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UK & Europe Edition

April 2013

Volume 4 - Number 7

Christian Bautista on transferring to GMA: “Hindi ako gumagawa ng desisyon na biglaan”

M U LT I - A W A R D E D recording artist and international star Christian Bautista admitted to the press that his decision to move to the Kapuso network was not done in a hurry, and that he had to consider a lot of factors before transferring. During his contract signing with GMA executives last March 20, Christian talked about how he feels being in a new home, what he’s looking forward to doing here, and his message to his fans who might be surprised that he is

now a Kapuso. “It has been a really good experience. Our talks, our negotiations, and finally I’m here. Instantly na-feel ko ‘yung welcome ng mga tao, ang sarap. I feel very welcome, I feel very happy na nandito ako ngayon. [I feel] honored also, of this chance, and I’m excited to work,” shares Christian. When asked kung sino ang malakas na nangumbinsi sa kanya na lumipat sa GMA, this is what Christian had to say. “Hindi po ako gumagawa ng desisyon na biglaan.

Kasama po ang pamilya ko, kasama ang management ko, ang Stages, kasama ko ang panalangin. Tapos, malalaman mo naman ‘yan eh, kapag ‘yung tamang panahon na po. At ‘yun na, andito na po tayo.” He signed a three-year exclusive contract with GMA, and he can only reveal that he will be part of Party Pilipinas beginning this Sunday, March 24. “Sa ngayon po, sa Party Pilipinas, of course. Makakasama ko ulit sina Rachelle at Mark. I’m excited

to work with everyone. Very, very excited kasi we can make beautiful music together.” Are we going to see him in a teleserye soon? “’Yun din po is part of it. Ako as an artist, gusto ko pang

mag-grow, gusto ko pang mag-spread. Idi-discover ko pa sa sarili ko kung ano pa ang kaya kong gawin habang guwapo pa,” he jokes. GMANetwork.com also had the chance to ask Christian

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Sunday ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to coordinate closely with Filipinos in Korea amid North Korea’s reported announcement of a “state of war” against South Korea. A report on state-run Philippines News Agency quoted presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda as saying Aquino is constantly updated on the situation. “The President has directed the DFA to ensure that the

Philippine embassy in Korea coordinate with the Filipino community there,” he said. On Saturday, North Korea reportedly announced a “state of war” with South Korea, with the latter downplaying the claim by saying it carried nothing “new.” Earlier, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said that the Philippine embassy in Seoul is already monitoring the situation and coordinating with Filipino community leaders

“on steps to be taken in case escalation of tensions warrants an evacuation.” He also said a state of “heightened alertness” remains in force for all Filipinos in Korea. Hernandez also said there are some 40,000 Filipinos in South and North Korea. Contingency plans. The PNA report also quoted Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. as saying the National Risk Reduction

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for his message to his fans here and abroad, who have supported him since he started in show business. “I support whatever the fans decide, and I will forever love them. I hope that the fans that I have been with for the past nine years will still be with me, and I hope that they can be with me in this journey as well. I thank God that I have the blessing of my family, my friends, my management in this decision, and I hope yours as well.” Watch out for our newest Kapuso Christian Bautista in Party Pilipinas this Sunday, March 24. ■ Michelle Caligan,

ENSURE COORDINATION WITH PINOYS IN SOUTH KOREA, AQUINO ORDERS DFA GMANetwork.com / Mar 21, 2013

and Management Council (NDRRMC) has contingency plans to respond to potential external threats. “[The] NDRRMC has a continuing contingency plan to respond to external threats, including previous missiles launched from the two Koreas,” Coloma said. “We maintain a posture of vigilance and adherence to diplomatic modes of conflict resolution,” he added. ■ BM, GMA News / March 31, 2013 4:38pm


2

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Jordan charges students with ‘devil worship’

A Jordanian military prosecutor on Wednesday charged five university students with incitement for allegedly desecrating the Koran and engaging in “devil worship.” “A state security court prosecutor charged the five students today with doctrinal and sectarian incitement,” a court official told AFP without elaborating. The students face up to three years in jail if convicted, under Jordanian law. The decision came after Human Rights Watch urged Jordan to charge or release the five students from Al Al-Bayt University in northeast Jordan detained earlier this month. The students, who deny the accusations against them, were assaulted by a crowd of other students before their arrest on March 12, the rights watchdog said on its website. “Jordanian authorities should release the five students and take steps to protect them from further attack,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at HRW. “The authorities should hold to account anyone who joined in this

Jordanian gendarmerie police stand guard during a fuel price demonstration in Amman on November 13, 2012 (AFP)

witch hunt and committed acts of violence. They should not be allowed to walk free while their victims are locked up.” Other students alleged the five ripped and burned a manuscript of the Muslim holy book and threw it in the toilet while performing a “religious ritual.” HRW quoted their relatives as saying no evidence of criminal behaviour has been presented to the detained students. “Authorities should also investigate reported remarks,

including by a well-known Salafist sheikh, advocating the students’ deaths and prosecute anyone whose language amounted to direct incitement to murder,” it said. Salafists are an ultra-conservative current of Sunni Islam. These remarks “have led to other calls for the students to be killed in messages posted on Facebook… prompting fears for their safety and doubts about whether they will be able to complete their university studies in Jordan.” ■ AFP / March 27, 2013

Peru’s engineers ‘make’ their own drinkable water in response to shortages outside of Lima

THE message emblazoned on a billboard outside the Peruvian capital sounds almost too good to be true: drinkable water for anyone who wants some in this arid village. Even more intriguingly, the fresh, pure water on offer along a busy road in this dusty town some 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Lima, has been extracted, as if by magic, from the humid air. Within the enormous, raised, double-paneled billboard inviting all takers is concealed a tube, wires and mechanical equipment that draws the water from the air and purifies it. Inhabitants from far and wide who flock here toting liter bottles and buckets say this purified water is a wonderful alternative to the stagnant well water that used to be the only water source for many in this town. “The water that we get in our houses very often is dirty. By contrast, here we have good water that we can use and drink without having to worry,” Francisco Quilca, 52 told AFP. His wife Wilma Flores says that it gives her peace of mind, “knowing that the water is disinfected. We can drink it and we can use it to wash our vegetables in,” she said. The United Nations on Friday marked its World Water Day initiative which aims to cut water-borne diseases like cholera, dysentery and diarrhea around the world. It is a perennial problem in Lima and the surrounding area, where

about one million of the more than eight million people lack reliably clean water. Faced with the ongoing water shortage, some innovators at Peru’s University for Engineering and Technology hit upon the novel idea. “If the problem is water, we’ll make some,” said Alejandro Aponte, one of the people who worked on the project, which was both an engineering feat and a marketing challenge. Enough water is sucked from the air by this huge contraption located on the edge of a busy highway in Peru to fill a 100-liter tank each day. The system required a location where the humidity was at least 30 percent — not a problem in Lima, where the dewpoint sometimes hits an unbearably sticky 98 percent, despite the barren landscape where there is very little evident vegetation and not very much actual rainfall. The interdisciplinary effort required figuring out not only how to draw moisture from the air on a large enough scale, but how to let people know that the water was available for their consumption. Engineers on the project have installed five generators to suck moisture out of the air and convert it into liquid. The purification structure is sandwiched between two huge billboards which advertise the availability of the water. Once they had worked out the mechanics of extracting the moisture

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

Russia already stockpiling snow to ensure ‘white’ 2014 Winter Olympics RUSSIA has started to stockpile hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of snow to ensure the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is not hit by unpredictable weather conditions. The Sochi 2014 Olympics Organising Committee has constructed a huge snow storage facility at the Rosa Khutor ski resort, which will host the alpine skiing and snowboarding at next year’s Games. The organisers are set to conserve a colossal 450,000 cubic metres of snow before April 15 when the thaw sets in to prevent any shortages of powder at the outdoor Olympic venues in case of unfavourable weather conditions next February, the resort said in a statement. The snow reserves will be covered by a 40-centimetre layer of specially processed sawdust to conserve it and to allow it to survive the upcoming spring, summer and autumn with minimum losses courtesy of a special technology, which was created by one of the 2014 Olympics Finnish partners. “The snow storages will be situated near the Olympic slopes to deliver and spread the snow there, in case of necessity, with the help of snow ploughs,” the press service of state corporation Olympstroi said. Roza Khutor is closing the ski pistes while the work goes on to all

but those who are staying in hotels at the resort to ensure their security, it said. The proximity of the Black Sea and the Sochi climate’s natural humidity virtually guarantees heavy snowfalls at the 2014 Olympic venues. However organisers decided to reserve some extra snow to fit the strict demands of the international wintersports federations and the International Olympic Committee. The Olympic venues have suffered unpredictable weather this year varying from ideal sunny cold conditions to the muggy weather with zero rainfall that can potentially ruin a winter sports event. Sochi is a Black Sea resort that enjoys balmy year-round temperatures but Russia is hoping that the location chosen high in the nearby Caucasus mountains will enjoy a good snowfall. ■ AFP / March 27, 2013

A boy runs down a street with a snowball as snow falls on December 1, 2012 in Berlin. (AFP)

Former CIA chief General David Petraeus says he’s sorry about affair, in first speech since quitting

A man carries a bucket full of water near a billboard that works as a dehumidifier in Bujama, March 15, 2013 (AFP)

from the air, “the university asked us to think up this panel,” said Aponte, who is creative director of the Mayo Draft ad agency. He said the project — part water generator, part advertising billboard — has filled a real need here, as “there are many people who have no access to clean water,” he told AFP. “We have seen that this has a huge potential if you get to use it in other areas of Lima, or even other countries that have many water problems,” said Aponte, who said he has received overseas queries about the project. Carlos Cardenas, who works as a driver and travels regularly by the Pan-American Highway that runs along Peru’s coast, stops alongside the sign, taking several glasses of water before moving on. “I often stop here to get water because it is quite good, and not nearly as polluted as it seems to be in other places,” he told AFP. ■ AFP / March 27, 2013

FORMER CIA chief General David Petraeus said sorry Tuesday for the “mistake” which triggered his resignation last year, in his first public speech since quitting due to an extra-marital affair. Addressing a military audience in Los Angeles, Petraeus voiced regret for the “pain” caused by his relationship with his biographer Paula Broadwell, pledging to try to “make amends to those I have hurt and let down.” “I join you keenly aware that I am regarded in a different light now than I was a year ago,” Petraeus told over 600 veterans and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps students, hosted by the University of Southern California (USC) in a Los Angeles hotel. “I am also keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing,” said the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and before that top US general, who spearheaded the “surge” in Iraq. “So please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret — and apologize for — the circumstances that led me to my resignation from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters.” Petraeus, America’s most celebrated military leader in a generation, stepped down on

November 9 as head of the CIA after admitting to an affair with Broadwell, a counter-terrorism expert and lieutenant-colonel. The FBI stumbled upon the affair when Jill Kelley, a Florida socialite and friend of the Petraeus family, asked investigators to look into threatening emails that turned out to be from an apparently jealous Broadwell. Towards the end of his 25-minute address Petraeus said: “I know that I can never fully assuage the pain that I inflicted on those closest to me and on a number of others. “I can, however, try to move forward in a manner that is consistent to the values to which I subscribed before slipping my moorings and, as best as possible, to make amends to those I have hurt and let down. “Life doesn’t stop with such a mistake; it can and must go on,” added the former CIA head, who was given a standing ovation at the start and end of his address. ■ AFP / March 27, 2013


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28/11/2012 10:48


Mandela in hospital again for lung infection 4

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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JOHANNESBURG - Former South African president Nelson Mandela has been readmitted to hospital with a recurrent lung infection, the presidency said Thursday, urging people to pray for the anti-apartheid hero. The 94-year-old was hospitalized “due to the recurrence of his lung infection” just before midnight on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma’s office said in a statement. It is the second time this month that the Nobel peace laureate has spent the night in hospital and follows a nearly three-week stay in December for the lung infection and for surgery to extract gallstones. Earlier this month, he spent a night in hospital for a “scheduled medical checkup”. “Doctors are attending to him, ensuring that he has the best possible expert medical treatment and comfort,” said the presidency. Zuma wished “Madiba”, as South Africa’s first black president is fondly known at home, a quick recovery. “We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts,” he said. “We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery.”

The name or location of the hospital where Mandela is staying was not disclosed. Revered at home and abroad, Mandela has grown increasingly frail away from the public eye with several recent health scares. His December admission was the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s longest hospital stay since he walked free from 27 years of apartheid jail in 1990. In early 2012, he was admitted for a minor exploratory procedure to investigate persistent abdominal pain. His lungs have also been a longstanding source of health problems. In 2011, he was hospitalised for two nights for an unnamed acute respiratory infection. Mandela was diagnosed with early stage tuberculosis in 1988 while imprisoned during apartheid. In February, Zuma said he had found Mandela “comfortable and relaxed” and watching television after paying him a visit at his Johannesburg home. “He had the brightest smile,” said Zuma. Earlier this month, friend and renowned human rights lawyer George Bizos, who defended Mandela during his 1960s treason trial, said Mandela was aware of currents political events but had memory lapses.

“Unfortunately he sometimes forgets that one or two of them had passed on and has a blank face when you tell him that Walter Sisulu and

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

some others are no longer with us,” Bizos told radio’s Eyewitness News. Sisulu, the former leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) who was Mandela’s political mentor, died nearly a decade ago. At the beginning of last month, two of his granddaughters released a picture of a smiling Mandela sitting with his youngest great-grandson in an armchair. It was taken to show his recovery after his December hospitalization, they said while promoting their new reality show, Being Mandela. Mandela stepped down after

one term as president after taking power after 1994 polls that dealt the final death blow to decades of white minority rule. He is adored in South Africa where he is seen as the symbol of the divided country’s peaceful shift into democracy. He has not appeared in public since South Africa’s Football World Cup final in 2010, six years after retiring. Rumors of his failing health or even death flare up periodically, forcing the government to issue assurances that all is well. ■ AFP

UK judges rule to keep ban on Abu Qatada deportation to Jordan as government vows to fight on

THE British government on Wednesday vowed not to give up its fight to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan after losing its latest court challenge to have him expelled. Lawyers for Home Secretary Theresa May had appealed a decision by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in November allowing the Jordanian to stay in Britain, but this was dismissed. In a ruling posted online on Wednesday, three Court of Appeal judges acknowledged that the government believed Abu Qatada to be an “exceptionally high risk terrorist”. But they said the government had not proved there were legal flaws in

the SIAC decision, which found there was a real risk that evidence obtained through torture would be used in his retrial on terror charges in Jordan. “We are satisfied that SIAC did not commit any legal errors. This appeal must therefore be dismissed,” the ruling said. The Home Office, or interior ministry, said it would study the ruling but indicated it would likely appeal, dragging out further the already decade-long battle by Britain to remove the cleric. “This is not the end of the road. The government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada,” the Home Office said in a statement on Twitter.

“We will consider the judgement on Abu Qatada carefully and plan to seek leave to appeal. “In the meantime we continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing Abu Qatada’s deportation.” ■ AFP / March 27, 2013

Terror suspect Abu Qatada arrives at his home in northwest London on November 13, 2012, after he was released from prison via AFP


6

BUSINESS & FINANCE

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April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

PHL makes the grade expected to trigger investment rush THE Philippines has snagged an investment grade rating for the first time after Fitch Ratings upgraded the country’s creditworthiness due to a resilient economy and improved fiscal management. An investment grade rating could strengthen industries by attracting more investments, with the cost of funds usually lower since the rating indicates a well-managed economy in fiscal and monetary terms that serves as an assurance to creditors that they will be promptly paid. In a statement Wednesday, Fitch said it upgraded the Philippines from BB+ to BBB, which reflects an investment grade rating. The debt watcher also noted that the outlook for the Philippines is stable. “This rating is unprecedented in the Philippines and can trigger the kind of investment that will help carry the country into its next phase of development,” said Norio Usui, Country Economist at the Asian Development Bank. “The Philippines’ sovereign external balance sheet is considered strong,” Fitch said, noting a persistent current account surplus on the back of strong remittance inflow, which proved resilient through the global financial crisis that has rocked the world since late 2007. Fitch said the Philippine economy—which expanded by 6.6 percent last year—remained strong amid a weak global economic backdrop. “Strong domestic demand drove this outturn,” the debt watcher said, forecasting growth to hit 5.5 percent this year. A first in PHL history. The Aquino administration

has been trumpeting sound macroeconomic fundamentals in its effort toward achieving that coveted investment grade. “After successfully reversing a decade of decline, [we are now] investment grade for the first time in our history. A landmark achievement!” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said in a text message to reporters. “Investment grade opens up more sources of financing for our businesses, lowers the cost of borrowing, and encourages more investments, which in turn will lead to more jobs and greater incomes for our people,” he said in a separate statement. A Malacañang statement also listed the benefits of the improved credit rating. “Greater access to low-cost funds gives us more fiscal space to sustain and further improve on social protection, defense, and economic stimulus, among others. More companies in the real economy can now consider us an investment destination,” the statement said. “This in turn enables industries to expand and generate more jobs for our countrymen— fostering a virtuous cycle of growth, empowerment, and inclusiveness that will redound to the benefit of Filipinos across all sectors of society,” Malacañang added. Aquino or Arroyo? Fitch underscored the fiscal reforms of both the Aquino and Arroyo administrations as providing a springboard for favorable fundamentals. “Improvements in fiscal management begun under President Arroyo have made general government debt dynamics more resilient to

shock,” Fitch said. A Palace spokesperson, however, dismissed the previous administration’s contribution. “What the Fitch ratings was referring to, according to Secretary Purisima, was the introduction of the value added tax. And that’s the only contribution of the Arroyo administration to this statement here of the Fitch ratings,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters in a briefing at the palace. Lacierda quoted the finance chief, who also served under Arroyo as Trade and Finance secretary, as saying that the previous administration had contributed to the decline of the country’s credit rating “I spoke to Secretary Cesar Purisima,” Lacierda said. “He mentioned, for instance, that when former President Arroyo entered or inherited the presidency we were one notch below investment grade. Since then, it went down,” he added. “It was only in the time of President Aquino when we inherited the government that it was upgraded to BB+ and today we have this delightful announcement that we have been upgraded to investment grade status,” the Palace official noted. Lacierda also hopes that the investment grade rating will translate to more jobs for Pinoys. “As more investments come in, there will be more opportunities for employment for our countrymen. And we hope that as more new foreign direct investments pour in, we’ll have a greater number of people getting employed in various

business opportunities,” he said. On the radar of investors. Jonathan Ravelas, BDO Unibank chief market strategist, said the upgrade primarily acknowledged the achievements of the Philippine government. “It’s the information that we’re waiting for. Investment grade is now a reality. It’s a validation to the government and what they have done,” he said. While noting that most market players have long priced Philippine assets as investment grade, Ravelas said the actual upgrade will boost investments to the country by lifting investor confidence higher. “The upgrade will keep the Philippines at the radar of investors,” he said. “The next question is, who’s next to upgrade us?” Standard and Poor’s rates the Philippines at BB+ or one notch below investment grade. And despite keeping the Philippines’ rating at Ba1 or one notch below investment grade, Moody’s Investors Service has said fundamentals place the country well within the Ba1 to Baa2 ratings range, or as much as two notches above the investment grade floor. Don’t lose steam. Fitch, however, said the government must continue to pursue good governance, improve the revenue base, and promote human development to obtain a positive outlook. “Governance standards, as measured in international indices such as the World Bank’s framework, remain weaker than ‘BBB’ range norms but are not inconsistent with a ‘BBB-’ rating as a number of sovereigns in this

rating category fare worse than the Philippines,” it said. The debt watcher said the level of human development in the Philippines is “less of an outlier against ‘BBB’ range peers.” Moreover, low fiscal revenue “limits the fiscal scope to achieve the government’s ambition of raising public investment,” it noted. The Sin Tax reform law enacted late last year “will likely lead to some increment in revenues and underlines the administration’s commitment to strengthening the revenue base,” Fitch noted. “Prudent measures to attract investment, improve the business climate and diversify the economy have paved the way for growth,” said ADB’s Usui. “Now it’s up to the authorities to make that growth more inclusive by creating more and better jobs.” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. said the upgrade should usher in a new era where all sectors are working together to make gains felt at the grassroots. “The upgrade to investment grade status should inspire the entire government bureaucracy and the Filipino people to capitalize on the opportunities that will arise from this positive credit rating action,” Tetangco said. “We should continue to work together not only to achieve higher credit ratings but also to ensure that the gains from these benefit most of our people.” ■

Siegfrid O. Alegado with a report from Patricia Denise Chiu / VS/BM/HS, GMA News / March 27, 2013 (Updated 6:58 p.m.)

