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Celeb Scoop


March 30, 2014

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Connecting Global News & Views For The Community

UK & Europe Edition

March 2014 / Fortnightly

Volume 5 - Number 6


MANILA, Philippines - Criticizing the “sloppy” and “amateurish” investigation of the Department of Justice into the alleged pork barrel scam, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada on Wednesday assailed the credibility of potential state witnesses Dennis Cunanan and Ruby Tuason, whom he accused of having “dubious backgrounds” and engaging in “shady dealings.” Cunanan, director general onleave of the Technology Resource Center (TRC), and Tuason, who used to be the social secretary of Jinggoy’s father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, claim that Jinggoy, their co-accused in the alleged plunder of pork barrel funds, had engaged in corruption of public funds through his dealings with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. ‘Impossible” for Cunanan’s brother to buy P12-M house. In his 12-page privilege speech titled “The Tale of Two Incredible Witnesses,” Jinggoy turned the tables on his accusers starting with Cunanan’s P12-million mansion in White

Plains, Quezon City, which was acquired by the TRC chief’s brother, Darius Cunanan and his wife. But Jinggoy claimed that it was impossible for Darius to acquire the multimillion-peso property as his 2007 income tax return showed that he had only earned P104,668.98. “P104 thousand lang ang kita tapos kayang bumili ng bahay na worth p12 million pesos? Imposible po ata [He only earned P104 thousand but he was able to buy a house worth P12 million? It seems impossible],” Estrada said. Dennis had testified in the Senate that the house and lot in White Plains acquired by his brother were paid in cash on June 11, 2007 and that a bank loan was secured on June 21, 2007, Jinggoy said. But according to the senator, the said bank loan was not used to acquire the house but to set up a trading company called Magalang Ciudad Enterprises Inc. in August 2007, where Dennis was majority shareholder. “Ginamit lamang na kolateral sa bangko ang bahay. Kaya po na-

approve ang loan ay hindi dahil may kapasidad si Darius, ngunit dahil ginamit na kolateral ang bahay [The house was used as collateral for the bank loan. The loan was approved not

because Darius had the capacity to pay but because the house was used as collateral],” said Jinggoy. “Given all these facts, is Darius Cunanan or Dennis Cunanan the

real owner of the White Plains property? You can make your own conclusion,” the senator added. Excessive travels. Also, Jinggoy assailed Dennis over the

latter’s alleged P6.42 million cash advance in 2004 from the Office of the President, which remains unliquidated up to now. Continue to page 4



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Mansions, companies, travels abroad: Jinggoy accuses Dennis, Ruby of engaging in ‘shady’ deals Continuation from page 1 Dennis made the cash advance while he was presidential assistant for youth affairs during the Arroyo administration, according to Jinggoy. “Ano kaya ang ginawa niya sa cash advance na ito? Idinagdag sa pinambili ng bahay sa White Plains [What did he do with his cash advance? Did he add this to the money to purchase the house at White Plains]?” Jinggoy said. Moreover, the senator criticized Dennis for his alleged excessive travels abroad with his family. According to Jinggoy, Dennis traveled overseas for 80 times in the 10 years that he worked for the TRC. “And lo and behold, ginagawa pong Quiapo ni Cunanan, ng kanyang asawa pati ng kanilang mga anak ang Amerika, Europa, mga bansa sa Asya tulad ng Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Hongkong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea at iba pang lugar,” the senator said. [And lo and behold, Cunanan, his wife and children turned America, Europe, and places in in Asia such as Japan, Singapore, Thailand Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea, and others into Quiapo.] Jinggoy said Dennis had travelled abroad 12 times in 2013 and 2012, 14 times in 2011, five times in 2010, 10 times in 2009, 14 times in 2008, eight times in 2007, five times in 2006, and once in 2005 and 2004.

“At ang mas kamangha-mangha dito, ang mga biyahe niya ay kung hindi raw first class ay business class. At hindi lamang tumatagal ng tatlo, apat o limang araw ito at hindi din lang po on weekends katulad ng kanyang sinabi dahil mayroong dalawang linggo, tatlong linggo at may mga biyahe pa na tumatagal ng isang buwan,” said Jinggoy. [What’s so shocking is that the travels if not first class, were business class. And these did not just last for three, four or five days— and not just on weekends - as what he had claimed—but there were travels of up to two weeks, three weeks, and even a month.] “Ang tanong, lahat ba ito ay suportado ng Jaycees [The question is, are all these travels supported by Jaycees]?, added the senator. Dennis earlier testified that that he had traveled around the world because he was elected as secretary-general of the Junior Chamber of International Jaycees. He said his trips were sponsored by Jaycees. “Jaycees daw po ang sponsor at ang mga biyahe ay nangyayari on a weekend. Pati ba naman ang Jaycees ay ginagamit niya sa pagsisinungaling [He said Jaycees was the sponsor and that the trips took place on a weekend. Would he also use Jaycees in lying]?” said Jinggoy. Selective memory. The senator also hit Dennis for his alleged selective memory. He said that based on the Commission on Audit’s special audit report on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF),

about P2.44 billion were released to 200 lawmakers through the TRC. The funds were eventually released to 39 nongovernment organizations (NGO). “Ngayon, ang naaalala lang ni Cunanan ay tatlong senador at ilang NGOs. Bakit? [Now, what Cunanan remembers are only three senators and some NGOs. Why]?” said Jinggoy. Jinggoy also denied Dennis’ claim that the latter had talked to the senator on the phone while the TRC chief was verifying Jinggoy’s signatures on the PDAF documents. “Kasinungalingan po ang lahat ng iyan...Uulitin ko, hindi po kami nagkausap ni minsan ni Dennis Cunanan [Those are all lies...I will repeat, not even once did I talk to Dennis Cunanan]” the senator said. Still, Jinggoy belied Dennis’ claim that he had instituted reforms at the TRC to avoid the misuse of pork barrel funds by ensuring that all PDAF documents were verified and blacklisted organization would no longer receive funds from the agency. Jinggoy cited a case wherein Dennis allegedly approved on February 4, 2008 the request of an NGO to release a 10-percent project retention fee worth P2.5 million. According to the senator, Dennis already recommended the release of the money even before the NGO’s request him to do so. “Wala pang request, may recommendation para i-release na?,” said Jinggoy. Turning his ire on Tuason, Jinggoy

asked why the “aspiring witness” was “allowed to silently and stealthily leave the country last week on a flimsy pretense of attending to some personal matters” that had something to do with her promise to “to finance her commitment to return P40 million to the government.” “Indeed, what further lies could she concoct while enjoying the comfort and privilege of being wherever she wants to be abroad? Did she travel via business or first class? Who paid for her ticket? Who is financing her travel and stay abroad?,” said Jinggoy. Mansion, companies from Malampaya kickbacks. The senator said Tuason didn’t need to look for money abroad to return the P40 million as she could sell her house in Dasmarinas Village in Makati City dubbed the “Malampaya mansion,” which she allegedly bought in 2009 for P45 milliion. According to Jinggoy, Tuason used portions of her alleged P242-million kickback from the Malampaya fund scam to purchase the mansion. Moreover, the senator accused Tuason of using the same kickback in setting up a company called Rubysons Inc. He said that based on data from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tuason and her two sons put up in October 2009 a corporation for micro-business activities with a capital of P80 million. Tuason likewise established a high-end jewelry store in a plush hotel in August 2013

managed by her niece and also bought membership shares at the Manila Polo Club for her two sons worth P12 million, according to Jinggoy. She also allegedly bought a real property at the Las Vegas Country Club in 2008 worth P6.3 million, and in September 2010, another property in Oakland, California worth $150,000 dollars, Jinggoy said, adding that the California property was sold in 2013. Aside from these properties, Estrada said that Tuason also has a house in Henderson, Nevada, USA, a house in Kawayan Cove in Cavite, and townhouses in Alabang and Valle Verde. “Given all of these, tanong ko lang Mr. President, tinanggap na lang ba ni Secretary Leila de Lima ng wala man lang imbestigasyon ang sinabi ni Mrs. Ruby Tuason na ang kanyang namatay na kapatid na si Remy Chan ang nangumisyon at nakinabang ng P242 million mula sa Malampaya fund? Hindi ba obvious na siya ang nakinabang?,” Jinggoy said. [Given all these, may I ask, Mr. President, did Secretary Leila de Lima just accepted without investigation Mrs. Ruby Tuason’s claim that it was her already dead brother Remy Chan who had accepted commissions and benefitted from the P242 million-fund from Malampaya? Isn’t it obvious that she’s the one who benefitted from it?] ■ Ernie Reyes / with video report from News5 / March

13, 2014 / 1:55 AM

3 Years after deadly tsunami: Japan remembers ‘We’re not party to the issue,’ Speaker says of row over Marinduque House seat 18,000 swept away, re-thinks atomic power MANILA, Philippines—Speaker Feliciano pinapansin si Reyes, ako ang tinitira nila TOKYO - Japan on Tuesday marks the third anniversary of the quake-tsunami disaster which swept away 18,000 victims, destroyed coastal communities, and sparked a nuclear emergency that forced a re-think on atomic power. Remembrance ceremonies will be held in towns and cities around the disaster zone and in the capital Tokyo, where Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are to lead tributes to those who lost their lives in Japan’s worst peace-time disaster. Many local governments will switch on a tsunami alarm siren at 2:46 p.m. (0546 GMT), marking the exact moment a 9.0-magnitude undersea quake hit. Its raw force unleashed a towering tsunami that travelled at the speed of a jet plane to the coast. Within minutes, communities were turned to matchwood, and whole families had drowned. Waves also crashed into the Fukushima nuclear plant, sparking reactor meltdowns and explosions, and setting off the worst atomic crisis in a generation. The crippled plant remains volatile and experts say the complicated decommissioning process will take decades, as fears persist over the long-term health effects of leaked radiation. The accident forced tens of thousands to flee from areas around the shattered site. Although no one died as a direct result of Fukushima, about 1,650 area residents died from complications related to stress and other problems following the accident. A total of 15,884 people are confirmed to have died in the tsunami with another 2,636 unaccounted for. Searchers still find human remains.

In the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 quake in Japan.

Fading hopes for rebuilding. Despite the government pledging billions of dollars in reconstruction aid, progress in disasterhit regions has been slow, and thousands of disaster refugees struggle to cope. Among almost 270,000 evacuees from the tsunami and Fukushima, about 100,000 are in temporary housing while others found shelter in new cities or with relatives. Japan has so far built only 3.5 percent of the new homes promised to disaster refugees in heavily affected Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. That has sowed doubt among many people, with some 77 percent of Japanese saying the pace of reconstruction has fallen short, according to a poll conducted by Kyodo News and other media organisations in March. On Monday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who swept to power in late 2012, said Tokyo was only “halfway” done. “I’m determined to accelerate the recovery and not let this disaster fade from memory,” he told parliament. “Japan’s revival won’t come without the restoration of devastated areas.”

Fierce anti-nuclear sentiment may have subsided, but it still poses a challenge to Abe’s bid to breathe life into Japan’s longtepid economy. On Sunday, tens of thousands of citizens staged an anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo ahead of the anniversary, voicing anger at the premier’s plan to switch on shuttered nuclear reactors, which once supplied more than a quarter of the resource-poor nation’s power. Abe repeated his view Monday that reactors which can be deemed safe would be turned back on. All of Japan’s reactors were switched off after the accident. But Abe, who said he regularly eats rice grown in the Fukushima region, added in a press briefing that “having experienced the accident, it’s only natural for people to be concerned about the safety of nuclear plants”. Despite Tokyo’s push to boost alternative energy, power sourced from wind farms and solar energy remains a fraction of Japan’s needs. ■ Agence France-Presse / March 11, 2014 / 6:24 AM

Belmonte Jr. on Wednesday dared the Supreme Court to cite Marinduque Representative Regina Reyes in contempt for not heeding its order for her to vacate her seat in the House as he stressed that “we are not party to the issue.” Belmonte took exception to being made a respondent to a petition for a temporary restraining order filed by Reyes’ opponent, Lord Allan Jay Velasco, in which he asked the Supreme Court to compel the Speaker to swear him in and assume the position of Marinduque representative, and for the House secretary general to strike Reyes’ name from chamber’s roll of members. The high court has ordered the respondents to comment on the petition. Earlier, the high court ruled that Reyes could not run for Marinduque representative because of citizenship issues and that Velasco, the son of Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. who took the second highest votes after Reyes, should assume the position in the House. The elder Velasco inhibited from the case. However, the House is of the opinion that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed sole jurisdiction over the protest filed by Velasco because Reyes had already been proclaimed the winner in the 2013 elections. “In the first place, we are not a party to the issue … that’s why theoretically, we have nothing to do about the decision,” Belmonte said. “I keep on wondering why they don’t cite Congresswoman Reyes in contempt for not following what the SC said. Hindi nila

(They take no notice of Reyes and go after me) ... why don’t they cite her for contempt at pag na-contempt siya, nerbyusin kami dito (and when she is declared in contempt, that is when we start feeling scared)?” Belmonte added. The electoral protest against Reyes has also turned into a war of parties in the House. Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali earlier filed a resolution reiterating that the HRET has sole jurisdiction over the case. Umali and Reyes both belong to the administration Liberal Party, as does the Speaker. However, on Tuesday, Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. took the cudgels for Velasco, saying the House should obey the high court decision disqualifying Reyes. Barzaga and Velasco both belong to the National Unity Party. “I am concerned of the repercussions of the path we are taking,” Barzaga said. “Now, this institution, a co-equal and coindependent body, is defying the high court. Are we now sending a message, outrageous as it is, that it is not wrongful to disregard the judiciary?” ■ Lira Dalangin-Fernandez / / March 12, 2014 / 2:09 PM

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March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

BSP looking into ‘bitcoin’ potential for low-cost transfer of remittances

Photo from

One more unit of Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Complex back online

MANILA - Energy Development Corp (EDC) has brought back online another geothermal power facility at the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant Complex in Leyte. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, EDC said it re-energized another unit of the Mahanagdong power plant, which is under “close monitoring and additional tests.” The 180-megawatt (MW) geothermal facility has three generating units of 60 MW each. Last February, EDC completed rehabilitation of another generating unit of

the Mahanagdong plant, with only one left to be energized. Along with the 232-MW Malitbog and the 112.5-MW Tongonan plants, the Mahanagdong’s cooling towers and control systems were damaged by the onslaught of Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in November last year. The said plants are part of the 650-MW Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plants in Leyte. The power facility is run by EDC, a subsidiary of First Gen Corp of the Lopez Group. EDC targets to complete repair works on the power complex by August this year. ■ Euan

Paulo C. Añonuevo / / March 12, 2014

MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is looking into how it can regulate bitcoins or virtual currencies that are already being exchanged in the country. “The BSP is studying the appropriate regulatory approach to this innovation. We are trying to better understand the intricacies of its use and implications on consumer protection,” BSP Governor Amando M Tetangco Jr. told reporters today. Tetangco said this innovation could possibly offer a low-cost remittance solution, but the BSP would need to have some level of confidence that the weaknesses could be addressed. The Philippines is one of the world’s top recipients of remittances, which last year exceeded the BSP’s target and hit a record high. Remittances fuel consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the Philippine economy. Although they could be used as a medium of exchange and unit of value, which are part of the traditional definition of money, bitcoins are not issued by a central bank. Tetangco said it has come to the attention of the BSP that virtual currencies like bitcoins are now being exchanged in the country, thus the central bank’s recent warning to the public that these are not yet subject to its regulation. Tetangco said those who engage in virtual currency exchange could lose their

money through a number of ways. Some of these include outright fraud and system failure, as trading would be exchange platform-dependent. There have been a number of cases reported where the trading platforms have gone out of business or failed through the users’ mistake when the virtual currencies are “stolen” from their digital wallet. “As we understand it, there still isn’t global agreement on how to handle this new technological innovation,” Tetangco said. The value of virtual currencies cannot

be guaranteed and can change quickly. In buying virtual currency, it is quite possible for its value to drop sharply and permanently the next day. Virtual currencies also may be used for money laundering and other illicit activities, as they provide consumers with a high degree of anonymity. This illegal use can work against consumers, as law enforcement agencies may decide to close exchange platforms and prevent users from accessing funds that the platform may be holding for them. ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / / March 12, 2014 / 9:45 PM



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Wanted: Best urban planners sought as private sector launches contest for most liveable cities

MANILA - Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ has driven home the urgent need for more resilient and liveable areas in the Philippines and the private sector is now calling on the country’s urban planners to design towns and cities that can adapt with the effects of climate change. To encourage city planners to go back to their drawing boards, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), together with the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council, Worfl Wildlife Fund, Asia Society and the Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Reconstruction (ASSURE) has launched the Liveable Cities Design Challenge. “By launching this design challenge, we hope to start a movement for better urban planning across he country to make our cities fun, vibrant, and safe places to live, work, invest in and visit. In order to build a competitive country, we need to build competitive cities,” Guillermo M. Luz, NCC private sector co-chairman, said. So far 21 cities and municipalities have signed up to join the contest and these are:

• Angeles • Bacolod • Banguio • Baybay (Leyte) • Butuan • Cebu • Cagayan de Oro • Davao • Iloilo • San Fernando (La Union) • Legazpi • Marikina • Olongapo • Ormoc (Leyte) • Pasay • Pasig • Roxas • Surigao • Tacloban • Valenzuela • Zambonga Some of these cities will be hosting the APEC Meetings in 2015 and the others have been hit by disasters, the latest of which was ‘Yolanda’.

The two categories in the competition are: 1) Developing a Disaster-Resilient Government Center and 2) Developing an APEC Meeting venue The first phase of the challenge would be the participation in the Pacific Cities Sustainability Forum (PCSI), which is now being held in Makati from March 11-13, 2014, where the teams will be oriented on the principles on liveable city planning. There, they would be guided by urban planning and design experts from around the world. The second phase, which is set starting this month until April, would be the mentoring where the would have to develop planning and edsign concepts for their respective cities and towns. These experts would be provided by ASSURE who will go to the urban planners’ respective cities for site visits throughout this stage. The last stage would be the planning and design. The teams would have to finalize their designs to be reviewed by judges. This involves submission of conceptual designs,

Satellite pictures of Tacloban before and after being hit by Typhoon ‘Yolanda.

site plans, and architectural perspectives and draft budgets. Detailed engineering designs are not required. There would be no cash reward but the winning entries and honorable mentions are encouraged to prepare detailed funding proposals for projects to be funded by the national government, local government or through the private sector under a publicprivate partnership set-up. Winners would also be able to attract foreign funding agencies that could support their projects.

Non-urban planners but interested Filipinos can submit their ideas in creating a disaster-resilient and sustainable city of their choice. Their suggestions can be submitted through the Liveable Cities Challenge website. For updates, they can follow the challenge on Twitter (@LCDCPhilippines). A Public Choice awad will be given at teh end of the competition for the city or municipality with the most number of votes. ■ Likha Cuevas-Miel / / March 12,

2014 / 9:16 AM

PH economic growth spurt could slow without pickup in infra spending – HSBC economist

Phil Veterans Bank plans doubling of retail loan business MANILA - Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) plans to double its retail loan portfolio with the expansion of its mortgage lending this year. “We’re trying to ramp up our retail loan portfolio,” said PVB president Joey Bermudez, adding that the bank had a portfolio of P2.5 billion last year, of which bulk went to government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs). He said the bank is setting aside P2 billion for mortgage lending this year. The lender launched a housing loan product -- the Home Loan Free Home -wherein borrowers can avail of a cash-back guarantee on the principal loan at the end of the 20-year term. The promo offers a 100-percent return as long as the borrower meets the terms and conditions. PVB is offering the mortgage loan promo from March 1 to May 31.

“A good product sells itself,” Bermudez said, adding that PVB’s new mortgage loan product is a unique investment and savings instrument rolled into one. Eligible borrowers include homeowners with existing mortgage loans with other banks that have been outstanding for at least a year, as well as new homebuyers of residential house and lots, townhouses, or condominiums. PVB offers an interest rate of 8.25 percent per annum for the first five years, for re-pricing every five years. PVB closed last year with P6 billion in capital and with a network of 60 branches, 15 of which are in Metro Manila and 45 branches in areas outside the National Capital Region. PVB has a 19 percent capital adequacy ratio (CAR), higher than the 10 percent regulatory minimum. ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / / March 12, 2014 / 4:52 PM

MANILA - The Philippines is unlikely to sustain its above-trend economic growth if it fails to ramp up infrastructure spending, according to an economist from HSBC. In a press briefing today, HSBC managing director Frederic Neumann said Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) growth could slow from last year’s 7.2 percent to seven percent this year, 5.8-6 percent next year, and 5.8 percent in 2016 when President Benigno Aquino III ends his term. GDP is the amount of final goods and services produced in the country and as such measures economic performance. “The growth we saw in the recent rates resulted into picking low hanging fruits – we have a nice consumption surge in the Philippines. We have put up real estate, tourists are coming in, but I think for growth to be more sustainable, we need much more investments. I am worried that it will revert to 5.5 to 6 percent. I think that is the underlying growth trend unless we succeed in raising investments,” Neumann, who is also co-head of HSBC Asia Economic Research, said. “In 2016, we have not made the official forecast yet but I would say it would be in the high fives, 5.8 percent roughly. It is partly the fact that we are running into capacity constraints. We see infrastructure is getting very limited and increasingly so,” he said.

