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UK & Europe Edition
Volume 4 - Number 19
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From Indonesia, Megan Young cries for help for flooded hometown Olongapo
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PORK’S UGLY SECRETS?: EXECUTIVE USED CASH RELEASES FOR SOLONS’ VOTES IN IMPEACHMENT, VITAL BILLS SHORTLY after 20 of 23 senators voted on May 29, 2012 to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona, the Aquino administration rolled out ₱1 billion in the form of additional pork allocations, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said Wednesday. Besides the Corona impeachment, the Executive also used additional allocations to try and influence lawmakers to vote for the administration’s preference in such vital bills as the reproductive health law and the sin-tax bill, he added. In his 22-page privilege speech denouncing what he called “selective justice” as a result of the incomplete investigation and piecemeal release of data on PDAF use, Estrada said that after the conviction of Corona in 2012, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad released an additional ₱50 million for each 20 senator-judge “in a private and confidential letter memorandum.” “After the conviction of the former chief justice, those who voted to convict were allotted an additional 50 million pesos as provided in a private and confidential letter memorandum of the then chair of the Senate finance committee,” Estrada said as Senate President Franklin Drilon listened, expressionless, from his rostrum. Drilon was then Senate finance committee chairman.
Besides Drilon and Estrada, those who convicted Corona were Senators Edgardo Angara, Allan Peter Cayetano, Pia S. Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Juan Ponce Enrile, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmena II, Kiko Pangilinan, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla Jr., Antonio Trillanes IV, Vicente Sotto III, and Manny Villar. Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos acquitted Corona. Estrada said it obviously was not Drilon’s unilateral decision to give ₱50 million to each senator-judge, since Abad wrote the memorandum for the release of the said funds. However, Estrada said he voted for the conviction of Corona not because Malacanang was dangling ₱50 million for each senator-judge, but based on his own belief after studying the facts and evidence presented during the 5-month trial. “I maintain, however, Mr. President that I stand by my decision in my vote to convict the former chief justice and assure our people that I was never influenced by this incentive which came after the fact,” Estrada clarified. “Am I accurate so far, Mr. President?” asked Estrada of Drilon. In another case, Estrada said
Senators rise on Day 11 of the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, that began January 16 and ended May 29, 2012. Photo ©Senate Pool
DBM Secretary Abad had warned legislators that there will be no releases to congressmen if they voted against impeaching former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. “Even DBM Secretary Florencio Abad’s text message warning that there will be no release to certain congressmen if they did not vote in favor of impeaching former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was very much publicized and confirmed by a number of lawmakers. As expected, Secretary Abad had to deny that he sent those text messages,” Estrada said. Pork for Sin Tax, RH bill. Estrada also said that the administration used extra allocations of pork barrel for legislators
who will vote for the enactment of the Sin Tax and Reproductive Health Law, which he both rejected. “We know too that the executive has used the releases for PDAF and infrastructure projects as a form of reward or incentive to secure the support of legislators for or against certain pet legislation or for other political purposes,” Estrada said. He added that at the height of the debate on Sin Tax Bill and RH Bill, Malacanang through the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) dangled pork funds to legislators. “I voted against this, kaya wala akong SARO dito,” he said. “Ganon din ang mainit na balita
noong tinatalakay ng Kongreso ang kontrobersiyal na reproductive health bill. Again, I voted against this measure, kaya wala po akong SARO,” he added. Another ugly fact. Estrada continued that the ₱200 million for each senator and ₱70 million for every congressman are just “minimum” pork barrel allocated by the budget agency in the yearly General Appropriations Act (GAA), since there was no rule setting maximum amount that a legislator can receive in pork barrel funds. “It all depended on the leadership of the Senate and the House and of course, Malacanang, what we had was minimum amount.” These were (Rolando) Andaya’s own words, not
mine,” Estrada explained. Andaya, for along time budget secretary in the Arroyo administration, is now back in Congress. So in effect, Estrada said, Andaya practically confirmed that the Executive allows legislators to avail themselves of allocations over and above the reported amounts—as apparently happened during the conviction of Corona. “So, if we scrutinize the GAA of the budget law every year, from 1999 to 2010, [one will not see a provision stating the total amount for] PDAF and Various Infrastructure for Local Projects (VILP) of legislators. It was only in 2011 when we started to have a clear and specific provision on PDAF and VILP allocations,” he said. He also wondered why the DBM posted only the PDAF releases from 2009 until 2013, but gave no information on pork funds utilization from 2006, 2007 and 2008. “Kapag binuksan mo naman ang [And if you opened the record for] 2009, the PDAF releases for then Senators Rodolfo Biazon, Manuel Roxas, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., and Escudero, Trillanes and Manny Villar are among those conspicuously not posted,” he said. These legislators are all administration allies or partymates of the President. ■ Ernie Reyes / InterAksyon.
com / September 25, 2013 / 7:41 PM
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
BPI’s BPInoy Awards Night held in London for the first time LONDON, United Kingdom - For the first time since its launch in the Philippines in 2006, BPInoy Awards moved to Europe. The prestigious event, held annually in honour of outstanding overseas Filipinos was held on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Sentosa Suite, Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Harrington Gardens, London. BPI Europe Plc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of the Philippine Islands in the United Kingdom, hosted the 2012 BPinoy Awards. Dubbed as “An Evening of Success Stories: The Philippines and the WorldClass Filipino”, the event honoured two exceptional world-class Europe-based Filipinos, namely, International Theatre, Film and Television Actor Junix Inocian and Chemist Reynaldo Z. Lachica, for their outstanding achievements in their chosen fields of endeavour, for being a role model, their tremendous contribution to nationbuilding and an exemplary overseas Filipino. BPInoy Awardees in the past include: World-renowned Musical Theatre Artist Lea Salonga, Internationally known
Fashion Designer Monique Lhuillier, Heart Surgeon Dr. Jorge Garcia, International Record Producer and Music Artist Allan P. Lindo Jr. aka Apl de Ap, Technology Entrepreneur Diosdado “Dado” Banatao, Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur Josie Natori, Filipino Economist Dr. Eli Remolona, White House Executive Chef Cristeta Pasia- Comerford, World boxing legend Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, and the only Asian Female General Manager for Procter & Gamble, Ma. Fatima “Fama” de Vera-Francisco. Among the guests were Ambassador Enrique Manalo; BPI Europe Plc Chairman –Aurelio Montinola III; BPI EVP–Antonio Paner; BPI SVPs–Theresa Javier and Raul Dimayuga. Entertainment was provided by the West End star–Irene Alano Rhodes, who was joined on stage for a duet with one of the awardees, Junix Inocian, which was a pleasant surprise for the audience. Now on its 7th year, BPInoy Awards is held annually under the BPInoy Program of BPI. It is the Bank’s opportunity to recognize
and honour outstanding overseas Filipinos who have made the Philippines proud not only because of their accomplishments, but also because of their positive impact on fellow Filipinos. This year’s awards focuses on recognizing the accomplishments of Europe-based Filipinos. Reynaldo Z. Lachica, Chemist. He first arrived in the United Kingdom in 2002, as Senior Inorganics Chemist for ALcontrol Laboratories / Robertson Research International Limited, a company based in North Wales, United Kingdom. Rey Lachica is a regular member of the American Chemical Society, Member Chemist (MRSC) of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry, and recognized as Chartered Chemist (CChem) by the United Kingdom Royal Society of Chemistry Membership and Qualification Department. Rey also earned a certificate of recognition as Chartered Scientist (CSci) awarded by the UK Royal Society of Chemistry, licensed body of the UK Science Council for practicing and advancing science at the full professional level.
He is a staunch advocate of education as a powerful tool in helping young Filipinos achieve success in life. Having achieved professional success albeit outside his own country, Rey sees to it that he gives back by inspiring and motivating young Filipinos back home. His personal advocacy includes the sponsorship of the Annual Ulirang Kabataan Awards for deserving students both at his alma mater – Manuel A. Roxas High School and Bagong Barangay Elementary School in Paco and Pandacan, Manila. He also grants awards to outstanding elementary and high school students in the whole sub-district of Pandacan. Junix Inocian, International Theatre, Movie and Television Actor. The prolific actor joined Repertory Philippines after college and earned his stripes as an actor performing in at least, sixty productions. Junix left the Philippines stage in 1989, and joined the West End staging of the highly acclaimed musical Miss Saigon. Junix has built a remarkable body of work in theatre and film while overseas. One of his more notable roles was as Old Deuteronomy
in Cats, staged at the New London Theatre. His film credits include: The Hongkong Druglord in the 51st State which starred Samuel L. Jackson; and The Sleeping Beauty Dictionary, starring Jessica Alba, as Famous. Junix also played a variety of memorable roles in several BBC television productions. He won Best Actor in 2006 for his role in the musical Pacific Overtures. Mr Junix Inocian, well known for his tremendous acting skill in theatre, film and television productions in Europe and elsewhere, has remained a Pinoy at heart and always finds the time to give back. His popularity in the world stage has not at all diminished his desire to help his countrymen whenever and wherever he could. Example of his generous spirit are the benefit concert he staged with other Filipino artists n the United Kingdom for the victims of Mt. Pinatubo, and his concert performances at Silliman University’s (his alma mater) charity events. Junix is also actively involved in Cancer Research UK – an involvement, which began in tandem with his wife Annie, who succumbed to the disease in 2010. ■
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BUSINESS AND FINANCE
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Ayala buying back higher dividend-paying preferred shares ahead of maturity MANILA - Ayala Corp (AC) is redeeming its preferred shares ahead of maturity, as it prepares to sell a lower dividend-paying series. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the conglomerate said it will exercise the call option over its preferred A shares on November 25, five years after the shares were listed. Preferred shares, which enjoy dividends ahead of common shares, usually don’t carry voting rights and can’t benefit from extra earnings above the set dividend rate. AC said the preferred shares will be redeemed at a cost equal to the issue price plus accrued and unpaid dividends until the period of redemption based on the dividend rate of 8.88 percent per annum. Record date for the redemption of the
shares is on November 14. The local bourse approved a trading suspension on the shares on November 11, the ex-date for the redemption. If the shares were not redeemed on the fifth year, the dividend rate would be adjusted higher or at the 10-year fixed rate Treasury note benchmark yield plus a spread of 0.0088 percent. AC raised ₱6 billion from the issuance of 12 million preferred A shares at ₱500 apiece in 2008 to raise funds for investments in various businesses that include business process outsourcing and overseas real estate. As of today, the shares are trading at ₱502 apiece with a total value of ₱6.02 billion. Last week, the conglomerate’s executive committee approved the plan to raise as
Manila Water files dispute with MWSS before int’l body
MANILA - Manila Water Co Inc has formally filed a dispute notice with the International Chamber of Commerce, challenging the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) decision to reduce water rates. The issuance of the dispute notice officially commences the arbitration process. Manila Water decided to go into arbitration after MWSS, in its decision, cut away significant programs for building and maintaining water and wastewater systems in the east zone, which the company operates under contract with the government. Manila Water said the MWSS move “will severely compromise and impair the former’s ability to fulfill its service obligations to its customers.” The concession agreement between MWSS and Manila Water provides for a dispute resolution called arbitration to resolve disagreements, disputes, controversies or claims arising out of or relating to the agreement or the interpretation or any arrangements or the breach, termination or invalidity (including
all decisions by the Regulatory Office with respect to the Concession), which cannot be resolved through consultation or negotiation among the parties. The Arbitration Panel, also called the Appeals Panel, shall be appointed and will conduct proceedings in accordance with the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. The panel will be composed of three members: one member appointed by Manila Water and another member appointed by MWSS and the third member, the Appeals Chairman, appointed by the President of the International Chamber of Commerce. “Until the Appeals Panel arrives at a final decision on the tariff determination, existing water rates shall remain in effect,” Manila Water said. ■ Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo / InterAksyon.
much as ₱10 billion from the offering of up to 20 million preferred Class “B” shares at ₱500 per share. The quarterly dividend would be based on the benchmark 10-yearTreasury rate— which today was quoted at 3.4248 percent —plus a spread. Cash raised from this share sale will finance the acquisition of properties or assets or for debt payment. BPI Capital Corp will be the issue manager and lead underwriter of the offering. Aside from its recent investments in power generation and transport infrastructure, AC has businesses in real estate development, banking and financial services, telecommunications, water distribution, automotive dealerships, electronics manufacturing services,
business process outsourcing, among others. AC has set a group-wide capital
expenditure budget of ₱136 billion this year. ■ Krista Angela M. Montealegre / InterAksyon.com /
September 24, 2013 / 7:04 PM
Vista Land eyes $150-million debt sale overseas, aims for 15 pct growth next year
MANILA - Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc plans to tap the overseas debt market to expand its projects and refinance existing obligations. Vista Land chairman Manuel B. Villar told reporters that the real estate firm mandated UBS for the potential dollardenominated bond sale, which could range from $100 million to $150 million. “We’re looking at it depending on the market. Right now, there’s so much uncertainty,” Villar said, referring to the volatility in financial markets brought about by US Federal Reserve’s decision to put off the withdrawal of its economic stimulus.
In the second quarter, Vista Land raised ₱6 billion at an interest rate of 5.75 percent per annum compared to over 7.27 percent last year. The debt has a tenor of five years. Vista Land has set a capital expenditure budget of at least ₱18 billion for the year. The property developer remains upbeat about its prospects, targeting to grow earnings and revenues by 15 percent next year on the strength of its low-cost housing brand Camella Homes. “Mag-slowdown ako a little bit for the high-rise developments kasi medyo mas speculative, mas sensitive sa interest rate. I am not sure about the interest rate
com / September 24, 2013 / 2:27 PM
situation next year. We are looking at reducing our high-rise exposure,” Villar said. Regardless of the interest rate situation, the former senator said Vista Land has a “sure market” in the horizontal segment given the huge housing backlog. In the first half, Vista Land posted a net income of ₱2.6 billion, or 18 percent higher than the ₱2.2 billion in the same period last year. Revenues jumped by a fifth to ₱9.7 billion in the January to June period from ₱8.1 billion a year ago. For the entire 2013, Vista Land’s net profit is seen to breach the ₱5-billion mark, a growth of at least 14 percent from ₱4.38 billion a year ago. Reservation sales are expected to expand by 15-20 percent to ₱48 billion from ₱40 billion in 2012. With the former senator assuming chairmanship, Vista Land intends to develop 15 master planned communities nationwide in the next five to 10 years. “We want to make an impact,” Villar said, adding that these projects will have residential, office, commercial and hospital components. Vista Land is the holding company of five business units—Brittany, Crown Asia, Camella Homes, Communities Philippines and Vista Residences. ■ Krista Angela M.
Security Bank board clears early redemption of IOUs, sale of preferred shares SEC approves capital hike for Manila Jockey’s property unit Montealegre / InterAksyon.com / September 24,
2013 / 5:27 PM
MANILA - Security Bank Corp is retiring IOUs five years ahead of maturity and raising capital through the sale of preferred shares. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Security Bank said its board approved the early redemption of ₱3 billion worth of notes issued in 2008 and set to mature on December 10, 2018. The notes qualify as lower tier 2 capital.
The early redemption is in light of new international capital standards under Basel 3 that would take effect next year. Besides the early redemption of the notes, the bank’s board also approved an increase in its authorized capital stock by ₱100 million to ₱10.1 billion. The increase would be funded through the issuance of a billion non-cumulative, non-participating, non-convertible, voting preferred stock with a par value of 10 centavos each. Preferreds take precedence over common stock when it comes to dividend payments, but don’t participate in extra earnings above the stipulated dividend rate. ■ Maricel E. Burgonio / InterAksyon.com / September 24,
2013 / 7:01 PM
MANILA - The property development arm of Manila Jockey Club Inc bagged regulatory approval to hike its capitalization. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, MJC Investments Corp said the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday approved the increase in the company’s authorized capital stock from ₱1.5 billion to ₱5 billion. The capital increase will allow MJC Investments to secure new business partners and new capital,nas the company participates in the growth of the tourism sector through its hotel and entertainment project in Sta. Cruz, Manila. This year, MJC Investments received a fresh capital infusion from a Hong
Kong-based strategic investor as part of the company’s capital build-up program for its tourism project. The shares will be issued out of the increase in authorized capital stock. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the hotel and entertainment project will be an 18-floor tower and podium with an initial complement of 160 rooms and 900 parking slots. Manila Jockey conducts its racing operations in its horse racing facility in Carmona, Cavite. It also operates off-track betting (OTB) stations and is expanding its network in Metro Manila as well as outside the national capital region. ■ Krista Angela M. Montealegre /
InterAksyon.com / September 24, 2013 / 6:23 PM
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Janet Napoles, 2 banks may have violated secrecy regulations, insiders say
was also a president of one of the Napoles’ 20 bogus NGOs. Once the transaction was approved and the money released, the bank verifier—who goes by the name of “Lydia”—would then write a small note on the withdrawal slip indicating that the withdrawal was verified by Napoles. “We never needed duplicate copies of the withdrawal slips since the savings account only used a passbook,” the whistleblower said. The same alleged modus operandi is employed for the accounts under the name of Benhur Luy, the primary whistleblower in what is now known as the pork barrel scam. “Kunyari sa SDPFFI [an NGO] under the account of Benhur Luy, itatawag kay Benhur. After itawag kay Benhur, itatawag kay Madam. [For instance, any withdrawals are made in the SDPFFI account under the name of Benhur Luy will still need clearance from ‘Madam.’],” the whistleblower said. When asked why it had to take two verifications, the whistleblower said: “Kasi alam nila na kay Ms. Janet ‘yon.” “’Di ako nabahala. Alam naman namin na pera niya ‘yon eh,” the whistleblower said. “Kami ang nagtratrabaho sa kanya. Kami ang ginagamit niya para maging presidente
ng isang NGO. [I wasn’t bothered at all. We knew that it was her money after all. We were working for her. We were used as fronts to become presidents of NGOs.]” Landbank conducts investigation. Catherine Rowena Villanueva, Land Bank’s vice president for corporate affairs, told InterAksyon.com that the bank is already conducting its own investigation regarding the matter. “It’s not banking practice to have somebody else, other than the account owner, to confirm or approve any transaction. We will have to look into this. We don’t want a duplication of this in the future,” Villanueva said. “We welcome all the information that you can give us to help in our investigation. However, we have to check if the bank accounts [had] an arrangement for verification.” A Land Bank official who requested anonymity said it is not possible for an outsider to do what Napoles did, which suggests the bank employee may have been in cahoots with the businesswoman when these transactions took place. Still no comment from Metrobank. Napoles also had access to personal bank accounts of her staff, the whistleblower said. Napoles allegedly checked the personal bank acccount of Luy, which she later found to have increased by ₱800,000, through an employee of the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co (Metrobank), according to the whistleblower. Napoles simply called up the bank employee to ask the balance of Luy’s account, the whistleblower said. Once “Madam”
thought the amount was too high for somebody like Benhur, she then ordered the withdrawal of the entire amount with the help of another whistleblower, all without Benhur’s knowledge. A banking insider told InterAksyon.com that this is a “no-no,” especially if it is a personal account without any co-depositor. Withdrawals can be made from these accounts if the withdrawal slip is signed by the account owner authorizing a representative to undertake the transaction or if the representative has a special power of attorney authorizing him or her to withdraw from the account. InterAksyon.com tried to get the side of Metrobank several times but the company failed to reply to the queries. Estela Calderon, Metrobank’s corporate communications head, passed the query to Carl Cuevas, who is also with the bank’s corporate communications group. Cuevas, who initially communicated with InterAksyon. com, did not respond or pick up calls when the questions were asked again. Banking insiders told InterAksyon.com said what had happened with Benhur’s account was a violation of bank secrecy rule since a third party was not only given access to the details of a personal account but was also able to withdraw without the owner’s knowledge. Know Your Client rule. Both Landbank and Metrobank also may have failed the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ “know-your-client” rule, which requires them to check whether an account is used by criminals, such as money launderers, according to insiders.
