UK & Europe Edition
July 2013 / Fortnightly
Volume 4 - Number 14
Connecting Global News & Views For The Community
E E FR
SSS RECONSIDERS WORKAROUND ALLOWING RETIRED MEMBERS TO ENJOY PENSION MANILA - The Social Security System (SSS) on Monday announced the suspension of new rules that would allow members 65 years old and above to enjoy retirement pension if they complete 120 months of contributions. In a statement, SSS vice president Agnes San Jose said the suspension is meant to protect the fund and ensure appropriate payment of benefits. “However, we are not insensitive
to the issues being raised, and the Commission together with management agreed to revisit the guidelines, which the system issued last April,” San Jose said. Under the April guidelines, a member aged 65 years and above who has yet to complete 120 months of contributions should file an application for voluntary payment of such no later than July 1. Only then can they enjoy in full
the retirement pension. Failure to file the application would mean the member can only get a lump sum amount equivalent to what they had already contributed to SSS plus whatever interest the money had earned. With the suspension of the April guidelines, SSS said it will reevaluate its procedures to ensure diligence and prudence in benefit payments. ■ Rain Castro / InterAksyon.
com / July 16, 2013 / 9:09 AM
10 FAQs on Wealth Sharing Annex between Philippines, MILF THE Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) came out with these 10 frequently asked questions on the historic Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing Annex between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 1. What is the concept of Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing in the GPH- MILF peace process? Why is it important? In the context of the GPHMILF peace process, revenue generation and wealth sharing pertains to the summation of the wealth creation and sourcing powers granted to the envisioned Bangsamoro region to finance its government. It involves the division between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government of government revenues generated within the region from taxation, natural resources, and other government
operations. It likewise includes other forms of financial assistance that would be rendered by the Central Government and received by the Bangsamoro Government. 2. Are the contents of the Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing Annex within the confines of the Philippine laws? Yes, the arrangements in the annex are in accordance to Philippine laws. As a matter of fact,
local and regional governments are conferred with, as shown below: “…a just share in national taxes which shall be automatically and directly released to them without need of any further action; to have an equitable share in the proceeds from the utilization and development of the national wealth and resources within their Continued on page 2
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
10 FAQs on Wealth Sharing Annex between Philippines, MILF respective territorial jurisdictions including sharing the same with the inhabitants by way of direct benefits…” (Sec. 18 of the Local Government Code on Power to Generate and Apply Resources) “…an equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth within their respective areas, in the manner provided by law…” (Sec. 7, Art. 3 of the Philippine Constitution on Declaration of Principles and State Policies) On the other hand, Republic Act (RA) 9054, which is the law strengthening and expanding the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), states the existing wealth sharing setup between the National Government, City, or Provincial Government, and the ARMM. The laws mentioned above had been taken into account by the GPH and the MILF peace panels when they drafted the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed in October 2012. As stated in Sec. IV of the FAB on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, the parties have agreed that the “Bangsamoro will have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees, and charges, subject to limitations as may be mutually agreed upon by the Parties” and that the “Bangsamoro shall have a just and equitable share in the revenues generated through the exploration, development, or utilization of natural resources obtaining in all the areas/territories, land or water, covered by and within the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro, in accordance with the formula agreed by the Parties.” They have also recognized “that wealth creation (or revenue generation and sourcing) is important for the operation of the Bangsamoro.”
3. What is the relationship of the Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing Annex to the FAB and the Bangsamoro Basic Law? The Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing Annex is one of the four annexes, which, together with the FAB, shall comprise the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the GPH and the MILF. This annex will serve as a guide to the Transition Commission in the drafting of the wealth sharing and revenue generation provisions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). 4. What are the arrangements that the Parties agreed to? Given the importance of revenue generation and sourcing for the operation of the Bangsamoro, the Bangsamoro Basic Law – as guided by the Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing Annex – shall provide for powers of the Bangsamoro to create its own sources of revenues, as well as to have a just share in the revenues derived from natural resources. On taxation: The Bangsamoro Government shall have the power to levy capital gains tax, documentary stamp tax, donor’s tax, and estate tax where all the taxable elements are within the Bangsamoro. This means that the revenues collected from these taxes shall pertain entirely to the Bangsamoro. For other taxes, fees and charges collected by the Central Government within the Bangsamoro, excluding tariff and customs duties, 75% shall be shared with the Bangsamoro and its constituent local government units while 25% shall remain with the Central Government. In addition, all the taxing and revenue generation powers already granted to the ARMM under R.A. No. 9054 and other
earlier laws shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro. On natural resources: Government income derived from the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources within the Bangsamoro shall be allocated in the following manner: For non-metallic minerals (sand, gravel, and quarry resources), 100% of the revenues shall pertain to the Bangsamoro and its constituent local government units; For metallic minerals, 75% shall pertain to the Bangsamoro while the remaining 25% shall pertain to the Central Government; and, For fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal) and uranium, there shall be equal sharing of government income from this economic activity. With regard to the sharing arrangement in number 3, the BBL shall provide a review mechanism. The share of the Bangsamoro from the above shall include those for its constituent local government units. We will hold a wide information campaign to ensure that all stakeholders are fully aware of these arrangements. 5. What are “annual block grants”? The GPH considers this as the most important feature of the new fiscal arrangement for the Bangsamoro because it will free them from the limitations in current budgetary processes of the government in that the actual budget allocation is negotiated on an annual basis. The annual block grants constitute the annual financial assistance to be extended by the Central Government to the Bangsamoro Government. It is comparable to the internal revenue allotment of other local government units as it shall be automatically appropriated and regularly released to the Bangsamoro. These block
grants shall not be less than the last budget received by the ARMM immediately before the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. Revenues from the additional taxes beyond those already devolved to the ARMM and the Bangsamoro share in revenues derived from exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources will be deducted from the amount comprising the annual block grant. This is without prejudice to the just share of the Bangsamoro’s constituent local government units in the national taxes. These deductions shall be suspended for four years from the full operation of the Bangsamoro. This proposed revision came from the MILF and reflects their aspiration to be increasingly less dependent on national government support. 6. Are the revenue generation and wealth sharing arrangements constitutional? Yes, all arrangements in the annex are constitutional as these have been framed within the bounds and flexibilities of the Constitution and other pertinent laws. Similarly, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which itself will undergo a constitutional process – from certification as an urgent bill by the President and passage by Congress, to the conduct of plebiscite in FAB-covered areas for its ratification, shall be consistent with these wealth sharing arrangements. 7. Is there a check and balance/ accountability mechanism over the revenues and funds generated by the Bangsamoro government? Yes. As provided in the FAB, an Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board shall be created to serve as a mechanism for partnership and coordination between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro
Continuation from page 1 toward building a strong fiscal foundation and sustainable development in the region. Further, the Bangsamoro government shall create its own auditing body and procedures for accountability over revenues and other funds generated within or by the region from external sources, without prejudice to the power and duty of the national Commission on Audit. 8. How will these arrangements benefit the Central Government and the country as a whole? These arrangements will facilitate political and fiscal autonomy which is important for the Bangsamoro to operate and deliver to its constituents, thereby contributing to the achievement of peace and progress in the south. All Filipinos will benefit because the peace and developments in the south will pull the entire nation upward. With the MILF as partners in government, both will jointly be able to address other security concerns, opening the door for bigger trade and tourism opportunities. 9. Will the Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing Annex ensure better tax collection in the Bangsamoro region? Yes. Together with administrative mechanisms to monitor performance, assistance from the Central Government shall also be extended to improve the capability of the Bangsamoro government to ensure efficient tax administration and fiscal management. 10. What are the next steps after the signing of the Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing Annex? The panels have agreed to convene again after the Ramadhan to continue work on the two remaining annexes – the Annexes on Power Sharing and Normalization. ■ InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013
/ 2:05 PM
Miriam says Lacson’s proposed anti-graft body illegal, unethical MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday slammed the plan of former Senator Panfilo Lacson to have President Benigno Aquino III name him head of an anti-graft body, saying this was both illegal and unethical. “His plan is laughable and ridiculous. It is unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and egotistic. It is amazing that the former senator can be so brazen as to propose a plan that violates existing standards of law and ethics,” Santiago said in a statement issued in reaction to reports that Lacson had drafted an executive order creating the Presidential Commission Against Corruption and handed this to Aquino. Earlier, Lacson said the proposed commission would have operational capabilities allowing it to undertake entrapment operations against crooked government officials and personnel, powers he said would complement the work of the Office of the Ombudsman. But Santiago said Aquino has no power to create any public office. “Lacson’s proposal is unintelligent. It is a basic principle of the tripartite system of democracy that the creation of a public
Former Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago
office is primarily a legislative function. He should go to Congress and lobby for this self-serving, self-aggrandizing personal pet project of his,” Santiago said. “Congress has not passed a law delegating to the President the legislative power to create a new office. Hence, Lacson’s plan violates not only the Constitution but also the Administrative Code and R.A. No. 6975, also known
as the DILG Act of 1990,” which gives the Department of Interior and Local Government supervision over the Philippine National Police, she added. Besides, Santiago pointed out, “there is an existing Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force headed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.” “Lacson wants Ochoa bumped off,” she said. “What gall!” Supreme Court decisions
She also cited a series of Supreme Court decisions that she said negate Lacson’s plan. “The clearest Supreme Court ruling against creating a new office just to accommodate a specific person is found in the 2010 case of Biraogo v. Philippine Truth Commission, where the Supreme Court ruled that the Administrative Code prohibits the President from creating an office, under the guise of reorganization,” she said. The ruling referred to the Administrative Code, Section 31, and to the question of whether Congress had delegated to the president its legislative power to create a public office. “The creation of an office is nowhere mentioned, much less envisioned in said provision. Accordingly, the answer to the question is in the negative,” she said, quoting from the ruling. She also cited the 2001 case of Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Hon. Executive Secretary, in which the high court ruled that there was no valid delegation of power from Congress empowering the president to create a public office. Quoting from this ruling, Santiago
said: “Reorganization takes place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them.” “Clearly, the power of control is entirely different from the power to create public offices. The former is inherent in the Executive, while the latter finds basis from either a valid delegation from Congress, or his inherent duty to faithfully execute the laws,” she added, still quoting the Buklod ruling. In the 2003 case of Bagaoisan v. National Tobacco Administration, the Supreme Court ruled that even if there is reorganization, the president is not allowed to remove civil service employees in bad faith, one indication of which is, “where an office is abolished and another performing substantially the same functions is created.” And in the 1998 case of Ople v. Torres, the Supreme Court ruled that the president may not, in the guise of an administrative order, usurp the legislative power to create offices. ■ Ernie Reyes /
InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013 / 2:33 PM
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
23 YEARS AFTER THE GREAT JULY 16 QUAKE Learning from Tokyo on preparing for disasters THERE is a well-known proverb in Japan: disasters will strike when one least expects them. This is why after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which left almost 16,000 dead and more than 6,000 injured, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government took steps to boost its disaster preparedness and prevention measures. “We cannot stop the occurrence itself of earthquakes and typhoons, but we can minimize damage by using the scientific method and learning from past experiences,” said Yasuki Miyazaki, deputy director general for crisis management at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. He was present at the first day of the 11th Asian Crisis Management Conference, which the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority hosted this year at the Crowne Plaza, Manila Galleria. Representatives from the 21 membercities of the Asian Network of Major Cities21 were at the event to share and learn from the best practices on disaster reduction, with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Police Department, and the Tokyo Fire Department offering a number of valuable lessons : Educating their citizens, reinforcing public structures, and organizing rescue and response units are integral in their disaster preparedness plans. Disaster response of the Tokyo Police Department. According to Hajime Karasawa, superintendent at the disaster division security bureau of the Tokyo Police Department, 218 police officers were immediately dispatched on the day of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. A total 220,000 police officers have since been dispatched for search and rescue purposes.
Routinely, a rapid response unit is dispatched in the event of a massive disaster. This unit is composed of a security unit, for search and rescue operations; a traffic control unit, for securing roads; and a criminal investigation unit, for identifying bodies. Two more units under the rapid response unit will be dispatched in earthquake-hit areas: the emergency disaster security unit, on land; and the wide-ranged air police unit, on air. An inter-prefectural emergency rescue unit was also formed in 1995 following another big earthquake. In Hanshin-Awaji, the forces of 47 police headquarters in the different Japan prefectures were joined to respond to disasters as one. Karasawa is confident that some 520,000 persons can be mobilized to respond in event of a disaster. Add to that the Tokyo Police Department’s team of disaster rescue dogs, which were deployed in a bomb incident in 1980. The canines used their “keen sense of smell” internationally for the first time in the 2003 earthquake in Algeria. They also served in the aftermath of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China; the 2009 earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia; and the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Japan Disaster Relief Unit, formed in 1987, also dispatched officers in the last three disasters. Disaster response of the Tokyo Fire Department. The word “unexpected” is often used in describing earthquakes, but big ones can be “well-expected” based on the history of the earth, according to Masahiko Seki of the Tokyo Fire Department and director of its Fire Academy. This is why they enable residents
to conduct firefighting on their own, tapping into neighborhood associations and instilling in them the belief that “it is important to protect your city by yourself.” Kindergarten students are taught what to do in case of earthquakes through games. Junior high school students are taught how to shoot water from water pumps. High school students are taught how to do first aid. Last year, more than 2,000 of them participated in a three-day workshop at the Tokyo Fire Department. A free exhibition on disaster risks “to raise people’s awareness of disaster preparedness as well as [their] ability to act and create safer future” will also be held in October. There are some 800,000 volunteer fire corps in Japan, as well, who can be mobilized in their own communities in times of disaster. In fact, more than 250 were killed in the line of duty during the tsunami that resulted from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Aside from having an Aviation Fire Service, which is powered by seven helicopters to reach even the most isolated areas, the Tokyo Fire Department has fire rescue task forces which can respond to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear disasters. Disaster prevention and preparedness of the Tokyo Metropolitan Departments. A year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government made estimates of the damage an earthquake could bring to the city, and revised a regional plan for disaster prevention in line with the findings. Such a disaster could potentially kill 9,700, injure 147,600, and strand 5.17 million commuters. The government’s response is to “prevent, protect, and
Japan earthquake evacuation in March 2011. File photo
connect,” according to Nagaoka Makoto, director-in-charge of the emergency intelligence and disaster prevention division. The goals under “prevent” are to lower the death toll by 60 percent, the number of evacuees by 40 percent, and the number of buildings destroyed by 60 percent. Under “protect,” the goals are to keep vital administrative agencies and medical institutions running, and to reduce the number of stranded commuters. Under “connect,” the goals are to restore electricity within seven days, telecommunications within 14 days, the water and sewerage system within 30 days, and gas within 60 days. To accomplish these, the Tokyo government is undertaking a number of projects. It is making public buildings and infrastructure such as schools, public housing, ports, harbors, and bridges earthquake-resistant, reinforcing them “for seismic safety.” The densely populated wooden housing districts – meaning the houses are mainly made of wood – are being
made fire-resistant within 10 years. “Fireblocking zones” are being built along roads, while buildings along the roads are being made fire-resistant as well, to prevent the spread of the blaze. More parks are also being created as emergency evacuation areas. Floodgates are being installed in lowland areas along the coasts, and watertight doors are being installed in subways. Three-days worth of food and water are also being stocked for stranded commuters. Drills are being conducted as well for the same persons. To deal with rains, an “underground regulating reservoir” is being built to store water from floods under the roads. *** NOTE: The Philippines itself experienced a great quake 23 years ago today. It would do us well to review the lessons learned then, plus the lessons learned from Japan, for not just another earthquake but for the many disasters that often befall this country situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire. For indeed, preparation is key. ■ Tricia Aquino / InterAksyon. com / July 16, 2013 / 7:43 AM
Palace mandates DOST to host all govt websites Newly appointed Manila City Hall security chief Renato Miranda (center in brown jacket) grills suspected robbers and fixers. Photo courtesy of Manila City Hall
Former Marine general named head of Manila City Hall security MANILA, Philippines – A former Marine general who spent several years in jail for his alleged participation in a botched coup plot against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006 has been named head of the Manila City Hall’s security force. The appointment of Renato Miranda was announced by Tony Cunanan, head of the Manila City Hall’s media bureau. Miranda was released from prison
shortly after President Benigno Aquino III came to office in 2010. He was then appointed by Aquino to head the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Among Miranda’s tasks, said Cunanan, is going after robbers and fixers preying on people conducting business at City Hall. ■ Jaime Sinapit / InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013 / 4:24 PM
MANILA, Philippines – To prevent future cyber attacks and to offer a unified experience online, Malacañang recently issued an administrative order mandating all national government agencies to migrate to a Web hosting facility to be put up by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Under Administrative Order No. 39 issued on July 12, all national government agencies, government financial institutions, and governmentowned and controlled corporations will be required to have their websites hosted under the new Government Web Hosting Service (GWHS). Upon migration, the government websites will be required to strictly follow the Philippine Uniform Website Content Policy (UWCP), which requires all publicsector websites to sport a common look and feel across the board. According to the Order, websites of local government units will be
encouraged to migrate to the new Web hosting facility but will not be required as in the case of national line agencies. Once hosted under the GWHS, agencies will be required to produce regular content for their respective Web properties; develop online services that will be offered through their websites; and appoint a webmaster to take care of the websites. Agencies will no longer be allowed
to sign up for third-party Web hosting services once the order becomes effective. All agencies are expected to be migrated to the new facility within the span of 12 months. Malacañang, through the order, said migration priority will be given to agencies whose websites have been attacked or defaced within the last six months. Security breaches government websites have been a perennial problem of the administration, particularly in times of foreign affairs crises when hacktivists from abroad launch strings of defacements and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against government websites. It is expected that with a centralized hosting facility for all government Web properties, security will be at a higher priority and cyber attacks will be reduced significantly. ■ J.M. Tuazon / InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013 / 4:23 PM
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
‘Tilapia’ replaces ‘galunggong’ as poor Filipino’s meat —NSCB
MANILA - For three decades, “galunggong” or round scad used to be called the poor Filipino’s meat, with its price used to determine whether the economy was better or worse off. Called GG for short, galunggong rose to prominence during the Corazon Aquino administration, as the fish was used as an indicator of economic performance in the 1986-1992 period. But galunggong has since slipped from the poor Filipino’s dish, with the price of the fish rising from P59.8 per kilo in 2003 to P107.7 per kilo last year, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). In a report, NSCB Secretary-General Jose Ramon G. Albert today said GG’s status as the poor man’s fish “is not true anymore.” “However, you can still find the cheapest galunggong in Davao del Sur, Occidental Mindoro and Marinduque,” Albert said. The most expensive galunggong can be found in Mountain Province, Rizal and Cavite. “Tilapia” or St. Peter’s fish is cheaper than galunggong, with the former retailing for P96 a kilo last year, likewise up from P59 in 2003. “Bangus” or milkfish, which cost P125 a kilo last year, was more expensive even in 2003 at P75.2. Fish however remains cheaper than beef and pork, prices of which similarly have increased over the years. Beef with bones retailed for P177.8 in 2012, up from P108.3 in 2003. Pork with
bones cost P158.4 a kilo last year, more expensive than the P96.1 in 2003. The cheapest beef and pork can be found in Sulu, while the most expensive in Bataan, according to Albert. As for the country’s staple, rice, the price of the regular milled variety has doubled from P18 a kilo in 2000 to P32.1 last year. As prices of basic goods and services increase, “food poor” families will continue to face difficulties especially in meeting their basic needs, said Albert. Over the past decade, the average inflation for the bottom 30 percent of Filipino households stood at 5.7 percent, higher than the average for allincome groups at 4.6 percent. Albert said one out of 10 Filipino families was food poor in the first semester of 2012. “That is, 10 percent of families in the first six months of 2012 had incomes not sufficient to meet the minimum basic food needs. This figure is unchanged from the corresponding figures in the first semesters of 2006 and 2009,” he said. Over that period, Filipinos needed at least P545 per person per month so they can rise above food poverty. Earlier, the NSCB said poverty incidence among Filipino families eased from 23.4 percent in the first half of 2006 to 22.9 percent in the same period of 2009 and 22.3 percent in 2012. Still, on average, 28 in every 100 Filipinos were poor over the last six years. ■
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
Economic managers seek PNoy’s endorsement of 9 bills for 16th Congress MANILA - Philippine economic managers today unveiled a list of bills they would have President Benigno Aquino III certify as urgent for the 16th Congress. In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, who heads the Cabinet economic cluster, said they are pushing for nine priority bills for inclusion in the President’s legislative agenda. The nine, which are expected to address key concerns raised by the government and the private sector, are as follows: • Amendments to the Build-Operate-
Transfer (BOT) Law (Republic Act No. 7718); • Rationalization of Mining Fiscal Regime; • Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives or the Tax Incentives Monitoring and Transparency Act (TIMTA); • Customs Modernization and Tariff Act; • Amendments to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) charter; • Amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act; • Removal of restrictions in speciﬁc
laws cited in the Foreign Investment Negative List; • Amendments to RA No. 8974 or the Act to Facilitate the Acquisition of Rightof-way, Site or Location for National Government Infrastructure Projects; and • Amendments to the Cabotage Law. Purisima said the amendments to the BOT Law would accelerate the publicprivate partnership (PPP) program by addressing obstacles and issues encountered in implementation. “We propose to amend the inclusion of other PPP modalities such as joint ventures, concession and management contract, and enhancing provisions on unsolicited proposals including the conduct of competitive challenge. We also need to make sure that the PPP Governing Board is properly accounted for in legislation. These measures will make sure that the lessons we learned from our PPP experience are institutionalized,” he said. The bill streamlining tax perks is meant to repeal at least 26 special laws with tax incentives provisions, which according to the World Bank shave off a percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / InterAksyon.com / July 15,
Darwin G. Amojelar / InterAksyon.com / July 12, 2013 / 7:09 PM
Finance chief Cesar V. Purisima heads the Cabinet economic cluster
2013 / Updated 6:27 PM
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Random Walker: Earning loose change from stocks more difficult now LIKE a ship becalmed after a harrowing tempest, the Philippines’ benchmark equities index last week drifted languidly around the 6,390 to 6,600 range before finally resting atop the 6,500 line. The market rapidly lost wind, as value turnover faded to half the amount during the selling storm. Foreigners still took the occasion to sell into the shallow trading, turning net sellers in the closing days of the week. In this relative market calm, the country’s economic managers and pension fundmanagers sent out a dove to see if the selling flood had receded, and lo, even before the dove had returned, they all proclaimed that the iniquities of hot money from abroad had abated. Alas, it would have been more prudent, for the sake of economic and financial stability, for them to wait a couple of weeks more, just as Noah did in the Good Book. This year falls out of the norm, if one reckons the norm as the past four year’s average market return of 34 percent. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that this is the year of mean reversion for the market. No matter how high or low the market goes, the principle of reversion towards the mean would impel market prices and returns to eventually move back towards its long-run mean or average. This average may be taken as the historical average return of the market over the long run, which is around 14-15 percent. Less used is the long-run average growth of the local economy in nominal terms, which is around 12 percent.
