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VOL. XXX • NO. 292 • 4 SECTIONS 20 PAGES • P18 • THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2016 • •

FREE SPEECH. Flag-waving anti-Marcos protesters rally Wednesday at Mendiola Bridge protesting the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18 while (inset right) former Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon Ejercito (middle) and hundreds of supporters flock to Mendiola too to support the Duterte administration to push for federalism as a form of government—with anti-riot police monitoring the groups. Lino Santos/Norman Cruz

Let Marcos rest, Rody tells protesters, NDF By John Paolo Bencito PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte told thousands of anti-Marcos protesters who took the streets Wednesday to move on and let the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos get his final rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. “Let Marcos rest, he’s already dead,” Duterte said in Cagayan de Oro City after visiting soldiers who had been wounded in action. Protests against Duterte’s decision to allow Marcos to be buried in

the hero’s cemetery has been met by angry protests around the country. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines said it would raise the issue when they return for a third round of peace talks with the government next year. “We will definitely raise the issue in the third round of the talks because these are outright travesties of the memories of the true heroes during the Martial Law period,” former NDFP chairman Luis Jalandoni said in an interNext page view.

‘Marawi blast meant to destroy peace plan’ By Macon R. Araneta PRESIDENTIAL son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte said Wednesday that the attack on government forces in Marawi was a message to President Rodrigo Duterte, as part of efforts to destroy peace efforts in Mindanao. “The message of the attack was clear and it targeted my father and his administration. It was meant to terrorize the government and the Filipino people,” the vice mayor said in a statement. The younger Duterte said the

attack was “meant to undermine Duterte’s peace efforts and his development agenda in Mindanao and the entire country.” “The enemies of peace and meaningful change are out on a rampage now that the Duterte administration’s peace and development efforts are rapidly gaining momentum in Mindanao and many other parts of the country. There are groups who are not happy about what’s happening now,” the presidential son said. The vice mayor urged the public to help the government in its fight against terrorism. Next page

DND: All-out war vs Maute Defense chief prods Duterte to ‘finish’ them By John Paolo Bencito

EFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to wage an all-out offensive against the terrorist Maute group, after the Chief Executive hinted that he was open to talking peace with them.


He said if the international coalition made headway in its military offensive in Iraq, the Islamic State could transfer to the Philippines. Various militant groups in Mindanao, including the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf, were reportedly courting the jihadist group for recognition as a ‘wilayat’ (province) in Southeast Asia. Next page

US shifts aid focus from drug war to sea safety By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan THE United States on Wednesday decided to shift its police assistance program in the Philippines from anti-narcotics to maritime security, the US

State Department announced in Washington. State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted that the realigning of the assistance was made due to his governments deep concern over the increase of alleged extrajudicial killings “by

or at the behest” of the Philippine government. “Since the beginning of this counternarcotics campaign, we decided the prudent thing to do was to refocus the way that assistance was being spent,” Kirby told the reporters during a daily press

briefing. Kirby said the US will give the Philippines some $180 million to security forces from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017 while $5 million of that amount had been intended for Philippine law enNext page forcement efforts.

Leila’s worst scenario: Go to jail or get killed

State funeral for Bonifacio —kinsmen

By Macon R. Araneta and Rey E. Requejo

By Jun David and Rio N. Araja A RELATIVE of the late hero Andres Bonifacio on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to give the founder of the Katipunan a state funeral and recognize him as the first president of the “Tagalog Republic.” Susan Distrito, the grandniece of Espiridiona Bonifacio Distrito, better known as “Lola Nonay,” the younger sister of the father of the Philippine Revolution, said her great-granduncle should be accorded a state funeral. She made her statement to reporters during the 153rd birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio at the Bonifacio Monument Circle in Caloocan City. Also on Wednesday, the youth group Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan slammed Rodrigo Duterte for his alleged failure to deliver real change. Next page

“I will push for sustained and all-out operations against the Maute. They have been committing crimes with impunity,” Lorenzana told Manila Standard. “We need to finish them.” Lorenzana warned that the Maute group’s connection to the Islamic State was an imminent threat to the already fragile security situation in the country.

EMBATTLED Senator Leila de Lima, who is facing at least nine drug-related cases before the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman, said Wednesday she was ready for the two “worst- case scenarios”―that she might go to jail or be killed. “ I just hope they won’t kill me so that I can put up even a small fight,” De Lima said.

She made her statement even as the Justice department defended the move of the House of Representatives to issue a show-cause order requiring her to explain why she should not be cited in contempt for telling her former driver and lover not to appear before its inquiry into the illegal drug trade inside New Bilibid Prison. De Lima said it was important for her to prove that she was never involved in the illegal drug trade Next page as Justice secretary.

Two suspects nabbed in embassy bomb plot By Francisco Tuyay

IN HIS HONOR. Philippine Marines carry the tricolors during the 153rd birth anniversary of Andres

Bonifacio, considered the ‘Father of the Philippine Revolution’ and known as the founder and leader of the independence movement against Spain, the Katipunan, in solemn rites Wednesday at his monument near the Manila City Hall. Lino Santos MlaStandard ManilaStandardPH


POLICE on Wednesday arrested two suspects believed responsible for the failed bomb attack on the US Embassy in Manila on Monday. Police said one of the suspects resembled the facial composite provided by an informant.

The improvised bomb made of an 80mm mortar shell, a blasting cap and a cell phone, was found by a barangay official from Bagumbayan, Bulacan. Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino said the suspects were transported to the Manila Police Department Headquarters for questioning. Next page

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Bangladesh nags RCBC to account for cyberloot


BANGLADESHI official on Wednesday insisted that Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. must shoulder the missing chunk of the $81 million or around P4 billion stolen from its central bank in New York.

Law Minister Anisul Huq also dismissed RCBC’c claim that it had no reason to compensate Bangladesh’s central bank because it had admitted its fault and liability on the alleged cyber robbery. “Whether Bangladesh is negligent or not, it is not relevant here,” Huq told reporters when asked to react on RCBC’s recent position on the issue. He said it was not for RCBC to

point its fingers on who should be blamed because the money from the central bank was stolen from the account of RCBC “They should explain their conduct and the conduct has been very much culpable,” said Huq who went to the Philippines with Bangladeshi delegates to meet with government officials to speed up the return of their supposedly stolen money. Huq said he and his delegation

were flown here to recover the remaining $66 million of their allegedly stolen money. The $81 million from the New York Federal Reserve was transferred to four accounts with fake names at one RCBC branch in Manila until the money was stolen by an unidentified thief. The money was converted into pesos through the remittance firm PhilRem Service Corp. and then gambled away at several casinos. On Tuesday, RCBC’s lawyer said in a statement that RCBC had no reason to compensate Bangladesh’s Bank as the lender had been “negligent.” “RCBC is not the proximate cause of the theft. They have no case against us,” RCBC external

counsel Thea Daep said. Huq said the Philippine government would be the one to file legal actions against RCBC. “Both civil and criminal proceedings are being initiated... Government officials assured us due process would be followed,” Huq said. He said the Senate and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas had found that RCBC committed serious lapses, allowing the cyber thieves to hide their loot in fake bank accounts in the bank’s Jupiter branch in Makati City. “It is clearly established that RCBC was very much involved in the scam, and they have admitted their liability,” Huq said. “RCBC is to be blame.” Sara Susanne D. Fabunan

DND... From A1

Lorenzana said that their recent acts suggests that they have already established connections with the global terrorist organization, contrary to their earlier position last August that they weren’t much of a threat. “They’ve always said they support IS, and they fly their flag. With those indications, you can come to the conclusion that maybe that connection is already there,” Lorenzana said in Filipino. On Wednesday, Duterte warned the Maute group, saying that they should not force him to declare war against them. “Do not force me because I might be provoked to do something drastic,” Duterte said in his speech before troops at the Tactical Command Post in Lumbayanague, Lanao del Sur, some five kilometers away from the war zone in Butig town. “When the time comes that it’s going to be a war against terrorism and drugs, I will tell you now that I can be harsh... as harsh I can ever be,” he added. In an interview with reporters at Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City, Duterte said the Maute group should stop waging war on the government. “For the Maute, I said I do not want to declare war against Filipinos, but I told them that they have to stop. I hope we will not reach that point that we have to go to war. So I am doing everything to prevent war,” Duterte said. “I don’t want to go to war, but do not force my hand into it,” he added. Duterte said that he hoped to have a “middle ground” with the Maute group, whom he cited

Two... From A1

SIGNATURE GESTURE. President Rodrigo Duterte and military men do his signature clenched fist during his visit to Lumbayanague town, Lanao del Sur on Nov. 30, 2016. Toto Lozano

Let... From A1

Jalandoni also said Duterte’s actions were in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. On Wednesday, a second commissioner of the National Historical Commission resigned in protest over the Marcos burial. Francis Gealogo, an associate professor of History at the University of the Philippines, said Wednesday he resigned a day after the dictator was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

State... From A1

SPARK Spokeswoman Joanne Lim cited the depreciation of the peso against the US dollar, the continuing practice of contractualization and the enduring joint military exercises with the United States. She also slammed the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs. “No one wants to know, but the war on drugs is a war on the very people that the state has failed to protect,” Lim said. Distrito said Lola Nonay should also be buried at the Heroes’ Cemetery beside her brother Andres saying she too contributed to the revolution. She said Lola Nonay was tasked to secretly bring bullets to the revolutionaries during the

Leila’s... From A1

“They buried me, they buried the truth,” she said. She said she just needed to weather the storm and wait for the time when the atmosphere was right for telling the truth, and that she face all the charges against him. When told that the House leaders were ready to file a disbarment case against her, De

In a letter dated Nov. 19, Gealogo reiterated that the commission’s stance that Marcos faked his war records and committed various abuses in his 20-year rule as President, hence disqualifying him from getting a burial at the LNMB. He said this was “based on solid historical research” and that it was part of the mandate of the commission to clarify issues pertinent to historical questions that affect society. “I stand by the historical truth of the fact that the martyrs and victims of Martial Law should be the ones that we ought to recognize as the true heroes of our nation, and not the dictator who

revolution, which she hid in a cooking pot filled with rice. She also hid guns under her skirt and cooked food for the wounded Katipuneros. She said Espiridiona died at the age 76 and was buried at the Manila South Cemetery. Distrito said Duterte had the prerogative to grant a state funeral to those considered worthy of it--like Andres Bonifacio. She said during President Benigno Aquino’s administration, they also asked for a state funeral for their great-grandfather, but their request fell on deaf ears. “I cannot blame them because they are close to the relatives of Emilio Aguinaldo,” Distrito said. Bonifacio was ordered killed by Emilio Aguinaldo along with his brother Ciriaco in the mountains of Maragondon, Cavite, on May 10, 1897. Lima said that would just add to her existing cases. “This is just an addition. I will face them all,” De Lima said. She assured her former lover Ronnie Dayan that she will not do what he did to her. She said she will not destroy the man who once became part her life. “I don’t want to destroy him. That’s not my attitude,” De Lima said. “I know there’s a reason why he was forced to tell lies about Kerwin Espinosa. That’s a total

caused untold miseries and sufferings to our people,” he said. NHCP Chairwoman Maria Serena Diokno on Tuesday submitted her resignation to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and said it was a move toward the “right side of history.” In a television interview, Diokno expressed disappointment that Duterte isn’t open to hearing a different point of view other than his own. “You can’t blame us for trying—we did and we went through a study, well-documented, but it appears his mind had been made up early on,” Diokno said. Diokno had earlier submitted


appeal letters to Duterte informing him about the “historical lies” committed by Marcos, particularly on his war records, which Duterte used to justify his decision to allow the burial. “We went through the works and we sent him the study on July 12. No reply, no response,” she told ANC. After the Supreme Court came out with its decision in support of Duterte’s position, she said, she again wrote to Duterte but still received no reply. “Nonetheless, I wrote the President an appeal, which I also made public, and I also received no reply,” she added.

But in early September, the US transferred $4 million into maritime law enforcement, particularly to the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries, while half a million dollars will go to human rights and internal reform efforts. Kirby said State Departmentfunded training aims to transform the Philippine National Police into a modern, sustainable, democratic police force capable of effectively providing internal security in difficult conditions while demonstrating respect for democratic principles and human rights. “We remain deeply concerned by reports of extrajudicial killings by or at the behest of government authorities in the Philippines,” he reiterated. Since the start of the drug cam-

paign, he said, Philippine law enforcement assistance has been refocused away from narcotics control to supporting maritime security efforts and to providing human rights training to the PNP. “Our assistance programs expand Philippine capacity to conduct effective, lawful investigations and professionalizes the criminal justice system so that it is more accountable, transparent, effective, and just” Kirby said. He also note that the US vigorously vets all units and individuals before providing assistance to the security forces of the Philippines “as we do elsewhere around the world.” In August, the US announced that the $32-million assistance to promote human rights and security is now subject to “rigorous vetting,” calling the Philippines to observe the rule of law and due process on its campaign against drugs.

lie.” Dayan, a married man, claimed that his relationship with De Lima lasted for seven years. He disclosed some details of their affair before the House committee. “We are the only ones who know what happened to our relationship. Only we know it,” De Lima said. “He knows who is at fault why the relationship ended.” After being arrested in La Union, Dayan was presented at the

congressional inquiry where he alleged that De Lima dissuaded him from showing up at the House. He said De Lima had told him the lawmakers would just “feast” on their relationship as part of the Duterte administration’s alleged bid to destroy her reputation. De Lima also confirmed that she gave Dayan money to build a house in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, but that amount was not P2 million.

From A1

The failed bomb attack was earlier attributed to the Maute group or the Dawlah Islamiya, which has links with the Islamic State terrorist group. National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde said that the two arrested suspects matched the description given by an eyewitness. “Investigations and police operations are still ongoing. Most probably the Chief PNP could give an official statement by tomorrow, depending on the outcome of the investigations and operations if indeed the two persons of interest are involved and if they had other companions,” Albayalde said. He added that neither of the suspects has yet admitted to being part of the Maute group. Shortly after the improvised bomb was found, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said the Maute group was apparently involved, and said the attack was an attempt to ease the pressure of the ongoing military offensive against them in Butig town.

‘Marawi... From A1

“We have to be at all times vigilant because there are still people and groups who are out to destabilize our government and terrorize the Filipino people,” he added. Nine soldiers were injured Tuesday with two in critical condition after an improvised explosive device exploded next to a presidential convoy in Marawi City. The convoy, composed of personnel from the Presidential Security Group, state television RTVM and local troop escorts, was supposed to do advance work ahead of President Duterte’s visit to Butig, Lanao del Sur. They were hit by unidentified gunmen in Barangay Emie Punod in Marawi City at 10:30 a.m. Despite threats to his security, the President pushed through with his visit Wednesday. Malacañang, meanwhile, slammed conspiracy rumors that attack against the PSG personnel was staged by the government. Posts on social media claimed that residents of Marawi saw the fleeing PSG convoy shooting at houses along the highway, add-

in previous speeches were provoked by “Moro nationalism.” “It’s very easy to start a war. But how to stop it and to heal the wounds, it would be hard. I wish we could have a middle ground,” Duterte said. The President said he tried sending feelers to the Maute group but to no avail. “I have long opened [communication lines with them]. This problem cannot be resolved through sheer courage alone. But there is always a time when I have to protect everybody,” Duterte said. Despite threats to his security, the President pushed through with his visit to Lanao del Sur Wednesday, when he landed at the Tactical Command Post in Lumbayanague, a mere five kilometers from the war zone in Butig. Nine soldiers, including members of his security group were injured Tuesday with two in critical condition on Tuesday after an improvised bomb exploded near a presidential convoy in Marawi City. On Tuesday, Duterte suggested he could “befriend” the Maute group to avoid conflict. He also urged them to abandon their “losing cause” and talk with the government. “How could you be a Maranao? You’re a Tausug… and you take orders form outside just to fight for what? Won’t this end?” he said. It has long been against official policy to negotiate with terrorist groups. The Maute group was behind the Davao City night market bomb attack that killed 15 people in September. On November 24, the group occupied the abandoned town hall of Butig in Lanao del Sur and reportedly raised the black flag of IS. The Army has sent elite troops to flush out the group. Some 100 Maute rebels had sought shelter at the old municipal building of Butig after a fierce firefight with Army troopers in Brgy. Bayabao. Also on Wednesday, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato condemned the bomb attack near a Catholic Church on Sunday in Sultan Kudarat and demanded justice for the survivors of the attack. Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat police director, said several witnesses positively identified one of two motorcycle-riding men who left the bomb, which exploded around 6:40 a.m. near the gate of the Our Lady of Hope Church in Barangay Saliao at the end of the first mass. Three churchgoers sustained slight injuries and are currently recuperating at a hospital in Koronadal City. “I appeal to our security police forces to ferret out those responsible and bring them to justice. Let us all be vigilant against acts of terrorism,” the Cotabato Cardinal said in a statement. “It is an attack on innocent human lives. It is also an attack on freedom of religion and freedom to worship,” he said. With Vito Barcelo

ing that only the military did the firing. “That remains to be a conspiracy theory. So we ask citizens to always verify the news that they receive in social media,” Communications Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said. “The government will not sacrifice the lives of our soldiers, for the conspiracy theory that some citizens have been thinking about,” he added. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Wednesday urged the military to bring justice to the perpetrators of the attack. Brig. Gen. Restituto Padillia, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, said seven personnel of the Presidential Security Group and two security escorts from the military were wounded in an ambush on Tuesday morning in Sitio Matalupay, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. “We cannot tolerate such brazen terrorist attacks against our uniformed personnel. It’s time for the AFP to show them the consequences of such brutality,” Pimentel said. Padilla said that the ambush was carried out with the use of an improvised explosive device against a convoy of PSG and military personnel.

News IN BRIEF Duterte: Emulate Bonifacio PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday urged Filipinos to live for others as the whole country commemorated the birth anniversary of revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio on November 30. “Every waking day is an invitation to dedicate our lives for a worthy cause; to uplift the quality of life of our countrymen; and to bring back the pride and honor in our identity as a people,” Duterte said in a statement Wednesday. “Our government calls on the public to get involved in community and national issues that affect our lives. May we all find strength to tap in our collective voice so that we can know ourselves better and understand our struggles in history,” he added. John Paolo Bencito



Senate Cha-Cha talks start By Macon Ramos-Araneta


HE Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes will start the ball rolling on Charter Change as the groundwork for proposals to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution begins next week, said Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon. Drilon confirmed the committee, which he chairs, has set its first hearing on the controversial measure on December 8, a week after the enactment of the 2017 national budget.

“Let the debates begin,” Drilon announced. “This committee understands the importance of this undertaking in the agenda of the current administration so we will ensure that it is given the ut-

most priority,” Drilon said. He said the initial hearing would focus on the following key issues: 1. Is there a need to amend or revise the Constitution? Why or why not? 2. If so, what parts of the Constitution should be amended or revised? Why? 3. Should the amendments or revision be proposed by a Constitutional Convention or by the Congress itself acting as a Constituent Assembly? Why? 4. If the Congress convenes as a Constituent Assembly for the purpose of amending or revising the Constitution, should the Senate and the House of Representatives vote jointly or separately?

“All these must be and will be thoroughly considered, guided by the principle that the vehicle we choose must be democratic, participatory, and inclusive,” Drilon said. He reiterated his commitment towards making the process of amending and revising the constitution “thorough, consultative and transparent.” “We will hear all views and opinions of the various sectors on these issues,” he added. Drilon said his panel had invited resource persons from various sectors including the business community, labor, academe, civil society, sectoral and religious groups, as well as

Constitutional and legal experts and former Supreme Court justices. Among them are former Chief Justices Hilario Davide Jr., Reynato Puno and Artemio Panganiban; former Supreme Court associate justices Adolfo Azcuna, Antonio Nachura, and Vicente Mendoza; Constitutional experts Fr. Joaquin Bernas and Atty. Christian Monsod; and former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. The panel will also invite some members of the cabinet including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Makati Business Club chairman Ramon Del Rosario Jr., among others.

Investigate NPO, group tells Andanar A TRANSPARENCY and accountability group asked Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to unmask personalities who allegedly act as middlemen and protectors of corruption at the National Printing Office. Filipino Alliance for Transparency and Empowerment said Andanar can simply talk with NPO employees to find out who are individuals allegedly designated or appointed “collectors” of the NPO. “The two-week investigation set by Secretary Andanar should cover all issues. The workers union in NPO are asking where are the printing jobs as promised to them?” the group said in a statement. The group stressed that the probe ordered by Andanar should not only focus on the printing orders given to three other printing companies but should also determine who are liable for the alleged anomalous transaction. There are also information that the collectors allegedly ask for at least P5 million in “goodwill money” from security printers to obtain the contract they want aside from the alleged 15-percent surcharge on the contract price. The group had earlier called on the Commission on Audit to look into the reported work orders entered into by NPO despite an existing contract with WVPC worth P74 million. It was learned that work orders was also awarded to three more printers namely: Best Forms Security Printer with envelope no. 08-20163877A worth P34 million; Tri-Print Work with work order 08-2016-3877B amounting to P17 million; and Metro Color with work order no. 08-2016-38777C for P15 million. Francisco Tuyay

PUSHING THE CAUSE. Members of the Kabataang Makabayan staged a lightning rally in Manila to press their call to end the government’s counter-insurgency operations. Lino Santos

Alvarez backs total firecracker ban By Maricel V. Cruz SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez is supporting proposals to impose a total ban on firecrackers nationwide in light of President Rodrigo Duterte’s desire to put an end to injuries, especially on children, during New Year’s Eve revelry. “It is high time we ban firecrackers [nationwide] to minimize injuries and loss of lives,” Alvarez told a news conference Wednesday. Alvarez said that Congress had been reviewing proposals to impose a ban on

firecrackers, saying a huge amount of government funds had been allotted for the medical management due to firecracker injuries. Alvarez said a nationwide ban on firecrackers would allow all Filipinos to celebrate safely Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Alvarez, representative of Davao del Norte, said the firecracker ban in Davao City—President Duterte’s hometown—had proven effective. In 2002, Duterte who served as mayor for more than 22 years, signed an ordinance prohibiting the production, possession, sale or

use of firecrackers or pyrotechnics. While he acknowledges the fact that the death of firecracker industry will mean loss of jobs to many firecracker workers, Alvarez said Congress was also concerned about the huge public funds earmarked for firecracker victims. He said the funding allotted for the purpose should be spent instead for other basic social services. “We also need to look at the aspect as to how much public funds are spent by the government to treat firecracker victims,” Alvarez said.