Neumann said high levels of GDP growth would be sustainable if it would be driven by investments in the manufacturing sector, which in turn would depend on government doubling efforts in infrastructure spending. The Development and Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) targets infrastructure spending to climb to five percent of GDP by 2016. Foreign direct investments (FDI) increased by 20 percent to $3.9 billion last year from the previous year’s $3.2 billion. Last year’s net inflows were higher than the BSP’s target of $2.1 billion. “It’s peanuts, right? FDI could be triple the level if the Philippines places itself as a competitive manufacturing hub. So if you compare it to the FDI in other countries, it is still peanuts. It’s a great increase but a very low level,” Neumann said. He said the Philippines ranks last in terms of the quality of infrastructure among 13 Asian economies. “We made some analysis on infrastructure and we have come up with a measure on the quality of infrastructure in Asian countries and we measured roads, telecoms, electricity, water supply – everything you understand about infrastructure and it is summarized in one index of infrastructure and unfortunately, the Philippines ranks last in this particular

index, behind Vietnam and behind India,” Neumann said. “Now interestingly, the Philippines does not rank in terms of per capita income. That implies that even poor[er] countries than the Philippines start to have better infrastructures. And that is clearly something. And when we want to raise or sustain the fast growth we have seen in the last two to three years we will have to raise the quality of infrastructure,” he said. In this regard, the government should not rely on public-private partnerships (PPP), especially with a number of such projects facing delays because issues raised by bidders, Neumann said. “I think there is such an overwhelming need for infrastructure in the Philippines that we cannot just rely on PPP. There are some stuff that the government need to do on its own, and some stuff that the private sector…,” he said. ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / / March 12, 2014 / 10:05 PM

Power business pulls down Aboitiz Group’s 2013 earnings MANILA—The holding firm of the Aboitiz family posted a double-digit decline in net profit last year dragged by the weakness of its flagship power business. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc (AEV) said its consolidated net income dropped 12 percent to P21 billion last year from P23.97 billion in 2012. Excluding extraordinary items, AEV’s core net income would have decreased by a tenth compared to the prior year. Power accounted for the lion’s share of earnings at 72 percent. Banking contributed 21 percent followed by food and real estate with shares of 6 percent and 1 percent,

respectively. In the fourth quarter alone, AEV’s consolidated net income fell to P4.5 billion, a decline of 24 percent year-on-year. Excluding non-recurring items, the conglomerate closed the quarter with a core net income of P4.6 billion, down 20 percent year-on-year. The income contribution Aboitiz Power Corp went down by nearly a quarter to P14.2 billion at end-December from P18.8 billion a year ago as earnings of the generation group slid by a third. “The decline was mainly attributable to the lower margins registered by the Pagbilao plant, the higher fuel cost brought about

by the implementation of the Geothermal Resource Supply Contract for the TiwiMakban plants, and lower ancillary sales by the Magat plant,” AEV said. Likewise, the generation group’s average price for its power dipped 3 percent year-on-year due to the 7 percent drop in the average selling price of the group’s bilateral contracts. The earnings share of Union Bank of the Philippines jumped 7 percent to P4.1 billion from P3.9 billion, as net revenues increased by nearly a fifth on the back of marked improvements in net interest income and other income. Pilmico Foods Corp registered a 3

percent drop in profit contribution to P1.3 billion last year as the strength of the farms and flour division failed to offset the weakness in the feeds segment, which was weighed down by higher input costs. Aboitiz Land Inc posted a consolidated net income contribution of P273.5 million in 2013. Total revenues stood at P1.8 billion, 57 percent of which came from the

residential segment while the industrial segment contributed 40 percent. The commercial and property management business segments comprised the balance. For this year, AEV is earmarking P88 billion for its capital expenditures, higher than the budgeted capex of P59 billion in 2013. ■ Krista Angela M. Montealegre / InterAksyon / March 12, 2014 / 12:43 PM


March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition



Hounslow Summer Festival - An Interview with the event organisers WITH 234,000 residents, over 140 languages spoken and 36 percent of the population from minority ethnic communities, Hounslow is one of the capital’s most diverse boroughs. Hounslow Summer Festival promises to offer a multi-cultural, fun filled 2 day, ticketed event coming to Hounslow for the first time! People can enjoy a rich mixture of artists, entertainment, foods, games and surprises on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July 2014 in Lampton Park, Hounslow from 10:00am - 6:00pm. The organiser’s would like to offer readers an insight into the planning of this new, exciting Festival that will provide an opportunity for people from all cultures, communities and backgrounds to come together and enjoy a weekend of summer celebration. 1) Q – Is there any parking? A – There is NO PUBLIC PARKING, so please do not attempt to drive to the event. There are good public transport links to the Hounslow Summer Festival

being held in Lampton Park, Hounslow. The nearest underground stations are Hounslow Central (4 minutes walk), Hounslow East (10 minutes walk), Hounslow West (15 minutes walk or 5 minutes by bus) or by train Hounslow Rail Station (15 minutes walk). Please visit or call 020 7222 1234 for information on how to plan your journey. 2) Q – Do you need to book tickets in advance? A – Yes! You will need to book online in advance to gain entry to the event. No ticket no entry. Tickets will not be sold on site on the day. The Hounslow Summer Festival website will go live in March 2014 where you can find further information on how to buy tickets for the event.

3) Q – What are the Highlights of the Festival? A – This is a new two day ticketed event which will provide a variety of

entertainment including a variety of cultural modern and traditional dances, performers plus lots more in store. We are particularly excited about the dedicated Kidz Zone, where parents and their little ones can be entertained. There will be a baby changing facility and dedicated children’s toilets. If that’s not enough an outdoor cinema will provide further entertainment over the two days plus food, goods, funfair amusements and sporting activities such as volleyball competitions and more. 4) Q – What are the event site rules – The Do’s and The Dont’s? DO ✓ Remember to bring sun cream if it’s

a hot day and drink lots of water! ✓ Come with an open mind and in the festive mood to celebrate and enjoy lots of local, national and international performances, activities and workshops. ✓ Get Public Transport to the event and plan your journey early by visiting or call 020 7222 1234. ✓ Keep the event green and tidy! – Put litter in the recycling bins provided. ✓ Purchase tickets online – It is recommended that everyone buys their tickets in advance to guarantee entry. Purchases are e-ticketed. Your ticket will be emailed to you automatically after purchase. (Website will be online in March 2014, please check Hello Philippines newspaper for further details). ✓ Plan your journey – make your journey easy and pre-register, give yourself enough time to get there. ✓ Volunteer at the event – Please email to find out current volunteer opportunities. DONT ✗ Do not attempt to bring personal tents – personal tents are not allowed over the two days. This is in keeping with Hounslow Summer Festival event protocols and the Bye Laws and park hire agreement held with the land owners. ✗ Cook on site – No personal cooking

and personal barbeques allowed onsite. In keeping with Hounslow Council’s regulations on Health and Safety, no cooking is allowed on site over the two days apart from that of confirmed bookings from registered caterers. ✗ Drive to the event – There is NO PUBLIC PARKING. ✗ Unauthorised distribution of leaflets is strictly prohibited; only confirmed companies are allowed to distribute leaflets / flyers. ✗ Avoid bringing glass onsite. ✗ Leave children unattended at any point! ✗ Put up tents - Personal tents are not allowed on site over the two day. This is in keeping with the regulations set out by Hounslow Council. If you have any accessible needs please email events@hello-philippines. com. Disabled parking is available for blue badge holders only; please contact the organisers to arrange a vehicle parking space. ■



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

40 Pinoys get offloaded at NAIA-1 every day – BI FOR failing to convince immigration officers that he will not seek employment once he’s in Dubai, Reynante Perello has been offloaded thrice. “Sa una naman po hindi ako masyado na-disappoint,” he said in a report on “24 Oras” Thursday. “Pero noong second at tsaka third medyo na-[disappoint na] kasi ilang beses na hindi pa naayos.” On his fourth try Perello got lucky. He was finally allowed to visit his relatives in Dubai. Perello’s case is not unusual. According to the Bureau of Immigration, some 40 Filipinos get offloaded at the Ninoy Aquino

International Airport Terminal 1 every day for various reasons. The “24 Oras” report said most of these passengers are bound for Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Bangkok, which are considered transit points accounting for high incidents of human trafficking. Common destination. According to NAIA Immigration Officer Dennis Opiña, Dubai is the most common destination of Filipinos who want to illegally work overseas. “Dito kasi sa Dubai napakarami nang Pilipino. Ang gagawin lamang ng kababayan natin hahanap ng sponsor,

halimbawa, o kung wala man sponsor magpapakuha lamang o maga-apply ng visa,” Opiña said in the report. He warned that undocumented Filipinos are more prone to abuse in other countries. Immigration spokesperson Angelica Pedro said “inconsistencies” in the travel plan may result in a Filipino traveler being offloaded. “If we find out that there is an inconsistency in any part of your travel, offloading may be a consequence of that,” she said. Pedro, however, admitted there were instances when they inadvertently offloaded

Filipinos who have legitimate reasons to go abroad. “Collateral damage”. “Out of mga 50 cases mga three or four. ‘Yan yung mga sinasabi nating na mga collateral damage na lang sila in our aim to effectively implement yung ating guidelines,” she said. The report said in order to avoid getting offloaded, one must show proof that he or she will return to the country. Company IDs for employees or trade registration documents for businessmen could be a big help. Meanwhile, Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales reminded the BI

to be careful in offloading passengers since Filipinos have a constitutional right to travel. Rosales added that there should be enough evidence before the BI stops an individual from leaving the country. ■ Drei Medina / KBK, GMA News / March 6, 2014 / 9:16 PM

Fil-Am lesbian first in line to marry spouse in Illinois

Cherry Bo Fernandez receiving the award from New South Wales governor by Marie Bashir. DFA photo.

Pinay student wins New South Wales award for outstanding leadership skills A Filipina student recently bested 23 other international students to receive the 2014 New South Wales (NSW) School Service Award. Cherry Bo Fernandez was recognized by NSW governor Marie Bashir at the NSW Parliament House last Feb. 25 for her outstanding leadership qualities, according to a news release from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). As the school vice-captain of Casula High School, Fernandez organized school events for leadership conferences, mentoring workshops, and various school assemblies. GMA Outside of school, she volunteered for various charity causes, including a reading

program at a local primary school and blood donation drives. The Cebuana returned to her school after graduation to organize a fundraising event for Typhoon Yolanda victims in the Philippines. Fernandez graduated from Year 12 at the Casula High School. Prior to her win in 2014, Fernandez was a finalist for the 2013 NSW International Student of the Year Award. Sydney Consul General Anne Jalandoon Louis extended her congratulations to Fernandez, and advised her to continue her service to the community as she pursues her university degree. ■ Rie Takumi / KBK, GMA News / March 11, 2014 / 6:06 PM

CHICAGO – Filipino-American Mercedes Santos and her partner Theresa Volpe were the first same-sex couple to take advantage of a federal judge’s ruling that they don’t have to wait until June 1 to tie the knot in Cook County, Illinois. The judge also waived the normal 24hour waiting period for any couple to wed after obtaining a marriage license. Santos and Volpe, along with several other couples, filed a lawsuit in state court in 2012 seeking to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. State lawmakers approved gay marriages in Illinois before that case reached a conclusion in the court system. On Feb. 21, Cook County Clerk David Orr performed the ceremony for Santos and Volpe, who have three children. His office was the defendant in a federal lawsuit seeking to allow same-sex weddings right away, after lawmakers passed legislation forcing gay couples to wait until June 1 to get married. Orr’s office issued 46 same-sex marriage licenses by 7 p.m. on Feb. 21. Santos and Volpe are not the first samesex couple to wed in Illinois. Last fall, a lesbian couple — Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert — filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking to be allowed to wed right away, because Gray is dying of cancer. A judge granted their request, and the couple married on Nov. 27, 2013. U.S. District Judge Sharon Coleman is the sixth federal judge to rule against a state ban on same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court reversed the Defense of Marriage Act last summer.

The five other states to make the same ruling were Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia. “It makes a huge difference because right now we have all the legal protections under the law and that’s what we were fighting for,” Volpe said. “We have the legal protection for our children, as well as for one another.” Santos and Volpe said since they started dating 22 years ago, their families and friends have been very supportive. “Our friends have always known that Theresa and I have always been together,” Santos said. “My parents were there when we testified before the Senate hearing. The first

time they introduced the bill, her mother was there as well. We brought our parents, our kids, and many friends were with us last year.” They hope other kababayans would learn to open their minds and hearts when it comes to same-sex marriage. “Filipinos are very conservative and religious,” Santos said. “That was the biggest concern I had with announcing our wanting to get married to my parents and her community. In the end, they realized that it’s important for families to be accepted and discrimination to be gone.” “We don’t mean harm to anybody, we’re just looking for equality,” Volpe said. ■ Filipino Reporter / March 11, 2014 / 12:22 PM

Mercedes Santos (right) and Theresa Volpe exchanged vows on Feb. 21 in Cook County, Illinois. Filipino Reporter photo.

Fil-Hungarian news anchor quits on-air, slams network’s ‘pro-Kremlin’ slant BECAUSE of her station’s alleged proKremlin slant, a Filipino-Hungarian news anchor quit her position during her show’s broadcast. “I cannot be part of [a] network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of [President Vladimir] Putin,” said Liz Wahl during her report on stateowned television station Russia Today. She added, “I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.” Wahl is the grandchild of refugees who immigrated to the United States to escape the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. According to an article on Time

magazine, the uprising, lead by Hungarian civilians against Russian (then under Soviet rule) only lasted for three weeks, but resulted in the death of more than 3,000 civilians, including children. Wahl told The Daily Beast in an interview that the move was pre-meditated. Although she knew the risks in entering Russia Today and tried to stay objective, its alleged repeated censorship and manipulation moved her to enact her plans. “It actually makes me feel sick that I worked there,” she said. The Daily Beast described Wahl as “an American who says she is of FilipinaHungarian descent.” In an interview with CNN’s Anderson

Cooper, Wahl said, “[T]he propagandist nature of RT [had come] out in full force” in its coverage of the Ukraine crisis. “RT is not about the truth; it’s about promoting a Putinist agenda. And I can tell you firsthand, it’s about bashing America,” Wahl told CNN. Her actions were supposedly inspired by a monologue made by a fellow reporter, Abby Martin, on RT America’s “Breaking the Set” Thursday. “I can’t say enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation’s affairs. What Russia did is wrong,” said Martin. Russia Today later released a statement saying its journalists are free to express their

own opinions on- and off-air. It said it will even send Martin to Crimea to expand her knowledge on the situation. Martin, however, contradicted the statement in a tweet: Russia Today’s statement on Wahl’s actions were less favorable, calling her onair resignation nothing more than a “selfpromotional stunt.” “When a journalist disagrees with the editorial position of his or her organization, the usual course of action is to address those grievances with the editor, and, if they cannot be resolved, to quit like a professional,” it said in a report on CNN’s website. ■ Rie Takumi / KBK, GMA News / March 7,

2014 / 3:47 PM

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March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Filipina activist named UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples’ rights

Filipina activist named UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples’ rights

A Filipino indigenous leader and activist has been named Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples by the United Nations. A report on indigenous peoples’ organization Tebtebba said Victoria TauliCorpuz is now in a position to assess the condition of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples worldwide. The report quoted UN Human Rights Council president Boudelaire Ndong Ella as saying that Tauli-Corpuz was chosen for

her “active involvement with United Nations and multi-stakeholder cross-regional bodies on indigenous issues and her past collaboration with and commitment to constructive engagement among governments and indigenous peoples.” “It will be considered as agreed ad referendum by all Members, if there is no objection by close of business on Friday 7,” Ella reportedly said in a March 3 letter to Council members. The report said the formal appointment

of Special Rapporteur mandate holders will be announced on March 28 during the last day of the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. As Special Rapporteur, Tauli-Corpuz will conduct thematic research on issues relevant to the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples; visit countries to observe and hear about the challenges faced by indigenous peoples; and communicate with governments when human rights violations are alleged.

As an indigenous leader and activist, Tauli-Corpuz was among those who lobbied for more than 20 years before the UN General Assembly finally adopted on September 13, 2007 the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Tauli-Corpuz founded Tebtebba, a nongovernment organization, in 1996. She is also the convenor of the Asian Indigenous Women’s Network. ■ KBK, GMA News / March 10, 2014 / 7:35 PM

Homesickness sends Pinay packing in Jeddah

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Luming (not her real name) was about to work as a domestic helper for a Saudi family when homesickness took over her. The emotion was so strong that she spent her first day on the job crying, prompting her terrified employer to bring her to the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah. “She kept on crying the whole night and my family got afraid that she might do something, so I decided to just send her home at once,” her employer told GMA News in an interview Monday. “I could not believe what happened,” the employer added, noting that Luming had been begging them to send her home. In a separate interview, Luming apologized for the trouble she caused, adding she suddenly realized — albeit belatedly — that she couldn’t live without her children.

She said she was crying the moment her plane landed in Saudi Arabia. Luming also said she tried to back out while still in the Philippines, but her agency threatened that she will have to pay back the processing fees incurred amounting to over P200,000. At the consulate, Philippine Overseas Labor Office and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration officials advised Luming to reconsider her decision. Even her husband, phoning in from Manila, tried to convince her to stay in Saudi Arabia. Luming, however, was adamant, saying she is ready to face the consequences of her actions. Homesickness. Luming’s case underscores the depression new OFWs face in their jobs, and highlights the sacrifices made by migrant workers in order to provide for their families back home. The advocacy group Kaagapay ng Bawat

OFW, which endorsed Luming to OWWA, said incidents of new workers escaping their employers are not at all unusual. Fortunato Atoy Esguerra, the group’s project director and spokesperson, said they already documented four domestic helpers this year who escaped from their work while others refused to work because of homesickness. Esguerra urged the government to check on the procedure of the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar to departing OFWs, especially to household service workers bound to the Middle East. Assistant Labor Attache Olivia B. Macawili, for her part, advised those who are planning to work abroad, especially in the Middle East, to anticipate homesickness and prepare to deal with it before pushing with their plans to avoid ending up like Luming. “You have to make sure of yourself first

‘Luming’ (right) at the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah. Photo by Ronaldo Concha.

before you work abroad so that you will not regret it later,” she said. Macawili called on all recruitment agencies in Manila to make sure that their applicants are physically, mentally and emotionally ready

before deploying them abroad. Luming left Jeddah on Tuesday via a Saudi Arabian flight and arrived in Manila the next day. ■ Ronaldo Concha / KBK, GMA News / March 7, 2014 / 12:58 PM

Malaysia Airlines: No Pinoy aboard missing plane Pinoy arrested in US for shooting cop, 2 others dead NO Filipino was aboard a Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early Saturday. A statement released by the airline before noon (Manila time) did not indicate any Filipino aboard Flight MH370. “The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including two infants), 12 crew members. The passengers were of 14 different nationalities,” it said, adding these included: 1. China: 152 plus 1 infant 2. Malaysia: 38 3. Indonesia: 12 4. Australia: 7 5. France: 3 6. United States: 3 people plus 1 infant 7. New Zealand: 2 8. Ukraine: 2 9. Canada: 2 10. Russia: 1 11. Italy: 1 12. Taiwan: 1 13. Netherlands: 1 14. Austria: 1 Earlier, airline officials said in a statement that Flight MH370 disappeared Saturday at 2:40 a.m. local time. The plane, a Boeing 777-200, left Kuala Lumpur just after midnight Saturday, and had been due to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. local time. It also branded as “speculation” information that the aircraft has landed in Nanming. The airline said the flight was piloted

No Filipino was aboard the Malaysian plane that went missing after it lost contact with traffic controllers early Saturday morning

by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, a Malaysian working for the airline since 1981 and who had logged 18,365 flying hours. It said First Officer Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, 27, logged 2,763 flying hours and joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007. “Our focus now is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members,” the airline said. Earlier, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs on Saturday said it is now checking if Filipinos were among the 239 people aboard a Malaysian Airlines flight bound for Beijing that lost contact with air traffic control after leaving Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. In a text message to GMA News Online, Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said they are now checking with the

Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. In a update released Saturday morning, Malaysia Airlines said the flight carrying a total of 239 people – 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members. However, it assured that Malaysia Airlines has called the relatives of the passengers and crew. “Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft,” it added. It also said the public may contact +603 7884 1234. Media queries may be directed to +603 8777 5698/ +603 8787 1276. Next-of-kin may head to the Support Facility Building at KLIA’s South Support Zone. For directions, call 03 8787 1269. ■ with Amanda Fernandez / LBG, GMA News / March 8, 2014 / 12:59 PM

A US-based Filipino stands accused of shooting dead three people, including an off-duty police officer, following an altercation inside a bar in Ohio on Sunday morning (US time). Igmidio Mista, who is believed to be in the US illegally, was arrested Monday for shooting dead Ramiro Sanchez, Daniel Ramirez, and off-duty police officer Jose Andy Chavez at the Last Call Bar in Fremont, Ohio, according to report on International Business Times. The report said the argument started after the 33-year-old Mista slapped Chavez’s wife for allegedly badmouthing him. At the time, Chavez was celebrating his birthday at the bar. Mista was reportedly asked to leave the bar, but returned with a firearm and started shooting.

A fourth victim, Ramiro Arreola, was wounded in the attack. A separate report on Sandusky Register quoted relatives as saying Arreola’s injuries were not life-threatening. Mista, nicknamed Puppet, was marked as a tremendous flight risk, and identified as a non-US citizen by Fremont Law Director Jim Melle, according to the Freemont NewsMessenger. A separate report said Mista was put in administrative segregation after his arraignment Monday. He is currently in a cell separate from the general population of the Sandusky County Jail, which is standard procedure for inmates convicted of serious crimes. Mista now faces a 15-year-to-life charge with no bond, according to a report on United Press International. ■ Rie Takumi / KBK, GMA News / March 12, 2014 / 2:34 PM

Igmidio Mista appears in Fremont Municipal Court, Monday in Fremont, Ohio. He is charged with shooting and killing three people in a Fremont bar early Sunday morning

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22 March 2014, Saturday 11:00am to 4:00pm

Spring Filipino Food Festival

Ashford Christian Fellowship Church, Bank Street, Ashford, Kent TN23 1BA

22 March 2014, Saturday 5:00pm

Dinner & Dance Charity

St Francis of Assisi Hall Grove Crescent Road Stratford E15 1NS

Fundraising for the rebuilding of the Sto. Nino Church & the Palo Cathedral in Leyte, Philippines hit by Typhoon Haiyan

29 March 2014, Saturday 4:00pm

Building Dreams – a Spring Charity Event

St Boniface Hall, 185 Mitcham Road, Tooting, London SW17 9PG

All proceeds go to The Cordillera Connection’s (TCC) Scholarship program

2 to 4 April 2014 10:00am to 5:00pm

Maria Farrar: An Exhibition of Paintings

Philippine Embassy, 10 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG

4 April 2014, Friday 8:00pm 4, 5 and 6 April 2014 Friday, Saturday and Sunday


Eventim Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9QH The Dome, London / Epic, Norwich / Britannia Theatre, Chatham, Kent

An exhibition of paintings by Filipino-British artist Maria Farrar. The paintings explore, among others, the paradox of realism by hiding or revealing cryptic motifs of biblical or scenes of ordinary life. Finest Workers UK

27 April 2014, Sunday 12:00pm – 4:00pm 2 May 2014, Friday 5:00pm 3 May to 25 October 2014

Filipino Women’s Association (FWA) UK Salo-Salo 2014 Ikaw at ako naman! Ate Gay and Kim Idol Live in Scotland Miss Saigon

4 May 2014, Sunday 5:00pm - onwards

1 Anniversary Dinner & Dance Party

17 May 2014, Saturday

Summer Disco

17 May 2014, Saturday 4:00pm - onwards

1st Anniversary and Search for Mr & Miss CSFCUK 2014

7 and 8 June 2014 Saturday and Sunday 14 June 2014, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00pm

Philippine Independence Day sa Morden Independence Day sa Newcastle

14 June 2014, Saturday 7:00pm to 11:00pm 14 June 2014, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00pm 15 June 2014, Sunday 9:30am – 5:30pm 15 June 2014, Sunday 2:00pm – 11:00pm

Celebrating 2014 – 116th Philippine Independence Party Philippine Independence Day Celebrations in Oxfordshire Barrio Fiesta in Leeds

18 June to 2 July 2014 10:00am – 5:00pm

21 and 22 June 2014, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm 24 June 2014, Saturday 6:00pm – 1:00am

The 70's Superband – The OPM Hitmakers


116th Philippine Independence Day Celebration 2014 – Piyesta Ng Kalayaan London Biennale 2014: Token of a Times Gone By Reanimating History as Art in the Work of Noel De Leon

St Mary Abbots Centre Vicarage Gate, London W8 4HN Adelaides Auditorium 209 Bath Street Glasgow G2 4HZ Prince Edward Theatre Old Compton Street, London W1D 4HS Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum Hotel, 97 Cromwell Road, London SW7 4DN Baden Powell House, 65 – 67 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5JS St Augustine’s CE High School, Oxford Road, Kilburn, London NW6 5SN

Side Projects Productions in association with Simply C PR & Events Filipino Women’s Association (FWA) KMF, Edinburgh, Filipino Community in Scotland

Featuring Fil-Am Eva Noblezada as Kim and Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi Albayanon-UK

March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition CONTACTS / REMARKS Tickets: Adult £6.00 / Children £3.00 (between 5 to 13) / Family £15.00 / (tickets on line are cheaper) Myrna Cunningham 020 8534 3316 / Virgie Fajilagmago 07984 148 592

Maria Farrar –

For tickets and inquiries: 07784 881 850 / Tickets and General Information: 07903 547 676 / Nene Martin: 020 8997 2146 / Imee Pinto: 020 8265 8368 Eleanor Templeman: 07738 873 565 Alex Pullan: 07566 585 592 / Greg Fernandez: 07449 095 895/ Nimo Oliveros: 07411 643 352/ Mikee Devlin: 07411 795 337 Melba Lawrie: 07889 874 970 Tickets are available now from the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Ticket: £28.00 – Adel Duenas 07854 114 330

