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PHILIPPINES Connecting Global News & Views For The Community

UK & Europe Edition

May 2012 / Fortnightly

Volume 3 - Number 9

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IMELDA MARCOS DECLARES NET WORTH AT $22 MILLION IMELDA Marcos has declared her net worth at $22 million, parliament records show, as she continues to fight the government over her assets more than two decades after the end of her dictator husband’s reign. The widow of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared her wealth at 932.8 million pesos in 2011, records released late Thursday, May 3 showed, which would make her the second richest Philippine politician behind boxing hero and congressman Manny Pacquiao. The amount declared by Marcos was almost 50 percent higher than in 2010, with the 82-year-old including new assets which were surrendered to the government by the dictator’s cronies. A popular revolt toppled the dictator from power in 1986, sending the family fleeing overseas. Manila has since been trying to recover the wealth

Marcos and his allies allegedly accumulated through graft during his 20 years in office. The deposed president died in exile in 1989 and his family was allowed to return home, with his widow elected in 2010 to a congressional seat representing the family stronghold. Before she was elected Marcos had complained of being nearly penniless, despite living in a luxury condominium unit and frequently appearing in public, bedecked with jewellery. Her lawyer Robert Sison said his client, known for her jet-set lifestyle and love of shoes, could not touch much of her declared wealth as it had been seized or sequestered by the government. “The ownership of these properties is being contested and the government is not off the hook,” he told AFP. Sison said her declared worth rose in 2011 because

©AFP/File/Jay Directo

Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos hands out candies in Manila.

she added assets that had been surrendered to the government by Marcos cronies, wealth that was previously “overlooked”. The lawyer said his client was the true

owner of the assets and would seek to recover them. Elected officials are required to declare their wealth each year. Pacquiao, rated by many as the

best pound for pound boxer in the world, was elected to parliament in 2010 and declared assets worth 1.3 billion pesos. ■ (©AFP – Manila, Philippines – May 4, 2012)

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Special Feature

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Huge pageant of horses kicks off Queen’s jubilee Judith Evans, AFP HUNDREDS of horses and over 1,000 performers from around the world staged a glittering pageant in Britain in a stirring start to the major celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee. Troupes from India’s Dancing Marwaris to the Chilean Huasos displayed their mettle Thursday, May 10 in a rare gathering of global horsemanship in the royal town of Windsor, as festivities to mark the queen’s 60 years on the throne began in earnest. In tribute to the monarch’s more than 250 Commonwealth and state visits, some 550 horses and 1,200 performers from 17 countries defied spring showers to perform against the backdrop of a 45-metre (148foot) replica of Buckingham Palace. Italy’s Carousel of the Carabinieri re-enacted an 1848 battle in a whirl of feathers and swords, before riders from Russia’s Kremlin Riding School formed a human pyramid on galloping mounts in a daredevil show of horseback acrobatics. Between the horseback performances were bursts of song and dance, among them a didgeridoo performance, a Maori haka, Inuit throat-singers and a mariachi band. The robed Royal Cavalry of Oman thundered in on 100 Arabian steeds in clouds of frankincense, watched by a packed audience including the queen’s daughter Princess Anne, a former competitive eventing rider. “The empire may have faded into history but the guiding light of monarchy still continues,” said the presenter, television personality Alan

Titchmarsh. Royals will attend each of the show’s four nights, culminating in the Queen and husband Prince Philip watching an extended show on Sunday, featuring Scottish singer Susan Boyle and veteran Australian entertainer Rolf Harris. New South Wales’ mounted police gave the troop drill an Australian twist, performing to songs such as Waltzing Matilda as medieval Windsor Castle loomed behind them. The 86-year-old queen’s own racehorses staged a mock race, and her Household Cavalry joined all the performers in a grand finale recreating her coronation. Bringing in 550 performing horses by air, road and sea was a “once in a lifetime” logistical feat, Sheila Duckworth, director of equestrian transport firm Shelley Ashman, told AFP before the show. The horses from Oman were flown over in two planeloads, while a team from Azerbaijan drove to Windsor in a 17-day road trip. So far there have been no mishaps, Duckworth said, adding: “Horses tend to be happy as long as they’ve got their friends beside them.” The equine pageant is close to the queen’s heart: she was given her first pony at age four and remains a keen rider, as well as an owner and breeder of racehorses. “We have a lot of pride that we got the invitation,” said Inspector Kirsten McFadden, commander of the New South Wales Mounted Police. “It’s been a very hard week, long hours, but we’re very, very excited. It’s all colour – every act is really

special,” McFadden, whose mainly female unit also does riot squad duty, told AFP. Moses Ndungu, a Kenyan dancer, said: “It is a big honour for us. The queen became a queen in our country.” Queen Elizabeth was told of the death of her father, King George VI, and her own ascension to the throne while she was visiting Kenya in 1952. She has since earned respect as a symbol of constancy, with a reputation for dignity, shrewdness and stamina. “Our grandparents cooked for her. We have an attachment to her – we feel proud to be part of that history,” Ndungu said as he posed for photos with Britons attracted by his Kikuyu tribal costume of cowskins and seashells. The jubilee began with the February anniversary of the queen’s father’s death, spent in low-key engagements. But in March she received a rock-star welcome as she began a jubilee tour of Britain, while younger members of her family are touring the world to mark the event. In Britain, the pageant will be followed by a four-day public holiday on June 2-5, with celebrations including a festival of about 1,000 boats on the River Thames, the lighting of more than 2,000 beacons and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Queen and Prince Philip, 90, who have kept up a relentless pace of public engagements despite their age, are also due to open the London Olympics in July 2012. ■ (©AFP –

©AFP/Leon Neal

Members of the President›s Bodyguard from India give a demonstration of ‘Tent Pegging’ during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor, England on May 10, 2012. ©AFP/Leon Neal


The crest of Queen Elizabeth II is displayed during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor, England on May 10, 2012. Celebrating the 60 year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, 1,200 performers and 600 horses will take part in the show on the private grounds of Windsor Castle running from 10 to 13th of May, 2012.

Cook Island dancers bring their Pacific moves to Windsor Castle.


Windsor, United Kingdom – May 11, 2012)

©AFP/Leon Neal

Members of the Mexican Delfines Mariachi dance group perform at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant. ©AFP/Photo



Princess Anne (center), seen here during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor.

Britain›s Queen Elizabeth II (left) sits next to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (right), on the throne in the Chamber of the House of Lords as she reads the Queen›s Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster in London on May 9, 2012.

Members of The Lions of Zululand cast shadows.



Horses from the Carousel of the Carabiniere from Italy perform.

A member of the Royal Cavalry of Oman sits with his horse during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor, England on May 10, 2012.

Members of the New Zealand Te Arawa Maori Performers.


A woman dressed in wild west costume performs during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor, England.




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May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Dalai Lama collects $1.8 mn prize after meeting Cameron The Dalai Lama is also giving $200,000 to the Mind and Life Institute, an organisation promoting closer work between science and spirituality, while the rest of the prize will fund scientific education for Tibetan monks. The Templeton Prize honours the Dalai Lama’s efforts to encourage “serious scientific investigative reviews of the power of compassion,” organisers said. “The ceremony celebrated his long-standing engagement with multiple dimensions of science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions, which made him an incomparable global voice for universal ethics, non-violence and harmony among world religions,” organisers said. The monk, who fled Chinese rule for India in 1959, announced last year that he was giving up his political role and would focus on spiritual duties. He was tight-lipped about an interview he gave to Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper in which he revealed that he was warned by sources within Tibet of a plot by Chinese agents to assassinate him. He was allegedly to be poisoned by Tibetan women posing as devotees seeking his blessing. “We have no possibility to crosscheck, so I don’t know,” he told

©AFP/Getty Images/File/Scott Olson

©AFP/Leon Neal

The Dalai Lama will receive the Templeton Prize for his work in encouraging scientific research.

journalists ahead of the prize-giving on Monday. Beijing has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of encouraging Tibetan protesters against Chinese rule in the vast Himalayan region to set fire to themselves, a charge he denies. The spiritual leader, who seeks greater Tibetan autonomy, described the self-immolations on Monday as “a sensitive political issue.” “I think my message should be ‘zero’ as since last year I have retired from political responsibility,” he said. The Templeton Prize honours a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to “affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works”. Established in 1972, it is one of the world’s largest annual monetary awards given to an individual. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, will receive the prize from

The Dalai Lama (2nd left) embraces John M Templeton, (right) President of the John Templeton Foundation.

©AFP/Leon Neal

Monks chant ahead of the arrival of The Dalai Lama as he attends a ceremony in St Paul›s Cathedral in central London.

John M. Templeton, son of the prize’s founder. “This is another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly non-violence and unity around different religious traditions,” the 76-year-old said. “I totally dedicated my life to bring

a more close understanding among these different religious traditions. “We must use our common sense from our past experience. Whenever we face a problem we have to find a non-violent way to solve that problem.” ■ (©AFP – London, United Kingdom – May 14, 2012)


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TIBET’S exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama met British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, May 14 during a visit to London to receive one of the world’s richest prizes, a government spokesman said. The meeting with Cameron and with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was described as “private” and was not held at the prime minister’s Downing Street residence. China has in the past strongly objected when the Dalai Lama has met Western leaders. In a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral, London following the meetings, the Dalai Lama said he would donate the £1.1 million ($1.8 million, 1.4 million euros) 2012 Templeton Prize to charity. The Buddhist monk, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will donate $1.5 million of the prize to Save the Children to help malnourished children in India, where he is exiled. “Our real hope (is the) younger generation. If we properly educate them then they will change the whole world,” the 76-year-old told a crowd of more than 2,000 inside the vast cathedral. “The 21st century should be more peaceful,” he added, warning the audience against pursuing too much money or power.

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Special Feature

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Olympic flame lit for London Games PHILIPPINES

Aris Messinis, AFP

THE Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia in Greece on Thursday, May 10 in a solemn ceremony filled with mystery and tradition that signals the final countdown to the start of this year’s summer Games in London. Actors in ancient Greek costume invoked the god Apollo in the ruins of the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera, using a concave mirror to harness the sun’s rays and kindle a flame on the torch for a relay that will take it around Greece and Britain. Dignitaries at the ceremony included the president of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge, as well as the head of the London organising committee, Sebastian Coe. “We promise to protect the flame, to cherish its traditions and stage an uplifting torch relay of which we can be proud,” Coe said in a speech, vowing the event would “lift the spirits and hopes of people across Britain and across the world”. After thanks to the god Apollo, “king of the sun and the idea of light”, in the shadow of the Greek, British and Olympic flags, the flame was handed to the first relay runner, Greece’s Liverpool-born open water swimming champion Spyros Gianniotis. He then passed it to 19-year-old British boxer Alexander Loukos, whose father hails from the Greek island of Lesbos and grew up in

the east London borough where the Olympic Stadium is situated. Gianniotis said after the full rehearsal at the temple on Wednesday that the torch ceremony was “a very big moment” for him, adding: “It is very moving. “I am trembling from the emotions. It is the highest honour for an athlete to do this.” The ceremony marks the start of a week-long torch relay, covering 2,900km around Greece which will take it to five major Greek archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, before it arrives at the old Olympic Stadium in Athens, site of the first modern Games in 1896. A British delegation will receive the flame at a night-time ceremony on May 17. The last flame-bearers in Greece will be the weight-lifter Pyrros Dimas and the Chinese gymnast Li Ning, who lit the cauldron at the last Olympics Games in Beijing in 2008. The London Olympic Games torch will tour the United Kingdom and also visit the Republic of Ireland before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium in east London on July 27 to a worldwide television audience of billions. The torch’s route in Britain starts on May 19 at Land’s End, the southernmost tip of England to begin an 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometre) journey. From June 3-7, it will visit Northern Ireland and then the Republic of Ireland – the only country outside the

©AFP/Photo/Aris Messinis

©AFP/Aris Messinis

Actress Ino Menegaki, playing the high priestess, holds the Olympic flame (the sun›s rays and a mirror to light the torch was used) during the torch lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, Greece, on May 10. The ceremony signals the final countdown to the start of this year›s summer Games in London.

British boxer Alexandros Lucas was among the torchbearers in Greece.

©AFP/Photo/Aris Messinis

The first torch bearer, swimmer Spyros Gianniotis, runs with the Olympic flame during the lighting ceremony at Olympia, Greece, on May 10. The Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia in Greece on Thursday, in a solemn ceremony filled with mystery and tradition that signals the final countdown to the start of this year›s summer Games in London.

United Kingdom on the torch route. The inclusion of the Republic of Ireland would have been unthinkable just a few years ago and shows the ever-closer ties between it and Northern Ireland, 14 years after a peace agreement largely ended three decades of sectarian strike in the north. In mainland Britain, a soldier wounded in Afghanistan and a 100-year-old woman are among

©AFP/File/Aris Messinis

7,300 people who will carry the torch, organisers have said. Also among the torchbearers is Jim Redmond, the father of former British 400 metres runner Derek Redmond, who famously helped his injured son hobble across the line during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The torch relay culminates on July 27 with the final leg from Hampton Court palace, the riverside former home of king Henry VIII, to the

An actress in the role of an ancient Greek high priestess holds a pot with the flame of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. ©AFP/Aris Messinis

The ceremony marks the start of a torch relay through Greece and Britain.

Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony that day. The torch is a reminder of the ancient Olympics, when a flame burned throughout the Games. The tradition was revived in 1936 for the Olympics in Berlin. No overseas legs of the torch relay have been planned this time round after those before the Beijing Games were hit by widespread protests against China. ■ (©AFP – Ancient Olympia, Greece – May 10, 2012)

Olympics: UK military prepare for ‘9/11-type attack’ BRITISH military commanders said they were training to deal with a “9/11type attack” as they launched a major exercise Wednesday, May 2 to test their readiness for the 2012 London Olympics. As jet fighters took to the sky with nine weeks to go to the opening ceremony, the Olympic Park was getting its biggest try-out as the final wave of sporting test events got under way. Four Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets flew into the British capital to herald the start of Exercise Olympic Guardian, a nine-day training operation to test the response to a possible air attack during the Games. Military helicopters were stationed around the capital, including on the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean in the River Thames, with some carrying sniper teams. AWACS surveillance planes and air-to-air refuelling aircraft will also be airborne during the exercise. Airspace restrictions will be in place throughout the July 27 to August 12 Games. Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, air component commander for Olympics

air security, said their plan had several levels and “will allow us to deal at one end – which is that 9/11-type attack – perhaps down to the lower and the slower type of threat that we may face. “All we are doing is having in place what we would describe as prudent and appropriate measures, in order that we could react if required in a timely and appropriate fashion.” Speaking of any potential attackers, he added: “I would hope when they see how we are preparing they might be deterred from making any threats to the Games.” Typhoons are stationed on high alert as part of Britain’s regular air defence. “Whilst there is no specific threat to the Games, we have to be ready to assist in delivering a safe and secure Olympics for all to enjoy,” said Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. The exercise underlines the commitment “to keeping the public safe at a time when the world will be watching us”. At the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, five venues were to stage events in three Olympic and three Paralympic sports between

Wednesday, May 2 and next Tuesday, May 8. Assisted by 11,000 staff, more than 140,000 spectators were to watch 3,000 athletes take part in hockey, wheelchair tennis, water polo, athletics, boccia and Paralympic athletics. The international invitational hockey tournament was the first to get started, with Britain’s women winning the opening match on the striking blueand-pink surface, beating South Korea 1-0. Just one stand was open at the 15,000-seater Riverbank Arena but the capacity will gradually be increased throughout the tournament. “We were blown away,” goalscorer Alex Danson told the BBC. “It was a 4,000 crowd and so noisy.” World number one Australia, Olympic champions Germany, Britain and India are competing in the men’s event, while World Cup holders Argentina, China, Britain and South Korea are in the women’s tournament. The British university athletics championships will take place in the main Olympic Stadium from Friday to Monday, and on Saturday the sporting action will be mixed with a concert as

©AFP Photo/Glyn Kirk

Chinook Helicopters fly over the Olympic Stadium in London. British military commanders said they were training to deal with a “9/11-type attack” as they launched a major exercise Wednesday, May 2 to test their readiness for the 2012 London Olympics.

40,000 spectators get a feel for the venue. “Testing the Olympic Park and its operations is a hugely important part of our plans,” said London Games chairman Sebastian Coe. “Over the last 10 months, over 250,000 spectators have watched world-class sport as part of the London Prepares series test event programme, and, in doing so, every one of them is helping us deliver the best possible

Games.” Meanwhile it was announced that the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympics will be called “Enlightenment”. The Paralympic movement originated in Britain in 1948 and the August 29 spectacular at the Olympic Stadium, which will feature injured soldiers, will be a celebration of the Paralympics coming home. ■ (©AFP – London, United Kingdom – May 2, 2012)

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Global News

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Asia’s architectural treasures ‘vanishing’ PHILIPPINES

Sebastian Smith, AFP

ASIA’S architectural treasures, from a Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan to an ancient city in China, are in danger of vanishing under a tide of economic expansion, war and tourism, according to experts. The Global Heritage Fund named 10 sites facing “irreparable loss and destruction.” “These 10 sites represent merely a fragment of the endangered treasures across Asia and the rest of the developing world,” Jeff Morgan, executive director of the fund, said, presenting the report, “Asia’s Heritage in Peril: Saving Our Vanishing Heritage.” The architectural gems from Asia’s ancient and sophisticated cultures are struggling in the face of economic

expansion, sudden floods of tourists, poor technical resources, and areas blighted by looting and conflict – in other words, the pressures of rapidly modernizing Asia. “We’re looking at these millennial civilizations leapfrogging into the 21st century at a kind of pace that is unheard of, unprecedented,” said Vishakha N. Desai, president of the Asia Society, which hosted a conference based on the report. Kuanghan Li, head of Global Heritage Fund’s China program, underlined the urgency in a presentation on work to preserve Pingyao, one of China’s last surviving walled cities. The stunning fortifications are impressively maintained and floodlit. But “up to 20 years ago, there were hundreds of similar walled ©AFP/File/Jay Directo

Tourists are seen posing for photos in Fort Santiago in Manila, in 2010. Fort Santiago is a defense fortress built for Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Global Heritage Fund has named Fort Santiago in the Philippines as one of the most endangered sites in Asia.