New BuCor chief vows to cleanse Bilibid prison NEWLY appointed Bureau of Corrections chief Benjamin De Los Santos will push through with the modernization of the New Bilibid Prison, as he pursues the purging of national penitentiary of illegal drug trade and corruption. After taking his oath of office before Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, De Los Santos, a retired police general who served

at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, vowed to stamp out corruption, illegal drugs and criminal activities inside the NBP. “I hope to clean it (NBP) up and, if necessary, exert drastic measures... Rest assured that we will not allow corruption among our ranks,” De los Santos told reporters. According to him, the NBP moderniza-

tion program, which has been pending since 2013, could be a major solution to the decades-long problems of corruption and illegal activities inside the penitentiary. By building a new facility in Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija, the BuCor director general said the NBP administration could better facilitate and monitor over 23,000 inmates currently serving sentences.

DoJ lambasts AMLC on 5 ‘narco-generals’ By Rey E. Requejo

DANGEROUS WORKPLACE. Workers repair the dome roof of a shopping mall in Quezon City. Manny Palmero

THE Anti-Money Laundering Council has not started any investigation into the bank accounts of five police generals implicated by President Rodrigo Duterte into illegal drug operations. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II lamented that the AMLC can seek the freezing of the bank accounts of the generals, while they are being probed but such action was not taken by the agency. “They [AMLC] can apply for a freeze order. I don’t know why they did not,” Aguirre told reporters. Under the Anti-Money Laundering Law, AMLC is

mandated to investigate on its own initiative suspicious transactions and covered transactions. It is also allowed by law to apply before the Court of Appeals an ex parte (an application of one party alone) petition for the freezing of any monetary instrument or property alleged laundered or proceeds from unlawful activities. The AMLC earlier forwarded to the National Bureau of Investigation bank documents related to the five police generals after Duterte gave them an ultimatum. Aguirre said the NBI made the request to the AMLC as early as September 19 but only gave the documents after Duterte’s warning two months after.

Death penalty debate on By Maricel V. Cruz AN OPPOSITION lawmaker on Wednesday called on Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and the leadership of the House supermajority to allow a conscience vote on the proposed reimposition of the death penalty. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said Alvarez must allow a thorough debate on death penalty bill and “liberate members of the majority coalition to advocate differing views and assure free debate on the revival of capital punishment.” Lagman made the call after the House sub-committee on judicial reforms of the Hosue committee on justice approved Tuesday a substitute bill adhering to the proposal of HB 1 imposing the death penalty on at least 21 crimes considered “heinous.” “The precipitate approval, which was assured by the preponderant presence of ex-officio members who outnumbered the regular members, was vitiated by non-compliance with the prior three-calendar day notice rule to the members informing them of the scheduled meeting, abrupt termination of the testimonies of resource persons and absence of a requisite committee report,” Lagman said. Lagman said the proponents of the consolidated substitute bill failed to comply with the constitutional requirement of showing compelling reasons for the reimposition of the death penalty. Alvarez earlier said the House leadership was eyeing the passage of the death penalty bill before Congress goes on Christmas break starting December 16.




Adelle Chua, Editor


Doing peace a disservice


ERHAPS one of the reasons President Rodrigo Duterte is so popular is that he hails from Mindanao, an island that has been war-torn and poverty-stricken for decades.

Under his leadership people hope that the Mindanao problem could, once and for all, be solved. Residents could start looking forward to a foreseeable future instead of just trying to survive from one day to the next. During his first months in office, Duterte showed his willingness to talk peace not only with the Moro Islamic Liberation front but also the Moro National Liberation front and other stakeholders in Mindanao. We took this as a good sign, especially since the previous administration of Benigno Aquino III only spoke with the MILF and nearly ignored all

the others who stood to gain—or lose—from the peace process in Mindanao. These days, the ugliness of conflict manifested itself all over again in the battle between the military and the Maute group which has occupied at least two villages in Butig town, Lanao del Sur. The organization is also responsible for the bombing in Davao City in September. Unfortunately, President Duterte was initially conciliatory to the Maute group, which he had earlier said was driven by “Moro nationalism.” On Tuesday he said he was open to “befriend” them to avoid conflict. One day later, Mr. Duterte, speaking just five kilometers from Butig, advised the group to abandon their cause and talk with the government. Despite telling the Maute group not to provoke him to go to war, he said he wishes he could find a middle ground with it. But what middle ground is there when this

organization has declared allegiance to international terror group ISIS and has reportedly flown the IS flag in the areas it has occupied? His own Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has advised him to wage an all-out war against the terror group which has been committing crimes with impunity. We understand the President wants inclusiveness in pursuing peace, perhaps realizing the cost of war. Perhaps he thinks he cannot wage two wars at the same time—the other on illegal drugs, which he and his men have been enforcing with zeal—too much zeal, others believe. Mr. Duterte, however, should be reminded that there is a line between genuine advocacy and the plain intent to sow terror. That he should engage unthinking terrorists—even plain bandits out to serve their own purposes—in conversation should not be an option. That would be doing peace a disservice. DUTY CALLS FLORENCIO FIANZA

Difficult to analyze

Drilon defends De Lima LOWDOWN

JOJO A. ROBLES IT’S not ever going to happen, I know. But if she knows what’s really good for her, I think Senator Leila de Lima should consult Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo about having Senator Franklin Drilon as her defender. Drilon, I think, is up to his old dirty tricks. The man primarily responsible for making the Senate a satellite office of Malacañan Palace during the Noynoy Aquino years is once again attempting to use the chamber as a weapon, this time against the House of Representatives, in his bid to defend fellow Yellowist Senator De Lima. Drilon is the foremost pro-

ponent of the argument that the House cannot force De Lima to comply with the “show cause” order issued by its committee on justice because doing so would damage the institution that is the Senate. Drilon wants to shield De Lima from charges of obstruction of justice arising from the revelation of her former driver-lover, Ronnie Dayan, that she advised him to go into hiding instead of appearing before the panel in connection with its investigation of the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison. That De Lima advised Dayan to go on the lam is no longer in question. De Lima herself admitted sending the text message to Dayan’s daughter, after the latter asked her what to do after the House issued a subpoena on the senator’s paramour. On the face of it, De Lima ap-

pears to have violated the laws on complying with valid summonses like the one issued by the House committee on Dayan. But she has declared that she will not reply to the show

House into a clash between the two chambers. This is certainly not what the lawmakers in the bigger House want—they only want De Lima, without even a serving of Frank on the side. This is the same Drilon, apparently, who did not lift a finger to protect the institution that is the Senate when three of its members were charged I wonder if (by De Lima, as secretary of justice) and eventually thrown Drilon would into jail for pocketing their stand by De Lima pork barrel funds. It’s either if and when she the same Drilon, or someone enough to have is arrested; I don’t unfortunate cloned his ample physique. think so. I wonder if Drilon consulted his fellow senators when he implied that the Senate was all set to go to war with the House over De Lima. And I wonder, cause order because the House most of all, if Drilon will stand has no jurisdiction over her. by De Lima if and when she is What Drilon wants is to turn arrested in connection with the the investigation of the Lower various charges she is facing,

of which obstruction of justice is probably the least serious; I don’t think so. Anyone who has ever crossed paths with His Bigness Frank will have to reply in the negative. With Drilon as her advocate, De Lima might as well plead guilty and seek clemency from the courts for being contrite and refusing to contest any and all allegations made against her. Anyone who doubts that Drilon is a duplicitous, double-dealing dirtbag should ask him what he was doing in the morning of the day that he joined the Hyatt 10, that group of Cabinet members who quit en masse in a bid to force the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The members of Arroyo’s inner circle of advisers still recall that Senate President Drilon was closeted with them in Malacañan Turn to A5

FROM the never-ending fighting going on in Mindanao, peace and tranquility are becoming elusive in the island. As if the Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters were not enough, we now have a new Muslim militant armed organization in Mindanao called the Maute group. Our military is battling it now in the town of Butig, Lanao del Sur. Not much is known about this group except that it is an ISIS-inspired armed group that raised the ISIS flag when they took over the municipal hall of the town. Whether this group knows the ideology and what ISIS stand for or simply raised the ISIS flag to attract attention, we do not know. Still, judging from the casualties that it already suffered, it must be a large group. Forty deaths is a lot and the town has not yet been recaptured by the Armed Forces. To add to the seriousness of the situation, one vehicle of the advance party of the President was destroyed by an improvised explosive device, wounding several personnel, one seriously. The Maute group may also have something to do with the IED found along Roxas Boulevard near the United States Embassy. The device that was detonated was similar to the one that killed many in Davao City. There are several questions that need to be asked here. How come our intelligence services did not know about this group? Instead of Mindanao becoming more peaceful, it seems to have become more violent. The Abu Sayyaf, instead of slowing down, has increased its kidnap-for-ransom activities, making a mockery of government efforts to achieve peace in the island. Instead of the armed groups decreasing, there are now five. There is the Moro National Liberation Front, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the BIFF, the Abu Sayyaf and now the Maute group. Another question that needs asking is this: Why is it so difficult for our government to establish full control over the whole of Mindanao? The bulk of the combat elements of our Armed Forces are deployed Turn to A5

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Bigots should resign I NEVER thought I would see the day when a vice president and members of the Cabinet would cling to their posts despite their disagreement with the President. We are seeing this now with the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Do these Cabinet members not have selfrespect? Delicadeza? As chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Vice President Leni Robredo is the President’s alter ego. She and other Cabinet members—Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, National Anti-Poverty Commission chairman Liza Maza —must resign if they feel so strongly about the burial at the Libingan. At least there is one, Maria Serena Diokno, who has enough decency, self-respect and delicadeza to resign in protest against the burial. She is the daughter, after all, of a well-respected nationalist, the late Jose Diokno. When Robredo became Vice President, I hoped she would be the angelic politician she had portrayed herself. I was mistaken. She is just another opportunist. *** A head-on collision between the two chambers of Congress appears inevitable. The House of Representatives is hell-bent on making Senator Leila de Lima’s humiliation complete. It issued a show-cause order; De Lima should now say why she should not be arrested for telling her driver-bodyguard-lover go into hiding. It is to be expected that the Senate has its own set of rules. Only the Senate can discipline its own members. For the congressmen Do they not to tell Senate President have self-respect? Koko Pimentel to discipline De Lima is just Delicadeza? unacceptable. So what happens now? The House cannot seem to pin down De Lima on her involvement in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison on the strength of testimonies of inmates and even Dayan. The only recourse I can think of is to bring De Lima to the proper venue: A court of law. But there has not been any paper trail. Without documentary evidence, everything is just hearsay. Congressmen, passing themselves off as honorable, have feasted on the salacious details of her seven-year love affair with Dayan. They have debased themselves— and the institution they represent. And now we have this inevitable head-on collision. How low can they get? *** The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office wants to expand the agency’s Small Town Lottery nationwide to 64 areas from 18. This is to generate more revenues for the government. I don’t know what the new Duterte appointees at the PCSO are after. Do they not realize that the STL, which was supposed to replace illegal gambling, is now also controlled by the very same gambling lords (who are mostly likely also drug lords)? Santa Banana, the STL has become a source of corruption, reaching even Camp Crame and Fort Aguinaldo. Some say that corruption also benefits PCSO officials. Now, the new PCSO officials want to expand the STL nationwide. By next year, all non-STL numbers games will be considered illegal and their operations will have to face the police’s “all-out war” against illegal gambling. PCSO officials had met with illegal gambling operators, who vowed to support STL. Of course they will. It is well known that the very same gambling lords are now operating STLs. A total of 224 STL applicants, including gambling operator, Charlie “Atong” Ang, are being evaluated by the PCSO. This is a big laugh, my gulay. Illegal gambling involves not only local executives, but policemen and members of the judiciary as well. *** President Duterte initially wanted to talk peace with the Abu Sayyaf group. Then he changed his mind and said that if is war you want, I will bomb all of you. Recently, the President changed his mind again and said he would now talk to the Abu bandits. Santa Banana, how do you talk with fanatical groups like the Abus? Their agenda is just to sow terror and panic among the populace. Talking to them to achieve peace is a futile exercise. They are unlike the Muslim separatists groups, like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or the Moro National Liberation Front, who are after self-rule and autonomy. It’s now even worse because of the affiliation of the terror groups with the ISIS. *** I cannot end this column without congratulating Tony Lopez for making BizNewsAsia a success story with a pass-on circulation of 350,000.



The honeymoon is over MINORITY REPORT DANILO SUAREZ THE Duterte administration enters its sixth month in duty. The past five months have been a combination of good news and bad news. In my previous article about the 100 days of Digong, I mentioned that the President was hands-on with his approach towards achieving peace and order. However, I observe polarization and lack of cohesion in the Executive Branch. While the drug problem is alarming, there are equally problematic issues in our nation that require his attention. Some political analysts observed that President Duterte’s

selection process of Cabinet members is similar to that of the previous administrations. The current line-up speaks for the President. They are aligned with his objectives, and they implement his direct orders. It seems, however, that some Cabinet members don’t clean up house, so to speak. The Cabinet members must effectively manage their own responsibilities in their respective departments. We cannot deny that while there are performers in the Cabinet, there are also under-performers. If this is really a government of change, then we cannot accept mediocrity. Before the last session break, I expressed my intent in assessing the performance of the Executive branch. If the Oversight Committee were still function-

ing at this time, I would propose to review the Cabinet members’ performances. I do not think they will achieve a passing grade. These are challenging times, especially as the country prepares for the domestic effects of international and global developments. There is little room for error. We understand that the President’s appointees have their respective learning curves. I think that the six months of their term is enough for them to adjust and familiarize themselves with their respective roles. The honeymoon stage is over; it is time to do real work and deliver actual results. The 2017 National Budget, called the “budget for change,” was approved on its third reading at the House of Representatives last Monday. This time,

we hope that the budget would be used effectively by each government agency. We want to see an improved absorbing capacity of these agencies. If this administration is really for change, then the Executive branch cannot underperform. Like what I said before, any failure on the part of the Cabinet is a poor reflection of the President’s administrative capacity as Chief Executive. Digong also received a lot of criticism locally and abroad for his actuations. We’d like to see a president whose speech and behavior ref lect both his position as Head of the State, and be representative of the manner and actuations of the Filipino people. We should not suffer the consequences of our President’s unfavorable actions.

Youth for truth THOSE who’ve criticized millennials as being the selfabsorbed, entitled, videogame-playing, selfie-taking, no f’s-giving generation must have been amazed at the turnout of young people at the recent rallies against the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. In fact, the demonstrations were youth-driven, as far as I could tell, and this reflects a pattern for such movements, in that they are often studentled and–organized. Students are the ones who immediately take to the streets even as their elders are still mulling over the contending philosophies and sticking Salonpas on their backs before heading out the door to follow in their wake. Students bore the brunt of the First Quarter Storm. Students faced down tanks during People Power. It is the country’s pride that millennials are taking a stand during these troubled times. Young people have made these protests their own by putting their own spin on the communication materials they

Difficult... From A4 there together with those of the Philippine National Police. Yet, the violence continues. It has been that way since previous administrations. If this is the case, signing a peace deal with the MILF and the MNLF will not bring peace to the island. There will always be another armed militant group that can easily sprout anytime. The President has always said that he prefers talking than fighting. He even said that he would be willing to talk peace with the abominable and notorious Abu Sayyaf, a group that continuous to kidnap and kill its victims. The latest was the abduction of a German couple with the wife ending up being killed. The Abu Sayyaf now wants P500 million for the release of the husband. Should we really be talking

Drilon... From A4 Malacañan Palace, dreaming up strategies to counter-act the efforts of the Arroyo-resign movements that sprang up in the wake of the “Hello, Garci” scandal. In the morning, Drilon was helping devise schemes to help Arroyo survive the protest actions as a trusted adviser of the president and head of the Senate; by the afternoon, he was already at the press conference calling for Arroyo’s resignation.

create for these events. During the 1970s and 1980s, protest slogans were more forceful and direct. Nowadays they are more trendy and humorous, in line with social media standards: “Make ganda, not propaganda!”; “Stop making Martial Law happen. It’s not gonna happen!” (a reference to the film Mean Girls); “Beshies against bardagulan.” One group has even adopted an insult leveled against them —“temperamental brats”— and used it on their Twitter account which serves as a message board and documentation platform. However other people may view these signs, for millennials these words have significance, and are the most effective means of reaching them in this instance, as they themselves have constructed these meanings. Researcher Gayle Kimball, who studies youth activism, said that “youth power rests in their numbers, education, and ICT [information and communication technology] communication. Comprising over 40 percent of the world’s population, young people under 25 are the largest youth cohort in history, the best educated, and the most connected via the internet.” Young activists engage in

civil resistance out of a desire to effect social change. They are often motivated by anger in relation to certain issues, rather than being concerned with party politics. Where formerly adults dominated the public discourse, the Internet gives young people a voice that the youth of previous generations did not have, provides them with information, and at the same time empowers them to lead, organize, gather, act, and respond. Pro-Marcos supporters have derided these young people as clueless about the issues involved because they weren’t born yet during the Martial Law years and lack the proper context to understand them. But that is what history lessons are for, and the Marcos years are recent enough that there a great many people still alive who survived those times and serve as primary sources for facts and narratives. What is appalling to realize is that despite celebrating People Power annually since 1986, many adults who were around during those times have suffered amnesia about the excesses perpetrated by the Marcos regime and are now burnishing his image tarnished by monumental corruption and violence. Marcos

was not a benevolent dictator; he was no Lee Kwan Yew nor Kemal Ataturk, no father of his country. And it is this fact that propels many of the youth and Filipinos in general to protest Marcos’s burial in what is perceived to be sacred ground. “The phenomenon of civil resistance is often associated with the advancement of democracy” (Ackerman, Karatnycky, et. al.), and it is frustrating to see that Philippine democracy and its manifested aspects are still something precarious, something to be constantly fought for, protected, and preserved. Nothing seems to have changed much since Jose Rizal’s time; the same cancer he lamented is eating away at our society, and attempts to cure the disease turned out to be no more than Band-aids. The struggle is not over. It is continuing. The youth are fighting for their future with their hashtags and selfies and tweets. And unlike that moldered corpse in its stolen grave, it is they who are the bayani, the heroes of the moment. *** Dr. Ortuoste is a Californiabased writer. Follow her on Facebook: Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @jennyortuoste, Instagram: @jensdecember

at all with this kind of a group or should we resolve to do everything possible to destroy them? The President, it would seem, is more flexible on the matter of achieving peace in Mindanao. He is willing to go the extra mile for peace but is hard-line when it comes to the war on drugs. He is not willing to accept any middle ground when it comes to drug addicts but is willing to meet these militant groups more than halfway in order to achieve peace. What an interesting and contrasting approach. It shows that the personality of President Duterte is complicated and difficult to analyze. He is willing to talk peace with the Abu Sayyaf, which is clearly nothing but a vicious criminal group. Yet he is unwilling to give any quarter to drugs addicts whom many believe are sick and more in need of rehabilitation and treatment than being killed. Right now, there seems to

be no coherent government policy in dealing with these new emerging militant groups. Should they be treated the same as the MILF or as criminal groups? There is a huge challenge to this administration to be able to achieve peace in war-torn Mindanao. The Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the President all come from there. It is also one of the reasons that President Duterte was elected by the people. It is the belief that if there is anyone who can bring peace to Mindanao, it is he because he understands the problem. It is certainly one of the reasons why former President Fidel Ramos threw his support behind him during the presidential campaign. Still, there must be a distinction made between legitimate groups fighting for social issues and terrorist and criminal groups. The distinction can sometimes be blurred. The Maute group and the Abu

Sayyaf are clearly both terrorist groups. Talking to these two will simply be interpreted as a sign of weakness on the part of government. Problem is, our security services have been going after the Abu Sayyaf for so long that many believe that the Abus cannot simply be stopped. In a sense, the strategy and tactics of the AFP when it comes to the Abus are not working. Maybe the military should go back to the drawing board to examine strategy and tactics. Perhaps new methods should come into play like better intelligence gathering using sophisticated electronic equipment or buying and deploying smart weapons system to target ranking leaders. Also, more funds for a sustained effort are needed. The AFP cannot seem to maintain a sustained military effort. Whatever it is, what the government is doing right now, is not working and there is a need for a new strategy.

That’s just how Drilon rolls. *** It will not surprise me at all if Drilon is still trying to ingratiate himself to President Rodrigo Duterte in a desperate bid to avoid being linked to his second cousin, controversial Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog. The Iloilo drug dealer Melvin Odicta, who has been identified as an associate and friend of Mabilog, and his wife may have been assassinated, but the stink raised by Duterte when he declared that Iloilo was the most “shabulized” city in the coun-

try continues to hang like a fog over Drilon, as well. Anyone of any political importance in Iloilo, after all, will admit that Drilon is the acknowledged kingpin of both the city and the eponymous province where it is located. Luckily for Drilon and Mabilog, Odicta and his wife were shot dead at the wharf in Iloilo shortly after they went to Manila, supposedly to tell all about their running a drug ring in Drilon’s backyard with the help of the senator’s cousin. If the Odictas had survived

the attack, I’m sure they would provide testimony that would have made Kerwin Espinosa look like a small-time pusher. But Drilon’s streak of unbelievable political luck seems destined to continue unbroken, a streak which began since his days as a lawyer for Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies in the old ACCRA law firm. Drilon defending De Lima is like Antonio Trillanes getting appointed as “back-channel negotiator” with the Chinese. Oh wait, that didn’t turn out so well, either, right?




