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XXX Palace chides Lopez 3 0 T H



VOL. XXXI • NO. 6 • 4 SECTIONS 20 PAGES • P18 • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017 • •

Observe due process on mines, DENR told By John Paolo Bencito

RELIEF ON THE ROLL. Carrascal Nickel Corp. launches Wednesday its ‘Kaagapay sa Pagbangon’ relief operations for Surigao quake victims, giving out clean water, rice, canned goods and other relief goods. The firm is the first to adopt an entire barangay (below) to help with the operations, with barangay chairman Tomas Delani thanking CNC for the help.

Rearrest 21 Reds, SolGen asks RTC

Mining shares lose P6b in 1 day

By John Paolo Bencito THE Office of the Solicitor General has filed a manifestation before lower courts seeking the rearrest and cancellation of the bail petitions for consultants of the National Democratic Front as an Iloilo court reissued arrest warrants against NDF consultant Ma. Concepcion Araneta-Bocala for her non-attendance in bail proceedings. Solicitor-General Jose Calida asked for the rearrest of 21 NDF consultants who were earlier granted conditional release by the lower courts to enable them to participate in the peace negotiations in Oslo. “Considering that the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway are terminated, the accused who were granted conditional release should be recommitted to the courts and their respective bonds Next page

By Anna Leah E. Gonzales

Govt comes to Napoles’ defense By Rey E. Requejo and John Paolo Bencito THE government’s top lawyer has asked the Court of Appeals to reverse the decision of a Makati court that convicted Janet Lim Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the pork barrel scam, of serious illegal detention of whistleblower Benhur Luy.

The Solicitor General Jose Calida on Wednesday defended his decision to file a manifestation with the appellate court last month seeking the acquittal of Napoles who sentenced to 40 years in jail by Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda in 2015 after she was found guilty of serious illegal detention. Calida said he was convinced

after reviewing the merits of the case against Napoles that Alameda erred in convicting her. “I reviewed it personally and I was convinced the decision was wrong. The RTC erred in convicting the accused Janet Napoles for the crime of serious illegal detention. When we look at the evidence, the transcript of records, Next page

PHILEX Mining Corp. said Wednesday that Environment Secretary Regina Lopez’s recent pronouncements have resulted in about a P6.5-billion loss in shareholder value in just a day. Lopez on Tuesday announced that the government is cancelling 75 Mining Production Sharing Agreements of companies with projects allegedly located in watersheds. The MPSA of Philex Mining’s wholly-owned subsidiary Silangan Mining Company Inc. covering the Silangan project was included in the list. “Following the press conference, the ensuing confusion and uncertainty surrounding... Secretary Lopez’s pronouncements has already resulted in significant economic harm to Philex public shareholders, including the Social Next page

MALACAÑANG on Wednesday said that Environment Secretary Regina Lopez needs to prove that due process was observed when she canceled the 75 mining contracts in her campaign against illegal mining. “As agreed upon in the last Cabinet meeting, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR] is to establish that it has gone through due process before enforcing the applicable laws, rules, or regulations,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement. Abella, however, said that the cancellation of the mining contracts was in line with the provisions under RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. The law, he said, prohibits mining applications to proclaimed watershed forest reserves. On Tuesday, Lopez canceled production sharing agreements or MPSAs of some 75 mining operations, claiming that they were in watersheds in the country and still in the exploration stage. Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that under the law, there are grounds for cancellation of mining contracts—one is “nonpayment of taxes,” another is the “non-deposit of a rehabilitation fund required of the mining companies.” “So if they did not comply with this, they would be closed outright,” he said. Mining companies who felt that they were arbitrarily closed by Lopez can seek remedies under the law, Panelo said. They can file a motion for reconsideration with the department and, if they are not satisfied, they can also appeal to the Office of the President, he said. On Wednesday, the non-government organization Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST) criticized what it described as the “divisive” leadership of Lopez at the DENR. Next page

Ampatuan Aguirre gets past CA son ordered amid solon’s protest Ramos Araneta free on bail ByandMacon Rey E. Requejo By Rey E. Requejo THE Court of Appeals has upheld the order of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court allowing the son of former Maguindanao governor and clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr. to be released from jail after posting bail. The court’s 16th Division denied the appeal filed by government prosecutors seeking the reversal of the order issued by RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes who on Jan. 9 allowed Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan, one of the accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, to post bail. The appellate court said Reyes did not err when she issued her order. In the instant case, the Court finds that public respondent did not act in a whimsical, arbitrary and capricious manner when she granted private respondent’s motion for Next page bail, the CA said.

THE Commission on Appointments on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II despite the opposition of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Aguirre failed to get his confirmation on Feb. 1 after Trillanes blocked it. He then called Trillanes a “son of a bitch,” “gagong sena-

dor” [stupid senator] and “sundalong kanin” [useless soldier]. Aguirre again had to face the commission and this time got the support of its members including Senator Loren Legarda, head of the commission’s judicial and bar committee, and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III. “It is thus with honor and privilege that the chairman endorses the confirmation of the ad interim Next page

FOI bill gets new lease on life; debates slated By Maricel V. Cruz and John Paolo Bencito THE House of Representatives will soon begin the plenary debates on the Freedom of Information bill after it passed the measure at the committee level on Wednesday. ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, chairman of the House committee on public information, expressed hope

that the House leadership led by Speaker Pantallon Alvarez would give priority to passing the measure. “We are working for the swift enactment into law of the FOI Bill considering that this is one of the priorities of the Duterte administration,” Tinio said. “We hope that, with the support of the House leadership, we will soon be able to take up the FOI Bill in plenary.” Next page

GIVE A HAND. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II claps while being cheered by his DoJ family and members of the Public Attorneys Office shortly after his ad interim appointment is unanimously confirmed Wednesday by the powerful Commission on Appointments at the Senate in Pasay City. Ey Acasio




Insurers set underwriting rules for people with HIV


HE Insurance Commission has partnered with insurance industry stakeholders to come out with underwriting guidelines for people suspected or are positive for the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.

“The guidelines determine the parameters to be considered for life insurance risk classifications and other underwriting purposes in cases of life insurance applications of persons with actual, perceived or suspected to be with HIV,” Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa said in a statement. He said the guidelines will help insurance companies offer full life insurance to people positive for HIV. “The issue on HIV requires a comprehensive approach in prevention, treatment and impact alleviation,” Funa said. “Despite free anti-retro viral treatment, the lack of life insurance cover for persons with HIV continues to be a source of eco-

nomic strain to them and their families. Thus, there is a need to provide insurance protection to these individuals.” Under the guidelines, “special underwriting standards would be applied into the existing life insurance policies.” Insurance firms may require applicants to voluntarily undergo HIV testing pursuant to Article III of the AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998. The commission said the “determination on whether or not HIV testing is necessary depends on certain parameters such as the age, occupation or lifestyle of the applicant.” Applicants who test positive “would be reported to the Medical Information Database

or MID as long as the applicant agrees in compliance with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012.” The commission said MID “is a database of all medical information gathered by life insurance companies, as part of due diligence in their risk assessment process, from declarations made on company forms, those secured from medical examinations conducted on the insured applicant or policyholder or those sourced from records of medical service providers from which the insured applicant or policyholder may have sought.” HIV-afflicted people or those suspected to carry the virus may be given insurance coverage if they are undergoing proper medical treatment, if they have a favorable risk profile, and if the results of the medical examinations required by insurance companies are within normal limits. The commission said people who have just discovered their infection may not be accom-


alized, but of all, including those perceived to be the ones destroying the environment.” Lopez announced the suspension of the operations of some large-scale mines and the closure of others early this week, following a series of mine audits that the industry has decried as biased and bereft of legal or factual bases. “The DENR keeps on challenging just the legitimate large-scale miners, and not the thousands of illegal small-scale

operations. This is myopic, considering the host of other pressing environmental concerns that the country is facing,” Castillo said. “What we see here is a failure to transcend one’s single-cause advocacy, and a regulator who is supposed to look after and unite all the stakeholders for the good of the environment,” said Dindo Manhit, PBEST convenor and president of independent think tank Stratbase-ADRI. “The DENR leadership should

be reminded that it is part of this administration, which promised better lives for the Filipino people,” Manhit said. “In order to fulfill this commitment, the President pushes for the country’s industrialization, and mining cannot be taken away from that equation.” PBEST is an environmental NGO advocating for sustainable development through sound policies and collaboration among the government, private, academic and civil society sectors.


President Rodrigo Duterte has declared his fight against hunger, poverty and underdevelopment. It is expected that, starting 2020, the Silangan project will, for the first 10 years of operation, generate P170 billion in revenues, P31 billion in national and local taxes, and at least 8,000 employment opportunities,” Philex said. “The project will promote the much-needed development in an area which, in the words of President Duterte, has long been neglected. Silangan Mining secured its MPSA for the Silangan project from the national government only after a thorough review process by all relevant government agencies and the endorsement of the host communities and local government units,” added Philex. Philex said that contrary to the statements in the press conference, none of the areas covered by the Silangan Mining MPSA is located in a proclaimed watershed forest reserve where mining is prohibited. “Silangan Mining is therefore confident that its MPSA is valid and can withstand any le-

gal challenge. While the DENR, as regulator, has the right, if not also the duty, to enforce faithfully all mining laws, and to act against erring mining companies, it must do so within the bounds of the Constitutionallymandated due process procedure,” Philex said. Aside from Silangan, four tenements of another Philex subsidiary, Philex Gold Philippines Inc. have also been included in the list for MPSA cancellation. Philex said all these MPSAs have been validly issued and, contrary to the assertions in the press conference, are also not located in proclaimed watershed forest reserves. “PX and its subsidiaries are willing partners of the Government in protecting the environment, and in its fight against poverty and unemployment, and in upholding the rule of law and supporting due process,” Philex said. “PX continues to support President Duterte in his drive against illegal and irresponsible mining, and rally behind the President in promoting responsible and community-oriented mining,” it added.

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“The sound management of the environment requires the involvement and cooperation of people and communities, not antagonism and animosity,” said Ysan Castillo, secretary general of PBEST. “We live in one big ecosystem, where everything and everyone is interconnected. We need a type of governance that is inclusive, not just of the margin-

Aguirre... From A1

appointment of Vitaliano Napeñas Aguirre II as secretary of the Department of Justice,” Legarda said in the confirmation hearing. Meanwhile, Aguirre II on Wednesday also said he was 99-percent sure that Senator Leila de Lima would not get killed in jail should she be arrested over the drug charges against her due to her alleged involvement in the illicit drug operations at the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary. “I don’t think so. I’m sure 99 percent,” Aguirre said. On Tuesday, De Lima expressed hope she would not be victim of summary killing as she vowed to continue fighting to prove her innocence. Trillanes on Wednesday again sought to block Aguirre’s confirmation and filed his opposition with the CA focused on 3 points: Aguirre’s alleged psychological and emotional incapacity, lack of integrity and lack of competence. He said Aguirre’s appointment would be “inimical to the public interest.” “This early, even before his confirmation, Mr. Aguirre has publicly displayed his penchant for prosecution and to pin down critics of the administration,” Trillanes said. He also criticized Aguirre for saying criminals were not members of humanity. He said those killed as a result of the administration’s war on drugs were deprived of due process. Aguirre said he had been “misquoted.” “I categorically deny that I uttered the words attributed to me that drug lords are not human,” he said. “I did not say that they are not human, but you could not equate these drug pushers as humanity. In other words, these criminals can’t be equated with humanity.” Senator Francis Pangilinan slammed Aguirre for failing to exercise restraint. “I think this is a concern for me. When we hold this kind of attitude towards drug addicts as being inhumane and lack of humanity, then we move away from recognizing and acknowledging that there is another dimension to drugs, Pangilinan said.

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Security System and its beneficiaries, through a sharp decline in its share price and has endangered the Silangan project, which is nearing its project implementation, by eroding investor confidence in the midst of a worrisome regulatory landscape that appears to disregard due process and interprets applicable laws as it wishes,” Philex Mining said. The SSS has a 22.43 percent stake in Philex. Philex said that to date, it has not yet received any cancellation order or any notice of a cancellation from the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources or any other government agency. The Silangan project is a copper and gold project located in Surigao del Norte in Mindanao with an expected investment opportunity of P40 billion. Silangan Mining is also expected to spend P6 billion over the same period for social development and infrastructure programs that will benefit Mindanao. “Mindanao is an area where

modated for insurance coverage “for a period of not more than one year from the start of the continuous Anti-Retro Viral Treatment.” “The one-year period is necessary for the purpose of evaluation of compliance with and efficacy of the ART,” the commission said. “The applications of persons with HIV presented with co-morbidities, medical conditions or other risk factors, on the other hand, may be postponed or denied by an insurance company due to the presence of such co-morbidities, medical conditions or other risk factors.” Citing Department of Health data, the commission said the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV per day had risen from a person a day in 2008 to 22 per day in 2015. “In September 2015 alone, there were 692 reported cases. A total of 1,309 deaths were reported from January 1984 to September 2015,” the commission said. PNA

Govt forces move to rescue German By Francisco tuyay SECURITY forces yesterday moved deep into the jungles to search and rescue the German hostage facing serious threat from his Abu Sayyaf captors who had demanded P30 million for his freedom. Elite army special forces and ranger battalions were mobilized in the hinterlands of Sulu and Basilan to locate and snatch back 70-year-old Jurgen Kantner of Germany from the ASG. The terrorist group has threatened to behead Kantner if the government fails to produce the ransom money within the next 11 days. The deadline lapses on Feb. 26. Col. Cirilito Sobejana, Commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, however, vows to locate and rescue the kidnap victim ahead of the deadline. “We are doing our best efforts to rescue the kidnap victim. We have enough forces to do that,” Sobejano said. Last year, the ASG made good their threat when they beheaded two Canadian captives—Robert Hall and John Ridsdel―over the failure of the victim’s families and government to come up with the ransom money. Kantner, along with his partner Sabine Merz, were snatched by the ASG while they were sailing off the coast of Sabah on board a 50-foot yatch sometime in November last year. In the latest video footage still being validated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the heavily armed bandits who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State, presented Kantner at an undisclosed safe house somewhere in Mindanao. Sobejana said the success of rescuing the kidnap victim will also rely on the support of the ci-

FOI... From A1

Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the House’s action on the bill. “The FOI, long overdue, is an essential component of the President’s anti-corruption drive as it promotes greater transparency, openness and accountability in governance,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said. Tinio said the bill provides full public disclosure and citizens’ access to information. Under the bill, full public disclosure provides that every Filipino should be able to get information on government records and transactions. T h e bill reiterates the Constitution’s mandate to disclose the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of certain officials, Tinio said. The bill also enumerates the documents or records that gov-

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should be automatically cancelled,” Calida said. Among those ordered arrested were Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, chairman and secretary general respectively of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) along with 19 other consultants—Tirso Alcantara, Ariel Arbitrario, Renato Baleros Sr., Kennedy Bangibag, Alex Birondo, Winona Birondo, Maria Concepcion Araneta-Boca-

Govt... From A1

there are many instances that will support the acquittal of the accused,” Calida said in a press conference. “We did not file our manifestation for the purpose of acquitting the person. It is just to let the Court of Appeals know what our opinion is on the matter. It is up to the justices of the CA to assess the weight of our pleading and modesty aside, the OSG is considered as the 16th justice of the Supreme Court because we

la, Pedro Codaste, Edgardo Fraginal, Reynante Gamara, Eduardo Genelsa, Alan Jasminez, Ernesto Lorenzo, Ma. Loida Magpatoc, Alfredo Mapano, Ruben Saluta, Jaime Servillano Soledad, Adelberto Silva, and Porferio Tuna. President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier ordered the police and the military to rearrest the NDF consultants, following the collapse of peace talks early this month. NDF legal consultant Rachel Pastores said the Iloilo regional trial court had already ordered Bocala’s arrest Monday after she failed to show up for a bail hearing.

Bocala, who faces charges of rebellion and murder before three local courts in Aklan, Iloilo and Antique, was released on bail in August last year to enable her to participate in the peace talks. Another NDF consultant, Ariel Arbitrario was re-arrested in Toril, Davao City. Pastores said that they already filed a manifestation to defer resolution of the OSG motion since there were still efforts to revive the talks between the Philippine government and the NDFP. With Rio N. Araja and Sandy Araneta

are partners with the judiciary,” Calida added. Calida said as a “defender of the republic and at the same time as tribune of the people,” it is his duty to see to it that justice is served to everybody, notwithstanding the personalities involved in the case. He said among the pieces of evidence that he said convinced the OSG of Napoles’ innocence in the case was the fact that Luy was not restrained and was even able to see his family three times during his supposed captivity. Luy, who was employed in Napoles’s JLN Group of Com-

panies, claimed he was detained by Napoles and her brother, Reynaldo “Jojo” Lim at the Bahay ni San Jose, a Catholic retreat house in Magallanes Village, Makati City, occupied by priests, and then at the Pacific Plaza Towers in Taguig City, where the Napoles family resides. The chief state lawyer also noted that Luy resisted and even shouted to his brother that he had not been kidnapped when National Bureau of Investigation agents rescued him at Napoles’residence in Taguig on March 2013. “So you can see the conduct

ernment agencies must publish in their websites, such as contracts with the private sector and those that are budget-related. “The policy of full public disclosure is not fully fleshed out in our current laws. The FOI Bill seeks to address that gap,” Tinio said. The bill also promotes every citizen’s right to ask for and receive information from the government, subject only to a limited number of exceptions that include public disclosure of issues involving national security, foreign policy, business and trade secrets, personal privacy and ongoing criminal investigations. The bill also sets the procedure for requesting access to information and documents. Alvarez earlier vowed to pass the FOI bill within his term as President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to pass what he called the “long-overdue” FOI law.

