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Miss World Megan Young hits the Big Apple Story on page 28

Connecting Global News & Views For The Community

UK & Europe Edition

November 2013

Volume 4 - Number 21

Celeb Scoop



MANILA, Philippines – Is the Department of Budget and Management, headed by a Liberal Party stalwart, being used as proxy in the rivalry between LP chieftain Mar Roxas, the Interior and Local Government secretary, and his political rival Vice President Jejomar Binay? The question was raised after the National Housing Authority (NHA), one of the agencies under the shelter cluster that Binay was assigned by President Aquino to oversee, got a zero budget for emergency housing and resettlement capabilities from the DBM in 2014. At a budget hearing at the Senate, it was learned that the DBM had deleted from the NHA budget the amount of ₱1 billion for the emergency assistance program even though this is a regular resettlement and calamity funds in the agency’s budget. “The NHA has a mandate to provide housing, but if there is no fund to cover emergency assistance to repair damaged houses and resettlement, how would the agency respond to those Continue to page 6


BSP keeps interest rates on hold, hikes 2014 inflation forecast

MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is keeping its policy rates at current levels amid benign inflation, but has increased its inflation forecast for next year. At today’s meeting, the policy-making Monetary Board of the BSP decided to maintain the overnight borrowing and lending rates at record lows of 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. “Latest baseline forecasts indicate that the future inflation path remains in line with the target range,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. told reporters after the meeting. “Inflation expectations also continues to be firmly anchored,” he said. Inflation averaged 2.8 percent in the first eight months of the year, or below the lower end of the BSP’s full-year target range of 3-5 percent. “While global economic conditions remain challenging, prospects for domestic activity remain robust, supported by buoyant demand and favorable consumer and business sentiment,” Tetangco said. The Philippine economy grew 7.5 percent in the first half of this year, making it one of Asia’s fastest. This was higher than the government’s full-year target range of 6-7 percent. The US central bank recently hinted that it would keep its economic stimulus— an $85-billion monthly bond-purchase program—after a legislative deadlock led to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

The US Senate and House of Representatives have since approved a temporary budget and extended the federal government’s borrowing authority, thus averting what could have been a debt default by the world’s biggest economy. Sept inflation “higher than expected”. Alongside keeping its policy rates, the BSP today hiked its inflation forecast for next year while reducing that for 2015. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said the Board increased the 2014 forecast to four percent from the earlier estimate of 3.9 percent. “The September actually was higher than expected and will have an impact on succeeding months, while 2013 will be broadly unchanged. Slight increase from 3.9 to 4 percent” for 2014, he said. Consumer price increases averaged 2.7 percent last month, or at the higher end of the BSP’s forecast range of 1.9-2.8 percent for September. “But since the reasons behind the higher September [inflation], which was due to foods prices and electricity, it will not be permanent. We will not see this to continue in 2015,” Guinigundo said. In this regard, the Board reduced its forecast for 2015 to 3.4 percent from the earlier estimate of 3.5 percent. Guinigundo said the BSP has sufficient monetary space should anything happen both in the global and domestic financial markets. ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / / October 24, 2013 / Updated 6:43 PM


November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Brothers of Enrile’s ex-chief of staff sued for tax evasion MANILA - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) today sued for tax evasion two brothers of the former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. In a statement, the BIR said it filed before the Department of Justice (DOF) a criminal complaint against MGNP Inc., its president Neal Jose O. Gonzales and its treasurer Patrick Jean O. Gonzales for failing to remit to the government an estimated ₱190.14 million in income tax and value-added tax (VAT) payments for 2009, 2011 and 2012. BIR chief Kim Jacinto-Henares told that the two officers of MGNP are brothers of Enrile’s former chief of staff, lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Gonzales-Reyes, who has been dragged into the pork barrel scam. MGNP is engaged in the business of acquiring and selling properties and holds office at Unit 204 AIC Gold Tower Condominium, Don Francisco Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Based on the BIR’s investigation, MGNP acquired from Premier Global Links Enterprises Inc. the Paseo de Magallanes property for ₱43.2 million on September 22, 2009. MGNP however failed to declare

that amount in its income tax return (ITR) for the year. In another instance, MGNP also bought land from C.J. Yulo and Sons Inc for ₱150 million on February 2, 2011. While the acquisition was reflected in MGNP’s audited financial statements for 2011, the company however failed to file its ITR and VAT returns for that year, thus failing to declare the amount used to buy the property. MGNP on June 13, 2012 sold the Paseo

de Magallanes property for ₱81.72 million to Polyfoam RCG International, allowing the former to gain a ₱38.52 million profit, which the company again failed to declare as income when it didn’t file the ITR and VAT returns for that year. According to the BIR, the company’s failure to declare the above earnings deprived the government of ₱190.14 million in taxes, including surcharges and interest.

■ / October 24, 2013 / 1:12 PM

Senator Enrile’s former chief of staff Gigi Gonzales-Reyes, as seen on her Facebook profile

BSP to keep key interest rates steady, ING says MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will likely keep its key interest rates steady during today’s Monetary Board meeting given benign inflation and a robust economy, ING Bank said yesterday. However, there is increasing concern about high domestic liquidity or M3 growth that could drive inflation higher over the next six to 12 months. “At the moment there is no compelling reason to adjust policy settings with benign inflation, relatively robust growth, very comfortable external payments position and surpluses in the current account and balance of payments (BOP),” Joey Cuyegkeng, ING Bank senior economist said in an e-mail message. Last September 12, the Monetary Board decided to retain overnight borrowing and lending rates at record lows of 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. The special deposit account (SDA) rates likewise were

left untouched at a uniform two percent. The Board decision to keep rates was borne out of two external factors: easing tension in Syria and the US Federal Reserve’s plan to wind down its economic stimulus. The Fed has since signaled it would keep its stimulus -- $85-billion in monthly bond purchases -- after a partial US government shutdown that ended last week. “The impact of high M3 growth over a six- to 12-month period coupled with strong economic growth may eventually have some effect on inflation expectation,” Cuyegkeng said. Average inflation this year may hit below the government’s target due to manageable oil price increases, a lower than expected wage increase, and delayed implementation of an MRT fare hike, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said. The BSP is aiming for inflation of between 3-5 percent for this year and in 2014, and

between 2-4 percent for 2015. Inflation in the first nine months of this year averaged 2.8 percent, or below the lower end of the full-year target. This was despite the double-digit expansion in the domestic liquidity— something the BSP attributed the pullout of funds from its SDA after the Monetary Board ordered banks to trim their deposits to no more than 30 percent. BSP officials expect more liquidity to flood the domestic market come endNovember when banks are required to pullout whatever money they’ve parked in the SDA. “For now offsetting such potential impact of high liquidity growth is a slower than expected global growth environment that keeps commodity prices at relatively subdued levels,” Cuyegkeng said. ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / / October 24, 2013 7:06 AM

BSP grants relief to banks in ‘Santi’-hit areas MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is cutting typhoon-hit banks in Regions I to IV some slack so they can help customers recover from the calamity. In a statement, the BSP said lenders in the following areas that incurred damage because of Typhoon Santi can qualify for regulatory relief measures: • Region I: Pangasinan • Region II: Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino • Region III: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales • Region IV-A: Laguna and Rizal The relief measures include allowing banks to provide financial assistance to their officers and employees, including aid that is not part of the existing BSP-approved Fringe Benefit Program;

For thrift, rural and cooperative banks, the BSP also approved the following relief measures: • Excluding existing loans from the computation of past due ratios provided these are restructured or given relief; • Reducing the five percent general loan loss provision to one percent for restructured loans; • Non-imposition of penalties on legal reserves deficiencies with head office and/or branches in the affected areas; • Moratorium on monthly payments due to BSP for banks with ongoing rehabilitation programs; • Booking of allowance for probable losses on a staggered basis over a maximum of five years for all types of credit extended to individuals and businesses affected by the calamity,

subject to BSP approval; and • Non-imposition of monetary penalties for delays in the submission of supervisory reports. For all rediscounting banks: • Granting of a 60-day grace period to settle the outstanding rediscounting obligations with BSP as of October 13, 2013; and • Allowing banks to restructure with the BSP, on a case-to-case basis, the outstanding rediscounted loans of borrowers affected by the calamity. These measures, which are similar to those granted in past calamities, will be in effect for a defined period and covered by additional specific and other prudential conditions. ■

Maricel E. Burgonio / / October 23, 2013 / 9:47 AM



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Metro Pacific seals acquisition of Central Luzon hospital, plans new wing

Architect’s perspective of new wing of Central Luzon Doctors’ Hospital. Photo by Ben De Vera

TARLAC, Philippines - Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) will spend ₱60 million to put up a new wing in the newly acquired Central Luzon Doctors’ Hospital (CLDH), which is the biggest medical facility in President Benigno Aquino III’s home-province. CLDH president and chief executive Ferdinand Francis Ma. D.L. Cid told InterAksyon. com that a third of the ₱189 million that MPIC allocated to purchase a 51-percent stake in the hospital will be used to convert a gym into a four-storey, 500-600 square meter wing adjacent to the existing 202-bed facility in Barangay San Vicente. In a subsequent disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, MPIC said the new fourstorey facility “will house the most advanced diagnostic imaging center in the province with initially a 64-slice CT scan and digital x-ray

machines, and eventually a 1.5 Tesla MRI and a digital mammography machine.” Design work will start this month, while construction is slated to begin by April next year, Cid said, adding that the extension is scheduled for completion by April or May 2015. The company initially will build four storeys, but may add two more “in the future,” he said. The ground floor will house diagnostics facilities, while the second floor will have a delivery room, operating room, and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The ICU will be on the third floor, while at least 20 “deluxe” patient rooms that would be comparable to those in Manila would be on the fourth floor, Cid said. MPIC today turned over to CLDH the initial ₱97 million payment for the former’s

investment, with the remaining amount to be spread in the next seven years. Cid said CLDH’s minority stake is mostly held by the family of founder Dr. Constante D. Quirino Sr. and other doctors. Besides CLDH, MPIC also controls Makati Medical Center, Davao Doctors Hospital, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Asian Hospital and Medical Center, and De Los Santos Medical Center Inc. The hospital group now has a capacity of 2,137 beds. Aside from healthcare, MPIC is engaged in the business of power, toll roads and water utility. is the online news portal of TV5, which like MPIC is chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan. ■ Ben Arnold O. De Vera / / October 24, 2013 / 2:28 PM

Richest Filipinos get BSP clearance to expand their banking empires MANILA - Some of the Philippines’ richest men have won Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) approval to expand their banks in and out of the country. In a circular, the BSP said it approved the expansion plans of six universal and commercial banks, namely BDO Unibank, China Banking Corp, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co, Philippine Bank of Communications, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp and Robinsons Bank Corp. The country’s richest man, Henry Sy, controls BDO and China Bank, while the fifth wealthiest, John Gokongwei, owns Robinsons Bank. The ninth richest, George Ty, owns Metrobank, while the 27th wealthiest, former finance undersecretary Eric Ongpin-Recto, who’s a nephew of former trade minister Roberto V. Ongpin, controls PBCom. Former ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, ranked 21st in Forbes magazine’s list of wealthiest Filipinos, owns RCBC. The Philippines’ biggest lender, BDO, won BSP approval to set up 16 more branches in the country and a representative office in

Seoul, Korea, while sister-firm China Bank will put up one branch in Cebu. The country’s second-biggest lender, Metrobank can establish nine more branches in the country, while Robinsons Bank plans to put up 20. PBCom can now set up 10 more branches, while RCBC, three extension offices. At end-July, the branch network of the country’s biggest banks numbered 8,287. “It’s continued evidence of the strength

The wealthiest Filipino, Henry Sy, owns BDO and China Bank

and vitality of the banking system. This will also further financial inclusion,” BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenila Jr. said. Besides the country’s biggest banks, the BSP also approved the expansion of certain thrifts banks, some of which are subsidiaries of the above-mentioned universal or commercial lenders. Thrift banks focus on the consumer market, unlike their bigger peers, which serve a wide range of clientele and offer more services. China Bank Savings bagged BSP clearance to put up 19 branches, while Philippine Savings Bank, which is the thrift arm of Metrobank, can establish one outlet in Tagaytay. RCBC Savings secured regulatory approval to set up one more branch and three extension offices, while Security Bank Savings, which is the thrift arm of another universal lender, will put up five branches. Lastly, Sun Savings Bank has received the go signal to establish a branch in Mandaue City. At end-July, the thrift industry had 760 branches. ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / / Updated October 24, 2013 / 3:36 PM

Telecom industry opposes registration of prepaid cards

MANILA - The Philippine telecom industry is bucking legislation requiring the registration of prepaid SIM cards. “We respectfully express our opposition to the enactment of the subject bills because of the bills’ purpose will be at naught and simply cannot be attained via the means proposed and because of other cogent and valid reasons interposed by us during past congressional deliberations on similar bills,” Rodolfo A. Salalima, president of the Philippine Chambers of Telecommunications Operators Inc. (PCTO), said in its position paper. PCTO groups the country’s telecom companies, such as the PLDT group, Globe Telecom, Eastern Telecommunications, Bayan Telecommunications, Express Telecommunications, Philippine Global Communications, Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Co, Telecommunications Technologies Philippines, and the Philippine Association of Private Telephone Companies. “The industry respectfully views the House Bill as negative factor which despite their intent, will stifle and in effect contravene any and every individual’s human right to telecommunication in this Internet era,

even as these bills, if enacted into law, will run counter to the government’s present and prevailing ‘universal service’ policy and related government legal issues,” the position paper read. PCTO is referring to the House Bills 525, 858, 1519, 2444, 2588 and 2624 filed in Congress and mandating the registration of all prepaid subscriber identification module cards. The legislation is aimed at addressing the rising number of incidence of phone theft, text scams, spamming and other criminal activities. Unlike postpaid SIM cards, prepaid cards can be bought without identification for as low as ₱10 to ₱30. At present, the total number of mobile phone subscribers stood at more than 100 million, of which 97 percent are on prepaid. PCTO also cited the United Nations’ Declarion on Human Rights, which uphold the right to telecommunications as “a basic right which is to our mind takes precedence even over a constitutional right.” Below are the other reasons the PCTO is opposing the legislation: • An unpractical and ineffective solution because the Philippines does not have

a reliable ID system, such that even passports can be faked. • An administrative nightmare and much ado about nothing because of the massive expense required in implementing the proposed law. • No deterrent to criminals as no hardened criminal will commit a crime by planting his own evidence against himself. • The enactment into law of the subject bills will bring undue economic hardships, among others to the constituents of all the members of the House of the Representatives. • The penalties are very oppressive and harsh. is the online news portal of TV5, a member of the PLDT group. ■ Darwin G. Amojelar / / October 22,

2013 / 5:27 PM

This chart shows the wealthiest don’t pay the most in income taxes

MANILA - If you have tons of money, then it stands to reason that you pay the most in taxes, right? Well, not necessarily so in the Philippines. According to the Department of Finance (DOF), size of wealth doesn’t correspond to magnitude of taxes paid. In an infographic titled “Are the Philippines’ richest also top income taxpayers?,” the DOF shows that the country’s wealthiest, Henry Sy and family, paid less income tax than 19th placer Vivian Que Azcona, who last year was the most generous individual contributor to government coffers. In coming up with its findings, the DOF compared Forbes magazine’s latest ranking of the richest Filipinos and the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) list oftop individual taxpayers for 2012. The Forbes ranking is based on an individual or family’s net worth, which is the value of their accumulated assets less their liabilities. In contrast, the BIR list pertains only to taxes paid on regular income earned for a given year, which necessarily is smaller since it doesn’t take into account accumulated wealth. Members of the Sy family, who built the country’s largest chain of shopping malls (SM) and the biggest bank (BDO), paid P93.8 million in income taxes. This is 0.01 percent of the family’s

estimated net worth of $12 billion (roughly ₱516 billion, using today’s exchange rate of ₱43:$1), which made the Sys the Philippines’ richest, according to Forbes. Among the family members on the BIR list are patriarch Henry Sr., wife Felicidad, sons Henry Jr., Hans, Harley and Herbert, and daughters Teresa and Elizabeth. Azcona, whose family owns retailer Mercury Drug, paid ₱131.4 million in income taxes, making her the country’s top individual taxpayer in 2012. Azcona’s tax payments were 0.36 percent of her family’s estimated net worth of $840 million (about ₱36.1 billion), which landed them on the 19th spot of Forbes’ list. According to the DOF, 15 of the 40 Filipinos on the Forbes ranking were not on last year’s list of top individual taxpayers. To see how the other super-rich Filipinos contributed to the National Treasury (or failed to do so), check out the DOF infographic reproduced above. ■ Arnold Tenorio / InterAksyon. com / October 23, 2013 / 5:38 PM

Income tax return filing at BIR


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November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

HEAT IS ON: DBM CUTS BINAY’S EMERGENCY HOUSING... affected by calamities? How can we be disaster-ready?” Senator Nancy Binay, the vice president’s daughter, asked budget officials at the hearing. Bawas NHA, dagdag DILG. While cancelling the NHA budget, the DBM, it was learned, had allocated to Roxas’s DILG the amount of ₱1.244 billion, higher than the amount sought by NHA, for the Housing Program for Informal Settler Families Residing in Dangers Areas within Metro Manila in 2014. The amount shall be used exclusively to build micro-medium rise buildings (₱700-M) and Interim Shelter Fund for 40,000 target families (₱544.6-M). The DBM secretary, Florencio Abad, is one of the three most influential LP leaders in government—the other two being Senate President Franklin Drilon and Secretary Roxas. Also under the DILG’s budget menu, Roxas is mandated to submit to the DBM the People’s Plan and the listing and details of projects indicating therein, among others, the location of sites and names of prospective beneficiaries approved by him in coordination with the President Commission for the Urban Poor, the National Anti-Poverty Commission and civil society organization, but not to NHA. The NHA was created under Presidential

Decree No. 757 in 1975, as the sole national agency mandated to engage in housing production for low-income families. Its mandate was affirmed by Executive Order No. 90, which identified the housing agencies to implement the National Shelter Program and was placed under the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council (HUDCC) headed by the vice president. “I am alarmed over the back-to-back “zero” budget items given by the DBM to NHA in the proposed 2014 national budget which essentially crippled the latter’s emergency housing and resettlement capabilities,” Senator Binay said. Ability to provide immediate assistance curtailed. In light of the string of man-made and natural disasters that often hit the country, she doubts if the government will still be able to provide immediate assistance now that the DBM has deleted allocations for the regular resettlement and calamity funds in the NHA’s annual budget. “In the budget hearing in the Senate, NHA general manager Cruz said that from ₱621 million earmarked in 2013, the agency requested ₱1 billion for the emergency assistance program for the 2014 national budget, but the DBM instead gave NHA a ‘zero’ budget for the Calamity Fund,” Binay said

Continuation from page 1 In the same vein, DBM scrapped the item for Regular Resettlement and gave NHA a “zero” budget for 2014. In the 2013 budget, the amount allotted for Regular Resettlement Fund is ₱4.89 billion. Binay said both the Regular Resettlement Fund and the Calamity Fund are intended for emergency housing assistance for calamity victims, such as those affected by natural and man-made disasters like the Zamboanga City siege. Under the emergency program, the NHA extends ₱5,000 worth of housing materials to residents in calamity areas whose houses were partially damaged. The agency, meanwhile, provides resettlement to those whose houses were totally destroyed. “There are other national government agencies that have no competency in housing matters but were given a budget allocation.” Yet the DBM “did not give an allocation to the very agency tasked to implement the Shelter Program,” Binay said. The NHA submitted to DBM a budget proposal of ₱24 billion for 2014 but only ₱10.9 billion was granted overall, covering the housing program for informal settlers in Metro Manila and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel. ■ Ernie Reyes / / October 24, 2013 / 5:38 PM

International Organization for Migration chief of mission Marco Boasso during presentation of new report in Manila last week

K-Pop craze shows Philippines part of new North-South migration trend MANILA – Ever wonder why we have a K-Pop craze in the Philippines? Well, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), South Korean migration to the Philippines has risen by almost 430 percent over the past 10 years. From less than one out of every 10 foreign arrivals in the Philippines in 2000, the number of Koreans has risen to almost one out of every four foreign arrivals in 2011. In fact, Koreans comprise the biggest foreign group in the Philippines, ahead of Americans, Japanese and Chinese. Moreover, Korean visitors increasingly are long-staying migrants, with 115,000 considered permanent residents in the Philippines. These include students, businessmen and missionaries. Korean students comprise the biggest sub-group, with many of them coming to study English. They comprise the largest group of the Philippines’ total 61,601 foreign students in 2011. “The Philippines is thus part of a new

migration trend—over seven million migrants have been recorded moving from the North to the South—including nationals from the US moving to Mexico and to South Africa, but also Germans to Turkey and Portuguese to Brazil,” the IOM report said. “As this appears to be an emerging migration trend, it points to a need for a rethink of conventional wisdom concerning migration and development, as more people move from developed to less developed countries,” the report said. Despite this North-to-South migration, the Philippines remains a bulwark of the “old” pattern of South-to-North migration, with 1,850,067 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) comprising the Philippines-US migration corridor, the IOM said. This diaspora, which is responsible for the $10 billion in remittances going to the Philippines, landed the country among the top five participating in the South-to-North migration pathway. ■ / October 23, 2013 / 12:44 PM





November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Western Union improves employability of Filipinos Smart Pinoy UK’s got voice and talent Over 150 disadvantaged Filipinos equipped with job and life skills, thanks to AWECA Foundation School Caravan Project OVER 150 out-of-school youths and disadvantaged women acquired new job and life skills to increase their employability and confidence through the expansion of the School Caravan project – a community-based trade school operated by AWECA Foundation, Incorporated (AFI), and funded by The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) last year. The expanded project, rolled out in a span of one (1) year, offered hairdressing, beauty care and small engine repair trainings to Filipinos in Pampanga under the guidance of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Participants also underwent life skills training to improve social and personal skills as well as to instill work attitude and ethics. Beneficiaries included abused women, children in conflict with the law (CICL) and typhoon victims. All participants were given the opportunity to extend their acquired skills to others in need through community service with their peers and neighborhood. Some parents also took responsible parenting sessions learning to establish and sustain a good relationship with their children, and were reminded of the Filipino family values and traits. This was made possible by a USD20,000 grant from Western Union in 2012, as part of a USD100,000 grant over a five-year period for the Philippines to commemorate Western Union’s 500,000th Agent location opening. The Philippine Embassy in the U.S. was given the choice to direct the funds to non-profit organizations with the purpose of empowering individuals for economic advancement.