Virac drug bust stirs politicians

BONIFACIO DAY. Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan and other officials lead rites celebrating revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio, instigator of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, at the hero’s monument in the city. Andrew Rabulan

DRUG enforcers have uncovered a huge shabu laboratory in Virac, Catanduanes, which supposedly supplies illegal drugs in the province of Albay, causing a stir among politicians in the Bicol region. Operatives of the Anti-illegal Drug Special Operation Task Force Group, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Army’s 83rd Infantry Batallion and Military Intelligence Group 5 raided the laboratory located inside a warehouse that sits on a 1,000- square meter lot on Saturday. The authorities said the laboratory, which is surrounded by closed-circuit cameras, can produce 500 to 1,000 kilos of shabu, worth P25 million, every week. During the raid, the authorities also found several chemicals and equipment used in manufacturing the illegal substance. The discovery of the shabu laboratory was based on the information provided by arrested drug suspects in Tabaco, Albay and an investigation showed that the electricity of the warehouse jumped from P1,000 per month to P50,000 Investigation also showed that

Lower call charges lauded By Maricel V. Cruz


HE House committee on information and communications technology has welcomed a memorandum circular issued by the National Telecommunications Commission on lowered interconnection charges for voice calls for all networks. Tarlac Rep. Victor Yap, the panel chairman, was referring to Memo Circular 09-11-2016 which said interconnection rates of Globe Telecom’s and PLDT’s voice services

will no longer be higher than P2.50 per minute by Jan 1, 2017. “I am glad that finally, the NTC heeded the clamor to release this memo to all telcos. This is long

overdue. Consumers have been dealing with intermittent connection, dropped calls and other service interruptions despite the fact that they are paying one of the highest voice call rates in Asia,” Yap said. “We must remember that when the NTC issued the 2011 memorandum circular lowering the interconnection rate for SMS from P0.35 to P0.15, the SMS rates in the Philippine became the lowest in Asia,” Yap said. The lawmaker said the release of the NTC memo lowering interconnection charges from P4.00/minute

to P2.50 per minute should result to unlimited calls to other networks, just like what happened with unlimited texts. “Users will continue to shift to internet-based applications like Facebook, Viber, Skype and WhatsApp if they don’t make it unlicalls. This is already evident from the declining cellular voice revenues of Globe and PLDT over the last few months,” he said. Yap said the memorandum must pave the way for the already existing promos which include unlicalls to other networks to make permanent.

“Why not make this permanent? The release of this memo will hopefully make unlicalls to all networks a standard practice among telcos who have been remiss in some of their duties as providers of an essential service to the people,” he ended. During the first organizational meeting of the ICT committee last Oct. 12, 2016, it was revealed by the NTC that the present interconnection rates between telcos at P4.00 per minute drives the cost higher and there are already plans to lower the interconnection charges before the end of 2016 or early 2017.

MMFF income forecast at P1b By Joel E. Zurbano METRO Manila Development Authority Chairman Thomas Orbos is expecting this year’s lineup of movies in the Metro Manila Film Festival would surpass the P1.020billion total gross it earned last year. This despite the absence of the usual big films and top-grossing films like those who starred country’s top comedians Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda, whose entry films this year “Enteng Kabisote and the Abangers,” and “Parental Guardian,” respectively, failed to get a slot for this year’s MMFF. This year’s official entries includes: “Die Beautiful” starring Paolo Ballesteros; “Kabisera” featuring Nora Aunor, Ricky Davao, JC De Vera, Jason Abalos and Victor Neri; “Saving Sally” top-billed by Rhian Ramos and Enzo Marcos; “Seklusyon” featuring Rhed Bustamante, Phoebe Walker, Elora Espano, Neil Ryan Sese, Ronnie Alonte, Lou Veloso, Dominique Roque, John Vic De Guzman and JR Versales; “Sunday Beauty Queen” starring Hazel Perdid, Maylyn Jacobo, Cherry Bretania and Leo Selomenio; “Vince & Kath & James”” stars Julia Barretto, Joshua Garcia and Ronnie Alonte; “”Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: Forever is Not Enough”” top-billed by Eugene Domingo and Chris Martinez; and “Oro” starring Joem Bascon.

the property was owned by Angelica Balmadrid, wife of National Bureau of Investigation agent Eric Isidoro, assigned to the antiillegal drug team in Manila. But Balmadrid said she leased the property to one Jayson Gonzales Uy, also known as Paolo Uy, in March 2015. The drug enforcers said they could have arrested key suspects in the case but Virac Regional Trial Court Judge Lelu Contreras, who is assigned to attend to drug-related cases, refused to issue a warrant. The agents were also puzzled how a 37.5-kv transformer was placed inside the warehouse premises when it did not even have a building permit. In response, Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes said he was surprised he is being implicated in the issue and vehemently denied allegations that he owned the contractor of the warehouse that was turned into a shabu factory. The drug enforcers said Laynes was once seen inside the shabu factory in the company of Gil Balmadrid, brother of Angelica Balmadrid, and businessman Alex Ang Hong.

IN BRIEF 42,000 motorists apprehended THE Metro Manila Development Authority made more than 42,000 apprehensions since it began last April the implementation of the No Contact Policy against motorists violating traffic rules and regulations in the National Capital Region. MMDA Chairman Thomas Orbos also revealed that the numbers of apprehensions has increased from 70 to 280 on a daily basis since the agency hired deaf and mute individuals manning the monitors of closed-circuit television cameras installed on major thoroughfares used in the policy. “From 70 it became 280 a day, 400 percent increase, so the PWDs (persons with disability) really works and very effective in assisting us in apprehending violators in the number coding scheme and other measures we are implementing,” said Orbos. Other violators were caught for overspeeding, illegal parking, disregarding the no loading and unloading zone, beating the red light, swerving, blocking intersections, disregarding traffic signs, making illegal turns, illegal overtaking, entering the yellow lane, defying the closed door policy and bus segregation scheme, motorcycle lane, among others. Joel E. Zurbano

PAL starts CBU-SNG flights

CHRISTMAS DUTY. Quezon City police chief Senior Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar briefs his men on how he expects them to fulfill their duties during the Christmas season. Manny Palmero

Marina urged to probe troubled maritime company A GROUP of seafarers urged the Maritime Industry Association to investigate the financial condition of a large crewing agency based in Manila that deploys thousands of seafarers to cruise ships and oil tankers in Europe and the Americas. The seafarers complain that their deployment this December is being endangered by the situation of the company, which they

asked not to be identified for fear that their pending contracts may be nullified by the possible closure of the firm. Since the Marina is mandated by Republic Act 10635 to keep watch over the training and deployment of seafarers, the group urged Marina Administrator Marcial Amaro to act on the matter. They said Amaro, himself a former sea-

farer and maritime agency executive, may already know of the matter since it is already well-known in the maritime industry. Most employees of the firm denied any irregularity in the company and said the company’s financial difficulties are only because of uncertainties in the global maritime market. But a company official admitted that aside from the usual industry problems, the crew-

ing agency, which is one of the largest in the industry, is indeed experiencing difficulties arising from an ongoing dispute among company shareholders and executives. He said the dispute involves one of the company’s shareholders who also serves as the company’s chief financial officer, whom he asked not to be identified for fear of its consequences to the firm and its client seafarers.

FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines will launch its first direct flight from Cebu to Singapore on December 16 to bring holiday seekers straight to the Lion City without having to connect in Manila. Maria Cielo Villaluna, PAL Corporate Communications Department-External Communications head, said the four times weekly service (Monday/Wednesday/Friday/ Sunday) via PR517 departs Cebu at 10 pm and arrives in Singapore at 1:45 a.m. the following day. She said the return service via PR518 will also operate four times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), leaving Singapore at 2:45 a.m. and touching down in Cebu at 6:40 a.m. At present, PAL flies to Singapore from Manila four times daily via PR 511, PR507, PR501 and PR509. “Passengers can now choose between PAL’s Manila–Singapore and Cebu-Singapore frequencies to reach the highly popular Asian City, known for being a tourist haven,” said Villaluna. Joel E. Zurbano

Sports Monaco wins 15th Champions’ Cup in Zagreb

MONACO has won the 15th European Cahmpionships’ Cup in Zagreb: Pierre Zimmermann (pc), Dominik Filipowicz, Geir Helgemo, Tor Helness, Kristofer Martens, Franck Multon. Second place went to Heimdal BK (Norway): Allan Livgard (pc), Terje Aa, Per Erik Austberg, Jan Tore Berg, Glenn Grotheim, Peter Tondel. BC Bamberger Reiter (Germany), composed of Michael Gromöller (pc), Jörg Fritsche, Wojtek Gawel, Helmut Häusler, Rafal Jagniewski, Martin Rehder, captured third place. The 15th European Champions Cup was held in Zagreb (Croatia) from 10 to 12 November 2016. The winning team received the Trophy and the title of European Champion Club as well as the right to participate in the next edition. -oOoChamps in Chennai, IV By: Ron Klinger After 112 deals of the 128-board final of the 2015 Bermuda Bowl, Sweden (Bergdahl, Warne: Nystrom, Upmark; Sylvan, Wrang) led Poland (Gawrys, Klukowski; Jassem, Mazurkiewicz; Kalita, Nowosadzki) by 260 to 242.5. There were 16 deals to play. I feature an interesting deal as written by Klinger. On Board 16, a missed chance by Nowosadzki and fine play by Upmark produced a swing for Sweden North dealer Both sides vulnerable North ♠AK64 ♥KQ98 ♦1086 ♣102 West East ♠1072 ♠QJ95 ♥J2 ♥10743 ♦9754 ♦AK3 ♣AQ84 ♣95 South ♠83 ♥A65 ♦QJ2 ♣KJ763 Open Room South West North East Nowosadzki Wrang Kalita Sylvan 1♦ Pass 1♥ Pass 2♥ Pass Pass Pass Closed Room South West Upmark Klukowski 1♥ Pass 2NT Pass

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Football mourns Brazilian players killed in air crash LA UNION—A plane that crashed in the mountains of Colombia, killing 71 people, including members of a Brazilian football team, may have run out of fuel, a Colombian military source told AFP. “It is very suspicious that despite the impact there was no explosion. That reinforces the theory of the lack of fuel,” the source said Tuesday. Six people miraculously survived the crash Monday night, but the disaster virtually wiped out an up-and-coming Brazilian football team and sent shock waves through the world of football. Football legends Pele and Maradona as well as current superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo led tributes to the players of Chapecoense

Real, a humble team whose march to glory was cut abruptly short. Having risen only recently from obscurity, the team was on its way to play in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second-biggest club tournament, when disaster struck. “The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens,” club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SporTV. “It is very difficult, a very great tragedy.” The charter plane reported “electrical failures” around 10:00 pm Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday) and crashed soon after near the city of Medellin, its destination, officials said.

The plane’s black box recorders have been found, but there was no word on how long it would take to analyze them. The dead included most of the team and 20 Brazilian journalists traveling to cover the match. The six survivors are being treated in hospital, officials said. “I have just seen the plane and given the state it is in, it is a miracle that six people survived,” said Governor Luis Perez of Antioquia department, where the plane went down. One survivor, goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, had to have his right leg amputated, said the San Vicente Foundation Hospital outside Medellin. It reported he was “stabilizing” in intensive care. AFP

Fans light candles in tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, at their football stadium in Chapeco, Santa Catarina, Brazil. AFP

Bucks’ Giannis leads night of NBA upsets LOS ANGELES—Giannis Antetokounmpo led a night of upsets in the NBA on Tuesday with 34 points as the Milwaukee Bucks stunned LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Antetokounmpo, 21, also grabbed 12 rebounds and contributed five assists as a Cavs side featuring both James and Kyrie Irving failed to fire. Greek international Antetokounmpo was ably supported by Jabari Parker (18 points) and Michael Beasley (17) as the

Bucks scored a win which improves their season to 8-8. The Cavs loss saw the champions fall to 13-3 for the season. James finished with 22 points to lead the scoring for the Cavs, ahead of Irving with 20 points at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. But the star of the night was Antetokounmpo, who became one of the highest paid players in the NBA earlier this year when he inked a $100 million four-year deal worth around $25 million a season.

Last season the giant forward averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds. 4.3 assists and 1.4 blocks in 80 games. So far this season Antetokounmpo is averaging 22 points per game, suggesting the Bucks were wise to invest in the 6ft 11in son of Nigerian immigrants who was born in Athens in 1994. The Bucks’ upset win was the biggest shock of the day as various in-form teams ended up losing to unheralded opposition. - Magic cast Spurs spell -

San Antonio’s nine-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt when the Western Conference giants crashed to a 95-83 defeat against the Orlando Magic. Serge Ibaka scored 18 points while Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Magic silenced the Spurs fans at the AT&T Center. The victory ended a fourgame losing streak for Orlando, who improved to 7-11 with the win. San Antonio slipped to 14-4 after the loss. AFP

East Gawrys Pass Pass Pass

Nowosadzki’s one heart had been natural, and he passed two hearts. Upmark’s one heart had been multimeaning; one possibility was game-invitational strength with two or three cards in each major. To show that hand-type, he bid two notrump over two hearts,. Nowosadzki received the spade deuce lead. He took dummy’s ace and passed the club ten to the queen. West switched to the heart jack to the king, and the club deuce went to the king and ace. Back came the heart deuce: eight, four, six, and this was the position:

West ♠107 ♥♦9754 ♣84

North ♠K64 ♥Q9 ♦1086 ♣-

South ♠8 ♥A ♦QJ2 ♣J76

East ♠QJ9 ♥107 ♦AK3 ♣-

BICYCLE DAY. Sportsman Ilocos Sur Gov.Ryan Singson is shown with Board members Mikah Mendoza and Nestor Itchon and members of Ilocos Sur bikers club during the celebration of the 3rd National Bicycle Day recently.

South was on the right track to make eight tricks via spade king, spade ruff, and club jack to pitch dummy’s remaining spade. In the diagram position, South took a side track: He played dummy’s diamond six. East took the ace and led a heart. South won and played the diamond queen to East’s king. Back came the diamond three to jack. Declarer could make the spade king and the heart queen, but East had the rest for one down; minus 100. Against two notrump, Klukowski led the spade seven to dummy’s ace. The club ten won trick two; then, the club deuce went to the jack and queen. West continued with the spade deuce: four, jack eight; then the spade queen was taken by the king, as South ditched the club six. Declarer played the diamond six, and East erred by ducking. (East could have taken two diamond tricks and the spade nine, then exited with the diamond three or a low heart to defeat the contract.) South won trick six with the diamond queen, leaving:

West ♠♥J2 ♦975 ♣A8

North ♠6 ♥KQ98 ♦108 ♣-

East ♠9 ♥10743 ♦AK ♣-

South ♠♥A65 ♦J2 ♣K7 Declarer played heart king, heart ace, to bring his tally to six tricks; then he exited with the diamond deuce. East won and could cash the spade nine and the other diamond winner, but he was forced to give the last two tricks to dummy; plus 120: 6 imps to Sweden increasing its lead to 266-257.5.


6/55 00-00-00-00-00-00 P0 M+ 6/45 00-00-00-00-00-00 P0 M 4 DIGITS 0-0-0-0 3 DIGITS 0-0-0 2 EZ2 0-0

Carmona hosts PPP tennis leg THE leading and rising junior players from Metro Manila and nearly provinces resume their chase for ranking points as they clash in the Palawan PawnshopPalawan Express Pera Padala Manila Southwoods leg regional age-group 2016 starting Thursday at the Manila Southwoods Sports Club in Carmona, Cavite. The long-running, nationwide PPS-PEPP circuit is marking its first stop at the Southwoods Sports Club with over 200 entries vying for top honors in the Group 2 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger. Camille So, Lila Salvacion, Megan Reyes and Amanda Zoleta banner the field in the girls’ premier 18-and-under division with Zoleta, Reyes and Salvacion also leading the 16-U cast of the six-day event sanctioned by Philta and backed by Asiatraders Corp., exclusively distributor of Slazenger. The 14-year-old Zoleta and Salvacio are also entered in the 14-U class with the former as top seed and the latter gaining the No. 4 seeding with Julia Ignacio as No. 2 and Denise Bernardo as the third seed. “We expect a spirited battle for top honors, this being the year’s third to last leg and everybody would want to close out the season on a winning note,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro, who has also lined up a bigger, busier calendar next year.

Centro Escolar, TIP Cavaliers, Magis, Responders advance try to seal finals tiff Games Today (Olivarez Sports Center) 12 noon – TIP vs Olivarez 2 p.m. – CEU vs CDSL

CENTRO Escolar University and Technological Institute of the Philippines try to seal a projected title showdown when they go up against their rivals at the start of their respective semis series in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League today at the Olivarez Sports Center in Parañaque City. Armed with similar twice-to-beat privileges after finishing 1-2 in the tworound elims, the CEU Scorpions and the TIP Engineers need just to win today to arrange a best-of-three championship series. Though their bid for a double-round sweep was foiled by Olivarez College at the close of the elims last Monday, the Scorpions remain the heavy favorites over the Colegio De San Lorenzo Griffins owing to their experience and depth. They clash at 2 p.m. with the Scorpions confident they can beat the Griffins for the third straight time in the tournament presented by Euro Med and Lamoiyan Corp.

Out to lead Scorpions are 6’6” center Rod Ebondo, Samboy de Leon, Orlan Wamar and John Carlo Casino, while the Bonnie Garcia-mentored Griffins are likely to draw strength from 6’6” Jonjon Gabriel, Rustom Borja and Mark Kenneth Carongoy. The Engineers, on the other hand, collide with the Olivarez Sea Lions at 12 noon with the former tipped to prevail having beaten the host school twice in the elims. CEU coach Yong Garcia, however, is not taking the Griffins for granted, saying they have everything to gain if they win today’s game. “This is war time already so anything can happen,” said Garcia. “If we want to play in the finals I told the boys to be ready and consistent from start to finish.” TIP coach Sebastian De Vera readily agreed, saying they can’t afford to be complacent, knowing the Sea Lions are capable of delivering another Sunday punch. Aside from the crowd support, the Sea Lions are going into the game with a sky-high confidence following a stunning 65-63 win over the Scorpions.

SEASON 4 Finals MVP Boyet Bautista struck for seven triples to lead the defending champion Armed Forces of the Philippines Cavaliers past the Ombudsman Graft Busters, 103-85, Thursday in the UNTV Cup at the Pasig City Sports Center. Bautista made 25 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists and was hailed as the Best Player of the Game. The Cavaliers, who bounced back from two consecutive losses, advanced to the second round of the eliminations. “For the second round, we will intensify our practices. We will double our efforts in our practices. We will return the championship caliber of the AFP to be competitive again,” said AFP Head Coach

Sonny Manucat. Mark Anthony Marcos and Ronnie Zagala led the Graft Busters with a combined 60 points. Meanwhile, two-time champion Judiciary Magis also advanced to the second round, together with three-time runner-up PNP Responders. The Judiciary Team grabbed second place in Group B with a 5-1record after beating the HOR solons in the first game with scores of 114-94. On the other hand, the PNP Responders are in third place in Group B with 4 wins and 2 losses after defeating the GSIS Furies, 90-80. Julius Criste led the Responders with 24 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal. Some of the scores

First Game JUDICIARY MAGIS (114)--C. Tolomia 32, A.Capus 16, C. Camaso 14, W. Ybanez 13, J. Rabino 10, H. Bergonio 9, C. Roma 5, V. Puno 4, J. Marquez 3, R. Paras 3, F. Salamat 3, J. Serrano 2 HOR SOLONS (94)--E. Sta. Maria 26, E. Billones 25, F. Adriano 21, A. Gamboa 10, E. Rodriguez 4, M. Romero 3, M. Dimaporo 3, R. Abu QUARTER SCORES 32-22, 65-53, 82-82, 114-94 Second Game AFP CAVALIERS (103)--B. Bautista 25, A. Zuniga 12, W. Sergio 10, J. Quiambao 10, P. Fernandez 8, E. Tan 8, R. Pascual 8, W. Casulla 6, R. Araneta 5, I. San Esteban 5, L. Cabayao 3, J. Galiza 3

The AFP Cavaliers hound Ombudsman’s Mark Anthony Marcos during their UNTV Cup game at the Pasig Sports Center.

Rain or Shine remains unbeaten

Riera U. Mallari, Editor Reuel Vidal, Assistant Editor


By Jeric Lopez


Sports The Ateneo Blue Eagles celebrate their victory over the FEU Tamaraws at the Araneta Coliseum. The Eagles edged the Tamaraws in overtime, 69-68, to set up a dream finale with tournament favorite La Salle. Ey Acasio

Eagles edge Tams, forge dream duel with Archers By Peter Atencio


SAAC Go’s nose bled in the last four minutes following a wayward elbow from Prince Orizu in a rebound battle.

When the bleeding stopped, he made up for his momentary absence in the final second of overtime with a defensive play that lifted the Ateneo Blue Eagles to 69-68 overtime triumph over the defending champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum. The 6’7” Go put his big hands

NU coach’s resignation under review COACH Eric Altamirano’s courtesy resignation with the National University Bulldogs is under review. Athletic director Chito Loyzaga said this after he confirmed that head coach Eric Altamirano has tendered his resignation after six seasons. “Yes, it’s confirmed that he has submitted his courtesy resignation. It is under review and management is deliberating on it,” said Loyzaga. Altamirano quit the team while plans were being finalized on the NU Bulldogs’ rebuilding mode after their campaign in season 79 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament was over. “The purpose of the submission is to give management a free hand in the direction of the future of the NU Bulldogs team,” added Loyzaga. NU ended its campaign with a 53-77 loss to the Adamson Falcons, a fifth-place finish and a 5-9 record. If Altamirano’s resignation is accepted, plans to groom and develop Alfred Aroga’s replacement will have to be turned over to the next coaching staff. Aroga is the only player graduating this season. There are plans to have Senegalese Issa Gaye come aboard next season in place of Aroga. Fil-Am recruits led by Joshua Bartlett are also in Team B. Altamirano first handled the Bulldogs six years ago and he was able to coach the Bulldogs to their first crown in 60 years in 2014. Peter Atencio

in front of Ron Dennison as he was making an attempt off Monbert Arong’s pass from outside the paint. Dennison released the ball too late and this kept members of the Tams from handing their coach Nash Racela a fitting present on his 45th birthday. The basket went in but after the buzzer sounded and the

Games Saturday (Game 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena) 11 a.m. – NU vs DLSU (Women’s Game 1) 3:30 p.m. Ateneo vs La Salle (Men’s Game 1) Blue Eagles found themselves in the finals of the 79th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament against arch-rival La Salle. Their epic, dream finale begins on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The last time the Green Ar-

chers and the Blue Eagles faced each other in a championship was in 2008. Go was accidentally elbowed by Orizu in the nose in the last 3:30, and he bled profusely afterwards. He had 14 rebounds and 12 points, including a putback off Matt Nieto’s miss in the last 1:24, which proved to be the winning basket for the Blue Eagles who went on to grab a one-point lead in the closing minutes. After that, Ateneo forced FEU to two turnovers, the last off Axel Inigo’s miss triple. Thirdy Ravena, who had 13 points with Nieto, tried to pen-

etrate in the last 4.5 seconds. But he slipped and turned the ball over, giving gave FEU a final chance to score in the remaining time. But Go sprinted back on defense to distract Dennison, causing the FEU guard to fumble and miss beating the game clock by a split second. “Shot went down. I don’t think you can separate these two teams with a sledgehammer and a crowbar. We were that close. We made the last shot, they made the last shot. But it was half a second too late,” said Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin.

