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PinoyWatchDog • SATURDAY, AUGUST 4, 2012
‘Outstanding’ awards provides a legacy of unbelievable gall
t used to be that an award was a universal badge of merit with a place of honor symbolizing supremacy in a given field. It used to be the milestone to indicate that a river is forged or that the firmament is breached and the hand extended to claim the nadir of excellence. The word ‘outstanding’ used to mean a conspicuous beacon on a hill admired by the rest of us mere mortals.
► By Dionesio C. Grava, Chief of Reporters
Not in Los Angeles it seems. The supposedly 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA (OFAUSA) were presented with finality Saturday evening and the initial feedback is that the names are not from the cream of the estimated four million or so Filipinos/Filipinas in this nation of achievers? The field of outstanding Filipino Americans is rich and abundant for the picking. And so the question is asked whether or not
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye or former acting California Lt. Governor Mona F. Pasquil were in the list? How about former Senator John En-
OPINION sign and Representatives Robert C. Scott and Steve Austria of the US Congress; Governor Benjamin Cayetano of Hawaii and
Florence Ebersole Smith, recipient of the Medal of Freedom and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon. Lt. General Edward Soriano and Major Generals Eldon Regua, John R. D’Araujo Jr. and Antonio Taguba had long broken the glass ceiling in the US Armed Forces with their star ranks. How about them? The list goes on: Jess Española, Nelson Bohol, Francis Barrios, Ruben Aquino and Gini Cruz are among the best in animations. So
do in TV and film are celebrities Dean Devlin, Lou Diamond Philips, Vanessa Hudgens, Denise Dador and David Maquiling. Also in the entertainment field are Charmaine Clamor, Becca Godinez, Florante, Apl. de. Ap, Bernardo Bernardo, Joe Bataan, Jun Polistico and dozen others. Miss US International 2009 is Aileen Yap and Jennifer Rosales is golf champ, Natalie Coughlin is 11-time Olympic medalist, Ana Turn to Page 9
Fourth of a series
Umayam supports PWD thefts; She’s guilty of anti-Semitism Strange Twist - Publicity Stunt Using Tony Olaes and Gawad Kalinga as a Front Umayam Refuses to Announce Awardees as Promised
► By Rene Villaroman, Managing Editor with additional reporting by Joel and PWD Investigative Team
inoyWatchDog.com readers learned that embattled event organizer Darna Umayam first hit our Expose pages on June 23, 2012 that the “100 Outstanding Fil-Ams in the U.S.” was a ‘pay to play’ event, whereby the awardees were paying $1000 to receive the award, with many honorees being kept secret and a large amount of Umayam’s friends and relatives as recipients. On July 7, 2012, PWD wrote how the alleged criteria for awardees were their philanthropic activities, and confirmed the $1000 amount. That same issue revealed that Umayam had long been claiming she graduated Cum Laude from University Santo Tomas in the Philippines, which could not be certified by the university.
Bander, Senior Columnist,
On July 7, 2012, PinoyWatchDog.com started disappearing from the newspaper racks beyond the papers popularity; they were being stolen. The next day, July 8, 2012, PWD Senior Columnist Joel Bander wrote that he was concerned about this thievery, to which Ms. Umyam responded, “maybe people sympathize with me for what you are doing. They are putting your newspaper in the trash to where it belongs.” The next PinoyWatchDog.com issue came out on July 21, 2012, revealing that Umayam hijacked the very charity that was the basis for Saturday’s dinner from the 2009 Independence Day Organizing Committee, as well as many other questionable transactions from that
From Our Pen
Turn to Page 3
Young burn victims receive treatment in LA, thank benefactors ► Words and photos by Dionesio
aven Lucero, youngest of three children, was five years old on July 25, 2010 when a freak accident involving heated oil in a kitchen setting caused severe and agonizing burn on much of his body. Shai was one year and six months when she accidentally run into burning rubbish on December 21, 2009. Both are now in Los Angeles to undergo burn reconstruction surgeries and perhaps other recovery requirements.
Raven’s parents -- Alberto, 44, a construction worker and housewife Merlyn, 35, of Paradise Valley, Pasonanca in Zamboanga City -- and the Cadellero couple, Josephine and Reneboy of Campuyo, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, may be grateful to their lucky stars but most of all to people and charitable organizations without whose loving care and help their children would have been in much worse conditions than they already are. PinoyWatchdog.com had the
Turn to Page 6
OPINION Turn to Page 3 p5 Constitutional or man-made crisis? ► By Perry Diaz
ENTERTAINMENT & ARTS p8
Robert Shroder is very appreciative of FilAm community’s support of FASO ► By Rene Villaroman
EDITORIAL Raven Lucero displaying his skin burns, front and back parts of the body. The other child is Shai Cadellero with protective sheaths covering both burn arms.
Umayam and sham honorees insist ‘100 OFAUS’ a success...
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Umayam supports PWD thefts; She’s guilty of anti-Semitism From Page 1
event. PWD also revealed that only $7500 from over $100,000 in revenue was actually going to the designated charity, and that Umayam was secretly planning to pay other charities that contributors had no idea about. That evening, more reports of newspapers being stolen again came in. The next day, July 22, 2012, Bander again wrote Umayam stating that the she should be a responsible community leader and make the clarion call that her ‘supporters’ should stop stealing newspapers. In response Ms. Umayam stated: “Why don’t you show them you are supporting me and write something nice about me and the event in your newspaper, maybe the community will be very thankful to you, and we will all be happy in the end. . Then, that is the time I will make an appeal to the community to stop them from getting your newspaper, If ever they really are getting it. I have no idea. I have received hundreds of calls and emails from all places everywhere comforting me and telling me they don’t believe in all your accusations. They have also told me whatever steps and decision I will make regarding this matter, they will be supporting me all the way. I will not make an appeal to the community to stop stealing your Pinoywatchdog. I was about to do it to put a stop on all this. But you still continue to hit
me below the belt. I will just do what I think is right.” However, Umayam’s undoing, behind her implied endorsement of theft of newspapers (which also contained stories about young Filipino achievers) was this email statement to Bander: “Your writers must be ashamed of themselves. They are the talk of the town why??? They must remember that Jew or Hudyo killed Jesus Christ??? Judas Iscariot the apostle who betrayed Jesus is a JEW like you!!!!!!!”
ABS-CBN’s Tina Palma and Gina Lopez cancel their attendance. Upon hearing of Umayam’s anti-Semitic slur against Bander and her support of thievery of newspapers ABS CBN anchor Tina Munoz-Palma decided not t fly to Los Angeles from the Philippines to attend the controversial “100 Outstanding Fil-Ams in the U.S.” awards dinner. PinoyWatchDog. com has learned that Umayam’s statements directed at Bander, who is Jewish, was the ‘last straw’ for Palma following a string of revelations of highly improper conduct by Umayam. PinoyWatchDog.com also learned that Gina Lopez, Managing Director of ABS-CBN Foundation, was also planning to attend but has decided not to attend even before Umayam’s bigoted attack. Lopez has long managed the Lopez families’ philanthropic division. PinoyWatchDog.com
interviewed St. Dominic Catholic Church’s Father Carey a few blocks from the Umayam residence in Eagle Rock. Carey said that Umayam’s statements were “way off base and not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Father Carey added that Umayam has a “lot to repent for.” Carey added that Umayam did not attend her local Catholic Church. ABS CBN Withdraws All Together -- Umayam Calls Fabian’s Decision “Shallow” On Thursday, July 26, 2012, just two days before the “100 Outstanding” event, Robbie Fabian, has announced the ABS CBN Foundation was pulling out of the event totally. The foundation also declined the donation. Fabian stated that “the board of directors of the Foundation has concluded today that recent statements made by Ms. Umayam will make it untenable for ABS CBN Foundation International to be part of this initiative. The Foundation regrettably also has decided to decline the planned donation to Bantay Bata.” In reply Umayam wrote Fabian, and others, stating, “I found it hard to believe you did not even explain to the board that when I made those statements, it was really not meant to hurt the Jewish people. The reason for denial is so shallow.” If this is the final straw, then I would appreciate you sending me the payment for the
(1) table you confirmed. It was already paid for at Universal Hilton as part of the guarantee. I will really appreciate you sending the payment.” In an additional slap ay Umayam, the Philippine Consulate did not even send a representative to the event, even though Deputy Consul General Dan Espiritu was listed on the program as a speaker. The Consulate refused to comment on its non-attendance, which is obviously standard at these events.
Strange Twist - Publicity Stunt Using Tony Olaes and Gawad Kalinga as a Front At the dinner event Umayam stunned the crowd in attendance with a daring foray and daring. She would make a one million peso contribution to Bantay Bata even if ABS-CBN did not want the money. Umayam announced that she was using the little known Tony Olaes of Gawad Kalinga USA as a monetary conduit. In a public message Olaes stated that “Upon deposit and clearance, I will then send my check on behalf of the other 99 honorees to the children of Bantay Bata. I know that it was shocking that Bantay Bata rejected the funds and for me to, in turn, send one right back to them. I chose to do this because I felt it was the right thing to do for the children who were meant to be served - there was no either or. At the end, everyone won except for the perpetrator.”