©AFP/File/Philippe Huguen

©AFP/File/Shah Marai

This file photo shows the old city of Ayutthaya that once was the capital of the Thai kingdom. The ruins of the old capital in the Ayutthaya historical park are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

cities left in China,” she said. “They have been demolished.” Experts said that global architectural preservation efforts are poorly coordinated and targeted, with the UN cultural body UNESCO focusing almost entirely on sites in already wealthy European countries, rather than in places like Latin America or Asia. More than 80 percent of UNESCO World Heritage sites are located in the 10 richest states, the Global Heritage Fund said. Elsewhere, “heritage is being dramatically undervalued,” Morgan said, warning that the endangered sites were doomed without quick help. “We’re going to lose them on our watch in the next 10 years.” Shirley Young, head of the USChina Cultural Institute, said the importance of such work goes beyond being “just about beautiful

A view of Buddha statues discovered inside an ancient monastery in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan.

buildings, beautiful sites.” “I think we’d agree,” she said, “that a world without history is a world without soul.” Still, experts highlighted stories of inspiring success stories. John Sanday, a specialist who has spent years trying to bring Angkor and other Cambodian sites back from the brink of collapse, showed dramatic before-and-after photographs of majestic temples that he first encountered two decades ago. “The trees had literally just taken over and strangling the building, pulling it apart,” he said, pointing to ruins that had been made structurally sound once again – although now under threat from tourism. “We really hope with a concerted effort we can save these places,” Morgan said. The top 10 endangered sites in Asia, according to the Global

Heritage Fund, are: 1. Ayutthaya in Thailand, a former Siamese capital known as the “Venice of the East.” 2. Fort Santiago in the Philippines. 3. Kashgar, one of the last preserved Silk Road cities in China. 4. Mahasthangarh, one of South Asia’s earliest archeological sites in Bangladesh. 5. Mes Aynak, an Afghan Buddhist monastery complex on the Silk Road. 6. Myauk-U, capital of the first Arakenese kingdom in Myanmar. 7. Plain of Jars, a mysterious megalithic site in Laos. 8. Preah Vihear, a Khmer architectural masterpiece in Cambodia. 9. Rakhigari, one of the biggest, ancient Indus sites in India. 10. Taxila, an ancient economic crossroads in Pakistan. ■ (©AFP – New York, USA – May 4, 2012)

East Asia boost crisis fund amid Europe threat EAST Asian nations announced Thursday, May 3 they have doubled the money in a regional currency swap pact to $240 billion in an effort to shield themselves from the European debt crisis. “We strongly believe that our agreement made today on strengthening the (pact), including doubling its total size... will serve as another important step forward to strengthen the regional financial safety net,” they said. South Korean Finance Minister Bahk Jaewan warned the crisis fund could well be put to use for the first time should the eurozone crisis trigger a capital flight from Asia.


“I would say that the eurozone crisis served as a catalyst that led to this agreement,’ he told a news conference in Manila after a meeting of finance ministers of the 13 countries. The pact allows China, Japan, South Korea and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to swap their local currencies for US dollars in times of crisis. It was named the Chiang Mai Initiative after being formed in the northern Thai city following the 1997 Asian meltdown that hit South Korea and many of the ASEAN members. Japan and China, which have the


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world’s largest foreign exchange reserves, are the main contributors to the pool. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. “It had never been used, but that does not mean that we can exclude the possibility of the (currency pool) ever being used,” Bahk said. As eurozone banks shrink while scrambling to meet capital adequacy ratios, trouble could wash over to Asia, which has kept growing despite economic weakness in the US and Europe, he warned. “Given the fact that there are risks of deleveraging, I believe there may also be some capital outflow from the ASEAN + 3 region,” Bahk said. The European Banking Authority said last month that Europe’s major banks would have needed 242 billion euros ($317 billion) in extra capital in June 2011 to meet new rules meant to shield financial institutions from new shocks. The communique released in Manila announcing the move also said the 13 countries agreed to increase the amount of money


Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) delegates pose for a group photo during their bilateral meeting in Manila. East Asian nations announced they have doubled the money in a regional currency swap pact to $240 billion in an effort to shield themselves from the European debt crisis.

available for lending to troubled members without conditions set by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF-delinked portion, now at 20 percent of the total, will rise to 30 percent next year with a view to raising it to 40 percent in 2014 if conditions warrant, Bahk said. The current ratios of contributions and voting powers of the signatory

countries will remain the same, it added. Meanwhile, China, Japan and South Korea finance ministers said after meeting separately in Manila on Thursday that they had agreed to buy more of each other’s government bonds, but gave no detailed amounts. ■ (©AFP – Manila, Philippines – May 3, 2012)

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Events Diary 2012 CALENDAR OF EVENTS




May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition



2 November 2011 to 31 October 2012

Filing of Applications for Registration / Certification and Transfer of Registration Records

Philippine Embassy, 6 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG

Philippine Embassy, London, United Kingdom

For purposes of the May 13, 2013 elections, the filing of applications for registration / certification and transfer of registration records will resume at the Philippine Embassy.

19 May 2012 – Saturday 6:00pm to 1:00am

Rock Intensity – A benefit gig for the earthquake victims of Negros

Pettswood War Memorial Hall, Orpington, Kent BR5 1LA

Kabisig Bromley Organization

26 May 2012 – Saturday 6:00pm

Batangas Party

Sion Manning RC Girls School, St Charles Square, Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6EL

Batangas Association UK

Ticket Prices: £10.00 Adult / £5.00 Child / Foods and Drinks for Sale and not included on the ticket price – Contact: 07956 271 750

26 May 2012 – Saturday 9:00am

1. Powis High Street 2. St Peter Church, Woolwich New Road 3. Gordon Square, Woolwich Town Centre, Woolwich High Street, London

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

Moises Espanola, President – 07894 548 939 / 07527 183 110 /

26 May 2012 – Saturday 7:00pm

Flores De Mayo 2012 – Celebrations in the Royal Borough of Greenwich 1. Flores de Mayo 2. Liturgical Service 3. Cultural Expo Fundraising for Rotary Club of Pampanga North

Rotary International District HQ, 6 York Gate, Marylebone, London NW1 4QG

Rotary Club of London

2 June 2012 – Saturday 6:00pm to 11:00pm

Summer Disco by the Aguman Kapampangan UK

Harrow Club W10, 87 Freston Road, London W10 6TH

Aguman Kapampangan UK

2 June 2012 – Saturday

1st Kabayan Idol OPM Artist UK Search 2012

St Agnes Church, Crickelwood Lane, London NW2 1HR

2 & 3 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

3rd Barrio 2012

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

Filipino Community in Bristol

Ellen 07411 294 966 / Willy 07900 485 194 / Gerome 07717 884 293 / Carlo 07528 770 491 / /

9 June 2012 – Saturday 3:00pm – Mass 4:00pm – Salo-Salo

114th Independence Day Thanksgiving Holy Mass and Salo-Salo 2012

The Holy Apostles Catholic Church, Winchester Street, Pimlico, London SW1V 4LY (between Warwick Way and Lupus Street)

Philippine Embassy, London, United Kingdom with various Filipino Associations and Filipino Communities in United Kingdom

Main Celebrant: Fr. Cirino G. Portido – CM Head, Filipino Chaplaincy

9 June 2012 – Saturday 12:00pm to 9:00pm

3rd NOYPI Music Fest

St Mary’s Hall, Harefield, Hillingdon, Middlesex UB3 6BU

d’SPS, Pinoy Musikero UK and Radyo Maynila UK

Dhan 07545 304 862 / Sannie 07760 888 099 / Chris 07702 104 358 / Dale 07525 796 787

9 June 2012 – Saturday 6:30pm

FWA-UK 24th Philippine National Day Dinner & Dance

The Shannon Suite, The Copthorne Tara Hotel, Scarsdale Place, Kensington, London W8 5SR

Filipino Women’s Association UK

Nene Martin, President 020 8997 2146 / Nancy 07720 057 799 / Jeanette 07910 204 674 / Velly 020 8764 4408 / / Ticket: £58.00

9 June 2012 – Saturday

Oxfordshire Filipino Independence Day

Tingewick Hall of the John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU

Filipino Community of Oxfordshire

Ariel Lanada –

9 June 2012 – Saturday

Independence Day Celebration by the Filipino Community of Peterborough

9 June 2012 – Saturday

Phil / Scot Trust Philippine Independence Day Party

Skelmorlie Community Hall, North Ayrshire, Scotland

Phil / Scot Trust

Marilyn Kaarits 01475 522 459 / Nally Carroll 01294 461 709

9 & 10 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

114th Philippine Independence Day in Morden

Morden Park, London Road, Morden, Surrey SM4 5DX – Free Shuttle Service from Morden Station

Bayanihan UK

Teresita Valencia-Juval 020 7341 7431 / 07956 593 236 / / Gil Zarcilla 07802 761 446 / /

16 June 2012 – Saturday 9:00am

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

Filipino Community Association of Newcastle Upon Tyne (FILCAN)

Sally Sanchez-Sellars 07886 742 417 / / Bong Bangayan 07824 338 251

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

5th Yorkshire Barrio Fiesta 2012

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

Yorkshire Maharlika Filipino Club in association with City of York Council

Lolita Boddy 01765 535 015 / 07973 469 450 /

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

Filipino Leeds Association Barrio Fiesta 2012

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

Filipino Leeds Association

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

20 to 23 June 2012 20 June 2012 – 6:00pm – Opening 21 to 23 June 2012 – 10:00am to 5:00pm – Exhibit

“Filipinism”, What Makes Art Filipino – Art Exhibit by Kunst Gallery Artists: Rafael Cusi, Rene Robles and Aris Bagtas

Chelsea Library Gallery, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London SW5 5EZ

Mr Ver Cuizon of Kunst Gallery in collaboration with the Batangas Association UK (BAUK) and with the support of the Philippine Embassy, London, United Kingdom

LornA Fortunado, President –

22 & 23 June 2012 – Friday & Saturday 23 June 2012 – Gala Night 7:30pm 23 & 24 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

East Meets West 2… Kantahan Naman!

Royal Overseas League, Overseas House, Park Place, St James’s Street, London SW1A 1LR

Inter-Cultural Society of London

For more details contact: 07961 445 249 /

5th Fiesta sa Birmingham-Midlands 2012

Woodgate Valley Country Park, Clapgate Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham B32 3DS

Filipino Association of Birmingham (FAB)

Marlo Quilang, Chairman 0121 244 6900 / 0121 421 7762 / 07531 022 269 / Rozen 07985 159 203

23 & 24 June 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

Filipino British Society (FBS) Barrio Fiesta in Milton Keynes

Campbell Park, Milton Keynes MK9 4AD

Filipino British Society (FBS)

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

20 to 30 June 2012

“Filipinism”, What Makes Art Filipino – Art Exhibit by Kunst Gallery Artists: Rafael Cusi, Rene Robles and Aris Bagtas

Philippine Embassy, 1st Floor, 10 – 11 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG

Mr Ver Cuizon of Kunst Gallery in collaboration with University of the Philippines Alumni Association UK (UPAAUK) and with the support of the Philippine Embassy, London, United Kingdom

30 June 2012 – Saturday 10:00am to 1:00pm

Tacloban Fiesta in London 2012

Leyte-Samar Organization in the UK

Eric-Jaryn Tomandao Go

30 June & 1 July 2012 – Saturday & Sunday 9:00am to 6:00pm 8 July 2012 – Sunday 8:00am to 6:00pm

28th Barrio Fiesta sa London 2012

St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church Hall, Grove Crescent Road, Stratford, London E15 1NS Lampton Park, Lampton Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 4DN

ABS-CBN Europe Limited in cooperation with The Philippine Centre

Event Coordinator 07577 813 104 /

Bradford Pinoy Barrio Fiesta and Santacruzan 2012

Lady Hill Park, Allerton Road, Bradford BD15 7TS

British-Filipino Association of Bradford

Nina Ricci Santos, Chairman / 07780 076 256 / Lorrie 07597 135 617

27 May to 14 July 2012

Global Run: Takbong Alay sa Pilipino at sa Buong Mundo

27 30 10 12 15 28

Mr Cesar Guarin, 56 years old, and first Filipino global runner and Father of Ultra Marathon in the Philippines, will run a 2,262 km ultra marathon from Helsinki to London starting on 27 May up to 14 July 2012. This run is the 6th stage of his 43,258 km global run in 42 countries across the world.

Global Run would like to get in touch with the Filipino communities in the following areas where Mr Cesar Guarin and his team will pass:

Zanie Del Mundo, President 07733 781 858 / 07886 881 432 / Erroll 07429 187 991 / Luz 07721 338 366 / Stella 07817 200 444 Dennis 07748 116 009 / Vange 07515 864 600 / 07438 087 629

Participation at the Mass: Fr. Agustin Paunon, Fr. Irvin Morastil OMI and Fr. Edgar Dizon of Wolverhampton

Celso Valmonte, Chairman 01733 263 112

to 29 May – Finland Leg May to 9 June – Sweden Leg to 11 June – Denmark Leg to 14 June – Sweden Leg to 27 June – Norway Leg June to 14 July – Britain Leg

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Edinburgh Glasgow Manchester Bradford Liverpool Birmingham Cardiff Bristol

9. Swindon 10. Oxford 11. London 12. Brighton 13. Mitcham 14. Milton Keynes 15. East Grinstead

End point in London will be at a venue near the London Olympic Stadium. The Global Run Team will be in London area for 10 days to fellowship with kababayans before their departure for the Philippines. 21 & 22 July 2012 – Saturday & Sunday

1st Worcester Barrio Fiesta 2012

County of Worcestershire

Worcestershire Filipino International Community (WFIC)

Edwin Vargas, President 01905 352 092 / 07889 947 112

18 August 2012 – Saturday

1st Orpington Barrio Fiesta 2012

Hewitts Farm, Orpington, Kent

Orpington Filipino-British Association

27 August 2012 – Monday 4:00pm to 10:00pm

Dinner & Dance Party

Indian YMCA Student Hostel, London W1T 6AQ

Dumangas-London Association

Mr Harold Gonzaga 020 8274 1531

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



Business & Finance

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Economists list cheapest ways to save the world

LEADING economists have ranked how to best and most costeffectively invest to solve many of the world’s seemingly insurmountable problems, a Danish think-tank said Monday, May 14 calling for a shift in global priorities. “It may not sound sexy, but solving the problems of diarrhoea, worms and malnutrition will do good for more of the world’s poor than other more grandiose interventions,” Bjoern Lomborg, who heads the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, said in a statement. His think-tank on Monday presented the results of its third global Copenhagen Consensus, in which it asked prominent economists working within 10 of the world’s top problem fields to propose the best investments to fix those problems. A panel of experts, including four Nobel laureates, then went through the proposals and ranked the ones they believed would have


©AFP/File/Abdelhak Senna

©AFP/File/Sonny Tumbelaka

Solving the problems of diarrhoea, worms and malnutrition will do good for more of the world›s poor, the think tank said.

the biggest impact and “where we can get the most mileage for our money,” Lomborg told AFP. The Dane, who shot to fame with his book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” in 2001, insisted the list was necessary since policymakers and humanitarian organisations often allow irrational emotions to dictate how they spend money earmarked for fighting poverty, declining biodiversity or natural disasters.

Leading economists have ranked how to most cost-effectively invest to solve the world’s problems, including poverty.

He pointed out that focusing on creating nature reserves and making large swathes of forest offlimit to development was “a nice idea, but the problem is that it often doesn’t happen.” Instead, the Copenhagen Consensus economists proposed investing heavily in agricultural research and development to make food production more efficient, which they said would reduce world hunger and also protect

Experts have criticised the heavy focus on curbing carbon dioxide emissions in the battle against global warming.

biodiversity “by reducing the need for forest land to be converted into agricultural land.” Lomborg, who adamantly rejects the climate change-denier label sometimes thrown at him, also criticised the heavy focus on curbing carbon dioxide emissions in the battle against global warming. While such efforts could make “a little difference,” Lomborg said they are often not followed through. “There are smarter ways to

quarantine) has nothing to do with that issue,” Barron said. The Philippine government has proposed measures to resolve the trade impasse, including sending inspectors to accompany the fruit shipments, but China has yet to reply, he added. Barron and Antig could not be reached for comment Saturday. ■

tackle this, for instance by investing in research and development on green energy, or looking into geoengineering,” he said “It’s really just about focusing on what works rather than on what feels good,” he said, adding that especially in light of the economic crisis, “it has become very clear that we need to spend our money in the best possible way.” The Copenhagen Consensus economists were asked how the world should best spend $75 billion (58 billion euros) over a four-year period, which Lomborg says is only 15 percent more than the global aid spending today. Malnutrition topped the list of 10 proposals, with the expert panel suggesting annual spending of $3.0 billion to solve the problem that affects more than 100 million children worldwide, stressing that “each dollar spent reducing chronic under-nutrition has more than a $30-pay-off”. This was because better nutrition improves cognitive functions and thereby also an individual’s education and income prospects as well, they said. The economists also proposed investing around $1.0 billion annually in early warning systems for natural disasters, which Lomborg said was a far better way to spend money than to throw most resources into the clean-up after the disaster. ■ (©AFP – Copenhagen,

(©AFP – Manila, Philippines – May 12, 2012)

Denmark – May 14, 2012)

Philippine fruit impounded amid China sea spat

CHINA has impounded Philippine fruit exports alleged to carry pests, squeezing a key industry amid a tense stand-off between the two countries over disputed territory, a Philippine official said. Manila newspapers on Saturday, May 12 reported tonnes of Philippine bananas were rotting at Chinese ports, while the Philippines’ Bureau of Plant Industry director Clarito Barron confirmed fruit shipments faced stricter inspection there. “This has a huge effect on the industry,” Barron said, describing China as an important market having imported 300,000 tonnes of Philippine bananas worth $60 million last year. The Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper quoted Stephen Antig, president of an association of 18 banana growers, saying they had sustained losses of one billion pesos (about $236,000) because bananas

spoiled after three days. Chinese quarantine officials informed the Philippines that all its banana exports would have to face inspection before they clear Chinese ports after scale insects were allegedly found in one March shipment, Barron said. The stricter quarantine measures were later extended to Philippine pineapples and papayas after Chinese authorities claimed they also found pests in a May 2 shipment, he said in an interview aired on DZBB radio in Manila. Barron said the Philippines disputes the Chinese findings, stressing that the bugs allegedly found on the March shipment attacked coconuts, not bananas. With total shipments worth $470.96 million last year, bananas are the Philippines’s second-largest agricultural commodity export after coconuts, according to government data.

©AFP/File/Romeo Gacad

China is the Philippines’ second-largest banana market after Japan.

