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Serving a seamless society


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Match made in heaven


Dugang trabaho!

5,000 new jobs ICT Davao sees increase in workforce to 21,000 in 2013


Target is 35,000 jobs by 2015

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Elephants “poisoned”



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Sports will be alive when I return

Follow Us On DAMAGED. Germelita Roncales shows her stilt house damaged by the heavy rain and strong winds brought by a tail-end of cold front that hit Davao City recently

in Purok Pisces, Barangay Lasang in Davao City Monday afternoon. Lean Daval Jr.

NFORMATION Technology groups in Davao City are optimistic the industry will deliver an additional 5,000 jobs this year. The ICT Davao expects the number of jobs to be added to the Information TechnologyBusiness Process Outsourcing (ITBPO) industry from the present 16,000-workforce. Eriberto “Bert “ Barriga Jr., executive vice president of the umbrella organization of IT groups in Davao City, said the present IT-BPO workforce in the city could reach 21,000 by year’s end. Barriga said more call centers will be locating in the city, but declined to name them as a matter of policy among investor locators. One of the companies will be located at the soon-to-be-completed Abreeza Corporate Center. Last year, several thousand more jobs were added to the industry with the opening of BPO companies such as VXI Global whose contact



EDGEDAVAO After ‘Pablo’


Int’l group sets children care

By Che Palicte


RELIEF GOODS. Apple Legario, SM City Davao public relations officer (3rd from left), hands over relief goods to a flood-affected resident of a fishing village in Purok Pisces, Lasang, Davao City Monday afternoon while Councilor Jimmy Dureza (2nd from left) looks on during SM Foundation, Inc.’s outreach program for the victims of the recent flooding in Davao City. Lean Daval Jr.

In Davao Oriental

Shelter aid for 60,000 families 12,000 families already given assistance Group also built bunkhouses

By Che Palicte


OME 60,000 typhoon-hit families in Davao Oriental will receive shelter assistance from an international organization. Aside from building bunkhouses, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced that it will be giving shelter assistance to the victims in the three areas hardest hit by Pablo. Christie Bacal, IOM communication coordinator, bared this in an interview yesterday at the Pinnacle Hotel Davao. She confirmed that they had started giving shelter assistance to 12,000 families and are in the process of attaining the target of 60,000 families by the end of distribution. “We have spread out in 13 municipalities covering severely hit areas and we conduct trainings and workshops for the respondents, especially in camp management to make sure that their

living conditions are of humane standard,” she added. Bacal said the shelter assistance includes: (1) emergency shelter kits, (2) plastic sheets with basic tool kits, (3) jerry cans, (4) bed kits (sleeping mats and blankets), (5) cooking utensils and (6) solar light in each household. “We received a total of US$4 million worth of shelter assistance and camp management, and we are thankful to donors who have made our advocacy conceivable,” Bacal said. Apart from shelter assistance, Bacal bared that they will be holding awareness campaigns in schools, particularly the secondary level by February for monitoring cases of human trafficking. “The IOM will make sure that we can prevent cases such as human trafficking and we will see to it that this won’t happen to people affected by Pablo,” she said.

HILDREN in Pablo-hit areas will undergo child protection rapid assessment program next week to be conducted by a foreign-based children advocacy group. Reine Kathryn Rala, Communications Officer of “Save the Children International” bared this in an interview yesterday at the Pinnacle Hotel Davao. Save the Children International’s advocacy is focused on children’s welfare, child-protection and health and nutrition. “The child protection rapid assessment will be done in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and is being finalized for implementation next week,” Rala explained.

She said that there is a high need to conduct psychosocial sessions for children because even rain and wind makes them panic. “This will be a part of the assessment we’re implementing because children from Pablo-hit areas are really traumatized and they need to be given attention,” she added. Rala confirmed that the Department of Education (DepEd) is helping the children in their psychosocial treatment by allowing them to play freely in schools. “Once the rapid child protection assessment is finished there we can identify if there is a need to expand the program,”Rala said.

Gun ban violations reached 323 -- PNP


HE Philippine National Police said the number of people arrested for violating the Comelec-imposed gun ban has risen to 323 violators as of Tuesday. The PNP started implementing the election gun ban last Jan. 13 and will last until June 12. The National Election Monitoring and Action Center of the PNP National Operations Center said of 323 violators of COMELEC Resolution No. 9561-A, 285 were civilians, 23 security guards, six government officials, six policemen and one member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit. PNP said those arrested yielded 282 firearms, 74 Bladed Weapons, and 18 grenades and other ex-

plosive devices. Despite the gun ban, several recent high-profile incidents involving firearms had occurred in recent weeks, PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima said as he stressed the police will remain active in enforcement and security operations while reiterating his instructions to PNP units to intensify checkpoint and gun check operations to ensure Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE 2013). During the gun ban period, all Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence issued by the PNP to qualified licensed gun holders are suspended and only law enforcers on duty and in uniform are exempted from the ban. (PNA)

Cyber Law can open bank data


DETAILS. Imogen Wall, United Nations Office for the Coordination on Humanitarian Affairs coordinator for communications with affected communities, holds a ‘Who does What Where’ (3W) map of Compostela Valley Province showing the details of relief and rehabilitation activities of international agencies and organizations in the different towns of the province affected by typhoon Pablo during the UNOCHA media briefing at the Pinnacle Hotel Davao along Sta. Ana Avenue, Davao City yesterday. Lean Daval Jr.

HE Office of the Solicitor General Tuesday admitted before the Supreme Court collection of traffic data under Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 would include collection of electronic banking transactions. During Tuesday’s oral arguments, SC Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo questioned Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza why Congress did not define what is a traffic data that can be collected without intervention from the courts. Jardeleza said he does not know why it was not

clearly defined. Under Section 12 of R.A. 10175, traffic data “refers only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration or type of underlying service but not content nor identities.” The same provision allows law enforcement authorities to collect these traffic data without need of court authorization. “Power to collect traffic data is subject to abuse,” Del Castillo said. He asked “would the collection also include electronic banking transactions?” (PNA)


EDGEDAVAOVOL.5 ISSUE 235 •WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013 SouthCot, SK get P150M for flood control projects


HE national government has approved the release of around P150 million for the construction of flood-control structures in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Monday such allocation was mainly intended for the development of stable embankments along critical portions of the Allah River in the municipalities of Sto. Nino in South Cotabato and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat. She said the planned structures would mainly protect local communities from perennial flooding and prevent massive soil erosion along the riverbanks. “The lack of embankments has caused the river to change its course and eventually eat up significant portions of farmlands and communities in the area,” she said. Fuentes said their recent monitoring showed that the gap between the river and some local communities has been reduced to only around 30 meters due to the continuing soil erosion. Hundreds of hectares of farmlands in the two municipalities had been wiped out in the last several years due to the massive erosion along the banks of the heavily-silted Allah River. Allah River, which is among the biggest natu-

ral waterways in Region 12, traverses nine municipalities and a city in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. The river system, which has caused severe flooding in portions of the area in the past several years, drains towards the Liguasan Marsh and the Rio Grande de Mindanao. Fuentes said the river embankment project will initially cover portions of Barangays Dajay and Ambalgan in Sto Nino town. She said it will include the rehabilitation of the approaches of a steel bridge that connects Sto. Nino town and the upland villages of Surallah and Lake Sebu towns. The official said the rehabilitation works will also cover the Halilan Bridge in Lake Sebu that was earlier damaged due to a flashflood in the area. Fuentes said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is now working on the bidding and the awarding of the project’s contract. She said DPWH officials were pushing for the completion of the bidding and awarding process before the election ban on infrastructure projects on March 29. “We’re hoping that all these processes will be completed before the deadline to facilitate the construction of the projects before the start of the rainy season in June,” she added. [Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews]


SHOUTS OF JOY. Students from the Northern Mindanao Colleges express their victory when they were declared the champion of the 2013 Drum and Lyre competition in Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte on Jan. 25, 2013. [MindaNews/Erwin Mascarinas]

18 of 26 Mindanao govs seek reelection; 6 unopposed; 6 ex-govs running again


IGHTEEN of 26 Mindanao governors are seeking reelection on May 13 but six of them need not campaign: they are running unopposed. As in past elections in Mindanao, it’s still all in the family as the same faces and surnames are vying for or trading elective posts. Six former governors want to return to their posts, one of them already a winner because she is unopposed. Four sons are

running for the gubernatorial posts their fathers occupied for at least three terms; two daughters and a brother of former governors are also running. The six incumbent governors who are running unopposed include the governors of the provinces badly battered by Typhoon Pablo: Davao Oriental’s Corazon Malanyaon (NP) and Compostela Valley’s Arturo Uy. (LP). The four other unopposed governors are

of “trapal” per allocation to the LGU. DA 12 Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan said that through the strict implementation of the Republic Act 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act of the Philippines, the regional office has generated savings which are utilized to procure these raffle prizes for the farmers. Through raffle draws, Datukan hopes that many farmers will actively join in the department’s quest to ensure that there is enough food on every Filipino family’s table. Aside from these winners, Joseph Ortiz, also from Lebak, received his one head of carabao that he won from a raffle draw done during the Provincial Farmers’ Action Council (PFAC) Convention spearheaded by the National Food Authority (NFA) in La Trinidad town of Benguet in August last year. [PNA]

ARANGANI will turnover today, January 30, a two-sala new regional trial court (RTC) building to the Supreme Court in its bid to sustain speedy disposition of cases. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is set to accept the donation from Governor Migs Dominguez. The new RTC building is adjacent to the existing RTC branch 38 building inside the Capitol compound. “Now more courts will try cases belonging to the RTC jurisdiction,” provincial legal officer Atty. Arnel Zapatos said. He stressed that cases filed “will be just enough for it to be tried properly.” The wheels of justice in the province would expectedly turn faster as RTC branches 47 and 48 would ideally handle 500 to 600 cases though it is still subject for approval of the Supreme Court. If allowed, this “would mean that all cases will be tried in a year,” Zapatos

Agusan del Norte’s Ma. Angelica Amante-Matba (LP), a former three-term governor and incumbent 2nd District Representative who will trade posts with her brother Erlpe John Amante (Kusgan Agusanon Party). Erlpe, the incumbent governor, is running for 2nd District Rep, also. unopposed; Davao del Norte’s Rodolfo del Rosario (LP), Sarangani’s Steve Chiongbian Solon of UNA-People’s Champ Movement, the incumbent vice governor

to Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez who is completing this third term; and Zamboanga del Sur’s Antonio Cerilles. Six former governors want to make a comeback: Agusan del Norte’s Amante who has won even before the elections because she is unopposed; Bukidnon’s Jose Ma. Zubiri ( Bukidnon Paglaum Party) against Delfina Bicatulo (Ind), Lynard Allan Bigcas (Ind) and Romeo Zuce (Ind) while incumbent

said. In the past 17 or 18 years, Sarangani was only relying on its lone RTC branch 38 where unresolved cases caused by postponements of hearings and new cases that cannot be heard immediately due to previous pending cases have clogged the dockets. Contrary to the common dilemma on access to justice clamored by poor litigants here, Zapatos stressed that justice being delayed “is not the sole duty of the courts” and can be provided “when institutions work together.” In 2008, Sarangani rolled out its mobile court under the auspices of Governor Dominguez. From out of almost 3,000 pending cases when Justice on Wheels in Sarangani (JOWs) started declogging the dockets, at least 705 cases were left today. Three-fourths of these, according to Zapatos, are new cases. JOWs, a bus turned

into a mobile court, is a program under Justice Enhancement and Empowerment Program (JEEP) of the Supreme Court that Sarangani locally implemented starting in 2008. Sarangani ran JEEP thru its provincial legal office in support of the social justice provision of both the Constitution and RA 7160 in instituting program and projects concerning legal services and the delivery of basic services for its constituents. The province is the only local government unit in the Philippines which adapted JOWs and the “only LGU that Supreme Court allowed to administer a local JOWs.” Governor Dominguez received the Galing Pook Award in 2011 with JEEP as banner entry. The Galing Pook Award recognized Sarangani as number one LGU in the whole Philippines in terms of justice intervention. [Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE]