Fitch upgrades PLDT’s creditworthiness above investment grade

FITCH Ratings on Thursday said it has upgraded the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company’s creditworthiness both as a foreign currency borrower and a debtor in the pesos, the debt watcher’s Seoul office noted in an emailed statement to media outlets. With the latest upgrade, PLDT vowed to further improve its services at a lower price for its consumers, Ramon “Mon” Isberto, head of PLDT’s Public Affairs department, told GMA News Online on Thursday. “The better rating enables PLDT to pursue further investments in new technologies that enable PLDT to offer more

advanced services at more affordable rates,” he said. The PLDT upgrade comes a day after Fitch gave the Philippines an investment grade rating. As a long-term borrower in foreign currencies, PLDT was upgraded to ‘BBB’ or one notch above investment grade from ‘BBB-‘ with a long-term grade of ‘A-‘ or two notches above investment grade as a borrower of Philippine currency and ‘AAA’ or three notches above investment grade when it comes to the telco’s rating as a borrower Philippine company. “The outlook is stable,” Fitch noted, before expounding on the telco’s “solid” credit profile.

“The ratings reflect PLDT’s dominant market shares with well over 60 percent in the wireless, fixed-line, and broadband segments at end-2012. The ratings also demonstrate the company’s strong financial profile, including high EBITDA margins (2012: 46 percent)…” Still, the debt watcher noted that PLDT’s rating could have gone up a notch higher. The upgrade was constrained by the Philippines’ country ceiling of ‘BBB’ for a foreign-currency transfer rating. According to Fitch Ratings, “intense competition for subscribers will not ease over the short to medium term, [which] will result in a gradual margin decline.”

The basis of competition among telcos will still be the “aggressive marketing policies for wireless subscribers,” the statement read. “Fitch forecasts the company’s financial leverage to remain in line with the 2012 level,” it added. As PLDT completes its major investments to modernize its network, the debt watcher noted that the company’s capital expenditure for 2013 would reach P29 billion, lower than 2012’s capex at P37 billion. “Now that the sovereign rating has been raised to investment grade, that has paved the way for the further raising of PLDT’s rating,” Isberto said in a text message.

Although the Philippine sovereign rating has kept a cap on PLDT, the company noted it still “has achieved investment grade rating from all three major global rating agencies.” The other rating agencies were Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s. PLDT’s consolidated net income for 2012 rose 12 percent to P35.5 billion from the previous year’s P31.7 billion. Last October, the telco received an upgrade from Moody’s for its foreign currency bonds and local currency issues. ■ Rouchelle R. Dinglasan /

VS/BM, GMA News / March 28, 2013 (Updated 5:36 p.m.)


8

How the senators performed during the 15th Congress

GMA News Online also looked into how much legislative work the senators were able to accomplish during the 15th Congress. Data from the Senate Legislative Bills and Index Service showed that Joker Arroyo authored and coauthored the least number of bills and resolutions (31) for the 15th Congress as of February 7, 2013. Following him were Alan Peter Cayetano with 45 and Pimentel with 54. Pimentel, however, was only able to assume his post on Aug. 8, 2011 during the second regular session,

Mindanao scrambles to avert another power crisis NEWS

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after former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri resigned from his post. On the other hand, Miriam Defensor Santiago authored and coauthored the most number of bills and resolutions (1,090) for the 15th Congress. Behind her were Manny Villar with 717 and Jinggoy Estrada with 672. Villar’s term will be expiring in 2013 but his wife, former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, is seeking a Senate seat in May. Meanwhile, Estrada’s term will expire in 2016. ■

Kimberly Jane Tan / GMA News / March 28, 2013 11:20am

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

MINDANAO is expected to experience more outages as summer deepens and the regional supply grid grapples with low water levels to run the hydropower plants while demand for electricity rises in urban areas. The supply grid remains beset by the slow progress of rehabilitation and repair works on transmission lines and other infrastructure damaged by Typhoon Pablo late last year. According to the Mindanao Development Authority (MDA) it is now searching for immediate and long-term solutions to cover the shortfall in supply. Mindanao suffers this seasonal deficit year in, year out with metropolitan cities like General Santos, Cotabato, Davao and Kidapawan enduring rotating outages, some lasting up to 12 hours a day. The power outages, however, also affect rural areas where farms depend on electricity to run irrigation systems. The Department of Energy (DoE) expects the supply shortfall to reach 300 megawatts (MW) if the current situation continues. Davao City still has sufficient power but Cotabato and other areas are now experiencing rotating outages of up to three and a half hours, twice a day. Cooperatives and daily outages. According to data given to GMA News Online by Norman Martirez of DOE’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, the electric cooperatives that are part of the rotating outages are: Region IX: Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (ZAMCELCO) and Zamboanga del Sur I Electric Cooperative (ZAMSURECO I), which covers Pagadian City. Region X: Misamis Occidental II Electric Cooperative (MOELCI II), which covers Ozamiz City and Tangub City. Caraga: Surigao Del Sur I Electric Cooperative (SURSECO I), which covers Bislig City. Autonomous Region in Muslim

Mindanao: Maguindanao Electric Cooperative (MAGELCO I). Other electric cooperatives in the region experienced blackouts averaging one to five hours. Only Bukidnon I Electric Cooperative (FIBECO) and Misamis Oriental I Rural Electric Service (MORESCO I), both in Region X, had no rotating brownouts this month, according to the data. Region 11 has the largest power deficit—or the lack of capacity to meet the demand—at a 54.6 MW shortage. It is followed by Region 9 with a 53.7-MW deficit, Region 12 at 47.2 MW, Region 10 at 43 MW, Caraga at 38.6 MW, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at 6.1 MW. In trying to address the problem, the Energy Department and the MDA is urging SM malls and the Dole fruit processing plant to help reduce the burden of demand on the grid by using their own power generators. A massive energy conservation campaign is underway in General Santos where residents have been asked to unplug their refrigerators for at least three hours a day. The reopening of the Iligan diesel power plant in May is expected to feed the grid with 12 MW and eventually with 30 MW once its rehabilitation is completed in October. The proposed solutions were presented at the Zamboanga Power Summit last March 22 and at the GenSan Power Forum on March 27.

Problem solved in 2015? The different power cooperatives and utilities in the region are also trying to come up with their own solutions to address the situation. Last year, Davao City approved the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Toril to boost supply within the city and neighboring areas. However, the construction of new power plants and the development of sustainable infrastructure are expected to support the whole of Mindanao only in 2015. Amid the power crisis Mindanao is experiencing, President Benigno Aquino III said the government plans to solve the issue by 2015 by constructing diesel-powered plants that will support the hydro-powered facilities in the region. Amid concerns over possible negative impact on the May polls, the President also ruled out declaring a state of emergency in Mindanao because of the power crisis. Meanwhile, in the 2012 Power Summit, Aquino noted the people of Mindanao should be realistic in addressing the power crisis. “You have to pay more because this is the reality of economics, not the rhetoric of politics. Everything has its price. You have to pay a real price for a real service. There are only two choices: pay a little more for energy, or live with the rotating brownouts,” the President said. Julia Jasmine Madrazo-Sta. Romana with Gian

adverse effect on their candidacy if the voters will know that they are not for the environment. “Hindi bawal, we are just discouraging the use of nonenvironmental materials for propaganda purposes. Magiging adverse ang effect sa candidate pag naa-announce na gumagamit sila ng plastic, na hindi sila nangangalaga sa environment,” he said. It takes at least a hundred years

for a plastic to finally decompose. Section 6 of Comelec Resolution 9615, which states the rules and regulations for the May 13 polls, encourages political parties and candidates to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials in the campaign materials. “Avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda,” it states.

“In local government units where local legislation governing the use of plastic and other similar materials exist, parties and candidates shall comply with the same,” it added. Some of the areas regulating the use of plastic are Quezon City; Los Banos, Laguna; Lucban, Quezon; Tanay, Rizal; Bacolod; Davao; Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Marikina and Makati. ■ Amita Legaspi/KBK, GMA News /

A man checks the solar panels of the Cagayan de Oro Electric Power and Light Co. in Brgy. Indahag, Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday. The only solar power plant in the country provides 1 megawatt of clean electricity to 900 households. As the dry season draws closer, Mindanao braces for power outages with some sectors calling for the government to fast track power generation project in the island. Bobby Lagsa

Geronimo and Marc Cayabyab / VS, GMA News / March 29, 2013 (Updated 7:18 p.m.)

Candidates discouraged from using plastic campaign materials AIMING for an environmentfriendly campaign, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to partner with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to discourage candidates from using plastics. “Magpipirmahan kami ng MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) with DILG and DENR on the election

propaganda materials, ‘yung hindi pwedeng gamitin yung mga plastic materials,” poll chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said without mentioning when the signing would be. “We will be giving them authority to actually pinpoint illegal propaganda materials,” he added. Although no penalties will be imposed on candidates who will use plastic on their campaign materials, Brillantes believed it will have an

March 29, 2013 5:28pm

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More than half of senatorial candidates are from Metro Manila

Pacman vows to deliver votes for UNA He endorsed all nine UNA senatorial bets but said he is also endorsing the candidacies of Bam Aquino, cousing of President Benigno Aquino III, and evangelist Eddie Villanueva. Pacquiao, who seeking reelection, is running under the local party he formed, the People’s Champ Movement. Pacquiao’s brother, Ruel, is taking his first foray into politics, running to represent the first district of South Cotabato, while his wife, Jinkee, is running for Sarangani vice governor. UNA senatorial candidates who met with Pacquiao were Nancy Binay, Jack Enrile, Richard Gordon, Tingting CoJuangco, Mitos Magsaysay, Ernesto Maceda and Gringo Honasan. ■ Interaksyon / March

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines — Sarangani Representative and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao endorsed candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance and vowed to deliver votes for them. “Kilala ko itong mga kandidato, ang puso nila ay nasa mahirap. Naiintindihan nila ang saloobin at pangangailangan ng mahihirap at kaya nilang tugunan ang problema sa Mindanao kaya ini-endorse ko ang lahat ng kandidato ng UNA, hindi lang dito kundi sa buong Pilipinas (I know these candidates, their hearts are for the poor. They understand the aspirations and needs of the poor and they can address the problems of Mindanao which is why I am endorsing all UNA candidates, not just here but the whole Philippines),” Pacquiao said in a news conference with UNA senatorial candidates.

23, 2013 / (Updated 2:05 p.m.)

MANILA, Philippines - Former Senate President Ernesto Maceda on Sunday urged the Philippine government to resume active pursuit of the Philippines’ claim to Sabah, as the standoff between Malaysian forces and an armed group of followers of the Sultan of Sulu continued in the resource-rich territory. Maceda, a former ambassador to the United States who once chaired the Senate foreign relations `committee, said in a statement the Sabah issue “has been neglected and sleeping for a long time. It’s time to act to regain what is rightfully ours.” Malacanang Palace, however, remained non-committal as of Sunday on the matter of the government boosting the clamor of the Sultanate of Sulu to revive the Sabah claim, saying no comments are forthcoming until the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has fully briefed the Executive. Maceda said in his statement, “The people of the Sultanate of Sulu have a legitimate claim to Sabah

considering that the British and Malaysian governments used to pay rentals for Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu.” According to one of the heirs of the sultanate interviewed by InterAksyon.com earlier, the check payments to cover rentals had not stopped. According to Maceda, “renewed government efforts is the only way to stop the followers of the Sultan of Sulu from taking up arms and invading Sabah to press their claim.” Palace keeps discreet distance Malacanang Palace, however, kept a discreet distance from the issue on Sunday. Responding to journalists’ questions on whether the Palace planned to field an emissary to one of the heirs, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, to ask him to recall his followers from Sabah; and whether Manila will actively seek talks to revive the Sabah claim, Deputy Palace Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on state-run Radyo ng Bayan, “At this point, [we won’t comment yet]. We’d like to defer comment on that and the DFA will be the one

SLEEPING ON SABAH | Palace mum as Maceda says it’s time for govt to actively pursue claim

THE Senate is supposed to represent the entire Philippines, but most of the current batch of senatorial aspirants hail from Luzon, with only four candidates coming from the Visayas and Mindanao, data culled by GMA News Online showed. Twenty-nine of the 33 candidates seeking Senate posts in the May 13 midterm elections are registered voters from Luzon. Of these, 19 are from Metro Manila, the country’s capital region. Only one senatorial aspirant -- independent candidate Ramon Montaño -- originated from and is considered a resident of the Visayas. He was born in Cebu, the most voterich area outside Luzon, and is a registered voter in Negros Oriental. Cebu has 2.5 million registered voters for the 2013 elections. Three senatorial hopefuls, meanwhile, are registered voters in provinces from Mindanao: Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, and former Tarlac governor Margarita Cojuangco. The two major slates in the 2013 elections are dominated by candidates from Luzon. Of the 12 candidates of the Liberal Party-led administration ticket, 11 are from the Philippines’ biggest island. UNA, meanwhile, has seven out of nine senatorial bets coming from Luzon. Important factor. Institute for Political and Electoral Reform executive director Ramon Casiple said that traditionally, geography is an important factor considered by parties when choosing the candidates they will field during elections. “Bahagi ng traditional na kalkulasyon ‘yan. Kung may president ka na taga-Luzon, usually may vice president ka na taga-

Visayas or Mindanao. Ang senador, kung saan usually malaki ang boto, mayroon silang representation,” Casiple said in a phone interview.

He specifically cited the case of Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, who was supposed to be included in the UNA senatorial slate but who decided to run for a congressional seat instead. “Hinabol nila si Gwen. Ang problema hindi nahabol. May intensyon pero hindi natuloy,” he said. Aside from the votes, Casiple explained that building a slate where vote-rich provinces are represented will ensure an audience during sorties. “Advantage iyon sa campaign. Kapag pumunta ka roon para mangampanya, may magaattend ng rally,” he said. Despite this, the provinces with the most number of votes for the 2013 polls are not well represented in both the LP and UNA senatorial slates. Only UNA senatorial bet and former Senator Ernesto Maceda originated from a vote-rich province, Laguna. According to GMA News Research, the top 10 vote-rich provinces in the upcoming elections are Cebu, Cavite, Pangasinan, Negros Occidental, Laguna, Bulacan, Davao del Sur, Batangas, Rizal and Nueva Ecija. On the other hand, the 10 provinces with the least number of registered voters in the 2013 elections are Mountain Province, Ifugao, Biliran, Quirino, Guimaras, Apayao, Dinagat Islands, Siquijor, Camiguin, and Batanes. Not a consideration. UNA campaign manager and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, for his part, admitted that geography was not considered when they chose their senatorial candidates for the 2013 elections.

Malaysian cops return from a sea patrol near the standoff site in Lahad Datu, Sabah, on Saturday. AFP Photo

who will give us updates on the situation in Sabah if and when they deem it to be necessary.” The Malaysian authorities have reacted to the presence of the large group of “intruders” by deploying hundreds of troops on sea and land patrols, but assured Manila that the

matter will be resolved peacefully. At the weekend, the Philippine government said ensuring the safety of Filipinos on the island is its main concern, and appealed for a peaceful resolution of the matter. But certain political leaders, notably another ex-Senate

“Sa nationwide-driven campaign, talagang it’s about getting your message across,” Tiangco said in a separate phone interview. In the case of Garcia, Tiangco said that it just so happened that she was qualified and was from Cebu so she was considered for their slate. “First of all, talaga ‘yung qualification ng tatakbo. Number two kung they share the same ideals as we share kung uunahin nila yun,” he said. Bicameral structure. Grace Magalzo, political science professor in the University of San Carlos in Cebu, for her part explained that geographical representation should not matter much in the race for the Senate given the bicameral structure of the Philippine legislature. “You have to remember that the senators, since they are elected by the entire country, are expected to really represent the national interest. For more local concerns, we have members of the House of Representatives for that,” Magalzo said. She added that voters should look at the platforms of governance of candidates and not their places of origin. According to Section 2 of Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, senators shall be “elected at large” by all qualified voters in the country. Section 5, meanwhile, states that that members of the House of Representatives shall be “elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area” and through “a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.” ■

Andreo Calonzo and Kimberly Jane Tan / KBK, GMA News / March 29, 2013 3:02pm

president, Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Maceda, have indicated that the standoff just won’t go away unless the root issue---the Sabah claim that has found no closure over nearly half a century--is addressed decisively. Pimentel, whose policy studies center at the University of Makati sponsored a forum in late 2011 on the Sabah claim, told InterAksyon.com earlier the Philippine government must ensure “our Muslim brothers and sisters” get their due---a remark seen as frowning on simply conceding the matter. The Sunday statement from Maceda, who is seeking a Senate seat anew under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), noted that the Sultanate of Sulu ceded to the Philippine government its title and sovereignty to then President Diosdado Macapagal in 1962. “The Philippine government should now seriously consider bringing its claim to the United Nations,” Maceda said. ■ Interaksyon / February 17, 2013


Casino pitches renewable energy as solution to Mindanao power woes

MANILA, Philippines -Makabayan senatorial candidate Teddy Casino on Tuesday pitched the use of renewable energy to solve Mindanao’s worsening power problems. Casino said the government should look into renewables instead of embarking on the proposal of the Department of Energy to construct bunker or diesel fuel power plants, which he said would jack electricity rates up by as much as P18 per kilowatt-hour. “The Energy Secretary is proposing a solution which will result in a P18 per kWh rate to address the Mindanao crisis. If that is the case, then we could instead look into renewable energy which is cleaner, more sustainable and cheaper in the long term,” Casino said. Casino said the approved feed in tariff rate of renewable energy sources is below P10 per kWh. “Kahit sundin pa natin ‘yung request ng solar energy producers na P17.95 per kWh rate ay pantay lang din o mas mababa pa ito sa suggestion ni (Energy) Sec. (Carlos Jericho) Petilla (Even if we accede to

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the request of solar energy producers for a {17.97 per kWh rate, this is still the same or lower than the suggestion of Sec. Petilla),” he said. Last year, the Energy Regulatory Commission approved the FIT rate of P9.68 per kWh for solar, P8.53 per kWh for wind, P6.63 per kWh for biomass, and P5.90 per kWh for hydropower projects. The original petition was for P17.95 per kWh for solar, P10.37 per kWh for wind, P7 per kWh for biomass, and P6.15 per kWh for hydro resources. Casino said had the administration followed the proposal of the Mindanao Power Summit last year, the power crisis could have been resolved.

