be the guest of honor in the premiere of “Vertigo” on May 25. Not to be outdone, the Philippine contingent made sure that it also had a classic beauty at its own red-carpet event—the grand debut of the digitally restored version of Brocka’s 1975 film held last Friday night at the Salle Buñuel of the Palais. As the end credits rolled, “Maynila” was cheered and heavily applauded. Koronel told the Inquirer: “I am elated and a bit sad at the same time. I got sentimental upon seeing onscreen the old friends who are no longer with us, like (the late actordirector) Mario O’Hara. How I wish they could have been here as well.” It was not Koronel’s first time at Cannes. Over three decades ago, she made a splash at the Croisette, where her mentor Brocka’s “Insiang” was screened in the Section Parallèlle/Directors’ Fortnight. Koronel has vivid recollections of that 1978 event.

“I stayed only for a few days, but Lino and I were kept busy with pictorials and interviews with French, German and other European journalists.” She told the Inquirer this latest Cannes visit “brought back a lot of wonderful memories.” The highlight of her 1978 trip was Koronel landing on the front page of the daily, FranceSoir, upstaging then Hollywood “It” girl Farrah Fawcett. The photo of Koronel, in her Christian Espiritu gown, was considerably larger, compared to Fawcett’s more modest picture. Grand comeback

In her grand comeback at Cannes, Koronel, who is now based in Los Angeles, chose an off-the-rack gown from a US store. “Filipino designer friends wanted to make a new dress for me, but we didn’t have time.” She was escorted by her Filipino-American husband, lawyer Ralph Moore, at the premiere. Koronel was flown to France by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), which spearheaded the “Maynila” restoration with help from Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation (WCF) and the movie’s cinematographer and producer Mike de Leon. Koronel said she was honored to represent Brocka, a National Artist for Film who died in a car crash in 1991. “It was a momentous occasion … inspiring.” Sadly, De Leon and the film’s

lead star Bembol Roco were unable to attend the premiere. Scorsese sent a pretaped video message specially for the “Maynila” screening. In his message, Scorsese hailed Brocka as “a giant, a towering filmmaker whose films were “brave, extraordinary, powerful experiences.” Scorsese said the WCF was “excited” at getting a chance to save a Brocka film. “It’s now very difficult to watch a good print of Brocka’s movies. It was urgent … to participate in this restoration.” The dignitaries present at the “Maynila” premiere were led by FDCP chair Briccio Santos, FDCP executive director Ted Granados, consul to Monaco Patricia Zobel de Ayala, Brocka’s Cannes “discoverer” Pierre Rissient, Doug Laible and Kent Jones of WCF, Davide Pozzi of L’Immagine Ritrovata, programmers Roger Garcia, Jeremy Segay, Benjamin Illos and Paolo Bertolin, among others. Also present were the Filipino filmmakers featured in this year’s Cannes: Erik Matti (whose “On the Job” is included in the Directors’ Fortnight) and Lav Diaz and Adolfo Alix Jr. (whose films, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” and “Death March,” respectively, are competing in the Un Certain Regard section). Also present at the “Maynila” screening were actors Archie Alemania, Evelyn Vargas and Bianca Zialcita, cinematographer Albert Banzon, filmmakers Tikoy Aguiluz, Sheron Dayoc and

Derick Cabrido, producers Dondon Monteverde, Raymond Lee, Arleen Cuevas, Vanessa Ulgado, and others. The hall resounded with applause at the end of the twohour film. The most ardent of film buffs lingered in the theater lobby, hesitant to leave. Rissient told the Inquirer: “I hope this would be the beginning of more restoration projects. I know of at least four Brocka films—‘Insiang,’ ‘Bona,’ ‘Jaguar’ and ‘Bayan Ko’—that need to be saved.” Festival programmer Salvatore Leocata of

Brussels called “Maynila” a “masterpiece.” Diaz said it had remained “powerful” after all these years. “I first saw it at Coronet Theater in Cubao in 1975,” Diaz recalled. “I was in college then and our Literature teacher at the Ateneo assigned us to do a paper on it. My classmates and I kept debating about it afterward. It changed my perspective on cinema. It led me to filmmaking. It made me realize that film is not merely entertainment. Cinema could

and our sales did not suffer for that, either.” Olfati said a movie tie-in is “great for the book, regardless of the cover,” noting “it’s the content that’s more important.” Still, he acknowledged there is a portion of the public that will want the original and the company will always offer both versions to accommodate all tastes. says traditional book covers generally outsell the movie-tie in editions in its online store.

And at Ben McNally Books in Toronto, it seems most readers don’t want the movie tie-in. “Any place that I’ve ever worked, customers don’t want the movie jacket,” said owner Ben McNally. “I think because of the sense that there’s a level of transience to the movie that is inimical to serious readers.” Sebastian Faulks’s “Birdsong” and David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” are two examples of books that had movie tie-ins

that were shunned by McNally’s customers, he said. “My customers said, ‘Oh my God, can you get me a “Cloud Atlas” that doesn’t have the movie on it? ... There was a real fury,” said McNally. “But that’s my place, and when you think about how insignificant a bookstore like mine is in the big picture, it’s much better that people read a good book because it has a movie on it than they don’t read the book at all.” ■

More restoration projects

❱❱ PAGE 36 Hilda Koronel

Movie tie-in... ❰❰ 33

of having piles of our books in the front of stores,” she said. “It’s such a gift when it happens that a book that’s 10, 15, 20, 50, 100 years old that you’ve had nestled in your backlist for years is suddenly brand new.” Garner said Vintage Canada likes to get movie tie-ins in stores at least a month before the film’s wide release, usually when the trailers emerge. The publisher signs a licence to use the art, which can range from a

year to two years on average. “We keep it until the DVD is out and then we usually go back to the original paperback art,” she said. And authors can have some say in what the movie tie-in will look like. “Like when the film of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ came out, the author (Audrey Niffenegger) was adamant that she didn’t want a movie tie-in anywhere in any territory,” said Garner. “So that was respected

35 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Live coverage by Juan Radio 96.1 FM on Fairchild on June 8, 2013


Vin Diesel slow and curious in Manila


Hilda Koronel... ❰❰ 34

also be a potent tool for discourse.” For Alix, “I was looking forward to seeing the film’s climax again. It is one of the most powerful endings I have ever seen in a movie.” He said he first saw the film on VHS when he was a high school student. The restoration project, said Santos, aims to introduce Brocka to a wider and younger audience. “Maynila” will premiere at the Cine Adarna of UP Diliman in June. A commercial release will follow in July or August, said Santos. Brave choice of themes

FDCP also plans to release a twin-bill DVD of “Maynila” with Manuel Conde’s “Genghis Khan” (which was debuted in Venice), its first two restoration projects. “Brocka has always been known for being brave in his choice of themes for his films,” said Santos. “He has the discipline and determination to imbue his films with social purpose.”