Sajid Islam was released from jail in March 2015 after posting P200,000 for each count of murder, or a total of P11.6 million, for the 58 counts of murder filed before the court in connection with the Maguindanao massacre. Sajid Islam, along with the other members of the Ampatuan clan, are accused of masterminding the Maguindanao massacre in which 58 people were killed―including 32 journalists―to derail the political plans of rival Esmael Mangudadatu, the incumbent governor of Maguindanao, for the

2010 elections. Reyes ruled that Sajim Islam’s mere presence during the three meetings with the other accused allegedly to plot the massacre did not constitute strong evidence of guilt to deny his motion for bail, and considering that he did not utter any word while matters related to the crime were supposedly being discussed by the other respondents. The CA noted that, based on the records, a hearing on the application for bail was conducted and that the prosecution was given enough opportunity to present evidence in support of its opposition to Sajid Islam’s motion for bail.

and behavior of Luy during that time belie his claim that he was being detained against his will,” Calida said, He stressed that as an agent of law, he is duty-bound to state the facts of the case and “not send an innocent person to the gallows.” While Calida said his interest is to see to it that justice is served, he also clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte had nothing to do with his actions on the case. “Where did they get that idea? The President has nothing to do with this. I’m just doing my job and President Duterte does not instruct his Cabinet members on

what to do. We are talking here about the rule of law and my mandate is to see to it that justice is done,” Calida said, adding that those who link the action of his office to an alleged deal with Napoles have “a fertile imagination.” Nonetheless, Calida said that it would not affect the pork barrel scam cases filed against Napoles and government officials, including lawmakers, since the two are different cases. “This serious illegal detention has nothing to do with the cases of Janet Lim Napoles on the pork barrel. These are two separate matters,” he said.

Ampatuan... From A1


vilians who could help by providing vital information of the location of Kantner and his captors. “We cannot do it alone, as a matter of fact, we need the support also of the civilians particularly the communities as to where the kidnap victim was brought,” Sobejana said. When asked where Kantner is possibly being kept, the JTFS commander declined to comment, although he added that they have an idea and are monitoring the possible location. “I cannot divulge to you whose group is keeping the kidnap victim, but we have an idea already and we will wait what will happen in the next few days,” he added. “There are a lot of challenges and we are trying to strategize, with so many battalions that I have, we want to cover all areas of Sulu particularly where the kidnap victim was brought to,” Sobejana said. As to the latest video footage showing Kantner with a bolo above his head, Sobejana refused to confirmed its veracitym saying the matter was just conveyed to him. He said there are 14 battalions of troops presently deployed within his jurisdictional area covering Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, all positoned against the ASG. “I will make the full use of my available manpower and troops under my command to decimate the ASG,” Sobejana said, referring to efforts to locate Kantner. “Hopefully we will be able to get the victim with no ransom.” The ASG presently are still keeping 27 hostages, among them Malaysians, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Dutch and a Filipino. President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier ordered the military to neutralize the ASG within a six-month period, covering July this year.




Quake victims to get China Red Cross aid By Sara D. Fabunan CHINA is set to donate $50,000 humanitarian assistance to the victims of the magnitude-6.7 earthquake in Surigao City last Friday night, killing eight Filipinos and injured hundreds of individuals. In a daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang also extended the condolence message of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to his counterpart Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. “Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a message of condolences to Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay Jr. of the Philippines over the heavy casualties and property losses caused by the earthquake striking the Philippines,” Geng said. The assistance, he said, is from the Red Cross Society of China. “Wang Yi expressed that China stands ready to actively provide assistance to the Philippines,” he said. Geng made the assurance after Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo asked for cash donations from International communities to buy water for residents of Surigao City and four neighboring municipalities where water supply had been shut down. Taguiwalo said the repairs to the water system might take a while and that her department must prepare for contingency plan to make sure the people in Surigao would have a clean water to drink. Geng said his government believed that under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, the people in the disaster area “could certainly overcome difficulties and restore normal production and life at an early date.” On Sunday, Duterte visited Surigao City and vowed his administration would provide financial help for the victims. On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella clarified the P2 billion aid Duterte mentioned during his visit was for the victims of earthquake. Abella clarified Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s claim the P2 billion was for the mining workers.

TRUE LAND REFORM. Militant farmers and land reform advocates stage a picket Wednesday in front of the House of Representatives to demand the passage of what they call genuine land reform bill and free land distribution. Manny Palmero

Minority Bloc backs illegal gambling drive By Maricel V. Cruz


HE minority bloc in the House of Representatives on Wednesday rallied behind the Duterte administration’s fight against illegal gambling. Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, the bloc’s leader, lauded the President’s issuance of Executive Order 13 ordering several agencies of government such as the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Department of Information and Communications Technology to cooperate in pushing the government’s intensified efforts to curb illegal gambling. “We support the President

in his campaign against illegal gambling. The prevalence of illegal gambling maintains, and encourages, a habit of defying existing laws to the detriment of peace and order in our nation,” Suarez told a news conference. “Illegal operators have a window of opportunity to legitimize their operations. We strongly encourage them to take it,” Suarez added. Suarez said illegal gambling operations have to stop even as the minority proposed a “unified recognition of the Philip-

pine Lotto and the Small Town Lottery as the sole legal numbers game in the Philippines.” “This aims to completely eradicate jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling while facilitating the expansion of this national legal numbers game to all provinces in the country,” the minority leader said. Suarez stressed: “The minority has been vocal against illegal gambling. We are encouraged that the President shares the minority’s firm stand against the proliferation of jueteng, masiao, and other illegal numbers games in the country,.” Suarez said due to the persistence of illegal gambling, the government posted losses of up to P20 billion annually. He said the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office is mandated by law to raise funds for health and welfare programs,

which it does by supervising legal lottery games. “The P20 billion could afford the PCSO with funds to defray the costs of health, medical and other charitable programs,” Suarez said.. Suarez said apart from being a financial drain, illegal gambling lacks regulation and transparency. “Bettors lose money as ‘winning numbers’ draws are rigged to the advantage of the operators,” Suarez said. “We recognize the cultural roots of numbers games in our country, which is why the government sought to regulate its operation through STL. The aim of STL, to provide a regulated, transparent numbers game which redounds to the general welfare, cannot be achieved if illegal numbers games persist,” Suarez added.

Proposed powers could clear roadblocks—Poe By Macon Araneta THE proposed emergency powers sought by the Executive to solve traffic could clear roadblocks in completing the P2.8billion common station project that has been delayed for several years, Senator Grace Poe said Wednesday. Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services and principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1284 or the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, said the government and the private sector could invoke some provisions in the emergency powers measure to avoid delays in the construction of the13,700-sqm

common station project. The common station project would connect three elevated urban railways—LRT-1, Edsa MRT-3 and the proposed MRT-7. She said the emergency powers bill was currently being deliberated upon in Senate plenary. Poe said: “It [emergency powers] will help... because I think there’s also certain rights-of-way acquisition. “It will prevent the lower courts from issuing temporary restraining orders and injunctions. It will harmonize the laws of the local governments units when it comes to traffic to be under the traffic czar. “And it will also allow the government to get into a

specialized form of procurement like negotiated procurement.” Poe said allowing only the high court to issue injunctions would “discourage the not very serious contenders” and those who would deliberately delay the common station project. According to Poe, the bill’s provision on negotiated procurement would allow the proper maintenance of the trains since “only a few players” have the financial and technical capability. “This is very important because in maintaining the trains, you only have a few players that are capable enough to maintain those trains. So you need negotiated procurement because they

have the technical, legal and financial capability,” she added. The senator also called on her colleagues to speed up deliberations on the bill and finally put the measure to a vote to enable the government to start with critical infrastructure projects and provide relief to the public. Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian wants the government to explore options to generate additional income from the project by maximizing the value of the projected foot traffic through the station. He said the government could make at least P182.5 million per year (assuming P1 of potential income per pedestrian x 500,000

x 365 days) if it bidded out the value of foot traffic to be generated from the government undertaking. “The foot traffic within the station will be an asset of the government because government created it. The income from foot traffic can be used to subsidize the station’s expenses, and therefore cut down train fares. This way, we can add even more value to this project for the general public,” he said. He added the foot traffic value could still be included in the contract, which is still under review by the National Economic and Development Authority.

DTI conducting tests on China’s steel cargo By Rio N. Araja

COMMUNICATIONS AGREEMENT. Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Noel Puyat and PCOO Assistant Secretary Ana Maria Banaag propose a toast Tuesday to the officials of China Radio International led by its president Wang Gengnian following the signing of an agreement at the Philippine Information Agency in Quezon City.

THE Department of Trade and Industry is now conducting the required tests to determine the traceability, quality and safety of the 20,000 metric tons of steel cargo from China worth half a billion pesos at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. At a news conference in Quezon City, Undersecretary and concurrent chief of DTI’s Consumers Protection Group Ted Pascua disclosed the department’s action on the importation of substandard or fake construction materials that entered the country. “We are now conducting a required test procedure on a reported construction materials, specifi-

cally the steel rebar cargo, at the SBMA to ascertain its traceability, quality and safety pursuant to the law,” he said. On Dec. 8 last year, the questioned importation of the steel cargo was the subject of DTI’s cancellation or withdrawal of its import commodity clearance, the legal basis of its import entry documents from the Bureau of customs. Despite the ICC cancellation, truckloads of steel cargo were released on Dec. 19, and sold to the consuming public. Pascua welcomed the complaint of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters about the entry of the 20,000 metric tons of substandard steel bars.

LRA launches ‘Aksyon Agad Center’to mark its 114th year THE Land Registration Authority has launched its “LRA Aksyon Agad Center” as the centerpiece project as it celebrated its 114th anniversary recently with the launch of four new initiatives that aim to provide faster, better and stronger service to the public. LRA Aksyon Agad Center is a one-stop interactive support system that receives inquiries and concerns from the public, notably updates on status of transactions and complaints. This is first in the list of LRA’s new projects for 2017, the Authority said in a statement. The hotline directs the call to the respective LRA-Register of Deeds office involved and provides feedback to the client. Callers are advised to contact the LRA Aksyon Agad Center via sms (09193549809/0905-2586289), email (customerservice@lra. or landline (9211383). The other key projects in the pipeline are the LRA Queuing System for faster and more efficient transactions at the central office; Central Office LAN (Local Area Network) for improved service delivery and inter-agency communication; and Juan Konek Free Public Wi-Fi that gives the public free Internet access when they visit the LRA office. LRA OIC-Administrator Robert Nomar Leyretana led the anniversary celebration and action center launch at the LRA Central Office in East Avenue, Quezon City. The event assembled officials and employees from LRA and from the Department of Justice headed by Undersecretary Deo Marco. LRA, an agency under DoJ, is responsible for issuing decrees of registration and certificates of title and register documents, patents and other land transaction for the benefit of landowners, agrarian reformbeneficiaries and the registering public in general. This year’s theme was “LRA: Surpassing the Challenges of Bringing Quality Standards Through Genuine Commitment to Excellence and Public Service.” “This is a fitting affirmation of what LRA has achieved for more than 100 years as the reliable vanguard of land registration and property rights in the country,” said Leyretana. “With these new services we are launching...LRA is in a far better position to deliver faster, more efficient and professional service to the public.”





Adelle Chua, Editor

Confusing everyone


EFORE the last election campaign, supporters of then-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte made a virtue out of his on-again off-again attitude toward seeking the presidency. “The mayor loves to confuse the enemy,” one campaign spokesman said. “He holds his cards close to his chest. He doesn’t want anyone to read them. It’s just a strategy to confuse the enemy.” For better or for worse, that strategy paid off and Mr. Duterte became the country’s 16th president last year on a promise of change. Today, seven months into his term as President, Mr. Duterte still seems

to be applying the same strategy of being unpredictable—but this confuses not only his enemies, but the general public, people who rely on him for leadership and guidance. For instance, when the President spoke Sunday before victims of a powerful earthquake that caused widespread damage and panic in Surigao City and pledged to release P2 billion to help them recover, there was no reason to doubt his sincerity and willingness to help. No reason, that is, except denials from the Palace issued the next day by his own spokesmen, who said there was no P2 billion fund for Surigao after all. That money, they said, was aimed at cushioning the impact of the government’s plan to shut down or suspend

28 major mines over environmental concerns. A denial of that denial came a day later, again from the Palace, leaving shaken residents of Surigao, who face the monumental task of rebuilding their damaged city, dazed and confused. The mining closures, too, have brought uncertainty to an industry that pays more than P16 billion a year in taxes. The Finance Department eased some of these concerns by announcing that the President and his Cabinet had agreed to review the closures ordered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources—only to have those assurances dashed when Mr. Duterte warned

mining companies that they would be shut down if they did not clean up the mess left by their operations. Nobody wants to do business in an uncertain environment, and the confusion over the mining closures could cost the country billions of dollars in investments that might have come in under more stable circumstances. As President, Mr. Duterte is expected to bring some form of stability, and not keep everyone guessing. But what can we expect from a politician who says that only two out of every five statements he makes is true? Mr. Duterte says he finds this funny; we find it is a recipe for confusion that does nothing to help the country move forward. DUTY CALLS FLORENCIO FIANZA

Reviving the Constabulary and ROTC

of Davao City, then perhaps they can’t negotiate with anyone. Either that, or maybe they never really wanted peace from the very beginning. *** Like traditional politicians who will not accept blame for anything wrong they’ve done, the Communists are now saying that the collapse of the talks is really the fault of Duterte and the military. But instead of regaining some sympathy in the eyes of the citizenry by playing the blame game, they seem to be digging a deeper and deeper hole for themselves. Leaders and spokesmen of the rebels, for instance, have theorized that the three troops killed in a hail of rebel bullets in Bukidnon were actually the victims of ill-intentioned “friendly fire.” From Utrecht, top NDF adviser Luis Jalandoni claimed that the three were the

ABOUT two weeks ago, the issue of reviving the defunct Philippine Constabulary and the Reserve officer Training Corps came out. It was President Duterte who brought up the idea about the constabulary. He wants it to be the one to go after PNP scalawags. This was after receiving some flak for saying that the Armed Forces will go after corrupt PNP personnel. Former President Ramos said that we should just let the Philippine Constabulary rest in peace. He does not believe there is a need to resurrect it. Setting nostalgia aside, is there a case for reviving the constabulary? The PC was organized during the American colonial period on Aug. 8, 1901 to suppress brigandage and the remnants of the Philippine revolutionary forces still scattered over the country that did not require military responses. Another reason was also the absence of police forces in many municipalities throughout the country. All the officers were American at first but gradually, Filipinos were appointed until 1917 when Rafael Crame was named as its chief and served as its head for ten years. It was the longest stewardship until General Fidel Ramos broke the record. For the next 90 years, the constabulary performed its mission with pride and distinction. Because the 1987 Constitution mandated the establishment of a national police force that is civilian in character, the constabulary was abolished and all its personnel were absorbed by the new Philippine National Police. The Medal of Valor, the highest award for bravery and gallantry in action was started by the Constabulary giving the first award in 1902. It went on to pacify Mindanao and the rest of the country, putting down many local uprisings. At the height of its strength, the PC consisted of about 33,000 officers and men. It was a unique organization because although performing law enforcement functions, it was also a branch of the Armed Forces. There were few like it in the world. The two that can come close to it are the Guardia Civil of Spain and the Carabiniere of

Turn to A5

Turn to A5

Blame-worthy LOWDOWN

JOJO A. ROBLES RETURN to the negotiating table and talk peace, the Communists and their remaining sympathizers ask the Duterte administration. Then the cadres in the field stage yet another attack like the one they pulled off in Lupon, Davao Oriental last Tuesday, Valentine’s Day. That day, a group of about 300 New People’s Army rebels put up a roadblock and rounded up 200 civilians, who were asked to alight from their vehicles traversing the highway in Lupon. According to the military, the rebels took the civilians to a nearby chapel, where they were given a “lecture” on the NPA’s grievances against the government. The rebels released the civil-

ians unharmed, but by then the military had already been alerted and a pursuit operation was launched. A two-hour battle ensued, during which the military said it killed seven rebels before the NPAs retreated to the hinterlands. If the rebels had not released their civilian captives before the military arrived, things would surely have turned out much bloodier. And the near-miss in Davao Oriental happens a lot these days in the countryside, now that both sides have stopped negotiating. I’ve already written about how difficult it is for the Communists to convince the people and the government that they are sincere in talking peace, given the dissonance between what their leaders say and what their armed partisans do on the ground. In fact, the apparent lack of coordination between the rebel fighters and their ag-

ing leaders in the Netherlands was what convinced President Rodrigo Duterte that the rebels aren’t worth talking to anymore. “Let it not be said that I did not try,” Duterte said as he announced the pullout from the

Maybe the Communists never really wanted peace from the very beginning. talks after rebel fighters killed three government troops in Bukidnon. “I guess that peace with the Communists cannot be realized during our generation.” The fact of the matter is, ac-

cording to the records of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the past five presidents all went to the negotiating table with the Communists. Forty rounds of formal talks were conducted over those years and 20 agreements of various kinds were signed. Over the same period, the government released 1,200 detainees as a show of goodwill. But no war-ending peace agreement has ever been agreed upon between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines, its umbrella organization the National Democratic Front and its guerrilla unit, the NPA. And if the rebels can’t negotiate with Duterte, who has given Cabinet posts to three prominent leftists and sub-Cabinet positions to many others, opened Malacañan Palace to the CPP-NDF-NPA politburo and cultivated a decades-long partnership with the rebels as mayor