The days of easy stock pickings are gone. No longer can punters buy on momentum, or fund managers load up on the familiarsounding stocks, or market players buy at greater-fool prices, and all of them pocket gains at the end of the day. From here on, earning loose change from this market gets much harder. For starters, the market appears to be set for another wave of selling this week or in the coming week. The next squall, should it come, would likely pull the PSE index initially back towards the 6,000 to 6,200 region. Even if it does not, the underlying prognosis is for the market to stay in the doldrums and not be able to resume its uptrend in the coming months. Despite all the sunny reassurances of good economic fundamentals from the country’s economic managers, the overall picture of the investment setting remains cloudy and uncertain. Gathering dark clouds on the horizon,
interest rates globally have been rising and will continue to rise ahead of the US Fed tapering of its quantitative easing policy. On Friday, the five- and 10-year Treasury rates surged almost 100 basis points from their month ago levels, based on PDEX fixing rates. Just as bleak looking, the resulting Treasury yield curve, which depicts the corresponding rates for each maturity, has twisted around the two-year maturity, with short-term yields falling and longer-term yields becoming very steep. Investors use the yield curve as an indicator of, among others, the likely direction of interest rates. The current shape of the yield curve would indicate market expectations of continued easy money policy in the near term. This would likely feed into inflation in the future, so the Treasury rates will eventually reverse and start rising. Interest rates are set to rise across the world as the US economy grows out of its
below-trend recovery. Greater economic activity intensifies demand for funds, which then raises the cost of money or interest rates. On Friday, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield reacted to the news of higherthan-expected new jobs creation by jumping 20 basis points to 2.7 percent. Higher interest rates, in turn, would mean that government and local corporations would be paying more for their financing requirements, at a time when the government of the Philippines intends to borrow P150 billion from the domestic market. A number of real estate companies are also about to tap the same market, such as Ayala Land’s P21 billion in seven- and 25-year bonds. It would also mean that more deals would not push through. Consider, for instance, the collapse of the Bank of Commerce sale, as well as a number of initial public offerings that would likely be deferred. Shadow banking. Companies’ urge to borrow, meanwhile, has started to worry some analysts. Nomura Holdings Inc last month came out with a report that showed that the average ratio of domestic private debt to gross domestic product across Asia had ballooned to 167 percent in 2012; it also labelled most of the region’s property markets as “frothy.” Somehow, the Philippines and Taiwan appeared to be less risky than their neighbors, according to the report. At first blush, the Philippines seems to have a low private debt-to-GDP ratio of about 33-35 percent, well below the Asian average. It is not as simple as that, however. Despite this low average debt-to-GDP ratio, which
has been the country’s norm for a long time, the domestic economy has not escaped the downturns experienced by its more leveraged neighbors. One possible reason is that the size of the Philippines’ shadow banking sector has been growing sharply in recent years. Shadow banks refer to non-bank financial institutions that function like a bank—takes in cash and lends these out—but are not fully regulated by the banking supervisor and in which investors’ placements are not insured like bank deposits. According to the World Bank, the country’s shadow banking sector represented between 35-40 percent of the financial system’s total resources. This would mean that the Philippines’ private debt-to-GDP ratio would rise to as much as 50 percent, still below its neighbors’ but not as low as before. Rising leverage among corporations and the continued rise in interest rates would spell the market’s main risks. It will take time for these risks to reach critical levels. For instance, the real estate sector cycle has either one-and-a-half to almost three years before the present up-cycle ends. Historically, the real estate industry grows for 20-25 consecutive quarters; the current cycle started in the fourth quarter of 2009. Also, the question is not whether interest rates would rise or not. The question is by how much interest rates have to rise before the equities market reverses? One likely answer is that the five-year Treasury yield would have to reach the five to six percent range. ■ Noel G. Reyes /July 11, 2013 / 8:14 AM
SANDUGO FESTIVAL – Tagbilaran, Bohol “Sandugo” is a Visayan word which literally means One-Blood. The annual celebration commemorates the blood compact between Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Datu Sikatuna in 1565. It signifies the friendship between the conservative Filipinos and the liberal Spaniards.
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
BCDA says foreign property firms keen on investing in former military bases
BI’s David quits over illegal detention raps by American MANILA, Philippines – Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David has resigned his post following a complaint filed against him by an American for alleged illegal detention. President Benigno Aquino III accepted the David’s resignation letter, which was dated July 12. “Commissioner David has tendered resignation. It was accepted by the President. We would like to thank Commissioner David for his services to the country,” deputy Malacanang spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing aired over state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Tuesday. “He felt it was but proper for him to take full responsibility for events that
transpired under his leadership,” Valte added without providing details. David had refused to release Walter Francis Groves after an estafa case against the American was dismissed by a Makati regional trial court. At the same time, he said Groves could not be deported immediately because the dismissal of the case was provisional. In April, David brushed aside calls for him to resign after a South Korean included on the immigration blacklist escaped. David was a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines before he took over the Bureau of Immgration in March 2011. ■ Dexter San Pedro / InterAksyon. com /July 16, 2013 / 1:43 PM
MANILA State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said foreign real estate developers have expressed interest in investing in the Philippines. “We got an overwhelming response from various international real-estate firms on our properties and we expect them to visit the country soon to see for themselves the investment opportunities in the country,” Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, BCDA president and chief executive said in a statement. Casanova recently attended the 2nd Urban Land Institute (ULI) Asia Pacific Summit in Shanghai, China. Casanova, who is also the chairman of state-run Philippine Investment Promotions Plan (PIPP) Steering Committee, said the BCDA was the only non-Chinese exhibitor in the summit that gathered together some 400 real-estate developers in the AsiaPacific region. He said the BCDA team that attended the ULI summit highlighted the various properties of the agency in Bonifacio Global City, Bonifacio South, Clark Special Economic Zone — including Clark Green City and Clark International Airport — the Poro Point Freeport — including the San Fernando Airport and the Poro Point Seaport — John Hay Special Economic Zone, and the Atmanda Tourism and
Leisure Park located inside the Bataan Technology Park at the Morong Special Economic Zone. Casanova said the word is out in the global investment community that the Philippines has achieved investment grade status and has recorded the highest economic growth in the region. “With the recent investment upgrade, sound economic fundamentals and the good governance being carried out by the Aquino administration, the country is now being seriously considered as an investment haven,” Casanova said. He said the Aquino administration’s efforts in curbing corruption has played a key role in increasing investors’ confidence.
“We are now going towards the direction that the Philippines treats every business with fairness and transparency in a level playing field,” Casanova said, adding that “good governance is good economics.” He said the BCDA is focusing on creating an environment that is friendly and open to foreign investors and tourists. Casanova pointed out that BCDA is also aggressively promoting the development of the infrastructure for investors, such as airports and seaports because these are the gateways for international businesses to come in. ■ Darwin G. Amojelar / InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013 / 3:33 PM
chief, nagbitiw; DOTC defers financial bid opening Immigration pagbibitiw, tinanggap ni PNoy for LRT2 extension project
MANILA - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Monday deferred the opening of the financial bids for a P350-million consulting and engineering work contract involving the extension of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT2). “Four of them were disqualified last week in the opening of the technical proposals. The only one that passed was Foresight Development and Surveying Co. Today was the opening of financial bids for Foresight but the other bidders filed for motion for reconsideration. They requested that we defer the opening of the bids,” Migs Sagcal, DOTC spokesperson told reporters on Monday. Foresight’s partners include Soosung Engineering Co Ltd and Korea Rail Network Authority Consortium. Sagcal said the DOTC-Bids and Award Committee decided to defer the opening of the financial bids until the motions for reconsideration are resolved. The four disqualified bidders were: • J.F. Cancio & Associates, in association with Development Engineering & Management Corp, Engineering & Development Corp of the Philippines, Filipinas Dravo Corp, TCGI Engineers, Urban Integrated Consultants Inc, and Oriental Consultants Co Ltd; • Schema Konsult Inc, in association with Pertconsult International, KE
Asia Inc, DCCD Engineering Corp, Key Engineers Co, and Proconsult Inc; • Systra Philippines, in association with Philipps Technical Consultants Corp; and • Science and Vision for Technology Inc, in association with Yooshin Engineering Corp. The contract entail providing a detailed engineering design for the rail extension, as well as construction and supervision services for the civil works phase. This project was originally offered earlier this year, but the DOTC was
forced to declare a failure of bidding last February after only one of the interested parties was able to meet the eligibility requirements of Republic Act No. 9184, or the Procurement Law. The LRT2 East (Masinag) Extension Project involves the extension of the existing 13.8-kilometer service from Santolan, Pasig City to the intersection of the Marcos and Sumulong highways in Rizal. It will serve an additional 130,000 train commuters from the current number of 240,000. ■ Darwin G. Amojelar / InterAksyon. com / July 15, 2013 / 7:03 PM
NAGBITIW na sa kanyang puwesto bilang pinuno ng Bureau of Immigration (BI) si Commissioner Ricardo David. Inihayag naman ng tagapagsalita ng Palasyo na tinanggap na ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino III ang naturang pagbibitiw ng nasabing opisyal. Nitong Martes, kinumpirma ni deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte na tinanggap ni Aquino ang pagbibitiw ni David batay sa isang sulat nito na may petsang July 12. Gayunman, wala pa umanong impormasyon si Valte kung sino ang ipapalit kay David. Ngunit ayon sa isang source ng GMA News online, isa sa mga matunog na posibleng ipalit kay David ay si Immigration deputy commissioner Siegfred Mison, na itinalaga rin ni Aquino sa puwesto noong nakaraang taon. Si Mison, isang dating sundalo at abogado, ay anak ni dating Customs commissioner Salvador Mison. Mahirap at matinding pagsubok. Sa isang pahayag nitong Martes, nagpasalamat si David kay Aquino sa pagkakataon na ibinigay sa kanya na pamunuan ang BI. Sinabi ng nagbitiw na opisyal na hindi naging madali ang kanyang trabaho na linisin sa katiwalian ang ahensiya. “Despite our determined efforts to hold liable and punish those involved in anomalous acts, several unfortunate incidents and controversies have taken
place which undermined our anticorruption campaign,” nakasaad sa pahayag nito. Ilan sa mga ipinuna sa liderato ni David ang pagkakapuslit sa bansa ng magkapatid na sina dating Palawan governor Joel Reyes at Coron mayor Mario Reyes, na kapwa iniuugnay sa pagpatay sa broadcaster na si Gerry Ortega. Bukod pa rito ang pagkakatakas din sa bansa ng isang Korean national na umano’y sangkot sa panlololoko ng malaking halaga sa kanyang mga kababayan. Ayon kay David, inaako niya ang responsibilidad sa lahat ng mga insidenteng kinasangkutan ng kanyang mga tauhan bilang pinuno ng ahensiya. “I hope that my successor will continue what we have started and to remain focused on the path of the President’s ‘tuwid na daan,’” dagdag ni David. ■ FRJ, GMA News / July 16, 2013 / 4:09pm
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
GSIS rethinks focus on local investments after recent volatility MANILA - Higher pension payments pulled down the first-half net income of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). In a press briefing, GSIS president Robert Vergara said net income came in at P33 billion in the January to June period, down nearly six percent from the P35 billion in the same six-month period last year. “We paid more in claims this year, and that’s understandable, since our pension payments increased to a minimum of P5,000 this year,” Vergara said, citing the increase in pensions to a minimum of P5,000 a month that went into force this year. He said payment of pension claims reached P31 billion, bringing total expenses to P34 billion, or more than the P28 billion in the same six-month period last year. Revenues also increased to P67 billion this year from P63 billion last year. Vergara said 46 percent of GSIS’ asset base of P730 billion was invested in government debt papers, with the balance broken down as follows: • Loans, 29 percent; • Stocks, 16.5 percent; • Property, four percent; and • Cash, 4.5 percent. Vergara said GSIS is reconsidering an earlier stance to stay away from the overseas markets, especially after the Philippine Stock Exchange’s drop in recent weeks.
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“I think the time has come for us to reconsider if it is something we should do, because we are looking if deploying assets externally will help dampen the volatility in the returns of the portfolio that we have right now,” he said. “The external environment is much better now than a year or two ago. To have the bulk of our investments in the Philippines while the outside environment was ‘difficult’ was a good thing,” he said. If GSIS would venture overseas, then this would happen sometime next year, Vergara said, adding that the pension fund could invest between $300-400 million. Despite the local market’s drop, “the underlying fundamentals of the Philippine economy are still very, very strong,” he said. “We have good macroprudential guidance from finance, banks
are not overleveraged at all, loans and deposit ratios are still low, there is no inflation in the system, and government’s spending is still quite strong.” GSIS’s local market exposure is in conglomerates, consumer companies, property firms, banks and utilities. “For us, although it was a very painful ride down especially when it looked like the market was going to give up the year’s gains, so far we gained back quite a bit of what we we’re making up to May,” Vergara said, referring to the local market’s loss of half of its more than 20 percent gain since the start of the year. “But the silver lining is we are still in a net investment mode, so we are able to add on to our fixed income and equities portfolio,” he said. ■ Rain Castro / InterAksyon.
com / July 15, 2013 / 5:30 PM
SC voids GMA orders naming Carlo Caparas, 3 others as National Artists MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court Tuesday declared invalid the conferment of “National Artist” status on film director Carlo Caparas, architectFrancisco Manosa, couturier Jose Moreno and theater icon Cecil Guidote Alvarez, saying President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the four proclamations naming them as such. Voting 12-1-2, the high court en banc voided Proclamation Numbers 1826 up to 1829 issued by Mrs. Arroyo on July 6 , 2009, a controversial act that drew uproar from the arts and culture community because the strict vetting guidelines for drawing up lists for the President were short-circuited. The guidelines and processes followed by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines board
were not followed, the court said. The court drew a distinction between the case of nominee Dr. Ramon Santos, who was in the original recommendations for National Artist but was later excluded, and the group of Caparas, GuidoteAlvarez, Manosa and Moreno. In the case of Santos, then President Arroyo did not commit grave abuse of discretion because the NCCA and CCP Board’s recommendations are not binding on her but only discretionary. But, said the court, the conferment of the Order of National Artists on the four respondents “was an entirely different matter.” It said grave abuse of discretion is committed when an act is: “(1) done contrary to the Constitution, the law and jurisprudence; or (2) executed whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily out of malice, ill will or personal bias.” ■
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July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Pinoy children’s choir wins Government of Canada opens new visa int’l competition in UK application centers in Manila, Cebu A children’s choir from Quezon City won an international competition held last week in the United Kingdom. The Hail Mary The Queen Children’s Choir, composed of 23 students from Cubao district, won the top prize in the children’s folk choir event of the annual Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod in Waleson Wednesday night (Thursday in Manila). The Filipino group bested 11 other groups from Canada, Hong Kong, Estonia, Germany and the Czech Republic to win a trophy and £500 (around P32,700). The competition’s website showed the Filipino children’s choir singing folk songs “Orde-e” and “Inday sa Balitaw.” “’Yung pinaghirapan po namin, worth it. Tapos po kahit gaano kagaling ‘yung kalaban, alam po naming kaya namin,” choir member Sam Salombides said in an interview aired over GMA News TV’s
“Balitanghali.” The choir’s musical director Jude Roldan and conductor Maria Theresa Vizconde-Roldan said the children showed dedication while preparing for the competition for the past three months. “Noong nagsimula kaming magrehearse, very dedicated ‘yung mga bata, at very committed,” VizcondeRoldan said. ■ Andreo Calonzo / LBG, GMA News / July 14, 2013 / 2:22 PM
Man jailed for killing sister’s Pinoy stalker in UAE A United Arab Emirates court on Sunday sentenced an Indian man to 15 years in jail for fatally stabbing a Filipino hotel worker who allegedly stalked his sister and defamed her on Facebook. The Dubai Court of First Instance found the Indian, 27, guilty of luring the Filipino to the hotel basement and stabbing him 28 times with a fruit knife, Gulf News reported. Presiding Judge Mohammad Jamal ordered the Indian deported after he serves his sentence, the report said. For his part, the Indian pleaded not guilty to the charges. Sunday’s judgement is subject to appeal within 15 days. Earlier, prosecutors said the defendant planned to kill the Filipino for allegedly harassing and stalking his sister on Facebook.
“The number of knife wounds signified the defendant held so much ferocity inside of him and wanted to ensure the victim’s death,” the Dubai Police forensic examiner told the court. The Indian, who was identified through surveillance camera footage in the hotel lobby and basement parking, was arrested before he could board a plane at Dubai International Airport. Meanwhile, a Somali police corporal said the Indian admitted stabbing the Filipino, who he said harassed his sister via the Internet. The Indian said the Filipino continued stalking his sister after he was fired from his job in India and found work in the hotel in Dubai. ■ BM, GMA News / July 14, 2013 / 9:18 PM
Pinoys in Saudi Arabia who rectified status get quick job opportunities SOME Filipinos who managed to rectify their status in Saudi Arabia are getting help in quickly finding work in the Kingdom, with assistance from “well-connected” Filipino expatriates, a Saudi news site reported Sunday. Arab News said the “recruitment” is a business opportunity for the expatriates, who refer the Filipinos who have corrected their status to local establishments. “These establishments feel that local recruitment agencies are too slow to hire people for them, so they have sought the help of well-connected expats to recruit on their behalf,” Arab News quoted one Filipino involved in the recruitment process. So far, he said he has recruited 17 Filipinos for two companies. He added other fellow Filipinos are involved in the recruitment process to augment their income. While the Arab News did not name the expatriate, it described him as a worker in
a hospital in Riyadh and who has stayed in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. According to the “recruiter,” he would get SR300 to SR400 for every person he recruits. For that amount, the recruiter will handle paperwork from prospective recruits, fill out application forms and submit these to prospective employers. On the other hand, the establishments turns over the documents to the local recruitment agency, which in turn submits these to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh. Once the documents clear POLO, they will be returned to the recruitment agency representative, then be sent to a counterpart recruitment agency in Manila. Eventually, the documents will be submitted to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for approval, the report said. ■ LBG, GMA News / July 14, 2013 8:35 AM
HOPING to attract more immigrants, visitors and students, the Government of Canada opened new visa application centers (VACs) in Manila and Cebu to make it easier and more convenient for Filipinos who wish to enter Canada. “The Government of Canada plans to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth by attracting an increasing number of visitors as well as the world’s best and brightest talent to Canada,” the Canadian Embassy said in a press statement Monday. In an effort to speed up the application process for visas and permits, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is expanding their global network of VACs, which provides administrative support to applicants before, during and after their temporary resident application is assessed by a CIC immigration officer. “Anyone wishing to apply for a visitor visa, study permit, work permit or permanent resident travel document is encouraged to use the new VACs,” the Canadian Embassy said. Applicants may contact VAC service agents by phone, email or in person. The service agents are able to answer questions
in local languages and to make sure that applications are complete. “This helps avoid unnecessary delays or refusals due to incomplete applications,” the Canadian Embassy said. However, the embassy noted that VACs are not involved in the decision making process and are not authorized to provide applicants with advice about their visas. For an additional fee, VACs also offer other services, including photocopies, application photographs and self-service computer terminals for those wishing to take advantage of the new online applications. The new VACs are located at: Manila: 6F Unit 608, Ecoplaza Building, 2305 Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City Cebu: 9th Floor Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop cor. Cardinal Rosales Ave., Cebu Business Park, Cebu City Top destination. Canada is among the top 10 destinations of Pinoys abroad, with 842,651 Filipinos in the country. As of 2010, Filipinos were the third biggest foreign population in Canada, according to data from the 2010 International Migration Outlook of the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD). “Much of the community’s growth in Canada is due to Filipino dominance of the caring industries. The Live-In Caregiver Program, a stream that brings in nannies and care-workers for children and the elderly, is consistently more than 90 per cent Filipino,” Joe Friesen wrote in The Globe and Mail. Most of those in the first wave of Filipinos in Canada in the 1960s had university degrees, wrote Friesen, citing research by Dr. Aprodicio Laquian. “The next big wave coincided with the movement to import domestic workers and live-in caregivers, primarily women with lower educational levels, which began in the early 1980s,” Friesen wrote. Over a hundred thousand Filipinos became Canadian citizens from 1999 to 2008. Meanwhile, there are only over a thousand Filipino students among some 240,000 foreign students in Canada. In an effort to bring in more Filipino students, the Canadian Embassy held its first Study in Canada Fair in the Philippines early this year. ■ Carmela G. Lapeña / RSJ, GMA News / July
15, 2013 3:18 PM
DOLE activates help desk for Taiwan-based OFWs OVERSEAS Filipino workers affected by the hiring freeze in Taiwan stand to benefit from a new help desk at the offices of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Monday said she has ordered the POEA and OWWA to answer queries and assist the over 16,000 Filipino workers who may be affected by the freeze in hiring imposed by Taiwan following its rift with the Philippines. The row stemmed from the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman, who was said to be poaching, by Philippine authorities on disputed waters last May 9.