The pledge was a part of the USD500,000 commitment to fund economic and entrepreneurship programs in the Philippines, China, India, Mexico and New York City over a fiveyear period. “School Caravan aims at addressing outof-school youth and disadvantaged women problems in the Philippines, starting in the Province of Pampanga. Participants were offered a series of training sessions to acquire positive work and life values; sense of self-worth and career direction; communication and decision making skills and most importantly, sense of social obligation,” said Rollyn Palo, Executive Director, AFI. “Through increasing their economic mobility, we hope they are soon able to obtain stable employment locally and abroad and even create their own small enterprises to sustain their family’s basic-life needs, particularly for the education of children or siblings.” “For years, Filipinos all over the world have been displaying heroic acts to ensure better lives for their families. Western Union has been witnessing for over two decades the sacrifices and rewards that Filipinos have made during their journey away from home. Economic empowerment is an opportunity we can provide that befits Filipinos,” said Patricia Riingen, senior vice president for East & South Asia, Western Union. The latest Labor Force Survey by the National Statistics Office in July 2013 reveals that the unemployment rate in the Philippines rose from 7.0 percent in July 2012 to 7.3 percent this year. The majority of the unemployed were from the youth segment, particularly high school (32.8

percent) and college (35.3 percent) graduates or undergraduates. Over six million Filipino youths aged 6 to 24 years old are out of school because of the lack of personal interest and the high cost of education, according to the National Statistics Office’s 2010 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey . The School Caravan project was first supported by The Western Union Foundation in 2011, through which more than 500 out-of-school youth and unemployed individuals enhanced their occupational mobility through mobile technical training in different localities of Pampanga. About Western Union. The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of June 30, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 520,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and approximately 115,000 ATMs. In 2012, The Western Union Company completed 231 million consumer-toconsumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 million business payments. For more information, visit ■

SMART Pinoy UK has a new face to make the Filipinos in the UK more proud of their heritage and talent. Introducing Arisxandra Libantino, a finalist of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) and Joseph Apostol, Semi-finalist in The Voice UK Season 2 who will now represent the Smart Pinoy UK brand. Both of them were born in the Philippines and are now in the UK to live their dreams while making the country proud. 11-year old Arisxandra, who migrated with her parents to the UK at the young age of six (6), admitted that being in the British Got Talent show was “a life-changing experience”. From the normal schoolgirl that she used to be, she was now surrounded by schoolmates who would ask for her autograph. People in the neighbourhood and even in shopping malls recognize her as the BGT singing sensation and would likewise ask for her autograph. Her parents, Aristotle and Elma Libantino of Nueva Ecija honed her singing talent by teaching her proper breathing, timing, and vocal tuning. Joseph Apostol on the other hand moved to the UK with his mother when he was just 10 years old. His humble beginning took off as part of the choir in their local church. He studied music at Mid Kent College, where he further enhanced his singing talent and that undoubtedly propelled him towards stardom. Joining The Voice and being part of Team Tom Jones was a dream come true for Joseph as he was a big fan of Jazz and Soul music including R&B, where Tom Jones is known for. As he has stormed through the show, his popularity with the






public grew a number of Medway locals and London fans taking time to stop and talk to the young man. SMART Pinoy is a local UK pay as you go SIM card that features local and international call and text services within UK, to the Philippines and the Rest of the world with affordable Data bundles. Now equipped with Smart Pinoy, Arisxandra and Joseph can easily share their voice and talent within UK and to their relatives in the Philippines. Joseph and Arisxandra are very excited to be part of Smart Pinoy as they will be endorsing a product that is rooted with their Filipino roots. They are expected to perform for their ‘kababayans’ in UK very soon with upcoming “Pamaskong Handog mula sa SMART Pinoy” this December. Now that’s a voice and talent to look forward to. ■

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10/29/13 4:39 PM



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Malampaya scam: How Ondoy, Pepeng led to a third tragedy GUAGUA, Pampanga – After watching television and listening to the radio about the alleged Malampaya fund scam, 51-year-old Marlon Garcia understood one thing loud and clear: he and his fellow farmers were victimized by three disasters—two natural, the third, manmade. “Meron palang pera na p’wede sanang sa amin napunta. Inanod na ng bagyo at baha ang kita namin sa bukid, tapos, ‘yong tulong para sa aming magsasaka, kinuha pa rin ng iba,” says Garcia, of this town’s Barangay Natividad. [There was supposed to be money that could have been given to us. The storm and the flood took away our income from the farm, then the assistance for us farmers was also taken away by others.] Garcia, chairman of Natividad’s Barangay Agrarian Reform Council, is referring to the P900million fund that was supposed to alleviate the plight of agrarian reform beneficiaries in Central Luzon after Storm “Ondoy” and the subsequent Typhoon “Pepeng” in 2009. The fund was sourced by the then Arroyo administration from the government’s multibillion-peso earnings from the Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power project off Palawan province, believed to be the Philippines’ biggest energy source. Fund gone, farmers get buried in debt. The money, however, did not reach the beneficiaries, Garcia included. A whistleblower in the alleged Malampaya fund scam later revealed that Garcia’s farming town of Guagua--located in Pampanga’s second district which former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo represents in Congress-was among the 97 towns and cities that were used as fronts to allegedly enable government officials and businesswoman Janet LimNapoles to plunder the ₱900-million fund. The whistleblower’s claim would be confirmed by Guagua Mayor Ricardo S. Rivera. In his September 17, 2013 affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice, Rivera stated that his letter asking the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for a ₱7.5-million assistance to Guagua farmers was fake. Through the 12 shell foundations that she purportedly set up, Napoles allegedly defrauded agrarian reform beneficiaries in collusion with the former chief executive, her Cabinet members, and their conduits. Garcia’s memories of the devastation wrought by Ondoy and Pepeng remain fresh in his mind. “September 26, 2009, nasa bukid ako noon, mga alas-otso ng umaga, biglang bumuhos ang tubig. Tumakbo ako sa bahay. Kinabahan ako kasi malapit sa creek ang likuran ng bahay namin. ‘Yong mga baboy namin sa likod nalubog sa baha,” says Garcia.

[September 26, 2009, I was at the farm then, around 8 a.m., when water suddenly flowed. I ran home. I got nervous because the back of our house was near a creek. The pigs in our backyard got submerged in flood.] Rain continued to pour for six hours—equal to a month’s worth of rainfall--and it eventually submerged the 9,000-square-meter farmland that Garcia had been tilling for two decades as a farmer-tenant. When Garcia checked the field, his crops— palay, eggplant, tomatoes, and sponge gourd— all nearly ripe for the picking were destroyed. With his produce wiped out, Garcia had no other choice but to borrow money from a loan shark in their village. “Higit trenta porsyento ang tubo. Kung humiram ka ng ₱30,000, balik ₱40,000.” [The interest was more than 30 percent. If you borrow ₱30,000 then you have to pay ₱40,000.] Nevertheless, Garcia was luckier than his fellow tillers in the village especially those who only planted palay. “Sila ang mas kawawa. Maliit ang kita sa bigas. Mahal ang puhunan pero mura lang benta. Kulang pa ang kita sa palay sa pambayad ng utang kaya sila ang nalubog sa utang pagkatapos ng Ondoy,” says Garcia. [They were more pitiful. Income from rice is small. Capital is big but earnings are little. Income from palay is not enough to repay loans so they were the ones who got buried in debt after Ondoy.] The Arroyo administration and Napoles’ alleged plunder of the Malampaya fund would only be revealed three-and-half years later after the NBI’s rescue of Luy. Luy, the main whistleblower in the alleged pork barrel and Malampaya scams, was allegedly detained by Napoles and brother Reynald Lim from December 19, 2012 to March 22, 2013 after Napoles suspected him of setting up a rival group to compete with her in her dealings in the government. Before Ondoy and Pepeng, Napoles already told staff about DAR project. Luy and two more former JLN Corp. employees-turnedwhistleblowers Merlina Suñas and and Marina Sula claim that as early as July 2009, even before Ondoy and Pepeng, Napoles already told them that she had a project with the DAR and that they needed to prepare supporting documents for it. Napoles allegedly mentioned to her employees that their project with the DAR was worth ₱900 million but the employees at the time were unaware that the money would come from the Malampaya funds. Suñas said that it was only in 2010 when Napoles employees found out that the P900 million came from Malampaya. She said they were only able to know the

Farmer Marlon Garcia of Guagua, Pampanga, who lost all his crops in 2009 due to Storm Ondoy, could have been among the beneficiaries of the ₱900-million Malampaya fund that allegedly went into the pockets of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. Photo by Bernard Testa /

source of funds through the Commission on Audit (COA). In 2010, the COA sent notices to the conduit NGOs, asking them to submit proofs of the projects’ completion including photos of beneficiaries, which the NGOs didn’t have, according to Sunas. “Hindi po namin alam na Malampaya ‘yan. Basta sinabi sa amin ni Mrs. Napoles na may pondo na tayo. Ma’am, saan galing? Sabi n’ya sa DAR,” Suñas, who later became JLN Corp’s coordinator in the DAR for the Malampaya project, told in a recent interview. [We didn’t know that it came from Malampaya. Mrs. Napoles just told us that we already have funds. Where did the funds come from, Ma’am? We asked her. She said from the DAR.] Suñas said Napoles allegedly instructed her employees to make a list of calamity-stricken areas by checking on the Internet or with thethen National Disaster Coordinating Council what areas were affected by Ondoy and Pepeng. “I-specify n’yo kung ano ‘yong calamity na ‘yan. Halimbawa, somewhere in…Central Luzon kasi, ‘yong Ondoy. Tapos, ‘yong northern, ‘yon ‘yong Pepeng. So ‘yon ang ginawa namin,” Suñas said. [Napoles told us to specify what the calamity was. For instance, Ondoy struck Central Luzon. And then in the northern part, it’s Pepeng. So that’s what we did.] Napoles then allegedlyinstructed her employees to complete the list of calamityaffected areas and other supporting documents so that the ₱900 million could be released, according to Sunas. There was “division of labor” among Napoles’ staff in fabricating the documents needed for the project with the DAR, including all the 97 letters of mayors whose signatures were all forged by the businesswoman’s employees, according to Suñas. “So ang ginawa namin, step by step… lahat kami na taga office... magtulong-tulong. Kayo gumawa ng request, kayo naman gagawa kayo ng MOA, tapos may in-charge sa mga budget proposal. May division of labor po kami,” said Suñas. [We did it step by step, all of us in the office would help. There were those assigned to write the request, those who would draft the memorandum of agreement with the DAR, and then there were those in-charge in doing budget proposals. We had division of labor.] Suñas claimed it was also Napoles who determined how much calamity funds should be requested from the DAR. “Yong totally damaged kasi sabi ni Madam, P10 million ang pinakamataas. Tapos the rest, kagaya ng Bulacan atsaka Pampanga, 7.5 million, medium damage, ₱5 million, partially damaged,” Suñas said.

[For areas totally damaged, ₱10 million would be the highest, according to Madam. And then the rest, like Bulacan and Pampanga, ₱7.5 million, medium damage, ₱5 million, partially damaged.] ‘Usec Nieto will sign’. As they were preparing the papers, Suñas said they asked Napoles who would sign the documents on behalf of the DAR. Their boss allegedly told them to wait because she needed to ask first. Later, Napoles allegedly told them that Nieto would be the one to sign the papers. “Ma’am, sinong pipirma? ‘Yon ang itinanong namin. In behalf of DAR, sino ang ilalagay natin na pipirma? Sabi n’ya tatanungin ko muna kung sino. So naka-standby pa kami. Sabi n’ya si Nieto, si Usec Nieto,” said Suñas. [Ma’am who will sign? That’s what we asked. In behalf of DAR, who are we going to put as the signatory? She told us she would first ask who would it be. So we were on standby. She told us it would be Nieto, it would be Use Nieto.] All the 97 MOAs among DAR, the conduit NGOs, and the requesting mayors were signed by Nieto, the presidents of the 12 conduit NGOs and JLN employees, who forged the signatures of the mayors, according to Suñas. Nieto, however, denied that he knew Napoles. “I didn’t know her. I didn’t have any transactions with Mrs. Napoles. I only came to know Mrs. Napoles through the television and the print media when that issue on the alleged pork barrel scam came out,” Nieto told in an interview last month. The former DAR official also said he didn’t know that the mayors’ signatures in the MOAs and in the letters of requests were all allegedly forged. “I am not aware of that. If I only knew that those documents were faked I would not have affixed my signatures to the Memorandum of Agreement with the NGOs,” he said. Collection of signatures to imitate from. Asked how Napoles employees were able imitate the signatures of mayors for the DAR project, Suñas said JLN Corp. had a collection of mayors’ signatures provided by alleged Napoles “agents” who have politician-contacts. “Marami kasing mga letter of request ng mga mayor sa amin. Siguro nabasa n’yo na ‘yong in-expose ni Baddeo [We have many letters of request by mayors. Perhaps you’ve already read the one exposed by Baddeo],” Suñas told Suñas was referring to fashion designer Eddie Baddeo who claimed to have been one of Napoles’ agents who in 2007 asked mayors to write letters of requests not to the DAR but to the Department of Agriculture for agriculture enhancement programs. Suñas said that while nothing happened with the “genuine” mayors’ letters of request to then DA Secretary Yap for agricultural assistance, copies of the said letters--that reached JLN Corp and not the department--still became useful for the Malampaya project with the DAR two years later. Suñas claimed that Napoles’ employees were able to imitate signatures of mayors for the DAR project because they had documents that contained the local officials’ genuine signatures. “So ‘yon ngayon ang ginamit namin… They were incumbent mayors during that time, makakapasok sila because of their signature. Magagamit namin sila sa DAR. S’yempre may specimen, may signature,” Suñas said.

[So that’s what we used. They were incumbent mayors during that time, they could be included because of their signature. We could use them for the DAR. Of course, there are specimen of their signatures.] The whistleblower further claimed that Napoles’ alleged agents, which purportedly included chiefs of staff of senators, were enticed to seek letters of request from their politician-friends because the businesswoman promised them commissions. “May mga pangako sa agents, may certain percentage, I think 5 percent of the amount requested. Halimbawa lima lang ang nakuha mo, ₱5 million each, five percent of ₱5 million. Kung five mayors ang nakuha mo, eh de 25 (percent),” Sunas explained. [Agents were promised up to five percent of the amount requested. For example, you get five letters each requesting ₱5 million, so you get 5 percent of every ₱5 million. If you get five mayors, you get 25 percent.] Asked by how Napoles’ employees were able to effectively imitate the mayors’ signatures, Suñas said, “S’yempre may marunong sa opisina namin. Kung madali lang ‘yong stroke nila, kahit sino sa empleyado nagagaya [Of course, there are those in our office who knew how. If the stroke is easy to replicate, anybody in our office can imitate it]. They practiced strokes for signatures that were hard to imitate, Suñas said. Recycled beneficiaries, mixed names. The farmer-beneficiaries of the DAR projects were also fake and so were the projects, Suñas said. No deliveries of goods nor training programs were made, she added. Suñas said the fake names of the beneficiaries either came from the telephone directory or the old records of beneficiaries provided by mayors to Napoles in their alleged past dealings with the businesswoman. “Meron na kaming dating mga kliyente na mayors, ni Mrs. Napoles…Tutulungan ka namin pero…ang kapalit noon ‘yong mga beneficiaries. Tapos ‘yong mga beneficiaries na ‘yan, ‘yon na ang mga ginamit namin. Nirecycle namin,” she said. When they ran out of names from the directory and the list of recycled beneficiaries, Napoles employees use their creativity by mixing and matching names they thought of, according to Suñas “Kung kulang ang mga beneficiaries na ‘yan, doon na kami magki-create ng mga pangalan [If we run out of beneficiries, that’s the time that we create names]” Suñas said. “S’yempre…marami kaming mga empleyado. ‘Yong mga drivers n’ya, mga maids n’ya, mga security, doon na kami lahat sa conference room namin, doon na ‘yong time na nagki-create na kami ng pangalan,” she added. [Of course we have many employees. Her drivers, her maids, her security aides, we are all inside the conference room, that’s the time that we create names.] And when they ran out of names, they would use the first name of one person and combine it with the other. “Pangalan mo, apelyido n’ya...Sa isang barangay, kung ano ang maraming apelyido doon ‘yon ang susundan namin, iba-ibang pangalan lang,” Suñas said. [If a barangay for instance has many surnames, we will use that with many different names.] ■ Annie Ruth C. Sabangan / /



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition


De Lima asks DFA to cancel passports of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla, others linked to pork barrel scam MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel the passports of 37 of the first 38 respondents in cases filed over the P10-billion pork barrel scam, among them Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. Of the respondents, only businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who allegedly engineered the scam in collusion with the lawmakers and other government officials, is in detention but on charges of serious illegal detention filed against her by Benhur Luy, a relative and former employee who is government’s star witness in the cases filed over the pork barrel scam. In a statement, the Department of Justice said De Lima wrote Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Wednesday requesting the cancellation of the passports as “the only real viable option against the certainty of imprisonment once warrants of arrest start being issued.” She cited Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff, Ruby Chan Tuason, the former protocol officer of former President Joseph Estrada who allegedly served as the contact of Senators Estrada and Enrile, former Agusan del Sur representative Rodolfo Plaza and former Technology Resource Center director general Anton Ortiz Jr., all of whom left the country “after the allegations against them were made public” and before the complaints for plunder, malversation and bribery, among others, were filed before the

Office of the Ombudsman. De Lima said the cancellation of the passports was justified by Section 6, Article III of the Constitution and the Philippine Passport Act of 1996, which allow limitations on the right to travel, “in the interest of national security.” She said graft and corruption is recognized both here and around the world as a national security concern. Aside from the three senators and those who have left the country, De Lima also requested that the passports of the following be cancelled: 1. Masbate Governor and former representative Rizalina Seachon-Lanete 2. Former APEC party-list representative Edgar Valdez 3. Former Benguet representative Samuel Dangwa 4. Former Cagayan de Oro representative Constantino Jaraula 5. Richard Cambe, a member of Revilla’s staff 6. Pauline Labayen, of Estrada’s staff 7. Jose “Joy” Sumalpong, former chief of staff of Lanete 8. Jeanette dela Cruz, Lanete’s district staff

9. Erwin Dangwa, Dangwa’s chief of staff 10. Carlos Lozada, of Dangwa’s staff 11. Alan Javellana, former president of the National Agribusiness Corp. 12. Gondelina Amata, president of the National Livelihood Development Corp. 13. Dennis Cunana, current director general of the TRC and Ortiz’s former deputy 14. Salvador Salacup, Agriculture assistant secretary and former president of ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp. 15. Jocelyn Piorato, president of Agrikultura

Para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc. 16. Nemesio Pablo, president of Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. 17. Mylene Encarnacion, president of the Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation Inc. 18. John Raymund de Asis, president of the Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. 19. Evelyn de Leon, president of the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc.

