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February 2012 – No. 3 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition


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ABOUT a million members of ©AFP/File/Noel Celis ©AFP/Noel Celis an influential sect held rallies in the Philippines Tuesday, February 28 police said, in a show of force amid perceived political tension with once staunch ally President Benigno Aquino. KUWAIT AIRWAYS Police shut major roads from midday (0400 GMT) and deployed hundreds of officers as the religious Page 8 Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) members group Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of gather at the Quirino grandstand. Christ) gathered at a Manila seaside ©AFP/Ted Aljibe President Benigno park. National police spokesman Aquino hopes to Agrimero Cruz said up to 600,000 find a wife Page 12 people joined the rally in the capital, which ended peacefully in early Philippine President Benigno Aquino said the conservative sect INTEREST TOTAL GURANTEED UK evening. had assured him the rallies were purelyEXTRA religious events. FREE LUGGAGE AVAILABILITY ALL LOWEST FINANCIAL He said police monitored similar INSTALMENTS ALLOWANCE YEAR ROUND PROTECTION This is just another way to show A helicopter hovers above a sea PRICES gatherings in two other cities, including church. Gants Hill, Central Line our displeasure,” the source said. of umbrellas as Iglesia ni Cristo one of 400,000 people massed in Stratford. from 16 Ilford, 7 minutesPage Aquino also fired sect member (Church of Christ) members gather Tarlac, Aquino’s home province, and another of 7,000 at a park in the Magtanggol Gatdula as National at the Quirino grandstand for a rally in Thousands of Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) LONDON OFFICE: MANILA OFFICE: FREE UK regional connection and Bureau of Investigation chief last Manila. About a Short million members of baggage major central port of Cebu. members gather at the Quirino grandstand. 269-275 Cranbrook Road, UNIT 2303 CITYLAND HERRERA TOWER, connections with all held the way to the was accused the influential sect rallies in Philippines. the The three million-strong sect is month after the official Ilford IG1 4TG. 98 V.A. RUFINO CORNER VALERO STREET, one of 1227 a handful ofCITY. religious groups of covering up the abduction of a Philippines, police said, in a show of Senate was holding a trial on whether MAKATI FREE regional connections courted by politicians of all stripes Japanese woman by his aides. Page 22 with in Philippines withforce amid perceived political tension Corona’s impeachment was valid. Gatdula appeared on stage with with once staunch ally President Led by Eduardo Manalo, grandson during election campaigns, with its of its late founder Felix Manalo, the massive vote block increasing its sect leaders at the Manila rally Tuesday, Benigno Aquino. Byahe Pinoy is a part of 360 Travel Group Limited. Taxes clout. are approximate and will be confirmed at the time of booking.Bienvenido All flights are ATOL“There protected are who subject availability. but Iglesia spokesman are and others aretosaying sect exerts huge political influence in political Local media said Aquino’s Santiago insisted the activity was a that there is a political dimension Philippines, home to more than 75 here,” Aquino told reporters. million Catholics. previously strong ties with the sect purely religious gathering. Page 28 “This is not for any person but rather “Their official communication While Aquino cannot stand for a have soured since Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona – who for the Glory of God and the salvation to us is this is part of their religious second six-year term, the sect’s block obligations and part of their faith,” vote could have on impact on the has indirect links to the Iglesia – was of humanity,” he told reporters. Pressed if it was meant to signal he added, stressing that the sect had electoral success of his political allies impeached in December, stirring the sect’s support for Corona, helped him win the 2010 election. in next year’s midterm Congressional condemnation from the group. Santiago said: “I suppose we can say Aquino said that politicians would polls. The Philippine Daily Inquirer on Page 30 normally be welcome to join the rally Iglesia members have been leading Tuesday quoted an unnamed sect that’s a mere coincidence.” Aquino also played down the but he had been advised to stay away rallies backing Corona, who could insider saying despite the group’s public statements to the contrary, motives of the rallies, saying the to avoid giving “a political tinge” to the lose his job if convicted in an ongoing the rallies were meant to show its conservative sect had assured him event and detracting from its “religious impeachment trial on charges of graft they were purely religious events intention”. and illegally favouring Aquino rival and unhappiness with Aquino. No overt political comments were predecessor Gloria Arroyo. ■ (AFP – “It seems Malacanang (presidential leading up to the 100th anniversary of Page 36 made at the rally which came as the Manila – February 28, 2012) palace) is not getting the message of the its founding next year.

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Politics

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March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Philippines Arroyo pleads not guilty to vote fraud Mynardo Macaraig, AFP A smiling ex-Philippine president Gloria Arroyo pleaded not guilty Thursday, February 23 to rigging an election, denouncing the charge that could see her jailed for life as part of a relentless vilification campaign. Arroyo is accused of conspiring with a feared political warlord to rig the 2007 senatorial elections, one of many corrupt acts her successor, Benigno Aquino, alleges she committed during her neardecade in power. “Not guilty,” Arroyo, 64, told the judge in a tiny Manila courthouse while wearing a neck brace to support her spine that she says is weakened from a rare disease.

Arroyo smiled and waved to a crowd of journalists before and after her court appearance in a show of good spirits, despite her reported ill-health and having been detained for nearly three months in a military hospital. She then issued a statement via her spokeswoman insisting that Aquino was unfairly targeting her. “Despite the continuous and massive vilification campaign against me and my family, I have always said that I will dispute all charges in the proper forum,” Arroyo said. Aquino, the son of democracy heroes, won a landslide election victory in 2010 on a vow to fight corruption that has plagued Philippine society for decades

©AFP Graphic

©AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

Gloria Arroyo delivers her speech at the military headquarters in Manila 2010. Ex-Philippine president Gloria Arroyo is expected to plead not guilty to charges of rigging an election.

but which he said worsened dramatically during Arroyo’s reign. Aquino has said prosecuting Arroyo and many of her allies is the top priority of his anti-graft campaign, insisting that it will only succeed if the most powerful violators are held to account. “We want to send a stern yet simple message: justice evades no one. There are no exceptions in our campaign against corruption,” Aquino said on Tuesday. Three weeks after Arroyo’s arrest in November, Aquino’s allies in the lower house of parliament also impeached Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona on charges of corruption and protecting the expresident with favourable rulings.

©AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

©AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

Ex-Philippine president Gloria Arroyo is accused of conspiring with a feared political warlord to rig the 2007 elections.

©AFP/File

Mike Arroyo (C), husband of former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo.

The Senate is now conducting a lengthy trial to determine if the impeachment was valid and whether Corona, appointed by Arroyo just before she stepped down in 2010, should be sacked. The historic prosecutions have raised political tensions in the Philippines, with the events dominating news coverage. However in a country where political turmoil has regularly boiled over into mass street protests in recent decades, few people have so far taken to the streets in support of Arroyo and Corona. On Thursday, just a few hundred supporters of Arroyo rallied near the court, and they dispersed peacefully after the arraignment. Prosecutors allege Arroyo ordered that ballots in 2007 elections be switched in the southern province of Maguindanao so that one of her allies won the final position available in the nation’s Senate. Arroyo is alleged to have conspired with then-Maguindanao governor and close political ally Andal Ampatuan Snr to tamper with the ballots. Ampatuan Snr, who had a

reputation as a ruthless political warlord, is a co-defendant in the vote-rigging case. He is also facing multiple murder charges for allegedly organising with his relatives the massacre in 2009 of 57 people in Maguindanao to stop a rival’s election challenge, an event that forced Arroyo to end their alliance. Aquino has vowed to file many more charges against his predecessor. She was already hit in December with a second criminal charge in relation to a $330-million telecom deal with a Chinese firm, in which her husband and a political ally allegedly received kickbacks. Arroyo, who is now a congresswoman after winning a parliamentary seat in the 2010 elections, was transferred to a military hospital shortly after her arrest. No date has been set for Arroyo’s trial, which could take years to complete. She has asked to spend the intervening time under house arrest, but for the time being she will remain detained at the military hospital. ■ (AFP – Manila – February 23, 2012)

Philippines’ Aquino rallies public in graft fight PHILIPPINE President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday, February 16 urged the public to rally behind his campaign to oust the nation’s top judge, warning the fight against widespread corruption hinged on the result. Invoking the famous “people power” revolution that installed his late mother to the presidency in 1986, Aquino said ordinary Filipinos had the power to ensure Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona was removed from office. Corona is on trial in the Senate, accused of violating the constitution to protect graft-tainted former president Gloria Arroyo from prosecution, and also for allegedly amassing a personal fortune above the limits of his salary. “We should not allow ourselves to become victims of injustice. We must

take a stand now,” Aquino told a townhall-style meeting with students at a Catholic college in Manila. He did not say specifically how the masses could take a stand. But he recalled how supporters of his late mother, Corazon Aquino, forced then dictator Ferdinand Marcos into exile by protesting peacefully, waging a “civil disobedience campaign” and boycotting firms linked to the strongman. Aquino said he trusted the impeachment process, but he wanted the public to understand that Corona and his backers were using a wide range of tactics in an effort to derail the case. Aquino said that if the Senate acquitted Corona, it would virtually destroy his efforts to rid the country of corruption. “Extremely difficult, if not

impossible,” he replied to a question from a law student about such a prospect. Aquino won a landslide election victory in 2010 on a platform to end corruption which has plagued the Philippines for decades and he says worsened dramatically during the decade that Arroyo led the country before him. Arroyo was arrested in November on charges of rigging the 2007 senatorial vote and is now awaiting trial in a military hospital where she is being treated for what she says is a rare spinal illness. Aquino then marshalled his allies in the lower house of parliament to impeach Corona, labelling him a “rogue magistrate” loyal to Arroyo. Under Philippine law, the Senate holds a trial to validate the lower house’s impeachment charge.

Aquino insisted Thursday that Corona had lied about asset declarations required of public officials, which he said should be grounds for him being sacked by the Senate.

“According to just three (bank) accounts presented at the impeachment, Mr Corona had hidden 31.5 million pesos (about $730,000),” he said. ■ (AFP – Manila – February 16, 2012) ©AFP/MPB/File/Gil Nartea

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (L) talks to students at a college auditorium in Manila, while Vice President Jejomar Binay (2nd-R) listens. Aquino said on February 16, people must take a stand against the impeached Supreme Court chief justice, warning an acquittal would derail the fight against corruption.


HELLO PHILIPPINES

Events Diary

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March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Original Creation and Copyright Reserved By: Hello Philippines 2011

6

2012 CALENDAR OF EVENTS DATE / TIME

EVENT

8 March 2012 – Thursday

London Philippine Fashion Show 2012

10 March 2012 – Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm

Philippine Embassy 1st Consular Outreach Mission in 2012 – Norwich Discovering the Cuisine of The Philippines

15 April 2012 – Sunday

VENUE Victoria House, Basement, Bloomsbury Square, London WC1B 4DA Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Costessey, Norwich, Norfolk NR8 5AH

ORGANISER

CONTACTS / REMARKS

Prospero World in aid of the Ayala Foundation Philippine Embassy, London, United Kingdom

Jerome Albano, President of Pinoy in Norwich Aksyong Samahan 07799 747 514

London Cooking Club

Luiz Hara luizhara@hotmail.com / www.londonfoodie.co.uk

Philippine Embassy 2nd Consular Outreach Mission in 2012 – Belfast, Northern Ireland Santacruzan 2012 in East London

Ennis Room, Belfast City Hospital

Philippine Embassy, London, United Kingdom

St Antony’s Church, Stratford, London

Filipino Community in East London, London East End Rosary Crusade and LeyteSamar Organization in the UK

26 May 2012 – Saturday

Independence Day 2012 – Celebrations in the Royal Borough of Greenwich 1. Flores de Mayo 2. Liturgical Service 3. Barrio Fiesta / Cultural Show

4. 5. 6.

Greenwich Filipino Community in line with the multi-cultural celebration for the declaration of Greenwich as a Royal Borough and the 2012 Olympics

Moises Espanola, President – 07894 548 939 / mespanola2@yahoo.com

2 to 3 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

Bristol Barrio Fiesta 2012

Eastville Park, Fishpond Road, Eastville, Bristol BS5 6AX

Filipino Community in Bristol

Willy 07900 485 194 / Gerome 07717 884 293 / Carlo 07528 770 491 / www.filcombristol.co.uk

9 to 10 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

114th Philippine Independence Day in Morden

Morden Park, London Road, Morden, Surrey SM4 5DX

Bayanihan UK

Teresita Valencia-Juval 020 7341 7431 / juvaltravel@btconnect.com / Gil Zarcilla 07802 761 446

16 June 2012 – Saturday 9:00am

4th Pistahan sa Newcastle 2012 (Newcastle Filipino Festival 2012)

Filipino Community Association of Newcastle Upon Tyne (FILCAN)

Sally Sellars 07886 742 417 / sallysanchez@btinternet.com

17 June 2012 – Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm

5th Yorkshire Barrio Fiesta 2012

Blaydon Rugby Club Field (Car Boot Sale Area), Hexham Road, Swalwell, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE16 3BN Rowntree Park, Terry Avenue, York YO23 1JQ

Yorkshire Maharlika Filipino Club in association with City of York Council

Lolita Boddy 01765 535 015 / 07973 469 450 / www.maharlika.org.uk

17 June 2012 – Sunday 9:00am to 6:00pm

Barrio Fiesta Cultural Festival 2012

Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3EH

Filipino Leeds Association

Eden 07809 404 580 / Wilma 07846 088 537 / Rowena 07717 220 095 / Mayona 07977 149 417

22 to 23 June 2012 – Friday & Saturday 7:30pm

East Meets West 2… Kantahan Naman!