However, at press time, almost one week later, Bantay Bata reports that Olaes has not made any contribution whatsoever. PinoyWatchDog.com has sent numerous questions to Olaes and his assistants, requesting for any type of proof or documentation. PinoyWatchDog.com Executive Editor Al Aquino said “until I see a cancelled check I do not believe Umayam has given money to anyone. Why wouldn’t this Olaes fellow come up with proof of fund right away if it were true?” Numerous other unanswered questions posed to Olaes from PinoyWatchDog.com are in the accompanying box. “Hopefully, Mr. Olaes will be a bit more transparent than he has been to date,” Aquino said. Umayam Refuses to Announce Awardees as Promised For the last two months PinoyWatchDog.com and others questioned the validity of Umayam’s selection process for her awardees. She has long kept the list secret. And while PWD’s investigative team received constantly varying reports of which awardees were in or out Umayam has been steadfast in her position that the list will be announced after the completion of the event. However, Diversity News Magazine reported on Thursday, August 2, 2012 that Umayam stated, “The awardees themselves and all of us decided we will not publish the names of the
awardees to protect all of them. …. I told all newspapers we will release after the event. Things happen.” Numerous well connected members of the Fil-Am community have reviewed the photographs of the awardees and many are unknown. “How can they be outstanding,” Aquino asked, “if nobody ever heard of them before?” PinoyWatchDog.com had been receiving reports of many awardees cancelling or declining their award, even though they paid $1000 to receive it, based on Umayam’s anti-Semitic remarks towards Bander and her support of newspaper thievery. PWD has learned that two of Umayam’s daughters were also among the awardees. In an odd editorial twist Diversity News stated it was “was honored to witness an overall success event organized by Ms. Darna B. Umayam, which she took so much controversy and heat from various people and mainly from “Uncensored media outlet PinoyWatchDog.com” who claims this event was Ms. Umayam friends event and that some of them have to “Pay for Play”. Our comment was that is up to FilAm decision and their own money on how they want to use it, which means in any way they want it, even if they have to buy an award!” PinoyWatchDog.com’s investigative team has also learned that Diversity News was ready to provide air time to Umayam on its online radio show, but she required Turn to Page 9
Umayam Had no Agreement with ABS CBN Bantay Banta until Exposed by PinoyWatchDog.com
► By Rene Villaroman and the PinoyWatchDog.com
INCE early in 2012 Darna Umayam had been representing that the “100 Outstanding Fil-Ams in the U.S.” was ‘highly endorsed by ABS CBN Foundation” and lead broadcaster Tina Palma Monzon. However, in reality, the PinoyWatchDog.com investigative team has only been able to uncover a single communication between Umayam and Tina Palma, at a reception held by the Press Photographers of the Philippines in Los Angeles in late 2011. At that time, Umayam stated she would like to have an event with proceeds going to Bantay Bata, and in principle Palma agreed. But from that point on PinoyWatchDog.com has not been able to find any supporting evidence that Palma had knowledge of any of Umayam’s acts or claims regarding the now discredited “100 Outstanding” dinner. PinoyWatchDog.com has learned that after that brief reception meeting
Umayam’s limited dealings with ABS CBN were through Palma’s staff aide Yeng Lim. The investigative team has learned that ABS CBN considered all of these discussions preparatory, and the Manila office has told PWD that no written agreement was ever entered into between them and Umayam. However, Umayam had been boasting about the Fil-Am community that there was such a deal. PinoyWatchDog.com has learned that there is a draft written agreement be-
tween Umayam and ABS CBN in the network’s files, but it was never forwarded to the discredited fundraiser as the discussions never went far enough to merit such an activity. Mr. Robbie Fabian, ABS CBN International President has informed PinoyWatchDog.com that he never even knew of the event until this newspaper’s first story about Award Dinner Expose was released in the end of June 2012. He then had to prevail upon Umayam to
enter into a written agreement with the American affiliate, which she originally resisted. Oddly, Umayam, and one of her chief boosters, Adrian Lecaros, made a big fuss on Facebook and in emails how Fabian was taking time from his busy schedule to endorse the dinner. However, in reality, the network was only going to salvage something from all of Umayam’s misrepresentations. “It appears that Umayam had been telling the community a lie all these months,” PinoyWatchDog. com Executive Editor Al Aquino said. “I think everyone who paid for a ticket should be asking Darna for a full refund. She represented the backing of ABS CBN and Bantay Banta, but
it simply was not true.” ABS CBN has pulled its belated June 2012 agreement based on crude anti-Semitic statements by Umayam towards PinoyWatchDog.com’s Senior Columnist Joel Bander, along with other statements and actions she has taken in the past. In response, PWD has learned that Umayam wrote to ABS CBN on July 27, 2012, stating “Your pulling off from the project 2 days from the event was very inconsiderate, and it created so much (sic) problems to this events in terms of programme [sic] production, timeline and many more. In the end the Filipino children were the ones who suffered and greatly affected with all your decision … If this is the final straw, then I would
appreciate you sending me the payment for the (1) table you confirmed. It was already paid for at Universal Hilton as part of the guarantee. I will really appreciate you sending the payment payable to PCCI PPP-USA and mail it to 100 OFA-USA 5221 Eagle Rock Blvd. LA, CA 90041, partly to cover for damages incurred in reprinting of the programme [sic] twice.” “What nerve,” Aquino said. “First she tells everyone that Bantay Bata is involved when there was no formal agreement, only to be forced into an agreement because of our exposes. Then, when all her chicanery is revealed, along with horrible antiSemitism, Umayam wants full payment from the network, blaming them for her misdeeds. Unbelievable.”
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Editorial Umayam and sham honorees insist ‘100 OFAUS’ a success; but refuse to shed light on P1 million donation’s disposition
A Job Well Done, Or A Con Job Well Done?
t is now a week since the ‘100 Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA’ awards event ended and we have yet to receive an official list of the honorees from the event organizer Ms. Darna Umayam. Ms. Umayam had promised to release this list immediately after the event, but as of press-time, PinoyWatchDog.com still has not got it. PWD has also sent questions to Gawad Kalinga official Mr. Olaes, asking questions regarding the disposition of the reported Peso1 million it received from PCCI. We’ve also asked Mr. Olaes how he perceives his organization’s second-fiddle status as a recipient of an award that was rejected by the ABS-CBN Foundation International, which pulled out of its partnership with Ms. Umayam and her non-profit PCCI, but Mr. Olaes had chosen to refuse fielding PWD’s inquiries. Ms. Umayam and her awardees, meanwhile, are in a drunken stupor, celebrating under the illusion that they had emerged unscathed despite PWD’s assertion that the organizer come clean from perceived irregularities and unethical practices in the conduct of this fundraising activities and those conducted in the past. Some of Ms. Umayam’s ‘water carriers,’ as PWD Executive Editor Al Aquino had called them, have been busily posting pictures of the event on Facebook, as well pictures of the facsimile P1 million check donated to Gawad Kalinga by PCCI and its co-presentor, the Press Photographers of the Philippines – USA, which does not even have a non-profit 501 (C3) status. These PR images cannot take the place of an honest and truly transparent depiction of a full-pledged ‘outstanding Filipino American’ search whose legitimacy is beyond question. The only people that would find this shallow depiction to be true are the very awardees who paid for their awards even though they are not deserving of the accolade ‘outstanding.’ PWD had embarked on a campaign beginning last month to encourage Ms Umayam to address all the legitimate inquiries that this newspaper had raised questions against the conduct of this so-called nationwide search for ‘outstanding’ Filipino Americans in the United States. These inquiries included a request for a copy of her graduation certificate showing that she is indeed a genuine ‘Cum Laude’ graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, but we have received nothing more than her empty promise and scathing attacks on our writers and editors. PWD has also challenged Ms. Umayam to open to the public every financial aspect of her past fundraising activities. But she also failed to provide that. As a last resort, PWD went straight to the International Revenue Service (IRS), and our persistent detective work had uncovered many irregularities in the income tax returns of her PCCI non-profit organization. But what takes the cake is PWD’s discovery that Ms.Umayam had stolen the PCCI non-profit from under the very nose of the 2009 Independence Day Organizing Committee, which funded the creation and incorporation of the entity. Through all of these revelations, Ms. Umayam has chosen to kill the messenger instead of facing the music, perhaps thinking that this scandal would end if she ignored our investigation. If, indeed, she is a God-fearing woman, why would she avoid answering our questions? Ms. Umayam has only buried herself deeper in this scandal by shooting her mouth off in the hope of extinguishing our fervor to unravel further details of this fundraising scandal. The last straw was her unpardonable anti-Semitic rant against PWD Senior Columnist Joel Bander, which triggered ABS-CBN Foundation to pull out of its partnership with Ms. Umayam and refuse the scandal-tainted donation. We have reliable information that a few honest and reputable community members, including Hon. Elito Santarina of the Carson City Council, have taken the high road and refused the awards or chose to not attend the event. We’ve also learned that the Philippine Consulate General office in the Los Angeles did not send a representative to honor the event, which says a lot about the event’s fall from grace with the Consulate and its honorable officials. Alfonso Gaerlan Aquino Rene Villaroman Joel Bander
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Saturday, August 4, 2012
ongratulations, Darna, for a job well done. You had a well attended event, something from an estimate of 950 according to your numerous water carriers who were so exuberant in their praise for you. Well, this crowd deserves the lavish show you put on, especially the 100 awardees, or shall we say 99 to be exact, because Sir Elito M. Santarina, the senior councilman of Carson City, chose to decline at the last minute. Or, were there more who declined at the last minute who had a change of heart for the grave blunder you committed by your anti-semitic remarks against a reporter of the PinoyWatchDog.com newspaper, Mr. Joel Bander? Now, be honest---just how many really received the award for being an “outstanding Filipino-American in the United States of America”? Can you provide us their names, please? I recognized two of them---the confessed slut and the kawawang cowboy. I understand even your two children were awardees, right? What a way to have this word of recognition of excellence-”outstanding”- pushed to a corner of insignificance. As Barnum said:”suckers are born every seconds of the day”, and Darna is well aware of this circumstance and milked it to the last drop, a thousand dollars per head. I doubt if her kids were made to pay, exception I say. Congratulations again, Darna, for a con job well done. It was a perfectly choreographed and outstandingly stage-managed show, and all the attendees went home happy. But, we ask you now about the checks, the one from the event and the counterpart check of Mr. Tony Olaes, an awardee, are these checks for real or part of the show also? Please, don’t pull a fast one on the innocent community this time. By the way, when are you going to make public the financial statement of this event? As soon as possible? Remember, you have not made public yet the financial statement of Independence Day Celebration 2012 held on June 2, 2012. PinoyWatchDog is not without support from members of the community for having exposed this big lie. Here’s a sample from Tony Frias of 2299 Belmont St., Los Angeles, CA 90026: Dear PinoyWatchDog. com, More power to you for exposing Darna Umayam”s questionable activities to the fullest. Only 2 things will stop her completely,including sending lots of nonsense in her emails to you and her supposed supporters in the Fil-Am community, and these 2 things are: 1. Reporting her to the IRS and to the Office of the California Attorney General for filing
fraudulent income tax returns so she will be audited and prosecuted; 2. Reporting her to the District Attorney’s office for masterminding the stealing of your papers for the past 3 issues, or maybe, you yourself, can sue her. Lastly, for your additional information, 2 of her outstanding awardees are her own children--Kaye Umayam and Ralph Umayam. We are getting this kind of mails since we bared these discoveries about Mrs. Dolores Banaria Umayam, better known in the community as Darna, the flying lady. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone of them, and we are considering all your suggestions. Our word for our flying lady: a noble heart is one that is blessed by GOD, and so with all good intentions--they are made in heaven. They way we can express them is by doing the right thing. However, on Earth, the planet we live in, it is indeed the rarest of the rarest, when good intentions are on top over the desire for material gains, over fraud and deceit, because money happen to be ALMIGHTY. I’m afraid this rarest of moments has not come to you yet, Darna. Nevertheless, good night and sweet dreams.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Constitutional or man-made crisis?