20. Ronald John Lim, president of the Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. 21. Victor Cabal of NABCOR 22. Julie Johnson of NABCOR 23. Rodhora Mendoza of NABCOR 24. Alexis Sevidal of NLDC 25. Sofia Cruz of NLDC 26. Chila Jalandoni of NLDC 27. Francisco Figura of TRC ■ Marivic Jover

of TRC Marlene Alcaide / News5 / October 24, 2013 / Update 2:45 PM

Investors cash in their stocks ahead of IPOs MANILA – Philippine share prices on Thursday checked a two-day advance, tracking the overnight decline on Wall Street, as most investors opted to lock in gains to participate in upcoming initial public offerings (IPO). At the Philippine Stock Exchange, the benchmark index tumbled 51.34 points, or 0.77 percent, to close at 6,583.77. Except for the mining and oil sub-index, the other counters finished in the red led by the 1.64 percent drop of the property sector. There were two losers for every gainer, while 38 issues were unchanged. Value turnover was light at ₱5.82 billion as a billion stocks changed hands. PLDT, Ayala Corp, Alliance Global, LT Group and Ayala Land were the most actively traded stocks. Prime Media, Maybank ATR and Asia Amalgamated were the biggest gainers, while Euro-Med, Omico and Asian Terminals led the losers.

“There’s an ongoing IPO na medyo malaki so there’s some selling. Foreigners who are not affected are bargain hunting so it’s an imbalance. The market’s not moving too much,” said Joseph Roxas, president of Eagle Equities. Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, the operator of Resorts World Manila, kicked off two days ago its ₱17.7-billion share sale. Next week, it is Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc’s turn to offer ₱26.8 billion worth of

shares to the public. “There’s also much resistance because we’re already trading at the high end,” Roxas said. Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 54.33 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,413.33 on valuation concerns and disappointing earnings of heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar and semiconductor companies. ■ Krista Angela M. Montealegre / / October 24, 2013 / 4:08 PM



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Philippine Airlines (PAL) launches non-stop flights from London Heathrow to Manila LONDON, UK (October 2013) – Philippine Airlines (PAL) is pleased to announce the re-introduction of direct flights from London Heathrow to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, with the first flight landing on 4 November 2013. This will be the first European destination introduced by the airline after flights to Europe were discontinued in 1998. The new route will offer the fastest way for passengers to travel to Manila with five flights each week, including departures on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Philippine Airlines is offering introductory fares that will enable passengers to experience the airline’s excellent service both on the ground and in the air. Return Economy fares from London to Manila cost from £593 per person including all taxes and charges. Return Business Class fares cost from £2,263 per person including all taxes and charges. Prices are based on travel from 4 November 2013 until 31 May 2014 and subject to availability. Book by 15 November 2013. Philippine Airlines President, Ramon S. Ang, will travel on-board the inaugural flight from Manila to London Heathrow on Monday 4 November, and will continue to the World Travel Market to celebrate the first non-stop flight in 15 years between the

two countries. The London-Manila service will use new, twin-engine 370-seater Boeing 777-300ER equipped with modern in-flight amenities. The UK is an important market for the Philippines, with one third of the 349,000 European visitors travelling to the country during 2012 coming from the UK. During the first half of 2013, arrivals from the UK have already reached 60,234 and Philippine Airlines is looking to further expand into other European markets with routes to Amsterdam, Rome and Paris soon to be introduced. For more information on Philippine Airlines visit www. www.philippineairlines. com or call the dedicated Philippine Airlines UK Reservations phone number on 01293 596 680. About Philippine Airlines. Philippine Airlines (PAL) is Asia’s first airline, commencing service on 15 March 1941, connecting the archipelago together and becoming the conduit for growth in the region. Today, PAL has a modern and young fleet of aircraft with a route network that spans 31 international destinations from North America to Australia, throughout Asia and the Gulf region. As the Philippine Islands’ hometown carrier, PAL serves 29 domestic points. PAL is the airline of choice for travellers in the Philippine Islands and beyond. ■

Swiss stock exchange opens probe into UBS statements Zurich – The operator of the Swiss stock exchange said Thursday it had opened an investigation into the country’s largest bank, UBS, which is suspected of violating financial reporting rules. The exchange operator and regulation authority SIX Swiss Exchange said UBS issued two statements late last year that may have breached rules on how listed companies should release potentially price-sensitive facts that could significantly sway their share price.

A bank statement on October 30, 2012 titled “UBS announces strategic acceleration from a position of strength”, which was released alongside its third quarter results, was being examined, the regulator said in a statement. Another release, issued on December 19, 2012 with the title “UBS Board of Directors authorizes settlements of LIBORrelated claims with US and UK authorities; Swiss regulator to issue order”, was also under investigation, it said. That statement came amid the unfolding rigging scandal related to the Libor, a rate for lending between banks that also determines numerous financial and interest rate contracts around the world. UBS was fined 1.4 billion Swiss francs (1.13 billion euros, $1.5 billion) by US, British and Swiss authorities for its role in that market manipulation. Thursday’s probe, the regulator said,

had been launched “on the grounds of possible breaches of the rules governing ad hoc publicity,” which aim to ensure transparency and equal access to information for all actual and potential investors. UBS reacted swiftly, insisting in a statement that “there is no basis for this investigation.” “We take our disclosure responsibilities very seriously,” it said, insisting that in the two statements in question “we complied with all legal requirements.” “Our disclosures to the market were also consistent with our own high standards for disclosure quality and timeliness,” it added. Following the probe announcement, UBS saw its share price slip 0.63 percent in mid-morning trading to 18.81 Swiss francs a piece, as the Swiss stock exchange’s main index remained flat. ■ AFP



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Europe’s leaders furious over US spying claims BRUSSELS – Europe’s leaders united Thursday behind furious Germany and France as an escalating row over claims of US snooping on its traditional allies overshadowed an EU summit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose mobile phone was reportedly the latest target of covert surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA), set the tone. “Spying between friends, that’s just not done,” she said as she joined leaders of the 28-nation European Union for a summit initially called to discuss boosting employment and the digital economy. “We need trust between partners and such trust needs to be re-established.” The German chancellor later met with French President Francois Hollande, who made no statement on entering the two-day talks. A French diplomatic source said they aimed to discuss “how to coordinate their response” to the eavesdropping allegations. Both leaders phoned President Barack Obama this week demanding clarification over claims the NSA spied on millions of French phone calls, and on the German leader personally. But in Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to say whether Washington had listened in on

Merkel in the past. The White House has been on tricky political ground since saying when the claims first surfaced on Wednesday that it is not monitoring Merkel’s communications and will not do so. “We are not going to comment publicly on every specified alleged intelligence activity,” Carney said. “The path that leads us down is not one that we can travel.” US officials habitually refuse to discuss intelligence issues and espionage allegations as a matter of policy. “We want the truth,” said Italian Premier Enrico Letta in Brussels, as leaders of Belgium, Finland, Malta and others told reporters that Washington must provide an explanation and Europe must take a joint stand to protect its citizens. The EU executive, the European Commission, called for “a united stand” as its President Jose Manuel Barroso warned against a slide towards “totalitarianism”. “Data protection must apply no matter if it concerns the emails of citizens or the mobile phone of Angela Merkel,” said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. “Now is the time for action and not only for declarations at the EU summit.” Merkel has warned that proof of snooping

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) is greeted by French President Francois Hollande prior to their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a EU summit on October 24, 2013 Photo by Michel Euler ©AFP / Pool

on her phone would be considered a “breach of trust”. The NSA affair has also seen claims of US snooping on foreign leaders in Mexico and Brazil, whose President Dilma Rousseff last month cancelled a state visit to Washington over the scandal. The White House is struggling to stem the diplomatic damage. In Germany, the head of the SPD party, Sigmar Gabriel -- currently in talks with Merkel to form a coalition government --

said the snooping threatened talks to seal a trans-Atlantic free trade deal seen as the biggest in history. Espionage is not an EU matter. As the row widened, European Parliament president Martin Schulz also suggested the trade talks be suspended, while MEPs have asked for a key EU-US bank data-sharing deal aimed at fighting terrorism to be suspended. It remains uncertain whether EU leaders will come up with a common stand in response to the outcry.

Many, notably Britain with its close intelligence links to the US, and Spain, see spying as a matter of national interest firmly outside the bloc’s remit. Many also spy on each other. Italian weekly L’Espresso said Britain and the US spied on Italy to glean data on underwater fibre-optic cables, with the consent of Italy’s own secret services. The White House’s Carney too pointed out that all nations spy on each other. “We acknowledge that the United States gathers intelligence much as other nations gather foreign intelligence,” he said. An EU diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said, “I don’t imagine the (EU) Council getting into a discussion on national security.” “Espionage is not an EU matter, it’s an issue of national sovereignty,” said another diplomat. But as anger boiled up in Europe, Commission head Barroso said: “We in Europe consider the right to privacy as a fundamental right.” At the summit, officially themed around boosting employment and the digital economy, leaders will also tackle a complex immigration crisis highlighted by this month’s deaths of hundreds of refugees desperate to reach Europe’s shores. ■ Claire Rosemberg / AFP

Former Pakistan PM, officials deny US drone collusion ISLAMABAD – Pakistani officials and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday denied a report that they had approved US drone strikes on the country’s soil. Washington Post on Wednesday quoted leaked secret documents as saying Pakistan had been regularly briefed on strikes up till late 2011 and in some cases had helped choose targets. The purported evidence of Islamabad’s involvement came as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met US President Barack Obama at the White House and urged him to end the attacks, which are widely unpopular with the Pakistani public. A Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman said the anti-drone stance of the Sharif government, elected in May, was clear and any past agreements no longer applied. Pakistani security officials claimed the story was a US attempt to undermine Sharif’s position and reduce criticism of the drone campaign, days after an Amnesty

International report warned some of the strikes could constitute war crimes. Washington Post’s revelations concerned strikes in a four-year period from late 2007, when military ruler Pervez Musharraf was in power, to late 2011 when a civilian government had taken over. Gilani, prime minister from 2008 until June last year, vehemently denied giving any approval for drone strikes. “We have never allowed Americans to carry out drone attacks in the tribal areas,” Gilani told AFP. “From the very beginning we are against drone strikes and we have conveyed it to Americans at all forums,” he added. Islamabad routinely condemns the strikes targeting suspected Taliban and AlQaeda militants in its northwest tribal areas. But evidence of collusion or tacit approval has leaked out in recent years. A diplomatic cable from then-US ambassador Anne Patterson, dated August 2008 and released by Wikileaks, indicated

Gilani had agreed to the strikes in private. “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it,” the leaked cable quoted him as telling US officials. In April this year Musharraf told CNN that he had authorised drone strikes in Pakistan while he was in power. Musharraf’s spokesman Raza Bokhari told AFP Wednesday: “There were less than 10 strikes, all of which targeted militants, and (a) few of them were a joint operation between United States and Pakistan in locations that were not accessible to ground forces of Pakistan.” Post said top-secret documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos showed the Central Intelligence Agency, which runs the drone programme, had drafted documents to share information on at least 65 attacks with Pakistan. In one case in 2010, a document

describes hitting a location “at the request of your government” and another refers to a joint targeting effort between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. A senior Pakistani security official flatly denied any official deal to help with the drone campaign. “There has never been official arrangement at the strategic or government level,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity. “The purpose of giving such stories is nothing but face-saving. Americans are trying to dilute the growing pressure by using back channels and making Pakistan a party to the whole issue.” A second security official said Washington wanted to spread responsibility as it was coming under increasing pressure from rights groups to halt the drone campaign. The US has carried out nearly 400 drone attacks in Pakistan’s restive tribal districts along the Afghan border since 2004, killing between 2,500 and 3,600 people,

Israel weighs Palestinian prisoner release

JERUSALEM - Israeli ministers are to meet Sunday to approve the release of a second batch of Palestinian prisoners under the terms of renewed peace talks, media said. Maariv daily said Thursday that 26 prisoners would be freed, the same number

as in the first tranche in August. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said two days before the July 30 resumption of talks that he had “agreed to free 104 Palestinians in stages, after the start of negotiations and according to progress.” Since the August release, Netanyahu’s office has made no statement on a second round. Maariv said the next handover would take place on Tuesday. The European Union’s mission to Israel told AFP that envoys of the Middle East Quartet group would meet the same day in Jerusalem. Israeli public radio said that in tandem

with confirming the prisoner release, Israeli authorities would announce a new swathe of settler housing to be built in the occupied West Bank or annexed east Jerusalem. It did not specify how many homes or where. An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a text message Thursday evening that such continued construction was part of “understandings” reached with the Palestinians and the Americans ahead of the renewal of talks. “Israel will continue in the coming months to announce building in the settlement blocs and in Jerusalem,” he wrote. “Both the Americans and the

Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli detention are greeted in the city of Ramallah on August 14, 2013. Photo by Abbas Momani ©AFP

Palestinians were aware in advance of these understandings.” The last direct talks collapsed in September 2010 over continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank

according to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Sharif this week called drone strikes a “major irritant” in ties with the US, which have recovered significantly after a series of crises in 2011 and 2012, including a US special forces raid inside Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Foreign ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said the current government’s position was clear — drones were a violation of sovereignty and must stop. “Whatever understandings there may or may not have been in the past, the present government has been very clear regarding its policy on the issue,” he said. ■ AFP / October 24, 2013 / 6:09 PM

In August, Israeli authorities approved the construction of more than 2,000 settlement units in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. That came just days before a round of direct bilateral talks, leading the Palestinians to warn that the fledgling process was in danger of collapse. Israeli media also said Thursday that military forensics experts would begin DNA testing next month on relatives of at least 30 Palestinians killed over the years in militant attacks on Israelis, with a view to returning their remains where a match was found. Public radio said the move was unrelated to the peace talks and was in response to a petition by the families to the Supreme Court. ■ AFP



DATE / TIME 2 November Saturday 6:00pm to 1:00pm 2 November Saturday

2 November Saturday 6:30pm to Midnight 10 November Sunday 6:00pm to 10:30pm 16 November Saturday 6:00pm 16 November Saturday

November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

EVENT Operation: Maring – A charity music event for the benefit of the typhoon victims A Day of Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham and A Day of Prayer with Our Lady of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace Halloween Party

VENUE The Dome, 178 Junction Road, Tufnell Park, London N19 5QQ

ORGANISER Finchley Raiders in association with Side Projects

CONTACTS / REMARKS Carol Panday 07581 351 205

1. Caversham 2. Bicester Village Designer Outlet 3. Catholic Church, Bicester East Malling Village Hall, New Road, West Malling ME19 6DD

The Community Prayer Crusade – West London

Betilda 07919 380 513 / Merla 07939 684 558 Price of Trip: £25.00

Kent Anglo Filipino Association

Tickets: Adult £10.00 / Teens £5.00 / Children under 12 years old Free

Zamboanga Relief – A Benefit Concert

Scream Lounge, 20 South End, Croydon CR0 1DN

Whiskey Lima in association with 3Rhythm Productions

Ticket £10.00 18+ Only / All proceeds to Tzu Chi Foundation Zamboanga Chapter /

Miss Pearl of Asia UK 2013

The Camden Centre, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE

Miss Pearl Of Asia UK


Plymouth Bantay Bata 163 Charity Concert

The New Continental Hotel, Millbay Road, Plymouth PL1 3LD Holiday Inn Maidenhead, Manor Lane, Maidenhead SL6 2RA St. Augustine’s CE High School Hall, Oxford Road, London NW6 5SN

Filipino British Association in Plymouth (F.B.A.i.P) Couples for Christ (CFC)


Camarines Sur Filipino Community UK

Marian Community Centre, Kilburn, London NW6 5RS Copthorne Tara Hotel, Scarsdale Place, Kensington, London W8 5SY

The Cordillera Connection

Junart Nieva – 07980 557 467 Arthur Nieva – 07947 344 422 Elizabeth Villaflor – 07584 411 180 Mathie Smith – 07908 581 062 Call: 07411 177 652 / 07583 636 174 Ticket: £10.00 includes meal

The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH


16 November Saturday

Couples For Christ – UK 17th Year Anniversary

30 November Saturday 4:00pm

Annual Dance Competition 2013

7 December Saturday 6:00pm 7 December Saturday 6:00pm – 1:00am

Pinoy Night – A Call for Bohol

17 and 18 December Tuesday and Wednesday 7:00pm 21 December Saturday 6:00pm

Ima Castro in Concert – Full Circle

20th Annual Christmas Dinner & Dance

Aguman Kapampangan UK

Chris Mautsi 07956 281 337

Zanie del Mundo – 07733 781 858 / 07886 881 432 Estella Gomez – 07817 200 444 Erroll – 07429 187 991 Omie – 07832 597 530 Call to Book Tickets: 020 3286 4883 Ticket: £12.00

BRITFIL Christmas Party

Chasewell Community British & Filipino Nilda Dean – Social Club, Avoce Way, Community (BRITFIL) Cherwell Height, Banbury, Oxon OX16 9YA FREE LISTING of your events on the HELLO PHILIPPINES newspaper and if you know of any Events please contact us and submit your event via email to the following at 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.