Inter-Cultural Society of London

For more details contact: 07961 445 249 / gia@westendmamas.com

23 to 24 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

5th Fiesta sa BirminghamMidlands 2012

Filipino Association of Birmingham (FAB)

Marlo Quilang, Chairman 0121 244 6900 / 0121 421 7762

23 to 24 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

Filipino British Society (FBS) Barrio Fiesta in Milton Keynes

Royal Overseas League, Overseas House, Park Place, St James’s Street, London SW1A 1LR Woodgate Valley Country Park, Clapgate Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham B32 3DS Campbell Park, Milton Keynes

Filipino British Society (FBS)

Maria 07737 676 850 / Merald 07909 957 313 / Fe 07588 636 573

30 June to 1 July 2012 – Saturday & Sunday 10:00am to 6:00pm

28th Barrio Fiesta sa London 2012

Lampton Park, Lampton Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 4DN

ABS-CBN Europe Limited in cooperation with The Philippine Centre

Event Coordinator 07577 813 104 / londonbarriofiesta@yahoo.com

8 July 2012 – Sunday 8:00am to 6:00pm

Bradford Pinoy Barrio Fiesta and Santacruzan 2012

Lady Hill Park, Allerton Road, Bradford

British-Filipino Association of Bradford

Nina Ricci Santos, Chairman bfabmail@yahoo.com

21 April 2012 - Saturday

12 May 2012 – Saturday 1:00pm

Powis High Street St Peter Church Gen. Gordon Square

FREE LISTING of your events on the Hello Philippines newspaper and if you know of any Events do not hesitate to contact us. Please kindly contact us and submit your event via email or text to the following at info@hello-philippines.com / 07989 403 904.


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HP NEWS

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Concubine charge for ex-Philippine envoy Device found at Philippine airport not bomb AN ex-Philippine ambassador has been arrested for allegedly keeping a concubine, a court said Thursday, February 16 shining a spotlight on a little-used law against adultery in the Catholic nation. Francisco Ortigas, who is also a member of one of the country’s richest families, was charged on Wednesday with “concubinage” for allegedly conducting the affair with his wife’s best friend in a family-owned Manila apartment. “The painful truth, is that I married an abuser, a scrooge, an incorrigible philanderer, and worse, a pervert,” Ortigas’s wife of 43 years, Susana, said in an affidavit to police that led to the charge. Ortigas posted bail of 10,000 pesos ($233) shortly after police arrested him at a stock exchange building in Manila, Ronald Santiago, an officer at the court that will try the case, told AFP.

If found guilty, Ortigas, 67, faces between six months and four years in jail, while the alleged concubine would be barred from contacting him. The crime of “concubinage” in the Philippines is defined by law as a husband having sex with a mistress in his family’s home, or living in another home with a woman who is not his wife. It is one of many conservative laws that reflects the Philippines’ deep Catholic roots, stemming from three centuries of Spanish colonial rule that ended in the late 1800s. The Philippines is the only country in the world, except for the Vatican City, where divorce is outlawed, while abortion is also a crime. However while 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholic, only one in three are married in a church, contraception is widely used and

people are rarely prosecuted for concubinage. While Ortigas wields economic power and political influence – he was ambassador to Mexico from 2008 to 2010 — his estranged wife also comes from a powerful family — the Madrigal clan. While the concubinage charge refers only to that alleged affair, Susana Ortigas, 63, also accused her husband in the affidavit of years of infidelity, including habitual sex with a maid and a company employee. Ortigas, who is a shareholder in the family-owned Ortigas group of companies that owns vast tracts of land in Manila, requested privacy after he was arrested. “This is a purely private matter which refined and civilised individuals avoid elucidating on,” he said in a statement released by his lawyer. ■ (AFP – Manila – February 16, 2012)

Philippines captures militant wanted for beheadings AN Islamic militant accused of beheading Philippine soldiers and a host of other attacks was arrested on Tuesday after he was taken by surprise in his remote island hideout, authorities said. Security forces captured Abdulpattah Ismael, a member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, in a raid on a village on the strifetorn southern island of Basilan, said regional police chief Superintendent Napoleon Estilles. “He did not resist. He was taken by surprise. He did not expect this so he did not have time to react,” Estilles told AFP. Ismael faces murder charges for allegedly taking part in an ambush on Basilan in 2007 in which 14 Marines were killed, 10 of whom were beheaded, in one of the deadliest attacks by the Abu Sayyaf on the Philippine military. Estilles said Ismael also participated in a raid on a Basilan jail in 2009 that led to 31 inmates

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escaping, including Muslim militants, and the death of a guard. The Abu Sayyaf is a small group of Islamic militants founded in the 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It has been blamed for the nation’s worst terrorist attacks, including a ferry bombing in Manila in 2004 that killed more than 100 people. Abu Sayyaf militants are based almost exclusively in remote and Muslim-populated areas of the southern Philippines, including Basilan Island. A rotating force of 600 US Special Forces have been stationed in the south for a decade to teach local troops how to deal with the Abu Sayyaf and other Muslim militant groups. The Abu Sayyaf has only a few hundred militant left, down from about 2,000 a decade ago, according to the military and security analysts, and Philippine security forces regularly claim victories against the group. The military said it bombed an

PHILIPPINE police said Wednesday, February 29 that a suspected bomb found at an airport serving a popular tourist destination contained only car parts, and posed no danger. National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz retracted his earlier comments that a package found at Kalibo International Airport on Tuesday night contained an improvised explosive device. “We would like to clarify reports of the purported discovery of an improvised explosive device at the Kalibo International Airport,” Cruz said. “No hazardous items or IED (improvised explosive device) components were found inside the suspicious pouch.” Cruz had earlier issued a statement saying the package, dropped off at the cargo counter of the airport, contained an improvised explosive device, and that it had been disarmed in a controlled detonation. When contacted by AFP following his second statement, Cruz said he could not explain why the authorities had got it wrong in the first place, explaining that he just relayed the

initial report from local police to the press. It was the explosives and ordnance section which came up with the initial assessment that the device was a bomb, Cruz told AFP. “They subsequently told us it was just car parts and not a bomb,” he added. Kalibo in the central Philippines is one of the main gateways for tourists to Boracay, which attracted nearly a million visitors last year. The airport handles dozens of flights a day, linking Kalibo with Chinese and South Korean cities as well as those in the Philippines. ■ (AFP – February 29, 2012)

©AFP/Joel Nito

This file photo shows boats and kayaks in front of beach resorts on the central Philippine island of Boracay.

One dead in Philippine prison riot ©AFP/File

Philippine soldiers patrol the southern island of Jolo in 2007. An Islamic militant accused of beheading Philippine soldiers has been arrested after a raid on his hideout on the southern island of Basilan.

Abu Sayyaf hideout on Jolo island, close to Basilan, at the start of this month, killing 15 militants including three senior leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and the allied Jemaah Islamiyah group. But the Abu Sayyaf has remained an enduring security threat and is accused of regularly carrying out kidnappings for ransoms. Seven foreigners kidnapped in recent years in the south are believed to still be in captivity. ■ (AFP – February 21, 2012)

A Philippine inmate was killed and three others were injured when some of the most notorious criminals at the country’s largest prison rioted during a basketball game, the jail chief said Thursday, February 16. A 51-year-old man serving a life sentence for murder died from a stab wound in Wednesday’s fracas at the National Bilibid Prison’s maximumsecurity wing, Superintendent Richard Schwarzkopf said. “Some players took exception to the referee’s call, triggering a rumble,” he told AFP. The players were all members of the Sputnik prison gang and they set upon the referee, who belonged to the rival Commando group, after the contentious decision, according to Schwarzkopf.

This triggered the brawl between the two gangs and the dead prisoner belonged to the Commando group, he added. Three other inmates from the maximum-security wing, which holds convicts serving life in prison, were treated for injuries sustained from thrown rocks, he said. He said jail authorities had yet to find the weapon that killed the prisoner. The roughly 12,000 convicts at the maximum security section are let out of their cells once a day to play basketball or engage in other forms of physical exercise at the prison yard, Schwarzkopf said. The sprawling prison houses nearly 20,000 convicted prisoners in all. ■ (AFP – February 16, 2012)

Three Philippine police linked to kidnap and murder A Philippine policeman has been detained in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a woman after he was caught on camera driving the victim’s vehicle, an official said on Tuesday, February 28. Authorities are also searching for two other officers in what is the latest embarrassment for the country’s law enforcers, struggling to fight off widespread perceptions of corruption. The trio were caught on camera driving the sports utility vehicle of Lea Angeles Ng, wife of a shopping mall executive, into a secured parking lot near Manila on the day she vanished, national police spokesman Agrimero Cruz said. “We beg the bereaved family to bear with the often tedious process of criminal investigation and

police procedures that are being conducted to establish an airtight case against those responsible for this crime,” he said. A fourth suspect, a civilian, has also been arrested and confessed to the crime, which led police to the woman’s already decomposing remains last week, Cruz told reporters. The footage shows Superintendent Rommel Miranda, deputy police chief in the central Philippines, and two lower-ranked officers, Otelio Santos and Jifford Signap, leaving Ng’s vehicle in the parking lot, Cruz said. Santos and Signap are both listed as having gone on unauthorised leave while Miranda has been detained, Cruz added. Earlier this month, Philippine authorities ordered the arrest of

©AFP/File/Jay Directo

The police in the Philippines are struggling to fight off widespread perceptions of corruption.

10 Manila policemen who went into hiding after being accused of kidnapping four South Korean tourists. Officials said the victims were freed after a ransom was paid. In January, the head of the

justice department’s National Bureau of Investigation was sacked for allegedly covering up the kidnapping for ransom of a Japanese woman by his aides. ■ (AFP – February 28, 2012)


10

HELLO PHILIPPINES

HP NEWS

www.hello-philippines.com

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Philippines aiming to boost Manila airport THE Philippine government said Tuesday, February 21 it was aiming to boost passenger capacity at its congested Manila airport next year with the long-awaited completion of a controversial terminal. Upgrading Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3 will allow it to handle its maximum design capacity of 13 million passengers a year, four years after its opening, the government said. The terminal needs a new baggage handling system, a flight information display and 21 other systems identified in a safety audit, Assistant Transportation Secretary Joel Lacsamana said. “This would allow us to operate the terminal at 100 percent capacity by the end of the year. Right now we are stuck at 48 percent,” he told AFP. The government is expecting to get Japanese firm Takenaka, which was originally hired to build the terminal but never completed

it because of a complicated legal dispute, to finish the project, according to Lacsamana. Manila airport’s three terminals have a nominal maximum capacity of 28 million passengers. But they in fact already handled 27.38 million passengers last year even without Terminal 3 running at full capacity, according to the airport’s official data. Last month the government also began upgrading its much-maligned Terminal 1, the oldest of the three which was built in 1981. Lacsamana said completion of Terminal 3 would allow the airport to reduce capacity at Terminal 1 and speed up the construction work there. Then-president Joseph Estrada awarded the Terminal 3 project to a consortium involving Germany’s Fraport AG in 1997. Takenaka, the main subcontractor, began work in 2000.

©AFP/File

A Cebu Pacific plane taking off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. The Philippine government said Tuesday it was aiming to boost passenger capacity at its congested Manila airport next year with the long-awaited completion of a controversial terminal.