Santos met Brocka in Baguio in the 1970s. “He struck me as humble and unassuming, very respectful and serious about his craft. It was quite obvious that he was gifted.” Santos praised Brocka for using his talent “to serve the Filipino people.” Brocka said that the director’s role was to present the truth, Santos related. “Brocka said he had to make use of reality to confront the people so they wouldn’t become apathetic.” A perfect example of Brocka’s commitment to the cause, Santos said, was “Maynila,” which was produced in the middle of martial law. Santos praised “Maynila” for “shedding light on the plight of the exploited masses, at a time characterized by much danger and repression.” In his speech, Santos said: “It was Brocka’s intention to make a document of this period … But through this restoration, not only did we bring a film back to life; more importantly, we restored a part of the truth for all of us to witness and remember.” ■

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 36

BY MARINEL R. CRUZ Philippine Daily Inquirer ON LOCATION with “Fast and Furious” Vin Diesel in Manila? Filipinos could experience the thrill of watching the sights and sounds of Manila and the rest of the country on screen as they did in “Bourne Legacy” if they take on the challenge of the star of the “Fast and Furious” action series. Diesel, who spent three days in Manila to promote “Fast and Furious 6,” urged Filipinos on Thursday to lobby for the shooting in the Philippines of any of the future installments of the blockbuster series. Universal Pictures, producer of the highly successful franchise, is expected to do three more sequels. The 45-year-old actor, who is also a coproducer of the Hollywood action-thriller franchise, suggested that Filipinos take the campaign to the social media networks. “When I go home, I want to hear about it. I want the studio to come to me and say that the request to go to the Philippines is so strong [that we have to respond to it],” said Diesel, who is also known for appearing in the films “Saving Private Ryan,” “Pitch Black” and “The Chronicles of Riddick.” “Fast and Furious 6” was filmed in key cities in Spain, Japan and the United Kingdom. “We envision scenes here in Asia,” Diesel told reporters. “There’s this one scene that probably won’t come until the eighth sequel. We’re already mapping out what a race on the Great Wall of China would be. You are the first one to know that. The guys in the studio will probably get angry with me for telling you that.” Diesel, however, said plans would often change in the course of production. “All the locations in the saga have come from someone’s suggestions,” he said. “All started with somebody requesting that the saga go to their home country. I guess what I’m saying is that [you should do something] if you want the saga to come to your homeland.” Diesel and three other cast members of the latest “Fast and Furious” installment— Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans and Gina Carano— arrived on Tuesday morning for the Manila leg of the film’s

world tour that includes stops in cities like London, Beijing, Seoul and Cabo San Lucas. The movie will open in local theaters on May 24. Why Manila?

In a media conference that also included journalists from other Southeast Asian countries, Diesel said he chose Manila as the venue for the redcarpet premiere on Wednesday night as well as the press junket “because I’ve always wanted to come here my whole life.” His twin brother, Paul, is married to a Filipino. “I have to say I wouldn’t trade this trip to the Philippines for anything. The people here are so wonderful and they don’t even realize it… They have this kind of warm and welcoming energy that you don’t see everywhere. I noticed it from (boxing icon) Manny Pacquiao signing our boxing gloves to the street vendor who gave out a warm, welcoming smile,” the actor said. Each cast member received a pair of autographed gloves from Pacquiao as a welcome gift. Since his arrival on Tuesday, Diesel has been spotted in various locations around the metro. He was photographed interacting with fans at the Glorietta mall in Makati City and while strolling along Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City. He was also seen riding a jeepney on his own. “I loved riding the jeepney,” he said. “Those are the coolest buses I’ve ever seen. You have to understand that I grew up riding public transportation. I grew up with New York City subways. Coming from a dirty subway to a jeepney in a tropical island is a big upgrade.” Final stop

At the red-carpet premiere on Wednesday night, producer Neal H. Moritz said the movie’s cast traveled around the world, with Manila as their final stop. “We’re so excited to give you this movie. You’re going to get surprises from this one. Hopefully, a year from now, we’ll have the seventh installment.” Diesel was in his usual black tank top and tight denim pants when he walked the red carpet at the SM MOA Music Hall on Wednesday night. Rodriguez, who wore a black long-sleeved dress, galloped and ran in her heels on the red carpet as she gamely shook

hands with the fans. Carano, in a sexy backless evening gown, signed autographs as British actor Evans sang some lines of the Filipino classic “Kailangan Kita.” The cast members also autographed a Dodge Challenger race car, which was later auctioned off for charity. “Vin and Michelle have a lot of Filipino friends,” said Wilson Tieng, president of Solar Entertainment Corp., host of the three-day event. “In fact, I’ve received requests from their group to reserve tickets for their friends to attend the premiere.” Evans said he first visited Manila 10 years ago when he stayed with a group of friends whom he met and worked with during the London run of the musical “Miss Saigon.” He told the Inquirer: “Being here for only a few days isn’t enough. I want to get on the plane to Boracay, stay at the beach, relax and take in the sun.” Carano claimed to be a huge fan of boxing champ Pacquiao, whom she personally met in her hometown Las Vegas. “I was thrilled to have received a pair of autographed gloves from Pacquiao,” she said. A special media screening of “Fast Furious 6” was held at the Greenbelt mall in Makati on Tuesday night. Diesel reprises his role as lead character Dom Toretto in this popular movie franchise that brought underground street racing to international spotlight in 2001. The first film was loosely based on a story published in a magazine titled “Racer X” that talks about racing street cars late at night. In the sixth installment, Diesel is joined by Walker, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot and Elsa Pataky. Rodriguez plays Dom’s girlfriend Letty, who he earlier thought was dead. Evans portrays the role of the ruthless villain Owen Shaw. The first “Fast Furious” movie grossed over $200 million in the worldwide box office with a production budget of a mere $38 million, according to an online report. In “Fast Five,” world box-office figures exceeded $600 million while production budget was about $125 million. ■

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013



Tiny premature babies get boost from live music; hospitals & even ‘American Idol’ catching BY LINDSAY TANNER The Associated Press CHICAGO—As the guitarist strums and softly sings a lullaby in Spanish, tiny Augustin Morales stops squirming in his hospital crib and closes his eyes. This is therapy in a newborn intensive care unit, and research suggests that music may help those born way too soon adapt to life outside the womb. Some tiny preemies are too small and fragile to be held and comforted by human touch, and many are often fussy and show other signs of stress. Other common complications include immature lungs, eye disease, problems with sucking, and sleeping and alertness difficulties. Recent studies and anecdotal reports suggest the vibrations and soothing rhythms of music, especially performed live in the hospital, might benefit preemies and other sick babies. Many insurers won’t pay for music therapy because of doubts that it results in any lasting medical improvement. Some doctors say the music works best at relieving babies’ stress and helping parents bond with infants too sick to go home. But amid beeping monitors, IV poles and plastic breathing tubes in infants’ rooms at Chicago’s Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, music therapist Elizabeth Klinger provides a soothing contrast that even the tiniest babies seem to notice “What music therapy can uniquely provide is that passive listening experience that just encourages relaxation for the patient, encourages participation by the family,” Klinger said after a recent session in Augustin’s hospital room. The baby’s parents, Lucy Morales and Alejandro Moran, stood at the crib and whispered lovingly to their son as Klinger played traditional lullabies, singing in Spanish and English. “The music relaxes him, it makes him feel more calm” and helps him sleep better too, Lucy Morales said. “Sometimes it makes us cry.” Some families request rock music or other high-tempo songs, but Klinger always slows the beat to make it easier on tender ears.