This was put to the fore during impeachment proceedings of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012. The KYC rule was implemented in 2002 after former President Joseph Estrada was deposed in 2001. His own impeachment case’s turning point was when a bank executive positively identified him as the owner of the account in Equitable PCI Bank under the name of Jose Velarde. Under the KYC rule, lending institutions has to demand proper identification from walk-in customers. Banks are also required to undertake due diligence before offering their services to businesses. Red flags that bank managers must take note of are “abnormal movements”, which may be inconsistent with their activities and/or their declared occupation or sources of livelihood. Meanwhile, a source from Landbank said one of the probable reasons why Napoles’ bank accounts were not flagged is the frequency and regularity of the deposits and withdrawals of large amounts—a signal that nothing was out of the extraordinary. The BSP said it is looking into the banks that are associated with Napoles. “We’re gathering minimum information, face to face contact, gathering IDs, and risk profiling. It’s too early to state if they failed the KYC process but we will look into that. They will be investigated,” BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said. ■ Likha Cuevas-Miel with Robert JA Basilio, Jr. / InterAksyon. com / September 24, 2013 / 8:30 AM
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JANET Lim Napoles, who is involved in a scandal that allegedly uses public funds for fraudulent projects, may have violated banking rules when she gained access to and approved withdrawals from accounts that do not belong to her. Napoles knew people in the banks where accounts of her reportedly bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) were kept, a whistleblower told InterAksyon.com. Once these accounts receive money from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF)—also known as pork barrel, these funds are withdrawn and some of them are allegedly used to pay kickbacks to politicians. “Whenever I withdrew from my account, a Landbank employee called up Janet Napoles before the cash was released,” said the whistleblower, adding that all withdrawals from the years 2000 to 2008 needed Napoles’ approval. “Madalas ako utusan ni [Ms. Napoles] to withdraw from NGO accounts [Napoles often sent me to withdraw from the NGO accounts],” she added. Withdrawal slips were signed beforehand and were kept by Napoles, the whistleblower said, adding that the NGO kept a savings account at Land Bank of the Philippines’ Greenhills, San Juan branch where Napoles kept a separate account of her own. “Pag mag-wiwithdraw ako, sasabihin noong verifier na itatawag nya mismo ‘yon kay Madam. [Whenever I withdrew money, the verifier would tell me that she would first call up Madam],” said the whistleblower, who
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Blow for budget reform: Govt agencies told to itemize 2014 lump-sum allocations
DBM chief BUtch Abad is seen in this July 24, 2013 file photo submitting the 2014 national budget bill to Congress. Photo by Lilra Dalangin Fernandez ©Interaksyon.com
to identify what contingencies, what situation will be on the ground.” Under the GAA-As-Release-Document, the approved 2014 budget will also serve as the primary release documents aimed to speed up government disbursements and fast-track implementation of programs and projects set for the year. The DBM will do away with Special Allotment Release Orders (SARO) and Agency Budget Matrices (ABM) during fund releases under the new system that will start next year. Social Watch’s critique. Several
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MANILA, Philippines - Government agencies have been ordered to itemize their lump sum allocations in the proposed 2014 national budget that is currently being deliberated in Congress, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said Tuesday. “That is for transparency and to accelerate project implementation in anticipation of the GAA (General Appropriations Act)-As-ReleaseDocument regime,” Abad said in a text message. He added that all agencies are given until October 15 to disaggregate their lump sums. In an earlier interview during the day, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. disclosed that several departments are “in the process of untangling their lump sum” and the itemized list are expected to be included in the proposed budget during the period of amendments next month. “They are under pressure from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) to untangle the lump sums, even DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) was asked to identify (its projects),” Belmonte said. Asked, however, about the President’s lump sum funds, which were also being criticized, Belmonte said, “it is difficult
lawmakers and the budget watchdog Social Watch Philippines have criticized the lump sum items in the budget and demanded that government agencies itemize them. They said the lump sums have become the source of pork barrel of the President and the agencies. In House Resolution No. 298 filed by seven party-list lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc, they urged Congress and the President to “respond to the public clamor for the abolition of the pork barrel system, itemize lump sum funds.” They said the funds should instead
be allocated to basic social services, substantial salary increases for government employees and job creation. Quoting former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, the lawmakers said the President has the biggest pork barrel and lump sum discretionary funds, including the ₱310-billion Special Purpose Funds; ₱132 billion Malampaya funds; ₱2.6-billion remittances from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to the President’s Social Fund; and the ₱12-billion Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge fund. Briones, lead convenor of Social Watch and a key leader of the Alternative Budget Initiative, had earlier been criticized by Secretary Abad for supposedly misleading the public about the key budget components. On Tuesday, however, the DBM revelation that it had ordered all agencies to itemize their lump-sum allocations was seen in budget-reform circles as vindication of the advocacy of Briones and her group. In their resolution, the Makabayan bloc identified some of the lump-sum items of various agencies under the proposed 2014 national budget that they want rechanneled: ₱62.60 billion - Department of Social Welfare and Development (Conditional Cash Transfer) ₱7.22 billion - PAMANA fund (various agencies)
₱0.80 billion - Intelligence funds (various agencies) ₱22.68 billion - Department of Health (Additional PhilHealth budget) ₱2.51 billion - Department of Public Works and Highways (right of way) They said they also want the agencies to itemize the following lump sums: ₱46.69 billion - Budgetary support to government-owned-and-controlled corporations ₱1.00 billion School building program ₱2.50 billion - E-Government fund ₱12.00 billion - Department of Agriculture (Farm to market road) ₱44.63 billion - Department of Education (various items for school buildings) ₱11.39 billion - Various Infrastructure Including Local Projects ₱13.30 billion - Department of Health (Health Facilities Enhancement Program) ₱5.10 billion - Department of Agriculture (Irrigation fund) The Makabayan bloc is composed of Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna; Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela; Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers; Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis; and Terry Ridon of Kabataan. ■
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September 24, 2013 / 11:53 PM
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BUSINESS AND FINANCE
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
New Lines of Philippine Coconut Products launched by UK Brands
ONE of the largest importers and manufacturers of coconut products sourced from the Philippines introduced a wide new range of organic and fair trade product lines at a British retail giant’s flagship store in central London last Thursday, 12 September. TIANA Fair Trade Organics, a market leader and award winner in the health food sector, broadened its range of Philippine sourced goods available in the UK with the introduction of five new products at Holland & Barrett, Europe’s leading retailer of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements.
The product launch, organized in cooperation with the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC)-UK, was led by Philippine Ambassador Enrique Manalo, Philippine Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. and PTIC-UK Director Kristine Umali, together with TIANA Directors Tanya and John Harris and Holland & Barrett’s Senior Manager Mohamed Akasha. The new health products introduced by TIANA were Organic Coconut Water canned within three hours of opening of fresh young coconuts, an Organic Exquisite Omega 3 Spreadable that can serve as
a butter substitute, Anti-Ageing and AntiDrying Moisturizers, and an Intensive Hydration Treatment for hair. In addition to sourcing its raw materials from the Philippines, TIANA’s Fair Trade Project has been benefitting coconut farmers and local communities since 2009. In his message, Ambassador Manalo stated that the coconut products deliver on social responsibility, as well as on quality and taste. “The Philippines, the UK and the rest of the world are therefore all looking forward to these new organic product lines.” he said. ■ The Philippine Embassy in London / United Kingdom / September 13, 2013
BPI Europe Plc holds investment forum THE Bank of the Philippine Islands and BPI Europe Plc hosted a forum on the current investment climate in the Philippines with Ms Maria Theresa M. Javier BPI SVP – Asset Management & Trust Group as resource speaker. Billed as, “Welcome to The Philippines,” the event was held last Friday, September 20, 2013 at the Enterprise Hotel, Earls Court, London.
Attended by members of the different Filipino community organisations and business establishments, Ms Javier also discussed the different investment opportunities available for Filipinos overseas. Raul Dimayuga, BPI SVP, moderated the forum with BPI Europe Plc Chairman, Aurelio R Montinola III in attendance. ■ Peps Villanueva
Selective justice: Jinggoy hits ‘politically motivated’ bid to pin down foes in pork barrel scam MANILA - Saying “selective justice is injustice,” Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Wednesday delivered a much-awaited speech lambasting the piecemeal investigation and release of information on misuse of pork barrel funds in what he described as an apparent campaign to cover up fund misuse in the billions of pesos by administration allies. Entitled “The Untold Story of PDAF that the people should know,” his 22-page speech also exposed: 1) Questioned transactions involving two key administration allies--Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II (amount involved ₱275 million) and An-Waray party list Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel (over ₱50 million), who as former House accounts committee chair was said to have played a key role in shepherding lawmakers during crucial debates on vital bills like the RH law and the 2012
impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona; 2) ₱388.3 million in PDAF-related questioned transactions of administration allies in Taguig, Mandaluyong, Tarlac and Las Piñas, among others; 3) The “private and confidential” memo authorizing the release after May 2012— with the knowledge of then Finance Committee chair now Senate President Drilon—of ₱50 million additional allocations for lawmakers who voted for Corona’s conviction;
4) The too-frequent travels of Commission on Audit chair Grace Pulido Tan, which he traced as behind her failure to properly supervise the conduct of the Special Audit Report (SAO) for years 2007, 2008 and 2009, resulting in incomplete work, serious blunders, and selective release of information. Most glaring in the 400-page COA special audit report was this, Estrada said: the COA did not, as mandated and has always been practice, issue a single notice of disallowance on the thousands of transactions it questioned and denounced. 5) The glaring silence of Budget Secretary Butch Abad in the misuse of funds, his agency’s refusal to supply documents to COA on transactions other than those of non-allies; and the selective posting of information on the DBM website. ■ InterAksyon.com and News5 / September 25, 2013
/ 5:05 PM
Zambo toll: 3 brave, young officers, PMA grads all, among the dead in 15-day siege MANILA - The drawn-out battle to liberate Zamboanga City from the Nur Misuari-led faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has already claimed the lives of three bright, brave, young officers who were all products of the prestigious Philippine Military Academy (PMA). Topping the list was 1Lt. John Kristopher Rama, who was killed in a fierce battle in Barangay Sta. Barbara on September 19, at around 5:18 a.m. Rama, 30, led his platoon from the 1st Light Reaction Company (LRC) of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the assault of enemy positions. They had already killed several MNLF men at the time he was felled by enemy fire. Rama, a native of Norzagaray, Bulacan, was a member of PMA “Baghawi” (Bagong Halaw ng Lahi or New Filipino Race) Class of 2008. He was married with one child. On Sept. 21, 2Lt. Florencio Mikael Meneses, was hit by a sniper’s bullet at 6 a.m. as he led clearing operations in Barangay Sta. Catalina. He was rushed to the Ciudad Zamboanga Hospital, where he was treated before he succumbed to his injuries at around 4:40 a.m. on Sept. 23. A native of Barangay Tibag, Pulilan,
So brave and promising officers, yet tragically gone too soon--from left, John Kristopher Rama, Francis Damian and Florencio Meneses.
Bulacan, the snappy member of PMA “Laon Alab” Class of 2011 died a hero. He died on the day of girlfriend’s birthday. The 27-year-old hero was considered among the brave members of the 7th Scout Ranger Company of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion based in Basilan. The third PMA grad that the AFP lost in the Zamboanga siege was 1Lt. Francis Damian, 28 years old, of PMA “Maragtas” Class of 2007. He was wounded in a close-quarter battle in Barangay Sta. Barbara at 4:45 p.m. of Sept. 23 when he
and his men fought a big contingent of MNLF men. Seriously wounded, Damian still managed to smile and encourage his troops, his men recalled, as he led the press against enemy lines. The Maragtas officer, a member of the 3rd LRC of the Light Reaction Battalion of SOCOM, unfortunately did not survive his injuries. He died at 8:40 a.m. on Sept. 24 while being treated at the Ciudad Zamboanga Hospital. ■ Jaime Sinapit / InterAksyon.com / September 24, 2013 / 5:28 PM
A flood of garbage, still Metro Manila’s plague MANILA - In Zambales, some people blame illegal mining for landslides. In Subic and in Montalban, mayors blame the supposed presidential order to freeze dredging projects the past 2-3 years, stopping the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from what was once a yearly effort to deepen waterways and reduce siltation, thus allowing for greater leeway to bear bigger volumes of water during sustained rains. And in the NCR? Well, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chief is blaming the usual problem: “basura.”
The solid waste especially in informal communities is simply too much, and continues to clog waterways and drainage systems, even though several NCR local councils have passed ordinances banning the use of plastic. This, says chairman Francis Tolentino, is exactly the reason the DILG is bent on relocating thousands of informal settler families encroaching on waterways and living in high-risk, flood-prone areas. ■ InterAksyon. com and News5 Video Report / September 25, 2013 / 1:35 AM
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Confirmation of ISAFP chief endorsed over objections from Jonas Burgos’ mother
MANILA, Philippines The subcommittee on national defense of the Commission on Appointments endorsed on Wednesday the confirmation of Brigadier General Eduardo M. Ano as chief of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). The endorsement to the CA plenary to confirm Ano’s appointment was made after the subcommittee set aside the continuing objections of Edita Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos and widow of press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr. Ano is among the military officers the Burgos family believes ordered the abduction and subsequent disappearance of Jonas, who was snatched from a Quezon City mall on April 28, 2007. Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Farinas moved for the endorsement of Ano’s confirmation, to which there were no objections. Farinas and other members of the committee explained they could no longer bar Ano’s confirmation because the Department of Justice cleared him on September 3 of any complicity in the abduction of Jonas, pinning the blame only on Army Major Harry Baliaga, who led the unit that snatched the activist. After the defense subcommittee hearing, the chairman, Capiz Representative Antonio del Rosario, counseled Ano to do everything he can to find Jonas, if only to prove his sincerity. Several members of the subcommittee approached Ms. Burgos to tell her they sympathized with her but had no choice but to vote for the endorsement, after the DOJ’s Sept. 3 resolution clearing Ano and several high ranking military and police
officers of the April 28, 2007 abduction of her son. During the hearing, Mrs. Burgos read into the records a letter she sent members of the bicameral CA, saying she continued to oppose the general’s apppointment, whom she found “unfit” not simply because she held him among those liable for the abduction, but also because, in her six-year quest for the truth and her son, she had reason to believe Ano was among those who allowed a military officer, held four years for passing secrets to NPA rebels, to go free just to cover up Jonas’ abduction. Although she acknowledged the endorsement of Ano’s confirmation as a setback, Ms. Burgos said this would not stop her from continuing her quest for justice and for her son. ■ InterAksyon.com / September 25, 2013 / 11:07 AM
ISAFP chief Brig Gen Eduardo Ano listens as Edita Burgos, mother of disappeared activist Jonas Burgos, voices her objection to the confirmation of the officer she believes ordered her son’s abduction. Photo by Bernard Testa ©Interaksyon.com
Media group tells govt lawyers not to use journos in going after MNLF MANILA, Philippines – Government prosecutors have no authority to compel journalists covering the Zamboanga City standoff to hand over information they have gathered so this can be used to build cases against Moro National Liberation Front fighters involved in the crisis, a major media group said Tuesday. The National Union of Journalists also called on journalists and media outfits, “whether in Zamboanga or elsewhere … to reject such requests outright” because this would endanger not just themselves but others as well. The media organization said it was “extremely disturbed” on learning that at least three Zamboanga-based journalists —Jimmy Villaflores and Teodyver Arquiza, both of the RMN radio network, and Julie Alipala, Philippine Daily Inquirer
correspondent and NUJP national director —had been summoned buy the city prosecutor’s office to provide information on their meetings with MNLF fighters. All three refused to hand over their information. However, the NUJP said it remained unclear if any other journalists had received similar summons. Nevertheless, the group said the Zamboanga prosecutor “has no authority to issue a subpoena for materials collected by journalists in the course of their coverage, such materials being considered privileged information.” “Also, Republic Act 53, or the Sotto Law, shields journalists from being compelled to reveal their sources, unless so ordered by a court of law and only on matters relating to national security,” it added. The NUJP said there is no way the information collected by the three journalists in interviews with the rebels “can be considered national security matters, especially if these had already been part of published or broadcast news reports.” ■ InterAksyon.com / September 24, 2013 / 8:30 PM.
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INTERNATIONAL / GLOBAL NEWS
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
‘Diplomatic path must be tested’ with Iran: Obama
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday pushed for pursuing diplomacy with Iran’s new government, but called on Tehran to be transparent about its nuclear program. “The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested,” Obama told the UN General Assembly, speaking just before Iranian President Hassan Rowhani was to address the annual summit. Obama said he had instructed US Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue a possible new diplomatic opening with Tehran. Kerry will meet Thursday with his new Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif as well as foreign ministers from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia at the United Nations headquarters. It will be the first such minister-level talks on the nuclear issue since the negotiations were launched a decade ago. But Obama stressed that Iran must take “transparent” and “verifiable” actions to
end international suspicions over its nuclear program. Iran’s economy has been crippled by a series of UN and US sanctions aimed at crippling its nuclear program. An offer by Western powers believed to lay out a softening of some of the sanctions in return for a halt to Tehran’s uranium enrichment program has so far not gotten a response from Iran. “Since I took office, I have made it clear —in letters to the Supreme Leader in Iran and more recently to President Rowhani— that America prefers to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program peacefully, but that we are determined to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon,” Obama said. All eyes are watching to see if Obama will meet Rowhani on the sidelines of the annual meeting at the United Nations. It would be a historic first since the 1979 revolution in Iran ousted the Shah and installed an Islamic republic.
“We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy,” Obama told the UN. “Instead, we insist that the Iranian government meet its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and UN Security Council resolutions.” There are hopes that the new more moderate leadership which took office in August in Tehran may usher in an era of progress. But Obama warned that “to succeed, conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.” “After all, it is the Iranian government’s choices that have led to the comprehensive sanctions that are currently in place. This isn’t simply an issue between America and Iran—the world has seen Iran evade its responsibilities in the past, and has an abiding interest in making sure that Iran meets its obligations in the future.” ■ United Nations / AFP
Blackberry to go private in $4.7 billion buyout deal
Japan’s minister for economy, trade and industry Toshimitu Motegi (L) and European Union Commissioner for trade Karel De Gucht give a press conference following their meeting at the EU Commission headquarter in Brussels, on Septembre 24, 2013.