F18, 11

Region 12 DA raffles off farm Sarangani to turnover two-sala equipment during info drive RTC building to Supreme Court


HE Department of Agriculture (DA) in Central Mindanao has distributed in Sultan Kudarat farm equipment and other agricultural items and facilities through raffle draws as among the highlights of Agri-Pinoy information caravan. Besides submitting project proposals, farmers can also avail of farm equipment and other agricultural items and facilities from the agriculture department through raffle draws. This holds true if farmers are actively participating in various activities and programs carried out by the department like a number of farmers from Lebak town of Sultan Kudarat who have just received their winnings from DA 12’s raffle draws. Raffle draw was one of the highlights of the Agri-Pinoy Information Caravan dubbed as ‘Ulat sa Bayan’ of the regional office held at the Lebak

municipal gymnasium. At least 300 farmers, members of irrigators’ associations and employees coming from the different local government units of Sultan Kudarat took their share in the information drive which aimed to keep everyone informed about the agency’s accomplishments and plans. In the raffle draw, two units hand tractor with trailer; 46 rolls of laminated tarpaulins (trapal), 10 plastic water drums; three heads of carabao were raffled off. Three winners of carabao have brought home their work animals right away. Eduardo Almirante and Richard Española both from Brgy. Pasandalan, Lebak each got one unit hand tractor for their respective IA. Aside from the 46 rolls of laminated tarpaulins drawn, DA 12 has also turned-over to Lebak LGU through its municipal agriculture office 355 rolls





Rare pygmy elephants ‘poisoned’ in Borneo T

EN endangered pygmy elephants have been found dead in a reserve in Malaysia, with officials saying they may have been poisoned. The animals, which had all suffered internal bleeding, were found near each other over the space of three weeks. In one instance, a three-month-old calf was found alongside the body of its mother, apparently trying to wake her. Sabah Environmental Minister Masidi Manjun said it was “a sad day for conservation and Sabah”. Sen Nathan, head veterinarian at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Malaysia’s Sabah state on the island of Borneo, said the elephants were all thought to be part of the same family group, and were aged between four and 20. The bodies of four were found last week but then officials found another four animals dead or dying two days later. Laurentius Ambu, Sabah’s wildlife department di-

rector, said two “highly decomposed elephant carcasses” had been found earlier in the year. “We believe that all the deaths of these elephants are related,” he said. The animals still had their tusks, indicating that they had not been killed by poachers, and none had gunshot wounds. Samples have been sent for testing, but Mr Nathan said the damage evident in the elephants’ digestive systems had led officials to “highly suspect” acute poisoning. Tests will confirm whether they could have been deliberately poisoned. “It was actually a very sad sight to see all those dead elephants, especially one of the dead females who had a very young calf of about three months old. The calf was trying to wake the dead mother up,” he said. The WWF estimates that there are fewer than 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants in the wild, most of them in Sabah state.

A photo released by Sabah Wildlife Department showed a three-month-old elephant calf tries to awake its dead mother at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia. Ten endangered Borneo pygmy elephants have been found dead in the Malaysian forest under mysterious circumstances, and wildlife authorities suspect that they were poisoned.

They are the smallest elephant subspecies, with babyish faces, long tails and straight tusks. They are threatened by logging,

hunting and increasing contact with humans. Mr Masidi said the death of “these majestic and severely endangered

Cold front, northeast monsoon continue to bring rains–PAGASA


HE northeast monsoon and the tailend of a cold front continue to bring light rains and cold weather in the country, the state weather bureau said Tuesday. A cold front is an advancing mass of cold air that displaces warmer air masses. The northeast monsoon or seasonal winds from the northeast is the cold air from mainland China that blows into the country from late October to February. PAGASA said the tail-

end of a cold front is affecting Eastern Visayas while the northeast monsoon is affecting Luzon. In its advisory, PAGASA said Eastern Visayas and Mindanao will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers or thunderstorms while Cagayan Valley and the Provinces of Aurora and Quezon will have cloudy skies with light rains. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy with brief light rains. Moderate to strong winds blowing from the

northeast will prevail over Luzon and its coastal waters will be moderate to rough. Elsewhere, winds will be light to moderate coming from the northeast to north with slight to moderate seas. PAGASA also said strong to gale-force winds associated with the northeast monsoon may affect the seaboards of Northern Luzon and the eastern seaboard of Central and Southern Luzon. “Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to ven-

ture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves,” it said. Meanwhile, PAGASA weather forecaster Julie Nimes said in another interview that cooler temperatures associated with the northeast monsoon will continue in the coming days. Nimes said the temperature in Metro Manila Tuesday ranges from 2230 degrees Celsius while temperature in Baguio, the country’s summer capital, will be from 1125 degrees Celsius.[PNA]

siltation which is among threats to water bodies nationwide. Experts warned siltation involves deposition and accummulation of land-based soil and sediment due to erosion, causing water pollution and environmental degradation. Siltation also reduces water bodies’ water-carrying capacity so these overflow easier , they noted. Tuddao said University of the Philippines-Los Banos is Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ target partner for developing the model. He hopes both parties can sign this year the memorandum of agree-

ment for the modelling activity. Authorities are eyeing Iloilo province’s Iloilo-Batiano River as site for the model’s piloting. “It’s a good site for such piloting and authorities managed to address the problem of squatting along that river,” Tuddao said. He said if the piloting proves successful, the model can be applied to the country’s other rivers. “The model can be calibrated based on conditions there,” he said. Earlier, Tuddao said government is looking into using South Korean technologies for restoring rivers and river basins

nationwide. “South Korea has many technologies for such purpose,” he said. He noted South Korean officials also expressed interest in helping save the country’s rivers and river basins. Both nations might sign this year the memorandum of agreement covering such matter, he added. River basins are watersheds of over 1,000 square kilometers each and having topographic boundaries covering land within three or more provinces and two or more regions. Government earlier prioritized rehabilitating 18 major river basins nationwide. [PNA]

River siltation modelling planned


UTHORITIES are planning to develop a model that can help better assess siltation in rivers nationwide so they can identify and implement more effective interventions for protecting these water bodies and surrounding communities. “Information generated using such model will be very important in policy- and decision-making particularly at the local level,” said Dr. Vicente Tuddao Jr., the environment department’s new field operations director and former head of River Basin Control Office. He noted such information will cover rate of

Bornean elephants is a great loss to the state”. “If indeed these poor elephants were maliciously poisoned, I would person-

ally make sure that the culprits would be brought to justice and pay for their crime,” he said. [BBC Nature]

Bill seeks incentives for green vehicle makers


HE Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant incentives to the manufacturers and importers of alternative fuel for vehicles. Sponsored by Sen Ralph Recto, the Senate Bill 2856, or the Alternative Fuel Vehicles Incentives Act, will usher an era of cheaper, cleaner cars that will reduce the country’s dependency on the use of fossil fuels. “Every hour, our motor vehicles consume millions of liters of gasoline. Every hour, 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide is pumped into the air, a carbon footprint which requires the planting of 56,000 trees to absorb all that poison, every hour we spend P53,000 to treat pollution-related diseases and to compensate for productivity losses and every hour, four Filipinos die from dirty air,” Recto said. The challenge for the country, he said, is to improve the motor vehicles so they will spew out less poison and bleed less foreign exchange. Under the proposed legislation, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives shall be granted to the importation and manufacture of electric, hybrid and other vehicles using alternative sources of energy such as, but not limited to, solar, wind, hydrogen fuel cell, compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas, methane and liquefied

petroleum gas. He said the manufacturers or assemblers of completely knocked down units of alternative fuel vehicles, including the conversion of vehicles into electric, hybrid and other AFVs, shall be exempted from payment of excise taxes and duties for nine years. He said manufacturers and assemblers are exempt from the payment of the value added tax for the purchase and importation of raw materials, spare parts, components and capital equipment used in the manufacture or assembly of AFVs for also nine years. Importers of completely build units of AFV shall be exempt from payment of excise taxes and duties for nine years while owners of AFVs are exempt from the payment of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge or the MVUC upon registration of their vehicles, according to Recto. He said non-fiscal incentives granted under the proposed measure include priority in the registration and issuances of plate numbers and priority in franchise applications for public utility vehicles. The bill was authored by former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, Miriam Defensor – Santiago, Trillanes, Recto, Lapid, Bongbong Marcos, Loren Legarda and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III. It was co-sponsored by Legarda. [PNA]





Stat Watch

1. Gross National Income Growth Rate (At Constant 2000 Prices)

5.8% 1st Qtr 2012

2. Gross Domestic Product Growth Rate (At Constant 2000 Prices)

6.4 % 1st Qtr 2012

3. Exports 1/ 4. Imports 1/ 5. Trade Balance 6. Balance of Payments 2/ 7. Broad Money Liabilities

USD 4,931 million May 2012 USD 4,770 million Apr 2012 USD -135 million Apr 2012 USD -209 million Mar 2012 P 4,580,674 million Apr 2012

8. Interest Rates 4/

4.1 % May 2012 P131,403 million May 2012 P 5,075 billion Apr 2012

9. National Government Revenues 10. National government outstanding debt 11. Peso per US $ 5/

P 42.78 Jun 2012

12. Stocks Composite Index 6/

5,091.2 May 2012

13. Consumer Price Index 2006=100

130.1 Jun 2012

14. Headline Inflation Rate 2006=100

2.8 Jun 2012

15. Core Inflation Rate 2006=100

3.7 Jun 2012

16. Visitor Arrivals

349,779 Apr 2012

17. Underemployment Rate 7/

18.8 % Jan 2012

18. Unemployment Rate 7/

7.2 % Jan 2012

MONTHLY AVERAGE EXCHANGE RATE (January 2009 - December 2011) Month Average December November October September August July June May April March February January




42.85 42.70 42.86 42.66 43.62

43.31 43.64 43.27 43.45 43.02 42.42 42.81 43.37 43.13 43.24 43.52 43.70 44.17

45.11 43.95 43.49 43.44 44.31 45.18 46.32 46.30 45.60 44.63 45.74 46.31 46.03


Phoenix Petroleum posts 26% year-on-year growth


HOENIX Petroleum Philippines, Inc. (PNX.PM) posted a 26% growth in revenue to P34.7 billion in 2012 compared to P27.5 billion in the immediately preceding year. This is the result of the increase in fuel sales volume by 26% yearon-year. The growth comes from the expansion of the independent oil company’s retail network and increase in sales from its retail and commercial/industrial accounts. Phoenix Petroleum has 300 retail stations as of December 2012 of which 191 are in Mindanao, 21 in Visayas, and 88 in Luzon. Phoenix Petroleum grew its share of the oil industry from around 5.4% in 2011 to around 6% in 2012. It is the leading independent oil company in the country. Phoenix Petroleum Philippines is the fastest growing independent oil company today with an expanding network of operations nationwide. It is engaged in the business of trading refined petroleum products and lubricants, operation of oil depots and storage facilities, shipping/logistics and allied services.

TECH TALK. Eric Manalastas, president and chief executive officer of Next BPO Solutions, Inc. (right), proudly announces that his company will receive its second international award, the International Arch Europe Award for Quality and Technology in the Gold Category in Frankfurt, Germany, during Kapehan sa Dabaw media forum at the Annex of SM City Davao yesterday.