he Judicial and Bar Council’s interview of the 20 nominees to the Chief Justice position was going so well into the fourth and last day when suddenly it hit a snag that could trigger a constitutional crisis in the Judiciary. Indeed, in a matter of days, the orderly selection process went into a tailspin when the two leaders of Congress – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. – announced that they’re pulling their representatives out of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) due to a Supreme Court decision, which ruled that the bicameral legislative body can only have one representative in JBC. As a result, the JBC postponed voting for the final three nominees to August 2. The postponement gave Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who is running against time to have three disbarment cases against her dismissed before the JBC votes on the shortlist. But she suffered a major blow last July 28 when the Board of Directors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) rejected her bid to have the cases against her dismissed. Instead the IBP board ordered a full-blown investigation into two of the three cases that were filed against her for defiance of the Supreme Court’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued on the travel ban ordered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on ex-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last November. Given the time needed to complete the investigations, it is doubtful if it could be done by August 2. De Lima’s problem As soon as IBP rejected De Lima’s appeal, Malacañang Palace gave her some encouraging support. During a press briefing, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that De Lima has “right to appeal to the Judicial and Bar Council should it exclude her from the chief justice candidate shortlist.” “She is just laying out the basis why this disbarment case should not be considered by the JBC considering that they were filed in the light of her opposition to the removed Chief Justice Corona,” Lacierda said. According to Lacierda, De Lima also submitted a sevenpage letter to the JBC in which she argued that she should not be excluded from the shortlist on account of her pending disbarment cases, which she claimed were politically motivated. However, in an attempt to show neutrality, Lacierda said, “We will leave it with the JBC to determine in its discretion the validity and weight of the letter of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.” And to further distance Malacañang from the controversy, he said that the Palace was “very happy” and “very comfortable” with De Lima being the DOJ secretary. But De Lima, 52, is driven by ambition. If appointed, she will be the top magistrate of the land for18 years until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. She claims that as an “outsider,” she has the edge over the other nominees because of “her strong personality to institute reforms in a judiciary tarnished by the impeachment trial of Corona.” But what makes her believe that she
has the “edge” when she doesn’t have any experience as a judge or justice? And this brings to mind what kind of reforms would she institute? Unlike the six “insiders” who each gave a detailed description of the reforms they would pursue, De Lima did not mention a single item that needed to be reformed. Besides, does it take 18 years to institute reforms? If she can’t do it in five to seven years, then she’s not the right person to institute reforms. Enrile’s dilemma In another front, the Philippine Senate, things are different over there. Senate President Enrile called for a caucus last July 30 to discuss their position on the JBC composition and other issues relative to the selection process. In a resolution adopted, the Senate asked the JBC to defer deliberations on the selection and also for the Supreme Court to hold oral arguments on the issue of JBC composition. The Court agreed and scheduled the oral arguments on August 2. Another Senate resolution reiterated the position taken by both chambers of Congress that “representation to the JBC by Congress must be one for the House with one vote, and one for the Senate with one vote,” which is in direct contrast to the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling two weeks ago that Congress should only have one representative in the JBC. But Enrile raised another issue, which could throw a monkey wrench on the whole Chief Justice selection process. In a media interview, Enrile was quoted as saying that whoever is appointed Chief Justice by the President based on the list submitted by the JBC may still be questioned because of the status of the council’s membership. He also pointed out that the Constitution provides that only the Chief Justice can preside as ex officio chair of the JBC; thus, an acting Chief Justice or an associate justice cannot preside over the deliberations of the council. If Enrile’s line of thinking is pursued, it could trigger a constitutional crisis. In essence, what Enrile was saying is that since an acting Chief Justice or an associate justice could not preside over the JBC and since the position of Chief Justice is vacant; therefore, nobody can preside over the JBC. In that event, the JBC would be functionally incapacitated and unable to produce the mandated
ABS-CBN signals a return to honesty, integrity and respectability in fund-raisings
► By Dionesio C. Grava, Chief of Reporters
shortlist of the final three nominees for the position of Chief Justice. But notwithstanding this which-comes-first-the-chickenor-the-egg problem, the President is required by the Constitution to appoint a new Chief Justice within 90 days of a vacancy. But whom would he appoint if no shortlist were produced? Someone suggested that perhaps P-Noy should appoint anyone of his choice in the absence of a shortlist. But that would be dangerous and P-Noy should – nay, must! – exercise utmost restraint from doing that. If he did that, it could trigger a constitutional crisis. And if the person he appointed is De Lima, then the people would think that the crisis was man-made, induced to pave the way for De Lima’s ascension to the High Court. Ghosts from the past In the 25 years that the present Constitution has been in place, there were two major constitutional crises. The first was in 2001 when then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as President by then Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. while Joseph Estrada was still the sitting President. To fix the looming constitutional crisis, the Supreme Court issued its controversial “constructive resignation” ruling that deemed Estrada resigned from office. The second was in 2010 when Gloria appointed Renato Corona as Chief Justice in defiance of the constitutional ban on “midnight” appointments during a short period of time before and after a presidential election. The Supreme Court legitimized Corona’s illegal appointment by ruling that appointing the Chief Justice was not covered by the constitutional ban. Both crises took a heavy toll on the government and caused political instability for more than a decade, which culminated with the impeachment of Corona last May. Now that the government is recovering from those contentious years, it’s time for our political leaders to do what is right for the country and let the Supreme Court perform its constitutional mandate to produce the shortlist in a fashion that is fair, transparent, and objective. The people deserve no less. (PerryDiaz@ gmail.com)
BS CBN Foundation International headed by Robbie Fabian deserves plaudits for its decision not to go through with its participation in the 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA awardsdinner slated tomorrow, July 28, at the Universal Hilton, Los Angeles. Earlier, Mr. Fabian, president of the Foundation, also informed that Tina Palma, Program Director of Bantay Bata, “has decided to cancel her trip to the U.S. to attend this Saturday’s awards dinner for the 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans.” It was also learned that Gina Lopez, Managing Director of ABS-CBN Foundation, had aborted an earlier decision to attend the event. Mr. Fabian’s announcement contained in an email blast dated July 26 reads in part: “After careful deliberation, the board of directors of the Foundation has concluded today that recent statements made by Ms. Umayan will make it untenable for ABS CBN Foundation International to be part of this initiative. The Foundation regrettably has also decided to decline the planned donation to Bantay Bata.” Admittedly the Filipino American community has in its midst a fair share of schemes preying on the unwary. However, the so-called ‘pay-to-play’ 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA project may take the cake in the large number of proposed awardees amid allegations that except for a few of them, each was asked to raise advertisements of at least $1000 in addition to a non-refundable $100 registration fee in order to obtain an award. Out of the estimated $100,000 proceeds the OFAUSA project has committed to donate only $7,500 to ABS-CBN Bantay Bata, the charity that OFAUSA organizers had initially referred to as its only beneficiary. PinoyWatchdog.com has called on the organizers to increase the donation to at least 50 percent of the proceeds. In a series of stories journalists of the publication had alleged the following against OFAUSA, a joint undertaking of the Philippine Press Photographers-USA (PPPUSA) and Philippine Children’s Charities, Inc. (PCCI): 1. Its project director, Darna Umayam, claimed that both organizations had zero funds from the start prompting the question of how she was able to personally interview, as she insisted she did in an amazingly short time, the nominees considering that they are supposed to be from different parts of the USA and accordingly she and her or-