EU pushes faster trade talks with Japan
THE European Union and Japan will speed up talks towards achieving what could be one the world’s biggest free trade deals, European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said on Tuesday. “The EU-Japan trade agreement remains a key priority and we hope to be able to move fast with the third round of negotiations in October in Brussels and at the upcoming summit in November,” De Gucht said after talks with Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motagi. “Both economies should reap the valuable benefits expected from the agreement sooner rather later,” De Gucht said. The talks could take up to five years, analysts say, as the EU and Japan look to give their faltering economies a boost with an accord which would cover some 30 percent of global economic output and 40 percent of trade. But de Gucht said it was important not to linger and that the sooner the talks finished, the better. In an effort to accelerate negotiations, De Gucht said he and the Japanese minister had agreed to exchange offers on both
goods and services as soon as possible so that they may be discussed at a November EU-Japan summit in Japan. With a good dose of “political resolve” and a restricted timeline, De Gucht said highly technical issues could be overcome and strong domestic grievances addressed. “We are working at a sustained pace and I hope the summit can put some impetus into the process,” he said. The negotiating parties believe an accord could add 0.6-0.8 percent to Europe’s annual economic output on the back of a near 33-percent gain in EU exports to Japan. Non-tariff barriers are a major issue for Brussels and De Gucht reiterated that the talks could be suspended after one year if commitments are not met. As well as Japan, the EU has also begun negotiations on Free Trade Agreements with the United States, Canada and India, as well as the Mercosur countries of Latin America among others. Japan too is involved in other talks, most recently winning Washington’s approval to join the 11-nation, US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership. ■ AFP
SMARTPHONE maker Blackberry has reached a $4.7 billion buyout deal on Monday with a group led by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. BlackBerry has agreed to sell itself for $4.7 billion to a group led by largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. BlackBerry said Monday that a letter of intent has been signed and its shareholders will receive $9 in cash for each share. Fairfax head Prem Watsa is a former board member who owns 10 percent of BlackBerry. Watsa stepped down when BlackBerry announced it was considering a sale last month. Watsa is one of Canada’s best-known value investors and the billionaire founder of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. He has been compared to Warren Buffett because of his investing approach. BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis recruited Watsa to join the company’s board when Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped aside as its co-CEOs in January, 2012. Trading of the company’s stock was halted ahead of the news. BlackBerry shares plunged after the company announced Friday a loss of nearly $1 billion and layoffs of 4,500 workers. The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, was once the dominant smartphone for on-thego business people and other consumers before Apple’s iPhone debuted in 2007.
“We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry its customers, carriers and employees,” Watsa said in a statement. “We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company.” BlackBerry said its board of directors approved the terms of the letter of intent. The statement said BlackBerry and Fairfax will negotiate and execute a definitive transaction agreement by Nov. 4. Watsa said in April that he’s a “big supporter” of current CEO Thorsten Heins and called his promotion the right decision in early 2012. He also said he’s excited about the company’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system. This year’s launch of BlackBerry 10, its revamped operating system, and fancier devices—the touchscreen Z10 and Q10 for keyboard loyalists—was supposed to rejuvenate the brand and lure customers.
But the much-delayed phones have failed to turn the company around. At their peak in the fall of 2009, BlackBerry’s smartphones enjoyed global market share of over 20 percent, says Mike Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity. Their piece of the pie has since evaporated to just 1.5 percent. BlackBerry said Friday it will lay off 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of its global workforce, as it tries to slash costs by 50 percent and shift its focus back to competing mainly for the business customers. A week earlier than expected, BlackBerry surprised the market by reporting Friday that it lost nearly $1 billion in the second quarter. The company is booking over $900 million in charges to write down the value of its unsold smartphones. BlackBerry said cutting its global headcount to 7,000 total employees is necessary. The company let 5,000 people go last year. The company also said Friday it plans to focus on offering only two high-end devices and two entry-level handsets going forward, with emphasis on the business market. BlackBerry, formerly known as RIM, was once Canada’s most valuable company with a market value of $83 billion in June 2008, but the stock has plummeted from over $140 share to less than $9. Its decline is evoking memories of Nortel, another Canadian tech giant, which ended up declaring bankruptcy in 2009. ■ AFP
Germany’s Wintershall to invest $3.35 billion in Argentine oil field
Photo by Felipe Scilipoti ©AFP File
HANDOUT picture taken on July 11, 2013 and released by Argentina’s state-owned energy giant YPF, showing its management facilities in Vaca Muerta. Energy giant Wintershall, Germany’s largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, will invest $3.35 billion to drill for oil in southern Argentina, sources here said Tuesday. Under the 10-year deal, Wintershall, which is owned by BASF, will search for shale oil in Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s largest non-conventional petroleum reserves. Jorge Sapag, governor of Neuquen
province, where the Vaca Muerta oil field is located, signed letter of intent in Germany on Monday. The vast Vaca Muerta oil field, which was discovered in 2010 by Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF, covers an area of 30,000 square kilometers, with estimated reserves of 22.5 billion barrels of oil. Debt-ridden Argentina is eager to develop its own sources of energy, so that it can achieve energy self sufficiency. Buenos Aires last year spent $12 million to import oil, and expects to make similar energy outlays in 2013. ■ AFP
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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, on September 24, 2013. Rousseff has launched a blistering attack on the United States at the United Nations over America’s widespread spying on her country.
INTERNATIONAL / GLOBAL NEWS
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Brazil slams US over cyber spying BRAZILIAN President Dilma Rousseff launched a blistering attack on the United States Tuesday at the United Nations over America’s widespread spying on her country. “The argument that illegal interception of information is allegedly intended to protect nations against terrorism is untenable,” Rousseff told the opening of the UN General Assembly. “Brazil knows how to protect itself,” she insisted, amid a damaging row over revelations of widespread spying by the US National Security Agency, including on Rousseff’s email communications and on the state-run energy giant Petrobas. Rousseff has cancelled a long planned state visit to the United States next month in anger at the revelations leaked by fugitive
former CIA employee Edward Snowden, The “recently disclosed information along the activities carried out by global network of electronic spying has brought anger and repudiation among vast sectors worldwide,” Rousseff said as she addressed the first day of the annual UN General Assembly. “Citizens’ personal data and information have been indiscriminately targeted and intercepted,” she said, speaking through a translator to the leaders of 193 nations gathered at the United Nations. “Business information often times of high economic and strategic value have been a target of spying activity,” she said. “Meddling in such manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is in breach
of international affairs and as such it is an affront to the principles that otherwise govern relations between countries. “The right to security of a country’s citizens can never be ensured by violating the fundamental human and civil rights of other countries.” But US President Barack Obama who stepped up to the podium just after Rousseff insisted that while the United States was now reviewing its intelligence gathering, it had proved invaluable in the fight against terrorism. “As a result of this work and cooperation with allies and partners, the world is more stable than it was five years ago. But even a glance at today’s headlines indicates the dangers that remain,” Obama said. ■ AFP
Mexico storms dredge up human errors HUMAN nature is sharing the blame with Mother Nature in Mexico for the destruction spawned by twin storms, with critics pointing to shoddy construction, endemic corruption and political wheeling-and-dealing. The country was thrashed last week by a rare tag team of tropical storms on opposite coasts, Manuel and Ingrid, that killed at least 123 people, damaged 72 roads and affected 1.5 million homes to various degrees. A further 63 people are still missing, authorities said in the latest tally late Monday. The interior minister has estimated the final death toll could reach 200, with some 1.5 million homes affected. While some experts say there was little Mexico could do against the first double storm assault since 1958, critics argue that the disaster was exacerbated by bad urban planning, poorly designed roads and widespread illegal logging. “It’s not surprising. We develop in unbuildable areas, we build with garbage and we design without planning,” Jesus Silva-Herzog Marquez, a law professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, wrote in Reforma newspaper. “Some do business, and others die,” he wrote.
The southwestern state of Guerrero suffered most from wrath of the storms. Rescuers have been working for days to dig out a village in the mountains northwest of the resort of Acapulco buried in a monstruous landslide that crumbled roads and broke a bridge in half. Authorities on a tour through the region Monday discovered a second “very similar” landslide nearby that left eight dead. Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Mountain, said two to three construction companies get all the lucrative contracts from municipalities in the impoverished region. “These projects are of bad quality. There is no supervision mechanism to check if they are meeting standards required for mountains,” Barrera told AFP. “The projects are controled by political groups. The builders give money to politicians and so nobody complains or is held accountable,” he said. In Acapulco, some neighborhoods were built over mangroves, preventing water from draining into the ocean and flooding much of the city. Many residents fled to the rooftops of inundated homes while crocodiles surfaced in urban areas.
The highway linking the port to Mexico City was blocked by landslides and the airport was flooded, stranding tens of thousands of tourists for almost a week until the road reopened last Friday. Guerrero Governor Angel Aguirre said last week that investments and unregulated housing developments were often the product of “political deals” and “acts of corruption.” Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong acknowledged that the disaster can partly be attributed to “irregular settlements in places where no settlements should have been authorized.” Luis de la Calle, founder of the public affairs consultancy CMM and a former economy ministry official, said Mexican towns have awarded building permits near waterways for years but corruption is not always the problem. “In some cases, it’s poverty and in others, it’s corruption. Many times it’s due to the institutional absence of the government,” he told AFP. “There are municipal governments that don’t have the capacity to enforce the law.” Enrique Santoyo, director general of the TGC engineering firm, said corruption
A member of the Mexican rescue team holds a kitten as others search for victims of a landslide in La Pintada, Guerrero state, on September 23, 2013. Human nature is sharing the blame with Mother Nature in Mexico for the destruction spawned by twin storms, with critics pointing to shoddy construction, endemic corruption and political wheeling-and-dealing.
was a problem but that roads were not prepared for such rare storms and that the geology of the earthquake-prone region made them vulnerable. But he also blamed “weak supervision” of projects. Prior to the storms, President Enrique Pena Nieto unveiled a massive investment plan to modernize Mexico’s infrastructure, but his project now faces $3 billion in road repairs amid an economic slowdown. The government’s response to the storms has also come under criticism. Barrera said indigenous populations have been neglected. He said at least 42
people have died but the “magnitude of the tragedy” is difficult to know because some mountain communities are isolated. Osorio Chong insists that the federal government is concerned for all communities but that many are difficult to reach by air or land. A police helicopter flying rescue missions crashed last Friday, killing its five crew members. Aguirre, meanwhile, was under fire over a picture showing him hosting a party with a mariachi band as Manuel approached the coast. On Monday, he appeared in news photos being interviewed with chest-high water in a flooded town. ■ AFP
King says Syria refugees overwhelming Jordan JORDAN’S King Abdullah II on Tuesday pleaded for more support for the swelling number of Syrian refugees, warning that his country was overwhelmed. Abdullah said that Jordanians—also major hosts of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees—“have opened their arms to those in need, as we have always done.” “But I say here and now that my people cannot be asked to shoulder the burden of what is a regional and global challenge,” Abdullah told the annual UN General Assembly. More than two million Syrians have fled their country—primarily to Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon—since the eruption of the bloody two-year civil war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives. “We can all see the reality on the ground: the need is out-racing the response,” Abdullah said. “More support is urgently needed
to send a strong signal that the world community stands shoulder-to-shoulder with those who have borne so much,” he said. Abdullah said that Syrian refugees already were the equivalent of one-10th of the Jordanian population and could reach 20 percent—or one million people—by next year. “These are not just numbers. They are people who need food, water, shelter, sanitation, electricity, health care and more. “Not even the strongest global economies could absorb this demand on infrastructure and resources, let alone a small economy and the fourth waterpoorest country in the world,” he said. His remarks came shortly after President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that the United States, the largest donor on Syria, would provide
Young Syrian refugees transport mattresses through the Zaatari refugee camp, located close to the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, on September 4, 2013.
another $340 million in humanitarian aid, much of it for refugees. The State Department said that the aid brings the US contribution to nearly $1.4 billion and includes support for food, clean water and shelter. ■ AFP
King Abdullah of Jordan speaks during the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2013 at UN headquarters
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EVENTS DIARY UK & EUROPE
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
DATE / TIME 5 October Saturday 7:00pm – 11:00pm
EVENT Bayanihan Night
VENUE Christall Hall, St Joseph’s R.C. Church, St Margaret Drive, Epsom KT18 7JQ
ORGANISER Filipino British Nurses Association of Surrey
6 October Sunday
A Day of Pilgrimage and Celebrating the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary
Places to visit: 1. St Jude Shrine, Faversham 2. Carmelite Community, Aylesford
The Community Prayer Crusade – West London (NonProfit Organisation)
6 October Sunday
Marian Pilgrimage at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Sponsored by different Filipino Communities
12 October Saturday 11:00am to 5:00pm 19 October Saturday 6:00pm
Filipino Food Festival
The Centrepiece Church, Bank Street, Ashford, Kent TN23 1BA
Filipino Women in Kent (FWK)
20th Anniversary Annual Charity Dinner & Dance
Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, Portman Square, London W1H 7BG
Batangas Association UK (BAUK)
20 October Sunday 3:00pm Matinee 7:00pm Evening 21 October Monday 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Dances of Paradise Islands Performed By: Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company
The Venue MK, Walton High, Fyfield Barrow, Milton Keynes MK7 7WH
Launching of Neil Medina’s Book – Timmy and Friends: The Adventure of the Alarm Clock Boy 2013 PartyPoker.com World Pool Masters
Philippine Embassy, Rizal Room, 10 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG
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The Metrodome, Queens Ground, Queens Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S71 1AN St Matthias Church, Rushgrove, Avenue, London NW9 6QY
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21 December BRITFIL Christmas Party Chasewell Community Social Club, British & Filipino Community Saturday Avoce Way, Cherwell Height, (BRITFIL) 6:00pm 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
2013 Monthly Filipino Community Masses in Greater London 1st Sunday
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 / email@example.com Roland Adap – firstname.lastname@example.org 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
IMMIGRATION / OFNEWS
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Bank moves to encourage OFWs to save STERLING Bank of Asia has waived initial deposit and minimum maintaining balance requirements for accounts owned by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in an effort to encourage them to save. “We want to help OFWs secure their future,” said Sterling Bank CEO Lamberto R. Villena on Tuesday in explaining their rationale behind the recently launched Bayani OFW Savings (BOS) Account. “Our Bayani OFW Savings Account makes it simple and affordable for them to save a portion of their remittance for future needs,” Villena added.
Although the BOS account has no initial deposit or maintaining balance requirement, it must have at least one foreign exchange remittance transaction on or before the first anniversary of the account’s opening. Deposits of ₱2,000 entitles the account to interest earnings. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has recently noted a decline in savings among OFW families in its Consumer Expectations Survey for the third quarter of 2013. Based on the survey, the percentage of OFW households that saved part of the remittances decreased to 34.3 percent in
the third quarter from 39.4 percent in the second quarter of the year. Sterling Bank’s BOS Account also comes with a Bayani OFW Savings Visa debit card that will allow OFWs to access their funds anywhere in the world and an option to enrol in Sterling BankOnline for free to allow them to monitor their funds any time. The Bayani OFW Savings Visa debit card has an EMV chip that offers better protection from fraud than magnetic stripe cards and is the global standard for chipbased credit and debit transactions. ■ KBK,
GMA News / September 24, 2013 / 6:46 PM
Eight Pinoy artists to promote PHL art in Malaysia expo EIGHT Filipino artists have been given a chance to promote Philippine arts in an international setting. The eight flew to Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday to attend the Art Expo Malaysia (AEM) 2013, a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday. The artists are part of the Malayang Alagad ng Sining at Adhikain (MASA), an art collective formed in June 2012 by artists of varied disciplines and from different areas of the country. The group’s founder Arao Salamat said the Malaysia art expo is the second international event for them. He sees it
as a valuable event to show the group’s commitment to promote Philippine arts and culture through exhibitions, collaborations, and workshops held locally and internationally. “We all know the difficulty of joining international art fairs and festivals but with perseverance, we can penetrate, as long as we have the desire to join, the willingness to join and the ability to join,” Salamat said in the DFA statement. Two of the delegates, Dante Enage and Ge-Ann Balintec, play in a band called KulaHig. With a hodgepodge name meaning color and music (kulay at himig), the group is composed of artists and
musicians who play ethnotribal music. John Paul ‘Lakan’ Olivares, another participant, maintains a DeviantArt page where he stores his portfolio. According to his profile, his main medium is metallic gel pen on the reverse side of standard illustration boards. Don Reich de Dios, meanwhile, is a multimedia artist currently serving as an information officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He was a finalist for Metrobank Young Painters Annual in 2003, and also a finalist when the competition changed its name into Metrobank Art and Design Excellence in 2008.
Other MASA members who will participate in AEM are Prof. Lakan Olivares, Phoebe Beltran, Ayen Quias, and Rowel Naanep. As part of its Malaysian tour, which the group named “Pinoy Artists Art Experience II,” MASA will hold an exhibit called “SINING PINOY: Sariling Atin, Pagyamanin Natin” at the KL Embassy. To be held on Sept. 20-23, the exhibit will have the same theme it had last year at the Bangkok Embassy in Thailand. Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said the delegation to Kuala Lumpur was part of the Philippine Embassy’s cultural diplomacy program, which aims to show the best of the Philippines in Malaysia.
“This year is the time for Philippine visual arts to take centerstage in our pursuit of spreading Filipino culture to the Malaysian public, and we believe that the talented and remarkable artists of MASA would do just that,” said Malaya. Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao– Department of Tourism Secretary Jehanne Mutin-Mapupuno and Dr. Sainduddin Moti will also be part of the delegation. AEM 2013 will be held at the Matrade Export Exhibition Center in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 19-22. The Phil. Embassy’s booth is numbered E8 at the AEM’s Embassy Row. ■ Rie Takumi / KBK, GMA News / September 18, 2013
/ 6:58 PM
Help underway for another OFW PHL officials in UAE probe fake travel document row on Saudi death row—VP Binay AFTER securing the release of Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, the government is working for the release of another Filipino in Saudi Arabia’s death row, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Tuesday. Binay said efforts are underway to secure the release of Jonard Langamin, who the Dammam High Court sentenced to death for killing fellow Filipino Robertson Mendoza in 2008. “Sana malaman ng mga kababayan natin na iyong pamahalaan, through the Department of Foreign Affairs tsaka sa embassy, hindi naman po tayo nagpapabaya,” Binay, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino worker concerns, said on his Facebook page. He gave the assurance during a courtesy call by Lanuza, a pardoned death row convict in Saudi who arrived home last week after 13 years in jail. Binay said the government continues to monitor the cases of Filipino workers detained abroad, and to work to secure their freedom. “Sa lahat ng yugto ng (kanilang kaso), nandoon (ang pamahalaan), tinitingnan kung anong nangyari sa proceedings. Merong uma-attend doon,” he said. Blood money. In Langamin’s case, Mendoza’s family initially sought P5 million as blood money, but agreed to lower it to ₱2 million after Binay had both families meet in Manila. At the time, Mendoza’s father signed a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness after Binay paid the blood money from his personal funds. But while Langamin was expected to
be released in March 2012, the court decreed Mendoza’s mother should be the official representative of the family. Mendoza’s mother then asked for the remaining ₱3 million of the blood money. The Office of the Vice President said it is now trying to talk with Mendoza’s mother to reach a favorable settlement. In a recent report, Langamin said he wish he could also go home to his family just like Lanuza. Lanuza to write a book? Meanwhile, Binay urged Lanuza to write a book about his experience. “Hinihimok ko nga siyang sumulat ‘nung kaniyang karanasan. Ang daming first time dito. Isang first time dito iyong hari nagbigay ng milyun-milyong piso (I urge him to write about his experience. There are so many firsts in his case, including the King shouldering most of the blood money),” he said. For his part, Lanuza said he plans to help OFWs and the government be aware of how the Saudi jail system works, including how cases are handled, and how to raise funds. ■ KBK, GMA News / September 24, 2013 / 2:11 PM
PHILIPPINE officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are investigating claims by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) group that a travel document is being sold at high prices. Ambassador Grace Princesa said she has also put mechanisms in place to
check the authenticity of the documents in question, UAE news site Khaleej Times reported Sunday. She said she will particularly check the authenticity of several Affidavit of Support (AoS) documents, which are at the center of claims by Migrante International UAE. But this early, Princesa denied claims that embassy staff have been accepting bribes for blank AoS documents. AoS documents are required by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) to bring their families to their host countries. The Khaleej Times report said Migrante had claimed an Aos is sold at Dh300, with Dh100 as payment to the embassy and Dh150 going to the fixer and Dh50 to a supposed middleman.