SSS has sufficient funds to increase pensions


EN. Ralph Recto Tuesday expressed optimism the Social Security System can maintain financial viability even if the pensions of senior citizens will be increased under three proposed Senate bills. ”I don’t think they’re going to run out of money,” Recto told the media after the first public hearing on the Senate Bill 544, 2883 and 2964 authored by Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Manny Villar and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., all proposing to increase pensions of the SSS members, respectively. During the hearing, SSS vice president for capital market division Rizaldy Capulong welcomed the proposal but expressed apprehension it might affect the financial viability of the 66-yearold pension funds. ”We welcomed the proposal but we are concerned that it might affect the financial viability of the SSS,” Capulong told the committee. Recto recognized the concerns of the SSS officials but “it’s too early for them to say that and too early for me to make conclusion.”

”They have more than P340 billion in reserve funds and they make, I think, P25 billion additional every year in the last two years. So, I think, it is sufficient and that’s why we’re studying the possibility of increasing pensions for senior citizens,” Recto explained. Recto ordered the SSS officials to submit actuarial studies, including suggestion to increase the contribution of SSS members if the pensions will be increased as proposed under the Senate bills. ”They (SSS officials) said, if we increase the pension we have to also increase contributions. Not necessarily. It depends on how you invest money. If you invest properly, then you could earn more money to pay for pensions so that it would not only be sourced from contributions,” Recto said. At present, Capulong said the SSS has 29 million registered members but only 10 million have been paying contributions for the state-run funds’ 1.67 million pensioners and for other ventures such as loans and local and foreign investments. [PNA] as of august 2010

Cebu Pacific Daily Zest Air Daily Cebu Pacific Daily Philippine Airlines Daily Philippine Airlines Daily Cebu Pacific Daily Cebu Pacific Daily Cebu Pacific Daily Cebu Pacific Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sun Philippine Airlines Daily Cebu Pacific Daily Silk Air Mon/Sat Cebu Pacific Thu Cebu Pacific Tue/Wed//Sat


5J961 / 5J962 Z2390 / Z2390 5J593 / 5J348 PR809 / PR810 PR819 / PR820 5J394 / 5J393 5J599 / 5J594 5J347 / 5J596 5J963 / 5J964 PR811 / PR812 5J595 / 5J966 MI588 5J965 / 5J968 5J965 / 5J968

5:45 5:45 6:00 6:10 7:50 7:50 8:00 9:10 9:40 11:30 12:00 12:55 12:55 13:35

Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila Cebu-Davao-Iloilo Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila Zamboanga-Davao-Zamboanga Cebu-Davao-Cebu Iloilo-Davao-Cebu Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila Cebu-Davao-Manila Davao-Cebu-Singapore Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila

6:15 6:25 6:30 7:00 8:50 8:10 8:30 9:40 10:10 12:20 12:30 09:05 13:25 14:05

At left is Eriberto Barriga Jr., Information and Communications Technology-Davao executive vice president, who added that the award only implies that Davao City is the prime destination for business processing outsourcing (BPO) services. Lean Daval Jr.

Senate approves bill lifting limit of dependents on tax exemption


HE Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to lift the limit on the number of qualified dependents that a taxpayer may claim on tax deduction. Authored and sponsored by Sen Ralph Recto, the Senate Bill 2855, or the Family Care Act of 2013, seeks to amend Section 35, paragraph B of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, which limits the number of dependents to only four at P25,000 per person. While the cap on the number of dependents was established in 1973 to promote family planning, Recto said the tax code discriminates against large families. He cited a study by the Commission on Population which showed that “only women in the lowest and second lowest wealth quartile have four or more children”, adding these groups are not even income tax payers. “The committee’s rational for removing the limitation on the number of qualified dependents for the tax purpose is that we believe, and we find support from economists, that setting a limitation on the number of dependents has no bearing on the decision of couples to beget children,” Recto said. The bill proposes to include as

Silk Air Mon/Sat Silk Air Wed/Sun Silk Air Thurs Cebu Pacific Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri Philippine Airlines August Zest Air Daily Cebu Pacific Daily Philippines Airlines Daily Cebu Pacific Mon/Tue/Thu/Sat Cebu Pacific Daily Cebu Pacific Tue/Sat/Sun Cebu Pacific Daily Airphil Express Daily Philippine Airlines Daily except Sunday Philippine Airlines Sunday

MI588 / MI588 MI566 / MI566 MI551 / MI551 5J507 / 5J598 15:55 Z2524 / Z2525 5J967 / 5J600 PR813 / PR814 5J215 / 5J216 5971 / 5J970 5J973 / 5J974 5J969 / 5J972 2P987 / 2P988 PR821 / PR822 PR821 / PR822

18:55 18:55 15:45 15:00 Mani2Mani 16:05 16:35 16:55 18:00 18:40 20:00 20:30 20:30 21:20 22:20

dependents legitimated children who are “born outside of wedlock of parents and, under certain conditions, may be legitimated.” At the same time, the measure proposes to expand the coverage of qualified dependents to include parents or both parents who are dependent on the taxpayer for support and are living with him or her. The coverage, Recto explained, also includes a parent or parents, regardless of income, who are incapable of self-support because of mental or physical disability. “We also propose to allow a taxpayer who acts as legal guardian of a person with mental or physical handicap, regardless of age and incapable of self-support, to claim the additional exemption for the said dependents,” Recto said. “The impact of the bill is on the economic reprieve that will be granted to families, alleviating the financial difficulties of taxpayers with more children, and allowing individuals to cope with the cost of caring for parents and legitimated children or children with disabilities,” he added. Other authors of the bill include Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Manny Villar and Lito Lapid. [PNA]

Davao-Singapore Davao-Singapore Davao-Singapore Cebu-Davao-Cebu 16:50 Cebu-Davao-Cebu Manila-Davao-Cebu Manila-Davao-Manila Cagayan de Oro-Davao-Cagayan de Oro Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila Manila-Davao-Manila

13:35 15:20 12:05 15:30 16:45 17:05 17:45 18:20 19:10 20:30 21:00 21:00 21:50 22:50




In Asia’s trend-setting cities, iPhone fatigue now sets in

PPLE Inc’s iconic iPhone is losing some of its luster among Asia’s well-heeled consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong, a victim of changing mobile habits and its own runaway success. Driven by a combination of iPhone fatigue, a desire to be different and a plethora of competing devices, users are turning to other brands, notably those from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, eating into Apple’s market share. In Singapore, Apple’s products were so dominant in 2010 that more devices here ran its iOS operating system per capita than anywhere else in the world. But StatCounter, which measures traffic collected across a network of 3 million websites, calculates that Apple’s share of mobile devices in Singapore - iPad and iPhone - declined sharply last year. From a peak of 72 percent in January 2012, its share fell to 50 percent this month, while Android devices now account for 43 percent of the market, up from 20 percent in the same month last year. In Hong Kong, devices running Apple’s iOS now account for about 30 percent of the total, down from about 45 percent a year ago. Android accounts for nearly twothirds.

“Apple is still viewed as a prestigious brand, but there are just so many other cool smartphones out there now that the competition is just much stiffer,” said Tom Clayton, chief executive of Singapore-based Bubble Motion, which develops a popular regional social media app called Bubbly. Where Hong Kong and Singapore lead, other key markets across fast-growing Asia usually follow. “Singapore and Hong Kong tend to be, from an electronics perspective, leading indicators on what is going to be hot in Western Europe and North America, as well as what is going to take off in the region,” said Jim Wagstaff, who runs a Singapore-based company called Jam Factory http:// www.jamfactoryonline. com developing mobile apps for enterprises. Southeast Asia is adopting smartphones fast - consumers spent 78 percent more on smartphones in the 12 months up to September 2012 than they did the year before, according to research company GfK http:// IN WITH THE YOUNG CROWD Anecdotal evidence of iPhone fatigue isn’t hard to find: Where a year ago iPhones swamped other devices on the subways of Hong Kong and Singapore


Commuters use their smartphones in a train in Singapore January 26, 2013.

they are now outnumbered by Samsung and HTC Corp smartphones. While this is partly explained by the proliferation of Android devices, from the cheap to the fancy, there are other signs that Apple has lost followers. Singapore entrepreneur Aileen Sim, recently launched an app for splitting bills called BillPin, settling on an iOS version because that was the dominant platform in the three

countries she was targeting - Singapore, India and the United States. “But what surprised us was how strong the call for Android was when we launched our app,” she said. Indeed, 70 percent of their target users 20-something college students and fresh graduates - said they were either already on Android or planned to switch over. “Android is becoming really hard to ignore, around the region and in

the U.S. for sure, but surprisingly even in Singapore,” she said. “Even my younger early-20s cousins are mostly on Android now.” BillPin launched an Android version this month. Napoleon Biggs, chief strategy officer at Gravitas Group, a Hong Kongbased mobile marketing company, said that while Apple and the iPhone remained premium brands there, Samsung’s promotional efforts were playing

to an increasingly receptive audience. For some, it is a matter of wanting to stand out from the iPhone-carrying crowd. Others find the higher-powered, bigger-screened Android devices better suited to their changing habits - watching video, writing Chinese characters - while the cost of switching devices is lower than they expected, given that most popular social and gaming apps are available for both platforms. [Reuters]

has met with carriers around the world, RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins told analysts on a December earnings conference call. Another key asset of BlackBerry 10 is what RIM dubbed the “BlackBerry balance,” a system that allows users to separate professional communications and applications from music, photographs and other personal items. Such an option means that if a user changes job, his or her former company can disable the device’s corporate side without affecting personal data. BlackBerry, which until a few years ago was the dominant smartphone, has seen its market share slip to under five percent last year, surveys show. [AFP]

HE US Department of Defense has approved a fivefold expansion of its cybersecurity force over the coming years in a bid to increase its ability to defend critical computer networks, The Washington Post reported. Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the Defense Department’s Cyber Command, which currently has a staff of about 900, will expand to about 4,900 troops and civilians. The decision to expand the Cyber Command was made by senior Pentagon officials late last year in recognition of a growing threat in cyberspace, the report said. Last November, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta conceded that US cybersecurity needed more financial support

and human capital. “We’ve got good people that are involved in it, but, very frankly, if we’re going to stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening with regards to the changes that are occurring, we have got to invest more in that area,” he said during a speech in Washington hosted by the Center for a New American Security. The seriousness of the threat has been underscored by a string of sabotage attacks, including one in which a virus was used to wipe data from more than 30,000 computers at a Saudi Arabian state oil company last summer, The Post pointed out. According to the paper, the plan calls for the creation of three types of forces under the Cyber Command.

RIM seeks to regain glory Pentagon to boost cybersecurity force with BlackBerry 10 launch T B LACKBERRY maker Research in Motion begins its comeback bid Wednesday with a new platform launch in a makeor-break move for a firm that is rapidly sinking in the smartphone market it once dominated. The Canada-based company unveils its BlackBerry 10 operating system and handsets in what some see as its last, best chance to remain a major player in an already competitive sector that is nevertheless attracting new entrants. RIM boomed as the maker of “crackberries,” a nickname stemming from the addiction the phones engendered, but it risks becoming a footnote in a market led by Apple’s iPhone and rivals who use Google’s Android operating system.