“A lot of times families become afraid of interacting with their children because they are so sick and so frail, and music provides them something that they can still do,” Klinger said, who works full time as a music therapist but her services are provided for free. Music therapists say live performances in hospitals are better than recorded music because patients can feel the music vibrations and also benefit from seeing the musicians. More than two dozen U.S. hospitals offer music therapy in their newborn intensive care units and its popularity is growing, said Joanne Loewy, a music therapist who directs a music and medicine program at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Preemies’ music therapy was even featured on a recent episode of the hit TV show “American Idol,” when show finalist Kree Harrison watched a therapist working with a tiny baby at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Music is such a huge part of our lives and to do something like this, make it a sort of healing process, is a cool thing,” Harrison said on the April 25 episode. Dr. Natalia Henner, a newborn specialist at Lurie hospital, said studies in nursing journals show music therapy for preemies “does help with promoting growth. And there’s some good literature ... saying that the time to discharge is a little bit shorter in babies who’ve been exposed to more music therapy.” She said it “definitely facilitates bonding” between parents of preemies and other babies too sick to go home. Loewy led a study published last month in the journal Pediatrics, involving 11 U.S. hospitals. Therapists in the study played special small drums to mimic

womb sounds and timed the rhythm to match the infants’ heartbeats. The music appeared to slow the infants’ heartbeats, calm their breathing, and improve sucking and sleeping, Loewy said.

Soozie Cotter-Schaufele, a music therapist at Advocate Children’s Hospital-Park Ridge near Chicago, says soothing rhythmic sounds of music can mimic womb sounds and provide a comforting environment for preemies. She sings and plays a small harp or guitar, and says the sounds help calm tiny babies while they’re undergoing painful medical procedures. Cotter-Schaufele said she recently heard from a woman whose daughter was born prematurely at her hospital six years ago. She had played the 1960s folk song “Today” for the infant. The mother reported her daughter “‘still loves that song,” She said ‘She didn’t learn that song from me, she learned it from you,’” Cotter-Schaufele said. ■


Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s 14th Annual comedy night Etch-YOUR-SketchOFF! 5—The Last & De-Lirious VANCOUVER, May 7, 2013— Wild, ZANY, gut-aching, pee-your-pants FUNNY is what you can expect when local Asian-Canadian sketch comedy teams compete in the popular Etch-Your-Sketchoff Comedy Night on May 29+30 to coincide with Asian Heritage Month in Vancouver. Each team performs a 6-9 minute original sketch in this rare showcase of AsianCanadian comedy talent that confronts racial stereotypes and breaks down cultural boundaries. The teams will have two weeks to prepare their comedy sketches and must incorporate a randomly chosen element into their performance. Celebrity judges will select the winner of the coveted Vancouver RICE BOWL AWARD on May 29 and on the second night (May 30), the audience will vote with their applause for their favorites to determine the PEOPLE’S CHOYS AWARD winner. This annual event serves up multicultural comedy from the outrageous to the absurd to the wildly satirical, and sells out every year. This is the 14th year of Vancouver’s Asian Canadian Theatre’s Comedy

Asians ‘R’ We

Night, which the company was founded to produce and the 5th year in its current incarnation as Etch-YourSketchoff. Over the years, the Comedy Night has helped launched the careers of AsianCanadian stand-up comedians and sketch comedy troupes such as Assaulted Fish and Hot Sauce Posse. The event is hosted by the original Comedy Night Host and funny-man Tom Chin (pictured on the poster), who has performed as part of Assaulted Fish and Hot Sauce Posse in the past. Celebrity judges include former Entertainment Tonight Canada correspondent Olivia Cheng and Jimmy Lee. This year’s competing teams are: • The Yangtzers (last year’s rice bowl winners, image attached) • SFUU MAN CHU • Finguh Lickin Good • Asians R’ We? Event details

The event will be held Wednesday, May 29, to Thursday, May 30, starting 8 p.m. at the Roundhouse Community Arts Centre. Avail of tickets in advance for $20 on Tickets at the door will be sold at $23. ■

FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 38


The Merry Month of May, Part 2 BY RUDY M. VIERNES

WHILE December wafts with the ring of Christmas carols and the air cooler May is more colorful and festive but the weather…wow, hot and humid! May is a merry month—of fiestas, processions, flowers, Santacruzan, Flores de Mayo, and the Virgin Mary. Marian procession abound everywhere during May, and the most popular is the Santacruzan which means Holy Cross. It is considered the most alluring of Filipino festivals because of its pomp and glitter and its awesome display of pulchritude and fashion. What this generation knows about Santacruzan is essentially a road show of pretty girls called sagalas, elegantly dressed, coiffed and madeup, escorted by good-looking gentlemen calledConstantinos in resplendent barongs. It has become a beauty pageant com fashion show where the sagalas and their escorts are the marquee names of filmdom and the modelling ramps gowned by the Who’s Who of the fashion world. Due to its mass appeal the Department of Tourism stages Santacruzan on a grand scale to drumbeat tourism Santacruzan is a religious procession to commemorate the mythical search of Helena of the Cross on which Christ was crucified. Legend has it that when Constantine was emperor of Rome he and his mother Helena became cross devotees. Constantine saw a vision of a cross with the inscriptions “In Hoc Signo Vinci” which means “By This Sign You Conquer.” He changed the eagle sign of the Roman emblem with the Cross. In the battles that he led he won decisively. Thankful he decreed Christianity the state religion and he and his mother were converts to Christianity. Queen Helena led a pilgrimage in search of the true Cross which she came upon buried in the ruins of Jerusalem. There were three crosses. But which one is the true cross? She asked


a leper to touch all of them. He was instantly healed as he touched the third. Helena knew then it was the cross on which Christ was nailed. Helena brought home her precious find amidst joyous celebration and thanksgiving. Thus Santacruzan has become a storied tradition that dates back to pre-colonial times, when the Creole Friars introduced it in the 16th century. Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) are often integrated festivals. What is focused in Flores de Mayo is the Reyna delas Flores who carries bouquet of flowers and the Virgin Mary carried on a carroza. The show feature of Santacruzan is the sagala Reyna Elena who carries a symbolic small cross. The statue of the Virgin Mary which had been brought down to the side altar is adorned with garlands of flowers, like sampaguitas, ilang-ilangs which abound in May, while the faithful recite the rosary. There are spates of religious festivals held in May that extend to the end of the summer months. The neighborhood block Rosary procession is minute but ubiquitous. Simple folks sing Marian songs and alternately pray the rosary as they carry a small image of the Virgin Mary to the house of the next host who prepares a simple altar bedecked with flowers and candles. Simple fares like cookies and drinks are served but not necessary. The fabled Ati-Atihan processions in the Panay provinces, Iloilo and miniversion elsewhere, albeit with various twists, are vibrant, pulsating and frivolous

extravaganzas. Hundreds of freakishly clad revellers tromp the streets carousing and rollicking in undisguised frivolity in sync with the rhythm of the deafening beats of drums and cymbals that overload the senses prompting everyone to join in the frenzy—a raucous procession that could eclipse the fabled Mardi Grass of New Orleans or Rio in Brazil. The Bangus Festival is the Pangasinan's most famous fest. Street parties and parade of dancers in bangus-inspired costumes, culinary competition that involves the world's tastiest milkfish are the fares. This festival is usually held during the middle of April to first week of May in many towns of the country's largest province, especially in the cities of Dagupan and Bonoan. The Pahiyas festival in Lucban, Quezon is celebrated on May 15. It showcases streets of houses adorned with fruits, vegetables, agricultural products and kipings, delicacies of multi-hued rice flakes. The essence is in thanksgiving to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. The fiesta of Our Lady of Peace in Antipolo and Our Lady of Manaoag are not as flourish but they have their own share of faithful for their religious fervor and the miracles they spring. For sheer drama no religious waterborne festival can rival the magnificence of the gailybedecked flotilla of motorboats carrying and escorting the Our Lady of Penafrancia along the Naga river in Bicolandia. A similarly grandiose fluvial parade called Pagoda sa Wawa is staged in Hagonoy, Bulacan which had some blemishes due to tragedies in the past. ■


