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February 2013

Volume 4 - Number 3



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Willie Revillame says new show has blessings of Joey de Leon, Sharon Cuneta

A mellow and relaxed Willie Revillame told media on Wednesday that “Wowowillie” has the blessings of Joey de Leon and Sharon Cuneta — two colleagues who might have something to say about his new variety show on TV5, set to debut on Saturday. Joey, of course, is one of the pillars of “Eat Bulaga”, Philippine television’s noontime champ for over three decades, with whom Willie famously feuded in 2007 when he was still hosting “Wowowee” on ABS-CBN. The two have since mended and enriched their friendship, so Joey’s sentiment was one of Willie’s first concerns when TV5 president and CEO Atty. Ray Espinosa first broached the idea of a return to the noontime slot (11:30AM to 2:30PM). “Nasabi ko naman ‘yun kina Atty. Ray. Ayoko kasi na may masabi rin sa akin sina Joey. Yes, there was a time, nabanggit ko nga, hangga’t maaari hindi kami magsasalubong sa same time slot,” Willie told media at a press conference on Wednesday at his nightclub Wil’s Events Place. Willie decided he needed to reach out to Joey. He spoke

to him two weeks ago shortly after “Wil Time Bigtime” — his second TV5 show in the early evening slot — went off the air. “I called him up. Out of respeto. Sabi ko sa kanya, I have to tell you, magkakaroon ako ng noontime show. And you know naman Joey, he’s very gentlemanly in every way. Okay naman sa kanya,” he related. Willie said Joey — who is also a Kapatid because he cohosts TV5’s Sunday noontime variety show “Game ‘N Go” — even quipped that they’re too old for petty rivalries and, who knows, they might even end up together in one show someday. Willie had also been exchanging text messages with Sharon, whose talk show “Sharon: Kasama Mo, Kapatid” was terminated recently, paving the way for “Wowowillie” to take over its venue — TV5’s Delta Theater studio on Quezon Avenue. “Magka-text kami ni Shawie. Wala pa siya ngayon dito, nasa Amerika pa ‘ata pero dapat kasama siya sa almost a hundred stars na guests sa Saturday. Kami, walang sama ng loob sa isa’t isa,” he said. Willie noted that Sharon’s

current negotiations for her own new program are a private matter between her and the TV5 bosses: “Sila ng TV5 ang nag-uusap. Kaya, hindi ko sila puwede panghimasukan.” Ever since he transferred to TV5 in 2010 and hosted “Willing Willie”, he always found the remote location of its studio in Novaliches to be a liability. “Ang mga matatanda o senior citizens nagbi-biyahe pa ng malayo para lang makapanood ng programa. Jeep-jeep, truck-truck nandiyan sila sa gilid ng studio, dun pa sa TV5. Nagpa-park sila sa SM Novaliches. Nakikita namin ang efforts nila,” he shared. Needless to say, he is very excited about planting his roots on fresh ground. Willie said TV5 spent over P100 million and his own production company chipped in P35 million to expand and refurbish the theater. The result, he believes, should give the “Wowowillie” studio audience the illusion of being in a Las Vegas theater. Willie said it was not his but TV5’s idea to return to noontime and go up against “Eat Bulaga” and “It’s Showtime”. “Wala naman sa isip ko ang noontime. Kasi by October

Willie Revillame speaks at the press conference for “Wowowillie’ on Wednesday. Also in photo are three of his co-hosts, Grace Lee, Mariel Rodriguez, and Lovely Abella. (Analy Labor/InterAsyon)

tapos na dapat ang kontrata ko. And now, they are asking me kung gusto ko pa itong ituloy ng three to five years. Saka ko na muna iisipin ‘yun dahil ang focus ko eh, nandito ngayon sa big day namin sa Sabado.” That big day also happens to be his 52nd birthday. As he turns a year older and begins another chapter in his career, he does not feel the pressure of competition this time around. “Kung sasabihin na pressured ako, wala. Sa akin, there is no competition right now. More on nakatutok ako

sa content ng show. Hindi sa numbers game. Kailangan ko munang palakihin ang show, pagandahin at pasayahin ang mga taong manonood nito,” he said. Willie vowed to give away more meaningful prizes to contestants, the kind that would have a lasting impact on their livelihoods. He also revealed his plan to provide houses to his own staff, many of whom placed their fortunes on his hands when they joined him when he left ABS-CBN for TV5. And finally, he expressed his

hope that “Wowowillie” would further boost TV’s ascendant status in the ratings game, if only to make the network bosses, especially TV5 chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, happy. “Siyempre, gusto nating matulungan din ang istasyon. Kasi dito naramdaman ko ‘yung pagmamahal. Imagine, big boss tine-text ka, kinukumusta ka, tinatapik ka sa balikat for a job well done. Very inspiring na amo. At sasabihan ka ni MVP ng ‘Your pain is our pain, your fight is our fight.’” ■ InterAksyon // January 24, 2013



International / Global News

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

Beijing issues warnings as smog continues BEIJING authorities stepped up their health warnings to residents on Wednesday as thick smog blanketed the Chinese capital and large swathes of the country for a third consecutive day. The city’s 20 million people were urged to shut windows, eat a “balanced diet” and drink plenty of water, while the municipal government advised the elderly, young and those with health problems to stay indoors or wear protective masks if they ventured out. The warnings, on Internet news sites and microblogs and in regular bulletins by state broadcaster China Central Television, were issued as emergency measures were announced to counter the pollution. Authorities announced the

closure of 103 factories and ordered 30 percent of official cars off the road on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a campaign for clean air legislation by real estate tycoon and Internet blogger Pan Shiyi -who has 14 million followers on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter -was gathering pace. By Wednesday afternoon more than 43,000 people had voted in favour of new laws to tackle the smog in a survey posted by Pan, the chairman of Soho China, and a member of China’s rubber-stamp parliament. Pan spearheaded a campaign in 2011 to force Beijing to release transparent details on levels of tiny air particles known as PM2.5. Reform-minded investor Xue Manzi, who has 10 million followers

on Weibo, backed his campaign. It was the fourth serious bout of toxic air in recent weeks. The winter of smog has sparked an Internet outcry and repeated calls from state media for action. Public anger continued to grow as the now familiar sight of maskwearing pedestrians venturing out into heavily-polluted streets was broadcast regularly on television. “I have lived in Beijing for four years and I have not seen it this bad before,” said domestic cleaner Jiang Hua, who is originally from the central province of Henan. “It just seems so prolonged.” Pedestrians also vented fury at having to wear protective face masks. “Wearing a face mask is annoying. As soon as I want to take a photo, I

People wearing face masks walk through a park during heavily polluted weather in Beijing on January 30, 2013. Beijing authorities have stepped up their health warnings to residents as thick smog blanketed the Chinese capital and large swathes of the country for a third consecutive day

have to take the mask off because my glasses fog up,” said Liu Lili, a tourist from the southern province of Guangdong. Visibility in central Beijing was reduced to 300 metres, according to CCTV, causing 36 flights to be cancelled.

The broadcaster also showed images of the eastern province of Jiangsu -- some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of the capital -covered in a thick blanket of smog. The US embassy’s air quality index reading for Beijing stood at 301 and “hazardous” at 5:00 pm on Wednesday. The index rates a reading over 150 as “unhealthy” and above 300 as “hazardous”. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre gave the figure as 286 at 4:00 pm, indicating the capital’s air was “heavily polluted”. Both had stood at well over 400 on Tuesday, with the US embassy statistic peaking at 517. China’s pollution problems are blamed on rapid urbanisation and dramatic economic development. ■ AFP

Egypt military chief warns of collapse of state EGYPT’S military chief warned Tuesday the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52. “The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations,” said General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. Sissi, who is also defence minister, warned students at a military academy that the political, economic, social and security problems constitute “a threat to the country’s security and stability,” according to his Facebook page. He also vowed to defend vital infrastructure, including the Suez Canal, as medics reported another three people killed in the violence sweeping Egypt, pushing to at least 52 the death toll from five days of clashes. The army is already deployed in the canal city of Port Said, where the worst of the bloodshed occurred in rioting triggered by death sentences passed on 21 supporters of a local

football club over deadly soccer riots last year. At the weekend, President Mohamed Morsi imposed a monthlong state of emergency and curfews on the worst-hit provinces of Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez. The Islamist-dominated Senate has since ratified a law granting the armed forces arrest powers, but Morsi’s office said Tuesday he could reduce or scrap the measure if security was restored. Thousands of demonstrators defiantly flooded the streets of the three Suez Canal cities on Monday night, chanting slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails. On Tuesday tear gas was fired and stones thrown in limited clashes between police and protesters around Cairo’s Tahrir Square, while sporadic gunfire rang out near Port Said prison, witnesses and security sources said. Analysts warned there was no quick fix and Morsi would have to make concessions to the opposition and protesters demonstrating against deteriorating living conditions.

“This crisis will not pass easily,” said Cairo University professor Mustafa Kamel El-Sayyed. Sayyed said a new element had emerged on the scene: “A group of young anarchists (nicknamed as the Black Bloc) who are ready to engage in violence with the police.” But judicial sources said the prosecutor general had ordered the arrest of members of this shadowy militant group, who present themselves as defenders of protesters opposed to the president and his Islamist supporters. “Inquiries have shown that the Black Bloc is an organised group which carries out terrorist actions,” said the prosecutor’s spokesman Hassan Yassine. The prosecutor also urged “citizens to arrest anyone suspected of membership in this group and hand them over,” he added. Sissi recognised the army had a difficult task and did not want to confront citizens who have the right to protest, but insisted -- ahead of planned opposition rallies on Friday -- that “protests must be peaceful”. Opposition groups and disgruntled Egyptians accuse Morsi,

Bangladesh, India sign extradition and visa deals DHAKA: Bangladesh and India on Monday signed an extradition treaty and struck a deal to relax business visa restrictions between the neighbouring countries. The extradition treaty could pave the way for Bangladesh to put on trial several crime bosses who crossed the border into India but are still running their gangs by telephone, a senior official at Bangladesh’s Home Affairs Ministry told Reuters. It could also help India bring back fugitive separatists who have fled to Bangladesh including Ulfa leader Anup Chetia. “We are particularly grateful as the treaty will deal with Indian insurgent groups,” Indian Home

Minister Sushilkumar Rao Shinde told reporters at a joint press conference. “Both sides committed to act against elements inimical to both countries,” he said. India has long been pressing for Chetia’s deportation. He has been in a Dhaka jail since his arrest in 1997 on charges of entering Bangladesh without valid documents. The travel agreement between India and Bangladesh will allow business visas to be valid for up to five years instead of the current one year. “Such an arrangement will help to boost the trade and business of Bangladesh with India,” said

An Egyptian protester forwards back a tear gas canister fired by riot police during clashes near Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 29, 2013. Egypt’s military chief warned Tuesday the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52

the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists of monopolising power and say the revolution failed to reach its goals of social justice. The violence has gained momentum since Thursday, on the eve of the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak and exploded on Saturday in Port Said after the death sentences were announced. Rioters attacked police stations and the prison where the defendants were being held, sparking weekend clashes that killed 42 people. The political dimension of the conflict hung heavily over Egypt and the crisis looked set to deepen after the National Salvation Front, a coalition of mainly liberal and leftist movements, snubbed an offer from Morsi to hold talks.

The bloc -- which demands a national salvation government and the amendment of the Islamistdrafted constitution before any talks -- urged people to “take to the streets in all Tahrir Squares on Friday to stress the sanctity of the blood of the martyrs and achieve the goals of the revolution”. The unrest highlights a deep split between Morsi’s mainly Islamist allies, and an opposition of leftists, liberals, Christians and Muslims calling for freedoms and the separation of the state from religion. Morsi postponed a visit to Paris scheduled for Wednesday, according to the French presidency. His office said a two-day visit to Berlin due to start Wednesday would be trimmed back to “only a few hours”. ■ AFP

China tests biggest ever military transport plane, the Y-20

Mahbubur Rahman, president of the International Chamber of Commerce of Bangladesh. “If Bangladeshis can travel freely, and the exporters can get their payment freely, then in less than 10 years Bangladesh’s exports can be tripled to that country,” Rahman said. ■

BEIJING (AFP) - China has carried out a test flight of its biggest-ever army transport aeroplane, state media said on Sunday, as the country strengthens its military capabilities. A successful test flight of the Y-20, a long-range heavy transport jet, took place on Saturday in the northwest of the country, the People’s Daily newspaper reported on its website. The plane was developed in China to transport military combat and support vehicles and can carry up to 66 tons, the report said, making it China’s biggest home-grown military transport plane to date.

The Y-20 would be a “huge boost to the intercontinental strategic projection abilities of China’s air force”, the Beijing News cited an army expert as saying. ■ AFP // Jan 27, 2013

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International / Global News

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

China’s looming worker shortage threatens economy

CHINA’S demographic timebomb is ticking much louder with the first fall in its labour pool for decades, analysts say, highlighting the risk that the country grows old before it grows rich. The abundant supply of cheap workers in the world’s most populous nation has created unprecedented cost efficiencies that underpinned its blistering economic expansion over the past 35 years, propelling the global economy forward. But now the inexorable consequences of the one-child policy imposed in the late 1970s are beginning to appear, and threaten to impact its future growth. China’s working-age population, defined as 15-59, fell 3.45 million last year, official data showed earlier this month -- the first decline since 1963, after tens of millions died in a famine caused by the Great Leap Forward. The immediate effect may be small in a nation of 1.35 billion people, but the cumulative effects will accelerate over the coming decades. The number of people aged between 15 and 64 will drop by around 40 million between 2014 and 2030, said Wang Guangzhou, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a government think-tank -- more than Poland’s entire population.

“The population is aging so fast that we are running short of time to deal with it,” said Li Jun, also of CASS, adding the family planning policy had exacerbated the problem. China’s proportion of over-65year-olds is projected to double from seven to 14 percent over only 26 years -- a key demographic measure that took the United States 69 years to complete. “Undoubtedly it will substantially slow down China’s potential growth rate,” Yao Wei, an economist with Societe Generale in Hong Kong, told AFP. An ageing population not only means fewer people available to employ and higher labour costs, but investment -- a key driver of China’s growth -- will be harder to maintain as families spend their savings on health care, she said. Chinese authorities maintain that controlling its population growth has been key to increasing its prosperity. But while China has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy, on a per capita basis it still lags far behind the US and other developed countries. Industrial disputes have become more common in recent years, as workers demand higher pay and better working conditions on the back of growing awareness of their

rights and the shortage of skilled staff. Multinational companies are looking to other developing economies with lower wages for further expansion, with some already moving production bases out of China to rivals such as Indonesia and Vietnam. In a survey of 514 Japanese manufacturers by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation last year, the number of respondents voting China as the top destination for overseas business fell by more than 10 percentage points on 2011. Economists said China must look to speed up the transformation of its economic model and move up the value chain. “The golden period of the manufacturing industry, particularly those depending on exports, has gone,” said Yao. At the same time, she said, the country was woefully underprepared to meet the burden of caring for the elderly. “The fiscal situation is not prepared and the social security network is not complete,” she said. By around 2060, every three Chinese workers will have to support two people above 60, compared with a ratio of five to one now, according to Li’s projections. It is a crucial challenge for the ruling Communist Party, said Ren

An elderly man stands at the entrance to Jinshan park in Beijing on January 30, 2012. China’s demographic timebomb is ticking significantly louder with the first fall in its labour pool for decades, analysts say, highlighting the risk that the country grows old before it grows rich

Xianfang, a Beijing-based analyst with research firm IHS Global Insight. “Delivering growth and delivering social security to the general public are the key things for the state to (maintain) its legitimacy.” Analysts said the medical services are increasingly expensive and hard to access, while the country’s flagship public pension plans are crippled by problems including insolvency risks, difficulties in expanding coverage and mismanagement. A rural areas programme was introduced in 2009 to provide people from the countryside with

their first ever state-subsided retirement scheme, but its payouts are particularly meagre -- in many areas as low as 55 yuan ($9) a month. The husband of Du Wenlan, a farmer from Chongqing, gets 80 yuan a month from the plan. She only buys new clothes once every three years, she said, and tries to save money by diluting their rice porridge. “What can 80 yuan do?” she asked. On the streets of Beijing, Su Xu, 30, who works for a cosmetics company, told AFP: “I panic when I think about my retirement.” ■ AFP


221,000 nurses can’t find jobs

AT least 221,323 registered nurses are either unemployed or underemployed but they could find work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry or as nurses in far-flung communities, Labor Undersecretary Danilo Cruz has said. Cruz, in a recently organized press forum of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, said based on the number of Nursing Board passers from 2001 to 2011, 421,468 passed the licensure exams. Of this number, 132,943 nurses found employment abroad while 67,202 worked locally. “Certainly, we need to address these issues (of overabundance of nurses),” said Cruz. Cruz said the nurses should explore employment opportunities in the BPO industry which offers not the “common headset with microphone” jobs in call centers. He said the unemployed nurses could become medical butlers, care management analysts, customer service associates for medical account, medical transcriptionists, clinical abstractors, medical billers, and medical coders. DOLE noted that healthcare outsourcing jobs have starting pays ranging from P14,000 to P18,000. He said the department, through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, can offer

retooling programs or skills-related courses/training for nurses, who are interested to try these occupations. Aside from the BPO industry, Cruz said nurses can also try applying for the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS) program of the Department of Health. The RN HEALS program is a training-cum-deployment project for unemployed nurses and seeks to address the inadequate nursing workforce in rural and un-served/ underserved communities and health facilities while increasing the nurses’ employability with enhanced clinical and preventive health management competencies. For the fourth batch of RN HEALS, the DOH was able to send 22,500 nurses to 70 DOH hospitals, 1,491 municipalities, and 143 cities, as well as in 13 districts of Metro Manila. The nurses, whether assigned in a hospital or health center, receive a monthly allowance of P8,000 from the national government as well as enrollment in the PhilHealth iGroup Insurance with a premium of P1,200 per person per year and GSIS Group Accident Insurance premium of P500 per person per year covering accidental death/dismemberment (P500,000 per person), medical reimbursement (P50,000), and bereavement assistance (P10,000). ■ Malaya // 27 January 2013

International / Global News

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

After Megamall heist, PNP orders malls, agencies to start arming security guards

FOUR days after a daring armed robbery at SM Megamall, the Philippine National Police said it has moved to require security guards at all malls to carry firearms. A directive to this effect has been issued by the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA). “Today we will be issuing a directive requiring all the security guards in the malls to bear firearms,” said Chief Superintendent Tomas Rentoy III, director of PNP-SOSIA. “Second, guards posted in malls

should undergo a specialized course on mall security.” On Wednesday the PNP-SOSIA met with mall security agencies to craft ways to strengthen security policies and operations in commercial establishments. One of the highlighted points in the meeting was that practically all security guards in malls are currently unarmed. Rentoy said many security agencies refuse to arm their guards insidemalls for fear of scaring off customers. But he said these should actually make mall-goers feel safer. “Ang policy nila ay ipakita na

peaceful sa loob ng malls, but with this incident (at Megamall), na-embolden pa ang perpetrators kasi mga walang baril...siguro naman kung marunong yung mga guards (na magdala) ng firearms and courteous sila, lalong papasok ang mga tao,” Rentoy said. (Their policy is to show that it’s peaceful inside the malls, but this latest incident at Megamall only emboldened the perpetrators (of the robbery last Saturday). Perhaps if the guards were trained in carrying firearms, and if they were courteous, that would encourage more people to go.) ■ Interaksyon // January 30, 2013

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International / Global News

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

France launches air strikes in Mali against Islamist rebels HONG Kong mulls making baby formula protected item Hong Kong is considering designating baby formula a “reserved commodity” to ensure sufficient supply, an official said Wednesday, after mainland Chinese who flocked to buy it sparked shortage fears. Hundreds of mainlanders have been stuffing tins of the baby milk powder into large bags and boxes near train stations at the border in recent days, part of a shopping

spree before Lunar New Year that starts on February 10. While business has been especially brisk recently, the socalled parallel traders have been travelling to border areas of Hong Kong from mainland China for months, sparking complaints about congestion and shortages in stores. The traders travel to Hong Kong by train to stock up on goods ranging from iPhones to cosmetics, taking advantage of lower prices and wider choice in the city and dodging

import tariffs on their return to the mainland. Baby formula is especially popular because of concern about the safety of food processed in mainland China following a series of scandals. The shopping spree has prompted concerns from local mothers and others. Now the government says it is considering a lawmaker’s proposal to make infant milk powder a protected item to control exports and imports. “We are making an internal study

US group visits Taiwan base amid subs speculation TAIPEI - A US congressional group paid a rare visit to a Taiwan naval base Sunday, a military source said, raising speculation about efforts to revive a US deal to provide the island with eight submarines. The delegation, led by Edward Royce who is chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, arrived Saturday as part of a visit to East Asia, according to the de facto US embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan. “While in Taiwan, the delegation will meet with senior leaders to discuss US-Taiwan relations, trade and other significant issues,” it said in a statement. The delegation visited the Tsoying naval base in the south for a briefing and boarded a warship Sunday before meeting Kaohsiung city mayor Chen Chu, the military source told AFP, without providing details. The United States remains the leading arms supplier to Taiwan despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. In April 2001 then-President George W. Bush approved the sale of eight conventional submarines as part of Washington’s most comprehensive arms package for the island since 1992. Since then, however, there has been little progress in filling the order. The United States has not built conventional submarines for more than 40 years and Germany and Spain reportedly declined to offer

their designs for fear of offending China. “The military will voice its desire to obtain the submarines while briefing the US congressional delegation, given Taiwan’s pressing need,” the Liberty Times quoted an unidentified officer as saying. The Taiwanese navy currently has four submarines, but only two of them -- Dutch-built -- could be deployed in the event of war. The other two were built by the United States in the 1940s.