Aguman Kapampangan UK

Zanie Del Mundo 07886 881 432 /

Camarines Sur Filipino Community UK (CSFCUK)

Morden Park, Morden, Surrey SM4 5DX

Bayanihan UK

Ticket: £12.00 including food – Arthur 07947 344 422 / Elizabeth 07584 411 180 / Kim 07980 557 467 / Rose 07712 234 984 Tess Juco 020 3417 5038 / 07956 593 236

Blaydon Rugby Club (Carboot Area), Hexham Road, Swalwell, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE16 3BN The Chartroom Restaurant / Bar, Inverkip PA16 0AS The Kassam Stadium, Grenoble Road, Oxford OX4 4XP Selby Road Leeds LS15 0AD West Wing Arts Centre Art Centre Stoke Road, Slough SL2 5AX Philippine Embassy 10 Suffolk Street London SW1Y 4HG

Filipino Community of Newcastle Upon Tyne (FILCAN)

Sally Sellars 07886 742 417 / Program: Eva Bartolome 07542 026 296 / Santacruzan: Haidee Atienza 07814 425 547

Phil-Scot Trust

Nally Carroll 01294 461 709 / Marilyn Kaarits 07805 562 450

Filipino Community of Oxfordshire

Ariel Lanada –

Filipino Leeds Association (FLA-UK Limited)

Marjorie Horner: 07787 510 277

An art exhibition of multi-media installations, sculpture, paintings, founds objects by Mr Noel De Leon. It will be organized as part of the London Biennale 2014 and will be curated by Mr. David Medalla, founder and director of The London Biennale Filipino Community in Bristol

Noel De Leon: 020 8581 3623 / 07504 999 374 Website:

Barrio Fiesta in Bristol 2014

Eastville Park, Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol BS5 6XA

FWA UK 26th Philippine National Day (PND) Dinner & Dance

Palace Suite, Royal Garden 2-24 Kensington High Street, London W8 4PT

Filipino Women’s Association (FWA)

Clarita Richardson (Chairman): 020 8767 0180 or 07505 91 468 Jane Gibbs (PND Coordinator): 01483 714 383 Kerima Harris (Deputy PND): 07795 903 419

28 June 2014, Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm

1st Southampton Barrio Fiesta

Hoglands Park Southampton

Southampton Barrio Fiesta

29 June 2014, Sunday 9:00am to 6:00pm 29 June 2014 Sunday 5 and 6 July 2014, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am to 6:00pm

Bradford Barrio Fiesta

Lady Hill Park, Allerton, Bradford BD15 7AA Hydebank Parks and Playing Fields, 19 Newtownbreda Road, Belfast BT8 6BQ Lampton Park, Lampton Road, Hounslow TW3 4DN

Independent Team

For stalls, sponsorship and other enquiries: Paul Maspinas 07894 227 754 / Jimmy Cabotaje 07878 852 153 / Nora Zuniga 023 8023 4412 Nelson 07823 338 947 / Nina 07780 076 256

Northern Ireland Filipino Community

Roy 07412 625 738 / Malou 07850 151 678


12 and 13 July 2014, Saturday and Sunday

Birmingham Barrio Fiesta 2014

Filipino Association of Birmingham

9 August 2014, Saturday 9:00am

Pistahan Sa Nayon! Barrio Fiesta in Scotland 2014

17 August 2014, Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm 30 and 31 August 2014, Saturday and Sunday 6 September 2014, Saturday

Scotland Barrio Fiesta 2014

Woodgate Valley County Park, Clapgate Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, B32 3DS Queens Park Recreation Ground, 520 Langside Road Glasgow G42 7JQ Hamilton Park Racecourse, Bothwell Road, Hamilton, Lanarkshire ML3 0DW Heaton Park, Middleton Road, Manchester M25 2SW TBC

Roselle Collado – 07577 813 104 Mike McCarthy – 07538 201 870 Email: Tickets & General Enquiries: 020 3004 9268 Rozen Malonzo 07985 159 203 / Marlo Quilang 07531 022 269 / Noel Azuro 07861 805 260

20 September 2014 Saturday

Barrio Fiesta Northern Ireland 2014 HELLO PHILIPPINES proudly presents Hounslow Summer Festival 2014

Barrio Fiesta Manchester 2014 Mr & Miss Philippines United Kingdom 2014 Mrs Philippines UK

Baden Powell House, 65 – 67 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5JS

Filipino Community in Scotland

Wil Manuel 07900 485 194 / Honeylyn 07783 343 848 / Clarence 07500 896 239 / Hilda 07909 724 653

Alex Pullan: 07505 117 889 / 07456 658 592 Erik 07795 068 798 Aurora 07748 252 530 /

Philippines-UK Aguman Kapampangan UK

Eva Macadangdang 07983 593 914 / Marlowe Macadangdang 07956 944 520 / Myra Adap del Cruz 07789 695 596 / Zanie Del Mundo 07886 881 432 /

FREE LISTING of your events on the HELLO PHILIPPINES newspaper and if you know of any Events please contact us and submit your event via email to the following at INFO@HELLO-PHILIPPINES.COM DISCLAIMER: The Events Diary Listing does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by Hello Philippines newspaper. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Hello Philippines newspaper. This is merely an Events Diary Listing of what is happening within the Filipino Communities in Europe. This is for general information only.


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Five Precious Wounds Parish, Brentfield Road, Stonebridge Park, London NW10 8ER Mervic Monocillo – 07894 636 140 Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, Friary Road, Peckham, London SE15 1RH Allen Abeleda – 07713 625 888 St Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, 103 Woolwich New Road, London SE18 6EF Moises Espanola – 07894 648 639 English Martyrs Church, Chalkhill Road, Wembley Park, Wembley HA9 9EW Becky Sarinas – 07949 857 699 / 07425 761 519 / Lina B – 07579 418 510 St Dominic Catholic Church, 243 Violet Lane, Waddon, Croydon CR0 4HN Merlie Mirto – 07722 216 462 St. Anselm and St. Cecilia, 70 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JA Feliciano Ramirez – 07733 680 748 Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Priory, Quex Road, Kilburn, London NW6 4PS Sheidrick de Leon – 07738 210 202 Blessed Sacrament Parish, 157 Copenhagen Street, Islington N1 0SR Christy Sangalang – 07709 119 969 Our Lady of Dolours, Servite Parish Church, 264 Fulham Road, London SW10 4EL Fr Allan Satur – 020 7352 6965 / Roland Adap – St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 218 Roehampton Lane, London SW15 4LE Rafael Santiago – 07795 254 451 Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 20 Brixton Road, Oval, London SW9 6BU Ben Ortiz – 07723 318 486 Filipino Mass and Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Farm Street Church of the Immaculate Conception (Jesuit House Chapel), access on 114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AY Josie Ramos – 07723 024 591



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Some Pinoys in Europe ‘abandon religion’ to avoid church tax – ex-CBCP exec SOME Filipinos in Europe, particularly in Germany and Austria, have “abandoned their religion” to avoid paying “church tax,” a former official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Monday. Msgr. Joselito Asis, former CBCP secretary general, said they are aware of this because Germany and Austria normally inform the dioceses in the Philippines when Filipino Catholics there have left the Church. “The process is the Church will have to inform the place of your baptism that this person has abandoned the Catholic faith and then it will be noted in their baptismal [certificate],” he said. Asis did not provide numbers, but

noted that many of these Filipinos rejoin the Church upon returning to the Philippines. “Actually, when these people go back the Philippines, they again practice their religion. That’s how we know that they only did it to evade tax there,” he said. Asis said in European countries like Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and even Italy, Catholics as much as 10 percent of their income as church tax. Abandoning one’s religion, Asis said, is a way out for those who don’t want more deductions from their income. “In Germany and Austria, Catholics and other religious group are forced to pay church tax or they can declare that they no religion so they can evade

religious tax,” he said. “I said it is about 10 or 8 percent. Imagine, for the sake of avoiding paying for religious tax, you abandon your religion. It’s sad,” Asis added. He, however, clarified that church tax is not only limited to the Catholic Church, but also in other religious denominations. The church tax is only paid by members of the respective church. People who are not members of a church tax-collecting denomination do not have to pay it. Members of a religious community under public law may formally declare their wish to leave the community to state authorities. With such a declaration, the obligation to pay church taxes ends. ■ KBK,

GMA News / March 10, 2014 / 6:38 PM

Greek Embassy now processing visas of Pinoys going to Portugal THE Embassy of Greece is now processing the visa application of Filipinos going to Portugal under an agreement with the Philippine government, Manila’s envoy to Portugal said Thursday. Portugal does not have an embassy in the Philippines since its closure in 2011, but maintains an honorary consulate in Cebu. The consulate does not process visa applications. Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Philippe Lhuillier said Greece began accepting visa applications of Filipinos in November 2013. “This arrangement will benefit Filipinos who want to travel to Portugal, especially overseas Filipinos workers who wish to bring over family members or relatives over to visit them during the holiday season,” Lhuillier told reporters during a briefing in Manila. Most Filipinos who travel to Portugal are tourists, he said. Before the new arrangement, Filipinos flying directly to Portugal apply for visas at Portugal’s embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia or at its consulate in Macau.

Portugal and Greece are members of the Schengen group of nations. Schengen states issue a visa that permits passport-free travel in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. With increasing potential for trade between the Philippines and Portugal, Lhuillier said he has been encouraging Portugal’s government to re-open its diplomatic mission in the country. “If we have an embassy there, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t open an embassy here,” he said, adding he has been going around Portugal to promote the Philippines as the “the next premier investment hub in South East Asia.” Compared to Manila’s other trading partners in Europe where economic exchange is more robust, bilateral trade between the two states stands at a mere $21 million in 2013,Lhuillier said.

To shore up investments and tourism, he said Cebu city and the Portuguese city of Sabrosa would soon sign a sister-cities agreement. Apart from economic benefits, Lhuillier said a sister-city arrangement could also bolster cooperation on education and culture. Cebu and Sabrosa have historical links, Lhuillier said. Cebu is the site of the Battle of Mactan, where indigenous Filipinos led by Lapu-Lapu fought Spanish forces under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan, who was born in Sabrosa, was killed in the battle in 1521. A similar arrangement between Dumaguete City and Coimbra, home of Portugal’s oldest and most prestigious educational institution, the University of Coimbra, is also being arranged, the envoy said. Portugal hosts around 3,000 Filipinos, mostly working in the service sector. ■ Michaela Del Callar / RSJ, GMA News / March 6, 2014 / 3:45 PM

OFWs take part in Cyprus carnival OVERSEAS Filipino workers participated at the recently concluded Limmasol Carnival — a yearly event comparable to Brazil’s Carnival — in Cyprus last Thursday. GMA News TV’s “News-To-Go” program on Friday showed pictures sent by YouScooper Angelica Matus of migrant workers clad in yellow-and-black attires walking along the carnival’s snowy path. The attires were inspired by Aklan’s AtiAtihan Festival, the report said. The group even held up a tarpaulin bearing the festival’s name and its roots in honoring the Santo Niño, an image of the infant Jesus. ■ Rie Takumi / KBK, GMA News / March 7, 2014 / 5:07 PM

Number of Pinoys convicted for bringing ‘arms’ in HK up in 2013

FILIPINOS entering Hong Kong are advised against bringing stunning devices in their hand-carried or checked-in luggage, lest they get arrested. In a statement, the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong said stun guns, tear gas, bullets, extendible batons, flick knives, brass knuckles, and other stunning devices are consired “arms” and their possession requires a license. The consulate issued the advisory

after noting an increase in the number of Filipinos convicted for illegal possession of “arms” in Hong Kong last year. According to the consulate, 68 Filipinos in Hong Kong, mostly seafarers, were convicted for illegal possession of “arms” in 2013, a 19-percent increase from 57 in 2012. Unlicensed possession of these devices, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine of HK$100,000 and/or a maximum of

14-year imprisonment. “The Hong Kong authorities are strict with the enforcement of the said Ordinance,” the consulate said, referring to the Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance of Hong Kong. “All hand-carried and checked-in luggage of passengers are subjected to security screening in the airport terminals,” it added. ■ Elizabeth Marcelo / KBK, GMA News /

March 10, 2014 / 4:13 PM

Some Pinoys in Europe ‘abandon religion’ to avoid church tax.

Fil-Malaysian kid discouraged by Malaysian govt after third citizenship try

MALAYSIA’S National Registration Department is set to “strike out” a suit for citizenship by a Malaysian-Filipino student, despite his having a birth certificate and a passport. Navin Moorty, a 16-year-old studentleader, was issued the application by the government to strike out his claim for citizenship, reported Malaysian news site The Star last Feb. 14. The application comes after his third application, after his father’s attempts in 2010 and 2011were rejected by Putrajaya’s NRD. “We need time to study the papers,” Moorty’s lawyer Robin Lim told the Sun. Despite the paper issued to him, Moorty’s application will be heard on April 4 by a high court judge. The Government

and the Home Ministry were named as defendants by Moorty in his civil dispute. According to the application the honor student filed on Dec. 17, he was born in Klinik Sarmukh in Jalan Genting Klang on July 8, 1998. This qualified him for a Malaysian birth certificate. Because of his lack of MyKad, an identity card issued to every Malaysian citizen aged 12 and above, schoolmates considered him an “outsider.” Moorty claimed that school administrators even brought him in for multiple questionings. His father, a native Malaysian, was forced to pay a levy for Moorty to study in a national school. His mother, Marissa Novero, could not be traced. ■ Rie Takumi /

BM, GMA News / March 5, 2014 / 9:52 PM

UK envoy warns Pinoys vs looking for work on tourist visas AFTER assuring Pinoys who seek to visit the United Kingdom on tourist and business visas that acquiring permits is a straightforward process, British Ambassador Asif Ahmad cautioned Pinoys against heading to the UK to look for work illegally. “Over 90 percent who visit the UK get their visas. So, we say yes to the vast majority of those who apply. What the UK does not allow is people using the idea that they can go as a tourist and hope that they can find work. That is not what we’re about,” Ahmad told reporters at the This is Great Britain Festival over the weekend. Instead, Ahmad advised those seeking work in the UK to go through legitimate means to secure entry into the country, so they can be issued the correct visas for their intended purpose. “If you want to work abroad you can look at our rules and regulations, and our capability. If you have a highly desirable skill that we’re short of, if you get sent on an intercompany transfer, if you are part of a research program where your skills are actively being sought, then that is still open,” Ahmnad said.

However, the British ambassador admitted the UK might not be the best place for Overseas Filipino Workers at the moment. “We’re no longer really a place where people should look for large-scale skilled migration. We don’t have an OFW intake program, but we love the Filipinos living and working in the UK now—I’d rather be treated by a Filipina nurse or health care worker than anybody else,” he said. During the festival’s opening, Ahmad also took the time to debunk myths that it is difficult for a Filipino to obtain a visa to travel to the UK for business or pleasure. “We are issuing 90 percent of visas, and we say yes, and we’re doing that in the target of 15 days. There are no queues in our system. Because the last thing we want is a snake of people queuing in the rain and the heat of Manila, waiting for a visa,” he said, adding applicants can now even track their progress online. “It’s all done fairly quickly. You can even check on the website exactly how far we’ve come on your application,” he said.

■ Patricia Denise Chiu/ JDS, GMA News / March 9,

2014 / 4:47 PM

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March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Candy Crush maker to be valued at up to $7.6 bn in New York float

A man plays at Candy Crush Saga on his iPhone in Rome on January 25, 2014. Candy Crush is one of the top online games developed by

KING Digital Entertainment, the British developer behind the wildly-addictive mobile game Candy Crush, said on Wednesday that it could be valued at up to $7.6 billion in its eagerly-awaited upcoming flotation. The planned listing on the New York Stock Exchange, unveiled last month, is the latest in a series by Internet and gaming firms over the past three years—the most high-profile being Facebook and Twitter. King said on Wednesday that it was planning an initial public offering of 22.2 million shares each priced at between $21 and $24 a share. That could give the company a market

capitalisation of between $6.6 billion and $7.6 billion (4.75 billion-5.5 billion euros). “We estimate that we will receive net proceeds from this offering of $326 million,” King said in a statement. “We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions.” King outlined its pricing in a statement issued by the US regulatory body SEC for the New York listing. Candy Crush—King’s top-seller—started life as a Facebook game in 2012 but can also be played online and on smartphones. Millions of commuters, teenagers—

even pensioners—worldwide clock in daily to test their skills at the game, which basically involves moving brightly coloured sweets around a grid to get at least three of a kind in a row. The highly-addictive game is free, but players can pay for extras to smooth their passage through its more than 500 levels. Candy Crush records some 700 million sessions a day and racks up daily sales of $850,000, according to the IDATE digital research and consultancy firm. A quarter of players said they had spent money on the game, according to market research firm Ask Your Target. Despite its 1.1 billion users, Facebook

had a rocky debut after it went public in May 2012, raising $16 billion in the biggest tech IPO on record. Its shares fell by more than half in the ensuing months, but have since recovered thanks to strong gains in mobile ad revenues. Twitter’s IPO raised $1.8 billion in November 2013—although shares later tumbled on warnings the short message network was overvalued. Online gamemaker Zynga—behind the hit Facebook game FarmVille—was valued at $7 billion when it made its play on the stock market in December 2011, but it has been on a losing streak since then. ■ AFP

News / March 12, 2014

Cathay Pacific says net profit tripled in 2013 HONG Kong carrier Cathay Pacific said Wednesday net profit more than tripled last year on a rise in Chinese travellers and fuel-cost savings, but its cargo unit saw earnings fall while analysts warned of a tough future. The city’s flag-carrier said profit jumped to HK$2.62 billion ($338 million) from HK$862 million in 2012 as revenue climbed 1.1 percent to HK$100.5 billion. The 204 percent increase helped the firm recover from a painful 2012, when its bottom line was hammered by the effects of the eurozone crisis as well as persistently high fuel prices. The result was in line with the average HK$2.74 billion net profit forecast by analysts in a poll by the Wall Street Journal. However, the figure is still well down from the HK$5.5 billion profit seen in 2011. “The operating environment remained

challenging throughout 2013... It was therefore encouraging to see an improvement in our overall performance,” company chairman Christopher Pratt said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. “Business outlook for 2014 looks to be improved when compared to 2013,” he added. Cathay, which also owns Hong Kongbased airline DragonAir, said it transported almost 30 million passengers in 2013, up 3.3 percent on-year, helped by strong demand for travel from mainland China as well as promotional ticket programmes. While fuel prices were the most significant cost—at 39.0 percent of total costs in 2013—the firm said it had addressed the problem partly by withdrawing older planes and using more fuel-efficient aircraft. It also said reshuffling schedules helped bring down fuel costs by 4.6 percent year-on-year.

The airline said last year saw a “strong” demand in its long-haul services as well as newly introduced premium economy class. “Passenger demand was strong on long-haul routes in all classes of travel. The introduction of premium economy class has been well received and has improved overall economy class yield,” it said. In 2013, Cathay Pacific acquired 19 new aircraft, including five Airbus A330-300 aircraft nine Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and five Boeing 747-8F freighters. Cathay was trading down 1.8 percent at HK$15.5 early afternoon Wednesday in Hong Kong. However, Mohshin Aziz, a Malaysiabased aviation analyst with Maybank Investment Bank, told AFP the higher profit was “nothing to celebrate” as fuel costs remain high while Cathay faces growing competition in the region.

Hong Kong’s flagship airline Cathay Pacific reports its net profit more than tripling to HK$2.62 billion ($338 million) in 2013

“Competitors have stepped up the game to capture the transit market. Also, low-cost carriers are growing,” he said, adding that more passengers were also opting for new airports in mainland China over Hong Kong. The cargo business saw revenue falling 3.6 percent to HK$23.7 billion but the company said it remained confident in Hong Kong as an aviation hub, adding that investment of HK$5.9 billion in a new cargo

terminal, which opened last year, “will bear fruit in the long term”. However, Aziz said the terminal will likely add more costs in the near term as it was built on expectations of growth in the sector, an assumption that is being challenged as China’s economy shows ongoing signs of slowing down. Cathay closed down 2.41 percent at HK$15.40. ■ AFP News / March 12, 2014

Colorado made $3.5 million in pot tax in first month

Sam Walsh, a budtender, sets up marijuana products as the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary prepares to open for retail sales on January 1, 2014 in Colorado.

LOS Angeles - Marijuana sales in Colorado brought in $3.5 million in tax revenues and fees in the first month retail pot outlets were allowed, the western US state said Monday. The figure included $2.9 million in taxes for recreational and medical marijuana in the month of January, and nearly $600,000 in fees, said Colorado’s Department of Revenue. The Rocky Mountain state had legalized pot in 2012, but made drug history on January 1 by inaugurating retail sales of marijuana for recreational use. It levies a 15 percent excise tax and a 2.9 percent sales tax. “The first month of sales for recreational marijuana fell in line with expectations,”

said tax department chief Barbara Brohl, while cautioning that the size of the industry might take a few months to become clear. Initial projections had suggested 40 businesses would be up and running on January 1, but in fact only 24 were by then. By the end of January, 59 businesses had filed tax returns. After Colorado, Pacific Northwest state Washington is set to follow suit later this year—even though, under federal law, marijuana remains as illegal as heroin, ecstasy and LSD. In Alaska, campaigners are “very hopeful” of putting legalization to a popular vote in August. Similar efforts in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and Oregon are under way, though

in more preliminary stages. President Barack Obama’s administration told federal prosecutors last August to stop targeting individual marijuana smokers in states where legalization is in place. Colorado said that, in the first few months of retail sales, tax and fee revenues will be “significantly affected in both directions” by various factors. A “possible increase in initial demand” could boost sales at first, while the speed with which pot shops are licenced and how readily they can get supplies, may also have an impact. “We expect clear revenue patterns will emerge by April and plan to incorporate this data into future forecasts,” said Brohl. ■ AFP / March 10, 2014 / 7:22 PM

Thailand cuts interest rate due to protests

THAILAND reduced its official interest rate to the lowest level in three years on Wednesday to boost the economy in the face of a protracted political crisis. The Bank of Thailand lowered its policy rate by 0.25 percentage points, to 2.00 percent—a level last seen in January 2011. It is the second time since November that the central bank has lowered borrowing costs to cushion the blow of political turmoil. “Downside risks to growth have risen in the wake of prolonged political situation,” it said in a statement after its Monetary Policy Committee voted 4-3 for the cut. Thailand’s economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of 2013, to just

0.6 percent year-on-year, from 2.7 percent in the previous quarter, official figures showed last month. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has faced months of street protests aimed at ousting her elected government and installing an unelected “people’s council” to oversee reforms. Her administration has limited caretaker powers because opposition demonstrators disrupted a general election last month. The authorities have also suffered a series of legal defeats by the courts, which have been accused by government supporters of colluding with the opposition to try to oust Yingluck.