THE stellar display continued for Rain or Shine as it listed its second straight win after drubbing helpless Mahindra, 10583, to gain a share of early lead in the 2016-17 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup yesterday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. Jericho Cruz led Rain or Shine’s balanced attack with 15 points and four assists. The Elasto Painters are now tied with surprising Blackwater for the tournament lead as they now both carry 2-0 slates, while the Elite remained winless and dropped to 0-2 at the bottom. It was a walk in the park from start to finish for Rain or Shine, which was just far superior for its foe. After one, the Painters already grasped a double-digit lead, 26-16, and that was just the beginning of the end for the Floodbuster. At the half, the separation was far too wide already, 61-32, for Rain or Shine and the game was already sealed at that point. Cruz already had 14 markers just after the 24 minutes. James Yap also suited up for the first time for his new team, helping the Painters with 10 points, while making his 1,000th three-pointer in his career in the process. Coach Caloy Garcia, however, was far from satisfied. “It was a poor fourth (quarter) for us. We could have played better. I told them we shouldn’t be looking at the scores because we need to be consistent. Marami kaming turnovers nu’ng fourth, we allowed them to attack the basket, with no defense at all. If the game was close, we could have lost the game,” said Garcia. Gary David also made his debut for Mahindra just a day after getting signed, scoring a single point. The scores: Rain or Shine 105 - Cruz 15, Ahanmisi 14, Tiu 11, Yap 10, Belga 8, Tolomia 8, Chan 7, Almazan 6, Norwood 6, Maiquez 5, Washington 5, Trollano 4, Ibanes 3, Ponferada 3, Matias 0. Mahindra 83 - Escoto 10, Mallari 10, Paniamogan 10, Guevarra 9, Eriobu 8, Arana 7, Yee 6, Celda 5, Nimes 4, Revila 4, Apinan 3, Deutchman 3, Salva 3, David 1, Ballesteros 0. Quarterscores: 26-16, 6132, 92-48, 105-83

UV, Tay Tung bag SBP-Passerelle Visayas cage titles THE University of the Visayas and Bacolod Tay Tung High School advance to the nationals after winning the Visayas regional finals of BEST Center’s SBP– Passerelle at the Capiz Gym, the largest twin tournament in the country. Eight teams – four for each division – battled against each other, representing their schools and provinces from across the region. UV had a tough time defeating the equally strong opponent, the University of St. La Salle Of Bacolod but eventually nipped the championship award for the SBP division, 47-46. In the battle for the third place, Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion of Roxas defeated Hua Siong College of Iloilo, 52-48. During the Passerelle division, UV only settled for second place in their match against Bacolod Tay Tung High School, 56-52. St. Robert’s International Academy of Iloilo came in third after winning against Hercor College High School of Roxas, 72-63. UV also received the Sportsmanship

award in the Passerelle division, along with Hua Siong College Iloilo for the SBP division, after showcasing fair play not only among players but also among the coaches and parents who attended the tournament. The regional champions will represent Visayas in the upcoming 31st season of the SBP-Passerelle Twin Tournament national finals to be held in Bacolod City on Dec. 3 and 4. There, they will face La Salle Greenhills for SBP and Adamson University for Passerelle from NCR; and Xavier University for SBP and Holy Child of Davao for Passerelle from Mindanao. Organized by the multi-awarded school for basketball and volleyball, BEST Center, sponsored by Milo, and supported by Chris Sports and Rain or Shine, SBPPasserelle is the longest-running and most prestigious inter-school basketball competition for children, where students ages 9-11 compete in the SBP division, while students ages 12-14 compete in the Passarelle division.

Members of the UV team hold their championship banner.

Football, Gawad Kalinga ink pact FOOTBALL For A Better Life, the 10-leg nationwide grassroots football development and talent-identification program sponsored by Pru Life UK, will partner with Gawad Kalinga in the culminating leg of the series--the Gawad Kalinga Cup scheduled on Dec. 3 at the Ultra Football Field in Pasig. Different GK communities are expected to field teams and participants in the football festival and the free football clinic. This was announced by series organizer Albert Almen-

dralejo, President of Spears Activation & PR Co. at the recent PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate, where he guested together with Pru Life UK EVP and CFO Lee Longa, Kevin Goco of Gawad Kalinga, and current Azkal Misagh Bahadoran and Pru Life Football Ambassador and TV host Graham Caygill. “For the football clinic alone, we expect 300 kids from the different GK communities that will participate and more in the Gawad Kalinga Cup that will feature different age-group competitions. The Philippine Sports

Commission has recognized the FFABL as a true grassroots sports and has extended its support by allowing us to use its facilities at ULTRA,” said Almendralejo. Longa shared that sports and education are the pillars of Pru Life UK CSR program. “We are definitely happy with the response we received from the different regions where we held our events. We have already surpassed last year’s number with still the NCR leg remaining. We are already looking forward to our third year of the series next year,” said Longa.

San Migueel keeps 5-point lead BAGUIO CITY—San Miguel-Northern Cement I retained its five-shot lead as it equaled the 108 production of Manila Southwoods going into the final round tomorrow in the premier Seniors Fil-Championship- of the Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament presented by San Miguel. Jingky Tuason scored 28 points, Eddie Bagtas and Bong Sison submitted a similar 27, while Chito Laureta had a 26 as the defending champion made 108 points for 373 and still five up on the former many-time champion. Edmund Yee bannered once again the Carmona, Cavite-based parbusters as he came in with 31 points and the similar 108-point production for a 368 three-day aggregate.

Kui Sun Moon and Raul Minoza had 28 points and Chang Duk Jung added 25 to count for the team, which needs to work extra hard to regain the title it last won in 2012. Megafiber gained on the two leaders as it shot 112 points for 363, five off Southwoods. Rolly Viray and Ben Jacinto led with 29, while Jose Mari Hechanova and Rene Unson pooled in 27 each to count for the team. Pugo Adventures, the 2014 champion, had the best round of 116 to improve to 354, nine off the Megafibers, but is still mired at the cellar. Brothers Douglas and Fred Puckett led with 31 and 30 points, while Goodie Ignacio and Ed Montenegro counted with 28 and 27, respectively.

Sand miner eyes Leyte steel mill



Ray S. Eñano, Editor Roderick T. dela Cruz, Assistant Editor THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2016


PH to survive Trump protectionism By Julito G. Rada


HE Philippines is among the Asian countries that can withstand the adverse impact of a protectionist policy by newlyelected US President Donald Trump, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. said in a report Wednesday. Frederic Neumann, co-head of the bank’s Asian Economic Research, said the challenges for Asia were becoming more evident and 2017 looked like they could be the most difficult for the region since 2009. “If the past few weeks are any indication, things are bound to get a lot tougher. Trade is

one thing, with exports already struggling and little prospect for a policy-driven rebound,” Neumann said. “But the effects are not necessarily uniform across Asia. Indonesia, the Philippines and India are likely to be more shielded from the ‘Trump effect’ given their low debt and low ex-

port exposures,” Neumann said. “By contrast, Malaysia, China, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand should be more affected,” he said. Global debt watcher S&P Global Ratings said the Philippine economy had the potential to grow higher next year and continue outperforming its peers in the region despite the expected adverse effects of Trump’s policy. S&P said it expected the Philippine economy to grow 6.7 percent in 2017, faster than its previous forecast of 6.3 percent. The growth projection is also higher than Indonesia’s 5.7 percent, Malaysia’s 4.8 percent, Singapore’s 2.9 percent and Thailand’s 4.1 percent.

S&P said in 2018, the Philippines would likely expand 6.7 percent, still outperforming Indonesia’s 5.9 percent, Malaysia’s 4.9 percent, Singapore’s 2.5 percent and Thailand’s 3.9 percent. “The Southeast Asian economies are seeing stable growth with the Philippines outperforming the region, given its growing middle class, a business process outsourcing boom, and expansionary fiscal policy with emphasis on public infrastructure,” S&P said. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines could withstand the adverse effects of protectionist policy of Trump because the Philippines was beginning not to rely too much on the western economies,

particularly the United States. Trump said during the campaign period that US immigration policies might be tightened and outsourcing activities could be reduced in a bid to bring back jobs to the US. Standard Chartered Bank also said the Philippine economic growth outlook remained rosy due to robust domestic demand, higher infrastructure investment and services sector providing the needed support for a sustained growth. The bank said the Philippines could grow 6.8 percent this year and 6.7 percent in 2017. GDP grew 7 percent in the first three quarters at the upper bound of the Duterte administration’s target range of 6 percent to 7 percent.

IN BRIEF Meralco asked to cut system loss SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian asked retailer Manila Electric Co. to reduce its system loss to 5 percent of electricity sales. Gatchalian lauded Meralco during a Senate hearing for reducing its system loss to 6.5 percent in 2015, but said the company should bring it down further. Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, acknowledged that Meralco also invested billions of pesos to bring down its system loss. “If we reduce it from 6.5 [percent] to 5 [percent], the consumers will save about P3 billion a year,” he said. Gatchalian said it would be more prudent for the Senate committee to wait for the extensive study being conducted by Energy Regulatory Commission. “The government has already paid for that and I think the results of the study will further enlighten the committee whether to pursue the two bills being proposed,” he said. Two proposed bills seek to tackle systems loss, including Senate Bill No. 1058 authored by Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Senate Bill No. 1188 of Gatchalian. Alena Mae S. Flores

CebuPac reduces fares for govt trips

EASTWEST-STANCHART DEAL. The migration of the retail banking business of Standard Chartered Bank Philippines to East West Banking Corp. was successfully completed. The transfer included credit cards, personal loans, wealth management and retail deposits. Shown are (from left) EastWest senior executive vice president Jose Emmanuel Hilado, consumer lending head Jacqueline Fernandez, president and chief executive Antonio Moncupa Jr., EastWest chairman Jonathan Gotianun, Standard Chartered Philippines chief executive Lynette Ortiz, Standard Chartered Bank Brunei president and chief executive Anirvan Ghosh Dastidar, Standard Chartered Bank Philippines retail banking head Abigail Del Rosario and East West retail banking head Gerardo Susmerano.

PSE COMPOSITE INDEX Closing November 29, 2016

8300 7840 7380 6920 6460 6000

6,781.20 44.20


Closing NOVEMBER 29, 2016 43.00 45.40 46.60 47.80




HIGH P49.660 LOW P49.810 AVERAGE P49.747 VOLUME 558.700M

P430.00-P661.00 LPG/11-kg tank P35.40-P44.10 Unleaded Gasoline P25.75-P29.32 Diesel


Bangko Sentral seen raising rates in 2017 BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas will likely raise interest rates by 50 basis points in the first half of 2017 if the domestic economy remains robust and inflation accelerates, DBS Bank of Singapore said in a research note Wednesday. Gundy Cahyadi, economist of the DBS Group Research, said inflation was expected to come in at 3 percent in 2017 and 2.9 percent in 2018. “Domestic demand is expected to remain firm and continue to support overall GDP growth momentum. We reckon that the domestic story is compelling enough reason for the BSP to eventually tighten its policy stance,” Cahyadi said. He said the pace of investment growth would play a role in supporting the consumption story in the nearer-term. Investment

growth averaged 25 percent over the past year, an unprecedented feat. Cahyadi said while it eased to 23.5 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, it was still outright strong. He said the government’s infrastructure overhaul would continue to drive the construction sector, whose growth gained pace at 15.5 percent in the third quarter, up from 11.8 percent previously. “The BSP is in no rush to raise interest rates. But if the growthinflation dynamics progresses as expected, two 25 bps rate hikes seem imminent for the first half of 2017,” Cahyadi said. Inflation in the first 10 months averaged 1.6 percent, below the government’s official target range of 2 to 4 percent this year. Meanwhile, economic growth averaged

7 percent in the first nine months, at the upper bound of the Duterte administration’s target range of 6 percent to 7 percent this year. The subdued inflation and robust domestic economic growth prompted the Monetary Board to keep the benchmark interest rates unchanged in its latest policy meeting on Nov. 10. The interest rates of 3.5 percent for overnight lending, 3 percent for overnight borrowing and 2.5 percent for overnight deposit facility were left unchanged. The reserve requirement ratios of banks were also kept steady. The board’s decision was based on its latest assessment that inflation continued to be manageable, with a gradual return to the inflation target range of 2 percent to 4 percent over the policy horizon. It said while forecasts indicated that average inflation could settle

Govt debt payments decline 4.2% to P440b


P28.50-P36.85 Kerosene

By Gabrielle H. Binaday

P20.75-P21.75 Auto LPG

THE government spent P440.54 billion to settle debt obligations in the first three quarters, down 4.2 percent from P418.134 billion it allocated for debt payments a year ago, data from the Bureau of Treasury show. Data showed both interest payments and debt amortization dropped in the nine-month period, even as borrowings increased this year. Debt interest payments fell 2.3 percent in January to September to P249.78 billion from P225.75 billion recorded in the same period last year. Interest payments to local creditors rose to P174.436 billion, while interest payments to foreign creditors declined to P81.315 billion. Debt amortization also dropped 6.4 percent in the nine-month period to P190.76 billion from P203.79 billion recorded a year earlier.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Tuesday, November 29, 2016

F oreign e xchange r ate Currency


US Dollar


United States












Hong Kong
























Saudi Arabia








































New Zealand







1.5680 Source: PDS Bridge

slightly below the lower edge of the target range in 2016, it was projected to rise toward the midpoint of the target range in 2017 and 2018. The board said the overall balance of risks surrounding the inflation outlook remained tilted to the upside, owing largely to the pending petitions for adjustments in electricity rates along with the proposed tax policy reform program. It also said the slower global economic activity remained a key downside risk. At the same time, the board observed that prospects for global economic growth remained modest and uneven since the previous meeting. Also, monetary policies in major advanced economies continued to be “asynchronous and the prospects uncertain.” Julito G. Rada

AGRIFINANCING SUMMIT. BPI Foundation Inc. brings together key players in the agricultural value chain to co-create and support inclusive and sustainable plans for implementation at the first ever AgriFinancing Summit 2016. Shown speaking during the summit is Senator Francis Pangilinan, chairman of Senate agriculture committee.

Of the total amortization, P107.06 billion was used to pay local lenders while P83.7 billion was spent to settle foreign obligations. The Treasury said in September alone, debt services dropped 3.4 percent to P39.99 billion as both interest payments and amortization decreased. Of the said amount, P32.6 billion was in the form of interest payments while the remaining P7.39 billion was for amortization. Outstanding government debt breached the P6-trillion mark in September following the weakening of the peso against the US dollar. Meanwhile, government borrowings climbed to P410.2 billion in the first nine months, following a significant increase in financing sourced from the domestic market. Latest data showed the government’s borrowings as of end-September 2016 increased 46.5 percent from P279.9 billion recorded in the same period in 2015.

CEBU Air Inc., the operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, signed an agreement with the government to provide discounted fares for the latter’s employees on official business trips. The country’s largest budget airline said it signed a government fares agreement with the Procurement Service, an attached agency of the Budget Department that entitles government employees to discounted fares on official business trips. The DBM Procurement Service, through PhilGEPS, intends to centralize the air ticket purchase of government agencies, which is noted as one of the most needed items in the government’s procurement operations. Under the agreement, all official travels of government workers will be granted discount and waiver of processing fee along with fees for rebooking. “With this partnership, government offices can purchase airline tickets faster and easier, as CEB is now part of their system of suppliers. We are pleased to contribute to this initiative, making air travel more convenient and accessible to our workforce in the government,” Cebu Pacific president and chief executive Lance Gokongwei said. Darwin G. Amojelar

MNTC set to finish toll road expansion By Darwin G. Amojelar MANILA North Tollways Corp. said it expects to complete before the end of the year the expansion of North Luzon Expressway Segments 2 and 3. MNTC said it completed the widening of the northbound lanes at NLEx Segment 3 or the Dau to Sta. Ines stretch in Mabalacat, Pampanga to better accommodate the expected surge of holiday travelers. The former one-by-one lane areas at NLEx Segment 3 were widened to become two lanes on both northbound and southbound directions. The P235-million expansion project involved the construction of new northbound bridges at Balem and Quitanguil, while the Segment 2 road widening project costing P2.2 billion expanded the two-lane portion between Sta. Rita and San Fernando to three lanes in each direction. Segment 2 is set to be completed before the end of the year. NLEx Segments 2 and 3 are the areas where queues of vehicles usually form during holidays when a lot of motorists leave Metro Manila for northern destinations. Based on MNTC data, vehicle entries in NLEx rose to more than 218,000 last year from 200,000 in 2014. MNTC is the concessionaire of both NLEx and SCTEx projects. It is also one of the original proponents of the Connector Road Project linking North Luzon Expressway and South Luzon Expressway.




Sand miner eyes Leyte steel mill By Othel V. Campos


HINESE black sand miner Nicua Mining Corp. has proposed to put up a $250-million iron-ore processing facility in Leyte to help develop the Philippine steel industry. The mining firm’s decision came at a time when the Philippines’ and China’s economic ties started warming up with a whole package of investments and financial assistance promised by China to the Philippine

government. Nicua in a recent meeting with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority stressed the benefits of having a strong steel industry, especially in the “depressed region of Eastern Visayas.”

“We will be creating a technical working group that will identify the required assistance this company will need. Once we have developed our steel industry, it will propel our economy towards industrialization,” said Peza director-general Charito Plaza. A black sand or magnetite sand miner, Nicua proposed to utilize 6.4 million metric tons of its mining output in Cebu to produce 3 million MT of steel and 27,000 MT of vanadium, a chemical ele-

ment used as base for steel alloy to produce hi-speed tool steel for aircraft and jets. Using heat from the kilns and electric arc furnace, the company is eyeing to produce as much as 90 megawatts of power to stave off its power requirement of 210 MW that will be sourced from geothermal power plants in Leyte. “Because of the cheap geothermal power, the steel produced will be in the lowest quartile of the world steel price,” the com-

pany said in a presentation. The Chinese company said the project could inject more than $5 billion annually into the economy and reduce the country’s growing steel importation, now valued at $3 billion yearly. The company said about $1.5 billion in foreign exchange savings wouls be generated once a national steel industry was established. Employment is seen to grow from an initial 3,000 to over 4,000 including facility staff and

security people. Nicua said the steel company would be majority Filipino-owned with the minority shares held by the Chinese businessmen. Nicua mines magnetite sand or magnetite iron ore crystals from the rice lands converted as mining areas in Leyte for export to China. The Environment Department suspended its mining license in 2012 after two fish kill incidents in nearby Lake Bito were traced from its operations.

D&L expects 2017 profit to grow 19% By Jenniffer B. Austria D&L Industries Inc., the country’s largest customized food ingredients and oleochemicals producer, said it expects net income to increase 15 percent to 19 percent next year on strong domestic economy. D&L president Alvin Lao cited an underlying growth in the economy, buoyed by increasing disposal income of households, which would sustain the growth of all businesses next year. “The elections are over but people are realizing that the economy has underlying strength. The fourth quarter is doing good and we expect to grow earnings by 15 to 19 percent this year and next year if the economy growth continues,” Lao said. “A 15 to 19 percent is quite respectable. We tend to under promise but over deliver.. We don’t want to be too optimistic also,” Lao said. Lao said the company’s fi-

Desco gets 80% in Iriga geothermal service bloc By Alena Mae S. Flores THE Energy Department approved the transfer of an 80-percent stake in Iriga geothermal service contract from Basic Energy Corp. to local company Desco Inc. “Yes, it’s already approved,” said Arnel Fronda, division chief of the Energy Department’s geothermal energy management division. Basic Energy signed the deed of assignment to Desco for an 80-percent stake in the Iriga service contract in January, subject to regulatory approvals. Basic Energy will own the remaining 20 percent in the service contract. “Basic received the DOE letter on Nov. 8. Desco will gain an 80-percent stake and Basic will retain 20 percent. In exchange, Basic will be fully carried in all activities leading to the drilling of the first well,” Basic Energy senior vice president Anthony Cuaycong said. Under the approved terms, Desco will undertake for and on behalf of the consortium the geophysical activities, including the conduct of a magnetotelluric survey, and all other steps required to bring the project to drilling. “The move allows Basic to concentrate resources on Mabini, as well as on the pursuit of projects with faster turnaround times and nearer-term revenue streams,” Cuaycong said. The department awarded Iriga geothermal service contract No. 2013-02-043 to Basic Energy on Feb. 26, 2013. Desco’s entry following an extensive review underscores its bullishness on the project. Desco will complete the predrilling activities in accordance with the work program previously approved by the department.

nancial performance would not be significantly affected by the weakening of the peso against the dollar as its special relationship with customers allowed the company to pass on any growth in the cost of raw materials. He said a stronger dollar would also help boost the company’s export revenues which now accounted for about 18 percent of total revenues. Lao said while exports posted rapid growth, export volumes remained low and consisted mostly of food ingredients. He said D&L would allocate P345 million to P360 million for capital expenditures in 2017, up from the P300-million targeted capital spending this year. “We don’t have any large capex requirements in the next six months. The capex will be spread over all our businesses. We can easily borrow from our existing credit lines to fund our capex budget since our borrowing is very light,” said Lao.