“I task the Help Desk to produce a profile of the OFWs returning from Taiwan, including their principals, employers, and deploying agencies, and to provide the Office of the DOLE Secretary accurate and updated information on their number, skills and qualifications, and if possible, their occupational inclination or plans upon their return, so we can better direct and focus our assistance to them,” Baldoz said in a statement. The POEA help desk can be reached at 7221189. Baldoz said the POEA has already 28 existing general help desks nationwide while the OWWA has 901. Mandate. The help desk was
mandated to provide assistance to repatriated workers from Taiwan with services such as: • legal assistance for those who have legitimate claims from their recruiters, employers, or principals • livelihood and entrepreneurial development assistance • referral for local and overseas employment. POEA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac has designated deputy administrator Jeriel Domingo to lead the operations and supervise the help desk. He also assigned Celso Hernandez of the POEA’s Labor Assistance Division to man the help desk. ■ KBK, GMA News / July 15, 2013 / 3:09 PM
Govt streamlines OFW programs with shared database
STARTING August, Philippine labor officials expect to better curb human trafficking and illegal recruitment, and address other concerns of overseas Filipino workers with a shared database and realtime information system. The Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration and the Bureau of Immigration signed a memorandum of agreement to develop the information sharing system. “The agreement shows our efforts to strengthen coordination and linkage among concerned government agencies. It also reflects our convergent action to ensure the protection of our OFWs against unscrupulous individuals engaged in illegal and predatory activities, including fixers, scammers, and traffickers,” DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said. Covered by the shared information system are the databases of: • documented OFWs • foreign employers included in the POEA watchlist • OFWs included in the POEA watchlist
• departing and arriving OFWs. Signing the MOA were POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac and Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr., while Baldoz and DOLE Undersecretary for Employment Danilo Cruz witnessed it. Baldoz said the information-sharing system not only protects OFWs but also allows a hassle-free and systematic deployment process. “Hindi na natin pahihirapan ang mga OFWs sa multi-layered na proseso ng gobyerno noon. Isang pila na lang tayo ngayon (OFWs need not suffer from multilayered processes. They have to line up just once),” she said. The MOA implements the efforts of the POEA and the BI as members of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR). Under the MOA, the POEA shall extend legal assistance to victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons referred by the BI. It will also provide technical assistance and certifications to cases handled by BI;
and provide assistance to immigration officers in answering queries on OFWs’ travel exit documents. For its part, the BI shall strictly implement the validation of travel exit documents; endorse suspected illegal recruitment cases to POEA for investigation; intensify intelligence efforts in checking legitimate departing OFWs and/or tourists profiled as workers; and enforce watchlist orders and/ or hold departure orders against illegal recruiters and human traffickers. Baldoz said she has directed the POEA to work closely with the BI to prioritize this initiative as the DOLE seeks to improve processes involving overseas employment. “We also aim for the electronic processing of exit clearances and other procedures that can already be done online. While we are continuously stamping out illegal and predatory activities towards workers’ protection, we are also devising workable strategies to streamline government processes, thus vying away from the usual multi-layered procedures,” she said. ■ VC, GMA News / July 13, 2013 / 1:34 PM
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July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
DR Congo says 130 dead in clashes between army, rebels
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GOMA, DR Congo – At least 130 people were killed, including 10 soldiers, in the deadliest clashes in months between troops and rebels in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the government said Monday. Loud blasts rang out north of the flashpoint city of Goma on Monday afternoon, and up to 1,000 people were seen fleeing towards the city in a cloud of dust, an AFP photographer reported. “Our forces have inflicted very heavy losses on the M23 fighters, 120 have been killed and 12 captured,” said government spokesman Lambert Mende. Mende said 10 soldiers had also died in the ongoing clashes between the army and the M23 rebel group in the volatile east, an area rich in minerals including gold and coltan, a key component in cell phones and other electronic equipment. The fierce fighting broke out on Sunday outside Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Several Congolese army tanks fired at the positions of the M23 Monday, and mortar fire was also heard. Mende said the M23, who briefly seized Goma late last year before withdrawing under international pressure, attacked army positions “with the support of Rwandan troops”. “For several weeks the M23 rebels and their Rwandan allies have been reinforcing their positions,” he said. The M23, an armed group launched
Two women walk past a government army tank in Munigi, eastern DR Congo.
by Tutsi former soldiers who mutinied from the Congolese army in April 2012, said in a statement that it condemned “in the strongest terms the resumption of war initiated by the Congolese government”. The group, which says it is fighting for the full implementation of a peace deal that incorporated an earlier rebel group into the Congolese army, said it was committed to peace negotiations. United Nations experts have accused both Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the M23, and US President Barack Obama early this month urged the DR
Congo’s neighbours “to stop supporting armed groups”. Both countries have denied the charges. The UN has its largest peacekeeping mission in the world in DR Congo, including a new “intervention brigade” created by the Security Council in March to fight armed groups -- the first offensive unit ever authorised by the UN. But UN soldiers did not intervene in the recent clashes, Mende said. Army forces also managed to recapture previously rebel-held positions
as the M23 fled, the spokesman said. Some 2,000 soldiers were reportedly deployed during the fighting but Mende declined to confirm this figure. The fighting outside Goma comes after a separate rebel attack in the town of Kamango in the northernmost part of the province sent 55,000 people fleeing to neighbouring Uganda, according to the Red Cross. Kamango was attacked and briefly occupied Thursday by a Ugandan-led rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
The ADF was formed in the mid-1990s in the Rwenzori mountains in western Uganda, close to the DR Congo border. It has been relatively quiet in recent years, but attacks have increased in the past few weeks, according to a Western military source. Adding to the tense security situation in the region, a military spokesman in Rwanda said two mortar bombs had been “deliberately” fired into the country from DR Congo on Monday. He said the mortars, which caused no injuries, were fired in mid-afternoon, and blamed the Congolese army and the UN peacekeeping force on the grounds the bombs were fired from territory they control. The UN’s new intervention brigade of some 3,000 soldiers began arriving in the region in May, heavily armed and with more power to fight renegade forces than ever before. The troops, drawn in equal numbers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, are joining about 17,000 UN soldiers already deployed in the area with a limited mandate to protect civilians and themselves. In all, about 30 armed groups are active in the region, where they have lucrative stakes in the illegal mining of diamonds, gold and coltan. These minerals are then exported around the world via neighbouring Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. ■ Phil Moore /AFP
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July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Abbas to decide on Palestinian Egypt prosecutors quiz Morsi over prison break govt in mid-August
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will decide how to reform the government of caretaker prime minister Rami Hamdallah in the middle of August, a senior official said on Monday. “President Abbas will decide on the legal status of the current government on the 14th of the next month,” Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Wassel Abu Yusef told AFP. “The caretaker period will end on August 14 and then president Abbas must either choose someonxe else to form a government or form it himself,” he added. Abbas accepted the resignation of Hamdallah on June 23 after just over two weeks on the job, plunging his government into crisis. The Palestinian leader initially had five weeks to find a replacement, officials said, but the date — which would have ended in late July — was put back due to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which started on July 10.
At the heart of the crisis is a dispute over the division of responsibilities within government. Hamdallah, who was sworn in on June 6, had been incensed by Abbas’s decision to appoint two deputies under him in newly created positions, sources in his office said. It was the second time in 10 weeks that a prime minister had tendered his resignation over a power struggle. In April, then premier Salam Fayyad tendered his resignation following a power struggle with Abbas over the finance portfolio. ■ AFP
Mahmud Abbas chairs a meeting in Ramallah on May 12, 2013. AFP file photo, Abbas Momani
Security Bank named ‘Best Domestic Bank’ in Asiamoney Best Banks 2013 THE accolades continue as one of the country’s top independent universal banks, Security Bank Corporation, received recognition from Asiamoney’s Annual Best Domestic Bank Awards and was named “2013 Best Domestic Bank in the Philippines.” As in the past, Security Bank Corporation (SBC) has a penchant for besting the larger banking institutions in the country because it has stuck to its strengths and kept its fundamentals in check. Security Bank is following its own growth plan by building a bigger deposit base, which started in 2011 when the acquisition of Premiere Development Bank boosted its branch network to 208 by year-end of 2012, and growing its commercial loans business to take advantage of the booming economy. The award-giving publication describes their criteria as comprehensive and thorough. “To make its decisions, Asiamoney holds discussions with fund managers, analysts and market participants, together with conducting extensive internal research. It considers the following criteria when deciding on the winners of Best domestic bank awards: balance sheet strength and profitability; industry leadership and product innovation; brand recognition; successful implementation of new services and products; ability to outperform competition amid challenging financial markets; corporate and customer satisfaction with services provided; corporate governance, transparency and integrity.” Following this criteria, there is no doubt SBC is deserving as it posted stellar and “better-than-industry” numbers in 2012. With a P7.5 billion net
income, up 12 percent on the previous year, customer loans grew 30 percent to P119.6 billion and its cost-to-income ratio was 43 percent. The highlight is its Return-on-Equity (RoE) with a whopping 22 percent. “All of Security Bank’s key financial indicators are better than the industry; it has a high RoE, a good cost-to-income ratio of around 50 percent and a strong capital base,” says Jody Santiago, Head of Equity Research for the Philippines at the Union Bank of Switzerland. It also had a capital adequacy ratio of 16.3 percent as of the end of 2012. Likewise, SBC was also recognized for its continued impressive capabilities in the bond market. An eighth time winner of this award, the “Best Domestic Debt House in the Philippines” proves the sustained focus of the bank on its strengths amidst new accomplishments outside of bond distribution and trading and capital markets services. “Security Bank has positioned itself as a mover in local markets by actively pursuing profitable opportunities in different areas and not just sticking to one focus. So far, the bank posted P1.2 billion in net income for the first quarter of 2013, up 11 percent year-on-year, while total assets grew 20 percent to P258.9 billion and deposits grew 22 percent to P141.8 billion,” cited by Asiamoney. A leading regional financial publication, Asiamoney holds the Annual Editorial Awards every year to recognize domestic banks, equity brokerages and debt houses that stand out for excellent performance. In the past years, Security Bank has consistently figured in the awards for overall profitability. ■ GMA Online / July 16, 2013 / 4:32 PM
INVESTIGATORS began questioning Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi and members of his Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday over their escape from jail during the 2011 uprising, judicial sources told AFP. The move came after prosecutors received criminal complaints against Morsi and other senior Islamists, and as caretaker premier Hazem al-Beblawi resumed talks on forming his cabinet. Prominent liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei, who assisted in the talks Beblawi began a day earlier with ministerial candidates, was sworn in as interim vice president for foreign relations, the presidency said. Sunday’s inquiry relates to the escape by Morsi and dozens of Brotherhood members from Wadi Natrun prison during the uprising that ended former president Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule. A court in June found that the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza and Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement helped prisoners. State Security prosecution service investigators interviewed Morsi at an undisclosed location, the judicial sources said. Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, has not been seen in public since the military coup which toppled him on July 3 after millions took to the streets calling on him to step down. Egypt’s interim leaders say he is being held in a “safe place, for his own safety,” despite calls by the United States and Germany for his release. On Saturday, the public prosecutor’s office said it was examining complaints filed against Morsi, Brotherhood supreme leader Mohamed Badie and others, with a view to launching a formal investigation. The complaints include spying, incitement to violence and damaging the economy, although the prosecutor’s office did not say who made the allegations. Beblawi, who is seeking to form a new cabinet with 30 ministries, said its top priorities will be to restore security, ensure the flow of goods and services and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections. Interim president Adly Mansour had set a timetable for elections by early next year, according to a roadmap drafted by the military.
Supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi flash the victory sign during a rally outside Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on June 10, 2013. AFP file photo.
The new cabinet could be unveiled by Tuesday or Wednesday. The Brotherhood has refused to join an interim government and tens of thousands of supporters have protested, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. During his single year of turbulent rule, Morsi was accused of concentrating power in Brotherhood hands, sending the economy into freefall and failing to protect minorities. But his supporters say his overthrow was a military coup and an affront to democracy, and are planning more mass protests on Monday. Demonstrators will march to the Cairo headquarters of the elite Republican Guard — the scene of deadly violence seven days earlier, Brotherhood spokesman Tareq alMorsi told AFP. He insisted it would be a peaceful protest. Rival protests are also planned on Monday, in Tahrir Square and at the Ittihadiya presidential palace, by the main coalition that had called for Morsi’s resignation. The July 3 coup plunged Egypt into violence. In the worst single incident, clashes outside the Republican Guard headquarters last Monday killed 53 people, mostly Morsi supporters. Human Rights Watch called for an impartial investigation of military officers and police over the killings, “independent both institutionally and practically from the military chain of command”.
“Witness after witness described the military shooting into the crowd, including at unarmed people. The government needs to find out who was responsible and ensure they are held accountable,” said HRW’s regional director Joe Stork. Washington and Berlin have both called on the military to release Morsi. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States wanted “an end to restrictions on Mr Morsi’s whereabouts”. Germany suggested the International Committee of the Red Cross should be granted access to him. Morsi supporters camping outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, where wanted Brotherhood leaders suspected of incitement to violence are holed up, insist they will keep protesting until the ousted president is returned to power. In a telephone call with Saudi King Abdullah on Friday, US President Barack Obama expressed “serious concern” about the violence since Morsi’s overthrow and called for the return to a democratically elected civilian government. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have pledged 12 billion dollars to help Egypt’s stricken economy. Kuwait has delivered crude oil and diesel worth $200 million as part of its $4-billion aid package, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Sunday, citing local oil sources. ■ Simon Martelli / AFP / Jul 14, 2013
Boko Haram leader ‘supports’ Nigeria school massacre THE head of Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists said he supported a July 6 attack on a school that killed 42 people, but did not claim responsibility for the massacre, in a video obtained by AFP on Saturday. “We fully support the attack on this
Western education school in Mamudo,” in northern Yobe state, Abubakar Shekau said in the 10-minute video message. The video was delivered to AFP in a manner consistent with previous statements from the Islamist leader, who has been
Picture taken May 29, 2013 from a video obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau. In a ten-minute video delivered to AFP Saturday, Shekau said he supported a July 6 attack on a school that killed 42 people, but did not claim responsibility for the massacre. Boko Haram/AFP File photo.
declared a global terrorist by the United States. The early morning gun and bomb attack at a boarding school in the Mamudo district of Yobe saw assailants round up students and staff in a dormitory before throwing explosives inside and opening fire, according to witnesses. Most of those killed were students. In the video, Shekau described all “Western education schools” as a “plot against Islam”. He however stopped short of claiming to have ordered the attack. “We don’t attack students,” he said in the Hausa language message. Yobe state was one of three areas placed under a state of emergency in May ahead of a sweeping military offensive against Boko Haram. Roughly translated, Boko Haram means “Western education is sin.” ■ AFP / Jul 13, 2013
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Global celebration for ailing Mandela’s 95th birthday
ORIGINAL CREATION & COPYRIGHT RESERVED BY © HELLO PHILIPPINES 2013
JOHANNESBURG - Global celebrations and charity events will mark Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday Thursday, but the critically ill anti-apartheid hero himself may still be confined to his Pretoria hospital bed on life-support. Volunteers will spend 67 minutes on hundreds of community upliftment projects -- a minute for every year of his activism. But his hospitalization for a recurring lung infection and bitter infighting among his relatives have tempered the festive spirit. The United Nations in 2010 declared the Nobel peace laureate’s birthday Mandela Day -- to encourage people around the world to do just over an hour of good deeds. Global celebrities have supported the campaign in memory of Mandela’s 67 years of political activism. “I will also be giving my 67 minutes to make the world a better place, one small step at a time,” British business magnate Richard Branson pledged in a recorded message. On Thursday, children in schools around South Africa will start their classes singing “Happy Birthday” to the former statesman. Celebrities have committed to painting schools, handing
out clothes to impoverished kids and countless similar projects. The inauguration of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge is scheduled at the icon’s birth village, Mvezo, in the rural Eastern Cape province. A science-specialisation high school bearing his name is also due to be opened. In the United States meanwhile, 17 cities have planned various activities Thursday. On Saturday, Australian city Melbourne will hold a concert featuring local and African artists, while a music festival later this year in Norway will promote equality in schools. Born July 18 in 1918, imprisoned 46 years later, Mandela went on to lead black South Africans’ struggle for equal rights with whites. He was convicted of treason in 1964 and spent the next 27 years in jail. After his release Mandela skillfully negotiated with the apartheid minority government to end whites-only rule. He became South Africa’s first black president after all-race elections in 1994 and led reconciliation in the deeply divided country. Mandela’s peace-making spirit has won him worldwide respect.
“Never before in history was one human being so universally acknowledged in his lifetime as the embodiment of magnanimity and reconciliation as Nelson Mandela,” archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, himself a Nobel peace laureate, said. Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said her family had been inspired by “a man who personifies the best of humanity. “He is proof that even the most intractable problems are surmountable, that division can be overcome with dignity and forgiveness can triumph over fear,” said Clinton. But the ailing icon is bound to spend his birthday in the hospital where he has been for the past six weeks, breathing with the help of a machine. Almost a month ago, the presidency announced that his condition had worsened. But it has denied he is in a “vegetative state,” as his family claimed in court documents dated June 26. His health has recently improved, according to official statements and comments from family and friends. His successor as president, Thabo Mbeki, even suggested he might be discharged from hospital in time to spend his birthday at home.