But Gloria Arroyo, who succeeded graft-tainted Estrada as president after he was ousted in a popular uprising, cancelled the contract and forced the consortium to sell the project back to the government in 2004. Arroyo’s government justified its decision by saying there had been many breaches of contract,

including the use of substandard materials and failure to conform to safety standards. It unleashed a raft of lawsuits, including one from Takenaka which was forced out of the operation. The government eventually opened the terminal in 2008, but not to the standard as originally planned. A number of the suits against the

government, including Takenaka’s one, remain unresolved although the Japanese company is now open to a settlement that would pave the way for it to do the upgrade, Lacsamana said. Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas said he planned to fly to Japan next week in an effort to strike a deal. ■ (AFP – February 21, 2012)

Kuwait couple gets death for Filipina murder Pirates kidnap two in attack off Nigeria

A court has sentenced a Kuwaiti couple to death for beating and then murdering their Filipina domestic helper, newspapers in the Gulf state reported on Monday. The criminal court found the disabled husband and his wife guilty of “premeditated murder” after throwing the maid from their car and driving over her, Al-Rai and Al-Anbaa dailies reported, citing the verdict. No names were published in the reports, for the couple or the maid. Newspapers said that based on testimony by one of the couple’s sons, the wife beat the maid for days until her health deteriorated. The boy told interrogators that his parents had said they were taking the maid to hospital for treatment, but that he never saw her again. According to the ruling, the couple took the maid, who was “unconscious” at the time, to a

AFP/File

A Kuwaiti man walks past a mural in a market in Kuwait City in January 2012. A court has sentenced a Kuwaiti couple to death for beating and then murdering their Filipina domestic helper, newspapers in the Gulf state reported on Monday, February 20.

remote area in the desert where they threw her from the back seat of the car and then drove over her until she died. About 73,000 Filipinos – 60,000 of them women working mostly as maids – live in oil-rich Kuwait, where some 600,000 domestic helpers, mostly Asians, are employed. ■ (AFP – February 20, 2012)

THE Nigerian Navy said Wednesday, February 29 it had deployed ships to search for a cargo ship which is said to have been attacked by pirates who kidnapped its captain and chief engineer. “The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base at Bonny has deployed some platforms (ships) since yesterday to track down the pirates, but up till this evening could not find the pirates. The search continues,” Navy spokesman Kabir Aliyu told AFP. Aliyu said that three people were kidnapped following the attack on the Breiz Klipper. “Those kidnapped were three: the captain, the chief engineer and one crew member,” he said in a text message. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a maritime watchdog, said the attack also left one crew

Indonesian maid raped, thrown from window

AN Indonesian maid was allegedly raped twice by a neighbour, who then cut and strangled her before throwing her out of the window of a secondstorey flat, according to media reports on Tuesday, February 21. The maid, who was 26 at the time of the alleged attack, survived the ordeal despite suffering serious injuries, the High Court heard in proceedings reported by the Straits Times daily. The identities of the victim and the accused – a 44-year-old former security guard – were not published on court orders. The newspaper said the incident

took place in September 2009, when the maid stepped outside the apartment where she worked to reach the circuit box located outside after the electricity tripped. The accused, who lived in the opposite flat, then pushed her into ©AFP/File/Roslan Rahman

More than 200,000 women, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, work as maids in wealthy Singapore.

the empty apartment and forced himself on her before cutting her with a pair of scissors and strangling her with a piece of string, the court heard. Police found the woman lying at the foot of her housing block, seriously injured but alive. If convicted of the charges which include attempted murder and aggravated rape, the accused could face life imprisonment and up to 24 strokes of the cane. More than 200,000 women, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, work as maids in wealthy Singapore. ■ (AFP – Singapore – February

21, 2012)

member missing and another died from a fall during the attack, injured, and was the latest in a series correcting earlier reports that he of incidents indicating heightened also had been shot dead. That ship was Panamanianpiracy in the Gulf of Guinea. flagged but its owners were The assault at about 1500 GMT Taiwanese, he said. Tuesday targeted a Dutch-owned, The IMB has said other recent Curacao-flagged refrigerated cargo attacks in the area included a tanker ship that was anchored near the that was hijacked south of Nigeria coast, said Noel Choong, head of the earlier in February. Nigerian vessels IMB’s Kuala Lumpur-based piracy intercepted that ship and rescued its reporting centre. crew. A group of about eight pirates The IMB, which is funded by armed with guns carried out the ship owners, warned in September attack on the ship, which had a crew that the seas off Benin, Nigeria’s of 14, he said, adding that Nigerian neighbour, were emerging as a authorities had been alerted. new piracy “hotspot” due to the “We have been advised that there weak enforcement capabilities of was a crew of 14 on board, made up of Russians, Ukrainians and governments in the region. Vessels carrying petroleum Filipinos,” Michael Howlett, divisional director of the IMB told AFP on products have been the most targeted. telephone from London. Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil He declined to disclose the producer, and neighbouring Benin nationality of the abducted sailors. Choong said he had received no last year launched joint sea patrols word on the fate of those reported with the backing of France. Leaders of 15 ECOWAS member missing or whether any ransom was nations have ordered their military being demanded. “The attacks off the Nigerian chiefs to urgently draw up plans to coast are very violent and they are crack down on the increasing threat from piracy and organised maritime increasing,” Choong said. “So far we have seen seven crime. ■ (AFP – February 29, 2012) attacks off Nigeria this AFP Photo/Derrick Ceyrac year and one off Benin. So that makes eight since the beginning of the year and we believe many more attacks may have gone unreported.” Two weeks ago, pirates fired on a cargo vessel off Nigeria, killing A cargo ship leaving Lagos harbor. Armed pirates the ship’s captain, opened fire on a cargo ship in an attack off the Nigerian according to the IMB. coast, kidnapping the captain and chief engineer and Choong said that robbing the crew before escaping, a maritime watchdog said Wednesday, February 29. vessel’s chief engineer


12

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www.hello-philippines.com

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Philippine police wanted for South Korean kidnap

PHILIPPINE authorities have ordered the arrest of ten policemen accused of kidnapping four South Korean tourists in a plot involving their countrymen tour guides, the Manila City government said Monday, February 20. The capital’s mayor, Alfredo Lim, also ordered that the 10 be dropped from police rolls after they went into hiding on February 14, around the time the kidnapping incident occurred. ©AFP/File/Jay Directo

Philippine police officers salute as they stand at attention at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Manila.

“The incident is a tremendous and serious flaw on the good name of the police department,” a statement issued by Mayor Lim’s office said. The order came after a South Korean tourist guide was arrested in his home country last week for allegedly conspiring with the Filipino police officers in the abduction. The guide, identified by Lim’s office as Choi Jang Tae, arrived in Manila with 12 South Korean tourists for a four-day vacation and enticed four of them to go shopping with him last week. As they were walking to a popular mall, the four tourists were accosted by armed men who forced them into a van, the statement from the mayor’s office said. The four were then told by their captors they would be charged with illegal possession of drugs unless they paid $30,000. Another South

Korean tourist guide later facilitated the transfer of the money, the statement added. This South Korean has since been arrested in the Philippines, the mayor’s office added. Law-enforcement officials have assured that all the policemen involved in the crime will be charged and the money they extorted will be returned to its owners. Lim, a former Manila police chief, also ordered a revamp of Manila police anti-narcotics units to prevent further incidents. The Philippines has long struggled with corruption and abuse among the police which has sometimes led to foreign tourists being victimised. In 2011, five Philippine policemen were sacked after they forced a German tourist to buy laptops for them by threatening to charge him with terrorism. ■ (AFP – Manila – February

20, 2012)

Philippine’s bachelor leader hopes to find a wife THE Philippines’ middle-aged bachelor president Benigno Aquino III said Sunday, February 19 he is still hoping to find a wife, saying it would make him a better leader. Aquino, who turned 52 this month and recently confirmed he was dating a South Korean woman, said he had been looking for a wife for years but he had never found anyone. “I have been planning this for a long time, since college even. But I just have been unlucky,” he told reporters. “Given the burdens of this office, if there was someone you could confide in, someone you could talk to, someone who would tell you, ‘you are still doing okay’, then of course, that would a key to your inspiration,” he said. In recent years, the balding, bespectacled president, a member of one of the country’s richest families, has been linked to several much younger women. Earlier this month, he confirmed

©AFP/Gil Nartea

A handout image of President Benigno Aquino III meeting South Korean celebrity Grace Lee in Manila in December 2011.

he was seeing a South Korean media personality, Grace Lee, 29. Lee, who moved to the Philippines as a child, co-hosts a popular music radio programme in Manila as well as several television shows. Aquino said last year that he was resigned to the idea of staying single until his term as president ended in

mid-2016 because the demands of his job were too great. But one of his sisters told local media in late 2010 that he had dated at least three other younger women, including his personal stylist, in the hectic period after he was elected to the presidency in May that year. ■ (AFP – Manila – February 19, 2012)

Senior Philippine law-enforcer wounded in ambush

A senior official of the Philippines’ premier crime-fighting agency was shot in an ambush in a Manila street late Tuesday, February 21 but survived the attack, police and hospital officials said. Reynaldo Esmeralda, deputy director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), was fired upon while being driven home from work, said a police statement. The police report said Esmeralda had been wounded and hospital officials interviewed on radio station DZMM later said the official, his brother and his driver all suffered wounds from gunshots and glass fragments. All three were described by the

©AFP/File

doctors as “stable,” and not in danger. Men on a motorcycle fired at Esmeralda’s car after the vehicle and three back-up cars exited the NBI compound, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in separate radio interview. The justice secretary, whose department is in charge of the

NBI, said Esmeralda told her via telephone that he did not know who might want to kill him. De Lima said the incident might be related to the sacking of NBI chief Magtanggol Gatdula and 10 of his agents last month after an investigation linked them to the kidnapping of a Japanese woman for ransom. She said Justice Department officials who investigated Gatdula’s case had recently received death threats. “I’m not saying that this is the reason (for the attack). I am just warning that there is already a security threat,” she said. ■ (AFP –

February 21, 2012)

Philippine rebel’s two sons killed in crossfire

TWO sons of a communist guerrilla died in crossfire as soldiers battled rebels in a strife-torn region of the Philippines, military officials said Sunday, February 26. The children’s father and a regional rebel vice-commander were also killed and another child wounded in the gun battle in an isolated area of the Bicol peninsula, said local army spokesman Major Angelo Guzman. An army patrol was checking reports of fighters of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) on the outskirts of Pili on Saturday when they came under fire from a hut, said Guzman. “They fired back in the direction where the shots were coming from. After a 10-minute fire fight, the rebels fled but when the soldiers investigated, they found the two dead rebels and the two dead children in the hut,” he told AFP. Guzman named one of the rebels as Benjamin Manzera, 54, and his sons as Michael, 10, and seven-year-

old Richard. Manzera’s 14-year-old daughter was wounded. A vice-commander of the NPA’s regional unit was also found dead in the hut, along with two assault rifles, the spokesman added. Colonel Generoso Bolina, a regional military spokesman, said the army was investigating and “if it is found that there was negligence on the part of the armed forces, then charges may be filed”. The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a Maoist rebellion to seize power since 1969. While the military has said the guerrillas’ strength fell to little more than 4,000 last year, the insurgents still extort money from rural businesses and attack isolated police and military units. The rebels retain considerable strength in the poverty-stricken Bicol region, a largely agricultural area some 150 kilometres (93 miles) southeast of Manila. ■ (AFP – February 26, 2012)

Philippine quake toll rises to 113 dead and missing

THE toll of dead and missing from a powerful earthquake that struck the Philippines has risen to 113 as the civil defence chief said Sunday, February 19 he had given up all hope of finding any more survivors. Benito Ramos, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chief, told AFP the latest toll from the 6.7 magnitude quake which struck the central island of Negros on February 6 was 52 dead and 61 missing. He added that army engineers were continuing to dig on the heavily-populated island because of the clamour of people insisting that the bodies of their relatives be found. “It is hopeless. I don’t think we can find all the 61 missing because of the amount of soil that eroded. That is

equivalent to about 50 metres (164 feet) thick of earth,” he said. “But I will not say they are already dead because of the sentiments of the people. There are so many who will shower me with protests if we declare them already dead,” he added Ramos said the excavation work was ongoing despite dangers of further landslides caused by aftershocks and heavy rain. More than 191,000 people were displaced by the quake after landslides buried homes. Almost 24,000 are still huddled in government evacuation centres, the disaster council said. The Philippines sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” – a belt around the Pacific Ocean where friction between shifting tectonic plates causes frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. ■ (AFP – February 19, 2012)

Philippines bandits kill six in revenge raid Six people were shot dead by gunmen who raided a remote Philippine village Thursday, February 23 in apparent retaliation for the killing of a bandit leader, the military said. About 10 gunmen attacked several homes at a farm on the southern island of Mindanao, targeting relatives of a police aide and killing six of them, regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said. The attack on Tininghalang village followed the killing nearby on February 11 of bandit leader Samang Andi, who was tracked down by police with the help of police aide Dencio Tabayag. “The Tininghalang victims are relatives of Tabayag, who helped the police get Samang,” the military spokesman told reporters. A brother of the bandit chief led the attack on the village, Cabangbang added.

Police accuse the Samang gang of being behind a range of lawless activities in the area, Cabangbang said, but did not cite specific crimes. Armed groups, including former rebels, engage in kidnapping, highway robbery, and extortion across Mindanao as the security forces fight decades-old Muslim and communist insurgencies as well as Islamist militants. ■ (AFP – Zamboanga, Philippines – February 23, 2012) ©AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

A Philippine soldier (R) watches vehicles pass a military checkpoint on Mindanao island in 2011.


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The Wynn Resorts board has voted to oust Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada.

The Wynn Resorts board has voted to oust Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada.

©AFP/File

AFP/File/Mike Clarke

Signage of Wynn Resorts Limited stands in Macau in 2011.

Wynn Resorts operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macau.

Wynn Macau board ousts Japanese tycoon Okada

Beh Lih Yi, AFP THE board of casino operator Wynn Macau on Friday, February 24 dumped Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada as a director over what it called “unacceptable conduct” involving alleged corruption in the Philippines. The subsidiary of US-based Wynn Resorts said the board resolved to remove Okada as a nonexecutive director “with immediate effect”, amid a bitter feud between the Japanese businessman and one-time partner Steve Wynn. The company issued a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange saying it felt “obliged” to sack Okada after an internal Wynn Resorts investigation accused him of bribing Philippine regulators in his bid to build a rival gaming resort in Manila. Wynn Resorts said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in a Las Vegas district court that Okada, Japan’s pachinko king, went behind the company’s back to secure a stake in Asia’s booming gaming industry for his Universal Entertainment group. It said Okada had lavished more than $110,000 on Philippines officials in apparent violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Okada had pushed Wynn to form a joint partnership in the Philippines, but the Las Vegas company had rejected the idea partly because corruption was “deeply ingrained” in the Southeast Asian archipelago, the suit said.