SOLIGNUM’S AWARD. Solignum (Jardine Distribution Inc.), the timber expert for 50 years, is awarded by Superbrand Marketing Interna-

tional Inc. as one of its platinum awardees at SMI’s biennial gala tribute at the City Club Ballroom, Alphaland Makati Place, Makati City. Superbrand is the only international award-giving body on marketing and branding in the Philippines. Shown are (from left) SMI marketing director Kenneth Rocete, Superbrands Ltd. chief executive and creator of Superbrands TV Jason Smith, Solignum’s Chanda Velardo and Mary Caroline Ildefonso and SMI chairman Karl Mclean.

Young entrepreneurs invent crop heat stress analyzer By Anna Leah E. Gonzales tion that greatly affects growth, THE Philippine Rice Research Institute said a group of young entrepreneurs recently developed a device that measures crop heat stress. The device, aptly called heat stress analyzer, was developed by Farnch Maverick Lorilla, Jan Rey Altivo, Rexon Lacaba and Ket Villacensio of Davao City. The device has a sensor connected to a mobile app that alerts farmers with heat stress presence and suggests measures to care for the crops. “Crop heat stress is a condi-

survival and crop yields, and this is due to the intense heat coming from the sun that causes drought and the powerful light that affects the proper photosynthesis process of the crops,” Lorilla said. “This device provides an accurate method to assess the condition of the crop rather than the ‘feel method’, which is the traditional way farmers still use today,” Lorilla said. The heat stress analyzer was presented by Lorilla during the 3rd Agrihackathon Symposium at PhilRice on Nov. 15.

The event aimed to equip future ICT practitioners with knowledge, experience and motivation to develop ICT support for agriculture. The device monitors the environment condition of the crop by measuring important parameters such as heat levels, light intensity, relative humidity and soil moisture. It also analyzes the data through the mobile app and warns farmers when their crops are being affected by too much heat stress. The device also provides statistics, historical trends and rec-

ommendations based on analytics to help users make smarter decisions. The analyzer is also equipped with pre-installed irrigation systems on the field and other automation components such as sprinklers, exhaust fans and growing lights to automatically control crop heat stress. “As of now, we are still continuing the improvement of the analyzer’s technology with the funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development. When the patent is granted, then we are ready for commercialization,” Lorilla said.

Philrice said in 2015, Lorilla’s team established CloudFarm Innovations Inc. after winning a startup competition from nonprofit organization called IdeaSpace. Since then, the group has been testing their device in six farms including banana and cacao seedling farms in Davao and a lettuce farm in San Pablo, Laguna. “The device has the potential to help analyze heat stress of rice. At the moment, we are also testing some ICT tools through our FutureRice farm here at PhilRice,” said Philrice ICT specialist Nehemia Caballong.

5 firms seek Globe, PLDT frequencies By Darwin G. Amojelar

CARE PACKAGE. The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, the country’s major private sector coordinator in disaster management, presents “The Care Package” high-energy biscuits during a simple ceremony at the Shell House Building in Makati City. PDRF said the nutrition-packed HEBs will be prepositioned as food packages for donation in calamity-stricken communities to effectively address the perennial post-disaster problem of food shortage. Shown are (from left) Aboitiz Equity Ventures first vice president for government relations DJ Sta. Ana, PDRF executive director Marilou Erni, Pilmico Foods Corp. territory business manager Risiella Arcena and PDRF president Rene Meily.

THE National Telecommunications Commission said at least five companies expressed interest to join the bidding for the mobile frequencies surrendered by PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said the regulator would propose to the Department of Information and Communication Technology the bundling of frequencies for the third company in order to compete with the existing players. Cordoba said the government would bid out in bundle the 700 MHz, 2500-2700, 800 MHz and 3400-3500 MHz that were returned by PLDT and Globe, including the 3G frequencies of Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprise. He said the terms of the bidding for the bundled frequencies would be finalized early next year. Cordoba said five companies, including Mel Velarde’s Now Telecom and businessman Dennis Uy’s Converge ICT Solutions Inc., expressed interest to join the bidding. A third potential player― San Miguel Corp.―backed out from challenging the duopoly of PLDT and Globe after its $1-billion joint venture with

Telstra Corp. of Australia did not push through. Instead of challenging the duopoly, San Miguel sold its telecom assets to PLDT and Globe for P70 billion. NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios earlier said the aspiring third player in the telecom market needed to invest at least P30 billion for the initial rollout of mobile telecom infrastructure. Cabarios also said the new player should match the investments of PLDT and Globe to catch up with the service of the existing players. Both PLDT and Globe were investing more than P40 billion a year to increase their network capacity in a bid to provide better services. Globe president and chief executive Ernest Cu said “this industry is very difficult to penetrate because the barriers to entry are very expensive to overcome and because deployment of networks are very challenging due to local government issues.” Cu cited the case of San Miguel, which early this year was on the verge of launching a telco business. However, following the sellout of San Miguel’s telco assets in late May, it was found that its existing telco infrastructure was barely adequate.




Melco Crown eyes more hotels abroad

Opec ministers attend a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at the Opec headquarters in Vienna, Austria on November 30, 2016. AFP

MELCO Crown Entertainment Ltd.’s billionaire chairman said he wants to be the first resort operator to use Macau as the launchpad for a global hotel brand, beginning with a $1-billion project in the the world’s biggest gambling center with ambitions to expand to Japan and other Asian countries. Casino tycoon Lawrence Ho plans to debut the company’s first Morpheus hotel, a futuristic high-rise designed by late architect Zaha Hadid, on Macau’s Cotai strip in the first half of 2018, he said in an interview in Macau Tuesday. Ho intends “to build something special in big jurisdictions like Japan or other parts of Asia” to expand the lodging brand aimed at “the most sophisticated international travelers,” he said. Along with developing a global hotel brand, Melco Crown is mapping a global expansion beyond its Macau flagships with casino projects in Cyprus, Russia and other Asian countries. The company is looking to

branch out internationally as the fight for market share against rivals Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. heats up in the former Portuguese colony after a two-year gaming slump. “It’s a global footprint that we are developing,” said Ho, the 39-yearold chairman and chief executive officer of Melco Crown. “We have done well in Macau and we want to see how we can do even better internationally.” The expansion plan comes as the casino industry has been rocked by the Chinese government’s detentions in October of 18 employees of Crown Resorts Ltd., which owns a 27 percent stake in US-listed Melco Crown. A group of them were formally arrested last week on alleged gambling crimes. Ho said the arrests haven’t had a direct effect on Melco Crown as it operates independently of Crown, and operators in the Chinese city of Macau could see a boost if the government clamps down on foreign operators luring its citizens to gamble overseas. Bloomberg

Opec seeks to seal production cut V IENNA, Austria―Opec sought Wednesday to defy expectations and finalize a deal reducing its oil output for the first time in eight years, in an effort to boost painfully low crude prices. “As I told you yesterday everyone is working very hard,” said Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei before the start of talks. “I think we are looking at a very positive meeting and hopefully we will tell you the good news when we finish.” It remained to be seen however whether the cartel’s big guns

Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran can overcome their fierce rivalries and agree who will do most of the heavy lifting. As Opec oil ministers went into a breakfast meeting in a plush Vienna hotel ahead of the official talks, oil prices were up slightly, recovering from losses on Tuesday and continuing their recent volatility.

In early London trade, West Texas Intermediate was up 69 cents at $45.92 per barrel while fellow benchmark Brent North Sea crude was 86 cents higher at $47.24. If they fail to agree a deal, experts expect oil prices, at under $50 per barrel already less than half 2014 levels, to head further south perhaps to $40 or even $30. In addition, it would deal a further blow to the already damaged credibility of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, 56 years after its creation. In September the cartel agreed in principle to lower production to 32.5-33.0 million barrels per

day, meaning a cut of between 600,000 and 1.1 million bpd. But finalizing the agreement has proven difficult, with Iran keen to increase oil output to presanctions levels and Iraq short of money to fight Islamic State extremists. However Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was optimistic ahead of the Wednesday talks and indicated that ministers are not simply aiming to keep production at current limits. “We are close,” said Zanganeh. “No freeze. It’s another arrangement,” he said. Opec kingpin Saudi Arabia had already laid the groundwork for a

failure by indicating on Sunday that it was prepared to leave Vienna without a deal. Recovering demand, said Saudi Energy Minister Khaled alFalih―who made no comment to the waiting scrum of reporters in Vienna―would “stabilize” prices in 2017 anyway. The UAE’s Mazrouei echoed the Saudi argument that, with or without a deal, the market would correct itself in 2017. A deal is still necessary, however, “to help the market recover faster than waiting six months” for the next Opec meeting, Mazrouei said. Fawad Razaqzada, a market

analyst at, said that Iran was “playing a clever game” against its regional rival Saudi Arabia. “They know full well that Saudi Arabia is desperate to see higher oil prices, despite the latter putting on a brave face,” Razaqzada said. Since Opec’s 14 members produce only a third of the world’s oil, their ability to reduce the global supply glut and influence prices is limited. But the cartel’s efforts to convince other countries, not least Russia which pumps 11 million bpd, to reduce output as well have fallen flat. AFP

GDP growth not due to Duterte government

Fastfood workers protest in US cities NEW YORK―Workers from fast-food chains, airports and other service industries rallied in US cities Tuesday as part of a nationwide day of disruption to demand union rights and a minimum wage of $15 an hour. In New York, a group of 500 that included airport and taxi workers joined a union-backed “Fight For 15” march in front of a McDonald’s fast food restaurant near Wall Street. Demonstrators briefly blocked Broadway before police arrested about 20 of them, with other rallies organized in Chicago, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale in the state of Florida. Workers joining in included cabin cleaners, luggage han- Fast food workers, supported by airport workers taxi drivers and members of the community, rally at dlers and other staff at O’Hare, McDonald’s to protest unfair labor practices November 29, 2016 in New York. AFP Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale airports. However, flights were not expected to be disrupted. Some 40 people were arTHE Management Association and tourism; rested near a McDonald’s near of the Philippines announced the She was also cited for her downtown Los Angeles early selection of Teresita Sy Coson valuable contribution in sustainTuesday after they refused poof the SM Group of Companies ing the BDO’s position as the lice orders to clear an intersecas the recipient of the “M.A.P. leading bank in the Philippines tion. Management Man of the Year and her leadership role in the Protesters also gathered 2016” award. substantial contributions of the peacefully shortly before noon The accolade is a prestigious SM Group of companies to naat Los Angeles airport and enaward that M.A.P. bestows on tional development, job creation tered one of the terminals withindividuals in the business comand income generation through out disrupting traffic or flights, munity or government for attainits huge investments in real esairport officials said. In Florida, the rally was also ing unquestioned distinction in tate, banking, shopping malls, due to include non-union home the practice of management and hotels, convention centers and health care workers as well as for contributing to the country’s gaming. members of the Service Emprogress. The conferment of the Coson was also cited for ployees International Union. award follows a thorough, strin- agement practice; among others. strengthening the identity of The “Fight for 15” camgent selection process. The disCoson was chosen for steering companies under the SM Group paign began exactly four years tinction of “M.A.P. Management the SM Group’s retail business as socially responsible corpoago, when fast-food workers Man of the Year” has only been to greater heights with her over rate citizens through the SM walked off the job to press for conferred 40 times in the five de- four decades of retail experi- Foundation’s developmental a doubling of the minimum cades history of the award. programs on education, livelience. wage, a demand that later The criteria for the award inShe was credited for trans- hood, health and wellness, and spread to other sectors. clude integrity, leadership, and forming the SM Group’s prop- the BDO Foundation’s programs The movement scored a big management qualities; contribuerty business into one of the in the areas of relief operations, win in April, when New York tion to nation building and values largest integrated property de- education, shelter and livelihood Governor Andrew Cuomo formation; effective stewardship velopers in Southeast Asia with which have improved the lives signed legislation to lift the within the confines of the highest investments in malls, residences, of many Filipinos all over the minimum wage in New York standard of business and man- commercial buildings, leisure country. state to $15 an hour. AFP

Coson is management man of the year

THE recent announcement that this country’s GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 7.1. percent in 2016’s third quarter was quickly seized upon by the spokespersons of the Duterte administration and touted as evidence of the Duterte administration’s excellent management of the economy. This is not right. The good performance of the economy in the third quarter—and, cumulatively, in 2016’s first three quarters—cannot be credited to the new administration. There are two reasons for this non-crediting. The first has to do with the economic concept of leads and lags. Under the lags part of the concept, an economic activity usually yields the sought-after results only with the passage of time— months, even years, after the initiation of the activity. What this means in the current context is that the good third-quarters performance of the economy is the result of efforts expended not during the present administration, which is only five months old, but during the period before June 30, 2016. President Duterte and his people definitely cannot claim credit for the 7.1 percent thirdquarter GDP growth, which apparently was Asia’s highest for that period. The other reason why the present administration cannot be credited for the economy’s splendid performance in the most recent quarter of 2016 is that Rodrigo Duterte and Co. have done next to nothing for the Philippine economy. In point of fact, one should be speaking of what the present administration has done to the economy. The bad economic climate that the present administration—the thousands of drug-related killings, the so-called pivot away from the US and toward China and Russia, the attack on the UN and its operations in the Philippines, the careless talk about martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the threat to disengage from the UN climate change treaty, the negative attitude towards the mining industry—have given rise to uncertainty in business circles here and abroad, which in turn have led to a slowdown in FDI (foreign direct investment) decisionmaking and a progressive weakening of the peso. The Philippines was already close to the bottom of the Asian FDI ranking. If not to the Duterte administration, to what does the nation owe the economy’s 7.1 percent third-quarter GDP growth? Three factors, principally. The first is the continuing strong inflow of OFW (overseas Filipino worker) remittances, which in recent months have totaled around $2.1 billion per month. The second factor is the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry, which really took off during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III. The third—and not the least important—factor was the climate of stable and certain governance that characterized the Aquino years. The Duterte administration is almost into its sixth month in office but it has still to show any significant accomplishments in the sphere of economics. That being the case, Rodrigo Duterte and his people will still not be able to claim credit if the fourth-quarter GDP growth rate again displays much vigor. That will still be a lagged carryover of the accomplishments of the preceding set of national economic managers. E-mail:

Ray S. Eñano, Editor




RBS fails England’s bank tests LONDON—The Royal Bank of Scotland is the worst prepared among Britain’s lenders for another financial crisis, the Bank of England said Wednesday, forcing the staterescued lender to raise more cash. The BoE, revealing its latest stress tests on Britain’s top seven banks, added that two— Barclays and Standard Chartered—also missed key hurdles but had taken steps to strengthen their capital positions. The stress tests, designed to see if the sector can weather a global recession and crashing house prices, found that four out of the seven top banks did not have capital inadequacies based on their balance sheets at the end of 2015. The four comprised HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society and Santander UK. “The bank’s 2016 stress test comprised a severe, synchronized UK and global recession with associated shocks to financial market prices. It also incorporated a misconduct cost stress,” the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee said in a report. The FPC added that, in light of the tests and action agreed by RBS, “the UK banking system is in aggregate capitalized to support the real economy in this scenario.” Royal Bank of Scotland is still 73-percent government owned after receiving an enormous bailout at the height of the global financial crisis. “RBS has agreed a revised capital plan... to improve its stress resilience in light of the various challenges and uncertainties facing both the bank and the wider economy highlighted by the concurrent stress testing process,” the group said Wednesday. The Edinburgh-based company added it would boost its balance sheet by taking actions including further asset sales and cost cutting, although it is not set to tap markets for extra finance. AFP

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney (center) hosts a Financial Stability Report press conference, flanked by deputy governor Jon Cunliffe (left) and communications executive director Jenny Scott at the Bank of England in central London on November 30, 2016. The Royal Bank of Scotland is the worst prepared among Britain’s lenders for another financial crisis, the Bank of England said Wednesday, forcing the state-rescued lender into a new capital-raising plan. AFP

US economy registers faster growth of 3.2% W ASHINGTON—The world’s largest economy grew even faster than initially thought in the third quarter, based in large part on a jump in spending, the US Commerce Department said Tuesday. According to a revised GDP report, the economy grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent, threetenths higher than the initial estimate published last month, which was already the fastest rate in two years. A consensus analyst forecast had called for a more modest upward revision to 3.0 percent, from the 2.9 percent initial estimate. The results showed an even more emphatic upswing at the start of the second half of 2016. Anemic growth in the first

half helped convince US monetary policymakers to forego a planned course of interest rate hikes during the year. However, the US Federal Reserve is widely expected to increase rates from their historically low levels when it meets next month. Based on a more comprehensive set of data, the revised GDP showed US consumers spent more on construction for single-family housing, while investment in non-residential structures was revised upwards

to 10.1 percent from 5.4 percent. In a statement, the White House noted that economic conditions abroad had not held back foreign sales, but acknowledged some temporary factors pushing exports. “Exports, which have faced substantial headwinds in recent years from slow growth abroad, grew at an annual rate of 10.1 percent in the third quarter, boosted in part by transitory factors,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. The data showed spending on durable goods rose 2.8 percent over the second quarter, 0.7 points more than previously estimated. Sharp gains in consumer spending on auto parts and retail sales in “other” non-durable goods, also boosted growth, including newly available data

from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. The personal consumption expenditures price index was unchanged at 1.4 percent. Jim O’Sullivan of High Frequency Economics cautioned against putting too much confidence in the upward revisions, saying the strength of the economy appeared “exaggerated.” “We don’t think the underlying trend has suddenly moved up sharply,” he wrote in a research note. “Still, there is certainly no sign of weakening.” The adjustment reflected data from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, as well as figures on monthly retail sales, motor vehicle registrations and electricity usage, according to the Commerce Department. AFP, Bloomberg

H&M, Zara, other chains grapple with sustainability trend By Sara Very APPAREL chains such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21 conquered the retail world by promising fast fashion: cheap, trendy and disposable. Yet there’s a growing number of consumers this holiday season who want just the opposite. Data shows that shoppers―especially millennials, the target market for fast-fashion companies―are increasingly looking for clothes made of higher-quality materials or they’re keeping their existing clothes longer. Some are even seeking apparel that’s been reused or recycled. More than 14 percent of US consumers looked for apparel and accessories made from natural materials in 2016, up from 12.9 percent last year, according to a Euromonitor International survey. Shoppers looking for clothes that were reused or recycled rose 2 percent this year. And more millennials looked for “sustainably produced” apparel and accessories than any other age group. This shift to so-called sustainable clothing is threatening the underpinnings of a fashion industry that wants consumers to rapidly change styles and move on to the next hot trends. “Certainly fast-fashion companies are doing a booming business, but there’s also an increased interest in vintage, learning how to sew and weave, and in repair and mending,” said Susan Brown, a fashion expert who serves as associate curator of textiles at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. “There’s the Brooklynization of the world―interest in higher-quality, handmade things that have a narrative story.” Holiday trend The challenge may come earlier than big retail chains expect. Consumers are more willing to

A shopper carries a branded shopping bag as she exits a Zara fashion store, operated by Inditex SA, in Budapest, Hungary, on Dec. 5, 2015. Bloomberg

shop at niche, smaller companies this season, according to Deloitte LLP. Some of these retailers tout sustainable premiums for longerlasting, higher-quality products― think, Zady or Everlane. “People want to buy trends less and less,” said Jennifer Baumgartner, a clinical psychologist and author of “You Are What You Wear: What your Clothes Reveal About You.” “It seems they’d rather buy items that are classic and will last a long time. The movement is happening, and it’s been gaining ground in the public eye.” She said it’s going to be difficult for the fast-fashion concept to use high-quality, eco-friendly fabric and not create “mass waste.” But fast-fashion companies are trying to respond. In 2013, H&M launched a worldwide garmentcollecting initiative encouraging

consumers to reuse and recycle their clothes. The chain also sells a “conscious collection,” a clothing line created entirely from sustainable materials. Zara launched its first sustainable line, Join Life, in September. The collection consists of simpler designs and clothing made from recycled wool, organic cotton and Tencel―a fabric that includes regenerated wood. Small amount But these pieces make up just 1.5 percent of Zara’s assortment and 3.5 percent of H&M’s, said Emily Bezzant, head analyst at the fashion-tracking firm Edited. And the very nature of highturnover fast-fashion companies strikes many as unsustainable, she said. “Generally, fast fashion and sustainability are not a match made in heaven,” Bezzant said. She said the biggest challenge

for retailers will be to make sustainable products affordable and accessible to millennials. There’s been some progress toward that end. H&M’s Conscious Collection has an affordable median price of $17.99. At Zara’s Join Life line, a basic strappy top cost $9.90―the same as their main line, Bezzant said. Lowering prices for sustainable collections would help these businesses stay relevant, as most consumers shop at H&M and Zara because of the cheap price tags. ‘Too poor’ Still, some in the industry are pushing the notion that millennials will save money by spending a bit more on longer-lasting items. Consumers are starting to realize when they are “too poor to buy cheap,” said Maxine Bedat, chief executive officer of

Zady, a clothing site known as the “Whole Foods of Fashion.” “The issue that we’re facing as a society is that 150 billion new articles of clothing are produced globally every single year,” Bedat said. “The challenge is to produce clothing at the design side of things that people want to wear more than seven times.” Christina Kim, a designer who displayed her work at a Cooper Hewitt exhibit on sustainable fashion, said it’s actually been more economical for her to use recycled scraps to make her clothing. Kim founded Los Angeles-based Dosa after moving from Seoul. Her idea started in West Bengal, where she began collecting old saris to incorporate into new designs. Kim tracked her expenses in both regular and recycled production. She found that when using recycled fabric, she was able to spend less on materials― but had to shell out significantly more for labor. With traditional clothing production, 40 percent of her expenses went to materials, 53 percent to labor, and 7 percent to shipping and other duties. With a recycled production, Kim spent 14 percent on materials, 81 percent on labor, and 5 percent on shipping and duties. The big companies are taking steps in a similar direction. H&M, for instance, has started minimizing waste during textile production. “Any leftover material or postmanufacturing waste is recycled into new materials such as recycled wool or recycled cotton,” said H&M spokeswoman Anna Eriksson. “The customer interest in sustainability is growing,” she said. “We believe sustainability is the only way forward if we want to continue to exist as a fashion company.” Bloomberg

Japan’s factory output ticks up TOKYO―Japan’s factory output ticked up in October, expanding for the third month in a row, government data showed Wednesday. Industrial production grew 0.1 percent on-month, following a 0.6 percent increase in September. “Activity is now well above the lows reached earlier this year, but there is still a long way to go to reach the peak ahead of 2014’s sales tax hike,” Marcel Thieliant, senior economist at Capital Economics, said in a commentary. The consumption tax rise two years ago hammered spending and pushed Japan into a brief recession. Wednesday’s figures come a day after separate data showed that spending among Japanese households fell for an eighth straight month in October, even as the unemployment rate sits at a 21-year low. Meanwhile, inflation was also weak with core consumer prices, which exclude volatile fresh food costs, falling again last month to extend its longest run of declines for five years. Next week, Japan publishes revised GDP figures for the third quarter. Initial data showed the world’s number three economy grew a better-than-expected 0.5 percent between July and September, for an annualized 2.2 percent gain. Japan’s economy contracted in the last three months of 2015, before bouncing back in January-March with a 0.5 percent rise on-quarter and then a tepid 0.2 percent expansion in April-June. The wobbly growth trend has put Japanese officials under pressure to deliver as economists increasingly write off Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to cement a lasting recovery, dubbed Abenomics. AFP

BMW, Porsche face ban in Korea SEOUL―South Korea is to ban sales of some cars made by Porsche, BMW and Nissan, and fine the companies over $5 million as a probe into emissions documentation widens. Seoul began investigating environmental certification on imported cars after Volkswagen last year admitted to installing emissions cheating software in some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. The so-called defeat devices could detect when a vehicle was undergoing tests and lowered tailpipe fumes accordingly to make the cars seem less polluting than they were. The South Korean government said Tuesday it had found certification errors in 10 models sold across the country―two from Nissan, one BMW and seven Porsche―and would slap a combined 6.5 billion won (US$5.6 million) fine on the firms. “We will allow Nissan and BMW to clarify their positions through a hearing and file a legal complaint if irregularities are confirmed,” Hong Dong-Kon, an environment ministry official in charge of auto environmental standards said. Porsche already admitted its errors with the certification documents and has stopped selling four of the seven affected models, Hong said. In August, the environment ministry banned the sale of 80 Volkswagen models and fined the company $16 million for forged documentation on engine noise levels, fuel efficiency and emissions. The scandal has taken its toll on the company’s reputation in the country, with its sales in South Korea plunging 33 percent in the first half of this year from a year earlier. AFP


Jimbo Owen Gulle, Editor




Review SH tax ordinance, Joy asks QC dads By Rio N. Araja


MID the proposal to revise the fair market value of properties in Quezon City, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday asked the city council to review an ordinance that imposes a .05-percent socialized housing tax on property owners.