In a new setback, the Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that a legislative bill to enable the government to borrow two trillion baht ($62 billion) for infrastructure projects was unconstitutional. It said the legislation—which is different to a normal budget bill—did not meet the requirement that such funds must be urgently required. The cabinet had earmarked the money for a high-speed railway and other transportation mega projects to drive the nation’s economic development. “The infrastructure was important for a developing country. It can attract investors and at the same time benefit its people,”

deputy government spokesman Sunisa Lertpakawat said after the court ruling. Political violence and a state of emergency imposed in Bangkok and surrounding areas have dealt a blow to the kingdom’s key tourism sector and raised fears of a drop in foreign investment. “Prolonged political uncertainties would continue to impede the recovery of private consumption and investment,” the central bank said in its statement. “Nonetheless, exports of goods should gradually improve on the back of a recovery in major economies, providing impetus to growth this year,” it added. ■ AFP News / March

12, 2014

An anti-government protestor waves the Thai flag during a rally staged outside the United States embassy in Bangkok on March 6, 2014

March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition



Deep freeze in northeast US spells joy for ice boaters SPORTING a top hat, his eyes twinkling with excitement, Brett Kolfrat surveys a wide stretch of New York’s frozen Hudson River. The extremely cold winter in the northeastern United States has been miserable for many, but not for Kolfrat. Thanks to the deep freeze, he just took his elegant 1908 ice boat out for a spin. “I lived my whole life for this event,” says the 52-year-old electrician as he caresses the mast of the Genevieve—effectively a sailboat made of a wooden backbone with a platform at the rear—mounted on heavy cast-iron blades. “We work so hard with our ice boats trying to get on and off the ice all these years,” Kolfrat said. “For all of us to be here this year, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, that’s what we live for.” Kolfrat is part of a crowd of American ice boat aficionados who have gathered near the historic hamlet of Barrytown, about a two-hour drive north of Manhattan, since word spread in late February that this year’s bitterly cold winter seemed to have paid off—at least for them. The severe winter weather created a

massive 20-mile (30-kilometer) stretch of perfectly smooth ice that is at least a foot (30 centimeters) thick, according to some estimates. Kolfrat’s boat was one of about two dozen that took to the ice during the first two weekends of March, capitalizing on the perfect conditions. ‘Nice sailing’. The spectacle was more common in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when ice boating was a pursuit of well-heeled families such as that of US president Franklin D. Roosevelt—and when temperatures were generally colder. Now, the river is only frozen solid every so often. Kevin Lawrence, a 31-year-old fruit farmer, says his family has been ice sailing for generations. His grandfather was one of the forerunners who brought the pastime back to the river in the 1970s. Out on the ice, Lawrence—his hand firmly on the rope controlling the mainsail—changes tack, speeding towards the opposite shore, which is part of the neighboring state of New Jersey. “Today, we’ve got hard ice, and we’d like

a little bit more wind, but we’re getting nice sailing,” he says. The last time 78-year-old John Vargo took out the star of the show, the Jack Frost, was in February 2003. The vessel, which belongs to the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club, has navigated the river only a handful of times since then. The boat, which in the 1800s sped past trains departing from New York and was restored in 1973, can travel at up to 75 miles per hour. But—in the absence of appropriately cold weather—it has spent most winters under wraps at the Lawrence family’s apple farm. It’s ‘rare, very rare’. A thrilled crowd of spectators—and even a brass band— watched the boats’ grand return to the ice. In the distance, a freighter sounds its foghorn. A dozen wooden ice boats rush to the giant red and blue vessel, some 20 times their size, as it attempts to force passage through a narrow channel cut by US Coast Guards. Frank Wall, the captain of the Aurora, a 30-foot ice yacht from the turn of the

last century, greets the freighter’s captain, whom he knows. “This is rare, very rare... I get emotional,” says Vargo, watching them, his head wrapped in a custom-made, coyote fur hat. Vargo—the publisher of Boating on the Hudson magazine—is convinced that this will be his last chance to go ice yachting on the Hudson. He predicts the conditions might not be right for another 30 years.

Indeed, temperatures in the New York area are on the rise. Kolfrat regrets that he has no coat or tails to accompany his top hat. The boats’ captains in the past “were all billionaires. They were the richest men in the country,” he says. “We’re all laborers—we’re construction workers, teachers, farmers.” Not billionaires, he adds, “but passionate.” ■ Prune Perromat | AFP News / March 12, 2014

Mini-skirt turbulence at Japan budget airline to keep the dialogue with Moscow as a KIEV - Ukraine’s acting president said the country would not use its army to stop Crimea from seceding, the latest sign that a Russian annexation of the strategic peninsula may be imminent. Oleksandr Turchynov’s comments came after the Crimean parliament voted for independence ahead of a Sunday referendum on joining Russia, while Washington and Moscow locked horns in one of their fiercest clashes since the Cold War. The interim leader said intervening on the southeastern Black Sea peninsula, where Kremlin-backed forces have seized de facto control, would leave Ukraine exposed on its eastern border, close to Russia. “We cannot launch a military operation in Crimea, as we would expose the eastern border and Ukraine would not be protected,” Turchynov told AFP. Describing the secession vote as a “sham”, he said: “What they call the referendum will not happen in Crimea but in the offices of the Kremlin.” World powers have repeatedly called for Moscow and Kiev to come together to seek a solution to the escalating crisis in Crimea, but Turchynov said Russia’s leaders were refusing any dialogue with their Ukrainian counterparts. “Unfortunately, for now Russia is rejecting a diplomatic solution to the conflict,” he said. “They are refusing all contact at foreign ministry and top government level,” he added, as Western powers, led by Germany, continued to push for the creation of a contact group to avert fullfledged war. Turchynov and his government’s hold on the separatist region loosened still further when pro-Kremlin gunmen seized the air traffic control tower at Crimea’s main international airport Tuesday and cancelled all flights except those to and from Moscow. Ukraine’s Crimea Seek. The latest

escalation in the crisis also saw Moscow lash out at Washington for promising “illegal” financial assistance to Kiev’s new leaders, who rose to power on the back of three months of deadly protests that toppled a Russia-friendly regime. Undeterred, the European Union announced trade breaks worth 500 million euros ($690 million) Tuesday that could ease Ukraine’s burden from restrictions that Russia has threatened in response to Kiev’s tilt toward the West. Crimea independence. Crimea has been a tinderbox since Moscow’s forces grabbed control of the peninsula— home to tsarist and Kremlin navies for nearly 250 years—as part of President Vladimir Putin’s broader vow to “protect” ethnic Russians living in the southeastern swathes of the culturally fractured exSoviet state. The region’s self-declared rulers are now recruiting volunteers to fight Ukrainian soldiers, while the Russian government sent lawmakers a draft bill that would simplify the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea after Sunday’s vote. The deep historic divide in the nation of 46 million became ever more apparent as Ukraine’s political crisis unfolded following the ousted leadership’s rejection in November of a historic EU pact in favour of

Parliament Speaker and newly-appointed interim president of Ukraine, Olexandr Turchynov attends a session at the Parliament in Kiev on February 23, 2014

better relations with the Kremlin. But the first region to take the radical step of breaking away from Ukraine was Crimea—a peninsula of two million people that had always enjoyed wide autonomy and was a part of Russia until being handed over as a symbolic “gift” to Kiev when it was still a part of the Soviet Union in 1954. Kerry snubs Russia. US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile turned down a visit to Russia and a possible meeting with Putin in a diplomatic rebuff of immense proportions that enraged Kremlin officials. The threat of Ukraine’s imminent breakup has made the tensions and mistrust that always seem to cloud Russia-US ties ever more explicit and potentially damaging for the two powers’

long-term relationship. The rifts were exposed yet again on Monday when Russian state television took the unusual step of airing details of a meeting between Putin and Sergei Lavrov in which the foreign minister complained of Kerry’s rebuff. The broadcast of the exchange appeared clearly aimed at putting the pressure back on Washington and painting US officials as unwilling to discuss their support for an interim team in Kiev that Putin says claimed power through “an illegitimate coup”. The US State Department did little to relieve the tension by reporting that Kerry held telephone talks with Lavrov on Tuesday in which the Russian diplomat “stated positions that we heard” before. It added that Washington wanted

matter of principle. But “the environment has to be right and the goal must be to protect the immunity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The US Congress demanded Tuesday that Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine and urged US President Barack Obama to impose punitive economic sanctions on Moscow. The Senate expressed its support for Ukraine by passing strongly worded resolutions, using tough language against Russia and urging it be suspended from the Group of 8 world powers. The non-binding resolution, passed by unanimous consent, called for targeted economic sanctions to “compel President Vladimir Putin to remove his armed forces from Ukrainian territory and return that territory to full Ukrainian sovereign control.” The measure also called on world football’s governing body FIFA to reconsider its decision to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Obama hosts new PM. The latest bitter and unusually public row came a day before Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk headed to the White House for a Wednesday meeting with Obama that should add credibility to his untested team. Yatsenyuk will also use the chance to iron out the details of a $35 billion aid package he says his nation’s teetering economy needs to stay afloat over the coming two years after being mismanaged by president Viktor Yanukovych—now living in self-imposed exile in Russia. The White House said Obama would discuss an economic support package that has already seen Washington pledge more than $1 billion and the European Union 11 billion euros over two years. ■ AFP / March 12, 2014


HEALTH and Lifestyle

March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Walking reduces heart disease in people at risk “AN extra walk each day wards off killer heart illnesses,” reports the Daily Express. The traditional New Year’s Day stroll is good for “blowing the cobwebs away”, and pledging to walk more as a New Year’s Resolution is a great idea, but this headline needs to be taken with a degree of caution. The news is actually based on the results of a large international study, but it focussed on adults with a high risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. For this reason, people at lower risk of these diseases may not get the same benefit. The researchers found that for this specific group of people, every extra 2,000 steps per day at the start of the study was associated with a 10% lower risk of a “cardiovascular event”, such as a heart attack. A year later, each extra 2,000 steps per day a person took beyond their original amount was associated with an additional 8% difference in the cardiovascular event rate. The researchers tried hard to adjust their findings for many confounding factors, but because of the study design it remains possible that there were other differences between people who took more or fewer steps per day and that was responsible for the association seen. Where did the story come from? The study was carried out by researchers from the NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle, and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit and the University of Leicester, and Duke University School of Medicine, US, in collaboration with researchers from other universities and research institutes from around the world. It was funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals which makes both of the drugs used in the study. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet. Neither the Express nor the Mail Online made it clear at the start of their stories that the figures they were quoting were from a study of adults at high risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Both papers failed to point out that the findings were associations, and from the results of the current study it cannot be concluded that walking caused the reduction in risk seen.

What kind of research was this? This was a cohort study which aimed to determine whether the amount of walking a person did and the change in the amount of walking a person does over time are associated with the risk of a cardiovascular event (death due to cardiovascular disease, a non-fatal stroke, or a heart attack) in people at high risk who also have impaired glucose tolerance. The group of people in this study were taking part in a randomised of two drugs: nateglinide and valsartan. A cohort study is the ideal study design to address this question, and is likely to be the best form of evidence for this question. However, cohort studies cannot show causation. Although the researchers adjusted for a number of potential confounders it could be that there were other differences between people who took more or fewer steps per day and that was responsible for the association seen. What did the research involve? The researchers recruited 9,306 people (with an average age of 63) from around the world with impaired glucose tolerance and either: • existing cardiovascular disease (if aged 50 or older) • at least one cardiovascular risk factor (if aged 55 or older) The group of people in this study were taking part in a randomised controlled trial of two drugs: nateglinide and valsartan. People could receive one of either of the two drugs, both drugs, or placebo. Everyone in this trial also participated in a lifestyle modification programme. One of the aims of this programme was to increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week. The average number of steps that people took per day was assessed at the start of the study and after 12 months using a pedometer. People were followed-up for an average of six-years for cardiovascular events (death due to cardiovascular disease, a non-fatal stroke, or a heart attack). The researchers analysed the association between: • the number of steps taken at the start of the study and risk of a cardiovascular event

It’s good to aim for about 10,000 walking steps every day.

• the change in the number of steps taken between the start of the study and 12 months and the risk of a cardiovascular event The researchers adjusted their analyses for: • the treatment people were randomised to • body-mass index (BMI) • age • geographical location (continent) • gender • current smoking status • coronary heart disease composite (previous heart attack, angina, positive stress test, or coronary revascularisation) and cerebrovascular composite (stroke, transient ischaemic attack) • other biochemical and clinical factors

North Korea displays its Taepodong-class missile during a military parade in Pyongyang, on July 27, 2013.

Rim Sung-Ho (L) from North Korea meets one of his relatives from South Korea, July 11, 2004.

What were the basic results? Each 2,000 steps per day taken at the start of the study were associated with a 10% lower cardiovascular event rate (hazard ratio (HR) 0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84 to 0.96). Each 2,000 steps per day increase or decrease in the number of steps taken per day between baseline and 12 months was associated with an additional 8% lower or higher cardiovascular event rate, respectively. When the researchers adjusted for change in BMI (which might be expected if people increased or decreased the number of steps they took) the results did not change. The researchers also found that increasing or decreasing the number of steps taken changed the cardiovascular event rate for everyone, regardless of the number of steps taken at the start of the study (baseline). The results were also not changed by a previous history of cardiovascular disease, sex, age or location. How did the researchers interpret the results? The researchers concluded that, “both baseline ambulatory activity and change in ambulatory activity over 12 months were associated independently with the risk of a cardiovascular event in the ensuing five years. “Specifically, every 2,000 step per day increment in ambulatory activity at baseline (roughly equivalent to 20 min a day of moderately-paced walking activity) was associated with a 10% lower risk of a cardiovascular event. “Moreover, each 2,000 step per day change from baseline to 12 months was associated with an additional 8% difference in the cardiovascular event rate. This difference was unaffected when further adjusted for change in body-mass index and other potential confounding factors at

12 months. Results were not modified by sex, age, level of baseline activity, or preexisting cardiovascular disease.” Conclusion. This study of adults at high risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease has found that every 2,000 steps they normally took each day was associated with a 10% lower risk of a cardiovascular event. And 12 months later, each extra 2,000 steps per day people did beyond their original number of steps was associated with an additional 8% difference in the cardiovascular event rate. This large study recruited participants from around the world and the researchers adjusted for a number of potential confounders. However, the study had a number of limitations, including: • A large amount of information on the number of steps taken per day was missing, and had to be adjusted for using statistical techniques. • Although pedometers were used to objectively collect information on the number of steps taken, participants knew they were wearing pedometers and were not blinded to the number of steps taken: it could be that people took more steps than normal when they were wearing a pedometer. • Cohort studies cannot show causation. Although the researchers adjusted for a number of potential confounders it could be that there were other differences between people who took more or fewer steps per day and these were responsible for the association seen. • It should also be remembered that all people in this population were at high risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This means that other people may get a different level of benefit from walking. In any case, this research further emphasises the health benefits of walking. ■ NHS Choices



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HEALTH and Lifestyle food

March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Daily sugar intake should be cut, study finds “SUGAR intake should be halved to just five teaspoons a day,” reports The Daily Telegraph, while somewhat confusingly the Mail Online website says we should be eating less than seven teaspoons of sugar a day. Both reports are based on a large review that looked at the link between sugar intake and tooth decay. It found that the incidence of tooth decay is lower when sugar makes up less than 10% of the total recommended calorie intake. As a very rough equivalent, that would correspond to a standard can of cola. There was also some poor quality evidence that showed that dental decay could be further reduced if sugar made up less than 5% of calorie intake. The references to “spoonfuls” of sugar in the papers is potentially misleading and unhelpful, as people could think this only refers to sugar added to hot drinks. Sugar is consumed not just in the form of table sugar, but in high-sugar foods such as cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks. It can also be found in foods you might assume are sugar-free, such as tinned chilli and ready-meal noodles, so it is always a good idea to check the label. Sugary foods and drinks not only cause tooth decay, they are high in calories and can contribute to your risk of diabetes and being overweight or obese. The current advice is to limit your added sugar intake to 10% or less of your daily calories. That’s about 70g of sugar for men and 50g for women, although this will vary according to factors such as size, age and how active people are. Where did the story come from? The study was carried out by researchers from Newcastle University and the University of Cambridge. It was funded by Newcastle University’s Centre for Oral Health Research and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Dental Research. The quality of the reporting on this study was mixed. The Telegraph reported that researchers recommend halving the

current 10% threshold to 5%, when the study clearly says that evidence for doing this is “very low quality”. The Mail made a similar mistake, although it did say later in its story that the evidence for doing this was unreliable. Both papers also issued conflicting messages about the recommended number of teaspoons of sugar people should have a day—five teaspoons in the Telegraph and seven teaspoons in the Mail. It is possible that this confusion arose because of a failure to realise that the recommended daily sugar intakes vary by gender. Halving the current 10% recommendation of 70g for men and 50g for women would lead to a drop (roughly) of 14 teaspoons to seven for men, and 10 teaspoons to five for women. What kind of research was this? This was a systematic review looking at the link between sugar intake and dental caries (cavities caused by tooth decay) undertaken on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO sets guidelines on sugar intake as a percentage of total calorie consumption. It currently recommends that sugar intake should not be more than 10% of total calories. The researchers say that it is widely accepted that sugar is the most important dietary factor in the development of dental caries. WHO commissioned a systematic review of evidence on this issue in 2010 to inform and update its guidelines on sugar intake. In particular, WHO wanted to know whether increasing or decreasing sugar intake affected measures of dental caries, and whether the evidence supports a threshold for sugar intake. Sugar comes in many different forms, including fructose, sucrose (table sugar), dextrose and glucose. It is added to lots of foods, such as sweets, chocolate, cakes and some fizzy and juice drinks. A systematic review is the “gold standard” of assessing a body of previously published clinical evidence. It uses rigorous

methods that enable researchers to identify and assess all relevant evidence on the issue. What did the research involve? The researchers set out to identify the association between the amount of sugar consumed and the level of dental decay. In particular, they searched for studies looking at the effect of, or link between, restricting sugar intake to: • less than 10% of total calorie intake, compared with more than 10% • less than 5% of total calorie intake, compared with 5-10% The review covers what are called “free sugars”. These are sugars added to foods by the manufacturer or consumer, plus those naturally present in honey, syrup, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. The researchers searched various literature databases for relevant studies published since 1950 in any language. They included clinical trials that looked at the effect on dental caries of diets containing different sugar content that had a timescale of at least one year. They also included observational studies that reported changes in sugar intake and information about dental decay. Participants in the studies were from all over the world and in all age groups. The papers were assessed twice to see if they met review criteria. Researchers graded the quality of the studies as high, moderate, low or very low using an internationally accepted and validated

system called GRADE. GRADE takes into account factors such as the consistency of results across available studies, the size of the effect, the evidence of a dose response and the strength of the association. From 5,990 papers identified, the researchers included 55 studies that met the study criteria, 50 of them conducted in children. They did not identify any randomised controlled trials (RCTs). This is probably because randomising an individual to consume levels of sugar that could potentially be harmful would be considered unethical by most research institutes. What were the basic results? The full results of each of the identified studies are extensive and cannot be summarised here. The overall results were: • 42 out of 50 of the studies in children, and 5 out of 5 in adults, reported at least one positive association between sugars and dental decay • there was “moderate quality” evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay when sugar intake is less than 10% of calorie intake, compared with more than 10% • there was “very low quality” evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay when sugar intake is less than 5%, compared with 5-10% of calorie intake How did the researchers interpret the results? The researchers say that dental decay progresses with age and the effects of sugars are lifelong. Even low levels of decay in children are of significance throughout life, they add.

Sugary foods and drinks not only cause tooth decay, they are high in calories and can contribute to your risk of diabetes and being overweight or obese.

While the evidence for a limit of 10% less sugar intake is moderate, they suggest there “may be benefit in limiting sugars to less than 5% to minimise the risk of dental caries throughout the life course”. They also point out that while fluoride has a protective role, the association between sugar and dental caries remains. In an accompanying press release, one of the study’s authors, Paula Moynihan, Professor of Nutrition and Oral Health at Newcastle University, said: “People now expect to keep their teeth into old age and, given that the effects of sugars on our teeth are lifelong, then limiting sugars to less than 5% of the calories we eat would minimise the risk of dental caries throughout life. “In the past, judgements on recommended levels of free sugars intake were made based on levels associated with an average of three or fewer decayed teeth in 12-year-olds. However, tooth decay is a progressive disease—by looking at patterns of tooth decay in populations over time, we now know that children with less than three cavities at age 12 go on to develop a high number of cavities in adulthood. “Part of the problem is that sugary foods and drinks are now staples in many people’s diet in industrialised countries, whereas once they were an occasional treat for a birthday or Christmas. We need to reverse this trend.” Conclusion. This was a systematic review that considered all the evidence on the relationship between dental decay and sugar intake dating back more than 60 years. It is worth noting that the researchers did not identify any randomised controlled trials—the gold standard of clinical evidence—on the issue. However, given the detrimental effect that a high sugar intake is known to have on health, there are likely to be practical and ethical issues around randomising people to long-term intakes of high or low added sugar purely to look at who was more likely to develop tooth decay. That said, the review is a timely reminder that sugar intake is associated with dental decay and that this association remains despite the introduction of fluoride toothpaste and, in some countries, fluoridated water. It would not be safe to assume that access to a fluoridated water supply means you can have your fill of sweet foods. The evidence for lowering sugar intake to less than 5% of calorie intake came from three population surveys carried out in Japan in 1959 and 1960, and is considered very low quality. It is therefore debatable whether current advice will be altered. Sugary foods and drinks not only cause tooth decay, they are high in calories and can contribute to people’s risk of diabetes and being overweight or obese. The current advice is to limit your added sugar intake to 10% or less of calories a day. That’s about 70g of sugar for men and 50g for women, although this will vary according to factors such as size, age and how active people are. Foods and drinks high in sugar should only be consumed in small amounts. ■ NHS


e Philippines Embassy presents

Maria Farrar Exhibition of paintings 2 – 12 April

e Philippines Embassy, London 6-8 Suffolk St, London SW1Y 4HG After Dark, 2013

An exhibition of paintings by Filipino-British artist Maria Farrar will be on display at the Philippines Embassy, London. Born 1988 in Cabanatuan, Philippines, and brought up in Japan, the artist arrived in the UK in 2004. is is her first solo exhibition after completing BFA at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford. Maria Farrar is interested in the disparity between distance and intimacy, clarity and secrecy: a reflection on her experience of growing up as part of different cultures. e exhibition of large oil paintings tell obscured narratives of the past and present. e truth is shrouded in darkness, or revealed in vivid colours. In her paintings, history is understood only partially, the way a culture is might be understood from a distance, or when distance is necessary for comprehension. e paintings explore the paradox of realism by hiding or revealing cryptic motifs of biblical or scenes of ordinary life. e exhibition opens with a reception for the artist on Tuesday 1 April and remains on view through 12 April 2014. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 12AM – 4PM. For more information please contact



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Charice, Jessica Sanchez lead performers in NY concert for Yolanda survivors THE biggest benefit concert so far for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors were held last night, March 11, in New York City. Filipino, American and FilipinoAmerican celebrities lent support to the Pinoy Relief Benefit Concert, which aims to provide assistance to the people of the areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in November last year. Among those who performed in the concert, held at the Madison Square Garden, were Jennifer Hudson, Charice Pempengco, Jessica Sanchez, Plain White

Ts and the Pentatonix. Other celebrities who served as hosts were Filipino-American of Black Eyed Peas, Fil-Am actor Dante Basco and Fil-Am composer Robert Lopez and wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The Lopezes recently won the Oscars for Best Original Song with “Let It Go,” from the movieFrozen. Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the TV show The Dr. Oz Show, also graced the occasion and encouraged the audience to also lend a helping hand.

Created in 2013 in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda, Pinoy Relief was formed to generate awareness, raise funds and create sustainable recovery programs for the victims and communities affected by the super typhoon. “We aim to stabilize affected communities by providing resources, life necessities, temporary facilities and tools to farmers, fishermen, small businesses, teachers, doctors, individuals and families,” Pinoy Relief said on its website. ■ Noel Pangilinan / KBK, GMA News / March 12, 2014 / 3:11 PM

Jessica Sanchez in NY concert for Yolanda survivors.