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SANTA Banana, it was a ValenThere’s now an uproar over tine’s Day massacre! the confirmation of Lopez as I refer to the order of Sec- DENR secretary. But, again, retary Gina Lopez of the De- she doesn’t care whether she’s partment of Environment and rejected or confirmed. She is Natural Resources. The secre- confident that President Duterte tary belongs to the Lopez clan would reappoint her. which owns one of the two largBut that is not the point. It’s the est radio-television networks of future of the national economy the country. at stake—and all because of the Lopez canceled 75 mining arrogance of one single member contracts, stepping up her anti- of the Cabinet. She is now even mining advocacy. She had ear- causing division among her collier ordered the closure of 23 leagues. Most of the secretaries, mining firms, some of them a especially Finance Secretary century old, and the suspension Carlos Dominguez, knows that of three others for alleged viola- Lopez’s actions are jeopardtion of environmental laws. izing the President’s 10-point Ironically, Lopez called her national agenda for economic latest order a “gift of love” to sustainability. How can one the Filipino people. She does member of the Cabinet put at not have any regard for the risk 2.1-million jobs, local govsanctity of contracts and for due ernment revenue, and above all, process. She puts jobs in limbo gross domestic product? and threatens the livelihood of From the start, I said the some 2.1-million Filipinos. appointment of Lopez to the But, my gulay, would she DENR was a big mistake. She care? I don’t think so—she is really is out to kill the mining already rich. industry. The 75 mining contracts— Mining firms have been callknown as Mineral Production ing for the full disclosure of the Sharing Agreement or MPSAs DENR’s audit reports. Lopez, in —between the mining industry her arrogance, would not. The and government are all alleg- reports would show her bias and edly in watershed zones, with utter contempt for the industry. many still in the exploration The fact that it was an audit stage. report from anti-mining adNow, pray, tell me, how could vocates, and above all, by her mining activity that is still in consultant who was already the exploration stage violate the dismissed from public service environment? for graft and corruption, makes But, Lopez, arrogant as she things worse. is—she does not care of her Lopez, in defiance, still hired appointment is confirmed or this person as her consultant. rejected— What Lopez maintains her should explain a nt i-m i n i ng is that the govadvocacy. She ernment team says: “You reviewed Secretary Lopez that kill waterher audit reshed, you kill could not care less port recomlife,” after mended only she flew over that millions of suspension mines, and and fines of s u p p o s e d l y people stand to the concerned saw siltation lose their jobs. 23 mines and along rivers suspension of and coastal five more. But areas where she canceled the mines the permits of were located. 23 firms and My gulay, she should be told suspended five more. that during heavy rain, soil is And then she said, “it’s my eroded from the mountains. prerogative.” This makes rivers muddy and *** coastal areas reddish. Again, There was a time when people Lopez could not care less. If got news only from the printed she had her way, she says, there word, from newspapers, and rawould be no mining at all in dio. Then came television, an Southeast Asia. impact medium, which carried I agree with what the Cham- the news as they happened. But, ber of Mines is saying: The the printed words survived it unilateral action of Lopez is no since people would rather read longer a question of whether a the news from the newspapers. handful of companies violated Then, with the advancement environmental laws. It is wheth- of information technology came er the government still upholds social media and digital news the sanctity of contracts. and with a finger on the butThe issue is moral, social and ton, you can even access interlegal. It is an issue of due pro- national news. Facebook and cess, justice and fairness that other social media platforms should apply to all. followed. When one enters into a conWith all these came bullying tract, there are always provi- and, worse, fake news, making sions for due process. The people wonder whether or not sanctity of contracts is upheld news is really what’s happening. —cancellation is an option only I say that the printed meon specific grounds. dium—the newspapers—are Did Lopez do it upon notice here to stay, and no amount of to contracting parties? Did information technology can reLopez give the mining compa- place it. nies an opportunity to correct The people, those who read their alleged violations? If the newspapers, can always rely on answer is a no, then the affected the printed word, the newspamining firms have legal ground pers as the source of good and to contest the cancellation. real news. Governments can No wonder the American always rely on the printed word Chamber of Commerce called as a reference and for guidance, the order of Lopez irresponsi- since we, in the newspapers ble. “We do not understand why have imbibed the journalist’s these permits and contracts— oath to tell the people the truth which are only to explore but and nothing but the truth. not to produce—are harming We risk being charged with watershed? Responsible gov- libel, but we take that risk. Can ernment agencies reviewed the social media say that for thempermits, and there are dispute selves? No. resolution provisions that are *** followed,” John Forbes, senior I asked businessman Bobby adviser of the American Cham- Ongpin why he was putting up ber said. a state-of-the-art rehabilitation Again, I ask, would the for- center for victims of illegal drugs, mer Ananda Marga Buddhist he told me that he believed in cult follower care? I guess she President Duterte’s war on illegal won’t, because she can live drugs, and there’s need to build without being DENR secretary. more rehab centers. The biggest Filipino chamSadly, what appeared in my ber, the Philippine Chamber of column yesterday was the exact Commerce and Industry, ech- opposite of what he said: “I also oed the sentiments of the Amer- believe in President Duterte’s ican Chamber. I suppose other war on illegal drugs, and there’s foreign investors are alarmed NO need for rehab centers.” over what’s happening in the It’s a glaring error. Sorry for Philippines. that.


Executive Order 13


A Valentine’s Day massacre


OVERSIGHT DANILO SUAREZ THE President issued Executive Order No. 13 ordering law enforcement agencies to intensify the fight against illegal gambling. On this issue, the Minority is equal to the task. After all, we have always been vocal against illegal gambling. Illegal gambling include jueteng, masiao and other numbers games, which are widespread in provinces and areas not reached by the Small Town Lottery. The persistence of il-

legal numbers games results in lost revenue. Jueteng and masiao operators, including their protectors, deprive the government of badly needed funds that are necessary to defray the costs of health programs, medical assistance, emergency relief and services, and other charitable undertakings. There is lack of regulation and transparency. Bettors lose their money for a rigged draw while operators constantly profit. Lastly, illegal gambling deters the success of the lottery programs of the government, the Small Town Lottery and the Philippine Lotto, because jueteng and masiao lure peo-

ple to bet on a fixed and nontransparent numbers game. I would suppose the “forbidden” element makes these games appealing. While we can exhaustively debate on the moral issues of gambling, we must accept that it has become a way of life for a majority of our people. To address the perils inherent in illegal gambling, I propose a unified recognition of the sole legal numbers game nationwide which will be the Philippine Lotto and the Small Town Lottery Program under the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. This aims to completely eradicate jueteng

and other forms of illegal gambling while facilitating the expansion of this national legal numbers game to all provinces in the country. We in the Minority remain vigilant of the President’s advocacies and decisions. On the issue of illegal gambling, we acknowledge and support the President’s efforts. The prevalence of illegal gambling maintains and encourages a habit of defying existing laws to the detriment of peace and order in our nation. Illegal operators have a window of opportunity to legitimize their operations. I strongly encourage them to take it.

A White House in chaos MATT Lauer interviewed Kellyanne Conway on the Today Show a few days ago and it was a conversation from another dimension. “Kellyanne, that makes no sense,” Lauer said at one point, exasperated at Conway’s expert efforts to avoid giving straight answers to sensitive questions. They were discussing the topic of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s resignation after only some weeks at his post. Reports had come out that Flynn had repeatedly contacted Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak after the election to discuss the transition, a fact about which he misled Vice President Mike Pence. Conway appeared on NBC and said that Trump had “absolute confidence” in Flynn. Only seven hours after that interview, Flynn announced his resignation. Lauer said that the damaging information about Flynn had been known weeks ago but he was still allowed to remain in his highly sensitive position. Conway said, the lie to Pence was the last straw—the situation had become “unsustainable,” a word that she kept repeating. Conway could not give Lauer a straight answer about Flynn’s delayed exit from the White House. Lauer gave up

Blame-worthy From A4 tims of a military rubout—the armed forces killed their fellow government security forces, he said, in order to blame the NPA and hoodwink Duterte into junking the peace process. As for the president himself, the rebels contended that Duterte was just being “emotional” when he ordered the cessation of the talks. Left unsaid by the Communists was the implica-

Reviving... From A4 Italy. In order for the Police to be effective, it must be tailored to the prevailing peace-andorder situation. In other words, the Police must be organized, equipped and trained in order to be able to perform its functions effectively. The reason why the PC did so well in its formative years was because it was the ideal Police organization to the prevailing conditions. Today, we have to ask whether the PNP is equal to the job at hand or whether there is a need to bring back the constabulary as the national police force and return the municipal police to the control of the local executives. There is really nothing intrinsically wrong with the PNP but it badly needs reform to bring it to the 21st century. It is years behind the times and unless real reform is instituted

and ended the interview. What Conway was doing was plain to many—it was palusot, a Filipino term that means trying to wiggle out of a falsehood or an uncomfortable situation. As their team’s spins weave more complex threads, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Conway to prevaricate as the situation spirals out of control. Conway, she who gave the world “alternative facts” such as the “Bowling Green massacre” that never happened, was recently castigated by the Office of Government Ethics for plugging Ivanka Trump’s merchandise over Fox & Friends last week. In a most improper move, she was speaking not on a personal basis but in her official capacity as White House spokesperson. The OGE recommended that Conway be disciplined and gave White House Deputy Legal Counsel Stefan Passantino up to Feb. 28 to report on the matter. Critics are also casting a wary eye at the ‘little prince’, Steve Bannon, another Trump advisor and designated “Chief Strategist”, whatever that means. In a huge break from protocol, Bannon is allowed to sit in on security meetings and essentially know everything about American governance, including sensitive plans and information. Bannon, former head of ultranationalist news platform, was also said to have drafted the now-infamous Muslim travel ban executive order that was

also hastily suspended after its botched implementation and a public outcry involving mass protests. Meanwhile, Betsy De Vos, daughter-in-law to Amway billionaire was narrowly voted into the position of Secretary of Education, despite opposition by all Democrats senators and a couple of Republicans. VP Pence had to break the tie. Understandable—they’re both Republicans—but De Vos took her seat under a cloud of conflict of interest. What does all this show? That the Trump administration is less than truthful to the American people and the world, and that some of its people are incompetent, unethical, unqualified, and downright shady. This development, along with the messy transition, the rigid ideology, and the sudden volte-faces from the previous administration’s policies have prompted some civil servants to push back and “resist”, a new rallying cry for protesters. A couple of examples of these resisters are some US spies and scientists. With some personnel of the Trump coterie found to have been in contact with Russia even before the election, members of the US intelligence community are showing their distrust. In a Feb. 12 article for, security expert and former National Security Agency analyst John Schindler writes, “Our intelligence community is so worried by the

unprecedented problems of the Trump administration—not only do senior officials possess troubling ties to the Kremlin, there are nagging questions about basic competence regarding Team Trump—that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust.” Several federal agencies have also showed their rebel side. After a recent instruction by Team Trump for them to scrub their websites of information related to climate change and other scientific matters, and/or prohibiting some of them from communicating with the public without prior approval or instruction, they went rogue. Employees from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Parks Service, NASA, Homeland Security, and other agencies have launched “alternative” Twitter accounts that promise to continue sharing science with the people and divulge any missteps by the present government particularly with regard to transparency. In sum, this is a government divided because of a White House in chaos. Once a respected institution, it is now in a sorry state that was once the stuff of dystopic fantasies but is now an all-too-possible reality.

tion that they are the ones who are using reason in the negotiations, not Duterte. This is balderdash. The Communists, whose aging party chieftains in the Netherlands have been embarrassed by their obvious lack of control of rebel partisans in the field, are now simply looking for a convenient scapegoat. And they are also trying—and failing—to convince the citizenry that they did not cause the collapse of the negotiations. This

explains why NPA leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos announced the rebels’ withdrawal from the talks almost simultaneously with the uneventful conclusion of the third round of negotiations between government representatives and Europe-based rebel advisers in Rome. But more and more Filipinos no longer believe in what the rebels say. All they know is that the government has gone out of its way to move the peace process forward, but the rebels

have reciprocated like they always have: with insincerity and treachery. No one in his right mind, of course, wants to start a new war with the Communists. But because the rebels have shown no real intention to talk peace, then war seems to be the only recourse left. And that is not the fault of Duterte, his government or the military. The rebels, who really want war, will just get their heart’s desire.

soon, it will surely be beyond redemption. For one, it is more political now than ever before. For instance, with the selection of Bato dele Rosa as chief, all his classmates took over all the so called juicy positions leaving almost all officers who graduated from the PMA ahead of them effectively on floating status to simply wait for retirement. Morale is therefore low but no one dares to complain. Also, 25 years on, the PNP has not been able to find its true identity. Is the PNP as it is currently organized and managed a civilian organization masquerade as a military organization or other the way around? As of now, regardless of what the PNP says, the outfit is in fact run as a military organization. Unless the PNP really knows what it really wants and adjust accordingly, it will always be an organization that is neither military nor police.

*** The revival of the ROTC on the other hand has generated more support. The prevailing defense doctrine is to maintain a small standing while relying more on the so-called citizen army composed of reserves coming from the citizenry. One of the rationale behind this is that it is very expensive to maintain large armies. In the past, the reserve force came mainly from the graduates of the ROTC program and the yearly output of 20 year old trainees who are called from time to time for an 18 month military stint. During the height of the MNLF secessionist movement in the 1970s, the 20-year-old trainees provided the needed manpower until the AFP was able to increase its strength to meet the emergency. Now, both programs are gone and it does make sense to come up with a program to fill this

vacuum. The size of a reserve force depends on the perceived threats. In our case, it is probably prudent to have a reserve force which is twice or thrice our standing army. This will then be divided into categories like ready and standby reserve. We have to have a reserve force that can be readily called, armed and equip to fight at a moment’s notice. After all, the first duty of every able bodied citizen is to fight for his or her country. And due to budgetary limitations as always, this reserve force will have to come from a revived ROTC program. But if ever the ROTC and the 20 year trainee programs are brought back, both must be properly and carefully studied before being implemented to avoid costly errors. It is puzzling why this idea was not thought of earlier because it is one of those that is absolutely necessary in any defense establishment.

Dr. Ortuoste is a Californiabased writer. Follow her on Facebook: Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @jennyortuoste, Instagram: @jensdecember




SAF man injured as ex-mayor arrested A SPECIAL Action Force trooper was wounded when policemen engaged in a brief shootout Wednesday morning with a group of a former mayor in Pampanga, Central Luzon police director Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino said. The trooper was hurt during the serving of a search warrant that resulted in the arrest of Arayat ex-mayor Luis Espino, alias “Chito,” and his four men in Barangay Cacutud, Arayat. Aquino said the shootout occurred at around 5 a.m. at Espino’s residence in an operation led by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group backed up by the SAF police. “Espino was arrested. One of his four men arrested was identified as Rosendo Dizon. During the operation, a shootout ensued wherein a SAF member sustained a gunshot wound on his left leg and was brought to the JBL [Jose B. Lingad Memorial] Hospital [in San Fernando] for medical treatment,” Aquino said. He said up to five assorted long and short firearms were confiscated from the suspects. Three other suspects remain unidentified as of press time, Police Supt. Fe Grenas, public information officer of Camp Olivas, said. Aquino said Espino and his men were currently detained at the CIDG headquarters in Angeles City while charges of violating Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act are being readied against them. Florante S. Solmerin and

Asean solons vs death bill P By Maricel V. Cruz

HILIPPINE legislators joined their Southeast Asian counterparts Wednesday in urging the Duterte administration to rethink its position on reinstating capital punishment. At a news conference, members of the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights and local lawmakers warned that reintroducing the death penalty abolished in 2006 “would mark a significant step backward for the Philippines” as this would go against the country’s international commitments and would only victimize the poor. “As lawmakers from across Southeast Asia, we stand opposed to the reintroduction of capital punishment in the Philippines, and we urge our counterparts in the Philippine Congress to reject the bill currently before them that would legalize the practice,” the APHR members’ solidarity statement said. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with those Philippine legislators who are fighting this bill, and support them in their principled struggle, which is based on strong evidence this policy is

wrong for the country. “The death penalty is a barbaric and outdated form of punishment, and represents the kind of policy our region should be moving away from, not back toward,” they added. “The bill currently before the House of Representatives puts the Philippines’ international credibility at risk, as well as the stunning progress made in the past decade toward the eradication of capital punishment globally.” Cambodian member of parliament Mu Sochua, an APHR board member and one of the signatories to the solidarity statement, said the Philippines must keep its current position having the death penalty abolished. “In Cambodia, we have been forced to deal with the brutal legacies of state-sanctioned killing, which is why our Constitution— like that of the Philippines—out-

lawed the death penalty. Abolishing capital punishment was the right choice for the Philippines and for Cambodia. We must move forward as a region, not back,” Mu Sochua said. Local lawmakers led by Reps. Edcel Lagman of Albay, Tom Villarin of Akbayan, and Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao renewed their appeal to the House leadership to reject the bill. Villarin said the death penalty bill “is wrong for the Philippines and wrong for the region.” “All the evidence suggests that reintroducing capital punishment will have no clear effect on crime, while victimizing poor Filipinos. The Philippines has twice abolished the death penalty since the end of the Marcos dictatorship. Let us not revive a policy that has not proven to be any deterrence to crime,” he stressed. Villarin also said reinstituting the death penalty “means another offensive in the Philippines’ war on the poor.” “When it comes to handing down death sentences, the poor suffer disproportionately because they cannot afford to compete in our pay-to-play legal system,” he added.