Tensions between Taiwan and China have eased markedly since President Ma Ying-jeou came to power on a platform of strengthening trade links and allowing more Chinese tourists to visit. Ma was re-elected in January. But Taiwan, which has governed itself since 1949, still sees the need to modernize its armed forces because China regards the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. ■ InterAksyon // January 27, 2013

about the proposal,” a government spokeswoman told AFP. Authorities would be able to set the price and restrict sales if the baby formula is listed as a reserved commodity. Rice is the only item listed now. Health Minister Ko Wing-man said new control measures could be announced this week. “If we are to limit this sort of commodity from leaving Hong Kong, we have to set a quota for it,” he told public broadcaster RTHK.

Milk powder suppliers have assured mothers they have boosted supply to meet demand. The government announced last year it would step up border controls and ask Chinese authorities to cancel the travel permits of mainlanders who illegally engage in commercial activities. Although the former British colony was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it maintains a semiautonomous status with its own laws and immigration controls. ■ AFP

S. Korea poised for high-stake rocket launch

SOUTH Korea braced Wednesday for its third bid to launch a satellite into orbit -- a critical moment for the future of the country’s space programme and a high-stakes challenge to national pride. The pressure surrounding the mission has risen considerably after North Korea’s successful launch of a satellite on an indigenously-built carrier in December. Final preparations for Wednesday’s rocket launch were also being made under the North’s threat of an imminent nuclear test, which would quickly deflate any congratulatory bubble arising from a successful mission. After two previous failures in 2009 and 2010, the 140-tonne Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-I) was scheduled to blast off some time after 3:55pm (0655 GMT) from the Naro Space Center on the south coast. “It’s cloudy, but nothing that would stop the launch,” a Korea Aerospace Research Institute official at the centre told AFP. Success would mean a huge boost for South Korea -- a late entrant into the high-cost world of space technology and exploration and desperate to get its commercial launch programme up and running. Despite a very successful satellite construction programme, it faces a long slog to catch up with the other Asian powers with proven launch capability -- China, Japan and India. A final dress rehearsal was carried out on Tuesday, involving launch simulations of both the rocket’s Russian-built first stage and the South Korean-built second stage. Initially scheduled for October 26, the launch has already been twice

postponed for technical reasons. Successful or not, this will be the last launch under the current agreement with Russia which agreed to provide the first stage for a maximum of three rockets. “The pressure is on the South Koreans like never before,” said independent space analyst Morris Jones. “There are several converging factors -- the two previous failures, North Korea’s success and the fact that this is the last chance with this particular rocket model,” Jones said. Seoul’s space ambitions were restricted for many years by its main military ally the United States, which feared that a robust missile or rocket programme would accelerate a regional arms race, especially with North Korea. After joining the Missile Technology Control Regime in 2001, South Korea made Russia its go-to space partner, but the relationship has not been an easy one. In 2009, the rocket achieved orbit but faulty release mechanisms on the second stage prevented proper deployment of the satellite. The second effort in 2010 saw the rocket explode two minutes into its flight, with both Russia and South Korea pointing the finger of blame at each other. “Another failure would prompt a lot of mud-slinging,” said Jones. Whatever the outcome of Wednesday’s launch, South Korea insists it remains committed to developing a totally indigenous threestage, liquid-fuelled rocket capable of carrying a 1.5-tonne payload into orbit by 2021. ■ AFP

YouTube to start charging for access to some content PUBLISHER

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THE world’s most popular video site has confirmed it is considering the introduction of subscriptions for premium content. According to a report that first appeared in AdAge, YouTube could start charging users up to $5 a month to access some of the site’s most popular channels. Initially 25 premium channels would be introduced, as early as this spring, and the site is also considering charging for access to live events and content libraries. When asked by paidcontent if the reports were true, a YouTube spokesperson said: “We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment

models. The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we’re looking at that.” Subscriptions could be key in attracting new channels to YouTube and in providing opportunities, other than through advertising, for content creators to earn money. Korean popstar Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video earned $8 million from advertising, but the video, the most popular in YouTube’s eight-year history, has been viewed 1 billion times. Therefore, it only earned .8 cents per view. ■ AFP



Get Lucky With Marites Allen - 2013 World of Feng Shui

January 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 2 • UK & Europe Edition




Aquino highlights NEDA’s contribution to nation building PHILIPPINES

MANILA, Jan 29 (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III acknowledged the contributions of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in nation building as the agency celebrated Tuesday its 40th anniversary. The Philippine economy is growing, the President said in his message during the celebration held at NEDA’s head office in Pasig City. The chief executive said that while the economy grows, NEDA must strive hard to attain sustainable and broadbased growth for the benefit of the Filipinos. “We have much left to do, and NEDA will become an even more important partner in the years ahead. If we want to be sure that our efforts will yield the best results, our next moves must be calculated,” he said. “We are counting on you. Today, I am asking each one of you to strive for even better performance of your duties,” To sustain this growth, the government must continue its efforts to level the playing field, weed out corruption, and step up the country’s competitiveness in the global market. The government will also continue to invest in human capital through education, health, and social services, he said adding the administration also

President Benigno S. Aquino III shares the stage with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) officials for a group photo souvenir during the NEDA 40th Anniversary Celebration at the NEDA Building in Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City on Tuesday (January 29). NEDA, as mandated by the Philippine Constitution, is the country’s independent economic development and planning agency. (MNS photo)

identified key sectors for growth and have put in place initiatives that will facilitate growth. The President said he’s glad NEDA is truly dedicated to fulfilling its mandate and serving the people not based on political convenience or selfaggrandizement. This is the reason why in 2010, NEDA translated the administration’s commitments in its Social Contract with the Filipino People into specific strategies and programs. NEDA formulated the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, which set the administration’s goals of

achieving inclusive growth, creating employment opportunities, and reducing poverty, as well as the strategies it employs to realize important goals, the President said. The President also thanked former Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, and current Secretary Arsenio Balisacan for their dedication to make the NEDA event better. Also present during Tuesday’s event were Secretary Balisacan, former Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, and employees of the NEDA and its attached agencies. ■ Balita// January 30,

formally notified Beijing it is seeking arbitration before a tribunal operating under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It wants China’s claims to virtually the entire South China Sea declared unlawful. “We just have to wait to see how things will turn out and get our directive from the government,” Pangilinan told reporters. John D. Negroponte, a former US national intelligence director and deputy secretary of state, welcomed the Philippines action. Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “The main message I take from the Philippine government action is that it seeks to resolve this issue by peaceful means and that is very consistent with the line that the United states government has

been advocating all these years,” Negroponte said. He is visiting Manila as Pangilinan’s co-chair in the US-Philippines Society that seeks to raise the Philippines’ profile in the United States and encourage investment. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Tuesday his department summoned Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing and handed her a note saying that the Philippines is seeking international arbitration. Six governments have overlapping claims across the vast South China Sea, with China claiming it has sovereignty over virtually all of it. Chinese paramilitary ships confronted Philippine vessels last year in a monthslong standoff over a shoal that both countries claim. ■


Filipino businessperson sees more delays in gas deal

A Filipino businessperson said Thursday that the Philippines’ elevation of its territorial dispute with China to international arbitration further complicates his company’s already delayed bid to explore for oil and gas at the Reed Bank in the South China Sea. The issue is no longer just commercial or a question of sovereignty but has become a global one, said Manuel Pangilinan. He is head of Philex Petroleum Corp., majority owner of London-based Forum Energy PLC, the contractor for oil and gas exploration off the Philippines’ western Palawan Island. Pangilinan said it was difficult to say when his group can proceed with the exploration since arbitration can last years. The Philippines on Tuesday

Intellasia | Philstar // 26-Jan-2013

FOI bill makes it to floor THE freedom of information shaping of policy. Every citizen (FOI) bill finally reached the plenary Monday, with public information panel chief Rep. Ben Evardone, its main sponsor on the floor, pitching for the measure’s approval in his sponsorship speech. Evardone said the passage of the measure “will change governance as we know it—radically and for the better.” “Open societies are not only more preferable than closed societies or societies living in an Orwellian nightmare. We can just imagine what the FOI would institutionalize. A thousand ideas will bloom. Superior, ennobling thoughts will guide the

would be part of the policy-shaping mainstream. Our society will finally reap the awesome gains from an empowered citizenry,” Evardone said. He said the freer flow of information would also help political debates to be more sophisticated and mature and raise the level of political leadership. On Monday afternoon, labor groups, media practitioners and youth organizations converged on the University of Santo Tomas on España, Manila, and marched to Malacañang to call for the passage of the FOI bill. The bill’s main author, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, said in his sponsorship speech that despite

the very narrow window for the bill to be passed, the House could still push it through on third reading. “If all members of this House sincerely believe in good governance, transparency and accountability, it can be done,” he said, noting that the bill was 20 years in the making. ■ Inquirer news // January 29th, 2013

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

Crew leave US ship stuck in Philippines THE ship ran aground on Thursday while in transit through the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a coral sanctuary in the Sulu Sea, 640 kilometres southwest of Manila. There were no injuries or oil leaks, and Philippine authorities were trying to evaluate damage to the protected coral reef, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The US Navy’s 7th Fleet earlier on Friday said 72 of the crew of the USS Guardian were transferred for safety reasons to a military support vessel and a naval survey ship. The Navy said in a statement hours later all 79 crew members, including the commanding and the executive officers, had left the stricken ship. The statement quoted 7th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Scott Swift as saying other ships “remain on scene and essential Guardian sailors will continue conducting survey operations onboard the ship as needed until she is recovered”. He said several support vessels have arrived at the area and “all steps are being taken to minimise

environmental effects while ensuring the crew’s continued safety”. The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines said according to an initial visual inspection, the 68-metre, 1300-tonne Guardian damaged at least 10 metres of the reef. Aerial photographs provided by the Philippine military showed the ship’s bow sitting atop corals in shallow turquoise waters. The stern was floating in the deep blue waters. The Navy said the cause of the grounding, which took place about 2am on Thursday, was under investigation. ■ Australian News // January

A UK investment bank predicts that the entire Filipino economy could benefit from an MILF peace treaty. Britain’s Standard Chartered Plc. multinational banking and financial services company said in a recent research publication, “The entire Mindanao island group receives a positive economic spillover from the peace deal.” The report said a peace deal this year could add 0.1 of a percentage point to the Filipino economy and 0.3 percentage points each year 2018 once the agreement’s “economic benefits” are realised. “We believe that a complete peace deal will accelerate economic growth in the ARMM over five years and that this will spill over to the larger Mindanao island group,” Standard Chartered, as reported Sunday by The Philippine Star, stated. “A peace deal could narrow regional disparities and place the Mindanao island group on a faster growth trajectory.” The flourishing economy’s faster growth would in turn translate into more jobs, the firm said. Standard Chartered closely monitors events in Asia, as roughly 90 percent of its profits come from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Standard Chartered’s market capitalisation is approximately $52.3 billion, the 13th largest of any company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and the firm has secondary listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India, with its largest shareholder being the government of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. The peace agreement making

Standard Chartered so optimistic was signed in October between Filipino President Benigno Aquino announced and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “This framework agreement paves the way for a final and enduring peace in Mindanao,” Aquino said. MILF vice Chair Ghazali Jaafar said: “We are very happy. We thank the president for this.” The peace agreement between Manila and the MILF, a militant Islamist group in the southern Philippines, provides for implementing increased autonomy in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, which incorporates the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. In a further gesture toward regional sentiment, ARMM is to be renamed “Bangsamoro” after the Moro people. The MILF grew out of the Moro National Liberation Front, an Islamist group formed in the late 1960s following the December 1967 Jabidah massacre of Muslims in Corregidor. Manila then sent send troops into the southern Philippines to control the insurgency. The MILF formally split off from the MNLF in 1984, and has waged a guerrilla campaign against the central government since. The prospect of peace in ARMM after more than four decades of armed struggle has led the Filipino government to predict, based on Standard Chartered estimates, that ARMM’s per capita income could soar and could see annual capita income of $1,231 rise to $3,200 within four years. ■ Intellasia | UPI // 23-

19, 2013

All 79 officers and crew of a US Navy minesweeper stuck on a coral reef in the Philippines have left the ship two days after efforts to free the vessel failed.

Filipino economy to benefit from peace


Philippines’ property boom shows no sign of slowdown “We are seeing a very strong government. The Aquino administration is doing a very admirable job. The strong leadership and a strong cabinet have been reflected on the confidence of the foreign investors. A lot of countries around the world now are getting investment downgrades. In the Philippines, we are seeing investment upgrades so that is very positive. The Philippines is becoming this overnight success that took 20 years.” Property developers are now enjoying brisk sales with vacancy rates falling to its lowest on record. In some cases, preleasing for office spaces are committed for the next two years. The challenge now experts said is how to cope with the unprecedented success. Jose Antonio, founder and chairman of Century

Properties Group, Inc, said: “The challenge is actually not only for us as a company. The challenge for our country is how to sustain this growth. How do we sustain it? It is really to plough back all the income of both the private sector companies and the government into sustainable projects and relevant projects. “For example, it is very important for the government to expand our infrastructure. There is a big need and we know it. (The government needs) to hasten the infrastructure program of the government.” The government has allotted a record budget of over US$9 billion this year to upgrade the country’s roads, ports, bridges and airports. Industry experts believe the aggressive infrastructure spending will further real estate growth in the country. ■ Channelnewsasia// 28 January 2013

Philippines to host WEF in East Asia 2014 Aquino says foreign investors eager to ride on PH’s success

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ISLANDS PACKAGES - 3 OR 4 NIGHTS TO BORACAY - BOHOL CEBU - DAVAO - PALAWAN Philippine President Benigno Aquino attends a session of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss resort of Davos. (AFP)

exchange,” Aquino said, as quoted by Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Doris Dumlao. He recalled how he joined some of the foreign trips made by her late mother, Corazon Aquino, when she became the country’s president after the exile of the strongman Ferdinand Marcos to Hawaii, leaving the Philippine economy in a quagmire. “We went to Japan and we were almost begging for them to put up businesses in the Philippines,” he said. “But these days, there’s a long line of investors for us. They are eager to invest in a wide array of sectors from education and infrastructure to information technology.” ■ Emirates 24/7 // January 28, 2013



bellwether of how the Philippine economy and the business landscape will fare, closed at 6,167.64 on Friday. It has hit new record highs for over 70 times since 2010, when Aquino first assumed office. The Philippine peso, which closed at 41.05:$1 at the end of 2012, was the second-fastest appreciating Asian currency against the United States dollar last year. Professor Klaus Schwab, who founded WEF, has lauded the Philippines for its economic reforms. “If we further help each other, I won’t be surprised if we make it to the Guinness Book of World Records because of the strong performance of our stock


MANILA: The Philippines is now preparing to host the WEF, or World Economic Forum, in East Asia by next year. This according to President Benigno Aquino III, who talked to reporters upon his arrival in Manila on Sunday afternoon from his first attendance at WEF in Davos, Switzerland. “What I can say is that … they [some world leaders] praised our economic progress, and I felt their desire to continue with good governance, owing to what we have done here,” he said in Filipino, as quoted by the major daily Manila Bulletin. Aquino was one of the keynote speakers at the forum’s Partnership Against Corruption Initiative (PACI). The others in the group were the heads of state from Mongolia, Peru, and India, who also brought good news about their growing economies. In Zurich, where he spoke before a crowd of about 500 members of the Filipino-Swiss community on Saturday, Aquino said that foreign investors are now lining up to ride on the country’s economic success. He told them that the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) may hit the 7,000-mark milestone within this year, or will reach 6,500 on February 8, his birthday. The PSEi, seen as a

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MANILA: A property boom in Metro Manila, described as the best in two decades, has pushed construction in the Philippines to its highest growth in at least six quarters. The Philippines is experiencing a property boom like no other with developments covering office buildings, housing projects, hotels and new shopping districts. This is all being fuelled by confidence in the Philippine economy which grew at a notable 7.1 per cent in 2012. With the Philippine economy growing at an impressive pace, experts said there will be no slowdown in the demand for real property market as the country rides on strong macroeconomic fundamentals and investor confidence. CBRE Philippines’ chairman Rick Santos said:




Philippine economy seen to expand 6.5% PHILIPPINES

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ ANN) - “All of us will be impressed,” President Benigno Aquino III said yesterday of the report on the fullyear economic growth rate in 2012, which the government planning agency is set to release Thursday. Still exuberant over renewed investors¿ confidence in the country, the president echoed pronouncements by officials of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) that the growth of the economy will surpass the official target of 5-6 per cent for the past year. Aquino, however, declined to prematurely disclose figures of the fourth quarter and full year growth in 2012. “All of us will be impressed,” Aquino said on the sidelines of the Neda¿s 40th anniversary celebration in Pasig City when asked about fullyear growth prospects for 2012. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan also said economic growth in 2012 was expected to exceed the target range of 5 to 6 per cent. “The first three quarters averaged 6.5 per cent, so exceeding 6 per cent for the whole year is very easy,” Balisacan said, noting that it was “possible” the economy grew by 6.5 per cent in the fourth quarter. The

fourth quarter usually benefits from Christmas spending, Balisacan said. Combined with very little “shocks” and the minimal effect of flooding on agriculture and other sectors, the Philippines is in for a robust fourth quarter performance. The economy grew 6.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, followed by 6 per cent and 7.1 per cent in the second and third quarters, respectively. Impressive. Hitting a growth rate of more than 6 per cent for the full year would be “impressive” considering the target range, the persistent uncertainty in the global community, and the challenges faced by the country¿s neighbours, said Balisacan, who is also the Neda director general. The Philippines, like most of its neighbours in Southeast Asia, has stayed resilient in the face of the European debt crisis and weak growth in key trading partners such as the United States, with strong private and public spending offsetting weaker exports. The economy needs to become more diversified to complement consumption with exports and investment, Balisacan said. “We have a lot of problems in infrastructure from transport to power, ports, airports. We are paying

very strong attention to all these infrastructure issues. This year and next year, there¿s a strong focus on infrastructure development,” he added. Even up to mid-August of last year, there were some doubts that the economy would perform well. “People were saying we can only grow at 4 to 5 per cent. We have to have more confidence in ourselves,” Balisacan said. Spreading opportunities. The Philippines aims to chalk up an average of 7-8 per cent annual growth from 2010 to 2016 in order to curb poverty and spread income growth opportunities to the countryside as part of its thrust for “inclusive growth”. In his speech at the Neda, the president, fresh from his attendance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, continued to rave about resurgent investors¿ confidence in the country that he said was an offshoot of sound economic policies. “The good news we shared with the businessmen and world leaders we met with during the recently concluded World Economic Forum are results of your efforts to align the work of agencies: From our economic growth averaging 6.5 per cent for the first three

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition quarters of 2012, to the fact that the previous year¿s average inflation rate was kept within our targets, to the developments we have made in our three priority sectors, namely, agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure,” he said. Inclusive growth. Citing government data, Aquino said the economy was “growing” and this was proof of the “work we have put in”. “The data also remind us of the need to ensure that this growth is sustainable and broad-based, so that we can sooner achieve our goal of inclusive growth. This is why we are continuing our efforts to level the playing field, to weed out corruption, and to step up our competitiveness in the global market,” he added. In spontaneous remarks after his speech, the president said he held meetings with CEOs in Davos, and recounted how eager they were to expand their business in the country after decades of operation. “There were companies that were over a hundred years in the Philippines; the youngest had logged in 66 years. Modesty aside, they were very eager to expand their business here. And then those who have no business here are scrambling to bring a delegation here to take a look at the opportunities,” he said. Turned upside down Relatedly, Aquino said a large

business delegation called on him with a strong pitch for its products and services, years after he had met them and short of begged them to invest in the country during a visit by his mother, then President Corazon C. Aquino. “Now, they¿re asking us to patronise their products. It¿s as if the world has turned upside down,” he said, drawing applause. Facing reporters later, the president stood by the country¿s economic growth following a survey by the Malaysian credit-watcher RAM Rating Services showing the Philippines as the laggard among the region¿s major economies. “I think the Neda will be answering it on our behalf. It¿s a new organisation to me. (It¿s the) first time I¿ve heard of it. I haven¿t had the occasion to look at it. But I think that even they will agree that our performance vis-a-vis their own economy is very, shall we say, very much in our favour,” he said. Then responding to a survey by the Legatum Institute in which the Philippines ranked 67th among 144 countries in its Prosperity Index, Aquino said: “I¿m sure the one conducting that is also human. Just like in the expression, beauty is in the eye of the beholder....Those data are a little obscure to me. I¿m trying to compare apples to apples.” Asia ■ News Network

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February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

1000 days in captivity

THIS is the story of 31-year old seafarer Gerald Gonzales from Iloilo City. He holds the record for being the longest held Filipino hostage in Somalia. Gerald boarded MV Iceberg 1, a cargo ship, way back in 2009 for a 9-month stint as an oiler (all-around shipmate) with a salary of $350. His contract was to expire on April 12, 2010. But Gerald’s ship was hijacked by Somali pirates on March 29, 2010. Iceberg 1 had a 24-man crew led by a 61-year old Yemeni captain. It was sailing from Yemen to Dubai when pirates aboard speedboats went after the ship, using heavy artillery to force the ship to ground to a halt. According to Gerald, he was sleeping below deck when the fire alarm went off at 8 a.m. He was assigned to the night shift, which meant he only had three hours of sleep when the pirates attacked. Bleary-eyed, Gerald dragged himself out of his bunk bed and proceeded to the engine room where a shipmate told him that pirates were trying to board the ship. At first, Gerald thought of hiding in the engine room till the commotion was over. When gunshots continued, he decided to go up the deck and find out for himself what was going on. The chief engineer who was at the helm of the ship had already abandoned his post upon seeing a gun with a rocket propelled grenade aimed at him. The pirates used a handmade ladder to climb the ship with guns and ammo slung across their shoulders. A 10-year-old pirate. “The pirates were young. One of them was only 10 years old. The child-pirate was apparently being trained by the older boys,” Gerald recalled. They would guard the ship for close to three years, taking turns in shifts of 9-13

people. From time to time, the crew would hear shouting matches as the pirates negotiated ransom with the ship owner. How cruel were the pirates? Very cruel, the lone Filipino crew member said. “They hung our ship captain from one leg to the mast, and left him upside down for hours. They sliced off the ears of our chief engineer. Both were sent to their individual quarters and they stayed there for more than two years without sunlight, without companionship.” During the first three to six months, the crew were physically okay because the ship had enough food and water provisions for everyone. When the cupboards emptied, they had to rely on the generosity of the pirates. Hunger was their constant companion. The pirates fed them twice a day, but irate at having a bullet-riddled, grounded ship, the Somalis decided to reduce this further to once a day. The crew members took to sleeping more and more as their food intake became less and less. The ship’s mess hall was converted into a room where all 22 crew stayed and slept. The captain and chief engineer were kept locked in their individual quarters throughout the hostage crisis. While all these were going on in Somalia, Gerald’s mother, Aurora, flew to Manila from Iloilo City to seek the help of the Blas F. Ople Center. We arranged meetings for her with foreign affairs officials. Our nearest embassy to Somalia was in Kenya. The post was instructed to do what it could to help coordinate Gerald’s release with the international maritime forces. Forgotten. Gerald said the most difficult period of his ordeal was when the crew saw other ships that were hijacked nearby moving away within three months or less. “More than 11 ships,” he counted. Usually

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Gerald Gonzales (seated in front, with cap) poses with other crew members of Iceberg I. COURTESY OF and

Iceberg I. COURTESY OF and

they were set free in three months. Kami nandoon pa rin. Di na ako tumitingin sa kalendaryo. Parang walang tumutulong sa amin. (But we were still there. I stopped looking at the calendar. It seemed nobody was helping us). ” Twice, he thought of escaping. It was his shipmates who cautioned him against it. Even if he managed to leave the ship, they said, the Somali desert awaited him and other gangs would likely just hold him captive or else, kill him. Pirate herbs and music. The Somali pirates brought herbs on board that they would chew. “It’s like a drug,” Gerald recounted. The more they chew, the more they would mellow. Somali music played in the background when they did this. More dangerous were the times when the pirates felt bored or frustrated. “They would take out their guns and just shoot, aiming at the ears of the crew. It’s a blessing that none of us were hurt when the pirates did this.” The pirates were angry and frustrated because Iceberg 1 could no longer sail. It had too many holes and the engine was not working. Anchored a few feet from shore, the pirates were mad because they were not able to use Iceberg 1 to chase after other cargo ships. Also, negotiations with the ship owner was not going anywhere. A Yemeni national decided to jump ship in a bid to escape. The crew was unaware that this happened. They

only saw the pirates dragging in his dead body. No one else followed his example. The weeks turned into months, months into years. Gerald thought that the world has forgotten the officers and crew of Iceberg 1. Finally, the rescue. On Dec. 10, speedboats approached Iceberg 1 with members of the Puntland Maritime Forces. One of the speedboats had a long, makeshift ladder that they planned to use to climb the ship while allies, including a sniper stationed on land and a helicopter hovering above the ship, provided air cover. The ladder broke into pieces when the speedboat managed to come near the ship. From Dec. 10 to Dec. 22, pirates and maritime forces exchanged fire. The crew were in their quarters, lying head down, praying not to be hit by the continuous spray of bullets. “Even at night, we would wake up to the sound and smell of gunfire,” Gerald remembered. A reinforcement team of six pirates tried to board the ship but two of them were shot dead by snipers onboard the helicopter. A deal was offered to the head of the Somali pirates: “leave the hostages behind and we won’t run after you.” The pirates left the ship and were not followed. Still alone. Hours after the rescue, members of the crew were being picked up by their respective governments. “India sent a private plane to bring its nationals home. The others were met by their

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embassy representatives. I was still alone.” Gerald stayed with the Puntland Maritime Forces in their camp for another 48 hours. A United Nations team flew him to Kenya for turnover to the Philippine Embassy. Christmas passed. It took three more days to secure his airplane ticket home. From Kenya, Gerald flew home via Dubai. Jan. 4, 2013, was the date of his arrival. Ryan Calzada of InterWorld manning agency welcomed him at the airport together with a representative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. A connecting flight brought him home to his mother, Aurora. Recently, Gerald visited the Ople Center and shared with me his story. It was a story of courage and faith by a lone Filipino seaman held captive in Somalia from March 2010 to December 2012 (roughly 1000 days). He recalled the moments when he would pray hard not just for himself but for the family that was waiting for him to come home. No compensation? The International Transport Federation which recently opened its office here in Manila, promised to help Gerald with back wages dating back to the time the was hired. Throughout his ordeal, his family never got an allotment. His salary was never given. Gerald’s battle continues, but this time on the labor front. The ship owner, an Emirati national named Yasser Ali, and his manning agency led by Ryan Calzada, must ensure that Gerald receives the compensation owed him, and all insurance benefits due him. Gerald is now resting in Iloilo City. I asked him about his future plans. “I still want to be a seafarer,” he replied. But next time, he said, he would be more careful in choosing the shipping company to work for. ■ Inquirer // January 27th, 2013

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Aquino off to Davos on Wednesday 18


VICE President Jejomar Binay will chair and convene the Cabinet if an emergency occurs while President Aquino is attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland from January 23 to 26, deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said yesterday. The President, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras and Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang, will leave 11 p.m. of January 23 for Davos, Switzerland. Valte said Aquino would continue to run the government and would be in touch with his Cabinet officials in Manila. She said the President would still be issuing directives from Davos.

Valte said Aquino’s memorandum in September 2010 on who is in charge while he is abroad still stands. She said Aquino designated the Vice President as his representative in social functions, in presiding over official ceremonies, and receiving foreign dignitaries while he is out of the country. The same memorandum stated that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. is authorized to sign documents, including those usually signed “under the authority of the President,” and to convene the Cabinet and preside over its meeting if the Vice President is unavailable. Valte said while in Davos, Aquino will attend the informal gathering of world economic leaders and give a keynote speech at the Partnership against Corruption event “where he will share the Philippine experience in battling corruption.”

“former Arroyo loyalists” could be detrimental to the President’s moves to initiate reforms since they would tell the sitting President only what he wanted to hear. Sucking up. Tiangco described the practice as “sipsipolitics,” or sucking up to those in power. “In the end, the President’s reform agenda (would) suffer because of sipsipolitics. That is the price that (would) be exacted by the LP’s decision to open (its) doors to just about anyone willing to wear yellow and flash the ‘L’ sign,” Tiangco said. He added that “pseudo-reformists” could spell the failure of the President’s reforms because nobody would point out the administration’s weaknesses and provide suggestions to improve its programs. Beautiful road. The UNA official took exception to LP ads that have a line saying, “Sa daang matuwid, marami ang gustong sumali. Pero mayroon ding nagpapanggap lamang (Many want to join the straight and narrow path, but some are only pretending to be so). UNA, he said, had never pretended to join the straight and narrow path, but instead had forged its own “beautiful road.”

Armed men rob shop inside SM Megamall

Five men believed to be part of dreaded ‘Martilyo Gang’ MANILA: Five unidentified armed men last night robbed a shop inside one of the world’s supermalls, in Metro Manila’s suburb of Mandaluyong City, and took with them a yet undetermined amount of pieces of jewellery. There were no reports of casualties or injuries, as the group,

armed with pistols and hammers and is believed to be part of the dreaded ‘Martilyo Gang’ (Hammer Gang), opened fire and broke glass casings inside the FMC Jewellery shop on the ground floor of SM Megamall’s Building B. Senior Superintendent Florendo Quibuyen, chief of Mandaluyong City

Canadian man who killed 2 in Philippines court shooting a former B.C. reporter

confrontations between Pope and any of his colleagues. According to reports from the Philippines, Pope shot and killed a lawyer and the man who made the firearms complaint against him, then wounded a prosecutor before he was shot by police. Police in the Philippines said Pope used a .357 revolver in the shooting spree but also had a .45 pistol in his bag. Former Citizen reporter Bernice Trick remembered Pope as a good reporter who was always on top of his beat. Trick worked with Pope in the early 1980s and the pair kept in touch sporadically over the years. She received emails from Pope from the Philippines during the 1990s. “I feel bad, it’s something I would never have expected from him,” she said. In their email correspondence, Pope would often speak proudly of his two children he had with a common-law partner in the Philippines. Trick said he was a bit odd, but not any more so than the other colourful personalities in the business. “He wouldn’t be someone you would fear,” she said. Martin said he and some other former colleagues felt differently. “He seemed like a prime candidate to pull out a gun and shoot us all,” Martin said. “We laughed about it. Maybe we shouldn’t have.” (Prince George Citizen). ■ The Canadian

January 29th, 2013

PRINCE George, B.C. - Former colleagues believe the Canadian man who killed two people in a courtroom in the Philippines before being gunned down by police worked at a northern British Columbia newspaper three decades ago. John Pope was facing charges of illegal possession of firearms when he was shot by police Tuesday in Cebu City. He was described in local reports as being a journalist. A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs was unable to provide any personal details about Pope due to privacy concerns, but a man named John Pope who bears a striking resemblance to the man in photos from the Philippines was a staff reporter for the Prince George Citizen in the late 1970s and early 1980s. According to former newspaper employees, Pope was living in the Philippines for the last 10 to 15 years. The newspaper received a package from John Pope in the fall originating from the Philippines. Former colleagues at the Citizen had recollections of the man some described as a “gun nut.” “It was black or white, right or wrong with him, there was no middle ground,” photographer Brock Gable said. “You were either his friend or you didn’t exist.” Former features editor Doug Martin remembered Pope as a big, physical man who would work out at the boxing club, but he also said Pope had a dark side. “He was a very unhappy guy, a troubled guy,” Martin said. “He was kind of a crazy man.” One night Martin said he got a phone call from Pope, who sounded agitated. “He said, ‘I’ll come to your house, it’s a matter of life or death,’ “ Martin recalled. “That didn’t sound like a good idea to me, I didn’t want him around my house.” Martin agreed to meet with Pope on the street and said the reporter had a wild look in his eyes. “He’s all upset and he said, ‘I’ve got to kill Doug Weller, a photographer,’ “ Martin said. “I managed to talk him out of it.” Martin reported the incident to the managing editor at the time, but he doesn’t recall any actual physical

Police, said in a radio interview that the suspects were still at large, as they escaped with a throng of shoppers who ran toward the exits when they heard gunshots fired in the air. He said that panic ensued at 7.30pm when shoppers heard the gunshots, prompting security guards to close all the entrance doors to the mall, located in the city’s Ortigas business district, while assisting people to leave through the exit doors.

Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos rushed to the mall following some tweets made by shoppers through their smartphones that some armed men were taking some people as hostages. The tweets turned out to be false, however. The mall’s operations went back to normal after a while, when authorities were convinced that businesses and shoppers were no longer in danger. Occupying 21 hectares of land

and with a floor area of about 392,000 square metres, SM Megamall is as large as Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 2. It has two buildings interconnected with a bridge and can accommodate 4 million people at any given time. The mall is owned by the ChineseFilipino taipan Henry Sy, Sr and developed by SM Prime Holdings, the largest mall operator in the Philippines. ■ Emirates 24/7 // January

She said the President is also expected to share what the Philippines has been doing, “given that the Philippine economy has so far been surpassing expectations in light even of the global economic slowdown that is happening in so many other economies.” Aquino is expected to meet with International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde in Davos. He will also fly to Zurich to meet with the Filipino community before returning to Manila on January 26. He is expected to arrive in Manila on January 27. ■ Malaya // 21 January 2013

Beware of ‘sipsipolitics,’ UNA tells Aquino THE United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Monday warned President Aquino against what it described as “pseudo reformists” among his allies who could undermine his reform programs, as it bucked moves to paint UNA as an enemy of the President’s anticorruption agenda. UNA secretary general Tobias Tiangco protested the statement of Liberal Party member Ben Evardone who had accused UNA of straddling two horses by claiming to support the Aquino administration while attacking its programs. UNA’s bets are going head to head with the candidates of the LPled coalition Team Pinoy in the May 13 elections. Tiangco said that if UNA were straddling two horses, then Evardone must be “straddling the carousel” because he had been quick to change political affiliations with every new President. In a press briefing, Tiangco described UNA as a “constructive opposition” that would praise the administration for its commendable acts and criticize its misguided policies. In contrast, the UNA official said, the likes of Evardone and other

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

“With daang maganda, our lives would be beautiful,” Tiangco said. The UNA official also warned against attempts to sow intrigue between the President and UNA’s top man, Vice President Jejomar Binay, as there is no animosity between the two. Meanwhile, UNA senatorial candidate Ernesto Maceda said UNA’s common candidates with Team Pinoy should be dropped from its ranks if they favored the President’s group. Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, and Grace Poe Llamanzares are running under both UNA and the Team Pinoy. “For me, if they speak with the LP and don’t speak with us, then I think we’ll have to, in some form or another, drop our support,” Maceda said in a press briefing. Their choice. He added that the three common candidates could opt to appear on stage at both UNA and LP events, or choose not to join either group during the campaign. A third option is to join only one party during its sorties. The common candidates are welcome to join UNA whenever they are free, Tiangco said. ■ Inquirer //

Press // 01/23/2013

John Pope is shown in a 1979 file photo. Former colleagues believe Pope, the Canadian man who killed two people in a courtroom in the Philippines before being gunned down by police, worked at a northern British Columbia newspaper three decades ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Prince George Citizen-Files

27, 2013




February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

China paper names Philippines ‘most romantic destination’ PHILIPPINES

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said the Philippines had been given the distinction of “Most Romantic Destination” by a Chinese paper. In a statement released Monday, the DFA said the award, based on a consumer survey, was given by the Shanghai Morning Post in a ceremony held at the Shanghai Peninsula Hotel on January 15. The DFA noted that the award was received by Consul General Charles Jose, accompanied by Niel Ballesteros of the Philippine Tourism Office in Shanghai. Other country-winners

include: Australia as “The Best Tour Destination for Discovery;” Switzerland as “The Best Shopping Paradise;” Korea as “The Best Skiing Destination;” and Germany as “The Best Destination for Art Appreciation.” The DFA noted that the Philippines had earlier received one of the “Best Tourist Destination” awards given by the Oriental Morning Post during its annual World Travel – Special Trips Awards. It also said that more Chinese were traveling to the country “especially during this winter season in China and for the upcoming weeklong Chinese New Year holiday in

Documentary indicts Philippines justice A gripping documentary about a wealthy young man sentenced to death for the rape and murder of two sisters has catalysed a movement to expose wrongful convictions in the Philippines. The award-winning Give Up Tomorrow follows Francisco Juan Larranaga as he is transformed from a carefree culinary art student into one of the nation’s most vilified and hated people whose adult life is lost behind bars. The documentary presents a compelling case that corrupt authorities framed Larranaga, then aged 19, and six other young men for the 1997 rape and murder of the two sisters in the central Philippine city of Cebu. “This was a systematic failure of the justice system, and of society,” the producer of the film, Marty Syjuco, who is related by marriage to Larranaga, said following a screening of the movie in the Philippines. “He didn’t stand a chance from day one. There was no presumption of innocence. From the time he was arrested and paraded for the media he was already judged guilty by the public.” The killings of Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong, aged 23 and 21, triggered public outrage across the Catholic nation. With enormous political pressure for authorities to quickly resolve the case, police accused Larranaga, who has dual Filipino and Spanish citizenship, of being the ring-leader of a gang that abducted, raped and killed the Chiongs. However, dozens of witnesses said Larranaga was in Manila, the nation’s capital, 550km away, at the time of the abductions and murders. He always maintained he had never met his co-accused. The documentary shows how the nation’s media accepted the police account as fact and incited hatred against Larranaga, a member of a rich Filipino-Spanish family who had earlier been placed on a police watchlist for minor crimes.