39 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

SM ups its brand—thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker’s aura The Hollywood icon is the face of SM Store’s ‘Love to Shop’ campaign BY CHECHE V. MORAL Philippine Daily Inquirer IT’S the perfumed and stylista set that SM Aura Premier wants to entice into its fancy new confines, and Sarah Jessica Parker seems the apt choice to headline the SM Store brand, if the well-heeled throng that trooped to the new Taguig mall Thursday is anything to go by. Fashionistas were reduced to screaming fans upon catching a glimpse of the actress and fashion icon, who flew in from New York City to grace the mall’s VIP launch. The mall opened to the public on Friday. Parker, 48, is best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO hit comedydrama series “Sex and the City,” a Manhattan newspaper columnist, and is credited for having singlehandedly made the designer shoe label Manolo Blahnik into a household name. Carrie, the show’s narrator, is known for her quirky fashion sense and luxurious tastes. SATC, as the series is known to fans, was a showcase of the hottest brands and trends, as seen on its four main characters. It ran from 1998 to 2004, and spawned two feature films. Global fame

The series undoubtedly catapulted Parker to global fame, especially among the fashion crowd, and she continues to be a red-carpet favorite who tends to push the fashion envelop almost as much as her bold and daring boob-tube alter ego. Just recently, her knickers-flashing Giles Deacon ball gown and Philip Treacy mohawk feather hat at the punk-themed Met Gala was one of the most talked about. “I still feel privileged that someone still allows me to borrow a beautiful dress,” Parker told Inquirer Lifestyle. “I still take it seriously. I honor that. It’s still as much a fantasy now as it was 10 years ago. I’m as tickled by it as I’ve ever

been.” The petite actress faced her fans in a slinky, sheer black dress that showed off her lithe frame. Matching jeweled tennis bracelets adorned her delicate wrists. Her long, goldflecked mane was parted in the middle and simply brushed to the sides. “I realized I didn’t know much about the Philippines before I came here,” she said. “I knew that the Filipino nurses in New York are held in extremely high regard, and there are wonderful Filipino babysitters in my neighborhood. But I admit I didn’t know much about the culture and the food until now. It’s been a surprising city. People said you should go to the islands and to the beaches, but I like the city, too. I don’t mind the heat. It’s been exciting and interesting. I wish we had more time. But this will not be my last visit. I hope I’m invited back.” Parker is the face of the SM Store’s “Love to Shop” campaign, an up-branding of the retail giant’s department store to cater to elite, upmarket and fashion-conscious consumers. The first of the “next generation” of SM Stores can be found in the new SM Aura Premier. Colorful experience

Married to actor Matthew Broderick, Parker spoke about how her life’s pace had changed post-SATC. “I’ve had other opportunities and I’ve had more kids since, so it has been very fulfilling,” she said. After son James Wilkie, now 10, Broderick and Parker had twin daughters, Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge, born via surrogate, in 2009. The girls will turn four in June. “It’s amusing,” Parker said of dressing up her daughters. “They dress themselves. It’s a much more colorful experience. My son wasn’t opinionated about what choices were made for him. My daughters have very, very strong opinions about what they wear.”

Parker admitted she has to forego her designer togs most days in favor of jeans and corduroys to attend to her mommy duties. “I don’t think motherhood changed the way I choose what to wear for evening, or when I’m out with friends or when I go to a business meeting. But as a mom, I get up and the first thing I do is to take the kids to school when I’m not working. I do what probably a lot of mothers do in this country: whatever fits and whatever gets them out of the door in time.” Her one advice to multitaskers like herself: “Dress in ways that make you feel like you,” she said. “Don’t worry too much about what somebody looks like or what they’re wearing. Walk out the door feeling like yourself. That’s what makes a person feel best.” Global brands

Parker has become synonymous to sexy, vertiginous heels, owing to Carrie Bradshaw, who famously said in one episode, “Men I may not know. But shoes, shoes I know!” The actress, however, said she had no tips for women pertaining to standing in stilettos all day. “I’ve always just done it,” she said. “If it’s shoes I love and it hurts six, eight hours into the day, take them off and rub your feet under the table, then put them back on.” SM Aura Premier may not carry the luxury labels worn by Carrie and her friends Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda on SATC, but the SM owners like to boast that the mall houses the first stores in the Philippines of new global brands, as well as concept stores of popular brands. The three-level, 5,590-square-meter store by New York firm Point Design has a more understated, decidedly more upscale look than typical SM stores. In place of colorful graphics and wall and ceiling treatments, lighting is the key design feature. At the launch, SM announced


that the award-winning Parker, who’s known for her charitable causes, donated $100,000 to the SM Foundation to benefit the underprivileged of Taguig. Parker is a board director for the New York City Ballet

and is a Unicef ambassador. A member of President Barack Obama’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities, she adopted last year a Portland, Oregon, school for the Turnaround Arts Initiative. ■


FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 40

Save more, Filipinos urged BY TINA ARCEO-DUMLAO Philippine Daily Inquirer SUZE ORMAN, a two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, bestselling author and one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, according to Forbes Magazine, lives by simple rules: Live below your means but within your needs, and get as much joy out of saving as you do spending. Follow these rules, says the former waitress who eventually made it big as a financial analyst, and one need not worry about having enough money when the proverbial rainy day comes. Living below your means will also prevent Filipinos from buckling under the weight of credit card debt, where interest rates reach as much as 36 percent a year. “That little card allows you to buy things … You don’t have to impress people you don’t even like,” Orman told the Inquirer in an interview in Makati City. Financial literacy

“People have to understand that things will never define who they are. We have to feel proud of what we are and what we have,” adds Orman, who was brought to the Philippines by the Bank of the Philippine Islands as part of its financial wellness advocacy. That feeling of contentment will help remove the temptation to spend money on things and services that will not really add to the nest egg, which must be big enough to sustain a person or a family long after they retire since people are now living longer than ever. “Retiring at 60 is a vision of the past. Understand that you are going to be working for a long time, so might as well love the fact that you are going to work for that time,” says the 61-year-old, who is reputedly America’s most recognized expert on personal finance. Within that time, it is imperative that people save as much as they can, she says, and have fun while doing it. As a first step, she says Filipinos must consider owning their own home, instead of spending money on rent. “If you own your own home, then you feel safe and secure and the goal of money is to

Canadian inflation rate falls to 0.4 per cent as gas prices tumble in April BY JULIAN BELTRAME The Canadian Press