Congress is currently deliberating House Bill 4727, or the proposed reimposition of capital punishment authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. The bill would allow for the death penalty to be imposed for 21 heinous crimes, including some forms of murder and rape, as well as treason, plunder, and nine drug offenses. The bill notes that the importation, sale, manufacture, cultivation, and possession of drugs in quantities as low as 10 grams for methamphetamines and marijuana oil are all punishable by death. The lawmakers believe the bill, once enacted, would violate the Philippines’ international legal obligations under the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the country ratified in 2007 and commits it to the perpetual abolition of capital punishment within its borders. Baguilat said the death penalty “is morally wrong and goes against fundamental human rights, including the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment.” “On top of that, it would violate our international commit-

Reactivate records, SK and village voters told By Vito Barcelo

Romeo Dizon

MMDA sets dry run of McKinley traffic plan By Joel Zurbano THE Metro Manila Development Authority said it plans to decongest traffic on the roads used by motorists going to and from Ayala Avenue in Makati City and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City. The MMDA will conduct on Saturday a dry-run operation of the new traffic management plan to be implemented along Mckinley Road aimed to further ease traffic along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. MMDA acting chairman Thomas Orbos said his agency will convert the Edsa-Mckinley service road into two-way access road which will allow public utility jeepneys bound for Makati Business District and Bonifacio Global City to pick up passengers in the area while private motorists can use the other lane to bypass the service road intersection. “We will open the service road to private vehicles coming from Mckinley, allowing them to turn right to get to Edsa-northbound. Private vehicles on Edsa-northbound going to BGC will also be allowed to use the Mckinley access road,” he said. Under the new traffic management plan, MMDA enforcers will only allow three PUJs at a time at the loading bay on the side of Shell gas station to pick up passengers. All PUJs will unload passengers at the BGC bus terminal where drivers will wait for their turn to queue at the loading bay. Around 120 PUJs operating in the area will be affected by the new traffic measure. At present, the access road is only used by PUJs as loading bay. MMDA-Traffic Engineering Center officials requested the management of both the Ayala and BGC business districts to let their traffic personnel undergo training and be deputized by the agency to maintain the flow of traffic in the area.

ments to revive capital punishment, which could jeopardize our international standing and economic growth. There is simply no compelling reason to revive this form of punishment, and the potential negative repercussions are enormous,” he said. Instead of pushing to revive the death penalty, Lagman said the Philippine government must be able to address the root causes of crime and drug use. He also stressed the need to prioritize reform of key institutions in the criminal justice system, including the police and the judiciary. “Particularly given the flaws so obvious today in our criminal justice system, it’s clear that the death penalty is not a sustainable path toward building a safer and more prosperous nation,” said Lagman, principal author of Republic Act 9346, prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty back in 2006. “We should be focused on reforming and strengthening the justice system, combatting corruption, and addressing core economic and social woes that lead to crime and drug use. Reviving capital punishment accomplishes none of those goals,” he added.

RECOVERY EFFORTS. Valenzuela City Police Chief Inspector Jovencio Urbien and Police Senior Inspector Leo Calabio discuss the operation

performed by agents of the Anti-Carnapping Unit of Valenzuela City to recover the 19 different vehicles from the ‘Rentangay’ modus operandi of suspects RaFaela Anunciacion and his secretary Jhennelyn Berroyo. Andrew Rabulan

House wants PCGG, OGCC under SolGen THE House of Representatives will pass a bill putting the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel under the Office of the Solicitor General, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday. The reason? The PCGG and the OGCC have failed to win cases in favor of the government,

Alvarez said. “They have yet to win cases in favor of the government. I have to be blunt about it,” the Speaker said. Alvarez said the House leadership is preparing a measure that will virtually abolish the PCGG and the OGCC as well. The PCGG was created in 1986 purposely to handle cases of ill-gotten wealth of

the Marcoses. But since its creation, Alvarez said he was unsatisfied with the agency’s performance, having recovered “only” about P170 billion from the ill-gotten wealth of the former dictator’s family. Alvarez said the bill, to be filed soon by the House leadership, will simplify the function of the 82-year-old OGCC, the function of which is to attend to

legal cases of the governmentowned and controlled corporations, under the SolGen. The OGCC was created on Dec. 1, 1935 and initially served as “small corporate counsel division” under the Department of Justice. In 1951, it was placed under the Office of the Solicitor General, and became an independent agency in 1959. Maricel V. Cruz

THE Commission on Elections on Tuesday reiterated its call to the more than two million deactivated voters to reactivate their registration records for the coming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Oct. 23, 2017. With still 70 days left to the polls, the Comelec repeated its call to take to register early while there are few people lining up to register in all poll offices nationwide. Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said there are still around 2 million voters whose records were deactivated. “Under Republic Act 8189, also known as the Voters Registration Act of 1996, failure to vote in two consecutive national elections will result in the deactivation of a registered voter’s right to vote,” Jimenez said. “If you did not vote in 2013 and in the May 2016 elections, you will not be able to vote in the Oct. 23, 2017 Barangay and SK elections, and subsequent elections, unless you reactivate. We have a longer registration period, we are also open even on Saturdays and holidays to accommodate as many registrants as possible,” Jimenez added. The Commission said it expects three million voters to register for the barangay elections, and two million voters for the SK elections. Around 1,632,000 voters registered during the initial round of the voter registration from July 15 to 30, 2016. Jimenez also reminded the public to bring their valid IDs as most of the problems encountered by the Election Officers involved registrants using IDs without their picture or address. Valid IDs include governmentissued IDs, corporate IDs, current school IDs, senior citizens ID, and NBI Clearance.

Pinoys featured in El Sistema: Social Change Through Music THE worldwide phenomenon known as El Sistema is the subject of Playing For Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music. El Sistema, a program that began 42 years ago with 11 struggling music students in an abandoned parking lot in Caracas, has grown to include 750,000 children in Venezuela and has sparked one of the world’s most remarkable social initiatives. For authors Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth, the heart of the El Sistema story is in the programs that have sprung up in over 60 countries across the world, inspired by the vision of its founder, José Antonio Abreu: “When you put a violin in the hands of a child, that child will not pick up a gun.” To research Playing For Their Lives, the authors visited El Sistema-inspired programs in 25 countries, on every continent except Antarctica. “In some cases,” they write, “we saw poverty so brutal that it overwhelmed our senses and jolted our under-

standings of what societies can tolerate and humans can survive.” They discovered that in such surroundings, El Sistema programs are oases of safety, energy and beauty. The book is filled with vivid reports of children’s orchestras, bands, and choruses flourishing in Nairobi, Bethlehem, and Kabul; in the stressed immigrant communities of Gothenburg and Vienna; among traumatized young people in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Fukushima, Japan; and in the ghettos of London, Istanbul, Paris and many US cities. Embedded in these stories are profiles of the activist-artists who lead Sistemainspired initiatives—people like multiawarded Filipino concert pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz, who abandoned his life in New York City to return to his native Philippines, eventually collaborating with First Philippine Holdings chairman Federico Lopez to establish Ang Misyon—the largest El Sistema-inspired program in Southeast Asia.

COPS IN LOVE. Love is in the air as 21 couples tied the knot during a Mass wedding conducted

by the PNP Chaplain Service on Valentine’s Day at the St. Joseph Chapel in Camp Crame as part of the celebration of the 26th PNP Founding Anniversary. The Mass was officiated by Catholic Chaplains of the Chaplain Service Reverend Father Eligio Mativo, and was graced by the Command Group headed by PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa. The Mass wedding is an annual tradition of the PNP where police officers and their partners are afforded free wedding and reception. Manny Palmero




Arellano’s win had a supernatural feel ARELLANO University coach Obet Javier is not a superstitious person. But on this one single moment of his life, he believes his late wife was there all along to guide them to their recent dramatic NCAA title victory over San Sebastian. Coming in as underdogs, the Lady Chiefs outlasted reigning three-time MVP Grethcel Soltones and the Lady Stags, 25-15, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, to complete a finals’ sweep and claim their second women’s volleyball title in the 92nd NCAA tournament at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City Tuesday. After the win, Javier said there was something supernatural that came into play. “From the start of the finals, I knew my wife was there,” said Javier referring to Amy Marie, who passed away more than a week ago due to lung cancer. “And I keep talking to her to help us and guide us because I knew she wants us to win the championship again. I’m also thankful that my players kept telling me before the finals that they will dedicate the championship to her.”

The Arellano University Lady Chiefs raise their NCAA championship trophy. Roman Prospero

Baton Run PH leg set March 11 ALL is set for the 29th Southeast Asian Games “Rising Together” Baton Run, Philippine Leg. Plans for the event were finalized last week in a meeting between Minister Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission Akmal Che Mustafa of the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines and Philippine Sports Commission representatives Ronnel Abrenica and Lauro Domingo, Chief of Staff of PSC Chairman William Ramirez and Planning Division Chief respectively. The Games’ motto, “Rising Together” shall be carried in the event “to highlight the objective of unity among SEAG sister-nations,” says Abrenica. Kicking off from Malacanang Palace at 6 a.m. on March 11, the Baton Run will snake through six stations located at six iconic spots across the streets of Manila. Each station shall have a Filipino sports medalist waiting to carry the baton in a 1.5-kilometer run. The event shall culminate at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Olympic Silver Medalist, Hidilyn Diaz, Bronze Paralympics Medalist Josephine Medina, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Gilas Pilipinas are expected to carry the baton. Athletes from the UAAP, NCAA, DepEd Palaro will be joining them in different stretches with Chairman Butch Ramirez and Malaysia’s Minister of Sports Nik Abd. Kadir Mohammad joining them in the last stretch towards the CCP. The Baton Run is part of the 2017 SEAG Organizing Committee legacy program and a key project to promote the Games across the SEA region. It shall be held in all 11 countries participating in the event, namely Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Timor Leste, Brunei and Philippines. The Philippines will be receiving the baton from Brunei and then pass it on to Laos. The baton is expected to return to Malaysia in time for the opening ceremonies of the Games on August 19. The baton run started in Kuala Lumpur last Feb. 8. Team Philippines is expected to see action in 38 sports of the 29th SEA Games to be held in August of this year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

And the Lady Chiefs did just that as they wrapped up their fairy tale season by winning 12 straight matches, including a three-game finals sweep after starting the season with a heartbreaking five-set defeat to the Lady Stags in a duel where the former led by two sets only to disintegrate in the end. It turned out AU used it as a springboard to success. Javier said it was about heart and a heavy dose of hard work. “The players showed heart and really worked hard to win this championship,” he said. Peter Cayco, the school’s representative to the Management Committee and the acting Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. president, agreed. “The school is proud of their accomplishment, the team’s hard work paid off,” said Cayco. While San Sebastian had a hard time getting strong plays outside Soltones, AU played more like a team and drew strength from multiple sources, headed by Ria Sante, Andrea Marzan and Jovielyn Prado.

Aussies arrive for PH Le Tour R IDERS from Australia’s Oliver’s Real Food Racing arrived in Legaspi City yesterday to be the early birds for the eighth Le Tour de Filipinas which kicks off in two days.

Oliver’s Food, a returnee to the race again presented by Air21, is a club team composed of young elite riders who will vie against cyclists from 12 continental teams and three national squads. Due today (Thursday) in the Albay capital where Legaspi City Mayor Noel Rasal and Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara has prepared a warm welcome are the rest of the field competing in the

International Cycling Union Category 2.2 race that will be ran over four stages. “The riders of the different teams either come in as an entire team or from their respective countries of origin,” said Donna May Lina, president of race organizer Ube Media Inc. “We expect cyclists of close to 20 nationalities to compete this year.” Stage One of the race that has

Petron and UPS as principal sponsors and Philippine Airlines as official airline partner is set Saturday over a 164.49km route from Legaspi City to Sorsogon. On Sunday, the 75 cyclists (five riders to a team) tackle the 177.35-km SorsogonDaet Stage Two of the Asia Tour event race backed by Advanced Solutions Inc., Cargohaus Inc. CCN Sports Philippines, IWMI, NMM Customs Broker, Phenom Sportswear, UFL Philippines and WARM. The 177.35-km Daet-Naga City Stage Three will be on

Monday while the race wraps up with the 207.30-km Naga City-Lucena City Stage Four on Tuesday. Mark Galedo, the 2014 champion, and Rustom Lim lead Philippine continental team 7 Eleven Roadbike Philippine’s charge while George Oconer Jr. and Jerry Aquino Jr., sons of former Olympian Bert Oconer and Tour veteran Jerry Sr., respectively, will head the Philippine National Team in the event that aptly carries the theme “Eight’s Amazing” for its eighth edition. A rider to watch will be 2015 champion, Frenchman Thomas Lebas, of Kinan Cy-

James helps carry Cavs; Butler shines M I N N E A P OLIS — L eBr on James and Kyrie Irving each scored 25 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers withstood a huge night from Andrew Wiggins to record a 116-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Canada’s Wiggins finished with a game-high 41 points for the Timberwolves, equalling his second-highest point total this NBA season. James also had 14 assists for Cleveland, who sealed their 38th win of the season with 1:39 remaining when ex-Timberwolves player Derrick Williams finished off a fast break layup. The layup came just moments after James had nailed a step back three pointer. Wiggins had help from KarlAnthony Towns, who scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Gorgui Dieng added 12 points, but no other Timberwolves player reached double figures in scoring. Wiggins got the Timberwolves back in the game Tuesday, sparking a rally after Irving hit a three pointer halfway through the third quarter to give Cleveland a 14-point lead. Wiggins tallied 19 points in

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. AFP

the third quarter, Cleveland had to make due without forward Kevin Love, who had surgery on his left knee on Tuesday and will be sidelined for six weeks. Love was averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. No Love, no problem “The one thing that we can al-

ways rely on is the fact that we’ve played without Kev before,” James said. “We’ve had to do that in the playoffs. As much as you don’t like to play without some of your big guns, sometimes if it happens then you’re just ready for it.” Channing Frye helped fill the void by chipping in with

21 points. Tristan Thompson also contributed to the offense by adding 14 points and 11 rebounds. Williams is on a 10-day contract with Cleveland after previously playing for the Miami Heat this season. His teammates spoke highly of his performance Tuesday. AFP

Alejandro dinner to welcome United States Ambassador Sung Kim

I USE the carte blanche that I was given to write in this column other items other my main topic: the bridge games. Dr. Rey (my husband) and I had the priviledge and honor to host a dinner to welcome our next-door neighbor, Ambassador Sung Kim. The Ambassador kindly accepted my invitation to dine with us and meet our Forbes Park neighbors and dear friends. Rey and I have lived at Forbes Park over 56 years. In coordination with Ms. Jamie

Obusan, the US Embassy Protocol Officer I was able to design a programme: that was not stiff and boring; the concept that it is more fun in the Philippines. The venue: The Pavilion, Forbes Park; coat and tie-glitz and glamour.

Of course Via Mare which has a 40-year record in serving iconic events was my choice once again to cater this event. Ms. Glenda Bar-

retto who is a long time friend and her able assistant Mr. Glenn Taduran pulled all the stops: the menuchoice of quenelles of lapu-lapu and prawns soup in green papaya boat down to the halo halo which I knew the Ambassador liked; the service used in the new cutlery and ‘gold’ underplates which have been used to serve the former President Barack Obama during the Apec dinner. Madame Beatriz Zobel de Ayala seated next to the right hand side of Ambassador Sung Kim pronounced the choice of the menu was perfect and the dinner was ‘fantastic’. The following day Ambassador Sung Kim sent us a gracious note of thanks, accompanied with a beautiful arrangement of exotic blooms:

cling Team (Japan), one of several continental teams which have made the Le Tour de Filipinas a traditional kick off to the new cycling season. The other teams are Team Ukyo (Japan), Bridgrestone Anchor Cycling Team (Japan), Terengganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), LX Pro Cycling Team (South Korea), Uzbekistan National Team, CCN Cycling Team (Laos), Keyi Look Sport Cycling Team (China), United Arab Emirates National Team, Attaque Team Gusto (Chinese Taipei), Kuwait Cartucho.ES (Kuwait) and Sapura Cycling Team (Malaysia).

Ajinomoto backs SEAG, Para Games TOKYO—Ajinomoto Co., Inc. recently signed a Platinum Sponsorship agreement for the 29th Southeast Asian Games and the 9th ASEAN Para Games to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August and September 2017. The SEAG and APG are held every two years to help forge strong regional cooperation, understanding and unity within the Southeast Asian community. This 2017, these two largest sports events in the region will play host to more than 8,000 athletes and officials from 11 nations. The Philippine team is expected to have 200 delegates who will compete in 37 out of 38 sports, except cricket. In the 2015 SEAG, the country placed 6th overall and won gold in the fields of athletics, boxing, billiards and snooker, basketball, and softball. The team had its best showing in the 2005 SEAG, when it hosted the tournament and ranked 1st overall with 113 gold medals. As Platinum Sponsor, Ajinomoto Co. aims to support Filipino athletes and all other teams in the regional sports scene with quality food products that contribute to better nutrition and healthier lifestyles. This initiative is based on the success of its Victory Project—a series of events that highlight nutritional guidance and amino acid conditioning via its Kachimeshi or “winning meals” program for top-level athletes in Japan. With its strong business presence and familiarity with local food cultures in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore, Ajinomoto Co. now seeks to broaden its reach particularly in sports. The Tokyo-based company hopes that by helping athletes achieve optimum nutrition through a healthy diet, it continues being a driving force in the advancement of food and health for the general public. For the latest events and updates, visit


MABUHAY to one and all! Praise be to the Almighty Father for his Abundant BLESSINGS in giving us the power to successfully hold the special welcome to US Ambassador Sung Kim C’est Magnifique!’ Comments to: sylvia.alejandro@yahoo

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

Riera U. Mallari, Editor Reuel Vidal, Assistant Editor




Acid test for Mighty Sports in Dubai Game Tomorrow

(Al-Ahli gym, Dubai) 9 p.m. – Mighty Sports-PH vs Al-Ahli

PSA AWARDEES. San Miguel Beer

Team Manager Gie Abanilla (upper panel) holds the PSA award of the Beermen for their achievement last year of winning a PBA crown from a 0-3 deficit in the finals. He is joined here by (from left) Inquirer’s Randolph Leongson, Manila Bulletin’s Waylon Galvez, SMB coaches Jorge Gallent, Biboy Ravanes, Peter Martin, Dave Zamar and Spin’s Gerry Ramos. Left panel shows Eugene Torre holding his PSA Lifetime Achievement Award as he is joined by Inquirer’s Ted Melendres and Jun Engracia and Philstar’s Lito Tacujan. Center panel shows Phillip Juico, the PSA’s Executive of the Year and Jun Lomibao of Business Mirror. Manny Palmero

Beermen, Texters break tie W By Jeric Lopez

ITH everything squared up, don’t expect any shortage of firepower from San Miguel and TNT KaTropa.