“The use of renewable energy was among the proposals raised during the Summit. Other options include retained ownership and management of power plants and barges,” he said. “It really is disappointing that the President would rather campaign for his party instead of focus on the problems faced by the ordinary Filipino,” he added. Many provinces in Mindanao are experiencing rotating blackouts of up to eight hours per day. The region is mainly dependent on hydroelectric power plants, which generate over half of its electricity requirement during normal weather and reservoir conditions. ■ Interaksyon / March 26, 2013

On anniversary, NPA rebs attack Good Friday rite in Butuan, kill Cafgu man NEARLY everything else stops on Good Friday except religious rituals and war. Communist guerillas attacked government troops securing a Holy Week activity in Butuan City, resulting in the death of one member of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu), authorities said. 1Lt. Joe Patrick Martinez, commanding officer of the Army’s 42nd Civil Military Operations Company, tagged the Guerilla Front 21C of the New People’s Army (NPA) as the alleged perpetrators in the incident. The attack occurred on the 44th anniversary of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Citing reports from the field, Martinez said the civilians, along with several military and police personnel, were conducting “Panaad 2013” or Stations of the Cross at about 5 a.m. in Brgy. Alcala when the guerillas fired on them.

w w w. g i f t o t r a v e l s . c o m

“These NPAs disrespected the solemnity of the stations of the cross,” an Army statement quoted Rev. Fr. Joesilo Amalla, parish priest of St. Joseph Cathedral, as saying. “They don’t know when to stop fighting.” Amalla was presiding over the activity, which, according to Martinez, was attended by “[t]housands of people... including police and military personnel.” Martinez withheld the identity of the slain Cafgu member pending notification of his family. Lt Col Potenciano C. Camba, chief of the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion, has already sent troops to the area for reinforcement, although he was quoted in the Army statement as saying that “[t]his is not the time and place for fighting.” Camba said the NPA “cannot celebrate their anniversary without inflicting casualties.” Amalla, for his part,

condemned the attack. “Why do they (NPA) attack us?” he said. “They should submit themselves to our God and repent for their sins. I will pray for the soul of our soldier who died while protecting us.” In a statement on its anniversary, the CPP ordered the NPA to “carry forward the people’s democratic revolution.” “This entails the NPA encircling the cities from the countryside, making the enemy bleed from many wounds and accumulating military strength until it gains the capability of seizing the cities nationwide,” it said. It also ordered the “strike forces” of the NPA to “carry out ambushes, raids and other disarming operations at an accelerated rate and with short rest periods. They must wage only the battles that they are capable of winning. They must target the stationary and moving weak points of the enemy.” ■ KBK/YA/HS, GMA News / March 29, 2013 (Updated 5 p.m.)

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April deadline set for unclaimed Philippine passports in Dubai

Unclaimed passports will be cancelled DUBAI — Filipino expatriates who have not claimed their new passports issued six months ago or longer from the Philippine Consulate-General in Dubai have until the end of April to claim them, or they will be cancelled and disposed of. Hundreds of passports issued in 2012 remain unclaimed in Dubai. In March last year, the consulate issued a similar notice of disposal of around 800 unclaimed passports for 2011 and earlier. After the deadline, 674 remained unclaimed and were effectively cancelled as per law. “Under regulations, unclaimed passports of more than six months from the time we receive them should be cancelled because these are accountable forms. But we give a certain leeway of one year,” ConsulGeneral Frank Cimafranca said in a press meeting on Wednesday. “We will have to be stricter with this regulation from here onwards because it’s already clogging up our system,” Cimafranca added. The consulate processes up to 250 passport applications per day or 5,000 per month. The electronic system or database used for passport processing can take up to 12,000 applications. Unclaimed passports remain recorded in the system, which can be freed up only when the passports have been claimed. Cimafranca said all this boils down to Filipinos’ mentality of doing

things at the last minute, including applying for passports. Once at the consulate, they don’t have any choice but to extend their old passports while waiting for new ones. More than 50 per cent of the daily passport applications fall under this category. Because of the passport extension, the applicants often neglect to claim the new passports from the consulate. Cimafranca said planning ahead helps. “I advise them to book their appointments for passport renewal even one year before their passports expire. Filipinos have this habit of doing things at the last minute and this should not be the case.” Meanwhile, the consulate has noted a steady increase of more than 200 per cent in passport applications for the months of December 2011, January and February this year compared with the same period the year before. The post has become busier than ever serving up to 1,000 people per day, according to Vice Consul Geronimo Suliguin. Moreover, plans of issuing specific timings for appointments for passport applications are under way as opposed to the current daily appointment system. Proposals to outsource passport services to private companies such as BLS International have been raised and have been sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, which has the sole authority to decide on the matter. ■ Gulf News / March 27, 2013

17 Pinoy youth volunteer for WYD

AT least 17 young Filipinos have volunteered to help the organizers of the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD) in Brazil. The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) has met with the group of international volunteers that will be coming from different parts the Philippines to Rio de Janeiro. The orientation meeting was held last March 10 at the CBCP Conference Room in Intramuros, Manila. In an interview with YouthPinoy, ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said the volunteers will also be paying for their registration and participation costs for the WYD like ordinary pilgrims. “(But) these young Filipinos will not join the WYD as a participant but as volunteers who would be given different tasks such as signagebearers, secretariat staff, runners, liturgy coordinators, in support to the WYD team in Brazil,” he added. Garganta said the group of WYD international volunteers from the Philippines will be going to Rio de Janeiro by July 15, while the WYD international pilgrims go to other dioceses outside of the host diocese for the Missionary Week or formerly called Days in the Diocese. The 27th WYD is slated on July 17 to 28 in

Brazil with the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro as the host diocese. Meanwhile, at least 16 subgroups comprising 211 individuals have applied to be part of the ECYPhilippines delegation to the WYD. But as of press time, the ECY is still accepting applications after deciding to postpone the deadline for submitting their credentials from February 28 to April 15. “We have decided to accommodate those who have expressed interest to comply with the requirements, hence the extension,” Garganta said. The present number of WYD pilgrims that joined the ECYPhilippines delegation, the biggest and considered as the official country delegation to the global youth gathering, pales in comparison with the group that attended the previous WYD in Spain. In August 2011, at least 40 subgroups, with more than 1,000 initial applicants that were trimmed down to 400 actual pilgrims, went to Madrid under the ECY-Philippines delegation. Aside from the ECY, other dioceses have separately organized their own WYD delegation. The number of pilgrims under the different delegations outside of the

IMMIGRATION / OFNEWS

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

700-gram baby survives but mum has no money to take her home Filipina nurse appeals for help to pay Dh200,000 hospital bill DUBAI — Doctors at Dubai Hospital have miraculously saved a newborn weighing just 700 grams. However, the baby can’t be taken home as her mother is unable to clear the hospital bill. Aiza Marie Macas, a Filipina school nurse, said her daughter Andrea was born on December 17, 2012, three months ahead of the due date after she developed complications. “I was to deliver on March 30 this year but the baby came early as I had a problem with my cervix,” said the 29-year-old. Dr Mahmoud Galal, Consultant Neonatologist at the hospital, said: “The baby was born at 26 weeks with a birth weight of 700 grams. She suffered from severe respiratory distress syndrome that required mechanical ventilation and surfactant replacement therapy to

enhance the maturity of her lungs.” Many disorders The child also had a heart disorder called PDA or patent ductus arteriosis that could lead to failure of the heart or lungs, but timely detection and treatment helped her turn around. “Fortunately, the baby is off ventilation now and is sucking good. The birth weight has increased to 2.8kg and she is ready for discharge,” said Dr Galal. However, Aiza said she cannot take the baby home as she cannot pay the hospital bill which has crossed Dh200,000. “I earn just Dh3,000 a month and I have already spent so much on booking my delivery package and the treatment for the complications I developed before the delivery. I pay Dh1,000 to repay my credit card loan and

Dh1,500 for my room rent.” She said she came to Dubai last July when she landed the school nurse job. “I did not know I was pregnant then as I had had two miscarriages earlier. My husband rushed here from the Philippines when I delivered. He is on a visit visa and without a job.” She said their financial condition was so dismal that they sometimes walk from their room in Al Nahda to Dubai Hospital to see their baby. “I am really desperate now. I pray that someone will show mercy and help me out.” Laila Al Haddad, Head of Social Services at Dubai Hospital, said: “The outstanding is over Dh200,000. The cost is increasing with each passing day as the daily cost of keeping the child in hospital is around Dh2,200.”

■ Gulf News / March 20, 2013

OFWs to continue seeking jobs despite constraints OVERSEAS Filipino Workers (OFWs) are expected to continue working in Saudi Arabia for the next several years despite facing problems such as Nitaqat’s decision of imposing SR 2,400 on local firms for every expat worker that exceeds the quota of the expat-to-Saudi ratio. “I think Filipinos will come here to work although there are efforts to include more Saudis in the local work force,” Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago told Arab News in an exclusive interview recently. He noted that the Kingdom has a vibrant economy and that it has embarked on massive projects, including the construction of economic cities in various parts of the Kingdom, such as the King Abdullah Economic City. “As a result, there will be a need for different construction workers, not just laborers but also design engineers, architects and others in related fields,” he said. The Filipino envoy added that in addition to construction, the Kingdom is also infusing capital into the education, health care and services sector among others to meet demands of a growing population, which stands at

ECY could not be verified as pilgrims going to Brazil for the WYD do not need to secure visa to enter the host country. Details on the venue and schedule of the different events of the WYD and the pilgrims’ transportation, accommodation, security and meals are on the “process of polishing,” according to Garganta who attended the second international preparatory meeting with the WYD organizers last November 26 to 29 in the host city. ■ YouthPinoy / March 26, 2013

Philippines Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago

approximately 25 million of which 9 million are expatriates. He said that Filipino workers are hardworking and efficient. He noted that during his recent visit to Madinah, Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman lauded Filipinos in the region for their good work ethics. He also said that Filipinos had helped in the Kingdom’s national development. Riyadh Gov. Prince Khaled

bin Bandar also lauded Filipino expatriates when the Filipino envoy paid him a visit recently. “Saudis consider Filipinos as people who have contributed to the Kingdom’s development,” he said. Samer M. Ajjan, Syrian general manager of Al Rashed & Al Thunayan Auto Co., said that “Filipinos are excellent workers. They are also professional and can express themselves well in English.” According to 2010 statistics from the Saudi Ministry of Interior, there are 674,000 Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia. He said that Filipino workers receive ESBs (end-of-service benefits) from local employers after working for them for several years. “In their attempt to render good services to their employers, some Filipinos even learned Arabic to be able to establish rapports and communicate with family members. Many of them have converted to Islam.” According to data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Saudi Arabia remains the top destination for Filipino workers. ■ Arab

News / 27 March 2013

Ex-staff embezzles Dh100,000 to help sick father

Suspect admits forging receipts and entering smaller amounts to pocket money DUBAI — A female employee at the Emirates Post Holding Group has admitted that she forged receipts to embezzle around Dh100,000 that she needed to help her sick father in the Philippines. The 33-year-old Filipina, A.A., who formerly worked as a data operator at the group, was said to have forged collection receipts of Emirates ID

and embezzled nearly Dh100,000 in public funds. “Yes, I am guilty. I forged those receipts and embezzled money,” said A.A. when she entered a guilty plea before the Dubai Court of First Instance. Prosecution records cited the defendant admitting that she had abused her former public job and embezzled the money and wired the amount to her sick father to pay for his treatment. ■ Gulf News / March 17, 2013


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N. Korea parliament meets as tensions soar

SEOUL, April 1, 2013 (AFP) - North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament was set to meet on Monday at a time of soaring military tensions and a day after ruling party leaders vowed to enshrine Pyongyang’s right to nuclear weapons in law. The annual single-day session of the Supreme People’s Assembly usually scores low on important policy announcements -- its role largely limited to unanimously pushing through pre-decided budgets and personnel changes. But with North Korea having declared itself in a “state of war” with the South, Monday’s session will be closely watched for any sign of the current crisis impacting on the fortunes of members of the ruling elite. “The North has played most of its political cards, so I don’t see any fresh, tangible threats to come out after the meeting,” said Cho Han-Bum, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification. “It will probably issue some kind of symbolic statement, like urging all North Koreans to stand ready for a possible war,” Cho said.

The Korean peninsula has been caught in a cycle of escalating tensions since North Korea’s longrange rocket launch in December which its critics condemned as a ballistic missile test. United Nations sanctions were followed by a nuclear test in February, after which came more sanctions and then a stream of neardaily threats from Pyongyang as South Korea and the United States conducted joint military drills. Those threats have run the gamut from limited artillery bombardments to pre-emptive nuclear strikes, and have been met with promises from Seoul and Washington to hit back at any provocation. “I believe that we should make a strong retaliation as early as possible without any political consideration if any provocations are made,” South Korean President Park Geun-Hye reiterated Monday in a meeting with security officials. The US military said Monday it had deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to South Korea as part of the ongoing “Foal Eagle” military exercise.

The jets were reportedly flown out of the US air base in Okinawa, Japan. Although it is not the first time F-22s have been used in the annual drill, their presence is sure to further infuriate Pyongyang. North Korea has already threatened to strike the US mainland and US bases in the Pacific in response to the participation of nuclear-capable US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers in this year’s exercise. The parliament session was preceded by a gathering on Sunday of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, chaired by North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-Un. According to the official Korean Central News Agency report, the meeting decided that the North’s possession of nuclear weapons “should be fixed by law”, and that its nuclear arsenal should be beefed up “qualitatively and quantitatively”. On Saturday, North Korea declared that it had entered a “state of war” with South Korea and warned Seoul and Washington that that any provocation would swiftly escalate into an all-out nuclear conflict.

Both South Korea and the United States chose to downplay the announcement as just another in a long line of rhetorical provocations. One threat that grabbed more attention related to the possible closure of a joint-Korean industrial complex which lies inside North Korea. The Kaesong estate -- established in 2004 as a symbol of cross-border cooperation -- is a crucial source of hard-currency revenue for North Korea which has never allowed past crises on the peninsula to impact its operations.

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On Saturday, the North’s state body in charge of the complex said it would shut Kaesong down completely if South Korea continues to affront Pyongyang’s “dignity”. The border crossing to Kaesong, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) on the North side, was functioning normally on Monday. MySinChew / 0104-2013

The operating stability of the complex is seen as a true bellwether of inter-Korean relations, and its closure would mark a significant escalation of tensions beyond all the military rhetoric. ■ Jung Ha-Won

Supreme Court to hear Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case on Wednesday THE rights of married same-sex couples will come under scrutiny at the US Supreme Court on Wednesday in the second of two landmark cases being considered by the top judicial panel. After the nine justices mulled arguments on a California law that outlawed gay marriage on Tuesday, they will take up a challenge to the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The 1996 law prevents couples who have tied the knot in nine states — where same-sex marriage is legal — from enjoying the same federal rights as heterosexual couples. The plaintiff is Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian who was ordered to pay federal inheritance tax of $363,000 following the death of her partner of more than 40 years in 2009. A heterosexual widow would not have faced the same demand. Windsor is challenging Section 3 of DOMA on the grounds it is discriminatory because it defines marriage as an act between a man and woman. President Barack Obama’s administration had opposed Windsor’s bid to repeal Section 3 as it progressed through the lower courts, where the legislation was twice ruled as unconstitutional. But the White House has since switched sides and is now calling for the law to be overturned, leaving DOMA to be defended by a group of Republican lawmakers, along with a coalition of religious and conservative groups. “The case is pretty simple. It’s

about discrimination,” said James Esseks, one of Windsor’s lawyers. “It doesn’t make sense in America for a federal government to treat two different people married under the same state law, different ways. That is unfair, it is un-American and it should be unconstitutional.” Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, added: “With respect to DOMA, it’s an irrational federal discrimination against legally married same-sex couples. “I think it is a pretty simple and clear case.” Opponents of Windsor’s case, however, are contesting the portrayal of homosexuals as the victims of discrimination, describing them in a brief as “one of the most influential, best-connected, and best-organized groups in modern politics.” Some legal experts say the Supreme Court justices may decide that DOMA represents an interference of individual states’ right to set marriage law. “It may sound to some justices like DOMA infringes on federalism or states’ rights,” said David Cruz, a professor at the University of Southern California. The court trod cautiously Tuesday as it considered the constitutionality of California’s “Proposition 8,” the ballot initiative through which in 2008 voters ended right to samesex marriage in the nation’s most populous state. While it will take months to issue a ruling, several justices indicated they would be in no hurry to make a verdict that could extend the right

Edie Windsor screenshot

to same-sex marriage to the entire country. Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose remarks are closely watched as he is often the swing vote on the bench, voiced reluctance for the court to step into “uncharted waters” on a case involving Californian law.

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, spoke of a “lack of data” on same-sex marriage since it was first legalized in the Netherlands in 2001. On a day long-awaited by both sides of the debate, thousands of gay rights advocates waving US and rainbow flags descended on the court, outnumbering a rally of religious activists opposed to samesex marriage. One demonstrator dressed in pink danced to music of Lady Gaga, the superstar singer and supporter of gay rights. Among opponents, protesters

pushed strollers and chanted: “Every child deserves a mom and dad.” “All people are capable of loving children, but all the love in the world can’t turn a mother into a father or a father into a mother,” said Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. Opinion polls have repeatedly indicated that most Americans now accept the principle of same-sex marriage, including an overwhelming majority of younger citizens. Obama last May became the first US president to publicly back gay marriage. ■ AFP / March 27, 2013

BN wants Guan Eng to explain RM3.14 bln investment in China GEORGE TOWN, April 1 (Bernama) -- Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) wants Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to explain the investment worth RM3.14 billion in the “Penang Electronics Park” project at the Wuhu Economic and Technological Development Zone in China. State BN Youth information chief H’ng Khoon Leng said the project had been agreed upon since June 2011 between the Penang government which was represented by Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mansor Othman and Wushu Provincial Deputy Secretary Pan Chaohui. “We want to be briefed on the project as there has been no information on it. The public needs to know about the investment made and the progress of the project so far as two years have passed.