Princesa said a team will be formed in coordination with the Filipino embassy in Tehran to look into Migrante’s claims that thousands of Filipinos are in Kish Island on a visa run. The Philippine Embassy in Tehran has consular jurisdiction over Kish Island. Princesa also said the embassy has a list of those who had been issued affidavits at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi. She said the AoS documents presented by Migrante could be checked against this list. In the meantime, Princesa urged Filipinos who obtained their AoS from travel agencies at a hefty price to come forward and execute sworn statements. ■ KBK, GMA News / September 23, 2013 / 12:08 PM
Pinoy pleads guilty, apologizes for fatally running over triathlete in UAE A Filipino motorist on Monday pleaded guilty before a Dubai court for drunk driving and fatally running over former triathlon champion Roy Nasr last September 6, a United Arab Emirates news site reported late Monday. The Filipino, 24, apologized for his actions before the Dubai Traffic Misdemeanor Court, according to a report on Gulf News. He had been charged for driving under the influence of alcohol and running over Nasr and two other cyclists last September 6 near Safa Park interchange. Nasr’s fellow cyclists, a Briton and an American, were injured in the collision. The accident also damaged a car and
the victims’ bicycles. A judgment may be handed down on September 30. Investigation showed the Filipino’s car hit Nasr, 50, and his companions from behind. The Filipino was arrested after the accident. Nasr, a Lebanese national, was a former triathlon champion who finished third at the 2011 World Triathlon Championships in Beijing. Nasr’s cousin, Najeeb, said organizers of the Batroun Triathlon 2013 had renamed the event the “Roy Nasr” Batroun Triathlon. Nasr had won the 2012 Batroun Triathlon in Lebanon. ■ DVM, GMA News / September 23, 2013 / 11:10 PM
Roy Nasr during one of his triathlon runs.
IMMIGRATION / OFNEWS
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Pinay gives birth while in Jeddah ‘tent city’
JEDDAH – An undocumented overseas Filipino worker (OFW) has given birth here while living in the so-called tent city near the Philippine Consulate. The OFW, who refused to be identified, said she gave birth about 8 p.m. on September 9. She said she was able to call for an ambulance but her waterbag broke even before the ambulance came. Her companions inside the tent assisted her in the delivery, she said. The baby—a boy—was immediately
brought to a hospital and is now in stable condition. The mother was among the many undocumented OFWs awaiting their exit visas in order for them to be flown home and avoid Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on illegal workers. Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on illegal workers started last March 28 in connection with its “Saudization”—or nitaqat—policy, which encouraged private firms to employ Saudi locals. After Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced a three-month reprieve on April 6,
which had ended on July 4, Filipinos flocked to a land near the Philippine Consulate to avoid arrest and to ask for legal assistance. A new deadline has been 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. Many of the Filipinos staying at the tent city are women. ■ Ronaldo Concha / KBK, GMA News /
September 24, 2013 / 8:38 PM
PHL assumes chair of UN Commission on Status of Women THE Philippines assumed the chairmanship of the United Nations’ Bureau for the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, a development the Department of Foreign Affairs said was the international community’s recognition of the Philippines’ leadership in this field. Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Libran Cabactulan formally assumed the post, the DFA said in a news release. “The Philippines is honored by this position of leadership which recognizes the country’s long-lasting and continuing commitment to gender equality and the advancement of women. Under the Philippines’ leadership, we will continue to build on the Commission’s accomplishments and help ensure that current efforts contribute to a future of gender equality and empowerment of women,”Cabactulan said in a statement. He added the Philippines is thankful for the “confidence placed by the international community” in an important UN body. The DFA said the Commission on the Status of Women is the principal global policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women. Representatives of UN member states gather yearly at the UN headquarters in New York to “evaluate progress on gender
equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.” The DFA said the priority theme for the 58th session of the CSW, scheduled for March 2014, is “Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls.” Other members of the Bureau for the 58th CSW session include: • Christine Loew (Switzerland), representing the Western European and Other States Group • Neli Shiolashvili (Georgia), representing the Eastern European States Group
• Mohamed Elbahi (Sudan), representing the African States Group • Ambassador Carlos Garcia (El Salvador), representing the Latin American and Caribbean States Group The DFA said the Philippines had served as Vice Chair representing the Asia Pacific Group during the 56th and 57th sessions of CSW. It said the Philippines facilitated the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of CSW and played a key role in breaking an impasse from 2003, when states could not reach common ground to end violence against women and girls. ■ KDM, GMA News / September 22, 2013 /1:37PM
TWO Filipinas in the United Arab Emirates were charged before a court there for allegedly conspiring to cheat in a medical fitness test last August. Prosecutors said a Filipina saleswoman had her fellow Filipina undergo a medical fitness test in her stead, news site Khaleej Times reported Thursday. According to the prosecutors, the Filipina saleswoman, 41, had a contagious disease that would have kept her from passing the medical fitness test, which was necessary for her visa renewal. But it was the alleged accomplice, a 33-year-old domestic helper, who was charged before the Dubai Court of First Instance for using official documents—the medical fitness test application—in the
saleswoman’s name. She was also charged for using the saleswoman’s passport. The saleswoman was charged as an accessory to both crimes. Investigation showed the domestic helper admitted that the saleswoman had given her her passport and the test form, and told her to convince blood sample takers believe she was the saleswoman. However, the ruse was discovered by a 34-year-old Indian blood sample collector at the center where the medical test took place last Aug. 4. When confronted, the domestic helper admitted that the passport and application belonged to her friend. ■ KBK, GMA News / September 19, 2013 / 5:04 PM
Pinay who buried dead child at UAE beach asks to be deported Photo ©InterAksyon.com
US Feds help PHL break up cybersex gang, rescue kids WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in Manila worked in close cooperation with the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ)’s InterAgency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to dismantle a cybersex syndicate based in Cebu, Philippines. At least seven suspects were arrested and more than a dozen children were rescued in four operations between May and September. The provincial government of Cebu expressed its gratitude and commended HSI for its “efforts in helping the Cebuano community in eradicating human trafficking, cyber pornography and other forms of sexually provocative activities in Barangay Ibabao, Cordova, Cebu.” On Sept. 4, HSI Manila assisted the Philippine National Police (PNP) in busting a cyber pornography operation in Cordova, Cebu, where Maricel Ayad, 31, and Dinesio Encallado Inoc, 37, were arrested under the Philippine AntiTrafficking in Persons Act of 2003. Three female victims aged 2, 9 and 11 were rescued.
2 Pinays face UAE court for ‘cheating’ in medical fitness test
Ayad and Inoc are alleged to have sexually exploited the minor victims by forcing them to perform lewd acts in front of a web camera for foreign child predators who paid a fee. HSI special agents in Portland, Maine, were the first to detect the transaction between those involved in this cyber pornography in Cordova. The children were turned over to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Additionally, HSI Manila assisted the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and DSWD in rescuing 13 children on Sept. 6 at a Lapu-Lapu City high school and a Cordova elementary school after tracing photos of the children aged 8 to 17 on social media websites. The photos were discovered on digital media that was seized last May in Cordova, which resulted in the arrest of Eileen Ontong, 35, and Wilfredo Ontong, 37. HSI Norfolk, Va., special agents assisted in this investigation. On July 12, HSI Manila, the PNP and the International Justice Mission (IJM),
IACAT’s non-governmental organization representing the children sector, executed a search warrant at a Barangay Malabanias, Angeles City, Pampanga residence being used to conduct cybersex with minors to customers around the world, including customers from the United States. Law enforcers arrested Maybel Oranga, Bryan Sagmit and Christian Chameco on human trafficking and production of child pornography related charges. If convicted, they face life in prison and fines of up to $455,000. To date, the IACAT has successfully prosecuted and convicted 129 human traffickers since its inception in 2005 with most of the convictions happening in the past three years. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its tollfree hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. ■ GMA Online / September 21, 2013 / 12:20 PM
A 30-year-old Filipino woman on Monday defended before a United Arab Emirates court her actions in burying her dead baby at a beach, rattling out a plea that hightlighted her intention to be deported. The Filipina, an unmarried mother, also told the Dubai Appeals Court that the infant died because she could not afford medical care for the child, according to a report on Gulf News. “I did not endanger her life... but I could not afford the overpriced medical fees to admit her to hospital. When she died, we buried her at Jumeirah Open Beach,” she said. Prosecutors argued that the Filipino woman endangered the baby’s life when she failed to provide her with proper medical care. The woman, however, said she did her best to provide the child with proper medical and motherly care. “But the medical expenses were
unaffordable. We couldn’t cover the fees of admitting her to hospital... when she passed away we buried her. Your Honor, please, I am so miserable and want to be deported very soon,” the Gulf News report quoted her as saying. A verdict is due on October 9, the report said. The Filipino woman, a cleaner at the Union Coop, gave birth to the premature baby girl last January 1, but the baby fell ill on January 2 and died. The mother is serving a one-year prison term after she was found guilty of having sex outside marriage. The act had produced the child. She said she and her boyfriend were asked to pay Dh26,000 for the baby to be admitted to a hospital. She had earlier confessed to having unmarried sex and getting pregnant afterward. ■ KBK, GMA News
/ September 24, 2013 / 7:56 PM
HEALTH and Lifestyle
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Breast cancer awareness KNOWING what your breasts look and feel like, and checking them regularly, can help you detect when something’s wrong. Find out what to look out for, including new lumps and changes in shape. Breast cancer is the most common cancer to affect women, with around 38,000 cases diagnosed every year in England. Around 260 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The lifetime risk of any woman in England developing breast cancer is around 1 in 10. Be breast aware. Detecting cancer early can mean that treatment is more effective. Knowing what your breasts normally feel like will help you be aware of any abnormal changes. Not all changes are a sign of breast cancer. Some women have cysts or thickening of the breast tissue, which is normal. You can ﬁnd out more about causes of breast lumps. Learn what your breasts look and feel like. Their appearance and feel can change
at different times of the menstrual cycle. The milk-producing tissue in the breast becomes active in the days before a period starts. Some women ﬁnd that their breasts feel tender and lumpy at this time, especially near the armpits. After a hysterectomy (removal of the womb), the breasts usually show the same monthly changes until the time when your periods would have stopped naturally. After the menopause, activity in the milkproducing tissue stops. Normal breasts can feel soft, less ﬁrm and not lumpy. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that being breast aware means: • knowing what’s normal for you • looking at your breasts and and feeling them • knowing what changes to look for • reporting any changes without delay • attending routine breast screening if you’re 50 or over
Changes in the breast. Be aware of the following changes in your breasts: • changes in the outline or shape of the breast, especially those caused by arm movements or by lifting the breast • changes in the look or feel of the skin, such as puckering or dimpling • discomfort or pain in one breast that is unusual, particularly if it is new and persistent • any new lumps, thickening or bumpy areas in one breast or armpit, which differs from the same part of the other breast and armpit • nipple discharge that’s new for you and not milky • bleeding from the nipple • moist, red areas on the nipple that don’t heal easily • any change in nipple position, such as pulled up or pointing differently • a rash on or around the nipple If you notice any of these changes, see your GP. ■ NHS Choices
Not all changes are a sign of breast cancer. Some women have cysts or thickening of the breast tissue, which is normal.
relatives of women with a faulty gene, and women with a strong family history of breast cancer where a living family member with breast or ovarian cancer is available for testing. “Women who have a mother or sister who has tested positive can opt for a simple genetic test to ﬁnd out whether they’ve got the faulty gene,” says Evans. If you don’t have a relative who has tested positive for a faulty gene, family history needs to be strong to justify testing. “Looking at family history means looking at the combinations of breast and ovarian cancer, and young-onset [younger than 50] breast cancer in the family,” says Evans.
“The problem is that they probably can’t reduce their risk to below 50%. That’s why a high proportion of those women opt for risk-reducing surgery.” This involves surgical removal of the breasts (mastectomy) and sometimes removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy), to reduce the risk of cancer developing. These are major operations, and the woman and her clinician need to discuss the risks and implications before any decisions are taken. “If a woman has a double mastectomy [removal of both breasts], her risk of developing breast cancer is reduced by 90 to 95%,” says Evans. Women who have had risk-reduction surgery will be monitored to check that cancer isn’t developing in any leftover breast tissue that can’t be removed, such as on the chest wall. Where can I go for help if I’m worried about my risk? If two or three women in your family have had breast cancer and you’re worried about your risk, see your GP. If your GP thinks you have an increased risk, you can be referred to a local breast clinic. If there is already a positive gene test in the family, they can refer you to the genetic clinic. ■ NHS Choices
Breast cancer genes
A fault in speciﬁc genes can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Women at risk of having a faulty gene are offered tests and screening. Find out who could be at risk, and what to do if you think you may have a faulty gene in the family. Having a faulty high-risk gene linked to breast cancer is not common, says professor Gareth Evans, consultant medical geneticist at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. “Mutations in the high-risk genes affect one in 500 people or less,” he says. Genes called BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53 or PTEN are linked with breast cancer. Everyone has these genes. If there’s a fault or mutation in one of them, the risk of breast cancer is high. These faulty genes also increase the risk of ovarian cancer. A blood test can identify whether you have a fault in one of these highrisk genes. What is the normal risk of breast cancer? In the UK, a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 10%. Out of every 100 women, 10 will develop breast cancer by the time they are 80 years old. It can affect anyone. You can get it even if you
don’t have a faulty gene. If more than one person in a family has breast cancer, this doesn’t mean the faulty genes are present. It could be chance, as breast cancer is common. What is the risk if you have a faulty gene? If you have a faulty gene, it doesn’t mean you’ll deﬁnitely develop breast cancer, but you are at a higher risk. Having a fault in one of the breast cancer genes raises the risk of developing breast cancer to between 50% and 85%. Out of every 100 women with a faulty gene, between 50 and 85 of them will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Who is tested for faulty genes? If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and has a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, she will usually be offered a blood test to see whether she has a faulty gene. If the test is positive, this means she has a higher risk of developing cancer in her other breast and of developing ovarian cancer. Women who don’t have breast cancer can be offered testing if they are at risk of having a faulty gene. This can include
“For example, a family history of three women in their thirties or four women in their forties having cancer would easily qualify someone for genetic testing.” What if a woman without cancer has a faulty gene? Because a woman with a faulty gene has a high lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancer, she has options. Depending on her age and estimated risk, she’ll be offered mammograms or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, or both. She can still follow general health advice, too. “Women can reduce their risk by not putting on weight, by eating a good diet and by taking regular exercise,” says Evans.
cancer is much Breast cancer in men Breast rarer in men than women. BREAST cancer is often thought of as a condition that only affects women, but men can also develop it. Breast cancer in men is much less common than breast cancer in women, affecting just one in every 100,000 men in the UK. The cancer develops in the small amount of breast tissue men have behind their nipples. The most common symptom is a hard, painless lump in one of the breasts. However, it is important to note that the vast majority of breast lumps are due to a condition called gynaecomastia. This is a common, non-cancerous condition where male breast tissue becomes enlarged. Breast cancer in men can also cause
nipple problems, such as the nipple turning in on itself (retraction) or nipple discharge. When to see your GP. You should always talk to your GP if you notice a lump in your breast, or you have problems affecting your nipples, such as discharge. While these symptoms are unlikely to be caused by breast cancer, they should be investigated further. Why it happens. The cause of male breast cancer is unclear, but factors known to increase your chances of developing the condition include: • age - most cases affect men over 60 years of age • having a family history of breast cancer (male or female)
Only about 1 in 1000 men develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
• obesity - a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more Who is affected. Breast cancer is much rarer in men than women. Only about 1 in 1000 men develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Around 350-400 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men in the UK every year. The condition is most often diagnosed in men aged 60-70.
Treating breast cancer in men. In most cases, surgery is used to remove the cancer along with a section of the breast. This is usually followed by a longterm course of hormone therapy using a medication called tamoxifen. Tamoxifen helps to block the effects of hormones on breast tissue that are known to stimulate the growth of cancerous cells. It should help prevent
the cancer from returning. In some cases, radiotherapy or chemotherapy may be used for the same purpose. Outlook. The outlook for breast cancer is less good in men than in women. This is because there is reduced awareness of the condition and it may take longer to diagnose. The survival rates for breast cancer in men largely depend on how far the cancer has spread before it is diagnosed. Breast cancer diagnosed at an early stage can often be treated successfully, but effective treatment is more difﬁcult if the cancer has spread beyond the breast tissue. Unfortunately, many cases are diagnosed after the cancer has already started to spread. ■ NHS Choices
Food labels NUTRITION labels can help you choose between products and keep a check on the amount of foods you’re eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars. Read on or use the links below to go straight to the sections that interest you. • Nutrition labels on the back or side of packaging • Nutrition labels on the front of packaging • Reference intake (RI) • Red, amber and green colour-coding • Ingredients list • Food shopping tips Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the back or side of the packaging. These labels usually include information on energy in kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal), usually referred to as calories. They also include information on protein, carbohydrate and fat. They may provide additional information on saturated fat, sugars, sodium and salt. All nutrition information is provided per 100 grams and sometimes per portion of the food. Supermarkets and food manufacturers now highlight the energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt content on the front of the packaging, alongside the reference intake for each of these. You can find out more in the section on reference intake (RI) below.
You can use nutrition labels to help you choose a more balanced diet. For a balanced diet: • cut down on fat (especially saturated fat), salt and added sugars • base your meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice, choosing wholegrain where possible • eat lots of fruit and vegetables—aim for at least ﬁve portions of a variety every day • include some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish,pulses and milk and dairy foods
Nutrition labels on the back or side of packaging. Nutrition labels are often displayed as a panel or grid on the back or side of packaging. For example, the image below shows the back of pack nutrition label on a loaf of white bread. This type of label usually includes information on energy (kJ/kcal), protein,
HEALTH and Lifestyle food
carbohydrate and fat. It may also provide additional information on saturated fat, sugars, sodium, salt and fibre. All nutrition information is provided per 100 grams and sometimes per portion of the food. How do I know if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt? There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar, or not. These are: Total fat High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g Saturated fat High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g Sugars High: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g Salt High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
What are superfoods? WE examine the evidence behind the health claims of 10 of the most popular socalled superfoods. NHS Choices - So-called, because in fact there is no official definition of a superfood and the EU has banned the use of the word on packaging. But that hasn’t stopped many food brands from funding academics to research the health benefits of their product. The superfood trend exploits the fact that healthy lifestyle choices, including diet, can reduce our risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer. The food industry wants to persuade us that eating some foods can slow down the ageing process, lift depression, boost our physical ability and even our intelligence. Many of us want to believe that eating a single fruit or vegetable containing a certain antioxidant will zap a diseased cell. The problem is that most research on superfoods tests chemicals and extracts in concentrations not found in the food in its natural state. Garlic, for example, contains a nutrient believed to help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. But you’d have to eat up to 28 cloves a day to match the doses used in the lab – something no researcher has yet been brave enough to try. Foods that have been elevated to superfood status in recent years include those rich in antioxidants (such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, ﬂavanoids and selenium) and omega-3 fatty acids. Antioxidants are chemicals thought to protect against the harmful effects of free radicals, which are chemicals naturally produced in every living cell and known to cause cell damage.