1st Sunday


1st Sunday


2nd Saturday


2nd Sunday


2nd Sunday


2nd Sunday


3rd Sunday


3rd Sunday


Last Saturday


Last Sunday


Every Sunday


First Wednesdays


2013 Monthly Filipino Community Masses in Greater London

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


November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

French regulator fines Lebanese trader record 14 mn euros

PARIS – France’s market regulator slapped a record 14 million euro ($19 million) fine on a Lebanese trader Thursday for insider trading surrounding the 2008 buyout of logistics company Geodis by France’s national rail firm, SNCF. The previous record of eight million euros was imposed on luxury group LVMH earlier this year for activity related to its investment in rival Hermes. In a statement, the AMF financial market authority said it was imposing the fine on trader Joseph Raad for using “inside information on the launch of a takeover of Geodis by the SNCF, from which he profited.” It said he earned more than six million euros from the information. His cousin, Charles Rosier, then a managing director at Swiss bank UBS which was involved in the takeover, was also fined 400,000 euros “for having passed on the information,” the statement said. On April 6, 2008, SNCF made an offer for the entire capital of its transport and logistics

subsidiary Geodis—in which it already had a stake of around 42 percent—that valued the firm at more than one billion euros. The AMF alleged in its statement that Rosier found out about the imminent takeover proposal before March 20 that year “at the latest.” Raad then bought more than eight million euros of Geodis shares and related financial products between March 20 and April 4. According to the AMF, these were “atypical” acquisitions compared to what Raad usually opted for, and they were “very risky, given the downward trend and low liquidity of Geodis shares.” The AMF concluded that these acquisitions could “only be explained by the guarantee that the price would rise soon”, and launched an investigation. The case differs from the LVMH affair, where the luxury group was penalised for not informing the market of its surprise increase in Hermes’s capital. ■ AFP

A Geodis Logistics warehouse in Laval, France pictured on October 23, 2005. Photo by Fred Dufour ©AFP/File


UK wants more foreigners with exceptional talents than healthcare workers—envoy

THE demand for healthcare workers in the United Kingdom is not a priority at the moment, the UK’s new envoy to Manila said, noting they are in need of exceptionally talented nationals, including Filipinos, who excel in the fields of science, engineering and the arts to come and live in Britain. “On the issue of caregivers and nursing, they’re at the bottom end of the cycle now,” British Ambassador Asif Ahmad told reporters in a luncheon meeting on Wednesday when asked if there is still a demand for health professionals in the UK. Faced with increasing illegal migration problem, the UK in 2011 introduced the “Tier 1 Exceptional Talent” immigration scheme for foreigners who are considered the “brightest and the best in their field.” The policy was aimed at bringing foreign migration levels to the country lower, tackle abuses against illegal migrants and ensure that the system effectively meets the needs of the country. Presently, the need for foreign workers in certain fields in Britain usually “go up and down in cycles,” Ahmad explained, adding he does not know “if that will change in the future.” “As countries grow and contract, labor needs always change,” he said. “One can’t guarantee that one type of employment would be needed forever.” The Philippines used to be one of the largest sources for foreign health workers in

Photo ©

the UK and the United States. But the easing of labor shortage in these countries and the economic recession forced them in the last few years to stop hiring Filipino nurses and caregivers. “I don’t think people should go to nursing schools in the Philippines thinking that this is a ticket to land a work abroad,” he said. On the other hand, employment for Filipino seafarers, Ahmad said, “will continue provided that qualifications from the Philippines are strong.” Amid the shift in the UK’s labor policy, Ahmad said more jobs from Britain are moving to the Philippines. “What we are actually seeing is that sometimes not the people are moving but

the work is moving to them. And the BPOs are the classic example of that,” Ahmad said, referring to the processing centers for finance of the U.K. Foreign Office that were established in Manila. Ahmad described Manila as an “important and expanding center of operations” for British embassies in the Asia-Pacific region and the only other location of its BPO outside its head office in the UK. “One in the UK, one in Manila and there’ll be none other. So all of our other individual processing centers throughout the world in every embassy is being shut down and moving here,” he said. ■ Michaela Del Callar / RSJ, GMA News / October 23, 2013 / 5:36 PM



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

3 US-schooled Pinoy soldiers take oath before AFP chief THREE US-schooled Filipino military officers, including two who graduated with honors, took their oath as officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on

Wednesday in Camp Aguinaldo. “The AFP congratulates its three Foreign Military Academy graduates for their dedication, enthusiasm, and sacrifices as

(L-R) Army 2Lt. Floren Herrera, Air Force 2Lt. Theodore Quijano, Navy Ensign Louise Salio. Photo courtesy of ©AFP / PIO

cadets leading to their achievements that contributed in giving pride and honor to the Armed Forces and the whole Filipino nation as well,” said AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala. The three were led by now Air Force 2Lt. Theodore Quijano, who graduated from the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Coloradio with honors last May. Quijano is a recipient of numerous academic awards, including Superintendent’s List, Dean’s List, and Commandant’s List. Quijano is also a recipient of military awards like Outstanding Basic Cadet Award, US Air Force Jump Wings, USAFA Academy Space Wings, USAFA Glider Pilot Wings, and USAFA Flight Program. “He was also awarded for his outstanding athletic performance while in the academy including the Athletic Director’s List and

German Athletic Proficiency Badge for Outstanding Athletic Performance,” Zagala said. Another US-schooled military officer was Army 2Lt. Floren Herrera, who also graduated with honors from the US Military Academy in West Point, New York, last May. Zagala said Herrera is a recipient of both scholastic and military awards, including Distinguished Cadet (Starman), Superintendent’s Award, “Top Gun” of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, the Army Physical Fitness Badge, and First Runner-Up Brigade Boxing Open 2011. The third was now Navy Ensign Louise Salio, who graduated from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis also in May. Zagala said Salio graduated from the academy “after four years of rigorous training and exemplary performance in academics.”

The three entered the Philippine Military Academy before they went to the US. They took their oath before AFP chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista after they received their commissionship from President Benigno Aquino III, the military’s commander in chief. “The graduates’ outstanding scholastic performance and achievements as cadets of US military academies were greatly admired by the AFP leadership,” said Zagala. A number of Filipino military officers had graduated from the US schools, including former President Fidel Ramos, who also served as AFP chief. Ramos is a product of the US Military Academy. Another one was former AFP chief Narciso Abaya, also a product of the US Military Academy. ■ KBK, GMA News / October 23, 2013 / 7:40 PM

Illegal Pinoys in Saudi Arabia worried as Nov 3 deadline draws closer WHILE Philippine authorities in Saudi Arabia claim most illegal Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia have corrected their status before the Nov. 3 deadline, there are still those who have—or could—not, and their worry is growing. Some of these overseas Filipino workers claimed they were tricked by their employers, while others cited puzzling procedures for getting their exit visas, Arab News reported on Wednesday. One of the OFWs said a major fast-food restaurant he worked for promised it would legalize their status, but did not. “They tricked us and simply told us that they weren’t able to do anything. Where do I go now? Please help me,” Arab News quoted an OFW who sought help this week. Another OFW, Neil Grajo, told Arab News he completed fingerprinting procedures could not get a final exit visa because airport authorities sent him to the passport office. But when he got there, he said he was told to go back to the airport. “I am now puzzled about what to do as the deadline approaches,” he said, adding his employer also has a police case pending against him.

Once the Nov. 3 deadline lapses, Saudi authorities will start cracking down on illegal workers who failed to correct their status or go home. The Saudi government initially gave illegal workers until July to correct their status but a clamor from employers prompted it to extend the deadline to Nov. 3. Companies in ‘panic’. The Arab News report said companies that hired qualified expatriates hoping to legalize their status by Nov. 3 are also near panic, as the transfer of sponsorship failed in many cases. It added even landlords and legal expatriates had been warned not to let illegal workers stay in their apartments lest they face fines. Earlier, Philippine Embassy officials in Saudi Arabia said they are making arrangements for the repatriation of distressed male OFWs who lack documents, before the amnesty period for illegal workers ends on Nov. 3. But the embassy also appealed to Filipino male workers who had absconded to get in touch with it. “The Embassy has arranged with the Office of the Emir for the creation of an inter-

agency committee headed by the Office of the Emir to look into the cases of those with no documents in preparation for their repatriation. The process will start before the 3 November deadline,” it said. It said the mechanism targets male OFWs who want to be repatriated but do not have the required original iqama or passport, and could not process their exit visas. Male OFWs who lack documents but want to be repatriated may call Adzwie Joe (0557502134) or Rene Literal (0508017104) of the Embassy’s labor section. The embassy also urged them to call it via landline at 4832201-03. “Be ready to provide details pertaining to your identity and sponsor,” it advised. However, the embassy clarified the mechanism applies only to those who absconded from their original employers before April 6, 2013. “If you absconded after 6 April 2013, do not proceed to POLO-Riyadh for this purpose as a different process will apply to you,” it added. ■ LBG, GMA News / October 23, 2013 / 9:24 AM

Blood money raised for Saudi OFW Zapanta still below target WITH the November 3 deadline approaching, the blood money raised so far for Joselito Zapanta, a Filipino death row convict in Saudi Arabia, is still way below target. Zapanta’s family needs to raise SR4 million (₱45 million), but only SR520,831 has been raised so far, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay. Binay, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino worker (OFW) concerns, said he is hoping that the amount would be lowered or that the November 3 deadline to settle the blood money would be extended. “Umasa pa rin tayo sa himala. Baka mabigyan pa tayo ng extension at baka ibaba pa ang halaga,”he said in a Facebook post. Zapanta was sentenced to death for killing a Sudanese national in 2009. The Saudi government has already extended the period of collecting Zapanta’s blood money twice. Still, Binay said he remains hopeful that

Consul General Maria Hellen B. De La Vega addresses the Los Angeles City Council. ©DFA photo

LA City Council declares October as Fil-Am Heritage Month OCTOBER will be a proud month for Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles, as the city council there proclaimed the month as Filipino-American History/Heritage Month. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Los Angeles City Council led by council members Mitch O’Farrell and Jose Huizar presented a resolution to the effect. “Members of the City Council praised the Filipino-American community for its achievements, contributions and the 426 years of historical presence in the United States,” the DFA said in a statement.

Consul General Maria Hellen De La Vega and Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees (LAFACE) President Linda Granados accepted the resolution. De la Vega and Granados represented the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles at the occasion. To mark the occasion, paintings of Filipino American artists Alex Gantioqui, Bobby Romero and Cesar De Vera are featured at the City Hall Bridge of the East Gallery Los Angeles City Hall Building. ■ KBK, GMA News / October 22, 2013 / 1:43 PM

Phl Embassy in KL Warns Against Individuals Promising Conversion of Tourist Visas to Work Permits THE Philippine Embassy in Kuala job in the country. They then get “referrals”

Zapanta’s life will be spared, citing the case of Dondon Lanuza, who returned home last month after languishing in Saudi Arabia’s death row for 13 years. In Lanuza’s case, the Philippine

government and Lanuza’s supporters were able to raise SR700,000 of the SR3 million sought by the victim’s family. Saudi King Abdullah shouldered the remaining amount. ■ KBK, GMA News / October 23, 2013 / 4:11 PM

Lumpur warns against individuals who offer high-paying jobs and promising to convert Social Visit Passes (tourist visas) of Filipinos visiting Malaysia into work permits in exchange for large sums of money. “The Embassy has received information and is acting on complaints from Filipinos about individuals who promise to convert their Social Visit Passes into work visas in exchange for money,” the Embassy said. “Please be informed that foreigners, including Filipinos who travel to Malaysia as tourists, cannot work here legally,” it added. The Embassy has received reports that some Filipinos travel to Malaysia as tourists, and then try their luck in landing a

from other individuals, and then give their money and passports to these “agents,” who promise to get them work visas. A number of Filipinos have become victims of this form of illegal recruitment and fraud, and are now worried about their status here in Malaysia. The Embassy reminds Filipinos to be vigilant and not to deal with unlicensed individuals or purported placement agencies. They should also verify job offers in Malaysia with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) in Manila or the Embassy’s Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) before coming to Malaysia for a job. ■ October 17, 2013


November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition


Pinoy photog’s works to grace South Africa fair FOR the second time, the works of Filipino landscape and fine art photographer Paul Resurreccion will be featured in an international event, this time in South Africa. Dubbed “Philippine Landscapes,” the collection of photographs spotlights Resurreccion’s use of subtle color, black and white conversion. It will be exhibited at South Africa’s Annual Diplomatic Fair to be held on October 26, 2013 at the Union Grounds in Pretoria, South Africa. Resurreccion, a regular member of the prestigious Camera Club of the Philippines, artfully combines the varying facets of light, the elements of nature and the contours of Philippine terrain to capture images of timeless “geological moments.” The photographs were shot in different

locations including surf-haven Baler, Aurora, the serene and isolated Capones Islands off Zambales, and the majestic Mayon Volcano in Bicol. This is the second time that “Philippine Landscapes” will be featured internationally, the first being in Vietnam during the Philippine Independence Day celebrations last June 16 and 18, 2013. The collection will be exhibited along with displays of culture, cuisine and traditions from more than 50 missions and 18 United Nations attached agencies represented in South Africa. The Diplomatic Fair, which is now on its seventh year, is organized by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa to

commemorate O.R. Tambo, one of the country’s icons instrumental in the struggle for the liberation from South African Apartheid. The Fair also coincides with the celebration of the Declaration of the 50th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity/African Union that reaffirms Africa’s commitment to the ideals of Pan Africanism and Greater African Unity. The Philippine contingent is led by project director, Stanley Perry Fernandez, and Philippine Ambassador to South Africa, Hon. Constancio R. Vingno, Jr. with the support of the National Commission for the Culture and Arts and the Department of Tourism. ■ KBK, GMA News / October 22, 2013

/ 3:00 PM

OFW dies during childbirth; baby survives but orphaned in Saudi Arabia AN undocumented Overseas Filipino Worker in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia died after giving birth according to GMA’s News TV Live on Wednesday morning. The OFW who was not immediately identified was part of the group waiting for their travel documents including their exit visa. She died in the home which she was residing while the baby survived and was brought to a nearby hospital. The baby is now an orphan since the father, who was also an undocumented OFW committed suicide while waiting for his travel documents, the report said. A crackdown on illegal workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was announced

on March 28, forcing the baby’s parents, along with thousands other OFWs to process their travel documents. This is in connection with its “Saudization” (nitaqat policy), which encouraged private firms to employ Saudi locals. After King Abdullah announced a threemonth reprieve on April 6, which ended on July 4, Filipinos flocked to a lot near the Philippine Consulate to avoid arrest and to ask for legal assistance. A new deadline for the crackdown was set for November 3. During the reprieve, the Philippine government urged some 20,000

undocumented Filipino workers to legalize their stay there by acquiring residency permits through their employers. Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration site says they give up to ₱200,000 as death benefit for their OFW members who die abroad. But since the mother is undocumented her family won’t get the death benefit. However, OWWA still took care of the mother and child’s case. There are over a million overseas Filipinos in Saudi Arabia according to the 2011 stock estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. ■ Andrei Medina / LBG, GMA

Capones Island ©Paul Res

News / October 23, 2013 / 9:57 AM

Missing 72-year-old Pinoy hunter in California found SAN FRANCISCO — The 72-year-old Filipino hunter who was lost for almost three weeks in a California forest survived by eating squirrels and other animals he shot with his rifle, and by making fires and packing leaves and grasses around his body to stay warm, his family said last week. Gene Penaflor of San Francisco was found Saturday (Oct. 12) in Mendocino National Forest by other hunters who carried him to safety in a makeshift stretcher, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

He disappeared after heading out with a partner during the first week of deer hunting season in the rugged mountains of Northern California, a trip he takes annually. The forest is about 160 miles north of San Francisco. “He goes hunting every year, and he comes home every year,” his daughter-inlaw Deborah Penaflor told the Associated Press outside Gene Penaflor’s home in the Bernal Heights neighborhood. “We’d gotten a little complacent that he would always come back.”

Gene Penaflor is surrounded by his children in a hospital on Oct. 12 after being rescued from the California wilderness. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Penaflor/Filipino Reporter

Gene separated from his hunting partner for a couple of hours as usual to stalk deer. While they were apart, Gene fell, hit his head and passed out, Deborah said. He woke up after spending what appeared to be a full day unconscious, with his chin and lip badly gashed. He noticed fog and morning dew and realized he’d been out for a while, Deborah said. Gene had a lighter, a knife and water with him when he went hunting. But his daughter-in-law said the knife and water bottle somehow got lost in the fall. Still, he was able to use his rifle to kill squirrels to sustain him while he awaited rescue. He also found water in a nearby drainage. To stay warm, Gene made small fires and packed leaves and grasses around his body. When it rained or snowed, he crawled under a large log and managed to stay dry, authorities said. “He knew at some point he was going to die, but he figured he’d last as long as he could,” Sheriff’s Detective Andrew Porter told The Ukiah Daily Journal. The Sheriff’s Office said an initial search involving several agencies was called off when a storm was on its way and there was no sign of the missing hunter. The family returned to San Francisco dejected. “We were depressed,” Deborah Penaflor said. “We were walking his dog and hoping

the search would start up again.” The search was reactivated last Saturday, and a group of hunters found Gene when one of them heard a voice calling for help from the bottom of a canyon. He was found about three miles from where he disappeared. The family returned north to aid in the search late last week. They distributed missing-persons flyers around the area hoping other hunters would

be on the lookout. When they heard he’d been found alive, they rushed to the mountain to meet him. “There were tears of joy on the top of that mountain,” Deborah said. Gene arrived home last Sunday looking weak and wearing a hospital bracelet. “I didn’t panic because panic will kill me right away. I knew that,” Gene told a KTVUTV reporter upon his arrival home. ■ Filipino Reporter / GMA News / October 22, 2013 / 12:22 PM

DFA Launches Recruitment Process for Foreign Service Officers, Class IV

THE Board of Foreign Service Examinations (BFSE) of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced today that the Foreign Service Officer (FSO) Examination Qualifying Test will be held on 15 December 2013. The Qualifying Test is the first of five (5) steps in the DFA recruitment process for appointment in the position of Foreign Service Officer, Class IV (Salary Grade 24). The test will be conducted by the DFA in partnership with the Civil Service Commission in ten (10) venues, namely: Baguio City, Cagayan de Oro City, Cebu City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Legazpi City, Metro Manila, San Fernando City in La Union, City of San Fernando in Pampanga, Zamboanga City. The BFSE is also considering the option of conducting the Qualifying Test in four (4) overseas testing centers, namely: New York and San Francisco, USA; Paris, France; and Dubai, UAE. The FSO Qualifying Test is now elevated to the status of a Civil Service eligibility examination, comparable to first and

second level positions in the Foreign Service and to all other first and second level positions in the government. Henceforth, the test will officially be named “Career Service Examination for Foreign Service Officer” (CSE-FSO) and will serve as both the Qualifying Test for the FSO Examination and an eligibility examination. Successful examinees will be conferred the Career Foreign Service Officer Eligibility by the CSC. They will then be eligible to advance to the next phase of the BFSE examination process which is the preliminary interview, followed by the written Test, the psychological test, and the oral test. Interested parties may obtain the application form and other details about the FSO examination from the DFA website, by calling the BFSE Secretariat at (02) 834-3080, 834-3083 and 834-4925, or by visiting or contacting DFA Regional Consular Offices nationwide. The application period will run until 15 November 2013. ■ October 18, 2013


HEALTH and Lifestyle

November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Fireworks: The facts FIREWORKS are not toys. They are explosives and the injuries they can cause can be devastating. Here are some facts about fireworks and potential risks of not using them properly. • Sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil. • A rocket can reach speeds of 150mph. • A firework shell can reach as high as 200 metres.

• Three sparklers burning together generate the same heat as a blowtorch. • You see the explosion of a firework before hearing it because sound travels at 761mph, but light travels at 671 million mph. • The majority of firework-related injuries happen at family or private parties. • Around half of all injuries are to children

under the age of 17. • The most common injuries are to hands, followed by the eyes and face. • Fireworks are safer now than they have been in the past thanks to safety standards. Make sure your fireworks comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent. Instructions should be in English. ■ NHS Choices

Fireworks buying guide WHEN buying fireworks, examine them for damage. If they are damaged in any way, don’t buy them. Store fireworks safely away from naked flames and water. Always read the instructions carefully before using them. What to consider when buying your fireworks: • Only buy from a licensed retailer. It’s illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18. • Only buy fireworks that comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent. Instructions should be in English. • Only buy fireworks in full packs. Don’t buy loose fireworks or packs with fireworks taken out of them. • Fireworks bought from unlicensed retailers

could severely injure or kill. They are usually badly made and don’t conform to the British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent. • If you suspect that a retailer is selling fireworks illegally, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111. Your call is free and you don’t have to give your name. • For referrals to Trading Standards, contact Consumer Direct on 0845 40 40 506. • Complete display kits are available from most retailers. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) recommends buying these rather than single fireworks. Everything you’ll need, including instructions, will be in one pack and the selection will give a good visual display. ■ NHS Choices

2014—Planning a safe firework display?

The Firework Code

CHILDREN should watch fireworks at a safe distance and follow the safety rules for using sparklers. Children should watch fireworks at a safe distance and follow the safety rules for using sparklers. Only adults should light fireworks and deal with firework displays. Make sure you dispose of used fireworks safely. Follow these safety guidelines at your firework display: • Only buy fireworks that comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent. Instructions should be in English. • Don’t drink alcohol if you’re lighting fireworks.