ganization would have needed immense resources in accordance with the nature of the undertaking. 2. She had not answered categorically questions of whether or not there is a committee vetting prospective awardees. PWD is not aware of any public announcement or press releases about the supposed national search for nominees. One has yet to see posters/flyers/banners/news advertisements and the like indicating that indeed there was an effort to look for candidates to this USA-wide ‘Outstanding’ project. 3. On March 25, 2012, more than 80 men and women already hailed as “Distinguished Honorees” were presented to the public at the Universal Hilton Hotel. Four months to this day, Ms. Umayam had continued to refuse requests to divulge the names of those already presented giving rise to suspicions that organizers do not want them to be scrutinized regarding their fitness to be addressed as Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA. 4. Reports were that most of those in the photo presented as Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA are from the Los Angeles and nearby areas and that many of them are photographerofficers/members of one of the organizers, PPP-USA, as well as other friends of the project director. No name has been submitted so far to indicate that any of them are from other states in this country where many FilAm achievers are known to also reside. 5. According to a report from PWD Senior Columnist Joel Bander, PPP-USA has no legal status to raise funds while PCCI, the other half of the organizing team, is not even owned by any of the organizers but its non-profit status is being used in the project without the authority of its owner. Ms. Umayam, known to have organized other fund-raising projects in the past, responded to PWD’s questions selectively and sometimes with conflicting claims. She also retaliated to PWD’s findings by denigrating the character of the publication’s reporters and editors and, worse, attacking Columnist Bander’s Jewish heritage. The challenge is whether or not awardees to the 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA would still show up for the event considering that their main excuse -- that it is supposedly for the cause of Bantay Bata -- has exploded in their faces. PinoyWatchdog.com has received reports that many of them may not be coming. Understandably some of the
Turn to Page 6
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Young burn victims receive treatment in LA, thank benefactors From Page 1
opportunity to interview Merlyn and Josephine on August 2 at the Westlake residence of Jimmy and Perlita Ong, their host in Los Angeles since their arrival in March, this year. Merlyn said that they first sought help from ABSCBN’s Bantay Bata Foundation. She said that aside from donations from people who heard about the incident in the news, she got two tubes of anti-burn cream and the purchase of some prescription drugs from the charitable organization. The Lucero couple also heard about the Ronald McDonald Foundation but found out that it assures only a 28-day free stay in the US. They have to come up with their own groceries and other expenses which they cannot afford, Merlyn said. Among those they want to thank for helping in the initial phases of Raven’s treatment are Councilor Myra Paz Abubacar, the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Zamboanga City, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the government-owned Zamboanga City General Hospital and Zamboanga City Medical Center. Raven was hospitalized for five months but had to continue medical check-ups after that. Then a nurse at the hospital submitted Raven’s name to the Tzutsi Foundation, which was offering help to kids below 10 years old with severe medical needs. They were linked to Ma. Carmen “Menchu” Aquino Sarmiento, executive director of the Philippine Airlines Foundation, who in turn facilitated their free accommodation with the Grossman Burn Center (through the Children’s Burn Foundation) and the
Ong couple. On her part Josephine Cadellero, mother of five, said that they were invited to the Philippine government’s ‘Pantawid’ event on the occasion of the annual Bais City fiesta, which was also attended by President Noynoy Aquino and Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda. They were asked how the government could help and the parents of the two other child patients in
Perlita Ong, foster parent.
attendance opted for cash assistance. The Cadelleros requested for an all-free treatment and that’s how she and Shia were connected to the PAL Foundation and the Grossman facility, she said. Executive Director Sarmiento informed PinoyWatchdog.com that the US Care Program of PAL Medical Travel Grants help the poorest Filipinos to access medical care as charity patients. They partner with Mending Kids International and, for Raven and Shia, the Children’s Burn Foundation. Mending Kids has a website where you can find stories about the Filipino children they are helping but now, Ms. Sarmiento said, “these children remain in the Philippines as we can get the care done more cheaply here (mostly
cardiac surgery). However, for the burn cases, which need a series of surgeries, it is better when we send them to the States because of the problem with infection in the Philippine government hospitals that do have burn units.” She added that both Raven and Shia benefited from the Pantawid Gutom Program of the Philippine Dept. of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Children’s Burn Foundation (CBF) has helped with newly burned patients who cannot travel yet, paying for their care in Philippine hospitals. However for burned children like Raven and Shai who would benefit from further reconstruction, the procedures are done in the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills. Jimmy and Perlita Ong are frequent hosts of children patients sent over to the US by PAL Foundation. Jimmy said that they started hosting children with congenital heart problems even when he was still working. He recalled a tenyear old and a 16-year old from Cebu and a 15-month old baby girl from Manila. He is retired now and has more free time in his hands. Perlita, a nurse doing night shift at the county jail, said that she’s also okay hosting the kids. Their two children have own families now and have kids of their own who are in daycare centers. Jimmy and Perlita said that they’re doing it out of love. Their initial interest for the poor children patients aroused when they came across a news item in a community newspaper about Mending Kids needing foster homes. The Danao-USA association helped them connect with Ms. Sarmiento. Some of the kids they helped in the
The children burn victims with, from left: Merlyn Lucero, Josephine Cadellero and foster parent Jimmy Ong. Lady with voice recorder is Lilia Rabe Grava of Pinas news.
past had communicated with them through emails, they said. The couple is hopeful that there may be more families out there willing to be foster parents because “it is in the nature of Filipinos to be compassionate but may not know about this program. Most of the kids needing help are the poorest of the poor and it is important to let them feel somebody care for them,” said the Ongs. Ms. Sarmiento informed that Mending Kids used to have other foster parents in the area: Ceny and Louie Bernardo of Northridge. However, advanced age and ailments have prevented the couple from physically hosting kids today. However, the Bernardos have gone on to help their foster son to get through a four-year college course. That’s why she really needs the help of PinoyWatchdog.com to find future host families “especially among the retired but still able and willing FilAm’s, as we will be sending other kids there for burn reconstruction surgery,” Ms. Sarmiento said in an email. She added: “Ang maganda sa Pinoy host family: walang language or dietary barriers. May Filipino Channel pa. Matutulungan sila mag-text home
or even to use the internet.” Additionally she informed that Jimmy and Perlita Ong “also have scholars in Pangasinan who are not their relatives so they are unusually generous because as you know, most Pinoys restrict their charity to their poorer relations.” Children’s Burn Foundation is a charitable organization based in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, helping children who otherwise may be unable to benefit from state of the art medical treatment and post-acute services. According to its website, gifts to the Foundation for pro-
grammatic initiatives and endowment have totaled more than $4.75 million. Executive director is Carol Horvitz. According to Jimmy Ong, the Foundation so far has spent $120,000 worth of medical procedures done on Raven and Shia. Shia already had three surgeries and one more is scheduled. Raven’s condition is more severe. He had a pre-operation check-up on August 2 and the first of two surgeries are scheduled August 6 and 9. Meantime, the visas of the two kids and their mothers are about to expire and have to be extended.
From Page 5
awardees may have been deluded into believing the organizers’ propaganda that it is all for a good cause. Incidentally it resonates with this writer’s own experience of being enticed to accept a supposedly “award for journalistic excellence and distinction” held in a topclass hotel in Los Angeles in the past but had to return it when it became apparent that it was not what it purported to be. In the instant case PinoyWatchDog Managing Editor Rene Villaroman wrote that, “in the list of the 85 honorees so far
available to us, there are five or six who are worthy of being endowed the honor. But it would be an even greater honor if these worthy honorees declined to receive their awards, and as a consequence, included with a larger group that did not deserve the honor. As Executive Editor Al Aquino stated in this issue’s column, ‘and what would really double the sheen in the armor of excellence is to decline the honor so as to avoid humiliation and degradation of being associated with the undeserving and the unqualified.’”