“The importance of this launch cannot be overstated,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at the research firm IDC. “There’s going to be a lot of work that needs to be done to earn back respect.” RIM, whose stock is at about one-eighth of its valuation in 2008, said it plans to “significantly” increase its marketing budget for the BlackBerry 10 launch, and there will be events in New York and five other global cities. The company website home page depicts a sleek black device against a black background, alongside the words: “The Blackberry Experience. Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented.” RIM is touting the system as a big change in smartphone technology. “This is an entirely new

operating system,” said company spokesman Nick Manning. “We think it’s the first entirely new mobile operating system in about five years.” More than 150 carriers worldwide have been testing the new platform, and RIM has given more than 8,000 prototypes to application developers. BlackBerry 10 devices will be offered in an all-touchscreen version as well as in a model that keeps a physical keyboard. RIM says the system will break new ground by creating a user space that allows customers to flip between applications seamlessly and without first passing through a home page, to boost efficiency and multitasking. This feature has caused real “excitement” as RIM




The slaying of a tech hero ( Conclusion )




Davao sports in Rody’s mind

T’S NEVER too late to redeem one’s shortcomings. Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to revitalize sports in his anticipated return as city nayor in June. That promise came when he attended the recent induction of officers of the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA), the city’s oldest sports media organization. Sports has always been one of the hot issues VM Rody’s critics used to pounce on to underscore what they said was his seemingly lukewarm attention to its development during his two full terms as mayor of Davao City beginning in 1988. While our neighbors in the Davao region have developed their sports infrastructures, our city has remained without a sports facility of international standard to boast of. To date, while Davao City still has no sports complex in which to hold major regional or national sports events, Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte have built world-class sports facilities that are capable of hosting such bigtime sports events like the Palarong Pambansa. Panabo City has a gymnasium modern enough to host out-of-town games of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Over in neighboring General Santos City, there is a sports complex modern enough to accommodate even national sports events, even boasting of a Tartan (rubberized) track and field stadium. Throughout his two tenures as mayor, Dute-

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rte brushed aside the criticisms and stuck to his priorities in governance with an eye on the budget. The maintenance of peace and order and making his city “dangerous for criminals” as he likes to put it, has been the cornerstone of the city’s economic development, albeit not completely sacrificing the sports agenda. Where his administration failed in terms of sports infrastructure it has made up for it in strengthening its sports programs by supporting the sports community with the city’s resources. The saving grace is the accomplishment of our athletes in sports arenas, from regional to national and even international competitions. With a third tenure at City Hall, VM Rody is hell bent on institutional reforms in sports. So, what do we expect him to do this time around for sports? We may not expect him to build the infrastructures overnight, but we would like to see a concrete sports development program under his leadership combined with a more active implementing arm which is the city sports office—not merely existing for the purpose of merely existing. There is a lot to do with reforming the city government’s sports programs and it will begin by nipping in the bud what needs to be nipped. At least for now, VM Rody knows he needs to pay his dues to sports. It’s never too late. There’s no iota of doubt that he can do it. Make that, WILL do it. ANTONIO M. AJERO Editor in Chief


RAMON M. MAXEY Consultant

KENNETH IRVING K. ONG Creative Solutions







LEIZEL A. DELOSO | Marketing Manager Unit 6, Southbank Plaza Velez-Yacapin Sts. Cagayan de Oro City Tel: (088) 852-4894


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TILL, Apple is not just another story of the bizarre way that Wall Street can value a company. It is that, but it’s more as well. It seems like only yesterday that Apple was being hailed as the great company of our age, with its dying founder lionized in a best-selling biography as a genius not just of our time but of any time. It seems like only yesterday because it basically was only yesterday. And before its recent image travails, Apple’s sharp ascent was equally stunning – written off as dead by the late 1990s, it emerged as the tech innovator par excellence by the mid-2000s, invested with every virtue. Now, it is regarded as a has-been, hocking commoditized phones that any Chinese manufacturer can produce and tablets that every company in the world seems to be making, led by a CEO whose expertise is rationalizing the supply-chain. Hardly the stuff of dreams. It’s fair to say that Apple was never as transformative a social and technological force as myth would have it. And the slaying of heroes is hardly unique to our era. But the speed of lionizing and then annihilating is enough to take your breath away. It’s the cultural equivalent of creative destruction. But unlike the economic version, it’s hard to see where the creative element creeps in. It is true that Apple functions in a ruthlessly competitive industry that is both fickle and short-term. Phones and tablets are ever-more essential but command about the same consumer loyalty as fashion: Cool one day, tired the next – even if you are a juggernaut like Apple. Perhaps the market and the media are simply accelerating an inevitable process. You only get to be on top for a while, before the buzz and the business move elsewhere. In that sense, Apple is just an oversized corporate ingénue, with its brief moment fading and someone else soon to take its place, before the cycle begins again. But the cultural message embedded in tearing Apple down is more pernicious than doing the same to a fading starlet. Beneath the furor, Apple continues to do its business exceedingly well and continues to give people what they need and want. For now, it is largely media and Wall Street that are writing Apple’s obituary – not customers. The message may prove to be correct, or it may not, but the complete lack of perspective about how hard it is to create something of worth compared to how easy it is to tear something down does not send a constructive signal or engender the better angels of our nature. Apple was always likely to decline from its heights. But not because it failed, simply because others succeeded. In the story of Apple, and how we tell it, we have a metaphor for the story of the United States in recent years: a tendency to see the end, and then hasten it. Apple’s success was an example of what the United States can do brilliantly. The recent reaction to it shows that we can also excel at self-immolation. Better to nurture the former instincts. The other will lead nowhere, and fast.


Davos prescriptions for the U.S. economy ( Conclusion )


IEWED in that way, there is no contradiction between supporting a hawkish approach to U.S. government spending in the 1990s and a more expansionary bias today. The world has changed, so the right policy needs to be different, too. Here is how Summers explained it: “In 1993, here’s what the situation was: Capital costs were really high, the trade deficit was really big, and if you looked at a graph of average wages and the productivity of American workers, those two graphs lay on top of each other. So, bringing down the deficit, reducing capital costs, raising investment, spurring productivity growth, was the right and natural central strategy for spurring growth. That was what Bob Rubin advised Bill Clinton, that was the advice Bill Clinton followed, and they were right.” But the fact that deficit cutting was the right prescription in the 1990s


doesn’t necessarily make it the priority today. “Today, the long-term interest rate is negligible, the constraint on investment is lack of demand, productivity has vastly outstripped wage growth, and the syllogism that reduced deficits spur investments and you’ll get more middle-class wages doesn’t work in the same way,” Summers said. True believers in deficit reduction need not give way to complete despair – Summers insisted that deficit reduction was not “inconsequential.” It remained, he said, a “prudent defense” and a vital form of “economic hygiene.” Fail to deal with the deficit in the long run and the inevitable outcome is “economic catastrophe.” The crucial difference, he argued,

is that, in contrast to the 1990s, deficit reduction “does not constitute the basis for satisfactory growth strategy.” Instead, to get growth, particularly for the beleaguered middle class, you need what he gently calls “investment,” a category a budget hawk might simply term “spending.” This conditional view of economic policy is a lovely example of the aphorism that “when the facts change, I change my mind; what do you do?” It is usually attributed to Keynes, but some pedants say the first recorded version was uttered by Paul Samuelson, the Nobel laureate economist who happens to be Summers’ uncle. It is comfortable to take a religious view of economics – once you’ve chosen your creed, you never have to think again. But when it comes to deficits – and maybe a lot else besides – that may not be how the world works. Even in Davos, reality trumps ideology.

and investment campaign in other economically-stable nations for a long time to showcase the country’s vast economic resources. It never broke off diplomatic and economic relations even with other regional economies that seemed to be antagonistic of the country’s economic and foreign policies. But when a government has a critical economic and political relation with one of its neighbors, it needs some orderly workout mechanism. It certainly requires a method for orderly workouts because in any relationship, government leaders and their economic advisers express diverse views and opinions and some are predictably negative. In a country like the Philippines where economic standards can still stand much improvement, business summit such as the WEF and APEC forums provide a guide to both fundamentals and economic relationship with other participating nations. In some ways the government should continue doing that and its position to persist to be what it properly understands about the underlying rationale for the different business conferences. Still, the government has to focus more attention to either the WEF or APEC, which it thinks have more concrete roles to play in developing trade opportunities in the region

and building bridges across the Pacific Rim and the rest of the world. So far, the Philippines still was one of the region’s fast-growing economies. Just about every private sector economists and financial experts were predicting annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 7%, the same or even higher robust performance the country has been pulling off a year after President PNoy assumed the presidency. Even when other regional economies devalued their currencies during the past few months, the conventional wisdom was that the Philippines would not be much affected because of its strong economic fundamentals and ample foreign-currency reserves. The consensus estimate for growth this year has risen to 7.1%. “What had greatly changed are perceptions,” noted some economic analysts and financial researchers. “Both foreign and local investors now trust the country’s economic experience and the currency is performing well against the dollar and the stock market has climb to unprecedented level.” Even people in trade and commerce know for a fact that a strong currency and a rising stock market are mere indications of a better and good economic future for the country. Meanwhile others prefer to think that the small regulation and operational hitches are typical of the emerging markets and that offers enough comfort to investors. And for the country’s market to fully emerge, government has to address the interlocking concerns.


Need an orderly workout mechanism

ONCRETE ROLES IN DEVELOPING TRADE OPPORTUNITIES – Recently, world leaders, leading government business executives, cultural and religious figures gathered in Davos, a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. One of the most sought-after personalities was President Benigno Aquino III. The presence of President PNoy in the recently concluded economic summit is significant in terms of looking at areas of higher and feasible economic activities where the country can cooperate. Big foreign investors accept that the Philippines is part of the world – economically and in other ways too. Aside from the WEF, the country is also well represented in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and other similar renowned economic meetings and the government is working closer too. There are developments such as the possibility that the Philippines might establish special links with other progressive and well-developed countries and at the same time maintain and continue the good economic relation with the rest of the Asian region and the whole of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) East Asian Growth Area or EAGA. However, the debate for all of us, particularly for the government, is how it can make sure the economic activities it would undertake are actually adding a bit of value. The Philippines has been enthusiastically participating in trade

ICT HUB Egyptian opposition VANTAGE POINTS



bloc’s refusal to dialogue adds to complexity OPINION BY SHAIMAA BEHERY


LTHOUGH some analysts see that the current situation in Egypt requires a solution besides the national dialogue, the opposition National Salvation Front’s (NSF) refusal to the president’s invitation for dialogue was predicted to add to the political perplexity. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi announced Sunday to invite 11 parties, including Al-Dostour Party headed by NSF leader Mohamed Elbaradei, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, al- Wafd Party and Strong Egypt Party, to the dialogue held on Monday. However, the NSF said Monday at a press conference that “we refuse the president’s call for dialogue as it ignored the front’s main demands that were announced before.” Tarek Senouty, a political analyst and head of Ahram newspaper ‘s political department, told Xinhua that the opposition bloc’s “ refusing the dialogues isn’t a proper decision, specially in this critical time, while the state is really suffering from dissents, clashes and violence.” “In this time, the dialogue is urgently needed. Everything the front demands can be offered and discussed on the dialogue table, and if they find no response from the presidency, they can tell the public,” Senouty added, wondering about how the front knew that the dialogue wouldn’t be comprehensive without attending even the first session. Disagreeing with Senouty’s point of view, Noha Bakr, a political science professor with the American University in Cairo, said the NSF’s refusal was “justified” because the president did not mention in his last speech that the opposition’s demands are “ negotiable” or they will be discussed in the dialogue. “The president’s invitation came too late, and I believe that the current situation in Egypt needs different solutions related to putting plans about dealing with the crisis before escalation,” Bakr added. The NSF has stated some conditions for having dialogue with the president, including that the president should confess his responsibility for the bloodshed over the past days. In addition, they demanded forming a national salvation government and a legal committee to reform the constitution that was approved through a referendum in December. Political analyst with al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Ebrahem al-Naggar said he supported the demand of forming a national salvation government, adding that the current cabinet of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil “doesn’t meet the Egyptians’ aspirations.” However, Naggar rejected the demand of modifying the constitution. “The constitution was already approved in December, and to speak about the modification now is illogic. The opposition can change what they want in the constitution through the parliament,” said the political analyst, urging the NSF to focus on the preparation for the parliamentary elections and to forget about their former threat to boycott the elections. The NSF on Saturday demanded Morsi to amend the controversial, recently-drafted constitution, form “a qualified national salvation government,” sack current Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah, and subject the Muslim Brotherhood to the law, threatening to urge massive protests on Friday and boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections. Supporting the NSF, political science professor Eglal Raafat said the opposition bloc’s situation “wouldn’t detract from their national responsibility.” [PNA/Xinhua]




fter the Saturday break-in at SM Megamall, its management has vowed to exercise extra caution to ensure the public’s safety. Now, a little patience is urged amid stricter security checks at SM Megamall as the probe over a jewelry heist continues. Ramped-up security standard procedures include more thorough scans through handheld metal detectors and physical inspection, SM spokesperson Ian Mathay said in a statement.



ight Filipino victims of the Algerian hostage crisis—four survivors, and four bodies—will arrive in the Philippines on Tuesday, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. There is also one Filipino still missing in Algeria, according to a report by News TV Live’s Mark Salazar. The foreign department has not released the victims’ names to the public as per the request of their families.



he enemy is now in uniform.” This is how Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos exposed alleged tactics by the Aquino government to suppress political opponents. Jalosjos accused Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas of tolerating such strategy, insinuating the cabinet member is behind police abuses in his district.



he United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has welcomed the latest results of Social Weather Stations (SWS), which revealed eight of their candidates would win should senatorial elections be held on the survey date. UNA secretary-general Tobias “Toby” Tiangco attributed the favorable SWS survey, which was held from January 17 to 19, to the endorsing power of UNA leader and Vice President Jejomar Binay.



