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February 2013 / Fortnightly
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Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation LONDON — We are now closing this Live Report on the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. But before we do, here is a brief recap of the main developments in the story: • Pope Benedict has said he is stepping down on February 28 after just eight years as pontiff; • The 85-year-old said that “my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry”; • A diehard traditionalist who stressed family values and opposed abortion and gay marriage, he has attracted plenty of controversy during his time as pontiff. But he drew plaudits from around the world on his resignation, including from US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger; • A new pope is expected to be chosen before Easter Sunday on March 31. Early favourites for the role include cardinals Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Peter Turkson of
Ghana and Marc Ouellet of Canada. Be sure to keep following AFP’s coverage online and through the @AFP Twitter feed for all the breaking updates. LIVE REPORT ENDS. 1833 GMT: It seems the Italian journalist who got the scoop on the pope’s resignation did so thanks to her knowledge of Latin. “Our Vatican expert Giovanna Chirri was listening to the pope’s speech,” the ANSA news agency’s head of information Luigi Contu told AFP. “At one point, the pope stopped talking about the consistory. Chirri understood he was saying he was tired, that the pressure was too much, and that he was going to stop.” Chirri later modestly played down her success, tweeting: “Benedict XVI’s Latin is very easy to understand.” 1823 GMT: The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, says he was shocked by the resignation and asked for prayers for those choosing the pope’s successor.
Pope Benedict XVI
“Pope Benedict has resigned in circumstances of his own choosing,” he said in a statement. “While it is a shock to me, we can be certain that Pope Benedict has made this decision after very careful and prayerful reflection.” 1806 GMT: My AFP colleagues in Lagos, Nigeria have been speaking to the city’s Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins about the news.
Asked about the prospect of an African pope, he said: “Obviously the choice of who becomes pope is not a merely human calculation alone, but rather the work of the Holy Spirit as well. “We would allow the Holy Spirit to do his work and give to us the man, the person, who is best suited to the life of the church at this point in time.” 1800 GMT: More reaction from groups representing
young people who suffered abuse at the hands of church staff. “No matter how tired or weak Pope Benedict may be, he still has two weeks to use his vast power to protect youngsters. Before he steps down, we hope he will show true leadership and compassion and take tangible action to safeguard vulnerable children,” read a statement by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those
Abused by Priests, issued in the US. “Imagine the shock waves -- and the hope -- that would be generated if, in his waning days, the pontiff demoted, disciplined, or defrocked even a handful of bishops who are concealing child sex crimes. And imagine the deterrent that would be to present and future cover ups.” 1727 GMT: In a written statement, Barack Obama says of the pope: “Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.” He added that he and his wife warmly remembered meeting him in 2009. 1719 GMT: US PRESIDENT OBAMA OFFERS ‘APPRECIATION’ AND PRAYERS TO POPE 1657 GMT: AFP’s Ralf Isermann has been to the pope’s birthplace, the southern German town of Marktl am Inn, to get reactions from the local community. The town is proud of its papal connection and has even sold “pope beer” and
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International / Global News
Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation PHILIPPINES
“Vatican bread” to mark the link. Maximilian Liedl, 59, said he was “very surprised” at the news. “My wife rang me and I could hardly believe it. But he will know why he did it. It’s better that he resign than he talks rubbish. But I still find it sad,” he said. Liedl added proudly: “The pope and I have the same belly button... the same midwife tied our umbilical cords at birth.” 1645 GMT: An English couple who were blessed by Pope Benedict on Saturday have told AFP’s Angus MacKinnon that the pontiff looked frail. “As he came past me, he was looking to the left but he suddenly turned to the right and he caught my eye. There was a split second when he was looking right at me,” Hilary Stafford Northcote said. “I must say I thought ‘gosh he’s not very long for this world.’ But he has got such an aura of holiness. You feel he is a deeply holy man.” Her husband Hugh added that he was surprised by the news: “I always thought retirement for the pope was like divorce -- you don’t do it. You go on until you’ve dropped.” 1620 GMT: What will Pope Benedict XVI’s legacy be when he retires later this month? The Catholic Church is still grappling with child abuse scandals involving priests. It also faces increasing secularism in the West. He was the first pope to express “shame” over the abuse and to meet victims. But he was criticised for failing to realise the scale of the problem in his previous role as head of the Church’s main doctrinal body. This issue remains, as does that of how the Church remains relevant in the modern world. He has said he believes the Church will be marginalised if it does not keep up with the times -- but has also said it must remain demanding. 1600 GMT: Celebrities have also taken to Twitter to respond to the pope’s resignation. CNN talk show host Piers Morgan compares Benedict XVI’s tenure unfavourably with that of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II: “The Queen’s a year older than The Pope. Can’t see her ever resigning because she’s tired. #indefatigability1infallibility0”. US actress Mia Farrow adds: “The last time a pope willingly resigned was in 1294 Hoping for a more progressive successor imagine a pope more like Arch Desmond Tutu”. 1550 GMT: Some Twitter users are cracking jokes about the pope’s resignation using the hashtag #popejoke. Some of the gags include: “You
know that the economy is bad when even God is laying people off” and “Rafael Benitez to be named as the interim Pope.” Benitez is, of course, interim manager of Chelsea FC. 1533 GMT: The president of the US conference of Roman Catholic bishops has described the pope’s surprise decision to resign as “another sign of his great care for the Church.” “We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St Peter,” added Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. 1523 GMT: There has been more reaction from victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, this time in Australia. In comments cited by the Australian Associated Press, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) spokeswoman Nicky Davis said: “Victims welcome the resignation of a church official with immense power who has done so little to stop the reign of terror of child rapist priests. “In the eyes of many victims, Joseph Ratzinger has personally done much to add to the huge number of victims and exponentially increase the suffering of those already harmed.” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Pope Benedict’s resignation was an “historic moment which many Australian Catholics will greet with great emotion”. 1515 GMT: The pope’s brother Georg Ratzinger, himself a senior Catholic, has told AFP: “The reason for his resignation is indeed that he is feeling the burden of his age... “I have known for a few months that this (the resignation) was planned.” 1505 GMT: POPE’S BROTHER SAYS HAS KNOWN FOR MONTHS ABOUT PLANNED RESIGNATION 1500 GMT: For those just joining us, here is a quick recap of the day’s events so far. - Pope Benedict XVI has said he will resign on February 28 due to old age; - The 85-year-old is set to retire to a monastery within the Vatican; - A new pope is expected to be elected before March 31, Easter Sunday; - Pope Benedict has drawn tributes from leaders, both religious and political, around the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had the “greatest respect” for his decision, while Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he learnt of the news “with a heavy heart but complete understanding.” 1458 GMT: AFP colleagues at the Vatican are still gathering shocked reactions from those on the ground.
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
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Father Aaron Melancon, a 43-year-old from the US, said: “We have love and affection for Pope Benedict. “I loved his writing as a cardinal and as a pope. I loved the leadership under him. He is the second pope in history to break the tradition and I am not in favour of this decision, but it is his own. It is not the body that governs, but the mind.” 1433 GMT: A group representing people who suffered child abuse in Catholic-run institutions in Ireland has welcomed the pope’s resignation. “This pope had a great opportunity to finally address the decades of abuse in the church but at the end of the day he did nothing but promise everything,” John Kelly, of the Survivors of Child Abuse support group, told AFP. “The Church needs to acknowledge that all of this happened. They need to acknowledge that they allowed the devil inside and had him reside there for 50 years.” A string of official reports in Ireland in recent years have lifted the lid on decades of child abuse in religious institutions stretching back to the foundation of the state in 1922. 1415 GMT: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has voiced his “highest respect” for the pope’s decision. The pontiff has exercised “extraordinary courage and an extraordinary sense of responsibility,” Napolitano added. 1405 GMT: Following his resignation, Pope Benedict is expected to retire to a monastery within the Vatican walls. Last year, he suffered the strain of seeing his former trusted butler Paolo Gabriele sentenced to 18 months for stealing secret papal memos. In December, he pardoned Gabriele over the “Vatileaks” scandal but expelled him from the Vatican. 1357 GMT: AFP’s Dario Thuburn has been speaking to people at St Peter’s to get their reactions to the surprise news. Marta, 38, on holiday from Spain with her husband, said: “It’s a really bad thing. He should have stayed for life, you can’t just leave when you want to.” Jennifer, 30, from Colorado in the US, added: “I was really shocked. In our media-dominated culture, it’s a unique challenge for the pope to be so available constantly so if he has lost some of his faculties, I guess he’s done the right thing. “It’s sadder today than when pope John Paul II died because at least that was natural.” 1352 GMT: At the more frivolous end of the betting scale, Paddy
Pope John Paul II
Power is offering odds of 500/1 on U2 singer Bono being the next pope. Fellow British bookmakers Coral are offering 2000/1 on disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong or AC Milan footballer Mario Balotelli. 1348 GMT: More on the possible successors to the pope. British bookmaker William Hill is tipping Nigeria’s Francis Arinze, 80, as favourite with odds of 2/1. A spokesman explains why. “When we opened betting last time around, in 2005, Francis Arinze was our favourite,” the spokesman told AFP. “When Ratzinger became pope, Arinze took over from him as cardinal bishop of Valletri-Segni (a Catholic diocese close to Rome) -- it could be that he’ll follow in his footsteps again.” 1338 GMT: A spokesman for Philiippine President Beningo Aquino has joined those voicing their sadness at the resignation. The Philippines is regarded as a bastion of Catholicism in Asia -about 80 percent of the country’s 100 million people are Catholic. “Not only the Catholic world, but all peoples and nations of goodwill are filled with great regret,” a spokesman for Aquino, Edwin Lacierda, said in a statement. “At this time, when the pope has announced the physical challenges he faces makes it difficult to continue bearing the burdens of his office, we join the Catholic world and all whose lives he has touched in prayer and sympathy.” 1333 GMT: Bookmakers are already offering odds on who is likely to replace Pope Benedict. Paddy Power make Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada favourite at 5/2, followed by Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria at 3/1 and Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana at 4/1. Will the Catholic Church take the opportunity to appoint an African pope? An intriguing prospect. 1326 GMT: After a cardinal is chosen, he is asked if he agrees to become pope and what name he wishes to be known by. He immediately becomes Pontifex Maximus, or the Holy Roman Pontiff.
The dean of the college of cardinals then steps on to the Vatican’s main balcony and declares: “Habemus Papam!”, Latin for “We have a Pope!” The new pope then appears on the balcony and delivers a blessing. 1321 GMT: How will the new pope be chosen? The outside world has to look out for a puff of white smoke from the Vatican to know when the decision has been taken. The 120 cardinals making the decision gather and take an oath of secrecy. They remain in total isolation during the process, with only a doctor and a cook to assist them. A secret ballot is held with four votes taking place per day until a result is achieved. The new pope has to be selected with a two-thirds majority, no matter how long it takes. After each count, the ballot papers are burnt. If a new pope has been elected, the papers are burned with a substance that gives off white smoke, to signal the news to the waiting crowds. If no candidate has succeeded in gaining the necessary majority, the smoke is black. 1315 GMT: “He is and remains one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time,” Merkel adds, paying tribute to the pope. 1311 GMT: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she has the “greatest respect” for the pope’s decision to step down. 1308 GMT: A spokesman for Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, told AFP: “During his term, the relations between the Chief Rabbinate and the Church, and Judaism and Christianity, became much closer, which brought to a decrease in antiSemitic acts around the world.” The spokesman expressed hope that his successor would continue in the same vein. 1300 GMT: Israel’s chief rabbi has said that Pope Benedict helped to reduce anti-Semitism worldwide. More on those comments to follow. 1246 GMT: Meanwhile, the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby -- the spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans -- has issued a
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Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation PHILIPPINES
statement expressing sadness at the news. “It was with a heavy heart but complete understanding that we learned this morning of Pope Benedict?s declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, an office which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage,” he said. 1244 GMT: British Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a statement saying Pope Benedict will be “missed as a spiritual leader to millions.” 1240 GMT: There have been other popes who stepped down in different circumstances. There have been up to five papal abdications in 2,000 years. But numerous other popes have been deposed or exiled, 21 popes are listed as martyrs and nine others are considered martyrs. One of the most eye-catching cases dates back to 1045 when Benedict IX, renowned as one of the most disgraceful popes ever, sold his papacy to his godfather, pious priest John Gratian, so that he could get married. Reportedly unable to persuade the woman in question to have him, he later returned to seize Rome. 1235 GMT: It seems we have
to go back to the 13th century to find a precedent for this type of resignation. The only other pope to step down because he felt unable to fulfil his duties was Celestine V in 1296. He was hermit who left after a few months because he yearned for a simpler life and said he was not physically capable of performing the role. 1230 GMT: Although the pope has looked frail in recent months -he has often used a mobile platform to get around St Peter’s Basilica during services -- his move has come as a shock to most. “The pope caught us a bit by surprise,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said. 1223 GMT: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to speak about the pope’s resignation at 1330 GMT, her office says. The pope, Joseph Ratzinger, is of course German -- he was born in Bavaria in 1927 and was archbishop of Munich for four years from 1977. His brother Georg is also a senior figure in the Catholic Church and has written a book about his younger brother. 1216 GMT: Irish bookmakers Paddy Power are offering odds of
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4/1 that the next pope’s name will be Peter, 5/1 that it will be Pius -and 100/1 that it will be Damian. 1208 GMT: More on that news of the pope’s replacement. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters that a conclave to choose a successor could be held within 15 or 20 days of the resignation on February 28, which is due to come at precisely 2000 local time. 1203 GMT: VATICAN SAYS NEW POPE TO BE ELECTED BEFORE EASTER 1200 GMT: News of the resignation is dominating Twitter this morning. Worldwide trending topics include “Pope”, “Ratzinger”, “Feb. 28” and “dimissioniPapa” -- Italian for “Pope’s resignation.” 1155 GMT: The pope recently started using Twitter, tweeting as @ Pontifex and gathering over a million and a half followers. His most recent tweet on Sunday said: “We must trust in the mighty power of God?s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new.” 1152 GMT: Benedict XVI’s comments have repeatedly attracted controversy during his time in the Vatican.
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition He stirred fury in the Muslim world in 2006 with a speech which appeared to endorse the view of a 14th cenutry Byzantine emperor that Islam is inherently evil. In 2009, he struggled to mollify Jews after inviting a breakaway, ultra-conservative faction back into the Church by lifting the excommunication of four bishops. One of these insists no-one died in the gas chambers of Nazi Germany. 1145 GMT: How will the pope be remembered after nearly eight years in the role? He took over as successor to the highly popular John Paul II in 2005 at the age of 78. A brilliant scholar, he was a strong defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy and had earned the nickname “God’s Rottweiler.” He opposed abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia and stressed family values. His tenure has also been clouded by revelations over child abuse by Catholic priests which was often covered up. 1137 GMT: French President Francois Hollande has described the pope’s decision to resign as “eminently respectable”. Meanwhile, a government spokesman in the pope’s home nation of Germany has expressed “respect” and “gratitude” for him in response. “The federal government has the
greatest possible respect for the Holy Father, for his accomplishments, for his life-long work for the Catholic Church,” said Steffen Seibert. 1134 GMT: The pope has explained his decision to a meeting of cardinals, saying his strength has “deteriorated” in the last few months. “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he told the meeting. “In order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” WELCOME to AFP’s Live Report on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. In a surprise move, the pope has said he will resign on February 28, a Vatican spokesman has said. The 85-year-old pontiff says he lacks the strength to govern due to his age. He will be the first pope to step down for centuries. Keep reading for all the breaking updates and reactions from around the world. ■ AFP
PLDT UK and SUN Cellular Soon to Offer IDD Buckets Philippine bookstore pulls out Chinese-made globes THE sun is about to shine brighter to our fellow Filipinos in the United Kingdom. PLDT Global Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the PLDT Group, recently launched SMART Pinoy in the United Kingdom last December 15, 2012 through PLDT UK. This service empowered through the partnership with Teleena, a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler based in the UK, allows Filipinos in the UK to enjoy the most affordable call and text rates to the Philippines and within the UK.The story however doesn’t end there. PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel, a telecommunications company that pioneered the “Unlimited” service in the Philippines through the Sun Cellular brand last October 2011, has created a brighter opportunity to serve more subscribers with outstanding quality service not only in the Philippines but also around the world. The same “Sun” will be shining in the UK this time. This coming February 22-23,
executives of SUN Cellular will be visiting the UK to have a glimpse of the Filipino market to understand their needs and explore creative possibilities to provide subscribers beyond reliable calling and texting services. PLDT UK in partnership with SUN Cellular, will soon offer Smart-SUN IDD buckets to give Filipinos in the UK more affordablerates to call or text their loved onesin the Philippines. More details of this amazing service will be disclosed soon. “After launching last December 2012, a lot of plans have been set out to give our global Filipinos the best rates and quality service. We are excited to meet our SUN counterparts to finalize everything and finally introduce the IDD buckets to our subscribers,” Allan Santos, PLDT UK General Manager. As PLDT UK continues to grow, subscribers can continue to expect high quality service bringing them closer to their loved ones in the Philippines. ■
THE Philippines’ largest bookstore chain has withdrawn Chinese-made globes showing Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea from its shelves, a government spokesman said Thursday. The globes were sold by the National Bookstore up until Wednesday, foreign office spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement. “The National Bookstore has withdrawn all the educational globes, which reflect China’s nine-dash line encompassing the South China Sea, from its stores,” Hernandez said. “It has taken a patriotic position to proactively support the Philippine government in advancing Philippine foreign policy objectives.” He said the decision to pull out the globes came after a dialogue with the bookstore management, which claimed they were unaware of the “misinformation” contained in the education materials. China’s “nine-dash line” outlines its claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbours. The Philippine government last month took China to an arbitration panel under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -- a 1982 treaty signed by both countries -- to demand that it declare China’s claims invalid.
Students look at a globe in the Baseco government elementary school in Manila on October 9, 2008. The Philippines’ largest bookstore chain has withdrawn Chinesemade globes showing Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea from its shelves, a government spokesman said Thursday
China’s territorial claims overlap those of the Philippines as well as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. The Philippines and Vietnam have over the past two years complained of Chinas increasing assertiveness in enforcing its claims, particularly around areas
believed rich in oil and natural gas reserves. China’s stance led to a standoff last year with the Philippines over rich fishing grounds around Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop much closer to the Philippine coast than to China’s shores. ■ AFP
International / Global News
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Barack Obama to propose deep nuclear arms cuts: report Iraq car bombs kill 16: Officials Currently, the Unites States has about 1,700 nuclear weapons, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018. But Obama “believes that we can make pretty radical reductions -- and save a lot of money -- without compromising American security in the second term. And the Joint Chiefs have signed off on that concept,” the Times quoted one official as saying. However, the White House is loath to negotiate an entirely new treaty with Russia, which would lead to Russian demands for restrictions on US and NATO missile-defense
systems in Europe and would revive a major fight with Republicans in the Senate over ratification, the paper said. Instead, Obama is weighing how to reach an informal agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin for mutual cuts within the framework of the new START treaty, but without the need for ratification, The Times said. ■ AFP // Updated: February 11, 2013
Kabul inquiry finds evidence of prison torture KABUL: An official investigation into torture in Afghan prisons has found widespread abuse, President Hamid Karzai said Sunday, following a UN report into the problem. “According to the report of the commission of inquiry, half of the prisoners interviewed complained of mistreatment, harassment and even torture during their detention,” the president’s office said in a statement. It described prisoners’ access to lawyers as “problematic”, but made no conclusions or recommendations. Karzai ordered the probe after the United Nations issued a damning
report in January citing evidence of frequent abuse in the country’s prison system. The report revealed that 326 of 635 prisoners interviewed across the country said they had been abused, including 80 minors. Fourteen types of torture were described in the UN report, including beatings with cables and pipes, attacks on the genitals, threats of execution or rape, electric shocks and forced stress positions. The United Nations also said 81 people imprisoned in southwestern Kandahar disappeared between September 2011 and October 2012.
BAGHDAD: A spate of car bombs in Baghdad and central Iraq, including two explosions minutes apart at a popular bird market, killed 16 people and wounded dozens on Friday, security and medical officials said. Twin blasts struck just after 9:00 am local time at the market in Baghdad’s predominantly Shia neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah, an interior ministry official and a medical source said. At least 11 people were killed and 30 others wounded in the explosions at the bird market, which is often crowded with visitors on Fridays, the weekly holiday in Iraq. And in the predominantly-Shia
Iraqi province of Babil, two car bombs in the town of Shomali, south of Baghdad, killed five people and wounded 11 others, according to security and medical officials. Sunni militants, including al Qaeda’s front group in Iraq, often target Shiite neighbourhoods with deadly attacks in a bid to push the country back to the sectarian bloodshed that blighted it from 2005 to 2008. The violence is the latest in a spike in unrest in Iraq, which has been struck by waves of car bombs and suicide attacks in recent weeks amid a political crisis and weeks of rallies in Sunni-majority areas calling for the ouster of Shia prime minister Nuri al Maliki. ■ AFP // February 8, 2013
“These findings seriously concern us,” Jan Kubis, the UN special representative in Afghanistan, said at the time, calling on the government to “do more to prevent torture”. Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi questioned the motivations behind the UN report and said the government “is not involved in crimes against detainees”. He also said that torture and abuse of prisoners were “certainly not our policy”, adding that the Red Cross had full access to Afghan detention centres and had not revealed any evidence of torture. ■ A file photo of a blast in Karbala, Iraq. (Photo: AFP)
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WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union address on Tuesday to call for dramatic cuts in nuclear arsenals around the world, The New York Times reported late on Sunday. Quoting unnamed administration officials, the newspaper said that in recent months Obama had secured agreement with the US military that its nuclear force can be cut by roughly a third. In his speech Obama is unlikely to discuss specific numbers but White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000, the report said.
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February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Pakistan plans ‘amusement city’ for bin Laden town Gay and lesbian adoptions the new norm in Quebec PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistan is planning to build a $30 million amusement park with a zoo and adventure sports facilities in the town where Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces, officials said Monday. The 50-acre (20-hectare) riverside development on the edge of Abbottabad, where US Navy SEALs shot the Al-Qaeda leader dead on May 2, 2011, will include restaurants, a heritage centre and artificial waterfalls. The government of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province hopes the project, announced as a public-private partnership, will boost tourism but denied it was intended to improve the town’s image after the humiliation of the bin Laden raid. “The amusement city will be built on 50 acres in the first phase but later will be extended to 500 acres,” Syed Aqil Shah, the provincial minister for tourism and sports, told AFP. “It will have a heritage park, wildlife zoo, food street, adventure and paragliding clubs, waterfalls and jogging tracks.” Work is due to begin in late February or early March, he said, and will take eight years to complete. Funds worth three billion rupees ($30 million) have been allocated, he said.
Youths play cricket near the site of the demolished compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, on May 2, 2012 (AFP/File, Sajjad Qayyum)
Abbottabad, a quiet, leafy town nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas around 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Islamabad, has long been a popular spot for well-heeled families from the capital to spend weekends away. The town also houses Pakistan’s elite military academy and the discovery of the world’s most wanted man on its doorstep prompted allegations of incompetence or complicity between the armed forces and the 9/11 mastermind.
But Shah insisted the new development was simply about promoting tourism, not polishing the town’s tarnished image. “This project has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden,” he told AFP. “We are working to promote tourism and amusement facilities in the whole province and this project is one of those facilities.” The authorities demolished the compound where bin Laden hid with his wives and children last February, fearing it could become a shrine to Al-Qaeda followers. ■ AFP
Suicide bomber blows himself up near Mali soldiers
GAO, Mali — A suicide bomber blew himself up near a group of Malian soldiers in the northern city of Gao, where Islamist rebels driven from the town have resorted to guerilla attacks, a military officer told AFP Friday. The suicide bomber “approached us on a motorbike, he was a Tamashek (Tuareg), and as he came closer he set off his belt,” said First Sergeant Mamadou Keita. “He died immediately and among us, one was injured.” The act marked the first suicide attack in the embattled west African nation since the start of a Frenchled offensive to oust the Islamists from Mali’s north, where they had controlled key towns for 10 months.
Malian tuareg soldiers patrol in the streets in Gao on February 3, 2013 (AFP/File, Sia Kambou)
It comes a day after one of the Islamist groups, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), said in a message to AFP Thursday that it had “created a new combat zone” by organising attacks on military convoys and placing landmines.