• Keep fireworks in a closed box. • Follow the instructions on each firework and be sure they’re suitable for home use. • Light fireworks at arm’s length using a taper. • Stand well back. • Never go near a firework that has been lit. If it hasn’t yet gone off, it could still explode. • Never throw fireworks or put them in your pocket. • Always supervise children around fireworks. • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. • Don’t give sparklers to children under five. • Keep pets indoors. ■ NHS Choices

FIREWORKS are great fun, whatever your age, but it’s important to remember that they are not toys. They are explosives and the injuries they can cause, especially to the eyes, can be devastating. There are on average about 1,000 firework-related injuries a year. About half of these injuries occur at family or private parties. The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a properly organised public display, advises The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). But if you’re having a celebration at home, planning ahead can reduce the risk of things going wrong. “Good preparation is crucial for a successful and safe display,” says Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s home safety manager for England. Visit RoSPA’s safer fireworks website to familiarise yourself with the firework code, which includes safety advice to follow before, during and after your display. Although adults tend to handle fireworks at home, half of the firework-related injuries are to children. Adults should ensure that children stay safe during firework displays. Follow this easy checklist for a safe home firework display. Before the display • Only buy fireworks from a legitimate

retailer. • Inform neighbours and be aware of their concerns. • Check the fireworks you buy are suitable for the size of the garden and that they comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent. Instructions should be in English. • Read the instructions in daylight or with a torch. Never use a match, lighter or candle flame. • Only one person should be responsible for letting off the fireworks. Things you will need on the night • A torch for checking instructions. • A bucket of water. • Eye protection and gloves. • A bucket of soft earth to stick fireworks in. • Suitable supports for Catherine wheels and proper launchers for rockets (check whether the launchers are included in the sale of these types of fireworks or whether you would have to buy them separately). During the display. It is illegal to set off fireworks after 11pm (except on November 5 when they can be used up to midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali when they can be used up to 1am the following day). • Don’t drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks. • Light fireworks at arm’s length with a taper.

• Stand well back and keep others away from the fireworks. • Never go back to a firework after it has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode. • Never throw fireworks or put them in your pocket. • Always supervise children around fireworks. • Store fireworks in a metal box and keep it closed between use. • Keep pets indoors. After the display • Wear strong gloves and use tongs to dispose of used fireworks. • Never throw used fireworks on a bonfire. Sparklers • Don’t give sparklers to children under five years old. • Light sparklers one at a time. • Hold sparklers at arm’s length and wear gloves. • Put used sparklers hot end first into a bucket of sand or water. Bonfires • Bonfires should be at least 18m (60 feet) away from houses, trees, hedges, fences or sheds. • Use domestic firelighters when lighting a bonfire. • Never use petrol, paraffin or other flammable liquids. ■ NHS Choices


HEALTH and Lifestyle food

November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Barbecue food safety FOOD poisoning cases double over the summer, so remember these simple steps to help keep food safe. Food poisoning is usually mild, and most people get better within a week. But sometimes it can be more severe, even deadly, so it’s important to take the risks seriously. Children, older people and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning. “The safest option is to cook food indoors using your oven,” says a spokesperson from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). “You can then put the cooked food outside on the barbecue for flavour.” This can be an easier option if you’re cooking for a lot of people at the same time. If you are only cooking on the barbecue, the two main risk factors are: • undercooked meat • spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat This is because raw or undercooked meat can contain germs that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella, E.coli and

campylobacter. However, these germs can be killed by cooking meat until it is piping hot throughout. Cooking meat on a barbecue. When you’re cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue, such as poultry (chicken or turkey), pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure: • the coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means that they’re hot enough • frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it • you turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly Remember that meat is safe to eat only when: • it is piping hot in the centre • there is no pink meat visible • any juices are clear “Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside,” says the FSA spokesperson. “Cut the meat at the thickest part and ensure none of it is pink on the inside.”

Some meat, such as steaks and joints of beef or lamb, can be served rare (not cooked in the middle) as long as the outside has been properly cooked. This will kill any bacteria that might be on the outside of the meat. However, food made from minced meat, such as sausages and burgers, must be cooked thoroughly all the way through. Raw meat. Germs from raw meat can move easily onto your hands and then onto anything else you touch, including food that is cooked and ready to eat. This is called cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can happen if raw meat touches anything (including plates, cutlery, tongs and chopping boards) that then comes into contact with other food. Some easy steps to help prevent crosscontamination are: • always wash your hands after touching raw meat • use separate utensils (plates, tongs, containers) for cooked and raw meat • never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has had raw meat on it

• keep raw meat in a sealed container away from foods that are ready to eat, such as salads and buns • don’t put raw meat next to cooked or partly cooked meat on the barbecue • don’t put sauce or marinade on cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat Keeping food cool. It’s also important to keep some foods cool to prevent food poisoning germs multiplying. Make sure you keep the following foods cool: • salads • dips • milk, cream, yoghurt • desserts and cream cakes • sandwiches

• ham and other cooked meats • cooked rice, including rice salads Don’t leave food out of the fridge for more than a couple of hours, and don’t leave food in the sun. See the Food Standard Agency’s GermWatch campaign. Fire safety. Make sure your barbecue is steady on a level surface, away from plants and trees. The Fire Service advises covering the bottom of your barbecue with coal to a depth of no more than 5cm (2in). Use only recognised firelighters or starter fuel, and then only on cold coals. Never use petrol on a barbecue. ■ NHS Choices

Healthy Christmas snacks

WHEN it comes to snacks and treats, temptation is all around us at Christmas. Here are some healthier options. If you’re hosting...your own party, make the traditional favourites less calorieheavy with these following tips: • Make open-top mince pies. Using less pastry cuts down on calories and fat. Alternatively, use filo pastry, which is thinner and lower in calories than traditional pastry. One sheet of puff pastry has 620kcal, and two sheets of filo have 80kcal. Add finely chopped apple to the mincemeat to make it fluffier and slightly lower in calories. • Don’t wrap sausages in bacon or pastry. Grill, dry fry or bake them on a wire rack so that the fat drains off. • Don’t have dips made with cream or cream cheese. Choose tomato-based dips, such as salsa, or mix some chopped herbs into low-fat yoghurt. • Serve rice cakes, oatcakes or plain popcorn with drinks, instead of crisps and salted nuts. • Some seasonal favourites do make healthy festive snacks. Satsumas are high in vitamin C, and roast chestnuts are low in fat. Snack offenders. If you’re at a party at a friend’s house, you sometimes can’t avoid picking on nibbles. Below, the British Nutrition Foundation’s snack swaps lists some unhealthy snacks and their healthier alternatives. Pastry Stop: mini pastry tartlet (45kcal, 3.2g fat). Swap: mini filo tartlet (30kcal, 1.5g fat). Chicken Stop: breaded chicken bite (40kcal, 2g fat). Swap: marinated chicken bite (29kcal, 0.8g fat). Salmon Stop: salmon and cream cheese bite (30kcal, 2.5g fat). Swap: salmon sushi bite (28kcal, trace fat).

Onion bhaji Stop: mini bhaji (64kcal, 2.8g fat). Swap: mini satay stick (34kcal, 1.6g fat). Prawns Stop: prawn toast (53kcal, 4.1g fat). Swap: prawn wonton (35kcal, 2.3g fat). Crisps Stop: 30g handful of ready salted crisps (155kcal, 9.7g fat). Swap: 30g handful of tortilla chips (147kcal, 7.3g fat). Peanuts Stop: 30g handful of salted peanuts (184kcal, 15.7g fat). Swap: 30g handful of pretzels (114kcal, 0.8g fat). Cheese straws Stop: two cheese straws (100kcal, 6.4g fat). Swap: one large breadstick (25kcal, 0.4g fat). Trifle Stop: 100g luxury sherry trifle (235kcal, 17.5g fat). Swap: 100g satsumas in 15ml brandy (69kcal, trace fat). Buck’s fizz Stop: 175ml glass of pre-mixed Buck’s fizz (106kcal, 0g fat). Swap: 175ml glass of white wine spritzer, with 2:1 wine and soda water (75kcal, 0g fat).

Red wine Stop: 175ml glass of red wine (119kcal, 0g fat). Swap: 175ml glass of mulled wine, made with 50% orange juice (111kcal, 0g fat). Marzipan Stop: one marzipan fruit (51kcal, 1.7g fat). Swap: one fruit jelly (39kcal, 0g fat). Macadamia nuts Stop: 30g handful of macadamia nuts (225kcal, 23.3g fat). Swap: 30g handful of almonds (184kcal, 15.3g fat). Chocolate Stop: three pieces of chocolate orange (139kcal, 7.9g fat). Swap: three sticks of chocolate-covered orange peel (90kcal, 3.9g fat). More chocolate Stop: four wrapped chocolates (160kcal, 8g fat). Swap: four dates (116kcal, 0g fat). Dips Stop: 2tbsp sour cream and chive dip (110kcal, 11.3g fat). Swap: 2tbsp salsa (20kcal, trace fat). All calorie amounts are approximate and depend on the brand chosen. For more information about calories and nutritional information, look at the label on the product. ■ NHS Choices

Festive drinking YOU can be over the limit to drive on less alcohol than you may think. If you’re out celebrating over the festive period, don’t drink if you’re driving. The legal limit for driving is 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. However, it’s very difficult to judge when you’ve reached that limit. Alcohol affects each person differently. Many factors will influence the level of alcohol in your blood, such as age, weight, how quickly your body breaks down chemicals, type of drink, the speed of drinking and the amount that you’ve eaten. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your driving in a number of ways, including: • slower reactions • increased stopping distance • poorer judgment of speed and distance • a reduced field of vision Alcohol can also make you feel overconfident. This may make you more likely to take risks when driving, creating dangerous situations for yourself and other people on the road. Around half a million breath tests are carried out every year, so if you drink before you drive you could still get caught, even if you don’t cause an accident.

If you’re found guilty of drink driving, you could lose your licence, get a £5,000 fine, be sentenced to up to six months in prison, and pay increased rates for your car insurance. Designated driver. There are plenty of alternatives to drinking and driving that won’t spoil your fun. Why not take turns with your friends or family members at being the designated driver? Some pubs offer free soft drinks to the person being ‘Des’ for the night. Otherwise, take a taxi or agree in advance to stay at a friend’s house for the night. Make sure you only stay with someone you know and trust. If you’ve spent the evening drinking and you plan to drive the next day, it’s safest to leave at least 12 hours for the alcohol to leave your system. If you’ve drunk a lot, you may need even more time. You may still be affected by alcohol the morning after. If you have a hangover, your driving ability may be impaired anyway. If you’re stopped and given a breath test, you will be treated in the same way as if you were caught the night before. If you’re having a party at home, consider your guests who may not be drinking alcohol, and make them a non-alcoholic cocktail. ■ NHS Choices



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Face the peril: MMDA pushes metro-wide quake audit of all structures MANILA, Philippines - In the aftermath of the magnitude 7.2 tremor that struck the Visayas last week, a Metro Manila-wide audit of buildings and structures should be done right

after the barangay elections to allow authorities to act on risks to people, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said Wednesday. The Metropolitan Manila Development

The historic Manila Cathedral, seen here in file photo taken before it was shuttered this year for over 20 months of retrofitting, is one of the public structures that has caught the attention of safety experts. Officials say the centuries-old cathedral will be opened to the public anew once it gets a clean bill of health again. Churches in Bohol and Cebu, most of them declared national heritage sites, were not as lucky: they were badly damaged by the Oct. 15 temblor. MMDA chief Francis Tolentino wants all structures in Metro Manila to be audited for safety immediately. Photo by Bernard Testa ©

Authority chief said the earthquake risk survey is crucial in pinpointing public and private buildings, including homes with structural deficiencies, so that proper action can be taken. Local engineers and building officials can carry out corrective measures, especially in schools that in the past have suffered some damage. Among the hundreds who died in the 1990 killer earthquake that hit Metro Manila and Central Luzon were children buried in a schoolbuilding that collapsed in Cabanatuan. A subsequent check of schools in the National Capital Region showed many bore cracks or needed urgent repairs, but funds for retrofitting those badly hit were reportedly scarce at that time. It is unclear how many such schools still need repairs right now. Tolentino said, “In view of the clamor to revisit some of the provisions of the National Building Code, we should start this earthquake risk audit so we can plan and implement contingency measures in case a strong earthquake hit Metro Manila.” The MMDA chief likens the earthquake survey to a population census. He envisions it

to be simultaneously carried out by the 17 local government units (LGUs) in the metropolis, tapping local engineering students from various universities as enumerators. These enumerators will do house-tohouse inspection and survey, focusing on the structural integrity of the structure. “A hazard risk audit of specific structures should be made quickly based on engineering analysis and earthquake reduction formulas. Although earthquakes are natural and unavoidable, buildings and structures do not need to collapse or be seriously damaged to save lives,” Tolentino explained. The data gathered from the survey shall be used by the local building official and engineering offices to enforce preventive and corrective measures, he added. “The result of the earthquake census should lead to retrofitting of public and private buildings based on risk assessment and cost benefit analysis and other engineering, seismic, and geological models to reduce quake structural deficiencies, thereby preventing unnecessary loss of lives and properties.”

Jessica Zafra: We can rebuild the heritage churches of Bohol and Cebu the sites? People attend mass at the mall

WHEN the aftershocks cease, when public utilities and services are restored, when the rubble is cleared, when the displaced residents are safe in their rebuilt houses, then we think about the heritage sites in Bohol and Cebu that were damaged by the earthquake. Those ruined structures, churches mostly, are recognized as historical landmarks and cultural treasures. “Why do we have to rebuild them?” Because those churches are part of our history and culture, whether you are aware of it or not. General apathy or ignorance doesn’t make them any less important. Those churches are part of this nation’s soul, and by “soul” I mean nature, essence, identity, not anything pertaining to religious belief. I am less interested in churches as places of worship than as significant repositories of art, culture and history—only the stuff of civilization. “Why can’t we just build new ones that can withstand earthquakes?” The churches that collapsed are hundreds of years old. They

have withstood centuries of seismic tremors; it took a direct hit to bring them down. That’s good, solid architecture. Name some buildings in our cities that are hundreds of years old. Hmm, the structures in Intramuros…oh right, they’re churches. The really ancient churches were built out of stone and egg white. During the Spanish colonial period, our ancestors had to render service to the Church. Or was it the State. Anyway, they meant the same thing at the time (and some people think they still do). Our forefathers showed up at the church construction sites, each of them carrying an egg. No, it was not their lunch. The egg white was used for mortar; the collected yolks of all those eggs were made into ensaymada and leche flan. This is a fact. Every time we eat ensaymada and leche flan today, it’s a throwback to the construction of those stone churches. That’s what culture is: you may not know it, but it’s there. Always. “Why not construct shopping malls on

anyway.” Shopping malls are temples to global capitalism and the free market. (Think about this the next time you attend mass at the mall: Who are you worshipping, exactly?) They will take over every aspect of our lives eventually. Meanwhile, we still need actual physical reminders of our national heritage. Those churches need to be rebuilt. And it can be done. The structures may have collapsed, but the stones are still there. We hope the National Commission for Culture and the Arts has people at the various sites to make sure that the stones are not carted away. The earthquake was a catastrophe, but these things happen. We have no control over tectonic plates, but we do have control over the fallen masonry. If those stones are used as landfill—that’s the tragedy. I suggest that our architecture and engineering schools require their students to do their practicum at the Bohol and Cebu church sites. Let them get their hands dirty. You can’t

The badly damaged, centuries-old Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu City is seen in this contributed photo by ©Engr. Ed Austria

get any more practical than that. These are the people who aspire to build dwellings and public spaces for human beings: now they can learn from the old ways, and perhaps suggest improvements to the structures. Students from all disciplines who wish to volunteer in the rebuilding should be made welcome. Get out into the world, see all the stuff you’ve heard about in lectures, live. Of course, experts would oversee the rebuilding and ensure that the work is done correctly, but this massive undertaking needs as many hands as it can get. We could even invite students from other

Tolentino said the earthquake risk survey should be done right after the barangay elections on October 28 with the LGUs at the helm. A study commissioned by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) had predicted 37,000 deaths possibly occurring in Metro Manila in the event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Recently, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reminded people that the West Valley Fault that runs through a long portion of northeast Metro Manila was ripe for movement, given its pattern of shifting after every 400 years. The Phivolcs stressed, however, that no one can predict earthquakes, and that warnings of an imminent “intensity 8” earthquake that could be triggered by the West Valley Fault, along with another strong earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, did not emanate from the agency. The management of TV5, which was cited as the “source” of such erroneous information in social media, has disclaimed it. ■ Clara Masinag / / October 23, 2013 / 4:15 PM

countries to help in the reconstruction efforts. Get intimately acquainted with the medieval, baroque and Spanish colonial styles, everyone! In countries like France, Italy and Greece, student volunteers spend their summer vacations helping out at archeological digs. Not only do they help recover vital artifacts, they also get to travel, get immersed in other cultures, and make constructive use of time they would’ve spent complaining of boredom. When Florence was flooded and its paintings and archives submerged in dirty water, people from all over the world turned up to rescue the art of the Renaissance. We’re not exactly strangers to catastrophe. There’s never enough money, and resources are always scarce, but we make do. When appliances and machines are broken, Pinoys will find a way to fix it—raise your hands, people who still use Betamax players. Natural disasters are unavoidable. The real tragedy is losing our culture and heritage, and that tragedy can be averted. ■ Jessica Zafra / October 22, 2013 9:15 PM

Not only Pork: Osmeña wants to abolish all special accounts in govt coffers MANILA, Philippines – The cleanup of the budget should not end with the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Senator Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III asserted Wednesday, as he pushed the scrapping of all fungible special accounts in the National Treasury and their integration into the general fund. In an interview after the budget hearing of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Osmeña explained there is a provision creating these funds which provides discretionary powers to the President. “There seems to be a clause that says, ‘these funds are deemed automatically appropriated for whatever the President decides.’ E, ‘di pork barrel ng Presidente [therefore it becomes pork barrel of the President],” Osmeña said. Though both members of the Liberal Party, Osmeña and Sen. Ralph Recto, another partymate of President Aquino, have been pushing to trim sweeping discretionary powers of the Executive over billions in public funds through a wide array of off-budget and special purpose funds that do not go through Congress.

Critics, led by Social Watch--lead convenor of the Alternative Budget Initiative—have said this setup, inherited—but not corrected—by the Aquino administration, makes a mockery of the constitutional mandate of Congress to have power over the purse. A day after the House of Representatives rushed passage on third reading of the 2014 budget bill, Social Watch said it will support an initiative by Sen. Miriam Santiago to rid the budget bill of these amorphous funding schemes. Aside from PDAF, Osmeña listed some of these funds that should be transformed from their current questionable nature—as special funds comingled with the general fund, and then deemed appropriated already and drawn at will by the Executive without going through Congress. These are the Motor Vehicle Users Charge from LTO, Malampaya Fund from Malampaya Natural Gas Project, Congressional Oversight Committee on Fisheries and Agriculture Modernization, Philippine Virginia Leaves Tobacco Fund and the Sugar Fund, among others. “They have been created over the past decades. Now it is so hard to track these

funds. And because money tends to be fungible, the government can now borrow and say it is automatically appropriated, but actually it is not in the appropriations of the budget [act],” he said. Osmeña wants to bring all these monies to the general fund so that the people will be informed on how these sums are utilized. “Bring all these funds, eliminate all these funds, and bring it back to the General Fund, so it all becomes transparent to the taxpayer, transparent to the people. You can clearly see

Sen. Serge Osmeña III: tracking billions made difficult by so many special funds drawn at will by Executive.

how these were spent,” he added, speaking partly in Filipino. At the Development Budget Coordinating Council (DBCC) briefing at the Senate last Tuesday, Osmeña and Recto took turns grilling economic managers on the P131billion Malampaya funds collected under the Aquino Administration. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon admitted that there is no more cash because the Malampaya proceeds were treated as revenue and comingled with the general fund. But, they assured senators, if there is a vital project that must be funded, the monies for such can be sourced by the Executive. Asked by Recto if such sources include borrowings, they said yes. “The other day, we questioned the ₱130-billion balance of the Malampaya funds,; the answer was, ‘it’s there but it’s not there.’ What does that mean? They say it’s intact. I asked, ‘how did you book it, does it have an accounts receivable?’” Osmeña recalled asking the officials from the Executive. “That ₱130 billion, hiniram din iyan [that

was borrowed too, effectively]. Sabi may intact pero wala naman ang cash dun. [You said it’s intact but the cash is not there]. In other words, you used the funds. How did you use the funds? It’s not in our budget. If it’s in our budget, show us where did you use the funds. The people have a right to know that,” Osmeña said. Osmeña also cited the ₱30-billion proceeds from the sale of Fort Bonifacio which was intended for use in the AFP Modernization Program. Only ₱5 billion was utilized from the proceeds, and the rest were comingled with the general fund. “Let’s look at what else was missing before, that’s the Armed Forces of the Philippines [modernization funds] from the sale of Fort Bonifacio. That was a big amount; ₱30 billion that was supposed to go to the modernization program of the Armed Forces. The only thing spent at that time was ₱5 billion….They said the balance, is still intact. What do they mean ‘intact’?! There’s no more cash there because it was borrowed for something else,” Osmeña explained. ■ Ernie Reyes / / October 23, 2013 / 6:19 PM



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

‘World’s most successful pianist’ Richard Clayderman to perform in Manila this November NAMED by the Guinness Book of World Records as “the most successful pianist in the world”, Richard Clayderman has sold over 80 million records worldwide.