GMA Network makes a splash on March 11 via its newest sirenaserye Kambal Sirena GMA Network is set to make a splash on international screens as Kambal Sirena takes Kapuso viewers on the breathtaking journey of twins, Alona and Perlas. The fresh and original story of Kambal Sirena is certainly something to watch out for—from its state-of-the-art production design to its spectacular visual effects. Kambal Sirena, a fantasy drama series, is not only a captivating love story but also values how differences can bring people closer to each other. Leading the colorful characterizations of the sirenaserye is Kapuso Prime leading lady Louise Delos Reyes. From the success of her previous series Alakdana, One True Love, and Mundo Mo’y Akin, viewers will surely be captivated by Louise’ most challenging role to date. The Kapuso actress capitalizes on the duality of the challenge, to assume roles as twins Alona and Perlas. In the series, Alona and Perlas are born with unusual features—one is born with gills behind her ears and the other with a

Barbara Miguel receives Best Actress nomination in New York GMA Artist Center talent and multiawarded child star Barbara Miguel has been nominated in the Best Actress category at the 2014 Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) in New York City. The Queens World Film Festival celebrates independent filmmaking by showcasing novice and veteran filmmakers who take a chance at telling challenging and thought-provoking stories. After being named Best Actress in the Harlem International Film Festival in New York for her remarkable portrayal as one of the youngest mothers in Philippine

history via Joseph Israel Laban’s film ‘Nuwebe’, the Kapuso child actress once again gained international recognition, this time from QWFF jurors. Barbara is the only child star nominated in the Best Actress category of the said festival this year. Meanwhile, she is currently part of GMA’s primetime series Carmela, which is aired worldwide on GMA Network’s flagship international channel, GMA Pinoy TV. She has become a household name in the Philippines via the Kapuso Network’s top rating programs Munting Heredera and Biritera. ■ GMA

mermaid’s tail. Worried that neighbors might be surprised by their strange features, their mother decides to move them to an isolated island. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Alona and Perlas end up living separately. Perlas lives with her mother and works in an ocean park while Alona lives as a princess within the confines of the waters—the kingdom of Sirenadia. Another thing to look forward to is the first ever team-up of Louise with Kapuso Prime leading man Aljur Abrenica. Aljur plays the role of Kevin, the rich and handsome son of Susanna (Lotlot De Leon), whom the twins fall in love with. Kevin manages the family company where he meets Perlas. As they start to develop feelings for each other, Susana learns that Perlas is the daughter of Marissa (Mickey Ferriols), who they consider as the cause of her brotherEnrique’s (Ryan Eigenmann) death. Meanwhile, Alona also falls in love with Kevin as she saves him from being drowned.

Two individuals with different personalities and circumstances fighting for one man. Who will win the heart of Kevin? Will the uniqueness in Alona and Perlas be a hindrance for them to be loved? Completing the star-studded cast are Mike Tan, Tessie Tomas, Mickey Ferriols, Nova Villa, Lotlot De Leon, Pancho Magno, Wynwyn Marquez, Chanda Romero, Ryan Eigenmann, Yul Servo, Hershey Garcia, Angelika Dela Cruz, Rich Asuncion, Polo Ravales, and Gladys Reyes. The sirenaserye is helmed by New York-trained director Dondon Santos with Dode Cruz as Head writer. The creative team is composed of Creative Director, Jun Lana; Creative Head, RJ Nuevas; Creative Consultant, Suzette Doctolero; Writers, Christine Novicio, and Luningning Ribay; and Brainstormers, Gilda Olvidado, Jonathan Cruz and Liberty Trinidad. Kambal Sirena begins airing on GMA Network’s international flagship channel, GMA Pinoy TV on March 11. ■ GMA

March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition



Vote-buying alleged in Vice Ganda’s Star Awards Best Actor win

COMEDIAN Vice Ganda’s victory as Best Actor at the 30th Star Awards for Movies on Sunday came as a surprise to many — including one press agent who was confident the honour was going to his client because he had paid for it. In a lengthy Facebook post early Monday, outspoken entertainment reporter and radio announcer Jobert Sucaldito accused the Star Awards organizers, the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), of selling the award to a PMPC member who had lobbied on Vice Ganda’s behalf.

Best actor nominee Joel Torre presents an award with Nora Aunor at the 30th Star Awards for Movies on Sunday. Photos by Jhun Dantes ©InterAksyon.

Sucaldito said he had “commissioned” 22 of the 38 voting members to give the award to Jeorge Estregan, the screen name of Laguna governor E.R. Ejercito, for the latter’s performance in “Shoot to Kill: Boy Golden”. “Nakakaloka ang PMPC Star Awards for Movies na ginanap kagabi sa Solaire. Niloko ako ng ilang members ng PMPC — pinaniwala ako that they will vote for my baby Jeorge Estregan for Best Actor for his sterling performance sa pelikulang Boy Golden,” he said.

Best actor nominee Jeorge Ejercito, also known as Laguna governor E.R. Ejercito (right), presents an award at the 30th Star Awards for Movies.

Sucaldito claimed that he lobbied for Ejercito after he was approached two weeks ago by some PMPC members who told him the “rightful winner” — Joel Torre for “On The Job” — wouldn’t win because there was no money in it for the voters. “Ganito kasi ang scenario — barely two weeks ago, some members talked to me at nagtanong kung hindi ko raw ba ila-lobby si Jeorge Estregan for Best Actor dahil ang kanilang napusuang rightful winner na si Joel Torre for the movie On The Job won’t get the votes dahil hindi nila kayang magbayad sa voting members,” he narrated. As Estregan’s publicist, Sucaldito decided to lobby for his client, who “was next in line for Best Actor”, according to the PMPC members whom he claimed had approached him. “Since 38 lang naman ang voting members, I have to get at least a vote more than half of them — meaning, more than 19 in short. So i commissioned 22 of them bago ako sumugal. Huwag na nating pangalanan but worse come to worst ay willing ako to name names. Promise! Wala akong pakialam dahil lokohan pala ito,” he said. Sucaldito said his lobbying efforts came to naught because one voting member, Francis Simeon, had lobbied for Vice Ganda, who had been nominated for his quadruple roles in ‘Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy”. “Nagbayad siya ng pera sa mga kasamahan niya sa PMPC para manalo si Vice Ganda who is abroad. Mamatay na ang nagsisisungaling,” Sucaldito alleged of Simeon.

Philippine pride as Oscar win caps rare quad for songwriter SONGWRITER Robert Lopez gave the Philippines some Oscars joy as he completed a rare quadruple triumph at the 86th Academy Awards. The 39-year-old American scooped the Oscar for best original song for “Let It Go” from the Disney hit animated film “Frozen” on Sunday. The win, which Lopez shared with his wife Kristin Anderson-Lopez, saw the songwriter join an elite band who have won the grand slam of entertainment industry awards—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony—or “EGOT”. Lopez, who is of Filipino descent, paid tribute to his ancestral homeland during a backstage press conference after the win. “Filipino pride. I’m so excited. I’m just sending love to the Philippines,” said Lopez. “I know they’ve had a tough year and I just send out my feelings to them,” he said, referring to the devastating Typhoon Haiyan which battered the country last November, leaving thousands dead.

Songwriters Kristen AndersonLopez and Robert Lopez with their Oscar for best original song for “Let It Go” at the Academy Awards in Hollywood on March 2, 2014. Photo by Joe Klamar ©AFP News.

Lopez and his wife revealed they are planning a benefit concert for the Philippines on March 12 in New York. Meanwhile, Anderson-Lopez presented her husband with a home-made necklace to commemorate his “EGOT” status. “The girls and I made something for you, Bobby. Just in case this moment happened. We made it last week,” she said, hanging it around his neck. “It’s made of pasta.”

Combination photo shows Vice Ganda in ‘Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy’, Joel Torre in ‘On The Job’ and Jeorge Estregan in ‘Shoot to Kill: Boy Golden’.

“At ang malungkot, ayaw nilang ipakita ang tunay na resulta ng botohan nila — itinatago nila. Kasi nga, if I had 22 committed members, ilan na lang ang natitira sa kanila? 16? in short, I already have the numbers. Kaya lang, since ayaw nilang ipakita ang tunay na resulta ng votes, nanalo si Vice Ganda dahil kontrolado nila ang results,” Sucaldito said. He named five PMPC members who had confirmed Simeon’s lobbying efforts to him. “Okay lang naman ang lobbying pag hindi ka member, and I don’t care kung magalit sila sa akin – nanggagago sila kasi eh. Puwes, magkabukohan na tayo. VICE GANDA’s winning was PAID, at lalaban ako sa isyung ito,” he averred. Sucaldito said Ejercito was not aware of his lobbying efforts and the money he used to pay off the PMPC members had come from his own pocket. At posting time, the PMPC had yet to

Roldan Aquino / March 10, 2014 / 1:55 PM

TV5’s ‘History’ wins in Hildegarde Awards

Lopez meanwhile paid tribute to the input of his wife on his phenomenally successful career. “(She) has been in the background of all of my work—for every single show that she’s not received credit for, she’s been whispering in my ear the whole time,” he said. “So, I’m glad that she is finally getting credit for being the amazing artist that I’ve always known that she is.” ■ AFP News / March 3, 2014 / 4:21 PM

Veteran character actor Roldan Aquino passes away at 65 ACTOR Roldan Aquino passed away Monday night, almost two months after he suffered a stroke. His death was announced on Facebook by his daughter Patricia. “Goodbye Papa. Tapos na ang paghihirap mo. Makakasama mo na si God. Mahal na mahal kita,” Patricia posted late Monday. Born Rolando Desembrana Aquino on May 2, 1948, the stocky actor known for his gruff, booming voice started his career as a voice talent on radio before branching out into films.

issue a statement in response to Sucaldito’s allegations. Vice Ganda is in the U.S. for a series of shows. He celebrated his Star Awards victory with a series of tweets Sunday night. ■

His Internet Movie Database entry contains 110 acting credits, including “Burlesk Queen” (1977), “Atsay” (1978), “Manila Kingpin: Asiong Salonga Story” (2011) and “El Presidente” (2012). He was nominated for the FAMAS best supporting actor award in 1978 for “Burlesk Queen” and 1970 for “Nasaan ang Katarungan”. He was last seen regularly last year on the GMA drama series “Wagas”. ■ InterAksyon. com / March 11, 2014 / 4:00 PM

‘History’ host Lourd de Veyra receives the Outstanding Achievement in the Broadcast Media (Television) trophy at the awarding ceremonies held recently at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila.

THE TV5 public affairs program “History” bagged the Outstanding Achievement in the Broadcast Media (Television) category in this year’s Hildegarde Awards, staged by St. Scholastica’s College (SSC) Manila’s Mass Communications Department. Now on its 8th year, the Hildegarde Awards is consistent with SSC’s vision of building a gender-fair society. It was established in honor of the 12th century Benedictine abbess, mystic, musician, and healer St. Hildegarde of Bingen, aiming to celebrate women’s achievements in mass media and its allied fields. Hosted by musician, poet, and TV personality Lourd de Veyra, “History” offers a different brand of history lessons and trivia. Taglined “Tsismis noon, Kasaysayan ngayon,” the show looks into controversies in Philippine history that have long intrigued scholars and common citizens alike— basically, history lessons they don’t teach you in school. History is part of News 5’s “Karunungan” series, under the “KBO” block, which stands for “Karunungan, Balita, Opinyon.” KBO aims to strengthen News 5’s position as a credible source of knowledge by offering a unique mix of informative and educational shows every night. “History” airs every Wednesday, 10PM on TV5. ■ March 11, 2014 / 12:24 PM



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

You’ll Never Walk Alone Gala Show is a Full House

Peps Villanueva

THE biggest fund-raising event of the season, You’ll Never Walk Alone—The West End Unites for the Philippines, with more than a thousand packing the resplendent Queens Theatre along Shaftesbury Avenue last Sunday, 2 March 2014. The extravaganza featured stars from stage, television, film, and the music world with Joseph Apostol, Julie Atherton, Blake, Cynthia Erivo, Luke Evans, Danielle Hope, Cassidy Janson, Francine Lewis, Simon Lipkin, Hugh Maynard, Pasha & Katya, Joanna Riding, Jon Robyns, Giles Terera, Emmanuel Vass, Hannah Waddingham, and Michael Xavier wowing the audience with their immense talents. Even the ensemble which was composed of Irene Alano-Rhodes, Roman Berry, Criselda Cabitac, Julian Essex-

Spurrier, Jordan Fox, Paul Gloria, Junix Inocian, Renee Montemayor, Kanako Nakano, Conor Neaves, Angelo Paragoso, Rachel Jayne Picar, Riva Salazar, Jacqui Sanchex, Teresa Sanchez-Canestrari, and Ian Venida sang and danced their hearts out. Produced by Paul Spicer of Stage Acts Productions, the show was hosted by wellknown TV and fashion personality, Gok Wan, who seamlessly guided the show from one act to the next. Television personalities —Adrian Chiles, Esther Rantzen, and Fiona Wade—spoke about Typhoon Haiyan and the devastation it made in the Philippines, asking the audience to be more generous as the long road to complete rebuilding and rehabilitation is still ongoing. Spotted among the crowd were Ambassador Enrique Manalo, Consul General Senen Mangalile, Minister Myla

Macahilig, Trade Officer Kitchie Umali, Tourism Marketing Manager Chit Afuang and their colleagues from the Philippine Embassy. FilCom organisations there were Albayanons UK, CamSur UK, E-Learning Group, Friends of Penafrancia, Batangas Association UK, Westminster Cathedral Filipino Club, Farm St Church Filipino Community, The Inter-Cultural Society of London, Filipino-British Nurses Association of Surrey, Filipino Women’s Association UK,, and a lot more. Vanessa White of The Saturdays was there with her boyfriend. Also there were Corazon Santos and family for HELLO PHILIPPINES newspaper, Rose Eclarinal and Ryan Chua of ABS-CBN News Channel and Peps Villanueva of Pinoy Radio UK. The show was organised by Irene AlanoRhodes and directed by Jacqui Sanchez with musical director, Alan Berry. ■

Blake with Ambassador Enrique Manalo and Corazon Santos and Family.

with Emmanuel Vass

with Gok Wan

52 Pembroke Road, London W8 6NX Tel.: 020 7602 7171 Email: Web:—pass the word

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Portugal / France / Spain - 20 to 30 AUGUST 2014



APPEAL FOR ATHLETES FROM THE MEMBERS OF THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY IN UNITED KINGDOM AND EUROPE Greetings! I am from the Ateneo de Manila University a top rank school in the Philippines. This is our website for you to browse, I am also head of the University’s Track and Field program. To bolster our college track and field team, I am in search of eight exceptional student-athletes (four men, four women) entering university, preferably 17-19 years old, to be enrolled by May for the first semester and September for the second semester. The preferred events are distance, throws, sprints jumps, hurdles and race walk where distance runners are the most preferred. Preferably, they should be of Filipino heritage. One or both of the parents should have been a Filipino citizen or immigrant at the time of the athlete’s birth. The preference for mixed heritage for Filipino heritage athletes is due to the fact that one year residency is required in our league. This is unless both parents are documented Overseas Filipino Workers. We accept foreign athletes but they will have to sit out a two year residency rule. It will also be preferable that athletes interested at enrolling under our athletic scholarship program already have taken the Standard Aptitude Test (SAT) or equivalent. This way, they will not have to take the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET). I hope your club has such athletes with caliber and status. It would be appreciated very much to hear from you soon. Thank you! Coach Misael B. Perez Program Head, Ateneo Track and Field Office Landline: (+632) 426 1201 / (+632) 426-6001 – Local 4191-4197



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Jinggoy: Ruby Tuason got biggest kickbacks in Malampaya scam SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada on Wednesday accused government witness Ruby Tuason of getting the biggest kickbacks in the alleged Malampaya Fund scam. In a privilege speech, Estrada said Tuason is only using her dead brother, Remy, to “conceal her own guilt.” “Palusot niya na lamang ito sa malalaking akusasyon. Siya ang kumita ng pinakamalaki sa Malampaya scam,” Estrada said. The senator also claimed that Tuason was able to own a P45-million house in Dasmariñas Village—which he referred to as “Malampaya mansion”—from these kickbacks. GMA News Online is still trying to reach Tuason’s camp for comment.

Last month, Tuason testified before the Senate blue ribbon committee that she delivered bagfuls of money in pork barrel funds to Estrada. Early this month, Tuason’s lawyer said the government witness left for the US purportedly to raise the money she will use to return the P40 million she allegedly earned from the pork barrel scam. “She has personal matters to attend to, foremost of which is yung commitment niya to return P40 million. So she is talking to people on how to come up with a financing for this,” lawyer Dennis Manalo said. Tuason’s supposed wealth. Estrada questioned why the Department of Justice (DOJ) allowed Tuason to leave the country. “Bakit po pinayagan pang umalis si

Mrs. Tuason? Marami pa ba siyang mga ari-arian sa Amerika na ibebenta o marami pa siyang ari-arian na gusto niyang itago sa pangalan ng kanyang mga anak?” he said in his speech. Estrada also claimed that Tuason bought a P6.3-million real eastate property at the Las Vegas Country Club in 2008, which was later transferred to the name of her son, Francis. The senator added that based on his records, Tuason also bought and later sold a $150,000 property in Oakland, California. Estrada further said that she exposed these things about Tuason—whom he compared to a “stray cat”—so that the DOJ might reconsider her admission as government witness in the pork barrel scam.

Witnesses, Cayetano. Tuason was not Estrada’s only target during his privilege speech. The senator questioned government witness Dennis Cunanan’s claim that he is renting his residence from his brother, and also alleged that a Justice Undersecretary was instructing pork scam witnesses to pin the scam only on him and fellow senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong” Revilla. However, he did not name the official. Estrada also said that Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano was using the pork scam probe to advance his political goals. Later, Cayetano hit back, accusing Estrada of double standards and reminding the latter that he himself grilled witnesses during Senate probes.

Jinggoy: Ruby Tuason got biggest kickbacks in Malampaya scam.

“You want special treatment because anyone who stands here, na colleague mo, at magbibigay ng opinyon, ang sasabihin mo, ginagamit sa 2016,” Cayetano said. However, Estrada did not back down. “In aid of legislation, pero lahat ng gustong tumakbo, nagpapasikat... Kinukuha pa ang oras ng Senado para wasakin kami sa publiko,” he said. ■ Andreo Calonzo / RSJ/KBK/BM, GMA News / March 12, 2014 / 4:55 PM

No black sand mining in Ilocos Region - MGB Pampanga’s top cop sacked over drug mess DAGUPAN CITY - There is no magnetite sand or black sand mining in Region 1 comprising the provinces of La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Pangasinan, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said Tuesday. MGB Region 1 Officer-In-Charge Carlos Tayag, in a press conference at Tuesday’s 13th Edition of the Regional Mining Summit at the Leisure Coast Resort here, reiterated that all operations pertaining especially to black sand mining “particularly the illegal ones” have been stopped. Tayag said operations of small-scale mining by individuals as well as companies will also soon stop with the launching of the “Minahang Bayan,” which will turn these small pocket miners into a bigger group or cooperatives. He said they are just waiting for the expiration of the permits previously issued to these small-scale mining groups. Cement manufacturing as biggest miners. At the same time, the MGB tagged cement manufacturing as the major mining industry in the region with two cement plants in operation, namely the Holcim Philippines in Bacnotan, La Union and the Northern Cement in Sison, Pangasinan. These two companies have a combined production volume in 2013 of 41.39 million bags valued at P2.7 billion. MGB said minerals found in the region are gold, iron ore, chromite, and magnetite sand while non-metallic minerals include construction sand, pebbles, decorative stones, silica quartz, natural zeolite, and bentonite granules/powder. In 2013, P47.7 million was collected from the mining activities across the region while its 2012 collection was a bit higher at P49.8 million. The decline was attributed to the expiration of small-scale mining permits in Ilocos Norte, the decrease of limestone and clinker extraction in Pangasinan due to the modification of facilities at Northern Cement, and the drop in sand and gravel production in all the provinces except in Pangasinan. Gold prospects in Pangasinan. In Pangasinan, MGB confirmed that a group had applied to transform certain areas in San Nicolas and Natividad towns as mining sites in view of their prospects for gold. These areas are where some households do their gold panning activities today, the MGB said.

Black sand mining in Buguey, Cagayan. Photo ©

Meanwhile, Antonio Cafirma, chief of MGB-Region 1 Mining and Environment Safety and Health Division (MESHD), assured that his office conducts regular inspection and monitoring of all the operating mines, quarries, crushing plants, and cement plants in the area, and that these do not affect the health of the people living near them. During the three-day mining summit, various mining companies shared their best practices concerning environmental protection, social development, health, and safety. Geo-hazard mapping. At the same time, the MGB reported the ongoing geohazard mapping and assessment in all the

municipalities and cities in the region geared at identifying areas susceptible or prone to geologic hazards which the people can use in order to avert potential disasters in their respective areas. According to Tayag, MGB has already completed the 1:50,000 scale-mapping which reaches the barangay level. However, he said, MGB is yet to finish the 1:10,000 scale-mapping by the end of the year; this map is more detailed and reaches down to sitios. The 1:50,000 scale maps are now downloadable online, MGB said. ■ Johanne Margaret R. Macob / Philippines News Agency / March 12, 2014 / 10:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The director of the Pampanga police has been relieved following the recent exposure of an illegal drug operation run by officers under his command. Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, director of Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3), said he approved the relief of Senior Superintendent Oscar Albayalde for “command responsibility” upon the “recommendation of the investigating body after careful and thorough evaluation of evidence and accounts of witnesses and respondents.” “His relief was due to his failure to take corrective action at his level despite the chance given to him to do so,” Petrasanta said. However, he clarified that the relief order has yet to be approved by higher headquarters. In a related development, Petrasanta

Sacked Pampanga police director Sr. Supt. Oscar Albayalde.

said drug charges were filed Tuesday before the Pampanga provincial prosecutor’s office against Superintendent Rodney Louie Baloyo IV, former chief of the provincial police’s intelligence branch, Senior Inspector Joven De Guzman Jr., former Pampanga Antiillegal Drugs Operations Special Operations Task Group (PAIDSOTG) head, and 11 of their personnel: Senior Police Officers Jules Lacap Maniago, Donald Castro Roque, Ronald Bayas Santos, Rommel Munoz Vital, Alcindor Manguduyos Tinio, Dante Mercado Dizon, and Eligio Dayos Valeroso; PO3 Dindo Singian Dizon, Gilbert Angeles De Vera and Romeo Encarnacion Guerrero Jr.; and PO2 Anthony Loleng Lacsamana and Jerome Capati Bugarin. The accused officers had earlier been slapped 90-day preventive suspensions and subjected to administrative investigation for alleged irregularities they committed during a major drug operation last November. The case was an offshoot of the arrest of Chief Inspecetor Bienvenido Reydado, former head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit-Pampanga and six of his civilian agents for allegedly extorting from Chinese drug suspects reselling seized contraband. During raids conducted against Reydado and his gang, authorities recovered P2 million, believed to be earnings from their racket, and high-powered firearms. ■ Jaime Sinapit / / March 12, 2014 / 4:48 PM

House panel OKs bill imposing maximum penalty for foreigners in drug-related crimes

MANILA, Philippines – A bill that seeks to punish foreigners found guilty of drugrelated crimes with the maximum penalty in their home countries, including death, has been approved by the committee on dangerous drugs of the House of Representatives. “The committee approved the bill to deter foreign nationals from engaging in

drug-related activities in the country,” Lanao del Norte Representative Vicente Belmonte, chairman of the committee on dangerous drugs, said of the measure authored by Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Maximo, who represents the Abante Mindanao party-list. A committee report has been prepared for endorsement to the plenary for debates. The bill seeks to amend the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 by stating that if the offender is an alien, “The penalty to be imposed shall be the penalty prescribed by the alien’s national law for the act committed or the penalty prescribed by this act, whichever is higher; provided, that if the act committed is not punishable in the alien’s national law, then the provisions of this act shall apply.” If the death penalty is not imposed in the offender’s home country, “the alien

who violates provisions of the act, shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings.” “While there is no reason to question the laws of foreign countries, we must ensure that our countrymen do not suffer the short end of the stick,” Rodriguez said. Over the years, several Filipinos convicted of smuggling drugs in other countries where the death sentence is still imposed, notably China, have been executed. During public hearings on the Rodriguez brothers’ bill, the authors said many foreigners have been emboldened to establish drug factories in the Philippines because of the absence of the death penalty, which was abolished by Republic Act 9346. “Once convicted, these foreign nationals only suffer life imprisonment as opposed to

the penalties that they suffer in their own countries which, in some cases like China, is death,” they said. “This is a sad, or even unfair situation, because when Filipinos are caught drug trafficking abroad, they may be meted the death penalty, as seen in the most recent execution of the three Filipinos in China, namely Elizabeth Batain, 38 years old, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, 32, and Ramon Credo, 42,” the brothers said. “While the rationale for the passage of RA 9346 is very clear and noble, there are some sectors of society who believe that this law is not just and equitable because while foreigners may not be executed in the Philippines for drug trafficking, Filipinos who commit the same are executed in other jurisdictions,” the Cagayan de Oro solon said. ■ Lira Dalangin-Fernandez / /

March 12, 2014 / 3:07 PM


March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition


First Pacific to set up shop in Silicon Valley: ‘We need to tap into ecosystem of innovation’ - MVP FIRST Pacific Managing Director Manuel V. Pangilinan on Monday evening (Tuesday morning in Manila) told an audience at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, that the conglomerate will set up an office in Silicon Valley to help spur a more competitive culture in an economic era defined by companies’ ability to innovate. Pangilinan said the office, likely to be set up in San Francisco, expresses how “crucial and necessary” it has become for their members to immerse in the ecosystem of Silicon Valley, and to network with companies, from start-ups to giants in the tech industry, all on the cutting edge of the new economy.