China is the Philippines’ secondlargest banana market after Japan. The banana issue came up a month before Chinese maritime surveillance vessels prevented the Philippine navy from arresting Chinese fishermen on a disputed South China Sea shoal in April, sparking a tense maritime standoff. “In my opinion this (banana

Australia can become food superpower for Asia: PM AUSTRALIA has the potential to become a food superpower for Asia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a speech in which she urged greater commercial engagement with China. Australia’s economy is riding a mining and resources boom, but Gillard said the vast nation should also exploit its ability to produce high-quality food. “Just as we have become a minerals and energy giant, Australia can be a great provider of reliable, high-quality food to meet Asia’s growing needs,” Gillard said in the

speech to The Global Foundation in Melbourne late Thursday, May 3. She said Australia should take advantage of growing international markets and become “a provider of higher-value products and services for the global food industry”. Despite living on the world’s driest inhabited continent, Australians have enjoyed safe and high-quality food for many decades, with the nation producing enough to feed 60 million people, almost three times its population. Australia accounts for less than

three percent of global food trade, although it is among the net food exporting nations of the world, a ©AFP/File/Greg Wood

Australia has the potential to become a food superpower for Asia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

government report published in late 2010 said. With Asia’s middle-class rapidly expanding, Gillard said Australian businesses must find opportunities in conditions where the dollar and terms of trade would remain high for the foreseeable future. “In some cases, Australian businesses will be able to access large Asian markets through export, including through regional supply chains,” she said. “In others, the business opportunities will be secured by

establishing enterprises, including business partnerships, in Asian countries.” Gillard said Trade Minister Craig Emerson was already working to develop new agricultural partnerships between Australia and China. “It’s not just about more exports,” she said. “It is about developing the systems and services that add extra value to them and participating in the development of a market-based solution to food security across the region.” ■ (©AFP – Sydney, Australia – May 4, 2012)



International News

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

China denies preparing for war over South China Sea CHINA has denied it is increasing combat readiness in response to a territorial row with the Philippines over a disputed shoal in the South China Sea. The tense stand-off, which erupted last month, centres on Scarborough Shoal, a tiny rocky outcrop in the South China Sea about 230 kilometres (140 miles) from the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. The dispute began when Philippine authorities detected Chinese ships fishing there. They attempted to arrest the crew, but were blocked by Chinese surveillance vessels that were quickly deployed to the area. China’s defence ministry denied military units were getting ready for war, despite warnings in state media that China is prepared to fight to end the stand-off. “Reports that the Guangzhou military region, the South China Sea fleet and other units have entered a state of war preparedness are

untrue,” the ministry said in a brief statement on its website Friday. The Guangzhou military region in southern China has responsibility for the area. It gave no source for the reports, but rumours on the Internet say China has ordered some military units up to level two of its four-level scale of war preparedness, one notch from the top which indicates full readiness. The two nations have had nonmilitary vessels stationed at the shoal since April 8 in an effort to assert their sovereignty to the area. China claims virtually all of the South China Sea, which is believed to sit atop huge oil and gas reserves, as its historical territory, even waters close to the coasts of other Asian countries. The Philippines says the shoal is part of its territory because it falls within its exclusive economic zone. On Friday, around 300 protestors demonstrated outside the Chinese

embassy in the Philippines to denounce “bullying” by Beijing. A Chinese state-backed newspaper on Saturday accused the Philippines of whipping up nationalism through the protest, but it added military conflict in the South China Sea was possible. Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia also claim parts of the sea. The rival claims have for decades made the waters one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints. “Nationalism seems to echo just as strongly wherever you go around the South China Sea. The Philippines is showing prominent such behaviour,” the Global Times said in an editorial. “It remains possible that military conflicts will ensue in the South China Sea, and when that happens China will certainly take firm action,” it added. Chinese authorities also this week ordered tour operators to suspend trips to the Philippines. ■ (©AFP –

China›s defence ministry has denied military units are getting ready for war with the Philippines.

Beijing, China – May 12, 2012)

China claims virtually all of the South China Sea as its historical territory.

©AFP/Ted Aljibe

©AFP/Ted Aljibe

China warns citizens as row with Philippines escalates Jason Gutierrez, AFP CHINA told its citizens Thursday, May 10 they were not safe in the Philippines and its state media warned of war, as a month-long row over rival claims in the South China Sea threatened to spill out of control. Chinese travel agencies announced they had suspended tours to the Philippines, under government orders, and the embassy in Manila advised its nationals already in the country to stay indoors ahead of planned protests. “Avoid going out at all if possible, and if not, to avoid going out alone. If you come across any demonstrations, leave the area, do not stay to watch,” the embassy’s advisory said. The safety alerts came as government-controlled media in China warned the country was prepared to go to war to end the stand-off over Scarborough Shoal –

small islands in the South China Sea that both nations claim as their own. “No matter how willing we are to discuss the issue, the current Philippine leadership is intent on pressing us into a corner where there is no other option left but the use of arms,” the China Daily said in an editorial. “Since ancient times, our nation has deemed war the last resort in handling state-to-state relations. But Manila is living in a fantasy world if it mistakes our forbearance for timidity.” The editorial echoed other warnings in recent weeks in the state-run media that China was prepared to use its massive military advantage to crush the Philippines’ challenge for the shoal. The two nations have had nonmilitary vessels stationed at the shoal since April 8 in an effort to assert their sovereignty to the area. The dispute began when Philippine authorities detected Chinese ships fishing there. They

©AFP Graphic

attempted to arrest the crew, but were blocked by Chinese surveillance vessels that were quickly deployed to the area. The shoal sits about 230 kilometres (140 miles) from the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. The nearest major Chinese landmass is 1,200 kilometres northwest of the shoal, according to Filipino navy maps.

©AFP/Antony Dickson

The Philippines insists its claims to the area are backed by international law, as the shoal is well within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. But China claims virtually all of the South China Sea as its territory, even waters close to the coasts of the Philippines and other Asian countries. Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia also claim parts of the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas resources. The rival claims have for decades made the waters one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints. More than 70 Vietnamese sailors were killed in 1988 when China and Vietnam battled for control of the Spratlys, an archipelago south of Scarborough Shoal. The Philippines, which admits to having an extremely weak and poorly resourced military, has repeatedly said it wants to solve the stand-off over the shoal through diplomatic means. ©AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

But it has also said it secured a pledge from the United States, its main military ally, to protect the Philippines from attacks in the South China Sea. A coalition of Filipino activist groups is planning to hold rallies at Chinese embassies around the world on Friday to support the Philippines in the dispute. Organisers are hoping thousands of people will attend what they expect to be the biggest of the rallies, in Manila, and the Chinese embassy’s safety alert was circulated chiefly to warn its nationals about that protest. But Jackson Gan, a FilipinoChinese businessman who is one the rally’s organisers, said there was no need for such a warning because the protest would not target individuals and there had been no inciting of violence. “This is going to be peaceful. No burning of Chinese flags, just singing of patriotic songs and making our presence felt,” Gan told AFP. ■ (©AFP

– Manila, Philippines – May 10, 2012) ©AFP/DFA/Philippine Navy


A Hong Kong protester who supports Chinese sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal, burns Philippine and US flags.

He Jia, an anchor for China Central Television›s news broadcast, claims the Philippines as part of China.

The Philippines says the United States has agreed to help protect it from attacks in the South China Sea.

Chinese surveillance ships off Scarborough Shoal close to the Philippine coast.

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

International News



Philippines asks US for radars, patrol boats and aircraft THE Philippines said Wednesday, May 2 it has asked the United States to supply its armed forces with patrol boats and aircraft as well as radar systems amid an escalating territorial dispute with China. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the hardware would help his country achieve a “minimum credible defense,” a phrase he used in unprecedented talks with senior US officials in Washington earlier this week. “We need to know what’s going on around us. That’s maritime domain awareness,” del Rosario said in answer to a question following a speech at The Heritage Foundation think tank. “And we also need to deter any

additional incursions into our seas where we have sovereign rights,” the chief Philippine diplomat said, referring to its dispute with China in the South China Sea. “We are submitting a list of hardware that the US can help us out with. This would be in terms of patrol vessels, patrol aircraft, radar systems, coast watch stations,” del Rosario said. “We’re looking for assistance from other international partners who have also been very forthcoming,” he added. In his speech, del Rosario said the Philippines was strengthening its partnerships with Japan, Australia, South Korea and others in areas like maritime security, humanitarian


Philippine›s Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario pictured in April 2012 in Washington, DC, asked the United States to supply its armed forces with patrol boats and aircraft as well as radar systems amid an escalating territorial dispute with China.

assistance and disaster relief. While awaiting new hardware, he said it is important for the Philippines and its treaty ally the United States to continue to conduct

military exercises “in a better way, in more locations, in a more frequent manner.” The two nations, which completed extensive war games earlier this month, are bound by a mutual defense treaty in which the United States has pledged to come to the aid of its weaker ally if it faces military aggression. “The US needs a stronger ally in the region who will be able to take on a bigger share of guaranteeing the stability of that region,” del Rosario said in his speech. “It is therefore in the strategic interest of the US to invest in the development of the Philippines’ defense and military capability,” he said.

“For the Philippines, the tension in the West Philippines Sea are particularly challenging,” he said. The Philippines and China have been embroiled in a dispute over a shoal in the South China Sea, or West Philippines Sea, with both nations stationing vessels there for nearly three weeks to assert their sovereignty. The Philippines says Scarborough Shoal is its territory because it falls well within its 200-nauticalmile exclusive economic zone, as recognized by international law. The Philippines has called for arbitration through the United Nations to end the dispute, but China has refused. ■ (©AFP – Washington, USA – May 2, 2012)

Philippines says US to protect it in South China Sea THE Philippines said Wednesday, May 9 the United States had pledged to protect it from attacks in the South China Sea, a day after China issued a warning over a territorial row in the waters.

Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he had received the assurances during talks in Washington last week in which the Philippines’ increasingly tense dispute with China over rival

©AFP/File/Noel Celis

China routinely claims all ‘disputed’ areas as an “indisputable part of China›s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

claims to a shoal in the sea were discussed. Gazmin said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta stressed they were not taking sides in the dispute, but they assured the Philippines the United States would honour a 1951 mutual defence treaty. “It includes armed attack... (on) island territories in the Pacific (region),” Gazmin said, citing conditions for the allies coming to each other’s aid. In answer to a question about the dispute with China over Scarborough Shoal, Gazmin said he had interpreted remarks by Clinton to mean the United States would protect the Philippines from any attack in the South China Sea.

“Overall, with these statements, they cover our problem in the West Philippine Sea,” he said, using the Philippine name for the waters. China and the Philippines have had vessels stationed at Scarborough Shoal for more than a month in an effort to assert their sovereignty over the area. China claims virtually all of the South China Sea as its own, even waters close to the coasts of other Asian countries. The Philippines insists it has sovereignty over the shoal because it falls within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. The shoal sits about 230 kilometres (140 miles) from the Philippines’ main island of Luzon and 1,200 kilometres northwest from the nearest major Chinese land

mass, according to Filipino navy maps. Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia also claim parts of the South China, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas resources, making the area one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints. China warned on Tuesday it was prepared for “any escalation” in the dispute with the Philippines, which followed an editorial in a newspaper run by the ruling Communist Party calling for a small-scale war to end the stand-off. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario also issued a statement on Wednesday saying that Clinton and Panetta had reaffirmed during the Washington talks US commitment to the mutual defence treaty with the Philippines. ■ (©AFP – Manila, Philippines – May 9, 2012)

Taiwan sets up airborne unit for Spratlys

TAIWAN’S defence ministry said Wednesday, May 2 that it has formed a special airborne unit capable of scrambling to the contested Spratly islands in just hours, as tensions in the South China Sea mounted. The unit has been set up under a plan named “airborne fast response and maritime support” which was unveiled for the first time in a report by the ministry to parliament, officials said. No details of the unit, such as its size, were released to the public, but local media said that if needed, it can arrive on Taiping Island, the biggest in the disputed waters, onboard C-130 transport planes within four hours. Despite protests from other countries with claims in the area, Taiwan in 2006 built a 1,150-metre

(3,795-foot) runway on the fortified island, which is about 860 miles (1,376 kilometres) away from Taiwan. Also on Wednesday, Taiwan’s coastguards said its troops stationed on Taiping will be armed with mortars with a range of 6,100 metres (20,000 feet), nearly doubling the range of mortars currently in use. The moves come as an increasing number of Vietnamese fishing boats have been reported by Taiwan authorities to intrude into the restricted waters of Taiping. The number of intruding Vietnamese boats surged to 106 last year, up from 42 the previous year, according to the coastguards, which added 41 Vietnamese fishing vessels had intruded into the waters in the

four months to April. Tensions in the South China Sea have risen recently, with China and the Philippines locked in a maritime dispute over Scarborough Shoal, a reef off the Philippine coast. The tensions began when Chinese maritime vessels blocked the Philippine navy from arresting the crews of eight fishing vessels which had entered the area. Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines claim all or part of the potentially oil-rich Spratlys. All claimants except Brunei have troops based on the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which have a total land mass of less than five square kilometres (two square miles). ■ (©AFP – Taipei,

Taiwan – May 2, 2012)


Two Taiwanese warships dock near the shore of Taiping Island, the largest of the disputed Spratly Island chain in 1995.




May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Global famine if India, Pakistan unleash nukes: Study Mira Oberman, AFP MORE than a billion people worldwide could starve if India and Pakistan unleash nuclear weapons because even a ‘limited’ nuclear war would cause major climate disruptions, a study warned. In addition to clouds of radiation which could contaminate farmland far from the center of the blasts, the study found soot released into the atmosphere would devastate crop yields by cooling global temperatures and reducing rainfall worldwide. The study provides hard data to back up dire warnings of the global – and unintended – consequences of nuclear weapons, said author Dr. Ira Helfand of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. “It is not just the arsenals of the US and Russia that pose a threat to the whole world,” Helfand told AFP. “Even these smaller arsenal pose an existential threat to our civilization, if not to our species. It would certainly end modern society as we know it.” The study, set to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Change, was released at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Chicago. It found that corn production

in the United States would decline by an average of 10 percent for an entire decade and soybean production would drop by about 10 percent with the most severe decline occurring five years after the nuclear war. It also determined that rice production in China would drop by an average of 21 percent of the first four years and 10 percent next six years. Significant losses would also likely occur with other crops and in other countries, Helfand said in an interview on the sidelines of the summit. And the actual crop losses could be much worse than predicted since the conservative model did not account for increases in UV light and the likelihood that global cooling would also result in sudden, crop-killing frosts. “Even with what we are able to show, the consequences for human nutrition and human life are really profound,” Helfand said. The resulting increase in food prices and agricultural shortfalls would almost certainly lead to panic and hoarding on an international scale, further reducing access to food. Given that some 925 million people worldwide already suffer from malnutrition according to the

latest UN study, the study found that mass famine deaths would likely be unavoidable. That would further deepen social unrest and could lead to armed conflicts both within and between nations. Mass famine is also often by major epidemics of infectious diseases like cholera and dysentery, which could further raise the death toll. Those consequences would pale in comparison to the Nuclear Winter which would devastate the globe should the United States or Russia unleash even a small portion of their arsenal, Helfand said. “The US and Russia are not likely to start a war with each other, ©AFP/File/Karen Bleier

A study has found that corn production in the US would decline by an average of 10% for an entire decade.


Rice production in China would drop by an average of 21% of the first four years and 10% next six years, a study warned.

but we know of at least five times when the US or Russia prepared to launch a nuclear attack because it believed it was under attack,” Helfand said. Until the bulk of the arsenal is disarmed and hair-triggers are removed, Helfand said only “luck” will prevent the next computer glitch or communication failure to result in total nuclear war. Mikhail Gorbachev, who as president of the Soviet Union helped end the Cold War and open Russia’s communist regime to democracy, said the study offers further proof of the need to abolish

nuclear weapons. “Over twenty-five years ago, (US) President Ronald Reagan and I ended our summit meeting in Geneva with a joint statement that ‘nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,’” Gorbachev, who founded the summit of peace laureates, said in a statement. “This new study underscores in stunning and disturbing detail why this is the case and why we must discard Cold War-style plans for the possible use of these weapons and move rapidly to eliminating them from the world’s arsenals.” ■ (AFP – Chicago, USA – April 25, 2012)

Study finds warming speeding up rainfall cycle AN Australian study of ocean salinity over the past 50 years has revealed a “fingerprint” showing that climate change has accelerated the rainfall cycle, according to a researcher. The study published in the journal Science and conducted by Australian and US scientists looked at ocean data from 1950 to 2000 and found that salinity levels had changed in oceans around the world over that time. Co-author Susan Wijffels said the figures were revealing because ocean salinity was indicative of changes in the water cycle of rainfall and evaporation. “What the results are saying is we have an ocean fingerprint, a very clear fingerprint that the earth’s water cycle has already spun up,” she told AFP. “What we see in the observations of how the salinity field has changed already over the last 50 years, (is) our hydrological cycle has already intensified significantly.” Wijffels said the pattern was amplifying over time and it could be inferred that the same dynamics were also happening over land.

“What it really means is that the atmosphere can actually shuttle more water from the areas that are drying out to the areas that have lots of rain faster,” she said. “And essentially it means that the wet areas are going to get wetter and the dry areas are going to get drier.” Wijffels said getting a clear picture of what had happened historically with rainfall was frustrating because there was little quality data, and most of this was collected on land, in particular in the northern hemisphere. “Yet most of the earth’s surface is the ocean and actually most of the evaporation that drives our water cycle is happening over the ocean,” Wijffels said, making the oceans a worthy object of climate change study. The researchers from Australian government science and research body CSIRO and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California used data taken from vessels in oceans around the world and climate models to produce their report. They revealed a repeating pattern

of change believed to be the result of climate change, Wijffels said. “And we see it in the north Atlantic, the south Atlantic, the north Pacific, the south Pacific, the Indian; it’s repeated in every ocean basin independently,” she said. “And the sense of the pattern is that areas that were already fresh have become fresher with lower salinity and areas that were already salty are becoming saltier.” ■ (AFP – Sydney, Australia – April 27, 2012)

©AFP/File/William West

Water spilling from Lake Burragorang, through Warragamba Dam, due to heavy rain in the Sydney region.

©AFP/File/Torsten Blackwood

Climate change has accelerated the rainfall cycle, according to an Australian study.