The Wynn Resorts board voted Sunday to expel Okada as a director and to redeem his 19.7 percent stake in the group at a severe discount. Okada is reportedly trying to block the $1.9 billion buyback. The Japanese tycoon and cofounder of the Wynn gaming empire has defended himself against the allegations, saying gifts are a regular part of doing business in Asia, especially in the gaming industry. He has also lodged a suit of his own against Wynn Resorts, over a $135 million donation the Las Vegas company made to the University of Macau. Analysts said the feud between Wynn and his former friend Okada looked set to escalate in the courts. “We believe we are at the beginning, not the end, of this dispute,” CLSA brokerage regional head of gaming research Aaron Fischer told AFP in Hong Kong. “If Wynn can maintain the current outcome then this would be extremely positive for Steve Wynn and his other shareholders.” Wynn Macau shares rose 0.31 percent to HK$19.76 shortly after the announcement. The US parent company hired former US Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Freeh to conduct its investigation into Okada’s activities. Its lawsuit accused him of offering payments and gifts to two regulators at the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor),

former chairman Efraim Genuino and current Chairman Cristino Naguiat, and their families. Philippine authorities confirmed Wednesday that top gaming officials accepted free luxury accommodation from a Japanese tycoon but denied these were bribes to ensure a new Manila casino was built. Pagcor awarded a licence to Okada’s Universal Entertainment in 2008 to build a gaming resort on the shores of Manila Bay featuring three hotels. Wynn Resorts alleges the Pagcor officials’ relatives and associates also enjoyed Okada’s generosity, as did the husband of then-president Gloria Arroyo. It says Naguiat, his wife, three children, nanny and company officials had a five-day trip to Wynn’s Macau resort in 2010, during which Okada met with the Pagcor chairman to discuss his Manila casino venture. Okada allegedly ordered that Naguiat be given the most expensive accommodation at the resort – a $6,000-a-night villa normally reserved for high rollers – as well as use of the casino’s best butler. More than $50,000 was spent on Naguiat’s visit, including about $20,000 in cash given to the Filipino delegation for shopping and gaming, the suit alleged. Naguiat also requested and received a Chanel designer bag worth more than $1,850 for his wife, according to the suit. ■ (AFP – Hong Kong – February 24, 2012)

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Philippines says to deport eight Chinese miners

EIGHT Chinese nationals will be deported from the Philippines after they were caught working illegally for a mining firm, an immigration official said Tuesday, February 14. Their arrests last week were the third time groups of Chinese had been caught working illegally in the mining sector over the past two years, fuelling industry concerns that firms from China were pilfering the country’s resources. The eight Chinese were employed with two chromite mining firms on central Samar island, but had entered the country as tourists and had no work permits, immigration bureau intelligence chief Antonette Mangrobang told AFP. The Department of Environment’s mining director for Samar, Roger de Dios, said there were many Chinese firms in the area that were skirting a national law that banned foreign firms from small-scale mining. “Supposedly they are Filipino companies but they are financed by Chinese nationals,” he told AFP. The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines also said there were increasing reports of Chinese companies taking advantage of the law that is meant to reserve smallscale mining for Filipinos. “We have heard of a lot of these Chinese nationals coming in. They use these local dummies to apply

for small scale mining permits and they just go on extracting minerals,” said chamber vicepresident Ronaldo Recidoro. “They have no environmental safeguards. We don’t know what their output is, what they do with it. Do they sell it (locally) or export it?” he said. De Dios said some of the Chinese-linked firms on Samar illegally exported ore out of the Philippines. “Some of them have been issued stoppage orders by the mining board. They stopped for a while, then went back to it all over again,” de Dios said. Last week’s arrests came after 80 Chinese were caught working illegally at a mine on the main island of Luzon. The immigration bureau’s Mangrobang said another 26 were detained for similar offences last year on the southern island of Mindanao. The Philippines has some of the biggest gold and other mineral deposits in the world, according to the US government, but restrictive laws and other factors make the mining industry relatively hard to access for foreign firms. Chinese embassy spokesmen could not be contacted for comment on the latest arrests. ■

(AFP – February 14, 2012)

South Korean tour guide arrested over Philippine kidnap A South Korean tour guide has been arrested over the kidnapping of four compatriots by Philippine gunmen, who allegedly included local policemen, police said Friday, February 17. The 33-year-old identified only as Choi was held Thursday during an investigation into the kidnapping of the Korean tourists in Manila this week, police said. The guide told investigators he had conspired with Philippine police officers and a South Korean broker staying in Manila, a police spokesman in the central city of Daejeon told AFP. Choi and 12 South Korean tourists from a sports club in Cheonan, 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of Seoul, arrived in Manila last Saturday for a fourday vacation, according to a police statement. Four of them guided by Choi left their hotel in Manila on Tuesday morning for last-minute shopping. But they were forced into two

cars by five gunmen including Philippine police officers outside the hotel, it said. They were released after their families paid a total ransom of 24 million won (around $21,000) through a Korean middleman living in Manila, Yonhap news agency said, adding Choi later shared the ransom with Philippine police. Police confirmed a ransom was paid but refused to say how much. Yonhap said the four had been kept for seven hours in a room apparently used by police. It said Philippine police had rounded up 10 people for their involvement in the case. The Philippines is a favourite tourism destination for South Koreans and thousands also work, reside or study there. Last November authorities rescued three South Koreans kidnapped in a remote part of Mindanao island. ■ (AFP – February 17, 2012)


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Business & Finance

Kris finds a new home in Filinvest KRIS Aquino, the queen of all media, is the new face of Filinvest! Leading real estate developer Filinvest, which has been developing properties for almost 50 years now, has tapped celebrity and presidential sister Kris Aquino as its new brand ambassador. The meeting of two big names, both trusted and wellrespected by Filipinos, is set to create an exciting landscape in property development in the months to come. “I’m excited to represent such a big name in the real estate industry,” begins Kris as she openly expresses her admiration for the company for its role in dream building. “Their tagline says it all – We build the Filipino dream.” Kris adds that this vision is what she admires most about the Gotianun family, noting that she did not think twice when she was first approached to be part of the Filinvest family. “I am thankful for the trust they’ve given me and I am honoured to take on my role as brand ambassador of Filinvest,” she said. “They have been quite low key but they already have a lot of major developments.”

Kris is also certain that Filipinos know that she and her siblings share in the noble vision of the Gotianun family for the country and for their countrymen. “What I

like about them is that they build homes not just for a selected few, but for a wider range of Filipino families all over the country.” ■ (Malaya Business Insight – February 21, 2012)

Philippine film industry in decline

THE number of films produced in the Philippine movie industry has halved over the past decade in the face of piracy and Hollywood competition, a government study released Wednesday, February 15 showed. Only the rise of independent film-makers has saved the industry from declining further, with “indie” movies now accounting for more than half the total made in the Philippines, the study said. “There are many factors causing the fall. There is piracy and competition from foreign movies. Local movies are also not given as much support from the public,” said government statistical

coordination officer Gerald Clarino. The report by Clarino and other officers of the National Statistical Coordination Board found that from 1960 to 1999, the Philippines produced an average of about 140 movies each year. This gave local films at least 20 percent of the domestic market, the report said. At the time, the industry boasted of being one of the most prolific movie producers in the world after Hollywood and India’s “Bollywood”. But from 2000 to 2009, local film output fell to an average of 73 annually with only 11 percent of the market, the report said. Last year 78 local films were made.

©AFP/File

Philippine director Brillante Mendoza films in a street in Manila in 2009. The number of films produced in the Philippine movie industry has halved over the past decade in the face of piracy and Hollywood competition, a government study released Wednesday, February 15 showed.

Clarino said the the top-grossing movies in the Philippines were typically US-made films with multimillion-dollar budgets that the local movie industry could not afford. He said the most popular local movies were usually light, romantic comedies that did not require big budgets. Clarino also cited copyright piracy as a problem, with bootleg DVD copies of Philippine movies sold in Manila’s streets sometimes on the same day the films opened in cinemas. Highlighting the extent of the problem, a top aide of President Benigno Aquino was last month caught buying bootleg DVDs in Manila, but escaped any major punishment. Movie industry leaders have also previously blamed high taxes on tickets and a general lack of government support for their sector’s plight. Amid the overall decline, “indie” film-makers have emerged from virtually nowhere a decade ago to produce 45 films in 2010 and 44 in 2011, the report said. Filipino “indie” directors, such as Brillante Mendoza, Pepe Diokno and Jim Libiran, have won awards at prestigious foreign film festivals. But their films, which often tackle serious social problems in the corruption-plagued and impoverished Philippines, have rarely achieved box office success at home. ■ (AFP – February 15, 2012)

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Philippine Airlines in sale talks with San Miguel

PHILIPPINE Airlines said Friday, February 24 it was in talks to sell a stake in the loss-making flag carrier to local conglomerate San Miguel. “Talks are definitely ongoing,” airline spokeswoman Cielo Villaluna told AFP when asked to confirm media reports that negotiations were under way. “As to the acquisition of shares and details of the negotiations, we are bound by non-disclosure until (the) fine print of the deal is reached.” One report said San Miguel planned to pay $500 million for a 49-percent stake in PAL and take management control, but Villaluna refused to discuss details. A San Miguel spokeswoman did not immediately reply to an AFP request for comment. PAL, majority owned by Philippine tycoon Lucio Tan, suffered a 1.45-billion-peso ($34 million) pre-tax loss in the three months to December 2011, its listed parent firm, PAL Holdings, reported on Tuesday. PAL was forced to cancel many flights during that quarter amid industrial action as airline management outsourced 2,600 jobs in in-flight catering,

airport services and call centre reservations in an effort to cut costs. The latest result put the airline 3.60 billion pesos in the red in the first nine months of its current fiscal year, according to the parent firm. PAL had a near-monopoly on the domestic aviation market two decades ago but now ranks second in terms of number of flights behind local budget carrier Cebu Pacific. San Miguel, one of the country’s largest companies, has aggressively expanded its focus over the past few years from its core brewing operations into oil refining, electricity, toll roads, and construction. ■ (AFP – Manila – February 24, 2012)

©AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

Philippine Airlines is in talks to sell a stake in the loss-making flag carrier to local conglomerate San Miguel.

Philippine mall chain cashes in on China expansion THE Philippines’ largest shopping mall operator said Friday, February 17 its profits increased strongly last year as an ambitious expansion plan at home and in China paid dividends. SM Prime Holdings said its 2011 consolidated net profits rose 15 percent from a year earlier to 9.1 billion pesos ($213.31 million), driven by expanded capacity from newly opened malls and rental growth. Its China malls contributed 889 million pesos in net profits, double the previous year’s 428 million pesos, a company statement said. Consolidated revenues jumped 13 percent to 26.9 billion pesos. Company executive vice president Jeffrey Lim said the firm would continue with its strategy of building malls outside of the major cities in the Philippines and China. SM Prime Holdings plans to build one shopping mall annually in China from 2013 to add to the four now in operation and a fifth to open this year in the southwestern city of Chongqing. “We will build in second and third-tier areas in China. These are areas with big growth potential,” Lim told AFP.

In addition, three or four malls will be built every year in provincial areas of the Philippines, he added. The company opened five locally last year with a total floor area of 380,000 square metres (4.1 million square feet). By the end of this year, SM Prime said it would have 46 malls in the Philippines and the five in China, with a total gross floor area of 6.3 million square metres. The listed firm is controlled by Henry Sy, 87, a China-born immigrant listed by Forbes magazine last year as the Philippines’s richest man, with a net worth of $7.2 billion. SM Prime shares closed 3.32 percent higher at 16.20 pesos on Friday. ■ (AFP – February 17, 2012) AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

SM Prime Holdings plans to build one shopping mall annually in China from 2013.


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March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards goes global Worldwide search for Filipino organizations doing extraordinary service kicks off this month ABS-CBN Network – “Where there are Filipinos, there are heroes, and it’s time to honor them.” With this campaign line, firm belief and an international network of regional teams in place to make it happen, the Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards is going global this year, the first time since its inception in 1994. “It is a huge and momentous initiative to reach out to Filipinos all over the world and recognize their collective efforts in serving their less fortunate Filipino brothers and sisters wherever they may be. We are truly excited by this development,” said Fr. Nilo Tanalega, SJ who heads Ugnayan at Tulong para sa Maralitang Pamilya (UGAT) Foundation (translated literally as Relations and Assistance for Poor Families). UGAT, a non-profit

organization based in the Philippines, oversees the screening of nominations and selection of winners. “My father would be smiling right now,” said Raffy Lopez, COO of ABS-CBN Global which oversees the promotion and production of the distinguished award ceremonies. “He started Bayaning Pilipino (Filipino Heroes) with Father Nilo. It would warm his heart to know that ABS-CBN in Manila, TFC globally and UGAT, have expanded their long-running partnership to search around the world for ordinary folks doing extraordinary work in the service of the Filipino people. This is true to his vision and mission.” The “father” is Don Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr., founder of ABSCBN Corporation, the largest entertainment and broadcasting company in the Philippines. He is known in the industry as the “Father of Philippine Broadcasting”. The award, which was named after him,

began after he learned of a Filipina maid in Hong Kong who got run over by a car in pursuit of saving a child. The award gives recognition to Filipinos (now as organizations) who in the face of challenges and difficulties manage to rise and emerge as role models of service in their communities. “We have honored so many Filipinos, but taking the search to a worldwide level posed major logistical requirements. We are so enthused by the energy and commitment of TFC teams in all regions in taking part in the project. It shows their involvement and love for the Filipino communities that they serve,” said Chit Guerrero, vice president for ABS-CBN Corporation’s Special Projects which works directly with UGAT in Manila for this project. Gawad Geny Lopez Jr Global Bayaning Pilipino has kicked off this month. The search is open

to all Filipino organizations in the U.S., Canada, Asia-Pacific (covering Singapore and Hong Kong), Europe (covering Italy and U.K.), Middle East, Australia and Japan. The criteria are as follows: (1) Measurable impact: scope and number of beneficiaries with known effective results; (2) Highlight the value of unity/ PAGKAKAISA (effective elimination of selosan (jealousy), inggitan (envy), siraan (negative criticism), etc. or has effectively dealt with these either through interventions or through innovative methods); (3) Focused on service and/or an issue (poverty, health, education, etc) as felt either in your respective country or in the Philippines; (4) Transcend regionalism/parochialism; (5) Par ticipator y/people-oriented leadership (as shown in the manner of how they choose their leaders and their acceptance thereof); (6) Promote Filipino values and culture and Filipino heritage.