After months of emotionally charged hearings that the UN Human Rights Commission would later describe as an “unfair” trial, the judge presiding over the case found the seven guilty. Larranaga and the others appealed against the conviction. But the country’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court, instead raised their life sentences to death by lethal injection. Throughout the ordeal, Larranaga maintained his innocence, and the documentary filmed over seven years - shows a young man maintaining a sense of dignity while growing up in some of the nation’s most infamous prisons. The film is named after the phrase Larranaga repeats to himself, “give up tomorrow”, whenever he comes close to despair. The Larranaga family filed a complaint with the UN Human Rights Commission, which in 2006 ruled that he had been denied due process and cited multiple incidents of major flaws in the case against him. It called for the government to commute his death sentence and grant him early release on parole. Fair Trials International and the Spanish government also pressured the Philippine government on behalf of Larranaga. After nine years in jail, Larranaga’s first apparent piece of luck occurred later in 2006 when the Philippines abolished the death penalty. In 2009, the Philippines approved Larranaga’s transfer to a Spanish prison at Spain’s request. But, according to the documentary, authorities there would only reduce his sentence and release him on parole if he admitted his guilt. The documentary ends with Larranaga saying he would not admit to something he had never done, even if it meant he had to spend the rest of his life in jail. While the documentary does not seek to solve the case of who murdered the sisters, it shows

February.” It said that several Philippine carriers have also re-launched their flight services from China to the Philippines to cater to the growing demand of Chinese travelers for short-haul beach holidays. It gave as examples Airphil Express, which reactivated its chartered flights from Shanghai to Kalibo on November 30, 2012; and Zest Air which also increased its regular flight frequency from Shanghai to Manila in December 2012. “The regular multiple flight services to Manila continue to run steadily out of Beijing, Shanghai,

Xiamen, Jinjiang and Guangzhou,” it added. Both countries are embroiled in territorial disputes over atolls and reefs in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), believed to be the site of vast oil and gas resources. The disputes among claimant countries have heightened in recent weeks, with a report of China’s plan

This photo from the film ‘Give Up Tomorrow’ shows Francisco Juan Larranaga (R, in handcuffs) and his co-accused, listening to a reading of their verdict at a court in Cebu, central Philippines. —Photo by AFP

that when they went missing their father was about to testify in a case against an alleged drug lord for whom he worked. The father decided not to testify against the alleged drug lord, who the documentary showed as having close relationships with local police. The film has won more than a dozen awards at film festivals around the world, after debuting at New York’s famous Tribeca in 2011. Hitting Philippines screens last year, it has become a must-see cautionary tale on the nation’s justice system, with more than 100 law schools around the country

Francisco Juan Larranaga at the national penitentiary in Manila, while serving his prison term. —Photo by AFP

having signed up to screen it for their students. It also inspired the creation in December of the Innocence Project, a network of law schools and students who offer free legal help to convicts using DNA technology and investigative work to overturn wrongful convictions. “The movie highlighted the defects and imperfections of the justice system,” project spokesman and law professor at the University of the Philippines, Jose Manguera Jose, told AFP. “There are so many wrongful convictions.” The Philippines justice system

to board and seize ships that enter what it claims to be its territory in the disputed sea. China claims nearly the entire sea, while the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan claim parts of the area, believed to be the site of oil and gas deposits. China’s purported plan came days after it issued new passports bearing a map showing China’s ninedash claims in the West Philippine Sea. Both the Philippines and Vietnam have refused to stamp the Chinese e-passports in protest of China’s claims, and have also sought China’s clarification on its new maritime patrol rules. ■ Inquirer // January 21st, 2013

has long been regarded as corrupt, with low-paid judges vulnerable to bribes and intimidation. The current president, Benigno Aquino, has made fighting corruption in all part of society the top priority of his six-year term. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was non-committal when asked whether she thought Larranaga was innocent. “It is difficult to ascertain at this point whether there was a miscarriage of justice,” she said. National police spokesman Generoso Cerbo declined to comment on the alleged corruption in the police force that was raised in the documentary. Larranaga, now aged 35, remains behind bars in Spain. Syjuco said that Spanish justice authorities, after seeing the film, no longer require him to admit his guilt in exchange for early release. He has also been permitted some trips outside of jail for therapy, including one to a film festival to watch the documentary. However, he remains ensnared in legal complexities and his final freedom remains far from certain. ■ // January 25, 2013

Metro Manila jeepney drivers’ deadly fight over girl MANILA: This tragedy that struck on Saturday in Metro Manila’s Pasay City is as old as humankind: love triangle. Police are now hunting for AF, 36, after he allegedly stabbed to death Johnny Villaruel, 44, at the corner of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and in front of Guanzon Motors, in the said city. Police reports said that AF, a jeepney driver and operator, became enraged when he saw Villaruel, also a driver, sleeping inside a passenger jeepney parked near the variety store owned by Jocelyn Balberona. AF slapped the sleeping Villaruel, who ran away when he woke up and saw the former. But AF ran after him and stabbed him to death with a kitchen knife. Initial investigations showed that Balberona, who is now AF’s common-law wife, used to be the live-in partner of Villaruel.

In the Philippines, the term common-law wife is used to describe a woman who has been living with a man for a while without the benefit of marriage. Police said that Villaruel had parked his jeepney near Balberona’s store because he wanted to get some sleep as he got so tired from

plying his route. They added that he was used to doing this during his intermittent rests from driving. Originally made from the left over of the United States military jeeps during World War II, jeepneys are now the most popular means of transportation in the Philippines. ■ Emirates // January 29, 2013



Upsurge in foreign students in Philippines

MANILA: An increase in the number of foreigners studying and applying for student visas in the Philippines has risen by 14 per cent to 47,478 according to the Bureau of Immigration (BI). The figures were based on the amount of student visa application received and processed for 2012. In comparison, there were 41,443 foreigners who applied in 2011. “Our country is fast emerging as a new educational hub in the Asia-Pacific region. More and more foreigners are coming here to study and it demonstrates recognition of the improved quality of our educational system,” Immigrations Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said. David attributed the increase in foreign students to the proficiency of Filipino teachers in the English language. English is the country’s main medium of instruction in tertiary educational institutions. According to lawyer Cris Villalobos, Immigrations student desk head, some 31,000 Special Study Permit (SSP) account for the bulk of the foreign students while 16,478 others were issued with student visas. Most of the SSP holders are based in the provinces. Villalobos said the SSP is issued to a foreigner below 18 years old who will study in the elementary,

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Supreme Court has begun to hear and weigh the arguments on the constitutionality of a controversial law listing punishable activities on the internet. Its implementation was suspended last year amid mounting criticism that, among other things, the law curtails freedom of speech and harks the country back to the almost a decade of repressive martial rule in the 1970s. The oral hearing on the law that was signed in September last year, Republic Act No. 10175, began on 15 January. The second oral hearing was initially scheduled for 22 January, for the government through its Solicitor General to present counter arguments, but at the last minute was moved to 29 January due to the unavailability of the official. The Philippines on the same day announced it would bring a territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea to an international tribunal. At the first session, the high court heard arguments from representatives of the individuals and civil society groups who filed the 15 petitions against the law. The filing of these petitions prompted the court to issue a 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the law’s implementation on 9


February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

Man Kills 2 in Philippine Courtroom Shooting

secondary, and tertiary levels or in special courses of less than one year. The Immigrations had tightened the screening of student visa applicants since March amid reports of a proliferation of fake foreign students in the country. Reports said some illegal immigrants try to gain entry to the country by applying as students. To remedy this concern, schools are required to designate a liaison officer for student visa applicants who shall exclusively represent or assist their foreign enrollees. “Only schools accredited by the Bureau of Immigration, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Federation of Accrediting Agencies are authorised to accept foreign students,” the Immigrations chief said. Amongst others, foreign students in the Philippines are mainly comprised of Koreans and Iranians. ■ Gulfnews // January 19, 2013

MANILA — A fatal shooting in a central Philippine courtroom on Tuesday added impetus to a growing national debate over firearms regulation in a country with an enthusiastic gun culture much like America’s. Calls for tighter controls have been prompted by a series of shootings in the last few weeks, starting with the Jan. 2 death of a 7-year-old girl who was one of about 40 people around the country hit accidentally by celebratory New Year’s gunfire. On Jan. 4, a failed local candidate opened fire on his village neighbors, killing 8 people — including a pregnant woman and child — and wounding 10. Then a gun battle at a police roadblock on Jan. 6 left 13 dead. On Tuesday, a Canadian man, John Pope, opened fire in a courtroom in Cebu, killing a neighbor with whom he had a legal dispute and the neighbor’s lawyer. He also wounded another person before dying of a gunshot wound; officials gave varying accounts about whether Mr. Pope had shot himself or had been hit by police fire. Filipino law allows citizens — but not foreigners — to keep guns at home, subject to registration and background-check requirements, and target shooting is a popular

pastime. The country’s president, Benigno S. Aquino III, enjoys sport shooting. Guns can usually be carried in public with a permit, but a temporary ban has been imposed in the hope of curtailing violence associated with national elections scheduled for May. The country’s gun controls are not well enforced, said Norman Cabrera, secretary-general of the Ang Kapatiran Party, which supports tighter screening for gun permits and longer jail terms for gun crimes. “You can go to any gun store and buy a firearm, and they will do all the paperwork for you,” Mr. Cabrera said. “You come back in a week, and you have your gun, your license — even your psychiatric test is completed for you. All these things can be worked out for you by the gun store.” Mr. Cabrera acknowledged that it would be difficult to pass stricter gun laws in the Philippines, where the police estimate that there are 1.2 million registered firearms and about 500,000 unregistered guns in private hands among a population of about 95 million. “We have many influences from the United States; the gun culture is one of these influences,” Mr. Cabrera said. “Unfortunately, the

Philippines has adopted one of the things that is not good about the United States — its love for guns.” Ernesto Tabujara, who heads a major gun rights group, Peaceful Responsible Owners of Guns, said gun ownership is a necessity in the Philippines,. “We have rampant crime, and the police and military are often involved,” he said. “We are not as passionate about our guns as Americans. We just want to survive.” Nandy Pacheco, the head of Gunless Society, an advocacy group, noted ruefully that mass shootings had been so frequent lately that an episode like the courtroom shooting “is not news any more.” But it was not clear whether the revived debate over guns would yield any government action. “People are talking about it, and legislators are talking about it,” Mr. Cabrera said. “But we don’t know if in a few weeks or months this will die down.” ■ NYTimes // January 22, 2013

October. The law could take effect after 6 February unless the court extends the suspension or makes a decision on the constitutionality of the law or some of its provisions. The Supreme Court agreed to discuss with the petitioners the constitutionality of at least five contentious topics in the law for the time being, according to a Supreme Court advisory. The first item in the list concerns cyber libel and cyber sex, defined respectively as the “defamation by written words committed using a computer system” and the “willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organ or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.” The other issues are: the higher penalty imposed for online violations as compared to their offline equivalents; restricting or blocking access to computer data; the collection of traffic data in real time; and punishing internet users for “aiding or abetting” a cybercrime offence. This moment of legal reflection comes at a time when the use of the internet, particularly social media, is becoming more prevalent in developing countries such as the Philippines and at this time when the United Nations has already upheld the online rights of an

individual through the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet. Furthermore, the debate also touches on the liability of the users of online intermediaries such as social media platforms Facebook and Twitter whose users very often are not the original creators of content but only assisting the dissemination of those online content. Lawyer Harry Roque, one of the counsels who argued against the law at the oral hearing, described the law’s provisions on libel and cybersex as both “overbreadth” and “void for vagueness.” He asked the court whether retweets on Twitter and the likes on Facebook could make social media users liable for libel and on whether libelous remarks of readers who commented on blog posts could make the blog owners liable for libel. Roque’s blog account of the oral hearing is here The debate also highlights the general liability of online intermediaries, a topic which has long been regarded as controversial worldwide. In the United States, for instance, in the 1998 defamation case of Blumenthal v. Drudge and AOL, the court held that AOL, the internet service provider that hosted

and paid for the column of online blogger Matt Drudge, was immune from liability under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Roque said that under the current provisions in the law it is hard to ascertain whether internet service providers, telecommunications and social networking companies could be liable for cybercrime offenses, particularly for libel. “The Philippines has moved from having the least regulated internet to amongst the most draconian.

We have unfortunately opted to join the other oppressive regimes in ASEAN,” Roque told Intellectual Property Watch. In Southeast Asia, according to tentative results of a survey done by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, only Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia have no cybercrime regulations in the 10 member states of ASEAN. ■ Intellectual Property

Philippines Mulls Suspended Cybercrime Law Restricting Communication

Watch // 23 January 2013

Model drugged, raped by boyfriend No charges of heinous crime as she went with him voluntarily MANILA: A 20-year-old man is facing charges of serious illegal detention and serious physical injuries as he forced his girlfriend, a freelance fashion model, to take drugs—and then raped her repeatedly for three weeks in Manila. Reports said authorities apprehended Mark Anthony Soriano after the girl’s mother filed a complaint three days ago when her daughter, who failed to come home for more than a week, contacted her via a cellphone. This first call did not give good results as it was cut off. On January 13, however, the victim was able to use a cellphone again and contacted her cousin, and said that she was being held in a house near the

Central Market along Manila’s main thoroughfare of Recto Avenue. Then authorities were able to capture Mr Soriano in his permanent residence at 940 Quezon Boulevard, in Sampaloc, Manila. Police Officer 1 Edith Chavez, of the Manila Police District Women and Children’s Protection Section, said the victim has bruises all over her body and appears to be suffering from a trauma, as she gets afraid every time someone approaches or touches her. Ms Chavez also said that only charges of illegal detention and physical injuries are levelled against the suspect, inasmuch as the lady went with her boyfriend on her own volition. ■ Emirates24/7 // January 18, 2013

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An Achieving Pinay in Brazil PHILIPPINES

AT the 16th International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) Congress, Dr. Delia Rodriguez-Amaya was among ten speakers chosen to give their advice and perspective on what makes a great leader, on how to succeed, and on how they were able to persevere and become the success they are today. Dr. Rodriguez-Amaya, the IUFoST Scientific Chair, said: “You should be someone who is both productive and pleasurable to work with. Have the humility to go work in a lower position first before going to the top.” Starting at the bottom and working your way with humility and grace has certainly boded well for Dr. Rodriguez-Amaya, a Filipino professor based in Brazil. Rodriguez-Amaya is a member of the Faculty of Food Engineering at the University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. For her achievements in food science and technology, Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III awarded Dr. Rodriguez-Amaya the Pamana ng Pilipino Award, which is given by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas’ (CFO). The award recognizes Filipinos overseas, who exemplify the talent and industry of the Filipino and

have brought the country honor and recognition, through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession. Rodriguez-Amaya became the first Filipino based in Brazil to receive the prestigious award. Aquino conferred the award during rites held on December 2012 at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. A full scholar and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Araneta University, Dr. Rodriguez-Amaya, is one of the most heralded individuals in her profession. After earning her Master’s degree in Food Science from the University of Hawaii, where she was an EastWest Center grantee and recipient of the EWC Professional Award for high scholastic achievement, she went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. She has authored 231 scientific publications, which are all peerreviewed and in international circulation. Many of her articles have made the top ten most read and/or most cited lists of international journals, the DFA said. Dr. Rodriguez-Amaya has also presented more than 240 papers in


Delia Rodriguez-Amaya

25 different countries and lectures worldwide in her field of expertise. She is a member of the Editorial Boards of three international journals and two Brazilian journals. Aside from being a professor, she is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology, and the first woman to be elected president of the Academy. Her other awards include the 2010 East-West Center Distinguished Alumni Award; the University of Campinas “Zeferino Vaz” Recognition Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, three times (1994, 1997, 2003); the Andre Tosello Award (2005), major award of the Brazilian Society of Food Science and Technology; and the PAFT (Philippine Association of Food Technologists) 50th Anniversary Recognition Award. ■ Asianjournal// JANUARY 2013