A landmine blast on Wednesday between the northern towns of Douentza and Gao killed four civilians returning from market, an officer with Mali’s paramilitary police said. That explosion came after a similar blast in the same area on January 31 claimed the lives of two Malian soldiers. “MUJAO is behind the explosion of two Malian army cars,” the group’s spokesman Abu Walid Sahraoui said in a text message to AFP. A month after the French launched a lightning offensive to chase out the Islamists, Paris has warned of “residual jihadist groups” who were still fighting. ■ AFP
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“I would like to have a mother, but I wouldn’t want to lose my two dads,” says Frida, a radiant six-year-old Canadian girl unaware of the international controversy raging over gay parenting rights. In Britain and France the debate over gay marriage and parenting has provoked heated debate. But in Canada, a nation born out of their new world colonies, Frida’s situation is no longer very unusual. A gay couple in their 40s adopted Frida when she just a baby. Cheerful and vivacious she runs wild in the Montreal home of Laurent Demers and his partner Steven LeBlanc, burning off energy before bedtime under the watchful gaze of her doting fathers. Britain voted on Tuesday to become the 11th country to allow gay couples to marry -- but the reform divided Prime Minister David Cameron’s ruling Conservatives and must go before the upper chamber before becoming law. In France, where the issue has sparked impassioned protests, that National Assembly approved homosexual marriage and adoption only last month. Canadian gays and lesbians have been tying the knot since June 2005, when a series of court decisions forced Ottawa to legalize gay nuptials on the basis that denying gay couples the right to marry was discriminatory. Since 2002 Canada’s Quebec province has also allowed gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. “We were the 16th gay couple to adopt a child in Quebec, and the first to be entrusted with a girl,” boasts LeBlanc. Frida came home with the couple when she was only two months old, in December 2006. Two years later, she got an adopted baby brother, Jules, who was only four days old when he was added to the family. The adoptions were finalized in short order, in part because the couple were not fussy about who they wanted placed with them to be raised. “Adoptive parents often want ‘pink babies,’ newborns, beautiful and healthy. It’s narcissistic,” says Michel Carignan who as chief of Montreal’s adoption services from 2002 to 2009 oversaw the first adoptions by gay couples. “Gay couples, themselves being different, were open to having children who are different, or of other ethnicities, who are older or with special needs due to psychological or health problems,” he explained. “Because of that, they made faster headway with their applications,” he said, adding that he is aware of no evidence that being raised by a gay couple rather
than a heterosexual couple has any adverse affect on the child. Today, one in three couples seeking to adopt in Montreal are gay or lesbian, said Louise Dumais, who succeeded Carignan at Montreal’s adoption office. Gay and lesbian adoptions have not faced strong opposition in Quebec, where it is widely accepted now as a new societal norm. Most of the couples seeking adoption are gay men. Lesbian couples have mostly turned to artificial insemination to start a family, and since 2010c the province has paid the bill, said Mona Greenbaum, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Family Coalition. Her organization has helped 1,300 families. International adoptions are out of the question. No country allows children to be placed with foreign gay couples, says Greenbaum, who is a mother of two boys thanks to insemination at a US clinic. Some couples have access to surrogacy, which is banned in Quebec but not in neighboring Ontario, but this option is costly -- with fees of up to Can$75,000 charged by agencies in Ontario -and legally complicated. It’s not always easier for lesbians. Stephanie Recordon and Florence Lagouarde came to Quebec from France in 2003 in order to have children. After three years of trying they gave up on artificial insemination and turned to in-vitro fertilization. One of Recordon’s eggs was implanted in Lagouarde’s uterus. On February 10, 2011, Lagouarde was stunned by the positive result of a home pregnancy test. Little Markus was born nine months later. His mothers are now eager to try again for a second child, using this same method. Every gay and lesbian couple interviewed by AFP described their own unique adventures in parenthood. But they all had one thing in common: at hospitals, daycares, schools or elsewhere their nontraditional families were treated just the same as any other. Anna is a blonde-haired, blueeyed girl with two mothers, Charlotte Semblat and Genevieve Guindon, both sociology professors. Her friends at daycare, the couple says, “accept it as quite normal” although they are sometimes jealous that Anna has both “a mother and a mommy.” What does Anna say when asked why she has no father? “That that’s the way it is!” she asserts, before turning her attention to two toy chipmunks. “A heterosexual couple,” Semblat says, of the animals. ■ AFP // February 2013
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BUSINESS & FINANCE
Globe voted as Best Telco in the Philippines by CNET Asia
MANILA, Philippines–Reinforcing its position as one of the preferred telco brands in Asia, Globe Telecom was recognized as the Best Telco in the Philippines in the prestigious CNET Asia Readers’ Choice Awards held in Singapore last January 31. Globe was voted best telco in the country by thousands of CNET Asia readers who voted online for the best tech brands and products in Asia for 2012-2013. To recognize the best brands, CNET Asia (asia.cnet.com) asked its readers to nominate their standout products/brands as part of the 8th Annual CNET Asia Readers Choice Awards. Covering the best tech from 2012-2013, over 297,000 votes from CNET Asia readers were captured in over 7 weeks to determine the winners. The voting was opened to all online readers from CNET Asia. The brands and products voted by consumers were selected by the CNET Asia editors based on overall reader popularity and feedback, performance via CNET Asia lab tests, in addition to value and impact. From there, three products from each category with the most number of votes were awarded the CNET Asia Readers’ Choice Awards.
CNET Asia is one of the most reputable technology online media in the region and its product reviews are widely read by consumers. CNET Asia is published by Asia’s largest online media publisher CBS Interactive. “We are proud to be recognized as among the best in the region,” said Ernest Cu, Globe president and CEO. “We thank the readers and our customers who believed in our brand and what we do in the organization. This award strengthens our resolve to transform the landscape of Philippine telco industry and change the game again through our innovative products and services.” The company’s successive quarters of growth over the last two years have been admired by industry watchers and analysts. Delivering superior mobile and internet products, the company has a robust subscriber base of over 32 million. Its customizable plans propelled the company’s postpaid business, growing this to over 1.7 million subscribers, and cementing brand leadership. Globe also leads in the broadband category with its Tattoo nomadic and @Home products.
GLOBE Telecom has sought regulatory intervention on the matter of interconnecting the services of its subsidiary Innove Communications with industry giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). Globe National Carrier Relations Division Head Melvin Santos told National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) chief Gamaliel A. Cordoba in a letter that PLDT has not enforced in full the terms of interconnection between the local phone giant and Globe’s subsidiary despite repeated representations made since 2007. Santos said Globe initially pursued interconnection discussions with PLDT in 2006, when the NTC first approved of Innove’s nationwide roll out that year.
Innove Communications then formally sought interconnection the following year when it asked PLDT to link its systems consistent with the NTC mandate. According to Santos, only nine of the 32 provinces sought for interconnection were actually linked since then. Santos told Cordoba that Globe is “again constrained to seek the urgent intervention of this Honorable Commission in ensuring that all local interconnection between Innove and PLDT will be completed without further delays and within the agreed timetable.” He added while Globe was “ready to initiate administrative proceedings against PLDT, we
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
DMCI talking with 3 firms on expansion of Calaca power plant
MW has begun and was expected to be finished by end of 2014 or early 2015. Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp., the wholly owned subsidiary of Semirara Mining Corp., a unit of DMCI, has already sealed a P11.5-billion loan facility with Banco de Oro Unibank Inc., Bank of the Philippines Islands and China Banking Corp. for the financing of the first phase expansion work. Consunji said the second phase expansion is worth P20 billion. Of the amount, P12 billion will be financed through bank loans. He earlier said the same banks could be tapped for the second phase. The existing Calaca facility consists of two 300-MW generating units designed to run as a baseload plant. It is designed to use local coal from Semirara. The planned expansion is expected to contribute to the Luzon grid supply during the critical periods of 2014 and 2015. DMCI bought the Calaca plant from the government in July 2009 with its bid price of $361.7 million. Semirara is currently the country’s largest coal producer whose mining operations is located in Antique. ■
■ INQUIRER.net // February 5th, 2013
DMCI Holdings Inc. is in talks with Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Marubeni Corp. and AC Energy Holdings Corp. for a possible partnership on the former’s expansion of its coal-fired power plant in Batangas. “These are all very preliminary. We are talking to all three at the moment but only one will be chosen,” said DMCI Holdings President Isidro Consunji. DMCI Holdings will expand the existing 600-megawatt (MW) Calaca power facility by another 600 MW. The expansion will be done in two phases. The three companies are interested to purchase power with the expansion of the power plant. Consunji said they are all pitching for an equity stake. “They want equity but we are concerned as to what existing shareholders have to say. They may have reservations about partnering with someone if we can do it on our own,” said Consunji. The selection process is ongoing. “Before the first half of the year is over we will choose from one of them,” he added. AC Energy is a unit of Ayala Corp. Construction for the first 300
are taking the present step in the spirit of an amicable resolution of our differences and consistent with the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies.” Santos said the only places where PLDT observed the terms of the interconnection agreement were in Davao City, the provinces of La Union, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon and Zamboanga City. To date, Santos said only 11 out of the 32 candidate areas for local interconnection have been accommodated by PLDT for activation. “Despite our continuous and persistent efforts of following up with PLDT via letters, e-mails, telephone
and numerous bilateral discussions, there has been no significant movement/progress on PLDT’s side currently,” he said. He pointed out that they have had numerous meetings “with PLDT giving numerous assurances and commitments, but with all ending up unrealized” despite an October 22 request from the NTC for PLDT to prioritize the interconnection within the agreed timetable. “Such inaction and neglect of NTC rules by PLDT betray their apparent lack of serious regard for the mandatory character of interconnection,” said Santos. He concluded that “we hope the commission can convene the parties the soonest possible time in order
to achieve the full interconnection between Innove and PLDT throughout the Philippines for the benefit of the subscribing public, in particular, and the entire nation, in general.” In response, PLDT issued a statement, saying it has cooperated fully with Globe with respect to the interconnection. It stated that “for example, we are in the final stage of implementation for interconnection in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur, and are now trying to schedule the formal activation of this link. We have ongoing discussions regarding establishing links in Pangasinan and Zambales and are scheduled to begin discussions on new areas.” ■
Business Mirror // February 2013
provides the most reliable measure of an arm’s length result, taking into account the quality of available data and the degree of accuracy of adjustments. Five choices are given of the methods to be used – comparable uncontrolled price, resale price, cost plus, profit split and transactional net margin. Whatever method is considered the most appropriate, it is required that the taxpayer retains all of the documents necessary to prove that efforts were exerted to determine the arm’s length price in measuring transactions among the associated enterprises. The guidelines also allow for an advance pricing arrangement (APA) facility to be available to taxpayers who are engaged in cross-border transactions. The APA would be an
agreement entered into between the taxpayer and the BIR to determine in advance an appropriate set of criteria to ascertain the transfer prices of controlled transactions over a fixed period of time, so as to reduce the risk of transfer pricing examination and double taxation. Unilateral, bilateral and multilateral APAs are considered. The relevant mutual agreement procedure (MAP) article within the Philippines tax treaties provides a mechanism for the BIR to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution with the competent authority of the treaty partner to eliminate double taxation issues arising from transfer pricing adjustments. The BIR will issue separate guidelines on the application of the APA and MAP processes. ■ Tax News // 04 February 2013
Globe Corporate Communications Head Yoly Crisanto receives the Best Telco in the Philippines award in behalf of Globe from CNET Asia Senior Editor Reuben Lee.
Globe is currently rolling out its $700-million network modernization program that will bring to the Philippines the most advanced, future-proof mobile network built to provide higher call quality, pervasive 3G and 4G coverage, and faster mobile internet experience all over the country. Globe has won several awards last year including its back-to-back 2011 and 2012 Telecom Service Provider of the Year and 2012 Broadband service provider of the year from global business research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
Business Mirror // Sunday, 10 February 2013
Globe seeking NTC intervention on Innove-PLDT interconnection
Philippines Introduces Transfer Pricing Guidelines
OF particular importance to present and prospective investors into the Philippines, the Department of Finance and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has recently issued Transfer Pricing Guidelines (Revenue Regulations No. 2-2013) that will now apply to both cross-border and domestic transactions between and among associated enterprises. The regulations have been promulgated to implement the Commissioner of Internal Revenue’s authority, under the Philippines tax code, to review transactions among associated enterprises and to allocate or distribute their income and deductions in line with the arm’s length principle, to ensure that taxpayers clearly reflect the
appropriate income attributable to transactions, and to prevent the avoidance of taxes. The regulations prescribe guidelines in determining the appropriate revenue and taxable income of the parties in a transaction by providing for the methods of establishing an “arm’s length price.” The guidelines are largely based on the arm’s length methodologies as set out under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Transfer Pricing Guidelines, and the BIR explicitly adopts the use of arm’s length as the most appropriate standard to determine transfer prices between related parties. The regulation does not indicate
a preference for any one method of comparing the prices or margins adopted or obtained by the related parties with those adopted or obtained by independent parties engaged in similar transactions. However it suggests that the method should be used that produces the most reliable results, taking into account the characteristics of the goods, services or intangible assets; the functions performed, the assets used and the risks assumed; and the markets and economic conditions in which the entities operate. The guidelines emphasize that the selection of a transfer pricing method is aimed at finding the most appropriate method for a particular case, utilizing the one that
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BUSINESS & FINANCE
SkyCity sees Philippines potential, says no disclosure needed SKYCITY Entertainment Group, which recently quit its stake in the Christchurch casino, says the market in the Philippines is “attractive” but nothing needs to be told to shareholders yet. The company made a statement to the stock exchange comes after chief executive Nigel Morrison told the New Zealand Herald the company has sent top executives to Manila and might make a move this year. He told the paper SkyCity has enough strength in its balance sheet to make the investment, which was reported at some $200 million.
“We are always looking at ways to grow the business beyond our existing markets and proactively review new opportunities to create shareholder value,” Mr Morrison says in a statement. “Whilst we have visited the Philippines and consider the market to be attractive, there is nothing that requires disclosure to our shareholders.” The casino operator has already signalled plans for a $A300 million upgrade of its Adelaide operation and is waiting on the outcome of an auditor-general’s inquiry into building a $350 million convention centre in
Auckland before going ahead with that investment. Shares in the Auckland-based company were unchanged at $3.97 yesterday and have gained 5.8 percent this year. ■ Business Mirror // February 01, 2013
4 more cargo forwarders blacklisted because of undelivered ‘balikbayan’ boxes MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry-Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (DTI-PSB) has added four more cargo forwarders in its list of erring companies subject to complaints on undelivered “balikbayan” boxes. In its February 8 advisory, the DTI-PSB warned Filipinos in the UK against doing business with Manila Forwarder UK, while those in the United Arab Emirates were warned against 7 Seas Marine Cargo. The bureau said the Philippine agents of these two foreign cargo consolidators are under investigation due to missing packages. Manila Forwarder UK and 7 Seas Marine Cargo joined the 36 previously blacklisted foreign principals, as follows: • Dausan International Forwarder (Australia), • Dreamsworld Travel Tourism and Cargo Co W.L.L. (Bahrain), • Filipino-Service (Germany), • Ford Cargo International (Hong Kong), • Maharlika Enterprise Cargo Services (Ireland), • SCRL Cargo (Ireland), • Jet Express Cargo (Italy), • Natasha Express Cargo Services (Kuwait), • Pacific Logistics International Cargo (Kuwait), • Philippine Cargo International (Kuwait), • The Filipino Cargo International (Kuwait), • Bayanihan Express (Malaysia), • Cargo Net Worldwide Services formerly FAL-World Express Cargo (Saudi Arabia), • Fil Asia Cargo Forwarders Philippines (Saudi Arabia), • Global Cargo (Saudi Arabia), • North and South Express Cargo (Saudi Arabia), • Sir Cargo Forwarders (Saudi Arabia), • WRJ Freight Forwarders – A Division of Al-Zagel Cargo (Saudi Arabia), • Hagibis Express Pte Ltd
(Singapore), • Maru Cargo Logistics (s) LLP (Singapore), • Al Rodah Marine Cargo (United Arab Emirates), • Cityline Cargo (United Arab Emirates), • Dagupan Cargo Packaging Services (United Arab Emirates), • Express Link Cargo Services (United Arab Emirates), • Smooth Express (United Arab Emirates), • Philand Ynterlink Ltd (United Kingdom), • AAA Cargo Express Inc (USA), • ABS-CBN Star Kargo (USA), • Aerosend (USA), Consolidations • Associated Express – ACE Cargo (USA), • FRS Philippine Freight Services Inc (USA), • Pentagon Cargo Inc (USA), • REN International (USA), • Shipping Express (USA), • South Atlantic Cargo (USA), and • Star Xpress Forwarders (USA). The DTI-PSB said ERG Express Forwarding was added to the list of unaccredited freight forwarding firms that were issued formal charges. The 32 other unaccredited local cargo forwarders are: • ABS-CBN Global Cargo Corp, • Aerosend, • Associated Consolidation Express (ACE), • D’ EEC Freight Forwarder and Logistics, • Dausan International Forwarder, • Diaz Cargo Services, • FACF Parcel Delivery, • FRS Philippine Freight Services Inc, • Forex Cargo Philippines Inc,
• • • • • • • • • • • •
Gen Ex Cargo, International Cargo Forwarder, J. J. Transglobal Brokerage, JAR Cargo Forwarders, Jonar Cargo, Joseph Glenn L. Galo, MME CargoForwarder, Mail Plus Cargo Carriers, Manila Broker, Maru Cargo Logistics Philippines, Nets and Knicks Logistics Corp, Pacific Logistics International Cargo, • Pentfast, • RDN Marketing and Cargo Forwarder, • REN International Services, • Rodah Cargo Manila, • R&M Cargo Services, • Sir2Go Forwarders, • South Atlantic Cargo Inc, • The Filipino Cargo International, • VCG Customs Brokerage, • VGB Villamayor Logistics Inc, and International Cargo • Yasasa Services Philippines. Manilafowarder Phil. Inc meanwhile joined Monark Customs Brokerage Corp and RRG Freight Services in the list of accredited freight forwarders that have been issued show cause orders by DTIPSB because of “balikbayan” box complaints. D’ Winner Logistics Philippines Inc remains in the blacklist as it lost its accreditation following certain violations of the rules on freight forwarding under PSB Administrative Order No. 6. The DTI-PSB had already endorsed three cargo forwarders servicing Filipinos in Dubai to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for investigation on possible estafa. The bureau said it has received a January 22 letter from the DOJ requiring submission of affidavits from complainants. As of January 31, there are 155 accredited domestic freight forwarders as well as 594 registered non-vessel operating common carriers and international freight forwarders. ■ InterAksyon // February 14, 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Karapatan calls for pullout of troops from mining areas KARAPATAN has called for the immediate pullout of Task Force Kitacom (Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio and Malungon) troops from communities surrounding a mining area straddling four provinces in Mindanao after another member of the Capion family was killed on Jan. 29 in Barangay Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. The human-rights watchdog said members of the 39th and 27th Infantry Battalions and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) comprise Task Force Kitacom. Karapatan condemned on the killing of Kitari Capion and the forcible evacuation of some 150 residents of barangay Kimlawis. “We view the recent military operation as another violation of the B’laan’s right to their ancestral lands, as if the incursion of the mining company is not enough to wipe out the B’laan community,” said Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay. Capion was killed during a military operation on Jan. 29, three months after her sister-in-law, Juvy Capion, and her two sons were killed. Initial reports from the community indicated forced evacuation of the B’laan started on Feb. 1. Military operations resumed in B’laan ancestral land after the forced evacuation was completed. Members of the B’laan tribe opposed to the incursion of the Xstrata-SMI operation have employed pangayaw, traditionally a “war” waged by the tribes against intruders into their defined territory but is now waged against the mining company as a way of defending their
ancestral land rights. “The military operation is meant to protect the interests of the mining company by silencing dissent in the community,” added Palabay. Kitari is the fourth member of the Capion clan killed by state forces under the Aquino administration. He is the younger brother of Daguil Capion, the husband of Juvy, who was seriously hurt by troops of the 27th Infantry Battalion in October 2012. “The involvement of the 27th IB in the recent military operations confirms our position that the AFP’s[Armed Forces of the Philippines] earlier announcement to punish those involved in the massacre of Juvy Capion and her sons was just for show,” Palabay said. The AFP pulled out the 27th IB and replaced it with the 39th IB after the Capion killings. “However, both battalions are now involved in the killing of another Capion,” Palabay said. “President Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan has already resulted in the forced evacuation of thousands of people in Mindanao, literally wiping out courageous indigenous peoples who lead their people to stand up against anti-people policies of this government,” Palabay said. “With people being driven away from their lands and their leaders killed, the B’laan have all the right to defend their ancestral lands, their source of life,” she said. Karapatan also called for “justice for the Capions and all Lumad victims who have been killed to pave way for big businesses.” ■ Business
Mirror // Monday, 11 February 2013
Tourism Congress of the Philippines holds general membership meeting and conference TOURISM Congress of the Philippines (TCP) held its general membership meeting and conference on Jan. 31, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. With the theme “Philippine Tourism Toward Global Competitiveness for Investment and Sustainability,” TCP hopes to strengthen its representation in sectors of Philippine tourism such as tourism accommodation enterprises; travel and tour services; land, air and sea tourist transport services; conventions; meetings; incentive travel; exhibitions and events services and facilities; tourism estate; development and management services; and other accredited tourism enterprises. Another goal is to provide updates on the country’s opportunities and challenges on tourism with the coming of the Asean Integration in 2015. Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, together with
Domingo Ramon Enerio III, COO of Tourism Promotions board; Lorenzo Formoso, COO of Duty Free Philippines; and Mark Lapid, COO of TIEZA, gave tourism updates, plans and programs for 2013. Grant Govertsen, co-founder and managing partner of Union Gaming Research, was the conference’s keynote speaker. Govertsen talked about Philippine tourism toward global competitiveness for investment. Sean Mahoney, ADB consultant on Skills Development Program for the Philippine Tourism Industry, and Jose Ma. Lorenzo “Lory” Tan, CEO/vice chair of the board of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines, brought up the Hospitality and Service Excellence for Global Competitiveness and Sustainable Tourism talks, respectively. Former Secretary of DOT, Mina T. Gabor, and Miss Tourism International 2012 Rizzini Alexis Gomez, were also at the event. ■ Philippine Daily Inquirer // February 3rd, 2013
NEWS / EVENTS DIARY
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Philippine farmers hope for coconut-craze windfall
MANILA — Philippine farmer Liezl Balmaceda has never heard of Madonna, but the US pop star’s endorsement of coconut water may help change her impoverished life for the better. After centuries of replenishing Filipinos, the mineral-rich liquid has become a must-have health drink thanks to aggressive marketing by a beverage industry looking to offset soda sales that have lost their fizz. Balmaceda, 33, and her husband process truckloads of coconuts at their backyard each week to get the meat that is turned into vegetable oil. The arduous labour earns the family of five about $9 a day, barely enough to get by. “We just throw the water away when we extract the copra (coconut meat). But if you tell me people actually pay money to drink it, we could use the extra cash,” she told AFP in rural Mulanay town, four hours’ drive south of Manila. In his most recent state of the nation address, President Benigno DATE / TIME
Aquino hailed coconut water as one of the country’s most promising new export opportunities. He cited industry figures showing exports jumping more than nine-fold to 16.76 million litres (4.4 million gallons) in 2011. Manila-based Fruits of Life is one local business to have started profiting from the growing appreciation in the West for coconut water as an alternative to sugarladen carbonated drinks. “People have become more health-conscious in general,” said Phoebe de la Cruz, sales manager for Fruits of Life. “Athletic types have taken to coco water for its natural electrolytes.” Fruits of Life, which began exporting its own branded product in 2006, now exports about 240 tonnes in cans and tetra packs a year directly to supermarket chains in the United States and Canada. The biggest players in the global beverage industry, including CocaCola and Pepsi, have also jumped EVENT
into the coconut water health drink craze in recent years. ZICO, a US coco water brand majority owned by Coca-Cola, has supermodel Gisele Bundchen and basketball star Kevin Garnett as its endorsers. Meanwhile, pop stars such as Madonna and Rihanna, as well as baseball player Alex Rodriguez, are among celebrity shareholders in Vita Coco, one of the other major brands. Its 0.33-litre (11-ounce), $3 drink is touted as a healthier alternative to energy drinks for athletes and the company boasts an office in New York’s Flatiron District. The Philippines is already the world’s biggest exporter of coconut products. Big Philippine mills have for years processed desiccated coconut meat and turned it into powder for baking biscuits, snack bars, cakes and pastries. Coconut flesh is also turned into vegetable oil used for cooking and in a range of common household
products, including bath soap. Supply is not a problem in the Philippines with 350 million coconut trees growing from the beaches up to its hills and yielding 15 billion fruits a year, according to industry regulator the Philippine Coconut Authority. In the Philippines, coconut water remains a popular, cheap drink, with stalls selling it straight from the fruit -- a common site throughout the big cities as well as the countryside. However, because of a lack of demand as well as the costs required to process and preserve it, the water had never been profitable enough to sell overseas, Philippine Coconut Authority chief Euclides Forbes told AFP. “From mere waste it’s being turned into gold,” Forbes said. Nevertheless, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that while coconut water holds the potential of improving the lot of impoverished Filipino coconut farmers, logistical issues held the industry back.