May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition



‘Nowhere to turn’ for patients as cuts hit the community

AMBITIOUS government plans to move care from acute hospitals to community settings have been branded a ‘facade’ by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), as a survey of community nurses showed that many are facing cutbacks and spending less time with patients. While the shift from acute hospitals to community care has been given as a justification for NHS posts being lost from hospitals in the past, today’s survey demonstrates that community services are also overburdened, underinvested and at risk from cutbacks. The RCN warned that this risked producing a ‘revolving door’ for patients, who are discharged from hospital only to find that the support is not there in the community. Many then have to be readmitted to hospital at great expense because support at home is simply unavailable. The RCN today also released data from the Frontline First campaign showing that more than 61,000 posts are at risk of being slashed across the NHS. Alongside this, the RCN has evidence from official sources showing that 26,327 posts had already gone in the two years to April 2012, demonstrating the weakness of previous pledges to protect the front line. The RCN survey of community nurses found that fewer than one in

ten (6%) said they always had time to meet the needs of their patients, while almost all (89%) said that their caseload had increased over the last year. Nearly six in ten (59%) reported that they were spending less time with their patients than they did a year ago, raising major concerns for the capacity of community services to deal with an increasing number of acutely ill patients. Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN said: “Yet again, and despite numerous warnings, NHS organisations are making short-sighted cuts across the UK. Nurses are being stretched too thin, and many are approaching breaking point. Inevitably, patient care is going to suffer. We are now seeing a clear and worrying picture of a health service which is struggling. It is struggling to keep people out of hospital because of pressures on the community, and it is struggling to discharge them with support when they leave. Very soon, patients will be left with nowhere to turn. “This is a revolving door for patients, but it also represents a false economy at a time when there is no money to spare. We want care to be delivered closer to home, and we want community nurses to be empowered to keep their patients out of hospital, ©AFP/File/Ted Aljibe

In the Philippines, it is common for people in low-paying jobs to sleep at their place of work.

11 dead in Philippine department store fire AT least 11 shop clerks sleeping in a Philippines’ department store were killed when a fire swept through the building before dawn on Wednesday, May 9 local authorities said. Twenty-one female employees of the store were trapped in the fire, with seven others still missing and three surviving by jumping from a second-storey window, provincial fire department head Chief Inspector Mario Palarca told AFP. “Twenty-one people were

asleep on the second floor when the fire struck the ground floor. They could not find the emergency exit because of the huge volume of black smoke,” Palarca said by telephone. The fire occurred in a threestorey department store in Butuan, a small city on the southern island of Mindanao. In the Philippines, it is common for people in low-paying jobs to sleep at their place of work. ■ (©AFP – Butuan, Philippines – May 9, 2012)

but at the moment this shift in the way care is delivered is simply a facade, with the community struggling to cope with the workload it has now, let alone the one it faces in the future. This is a harsh reminder that both acute and community care are overloaded and the staffing levels are so low in both that there can be nowhere for patients to turn.” As well as identifying ongoing pressures on the time spent with patients, three quarters (75%) said that work pressures on their team have increased as a result of social care cuts. More than two thirds (68%) of the community nurses surveyed said that staffing levels have decreased where they work in the last year, while almost nine out of ten(86%) community nurses surveyed said that patients are being discharged from hospital sooner than before. The RCN is concerned that with these reductions taking place in the community, the NHS is overloading both acute and community care. While the RCN fully supports the shift from hospital care to community care in the best interests of patients, many nurses raised concerns that vulnerable patients may be being discharged before support from social care is put in place. This can result in patients ‘bouncing back’ between more than one overstretched service.

One nurse described the pressures facing their team: “Social care cuts have meant an increase in our workload, as in addition to our nursing role, we are sometimes making patients their meals and sometimes even doing their shopping! You can’t leave someone without food, so what choice do we have? We report it to the Social Work department, but they just say they can’t provide any care at the present time. So sad.” Another said: “We are seeing more repeated admissions because of failed social care, and inadequate support. With increasingly complex needs and attempts to keep patients at home, this can mean patients ‘bouncing back’.” Key examples of heavy job losses across the NHS include: • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde planned a reduction of 402.2 full time equivalent nursing staff over the 2011-2012 financial year • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust plans to remove 378 posts in 2012, 237 of which are registered nursing posts • Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust plans to lose 675 staff from 2011 to 2014, which is 16% of its workforce • South London Healthcare NHS Trust has serious financial problems and has planned to decrease its staffing

by 5% each year from 2010 to 2015. Overall this would mean a loss of 23% of staff. • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust plans to cut its nursing, midwifery and health visitor costs by £11.7 million, which represents a quarter of their total savings plan. Dr Carter added: “Today we are calling on the government and employers to take these stark figures as seriously as we do. Nurses know that patients can’t get the care they need from a fractured health service, and short term decisions could do untold damage to the long term health of our patients. Parts of the NHS just don’t seem to be talking to each other, and the system needs to work if the NHS is to cope with the challenges ahead. “When the RCN has exposed posts at risk in the NHS before, we have been attacked by a government which said it didn’t recognise our figures. We would urge the government, as well as employers, to listen to what we, and other respected organisations, are saying and sort this out. The RCN will continue to identify where posts are under threat, and will work both nationally and locally to oppose short sighted cuts that damage patient care.” ■ (Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – May 14, 2012)

Philippines, China ban fishing in disputed sea THE Philippines and China will both impose fishing bans in the South China Sea where the two countries have been involved in a tense territorial standoff. China had already announced its annual ban, which it says is aimed at curbing over-fishing, and includes the waters around the disputed Scarborough Shoal. The Philippines Monday, May 14 refused to recognise China’s measure, which runs from May 16 to August 1, as it encompasses waters it considers as its own. But Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said President Benigno Aquino welcomed the chance to replenish fish stocks and that the Philippines would issue its own ban. “We do not recognise China’s fishing ban in as much as portions of the ban encompass our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” del Rosario said in a statement. “However, the president has decided that in view of the accelerated depletion of our marine resources, it would be advisable for us to issue our own fishing ban for a period of time to replenish our fish stock.” The standoff at the Scarborough Shoal began when China blocked an attempt by the Philippines on April 8 to arrest Chinese fishermen who were allegedly taking government-protected marine species from the area.

The two nations have since stationed non-military vessels at the shoal in an effort to assert their sovereignty over the area. Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said that no dates or exact areas had yet been set for the Philippine fishing ban. But he added that Philippine ships at the shoal, which sits about 230 kilometres (140 miles) from the main Philippine island of Luzon, would remain in the area. China, which claims almost all of the South China Sea, says it has imposed the fishing ban every year since 1999 to protect “maritime biological resources”. Vietnam, which also claims part of the South China Sea, has complained

that the Chinese fishing ban violates its EEZ, and has lodged a formal protest. The Philippines also said Monday it will lose out on about 2,000 Chinese tourists a year because of the dispute after Chinese travel agencies suspended trips. Philippine Tourism Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin said tour groups booked for May had been cancelled, reportedly on the request of Chinese tourism authorities. “The effect was immediate but we hope it will be temporary,” she told AFP. China is the fourth largest tourist market for the Philippines, with the average Chinese tourist staying about three days and spending $100-200 a day. ■ (©AFP – Manila, Philippines – May 14, 2012) ©AFP/Ted Aljibe

China has imposed the fishing ban every year since 1999.

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May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Philippines ready to carve up Aquino farm MANILA’S land reform agency Wednesday, April 25 said it was ready to carve up the vast farm of President Benigno Aquino’s clan, which lost a Supreme Court battle for $100 million in compensation. ‘The Philippines’ highest tribunal on Tuesday, April 24 reaffirmed an earlier ruling to sell 4,300 hectares (10,600 acres) – most of the nearly 5,000-hectare Hacienda Luisita – to its workers for much less than the clan’s asking price. The move would crown the Philippines’ 14-year effort, ironically launched by the incumbent leader’s late mother, then-president Corazon Aquino, to give millions of share croppers land to help dig themselves out of poverty. “The DAR stands ready to implement the Supreme Court decision,” the Department of Agrarian Reform said in a statement. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino was withholding comment because the full details

of the court decision had not been released to the executive branch. “This is an issue of just compensation. There is a formula that has been provided for, and that’s the reason why we need to know first exactly what the Supreme Court decision stated,” Lacierda told reporters. The court battle over the sugar cane farm had played out as Aquino and his allies in parliament led a campaign to remove Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona from his post. Corona, who voted against the clan’s appeal, is now on trial in the Senate after being impeached on charges of failing to declare his assets and blocking Aquino’s moves to investigate his predecessor Gloria Arroyo for corruption. Corona said Wednesday he expected Aquino to retaliate against him over the farm ruling. Hacienda Luisita, one of the country’s largest corporate farms,

Philippines – April 25, 2012)


Hacienda Luisita farmers protest in Manila in 2011 over the total distribution to the farm workers of the vast estate owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Manila.


Armed Philippines police guard the entrance to the Hacienda Luisita farm after seven people were killed in deadly riots in 2004.

Philippine gas field in China-claimed sea ‘bigger’

©AFP/Supreme Council of Antiquities/Ho/File

Taylor said there was “still a lot of material out there that people haven›t seen”.

Rare Egyptian scrolls found in Australia collection

A British historian said Saturday, April 21 he had unearthed a trove of Egyptian Book of the Dead fragments by a top ancient official after chancing upon a scrap on show in an Australian museum. John Taylor, a world-famous Egyptologist from the British Museum, said his discovery began with a shred of papyrus on display at Queensland Museum’s new mummies exhibition bearing the distinctive hieroglyphs of Amenhotep. The 15th century figure, son of Hapu, was Egypt’s chief architect and is among those credited with designing and constructing the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak, near Luxor — one of modern Egypt’s most visited landmarks. Excited and intrigued, Taylor said he asked if there were any more such fragments in the museum’s archives and was shown into the conservation lab. “After a very short period of time it became apparent that we did indeed have many fragments of the Book of the Dead of this extremely important man,” he told The Weekend Australian newspaper. “This is not the papyrus of just anybody, this is one of the top officials

spreads across several towns in the central plains north of Manila and has come to symbolise the failure of the first Aquino president’s land reform programme. The farm corporation is controlled by Corazon Aquino’s Cojuangco clan, which had been accused of trying to avoid giving up their land by converting parts of it to nonagricultural uses and giving its workers shares of stock instead. A total of 6,296 Hacienda Luisita workers stand to be able to buy small segments of several hectares each under terms that still have to be set out by the agrarian reform agency. The Supreme Court had already ruled against the Cojuangcos on the issue in November last year, but the clan appealed the court decision. The clan also demanded a million pesos ($23,000) per hectare, much higher than the 40,000 pesos that the agrarian reform department was prepared to pay for it. ■ (AFP – Manila,

in Egypt at the peak of Egyptian prosperity,” added Taylor, describing it as a “once in a lifetime” find. The fragments were donated to the museum by a private citizen in 1913 and are not normally on public display, but had been brought out to accompany the British Museum’s touring mummies exhibition, which Taylor was here to open. He said there were pieces of Amenhotep’s scroll scattered across global institutions including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, British Museum and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Australian specimens would be photographed to try and determine where they fit in the scroll, which Taylor said could be up to 20 metres long – among the largest and most significant Egyptian burial scripts recorded. “In Egypt in the 1890s people were collecting and digging up antiquities at a very fast rate and often it wasn’t documented where these things were going,” he said. “Private individuals would go on holidays to Egypt and buy things like this and take them home, so there’s still a lot of material out there that people haven’t seen.” (©AFP – Sydney, Australia – April 24, 2012)

A Philippine oil company said Wednesday, April 25 its gas field – in a section of the South China Sea also claimed by Beijing – could be nearly twice as big as the Philippines’ largest known deposits. Philex Petroleum said estimates of the Sampaguita field reserves had been upgraded to 4.66 trillion cubic feet (TCF), from a previous estimate of 3.4 TCF. On Tuesday Manila said it was hoping to help secure its energy supplies by developing the field, with Energy Secretary Rene Almendras saying he hoped “its big resources will help us face the need for energy in the future”.

But the field is at Reed Bank, about 148 kilometres (92 miles) off the Philippine island of Palawan, where last year Manila accused Chinese vessels of harassing an exploration vessel. The Philex announcement came amid a continuing standoff between Philippine and Chinese ships around Scarborough Shoal, another South China Sea outcropping that is subject to conflicting claims by both countries. Manila has said both Reed Bank and Scarborough Shoal are well within its maritime territory but Beijing, which claims almost all of

the South China Sea, disputes this. The Sampaguita field is near Royal Dutch Shell’s Malampaya, the Philippines’ largest gas field which provides fuel to power Luzon, the country’s main island, and has estimated reserves of 2.7 TCF. Citing a release Tuesday by its UK-based subsidiary Forum Energy, Philex said the total reserves at Reed Bank could be as high as 16.6 TCF of gas and 416 million barrels of oil. In a speech before Congress last year, Philippine President Benigno Aquino vowed to defend the country’s claim to Reed Bank. ■ (©AFP – April 25, 2012)

Philippines sells off Marcos property THE Philippine government on Tuesday, April 24 auctioned off a prime property once owned by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for more than $2 million. The 3,900-square-metre (41,000-square-foot) lot in the mountain resort city of Baguio was acquired by a real estate firm for 93 million pesos ($2.16 million), said Nick Suarez, of the Presidential Commission on Good Government. “It was a very successful, transparent bidding,” and the final price was more than three times the minimum bid, added Suarez, whose agency is tasked with recovering the illgotten wealth of Marcos. However another Marcos property, a 4,000-square-metre lot on Manila bay with a minimum price of 278.6 million pesos, failed to sell after no bidders showed up, he said. Both properties were surrendered

to the government by Marcos crony Jose Yao Campos in 1986 in exchange for immunity after a popular revolt toppled the regime earlier that year. Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, much of the time as a dictator. His family and their henchmen are accused of stealing billions of dollars in state funds during this period. While Marcos and his family fled abroad after his downfall, some of his key allies surrendered assets they were holding for the ex-president as part of settlements with the new government. Although Marcos died in exile in 1989, his family has since returned to the Philippines. His widow Imelda and their son, also named Ferdinand, were elected to parliament in 2010. It is not the first time the commission has sold off assets recovered from the Marcoses and their cronies, with the


Ferdinand Marcos was accused of stealing billions of dollars during his dictatorship of the Philippines.

funds raised previously used for land reform. In October, a lot in an upper-class enclave of Manila also surrendered by Campos was sold for 127 million pesos. The commission said that at least 93.4 billion pesos have been recovered from the Marcoses and their allies so far. But it has long complained that the lack of a paper trail and delaying tactics by lawyers for the Marcos estate, have hampered its efforts. ■ (©AFP – Manila, Philippines – April 24, 2012)


May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition



South Korea expo draws tens of thousands on first day TENS of thousands of people flocked to South Korea’s 2012 international expo Saturday, May 12 on the first day of the three-month show with the theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast”. The southern coastal city of Yeosu opened Expo 2012 to the public after four years of preparation and $10 billion investment, with 104 participating nations showcasing their oceanic culture and science. Ten international organisations and eight firms are also staging exhibitions at the 25-hectare (60-acre) seafront area, which features pavilions, a giant aquarium and a floating stage for performances. Organisers said they expected a total of 10 million visitors by the end of the expo in August 2012, including up to 800,000 foreigners, mostly from China and Japan. “There’s no rush... our goal is drawing genuine visitors by word of mouth, not trying to boost attendance with usual free tickets and other artificial measures,” Cho Yong-Hwan, an organising committee spokesman, told reporters. Expo 2012 Yeosu is being held between the headline World Expos, which are staged every five years. The

last was in Shanghai in 2010. Tourism in Yeosu – home to 300,000 people – has been limited due to poor transport links and outdated infrastructure despite a scenic coastline and hundreds of nearby islands. The government has poured in billions of dollars to build new roads and railways since the port city won its expo bid in 2007. Organisers predict the event will create some 80,000 jobs and bring economic benefits worth 19 trillion won ($17 billion) – outweighing the massive spending. On Saturday, the site, formerly a dusty cement terminal, was teeming with tourists – mostly South Korean – with long queues forming at major exhibitions by countries including the US, Japan and China. Japan focused on the deadly quake-tsunami disaster that hit its northeastern coast last year, playing an animated film about people trying to rebuild their lives while protecting sea life. The US exhibition featured a water screen display showing President Barack Obama expressing a commitment to protecting maritime ecosystems and resources.

Singapore showcased how the city state transformed itself into a lush green metropolis, displaying miniature versions of its urban gardens and its eco-friendly offshore landfill that is home to hundreds of animals and plants. Australia, the world’s largest island continent, played a live video from the Great Barrier Reef, allowing people to see underwater scenes of the world’s biggest coral reef site and chat with divers. “It’s far smaller than the Shanghai expo in scale, but it’s impressive enough,” said Chinese tourist Jenny Gao, walking under a 218-metre-long (715-foot-long) gallery — twice as long as a soccer pitch — displaying LED images of the ocean. Chinese visitors have snapped up more than half of the tickets on advance sale and organisers have filled some 1,000 of the 13,000 volunteer helper posts with Chinese living in South Korea to better serve them. “More Chinese have become interested in expos since the Shanghai event... I will be happy to recommend my friends and parents to visit,” Gao told AFP. ■ (©AFP – Yeosu,

The southern coastal city of Yeosu opened Expo 2012 to the public after four years of preparation and $10 billion investment.

South Korea – May 12, 2012)

Organisers said they expected a total of 10 million visitors by the end of the expo in August 2012.

©AFP/Jung Yeon-Je

©AFP/Jung Yeon-Je

World Trade Center becomes highest NY tower Sebastian Smith, AFP NEW York’s skyline got a new king Tuesday after the still unfinished World Trade Center tower, built to replace the destroyed Twin Towers, crept above the venerable Empire State Building. Workers gently maneuvered a steel column into its base atop the skyscraper’s skeletal top, bringing the total height to just beyond the 1,250 feet (381 meters) of the Empire State Building’s observation deck. The Port Authority, which owns the site, announced “a major milestone in the construction of One World Trade Center,” certifying that the building would now “surpass the height of the Empire State Building, which currently is the tallest structure in New York City.” One World Trade Center, already

©AFP/Don Emmert

©AFP/ Timothy A. Clary

The WTC›s total height will be just above the level of the Empire State Building›s observation deck.

a gleaming, angular landmark on the city’s skyline, will get still taller as construction winds up late next year, finally reaching 1,776 feet (541.3 meters) and 104 floors. Not only will that dwarf the 1930s masterpiece of the Empire State Building, but it will be higher than the old Twin Towers, which both collapsed during the September 11, 2001

A view of the Empire State Building (left) and One World Trade Center (right) from the Rock Observation Deck.

terrorist attacks, which killed almost 3,000 people. Although the mammoth construction work to resurrect the Ground Zero area is at last nearing fruition, the project has been plagued by billions of dollars in cost overruns, as well as delays, bickering over designs, and worries over whether the office space will be profitable.