Champion and ‘Tatay’ to Filipino-Canadians

IT HAS been said that out of the most severe trials come the greatest triumphs. We could either become victims of circumstances, or we can turn those difficulties into stepping stones and emerge as victors. Filipino-Canadian Tomas Avendaño Sr. has undergone severe trials in his life as an immigrant in Canada and has become a champion to his kababayans in their adoptive country, Canada. For all he has done, Tatay Tom (as he is fondly called) has been honored by no less than President Benigno Aquino III last month, as one of the 2012 Presidential Awardees -- an honor given to Filipinos overseas. Avendaño received the Banaag Award -- given to Filipino individuals overseas for their contributions in advancing the cause of overseas Filipino communities or sectors. A member of the Multicultural Advisory Council of British Columbia, Avendaño was honored for championing the cause of newlyarrived migrants in Canada. He has been helping immigrants adjust to their new life in Canada since 1996 through the organization he founded, the Filipino Canadian Support Services Society, now called the Multicultural Helping House Society. Struggles as an immigrant. Born in Capiz, Philippines, Tom was an elected two-term Pasay City councilor before he and his family

immigrated to Canada in 1982. Like many Pinoy immigrants at that time, Tom did not find it easy to build a good life in Canada. Finding a job was hard; companies were constantly looking for someone with local experience. Tom was often “not qualified” or “over qualified.” To survive, the former councilor worked at McDonald’s for ten years, starting as a janitor, who mopped floors. That decade prepared Tom for great work ahead. He said that “work builds character. Any work is honorable if it is accomplished with one’s best abilities and capabilities.” When life became better, Tom opened a restaurant in Surrey. He and his wife then became active in the community. They helped in fundraising events and organized traditional Filipino religious festivals like Todos Los Santos, Flores de Mayo and the Santo Niño celebration in their parish. Helping kababayans integrate. Then, in the mid-1990s, Tom started to do something about a long-held desire in his heart -- to help new Pinoyimmigrants adjust to their new home in Canada. Believing that “someone just has to do it”, Tom founded the Filipino Canadian Support Services Society (FCSSS) in 1996, with the help of several other community leaders. Tom recalled that he has been a victim in Canada when he first

Tomas Avendaño Sr.

immigrated, having no idea about the laws, rules, and policies of his new home. Since nobody helped him, Tatay Tom decided he will help others. He opened a home in 1996 for FCSSS and a drop-in center in Vancouver that served the Filipino community. Since their work began to expand to serve all cultural communities, the FCSSS was renamed the Multicultural Helping House Society in 2001. Various government and community organizations helped MHHS raise money for a onestop center. The three levels of government – federal, provincial and the City of Vancouver –helped fund the expansion of the main center which is now a four-storey building. MHHS programs include the Caregivers / Temporary Foreign Workers Program,Youth Program, Seniors Program, Host Mentoring Program, Fast Track to Employment for Skilled Immigrants, Skills

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

102-year-old Filipino man becomes US citizen LOS ANGELES — A 102-year-old Filipino man who came to the US as a youth in 1928 to pick vegetables became a citizen during a touching naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles. “I’m happy,” Philippines-born Joaquin Arciago Guzman said in his native Tagalog after Wednesday’s ceremony, where about 7,300 joined him in taking the citizenship oath. Only 27 people older than 100 have become citizens in the past 50 years, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. “It’s extremely rare to see anyone over 100,” said Nancy Alby, the agency’s field office director for Los Angeles

County. “We get a handful in their 90s and 80s. It’s more common to see people in their 70s.”The oldest person ever to become a citizen was Manik Bokchalian. She was 117 when she took the oath in 1997. ■


Filipinos in Switzerland raise P391k for typhoon Pablo victims After speaking at the 43rd World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, President Aquino met with the Filipino communities in Switzerland and Lichtenstein, which pooled funds to help Filipinos victimized by typhoon Pablo ZURICH—The Filipino expat community here gave President Aquino not just a warm welcome amid wintry weather. They pooled funds to help Filipinos victimized by typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha) back home. An initial check worth 8,650 Swiss francs was turned over to Aquino during his meeting with the Filipino communities here. The donation, however, was increased to 9,050 Swiss francs (about P391,000). The President, who spoke before a crowd of about 500 Filipino-Swiss audience, lauded the members of various communities for pooling

funds to donate to the victims of typhoon Pablo that ravaged Visayas and Mindanao last December. “Lampas po doon sa halaga ng ipinagkaloob niyo sa ating mga kapatid na nabiktima ng Pablo, talaga naman pong napapadama niyo sa kanila na hindi sila nagiisa. (More than the money you contributed, you’ve made them feel that they are not alone in this),” he said. The President said that this donation would be a great present or “pasalubong” that he would bring home to the Philippines after being away for five days for this trip. After attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, President Aquino met with the Filipino communities here in Switzerland and Lichtenstein before flying back home Saturday afternoon (Saturday evening in Manila). ■

Connect for Construction and Settlement Services. Filipinos can stay at the MHHS facility for 10 days for free, getting services ranging from Respite Housing for newly-arrived immigrants and workers, to Counseling and Training services. Support services include settlement and employment assistance, as well as programs for the youth, the seniors and families. Father to Filipinos in Canada. For all his hard work, Tatay Tom has become well-known as a father to the Filipinos in Canada. He has a long list of awards to his name -- given to him by the government, business groups and civic organizations -- in recognition of his undertakings and achievements. One of the most prestigious is the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal conferred to Tom in the capital city of Ottawa on February 2012 by The Right Honorable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and in representation of the Queen. Tom was the sole Filipino-

Canadian among 60 medal recipients recognized for their significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community in Canada. He was recognized for “his commitment to helping new immigrants on Canada’s West Coast to integrate into Canadian society.” “The recipients who are honored by this medal have made Canada better,” Governor General Johnston stated. “Individually, they have improved the well-being of many in our communities, and together, they have helped to create a smarter, more caring nation. They represent a mosaic of individual experiences and accomplishments. Like Her Majesty, they inspire others to take up the call to service.” When he was mopping floors in McDonalds, Tatay Tom could have chosen to just give up and become bitter about life’s adversities. Instead, his trials became learning experiences and gave him the motivation to serve hiskababayans and countless others. ■ Asianjournal// JANUARY 2013


Dark prediction came true 26



Romance with older man ended in tragedy for 23-year-old CATHERINE Gastador predicted her secret romance with an older man would end in violence. And that’s exactly what happened when the 23-year-old woman was found strangled and stabbed to death inside her Wolseley apartment. Court documents obtained by the Free Press paint a troubling picture of the rocky relationship between Gastador and Mario Valdez, the 39-year-old brother of her adoptive mother who has now admitted to killing her in 2010. Valdez pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday and was given a 13-year sentence under a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers. He claims he killed Gastador after she refused his demands for sex following a night of drinking. Valdez pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of obstruction of justice and was given three years, in addition to 10 years for manslaughter. “The facts here are extremely disturbing,” said Queen’s Bench Justice Deborah McCawley. The Crown dropped a more serious charge of second-degree murder, citing the “circumstantial” case they had against Valdez and his extreme intoxication at the time of the slaying as factors. Valdez had been dating Gastador for several years without the knowledge of other family members, court was told. In 2007, Gastador obtained a restraining order against Valdez. She cited a series of violent incidents that left her fearing for her safety in a case that was eventually

red-flagged by justice officials and referred to a provincial victim’s services agency for investigation. “I am concerned that he is able to use anything around him as a weapon. Especially if he had been drinking,” Gastador wrote in her affidavit to a provincial magistrate. “I truly fear him. He is very violent, he has no respect for any of the family members... and he does not fear anyone. He has emotionally and physically hurt me and I want it to stop.” Gastador filed another affidavit months later in which she seemed to recant her earlier statements. “It was a mistake. I was also a bit intoxicated and I’ve recently learned that I too become a bit violent when I’ve had a few to drink. I believe that he was just holding me down from making violent moves towards him,” she wrote. “I feel awful and greedy to be fully blaming him for what was my fault also. He is my favourite uncle. He is a very giving and generous family member. I do not feel a threat coming from him anymore because now I understand that it is ME that needs to control my alcohol consumption. I need to learn to only drink what I can handle.” On the night of the killing, Valdez had been out drinking when he sent Gastador a series of sexually-explicit texts. She refused his demands, ending her final note to him by calling him a “loser.” Valdez then went to her apartment -- he lived in the same building two floors down -- and killed Gastador before launching a detailed plan

Catherine Gastador

to cover up his involvement, court was told. Valdez sent further text messages to Gastador after she was dead, telling her he was at his other residence across the city. Police ultimately broke the case open by tracing Valdez’s movements through cell-tower information. Valdez got his 14-year-old son and a nephew to lie to police about his whereabouts, then had them moved to Vancouver so they wouldn’t appear in court to testify against him at his preliminary hearing. Gastador was studying to advance her career in law and began working at Fillmore Riley in early 2010 as a legal assistant. “I’m thinking she got brainwashed,” Ed Gastador told the Free Press of his daughter’s relationship with Valdez. They adopted Gastador as a baby in the Philippines and brought her to Canada at the age of eight. ■ Winnipeg Free Press // 01/22/2013

U.S. Congressional Leader Ed Royce to Visit PH on First Foreign Trip as Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman CHAIRMAN of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Congressman Ed Royce will lead a U.S. Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to the Philippines on 2830 January 2013. Chairman Royce will meet with President Benigno S. Aquino III, Speaker of the House Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario, and other Philippine officials. He will also meet with the business community. High on the agenda are discussions on PH-US relations, defense and trade and investment cooperation, as well as regional security issues. “We welcome the visit of Chairman Royce and the congressional delegation to the Philippines. Chairman Royce is committed to a strong alliance between the Philippines and the US, and he has been a great friend of the Filipino community in the U.S.,” DFA Secretary del Rosario stated. Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. will join Philippine officials at meetings with the US CODEL. Ambassador Cuisia

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario (left) discusses strengthening PHL-US relations with US House Committee Chairman on Foreign Relations Representative Ed Royce. (Photo by By Embassy of the Philippines, Washington, DC)

said “the inclusion by Congressman Royce of the Philippines in his first foreign trip as Chair of the House Committee reflects the value he accords to US friendship with the Philippines.” He added, “the Filipino people should welcome Congressman Royce and appreciate

his affection for the Philippines.” Congressman Royce, a Republican representing the 39th District of California and newly selected Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the 113th US Congress, has been one of the strongest supporters in the

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

Job in New Zealand ‘like winning Lotto’ “We find by interviewing personally, when they do arrive they know us. We find that better than just putting these people on a plane and when they arrive they don’t know anyone,” Cooper said. His wife managed the accommodation, financial and social needs. Hirings were not limited to the Philippines, but Cooper appreciated the loyalty and work ethic Filipino workers had offered in the past. Kiwi labour was preferred but he was not prepared to “wait 20 years for Christchurch to be rebuilt”. “There’s the argument of, ‘Why aren’t you using local builders?’ Well, fine, you get us 20 local builders tomorrow and I’ll employ them. As long as they’re employable, no problem at all,” he said. “I would love to take some of these critics to the Philippines and some of these countries to see how these people live and the huge sacrifice these guys make. They send so much money back to support their families.” Builtech had continually advertised for staff for the past two years. “Lately, it’s been dismal; just less and less,” Cooper said. ■ The Press.

ONE hundred nametag-wearing hopefuls are in a room, all chasing a shot at a new life. It is not an X-Factor New Zealand audition but an overseas recruitment drive by Christchurch construction firm Buildtech. Directors Phil and Bev Cooper will today embark on their second week-long mission to the Philippines to boost the company’s international work force. About 20 workers will be employed, some by other firms that have asked for the Coopers’ expertise in the Southeast Asian nation, which has an export worker market of about 7 million people. Phil Cooper likened the process to a reality television talent show audition. “They’re all in this room, with their names on them, and me and my wife interview each one,” he said. “It’s like them winning Lotto. There are tears and people crying. It blows me out of the water every time; their appreciation at actually having the ability to come and work in our country.” The criteria were strict and background checks thorough. Most candidates needed previous experience working abroad. The interview process was two-stage, including the Coopers’ personal vetting.

A seventh worker from the Philippines has been confirmed killed in last week’s siege by Islamist militants of a remote natural gas plant in Algeria, the foreign department in Manila said Thursday. The remains were identified by his British employers, foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez told a news conference. Manila on Monday said six Filipinos were killed and 12 survived the 72-hour hostage drama in the north African desert. “Most of them died of gunshot wounds and the effects of

explosions,” Hernandez said, without naming the Filipino fatalities. Two other Filipinos remain missing while four more are in an Algerian hospital recovering from injuries sustained either during the raid or their subsequent rescue by Algerian security forces, Hernandez said. Algeria has said 37 foreigners of eight different nationalities and an Algerian were killed in the four-day siege, which ended on Saturday in a rescue operation by security forces who captured three of the assailants. ■ AFP // Thursday 24 Jan 2013

Seven from Philippines dead in Algeria carnage

Secretary del Rosario (left), Representative Royce (center), and Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. (right) meet on Capitol Hill. (By Embassy of the Philippines, Washington, DC)

US Congress of closer PhilippinesUS relations particularly with regard to security and economic cooperation. He is also supportive of

President Aquino’s efforts in fighting corruption, strengthening the rule of law, and promoting human rights. In his meeting with Secretary del Rosario and Ambassador Cuisia on Capitol Hill last 17 January 2013, Chairman Royce reiterated his support for the Philippines’ rules-based approach to the West Philippine Sea issue and the peaceful resolution of disputes within the framework of international law. The US CODEL also includes Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-New York), Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-New York), Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), Congressman Matthew James “Matt” Salmon (R-Arizona), and Congressman Thomas Anthony “Tom” Marino (R-Pennsylvania). This will be Chairman Royce’s first visit to the Philippines. ■ Balita//January 30, 2013




Noontime TV landscape: The battle heats up PHILIPPINES

WILLIE Revillame’s return to the noontime slot via “Wowowillie,” has changed the noontime TV landscape. For the first time, all three major networks—ABS-CBN, GMA 7, and TV5—are offering a variety show in the same time slot. ‘Wowowillie’ not-so- new kid on the block. Revillame previously challenged “Eat Bulaga!” with two ABS-CBN shows—“Magandang Tanghali Bayan” (1998 to 2005) and “Wowowee” (2005 to 2010). He started in the biz as a mainstay on GMA 7’s “Lunch Date” in 1987. Revillame gathered the same team from his TV5 prime-time show “Wil Time Big Time” for this latest entrant in the noontime derby. It is envisioned to be TV5’s new flagship program. Theme song: “Wowowillie,” by Lito Camo. Also, Revillame will regularly sing the new “Sige, Sumayaw,” by Christian Martinez, who wrote “Kendeng-Kendeng” for “Wil Time.” Debut and time slot: “Wowowillie” debuted on Jan. 26. It airs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Main host: Revillame says he spent time away from the noontime grind watching “Eat Bulaga!” and “Showtime” because he “didn’t want to end up copying them.” Cohosts: “Wil Time” cohosts Mariel Rodriguez, Camille Villar and Grace Lee joined the new show, plus four new ones—Ethel Booba, Arci Muñoz, Lovely Abella and Ava Jugueta. Revillame prefers an all-female team because, he says, “Behind the success of every man is a woman. This combination works for us.” He jests that he invited Villar on board because her parents, Sen. Manny Villar and senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar, gives away houses and lots as prizes. Games and prizes: “CashSalo”—Contestants catch flying peso bills inside a wind-filled tube. “ATN: Ayos the Numbers”— Contestants attempt to withdraw money from an ATM by guessing a PIN code. “Putukan Na”—Entire families pop balloons in a race. “Willie of Fortune”: Contestants vie for the lone slot in the grand prize section, “Pera S’ Wil.” At stake is a car, a house and a lot, or P1 in cash. Set: The new set cost P35 million, Revillame claims: “For research, I flew my staff on my private plane to Las Vegas, to watch Cirque du Soleil. I wanted a set as high tech as that of ‘American Idol.’ He says TV5 may have spent P100 million for improvements on the 1,100-seat Delta Theater in Quezon City—new lights, cameras and equipment, plus refurbished dressing rooms. Reality portion: “Willie of

Fortune” is still “the heart of the show,” Revillame says. Contestants are asked to recount their sob stories. Remote segment: As of now, the show has none. But Jay Montelibano, business unit head, says there are plans for one, with Ethel, Ava and Lovely. Sexy dancers:. In its premiere episode, the show had 300 dancers in the opening number. The regular troupe is called “Wowowillie Dancers.” Choreographer Anna Feliciano remains on board.

‘Eat Bulaga!’ longest-running at 33 years. The show is the longestrunning noontime variety show in the country. It marked its 33rd year on Aug. 18, 2012. It is the first show of its kind to be franchised in another country. It premiered on Indonesia’s SCTV network late last year. Directed by Bert de Leon, Poochie Rivera and Mark A. Reyes V, “EB” is produced by Television And Production Exponents Inc. The title was coined by one of its hosts, Joey de Leon. It loosely translates to “lunchtime surprise.” Theme song: Introduced in 1982 and begins with the now-famous phrase, “Mula Batanes hanggang Jolo.” It was cowritten by Vincent Dy Buncio and Pancho Oppus, with melody by Vic Sotto and musical arrangement by Homer Flores. Debut and time slot: It premiered July 30, 1979, on RPN 9, which aired the show for 10 years. On Jan. 28, 1989, it moved to ABS-CBN, then to its present home, GMA 7, on Jan. 28, 1995. Now it airs Mondays to Fridays, 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.; Saturdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Main hosts: Sen. Tito Sotto and his brother Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon.

Cohosts: Jimmy Santos, Ruby Rodriguez, Allan K, Toni Rose Gayda, Jose Manalo, Anjo Yllana, Wally Bayola, Paolo Ballesteros, Keempee de Leon, Michael V, Pia Guanio, Julia Clarete, Pauleen Luna, Ryan Agoncillo, Sam YG, Isabelle Daza, and Ryzza Mae Dizon. Games and prizes: “Hakot All You Can”—Led by child star Ryzza Mae Dizon, who picks four contestants who each gets P1,000 and a gift pack and are then asked to complete a “challenge.” The winner gets to gather as many “lucky coins” as he/she can in one minute. Cash prize depends on the weight of the coins collected. “PNV: Pambato ng Videoke”— Contestants are from those who registered for the “Juan for All, All for Juan” segment the previous day. They are asked to sing a song. Five judges, all cohosts, select the winner. The contestant with the highest point wins P15,000. “Pinoy Henyo”—Three teams of two players each get to play. Each team should guess a preselected word within two minutes. The winning team gets to sit on the “Henyo seat” for the jackpot round. The two take turns at guessing at least three words for three minutes. Take-home prize depends on the number of words guessed correctly—P10,000 for every word guessed, P50,000 jackpot for all three words. On Saturdays, “Pinoy Henyo High” is played by high-school students for a pot of P100,000. “Juan for All, All for Juan: Bayanihan of d’ Pipol”—Currently the show’s most popular segment. It takes comedians Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros to different barangays (villages) around Metro Manila, where they give away food, appliances and cash. Every day, the trio visits a household that Vic Sotto picks from a list. The household gets a “Bossing Savings” account, courtesy of BPI and Globe’s BanKo micro savings bank, plus anywhere from P25,000 to P40,000 in cash. The three hosts, along with a “Sugod-Bahay Gang,” then lay out numbers on the street. Contestants are asked to bring certain items, then choose a number. From the studio, Vic picks the winning number. The contestant who has picked the same number gets P10,000 and gift packs. “Barangay Bayanihan”—The

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition cleanest and best-organized barangay is declared “Barangay Bayanihan” and gets a special prize, e.g. fire trucks or rubber boats, depending on its needs. Set: The show airs live from the Broadway Centrum in Quezon City. It occupies the 500-seat eastside theater, one of two in the complex. The show uses a multiple-camera setup. Two large LED screens that displays computer graphics serve as backdrop. Reality portion: Contestants of the “Juan for All” segment occasionally share sad experiences during interviews with Jose, Wally and Paulo. Remote segments: For its “Juan for All” and “PNV” segments, the show goes around Metro Manila and nearby provinces. “EB” began airing in Indonesia on July 16, 2012. It is expected to run until October 2013. The team has held concerts abroad, such as in San Francisco, California and London. Sexy dancers: In 2006, the SexBomb Girls popularized the “Spaghetti” dance but drew flak from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board for their scant costumes. Now, the featured talents are EB Babes, Boom Boom Pow Boys and Mr. Pogi Hunks, who are dressed more appropriately.