“The Philippines is so far behind in innovation,” he said. Pangilinan has gathered First Pacific’s top executives in a summit in Palo Alto this week, lining up presentations and meetings with a broad range of Silicon Valley experts and institutions, leading to what they hope to be a bold move to make each part and whole more innovative and competitive. Edward Tortorici, executive director of the Hong Kong-listed First Pacific, took part in a panel that followed Pangilinan’s address to the Stanford students, and said, “our theme in these workshops is: ‘Disrupt or be disrupted. Be the wolf or be the sheep.’” Pangilinan shared that, “just on our first

day here, we were told: What if Yahoo looks at the telco business? What if Google goes into energy?” First Pacific’s portfolio across Asia is bannered by dominant Philippine IT-telcos PLDT, Smart, and Sun, but it is also heavily invested in infrastructure (Metro Pacific), energy (Meralco), water (Maynilad), food and agriculture (Indofood and Roxas Holdings), and mining (Philex). It also owns or manages eight hospitals and has upped its play in mass media, controlling TV5, its online news portal InterAksyon. com, satellite-cable provider Cignal, and, most recently, the country’s top business newspaper, BusinessWorld.

Soldier killed, 4 wounded as fighting rages between soldiers, NPA in Compostela Valley

MANILA, Philippines – At least one soldier was killed and four others were wounded Wednesday morning in a landmine explosion followed by fighting between government forces and New People’s Army fighters in Compostela Valley province that was continuing as of this posting. Captain Ernesto Carolina, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said one of the wounded was an officer, although he declined to identify the casualties. He added that the rebels had suffered an undetermined number of casualties in the fighting in Maco town. “Reportedly, our soldiers were able to detect the presence of NPA rebels and seconds later a landmine exploded ... followed by a firefight. The rebels broke into groups and escaped to unknown directions,” Carolina said.

“We’ve already four soldiers wounded and extricated from the battle zone. The NPA rebels were dragging the casualties as our troops continue to press the attack,” he added. Wednesday’s clash came two days after guerrillas of NPA Front 72 raided the police station in Matanao, Davao del Sur, killing two policemen and wounding three others, and

hauling off several firearms. In the aftermath of the raid, seven soldiers of the 39th Infantry Battalion on their way to join pursuit operations against the rebels were killed and eight others wounded when their truck was hit by a command-detonated landmine. ■ Jaime Sinapit / / March 12, 2014 / 1:11 PM

Guerrillas of the NPA’s Mt. Alip Command in Mindanao perform during a celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ 45th founding anniversary. Photo by Edwin Espejo.

In all, Pangilinan said First Pacific’s total value of listed assets rounds out to $38.6 billion. Though the conglomerate’s executives run companies that mostly dominate their respective sectors in the Philippines and/ or Asia, all were candid in acknowledging room for change in its processes and culture. Smart’s Orlando Vea said: “Sixty percent of our workers are Generation Y. Only 3 percent of our management is Generation Y. Change must start with us.” Vea took his turn to address the Stanford audience with a litany of needs for a more innovative and adaptive group. “We need hardware and software engineers. We need help in big data, analytics, business intelligence,” he said. “And we also need people who know and understand Design Thinking.” Tortorici said the office in San Francisco will initially serve “as a listening post”, a representative desk that can help network with Silicon Valley individuals and groups while also capturing and

relaying innovations – whether products or processes – to the larger operations in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Pangilinan said the office may be up as early as April. They have scouted space right at the building of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco he said. The unit will likely be set up, and initially led, by Earl Valencia, president of the IdeaSpace Foundation also set up by the MVP group. IdeaSpace was seeded and operates in the Philippines, with a base embedded with First Pacific and Metro Pacific headquarters in Makati. It runs “innovation labs” and competitions annually, functioning as the group’s “incubator and accelerator” where potential startups can pitch, and promising ideas can be leveraged off the network and operations of all member companies. But having such an operation in Manila is not enough, Pangilinan said they are quickly realizing. “We need to be tapped into Silicon Valley. From (venture capitalists) to incubators to the biggest players, this has a complete ecosystem that we do not have in the Philippines.” Pangilinan said he envisions a “mix” of workers and talent to be recruited from the Philippines, and Silicon Valley itself, and then a two-way exchange of ideas between San Francisco and Asia. First Pacific will remain focused on Southeast Asia, its leaders said, but even in its region and home turf, it will need to directly imbibe whatever it can of the culture of the Valley. ■ / March 11, 2014 / 3:30 PM



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Use SALNs to pin down pork barrel scam culprits, financial expert urges

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the often contentious, even acrimonious, statements of whistleblowers and would-be witnesses to the pork barrel scam, a financial expert says probers might be ignoring the one piece of evidence that can pin down government officials involved in the massive anomaly -- their statements of assets, net worth and liabilities. Speaking before students and anticorruption advocates at De La Salle University’s Jesse Robredo Institute of Governance Tuesday, retired accountant Benny Gonzalez, MBA, pointed out that whistleblowers can often contradict each other. Or they can be bought, or change their minds, or even killed to silence them.

The SALN, the sworn declaration all government employees and officials are required to file each year, should be seen as the “number one witness.” “We should correct the process and use the SALN as a very, very powerful tool,” he said. Gonzalez’ talk was part of the Institute’s “Fostering Integrity in Governance” lecture series. He cited the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona of an example. Gonzalez recalled being boggled at how both the defense and prosecution pushed aside nine years’ worth of Corona’s SALNs, which he said would have been enough to secure the magistrate’s conviction. Had accountants been tapped as

Jay and Benny Gonzalez. Photo courtesy of James Gonzalez, ©

resource persons during the Corona trial, he said, they would have been able to explain the numbers, including the inconsistencies and errors in the former Chief Justice’s SALNs, and shed light on the 53 percent growth of Corona’s net worth from 2002 (P14.968 million) to 2010 (P22.939 million pesos). He also pointed out another problem with Corona’s SALN. “The preparers of his SALNs had the mistaken notion that the repayments of loans automatically translate to increases in equity (or net worth),” he said. “Nagbayad na nga ng utang, yumaman pa (He paid off his debts and became even richer).” The problem, he said, is that government employees file their SALNs and that is that. There is no analysis or processing of the data. Gonzalez then pointed to the 2012 SALNs of 12 senators, noting that those of Joker Arroyo, Juan Ponce Enrile, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Manuel Villar reported no liabilities, which he called “curious.” And he described the SALN of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., which reported a net worth larger than his assets, as a “puzzle.” Gonzalez worried that senators who could not agree among themselves how to prepare their SALNs might be sitting

in judgment of colleagues accused of involvement in the pork barrel scam, which involved skimming off billions of pesos in lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund and funneling these off through bogus nongovernmental organizations. The scam was allegedly engineered by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles working with government officials and lawmakers, who received hefty kickbacks in return. Thus far, whistleblowers have linke d three senators to the scam, which is being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee -- Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada. Gonzalez also examined the SALNs of three senators, whom he would not name, from 2006 to 2012, noting that these reported an average growth in net worth of 65 percent, 12 percent higher than Corona’s from 2002 to 2010. “Ewan ko na lang (I don’t know anymore),” he said. He explained that a single year’s SALN is only like the trailer of a movie and provides little information about a government official. The whole movie emerges when this SALN is taken and compared with the SALNs from other years. “The more SALNs you have, the more stories you will reveal,” he said. He said he is working with a team of programmers on an app that would help users review their previous SALNs and

understand their present one, which he plans to give this as a free service to ordinary government workers. Gonzalez’ son Jay, a governance specialist, said anti-corruption tools are built into democratic societies. These include the checks and balance through the three branches of government; internal, external, and lifestyle audits; surveillance through technology, especially social media; ethics commissions; and meritocracy, which results in hiring the best and the brightest instead of those with connections. And the SALN, he said, is one of the strongest ways of preventing corruption. As a former commissioner for immigrant rights in the United States, the younger Gonzalez said he had to accomplish a 15page “Form 700,” similar to the SALN, for eight years, the preparation of which had to be taken seriously. He suggested that government workers participate in a workshop to make the process clear. One participant agreed that accounting could be useful in removing corrupt local government officials, although “the tools can be sharpened even more” and, in the Philippines, the costs may be high. The participant recounted surviving five ambush attempts while ousting the crooked politician. ■ Tricia Aquino / / March 12, 2014 / 4:10 PM

8 times in 2008, Ruby Tuason visited Senate’s 6th floor, CCTV footage shows MANILA, Philippines - Pork scam whistleblower Ruby Tuason was seen eight times on the sixth floor of the Senate building in November and December 2008, based on the video clips retrieved from the establishment’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera by the Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms (OSSA). In the clips released by the OSSA on Wednesday, Tuason was seen carrying a handbag while on the sixth floor. Estrada’s office is at Room 602, which is on the sixth floor of the Senate building. Estrada said the video clips belied Tuason’s claims that she had personally delivered kickbacks to the senator from the latter’s own Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) through his alleged dealings with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. In her testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee last February, Tuason said she had delivered to Estrada’s office at the Senate heavy bagfuls of money. She claimed that there were times that she used

bags with wheels when delivering lickbacks to Estrada. “Mabigat ‘yong pera. I used a hand carry bag, ‘yong may gulong. If the amount is small, like P1 million or P2 million, kasya in my bag. That will fit in my bag. If it’s bigger than that, we need a big bag,” Tuason told the committee. Also, Tuason said that sometimes, she used a small duffel bag in delivering cash to Estrada. But Estrada, during a privilege speech on Wednesday said that in the video clips, Tuason was only seen carrying a handbag and “not a duffel bag.” Estrada mentioned three dates in 2008 -- November 17, November 19, and December 18 -- wherein Tuason was seen entering the Senate premises, going to the sixth floor, and leaving the building only with her handbag. Also, Estrada said that based on principal pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy’s accounting, which Tuason included in

her February 4, 2014 affidavit, the alleged dates wherein Estrada allegedly received kickbacks from Napoles where not the dates that Tuason visited the senator’s office based on the CCTV footage. Estrada said that while Luy claimed that the senator received kickbacks from Napoles in March, September, and October 2008, the CCTV footage showed that Tuason went to the Senate in November and December 2008. “’Yan daw po ang mga pesta na nakakuha ako ng komisyon sa pamamagitan niya (Tuason), malamang ito na rin ang mga petsang papalabasin na nagdeliver s’ya sa akin. Pero sa CCTV, November and December 2008, walang March, September or October,” said Estrada. The OSSA, however, was not able to retrieve all the video clips from the Senate CCTV camera from 2004 to 2008, the years when Tuason allegedly transacted with Estrada over the latter’s pork barrel allocations.

Ruby Tuason with a handbag caught on Senate CCTV camera on November 19, 2008. Photo from the Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms.

In her affidavit, Tuason said she became Napoles and Estrada’s conduit “until sometime in 2008.” Based on Luy’s accounting, there were at least four purported pork barrel transactions between Napoles and Estrada in 2008 wherein the senator allegedly received kickbacks from the businesswoman. • March 6, 2008 – P5 million involving

PDAF coursed through the then Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) • September 17, 2008 –P2 million involving PDAF released through the Department of Agriculture • October 16, 2008 - P1 million • October 28, 2008 - P1 million involving PDAF coursed through TLRC ■ Ernie Reyes / / March 12, 2014 / 3:49 PM

Media groups ask SC to reconsider cybercrime law ruling

Officers of the NUJP and CMFR after filing their motion for partial reconsideration of the Supreme Court decision on the cybercrime law. From left are: NUJP vice chairman J Alwyn Alburo, NUJP director Sonny Fernandez, CMFR’s Kathryn Raymundo, NUJP chair Rowena Paraan and NUJP secretary general Rupert Mangilit. (photo by Denciang Lanao, NUJP)

MANILA, Philippines – Media organizations on Wednesday filed a motion for partial reconsideration on the Supreme Court ruling on Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. In the motion, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Philippine Press Institute and other journalist groups asked the high court to nullify questionable provisions in the cybercrime law, including the one on online libel. The motion maintained that online libel, as defined in Sec. 4(C)4 of the controversial law, is unconstitutional because it constitutes prior restraint and curtails people’s basic rights to free speech

and expression, which the NUJP called “an anachronism in an age when, around the world, libel has been decriminalized.” It cited the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which upholds the right to free speech and expression and maintains no defamation law shall be passed stifling these freedoms, and to which the Philippines is a signatory. The petitioners also sought the voiding of sections they said “unduly delegated” judicial and legislative powers to law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice. ■ / March 12, 2014 / 6:15 PM


March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

, UK Piccadilly Circus, London Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James Mr Enrique A. Manalo and Consul General Senen Mangalile at Piccadilly Circus, London, UK

o, Japan Shibuya Crossing, Toky

The Philippines says “Thank You” to the World

ON February 8, 2014, at 4:40 a.m., Manila time, exactly three months after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, the country launched a global campaign expressing its gratitude to the world, having received an outpouring of support following the devastating effects of the typhoon. Triggered by an overwhelming sense of appreciation, which has been strongly expressed in social media – for example, #PHthankyou, this groundswell of gratitude is captured in a Thank You campaign created by Filipinos from all over the world. Depicting different ways of expressing their heartfelt appreciation, various messages and images in social media showed the world that foreign support and encouragement has made, and continues to make, all the difference in the country’s

ongoing rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts. Hoping to ensure gratitude is received by everyone, the Philippine Department of Tourism has crafted a “Thank You” message displayed through print ads and electronic billboards in iconic places across the world at 20:40 GMT, specifically: • Times Square, New York, U.S. • Piccadilly Circus, London, U.K. • Potsdamer Platz cor. Leipziger Platz, Berlin, Germany • Lafayette Mogador, Paris, France • Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan • ION Orchard, Singapore • Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto, Canada • Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia • Paiknam Building, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea

All the people across the globe who have expressed sympathies and who have extended support, financial or otherwise, are invited to witness this message of appreciation from the Philippines and help share the country’s profound gratitude to the rest of the world. Using the hashtag #PHthankyou, people around the world can continue to share their support and appreciation. About the Philippine Department of Tourism: The Philippine Department of Tourism is the primary government agency charged with the responsibility to encourage, promote, and develop tourism as a major socio-economic activity to generate foreign currency and employment and to spread the benefits. ■ The Philippine

Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto, Canada

Department of Tourism

Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia

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ipziger Potsdamer Platz cor. Le y an rm Platz, Berlin, Ge


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March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Filipino Talents Hailed for Topping 2013 Peace and Cooperation Awards EDUCATION Undersecretary Mario Deriquito congratulated Filipino student and teachers awardees during the Department of Education hosted 2013 Peace and Cooperation Award on Friday, February 28, at the Bulwagang Karunungan of the DepEd Complex in Pasig City. Over 100 guests were invited to the awarding ceremony. The Peace and Cooperation School Award is an international school competition organized by the Spanish-based Peace and Cooperation Foundation, an NGO founded by educator and social activist Mr. Joaquin Antuña, to promote non-violence through creativity. In his keynote address, Undersecretary Deriquito said: “The Department of Education operates on four pillars namely: to learn, to do, to give and to live. The DepEd supports enhanced learner center curriculum in art.” He also noted extensive cooperation in the field of education between the Philippines and Spain. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

DepEd Undersecretary Marion Deriquito with awardees.

Office of European Affairs Director Bernadette Fernandez, President of the Peace and Cooperation School Award Mr. Joaquin Antuña, Spanish AECID Coordinator Mr. Vicente Selles (representing Ambassador Jorge Domecq who was taken ill) and Iranian Pars Culture Makers Institute for Children Founder Ms. Sousan Nikzat participated in the event. Over 40 Grade School and High School student and teacher individual and group awardees from as far as Bataan, Aurora,

Iloilo and Zamboanga made their way to DepEd to personally receive their awards and to take part in the ceremony. In addition to the certificates, caps, shirts and posters which were personally distributed by Mr. Antuña to the awardees, cash gifts in euros from the Peace and Cooperation Foundation were handed to the top four awardees, namely: Master Erl John B. Castaños, Ms. Annie Rose Batayola, Ms. Jun So Hyun, Ms. Dabereth Baller (teacher). As a tribute to Juan Luna,

the famous Filipino hero and painter who lived in Spain, Philippine Ambassador to Spain Carlos Salinas generously donated 10,000 pesos each to the four awardees plus a glass commemorative tablet/plaque. The said awards, known as the Juan Luna awards, were conferred by the DFA and DepEd on behalf of Ambassador Salinas. Mr. Antuña was touched by the granting

Zambia and Republic of Zimbabwe Ma. Amelita C. Aquino - Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Argentine Republic with concurrent jurisdiction over the Pluri-national State of Bolivia, the Republic of Paraguay, and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay Raul S. Hernandez - Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Korea Lamberto V. Monsanto - Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the State of Kuwait Antonio A. Morales - Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Singapore. The Commission also approved the inclusion of the Republic of Malta under the jurisdiction of Ambassador Virgilio A. Reyes, Jr. (Chief of Mission, Class I), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Italy. The ad interim appointments of the following DFA officials were likewise confirmed: Philippine Embassy Manila Chiefs of Mission, Class I • Jerril G. Santos

• Gilberto G. B. Asuque • Wilfredo R. Cuyugan • Jose Eduardo E. Malaya III • Ma. Hellen B. Dela Vega • Carlos D. Sorreta • Jaime Victor B. Ledda • Joselito A. Jimeno • Ma. Lumen B. Isleta • Domingo D. Lucenario Jr. Chiefs of Mission, Class II • Wilfredo C. Santos • Gina A. Jamoralin • Ma. Teresita C. Daza • Bernardita L. Catalla • Alfonso A. Ver • Nathaniel G. Imperial • Millicent C. Paredes • Julio C. Dery • Ma. Theresa D. De Vega • Rosalita S. Prospero • Marciano R. De Borja • Belinda M. Ante • Medardo G. Macaraig • Noralyn J. Baja • Eduardo V. Aro (Retired on October 19, 2013) Career Ministers • Edgar B. Badajos

• Robespierre L. Bolivar • Evangeline T. Ong Jimenez-Ducroq • Josephine M. Reynante • Grace T. Cruz-Fabella • Enrico T. Fos • Roberto G. Manalo • Donna M. Rodriguez • Charmaine Rowena C. Aviquivil • Lilibeth V. Pono • Deena Joy D. Amatong • Jose Victor V. Chan-Gonzaga • Senen T. Mangalile • Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon • Josel F. Ignacio • Margarita S. Ibayan • Patrick John U. Hilado • Eric Gerardo E. Tamayo • Racquel R. Solano • Igor G. Bailen • Patrick A. Chuasoto • Aileen S. Mendiola-Rau • Leo Tito L. Ausan Jr. • Nina P. Cainglet • Arlene G. Macaisa • Ma. Lourdes M. Salcedo Foreign Service Officers, Class I • Maria Alnee A. Gamble

Performers from Mandaluyong City’s “Mataas na Paaralang Neptali Gonzales Banda Kawayan,” earned praises during the event for song, dance and musical renditions of classic Philippine songs and international music.

of awards from the personal funds of the Philippine Ambassador and expressed hope that the Juan Luna Award would be linked to the 2014 Peace and Cooperation Award, with the theme “Family Rights and Future: Family: Natural and Fundamental Element of Society,” the awarding ceremony of which will be held in 2015 in Algeria. ■ Philippine Embassy Manila / March 12, 2014

Commission on Appointments Confirms Nomination of New Ambassadors and Promotion of 87• Roberto Career DFA Officials T. Bernardo

THE Commission on Appointments today confirmed the nomination of seven new ambassadors namely: Petronila P. Garcia - Chief of Mission, Class I, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Canada Bayani V. Mangibin - Chief of Mission, Class I, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kenya with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Burundi, Union of the Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Madagascar, Republic of Malawi, Republic of Mauritius, Republic of Rwanda, Republic of Seychelles, Somali Republic, United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Uganda and as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and HABITAT Joseph Gerard B. Angeles - Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of South Africa with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Angola, Republic of Botswana, Kingdom of Lesotho, Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Namibia, Kingdom of Swaziland, Republic of

• Edna may G. Lazaro • Voltaire D. Mauricio • Mersole J. Mellejor • Gunther Emil M. Sales • Jim Tito B. San Agustin • Raphael S. Hermoso • Christopher Patrick T. Aro • Ariz Severino V. Convalecer • Maria Anna Lilia L. De Vera • Mark Francis C. Hamoy • Marford M. Angeles • Jesus Enrique G. Garcia II Foreign Service Officers, Class II • Leah Victoria C. Rodriguez • Maria Paz G. Cortez • Jeffrey P. Salik • Rea G. Oreta • Aian A. Caringal • Susana L. Mendiola • Sheila Marie C. Tario • Grace Anne G. Bulos • Melanie Rita B. Diano • Lorena Joy P. Banagodos • Ma. Carmela Teresa A. Cabreira • Conrado B. Demdem Jr. • Greg Marie C. Mariño • Bertrand Theodor L. Santos • Arvic V. Arevalo • John G. Reyes • Reichel P. Quinones • Edward C. Yulo • Lorenzo Rhys G. Jungco IV • Jason Jovencio A. Anasarias • Emmanuel Donato K. Guzman • Edwin Gil Q. Mendoza ■ March 12, 2014

PHL Consulate General Signs Alliance with Texas Occupational Safety and Health Administration CONSUL General Maria Hellen M. Barber-De La Vega signed an “Arrangement Establishing an Alliance between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Texas Area Offices and the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles” last March 3 in Dallas, Texas. Signing on behalf of the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is Mr. Eric S. Harbin, Acting Regional Administrator. The agreement calls for a collaborative relationship between the two offices to

provide Filipino workers and employers in Texas information, guidance and access to resources to promote workers’ rights in occupational safety and health and to ensure that they understand their rights and the employers’ responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). With the signing of this arrangement, the Consulate General now has two (2) agreements on the protection of workers’ rights the other one deals with wages and hours. ■ Philippine Embassy Manila / March 12, 2014

(Left) Deputy Consul General Imelda Panolong with Consul General Maria Hellen M. Barber-De La Vega and Acting Regional Administrator Mr. Eric Harbin signing the partnership Alliance; (Right) Deputy Consul General Panolong, Consul General De La Vega and Mr. Harbin with the signed alliance.

lared in towns across Mindanao; at least 14 people dead

March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition



Ten Inspiring Ladies Honored in International Women’s Day Celebration in New York THE Society of Foreign Consuls (SoFC) in New York City held the celebration of International Women’s Day at the Consulate of Poland in New York last March 8. Polish Consul General Ewa JunczykZiomecka welcomed the guests to their Midtown Manhattan building. She expressed delight in hosting the celebration this year, the fourth time that the Society is holding it in New York. Philippine Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr., President of SoFC gave the keynote address in front of about 180 attendees, consisting of diplomats in New York City, businesspersons, media practitioners, and friends and family of the honorees. He underscored the importance of celebrating the contribution of women in the society and the world. He further elaborated that our society have come a long way in giving equal rights to women in political exercise, economic pursuits, and community affairs. Highlighting that New York is the ultimate melting pot of cultures, all must be respectful of each one’s character, liberties, and roles, regardless of gender. He acknowledged the ten women honorees who displayed dedication in their craft and gave their heart to their advocacies, making them worthy of being recognized. The recipients of the Achievement Awards were nominated by their respective Consulates and were presented with a plaque from the Society.