“We also want to know the percentage of investment made by the state government in this project,” he said at a press conference, here, today. H’ng once again questioned the state government’s “competency, accountability and transparency” (CAT) principle which it had been harping about, while noting that the chief minister himself did not practise this principle in his administration which was always hiding pertinent information from the public. “There have been many failed projects not told to the public. We want transparency from the state government,” he said. H’ng said the Penang Electronics Park project carried out by Anhui Hua Hong Investment Sdn Bhd in cooperation with the state government

was aimed at enabling China to manufacture products like mobile phones, computers, touch screens and computer security systems using sophisticated technology. In another development, Penang Umno Youth chief Shaik Hussein Mydin said solid support would be given to state BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow who had accepted Lim’s challenge to contest a state seat in the upcoming 13th general election. “We welcome Teng’s intention to contest against Lim in a multiracial constituency which will prove who the people prefer as their representative. “This is also the time for Lim to prove that he does not practise racial politics, and if he refuses, then it’s clear that he practises racial politics,” he said. ■ MySinChew / 01-04-

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Pinoy children’s book ‘Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu’ bags literary prize in Sweden

AN award-winning children’s book about the anxiety that comes with having a new sibling was yet again conferred an award, this time by a foundation in Sweden. The book “Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!” authored by Nanoy Rafael and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III was awarded the Peter Pan Prize by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in Sweden, according to a post by Philippine publisher Adarna House, which published the book. “The Filipino picture book Naku, nakuu, nakuuu! represents a part of the world not often seen in Swedish publishing for children. The theme, however, is universal: A child getting a younger sibling,” read the IBBY’s citation for the book. “The boy Isko’s anxiety about the changes he suspects will take place in his family is expressed by the recurrent cry of “Naku, nakuu, nakuuu!” (roughly “My, my, oh my!”), it said. “The illustrations mirror the main character’s apprehension, and visualize his fears in an imaginative and detailed way. Through a changing palette of colours the pictures follow Isko’s mood from anxious bewilderment to the harmonious final page: Here, the mask which Isko has worn throughout the book has been removed, and he seems to have grown into his role of soon-to-be older brother,” the citation continued. Multiple awards. According to the IBBY, the Peter Pan Prize is annually awarded to children’s or young adult books authored by, among others, people “previously unpublished or little known in Sweden” and “from a country, language group or culture with limited representation in Sweden.” The book’s Swedish version was published by Bokförlaget Trasten. Adarna House noted that the Swedish prize was not “Naku’s” first. It had already won the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) Silver Anniversary Salanga and Alcala Prizes in 2008, while its illustrations won the Encouragement Prize for the same year’s Noma Concours for Children’s Picture Book Illustrations. The Metrobank Foundation’s Network of Outstanding Teachers and Educators (NOTED) also chose “Naku” to be part of the National Book Development Board’s list of Highly Recommended Supplementary Materials. Vision. GMA News Online interviewed via email both Rafael and Bumatay, who shared their vision for Philippine children’s literature beyond the awards they have received. Rafael, 25 and currently doing freelance work, started in the field of children’s literature for “purely selfish

reasons.” He joked that he wanted more children to appreciate the beauty of literature so that when they get older he will have more people to talk to. Aside from “Naku,” Rafael coauthored another children’s book, “The Grand Parade,” translated young adult novel “Ang Lihim ng San Esteban” by Annette Flores Garcia, and was the head writer for around two seasons of the rebooted children’s television show “Batibot.” Currently, he said he is working on a young adult novel. Rafael said he was “skeptical” when he heard the news about the Peter Pan Prize, which was relayed to him by Bumatay, whom he “blames” for “Naku”’s success. “There is a lot of great children’s literature written by Filipinos, most are probably more deserving of the award than mine. I blame it all on Serj--he did a fantastic job of making my mundane story become a fantastic one! I don’t think Naku would receive all the recognitions it has been given were it not for Serj’s illustrations,” he said. Great responsibility to readers. According to Rafael, writing solely to get a child’s attention is not enough because writer should be aware of their “great responsibility” to their readers. “Writers (of any medium) have a great responsibility to their readers, as they are not only taking valuable time from a (probably) productive human being, but are also contributing to how that person thinks,” he said. “The language of stories, especially those directed at children, should be powerful enough to change a person, however small that change is,” Rafael also said. As an example, he mentioned an incident he learned about what “Naku” did for a boy. “One of Adarna’s storytellers had a nephew who was a soon-to-be brother, and the kid really hated the fact that his mother is pregnant. The kid was acting up, being bratty and throwing tantrums. He even poured water on their television set. So his tita storyteller gave him Naku,” he said. “The next day, the kid completely stopped acting up. He hugged his mom’s pregnant tummy, and promised that he’ll take care of the baby when it cries,” Rafael continued. He believes there should be more books for children written in the local languages, not just in English and Filipino, as well as more literature targeted at young adult readers. He also hopes there would be more children’s literature “that aren’t written around specific lessons, and are instead just really good stories that make kids think and imagine.” Higher purpose. Illustrator

Bumatay’s first exposure to children’s literature was in 2003 as a member of art group Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, which promotes illustrations for children. He said joining the group, which he cites as his influence in drawing, was an avenue for him to learn and be inspired that made his craft “so much better.” It was also a way to expand his network in the community of children’s book publishing, which he said is “delightful to be part of.” Bumatay graduated with a fine arts degree in 2000, and aside from illustrating for children’s books is also a book designer and occasional painter. At first thinking illustrating children’s books was only for fun, he found a higher purpose in the medium. “Later on I realized there’s a bigger picture to place my talent into, illustrating for children became a calling for me. Through wonderful books, many children, and kids-atheart too, will be able to see and reach the positive messages I wanted to convey through my illustrations,” Bumatay said. He has illustrated other books for children, such as “Ay Naku!” by Reni Roxas, 2012 National Children’s Book Award (NCBA)–One of the Best Reads; “Tight Times” by Jeanette Patindol, 2007 Philippine Board on Books for Young People SalangaAlcala Illustrator’s Prize grand winner; and “The Boy Who Touched Heaven” by Iris Gem Li, 2008 National Book awardee. “My aim is always to make beautiful books that hopefully can stand the test of time, culture, and place. The recognition we receive is just an icing on the cake. The recent recognition was really unexpected,” he said. Bumatay said he believes in the power of illustrations combined with words to be a “mind-bending tool” that is the picture book, which he said have the capacity to “inspire children forever.” What the industry needs. To improve children’s literature, Bumatay said what is needed is to make the public more aware of the field and hopes for its support. “The local children’s literature industry is very alive and exciting! What we need is awareness for the public that we also have excellent children’s book creators, publishers, and kidlitosphere existing,” he said. “The industry works so hard to make beautiful books for our children, it will be all put to waste if unappreciated. We are fervently hoping that more people all over the country, from all backgrounds, support our local children’s book industry,” Bumatay continued. ■ Gian

C. Geronimo / VVP, GMA News / March 28, 2013 3:00pm

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

POEA exec reminds Pinoys about telltale signs of illegal recruitment

PHILIPPINE Overseas Employment Administration administrator Hans Cacdac reminded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to watch out for the telltale signs of illegal recruitment. For those applying for jobs abroad, Cacdac recommends checking if one or all of the following signs of illegal recruitment ring a bell with your agency: • they ask for immediate payment even if you have concrete job offer yet • they have no headquarters, or they conduct house-to-house recruitment • they like to show pictures of beautiful houses, cars, or land titles, and tell you the same fate awaits you if you work with them If the following sound achingly familiar, it would be wise to do a double-take as you could fall prey to victims of illegal recruiters. In an interview on GMA News TV’s “Kape at Balita” on Friday, Cacdac said the above signs were the most basic telltale signs of illegal recruiters. In the same interview, he gave several reminders for Filipinos to avoid being victims to illegal recruiters and to ensure that they will be able to safely and legally work abroad. Cacdac said it is wise to check the list of licensed recruiters through the POEA, the Department of Labor and Employment, or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. Potential applicants can also call hotlines of the agencies to ask or verify, as well as check the POEA website.

Placement fees. Cacdac also discussed the issue of placement fees, or the fees which OFWs pay their recruiters for services rendered, and said not all jobs need to comply with this. The ceiling amount of placement fees is equivalent to a month’s salary, he said. Placement fees should only be paid when one already has a work contract to sign, clarified Cacdac. Paying cash upfront or immediately is prohibited. Receipts regarding the matter should be authorized by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and in these, it should be indicated that the payment is for the purpose of placement fees. Domestic workers and seafarers also do not need to pay placement fees, and Filipinos or their family members should report recruitment agencies who say or do otherwise. Countries where OFWs do not need to pay placement fees, said Cacdac are Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Workers in the US also do not need to pay placement fees, said Cacdac, if they are in the H2B, or lower-skill type, category. Basic skills. Aside from passports, Cacdac said potential OFWs should have basic skills before pushing through to work abroad. “Kailangan may skills ka. Kasi maraming nagsasabing akala nila ganoon-ganoon lang magpunta sa abroad. but you have to have the skills and the talent,” he said. ■ Gian

C. Geronimo / VVP, GMA News / March 23, 2013 3:30pm

PAGASA: Good Friday temperature matches hottest this year

FOR Metro Manila residents, this year’s Good Friday turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year, state weather forecasters said. In a post on its Facebook page, PAGASA said the highest temperature recorded Friday was 34.8 degrees Celsius, at 4:30 p.m. The lowest temperature recorded for the day in Metro Manila was 23.5 degrees Celsius at 5:30 a.m., it added. Last Tuesday, PAGASA also recorded 34.8-degree weather in Metro Manila, the hottest so far this year. PAGASA earlier warned of possible 35-degree temperatures in April and May, when the summer heat begins to peak. Isolated rain on Saturday. Meanwhile, PAGASA said light to moderate rain fell over parts of Bicol and Eastern Visayas on Good Friday, adding the country may still expect isolated rain showers or

thunderstorms on Black Saturday. PAGASA, in its 5 p.m. bulletin, said the easterlies or warm winds from the east continue to affect the eastern section of the country. “The whole country will experience partly cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms mostly in the afternoon or evening,” it said. Earlier Friday, PAGASA said light to moderate rain fell on Catanduanes and Northern Samar. It alsonoted rain over Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar. PAGASA said light to moderate winds from the east to southeast will prevail over Northern and Central Luzon and coming from the east to northeast over the rest of the country. The coastal waters throughout the archipelago will be slight to moderate, it added. ■ KBK, GMA News

/ March 29, 2013 6:26pm


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April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

Nearly all senatorial hopefuls in favor of FOI bill ALMOST all the senatorial hopefuls for the 2013 polls are in favor of passing a Freedom of Information (FOI) law in the country, interviews conducted by GMA News Online revealed. Thirty-two of the 33 candidates vying for a Senate seat this coming elections said they will support the FOI bill if elected to the legislature. Only administration senatorial bet and former Senator Jamby Madrigal failed to register a categorical stand on the measure, which seeks to promote transparency in government. GMA News Online repeatedly tried to get Madrigal’s position on the FOI bill, but she was unavailable for comment. On her website, however, Madrigal said she “needs to look [into] the provisions” of the FOI bill before making a stand on the proposed legislation. Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) political science professor Benito Lim takes a cynical view of the overwhelming support of the bill among the candidates. “Of course, all of them will say they support the FOI bill. A candidate will promise anything DATE / TIME

and everything during election time. They will do everything to win, but they will not do anything once they win,” Lim said in a phone interview. He added that each candidate’s stand should be closely scrutinized, since some of them may advocate the addition of controversial provisions in the measure, such as the right-of-reply provision, which is being opposed by media groups. The right-of-reply provision legally requires media agencies to give the subjects of journalistic reporting which used information obtained through the FOI bill the equal space or airtime to respond to accusations being hurled towards them. When Congress adjourned last March, the House of Representatives failed to pass the FOI bill on second reading, essentially sealing its fate. The Senate was able to approve the bill last December. All of the reelectionist senators for the upcoming polls—Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Gregorio Honasan II, and Aquilino Pimentel III voted for the passage of the FOI bill. ‘Like a light on gov’t transactions’ EVENT

Escudero compared the FOI bill to a “light” on government transactions that will expose anomalous deeds. “Simple ang rason sa likod ng FOI. Anumang bawal, masama o iligal, hindi mo gagawin kapag may ilaw at camera. Karamihan ng bawal at iligal, ‘di ba ginagawa sa dilim? Layunin ng FOI na lagyan ng ilaw at ilagay sa camera lahat ng Gawain at transakyon ng pamahalaan,” he said. Honasan, who chairs the Senate committee on public information and mass media meanwhile said that passing an FOI law will “bring the government back to the people.” “Kaya nga POGI bill ang tawag naming dahil People’s Ownership of Government Information, government including all the information with certain temporary exceptions for the people, by the people and of the people,” the senator said. Democratic Party of the Philippines senatorial bet Christian Señeres, for his part, said that an FOI law will enable the public to scrutinize the disbursement of government funds, including the VENUE

priority development assistance fund (PDAF), commonly known as “pork barrel,” given to lawmakers. “Bigyan ng karapatan ang lahat na silipin ang pork barrel. Tingan natin kung hindi mahiya ang mga pulitiko na gumawa ng kalokohan at magpayaman diyan,” Señeres said in a separate interview. Former Akbayan Rep. and administration senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros meanwhile vowed to refile the measure next Congress. “Essential ang isang FOI law para sa transparency. This is the mother law that will ensure freedom of speech,” she said. Makabayan senatorial aspirant and incumbent Bayan Muna party-

Dubai flight attendant accused of attempted rape Woman claims suspect tried to rape her twice after inviting her for a drink in his apartment DUBAI — A flight attendant has been accused of attempting to rape his co-worker in his residence when he invited her over for a drink. The 28-year-old Filipina co-worker is said to have kicked the Indonesian flight attendant, M.H., 27, in his chest and pushed him off her body when

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list Rep. Teodoro Casiño however warned of certain exceptions introduced by the executive branch to the bill that may water down the proposed law. “May mga provisions doon na pinasok ang Malacañang that tend to restrict instead of expand access to information. Sana pumawag ang Kongreso sa amendments na gagawin naming para matiyak na ang FOI bill will really have teeth and will serve its purpose,” Casiño said. Last January, the sectoral representative withdrew his coauthorship of the FOI bill due to the supposedly “restrictive” provisions introduced by the Palace in the measure. ■ BM, GMA News

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he reportedly attempted to rape her twice in his residence in Al Quoz. “I accepted his invite for a drink. Then he tried to rape me,” she claimed. Meanwhile, the defendant pleaded not guilty and rejected his co-worker’s allegations when he defended himself before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Tuesday. ■

Gulf News / March 26, 2013

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History in Cornwall Chaplain: Fr Ari Dy, SJ FREE LISTING of your events on the Hello Philippines newspaper and if you know of any Events please contact us and submit your event via email to the following at info@hello-philippines.com DISCLAIMER: The Events Diary Listing does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by Hello Philippines newspaper. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Hello Philippines newspaper. This is merely an Events Diary Listing of what is happening within the Filipino Communities in Europe. This is for general information only. 2013 Monthly Filipino Community Masses in Greater London 24-26th May

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April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

For Juan dela Cruz, investment grade status for PHL may hardly be felt PHILIPPINE markets, government officials and the business community rejoiced on Wednesday over the news that global credit watcher Fitch Ratings had raised the country’s status as a borrower to investment grade from a notch below that category. Ordinary Filipinos, however, are scratching their heads and wondering what the fuss is all about. Fitch upgraded Philippine creditworthiness to BBB- or an “investment grade rating” from BB+. It was a first for the country that was once billed the economic “Sick Man of Asia.” The markets reacted with an uproar as people who knew what an investment grade was all about pumped money into the stock market, which was already reeling from an overbought situation since the year began on a downtrend. The reaction brought the benchmark PSEi to its 24th all-time high in the year-to-date on Wednesday. Economists and business executives foresee the advent of a friendlier environment for investments, lower interest rates to finance investment, and quality jobs for nearly 10 million Filipinos who were unemployed as of last January. The logical conclusion is that an investment grade rating could strengthen industries by attracting more investments due to the low cost of funds, as Fitch noted in its rating statement that the basis for the upgrade was a well-managed economy in fiscal and monetary terms—an assurance that creditors will be promptly paid by Philippinebased borrowers.

President Aquino, who has been reaping economic rewards for his efforts to stamp out corruption and pursue good governance initiatives in what was once Asia’s economic pariah, noted that the government could provide more “social protection” programs and “economic stimulus” using a potential pool of “low-cost funds” due to the lower interest rates on borrowings. But the excitement has not exactly trickled down to many ordinary Filipinos, who are asking how the investment upgrade exactly translates into a better life for them. Sought for comment on Thursday, some expressed the hope that they would soon feel whatever positive impact this upgrade would bring to the local economy. For big investors only. “Para lang ‘yan sa mga namumuhunan lang pagka nag-invest sila... Binibigyan ng gobyerno ang pabor sa mga investors,” said Lito Estorninos, a tricycle driver for 30 years in Quezon City. “Sila [big businesses] siguro,” agreed vulcanizing shop owner Elias Rambuyong, when asked if he thinks he would benefit from the upgrade. “Pero mga ordinaryong tao, hindi. Marami pa ring mahihirap, eh.” A 69-year-old sari-sari store owner who asked not to be named believes the upgrade will only benefit rich people. “’Yung mga mayayaman, lalo lang yayaman. Pero ‘yung mga mahihirap, kadalasan stable, pero marami sa baba pa rin,” he said. “Sila kasi ang may businesses eh. Tayong maliliit, ano ang mapapala?

Bangladesh widens crackdown on ‘blasphemous’ atheist bloggers BANGLADESH has widened a crackdown on allegedly blasphemous blogs after a threat by Islamic groups to march to the capital demanding the prosecution of atheist bloggers, an official said Wednesday. The telecommunications regulator ordered two leading Internet sites to remove hundreds of posts by seven bloggers whose writings it said offended Muslims, according to its assistant director Rahman Khan. “These writings have defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). The two sites have removed most of the posts,” Khan told AFP. Khan said the regulator was scrutinising other sites to identify and erase “blasphemous blogs” in an attempt to ensure religious harmony in the mainly Muslim nation. The move comes after Islamic groups and clerics, who have staged a series of deadly protests against atheist bloggers in recent weeks, threatened to march en masse to Dhaka on April 6 unless the bloggers are prosecuted. The debate between militant atheists and fundamentalists has been a popular subject in Bangladesh’s blogosphere and on

social media for years, but it took a deadly turn last month when an alleged anti-Islam blogger was murdered. The government has blocked about a dozen websites and blogs to stem the anti-blasphemy violence that left eight people dead. It also set up a panel, which included intelligence chiefs, to snoop for blasphemy in the social media. A blogger said 120 of his posts had been erased from one of the websites. “The government is targeting the bloggers to appease the Islamic groups”, said the blogger, who identifies himself as a militant atheist, told AFP. The blogger, who was critically injured in a machete attack by protesters in January, said he was interrogated by detectives this week about his writings. “It’s a serious attack on freedom of speech,” he said. ■ AFP / March 27, 2013

‘Pag as an employee, wala. Tayong mga ordinaryo, wala, hanggang survival lang. Hindi tayo pwede umangat,” he added. Rambuyong noted that the rating upgrade would not benefit him at all in terms of lower interest rates, even if he borrows P10,000 and sells his tricycle for P23,000 just so he could start his own business. “Sa mga maliliit na negosyo, walang epekto,” the shop owner said. “Sa vulcanizing, wala namang tax rito, eh. [Ang investment grade] para lang makahatak ng investors ng ibang bansa.” Low-paying vs. quality jobs. More credit for Philippine investors and industries could potentially create more jobs, but Estorninos lamented that many companies still provide only low-paying and low-quality jobs. “Pagka mag-umpisa na silang magbigay ng trabaho, mababa naman ang rate. Minsan babawiin sa oras—sampung oras pero minimum pa rin ang sahod,” said Estorninos, who earns P200 a day as a tricycle driver. The sari-sari store owner also pointed out that many companies would likely just churn out contractual jobs. “’After six months, tanggal ka na,” he said. Estorninos lamented the contractual nature of labor in the country, adding that companies could save heaps of money since by not promoting workers to regular status. “Makakatipid sila. Kikita rin ‘yung mga hahawak ng empleyado, dahil walang regular na trabaho,” said

the tricycle driver, who once worked as a contractual air-conditioning technician for a company. Meaningless to the impoverished. The militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said the credit upgrade is not likely to mean much for impoverished Filipinos. According to the latest government data, more than one-fourth of the population lives below the poverty line. “The upgrade seems meaningless to the poor. The type of investments it may attract may not necessarily create jobs, especially if these are portfolio investments,” Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary general, noted in a text message to GMA News Online. The “credit rating looks good only on paper. But without new jobs, the ratings upgrade will remain a hollow indicator not felt by the majority,” Reyes said. “The neoliberal notion that investments will trigger growth has long been debunked by our own experience,” he added. What Filipinos need. Sonny Africa, research head of the nonprofit organization IBON Foundation, noted the upgrade would “not translate into enough decent-paying jobs for the country as long as government policies skew economic activity away from developing genuinely Filipino manufacturing and local agriculture.” Africa, who is also an economist, said big businesses and not the majority of Filipinos would benefit from the rating. “The economy has instead been

directed towards low domestic value-added trade, transport, communication and storage, finance, construction and utilities. The transnational corporations and Filipino oligarchs in these sectors will be the biggest beneficiaries from lower borrowing costs, not the majority poor Filipinos,” he said in an e-mailed statement. Still, there are those who say they are hopeful—for now—about the supposed benefits of the upgrade. “Pwede na rin ‘yan,” Estorninos said. “Marami rin kasing walang trabaho rito,” he added. “Maganda sa atin na ang foreign investors ang magbibigay ng trabaho. Mas mabilis ang pag-angat ng ekonomiya,” said Rambuyong. The sari-sari store owner was more optimistic, saying the upgrade would just take six months to a year for it to be felt by the masses. “May mararamdaman ng kaunti, pero hindi pa kasi bago pa lang ‘yan, eh.” Despite their positive sentiment, they said they were surprised why the country was given an upgrade in the first place, noting their financial situation in a country seen as economically resilient. “Siguro may halong pulitika ‘yan, para bumango ang pangalan,” said Rambuyong, citing the upcoming midterm elections. “Sinasabi nilang maunlad ang ekonomiya. Pero itanong mo sa mga tao kung ano kinakain nila, kulang... Dati marami ka nang mabibili sa P30 sa palengke. Ngayon P100, ubos na sa tindahan,” Estorninos said. ■ Marc