However, evidence about the health beneﬁts of antioxidants is far from conclusive and there is evidence that antioxidant supplements may be harmful. While the miracle food remains a fantasy, it’s pretty well established that obesity and alcohol are the two most common causes of major long-term illness and an increased risk of premature death. Importance of a balanced diet Diet plays an important role in our health, but there is concern that too much focus on individual foods may encourage unhealthy eating. “No food, including those labelled ‘superfoods’, can compensate for unhealthy eating,” explains Alison Hornby, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA). “If people mistakenly believe they can ‘undo’ the damage caused by unhealthy foods by eating a superfood, they may continue making routine choices that are unhealthy and increase their risk of long-term illness.” Dietitians avoid the term superfood and prefer to talk of “super diets”, where the emphasis is on a healthy balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods. When it comes to a healthy balanced diet, there is very good evidence that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of
some chronic diseases and increase life expectancy. This diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, olive oil and legumes, and less meat and dairy foods than the typical Western diet. Hornby says: “When it comes to keeping healthy, it’s best not to concentrate on any one food in the hope it will work miracles. “All unprocessed food from the major food groups could be considered ‘super’. All these foods are useful as part of a balanced diet. “You should eat a variety of foods, as described by the Eatwell plate, to ensure you get enough of the nutrients your body needs. Focusing on getting your ﬁve portions of fruit and vegetables a day is a perfect way to start.” We’ve teamed up with the BDA to look at the best available research to see if the health claims of 10 popular “superfoods” add up. Click on the foods listed below to see the evidence: • blueberries • goji berries • chocolate • oily ﬁsh • wheatgrass • pomegranate juice • green tea • broccoli • garlic • beetroot ■ NHS Choices
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium) For example, if you are trying to cut down on saturated fat, limit your consumption of foods that have more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g. Some nutrition labels on the back or side of packaging also provide information about reference intake (RI). Find out more about RI below. Nutrition labels on the front of packaging. Most of the big supermarkets and many food manufacturers also display nutritional information on the front of pre-packed food. This is very useful when you want to compare different food products at a glance.
Front-of-pack labels, such as the label in the above image, usually give a quick guide to: • energy • fat content • saturated fat content • sugar content • salt content These labels provide information on the number of grams of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt, and the amount of energy (in kJ and kcal) in a serving or portion of the food. Be aware, however, that the manufacturer’s idea of a portion may be different from yours. Some front-of-pack nutrition labels also provide information about RI. Find out more below. Reference intake (RI). Nutrition labels can also provide information on how a particular food or drink product fits into your daily diet. Reference intakes are guidelines about the approximate amount of particular nutrients and energy required for a healthy diet. Because individual requirements for energy and nutrients are different for all people, RIs are not intended as targets. Instead they are intended to give a useful indication of how a particular nutrient or amount of energy fits into your daily diet. Information on the RI and the contribution a nutrient makes towards a RI (expressed as a percentage) can usually be found on the back or side of packaging. The percentage RI can also sometimes be repeated on the front of the pack. For example, the label below shows that each pie will provide you with 19.2 grams of sugars, which represents 21% of your RI for sugars. In other words, this pack contains about a fifth of an adult’s RI of sugars.
Unless otherwise specified on the packaging, the percentage RI values are based on an average-sized woman doing an average amount of physical activity. This is to reduce the risk of people with lower energy requirements eating too much, as well as to simplify the labelling process. Reference intakes for energy, total fat, saturates, sugars and salt • Energy: 8,400kJ/2,000kcal • Total fat: 70g • Saturates: 20g • Sugars: 90g • Salt: 6g Red, amber and green colour-coding. Some front-of-pack nutrition labels use red, amber and green colour-coding. Colour-coded nutritional information, as shown in the image on the right, tells you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. • red means high • amber means medium • green means low In short, the more green lights, the healthier the choice. If you buy a food that has all or mostly green lights, you know straight away that it’s a healthier choice. An amber light means neither high nor low, so you can eat foods with all or mostly amber lights most of the time. But a red light means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugars and these are the foods we should cut down on. Try to eat these foods less often and in small amounts.
Ingredients list. Most pre-packed food products also have a list of ingredients on the packaging or on an attached label. The ingredients list can also help you work out how healthy the product is. Ingredients are listed in order of weight, so the main ingredients in the packaged food always come first. That means that if the ﬁrst few ingredients are high-fat ingredients, such as cream, butter or oil, then the food in question is a high-fat food. Food shopping tips. You’re standing in the supermarket aisle looking at two similar products, trying to decide which to choose. You want to make the healthier choice but you’re in a hurry. If you’re buying ready meals, check to see if there’s a nutrition label on the front of the pack, and then see how your choices stack up when it comes to the amount of energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. If the nutrition labels use colour-coding, you will often ﬁnd a mixture of red, amber and green. So, when you’re choosing between similar products, try to go for more greens and ambers, and fewer reds, if you want to make a healthier choice. But remember that even healthier ready meals may be higher in fat and energy than the homemade equivalent. If you make the meal yourself, you could save money, too. Find out more in On a budget. Labelling terms and food safety. To find out more about food labels, including what terms such as “light/lite” and “low fat” mean, and the difference between “use by” and “best before”. ■ NHS Choices
HEALTH and Lifestyle food
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
What does 100 calories look like? CALORIES are a well-known measure of the amount of energy in food. Keeping track of the number of calories in our food helps us to balance the energy we put into our bodies with the energy we use every day, leading to a healthy weight. Calories and kilocalories. The term calorie is a commonly used shorthand for ‘kilocalorie’. On food packets you will find this written as kcal. Kilojoules (kJ) are the metric measurement of calories, and you’ll see both kJ and kcal on nutrition labels – 4.2kJ is equivalent to approximately 1kcal. Energy throughout the day. Within a healthy balanced diet, women need on average 8,400kJ a day (2,000kcal), while men need on average 10,500kJ a day (2,500kcal). A rough guide as to how your energy requirement can be spread throughout the day is as follows: • Breakfast: 20% (a ﬁfth of your energy intake) • Lunch: 30% (about a third of your energy intake) • Evening meal: 30% (about a third of your energy intake) • Drinks and snacks: 20% (a ﬁfth of your energy intake) As you can see, any drinks or snacks you have count towards your daily energy total. If you eat more for your breakfast, lunch or evening meal, you may need to drop a snack later in the day to stay on track. Comparing energy values: a visual guide. This guide shows energy values for 10 different foods. This will help you to visualise what 100kcal (420kJ) looks like and manage the number of calories you consume. This amount, 100kcal, represents just 5% of a woman’s daily reference intake (4% for men), but this quickly adds up
when adding ingredients during cooking or when we reach for a snack. Highfat foods have more energy per bite, while foods containing water, such as vegetables, have less. These are not suggestions for snacks. They simply show how quickly calories can add up in certain foods. Some of the photos also show household objects, such as a pack of cards, to help illustrate the portion size. Calories in oil, mayonnaise and butter. Oil is pure fat, which is why you only get a little over one tablespoon of olive oil; one level tablespoon of mayonnaise and just under one tablespoon of butter (a thick spread of butter on your bread) for 420kJ / 100kcal each.
Calories in cheese. Most cheese is high in fat, so for 420kJ / 100kcal you get just under a 30g matchbox-sized piece of Cheddar cheese.
Calories in sugar. Calories in the white stuff can add up if not used sparingly, especially for people who drink tea or coffee with sugar throughout the day. Four heaped teaspoons of sugar is 420kJ / 100kcal.
Calories in biscuits. A lot of biscuits are high in fat and sugar and low in nutrients, so two ginger nut biscuits add up to 420kJ / 100kcal. Other biscuits may be higher in energy.
Calories in crisps. Crisps, which are often high in fat and salt, can quickly add up to 420kJ / 100kcal. For example, the 190g tube of crisps featured in this picture contains nearly 1,000 calories, so just 10% of a tube (nine crisps) equals 420kJ / 100kcal.
Calories in meat and ﬁsh. The kind of meat you eat could make a big difference to the amount of energy you get. For example, you get just a few bites of steak for 100kcal (see picture). On the other hand, turkey and fish are both low in fat and lower in energy,
Calories in fresh fruit. Fruit is a healthy quick win when it comes to counting calories. For 420kJ / 100kcal you can tuck into any of the following: a large apple; a
so for 420kJ / 100kcal you can get three slices of turkey or a pile of large prawns. Bear in mind, though, that this number of prawns would be high in salt so you wouldn’t want to eat these all at once.
banana; up to a punnet of strawberries or one-and-a-half grapefruit. These count towards your 5 A DAY, which should include a variety of fruit and vegetables.
Calories in bread. A thick slice of wholegrain bread is around 100kcal and is a nutritious choice. A plain bagel is much more dense, so you’d get about half a bagel for 420kJ / 100kcal. Calories in dried fruit. The calories in dried fruit can add up quickly as the water has been removed, making it more dense. For 420kJ / 100kcal you’ll only get just over a 30g portion of raisins, which counts as one of your 5 A DAY. But for the same amount of energy you could eat two larger portions of different fruits, such as 80g of grapes and 80g of cherries, which together add up to 100kcal and count as two of your 5 A DAY.
Calories in vegetables. Last but definitely not least, vegetables generally contain the lowest number of calories, while bringing the added benefits of vitamins and minerals. To illustrate this, 420kJ / 100kcal is equal to any of the following: three whole cucumbers; two heads of lettuce or three carrots weighing around 120g each. Check the nutrition label. Remember, this page is only intended as
an illustration, as all foods vary in energy content and this can depend on how they are made or prepared and on how much you eat. Most pre-packaged foods have a nutrition label on the side or back of the packaging, which will give a guide to the energy content. Get advice on counting calories in non-packaged foods such as loose fruit and vegetables or fresh bread. ■ NHS Choices
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October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
GMA International celebrates eighth year on a winning note GMA International triumphantly celebrates its 8th anniversary with eight NAMIC Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards (EMMA) - the most number of awards won by GMA so far in this prestigious global marketing competition, which recognizes excellence in marketing efforts designed to attract and retain culturally diverse audiences and customers among African American, Asian, Hispanic and other market segments in North America. GMA won alongside some of the world’s biggest pay-television distributors such as Comcast, Rogers and Time Warner Cable and also Network/Industry suppliers like HBO, The Oprah Winfrey Network and Univision. The meet and greet with the cast of award-winning situational comedy Pepito Manaloto starring three-time Asian TV Awards best comedy actor, Michael V. won first place in the Grassroots category. Drawing a combined crowd of over 1,700 Filipino-Americans in Seafood City Cerritos and Carson, California, the event was conceptualized particularly for FilipinoAmericans, who yearn for the classic Filipino brand of comedy. The Bayani Tour, which gave a group of second-generation Filipino-Americans including YouTube celebrities AJ Rafael, Joseph Vincent, and Jeremy Passion a historical and cultural immersion tour of the Philippines, also received a first place award in the Social Media category. Educating second-generation Fil-Ams about their Filipino heritage, the tour extended its objective not only to the participants but also to AJ, Joseph and Jeremy’s nearly 1.4
million combined numbers of subscribers. It is worthy to note that the Bayani Tour also bagged a second place award for Diversity Awareness. As part of promoting GMA News TV International, GMA International distributed information kits to highlight the 11 million Filipinos overseas’ need to be connected to home though the Philippines’ number one news channel. This marketing effort won second place in the All Other Media category for it was proven most effective among major carriers in Canada adding GMA News TV to their channel offerings. GMA’s 2013 rendition of the Philippine National Anthem also won second place in the Television category for creatively presenting the Filipino spirit of heroism to Filipinos across the globe and to the rest of the world. The music video echoes in more ways than one GMA International’s promise of “Bringing Filipinos Closer To Home.” Winning third place in the Premium Category is the GMA International 6th anniversary milestone shirt, which depicted GMA International as a fast-growing source of superior entertainment and the most credible news from home. The shirts were distributed during the Philippine Independence Day celebrations and among GMA International affiliates all over the world. Likewise bagging a third place recognition in the Print category is the GMA International 7th anniversary print ad. GMA Pinoy TV first started airing in the United States in August 2005 via COMCAST north California, and to commemorate this milestone GMA International implemented a print campaign as a way of thanking their
viewers for their continued patronage over the years. A total of 67,000 copies of the 7th year anniversary ad were printed and circulated in north California. Rounding off GMA International’s success in this year’s NAMIC (EMMA) Awards is the Proud to be Pinoy 2012 TV Special that scored third place in the Television Category. The TV special was recognized for re-affirming GMA International’s strong presence during the various Philippine Independence Day celebrations that had a record-breaking number of participants reaching 140,000 worldwide. GMA’s international business unit successfully celebrated the 114th Philippine Independence day by making it not just a celebration of freedom but also a reminder of their pivotal role in shaping the Filipino people’s future. GMA International has been recognized by NAMIC for almost every year since the launch of GMA Pinoy TV in 2005. Last year, GMA International emerged as one of the most awarded companies in the competition with six awards in total including two first place finishes for its “Support Manny Pacquiao” online marketing campaign (Digital category) and for its international magazine “Kapuso Abroad” (Grassroots category). “We are honored that GMA International is recognized again, and in a big way, at this year’s Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards,” says GMA International Vice President and Head of Operations, Joseph T. Francia. “It is noteworthy that our awards this year cover a wide range of our tactics using both emerging and traditional media. This will inspire us to continue to innovate in creating effective marketing tactics to reach our various audiences abroad,” he adds. NAMIC is an international organization that recognizes superior multicultural marketing practices in the cable industry. Established as non-profit trade organization in 1980, it has over 2,700 professionals from a network of 16 chapters worldwide. The awarding of winners will be held on October 9 during the US Cable Diversity Week in New York City. ■ GMANetwork.com
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
CELEBRITY, SHOWBIZ & ENTERTAINMENT SCOOP
From Inaki to Isaak: Dingdong Dantes’ most memorable TV roles KAPUSO Primetime King Dingdong Dantes’ screen presence does not fail to captivate, from his first role in a teenoriented series up to his current role as someone who is bent up on loving until the end of time. GMA’s main man himself reveals what he considers to be his most memorable TV roles so far.
Inaki in T.G.I.S. Dingdong Dantes started out as a commercial model and a dance group member. Did he always want to become an actor? “No. Although alam ko naman na ‘yung hilig nasa akin, pero ‘yung plano talaga? Hindi,” he stated. The Kapuso leading man looked back at his beginnings as an actor and recalled, “My entry in showbiz is via T.G.I.S. I auditioned for the role. That time, they were looking for an actor to portray Inaki Torres and apparently, around that time, I was also airing a TVC, so I got casted.” He added, “The whole experience is very memorable to me because it’s my first, and siyempre, ‘yun ang aking Baptism of Fire.”
Ybarro/Ybrahim in Encantadia. Encantadia was one of the groundbreaking fantaseryes helmed by GMA in the mid 2000s. The series transported viewers into a different world, and gave them a glimpse of the lives of Sangg’res and other mythical people and objects. “I’m a fan of Lord of the Rings, so when it was conceptualized, sobrang na-excite ako kasi medyo similar sa gamit ng costumes and in terms of dealing with mythical things and the whole thing just excited me,” Dingdong shared. He elaborated, “Siyempre, habang ginagawa ko ‘yun, para kaming naglalaro, and at the same time, nagtatrabaho ka rin, and at the same time, it became a breakthrough for me, so everything about Encantadia was very dear to me.” Sergio in Marimar. Marimar marked the first team up of Kapuso Primetime King Dingdong Dantes, and Kapuso Primetime Queen, Marian Rivera. For Dingdong, portraying Sergio is a blessing and is something he keeps looking back at with a smile on his face.
Megan Young bags Philippines’ first Miss World crown AFTER a long wait and several near misses, the Philippines finally won its first Miss World title as 23-year-old Megan Young, a Filipino-American actress from Olongapo, captured the coveted crown at the Bali International Convention Center in Bali, Indonesia on Saturday. The result was posted on the Facebook page of the prestigious beauty pageant as Young bested nine other semifinalists from Brazil, Australia, France, Nepal, England, Indonesia, Spain, Jamaica and Ghana. There were a total of 131 contestants from around the world—the most in the pageant’s history. “It’s destiny!” Miss World Phillippines franchise holder Cory Quirino said in a text message to InterAksyon. “The honor is not only Megan’s but the Philippines’. We have made history and have proven once and for all that the Filipina is the most beautiful woman in the world! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas,” she added. Prior to her coronation, Young also figured prominently in three of the preliminary compeititions in the pageant, winning the Top Model challenge and finishing in the Top 5 of the Beach Fashion and Multimedia Award contests. She achieved her victory despite the malicious resurfacing of her sexy photos from a March 2012 magazine shoot courtesy of what Miss World Philippines franchise holder Cory Quirino called “a smear campaign by a neglible sector of the Philippine pageant industry”. Megan became the country’s official representative after winning the Miss
Photo of newly crowned Miss World 2013 Megan Young posted by actor Rayver Cruz on Instagram.
World Philippines pageant last August in a lopsided contest where she swept most of its special awards, including Best in Fashion Runway, Miss Sports by FILA, Miss Reducin, Miss Olay, Miss Laguna, Miss Bold and Glamorous by Revlon, Miss Figlia and Miss Bench Body. Also a digital filmmaking student at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, Megan recently appeared in the TV5 sexy drama series, “Misibis Bay” and headed the ensemble cast of the independent crime anthology, “Bang Bang Alley”. Established in 1951, Miss World is the oldest major international beauty pageant in the world and is part of the “Big Four” international beauty pageants that also includes Miss Universe, Miss Earth and Miss International. ■ Edwin P. Sallan / InterAksyon. com / September 28, 2013 / 10:32 PM
When he was given the role of Sergio, he described his feeling as “Masaya. Galing ako sa isang long vacation, and I guess after also determining kung ano ‘yung direksyon ko in terms of choosing roles, I think Sergio was perfect for me. Like what I always say, it was at the right place and the right time.” After Marimar, Dingdong went on to team-up with Marian in three other Primetime teleseryes, namely Dyesebel, Endless Love and My Beloved. What makes their loveteam work? Dingdong answered, “I think what helps is that we are both sincere in what we feel, and I think from day one naman, that was the case, regardless if we were together or not, kasi how we are towards each other translates on the screen, so siguro kami, especially if we do our roles, we wanna portray it right all the time. I guess that’s it.” Cholo in Stairway to Heaven. Stairway to Heaven is a Philippine version of the well-
received Korean series of the same title. It revolved around the heart-wrenching love story of star-crossed lovers, Cholo and Jodi. To date, Dingdong Dantes considers his role as Cholo to be the most challenging TV role he has ever done. “’Yung Stairway to Heaven siguro ang pinaka challenging, and it’s also one of the most memorable soaps because ‘yun ‘yung nagbigay sa akin ng PMPC, so talagang siyempre, hindi ko makakalimutan. Also,’yung role ko ‘dun, medyo mahirap din talaga,” he revealed. Isaak in Genesis. The Primetime King makes a comeback unlike any other as he breathes life into Isaak in upcoming GMA Telebabad series, Genesis. This October, get ready to be taken by a tide of emotions, centering on the concept of love outlasting time itself.