As Nelson Mandela fights for his life, members of his family are fighting amongst themselves. It recently emerged that grandson Mandla Mandela had moved three graves of Mandela’s children, from the icon’s childhood village of Qunu to his own Mvezo village, without consent of the rest of the family. Fifteen relatives, including Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca and three daughters, accused Mandla of trying to force Mandela’s eventual burial to be in Mvezo. Mandela has previously expressed the
wish to be buried with his family in Qunu. The relatives won a court battle against Mandla, and the graves were forcibly returned. Mandla subsequently attacked his relatives in a televised press conference, accusing his aunt, Mandela’s oldest daughter Makawize, of sowing divisions in the most famous family of South Africa. Tutu finally had to appeal to the family not to besmirch Mandela’s name. But the messy public dispute showed how difficult it is for even Mandela’s own family to live up to his principles of humility and unity. ■ AFP / July 16, 2013 / 9:54 AM
EVENTS DIARY UK & EUROPE
DATE / TIME
20 & 21 July, Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 7:00pm 27 July, Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm 28 July, Sunday 11am - 7pm 28 July, Sunday 4pm
29th Barrio Fiesta sa London 2013
3 August Saturday
Barrio Fiesta Sa Colchester 2013
Lower Castle Park Colchester CO1 1TJ
3 August Saturday 3 August Saturday 3 & 4 August Saturday & Sunday 3 August Saturday 8pm - 2am
Barrio Fiesta in Sussex Summer Party at the Beach! Mr. & Miss Bikini Open Philippines UK 2013 Milton Keynes Barrio Fiesta 2013
Lancing Beach Green Sussex, BN15 8RA Conway Hall 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1 4RL Campbell Park, Avebury Boulevard, MK City Centre, Milton Keynes MK9 4AN AAA below Archangel – 11 Kensington High Street, W8 5NP
3 & 4 August Saturday & Sunday 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 & 18 August 10 August, Saturday 5pm - Midnight 4, 11, 18 & 25 August Sundays
2nd Summer Sportsfest
16 - 18 August Friday - Sunday 17 August Saturday 17 August Saturday 25 August, Sunday 11.00am
2013 CFC European Mega Conference Dublin, Ireland Mr. & Miss Bicolandia UK ‘13 Barrio Fiesta Sa Brighton
30 & 31 August Saturday 19.30 & Sunday 15.00 / 19.30 7 September Saturday 14 September Saturday 14 & 15 September Saturday & Sunday 21 September Saturday 28 September Saturday 19 October Saturday 21 December Saturday 6pm
Mitcham Barrio Fiesta 2013 1st Barrio Fiesta Sa Dublin
Apps Court Farm near Hampton Court, Hurst Road, Walton-on-Thames Surrey KT12 2EG Three Kings Piece, Commonside West Road, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 4HA National Basketball Arena, Tymon Park, Tallaght Dublin 24
Music & Laugh Box - The Concert
PINOY LIVE SESSIONS 5
The Beauty and The Best!!! Fiesta Caravan Show 2013 Sharing The Love FIL-KAM Women’s Volleyball Tournament 2013
Couples For Christ ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) Global Walk 2013
Miss Philippines & Mr. Philippines UK 2013 Mama Mary’s Birthday Penefrancia Fiesta 2013 - Leicester 1st Basketball League Aguman Kapampangan Mrs. Philippines UK 2013 Camarines Sur Filipino Community UK Annual Dance Competition 2013 20th Anniversary Dinner & Dance BRITFIL Christmas Party
The Mill Community Centre, Celbridge, Co Kildare Sussex, Bristol, London, Swindon, Manchester, Warrington, Peterborough, Norwich & Newcastle Sacred Heart Community Centre, Quex Road, Kilburn, NW6 4PS Hyde Park, London
Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Merrion Road Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square Holborn, London WC1R 4RL East Brighton Park, Wilson Avenue, Brighton Assembly Point: Richmond Royal Park, London The Cockpit Theatre Gateforth Street Marylebone NW8 8EH ILEC Conference Centre and Ibis Hotel 47 Lillie Road, Earls Court, London SW6 1UD Holy Cross Chapel Charing Cross Hospital Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF Guthlaxton College Sports Hall, Station Road, Wigston, Leicester LE18 2DS BadenBaden-Powell House South Kensington 65-67 Queen’s Gate London SW7 5JS TBC Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, Portman Square, London W1H 7BG Chasewell Community Social club, Avoce way, Cherwell Hieght, Banbury, Oxon OX16 9YA, UK
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition ORGANISER
ABS-CBN Europe Limited and Philippine Centre Mitcham Filipino British Association Bayanihan Entertainment and TFC Tekkit Events Group in cooperation with Star Dragon Events UK LTD. Comedy Central Entertainment Group UK FIBRICS (Filipino British Cooperative Society) in Cooperation with Colcheter FILBRIT Community KMF Events Limited Comedy Central Entertainment Group UK Filipino British Society Live bands – Rock/Alternative - 8pm – 2am FIREFALLDOWN plus Anino, Opp Zikk, Jehnniel + Free Harmonic (DJ Celebrate til late) Celbridge Filipino-Irish Community & CFIBA KMF Events in partnership with Megaworld, Smart Pinoy & Gifto Travel Filmo Filipino Movement & Kampi Safe London in cooperation with Filipino Community Volleyball Team Represent London in European Countries CFC UK - Yorkshire, Midlands & Isle of Man Bicol Association UK Ltd Brighton and Hove Filipino Community CFC-UK Central Region
LK Dance Company Philippines UK Org
Aguman Kapampangan UK Camarines Sur Filipino Community UK Batangas Association UK BRITFIL (British&Filipino) Community
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2013 Monthly Filipino Community Masses in Greater London 1st Sunday
2:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m.
Five Precious Wounds Parish, Brentfield Road, Stonebridge Park, NW10 8ER Ms. Mervic Monocillo 07894636140 Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, Friary Road, Peckham SE15 1RH Mr. Allen Abeleda 077 1362 5888 St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, 103 Woolwich New Road, SE18 6EF Mr. Moises Espanola 078 9464 8639 English Martyrs Church, Chalkhill Road, Wembley Park, HA9 9EW Ms. Becky Sarinas 079 4985 7699 or 074 2576 1519 St. Dominic Catholic Church, 243 Violet Lane, Waddon, CR0 4HN Ms. Merlie Mirto 077 2221 6462 St. Anselm and St. Cecilia, 70 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3JA Mr. Feliciano Ramirez 07733680748 Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Priory, Quex Road, Kilburn, London, NW6 4PS Mr. Sheidrick de Leon: 07738210202 Blessed Sacrament Parish, 157 Copenhagen Street, Islington N1 0SR Ms. Christy Sangalang: 07709119969 Our Lady of Dolours, Servite Parish Church, 264 Fulham Road, London, SW10 4EL Fr. Allan Satur: 02073526965/ email@example.com/ Mr. Roland Adap firstname.lastname@example.org St. Joseph’s Catholic Church/ 218 Roehampton Lane, London SW15 4LE Mr. Rafael Santiago 077 9525 4451 Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 20 Brixton Road (Oval), SW9 6BU Mr. Ben Ortiz 0772 331 8486 Filipino Mass and Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help Farm Street Church of the Immaculate Conception (Jesuit House Chapel) Access on 114 Mount Street , W1K 3AY / Josie Ramos 077 2302 4591
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ASCO Foods Limited Unit 7 & 8, Amersham Commercial Park, Raans Road, Amersham, HP6 6JY. Tel: 01494 434 953 Fax: 01494 726 387 Email: email@example.com Web: www.ascofoods.com
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Russia says yet to receive Snowden asylum bid MOSCOW – Edward Snowden, the fugitive intelligence leaker wanted by the United States, has still not applied for temporary asylum in Russia despite vowing to do so last week, officials said Monday. Snowden made his first public statement in nearly three weeks last Friday as he met with a group of Russian rights activists and pro-Kremlin figures in the Moscow airport where he had been marooned since June 23 after flying in from Hong Kong. However, deepening the mystery over his three-week stay in the Moscow transit lounge, Snowden has not yet filed the asylum application with the Russian authorities that he told his visitors that he would be making Friday evening. The head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS), Konstantin Romodanovsky, told Russian news agencies Monday that no such application had come in yet. “There have been no applications from Edward Snowden as of today,” he told Interfax. The speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, said last week that Snowden could apply for either temporary asylum or political asylum,
US leaker Edward Snowden, pictured in a meeting with rights activists at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, on July 12, 2013. Human Rights Watch/AFP/File, Tanya Lokshina
indicating that Moscow may look positively on an application now his US passport has been revoked. Under Russian law, to be granted temporary asylum the person must file his application to the migration services and undergo a medical check. Requests for political asylum are reviewed by the Kremlin and are granted by the president. A source in Sheremetyevo airport said that Snowden still has a room reserved in the capsule hotel in the transit zone, but
that he also has access to a “special rest room for staff on duty,” Interfax reported. “Snowden’s safety is being guarded both in the hotel and in this room,” the source said, without elaborating whether such precautions were handled by a security firm or a government agency. ‘A scenario was written for the meeting’. Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Snowden could claim asylum in Russia only if he stopped harming US interests.
The condition initially prompted the fugitive to withdraw his asylum application, but Snowden on Friday indicated he did still want refuge in the country due to his inability to travel on. It remained unclear to what extent Friday’s dramatic meeting had been Snowden’s own initiative or if the Russian security services had played a role. The Russian press on Monday noted that the meeting did not include Russia’s best known rights campaigners or organisations who deal with refugees, like activist Svetlana Gannunshkina who has championed the rights of refugees for decades. But among those invited were figures like majority United Russia party lawmaker and prominent political analyst Vyacheslav Nikonov who would likely not have been known to Snowden before his arrival in Russia. The senior researcher of Human Rights Watch in Moscow, Tanya Lokshina, told the Vedomosti daily she did not believe that Snowden had drawn up the list of those invited himself. The head of the Amnesty International office in Moscow, Sergei Nikitin, had said after taking part in the meeting that several “young people” in the room who
were not part of the group were taking pictures and videos with their phones. The videos were later leaked to tabloid website Lifenews.ru which is known for close contacts with the security services. Independent security services analyst Andrei Soldatov said it remained unclear “whether Snowden is free in his actions and is not controlled by the local authorities and security services” “Although international rights groups played the leading role in this meeting with Snowden, they could not change the scenario that was written for this meeting,” he wrote on his websiteAgentura.ru. A journalist who published a series of stories based on Snowden’s leaks in the Guardian newspaper, Glenn Greenwald, said over the weekend that the former NSA contractor has enough information to damage the US government “than anyone else has ever had in the history of the United States” but chose not to publish it. Washington has reacted sharply to the possibility that Moscow might offer Snowden a safe harbour, with the White House telling Russia not to offer him a “propaganda platform”. ■ Maria Antonova / AFP / July 12, 2013
Power, corruption and lies: Northern Samar’s electricity woes CATARMAN, N. SAMAR – Consumers and employees of the Northern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NORSAMELCO) here in the province filed a separate complaint directly to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) in Manila against the OIC and directors of the local power company. Fearing that hundreds of employees might lose their jobs and the whole of Northern Samar would soon be without electricity, members of the cooperative seek for the immediate ouster of Ramil Mora, the OIC-general manager together with all the sitting board members of NORSAMELCO. In their complaint, they said Mora owes the provincial power supplier more than P5 million pesos of unpaid electric bills and personal cash advances. For that reason his appointment as OIC-GM was denied by NEA, according to the group. They also said the same board of directors, led by Jonathan de Dios, were responsible for the rising debt of the utility company to its power suppliers, which include the National Electrification Administration, National Power Corporation (NPC), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and the Small Utilities Power Generation (SPUG). The debt, they said, has reached more than P600 million. In addition, the complainants said, the board was also responsible for the 231 percent increase in the salaries of the 31 security guards of the Marvin Security and Allied Services (MSIAS) — from
P263,400.00 per month to P609,615.00. Upon deeper inspection, the group also found out that the actual salary a single security guard of the said power company receives per month was only P9,500.00. In the contract, however, the stated amount was listed at P19,665.00. MSIAS is owned by a certain Artemio Balag, according to the group. Furthermore, as per records obtained by the complainants, the term of office of all the current board members has already expired, running more than two years now. The NEA, on the other hand, allowed the extension of the directors’ term of office provided that a district election be conducted after a year. Until now, however, no election has taken place, according to the group. With this, NORSAMELCO consumers and employees threaten they would stage a rally if their plea would not be heard and
acted upon. They also requested that an election for a new set of board members be held in August, 2013. Last week, an investigating team from NEA arrived in NORSAMELCO to validate and investigate the alleged anomalies in the power company. Although the result has yet to be announced this coming week, the team, however, was able to conclude that indeed the complaints were “meritorious,” the group said. In response, Mora issued a memorandum compelling all the complaining employees to retire from their respective posts, while De Dios threatened the electricity consumers for libel. NEA has the exclusive jurisdiction over complaints filed against erring officials of all electric cooperatives nationwide. ■ Eladio Perfecto / InterAksyon.com /July 15, 2013 / 12:08 AM
‘Miss me’? an over-eager aerobridge seems to be telling this China Airlines plane as an aerobridge operator’s miscalculation dented the Boeing 737-800 plane’s door when it parked, forcing the cancellation of the turn-around flight to Taipei and stranding over 100 passengers. Sources estimate repair cost to run from $1 million to $3 million.
Outbound China Airlines aircraft damaged by aerobridge at NAIA MANILA, Philippines - A China Airlines aircraft bound for Taipei was damaged Monday after it was hit by an aerobridge tube in an apparent case of “over-steering” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1, stranding 114 passengers. China Airlines flight CI 701 arrived around 9:30 am Monday and was parked at Bay 2, but was accidentally dented by the aerobridge tube where passengers pass to board and get off a plane. Airline sources identified the aerobridge operator as Carmelo Adaptante. He reportedly hit the lower portion of the Boeing 737-800 plane’s
door as he “over-steered,” creating a small damage to the plane. Sources said the China Airlines flight CI 702, a turnaround flight, was cancelled for safety reasons due to what they called a “minor” incident. China Airlines officials said 40 out of the 114 passengers were booked on an Eva Air flight bound for Taipei, while the remaining passengers were transferred to other flight of China Airlines. Airport sources estimated the plane damage to range from $1 million if the dent is “minimal,” but said the repair cost could run up to $ 3 million if it bore serious damage. ■ Eric B. Apolonio / InterAksyon.com / July 15, 2013 / 6:10 PM
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Pork barrel mess: COA must release its full report, without fear or favor—Enrile (Editor’s note: Even as one of five senators tagged in newspaper reports on the misuse of pork barrel by a group led by Janet Lim Napoles raised the possibility that the expose may be part of a campaign to destroy the opposition ahead of the 2016 presidential polls--all five senators tagged are identified with the minority--former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile issued a statement on Monday. In it --full text here-he expressed full intent to cooperate in a fair and transparent inquiry. He said a just resolution of the matter is the release in full of the COA of a special audit report, targeting bogus NGOs that fleece PDAF.) Statement of senator Juan Ponce Enrile. Re: Series of news articles on the alleged PDAF scam involving Ms. Janet Lim Napoles (Philippine Daily Inquirer July 12, 13, 14 and 15, 2013) I SUBMIT MYSELF TO A FULL INVESTIGATION OF ALL MY PDAF ALLOCATIONS In the light of the series of news items published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer involving a “P10 Billion scam” and a certain Ms. Janet Lim Napoles, citing me as having allocated a total of P641.65 Million over several years (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), I reiterate the call I had previously made for the Commission on Audit to release the full report of its Special Audit of the PDAF of all legislators in order to help
the Department of Justice and the NBI in its current probe. The series of articles repeatedly allege that the PDAF allocations procured by Ms. Napoles from legislators for “ghost projects” and channelled to bogus foundations/NGO’s are split between Ms. Napoles and the legislators concerned. Thus, from the bare allegations and claims of the affiants and the release documents provided, we now stand accused, tried and judged in the media and before the public of having pocketed public funds. Yet, we have not been given any opportunity at all by any official agency of the government to defend ourselves against these allegations in any manner consistent with justice and due process. I categorically state that: I do not know Ms. Janet Lim Napoles, nor have I had any personal or business transactions with her or her company; I have not received any bribe or in any way financially benefited from nor in exchange for the utilization of my PDAF, whether they be the agricultural or livelihood assistance being mentioned in favor of various LGU’s or allegedly bogus NGO’s or foundations throughout my several terms as a legislator; All the fund releases from mine and other legislators’ PDAF’s and infrastructure
projects are of public record. The Special Allotment Release Orders (SARO’s) or releases being cited, with myself and other legislators being singled out in the affidavits of supposed “whistle-blowers” are made public by the DBM and are obviously selective and incomplete. My office has consistently abided by ALL DBM ISSUANCES AND GUIDELINES, old and new, regarding all requirements for projects to be qualified for PDAF and infrastructure funding. Under the previous and present administrations, these guidelines have been revised many times in order to limit and tighten the controls on the use of the PDAF or the CDF as it used to be called. I AM SUBMITTING MYSELF TO A FULL INVESTIGATION AND AUDIT OF ALL MY PDAF
Govt collects P22.3-B sin taxes from cigarettes in 1H MANILA - The Aquino administration was able to collect P22.3 billion from tobacco companies the first six months with the implementation of the reformed Sin Tax Law, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said on Monday. In a briefing, Magdalena A. Ancheta, BIR officer in charge for the Large Taxpayers programs and compliance group, said the tentative first-semester data is P1.2 short of the P23.5-billion goal set by the government for the period. Ancheta said this shortfall can be attributed to the variability of the monthly allocation by the bureau. Despite this, she said the BIR is still on track to meet the P51.66-billion target excise tax collection from cigarettes—also known as “sin tax”—for the year. Of the full-year excise tax collection goal from cigarettes, P23.5 billion is the incremental levy as a result of the reformed Sin Tax Law, and the remaining P28.16 billion is the amount that the government expected to collect from tobacco companies without the additional revenue measures. The BIR has expected that tobacco companies would have “front-loaded” their production last year to avoid paying the higher tax rate in 2013, resulting to a “very low” the first-quarter collection. During the first semester last year, there were 2.5 billion packs of cigarettes produced but this fell by 40 percent to 1.4 billion this year, which Ancheta said can be attributed to the front-loading of the tobacco companies. Excise tax collection from alcohol products during the first half of the year stood at P16.1 billion, or P1 billion less than
From left to right: Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance project director; Magdalena Ancheta, HREA, BIR Large Taxpayers Service; Dr. Ivanhoe Escartin, OIC, Department of Health - National Center for Health Promotion; Engr. Emer Rojas, New Vois Assoc of the Philippines president; and Atty. Irene Patricia Reyes, Health Justice Philippines managing director.
the P17.1 billion set for the period, but P4.3 billion or 37.2 percent higher than the P11.7 billion recorded in 2012, Ancheta said. Graphic health warnings. Health Justice Philippines, New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) and Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) are calling on law makers to pass a bill that would compel tobacco companies to print graphic health warnings (GHW) on cigarette packs. NVAP said GHWs are proven to be “very effective” in communicating the various health risks and diseases a smoker may acquire for indulging in this vice. It can also motivate smokers to quit and also convey the message to the illiterate population. Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, SEATCA project director, said Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco
Corp—which controls 90 percent of the cigarette market in the country—can no longer use the arguments it tried with Uruguay, Sri Lanka and Thailand against the GHW. Uruguay and Sri Lanka now have GHW occupying 80 percent of cigarette packs while Thailand, which would implement this later in the year, would have 85 percent of the packs’ surface covered with GHW. Dorotheo said if the proposed GHW law will be implemented, this should cover local and imported tobacco products. “World Trade Organization rules can’t have selective implementation. In Thailand, their goal for the end of the year is to have 85% of the entire packaging to be pictorial warnings,” Dorotheo said. “These packs are produced here but not implemented in our own country. We are behind in Graphic Health Warnings as compared to other countries in our region like Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia,” he added. ■ Likha Cuevas-Miel / InterAksyon. com / July 15, 2013 2:27 PM
ALLOCATIONS OVER THE YEARS I SERVED AS SENATOR. I stand by the entire record of how I had directed the distribution and utilization of funds made available to us as legislators TO IDENTIFY PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT to address the voluminous requests I receive from various LGU’s, national agencies and institutions, and our public constituents requesting for funding assistance. Previous COA Report; “Pangkabuhayan Foundation, Inc.” The recent PDI series of articles bears resemblance and in fact refer to the earlier subject of its February 28, 2013 article entitled “COA: Senators’ pork went to bogus NGO” and sub-titled “JPE, Estrada, Revilla tied to 195-M scam”. That earlier article, allegedly based on a COA report, said that “The PDAF, a pork barrel that funds pet projects of members of Congress, is a known source of kickbacks for lawmakers.” Hence, it is not the first time that my name and the names of Senators Estrada and Revilla had been dragged and singled out as being involved in PDAF “scams” such as what is now headline news. The news item stated then that the funds in the total amount of P74.69M I had allocated for agricultural and livelihood projects out of my 2008 and 2009 PDAF were released to the Department of Agriculture, which in turn, released the money to a government corporation called Zynac Rubber Estate Corporation (ZREC); ZREC then released the funds to the questioned foundation called Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc. (PFI). The article further stated that the “COA report reiterated its previous recommendation to ZREC to require PFI to refund P162 million “due to fabricated documents and forged signatures” it submitted for the liquidation of funds received from ZREC.” The documents earlier sent by COA to my office supposedly for verification purposes contained “liquidation” reports and documents signed by a certain Petronila A. Balmaceda a President of PFI, and at the bottom were indeed FORGED signatures of my staff members, obviously meant to create the impression that my office was involved with the foundation.
This prompted me all the more to support the call for a full investigation. Sadly, the issue was soon drowned by the last political campaign. I recently learned that another person by the name of MS. GAY TAN, who is likewise a total stranger to me, was involved in Pangkabuhayan Foundation, Inc. Where’s COA Special Audit report? To further shed light on the matter, I had earlier related to the media the request of Speaker Belmonte, Congressmen Bem Noel and Neptali Gonzales, Jr. last year (2012) for me to arrange a meeting with COA Chairman Grace Pulido Tan who hails from my province, Cagayan. As it turned out, the requested meeting was due to their concern that some congressmen were being singled out in the said special audit. Chairman Tan acceded and met us at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel and confirmed that the COA was conducting a “special audit” of the PDAF. But she clarified, in answer to Cong. Gonzales’ concern, that the special audit was not directed at the lawmakers but at the implementing agencies. I said that for my part, I understood it was a job COA must do and I personally had no worries about the utilization of my own PDAF being scrutinized by the COA. While Chairman Tan last year said they had yet to finalize the report, and that upon finishing it, she would let the Speaker and myself know so we may inform the members of both Chambers, until today, the COA has yet to make a FULL DISCLOSURE of its findings. In aid of the current investigation being conducted by the DOJ and the NBI on the alleged scam involving Ms. Napoles, in the interest of transparency, and to bring to justice ALL PARTIES, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, who, with their illegal machinations, may have financially benefited from the PDAF funds which are meant to help our constituents, I reiterate my call to the Commission on Audit to disclose its findings and the parameters and the scope of its audit. THE COA MUST OFFICIALLY RELEASE ITS FINDINGS IN FULL AND WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR, if it were to perform its Constitutional duty, lest it be accused of allowing the piece-meal or selective disclosure of parts of its report to serve political or partisan ends. ■ InterAksyon.com / July 15, 2013 / 5:03 PM
New NCIP head, commissioners named
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Leonor Quintayo chairman of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. Quintayo, who represents Southern and Eastern Mindanao, replaced Zenaida Pawid, who has been appointed NCIP commissioner representing Region 1 and the Cordilleras. Other newly-appointed NCIP commissioners include Percy Brawner representing Region 2; Bayani Sumaoang representing Region III and the rest of Luzon; Dionesia Banua representing island groups of Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon, Panay and the rest of the Visayas; Datu Cosme Lambayon representing Northern and Western Mindanao; and Era Espana representing Central Mindanao.