Belmonte, the council’s presiding officer, is batting for a thorough review of Ordinance No. SP-2095 of 2011 to determine if it is still reasonable to continue its implementation on top of the proposed market value adjustment in the land market values. It has been a few years since we started imposing it to the property owners to raise funds for our socialized housing programs. Is it still prudent to continue implementing it? Did we not achieve our goal of collecting enough funds yet?” she asked. The ordinance’s review would cushion the impact of the tax increase of property values, she said, and called on the 38-member city council to review the Socialized Housing Tax Ordinance. Belmonte said she was able to talk to a lot of property owners who wanted the measure repealed. “This is one of the mitigating measures we are looking into. Maybe, it would be a big help to the property owners if we’ll review the SHT ordinance first before we consider implementing the proposed revision of our fair market value,” she said. The vice mayor said she, too, is eager to know if the socialized housing tax collections had been property utilized. She reacted to reports from the public

consultations in different barangays for the proposed adjustment in the fair market values that those who paid the SHT were never given a report on how the money was spent. “Did all the funds go to where they were supposed to be?” Belmonte said, echoing the questions of taxpayers during the consultations. Under the Socialized Housing Tax Ordinance, a property owner who owns a parcel of land that has an assessed value of P100,001 or greater is charged an additional 0.5 percent of the assessed value as “housing tax” on top of the annual real-estate property payment. Only 26 percent of property owners in the city were impacted by the ordinance, of which half were owners of residential lots, Belmonte said. In February 2014, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the socialized housing tax. The city government was able to generate taxes of P147.44 million in 2012 and P193.51 million in 2013 from the ordinance. In 2015, the high court ruled the socialized housing tax was valid and legal, and that it was consistent with Section 43 of Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.

NIGHT LIGHTS. With fireworks exploding overhead, the Greenfield Estate in Mandaluyong City lights up its giant Christmas tree on Sunday, November 27. The estate dubbed its celebration ‘A Christmas for Generations’ and said the tree was another reason for families to enjoy the Yuletide festivities in Mandaluyong. Lino Santos

Estrada: More lights at Divisoria By Sandy Araneta TO KEEP shoppers in Divisoria safe at night, especially this Christmas season, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has ordered the installation of more streetlights in the popular market district. Estrada personally led on Wednesday the inauguration of 137 brand new lampposts along Benavidez and Asuncion streets, two of the busiest vending areas in Divisoria that are now swarming with early Christmas shoppers. “I want everyone to be safe, most of all the shoppers who go to Divisoria during nighttime, that’s why we’re put-

ting up more street lights. And these new street lights will help beautify Divisoria,” Estrada said. With less than a month before Christmas, the mayor said the city will be installing more street lights in Divisoria to complement the security measures being put in place there for the holiday rush. Engineer Lorenzo Alconera, head of the City Electrical Division, said the mayor had observed that the old lampposts at the center islands along Benavidez and Asuncion, totaling around 1.5 kilometers in length, were not enough to fully illuminate the streets. “If you’ll go there at night, you will

MMDA to develop strip along Roxas


Former Energy and Cabinet secretary Jose Rene Almendras joins a Zumba session during the Barangay Wellness Fiesta event at Greensborough Subdivision, Sabang, Dasmariñas, Cavite on Saturday. Manny Palmero

By Joel E. Zurbano

Pangasinan pursues lot for rehab center LINGAYEN, Pangasinan— The Pangasinan provincial board has authorized Gov. Amado “Pogi” I. Espino III to sign and accept a donation of a twohectare lot in Burgos town as a site for a drug rehabilitation center in this province. As stated in Provincial Resolution No. 275-2016 approved by the board in its regular session on Monday, the lot “can be used primarily by the province as a venue for rehabilitation center in order to cater to and respond to the needs of those who are to un-

dergo treatment and change their old ways of drug dependency, to being drug free and go back to the normal society.” In 1992, former Burgos town mayor Demetrio Cabiles, who was the owner of the property, donated the lot to the provincial government so it could erect a new drug rehab center. Cabiles had executed a Deed of Donation, with the marital consent of his wife Belen, but the donation could not be completed becaue then-Gov. Aguedo F. Agbayani did not sign the doc-

ument on behalf of the province. The deed stated that if the rehab center does not materialize within three years upon the document’s execution, the property would revert to the Cabiles family without needing any authority, clearance, judicial action or power. But with the death of Cabiles, Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine U. Baniqued said Governor Espino instructed Col. Luchinvar Oro to meet with Cabiles’ lone heir on behalf of the provincial government. The heir signified his inten-

‘Nativity Scenes’ exhibit set THE Embassy of the Argentine Republic in the Philippines, in collaboration with the City of Davao, is pleased to present a collection of religious art paintings with the theme: “Nativity Scenes and Symbols” by Brother Edgardo Hugo Campos, an Argentinean visual artist and a member of the congregation of Brothers of the Holy Family in Davao City. This exhibit will run from December 2 to 15 at the Yuchengco Museum, 2nd Floor, RCBC Plaza,

see the difference. Sobrang maliwanag na. This is what the mayor wants. We can say the people are now safer at nighttime,” Alconera said. Since 2013, Estrada has embarked on a multimillion-peso street lighting program to light up the entire city, from major thoroughfares to barangay streets, as an anti-crime measure during nighttime and in continuance of his urban renewal and beautification program for the capital city. Well-lit roads, the mayor pointed out, also help promote trade in commercial and tourist areas such as Malate and Ermita.

Ayala Avenue corner Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City. Admission is free of charge and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bro. Campos lives and creates his art in Davao City and has been doing remarkable religious illustrations in the different chapels and churches in the area. His main advocacy is painting and sacred art. Special distinction is given to the icons and painted scenes with deep reference to the Gospel and to the Word of God in-

stead of traditional and modern devotions. In many of its expression and motif, one can link to Romanesque and Byzantine arts where the catechetical message and spiritual insight has preeminence over the realism and dramatism of the religious scene. More information and pictures of the event will be published in the Facebook page of the Embassy of Argentina (

tion to carry out the donation of the property to the provincial government, Baniqued said, but the latter had to clear the air in terms of its legality. The resolution, authored by Sanggunian Panlalawigan Members Jeremy Agerico Rosario, Clemente Arboleda, Jr. and Noel C. Bince, would kick off the program of the Espino administration to help drug surrenderers reform their lives, SP presiding officer Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim Jr. said. Dexter A. See

ACTING Chairman Thomas Orbos of the Metro Manila Development Authority is looking to develop a three-hectare government property along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard in Parañaque City, which he said could be converted into several possibilities. “We used our drone the other week, the intention was to look for waterways and we discovered this area, which is very valuable to the point that we can covert it to decongest Roxas Boulevard,” Orbos said. “We can convert it to another roadway, a commercial, bike lane or can even solve [other] problems in Baclaran, [like] the perennial problem on vendors,” said Orbos. The problem is, commercial establishments currently occupy the area, said Orbos. The property is a lane that’s more than a kilometer long and 20 meters wide, parallel to the southbound lane of Roxas Boulevard. “But this area is ours because the MMDA has the mandate to own waterways,” he said of the property, which then-MMDA

chairman and current Marikina City Rep. Bayani Fernando had renovated. “It is a parallel road between Roxas Boulevard and buildings. The waterway, it is under the supervision of MMDA. I can convert this into a road, bike lane, parking or commercial area,” Orbos said. “We have to determine its weight capacity if it can accommodate vehicles, but the first step is to claim it, it is a government property under the supervision of the MMDA,” he added. Orbos said his agency is now preparing letters to be sent to operators and owners of commercial establishments occupying the areas to inform them of the government’s plan. Orbos already informed Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez about their discovery of the property. “They are very much in favor [of the MMDA plan]. The next step is to write these private entities encroaching on our land,” Orbos said. The MMDA chief admitted the drone surveillance was only intended to find alternate routes for motorists and ease traffic in the metropolis. One of Brother Edgardo Hugo Campos’ works that will go on exhibit starting December 2 at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati City. The Argentine priest-artist, who lives in Davao City, does paintings and sacred art with Romanesque and Byzantine leanings.




‘Revive E. Visayas agri, fisheries’ M By Sandy Araneta

ORE than a hundred farmers and disaster survivors from Eastern Visayas provinces on Tuesday demanded Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol apply emergency rehabilitation measures to revive the agriculture and fisheries sector in the region devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” and subsequent calamities.

Groups from the region were on the third day of their Caravan against Hunger and Militarization in the National Capital Region as they try to raise awareness on their current situation. “The previous Aquino admin-

istration neglected us and plundered disaster funds and resources intended for calamity victims. Now, we are challenging the Duterte presidency to respond to our most urgent demands,” said Nestor Lebico, spokesperson of

Samahan han Gudti nga Paraguma ha Sinirangan Bisayas, the regional chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. Eastern Samar, Western Samar and Northern Samar provinces are among the Department of Agriculture’s priority areas. The agency, under Piñol, has earmarked billions of funds for increased food production and poverty alleviation in these provinces under the Strategic Areas for Agriculture Development program, but government aid and rehabilitation efforts are not reaching the intended beneficiaries, the groups said. Farmers have registered 85 percent to 90 percent production losses due to successive ty-

phoons, drought and infestations affecting coconut, abaca and palay, SAGUPA-SB added. Lebico said farmers in rural Samar and Leyte continue to experience worsening hunger, three years after “Yolanda” struck. Based on conservative government estimates, hunger incidence in the region is at 45 percent. “The Duterte government cannot turn a blind eye to the grim realities in Region 8. Before Yolanda, Eastern Visayas is the poorest region with the highest hunger incidence. The situation took a sharp turn from bad to worse,” the activist said. “Now, more than 90 percent of the 4.1 million people in the provinces of Leyte, Southern

Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Biliran are poor and hungry. Recovery is impossible as long as the agriculture and fisheries sector in the region remain neglected,” the peasant leader said, adding that the agricultural sector accounts for almost 45 percent of the region’s employment. “We have no lands to till, no government support and services for farmers and fisherfolk. Coconut farmlands are infested with coconut scale insect or cocolisap. Abaca is infested with bunchy-top virus. People who are trying to start a new life in the hinterlands cannot live in peace because of intense military operations. It’s like we are

stuck between purgatory and hell,” Lebico said. Coconut farming is the main livelihood in Eastern Visayas. In 2014, Yolanda destroyed all but 700,000 of the 12 million coconut trees in the region, damaging 80 percent of 1.1 million metric tons of crops. “Whatever was left of the coconut farmlands in Samar and Leyte was infested with cocolisap,” Lebico said. “Coconut production in the region has fallen from 2,000 nuts per hectare to only 200 to 500 nuts,” he added. First discovered in 2010, the cocolisap has infested large areas of coco farmlands in Luzon and Mindanao by 2014 and last year, the pests started to infest Eastern Visayas.

Laguna reviews juvenile program SAN PABLO CITY, Laguna— The San Pablo City Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council, Department of Social Welfare and Development in Calabarzon, and the City Social Welfare and Development Office have reviewed the governing rules and salient features of the Juvenile Justice Law or Republic Act 9344. The council, composed of village leaders and representatives from the police, women’s and children’s protection desk, barangay children’s protection council and local agencies engaged in children’s custodial and protection, is trying to craft a three- to five-year Comprehensive Local Juvenile Intervention Program. City Mayor Loreto Amante hoped for stronger collaboration among concerned agencies and private sector organizations in crafting a comprehensive juvenile program to look after the children’s welfare and keep the youth from infractions and undesirable acts. The Social Welfare and Development Office, which handles cases of children in conflict with the law, took the lead in the orientation on the Juvenile Justice Law implementing rules, including the amendments stipulated in the Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committee under Republic Act 9344. Roy Tomandao

LETTING LOOSE. To celebrate the Mindanao Week of Peace in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, officials led by the Office of Bangsamoro Youth Affairs lead representatives of locally-funded agencies in releasing balloons to underscore the event’s theme, ‘Healing for Personal and Social Transformation.’ Omar Mangorsi

‘More time needed to study federalism’ BAGUIO CITY—Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan wants the public to carefully study the Duterte administration’s proposal to shift to a federal form of government, saying that Filipinos “need much more time to mature” before a federal state is set up in the country. The government needs to address several pressing issues before it can shift from the current presidential system, Domogan said, adding that there would be a long transition period from one form of government to another. One of those issues is the treat-

ment of small provinces within a federal state, the mayor said. The federal constitution must include an “equalizing provision” to prevent small local governments from being discriminated in their share of the revenues and taxes of the state, he said. With the expected abolition of government agencies under a federal setup, Domogan said the government must also address a mass layoff of state workers, the payment of their benefits, or their re-employment. The configuration of the federal states, the country’s existing debt

and how it will be equitably shared, and the ability of the states to generate resources and apportion them to pay the outstanding debt are other issues that need to be considered, the Baguio chief executive said. He noted that the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao regions want to be treated as independent states because of their unique culture and traditions, their distinct terrain and other “justifiable reasons” that have deprived these regions of their adequate share of resources from the government. The peculiar terrain of the Cordil-

lera deprives the region of a greater share of the Internal Revenue Allotment because the current formula depends on a local government’s land area and population—thus the bigger land area and population for an LGU, the bigger a share of the country’s limited resources it gets, Domogan noted. He also proposed a unitary form of government with a twoparty system, so that politicians will focus on party platforms instead of personalities, which is happening in the current multiparty system. Dexter A. See

Kabayan IP folk reject hydropower plant along Agno KABAYAN, Benguet—Indigenous peoples in the 13 barangays of this town voted to reject the proposal of the Aboitiz-owned Hydroelectric Development Corp. to put up a 20-megawatt hydropower plant along the upper portion of the Agno River. In rejecting the proposal, 62 members of the Council of Elders voted against it, 58 voted in favor and eight abstained. “The consensus of the indigenous peoples and Council of Elders is to reject the proposed 20-megawatt hydroelectric project of HEDCOR Benguet Inc. from Amlimay, Buguias to Pacso, Kabayan,” the Kabayan In-


The Silang Municipal Police Station, led by officer in charge Sr. Insp. Romar I. Pacis, along with Dutch couple Kees Van Den Broek and Herma Van Den Broek-Benschop and Peejay Masungsong, treated orphan kids under Life Child Asia Foundation Inc. to a trip to the Enchanted Kingdom theme park last November 18. The foundation runs an orphanage adopted by the Silang MPS, which timed the trip in celebration of the 24th National Children’s Month Celebration and 5th Juvenile Justice and Consciousness Week. Benjamin Chavez

digenous Peoples Organization stated in its resolution. Their opposition was due “to the serious potential negative impact of the company’s tunneling project” on the abundant water supply of the Agno system that sustains their agricultural production in farms along the stretch of the river. HEDCOR owns a pre-development service contract for the 20MW hydropower plant in Pacso, Kabayan as well as a 45-megawatt plant along the Nalatang River and another 27-megawatt plant in nearby Bokod town. Under Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act

(IPRA), companies intending to develop, exploit and utilize the rich resources of the State must first secure the free and prior informed consent of the indigenous peoples to be affected by the project before implementing any activities within their ancestral domains. The Kabayan IPs claim they had earlier declared their exercise of priority rights to develop their water resources within their ancestral domain, the Agno River and all its tributaries in barangays Tawangan and Lusod, and all hydroelectric power plant projects in the locality are their proposed projects. Interested developers or investors they approve can only be

accepted as partners. “We, the indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples of Kabayan already offered our partnership to the Benguet Electric Cooperative, and we already worked and cooperating with the rural electric cooperative for our hydroelectric power plant projects, BENECO, being the franchise holder of power distribution, in the province,” the resolution added. According to the resolution, the Kabayan indigenous peoples sympathize and support the objection of Mangkew, Pacso residents to the proposed tunneling as part of Hedcor’s project.

The deal with Beneco includes the possibility of the community forging a joint venture or partnership in the electrification of Kabayan through the construction of its own hydroelectric power plant once the study is completed. This is to ensure reliable, secure and cheaper power supply for the remote village, the group said. The resolution, which was signed by the members of the Council of Elders last November 22, will be forwarded to the concerned government agencies, Hedcor management, and the various local government units for the information and action of their officials. Dexter A. See

IN BRIEF 9 captured in 2 Cavite buy-busts POLICE have captured nine persons in separate drug buybust operations in Bacoor City and Cavite City. Arrested after the operation in Barangay Niog 2 in Bacoor were Maria Jesusa Sanchez, 34; Renan Añasco, 36; Randy Añasco, 44; Allan Espiritu, 40; and Michael Lapuz, 39. In Barangay 30, Caridad, Cavite City, arrested were Rommel Depano, 36; Ronaldo Calderon, 38; Hajjie Inocencio, 34; and Dexter Samoy, 44. The Bacoor bust produced 22 sachets of suspected shabu, drug paraphernalia and the buy-bust money, the Cavite Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Group led by Police Insp. Marcelino Perez Male said. The suspects in Cavite City were caught during an active drug session, as police chanced on Depano throwing away a plastic sachet while holding a piece of aluminum foil and a lighter. Benjamin Chavez

Carmona folk nab 3 stealing motorbike CARMONA, Cavite—Residents of Barangay Cabilang Baybay here apprehended three men who were caught in the act trying to steal a motorcycle with a sidecar on Sunday. Officer on case PO3 Marlon Ramirez identified the suspects as Arjay de Leon, 20; his brother Arim de Leon, 19; and Jervei Abraham, 18. They were trying to get away with the motorbike and sidecar bearing plate number VL5287 owned by Carlos Napili from his home on 10619 San Roque Street here. Napili noticed the De Leon brothers and Abraham carting off his motorcycle and shouted for help from his neighbors, who responded and brought the three young men to the Carmona police station. Benjamin Chavez







IN BRIEF Paris towns shifting fast to the right MANTES-LA-VILLE― Emilie Fougerolles voted for the far left in 2012 and is “troubled by the racism” of France’s far-right National Front, but nevertheless she is seriously thinking of voting for its presidential candidate Marine Le Pen next year. The 34-year-old sales clerk lives in the Paris dormitory town of Mantes-la-Ville, one of 10 cities the National Front (FN) seized control of during municipal elections in 2014. Since then, residents are relieved that “nothing has changed in our daily lives,” Fougerolles said in the lowrise town some 50 kilometers west of the French capital. The string of jihadist attacks that have claimed 238 lives in France since January 2015 have contributed to the shift in the town of around 20,000 inhabitants. “We live in permanent fear,” said Fougerolles, who was especially shaken by the jihadist murder in June this year of a police officer and his companion in Magnanville, just a few kilometres away. One of her four daughters was taking a judo class only 200 metres (yards) away from the scene of the attack at the time. AFP

Japan’s solar energy boom fast fading CHIBA―The sun is setting on Japan’s clean-energy boom, despite projects like a massive floating solar farm near Tokyo, as the government cuts subsidies and bets on nuclear and coal-fired power, critics say. Workers at the floating power station, one of the world’s biggest, have just finished laying about 50,000 interconnected panels on a vast dam reservoir. Taking up space equivalent to several Tokyo Dome-sized baseball stadiums, the vast carpet of panels will supply power to about 5,000 homes from early 2018. The project is the centerpiece of a solar-dominated wave of renewable energy investments that followed the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The accident forced the shutdown of reactors that had supplied about one-quarter of resource-poor Japan’s energy. To plug the gap, electricity providers have been obliged since 2012 to buy power generated from green suppliers, including solar, at above-market rates―known as feed-in tariffs―fixed by the government each year.AFP

RETROSPECTIVE. The general atmosphere at the Pedro Almodovar Retrospective Opening Night at the Museum of Modern Art on November 29, 2016, in New York City. AFP

UN condemns ‘hell being endured by Aleppo civilians A LEPPO―The UN has condemned the “descent into hell” being endured by civilians in Aleppo, with the Red Cross saying nearly 20,000 people have fled a Syrian government offensive on the city in three days.