Santiago wants law vs gadgets in theaters


ENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill seeking to ban the use of gadgets inside movie theaters and similar show venues. Senate Bill 3384 or the “Silent Mode Act” seeks to mandate persons inside movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums and other indoor venues of public performances to turn off or place on vibrate or silent mode at all times their mobile telephones, two-way radios and other audio visual electronic devices. The bill says audio-visual electronic devices shall include personal digital assistants (PDAs); video and still cameras; video game devices; computer tablets; portable media players; and other similar gadgets. Any person who is found to have violated the measure shall be pe-

nalized with the following: a fine of P500 for the first offense; P1,000 for the second offense; and P3,000 for the third offense. Under the measure, owners and employees of the establishments

covered by the bill shall escort anyone caught violating its provisions. The cost of the ticket shall not be refunded to the violator. Aside from this, the establishment shall also be mandated to remind

the audience to turn off their gadgets or put them on silent mode before every performance. If patrons wish to answer calls, they must leave the theater or move to an area where they cannot be heard.

Brazil arrests 4 men as first fire victims buried


OLICE in Brazil arrested four suspects after a nightclub fire killed 231, left dozens more clinging to life, and forced officials to defend readiness for the Olympics and World Cup. Two owners of the Kiss club were arrested, along with a pair of musicians who starred in the ill-fated pyrotechnic show blamed for sparking Sunday’s tragedy in the university town of Santa Maria in the south of the country. President Dilma Rousseff pressed mayors across

the massive South American nation to ensure that such a “terrible tragedy never takes place again.” The president, who rushed back from a regional summit in Chile to meet with grieving families, called the pain she had witnessed “indescribable.” The inferno, described as the second worst in Brazilian history, forced the cancellation of an event to mark the run-up to the country’s hosting of next year’s football World Cup, the biggest global

sporting event. The fire broke out at around 2:00 am (0400 GMT) Sunday in the club, which was packed with students. Survivors said the band’s vocalist lit a firework that may have triggered the blaze. While friends and family members bid farewell to their loved ones, officials revised the death toll down from 233 to 231. Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said 75 more were in “intensive care... and are in some danger of dying.” “We think the most

Top 12

he turning of the year seems to have changed the luck of one senatorial candidate, as she jumped to the top 12 of likely winners in the May polls based on a new Social Weather Stations survey. Former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board Chairman Grace Poe-Llamanzares ranked 10-11 in the poll.This, as 45 percent of 1,200 respondents nationwide said they would vote for Poe had elections been held on Jan. 17 to 19.


Relatives and friends of Tamise Cielo, one of the victims of the Kiss night club fire, gather around her coffin during the funeral at Santa Rita cementery in Santa Maria, on January 28, 2013. Police have arrested four suspects after the nightclub

fire killed 231, left dozens more clinging to life and forced officials to defend readiness for the Olympics and World Cup. [AFP]

plausible cause of the fire were the pyrotechnics used by the band, which released sparks and set the roof alight,” Police Commissioner Sandro Meinerz said. As distraught mourners laid wreaths outside the scene, police official Michele Vimmermann said club co-owner Elissandro Spohr and two members of the Gurizada Fandangueira band had been detained. A second club owner, who has not been named, surrendered to police later in the day. Meinerz said the club had not had valid operating permits since August and that its emergency exits led only to the main entrance, which became a deadly bottleneck. Most of the victims died of smoke inhalation in their desperate bid to escape. In a statement to police, Spohr acknowledged that the club’s license had expired, adding he had requested a renewal. He also blamed the band for the incident, according to the Globo G1 website. The band however denied responsibility and said their accordion player was among the dead. [AFP]






he United Nations is planning to consider later this year the scientific validity of a claim by China that a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea are part of its territory, although Japan says the world body should not be involved. Tensions over the uninhabited islands - located near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge oil and gas reserves - flared after Japan’s government purchased them from a private Japanese owner in September, sparking violent anti-Japanese protests across China and a military standoff.

gyptian Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi warned on Tuesday that the political crisis rocking Egypt could lead to the collapse of the state. Failure to resolve the situation “could lead to grave repercussions if the political forces do not act” to tackle it, Sissi said in comments posted on his Facebook page. “The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations,” Sissi said in the comments, which were extracts of a speech he gave to students at a military academy.



orld powers have asked Iran to hold a new round of talks over its nuclear work in February, while expressing disappointment over Tehran’s reluctance to schedule negotiations. A spokesman for the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday Iran had not agreed to her proposal, issued on behalf the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, to meet at the end of January.





ustralia ramped up its military response to deadly flooding in the country’s northeast Tuesday, as troops prepared for a massive clean-up operation following storms which killed four and left thousands of homes swamped. Heavy rains and flooding triggered by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald have inundated the states of Queensland and New South Wales, with the most recent fatality a three-yearold boy killed by a falling tree.

suicide bomber blew himself up near the Somali presidential palace on Tuesday, killing at least two soldiers in a strike apparently aimed at the country’s leaders, a palace guard at the scene said. Officials working in the palace and guards said Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was abroad at the time of the blast and Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, whose house was near the site of the explosion, was safe.


Bicam approves reconciled version of K to 12 bill


HE bicameral conference committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a priority bill institutionalizing the K to 12 program that would add two years to basic education system. Representatives of both houses of Congress came out with a reconciled version of the Senate Bill No. 8286 and House Bill No. 6643 in a meeting at the


Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City. Once made into law, the bill will add two years which will be called Senior High School to the current four years of Junior High School in the secondary education. The measure also required to a year of kindergarten education before the six-year elementary education. Senator Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Senate

committee on education, arts and culture and author of the Senate bill, said the bicam panel agreed to adopt the House version which recommended that the mother tongue or the native language of a student be used as primary medium of instruction from kinder to Grade 6. The Senate bill, Angara said, provides that mother tongue be used only up to Grace 6. [PNA]

cators as contributing to a heightened demand for IT workers in Davao City. Barriga said ICT Davao is looking at having a 35,000 IT-BPO workforce in Davao City by 2015. The positive climate in the ICT-BPO industry has been fanned by the high

satisfaction rating given to local BPO players by foreign partners. On Monday, a Davao-based BPO firm— Next BPO Solutions—announced its being named recipient of two international recognitions from India and Germany. [PIA/ RG Alama]

nors are also running for governor: Rabia Salapuddin (Lakas-CMD), the only daughter of former Basilan Governor and Rep. Gerry Salapuddin and Rita Gallardo (LP), daughter of former Camiguin Governor Antonieto Gallardo. Incumbent Dinagat Vice Governor Geraldine Ecleo is challenging her Glenda’s bid for a third term as Governor. Davao del Sur Rep. Claude Bautista of Davao del Sur, brother of former governor Benjamin Bautista, Jr., is running for governor against the son of incumbent governor Douglas Cagas. The 18 incumbent governors seeking another term: Agusan del Sur’s Adolph Edward Plaza (NUP or National Unity Party) against Dickens Otero (LP) and Ben Cebuala (Ind); Basilan’s Jum Akbar (LP) against Rabia Salapuddin of Lakas-CMD; Camiguin’s Jurdin Jesus Romualdo (NPC) against LP’s Rita Gallardo, daughter of a former governor. Compostela Valley’s Arturo Uy (LP). Unopposed. Davao del Norte’s Rodolfo del Rosario (LP). Unopposed. Davao Oriental’s Corazon Malanyaon (NP). Unopposed. Dinagat Islands province Glenda Ecleo (NP), against her own daughter, Geraldine (LP); Lanao del Norte’s Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo (NPC), against the LP’s Casan Maquiling and Diego Palomares, Jr., (Ind); Lanao del Sur’s Mamintal Adiong (LP) is running against Ahmadijan

Abdulcarim (Ind), Arab Aguam (Ind), Omar Ali (Ind) and Amer Pangandaman (NPC); Maguindanao’s Esmael Mangudadatu (LP) is pitted against lone rival, Tucao Mastura (PDP), incumbent mayor of Sultan Kudarat town; Misamis Oriental’s Herminia Ramiro is running against Pacita Yap (Ind). North Cotabato’s Emmylou Talino-Mendoza is running for a second term against former threeterm Governor Emmanuel Pinol (NPC) and Zaman Rajahmuda (Ind): South Cotabato’s Arthur Pingoy (UNA) is facing former three-term Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes (NPC) and former Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel (Lakas-CMD). Sultan Kudarats Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatuis against Ephraim Defino (Ind) and Tacurong Mayor Lino Montilla (LP); Surigao del Sur’s Johnny Pimentel (LP) against Anecito Murillo (Ind); Surigao del Norte’s Sol Matugas (LP) against former Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers (NP), Nestor Madelo (Ind), and Vitaliano Ugalde, Jr. (Ind); Zamboanga del Sur’s Antonio Cerilles (NPC). Unopposed. Zamboanga Sibugay’s Rommel Jalosjos (NP), son of former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos is running against the LP’s Wilter Palma. Another Jalosjos – Romeo’s brother, Rep. Cesar Jalosjos, is seeking election as governor of Zamboanga del Norte. [Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews]

FFROM 1 center is located at Robinsons Cybergate in Bajada. VXI Global alone requires about 3,500 agents. “Many existing companies here are adding people,” said Barriga, describing the expansion of existing contact centers and the coming of new lo-


FFROM 3 Governor Calingasan, Zubiri’s vice governor until 2010, is running for vice governor; Emmanuel Pinol (NPC) of North Cotabato) against incumbent Governor Emmylou Talino-Mendoza (LP) and Zahman Rajahmuda (Ind), Daisy Avance-Fuentes (NPC) of South Cotabato, against reelectionist Arturo Pingoy (UNA) and former Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel (Lakas-CMD); Robert Lyndon Barbers of Surigao del Norte (NP), against reelectionist Sol Matugas (LP) and Nestor Madelo (Ind); and Rashidin Matba of Tawi-tawi against Nurbert Sahali (LP) and Rep.Nur Jaafar (NPC). Three sons of incumbent governors want to be governor: Marc Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur, Abdusakur Tan II of Sulu and Nurbert Sahali of Tawi-tawi. The younger Cagas (NP), 1st district Representative of Davao del Sur is son of Governor Douglas Cagas who is running for Digos City mayor; Abdusakur Tan II is son of Sulu Governor Abdsusakur Tan who is running for vice governor while Nurbert Sahali is son of three-term Governor Sadikul Sahali, who is retiring from politics;. A son of a former governor is also running for governor: Misamis Oriental Rep. Yvgeny “Bambi” Emano (NP), son of former Governor Vicente Emano, who is seeking reelection as Cagayan de Oro City mayor. Two daughters and a sibling of former gover-