The rivals go all out just to have a crack at gaining a distinct advantage in their heated best-ofseven semifinal series in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup. The series is tied 2-2 and Game 5 is scheduled today at 7 p.m. at

the Smart Araneta Coliseum with a lot on the line. The team which will emerge victorious will move a win away from the finals and gain a vital advantage in this crucial stretch of the semis showdown. Facing a must-win situation

the last time out, the Beermen responded like defending champions, hacking up the most convincing win of the series, a 97-86 pounding of the Tropang Texters in Game 4 Tuesday night to tie it up and make it a best-of-three in the process. San Miguel coach Leo Austria looks forward to an all-out war against the Tropang Texters, who he expects to bring their A-game again. “This will be a game of adjustment. Ang laki ng respeto ko sa

up dahil alam nila ang sitwasyon namin. Nagkaroon sila ng urgency, especially si Chris Ross.” Austria praised his tough guard as Ross not only led the team in defense, but exploded for a careerhigh 31 points to carry his team on his shoulders. “I just appreciate that guy. He’s doing a lot for us,” said Austria. In the process, San Miguel’s defense held up in Game 4 as TNT stars Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo were limited to only 17 points combined.

Navy-Standard riders try to keep hold on Ronda lead

Nakajima takes lead with a 68 MORONG, Bataan—Japanese Toru Nakajima defied gale-force wind, sleek putting surface and a stellar local roster to fire a bogeyfree 68 and grab a provisional two-stroke lead over Angelo Que in the ICTSI Anvaya Cove Golf tournament stopped due to darkness at the Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club here yesterday. The 32-year-old Tokyo native and a regular campaigner on the local circuit, gunned down four birdies, including a 26-footer on the par-5 10th where he started, for a 34-34 card and the early lead in the P3.5 million event kicking off this year’s Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by ICTSI. “The wind was very strong, the strongest I ever experienced here and I’m lucky to have made a sub-par round,” said Nakajima, referring to the flag-bending gusts that blew not only the early bids of Tony Lascuña and Clyde Mondilla but also a number of tournament tables. But the organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. halted play at dusk with 14 flights to complete play at 6:15 a.m. today. “I played flawless game. My putting, irons and short game were in place. Hopefully, I keep my game the last three rounds,” said Nakajima, seeking a second win in the circuit after nipping Jay Bayron in a playoff to snare the Wack Wack Championship in 2013. Que, who also opened his bid for a second Anvaya crown at the back, actually bested Nakajima’s 68 with a five-under card after 12 holes. But just when the 2015 champion thought he had the wind-raked layout all figured out, he stumbled with a bogey-doublebogey windup and slid to second with a 70.

kanila kaya we have to play our game,” he said. “We need to dictate the tempo of the game. That will be crucial for us.” Austria was not only pleased with how his team rose to the occasion to avoid a serious hole, but also thrilled to see his wards show the composure that made them a multiple-time champion team. “I was really happy that we were able to tie the series,” said Austria. “I really have to commend my players for stepping

MIGHTY Sports-Philippines faces an acid test right in its debut in the Dubai International Basketball Tournament as it collides with host Al Ahli tomorrow at Dubai’s premier sporting club. After Al Ahli, Mighty Sports tangles with a crack squad from Libya the following day, takes a break on the 19th then collides with the taller and heftier Lebanese squad on Monday and ends up elims against a rugged Morrocan squad on Tuesday. Charles Tiu, the youthful coach of Mighty Sports, described their 9 p.m. game with the host squad as critical to its title bid since Al Ahli has been tipped as one of the teams to beat in the annual tournament that gathered some of the best ball clubs of the region. Al Ahli, for one, is on a roll, having won all its 10 games in UAE’s local tournament. “Al Ahli is a tough team, No. 1 in their local tournament,” said the former Gilas assistant coach. “They are led by former NBA players in Sam Young and Chiekh Samb. Plus they are the home team so it should be a big challenge.” While members of Al Ahli side already know the strong side and weaknesses of each other, Tiu said his team is yet to practice in full force. But he’s unperturbed. “Hopefully, the mix of having some veterans and smart players will help our cohesion,” said Tiu. And chemistry? Well, that will follow. “Chemistry is something we are still working on. We will have one complete practice before the tournament,” he added. Supported by Scratch It and Rain or Shine, Mighty Sports, which leaves for global city early today, will be bannered by NBA veterans Hasheem Thabeet, Dominic McGuire and Justin Brownlee, the same import who helped Ginebra win the Governors’ Cup last year. ROS playmaker Chris Tiu and center Beau Belga banner the local cast with PBA veterans JC Intal, Gary David, Ryan Arana and two-time MVP Willie Millier out to provide additional firepower. Amateur standouts Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng and Jett Manuel complete the line-up that is out to duplicate its grand sweep of the Jones Cup last year.

Toru Nakajima bucks the odds to shoot a solid 68.

Ateneo eyes 4th win in UAAP football wars conquest of the GrowlATENEO eyes a fourth Matches today: ing Tigers last Sunday, straight win as it clashes (Moro Lorenzo Field) with Paolo Alilam netwith fierce rival De La 2 p.m. – UE vs UST (Men) Salle today in the UAAP 4 p.m. – DLSU vs Ateneo (Men) ting a brace. Jarvey Gayoso, the Season 79 men’s football league’s leading goalscorer with four tournament at the Moro Lorenzo Field. The Blue Eagles will be tested by a goals, and rookie Sam Lim will lead defensive-minded Green Booters’ side the way for Ateneo, which has scored in the 4 p.m. match to be televised live 12 goals this season. De La Salle, meanwhile, is in fourth on S+A Channel 23. University of the East and Univer- place with four points to show, as desity of Santo Tomas collide in the cur- fense proved to be the key. After battling the Fighting Maroons tain raiser at 2 p.m. Ateneo, last season’s runner-up, is to a scoreless draw, the Green Booters currently on top of the league table gained full points following a 2-0 win with a maximum of nine points, two over the Red Warriors last Sunday. UE is currently level with idle National clear of defending champion UniverUniversity with one point, while UST sity of the Philippines. The Eagles are coming off a 5-1 shares last place with Adamson University.

PILI, Camarines Sur--Rudy Roque and three fellow Navy-Standard Insurance riders seek to keep their stranglehold on the top four spots even as Kinetix LabArmy’s Cris Joven tries to crash the party when the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 resumes today with the 227-km Stage 7 that starts at the Camsur Watersports Complex here and ends in Daet, Camarines Norte. Just two days after ruling the 46.6-km Pili-San Jose Stage 6 Team Time Trial, Navy sets its sights on the individual race as it hopes to device a plan to protect their group of the first four slots occupied by red LBC jersey wearer Roque, Ronald Lomotos, Daniel Ven Carino and defending titlist Jan Paul Morales. Roque has clung onto the overall lead since Day 1, and after six stages, he has an aggregate time of 18 hours, 12 minutes and 48 seconds while Lomotos, Carino and Morales are in second, third and fourth places with clockings of 18:13:47, 18:14:43 and 18:15:51, respectively. Cris Joven of Kinetix Lab-Army is at No. 5 overall with a time of 18:15:51 after

jumping from as far as 24th in Stage 1, to No. 9 in Stage 3 and now No. 4. Rounding up the Top 10 were Go for Gold’s Elmer Navarro (18:17:57), RC ColaNCR’s Leonel Dimaano (18:18:01), Go for Gold’s Ismael Grospe, Jr. (18:19:02), Army’s Lord Anthony del Rosario (18:19:44) and Go for Gold’s Jonel Carcueva (18:20:33). And Navy coach Reinhard Gorrantes said no lead is safe in this kind of race. “It is still too early to tell and we have no way to find out who will win this race,” said Gorrantes, himself a former Ronda campaigner before retiring a few years back, in Filipino. “That is why we have to protect it well and hope we can widen the gap as the race progresses.” Gorrantes said today’s Stages 7, which will unfurl here, circles to some parts of Quirino and Quezon provinces before heading to Daet covering a 227-km distance; Stage 8 is an 183-km lap that unfolds in Daet and concludes in Unisan, Batangas, the next day, followed by Stage 9, a criterium race at Paseo in Sta. Rosa Laguna, on Feb. 19 will be critical to a rider’s campaign.

Kalibo netters dominate Cebuana tilt YOUNG and promising tennis p layers from Kalibo, Aklan ruled four of the nine categories at the recent 4th leg of this year’s Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group Tennis Championship Series with the Sacapano siblings leading the way. Averille Sacapano topped the girls’ 16-under and 18-under groups, while Abigail Lenny Sacapano won the 12-under group. Averille posted easy wins over her opponents, beating 14-under champion Althea Rose Martinez, 8-4 in the 16-under finals and had an even easier time winning over Jaye Lyndsey Israel, 8-1 for the 18-under title. The younger Abigail, meanwhile, blanked Iloilo bet Krisha

Lasafin, 8-0, in the championship match in the 12-under. Aklan native Martinez, likewise, had a romp over Iloilo’s Avril Andrea Suace, winning, 8-2, for the 14-under crown in the tournament supported by Dunlop as the official ball. “We are committed to our support for Philippine tennis despite recent developments in PHILTA and we will continue with this nationwide and year-round Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group Tennis Championship Series, now on its 11th year already of producing young tennis champions,” said Cebuana Lhuillier President /CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier. In the boys’ side, new faces emerged like Aklan’s Al Francis

Andrade, who won the 18-under final against another Aklan bet Gabriel Martinez, winning, 8-2; Iloilo’s Marben Earl Mosquera, who topped the 16-under, beating JJ Chrysler Gazo, also from Iloilo, with a close 8-6 victory and making up for his loss in the 14-under finals, where Roxas City’s Angelo Mejia beat him, 8-5, for the crown. Other winners in the boys’ side were Kalibo’s Nino Ronald Rey as he defeated Iloilo bet JM Reguerra, 8-2, in the 12-under finals, while Roxas City’s Derrick Jan Guillano swept Aleeva Feone Suace, 5-3, 4-0 for the 10-under title. This year’s series will have a total of 46 legs, truly, a boost for grassroots tennis development.

Govt eases rules on tax payment by credit card B3


Ray S. Eñano, Editor Roderick T. dela Cruz, Assistant Editor THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Remittances rise 5% to $26.9b By Julito G. Rada


ONEY sent home by Filipinos working overseas grew 5 percent to a record $26.9 billion in 2016 from $25.607 billion in 2015, on sustained demand for skilled workers and improving global economic condition, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Wednesday. The 5-percent expansion last year surpassed Bangko Sentral’s projection of a 4-percent growth and the 4-percent actual increase in 2015. “Cash remittances in 2016 continued to increase on the back of

improving global economic condition,” Bangko Sentral said. Personal remittances, which include non-cash items, grew 4.9 percent in 2016 to an all-time high of $29.706 billion from $28.308

billion in 2015. The Philippines is one of the four largest recipients of remittances in the world, joining China, India and Mexico. Cash remittances from the Middle East increased 12.7 percent, driven by transfers from Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Remittances from Asia rose 7.4 percent, buoyed by transfers originating from Singapore, Japan, China and Taiwan. Transfers from the Americas increased 3.8 percent, led by the 6.2-percent growth in remittances from the US. Remittances from Europe, however, fell 8.4 percent year-on-year, because of the decline in cash

transfers from the United Kingdom following the depreciation of the British pound against the US dollar. Transfers from Italy and the Netherlands also went down. Data showed that in December alone, cash remittances grew 3.6 percent to a record $2.559 billion from $2.47 billion. The top countries that contributed to the increase in transfers in December were the US, Qatar and Japan. Personal remittances rose 3.6 percent to $2.823 billion in December from $2.726 billion a year ago. “The growth in personal remittances was steered by the 7.6-percent expansion in remittances from land-based workers

with work contracts of one year or more, which totaled $23.2 billion,” Bangko Sentral said. The solid growth in remittances supported economic expansion last year. Remittances represented 8.1 percent of gross national income and 9.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2016. GDP grew 6.8 percent in 2016. Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said remittances was expected to remain stable in the coming months, despite the recent decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut oil production that could affect the demand for local skilled workers abroad.

PSE COMPOSITE INDEX Closing February 15, 2017

8000 7600 7200 6800 6400 6000

7,174.30 32.54

Closing FEBRUARY 15, 2017 45.00 46.25 47.50 48.75 50.00

HIGH P49.905 LOW P49.950 AVERAGE P49.922 VOLUME 319.500M

P39.80-P48.90 Unleaded Gasoline P27.90-P33.80 Diesel


PANASONIC’S 50TH YEAR. Panasonic Manufacturing Philippines Corp. is marking its 50th year with targets and offerings that aim to

surpass previous milestones. Shown during a news briefing and 50th anniversary celebration at Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City are (from left) Panasonic Appliance Marketing Asia Pacific managing director Yuji Majima, Panasonic Manufacturing Philippines Corp. president Shinichi Hayashi and Panasonic Manufacturing Corp. vice president Masaru Toyota. Manny Palmero

P28.50-P36.85 Kerosene P20.75-P21.75 Auto LPG

SC awards Naga plant to Aboitiz Power

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Wednesday, February 15, 2017



US Dollar


United States












Hong Kong
























Saudi Arabia








































New Zealand







1.6234 Source: PDS Bridge

PLDT set to finish Mindanao cable link

PLDT Inc. said a P1-billion fiber optic cable link from Agusan del Note to Davao del Sur is expected to be completed this year. The country’s largest telecom company said the fiber optic cable link would boost the capacity and strengthen the resiliency of its network, providing reliable connectivity to more homes and businesses in Mindanao. Spanning nearly 320 kilometers, the fiber infrastructure will run through four provinces in Mindanao—Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur. “In line with the government’s thrust of accelerating economic growth in Mindanao, the fortified FOC, which is part of PLDT’s domestic fiber optic networkwill provide unrivaled communications services to our fixed and wireless customers, including homes and businesses in these provinces,” PLDT chairman and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan said. He said the reinforced fiber network could provide reliable service even under disruptive conditions such as typhoons and earthquakes. “The underground fiber optic cables that we are installing here are less susceptible to cuts caused by strong winds, falling trees and utility poles. With a more resilient and reliable connectivity in Mindanao, our customers in the area will be able to experience high-quality voice, data and multimedia services as they connect with their family, friends, and business associates in other parts of the country and the world,” Pangilinan said. Darwin G. Amojelar

Panasonic expects revenue to hit P12b


P471.00-P690.00 LPG/11-kg tank


By Alena Mae S. Flores THE Supreme Court reinstated the notice of award to Aboitiz Power Corp.’s subsidiary Therma Power Visayas Inc. for the 153.1-megawatt Naga power plant complex in Naga, Cebu. Aboitiz Power said in a disclosure to the stock exchange Wednesday it received the latest order from the high tribunal on the case field by former senator Sergio Osmeña III, who questioned SPC Power Corp.’s right to top the highest bidder. “The notice of award dated April 30, 2014 in favor of Therma Power Visayas Inc. is hereby reinstated, excluding the portion

therein granting to SPC the right to top,” the court’s third division said in a decision. The court directed Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. to execute the Naga power plant complex asset purchase agreement and land lease agreement in favor of Therma Visayas “with dispatch.” PSALM is the government’s energy privatization body. The Supreme Court denied with finality in November last year SPC’s urgent motion for reconsideration to raise to the en banc the court’s decision on the Naga power project. “In its notice of judgment dated Nov. 28, 2016, the Supreme

Court denied SPC’s urgent motion with finality,” Aboitiz Power said earlier. SPC filed an urgent motion for reconsideration, with alternative motion to refer its case to the Supreme Court en banc on Oct. 26, 2016. SPC acquired the 55-MW Naga land-based gas turbine power plant in Colon, Naga in 2009. SPC, in the same year, entered into a land lease agreement with PSALM, which included SPC’s right to top the price of a winning bidder for the sale of any property in the vicinity of the leased premises. PSALM subsequently bid out the 153.1-MW Naga pow-

er plants located in the leased premises and on April 30, 2014 and after two failed biddings, the agency issued a notice of award to Therma Power for submitting the highest bid. Therma Power offered a bid of P1.088 billion but SPC exercised its right to top and matched the bid with an additional P54 million or a total of P1.143 billion. PSALM then awarded the contract to SPC, despite Therma Visayas’s objections. Osmeña then filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to enjoin PSALM from awarding the Naga plant on the grounds that SPC’s right to top was void.

Tax reforms likely to affect inflation

ASEAN-CHINA PARTNERSHIP. Asean-China Centre secretary-general Yang Xiuping (fourth from

left) meets with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez (third from left) to express its assistance to the trade and investment programs of the 2017 Philippine chairmanship of Asean. As the chair of the committee on business and investment promotion, the Trade Department hosts the agenda for the Asean economic pillar, which includes development of micro, small and medium enterprises. With them are Trade director for international trade relations Ann Claire Cabochan (second from left), ACC deputy director Zhang Zuehai (left), commercial counsellor Jin Yuan (second from right) and program manager for the Asean CBIP May Nina Celynne Layug (right).