Ms. Milka Zepina, an anti-communist and anti-war activist who moved to the United States from Croatia when she was still a child, was instrumental in getting the Croatian language to be included in Queens College’s curriculum. She is very active in the Croatian community in New York and organizes the Croatian Independence Day in New York every year. Born to Greek parents in Brooklyn, New York, Cyprus nominee Ms. Effie Lekas was a member of the International Coordinating Committee/Justice for Cyprus in the 80’s. She is also a founding member of the Greek American Women’s Network, and is presently the Assistant Director for the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College Center. An accomplished gallery director, Valentina Castellani represents Italy, the country of her parents and her childhood, in the shows she has organized for Sotheby’s London and Gagosian New York. Kazakhstan native Mrs. Azhara Mestler is an active member of the Kazakh American Alliance. She assists Kazakh immigrants in New York providing advice in law, art and information technology. Nigerian nominee Khuraira Musa owns and operates a boutique in New Jersey, developed a makeup line for women of all colors and ages. She supports breast cancer survivors, sickle cell anemia

Consuls General, Honorees and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at the Society of Foreign Consuls celebration of International Women’s Day at the Consulate of Poland in New York. Photo by Khrystina Corpuz.

research, and education programs for African youth. Philippine nominee Menchu Sanchez, a registered nurse, was hailed by President Barrack Obama as a hero during his State of the Union Address in 2013, after Sanchez successfully transported 20 infants in critical care at the pediatrics unit of the New York University Langone Medical Center during hurricane Sandy. She is an active member of the Filipino community in New York, and a volunteer of the Philippine Consulate General’s Warden System, designed to provide assistance to citizens in distress. She attended the awarding ceremony with her mother Simona Rea de Luna and her youngest daughter Michelle Jude. A beneficiary of the Clinton green card lottery, Polish Karolina Zmarlak moved to

Three Generations of Filipinas: Ms. Menchu Sanchez (3rd from right) poses with her mother Simona Rea (3rd from left) and daughter Michelle Jude (2nd from right) after receiving her Recognition Award. Joining them are Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. (far right), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (2nd from left) and Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz (far left). Photo by Olive Magpile.

the US in 1992 and pursued her career in fashion. After working for Carolina Herrera and theory, she now has her own designer ready-to-wear line available in major New York department stores. Marina Adamovich, Ph.D. from the Russian Federation is the organizer and curator of the Russian Documentary Film Festival in New York. She is a journalist by profession and was the first female editor-in-chief of the oldest Russian émigré publication, The New Review. Another honoree working for healthcare, Katarina Novakova from Slovakia serves as an Executive Board Member of a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the quality of medical care in impoverished areas around the world. The tenth honoree, Dr. Pinar Atakent from

Turkey, is the Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Long Island College Hospital and is responsible for building up bridges between her native country and the United States. Many Turkish physicians and medical students were able to receive training at her department. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney graced the event as well. As a woman representing New York in Congress, she is very proud to be the voice of influential and inspiring women that work hard for their community and their advocacies. Mr. Thomas Gallo, Director of the Office of Foreign Missions of the US Department of State was also in attendance to give his support to the Society. ■ Philippine Embassy Manila / March 14, 2014

Secretary Del Rosario Delivers Lecture on West Philippine Sea Issue, Encourages Youth to be Patriots

AS part of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA’s) public diplomacy efforts to educate young Filipinos about the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario delivered a lecture before Grade 7 and 4th-year high school students of De La Salle Santiago Zobel (DLSZ) last March 10, held at the DSLZ Sylvia P. Lina Theater in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Br. Bernard S. Oca, FSC, DLSZ President and High School Principal welcomed the DFA Delegation and exhorted the student body to understand the crucial issue that the country is facing today. Secretary Del Rosario began his lecture by introducing the students to the three pillars of Philippine Foreign Policy, namely: the preservation of national security, enhancement of economic diplomacy, and the protection of Filipinos overseas. He pointed out that defending the national territory falls under the first pillar. The Secretary then explained the full extent of Philippine territory, emphasizing the inclusion of the maritime zones defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “Now we go back to our question, what is the extent of Philippine territory? It is the Philippine archipelago, other lands or islands which we own and govern, such as the Kalayaan Island Group (Spratly Group of Islands) and Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag or Scarborough Shoal), and also include our maritime zones that we just discussed. All these comprise Philippine territory,” Secretary Del Rosario underscored. He also stressed the importance of preserving freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, noting that about 40% to 60% of world trade passes through it.

The Secretary focused his discussion on China’s claims over Recto Bank and Bajo de Masinloc and maintained that China’s expansive nine-dash line claim has no basis in international law. Secretary Del Rosario emphasized the mandate from President Benigno S. Aquino III to pursue a peaceful resolution to the dispute. Secretary Del Rosario said, “We are, in fact, committed to undertake all that is possible to cultivate positive relations with China in spite of this issue in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea.” The students were likewise enlightened about the political, diplomatic and legal tracks that constitute the Philippines’ rulesbased approach to the issue. The Secretary described the legal track to be the “last resort” and expressed belief that it is “ a durable and lasting solution to settling the disputes.”

(Left photo) Secretary Albert F. del Rosario receives a token and certificate of appreciation from Lasallian Formation and Mission Department Director Evangeline P. De Peralta and the Presidents of the Grade School and High School Student Representative Coordinating Counsils.

He also explained the concept of a “minimum credible defense posture” and how the Philippines has been working with its international partners to achieve it. In closing, Secretary Del Rosario urged the students to take a strong stand for the country and “defend what is rightfully ours.” “This is a collective call for all Filipinos to unite as one. This is a call for you to be a

patriot,” the Secretary concluded. Following the lecture was a lively Q&A session. More than 700 students, DLSZ administrators and faculty members, and DFA officials were present during the lecture. This was the first time that a member of the Cabinet spoke about the West Philippine Sea Issue in DLSZ. The lecture was a project of the DLZS

Grade School Student Representative Coordinating Council, led by its President, Sean Dominique L. Brago, with the support of the DLZS administration, headed by DLZS President and High School Principal Br. Bernard S. Oca FSC, Grade School Principal Ruby P. Ramos, and High School VicePrincipal Agnes B. Panaligan. ■ Philippine

Embassy Manila / March 12 2014

Secretary Albert F. del Rosario pose for a photo with Grade School Student Representative Coordinating Counsils President Sean Dominique L. Brago. Joining them are members of the De La Salle Santiago Zobel faculty and DFA officials.



Philippine typhoon mother rises from ruins TACLOBAN, Philippines - In the savage aftermath of the Philippines’ deadliest storm, an exhausted young woman gave birth to a girl on a filthy floor with little more than determination to sustain them. Emily Sagalis survived the tsunami-like ocean surges of Super Typhoon Haiyan by gripping a fence with one hand, while using the other to protect her swollen belly from chunks of metal and other fast-floating debris. Three days later the 21-year-old was lying on a concrete floor in labour amid broken glass, splintered wood and other wreckage of a destroyed airport building that had been turned into a makeshift medical centre. A military doctor told an AFP journalist who witnessed the birth—the first at the centre since the typhoon—that Emily’s life was in danger as there were no antibiotics to treat seemingly inevitable infections. But with the medics overwhelmed by a torrent of critically injured survivors, Emily was forced to leave with Bea Joy just seven hours after giving birth. Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded, claimed about 8,000 lives in November last year, with many people dying in the terrifying days that

Medical staff tend to Emily Sagalis shortly after she gave birth inside a heavily damaged building.

followed when medicines, food and water were scarce. Emily and Bea Joy, however, defeated death, and today the first-time mother is striving with powerful maternal instincts to create lives of security and happiness on top of the weakest foundations. “I am happy that Bea Joy is happy and healthy. That’s the most important thing,” Emily told AFP on a recent visit to their shanty rebuilt alongside hundreds of tents provided by international relief agencies. Few mercies in typhoon-ruined town. The home Emily shares with Bea Joy and her unemployed husband, Jobert, is so close to the Pacific Ocean that the grey sand beach forms the floor of their tiny kitchen and sleeping area. It is built on the same site as their previous home in San Jose, a fishing community in Tacloban city where all the buildings were wiped out as higher-than-coconut-tree waves generated by Haiyan powered inland. Thousands of people have returned to San Jose and neighbouring towns to live in crudely built homes, or in white tents from the United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that has helped lead relief efforts. Emily, Jobert and Bea Joy have so far had a steady supply of food and water,

Super Typhoon Haiyan survivor Emily Sagalis stands next to her baby inside their tent.

thanks almost entirely to donations from foreign and local charities. They have also remained relatively healthy, avoiding debilitating mosquitoborne viruses and other illnesses that are a relentless threat in the typhoon zones. Emily never did suffer from infections from the cuts suffered during the storm and giving birth in unsterile conditions. That is about where the mercies end. The fresh salt-filled breeze from the Pacific Ocean haunts Emily. “We are afraid because we are near the sea. When there is a strong wind... I start thinking about how to flee,” she said as she washed clothes by hand in a plastic bucket outside her house. Like their neighbours, Emily and Jobert have to continue living in San Jose as they have no money to go anywhere else and the government has yet to deliver on promises to relocate them. Jobert was working as a delivery man in Manila, the nation’s capital 600 kilometres (370 miles) away, when the typhoon hit. He lost his job when he decided to return home and care for his family. “I’ll do any job... but not if it is far away. I have to stay here,” said Jobert, 29, whose mother died in the storm.

Super Typhoon Haiyan survivor Emily Sagalis holds her child in airport building in Tacloban.

March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Emily Sagalas lies exhaused on a debris-filled floor at a makeshift medical facility after giving birth in Tacloban, on November 11, 2013.

A year ago, Emily also worked in Manila, as a maid, and the pair earned a combined $150 a month—placing them among the poorest of the working masses in the Philippines but with enough to survive independently. Now, the family income is about a dollar a day, which Jobert earns by taking passengers in and around San Jose on a pedicab that was donated by a relief agency. That money goes almost immediately on nappies for Bea Joy, plus some eggs and other supplements to the relief food. Emily spends most of her days doing daily chores and caring for Bea Joy. She cooks on an open fire in their cramped, sandy kitchen. The roof is made from a UNHCR tarpaulin and corrugated iron sheets salvaged after the storm. Even during the day, meals are eaten sitting down on the concrete floor of their tiny living area in dusk-like darkness, as there is no electricity. The heat and humidity inside feels

suffocating, with Bea Joy’s swinging hammock generating the only faint movements of the air. Craving normalcy. Emily and Jobert are desperate for more, but not a lot. “We are hoping we can have the life we had before, a normal life. We hope that we can have a new home, not like this one,” Jobert said. Emily, whose potentially beautiful smile reveals the rotten and disfigured teeth of an impoverished childhood, struggles to offer a vision for her family’s future other than ensuring Bea Joy remains healthy. But her fortitude since the typhoon also engenders confidence. Emily left the airport after giving birth on a pedicab and took a half-hour ride with Bea Joy through corpse-strewn roads back to an evacuation centre. Asked if she felt fear then, or when she was in labour at the shattered airport compound, Emily shook her head in the negative and said: “I just tried to be strong for my baby.” ■ AFP / March 12, 2014

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr.

Government for three projects have yet to be fully accounted for. “The COA report showed that the validity of 42,193 SAROs issued to government agencies totalling P1,942,286,355,788.38 remained doubtful due to gaps in the number series resulting in 3,158 unaccounted SAROs,” he added. “We consistently hear of budget cuts or shortage of funds for various purposes from the government. But here is more than P1 trillion in missing monies and the COA is not giving it high priority. Anong klaseng kalokohan ito [What kind of nonsense is this?],” he said. ■ Dexter San Pedro / InterAksyon.

Palace to seek Abad explanation on P1-trillion questionable SAROs A SARO is a document issued by the skepticism about the drama now unfolding MANILA, Philippines—Malacanang will ask Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to explain the 3,158 allegedly questionable special allotment release orders worth more than P1 trillion issued under the Aquino administration. “I will endeavor to get an explanation from Secretary Abad,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a briefing aired over state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Wednesday. Lacierda said he himself was not aware of the Commission on Audit report on the allegedly missing SAROs, which are being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation amid reports dubious documents are circulating.

Department of Budget and Management that triggers the release of funds for lumpsum items such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund, which was recently abolished by Congress and declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The SARO gives the agency the authority to conduct bids or award contracts for goods and services. Earlier, Abakada party-list Representative Jonathan dela Cruz called on the COA to disclose the records of the SAROs, saying the delay in doing so “is putting the entire audit process in a bad light and fuels public

about the misuse of public funds.” Dela Cruz said he sent a letter to COA in October last year requesting for the documents and filed a resolution in December for their disclosure, but the COA has yet to respond. “For a constitutional body, the present COA leadership is wading into politicized territory. It does not augur well for our democracy, worse, it seems it is getting its cue from the budget department, which still has to submit its record as well,” Dela Cruz added. The party-list lawmaker noted that in the

2011 COA Report, the state audit agency mentioned the .....”discovery of missing, unaccounted for, double numbering and skipping of control numbers for 3,158 different SAROs until December 31, 2011.” The report had said that P1.043 billion in allotments coursed through the DBM and the Department of Interior and Local

com / March 5, 2014 / 3:10 PM

Nine arrested over attack on Hong Kong journalist

Hong Kong police commissioner Tsang Wai-hung answers questions during a press conference in Hong Kong, on March 12, 2014

NINE men have been arrested in connection with the brutal attack on a veteran Hong Kong journalist that sparked concerns for press freedom in the Chinese city, police said Wednesday. Kevin Lau, a former editor of the liberal Ming Pao newspaper, was hacked with a cleaver in broad daylight last month by two men who then escaped on a motorbike. Hong Kong police commissioner Andy Tsang said two triad-connected suspects were arrested on the Chinese mainland, while seven “accomplices” were arrested by his force in several locations across the territory. “We have been informed (that) two had been arrested in Guangdong (province)... by the mainland authorities,” Tsang told reporters, adding that some of the seven

arrested by Hong Kong police were also connected to triads. Tsang said he believed that mainland police had made the arrests in Dongguan, some 100 kilometres away from the semiautonomous region. “The two suspected assailants, both aged 37, are Hong Kong residents and are believed to have a triad background,” he said. Tsang did not say when the arrests in China were made, but said he was informed of them on March 9. The seven in Hong Kong were arrested on Wednesday. Lau remains in hospital following the assault on February 26 in which he was struck six times on the back and legs with a cleaver, leaving wounds including a 16-centimetre-long (six-inch) gash.

The attack came just weeks after Lau was removed from his position at the helm of radical Ming Pao and replaced with an editor deemed to be pro-Beijing. The ouster triggered protests over media freedom with mounting concerns that Beijing was seeking to tighten control over the semi-autonomous region. Tsang said Wednesday that a motive had yet to be established and that no link had so far been made between Lau’s journalism and the attack. He added that an investigation was ongoing and that a request will be made to mainland authorities to return the two suspects to Hong Kong for questioning and trial. “We will not rule out any motive. In

this investigation, we will leave no stone unturned,” he told a press conference, adding that “further arrests may be made”. He said he believed that whoever committed the crime may have been hired. Lau’s wife Vivian Chan said late Wednesday following the police announcement that she still believed the attack was linked to her husband’s work. “If the truth is to be revealed as soon as possible I hope police can arrest the mastermind. Then we should know [if] the case is linked to his journalism,” she told reporters. Lau was moved out of intensive care and onto a private ward earlier this month. He remains in hospital and is currently unable to walk. ■ Dennis Chong / AFP News / March 12, 2014


March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Mel Sta. Maria: Torture in the Philippines ATTY. Mel Sta. Maria is the resident legal analyst of TV5. He is Dean of the FEU Institute of Law. He also teaches at the Ateneo School of Law and daily co-hosts the program ‘Relasyon’ on Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM. Last week, we saw a most despicable scene in the news. An alleged thief was paraded in a public place--the market of Tanauan. He had an inscription hanging from his neck humiliatingly announcing : “Ako’y Magnanakaw, Huwag tularan.” It was his punishment imposed by government officials. And so the question is: even assuming that the person was a known thief, was this extra-judicial punishment acceptable in a civil society? The answer is non-debatable. What happened was absolutely illegal and criminal. No one deserves such kind of arbitrary, capricious, whimsical and oppressive shaming. No amount of explanation can justify such punishment. It belongs to a bygone era when uncivilized cruel men lorded it over their helpless subjects. Horribly, the suspected thief was tortured. The government officials responsible for this act and their accomplices must be brought to justice and tried. If found guilty, they must be jailed and removed from their offices. Their actions are very dangerous to society. Republic Act No. 9745, otherwise known as the “Anti-Torture Act of 2009” makes it State policy “to value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect

for human rights” and “to ensure that the human rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners, are respected at all times.” The law explicitly prohibits all kinds of torture, whether physical, mental or psychological. These include “shame inflictions, such as stripping the person naked, parading him/her in public places, shaving the victim’s head or putting marks on his/her body against his/her will”. These prohibitions apply with greater force to “a person in authority or agent of a person in authority which are calculated to affect or confuse the mind and/or undermine a person’s dignity and morale.” (Section 4(b) [10] of R.A. 9745) The penalty for those responsible is prision correctional which means incarceraton for six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years of imprisonment. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), according to the law, must immediately assist the victim in filing the case. In fact,the Department of Justice (DOJ), being the prosecuting arm of the government, can initiate an investigation. Torture is a most heinous crime. The challenge now is for Secretary De Lima, the CHR and the PAO to act with speed to vindicate the right of the tortured. If these government officials truly care about human rights, they must go against their fellow government officials who unhesitatingly denigrate the rights of the people. Justice must be done.

A few weeks ago, the BIR caused the posting of a “shaming” advertisement in a newspaper directed against the medical profession. Subsequently, we saw in the news a thief tortured through “shame inflictions” by government officials. Rights and the dignity of others are being violated by government people who ought to be public servants. It is said that unfortunate events always come in threes. If this is true , then with bated breath, I dread to see the next governmental “shaming” episode.I hope it does not happen at all. But nothing seems to be improbable under the present batch of public officials. What a shame! ■ Atty. Mel Sta.

Maria / March 9, 2014 / 2:02 PM


File photo of Manila’s notorious “torture cop.” Local officials in Tanauan, Batangas, are now under fire for parading a suspect in a marketplace, with a note tagging him as a thief. It is a form of torture and cruel and unusual punishment, prohibited by law.

Pinay in Dubai run over, killed – report

Dubai’s skyline. ©AFP.

A Filipina was killed after she was run over by a vehicle in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, over the weekend, a report on Khaleej Times said Tuesday. The report said the accident took place between the seventh and eighth interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road on Sunday morning. It said the Filipina, whom it did not identify, was crossing the road from a nondesignated spot when she was run over by a vehicle driven by a female driver. The victim was killed on the spot, the report said. The Filipina was just one of the three people who were killed in separate road accidents in Dubai over the weekend. The other fatalities were a European and an Arab.

Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Acting Director of the General Department of Traffic, attributed the accidents to speeding by motorists, not paying attention to the roads and people crossing roads from nondesignated areas, the Khaleej Times report said. The report quoted Mazroui as saying that the number of fatalities in accidents in the emirate dropped slightly in the past two months as compared to the same period last year. The rate of accidents, however, has not come down according to the plans set for 2014, Mazroui reportedly said as he called on the motorists to exercise caution while driving on highways and abide by the speed limits. ■ KBK, GMA News / March 11, 2014 / 1:40 PM


lared in towns across Mindanao; at least 14 people dead

Date & Time: Place:

17 April 2014 18 April 2014 19 April 2014 HOLY CROSS

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The 'PABASA' (which mean 'reading') is a Filipino Lenten tradition of continuous chanting the account of salvation history in Filipino poetry form. The Pabasa lasts for around 16 hours, with one or two people/groups alternating in singing verses from the Pabasa. In the Philippines, the Pabasa started from way back in the Spanish Times when the missionaries introduced Christianity to the islands. In order to facilitate their catechetical work, they narrated the history salvation in poetry form which had greater appeal to the sensitivities of the Filipinos. All over the world, wherever there are Filipinos, they bring with them this Lenten tradition along with many other cherished Catholic traditions. ANY VOICES ARE WELCOME. If you wish to donate Salabat Tea (Ginger Tea) or Biscuits are most welcome.

For enqueries, please contact Betilda on 07919380513 or Merla on 07939684558. Thank you and God Bless.



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

Rice inventory in February good for two months but buffer falls below minimum MANILA - The country’s rice requirements for the next two months are already covered but buffer stocks with the government has fallen below minimum last month. In a report, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said the tital rice inventory in February was at 2 million metric tons (MT), one percent lower than the 2.02 million MT recorded a year ago and 5.7 percent less than the 2.12 million MT in January this year. This is enough to supply the requirements of Filipinos for 59 days. Month-on-month, rice stock levels in households and in commercial warehouses dropped by 15.6 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively. This means stocks in the households would be good for 31 days while those in commercial warehouses and

Photo by Bernard Testa ©

in NFA depositories would last for only 14 days each. Stocks in National Food Authority depositories--which is 77.4 percent made up of imported rice--jumped by 67.1 percent after the rice purchased from Vietnam were partially delivered. The Philippines awarded the supply of 500,000 MT of rice to Vietnam, with the delivery starting in December. The remaining 200,000 MT of the total would be arriving before the end of this quarter, which would boost the government’s buffer stocks. The NFA is mandated to keep at least 15 days of buffer stock at any given day and 30 days of buffer during lean months. The government is now importing

800,000 MT of the staple to bolster its dwindling stocks. Meanwhile, the country’s total stock inventory as of February 1 was 215,900 MT, or 27.9 percent higher than January’s 168,800 MT and 43.5 percent higher than last year’s record of 150,500 MT. Stock levels in the households jumped by 101.3 percent month-on-month while corn stocks in commercial warehouses and in NFA depositories dropped by 20.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. Around 60.7 percent of February’s total corn inventory were with the households, 34.5 percent were with the commercial warehouses and 4.8 percent were with the NFA depositories. ■ Orti Despuez / InterAksyon.

com / March 12, 2014 / 4:27 PM

Businessman realizes lifelong dream to become singer-songwriter SOMETIMES all it takes to rekindle one’s lost fire is to rediscover the spark that started it in the first place. William Russell Sobrepeña was a teenager when the British Invasion musical phenomenon led by The Beatles exploded. Back then, the former businessman thought he had what it took to have a successful career in music. “I really wanted to be a musician back then. I learned to play the piano, then the guitar and I believe I was already in high school when the melody of my song, ‘Dear Sunshine’, first came to me,” he recalled to InterAksyon and other entertainment media in a recent roundtable gathering. At around the same time, melodies of other tunes also popped up in his mind from time to time, and Russell (some friends also call him William) had the presence of mind to jot down those notes in a notebook. “I never got to finish any of the songs as there were many intervening factors that ultimately prevented me from pursuing my passion, like moving to a new house and the desire of my parents for me to finish school and pursue a more stable career,” he recalled. Somewhere along the way, losing the notebook that contained all his musical ideas, incomplete and unrealized as they were, also led Russell to momentarily give up on music. Not for long, though. Decades later,

Russell eventually found some consolation in managing the retro showband Glass Onion that featured Tonyboy Cojuangco and former Presidential Management Staff Secretary Lenny de Jesus among its members. It was through the encouragement of de Jesus and other musician friends like Mike Pedero, Jings de Guzman, Richie Quirino, Jun Raymundo, Joey Mundo, Carlo Gaa and Nap Apolinario that gave William the confidence to join Glass Onion in many of their live performances not just as guitarist but also as one of the vocalists. “By 2010, I was effectively retired from all my corporate responsibilities and public service initiatives. By the time I was involved with Glass Onion, I was ready to be a fulltime musician,” he confessed. Then just two years ago, something happened that he took as a sign to finally realize his long lost dream. He found that lost notebook, still in one piece and still with his notes intact on every page. Finishing what he started, even Russell was surprised at how productive he was as a songwriter in his…well, he was a teenager during the time of Beatlemania, you do the math. “An inspiration can hit me at daybreak or anytime of the day, which can be accompanied by a specific melody line that would be hard to forget. Sooner or later, , I will add the lyrics that, in my mind most

Pinay advances to live show Daisy of The Voice of Ireland Valenzuela, a health care AFTER a tight battle round, one Filipino contestant squeezed past the competition and made it to the live rounds of The Voice of Ireland.