FB posts can make you criminally liable


HE Office of the Solicitor General Tuesday admitted before the Supreme Court liking, sharing libelous facebook and twitter posts can make a person criminally liable. This admission of the OSG prompted a Supreme Court Justice to say it creates a “chilling effect.” “It is not an excuse that thousands of defamatory statements are on the internet. Then, we have to scrap the law,” Solicitor General Fran-

cis Jardeleza told the SC justices during Tuesday’s oral arguments. “Defamation is defamation whether we communicate thru megaphones, letters, person to person, tweets, facebook or email,” Jardeleza said. Associate Justice Roberto Abad said with the criminal liability that the Cybercrime Law creates, “it will make me now reluctant to express my view.” Abad likened liking and sharing of posts on facebooks and twitters to

showing a friend a libelous material posted on a bulletin board. Jardeleza said in that situation there is no liability because it cannot be considered a republication. “Unless this law is clarified, it has a chilling effect,” he said. Jardeleza argued things can go viral. “What do we do? Until either this court says reputation is not a value anymore, this can be a difficult question,” he added. (PNA)

“We call upon the Comelec to adequately address the issues and respond, place corrective measures if necessary, to the studies of technical experts to the alleged deficiencies of the present system and technology of automated elections. There can be no transparency in elections if the Comelec itself is not transparent,” the statement added. Palma explained that they are echoing the concerns of the people so that it will be properly addressed by the concern agency. “We voice out the concern of many because we would wish and we want the elections as a process, will truly be credible. Until these guarantees are in placed, we will continue to be fearful,” he said. With this, he said they are planning to conduct another meeting before

the poll body to discuss their election concerns. Early this week, the Comelec had a meeting with the bishops at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila. For his part, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the poll body has to make sure that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines will not be used in cheating. “We should be careful in the use of these machines because it might be used for cheating. That’s why the Comelec should answer all the questions on its (machines) integrity to erase the doubt in the minds of the people,” he said. Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, on the other hand, urged the Comelec to conduct a random manual audit on the eve of the elections. [PNA]

Acosta said that even if he is a member of the Cabinet of the present administration, “the law must prevail,” and that “no one, especially a member of President (Benigno) Aquino (III) family, is above the law.” “I intend to follow the Sandiganbayan and any court of the land. Let the law take its proper course and I intend to exhaust all legal means to put this matter to rest,” he said. Acosta said that even during the past several years, “my family and I have been subjected to an array of attacks not just legally but in media as well.” He said the relentless and systematic “acts of demolition” against him and his family “can only

be attributed to concerted and well-funded machinations of powerful individuals and groups that have been discomforted, to say the least, by my advocacies and programs to protect the environment.” Acosta, however, assured that he will not allow his work as environment czar to be derailed by this case “and by other tactics that my detractors may further employ.” “We have all been witness to the wide scale destruction brought about by climate change and natural disasters. The Aquino administration’s environmental programs should not be hampered by the manipulation of these vested interest groups,” he stressed. [PNA]

Bishops appeal to Comelec to erase people’s doubts on PCOS machines


HE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to address the issue on the automated election process. In its pastoral letter issued on Tuesday, the CBCP said the issue on possible cheating alleged by different groups should be addressed to prevent inconsistencies in the result of the scheduled polls. “If not properly addressed, the present automated election system can lead to wholesale cheating. The integrity of a pillar of our democracy--the election--is at stake,” said the statement signed by CBCP President Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. The bishops’ conference noted that electoral exercise is not a matter of getting the results fast but of trustworthiness and honesty.

Political harassment, says Acosta in perjury case warrant of arrest


RESIDENTIAL Adviser on Environmental Protection and concurrent Laguna Lake Development Authority chair Nereus Acosta said the warrant of arrest against him in connection with a perjury case filed 12 years ago before the Office of the Ombudsman was purely a “political harassment.” “It is with disbelief that a perjury case was filed against me even if the complainant has already desisted. I can only surmise that the warrant of arrest issued in relation to this case is political harassment and is motivated by vested interests,” said Acosta in a statement emailed to the Philippines News Agency Tuesday.

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Grizzlies rally past Sixers P

HILADELPHIA (AP) -- Marc Gasol scored a season-high 27 points and Rudy Gay had 26 to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 103-100 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. Jerryd Bayless scored a season-high 21 points to help the Grizzlies win without point guard Mike Conley. Conley sat out with a sprained left ankle suffered in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans. The Grizzlies rallied from 17 down to take control late in the fourth. Bayless missed a jumper, Gay grabbed the rebound and put Memphis up 101-100 on a bucket with 13.3 seconds left. Philadelphia’s Thaddeus Young missed a short attempt in front of the basket and the Griz-

zlies grabbed the rebound. Gay hit both attempts from the free-throw line for the three-point cushion. Nick Young couldn’t get the tying shot off at the buzzer for the Sixers. Tied at 79-all to start the fourth, neither team could break free the rest of the quarter. Gasol hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer for a 93-90 lead but Evan Turner came right back with a short jumper and Thaddeus Young gave the Sixers a one-point lead after Memphis was whistled for an offensive foul. Spencer Hawes hit a jumper and Jrue Holiday followed with basket after a fortuitous bounce popped the ball straight up off the rim and through the net for a 98-95 lead. It

wasn’t enough. The Sixers still haven’t won consecutive games since they had a three-game winning streak from Nov. 25-30. Turner scored a season-high 27 points, Thaddeus Young had 23, and Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists. The Sixers need some good news. Andrew Bynum, their 7-foot center, has targeted a post-All-Star break return from bone bruises in his knees that have sidelined him the entire season. The former Lakers All-Star, acquired in the offseason, dunked on Sunday for the first time with Philadelphia, a ‘’baby step,’’ in a comeback the Sixers are counting on to lift them into the playoff race.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Spencer Hawes, right, defends against Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, of Spain, during the first half of an NBA basketball game.

Heat honored


ASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama honored the Miami Heat for winning the 2012 NBA Championship title after falling short just a year before. ‘’Everybody doing their part, is what finally put the Heat over the top,’’ Obama said, as he welcomed the team to the White House Monday to celebrate their victory. The Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the NBA Finals last June. The president also recognized the franchise’s work off the court. He thanked them for supporting military service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Obama said one of the things he’s proudest of is that many of the team members- including LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade- ‘’take their roles as fathers seriously.’’ ‘’For all the young men out there who are looking up to them all the time, for them to see somebody who cares about their kids and

is there for them day in and day out, that’s a good message to send,’’ Obama said. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team hopefully will serve as an inspiration to the nation of what can be done ‘’when you come together and sacrifice your egos for a greater goal’’ and ‘’hardhat work ethic.’’ James, who presented Obama with an autographed basketball, said the team including members that hail from Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota were honored to be in the executive mansion. ‘’We’re in the White House right now, which is like, like ‘mama I made it,’’’ James said, as the audience laughed and cheered. The crowd of well-wishers included actress Gabrielle Union, U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson. The Heat last visited the White House after winning the 2006 title.

SAO PAULO — The 500-day mark to the 2014 World Cup was marked Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) with Fifa President Sepp Blatter leaving football aside and offering support to Brazilians mourning the death of more than 230 people in nightclub fire a day earlier. The focus moved away from Brazil’s preparations for June’s Confederations Cup and the sport’s showcase event next year as the tragedy in the southern city of Santa Maria dominated news.

After Fifa and local organizers canceled Monday’s events celebrating the 500-day countdown to the World Cup, Blatter sent a letter to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff lamenting the tragedy and expressing condolences to the families of the victims. “Although words can do little to comfort the pain and anguish being suffered in your country at this moment, I would like you to know that the football family is thinking of the Brazilian people at this sad time,” Blatter said in the letter.

Brazil in grief, World Cup hoopla sidelined



VM RODY VOWS: Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has vowed a stronger sports program when he returns to the City Hall office in June.



Sports will be alive when I return By Neil Bravo


HEN Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte returns to the City Hall’s big office, one landscape is sure to change. Sports, one of the critical areas of the previous Duterte administration, will benefit in his anticipated return to the Mayor’s Office in June. Vice Mayor Duterte will be running unopposed in the forthcoming May elections. Duterte has vowed to revitalize sports in Davao City when he gets a fresh three-year term as Mayor. “God willing, I’d like to do something special for sports. I will revitalize sports, that’s my promise,” Duterte said after swearing in the new set of officers of the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) on Saturday evening at the Yellow Fin Restaurant along Quimpo Boulevard.

Duterte even bluntly asked some members of the sportswriting fraternity if they are satisfied with the sports programs of the city. He got a negative reply from one of the members. Without elaborating on his plans and programs for sports, Duterte stressed that the advocacy to raise the status of the city in a particular sport to the national level has been limited to schools, thus, he urged DSA to take an active role in raising the advocacy for the benefit of the sports community. “If you, men and women of goodwill and sports-loving people in Davao, sportswriters, could raise the advocacy by dealing with the community at large and the prime movers in sports,” he added. Duterte inducted the new set of DSA officers and board members led by their president Sun. Star Davao sports editor Marianne L. Saberon-Abalayan. Vice-president for

print Jon Develos (Mindanao Times), vice-president for photographers Seth delos Reyes (Sun. Star Davao); secretary Marizz Robilla (Sun.Star Superbalita); treasurer Rico Jhone Biliran (Mindanews); auditor Ruben Dongzal (Goldstar Daily); board of directors Charles Raymond A. Maxey (Sun.Star Davao), Lean Daval (Edge Davao), Tomas Avanceña (Mindanao Journal) and King Rodriguez (Sun.Star Davao) were also sworn into office. Mindanao Times photographer Rene Lumawag, also a board member, didn’t make it to the oath-taking ceremony as he was out of town. DSA, an 18-year-old sportswriting organization in Davao City, holds a weekly sports forum on Thursdays. The Dexter’s Pizza Stadium along McArthur Highway Matina hosts the DSA Forum for the first two Thursdays of the month the next two editions are being held at Calle Cinco Restobar along

J.P. Laurel Avenue. Saberon, meanwhile, thanked friends and supporters like Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc., Vice-Mayor’s Office, Private Schools Athletic Association (Prisaa) 11, Vantage Sports Promotions’ Kenneth Sai, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas-Mindanao Cluster B’s Regino “Boy” Cua, The Royal Mandaya Hotel’s Glenn Escandor, Ateneo de Davao University’s William Ramirez, SDD-CMO officer-in-charge Pochollo Elegino, Tchoukball Association of Davao, Davao Light & Power Co., Cong. Isidro Ungab, PhilCycling Mindanao’s Salvador Paholio, Jr., Sunday Bowlers Club’s Emie Orteza, Association for the Advancement of Karatedo’s Rommel Tan, Arnis Philippines Davao’s Mario Palazuelo, National Chess Federation of the Philippines’ James Infiesto and Holiday Judo Club’s Paolo Tancontian for supporting the affair. (WITH POOLED REPORT FROM DSA)


Get your best players “G

ET the best of the best and win the FIBA Asia championship.” This was the message FIBA Asia secretary general Hagop Khajirian delivered to Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas in regard to the Philippines’ hosting of the regional men’s basketball championship for the first time in 40 years on Aug 1-11. “It (FIBA Asia hosting) doesn’t come every year,” Khaihiran said when he met the press at the MOA (Mall of Asia) Arena’s corporate suites lounge.