“The demand is huge. The only problem is how to bring the liquid to the processing centres before it spoils, since most coconut farms are in hilly areas without good roads,” Alcala said. Meanwhile, some farmers remain sceptical that they will cash in on the Western craze, citing the fact they have remained poor for decades while big business has profited from other coconut exports. Among them is Rodolfo Aquino, 68, who is paid by traders to haul coconuts by ox-drawn cart about two hours’ drive from Manila. “Whether they want the meat and water or just the meat, we get paid the same,” Aquino told AFP. ■
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Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, England, ME15 7SU Hounslow Community Association, 9 Montague Road, Hounslow TW3 1JY Cranford Community College, Cranford, Hounslow, TW5 9PD St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church Hall, Frognal Lane (corner Finchley Road), London NW3 7DY English Martyrs Catholic Church Chalkhill Road, Wembley Park, HA9 9EW Hounslow Community Association, 9 Montague Road, Hounslow TW3 1JY Cranford Community College, Cranford, Hounslow, TW5 9PD Cranford Community College, Cranford, Hounslow, TW5 9PD St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church Hall, Frognal Lane (corner Finchley Road), London NW3 7DY English Martyrs Catholic Church. Chalkhill Road, Wembley Park, HA9 9EW Lampton Park, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 4DN
20-21 July 2013
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This photo taken on August 30, 2012 shows a vendor displaying coconut-water products in Manila (AFP, Noel Celis)
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February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
40 years after release, POWs at Hanoi Hilton reflect on experience 16
HANOI, Feb 10, 2013 (Menafn - Stars and Stripes - McClatchyTribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Little remains downtown of the prison known as Hoa Lo, a name loosely translated as “hell hole.” Most of the French colonial-era complex was razed to make way for a luxury apartment high rise. The Vietnamese government turned what was left into a museum exhibiting a few of the dank cells where Vietnamese revolutionaries were held and sometimes executed by the French in the mid-20th century. There is one small room near the back devoted to a different group of inmates who languished for years: American prisoners of the Vietnam War. To those POWs this was the Hanoi Hilton, a nickname that oozed irony and defiance, the kind of petty “thumb in your eye” that provided some small pride in a place designed to strip dignity away. Forty years ago on Feb. 12, the first of those long-held POWs were released as part of the Paris Peace Accords that ended America’s decadelong war with Vietnam. They boarded a waiting plane and landed free men at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. They flew on to Hawaii, then to their families at home. “Forty years later as I look back on that experience, believe it or not, I have somewhat mixed emotions in that it was a very difficult period,” said Sen. John McCain, shot down and captured in 1967. “But at the same time the bonds of friendship and love for my fellow prisoners will be the most enduring memory of my five and half years of incarceration.” The POW experience at Hoa Lo -- and in the archipelago of other prison camps in North Vietnam -- was unlike anything American prisoners had encountered before or since. POWs had faced brutality before in camps during World War II and the Korean War, but America’s involvement in those wars was relatively short compared with the Vietnam War. Few GIs have been taken prisoner in Afghanistan -despite the war’s length. “We had only the slightest inkling that the Age of Aquarius had happened in this country,” said David Gray, an Air Force fighter pilot shot down and captured in January 1967. “We didn’t have an appreciation for how widespread and pervasive the antiwar sentiment had become.” Indeed, the longest held prisoner, Navy pilot Everett Alvarez, was shot down and captured in August 1964, a few months after the Beatles first toured America. His release in February 1973 came two years after the breakup of the band that defined that era’s youth culture. If POWs were unaware of what was
happening in the U.S., Americans remained mindful of them. A student group in California created silver POW bracelets in 1970, asking Americans to wear them until POWs returned home. Millions were sold. “There was a sense of unity, togetherness, shared adversity,” said Gerald Coffee, a Navy aviator who was imprisoned for seven years and was among the first group released. “We came home and our release kind of symbolized the end of a very painful chapter in our nation’s history. “We got the homecoming that every Vietnam War veteran should have had when he or she came home. We didn’t take that for granted.” Named Operation Homecoming, the series of releases returned 591 POWs to freedom. The Hoa Lo POW exhibit doesn’t provide many hints as to what prisoners such as Gray and Coffee experienced during those years. Much of it is given over to chiding the U.S. for aligning itself with the government of South Vietnam and its aerial bombardment of North Vietnam from 1965 to 1968 and then again in late 1972. McCain’s flight suit hangs eerily behind a glass case, along with the parachute that saved him. The thing is, it’s not real. “Of course it’s not, of course it’s not,” said McCain when asked about it. “They cut my flight suit off of me when I was taken into the prison ... The ‘museum’ is an excellent propaganda establishment with very little connection with the actual events that took place inside those walls.” He’s visited the museum a number of times for the sake of normalizing relations between the two countries, he said. McCain said he has “great respect and affection for the Vietnamese people,” but added with an acid laugh that “there are individuals who are still around Hanoi that I would, umm, look forward to seeing again on a level playing field. “It wasn’t so much for what they did to me but what they did to some of my fellow prisoners who did not return with us.” Behind another case is what are claimed to be Alvarez’s belongings, which include a pack of Winston cigarettes and box of Vicks cough drops. Prominent is what’s labeled a “begging flag,” which is a multilanguage message printed on cloth and used by downed U.S. pilots to ask assistance from locals. Nothing here captures what Gray described as “23 hours of boredom a day and one hour of terror.” Gray, who is 71 and lives in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was on only his fourth mission over Hanoi when he was shot down. He fractured vertebrae and cut his face upon ejecting. Farmers quickly took him prisoner.
He was taken to Hoa Lo, where he was interrogated and tortured, sometimes by having his arms tied behind his back and then hoisted into the air. Mostly his interrogators wanted to know about upcoming planned missions. “You make up stories as you go,” Gray said in a matter-of-fact style of the torture sessions. “That’s an unfortunate part about breaking in an interrogation. If you lie, they’re going to ask you again and again and again. You have to remember what you said. And there were a bunch of us who screwed up and somehow managed to stupidly change our stories. “Before you come to the realization that it’s important to remember your lies, which happens about the second time they catch you ...” Gray left the thought unfinished. “The thing you learn about torture, particularly if you’re not tortured to incapacitation and death, the kind of very painful torture that we went through, it leaves a mark on you and you find that over time, emotionally, the fear of torture gets worse than torture.” He remained isolated initially, but by the fifth or sixth day he made contact with another GI by talking under the door. “Until then you think of yourself as some kind of traitor because they’ve bested you physically,” he said. But by talking to the others “you get brought into the game of trying to frustrate” the guards as much as possible. “It’s the only combativeness allowed to us in that circumstance. As different people I shared a cell with pointed out, you do things like that for the lack of anything better to do. If they want something, then you don’t want them to have it.” He would soon be taught the “tap code” for communicating through walls. Over the next six years he would live in camps nicknamed New Guy Village, Little Vegas, Faith, Hope, Dogpatch, Dirty Bird and Trolly Tracks. “They tried initially to keep people in solitary, but they got so many of us
that they couldn’t do that,” he said. “Cellmates are a godsend. You’d share every tidbit of knowledge your cellmates had.” They passed the time by describing in detail books they read and movies they had watched. After U.S. forces raided Son Tay camp in an attempt to rescue POWs, the Vietnamese moved many prisoners in outlying camps into Hoa Lo. That benefited the POWs because they were able to more easily socialize. Gray said that he, like many others, never thought they’d be held in prison for so long. “A thought widely shared by a lot of the American POWs was six months to a year,” he said. “Your mind does that to you. It forces you into some kind of overly optimistic state.” That sense of optimism didn’t just help them survive imprisonment. It is likely what helped some of the released prisoners leave such extreme trauma behind them and live productive lives, according to the findings of a study published last year in the Journal of Traumatic Stress by the Robert E. Mitchell Center for Prisoner of War Studies in Pensacola, Fla. The center has evaluated more than 400 of the Vietnam POWs since their release. “By knowing them and having them as patients coming up on 40 years now, what we can do is focus on the type of person who had the experience,” said Dr. Jeffrey L. Moore, the center’s director and a co-author of the study. “The results indicate that among this group, it was not merely the type of trauma that occurred which explained how one fared afterwards, but in addition, what type of person who experienced the trauma,” the study concluded. Optimism was, in fact, a stronger predictor of resilience than the level of trauma, such as type and severity of torture, a prisoner received, the study found. Gray said that he and many others were highly attuned to optimistic “signs” that release was somewhat
near, whether that was an increase in the quantity and quality of food, more frequent visits by a dentist or doctor, or more humane treatment in general. In early 1973, the search for signs ended. One day in January they were ushered out of their cells at Hoa Lo and ordered to stand in two long lines. A movie camera was off to the side, but not hidden so well that the men weren’t aware of it, Gray said. The peace accords required that a notice of their imminent release be read to the men. “They read this thing. Zero reaction,” recalled Gray. So it was read again. “No reaction.” “And so we just wandered away. We ruined their evening news shot.” It was part of POW code of behavior years in the making. Coffee recalled a celebratory atmosphere the night he and about 60 others were scheduled for release the next day. The next day he boarded a C-141 plane and was greeted by a crew that included “four beautiful Air Force nurses,” he said. “The pilot cranked up the engines and taxied out to the end of the runway. It really got quiet because we were all sitting there thinking, God, is this really going to be it? Are we really going home? Am I dreaming?” The plane rattled down the rough runway, arched into the sky and smoothed out. “The pilot came on and said, ‘Congratulations, men, we just left North Vietnam.’ And that’s when we cheered. That’s when we believed it.” Gray’s release came a few weeks later in March. He was led to the open rear-cargo door of another C-141 plane. “Alongside the ramp is a medical orderly wearing whites,” Gray recalled. “He’s asking, ‘Who are you?’ When he gets to me, I say, Captain Gray -- because I knew I was a captain by then. “What does he say to me?” “A-y or e-y?” It was at that moment he felt a free man. ■ MENAFN // 02/10/2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Gunmen kill 10 in attacks on Nigeria polio clinics
KANO, Nigeria — Gunmen killed at least 10 people in horrifying attacks on two Nigerian polio clinics, dealing a new blow to the campaign to wipe out the disease. Seven women were shot dead at one clinic and a man and two women were killed at another. Both attacks were in the northern city of Kano. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the “dastardly terrorist attacks” that came after a local cleric denounced polio vaccination campaigns and some local radio stations aired conspiracy theories about the vaccine being a Western plot to harm Muslims. The United Nations and the United States also slammed the killings, with the world body saying the population was being “robbed of basic life-saving health interventions.” “Any violence that prevents children from receiving basic lifesaving vaccines is absolutely unacceptable, wherever it happens,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. Conspiracy theories against the polio campaign have long been spread in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north. Nigeria is one of only three countries -- with Pakistan and Afghanistan -- still considered to have endemic polio.
Police spokesman Magaji Majia told AFP that nine people were killed on the spot when gunmen on motorised tricycles “attacked two dispensaries where polio immunisation workers were preparing to go out for polio campaigns.” One woman died later in hospital from injuries suffered, raising the death toll to 10, a doctor said. Police declined to say whether any group was suspected. Extremist group Boko Haram has carried out attacks in Kano, though gangs linked to local politics also operate there. The two clinics are about five kilometres (three miles) apart. At the building where seven women were killed, windows were broken, the front door was blackened by fire and blood could be seen on the floor. Six people on a big-wheel tricycle pulled up outside the second dispensary as polio immunisation workers were gathering for the day’s house-to-house campaign, a resident said. “Two of the men were holding guns. They stormed into the dispensary and began shooting,” the person added. One victim, who was shot in the back, said from her hospital bed
that two gunmen stormed into the consultation room where she and five other immunisation workers were seated and opened fire, killing two people. They then set a curtain ablaze and shut the door behind them as they fled. “We summoned courage and broke the door because we realised they wanted to burn us alive,” added the woman, who declined to give her name or age. Three other victims wounded in the attack were hospitalised and one later died. Jonathan expressed sympathy to the families of the dead health workers and vowed to “ensure that the mission to totally eradicate polio from Nigeria, in which they were patriotically engaged, is carried out to a very successful conclusion.” “The government will continue to do everything possible to track down and apprehend agents of terrorism in the country,” he added. In a joint statement, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization condemned the killings as a “double tragedy: for the health workers and their families and for children and vulnerable populations who are robbed of basic life-saving health interventions.”
Philippines to free prisoner of conscience after charges against him dropped A Philippine poet and activist who has been detained on trumped up charges for almost two years must be released immediately, Amnesty International said after the Philippine Department of Justice (DoJ) dropped all charges against him. Ericson Acosta was first arrested in Samar province on 13 February 2011 by the military. He was eventually charged with the illegal possession of explosives. But the Philippine government has said Acosta will now be released after the DoJ ordered the Samar provincial prosecutor to drop all charges against him on 31 January 2013, citing “serious irregularities” in the military’s handling of his arrest and detention. “This is great news, not just for Ericson Acosta himself, but also for accountability and justice in the Philippines. He must now be released immediately,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy AsiaPacific Director. “But he should never have been detained in the first place – the charges against him were spurious at best, and an example of the authorities trying to silence a peaceful activist.” When Acosta was arrested in February 2011, he was taken to a military camp where interrogators threatened to kill him if he did not confess to being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines,
Philippines poet and activist Eric Acosta is due to be released from prison.
which is linked to the insurgent armed group, the “New People’s Army”. A few days later, he was charged with the illegal possession of explosives. Despite the Philippine Speedy Trial Act guaranteeing a maximum of 180 days from arraignment to trial, Acosta has been kept in detention since. Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience in early 2012, and has been campaigning for his release ever since. “Acosta’s treatment in detention has been a clear breach of both Philippine national law and international human rights standards – something that the Department of Justice has finally recognized,” said Arradon. “Unfortunately this fits a disturbing pattern in the Philippines, where the authorities often use the justice
system and trumped-up charges to harass human rights defenders and activists.” Speaking to the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign, a local movement that has campaigned extensively for his release, after the DoJ’s announcement, Acosta said: “In jail, I yearned for sea and sky. Freedom cannot be achieved by mere yearning, only by struggle. “I would personally thank everyone who campaigned for my release— my family, lawyers, friends, former classmates and colleagues, fellow artists and human rights advocates. “The unwarranted arrest and torture torment political prisoners each day they remain in prison. Political prisoners are rendered de facto criminals and terrorists, deprived of due process, forced to be at the mercy of the military. This injustice has to end.” ■ Amnesty International // 1 February 2013
Dried blood stains and abandoned polio vaccine kits litter the floor a dispensary on February 8, 2013 in Kano (AFP, Aminu Abubakar)
Last year, gunmen killed two Nigerian police guarding polio vaccination workers. In 2003, Kano’s state government suspended polio immunisations for 13 months, with the governor saying claims of harmful effects had to be investigated. Some Muslim clerics have alleged that the vaccine was laced with substances that could make girls infertile as part of a US-led Western plot to depopulate Africa. Despite the resumption of immunisations, many parents still reject the vaccine. However, conspiracy theories have not been the only reason for scepticism. US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer carried out a controversial trial in 1996 for a meningitis drug blamed
for the deaths of 11 Nigerian children and disabilities in dozens of others. Deadly attacks linked to polio vaccination campaigns have also occurred in Pakistan. On January 31, a bomb killed two polio vaccination workers in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, the latest in a series of such attacks in the country that have killed 19 people in two months. A concerted campaign to eradicate the disease that once crippled and killed children worldwide was started in 1988. According to the WHO, Nigeria accounted for 121 of the world’s 222 polio cases in 2012. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his foundation have led a highprofile effort to stamp out polio, including in Nigeria. ■ AFP
Philippine Airlines ranked among Asia-Pacific’s most stylish cabin crew
MANILA, Philippines – As New York, London, Milan and Paris prepare to kick off 2013 Fashion Week this February, travellers across AsiaPacific have spoken out in their own style survey, with Philippine Airlines coming in the top 10 ranking. Leading global travel search site Skyscanner asked over 1200 jet-setters from across Asia-Pacific (Australia, New Zealnd, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea and Singapore) to vote for the cabin crew they thought was most stylish, and topping the list of 20 airlines in the study was Shanghai-based China Eastern who scored 4.15 out of 5 in the poll, wooing flyers with its smart navy blue uniforms teamed with white shirts and red scarves. Closely following China Eastern was Korea’s Asiana Airlines who
came second with 4.14. Virgin Australia, who ordered its staff to undertake lessons in etiquette, posture and language last summer, also have one of the most stylish cabin crew according to travellers scoring 4.03 out of 5 and taking third place in the poll. Air China and China Southern Airlines also completed the Chinese-dominated top five, scoring 4.00 and 3.98 respectively. Janet Ranola, Skyscanner Philippines Manager and resident fashionista said: “Judging by the results of our survey, travellers clearly have a keen eye on fashion even at 35,000 feet and it’s great to see an airline from the Philippines scoring so highly. International Fashion Week clearly has some competition this month!” ■ Inquirer.net
// February 9th, 2013
Top 10 Most Stylish Cabin Crew in Asia Pacific Ranking Top 10
Score out of 5
China Eastern Airlines
China Southern Airlines China
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
$4B Manila mega-casino complex to open in March Autopsy carried out on giant Philippines crocodile
MANILA, Philippines—A $4-billion mega-casino complex is set to open in Manila in mid-March when the first of four franchise-holders starts commercial operations, the parent firm said in a disclosure released Wednesday. The $1.2-billion Solaire Manila Resorts is one of four gaming operations licensed to operate at Manila’s bayside Entertainment City, a government project designed to compete with Macau, Las Vegas and Singapore as a gaming hub. Boasting 500 hotel rooms set in modern resorts, Solaire will open its doors on March 16, parent company Bloomberry Resorts Corp. said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange. “[We] confirm that [Bloomberry’s] Solaire Manila Resorts and Casino has collected the top former operating officers of world-renowned casinos in Las Vegas and other parts of the world,” it said in a letter to the exchange.
The Feb. 5 letter, released by the bourse Wednesday, said these personnel include around 400 Filipinos who have worked in gaming and hotels across the world. Solaire plans to add 300 more hotel rooms after two years, said Bloomberry, a listed firm controlled by port tycoon Enrique Razon. Two other franchise-holders— one involving Australian billionaire James Packer and Macau gaming tycoon Lawrence Ho as shareholders and another with Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada—are also building at the complex. The 100-hectare (247-acre) Entertainment City, a project of the state-owned gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., required each of the franchise-holders to invest at least $1 billion. A unit of global leisure and entertainment group Genting Hong
Kong Ltd. is a key investor in the fourth franchise. Bloomberry said it could not confirm a local news report that the entire Entertainment City project would generate annual revenues of at least $10 billion by 2017, putting it among the world’s gaming big leagues. Spokespersons for the regulator could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, while Solaire has not responded to AFP’s requests for an interview. ■ AFP
the Philippines will be sending a representative to the world championships. In Brazil this year, Kamphius said Drueco will have the distinction of competing against seven other martial arts regional champions representing various countries. Kamphius did not stop with helping local fighters. His next effort will be for the country’s young and upcoming Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters to display their wares on February 23 and 24 when they vie for honors in the 2013 Philippine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
and No Gi and Kids International Open at the basement level of SM South Mall in Las Piñas City. “This event gives our aspiring fighters, some as young players, the chance to test what they have learned so far. The tournament starts the sport’s lovers at a young age and contributes to the country’s grassroots program.” said Kamphius. Parents interested to see their children learn the sport at a young age will definitely enjoy watching this tournament. The kids competition competition also prepares young Brazilian JiuJitsu players for important future and international tournaments. Kamphius has been staying in the country for about four years. He actively promotes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Philippines as the safest form of martial arts even for children and girls. ■ Manila Standard // February 3, 2013
A general view shows a vast land where the multibillion-dollar Entertainment City will open when the first of four franchise-holders starts commercial operations in mid-March 2013. (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gains foothold in the Philippines
RIDING the crest of the phenomenal success of Mixed Martial Arts worldwide Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is enjoying unprecedented growth in the Philippines. The sport is gaining adherents and practitioners as well as the attendant audience for matches and tournaments. Much of the credit deservedly goes to the success of local fighters such as Allan Drueco who produced an explosive showing in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) AsiaPacific World Qualifying Trials (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). Drueco emerged champion in the male advanced division to represent the Philippines and Asia-Pacific in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Submission Wrestling World Championship this year in Brazil. New Zealand native Stephen Kamphius initiated the successful holding of the qualifying tournament. He said this will be the first time
Court again blocks Philippines cybercrime law
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippine Supreme Court has again stopped the government from enforcing a controversial cybercrime law, amid concern it would severely curb Internet freedoms. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said a fresh “temporary restraining order” (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court meant the law passed last year could not take effect. “We submit to the court’s discretion and respect such decision to extend the TRO,” she told AFP in a text message. “It’s not a total defeat. It’s just a TRO pending determination of the merits of the petitions.” President Benigno Aquino signed the law in September last year, amid huge online protests, to stamp out cybercrimes such as fraud,
identity theft, spamming and child pornography. But opponents swiftly sued over provisions that authorise heavy prison terms for online libel and give the state powers to shut down websites and monitor online activities. The court in October issued a fourmonth injunction that was to have lapsed this week, as it scrutinised the law for possible violations of constitutional provisions on freedom of expression. De Lima did not say how long the new injunction would be in force and Supreme Court officials declined to comment. Aquino spokesman Ramon Carandang said the government acknowledged the public’s concerns. He noted that even its chief lawyer, Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza,
had publicly acknowledged that shutting down websites may be illegal. “As the president said, it’s not a perfect law and even (Jardeleza) had questions about the takedown provisions,” Carandang told AFP. Jardeleza however has also said this provision was not enough reason to strike down the entire law. Democracy.Net.PH, a Philippine online group advocating Internet freedom, in a statement applauded the court’s “responsiveness to public sentiment”. “While we hope that the Supreme Court will settle the unconstitutionality of the (law), the ultimate resolution lies with Congress,” it said, urging parliament to pass a law promoting online rights and security. ■ Thewest.
com.au // February 5, 2013
PHILIPPINE veterinarians conducted an autopsy on the world’s largest saltwater crocodile ever caught, amid concerns it died of mistreatment in a small pen where it was on show for tourists. “Lolong”, who measured 6.17 metres (20.24 feet), died from a mystery illness on Sunday inside his small enclosure in the southern Philippines, where he had been on display since being caught in marshlands in 2011. “We want to find out the real cause of death so there will be no misinformation and speculation,” Mundita Lim, head of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, told AFP, explaining why the autopsy was carried out. Lim said that the full results would not be known until the end of the week. However the veterinarians found no traces of foreign material inside Lolong, debunking prominent press reports that it died after eating a plastic and nylon cord. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) blamed extreme stress for Lolong’s death, pointing out that large crocodiles were used to roaming vast ranges in its natural habitat. “Lolong suffered and died because people wanted to make money off his captivity,” PETA said in a statement.
Lim did not want to comment directly on PETA’s claim until the results of the autopsy were known, although she acknowledged that crocodiles were known to live up to 100 years in the wild, while Lolong was only about 60. Lolong, of the species Crocodylus Porosus, was hunted and caught in a marshland near the impoverished town of Bunawan in September 2011 after it was suspected of biting the head off a school girl and of eating a fisherman. Its capture made the town famous, and Lolong became a tourist attraction and one of the local government’s most important money earners. The Guinness Book of World Records named Lolong the world’s biggest saltwater crocodile in captivity, dislodging Cassius, a 5.48-metre crocodile kept in a park in Australia. Cassius’ handlers were celebrating Tuesday, saying the huge reptile regaining his title as the biggest crocodile in captivity would be good for business. ■ AFP
Filipinos hoping Tagle will be next pope
BISHOPS and all Catholics in the Philippines are hoping that a Filipino will be the next pope, a senior church figure said on Tuesday, as he promoted the credentials of the country’s only candidate. Heads of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines held a press conference in which they expressed sadness at Monday’s shock announcement by 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI that he would resign because of health reasons. One of the leaders also spoke about the desire in the Philippines for the Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle, who was made a cardinal last year, to succeed Benedict. “We Filipinos would like a Filipino to be pope. Any country would be proud of that -- that your own cardinal becomes pope,” said Father Francis Lucas, head of the mass media commission of the country’s Roman Catholic bishops. “The ordinary people, they would like Tagle to be pope because he is a Filipino.” Lucas said Tagle, 55, had many favourable qualities for a future pontiff. “He is humble, he is meek, he is very bright, he is media-savvy, he is simple. He used to ride the bus to appointments but he kept on arriving late because of traffic,” Lucas told reporters. The secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Monsignor Joselito Asis,
said there were many candidates to be the next pope from around the world, and raised the prospect of him coming from Asia. “No one can pinpoint a dominant name so it is exciting,” he told reporters. The Philippines is one of the most important countries in Asia for the Catholic Church. About 80 percent of the country’s 100 million people are Catholic, a legacy of the country’s former Spanish colonial rule. Tagle also issued a statement on Tuesday in which he said Benedict’s resignation was a surprise and brought great sadness. But he made no mention of his own prospects. “We know that the Papal ministry is not an easy task. So we thank Pope Benedict XVI... for selflessly guiding the Church these past eight years with his teaching, simplicity and gentleness,” Tagle said. The Vatican has said it expects a new pope to be in place in time for Easter, which falls on March 31 this year, although the decision is ultimately up to the cardinals of the Catholic Church who meet in a secret conclave. ■ AFP
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Germany and the Philippines diffuse airport row, talk investments PHILIPPINES
GERMANY and the Philippines have agreed to put a decade-long dispute over an airport terminal contract behind them. In Manila, Germany’s foreign minister has said he sees great “potential” between the two countries. Marking the first German cabinet minister to visit the Philippines since the 2002 dispute erupted, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle met with his Filipino counterpart Albert del Rosario and President Benigno Aquino in Manila on Thursday.
Referring to the airport contract row Westerwelle said, “This shouldn’t be an obstacle for our economic collaboration.” “We see a lot of potential between our countries and it is on us now to pursue this opportunity,” he said in Manila. Tensions flared between the countries in 2002 when the government of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo canceled the 1997 contract awarded to a German-led syndicate, headed by
Fraport AG, to build and operate a third terminal at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Ever since then, Fraport has been suing to recover the $425 million (314 million euros) that was lost from the project. The Philippines were ordered to place $175 million in escrow for the developers amid international arbitration. Del Rosario signaled that his country is ready to resolve the issue: “While we have not come up with a magical formula that would
TOKYO — Japan plans to donate patrol boats costing $11 million each to the Philippines, ramping up regional efforts to monitor China’s maritime activity in disputed waters, according to a newspaper. The Japanese government plans to finance the deal in its fiscal 2013 budget starting in April and hopes to officially sign it early next year, the Nikkei business daily reported on Monday. Japan will then provide the Philippines with the newly built patrol vessels, which will cost more than one billion yen ($11 million) each, the newspaper said, without specifying the number of boats on offer. Both countries are locked in separate territorial disputes with China. Japan’s dispute is over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.
The Philippines is one of several Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, that are rowing with China over claims to parts of the South China Sea. Two of the hotspots are the Spratly islands and Scarborough Shoal. The Japanese coastguard also plans to train Philippine and Vietnamese personnel as part of additional efforts to boost security cooperation with Southeast Asia, the Nikkei said. In the fiscal 2013 budget draft, 2.5 billion yen has been allotted for such expenditure, it said. Last month, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida visited Manila and called for stronger ties with the Philippines to help ensure regional peace. Japan’s coastguard last month said it would create a special unit comprising 10 new large patrol boats to boost its surveillance of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. The long-running row over the islands intensified in September when Tokyo nationalised part of the chain, triggering fury in Beijing and huge antiJapan demonstrations across China. In the most serious high-seas incident yet, Japan last week said that a Chinese frigate locked its weapontargeting radar on a Japanese navy vessel on January 30. China has angrily denied the charge. ■ AFP
MANILA: The United States and the Philippines have agreed to dismantle a 68.3 metre US Navy warship and remove its parts with the help of crane ships. A joint statement issued on Wednesday said the salvage ships will be anchored far from the coral bed of a United Nations heritagelisted and protected marine park in southwestern Philippines. Both governments have agreed that “preventing further damage to the reef [at the Tubbataha Marine Park] is a top priority,” said the statement. “The United States is coordinating closely with Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the salvage operation to extract the [US Navy’s] USS Guardian from the reef,” it added. Giving more details of the approved salvage plan, the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB) said a crane-bearing salvage ship will drop anchor one kilometre away from the protected coral walls of the Tubbataha Reef. Another ship will drop anchor 274 metres away from the wall of the protected coral bed, TPAMB said. Citing other details agreed upon in the salvage procedure, TPAMB said that nets used to collect debris should have small holes to prevent the accidental catching of marine
quickly make the issue disappear, I have come to an understanding with Minister Westerwelle that we are looking forward to a positive resolution of the Fraport issue.” “We are optimistic about this considering the openness that both sides have expressed regarding possible options that we could explore,” he said. Westerwelle was accompanied on his visit by a delegation of German business representatives interested in possibly investing in the country, the foreign minister said.