Aquino also appointed Teresita Inciong as executive director of the Early Childhood Care and Development Council. Ma. Gloria Tango was appointed acting Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, while Christopher Lawrence Arnuco was appointed chairman and administrator of the Zamboanga City SpecialEconomic Zone Authority. ■ Dexter San Pedro / InterAksyon.com /July 16, 2013 / 3:33 PM
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
House newbies tipped vs PDAF scams as leftist solons seek scrapping of pork barrel MANILA, Philippines – Neophyte lawmakers were warned on Tuesday against falling for scams to fund bogus projects with their Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrels. But even as the new representatives were being given lessons by Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya Jr. on the budget process and handling their PDAF, the party-list lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc said they will file a bill seeking to abolish the pork barrel. The Makabayan solons also dared President Benigno Aquino III to remove allocations for pork in the 2014 budget. “Pork barrel funds have long been recognized as a massive source of graft and corruption. Kickbacks (the so-called ‘S.O.P’) are seen as the cost of doing politics as usual. It is the pork barrel system that enables the patronage politics that pervades all levels of government, from the barangays to Malacañang. The Aquino administration has proven itself to be no less adept than its predecessor at making use of PDAF and other lump sum funds as a tool for imposing its will on Congress, reducing its role to a mere rubber stamp on many issues,” the group said at a news conference, attended by six of the seven-member bloc: Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Emmi de De Jesus of Gabriela, Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis and Terry Ridon of Kabataan.
Members of the Makabayan bloc, Representatives Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers), Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna) and Emmi de Jesus (Gabriela) announce their plans to file a bill abolishing the pork barrel. Photo by Krisken Jones, InterAksyon.com.
“In short, the pork barrel system is a form of institutionalized patronage and officially tolerated graft and corruption. Contrary to claims by other legislators that more and better safeguards can be implemented to prevent abuse, the current scam proves that the pork barrel system is beyond salvaging and should be abolished,” they said. Speaking to the new lawmakers at a mock session inside the plenary, Andaya said: “Beware of botcha (‘double dead’ pork). (The) Batasan is also a house where the ‘budol-budol’ gang is. Be careful with your allocation. When in doubt, don’t. If the offer is not in the menu (of projects funded by the PDAF), don’t get it,” Andaya, a former
budget secretary and appropriations committee chairman, said. “If they offer projects that would ask you to plant mangroves on roads, you know you’re being taken for a ride,” he added. He spoke of PDAF misuse amid reports that senators and congressmen had effectively “handed over” billions in pesos in pork to bogus nongovernmental organizations through a group that also works with the implementing agencies and supposedly manages to have the funds released to the NGOs they pre-select. Each senator gets P200 million and each congressman gets P70 million in PDAF yearly. He said the lawmakers should be wary
Supreme Court extends order stopping RH law IN a close vote, Supreme Court justices on Tuesday extended indefinitely the status quo ante order (SQAO) stopping the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. The SC Public Information Office said the justices voted 8-7 to extend the order, issued last March against the health measure, delaying its implementation. The order was supposed to expire on July 17, Wednesday. “SC, voting 8-7, ordered SQAO in RH Law extended until further orders effective immediately,” the SC PIO said in a statement. The order directs the parties to observe the status before the implementation of the RH law, which was signed by President Benigno Aquino III in December 2012. The Catholic Church and other groups have opposed the legislation, which allows the government to use public funds to improve maternal health, promote better parenting, and educate the youth on reproductiive health issues, among others. There are currently 14 petitions questioning the law, with six intervenors or those who are not petitioners but wanted to participate in the case. The SC’s 15 magistrates started hearing oral arguments against the law last week. The second round of oral arguments on the controversial law is scheduled for July 23. In the original 120-day order, issued on March 19, the justices voted 10-5 to suspend the law’s implementation. The five who dissented were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate
Justices Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Marvic Leonen. In a press briefing, SC-PIO chief Theodore Te said the record for Tuesday’s voting was not immediately available: “I am not informed of who voted for which position. I am just told it’s 8-7.” Oral arguments. In the hearings last week, former senator and anti-RH law petitioner Francisco Tatad expressed his fear that Republic Act 10354 would “rewrite the mandate of the Constitution by imposing population control to statemandated contraception.” Tatad claimed that under the RH law, couples are only given the options of periodic continence and contraception. “They cannot choose not to choose between the two methods. They must practice birth control or suffer the consequences,” he said. Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr, another lawyer for the petitioners, meanwhile said the law should be “dumped into the garbage heap in Montalban, Rizal,” as it allegedly “transgresses” the autonomy of local government units (LGUs) and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The law also “tramples upon a person’s right to religion and equal protection of the law,” added the former Senate head, who is regarded as the Father of the Local Government Code. Lawyer Maria Concepcion Noche, another critic of the law, insisted that the RH law violated a person’s constitutional right to life and right to health.
She argued that life begins during conception, when a sperm cell meets an egg cell and forms an ovum or zygote. Not the proper venue. Several Supreme Court justices, including Sereno, have said the high court does not seem to be the right forum to contest the controversial RH Law. During her interpellation of Noche, Sereno said the high court might have no choice but to exercise “judicial restraint” on the 15 petitions assailing the law. “Are we in a position to supplant moves of Congress on a policy decision?” Sereno asked. “Can we say this is a better way? We are limited. First because we are unelected and because we have already defined metes and bounds.” Meanwhile, Carpio said the petitioners seemed to have “jumped the gun” by elevating the matter to the SC without consulting first the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is mandated by the law to ensure that contraceptives to be distributed are not abortifacients. Leonen, the youngest and most junior member of the tribunal, said the petitioners seemed to have given the SC a huge task in determining when life actually begins, whether during fertilization or implantation. “That’s an awesome responsibility given to some secular individuals, 15 of us, not 24 senators elected, not the 200 plus representatives, not the two of them acting together, not even the President elected by a popular vote,” he said. He added: “We are not a political organ that vetoes an act of another organ.”
about the various schemes of scammers and should do their own audit of their PDAF. The menu of projects that can be funded by the PDAF should also be constantly reviewed, Abaya said. “They (scammers) mutate, so your menu should also evolve to answer these new schemes,” Andaya said. As for the budget process, Andaya said every House member should participate in deliberations since “it can be a tool for reelection or the cause of retirement.” Malacanang is expected to submit to Congress the proposed 2014 national budget on July 23, a day after Aquino’s State of the Nation Address. “The budget can get us hired or fired. We are not only measures by the speeches we deliver or the bills we file, but by what we can give to our constituents ... The price of incumbency is eternal projects delivery,” Andaya said. “The duty to appropriate funds for and on their behalf is our highest duty ... The highest form of service is to make the budget work for them.” Andaya gave other tips on the budget process such as: • Budget is an art. It’s the skill of turning election promises into budget releases. • Don’t be intimidated by the budget process. • Learn the basics of budgeting. There’s no schooling for the budget. It’s DIY (Do-ItYourself) all the way. • Study the principal budget documents.
Govt confident on RH law. The government will have its turn to defend the law after all the petitioners against it have spoken before the SC magistrates. A palace spokesperson has said the government is confident the RH law, which was backed by Aquino and his allies in Congress, can withstand legal questions before the SC, “We’re confident that the Office of the Solicitor General will ably represent
Learn the basics of the budget speak. • You are appropriating money, not printing it. • During the hearings, show sound basis, not sound and fury. If you want to ask questions, do your homework. • Consult before you confront. Take advantage of the presence of the agency officials, reach out to secondliners. Secreteraies come and go, but those in charge of operations stay. • Write, do not whisper. It is useful for tracking and soliciting feedback. • Express yourself, do not impress. Hearings are not oratorical contests, avoid repeating questions, send a staff to scout hearings. • Pay attention to policy, not parochial concerns. • Don’t burn bridges if you are asking for a bridge. It’s useless to make enemies with persons with deep pockets and long memories. • Leave room for compromise. In the past few years, the number of individual amendments passed is zero. • The congressman’s “pork” is salami, while that of the senator’s is bologna. Explore possible partnerships with senators and local government units. • Get a reality check. the power of the purse is not absolute. Politics has always been an unwritten macro-assumption in the budget execution. ■ Lira Dalangin-
Fernandez / InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013 3:02 PM
the position of the government in this particular matter,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. She added that the President expects Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza to be able to answer all questions on the constitutionality of the legislation, which will allocate government funds for both natural and artificial means of contraception. ■ Mark Merueñas / VVP/YA , GMA News / July 16, 2013 / Updated 1:00 PM
Victim lures rape suspect to QC mall rendezvous as cops wait to nab him MANILA – A 28-year-old man accused by a co-worker of raping her was lured by his victim to a meeting inside a Quezon City mall, and found himself pounced upon by policemen who had set an entrapment. Chief Supt. Richard Albano, director of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), said suspect Emmanuel Bernardo, married and residing at Block 19 Lot 6, Ruby Street, Phase 3, Natividad Subdivision, Deparo, Caloocan City, was collared by elements of the Masambong Police Station (PS-2). Supt. Pedro Sanchez, PS-2 commander, said the 20-year old victim, a service provider, received a phone call at around noon of July 13 from the suspect, a field collector. The latter asked her to go with him to meet with her older brother at SM North EDSA, also in Quezon City. When she arrived at the place where they were supposed to meet, the victim looked for her brother but could not find him. The man offered her some juice as they waited, but she suddenly felt dizzy. She only remembered the suspect
helping her to her feet before she lost consciousness. She woke up inside a motel on EDSA, naked after having been sexually molested. The suspect was seated beside her and again, started kissing her. She still felt weak but fought back. It was only when her mobile phone rang that the suspect stopped abusing her. He instructed her to fix herself and sent her home. The woman recalled her ordeal to her brother and father, who went to the police. She told investigators she readily went with the suspect because he is her co-worker. When she told them the suspect was still texting her and wanted to meet her, plans for an entrapment were laid. In a follow-up operation, the victim told the suspect she was willing to meet him, and set a meeting at Nova Mall where the operatives stood ready to arrest him. The man was charged with rape before the City Prosecutor’s Office. ■ Jaime Sinapit
/ InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013 / 2:30 PM
HEALTH and Lifestyle
Heatwave: Be prepared MOST of us welcome hot weather, but when it’s too hot for too long there are health risks. If a heatwave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn’t harm you or anyone you know. The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are the groups who are particularly at risk of health problems when the weather is very hot. In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse. “There is considerable evidence that heatwaves are dangerous and can kill,” says Graham Bickler of the Health Protection Agency. In August 2003, temperatures hit 38C (101F) during a nine-day heatwave, the highest recorded in the UK.
“In the 2003 heatwave there were 2,000 to 3,000 excess deaths (more than usual) in England. Across Europe, there were round 30,000 excess deaths.” The Public Health England’s heatwave plan 2013 has advice on how to cope during a heatwave. Knowing how to keep cool during long periods of hot weather can help save lives. “Most of the information is common sense,” says Bickler. “It’s not rocket science but it can have a dramatic effect.” When heat becomes a problem. An average temperature of 30°C by day and 15°C overnight would trigger a health alert (this figure varies slightly around the UK). These temperatures can have
a significant effect on people’s health if they last for at least two days and the night in between. The Meterological Office has a warning system that issues alerts if a heatwave is likely. Level one is the minimum alert and is in place from June 1 until September 15 (which is the period that heatwave alerts are likely to be raised). • The minimum alert simply means that people should be aware of what to do if the alert level is raised. • If a level two alert is issued, there is a high chance that a heatwave will occur within the next few days. • The level three alert is when a heatwave is happening.
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition • The level four alert is when a heatwave is severe. Why is a heatwave a problem? The main risks posed by a heatwave are: • dehydration (not having enough water) • overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing • heat exhaustion • heatstroke Who is most at risk? A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people in extreme heat are: • older people, especially those over 75 • babies and young children • people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems • people with mobility problems, for example people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke • people with serious mental health problems • people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control • people who misuse alcohol or drugs • people who are physically active, for example labourers or those doing sports Tips for coping in hot weather. The following advice applies to everybody when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks: • Shut windows and pull down the
shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler. • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat. • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blindsand dark curtains can make the room hotter). • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water. • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website. • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need. • Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool. • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors. • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves. How do I know if someone needs help? If someone feels unwell, get them somewhere cool to rest. Give them plenty of fluids to drink. If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don’t go away, seek medical help. ■ NHS Choices
breastfeeding women take a vitamin D supplement to make sure their own needs for vitamin D are met, and so that their baby is born with enough stores of vitamin D for the first few months of its life. Pregnant women and children aged five or under,who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free supplements containing vitamin D. Can you have too much vitamin D? People who take supplements are advised not to take more than 25 micrograms of vitamin D a day, as intakes from supplements above this amount could be harmful. The amount of vitamin D contained in supplements is sometimes expressed in International Units (IU), where 40 IU equals one microgram of vitamin D. Your body doesn’t make too much
vitamin D from sun exposure, but always remember to cover up or protect your skin before the time it takes you to start turning red or to burn later on. Further information. The Department of Health’s recommendations on taking vitamin D supplements are based on advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). SACN produced a report in 2007 that summarised the scientific evidence on vitamin D and health. SACN is now reviewing the latest evidence on vitamin D and health and will report on this when it is complete. Watch an animation on Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart website to see how sunburn damages your skin. In 2010, seven British health organisations produced a joint statement of their views of vitamin D. ■ NHS Choices
Sunlight and vitamin D VITAMIN D is essential for healthy bones, and we get most of our vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Find out how to make sure you get enough without risking sun damage. Everyone needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus from their diet. These minerals are important for healthy bones. A lack of vitamin D (known as vitamin D deficiency) can cause softening and weakening of bones and lead to bone deformities. In children, for example, lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets. In adults, lack of vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia, which causes bone pain and tenderness. How do we get vitamin D? Our body creates most of our vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. We also get vitamin D from some foods, such as oily fish (for example salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. Vitamin D is also added to all margarine and infant formula milk, and to some breakfast cereals, soya products, dairy products, powdered milks and low-fat spreads. How long should we spend in the sun? There isn’t one recommendation to suit everybody. This is because the amount of time you need to spend in the sun for your skin to make enough vitamin D depends on a number of things. These include your skin type (for example, how dark your skin is or how
easily you get sunburnt), the time of year and what time of day it is. Short daily periods of sun exposure without sunscreen during the summer months (April to October) are enough for most people to make enough vitamin D. Evidence suggests that the most effective time of day for vitamin D production is between 11am and 3pm. A short period in the sun means a matter of minutes – about 10 to 15 minutes for most people – and is less than the time it takes you to start going red or to burn. The larger the area of your skin that is exposed to sunlight, the more chance there is of making enough vitamin D before you start to burn. People with darker skin will need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D. In the UK, our skin isn’t able to make vitamin D from winter sunlight (November to March) as the sunlight hasn’t got enough UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation. During the winter, we get vitamin D from our body’s stores and from food sources. The longer you stay in the sun, especially for prolonged periods without sun protection, the greater the risk of skin cancer. So remember to cover up or protect your skin before the amount of time it takes you to start to turn red or burn later on. For most of the time you spend outside, stay covered up and use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Find out more about
keeping skin safe in the sun. Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency? Some groups of the population are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, and the Department of Health advises that they take daily vitamin D supplements. These groups are: • all pregnant and breastfeeding women • all babies and young children from six months to five years old • older people aged 65 years and over • people who are not exposed to much sun, for example those who cover their skin, or who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods • people who have darker skin, for example those of African Caribbean and South Asian origin It is important that pregnant and
HEALTH and Lifestyle food
‘Social drinking’: The hidden risks
IF you think only alcoholics and binge drinkers are putting their health at risk, think again. Many people who see themselves as “social drinkers” are at risk of developing long-term health conditions because of the amount they regularly drink. Most drinkers are unaware that regularly drinking more than the limits advised by the NHS can lead to a wide range of long-term health problems, including cancers, strokes and heart attacks. More than 55% of people questioned in a YouGov poll thought that alcohol only damages your health if you regularly get drunk or binge drink. The 2010 survey of 2,000 adults also found that 83% believed that regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits didn’t put their long-term health at risk. The survey suggests that 7.5 million people might be unaware of the damage their drinking could be causing. Read about the risks of drinking too much to find out how your drinking habits may be affecting your health.
Over the limit. More than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits. About 15,000 people in England die from alcohol-related causes each year. About 32% of these deaths are from liver disease, 21% from cancer and 17% from cardiovascular illnesses, such as heart disease and strokes. Typically, longer-term alcohol-related illness or death affect older people who drink more than the recommended daily limits and consider themselves to be “social drinkers”. Professor Nigel Heaton is a liver transplant consultant at King’s College Hospital, London. He says people who believe that drinking above the lower-risk guidelines is just normal social drinking may be raising their risk of developing alcohol-related illnesses. “Some people think it’s natural to have a bottle of wine a night,” he says. “It seems respectable because you’re drinking with food and it’s not associated with any drunken behaviour or even feeling drunk. “But if it happens regularly, you may have problems later on. Most of us believe
WE’RE supposed to be keeping an eye on how much we drink, but how many of us really know what a unit of alcohol is? With so many different drinks and glass sizes, from shots to pints – not to mention bottles – it’s easy to get confused about how many units are in your drink. The idea of counting alcohol units was first introduced in the UK in 1987 to help people keep track of their drinking.
Units are a simple way of expressing the quantity of pure alcohol in a drink. One unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour. This means that within an hour there should be, in theory, little or no alcohol left in the blood of an adult, although this will vary from person to person. The number of units in a drink is based
*Gin, rum, vodka, whisky, tequila, sambuca. Large (35ml) single measures of spirits are 1.4 units
that people with alcoholic liver disease are alcoholics. We often think, ‘I’m not an alcoholic so I can’t get liver disease.’ “You may not be an alcoholic, but if the overall amount of alcohol you drink regularly exceeds the lower-risk guidelines, it may still cause serious harm.” Track your drinking. To find out if you need to cut down, take the drinking selfassessment. It’ll help you assess the effects of your drinking. If it suggests that you’re drinking too much, you’ll get advice on how to cut down. Monitor your drinking with the alcohol tracker. This calculates the units of alcohol in your drinks, and it helps you work out whether you should cut down. Because drinks come in all shapes and sizes, it can be hard to keep track of your units. Use the unit calculator to add them up and help you monitor the amount you drink. Research suggests many people underestimate how much alcohol they drink. Download a drinks diary (PDF, 655Kb) to track your drinking over a week. If you think you drink too much, there are many ways to cut back. ■ NHS Choices
on the size of the drink as well as its alcohol strength. For example, a pint of strong lager contains 3 units of alcohol, whereas the same volume of standard lager has just over 2 units. Calculating units. Using units is a simpler way of representing a drink’s alcohol content, which is usually expressed by the standard measure ABV, which stands for alcohol by volume. ABV is a measure of the amount of pure alcohol as a percentage of the total volume of liquid in a drink. You can find the ABV on the labels of
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Binge drinking BINGE drinking usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk. Researchers define binge drinking as consuming eight or more units in a single session for men and six or more for women. However, this definition does not apply to everyone because the tolerance and the speed of drinking in a session varies from person to person. When drinking, try to pace yourself, avoid drinking more than you are used to and avoid drinking so much that you get drunk. This is even more important if you are out in risky or unfamiliar circumstances. You can be at risk from others, and may not be able to look after your friends. You can easily lose control of what you do or say and may make risky decisions, thinking you’re invulnerable. Binge drinking increases the risk of heart attack. It could cause you to vomit and if you’re sick when very drunk you could breathe in your own vomit and suffocate. Drink-by-drink guide. Below is a drinkby-drink guide, based on a standard (175ml) 12% volume glass of white wine and 4% strength pint of lager, showing how quickly alcohol can affect your mind and body. One glass of white wine or a pint of lager (approximately two units): • You’re talkative and you feel relaxed. • Your self-confidence increases.