Suze Orman.

make you feel safe and secure, and not to be able to eat in a restaurant, but rather food from supermarkets. And once you feel secure, you will feel powerful,” says Orman, who got her break in the financial world when she was hired by Merrill Lynch in 1980. Such security will then give Filipinos the courage to put their money in other investment instruments such as mutual funds and even individual stocks. Stocks, mutual funds

“Stocks and mutual funds and investment trust funds are better in the long run. They do not require anything to keep, nothing needs to be replaced and there is no capital gains tax,” explains Orman. She urges Filipinos to put their money in Philippine companies or invest in an index fund as the Philippines is in a position to grow further. “People really have to stop being afraid of mutual funds and individual stocks. Whenever people tell me that they have five homes but have no money in stocks, I say ‘you fool!’,” says the Social Work graduate of the University of Illinois. Orman also cautions Filipinos against buying a brand new car if it means getting a bank loan with a term of over three years. “If you are getting financing for longer than that, then you are buying too expensive of a car. Maybe get a used car instead,” says Orman. She is also not a fan of investing too much in real estate, unless the investor really knows the market well. “You have to be very careful with homes as investments because it is illiquid. You can’t pick up the phone and say sell, unlike mutual funds,” said


Orman, “And it can happen that prices will fall all of a sudden, and when you need the money, you won’t be able to sell the property.” She also does not recommend putting money in jewelry. “It will never be a good investment because it always depreciates, which means you can’t sell it for more than you bought it for. And you can lose it too, and also make you a target,” said Orman. The key to accumulating wealth, she concluded is not putting money in just one basket but to diversify investments. “Good diversification means having money in your own home and in mutual funds. Buy into the market every month without fail,” says Orman. Investments, she points out, are not just for the rich, but for those who are looking for security, especially for their retirement. “You can not put off preparing for retirement any longer. One is never too young to start investing, but there will come a point when it becomes too late,” says Orman. It is thus important for more Filipinos to become aware of the importance of saving and preparing for retirement. They also have to know that there are indeed many investment options available in the market just waiting to be tapped. “If I could just educate everybody to, rather than buy that watch or gadget, put that amount in a mutual fund, then I would be okay,” says Orman. “I believe that once people have experienced how it is to save money, they will realize that it will give them a better feeling than getting a new watch,” she adds. “Once they get a taste for it, they will keep on eating it.” ■

OTTAWA—Canada’s inflation story is fast becoming one about disinflation. Statistics Canada reported Friday that the annual rate fell an astonishing six-tenths of a point to 0.4 per cent last month, the lowest it’s been since October 2009, as gas prices plunged by six per cent—also the biggest drop since October 2009—and many other consumer goods registered outright declines. The loonie fell more than a penny against the U.S. dollar in early trading as markets read the soft report as making interest rate hikes in Canada less likely and further off into the horizon. The Canadian dollar finished the day down 0.95 of a cent at 97.17 cents US. On a seasonally adjusted month-to-month basis, consumer prices fell by 0.4 per cent. Analysts had been looking for a decline of half that amount, according to a consensus estimate. Even food, which many analysts had predicted would begin taking a bigger chunk out of family budgets at about this time in the aftermath of last summer’s drought in the United States, continued to inch lower and were only 1.5 per cent higher than a year ago. “These numbers are incredibly, incredibly mild,” said Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter. “To me this is fully consistent with an economy that is struggling to show much growth and with the relatively soft economic backdrop we’re also seeing very low pricing power.” Porter conceded that inflation is expected to pick up in the upcoming months, but added, “not by much.” The steep drop-off in inflation will likely bring to a halt any talk about the Bank of Canada needing to start raising interest rates, given that inflation is far from the bank’s ideal of two per cent annual inflation and even below the low end of its one-tothree per cent target range. Despite a report earlier this week from a former Bank of Canada adviser, Paul Masson, that interest rates need to rise to avert long-term distortions to

the economy, particularly in the debt and house prices, TD Bank said the central bank is likely to stay on the sidelines until late next year at the earliest. Capital Economics analyst David Madani went further, saying it was time for the bank to drop its nominal tightening bias, language designed to warn markets there is very little chance of further cuts to rates. The central bank’s core inflation index, an underlying price pressure gauge which excludes volatile items such as gasoline and fresh foods, edged closer to falling out of the desired range, dropping to 1.1 per cent in April from 1.3 per cent the previous month. Two provinces—British Columbia and New Brunswick— did fall into negative inflation territory last month, registering overall price decreases of 0.8 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. While prices have been moderating the past couple of months, the April report saw outright declines across a broad range of consumer goods and services. Aside from gasoline, overall transportation costs fell 2.1 per cent, while mortgage interest costs dropped 4.3 per cent, video equipment 10.9 per cent, automobiles 0.7 per cent and travel tours 4.8 per cent. On a month-to-month basis, clothing, restaurant meals and furniture also fell. Prices were not lower for all items, but in many cases the pace of increases moderated. Food prices rose 1.3 per cent following a 1.8 per cent increase in March, while restaurant meals increased by 1.2 per cent following a 2.2 rise in March. Shelter costs did increase to 1.3 per cent annualized, from 1.1 in March, as electricity rose 4.2 per cent and rent advanced by 1.6 per cent. Also registering gains were property taxes, natural gas and homeowner replacement costs. Regionally, aside from the negative inflation in British Columbia and New Brunswick, most provinces saw slowing price pressures. The exceptions were Prince Edward Island, which saw a 0.6 per cent increase to 1.8 per cent, and Alberta, where the inflation rate rose to 1.3 per cent. ■


41 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

Aces pull off 3-game title sweep of Kings Canoy IM tops Chessfest BY MUSONG R. CASTILLO Philippine Daily Inquirer THERE was a semblance of a game this time, and it only made Alaska’s return to PBA glory all the more sweet. Trailing three-fourths of the way, the Aces scooted away in the fourth quarter to dust off Barangay Ginebra with a 104-80 win and complete a sweep of the Commissioner’s Cup title series that a new record crowd witnessed at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Aces dropped a 20-3 bomb to break a 76-all tie and claim their franchise’s 14th title in front of 23,436 fans for the championship no one really thought would come this quick after Tim Cone—who won the team’s first 13 titles— left the squad to join a richer franchise in the league almost two seasons ago. Game 3 was the hardest for the Aces to win as they labored

hard for the first three periods with Ginebra coming up with its toughest stand in the best-of-five series after losing the first two games by an average of 15.5 points. Vernon Macklin tied the game for the last time at 76 with 9:18 remaining after a tip of a Jay-Jay Helterbrand miss before the Aces came up with that telling blow that left the Gin Kings in tatters. Alaska’s defense which had keyed the first two victories suddenly came alive after that as the Aces held the Kings to just a free throw from the final 6:14 to post the biggest winning margin of the championship. Sonny Thoss, after averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds in the series, was named the Finals MVP, mainly because of the way he clamped down on Macklin. Thoss had nine points in the breakaway fourth quarter. Robert Dozier, the Best Import, fired 27 points and rookie Calvin Abueva, who lost

to LA Tenorio in the Player of the Conference derby, had 22, 11 of them in the fourth period. Dozier also had 20 rebounds, Abueva plucked down 10 and Thoss had 14 boards. Tenorio paced the Kings with 18 points but was held scoreless in the fourth. The fleet-footed 5-foot-8 Tenorio, playing just his second conference for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings from Alaska, cornered all but two of 36 media votes and was the players’ choice over the redhot Alaska rookie to finish with 1,125 points in the BPC race. Abueva topped the statistical points race over Tenorio but lost by 180 points to the Ginebra guard in the media votes for 861 total points. Dozier, the silent workhorse, topped all departments in the Best Import race and became the first Alaska reinforcement to bag the award since Diamon Simpson in the 2010 Fiesta Conference. ■