‘It’s Showtime!’ used to be a morning show. “Showtime” was originally a late-morning competition for dance groups and other performing acts. After two years and three months, it was reformatted into a noontime variety show and renamed “It’s Showtime!” It retained its competition segment and added new games and portions. Theme Song: “Showtime” was composed by DJ MOD and Bobet Vidanes, and is performed by the show hosts. Debut and time slot:. It debuted on Oct. 24, 2009, as “Showtime,” and as “It’s Showtime!” on Feb. 6, 2012. It airs Mondays to Fridays, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; Saturdays, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Hosts: Vice Ganda, Anne Curtis, Vhong Navarro, Billy Crawford, Karylle, Kim Atienza, Jugs Jugueta, Teddy Corpuz, Ryan Bang, Coleen Garcia and Eric Tai. Games and prizes: “Baliw-Anne Presents: Sine Mo ‘To-Everyday”—

The hosts select studio audience members to join them in a comedy skit. The cash prize is determined by the contestant’s performance (usually P20,000). “Bida Kapamilya”—A competition portion on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Two families face off in a talent showdown. The highest pointer advances to the Friday weekly round. This proceeds to monthly rounds, and onto the grand finals, where the ultimate prize is P1 million. A celebrity edition was recently added. “Sample Mo, Premyo Mo”—The studio audience rates the families’ performances. Lucky audience members are asked to justify the score they gave, and are then asked to give a “sample” of their own talents. The cash prize they get depends on their performance (usually P5,000). “It’s Call Time”—Home contestants race to call five phones with corresponding numbers. The hosts then turn a roulette to determine what phone to pick up. The chosen contestant proceeds to a guessing game, where he or she gets a chance to win up to P10,000. “Arte Mo!”—A multiple-choice quiz mostly about pop culture. Possible answers to each question are acted out by the hosts. The last contestant standing proceeds to the jackpot round where he/she can win up to P1 million. “Kalokalike”—A new talent tilt for celebrity impersonators. Winner can take home as much as P20,000. “Makina Matibay”—This one pits a group of contestants with a machine in completing tasks such as coconut scraping, ice shaving, etc. Cash prizes are up to P5,000. Set: Studio 3 at ABS-CBN with blue, purple and pink lights dominating the flashy, modish set. A jumbo screen displaying graphics and videos serves as backdrop. There’s an elevated portion for the judges. Reality portion: “Bida Kapamilya” contestants occasionally relate sob stories, but nothing excessive. Conversations between the families and hosts don’t go overboard with drama, and usually end with jokes and laughter. Remote segments: For Christmas week last year, “It’s Call Time” was held in wet markets and was called “It’s Palengke Time.” In “Bida Kapamilya,” designated hosts visit participating families’ homes to interview them and give gift packages. The house visits are pretaped and shown before the families’ studio performances. Sexy dancers: None, but there are regular dancers, an all-girl group simply called Showtime Dancers, and XB Gensan, an all-male group. Costumes vary according to the theme of their numbers. ■ Inquirer // February 2, 2013

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




February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

TV5’s Blast Off for 2013 RESORTS World Manila, Pasay City — TV5 welcomes the New Year with its biggest show of force as the Kapatid Network launches its biggest offerings for the first quarter of 2013. In a high-velocity themed TV special entitled “Go5!,” the Network’s contract stars and executives, led by Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP), came in full force signifying TV5 going full-throttle towards being one of the country’s leading multimedia network in 2013. “Coming off our strong performance in the last quarter of 2012, specifically in Visayas and Mindanao, we are looking at a more competitive, more energetic, more innovative TV5 this coming year. We continue to build on our success with a wider and clearer broadcast coverage across the country and we want to duplicate these in our overseas operations as well,” MVP said. The TV5 Chairman was referring to the Kapatid Network’s strong finish in the last quarter of 2012 where it overtook GMA in six viewer-rich metro cities where a total of 4 million viewers reside according to Nielsen TV Audience Measurement’s all-week overnight data. These cities are Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod and in General Santos City— where TV5 even shared the top spot with ABS-CBN. TV5 regained its leadership in Dagupan, where GMA’s steady decline has contributed to the Kapatid Network’s growth beginning Q2 of 2012. The network’s current 19 TV and five radio stations around the country now covers 88.6% of the national urban population and is poised to reach 100% target by the end of 2013. TV5 global channels Kapatid TV5 and AksyonTV

International, through its affiliate Pilipinas Global Network Ltd., also reach overseas Filipinos in 79 countries and territories in four continents and bring them closer to home. “Beyond geography, we’re taking TV5 one step ahead towards becoming a full multimedia venture,” MVP continued. Its current digital media platforms— news site, sports portal and lifestyle review site— complement the network’s full service offerings in the emerging online media. About 120 Kapatid stars showed their support for TV5’s parade of 11 new programs for 2013 —Kidlat (premiered last January 6), Jeepney Jackpot (premiered last January 7), The Alabang Housewives (premiered last January 14), Wowowillie, RESCUE5 and Aksyon Weekend (all premiering on January 26), Never Say Goodbye (premieres January 28), Balwarte (premieres February 3), and Kanta Pilipinas (premiere in February). Its current programs Game N’ Go All-Stars, Face to Face and Good Morning Club will also introduce new twists and segments this January. Superstar Nora Aunor, Aga Muhlach, Alice Dixson, Lucy Torres, Ryan Agoncillo, Marvin Agustin, Arnell Ignacio, Tuesday Vargas, Wendell Ramos, Gelli de Belen Edu Manzano, and Joey de Leon, were on hand to introduce the night’s performances. The TV special made a thunderous opening with Ritz Azul, Eula Caballero, Arci Muñoz, Valeen Montenegro, Malak So Shdifat, Victor Silayan, Gerard Sison, John James Uy, Rico Blanco, Daniel Matsunaga, and Derek Ramsay. NEWS5 chief Luchi Cruz-Valdes

Derek Ramsay, Ruffa Gutierrez and Divine Lee talking about TV5’s presence in the world of technology.

Sharon Cuneta, who couldn’t make it to the launch, gives her wellwishes to her fellow Kapatids through a pre-recorded message.

and Paolo Bediones and SPORTS5’s Phil and James Younghusband and Benjie Paras also graced the event. Wowowillie main host Willie Revillame, meanwhile, appeared via a recorded message to provide details on his upcoming noontime show. Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Alex Gonzaga, Danita Paner, JC de Vera, Edgar Allan Guzman, Talentadong Pinoy Hall of Famers, The Company, maestro Ryan Cayabyab and Talentadong Pinoy Kids singers, Kilyawan children’s choir, Kanta Pilipinas finalists, Artista Academy alumni and GAGA dancers shared their talent in several production numbers.

‘Wowowillie’ premiere beats ‘It’s Showtime’, rules noontime slot in Visayas, Mindanao (UPDATED on January, 29, 2013): This post has been edited to include the ratings figures for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.) Despite two incidents of power failure, the premiere telecast on Saturday of Willie Revillame’s new noontime show, “Wowowillie”, was a ratings smash for TV5. According to Nielsen Media Research, Willie’s return to the noontime slot was watched by a bigger television audience than ABS-CBN’s “It’s Showtime”. “Wowowillie” garnered a national urban television audience measurement of 27.9% and a 5.3% average minute rating, against 21.4% and 4.4% for “It’s Showtime”. “Eat Bulaga” retained the top spot with a 38.8% audience share

and an 8.3% average minute rating. In total Luzon, “Wowowillie”‘ss 26.9% audience share scored a nine-point lead over “It’s Showtime”’s 17.7%. Moreover, in total Visayas, TV5’s first-ever daily noontime variety show toppled “Eat Bulaga”’s 20.8% audience share with a strong 29.1%. Lastly, “Wowowillie” captured viewers’ hearts in total Mindanao where its 33.9% audience share reigned supreme over both “It’s Showtime”’s 28.5% and “Eat Bulaga”’s 16.2%. Earlier, Willie had told media that “Wowowillie” — his third program for TV5 after the primetime shows “Willing Willie” and “Wil Time Bigtime” — was not out to compete with “Eat Bulaga” and “It’s Showtime”.

Joey De Leon, host of the upcoming show Hayop sa Galing, accompanied by model Vanessa Matsunaga and a huge dog.

“Wowowillie” was also the number two trending topic on Saturday on Twitter. ■ News5//January 28, 2013

Pilipinas Global Network Limited (PGNL) is a joint venture between Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), the largest and leading telecommunications company in the Philippines, and ABC Development Corporation (“ABC5”), the operator of TV5, the fastest growing terrestrial channel in the Philippines. It acts as the sole and exclusive distributor and licensee of the programs, shows, films and channels of TV5. It distributes these media content via syndication and via its international linear channels, namely: Kapatid TV5 and Aksyon TV International. ■ Balita // January 30, 2013

The contestants of Kanta Pilipinas delivering an impressive rendition of “Happy Maging Kapatid”

Nora Aunor thanks the Kapatid Network for all the opportunities given to her.

BIR slaps ‘It’s Showtime’ host Ryan Bang with P1.8M tax evasion charge COMEDIAN and TV host Ryan Bang was charged with tax evasion by the Bureau of Internal Revenue on Thursday. In its complaint, the BIR alleged that the 21-year-old “It’s Showtime” host owes the government P1.8 million in income and percentage taxes for 2011 and 2012. Bang, a Korean citizen whose real name is Bang Hyun Sung, has been an ABS-CBN talent since he joined the reality show “Pinoy Big Brother” in 2010. The amount of P1.8 million, which includes surcharge and interest, was based on tax filings by companies that hired Bang over the two-year period during which he is said to have earned a minimum of P3.05 million. Bang’s legal counsel, Atty. Joji program “TV Patrol” that

her client had yet to see a copy of the complaint, but he would fulfill his financial obligations to the Philippine government. ■ InterAksyon // January 31, 2013

Ryan Bang

TV5 presents new shows, initiatives in glitzy ‘Go5!’ trade launch AS terms like “reenergized”, “changing the game” and “reinventing the landscape of television and other media” were freely thrown around by “Game N’ Go” host Edu Manzano and News5 anchor Paolo Bediones, TV5 officially introduced its new line-up of programs for the new year in a glittering all-star presentation called “Go5!” on Tuesday at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila. The trade launch, attended by advertisers and members of the media, covered the entire spectrum of TV5’s 2013 strategy, including news, sports, entertainment, film, radio and even online. Among the program’s highlights is the muchanticipated return of Willie Revillame to the noontime slot with his upcoming new show, “Wowowillie”. In a pretaped segment, Willie gave a tour of the new, state-ofthe-art “Wowowillie” studio still under construction at the Delta Theater in Quezon City. Willie said the studio will be completed by the time “Wowowillie” makes its on-air debut on January 16. Recalling Billy Crystal’s famous Oscar opening montage that usually finds him inserted in scenes from the nominated films, Arnell Ignacio and Tuesday Vargas sang a hysterical version of Ryan Cayabyab’s “Limang Dipang Tao” as they invaded the sets of new series “Kidlat”, “The Alabang Housewives” and the upcoming romance drama “Never Say Goodbye” and literally found themselves in the middle of the action (with Derek), comedy (with Pamela and Vanessa) and even drama (with superstar Nora Aunor). As part of its comprehensive

coverage of this year’s elections dubbed as “Pagbabago 2013”, News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes announced the upcoming premiere of “Balwarte” on February 3. The new documentary show will take a closer look at key families in positions of power. Cruz-Valdes also proudly announced that the internationally recognized cause journalism pioneered by “Rescue5” will be taken to another level with a new, weekly reality show that documents the real tension and drama of saving lives. Hosted by Paolo Bediones, “Rescue5” starts airing every Saturday beginning January 26. Also set to launch soon is “News5 Everywhere”, an innovative interactive initiative that allows the general public to be part of the news by commenting on real time and even upload videos of things they deem newsworthy. Together with PBA legend Benjie Paras, football heartthrobs Phil and James Younghusband took to the stage to welcome the new sports line-up of TV5’s AKTV channel, including the new record-breaking seasons of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that has now emerged as the country’s premier collegiate basketball tournament. Another big sporting event to look forward to is the upcoming season of the UFL Suzuki Cup featuring our very own Azkals. Ryan Agoncillo also happily announced that the country’s premiere talent reality show is going global with “Talentadong Pinoy Worldwide” as the show’s dazzling hall-of-famers provided the backdrop for a

medley of popular Pinoy rock songs by The Company. Joey De Leon returns to primetime TV as he introduced his own new show called, “Hayop sa Galing”. The series puts a new to twist on typical video clip shows as celebrity guests will be treated to heartpounding challenges related to the videos. “Hayop Sa Galing” premieres on January 26. Other new shows featured in the trade launch were “Jeepney Jackpot”, Game N’ Go All Stars” and “Good Morning Club”, which will welcome Edu Manzano as a co-host on January 21. Marvin Agustin, Alex Gonzaga, Gellie De Belen, Wendell Ramos, Ruffa Gutierrez, Derek Ramsay, Divine Lee were also among the presenters, while other performers include the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the “Artista Academy” graduates, the Gaga Dancers and TV5 princesses Ritz Azul, Eula Caballero, Jasmine CurtisSmith, Danita Paner and Arci Munoz. Before the show closed, TV5 Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan delivered brief closing remarks that recalled how the network overcame “considerable skepticism” when it only had a 3 percent audience share three years ago. TV5 now enjoys a respectable 15 to 17 percent overall share. Despite the bigger challenges up ahead, MVP is confident that the only way for the network to go is up. Reenergized? Changing the game? Reinventing the landscape of television and other media? The “Go5!” trade launch showed that TV5 is dead serious about living up to those big words in 2013. InterAksyon is the internet news portal of TV5. ■ InterAksyon. com//anuary 16, 2013




February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition


THE Philippine Embassy in Oslo wishes to warn Filipino nurses and healthcare workers about misleading information currently circulating online and peddled by a growing number of “consultancy” firms about the supposed abundance and ease of finding nursing and other healthcare jobs in Norway. Said consultancy firms make these unsuspecting Filipinos believe that getting a nursing or healthcare job in Norway is easy, advertising misleading information such as “NO IELTS and/or PRC License needed” among other gimmicks, when in truth, it is not easy to find work as a foreign nurse or healthcare worker in Norway. While it is true that IELTS is not required by most health care employers in Norway, this is only because English is not the primary language used by the country and its healthcare sector. Instead, foreign nurses and healthcare practitioners wishing to work in Norway have to pass a different and much harder Norwegian language exam and take other exams in order to be deemed employable as a nurse or healthcare worker in Norway and to do so requires that the Filipino be ready to spend a large amount for his or her tuition for further studies, board and

lodging, etc. while in Norway. And while a PRC license may not be needed for the processing of one’s visa application, said license is still required by relevant authorities in Norway in order for a foreign healthcare worker to be properly recognized as such in Norway. Moreover, these Filipino nurses and healthcare practitioners should be advised that authorization from SAK (Statens AutorisasjonsKontor) or the relevant Norwegian government authority does not equal work or employment nor is it equal to a nursing license. It merely recognizes that the Filipino has the qualifications of a healthcare worker, nothing more. Authorization/Autorisasjon does not equal work. Authorization/ Autorisasjon is not equal to a nursing license in Norway. Another alarming aspect about the proliferation of these consultancy firms is that they charge these unsuspecting Filipinos with, often, large sums of money for information and services that the Filipino can actually obtain for free and do by himself or herself if the latter only consulted the appropriate websites (i.e. Norwegian Embassy, SAK, etc.). The Embassy has reported this alarming situation to the DFA and


PHILIPPINE Ambassador to Australia Belen F. Anota hailed another positive achievement for the Philippine economy: a place among the world’s 100 freest economies according to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation, a Washingtonbased think tank. The Philippines’ inclusion in the list of the world’s 100 freest economies is a result of the government’s leadership and efforts to promote good governance, curb corruption and improve the country’s business climate,” Ambassador Anota said. Using the Philippines tourism slogan, Ambassador Anota said that “it’s more fun in the Philippines, including doing business.” The Philippines jumped ten notches in ranking, making it the 97th freest in the world with an Economic Freedom Score of 58.2. In 2011, it ranked 107th and had a score of 57.1. Among Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines recorded the highest score improvement of 1.1 points, showing a trend of continuous growth over the past two years. This brings the country even closer

to the world average score of 59.6 and above the Asia-Pacific regional average of 57.4. The Heritage Foundation highlighted the country’s “notable improvements” in investment freedom and anti-corruption measures; high degree of resilience” of the Philippine economy which is on a “steady path of economic expansion” despite the global economic slowdown; and “legislative reforms pursued by the Aquino administration which enhance the entrepreneurial environment and develop a stronger private sector to generate broaderbased job growth”. ■ Philippine Embassy

Australia // 18 January 2013

DOLE and it has handled several cases involving victimized Filipino nurses and healthcare workers who have been duped by these unscrupulous consultancy firms. Said Filipinos usually arrive in Norway without an employer and sometimes without even a place to stay. Most are deeply in debt and have no means to fund their stay in Norway, which is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Their situation makes them vulnerable to further abuse and victimization. It is not easy to find work as a foreign nurse or healthcare worker in Norway. While the Philippine government is working hard to address this matter, the Philippine Embassy is enjoining the Filipino Community in Norway to help spread this advisory and warn Filipinos about these unscrupulous consultancy firms and the false information currently being spread by the latter. Moreover, related to this matter, the Embassy also wishes to reiterate its previous warning about various unlicensed, unaccredited and informal Norwegian Language Schools/Courses proliferating in the Philippines, enticing many Filipino professionals, especially nurses, to pay unreasonable fees for language classes that

are staffed by unlicensed and/or untrained teachers for the chance to land well-paying jobs that are supposedly awaiting the student in Norway upon completion of the language course. The Embassy wishes to warn the public of the pitfalls of falling prey to these unaccredited schools and agents. The Norwegian Government has not accredited, licensed or recognized any Norwegian Language School/Course operating in the Philippines for profit nor does it deal or cooperate with any agent or agency. The Norwegian Embassy has released several warnings about said schools and agents such as the link below and encourages visa applicants to go to the Norwegian Embassy directly. visainfo/news/agents/ Filipinos who have fallen victim to these Philippine Norwegian Language schools arrive in Norway expecting to immediately find work only to discover that further Norwegian language courses are needed at additional expense and that the visa issued to them by the Norwegian Embassy is not enough time for them to finish the needed language courses and find a job. This makes them vulnerable to abuse and human trafficking. For more information, please visit: visainfo/permits/language/ Filipino professionals wishing to practice their profession in Norway should equip themselves with the proper information by visiting trusted information sources such as Norwegian government websites (Norwegian Embassy in Manila, Norwegian Labor & Welfare Organization or NAV, Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel or SAK, etc.) to avoid falling victims to human trafficking and so as to be in full control of their professional future. For more information about Norwegian visas and permits, please visit: visainfo/ visainfo/visas/ visainfo/visas/schengen/ visainfo/permits/ visainfo/permits/language/ visainfo/permits/jobseeker/ For more information about accreditation as a healthcare worker, please visit: http://www. Philippines Embassy Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden ■ 31 January, 2013