“The Philippines playing in the semifinals … why not? Champion in FIBA Asia .. why not? The high-ranking FIBA Asia executive cautioned his audience though, which included SBP executive director Renauld and consultant Mauricio Martelino: “But it will come as a result of hard work and not by luck. There is no luck in winning the championship.” Khajirian predicterd the host country could only end up fifth in the coming tournament behind defending champion China, South Korea, FIBA

Asia Cup reigning titlist Iran and Lebanon. The top three teams after the Manila series will advance to the 2014 World Championship in Spain. Khajirian based his analysis on the results of the previous staging of the biennial meet the past decade when the Chinese and the Iranians usually wind up disputing the pennant. The Philippines, he recalled, made it to the quarterfinal round twice in 2007 in Tokoshima, Japan and 2009 in Tianjin, China. The Filipinos made

the semifinal round the last time around in 2011 in Wuhan, also in China. Khajirian, who had been in Manila since Saturday to discuss with officials of the SBP regarding the organizational aspect of the tournament, said this is the best chance for the Philippines to win the FIBA-Asia since the event will be held here. The Philippines won the championship the first two times it held the tournament then under the Asian Basketball Confederation during its inaugurals in 1960 and in seventh edition 1973 Khaajirian.(PNA)





Photos by Kent Lazarraga of the Orange Studio

BY SOME twist of fate, these frenemies got married. Maybe their union is a testament to the saying “the more you hate, the more you love.” Well, looking at them now, you won’t even think that they once swore off each other’s company. Their faces and smiles are undeniably a picture of sheer happiness, love, and bliss. Tina San and Andy Co met through a common friend in college. They got along well but didn’t see each other in a romantic way. Everyday, they hung out with Andy’s older sister, Amie, and their small group of friends. Despite the good rapport, the two were always seen bantering and bickering at each other. After a few months, a serious argument finally caused Andy and Tina to drift apart. They never talked nor saw each other again. Well, not until their paths crossed ten years after they fought. Time definitely heals all wounds. By then, they were already mature adults who easily set aside old grudges to rekindle their friendship. It was like going back to their college days, only now, instead bickering, they spent hours on the phone everyday gushing affection to one another. They looked back and tried to figure out what went wrong before. Eventually, they realized that they really liked each other all along. Having realized how much they missed out from years they spent apart, they then decided not to waste any more time and just go and tie the knot. Luckily, both their parents approved of their engagement, despite it being short. Friends were shocked when they found

However, no amount of heavy downpour could kill their faith. Tina looked beautiful in the wedding gown designed by Rodel Macatangay. Her bridal glow reminded everyone of the classic China doll, radiating in youthful innocence. Tina and Andy remained positive and kept their hope that the

Having realized how much they missed out from years they spent apart, they then decided not to waste any more time and just go and tie the knot. out that the two actually became a couple, as their hatred of each other was general knowledge to everyone. The dark clouds called on rains on their wedding day. Since they prepared for a garden wedding, they were both worried the rain will spoil the celebration.

skies will be in their favor. Minutes before the bride walked the aisle, the rain stopped. They were blessed with good weather all

throughout the ceremony until after everyone left for their reception. Tina, who loved everything romantic and vintage,

chose pastels for her wedding theme. “I had great support and help from my coordinator and event stylist, Noel Tanza. I’m just re-

ally happy with how everything went. Maybe the rain will bring us good fortune all throughout our marriage.”



Payment for Philippines’ AirAsia tickets now made easier via 7-Eleven stores AirAsia Inc. and 7-Eleven ink deal for easy, hassle-free payment service that’s open 24/7

PAYING for your Philippines’ AirAsia booking reservations and other online purchases is now made easier via any 7-Eleven store nationwide. AirAsia guests who prefer to pay in cash may now avail of online promo fares and other privileges from and pay at any 7-Eleven’s more than 800 convenient stores. AirAsia and Philippine Seven Corporation launched the Payment Partners agreement in Makati City yesterday with AirAsia Inc. Chairman Tony Boy Cojuangco, AirAsia Inc. CEO Maan Hontiveros and Philippine Seven Corporation president and CEO Jose Victor Paterno. “We know that we made the right choice by launching this payment innovation with 7-Eleven. Our partnership brings more convenience and accessibility to payment gateways so that everyone can have an easy, hassle-free access to AirAsia’s super low fares and promos,” AirAsia Inc. CEO Maan Hontiveros said. For his part, Philippine Seven Corporation president and CEO Jose Victor Paterno said: “AirAsia and 7-Eleven are committed to provide convenience and quality service to our customers. With this new cash payment system, AirAsia passengers will experience the ease and convenience of our 24/7 service.” AirAsia believes in providing convenient service to make traveling easier and more affordable for guests through the f o l l o w i n g Paying for your Philippines’ AirAsia online booking reservations booking op- and other purchases is now made easier via any 7-Eleven stores nationwide. You can now avail of AirAsia’s promo fares and signature tions: low fares from and pay at any 7-Eleven stores using   •  Internet  cash. Photo shows (L-R) 7-Eleven General Merchandise manager Jun AirAsia Inc. Chairman Tony Boy Cojuangco, Philippine Seven booking via Ang, Corporation president and CEO Jose Victor Paterno, AirAsia Inc. CEO www.airasia. Maan Hontiveros and AirAsia Inc. Commercial head Freddy Herrera com that is at the launching of Payment Partners option in Makati City recently. customized for each country and market.   • Guests are also able to book their flights via AirAsia’s new and improved mobile apps as well which are available for download at Apple’s App Store for iPhone, Google’s Play Store for Android phones, or at mobile. for WAP enabled phones.   “Aside from being able to book their flights 24/7, our  guests will be very happy to finally have the same option to pay cash, any time at any 7-Eleven store nationwide. In the next few weeks, we will announce more payment partners so that more and more people will benefit from our low fares and extensive route network spanning 20 countries and 80 destinations,” Hontiveros added. To celebrate the partnership, AirAsia is offering promo fares from as low as P699 for Davao and Kalibo; P999 for Taipei and Hong Kong and P1,499 for Singapore. Guests who will avail of this promo online will be able to travel from 24 January to 22 May 2013. Booking period is open until 3 February. Find out more about AirAsia’s exciting destinations and promo fare announcements by following us on Facebook (facebook/airasiaphilippines) and Twitter (

AirAsia Inc. Chairman Tony Boy Cojuangco, Philippine Seven Corporation president and CEO Jose Victor Paterno and AirAsia Inc. CEO Maan Hontiveros officially launched the Payment Partners option in Makati City. The partnership brings more convenience to AirAsia passengers, aside from being able to book their flights 24/7 via, they will finally have the same option to pay cash, any time at any 7-Eleven store nationwide.



5 things men fear most about aging

WORRIED about getting old? Who isn’t -- except perhaps those who are already unmistakably there. Survey after survey shows the elderly are more content with life, less depressed, and less fearful of death than the young. “I’m a lot more sanguine and comfortable about aging at 76 than I was at 56,” says George Vaillant, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who codirects its Study of Adult Development. In the meantime, though? Guys in midlife harbor plenty of fears when they peer ahead. (Women have their own, slightly different set of aging fears). Among men’s top fears about getting older: Men’s Aging Fear #1: Impotence “No question that men worry more than women about performing,” says Ken Robbins, a University of Wisconsin professor of psychiatry who’s also board certified in internal medicine. “When libido starts to diminish or things don’t work as well as they did before, it’s very common for men to worry that they’ll embarrass or humiliate themselves.” Perhaps performance anxiety isn’t surprising, given a 2008 British study that showed men think about sex 13 times a day, compared to 5 times a day for women. The prospect of impotence was scarier than cancer or death to readers of a men’s magazine in a 2001 poll. Perhaps there’s a good medical reason for this: Otherwise healthy men who have erectile problems have been shown to have abnormal coronary tissue, higher incidence of high blood pressure, high blood fat, and other markers of heart disease. Fear fighter: Have your cholesterol checked. Three-fourths of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) have abnormal cholesterol. “Two-thirds of men who’ve had heart attacks had ED that predated angina by at least three years,” says urologist John Mulhall, director of the Sexual Medicine Program and the Sexual Medicine Research Laboratory at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. Men’s Aging Fear #2: Weakness It’s said that knowledge

is power -- but for men, so is physical power itself. “Men value strength and vigor more -- and when it starts to slide, they take it much harder than women do,” Robbins says. “Losing physical strength adds to their overall sense of loss: ‘If I can’t lift things, what kind of man am I?’” Feeling weaker was named one of the most dreaded parts of aging for nearly 9 in 10 people surveyed earlier this year by the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging along with Abbott Labs. Fear fighter: Start (or keep up) resistance training and a healthy diet. Only 25 percent of the 1,000 adults in the AGSF study made strength training part of their everyday routine, even though this basic can protect muscle health. Men’s Aging Fear #3: Retirement/irrelevance The prospect of retiring fires enormous anxiety because it, too, begs the question, “If I’m not my career, what am I?” “Men fear retirement because it’s how they define themselves and how they fill their time,” says geriatrician Laurie Jacobs, director of the Jack and Pearl Resnick Gerontology Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. In the U.S., reaching retirement age tends to coincide

with having your opinion solicited less and becoming more “invisible,” she adds. Net result: a huge ego blow. Women have an easier time giving up work, psychiatrist Ken Robbins adds, because they more quickly fill its gap with friends and children. Fear fighter: Avoid being sidelined by staying involved, even if it means finding new ways to do so. Try to follow new technologies, stay interested in younger people, reinvent yourself by discovering a new meaning and purpose to your life post-retirement. Or keep working. Above all, stretch yourself to keep social networks strong. Jacobs foresees the coming wave of babyboom retirees reshaping retirement and how aging itself is perceived “because they’ve changed every other life stage as they’ve gone through it.” Men’s Aging Fear #4: Losing wheels (and independence) From his first soupedup junker to his badgeof-success sports car (or midlife-crisis convertible), what a man drives reflects his very identity. In American culture, cars also represent freedom, independence, and the endless possibilities of the open road. The prospect of having to give all that up -- which

many men first think about when they see their own fathers turning in the keys for safety’s sake -- is scary indeed. Driving is also emblematic of another fear: Becoming dependent on others to meet basic needs. “It’s no coincidence that the men with the highest social status in assistedliving communities are the ones who have driver’s licenses,” Robbins notes. Fear fighter: Consider the facts. Many older adults continue to be able to drive safely into their 70s and 80s. A refresher course can help. But know that this is one area where the greater good -- the safety of others --should trump private fears, when the time comes. Men’s Aging Fear #5: Losing your mind (or your wife losing hers) Perhaps recent headlines are scaring more men into the fear of Alzheimer’s: Men are more likely than women to have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) -- sometimes called “pre-Alzheimer’s” -- and get it earlier, according to a Mayo Clinic study in the September 2010 journal Neurology. Nearly one in five men ages 70 to 85 have the condition, which falls between normal forgetfulness and early dementia. More women, on the other hand, actually develop Alzheimer’s disease. But that, too, is a scary prospect for their mates, thrust with little preparation into a caregiver role. “Most men haven’t done too much caregiving,” Robbins says. And nothing dashes the fantasy of a footloose-and-fancy-free retirement like tending full-time to a partner who doesn’t even know you. Dementia was the number-one health concern of 12,000 Americans (both genders together) in 2010 Bupa Health Pulse, a survey conducted by the British healthcare company Bupa. Fear fighter: Know that only about 15 percent of cases of mild cognitive impairment evolve into dementia each year. (If you’re married, you may be protected; MCI is highest in men who were never wed.) No surefire ways to prevent Alzheimer’s have been found, but a hearthealthy lifestyle may lower the risk. As for facing a journey of dementia care, one silver lining is that more and more men are caregivers today. And unlike a generation ago, many great resources now exist to support inexperienced caregivers.