Deadline of submission of nominations is on March 15, 2012. Regional winners will be announced late May 2012 after a period of tight screenings and validation. The winners will be flown to Manila, Philippines for the national awarding ceremony to be held in June 2012. For nomination forms and more information, visit www. globalbayaningpilipino.com. ■ (ABS-

CBN Network – Redwood City, California, USA – February 10, 2012)

[About ABS-CBN Global – ABSCBN Global Hungary Kftis a wholly owned subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corporation, the Philippines’ largest entertainment and broadcasting company. It was created over 15 years ago to be in service to all Filipinos. Its global flagship product is The Filipino Channel (TFC). For more information, visit www.abscbnglobal.com.]

(From l-r) Sonny Laragan, Station Manager of Pinoy Radio UK; Roselle Collado, Universal Infinity Limited (UIL), Representative of Hello Philippines; Bong Calma, Regional Finance Director of TFC Europe ; Bibot Nolan, Consultant of Megaworld Europe; Yollie Solinap, Radyo Pilipino; Hon. Reynaldo Catapang, Deputy Chief of Mission of Philippine Embassy London; Hon. Ambassador Enrique Manalo, Philippine Embassy London; Edgardo Garcia, Managing Director of TFC Europe and Middle East; Rico Garcia, Protocol Officer of Philippine Embassy London Luis Bariuan, Marketing Director of TFC Europe;Buddy Bernardino, Station Manager of Radyo Pilipino UK; Archie Rotap, Philippine Service Corporation (PSC) Representative of Planet Philippines; Peps Villanueva, Program Host of Friday Night Jam, Pinoy Radio UK; and Bob Palma, Sta Lucia Land International

Photos By Nicholas Solinap on behalf of Hello Philippines

A Tribute to Filipino Excellence: An Intimate Press Conference on the launch of the first Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Global Bayaning Pilipino Awards Search & Preview of TFC’s 2012 Station ID: “Da Best ng Pilipino” Wednesday, 15 February 2012 – ABS-CBN TFC, 117 Earl’s Court Road, London SW5 9RL, United Kingdom)


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OFW News

www.hello-philippines.com

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

What distinctive attribute do you have that you believe will help you initiate changes in your community or in the country that will benefit other Overseas Filipino families? Randel Bernandino AN attribute is simply defined as an ordinary characteristic of a person. It is neither a pompous outburst of talent nor a majestic display of adeptness. Even the poorest of poor or the laziest person has an attribute, but it becomes distinct when used for a special reason or even the smallest and simplest things that we do can significantly affect others life. In my life, I hold on to the mission – vision that De La Salle Lipa has taught me: to teach minds, touch hearts, and transform lives. When I was young, I did not dream of initiating change. But as I grew up, time, experiences and challenges molded me to become optimistic, responsible, assertive, goal - oriented, and dynamic. Optimism in me started from a trial that I have to go through with my family. I grew up without my parents beside me. My mother had to work abroad because my father left us before I was born. It was not a happy experience. I thought I was hopeless. But I never lost hope; and I never thought of giving up on a dream that someday I would have them both beside me, loving and supporting me in every way. In high school, I could say that I did not take my studies seriously, even coming to the point of upsetting my mother. I realized my mistakes. Since then, I thought of all the hardships my mother went through and all the

sacrifices she had to make to give me a good future. Since then, I was encouraged to do my best, just like others. When I graduated from high school; I learned that my mistakes and failures are portals to discovering my full potential, not only as a good son, but also as an achiever in life. I don’t know until when I have to dream of it, or even if it will transform into a reality, but hoping for this almost impossible dream has enabled me to hope for other things, which are more achievable through my own efforts. Owing to this situation, I have not encountered any greater challenge. So, in anything that comes my way, I always face it confidently. I am responsible because, firstly, I have to live responsibly for myself. As I have developed the sense of responsibility within me, I found happiness in it that I would like to share much of it to others. I have handled different positions: vice president of Peer Facilitators Circle, vice president for external affairs and now president of the Psychology Society. I have also become member of different organizations inside and outside school. These leadership positions and affiliations with different organizations had all made me feel that taking responsibility is such a noble act. I have realized that the life of a student leader is tiring yet promising. Our tasks are time consuming but are fulfilling. In the end, the sense of having been able to serve others has made me want to get up again for

Randel Bernandino, a BPI Awardee.

another tiring but fruitful day to face with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. Through this, I have realized that the greatest compliment that one can receive is being counted on. I want to be counted on. I want to be a stronger foundation, and a better instrument for the fulfillment of other people’s dreams regardless of age, race or socio-economic status. I am assertive in everything that I do because I am goal - oriented. I want to achieve so much for myself, for my family and for the school. I want to

Hong Kong fights landmark maids residency ruling Beh Lih Yi, AFP

HONG Kong’s government has launched an appeal against a landmark court ruling which grants thousands of foreign maids the right to seek permanent residency in the southern banking hub. Government counsel David Pannick told the Court of Appeal the original ruling was mistaken as it restricted the authorities’ ability to determine who can permanently reside in Hong Kong and who cannot. The High Court ruling on September 30 gave Filipina domestic worker Evangeline Banao Vallejos the right to request permanent residency status, something that had been denied to foreign maids until then. “It is our respectful submission that (this) decision was wrong as a matter of law,” Pannick said at the outset of the hearing. He said the city authorities should be given some discretionary power to

ATTENTION

The Home Office is refusing settlement applications of Migrant Senior Care Workers because they either have gaps on their visas or they are not paid the minimum salary of £7.02. Some applications were

decide who was eligible for residency, rejecting arguments that restrictions on maids were unconstitutional and discriminatory. “There is no undermining of the rule of law if the legislature enjoys a certain margin of discretion,” he told the court. Most foreigners can apply to stay in Hong Kong after seven years of uninterrupted residency, gaining access to voting rights, benefits such as public housing and the right to live in the Chinese city without a work visa. But that right had been denied to the city’s 292,000 foreign maids, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, until Vallejos won her challenge last year. High Court Judge Johnson Lam ruled the law unconstitutional in a decision that sharply divided opinion in the city of seven million people. Officials warned it could open the floodgates to hundreds of thousands of residency requests from maids, some of granted after going through strenuous appeals; some do not need to go through so much. Clearly, there are inconsistencies on the way the Home Office deals with these applications, which makes the

have honors of different kinds, from different aspects and different events. These would not make me less or more, but I know that my contributions will make a significant effect to the school, and most importantly, to my mother. I always thank God for giving me my mother, who has served as an eye opener and inspiration to me. She encourages me to become better everyday! With all the realization that my mother is far from me and knowing that she works alone and suffers to give me a better living imposes a challenge on me, a challenge to be better in all the things that I do. I also keep on working hard for the Psychology Society, especially now that I am in the position to equip my fellow Psychology majors with the necessary knowledge and experiences that they will need in their future practice. Living in the benefit of my mother’s struggle, I feel that the only way to make me worthy of her efforts is to pay it forward. And I am indeed lucky by having been given the chance to serve my peers, my fellow psychology students and even the external community. I discovered that I have a heart that is capable of serving and sharing. It makes me so happy every time that the objectives of our activities are realized; for all my hard work and preparation are compensated. I see to it that my presidency is not only to benefit me, but most importantly, to

benefit my fellow Psychology majors. In my simple ways of teaching minds, touching hearts and transforming lives, I know that the people I serve now will radiate the learning I have imparted or shared. I pray that my beloved Psychology Society may mold true Lasallians in action who are also willing to teach minds, touch hearts and transform lives through their chosen fields in the future. So, our beloved country will be equipped of committed psychologists who are willing to start a change, and continue it. In every moment of my life, I thank God for giving me all the people who have made and still make me stronger, either by helping or by hurting me. They are all blessings to me because they are my source of strength in doing things right and in making the right things. I believe that life is a roller coaster ride of learning experiences. We learn not only from books, but also from the people around us and from the environment which we are part of. This is why I want to exemplify and be a role model of hard work and responsibility not only to the child of Pinoy Expatriates, but also to all students in learning community so that people will learn what I have learned from my mistakes as well. I also believe that it is not only about growing old, but also about growing up. Perhaps that’s why I committed myself to the things that molded me to be a better person. ■

©AFP/File/Ed Jones

©AFP Graphic

Chart showing the number of domestic workers registered yearly in Hong Kong.

HK government has launched an appeal against a court ruling which grants foreign maids the right to seek permanent residency.

whom have lived in the city for decades without access to residency status. Vallejos’ lawyer, Mark Daly, said the 59-year-old mother-of-five has yet to be granted permanent residency due to the ongoing legal dispute. She has lived in Hong Kong since 1986. Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union vice-

chairman Eman Villanueva said the government was entitled to appeal but accused it of wanting to discriminate against foreign domestic workers. “On our part, it’s disappointing not because the government is appealing but from the beginning they expressively said that foreign domestic

lives of these valuable workers category, please contact us as soon as KA L above U N Gdetails. AN possible onNthe even more difficult. c/o Bahay Kubo Housing Association We House, provide wide Wayrange of Kanlungan is also concern Caxton 129 St. John’s London N19 3RQ information and services on that the new immigration rules Tel no. 020 7263 8992 Mob. 07538797963 Email: kanlungan96_uk@yahoo.co.uk Our services are for will adversely affect Migrant settlement. Charity Registration No. 1077224 Senior Care Workers who are migrant workers regardless of not yet settled. If you are in this nationality. ■

ATTENTION

helpers should not be given the same right,” he told AFP outside the court. A small group of people protested at the court against the extension of residency rights to domestic workers. The hearing has been scheduled to run until Thursday. ■ (AFP – Hong Kong – February 21, 2012)

KANLUNGAN c/o Bahay Kubo Housing Association Caxton House, 129 St. John’s Way London N19 3RQ Tel no. 020 7263 8992 Mob. 07538797963 Email: kanlungan96_ uk@yahoo.co.uk Charity Registration No. 1077224


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February 2012 – No. 3 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

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24

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www.hello-philippines.com

Philippine Embassy Around The World

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

ADVISORY: CONSULAR OUTREACH MISSION, NORWICH 10 MARCH 2012 (COM-1)

ADVISORY ON INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE FORMALITIES FROM PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL PORTS The Embassy of the Philippines wishes to advise all Filipino travellers from the Philippines, departing from any airport or seaport bound for another country, that the Bureau of Immigration has issued on 10 January 2012 its ‘Guidelines on Department Formalities for International-Bound Passengers in all Airports and Seaports in the Philippines.” The entire text of the Guidelines can be found at http://www. immigration.gov.ph. Among the highlights of the Guidelines are the following: 1. Tourist travellers shall be required to present a valid passport, visa, and roundtrip ticket; 2. Financial capacity to travel may be proved by an authenticated affidavit of support or an affidavit of undertaking/guaranty; 3. Repatriated irregular workers may not be allowed to travel without clearance from the Inter-Agency

4.

5.

6.

7.