On his newest role, Dingdong shared, “Si Isaak, he’s a very dedicated person. Sobrang nationalistic, sobrang upright ng kanyang values, pero lahat ‘yun masisira dahil sa present situation sa paligid niya which is corruption, and the premise that the world is gonna end soon.” He added, “Ang objective niya is papaano niya mabibigyan ng pag-asa ang mga taong nakapalibot sa kanya, at ‘yung sarili niya, knowing that even if matatapos ‘yung mundo, paano siya matatapos nang marangal pa rin.” Catch Dingdong Dantes in Genesis this October on GMA Telebabad. For more updates on your favorite Kapuso stars and shows, just log on to www.gmanetwork. com. ■ Samantha Portillo / GMANetwork.com / September 24 2013
Sharon Cuneta deletes tweet offering ₱10M reward to anyone who can prove husband stole from PDAF REACTING to Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s privilege speech on Wednesday linking former senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scandal, Megastar Sharon Cuneta defended her husband in a series of tweets that she has since deleted. Denying that her husband ever stole from his PDAF, Sharon went as far as to
Megastar Sharon Cuneta
offer a ₱10 million reward to anyone who can prove otherwise. “If anyone reading this can prove to me that my husband has stolen any amount from his PDAF in his 12 years as senator, I will give you ₱10 million in cash and I will leave my husband. That is how confident I am,” she said in her deleted tweet. Yes, the TV5 star also promised to leave Pangilinan if Estrada’s allegations are proven true. That is only one of several tweets (some in all capital letters) from the Megastar. The other tweets, as reported by Pep.ph, include the following: “HUH? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE?!!!! Hahahahahaha if it weren’t so hurtful it would be so funny!!!! Hala MAKALABASAN NA TALAGA DAPAT PARA MAGKAALAMAN NA KUNG SINONG IILAN LANG SA SENADO NA MATITINO.” “HINDI KAMI TULAD NG IBA NA KAYA IPAKAIN SA MGA ANAK NAMIN ANG PERANG
DI AMIN O DI NAMIN PINAGHIHIRAPAN. HINDI PARE-PAREHO ANG LAHAT NG POLITIKO. DAHAN-DAHAN LANG. DAPAT MAG-UMPISA NANG MAGLABASAN ANG TOTOO NGAYON.” “It is not as hard as people may think. Kung nakukulangan sila sailang papeles o anuman— isa-isahin niyo ang pinagbigyan ni Kiko ng PDAF. Ask the Baranggay Captains (puwera ako kahit na ako si Madam Chairman! Hahaha) and kung sinosino pa ang nabigyan. At nang makita ng lahat na walang BOGUS na organisasyon o foundation o sinuman, anuman na napuntahan ang pera kundi mga tunay na govt. organizations, legitimate organizations. Ganon lang naman yon. NOW, I HAVE SAID ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS.” Sharon did leave one tweet, implying that she will not say or tweet anything more about the matter from hereon. ■ Edwin P. Sallan / InterAksyon.com / September 26, 2013 / 11:18 AM
Lovi Poe gives back to Iliganon Fans; leads Kapuso stars to Diyandi 2013 KAPUSO Premier Drama Actress Lovi Poe could not help but feel gratified now that her career is again on the upswing as evidenced by her recent acting projects— GMA’s Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas, GMA News TV’s Titser, and indie film Sana Dati. And for the young actress, there is no better way to give back than to personally thank those who continuously inspire her to keep going—her supporters. On Saturday, September 28, Lovi heads to the so-called City of Majestic Waterfalls— in Iligan, Lanao del Norte—to join this year’s celebration of the Diyandi Festival. She gets to perform before her Iliganon fans via the Kapuso Night happening at the MSU-IIT Gym starting at 7:00pm along with Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas co-actor Rocco
Nacino, Pyra Babaeng Apoy lead stars Thea Tolentino and Jeric Gonzales, and versatile actress Chynna Ortaleza who is currently appearing in phenomenal drama series My Husband’s Lover. “I am really overwhelmed because sunud-sunod ang dumarating na blessings sa akin. And I just want to take this opportunity para makapagpasalamat sa mga taong patuloy na sumusuporta at nagbibigay ng ispirasyon sa akin. I do hope mapasaya namin ang mga Kapusong Iliganon sa pagbisita namin sa kanila,” Lovi shared. GMA Network’s participation in the Diyandi Festival began yesterday, September 27, with the Miss Iligan 2013 held at MSU-IIT Gym, which had talented
actors Mark Herras and Gabby Eigenmann as event guests. The full details of the Diyandi Festival 2013 will be featured in the Let’s Fiesta TV special, airing on October 13 via the Network’s regional stations in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Dagupan, Ilocos, CDO, GenSan, Bacolod, and Bicol. ■ GMANetwork / September
28, 2013 / 3:58 PM
CELEBRITY, SHOWBIZ & ENTERTAINMENT SCOOP
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
From Indonesia, Megan Young cries for help for flooded hometown Olongapo FROM Indonesia, actress Megan Young took to Facebook Monday afternoon to appeal for help on behalf of the people of her native Olongapo City, which was placed under a state of calamity due to widespread floods. Young, who was in Jakarta representing the Philippines in the Miss World beauty pageant, posted a photo of the inundated Olongapo public market (left) on the Miss World 2013 Philippines Facebook page.
“This is what is happening RIGHT NOW in my hometown in the Philippines. This is the public market and it is nearly submerged. If this is underwater, what more the houses nearby?” she said. “Please help my friends and neighbors by voicing out to the rescue team to save those whose houses are underwater. Please collect as many old clothes as you can. Their food and water are probably all gone and they need that the most,” she added.
The 23-year-old Filipino-American represented Olongapo City when she ran away with the Miss World Philippines crown last month. “Floods happen all the time in the Philippines but year by year they seem to be getting worse,” she lamented. The Miss World coronation night will take on Saturday, September 28. ■ InterAksyon.com / September 23, 2013 /
13-year-old newcomer upsets Nora Aunor for CineFilipino Best Actress award IN a stunning upset, a skinny 13-yearold newcomer was named Best Actress at the ongoing CineFilipino Film Festival instead of the heavily favored superstar Nora Aunor. Teri Malvar’s surprise victory capped a triumphant evening for first-time director Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s lesbian comingof-age-film “Ang Huling Cha-cha ni Anita”, which tied for Best Film and also won Best Supporting Actress for Angel Aquino and Best Acting Ensemble for its cast. Aunor’s film, “Ang Kwento Ni Mabuti”, shared the Best Film honors and won Best Screenplay and Best Director for veteran indie filmmaker Mes De Guzman. The story of a faith healer who accidentally found a stash of money, “Mabuti” was also the film festival’s top grosser and will extend its theatrical run for another week after CineFilipino wraps up in September 24. Four out of the eight feature films in
the festival shared the wealth of awards in ceremonies held at the Genting Club of Resorts World Manila Sunday night. The Jose Ma. Sison biopic of sisters Sari and Kiri Dalena, “The Guerrilla Is A Poet”, also fared well as it won honors for Best Actor for Karl Medina, Best Supporting Actor for Bong Cabrera, Best Musical Score and Best Film Editing. “Puti”, Mike Alcazaren’s stylish psychological thriller, won most of the technical awards as it took home the trophies for Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Sound. Other entries in the week-long festival are Ato Bautista’s “Mga Alaala ng TagUlan”, Randolph Longjas’ “Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin,” Ron Bryant’s “Bingoleras” and Janice Perez’s “The Muses”. There were three winners in the short film derby. First place went to Pamela Ll. Reyes’s “Ligaw” followed by Kimberly M. Ocariza’s “Logaritmo” and “Sangandaan”
Best Actress winner Teri Malvar (right) with Angel Aquino in a scene from ‘Ang Huling Cha-cha ni Anita’.
by Jose Ibarra E. Guballa and Bienvenido Ferrer III. The complete list of winners: Best Films – “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti” and “Ang Huling Cha-cha ni Anita” Best Director – Mes De Guzman (“Ang
Kuwento ni Mabuti” ) Best Actor – Karl Medina (“The Guerrilla Is A Poet” ) Best Actress – Teri Malvar (“Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita”) Best Acting Ensemble – The cast of “Ang
Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita” Best Supporting Actor – Bong Cabrera (“The Guerrilla Is A Poet” ) Best Supporting Actress – Angel Aquino (“Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita” ) Best Screenplay – Mes De Guzman (“Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti” ) Best Sound – Mark Laccay (“Puti” ) Best Musical Score – Raffy Magsaysay (“The Guerrilla Is A Poet” ) Best Film Editing – Keith Sicat (“The Guerrilla Is A Poet”) Best Production Design – Rious Caliso (“Puti” ) Best Cinematography – Roberto Yñiguez (“Puti” ) Best Short Film – “Ligaw” by Pamela Ll. Reyes 2nd Best Short Film – “Logaritmo” by Kimberly M. Ocariza 3rd Best Short Film – “Sangandaan” by Jose Ibarra E. Guballa and Bienvenido Ferrer ■ Edwin P. Sallan / InterAksyon.com / September 23, 2013 / 12:49 AM
After settling BIR case, Judy Ann Santos rails Karl Medina, Pen’s eldest son, named CineFilipino Best Actor for portrayal of Joma Sison against corrupt pols for stealing taxpayers’ money JUDY Ann Santos recently settled a tax evasion case with the Bureau of International Revenue to the tune of close to ₱3.4 million. That is why nothing raises her hackles these days more than the issue of the pork barrel scam. “Hindi siya nakakairita. Nakakabuwisit siya!” the actress, 35, fumed to media on Monday. “Katatapos lang ng kaso ko so it makes me think… What happened doon sa ibinayad ko? Kaninong bahay kaya siya napunta?” Judy Ann is among the few high-profile celebrities famously hounded by the BIR in recent years. She will never forget all the hassle she experienced after the agency sued her for tax evasion. “Ako, ilan taon ko nga binuno yung kaso ko? Eight years? Eight years akong may kaso with BIR,” she said. She said government should run after politicians who have stolen staggering sums from the public coffers. “Bakit hindi n’yo kasuhan ang mga pulitiko na malaking-malaki ang mga digits na kinuha sa pera namin? Di ba?” she said. She believes celebrity taxpayers like her have all the right to hound government for an accounting of where all the taxes are going. “Dapat kami meron din kaming rundown ng mga nangyayari sa pera namin. Dahil hindi lang naman namin ‘yan hinuhugot sa langit at sinasapo e. Dugo, pawis, luha para sa aming artista ang kapalit nito at oras!” she lamented.
Photo by MJ Marfori ©InterAksyon.com
Judy Ann then addressed her tirade directly to politicians and government officials: “We try to be responsible Filipino citizens so as politicians please be responsible with your job!” The actress made her fearless pronouncements during a press conference for her latest product endorsement, when she debuted her new shorter hairstyle. “I just wanted a new look. A new beginning… I just wanted to cut my hair,” she said. Judy Ann also shared the good news that her husband, actor-TV host Ryan Agoncillo, has recovered from a recent bout with dengue. ■ MJ Marfori / News5 / September 24, 2013 / 6:04 PM
KARL Medina was honestly not aware that his acclaimed portrayal as revolutionary icon Jose Ma. Sison in Sari and Kiri Dalena’s “The Guerrilla is a Poet” would make him a frontrunner for the Best Actor race in the ongoing CineFilipino film festival. So when he lived up to many of the fearless forecasts, a surprised Karl admitted that he really did not expect to win an award for his starmaking role as the Communist Party of the Philippines founder. “I’m so overwhelmed. For me, it’s already a big deal to be in this film. To be given this break, this opportunity is really more than enough,” Karl told InterAksyon shortly after his win. Not counting brother Ping’s Cinemalaya Special Citation as part of the ensemble cast of “Transit”, Karl is also the first among the talented offsprings of award-winning character actor Pen Medina to win a solo acting award and the first in the family to be recognized for a lead role. (A third brother, Alex Vincent, is the star of the Cinemalaya hit “Babagwa”.) What makes the award even more special is that Karl actually clinched the coveted title role for this project as far back as 2008 when he was first cast as Joma by director Kiri Dalena for the GMA documentary “Case Unclosed”. “In that documentary, there were reenactments that needed a young Joma Sison character. Manuel Garcellano, a good friend of ours, suggested his schoolmate from UP Fine Arts who happened to be the eldest son of Pen Medina, who had never acted before,” Kiri recalled in an earlier
interview with InterAksyon. “We stalked him on Facebook and we found out he’s an awesome skateboarder. As we were sifting through his many skateboarding photos we saw the enormous potential.” “None of us knew at that time that the documentary would be his audition for this film,” Sari added. “Karl is fantastic because of his natural intelligence and effortless charisma—key elements that are intrinsic to Joma Sison’s character. It is evident in his performance that acting is in his blood.” Despite having played Joma before, Karl admits to knowing very little about one of history’s most controversial figures. “I don’t know much Joma, although I am interested Philippine history. But I was more fascinated with the era of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio so I wasn’t exploring the
Karl Medina accepts his Best Actor award on Sunday. He plays as Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison in ‘The Guerilla is a Poet’. Photo by Teddy Pelaez ©InterAksyon.com
not-so-distant past,” he admitted. “But after playing him in onscreen, I got to know him better as a person and understand what he’s fighting for.” Still, Karl was nervous about portraying the man, which he initially thought was a small role. “When I was first approached, my biggest concern was how to deliver my dialogue. I would talk to my fellow cast members in between shoots and asked for their advice. Marami akong natutunan sa pelikulang ito.” Because Karl is very much into skateboarding, he also admits to being a big music fan who listens to all types of genres, be it classical, rock, pop and jazz. As a matter of fact, he was supposed to be in a band with some friends. “Pero hindi matuloy-tuloy kasi, hindi nagtutugma ang mga schedule namin,” he sighed. It’s not surprising therefore that his next project, again with the Dalena sisters at the helm, is—get ready for this—a musical. Yes, the actor and his brave directors are taking a complete 360 degree turn from “The Guerrilla is a Poet”. “I think I’m just playing a small role in this project but I’m still nervous because I was told that I would have a singing part here so that’s another challenge for me,” he admitted. With more challenging projects coming his way, the case for Karl Medina’s development as an actor is far from closed. Winner of four awards, “The Guerrilla is a Poet” is still showing at Lucky Chinatown Cinema on September 24, the last day of the CineFilipino film festival. ■ Edwin P. Sallan /
InterAksyon.com / September 24, 2013 / 5:22 PM
A FILM BY SEAN ELLIS
“INTELLIGENTLY SCRIPTED AND WHOLLY UNPREDICTABLE”
“A HEART-BREAKING HEIST FLICK”
DAMON WISE, EMPIRE
MATT GLASBY, TOTAL FILM
IN CINEMAS SEPTEMBER 20 MetroManilaFilm
SYNOPSIS. Seeking a better life, Oscar Ramirez and his family decide to move from the poverty stricken rice fields of the Northern Philippine mountain ranges, and journey towards the capital mega city of Metro Manila. Upon arrival in Manila, Oscar and his family fall foul to various city inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of their survival. Oscar manages to land a job as a driver for an armored truck company and is befriended by Ong, his senior officer. Before long, it becomes apparent that Ong, has been planning the arrival of someone just like Oscar for sometime. From paper to screen: The making of Metro Manila. The Story… How Everything Started Everything started with a fight: two employees of an armoured truck company, in full combat mode—that is to say M16 guns, bulletproof jackets and Kevlar helmets, screaming at each other in front of their armoured truck. It ended with one of them kicking the truck before they both got in and drove off. All this was enough to stimulate the imagination of writer/director Sean Ellis. He was at the time visiting a friend in Manila, and witnessed this quite surprising event, which remained with him when he travelled back to the UK: “I kept on wondering what they were arguing about. And if an idea keeps coming back … it’s a story that’s important enough to pursue.” The idea percolated for 18 months until Ellis wrote a 20-page synopsis with a clear beginning, middle and end, all based around that scene witnessed by the truck. Ellis flew to L.A. to meet old friend Frank E. Flowers. The pair worked non-stop for two weeks on a script that fleshed out the synopsis and would be the basis of the film. It wasn’t complete, but along with faith and passion it was enough for Sean to travel to the Philippines to see if it was possible to put the project together. Financing and Pre-Production. Although the synopsis of the film generated much interest, it was Sean’s quest for authenticity and to shoot in the local Tagalog language that made the project a hard sell to financiers. “I just couldn’t imagine going to the Philippines and making a film there where the actors spoke English. Great films always transcend their subtitles. I had to at least aim in the same direction otherwise risk the film’s authenticity.” Ellis, together with the films other producer, Mathilde Charpentier set about budgeting the cost of the film with a stripped down documentary approach and a cast and crew completely made up of Filipino nationals. The no thrills guerilla approach to making the film enabled the producers to raise just enough money for the 35 day shoot that Charpentier had scheduled for principle photography. Ellis researched the Philippines extensively during pre-production and adjusted the script accordingly. “In the original script the family leaves the rice fields and travels to Manila on a
train.” Ellis explains. “Researching this I found that no train exists to the Northern province’s. We had to be accurate or I would feel a fraud if the Filipino audience noticed continuity problems.” There was also the true story of Reginald Chua who hijacked Philippine Airlines flight 812. Reginald worked for his father, who owed a silk factory. A local rival killed Reginald’s father and the workers of the factory were also threatened. Reginald had no choice but to close the factory. With mounting debts, Reginald boarded flight 812 and hijacked it at gunpoint. After stealing all the passengers’ money he jumped from the plane with a hand made parachute made from the silk of his father’s factory. “The story of Reginald Chua was so heart breaking that I couldn’t help but use it to draw parallels with the plight that the lead character of Oscar finds himself in. It serves more than just back story of a lesson in life, it weaves truth and fiction into an emotional climax for the films final reveal.” The Production. Filming Metro Manila started in December 14th 2010 and wrapped January 31st 2011. It was entirely shot in Tagalog. Although difficult to begin with, the language barrier never became a real problem. Right from the beginning of filming, Sean was fortunate enough to meet an incredible film team. Each and everyone of the cast and crew were devoted to give their best, no matter the long shooting days, how the humid weather or how stressful a tiny budget film can sometime be. Even though Filipino people almost all speak English, Tagalog remains the language they use in their everyday life. Directing in a foreign language could be a traumatic experience, but the British director actually took advantage of this situation. “The process [of working in Filipino] became all about the rhythm of dialogue, not words. I became acutely aware of subtext … what people don’t say is far more interesting than what they do say.” Ellis and his actors would talk at great lengths about the script’s dialogue, its meaning and its intention. The script was
English and the actors would then make their own translation of the dialogue into Tagalog. “That way, each actor gives a voice to his or hers own character. If the whole script was translated into Tagalog by one person then that becomes the voice for the film and I didn’t want that.” Says Ellis. Shooting in the Philippines was a grueling yet extraordinary experience for a Westerner director. From the extreme poverty found in the slums to the enigmatic beauty of Banaue’s rice fields, the cast and crew found nothing but smiling faces and welcoming people eager to help with the filming. The Philippines really became part of the cast. Metro Manila has gained a reputation for being a very violent city. What one can witness on arrival in the metropolis is machine gun guards in every shop. Not only banks or jewely shops but also in Starbucks. Even the traffic wardens carry shotguns. Careful planning and the safety of the cast and crew was always paramount to the producers. A badly hurt kitten was rescued from the slums and nursed back to health—and even enjoyed a staring roll in the film! Lucky finally went on to live with Jake Macapagal, the films lead actor.