The countries’ bilateral trade was worth $3.1 billion in 2011 with Germany as the biggest source of tourists to the Philippines. Westerwelle embarked on his southeast Asia trip on Wednesday and is set to travel on to Singapore and Indonesia in the coming days. ■ HC/DR (DPA, AFP)
Japan plans to donate patrol boats to Manila Philippines: Joint effort to remove US Navy warship which damaged reef
Philippine President Benigno Aquino (R) welcomes Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, in Manila, on January 10, 2013 (AFP/File, Jay Directo)
Crane-bearing salvage ship will drop anchor 1km away from the protected coral walls of Tubbataha Reef.
fauna off the Tubbataha Reef. Captains and crews of the ships involved in the salvage operation are “held accountable for compliance or lack of compliance with the rules of marine protection,” TPAMB said, adding that members of the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), will be on all vessels involved in the salvation procedure. Representatives of the US and Philippine governments will jointly undertake pre and post-salvage assessments of the procedure, TPAMB said. But no date was mentioned for the start of the salvage operation. Meanwhile, US Ambassador
Harry Thomas Jr, in a meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario also on late Tuesday, gave an assurance that the US will provide appropriate compensation for the ship’s damage to the reef. The area damaged by the USS Guardian varies from 1,600 to 4,000 and to 8,000 square metres, according to conflicting reports. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima opted to wait for the results of an investigation into the incident before filing legal action against US Navy officials and crewmen of the USS Guardian. In a letter to de Lima, Pamalakaya, a national federation of fishermen, said that Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley and Lt Commander Mark Rice of the US Asia Pacific military command and the USS Guardian’s 79 crew members should be held liable for the reef’s destruction. “Nothing has been done to pursue their arrest and demand accountability from them,” Pamalakaya said. Earlier, President Benigno Aquino III said a multi-agency team had been studying the possibility that the Philippine government could use international laws and conventions, and seek higher compensation for damaged coral reefs. ■ Gulfnews //
February 6, 2013
ME tourist trafﬁc to Philippines on ascendancy in 2012 DUBAI: The number of Middle East tourists to the Philippines has increased, according to 2012 records furnished to The Gulf Today. With this, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Grace Relucio Princesa wants overseas Filipinos to know more about their country so they could encourage more visitors and even tourism investors. “We could promote our country better as the tourism destination if we ourselves know very well what we have in our respective barrios, towns, cities and provinces,” she said. Meanwhile, at a birthday party in Dubai on Sunday evening, was a discussion on what is unique in every Philippine town. Erwin de Guzman from San Pablo, Laguna mentioned of the seven enchanted lakes in his hometown,
one of which has an underwater cave. There are chances as well for promenaders to sight a tree which had grown directly from the lake bed and folks believe the body of water was formed out of a crater ages ago. A Sharjah resident shared her experience about Negros Oriental province being blessed with over 100 caves, many with rivers in them that provide additional adventures for spelunkers. She also spent some time at an island prettier than Boracay and wellknown among European scuba divers. Princesa also believes the entry of Cebu Pacific (CEB), to service the region’s residents via Manila and Dubai from October, would “enhance” interest in the Philippines. “I hope CEB will enhance and
entice more Filipinos to bring more of their friends to our country,” she said. It was announced a fortnight ago that the low-cost carrier would be having its inaugural flight to Dubai on October 7, 2013 and many Filipinos in the Philippines and in the UAE had expressed excitement. It was at the “18th World Route Development Strategy Summit” in Abu Dhabi in October 2011, that Philippine Assistant Secretary for International Marketing Promotions Benito Bengzon Jr. had told this reporter, about the conclusion of talks between authorities of the entry of CEB and possibly of the Philippine Air Lines in the UAE. A CEB management statement obtained by this reporter said the daily flights would depart from Ninoy Aquino International
Airport (NAIA) at 4:40pm and leave Dubai International Airport at 11:10pm “Dubai is the largest long-haul market to and from the Philippines, so CEB is proud to be the only Philippine carrier to fly direct between Manila and Dubai,” said CEB-Long Haul Division general manager Alex Reyes. “More than 70 per cent of passengers on this route take multiple stops and connecting flights, so we definitely look forward to serving this market,” he also said. CEB had purchased eight new wide-body Airbus A330-300 400-seater all-economy aircraft for the 36th international route. On the 2012 Philippine tourism data, records showed that from a total of 57,275 tourists from the Middle East, 30,040 were from Saudi
Arabia; 12,684, UAE; 4,877, Kuwait; 3,771, Qatar; 3,528, Bahrain; 1,619, Egypt; and 756, Jordan. In 2010, tourism arrival from the region was at 46,811 with residents from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait at the top three. Philippine Tourism Office-Middle East (PTO-ME) representative Mohamad Masri said: “We are very enthusiastic about the growing interest from this part of the world. More Arab tourists are looking to the country beyond Manila to explore the amazing islands which offer best leisure getaways. “We expect to achieve better growth for this year as more flights are being launched by both the region’s national airlines as well as the Philippine carriers,” he added. ■ The Gulf Today // February 09, 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Pope urges end to hypocrisy at final mass POPE Benedict XVI urged an end to “religious hypocrisy” and “rivalry” in the Catholic Church as he donned his papal mitre for the last time for an emotional mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday. The 85-year-old pope was hailed with a standing ovation and waves of applause from a congregation of thousands where many broke down in tears, as cardinals doffed their mitres in a final gesture of respect. Wearing the purple robes of Lent -- a period of penitence for Christians -- the pope was conveyed through the basilica’s vast nave on a mobile platform that underlined his growing infirmity. Benedict called for greater sincerity in his final mass as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics before he becomes only the second pontiff to resign voluntarily in the Church’s 2,000-year history. He condemned “religious hypocrisy” and urged an end to “individualism and rivalry”. “The face of the Church... is at times disfigured. I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the Church,” he said, a possible reference to the many scandals plaguing the institution. Christ “denounces religious hypocrisy, a behaviour that seeks applause and approval. The true disciple does not serve himself or the ‘public’, but his Lord, in simplicity and generosity,” Benedict said. The pope cut short the applause at the end of mass, saying “Let’s return to prayer”, before leaving the basilica, waving and smiling at the congregation.
Earlier Wednesday, the frail pontiff was greeted by chants of “Benedetto” and a banner reading “Thank You, Holiness” at his weekly audience with thousands of believers in a Vatican auditorium. Benedict told the crowd he had taken his momentous decision “for the good of the Church”. “Keep praying for me, for the Church and for the future pope,” he said, his voice full of emotion. Wearing his workaday white cassock and skullcap, the pontiff said he could feel the faithful’s love “almost physically in these difficult days”. The Vatican announced that cardinal electors -- the princes of the Church -- will meet on March 15 or soon after to choose Benedict’s successor. “The beginning of the conclave cannot be before March 15,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told a press conference. “We have to expect a conclave starting on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th or 19th.” The secret conclave held in the Sistine Chapel under Michelangelo’s famed ceiling frescoes -deliberations that normally last a few days -- should produce a new pope in time for Easter. Many ordinary Catholics have said they would like the new pope to be more in tune with the times after the traditionalist reigns of Benedict and his long-time predecessor John Paul II. “I want someone who is youthful and with a youthful spirit who can be more flexible,” said Ieva Tamosaityte, 25, a Lithuanian musician in the
The 280-room Fairmont Makati recently opened in Philippines. A growing number of hotel brands that are investing in the country and giving a significant boost to the tourism industry.
congregation at the pope’s last mass. “I would like future popes to retire when they get old too,” she said, as staff in the basilica distributed photos of the outgoing pope. Rumours have begun flying over front-runners to succeed Benedict, but no clear favourite has emerged yet and the decision will be up to the 117 elector cardinals. While some hope that Africa or Asia could yield the next pontiff, others have tipped high-flying European or North American cardinals. Benedict announced on Monday that he would resign because he no longer had the strength to carry out his duties. Although the Vatican has denied that specific health problems influenced his decision, it said Tuesday he had a secret operation to replace the batteries in his pacemaker three months ago. Benedict will no longer be pope from 1900 GMT on February 28, after which, as Lombardi put it, “people will know they no longer have to go to him for questions regarding the Universal Church.” Shortly before the time runs out on his papacy, a helicopter will whisk Benedict away to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome where he will live temporarily while his new permanent residence in the Vatican is being renovated. Benedict will honour his existing engagements in the final days of his papacy, with a few notable exceptions like meetings with Italian
President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Mario Monti. Benedict’s resignation has eclipsed campaigning for the February 24-25 election in Italy, with analysts saying it could have a major impact on the outcome -- perhaps stopping scandal-tainted billionaire Silvio Berlusconi’s rise in the polls. At the Vatican, next week will be given over to a spiritual retreat which is sure to be dominated by jockeying among factions within the College of Cardinals over the choice of Benedict’s successor. The pope will hold his final general audience on February 27, this time a farewell event for all in St. Peter’s Square, before retiring to a littleknown monastery within Vatican walls, just a stone’s throw away from his successor. Asked about this unprecedented “cohabitation”, Lombardi replied: “I think the successor and the cardinals
will be very happy to have very close by the person who best of all can understand the spiritual needs of the Church.” Only one other pope has resigned voluntarily -- Celestine V in 1294 -- a humble hermit who stepped down after just a few months saying he could no longer bear the intrigues of Rome. The new pope will have to face up to growing secularism in the West, one of the Church’s biggest challenges. Benedict admonished Wednesday: “You cannot be Christians as a simple consequence of living in a society with Christian roots.” He added: “Even those born into a Christian family and given a religious education should... put God first in the face of the temptations that a secular culture presents all the time.” ■ AFP
MANILA: Tourism to the Philippines is picking up and along with it, the demand for luxury hotels. The growth of the hotel sector is also fuelling the construction boom in the Philippines. Two international luxury hotel brands have simultaneously opened in the heart of the Philippines’ financial capital Makati. The 32 all-suite Raffles Makati and the 280-room Fairmont Makati are the latest addition to the growing number of hotel brands that are investing in the country and giving a significant boost to the tourism industry. Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr said: “The Philippines has created such a
demand that there is now a lot of optimism among the rivals regarding international and domestic tourism.” Raffles Hotels and Resorts’ president John Johnston, said: “There is a huge change now in the Philippines. I think it can be felt and I think that the tourism is going to grow and we are very happy to be a part of that growth.” As the Philippines intensifies its tourism campaign, more and more hotel operators are now investing in the country, creating a hotel construction boom. With the Philippines aiming to attract 10 million foreign visitors in four years, industry experts said the country’s tourism and leisure sector will further fuel its robust real estate
market. A 120-hectare gaming and entertainment complex in the heart of the capital Manila is also driving the demand for more hotels in the country. Two new hotel and casino resorts will open this year in Entertainment City. The government hopes the sprawling complex will bring in one million tourists annually. Michael French, chief operating officer of Solaire Resort & Casino, said: “We are going to grow the size of the market so that is what will happen here in the Philippines and now this offers another destination for those who would like to travel like the game another place to go. “Philippines is known for its friendly people. The lovely weather that exists here year round is a great draw especially for a lot of the Chinese. It is now another destination that people that like to travel and gamble can add to their list of places to visit.” Last year, visitor arrivals reached a record-high of 4.3 million. ■
AFP/AFP - Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves after celebrating Mass on February 13, 2013 at St Peter’s basilica at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI urged an end to “religious hypocrisy” and “rivalry” in the Catholic Church as he donned his papal mitre for the last time
Growing demand for luxury hotel in Philippines
Channelnewsasia // 01 February 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Philippines: A Year of Pluses, Minuses on Rights Decrease in Killings, But Impunity for Abusers MANILA – The Philippine government adopted landmark human rights legislation in 2012, but failed to make significant progress in holding the security forces accountable for serious abuses, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013. In its 665-page report, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including an analysis of the aftermath of the Arab Spring. In the Philippines, Human Rights Watch spotlighted the disturbing trend of increased threats and attacks on environmental and antimining activists by alleged members of the security forces. “The overall human rights situation in the Philippines improved in 2012 with fewer extrajudicial killings and the passage of historic laws promoting rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “But the government has failed to address impunity for the most serious abuses. On prosecuting rights abusers, it needs
to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” In late 2012 the Philippine Congress passed, and President Benigno S. Aquino III signed, a landmark law that makes it mandatory for the government to provide reproductive health services. They also enacted a law that criminalizes enforced disappearances, the first such law in Asia, and one that could end the scourge of such abductions that have destroyed countless lives. On January 18, 2013, Aquino signed a law instituting policies for the protection and welfare of domestic workers. Other bills promoting human rights are pending in Congress, with at least one other, a bill compensating victims of abuses during the martial law period in the 1970s and 1980s, awaiting Aquino’s signature. However, Congress also passed the Cybercrime Prevention Act in September, which, if enforced, could severely undermine freedom of expression and the Philippines’ status as a regional leader in internet freedom. The law allows for stiff criminal sentences for
Study Highlights Amazing Biodiversity of the Philippines A recent study of the amphibians and reptiles of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, located in the northeast region of the Philippine island of Luzon, revealed more than 100 species that add to the unique biodiversity of the region. Currently, more than 150 species round out Luzon’s herpetological niche, with a total of 49 amphibians. Of those, 44 are native to the island and 32 endemic to the region. The reptile count is even higher, with 106 native species, of which 76 are unique to the region. A catalogue of herpetological species was published in the journal Zookeys, featuring a fascinating range of reptiles and amphibians. One such species is the beautifully colored colubrid snake, Hologerrhum phillippinum, one of four endemic snake genera in the region. The colubrid can be recognized by its vibrant-yellow skin decoration. Another species in the catalog is the Pelochelys cantorii, or the softshelled turtle. The catalog describes a wide variety of fascinating frogs, crocodiles, snakes, lizards and other animals, documented with stunning photography.
The northern Philippines, with its rich biodiversity, has become the focus of large numbers of new studies describing newly found or re-discovered species over the last few decades. Scientists predict that the herpetological diversity of the island may grow to include as many as 90-100 amphibian species – with 70-80 percent being endemic – and between 150-160 reptile species. The major challenge for the future is to monitor these emerging communities to assess their responses to land use changes, climate change, resource extraction, introduced species, emerging infectious diseases, and habitat degradation. This survey of species provides an initial baseline for further studies in taxonomy, bigeography, ecology and conservation of northern Luzon’s amphibians and reptiles. Such conservation remains an ongoing effort that faces challenges from rapid development, logging, mining and conversion of natural habitats into agricultural lands to provide food for a growing human population. ■ Redorbit // February 8, 2013
broadly defined online defamation. Aquino signed the law into force, but the Philippine Supreme Court suspended its enforcement in October, after a public outcry led by free-expression groups and bloggers. “The Philippine Congress has shown the capacity to craft laws that promote and protect human rights,” Adams said. “But it also passed a poorly thought out cybercrime law that could prove disastrous for internet freedom. The challenge now is for the government to implement these good laws in an effective manner while working to immediately overturn the cybercrime law.” In the past year, the Aquino administration said it would “actively engage international bodies in seeking ways to improve the criminal justice system,” and promised to expedite human rights investigations and improve the justice system. No progress on accountability for extrajudicial killings, disappearances Little progress was made in successfully prosecuting cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture,
Human Rights Watch said. Since 2001, hundreds of leftist activists, journalists, rights defenders, and clergy have been killed by alleged members of the security forces. Local human rights organizations reported approximately 114 cases of extrajudicial killings since Aquino came to office, though the number dropped sharply with just 13 reported in 2012. Environmental activists appeared to bear the brunt of threats and attacks during the year, Human Rights Watch said. On July 2, Aquino signed an executive order that aims to institutionalize reforms in the Philippine mining sector, but it is silent on the issue of rights abuses arising from mining investments, and on the deployment of paramilitaries at the mines.Aquino defended an earlier directive to allow the use of paramilitary forces to augment the military in its campaign against insurgents, and to secure the operations of mining companies. Members of these forces have been implicated in serious human rights abuses. The communist New People’s
Army and Islamist armed groups in the south continued to commit serious human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said. Despite strong evidence that military personnel have been involved, investigations have stalled. Not a single case of extrajudicial killing by the security forces resulted in a conviction in 2012, and no such conviction has been reported since Aquino became president in 2010, Human Rights Watch said. In 2012, Aquino did not keep his election promise to revoke Executive Order 546, which local officials cite to justify the provision of arms to their personal security forces. These “private armies” are responsible for much of the violence that has become common in the Philippines during elections. Although the government said it has disbanded 28 of these “private armies,” nearly 100 still exist, according to the Interior Department. “If 2012 was the year for new laws promoting human rights, then 2013 should be the year for effective action,” Adams said. ■ HRW // February
AFP News - Workers toil at a construction site in Manila. Unemployment in the Philippines remained high in July as the economy struggles amid the global financial turmoil, official data showed Thursday Rather than base career choices on the latest fad, young Pinoys should go for in-demand jobs, the Labor chief said, as she bared the top 10 highest-paying occupations in the Philippines. “Graduating high school students, and the seniors following them should realize this early the significance of making wise and excellent career decisions,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a statement Friday. “I also advise them to refrain from choosing courses based on what’s in vogue or fashionable, or, to use the popular social lingo of the youth, what’s ‘trending’ and popular,” she added. Her statement comes as hundreds of thousands of high school students are again expected to graduate in less than two months, many of whom are seen to pursue higher education and join the labor force. “[Students] themselves can help resolve the jobs and skills mismatch problem by pursuing courses and skills that would easily fit them into jobs or entrepreneurship opportunities,” Baldoz said. Some of the highest-paying jobs over the last five years are in fact among unpopular choices, the
Labor chief said, citing data from the Bureau of Local Employment. These occupations are in the fields of creative industries, aviation, banking and finance, business process outsourcing, cyber services, manufacturing and mining. Over the last five years, workers in the following occupations got the top wages in the country: Art director: P69,286 Geologist: P64,889 Aircraft pilot/navigator/flight engineer: P57,789 Mining/metallurgical engineer: P55,638 Computer programmer: P43,573 Systems analyst/designer: P42,112 Production supervisor/general foreman: P36,133 Actuarian: P35,480 Call center representative/ customer service associate: P35,424 Statistician: P35,010 The top 10 jobs, the statement said, are determined through the median monthly basic pay and allowances of time-rate full-time
workers in non-agricultural firms with at least 20 employees. The salaries cited are not entrylevel wages, however, with the BLE noting that occupants of the highestpaying positions need to at least have bachelor’s degrees related to the field. “As for other positions in cyber-services, business process outsourcing, and manufacturing companies, college degree is not an essential requirement,” the statement quoted the BLE study as saying. “Completion of high school diploma coupled with years of experience is sufficient,” it added. BLE data, the statement said, also showed that the current Pinoy workforce today is “composed of young, creative, and dynamic people who can work from anywhere anytime.” Even those unable to enroll in college are urged not to lose hope, with Baldoz urging them to look into technical-vocational courses as equally viable options. ■ Southeastasia
Top 10 highest-paying jobs in PH bared
newsroom // Feb 8, 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
A weekend to experience history in CORNWALL! Date: Friday to Sunday 24-26 May 2013 Chaplain: FR. ARI DY, SJ PLACES TO VISIT: ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT - A fairytale island with an exotic garden, ancient harbour, church and medieval castle. It is said that fishermen on this island had a vision of the Archangel St. Michael in the 6th century. MOUSEHOLE- oldest fishing village in England. LAND’S END - most westerly point of England. See rugged waves with stunning views! ST. lVES- voted best seaside town by The Guardian. Famous place for writers, painters and potters! TINTAGEL CASTLE - 12th Century castle associated with King Arthur and the knights of the round table, symbolizing equality. HEALEY’S CORNlSH CYDER FARM a guided tour to learn the art of cider
Pabasa 2013 making with a trailer ride around the apple farm. Free taste during tour! CALLESTICK FARM - famous maker of Comish dairy ice cream. Free samples during the tour! CARMELITE MONASTERY Sclerder, Looe, Cornwall CLARKS VILLAGE DESIGNER OUTLET- Over 90 stores offering huge savings every day on a fantastic range of designer labels and famous brands and 2 nights
stay in COMFORTABLE HOTEL - overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (dinner and breakfast included). PRICE: £225 (ltemize donation to Carmelite monastery, hotel staff and the priest will be in your receipt) PAY ON RESERVATION: (£150 required deposit and full payment one week before the trip) Please contact Betilda on O7919 380513 or Carina on 07876 023683. Thank you and God Bless. ■
Date & Time: 28 March 2013 (Thursday from 20:00H - 24:00H) 29 March 2013 (Friday from 9:00H 12:00H and 16:00H - 24:00H) 30 March 201 3 (Saturday from 07:00H onwards Place: HOLY CROSS CHAPEL Charing Cross Hospital, Fulharn Palace Road,London The ‘Pabasa’ (which mean ‘reading‘) is a FiIipino Lenten tradition of continuous chanting the account of salvation history in Filipino poetry form, The Pabasa lasts for around 16 hours, with one or two people/ groups alternating in singing verses from the Pabasa. In the Philippines,
the Pabasa started from way back the Spanish Times when the missionaries introduced Christianity in the islands. In order to facilitate their catechetical work, they narrated the history salvation in poetry from which had greater appeal to the sensitivities of the Filipinos. AlI over the world, wherever there are Filipinos, they bring with them this Lenten tradition along with many other cherished Catholic traditions. ANY VOICES ARE WELCOME. If you wish to donate Salabat Tea (Ginger Tea) or Biscuits are most welcome. Thank you very much and God Bless. ■
A Day of Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Walsingham ‘We adore you, 0 Christ and we bless you, Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world”. 2013 Theme: ‘We walk by faith, not by sight.”(2Cor.5.7) Date: PALM SUNDAY, 24 March 2013 Price: £20 (includes donation to Anglican shrine, catholic shrine and the priest) ACTIVITIES: 06:30 Assembly (Main entrance of Charing Cross Hospital) 07:00 Departure from London 10:00 Arrival and orientation around the Anglican Shrine 11:00 Station of the Cross at Anglican Shrine 12:30 Procession to Catholic Shrine via Royal Pilgrims Way (45 to 1 hour walk) 13:30 Lunch (Bing your own pack lunch)
15:30 Blessing of Palms 16:00 Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Catholic Shrine) Main Celebrant: Fr. Norlan Julia, SJ 17:00 Daparture from Walsingham Pay on Reservation: £15 required deposit for coach and itemize donation will be on your receipt. Any interested friends, please contact Betilda on 07919 380513 or Carina on 07876 023683. LETS START OUR HOLY WEEK WITH A MAENINGFUL DAY 0F SACRIFICE AND OFFER OUR PERSONAL INTENTION T0 OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM. ■
Russian opposition activist put under house arrest: media MOSCOW — A Russian court on Saturday put prominent opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov under house arrest amid accusations he incited mass disorder to overthrow President Vladimir Putin, local media reported. The Basmanny court in Moscow was responding to a request by investigators who said Udaltsov was not showing good behaviour and not cooperating with the authorities. The judge said that Udaltsov could flee abroad or “try to carry out his criminal intentions”. Under the terms of his house arrest, Udaltsov must stay at his home until April 6 and is banned from using the telephone or Internet. He may only speak to his family, his lawyers and investigators. The 35-year-old leader of the Left Front, who until now has remained under travel restrictions that prevented him from leaving Moscow, faces 10 years in prison if a probe leads to a conviction. Authorities opened a probe after state-controlled television broadcast
a documentary in October that alleged Udaltsov was plotting a violent uprising against Putin’s government. Udaltsov denies the accusations. Before appearing in court, he told the media: “In my opinion nothing has changed that justifies putting me under house arrest.” “I responded to all the investigators’ summons and I did not leave Moscow,” he added. Russia’s investigative committee had said Friday that Udaltsov was being uncooperative with authorities. “Sergei Udaltsov has not lived where he is registered for a long time, his mobile phones are often switched off, making it more difficult to summon the accused by the investigator,” the committee said in a statement. The committee said that Udaltsov “continues to commit illegal acts”, saying the activist had taken part in an unauthorised protest in January where he had called on demonstrators to “launch unlimited protest action”.