Jayson Cayabyab / VS/KG/YA, GMA News / March 28, 2013 2:39pm

2 militiamen killed, devotees panic as clash mars Good Friday rites in Butuan

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines -(UPDATE - 12:49 p.m.) Catholic devotees taking part in the traditional Stations of the Cross in Butuan City were thrown into a panic when government forces on security detail clashed with New People’s Army guerrillas early in the morning of Good Friday, March 29, which also happens to be the 44th founding anniversary of the rebel force. The 5 a.m. encounter at the Third Station (Jesus falls the first time) in Purok Iyaw, Barangay Anticala, left two militiamen dead. Ironically, on Thursday, Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesman of the National Democratic Front on Mindanao, had announced during a rebel interview that the rebels would be observing a ceasefire for the Holy Week. The military immediately claimed

Devotees pass military vehicles and soldiers as they flee following a clash between communist rebels and government security forces in Butuan City early in the morning of Good Friday. (photos by Erwin Mascarinas, InterAksyon.com)

the incident was triggered by rebel harassment of the devotees and quoted Fr. Joesilo Amalla, parish priest of the St. Joseph Cathedral as saying: “These NPAs disrespected the solemnity of the station of the cross. They don’t know when to stop fighting. “Why do they attack us? They should submit themselves to our God and repent for their sins.” However, it was not clear who exactly the rebels were targeting or if the clash was a chance incident, since the bulk of the devotees, around 5,000 of them, had already reached Stations 6 (Veronica wipes the face of Jesus) and 7 (Jesus falls the second time), when the fighting erupted around Station 3. 1st Lieutenant Joe Patrick Martinez, commanding officer of the 4th Infantry Division’s 42nd CMO Company, said the rebels belonged

A soldier explains to comrades where NPA fighters are positioned during a Good Friday clash in Butuan City.

to the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 21C, under the Northeastern Mindanao Committee. Troops from the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and the police Regional Public Safety Battalion, augmented by militiamen, were providing security for the traditional Holy Week ritual. Empty shells littered the ground just 20 meters from Station 3, where the NPA fighters were positioned. The militiamen were killed almost at the foot of the cross at the station. There was also firing heard from uphill of where the bulk of the devotees were. Lieutenant Colonel Potenciano Camba, commander officer of the 3rd SF Battalion, scored the rebels saying: “This is not the time and place for fighting. We were there to observe the season of Lent and to pray for peace.”

■ Interaksyon / March 29, 2013

An Army Simba armored personnel carrier passes devotees fleeing from the encounter site in Sitio Iyao, Purok 4, Barangay Anticala in Butuan City.

Villagers help soldiers carry one of the dead militiamen.


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22

HEALTH and Lifestyle food

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April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

Do you have A balanced diet? DESPITE what you see in some diet books and TV programmes, healthy eating can be really straightforward. A diet based on starchy foods such as potatoes, rice and pasta; with plenty of fruit and vegetables; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils; some milk and dairy foods; and not too much fat, salt or sugar, will give you all the nutrients you need. When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Most adults in England are either overweight or obese. That means many of us are eating more than we need, and should eat less. And it’s not just food: some drinks can also be high in calories. Most adults need to eat and drink fewer calories in order to lose weight, even if they already eat a balanced diet. Food groups. All the food we eat can be divided into five groups. Try to choose a variety of different foods from the first four groups. They are: • Fruit and vegetables. • Starchy foods, such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta. Choose wholegrain varieties whenever you can, or eat potatoes with their skin on for more fibre. • Meat, fish, eggs and beans. • Milk and dairy foods. • Foods containing fat and sugar. Most people in the UK eat and

drink too many calories, and too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables and fibre. It’s important to have some fat in the diet, but you don’t need to eat any foods from the ‘Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar’ group as part of a healthy diet. 1. Fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals. It’s advised that we eat five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. There’s evidence that people who eat at least five portions a day are at lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. What’s more, eating five portions is not as hard as it might sound. Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion. A slice of pineapple or melon is one portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion. Having a sliced banana with your morning cereal is a quick way to get one portion. Swap your midmorning biscuit for a tangerine, and add a side salad to your lunch. Add a portion of vegetables to dinner, and snack on dried fruit in the evening to reach your five a day. 2. Starchy foods. Starchy foods should make up around one third of everything we eat. This means we should base our meals on these foods. Potatoes are an excellent choice of a starchy food and a good source of fibre. Leave the skins on where possible to keep in more of the fibre and vitamins. For example, when having boiled potatoes or have a

jacket potato, eat the skin too. Try to choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of starchy foods, such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta and brown wholemeal bread. They contain more fibre (often referred to as ‘roughage’), and usually more vitamins and minerals than white varieties. 3. Meat, fish, eggs and beans. These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for growth and repair of the body. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals. Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly. Fish is another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned, but canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Eggs and pulses (including beans, nuts and seeds) are also great sources of protein. Nuts are high in fibre and a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation. 4. Milk and dairy foods. Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of

5 A Day: What counts? ALMOST all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A DAY, making it easier than you may think to get your recommended amount each day. Fruit and vegetables don’t have to be fresh to count as a portion. Nor do they have to be eaten on their own: they also count if they’re part of a meal or dish. A wide variety. To get the most benefit from your five portions, eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. What counts towards 5 a Day? The following count towards your 5 A DAY: • Fresh fruit and vegetables. • Frozen fruit and vegetables. • Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables. Buy the ones tinned in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt. • Dried fruit, such as currants, dates, sultanas and figs. • Fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews or pasta dishes. • A glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Juice counts as a maximum of one portion

a day, however much you drink. That’s mainly because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables. • Smoothies. A smoothie containing all of the edible pulped fruit and/or vegetable may count as more than one portion but this depends on how it’s made. Smoothies count as up to a maximum of two portions per day. • Beans and pulses. These only count as one portion a day, no matter how many you eat. That’s because they contain fewer nutrients than other fruits and vegetables. • Fruit and veg in convenience foods, such as ready meals and shop-bought pasta sauces, soups and puddings. Some ready-made foods are high in salt, sugar and fat, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts. You can find the salt, sugar and fat content of ready-made foods on the label. Do potatoes count towards 5 A DAY? Potatoes are a starchy food, and a great source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium. In the UK we get a lot of our vitamin

C from potatoes because, although they only contain between 11-16 mg of vitamin C per 100g of potatoes, we generally eat a lot of them. When eaten as part of a meal, potatoes are generally used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, pasta or rice. Because of this, they don’t count towards your 5 A DAY. Other vegetables that don’t count towards your 5 A DAY are yams, cassava and plaintain: they are also usually eaten as starchy foods. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and turnips do count toward your 5 A DAY, because they are usually eaten in addition to the starchy food part of the meal. Potatoes play an important role in your diet, particularly if they aren’t cooked with salt or fat, even if they don’t count towards your 5 A DAY. They’re also a good source of fibre, so leave the skins on where possible to keep in more of the fibre and vitamins. For example, if you’re having boiled potatoes or a jacket potato, make sure you eat the skin too. ■ NHS Choices

protein. They also contain calcium, which helps to keep your bones healthy. To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk or 1% fat milks, lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat yoghurt. 5. Fat and sugar. Most people in the UK eat too much fat and too much sugar. Fats and sugar are both sources of energy for the body, but when we eat too much of them we consume more energy than we burn, and this can mean that we put on weight. This can lead to obesity, which increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. But did you know that there are different types of fat? Saturated fat is found in foods such as cheese, sausages, butter, cakes, biscuits and pies. It can raise your blood cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart disease. Most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat, which puts us at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fats, on the other

hand, can help to lower cholesterol and provide us with the essential fatty acids needed to help us stay healthy. Oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oils and vegetable oils are sources of unsaturated fat. Try to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat and have smaller amounts of foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead. For a healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. Sugar occurs naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, but we don’t need to cut down on these types of sugar. Sugar is also added to lots of foods and drinks such as sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastries, ice cream and jam. It’s also contained in some ready-made savoury foods such as pasta sauces and baked beans. Most of us need to cut down on foods with added sugar. Instead of a fizzy drink, for example, try sparkling water. Have a currant bun as a snack instead of a pastry. ■ NHS Choices

Why 5 A Day?

FRUIT and vegetables are part of a balanced diet and can help us stay healthy. That’s why it so important that we get enough of them. 5 A DAY highlights the health benefits of getting five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables every day. That’s five portions of fruit and veg altogether, not five portions of each. Five reasons to get five portions • Fruit and vegetables taste delicious and there’s so much variety to choose from. • They’re a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium. • They’re an excellent source of dietary fibre, which helps maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.

• They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. • Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy and balanced diet. Fruit and vegetables are also usually low in fat and calories (provided you don’t fry them or roast them in lots of oil). That’s why eating them can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy. 5 A DAY is based on advice from the World Health Organization, which recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity. To get the most benefit out of your 5 A DAY, your five portions should include a variety of fruit and vegetables. This is because different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A DAY. Potatoes and cassava don’t count because they mainly contribute starch to the diet. ■ NHS Choices


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HEALTH and Lifestyle

What is stress? 24

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STRESS is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else. Many of life’s demands can cause stress, particularly work, relationships and money problems. And, when you feel stressed, it can get in the way of sorting out these demands, or can even affect everything you do. Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works. In fact, common signs of stress include sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating. You may feel anxious, irritable or low in self esteem, and you may have racing thoughts, worry constantly or go over things in your head. You may notice that you lose your temper more easily, drink more or act unreasonably.

You may also experience headaches, muscle tension or pain, or dizziness. Stress causes a surge of hormones in your body. These stress hormones are released to enable you to deal with pressures or threats – the so-called “fight or flight” response. Once the pressure or threat has passed, your stress hormone levels will usually return to normal. However, if you’re constantly under stress, these hormones will remain in your body, leading to the symptoms of stress. Managing stress in daily life. Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking. Spotting the early signs of stress will also help prevent it getting

Ten stress busters

WHAT’S making you stressed? If you’re stressed, whether by your job or by something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause. The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking. “In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster. “Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.” He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook. What you can do. These are Professor Cooper’s top 10 stressbusting techniques:

Be active. If you have a stressrelated problem, physical activity can get you in the right state of mind to be able to identify the causes of your stress and find a solution. “To deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally. Exercise does that,” says Cooper. Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and enabling you to deal with your problems more calmly. Take control. There’s a solution to any problem. “If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper. “That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.” The act of taking control is in itself

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

worse and potentially causing serious complications, such as high blood pressure. There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good timemanagement techniques. Recognising your stress triggers. If you’re not sure what’s causing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of stressful episodes for two-to-four weeks. Then review it to spot the triggers. Things you might want to write down include: • the date, time and place of a stressful episode • what you were doing • who you were with • how you felt emotionally • what you were thinking • what you started doing • how you felt physically • a stress rating (0-10 where 10 is the most stressed you could ever feel)

You can use the diary to: • work out what triggers your stress • work out how you operate under pressure • develop better coping mechanisms Doctors sometimes recommend keeping a stress diary to help them diagnose stress. Take action to tackle stress. There’s no quick-fix cure for stress, and no single method will work for everyone. However, there are simple things you can do to change the common life problems that can cause stress or make stress a problem. These include

relaxation techniques, exercise and talking the issues through. Get stress support. Because talking through the issues is one of the key ways to tackle stress, you may find it useful to attend a stress management groups or class. These are sometimes run in doctors’ surgeries or community centres. The classes help people identify the cause of their stress and develop effective coping techniques. Ask your GP for more information if you’re interested in attending a stress support group. You can also use the search directory to find emotional support services in your area. ■ NHS Choices

empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else. Read tips about how to manage your time. Connect with people. A problem shared is a problem halved. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. “If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help,” says Professor Cooper. The activities we do with friends help us relax and we often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever. “Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper. Have some ‘me time’. The UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe. The extra hours in the workplace mean that people aren’t spending enough time doing things that they really enjoy. “We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper. He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work. “By earmarking those two days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime on those days,” he says. Challenge yourself. Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. That in turn will help you deal with stress. “By constantly challenging yourself you’re being proactive and taking charge of your life,” says

Professor Cooper. “By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.” Avoid unhealthy habits. Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. “Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.” Over the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones. “It’s like putting your head in the sand,” says Professor Cooper. “It might provide temporary relief but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.” Do volunteer work. Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteeringor community work, become more resilient. “Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,” says Professor Cooper. “The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.” On a more basic level, do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues. Favours cost nothing to do, and you’ll feel better. Work smarter, not harder. Good time management means quality work rather than quantity. Our longhours culture is a well-known cause of workplace illness. “You have to get

a work-life balance that suits you,” says Professor Cooper. Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference to your work. “Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.” Be positive. Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Write down three things at the end of every day which went well or for which you’re grateful. “People don’t always appreciate what they have,” says Professor Cooper. “Try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,” he says. This requires a shift in perspective for those who are more naturally pessimistic. “It can be done,” he says. “By making a conscious effort you can train yourself to be more positive about life. Problems are often a question of perspective. If you change your perspective, you may see your situation from a more positive point of view.” Accept the things you can’t change. Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on everything that you do have control over. “If your company is going under and is making redundancies, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper. “There’s no point fighting it. In such a situation, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.” ■ NHS Choices


26

HEALTH and Lifestyle

www.hello-philippines.com

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

Exercise to relieve stress STEP right up! It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, by up to 50%. It can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get some. Its name? Exercise. Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but we’ve forgotten to take our recommended dose for too long. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. This is no snake oil. Whatever your age, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life. People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant. Health benefits. Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems

obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age. It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have: • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer • a 30% lower risk of early death • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults) • up to a 30% lower risk of depression • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia What counts? Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities are:

• walking fast • water aerobics • riding a bike on level ground or with few hills • playing doubles tennis • pushing a lawn mower Daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework don’t count towards your 150 minutes. This is because the effort needed to do them isn’t hard enough to get your heart rate up. A modern problem. People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations. Sedentary lifestyles. Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health. Spending hours sitting down watching TV or playing computer games is thought to increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and

Physical activity guidelines for adults HOW much physical activity do adults aged 19-64 years old need to do to keep healthy? To stay healthy or to improve health, adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and musclestrengthening activity. How much physical activity you need to do each week depends on your age. Physical activity for adults aged 19-64. To stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do: At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderateintensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week, and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity

aerobic activity every week (for example 2 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking), and musclestrengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). What counts as moderateintensity aerobic activity? Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most people include: • walking fast • water aerobics • riding a bike on level ground or with few hills • doubles tennis • pushing a lawn mower • hiking • skateboarding • rollerblading • volleyball • basketball 5 x 30 minutes. One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of

weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days a week. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk, but you can’t sing the words to a song. What counts as vigorousintensity aerobic activity? Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most people include: • jogging or running • swimming fast • riding a bike fast or on hills • singles tennis • football • rugby • skipping rope • hockey • aerobics • gymnastics • martial arts

diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity. Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down. Common examples of sedentary behaviour include watching TV, using a computer, using the car for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music. “Previous generations were active more naturally through work and manual labour but today we have to find ways of integrating activity into our daily lives,” says Dr Cavill.

Whether it’s limiting the time babies spend strapped in their buggies to encouraging adults to stand up and move frequently, people of all ages need to reduce their sedentary behaviour. “This means that each of us needs to think about increasing the types of activities that suit our lifestyle and can easily be included in our day,” says Dr Cavill. Crucially, you can hit your weekly activity target but still be at risk of ill health if you spend the rest of the time sitting or lying down. ■ NHS

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity means you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. In general, 75 minutes of vigorousintensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. For a moderate to vigorous intensity workout, try Couch to 5K, a nine-week running plan for beginners. What counts as musclestrengthening activity? Musclestrengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is 1 complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions. For each activity, try to do 8 to 12 repetitions in each set. Try to do at least 1 set of each musclestrengthening activity. You’ll get even more benefits if you do 2 or 3 sets. Healthy weight • Adults who are overweight can improve their health by meeting the activity guidelines, even if they don’t lose weight. • To lose weight, you are likely to need to do more than 150 minutes a week and make changes to your diet. • Start by gradually building up towards 150 minutes of moderate-

intensity aerobic activity a week. To get health benefits from muscle-strengthening activities, you should do them to the point where you struggle to complete another repetition. There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it’s at home or in the gym. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities for most people include: • lifting weights • working with resistance bands • doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as push-ups and sit-ups • heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling • yoga Try Strength and Flex, a fiveweek exercise plan for beginners to improve your strength and flexibility. You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity, whatever’s best for you. However, muscle-strengthening activities don’t count towards your aerobic activity total, so you’ll need to do them in addition to your aerobic activity. Some vigorous-intensity aerobic activities may provide 75 minutes of aerobic activity and sufficient muscle-strengthening activity. Examples include circuit training and sports such as football or rugby.

Choices

■ NHS Choices


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Relaxation tips to relieve stress RELAXATION can help to relieve the symptoms of stress. It can help you calm down and take a step back from a stressful situation. Although the cause of the anxiety won’t disappear, you will probably feel more able to deal with it once you’ve released the tension in your body and cleared your thoughts. All relaxation techniques combine breathing more deeply with relaxing the muscles. Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and it will come with practice. Yoga and tai chi are both good forms of exercise that can help to improve breathing and relaxation. Relaxed breathing. Practise deep breathing at a regular time and in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Loosen or remove any tight clothes you have on, such as shoes or jackets. Make yourself feel completely comfortable.

Sit in a comfy chair which supports your head or lie on the floor or bed. Place your arms on the chair arms, or flat on the floor or bed, a little bit away from the side of your body with the palms up. If you’re lying down, stretch out your legs, keeping them hip-width apart or slightly wider. If you’re sitting in a chair, don’t cross your legs. Good relaxation always starts with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down. • Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing. Imagine you’re filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom. • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. • Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first). • Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.

• Keep doing this until you feel calm. Breathe without pausing or holding your breath. Practise this relaxed breathing for three to five minutes, two to three times a day (or whenever you feel stressed). Deep muscle relaxation. This technique takes around 20 minutes. It stretches different muscles in turn and then relaxes them, to release tension from the body and relax your mind. Find a warm, quiet place with no distractions. Get completely comfortable, either sitting or lying down. Close your eyes and begin by focusing on your breathing; breathing slowly and deeply, as described above. If you have pain in certain muscles, or if there are muscles that you find it difficult to focus on, spend more time on relaxing other parts. You may want to play some soothing music to help relaxation. As

with all relaxation techniques, deep muscle relaxation will require a bit of practice before you start feeling its benefits. For each exercise, hold the stretch for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat it a couple of times. It’s useful to keep to the same order as you work through the muscle groups: • Face: push the eyebrows together, as though frowning, then release.