MANILA,– A U.S. Navy-led salvage team has removed the bulk of fuel oil and materials that could pose environmental risks, such as paint, solvents, and lubricants from mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5), which ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef January 17. No fuel has leaked since the grounding, and all of the ship’s approximately 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel was safely transferred to the U.S.-contracted Malaysian tug-boat, the Vos Apollo during controlled defueling operations completed on January 25. US Navy ship salvage and maritime architecture experts continue to develop the salvage plan and perform work to reinforce the structure of the ship, such as

reinforcing the hull with Kevlar lines in an effort to reduce the strain that the ship sustains due to wave action. Two heavy lift ship-borne cranes have been contracted to support the salvage operations, and are due to arrive on-scene by February 1st. The U.S. Navy in the meantime, continues to remove material from the ship, to assess and manage structural issues and to prepare the Guardian to be safely removed, all the while seeking to protect the natural environment of Tubbataha Reef. After the USS Guardian ran aground on Tubbataha Reef on January 17 while transiting the Sulu Sea, the crew of the Guardian was temporarily transferred on January 18 to nearby support

share expertise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations during classes and discussions on the ground. Marines will also give a presentation on the capabilities of the MV-22 Osprey to the Philippine Air Force and both countries’ service members will participate in a cargo loading exercise on the aircraft. ■ Philippine

vessels as a safety precaution. After consultations between the Philippine inter-agency task force in Palawan and the U.S. Navy, 69 Guardian sailors not needed for recovery operations were transferred to the USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) on January 22 for transit back to the ship’s forward-operating location in Sasebo, Japan. The USNS Rappahannock is expected to dock in Sasebo on January 28. The Guardian’s commanding officer and other technical experts from among the crew remain onscene near the Tubbataha Reef, to work with the recovery team, in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and local environmental agencies. The U.S. Navy is undertaking an extensive investigation to assess the circumstances and facts surrounding the USS Guardian accident. The ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay and was transiting directly through the Sulu Sea en route to its next port of call in Indonesia when the grounding occurred. All relevant factors will be looked at during the course of the investigation, and the proximate cause of the incident will be made at a later date. ■ Philippine

Embassy Manila // January 23, 2013

Embassy Manila // January 28, 2013

Progress Made Towards Removal of Grounded USS Guardian

U.S. Marine Aircraft Group To Train With Philippine Air Force

MANILA, -- Three MV-22 Osprey aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Okinawa, Japan, arrived in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Jan. 22 to conduct bilateral training with elements of the Philippine Air Force.

The low-altitude flight training will take place on routes approved by the Government of the Philippines that have been used previously in flight training exercises. Philippine Air Force personnel will accompany the U.S. Marine contingent and provide ground control and other interoperability training. The U.S. Marines and Philippine Air Force personnel will also


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Derek denies link with Christine Actor could be an expert in ‘entertainese’ MANILA If there is diplomatese in diplomatic affairs, maybe there’s ‘entertainese’ in the entertainment industry? If diplomats are experts in the art of double-talk, maybe we can say the same of our actors. Take, for instance, Derek Ramsey, who has just admitted that he is going out with the ABS-CBN (Channel 2) contract artiste Christine Reyes, but denied being the third party in her breakup with the actor, dancer, and singer Rayver Cruz. “Yes, we go out, but we’re just friends,” Ramsay, the star of TV5’s fantasy series ‘Kidlat’ (Lightning), recently told showbiz reporters. “There’s no truth to rumours that I was the third party in their breakup.”

Why would a macho and popular actor like Ramsay go out with the controversial young actress if there was nothing between them? Are they just shopping buddies, huh? Why wouldn’t he go out always with his male co-stars instead? The rumours of the two having an affair started from last November, when they were seen together at the Coco de Roro Resort, in Batangas province. But he reasoned out that he was with his family during his four-day stay there while she was with her friends. He stressed that Reyes and Cruz were then an item, as she was even using the latter’s car. Ramsay didn’t have much to say as well when asked about another rumour

that Reyes is now also being liked with Dennis Trillo, an award-winning actor, singer, and fashion model. “I have no idea about that,” he said. “But if you ask me, Christine and I are just friends.” People are used to the fact—or the lack of it—however, that in the Philippine show business, most denials are actually confirmations of truth. ■ Emirates 24/7 // January 27, 2013

Pinoy makes it big as TV host in Jakarta Leo Consult co-hosts ‘Eat Bulaga! Indonesia’ MANILA: He almost had nothing in the Philippines. Or, let’s just say, he had poor prospects in life—until he went to Indonesia. And he’s not ashamed to admit it, even telling people the hardships he’d been through before attaining success. The Jakarta-based Leo Consul, the only Filipino host of the Indonesian franchise of ‘Eat Bulaga!’, has recalled how he and his father were once evicted from their rented home in his hometown despite him burning with fever. He had also witnessed how his father suffered from some illnesses, as they couldn’t even afford to see a doctor or buy medicines. But today, Consul is able to support his father and indulge in some expensive things, such as a car and a condo, with his earnings in Indonesia. ‘Eat Bulaga!’, the most-watched

and the longest-running noontime variety show in the Philippines, has been airing and rating well in Indonesia since July 2012 through SCTV Network. And at the moment it is the top-rated noontime variety show in the world’s fourth most populous and the biggest Muslim country. It seems everything’s coming up roses for ‘Eat Bulaga!’, which has been entertaining Filipinos for over three decades. Produced by Television and Production Exponents, Inc. (TAPE), there have also been talks since last year that the show would also be brought to Malaysia and Singapore. Consul believes in destiny—that he would one day get his place in this world—but also considers himself lucky to have travelled to Indonesia in search of greener pasture. He remembers how he’d

MATINEE idol could fall in love with co-star Glaiza de Castro MANILA (Tue, Jan 29)—Dennis Trillo must be one of the most loved and hated actors in today’s Philippine entertainment industry. All because of his torrid kissing scenes with Marian Rivera, the Filipino-Spanish girlfriend of Dingdong Dantes, in their TV drama series, ‘Temptation of Wife’. “They’re die-hard fans of Dingdong and Marian,” he said. “I know they hate me, but this is just work.” In last week’s episode, Trillo and Rivera, who plays Angeline in the series, even did a bed scene, much to the chagrin of DongYan (Dingdong and Marian) fans. “But we have more kissing scenes to come,” Trillo (Marcel) said. He also will have more kissing and bed scenes with co-star Glaiza de Castro (Heidi). In fact, many showbiz insiders are now anticipating a romance between the two, as Trillo is known to have

fallen in love easily with his leading ladies. “Well, I am not surprised that we’re being linked together,” Trillo said of the rumours about him and de Castro, in a recent article in the tabloid Tempo. “But so far we haven’t felt uncomfortable with each other while doing our intimate scenes.” ‘Temptation of Wife’, which premiered on GMA-7 last October 29, is a Filipino drama series and remake of the 2008 South Korean hit drama series of the same title. The series revolves around the lives of Marcel, Angeline, and Heidi. Marcel is married to Angeline, who finds out that he’s cheating on her with Heidi. ■ Emirates 24/7 //January 29, 2013

Beauty queen reveals the award-winning actor is her idol

lost hope of finding a job in that Southeast Asian country when, two days before he was scheduled to fly back to the Philippines, he saw an advertisement flash on TV that SCTV was looking for hosts for ‘Eat Bulaga! Indonesia’. “So, I said to myself, ‘Why don’t I try it?’” he loves recalling this moment during radio and TV interviews, and just about to anyone who cares to listen. ■ Emirates 24/7 // January 25, 2013

Sarah G cries ‘womaniser!’

“Why, who is the womaniser here?” Mr Anderson replied. “Well, they know that already,” she said. “Let’s rally for the women who love truly and those who are being hurt. It’s just a joke. OK, control the emotion now.” Geronimo then capped her show with the song ‘Take a Bow’, which tells of a woman saying goodbye to her boyfriend who has neglected her love and their relationship. It may be recalled that Geronimo had ended her love affair with Anderson, on the grounds that her parents didn’t like him. The parents saw the actor as a ‘chick boy’, a popular term used in the Philippines to describe a young and handsome men who loves to carry on simultaneous or successive relationships with various women. Anderson, in the meantime,

Dingdong drama: Dennis Trillo most hated and loved

Miss Universe runner-up Janine wants movie with Dingdong

She’s hurting over Gerarld Anderson’s relationships IT is very obvious that singeractress Sarah Geronimo hasn’t got over yet with her stalled love affair with the very handsome and athletic heartthrob Gerald Anderson. She is said to have made some stride remarks about someone being a womaniser, obviously referring to Anderson, who is now sweethearts with Maja Salvador, the best friend of Kim Chiu, another ex of his. In last Sunday’s ‘Sarh G Live” on ABS-CBN, for instance, Ms Geronimo advised her audience against having a relationship with a womaniser after she sang Britney Spears’ ‘Womanizer’. Then she asked her co-host, Robi Domingo, whether he was a womaniser while the studio audience was making guffaws in reaction to her statement alluding to Mr Anderson.

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

has admitted that he would want to continue having a romantic relationship with Ms Salvador, much to the chagrin of Chiu. Besides being best friends— or maybe not anymore—the two actresses are both starring in ‘Ina, Kapatid, Anak’ (Mother, Sibling, Child), a ‘teleserye’ (TV soap opera) on ABS-CBN. Chiu has expressed publicly her surprise and anger at the couple, saying she didn’t expect something like it to come from her best friend. ■ Emirates 24/7 // January 18, 2013

MANILA Janine Tugonon, the first runner-up at the 2012 Miss Universe beauty pageant, has not only signified her interest of joining show business but also her choice of a would-be leading man. If she had her way, Ms Tugonon, who is also a licensed pharmacist, would want to star in a movie opposite Dingdong Dantes, an award-wining actor and one of the mainstays of the Kapuso network GMA-7. She has revealed in a recent radio interview that Mr Dantes is her idol, saying he does not only have good looks but is also a very good actor. “I like Dingdong a lot,” she said. “It would be good if we could do a love story kind of movie together. He’s such a good actor, and I really look up to him when it comes to acting.” Mr Dantes won the 2012 Best Actor award last month at the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for the second consecutive year, for his dramatic performance in Star Cinema’s ‘One More Try’.

Last year he won the same award for the horror flick ‘Segunda Mano’ (Second-Hand). He received intrigues over this triumph, as many people suspected that his co-star, presidential sister Kris Aquino, had influenced the results of the 37th annual MMFF Awards. Ms Tugonon participated in the Miss Universe competition held at Las Vegas last December, and won runner-up to winner Miss USA, Olivia Culpo. There are a number of beauty queens who have joined show business, including Shamcey Supsup, the Miss Universe Third Runner-Up in 2011, Venus Raj (Miss Universe Fourth Runner-Up 2010), and Gloria Diaz (the country’s first Miss Universe who won the crown in 1969), among others. While Ms Tugonon and Mr Dantes capped 2012 with a bang, it looks like 2013 will be so much brighter for both of them. ■ Emirates 24/7 // January 20, 2013

Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon, stands on stage with other Miss Universe contestants during the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant at Planet Holywood in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 19, 2012. Eighty-nine countries and territories are participating in this year’s pageant. (AFP)

February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition


GMA Network, One Mega Group sign international broadcast deal

GMA Network and publishing powerhouse, One Mega Publishing Group have formally joined forces as they signed a six-program international broadcast license deal last January 29, 2013. These programs produced by One Mega will exclusively air internationally in GMA Life TV. Representing GMA at the contract signing were Joseph Francia, GMA International VP and Head of Operations; Cheri Domingo, Head of International Programming; and Donna Reyes, Assistant Manager for Events. Joining them were One Mega Group founder and CEO, Sari Yap; One Mega AVP for Multi-Platform Sales and Marketing, Archie Carrasco; and the internationally-renowned producer and One Mega Head of TV Department, Michael Carandang. GMAI’s Francia believes that the partnership with One Mega Group will boost viewership. “This is basically a continuation of our third year of partnership with the Mega group…[This covers] six programs of the Mega group that will air on GMA Life TV, one of the three international channels of GMA. [These] are a very good fit to the programming ng GMA Life TV, because it’s a lifestyle channel at iyong magagandang programa

ng Mega ay gusto din nating maenjoy ng mga kababayan natin sa ibang bansa.” He noted that there are already more than one million viewers of GMA Life TV all over the world. Meanwhile, the One Mega Group is thankful for the opportunity, and excited for Filipinos to be able to watch the six shows produced by Mega. These include I Am Meg TV Season 1, Appetite TV Season 1, My Home TV Season 2, Mega Fashion Crew Season 2 and Mega Young Designers Competition Season 2. “Mega ang pioneer ng glossy magazines. Now, gusto naming maging glossy ang reality TV. Gusto naming gumawa dito ng mga hindi pa rin nagagawa ng mga networks which is fashion reality TV,” Yap of the One Mega Group said. Carandang, America’s Next Top Model producer, added, “The roster this year is something we’re really proud of. We’re most proud about the message that the Philippines is the place to be, the place to grow and succeed.” Getting to work with creative minds in the Philippines has greatly influenced his approach to producing new shows. “I celebrate this milestone every single day when I go to work. You have no idea how much I learn just to come to

work and figure out the business here. That’s why I’m very happy with this partnership because I learn to figure out the key to make sure that each show continues.” Tapping into the viewing habits and preferences of Filipinos abroad, the Mega-produced shows to be featured in GMA Life TV feature content that are cuttingedge yet relatable. Carandang, who once directed the GMA Pinoy TV program, RSVP with Dr. Tess says, “Laking America po ako so for me, napakaimportante to have access to GMA Pinoy TV and GMA Life TV because that’s our connection to the Philippines. ‘Yung mga second generation Filipinos abroad can relate to the shows since ‘yung format naman po namin is Taglish. Kung nakakaintindi sila ng kaunting Tagalog, maiintindihan nila iyong show.” Yap also believes that through the shows, “nakikita nilang sa Pilipinas, world class din ‘yung nangyayari. ‘Yung mga fashion show, damit and photography abroad, ganoon din dito.” At the core of the partnership of GMA and One Mega are the values they share. In Francia’s words, “We work together to bring out the best in the Filipino.” ■ Samantha Portillo, // Jan 30, 2013



Mariel Rodriguez confident that no romance would develop between her husband and Kris Aquino AT right is a screenshot of Kris Aquino’s tweet to Mariel Rodriguez on Sunday, the eve of the premiere of “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw”, the new drama series starring Kris, Anne Curtis, and Mariel’s husband, Robin Padilla. The part about Kris’ request for help in finding a slightly younger potential mate who has Mariel’s characteristics flattered Mariel. The second sentence was an expression of gratitude for Mariel’s all-out support for “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw”. It is just one of many little tweets from Kris that the “Wowowillie” co-host always appreciates. “I appreciate the fact that she’s so respectful. She always acknowledges me,” Mariel told News5. Mariel said she believes the gesture is Kris’ way of assuring her that nothing romantic would develop between Kris and Robin on the set of the drama series, despite the two being former sweethearts. “Nararamdaman ko talaga na she’s making a conscious effort to make me feel na…(I) have nothing to worry about,” Mariel said. She is, of course, excited about the premiere of “Wowowillie” on Saturday on TV5. It would mark not just Willie Revillame’s return to the noontime slot, but Mariel’s as well. (They were already together on “Wowowee” on ABS-CBN, remember?) This turn of events is a happy development for both Mariel and Robin. After all, had “Wil Time Bigtime”

remained on the air, their shows would have competed against each other. “God is so good!” she exclaimed. “Kung kelan tanghali na kami dun naman umere soap niya. Ayoko naman ng magkatapat,” she said, with her trademark laugh. Mariel’s marriage to Robin remains strong. However, she echoed his earlier statement that they still have no plans of having a child. “Hindi naman never. Pero right now parang mas masaya na…that we focus on each other,” she explained. Mariel also addressed the issue of the long-running feud between Robin and BB Gandanghari, the transsexual who used to be Robin’s brother Rustom. BB herself has praised Mariel for serving as her bridge to her brother, who has refused to talk to her since she transformed into BB. But Mariel admitted that her role is limited to being a mediator and nothing more. The effort at reconciliation would have to be a mutual decision for the two siblings. “Thats all I could do, di ba? Kasi ‘yung time nila na maging OK sila, nasa kanila ‘yun e. Wala naman makakapag-push nun talaga,” she said. ■ News5//January 24, 2013


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February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

FOOTBALL Azkals coach Weiss hopes more local talent joins squad

ON its first practice of the year conducted Monday, the Philippine national men’s football team featured five new faces who were surprisingly part of its training at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Striker Tating Pasilan, defender Reynald Villareal, goalkeeper Patrick Deyto and midfielders Arnie Pasinabo and Ronnie Aguisanda – all members of the Green Archers United Globe in the United Football League – joined the Azkals as they prepare for the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in March. Pasilan, a two-time member of the squad five years ago, and Deyto, who was called up in the Azkals’


friendly match against Guam last year, admitted that they are thrilled to join the national team again, at least in practices. However, they don’t see themselves as full-time members of the team as of now. “Pag-isipan muna kung tuloytuloy kasi trabaho. Two days ko nang naiwanan trabaho ko,” said Pasilan, who also works as a football coach at the De La Salle University system. Meanwhile, Deyto, who plays for La Salle in the UAAP, hopes to spend more time with the Azkals if given the chance when the collegiate football season ends early this year. “I just graduated this December so I cannot commit fully to the trainings,” Deyto said. “I just have

to finish the UAAP until early March, and after that, if they call me up, I’ll be there to train and train.” Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss has long stressed the importance of his players’ commitment to the national team, which includes attending practices. “The public doesn’t know that these guys don’t show up in training,” Weiss said. “Some come sometimes in training, and then they say, ‘we have no chance’ or cry around ‘the training is hard.’” The German coach cited as an example Azkals goalkeeper Eduard Sacapaño, who stepped up in the absence of foreign-based keepers Neil Etheridge and Roland Mueller

It’s more fun in the provinces: Can UFL push its brand of football outside Metro Manila?