Udaltsov’s lawyers said they would appeal against the decision. One of the most radical voices in the protest movement, the shavenheaded activist rose to prominence during unprecedented protests against Putin’s 12-year political dominance in the winter of 2011, and has been one of the key speakers at opposition rallies. He is the first prominent opposition leader to be put under house arrest since those protests -- a sign that the Russian authorities may be preparing to ramp up pressure on the opposition as they seek to cauterise dissent. Another opposition activist, Ilya Yashin, described the arrest as “unpleasant news but pretty much expected”. “Arrests, searches and questioning of opposition figures by the authorities is becoming the norm now,” he told Moscow’s Echo radio. “Their methods are becoming harsher.” A total of 19 people are being prosecuted for last year’s events, 12
Ultra-left opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov talks with media in central Moscow on February 9, 2013 (AFP, Evgeny Feldman)
of whom are in pre-trial detention. They each risk 10 years in jail. Two of Udaltsov’s allies have already been detained and charged in the probe, including Leonid Razvozzhayev, an aide to an opposition parliamentary lawmaker. Razvozzhayev’s case raised concern internationally after he said he was kidnapped in Ukraine and forced back to Russia, where he was detained and tortured. He told rights groups that he
admitted to the charges of causing mass unrest under duress and claims his family was given death threats. Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny was also detained but later released. According to the non-government organisation Human Rights Watch, Russian civil society was subject last year to the worst repression since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. ■ AFP
IMMIGRATION / OFNEWS
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Powering the Philippine Economy With Elvis and Zeppelin PHILIPPINES
MANILA — For more than 30 years, Josetoni Tonnette Acaylar has been singing and playing the piano throughout Asia. He has provided relaxing background music and taken requests for pop and jazz standards in more five-star hotel lobbies and smoky lounges than he can recall, in Brunei, China, Dubai, Hong Kong and other locales. In one job in Japan, he was told to take off his tuxedo and work in the kitchen, washing dishes and scrubbing floors. “Sometimes they would pull me out of the kitchen, give me a jacket and yell, ‘Play the piano!’ and I would have to perform,” Mr. Acaylar recalled with a laugh. Mr. Acaylar is just one of the thousands of musicians from the Philippines who are prominent in bars, lounges and clubs around Asia and the Middle East. But the band used to be much bigger. In 2002 alone, more than 40,000 entertainers left the Philippines to work overseas, primarily in Japan. After allegations of prostitution among some entertainers, however, the Japanese government found that many of the female musicians could not actually play a musical instrument, and that many of the vocalists did not have much of a voice. After the crackdown, the number of performers who left the Philippines to work overseas dropped to 4,050 in 2006, from 43,818 in 2004. The figure now hovers around 1,500 to 2,000 a year, government statistics show, with Japan remaining the top destination, followed by Malaysia, South Korea and China. “We only allow musicians and entertainers to work in legitimate establishments such as cruise ships and major hotels,” said Yolanda E. Paragua, a senior official with thePhilippine Overseas Employment Administration. “Not in honky-tonk type places.” The musicians are among the millions of people from the Philippines who work overseas and help power the country’s economy with remittances. And the Philippine
economy is indeed thriving: in 2012, gross domestic product grew 6.6 percent, surpassing the government’s forecast for growth of 5 percent to 6 percent, data released Thursday showed. The country had the second-highest growth rate in the world in 2012, after China, according to Reuters. Government expenditure in the Philippines jumped nearly 12 percent in 2012, while private spending, which was bolstered by remittances from abroad, was up 6.1 percent, Reuters reported. In the past, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration held auditions to verify the legitimacy of musicians seeking to work overseas, said Celso J. Hernandez, the head of the agency’s operations and surveillance division. After the Japanese crackdown, however, the Philippine government discontinued the practice. These days, the government relies on vetting by licensed recruitment agencies, although it still examines the musicians’ paperwork. The Philippines has a rich music scene, with bands playing hard rock, reggae, jazz, blues and nearly every other form of music each night in numerous clubs around the country. Musicians in the country, as elsewhere, often dream of writing their own works, signing a deal with a major recording label and achieving fame and fortune. But many of those who do not succeed on that path can still find regular work overseas. Domingo Mercado Jr., who goes by the stage name Jojo, wrote and performed original music when he left high school, as part of a nine-piece band called Music and Imagination. Some of his friends have had a taste of fame, but he went in another direction. “I resigned from the band and took a job in Korea,” said Mr. Mercado, 45. “I gave up on my dream.” Mr. Mercado has performed across Asia as a singer and guitarist since 1994. He recently returned from a six-month job on a cruise ship. Although singers and musicians
MENAFN – Arab News – The Philippine Overseas Labor Office said yesterday that it has accredited 44 Saudi recruitment agencies in the Western province to hire Filipino household service workers (HSW) to work in Saudi Arabia. “Many agencies have applied as recruiters of Filipino HSWs but we have been very careful in screening them,” Labor Attache Alex A. Padaen told Arab News. “This is why only 44 have been accredited so far in the Western Province. We examine the documents they have submitted for accreditation.” The Kingdom started issuing visas for Filipino HSWs including
housemaids on Oct. 1. The recruitment of HSWs to work in the Kingdom was halted over differences between the Kingdom and the Philippines over the rights of housemaids. Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Khaled bin Saud bin Khaled had earlier announced that the Kingdom will begin issuing visas after it reached an agreement with the Philippines that respects the sovereignty of the Kingdom and its laws while it also protects the rights of Saudi employers. Padaen said that Jeddah POLO ensures that Saudi recruitment agencies applying for accreditation
from the Philippines can be found performing in many hotel lounges around Asia, the field is actually quite specialized and highly competitive. “A hotel might need many waiters, cooks and housekeepers,” Mr. Hernandez of the overseas employment agency said. “But they only need one or two musicians.” According to the employment agency, about 1.6 million people left the Philippines in 2011 to work overseas. About 369,000 of them went to work on ships, with the remainder employed in a range of fields, including as nurses, waiters, welders, plumbers and caregivers. But the sector that draws the most people from the Philippines overseas is, by far, household services. In 2011, 142,486 people left the country to work as domestic helpers. Nurses made up the secondlargest group, at 17,198. The Middle East draws the largest number of workers from the Philippines, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as the top two destinations. But there is no guarantee of what awaits employees at any destination. “We experience a lot of problems with domestic workers going overseas, particularly to the Middle East,” Mrs. Paragua said. “They are vulnerable to exploitation.” The Philippine government began helping workers go abroad as a stopgap measure to address high unemployment in the 1970s. Today, it continues to say that the phenomenon is a temporary one. “We are not promoting overseas employment. We are managing it,” Mrs. Paragua said. “It would be best if workers could just stay here and earn a good salary.” The robust growth in the Philippines last year has not translated into significant job growth, according to government figures released Thursday. Unemployment was at 6.8 percent in October, up from 6.4 percent a year earlier, and the number of unemployed in the country rose to 2.76 million from 2.64 million. A person with a relatively basic
education who comes from a rural area in the Philippines can earn the equivalent of about $400 a month, plus room and board, working overseas as a domestic helper. That amounts to a comfortable income in the Philippines that could put several children through private schooling in a rural part of the country. Musicians, meanwhile, can make as much as $2,000 a month working in five-star hotels, or $800 to $1,500 a month working on a cruise ship, according to performers and government officials. But they are also vulnerable to exploitation, Mrs. Paragua said, and some earn $400 per month. The money sent home by overseas workers is an important driver of economic growth in the Philippines. According to a report released by the central bank on Dec. 17, remittances from overseas reached $17.5 billion between January and October of 2012, up 5.8 percent from the yearearlier period. The movement of workers from the Philippines is not driven merely by unemployment in the country, however, and thus by a large supply of applicants. “There is a strong
comply with rules and regulations and possess the documents complying with the Memorandum Circular No. 8 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). “In this connection, we call on them to make sure that they have existing offices. In other words, we make an ocular inspection,” he said. “We make sure that they
have adequate number of staff to ensure the protection of HSWs and have proper office facilities. If we think they qualify, we issue them a certificate of accreditation.” The Saudi recruitment agencies forward their certificates of accreditation from the Jeddah POLO to their counterparts in the Philippines, which will bring the documents to the POEA for registration. “The POEA examines these documents and once they are registered, they could already start recruiting HSWs for deployment in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “These HSWs include housemaids, baby sitters,
Josetoni Tonnette Acaylar, left, accompanying a singer in the lounge at the Hyatt Hotel & Casino in Manila. Mr. Acaylar recently returned to the Philippines after 30 years abroad.
demand for Filipino workers,” Mrs. Paragua said. Employees from the country generally have a good command of English and a comparatively high level of education, and they have a reputation for maintaining good work relationships with their employers. Musicians from the Philippines are also in demand, said Maria Victoria Kinpanar, a booking agent. But she noted that the improved economy in the Philippines had created some lucrative options for musicians who wanted to stay or return home. “Overseas work is short-term contract work. It’s not stable,” Ms. Kinpanar said. “Some high-quality musicians are now able to find longterm work here in the Philippines.” Indeed, after spending 30 years working across Asia, Mr. Acaylar now has a regular job playing the piano in the lounge of the Hyatt Hotel & Casino in Manila. But he is still uncomfortable with the suggestion that he is a traveling lounge musician. “I don’t categorize myself as a lounge singer or lobby pianist,” he said. “That requires formal training. I just play the piano and sing songs.” ■ Global Business // January 31, 2013
Saudi-Philippines gives green light to agencies to recruit housemaids
gardeners, cook and family drivers.” He also added that the POLO could approve applications for HSWs if documents are complete. These documents include the copy of the contract, passport of the recruited HSW and plane ticket. Explaining the rush among recruitment agencies to apply for accreditation, Padaen said that local households need HSWs, particularly housemaids. “The Kingdom’s population is growing,” he said. “It was estimated at 25 million last year. Of the number, there were 16 million Saudi nationals and nine million expatriates. ■
MENAFN // 02 February 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
IMMIGRATION / OFNEWS
Pinoys largest AAPI group in CA
LOS ANGELES – Based on a recent study done by a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, Filipino-Americans were found to be California’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) ethnic group. Counting as many as 1.4 million people, Filipinos in California grew by 34 percent between the years 2000 and 2010, according to data from the US Census Bureau. The report, entitled A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in California, was launched by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) on Monday, February 4, at the Japanese American National Museum in Downtown Los Angeles. “This report on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) promotes a better understanding of two of the state’s fastest growing and most diverse racial groups,” said Dan Ichinose, APALC’s director for demographic research. According to Ichinose, the report found that the population spike among Filipinos was fueled by immigration. The Philippines sent more immigrants to California than any other Asian country from 2000 to 2010, said Ichinose. With 55 percent of Filipinos in California born outside the United States, as many as 255,987 Pinoys statewide obtained legal permanent resident status from 2000 to 2010. “Perhaps no Asian American or NHPI community has a greater stake in the immigration debate than Filipino-Americans,” Ichinose added. Importance of disaggregated data One key characteristic of the report was that it disaggregated the very diverse Asian American and NHPI communities. APALC President and Executive Director Stewart Kwoh said that the key goals of the report were to distill the staggering amount of data on the communities, to show the diversity, and to disaggregate the sub-communities that are commonly lumped under the two categories of Asian American and NHPIs. Kwoh said that there is great diversity among the communities, and there is diversity even within each community. Former California State Assemblymember Michael Eng said that it is dangerous when data on Asian Americans and NHPIs are lumped together. He compared the
disaggregation of ethnic data to the findings on breast cancer. Eng said that it would be easy to wrongly conclude that almost nobody in the US has breast cancer if the data on men was lumped with the data on women. “It’s only when you disaggregate men from women that you say ‘Holy mackerels, women are dying at alarming rates.’” Eng said, “And this is the critical challenge that we have here today.” Aside from population growth, the study also provided demographic information on a host of other issues like language, education, income, employment, housing and health. The report can be found on http://www. APALC.org Poverty and employment. According to the data, a lowincome family of four earns $44,000 a year (or 200 percent of the federal poverty line). Meanwhile, a family of four living below the poverty line earns a maximum of only $22,000 per year. Filipinos had the second fewest low-income and poverty-stricken members of their community. Only 17 percent of Filipinos in California reported as members of low-income households, and only 6 percent reported as living under the poverty line. Statewide rates on low-income and poverty are at 33 and 44 percent, respectively. Indians had the least number of low-income and poverty occurrence, which stand at 16 and 6 percent respectively -- only a shade lower than Filipinos. Meanwhile, the Hmong community reported the highest rates of low-income and poverty, at 66 and 34 percent, respectively. A key finding of the report pointed to the glaring fact that Asian Americans were severely hurt by the recession, as there was a 196 percent increase in the number of Asian Americans becoming unemployed from 2006 to 2010. Housing and health. In terms of housing, there were 58 percent of Filipinos who were homeowners, with the remaining 42 percent as renters. These numbers are only better by a few percentage points than the statewide data. In California, residents are 56 percent homeowners and 44 percent renters. In the data gathered from the California Department of Public Health, it was found that statewide, Asian Americans were the only racial group for whom cancer was the leading cause of death. In 2008 alone, lung and
bronchus cancer were the leading cause of cancerrelated deaths among Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans. The second most common cause of cancer deaths for Filipinos, Chinese, and Japanese Americans was colon and rectal cancer. The third most frequent cause of cancer-related mortality for Filipinos was breast cancer. Other diseases which caused the most deaths among Filipinos were heart disease, stroke, accidents and diabetes. The cause of death with the greatest growth rate among Filipinos was Alzheimer’s disease. Many Filipinos in California have access to health care, and have secured health insurance plans for themselves. Only 11 percent of Filipinos did not have health insurance. The Japanese had the lowest rate of uninsured people in California, at only 6 percent of the population. Meanwhile Latinos ranked the highest among the uninsured, at 29 percent. Putting the data to use. Ichinose pointed out that the presentation of the disaggregated data Asian American and NHPI groups was done in a way that it was accessible to organizations, policy makers, foundations, businesses, and other entities interested in serving the communities better. Catherine Eusebio, a board member of United We Dream and an undocumented Filipino who was part of the panel for the report’s launch, echoed Ichinose’s sentiments. Eusebio said that the report “quantifies the stories that we already know about.” She said that the report is a concrete way of using the data as leverage in approaching groups that are interested in providing funding for the community. Joel Jacinto, executive director for Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, said that the report reveals the large gap between the big number of Filipinos in California, the needs and issues that Filipinos have, and the resources and services available for the Filipino community. He said that using the report’s data, Filipino community organizations must strive to do a better job in accessing resources that could be used to address the needs of Filipinos in California. “We need to share this information to the community. We have to be reflective, what is our place is California? What is the status of our quality of lives, what is the status of our communities?,” Jacinto said. ■ asianjournal.com // 08
Immigration to speed up at Dubai airport
MENAFN - Khaleej Times McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --As Dubai airport fully unveils its Dh12-billion dedicated A380 superjumbo terminal, the crush of passengers it has brought in has contributed to long immigration wait times, the CEO said. The new 20-gate Concourse A, part of Terminal 3, has been open since January 2 but declared fully launched on Sunday. It has clearly already benefitted sole resident Emirates airline, which on Sunday projected this year’s profits would jump between 18 and 20 per cent on the past year. The company, which with 31 A380 planes currently has the largest fleet of A380s in the world, posted a Dh1.5 billion profit in the year to March 2012. Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths said he wanted to eliminate the “fairly backwards process in the whole airport experience in airports all over the world”, acknowledging there was an issue with the length of wait times in Dubai -- even if those passing through have the opportunity to shop along some of the 11,000 square metres of retail space. A380s can carry upwards of 500 people, while the concourse is expected to handle 19 million passengers annually -- as a total of the airport’s projected 66 million this year. Passengers have to take a metro for several minutes to get from the concourse, which took almost 160 million man hours to build and soaked up 930,000 metres cubed of concrete, to Terminal 3 where they can clear customs. While there appeared to be last minute tinkering happening as media toured the grand facility, billed by anchor tenant Emirates airline president Tim Clark as “the most unique air terminal in the world (with) one of the largest first class lounges in the world”, the airport says it is only the hotel which is still undergoing construction. But it was not all smooth sailing. “We’ve now got a situation of course with the large numbers of people arriving in A380s we are getting an increase number of passengers arriving at the immigration points,” Griffiths said. The airport was providing training to the rigorous border control staff to enable them to process people faster, while it was pushing ahead with plans to increase numbers of e-gates through which all those with microchip passports can be processed. “We’re very aware of the fact it is an issue.” Griffiths said there was a Dh100 million spend on border security processes, “which should speed up the immigration dramatically”. While uncertain of what the average wait time was, Griffiths said
he wanted to get it down to zero. “There’s only two places in the world where you get queues and that’s the post office and the airport. I’d be delighted to hand the monopoly on queuing on to the post office.” Meanwhile, Clark jubilantly discussed plans for future Emirates ventures -- and profits -- including expanding into India and China. Clark said: “I think it is a great shame that we don’t service India better.” He said current restrictions from the Indian government meant Emirates service was not what it could be, which left the large numbers of passengers wanting to get outside the major Indian centres stuck on smaller carriers with less capacity at higher prices. There were talks planned between the UAE and Indian governments to look at the issue, he said. “I’m sure that will probably happen within the next few months, with a bit of luck.” On a less optimistic note, he said the airline was still having problems with oil prices, which were sitting around the 110-115 mark per barrel -- much higher than necessary for a reasonable profit and revenue for research. “It is a pity...because the oil prices do not need to be where they are today, they should be at about 70.” Fluctuating oil costs accounted for up to 42 per cent of costs. “Not many business are faced with this level of what you could almost say are uncontrollable costs.” Were prices more reasonable, “I think you would see the global economy starting to move”, he said. “The oil prices are in the hands of too few people and that should be dealt with.” However, the global economy did not appear to have taken a toll on the emirate’s aviation industry with the 11-storey concourse a totem pole to luxury. Included are direct access boarding for first and business class passengers to the upper decks of the A380, a ‘quiet room’ on the first class floor where passengers can hide from airport announcements, and fresh cut flowers in the first and business class lounges which are replaced every four days, and serviced continually by workers spraying rejuvenating water. “The appointments are fantastic, no expense has been spared, we have had world class designers do it for us,” Clark said. ■ MENAFN // 11 February 2013
IMMIGRATION / OFNEWS
Phillipines Senator’s Wife Sentenced in McCarran Cash Smuggling PHILIPPINES
LAS VEGAS KXNT - The wife of a Philippines senator has been sentenced in a cash smuggling case. It stems from the arrest of 55 year old Marissa Tadeo Lapid at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas just over a year ago. Lapid is the wife of Philippines Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid. In all, authorities say Lapid smuggled more than $2.5 million dollars in currency and wire transfers into this country from the Phillipines over a three year period. ICE, the federal immigration enforcement agency, says Lapid has been sentenced to five months of home confinement and three years probation for smuggling bulk cash and conspiring to structure those transactions in order to evade reporting requirements.
The government says Lapid originally came under suspicion in November 2010 when she failed to declare $40,000 in currency following her arrival at McCarran on a flight from the Philippines. According to court documents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers subsequently found the money in Lapid’s luggage inside two socks and a cloth bag concealed under the suitcase’s lining. HSI’s subsequent investigation revealed that, from January 2009 through June 2010, Lapid conspired with others to make 23 cash deposits of under $10,000 at multiple banks in the Las Vegas area, often on the same day, knowing the banks were obligated to report cash transactions of more than $10,000. In all, the defendant
structured $159,700 in deposits. HSI special agents arrested Marissa Lapid at McCarran International Airport Jan. 15, 2012, following her arrival on a flight from the Philippines. ■ CBS LV // February 11,
Saudi Arabia ‘spares Philippines death-row convict’ MANILA – Saudi Arabia has spared one of two Filipino men sentenced to death by beheading for separate killings, Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay said Friday. Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza is expected to walk free after more than 12 years in prison following the Saudi government’s decision to pay 2.3 million rials ($614,000) in indemnity to the victim’s kin, Binay announced on television. Binay, who said he had personally lobbied for Lanuza’s freedom, added the balance of the $860,000 settlement sought by the victim’s kin was raised by the convict’s family. “It’s already definite that he will be spared from the death penalty,” Binay said on the ABS-CBN network. The draughtsman was sentenced to death after he told a Saudi court he had knifed his Saudi employer
to death in August 2000 to protect himself from sexual assault, said labour rights monitor Gary Martinez. “Lanuza, 39, is expected to be granted freedom by the Saudi Reconciliation Committee,” Martinez, chairman of Migrante International, a migrant workers’ rights group, said in a statement. “All our efforts have not been in vain, and we attribute this mainly to (Lanuza’s) fighting spirit and the collective efforts of friends, supporters and family. “If not for these, the Philippine and Saudi governments would not have given proper attention to Dondon’s case,” Martinez added. However, Binay said the Saudis are set to behead another Filipino death convict, Joselito Zapanta, shortly unless about $811,000 in blood money is paid to the kin of
THE United Nations refugee agency today welcomed a bill passed by the Congress of the Philippines to protect the rights of more than one million internally displaced persons (IDPs), making it the first Asia-Pacific country to have legislation safeguarding citizens against arbitrary displacement. “This measure is a milestone for the protection of internally displaced people in the Philippines, where decades-long armed conflicts and many natural disasters have caused massive displacement, especially in the Mindanao region,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, told reporters in Geneva. The bill seeks to prevent displacement and spells out rights during and after people have been forced to leave their homes. It also imposes heavy penalties against arbitrary internal displacement of any person, including non-
combatants caught in the crossfire of internal armed conflicts. According to UNHCR estimates, between January and October of 2012 alone, some 300,000 people were displaced throughout Mindanao due to natural disasters, as well as the conflict between Government and secessionist groups. Natural disasters in particular are one of the main causes for displacement in the Philippines due to their frequency. In December, Typhoon Bopha left more than 1,000 people dead, displaced over 1 million people and affected 6.2 million in what was one of the deadliest storms in recent times. Thousands are still homeless and are in need of humanitarian and other assistance in southern Mindanao, Mr. Edwards said. The bill, which still needs the endorsement of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, also provides monetary compensation for lost or damaged property or for the
his Sudanese landlord who was murdered in 2009. The construction worker won a four-month stay of execution in midNovember last year to give him more time to raise the amount. Binay said the victim’s family had since agreed to settle for less than the original amount of about $1.08 million, though the amount raised so far was still far less than the reduced amount. Martinez told AFP about 125 Filipinos including Lanuza and Zapanta were on death row abroad. The largest group of 75 were convicted in China for narcotics smuggling, he said. About nine million Filipinos work overseas. Their remittances are a mainstay of an economy that has struggled to create well-paying domestic jobs. ■ AFP
Philippines: UN lauds landmark bill protecting rights of internally displaced people
Displaced people in northern Mindanao, first affected by armed conflict, then uprooted by Tropical Storm Washi in late 2011. (Photo: UNHCR/K.L. Eleazar)
death of family members, with the Commission on Human Rights, an independent agency of the State, having been designated as the focal point for the protection of displaced people. Mr. Edwards noted that the bill guarantees the rights of IDPs in accordance with international standards, particularly the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and added that the new legislation is considered as a model for other countries. ■ UN News Centre // 8 February 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Philippines’ Aquino visits rebel stronghold SULTAN KUDARAT, Philippines (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino paid a historic visit Monday to Muslim rebel territory in a bid to speed up efforts to end one of Asia’s longest and deadliest insurgencies. Four months after his government agreed on a roadmap with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for a final peace deal by 2016, Aquino travelled to the insurgents’ stronghold in the far south as a confidence-building measure. “We have just three years and four months left. We have to speed up everything we are doing now to make this (peace) permanent,” Aquino said on a stage alongside MILF chief Murad Ebrahim just outside the rebels’ main base. The deadline for peace coincides with the end of Aquino’s six-year term as president. The constitution limits him to one term and there are concerns that the next president may not be able, or may not want, to pursue the peace agenda. The 12,000-strong MILF has been fighting since the 1970s for independence in Mindanao, the southern third of the mainly Catholic Philippines that the country’s Muslim minority claim as their ancestral homeland. An estimated 150,000 people have died in the conflict with Muslim rebels, although a ceasefire in place since 2003 has largely held. In the “framework agreement” signed last October, the MILF said it would give up its quest for independence in exchange for significant power and wealthsharing in a new autonomous region covering large parts of Mindanao. Many of the toughest details have yet to be agreed, and there have been no major breakthroughs in ensuing negotiations between the two sides. However Aquino expressed confidence that the negotiations would yield significant results
within weeks, and that a final peace pact could be achieved by 2016. “We’re very close to agreements on all the points,” he said. The key event on Monday, held just outside the MILF’s heavily fortified Camp Darapanan, was the launch of joint development projects seen by both sides as crucial to the peace process. It was the first peace mission by a president to the MILF’s powerbase. Then-president Joseph Estrada travelled to the area in 2000 but only at a time of heavy fighting, shortly after government troops overran another base that was then the rebels’ main camp. Estrada infamously brought pork and beer to the Muslim areas so government troops could celebrate their victory. Speaking at Monday’s event, Murad said Aquino’s trip was a highly symbolic and important boost to the peace process. “Truly we are humbled by this grand gesture of the president of personally launching several socio-economic projects... on this hallowed ground which has seen many of the battles we have fought,” he said. Murad emphasised the need to bring prosperity to Mindanao, a fertile and resource-rich region that remains one of the country’s poorest areas because of the conflict as well as corruption. “Development is so important... this goal must therefore be the single most important task of this partnership,” he said. The programmes launched on Monday involve education scholarships, expanded health networks and job creation projects. After the launch of the development projects, Aquino travelled to a military camp to watch a game of football between MILF fighters and government soldiers. ■ Thewest.com.au // February 11,