BY JOE SOLIVEN THE last round draw was all he needed. Thus, when his young but dangerous opponent, FIDE Master Jason Cao of Victoria BC agreed to halve the point, Vicente Lee (pictured 2nd from right) could only heave a sigh of relief. At long last, and after so many trials and disappointments, the FIDE International Master, thus, claimed the March Active Chess championship plum much deservingly. The win came after Mayo Fuentebella, the 2013 BC Active Chess champion was relegated to third place overall after suffering an upset loss to Joe Roeback in the 2nd round and could only squeeze a draw in the 5th round. His 4.5 points tally was not enough to bring home any prize money however. Up to 45 chess artists participated in the six-round

tourney held at the Arbutus Shopping Mall in Vancouver. Among them were Butch Villavieja, Jose Kagaoan, and Jofrel Landingin, who tied for the BU1800 category prize money. No less than Garry Kasparov, the ex-world champion, decried the rules of tie-breaks. For one, Carlsen and Kramnik, also an ex-world champion, both lost their last games which brought an anti-climactic finish to the Candidates matches. Kasparov also scored the non-use of a play-off match to break the tie. “Even if it’s not a tie but one of them finishes ahead of the other by no more than a point. Only if that match ends in a draw should the tiebreakers be taken into account,” Kasparov concluded. The world championship is slated on November 2013. Chennai, India, the reigning world champion’s hometown, is a possible venue. ■


(MARCH 21 - APRIL 19) Minor tensions will arise today, Aries. Someone close to you—perhaps your partner or a parental figure—seems to be trying to convince you to adopt a certain behavior you’re not willing to follow. Will you negotiate gently or forcefully? The second seems more likely. Knowing that, do your best to control it.


(APRIL 20 - MAY 20) The mood will be a bit oppressive today, Taurus. After meeting the challenges presented by the past several days, you’re likely to want a little peace and quiet. But you can expect to be sought out and asked to assume your duties. You may feel like forgetting the whole thing and running away. Be reasonable and wait until you have some vacation time.


(MAY 21 - JUNE 21)



(JUNE 22 - JULY 22) Some differences of opinion concerning your love life may come up today, Cancer. You could find your beloved taking more liberties than you allow yourself. Instead of resenting it, follow your partner’s lead. This could be a chance to realize that you need more novelty in the emotional realm. Be open to looking into the possibilities. The day ahead could bring you just what you seek.

(SEPT 23 - OCT 22) You could be a situation in which you have to make a decision about a relationship, Libra. Perhaps old demons have come back to haunt you about your freedom, and now you have doubts. Don’t listen to the doubts, because if you do, you may regress ten paces in your emotional life. Roll the dice and decide.


(OCT 23 - NOV 21)



(DEC 22 - JAN 19) Capricorn, if you’re waiting for someone to fulfill all of your needs, you may have to wait a very long time. The paradox of love is that it arrives on your doorstep in its most profound form when you need it least. So take whatever steps you must in order to fulfill yourself. If you don’t, you will be eternally dependent, which doesn’t suit you very well.


(JAN 20 - FEB 18)

(JULY 23 - AUGUST 22) This day may not be one of your favorites, Leo. You may be all too aware of the constraints of your chief occupation. You’re likely to hanker for appropriate rewards for your labors. This is a good day to define new personal and professional goals. They will sustain you through your chores. In the meantime, how about asking for that raise?

You aren’t the biggest advocate for working under constraints, Scorpio, so today is going to be good for you. You will accept them, and gracefully. Do you understand the meaning of such a day? It would be wonderful if you learned how to hold onto the paradox you discover. The greatest freedom comes through discipline. If you can do this, you will be happy!



(NOV 22 - DEC 21)

If you have children, their difficulties may remind you of your own, Aquarius. Or their education brings back memories of your own. Have you held onto any issues from that period that still bother you today? This would be a good time to ask yourself that question. The answer could benefit your loved ones dramatically.


(FEB 19 - MAR 20)

(MAY 21 - JUNE 21) This isn’t a day for subtle, sensitive people like you, Gemini. In fact, the winner will probably be the one who shouts the loudest and bangs on the table. The air of aggression will have an effect on you. You could be somewhat upset and more vulnerable than usual. It would be wise for you to stay away from all the commotion.

Until now, you may have been too stubborn about doing what you want without trying to address the question of your financial means, Virgo. Even if it seems too materialistic, It’s urgent that you take care of this question. Push ahead and try to raise your standard of living, because you have something to learn in this domain.

Abandon the myth that you don’t have any gifts or means at your disposal, Sagittarius. The proof is that you have your body. Are you taking care of yourself? Do you exercise? Do you take care of minor health issues? All of these questions are related. You regard your gifts the same way you regard your body.

Don’t spend beyond your means today, Pisces! If you happen to be in a crowd of enthusiastic shoppers, it could be disastrous for your wallet. You could yield to the prevailing spending mood all too easily! On the other hand, perhaps you owe yourself a treat. If you feel this is the case, at least limit yourself a bit.


FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013


Inescapable Angkor BY ANGIE DUARTE Philippine Canadian Inquirer SHE stood in reverence, this lady in Khmer robes; head bowed, eyes closed, hands in prayer position, amidst the intoxicating smoky rivulets of incense. I felt like an intruder, camera in hand, tourist mode activated, waiting for my turn for an audience with a largerthan-life statue of Vishnu, the Protector. Heady from the heat, the climb up the steep, narrow, seemingly unending series of steps, and the cumulative multinational  smell of sweat, the moment seemed a tad surreal. This was the heart of the temple. The holy of holies; the inner room built centuries ago; a divine abode towering above the rest of the massive temple structures in a desire to pay highest honour to the gods and commune closer with them. A glimpse into Angkor Wat's mystery; made known to hearts prepared: by humility, faith, reverence, and perseverance. Perhaps the climb up to these inner chambers is daunting,

on purpose. A pre-trial, if you will, to test one’s nettle and determination to enter the god’s palace and meet with divinity. “Lady, lady...” the guard intruded upon my musings, as he beckoned with outstretched arm for me to step up onto the stone platform of the shrine. I gave homage, as was proper, snapped my photo in mental and digital memory, taking everything in. Then, I prepared myself for the even more daunting climb down. But not before I made one last stop to look out at Angkor, an ancient city steeped in history and mystique. A panoramic, far-as-my-eye-could-see view afforded by this incomparable vantage point: through a window cut into stone, atop the city’s highest, most sacred structure. Ancient Angkor

Angkor, in Siem Reap is a region of Cambodia which— as tradition and temple inscriptions have it—dates back historically to the ninth century (circa 800 AD), with the rule of the young King Jayavarman II. Some inscriptions reveal,

Perhaps the climb up to these inner chambers is daunting, on purpose.  A pretrial, if you will, to test one’s nettle and determination to enter the god’s palace and meet with divinity.