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
WRITER / DIRECTOR / PRODUCER: Sean Ellis. Oscar-nominated® director Sean Ellis started taking pictures when he was 11. Trained as a still life photographer, Sean moved to London from Brighton in 1994. Applying his knowledge of the still life and using it to light fashion models, Sean became one of the new generation of fashion photographers who were most sought-after in the late nineties. Sean has written and directed three short films. Left Turn (2001), a dark psychological horror film. Cashback (2004), a visually rich black comedy which won the top award at over fifteen international film festivals, including the prestigious Chicago and Tribeca Film Festivals and was also nominated for a 2006 Academy Award®. His most recent short Voyage D’affaires (2008), was shown at the Hamptons Film Festival, the Chicago Film Festival and was nominated for a 2008 British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) award and won best film at the 2010 Fuji Short Film competition. His first feature film was born from the short film of the same name, Cashback (2006), which includes the original short film within its running time. Sean’s second feature film, the psychological thriller, The Brøken (2008), stars Lena Headey (300, The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Oscar nominated actor Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Burn After Reading) and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008. CO-PRODUCER: Mathilde Charpentier. Mathilde met director Ellis in 2007 and helped turn his short English script “The Business Trip” into the French language short film “Voyage D’affaires” staring Guillaume Canet and Melanie Laurent. Metro Manila (2012) reteamed Ellis and Charpentier and is Mathilde’s first feature film as producer. ‘Filming Metro Manila was a compelling and tremendous experience. I still remember leaving Heathrow airport on a cold and rainy day, to land on a boiling hot Filipino afternoon, jet lagged, thinking ‘Are we really going to make this?’. We gave ourselves 3 weeks to find a production team, a Filipino cast and all our locations and props. Never in a million years we
could have made it this fast in the UK with such a small budget but the Filipino people love to help, don’t mind the challenge, and even though they don’t forget the business part, they offer what they have with an open heart. We started shooting in the slums, which was one of the toughest moment of filming, Sean operating, directing, sounding and still finding some energy to laugh and make jokes. A group of young girls seemed very exited to see us filming in their environment and although possessing not much, they managed to give Sean some paper flowers and paper stars, and offered me a ring and wrote me a lovely note asking to… Befriend them on Facebook! The funniest thing being that I don’t even have a Facebook account myself. The Actors, the crew, and the Filipino people in general were so helpful and generous, I feel we owe them this film completely.” CO-WRITER: Frank E. Flowers. (Writer/ Director) is a native of the Cayman Islands who left to study film at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His short film SWALLOW about teenage drug mules was an official Sundance selection and won numerous awards on the festival circuit before being licensed by HBO in 2004. Frank E later wrote and directed the independent film HAVEN, a thriller which featured the ensemble cast of Orlando Bloom, Zoe Saldana, Bill Paxton and Stephen Dillane. Since that time he has developed several projects with major studios including a remake of TAPS for 20th Century Fox and subsequently served as showrunner and episodic director for the Fox Digital Series “THE ROPES” alongside Executive Producer Vin Diesel. He has also directed numerous commercials and videos for musical artists including Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Heavy D and British rapper Ironik. Currently Flowers is working on a feature film to shoot in the spring with producers Holly Wiersma and Cassian Elwes. He is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Metro Manila is his first collaboration with Sean Ellis.
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition THE CAST. “Everyone was superprepared and it’s evident in the performances. I’m most proud of the performances. There wasn’t a day on the set that wasn’t fulfilling,” Sean Ellis. Jake Macapagal. Jake was the first actor to be cast for the film. He remembers how everything started: “Celine Lopez rang me one morning and asked to meet her for breakfast and a certain Brit director. I felt during our encounter that they needed help in terms of being connected to the ‘indie’ industry. So I rang up several actors I know and asked them to meet and greet the director the very same day. “I assumed I will be helping on the production side, which I didn’t mind. I asked him for the character breakdown of Oscar and thought “ I know the type he is looking
for...”. Not me. I read for him and read for several possible actors [during the casting] and was offered the lead several days after. I received a call from Sean and he told me that he knew I was Oscar the moment we sat down for breakfast, the very first day we met. He asked me “Are you ready to take this journey with me?”. I looked into his iridescent eyes and knew I cannot lose this adventure with Oscar and I plunged into the unknown. The script was brilliant and I had vivid dreams of the execution. From then on it was though everything else was supposed to happen. And then we exhale. Oscar’s plight is not far from every Filipino. All I have to do is open my eyes to reality and I am in his world. I don’t have to look far to smell, taste and live it.” John Arcilla. For the role of the antagonist, finding the perfect actor took more time. Sean was looking for something hard to put in words, and could find some of it in some actors, but was never really blown away. The British director remembers: “When John auditioned (for the role of the villain) … he was on fire. I realized he would bring to the table something I hadn’t thought of: Complexity. He’d be a bad guy you couldn’t help but love. You almost want him to succeed with the plan he has—And John brought this with him.” John Arcilla described Ellis’ work style as collaborative: “Sean is cool. It’s like working with a teammate. I really felt that I was part of the creative process. No pressure at all. It was as if we were discovering new things along the way. He was a perfectionist, too, which worked well with me. He would not stop until he got the right image and angles.” THE MUSIC: Robin Foster. Foster and Ellis have worked together on many projects. When Sean asked him to score Metro Manila, Foster, who had never composed a full length score at the time, jumped on the occasion to deliver the most amazing work. “I am naturally inspired by films in all my work, I would say it’s always been my muse, since day one. Metro Manila is no exception, I just let the images direct me, it’s a very urban film which really suits my style so it was a great to work to.” The first time the British composer saw the movie, he came up to the editing suite where Ellis worked, sat there for more than two hours and although the movie
was a very rough cut, he was nothing but enthusiastic about it. “Sean’s approach to lighting a scene is something that really speaks to me and is very inspiring. We’ve arrived at a point now where it’s very easy for us to be on the same wavelength, there’s a mutual respect for each other’s work and that always seems to come through on the screen.” He started working on Metro Manila’s soundtrack immediately. It took him four months. Foster composed and produced the music, which was another challenge. “The main theme to the film came from a song I was working on at the time, I often send Sean new tracks before anybody else and he was really taken with it. The track, “Life & Death” seemed to fit the film’s mood instantly so we took it from there and the track became the main theme. Metro Manila is a very urban film, but the main characters aren’t. There was a need to convey this through the music, bringing something more organic into it. The first scene is in many the ways the most important as it takes us from the country to the city and I had to score this in one piece. I tried various acoustic instruments for the rural theme and to my surprise found myself using a ukelele and a music box to start that scene, before descending into urban synths and guitars. I knew the soundtrack had to be something special. On a more personal level in those 4 months both Sean and I became fathers, it was a very emotional period and this has definitely found its way into the film’s score.” ■
PHILIPPINE EMBASSY AROUND THE WORLD
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
DFA Inaugurates Mall-Based Regional Consular Office in Bacolod PASSPORT applicants in Bacolod City and nearby cities of Silay and Bago, as well as those from neighbouring provinces and islands can look forward to more accessible and convenient consular services as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) transfers its Bacolod Regional Consular Office (RCO) to Robinsons Place Mall Bacolod on September 11. DFA-Office of Consular Affairs Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor B. Ledda led the inauguration of the new DFA Bacolod office. “Through the PPP (private-public partnership) policy, the government and the private sector share resources and expertise in the successful implementation of sustainable projects at minimum or no cost to the government. The new DFA Office at Robinson’s Place is one of the best examples of this partnership,” Assistant Secretary Ledda said during the inauguration ceremony. DFA officials Mr. Alfonso Ver (Executive Director, Office of Personnel and Administrative Services) and Mr. Marciano de Borja (Special Assistant, Office of the Undersecretary for Administration) also witnessed the inauguration ceremony. Negros Occidental local government officials including Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella, Silay City Mayor Jose Montelibano, Bacolod City Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya, Bago City Vice Mayor Nicholas Yulo, Mrs. Marilyn Marañon (representing Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr.) and Bacolod City councilors welcomed the opening of the new office of DFA Bacolod.
Robinsons Land Corporation executives headed by Mr. Joseph Sian (Operations Director for Visayas and Mindanao) and Mr. Irving Wu (Operations Director for Luzon) also attended the event. The DFA Bacolod office occupies a 180sq. meter area and can accommodate a maximum of 500 applicants a day. DFA Bacolod is the fifth consular office of the Department hosted by Robinsons Land Corporation. In 2012, DFA consular offices transferred to Robinsons San Fernando (Pampanga), General Santos City, Lipa City and Robinsons Galleria. In 2012, the DFA transferred to and built 10 new offices in Metro Manila and different regions. This year, DFA opened and transferred consular offices in Alabang, Muntinlupa and Legaspi City, respectively. DFA Bacolod is open to serve the public from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. It accepts new passport applications, passport renewal and replacement of lost passports. The office also provides assistance-to-nationals (ATN) services. It is conveniently located on the 3rd level of Robinsons Place Bacolod. It is headed by Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Joselito Blas. During their visit to Bacolod City, DFA officials headed by Mr. de Borja and Executive Director Ver also conducted lectures on life in the Philippine Foreign Service to students of West Negros University and University of St. La Salle. ■
Assistant Secretary Ledda delivers his remarks during the inauguration ceremony.
Assistant Secretary Ledda leads the distinguished guests during the tour of DFA Bacolod facilities.
September 24, 2013
After the pilgrimage, Ankara Filipino community members proceeded to the ruins of the historic city of Ephesus and then to the Alacati Beach in Cesme where the Embassy personnel and the Filipino community enjoyed swimming in the Aegean Sea and taking in the relaxing view of Alacati Beach. Consul Leilani S. Feliciano and Cultural Officer Eunice P. Trinidad organized parlor games that were enjoyed by everyone. The annual pilgrimage afforded an opportunity for Filipinos in Turkey to interact and strengthen their ties of friendship. The trip also provided Embassy personnel and their families the opportunity to visit historic parts of Turkey. ■ September 24, 2013
(Left photo above) Hundreds of pilgrims attend a Holy Mass at Meryem Ana Evi near Ephesus celebrated by Fr. Andres Calleja, SBD of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Harbiye, Istanbul for the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Right photo above) The House of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Meryem Ana Evi is a Catholic shrine located on Mt. Koressos in the vicinity of Ephesus in Izmir, Turkey. (Left photo below) Ankara Embassy personnel and the Filipino community members stroll among the ruins of the historic city of Ephesus. (Right photo below) Group photo of the Embassy personnel and the Filipino community after enjoying Alacati Beach and the fun games organized for them.
Assistant Secretary Ledda answer questions from the local media on the inauguration of the new office and the Department’s consular services.
ASEAN and UN Officials Meet in New York to Enhance Cooperation
Phl Embassy, Filipino Community Organize Joint Pilgrimage to House of the Virgin Mary in Izmir, Turkey
OVER 300 pilgrims from Ankara and Istanbul made the nine-hour bus journey to Meryem Ana Evi (House of Blessed Virgin Mary) in Izmir, Turkey on September 08. The Philippine Embassy in Ankara, working with Filipino community organizations in Ankara and Istanbul, put together the pilgrimage, held annually in September in time for the feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The House of the Virgin Mary is a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometers from Selçuk in Turkey. Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John, where she lived until her Assumption (according to Catholic doctrine) or Dormition (according to Orthodox belief). The shrine has merited several papal Apostolic Blessings and visits from several popes, the earliest pilgrimage coming from Pope Leo XIII in 1896, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI (source: Wikipedia). A Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Andres Calleja, S.D.B. from the Church of the Holy Spirit in Harbiye, Istanbul, preceded by a procession by the pilgrims holding lighted candles and singing Marian songs.
(From left) Mr. Irving Wu (RLC Operations Director for Luzon), Mr. Joseph Sian (RLC Operations Director for VisMin), Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya (Bacolod City), Mayor Jose Montelibano (Silay City), Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor Ledda, Mayor Monico Puentavella (Bacolod City), Vice Mayor Nicholas Yulo (Bago City), Mr. Joselito Blas (DFA Bacolod OIC), and Mrs. Marilyn Marañon (wife of Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr.)
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Evan P. Garcia (2nd from right) with United Nations senior officials Mr. Oscar FernandezTarranco, Assistant Secretary General of the Department for Political Affairs, Ms. Kyungwha Kang, Assiatant Secretary General of the Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (2nd from left), and Mr. Edmund Mulet, Assistant Secretary General for Peace Keeping Operations (far right).
THE Philippines actively participated in the 1st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)–United Nations (UN) Senior Officials Meeting held on September 23 at the Permanent Mission of Brunei Darussalam to the United Nations in New York. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Evan P. Garcia expressed satisfaction over ASEAN-UN cooperation being implemented under the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership Declaration of 2011. “Cooperation between ASEAN and the UN is widening in scope, and the Philippines welcomes this trend,” Undersecretary Garcia said. Undersecretary Garcia highlighted peacekeeping, human rights, and disaster risk management as areas in which ASEAN and the UN can further enhance their cooperation.
UN officials recognized ASEAN Member States’ contributions to peacekeeping operations, including that of the Philippines. Undersecretary Garcia emphasized that ASEAN and the UN should work closer together especially as ASEAN is establishing a people-centered ASEAN Community in 2015, and the UN is working on a post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework. Undersecretary Garcia likewise expressed appreciation for UN assistance to the Philippines in the aftermath of natural disasters. ASEAN and UN officials also discussed preparations for meetings between the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and ASEAN Foreign Ministers and ASEAN Leaders to be held later this year. ■ September 24, 2013
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
US pork giant Smithfield PSG captain Silva faces lengthy absence agrees Chinese takeover SHAREHOLDERS of US pork giant Smithfield Foods approved on Tuesday the company’s $7.1 billion purchase by China’s Shuanghui International, the largest-ever
File picture shows pork vendors take a nap at a market in Shanghai on June 9, 2013. Shareholders of US pork giant Smithfield Foods approved on Tuesday the company’s $7.1 billion purchase by China’s Shuanghui International, the largest-ever Chinese takeover of a US company.
Chinese takeover of a US company. The deal received 96 percent of the votes cast at a special shareholders meeting, despite an earlier challenge by a key investor arguing the deal undervalued Smithfield. Smithfield president and chief executive Larry Pope called the deal “a great transaction for all Smithfield stakeholders, as well as for American farmers and US agriculture.” Shuanghui, a leading Chinese meat processor, will pay $4.5 billion in cash, $34 a share, for Smithfield, the world’s largest combined pig raiser and pork processor and an iconic name in American kitchens. Including Smithfield debt, the deal’s value comes to $7.1 billion. ■ AFP
US July home prices rise but pace slows US single-family home prices continued to rise in July but at a slightly slower monthly pace, according to a key survey released Tuesday. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index rose 1.8 percent from June, decelerating from June’s 2.2 percent monthly increase. Home prices in all 20 metropolitan areas increased in July from June, the pace of price rises in 15 cities slowed. Year on year, the index rose 12.4 percent from July 2012, stronger than analysts’ forecast of a 12.0 percent increase. Home prices have held their 12 percent annual gain since April. Average home prices across the United States were back to their spring 2004 levels, well before the 2006 price bubble collapsed. The southwest, one of the worst-hit areas when the market collapsed, continued to lead the housing recovery, though prices still remained far below their bubble peaks. Las Vegas home prices were up 27.5 percent in July from a year ago and San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego all posted gains of 20 percent or more.
David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee, noted that more cities were experiencing slow gains each month than the previous month, suggesting that the rate of increase may have peaked. “Following the increase in mortgage rates beginning last May, applications for mortgages have dropped, suggesting that rising interest rates are affecting housing,” Blitzer said. Blitzer said the Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it would keep buying $85 billion in bonds a month “may have only a limited, though favorable, impact on housing.” ■ AFP
Construction workers build a new home on September 18, 2013 in Homestead, Florida. US single-family home prices continued to rise in July but at a slightly slower monthly pace, according to a key survey released Tuesday.
Authorities estimate the death toll from more than two weeks of violence at close to 140 with more than 200 others wounded. “People are struggling to survive with around 70,000 staying in the main sports complex in Zamboanga City, in desperately overcrowded conditions and insufficient sanitation facilities,” the UN said. “There is a real risk of a disease outbreak with food, drinking water, health services, cooking utensils, tents and other necessities required.” Carvalho stressed the importance of “timely and targeted aid for the displaced, many of whom have lost their homes and livelihood.” “We are particularly concerned that aid is delivered in an impartial manner, with the needs of the most vulnerable met and those outside the evacuation
The Brazilian lasted just 16 minutes before having to come off in the game between the defending champions and the current Ligue 1 leaders that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Thiago Silva arrives on the pitch prior to the French L1 football match PSG vs Monaco, on September 22, 2013 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Photo by Franck Fife ©AFP
“I have not very good news, although I admit it could have been worse,” Silva wrote in Portuguese on his Instagram account on Tuesday. “I have had tests and will be out for six weeks according to what the doctors said.” Later, PSG coach Laurent Blanc confirmed that Silva had suffered damage to the muscle and tendons of his left thigh, although he did not confirm how long his captain would face on the sidelines. “Thiago has undergone tests that have confirmed a problem with the muscle and the tendons,” he said. “So it is not just muscular and I think he will be out for a certain period. I am not a doctor, I can’t be more precise.” Silva suffered a similar injury last season which kept him out for almost two months between January and March. “He is an essential element of the squad, so it is a major blow,” added Blanc, who was speaking on the eve of PSG’s trip to Valenciennes in Ligue 1. ■ AFP
Rosneft forecasts almost $14 bn profits in 2013
File picture taken on May 17, 2011 shows the Kremlin reflected in the polished company plate of the state-controlled Russian oil giant Rosneft at the entrance of the headquarters in Moscow.
UN declares Zamboanga situation a ‘humanitarian crisis’ MANILA, Philippines - Seventeen days since a foray by the Moro National Liberation Front into Zamboanga City triggered a deadly standoff between the rebels and government forces, the United Nations has officially declared the situation there a “humanitarian crisis.” “We are increasingly alarmed by the situation and the growing needs of people caught up with violence,” United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Luiza Carvalho, said in a statement issued Wednesday. “We are particularly concerned for the most vulnerable, especially the well-being of women and children.” The UN said the fighting has displaced over 109,000 persons in Zamboanga and another 19,000 in nearby Basilan province, and destroyed over 10,000 homes.
PARIS Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva has said he expects to be sidelined for six weeks with the injury that forced him off during Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash with Monaco.