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is closely watching the final form of the comprehensive tax reform program and its potential impact on inflation rate, Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said Wednesday Tetangco said the proposed tax reforms could have an impact on inflation and economic growth, in the same way that the Trump administration’s fiscal policies could affect the US economy. “The Fed [Federal Reserve] has been consistent in stating that they are poised to raise rates and reduce accommodation. The timing and magnitude, however, are what remain undetermined at this point. The Fed chair also flagged the need to discern the impact of the new fiscal policies of the Trump administration,”

Tetangco said in a text message to reporters. “The latter is not unlike our concern in the Philippines― we are watching out for the final form of the tax reform that will be approved by Congress. We will have to determine the impact of such changes in fiscal policy on the inflation path going forward, keeping in mind the need to distinguish the shortterm impact versus the longerterm effects,” Tetangco said. Fed chair Janet Yellen said Tuesday interest rates might be increased during the upcoming meeting. She said delaying rate increases could leave the Fed’s policymaking committee behind the curve and could result in quicker rate hikes which could trigger a recession. Julito G. Rada

PANASONIC Philippines Manufacturing Corp. said Wednesday it expects revenue to reach P12 billion in its next fiscal year, starting April 2017 to March 2018, as it shifts marketing strategy to rolling out more energy-efficient consumer durable goods. PPMC president Shinichi Hayashi said the company was moving aggressively to capture a bigger market share with plans to unveil more models within the current product range using inverter technology. “Our sales in fiscal year ending March 2017 was record high with about P10billion revenue from sales. In the next fiscal year, wherein the company will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the Philippines, we will introduce invertertechnology products from entry to midlevel models,” he said. Hayashi said most durable goods companies in the Philippines were selling products using inverter technology for the high-end market segment only. Panasonic will bring in Japan’s inverter technology to power locally-manufactured goods running on motors such as washing machine, refrigerators and air-conditioners. PPMC exports window-type air-conditioners and mid-level refrigerators to Hong Kong. Exports account for 20 percent of the company’s total annual sales. The company maintains and operates manufacturing plants in Taytay, Rizal, where it produces export-quality refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners and electric fans. Othel V. Campos

Ayala’s net profit up by 19% to P20.9b By Jenniffer B. Austria PROPERTY developer Ayala Land Inc. said Wednesday net income in 2016 jumped 19 percent to P20.9 billion from a year ago, on the back of stable revenues from property development and leasing businesses. Ayala Land said in a disclosure to the stock exchange consolidated revenues climbed 16 percent last year to P124.6 billion from the 2015 level. “2016 marked another banner year for Ayala Land. We achieved a higher level of profitability coming from the sustained growth of our estates and core businesses. Further, we executed our investment program to ensure continued growth in the coming years,” Ayala Land president and chief executive Bernard Vincent Dy said. Property development, which includes sales of residential, office, commercial and industrial lots, went up 17 percent to P79.2 billion. Commercial leasing revenues also rose 8 percent to P26.6 billion, as its portfolio of malls, offices and hotels and resorts continued to expand within the Philippines. Ayala Land launched P61.5 billion worth of residential and office units for sale through five residential brands such as Ayala Land Premier, Alveo, Avida, Amaia and BellaVita in 2016.




Stocks extend losses; Megawide, ICTSI up S

SMC pegs interest rate on P20-b bonds By Jenniffer B. Austria CONGLOMERATE San Miguel Corp. set the interest rates on a planned P20-billion fixed-rate bond offering slated this month. San Miguel said in a disclosure to the stock exchange the fiveyear series A bonds due 2022 would carry an interest rate of 4.8243 percent per annum, the seven-year series B bonds due 2024 would have 5.284 percent and the 10-year series C bonds due 2027 would fetch 5.7613 percent. San Miguel is offering P15 billion, with an oversubscription option for another P5 billion primarily to finance maturing debt. Offer period started Feb. 14 and will end Feb. 20. The bonds will be listed with Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. on March 1. The company tapped BDO Capital & Investments Corp., BPI Capital Corp., China Bank Capital Corp., ING Bank N.V., RCBC Capital Corp., SB Capital Corp and Standard Chartered Bank as joint underwriters for the offering. The P20-billion bond offering is a part of the company’s threeyear shelf-registration of up to P60 billion. The remaining unissued amount will be placed under shelf registration which the company may issue over the next three years. Philippine Rating Services Corp. earlier gave the highest credit rating of PRS Aaa, with a stable outlook, on the bond offering.

TOCKS fell for a second day, as investors began to worry over the government’s decision to cancel mining contracts.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, shed 32 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 7,174.30 Wednesday, as five of the six sectoral indices declined. The heavier index, representing all shares, dropped 18 points, or

0.4 percent, to settle at 4,356.25, on a value turnover of P8 billion. Losers outnumbered gainers, 108 to 87, while 47 issues were unchanged. Six of the 20 most active issues ended in the green, led by Megawide Construction Corp. which climbed 4.1 percent to P15.60 and port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. which advanced 2.8 percent to P76.50. Property developer Ayala Land Inc. rose 1.1 percent to P36. Mining stocks were volatile, after Environment Secretary

Regina Lopez ordered the closure of 23 mines and the suspension of five others. She also threatened to cancel mining contracts with foreign and local investors. Meanwhile, most Asian markets resumed their rally on Wednesday as traders cheered upbeat remarks on the US economy by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen and her suggestion interest rates could rise next month. Wall Street ploughed to record highs for a fourth succession day as Yellen reinforced the view that the world’s top economy was in rude health, with the jobs market




FINANCIALS 3.3 42,000 48.2 15,600 92.6 1,210,110 4.2 20,000 113 1,401,730 1.33 7,000 38.9 35,400 16.18 502,500 19.92 1,741,600 7.5 5,600 0.68 13,000 1.67 20,000 860 560 0.71 23,030,000 78.35 1,539,670 0.75 423,000 14.26 20,000 25 14,000 60.3 474,270 240 2,680 120.3 650 91 2,750 42.3 115,000 211.4 474,730 1,815 185 78.55 30,700

127,170 749,875 113,410,497.50 84,000 158,395,257 9,210 1,375,850 8,080,474 34,703,932 39,360 8,840 32,600 483,450 16,757,710 121,011,891.50 319,630 285,200 350,000 28,605,228 644,480 78,408 247,750 4,928,935 100,370,892 333,375 2,412,283

721,000 -17,225,338 35,097,143 38,950 -19,440 1,157,820 43,000 536,940 -13,041,149 5,530,355.50 -1,260,005 -2,199,110 45,375 -297,722.50

INDUSTRIAL 43 1,297,400 5.15 1,638,500 0.86 680,000 1.42 537,000 18.2 700 0.31 86,040,000 9.3 39,732,400 16.28 501,500 193 1,620 23.9 285,300 14.62 11,600 56.05 106,770 95 210 2.04 94,000 6.09 1,055,700 11.88 50,200 12.72 14,131,500 8.15 751,600 7.13 426,700 5.8 16,401,700 1.68 31,000 22.3 464,200 74.5 445,540 12.22 25,700 17.06 10,700 6.29 153,300 1.7 201,000 201.4 993,700 5.86 12,417,000 3.83 2,000 27.7 1,000 30.05 1,241,300 28 128,400 15.6 9,103,100 290 167,160 0.265 6,950,000 5.49 13,300 3.37 654,000 9.2 3,187,400 3.59 2,000 11.34 400 2.38 1,399,000 7.2 973,100 1.69 1,194,000 79.4 357,390 4.81 122,000 275 49,200 5 30,200 2.37 8,000 3.1 243,000 12.68 2,043,400 4.2 80,000 0.15 10,710,000 1.5 506,000 160 1,973,110 1.69 5,217,000 1.08 50,000

55,699,760 8,457,382 585,340 764,120 13,104 26,469,100 369,013,928 8,243,974 301,218 6,692,370 170,588 6,035,440.50 19,950 192,010 6,418,962 594,302 179,727,958 6,150,451 3,042,993 95,185,660 52,520 10,361,440 33,217,557.50 313,854 182,908 963,413 340,410 202,206,304 68,331,130 7,360 27,700 37,371,615 3,573,840 140,276,508 48,634,948 1,816,500 73,099 2,232,390 29,549,386 7,180 4,536 3,350,260 6,983,099 2,010,790 28,427,588.50 587,320 13,524,058 151,999 18,920 767,620 26,033,404 336,000 1,607,410 755,250 315,276,032 8,966,300 54,330

-42,186,815 -3,891,358 -3,050 -91,481,394.00 1,434,400 2,523,371 -4,100 620 14,791,490 929,326 -2,543,223 18,060,943 -52,520 5,371,610 6,413,810.50 -34,174.00 -37,850,862 -22,670 27,700 -23,700,165 60,787,478 23,246,894 -1,132,300 781,030 6,857,593 2,262,080 -983,600 2,630,038 -240,500.00 9,465,970 1,500 22,270 -2,434,720 -1,850.00 -9,610,007 -753,850 -







3.3 48.25 94.3 4.2 113.4 1.27 38.85 16.2 19.88 7.02 0.68 1.61 860 0.77 79.5 0.75 14.26 25 60.35 240 122.1 90 43 212 1,800 79

3.3 48.25 94.85 4.2 113.4 1.33 38.9 16.2 20 7.5 0.68 1.67 865 0.78 80 0.76 14.26 25 60.4 242 122.1 91 44 212.4 1,815 79

3.01 48 92 4.2 112.8 1.27 38.8 16.08 19.88 7.02 0.68 1.61 860 0.7 78 0.75 14.26 25 60.25 240 120 90 41.6 211.4 1,800 78.55


43.8 5.09 0.87 1.43 18.84 0.33 9.7 16.6 170 23 14.96 57.95 95 2.05 6.22 11.82 12.82 8.23 7.15 5.82 1.71 22.3 74.4 12.2 17.24 6.3 1.72 209 4.4 3.53 27.7 30.25 27 14.98 295 0.27 5.45 3.42 9.3 3.59 11.34 2.36 7.09 1.66 79.5 4.81 268.6 5.04 2.35 3.26 12.7 4.2 0.145 1.5 160.1 1.67 1.09

43.8 5.19 0.87 1.46 18.84 0.33 9.89 16.6 200 24 14.96 57.95 95 2.08 6.22 12 12.9 8.25 7.15 5.83 1.71 22.55 74.95 12.22 17.24 6.32 1.72 209.8 5.86 3.83 27.7 30.25 28 15.6 295 0.275 5.54 3.45 9.33 3.59 11.34 2.4 7.2 1.71 79.9 4.87 276 5.04 2.37 3.26 12.84 4.2 0.154 1.5 161.4 1.77 1.09

42.25 5.09 0.86 1.42 18.2 0.295 9.05 16.28 170 23 14.62 56 95 2.03 6 11.82 12.58 8.15 7.05 5.79 1.68 22.15 73.2 12.2 17.06 6.24 1.65 201.4 4.4 3.53 27.7 30.05 26.6 14.98 290 0.255 5.45 3.35 9.2 3.59 11.34 2.36 7.05 1.66 79.1 4.8 268.6 4.99 2.35 3.1 12.66 4.2 0.145 1.48 158.7 1.67 1.08


0.375 73.25 12.9 1.11 6.04 0.335 800 9 13.08 8.1 5.24 0.202 1,222 6.03 72.5 1 7.88 14.58 0.475 6.81 3.01 0.063 2.02 104.1 662 0.86 1.47 268 0.295 0.19 0.255

0.375 73.85 13.08 1.11 6.05 0.36 800 9.05 13.1 8.1 5.24 0.202 1,230 6.04 74.5 1.02 7.9 14.9 0.56 6.83 3.01 0.071 2.02 105.5 662 0.86 1.5 269.6 0.31 0.191 0.255

0.365 72.95 12.82 1.1 6.04 0.335 786 8.9 12.94 8 5.24 0.2 1,220 6.03 72.5 0.97 7.8 14.5 0.47 6.66 3 0.062 2 104 656 0.86 1.45 264 0.295 0.19 0.255


6.9 1 2.63 1.21 35.8 3.32 5.05 0.54 1.01 1.27 0.165 0.59 55.4 0.71 0.144 1.77 1.02 1.29 3.75 0.165

6.9 1.04 2.63 1.27 36.2 3.33 5.1 0.54 1.01 1.29 0.169 0.6 56.2 0.71 0.156 1.8 1.04 1.44 3.75 0.172

6.75 1 2.55 1.15 35.8 3.27 5.03 0.52 1.01 1.27 0.163 0.58 55.35 0.71 0.143 1.75 1.01 1.29 3.68 0.162











0.335 0.71 4.93 25.45 1.62 3.3 29.7 1.02 0.94 4.92

0.35 0.75 4.93 25.5 1.62 3.3 29.9 1.04 0.94 4.97

0.32 0.69 4.86 24.5 1.6 3.3 29.6 1 0.9 4.89

0.35 0.7 4.88 24.5 1.6 3.3 29.6 1.03 0.92 4.92

2,090,000 44,301,000 1,481,000 2,402,100 949,000 1,000 28,944,400 7,272,000 624,000 2,413,000

687,900 31,849,030 7,248,050 59,091,950 1,529,990 3,300 859,967,530 7,353,310 562,200 11,863,560

-19,500 -235,360 -364,580 -23,651,720 -1,507,360 540,786,555 -4,016,320


8.2 47.5 1.45 0.56 0.061 7.14 0.065 2.4 94.4 9.69 8.99 1,795 6.23 16.36 3.92 17.8 108 75.5 0.0095 12.5 9 0.191 1.35 3.06 14.4 3.9 3.4 4.66 3.91 2.69 11.18 5.39 3.21 137.1 8.66 1,476 1.34 0.425 44.05 78.75 6.27 2.5 1.2 1.8 3.2 0.435

8.39 47.6 1.46 0.57 0.065 7.42 0.066 2.51 94.4 9.69 9.03 1,810 6.23 16.78 4.03 17.8 110 78 0.0097 12.5 9.08 0.195 1.37 3.15 14.4 3.97 3.4 4.79 3.95 2.81 11.18 5.39 3.35 137.2 8.99 1,477 1.34 0.425 45 78.75 6.3 2.55 1.21 1.8 3.24 0.435

8.11 47 1.45 0.55 0.061 7.14 0.063 2.4 93 9.69 8.76 1,789 6.16 16.36 3.92 16.02 108 75.5 0.0094 12.5 9 0.19 1.35 3 14.4 3.88 3.05 4.61 3.87 2.68 11.18 5.15 3.1 137.1 8.65 1,450 1.32 0.42 44 77.9 6.27 2.5 1.16 1.75 3.2 0.405

SERVICES 8.13 47.4 1.45 0.57 0.063 7.42 0.065 2.44 93.65 9.69 9.02 1,790 6.17 16.78 3.97 16.2 108 76.5 0.0097 12.5 9.08 0.194 1.35 3.01 14.4 3.91 3.09 4.75 3.93 2.73 11.18 5.3 3.25 137.2 8.8 1,450 1.32 0.42 44.45 78 6.27 2.54 1.17 1.75 3.21 0.425

272,100 22,700 120,000 1,264,000 278,230,000 6,476,700 18,220,000 3,479,000 757,050 4,300 162,100 66,660 122,700 41,700 2,364,000 85,300 450 5,629,760 25,000,000 1,300 456,000 6,400,000 427,000 160,000 500 604,000 3,092,000 4,393,000 1,900,000 1,158,000 5,000 75,600 109,000 150,530 141,600 124,970 8,362,000 1,670,000 2,010,000 173,760 233,300 1,194,000 38,573,000 55,000 42,000 3,030,000

2,227,748 1,074,655 174,500 709,750 17,498,550 47,623,564 1,174,890 8,578,670 71,052,611 41,667 1,457,758 119,610,880 757,769 693,278 9,371,290 1,417,560 48,660 431,926,093 235,800 16,250 4,140,000 1,227,540 576,960 485,240 7,200 2,362,370 9,765,420 20,796,720 7,416,880 3,182,260 55,900 393,439 352,670 20,645,190 1,242,657 181,766,210 11,098,390 705,650 89,512,095 13,554,989 1,464,037 3,014,140 45,761,630 96,960 134,630 1,253,450

410,250 18,599,627 -94,500 -89,840 -16,208,550.50 -134,100 -29,113,740 -92,460.00 -144,421,157 210,100 -390,910 -802,910 -450,840 -427,910 0 153,454 -128,157,675 -4,924,670 -44,905,045 -3,988,561.50 -753,428 -191,690 -14,337,570 6,400 -


0.0032 2.06 6.19 1.97 1.92 0.5 0.475 11.32 2.51 0.255 0.182 0.189 0.011 1.6 7.15 2.5 0.98 0.012 4.09 0.014 8.9 3.36 136.1 2.86 0.0091

0.0033 2.21 6.2 1.97 2.25 0.52 0.475 11.32 2.53 0.255 0.185 0.191 0.011 1.68 7.19 2.5 1 0.012 4.1 0.015 9.28 3.4 136.1 2.86 0.0091

0.0032 1.97 5.98 1.85 1.92 0.5 0.45 10.72 2.41 0.249 0.18 0.189 0.011 1.6 6.93 2.4 0.91 0.012 4.05 0.014 8.7 3.3 135 2.85 0.0091

MINING & OIL 0.0032 129,000,000 2.07 6,498,000 5.98 1,077,500 1.96 39,000 2.25 3,000 0.51 925,000 0.45 660,000 11 13,100 2.52 2,459,000 0.249 3,260,000 0.181 9,000,000 0.189 1,630,000 0.011 89,100,000 1.65 421,000 7.08 3,132,600 2.41 69,000 0.97 475,000 0.012 200,000 4.05 78,000 0.014 132,400,000 9 5,468,000 3.32 1,264,000 135.7 1,169,370 2.85 69,000 0.0091 1,000,000

413,100 13,632,460 6,523,797 74,780 6,270 470,950 300,650 141,630 6,116,550 814,680 1,634,240 309,290 980,100 692,380 22,172,567 168,030 457,270 2,400 318,560 1,860,500 48,733,986 4,196,930 158,692,706 196,780 9,100

32,810 -170,620 -272,700 -46,640 -2,566,990 -47,000 -2,794,351.00 16,550 -52,694,500 -


47 535 528 106 104.5 115 530 5.85 1,020 1,030 1.03 109.4 1,072 1,020 107 2.4 81.05 76.6 77.5 80.1 77.6 78

47 535 528 106 104.9 115 536 5.85 1,020 1,030 1.03 109.4 1,073 1,020 107 2.4 81.05 76.6 77.5 80.95 77.6 78

46.85 535 528 106 104.5 115 530 5.85 1,020 1,030 1.03 109.4 1,072 1,020 107 2 81 76.6 76.4 80.1 77.5 77.5