Wealth of Britain’s richest hits record high

BRITAIN’S richest people reached record levels of wealth in 2011 even as the country was slipping back towards recession, according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List. The combined fortunes of the 1,000 richest people in Britain rose by 4.7 percent to £414.26 billion despite high unemployment and harsh government cuts, beating the previous record of £412.85 billion set in 2008. The number of billionaires also hit a new high of 77. Indian-born steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal held onto the top spot for the eighth year running, although his fortune dropped in value by 27 percent to £12.7 billion as the share price of his

main business ArcelorMittal plunged. Just behind him with £12.3 billion came Uzbek-born metals and mining tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who holds about 30 percent of the parent company of Arsenal football club. ©AFP/File/JeanChristophe Verhaegen

Lakshmi Mittal’s fortune dropped in value by 27 percent to £12.7 billion.

©AFP/ Timothy A. Clary

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovitch was third on the list with £9.5 billion. The wealthiest British-born billionaire was the Duke of Westminster, who owns a central London property empire, but he slipped from third place to seventh, with his fortune estimated at £7.35 billion. New entrants included Andrey Andreev, 38, a London-based Russian businessman who founded dating website Badoo, with £500 million. Britain is officially in recession after its economy contracted in the last quarter of 2011 and first of 2012, and the government has suffered a slump in popularity after cutting income tax

A view of the Empire State Building (left) and One World Trade Center (right rear) as seen from the top of Rockefeller Center.

However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg stressed the positive, underlining the city’s relationship with ambitious architecture. “The New York City skyline is, once again, stretching to new heights,” Bloomberg said. “The latest progress at the World Trade Center is a testament to New Yorkers’ strength and resolve — and to our belief in a

city that is always reaching upward.” “Today our city has a new tallest building and a new sense of how bright our future is,” Bloomberg said. The tallest building in the world remains Burj Khalifa in Dubai, measuring 2,717 feet (828.1 meters), but One World Trade Center will be the highest in the western hemisphere. ■

for top earners in last month’s budget. The government has also made harsh cuts in its spending, with Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron last week standing by the austerity strategy despite fears it is undermining growth. The Sunday Times list, which includes those for whom Britain is home or their main base of operations, is based on identifiable wealth such as land, property or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, and excludes bank accounts. Britain’s top 10 billionaires in the Sunday Times Rich List 2012 (last year’s rank in brackets): 1. Lakshmi Mittal and family — steel — £12.7 billion (1st) 2. Alisher Usmanov — steel — £12.3

billion (2nd) 3. Roman Abramovich — oil, industry — £9.5 billion (3rd) 4. Sri and Gopi Hinduja — industry, finance — £8.6 billion (9th) 5. Leonard Blavatnik — industry — £7.58 billion (6th) 6. Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli — pharmaceuticals — £7.4 billion (5th) 7. The Duke of Westminster — property — £7.35 billion (3rd) 8. David and Simon Reuben — property, Internet — £7.08 billion (8th) 9. John Fredriksen and family — shipping — £6.6 billion (7th) 10. Galen and George Weston and family — retail — £5.9 billion (10th) ■

(©AFP – New York, USA – April 30, 2012)

(©AFP – London, United Kingdom – April 28, 2012)



Social Issues

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Top importer Philippines hit for wasting rice THE Philippines, one of the world’s biggest importers of rice, could go a long way to achieving its elusive goal of self-sufficiency simply by wasting less, a global research institute said. An average of five cups of steamed rice is cooked daily for every Filipino but nine grammes (three tablespoons) of this is wasted, according to the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute. These morsels add up to more

than 300,000 tonnes a year, or 36 percent of the country’s rice imports in 2011, the institute said in a report in its quarterly journal, Rice Today. “Why buy that much rice for the table when a significant amount is thrown away, taking with it all the nutrients and energy that rice can give,” the report said. “Middle-class families tend to waste more than low-income families. Apparently, the more people have, the more they waste,” it said.

The magazine quoted Flordeliza Bordey, an economist at the institute’s local counterpart, the state-run Philippine Rice Research Institute, as calling for a nationwide campaign to change Filipinos’ wasteful consumption patterns. “Save rice, save lives,” should be the message of the campaign, Bordey said. The Philippines, with a rapidly growing population approaching 100 million people that uses rice

as the staple food, has in recent years become the world’s biggest importer of the grain. Imports peaked at 1.8 million tonnes in 2008 during a global shortage triggered by poor harvests and bad weather. Successive governments have declared intentions to achieve rice self-sufficiency and failed. Some of the problems have been poor farming techniques and frequent typhoons that have devastated vital rice-growing areas.

But corruption, in which officials benefit from importing rice, and a lack of decisive government action to feed the country’s booming population, are generally regarded as other important factors. The current administration has announced a target of 2013 to end rice imports, and embarked on a programme to achieve this by introducing high-yielding varieties and better farming techniques. ■ (AFP – Manila, Philippines – April 20, 2012)

©AFP/File/Jay Directo

The Philippines is the world’s biggest importer of rice.

©AFP/File/Jay Directo

The Philippines, with a rapidly growing population approaching 100 million people that uses rice as the staple food.

Many Facebook users unaware of privacy risks: report MANY users of Facebook are unaware of the privacy risks from the massive social network site or fail to take adequate precautions, a report by Consumers Reports said Thursday, May 3. The report found nearly 13 million US Facebook users do not use, or are not aware of the site’s privacy controls. An estimated 4.8 million Americans have posted about where they planned to go on a certain day – a potential tip-off to burglars, the report noted. And it found that 4.7 million have “liked” a Facebook page about health conditions or treatments, details that insurers might use against them. The report, part of the nonprofit group’s State of the Net survey, estimated that seven million households using Facebook said they had trouble last year, ranging from someone using their log-in without permission to being harassed or threatened. That was up 30 percent from the previous year. Only 37 percent of Facebook users said they have used the

site’s privacy tools to customize how much information is shared with third parties, according to the Consumer Reports survey. “Facebook really is changing the way the world socially communicates and has become a successful service in part by leveraging copious amounts of personal data that can be spread far wider than its users might realize,” said Jeff Fox, Consumer Reports technology editor. “Our investigation revealed some fascinating, and some disquieting trends – but ones always worth knowing for consumers who wish to keep their personal data under better control.” The report indicates Facebook gathers a considerable amount of information from users that they may not be aware of. “Some users might be surprised to know that Facebook gets a report every time they visit a site with a ‘Like’ button, regardless of whether or not they click on that button, have a Facebook account, or are even logged in,” the organization said.

It did give credit to Facebook for taking privacy and security “seriously” by implementing checks against abuses and inappropriate applications. But Consumer Reports said Facebook should do more by fixing “a security lapse” that permits users to set up weak passwords including some sixletter dictionary words and to help users avoid inadvertently sharing status updates with the public. Consumer Reports points out that all of this data collection is not without risks. The report was based on a survey from January 16-31 of a sample of 2,002 people. The number of people using Facebook worldwide had risen to 901 million by the end of the quarter, according to company documents. Facebook is expected to make its much-anticipated stock market debut in the coming weeks in a public offering which could raise as much as $10 billion, the largest flotation ever by an Internet company on Wall Street. ■ (©AFP – Washington, USA – May 3, 2012)

©AFP/File, Kimihiro Hoshino

Many users of Facebook are unaware of the privacy risks, Consumer Reports said. ©AFP/File, Jewel Samad

A report found that nearly 13 million US Facebook users do not use, or are not aware of the site’s privacy controls.

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Social Issues



Filipino-Chinese ocean comradery fades amid row Mynardo Macaraig, AFP

FOR years Filipino and Chinese fishermen peacefully shared the rich harvests around a tiny South China Sea shoal, but today threats, harassment and fear have replaced ocean comradery. While Filipino fishermen still ply their trade at Scarborough Shoal about 230 kilometres (140 miles) from the Philippine coastal town of Masinloc, they say rifle-brandishing Chinese personnel on rubber boats are intimidating them. Shortly after returning from two weeks at the shoal, crewmen from a 15-metre (50-foot)-long outrigger, said the Chinese shadowed them whenever they sought to fish inside the shoal. “They sent their rubber boats to follow us and circle our vessel. They didn’t make threats but it was dangerous because sometimes we almost collided,” boat mechanic Glenn Valle, 40, told AFP. “We were afraid because all the boats were moving and they were sticking close to us, close enough to touch our outriggers.” Fishing boat captain Zaldy Gordones, 34, said each Chinese rubber vessel carried about eight men in grey camouflage uniforms with rifles and long-lensed cameras, which they used to photograph the Filipinos. The rubber boats were deployed by Chinese surveillance ships that have been posted near the mouth of

Scarborough for more than a month to assert China’s claim over the rocky outcroppings, according to the Filipinos. The Philippines says the shoal is part of its territory because it falls within its exclusive economic zone. But China claims as its historical territory virtually all of the South China Sea, which is believed to sit atop huge oil and gas reserves as well as being home to important fishing grounds. The nearest major Chinese landmass to Scarborough Shoal is 1,200 kilometres northwest of the shoal, according to Filipino navy maps, but China insists it discovered the area first and thus has legal claim to it. The rival claims flared into a major diplomatic dispute on April 8 when Philippine authorities accused Chinese fishermen of taking endangered species, such as clams and corals, from the area. Philippine efforts to arrest the fishermen were thwarted when two Chinese surveillance vessels arrived at the scene. Since then, non-military ships from both countries have been deployed there in a war of nerves between the two governments that has severely tested their diplomatic relations. Fishermen from Masinloc have been making the journey to the shoal for two decades, a trip that can take eight to 14 hours depending on sailing conditions. The waters around the shoal are

©AFP Graphic

Map showing Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, focus of a disputed claims by the Philippines and China.

renowned for the rich bounties of fish, which congregate around the rocky outcroppings. While coastal areas have been largely depleted, the Filipinos know they can return from a trip to the shoal ©AFP/Ted Aljibe

The Philippines says Scarborough Shoal is part of its territory because it falls within its exclusive economic zone.

with boats packed with anchovies, tuna and scad. Despite the rival claims, boats from the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan and other countries all regularly visited the shoal, which is also a refuge during bad weather, according to Masinloc residents. The fishermen used hand signals to communicate, said boat mechanic Valle, recalling how they would ask Chinese crew for help. “If we wanted to ask for water, we just held up a container and made a drinking motion and they would give us water,” Valle said, adding the Vietnamese were even more generous. “They gave us rice and noodles even if we didn’t give them anything.” Masinloc’s local fisheries officer, Jerry Escape, said stories were common of fishermen from different countries bartering food, water and cigarettes with each other. “There has been no ill-treatment of any fishermen reported,” he said.

©AFP/Ted Aljibe

Protesters want Chinese ships to pull away from a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.


But Chinese fishermen also had a reputation for taking marine species that were protected under Philippine law such as sea turtles, corals and giant clams, according to Masinloc people. “For our fishermen, there are things that are prohibited but for the Chinese, nothing is prohibited. They take what they want,” said Nestor Daet, 55, local head of a volunteer environment protection group, Sea Guardians. Masinloc fishermen were warned to avoid the shoal to keep from getting caught in any possible crossfire immediately after the standoff began. But there was no ban and Masinloc coastguard deputy officer Norman Banug said he now even encouraged them to go back out there. “If (the Chinese) see no Filipinos fishing there, they will think they can take over that area,” he said. ■ (©AFP –

Masinloc, Philippines – May 12, 2012) ©AFP/Ted Aljibe

About 300 people joined the peaceful protest

A long fight begins to save Philippine languages Cecil Morella, AFP ARNEL Valencia felt humiliated at school when he was barred from using the language he spoke at home, part of a decades-long pattern of linguistic destruction across the Philippines. “’Stop talking like a bird. You should use English or the national language,” Valencia, now 39 and a village elder, said his first-grade teacher told him. Valencia belongs to a small mountain tribe called Ayta Magindi that has for centuries inhabited the bone-dry, sparsely forested Zambales mountains just three hours’ drive from the nation’s megacity capital, Manila. There are only 3,000 tribe members left living in and around the small sugar farming town of Porac, guardians to one of the dozens of little-known languages in the Southeast Asian archipelago that are under dire threat. The Philippines, with 95 million people, is home to 175 languages, but some of them have just a few speakers left while others are already considered extinct because there are no more people who converse in them. Up to 50 of the country’s minor languages could be lost within 20

years, says Artemio Barbosa, chief anthropologist at the Philippine National Museum. “When they migrate to a certain place and they are assimilated, they no longer speak their own language because their main concern is to have an intelligible language that they can speak everyday,” Barbosa told AFP. Experts say another big part of the problem is that the only two languages taught at school in the former US colony are English and Filipino, which is based on Tagalog that is natively spoken by people in and around Manila. Valencia, who is a local village council member, complained that his children still could not use Ayta Magindi in school, while adults had to learn Pampangan, the main local language, to get factory or plantation jobs. “Our language is not the only thing that we stand to lose, but also our culture,” he told AFP. “The discrimination that we suffer has not abated.” But there is some hope, according to Catherine Young, an endangered languages expert at the US-based

Summer Institute of Linguistics who has spent a lot of time studying many of the little-known languages of the Philippines. “There’s a growing awareness of the value of languages in the Philippines, if you compare it with other countries in Asia where (some minority) languages are publicly discouraged,” Young said on a recent visit to Manila. She highlighted a national government decision to implement mother-tongue education from this year as an important step in that direction. From the start of the new academic year in June, 12 of the most widely used languages will replace English and Filipino as the language of instruction from kindergarten to third grade. The 12 languages have a combined base of more than 63 million speakers, or two-thirds of the national population. The Department of Education said the new policy was the result of a Summer Institute of Linguisticsbacked project in the 1990s to train local teachers in using Lilubuagan, spoken by 14,000 members of a northern mountain tribe.

American linguist Diane Dekker went to live with her husband and four children in the Cordillera highlands in 1987 to launch the programme, initially to local scepticism. “The parents were apprehensive that this was going to affect negatively their acquisition of English. That is very important for parents because they know that that’s crucial for getting a job,” Dekker told AFP. But she said the Lilubuagan-taught children actually became better students because they did not have English and Filipino rammed down their throats as soon as they entered school. “They were learning to decode a language that they didn’t yet speak, so... of course they had no comprehension of the written form of the language,” Dekker said of the problems having to study in English and Filipino. Manuel Faelnar, vice president for the non-government group Defenders for Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago, agreed that force-feeding new languages to children when they first learnt to read and write was wrong. “That’s why many of our kids are

considered dull, slow. The teachers speak to them in Tagalog (Filipino), and if you’re not Tagalog or Englishspeaking, you’re lost,” said Faelnar. One obvious problem with the government’s new programme is that it covers only the most widely spoken languages, and thus continues to leave the less common ones neglected. However the hope is that, once the programme is implemented and succeeds, the government will start introducing mother-tongue instruction for the most endangered languages. Meanwhile, the hill-dwelling Ayta Magindi in the Zambales ranges and the local government school have taken it on their own to start mothertongue instruction from June, said the community’s Protestant pastor Benny Capuno. Two Ayta Magindi locals have been hired to teach kindergarten at the local school, and will also help prepare mother-tongue teaching materials for the first graders. “This should restore our young people’s pride and make them treasure our own music, our own language and our unique culture,” Capuno told AFP. ■ (©AFP – Porac, Philippines – May 1, 2012)



OFW News / Immigration

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Philippine workers free to go to Iraqi Kurdistan THE Philippines has lifted an eightyear ban on its nationals working in Iraq, but only for the Middle Eastern country’s autonomous Kurdistan region, the foreign ministry said Sunday, May 13. In 2004 then-president Gloria Arroyo withdrew a contingent of Filipino police and soldiers assigned to the US-led coalition in Iraq after a Filipino truck driver was kidnapped and threatened with beheading. The driver was released unharmed and Arroyo banned all Filipinos from working in the country. Now Filipino overseas workers, a major engine of the economy, will be allowed to return to Kurdistan but not the rest of Iraq, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement.

“POEA (the official Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) has already lifted the deployment ban for the Kurdistan region in Iraq,” he said. “Only the Kurdistan region for now.” Despite the ban, officials estimated that as many as 10,000 Filipinos continued to work in Iraq. Nine million Filipinos, 10 percent of the population, work overseas largely in low-skilled jobs such as maids and sailors, but also as nurses, engineers and IT specialists. They sent $18.17 billion back to the Philippines last year, equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s GDP, and are hailed as modern-day heroes by many of their countrymen for helping keep the economy afloat.

©AFP/File, Safin Hamed

A worker is seen at an oil refinery near the village of Taq Taq in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

■ (©AFP – Manila, Philippines – May 13, 2012)

POEA warns against predatory recruitment

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is alarmed over reported predatory recruitment schemes used by some licensed recruitment agencies. Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said some POEAlicensed recruiters target groups of workers with highly technical skills in companies located in the Philippines. “There are reports

that POEA-licensed recruitment agencies have performed aggressive acts of recruitment, such as distributing leaflets and posting advertisements in specific companies, to lure groups of highlyskilled workers away from their decent jobs in the Philippines,” Cacdac said. He stressed that the practice is both unethical and illegal.

“It is unethical to offer overseas employment to groups of workers, especially highlyskilled workers, for the purpose of pulling them out of gainful employment in our country. Such practices affect our economy and investor confidence, and deplete skills in local industries. Let’s be clear about one thing: actual decent work in the Philippines should never

POEA clamps down on erring recruitment agencies The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is putting the pressure on erring recruitment agencies as it closed last Friday two recruitment agencies that continued to engage in the recruitment and placement of workers overseas after their respective licenses were revoked for malpractices. Vice-President Jejomar Binay, as head of the Presidential Task Force on Anti-Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR), joined POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac and his team that closed

the offices of Northwest Placement Inc. and Reajent Manpower Services Inc. “This enforcement effort of the POEA and the Office of the Vice-President underscores the importance of punishing recruitment violators and upholding the rule of law. And we will not rest.” Cacdac said. POEA issued the closure order against Northwest Placement Inc. in Manila when it discovered that the agency still recruits housekeepers for the United States of America even

after its license was cancelled on April 25, 2012 for charging excessive fees from applicants. Under POEA rules and regulations, an order of cancellation is immediately executory. The POEA also padlocked the offices of Reajent Manpower Services Inc in Quezon City, which continued to accept applications for the position of fruit pickers for Australia that was found out to be non-existent. Reajent was under preventive suspension since February 28, 2012. ■ (May 14, 2012)

POEA files cases against recruiters to Syria

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has filed illegal recruitment cases against nine individuals and recruitment violation cases against twelve recruitment agencies for illegally deploying Filipino workers to Syria. Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said the POEA has assisted 26 OFWs in filing cases for possible violations of prohibited acts under Republic Act 10022 by their respective recruitment companies. The deployment of OFWs to Syria was stopped on April 2011 due to the continuing political tension in the said country.