Diplomats said the UN Security Council would hold an emergency meeting Wednesday in New York on the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, where the army has captured a third of oppositioncontrolled east in recent days. The fighting has prompted an exodus of terrified civilians, many fleeing empty-handed into remaining rebel-held territory, or crossing into government-controlled west Aleppo or Kurdish districts.

Up to 20,000 people have fled the regime offensive in the past 72 hours, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. ICRC spokeswoman Krista Armstrong said the figure was an estimate and the situation remained fluid as “people are fleeing in different directions”. East Aleppo has been under government siege for more than four months, with international aid stocks exhausted and food supplies running low.

World Food Program spokeswoman Bettina Luescher said civilians were enduring a “slow motion descent into hell”. The French UN ambassador Francois Delattre said “France and its partners cannot remain silent in the face of what could be one of the biggest massacres of civilian population since World War II”. Government forces have advanced swiftly in their two-week operation, capturing all of the city’s northeast in a major blow to the opposition. The loss of their east Aleppo stronghold would be the worst defeat for rebels since Syria’s conflict erupted more than five years ago. The opposition has steadily lost territory in recent months to

morning, reports in Russia said. More than 250 civilians have been killed in the government’s assault on east Aleppo since November 15, including nearly 30 children, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The monitor said at least 10 civilians were killed in a strike in the Bab al-Nayrab district Tuesday and reported ongoing clashes in the Shaar and Tariq al-Bab neighborhoods. The Observatory said the civilian exodus continued Tuesday from neighborhoods now on the front line. An AFP correspondent said families were forced to sleep in the streets or in unfurnished apartments left empty by fleeing residents. AFP

Invitation to Bid Construction of Irrigation Facilities of Bulo SRIP DRT and San Miguel, Bulacan ITB NO. NIAR3-2016-BULO SRIP (CIF)-9

10,000 Rohingya flee to Banglaedesh DHAKA―At least 10,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh in recent weeks, fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, the United Nations said on Wednesday. “Based on reports by various humanitarian agencies, we estimate that there could be 10,000 new arrivals in recent weeks,” said Vivian Tan, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency in Bangkok. “The situation is fast changing and the actual number could be much higher.” The Myanmar army has carried out a bloody crackdown in the western state of Rakhine, forcing some 30,000 people to flee their homes. Bangladesh has stepped up patrols on the border to try to stop the Rohingya from entering, but last week it said thousands had flooded into the country. Those interviewed by AFP inside Bangladesh had horrifying stories of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces. AFP

government forces bolstered by a Russian military intervention since September 2015. Moscow says it is not involved in the Aleppo offensive, but a Russian defense ministry spokesman said Syrian government forces had seized “nearly half the territory occupied by rebels in east Aleppo in recent years”. “The careful and long-planned operations by the Syrian army have radically changed the situation over the past 24 hours,” said General Igor Konashenkov. Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his government to set up mobile field hospitals around Aleppo, the Kremlin said. A hospital able to serve up to 250 patients a day will be sent to the Aleppo region on Wednesday


The NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION – REGION 3, through the General Appropriations Act of CY 2015, intends to apply the sum of TWENTY MILLION PESOS (P 20,000,000.00) being the Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) to payments under the contract for NIAR3-2016-BULO SRIP (CIF)-9. Bids received in excess of the ABC shall be automatically rejected at bid opening.


The NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION – REGION 3, now invites bids for Construction of Irrigation Facilities of Bulo SRIP, DRT and San Miguel, Bulacan. Completion of the Works is required within Two Hundred Seventy (270) calendar days. Bidders should have completed within the last three (3) years with an amount of at least 50% of the proposed project for bidding from the date of submission and receipt of bids, a contract similar to the Project. The description of an eligible bidder is contained in the Bidding Documents, particularly, in Section II, Instruction to BIdders.


Bidding will be conducted through open competitive bidding procedures using non-discretionary pass/fail criterion as specified in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 9184 (RA 9184), otherwise known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act”. Bidding is restricted to Filipino citizens/sole proprietorships, partnerships, or organizations with at least seventy five percent (75%) interest or outstanding capital stock belonging to citizens of the Philippines.

POSTER. A man shows a poster of late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro at his home in Havana on


Interested bidders may obtain further information from NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION – REGION 3 and inspect the Bidding Documents at the address given below from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., Monday to Friday.


A complete set of Bidding Documents may be purchased by interested Bidders on December 01, 2016 to December 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and December 21, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., except holidays from the address below and upon payment of a nonrefundable fee for the Bidding Documents in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P 20,000.00).

November 29, 2016, as tributes to the former president are being held across the country. Castro died late November 25 in Havana at age 90. His ashes will be buried in the historic southeastern city of Santiago on December 4 after a four-day procession through the country. AFP

Cash ban slims down fat weddings NEW DELHI―Jatin Pal’s wedding was just days away and his family were finalizing plans for an extravagant multi-day celebration. Then Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned high denomination notes overnight, casting a dark shadow over the festivities. Within hours of Modi’s surprise November 8 announcement, 500 and 1,000 rupee ($7.25, $14.50) notes-ssome 85 percent of all cash in circulation―were withdrawn, leaving millions across the vast country out of pocket. The move―described by the prime minister as a “surgical strike” against corruption and tax

evasion―coincided with the start of India’s annual wedding season, when thousands marry during a three-month period deemed auspicious in the Hindu faith. “We marry once and you try to make it memorable in every possible way. But the cash crunch is proving otherwise,” said Pal. “This has soured the happiness and left a bad feeling.” Life savings are plowed into weddings in India, with a typical urban family spending up to $75,000 on celebrations, according to an estimate by Goldman Sachs. Traders say almost all weddingrelated purchases are traditionally made in cash from savings put

aside over years -- even decades -- but that the currency ban means many families are being forced to cut back. “Indian parents start planning and saving for the wedding as soon as a child is born,” Priyanka Gupta, owner of a bridal store told AFP, adding that she had seen a significant drop in business since the demonetization. Delhi-based wedding planner Shrawan Kumar said most of his clients spend between 1.5 million and 2 million rupees, but that some had scaled back plans by as much as 40 percent. Others have simply decided to postpone or even cancel. AFP

It may also be downloaded free of charge from the website of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) and the website of the Procuring Entity, provided that bidders shall pay the fee for the Bidding Documents not later that the submission of their bids. 6.

The NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION – REGION 3 will hold a PreBid Conference on December 09, 2016, 10:00 a.m. at NIA-R3 Office, Conference Room, Brgy. Tambubong, San Rafael, Bulacan, which shall be open only to all interested parties who have purchased the Bidding Documents.


Bids must be delivered to the address below on or before 9:45 a.m. (PST) of December 21, 2016 at NIA-R3 Office, Conference Room, Brgy. Tambubong, San Rafael, Bulacan. All bids must be accompanied by a bid security in any of the acceptable forms and in the amount stated in ITB Clause 18. Bid opening shall be on 10:00 a.m. (PST) of December 21, 2016 at NIA-R3 Office, Conference Room, Brgy. Tambubong, San Rafael, Bulacan. Bids will be opened in the presence of the bidders’ representatives who choose to attend at the address below. Late bids shall not be accepted.


All particulars relative to the eligibility screening, bid security, performance security, pre-bid conference/s, evaluation of bids, post qualification and award of contracts shall be governed by the pertinent provisions of RA 9184 and its revised IRR.


The NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION – REGION 3 reserves the right to accept or reject any bid, to annul the bidding process, and to reject all bids at any time prior to contract award, without thereby incurring any liability to the affected bidder or bidders.

10. For further information, please refer to: BAC Secretariat/s; NIA – Region 3,Tambubong, San Rafael, Bulacan Tel No. (044) 766-4839 and 816-8608 (SGD) VIRGILIO J. ILAO BAC - Chairman (MS-DEC. 1, 2016)


Cesar Barrioquinto, Editor




GENERAL AUDIENCE. Pope Francis greets people as he arrives for his weekly general audience at the Vatican on November 30. AFP

Obesity fight taken to the stores IRVINE―Enter a US supermarket and the dilemma is all-too common: Will what I buy be healthy? Fattening? A substitute? That’s when many wish they had a specialist at their side. “Shop with Your Doc,” a program organized by a network of hospitals in California, aims to help with that, stationing doctors and nutritionists in supermarkets to aid customers in navigating food choices in a country where a third of the population is obese. Chih-I Lee, shopping in a supermarket in the city of Irvine, admits that she has a weakness for fizzy soft drinks but assures that her three children do not drink them and they eat all their vegetables. Sara Foronda worries about diabetes, which runs in her family, and struggles to look away from alluring cookies on display. Mike Keegan wants to buy organic products but sometimes they are too expensive so he takes home substitutes. All are pushing shopping carts at a supermarket in the small city of 260,000 residents located about 60 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles. And suddenly they cross paths with a white coat-clad woman. She is Monica Doherty, a nurse specialized in family medicine. “We are educating consumers on healthy options to help them maximize their health,” said Doherty, all the while clarifying consumers’ misconceptions and giving advice including recipes. Substitute mashed potatoes with cauliflower puree, for example, or sweet soft drinks with carbonated water, no sugar added, she suggested. That is valuable advice to shoppers making their way down aisles crammed with mouth-watering temptations, much of it processed and packaged. Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, affecting 32.6 percent of the population, according to the World Health Organization, and 36.5 percent, according to the US government. Although California has a relatively lower incidence, at 24.2 percent, Orange County, where Irvine is located, has an alarming rate: six out of 10 adults there are obese. “Obesity many times is multifactorial, and poor choices in the grocery store is one piece of it,” said Richard Afable, the doctor who is chief executive and president of St. Joseph Hoag Health, in an interview. AFP

Impeachment vote against Park delayed SEOUL―An impeachment vote against South Korea’s scandal-hit president will be postponed by at least a week, lawmakers said Wednesday, after Park Geun-Hye announced she was willing to stand down early. Lawmakers from Park’s own party had backed moves to impeach her this Friday, but now want the issue discussed in parliament before holding a vote, likely to be scheduled a week later. Park said Tuesday she would let parliament decide her fate following accusations that Choi Soon-Sil―a secretive confidante dubbed “Korea’s Rasputin”―elicited more than $60 million in payments from some of the country’s top firms, including Samsung. Park has been named as a suspect in the growing investigation, making her the first sitting president to be subject to a criminal probe while in office. “Once lawmakers come up with measures to transfer power in a way that minimizes any power vacuum and chaos in governance, I will step down,” she said in a live video address. Critics said the statement was a calculated bid to delay impeachment, by splitting opinion on her fate among her own party and the three opposition parties. The speech appeared to convince some from Park’s Saenuri party, creating a roadblock for the opposition which requires a two-thirds majority in the national assembly to pass an impeachment motion. About 30 Saenuri lawmakers who had initially backed removing the president from office were wavering following her address, the Moonhwa Ilbo daily reported. The opposition insists Park must step down immediately and unconditionally, while loyalists call for an “orderly departure”. While she retains the presidency, Park cannot be charged with a criminal offense except insurrection or treason, but she could be charged once she steps down. Massive weekly protests have been intensifying over the past month, with up to 1.5 million people braving freezing temperatures in Seoul Saturday to demand Park’s resignation, according to organizers. AFP

HK lawmakers lose appeal to take up parliament seats H ONG KONG―Two pro-independence Hong Kong lawmakers lost their appeal Wednesday against a ban preventing them from taking up their seats in parliament as Beijing faces accusations of stepping up interference in the city’s politics. Baggio Leung and Yau Waiching deliberately misread their oaths of office, inserted expletives and draped themselves with “Hong Kong is not China” flags during a swearing-in ceremony in October. Speaking after Wednesday’s judgment, an angry Leung said the “invisible hand” of Beijing had intervened in Hong Kong’s affairs. Leung and Yau were voted in to parliament in citywide polls in September which saw several rebel candidates take seats for the first time, advocating either independence or self-determination for Hong Kong. The new movement supporting a possible split from Beijing for the semi-autonomous city has gained traction as young prodemocracy campaigners grow increasingly frustrated with a lack of political reform. Beijing hit out at the pair in a special “interpretation” of the city’s constitution earlier in November that effectively prevented them from taking up their seats because of the way they took the oath. Following Beijing’s protest, Hong Kong’s High Court ruled the two lawmakers should be disqualified from the legislature because their oaths were invalid, in an unprecedented judicial review brought by the city’s leader and justice secretary. Yau and Leung appealed, but

lost out Wednesday in a judgment that took Beijing’s ruling into account, amid criticism that the separation of powers in Hong Kong has been compromised. The Court of Appeal’s judgment referred to Beijing’s ruling as giving the “true meaning” to the part of the constitution that requires lawmakers to take an oath of allegiance to Hong Kong as a special administrative region of China. The judgment said the court’s duty to apply the city’s constitution, known as the Basic Law, outweighed the doctrine of separation of powers and non-intervention. Yau and Baggio were originally offered a second chance at taking the oath by the president of the legislature, but Beijing stepped in to prevent that. Its special interpretation of the Basic Law ruled that any oathtaker who does not follow the prescribed wording of the oath, “or takes the oath in a manner which is not sincere or not solemn”, should be disqualified. Wednesday’s appeal judgment said there could be “no dispute” that Yau and Leung had declined to take the oath. Leung said he did not believe he had done anything wrong. “The way the oath incident has developed from an affair within Hong Kong to what it is now is unexpected to us all,” he told reporters. AFP

POSE. Anastasia Ignatova poses during a photocall ahead of a gala dinner held for the international launch of the 2017 Pirelli calendar at the Cite du Cinema in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on Nov. 29, 2016. AFP

Review of Myanmar’s Asean membership urged KUALA LUMPUR―Myanmar’s membership of ASEAN must be reviewed because of its “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya Muslim minority, a senior Malaysian minister warned Wednesday. Khairy Jamaluddin said the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ principle of non-interference in member states’ domestic affairs was void in the context of such violence.

Myanmar’s army has carried out a bloody crackdown in the western state of Rakhine and thousands of Rohingya have flooded over the border into Bangladesh this month, making horrifying claims of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of security forces. “To ASEAN, we demand that Myanmar’s membership in ASEAN be reviewed,” Khairy, the youth and sports minister, told

the annual gathering of the ruling party United Malays National Organization. “The principle of non-interference is void when there is large scale ethnic cleansing in an ASEAN member state.” A video highlighting the plight of the Rohingya was played during the minister’s speech, local media reported. “Let us raise our hands in prayer

to Allah for the deliverance of the Rohingya people from injustice and from ruin,” Khairy added. On Tuesday, the UN’s rights agency said the Rohingya may be victims of crimes against humanity, as former UN chief Kofi Annan arrived in the country for a visit that will include a trip to northern Rakhine. Myanmar has denied allegations of abuse, saying the army is hunting “terrorists” behind raids

on police posts last month. But Muslim-majority Malaysia has recently upped its criticism of Myanmar for its handling of the crisis. Last Friday, Kuala Lumpur summoned the Myanmar ambassador while around 500 Malaysians and Rohingya marched to the embassy in the Malaysian capital carrying banners denouncing the “genocide.” AFP


Isah V. Red, Editor Bernadette Lunas, Writer




Dr. Ruby Dizon (rightmost) with Sanofi celebrity ambassadors Paulo Abrera (leftmost), Christine Bersola-Babao (fourth from left) and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan (fifth from left)

Protect kids from dengue S

ANOFI Pasteur, the vaccine division of multinational pharmaceutical company and industry leader, Sanofi launches “Be a Wall” campaign to mobilize the citizenry in a nation-wide campaign against the spread of dengue.

Dengue is one of the fastest-growing mosquito-borne diseases in the world. The Philippines ranks among the top three countries affected by it. Cebu City, for example, has just declared a state of calamity with over 5,821 dengue cases recorded as of October this year. Other areas considered as hotspots include Metro Manila or NCR, Region IV-A or CALABARZON, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Central Luzon and Western Visayas. The campaign aims to build awareness among Filipino parents and inform them how to protect themselves and their loved ones against the fastTHE Department of Tourism (DoT) is banking on new types of tourist attractions like farm and wellness enclaves to lure international and domestic visitors into the country. “Farm tourism is relatively new but once developed, especially with the mandate of the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016, inclusive growth becomes achievable for the benefit of farmers, micro to small business enterpreneurs and other community stakeholders,” DoT Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre said. Alegre said there is an increasing community engagement and appreciation for tourism as a way of life in the countryside. “More importantly, we continue to deepen our brand of hospitality, giving more essence to the unique Filipino tourism experience,” Alegre continued. The DoT official made the assertions as he joined travel and tour promoters, mass media and stakeholders during the launch of the Nurture Farmacy in Tagaytay recently.

Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan urges moms to spread the good news that dengue vaccine is now available

est-growing mosquito borne disease. It also aims to educate them about the multi-pronged ways to prevent dengue infection—vector-control, disease information and vaccination. “Be a Wall” campaign will also engage Filipinos by inviting them to connect, share their experience, ask questions, and join a community that’s building the nation’s resistance against dengue. It aims to remind them of their

role to step up the fight against the disease and to get involved by taking an active part in health matters that affect them and their families. “As responsible Filipino moms, let our voices be heard to raise awareness on dengue and let’s spread the good news that it is now a vaccine preventable disease. Each of us can now be a wall against dengue,” says Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan.

Christine Bersola-Babao expresses her support for the dengue vaccine and encourages parents to ask their doctors about it

“It’s great news that there is a dengue vaccine now available in the market. As a public affairs anchor, I’m on top of the news everyday and it’s very alarming to note the rising dengue cases from different regions of our country. It’s definitely a relief for Filipino parents out there especially a father like me can visit our doctors today and have our kids vaccinated,” adds Paolo Abrera. Celebrity mom, Christine Bersola-

Babao also expresses her support for the dengue vaccine. “I am a mother of two and I want my kids and family to be safe from life-threatening diseases like dengue. Aside from the vector control measures that we have been doing, we really need a new tool that will help us in fighting the epidemic, and vaccination is the answer. I encourage other Filipino moms to ask their doctors about dengue vaccination today,” she shared.

‘Farm tourism’ thrives on wellness buffs

Nurture Wellness Village owners Dr. Mike and Catherine Turvill welcome guests; DoT Assistant Secretary Alegre gives his message

From left: Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, Catherine Turvill, DoT Director Verna Buensuceso and Amadeo Mayor Albert Ambagan, Sr. led the ribbon cutting ceremony of Nurture Farmacy in Tagaytay

Alegre congratulated Dr. Mike and Catherine Turvill, owners of the Nurture Wellness Village for the opening of the Farmacy, a DoT-accredited ecotourism wellness, heritage and farm destination that provides a wide range of activities for varied guests, including tour of the Phytotherapy garden; weaving and cooking demos; interactive heritage activities and many others. The Farmacy is a logical adjunct to the 15-year-old resort and spa, serving as source of agricultural produce for

the catering services, as well as for application and treatment at the spa outlet. Situated just an hour-drive from Manila, the Nurture property is perfect for honeymooners, families, corporate team building activities and young professionals who seek a quick getaway from city life. To know more about Nurture, contact (0632) 401-9030 and 710-9786, (06346) 512-6273 or visit, nurturewellnessvillage.





O CELEBRATE the holiday season, the Enderun community held the “Enderun SustainabiliTREE” lighting ceremony at the college’s courtyard. Students, faculty, board members and special guests attended the event. Among the special guests were Carousel Productions, Inc.’s reigning Miss Philippines-Earth, Loren Mar Artajos, Miss Philippines-Fire, Shannon Bridgman, Miss Philippines- Eco Tourism, Melanie Mader, and Miss Philippines-Earth 2015, Angelia Ong. “Enderun SustainabiliTREE” is a Christmas tree lighting event initiated by the Sustainability Department of Enderun Colleges. This year’s display stands at 22 feet, made of new and used bamboo poles, recycled from last year’s Christmas tree. The event remained faithful to Enderun Colleges’ stance on sustainability. Enderun Colleges’ director for sustainability, Macky Maceda said, “Our sustainable Christmas tree shines its lights on the global call for climate action; moving forward, we will continue to promote renewable energy, materials recycling and sustainability education.” The “SustainabiliTREE” is decorated with LED holiday lights that are powered by solar and kinetic generators connected to bamboo bicycles, which were ridden by Enderun athletes and representatives from different school organizations. Guests were also encouraged to ride the kinetic bamboo bikes from Bambike Revolution Cycles. The Enderun community contributed to the event by creating ornaments from upcycled materials from this year’s paper drive, also initiated by the

Celebrating Christmas through sustainable means Enderun’s Christmas tree is decorated with LED lights powered by solar and kinetic generators

From left: Miss Philippines Earth 2015 Angelia Ong, Miss Philippines Earth 2016 Loren Artajos, Miss Philippines Eco-Tourism Melanie Mader and Miss Philippines-Fire Shannon Bridgman are the special guests at ‘Enderun SustainabiliTREE’

Sustainability Department. The night was capped off by Tuloy Foundation Choir’s performance of Christmas classics while everyone enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres and Oxford Landing wine served. Oxford Landing is a South Australian winery that implements “Vine to Dine” supply chain practices promoting environmental biodynamic

sustainability. These vegan friendly wines are exclusively imported and distributed by Philippine Wine Merchants. The “Enderun SustainabiliTREE” event was made possible by ERA Solar (Buskowitz Group of Companies), Pivot Edutainment, Bambike Revolution Cycles, and Philippine Wine Merchants.