• Driving ability is already impaired, which is why it is best to drink no alcohol if you’re driving. Two glasses of white wine or two pints of lager (approximately four units): • Your blood flow increases. • You feel less inhibited and your attention span is shorter. • You start dehydrating, one of the causes of a hangover. Three glasses of white wine or three pints of lager (approximately six units): • Your reaction time is slower. • Your liver has to work harder. • Your sex drive may increase, while your judgement may decrease. Four glasses of white wine or three and a half pints of lager (approximately eight units): • You’re easily confused. • You’re noticeably emotional. • Your sex drive could now decrease and you may become less capable. Bear in mind that some people (including young people, those with smaller builds and women) may experience the effects after drinking smaller amounts of alcohol. If you have developed a tolerance to alcohol you may find that some of these effects do not apply to you. In that case, consider whether it is time to cut back on your drinking or whether you need to seek help. ■ NHS Choices
cans and bottles, sometimes written as “vol” or “alcohol volume” or you can ask bar staff about particular drinks. For example, wine that says “12% ABV” or “alcohol volume 12%” means that 12% of the volume of that drink is pure alcohol. You can work out how many units there are in any drink by multiplying the total volume of a drink (in ml) by its ABV (which is measured as a percentage) and dividing the result by 1,000. • Strength (ABV) x Volume (ml) ÷ 1,000 = units. For example, to work out the number of
units in a pint (568ml) of strong lager (ABV 5.2%): • 5.2 (%) x 568 (ml) ÷ 1,000 = 2.95 units To make things easier, use the units calculator to quickly calculate units and download a drinks tracker to your phone to keep on top of your drinking and get personalised feedback. Drinks and units. A 750ml bottle of red, white or rose wine (ABV 13.5%) contains 10 units. See the guide below to find out how many units are in your favourite tipple. ■ NHS Choices
CELEBRITY, SHOWBIZ & ENTERTAINMENT SCOOP
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Regional news made more accessible to Filipinos abroad via GMA News TV International FILIPINOS abroad can now have access not only to national newscasts but also news programs from the different regions as GMA News TV International – the international news channel of GMA Network - strengthens its commitment of bringing the latest, most credible and most comprehensive news from home. Complementing the channel’s flagship newscast State of the Nation with Jessica Soho, which recently won a Silver Screen Award from the esteemed US International Film and Video Festival, Balitang Amianan of GMA North Central Luzon, Balitang Bisdak of GMA Central Visayas, and Testigo of GMA Southern Mindanao are now part of GMA News TV International’s interesting line-up of programs. According to GMA Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph T. Francia, these programs are meant “to provide Filipinos overseas, specifically those who come from the provinces, a
stronger and deeper connection with what’s happening back home.” News from Northern Luzon will be broadcasted straight from Dagupan to different parts of the world via Balitang Amianan. Trademarked in GMA News and Public Affairs’ fair and responsible reportage, Balitang Amianan is anchored by veteran journalist and former radio commentator Jorge Guerrero. Guerrero is backed by the program’s pool of correspondents as they strive to meet the viewers’ need for truthful and credible news from the region. Meanwhile, Cebuanos living outside the Philippines may now watch the latest local news from the Visayas Region via Balitang Bisdak. Anchored by popular tri-media personality Bobby “Super Bob” Nalzaro and co-anchored by women/children’s right and media advocate Atty. Rose Versoza, Balitang Bisdak covers both national and local issues relevant not only to Cebuanos, but also neighboring provinces such as
Bohol and some parts of Negros Oriental and Eastern Visayas. Last but certainly not least, Testigo Davao brings to worldwide viewers the freshest and most relevant news from Davao City and other key areas in Southern Mindanao. Anchored by former national correspondent Tek Ocampo together with hard-hitting commentator Jun Digamon, the program aims to empower its audience by delivering relevant information on the latest news, hottest social issues and human interest stories. Balitang Amianan, Balitang Bisdak, and Testigo are now available via GMA News TV International in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Guam, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Canada. To get the complete programming schedule, visit www.gmanetwork.com/international or Facebook page www.facebook.com/ gmanewsinternational. Call your preferred pay TV operator to subscribe. ■
GMA Network Wins Big in 2013 US International Film and Video Fest
THE US International Film and Video Festival (USIFVF) recently conferred top awards on television giant GMA Network, citing a total of 11 programs from GMA-7 and GMA News TV Channel 11. Led by GMA News TV’s State of the Nation with Jessica Soho (SONA), GMA Network’s entries are the only festival winners from the Philippines this year. GMA News TV’s flagship primetime newscast State of the Nation with Jessica Soho, bannered by GMA Network’s Vice President for News Programs Jessica Soho, received a Silver Screen Award for its special coverage of last year’s disastrous monsoon rains entitled “The Wrath of the Monsoon”. In 2012, SONA also received a documentary accolade from the USIFVF for its episode on the aftermath of Typhoon Sendong. “This is a big honor not only for us in SONA, but for the entire GMA News and Public Affairs group. We would also like to share this award with our viewers locally and abroad for being our true inspiration in creating and continuously improving this newscast,” said Soho, who was recently named by Reader’s Digest Asia as the Most Trusted News Presenter for the third consecutive year and is widely regarded as the country’s most awarded broadcast journalist. Soho’s multi-awarded and top-rating public affairs program Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, in turn, was also one of the programs cited from GMA Network. Receiving a Certificate for Creative Excellence were Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (“Photographs of Typhoon Pablo”) for the News Magazine Format; primetime newscast 24 Oras bannered by Mike Enriquez and Mel Tiangco (“Sendong Tragedy”) for Newscasts; late-night newscast Saksi anchored by Arnold Clavio and Vicky Morales (“Wrath of the Monsoon”) also for Newscasts; and a documentary by Howie Severino for the
program I-Witness (“Santo at Sikreto”) for Documentary: Religion. Also receiving Certificates for Creative Excellence were GMA-7 entertainment programs––local infotainment show iBilib bannered by basketball icon Chris Tiu with Moymoy Palaboy and Isabelle Daza for Children’s Entertainment; cooking show Kusina Master hosted by celebrity chef Boy Logro for Cooking; and drama series Pahiram ng Sandali topbilled by Dingdong Dantes, Christopher de Leon, Max Collins, and Lorna Tolentino for Telenovelas. The festival similarly awarded certificates to GMA News TV programs—news commentary and analysis show Bawal Ang Pasaway Kay Mareng Winnie headlined by Prof. Solita Monsod (“One on One with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile”) for Interview/Talk, Filipino cultural show I Juander hosted by GMA reporters Cesar Apolinario and Susan Enriquez (“Why is the Lechon the Centerpiece of Every Filipino Celebration”) for Education: Professional Development & Continuing Education; and GMA News TV special San Pedro Calungsod for Documentary: Religion. Founded in 1967, USIFVF recognizes outstanding corporate, education, entertainment, documentary and student productions. These award-winning programs can be seen on the Network’s international channels, GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV and GMA News TV International. GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV and GMA News TV International can be seen in the US and in countries in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific. For more details, visit the GMA International website www.gmanetwork.com/international, Facebook pages www.facebook.com/ GMAPinoyTV, www.facebook.com/ gmalifetv, and, www.facebook.com/ gmanewsinternational, or Twitter pages @ GMAPinoyTV and @GMA_LifeTV. ■
Atty. Rose Versoza
Sarah Lahbati returns from Geneva, posts bail as her lawyer plots to quash libel case SIX months after fleeing to her hometown of Geneva in Switzerland, actress Sarah Lahbati returned to the Philippines before midnight Thursday to face the libel charges filed by a GMA executive against her. She posted bail Friday morning, her lawyer told News5. Lahbati and Atty. Marie Glen Abraham sought bail for the actress at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 59. The court granted Lahbati’s bail request and set her arraignment on August 22. It also immediately recalled the arrest warrant it had issued against her in late May after it found probable cause in the case filed by GMA Films president Atty. Annette Gozon-Abrogar, a daughter of GMA Network president and CEO Felipe Gozon. Abrogar sued Lahbati after the actress, a GMA contract artist, posted a series of messages on her Twitter account in early January. Lahbati accused GMA Network and Abrogar of mistreating her after she
refused to sign a co-management deal with a talent management agency which, she claimed, had an under-the-table deal with Abrogar. Before Lahbati’s arraignment, Atty. Abraham said she and her client will file a motion to quash the information for libel filed against the actress. “It is a tantamount to a motion to dismiss,” Abraham said. Lahbati’s lawyer argued that no libel could have been committed because the internet “is not one of the means by which libel may be committed in the Revised Penal Code”. Abraham noted that the Cybercrime Law, which is supposed to cover libel committed on the internet, is suspended indefinitely due to the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court last year. “Thus, there is no law punishing internet libel. Thus, there is no crime if there is no law punishing it,” Abraham pointed out. Lahbati arrived at the Ninoy Aquino
International Airport late Thursday with her boyfriend, actor Richard Gutierrez, whose own TV contract with GMA Network had lapsed recently. Lahbati, a Swiss citizen, was born and raised in Geneva, where her Moroccan father and Filipino mother have lived for many years. She became a GMA contract artist after she won the talent search “Starstruck V” in 2009. ■ MJ Marfori / News5 / July 12, 2013 / 9:26 PM
CELEBRITY, SHOWBIZ & ENTERTAINMENT SCOOP
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Phillip Salvador happy to mentor ‘Undercover’ star Derek Ramsay, other younger actors
IN “Undercover” Derek Ramsay’s new action drama series on TV5, Phillip Salvador plays Don Faustino a.k.a. “Amang”, the smuggling lord and mastermind behind Manila’s organized crime syndicates. The face of a mafia godfather, Amang is a powerful man who will punish and take revenge on anyone who crosses his path. During the recent press conference that formally introduced the men of “Undercover” to media, Phillip joined co-stars Derek Ramsay and Wendell Ramos in talking about their respective characters in the series. Known for his intense performances, the 59-year-old
actor fondly referred to as “Kuya Ipe” by Derek and Wendell talked about how he made the character of Amang as his own. “My inspiration for Amang are actors Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Kevin Spacey,” the actor told InterAksyon and other entertainment media. “Amang is a combination of the these three actors’ personas.” After his memorable turn as Lizardo in Mac Alejandre’s reboot of “Ang Panday” and its sequel “Ang Panday 2” starring Bong Revilla, Phillip has been getting his share of kontrabida roles, something the award-winning dramatic actor and onetime action star said he doesn’t mind and
Phillip (center) with ‘Undercover’ co-stars Wendell Ramos and Derek Ramsay. Photo Bayani Bravante/TV5
TV5 Virgin Bombshell Ritz Azul receives admiring comments on Misibis Bay NEWEST sexy drama mini-series Misibis Bay has set primetime TV on fire, when it premiered last July 1 on TV5. Viewers and netizens were captivated by its fast-paced story and steamy love scenes, and were enamored by its lead star, Ritz Azul. Social networking sites Facebook and Twitter were flooded with positive comments about her acting, and virginal beauty. Misibis Bay is about Maita Ramirez, a slum girl who only dreams of providing a comfortable life for her ailing grandmother. Her miserable life takes a drastic turn when she decides to marry an older rich man and faces its consequences throughout the story. Despite this, Maita still dreams big, and perseveres amidst all odds, to get what she deserves. Adding complications to her life are the three sons of Anthony (Christopher de Leon) – Andrew (Daniel Matsunga), Bernard (Victor Silayan) and Charlie (Vin Abrenica) and his older sister Miranda (Vivian Velez) who will not stop from making Maita’s life miserable. Meanwhile, witness the muchawaited wedding of Maita and Anthony in the luxury island playground in Albay this coming month. Will Maita be able to attain the happiness she ought to have? What challenges await her now that she has chosen to settle down with Anthony? Expect more revelations, daring scenes, and more of TV5 virgin bombshell
Ritz Azul, as the sexy drama mini-series Misibis Bay continues on primetime TV, weeknights on Kapatid TV5. Kapatid TV5 is available in the United States, Canada, Middle East, Europe, North Africa and Asia. ■
actually enjoy doing. “Sabi nga nila, it’s the changing of the guards,” he quipped. “It was Direk Lino Brocka who I did several movies with when I was starting my career who told me that time time will come that you will do kontrabida roles. Although I did some bida-kontrabida roles for him like ‘Rubia Servios’ and ‘Cain at Abel’. ang advice niya, gawin mo basta ma-challenge ka, basta may magagawa kang maganda sa istorya.” That’s why he doesn’t just accept any role offered to him. “I have turned down aboutoffers to do kontrabida roles about 12 times. If I don’t like the role and I see no challenge in doing it, I won’t be happy if I did. Kung hindi ako happy, bakit ko gagawin? Kawawa lang ‘yung production.” And that’s exactly why Phillip accepted “Undercover”. Not only does he find Amang a very challenging role to portray, the character has more depth than what is shown in the very brief trailers. In his excitement about “Undercover”, Phillip has revealed a few spoilers about the series as he sees his role in the series as “bida-kontrabida”. He said while he and Derek, who plays undercover cop Roy Velasco, start out as arch-enemies, there will come a point when they will both find themselves behind bars and actually become close. The more time Roy spends together with Amang, the more he is less and less convinced that the convicted underworld figure is that man behind his abduction.
When asked what it’s like to work with Derek and Wendell, he is very generous in heaping praises on his fellow actors. “I see that they love their craft very much. We haven’t taped my scenes yet with Wendell but Derek has done very well in our scenes together. We all know he’s agood actor, but he’s still improving to be a better actor because he’s hungry for more,” he exclaimed. For his part, Derek is very quick in returning the compliment to the man he describes as his “idol”. “Kuya Ipe is a brillant actor, he’s so generous and always willing to share his acting talents, he simply makes me a better actor.” With over 13 Best Actor awards, three Best Supporting Actor trophies and the Gawad Urian Best Actor of the Decade for 1980 to 1989, Phillip has achieved every acting accolade in a distinguished career spanning more than four decades. At this stage of his career, he is just happy to be considered a mentor by younger actors since he himself was once mentored and nurtured by one of the country’s finest directors. “Direk Lino paired me with the best actresses in Vilma Santos, Nora Aunor, Charito Solis, Lolita Rodriguez, Chanda Romero and of course, my favorite leading lady, Miss Gina Alajar. We were already doing indie films long before there were indie films. Many of our movies had very low budgets. Lino is the type of director na pag nagugustuhan niya ang script, ipapa-ngutang pa n’ya ‘yan, magawa lang ang pelikula.”
Phillip Salvador as Amang in ‘Undercover’.
Although he still hopes to pursue his political plans after his intention to run as Bulacan vice governor in the recent elections got derailed due to residency issues, he is more focused on his revitalized acting career. “Hindi ko pinagsasama ang pulitika at trabaho,” he declared. What Phillip do hopes to pursue other than his work is the establishment of an acting academy inspired by his recent stint as one of the mentors in the GMA reality talent competition, “Protégé: The Battle for the Big Artista Break”. He remains in touch with successful contestants like eventual winner Thea Tolentino and Ruru Madrid, whom he personally took under his wing. So what advice can a Phillip Salvador give to young actors trying to make it big in this industry? “I only have one advice to them: You’re already working. Don’t act.” ■ Edwin P. Sallan / InterAksyon.com / July 14, 2013 / 1:00 PM
Sarah strikes back: Lahbati sues GMA executive, talent manager for grave coercion, perjury FOUR days after returning to the Philippines to face libel charges, actress Sarah Lahbati struck back at her accuser, GMA Films president Annette GozonAbrogar, and filed separate cases of grave coercion and perjury against the latter on Monday. The 19-year-old GMA contract artist filed her complaint of grave coercion on Monday morning at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court against Abrogar and four others, including Bebong Munoz, one of the heads of the talent management agency Icons. In the afternoon she filed a case of perjury against Abrogar at the Makati Regional Trial Court, claiming Abrogar had lied in her sworn statements when the latter filed her libel case there in January. “I think it’s time to defend myself to clear my name after all na nangyari. Nagsalita ako before. Ang nangyari nasampahan ako ng kaso… Dahil hindi ako pumirma sa icons ang daming di kanais-nais na nangyari,” Lahbati told media after filing the grave coercion case in Quezon City. However, after filing the perjury case in Makati, she told reporters that she was open to an amicable settlement with
Sarah Lahbati speaks to reporters outside the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Monday.
Abrogar and that she remained grateful to GMA Network, which had handled her career since she won a talent show in 2009. Lahbati had always claimed that her troubles with GMA Network started after she refused to sign a co-management deal with Icons last year, which would entail an additional 15 percent cut on her salary on top of the 25 percent due GMA Artist Center (GMAAC). The Swiss-Filipino actress had alleged that Abrogar and GMAAC executive Arsi Baltazar had made the offer to her on Icons’ behalf. GMA Network said in an official statement that it was aware that such a practice had taken place and
“penalties have been imposed on the executives who were found liable.” However, the statement did not identify the guilty parties and provide details of the sanctions. Nevertheless, it had insisted, “The Network found no proof of her allegation that there was an ‘under the table’ deal between GMAAC and ICONS Management.” Unlike Abrogar and Baltazar, Icons did not to press charges against Lahbati after she aired her allegations in a series of Twitter posts in January. Meanwhile, Lahbati was evasive on the persistent rumor that the reason she had exiled herself in Geneva for six months was to give birth to a lovechild sired by her boyfriend, long-time GMA actor Richard Gutierrez. “As I said, let’s not get distracted sa mga issues na walang kinalaman sa case. Di ko alam bakit nililihis, dinidistract, at ‘yun at ‘yun ang question. Isipin n’yo ano gusto n’yo isipin,” she told reporters with a smile. Lahbati, who did not appear to have gained any weight since she left the country in mid-January, was accompanied by Gutierrez when she returned to Manila late Thursday. ■ MJ Marfori / News5 / July 15, 2013 / 8:16 PM
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July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Taiwan employers hiring Vietnamese workers in lieu of OFWs - NGO
MANILA – Taiwan employers are hiring Vietnamese workers in lieu of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) after Taiwan stopped issuing visas to Filipinos over the killing by members of the Philippine Coast Guard of a Taiwanese fisherman off Batanes in May, a member of a Catholic non-government organization based in Taiwan told InterAksyon.com. Earlier, a recruitment consultant said that thousands of OFWs with terminal job contracts have returned to the Philippines as their Taiwan employers could not renew their contracts -- much as they would want to. In an interview with InterAksyon.com, Eden See of the Taiwan-based Hope Workers’ Center said that while most manufacturing companies in Taiwan prefer skilled OFWs, the effective ban has forced them to hire workers from other Southeast Asian countries. A specific example, she said, is the Advanced Semiconductor Engineering in Kaohsiung, has hired about 400 to 500 Vietnamese workers to replace OFWs who couldn’t work in Taiwan anymore because of the effective ban. “Hiring talaga sila (They’re really hiring),” said See, who is in Manila on vacation. Of the estimated 88,000 OFWs in Taiwan, about 66,000 work in factories and the rest work as caregivers of old people.
The OFWs who are still in Taiwan are also taking up the slack for the work of the OFWs who have left by working overtime, See said. OFWs like to work in Taiwan because they have parity in income and benefits with Taiwan workers, she said. And at the minimum, they receive a salary of 19,047 Taiwan dollars (about P27,710), which, given the low cost of living in Taiwan, goes a long way for their families back in the Philippines. At the height of the row between the governments of the Philippines and Taiwan, there was hardly any racist reactions against OFWs, See said. Founded by the Missionary Society of St. Columban in 1986, the Hope Workers’ Center under the Hsinchu Diocese in Taiwan educates migrants on their rights, lobbies the government for fair employment conditions for migrant workers, and assists migrants and immigrants in distress. Help desk for OFWs from Taiwan In a related development, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has set up a Help Desk for OFWs from Taiwan and may be reached at 7221189. The Help Desk for Taiwan OFWs is tasked to provide legal assistance (to those who have legitimate claims from their recruiters, employers, or principals); livelihood and entrepreneurial development assistance;
and referral for local and overseas employment. POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, who is also chairman of the DOLE Oversight Committee for the We Serve OFWs Convergence Program, has designated Deputy Administrator in-charge and legal service head Jeriel Domingo to lead the operations and supervise the Help Desk. He also assigned Celso Hernandez of the POEA’s Labor Assistance Division to man the Help Desk. This came after Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has directed both Cacdac and Administrator Carmelita Dimzon of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to establish a dedicated Help Desk at the POEA and the
OWWA offices to answer queries of and provide various forms of assistance to Filipino workers who may be affected by the freeze in hiring imposed by Taiwan. The Help Desk was instituted through Administrative Order No. 157 Series of 2013 which Baldoz issued on April 2 this year. It will also produce a profile of the OFWs returning from Taiwan, including their principals, employers, and deploying agencies, as well as “accurate and updated information on their number, skills and qualifications, and if possible, their occupational inclination or plans upon their return, so we can better direct and focus our assistance to them,” Baldoz ordered. Baldoz said the POEA has already 28 existing general Help Desks nationwide,
while the OWWA has 901. The Help Desk for Taiwan OFWs will add to this network of Help Desks where OFWs can run to for assistance. The We Serve OFWs Convergence Program has an OFW Help Desk component established in local government units (LGUs). To enable the Help Desk for Taiwan OFWs become more responsive and effective, Baldoz also instructed OWWA, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Professional Regulation Commission, National Maritime Polytechnic, National Labor Relations Commission, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Bureau of Local Employment, Labor Communications Office, International Labor Affairs Bureau, Planning Service, and Human Resource Development Service to lend technical support and advice to the Help Desk for Taiwan OFWs. Meanwhile, in a dialogue with Secretary Baldoz, the Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) committed to coordinate with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration on how to assist returning workers from Taiwan. “We will brief returning OFWs whom we deployed to Taiwan and refer them to the help desk for necessary assistance and services,” Angel Tong, PILMAT president said. ■ Veronica Uy / InterAksyon.com /July 16, 2013 /
Swiss banks’ Holocaust fund ‘paid out $1.24 bn’ UN tribunal gives PH, China until Aug. 5 to comment on draft rules to govern case—DFA HOLOCAUST survivors and victims’ heirs have received $1.24 billion from a Swiss fund set up after a scandal over dormant accounts of Jews killed in World War II, a magazine said Monday. The Swiss-Jewish weekly Tachles said the figure was contained in a report by New York judge Edward Korman, who oversees the management of the fund. Korman’s report summed up operations since a landmark 1998 deal between the World Jewish Congress and Swiss banks. The banks were accused of keeping money owned by Jews who had hidden funds in secret accounts in neutral Switzerland but then perished in the Holocaust, and of having given heirs the cold shoulder when they tried to track down the money. Under the 1998 accord, the banks paid a $1.25 billion settlement, which was transformed into US government bonds. Payouts were then overseen by Korman and the Swiss-based Claims Resolution Tribunal, which wrapped up its operations in 2012. Within the fund, a total of $800 million were destined for account holders and their heirs. According to Korman’s report, Tachles said, $726 million have been paid out since then, with $426 million of that related to claims on 4,600 dormant accounts. In addition, the fund gave a flat-rate sum of $5,000 each to 12,300 claimants whose cases were deemed “plausible but undocumented”. Another goal of the settlement was
to provide money to survivors of Nazi German persecution, whether or not they had held accounts in Switzerland. All told, 457,000 Holocaust survivors and heirs have therefore received money from the fund. Among them were 199,000 people who were pressed into forced labour by Nazi Germany, and who received a share of $288 million. In addition, 4,100 Jewish refugees who were turned back at Switzerland’s
borders during World War II received a total of $11.6 million. Korman also authorised the payment of a total of $205 million to 236,000 needy victims of Nazi Germany’s occupation, notably in the former Soviet Union. No details of the fund’s administrative budget have been revealed, but Tachles said that the Claims Resolution Tribunal, based in the city of Zurich, cost $800,000 a month to run. ■
A photo of prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945.