POEA has also endorsed nine illegal recruitment cases to the Provincial Prosecution Offices of Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Norte, Sarangani, Camarines Norte, Batangas, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Davao City. The victims identified their alleged recruiters as Aida Pinagayan , Zoraida Salem, Nora Valadi, Fatima Sabulawan, Marlyn dela Cruz, Crislyn Noble, Juliet dela Fuente, Jake Munib, and Olivia Dayao, respectively. The recruitment agencies, most of them either with expired, suspended or cancelled licenses were identified

as HRHA Manpower International, Inc.; Miss Diamond Star International Manpower Services, Inc.; MMM International Placement Corp.; MultiSystem Conexions International, Inc.; LFC International Human Resources; RCS Promotions and Overseas Placement, Inc.; MSS Talent Management Services, Inc.; Greengate Manpower Services Co.; and RCS Promotion and Overseas Placement, Inc. Cacdac urges other victims who were recruited for jobs in Syria during the ban period to come forward and file appropriate cases against their respective agents.■ (May 14, 2012)

be undermined by jobs offered abroad,” the Administrator added. Cacdac emphasized that predatory recruitment is illegal under Republic Act No. 8042, as amended by Republic Act No. 10022, and POEA Rules and Regulations. Section 1 (d), Rule IV of the Omnibus Rules implementing RA 8042, as amended, prohibits any person, whether a non-licensee, non-holder, licensee or holder of authority from

inducing or attempting to induce a worker already employed to quit his employment in order to offer him another, unless the transfer is designed to liberate a worker from oppressive terms and conditions of employment. Cacdac said the POEA will file proper charges against any person or recruitment agency found violating the said provision of the law and implementing rules. ■ (May 14, 2012)

Removing full right of appeal for family visitors

A clause in the Crime and Courts Bill, published May 10, 2012, will remove the full right of appeal for those applying to enter the UK as a family visitor. Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, this change is expected to come into force by 2014. Refused applicants will still be able to appeal on limited grounds of human rights or race discrimination. In June 2012 we will also introduce secondary legislation which will tighten the family and sponsor definitions in family visit visa appeals. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these changes are expected to come into force in July 2012. Those applying to visit a cousin, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew will no longer have access to a full right of appeal, and to use that appeal right, the family member being visited in the UK must have settled, refugee or humanitarian protection status. These changes will only affect applicants who have been refused a visa to visit family members. No changes are being made to the rules governing who can qualify

for entry to the UK as a visitor and genuine visitors are welcome. Consultation Between July and October 2011, the Home Office carried out a consultation on whether applicants refused a family visit visa should have a full right of appeal. 39 per cent of respondents felt that a full right of appeal should not be retained for this category and 28 per cent felt that it should. 33 per cent didn’t comment. The Independent Chief Inspector will continue to monitor visa refusals where applicants have no full right of appeal and the UK Border Agency will use this feedback to improve our application and decision making processes. Further changes following the 2011 family migration consultation will be announced in due course. As well as removing the full right of appeal for family visit visas, the Crime and Courts Bill also includes provisions relating to UK Border Agency investigatory and other powers. ■ (UKBA – May 10, 2012)

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Special Report



Top Philippine dishes emerge from junk food shadows Karl Malakunas, AFP CLAUDE Tayag sees himself as a food missionary, hoping to convert people at home and abroad to the secret cuisine wonders of the Philippines. The Southeast Asian nation’s table-fare has long suffered a poor reputation internationally compared with its regional neighbours. Across the world, Indian curry houses compete with Vietnamese noodle soup shops or Chinese dim sum restaurants in offering a taste of Asian food, but there are comparatively very few places serving Filipino dishes. Back home, many locals also undoubtedly prefer their meals fast and cheap – in the style of their former American colonial rulers – with deep-fried chicken and hamburger chains dominating the food scene. But standing in his kitchen over a huge pot of pork bone marrow slowly simmering in a traditional adobo-style mix of vinegar, soy sauce and garlic, Tayag insists Philippine food can “wow” as much as any other in Asia. “It’s a very misunderstood cuisine. Firstly, Filipino cuisine is so diverse,” Tayag says as he stirs the pork that he is preparing for dozens of guests who have gathered at his home. “You cannot explain it in one sentence. You need a whole day, a whole month to talk about it.” Tayag, an artist, writer and chef, has turned his rustic home a couple of hours’ drive north of Manila into an informal restaurant, where diners feast on a 10-course meal that takes them on a culinary tour of the archipelago. The lunchtime extravaganza lasts for three hours and one version of his menu starts with an ©AFP/Noel Celis

The lunchtime extravaganza lasts for three hours.

eclectic trio of dips – fermented rice, crab fat and a pesto made from the native pili nut. It ends with a Filipino version of the Italian panna cotta – made from carabao’s milk, which has a higher fat content and is thus richer than that produced by cows. In between, grilled chicken is served after being marinated in lemongrass and a local lime-like citrus fruit called calamansi. Throughout the afternoon diners wash down their food with jugs of ice-cold tea made from calamansi juice, ginger, lemongrass and honey. A particular highlight for diners is when they crowd around Tayag to take photos as he prepares a pork dish called sisig that sizzles and pops on a frying pan. Popular particularly among latenight beer drinkers around the Philippines, sisig is made of finely chopped pigs’ ears and cheeks. Tayag serves it with boiled chicken livers, calamansi extract, white onion, salt and chilli. Bookings often have to be made weeks in advance for the restaurant that Tayag runs with his effervescent wife, Mary Ann, who entertains the guests as hostess with in-depth descriptions of all the dishes. Tayag, 55, says his restaurant’s popularity is testament to a small but developing food culture in the Philippines. “In every major province, there are people like us, working for the preservation and the propagation of slow-cooked food,” Tayag says. “And one can say there’s a rediscovery of Filipino cuisine... it’s come about slowly with the emergence of high-end Filipino restaurants in Manila, but also the cable TV travel and cooking shows. And the food bloggers.” Indeed, 15 years ago restaurants

serving top-end versions of traditional Filipino food were a rarity in Manila, let alone in out-ofthe way locations such as Tayag’s home in Angeles City. Nowadays – propelled also by a fast-growing middle class – Filipino restaurants are starting to feature much more in the Philippines’ major cities. Nevertheless, Tayag acknowledges that US-style junk food remains the most popular option for most of the nearly 100 million Filipinos when they choose to dine out, particularly the poor masses who need cheap options. “We need to create awareness. We are fast losing our traditional ways... with the onslaught of these fast foods, the malls, and all that. You know, the American lifestyle,” he says. Tayag, who has written or coauthored three books promoting Filipino food, has won some international recognition for his efforts, with celebrity American chef Anthony Bourdain featuring him on his television show: “No Reservations”. Bourdain appeared genuinely enthusiastic with Tayag’s varied dishes, and also with a trip to the central Philippine city of Cebu where he tasted one of the country’s favourite meals – whole roasted pig. Raving about its crispy skin and juicy meat, Bourdain rated the pork – known as lechon – as the best he had eaten on his many journeys around the world, ranking it just ahead of the version found in Indonesia’s Bali. For Tayag, such recommendations are proof that the Philippines can one day rate alongside the likes of Thailand and Malaysia as one of Southeast Asia’s famed food destinations. “You always hear why Filipino cuisine hasn’t made it internationally, like our Asian neighbours. Well basically it’s just not understood very well,” he says. Asked to describe Filipino food, Tayag says it does not necessarily have the obviously bold, intense flavours like spicy Indian or hot Thai dishes. “Our flavours are more nuanced... there’s a nuance of sweet, sour, salty and bitter,” he says. Tayag then explains one of his favourite expressions to describe how people in the Philippines feel when they eat the food they love – linamnam. Linamnam, which has no direct translation in English, refers to a thrill, an excitement, a tingling sensation. ■ (©AFP – Angeles City, Philippines – April 25, 2012)


©AFP/Noel Celis

Bookings often have to be made weeks in advance for the restaurant that Tayag runs. ©AFP/Noel Celis

Tayag has turned his rustic home a couple of hours’ drive north of Manila into an informal restaurant.



Philippines Tourism

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

“It’s More Fun in the Philippines” on target for 2012 VISITOR arrivals to the Philippines hit an all-time high of 1,148,072 during the first three months of the year (Q1 – JanuaryMarch 2012), posting an increase of 16.03% versus last year’s arrivals of 989,501 for the same period. “During this period, visitors to the Philippines increased by 16 percent to hit almost 1.15 million. From this record, we have now achieved 25 percent of our international visitor target of 4.6 million for this year,” Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. said. “The world is now starting to see that ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ is not just a bunch of words on a streamer. It is a competitive argument for choosing the Philippines as one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Philippine tourism is poised to surge forward as we receive a steady increase of tourist arrivals, as seen in the first

quarter of this year,” beamed Secretary Jimenez. This strong tourism outlook was recently highlighted during the 45th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the Philippines when the Department of Tourism (DOT) convened foreign and local delegates in a forum on “Harnessing the Growth Potentials of Tourism” at the SMX Convention Center to showcase the developments and investment opportunities in the country’s tourism industry. In that tourism forum, Tourism Undersecretary Daniel G. Corpuz presented the recently completed National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) highlighting the country’s growth potentials and investment opportunities available to the private sector, investors, bankers, fund managers and local government units. The NTDP is a product of the most thorough inventory of tourist

attractions in the history of the Philippines. It divides the county into 20 clusters and identifies the key gateways that will be the focus of massive development in the next four years. “This forum is just the beginning of various road shows to inform partners, as well as encourage investors and funding institutions to support the implementation of the NTDP. There is much more to be done to make the Philippines more fun than it is now,” Jimenez told the participants. Still remaining as top five tourist-generating countries are Korea, USA, Japan, China, and Taiwan. The Korean market maintained its big lead over the other producers, contributing 265,031 visitors for a share of 23.08% of the total tourist arrivals during the quarter. This is a 16.04% increase compared to last year’s arrivals of 228,398 visitors. The US market captured

15.64% of the total arrivals or 179,561 visitors, growing at 6.35% compared to last year’s figures of 168,847 during the same period. Meanwhile, visitors from Japan numbered at 104,558 or 9.11% of the total visitors, an increase of 3.85% from last year. The fourth and fifth biggest generating markets are China and Taiwan, which consequently got the biggest double-digit growth rates of 77.53% and 37.49% respectively, comparing to last year’s figures. China and Taiwan registered 96,455 and 57,745 visitor arrivals this year compared to last year’s figures of 54,332 and 42,000 visitors respectively. “Our international exposure on CNN, promotional efforts in key markets, policy reforms to ease entry and enhance market access, and ongoing improvements in road and airport infrastructure will help bring in more warm bodies. Therefore, we see no

reason why we won’t hit our target of 4.6 M this year,” Secretary Jimenez added. Other fast-growing markets include Australia with 47,651 arrivals for a share of 4.15%, Canada with 36,517 arrivals at 3.18%, Singapore with 35,975 arrivals at 3.13%, United Kingdom with 31,700 at 2.76%, Hongkong with 28,800 at 2.51%, Malaysia with 24,327 at 2.12%, and Germany with 21,106 at 1.84% share. Overseas Filipinos contributed 4.65% to the total tourist traffic at 53,404 arrivals. This segment grew by 4.98% compared to last year’s volume of 50,871 visitors. What sets the Philippines apart, Jimenez enthused, is that “the Philippines is about the Filipino, the Filipino and his infectious love of the things that the world tends to forget: family, friends and the communion with God’s beautiful earth.” ■ (©PDOT – May 8, 2012)

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Philippines Tourism



The Philippines is getting down… down the Underground! YES, you heard that right! The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) in London has gone down... to the Underground! This momentous occasion was celebrated by the PDOT with a FUN bus ride around central London on the first day of May 2012. The double decker bus sported the new designs of the Philippines tourist board with a huge “IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPINES” written on it. The London cab with the same livery was also present for the photo shoot with the Philippine Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo and the PDOT London led by Ms. Chit Afuang. The bus was filled with guests from the travel trade, media, Officers of the Embassy of the Philippines, PDOT team and Lahing Kayumanggi (Brown Race) Dance Company wearing beautiful Filipiñana gowns and Filipino Barong who also provided the entertainment on the go. PDOT staff also conducted fun games, gave away lots of prizes and serenaded everyone during the thirty-five minute joyride. The Philippines double decker bus went around Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Strand, Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, Regent Street and then back to Piccadilly. “Everyone had a blast during the bus ride as we asked people to sing, wave their fun flags and participate in the games while we give away prizes,” exclaimed Ms. Afuang of PDOT London. Onlookers were delighted to watch the hullabaloo and laughter happening in the bus as it went around the full streets of Central London. The whole entourage led by PDOT staff also went down at Oxford Circus to give away bracelets and other treats to shoppers who were very happy to receive such surprises! Reymund Enteria and Steven Cheung, two Filipinos Olympic Torch bearers also joined the fun bus ride with other guests. The event ended at the Embassy of the Philippines in Piccadilly with a short video presentation and flowing cocktails. Ambassador Manalo welcomed everyone before another batch of fun and surprises unfolded. “This is just a sample of what you will experience when you visit our country. A culture of FUN, beauty and excitement await every visitor. With 7,107 islands, guests are sure to find islands that will suit their adventure. And with more than 90 million hosts, you are definitely going to have more fun in the Philippines,” said Ambassador Manalo. The UK is a very important market for the Philippines as it


ranks 1st in Europe in number of tourist arrivals to our country, and 10th overall. It is a growing and expanding market, with over 100,000 British tourists travelling to the Philippines in 2011 alone – an all-time high. Now, the PDOT has set its eyes on higher goals, therefore will be more aggressive with its marketing and promotional campaigns. Previously, we have seen the Philippine eagle land on the panels of the London buses while the London Cabs transported many to the beautiful beaches, underwater and mountains of the Philippines. Now, we will see the different smiling and welcoming people of this beautiful country grace the cover of the buses and taxis. Meanwhile, the Philippine version of the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, a title holder as one of the new 7 wonders of nature award, adorns the London Underground; reminding people that being in the “underground” can be so much fun…in the Philippines! “I was impressed with the energy of the Filipinos during the short motorcade,” expressed Simon Beck of Orbital Communications. Iain Webb of Fulham Football Club seconded as saying, “the most ‘fun’ time I ever had on board a London bus!” This advertising hype in the UK is a synchronized effort with PDOT Manila as they launch a worldwide advertising campaign with CNN International that broke on 30 April. The UK publicity with the London cabs will stay to capture the millions of visitors attending the Queen’s Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics. PDOT London office is in charge of promoting the Philippines to the UK market as well as 15 other countries in North and South Europe including the Baltic region, Israel and Turkey. ■ (©PDOT – May 8, 2012)




Philippines Tourism

Philippines on CNN PHILIPPINES

THE beginning of May 2012 brings positive tourism news on the Philippines. As many may have already seen, Cable News Network (CNN) has set its “Eye On” the Philippines with daily reports on our country’s tourism, people, politics, business and culture over a span of one week. The broadcast was on Sky 506 everyday between 6pm to 7pm last 30 April to 4 May 2012. The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) Manila has chosen a worldwide launch using CNN’s platform to promote its new tourism campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” which reaches approximately over 280 million households every hour. The campaign invites everyone to join the bandwagon and come up with their own versions of why they think it’s more fun in the Philippines. Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. said the department only started with 3 versions of the “more fun in the Philippines” creative and now, 4 months after, there are more than 11,000 versions from Filipinos and foreign guests who have participated

in the campaign. Check out the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” 30-second international commercial here: http://www. PDOT London synchronized its advertising campaign together with the CNN’s worldwide launch with its own promotion using the iconic London double-decker buses and the famous London black cabs. The new design features the new logo and the fun faces of the Filipino people, the selling point of the tourism campaign. Meanwhile, PDOT London also celebrated its first ever advertising in the London Underground with two very fitting designs using stairs and underground: the Banaue Rice Terraces with the tag “Stairway to heaven. More fun in the Philippines” and “The Underground. More fun in the Philippines” against a backdrop of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The London buses and the London Underground advertising can be seen for two weeks in Central London from

30 April until 14 May 2012 while the black cabs will roam the streets of London for one year. The relentless drive of the Department to embark on numerous creative and effective projects that generate the biggest impact will hopefully reach its target of 4.6 million international tourist arrivals by the end of the year. International tourism arrival figures from January to March this year are promising. UK registered a whopping 38% growth rate for the month of March 2012. The aggregate increase for the first three months of the year is 21.42% posting a record of 31,700 visitors. The total visitor arrivals to the Philippines have already reached 1.1 million for the first quarter. You can download the tourism arrival statistics on our website’s Press Centre Page. Let’s all spread the “FUN”. Like our facebook page today and join the 16,000 others who has seen and shared our photos! h t t p s : / / w w w. fa c eb o o k . c o m / ItsMoreFunPhilippines. ■ (©PDOT – May 8, 2012)

Philippines voted among top three dive destinations at Tokyo’s international diving event

THE Philippines made waves in the Marine Diving Fair 2012, one of the largest diving and beach resort exhibitions in Asia attracting over 50,000 visitors annually. This year, the event showcased 200 exhibitors from 50 different countries. Inspired by the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign logo, the colorful Philippine booth was a crowd drawer. With five aquariums placed strategically inside the booth and the paintings of marine life on the wall, fair visitors were drawn to the booth to discover what makes diving “more fun” in the Philippines. DOT’s participation was aimed at maintaining the high profile of the Philippines as a premier and competitive dive destination among Japanese overseas divers. Since our participation in year 2000, the Philippines have been continuously selected as one of the top five dive destinations. This year, the Philippines is the only ASEAN country that ranked among the top three dive destinations together with Maldives and Palau. Since 2006, the country has been consecutively included in the top five “Best Overseas Destinations”, and consistently awarded as one of the top 10 “Dream Destinations”. Selection for these awards is done through voting by subscribers of Marine Diving Magazine, one of the

This year’s participants to the Marine Diving Fair 2012, Tokyo, Japan.

most prestigious dive publications in Japan. Blue Coral bagged the top award as the favorite dive operator for 2012, winning the same award for five consecutive years. Another dive operator, the Good Dive Shop also made it to the top 10 for the same category. DOT Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. was pleased to note that once again, the country affirmed its status as a must-see dive destination by raking in top placements in all four major award categories. “Our partnership with the private sector dive tour operators has paid off nicely. We encourage more suppliers to keep raising the bar for service excellence to grow this market segment,” the tourism chief said. The participation of the DOT is

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

also in consonance with its overall marketing strategy to attract Japanese divers, which along with the independent ladies and the active seniors serve as priority segments of the department. Japan remains to be among the top three sources of foreign tourist arrivals visiting the country in 2011. Joining the Philippine booth were representatives of Philippine Airlines, Club Paradise, El Rio Y Mar, Alegre Beach Resort, Talisay Beach Resort, Emerald Green Diving Center, Anemone Resort, Blue Coral Diving Shop, Donsol Ecotour Inc. El Nido Resorts, Kasai Village Resort, Pacific Cebu Resorts International, Villa Tropara Dive Resort and Philippine Banca Dive Safari. ■ (©PDOT – April 23, 2012)

Joint promotional activities with Philippine Embassies in Italy, Spain and Scandinavia PDOT London works closely with Philippine Embassies in its areas of jurisdiction on joint-promotional activities to propagate tourism to the country. Last 28 April, PDOT London representative Chit Afuang met with Philippine Ambassador Virgilio Reyes in Rome to report on the recently concluded tourism projects for the Italian market. The list includes the roadshow with Mappamondo, Scuba Show with H2O and familiarization trips with Hotelplan and Etihad

group for the high end segment along with other future famtrips. The Embassy will be conducting a Filipino Food Promotion event entitled “Kulinarya, Images and Flavours of the Philippines” on 13-19 June at the Westin Exelsior in Rome. These exciting events will commemorate the 65th year anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Italy and the Philippines. In Spain, PDOT London together with the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, the Philippine Consulate in Barcelona and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be giving a presentation on tourism and culture of the country to selected Spanish travel tour operators and agents on 8 and 10 May, respectively. The Philippine Embassy in Stockholm will hold their National Celebration activities on 15-16 June. PDOT London supports the event by supplying numerous promotional materials, giveaways, information packs and roll-ups. ■ (©PDOT – May 8, 2012)

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition




Australia to protect most vulnerable koalas AUSTRALIA moved on Monday, April 30 to protect its most vulnerable koalas, listing the much-loved furry tree-dwellers as a threatened species in parts of the country. Environment Minister Tony Burke said the most at-risk koalas needed to be on the national list of threatened species, and populations in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory would be listed as vulnerable. “Koalas are an iconic Australian animal and they hold a special place in the community,” he said. Burke said while some koala populations were under serious threat from habitat loss and urban expansion, as well as cars, dogs and disease, in other areas they were thriving to the point they needed to be controlled.