Philippines seeks closer ties with Cambodia
THE Philippines says it is seeking to strengthen ties with Cambodia though increased trade and combating transnational crime. The Philippines says it is seeking to strengthen ties with Cambodia though increased trade and combating transnational crime. Philippines Vice President Jejomar Binay says Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen supports the signing of agreements between Manila and Phnom Penh in rice trading and in fighting transnational crime. Cambodian officials have also expressed interest in launching
direct flights between Manila and Phnom Penh. The Philippines vice president met with Cambodian ministers during a trip to Phnom Penh for the state funeral and cremation of Cambodia’s former king and head of state Norodum Sihanouk. Relations between the two nations soured last year when Cambodia blocked efforts by the Philippines and Vietnam to mention their territorial dispute with China in the customary communique issued by the ASEAN at its ministerial conference. ■ Radio
Australia // 9 February 2013
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Get Lucky With Marites Allen - 2013 World of Feng Shui
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Year of Water Snake Forecast 2013 Marites Allen KUNG Hei Fat Choi to our dear readers! We trust that you are having a fabulous time welcoming this Year of the Water Snake. Don’t forget to reserve your seats for our Marites Allen Feng Shui Updates in London, United Kingdom this coming 20th March 2013, call Kirck Allen at 07792 11 7914. Ticket priced at
£35.00 before 15th February 2013 and will be increased to £40.00 thereafter. You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your registration as this event is usually for limited seats only. To keep you all abreast of what to look forward to for the Year of the Water Snake, below is the general forecast as released by the World of Feng Shui:
General outlook for 2013 • Very auspicious for INDIVIDUALS who have the luck • But NATURAL DISASTER STAR brings suffering to many • International outlook between nations sees reduced violence • Good time for companies to expand and diversify • Excellent year to refocus corporate goals to transform strategies
• Good year to forge new ties and make alliances • Politically and economically we see stabilisation taking place • Wealth luck for specific animal signs sees BIG JUMP • Goodwill surfaces in the international environments • Presence of all 5 element brings stability and growth opportunites • Earth Spirits of the year will help
bring peace and prosperity Business / Wealth • Excellent year to expand and refocus • NEW BUSINESS models based on diversification will prosper • All companies and businessmen benefit from the WOOD element • Banking and Financial sectors look set for big profit increase • A GOOD YEAR for real estate and property enhancement CAREER • Definitely NOT a good year to change career or to relocate • POWER LUCK needs strengthening – use the WIND HORSE for this • Creativity and Intelligence from from young people. Make friends with young folk • Work environment is friendlier and there is less politicking • FIRE energy will improve chances of promotion. Keep your work area well lit • The WIND HORSE brings BIG SUCCESS LUCK Relationship luck favours marriage • GOOD YEAR for singles and newlyweds • MARRIED COUPLES will also have a GREAT YEAR • FRIENDSHIPS get closer as goodwill encourages STRONGER TIES • SOCIAL LIFE heats up as more people generate young chi • A year when compromise is the key word. Avoid disagreement. Education outlook is average • Years favours those who are focused • Good concentration and creativity are vital for success • There are good SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES for determined students • Every kind of intellectual pursuit can bring satisfaction and success HEALTH OUTLOOK FAVOURS THE PATRIARCH BUT WEAKENS THE MATRIARCH • ALL MOTHERS must WATCH their HEALTH this year • AILMENTS associated with the womb bring concern • PROBLEM related to the HEART also dangerous • OWN your health, eat better and EXERCISE! • BRING IN the POWERFUL strong elephant to anchor your HEALTH LUCK Stock market: definite growth in stocks on world equity markets • GREATER ESTABILITY and growth in the coming year • PLENTY OF BUYING OPPORTUNITIES • BIG SCANDALS associated with Corporations subside • SPRING & SUMMER PERIODS look exciting. Very active markets • CONFIDENCE returns to the EQUITY MARKETS ■
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February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
GMA Network maintains nationwide ratings superiority in January
Dominates list of top-rating shows in viewer-rich Mega Manila and Urban Luzon RIDING on the momentum of its yearlong ratings success in 2012, broadcast leader GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) maintained dominance over competing stations in nationwide ratings in January, based on data from more widely recognized ratings service provider Nielsen TV Audience Measurement. For the period January 1 to 31 (January 27 to 31 based on overnight data), GMA registered an average total day household audience share of 33.1 percent in National Urban TV Audience Measurement (NUTAM), ahead of ABS-CBN’s 32.4 percent, and TV5’s 15.7 percent. The channel ranking remains the same in the viewer-rich areas of Urban Luzon and Mega Manila, which represent 76 and 59 percent, respectively, of the total urban television households in the country. GMA led across all dayparts in the two areas particularly important to advertisers, most notably in the afternoon block, where it led competition by double digits. In Urban Luzon, GMA scored a 36.9 percent total day household audience share average, up 8.4 points from ABS-CBN’s 28.5 percent, and up 21.4 points from TV5’s 15.5 percent. GMA also ruled over rival networks in Mega Manila with an average total day household audience share of 37.9 percent, ahead of ABS-CBN’s 26.5 percent by 11.4 points, and way
ahead of TV5’s 16.3 percent by 21.6 points. More GMA programs also made it to the list of top-performing programs in Urban Luzon and Mega Manila with multi-awarded news magazine program Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho leading both rosters for the month of January. The much-anticipated epic drama Indio bannered by Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. also figured prominently in both lists, as well as in the list for NUTAM. Indio made an impressive debut on its pilot week in Urban Luzon and Mega Manila with an average household rating of 25.4 and 26.9 percent, respectively, compared to its rival program on ABS-CBN’s 22.2 and 20.4 percent. It is also worthy to note that the country’s longest-running noontime show Eat Bulaga kept its stronghold of its nationwide ratings edge. It likewise continued to draw more audiences and outrate both its ABSCBN and TV5 counterparts in Urban Luzon and Mega Manila. Other ratings drivers of GMA for January are the Filipino adaptation of Temptation of Wife, the returning drama anthology Magpakailanman, its banner newscast 24 Oras, the original primetime drama Pahiram ng Sandali, the reality comedy program Pepito Manaloto: Ang Tunay na Buhay, the country’s longest running gag show Bubble Gang, and multi-awarded public affairs program Imbestigador. Also in the lists are Kap’s Amazing Stories, Kapuso Movie Festival,
Celebrity Bluff, Yesterday’s Bride, Magdalena, Wattajob, Smile Dong Hae, Sana ay Ikaw na Nga, and The Princess’s Man. GMA and TV5 subscribe to Nielsen TV Audience Measurement while ABS-CBN is the lone local major TV Lorna Tolentino network that reportedly subscribes to Kantar Media, formerly known as TNS. In Mega Manila, Nielsen TV Audience Measurement gathers data based on a sample size of 1,190 homes as compared to Kantar Media’s 770 homes. Meanwhile, Nielsen has a nationwide urban sample size of 2,000 homes, which is statistically higher than Kantar’s sample size of 1,370. GMA Network’s top-rating shows can be seen worldwide on its flagship international channel, GMA Pinoy TV. Visit www.gmanetwork.com/ international for more details. ■
Max Collins and Dingdong Dantes
Christopher de Leon
Eat Bulaga contract signing
Temptation of Wife cast
Magpakailanman host, Mel Tiangco
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Art Fair Philippines to showcase contemporary works AS Filipino contemporary artists earn international acclaim, dedicated arts patrons Lisa Ongpin Periquet and Trickie C. Lopa felt it was high time to shine the spotlight on these talents here at home. “We’re so excited about the inroads Philippine art has achieved within the worldwide contemporary arts community,” remarked Periquet at Ayala Museumto announce the inaugural Art Fair Philippines (AFP) 2013. “One goal is to make sure Filipinos are aware that we have this exciting arts scene that we should all be proud of and fully support.” To that end, Periquet and Lopa, organizers of the popular Art in the Park annual fair in Salcedo Village, and fellow Museum Foundation of the Philippines member Dindin B. Araneta have conceived a new exposition focused exclusively on Philippine contemporary art. From Feb. 7 to 10, AFP will offer events and exhibits, including special lectures at Ayala Museum; displays of public artwork throughout Makati
City as part of the Make It Happen, Make It Makati campaign, and a specially commissioned kinetic sculpture called “Asphalt” by Gabriel Barredo. Original installations. Twentyfour galleries such as Silverlens, Art Informal and Salcedo Auctions were invited to showcase their artists’ works. “We didn’t want to cramp their style , but we also wanted to ensure that they considered what they put out, that there’s a message the pieces should be able to communicate,” explained Lopa about the fair’s collaborative yet tight curatorial direction. The participating galleries have risen to the challenge, fielding a wide range of original installations created for AFP. Among them is Bembol de la Cruz, 2011 Ateneo Art Awards winner, who is working on diptychs, revealed Sylvia Golamco-Gascon of Finale Art File. Tin-aw Art Gallery will showcase Mark Justiniani. CANVAS will display
Lisa Ongpin Periquet and Trickie C. Lopa
works centered on the theme “Looking for Juan in Basketball” from six artists, including Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay and Don Salubayba. Unusual venue. The exhibits will be on view at The Link car park between Landmark Shopping Center and the Makati ShangriLa Hotel—an unusual choice of venue but one in keeping with contemporary art’s nontraditional spirit. “Manila doesn’t have any iconic venues. We wanted one that mirrors
the vibrancy of the arts scene,” Lopa noted. Added Periquet: “An important aspect of our concept was to transform an unexpected space into an exhibition venue.” Inquirer Lifestyle // February 4th, 2013
Furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue and architectural firm Leandro V. Locsin Partners helped with the makeover from parking garage to urban-art gallery, where visitors will be welcomed at a reception desk made from San Miguel Beer crates by multimedia
artist Norberto “Peewee” Roldan Jr. Although this is AFP’s first year, Periquet and Lopa hope to make it an annual affair. “Our goal is to eventually become the standard for the country’s art fairs,” said Periquet. More importantly, they want to expose fellow Filipinos to the rich artistic talent emerging at home. As Lopa observed: “If other people can see what we see and appreciate what our young artists are doing, then it’s really something to be proud of.” ■
Miss World 2012 welcomes Chinese New Year in PH
A beautiful Chinese maiden made Chinese New Year in the Philippines more special as she joined in the festivities held on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City. Miss World 2012 Wenxia Yu welcomed the Year of the Water Snake together with her Filipino fans with a fun meet-and-greet in MOA’s music hall. Miss World Philippines 2012 titleholder, Queneerich Rehman joined Yu. Yu arrived on Saturday together with Miss World Chief Executive Officer Julia Morley. A press conference awaited them at the Manila Hotel attended by Rehman, Miss World Philippines 2011, Gwendoline Ruais and Miss World Philippines license owner Cory Quirino.
“Because this is my first time in the Philippines, I am very happy and excited to celebrate Chinese New Year here,” Yu beamed. Interestingly, the 23-year-old beauty queen was born in the Year of the Snake. Yu, however, admitted that she would miss her family with whom she always celebrated the Chinese New Year. She hails from
the province of Heilongjiang in northern China. At the press event, Yu also showed her love for music. A graduate of China’s Harbin University with a degree in Chinese folk music, Yu sang a popular folk song. Yu won 2012 Miss World crown at a glittering pageant held in Dongsheng, Inner Mongolia, China on August 28, 2012. The Philippine’s contender, Rehman, finished at top 15. ‘Beauty with a purpose’ Yu is currently in a world tour fulfilling her duties as the Miss World 2012 ambassador. Before she came to the Philippines, she and Morley were in India to help that country’s titleholder in her Beauty with a Purpose campaign.
Be an active subscriber and get a chance to win a PBA All-Star Weekend! 1. What is the PBA? • PBA stands for the Philippine Basketball Association and it is the premiere and first professional basketball tournament in Asia. • PBA is exclusive on OSN/ TV2MORO via Aksyon TV (ch. 404 & 405) and airs every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (UK primetime airing on ch. 405). 2. How can a Filipino customer join the promo? • Promo period: February 1 to April 30, 2013 • All countries • The customer must be an active subscriber for the months of February, March and April 2013 • Each active month = 1 electronic raffle coupon • Customer can get as many as
three (3) electronic raffle coupons during the promo period. 3. Draw dates and prizes: • Draw Date 1: March 15, 2013 - 20 winners of autographed PBA jerseys and basketballs - 5 winners of the PBA All-Star Weekend • Draw Date 2: May 17, 2013 - 50 winners of autographed PBA jerseys and basketballs - 15 winners of the PBA All-Star Weekend • Draws will be held in Manila and winners will be announced during the PBA games and via on-air promos/announcements on Kapatid TV5 (ch. 402 & 403) and Aksyon TV (ch. 404 & 405) • Customers may only win once. If a customer wins more than once, he/
she gets the prize with the higher value and another winner will be drawn for the lower value prize. • NOTE: The above prizes are the total number of prizes to be given out for all of OSN’s footprint which includes the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Hence, not all of the above prizes will be given to EU subscribers. The electronic raffle coupons of all qualified subscribers from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe will be used for the draw dates on March 15 and May 17. • The PBA All-Star Weekend includes roundtrip airfare for one (1), 3 days and 2 nights hotel accommodation for one (1) and one-on-one basketball lessons from the PBA players ■
Beauty with a Purpose is the Miss World Organization’s charity arm present in participating countries. According to Morley, Beauty with a Purpose is Miss World’s way of using beauty to promote goodwill and uplift the lives of the less privileged. She noted, “It [Miss World] is not just about winning . . . For example, Miss India did not win but when we arrived in her country, she had already done a lot to help Beauty with a Purpose there.” Morley said that Yu is given the freedom to decide on her own charity works. What is important,
she added, is that Yu become better in her endeavors to help others throughout her reign. While in the Philippines, Yu will go to the Philippine General Hospital to reunite with Sunshine Dizon, a young heart patient who is the first beneficiary of the charity. Her other activities include an Old Manila Castillian tour, wreathlaying at the Rizal Monument with Mayor Alfredo Lim of Manila and attending a Chinese art exhibit at the Manila Hotel. For this year, Miss World takes place in September in Bali, Indonesia. ■ MENAFN // 02/10/201
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Introducing the male soloists, duos and lone group of ‘Kanta Pilipinas’ LIKE the girls in this batch, the guys competing in “Kanta Pilipinas” also have plenty to offer in terms not only of sheer talent but also musical diversity. There’s a little bit of soul, jazz, rock, standards, among others. These men are not bereft of drama either. One has stage 2 brain cancer, another is a former “American Idol” aspirant while still another lost his girlfriend to leukemia. And let’s not forget nor take for granted the equally formidable duos and only group. Their back stories may not be as compelling as those of their solo counterparts but they more than make up for that with their talents—which in the end is what they really need to impress the judges, Vehnee Saturno, Lani Misalucha and Ryan Cayabyab. We’ve seen the girls, now let’s see what the male soloists and the groups have to offer. ADRIAN ‘AJ’ TABALDO. Raised in California, Adrian started singing at five years old, fronting for many Filipino shows in the US. He actually auditioned for “American Idol” Season 6 but failed to make it very far. With “Kanta Pilipinas”, he hopes to make his family proud, especially his ever supportive aunt who recently passed away.
his YouTube videos are duets with“ American Idol” Season 12 hopeful Bridget “Jett” Hermano. DANIEL GOROSPE & JB LANDRITO Daniel is best known for interpreting “Kesa” in last year’s Philpop. When his Australia-based best friend JB decided to return to Manila, the two decided to team up just to join “Kanta Pilipinas”. Proud of the colorful backgrounds that shape them into the men they are now, can they prove that two voices are better than one? NICOLE AND CARLO DAVID. During the press presentation of the “KP” finalists, almost every other contestant said he or she looks up to the brother and sister team of Nicole and Carlo, who also happen to be the children of jazz artist Mon David, who is now based in the US. As first impressions go, it looks like the siblings are already making their father proud. 5AZ1. Insomniac couch potatoes should be familiar with this boy band that often performs on German Moreno’s “Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman”. The love for music inspired Herbert, Rex, John, Bryan and Mick to form 5AZ1 and try their luck on “Kanta Pilipinas”. Is it a boon or a bane for them to be the only group in the competition? ■
ALLAN GONZALES. As Stevie Wonder has shown, blindness is not an obstacle to realize one’s dream. Allan is determined to succeed in a similar fashion. A young singer and piano player whose family recently migrated to the US, Allan shares his talent and passion for music with his church’s junior choir. GIANCARLO BALDONIDO. Despite contracting stage 2 brain cancer, Giancarlo is a warm, caring and friendly yuppie from Singapore who does not stop reaching for dreams. Joining a singing contest, which he has never done before, is included in his bucket list, which explains why he joined “Kanta Pilipinas”. His cancer is thankfully in remission, but will the healing power of music help him fully recover? GREGORY LLAMOSO. Similar to Michael Bublé in terms of style, Gregory grew up listening to great jazz crooners like Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Harry Connick Jr. due to his grandfather’s influence. Gregory’s choice of songs is a voice that evokes his passion for life and his edgy sense of humanity and romance. ISAIAH ANTONIO. Isaiah is considered as a miracle baby because his heartbeat had stopped for a week while he was inside
his mother’s womb. With several YouTube videos to his name, this Pokemon and Spiderman fan comes from that family that owns the famous Salon de Manila and is geared towards making his own mark as a musician. JACOB GAYANELO. For 10 years, part-Russian Jacob lived in Jakarta to pursue his showbiz dreams despite his family’s disapproval. This, however, hasn’t fazed the young looker. One can say that Jacob is under immense pressure—as his family has told him they would not support him anymore should he fail to make it as a star. RICKY DELOVIAR. A rakista from Iloilo who will do anything to achieve his dream, Ricky decided to join “Kanta Pilipinas” to help provide for his family. Sadly, his girlfriend (who he says was his biggest fan) died of leukemia just before he auditioned for show. Will his grief and heartbreak affect his chances of winning the competition? TIMOTHY PAVINO. FilipinoAmerican Tim decided to stay in the Philippines to take care of his cancerstricken grandmother. A lola’s boy with a complicated relationship with his mother, he loves to cook, knows Nihonggo and has a selfproduced album. Curiously, some of
InterAksyon // February 11, 2013
OUT of 24 finalists, there are 13 female soloists, 8 male singers, two duos, and one vocal group in “Kanta Pilipinas”, TV5’s new musical reality search which premiered on Saturday. Chosen from thousands of aspirants who waited in line during auditions that took place as far back as February of last year in Metro Manila, Cagayan De Oro, Davao, Baguio, Iloilo and Batangas City, many of the 13 future divas were given an opportunity to show their wares during a recent press conference. Looking at the profiles of each one, it seems that these young ladies do not only have interesting back stories but they also come from diverse musical backgrounds that include pop, R&B, folk and even rock. As displayed by those who performed before the media, their respective singing styles also vary. Even with rough edges that can still be fine tuned in time by their assigned mentors over the course of the series, the potential to be a sensational singing star is very much evident. Some can birit with the best of them while others simply know how to highlight their God-given gifts and make the most of the limitations of their vocal range. Let’s meet the 13 female finalists: ALLISON GONZALES. Allison is a member of the country’s first female pop opera group Opera Belles. This pretty lady from Batangas started singing when she was 8 years old and was trained at the University of the Philippines Extension Program where she was introduced to opera and classical music.
CHADLEEN LACDO-O. With her face that reminds not a few of Charice before the eyebrow-raising makeover, who would think that Chadleen was born with a cleft palate? This daddy’s girl had her first operation when she was 22 months old. Four years later, she became Operation Smile’s international ambassador, as she identifies closely with the organization’s cause. DEA FORMILLEZA. Dea is a charming Davaoena who wants to prove that she is more than a pretty face. She grew up in a musically inclined family who enjoys bonding over jam sessions. Her dad plays the piano, Dea and her mother on vocals while his two brothers play the guitar. She believes there’s no such as an impossible dream. ESTHER MARTINEZ. Hailing from Surigao, Esther dreams of coming to Manila to look for her father who is seeking treatment for a psychological condition. Since the time Esther discovered her singing talent, she did not hesitate to join different singing contests in order to save enough money. Now that she’s joined “Kanta Pilipinas”, she’s confident she can finally find her father. FERNS TOSCO. Boracay-based Ferns gained the reputation of being a tourist favorite during her time performing in Boracay. Her original composition “Island Called Boracay” is hailed as the island’s local anthem and her selfproduced album has become a muchloved souvenir. She hopes to share her love for music and to inspire others to be proud of our local talent.
HAIZEL FERNANDO. Haizel is a single mother who supports her family. When her father lost his job in Kuwait, her family had to scale down their lifestyle. Aside from chasing her musical dreams, she also pursued modelling, until a fateful gathering that changed her life. Now back on her feet, she hopes “Kanta Pilipinas” will finally reverse her fortunes for good. JANETH GOMEZ. Singing contest veteran Janeth may only be 17 years old, but she too has faced heartbreak. Last year, she found out through Facebook that her father has a second family in Riyadh and has converted to Islam. Although the issue was eventually settled and accepted by her family, she also hopes “Kanta Pilipinas” can also help her move forward with her life. JENNIFER MARAVILLA. Jeniffer is a member of Nu Born Divas – a girl group that made it to the “Talentadong Pinoy” grand finals. Jeniffer felt betrayed when she found out that her two former groupmates joined a different talent reality show with a new member. The disappointment could be a blessing in disguise as she now has a chance to prove to everyone that she can succeed on her own. PIA DIAMANTE. Funny lady Pia is fond of impersonating Jessa Zaragoza and Ruffa Mae Quinto. Underneath the cheerful exterior lies a girl who saw her father abandon their family for another woman–a traumatic episode that forced her help provide for her family’s needs. Pia looks at her career as a way to give her family, especially her mother, a chance at a better life.
Meet the 13 female solo finalists of ‘Kanta Pilipinas’
RAZ MENDOZA. So-called party girl Raz wants to prove that she can be disciplined and poised as well. She is a daddy’s girl with a good sense of humor and who is oftentimes straightforward and boyish. She can’t live without a boyfriend and will readily hook up with a new guy when a relationship ends. With “Kanta Pilipinas”, she hopes to focus solely on her talent for a change. ROSHELLE MERCED. The other single mother in this batch, Roshelle grew up in a broken home and grew up not being close to her parents, particularly her father. Keeping a deep secret about her pregnancy which viewers will find more about as the series progresses, she is nonetheless a responsible single parent who works hard to provide for her child. THARA JORDANA. Commercial model Thara was born to a Spanish father and a Cebuana mother, who split up when she was 15 years old. Thara’s father now has another family, but she is closer to his father’s new wife than with her own mother. Not a big fan of marriage because of what happened to her family, she does believe she has what it takes to win “Kanta Pilipinas”. ZARI BILON. Zari is so serious about making it big in the music industry that she prioritized her voice lessons over school. But she has had to deal with a traumatic experience in a televised singing competition, which rendered her inconsolable. This time, Zari will try her luck and prove to the world that she has what it takes to be the next singing sensation. ■ InterAksyon
// February 10, 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
CELEBRITY, SHOWBIZ & ENTERTAINMENT
Colton Dixon releases debut album ahead of Manila concert with Jessica Sanchez
EVEN as anticipation for her upcoming Valentine’s concert at the Big Dome reaches fever pitch, Jessica Sanchez is reminding everyone to also support her special guest. “Please go support and get @coltondixon album today! Amazing music,” she tweeted early Wednesday morning (Manila time) in reference to her fellow “American Idol” finalist. And the album she’s referring to is Colton’s debut release “A Messenger”, now available in CDs at Astroplus and Odyssey Music & Video or online via iTunes or www. MyMusicStore.com.ph. Colton, the 21-year old skunk-haired fan favorite from Murfreesboro, Tennessee who placed seventh in the 11th season of “Idol”, is a singer-songwriter who is partial to rock and Christian music, which explains the stylized crucifix in the “t” in his logo. He admitted that work on “A Messenger” started immediately after his elimination in the reality competition series, which no less than judge Steven Tyler found as “beyond shocking”.
During the subsequent “American Idols Live tour” that featured all finalists as co-headliners, Colton became the first ever contestant to perform an original song onstage. “The tour knew I had been in writing sessions since I was eliminated. I probably had 20, 25 songs at that point,” he told USA Today in a recent interview. After the tour’s producers told him to pick one of his original songs that he can perform in the set, he wrote “Never Gone” with Andy Dodd, Adam Watts and Gannin Arnold a little over one week before the tour started. “I was like, ‘I really feel strongly about this one’,” Dixon enthused. “I don’t know if it was because I had just written it or if I thought it would fit the arena style. But they really liked it, so it worked.” An uplifting power ballad, “Never Gone” was heard by over 360,000 fans on the tour and was an immediate hit digital single, selling 21,000 units in its first week before peaking at number 1 on the iTunes Christian and Gospel singles chart as well as Billboard’s Christian Digital Songs and Christian/Gospel Digital Songs charts.
More importantly, the phenomenal success of the song also placed him in a very unique and elite company: He and and Jennifer Hudson are the only 7th place finalists in “Idol” history to reach number 1 on a Billboard chart. Proving that he’s no one-hit wonder, Colton released a follow-up single, the equally inspirational “You Are”, which again peaked at the top spot on the said charts. It was also selected as USA Today’s Song of the Week last October. With the release of “A Messenger”, Colton became only the second finalist from Season 11 to release a full-length album that contains original material, after winner Phillip Phillips. Dixon said out of the more than 50 songs that he wrote after his “Idol”, 11 made it to the album. One track, “Rise”, was written with Chris Daughtry, another “AI” alumnus. Other noteworthy tracks include the power rock “Noise” which he co-penned with producer Busbee (Daughtry, Pink, Switchfoot, Smash Mouth), “I’ll Be The Light” featuring renowned Nashville-based songwriter Zac Maloy (Daughtry,
Jessica Sanchez tweeed this photo of herself and Colton Dixon rehearsing a song for their upcoming Valentine concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Plain White T’s) and “This Is Who I Am” that he co-wrote with Dave Bassett (Shinedown). “Shape Of Your Love” is also added as a bonus track in Colton’s Philippine CD release. “Calling the album ‘A Messenger’ was a good way for me to put things in perspective in terms of my personal faith, to make sure people realize, that while I am sharing honest emotions and experiences based on this,” he noted.
“The album moves along like a rollercoaster ride. There are not two songs that sound alike, which is something I worked hard to achieve and am excited about. Working with my amazing team of writers and producers. I wanted to share different experiences that I’ve gone through, the lows and the high. I wanted to shed some hope on people no matter what they’re going through.” As for Jessica Sanchez’s upcoming concert in Manila which features Colton as her special guest, it seems like no less than the headliner is more excited about it. “You ready, Manila?” she again tweeted late Wednesday morning as she also posted a picture of her and Colton rehearsing for what appears to be a duet, which should be one of the highlights of the big event. Presented by MCA Music, Ovation Productions and Bench Philippines, “Jessica Sanchez Live In Concert with special guest Colton Dixon” will take place on February 14, Valentine’s Day, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. For ticket inquiries, visit www.ticketnet.com.ph to buy tickets online. ■ InterAksyon // January 30, 2013
The Celebrity Obsession With Coconut Water Is Changing Life In The Philippines
PHILIPPINE farmer Liezl Balmaceda has never heard of Madonna, but the US pop star’s endorsement of coconut water may help change her impoverished life for the better. After centuries of replenishing Filipinos, the mineral-rich liquid has become a must-have health drink thanks to aggressive marketing by a beverage industry looking to offset soda sales that have lost their fizz. Balmaceda, 33, and her husband process truckloads of coconuts at their backyard each week to get the meat that is turned into vegetable oil. The arduous labour earns the family of five about $9 a day, barely enough to get by.