• Neck: gently tilt the head forwards, pushing chin down towards chest, then slowly lift again. • Shoulders: pull them up towards the ears (shrug), then relax them down towards the feet. • Chest: breathe slowly and deeply into the diaphragm (below your bottom rib) so that you’re using the whole of the lungs. Then breathe slowly out, allowing the belly to deflate as all the air is exhaled. • Arms: stretch the arms away from the body, reach, then relax. • Legs: push the toes away from the body, then pull them towards body, then relax. • Wrists and hands: stretch the wrist by pulling the hand up towards you, and stretch out the fingers and thumbs, then relax. Spend some time lying quietly after your relaxation with your eyes closed. When you feel ready, stretch and get up slowly. ■ NHS Choices

SWS: Majority of poor Filipinos are satisfied with their lives

DESPITE the problems they face, four out of five Filipinos or 81 percent are satisfied with their lives, a new survey by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed among the Class ABC on the income scale were satisfied with their lives, but even among Class D and E respondents at the bottom of the scale, the rates of life satisfaction were quite high at 82 percent (Class D) and 74 percent (Class E). The SWS said the fourth quarter 2012 survey conducted among 1,200 adults nationwide on Dec. 8 to 11 showed that of the 81 percent, 33 percent were “very satisfied” and 48 percent “fairly satisfied.” But 20 percent said they felt

dissatisfied with life, including 14 percent who said they were “not very satisfied,” and five percent who said they were “not at all satisfied.” The results were posted Monday on the website of SWS’ media partner BusinessWorld. Still, the SWS said this was an improvement from the 76 percent satisfied in March, including 31 percent who said they were very satisfied and 45 percent who said they were fairly satisfied. Also in March, 24 percent of Filipinos were dissatisfied, including 18 percent who were not very satisfied, and five percent who were not at all satisfied. Also, the SWS noted those satisfied with life were optimistic of the improvement of their lives the

The fourth quarter 2012 survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that 45 percent of Filipinos who were very satisfied expected an improvement in the quality of life for the next year.

general economy this 2013. It added that 45 percent of those very satisfied expected an improvement in their quality of life in the next 12 months. Some 40 percent of those very satisifed with life are optimistic the

Report: Suspected Kiram follower shot dead in Sabah ‘attack’

AT least one more suspected follower of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III was gunned down following an encounter with security forces in Sabah Thursday morning, Malaysian police said. Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib claimed the suspected Kiram follower tried to attack a member of the Malaysian security forces in the Semporna area. But Hamza said the security personnel was “well-equipped” and was not harmed, according to a report on Malaysia’s New Straits Times. He said at least six people, including the slain suspect’s wife and daughter, were arrested during the operation between 8 and 11 a.m. The New Straits Times quoted Hamza as saying the suspected

Kiram follower was shot after he “slashed” security personnel twice in Kampung Simunul. He said the security forces were in the area to flush out Kiram followers. The area was the site of an encounter last March 2 where six Malaysian policemen were killed. Deadly encounters on March 1 and 2 had broken a three-week standoff between Kiram’s followers and Malaysian security forces. Local economy disrupted. The ongoing Sabah conflict has taken its toll on businesses in the area, another Malaysian news site reported Thursday. The Star Online quoted Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen as saying the clashes caused a drop in business by up to 35 percent in hotels in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau.

“[The drop] was expected. Some 800 tourists canceled their tour packages to Sabah,” she said, but reassured the public Sabah is safe for travel, adding she had visited Semporna and Tawau last week. A separate report on state-run Bernama news agency said the Menara Kayangan tower, a regular visitor attraction at the foot of Mt. Silam in Lahad Datu, was reopened to visitors last week after almost a month’s closure. But the report quoted a tourism center spokesman as saying the number of visitors declined. “Prior to the temporary closure, the number of daily visitors was more than 100 and could even reach 500 during the weekend. For the past week, only about 20 people came,” he said. ■ BM, GMA News March 28, 2013 (Updated 8:22 p.m.)

economy will improve in the next 12 months. In past SWS surveys, life satisfaction was above 80 percent four times since September 2010. This fell to 76 percent in November 2010 and March 2012. But the record-high life satisfaction was recorded at 86 percent in December 2011. The lowest, 61 percent, was tallied in September 2002 and November 2003. Satisfaction highest among Class ABC. In the SWS survey, 95 percent of those surveyed among Class ABC were satisfied with their lives. Eighty-eight percent of college graduates surveyed, meanwhile, said they were satisfied with life. Among Class D and E, the rates of life satisfaction were lower, at 82 percent in Class D and 74 percent in Class E. “Satisfaction was almost the same for both sexes with 81 percent (30 percent very, 51 percent fairly) among men, and 80 percent (36 percent very, 45 percent fairly, correctly rounded) among women,” SWS said. Also, it said satisfaction was highest among respondents aged 25-34 at 85 percent, and among those married at 82 percent. Satisfaction, however, was lowest among those in the 35-44 age bracket at 76 percent, and among those single or without a partner at 77 percent. By area. In Metro Manila, life satisfaction was recorded at 81 percent. The rest of Luzon (“Balance Luzon”) had 84 percent, while

Visayas had 82 percent. These were higher than the 72 percent rating in Mindanao. Satisfaction was noted at 84 percent in urban areas, while in rural areas, it was recorded at 77 percent. Urban poor groups unsatisfied with results. Despite the survey showing a high satisfaction rate among Class D and E, urban poor groups disagree with the results, saying that many of the urban poor remain unsatisfied. “Sa amin sa urban poor, hindi kami agree sa ganun,” Manny Manato, spokesman of Kilos Maralita, told GMA News Online. “Baka sa mga sinurvey lang nila. Depende yan sa area, sa mga ininterview nila,” he said. Gloria Arellano, national chairman of the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) agreed, saying that they do not know why the survey findings show a high satisfaction among Class D and E. “Kung sa aming mga maralita, nararanasan namin na hindi nagbabago. Mataas pa rin ang mga bilihin, bayarin...Patuloy ang kawalan ng trabaho, patuloy ang pagbaba ng sahod,” she told GMA News Online. “Hindi po natin pinagbabatayan na mas tumaas ang kalidad ng buhay sa ganyan. Hindi ho natin nakikita yan talaga. Ramdam na ramdam ang kahirapan,” she said. “Nakatali lang naman po ang ekonomiya sa ilang pamilya, sa ilang korporasyon. Hindi ho yan bumababa sa mahihirap.” ■ with a

report from Amanda Lago/KG/HS/BM, GMA News / April 1, 2013 (Updated 6:12 p.m.)


“Wash down Pure Foods Corned Beef with Red Horse Beer.”


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ENTERTAINMENT

www.hello-philippines.com

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

Nora Aunor topbills CineFilipino entry ‘Ang Kuwento niourMabuti’ production outfit to stick to our

Direk Mes De Guzman and Nora Aunor on the set of ‘Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti’. (Photos by William Reyes)

WHEN the eight finalists for the first CineFilipino Film Festival were introduced last January, one filmmaker immediately stood out from the rest of the pack. Fresh from his big win for “Diablo”(Best Film and Best Director) in the New Breed category of last year’s edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Festival, Mes De Guzman naturally was expected to be the odds-on favorite to win the top awards even before his cameras started rolling. It looks like the veteran indie director is already living up to expectations as his film, “Ang Kuwento Ni Mabuti”, is off to a rousing start with the casting of no less than superstar Nora Aunor in the title role. Not to be confused with the Filipino literary classic by Genoveva Edroza-Matute, De Guzman’s

film is actually a morality tale about Mabuti, a faith healer who maintains a positive outlook in life despite her poverty. But that was until she found herself in a moral dilemma after accidentally finding a bag containing P5 million in cash that could bring an end to her family’s problems. Like most of De Guzman’s films, including “Diablo”, “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti” is also being shot in his home province of Nueva Vizcaya. Like “Himala”, which the director listed as one of his all-time favorite films in the online forum of PinoyDVD.com, his new film also casts Nora Aunor as a faith healer and even reunites her with “Himala” co-star Ama Quiambao, who also won the 2012 Cinemalaya Best Actress for her lead role in “Diablo”. Rounding up the cast are indie veterans Sue Prado (“Ang Bangka Sa Pagitan ng Dalawang Ilog”), Arnold Reyes (“Graceland”), Mara Lopez (“Palitan”) and what De Guzman calls “a bevy of non-actors from Nueva Vizcaya”. Dubbed by De Guzman as one of the country’s best cinematographers, Albert Banzon (“Haruo”, “EDSA XXX”) has been tapped as the director of photography for “Ang Kuwento Ni Mabuti”. As with his other films produced by Cinelarga Productions, the film company he co-owns with his wife Rhea, Direk Mes does not expect any hitches in the production of his new film. “It’s an indie policy of

Christian Bautista, now a Kapuso!

MULTI-PLATINUM recording artist Christian Bautista signed an exclusive contract with GMA Network. Christian feels very privileged and excited about this new chapter in his life. “It’s wonderful! Bagong taon, bagong makakatrabaho at bagong bahay. I feel very welcomed and very honoured na nandito na ako ngayon. With all the projects I’m doing, it’s gonna be fun!” See more of Christian as he is now part of GMA Pinoy TV’s biggest party celebration, Party Pilipinas. ■

(L-R) Christian’s manager Carlo Orosa, GMA President and Chief Operating Officer Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr., Christian Bautista, Chief Executive Officer Felipe L. Gozon and OIC for Entertainment TV Lilybeth G. Rasonable.

budget and production schedule”. With the P1.5 million seed money granted by CineFilipino, which is a bigger amount than the P500,000 grant of Cinemalaya that they had to work with in “Diablo”, audiences can expect to see even higher production values for “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti”. Along with seven other finalists, “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti” will be showcased during the CineFilipino Film Festival that will take place at Araneta Center’s Gateway Cineplex and Ali Mall Cinemas as well as at the Newport Cinemas at Resorts World from June 26 to July 2. ■ Edwin P. Sallan, InterAksyon.com / Tuesday, March 26, 2013 / 5:19 pm

Nora Aunor in a scene from ‘Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti’.

Alamin ang Holy Week and summer plans ng inyong favorite Kapuso stars ALAMIN ang planong gawin at lugar na nais puntahan ng inyong mga paboritong Kapuso stars ngayong Holy Week at summer gaya nina Dennis Trillo, Julie Anne San Jose at Richard Gutierrez. Richard Gutierrez: “No plans (laughs), for me kasi summer sakto nag-start ‘yung shows ko, so most of the time I’ll be shooting for the soap opera. Pero ngayong Holy Week, kasama ko yung buong family ko sa Cebu. First time naming magsasama ulit in a long time kasi lahat sobrang busy. So I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my family. Joyce Ching: Usually kasi may outing kami kapag Holy Week. ‘Yun lang, pero after nun parang deadma lang sa summer. Holy Week talaga kami lumalabas kasama ang family.

Julie Anne San Jose: Kung magkakaroon ng vacation, siguro sa bahay muna. I’ll stay with my family. Since ang summer kasi hanggang April, pupunta din kami ng Subic, bibisitahin po naming yung kamaganak namin dun sa Mahal na Araw and then balik ulit dito. Arthur Solinap: Sa Holy Week punta kami ng Marinduque. First time ko dun. Kasi pag summer talaga I make sure na gumagawa kami ng plano. Mahilig kasi ako sa outdoors. I’m a beach person. Kim Rodriguez: Ang plano ko lagi bago mag swimming or beach, kailangan ko munang mag-gym ng bonggang-bongga talaga! Jake Vargas: Subic lang at saka

magpapabasa. Balak ko mag-outing kami, magdadagat, pero Subic lang po. Max Collins: Gusto ko talagang mag beach, I think that’s what everyone wants to do, go to the beach. Gusto kong maging super healthy, fit and focused on getting a really toned body. Sid Lucero: I’d like to keep it open because a lot of people invite me. For now, I can’t stop thinking about working, as in, I don’t have any plans for anything else but work. I’d like to get back into shape. Rochelle Pangilinan: Marinduque, ‘yan ang plano. Kasi hindi pa ako nakakarating dun. Ang sabi napakaganda daw ng island na ‘yun so gusto ko siyang makita. Excited ako! Mahilig kasi ako sa adventure. Mahilig kami sa pupunta ka sa hindi mo alam kung anong mangyayari. Dennis Trillo: Definitely lalabas kami ng buong pamilya this Holy Week. April naman, kasama ko yung mga kaibigan ko sa beach, Meron kaming out-of-the-country trip kasama ko ang cast ng Temptation of Wife, sa L.A., New York at sa Canada. So abangan nila ‘yun. Glaiza de Castro: Gusto ko sanang mag-hiking, ‘yung tipong pa-north. Masyado na kasing overrated ang beach, so feeling kong maraming tao ang nasa beach ngayon. So ngayon naman parang bagong trip, hiking naman kami. Saka ‘yung kapatid ko gusto kasing subukan kasi never pa namin ito ginawa.

Angelika dela Cruz: “This summer busy ako mag-training for SUBIT, ‘yung isang triathlon event

na sasalihan ko. Mag-beach din ako para makapag-training ako sa open water.” Alden Richards: “I’ll make things different hopefully, with my family. We’ll go on a vacation, siguro sa beach or somewhere. Kahit hindi beach, siguro tour lang, dito lang din sa Metro Manila or sa Laguna.” Lauren Young: “I’m going to be in school, and I’m going to be working so wala talaga akong plans for the summer. Pero hopefully magkaroon ng time kahit weekend lang.” Aljur Abrenica: “Gusto kong magPunta Fuego sa Batangas.” Lexi Fernandez: “I’m going to Bora for four days with some of my friends from outside of showbiz, just to enjoy and relax and have fun.” Bobby Andrews: “Every Holy Week, I travel with my family. The only thing now is, the best place to travel to during Holy Week is here in Metro Manila.” Sunshine Dizon: “Siguro I’ll go around Pampanga lang ngayon.” Elmo Magalona: “Sana makapagbeach ako this year kasi every year hindi ako natutuloy. Hindi ko pa na-try mag-Boracay so baka magBoracay ako.” Bea Binene: “Mostly po kapag Holy Week nagbi-Bisita Iglesia kami. I want to go somewhere, hindi ko pa alam kung saan.” Enzo Pineda: “I plan to go to Boracay, and I’m planning to compete for wakeboarding this summer.” Thea Tolentino: “Mag-spend lang ako ng time with my family sa province namin kasi for the past months andito lang ako sa Manila lagi.” Jeric Gonzales: “I’m planning to spend it with my family. Sa bahay lang kami lagi at church, and then mag-rest kasi ‘yung time na ‘yun, para sa family namin, ay para magnilay-nilay.” ■ Compiled by

the GMANetwork.com team / March 28, 2013 5:23pm


Christian Bautista says his girlfriend is okay with ShinIan reunion

HINDI daw issue sa girlfriend ni Christian Bautista ang pagbabalik ng tambalang ShinIan sa Party Pilipinas ngayong isang Kapuso na ang Romantic Balladeer. In a press interview last March 24, Christian opened up about his first Party Pilipinas performance, which included singing again with ex-girlfriend Rachelle Ann Go. “She supports me in everything. She knows about the love team between Rachelle and myself, but she understands,” shares Christian when asked about the reaction of his girlfriend Carla Dunareanu on his much-awaited reunion with Rachelle Ann.

ng pause. Ngayon, parang biglang bumalik ang dating feeling kapag kumakanta kami on stage. Talagang wow, ang sarap! Hindi lang kasi sa amin ‘yun eh, everyone feels it. Kapag mayroon kayong energy on stage, everyone feels it. At na-feel ng tao, nafeel talaga namin.” Christian also immediately felt at ease in his new home. He says, “Halos kilala ko na silang lahat, ‘yun na lang mga “She’s okay with it. new stars [ang hindi]. Pero Talagang pinag-usapan wow, at home agad pagdating namin, and she was so open sa rehearsal pa lang. Nawala about it kasi actress din siya. ‘yung kaba. Ang nangyari She just finished a Repertory is excitement, tapos ‘yung [Philippines] replay of Boeing happiness.” Boeing and she was kissing He acknowledges the fact all these guys. It’s part of the that he has a lot to learn in job,” he adds. spite of being friends with a Christian and Carla met on lot of Kapuso artists. “Ngayon the set of the musical drama is a new stage in my life, and series The Kitchen Musical in siguro I want to get the feel of 2011, and have been together it. ‘Yun din ‘yung pagdating since February last year. ko kanina. Kahit na kilala ko Napansin din ng press ang sila, I got to feel the system. lakas ng sigaw at palakpak Marami pa akong kailangang nang muling mag-duet sina matutunan.” Christian at Rachelle sa “Live Catch more of Christian Now” segment. “We’ve been Bautista in Party Pilipinas every doing that for so many years Sunday, before Teen Gen. ■ before, tapos nagkaroon Michelle Caligan, GMANetwork.com

Sunshine Cruz makes FHM comeback 13 years after becoming 1st Pinay cover girl

TAKE that, Cesar Montano! About two months after separating from her husband of almost 13 years, Sunshine Cruz has sprung a pleasant surprise on her fans by gracing the cover of FHM Philippines’ April 2013 issue — exactly 13 years after becoming its first ever Filipina cover model. Sunshine posted images of the cover and two inside photos on her Twitter account Tuesday night, shortly after they debuted on FHM.com.ph. Sunshine’s acting career took a backseat after she married Cesar in September 2000, a union that produced three beautiful daughters. Now, at 35 years of age, she is on the comeback trail after a controversial split with her husband, whom she accused of infidelity. She will star in an upcoming ABS-CBN drama series called “Dugong Buhay”. Sunshine, who has retained her whistlebait figure, wears a black one-piece swimwear on the cover image shot by Doc Marlon Pecjo. “Actually nakaka-nerbiyos ito,” the magazine’s website

quotes her as saying. “At first I couldn’t imagine myself doing a sexy pictorial again. But at the same time I’d like you to know that I was really excited to do this cover. Matagal din naman talaga akong nag-lie

low, 13 years nga to be exact. I’m very honored you never stopped asking me back, kahit may tatlong kids na ako.” The issue will be released on Wednesday. ■ Interaksyon / March 26, 2013


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ENTERTAINMENT

www.hello-philippines.com

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

GMA News videos now accessible on iPhones FILIPINO mobile news consumers from all parts of the world can now catch the latest news from GMA Network while they’re on the go. An updated version of the GMA News mobile application for iOS now offers video clips from GMA News programs. The app is available for free download on the Apple App Store. GMA News Online v 2.0 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod enables users to customize its content by choosing which sections of the website will appear on the app. It also features an option to display 10 or 15 articles from each section. “We just want to be where news consumers are going. Our improved app combines two exploding trends – mobile and online video,” GMA News Online editor-in-chief and GMA Network VP for Multimedia Journalism Howie Severino said. He explained that only selected GMA news videos will be viewable on mobile initially, but the volume

of video content will eventually increase. Developed by New Media Inc., the updated app has a new action bar that lets users go directly to his or her favorite section and manage customization settings. It also includes links to the YouScoop app on iTunes, as well as to the GMA News mobile site, Twitter profile, and Facebook page. In an effort to make GMA News content available in more social media platforms, articles on the new app may now be shared not just on Facebook, but also through email and on Twitter. The app lets users experience smooth, paper-like scrolling within the articles. A single swipe enables readers to move from one section to another or from one article to the next story on the same section. Each story on the app also includes a link on that gives users the option to read the story on the GMA News Online mobile site. ■

Manila takes crap from alien sea monster in Hollywood film ‘Pacific Rim’

In this scene from ‘Pacific Rim’, a fictitious news flash shows massive excrement left by a sea monster that contaminates Manila.

IT looks like the Hollywood stock of Manila is rising and neither mayoralty aspirants Alfredo Lim nor former president Joseph Estrada has anything to do with it. Hot on the heels of its well-received appearance in “The Bourne Legacy”, Manila is once again starring in a major Hollywood production. This time, the nation’s capital or rather what’s left of it makes a prominent cameo in Guillermo Del Toro’s much-awaited science fiction epic “Pacific Rim”. The film, which the director describes as “a beautiful poem to giant monsters” is set in the near future where alien, dinosaur-like giant monsters (think Godzilla) known as the “Kaiju” have risen from beneath the ocean to destroy the human race.