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Fun time for FEU alumni at FACLA ► Words and photos by Diony C. Grava
he’s the beauty- emcee, and Dr. Castro him- four-day free medical and brain type and at self and had the impression surgical mission in cooperathat time preoc- that they were having a good tion with the Economic Encupied with a time and appreciative of terprise and Development phone call while PinoyWatchdog’s presence. Department (EEDD) early at the same time entertain- Dr. Abejuela is with the Chi- this year. More than 2000 ing some friends at their as- no Hills Hospital. His wife, residents from Himamaysigned table. Malou Gegare- Dr. Ellen Abejuela, was one lan and Kabankalan cities in Cruz, president-elect of of the three Santacruzan Negros Oriental benefited, it the Far Eastern University beauties. The other one was says. They also performed Medical Alumni Society of Dr. Myrna Maniulit-Perez Southern California (FEU- of the Perez & Perez Medi- a total of 59 major and 24 MASSC) had just eased cal Corp. in Claremont. Had minor surgeries like TAHThyroidectomy, herself out from a ‘throne’ a little laugh with Dr. Perez BSO, Mastectomy, Hyswhich she had paterectomy, Herniortiently occupied for raphy, Hemorroidawhile. ectomy and other She was the Reyprocedures at the na Elena, she said, and Lorenzo D. Zayco the call on her mobile District Hospital in phone was from a Kabankalan City. patient requiring her The mission, led attention -- highlightby Dr. Castro, coning the fact that in sisted of nine surthe medical profesgeons, 12 internal sion even fun time is medicine doctors, still work time. Other three anesthesiolopeople were converggists, 15 nurses and ing on the long table 35 pharmacists and where dinner plates outpatient volunwere filled in and sent teers coming from off. Texas, Chicago and It was a dinner Oregon. reception of FEULicerio Castro, FEUMASSC president, deThe other ofMASSC held July 25 Dr. livers his welcome remarks. Also in the photo at the social hall of are Dr. Rey Abejuela, a former president, and ficers (all doctors) of the organization the Filipino American Dr. Norma Salvatore. are: Ellen PunzaCommunity of Los lan-Abejuela, vice Angeles (FACLA). president; Daisy De FACLA bigwigs Austin who, when asked, said that Baul, Fender Santos, Linda she was not sure if she was Guzman-Castro, secretary; Neri, Adolfino Aguayon, supposed to be Queen this Mildred Rey-Monroy, assisOliver Sulit, Dr. Norma Sal- or Queen that in the mini tant treasurer; Grace Lewis and Delfin vatore and Dr. Ner Azaula Santacruzan. From their website Dano, auditors; Mary Anne were in the vicinity to help ensure that things were al- it was gathered that the Tecson-Benedicto and Seright. Dr. Azaula, aka The alumni group undertook a nia Veran, PROs. Singing Doctor, serenaded the Reyna Elena and her Royal Court-of-two with the old favorite Kailangan Kita. Celeste Perez sang the national anthems. Dr. Licerio Castro, president of the January 2012 - December 2013 term, welcomed the celebrants. The FEUMASSC Choral Group rendered, but of course, the FEU Hymn, which was followed with remarks by Drs. Oscar Tuazon, Pepito Rivera and Remedios Habocur. Ner Azaula belts out a serenade dedicated to the SantacruInvocation was by Dr. Gua- Dr. zan beauties, from left: Dr. Ellen Abejuela, Dr. Malou Cruz and dalupe Pedrano-Florescio, Dr. Myrna Maniulit-Perez. treasurer. Dr. Salvatore and Gem Palarmo, a social worker in the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Social Services, also entertained with Maalaala Mo Kaya, Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig and Oh Ilaw. Then there was the Santacruzan, Itik-Itik dance and mass-participated harana. We had the opportunity to interact with some FEUMASSC people especially Rey Abejuela, a former president who was also the It’s a well-attended evening event.
They have a jolly good time, these medical guys and gals.
ntert inment & rts
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Filipino American vocalists wow Southern California Jeepney Asian Grill hosts its 2nd Pinoy Singing Idol search to support Bantay Bata
edwood City, Calif. (August 1, 2012)–Following a successful first year of Jeepney Asian Grill’s Pinoy Idol & JAG Pinoy Kidz Idol competitions, the Cerritos-based corporation gives the charitable project an encore. Now in its second year, the Pinoy Singing Idol spotlights dozens of Filipino American vocalists who will be singing not just for a title but also to support the ABS CBN Foundation International and its flagship program, Bantay Bata (Child Watch). The 12 and over category proudly presents its finalists, Shay Louise of Los Angeles, Michelle delos Reyes of Pasa-
dena, Christine Panlasigui of Buena Park, Jessica Bautista of Buena Park, Sara Mislang of Downey, Lee-Anne Jae Aranda of
Carson, Kyra Decastro of Carson, Jenice Dumlao of Artesia, Carlo aka Accent Conde of Artesia, Erica Riray of Cypress, Celine
Concepcion of Ontraio and Samantha Murray of Cerritos. “The caliber of talent in Southern California is bar none but the amount of generosity that we are privileged to witness is incredibly humbling,” said J. Robbie Fabian, President of the ABS CBN Foundation International. “Our Southern California community always sets the tone for what charitable giving should be like in
The Death by China Swing State Tour Begins Provocative New Documentary Exposing Destructive US-China Trade Relations Travels to States Ravaged by China’s Weapons of Job Destruction
OS ANGELES, CA - If you want to understand why America has shut down over 50,000 factories in the last decade, lost almost 10 million manufacturing jobs, and now has more than 25 million Americans who can’t find a decent job, look no further than China’s unfair trade practices - and at big multinational companies like Apple, Boeing and Caterpillar that continue to outsource Amercan jobs to make a fast buck. That’s the argument put forth by DEATH BY CHINA, a provocative new documentary feature film in the style of Charles Ferguson and Michael Moore directed by UC-Irvine business professor and best-selling author Peter Navarro. DEATH BY CHINA opens in August in Los Angeles and New York City during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Right after Labor Day, the Death By China Swing State Tour barnstorms into the most important swing state in the 2012 elections - Ohio. DEATH BY CHINA is being distributed by Area 23a, an event based theatrical distribution company. “The goal of the Death By China Swing State Tour is to make trade reform with China
THE most important issue of the 2012 elections,” commented director Peter Navarro. “We hope to give the highest possible visibility to an issue that is all too often ignored by politicians, journalists and consumers alike - the incredibly corrosive loss of America’s once formidable manufacturing base to a cheating China.” The Death By China Swing State Tour will combine conventional theatrical releases in major cities like Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown with special showings
in smaller cities such as Chillicothe, Lima, and Marietta and special events in factories, on university campuses, and in union halls throughout the state. These fiercely non-partisan town hall events will feature everyone from key political leaders and factory managers to workers and families hit hardest by the loss of manufacturing jobs. From the beachhead and battleground state of Ohio, the tour will then move to other swing states hit hardest by China’s “weapons of job destruction” like Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. The tour will culminate with a full national release of the film before the November election. Through compelling interviews with voices across the political and economic
spectrum, DEATH BY CHINA exposes just how badly the U.S.-China relationship is broken -and why it must be fixed if the world is going to be a place of peace and prosperity. To Navarro, the success of the tour will be measured by the ability of our political candidates, our voters, and our journalists to finally recognize that “the best jobs program for America is trade reform with China - not more empty fiscal and monetary stimulus.” DEATH BY CHINA is narrated by Martin Sheen and features impassioned appearances by prominent politicians like Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), labor leaders like AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka and Thea Lee, corporate leaders like Leo Hindery and Revere Copper’s Brian O’Shaunessy, astute China watcherslike Forbes’s Gordon Chang and Canada’s Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Kilgour, and victims of Chinese oppression like Harry Wu, who spent 19 years of torture and isolation in China’s forced labor camps. For more information on DEATH BY CHINA, please visit http://www. deathbychina.com/. DEATH BY CHINA is distributed by Area23a.
our community.” The finals for the 12 and over category is scheduled on August 12th at Jeepney Asian Grill in Cerritos, California. The 10 and under category begins the following week,
on August 19th. For more information, call (562) 207 0070 or email askrene@ cater2day.com. To read more about the programs of ABS CBN Foundation International, visit www. abscbnfoundation.org.
Robert Shroder is very appreciative of FilAm community’s support of FASO ► Words and photography by Rene Villaroman
Robert Shroder (rights) plays the flute while Jazz Singer Mon David does a rendition of ‘Color my World’ by Chicago.
paid Robert Shroder enough accolades when the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) made its debut concert at the Saban Theater in Beverly a few years ago. Back then I was a writer for its sponsor and founding entity, Asian Journal Publications. FASO had a number of other concerts in the intervening years, and I was fortunate enough to have written about FASO’s earlier concerts when it was still trying to coalesce into a full-pledged symphony orchestra, and have noted their evolution into what they are today, a much improved, cohesive ensemble that is almost at the top of its game. FASO’s ‘Bach to Rock’ concert at the Ford
Theater on Saturday, July 28 was a validation of this orchestra’s slow but steady metamorphosis into a remarkable music-making organization. I talked with Maestro Bob Shroder at the reception that FASO tendered at the Mayflower Restaurant in Chinatown an hour after the sold-out concert at the Ford Theater, and I could not hide my excitement over the raucously successful ‘Bach to Rock’ concert. “That was my concept,” Bob told me, recounting the genesis of FASO’s latest concert. He said the concept of that concert began even before the last big concert that they performed at the Cathedral of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, one of a couple that I failed Turn to Page 12
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Umayam supports PWD thefts...
COTIFA pioneers business...
From Page 11
Barretto, secretary, invited everyone to be advocates for business. In his presentation Mr. Pestano used a data of the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators to point out that while roughly three-quarters of the rural poor in the Philippines depend on agriculture for employment and income, there is falling productivity gains because of “inadequate infrastructures, lack of financing and government policies.” On the other hand the business process outsourcing sector has grown from an obscure industry into one of the country’s leading sources of employment and biggest dollar revenue earners in less than 10 years. The Philippines is poised to grab a big slice from practically all aspects of the rapidly grow-
From Page 3
Attendees of the forum avail of one-on-one discussions with COTIFA officers.
ing global health and wellness industry that hit a record US$2Trillion last year despite the recession. More and more of our countrymen are turning to entrepreneurship such as franchising to generate wealth. There were over a thousand franchises last year compared with 50 in the 1990s. The Philippines has good sources of renewable energy which would help
ease the lack of modern cooking fuels and facilities to some 1.9 billion people in Asia. Other COTIFA board members are Rodolfo ‘Jun’ Jao and Alma Sy. The founding members are Dr. Soledad Lee, Lucy Babaran, Ofelia Serevo, Greda Gregorio and Fely Cabrillos. New members: Pierre Nervades, Alfred Talahuron and Jules Barba.