Richard Clayderman

Here in the Philippines, Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès) is best known for his signature tune “Ballad pour Adeline” — more popularly known to television fans as the background music for “Lovingly Yours, Helen”, the hit weekly drama anthology that lorded over the Sunday afternoon slot on GMA Network from 1980 to 1996. Despite his fruitful musical career anchored mainly by the tune’s enduring popularity, the French-born pianist never actually performed in the country—until now. In a recent telephone interview with InterAksyon, the now 59-year-old Clayderman said that he is looking forward to his November 16 concert at the PICC Plenary Hall where he will also get to play with our local musicians. “I’m very excited because I will play with three sets of Filipino musicians. I know there are a lot of good musicians in your country which is why I consider myself very lucky to be in your country for the first time,” he enthused.

Having traveled in many parts of the world, he said every country he visits becomes instantly close to his heart. Aside from the Philippines, he will also perform in Malaysia and China as part of his Asian tour to promote his latest album “Romantique”. Asked about the secret of his success and why so many people are able to connect with his mostly unforgettable piano instrumentals, Clayderman simply says it’s mainly because of the “nice melodies” he plays. With regards to the song that put him on the world map, Clayderman revealed that “Ballad pour Adeline” was actually written by fellow Frenchmen Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint as a tribute to the latter’s then newborn daughter, Adeline. During auditions conducted by Toussaint in 1976, Clayderman won the right to record the game-changing instrumental ballad over 20 other aspirants. “The real Adeline is now 36 years old and is living in Italy. Sometimes I get the

Miss World Megan Young hits the Big Apple MISS World 2013 Megan Young posted several pictures of her trip to New York City on the Miss World website on Wednesday, one day after arriving in the Big Apple. The Philippines’ latest international beauty queen and first ever Miss World winner is spending this week in America with Miss World chair Julia Morley and Mr. World Francisco Escobar. She will take part in a series of interviews and appearances in New York before heading for Los Angeles. This is the first trip to New York for the 23-year-old Filipino-American who was born in Alexandria, Virginia. “Hello World! Megan here, and right now I am in New York!” she said in her diary page on the Miss World website. “I am having an amazing time out here,

opportunity to speak with her. Two months ago, I was in vacation with her in Germany,” Clayderman replied when asked whatever happened to Adeline. Even though he doesn’t get to see her as often as he used to, Clayderman still thinks of Adeline whenever he plays the song. “When I play this gentle ballad always I think of Adeline’s adventure. It’s very nice, very simple. I think the song touched the hearts of a lot of people from around the world,” he conceded. Dubbed for former US First Lady Nancy Reagan as the “Prince of Romance”, Clayderman considers classical music icons Chopin, Mozart and Bach as his idols. He paid his dues by starting his career as an accompanist and session musician until “Ballad pour Adeline” changed his life forever. His other big hits include “A Comme Amour” and “Letter to my Mother”. During the height of his popularity, Clayderman would play as many as 200 concerts outside

of France in a span of only 250 days. With the release of his new album, which again includes “Ballad pour Adeline”, Clayderman said that he intends to play most of the other tracks in his coming Manila concert. “I will play my ‘West Side Story Medley’ as well as the familiar melody from the movie ‘Schindler’s List’,” he revealed. “I hope the Philippine audience will like the new songs just as much as they enjoyed my past work.” MCA Music (Universal Music Philippines) proudly presents “Richard Clayderman: The Romantique Concert Live! In Manila” on November 16, Saturday, 8PM at the PICC Plenary Hall. For ticket information, visit “Romantique” is also now available in CDs at Astroplus, Odyssey Music & Video and Fully Booked or online via Smart Music or iTunes RCromantiqueph ■ Edwin P. Sallan / InterAksyon. com / Monday, October 21, 2013 / 6:15 PM

Pop singer Ke$ha arrives in Manila for concert

AMERICAN pop singer Kesha Rose Seber, known to music fans worldwide as Ke$ha, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on board Japan Airlines flight JAL 745 at 9:50PM on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter, who was escorted by bodyguards and airport

security personnel, will hold a concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Thursday. Kesha is the voice behind all the party hits “Tik Tok”, “Blah Blah Blah”, “Your Love Is My Drug”, “We R Who We R”, “Blow”, “Die Young”, “C’mon”, and “Crazy Kids”. ■ Eric B. Apolonio / / October 23,

2013 / 7:15 AM

Megan Young poses during a cruise around the Statue of Liberty.

and have a few snapshots for you. I have been working on a little video for you guys and that will be with you shortly, but for now here are a few of my pictures!” she added. ■ / October 23, 2013 / 6:31 PM

Megan Young poses before taking her first bite of her first New York hotdog.

Jinri Park bids Manila goodbye to study acting in Korea

LONG-TIME Philippine resident Jinri Park bade her Filipino fans goodbye on Wednesday. The 25-year-old Korean model, actress and radio jock moved back to her native South Korea where she will stay

Jinri Park during her recent guest appearance on ‘What’s Up, Doods?’

indefinitely to pursue serious training in acting. “The fact I’m leaving is really because I do miss my family and want to take acting seriously. I applied for masters in acting in Korea,” she said in a farewell note she posted on Instagram. Jinri turned her back on a leading lady role in the Vic Sotto sitcom “Vampire ang Daddy Ko”, a regular show on RX 93.1, and a growing profile as a model for men’s magazines and her own photo books. But unlike Sandara Park before her, she said she was “not quitting showbiz” and promised to return. However, she did not rule out the prospect of joining South Korea’s entertainment industry. “If there’s an opportunity to join showbiz there, I’ll try it out, but I’m not going there to be an actress/K-pop artist. If it happens then it happens,” she posted when she broke the

news of her departure last month. Recently, she raised a lot of eyebrows when she guested on Edu Manzano’s talk show “What’s Up, Doods?” and said she found comedian Ramon Bautista “really attractive now”. ■ / October 23,

2013 / 5:10 PM

Ke$ha is escorted by bodyguards and airport security personnel upon arrival at the NAIA Tuesday night, October 22, 2013. Photo by Eric B. Apolonio ©

Glaiza de Castro looks forward to producing her own album VERSATILE actress Glaiza de Castro is back on television as Gregoria de Jesus in Katipunan. The strong woman you see onscreen is as empowered in real life. The well-rounded star is not just an actress, but also a passionate musician who is keen on expressing her creativity. Glaiza describes herself as a home buddy. She’d rather stay at home than go shopping or partying. She shared, “Minsan, lumalabas din ako kapag naiimbitahan sa mga magagandang gig, pero normally, nasa bahay lang ako. Nagta-try ako magluto tapos mahilig akong manood ng mga movies. Mahilig ako magkalikot ng mga pang garage band.” The Kapuso actress used to have a band before, but she is now focusing on making her own music. “Ngayon, I’m working on my solo project. Hopefully, matapos ko, kasi ‘yun talaga ‘yung pangarap ko – ‘yung makapagproduce ako ng album ko na ako lang talaga ‘yung gumawa,” stated the pretty actress. What kind of songs will she be making? Will she be belting out rock and roll tunes

since she is into that genre? She answered, “Ayoko siyang ikulong sa isang genre, pero let’s say hindi siya mahilig pakinggan. Ito ‘yung tipo na kapagka nagdra-drive ka, kunwari may roadtrip ka, ‘yun ‘yung mga songs na gusto mong pakinggan.” Music is definitely therapeutic for Glaiza, but she also brings out her kikay side when she wants to relax. The Kapuso star told us, “Nagpapafacial ako. Mahilig din ako sa masahe. Usually, nagpapa home service ako. Bahay lang talaga ‘yung pinaka stress reliever ko; ‘yung normal na ginagawa lang ng isang tao. Kasi ang expectations ng iba, ‘pag celebrity ka, ‘yung lifestyle mo magarbo, pero normal lang talaga kami.” ■ October 19, 2013 / 2:30 PM

November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition



DSWD to reach out to Freddie Aguilar, 16-year-old girlfriend, her parents

AGE does matter when it comes to love as far as the Department of Social Welfare and Development is concerned. DSWD Assistant Secretary Florita Villar told News5 reporter Rocel Lopez that their agency intends to talk to embattled singersongwriter Freddie Aguilar, his 16-year old girlfriend, and the girl’s parents who are based in Mindoro Oriental. Citing Republic Act No. 7610 also known as the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, Villar pointed out that the law defines “children” as “persons below 18 years of age”. Since the DSWD’s mandate is to protect the welfare of the children, they intend to send social workers to Mindoro to determine if the girl has had the proper “parental guidance” needed for minors of her age. They also intend to reach out to Ka Freddie and the girl herself who they believe are both in Metro Manila. Ka Freddie has declared that his relationship with his girlfriend has the blessings of her parents. The legendary folk artist best known for songs like “Anak”, “Estudyante Blues”, “Magdalena” and “Napupuyat” also said he intends to marry her when she reaches 18. In a recent article, TV5 legal analyst Atty.

Mel Sta. Maria explained why minors are protected by law in cases of them having relationship with older partners. “Minors are considered not mature enough to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. They are at that formative stage when they are still creating their independent experiences which, in the long run, can produce either a wayward life or a good one. That is why our law places children under the parental authority of their parents—up to the age of 18 years,” Atty. Sta. Maria wrote. The lawyer added that Aguilar and even the girl’s parents could be criminally liable under provisions of Republic Act 7610 and

Article 338 of the revised penal code if it can be proven that the older man’s act of enticing the girl to a sexual relationship are “part of a deceitful strategy”. “This would hold even if the girl’s parents consented to the relationship. And even if the young girl were to declare unequivocally that her love for the older man is genuine,” Atty Sta. Maria added. Meanwhile, Ka Freddie’s daughter, Maegan Aguilar continued to vigorously defend her father from bashers on her Facebook page. She said she admires her father for being honest and forthright about his relationship. ■ Edwin P. Sallan / InterAksyon. com / October 23, 2013 / 10:10 AM

This collage of photos showing Freddie Aguilar and his girlfriend kissing surfaced online last week.

GMA-7 gives away 25M in biggest ‘Kapuso Milyonaryo’ WITH the holidays being just around the corner, GMA-7 embraces the season of giving once more as it continues to offer its loyal viewers the chance to bring home millions of pesos as well as exciting prizes with its new promo campaign, “Kapuso Milyonaryo Todo Pamasko.” Kapuso Milyonaryo has not only proven to be the most successful network promo GMA has had in recent years, it has also proven to be life changing. Delza Respecia, a past ₱1 million winner from Mindanao, used her winnings to start a small business. Other past ₱1 million winners, Junard Villarico from Visayas and Wilma Rabac from Luzon were able

to rebuild their homes. Apart from these three, more than 700 winners have won exciting prizes from Kapuso Milyonaryo. Proving its utmost appreciation for audiences from all over the country this holiday season, GMA will give away its biggest set of prizes. Joining GMA in giving away over ₱25 million worth of prizes tax free are Nescafé 3in1, Milo Chocolate Powdered Drink, Family’s Brand Sardines, Smart Prepaid, CDO, Aji-GinisaT Flavor Seasoning Mix, and Energen. Such include ₱1 million each to 7 lucky winners from the partner brands, 2 house and lot units from ProFriends, 2

pick-up trucks and 13 motorcycles from Yamaha in the grand draw. Aside from these, there will also be 3 winners of ₱1 million each, 2 winners of ₱100,000 from Energen, and 15 winners of motorcycles from Yamaha any time during the course of the promo campaign. Every week from October 28 to December 20, GMA will announce 12 winners of ₱7,000 each, 1 winner of ₱100,000 from Energen 1 winner of a Pangkabuhayan package plus ₱10,000 from Family’s Brand Sardines and 2 winners of smartphones from Smart Prepaid. ■ / October 22, 2013 / 4:56 PM

Krista K wows the crowd during a recent performance. Photos courtesy of Krista K

Krista K thrilled with recording sessions with Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo

BEAUTY queen turned dance pop diva Krista Kleiner — now known as simply Krista K — admits she was saddened by the abrupt cancellation of the 1 World Music Festival in Singapore last month that she would have headlined along with international artists Moby, Iggy Azalea, Snoop Dogg and Far East Movement. The shelving of the event, however, did allow her to get some work done with another performer in that concert: Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas. After their well-received live duet of the Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” last April which they repeated during the F1 Grand Prix After Party last month, Taboo and Krista continue to make beautiful music together and have recently recorded songs in Los Angeles. In a recent interview with InterAksyon, Krista talked about what’s it like to watch, work with and get to know Taboo, who maintains a low profile compared to fellow Black Eyed Pea members, and Fergie. “Taboo is a true entertainer. Watching him perform live as a solo artist blows my mind every time,” she exclaimed. “He is an exceptional live performer having an amazing ability to grab the audience and hold them in and really make a party with his DJ mixed with live performance set. I don’t think people know what to expect before he performs solo, but I’m telling you, by the end of his set he has the whole crowd in love with him.” Krista said she and Taboo hit it off after doing several live shows together. “He invited me then to try recording in LA. That trip went so well that he offered to up the commitment and take me on, completely mentoring me, producing lots more songs for me, and working on a live show together,” she revealed. “Taboo has been such a great help in guiding me to find myself as an artist. We not only have a great creative partnership, but have also become good friends. I respect him so much as a person and an artist. I’m so excited to have this opportunity to continue working with him on original music and a show together.” But as close as they have become, Krista maintains that they are just good friends. Taboo, she said, is actually married to a Filipina and would love to come back to the Philippines to perform as a solo act in the near future. As collaborations go, Krista said the other big project she’s working on is that of her own wedding to Australian-Singaporean fiancé

Patrick Grove, whom she met in Malaysia. “He and I are both so busy at the moment. We think that the earliest would be towards the end of next year for a big wedding. We got so drained from organizing two big engagement parties earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and in LA so we needed some time before diving into planning a big wedding,” she confessed. Not that they don’t have anything already planned in mind. Krista said that at the moment, she and Patrick are leaning towards a two-day big wedding in Bali, Indonesia and have discussed inviting several big names to provide entertainment. “We are, however, thinking of possibly running away to somewhere far and romantic spontaneously and doing our own ceremony just the two of us before then. Santorini, Greece or Maldives? Maybe both,” she enthused. For now, Krista is focusing on promoting her latest single, “Bading Ka Ba, Baby?” “I’ve been holding on to this song and the finished music video for what feels like ages now because I’ve been so busy. Finally putting it out feels a bit like giving birth. The song and music video are just so funny! I really believe the Philippine market will enjoy this one,” she enthused. A pop-comedy song that Krista wrote herself, she said “Bading Ka Ba, Baby?” is “about a girl who is dating someone and nagco-confess siya sa mga friends niya, of course to the listeners, na, ‘I think bading iyong boyfriend ko, pero ‘di ako sure.” Using gay lingo she picked up when she was still based in the country, Krista said the video features several cameos from the likes of John “Sweet” Lapus, Bianca Manalo, Divine Lee, Becky Nights, Jay Gonzaga, among others who made the song even more hilarious. “Bading Ka Ba, Baby?” is taken from her debut album “Feels So Good” which is distributed in the Philippines by Universal Records and is available at local record outlets and online stores nationwide. ■ Edwin P. Sallan / / October 22, 2013 / 11:10 AM

Krista K performs with Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas.



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Are there criminal consequences to May-December affairs such as Freddie Aguilar’s? SINGER Freddie Aguilar’s confirmation of his relationship with a young lady— reportedly, in fact, a 16-year-old girl—has raised not only eyebrows, but questions of law. When an older person gets romantically involved with a teenager, can there be legal consequences? There is a reason why children under 18 years of age cannot legally marry, vote, drive a car, give consent to a contract, or even see a movie with some sexual, though not overly prurient, scenes without parental guidance. There is also a reason why children 15-years-old and below are considered without liability should they commit a crime. Those 16-and 17-yearsold can be prosecuted only if proven to have sufficient discernment and, at any rate, will still not suffer any jail term if they are deemed reformed upon reaching the age of 18. Minors are considered not mature enough to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. They are at that formative stage when they are still creating their independent experiences which, in the long run, can produce either a wayward life or a good one. That is why our law places children under the parental authority of their parents—up to the age of 18 years. And so if lack of discernment and maturity is the basic premise to why children are fully protected, they must likewise be conclusively presumed to not fully understand the nature and depth of having a romantic or sexual relationship with the an older person. The gullibility, impressionistic mindset, and the sense of excitement of a teenager, may be

taken advantage of by older people to the detriment of the former. Even if a girl above 12 but below 18 years of age were to fully consent to sexual intercourse with an older man, the latter can still be charged for criminal seduction under Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code if it is proven that his acts in enticing the girl

were part of a deceitful strategy. This would hold even if the girl’s parents consented to the relationship. And even if the young girl were to declare unequivocally that her love for the older man is genuine. That declaration is not exculpatory. In fact, that is the essence of criminal seduction. A girl may not know that her

feeling, authentic though it may be, may well be just the by-product of deceitful manipulation of her older boyfriend. This is nothing less than sexual abuse and exploitation of minors. If found guilty, the seducer will suffer a penalty of arresto mayor—a jail term of one month and one day to six months. Civil damages amounting to millions of pesos can also be ordered to answer for the emotional and physical damage suffered by the child. Talking about exploitation of minors, Section 10 (b) of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”, provides that child abuse and exploitation can also be committed by a person “who shall keep or have in his company a minor, twelve (12) years or under or who is ten (10) years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places.” A private place could be the house of the exploiter or abuser. A public place could be a club, a bar, a movie house, the mall or, as the law said, a beer joint. The abuser or exploiter shall “suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period.” This means jail term from 10 years and 1 day to 12 years. He shall also be fined an amount of not less than ₱50,000. Civil damages can also be ordered to pay the child. That amount can reach up to millions of pesos depending on the damage to the child, both physically and emotionally. The law will however “not apply to any person who is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or any

bond recognized by law, local custom and tradition or acts in the performance of a social, moral or legal duty.” However, if the parents are the ones who induce, deliver or offer the child to the culprit, they shall suffer imprisonment from 8 years and 1 day to 10 years. There is no question that, under our Family Code, their parental authority can be terminated. Not only that, Section 6 of Republic Act 7610 also provides that if a “person, not a relative of a child, is found alone with the said child inside the room or cubicle of a house, an inn, hotel, motel, pension house, apartelle or other similar establishments, vessel, vehicle or any other hidden or secluded area under circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the child is about to be exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse,” this can be considered indicative of an attempt to have the child prostituted or subjected to sexual abuse. There is nothing wrong with falling in love. But when such feeling is generated from minor children by an adult, society steps in for the child’s protection should the parents be remiss. The protective mantle falls very hard on any adult seducer, abuser, molester, and exploiter. Nothing less than incarceration is justified as a penalty. Instead of experiencing a MayDecember romance with the young girl, he may just end up suffering that period in jail. ■ Att y. Mel Sta. Maria / News5 / October 19,

2013 / 3:45 PM

Mel Sta. Maria is the resident legal analyst of TV5. He teaches at the Ateneo School of Law and co-hosts the daily radio program ‘Relayson’ on Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM.