Canadian Chiropractor in the country By Robbie Pangilinan NOT many Filipinos know what chiropractic is. Or that chiropractors spend five years and 5,000 hours in training after completing a four-year college degree (BSc or BA with a major in science), and that they are trained as doctors who can diagnose patients. According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. “A person who wants to be a chiropractor must be really determined and committed because this is not something you do like a business. It’s investing the same kind of energy and money to let’s say medicine or dentistry,” says Dr. Michel Tetrault (docMIKE), who earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, summa cum laude, at Life Chiropractic College. He attended pre-chiropractic courses at University of Manitoba. He goes on to say that many people he knew who chose to become chiropractors were patients first, just like he was. “I was a patient first so I personally saw its value to me. I was 21 when I first saw a chiropractor. I had an accident when I was 16 and I suffered for five years. Sometimes it was debilitating but I knew I just had to get up and keep going. It was only the medicine that relieved the pain and the doctors were not very helpful. I heard the orthopedic doctor and the therapist say that I did not need chiropractic care. So I went and explored that. And here I am now,” admits Dr. Tetrault who married a Filipina and has been here since 2006, sharing his expertise among Filipinos who need chiropractic care. He is saddened that there are only a few chiropractors here in the Philippines. What ChiropracDr. Michel Tetrault, also known as docMIKE, founded Mabuhay Chiropractic tors can do, any other Clinic whose clients include celebrities, politicians and businessmen profession can’t. So its very vital that a law should be passed in the Philippines. “Hundred and three million people here and only 30 chiropractors. There are more chiropractors in the downtown LA and downtown San Francisco where there are 200 hundred. It’s a tragedy. We do not even have a school here,” shares docMIKE, one of 10 full-time chiropractors in the country. Dr. Tetrault is actually surprised that chiropractic care is not very popular in a country with population that believes in hilot. The founder of Chiropractic, a gentleman and scholar, Daniel David Palmer was a Canadian who lived in the US and interested in manghihilot as an alternative health care. He was studying sciences then when he treated a worker who lost his hearing. Dr. Palmer suggested checking the spine, then he adjusted the spine and the hearing came back. So he started checking everyone, saying, “I don’t care what your ailment it is, I’m gonna check your spine and see if it’s connected.” And he kept finding spinal problems all the time for every illness people had. “We started developing programs and teaching about a hundred thousand people already and we need two thousand here in the Philippines,” recalls Dr. Tetrault. He established Mabuhay Chiropractic Clinic, now with centers in Forbes Park, Glorietta 4, Salcedo, Las Piñas and Bacoor. Two clinics will be opened this month, at Mall of Asia and Ayala Fairview Terraces. He is also happy to have celebrities, senators, mayors and CEOs who support and believe in his profession. DocMIKE, who’s been practicing for 37 years, only wishes that chiropractic practice would be regulated in the Philippines and to have the government sponsor a bill on its recognition. “Most multinational companies’ have plans that cover and reimburse their chiropractic expenses,” says docMIKE. Visit the Mabuhay Chiropractic Clinics at or call (02) 812-6903 for an appointment and learn more about “Natural Heath” on their website



Healthy habits that prevent insomnia INSOMNIA affects almost everyone at some point. Here in the Philippines, there are approximately 10,146,081 adults suffering from “inability to fall asleep” according to the 2014 extrapolated statistics of Health Grades, Inc. Insomnia can be caused by various factors, most popular of which are stress and unhealthy habits. Dr. Nicky Montoya says that these causes can be resolved “by [making] simple lifestyle changes.”

help doing the aforementioned, it’s best to avoid them at least four hours before bedtime.

Eat light meals in the evening

Practice eating heavy meals at breakfast and light meals at dinner so your body won’t be hard at work digesting food when it should be resting.

No TV and phone before sleeping

Blue light emitted from the screens of television and mobile devices increases melatonin, which in turn stimulates the mind and keeps you Be active during the day awake. Avoid using these devices at least one Avoid rigorous exercises at night because they hour before sleeping. activate your stress response system, which makes you more alert. On the other hand, breath- Follow a regular sleep schedule ing exercises can be done as they help quiet your Stick to a regular waking and sleeping routine mind and calm your body. every day to program your biological clock. See a doctor if your have chronic insomnia Limit caffeine and nicotine If falling asleep continues to be a problem after Drinking caffeinated and alcoholic drinks and three weeks of changing your lifestyle, consult a smoking can interfere with your sleep due to the doctor as it might be a symptom of an underlying stimulants these substances contain. If you can’t health condition.

4 simple ways to save your sight DID you know that there are 569,072 Filipinos who are blind in both eyes? In fact, the prevalence of blindness among Filipinos has urged the Department of Health to draw a five-year strategic plan, which started in 2013, whose main objective is to reduce cases of eyesight loss in the Philippines. To help reduce the number of eyesight loss, leading ophthalmic optics company Essilor Philippines, shares four important habits anyone can adapt to ensure good eyesight. Eat healthy food that promotes good vision Nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E can help ward off age-related vision problems for adults while Lutein helps increase optical density. Studies show that eating leafy green vegetables, which are rich in these nutrients, decreases the risk of macular degeneration and cataract.

monitors and take a rest when using computers or other mobile gadgets every now and then.

Get regular eye check-ups

Periodic eye and vision consultation and examinations are important part of preventive eye care. Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions up-to-date and to check for eye complications. Just the same, eye exams are essential for children to ensure normal vision development.

Use effective eyewear

The right kind of lenses can protect eyes from ultraviolet rays of the sun or blue lights, prevent eyes from future damages and correct existing vision problems. Technologies like Crizal, Transitions, Varilux, Eyezen, Xperio, Optifog and Myopilux have lenses Avoid excessive exposure to blue lights which are specifically designed to suit one’s It’s best to limit exposure to screens and needs, age or activities.

How to boost mental health EXPERTS reveal that healthy brain and mental functioning can be cultivated. Here are simple tips from MediCard Philippines to help boost brain power.

Learn a new skill and play brain teasers

When you learn a new skill, your brain creates a new neural pathways that help you Get enough sleep process and remember information better. Sufficient shuteye helps your brain form new Meanwhile, brain teasers and games that pathways to help you learn and remember. require you to decipher codes and pattern series can also enhance your problem solvDrink plenty of water ing skills, logical reasoning, creativity and Your brain cells require a delicate balance of imagination. water and various elements to operate efficiently. It’s important to be adequately hydrated because Practice meditation otherwise, your brain has to work a lot harder to Harvard researchers discovered that practicperform well. ing mindfulness increases the amount of grey matter in the hippocampus, which helps with Get moving self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Exercise releases endorphins which are es- Meditation also lowers grey mater density in sential for having good moods. Working out also the amygdala, which helps manage anxiety keeps your brain and vital organs healthy. and stress.


MIG AYESA ROCKS… about insurance Y

ES you read that right.

Insurance companies and Rockstars may not be theusual mix. Its almost like comparing night and day-- one is all about rules and conformity, while the other is all about living on the edge. When people talk about insurance, there’s always this preconceived notion that its boring and oftentimes complicated. Some even view it as a necessary evil in today’s modern times and something that only rich people can afford. So it was kind of surprising to see International Rocker MiG Ayesa talking excitedly about his newest song entitled “Fill My Cup” that he did in collaboration with FWD Life Philippines. “I never thought, I’d say this but I was actually very excited to work with FWD Life, MiG told Manila Standard shortly after his song made its simultaneous radio debut on Magic 89.9, Jam 88.3,

and 103.5 K-Lite. He said he himself was surprised that FWD is not the typical risk-averse type of insurance company. “You see I’m quite the anti-insurance guy. I think of it as one of those necessary evils of the modern world. But when I learned more about FWD, their credo, and mission it got me worked up to write a song for them,” he added. Igniting the Passion Revolution “The song ‘Fill My Cup’ is my own personal soundtrack as it echoes my take on life and how I look at opportunities and challenges. It’s all about following your passions, ‘filling’ up life with everything you can and never giving up. There are so many amazing things to see and to do in this world and we shouldn’t let our uncertainties and fears stop us.” “Basically we are only given a certain amount of time in this Earth and we want to fill it up with everything that we can possibly do. There are so many amazing things to see and do in this world, you shouldn’t let your fears stop you” the former lead star of

Fil-Australian singer-actor MiG Ayesa

Rock of Ages pointed out. “Their motto is not about, ‘Whoa, don’t do that…be careful.’ FWD wants to tell everyone—that they will be there to back you up, just in case something goes wrong. Remember, fortune favors the brave and FWD is there to help you be brave.” “Our vision is to change the way people feel about insurance, for Filipinos to see insurance in a different light, and ‘laymanize’ what it is all about and present it a way that is relevant and intuitive,” said Roche Vandenberghe, FWD Life Philippines’ head of Marketing. Filipinos are musical people. We express ourselves through music and

lyrics. And we thought what better way to communicate how we, as a brand, embody the Filipino spirit—their love of life, their resilience, their optimism, said Vandenberghe. “Fill My Cup” is a song about resilience and optimistically taking on life’s challenges and future uncertainties by just living life to the fullest. “MiG, was the perfect partner for us,” says Vandenberghe, “not only because he is a world-class musician and talented actor, but he also lives and breathes the FWD brand message. The song’s music video perfectly captures MiG’s zeal for life, as shown in the behind-the-scenes footage of

the studio recording and clips of his own personal experiences and adventures.” To lead the charge toward inspiring and fueling Filipinos’ zest for life, FWD Life Philippines is donating P50 every time “Fill My Cup” is requested and played on the radio. The proceeds will go to the Saint Rita Orphanage, a loving home that takes care of abandoned and orphaned children. On filling his cup MiG says he considers FWD as one of the biggest companies he has worked with, and considers it another achievement. When asked if his cup is already full, MiG says although he feels very happy and blessed, he still has a lot of things he wants to do both for his career and personal life. MiG has appeared in a few plays in the Philippines, such as Rock of Ages, Bridges of Madison County, and Curtains Up!, MiG says he likes performing for his Filipino fans. Mig admits he wants to collaborate with local artists, like Bamboo, Gary V. and Louie Ocampo. “The musicians I’ve been working with here at FWD (Insurance) are like my dream team. I love also writing and collaborating with people Nino Alejandro and Nyoy Volante. These guys are originally from the pop world but they transferred to theater so they live in that pop rock world. Also I’m a big fan of Bamboo. I think he’s phenomenal. I think there’s just so much talent happening here,” he said. Another rocker he wants to work with is his second cousin Manuel Legarda from Razorback and Wolfgang. “We’ve always talked about getting together and we’ve always been pulled apart for different reasons. We’ve never really had a chance to do something together. But he’s someone I want to work with. It’s just a matter of time,” he added. With the continued popularity of reality TV, MiG says he is also willing to be a judge on a talent competition just like the one he joined in Australia. “I would love to judge that. But no I haven’t been approached. I have done some stuff in the States but not here in the Philippines. It would be nice to actually do something back here,” he says.

Gomez family remains strong amidst trials

Embattled couple Lucy Torres and Richard Gomez face the media after filing a complaint against the three policemen that involved their names in illegal drug trade

“GOOD things emerge from negative experiences. We learn valuable lessons and most importantly, we feel the love and support of our loved ones, our family,” says Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, referring to the recent trial that the Gomez family is undergoing. The actor filed a complaint-affidavit charging three police officers of Grave Misconduct, Oppression/ Grave Abuse of Authority, Dishonesty and Conduct Unbecoming of a Public Officer. He was implicated in the drug trade during the investigation of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the death of Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. while detained at Baybay City Sub-Provincial Jail.

“The truth will come out, and the truth will set us free,” adds Richard’s wife, Rep. Lucy Torres Gomez of the fourth district of Leyte. The issue has affected heir daughter Juliana, yet the Gomezes believe it has strengthened the ties of their family even more. “Of course, there are things that Juliana still cannot understand, or has a hard time accepting, especially about politics. But rather than shielding her, we explain things to her and together discuss how to get through the problems. We are a team,” says Richard, who believes that the police officers he filed charges against are out to destroy his reputation. Robbie Pangilinan

YouTube Gold Play button for Star Music ABS-CBN’s music label Star Music has hit a major milestone when its YouTube channel reached more than one million subscribers, becoming one of the only seven channels in the country to have hit a million-subscriber base on the video-sharing service. For this feat, ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak, Star Creatives COO Malou Santos, and ABS-CBN chief digital officer Donald Lim recently received from YouTube the Gold Play Button, a framed limited-edition gold-plated play button given only to channels that pass one million subscribers. Star Music is also the first Filipino recording

company to reach one million subscribers, and the third ABS-CBN channel to do so. It is currently the sixth top YouTube channel in the Philippines. ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ leading media and entertainment company, is rapidly transitioning into an agile digital company with the biggest online presence among all media companies, and a growing list of digital properties. ABS-CBN also manages the country’s number one YouTube channel, the ABS-CBN Entertainment channel with almost four million subscribers and five billion views, and the second most subscribed channel, ABSCBN News, with 2.6 million subscribers.

CROSSWORD PUZZLE Thursday, December 1, 2016

ACROSS 1 Reindeer herders 6 Makes candles 10 Just for guys 14 Mr. Goldfinger 15 Paul Drake’s creator 16 Downs of “20/20” 17 Groovy 18 Anchor terminus 19 What never to tell (2 wds.) 20 Mi. above sea level 21 Coat for a house 23 Act glad 24 Buy a round 26 Two-door car 27 Hot-dog topper 29 Gentleman callers 31 Some poems 32 King and queen 33 Get a loan 36 Stay friends (3 wds.) 40 — Moines 41 Brink 42 Blissful spot 43 Metaphysical poet 44 Dilapidated 46 “X — the spot” 48 Virtual

49 Sandbags, maybe 50 Impede 52 Collar 55 He gave us a lift 56 Sanskrit dialect 57 Novelist — Zola 59 Hoedown honeys 60 Horse-trade 61 Polishes planks 62 Dispatch a dragon 63 Motor lodges 64 Frat-party wear DOWN 1 Pre-Tina Turner 2 Novelist Jean — 3 Chatterboxes 4 Cherry seed 5 — out (checks) 6 Red-ink entry 7 — Man Triathlon 8 — du jour 9 Firm up 10 Gumshoe 11 Spring bloomer 12 Like an acrobat 13 Clarified butter 22 Long sigh 23 Marching band composer 25 Gentle slope 26 Ungentlemanly ones

27 Kind of rage 28 Competitive advantage 29 Deputy’s need 30 Buffalo’s lake 32 Roasting ear 33 Predetermining 34 Half a fortnight 35 Counting-rhyme start 37 Draw forth 38 Decades 39 Turns right 43 Not casual 44 Prompt 45 Least common

46 Copper or zinc 47 St. Teresa’s town 48 Handy swabs (hyph.) 49 Records, as mileage 50 Break of day 51 Joie de vivre 53 Tynan portrayer 54 She preceded Mamie 56 Air-pump meas. 58 Kind of jacket

From left: Star Music adprom head Jayson Sarmiento, ABS-CBN chief digital officer Donald Lim, Google Philippines country marketing manager Gabby Roxas, ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak, Star Creatives COO Malou Santos, Star Music head Roxy Liquigan, Star Songs and New Media head Atty. Marivic Benedicto, and Star Music audio content head Jonathan Manalo

Isah V. Red, Editor Nickie Wang, Writer THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2016

‘OTJ:’ Who got the job? ON THE JOB. Erik Matti’s crime drama ‘OTJ’ is getting a reboot in the form of a six-episode series produced by online streaming service HOOQ. During it’s press launch, multi-awarded film director Matti (center) is joined by the star-studded cast of the miniseries.



S WRITER Mario Bautista said, Director Erik Matti might have just found the perfect platform to tell his stories—and that is on HOOQ, the video on demand service, which is pioneering the production of original local content.

In HOOQ, Matti has found a new home for his Cannes Film Festival alumnus On the Job, now known simply as OTJ, which makes its comeback as an exclusive online mini-series. “It actually struck me that with the kind of films that Reality Entertainment, Dondon Monteverde and I, have been doing over the past years… that for most may even think are crazy… stupid projects—to be so brave, to be so demanding as to what kind of stories we want to tell. We are happy HOOQ tapped us for this project. It’s in an unchartered territory. It’s going to be distributed in Southeast Asia and its an exciting format to explore, not just in terms of the kind of casting we could come up with but most especially with the kind of topics and themes we could explore in our stories. We are going to challenge the format. We are going to challenge how brave and how bold we could come up with these new mini series—and hopefully everyone would enjoy it,” Matti said at the grand reveal of the cast of OTJ the series held at the Tent of BHotel. On The Job, the film, presented Matti’s take on corruption among cops and has been recognized as one of the best films of 2013, winning international acclaim including best actor awards for Joel Torre and earning a standing ovation at several film festivals. The upcoming six-episode miniseries on the other hand will be shown exclusively on HOOQ, Asia’s first and biggest video-on-demand service but will also be released in other countries such as India, Thailand and Indonesia. Matti said although the story will be different it still follows the narrative about the cop, hired killer and the corruption within the system, although this time the media is put on the spotlight. The series will have three main settings: the town of La Paz, Manila, and the jail where convicted prisoners are used as contract killers. OTJ: The Missing 8 is really about four people--Sisoy, a corrupt local media man under the payroll of Pedring, the treacherous father of the town’s ruling political clan; Pam, a passionate and honest big network investigative journalist from Manila; and Roman, a principled hired gun regularly brought out of prison to kill. Their paths cross when eight journalists from Sisoy’s town are massacred by Roman’s group

‘OTJ’ lead cast members (from left) Bella Padilla, Christopher de Leon and Leo Martinez

The cast also includes (from left) Jake Macapagal, Nafa Hillario Cruz and Renz Fernandez

Joining the star-studded cast are (from left) Arjo Atayde, Dominic Ochoa and Smokey Manaloto

and buried without a trace a day before Christmas Eve. Pam jumps on the case just as Sisoy discovers his connection with Pedring can’t help him find out what happened to his friends. Despite their differences, the two work together to untangle the web of lies, controversy and corruption in a media circus where the truth keeps eluding them. Leading the cast is stage actor Teroy Guzman who plays Sisoy a media veteran in his 50s, Nonoy Froilan as Pedring, a politician, Bela Padilla as Pam, and Neil Ryan Sese is Roman, the

hired gun. Also included in the star-studded cast are Christopher De Leon, Arjo Atayde, Renz Fernandez, Smokey Manaloto, Dominic Ochoa, Levi Ignacio, Jake Macapagal, Ria Atayde, and Nafa Hilario Cruz. Leo Martinez reprises his role in the film as the villainous Gen. Pacheco and will serve as the link to the two stories. “In six episodes, we’re gonna tackle everything about media — what’s good about it, what’s not good about it, what’s scary about being a media person, what’s fulfilling about being a media person,”

Matti told reporters. “We will also be looking at how news are created, how news can sometimes be distorted in favor of other implications.” “The story starts when Christopher de Leon, a publisher of a local newspaper rejects the story written by Sisoy, the paid hack of a powerful political family. Then, eight journalists were killed on Christmas Eve. From Manila, Pam, an honest and hard hitting journalist, goes to La Paz to investigate the case,” narrates Matti. “When HOOQ was launched in January 2015 in partnership with Globe

Studios, our catalogue just showed programs from GMA, ABS-CBN, Viva and Regal. Now, we’re taking the next big step by producing our own original content with On the Job, the Series in partnership with Reality Entertainment, It is the perfect choice given the huge success of the original movie,” says HOOQ co-founder and chief content officer Krishnan Rajagopalan. “We in Reality Entertainment are really excited with this project,” says Dondon Monteverde. “Creating a mini-series for video-in-demand is a new challenge for us that will give us the chance to explore new, unique materials that will pull in viewers who are tired of watching the usual stuff on TV. We promise to come up with something new that will be truly worth watching.” ‘‘It’s about time that we expand the themes that we started in the original On The Job movie,’’ Creating a miniseries exclusively for a video-ondemand service like HOOQ will allow us to explore unique stories that will be sure to pull in viewers who will want to get more immersed in this compelling world we’re building,” adds Matti. For HOOQ, this is the first venture into producing original content. It is a natural alignment to HOOQ’s content strategy to differentiate its content and to play a part in growing the local content industry. “HOOQ Originals enhance our best-in-market content offering by adding exclusive local movies and TV series that are made for SVOD, and we are very excited to partner with both Reality Films as well as Globe to produce the first HOOQ original here in the Philippines,” says Rajagopalan “OTJ has become one of the most iconic films in recent history and we want to continue to elevate that high standard set by the movie,” says Jeffrey Remigio, director of Content at HOOQ Philippines. Globe Senior Advisor for Consumer Business Dan Horan furthers, “We are very excited to finally start production of this new venture as it strengthens our commitment to provide the best content for our customers whether they are at home or on mobile. From partnering with content producers, we are now taking the next big step by co-producing all original materials, and Director Erik Matti’s OTJ series is the perfect choice given the success of its movie counterpart.” HOOQ currently holds the largest catalogue of Filipino content of any video-on-demand service from top local studios like GMA, Viva Communications, Regal Entertainment, and ABS-CBN. It has also increased its kids content throughnew partnerships withViacom, Hasbro, MoMax, amongst others.HOOQ has also recently unveiled a mobile-first UX that enables customers to easily find movies, create playlists and discover even more content. HOOQ, a start-up venture between Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros., is an award-winning service that empowers customers with unlimited online streaming access and an offline viewing option to top Hollywood and Filipino movies and television content, on any device including computers, smartphones tablets, smart TVs via Google Chromecast and now also on Airplay and mobile web.

Manila Standard - 2016 December 1 - Thursday  
Manila Standard - 2016 December 1 - Thursday  

The digital edition of Manila Standard: A nationally circulated newspaper published daily in the Philippines since February 1987.