‘Outstanding’ awards... From Page 7
“The Hurricane” Julaton is world female super bantamweight champ and there are other FilAm sports greats like Tim Tebow, Nonito Donaire, Brian Villoria, Benny Agbayani and Clay Rapada. Monique Lhuillier, Oliver Tolentino, David Tupaz and Lou Razon are among the best in haute couture; Papo de Asis, Nelson Castillo and Mat Relox excel in paint artistry; Rex Navarette and Jo Koy in comedy; Alfredfo Alcala and the late Corky Trinidad in comic book arts. We have superb authors like Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Paulino Lim, Jr. and Ruben Nepales. How about dance artists Cheryl Burke and choreographer Cris Judd, historians Fred and Dorothy Cordova and Eloisa Borah; the many city mayors and state senators/representatives, judges and other public and community leaders in our midst like Linda Nietes and Joel Jacinto? Unfortunately none of the above men and women achievers of Filipino ancestry are known to be in the so-called 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA where the main qualification is said to be the capability to raise at least $1100 each in order to obtain an award. A very few of them are said to have been included free to serve as crowd drawers, so to speak. As a matter of fact as of this writing, more than four months after the so-called ‘Distinguised Honorees’ of OFAUSA were initially presented in a hotel
event, organizers still have not bared the names of awardees despite requests. Are they wary that the said awardees would be scrutinized and may be found wanting? As earlier mentioned in the online edition of PinoyWatchdog the OFAUSA project director, Darna Umayam, claimed that the sponsoring organizations -- the Philippine Press Photographers-USA (PPP-USA) and Philippine Children’s Charities, Inc. (PCCI) -- had zero funds from the start thus raising eyebrows of how she managed to personally interview, as she insisted she did in amazingly short time, the nominees considering that they are supposed to be from different parts of the USA. She and her organization would have needed immense resources doing so in accordance with the nature of the undertaking. She had not answered categorically questions of whether or not there was a committee of jurors and this writer is not aware of any public announcement or press releases about the supposed national search for nominees. According to senior columnist Joel Bander PPPUSA has no legal status to raise funds while PCCI, the other half of the organizing team, is not even owned by any of the organizers but its non-profit status is being used in the project without the authority of its owner. Such are among the infirmities of this undertaking that ABS-CBN Foundation International’s Bantay Bata, the original beneficiary, was prompted not to accept the offered
donation. Top Foundation officials Robbie Fabian, Tina Palma and Gina Lopez also aborted an earlier decision to grace the event. Of course it would not be difficult to find other organizations hungry for funds. Money speaks. Old wisdom teaches that would-be achievers need to have strong hearts in order to contain the courage and perseverance needed to achieve preeminence in chosen fields. Apparently in the case of the OFAUSA, money is the overriding factor. Call it chutzpah, Yiddish for unbelievable gall, sticking it in the eyes of those who will come after us. Our young will be inheriting rotten examples from our generation. Very depressing indeed considering that many of us thought we’ve rid ourselves of these corrupting influences when we left the Philippines. OFAUSA organizers had brazenly conducted this search for an unwholesome motive and in the process corrupted the concept of awards giving. They could have called it Distinguished Philanthropists or any other title more apt to their fundraising scheme but no, they have to name it the 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans of USA to entice more of the award-obsessed. Unless the community would react with collective indignation against this practice, any granting of symbols of excellence -- at least as far as the LA area is concerned -- is henceforth tarnished and the plaques best serve to cover holes in the wall.
that the questions be provided in advance, and that there were no questions about the ‘100 Outstanding Fil Ams.’ “Unbelievable,” PWD’s Al Aquino stated, “first she takes $1000 per awardee and does not even announce them, and then announces a 1 million peso donation without any proof the donation has been made.” Aquino then paused and reflected “well, with Darna, maybe not unbelievable.” On Facebook, Arnel Dino of Fullerton said “But isn’t that the whole point. As a “outstanding”member of the Filipino Community, why
would any honoree not want their participation known to the public? Having observed this event and knowing many of the principals involved from the very beginning (and I fully support Bantay Bata’s decision to turndown the donation), it seems that organizers and participants are willing to pat themselves on the back for weathering the storm of the issues that PinoyWatchDog has raised, but are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions in creating this storm. Money does not equal success in this case, in fact its being used as a justification to not deal with the event management issues or transparency or her overall conduct.”
Another report reaching P i n o y Wa t c h D o g . c o m ’s investigative teams was Darna’s son, daughter and her granddaughter were awardees. It was also learned that the 3 hostesses for the evening , the persons in charge of dance entertainment, the video outfit and the choreographer were also awardees as well. The Missing Money PinoyWatchDog.com will continue to follow the story of the missing 1 million pesos. If any member of the community has information regarding these missing funds, please contact us at tellus@pinoywatchdog. com.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
COTIFA pioneers business advocacy for homeland
hey described themselves as a group of wellmeaning and business oriented Filipino-Americans intent on being a business advocate to create wealth that will benefit both the US and their homeland the Philippines. COTIFA (Council on Trade and Investment for Filipino Americans) has been registered as a nonprofit organization with a mission to “identify, invite and facilitate the investment of US$1 million each from 1,000 Filipino-Americans in the area of agribusiness, renewable energy, health and wellness, business process outsourcing and franchising.” Also part of their mandate: To identify and disseminate business information and opportunities available both in the US and the Philippines that will encourage Filipino-Americans to en-
gage in business and navigate the business environment successfully. During a PowerPoint presentation held at its Mission Hills office recently Mike Pestano, treasurer, indicated that COTIFA’s fo-
cus for the Philippine economy are on agri-business, business process outsourcing, health and wellness, franchising and renewable
energy. The event was in line with the organization’s program to educate, encourage, advocate and facilitate active participation of Filipino-Americans in COTIFA undertakings. Paraluman Anderson, chairwoman-president, described the role of COTIFA as stepping up to the plate to help fill in the vacuum in the area of trade and investment which, perhaps, may be attributed to a lack of funds and volunteers on the part of government agencies concerned. Maria Amor said that COTIFA welcomes everyone desiring to help the Philippine economy even if he/she is not in business. She indicated that they are glad in the organization’s supposed tie-up with the Los Angeles end of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) headed by Trade Representative Ar-
Para Anderson, COTIFA chairwoman-president, explains the role of the organization in promoting business to the Philippines while Maria Amor, a board member, waits for her turn in the program.