Promising singer-songwriter Kai Honasan makes beautiful music with her ukulele ALTHOUGH often overshadowed by its more famous cousin, the guitar, the four-string ukulele has surged in popularity in recent years starting with Sir Paul McCartney’s tribute tour to George Harrison in 2002. Here at home, the ukulele specialty store Ukulele Philippines located in The Collective at Malugay Street in San Antonio Village in Makati organized the country’s first ukulele festival last weekend. The three-day event officially opened last October 25 at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall followed by an intimate dinner concert the following Saturday at Buddha Bar and concluded with a Ukulele Workshop last Sunday. There were featured performances from five international ukulele players, namely Aldrine Guerrero, Kalei Gamiao and Derick Sebastian from Hawaii, Kyas Ryo from Japan; and Apirak Sirinanthakul from Thailand. The festival also featured a good number of local performers such as Jennifer Blair-Bianco, Manskee Nascimiento and Kai Honasan. Kai (yes, she’s the senator’s daughter) in particular is considered one of the most promising singer-songwriters in indie music circles. In a recent interview with InterAksyon, Kai said she wanted to pursue a career in music as early as the age of 5.

“I wanted to become a piano teacher. I started writing songs beginning in grade school when I was around 8 years old. I’d write jingles to help me memorize my lessons for class. At 11, I learned how to sing with the church choir,” she recalled. But it wasn’t until 2010 when she was already 22 that Kai started to fancy the ukulele and eventually embraced it as her instrument of choice. “I started out as a classical pianist at age 4 and got frustrated in high school when people started getting into bands and I didn’t have a piano handy. In college, I wanted to find the most convenient instrument to carry around so I bought a cheap uke and taught myself,” she said. Her musical perspective has never been the same since as she now writes songs with either a piano first then transfer it to the uke or direct to the uke altogether. Now 25, Kai is blessed with strong and often quirky pop sensibilities and a soulful, distinctive voice that recalls Natalie Merchant in must-hear ditties like “Tongue-Tied”, “Everyday”, “Go”, “Heartbeat”, “This City” and “Liwanag” from the neo-rock ballet “Rock Supremo”. “My songs are musical versions of the moment where you and I catch up over beer after a long absence. How I write is exactly how I sound in normal conversation. Mga kantang pang-

kwentuhan, pampaaliw,” she mused. Kai admits to be influenced by a lot of “chick singer-songwriters” like Lily Allen, Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson as well as her sister-in-law Barbie Almalbis and the Pinoy fusion band Yosha, which also features her brother Karel. Her songwriting chops were further honed when she joined the annual Elements National Singing-Songwriting Camp in Dumaguete City. “I wanted to experience collaboration. Before camp, I wrote alone in my bathroom. My audition video was exactly that with matching eye bags and sad face. The company made camp exceptional,” she noted. “Your co-campers become lifelong friends and collaborators. Your musical heroes become actual human beings then friends so your hero worship grows twice as much. Suddenly, you are all equals when Mr. C (Ryan Cayabyab) is giving a music theory refresher and when lining up for lechon.” The camp also kept her grounded as it also allowed her to meet other promising artists like Anj Florendo, Keiko Necesario, Michan Saubon, Gus Abarquez, Hopia, Bullet Dumas, Len Calvo and “The Voice of the Philippines” finalist Talia Reyes whom she all admires. Although she has become adept at

Kai Honasan. Photo by Teddy Pelaez ©

playing the ukulele, it is not the only instrument that Kai is fond of. Like McCartney, she is also a big fan of the kazoo, a wind instrument known to add a buzzing timbral quality into its player’s voice. Kai often performs with both her ukulele and kazoo in tow. “The kazoo was influenced by the preschool kids I used to teach in UP Diliman. I also have a baby accordion and melodica that will make a few appearances in gigs soon,” she hinted. As to how she hopes to make a big

musical impact on people, Kai Honasan has this to say. “I want people to get so confused the first gig they watch, they have to come a second time. And so on and so forth, hanggang gets na nila. Tapos bibili sila ng album. “Or if you see me on the street I will sing you a song if you ask nicely,” she gleefully deadpanned. Kai Honasan’s music is currently available at kaihonasan. ■ MJ Marfori / News5 / September 24, 2013 / 6:04 PM



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

2nd Philippines–India Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation JOINT STATEMENT OF THE SECOND MEETING 1. The 2nd Meeting of the PhilippinesIndia Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation was held on 21 October 2013, in Manila. The meeting was cochaired by the Honorable Albert F. Del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines and His Excellency Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India. 2. Secretary Del Rosario and Minister Khurshid held comprehensive discussions on political, defense, security, economic and cultural cooperation, and reviewed the progress of the Joint Working Groups on Trade and Investment, Tourism, Agriculture, Health and Medicine, Joint Committee on Renewable Energy and of the Joint Defense Cooperation Committee. They emphasized that the opportunity to meet regularly at high level is important, to reflect their growing and dynamic bilateral partnership. 3. Secretary Del Rosario reiterated the invitation of President Benigno S. Aquino to H.E. President Pranab Mukherjee and H.E. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the Philippines. Minister Khurshid welcomed the invitations and conveyed that the President of India looked forward to his visit to the Philippines in 2014. 4. The Ministers agreed that the next meetings of the Policy Consultations and Strategic Dialogue will be held in Manila, in 2014.

5. Secretary Del Rosario briefed Minister Khurshid on the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its Annexes. Minister Khurshid expressed India’s support to the Philippine government’s pursuit of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao. 6. Secretary Del Rosario also briefed Minister Khurshid on the developments in the West Philippine Sea. Minister Khurshid expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea/ South China Sea dispute consistent with freedom of navigation and the rule of law. 7. The Ministers affirmed their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterated their commitment to expand and deepen cooperation in counter terrorism. In this regard, they agreed to convene the Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, in New Delhi, in 2014 to discuss all issues related to terrorism and other transnational crimes. 8. Aware that the rise of transnational crime necessitates increased international judicial cooperation, they agreed to commence negotiations on Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters (MLAT) in December 2013 and consider a Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement (TSP). Secretary Del Rosario also committed to push for the immediate ratification of the PH-India Extradition Treaty.

9. On defense cooperation, the Ministers welcomed the convening of the 2nd Meeting of the PH-India Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) in November 2013, in New Delhi. They also committed to increase exchanges in military training and education. Secretary Del Rosario thanked Minister Khurshid for the naval ship visits which strengthened relations between Philippine and Indian navy and coast guard forces. Minister Khurshid thanked the Philippines side for assistance to the sailing ship INS Sudarshini, on its voyage to mark the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in December 2012. 10. The Ministers agreed to step up cooperation in combating nontraditional threats through exchange of experiences and capacity building in the areas of disaster management, food security and pandemics. The Philippines side welcomed the cash support of US$100,000 provided by the Indian side for disaster relief following the recent devastating earthquake in the Philippines. 11. The Ministers committed to increase bilateral trade and investments between their countries and to fully maximize the potential of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment to bring their bilateral trade to an even higher level. Minister Khurshid welcomed the encouragement provided by Secretary Del Rosario to facilitate the expansion

of Indian investments in the Philippines to the sectors of textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, tourism, renewable energy and automotive parts. 12. They welcomed the results of the 2nd Meeting of the Joint Working Group on Tourism and agreed to review the 1949 Bilateral Air Services Agreement. 13. The Ministers agreed to convene the 2nd Meeting of the Joint Working Group on Agriculture and the 2nd Meeting of the Joint Working Group in Health and Medicine at an early date. 14. They welcomed the convening of the first meeting of the Joint Committee on New and Renewable Energy in July this year, and called for the adoption of its Action Plan. 15. Noting the phenomenal growth and symbiotic relationship of Philippine and Indian Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) companies, the Ministers committed to conclude at the earliest the proposed Memorandum

of Understanding in Information and Communications Technology. They also agreed that the 1987 Agreement for Cooperation in Science and Technology must be tapped and implemented through a Program of Cooperation (PoC). 16. They also agreed to discuss a new Executive Program on Cultural Exchange, for the years 2014 to 2016. 17. The Ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the forthcoming 11th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held in New Delhi, and the India-ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit (EAS) in Brunei. 18. The Ministers agreed that the 3rd Meeting of the Joint Commission will be held in 2015, in New Delhi. 19. Minister Khurshid thanked Secretary Del Rosario for the excellent hosting and the hospitality extended to him and his delegation during his visit. ■ Manila / October 21, 2013

DFA-ASEAN Hosts 2nd International Conference on ASEAN Community Building THE Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of ASEAN Affairs (DFA-ASEAN) hosted the 2nd International Conference on ASEAN Community Building from October 16 to 18 at the Traders Hotel in Manila. The conference aimed at strengthening the capabilities of Philippine government agencies and enhancing their collaborative capacities in working toward the realization of the ASEAN Community. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Evan

P. Garcia delivered the opening remarks to over 90 participants from over 42 government agencies, governmentcontrolled corporations, and representatives from the ASEAN Embassies in Manila who were invited to take part in the threeday conference. The Undersecretary said that while ASEAN Leaders set the policies and directions of ASEAN, the Ministerial Sectoral Bodies comprised of the various government agencies implement these

policies and directions. They have the important task of laying the foundation and being the driving force behind ASEAN’s community-building efforts. Assistant Director for Strategic Planning and Coordination Lee Chen Chen and Senior Officer Joel Atienza of the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta provided briefs on current development cooperation projects and the ASEAN Project Appraisal and Management Cycle. Representatives from

the Jakarta-based Missions of Australia, China, Republic of Korea, and the European Union spoke on various funding structures managed by these four (4) Dialogue Partners. Undersecretary Garcia emphasized that one of the aims of the Conference was to hone the participants’ project management and project proposal skills. He added that the meeting would also update the participants on international resources

and funding sources available for ASEAN Community-Building, ASEAN Connectivity, and Narrowing the Development Gap programs, which are provided by ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners and other international organizations. He urged the participants to take on the ASEAN challenge of community building, noting that the “baton was being passed on to their generation.” ASEAN hopes to establish an integrated Community by 2015. ■ October 21, 2013



November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Second Generation Swiss-Filipinos Partner with University of Lucerne in Promoting Awareness About Phl

THE Network of Integrated Pnoys (Noi-P), a network of second generation SwissFilipino professionals based in Switzerland, and the Philippine Studies Network (PSN) of the University of Lucerne, successfully organized on October 19 a conference on Philippine culture and society entitled, “The Philippines Today: Between Changes and Continuities.” The event was attended by more than 50 people, mostly from the academic community, graduate and post-graduate students from all over Switzerland, with a number coming from Germany, and professionals who have done research work on the Philippines.

The conference was opened by Dr. Bettina Beer, a professor of anthropology from the University of Lucerne. In her speech, she shared her encounter with the culture of the Aetas, one of the indigenous groups in the Philippines, during one of her annual immersion trips to the country with her students. The morning discussions focused on social and cultural change in the Philippines, dealing with a wide range of topics from the evolution/development of language within the Philippine social context, the impact of mining on the local populace, to the correlation between social status and energy consumption in the Philippines.

(Left photo) Dr. Bettina Beer welcomes the participants to the conference. (Right photo) Participants include professionals, researchers, and graduate students.

A graduate student also shared her experience during her six-week immersion trip to the Philippines as part of the Philippine Studies program offered by the Department of Ethology of the University of Lucerne. She discussed the structure and cultural values of Filipino families, taking her host family and her adopted community as an example. The afternoon session examined the profile of Philippine migration and health issues relating to migration, specifically focusing on land-based migrants, Filipino household service workers, and undocumented migrants in Geneva. From the multitude of questions raised after each of the presentations, there was obviously a keen interest on the Philippines from among the participants, most of whom have done research work on topics about

the Philippines while some have visited the Philippines a number of times. University students who were present and who have not yet been to the Philippines also posed questions out of curiosity and genuine desire to know more about aspects of Philippine culture and society. The event provided an opportunity for Philippinists and those who are not yet familiar with the Philippines to exchange experiences and knowledge and to explore areas of mutual interests to them. It also offered a good opportunity to promote awareness about the Philippines among Swiss professionals and the Swiss academic community. The event was the second this year organized by of the Noi-P; the first one was a workshop on various traditional Philippine

dances held in May in Zürich. Since its inception in 2010, Noi-P has been organizing events to promote Philippine culture to Swiss and Swiss-Filipino audiences alike. The group is also involved in charity work and has served as reference point for various Swiss as well as international organizations wanting to know more about the Philippines and the Filipino community in Switzerland. The Philippine Studies Network (PSN), on the other hand, is based at the Department of Ethnology of the University of Lucerne. Founded in 2012 by individuals from Lucerne, Berne, Zürich and Geneva, the network aims to encourage linkages within Switzerland and the rest of Europe among those who wish to explore and deepen studies relating to the Philippines. ■ October 23, 2013

More FilAm youths want to work in the Philippines

surge in their desire to learn more about the Philippines,” he said. Kasama Co-President Ulysses Isidro is among those who was inspired by the Ambassador’s remarks and now wants to try his luck in the Philippines after graduation. “After hearing Ambassador Cuisia talk at Yale, I was reminded not to forget my heritage and now hope to visit and possibly work in the Philippines after graduation to learn more about my culture and country firsthand,” said Isidro, a junior majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology whose parents are from Bataan and Capiz. Hannah Gonzales, a sophomore majoring in History whose parents are from Manila said: “Although I knew quite a bit about the Philippines beforehand, Ambassador Cuisia added a new dimension to the Philippines’ role on the world stage that I was not quite familiar with. Now, I can see the Philippines as both an emerging

economy and a fun place to travel to.” Ambassador Cuisia’s visit to Yale and other American universities is part of his efforts to reach out to Filipino-American youth. Since assuming office, Ambassador Cuisia and his wife, Maria Victoria, have actively been engaging Filipino-American youth leaders who they hope would help shape positive perceptions of the Philippines in the US. It was Ambassador Cuisia who conceived the annual Filipino-American Youth Leaders Program (FYLPRO) that was able to bring in 20 youth leaders from across the United States since the project was launched in 2012. He also engages Filipino-American youth through the annual Merienda with Ambassador Cuisia youth forum that was first held at the George Washington University in 2012. This year’s forum was held at the Catholic University of America. ■

Conference speakers and Noi-P members with Consul Tess Lazaro & Cultural Officer Irene Sadang.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A growing number of Filipino-American students are interested in exploring employment opportunities in the Philippines after hearing about the economic transformation taking place in the homeland their parents left years ago. The same is true with Filipinos college and post-graduate students in the United States who would rather return home and work in the Philippines when they finish their studies than seek employment elsewhere, according to Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. “Most of the Filipino-American youths I have talked to see bright prospects for the Philippines and have expressed their desire to find work there,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “You would not be hearing this from them two to three years ago.” Ambassador Cuisia cited a recent visit to Yale University where he noted the positive feedback from not only Filipino-American

but also other foreign students who listened to his remarks on the economic achievements recorded by the Philippines under the leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino III. In his remarks, entitled “The Philippines on the World Stage,” before the “Global Perspectives Symposia” sponsored by the Kasama-The Filipino Club of Yale and the Yale International Relations Association, Ambassador Cuisia cited President Aquino’s good governance agenda for making possible the unprecedented economic growth the Philippines is experiencing. “In terms of our quest for economic security, the Philippines has also pursued a long and difficult process of institutionalizing good governance, promoting the rule of law and ensuring transparency. The results are now obvious—revitalized institutions, confidence in what was once a struggling

economy and greater opportunities opening up for the Filipino people,” Ambassador Cuisia said. He cited projections made by Filipino economist Dr. Bernardo Villegas during an investment roadshow in the US early this year that the Philippine economy will grow at an average of 7 to 9 percent in the next 20 years. “According to Dr. Villegas, this is a strong demonstration of the ‘tipping point’ phenomenon–the result of the transformational leadership changes and the policy reforms introduced in almost 30 years,” Ambassador Cuisia told Yale students. Ambassador Cuisia also expressed surprise at the enthusiasm of FilipinoAmerican students who asked many questions about the Philippines in the open forum that followed. “There seem to be this

Phl Upholds Human Rights and Environmental Protection ORGANIZED by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), together with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Sweden, the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the 13th Informal Seminar on Human Rights opened on October 21 at the Moltkes Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark. Speaking on behalf of the organizers, Philippine Foreign Affairs Adviser and Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo, delivered her remarks on the seminar’s theme “Human Rights and the Environment,” which explores the protection and promotion of human rights in relation to the environment and climate change within the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) framework. Ambassador Manalo, the current Philippine Commissioner of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on

Human Rights (AICHR), emphasized that the Philippines has been at the forefront of human rights in Southeast Asia while it has suffered the devastating impacts of environmental degradation and climate change. “I am sure none of us would dispute that the objectives of protecting human rights and the environment are interlocking, both ultimately aim to improve the conditions of human life. The right to environment and how it can be accommodated into the human rights theory should be explored further, and identify the issues and challenges confronting this relationship,” remarked Ambassador Manalo. The Philippine official expressed hope that the insights gained from the exchange of ideas among Asian and European experts could develop synergy that would

integrate effective policies and strategies in mutually reinforcing protections in each field. Hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the event welcomed more than 120 participants including official representatives from ASEM countries as well as civil society members dealing with human rights and the environment. Participants discussed key concerns of human rights and environmental protection, and developed policy recommendations for Asian and European decision-makers. Ms. Ida Auken, the Danish Minister for the Environment, and Dr. John Knox, the United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment, were among the keynote speakers. Mr. Karsten Warnecke, Deputy Executive Director

Philippine Senior Foreign Affairs Adviser and Ambassador H.E. Rosario G. Manalo delivers her remarks on behalf of the co-organizers France, Sweden and ASEF, at the opening of the 13th Informal Seminar on Human Rights entitled “Human Rights and the Environment”, at the Moltkes Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark.

of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and Mr. Rolf Ring, Deputy Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute were also in attendance.

Philippines Embassy USA / October 22, 2013

Working group discussions focused on the interaction between sustainable development, environment and human rights; access to information, participatory rights and access to justice, among others. Joining Ambassador Manalo in the event were the DFA’s Executive Director for European Affairs Marichu Mauro and Director for the United Nations and other International Organizations Shirlene Mananquil. The Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights Series was initiated by France and Sweden at the 1st ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in 1997. The DFA joined the series as an organiser in 2011. The initiative promotes mutual understanding and cooperation between Asia and Europe in the area of political dialogue, particularly on human rights issues. ■ October 23, 2013

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November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Despite earthquake, tour operators report no cancellations among booked foreigners MANILA - Tour operators today said a deadly quake that struck Central Visayas last week has failed to deter foreign tourists. Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa) president Cesar R. Cruz today told participants of the 39th Philippine Business Conference and Expo that his group plans to offer Negros and Siquijor islands as alternatives to quake-damaged Bohol. “Panglao Island is intact so tourists can still go to the beach. What was actually damaged was the mainland. So we’re looking at a regional program where Siquijor and Negros would take over the [tours in] countryside portion of Bohol,” Cruz said.

The 7.2-magnitude quake that shook the Visayas on October 15 left a number of Bohol’s centuries-old churches in ruins and even damaged portions of the worldfamous Chocolate Hills. Cruz later told reporters that there have been no cancellations thus far among mostly European tourists that have Bohol as part of their itinerary for their upcoming vacation in the Philippines. “They are waiting for our advice,” he said, adding that European tourists peak during the November to March period. Most of the European tourists spend at least three weeks here, with at least a week

of that spent on the beaches of the Visayas, including Bohol, Cruz said. Tour operators plan to conduct land tours in the neighboring islands that were not as heavily damaged as Bohol, and then bring them to Bohol’s beaches. “Bohol and Cebu, these are prime tourist destinations. We in the tourism industry will not give up [on the quake-hit provinces],” Cruz said. “Representatives of the DOT [Department of Tourism] have already visited Bohol, and they’re looking for alternative routes to get to the tourist spots,” he added. ■ Ben Arnold O. De Vera / / October 22, 2013 / 6:06 PM

Aquino dismisses video of Zambo hostages under fire as ‘unverified propaganda’

An image grabbed from a video circulating online showing purported civilian hostages of the MNLF in Zamboanga waving white flags just before they come under fire, allegedly from government forces.