“We just throw the water away when we extract the copra (coconut meat). But if you tell me people actually pay money to drink it, we could use the extra cash,” she told AFP in rural Mulanay town, four hours’ drive south of Manila. In his most recent state of the nation address, President Benigno Aquino hailed coconut water as one of the country’s most promising new export opportunities. He cited industry figures showing exports jumping more than nine-fold to 16.76 million litres (4.4 million gallons) in 2011. Manila-based Fruits of Life is one local business to have started profiting from the growing
Will a Filipina make it to the top? 23-year-old Stephanie Retuya from San Pedro, Laguna is one of three model aspirants who made it to the finale of the Asia-Pacific reality show “Asia’s Next Top Model.” Retuya, together with Kate Ma of Taiwan and Jessica Amorinkuldilok of Thailand, will compete for a modeling contract, a working trip to London, a cover shoot with fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, and 100,000 SGD, among others. Model Nadya Hutagalung serves as “Asia’s Next Top Model’s” head judge. Retuya is the only Filipina in the competition that saw 13 other models from countries such as India, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan, among others, vying for the
first Asia’s Next Top Model title. The Pinay model wasn’t a frontrunner in the competition, having landed at the bottom two of the weekly photo shoot challenges five times. She’s usually criticized for playing too safe during photo shoots and her lack of confidence. However, Retuya managed to get two callbacks (out of five) during the go-see challenge, where the models are asked to audition for actual modeling jobs. “Asia’s Next Top Model” is based on the popular US reality show “America’s Next Top Model” (ANTM). While no Filipina has made it in the show’s past 19 seasons, Filipinos have made significant appearances on “ANTM” the past few years. Filipino designers such as
appreciation in the West for coconut water as an alternative to sugar-laden carbonated drinks. “People have become more health-conscious in general,” said Phoebe de la Cruz, sales manager for Fruits of Life. “Athletic types have taken to coco water for its natural electrolytes.” Fruits of Life, which began exporting its own branded product in 2006, now exports about 240 tonnes in cans and tetra packs a year directly to supermarket chains in the United States and Canada. The biggest players in the global beverage industry, including CocaCola and Pepsi, have also jumped
Pinay among ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ top three finalists
Michael Cinco and Francis Libiran designed clothes for the show’s photo challenges, while celebrities Georgina Wilson and Anne Curtis have made cameos. The winner of “Asia’s Next Top Model” will be revealed on Sunday, February 17 on Star World, with “Top Model” franchise creator Tyra Banks slated to make an appearance. ■ Southeast Asia Newsroom
into the coconut water health drink craze in recent years. ZICO, a US coco water brand majority owned by Coca-Cola, has supermodel Gisele Bundchen and basketball star Kevin Garnett as its endorsers. Meanwhile, pop stars such as Madonna and Rihanna, as well as baseball player Alex Rodriguez, are among celebrity shareholders in Vita Coco, one of the other major brands. Its 0.33-litre (11-ounce), $3 drink is touted as a healthier alternative to energy drinks for athletes and the company boasts an office in New York’s Flatiron District. The Philippines is already the world’s biggest exporter of coconut products. Big Philippine mills have for years processed desiccated coconut meat and turned it into powder for baking biscuits, snack bars, cakes and pastries. Coconut flesh is also turned into vegetable oil used for cooking and in a range of common household products, including bath soap. Supply is not a problem in the Philippines with 350 million coconut
trees growing from the beaches up to its hills and yielding 15 billion fruits a year, according to industry regulator the Philippine Coconut Authority. In the Philippines, coconut water remains a popular, cheap drink, with stalls selling it straight from the fruit—a common site throughout the big cities as well as the countryside. However, because of a lack of demand as well as the costs required to process and preserve it, the water had never been profitable enough to sell overseas, Philippine Coconut Authority chief Euclides Forbes told AFP. “From mere waste it’s being turned into gold,” Forbes said. Nevertheless, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that while coconut water holds the potential of improving the lot of impoverished Filipino coconut farmers, logistical issues held the industry back. “The demand is huge. The only problem is how to bring the liquid to the processing centres before it spoils, since most coconut farms are in hilly areas without good roads,” Alcala said. Meanwhile, some farmers remain sceptical that they will cash in on the Western craze, citing the fact they have remained poor for decades while big business has profited from other coconut exports. Among them is Rodolfo Aquino, 68, who is paid by traders to haul coconuts by ox-drawn cart about two hours’ drive from Manila. “Whether they want the meat and water or just the meat, we get paid the same,” Aquino told AFP. ■
CELEBRITY, SHOWBIZ & ENTERTAINMENT
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Prima donna’s mood infects costars
Vin and Sophie try out the latest in Korean fashion in Seoul’s famous Gangnam district.
Aga, Sophie and Vin dress up in Korean soap opera costumes.
Sophie Albert, Vin Abrenica get K-pop makeover on ‘Pinoy Explorer’
WITH only two days to go before the much-awaited airing of “Never Say Goodbye” this Monday on TV5, Sophie Albert and Vin Abrenica continue to promote their first ever romantic drama series with an extremely busy weekend schedule. The loveteam fans refer to as Sovin began their promotional blitz with a Saturday morning motorcade at Binondo, Manila in celebration of Chinese New Year. By noontime, Sophie and Vin joined the rest of the cast of “Never Say Goodbye” and the rest of their “Artista Academy” batchmates on “Wowowillie” and had fun with Willie Revillame and the rest of his co-hosts. But fans won’t be seeing a different side of Sovin until later when their recent South Korean trip with Aga Muhlach is aired on “Pinoy Explorer” in the the first of three episodes. Undergoing a K-pop makeover like we’ve never seen them before, Sovin and Aga will invade the now famous Gangnam district of Psy and parade their barely recognizable “Gangnam Style” when they try out the latest trends in Korean fashion. “Manika ba ito o si Sophie Albert?” Aga tweeted earlier in the day before following it up with “Ang di manood ng #PinoyExplorer mamaya, lagot kay Vin Abrenica!” In addition to their quirky new
fashion sense, the trio will get a taste of the Hallyu wave that is also known for bringing its famous Korean dramas all over the world. Stopovers include the Star Avenue which houses costumes from different Korean TV series. The Korean experience would not be complete without a dash of K-Pop. Aga and SoVin will also catch an entertaining K-pop concert as the two emerging stars rub elbows with upcoming K-pop icons. In the next two episodes, “Pinoy Explorer” will introduce viewers to traditional Korean dishes while also checking out the exciting street food trip around the colorful shopping and art district of Insadong. Of course, no show that features Sovin would be complete without some romance in the air. As the two take a romantic trip to the iconic snow-capped landscape of Nami Island, swooning fans are likely to wonder once again if their on-screen romance would eventually blossom into something more real. Just like their favorite Koreanovelas, fans will just have to wait and see. The three-part special of “Pinoy Explorer” that takes host Aga Muhlach and special guests Sophie Albert and Vin Abrenica to Seoul, South Korea begins Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 7PM. ■ InterAkyon
// February 9, 2013
AT a splashy shindig, Seasoned Actress was in no mood to party and refused to mingle with the press. SA was not ecstatic that TV crews had been invited. Her lousy disposition affected other cast members who also declined to chat with media people. The reporters surmised that SA merely wanted to avoid being grilled about a supposedly rekindled romance with Former Flame. Memo to other grizzled stars: No one is interested in stale gimmicks. Cheap trick. Powerful Bigwig is happily settled with Feisty Celebrity. Unknown to the public, PB was once involved with Scandalous Personality. Does FC know that SP was once a rival? FC looks down on Tinseltown denizens, particularly SP. FC was once overheard saying about Showbiz Figure: “Don’t do my hair like hers. It looks cheap and common.” Tarush! Interpreter, please. A reporter e-mailed a questionnaire to Promising Starlet, who took forever to answer. Turned out, PS asked that the questions be translated to Filipino. Nothing the matter with that. PS would make a great Miss Universe contestant. She wouldn’t be embarrassed to request an interpreter. Oedipal complexity. Seems Cute Hunk has a weakness for women of a certain age. CH was allegedly caught holding hands with Veteran Actress. Nothing scandalous about a MayDecember affair. The only iffy thing was, VA played CH’s mother in a highprofile project! CH also had flings with two other Influential Insiders. To get ahead of the competition? Or maybe he likes them, uh, seasoned? Unfair competition. Influential Celeb used considerable clout in defeating competitors at a recent highprofile event. IC moved heaven and earth so that his rivals’ projects would be pulled out.
Stunned Rival found out and complained to Respected Leader in the industry. RL said IC could get in trouble because “that’s illegal.” Meeting with Aquino. Two days before undergoing surgery on Thursday, Regal Filmsproducer Lily Monteverde had two very important visitors in her Greenhills home: President Benigno Aquino III and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas. Monteverde told Rushes that she was “touched” by the visit. “We talked for two hours. I am thankful for their love and concern.” Monteverde had a “malignant growth” removed from her lungs. A day before the operation, she asserted: “I’m strong. My family and friends will help me overcome this.” On Wednesday, industry friends gathered at the Monteverdes’ Imperial Palace Suites in Quezon City, to offer a Mass for her recovery. Top of Bandera. The top show biz news in the Inquirer tabloid Bandera (and why we are moved if we are moved.) Kahit pinagalitan na ng doktor; Marian sige pa rin sa patayang trabaho, bawal magpahinga. (Ayaw ni Papa Dong ng ganyan. And you don’t wanna lose your looks before we see what else you’ve got going for you.) Sa taping pa niya ipina-deliver, Marian ipinagyabang sa mga katrabaho ang bago at mamahaling sasakyan. (Yeah, you’d better not lose your looks just now.) Lorna gusto nang tapusin ang teleserye nila ni Dingdong. (Trouble in paradise?) Nagkagulo na naman sa shopping mall dahil kay Coco, pero nakaiwas sa disgrasya. (Keep that face scratchfree!) Derek pinagagalitan si Baron kapag OA na ang mga joke. (Define OA.) Baron: Idol ko si Derek, gusto kong maging katulad niya! (First, quit the drinking.)
Three Fil-Ams make it to ‘American Idol’ Top 40
AS the 12th season of “American Idol” narrows down its selection, spoilers posted on several online sites have spilled the beans on who made the Top 40, and at least two–possibly three–are FilipinoAmericans. Bryant Tadeo hails from Hilo, Hawaii and also auditioned last year but did not get very far. Having finally earned his Golden Ticket, Bryant hopes to make the most out of his “second chance” and is especially thrilled that Mariah Carey is one of this year’s judges. His favorite past “AI” contestant is crowd favorite Adam Lambert who placed runner-up to eventual winner Kris Allen in Season 8. “I think an American Idol is somebody that others look up to and is more inspired by. And I think people are inspired by others
who chase after what they want, no strings attached. I think that could be me,” Bryant declared. Adriana Latonio is from Anchorage, Alaska who auditioned because she wants to be a popular singer for the younger generation. Like Bryant, she feels blessed to get her Golden Ticket and acknowledged her family for throwing their full support behind her. Like most “AI” aspirants, Adriana has been wanting to be a performer ever since she was a child and cites Jessica Sanchez as her big inspiration. “I feel just I can relate to her. We’re the same age and I know she’s been working to be a popular singer for a while and her parents have also sacrificed a lot,” Adriana said on why Jessica is her favorite past “Idol” contestant.
Bridget “Jett” Hermano
Bridget “Jett” Hermano, an “Asian-American Idol” winner who hails from Seattle, was also rumored to have cracked the Top 40. But earlier spoilers leaked online did not include her name. She said she gave up a lot to pursue her “AI” dream, including a full scholarship in a New York university to pursue music. Her
favorite past “Idol” contestant is Jordin Sparks. So why should she be the next “American Idol”? “Because everything that I’ve given up was meant for this. Life is full of opportunities and we just have to get ‘em and have fun with it,” she explained. ■ InterAksyon // February 11, 2013
Jodi Sta. Maria
Maricel handa nang “gumanti” kay Gerald, may matinding pasabog. (Oh, this we gotta watch.) Kung ma-pride ako, matagal na akong walang asawa! –Pacman (Do you mean…?) Andi baliw na baliw pa rin kay Jake Ejercito. (Girl, move on.) John Lloyd biglang hiniwalayan si Angelica, nagkasawaan na? (As Celeste Legaspi sang, “Kay bilis naman!”) Aljur gumastos ng P19M para sa bagong house and lot. (Gee, that’s quick.) Coco tinamaan kay Maricel, todo na ang ginagawang panliligaw? (That Coco? That Maricel?) Matteo Guidicelli, Jessy Mendiola magdyowa na. (Finally, umamin.) Ilang ulit nangako kay Jinkee; Pacman: Inaamin ko nakagawa po ako ng mga karumal-dumal na kasalanan! (You can’t make a leopard change its spots.) Kahit hindi pa rin mabanggit ang pangalan ni Maja; Kim: Kung trabaho, trabaho lang! (Professional! Good girl.) Jodi, Richard sikat na rin sa Middle East, US at Europe. (Sir Chief and Maya, we love you!) Nagparinig kay Julia sa nalalapit na debut party; Coco: Kung ’di ako ang magiging escort niya, masasaktan ako! (You should ask her then, dude.) Enchong Dee hindi pupunta sa birthday ni Julia. (E ’di… ’wag!) Laplapan nina Kris at Robin wagas na wagas! (For the ratings, advertisers and the network. Sex sells. Always.) Nakakasawa na raw, “Showtime” nina Vice tsutsugihin na? (Oh dear…) Sey mo, Mariel? Kris, Robin super sweet sa Bora. (They’re friends; it’s work. Keep telling yourself that. Like a mantra.) O, Jodi ano’ng masasabi mo sa mga kumakalat na chika? Iwa buntis daw, si Pampi ang ama? (E, ano ngayon? Ay, si Jodi pala ang tinatanong.) Ngayong burado na sa eksena ang asungot na si Cristine; Sarah G. pwede nang balikan ni Rayver, mas bagay na magdyowa. (Until her mother approves, the girl will not know true love.) Noontime show daw nina Kris, Ai Ai at Vice “kuryente.” (In a good way?) Mariel nagtatalak sa Twitter, selos na selos kay Kris. (Uh, what’s her Twitter handle?) Coco puro pancit canton ang pinakakain sa ex-GF. (A long time ago, right?). ■ InterAksyon // February 9, 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AROUND THE WORLD
DFA Inaugurates New Office in the Bicol Region
A testament to the growing success of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA’s) Private Public Partnership (PPP) with leading shopping malls, the DFA inaugurated the new office of DFA Legazpi located on the 3rd Floor of Pacific Mall Legazpi last February 1. The six-million-peso, 400-squaremeter world class consular facility will serve the Bicol Region. DFA Legazpi is the 11th DFA mall-based consular office and the first to be inaugurated in 2013. The relocation of DFA Legazpi offices to Pacific Mall is also a reaffirmation of the DFA’s commitment to bringing consular services closer to the people. DFA Undersecretary for Administration Rafael E. Seguis led DFA officials who witnessed the formal unveiling of the new offices. Other DFA senior officials who were present during the occasion included DFA Senior Special Assistant Ma. Rowena Sanchez, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Jaime Victor Ledda, Office of ASEAN Affairs Assistant Secretary Teresita Barsana, Assistant Secretary for Personnel and Administrative Services Melita Sta.
Maria-Thomeczek, Special Assistant Mr. Marciano de Borja and Deputy Legislative Liaison Voltaire Mauricio. Pacific Mall Corporation (PMC) was represented by Ms. Margaret Gaisano Ang, Managing Director of Vicsal Development Corporation and Mr. Eduardo Ponce, President and COO for Metro Retail of Vicsal Development Corporation. Local government officials who attended the inauguration were led by Albay Governor Jose Maria “Joey” Salceda. Also in attendance were Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal, Tabaco City Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro, Ligao City Mayor Linda Gonzales and AKO Bicol Party List Representative Rodel Batocabe. Several heads of regional government offices, representatives of colleges and universities, members of chambers of commerce and media were also present at the event. The award-winning Baao Children’s Choir performed during the program. Recalling the humble beginnings of DFA Legazpi, Undersecretary Seguis stated that the new DFA Legazpi
offices would not have been possible without the strong cooperation and valuable assistance of Pacific Mall Corporation. On behalf of the DFA, Undersecretary Seguis expressed his heartfelt gratitude to PMC and hoped for a further strengthening of partnership in the coming years. DFA Legazpi is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 p.m. and can be contacted through telephone number (054) 480-3000.
■ Department Of Foreign Affairs Philippines // 5 February 2013
(Photo from left to right) DFA Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Jaime Victor B. Ledda, Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel M. Batocabe, Tabaco City Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luisitro, Ligao City Mayor Linda P. Gonzales, DFA Undersecretary for Administration Rafael E. Sequis, Albay Governor Jose Ma. Sarte Salceda, Vicsal Development Corporation Managing Director Ms. Margaret Gaisano-Ang, Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine B. Rosal, Vicsal Development Corporation President and COO Mr. Eduardo Ponce, Mr. Brian Poe Llamanzares, and DFA Legazpi Officer-in-Charge Ms. Maricor E. Jeselva.
(Photo from left to right) Mr. Ledda, DFA Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Teresita G. Barsana, Mr. Batocabe, Mayor Rosal, Albay Governor Jose Ma. Sarte Salceda, Mr. Seguis, Ms. Gaisano-Ang, DFA Senior Special Assistant Rowena M. Sanchez,Mr. Ponce and DFA Assistant Secretary for Personnel and Administrative Services Melita S. Sta. Maria-Thomeczek.
Philippine Embassy in London Highlights Country’s Interfaith and Human Rights Initiatives
(Photo above) Officers and members of the ASEAN Women Circle of Los Angeles. (Left photo) Consul General Ma. Hellen Barber De La Vega addresses the ASEAN WCLA. (Right photo from left) Mme. Mahdiana Mosher, Ms. Lina Ismail, Mme. Ramiah Haid Nekmart, Mr. Andrew Ippolito, Mrs. Jan Ippolito, Mme. Sr. Adriana (Jenny) Martono, Consul General Dela Vega, Ms. Ingrid Lazcano, Ms. Doris Forsythe, Ms. Wendy Wagner, and Mme. Parichart Katavetin
Philippine Consulate General Hosts Installation Ceremony for ASEAN Women Circle Officers
THE Philippine Consulate General hosted the Installation Ceremony for officers of the ASEAN Women Circle of Los Angeles (AWCLA) on February 02 at the Official Residence. In her welcome remarks, Consul General Hellen Barber De La Vega stated that considering the evident “interest of the United States in enhancing its relations with ASEAN, today is the best time for its member countries to be more proactive in promoting ASEAN in order for us to realize our goal of being one community by year 2015.” The new AWCLA President, Mme. Jenny Sri Adriani Martono of Indonesia, was introduced during the program. She then presented the new AWCLA Vice President and Executive Committee members, and announced the AWCLA calendar of activities for 2013. To add color to the occasion, the ladies of the Consulate General performed a folk dance called “Subli.” Philippine tourist destinations and products were also put on display.
The event was also graced by Honorary Consul of Liberia Andrew Ippolito, Los Angeles Consular Corps Ladies Association President Jan Ippolito, and Southern California Public Affairs Council Consular Corps Liaison Ingrid Lazcano. There are currently four ASEAN Consulates General in Los Angeles – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. ■ Department Of Foreign Affairs Philippines // 08 February 2013
LONDON – The Philippine Embassy in London cited before Philippine and British audiences the country’s initiatives and achievements in the fields of Interfaith Cooperation and Human Rights Promotion. On 7 February, the Embassy hosted its first ever reception commemorating World Interfaith Harmony Week. The gathering brought together leaders and representatives of different religions in the UK, as well as UK government officials and members of the Filipino community with an interest in cooperation and understanding among faiths. In his remarks, Philippine Ambassador to the UK traced the Philippines’ long history and leading role in the promotion of interfaith cooperation within the international community, and recalled the country’s own direct interests and experiences in religious dialogue. “The Philippine Government views interreligious dialogue as a vital component of the comprehensive effort to achieve a global culture of
peace – peace that is essential for security, growth and development” said Ambassador Manalo. The previous week, on 31 January, Ambassador Manalo discussed a similarly vital subject through a Human Rights Forum held at the Embassy. The forum served as a follow-up to National Human Rights Week and as a means to update the public on very recent developments in the Philippines concerning Human Rights. Among the matters discussed were key provisions of the “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012” and the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013” passed
Ambassador Enrique Manalo and Deputy Chief of Mission Maria Fe Pangilinan answer questions from the audience during the Human Rights Forum at the Philippine Embassy.
by the Philippine Congress. The new types of writs issued by the Supreme Court for the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights were likewise reviewed, as were the Government’s comprehensive programs promoting economic, social and cultural rights. World Interfaith Harmony Week has been celebrated around the world on the first week of February since 2010, through a resolution unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. National Human Rights Consciousness Week is commemorated in the Philippines in December each year pursuant to R.A. 9201. ■ Philippines Embassy London // 8 February 2013
Ambassador Manalo (left) welcomes guests to the Philippine Embassy reception commemorating World Interfaith Harmony Week
Filipino Community in HK Raises HK$153,791.50 for Typhoon Pablo Victims
Representatives of the Philippine Consulate General, Philippine Bankers Club and the Hong Kong Red Cross conduct a count of coin boxes on 4 February 2013.
IN another shining example of the indomitable spirit of bayanihan, the Filipino community in Hong Kong raised a total of HK$153,791.50 for those affected by typhoon Pablo since December 06. The fund drive was organized by the Philippine Consulate General as well as other community organizations. The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong started the ball rolling by donating HK$75,000 in the days following the disaster.
The Philippine Alliance (Mindanao Migrant Alliance, Isabela Federation, Confederation of Ilocano Association, Ilocos Sur), Mindanao Migrant Alliance, Philippine Association of Hong Kong, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association, and Wimler Foundation also organized their own fundraising efforts. In cooperation with the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC), the
Philippine Consulate General distributed coin boxes at the various branches of the Philippine Bankers Club (PBC). In a counting ceremony witnessed by representatives of the HKRC and PBC last February 04, the coin boxes yielded a total of HK$4,726.50. This amount was deposited to the Hong Kong Red Cross Philippine Relief Fund specifically created for typhoon Pablo relief efforts. ■ Department Of Foreign Affiars Philippines // 08 February 2013
PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AROUND THE WORLD
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
PHL Ambassador Strengthens Linkages with the Asia New Zealand Foundation AS the Philippine Embassy broadens its networking and enhances closer relations with the different stakeholders in New Zealand, Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez met with the new Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia NZ), Mr. John McKinnon on February 01. Asia NZ is a leading nongovernment organization established in 1994 to forge stronger and wider links between New Zealand and Asia as well as deepen understanding and knowledge among peoples of New Zealand and the different Asian countries. As stated in its programme focus, Asia NZ’s work covers business, culture, education, media and research, the Young Leaders Network and track II activities in the regional and multilateral levels of the Asia Pacific region. Ambassador Benavidez congratulated and conveyed her best wishes to Mr. McKinnon on his assumption as the Executive Director of
Asia NZ and reiterated her appreciation for his contributions to strengthening Philippines-New Zealand defence relations during his tenure as former Secretary of Defence leading to the signing of the bilateral arrangement on defence cooperation during the State Visit of President Benigno S. Aquino III last October. Discussions focused on ways to generate more exposure for Asia in New Zealand, Asia NZ’s priority to build greater people-to-people linkages and enhance in-depth knowledge about developments in Asia among New Zealanders and closer partnerships with diplomatic missions, the media and other sectors to pursue common interests for mutual benefit between New Zealand and the Asian region. Itwasagreedthattheestablishment of direct air connectivity between the two countries is a key enabler to boost movement of people, goods, trade, business and tourism. Ms. Rebecca Palmer, a media adviser,
Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez with Executive Director John McKinnon, Asia New Zealand Foundation during her call on 1 February 2013.
(Left photo) Phil. Ambassador Benavidez with H.E. Mrs. Rosmidah Binti Zahid, High Commissioner of Malaysia, Ms. Kate Yesberg, Associate, Chen Palmer and Asia NZ Young Leaders Network and Mr. Farib Sos, Executive Chair, Asia Forum in Wellington. (Right photo) Phil. Ambassador Benavidez, Lady Susan Satyanand, H.E. Mrs. Zahid, High Commissioner of Malaysia and Ms. Trish Carter, Asia New Zealand Foundation Trustee.
gave an update on the continuing internships for journalists from New Zealand newspapers in a news media outfit in the Philippines, the prospects of similar arrangements among broadcast media practitioners and the strengthening of friendships, collaboration, understanding and networking between Filipinos and New Zealanders. Ambassador Benavidez reiterated appreciation for the opportunity given to two Filipinos, namely, Ms. Marcy Venezuela, Director of the Apsmith
Solutions Corporation and Ms. Joan Cosico, the General Manager of Robinsons Homes and Head of the Investor Relations of Robinsons Land Corporation, who garnered the first two places under the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative. Mr. McKinnon also talked about the Young Leaders Network and the composition of the Asia NZ Foundation Board members to strengthen links between New Zealand and Asia. Both Ambassador Benavidez and Mr. McKinnon acknowledged that
learning Asian languages is one of the best means to connect and enhance people-to-people relations. Ambassador Benavidez also attended the reception hosted by Asia NZ Foundation to welcome Mr. McKinnon last January 30. It provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about the priorities and directions of Asia NZ Foundation and to meet and interact with members of the Board of Trustees, officers, partners and stakeholders. ■ Philippines Embassy Rome // 11 February 2013
Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario for the Joint Press Briefing with Federal Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle of Germany I am pleased to welcome His Excellency Dr. Guido Westerwelle and his delegation. This is the first visit of a German Federal Foreign Minister since His Excellency Joschka Fischer came to Manila in July 2000. I am glad that Dr. Westerwelle could reciprocate my trip to Germany last December 2011. This visit underscores the importance that we place to our longstanding relations and attest our mutual desire to further enhance our ties. It is significant as both countries prepare for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2014. Relations between the Philippines and Germany are very comprehensive and cut across multiple spheres. Ours has a history that is firmly founded on mutual respect and close ties in every level and all fields of cooperation that serve our mutual interests. It is in this spirit that we convened our bilateral meeting in which we took up the following issues: 1. Political consultation process. We agreed to hold the inaugural political consultation between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Germany Federal Foreign Office at the sub-ministerial level in Manila this year. The political consultation process, which are intended to be held regularly on an annual basis, will serve as a platform to discuss bilateral issues on a number of issues, including defense and security cooperation, education and cultural relations, labor and migration, trade, tourism and investment and many others. This way, we are able to harness our different agencies to speed up and focus bilateral cooperation towards concrete accomplishments.