Another Filipino has made it through the blind auditions of “The Voice of Ireland.” Earning a slot in the singing reality search is Daisy Valenzuela.

assistant, was picked over fellow competitor Kelly Hannon during their duet of Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter.” While both singers were praised for their strong vocals, Valenzuela was commended for her ease and confidence on the stage. “They’re both technically very strong, but Daisy, you look like a pop star when you were there, you just seemed very comfortable on the stage,” said Bressie, an Irish musician who is one of the show’s judges. While Valenzuela was successful in her bid, another Filipino bet bowed out of the competition. Roel Villones, a father of two, was bested by team mate Brendan McCahey after their rendition of “Everytime You Go Away” by Hall & Oates. Villones gracefully accepted his defeat and called McCahey a “pure gentleman” in a post on his Facebook page. ■ Rie Takumi / KBK, GMA News/ March 11, 2014 / 4:03 PM

appropriate for the song. In some songs, I start out with the lyrics, and then develop the melody for the song. Oftentimes, I would make final revisions in collaboration with my session artists,” he said in describing his songwriting process. By 2013, work on a full-length album that is now called “Russelution” was completed. Those session artists, which included Raymundo, de Guzman, Quirino, Mundo, Gaa and Apolinario, would eventually become members of the band dubbed by Russell as, well, the William Russell Experience. Because the seeds of the music had been planted as far back as the 1960s, Russell said it is not surprising that the influences of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Zombies were very much evident. Since he was also big on Cat Stevens and Jim Croce, their footprints were also evident on the other songs, particularly on “She Slipped-Away (From my Sight)” where he also played the ukulele. Lyrics-wise, Russell tackled his own personal experiences in songs like “It Was Easy (To Do) about a trip in Tuscany, Italy in 2001; “Scary Feeling” about typhoon Ondoy; and “Get Real”, a social commentary on people’s apathetic and nonchalant attitude towards the elderly. But for the most part, the songs including “Dear Sunshine” focus more on Russell’s spiritual healing. “Sunshine refers to light

and life, and the rest of the lyrics talk about the manifestations of form and matter. The spiritual and physical realms of reality are so closely associated with each other and I don’t think there is a reason why anyone should not experience this connection,” he said. Explaining the album’s title, Russell added, “It means, the fruition, resolution or actualization of a personal dream—in this case, the production of an album full of original compositions.” Based on his well-received performances at the Philippine International Jazz and Guitar Festival last year followed by more positive feedback on shows in Angeles City, Alabang Town Malls, Trinoma and several exclusive private functions, it looks like William Russell has found his “Russelution”. “My past life in business remains important only to myself and my family. As far as the public is concerned, I wish to focus only on my musical or creative initiatives as a songwriter-musician. The present time is of greater interest to me and I hope, the public would continue to feel the same way about my current persona,” he pointed out. William Russell will perform with his band, now called William Russell Music and Friends, at The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel in Makati this Monday, March 10. ■ Edwin P.

Sallan / / March 10, 2014 / 9:56 AM

William Russell. Photos by Norman Lleses.

William Russell Experience.

OFW barred from leaving country for using sister’s passport TWO people—a foreigner and an overseas Filipino worker (OFW)—have been intercepted by immigration authorities in two international airports in the country for using fake passports.


Juria Karim Butuan, 31, was barred from leaving the country after authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 found out she was using her sister’s passport.

Butuan was bound for the United Arab Emirates via Philippine Airlines to work as babysitter using passport number EB2700555 issued to one Sahara Manondong Amil last February 10. During interrogation, Butuan admitted using her sister’s passport. She also claimed to have worked in Kuwait as a domestic helper from August 2011 to September 2012. The Bureau of Immigration noted that her supposed previous travels did not match the bureau’s records using her current passport. Meanwhile, the foreigner, an Indian national, was arrested last Tuesday at the Mactan International Airport in Cebu. Upon interrogation, the Indian national admitted that he is using a fake passport that he bought from a fellow Indian for P40,000 in Davao last month. The BI did not identify the arrested Indian national. ■ KBK, GMA News / March 12, 2014 / 5:58 PM



March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition

DOTC bats for extension of PNR charter to help ease metro traffic MANILA - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will push for the extension of the corporate life of Philippine National Railways (PNR) so it can help ease traffic, which is expected to worsen with the start of two major infrastructure projects in Metro Manila. “There are bills filed to extend the charter of PNR. We are monitoring and pushing,” Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a text message. Abaya is referring to House Bill No. 3267 or an Act Extending the Corporate Life of the Philippine National Railways. Introduced

by Representatives Diosdado MacapagalArroyo and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the bill aims to extend the life of PNR by another 25 years. PNR’s charter is set to expire on June 20. Established by Republic Act No. 4156, PNR operates a commuter rail service in Metro Manila and the Bicol Region. Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto had called on Malacanang to infuse more funds into PNR so it can help decongest road traffic in Metro Manila. Recto said the government provides an annual subsidy of P344 million to PNR, which transports 25 million passengers a year.

Earlier, PNR rolled out a special coach service to help minimize the traffic congestion in Manila, Makati, Pasay,and other areas in the southern part of Metro Manila where work on the Skyway Stage 3 Project has begun. Besides Skyway Stage 3 Projet, the construction of NAIA Expressway also started. A Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) report said traffic congestion in Metro Manila cost the country P2.4 billion in economic and opportunity losses. ■ Darwin G. Amojelar / / March 12, 2014 / 6:47 PM

Asia Pacific Diplomats Invited to Take Part in Central Luzon’s Fast Growing Development

NINE Ambassadors and 30 members of the diplomatic corps of Asia Pacific countries participated in the Economic and Cultural Familiarization Tour of Central Luzon on March 8. Participants viewed the world-class home décor and furniture of Betis Crafts Factory in Guagua, Pampanga. Betis Crafts started as a small family business producing woodcrafts and is now a producer and exporter of high-end furniture. The Asia Pacific diplomats were briefed by the heads of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), SubicClark Alliance for Development (SCAD), and Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) on the economic developments and promising investment opportunities for the Asia Pacific countries. To get a first-hand look at major developments in Clark, Pampanga, the diplomats toured the Clark International Airport, named the “3rd Best Airport Zone”

in 2012 by UK-based fDi Magazine. Officials highlighted the airport’s amenities, most significantly its expansive land area, several times the size of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, as well as proposed developments to further improve its facilities. The diplomats also visited Global Gateway Logistics City (GGLC), the country’s first aerotropolis, now emerging as a modern state-of-the-art Logistics and Business Center of Excellence. The participants visited the construction of The Medical City (TMC), a first class 150bed tertiary hospital facility which will be operational by late 2014. At the rooftop of TMC, Peregrine Development International Inc. gave diplomats a preview of its development plans for GGLC. The tour ended with a festive experience of Philippine culture in Nayong Pilipino highlighted by a performance of Philippine dances by the Nayong Pilipino Bayanihan dancers and an opportunity to purchase the best of art and cultural products from Pampanga. Atty. Apolonio Anota,

Executive Director of Nayong Pilipino, and Hon. Edgardo Pamintuan, Mayor of Angeles City, addressed the group on the cultural highlights of the Philippines in general and Angeles City and Clark in particular. Participants also gamely joined in a Tinikling dance to close the program. Rising from the devastation of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption, the Clark Freeport Zone is now an economically vibrant destination for tourism and investments, a testament to the Filipino people’s resilience and hard work. Asia Pacific countries were invited to take part in Central Luzon’s fast growing development. An initiative of the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs, this event was made possible through the support of BCDA, CDC, SBMA, CIAC, the Local Government of Angeles City, SCAD, GGLC, the Central Luzon regional offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Nayong Filipino at Clark Expo. ■ Philippine Embassy Manila / March

11, 2014

San Miguel’s Ramon Ang resigns from boards of 2 Ongpin companies MANILA - San Miguel Corp (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang has resigned from the board of two companies owned by former trade minister Roberto V. Ongpin. In separate disclosures to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Alphaland Corp and Philweb Corp said Ang quit his post effective yesterday, citing “time constraints.” “Mr. Ang has for some time now indicated his intention to resign from the board due to his time constraints. In fact, he has been unable to attend any of the recent board meetings of the company,”

Alphaland corporate secretary Rodolfo Ma. A. Ponferrada said. “The company extended its gratitude to Mr. Ang for the period he has served as director of the company despite his many other commitments,” Ponferrada added. Apart from heading San Miguel -- which has interests in food and beverage, packaging, power generation, oil refining and retailing, mining, telecommunications, property development and infrastructure -- Ang owns a cement company and a Manila hotel, as well as runs Philippine Airlines (PAL).

San Miguel entered the aviation business in 2012 with the acquisition of a 49 percent stake in PAL and Airphil Express for $500 million. ■ Krista Angela M. Montealegre / / March 12, 2014 / 4:17 PM

Gov’t to plug loopholes in air passenger Bill of Rights MANILA - The government is amending the Bill of Rights for Air Passengers and Carrier Obligations to plug some loopholes that defeat the goal of protecting consumers. Wyrlou Samodio, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) legal division head, told reporters that the agency is reviewing some provisions of the more than a year old rulebook. “We already identified the provisions that need to be amended because of some loopholes. We are now coordinating with agencies concerned like DTI and DOTC,” Samidio said, referring to the Departments of Trade and Industry and of Transportation and Communications. He said the major revisions would pertain to flight delays and cancellations. Samodio said the CAB is looking at shortening the maximum time a passenger has to wait before they can avail of compensation from the airline. As such, a flight delay of more than three to four hours would be considered a cancelled flight, he said. Based on the existing rules, a passenger can avail of compensation if the flight was delayed for at least three hours after the estimated time of departure. In case of terminal delay of up to six hours after the estimated time of departure,

this should be already be a cancelled flight, Samodio said. CAB however is sticking to the existing compensation schedule for flight delays and cancellations. The existing bill of rights provides passengers of delayed flights with sufficient meals or refreshments, hotel accommodation, transportation from the airport to hotel, free phone calls, texts, emails or first aid, if necessary. The ticket of the passengers should be reimbursed, endorsed to other carriers without paying any fare difference or rebooked without additional charge if the flight was cancelled. Besides, flight delay and cancellation, the existing rulebook covers denial of boarding, off-loading of baggage, overbooking, advertisement of promotional and regular fares, re-fundability and rebookability of fares, death and bodily injury, and express lane for persons with disabilities and senior citizens. The order covers both local and foreign carriers. Data from CAB show consumers filed 600 complaints last year, the bulk of which pertained to delayed flights. ■ Darwin G. Amojelar / / March 12, 2014 / 5:46 PM

Asia Pacific Diplomats Invited to Take Part in Central Luzon’s Fast Growing Development

MANILA - The maker of C2 tea drink and Jack ‘N Jill snack food will begin next week the construction of a bagasse-fired power plant in Negros Occidental, marking the food manufacturer’s foray into power generation. In a statement, Gokongwei-led Universal

Robina Corp (URC) said the P2.52-billion “green” facility will commence operations in August. The 46-megawatt power plant will support the sugar milling operations of URC subsidiary Southern Negros Development Corp (Sonedco) and help fill demand for

Universal Robina expects maiden bagasse-fired power plant to go onstream in August.

power in the area. “Through this power plant, we will not only reduce the use of fossil fuel, but also sustain the livelihood of many sugarcane farmers in the URC Sonedco area,” said Rene Cabati, business unit general manager of URC Sugar. URC earlier signed a 25-year biomass renewable energy operating contract with the Department of Energy (DOE). The power plant will use bagasse, a sugarcane by-product of the company’s sugar mill, which has a capacity of 9,000 tons a day. Sonedco will need only half the capacity of the biomass-fed boiler so the company plans to sell the rest of the power supply to the National Grid Corp of the Philippines,

which operates the country’s power transmission highway. URC intends to sell to the grid about four to five megawatts of the plant’s output in the first year of operation before ramping it up to about 16-22 MW in the succeeding year. The Sonedco mill is one of five owned and operated by the company. It has other mills in Manjuyod and Tolong, Negros Oriental, as well as in Iloilo and Cagayan. Their combined output accounts for 12-15 percent of the country’s sugar production. URC is also building a $35-million ethanol distillery plant in Universal Robina Sugar Milling Corp’s facility in Manjuyod that will produce some 100,000 liters per day, or 30 million liters of ethanol fuel a year. The plant will run mostly on blackstrap

molasses, which is a by-product of sugar. This is part of the company’s program to use resources from existing operations, while supporting government efforts to reduce the country’s dependence on imported crude. URC netted P2.89 billion in the first quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, up 25.9 percent from P2.30 billion the previous year, on the strength of its branded consumer foods business. A pioneer in local snack-food industry, URC is part of JG Summit Holdings Inc, which also has interests in property development and hotel management, air transportation, petrochemicals and financial services. ■

Krista Angela M. Montealegre / / March 12, 2014 / 4:32 PM


March 2014 / Fortnightly – No. 6 • UK & Europe Edition


San Mig Coffee pounds GlobalPort to make triumphant Commissioner’s Cup debut

COMING off winning the Philippine Cup, the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers showed some signs of championship hangover — for about one quarter. After a slow start, the Mixers went

down to business to cruise to an easy 9175 victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier to make a triumphant debut in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Photo by Nuki Sabio ©PBA

“I think we’re a little different this time around. The hangover last conference was because of injuries we had,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, who began the Philippine Cup with a 1-5 record. San Mig Coffee trailed after the first quarter, 20-16, before scoring the first 10 points of the second period to grab the upper hand. Behind rookie Ian Sangalang, who scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the quarter, the Mixers opened up a 47-32 bubble at the half. A big key was the play of San Mig Coffee’s second unit, which helped limit the Batang Pier to just 12 points in the period. “The key right now is really our second group. We want our first group to be ready, keep them fresh, and get them ready at the right time,” said Cone, who managed the playing time of veteran stars Marc Pingris,

James Yap, Joe Devance, and Peter June Simon. “The second group allows us to limit the minutes of Ping, James, Joe, and PJ.” San Mig Coffee’s lead ballooned to as much as 18 points in the third period, but GlobalPort kept battling back behind import Evan Brock. The Batang Pier got to within eight points, 80-72, midway through the fourth quarter on a pair of free throws from Brock. But the Mixers held steady, scoring the next nine points to put the game out of reach. GlobalPort suffered its third straight loss, keeping Pido Jarencio winless in his PBA head coaching career. The defeat spoiled the 27-point, 28-rebound performance of Brock. He failed to get much support from the rest of the Batang Pier, who missed all 17 of their three-point attempts in the game. San Mig Coffee import James Mays had

a quiet debut, finishing with just 15 points and six rebounds while battling foul trouble and a case of nerves. Cone sees the team’s bench continuing to be a big factor for their quest to win a third straight title. “Hopefully we can get to the playoffs with our second group,” said Cone. “Our second group is out there who are really eager to play.” The scores: SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 91 – Sangalang 16, Mays 15, Pingris 13, Barroca 11, Simon 10, Yap 10, Melton 7, Mallari 5, Devance 4, Cawaling 0, Reavis 0. GLOBALPORT 75 – Brock 27, Washington 14, Garcia 9, Ponferrada 8, Chua 6, Cabagnot 5, Nabong 2, Romeo 2, Macapagal 2, Yee 0, Salvador 0, Custodio 0. Quarters: 16-20, 47-32, 70-58, 91-75 ■ / March 12, 2014 / 10:15 PM

Azkals midfielder Patrick Reichelt bags hattrick in UFL Division Two debut with Ceres

NATIONAL team members Patrick Reichelt and Carlie De Murga lifted CeresLa Salle FC to a 6-2 win over Forza FC in United Football league action last Sunday at Emperador Stadium. Reichelt bagged a hat trick with three goals, while De Murga added one in the first time they played together since signing with the squad last month. Ceres opened the floodgates at the opening whistle with Cho Kyum Son scoring at the first minute. Reichelt followed it with a goal at the ninth minute, before Jangobah Johnson trimmed Forza’s deficit to 2-1 with a goal at the 21st minute. Reichelt bagged his second goal at the 36th minute for Ceres’ 3-1 halftime lead. Jayson Panhay found the back of the net to give their team a 4-1 lead.

Johnson scored again at the 66th minute, before Reichelt nailed his third goal at the 68th minute for a 5-2 lead for Ceres. De Murga, who entered the match at the 68th minute, scored his first goal for the squad at the 78th minute to cap the victory. Ceres solidified its hold of the top spot in Division Two with seven wins, two draws and one loss for 23 points. Forza fell to seventh place with five wins and five losses for 15 points. In other matches, Kaya and Stallion battled to a nil-nil draw, Union Internacional Manila and Agila FC figured in a 2-2 draw and Philippine Air Force and Nomads FC scored 2-1 triumphs against Manila All-Japan and Philippine Navy. ■

MVP checks out Golden State game, ‘definitely’ still interested in NBA’s Warriors TELECOMMUNICATIONS mogul Manuel V. Pangilinan, who had previously expressed his interest in buying into an NBA franchise, was in attendance at a Golden State Warriors game on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) as the home team took on the visiting Dallas Mavericks at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Pangilinan is in Silicon Valley this week for a summit alongside senior executives of

Karl Decena / / March 11, 2014 / 12:33 PM

the First Pacific Group. This was not an official scouting for the Warriors but he told that he is “definitely” still interested in a minority stake in the team. He also recently confirmed his interest in the Warriors on Twitter when he responded to followersin a one-hour #InterAksyonwithMVP. ■ / March 12, 2014 / 12:51 PM

Meralco import Brian Butch honored to play in basketball-crazy Philippines

James Yap thanks ex-wife Kris Aquino for defending him from bashers

Phot by Mark Dimalanta ©Sports5 file

FOR Brian Butch, playing in the Philippines has been one of his goals in his basketball career. “I’ve been trying to play in the Philippines for a couple of years. I’ve heard nothing but great things — the country, the game, the people. Everything they told me was fantastic,” he told He finally got the chance to show his wares in the country after being tapped to reinforce the Meralco Bolts in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup. “I’m glad to be part of something special and want to stay here for long,” said Butch. He has posted stellar numbers in his first two games in the PBA. Butch debuted with

Tough test awaits Manny Pacquiao with new sparring partner at Wild Card Gym MANNY Pacquiao has been giving Freddie Roach all the reason to feel like a happy camper in sparring in General Santos City but the Hall of Fame trainer said recently that the most crucial moment is yet to come. Since presiding over Pacquiao’s training camp last week, Roach has dispatched Lydell Rhodes three times to bang bodies with the Filipino icon who is raring to show Timothy Bradley in their rematch on April 12 in Las Vegas that he is the superior fighter.

Roach said that while Rhodes has been earning praises for giving Pacquiao some work, what makes the celebrated cornerman drool is the prospect of seeing Pacquiao get it on with a new sparmate, Steve Forbes. Forbes has been tapped by Roach to help as soon as Team Pacquiao starts its buildup at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood. Roach said Forbes is really a clone of Bradley and the eerie similarity of their fighting

style should help Pacquiao get ready for Bradley next month at the MGM Grand. While Forbes is no longer the same fighter he once was, with his last notable showing coming six years ago when he went 12 rounds with the legendary Oscar Dela Hoya, Forbes has still what it takes to lend a helping hand. Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz said the team is leaving for the US this Saturday to start the next phase of the preparation. ■ Lee Jimenez / / March 3, 2014 / 11:12 PM

29 points and 21 rebounds against San Miguel Beer before following that up with 27 points and 17 rebounds against Alaska. While his offensive game is anchored on his sweet shooting stroke, Butch has proven that he is no softie under the boards. The tallest import in the tournament has been taking a pounding down low, but is not one to complain. “I was informed, it’s a very physical game,” said Butch. “But the biggest thing about it is I’ve been playing physical my whole life. I’m kinda used to it.” Off the court, Butch relishes being in a country that is in love with hoops. “What makes it the best is how excited

Photo by Pranz Kaeno Billones ©Sports5 file

these people are,” he said. “They’re absolutely crazy about basketball. It’s an honor to come here and play the game.” ■ Rey Joble / / March 12, 2014 / 9:32 PM


Championship hangover? ‘Bawal sa amin yun,’ declares San Mig Coffee

Azkals midfielder Patrick Reichelt bags hat-trick in UFL Division Two debut with Ceres Story on page 39

Meralco import Brian Butch honored to play in basketball-crazy Philippines Story on page 39

Tough test awaits Manny Pacquiao with new sparring partner at Wild Card Gym Story on page 39

Photo by Paul Ryan Tan ©Sports5

AFTER winning the prestigious Philippine Cup, would the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers suffer a championship hangover? “Bawal sa amin yun,” declared Mixers executive Rene Pardo after the team fashioned out an impressive 91-75 beatdown of the GlobalPort Batang Pier in their debut in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup. The Mixers were also defending

champions in the previous tournament, which saw the team stumble to a 1-5 start before eventually winning the title. But according to San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, the slow start was more a result of injuries instead of complacency associated with teams that have won a title. “All the injuries we had, guys were really worn down,” said Cone. “This time, we really came back, we’re injury-free. We got a little

bit of a break. The guys enjoyed how we took the break off,” said Cone. With barely two weeks to rest before the start of their Commissioner’s Cup campaign, the Mixers rationed out the vacation time for their players. “Our little break was kinda like an all-star break,” said San Mig Coffee forward Joe Devance, comparing the time off to the NBA’s annual retreat. “It’s like five days off and now

it’s like the second half of the season and that’s how we’re approaching it.” Amid the short break, the Mixers made it a point to try to start strong this conference, according to Marc Pingris. “Kapag kasi opening ng conference parati kaming talo eh, ipinakita lang namin na kaya naming manalo. Napag-usapan namin yan,” Pingris said. ■ Rey Joble / / March 12, 2014 / 11:28 PM

March 2014 b issue  
March 2014 b issue  

Filipino news, sports and entertainment