RUSSIA’S biggest oil company, statecontrolled Rosneft, on Tuesday forecast that its net profits for 2013 would increase to almost $14 billion, helped by the acquisition and consolidation of BP’s former joint venture TNK-BP. “At the current time, net profit is going to be 439 billion rubles ($13.8 billion),” Rosneft’s powerful chief executive Igor Sechin told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian news agencies reported. If confirmed, the earnings would mark a substantial improvement on Rosneft’s already record net profits in 2012 of 342 billion rubles ($10.7 billion). Sechin forecast that for the current year, Rosneft would produce 207 million tonnes
of oil and 42 billion cubic metres of gas. A Rosneft spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that Sechin was presenting a united business plan for the whole of 2013 that took account of the company’s recent acquisitions, including TNK-BP. The TNK-BP deal made Rosneft the world’s biggest oil company by production, overtaking ExxonMobil. TNK-BP was fully integrated into Rosneft earlier this year and fully consolidated for the first time in second quarter earnings. Rosneft, which became Russia’s biggest oil company after hoovering up the assets of the now defunct oil major Yukos of jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in disputed auctions, acquired TNK-BP with the aim of becoming a global energy giant. ■ AFP
Zurich-bound gold bars stolen from Air France plane
AIR France said Tuesday it had filed a complaint after gold bars worth around 1.6 million euros ($2.1 million) were stolen from a plane bound for Zurich from Paris. “We hope the investigations will allow us to quickly determine the sequence of events and identify those responsible,” a spokesman said. The gold bars, weighing around 50 kilos (110 pounds), were placed inside the plane at Paris’s Charles-de-Gaulle airport last Thursday by employees of the US security firm Brink’s.
centers not forgotten,” she said even as she acknowledged government efforts to respond to the needs of those affected by the crisis. Carvalgo also called on “all parties to uphold the principles of impartiality, humanity, neutrality and independence, enshrined in International Humanitarian Law.” “We expect that all humanitarian workers providing support to the victims of this conflict are protected and respected, and their safety is ensured by all actors,” she added. ■ InterAksyon.com / September 25, 2013 / 2:07 PM
It is as yet unclear how the theft happened, but an airport source said the robbers had “probably made use of airport accomplices.” This kind of shipment takes place every day, and Brink’s employees always stay on the tarmac until the plane takes off. In a separate case also involving Air France, police earlier this month made a record haul of 1.3 tonnes of pure cocaine found in 30 suitcases on board a flight from the Venezuelan capital Caracas to Paris. ■ AFP
Three gold bullion bars with a combined value of more than $2 million on display at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, on August 27, 2012. Air France says it has filed a complaint after gold bars worth around 1.6 million euros ($2.1 million) were stolen from a plane bound for Zurich from Paris.
Batangas Association UK
20th Annual Charity Dinner & Dance
Radisson Blu Portman Hotel Portman Square London W1H 7BG Saturday 19th of October, 2013 Attire: Strictly Formal Barong Tagalog or Black Tie for Men Filipiniana Dress or Evening Wear for Ladies
with Dinner, Wine, & Live Band Music
For tickets, please contact: Gloria 07572 795321; Cora 07956 271750; or Julie 07956 422068
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
Cebu Queen City United back in UFL Manny Pacquiao displays undiminished Cup, hopes to play home matches speed, power in camp despite long hibernation AFTER a year of absence, Cebu Queen City United is making its return in the United Football League as one of the guest teams in the Cup competition slated to start in October. The comeback of Cebu Queen City, one of the few provincial squads in the UFL, is a welcome sign for a team whose development was hampered by issues off the pitch. After skipping the Cup competition last year, the team decided to take a leave of absence from playing in Division Two after the UFL did not grant Cebu Queen City’s request of hosting some of its matches in Cebu. The squad asked for the setup in the hope of reducing its expenses in going back and forth to Manila every week just to play. The squad’s pullout was a big blow to the huge potential of the squad which, despite having no imports in its roster, finished a respectable third place in Division Two last year. Laurence Lor, a member of Cebu Queen City team management, said that despite UFL’s refusal to agree with their request, the team won’t pull out of the tournament this time. “If they are not interested, I think they won’t join this season,” he said. “In rejoining the UFL again, we can manage (the expenses).” But having some home matches is still what Cebu Queen City wants for its possible return to the League next season, Lor said. He recounted the problems the team deals with in all the travel and accommodation when it flies to Manila to play. “We have a hard time coming over since we are coming from Cebu. We have to be here the day before (the match). Some
“The camp is doing fine,” Koncz, for his part, said. “Everything is going on schedule. I think we would easily get what we aim for in the next months here in GenSan. “I’m very happy with what Manny is showing us. In fact, we all should be very happy,” Koncz said, adding that with the way the camp is going, the former no. 1 poundfor-pound best would be ready to spar soon. “Yeah, Freddie (Roach) would be coming first week of next month bringing with him at least one sparring partner from Korea
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Photo by Jojo Lirio, Jr. ©Sports5 file
players, they are not used to (that setup),” he said, adding that some of the team members sometimes cannot join the squad because of their day jobs. “We are based in Cebu so we have to look for hotels. Sometimes they (players) have to coordinate with some of their friends, to lessen the expenses instead of going to the hotel, to live in their houses.” “Unlike other teams, majority of the teams are based in Manila so they don’t have problems on transportation, accommodation.” Lor added that having home matches will benefit football development in Cebu, one of the sport’s hotbeds in the country. “It’s an advantage for us if some of our games will be held in Cebu. It’s our territory, we are familiar with the field,” he said. “We want to participate and promote football in Cebu so that our players in Cebu
will be encouraged that they have future in football. That’s why we are joining the Cup.” But the UFL might still not be ready for Cebu Queen City’s request, said Ritchie Gannaban, the league’s head of football operations. “For the second division, not yet. They lack sponsors, a perennial problem for the clubs,” He said. “But the (UFL) board is open to listen to that.” Lor said Cebu Queen City is willing to shell out money for the team’s potential League comeback next season. However, he also said that the team won’t stop trying to convince the UFL to accept its request. “Since our previous experience with the UFL, (they) did not approve it, and (we’re) joining again, we will be ready but we will try again,” he said. “I hope they reconsider our request.” ■ Karl Decena / InterAKTV / September 23, 2013 / 8:05 PM
2013 PartyPoker.com World Pool Masters: Stellar line up for 21st Annual Masters THE 21st PartyPoker.com World Pool Masters will see a field of 16 of the best pool players in the world gather in Barnsley, South Yorkshire to contest one of the longest running invitational tournaments in the world and a $66,000 prize fund. Taking place from 25th to 27th October at the Metrodome in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, the Masters will feature 10 World Champions as well as winners of countless major international events around the world. Legends such as Efren Reyes, making his first UK appearance since 2006, Mika Immonen, Ralf Souquet and Alex Pagulayan as well as ladies champ Ga Young Kim, will all be in Barnsley in an attempt to win one of the most prestigious titles in pool. The UK challenge will come from a quartet of players who possess four World Championships between them as well as countless other major titles. Three of them – Darren Appleton, Daryl Peach and Chris Melling – come from Yorkshire, while Karl Boyes is from across the Pennines. All four are sure to be well supported. The full line-up. Karol Skowerski (POL) Defending Champion; Darren Appleton (ENG) 2 x World Champion and 2 x US
Continuation from page 40 and one from Ghana, whose names I can’t remember.” Pacquiao attributed his gains to his almost three weeks of sporadic training here and in Manila. “Nakaganda ang early start namin,” he said. Kahit na paputol-putol ang ensayo the past two weeks, sulit naman. Kasi kahit naman nahihinto ang ensayo, tuloy-tuloy naman ang basketball games namin, halos nightly.” ■ Eddie G. Alinea / PNA / September 19, 2013
Open Champion; Chris Melling (ENG) China Open Champion; Daryl Peach (ENG) 2007 World Champion; Karl Boyes (ENG) 2010 World 8 Ball Champion; Efren Reyes (PHI) 2 x World Champion and 1 x US Open champion; Chang Jung-ling (TPE) 2012 World 8 Ball Champion; Ga Young Kim (KOR)2 x World Champion; Shane Van Boening (USA) 2 x US Open Champion; Ralf Souquet (GER) 6 times Masters Champion; Niels Feijen (HOL) 2008 World Straight Pool Champion; Mika Immonen (FIN) 2 x World Champion, 2 x US Open Champion; Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 2004 World Champion; Omar Al Shaheen (KUW) World No.14; David Alcaide (SPA) European No.5; Nick
Ekonomopoulos (GRE) World No.9. With a field of 16 players there are 15 matches in total – all races to eight racks and culminating in the final on the Sunday evening. Tickets are priced at a £10 for the evening sessions and £5 for the afternoon sessions. Both prices include a booking fee. ht tp:// w w w.seetickets.com / tour/ partypoker-com-world-pool-masters THE SCHEDULE Friday October 25, 7.00pm Round 1 – Karol Skowerski (POL) v Chris Melling (ENG) Round 1 – Ralf Souquet (GER) v Nick Ekonomopoulos (GRE)
Jalen Rose, Clyde Drexler, Robert Horry to visit Manila for NBA Global Games FORMER NBA players Clyde Drexler, Jalen Rose, and Robert Horry will be in town in October for the preseason matchup between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers at the Mall of Asia Arena. The three men will be in the Philippines as NBA Global Games ambassadors. Drexler, a Hall of Fame member and a part of the 1992 USA Dream Team, and Horry, a seven-time NBA champion with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers,
and the San Antonio Spurs, will be making their second trip to the country. “The fans are very passionate about the game,” said Horry. Rose, who now works as an NBA analyst for ESPN, will be visiting the Philippines for the first time. During the playoffs last May, Rose made several references to Filipino phrases during ESPN’s pre-game broadcast. ■ September
Round 1 – Karl Boyes (ENG) v Niels Feijen (NED) Saturday October 26, 1.00pm Round 1 - Mika Immonen (FIN) v Efren Reyes (PHI) Round 1 – Alex Pagulayan (CAN) v Ga Young Kim (KOR) Round 1 – Chang Jung-Lin (TPE) v Daryl Peach (ENG) 6.00pm Round 1 – Shane Van Boening (USA) v Omar Al Shaheen (KUW) Round 1 – Darren Appleton (ENG) v David Alcaide (ESP) Quarter Final 1 – Skowerski/ Melling v Pagulayan/ Kim Sunday October 27, 1.00pm Quarter Final 2 – Boyes/ Feijen v Immonen/ Reyes Quarter Final 3 – Souquet/ Ekonomopoulos v Chang / Peach Quarter Final 4 – Van Boening/Al Shaheen v Appleton/Alcaide 6.00pm Semi Final 1 Semi Final 2 Final
The Masters will once again sport a $20,000 top prize, and the event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television who will be making 15 x 1 hour programmes of the tournament for international syndication. The 2013 PARTYPOKER.COM World Pool Masters is sponsored by PartyPoker.com, the world’s leading online poker school. The Official Table is by Diamond Billiards; Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis; the Official Balls are Super Aramith and Predator is the Official Cue. Notes: Matchroom Sport are one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and are responsible for over 1,000 hours of original programming across a range of sports. Based in the UK and chaired by charismatic founder Barry Hearn, the World Pool Masters is one of a stable of pool events that include the World Cup of Pool and the Mosconi Cup. ■
25, 2013 / 4:02 PM
Matchroom Sport / September 26, 2013
October 2013 – No. 19 • UK & Europe Edition
La Salle stumps FEU to win ninth straight, reach UAAP finals Meralco zaps Barako Bull, books first
THE De La Salle Green Archers became the first team to book a seat in the UAAP Season 76 finals after surviving a tight contest with FEU, 71-68, to win their final four matchup Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. La Salle, which advanced to the title series for the first time since 2008, is playing its best basketball at just the right time and will be entering the finals on a nine-game unbeaten streak. They swept the second round of the elimination round and defeated FEU in back-toback playoff games to enter the finals. “That’s what we talked about even at the start of the season, improve every game, daily at every practice,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler of his team’s recent streak. “Wherever it takes us, we’ll take it.” Three different Green Archers—veteran guard LA Revilla, Jeron Teng and Norbert Torres—scored 15 points each to lead La Salle in this one. Unlike in their romp against FEU in their playoff for the twice-to-beat edge, La Salle had a tougher time in this one, falling behind by 11 points, 46-35, midway through the third period. But the streaking Green Archers slowly chipped away at the lead until they caught a break late in the quarter with graduating Tamaraw Gryann Mendoza fouling out with 12 seconds remaining in the third Mendoza, who scored eight points in the third period alone, was called for his fourth foul and a successive technical foul that awarded La Salle four free throws plus possession of the ball.
Photo by Roy Afable ©InterAKTV
Teng hit three of his four attempts to bring his team to within four, 56-52, to start the final 10 minutes. Former MVP RR Garcia, who played in his final UAAP game, opened the fourth with a fastbreak layup and a split from the line that gave FEU a seven-point advantage, 59-52. But La Salle responded with seven straight points capped by a hook shot from center Arnold Van Opstal over FEU counterpart Christian Sentcheu. With the Green Archers down by a single points with about three minutes remaining, Teng put his team over the top with four straight points. He hit a free throw, then grabbed an offensive rebound after missing his second attempt before banking in a floater. Teng then earned another trip to the line
when he was fouled by Mike Tolomia on a rebound play. He split his charities but it was enough to give La Salle a three-point lead. They then played their trademark tough defense down the stretch, only giving up a basket with five ticks left in the clock and up by four after a Revilla free throw. The game was tense, though, until the final seconds when Jason Perkins missed one of his two free throws to leave it as a one-possession game but FEU star Terrence Romeo missed a trey at the buzzer. The Green Archers now await the winner of the knockout game between top seed NU and fourth-ranked UST in the other side of the UAAP final four bracket. “Both teams are tough. It’ll be an exciting game in their knockout. We’ll just prepare for whoever wins,” Sauler said. ■ InterAKTV /
ticket to Governors’ Cup semifinals
THE Meralco Bolts put together a fine defensive effort to shackle Barako Bull, 8668, on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum to advance to the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup. The win gives the Bolts their first final four appearance in franchise history, and they leaned on one thing that has carried them all tournament long: defense. Meralco allowed Barako Bull to shoot just 27.8 percent from the field while holding prolific import Mike Singletary to just nine points. Singletary came into the game leading all players in scoring during the tournament, averaging almost 36 points per game. “It made our game easier,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio. “Whatever stops we made, we just ran them to the ground.” Once again, Gregorio credited Bolts coaching consultant Jong Uichico, who is in charge of drawing up the team’s
Nick van den Berg, Niels “The Terminator” Feijen, Dennis Orcollo and Lee Vann Corteza. Photo by JP Parmentier ©Matchroom Sport
Ramil Lugatiman, Lee Vann Corteza and Dennis Orcollo. Photo by JP Parmentier ©Matchroom Sport
InterAKTV / September 25, 2013 / 7:23 PM
Photo by Nuki Sabio ©PBA
September 25, 2013 / 6:39 PM\
888.com World Cup of Pool 2013 – The Finals: Philippines edge the Dutch in World Cup thriller
Lee Vann Corteza and Dennis Orcollo. Photo by JP Parmentier ©Matchroom Sport
defensive gameplan. “Coach Jong has done a tremendous job preparing us defensively,” said Gregorio. Mario West finished with 25 points to lead Meralco. “His total package is just beyond description,” said Gregorio of West, who returned to the team at the last minute prior to the conference after the Bolts’ first choice, DJ Kennedy, was measured to be too tall. “For a guy who was not really supposed to be here, it’s a testament to how things happen for a reason.” Meralco, which also drew 18 points and 12 rebounds from veteran big man Reynel Hugnatan, will face the winner of the San Mig Coffee-Alaska quarterfinals matchup in a best-of-five series. “We’re happy that we’re here,” said Gregorio, “but the task is not yet over.” ■
Philippines 10-8 Holland TEAM PHILIPPINES made up of Lee Vann Corteza and Dennis Orcollo became 888. com World Cup of Pool champions as they beat Holland in a thrilling conclusion after an action-packed final that illustrated the sheer excitement of top level pool. The match ebbed and flowed and reached a climactic final stage that saw both teams buckle before the Filipinos redeemed themselves sinking the 8 and 9 for the title and $60,000 top prize. It was the third win for the Philippines in the eight year history of the event, following wins for Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante in 2006 and 2009. This year they enjoyed wins over Croatia, Singapore, Hungary and Chinese Taipei en route to the final but the best was to come in the championship match. Orcollo was delighted in victory, “The fans here were why we won. There was a lot of pressure and things became very difficult but the Filipino community in London who supported us throughout really helped us through.” “I reached the final of the World Cup in Manila in 2010 but we came up short so it is fantastic to win here in London. I would love it for me and Lee Vann to defend the World Cup in the Philippines next year as it would be a dream come true to win it again in our home country,” he added. Corteza continued, “You have to thank those Philippines supporters who helped us
through. Representing my country is such a big honour for me and I’m very thankful and proud to have won the World Cup of Pool for the Philippines.” With the match moving up to a race to ten racks, the Filipinos moved into a 2-0 lead, but neither team could break away as the score went 3-3. Quite quickly though, the Philippines won the next two and at 6-3 the Dutch were definitely on the rails. In the winner breaks format though, they came back, cashing in on a mistake from their opponents and before long it was 7-7 and effectively a race to three. The Dutch took the next and looked set to move to the hill but Van den Berg made it tougher than it needed to be, going from the 7 to 8 and Feijen missed a pressure pot that probably should have gone in. Instead of 9-7 it was 8-8 and the tension was palpable. A great break eased the nerves for the Filipinos and they ran out to reach the hill against the odds. Orcollo was breaking for the match but nothing went down. Feijen shot the 1 ball home and with an open layout, it looked as though it was going to a decider. Van den Berg though twitched on the pink 4 to seemingly gift the rack and the match but some poor positional play from both Filipinos made every shot a heart-stopper. The big one was the long 8 ball and somehow Corteza managed to make it
and when his partner downed the final 9 it sealed a superb win. Van den Berg was willing to take the positives from the week; “We have never reached further than a quarter-final at the World Cup. There are some very difficult opponents in the tournament and we played really good pool all week. It is too bad we didn’t snap it up but if I can sign for second place every time we play I will do it” Feijen added, “We showed a lot of heart as we were down 7-3 and missed some difficult shots. At 8-7 I missed the 8 ball and unfortunately in the last game it was the 4 ball but you win together and lose together. It was pretty close but they’re great players and play great as a team.” The 2013 888.com World Cup of Pool runs from Tuesday, September 17 to Sunday, September 22 at the famous York Hall in Bethnal Green, East London. The field features 32 teams from 31 countries in a single elimination format. The total prize fund is US$250,000 with $60,000 going to the eventual champions. ■ Matchroom Sport / September 22, 2013
The 2013 World Cup of Pool is delighted to work with our valued suppliers – Official Table: Diamond; Official Cloth: Iwan Simonis; Official Balls: Super Aramith; Official Cue: Predator. Notes: Matchroom Sport are one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and are responsible for over 1,000 hours of original programming across a range of sports. Based in the UK and chaired by charismatic founder Barry Hearn, World Cup of Pool is one of a stable of pool events that include the World Pool Masters and the Mosconi Cup.
Cebu Queen City Jalen Rose, Clyde La Salle stumps United back in Drexler, Robert FEU to win UFL Cup, hopes Horry to visit ninth straight, to play home Manila for NBA reach matches Global Games UAAP finals Story on page 38
MANNY PACQUIAO DISPLAYS UNDIMINISHED SPEED, POWER IN CAMP DESPITE LONG HIBERNATION GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Manny Pacquiao displayed tremendous speed and punching power, forcing Nonoy Neri to replace fellow assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez in doing the mitts on Day Two of his training camp at the Pacman Wild Card Gym here on Tuesday. Expressing their approval, a handful of spectators gave Pacquiao a warm ovation following another three hour workout of 12 rounds at the mitts, a pair of rounds each at the speed ball and double end ball, three rounds each of shadow boxing and ball, and another two in the rope. Fernandez, who weighs no less than 250 pounds, lasted only seven rounds
against the pummeling of the eightdivision champion leaving the similarly heavy Neri to finish the session. “Masyadong mabigat ang suntok ni Manny (Manny’s punches are too heavy),” Neri sighed after his short four-round stint opposite the Pacman. “We really need to alternately do the mitts dahil kung hindi baka bago matapos ang 10 weeks sa camp lumpo na kami. “Ngayon lang nangyari ito na sumuko si Buboy,” added Neri. “I think Manny’s punching power has not abandoned him despite almost a year in hibernation.” Continued on page 38
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