To combat the giant kaiju and prevent the mounting apocalypse, the soldiers of the future have devised a special type of weapon in the form of massive robots called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. In this screen grab shared by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, a fictitious news flash shows massive excrement left by a kaiju that contaminates the city. As there is no report that Del Toro and the rest of the crew of “Pacific Rim” actually came to town to shoot the footage, the Manila depicted in the film is most likely a product of computer-generated imagery or CGI. While it is certainly not the most

flattering image of the big city on the big screen (but then again, neither was “The Bourne Legacy”), it would still be interesting to see how extensive is Manila’s exposure on “Pacific Rim” either in the new trailer that may debut anytime soon, as hinted by Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, or in the actual movie itself which opens in the Philippines on July 11. Starring Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), Idris Elba (“Thor”), Rinko Kikuchi (“The Brothers Bloom”), Charlie Day (“Horrible Bosses”) and Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”), “Pacific Rim” also features Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky, Clifton Collins, Jr., Burn Gorman, Larry Joe Campbell, Diego Klattenhoff, and Brad William Henke. ■ Interaksyon / March 26, 2013

Rufa Mae Quinto plays action heroine in solo comeback film

WHILE most celebrities have gone on vacation for the Lenten holidays, Rufa Mae Quinto will remain in Manila throughout the Holy Week to shoot her solo comeback film, “Ang Huling Henya”. Directed by Marlon Rivera, who helmed the acclaimed the Cinemalaya sensation “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank”, “Ang Huling Henya” will be the 34-year-old actress’ first solo starrer since 2009’s “Status: Single”. Based on its title alone, the film sounds like a ribtickler like her 2001 breakthrough film “Booba”. But her role as a secret agent named Miri requires her to perform a lot of action scenes, including a few bonebreaking stunts. What’s this? Rufa Mae Quinto, action star? “Yes, totoo!… Seriously… Nakita

n’yo naman nag-training talaga ako. Firing workshop, muay thai,” she said. “Todong todo toh to the highest level! Siksik, liglig, peak peak! Peak peak talaga o!” she added with a big laugh. If “Booba” traded on her bountiful sex appeal, “Ang Huling Henya” promises to deliver high-adrenaline action as much as wall-to-wall laughs. Rufa Mae is very pleased to headline her own film once again. “Kailangan ko na gumawa ng sarili uli kasi miss na miss na. Parang oo nga, no? Pa’no na ang following ko? Pa’no na ang fans? Ang jokes ko? Halakhak here there and everywhere? Ye-hes!” she quipped, laughing. But is there any particular man tickling her funny bone nowadays?

How is she and her “Enchanted Garden” co-star Ahron Villena? “Si Ahron naman hindi nagprosper kasi umuwi siya ng province after ‘Enchanted Garden’. Naging kanya-kanya ang ganap!” she said. But, of course, there’s always a long line of suitors hoping to steal her elusive heart. And they come in all shapes and sizes… of bank accounts. “Merong mas matanda. Merong mayaman. Merong sakto lang. Meron ding free loaders!” she quipped, laughing once again. Free loaders? Has she turned into a sugar mommy at 34? “Wala…Gas lang!” More laughs. “Charing!” Nevertheless, she is well aware that her biological clock is ticking. That is why she’s already on the lookout for a man who could be her

Rufa Mae Quinto

long-term partner and who could possibly give her a child. If all else fails, Rufa Mae is looking at artificial insemination and single parenthood as a last resort.

“Gusto sana natin kasal ba din at magkaanak at mahal mo ang lalaki. But of course I have to embrace my destiny,” she said. ■ Interaksyon / March 27, 2013


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PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AROUND THE WORLD

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

Aquino welcomes the move of Fitch Group granting the Philippines investment grade status PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III expressed elation over the move of the credit ratings agency Fitch Group granting the Philippines its first investment grade status. “We are pleased to hear that this afternoon, the Fitch group announced that they upgraded the status of the Philippines from BB+ to BBB-. This marks the first time in history that our nation has been granted investment grade status by a major credit ratings agency,” the Chief Executive said in a statement released on Wednesday. The Philippines has finally won its much-coveted investment grade status from Fitch Group, one of the three major international credit rating agencies that assesses the government’s ability to pay back its

debt and the chance of non-payment. “This means much more than lower interest rates on our debt and more investors buying our securities. Greater access to low-cost funds gives us more fiscal space to sustain and further improve on social protection, defense, and economic stimulus, among others,” the President said. President Aquino said more companies in the real economy can now consider the Philippines an investment destination after the Philippines got the investment grade status. “Investment grade for sovereign debt should also lead to lower borrowing costs for Philippine companies in the international markets, consequently allowing for higher valuations for their securities.

This in turn enables industries to expand and generate more jobs for our countrymen-- fostering a virtuous cycle of growth, empowerment, and inclusiveness that will redound to the benefit of Filipinos across all sectors of society,” the President stressed. The President said the Philippine’s investment grade rating from Fitch represents the perception of lessening risk in the country’s markets. “It formalizes the investment grade level at which the Philippines has already been securing credit. This is an institutional affirmation of our good governance agenda – Sound fiscal management and integrity-based leadership has led to a resurgent economy in the face of uncertainties in the global arena.

It serves to encourage even greater interest and investments in our country,” he said. “It is one among many other positive developments that demonstrates the reclamation of our national pride. Truly, what was once known as the perennial laggard of Asia is taking off, and is accelerating towards its goal of an equitably progressive society,” he noted. The Philippines’ economic growth, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), has been progressively growing despite the economic downturn in the global environment, expanding by 6.6 percent in 2012. “The task now is to ensure that expected inflows will be used to maximum effect towards

a sustainable, progressively empowering economy. We are determined to build on our economic gains to usher in a society wherein every Filipino, today and for generations to come, may be given the wherewithal to realize their full potential,” President Aquino concluded. ■ Philippine Embassy Norway / Published on 27 March, 2013 - 16:59

Embassy Officials Meet with Migrant Rights Groups to Discuss Case of Filipino Oil Workers in Louisiana WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippine Embassy met on Monday with leaders of migrant rights organizations supporting a group of Filipino offshore oil workers in Louisiana involved in a class suit against their employer for alleged slavery and human trafficking. In a statement, the Embassy said officials sat down with leaders of the Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino Workers Campaign to listen to their demands and, at the same time, convey the Philippine Government’s position on the case filed by close to 100 of an estimated 300 Filipino offshore oil workers employed by Grand Isle Shipyard and D& R Resources. “The Embassy is satisfied with the outcome of the discussions,” said First Secretary and Consul Elmer Cato who along with Welfare Officer Saul de Vries and Assistant Labor Officer Oliver Flores represented the Embassy in the first meeting with supporters of the workers since the groups launched their solidarity campaign in January. The Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Campaign was represented in the

dialogue by Dante Simbulan and Josef Cadgugay of the Katarungan Center for Peace, Justice and Human Rights in the Philippines and Katrina Abarcar and Ann Beryl Corotan of Philippine Forum and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. “The Embassy actually shares their concern for the rights and welfare of Filipino offshore oil workers here in the United States— not just those involved in the class suit against Grand Isle but also the majority who have not joined the case,” said Cato, who is the Embassy’s spokesperson. The offer to dialogue was made after 10 protesters from New York, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey staged a picket outside the Embassy along Massachusetts Avenue in support of the Filipino offshore oil workers involved in the case who they insist were victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. The groups want the Philippine Government to investigate the condition of the other group of Filipino workers who, according to them, were being treated like slaves and kept in prison-like conditions

First Secretary and Consul Elmer Cato and Welfare Officer Saul de Vries invite leaders of the Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino Workers campaign to a dialogue inside the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. to discuss the situation of Filipino offshore oil workers in Louisiana. (Philippine Embassy Photos by Christine Rubio)

in the Grand Isle facility in Galiano, Louisiana. They also want the Philippine Government to shut down the companies for alleged illegal, inhumane and negligent business practices and for Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. to step down for supposedly failing to take any action on the case. “We hope the Embassy was able to present a clear picture of what the Philippine Government has done and what it continues to do in protecting the rights and welfare of our workers,” said Cato, who enumerated the actions the Embassy undertook in connection with the Grand Isle Shipyard case and the 16 November 2012 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that left three Filipinos dead and three others seriously injured. In its statement, the Embassy said that unknown to the public, it actually helped shoulder the cost of recovering two of the first eight workers who left the Grand Isle facility in 2010 and that it had even offered other possible assistance to the workers through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office. The

Embassy said it continued to actively monitor the case even though it never received any request for assistance from the workers or their lawyers either before or after they went to court. The Embassy also said it played a critical role in the aftermath of the Black Elk offshore platform fire by immediately deploying personnel to assist the victims and their families who had to be flown in from the Philippines. Ambassador Cuisia, who assumed in 2011, flew to New Orleans and Baton Rouge twice to look into the condition not just of the victims but also the other Filipino employees of the company. The Embassy said Ambassador Cuisia also banked on the goodwill he was able to establish with the US Department of Labor during the past two years to request the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to look into the living conditions of the remaining Filipino workers at the Grand Isle facility in Galiano. It was also Ambassador Cuisia who made representations with the Department of Interior to assure the

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement that the Filipino workers will give their full cooperation in connection with their investigation of the Black Elk platform accident. “It was also Ambassador Cuisia who protested and obtained an apology from Black Elk President John Hoffman for the statement the oil executive had given to media attributing the platform accident to the incompetence and lack of English language skills of Filipino offshore oil workers,” the Embassy said. During the meeting, the Embassy suggested to protest leaders that their demand that the Philippine Government shuts down Grand Isle Shipyard could be better addressed if they redirect their call to the US Government which has the power to do so. The Embassy said it is waiting for the results of the visit of a consular team that was dispatched to Louisiana last week to meet with US authorities and to again look into the condition of the injured Filipinos and their families and other workers there. ■ Philippine Embassy USA / WDC-018-

2013 / 20 March 2012

Officials of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. and leaders of the Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino Workers Campaign discuss the situation of Filipino offshore oil workers in Louisiana during a dialogue on 18 March 2013. In photo are First Secretary and Consul Elmer Cato, Welfare Officer Saul de Vries and Assistant Labor Officer Oliver Flores with Dante Simbulan and Josef Cadgugay of the Katarungan Center for Peace, Justice and Human Rights in the Philippines and Katrina Abarcar and Ann Beryl Corotan of Philippine Forum and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.


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PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AROUND THE WORLD

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

FilAm Firm to Bring Solar Energy Solutions to PH WASHINGTON, DC—A FilipinoAmerican solar power company will be pouring in $119 million in five priority projects in the Philippines this year, the Philippine Embassy said today. In a press release, the Embassy said Mendoza Solar, a United Statesbased company, will be undertaking the projects with its subsidiary in the Philippines and its American partners. The Embassy said Winston L. Mendoza, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Mendoza Solar and its Philippine subsidiary, Lim Solar, paid a courtesy call on Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. on 20 March, where he informed the envoy of his projects that include a $45-million solar power-fuel cell farm in Davao.

In addition to the Davao project, Mendoza informed Ambassador Cuisia that his companies and its affiliates will also have solar energy projects for Glacier Cold Storage, De La Salle University, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Camp Aguinaldo. “Our solar energy solutions are quick to deploy and in the future will find applications in smaller communities in the Philippines,” Mendoza told Ambassador Cuisia, adding that he also has lined up projects for some 15 medium-sized companies in various provinces in the Philippines. According to Trade Representative Maria Roseni Alvero, Mendoza will

be supplying different types of solar generation solutions to the Philippines over the next few years. These projects would impact on the electrical consumption of certain governmentowned facilities and commercial activities, contributing to decreased reliance on fossil fuel, electrical cost savings and cleaner environment. Alvero said Mendoza Solar’s $45-million project in Davao consists of a 15-megawatt solar-fuel cell farm that will save the city P27 million annually in electric bills. Its project with Glacier Cold Storage would introduce a solar-fuel cell hybrid solution that will generate at least P7 million in annual savings from electricity. The US affiliates of Mendoza Solar-

(From L to R) Mr. Derick Botha, VP Sales and Marketing of MOTECH, Mr. James Worden, CEO of Solectria Renewable (Solren), Commercial Counselor Maria Roseni “Nini” M. Alvero, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr., Mr. Winston Mendoza, Chairman/CEO of Mendoza Lim Solar LLC., Mr. Warren Seehuus, VP, Global Operations of Lim Solar LLC., Mr. Scott Bowden, Director for Business Development of Solectria Renewable (Solren), Mr. Lawrence Rosenthal, Managing Director of ProESCO Group LLC, and Mr. Henri Du Pont, Chief Technical Officer of ProESCO Group LLC.

Lim Solar include Pro-ESCO Group LLC, Solectria Renewable, Gexpro and Motech, which are market leaders in high technology, particularly in renewable energy. Mendoza established Lim Solar in the Philippines in 2010 to address the peak energy shortage in the country. He has obtained a standby financing of $800 million from National Standard and $ 500 million from ProEsco Group LLC and a consortium of US banks. To complement the solar electric system, Mendoza is also promoting the use of state-of-the-art portable fuel cell electric system that will address base energy needs in the Philippines. A combination of fuel cell and solar

systems, it ensures an uninterrupted 24-hour supply of electricity in even the remotest areas. With Mendoza during his call on Ambassador Cuisia were: Derrick Botha, Vice President for Sales and Marketing of Motech Industries America; Daniel Tarulli, Chief Executive Officer of ProEsco Group LLC; Warren Seehuus, Vice President Global Operations of Lim Solar Philippines and Principal at Seehuus and Associates LLC; Chris Hughes, National Sales Manager for Gexpro; Lawrence Rosenthal, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Sales of ProEsco; Henri V. du Pont, Co-Founder and Managing Director of ProEsco. ■ Philippine Embassy USA / WDC-020-

2013 / 22 March 2013

(From L to R), Mr. James Worden, CEO of Solectria Renewable (Solren), Mr. Derick Botha, VP Sales and Marketing of MOTECH, Commercial Counselor Maria Roseni “Nini” M. Alvero, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr., Mr.Winston Mendoza, Chairman/CEO of Mendoza Lim Solar LLC., Mr. WarrenSeehuus, VP Global Operations of Lim Solar LLC., Mr. Scott Bowden, Director for Business Development of Solectria Renewable (Solren), and Mr. Lawrence Rosenthal, Managing Director of ProESCO Group LLC.

Filipinos, Americans Urged: Come Visit the New Philippines

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Filipino and Americans making plans for the coming summer break are being urged to take a second look at the Philippines and see why it is fast making a name for itself as an international holiday destination. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. made the pitch for the Philippines in his remarks at the launching on 19 March of the 8th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) and the 1st NextGen Tour to the Philippines in July. Ambassador Cuisia said that recent positive developments in the tourism sector in the Philippines are reason enough for Americans to see why it is more fun in the Philippines and for Filipinos to head back and rediscover their roots. “I am pleased to note that the efforts of the Aquino Administration to revitalize the country’s travel and tourism industry have been recognized and acknowledged by the international community,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he expressed optimism that the number of tourist arrivals in the Philippines will exceed 4 million this year.

Ambassador Cuisia cited the 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that listed the Philippines as “the most improved country in the region, ranking 16th regionally and 82nd overall” out of the 140 economies covered by the study. The country jumped 12 spots, up from 94th in the last report in 2011. The Philippines has also reaped a number of accolades from such publications as Conde Nast Traveller, the New York Times, and Travel & Leisure Magazine, which have cited the Philippines as a prime beach holiday destination. He said China’s Oriental Morning Post named the Philippines as “Best Tourist Destination” in its annual World Travel-Special Trips awards while the Shanghai Morning Post identified the Philippines as the “Most Romantic Destination” in the world. Travel & Leisure’s ranked Discovery Shores in Boracay 55th in its list of “Top 100 Hotels in the World” in 2012 and also the eighth “Best Resort” in Asia. “All of this reflects the upward trajectory of Philippine tourism and supports our national development

goal of inclusive growth, as the expansion of our tourism sector creates jobs in the countryside and in the service sector where Filipinos have a distinct competitive advantage,” he said. “We in the Embassy are doing our part through, among other things, promoting the 8th ACGTDT and the 1st NextGen Tour to the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “With that, I hope you will join me this July as a participant in the tours and help us promote these packages to friends and relatives.” The program, which is now on its eighth year, was launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs, through its various posts in the United States and Canada, and the Department of Tourism during the term of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario as ambassador. Philippine Tourism Representative Mitchell Dy said that since its inception in 2005, an estimated 3,000 people have participated in the program that features a four-day tour package that is highlighted by an audience with the President in Malacanang. Dy said this year’s ACGTDT will run

Philippine Tour. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. calls on Filipinos and Americans alike to visit the Philippines and see why it is fast emerging as one of the top tourist destinations during the launching on 19 March 2013 of the 8th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour of the Philippines scheduled in July. Also speaking during the launching were Tourism Representative Mitchell Dy and tour operators Roy and Naomi Estares. (Philippine Embassy Photos by Christine Rubio)

from July 9 to 12. It includes a fournight stay at the Edsa Shangrila in Pasig; daily meals with cultural show and entertainment; wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park; audience with President Aquino followed by lunch at Malacanang Heroes Hall; running city tour of Manila and Makati; visit to Ayala Museum; and a trip to Tagaytay with lunch and fiesta activities. She said extension and post-tours to Ilocos, Davao, Legazpi, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo, Bacolod, Kalibo, Boracay, Puerto Princesa, and Camarines Sur as well as a dive certification package and a Southern Luzon golf tour are available at an additional cost. Running in parallel to the ACGTDT is the NextGen Tour that targets the next generation of US-based FilipinoAmericans, particularly those with little or no exposure to the Philippines. This new program was developed by Roy and Naomi Estaris of The Travel Outlet, who are also Filipino Community leaders in Virginia Beach, as a joint project with the Philippine Embassy and Consulates throughout the US. Estaris said the NextGen Tour

includes a four-night stay at F1 Premier Hotel; daily breakfast; tour of Intramuros with cultural dinner show and gallery tour of Hall One of the Center for International Trade and Expositions and Missions (CITEM); four-day transfer service; and out-oftown lunch with choice of ultralight flying adventure, lahar safari tour with sand spa or snorkeling and island hopping tour. She said Post-Island Tours with overnight Manila accommodation and complimentary one-way domestic airport transfer may be arranged. Also available are the optional JUSTGO Philippines Eco-Tourism Tour in Puerto Princesa or Bohol; the Adventure Tour in Sumilon, Cebu or Apo Island in Dumaguete; the Adventure Tour in Boracay Island. For pricing, reservation and other questions, interested parties may contact for the 8th ACGTDT, telephone number 202-467-9398 or email cultural@philippinesusa.org; and, for the NextGen Tour, telephone numbers 877-700-0669 (toll free), 757-4243311 or email justgotours@justgoph. com and leny@justgoph.com. ■ WDC019-2013 / 21 March 2013

Philippine Tour. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. calls on Filipinos and Americans alike to visit the Philippines and see why it is fast emerging as one of the top tourist destinations during the launching on 19 March 2013 of the 8th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour of the Philippines scheduled in July. Also speaking during the launching were Tourism Representative Mitchell Dy and tour operators Roy and Naomi Estares.