“In fact, in some areas in Victoria and South Australia, koalas are eating themselves out of suitable foraging habitat and their numbers need to be managed,” he said. “But the Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory koala populations are very clearly in trouble, so we must take action.” An official report issued last year found the sleepy, furry marsupials were under increasing threat and should be considered a vulnerable species, with habitat loss seeing their numbers plunge. Believed to number in the millions before British settlers arrived in 1788, the hunting and slaughter of the animals for their furs in the 1920s devastated the species in some areas.

Public outrage over the killing of the big-eyed “bears” put an end to the practice but numbers have never fully recovered, with estimates on the population varying from several hundred thousand to as few as 43,515. Environmentalists have for years been pushing for greater protections for the koala, which sleeps about 20 hours a day and eats only the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. University of Tasmania zoology professor Chris Johnson said the government’s move was sensible. “The northern and southern populations are now basically separate,” Johnson said, saying they almost needed be considered as different species. ■ (AFP – Sydney, Australia

©AFP/File/Torsten Blackwood

– April 30, 2012)

Environmentalists have for years been pushing for greater protections for the koala.

Endangered Philippine raptor bred in captivity A Philippine hawk-eagle feared to be heading for extinction has been bred in captivity for the first time, its breeders said Thursday,

April 19. Hand-fed with ground quail meat, the chick has swiftly bulked up to 157 grams (0.04 ounces), three

©STR/AFP/Getty Images

times its weight when hatched in an artificial incubator 16 days ago, the Philippine Eagle Foundation said. Its spokeswoman Anna Mae Sumaya said this marked the first success of an 11-year-old captive breeding programme for the Nisaetus philippensis that dwell in fast-disappearing lowland forests. “The species is under threat from human persecution. All the Philippine hawk-eagles that had been turned over to us were either injured by hunters or were young birds that had been removed from their nests,” she told AFP. The adult of the dark-brown bird is 64-69 centimetres (25.227.2 inches) long, with a long crest of four or five feathers protruding from its crown.

Preying on lowland forest animals, the unique raptor is one of nearly 200 bird species that are found only in the Philippines. Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says it is “vulnerable” from hunting and habitat loss. The foundation had been trying to breed Philippine hawk-eagles since 2001, using adults rescued from hunters that were rehabilitated at its project site in the southern city of Davao. “We got our first compatible pair in 2009 and they laid eggs in 2010 and 2011, but they always got crushed before we could collect them,” Sumaya said. The hatchling was from the “pinskeri” subspecies, a Philippine

hawk-eagle variant that is found on the southern island of Mindanao, she said. Set up in 1987 for captive breeding of the critically endangered Philippine eagle, one of the world’s largest birds of prey, the non-profit foundation later also began breeding other raptors found only in the Philippines. “They are all threatened, they have almost the same habitats and inhabit more or less the same territory as the Philippine eagle,” Sumaya said. The foundation has artificially bred 24 Philippine eagles from captive pairs and released three young birds back in the wild, though only one of those released birds is still alive. ■ (AFP – Manila, Philippines – April 19, 2012)

New purple crab species found in Philippines FOUR new species of freshwater crab, bright purple in colour, have been discovered in the biologically diverse but ecologically-threatened Philippines, the man who found them said Saturday, April 21. The tiny crustaceans burrow under boulders and roots in streams, feeding on dead plants, fruits, carrion and small animals in the water at night, said Hendrik Freitag of Germany’s Senckenberg Museum of Zoology. Found only in small, lowland-forest ecosystems in the Palawan island group, most have purple shells, with claws and legs tipped red. “It is known that crabs can discriminate colours. Therefore, it seems likely that the colouration has a signal function for the social

behaviour, e.g. mating,” Freitag told AFP by email on Saturday. “This could explain why large males of various Insulamon species are more reddish compared to the generally violet females and immature males.” Scientists began extensive investigations of similar freshwater crabs in the area in the late 1980s, when one new species was found – the Insulamon unicorn, Freitag said. More field work led Freitag to conclude there were four other unique species. “Based on available new material, a total of five species are recognised... four of which are new to science,” Freitag wrote in the latest edition of the National University of Singapore’s Raffles Bulletin of Zoology.

The carapace of the biggest, Insulamon magnum, is just 53 millimetres by 41.8 millimetres while the smallest, Insulamon porculum, measures 33.1 by 25.1 millimetres. The two other new species were called Insulamon palawense and Insulamon johannchristiani. The four slightly differ from the first find, and from each other, in the shapes of their body shells, legs, and sex organs. US-based Conservation International lists the Philippines as one of 17 countries that harbours most of Earth’s plant and animal life. Reptiles, birds or mammals likely prey on the crabs, and it is possible people in remote areas also collect them for food, Freitag said. However, the main threats are the ongoing forest clearing for farming,

mining or home building, since this risks drying up their small habitats and causes water pollution, he said. “Even if the habitats are not

entirely destroyed, the smaller the remaining habitats, the higher the risk of extinction for a species,” he said. ■ (AFP – April 21, 2012) ©AFP/SMZ, Hendrik Freitag

One of the four new species of freshwater crab is pictured.



Celebrity, Showbiz & Entertainment

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Australian Aboriginal films light up global screen ©AFP/File/Greg Wood

Madeleine Coorey, AFP AUSTRALIANS are enjoying a high profile at Cannes this year, but beyond the star power of Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue, the film world will be watching the groundbreaking work of Aboriginal artists. Indigenous stories have breathed new life into the film scene Down Under, with “The Sapphires” the latest to come to international attention with a screening in official selection at the French festival that kicks off Wednesday, May 16. Actress Deborah Mailman, who stars in the feel-good feature about an all-girl singing group plucked from a remote Aboriginal community to play for Australian troops serving in Vietnam, is delighted with the response. “Yes, it’s huge. It’s a really great acknowledgement,” she told AFP at the launch of Sydney’s Film Festival, just days before jetting out for Europe. “There’s obviously something in the film that they went, ‘Yeah, we want this, and we want it on the world stage’. So it’s wonderful that that’s been recognised. And we are very proud of this film, no matter what.” Mailman is a household name

Indigenous stories have breathed new life into the film scene Down Under.

in Australia for her many television roles and appearances in films such as the musical comedy “Bran Nue Dae” and the historical drama “Rabbit Proof Fence”, starring Kenneth Branagh. But the 39-year-old, who in 1998 beat Cate Blanchett and Rachel Griffiths for the Australian Film Institute award for best actress, is still excited about heading to Cannes for the first time. “My head, everything is still catching up with the idea of it,” she said. From the 1980s film “Crocodile Dundee” about a knife-wielding bushman to Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 sweeping romantic epic “Australia”, Australian films have long featured Aboriginal characters.

©AFP/Getty Images/File

Nicole Kidman stars in “The Paperboy” by US director Lee Daniels.

But a batch of films being created by indigenous artists is reinvigorating the industry, and in 2009 “Samson and Delilah”, a heartbreaking love story set in a remote indigenous community, won the Camera d’Or at Cannes. Australians will have a strong influence in France again this year, with Kidman starring in “The Paperboy” by US director Lee Daniels as well as Philip Kaufman’s “Hemingway and Gellhorn”, which will be shown out of competition. Singer Kylie Minogue stars opposite Eva Mendes in “Holy Motors” by Leos Carax, and two Australian directors Andrew Dominik (“Killing Them Softly”) and John Hillcoat (“Lawless”) are competing

©AFP/File/Ben Stansall

Singer Kylie Minogue stars opposite Eva Mendes in “Holy Motors” by Leos Carax.

for the top Palme d’Or prize. Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland, whose 2004 debut feature “Somersault” was shown in Cannes, said the indigenous input is part of the reason that Australian film is performing so well. “The issues that everybody is going through are international issues – about people not going to the cinema as much, and also the amount of money that is put into the blockbusters as promotion so the smaller arthouse films sometimes slip away. “But I would say that the industry in Australia at the moment seems quite robust and what I am really interested in is the diversity, and the strength of the indigenous work.”

Shortland, whose latest work “Lore” is a German-language film shot entirely in Europe and set at the end of the war in 1945, is pleased about the success of “The Sapphires”. “It’s fantastic for all of us to be represented in an international market,” she said. Queensland-born Mailman, who grew up in the isolated mining town of Mount Isa, is proud of her work with indigenous artists, including a new movie about a landmark land rights case “Mabo” which is premiering at the Sydney festival. “There’s nothing better than working with my mob. And I mean that from my heart,” she said. “It’s great to be telling a story that’s from us, that’s been directed by us, and that is telling our stories.” She said it was hard to put a label on the work coming out now. “That’s a great thing – you can’t define it. You’re getting all these directors who have been working for years... suddenly finding their particular story-telling skills. “I think what you see is people coming into their own craft. Which is where indigenous film may be heading.” ■ (©AFP – Sydney, Australia – May 14, 2012)

Cannes countdown begins as first stars hit Riviera Rory Mulholland, AFP THE stars and starlets began rolling into Cannes Tuesday, May 15 as the sun-kissed Riviera resort readied for the annual movie frenzy where glittering careers are launched and cinema legends born. Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt and Robert Pattinson are among the Hollywood royalty that will grace the red carpet for 12 days starting Wednesday alongside high-brow filmmakers at the 65th edition of the world’s top film showcase. This year’s bash features druggy roadtrips, soul-searching drama and stylish gangland flicks and sees the return of such Cannes grandees as

David Cronenberg, Ken Loach and Michael Haneke. Star-wise, the 2012 line-up promises to dazzle with Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Jessica Chastain, Kylie Minogue, Kristen Stewart, Pattinson and Pitt just a few of the A-listers expected in town. In the bowels of the festival palace, in the posh hotels on La Croisette seafront and in beach pavillons, hordes of movie executives will also wheel and deal in a marketplace that showcases hundreds of works. French actress Berenice Bejo, star of the Oscar-winning “The Artist” who hosts Wednesday’s opening ceremony, was among the first to land in the chic Mediterranean resort along


Line up of the jury for the 65th Cannes Film Festival.

with British actor and director Tim Roth. Marilyn Monroe was there too, beaming down from a giant poster over the entrance to the squat concrete building that hosts the festival which this year pays tribute to the Hollywood legend 50 years after her death. The thousands of accredited journalists and film critics were queueing up for the badges that will get them access to watch the 22 films vying for the coveted Palme d’Or award at the glitzy gala finale on May 27. US director Wes Anderson will strike a joyous keynote Wednesday with the opening film “Moonrise Kingdom”, a pre-teen elopement story whose star-

packed cast includes Bruce Willis as a small-town cop. Two US mavericks are running for Cannes gold: Lee Daniels’s keenly awaited “The Paperboy” stars Kidman opposite John Cusack and Zac Efron in the tale of a reporter investigating a death row case. The second is Jeff Nichols, whose “Mud”, about two teenage boys who form a pact with a fugitive, was a surprise entry. Canada’s Cronenberg brings Manhattan thriller “Cosmopolis”, adapted from Don DeLillo’s novel. It stars Pattinson as a billionaire asset manager journeying through the city in a stretch limo. Brazil’s Walter Salles has adapted Jack Kerouac’s cult novel “On the ©AFP/Valery Hache Road”, while Australians John Hillcoat and Andrew Dominik bring two US-set works: bootlegging drama “Lawless” and the mobster flick “Killing Them Softly”. Among the European giants, View of one of the entrances of the “Palais Austria’s Haneke will show “Amour” des Festival” on the eve of the 65th Cannes (Love), starring Isabelle Huppert as the Film Festival in Cannes. daughter of a woman hit by a stroke. ©AFP/Valery Hache Britain’s Loach returns for the 17th time with the comedy “The Angel’s Share”, about ex-offenders who turn to whisky-making. One of three French filmmakers in the race, Jacques Audiard has cast Cotillard as a killer-whale trainer hit by a tragedy in “Rust and Bone”. Romania’s Cristian Mungiu, Berenice Bejo, who will host the opening ceremony.

who scooped the 2007 Palme for a Communist-era abortion drama, returns with “Beyond the Hills” about two orphans, while Italian Matteo Garrone takes on TV culture with “Reality”. Politics holds a slot in the Palme d’Or race with “After the Battle” by Egypt’s Yousry Nasrallah, about the Arab Spring, while French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy shows an outof-competition documentary on the Libyan war. Asia gets a look-in with two South Koreans: Im Sang-soo with erotic thriller “Taste of Money”, and Hong Sang-soo with “In Another Country”. And Palme-winning Iranian Abbas Kiarostami returns at 71 with “Like Someone in Love”, a Japan-set tale about a student who works as a prostitute. The official competition line-up was slammed for failing to include a single woman director, but festival host Bejo said Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux had simply picked the best out of the nearly 1,800 films submitted. “You don’t pick a film because it was made by a man or a woman,” she told reporters. Buzz-making films being screened out of competition include Philip Kaufman’s “Hemingway and Gellhorn”, with Kidman playing the writer’s war reporter third wife opposite Clive Owen. ■ (©AFP Cannes,

France – May 15, 2012)

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Celebrity, Showbiz & Entertainment



Kapuso Primetime Queen Marian Rivera’s newest dramedy “Tweets for my Sweets” GMA Network – The much awaited comeback of GMA’s Primetime Queen Marian Rivera to comedy happens as she embarks on her newest project, Tweets for my Sweet beginning May 12. The highly-anticipated “dramedy” Tweets for my Sweet tells the story of a young lady Meg (Marian Rivera) who grows up in the province and takes chances in obtaining her dream of having a cafe transform into reality. Marian expresses her gratitude on another milestone in her career. “Sobra akong natutuwa dahil ibinigay sa akin ang programang ito at magkakaroon ako ng pagkakataon upang makatrabaho ang ilan sa mga taong hinahangaan ko sa industriya. Kaya dapat nilang abangan ang Tweets for my Sweet dahil pasasayahin nito ang weekend ng bawat Kapuso.” After so many years of absence in the comedy scene, one of the most sought-after comedians in the

Sheena Halili

Boy Logro

Philippines, Mr. Roderick Paulate (as JB Mercado) , returns to comedy in a very special role. Joining the stellar cast are Kapuso actress Sheena Halili (as Lily), Kusina Master’s Chef Boy Logro (as Lolo Boy), most promising Tween stars Elmo Magalona (as Dino Mercado) and Barbie Forteza (as Adele), and Youtube Sensation Mikey Bustos (as Dexter Matibag). Playing an important role in the series is Prime Comedienne-Actress Ms. Nova Villa as (as Domina delos Santos). Under the helm of well-respected Director Uro dela Cruz, discover life’s ingredients in achieving one’s dream in Tweets for my Sweet beginning May 12 on GMA Pinoy TV. Want to know more about Tweets for my Sweet? Visit www., Like its official Facebook page www. and Follow @TweetSweetGMA on Twitter ■

Marian Rivera

Mikey Bustos

Nova Villa

Barbie Forteza

Roderick Paulate

Elmo Magalona



Celebrity, Showbiz & Entertainment

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Indonesia Islamists threaten to stop Lady Gaga show PHILIPPINES

Presi Mandari, AFP A hardline Islamic group warned Wednesday, May 9 it would not let Lady Gaga set foot in Indonesia, challenging an army of fans awaiting a concert in the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population.

The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) vowed to mobilise 30,000 demonstrators to protest the US artist’s June 3 performance in Jakarta and to intercept her at the airport. “We will stop her from setting foot on our land. She had better not dare spread her satanic faith in

©AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi

Lady Gaga is on a tour of Asia.

this country,” FPI Jakarta chairman Salim Alatas told AFP. “Her style is vulgar, her sexual and indecent clothes will destroy our children’s sense of morality. She’s very dangerous,” he said. The US pop diva, famed for her outrageous outfits and provocative performances, has sparked opposition in other Asian countries with her “Born This Way Ball” global tour, which kicked off in Seoul last month amid protests. But the FPI, notorious for making threats and often failing to follow through, will face opposition from 40,000 fans planning to attend the sold-out show in Indonesia. Little Monsters – as Lady Gaga fans are called – tweeted their determination to see the pop idol perform in Indonesia, 90 percent of whose 240,000 million inhabitants identify themselves as Muslim. “Little Monsters Indonesia vs FPI. I’m ready to fight,” Bentaniokevin tweeted to the LadyGagaIndo Twitter account.