PREFERRED 46.85 61,600 535 9,140 528 1,000 106 1,000 104.9 10,090 115 11,900 536 30,950 5.85 7,147,000 1,020 1,000 1,030 3,200 1.03 10,000 109.4 18,740 1,073 4,890 1,020 100 107 25,400 2 3,000 81 11,300 76.6 23,300 77.5 171,000 80.95 30,000 77.5 75,000 77.5 57,600

2,891,740 4,889,900 528,000 106,000 1,054,413 1,368,500 16,404,300 41,809,950 1,020,000 3,296,000 10,300 2,050,156 5,245,120 102,000 2,717,800 6,750 915,800 1,784,780 13,248,100 2,423,318 5,814,392 4,469,000

-2,863,570 -106,000 -1,368,500 -859,950 1,317,500 1,464,750





WARRANTS 2.15 220,000




7.52 3.8 7.51

8.15 3.8 8.2

7.3 3.74 7.51

7.44 3.74 7.89

4,613,932 184,460 52,502,551

8,230 -4,968,795






HOLDING FIRMS 0.375 4,020,000 73 776,900 12.88 30,952,400 1.1 35,000 6.05 33,300 0.35 20,240,000 786 136,000 9 3,163,600 13.1 2,341,400 8.05 88,600 5.24 1,800 0.2 290,000 1,228 165,245 6.04 7,500 73 1,110,130 0.99 3,688,000 7.9 435,700 14.7 13,246,700 0.47 5,430,000 6.67 37,695,100 3 4,000 0.068 1,084,200,000 2 235,000 104.8 537,520 656 517,300 0.86 50,000 1.46 763,000 269.6 7,340 0.3 3,240,000 0.191 170,000 0.255 150,000 PROPERTY 6.8 1.02 2.55 1.26 36 3.28 5.03 0.52 1.01 1.29 0.165 0.58 55.35 0.71 0.143 1.79 1.01 1.35 3.7 0.165

432,100 1,145,000 30,000 48,339,000 13,163,300 1,070,000 2,008,200 23,258,000 11,000 46,000 8,480,000 4,123,000 450,210 51,000 420,000 6,221,000 1,043,000 6,282,000 16,443,000 39,010,000

1,493,550 56,742,887.50 399,985,248 38,700 201,435 6,990,050 107,291,940 28,479,294 30,588,226 709,250 9,432 58,100 202,685,770 45,260 81,367,113 3,645,120 3,439,126 195,399,066 2,794,950 251,977,624 12,030 73,001,550 472,150 56,344,427 340,821,430 43,000 1,114,000 1,967,484 971,250 32,370 38,250

-36,328,149 -31,204,854 -18,120 -38,448,330 -9,544,627 3,178,614 -537,660 -55,072,420 15,197,170.50 -101,424 13,809,090 -62,872,258 -154,000 894,571 -245,958,050 1,500 -823,808 -

2,949,356 1,166,390 77,160 59,567,760 474,150,265 3,531,370 10,101,940 12,151,050 11,110 58,640 1,399,460 2,410,580 25,141,199.50 36,210 60,910 11,150,450 1,056,860 8,655,210 60,933,430 6,562,090

-1,517,143 4,896,200 61,782,230.00 553,120 -441,000 -2,020 23,200 -2,778,573 7,317,520 -551,760 -19,175,660 -75,900








1,224,192,214 263,127,967








604,300 49,000 6,661,700




VALUE 1,763.79 (DOWN) 14.86 852,018,066.144 FINANCIAL INDUSTRIAL 11,031.62 (DOWN) 60.87 1,773,691,227.63 HOLDING FIRMS 7,228.07 (DOWN) 28.66 2,053,993,717.67 PROPERTY 3,306.25 (DOWN) 0.57 SERVICES 1,415.01 (UP) 1.47 1,683,962,410.66 MINING & OIL 11,899.66 (DOWN) 52.40 1,272,588,751.383 PSEI 7,174.30 (DOWN) 32.54 268,983,863.928 All Shares Index 4,356.25 (DOWN) 18.33 7,964,286,138.414 Gainers:87; Losers: 108; Unchanged: 47; Total: 242

improving and inflation heading to the Fed’s two percent target. She confirmed the next rate hike could come at any time, which leaves open the possibility of a mov at the Fed’s March 14 to 15 policy meeting. Her remarks, in the first of two days of testimony to Congress, helped drag US markets out of a morning slumber and reinvigorated the greenback against most of its peers. “The US dollar was on the backfoot during the Asian trade [Tuesday], but it got that boost from Yellen, so it will be on a stronger position [Wednesday],” Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader. “She said rates need to rise. That’s important because to wait is to risk having to overreact and then knock the economy – and markets – for six.” In early Tokyo exchanges the dollar was at 114.40 yen from 114.27 yen in New York and well up from the 113.40 yen earlier in Asia. The pound and euro was also sharply down from their levels in Asia Tuesday. Higher-risk currencies retreated, with Australia’s dollar, the South Korean won, Malaysian ringgit and New Zealand dollar all well down. Asian equity markets tracked the US surge. Tokyo shot up 1.2 percent by the break as the weaker yen helped exporters, while Hong Kong added one percent and Shanghai gained 0.2 percent. With AFP, Bloomberg

Megaworld set to build new tower in Makati By Alena Mae S. Flores PROPERTY developer Megaworld Corp. is expanding its residential condominium project in Makati City, the San Antonio Residence, with a new tower that would add 478 units. Megaworld launched the 40-story San Antonio Residence along Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Calle Malugay in San Antonio Village in 2015 with 487 units, which is now referred to as the ‘West Wing. “San Antonio Residence’s West Wing is now 90-percent sold and we still continue to receive inquires about the project,” Megaworld vice president for sales and marketing for Makati Group Eugene Em Lozano said. The new tower called ‘East Wing’ will feature the ‘Morning Sun’ units as most of the units will face the sunrise or East direction. The tower will offer studio to three- bedroom (26 square meters to 93 square meters) units. The project is expected to be completed by 2020 with total projected sales for both wings of P4.5 billion, making it one of the company’s biggest residential condominium developments in Makati. “We are very happy with how San Antonio Residence is able to provide living spaces to a wider market -from millennials to young starting families. The project offers diverse unit choices with flexible payment terms that are ideal for the goal-oriented smart investors,” Lozano said. Megaworld is one of the biggest property developers in Makati, the country’s premier financial center, with a total of 27 residential and office towers.




Healthcare is the new sunrise industry

SMART’S LIVELIHOOD. Smart Communications teams up with San Dionisio Credit Cooperative and Muenchen Corp. to provide livelihood

opportunities to the residents of Barangay San Dionisio and neighboring barangays in Parañaque City. Shown during the signing of the agreement are (seated, from left) SDCC community development and services head Joanna Esperanza, chief executive Cielito Garrido and chairman Garibaldi Leonardo and Muenchen Corp. president and chief executive Pascualito Oliveros, operations manager Bill Vergel Mendoza and consultant Hermogenes Estolano.

Govt eases rules on tax payment by credit card By Julito G. Rada


HE government gave taxpayers a leeway on paying their taxes through credit, debit or prepaid cards.

The Finance Department said in a statement banks would be held liable and penalized for the delay or non-remittance of taxes paid by taxpayers through credit, debit or prepaid cards. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III approved the amendments to Bureau of Internal Revenue Regulation No. 3-2016 issued by the previous administration. The old regulation made the taxpayer using credit, debit or prepaid card liable if the authorized agent banks failed to remit the tax payment to BIR on time. Dominguez’s directive would benefit primarily the self-employed taxpayers

and owners of micro, small and medium enterprises who usually line up for hours at the BIR to pay their taxes. Under the new revenue regulation that was recommended for approval by BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay, the payment of taxes done credit, debit or automated teller machine and/or prepaid cards should be deemed paid by the taxpayer on the date and time appearing in the system-generated confirmation receipt issued by the authorized agent banks. “The AAB [authorized agent bank] will then be the one held liable in case of late remittance or non-remittance of such tax payments to the BIR,” the department said. “The liability to pay the tax rests upon the AAB-acquirer considering that from the time of issuance of a valid confirmation receipt to the taxpayer-cardholder, the AAB-acquirer becomes the trustee of the government with the obligation to remit the payment on time to the BIR,” it said. Finance undersecretary Antonette Tionko

said the new system was a reasonable approach “considering that the taxpayer has no control over the actual remittance of the payment to the BIR other than securing a valid confirmation receipt and ensuring that his/her tax payment is paid through a legitimate AAB of the BIR.” Tionko, who heads the DOF’s revenue operations group, said the new rule was consistent with the memorandum of agreement among the BIR, Bureau of Treasury and the authorized banks, whose obligation to collect, “carries with it the responsibility to remit accurately and on time such collections to the BTr.” Tionko said the AAB was responsible for holding the tax payments “in a fiduciary capacity for the account of the national government, which should be considered as separate from the other funds in its custody.” Tionko said that under the agreement, banks should pay penalties for late remittance, under remittance, and non-remittance of the accepted tax payments.

CebuPac begins flights to Masbate and Romblon By Darwin G. Amojelar CEBU Pacific expanded its network to fast-rising destinations in Luzon with the launch of two new routes Wednesday. Cebu Pacific said whollyowned subsidiary Cebgo started daily flights between Manila and Masbate and four-times weekly flights between Manila and Tablas, Romblon utilizing the newly-received ATR 72-600 aircraft. “CEB is very excited to begin flying to and from these destinations, knowing this move will provide every Juan a more convenient travel option,” Cebgo

president and chief executive Alexander Lao said. “We are especially pleased to be the only airline flying to the ‘Marble Capital of the Philippines’ Tablas, Romblon, on top of offering more seats available to and from Masbate. We believe that both leisure and business travelers alike will take delight in visiting these two placesto further stimulate trade and tourism,” he said. The airline’s lowest one-way all-in year round fare for Manila to Masbate is P1,879 while Manila to Tablas is P2,439. The addition of these new

routes will establish stronger cargo services within the area of Luzon, specifically in the Bicol and Mimaropa regions, Lao said. Aside from Manila, Cebu Pacific also operates flights out of five other strategically placed hubs in the Philippines, including Cebu, Davao, Clark, Kalibo and Iloilo. The airline’s extensive network covers over 100 routes and 66 destinations, spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the United States. Cebu Pacific’s 58-strong fleet is comprised of four Airbus

A319, 36 Airbus A320, seven Airbus A330, eight ATR 72-500 and three ATR 72-600 aircraft. CEB expects delivery of one more brand-new Airbus A330, 32 Airbus A321neo and 13 ATR 72-600 aircraft between 2017 and 2021. Cebu Air Inc., the operator of Cebu Pacific, said net income in the first three quarters of 2016 doubled to P7.1 billion from P3.56 billion a year ago. Passenger revenue rose 10.1 percent to P35.36 billion in the nine-month period, as its passenger traffic increased 6 percent to 14.48 million.

THE healthcare sector is emerging as the new sunrise industry, just like the business process outsourcing companies when they began to redefine information technology during the early part of the new millennium. Metro Pacific Investments Corp. was the first company to believe in the bottom line potential of the healthcare sector when it began acquiring hospitals in Metro Manila and the rest of the country. The conglomerate’s hospital group is actively on the lookout for more investments in the healthcare sector after getting GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund through its private equity arm, as a strategic partner for the hospital business. MPIC unit Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. is acquiring as many as 15 more hospitals to achieve its goal of hitting 5,000 beds. The company last year said it would invest in 10 to 15 hospitals to add around 2,000 more beds and expand existing medical facilities by another 700 to 800 beds to increase its presence in the sector across the country. MPIC’s hospital portfolio include the 110-bed Western Mindanao Medical Center in Zamboanga City, Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital & Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, De Los Santos Medical Center, Davao Doctors Hospital, Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod and Central Luzon Doctors Hospital in Tarlac. It also plans to venture into mall-based diagnostic and tele-health centers through a joint venture with a leading Australian tele-health service provider. Another conglomerate, Ayala Corp., has also seen the growth potential of the healthcare sector. QualiMed Hospital, a network of healthcare facilities owned and operated by Ayala Land Inc. and Mercado General Hospital, is on an expansion binge. After launching the 105-bed Qualimed Hospital in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan province, the company was looking at Davao, Cebu, Cavite, Balintawak and Arca South as potential sites for hospital expansion in line with the target to own 10 hospitals by 2020. The group plans to build a 200-room to 300-room QualiMed Hospital in Balintawak, its base hospital in the northern part of Metro Manila, and another 200-room to 300-room Qualimed Hospital in Arca South, which would be the group’s base hospital in the south of Metro Manila. Philab innovates 2017 may turn into an auspicious year for the country’s healthcare sector. Already, a few from the private sector are emerging as vital cogs in helping deliver more modern, efficient and affordable healthcare methods technologies to the Filipinos. Among those at the private sector forefront of bringing modern healthcare science systems and technologies is Filipino -owned Philab Industries Inc. Philab started some five decades ago in building and supplying medical facilities for hospitals, clinics and educational research laboratories. It eventually forged ties with the Department of Health and Department of Education, even teaming up with state-owned China Educational Instrument & Equipment Corp., a commercial entity retained by the China Ministry of Education, to equip some 38,000 schools in the Philippines with Math and Science tools and facilities. More recently, Philab has gone big into medical self-diagnosis technology in the form of the country’s first dengue self-test kits. Philab in a press briefing late last year, meanwhile, explained how it planned to establish Asia’s first ever genome facility in the Philippines. Defined by the World Health Organization as the study of genes and their functions, and related techniques, genomics looks at and processes the broad structure of all the genes of an organism and their relationship with each other to determine its effect on the organism’s development. The plan is to work closely with medical professionals and institutions in using the information to track down potential health threats a person may be pre-disposed to due to hereditary traits. Through genomic sequencing, a map of the person’s genome will be produced which can guide doctors in order to prevent disease or administer cure before it gets worse. Medical health practitioners look at and process the broad structure of all the genes of an individual and their relationship with each other to determine their effect on the patient. More importantly, people may know how to properly address their body’s needs and live a longer, healthy guided lifestyle. The grapevine is rife with rumors that Philab is at the cusp of formally establishing the very first mid-market genomics facility in Asia. Philab is also introducing the very first self-test kits in the country. The company just completed the delivery of one million Dengue selftest kits to the Department of Health as of last year. The company plans to make Dengue test kits commercially available over-the-counter in the coming months. In addition, Philab is developing other kits for Chikungunya and Malaria as well as plans to develop kits to check for the use of illegal drugs. These revolutionary self-test kits allow people to conduct their own diagnostic tests at home—without the need or presence of a nurse or doctor—and the diagnostic results are available within 20 minutes. E-mail: or or

Great Depression II, 2008-2016 A FEW weeks before Christmas 2016, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed for short) decided to raise the Fed funds rate—the lending rate on which all US interest rates are based—signaling to the world that economic activity in the world’s largest economy had become sufficiently strong to withstand an upward movement in interest rates on loans to producers and consumers. That action by the Fed was the definitive indication that Great Depression II–the worst world economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s–had come to an end. It had begun eight years earlier. As it made its way across the US, the financial storm of 2008 took an increasingly heavy toll on the American economy. Millions of Americans— particularly homeowners—became casualties, and institutions that had played a role in what had started out as a mortgage-backed securities scandal sustained severe damage or were forced out of existence. While millions of homeowners were thrown into bankruptcy, hitherto-revered institutions in Wall Street and elsewhere either closed shop or were forced into mergers. Undoubtedly the best-known among the top-level casualties was Lehman Brothers, which ceased to operate after a century of presence in Wall Street. Realizing that the developing storm posed a very serious threat to the stability not just of the US financial sector but also of the entire US

economy, the Fed took out its box of stabilization tools and swung into action. Working alongside was the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, whose mandate is to regulate the operations of the banks and the quasi-banking institutions. Key to putting an end to the raging financial storm was the speedy restoration of the American people— producers and consumers alike—in their nation’s economy. Americans had to be encouraged to borrow and lend again. Toward this end, the Fed, led by chairman Ben Bernanke, brought the Fed funds rate down to an unprecedented zero percent, which meant that American banks could now borrow from the Fed on an interest-free basis. Considering the state of the balance sheets of many US banks and the drift toward bankruptcy of numerous American manufacturing grants—including the world’s largest car producer, General Motors— drastic monetary action had to be taken. The Fed took it. Being the central bank of the world’s largest economy, any interest-rate action produces an impact on financial centers around the globe. The Fed’s zero-rate action was no exception. With yields on debt instruments issued by US borrowers—especially by the world’s No. 1 borrower, the US Department of the Treasury— now at historically low levels, American and foreign fund managers pulled their clients’ funds out of the US and placed them abroad, especially the emerging countries, where yields were considerably higher. This interest rate disparity and corresponding

investment yield variance—low in the US, high in other countries—was bound to persist for as long as the Fed maintained its zero-rate policy in support of a belief that the US economy was not yet efficiently strong for a higher Fed funds rate. Termination of the zero-rate regime, and a return to normal interest-rate policy, would be a good signal to the world that in the Fed’s estimation the US economy had achieved full recovery. That signal came towards end of 2016, eight years after the onset of the crisis spawned by the subprime-mortgages-backed securities scandal. It came in the form of the announcement of a 0.25 basis point rise in the Fed funds rate. The world—particularly the emerging countries—had long dreaded the Fed’s announcement of the termination of the zerorate policy because that would mean a flow of investment funds back to now-higher-yielding US debt instruments. It had been bracing for that event. As the probable day neared, securities markets around the world exhibited nervousness, but they were prepared. Now that the dreaded day had come, the nervousness was at an end. Fed chairman Bernanke performed a heroic role in the entire Great Depression II episode. His stoic attitude, his steady-as-you-go handling of the monetary situation and his we-will-get-overthis confidence saw the US through a crisis whose true dimensions are only now being recognized. But Bernanke was not the only hero in that critical juncture of American history. There was another. That other hero was Barack Obama, who assumed the US Presidency almost simultaneously

with the onset of Great Depression II. Having been briefed by his economic advisers on the scope and depth of the situation, the new Chief Executive – the former Junior Senator from Illinois—lost no time (1) directing the Secretary of the Treasury and other concerned Executive Department officials to undertake investigation and rescue operations and (2) convincing his Democratic party mates in Congress to craft legislation designed to prevent a recurrence of the investment banking activities that had precipitated the financial crisis. The outcome of the Executive Department efforts was, as already stated, the melting out of sanctions—closure, forced merger and huge fines—to the errant institutions. The outcome on the Congressional side was the passage of the law called the Dodd-Frank Act after Senator Dodd of Connecticut and Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts. The new law further sharpened the distinction between banking and quasi-banking operations and tightened the regulations governing the quasi-banking operations of the banks. So, Great Depression II has come to an end. It lasted eight years. At its most serious juncture Great Depression II threatened to plunge the world economy into a long period of decline and instability. That threat has been removed. Is a recurrence of Great Depression II likely? I would have said No until Donald Trump came along. President Trump has set as one of his priorities the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act. If that happens, Great Depression II can recur. E-mail:

Ray S. Eñano, Editor




US rate hike coming, says Yellen By Heather Scott


ASHINGTON―US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made it clear on Tuesday that interest rate hikes are coming, and could happen at any time.