chimedes C. Gomez. It may enable them access to the PTIC database. She also announced that the organization hosted President Aquino and party during the president’s stopover in June. Their organization has lined up more activities in the future, she added. Emily Salinas Roberts, vice president, provided the inspiration remarks. Joel N. Turn to Page 9
Mike Pestano presents a Bloomberg graphic showing why investors choose to do business in the Philippines.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
with the band Rivermaya, with the rocks overlooking the stage, and the extremely nimble guitarist playing Baroque and Classical style arpeggios in a full on electric guitar style. Talk about Rock to Bach! The ‘rock’ started with Led Zeppelins ‘Stairway to Heaven’, even► By Joel Bander Senior Columnist tually with full orchestra he last time I saw the Filipino American Symphony Orches- after the show and he con- and dueling guitars, includtra (FASO) was in 2009 in Pasadena. I was impressed by the firmed my impressions of ing Vince Reyes, a regular that epiphany-like moment. member of FASO, doing an breadth of the endeavor and the sense of a shared commuThis was just one of the engaging recreation of a few nity spirit, but the quality of the musicianship could only be many moments of Shroder Elvis Presley songs, right termed ‘adequate.’ Indeed, back then Asian Journal Publisher Roger as a man enjoying himself down to the hip gyrations Oriel asked me at the conclusion of the performance my thoughts, and immensely throughout the and flailing hands. evening Another adventurous I told him the same as stated here. I felt he was in agreement, but he The second portion of piece was Freddie Mercury did not state any response. the program opened with a of Queen’s kinetic ‘BohemiSo I went to FASO up the full sound to the usher, could all of this energy and dramatic performance by the an Rhapsody,’ which I have ‘Bach to Rock’ on Saturday, and was told the symphony talent be coming from a sev- Immaculate Heart of Mary never really appreciated as a Children’s Choir without rock and roll song. However, July 29, 2012, at the Ford was so large that every avail- en-year-old girl.. Saturday, every- May this 26, was 2012 a bold, complicated Theater with limited expec- able microphone of the Ford During her song I saw the orchestra, with tations. I was expecting the Theater was in use. Maestro Shroder just turn thing from choral chants to performance in challenging territory that was played same average performance I was seated and the well and was certainly enteras in 2009. However, in my orchestra turned to Bach, taining, along with the dozen own personal three year at- as advertised, followed by member Bach to Rock Choir. tendance hiatus I can report children of the FASO Youth I felt a weakness of the a grand improvement in Ensemble, described by show was that there were too FASO. It is more than a fine Maestro Robert Shroder as many acts. Joey Albert was community event, but a fine building blocks of the future appreciated by the crowd, entertainment experience. FASO. This was undoubtand I feel that the traditional The Ford Theater across edly a great experience for Tagalog songs (Manila, Pers from the Hollywood Bowl the kids to participate, and Lab, O lumapit Ka, Mahirap is an amazing venue, with dream, about playing in a Talaga Magmahal ng Syota just 1245 seats nestled in the larger orchestra. The mix ng Iba, Tag-araw, Tag-ulan) Hollywood Hills and almost was just right to have their worked better with the large appearing as a fantasy land. violins heard. It was a parorchestra than jazz pop Last I got there early but was not ticularly warm moment in Dance (Donna Summer). in the auditorium at time of the show. This was also true with Mon the opening, (ok, I decided The highlight of the show David singing Glenn Millat the last minute to get a came next, with seven-yearer’s Moonlight Serenade or beer) so the ushers denied old Mirielle Enriquez daz- The little diva sings her heart out. Find the YouTube video! Color My World (Chicago entry during the national zling the crowd with ‘Tatak anthems. But this booming ng Pilipino,’ a song of pride back to look at her with an wild animal sounds. Then, cover). David, certainly a masterful sound was com- and nationhood, as if she had expression of ‘boy, this is re- to accent contrast at its full- skilled singer, did not seem ing through the large wood- been singing it for 20 years. ally something’ along with est Maestro Shroder boldly fully comfortable with the en doors. I thought, is this What eyes, what a face, what a big grin on his face. I was placed electric guitarist Per- FASO orchestra, and it the same FASO? I brought a voice, what presence. How able to talk to him briefly fecto de Castro, formerly seemed too large for his style
Entertainment & Arts
Bach to Rock Concert at Ford FASO was really good
Robert Shroder... From Page 8
to watch. “I put in a couple of different concepts, and came up with ‘Bach to Rock’ concert, which highlighted the orchestra’s diverse repertoire. “That is why when we had the opportunity to be able to do our next concert, that is the one I put next in line,” Shroder explained. “It was a good thing because in ‘Bach to Rock’ we were able to showcase the orchestra’s versatility. FASO is not only playing classical music, but also pop, rock and many other music genres. This is really a versatile orchestra now.” FASO had about six to eight rehearsals before curtain time on Saturday, says Bob. “Some members have day jobs, and some also play in other orchestras. We don’t get 100 per cent attendance,”
says Bob. “It’s quite challenging. We only got 100 per cent attendance during the last three, four rehearsals.” I asked about FASO’s upcoming projects and Bob told me that they are supporting the FilamArts Festival of the Arts in September in San Pedro. “But we are starting to think about our Christmas Concert because we would like to do an annual Christmas concert for our community,” he revealed to PWD. Bob is bullish on the future of FASO because he feels that at this juncture that FASO will begin to get more support from the community. “We really need some funding because it costs a lot of money to be able to produce a 60-piece concert, so we need support from the community. We are going to work hard in order to do a Christmas concert this year.
Once we are able to do it, and if we are positive that the community will support it, we will do the concert in an annual basis. “FASO is now looking at a couple of venues other than the Cathedral of the Angels where they could hold the Christmas concert. It will also do a repeat fundraising concert in San Diego in June 2013. The director said that FASO always tries to be positive, but laments that some members of the FilAm community do not buy their tickets until the last minute. “We don’t have a lot of seed money. It’s quite rattling if we are unsure if people are going to support our concert. There is quite a stress level if people begin getting their tickets a three to four days before the concert,” Bob lamented. “If our kababayans would buy their tickets early, it could alleviate a lot of pressure for production people putting together this concert,” Bob added. He said that their
productions, unlike others that are well-funded, are not put up to make money. “We would like to make money to be able to help younger kids to learn music,” Bob revealed. “They (concerts) are not really for profit.” One of the most applauded segments of the ‘Bach to Rock’ concert was diminutive Merielle Enriquez’s solo performance of the Filipino hymn “Tatak Pilipino.” Bob discovered Merielle during a fundraising concert for the victims of Typhoon “Sendong.” “She plays the violin,” he said. “I thought she was just a trainee of one of FASO’s violinists. Then next thing I know she has a solo number. I heard her sing “Tatak Pilipino” that was awesome, so I told her ‘you are going to be one of the soloists in our next concert.’ Once we have finalized this concert, I told her, ‘you will sing that song’.” Bob momentarily s t e p p e d off the director’s
of singing. His songs seemed over-arranged to me and not in full sync. John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ which was sung as a lounge act ballad by Joan Cano; frankly there were too many instruments for such an inherently earthy song. But maybe I am just a Lennon purist. And sorry, Elvis Presley songs with a full orchestra just do not work for me at all. The finale of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony mixed with Perez Prado’s Mambo No. 5 was bold and fun indeed, as I was actually hoping for more classical music. FASO provided an encore of the Mission Impossible theme, a throwback to an earlier performance of ‘FASO Goes to the Movies.’ In the end the crowd was cheering with about one third standing, and was a most pleasant experience. One FASO member told me that the ‘F’ in FASO should really stand for family, as she thinks of it as her extended family. It certainly provided those in attendance a sense of community. Roger or Cora Oriel, the Asian Journal publishers and creators of FASO, were absent. I was advised by Asian Journal staff both were out of town, which seemed a bit empty that the culmination of such a fine event was not attended by the primary movers and sponsors. If they were there I would have told them this time I want to go again next year, particularly as it is quite clear FASO is getting better and better, and that will be pretty darn good.
Robert Shroder (in white jacket) conducting the FASO ‘Bach to Rock’ Concert at the Ford Theater.
podium to play his flute and accompanied jazz singer Mon David’s rendition of a Chicago classic song ‘Color my World.’ “That was an alltime favorite; that’s our own time, yeah! That’s the reason that inspired me to pick up the flute. I was a teenager when I first heard that song. I fell in love with it,” he this giddy fan. In closing, he told PWD that FASO is very happy that ‘Bach to Rock’ concert is able to bring quality music in the right genre to the FilAm community and that the concept worked. “We can be di-
verse, from classical to pop to rock. because we want all generations, especially those from our community, to be our followers, not only an orchestra playing classical music; we would like a diverse repertoire, like what we did tonight,” he said, elated. “We truly appreciate everyone’s support; we don’t have enough assets so we depend on the support of media, social networking sites and some organizations; please tell Joel (Bander) we appreciate PinoyWatchDog. com’s posting on your web site.”
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Bicolandia beckons as new tourist magnet ► By David
Casuco, Contributing Writer
OS ANGELES – Time was when the pictureperfect Mount Mayon in Daraga, Albay is everything there is to Bicol tourism. Today, there are a great number of destinations that had been developed as global tourist magnets like the Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex, the thrilling whale-shark experience in Donsol, Sorsogon, and the majestic waves in Catanduanes that are ultimate jewels to every surfer’s dream.
And as the visitors keep coming, DoT-5 Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla and her team are going places to do road show events that seek to drum up more interest and to lure visitors and investors to Bicolandia. Since 2006 Ravanilla and her group annually travel to North America to update the FilAm expats on Bicol’s fun-filled travel experience. The Bicolandia or Region-5 sits at the southeastern peninsula of Luzon island. Daet, the northernmost and first important city of the region, is 342 kilometers southeast of Metro Manila, a 10- hour drive by bus or a 45-minute trip by plane. Bicol Region is composed of six prov-
inces, namely: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and the island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate. At a community presentation last week held at the Rizal Hall of the Philippine Consulate General in this city, Ravanilla told a highly-engaged crowd that Bicol tourism is looking up once more and she expects more good things to happen in the near future. Ravanilla said the tourism industry in Region-5 is definitely on the upswing. She asks the FilAm expats to help promote Bicol as an important tourism destination. “We need you to achieve our goal for 2016… we ask you to be our partners in promoting the Bicol region,” she said.
Ravanilla’s group included Legazpi City (Albay) Vice Mayor Vittorio Roces, Victor Zepeda, Vice Chairman, St. Expeditius Golf & Residential Estates, and a representative from the Oriental Hotel in Legazpi City. Ravanilla said that DoT’s goal for Bicol is to receive 1.5 million foreign tourists in 2016. The projection was based on the Region’s performance in the last five years that saw tourist arrival figures register dramatic upturns of up to 30 percent from 2009 to 2010. That year, Bicol ranked number two among the 15 regions in tourist arrivals. Also, in 2010 Camarines Sur overtook Metro Manila and Cebu as top tourist destinations in the country. Last year, though, the 9.3 percent gain was far less impressive compared to the past five years. Asked by PinoyWatchdog about security issues, Roces said that there are no threats whatsoever to foreign tourists visiting Bicol. “The growing tourism industry in the region
gave the locals more jobs, including the rebels, a lot of them have returned to the fold of the law,” said Roces. “It is so inspiring that this positive thing is happening.” Bicol, no doubt, is not wanting in tourist attractions. Aside from the natural wonders and man-made landmarks, the Bicolanos hold festivals the whole year round, the most famous of those is the Magayon Festival. Other big festivals include Bantayog Festival (April 15, Camarines Norte), Kaogma Festival (Maytime, Camarines Sur), Kasaggayahan Festival (October, Sorsogon), Catandungan Festival (Catanduanes), the Rodeo Masbateno Festival (Masbate), and the Penafrancia Festival in Naga. Camarines Norte. Magayon (beautiful) Festival is a month-long summer festival that celebrates the legendary “Daragang Magayon,” from which Mayon Volcano got its name. Legend had it that a beautiful maiden
Mayon Volcano in Albay
“Daragang Magayon” and her lover were killed by another scheming and jealous man, who is also one of Magayon’s zealous admirers. The lovers were buried side by side and from that grave rose a majestic mountain that is now the Mayon Volcano. The Bantayog Festival (April 15) is held annually to commemorate the first monument built in honor of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. The monument was erected on December 30, 1898 by the Filipino revolutionaries. The Bantayog Festival features civic and military parade, agro-industrial trade fair, exhibits,
and sporting activities. Last year, Bicol had a total of 742,038 foreign tourist arrivals out of the total 3,917,454 million that visited the Philippines. During the first quarter this year, Bicol Region ranks fourth in the foreign tourist arrivals among 15 regions in the country. The national target this year for foreign tourist arrivals is pegged at 4.2 million. Compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, the Philippines remains a lightweight in the tourism market. Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia posted 24, 19, and 8 million tourist arrivals respectively last year.