Council Against Trafficking (IACAT); Passengers who stayed abroad for more than 1 year as tourist/ temporary visitor and intending to depart for a second or subsequent time shall be subject to secondary inspection; First time overseas Filipino workers shall present a passport, visa, airline/sea craft tickets, Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC); and Allowable Visa Usage; Balik-Manggagawa OFWs shall present a passport, valid visa, airline/sea craft ticket; and OEC issued by POLO or POEA; A Special Travel Exit Clearance shall be required from PEZA registered companies sending their employees to the Republic of Korea for training; conduction crew, seafarer going on special training prescribed by the foreign employer; those covered by Work to Residence Policy travelling

to New Zealand with no prearranged employment; and workers undergoing final interview or qualifying examination abroad as prescribed by the foreign employer; 8. Immigrant or permanent resident visa holder shall present a passport, permanent residence visa/immigrant visa, Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Emigrant registration sticker; and airline/sea craft ticket; 9. Filipino spouse and other partners of foreign citizens shall present a passport, permanent residence permit or visa/immigrant visa, Guidance and Counseling Certificate, CFO Emigrant registration sticker, and airline/ sea craft ticket; and 10. Filipinos travelling on immigrant visas shall first register with CFO, secure a CFO Emigrant sticker, and attend a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS). ■ London,8February2012

ADVISORY ON RENEWAL/CLEARANCE OF VlSAS The Philippine Embassy in London wishes to advise all Filipinos intending to renew or change their entry/student/other visas to the same visa category or another visa category, as a result of changes in the Point Based System of managed migration adopted by the UK Government, to transact only with duly licensed immigration consultants and/or solicitors. The Philippine Embassy has been in receipt of numerous complaints from Filipinos

regarding their failed dealings with unlicensed immigration consultants and/or solicitors. While these complaints have been brought to the attention of local government authorities in the UK. our kababayans fail to obtain refund of the unconscionable fees often paid by them when they submit their documents to these unlicensed immigration consultants and/or solicitors. It is suggested that all transactions be made at the

offices of licensed immigration consultants and/or solicitors and, when necessary, ask them to produce their license to practice as immigration consultants and/ or solicitors before making any payment. Refrain from transacting business in clinics, cafes, telephones or mobile phones, e-mail, and other venues where it is not possible to ascertain the legitimate status of the immigration consultancy practice being offered. ■

ADVISORY ON THE EARTHQUAKE IN CENTRAL PHILIPPINES The Philippine Embassy in London wishes to provide the following information that the members of the Filipino Community in the United Kingdom, and their friends, may find useful in relation to the earthquake which hit Negros Oriental last 6 February 2012. l. Missing Relatves or Friends. Inquiries may be referred to the NDRRMC Operations Center at +632 911-1406; 912-2665 or 9125666. E-mail: dopcec@ndcc.gov. ph. Website: www.ndrrmc.gov.ph. ll. Donations. The needs of the victims are being met locally and no intemational appeal for assistance

has been issued by the Philippine Govemment. The earthquake is not at the catastrophic level but donations, if offered, may be sent to the following: National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) Account Name: NDRRMC Donated Fund Account Number: 0435-021927130 Swift Code: DBPHPMM Account Number: 36002016 Address: DBP Camp Aguinaldo Branch, PVAO Compound, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Contact Person: Ms. Rufina A.

Pascual, NDRMMC Collecting Officer Contact Number: +632 421-1920; +632 911-5061 to 65 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Earthquake Hotline: +632 2321192 Philippine Red Cross Please visit www.redcross.org.ph or email prc@redcross.org.ph Updates on the effect of the earthquake may be found at www.ndrrmc.gov.ph. ■ London, 14 February 2012

The Embassy is pleased to announce the holding of its 1st Consular Outreach Mission for 2012 at the following venue: DATE: 1O MARCH 2012, SATURDAY TIME: 9 AM TO 5 PM (SATURDAY) VENUE: COSTESSEY CENTRE, LONGWATER LANE, COSTESSEY, NORWICH, NORFOLK, NR8 5AH CONTACT PERSON: MR. JEROME ALBANO, PRESIDENT OF PINOY IN NORWICH AKSYONG SAMAHAN [PINAS] (0779974-7514) - for directions to the venue SERVICES OFFERED: • E-PASSPORT APPLICATIONS (by booking with the Embassy £rom 27 February - 02 March 2012 only on a first-book/first-served basis) • EMERGENCY GREEN PASSPORT APPLICATIONS • PASSPORT VALIDITY PERIOD EXTENSION APPLICATIONS • PASSPORT AMENDMENT (FROM SINGLE TO MARRIED NAME — ON GREEN PASSPORTS ONLY) • ONE-WAY TRAVEL DOCUMENT APPLICATIONS • REPORTS OF BIRTH, MARRIAGE, DEATH • NOTARIAL & LEGALIZATION SERVICES (AFFIDAVITS, SPAs) • NBI FORM APPLICATIONS • ACCEPTANCE OF PHILIPPINE VISA APPLICATIONS (NOTE: NO ACTUAL VISAS WILL BE ISSUED DURING THE OUTREACH MISSION) • PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP RETENTION/RE-ACQUISITION • ASSISTANCE-TO-NATIONALS

AND LEGAL ADVICE REGARDING PHILIPPINE LAW • SSS, PAG-IBIG AND OWWA MEMBERSHIP/ BENEFITS (OEC ISSUANCE) • ADVICE ON EMPLOYMENT/ LABOR RELATED MATTERS • OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING REGISTRATION (Please bring a valid passport) All those who will avail of the services during the Outreach Mission are advised to check the documentary and other requirements at www. philembassy-uk.org. Applicants may likewise download application forms in advance from the same website. All those who will avail of the services during the Outreach Mission are advised to check the documentary and other requirements at wwwphilembassy-uk.org. Applicants may likewise download application forms in advance from the same website. Those who wish to receive their e-Passports, visas to the Philippines, or other documents by post are advised to submit a self-addressed stamped special delivery envelope with their applications. Payments for consular services can be made in cash (English currency) or with postal money orders made out to the Philippine Embassy. Personal cheques are not accepted for payment purposes. The Embassy looks forward to seeing you at the Consular Outreach Mission in Norwich. ■

Republic of the Philippines

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS COMMITTEE ON OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING MANILA

NOTICE OF REGISTRATION AND ELECTION TO ALL FILIPINO CITIZENS Notice is hereby given that under Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as “The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003”, all citizens of the Philippines abroad, not otherwise disqualified by law, at least eighteen ( 18 ) years of age on the day of the election, and who are registered overseas absentee voters with approved application to vote in absentia, may vote for Senators and Party-List Representatives. For this purpose, all qualified Filipinos citizens not registered as voters under Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise known as “The Voters Registration Act of 1996”, (the system of continuing registration) shall file an application for registration while those who are already registered under the said Act shall file an application for certification. For purposes of the May 13, 2013 elections, the filing of applications

for registration/certification and transfer of registration records shall be filed at the Post or other designated registration areas from October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2012. The 30-day voting period will commence on April 13, 2013 until 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon (Philippine time) of May 13, 2013 at Philippine Embassies or Consulates. (The time for voting to be announced later) For details, please contact Mr. Rosendo Rodriguez/Mrs. Edith Malilin at telephone numbers 0207451181 6/02074511826/02074511803 or the following online/web sources: The Philippine Embassy, London (Official Facebook Page); @philemblondon (Official Twitter Account); www. philembassy-uk.org (Official website); and embassy@philemb.co.uk (for email queries).

Embassy of the Philippines, London, United Kingdom

6 - 8 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG Tel: 020-7451-1780 Fax: 020-7930-9787 E-mail: embassy@philemb.co.uk Website: philembassy-uk.org

DFA-Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (Manila) COMELEC-COAV (Manila): www.dfa.gov.ph / ww.dfa-oavs.gov.ph www.comelec.gov.ph Hotlines: +6328344361, +6328343275 Hotlines: +6325222251, +6325212952, +6325239924


26

HELLO PHILIPPINES

www.hello-philippines.com

Philippines Tourism

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Positive publicity generated for Philippines Tourism in January NUMEROUS travel features on the Philippines appeared on print and online media in the UK and Spain during the first month of 2012. The January issue of DIVE Magazine, contains an impressive 6-page article by John Nightingale on why Malapascua is the perfect diving island. Oonas Divers, Dive Worldwide and Worldwide Dive and Sail also promoted their diving deals on this issue to make the Philippines as one of the top diving destinations of 2012. Buceadores magazine in Spain also presented diving holiday offers from partners, Worldwide

Dive and Sail and Ultima Frontera. It also had a feature on the PDOT London’s successful participation at the Birmingham Dive Show in October 2011. Siquijor was the “New Discovery” destination by Kristy Hathaway of Beach Tomato on Red Magazine’s “Dream List” for 2012. The popular fashion magazine has a wide circulation of 231,028. Meanwhile, Neil Steedman included a double-page spread on the DOT’s new brand campaign on the January issue of Ireland Travel Trade News. The write-up also details the UNESCO World

Heritage Sites in Palawan, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and Tubbataha Reef. MSN UK captured Philippine celebrations for Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon on their “Week in Pictures” section. Ariara Island in Palawan scored an impressive coup by appearing in The Times Magazine, The Independent Magazine and the Evening Standard. In the annual travel issue of the Times Magazine, Ariara is credited as the “Best Private Island Resort”. In Independent’s “Life’s a tag: 2012’s most surprising holiday

destinations”, Ariara was listed as one of the best islands to visit this year. Black Tomato also recognised the island as the place to visit in 2012 on the Evening Standard. A striking feature on Manila by Dial A Flight was shown on Sky News on 31 January reaching an audience of approximately 1.4 million viewers. This trend is set to increase after an unprecedented number of high-profile travel writers assisted by PDOT London embarked on familiarization trips to various parts of the country. ■ (PDOT – February 2012)

The Philippines has a successful outing at Feria Internacional de Turismo (FITUR)

THE European travel and consumer show season for PDOT London kicked off with FITUR early last month. The third largest trade fair for the industry drew a over 10,434 exhibiting companies and 209,260 visitors between tourism professionals and general consumers. PDOT London was joined at the stand by representatives of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, most notably, H.E. Ambassador Carlos C. Salinas who tirelessly promoted the country. Also coexhibiting were Annset Holidays, Sharp Travel Service, Constellation

Travels - Fantastik Philippines. All Philippine sellers reported a growing number of business partnerships coming from the Latin American market. In addition, two Spanish companies also expressed interest to establish local travel operations in the Philippines. University TV also conducted a TV interview at the stand inquiring about the country’s attractions and cuisine. Writer/photographer Nacho Sayas is embarking on another trip to the Philippines visiting eight different locations to complete his 300-page Spanish book on the country. ■

(PDOT – February 2012)


28

HELLO

www.hello-philippines.com

Philippines Tourism

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

architecture, caves, tunnels, and, of course, the local Kalanguya tribe’s native culture and their simple, warm and humble ways. In the male category, 24-year-old Kenyan Jackson Chirchir ruled the race over-all by being the first to reach Mt. Ugo’s summit at one hour, fifty-five minutes and thirty-eight seconds. He finally clocked in at three hours, forty-two minutes and thirtysix seconds at the finish line despite losing his way and taking a longer route downhill for the 34-kilometer out-and-back race. His compatriot, Eliud Kprugut, came in second with finish time of 3:46:08. Twenty-three year-old Mario Maglinao of Albay was third at 3:59:46. Like all participants, these winners negotiated the first 1.7-km downhill jog on paved road and the mostly uphill run to the summit with a total elevation gain of 1858 m and loss of 195 m as well as the turnaround point at the summit (2162 masl). From the summit, this third overall placer passed through the 16.4-km route which concluded with a 1.7-km (280m vertically) ascend to the finish line at the Tinongdan Barangay Hall. For the female category, 44-yearold Malaysian Kuilin “Danny” Gongot

Other noteworthy race finishers were Senator Pia Cayetano and Leo Oracion, the first Filipino to ascend Mt. Everest. Sixty-six-yearold Brigido Balaba and 17 year-old Benguet native Josiah Balligan, who placed fifth overall, both won first place in their own age-group of 60 up and 17 below. ROX althlete Pen Nepomuceno, Tinondang local favorite Gretchen Felipe and Mt. Pulag guide Belina Libag ranked first, second and third in the 18-29 age group for females as well as 43-year-old Monina Tam-od, who won for the 40 above group. “We are happy that the Akyathlon was enthusiastically supported by the DOT-CAR and the local government units of Benguet, Itogon and Tinongdan. Private sector assistance was extended by ROX, Salomon, Rope Access Services & Consulting Inc., High Angle Rescue Team of the Philippines and our beneficiary, the Cordillera Conservation Trust, which made this a green event as we endeavor to help reduce waste or non-essential resources in the region,” Dacanay stated. For more information Facebook account “Philippine Skyrunning” ■ (PDOT –

First Philippine skyrunning marathon kicks off at Mt. Ugo PHILIPPINES

THE Pilipinas Akyathlon: The Philippine International SKYRACE commenced last February 18 at Mt. Ugo located in Barangay Tinongdan, Municipality of Itogon in Benguet Province. There were over a hundred participants mostly from the Cordillera Region, Southern Tagalog and Metro Manila plus a lone runner from Australia, two from Kenya and eight from Malaysia. According to Nina Patricia Dacanay, president of the Philippine Skyrunning Association (PSA), the extreme sport and fast-growing discipline of skyrunning, or high altitude running above 2,000m, has finally been organized on a worldwide level for the Philippines. As the official member-organization of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), PSA now has more clout to continue with goals of bringing together people interested in trail and high altitude running for nature watch, training and education, event management and the promotion of an active and healthy lifestyle as well as in advocating responsible stewardship of natural resources, particularly the mountains. In a statement read by Regional Director Purificacion Suanding-

Molintas of the Department of Tourism-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOT-CAR), Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. extolled the Akyathlon for promoting Mt. Ugo as a major hiking destination and for bringing ecotourism, nature and adventure tourism in the Philippines on a global scale. “With the event’s successful staging and the sports’ increasing popularity, we shall work for an annual competition here because we now believe that skyrunning at Mt. Ugo can be number 1 for fun and it’s more fun in the Philippines,” the Secretary added. Local officials led by Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan, Itogon Mayor Oscar Camantiles and Tinongdon Barangay Chairman Benjamin Medina were one in saying that such events at Mt. Ugo are getting to be prime attractions in the locality, which is the provincial seat of cultural heritage and natural wonders. In addition, Tinongdan has the Binga Dam and its six gateways, other forested mountains, flowing rivers and streams, plantations of fruits, vegetables and flowers, river terraces, quaint human and animal footbridges, old-world houses of vernacular

DOT supports Oslob’s community-based whale watching tour product THE Department of Tourism (DOT), seeing the huge potential of whale shark interaction to provide jobs and livelihood for the municipality of Oslob in Cebu, has committed to support its development as a sustainable tourism product. Following the recent assessment done by its regional office, DOT Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. instructed Undersecretary Maria Victoria V. Jasmin and Region VII Director Rowena Montecillo to start working on the recommendations submitted. “This opportunity to bring economic benefits to the community of Oslob has to be carefully planned and managed so that it continues as a sustainable activity. We are offering our assistance to augment the local government unit’s initial interventions towards sustainability,” the Secretary said. “DOT sees the importance of giving training for the boatmen particularly on safety and security and values formation. A Tourism Awareness program is also necessary to educate the community on responsible, ethical and sustainable tourism. For food service providers, particularly small vendors, a Food Safety Seminar will also be given. Considering the absence of accommodation establishments, DOT will embark on the training of qualified households on the operation of homestay services,” Undersecretary Jasmin remarked.