ABOVE: The heart of Angkor Wat. A larger-than-life statue of Vishnu in the holy-of-holies.

RIGHT: The author at Ta Prohm Temple, a romantic jewel in the jungle.

however, that the history of Angkor may have begun as early as the 6th century. Once the seat of the Khmer Empire, the “Holy City” is home to numerous temples which bear witness to the Khmer civilization. Destined as palaces for the immortal gods—rather than as meeting places for the faithful— each temple is an impressive example of Khmer architecture; built from the most durable of brick, laterite, and sandstone. In 2007, researchers were able to determine that Angkor was, in fact, the largest preindustrial city in the world, with its elaborate infrastructure systematically connecting an urban area of at least 1,000 sq km—temples at its core—with estimates of as many as 1 million people supported by the city. With so much to see, and so little time (barely 3 days, since I was there for official business) to do it, I was determined to experience as much of Angkor as I possibly could. Although I knew that to take in all the sites and visit all the temples would be nothing short of a Herculean feat; and sadly, I am no Hercules. Wat’s in a name





largest religious monument and largest UNESCO Heritage Site, is truly a marvel to behold. My initial reaction could hardly be avoided: “ancient aliens built this. They MUST have.” I thought to myself in wide-eyed, gaping-mouthed wonder. More accurately—at least by historical accounts—this massive, sprawling (its outer walls enclose a a space of 820,000 square metres or 203 acres) structure made primarily of large blocks of sandstone, was built in the early 12th century by the labour of human hands and 40,000 elephants. Constructed over a period of 37 years, the temple started out as Hindu abode dedicated to Vishnu, and later on became a Buddhist temple. Its English name “city pagoda” is completely justified: it is not just the grandest, most sublime of Khmer temples; but is also a city in its own right. Under the rule of Suryavarman II, this pinnacle of Khmer architecture served as city capital and State Temple to Vishnu. To speak in detail of the finesse of its construction; the aesthetic perfection of bas reliefs and frescoes, depicting stories from classical Hindu literature

and religion; the breathtaking grandeur of style of each part of the temple’s whole would be to write an entire book. And still, words would barely sum it up. Angkor Wat certainly rivals and is among the most awe-inspiring monuments of the world. Which brings me back to: ancient aliens built this! As I walked through passageways and chambers, up steps and across fields— biker boots dusty with red earth trodden by people and pachyderm over hundreds of centuries—I took in Angkor’s majesty, and tried to contain it, as best I could. Temple in the jungle

Back on the bus, in momentary respite from the sweltering heat, we made our way from Central Ankgor to the more wooded jungle areas of Eastern Angkor. In the heart of the jungle, amongst ancient strangler fig and cotton trees with root formations to challenge even the most vivid of imaginations, lies the oh-so-romantic Ta Prohm Temple. Built in the late 12th century, under the rule of Jayavarman VII, this temple was intended to transfer honour from the


43 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013

deity Prajñaparamita, the “Perfection of Wisdom”, to the king’s beloved mother. The image of this principal deity is carved in the likeness of the king’s mother, and the tribute to the feminine is evidenced throughout the temple carvings. Also a UNESCO heritage site, Ta Phrom has been preserved and maintained as true to its natural state as possible: partly collapsed chambers; rubble and ruin; trees intertwined with the temple in a happy marriage of the architecture of both nature and man. These are what make Ta Phrom special, exceedingly romantic, and perhaps my favorite Khmer temple. Allow yourself a few hours of fanciful indulgence at this most fascinating of temples. Watch out for the chambers where Lara Croft ran around in Tomb Raider. Keep your eyes peeled for the woman’s face peeping out from behind a giant root formation covering an inner wall. Explore the many nooks and crannies of this jungle gem. On your way out, take a detour to the isolated satellite temple, with trees and tumbled rocks at its center. “One Dallah!”

Still entranced by this foray into rustic rubble, roots and ruin, we were caught off guard by a group of children, peddling trinkets and souvenirs as we tried to make our way to the parking lot; their shrill cries of “one dallah!!!” quickly snapping us out of romanticized reverie. Someone in our group made the fatal error of buying something, and that purchase was like the smell of fresh blood caught by zombies downwind. We found ourselves in the midst of z-day frenzy: everything from key chains to travel guides; wooden flutes to puppets; postcards to t-shirts incessantly waved in our faces by ravenous kids infected by commerce. It is easy to get bitten and infected by the “one dallah!!!” virus, I must say. Shopping in Cambodia is CRAZY! From night markets to street stalls: handicrafts, clothes, silk scarves, exquisitely embroidered pouches and purses, silver jewelry and trinkets, works of art, food items, and other sundries are to be had for no more than a few “dallahs”. A tip or two for the savvy shopper: “dallahs” are generally accepted by most merchants and hawkers, but have them in small denominations. If you change your money to local currency, do so at the airport or the banks. Rates are much higher at the markets! Tuktuk time!

Undoubtedly, the best way for tourists to get around the city of Angkor is by the quaint tuktuk; three-wheel auto rickshaws, Cambodia’s most popular mode of transport. Designs are varied, and include everything from the traditional to the outlandish, the classic to the ostentatious. Tuktuks afford a quick tour of picturesque and impressively clean

ABOVE: Outside one of Angkor Wat’s chambers.

LEFT: Just a portion of the massive “city pagoda” that is Angkor Wat, from the highest vantage point of the temple.

streets, dotted with French-inspired hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and such. These auto rickshaws are a convenient way to get to the markets, nearby temples, restaurants and cafés. For hire at the price of, you guessed it, “one dallah!!!” per head. Melting po(in)t—Pub street

One of the most popular tourist hubs in Angkor is Pub Street, a melting-pot of cultures, spread out on a street; the length of which is bar after pub after bar after restaurant. With more than a few shops in between. It is the perfect stopover for some delicious Khmer cuisine (and international treats, to), ice-cold beer and other spirits. It is also a hop, skip and a jump away from the Night Market and the Art Market, so get those “dallahs” ready. When the temperature reached a soaring 45̊C (that is not a typo), at the verge of melting point and hallucinatory mirages, we decided stop in for some icecold happy-hour brews; from .50c to “one dallah!!!” Happy hour, never happier! Sitting at an outdoor café, cold beer in hand, chatting with friends, and watching Angkor and the world’s denizens go by: a pleasure interrupted only by large beads of sweat rolling down from every pore imaginable.

fields outside of Phnom Phen: the Killing Fields. It is said that the earth runs red with the blood of millions, spilled. To date, 20,002 mass graves have been found, and many of the exhumed remains are now encased in monuments and memorial sites across Cambodia. In Angkor, Wat Thei is one of the horrible killing fields. Thousands of skulls and bones piled up in acrylic casements, bearing inscriptions I could not read. But pictures spoke volumes, as did the remains of innocents. Tourists are encouraged to visit these sites, to remember the tragedy, and to pay respects. Moreover, to stand in admiration

at the ability of the Khmer civilization to rise up from a terrible history, and rediscover their marvelous heritage No smiles in photos taken here, that’s for sure, and we made our way out in quiet reflection. Enamored with Ankgor