Pistahan sa CBS Studios Promises to be fun for all ► By Joel
Bander Senior Columnist
ista h an sa CBS Studios has announced that sexy film and singing star Patricia Javier, and Christine Love, the 2009 Aliw Awards New Female Artist winner, along with 50 other acts and bands, will perform at the all weekend summer outdoor party on August 25 and 26, 2012 at CBS Studios Soundstage Backlot in Studio City. The two day event will be hosted by famed stand-up comedian and stage actor/director Bernardo Barnardo, with Liza Dino, who recently won a Best Actress award from
the Manhattan International Film Festival. All genres of musicians will be ready to entertain the community, along with Filipino arts and crafts and food. Once your family and friends are there you just do not know which old long lost friend you will run into. The bands will be playing for eight hours each day. On Saturday night, August 25, event organizer Mutch Carino has lined up beautiful models for a special Yellow Bikini Party right on the open-air residential streets where television classics like Gunsmoke, Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart, My Three Sons,
Mary Tyler Moore, as well as Roseanne, Thirtysomething, Hill Street Blues, and Seinfeld, were produced. Before reading on mark your calendar --- August 25 and 26, 2012. Where? In Studio City, CA. The other over fifty (50) Acts include, Miguel Vera, Djhoanna Garcia, Ed Nepomuceno, Anna Nepomuceno, Jo Awayan & Angel, Malou Toler, and Christine Love joined by Joseph Gelito, Bo Carnation, Ciamara Morales, Leo Mercedes, April Velasco, Val Villar, Joni Villamil, Arnel Saison, Lorie & Tony, Bowie Mariano, Mon Concepcion, Ram Lopez, Chenza Puno, Michael Walker, Jaime Bacani, Classic Harmony, Michelle De Los
Reyes and Matthew Perry. There will also be a number of Pinoy bands that will play rock and R&B music. And I am also informed that Attorney Roman Mosqueda, a PinoyWatchDog.com advertiser, will also be performing. The Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts is sending a group which will be led and directed by Boy Lizaso. He will also be presenting a Fashion Show of Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana dresses. Pistahan sa CBS Studio Center will also have a ‘tiange,’ which literally means a Pinoy flea market -- a shopping haven for the bargain hunters. The vendors know everyone is looking for deals on used and new goods, as well as on various products and services from vendors and sponsors. This is the grand Filipino tradition of haggling. Veteran producer Mutch Carino is teaming up with Gandi Villareal of Gandi Skin Care to bring this fun community event to everyone at the cheap price of $10 a person, and $ 0 more for the Saturday night Yellow Party. PinoyWatchDog. com is proud to be a major sponsor of the event along with Bantay Bata, where a portion of the funds raised will go to the ABS CBN charity. On Saturday night (August 25th) from 8:00pm to 1:00am, Yellow Party, a
summer outdoor party under the stars, will feature April Velasco together with DJ Erik, DJ Jun and DJ Charles will be providing the dance music. A bikini show featuring the aspiring calendar models for the 2013 Miss Hollywood Bikini Calendar will be onstage to show off the latest designs in bikinis. The promoters advise these models have fabulous body figures. You won’t know unless you go see. Additionally, you can obtain free tickets from me if you were a former client of Bander Law Firm, LLP.
Just go to www.banderlaw.com and enter your information in the box on the upper right. We will send you a confirming email that you can bring to the Will Call desk at the event to get your tickets. PinoyWatchDog.com will have a table there for anyone to applaud, comment or ridicule our writings, or just to say hello. Get good sleep the night before. Seems like you will need your strength to last through everything Mutch and Gandi have planned.
Saturday, August 4 ,2012
Why Filipino Olympians fall short
OT much is expected from the 11-man/woman Philippine contingent to the ongoing London Olympiad. To those ignorant bloggers in the Net who are talking about a golden medal finish by one of the Filipino athletes, please cut out that crap. There will be no golden finish; not yet. Although, boxing had, at one time or another, delivered five Olympic medals for the Philippines, that chance is not there in this Summer Games. The lone Filipino boxer, Mark Anthony Barriga, who is entered in the light flyweight division and is touted to have a shot at an Olympic medal, won his opening bout Tuesday, but he is not expected to get past the favored Cuban and Chinese sluggers in the latter rounds. Barriga, who answers the moniker “Little Pacquiao,” pummeled his Italian foe in the round of 32 with an impressive 17-7 score. However, the road to Olympic glory is still far off for Barriga. He needs all the luck to punch his way to the medal podium. The remaining athletes are just there (in London) for the experience, or probably establish a new Philippine or SEA Games record in their respective sports disciplines. But don’t ever, ever think that the Pinoy cannot compete against the best athletes in the world. There are a great number of naturally gifted Filipino world beaters that, given correct coaching and training, could harvest gold medals in
Olympic Games like the Koreans and the Japanese. So, what is the problem? Lack of training and lack of competent coaches; those are the problems that bedevil the Filipino Olympians. And while the Philippine government could only afford a shoestring budget for training national athletes, the utter indifference of the private sector that is supposed to back up the government sports program makes the athletes’ plight even more pathetic. I covered sports beat for some time in Manila, and few weeks before every international competition, my editor would ask me to check on how the national athletes prepare for the sporting event. The first time I encountered these athletes, I was surprised at the squalor of their living quarters inside the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Their rooms did not have air conditioning, and their daily food money was not exactly a budget for athletes who do daily energy-sapping
training. And the most disgusting part of it all is that the people holding top positions in Philippines sports organizations are –you are right – politicos; stupid, pot-bellied trapos masquerading as sportsmen. The storyline never changed the whole time I was doing the sports beat: Shoestring budget, not enough training, and no competent coaches. So, when the Filipino national athletes compete against their peers abroad in an arena where sports excellence is the norm, like the Olympics, they get beaten, routed, clobbered; the bearers of our tricolors bite the dust all the time. Ever wonder why Manny Pacquiao is a successful pro athlete? He has a Hall of Fame trainer. He has a very competent conditioning coach. He has an exceptional tal-
ent to complement the best training tools there are in boxing. Whenever he walks into the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, time stands still and people stand in awe. He is god inside the ring, revered and feared in equal measure. So, off the Pacman went: From a scrawny amateur pug to a most celebrated megabuck prizefighter. Did you see that? Did you see what correct training does to an athlete? Yes, he reaches his maximum potential; and when that happens, the athlete is on top of his game. Now back up to early 90s and imagine Pacquiao in the training pool for the Philippines national boxing team. Can you imagine what would have happened to him? You guess it right; he would have ended up like the other talented young athletes – back in Dadiangas freaking poor, wasted, and miserable. That is because talented young athletes in the Philippines, who go by way of the government program, never flourish. I bet my Pinoy ass they never do; I have seen it myself, firsthand. That dismal situation has not improved one bit until today. It is how it is in Philippine sports. Also, in January this year, there was an excellent chance for the Philippines to make history at the Winter Youth Olympics. Fifteenyear old Michael Christian Martinez could have been the first figure skater from a tropical country to win a figure staking medal. He came in a strong third in the short program, but he sputtered in the
long program and dropped to seventh overall. Did you know why young Michael failed in the long program? Not enough training, that is why. Ilia Kulic, the former Russian Olympian champ, started giving Michael lessons on jumps for the long program in California before the competition, but there was no money to sustain the training. Some generous Fil-Ams who read my story in the paper contributed or did fundraising for Michael, but they could only do so much. Figure skating entails sufficient logistics; Michael needed a corporate sponsor, no less. “He was a sensation after the short program. The cameras of the foreign press photographers were all on him,” said Michael’s mother Teresa, who acted as the coach of his son. “The media were really intrigued that the Philippines was up there with figure skating powerhouse China and Russia.” And so, M.C. Martinez, the phenomenal Filipino figure skater from Muntinlupa City, exceptionally gifted that he is, joins the ranks of wasted sports talents because, unlike other countries, the Philippines does not take pride in training talented Filipino athletes. (David Casuco was former assistant sports editor of the Journal Publications in Manila. He studied journalism at the University of Santo Tomas, and took expanded theological studies at the Angelus Bible Institute in Los Angeles)
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Saturday, August 4 ,2012
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