AS a new football fan, Maricar Topular, 22, first ignored General Trias International FC. The team from her hometown was composed entirely of South Korean students living General Trias who happened to play football. But by the time the team crashed the quarterfinals of the United Football Cup, falling to eventual champion Stallion FC in a dramatic encounter, Topular had become a General Trias diehard. “Hindi ko kilala yung players pero sobrang cheer ako and nung natalo sila, ambigat sa puso,” she said, adding that the squad carrying her province’s name made it easier for her to cheer for it. “I can definitely identify with them kahit nga ‘di sila Pinoy eh.” Topular thinks it’s about time the UFL brought the country’s top football league to the provinces to make it more exciting — not just for fans, but for players as well. Since it was established in 2009, the UFL has catered mainly to fans in Metro Manila, where most of its players, teams, and sponsors are based. But many fans feel there is an untapped market in the provinces that the league ought to look at. While football culture is fairly new for fans in basketball-crazy Manila, many regions around the country are hotbeds for the beautiful game. In fact, prior to the entry of Azkals with foreign lineage, most members of the Philippine national men’s football team traced their roots to hotbeds such as Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo, Bacolod City, and Cebu, among other places. Earlier this month, a provincial team from Bacolod advanced to the finals of the Philippine Football Federation-SMART National Club Championship, upsetting highlytouted teams from the UFL. The reigning UFL Cup champion Stallion has roots in Iloilo, while the league’s second division features the province-based Cebu Queen City United, whose players and officials

fly to Manila regularly to compete in matches. Home-and-away? Philippine football legend Elmer Lacknet Bedia believes the UFL should explore expanding nationwide to be able to promote the sport further. “I think it should be done by next year bringing UFL outside Manila,” said Bedia, a Barotac Nuevo native who now works with Team Philippines to the Homeless World Cup as a consultant. “It should be done home-andaway basis or else, the UFL won’t get any farther.” With football luring more supporters and the UFL having a television deal with sports channel AKTV, the strategy could work, according to Bedia. “I suppose with the sponsorship of every club, they are ready 100 percent,” he said. But having home-and-away format for matches could lead a logistical nightmare for the UFL, according to the league’s marketing manager Coco Torre. “As you know, the Philippines may not have abundance in quality pitches,” he said. “It will also be a challenge as the UFL is still a semipro league, meaning some players do still have their regular jobs. Perhaps a conflict on their personal schedules.” PBA format. Sun.Star Cebu editor Mike Limpag, a longtime Philippine football observer who helped coin the “Azkals” nickname for the national team, said that while a home-and-away format may not be ideal for the UFL, the league could look to the model used by the PBA to promote football throughout the country. “The best way to bring the matches in the province, I think, would be to follow the PBA format. Have games in provinces where clubs have a strong following — say Dondon Hontiveros’ or June Mar Fajardo’s teams in Cebu matches,” said Limpag. “For the UFL, the Stallions, Global,

Kaya, and Loyola have great following in the Visayas. A game involving any of these clubs would be a hit.” Limpag adds that the UFL could coordinate with local football associations for matches to be played during the popular festivals in the country. For example, a “Sinulog Derby” between Cebu Queen City and another Division Two squad will be a big hit for Cebuanos during the festivities. “One advantage of this is that the schedules of these festivals are fixed. Almost a year in advance, the UFL can negotiate early, or if it falls in


in their semifinal run in the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup last year. “Look Sacapaño, he is always there, always there and he played a fantastic tournament,” Weiss said. “If Etheridge and Mueller are not around, it’s absolutely not a problem and not an extreme drop in quality.” Despite that, Weiss hopes that he can lure more locally-based players in the team. “We already have strong people here in the Philippines,” Weiss said. “We want to have them for training, maybe we can still develop something.” ■ InterAKTV / Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the regular season, plan early which teams can play.” Limpag believes that tapping the football market in the provinces will help sustain the league in the long run. “The UFL is already the country’s premier league, and the UFL — not the success of the Azkals in international campaigns — will determine whether football in the Philippines [can thrive],” he said. “It’s all about getting fans and, perhaps, sponsors, outside of Manila feel involved.” In the works. Bringing UFL closer to people in the province is one of the objectives of the league in the near future, according to league president Randy Roxas. “It’s definitely the direction the league wants to take. Having provincial games will help spur the growth of the league and the grassroots development program,” he said. Torre said that the UFL are now

working with AKTV for the possibility of having some games played in some provinces. Stallion coach Ernie Nierras doesn’t see UFL matches outside Metro Manila anytime soon. “At this time, I do not see that happening on a regular basis. I think the UFL will need to address certain things closer to home. Administrative improvements, officiating and venue upgrades, as well as logistical concerns with our schedules,” said Nierras. “But these are signs of growth within the UFL.” For a UFL follower like Topular, she hopes the league realizes its dream in playing more matches outside Metro Manila. “Para ma-promote yung league, mas okay na may mga provincial games. It will definitely create awareness,” she said. “Feel ko naman basta football-related, openminded yung mga taga-province.” ■ InterAKTV // January 30, 2013

D-League: Air 21-JRU seeks twice-to-beat playoffs edge in clash with Cebuana; Blackwater, Erase battle

ALREADY assured of a spot in the playoffs, the Air 21-JRU Heavy Bombers look to close the elimination round with a crucial win that gives them a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the 2013 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. Air 21-JRU, which takes on the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems in the 2 p.m. game, currently holds a 5-4 mark at the fifth spot. A win by the Heavy Bombers will force a three-way tie with Cagayan and Big Chill at 6-4, with the Superchargers falling to the fifth spot with an inferior quotient. The Rising Suns and Heavy Bombers will then move into the playoffs with twice-to-beat bonuses. JRU is the hottest team in the D-League right now with wins in each of their last four games, and the odds are favoring them in their matchup against the Gems in the curtain-raiser. The Heavy Bombers officially made the playoffs after the Fruitas Shakers eliminated the Boracay

Rum Waves in a tight contest last Tuesday. “It was a big relief for us. We’ll be more comfortable playing with the pressure off our shoulders but we’re still motivated to win because we want a twice-to-beat advantage in quarterfinals,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses. Meneses, after their win against Erase Plantcenta last week, gave his team a much-needed break in order to recharge themselves before this tough battle against the Gems. “My players have shown some maturity the past few games so I’m confident we can get the job done. The week-long break also allowed us to reenergize and focus for this game.” Fruitas, too, will be wishing for a JRU victory that will pave the way for the Shakers to get a seat in the quarterfinals with a 5-5 record. The Gems managed to escape outright elimination after pulling off a 112-94 win against the Informatics Icons last week. Cebuana will have to win their last assignment to keep

their hopes of advancing to the next round alive. They currently hold a 4-5 mark. “It will be very tough to beat JRU because they are playing solid lately. I just hope we could build on this win,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Beaujing Acot after beating Informatics. The other game at 4 p.m. will feature Erase Xfoliant and secondrunning Blackwater Sports. Blackwater has already clinched the second outright semis slot while the game is also no-bearing for Erase as they are already out of contention, alongside Informatics, Cafe France and Boracay Rum. ■ Interaksyon // January 30, 2013





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February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

BOXING Filipino boxer wins in OLYMPICS Japanese female Olympians ‘beaten’ by coaches

World Series of Boxing in Milan

MANILA, Philippines – Charly Suarez, the only Filipino member of the Italia Thunder boxing team, won his second victory in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) against the USA Knockouts on January 12 at the Mediolanum Forum Stadium in Milan, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a news release. Suarez, who hails from Davao City, became the main character of the evening who has also gained popularity as an idol for the Milanese. His spectacular and aggressive boxing won applauses and cheers from the audience particularly the Filipino crowd who came to watch and support him. He competed against Anvar

Yunusov of Tajikistan, a bronze medal holder from the World Championships in 2011. Suarez holds two silver medals from the 2012 Asian Olympic Qualifier and 2001 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. ■ //

January 22, 2013

BOXING Manny Pacquiao to seek help from

MVP group to hold next fight in Manila

NO less than Manny Pacquiao has confirmed that his camp is in touch with the group telecommunications mogul Manuel V. Pangilinan over the possibility of holding the Filipino fight icon’s next fight in Manila in April. Earlier, Pangilinan’s top lieutenant Ricky Vargas confirmed to News5 that he has spoken to Pacquiao business manager Eric Pineda. Vargas is president of Maynilad, of which Pangilinan serves as chairman. (InterAKTV is part of InterAksyon. com, the news website of TV5, which is also chaired by the businessman.) Pacquiao’s talks with the MVP group comes despite a pronouncement from Top Rank head Bob Arum, the boxer’s promoter, saying he prefers a September fight instead.


The fighter said he has no problem with a later fight date. Meanwhile, Pacquiao refused to confirm reports that negotiations are ongoing for a fifth fight between him and Juan Manuel Marquez. The Mexican legend shocked the sports world last December by knocking Pacquiao out in their fourth fight. ■ News5// January 18, 2013

JAPAN’S female Olympic judo athletes were beaten with bamboo swords and slapped by their coaches, officials said Wednesday, weeks after a schoolboy’s suicide sparked anguished debate over corporal punishment. A 15-strong group of judokas complained to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) last month that they had been subjected to physical punishment by the team’s head coach. The group, which included athletes who took part in the London Olympics, says head coach Ryuji Sonoda routinely abused them, slapping them in the face and hitting them with thick wooden swords, like those used in the Japanese martial art of kendo. They also complained that some were forced to compete in matches while injured, reports said. “We have asked the All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) to investigate the case and improve their methods if the charges are true,” a JOC official said. AJJF head Koshi Onozawa said the federation had admonished Sonoda and other coaches, who had admitted several of the allegations. “We received information that Mr Sonoda, the head coach of the female national team, might have been physically bullying athletes,” Onozawa told a news conference. “Our executive office took this seriously and questioned both him and athletes, discovering the charges were largely true.” The AJJF told Sonoda and other coaches they must mend their ways and “will face a harsher punishment if a similar incident happens in the future”, he added.

Marquez beats out Donaire for The Ring magazine’s Fighter of the Year honor

JUAN Manuel Marquez–yes, you read it right–and not Nonito Donaire, was chosen by The Ring magazine as its Fighter of the Year for 2012. On the strength of his epic onepunch, sixth-round demolition of Manny Pacquiao, Marquez earned the coveted accolade of being named as last year’s top boxer. Marquez’s choice was formally unveiled in The Ring’s March 2013 edition that just hit the stands. Although Donaire was brilliant all year long, none of his four wins could not match Marquez’s earth-shaking upset of the Filipino icon. Marquez’s show of force was so stunning that fight fans continue to talk about this even up to this day and not Donaire’s lopsided wins over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka and even Jorge Arce. Interestingly, another scene-stealer was Sonny Boy Jaro’s knockout of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam to win the WBC flyweight title in the month of

March. Jaro did not, however, go on to finish the year with the WBC 112-lb belt strapped around his waist as he lost the title to a Japanese rival several months later. Jaro’s destuction of Wonjongkam was Upset of the Year.

Marquez and Pacquiao are being eyed to clash for the fifth time in September and what should go down as a surefire hit not only in ticket sales but in pay-per-view as well. ■ InterAKTV//January 30, 2013

Japanese women’s judo head coach Ryuji Sonoda (R) is shown at the London Olympics, July 31, 2012. A 15-strong group of judokas complained to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) last month that they were beaten by Sonoda

All Japan Judo Federation executives Koshi Onozawa (R) and Kiyoshi Murakami bow their heads at a press conference in Tokyo on January 30, 2013. Japan’s Olympic female judokas were beaten with bamboo swords and slapped by their coaches, officials said

Kyodo News said Sonoda did not deny the allegations when asked by reporters. “Until now I have been doing things the way I saw fit, but I will mend the things that need fixing,” it quoted him as saying. Japan’s women returned from London with one gold, one silver and one bronze medal in judo, well below their haul from the 2008 Beijing Games. JOC secretary general Noriyuki Ichihara told reporters the matter was not closed. Asked if the AJJF’s decision to keep Sonoda as head coach was appropriate, Ichihara said: “We want to see if the trust between athletes and coaches is still there or if there is a way to rebuild that trust,” adding the AJJF has authority to appoint coaches. The case comes weeks after a Japanese high school student killed himself after repeated physical abuse from his basketball coach, an incident that has provoked national hand-wringing over the way children are disciplined. Under a law dating from 1947, teachers are not permitted to physically discipline their charges. However, there are no statutory

penalties for the minority of teachers who do so. It is not the first time Japan’s sporting world has been rocked by violence. In 2007 a trainee sumo wrestler died after a hazing incident revealed a shocking level of punishment for would-be champions. Referring to Wednesday’s claims, education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura told reporters a rethink was required. “It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching,” he said. Tomohiro Noguchi, a specialist in sport at Nihon University, said it was quite surprising that this kind of thing was happening at Olympic level. “Mainstream ideas have shifted over a generation to advice-based, athlete-centred coaching,” said Noguchi, 46, a former swimmer who said he himself was beaten by his coach as a teenager. “But there are still some coaches who were physically punished in their youth who apparently still believe in the old method. We may have to look at how coaches are educated in sports science universities to prevent a repeat,” he said. ■ AFP

Mayweather looking to make ring return; Donaire in talks to face undefeated Mexican


LOS ANGELES – Unbeaten fighter Floyd Mayweather likely will return to the ring after a one-year layoff on May 4 in Las Vegas against fellow American Robert Guerrero, the Los Angeles Times reported. The card would also feature Mexico’s undefeated Saul “Cinnamon” Alvarez, who many expect will face Mayweather later this year if both are triumphant in May. Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told the Times that a deal could be set this week to send World Boxing Council welterweight champion Mayweather, 43-0 with 26 knockouts, against Guerrero, 31-1-1 with 18 knockouts. Alvarez, 41-0 with one drawn and 30 knockouts, would defend his World Boxing Council super welterweight crown against Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo or James Kirkland, according to the report. Filipino star Nonito Donaire, promoted by Bob Arum, and

Mexico’s undefeated Abner Mares, signed with Golden Boy, are in talks for an April 13 super-bantamweight unification bout, according to the report. Mares is 25-0 with one drawn and 13 knockouts while Donaire is 31-1 with 20 knockouts. Unbeaten American Tim Bradley is in talks to defend the World Boxing Organization title he took from Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao last year, the Times said, with undefeated Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa as the likely opponent in suburban Los Angeles. ■ AFP// January 25, 2013

Original Creation and Copyright Reserved By: Hello Philippines 2012





February 2013 – No. 3 • UK & Europe Edition

PACQUIAO ADVISER OFF TO SINGAPORE TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE VENUE FOR APRIL FIGHT A major move has been made for Manny Pacquiao to stage a comeback fight in April as he sent his Canadian adviser Mike Koncz to Singapore Friday to determine whether the Lion City has what it takes to host the Filipino star. “I am on my way to Singapore,” said Koncz as he boarded the plane yesterday afternoon. Koncz said he will hook up with people in high places over the next three days to know if Singapore can be the stage for Pacquiao’s muchawaited return to the ring following his knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez last December in Las Vegas.

Koncz had earlier identified not only Singapore but also Dubai and Macau as possible venues, but the fact that he is en route to the city-state means there are new developments the past couple of days. In the event a deal can’t be made, Koncz said Manila is an alternative venue. Even a high-ranking official identified with the group of Manuel V. Pangilinan bared that a member of Team Pacquiao has reached out regarding the possibility of a fight in April. But to say that talks are ongoing

is very premature, according to Ricky Vargas, who is Pangilinan’s trusted lieutenant. (InterAKTV is part of, the news site of TV5, which is chaired by Pangilinan.) Last week two names cropped up as possible Pacquiao foes: Jessie Vargas of the United States and Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine. But Koncz would not reveal the name that Team Pacquiao has picked for a fight in April in the absence of a venue to hold the fight. ■ InterAKTV// January 19, 2013

BASKETBALL Meralco, Air 21 finalizing Ronjay

Buenafe for John Wilson, Noy Baclao trade

MERALCO and Air 21 are nearing a deal that would send Bolts spitfire Ronjay Buenafe to the Express in exchange for John Wilson and Noy Baclao. Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren told InterAKTV that a deal is in the works, while another source described the trade as imminent. The Bolts would also send a 2016 second round pick to the Express as part of the trade “We’re looking at a No. 2 guy who is a known scorer. We’re trying to get somebody who could fill in our weakest position,” said Pumaren. ” “If the deal will push through, I think Ronjay Buenafe can ably fill that spot.” Air 21 executive Lito Alvarez, who is currently in Singapore to attend a meeting with the PBA Board of Governors, is working to finalize

details of the deal. All three players involved in the deal were acquired by their respective teams prior to the start of the season. Buenafe joined Meralco

in a trade with Rain or Shine. Baclao and Wilson came from Petron and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, respectively, before ending up with Air 21. ■ Interaksyon // January 30, 2013

BASKETBALL Rajko Toroman can’t be PBA head coach, says BCAP THE Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines is putting its foot down regarding Rajko Toroman’s potential appointment as head coach of Barako Bull in the PBA. BCAP president Chito Narvasa said that the team has approached him about its intention of appointing the Serbian coach to helm the squad. “No, he cannot,” said Narvasa when asked about whether Toroman could become a PBA head coach The BCAP could potentially challenge the issuance by the Department of Labor and Employment of an employment permit to Toroman as head coach of a PBA team. According to DOLE’s Revised Rules for the Issuance of Employment Permits, the ” availability of a Filipino who is competent, able and willing to do the job intended for the foreign national” can be grounds for denial. Narvasa said Toroman could still be part of the Barako Bull coaching staff as team consultant.


Tim Cone: ‘Sakuragi’ Pingris big boost to SMART-Gilas Pilipinas

“We welcome everyone who can [contribute to developing basketball in the Philippines], but not one individual can make a difference, both local and international,” said Narvasa. Toroman earlier told InterAKTV that he didn’t have a problem with his job title, saying he could work

at Barako Bull either as its coach or team consultant. He enjoyed a similar setup at the start of the Philippine Cup, sharing Petron coaching duties with Olsen Racela, before team management pulled the plug on the experiment after a poor start. ■ Interaksyon // January 29, 2013

SAN Mig Coffee livewire forward Marc Pingris is the newest member of the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team, and his coach Tim Cone couldn’t be more excited. “I think he’ll be a key contributor. I’m really happy for Ping,” Cone told InterAKTV. “I’m sure, he, too, is very proud about his selection.” Cone said Pingris, nicknamed ‘Sakuragi’ after the anime character for his firebrand style of play, brings a different dimension to SMART-Gilas. “He does so many things that were never done by other members of the squad,” said Cone.

Pingris’ entry into SMART-Gilas could mean missing games for San Mig Coffee in the Governors’ Cup, the schedule of which is still being set by the PBA. With this in mind, Cone said that the team could choose to bring back Marqus Blakely, who led the franchise to a finals appearance in the seasonending tournament last season. During his stint, fans compared Blakely’s style of play to that of Pingris, earning him the nickname ‘Black Sakuragi’. “We’re looking to bring him in for the third conference,” said Cone. ■

Interaksyon // January 29, 2013

February 2013 A Issue  

Filipino news, sports, entertainment