Ben Affleck’s Argo has real Oscar momentum But Lincoln could still pull a Braveheart HERE’S a name may not have pected to hear awards season: Gibson.

you exthis Mel

As Ben Affleck’s Argo, fresh off its big wins at the Screen Actors Guild and Producers Guild awards, seemingly closes in on the Best Picture Oscar that not long ago seemed unlikely, Gibson becomes a key historical figure, his legacy both showing how, yes, Argo is the new lock, and how, no, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln isn’t out of it yet. In the winter of 1996, Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 won the top film prize from the Screen Actors Guild. A week later, Howard took home the Directors Guild of America Award; Apollo 13 scored the Producers Guild Award. “The Oscar Countdown Continues for Apollo 13,” the newspaper headline trumpeted. Then came the Academy Awards—and then came Gibson. The actor-turned-filmmaker led Braveheart to five Oscars, including Apollo 13’s presumed Best Picture honor. To date, Braveheart is the only movie in awardsseason history that has won Best Picture after losing all three key guild honors. (Appropriately, this particular history begins in 1996, when SAG bestowed its first ensemble-

cast award.) In our current awards season, it’s tempting, if you’re on Team Lincoln, to see Affleck as Howard, and Argo as Apollo 13, especially since Affleck, like Howard, was not nominated for the Best Director Oscar. (No, it’s probably not tempting to see Spielberg as Gibson.) But the Gibson lesson can  also  be  flipped:  If— big if—Affleck can win at Saturday’s Directors Guild Awards, then history is strongly on Argo’s side. Movies that sweep the three guild awards always, always, always win the Best Picture Academy Award. (Almost.) If Affleck loses on Saturday, presumably to Spielberg, then the Gibson example is out the door, and Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed enter. In 2007, Little Miss Sunshine won top Producers Guild and SAG awards, before losing to The Departed’s Martin Scorsese at the DGA Awards. At the Oscars, The Departed pre-

vailed as Best Picture. As things stand now, with the DGA results still unknown, Argo could be anything: It could be Apollo 13, it could be Little Miss Sunshine, it could even be Chicago, which swept the guild awards, and won Best Picture minus an accompanying Best Director statuette. Of course, unlike Affleck (or Howard or Sunshine’s Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris), Chicago’s Rob Marshall was at least nominated for Best Director, and there’s the thing: What Affleck and Argo is trying to do is about as rare as what Gibson and Braveheart did. And here’s another thing: Backstage at the SAG Awards, Lincoln’s Daniel Day-Lewis, who is the lock of all locks this awards season (or so conventional wisdom tells us), was reminded that he soon could be the first man to win three Best Actor Academy Awards. Said Day-Lewis, almost shyly, “I could also not [be].”

Not that the two aren’t busy enough. Both just wrapped films in which they play two of the most iconic princesses in modern history. Kidman stars as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco and Watts as

Princess Diana in Diana. “You said we were going to have a princess party,” Kidman said to Watts. Watts quickly responded, “I was joking, but maybe we’ll have a tea party kind of thing.”

Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts want to work together

THE LAST and only time Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts appeared in a movie together was in the 1991 indie Flirting. Considering what besties they are, one would think they would have reunited on the big screen by now. Sadly, they haven’t. But it’s not like they don’t want to. “We’re looking,” Kidman told me at the Producers Guild of America Awards. In fact, Watts added, “We’ve been looking for a long time now. But both of us have…picky tastes. It has to be the right piece.” Kidman pleaded with a smile, “Somebody think of something, please!”

INdulge! A3

A4 INdulge! MOVIES



Oceans of misery Life of Pi and The Impossible

Life of Pi

By Jay Rosas ANG LEE’S adaptation of Yann Martel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi attains a certain achievement as what the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer’s rendition of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas did (though I consider the latter more difficult to bring to screen than Martel’s) as they are supposedly “unfilmable” novels. Atlas managed to match my expectations because the film was ambitious in scope and brave just like Mitchell’s novel was; the added treat really was the musical score, music being an element to one of the five interweaving narratives that crossed boundaries of time, race and genre.

What makes Lee’s Pi stand out is not just because it’s a visual treat. Yes, the rendering of nature, particularly the ocean and its marine life, is elevated to a state of magical wonder that at some point we forget that Pi, after surviving a shipwreck and the storm that caused its sinking, may face the possibility of death from starvation, ocean storms, sharks or being eaten by his companion— a Bengal tiger precociously named Richard Parker. Lee succeeds in presenting the film, not just as a story of survival, but positioning this survival story, as a crucial element to the power of storytelling. And this is where I think Lee improved on. It is a dimension that I did not really feel strongly after reading the book (though it still remains one of my favorite novels). There is a mystical quality to the sumptuousness of imagery and Lee’s visual representation of the ocean that mirrors Pi’s sense of spirituality. The themes of spirituality and faith (and a comical take on the contradictions and shakiness of religions), although figure strongly in the narrative, are important aspects to Lee’s goal in presenting us the power of storytelling in the entire film—after all, we begin with the film with a grownup Pi talking to a writer but not yet hinting of the survival story at its core. Some argue that the twist in the near end of the film is a copout, raising the issue of doubt vis-à-vis faith as rather too gimmicky. I

would like to believe that the audience should have intuitively begin to question the survival story in the carnivorous island of meerkats and not when Pi tells a different version of it to the Japanese inquisitors. Then of course there is Richard Parker, whose naming as a result of a switch is a fascinating detail to the story. In the lifeboat, he is as much a human character as Pi is, and we empathize with him when he struggles to survive amid a dwindling diet and tumultuous waves and storms—this is his survival story as much as it is Pi’s. Perhaps we felt that the two have finally created this connection when the ordeal ended, so that when the parting came we expected that Richard Parker would look back. It is where this fallibility of expectations, of beliefs, the uncertainty of it all, the burgeoning doubts, that truly characterizes Pi’s life, and ours perhaps. Rating: 4.3/5 *** In The Impossible, the ordeal experienced by a family is based on a real life story and more harrowing than Pi’s. Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona portrays the horror and tragedy of the deadly 2004 tsunami in Asia through the story of one family who were separated when the waves swept them and others apart. But much of this ordeal is shown through Maria (Naomi Watts) and her son Lucas (Tom Holland), who found themselves in the swirling

The Impossible

murky water littered with large debris, bruised and bleeding, until they were rescued by locals and sent off to a hospital already full of victims. We only learned later about the survival of the other half of the family, the patriarch Henry (Ewan McGregor) and the two younger sons in the aftermath. Despite a less compelling script, peppered with cloying sentimentality (which is aided by the musical scoring), Bayona’s focused direction underscored the themes of horror and human drama, but more successfully the former than the latter. Better known for the Spanish horror film The Orphanage, Bayona utilizes the horror elements to a chilling effect—the shot of the moon the night before the disaster, howling winds, a torn page of a Joseph Conrad novel (Heart of Darkness?) in an effective montage that led up to the tsunami scene. Most would probably single out the tsunami sequences because of its vividness, launching the audience into the very ordeal itself. We wince as the actors are pummeled by debris, their screams and plead for help dwarfed by this roiling ocean of disaster. This depiction of

tragedy can go overboard sometimes—the dream sequence culminating in the slo-mo shot of Watts is a concrete example. But the film benefits from the performances of the main cast. Watts and McGregor deliver but we are mostly drawn to the determined and strong-willed Lucas (Holland is particularly on equal footing with the two adult actors) and the hopeful and innocent Simon and Thomas—they are where our emotions are anchored. Watts and McGregor mostly portray the tragedy and horror of the experience and these are balanced out by the innocence of hopefulness portrayed by the children. But I can see why Watts is getting praises here despite equal screen time with McGregor and Holland. It’s easy to dismiss her character as a victim, but her being frail and helpless is weighted by wordless scenes that exude the resiliency of the family and of countless victims of the disaster. The shot of her face looking at the chaos below brings us back to this alienating effect of the tragedy even though there is a sense of unease when the film settles all too comfortably with the ending. Rating: 3.5/5



Back in the groove


AN DIEGO (AP) -Tiger Woods was so good for so long at Torrey Pines that it didn’t matter how bad it looked at the end. In a finish that was fitting for such a long and exasperating week, Woods built an eightshot lead with five holes to play on Monday until he lost patience with the slow play and started losing shots that only determined the margin of victory. Despite two bogeys and a double bogey in the final hour, he closed with an even-par 72 for a fourshot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open. ‘’I’m excited the way I played all week,’’ Woods said. ‘’I hit the ball well - pretty much did everything well and built myself a nice little cushion. I had some mistakes at the end, but all my good play before that allowed me to afford those mistakes.’’ He won for the 75th time in his PGA Tour career, seven behind the record held by Sam Snead. Woods won this tournament for the seventh time, and he set a PGA Tour record by winning at Torrey Pines for the eighth time, including his 2008 U.S. Open. Woods also has won seven times at Bay Hill and at Firestone. Torrey Pines is a public course that he has turned into his private domain. ‘’I don’t know if anybody would have beaten him this week,’’ said Nick Watney, who got within five shots of Woods when the tournament was still undecided until making three bogeys on his next

five holes. ‘’He’s definitely on his game.’’ It was the 23rd time Woods has won by at least four shots on the PGA Tour. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker (69) and Josh Teater (69) tied for the second. Watney had a 71 and tied for fourth with Jimmy Walker. It was a strong statement for Woods, who was coming off a missed cut last week in Abu Dhabi. This was the second time in his career that Woods won in his next tournament after missing the cut, but this was the first time it happened the following week. Abu Dhabi is now a distant memory. The question how is what kind of season is shaping up for Woods. ‘’I think he wanted to send a message,’’ said Hunter Mahan, who shares a swing coach with Woods. ‘’I think deep down he did. You play some games to try to motivate yourself. There’s been so much talk about Rory (McIlroy). Rory is now with Nike. That would be my guess.’’ The last time Woods won at Torrey Pines also was on a Monday, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff to capture the U.S. Open for his 14th major. Of all his wins on this course along the Pacific, this might have been the most peculiar. Thick fog cost the tournament an entire day of golf on Saturday, forcing the first Monday finish in tournament his-

tory. Woods effectively won the tournament during his 25 holes on Sunday, when he turned a two-shot lead into a six-shot margin with only 11 holes to play. CBS Sports wanted to televise the final day in late afternoon on the East

Coast, but it still went long because of the pace of play. It took Woods about 3 hours, 45 minutes to finish his 11 holes on Monday. His 19-hole win over Mediate lasted 4 1/2 hours. As

much a s Woods got off to a good start, equal attention was given to slow play, an increasing problem on the PGA Tour. ‘’It got a little ugly toward the end,’’ Woods said. ‘’I started losing patience a little bit with the slow play. I lost my concentration a little bit.’’ He made bogey from the bunker on No. 14. He hooked a tee shot off the eucalyptus trees and into a patch of ice plant on the 15th, leading to double

bogey. After another long wait on the 17th tee, he

County. ‘’I think a win always makes it special, especially the way I played,’’ Woods said. ‘’To have not won would have been something else because I really played

well. Playing the way I did for most of this tournament, until the very end, the last five holes, I felt like I should have won this tournament. I put myself in a position where I had a big enough lead, and that’s basically how I felt like I played this week.

popped up his tee shot and made another bogey. With a four-

s h o t lead on the 18th - Kyle Stanley blew a three-shot lead a year ago - he hit wedge safely behind the hole for a two-putt par. Wo o d s finished on 14-under 274 for his 14th win in California, and 11th in San Diego

Djokovic talking French



Tiger Woods has started the year on a high note, winning his 75th Tour title at Torrey Pines.

ELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- In years past, Novak Djokovic marked his victories at the Australian Open with rowdy late-night celebrations and bleary-eyed photo shoots the next morning in downtown Melbourne. This year’s win made history but inspired a more sober re-

action. After beating Andy Murray to become the only man to win three consecutive Australian Open titles, the No. 1-ranked player didn’t feel the need to celebrate immediately. Instead, he booked an early Monday flight home to start preparing for his next challenge: the clay courts of Eu-

rope. The Serb has the Davis Cup next weekend and a few months away is the French Open the one major that has eluded him. Djokovic now has six Grand Slam tournament trophies, four overall from the Australian Open and one each from Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2011.




Edge Davao 5 Issue 235  

Edge Davao 5 Issue 235, January 30, 2012

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