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Philippines sends bid to host 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup

THE Philippine Football Federation has sent a bid to host the region’s top football competition, the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, hoping that the construction of a sports complex housing the world’s largest arena in Bulacan could boost the country’s chances to stage the tournament in 2016. PFF secretary general Ed Gastanes told InterAKTV that the country has already made formal its intention to host the tournament. “PFF submitted a bid to host the Final Round of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016,” Gastanes said. The construction of the Philippine Arena in Bulacan could help the country secure the hosting rights, according to Gastanes. The $213-million venue, owned by Iglesia ni Cristo, is poised to become the world’s largest arena with a 50,000-seating capacity. A football stadium will be built beside the arena, which is expected to accommodate at least 20,000 people. “We hope to see completion in late 2014 of the football and track stadium being built by the Iglesia ni Cristo in Bulacan and hope that

in 2016 PFF will be allowed to make use of the stadium for international competition,” Gastanes said. Aside from the Philippine Arena, the PFF is also looking at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila, the Panaad Football Stadium in Bacolod City and the Cebu City Sports Complex in Cebu as possible venues of the tournament. In 2010, the Azkals made a memorable run in the Suzuki Cup, advancing to the semifinals for the first time in a performance

which forever changed the football landscape in the country. But during that stint, the country lacked a suitable venue to host the Azkals’ home leg in their semifinals match against Indonesia, which ended their Cinderella run in the tournament. The Filipinos finally played their first home match in the tournament at the Rizal Stadium last year, settling for a nil-nil draw against eventual champion Singapore in the semifinals. ■ Interaksyon / March 27, 2013

April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

Chinese Olympic star Zou Shiming draws comparisons to Pacquiao...

Continuation from page 40

global audience and put China on the map as a force in the sport. “It’s always been a dream of mine to become a professional boxer, now that I have this opportunity, I want to see if I can become a world champion, that is the goal that I hope to achieve,” he told AFP in an exclusive interview. Zou has signed with Bob Arum’s Las Vegas-based Top Rank promotions and been training under the celebrated Freddie Roach. Roach has drawn comparisons between Zou and another brilliant Asian, the Filipino Manny Pacquiao. “Freddie has been incredible, he has made the transition from amateur to professional very easy and I love working with him,” Zou said in remarks emailed to AFP. “That is a great compliment,” he said of the comparisons to Pacquiao, “however, I am just starting my professional career and Manny is a world champion many times over. “I hope to one day be on that same stage but I need to improve and work as hard as I can.” Zou, who has been training in the United States in the build-up to his highly anticipated professional debut, explained the reason for his move to turn pro at the relatively late age of 31. “I decided to stay another four

years and compete in the London Olympic Games as an amateur. “Now I am looking forward to becoming a professional fighter.” And what would he reply to people who say he left it too long? “It’s never too late to follow your dreams.” Standing at five feet, five inches (1.65 metres), Zou, who is from Guizhou, southern China, appears to have impressed Roach, who has worked with some of the best in the business. “He picks things up very quickly and I think he’ll be champion in a short time. I told Bob (Arum) that within a year this guy will be the world champion,” Roach said. “I know that’s a fast track, but with his amateur experience, I think that we can go that way.” Zou, who is known for his fast hands and fast footwork, says that he hopes to inspire a generation of Chinese boxers. “Boxing is developing (there) and more and more people are becoming fans of the sport, so that is great to see,” he said. “I hope that more and more people can enjoy the sport of boxing, and if my performance helps to grow the sport, then that makes me happy.” ■ AFP / March 27, 2013

Referees can stop football matches over racist acts, says UEFA El Terible! Erik Morales banned two years SOFIA – UEFA reiterated its significant and successful action after failing US Anti-Doping Agency drug tests zero-tolerance policy on racism on but… such incidents are still

Morales has received a two-year ban as a result of the violation after refusing the chance to challenge the findings in an arbitration process. The 36-year-old pro fighter tested positive for the banned anabolic agent Clenbuterol in outof-competition urine tests October 3 and 10 in Mexico, although it proved to be little help in the ring on fight night. Unbeaten American Garcia knocked out Morales in the fourth round on October 20 in New York to keep the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council lightwelterweight titles. Garcia defends the crowns against Zab Judah next month. Morales, 52-9 with 36 knockouts,

has lost three of his past four fights, including a showdown with Garcia last month in which he failed to make the weight limit and lost a unanimous 12-round decision. Pro boxing does not have a World Anti-Doping Agencyaccredited program, but many boxers and promoters pay USADA to conduct more comprehensive doping tests than those mandated by state boxing commissioners before certain bouts. USADA’s program includes random, no-notice out-ofcompetition tests of blood and urine with all analysis completed before the fight and requires both fighters to agree to abide by USADA’s anti-doping rules. ■ AFP /

March 23, 2013

Thursday, encouraging referees to halt matches if need be and encouraging teams to denounce racism among fellow players and fans. UEFA’s executive committee said it “recommends and fully supports referees to stop matches in cases of racism and calls on national associations and leagues to do the same,” in a resolution drawn up by the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) and ratified Thursday. European football’s governing body also called “on the players and coaches — namely those with most influence on the perpetrators of racist acts — to speak out, even if this may mean criticising their own fans or players.” The document was jointly adopted with the European Clubs Association (ECA) and the world players’ union FIFPro. In January, AC Milan’s Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng caused a sensation when he walked off the pitch during a friendly match against Italian fourth division side Pro Patria after being showered with racist abuse by opposing fans. Several football officials, coaches and players spoke out against racism at games but some criticised Boateng’s move, saying that walking out was not a solution. “Many countries have taken

widespread in our continent,” UEFA said Thursday. It urged national leagues and disciplinary bodies to apply “stricter sanctions in cases of proven racism” to prevent recurrent offences and called on authorities “to play their part” and “arrest, prosecute and ban from stadia for significant periods those responsible for racist acts.” At a press conference, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino noted that since 2009, referees already had several options to deal with racist incidents, from a brief stoppage of play time to suspension of the game with the team responsible for the interruption forced to forfeit. UEFA President Michel Platini meanwhile threatened lifetime bans for anyone involved in match-fixing, a problem that has increasingly affected the sport. “When we have something big and proof of corruption in games, the result will be zero tolerance, meaning the person involved will never play football again,” Platini told journalists after the meeting. “I count on you, on the whole football world to eradicate this scourge. We will show no mercy to the people who infringe the rules of the game — players, referees, officials — it will be zero tolerance,” he added.

UEFA President Michel Platini

UEFA had called in Sofia for greater help from national authorities to fight match-fixing, including setting up prosecution teams dedicated only to sports fraud. “Sports bodies do not have the means or the legal jurisdictions to tackle by themselves a problem, which often involves criminal organisations,” it said in a statement. “‘Sports fraud’ should therefore be recognised as a specific criminal offence in national legislations throughout Europe, as this would help to ensure a consistent, effective and coordinated means to deter match-fixing.” Tackling the problem was “an absolute priority,” it said, presenting a six-point action plan that includes whistle-blowing procedures, clear bans on betting for players, coaches and referees and continued monitoring of competitions to detect fraud. ■ AFP


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April 2013 – No. 7 • UK & Europe Edition

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The son also rises: 2nd-generation player Raphy Reyes makes mark... Gold rush: Four Pinoy fighters win... Continuation from page 40 that following in his dad’s footsteps would be a long journey. “Hindi ako 6-foot-2 like my dad, so I need to work hard to make it to the PBA,” said Raphy, who was measured at 5-foot-9 before last year’s PBA draft. “My dad told me to go to practice early, keep shooting more and do extra workout.” Raphy seems determined to carve out his own identity. Unlike Elmer, who set up his patented finger roll with an elegant sidestep move to the basket, Raphy attacks the basket with ferocity. “Wala akong side-stepping move. Mine is different because nag-re-rely ako sa explosiveness. Maliit kasi ako,” said the younger Reyes. He was selected by Alaska in

the second round because of his impressive showing with the Big Chill in the PBA D-League. But he was reduced to being a third-string point guard, a role that he embraced. “Hindi ko iniisip yung playing time,” Reyes told InterAKTV in an exclusive interview. “Basta ako, ang laging ni-re-remind ng dad ko, always get ready.” On Sunday, with top point guard JVee Casio out with an injury and backup RJ Jazul struggling in his previous start, Reyes got the call to begin the game for Alaska. He scored eight points, while ably quarterbacking the Aces, who committed just 11 turnovers all game in their win over GlobalPort. ■ Interaksyon / March 17, 2013

GlobalPort hopes to turn campaign around against Meralco; Alaska, Petron clash GLOBALPORT tries to salvage what is left of its campaign in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup as it seeks an important win against Meralco in the opener of the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. The Batang Pier and the Bolts clash at 5:15 p.m. with the former hoping to put an end to their sevengame losing streak. In the main tiff, Alaska (7-3) eyes a victory to reclaim the top spot against Petron Blaze (6-3) at 7:30 p.m. “Try and try until is over,” said GlobalPort head coach Junel Baculi whose team is sitting at the cellar with a league-worst 2-8 winloss mark. “Maybe it will take one win to make a run for it. Our target is last

slot in the quarterfinals,” Baculi added. Meralco is currently at the No. 8 spot with 4-5 slate and is coming off back-to-back losses against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and San Mig Coffee. Still, Bolts mentor Ryan Gregorio remains confident about their chances to move up in the team standings. “If we just stayed disciplined in our offensive execution and strengthen our resolve on defense, we can come back of track,” said Gregorio. “Things are heating up and the race to the top is getting tighter. Competitors relish situations like this. We will do our best to fight and give us a legitimate crack at snatching victory,” he added. In the main game, the undermanned Aces collide with the Boosters, hoping to recover from a controversial 84-83 loss to the Coffee Mixers in their last game. Alaska won’t have Sonny Thoss in today’s game due to back problems and will continue to miss the services of JVee Casio because of knee tendinitis. Petron is also trying to bounce back from a painful 93-85 overtime defeat to Talk ‘N Texters where the Boosters were held scoreless in the extra five minutes, which was a league record. ■ Interaksyon / March

Nestle Philippines, and Trame Oil & Environmental Specialist. Against Chinese Liu Xiaoshuai at 60kgs, Palicte crafted a hard-fought 17-13 victory. Liu put up a gallant stand and kept the scores close in the first two round, 5-4 and 10-9, before losing steam in the third. World Junior champion Eumir Felix Marcial then brought the country’s maiden hosting to a resounding climax by bagging the fourth gold, outclassing Mongolia’s Bartzorig Otgonjorgal, 29-12, at 64 kgs, riddling the Mongolian throughout with rapid fire head shots. Only bantamweight Jonas Bacho failed to make it to the gold medal bout, narrowly losing in the quarterfinals. “A great day for Philippine boxing!” gushed Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas. “Words can’t express at how proud I am of the overall effort and resolve put together by our young ABAP boxers in this tournament. Truly magnificent! Great job, guys.” Meanwhile, Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), praised officials of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines for showing “great commitment and zeal in delivering the best in terms of organization and hospitality.”

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Wu, who graced the opening of the tournament, told ABAP chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan: “From the first bout, this championship has proven to be a great success. The men you have chosen to bring the ABAP to the next level have widely proven to be the right ones for the job. Under your patronage, the ABAP has surely the potential to grow even more and bring further luster to your boxing.” (Pangilinan is chairman of TV5, for which InterAksyon.com is the news website. InterAKTV is part of InterAksyon.com.) The AIBA chief also expressed “great expectations from Asia”, telling ABAP president Ricky Vargas: “With you on the lead of your National Federation, I have no doubt that the future of this continent will be even more promising.” Congratulatory messages were also sent to ABAP secretary-general Patrick Gregorio and executive director Ed Picson. ■ Interaksyon / March 16, 2013

Donnie Nietes gets rematch against Mexican foe later this year A rematch with Moises Fuentes of Mexico before the year ends is on tap for Donnie Nietes, who graced the PSA awards night held over the weekend at the Manila Hotel. Nietes said Fuentes, whom he battled to a majority draw two weeks ago in Cebu, is aching to get back at him to prove that he, and not the hometowner, should have

been awarded the decision. Nietes acknowledged that Fuentes was durable but stressed that he landed the more telling blows in their 12-rounder held at the Waterfront Hotel. Nietes said that he will rev up for the Fuentes rematch by seeing action in a fight card in the US sometime in July. Nietes was the recipient of a

major award for pro boxing and he was the only one who showed up to pick up his award. Nonito Donaire is in deep training for an April 13 fight in New York. Same thing with Brian Viloria, who fights on April 6 in Macau. Johnreil Casimero was unable to attend because he was in Panama City for a fight during that time. ■

Interaksyon / March 18, 2013

Azkals edge Turkmenistan to advance to AFC Challenge Cup... only went to the hands of Azkals goalkeeper Roland Mueller. The Azkals almost gave up an easy goal at the 45th minute, as a Turkmenistan player got past defender Rob Gier and Mueller right inside the box. Luckily, defender Carli de Murga was there to flip the ball outside to prevent the neat attack by the visitors and end the halftime with a nil-nil score. Turkmenistan then became aggressive at the start of the second

half, finding at least three shots at the goal which were saved once again by Mueller. But the Azkals quickly recovered moments after. Defender Dennis Cagara led an attack and dished a pass to striker Javier Patiño, who was guarded well by a Turkmenistan defender. The trailing Younghusband then found the ball inside the box and fired a shot to give the Azkals a 1-nil lead at the 67th minute.

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not purposely fake a free throw attempt. F7 – No violation can occur if the ball is not released by the free throw shooter. Exception F1 and F5. But the PBA Commissioner’s Office stood firm on its decision on a double lane violation called by referee Jess Ferrer. ■ Interaksyon /March

The Azkals continued to create chances on the offense, but shots by Younghusband and midfielder Chris Greatwich missed the mark. Younghusband then committed a miscue late in the match as he acquired his second yellow card after grabbing a Turkmenistan player in a play at the 85th minute. Because of that, the striker will be suspended in the Azkals’ first match in the Challenge Cup proper next year. Despite being down to 10 men, the Azkals maintained their poise on the defensive side against Turkmenistan, which missed two chances to score the equalizer late in the match. The victory gave the Azkals a measure of revenge against Turkmenistan, which beat them in the semifinals last year of the Challenge Cup. Advancing to the Challenge Cup proper for the second straight time, the Azkals will aim to surpass their third-place finish in the same tournament last year. ■ Interaksyon /

26, 2013

March 26, 2013

26, 2013

Alaska coach Luigi Trillo accepts commissioner’s decision... Continuation from page 40 F1 – After the ball is placed at the disposal of a free throw shooter, he shall shoot within eight seconds in such a way that the ball either enters the basket or touches the ring before it is touched by a player. The free throw attempts shall be within that part of the free throw circle behind the free throw line. F5 – The free throw shooter shall

the Uzbek with punishing hooks and combinations. Bautista took the first round, 6-3, and put the match away in the second, 13-6. “Ibang saya ang nararamdaman ko kasi dito sa’tin ginawa ang laban,” he added. Bornea, on the other hand, needed all the concentration he could muster to decipher his Japanese opponent. “Buti nakasilip din ako ng pagakakataon noong third round,” said Bornea. The first two rounds went with neither boxer having the edge, 3-3 and 8-8. But Bornea, bronze medalist in last December’s World Youth Championship in Armenia, finally got through with his vaunted right straight, connecting decisively to gain the judges’ nod in the ferocious exchange that marked the third round for the winning margin. Later in afternoon, lightweight James Palicte made it a triple gold finish for Team RP in the tournament backed by the MVP Sports Foundation, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, PLDT, Smart, NLEX, Maynilad, Clarktel, Subictel, Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Videogear Inc., Exile Lights and Sound, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Sports Commission, and supported by Sony Philippines,

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The son also rises: 2nd-generation player Raphy Reyes makes mark at Alaska FOR most of his basketball career, Raphy Reyes has been playing in the shadows of his famous father Elmer, a member of the San Miguel Beermen team that won the PBA Grand Slam in 1989. The elder Reyes, who was also a star for Sarsi and Purefoods, was a silky smooth swingman whose trademark move — the finger roll — is the stuff of legend. For his part, the younger Reyes did not quite possess his father’s physical gifts, so he knew right from the start

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Manny Pacquiao not thinking of boxing during election season, eyes September return

MANNY Pacquiao hardly thinks about boxing these days and the Filipino icon said he will start pondering about his next move after the May elections. “I have been very busy attending to the campaign of my wife (Jinkee) and my brother (Rogelio),” Pacquiao told a group of writers during the 13th Elorde boxing awards late Monday at the Sofitel Hotel. Jinkee is running for vicegovernor of Sarangani, while Rogelio is gunning for a seat in congress in the first district of South Cotabato. Pacquiao himself is eyeing to repeat as Sarangani congressman and he is certain of earning another term since he doesn’t have a challenger. But one thing is for sure, Pacquiao stressed. “I will be fighting in September.” As to who (he is going to fight), where and exactly when remain a mystery since Pacquiao hasn’t talked to Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. Arum wants to begin discussions with Pacquiao next week in Macau but Pacquiao said he couldn’t make it there owing to his hectic schedule. A fifth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez is the most sensible thing to do but Pacquiao said there’s nothing concrete as of this time. “Ito lang ang sigurado. Basta ang kalaban ko ay boxer,” he said, laughing. ■ Interaksyon / March 26, 2013

THE Philippine national men’s football team came through a tough challenge from Turkmenistan to notch a 1-0 victory and win Group E of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup qualifiers Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Star striker Phil Younghusband delivered once again for the Azkals, scoring the winning goal at the 67th minute to lift the Azkals to a slot in the Challenge Cup proper in Maldives next year. The Azkals came out roaring right after the first whistle, as Stephan Schrock intercepted Turkmenistan play which led to a clear shot by Younghusband, whose attempt hit the post at the first minute. The Filipinos continued to dominate the possession until Turkmenistan got its rhythm and threatened in the attack. The visitors had two straight quality shots but

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Alaska coach Luigi Trillo accepts commissioner’s decision, ready to move on from issue

Chinese Olympic star Zou Shiming draws Gold rush: Four Pinoy fighters comparisons to Pacquiao ahead of pro boxing debut win in Asian youth boxing HONG KONG – Two-time Olympic champion Zou Shiming says that he is aiming for the top, ahead of his professional debut next month, as he bids to become China’s first boxer to make it big on the world stage. The nimble Zou, light flyweight gold medallist at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, begins his quest for

Azkals edge Turkmenistan to advance to AFC Challenge Cup proper

world domination in Macau on April 6 against the little-known Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela. Zou, a three-time amateur world champion, is well known in his homeland, where boxing was banned under Mao Zedong. Now he hopes to extend his reputation to a

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SUBIC – The Philippine team struck gold four times in the 24-nation ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships. Flyweight Ian Clark Bautista schooled famed Uzbekistan fighter Mirazizbek Murzahalilov on the sweet science, 19-10, at 52 kilograms, while light flyweight Jade Bornea

solved the riddle that is Japan’s Kosei Tanaka in the third round, 1513, for the country’s first two gold medals in the finals Saturday at the Subic gym. “Tinantiya ko yung mga suntok niya noong first round, e kaya ko pala,” said Bautista, who dominated

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ALASKA coach Luigi Trillo has accepted the decision of PBA commissioner Chito Salud of fining him P40,000 for his comments regarding the officiating in their painful setback against San Mig Coffee recently and for approaching and confronting the game officials during the match. “The matter is closed and I respect the commissioner’s decision and will pay my fine,” wrote Trillo in a text message to InterAKTV. Trillo said he and the team are moving forward to its next big game where they face a tough Petron Blaze Boosters squad Wednesday. The youthful mentor was summoned Monday by Salud, an opportunity which was used by Trillo to present video evidence on their claim that San Mig Coffee players PJ Simon and Mark Barroca “committed disconcerting violation against Calvin Abueva, who was then taking his last free throws.” In the meeting, Trillo also pointed out several articles included in the PBA rule book:

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April 2013 A issue