2. GPH-MILF Framework Agreement. I thanked Dr. Westerwelle for Germany’s expression of support to the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. I also expressed appreciation for Germany’s assistance for socioeconomic development projects in the areas covered by the Framework Agreement implemented under the 1971 Philippines-Germany Technical Cooperation Agreement and through the EU assistance program. 3. Economic relations/Fraport issue. I am aware that most of you are eager to find out if we have solved the Fraport issue. The truth of the matter is that this problem is complicated and entails different layers of challenges. While we have not come up with a magical formula that would quickly make the issue disappear I have come to an understanding with Minister Westerwelle that we are looking forward to the positive resolution of the Fraport issue. Indeed, during our talks, we underscored the importance of finding a resolution to the NAIA Terminal III question. We are very optimistic about this considering the openness that both sides have expressed regarding possible options that we could explore. However, I must emphasize that this single case should not prevent German companies from working with their Filipino partners to enable them to exploit opportunities in the energy, manufacturing, BPO, tourism and other infrastructure projects under the PPP and other schemes. We should build on the strong
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario delivers his statement during his joint press briefing with German Federal Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle on 07 February 2013.
economic partnership we have established in recent years. Philippine-German economic relations remain robust. Germany is our largest trading partner in the EU with bilateral trade amounting to US$3.1 billion in 2011. Germany is also the biggest source of tourists for the Philippines in Europe with 61,193 arrivals for the same year. German foreign direct investments in 2011 stood at US$21.7 million. In addition, Germany is one of the leading sources of official development assistance to support the implementation of development projects in the Philippines. I highlighted positive developments in the Philippines that should encourage more investments from Germany including, among others, the recent conclusion of negotiations to amend the Philippine-German Double Taxation Agreement, positive grades for the Philippines by international rating agencies, the recent signing of the Philippine-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and the robust performance of the Philippine economy and what became the engines of this growth – namely our relentless pursuit of good
government and the fight against corruption. I encouraged German companies to follow the lead of their peers in capitalizing on the positive investment environment in the Philippines and put their capital in the country. We also lauded the activities of the German Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in promoting bilateral economic relations. 4. Defense cooperation. Without going to specifics, we welcomed efforts undertaken by the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) and the German Ministry of Defense (MoD) to re-invigorate defense relations. A delegation from the MoD is visiting Manila next week to conduct bilateral discussions with DND officials. 5. West Philippine Sea (WPS). I conveyed my appreciation for Germany’s support to the Philippine position towards a peaceful resolution of our territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea. I informed him that the Philippines has filed a Notification and Statement of Claim to initiate arbitral proceedings to clearly establish the sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its maritime entitlements in the West PHL Sea. I asked him to continue supporting the Philippine effort for a peaceful and durable solution to this dispute. 6. Certification of Filipino Seafarers. I welcome the offer of the German Government to provide assistance in the training and certification of Filipino Seafarers that would allow us to comply with EMSA training and certification standards. 7. Official development assistance. I conveyed my appreciation to Dr. Westerwelle for
Germany’s support of Philippine development through its official development assistance program. 8. Activities of German foundations. I conveyed appreciation to Dr. Westerwelle for German foundations in the Philippines, including the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Hans Seidel Foundation, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, that are actively working with Philippine government agencies to promote good governance and the rule of law. These foundations are focused on capacity-building for our justice and law enforcement officials. In addition to these issues, Dr. Westerwelle and I also had a very substantive discussion on other matters including initiatives to employ Philippine nurses in Germany, particularly in specialized services such as in emergency or operating rooms of hospitals. We also exchanged views on developments in the ASEAN region and in the Middle East and developments in the EU. Our meeting today was held in an open and cordial atmosphere, with remarkable consensus on the issues reflecting the healthy state and our dynamic partnership and the hopes of an even brighter future for Philippines-German relations. We are pleased with the excellent state of our bilateral relations. Today, we reaffirmed the friendship between the Philippines and Germany and reiterated our commitment to continue working together to further enhance the multiple facets of our cooperation. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for your attention. ■ Department Of Foreign Affairs Philippines // 07 February 2013
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition DOWN 1. A unit of volume equal to one cubic meter 2. A jump in figure skating with a forward takeoff from the forward outside edge of one skate to the backward outside edge of the other 3. ____ is an intermediate stage found in ecological succession in an ecosystem advancing towards its 4. A copy of the biblical Psalms, esp. for liturgical use 5. The ancient Greek word for a type of highly skilled prostitute or courtesan 6. American painter whose scenes of urban life include Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair 7. A thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action 8. A red fluorescent dye that is a bromine derivative of fluorescein, or one of its salts or other derivatives 17. A playing card with a single spot on it, ranked as the highest card in its suit in most card games 18. The juvenile stage of a newt 20. Frozen water, a brittle, transparent crystalline solid 21. Famous boxer that changed his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay 22. The property or quality by which organisms are classified as female or male on the basis of their reproductive organs and functions 23. The small bluish-black fruit of the blackthorn, with a sharp sour taste 25. A Scottish word for no, not 27. Of, relating to, or denoting a family of Southeast Asian languages 29. Any of various long-tailed rodents resembling mice but larger, especially one of the genus Rattus 30. The length of time that a person has lived or a thing has existed: 31. In a short-sale transaction, the portion of interest or dividends earned by the owner (lender) of shares that are paid to the short seller (borrower) of the shares 32. A metal bolt or pin having a head on one end, inserted through aligned holes in the pieces to be joined and then hammered on the plain end so as to form a second head 33. 0wn (a): belonging to or on behalf of a specifed person (especially yourself); preceded by a possessive; “for your own use”... 34. The mass of eggs contained in the ovaries of a female fish or shellfish 36. Rest in such a condition 37. Omit (a sound or syllable) when speaking 38. A name given to the meatiest part of the meat 39. A Japanese immigrant to North America 40. A trap for catching birds or animals, typically one having a noose of wire or cord 41. A former Chinese monetary unit based on the value of this weight of standard silver
ACROSS 1. Thrust a knife or other pointed weapon into (someone) so as to wound or kill 6. A fishing net that hangs vertically in the water with floats at the top and weights at the bottom edge 9. A federal warning system that is activated by FEMA; enables the President to take over the United States 10. A snakelike fish with a slender elongated body and poorly developed fins 11. An independent ruler or chieftain (especially in Africa or Arabia) 12. Take action; do something 13. Comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of 14. Used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing 15. Used to express satisfaction, triumph, or surprise 16. A self-supporting frame for holding an artists work while it is being painted or drawn 19. (In the Jewish calendar) The seventh month of the civil and first of the religious year, usually coincidng with parts of March and April. 22. Bum or scorch the surface of (something) with a sudden, intense heat 24. A person living on income from property or investments 26. Any of various chiefly African plants of the genus Aloe 28. A person who is unpractical or idealistic 32. The action of fixing or mending something 35. A tractor-trailer 36. A hard, strong, gray or bluishgray alloy of iron with carbon and usually other elements, used extensively as a structural reinforcement 39. Put in (something, esp. a small picture or map) 42. A long and distinct period of history with a particular feature or characteristic 43. Something resembling the letter S in shape 44. Any of numerous tow-growing evergreen shrubs or small trees 45. Make (a decorative mat or edging) by tying knots in thread and using a small shuttle to form lace 46. A large number of similar things or events appearing or occurring in quick succession 47. (Meaning literally “born”) used to indicate the maiden or family name of a married woman; 48. A female sheep 49. A row or level of a structure, typically one of a series of rows placed one above the other 50. A thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action:
ACROSS 1. old ladies? 4. being farther 7. radio _____, lady ____ (4) 10. long time... 12. joker 13. me writings 14. male cat 15. earn 17. lubed 18. teacher 20. bamboozle 22. asian music
23. “cast” foe (4-13) 25. came 27. doorman? 30. mess 31. _____ and flora (5) 33. fish dish 34. single seeded fruit 35. abdominal upset 37. story 39. previous partners 40. forbidden 41. ending 42. tugs
DOWN 1. said 2. bovine noise 3. European wine 4. British thug 5. pasta 6. sin 8. German slang for American 9. violator 11. _______ runway (8) 16. food outlet
19. filler wrappers 21. loved 22. snooker surface 23. across’s supporter 24. forsee 26. grinding of teeth 28. MDMA 29. solar grapes 31. variety of musket 32. lesser 36. 1st day (abbrev) 38. atom
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Arum wants no more tuneups for Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez before fifth fight
BOB Arum believes there is no need to marinate a fifth fight featuring Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. The Top Rank head is so confident that such a matchup can stand alone that he is urging the two stars to just sit out the next few months and get themselves all pumped for a Sept. 14 clash possibly at the Venetian Hotel in Macau. “I am not saying that it’s going to take place in Macau but it’s a big possibility,” said Arum, who is training his sights on a venue outside the United States for tax purposes.
Arum said the US government has decided to impose a hefty tax rate on high-earners like Pacquiao and Marquez, prompting his outfit to look elsewhere other than the usual site, Las Vegas. Aware that both Pacquiao and Marquez are eyeing tuneup fights, Arum said it would be ideal that they just chill out. “I am trying to convince the two not to do any fights until September,” added Arum. Pacquiao holds a 2-1-1 win-lossdraw head-to-head record against Marquez but the Mexican got the last laugh courtesy of his smashing
Ceres FC completes Cinderella run to win PFF national club title
THE clock never struck midnight for Cinderella squad Ceres FC of Negros Occidental, edging United Football League squad Pasargad FC, 1-0, to clinch the Philippine Football Federation-SMART National Club Championship Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Korean import Byeong Jeong Yoon scored the lone goal for Ceres, hitting the back of the net at the 56th minute to lift his team to the victory. Ceres, the only provincial squad that had a deep run in the tournament, previously beat UFL powerhouse squads Stallion Sta. Lucia FC, Global FC, and Kaya FC to reach the final. Ceres received a P100,000 cash reward, as well as a trophy for winning the tournament. Members of Ceres also dominated the tournament’s individual awards. Byeong was named as the Most Valuable Player, while national team member Joshua Beloya was hailed
as the best midfielder. Jae Hun Hyeon won the best goalkeeper award, while Keon Hyeong Park got the best defender honors. Azkals skipper Chieffy Caligdong clinched the Golden Boot Award after scoring four goals for Green Archers United Globe, which also got the Fair Play award. Kaya FC won third place after defeating Green Archers, 2-0, in the day’s opening match. Forwards Alu Kigbu and Antonio Ugarte scored one goal each to lead Kaya FC to a podium finish in the tournament. ■ InterAksyon // February 3, 2013
one-punch sixth-round knockout last December. Last week, Marquez came out with a statement in the Mexican media, saying he no longer see Pacquiao as a viable opponent, having achieved the result that he badly wanted the last time. But aficionados maintain that Marquez is just trying to let everyone know that he won’t settle for crumbs in a fifth fight with his Filipino archrival. In the fourth fight, Marquez just got $6 million as purse. Pacquiao was given $23 million. ■ InterAksyon // February 10, 2013
BARAKO Bull’s finish kick was so strong, the GlobalPort Batang Pier didn’t quite know what hit them. The Energy Colas finished the game on a 22-2 run spanning the fourth quarter and overtime period, hacking out a 98-88 victory over GlobalPort Sunday at the SMARTAraneta Coliseum. Barako Bull looked dead in the water trailing by 10 points, 86-76, heading into the two-minute mark of regulation. But the Energy Colas locked down on defense and finished the fourth period with a 10-0 run capped by a three-pointer by a corner three-pointer Mark Macapagal to force overtime. It was Macapagal’s only conversion from beyond the arc, and it came at exactly the right moment. “We’re waiting for that the whole game and it came at a right time,” said Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos. Barako Bull finished the job in extra time, outscoring GlobalPort, 12-2, for their second straight victory and an early spot atop the Commissioner’s Cup team standings. “It’s a great thing to win this kind
Global kicks off UFL title defense with victory over Pasargad
REIGNING champion Global FC started its United Football League title defense with a 2-0 victory over Pasargad FC Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Missing the services of five players who were called up to the national team, Global leaned on goals from unheralded players Nino Ochoterena and Ben Starosta for the victory. Ochoterena scored at the 45th minute to give Global a 1-nil edge at
the break, before Starosta widened the gap with a goal off a corner kick at the 75th minute. Pasargad had multiple chances at the attack throughout the second half, but its attempts just went way over the bar. Aside from gaining three points and an early lead in the League table, Global also gave new coach Brian Reid his a victory in his UFL debut. ■ InterAksyon // February 5, 2013
Furious ﬁnishing kick gives Barako Bull overtime victory over GlobalPort of game. We showed character in winning our last two games,” said Barako Bull team consultant Rajko Toroman. Import Evan Brock led the charge with 25 points and 18 rebounds, while Josh Urbiztondo added 24 points on six three-pointers for Barako Bull, which saw five players — Brock, Urbiztondo,, Macapagal, Jonas Villanueva, and Allein Maliksi — logging at least 35 minutes with a shorthanded roster missing five key players. Villanueva chipped in 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists, while Danny Seigle added 16 points, including a slam dunk over GlobalPort import Justin Williams in the fourth quarter that fired up the Energy Colas. The loss spoiled the fine efforts of GlobalPort’s top guns. Japeth Aguilar led GlobalPort in scoring with 23 points and added 10 rebounds. Sol Mercado finished with 19 points and 16 assists, while Williams posted 12 points and 27 rebounds before leaving the game in overtime because of an apparent leg injury.
“Our strategic plan was not to give Sol Mercado the penetration and not allow Gary David and Willie Miller the outside shot,” said Toroman. Gary David added 19 points for GlobalPort, whose win-loss record dropped to 1-1. The scores: BARAKO 98 – Brock 25, Urbiztondo 24, Villanueva 18, Seigle 16, Maliksi 9, Macapagal 6, Kramer 0, Pennisi 0, Allado 0. GLOBALPORT 88 – Aguilar 23, Mercado 19, David 19, Williams 12, Miller 7, Yee 5, Salvador 3, Deutchman 0, Juntilla 0. Quarters: 21-19, 35-38, 60-58, 8686, 98-88 ■ InterAksyon // February 10, 2013
That Old Black Magic: A look back at Norman Black’s sterling PBA coaching legacy
FOR most of the younger generation, Norman Black is the architect of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ run of five straight UAAP titles. But the American coach’s legacy in Philippine basketball extends way further than that. Black began his PBA coaching career in 1985, and won his first PBA title more than 25 years ago in the 1987 Reinforced Conference. In 1989, under Black’s leadership, San Miguel became the first PBA team other than the fabled Crispa Redmanizers to win a PBA Grand Slam. During that stretch from 1987 to 1989, Black and the Beermen won six titles in seven conferences. In total, Black piloted the Beermen to a whopping nine championships of the franchise’s 17 titles. His last PBA crown came in 2001, becoming the first coach to lead the Sta. Lucia Realtors to a championship. With his 10 titles, Black is already
third in the PBA’s all-time list among coaches, next only to Baby Dalupan (15) and Tim Cone (14) — this despite spending most of the past decade coaching in college. In leading the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters to the verge of another Philippine Cup title, Black has a chance to build even further on his sterling legacy. A victory in the title series would give him a title with three different franchises, which would put him in distinguished company along with Tommy Manotoc (U/Tex, San Miguel, Crispa), Baby Dalupan (Crispa, Great Taste, Purefoods), Chot Reyes (Purefoods, Coca-Cola, Talk ‘N Text), and his finals counterpart in the 2013 Philippine Cup (Swift, Red Bull, Rain or Shine). A championship would also make Talk ‘N Text the only team in PBA history to win the all-Filipino championship in three straight years. The feat would give the Tropang
Texters the privilege of taking home the Jun Bernardino trophy for good. (Crispa actually won four straight all-Filipino tournaments — 1979, 1980, 1983, and 1984 — but they did not come in straight years, as the league did not hold non-import competitions in 1981 and 1982.) Perhaps more importantly, a win for Black would remind people of his place in league history as one of the greatest coaches the PBA has ever seen. ■ Jay P. Mercado is a highly-regarded PBA amateur historian. He serves as a consultant for the PBA Greatest Games broadcast on Pinoy X-treme. InterAKTV special / Wednesday, January 9, 2013 // 2:01 pm
February 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 4 • UK & Europe Edition
Rob Reyes: Welcoming back the imports!
HELLO again guys! Sorry, it’s been a while. I got caught up with a few things last conference and just wasn’t able to write. Hope you missed me, it feels good to be in front of the computer doing something other than checking my Facebook/Twitter timelines. So on with the column! I would love to see the ratings and attendance numbers for last conference. AKTV, as always did a great job, and the fans at the games had a lot of energy. There were some great story lines and down to the wire finishes. Talk ‘N Text continued its dominance and ran away with their third straight Philippine Cup crown, sealing its place in the history books. Seeing the Tropang Texters win once again brought several thoughts to mind. My first championship was with Talk ‘N Text, so there was definitely a little reminiscing on my part. As I thought about my first conference in the PBA, which ended with an allFilipino crown, I remember thinking, “Well, if we won that championship, we should at least make it to the finals next conference once we have an import!” As any PBA fan would know, it’s not that easy. The only thing that is certain following an all-Filipino tournament is that each team will have an import in the next conference. Nothing else is sure. I was bitterly reminded again that last year — I was with Petron at the time — we fell a game short of the finals, and didn’t even make the playoffs the following import-laden conference. For the most part, the introduction of a seasoned import, or even the right rookie reinforcement, to any team can spell a huge difference. That difference could be a negative one or a positive one. So I felt like this would be a perfect time to give my insight on imports in the PBA. For the fans, the import conferences are exciting because along with their favorite cast of local players, they now have the opportunity to see a new batch of players. Some of them may have played in the NBA. Some could potentially put up fantastic numbers or highlight plays. Some could even turn out to suck, giving local fans a nice ego boost on the competitiveness of the PBA versus other leagues. As a fan of the PBA myself growing up, there are three imports that instantly come to mind. I was in awe of Tony Harris, who put up 105 points with Swift while my Tito Eric Reyes was still on the team. Another import I will always remember was Tee McClary, who was another teammate of my tito’s. I loved how he was small, but he played so big. Lastly (and sorry, it’s another teammate of my tito’s, this time with Alaska), there was Chris Carrawell. I was a huge fan of his at Duke, and
then when I got to meet him and watch him play live, I felt like I was given a front row seat to watch the Blue Devils play at Cameron Indoor Stadium. So I can appreciate how exciting it must be for fans as a new batch of imports come to help their favorite teams, or even just bring something new to the PBA. Now, for PBA players, there are all kinds of things that go through our heads when the imports come to town. For the teams who finished the Philippine Cup at the bottom of the standings, a common thought is, “I hope this import is good, because we need some help!” The teams that finished at the top, meanwhile, are hoping mostly for “a good fit.” All PBA players know that the right import could possibly be the missing piece to a title run, and we all want to win championships. If an import comes in and right away makes it obvious that he is really good, the mood of the team is automatically elevated. On the other hand, nothing is more discouraging than when an import shows up to practice out of shape, isn’t very good, or just maybe isn’t suited for the PBA game. When this happens, the following exchange typically happens between players from opposing teams: Player from Team A: “Pare, kumusta ang import nyo?” Player from Team B: “Magaling… magaling mag-English!” You never want to have to say that about your import, but you always hope your friends on the other teams say it! The eye test. Before any import meets the official height requirements, or passes a physical, they always take “the eye test”. The second an import walks in to the gym, everyone from the ball boys to the team manager are dissecting him. “Is he really 6-foot-10?” “He looks overweight” “My God! He looks athletic!” Now, failing the eye test won’t mean the import is getting sent home, but it will definitely put him under the microscope. One team I played for brought in an import that was older than most imports coming in. He had a great resume, high basketball IQ, and just seemed to make the right plays in preseason. But since he was older and failed the eye test — he looked older and was probably a step slow — it was easy for teammates and coaches to dismiss the good things he did and just assume he wouldn’t be a topcaliber import. He didn’t make it to the first game before he was sent home. His replacement had muscles on top of muscles, threw down some impressive dunks early, and asserted himself immediately in the first practice. He eventually started
Tony Harris was an all-time great import, and one of Rob’s favorites
to have trouble getting his shot off and shaded away from contact, but that got overlooked early on. He definitely passed the eye test… but he didn’t make it through the conference before getting changed. Last year, Petron brought in Nick Fazekas, who had an awesome resume, was drafted and played in the NBA, a college standout, and he was 6-foot-11. His height helped his eye test score, but his mobility left people wondering whether or not he could get it done. You could tell immediately that he walked with a limp — this earned him a nickname among PBA players, “6-10, 6-11” because one step he was 6-10, the next he was 6-11. In his first tuneup game, he had like 40 points, and anyone who watched that conference could tell you, you were blind if you couldn’t tell that he could play. So the eye test isn’t make-or-break for an import, but every import takes it, and it will have some bearing on whether or not they keep their job. Story time with ex-NBAers. I’ve never met a fellow PBA player that doesn’t follow the NBA. So ultimately, at the end of the day even PBA players are fans. When imports who have played in the NBA come to the PBA, we all do several things. One of the things we do is we judge and try to see what makes this person an NBA player. We have all dreamed of playing in the NBA at some point in our lives, and now that we have someone on our own team who made it to that level, we want to know how they got there. Sometimes we see right away. Other times we are left scratching our heads. One of my favorite things to do with the imports who have played in the NBA is to listen to their stories. They have stories about our favorite NBA stars and life in the big league. Some are hilarious and some are meant for mature audiences only. My personal favorites are the stories of rookie hazing. Nick Fazekas had a classic story about how he had to make a run to Popeye’s Chicken to buy food for the entire team, including staff, and he was panicking because he almost missed the team flight. Nick was full of stories; I mean, the guy played with Dirk Nowitzki.
Nick Fazekas had some great NBA stories… and he could ball too! AKTV/Paolo Papa
But for PBA players being fans of imports does not last long. Once the games start our season rests on their (often broad) shoulders. For all of us, we know how much we are relying on this person to be an integral part of our season. We know that if they underperform there is a good chance we won’t win. We all may be excited to see nice dunks or blocks in practice and games, but whenever an import has an off game, or maybe has a minor injury that begins to affect his game, we all get a little nervous. And if the wins aren’t adding up we all start to ask if this guy can help us get the job done. Decreased roles. Another aspect of the arrival of imports is the fact that a few players are going to have to accept less playing time and/ or a decreased role on the team. Whichever import comes to a team he will have a position that was previously held by a local player. Teams don’t pay large sums of money to fly in role players. Most imports are expected to carry their teams, or at least be impact players. Because of this, a player who started
or played heavy minutes might become a bench player. As a PBA player you accept that if an import plays your position, your role will change. But you better believe that same PBA player will take full advantage of every opportunity in practice to try and earn more playing time, or at the very least earn an import’s respect. Every year there is a new crop of imports introduced to the PBA. Occasionally, there are some returners, but at the moment all the imports signed up this year are fresh faces. So I would expect nothing less than some pretty exciting imports, some shocking busts, more than a few replacements, and definitely at least one import losing his temper toward a ref or local player that introduces him to “Pinoy-style basketball”. So good luck to all the other teams out there, may their imports be magaling… magaling mag-English! Rob Reyes is a center for the Air 21 Express. He writes a regular column for InterAKTV. ■ Rob Reyes, InterAKTV special // Monday, January 21, 2013
National cause: PBA agrees to move Governors’ Cup to after FIBA Asia COUNTRY above anything else. The PBA has agreed to move the season-ending Governors’ Cup to after the country’s staging of the FIBA Asia Championship, giving the national team enough time to prepare for the World Cup qualifying event. PBA commissioner Chito Salud confirmed he got the nod of team owners of member teams for the change in schedule. “I had a very positive and productive talk with our team owners,” wrote Salud in a text message to InterAKTV. “Not only have they agreed to lend their players. They readily okayed moving the third conference until after the FIBA Asia tournament.” The FIBA Asia Championship is scheduled on August 1 to 11. The Governors’ Cup was originally slated May 12 to July 28.
The decision to postpone the third conference gives the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team more time to prepare and assemble the best composition of the squad. Salud welcomed this new development, stressing that national interest were given more priority by the team owners. “When good men reason together, the outcome is inevitably beneficial to everyone,” said Salud. “In this case, our owners placed national interest above all considerations. I am so proud of the PBA.” ■ InterAksyon
// February 5, 2013
Global kicks off UFL title defense with victory over Pasargad
BOB ARUM CLOSE TO ANNOUNCING NONITO DONAIRE-GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX FIGHT ANYTIME now, Top Rank chief Bob Arum will make an announcement regarding the explosive pairing of Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux for April 13. Arum has been tight-lipped about other pertinent details but clarified that the fight is green and go for the said date. “We’re making an announcement in the new few days,” said the New York-bred Arum, who heads the world’s premier promotional outfit. Rigondeaux has actually signed his name above the dotted line and Arum is keenly awaiting for Donaire to put his. New York is the frontrunner to stage the fight and the historic Radio City Music Hall, an American landmark, is being targeted as the venue for the unification world super-bantamweight title bout. Donaire had a slambang 2012, winning four major fights in stunning fashion. Donaire outclassed Wilfredo Vazquez Jr of Puerto Rico in February, Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa in July, Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan in October and put an exclamation point to his yearround dominance with a third-round destruction of Mexican hero Jorge Arce. This early, fight fans are drooling over the prospects of seeing Donaire and Rigondeaux, both heavy punchers, get it on. Even though Rigondeaux is relatively inexperienced professionally, having only fought a total of 11 times, the 32-year-old racked up plenty of experience during his storied amateur days. Rigondeaux, who won gold medals in two Olympics, was said to have fought 400 times and lost just a few. ■ InterAksyon // February 13, 2013
Arum wants no more tuneups for Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez before ﬁfth ﬁght
Furious ﬁnishing kick gives Barako Bull overtime victory over GlobalPort
National cause: PBA agrees to move Governors’ Cup to after FIBA Asia
Rob Reyes: Welcoming back the imports!
That Old Black Magic: A look back at Norman Black’s sterling PBA coaching legacy