MANILA - The Arbitral Tribunal that has been appointed to hear the case brought by the Philippines against China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has given the two parties until August 5 to comment on the draft rules that would govern the hearing of the case. This was contained in a joint statement by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Solicitor General released Tuesday announcing that the tribunal was formally constituted July 11 at The Hague. “The arbitral proceedings are now officially under way,” said the joint announcement. At its first meeting on July 11, the Arbitral Tribunal approved a draft set of Rules of Procedure to govern the proceedings. In its request for comments on the draft by August 5, the tribunal asked the two countries to propose a schedule for the submission of their written pleadings. According to the DFA and the OSG, the Philippine government and its Counsel are now studying the draft rules of procedure, and will submit comments and a proposed schedule for the written pleadings as requested by the tribunal. “The Philippine government is pleased that the Arbitral Tribunal is now formally constituted, and that the arbitration process has begun. The department and the OSG have pledged their fullest cooperation with the tribunal, in order to assure a fair, impartial, and efficient process that produces a final and binding judgment in conformity with international law,” the joint announcement said.
The department said it will issue statements from time to time to keep the public informed about the progress of the arbitration. Information will also be made available to the public on the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, www. pca-cpa.org. The Hague is seat of arbitration. At their first meeting on July 11, the president and members of the tribunal also designated The Hague as the seat of the arbitration and the Permanent Court of Arbitration as the registry for the proceedings. Both the Philippines and China had previously been requested to submit their views on these two matters, and the Philippines consented to both. The Philippines is questioning China’s “nine-dash line” as basis for its sweeping claims in the South China Sea under Annex VII of the UNCLOS. The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea and refers to them as the West Philippine Sea. China, which insists on a bilateral solution to the conflict, rejected the arbitration in February, saying the Philippines’ case was legally infirm. Along with 161 other countries, both the Philippines and China are signatories to the 1982 accord allowing them to seek legal remedy on territorial disputes. Aside from the Philippines and China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims over the resourcerich waters. ■ InterAksyon.com / July 16, 2013 / 3:23 PM
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PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AROUND THE WORLD
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
DFA Opens Exhibit on Philippine Foreign Service History AS part of the celebration of the 115th anniversary of the foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and in preparation for the 150th birth anniversary of the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Apolinario Mabini, the DFA opened today the exhibit on “The Philippine Foreign Service: Its Beginnings” at the DFA Main Building in Pasay City. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario led the inauguration of the exhibit together with former Foreign Affairs Secretary Delia Albert, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Administration Rafael Seguis and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Special and Ocean Concerns Jose Brillantes. Members of the diplomatic corps, retired ambassadors, retired Foreign Service personnel, DFA officials and employees, as well as distinguished guests and members of the media were likewise present during the opening ceremony. “As we move towards modernizing and improving all aspects of our work in the Foreign Service, it is worthwhile to take stock and reflect on the past, particularly on the significant personalities and events that shaped the history of our institution and also their impact on the country given our agency’s national significance,” Secretary del Rosario said in his remarks during the opening program. Secretary del Rosario stated that the Philippine Foreign Service has grown
in size and has expanded its global presence since the country attained its independence in July 1946. “From its humble beginnings, with only four Foreign Service posts and around 40 officers and staff at the Home Office, the Philippines embarked on its lofty quest of gaining international recognition and securing its rightful place in the community of nations,” Secretary del Rosario cited. “The hard work and sacrifice of our predecessors in the Foreign Service served as the foundation for the next generation of Foreign Service personnel and their good examples should be an inspiration to all of us,” he added. The DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (DFA-OUA) has organized the exhibit in order to rekindle the interest of the Philippine Foreign Service personnel, students and the general public in the rich and multifaceted history of the country’s Foreign Service. The two-week exhibit showcases the development of the Philippine Foreign Service for the period 1946 to 1970. It features rare photos, documents and memorabilia from archives here and abroad, including valuable items from the Carlos P. Romulo collection, antique travel and consular documents, photos of prominent personalities like Elpidio Quirino, Carlos P. Romulo, Leon Ma. Guerrero, Raul Manglapus, Narciso Ramos and Luis Moreno Salcedo, among others,
and digital displays on selected topics on the Philippine Foreign Service. The exhibit will also be complemented by two lectures on certain aspects of Philippine diplomatic history to be given by outstanding resource persons from the academe and active and retired Foreign Service officers. The lectures will discuss relevant issues in the past that have long-term impact in the growth and development of the Philippine Foreign Service. The DFA-OUA organized the exhibit together with the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), the Office of Personnel and Administrative Services (OPAS), Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination (OSPPC), Office of Fiscal Management (OFM), Office of Protocol (OP), Public Information and Services Unit (PISU), and the Cultural Diplomacy Unit of the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations (OUIER-CDU). It will run until 26 July 2013 at DFA Main Building at 2330 Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City and will be made available for viewing at the DFA-Office of Consular Affairs Aseana Building from 5 to 16 August 2013. Part of the exhibit will be replicated in the different DFA satellite offices in Metro Manila and in the regions, particularly Visayas and Mindanao, as well as in the Foreign Service Posts. ■ DFA, Philippines / July
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario (3rd from left) leads the ceremonial-ribbon cutting of the opening of the DFA exhibit on “The Philippine Foreign Service: Its Beginnings” with former Foreign Affairs Secretary Delia Albert (2nd from left ), Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Special and Ocean Concerns Jose Brillantes (leftmost) at the DFA Main Building in Pasay City on July 15, 2013.
Secretary del Rosario (2nd from right), former Secretary Albert (rightmost ), and DFA-OUA Special Assistant Marciano de Borja (leftmost) view the interactive digital display which features various photo collections on the former Secretaries of the Department as well as short clips on Apolinario Mabini and Carlos P. Romulo.
DFA Statement on the Signing of the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB)
Members of the Consular Corp of Los Angeles who attended the Consular Outreach Conference of Sherrif Leroy Baca.
Philippine Consulate General Attends Los Angeles Sheriff’s Consular Outreach Conference
Deputy Consul General Daniel Espiritu with Sheriff Leroy Baca.
DEPUTY Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu and Information Officer Cesar Angeles of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, attended the Consular Outreach Conference organized by Sheriff Leroy Baca at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department last July 11. The Consular Outreach Conference provided an overview of the functions and mandate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The presenters were from the Los Angeles County Office of Protocol; Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD); Los Angeles Airport Police Department; Transportation Security Administration (TSA); U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service; and, the State Bar of California.
During the conference, the Sheriff’s Department introduced key members of their International Liaison Unit, who then explained how consulates could effectively contact and coordinate with the Sheriff’s Department’s units. The representatives of the consular missions in Los Angeles expressed their appreciation for the Conference. It particularly provided useful information on how to effectively monitor newly-arrested foreign nationals, gather updates on natural disasters, provide port courtesies and assistance to visiting dignitaries and coordinate with law enforcement agencies in Southern California in furtherance of law enforcement cooperation activities. ■ DFA, Philippines / July 15, 2013
THE Department of Foreign Affairs congratulates the negotiating panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), headed by Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Mr. Mohagher Iqbal, respectively, for the signing of the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on 13 July 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This breakthrough in the peace process would not have been possible without the commitment and efforts of all concerned, especially President Benigno S. Aquino III, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun
Haji Abdul Razak and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim. The Department recognizes the signing of the Annex as a major step forward toward a just and lasting peace in Mindanao and pays tribute to the dedication and perseverance that the Parties have demonstrated throughout the negotiations. The Department also acknowledges the invaluable contributions of our partners in the International Contact Group and expresses optimism that a mutually satisfactory resolution would likewise be reached with respect to other outstanding issues. ■ DFA, Philippines
PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AROUND THE WORLD
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
DFA Promotes PHL Foreign Policy to Cebu Youth, Highlights Value of Rule of Law in Resolving Disputes in the WPS DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesperson Raul S. Hernandez engaged the youth of Cebu and called on them to take part in promoting the country’s foreign policy in an afternoon session specially organized by the DFA and the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City. In his lecture to more than 350 students and faculty members of USC, University of Cebu, University of San Jose-Recoletos, Cebu Normal University, Cebu Doctors’ University, University of the Philippines, and University of Visayas on Friday, July 12, Spokesperson Hernandez also emphasized the value of the rule of law in resolving maritime disputes. Spokesperson Hernandez said that the DFA is the country’s first line of defense as he explained the first pillar of Philippine foreign policy, which is to preserve, enhance and promote national security. To the students who were all fervently listening to him inside the University’s Gansewinkel Hall where the lecture was held, he emphasized that diplomacy
Fr. Dionision Miranda, SVD, SThD, President of the University of San Carlso, delivers the opening remarks during the event.
remains a formidable tool for resolving differences without resorting to force. On the West Philippine Sea issue, he stressed that the country’s choice of arbitration under UNCLOS is an open, friendly and durable approach that benefits all nations. He said that the arbitration will be able to define and clarify China’s maritime entitlements for its constituents. For the Philippines, “the arbitration will clarify what is ours, define where we can fish, define our access to our natural resources, and define our enforcement of laws within our own exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.” The Spokesperson further emphasized the benefit that the arbitration will give to the international community. “We will be ableto reinforce unimpeded commerce and we will be able to do away with the threat to freedom of navigation from the region which is a vital route for regional and global trade,” he said. Spokesperson Hernandez likewise shared with the students the work of the Department in the other two pillars, namely, the promotion of economic diplomacy and the promotion of the welfare and protection of the rights of Filipinos overseas. On the promotion of economic diplomacy, he said that the DFA is working 24/7 to be able to supplement the efforts on attracting foreign investment, boosting trade and encouraging development assistance to come to the Philippines. Foreign Service personnel likewise attend training programs and economic diplomacy courses to further equip themselves in marketing the country. In 2012, he cited that the Department took part in the signing or ratification of 43 bilateral agreements covering development cooperation, trade, air services, ICT, tourism, and education, among others.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesperson Raul S. Hernandez encourages the more than 350 students and faculty members of universities and colleges in Cebu to take part in promoting Philippine foreign policy and emphasizes to them the value of the rule of law in resolving maritime disputes in his lecture on July 12, 2013 at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.
The Spokesperson also highlighted all sorts of assistance the Department has provided for Filipinos oversas and members of their families, including negotiating with countries to uplift labor standards for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), conducting seminars on capacity-building, financial literary and skills training as well as providing legal and consular assistance to Filipinos in inhospitable working or living conditions, Filipinos who are victims of human and drug trafficking and those who are facing criminal charges and death sentences as well as those for repatriation. Mariejo Sevilla, President of the Carolinian Political Science Society and a student of AB Political Science in USC, commented after the lecture: “The Department of Foreign Affairs has been at the forefront in promoting Philippine national interest abroad. The lecture of Spokesperson Raul Hernandez did not only make me realize what the DFA has to offer but he succeeded in conveying the message about the country’s
stand on the various issues concerning territorial disputes. I am very happy that the Philippines will seek arbitration and hopefully succeed versus the persistent claim of China. We do not need to shed blood in settling disputes, although we have been negotiating for so long now, the DFA must continue to be assertive in its claim and still diplomatic in handling cases such as this.” “The law is clear, thus it must be followed. I am hoping that this case will finally rest for there are still other concerns which need immediate attention. The Government cannot do it alone, the citizens must also actively participate and be involved in the many discussions cornering the Philippines in the local and international arena,” she added. Ms. Grace Magalzo, Chair of the USC Department of Political Science, concluded her closing remarks by encouraging the students to take part in Philippine foreign affairs. She said: “May your learning points today be converted
to active participation in promoting foreign policy.” The lecture of the DFA Spokesperson is part of the Department’s aim of bringing the DFA closer to the Filipino people so they may have a greater understanding and appreciation of the DFA’s role in nation-building. The DFA, through its Public Information Services Unit (PISU), partnered with the USC Department of Political Science, through its International Relations and Foreign Service (IRFS) Track, in coming up with the lecture session for students of Cebu and the Visayas so they will become more aware and involved in Philippine foreign relations. The lecture was graced by the presence of no less than the President of the University of San Carlos, Fr. Dionision Miranda, SVD, SThD, who stayed all throughout the event. Members of the media in Cebu, including law students of the University and guests, were also present during the lecture. ■ DFA, Philippines / July 15, 2013
Embassy Looking at Jollibee Foundation as Model for Cross-Sector Engagement in Agriculture WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippine Embassy is looking at a project being supported by the Jollibee Foundation as a partnership model to rally behind an initiative being spearheaded by the Department of Agrarian Reform to empower land reform beneficiaries in the Philippines. In a statement, the Embassy said the Jollibee Group Foundation has been invited by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. to showcase its successful experience in helping small farmers improve their economic and social well-being during the visit to the Philippines this week of a delegation from the United States. Agriculture Attaché Josyline Javelosa said Ambassador Cuisia wants the Jollibee Group Foundation to share its experience with the Kalasag Farmers Producers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Nueva Ecija when the American delegation meets
with officials the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Agriculture in Manila on 12 July. The delegation members were invited to visit the Philippines to allow them to see how they could support the Agrarian Reform Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) Project that was presented by Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio De Los Reyes during his visit to Washington, D.C. in April. During that visit, Secretary De Los Reyes told Embassy officials that agriculture is a priority focus area of the Aquino Administration in its efforts to promote inclusive growth since as much as 32 percent of the country’s total employment is in the agriculture sector. Secretary De Los Reyes then enjoined the Embassy to support the ARCCESS program by seeking US-based partners who can help strengthen agrarian
reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBO) in developing further economic opportunities through the “Adopt a Pinoy ARBO” program. Dr. Javelosa said the Adopt a Pinoy ARBO program involves publicprivate partnerships that would allow land reform beneficiaries to capture and benefit from the skills, resources, technology, markets, operating systems and experiences of the private and public sector in the Philippines and abroad. According to Executive Director Gisela Tiongson of the Jollibee Group Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Jollibee Foods Corporation, the Kalasag Farmers Producers Multi-Purpose Cooperative—a collaborative project of the Jollibee Group Foundation with the National Livelihood Development Corporation and the Catholic Relief Service called “The
Farmers Entrepreneurship Program”—is one of its most successful cross-sector partnership projects to date. Ms. Tiongson said the project links small farmers in four provinces to Jollibee, the fastest growing restaurant chain in the Philippines with over 2,600 stores worldwide. She relates that the Kalasag project began as a cluster of about 30 farmers who registered as a cooperative to facilitate their business. Using improved techniques and training, the cooperative was able to increase its production from 8.7 metric tons of fresh and peeled onions per hectare to 13.8 metric tons. In 2009, the Kalasag cooperative became a regular supplier of Jollibee that further increased incomes for the farmers. In 2013, the cooperative delivered 300 metric tons of fresh and peeled onions to Jollibee.
Ms. Tiongson noted the role of various enterprise development partners in contributing to this success including the support of government, particularly the Department of Agriculture through farmer field schools, technology dissemination and infrastructure support. Small farmers have also been linked up with financing institutions. Ms. Tiongson recently represented the Jollibee Group Foundation in a forum sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to showcase its experience in “serving the poor and building resiliency via cross sector engagement.” “This model might inspire other companies and organizations to work with ARBOs and contribute to efforts towards achieving inclusive growth in the country,” Dr. Javelosa said. ■ Philippine
Embassy, USA / July 10, 2013
Two Koreas start fresh talks on joint industrial park SEOUL – North and South Korea on Monday started fresh talks on reopening a joint industrial complex whose fate is seen as a touchstone for the future reduction of tension on the Korean peninsula. The talks began at around 10 am (0100 GMT) after two previous meetings earlier this month failed to produce agreement on how to revive the Kaesong industrial park, which was suspended amid high cross-border tensions. “I’ll do my best to reopen Kaesong and develop it into an international industrial park”, South Korea’s chief delegate Kim Ki-Woong told journalists before talks started. Kim replaced Suh Ho in what was described as a regular reshuffle ahead of the talks, held at the Seoul-invested industrial zone some 10 kilometres (six miles) north of the heavily-fortified border. The zone — opened in 2004 as a rare symbol of cross-border cooperation — had long remained resilient to turbulence in ties but eventually became the most high-profile victim of the latest flare-up. The North, citing perceived hostility by the South and its joint army exercises with the US, in April withdrew all its workers and banned entry by southerners, prompting Seoul to pull out its managers in early May. At a rare meeting earlier this month, the two sides agreed in principle to reopen the estate, where 53,000 North Koreans worked in 123 Seoul-owned factories producing textiles or light industrial goods. But little progress has been made
South Korean soldiers stand guard at a military checkpoint in Paju, on July 10, 2013. Photo AFP/File, Ed Jones
since then amid squabbles over which side will take responsibility for the suspension and the North’s refusal to accept Seoul’s demand for firm safeguards against shutting Kaesong down unilaterally. Seoul also seeks to allow foreign firms to operate in Kaesong in an apparent bid to make it more difficult for Pyongyang to shutter the zone by insulating it from changes in inter-Korea relations. The talks — even though fruitless so far — are a contrast to months of crossborder friction and threats of war by Pyongyang after its February nuclear test attracted tougher UN sanctions. Pyongyang last Wednesday proposed separate meetings to discuss the
resumption of suspended cross-border tours to its scenic Mount Kumgang resort and the reunion of families separated by the Korean War. But it retracted its proposal a day later after Seoul only accepted the offer of talks on family reunions while refusing to discuss the Mount Kumgang tours — once a valued source of hard currency for the impoverished communist state. On Saturday, North Korea warned that the fate of the Kaesong talks would affect overall inter-Korean relations. “Unless the Kaesong Industrial Complex issue is resolved, there cannot be any progress in inter-Korean relations,” the North said in a statement carried by its official state media. ■ AFP
PHL franchising to grow 20% this year — industry patriarch Lim THE franchising business is expected to grow by 20 percent this year and 30 percent in 2014, largely on food brands and retail concept stores, a top industry official said Monday. “For 2013, we are looking at 20 percent growth in franchises and 30 percent for 2014,” Philippine Franchise Association chairman emeritus Samie Lim told reporters on the sidelines of a Forum in Makati City. The projection compares with 10 percent to 20 percent annual growth posted at least in the last five years, said Lim, considered as the “Father of Philippine Franchising.”
There are 130,000 franchises under 1,300 homegrown and foreign brands operating in the Philippines. Asked on the growth drivers for this year and the next, Lim said, “It’s always food first and then retailconcept. They both have really strong growth.” Business-minded Filipinos are now closely looking at tapping the services component of franchising—spa and wellness, marketing, and health care, Lim noted. The growing services arm franchising can be attributed to the higher spending power of Filipinos.