“What?!! The FPI want to cancel Lady Gaga’s concert? They don’t know art!! She is the lady of art!! GAGA I’m waitin for you. See u soon,” nataliahaman tweeted. One page on Facebook, which is wildly popular in Indonesia, was seeking dancers for a Lady Gaga flashmob, which sees people perform a choreographed dance in a public place. The flashmob is “to show our appreciation to Lady Gaga for planning to visit and to tell others who don’t approve of her that there’s nothing wrong with being her fans,” said Anggiat Sihombing, an 18-yearold university student who set up the LadyGagaIndo account. “We like her because she is a famous musician who makes use of her popularity to do good deeds, like establishing a foundation to protect kids who have been bullied.” The Lady Gaga Indonesia Facebook page has more than 42,000 “likes”. “Lady Gaga is not an ordinary

Lady Gaga teacup fetches $75,300 in Japan auction FANS of Lady Gaga bidding on a teacup and saucer used only once by the pop diva had offered more than six million yen ($75,000) for the item by the time the hammer fell, a Japanese auction site said Monday, May 7. With more than 1,300 bids, the week-long auction finished at 1400 GMT Sunday, May 3, with a top offer of 6,011,000 yen, Yahoo! Japan, which managed the charity event, said.

The cup was used by Lady Gaga at a press conference in Tokyo three months after the massive tsunami of March last year swamped a large stretch of coastline. Lady Gaga told reporters at the time that she would auction the cup, marked with her lipstick and bearing the Japanese message “We pray for Japan” along with the star’s autograph. All the money raised will be used to help young Japanese

artists who want to study in the United States. The teacup was one of a number of items being sold to raise money for those affected by Japan’s worst post-war calamity, and was the second most expensive lot. The top-priced item was a Kawai crystal piano used by Yoshiki of rock band Japan X, which went for 11,001,000 yen, Yahoo! Japan said. The natural disaster killed

some 19,000 people on Japan’s northeast coast and sparked the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, leading to a plunge in visitors to the country. Lady Gaga visited Japan twice after the disaster and called on tourists from around the world to follow suit. The songstress is due back in Japan this week as part of an Asian tour. ■ (©AFP – Tokyo, Japan – May 7, 2012)

human being. She uses her popularity to defend minority groups, especially gays and lesbians,” said Hartoyo, general secretary of gay rights group OurVoice, who goes by one name. “I would die for her,” he said. Despite the opposition to her tour, the “Poker Face” singer has not toned down her performances – at the Seoul show on April 27 she rode onto the stage on horseback, wearing a black bodysuit and an enormous black metal headpiece. There were small protests outside the show, with two foreign Christian protesters holding placards that read “Lady Gaga. Go home!” and “Sexual purity, virginity, fidelity”, while about 20 South Korean Christian activists prayed. In the Philippines, a youth organisation urged people to stay away from the star’s May 21 concert, saying it posed a threat to moral values in Asia’s largest Catholic nation. ■ (©AFP – Jakarta, Indonesia – May

9, 2012)

©AFP/File/Toshifumi Kitamura

Fans of Lady Gaga have offered more than $75,000 for the teacup and saucer used only once by the pop diva.

Morrissey asks Aquino to free Philippine elephant ©AFP/Martin Bernetti

Morrissey wrote to the Philippine president ahead of his May 13 Manila show.

ROCK icon Morrissey called on Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Thursday, May 10 ahead of a Manila concert, to send what the star described as Manila Zoo’s longsuffering elephant into retirement. The British ex-singer of alternative rock group The Smiths said Mali, 37, deserved a reprieve from a lifetime of confinement. “I ask that you send Mali to a sanctuary, where she would have room to roam and be able to be among other members of her own species,” Morrissey wrote ahead of his May 13 Manila show. Aquino’s office received the letter Thursday and is evaluating it, his spokeswoman Abigail Valte told reporters. Echoing allegations by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Morrissey said Mali had been unable to roam and socialise unlike her cousins in the wild.

©AFP/Jay Directo

Morrissey wants 37-year-old elephant Mali to be sent to a sanctuary.

“Her life consists of extreme loneliness, boredom and isolation in an area that is a fraction of the size of her natural habitat,” he said,

suggesting this could drive her to insanity. PETA, which Morrissey supports, wants Mali shipped to a US sanctuary

for old, sick or needy elephants that have been retired from zoos and circuses. It was not the first time Aquino’s intervention had been sought over conditions at the nearly 53-year-old zoo. Last year a college student’s blog about apparently mistreated zoo animals provoked an instant Internet global furore and forced Aquino to call on officials to look into their welfare. Manila Zoo chief veterinarian Donald Manalastas insisted Thursday that contrary to allegations Mali, donated by Sri Lanka in 1980 after its parents were poached, was well and fit. “We have expanded the enclosure of Mali and increased her food with more nutrients. We have proof and papers of what we feed her. We do not torture her,” Manalastas told AFP. ■ (©AFP – Manila, Philippines – May 10,


May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Celebrity, Showbiz & Entertainment



GMA Pinoy TV celebrates Pinoy pride in Florida and Chicago GMA Network – The temperature may be rising but Philippine television’s Kapuso Network cooked up a storm as its international channels GMA Pinoy TV and GMA Life TV brought Philippine’s King of R&B Jay-R together with Kapuso stunner Krista Kleiner all the way to the 17th Philfest 2012 in Tampa, Florida last March 2012. GMA Pinoy TV opened the first day of the biggest Pinoy gathering in Florida with a whopping 1,500 attendees as Jay-R serenaded the crowd with his well-loved R&B performance, while Krista wowed the audience with her beauty and signature J-Lo inspired dance moves. Jay-R is one of the mainstays of the grandest and hippest Sunday party in Philippine TV, “Party Pilipinas,” seen worldwide via GMA Pinoy TV while Krista is a beauty queen turned TV host-actress made popular by her exhilarating dance steps. Jay-R and Krista were well received by the Fil-Am Community and were a big hit during their meet and greet. The audience had nothing but rave reviews for both performers and that the show left most of them asking for more Kapuso stars for next year’s festival. “Krista is so beautiful and talented!” enthused one admirer. Another spectator said, “It’s my first time to see them perform and I am so impressed! I hope you come back again, soon!” Another audience member eagerly asked for other favorite Kapuso stars – “Please bring Aljur Abrenica and Marian Rivera next year!”

The three-day festival was organized by the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. or PCFI. Meanwhile, the party continued as GMA Pinoy TV and GMA Life TV invaded the windy city of Chicago via Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago at Crystal Gardens, Navy Pier in April 2012. The event was part of the Neighborhoods of the World Series of the Navy Pier, showcasing various nations around the world. Hosted by the Consul General of the Philippines in Chicago, Leo Herrera Lim, together with the Philippine American Cultural Foundation, the event became the next stop for Kapuso stars Jay-R and Krista. Filipinos definitely had a treat as they enjoyed an afternoon filled with everything Pinoy – from a display of Philippine arts and crafts, tourism and information materials, art workshops, performances of Filipino cultural dances in colorful costumes, as well as Filipino folk songs and OPM music by local talents. The event was highlighted by the performances of R&B swooner Jay-R and Krista’s dance performances. Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim has this to say about the event’s amazing success – “This year, the Filipinos conquered Chicago’s Navy Pier with an amazing show of talent from the local community and GMA Pinoy TV. Jay-R and Krista were truly awesome and inspiring; they showed pride in being Filipino and embraced their uniqueness. On that day, we were all proud to be part of this great community.” ■

PhilFest Tampa, Florida

JayR at Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago

JayR at Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago

JayR & Krista with Mr. & Mrs. Congen Leo Lim and Dylan Rice of Navy Pier at Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago

Krista at Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago

JayR at PhilFest Tampa, Florida

Krista & JayR with fans at Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago

JayR at PhilFest Tampa, Florida

Krista at PhilFest Tampa, Florida

Weekly TV experience becomes more fun with “PINOY ADVENTURES” GMA Network – Adventure is surely more fun in the Philippines. And GMA Pinoy TV’s newest offering, PINOY ADVENTURES, will show viewers just why beginning May 19. Hosted by Kapuso star and environmentalist Richard Gutierrez, PINOY ADVENTURES is a weekly public affairs program that is set to go around the country in search for undiscovered paradise, forgotten relics, cultural treasures, and the totally unpredictable adventure that goes along the way. PINOY ADVENTURES is definitely not an ordinary travel show. “PINOY ADVENTURES is all about exposing the Filipino viewers to fantastic, magical and astounding places in the country that they rarely see on television. With Richard Gutierrez as their tour guide, it would definitely be a one of a kind treat that they cannot miss,” adds GMA AVP for Public Affairs Neil Gumban. Expect Richard, who is widely regarded as the face of reality adventure programs in the country

today, to go down and dirty once more as he climbs the steep mountains, braves the deep seas, explores hidden caves, and unearths buried stories. Program Manager Patty Gutierrez shares “More than a pretty face, Richard has very deep insights on every experience he goes through. He has a very sincere appreciation of nature, the beauty of the Philippines and the different culture he encounters. Because of this, it is not difficult to achieve the goal of PINOY ADVENTURES – that is to take the viewers to places that only a few have seen and tell them stories that only a few have heard. And of course, he makes every adventure so much fun to do.” PINOY ADVENTURES is expected to be the latest addition in the list of successful collaborations between Richard and the Kapuso Network’s News and Public Affairs group. The list includes the award-winning documentaries Signos, Planet Philippines, Wildlife for Sale, and

Oras Na, and the last two seasons of the hit reality show Survivor Philippines. An adventure-filled TV viewing awaits Kapuso subscribers abroad beginning May 19 on GMA Pinoy TV. ■

Richard Gutierrez



Celebrity, Showbiz & Entertainment

May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition

Beastie Boy rapper MCA dies of cancer, aged 47 ADAM Yauch, the gravel-voiced cofounder of Grammy-winning hip-hop giants the Beastie Boys, died after a three-year battle with cancer, the band’s publicists said. The 47-year-old, better known by his stage name MCA and who also strongly supported Tibetan rights, died weeks after the pioneering white hip-hop act were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although he was too ill to attend. “It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam “MCA” Yauch... passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer,” said a statement released on Friday, May 4. The Beastie Boys sold over 40 million records and released four number one albums, including the first hip-hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, “Licensed to Ill.” They won three Grammys: two in 1998 – best rap performance and best alternative music performance – and one in 2007, best pop instrumental album, for “The Mix Up,” according to the Grammys website. The three-member band cancelled a tour in 2009 after Yauch announced he had been diagnosed with cancer in a salivary gland. They have not appeared live since the summer of that year, said Rolling Stone.

Adam Yauch (right) launched the band in 1979 with Mike “Mike D” Diamond (center) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz (left).

Tributes began pouring in even before his death was confirmed – on Twitter it became the top trending discussion topic, under the hashtag #RIPMCA. “Another very sad day in Hip Hop. #MCARIP,” said rapper Ice-T. adding: “I’m going Twitter silent today in honor of MCA. Rest In Peace homie.” MC Hammer simply said: “R.I.P. Adam Yauch Beastie Boys,” while British Culture Club star and DJ Boy George said: “Such sad news about Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. A fellow Buddhist and part of hip hop history!! R.I.P!” Born in Brooklyn, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known

©AFP/Getty Images/File/Bryan Bedder

©AFP/Getty Images/File/Andrew H. Walker

©AFP/Getty Images/File/Bryan Bedder

Adam Yauch was better known by his stage name MCA.

the world over as Beastie Boys. The rapper launched the band, initially a hard-core punk outfit, in 1979 with Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz, but they gradually moved towards hip hop, making it big with their 1986 album “Licensed to Ill.” Yauch was heavily involved in support for Tibet, and helped organize charity concerts for the cause in the 1990s. He recently became a vegan at the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors, TMZ reported. He was also a founding member of film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories. Yauch did not appear at a ceremony to induct the Beastie Boys into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in

Adam Yauch died weeks after the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

April, where Diamond and Horovitz read an acceptance speech on his behalf. “I’d like to dedicate this to my brothers Adam and Mike,” he wrote. “They walked the globe with me. It’s also for anyone who has ever been touched by our band. This induction is as much ours as it is yours,” it read. His cancer treatment delayed the release of the group’s most recent album, “Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2,” which was already tipped to do well and could debut at the top of the Billboard chart after Yauch’s death, CNN reported. Tributes came not only from the hip hop community. “Crushed to hear the news of Adam Yauch’s passing. A true

pioneer of art,” said actor-singer Justin Timberlake, while actor Ben Stiller called him “a truly great musician & filmmaker.” The International Campaign for Tibet, on whose board of directors Yauch sat from 1996-2006, paid tribute to him with a picture of the rapper meeting the Dalai Lama in 1995. “His passion for Tibet came from his devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Buddhadharma, and from accepting that celebrity could and should be used for a greater good,” it said. Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch. ■ (©AFP – Los Angeles, USA – May 5, 2012)

Celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon dies at 84 Michael Thurston, AFP PIONEERING British celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon died aged 84 after a “long and courageous” battle with leukemia, his family said. The man credited with creating the modern bob haircut and relieving women from the rigors of oldfashioned perms was surrounded by his loved ones when he passed away at his home in Bel Air, California. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Vidal Sassoon CBE, who died this morning at his home in Los Angeles,” said a family statement, adding that he “sadly lost his battle with leukemia today.” Mark Hayes, Sassoon International Creative Director, said Sassoon “passed away... after a long and courageous battle with leukemia. Our industry has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. The world rarely encounters someone who had the profound impact that Vidal has had,” he added. Referred to by some as the

“founder of hairdressing,” Sassoon, who grew up in England, is said to have pioneered the bob haircut and, after opening his first salon in London, launched a network of outlets around the world. The flamboyant hairstylist, who launched a successful hair-care product range with the slogan “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good,” had lived in the United States since the 1980s. He was famed for so-called “wash and wear” cuts, easy to maintain, as opposed to the rigid hairstyles of earlier eras. “When I first came into hair, women were coming in and you’d place a hat on their hair and you’d dress their hair around it,” he told the LA Times in a 1999 interview. “We learned to put discipline in the haircuts by using actual geometry, actual architectural shapes and bone structure. The cut had to be perfect and layered beautifully, so that when a woman shook it, it just fell back in.” Nicky Clarke, a British celebrity hairdresser from a younger

generation, also paid tribute to Sassoon, calling him “truly one of the greatest icons of hairdressing.” “Certainly he was part of the original Cool Britannia, he is synonymous with that time. He would be one of the top five Swinging Sixties icons along with the Beatles, Carnaby Street, Mary Quant and the Union Jack,” he said. Born to Jewish parents in London, Sassoon spent seven years in a Jewish orphanage after his father, Jack Sassoon, abandoned his family for another woman, according to the IMDb movie industry website. He was evacuated to the English countryside during World War II, and fought for Israel in the Arab-Israeli War in 1948. He later founded the Vidal Sassoon International Study for Anti-Semitism. Sassoon opened his first salon in 1954 in London, and his career took off in the swinging 60s, when his clients included Mia Farrow for “Rosemary’s Baby” in 1968 and Glenda Jackson for her Oscarwinning role in 1969’s “Women in Love.”

©AFP/Getty Images/File/David Livingston

Vidal Sassoon “sadly lost his battle with leukemia today”, a family statement released on Wednesday, May 9 said.

A 2010 documentary “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie” explored his life from London’s impoverished East End via an orphanage to his fame and fortune as hairdresser to the stars. Sassoon, who married four times, was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honors List for his services to British hairdressing and charity.

He was a life-long fan of Chelsea Football Club. Sassoon is survived by his wife of 20 years Rhonda and three children from a previous marriage. In lieu of flowers his family has requested that memorial donations be sent to American Friends of The Hebrew University in support of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism. ■ (©AFP – Los Angeles, USA – May 10, 2012)





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May 2012 – No. 9 / Fortnightly • UK & Europe Edition




UNDEFEATED Floyd Mayweather won the World Boxing Association super welterweight title with a unanimous points decision over Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The American, who stepped up in weight to fight Cotto, on Saturday, May 5 used his superior hand speed and solid defence to take the fight on all three judges’ scorecards after 12 rounds, in what will go down as one of his toughest fights. “You got to suck it up and fight hard,” Mayweather said. “Miguel Cotto was a tough competitor. I had to execute the game plan and fight my heart out.” Cotto, of Puerto Rico, made Mayweather work for the victory as he clearly won some of the middle rounds and showed a willingness to engage Mayweather in the centre of the ring and on the ropes. But Mayweather rallied late on and took the title with scores of 117-111 on two judges’ cards and 118-110 on the third, extending his unbeaten run to 43-0 with 26 knockouts. “Miguel Cotto is a future hall of famer,” Mayweather said. “He is no push over.” The fighters exchanged vicious punches in the 12th round with Mayweather landing the better of the shots. He appeared to wobble Cotto twice but couldn’t knock him down. Mayweather, 35, said he hasn’t given up on trying to work out a deal on a mega fight with Filipino star Manny Pacquiao. Their previous talks have been scuttled by a number of issues, including the sharing of payper view revenue and drug testing. “The fight I was looking to fight was against Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said. “I don’t think the fight would happen because of (Pacquiao’s promoter) Bob Arum. “Let’s give the fans what they want to see.” It marked the 20th career title fight for Mayweather and the first time he has fought at 154 pounds since beating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.

Mayweather was coming off a controversial win over Victor Ortiz to take the World Boxing Council welterweight title in September. Saturday’s fight was a spirited affair with plenty of combinations by both fighters and a quick pace because there was very little clutching and grabbing. Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) took some head and body shots from Mayweather early in the fight before putting together solid back-to-back rounds in the middle of the bout. He bloodied Mayweather’s nose with a hard shot in the early rounds and it continued to bleed throughout the fight but didn’t pose a major problem for the challenger. One of the best rounds of the fight was the 12th, where the fighters met in the centre of the ring as the MGM crowd stood and cheered. Mayweather got the nod from all three judges, landing a total of 128 punches to 76 for Cotto. The fight comes just weeks before Mayweather is scheduled to report to jail on misdemeanor domestic violence and harassment charges. Asked about going to jail, Mayweather said he was ready to face the American prison system. “You are faced with certain obstacles in life,” he said. “You take the good with the good and the bad with the bad. When June 1 comes around I am going to accept it like a true man.” ■ (©AFP – Las Vegas – USA – May

©AFP/John Gurzinski

Mayweather dominated late, rocking Cotto in the 12th round to pull out a win and remain unbeaten in 43 fights.

6, 2012)

©AFP/Frederic J. Brown

This week the 31-year-old Miguel Cotto (right), a three-division champion, promised to end Floyd Mayweather’s unbeaten run.

©AFP/Getty Images, Al Bello

Mayweather used his superior hand speed and solid defence to win the fight against Cotto.

©AFP/Getty Images, Ethan Miller

Miguel Cotto (center right) easily retained his WBA super welterweight title last December. ©AFP/Getty Images, Al Bello

Miguel Cotto (left) made Floyd Mayweather (right) work hard for the victory.

©AFP/John Gurzinski

Miguel Cotto (right) grazes Floyd Mayweather during their WBA super welterweight title fight.

May 2012 Fortnightly issue  
May 2012 Fortnightly issue  

Filipino news, sports and entertainment