Director Montecillo added that the whale shark watching activity has been regulated to avoid direct interaction by tourists. DOT is part of the technical working group created by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia that will institutionalize guidelines to ensure this tourism opportunity remains a boon to the community. The DOT is recommending the conduct of a study that will look into Oslob’s marine ecosystem and the behavior of the whale sharks to determine their seasonality and sustainability of their food supply. In addition, local officials will be invited to an observation visit to Donsol to learn about its best practices in handling whale shark interaction and community organization. “We target the training programs to be conducted in March, starting with the boatmen. Our other courses of action will ensue once the study points to the sustainability of this product. There is so much to be done to improve the tourism experience. However, other activities need to be developed so that the visitors have more reasons to be in Oslob. The bottomline is that benefits should redound to community development and promotion of a culture of tourism that stresses genuine care and proper management of this newfound resource,” added the tourism chief. ■ (PDOT – February 17, 2012)

Pilipinas Akyathlon top winners during awarding ceremonies in Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet. From left: Julie Green, Kuilin Gongot, Baby Marites Bitbit, Jackson Chirchir, Eliud Kprugut and Mario Maglinao.

bested the others with a time of 2:33:07 for the summit reach and 4:29:16 for overall finish. She is the defending champion of the Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon. Aussie Julie Green and Filipino Olympian Baby Marites Bitbit settled for the second and third places with times of 4:44:39 and 5:11:44, respectively. As the top Filipino finishers, Maglinao and Bitbit received all expenses-paid trips to represent the Philippines in October in the 2012 Mt. Kinabalu Climbathlon in Sabah, Malaysia. The top three winners of each category received gift certificates. All race finishers were given Benguet specifically handcrafted medals.

February 23, 2012)

Tourist arrivals from the UK exceeds 100,000 for the first time in history

FOR the first time in history, tourism arrivals from the United Kingdom reached 104,466 in 2011, 7.78% higher than the registered visitors of 96,925 in 2010. Arrivals from the United Kingdom contributed to a record-breaking 3.917 million foreign visitors to the Philippines in 2011. In the face of the economic downturn experienced across Europe, the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) London tirelessly implements innovative promotional projects and marketing campaigns to drive tourists to the country. In 2011, PDOT London assisted and organized no less than three dozen individual familiarization, press and filming trips for TV personalities, journalists and photographers. The results speak for itself. TV celebrities like Carol McGiffin of Loose Women, Camilla Andersen of Travel Channel and Professor Brian Cox experienced the numerous attractions of the country and raved about it online, on magazines, and on their respective shows with entire episodes devoted to the Philippines. PDOT London also embarked on multi-platform advertising campaigns to raise awareness for the destination in the UK: the most prominent are the 50 London taxi

cabs and four Route-master buses carrying the Philippines tourism banner. Numerous competitions were also run on TV and broadsheets like the ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’ aired over Travel Channel, with 300 30-second spots for a month. The office also focused on strengthening its core activity markets. Diving publicity for the Philippines was at an all-time high with the destination almost a constant feature on Dive, Diver and Sport Diver magazines every month. Almost all UK diving operators that specialise in Asia report that the Philippines is in their top five selling destinations. Another integral part of PDOT London’s projects is its internet marketing strategy, with its social media accounts generating massive interest. Members of the Tourism Philippines UK Facebook Fan Page exceeded 7,500 last year and video views on Youtube totalled 200,000. The highly-successful website tourismphilippines.co.uk generated 286,120 page views last year and each month, the e-newsletter reaches 12,000 consumers, travel trade and media subscribers. PDOT London fostered stronger relationships with the travel trade by implementing more jointpromotional activities in 2011

than in recent years. The office conducted staff training for Audley Travel, Black Tomato, Kenwood Travel, Kuoni and Luxury Holidays. Further sales calls and meetings were also held with over two dozen operators throughout the year at trade events like the PATA Exchange and Taste of PATA. Many operators were also invited to the country for special events such as the Philippine Travel Exchange and Dive Seafari, resulting in the inclusion of the destination in their brochures. Trade and consumer shows proved very effective for PDOT London with the country garnering massive exposure. The Philippines is usually nominated as the destination of choice by attendees at various events like the London Dive Show, Dive Birmingham, Destinations Holiday and Travel Show and the World Travel Market, to name a few. At these shows, huge quantities of promotional DVDs, destination flyers, maps and brochures, all produced by the office, are distributed. This sustained drive of PDOT London to implement the most effective marketing program, especially with the new tourism brand campaign – “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” will hopefully see tourism arrivals in 2012 even higher. ■ (PDOT – February 10, 2012)


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FHM Philippines scraps ‘racist’ cover PUBLISHERS of the Philippine edition of men’s magazine FHM apologised Tuesday, February 28 and said they had scrapped the planned front cover of March’s issue after complaints the photograph used was racist. Shown as a teaser on the FHM website on Saturday, the cover featured a light-skinned, scantily clad local film actress stepping into the light from a group of darkskinned young women in black bikinis in the dim background. The page carried the tagline, “Stepping Out of the Shadows.” “We deem this to be the most prudent move in the light of the confusion over the previous cover execution. We apologise and thank those who have raised their points,” FHM said in a statement on its Philippine website. “When FHM hits the stands in March it will have a different cover,” it added, but feature the same actress, Bela Padilla. Contacted on Tuesday, FHM Philippines staff told AFP its editors did not wish to add anything to the statement. FHM Philippines was flooded with criticism on social networking sites, the majority apparently from incensed, brown-skinned Filipinos after the cover was posted online. “Seriously, did you guys not sense how racist this concept was?” wrote a film student on

the Facebook page of FHM Philippines. “That some people including the editors did not find an issue with that ignorant FHM magazine cover shows how deeply ingrained racism is in Philippine society,” a Filipino in the United States commented. Another person commented on the microblogging site Twitter: “What do you expect??? Can you really expect some form of sensitivity from a magazine that prides itself in exploiting women for profit?” Summit Media, the publisher of the magazine, boasts on its website that FHM Philippines is the number one men’s magazine in the country with more than a million readers. ■ (AFP – February 28, 2012)

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

John Lloyd and Angel pursue bolder roles in ‘Unofficially Yours’ UNOFFICIALLY Yours starring Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz is a sexy romantic comedy about a man who falls in love with a woman who just wants a casual relationship. Their most daring movie yet, Angel recounts her experience while shooting her intimate scenes with John Lloyd. “To be honest nung umpisa malaki talaga yung nerbyos ko. Kaya lang ayoko iparamdam kay Lloydy kasi kakabahan din siya. So kailangan ma-feel niya na I’m ok at in character ako. And in all fairness kay Lloydy, inalagaan naman niya ako. Siya pa minsan nagtatakip sa akin. He’s such a gentleman.” On his part, John Lloyd is grateful for Angel’s trust because she never made him feel that he’s taking advantage of her. “Nakatulong na si Angel very supportive and very willing to cope with the sexy scenes. Wala kang maramdaman na, ‘Hey! Ingatan mo yan’. Walang ganon. Malaking bagay yun sa akin kasi naging fluid yung motion, yung interaction namin. I just got lucky kasi hindi lahat [ng leading lady] kagaya niya. Bihira. So thank you Angel.” Asked if there was a point in the movie that they felt stirrings of attraction towards each other, John Lloyd admits that he finds Angel really sexy. “Mahirap yung ganyang tanong, at mas mahirap ‘yan dahil imposibleng hindi ka mabighani kapag nasa harap mo si Angel Locsin, the country’s sexiest woman.” Angel on the other hand reveals that she used

to have a crush on John Lloyd long before they worked together. “Meron ako sa kanyang small crush noon. Kahit asarin ni’yo ako ngayon, hindi ako maaasar kasi matagal na talaga e. Yun, nagkatrabaho kami, mas naging kumportable kami [sa isa’t isa].” It’s no secret, however, that Angel is very much happy with her growing romance with Philippine Azkals’ striker Phil Younghusband. Asked if her past heartache is preventing her from making their relationship official, she quickly replies, “Hindi ako takot mag-commit. Unfair din naman baka isipin ng tao na dahil sa past experience ko or past na ka-relasyon ko, hindi yun. Siyempre kapag nagco-commit tayo dapat ‘yung sigurado tayo, ‘yung ready na tayo ibigay yung buong sarili natin, para ‘di tayo nagkakasakitan. Oo, sa kanya

naman ako pero marami pa kaming gustong ayusin.” As for John Lloyd, he refuses to give a direct answer whether or not his real-life sweetheart Shaina Magdayao is the girl he wants to marry in the future. “Yun ang inaasahan. I’d like to hope so,” he safely utters. ■

©George Calvelo/NPPA Images

John Lloyd Cruz and Angel Locsin, main actors of the upcoming movie “Unofficially Yours” answers some questions from the media during their press conference held inside the ELJ Building in Quezon City, Northeast of Manila, on February 1, 2012.

Kris Aquino says yes to torrid kissing scenes with ex Robin Padilla

ABS-CBN announces that “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw” TV Series will start airing this March 2012. With leading stars includes Kris Aquino, Robin Padilla, Anne Curtis and Xyriel Manabat.

KRIS Aquino is ecstatic as her team-up with Robin Padilla is finally in the works via ABS-CBN’s upcoming teleserye Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw together with Anne Curtis. “We’re really excited. Na-touch ako kasi he kept saying thank you sa aming dalawa ni Anne. Parang sabi ko, we’re so important tayo ang tine-thank you-han ni Robin Padilla. Kasi nagawan nila ng paraan to make a series that will have the elements of action. Pero pumayag si Robin na at its core, it’s a family drama and a love story. Lahat ng age bracket makaka-relate,” says Kris. If you recall, they were supposed to have worked together in Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo (2010), but Robin begged off since he preferred an action-drama series and was replaced by Albert Martinez in the said project.

The former lovers once appeared in the movie You And Me Against The World. This time around, Kris says she’s ready to do a torrid kissing scene with Robin. “E kasi tatlo naman yung anak namin dito. Paano naman nangyari yun kung wala namang love scene na naganap? [But] this is TV, so how far can you really go? Yung far na far hintayin na lang natin kasi may movie ako for that,” she quips. Alongside her freedom to choose more daring roles is her announcement that her marriage to James Yap is officially over after almost two years of legal battle. Their private wedding ceremony in July 10, 2005 was considered null and void by the court due to “lack of authority of the solemnizing officer”. “Siguro kasi, ang technicality rito, our marriage license stated that we

were Roman Catholic. But we were married by somebody who belonged to a different church and is a minister there. So, kung tutuusin talaga, because wala yung authority from the start, then we were never really married.” In lieu of the grounds for their annulment, however, Kris further shares that she’s forced to file for adoption of her son James Yap Jr. “Under Philippine Law kasi, if a child is born na hindi kasal ang nanay, illegitimate siya. Because of the grounds for an annulment, Bimby is illegitimate. So, kailangan for me to legitimize my own children, kahit na biologically niluwal ko sila. Parang lesson in law talaga itong nangyari sa akin. I need to adopt them para no question of inheritance later on.” ■


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March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Lea Salonga defends team-up with foreign artist James Ingram AMIDST the call for “Filipino first” in the local concert scene, Lea Salonga drew flak for supporting foreign acts by agreeing to perform with Grammy Award winning artist James Ingram in his Valentine concerts. But the Broadway singer insisted that it’s the market’s prerogative to watch a concert regardless if the artist is foreign or Pinoy. “If you were a discerning concertgoer, you will know where you’re going to spend your money. Kasi may mga foreign din na, ‘Ay, ayoko corny! Ay, ayoko, ‘di magaling kumanta.’” Lea added that local artists shouldn’t feel intimidated by the entry of foreign acts in the country because it’s a fair competition after all. “I am good enough to compete with anyone in the world. You pit me against someone like him (James) and I won’t be a shrinking violet. Come up with a product that can exceed the quality of shows that are coming in because the concert-going public knows what they want.”