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III downplayed a video circulating online that purportedly shows hostages of the Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga City waving white flags before they come under heavy fire, allegedly from government forces, saying it was “unverified” and likely spread as “propaganda.” “I haven’t seen the videos but from the point of view of the Department of Justice, that has not been verified,” Aquino said at the annual forum of the

Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on Wednesday. “This smacks a bit of propaganda,” he added. The video, which runs for 3:11 minutes, was posted on the Facebook page of Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari. Misuari, however, does not maintain the page. The video shows the hostages on a street waving white flags and shouting for a ceasefire before they come under fire but does not show who was shooting at them.

DTI may demand compensation after Thailand drags feet on WTO tobacco tax ruling MANILA - The World Trade Organization (WTO) tomorrow will discuss Thailand’s failure to comply with a ruling that found taxes it slapped on Philippine tobacco exports were unfair. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. last week told reporters that the Philippine government gave Thailand until next month to answer a set of “confidential” questions about its compliance to the WTO ruling issued in June 2011. To recall, the WTO ruled that Bangkok’s taxes on tobacco imports were discriminatory and violated global trading rules. The Philippines unit of Philip Morris is the biggest exporter of cigarettes to Thailand. Thailand’s compliance is on the agenda of the next WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting to be held on October 22.

Since the WTO ruled against it, Thailand has adopted a royal decree abolishing the value-added tax (VAT) exemption enjoyed by resellers of locally made cigarettes, making them at par with imports, which were not VAT-exempt. The Philippine WTO mission however said the Thai Customs’ Board of Appeals ruling on certain customs valuation entries of imported tobacco from 2002 to 2003 was “inconsistent” with WTO rules. “Thailand’s reference to additional guidance from its Revenue Department concerning amended VAT rules also raises questions of WTO-consistency,” the Philippine WTO mission said last January. Despite informal consultations between Philippine and Thai trade officials held in Bangkok last May, DTI last July insisted that Thailand was dragging its feet on compliance.

For its part, the Thai WTO delegation acknowledged having received “a further set of questions” from its Philippine counterpart. “Thailand is in the process of preparing answers to those questions. Thailand hopes that this process of the informal exchange of information will enable the parties to achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome to this dispute,” the Thai WTO delegation said in an October 10 status report submitted to the DSB. If the Philippines deems Thailand’s response as noncompliant, Manila would drag Bangkok into compliance proceedings leading to compensation, Cristobal said. Compensation may be obtained when an “implementing member does not achieve full compliance by the end of the reasonable period of time” to comply,

according to the WTO. In the case of Thailand, the reasonable period of time to comply with the WTO ruling lapsed in October last year. Compensation “does not mean monetary payment; rather, the respondent is supposed to offer a benefit, for example a tariff reduction, which is equivalent to the benefit which the respondent has nullified or impaired by applying its measure,” the WTO said. ■ Ben Arnold O. De Vera / InterAksyon.

com / October 21, 2013 / 12:08 PM

At buildings by the roadside are armed men who appear to be MNLF fighters who, at one point fire what seems to be a recoilless rifle in the direction of where the shots are coming from. Aquino said the video tended to confirm that the rebels had used civilians as human shields during the close to month-long standoff with government forces in Zamboanga. “It starts with the violation of international humanitarian law for using human shields. The bottom-line is, the action of the MNLF brought about the crisis in Mindanao,” Aquino said. He based intelligence reports indicate Misuari is likely still in the country. Meanwhile, in Zamboanga City, also on Tuesday, policemen and soldiers were awarded for their role in the standoff. Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, spokesman of Police Regional Office 9, said the awardees, members of Task Force “Suyod” involved in mopping up operations from September 29 to October 20, received the Medalya ng Kagalingan (PNP Medal of Merit), Medalya ng Papuri (PNP Commendation Medal) and Medalya ng Kasanayan (PNP Efficiency Medal). The Zamboanga standoff, which began on September 9, claimed the lives of more than 200 combatants and civilians and displaced more than 100,000 people, many of who still remain in evacuation centers. ■ Dexter San Pedro and Jaime Sinapit / / October 23, 2013 / 11:49 AM

Albright says France eavesdropped on her WASHINGTON – Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright said Thursday that France had eavesdropped on her when she was in government as she dismissed European concerns about Washington’s snooping. “This is not a surprise to people— countries spy on each other,” Albright said at the Center for American Progress, a think tank. Albright, who served as US ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997 before being appointed as the top US diplomat, said she learned about surveillance first-hand at the world body. “I will very much remember when I

was at the United Nations, the French ambassador coming up to me saying, ‘Why did you say that to somebody, about why do you want women in the government?’ “And I said, ‘Excuse me?’ They had an intercept,” Albright said, without giving further details of her intercepted conversation. France, Germany, Brazil and other traditional allies of the United States have complained after revelations about US spying in leaks from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, responding to allegations of US snooping on her mobile phone, said Thursday in

Brussels: “Spying between friends, that’s just not done.” French President Francois Hollande also complained this week to President Barack Obama after reports of US spying on millions of phone calls in France. Albright said that Snowden’s leaks had been “very damaging” for the United States. “A lot of foreign policy is gossip and picking up what somebody has said about somebody else that is useful in the long term of trying to figure out how you deal with a particular country,” she said. “Glorifying Snowden is a mistake. I think what he has done is a criminal act and it has hurt us very, very badly,” she said. ■ AFP




November 2013 – No. 21 • UK & Europe Edition

Manny Pacquiao impresses audience Host Cagayan de Oro sees three bets in in media day workout in GenSan finals of PLDT-ABAP Mindanao boxing tilt MANNY Pacquiao mesmerized the largely Chinese crowd on Thursday when the Filipino star held his media day in General Santos City. A month before he meets Brandon Rios at The Venetian in Macau, Pacquiao sparred eight rounds, four each with Fredrick Lawson of Ghana and Liam Vaughan of Ireland, leaving his handlers and promoter Bob Arum smiling all day. About 70 mediamen from mainland China, Macau, and Hong Kong flew in Wednesday and even had dinner with Pacquiao in the fighter’s mansion a day before the sparring session. There were also a handful of local scribes on hand but the majority were from China. The Chinese media is keenly interested in the Pacquiao-Rios show because Olympic legend Zou Shiming is also fighting in the card before the main event.

The 15,000-capacvity CotaiArena is expected to be filled with Chinese supporters and Filipinos making the short trip from Manila. Even overseas Filipino workers based in Hong Kong and Macau, a former Portuguese colony, are expected to troop to the venue to root for Pacquiao, who will be fighting for the first time in almost a year. ■ Lee Jimenez / InterAKTV / October 24, 2013 / 5:09 PM

beat Fedemar Antiga of Cabadbaran in the light bantamweight class. Paalam defeated Jerson Moreno of MPBA in the light pinweight, Lumbad produced a one-sided victory over Eduardo Medio of Camiguin in the light flyweight while Ladrada eliminated Fedemar Antiga of Cabadbaran in the light bantamweight class. Jay Boy Suan of Mindy’s, another bet from the host city, won by split decision in the flyweight class. Paalam takes on Samuel Salva of Gingoog City in the finals set for Friday while Lumban faces Ryan Christian Munda of Valencia City, who won his bout via TKO. Ladrada will battle Tomjone Mangubad of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Cagayan De Oro fielded 14 boxers

divided into two teams with seven more fighters eyeing seats in the finals yesterday. Gold medals will be at stake in the junior boys, youth boys and two divisions in the junior girls categories. Tournament Supervisor is AIBA 3-star International Referee-Judge Roger Fortaleza while Competition Manager is AIBA International Technical Official (ITO) Karina Picson. Liaisoning for the CDO team is Oscar H. Cinco. Helping officiate the meet are are AIBA 1-star International Referees-Judges Ludy Ceriales of Misamis Oriental, Michael Monton of Bohol, Fernie Lou Abing of CDO, Guillermo Retiban of Talisay, Negros Occidental and Martin Sonido of Iloilo. ■

InterAKTV / October 24, 2013 / 7:33 PM

Petron, San Mig Coffee decide Governors’ Cup champion in ultimate match

‘Show us that you still have it’: An open letter to Manny Pacquiao

DEAR Manny, It’s always been on you. I know because you told me. I know because I’ve seen you carry the weight of the country on your shoulders. But do you really have to step inside that ring again, Manny? Brandon Rios is a tough young bull. He sees you on the opposing corner of the ring and that bull will only see red. He has this Mike Tyson tucked-chin approach and just barges forward. He has dynamite in those fists. You’ve been fighting since you weighed a bit over 100 pounds. Against youngsters and grown men. For your livelihood, for your family’s future, and later on, for the country. As you went up in weight class, the burden on your shoulders got heavier too. But you always carried us. Yes, even during those karaoke segments on Jimmy Kimmel, you were always reppin’. You were always game, whatever the task, whatever had to be done. And you always did it with a smile, bloody face, or laughing live studio audience. But is this fight against Brandon Rios something that you have to do? Is this something you want to do? Because if it is what you genuinely want, you can be sure that I, along with millions of our countrymen, will be behind you again. You once told me the only person you’d listen to is Freddie Roach, when he says that you don’t have it anymore. That it will be the only time you’ll finally hang it up, when Freddie says it’s over. I’ve had countless conversations with friends, boxing writers, even taxi drivers who moonlight as armchair sports analysts about this. Some of them say you still have what it takes. Some say you’re not the same guy who was like a tornado in the ring. Now I can’t lie, sir. There were times when I was worried about you. That you have too much on your plate with boxing, politics, and showbiz all at one point. I was worried that all the other things took your mind off training. I was worried

THREE boxers from host city Cagayan de Oro – Carlo Paalam and Mark Lumbad of CDO-A and Lorenz Ladrafa of CDO B – entered the finals of their respective divisions in the 2013 PLDT-ABAP Mindanao Boxing Tournament held at the Tourism Hall in Cagayan De Oro. Hometown fighters Paalam, Lumbad and Ladrada all won their junior boys division bouts via unanimous decision to give the home crowd something to cheer about in the boxing tilt organized by ABAP and supported by PLDT and Philippine Sports Commission. Paala defeated Jerson Moreno of MPBA in the light pinweight division while Lumbad knocked off Eduardo Medio of Camiguin in the light flyweight class. Ladrada, meanwhile,

that your six-year winning streak gave you a false sense of security. I worried about your age, your health, so you can imagine how I felt when that last fight fell through for you. I know you have a lot going on in your life right now; your kids are growing up, public service in Sarangani, your dedication to the church, and who knows what. I guess that’s just you willing to take on almost every challenge. But please Manny, do us a favor. Do me a favor. You remember who you are and what you do best. I know your body has suffered punishment only the strongest of fighters can endure, but for this fight against Bam Bam Rios, please, show us that quick and slick Manny Pacquiao. Train at your darnest best. Wake up on time and rule those morning runs. Eat the nilagang baka and tinolang manok that Kuya Nonoy Neri cooks at four in the morning for you. Fine, go pinch Kuya Aplas Fernandez’ ear while doing situps. Push yourself everytime Kuya Buboy Fernandez yells for the last 30 seconds of your drills. Show that mean mug when you walk in the gym. Imagine Rios’ face on your sparring partner’s head gear. Take care of your health and conditioning. It’s always been on you. In every single interview, in every single conversation off camera, you told me that you love knowing that the nation is at peace whenever you fight, that everyone celebrates when you win. I know it’s selfish of me to ask this, but please Manny, show us that you still have it. That form, that fire in the ring. Win or lose, you’re already a winner in our eyes. Just show the world that the Filipino fighting spirit can go the distance. Love, James Velasquez James Velasquez announces basketball games, boxing matches, and mixed martial arts fights for Sports5. He is a veteran of several Manny Pacquiao fights as a television news reporter. ■ James Velasquez / Sports5 / October 24, 2013 / 5:44 PM

THE 2013 season of the PBA is down to an ultimate match for all the marbles. Petron Blaze and San Mig Coffee dispute the Governors’ Cup in Game Seven on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, with each team looking to complete unfinished business. Coverage of the match begins at 8 p.m. on TV5. The Boosters, who forced a deciding match after winning Game Six last Wednesday, are trying to get back the crown they won in the 2011 edition. That

was the last finals appearance as well as the last title for the league’s oldest and winningest franchise. For Petron, a victory will end two years’ worth of drama for the team, which has underachieved despite boasting one of the league’s most talented lineups. The Mixers have a second chance at winning the Governors’ Cup this season after being foiled last Wednesday. They will be playing in Game Seven of the tournament for the second straight year, after narrowly losing to the title to the Rain

or Shine Elasto Painters last season. For San Mig Coffee, it’s a final chance to give coach Tim Cone a title this season, which would give the American coach his 15th PBA championship to tie the record currently held by the legendary Baby Dalupan. Petron will once again rely on the heroics of import Elijah Millsap, who rescued the Boosters from elimination with a brilliant fourth quarter performance in Game Six. Coach Gee Abanilla, who has a chance to win a title in his first tournament as a PBA head coach, is hoping that his team’s local crew led by season Most Valuable Player Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz can step up to provide Millsap with the necessary support. They will go up against a San Mig Coffee side that will ride on the all-around game of import Marqus Blakely. Top guns James Yap and Peter June Simon have had their moments in the series, while Marc Pingris and Joe Devance have taken turns handling frontcourt scoring duties for the Mixers. But San Mig Coffee hopes to get a bigger boost from the young point guard tag team of Mark Barroca and Alex Mallari, who faltered under the pressure in Game Six to combine for just two points. ■ InterAKTV

/ October 24, 2013 / 8:59 PM

Cagayan opens PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup with win over Cafe France

CAGAYAN Valley got a big boost from debuting Don Trollano as the Rising Suns claimed an 83-74 victory over Cafe France to open the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. Trollano, Cagayan’s first round pick in the D-League draft, scored 19 of his game-high 22 points in the second half and added 11 rebounds to help lift the Rising Suns to ther first win. Despite missing five players who are still participating the NCAA, Cagayan had plenty of contributors in the game with Andrian Celada sharing in the scoring load with 20 points of his own. Mark Bringas had 11 and John Foronda added 10 for the Rising Suns. But it was Trollano stepping up when his team needed him, scoring most of his total in the last two periods.

“He stepped up when we needed to score and he was big in the fourth quarter when Cafe France made a big run,” said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua of Trollano. Cagayan had a strong effort down the stretch, outscoring Cafe France 15-6 over the last 4:19 of the game. But their coach believes their performance could be better, especially as they lost the rebound battle, 58-50, and committed 25 turnovers. “We still had a lot of room for improvement,” Pua said. Ping Exciminiano led Cafe France with 16 points while Josan Nimes and Eloy Poligrates each had 14 for the Bakers. The scores: Cagayan Valley (83) – Trollano 22, Celada 20, Bringas 11, Foronda 10, Canta 6, Mercader 5, Melano 5, Saycon

4, Jamito 0, Dela Cruz 0. Cafe France (74) – Eximiniano 16, Poligrates 14, Nimes 14, Ebondo 8, Mutombo 6, Parala 5, Abundo 4, De Leon 1, Sedurifa 0, Opiso 0, Batino 0, Sarangay 0. Quarterscores: 15-17; 36-27; 55-53; 83-74. ■ InterAKTV / October 24, 2013 / 7:00 PM


Host Cagayan de Oro sees three bets in finals of PLDTABAP Mindanao boxing tilt Story on page 38

Petron, San Mig Cagayan opens Coffee decide PBA D-League Governors’ Cup Aspirants’ Cup with win over champion in ultimate match Cafe France Story on page 38

Story on page 38



Former PBA import Jamelle Cornley arrested again after threatening to kill girlfriend

FORMER PBA import Jamelle Cornley is back in hot water, landing in jail on Wednesday after being accused of trying to kill his Filipina girlfriend. According to Inspector Edith Castro, head of the Women and Children Protection Desk of the Quezon City Police District, Cornley is currently detained at Camp Karingal while facing frustrated homicide charges. Cornley, a winner of the PBA’s Best Import award last season while playing for Rain or Shine, was arrested by police at around 4 p.m. inside Athens Capital Tower condominium. Castro said the policemen rescued his girlfriend, Ma. Cheryl Torralba, a 25-yearold student, during the arrest.

Henna Pantila, 18, a housemaid who witnessed the alleged crime, was also given protection by the police. Cornley was also arrested last March for allegedly assaulting a policeman who tried to pacify him at a Quezon City hotel. He is facing charges of alarm and scandal and physical injuries stemming from that incident. Initial investigation by the police said that Cornley slapped Torralba four times before dragging her to the comfort room. “There and then hit her head with the shower head while telling her he was going to kill her. While suspect was holding her, she was being directed to call her parents over the cell phone to tell them the following words to quote as ‘I’m going to

kill you.’ But she didn’t follow,” Castro said. Cornley then dragged her again to the terrace of the 15th floor condominium unit and tried to push her to the ground, but she was able to hold tight on the iron grills. He proceeded to the living room, where he began to destroy objects. “When she saw her LED flat screen TV about to be thrown out, she pleaded and requested to Cornley to just leave her alone but he ignores it as he wanted to find the victim’s cell phone, which she refused to give,” Castro said. “This time suspect get a kitchen knife and pointed it to her neck. For fear of life, she instructed her maid Henna Pantila to seek for help that resulted to the apprehension of suspect.” ■ Jaime Sinapit / / October 24, 2013 / 8:40 PM

ABAP kicks off 86-man Mindanao boxing tournament

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The PLDTABAP Mindanao Area Tournament reeled off Monday at the posh and air-conditioned Tourism Hall with 86 boxers from 14 teams throughout the island participating. ABAP vice chairman and CDO City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno welcomed the participants and exhorted everyone to do their best and contribute to the efforts of ABAP chairman Manny V. Pangilinan and president Ricky Vargas to garner the country’s first Olympic gold via the sport of boxing. For his part, ABAP vice president and former Baguio City Mayor Peter Rey Bautista rallied not only the boxers and coaches but also the parents of the participants to encourage their children to get into sports and excel in their chosen disciplines. Initial results include CDO-B’s Lorenz Labrada’s light flyweight match win over Reny Oblad of Baungon, Bukidnon in the juniors Category (15-16) years old, Jaybe Canedo of Camiguin over Ramil Masado of Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat in the Pinweight class of the Youth Boys category

(17-18 years old), Jeronel Borres of CDO-A winning against Ressen Pronco of Aglayan, Bukidnon (youth, pinweight). Lutayan’s Reymark Ibones (Youth, flyweight) decisioned Pacman Team’s Edgardo cartagena while Marvin Tabamo of CDO-A won over Gilbert Rey Jerosalem of Camiguin. In the Youth Lightweight class, John Bryan Noces of Calinan, Davao prevailed over Mendez’s Xavier Piastro while Valentine Linio of Lutayan defeated Jonal Tamial of Pacman. Tournament Supervisor is AIBA 3-star International Referee-Judge Roger Fortaleza while Competition Manager is AIBA International Technical Official (ITO) Karina Picson. Liaisoning for the CDO team is Oscar H. Cinco. Among the officials are AIBA 1-star International Referees-Judges Ludy Ceriales of Misamis Oriental, Michael Monton of Bohol, Fernie Lou Abing of CDO, Guillermo Retiban of Talisay, Negros Occidental and Martin Sonido of Iloilo. ■ InterAKTV / October 23,

2013 / 12:03 PM

UK & Europe Edition

November 2013

Volume 4 - Number 21

Page 28

Connecting Global News & Views For The Community


Celeb Scoop



MANILA, Philippines – Is the Department of Budget and Management, headed by a Liberal Party stalwart, being used as proxy in the rivalry between LP chieftain Mar Roxas, the Interior and Local Government secretary, and his political rival Vice President Jejomar Binay? The question was raised after the National Housing Authority (NHA), one of the agencies under the shelter cluster that Binay was assigned by President Aquino to oversee, got a zero budget for emergency housing and resettlement capabilities from the DBM in 2014. At a budget hearing at the Senate, it was learned that the DBM had deleted from the NHA budget the amount of ₱1 billion for the emergency assistance program even though this is a regular resettlement and calamity funds in the agency’s budget. “The NHA has a mandate to provide housing, but if there is no fund to cover emergency assistance to repair damaged houses and resettlement, how would the agency respond to those Continue to page 6

November 2013 issue  

Filipino news, sports, entertainment