“We have moved from consuming just goods to consuming services,” George Manzano, vice dean at University of Asia and the Pacific School of Economics, said in a separate interview with reporters. Lim cited the phenomena of local and foreign franchise brands debuting in the Philippine market. “We are seeing many franchises that have set up first stores and these brands will grow further,” he said, adding that at least 30 new foreign franchise brands have entered the Philippines so far this year. ■ Siegfrid Alegado / VS, GMA News / July 15, 2013 / 7:56 PM
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Two Pinoys in Hong Kong abode cases ordered to pay court costs TWO Filipinos who lost their right-ofabode cases in Hong Kong have been ordered by a Hong Kong court to pay the government’s legal costs. A report on Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) on Tuesday said the Court of Final Appeal issued the order to Evangeline Vallejos and Daniel Domingo, Radio Television Hong Kong said. Vallejos and Domingo had sought the right to abode in Hong Kong after having worked there for more than 20 years, the report noted. However, the RTHK report also said that since the two were on legal aid, “the money will come from public funds.” Hong Kong’s top court earlier rejected Vallejos and Domingo’s bid for permanent residency. Thousands of foreign domestic helpers, mostly from the Philippines, in May lost their bid for permanent residency in Hong Kong. The development came after the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, in a unanimous
decision, denied the petition of two Filipino domestic helpers seeking permanent residency in Hong Kong, a report on the South China Morning Post said. In September 2011, a lower court ruled that Vallejos had the right to seek permanent residency in Hong Kong. The HK government, however, won an appeal in March 2012. A previous Reuters report said that under Hong Kong’s constitution, foreigners are entitled to permanent residency — which brings the rights to vote, claim welfare and other services — if they have lived there for an uninterrupted seven years. Immigration law, however, denies that right to foreigners who work as home helpers, most of whom are from the Philippines and Indonesia. According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, there are almost 175,000 Filipinos residing and working in Hong Kong as of December 2011. ■ VVP, GMA News / July 16, 2013 / 4:40 PM
Bangko Sentral: Remittances reach $1.867B in May, up 5.3% y-o-y
CASH remittances posted gains above government’s goal in May, largely driven by robust demand for Filipino workers overseas, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Monday. Money sent home by Filipinos working and living abroad and coursed through banks grew at annual rate of 5.3 percent to $1.867 billion in May, the central bank said in a statement. Although faster than the 5.1 percent in May 2012, the growth in May is slower than the 6.1 percent recorded a month earlier. Money transfers in the first five months totaled $8.783 billion, up 5.7 percent year-on-year and above the 5-percent forecast by the central bank for the year. The United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Canada and Japan were the main sources of cash remittances in January to May. Personal remittances—which include cash transfers made through banks and hand-carry transfers both in cash and in kind—hit $2.068 billion in May, up 6.2
percent year-on-year, central bank data showed. For the first five months, personal remittances amounted to $9.72 billion, an improvement of 6.4 percent. “Remittances remained robust due to sustained demand for skilled Filipino manpower overseas,” the Bangko Sentral said. It cited a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration report showing that a third of the 431,384 job orders from January to June were already processed. Expanded operations of money transfer providers across the globe were also seen to have helped capture a broader base of remittances through formal channels, the central bank said. “[E]fforts of bank and non-bank remittance service providers to expand their international and domestic coverage have also supported the inflow of remittances,” it noted. Overseas cash remittances hit a record $21.391 billion last year, up 6.3 percent from $20.117 billion in 2011. ■ Siegfrid Alegado / VS, GMA News / July 15, 2013 6:17 PM
Taxpayers begin footing bill for mismanaged banks MANILA - Taxpayers have begun footing the bill for the failure of bankers to manage their affairs well. Early this month, the Department of Finance (DOF) released data showing state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp (PDIC) receiving P314 million in subsidy from the national government last May. This makes PDIC the third biggest recipient of state financial support among government owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs), next to the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). But while the subsidy to NHA and NIA is spent largely on providing homes to the poor and irrigation for farmers, the government’s financial support to failedlenders is spent
on giving back depositors the sums they entrusted to bank owners who however ended up losing the money. The government subsidy to PDIC also marks the first time in recent years that PDIC, which used to get its financial wherewithal from banks, has gone to the national government for alms. Before this happened, PDIC financed its operations, including the insurance coverage of depositors, by charging banks a regular fee. PDIC president Valentin Araneta told InterAksyon.com that last May’s subsidy was the first of six tranches of national government aid to support the payouts to failed bank depositors with accounts of up to P500,000 each.
He said the subsidy is not “lifetime,” but rather “bridge financing” as PDIC needed a leg-up after Congress, through Republic Act No. 9576, increased the maximum insurance coverage of depositors from P250,000 earlier to P500,000. “The subsidy is just a support for that increase, part of the legislative action in 2009. This is for payouts in excess of the P250,000 formerly mandated,” Araneta said, adding that the payouts pertain to the “reference period.” Under RA 9576, the first P250,000 of the deposit insurance coverage should be shouldered by the PDIC. Amounts in excess of P250,000 but not more than P500,000 would be shouldered by the national government.
The law provides that Congress appropriate each year the necessary funds to reimburse the PDIC for any payment to insured depositors in excess of P250,000. From June 2009 to June 2013, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Monetary Board placed 104 banks under PDIC receivership. The state deposit insurer has paid P22.1 billion worth of 467,604 insured accounts. It can be recalled that in late 2008, 13 rural banks under the Legacy Group, owned by Celso delos Angeles, folded up and were placed under PDIC receivership. These banks, which had a combined P14.03 billion in insured deposits in 132,642 accounts, were found to be insolvent after engaging in unsound bank practices.
Monetary authorities found that the Legacy banks falsified public documents by inventing fictitious loans so that funds can be carted off for personal use of bank officials. It was the biggest rural bank closure to date. ■ Likha Cuevas-Miel / InterAksyon.com /July 15, 2013 / 12:25 AM
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
Azkals goalkeeper Roland Mueller transfers to second-division Swiss club
Kobe Bryant returns to Philippines... Bryant, who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon injury, is a many-time visitor to the Philippines. He was last in the country in 2011 to play in a pair of exhibition matches matches dubbed the SMART Ultimate All-Star Weekend alongside other NBA players during the league’s lockout. Lenovo Mobile is making a big play for the growing smartphone market in the Philippines, which InterAksyon.com Infotek reports grew by 146 percent from
Continuation from page 40 April 2012 to May 2013. Bryant earlier recorded a video called “Walang Iwanan” specifically targetted at Filipino users. The Los Angeles Lakers guard’s visit is the latest development in what has been a banner year for NBA fans in the Philippines. Miami Heat forward LeBron James is set to make his first trip to the country next week, while the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers will play the league’s first preseason game in the Philippines in October. ■ InterAKTV /July 17, 2013 / 10:09 AM
PHILIPPINE national men’s football team goalkeeper Roland Mueller has switched sides, transferring to Switzerland following his former club’s disqualification in Germany. Mueller has agreed to a one-year deal for Servette FC, a club that plays in Switzerland’s second tier football league, the club announced on its official website last Wednesday. The contract also includes a two-year team option. “On arrival, the club gave me a strong impression. This is a club tradition. There is a real project,” Mueller said, according to a rough translation of the club website’s report written in French. Mueller’s transfer comes almost a month after his German club, MSV Duisburg, was denied license to play in Germany’s second division league. The squad’s disqualification came after submitting important documents that contained “computation errors” and “unfair credit terms” regarding its finances, according to a report by Deutsche Welle.
Despite finishing 11th out of 18 teams last season, MSV Duisburg were relegated to Germany’s third division. Servette played last year in the Swiss Super League, Switzerland’s top football competition, before being relegated to the second division this year. Mueller, 25, joined the Azkals in
2011, serving as the squad’s secondchoice keeper behind Fulham FC’s Neil Etheridge. He last saw action during the squad’s campaign in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup last March, helping the Filipinos book a ticket to the tournament proper in Maldives next year. ■ Karl Decena / InterAKTV / July 17, 2013 / 6:42 PM
Buoyed by Pinoy crowd, Gilas bounces back with 18-point win on eve of Tall Blacks showdown
Gilas to simulate grueling FIBA Asia tournament... While looking for replacement tuneup matches, the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas brain trust had to find a trip that would provide the team an environment similar to an international tournament schedule that features several game nights in a row with little rest and limited practice time. On Tuesday, the team left for New Zealand for a 10-day training hoping to get that valuable experience. Upon arrival, the 13-man Gilas pool immediately plunges into action under the guidance of Tab Baldwin, a former national coach of New Zealand, Lebanon, and Jordan, for two-a-day practices on Wednesday and Thursday. The Philippine team plays its first match on Friday against Hawkes Bay Hawkes coached by Baldwin at the Hastings Sports Centre in Napier in a match that’s open to the public. The two teams will do battle again the very next day, with their second encounter in a closed-door session. Gilas ends its sojourn in Napier with a match against an all-star team from the National Basketball League, featuring top locals bannered by imports, July 14 at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Napier. The match, which serves as an appetizer to that evening’s NBL finals duel, is also open to the public. After a one-day break, the Philippine team will travel to Wellington to take on the Saints, the club tabbed as favorite to win the NBL title, on July 16 at the Te Rauparaha Arena.
Continuation from page 40 Gilas wraps up its schedule against club teams on July 17 at the St. Kentigerns School Gym in Auckland, when it takes on the Super City Rangers. Finally, the Philippines battles the Tall Blacks national squad in New Zealand on July 18 in another closed-door matchup. Designed schedule The Gilas schedule in New Zealand — three straight games followed by a oneday break before another three straight games — was specifically designed to simulate the first two rounds of the FIBA Asia Championship. In the Asian tournament, the Philippines takes on Saudi Arabia on August 1, Jordan on August 2, and Chinese Taipei on August 3. After a one-day break, Gilas will go into the second round of the tournament against teams from Group B, with three straight nights of games against expected qualifiers Japan, Lebanon, and Qatar. The New Zealand trip will also allow Reyes to play with the final roster for FIBA Asia Championship, with the deadline for submission set on July 12. One final player will be cut from among Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Larry Fonacier of Talk ‘N Text; Beau Belga, Jeff Chan, and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine; Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel; Gary David of GlobalPort; June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze; Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee; and naturalized center Marcus Douthit. ■ InterAKTV / July 9, 2013 / 7:10 PM
THE Philippine national men’s basketball team, buoyed by a sellout crowd in Auckland, bounced back with a victory over club team Super City Rangers, 95-77, Wednesday at St. Kentigern’s Gymnasium. “Big win tonight vs the Rangers. Thanks to all the Pinoys here on Auckland who came out and supported,” wrote assistant coach Josh Reyes on his Instagram account. After two consecutive losses, the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national squad banked on the warm support of Filipino fans who gobbled up tickets to the tuneup match as early as two weeks ago. The Rangers missed the National Basketball League playoffs, but were reinforced by several players from other squads, including veteran Tall Blacks campaigner Dillon Boucher. “It was an honor to coach in what may be Boucher’s last international game. What a class act. Thanks for helping us prepare for the Tall Blacks tomorrow,” said Philippine coach Chot Reyes on his Twitter account. The win comes on the eve of the final test for Gilas against New Zealand’s Tall Blacks national squad, the 18th-ranked nation in the FIBA World Rankings. The two teams will play in a closed-door matchup to wrap up the tour.
The trip is part of the Philippines’ final buildup for the FIBA Asia Championship that begins on August 1. It has been marked by torrid support from Filipino fans from Napier, Wellington, and Auckland, who came out in full force to support the
team in all its public matches. After its New Zealand training sojourn, Gilas will fly back to the Philippines, where it will take on a selection of PBA stars on July 24 and the Kazakhstan national team on July 26. ■ InterAKTV / July 17, 2013 / 6:23 PM
Ginebra management meets with players, but no decision yet on coaching situation
BARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel team manager Robert Non met with the team’s players on Wednesday during their practice session. But the team executive, who currently sits as chairman of the PBA Board of Governors, said there is still no decision about the team’s coaching situation after the reported resignation of Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua last Monday. “No such thing happened,” Non said
when asked if an announcement was made about who will be calling the shots for the team. He said that the Ginebra coaching staff are working hand-in-hand to make sure the team gets its necessary training for the Governors’ Cup, which opens on August 14. “All of them are helping each other to get the team in good physical condition,” said Non.
Caidic ran the team’s practice on Tuesday, although he clarified that he won’t be taking over for Chua. “I’m just helping Ginebra now. But we’re full-time with La Salle,” Caidic told InterAKTV. Non, meanwhile, refused to comment on the Chua issue. “We’ll issue an official statement in due time.” ■ Rey Joble / InterAKTV / July 17, 2013 / 2:04 PM
July 2013 / Fortnightly – No. 14 • UK & Europe Edition
After Alfrancis Chua’s reported resignation, Allan Caidic runs Ginebra practice coached the Ginebra franchise in 1999,
A familiar face called the shots during Barangay Ginebra San Miguel practice on Tuesday, a day after the reported resignation of coach Alfrancis Chua. Allan Caidic, who served as the team’s head coach, supervised the
team’s training session, but clarified he’s not taking over permanently. “I’m just helping Ginebra now. But we’re full-time with La Salle,” Caidic told InterAKTV. The PBA’s Triggerman originally
leading a team featuring rookie Mark Caguioa to a Cinderella run in the AllFilipino tournament in 2001. He was replaced as coach by Siot Tanquingcen in 2004 and has alternately served as team manager and assistant coach for Ginebra over the years. Last month, Caidic was assigned fulltime to La Salle to assist Juno Sauler, another member of the Ginebra coaching staff who was appointed coach of the Green Archers. Chua reportedly announced his resignation to Ginebra players on Monday. Team management is supposedly in discussions with the coach, who led the Gin Kings to the Commissioner’s Cup finals, to convince him to stay with the team. ■ Karl Decena / InterAKTV/, July 16, 2013 · 12:11 PM / Sports5 file/ Joser Dumbrique
Bob Arum cautious about discussing long-term plans for Manny Pacquiao HALL of Fame promoter Bob Arum has Manny Pacquiao under contract until 2014 but the Top Rank head has learned his lesson and has refused to discuss what’s on the horizon for the comebacking Filipino star. Pacquiao is set to return to the ring after a disastrous sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last December in Las Vegas and is taking a cautious approach this time. Arum had grand plans for Pacquiao before the Marquez fight but misfortune struck when the Mexican threw a right hand that Pacquiao ate as he was going in for the kill. “We’ll see,” said Arum from his residence in Las Vegas yesterday, sounding a bit concerned about Pacquiao’s decision to take on the ultraaggressive Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 in Macau instead of Mike Alvarado. In the event Pacquiao disposes of Rios, Arum would be forced to line up something next year. But if Pacquiao doesn’t redeem
himself from the Marquez match, Arum will have no choice but to think about whether it would still be viable to promote Pacquiao even in Macau and other places outside the US. Even trainer Freddie Roach has reiterated his desire to force Pacquiao to hand up his gloves if he fails to impress
against Rios. Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz, however, is confident the Rios fight will bring out the best in his boss. Rios’s style is said to be tailor-made for Pacquiao and Rios’ slow feet would enable Pacquiao to fire at will. ■ Lee Jimenez / InterAKTV / July 16, 2013 / 5:24 PM
THE Ateneo Blue Eagles broke through for their first victory in UAAP Season 76, defeating the Adamson Falcons 71-59 on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Juami Tiongson scored 15 points, while big man JP Erram added 12 points and 12 rebounds and played a key role in a third quarter run that allowed the Blue Eagles to break away. Ryan Buenafe finished with a near triple-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists, while Chris Newsome added 10 points and seven rebounds for the five-time defending champion Blue Eagles, which opened the tournament with three straight defeats. “Rebounding was key for this win,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol, whose players won the battle of the boards, 49-37. Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena played limited minutes for the Blue Eagles after missing
the last two games with an ankle injury. “I had to commend him for the courage,” said Perasol. “The guy is just a winner, he wanted to help the team.” After grabbing a 32-28 halftime lead, Ateneo took advantage of the absence of Adamson big man Ingrid Sewa, who injured his shoulder in the first half. Erram then began to operate inside, fueling a 13-5 run to end the third period with a 57-47 lead. Ateneo dominated the rest of the game, stretching its lead to as much as 15 points, 70-55, capped by five straight points from Tiongson to seal the triumph. The Blue Eagles improved to a 1-3 win-loss record to tie University of the East at sixth place in the standings. Roider Cabrera scored 14 points and three rebounds for Adamson, which fell to a 2-2 win-loss card. ■ InterAKTV / July 14,
2013 / 6:22 PM
Without Marcus Douthit, Gilas loses by four points to import-powered Wellington Saints
Philippine boxers flame out of Asian Elite Championships AMMAN, Jordan — The quarterfinal round of the Asian Elite Men’s Boxing Championships proved to be the end of the road for the Philippine campaign here as the
Ateneo downs Adamson to nail first victory
last two hopefuls lost close matches Friday. Asian Games gold medalist Rey Saludar, 25, started off strong against Thailand’s flyweight bet Tanes Ongjunta
but allowed the younger fighter to dictate the tempo in the next two rounds to bow out of the competition on identical 28-29 scores of the three judges. In almost the same fashion, Rogen Ladon let a win slip out of his hands as he gave up control that he held in the first round to vaunted Temertas Zhussupov of Kazakhstan. The match ended in scores of 28-28, 28-29, and 27-30. “We are naturally disappointed but all our losses were to powerhouse teams and all were close fights,” said ABAP executive director Ed Picson. “But we fell short. We were unfortunate to meet them early in the tournament, but that’s the way it is. We learned some valuable lessons here.” The other members of the PLDTABAP team were Mario Fernandez (bantamweight), Junel Cantancio (lightweight) and Joel Bacho (light welterweight). Coaches were Pat Gaspi, Ronald Chavez and Roel Velasco. ■
THE Philippine national men’s basketball team lost its second straight game in its New Zealand training tour, dropping a 100-96 result to the Wellington Saints on Tuesday at the Te Rauparaha Arena. Playing without naturalized center Marcus Douthit who was out with a bad back, the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national squad fell prey to the Saints’ pair of import Bryant Markson and Kareem Johnson who scored 32 and 30 points, respectively, according to coach Chot Reyes The Philippines had a terrific start, leading by 10 points, 30-20, after the first quarter. Gilas was still in control, 92-86, with 4:08 remaining in the game, when Markson and Johnson teamed up for a 12-0 run. Gary David pushed the Philippines closer with a four-point play, 98-96, with 28 seconds left. Gilas sent Markson to the line where he split his free throws, but the Ranidel De Ocampo was unable to score in the ensuing play, allowing Wellington to escape with the victory. Gabe Norwood led Gilas with 13 points, David added 12, while Jeff Chan and Jimmy Alapag chipped in 11 apiece. Despite the loss, Reyes commended the effort of his big men. “Still, it was a great game. (June Mar Fajardo), (Japeth Aguilar), (Marc Pingris) held their own before they fouled out. We took a positive step despite the loss. Wanted to win for the Pinoy fans though,” he added. Gilas tries to bounce back on
Wednesday when the team travels to Auckland to take on the South City Rangers, before wrapping up its New Zealand tour on Thursday with a showdown with the Tall Blacks national team. The tour is the final phase of the team’s buildup for the FIBA Asia Championship. Gilas will return to Manila to take on a selection of PBA players on July 24 and the Kazakhstan national squad on July 26 before the Asian championship opens on August 1. InterAKTV · Tuesday, July 16, 2013 · 5:43 pm The scores: Wellington Saints – Markson 32, Johnson 30, Trousdell 11, Ekenasio 9, Te Huna 8, Mills 5, O’Riley 3, Boucher 2, Groom 0, Thompson 0, Webb 0. Philippines – Norwood 13, David 12, Alapag 11, Chan 11, De Ocampo 9, Tenorio 9, Castro 8, Aguilar 7, Fajardo 6, Fonacier 5, Belga 4, Pingris 1. Quarters: 20-30, 48-52, 72-76, 100-96. ■ InterAKTV / July 16, 2013 / 5:43 PM
sport Kobe Bryant returns to Philippines on August 12
NBA superstar Kobe Bryant will return to the Philippines on August 12 as part of a promotional tour for Lenovo Mobile. The Chinese technology giant made its announcement on its Facebook page for Lenovo Mobile Philippines. “Kobe Bryant is coming back to Manila! Mark this date, August 12, 2013! Watch this space for more updates,” the page said. Continued on page 38
Gilas to simulate grueling FIBA Asia tournament schedule in New Zealand training tour
THE decision of William Jones Cup organizers to withdraw their invitation for the Philippines threw a wrench into the plans of national coach Chot Reyes. After all, Reyes was counting on the Philippine team’s stint in the Jones Cup to provide valuable tournament experience ahead of the FIBA Asia Championship in August. Continued on page 38
Azkals striker Denis Wolf moves back to Germany to play for fourth-division club PHILIPPINE national men’s football team striker Denis Wolf has moved to Germany to continue his playing career there after spending the past year and a half in the Philippines. Wolf has signed with TSV Havelse, which plays in the fourth-tier football
league in Germany, according to the club’s official website. The Filipino-German Wolf, 30, joined the Azkals in 2012 before suiting up for United Football League squad Global FC. Wolf’s best performance came during the inaugural Philippine Football Peace
Cup in Manila last year. He bagged the Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player honors to lead the Azkals to the tournament title, the country’s first crown in 99 years. He provided more attacking options for the squad, easing the burden of star striker Phil Younghusband upfront.
But injuries have slowed down Wolf, who saw limited action in the UFL last season. He last played for the Azkals in their semifinal loss to Singapore in the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup last year. ■ Karl Decena / InterAKTV file photo/Roy Afable / July 17, 2013 / 2:21 PM