In the meantime, Lea was thrilled when James chose her to be part of his Valentine shows in Manila and Cebu because she is a self-confessed fan of his music way back her young adult life. These songs include Just Once, I Don’t Have the Heart, Whatever We Imagine, and Ingram’s duets with Patti Austin. “For me it could be a trip down memory lane listening to a Grammy winning artist who’s really, really good. I wanted the opportunity to get to perform with some of the best artists to walk the earth and James Ingram’s songs are just classics.” ■

Is it really over between Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho Jr?

FEW weeks after their romantic vacation in Thailand, Vicki Belo shocked the public with an intriguing announcement on her Twitter account last February 10: “nancycastilogne you can now openly date @haydenjr . You have my blessings. Hope you’ll both be happy.” This immediately fueled reports that Vicki broke up her engagement with longtime boyfriend, Hayden Kho Jr. In a text message sent to Startalk host Butch Francisco, Vicki confirmed the break-up, stating that she and Hayden have had relationship troubles involving actress-singer Nancy Castiliogne.m “Yes, we have been fighting regarding Nancy. I think it’s true. I am letting him go so that they don’t have to be hiding-hiding anymore.’” The couple were supposed to spend Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles, but Vicki ended up travelling alone. “On my way to Los Angeles for my first valentine alone, maybe I’ll learn to love myself.” However, she was happy to spend some quality time with her son Quark Henares and even went to the Lakers game with him in Atlanta. On the other hand, Hayden also published an explanation on Twitter immediately after Vicki’s controversial tweet. “Before things go out of hand: Vicki and I are just having a misunderstanding. Don’t make conclusions. There’s NO infidelity issue here. I’d like to appeal to everyone to please hold your judgement. There has been a

misunderstanding and it’s gone out of proportion.” He also denied that there’s something going on between her and Nancy, which was what Vicki was supposedly insinuating in her Twitter post. “First off, I’d like to make it very clear that Vicki and I are not fighting because of Nancy. I have already apologized to Nancy for getting her name dragged into this minor bump in my relationship w/ Vicki.” Apparently, things got out of hand because of Hayden and Nancy’s recent exchange about a certain cosmetic product being offered at the Belo clinic. But Hayden insisted that there’s no third party involved in this whole fiasco. “This issue stemmed not from facts not rumors; but from mindless and loveless fault finding which occasionally happens when two people have a disagreement.” Hayden added that he will further share his side of the story at the right time. But if there’s one thing he’s sure of, it’s that he’s still very much in love with Vicki and will do everything to fix their lovers’ quarrel. ■ ©Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images

Engaged couple Hayden Kho Jr. and Dr. Vicki Belo.

Grace Lee on growing romance with PNoy:

“We’re not playing around”

TO end speculations about his love life, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino admitted that he’s dating TV personality and disc jockey Grace Lee, but refused to divulge details about their growing romance. “We are seeing each other. I’ll leave it at that. Even our Constitution provides for the right to privacy. Maybe you can spare me some of that right under Article 3,” he quips. It all started when the two met at the inauguration of a power plant in Cebu late last year, wherein PNoy acknowledged Grace in his speech and called her “guapa” (Cebuano’s term for beautiful). What Grace didn’t expect was that he would keep in touch by greeting her “Happy New Year” via text message. “I was flattered and I was surprised at the same time because he’s the President. I was like, ‘Oh, he’s texting me ‘Happy New Year.’ Of course, there’s flattery there but I didn’t expect

anything of it. I didn’t assume na may gusto siya sa akin kaya nagtetext siya, because he was always so proper and appropriate.” But PNoy didn’t stop there and asked her out to dinner. She didn’t think twice about accepting his invitation because she didn’t see anything wrong with it. “It started from there. Then as it continued, I got to know him more and I started getting more comfortable with him. I started talking to him about how bad can it be? He just kinda laugh and he said, ‘Well, you’ll see.’ Now, ang joke niya sa akin, ‘Welcome to my world,” says Grace, who’s now being plagued by the media given her connection with PNoy. When asked how it feels to be courted by the country’s president, Grace described PNoy as the traditional type who woos her with flowers and chocolates. “Yeah, he gave me chocolates, a couple of flowers. I’m very simple. My happiness comes from ordinary things, normal

daily things. And I’m not difficult to please naman – chocolate, flowers... mahilig ako sa flowers. Like any other man, he’s very sweet, very considerate and he’s a gentleman.” Knowing that he has been romantically linked to various women for the past year, Grace agreed that the thought of being just another “flavor of the month” crossed her mind. “I’d be lying if I told you na hindi ko naisip ‘yon dahil nga lalo na high-profile pa ang magiging relationship namin. I prayed about it. I prayed about was, ‘Lord, if this is not my burden to carry, take it away from me.” Although she’s not certain where their courtship is heading, Grace insisted that PNoy’s the one who’s keeping her happy nowadays. “I don’t think we’re playing around. We’re both not at the age to play around. And given who he is and given my position as well, we are trying to be careful and trying to keep it one step at a time.” ■

Christian Bautista is dating Singaporean actress Carla Dunareanu

AFTER much speculation, Christian Bautista confirms that he’s dating The Kitchen Musical co-star Carla Dunareanu. The two were spotted on a group date with Karylle and Yael Yuzon and Art Acuna and Maritina Romula, prompting the Asian balladeer to reveal the status of his love life. “I’m seeing someone. Yeah, she’s the one. We’re dating, yes. Pero yun muna for now.” Christian further shares that he’s busy with several work commitments. But he’s determined to spend quality time with Carla as soon as he gets some time off. “Hopefully I could get a break. Definitely I will have a vacation by March. It’s a postValentine’s date. We’re gonna have a vacation.”

As for his career plans this 2012, Christian says he’s willing to consider his options once his contract with ABSCBN expires in August. “After everything that has happened to me, everything is an option. I love ABS-CBN, it’s my first station. I would like to stay, pero kung wala namang ibang offers, I would have to study other options.” The 30-year-old is determined to pursue acting especially after his successful stint in The Kitchen Musical. “I wanna try a little acting now. Kasi sa music, kilala naman na ako as a singer. So for me, as purely a singer for ten years, I wanna do something different para hindi masawa ang mga tao. We will see.” ■


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Sports

March 2012 – No. 4 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Boxer Pacquiao ‘embarrassed’ by Mayweather offer Greg Heakes, AFP MANNY Pacquiao says the pieces were falling into place for a world title fight with Floyd Mayweather until the American boxer tried to low-ball him on the split of the pay-per-view revenue. Pacquiao said he called Mayweather personally to try to broker a deal for a world championship fight and thought they had an agreement until Mayweather brought up the pay per view. Mayweather said he would give Pacquiao a $40 million lump-sum payment if Pacquiao agreed to let Mayweather keep the pay per view earnings for himself. “It was embarrassing to me,” Pacquiao said Tuesday, February 21. “He was trying to take advantage of me. It is clear he didn’t want to fight.” Some experts have estimated that the pay per view could be around $160 million. Pacquiao and Mayweather have tried several times to get a contract signed but it has been scuttled for a variety of reasons, including ©AFP/File/John Gurzinski

Floyd Mayweather with his WBC welterweight belt in Las Vegas in September 2011.

disagreements over blood testing and the share of the purse. “I called Floyd and told him that we need to make this fight happen,” Pacquiao said at The Beverly Hills Hotel. “I said he could have whatever he wants, blood testing, 50/50 split and he said ‘Oh, well. I will give you what you want.’ Then he mentioned the pay per view.” For now, Pacquiao and the unbeaten Mayweather have lined up other opponents with speculation that the mega fight could happen later in the year if it comes off at all. Pacquiao is scheduled to face American Timothy Bradley on June 9 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for Pacman’s World Boxing Organization welterweight belt. Mayweather is set to fight Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto on May 5 for Cotto’s World Boxing Association super welterweight title at the same venue. Paquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said they are not taking Bradley lightly but it is hard not to get excited

©AFP/File/Jewel Samad

about a possible upcoming mega fight against Mayweather. “If both (Pacquiao and Mayweather) come off with good wins it will be a step in the right direction,” Roach said Tuesday. “That is the match everyone in the world wants to see.” Bradley was one of several fighters in the mix as a possible Pacquiao opponent after Mayweather fell through. Bradley boasts a record of 28-0 with 12 knockouts. Pacquiao, 54-3-2 with 38 knockouts, hasn’t lost since March 2005 and is considered the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet. But Pacquiao was less than dominant as he struggled to a majority point decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November. Bradley and Pacquiao kicked off their promotional tour Tuesday at The Beverly Hills Hotel. They smiled as they posed for photos together and Pacquiao then light heartedly borrowed a camera and took pictures of Bradley in his boxing pose. ©AFP/Getty Images/File/Al Bello

American Timothy Bradley is scheduled to face Puerto Rico›s Miguel Cotto is set to fight Floyd Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on June 9, 2012. Mayweather in Las Vegas on May 5, 2012.

©AFP/File/Jewel Samad

Manny Pacquiao said Floyd Mayweather tried to low-ball him on the split of the pay-per-view revenue.

Joking aside, Roach said he expects Pacquiao to be ready to knock Bradley out. “I don’t want him to be compassionate,” Roach said. “I want him to knock people out. Manny can’t be a nice guy and try to touch gloves in the ring with him.” Roach said Bradley is more than just a replacement fighter and that they want to hand him the first loss of his career while he is in his prime. “It is nice to fight a fighter who is undefeated and not worried about losing that on his record,” Roach said. Bradley, of Palm Springs, California, is coming off an eightround knockout victory over ex-world champ Joel Casamayor. The 28-year-old Bradley said he plans to take the fight to Pacquiao. He won’t make the same mistakes as recent Pacquiao opponents Joshua Clottey and Shane Moseley who were booed because they talked

a good fight but didn’t back it up once they got in the ring with eight division world champion Pacquiao. “They were older and older boxers don’t take chances like young fighters do,” Bradley said. “I don’t have a lot of miles on me like Manny. If I am going out then I am going out flaming. He is going to have to knock me out. Manny is going to have to kill me to stop me.” Pacquiao will travel to New York for another news conference Thursday then fly back to the Philippines where he is a member of Congress. Pacquiao has also divested himself of some bad habits, selling a casino he owned and getting rid of the roosters he kept for cock fighting in his native Philippines. “Manny got a lot of distractions out of his life,” Roach said. “He sold all his cocks for fighting, doesn’t gamble, doesn’t drink and he and his wife are getting along.” ■ (AFP – Los Angeles – February 22, 2012)

Mamat romps to Philippine Open golf victory

SINGAPOREAN veteran Mardan Mamat coasted to a fivestroke victory in the fourth round of the $300,000 ICTSI Philippine Open on Sunday, February 12 putting an end to a six-year winless run. The emotional 44-year-old picked up his third Asian Tour victory with a closing one-underpar 71 at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s East course, completing a wire-to-wire victory with an eight-under-par 280 aggregate. Mo Joong-kyung of Korea threatened briefly before finishing a distant second, signing off with a 74 while top Filipino honours went to Antonio Lascuna who returned a 69 for tied third place with Japan’s Azuma Yano. However, it was a heartbreaking end to local teen sensation

Miguel Tabuena’s tournament, who started the final round one shot back of Mamat but faded badly with an 81 to settle for a share of 11th position. After tapping in for his lone bogey on 18, Mamat fell to his knees as he celebrated his return to the winner’s enclosure. He later he broke down in tears when asked how he had made it through the barren six years without a win. “My wife encouraged and pushed me a lot to practice. She said you love the game so much and why must you quit. There was a time when I said it was time for me to be a golf coach but she said not in your dreams.” “It feels great. It’s always good to win a tournament, especially the oldest national Open in Asia,” the delighted Singaporean added.

With his closest challengers Mo and Tabuena starting poorly, a rock solid Mamat raced three shots clear with a birdie on the fourth hole and by the time he turned in 35, he was six shots clear of the pack. Mo endured a horrendous opening seven holes, going five over par in seven holes before rallying briefly with four birdies in mid-round to pull to within four shots of Mamat. Chasing a third Asian Tour victory, the Korean rued two poor tee shots which led to his double bogeys on three and seven. Lascuna finished as top Filipino after a solid round that included four birdies in his outward nine. It was a nightmarish final day for the 17-year-old Tabuena, who was hoping to become the youngest winner of the Philippine Open.

He turned in 39 with five bogeys against two birdies and his hopes all but vanished with a triple bogey on the 10th following an errant drive into the woods. “After bogeying the first, my confidence went. I was aiming for fairways and greens but it didn’t happen. I’ll learn from this,” he said. Scores after the fourth round (par 72): 280 - Mardan Mamat (SIN) 6970-70-71 285 - Mo Joong-kyung (KOR) 72-71-68-74 287 - Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 71-71-76-69, Azuma Yano (JPN) 69-75-73-70 288 - Ben Fox (USA) 69-73-7472 289 - Adam Blyth (AUS) 73-7075-71, Paul Donahoo (AUS) 71-7274-72

AFP/HO/Paul Lakatos

Mamat picked up his third Asian Tour victory with a closing one-under-par 71.

290 - Arnond Vongvanij (THA) 73-72-74-71, Kim Gi-whan (KOR) 71-75-72-72, Hwang Inn-choon (KOR) 77-72-67-74 ■ (AFP – February 12, 2012)


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