Angkor in three days. Definitely not enough. The heat, the sublime beauty, the depth and richness of culture: inescapable; imprinted upon my consciousness. The desire to return: undeniable; ingrained in my subconscious. Angkor, on my mind; and in my heart of hearts. ■

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FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 46

Yahoo buys... ❰❰ 20

unprofitable. That is likely to raise questions about whether Yahoo paid too much in Mayer's zeal to gain control over a hot service. Facebook Inc. faced similar doubts last year when it bought Instagram, a rapidly growing photo sharing site, that also hadn't been trying to make money. Facebook initially agreed to pay $1 billion in stock for Instagram, but the value had fallen to $715 million by the time that deal closed. Facebook still hasn't proven it will be able to make money off of Instagram. Mayer's efforts at Yahoo have been wellreceived on Wall Street so far, although most of the roughly 70 per cent surge in Yahoo's stock price under Mayer's leadership has been driven by the rising value of Yahoo's remaining 24 per cent in Alibaba. When Alibaba goes public within the next few years, analysts have estimated Yahoo could collect another $10 billion to $20 billion by selling the rest of its Alibaba stock. If this deal pays off the way Mayer envisions, Tumblr could help Yahoo finally get its stock price to $33. That would be a major coup because many investors soured on Yahoo after a previous regime led by co-founder Jerry Yang squandered an opportunity five years ago to sell the entire company to Microsoft for $33 per share. The stock spent more than four years trading below $20 before the recent surge. The shares gained 14 cents to $26.66 in Monday's afternoon trading. The deal could backfire though if Yahoo's effort to make more money alienate a Tumblr user base that so far has been subjected to hardly any advertising during the service's six-year history. "Yahoo has to manage this acquisition in a way that keeps Tumblr's user base while trying to add advertising, which historically tends to turn off a lot of people," said Forrester Research analyst Zachary ReissDavis. Mayer said Yahoo will work with Tumblr to create ads that "are tasteful and seamless." The company expects Tumblr to start increasing Yahoo's revenue next year. Mayer is betting that Tumblr will provide Yahoo with a captivating hook to reel in more traffic and advertisers on smartphones and tablet computers. That rapidly growing market is expected to become even more important during the next decade as people increasingly consume digital content on mobile devices instead of laptop and desktop machines. More than half of Tumblr's users connect to the service through the mobile app, and engage in an average of seven sessions per day. "I would characterize Tumblr as being ahead of Yahoo in terms of its work on mobile," Mayer said. Besides offering one of the top mobile apps, Tumblr also runs one of the world's busiest websites, featuring 75 million daily posts about everything from politics

Publisher Philippine Canadian Inquirer

Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo!. Mayer previously served as an executive and spokesperson for Google; she was the company’s first female engineer in 1999. Fortune magazine named Mayer 14th most powerful businesswoman of 2012.

Editor Melissa Remulla-Briones Associate Editor Laarni de Paula


to pets. Advertising has been a missing ingredient so far as Tumblr, like many online services in their early stages, focused on building a loyal audience before turning its attention to making money. The deal also has some symbolic significance for Yahoo, an 18-year-old company that had spent much of the past decade aimlessly drifting under different management teams while Google Inc. overtook it in terms of size and influence. At the same time, newcomers such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter began to command the attention of people who found themselves spending less and less time on Yahoo. Part of Yahoo's problems stemmed from missed chances to improve its service and technology. Yahoo flirted with potential acquisitions of Google and Facebook in those two companies' early days, only to have the talks unravel because Yahoo wasn't prepared to pay asking prices that were far below the current market values of Google ($300 billion) and Facebook ($63 billion). Yahoo also considered buying YouTube in 2006, only to be outbid by Google, which snapped up the world's leading online service for $1.76 billion—a price that now looks like a bargain. Even when Yahoo did pull off deals, the company has been criticized for mismanaging a list of acquired services that includes photo-sharing Flickr, online help-wanted service HotJobs and content-sharing service Yahoo ended up selling HotJobs and, but Mayer has been looking at ways to spruce up Flickr and blend its photos into more of Yahoo's other services. Mayer is expected to discuss more changes for Flickr at an event in New York Monday evening. Tumblr could help Yahoo recapture some of its cachet with teens and adults in their early 20s, a demographic that has become tougher for Yahoo to reach in recent years as it fell behind the technological curve and struggled to develop compelling services. While Facebook has turned into a mainstream social network where even grandparents now connect family and friends, Tumblr has become one of the places where the cool kids hang out. "Tumblr is redefining creative

expression online," Mayer said. "On many levels, Tumblr and Yahoo couldn't be more different, but, at the same time, they couldn't be more complementary." Tumblr emerged as a trendy online hangout by providing a service that makes it easy to share blog posts, photos, video and other content in an enthralling mosaic. The service says it has amassed more than 50 billion posts from 108 million blogs. Tumblr users rely on a dashboard to pinpoint the kinds of blogs that they want to track and also have tools to pass along the posts that interest them. That wealth of content could be interwoven into Yahoo's other services that provide coverage of general news, sports, finance and entertainment. Tumblr also will fill Yahoo's gaping void in the realm of social media. Yahoo so far has had to connect its services to Facebook and Twitter to give its users a social networking outlet. Having its own social networking service will also give Yahoo more insights into the things that people like—a key to distributing ads to consumers most likely to be interested in a specific products. That data, in turn, should help Yahoo sell more ads and accelerate its revenue growth. After three successive years of declines, Yahoo's revenue rose slightly last year, but lagged far behind the growth at Google and Facebook. Mayer has vowed to bring Yahoo's revenue growth back to at least the level of the overall Internet ad market. Yahoo's acquisition will deliver a jackpot to Karp, who dropped out of high school to concentrate on computer programming. He ended up being home schooled while taking classes in Japanese and working on gambling software. Later, he became a product executive at a parenting website called UrbanBaby. After CNet bought the site in 2006, Karp set up his own a development service called "Davidville" before deciding to create an outlet for personal expression—an endeavour that hatched Tumblr. Karp's cut from the Yahoo deal is about $275 million. Most of the rest of the money will be paid to the venture capitalists that invested about $125 million into Tumblr. That list includes Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, Union Square Ventures and Insight Venture Partners. ■

Editorial Assistant April Sescon Correspondents Lizette Lofranco-Aba Gigi Astudillo Angie Duarte Maria Ramona Ledesma Katherine Marfal Frances Grace Quiddaoen Agnes Tecson Graphic Designer Victoria Yong Illustration Danvic Briones Photographers Solon Licas Ryan Ferrer Angelo Siglos Operations and Marketing Head Laarni de Paula 1-888-668-6059 Sales & Advertising Alice Yong (778) 889-3518 PHILIPPINE PUBLISHING GROUP Editorial Assistant Phoebe Casin Graphic Designer Shanice Garcia Association Publisher Lurisa Villanueva In cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer digital edition Philippine Canadian Inquirer is located at Suite 400, North Tower | 5811 Cooney Road, Richmond, B.C., Canada Tel. No.: 1-888-668-6059 or 778-8893518 | Email: or Member

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Philippine Canadian Inquirer Issue #65  
Philippine Canadian Inquirer Issue #65  

May 24, 2013