It was the signal analysts were looking for to confirm their belief the next increase in the benchmark rate could come as soon as the March 14-15 meeting, even though her comments mostly echoed what she has said multiple times before. At the same time Yellen weighed into the debate over spending plans and tax cuts promised by President Donald Trump, as well as potential immigration limits, cautioning

about measures that could bust the budget or slow economic growth. While treading carefully and not commenting on specific policies―of which there are few in any case―Yellen responded to a question with a warning that US fiscal outlook has been “a long standing problem.” With an aging population and rising health care costs, the budget is “already not sustainable,” she told the Senate Banking

Committee in the first day of her semi-annual testimony, her first since Trump took office. “Some of the policies that are being discussed might well raise deficits and... may also have impacts on economic growth.” However, there simply is not enough “clarity” on the policies, and the impact on the economy will depend on their “timing and composition.” Yellen did not elaborate on the kinds of policies she would like to see, but the Fed frequently has stressed that sluggish economic growth is partly the result of the small increases in productivity in recent years, and has encouraged spending on projects focused on that. The fear is that pumping money into an economy near full employment will ignite inflation,

unless the policies are geared toward improving productive capacity, for example through improved infrastructure such as roads, ports and airports. Inflation is the Fed’s primary enemy and policies that set off a spending spree in the economy risk pushing the central bank to raise interest rates faster. Although Trump criticized the Fed during the campaign for keeping rates near zero to help thenpresident Barack Obama, he is unlikely to look favorably on higher rates that would crimp economic growth and investment. Yellen warned that curbing immigration could slow already sluggish US economic growth. Immigrants help increase the pool of available workers in the US labor force as older work-

ers age out, which is key to increasing slow growth and the “depressingly slow” productivity growth, she said. “So slowing the pace of immigration probably would slow the growth rate of the economy.” Trump’s immigration policies have included an order barring entry to nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, since blocked by the courts, as well as nationwide raids to scoop up and deport illegal immigrants with criminal records. Yellen presented an upbeat view of the economy, with labor market conditions continuing to improve and inflation slowly inching up to the Fed’s two percent target. She confirmed the next rate increase could come at any time. AFP

Toshiba shares fall after huge $6.2-b loss TOKYO―Toshiba shares plunged again Wednesday as it warned of a $6.2-billion write-down in its US nuclear power business and announced a probe into possible wrongdoing by the unit’s senior executives. One of Japan’s best-known firms, Toshiba shocked investors Tuesday when it failed to report its results for April-December as scheduled then said it needed more time to sort out the situation at troubled atomic division Westinghouse Electric. Instead it issued a grim preliminary forecast―a net loss of 390 billion yen ($3.4 billion) in the fiscal year to March, dragged by a huge write-down topping 700 billion yen at Westinghouse. The revelation prompted Toshiba chairman Shigenori Shiga to quit his post. It also said lawyers and an independent auditing firm were sifting through details of an acquisition by Westinghouse, after a whistleblower complained executives exerted “inappropriate pressure” over accounting at the US-based company. The firm’s Tokyo-listed stock dropped more than 13 percent at one stage before paring losses to sit at 205.9 ($1.80) by the lunch break, down 10.4 percent and extending Tuesday’s eight percent selloff. The crisis comes less than two years after the conglomerate, which makes everything from trains to memory chips, suffered an embarrassing profit-padding scandal that involved bosses pressuring subordinates to cover up weak earnings. The company’s stock has lost 60 percent since that crisis came to light in April 2015. “There is no room for optimism,” said Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. “The share price is still higher than the low at the time of the accounting scandal when investors were pricing in the possibility of its shares being taken off the exchange,” he told AFP, adding that the firm was likely working to avoid an embarrassing delisting. “Its corporate governance has been called into question and I cannot rule out the possibility that investors are pricing that scenario in” again. On Tuesday, Toshiba warned that any improper accounting at its US nuclear power unit could affect its latest earnings. “The questions surrounding Toshiba are so numerous, where do you even begin,” Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities, told Bloomberg News. AFP

NEW PRIUS. Journalists look at the redesigned Toyota Motor Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid vehicle) equipped with solar panels on the roof

during a press conference in Tokyo on February 15, 2017. Toyota released the new Prius PHV on February 15 all over Japan, which expanded an EV mode range to 68.2 km, more than double that of its predecessor, and achieved high fuel efficiency of 37.2 km per liter. AFP

Bankers alarmed by trade barriers FRANKFURT―Officially concerned only with monetary policy, central bankers the world over are weighing in on political debates as fears of economic damage from protectionism mount. “Protectionism will only lead to a loss of prosperity for all,” warned European Central Bank board member Yves Mersch on Friday. The Luxembourger’s words came just three weeks after US President Donald Trump took office with a speech that hammered home his “America first” stance, fueling concern that the US billionaire plans to shake up global trade rules. Even before the inauguration, Trump was talking up tariffs, telling a German interviewer he would slap a border tax on BMW cars if the firm went ahead with the construction of a plant in Mexico. “It surely can’t be the case that the way to build liberal prosperity is to build barriers between one another,” Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe said last week. “Uncertainty surrounds the direction of US macroeconomic policies with potential global spillovers,” the Reserve Bank of India worried in a statement last week after leaving its main interest rates unchanged. “Global trade remains subdued due to an increasing tendency towards protectionist policies and heightened political tensions,” it noted. In many advanced economies, central banks are free of government control, using their independent economic judgement to set interest rates and safeguard financial stability while remaining above the political fray. But “central bankers have been advancing on to ground that isn’t really theirs for years, offering cautious policy recommendations,” Pictet bank economist Frederik Ducrozet told AFP. Now “a further step has clearly been taken,”, he said, as monetary policymakers brace for the uncertainties of Trump’s economic policies and the upcoming Brexit divorce negotiations, expected to take Britain out of the EU’s single market for goods, services, capital and labor.AFP

Saudis warm to solar as Opec producer aims to help exports By Anthony DiPaola THE nation most identified with its massive oil reserves is turning to wind and solar to generate power at home and help extend the life of its crucial crude franchise. Starting this year, Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, starting with wind and solar plants in its vast northwestern desert. The effort could replace the equivalent of 80,000 barrels of oil a day now burned for power. Add in natural gas projects set to start later this decade, and the Saudis could quadruple that number, according to Wood MacKenzie Ltd. That could supplant all the crude burned in the kingdom during its winter months. The effort goes hand-in-hand with a drive by the royal family to broaden the economy following two years of budget deficits tied to low oil prices. More industry, though, means more energy, with the amount of power used at peak times growing by 10 percent in the last year alone. “Renewable energy is not a luxury anymore,” said Mario Maratheftis, chief economist at Standard Chartered Plc., in an interview. “If domestic use continues like this, eventually the Saudis won’t have spare oil to export.” In all, Saudi Arabia is seeking $30 billion to $50 billion worth of investment in renewables, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said this month. The ministry will set up a division to handle the tenders until the country establishes a new independent buyer for all power supplies. “The terms on renewable contracts will be motivating so that the cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world,”

Turbines stand at the Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) wind farm in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012.. Bloomberg

Al-Falih said at a news conference in Riyadh. The kingdom will award its first tenders to build 700 megawatts of solar and wind energy in September, Al-Falih said. Energy Pricing The government has already raised domestic energy prices to slow demand growth and called for greater efficiency, according to the Riyadh-based King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. Failing to tap more sources, including renewable energy, natural gas or even nuclear reactors could erode the oil exports still vital to the economy, the center wrote in an October report. Improving the country’s energy efficiency by just 4 percent a year could save the equivalent of 1 million barrels a day of crude by 2030, according to the report. The cornerstone of an economic transformation plan championed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a son of the king, is the sale of as much as 5 percent of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. With the company worth about $2 trillion, according to estimates from the prince, the share sale would be

the worlds’ largest initial public offering. The kingdom, Opec’s biggest member, is the linchpin of the group’s effort to prop up crude prices by cutting output to reduce a global supply glut. Saudi Arabia said it cut production by 717,600 barrels a day last month, its biggest cut in more than eight years, to 9.748 million a day, according to a monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Aramco Plants Saudi Aramco, as the state energy producer is known, already earns most of the Persian Gulf kingdom’s income by pumping 1 in every 10 barrels sold every day. It’s also driving the country’s first steps toward a renewable energy industry. At its sprawling campus of office buildings, control rooms and suburban-style residential compounds in Dhahran in the country’s east, Saudi Aramco runs the country’s biggest solar plant, a 10-megawatt facility mounted on a parking lot roof. In January, it started the kingdom’s first commercial wind turbine to power a facility in the northwest. The solar panels atop the parking facil-

ity cut the need for the equivalent of about 30,000 barrels of oil and the wind turbines will eliminate demand for about 19,000 barrels, according to Aramco. As the kingdom strives to build industries and spread jobs, other state companies are expanding projects. Saudi Arabian Mining Co. operates a phosphate plant and is building a new industrial city in the northwest. Power for sections of the vast area where those projects are located will partly come from renewables and new gas projects. “Small projects are very important in helping diversify the country’s energy sources,” Stewart Williams, Wood Mackenzie’s vice president for Middle East research said in a telephone interview. “These are steps toward building up the country’s energy base.” Without alternative power sources, including gas and renewables, the kingdom would be forced to increase its crude burn. That can reach as high as 900,000 barrels a day during the kingdom’s summer months, according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative. Saudi Arabia has already tak-

en steps to substitute natural gas for oil in power plants, a change that’s had “immense” impact on the crude burn, Opec said in its Monthly Oil Market Report released in January. The use of crude for domestic power has fallen by nearly a third since the Wasit gas plant began operations in March 2016, according to the Opec report. 300,000 Barrels Saudi Aramco will bring online the similar-sized Fadhili gas project in the country’s east by the end of the decade. That gas project and the renewable projects planned for completion by 2023 could save about 300,000 barrels of oil from being burnt for power, according to estimates based on IEA and Opec data. Alternative energies are “a key factor in the economic transformation,” Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist of the Oman Investment Fund, said in an interview. “This region has a great competitive advantage in lowcost energy production and that will continue with renewables. That will create a big advantage particularly in energy intensive industries.” Bloomberg


Jimbo Owen Gulle, Editor Roger M. Garcia, Assistant Editor THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017



PREPARING FOR THE RAIN. Senator JV Ejercito (right), Mayor Guia G. Gomez, the City Council headed by Vice Mayor Janella Estrada, and barangay officials of Salapan in San Juan City witness the groundbreaking ceremony of the Department of Public Works-funded pumping station, which the officials hope will check floodwaters in the barangay during the rainy season.

Quake-proof QC buildings ordered I By Rio N. Araja

N THE wake of a powerful earthquake that jolted Surigao City last Saturday and the threat posed by the West Valley fault line, the Quezon City government has ordered a mandatory retrofitting for all city-owned and barangay-owned buildings, particularly those built before the July 1990 quake, to ensure public safety.

Mayor Herbert Bautista approved City Ordinance 2549-2016 to authorize the QC engineering department to identify all potentially hazardous city and barangay-owned buildings, including wood-frame structures constructed prior to the 1990 quake. The urgency of the seismic retrofitting on all city governmentowned buildings highlights QC’s effort to ensure the structural integrity of these buildings and make sure these are disaster resilient, Bautista said.

As defined by the ordinance, seismic retrofitting refers to “structural strengthening or providing the means necessary to modify the seismic response that would otherwise be expected by an existing building during a quake.” For essential and high-risk buildings, work must be completed and receive final approval from the city engineer within four years after the adoption of the ordinance. For medium and low risk buildings, work must be completed within six years. A high-risk building is a non-

essential structure with an occupied load of 100 or more persons, while a medium-risk building is one having an occupied load of less than 100. A low-risk building is a structure not open to the public, which is either used as a warehouse or storage building. “If it is determined that the cost to seismically strengthen is not financially reasonable, the city engineer may recommend demolition,” the city government statement read. Earlier, Bautista underscored the need for administrators of all

government buildings in Quezon City, especially the decades-old ones, to assess the structural integrity of their buildings to ensure these are disaster-resilient. He cited as necessary the need for all buildings in the city to adhere to green building standards. In 2009, the city government approved and enacted Ordinance No. SP-1917, the “Green Building Ordinance of 2009,” providing all buildings in the city must follow minimum standards of green infrastructure in their design and construction.

Stress-resistant Green Super Rice developed at IRRI Manila By Ferdie G. Domingo SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija—Researchers at the International Rice Research Institute have developed a rice variety found resistant to drought, salinity, alkalinity, iron toxicity and other multiple stresses. Rc480, also known as GSR of Green Super Rice, was one of 25 new varieties approved recently by the National Seed

Industry Council. The other 24 were developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute or PhilRice, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippine-Sino Center for Center for Agricultural Technology or PhilSCAT, Syngenta, and LongPing Philippines. Dr. Oliver Manangkil, NSIC coordinator and head of the Plant Breeding and Biotechnol-

ogy Division of PhilRice, said GSR stands out among these varieties for its unique qualities. He said this variety can grow under saline and drought-prone environments, and has high and stable yields despite lesser input requirements. The super rice, Manangkil said, offers a maximum yield of 4.4 tons per hectare, matures in 107 days after sowing or DAS, and has intermediate

resistance to pests, such as yellow stem borer and brown plant-hoppers. “The Super Rice is super in every sense of the word. It is super-resistant to all types of threats,” he stressed. Manangkil added that of the 25 varieties, six are bred by PhilRice: Rc440 (Tubigan 39), NSIC Rc438 (Tubigan 38), and hybrid Rc446H (Mestiso 73) for irrigated lowlands, Rc472

(Sahod Ulan 22) for rainfed lowlands, and Rc462 (Salinas 21) and Rc470 (Salinas 25) for saline environments. An early maturing variety with a DAS of 109 days, Manangkil said Tubigan 39 can compete with hybrid rice varieties, with a maximum yield of 10.8 tons per hectare, and exhibits resistance to pests and diseases such as white and yellow stem-borers and green leaf-hoppers.

Surigao firm to plant 6-m trees in 5 towns MARCVENTURES Mining and Development Corp. has signed a memorandum of agreement to plant six-million trees with the mayors of Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen and Lanuza, all in Surigao del Sur where MMDC mining operations are located. MMDC submitted a tree planting program for three million trees in February 2015 pursuant to a Department of Environment and Natural Resources instruction arising out of its operations. All issues were finally resolved by Secretary Gina Lopez in a letter of approval in

January 2017 only. The additional three-million trees is part of the regular replanting related to mining activities, the company said in a statement. The regional DENR has already submitted an inventory of 1.5-million seedlings from various individuals in the five municipalities, which will provide a livelihood source. According to MMDC Vice Chaiman Isidro Alcantara, the MOA signatories hope to plant not only endemic species but also cash crops like coffee and cacao so the livelihood com-

Signatories during the MOA signing are Lanuza Mayor Salvacion Azarcon, Madrid Mayor Grace Kimura, Carmen Mayor Jane Valeroso-Plaza, Cantilan Mayor Philip Pichay, Surigao del Sur Governor Vicente Pimentel Jr., Carrascal Mayor Vicente Pimentel III, MMDC Vice Chairman Isidro Alcantara, Jr., MMDC VP for Operations Alexandrie Amadeo, Tandag Mayor Alexander Pimentel, and Surigao del Sur second district Rep. Johnny Pimentel.

ponent of the program will be “I thank Secretary Lopez recurring and could provide for issuing the approval which sustained yearly income to the Marcventures has been exaffected people in the area. pecting for two years since we

gave it to the DENR. In only a month, Marcventures was able to start implementation,” Alcantara added.

Crowds flock to Rotary ‘Araw ng Kabataan’ festival ABOUT 10,000 students, parents, school officials and spectators took part in the 23rd Alay ng Rotary sa Araw ng Kabataan at the Amoranto Sports stadium in Quezon City on Saturday. Armand Nocum, a Rotary Club of Kamuning (RoCK) member and ‎ a media campaigns specialist, said the Rotarians are very much into promoting long-lost

Filipino arts and culture among the youth amid the rise of social media technology. RoCK president Leonard Lim said the event is an annual competition “to ignite the interests of the young people” to treasure and value the arts of music, painting, drum and lyre, vocal solo, chorale singing and interpretative dancing. “The youth seemed to have lost inter-

est in the arts and culture due to technology, especially social media,” he added. “As the rise of social media technology has exposed our youth to issues and cultures all over the world, we watch with alarm as this [technology] has caused them to stray further away activities that celebrate our culture and arts.” Citing a study by an American art com-

pany, he said today’s millennials would choose to browse Instagram, Facebook and the other forms of social media over a trip to a museum. The event was organized in cooperation with the Rotary International District 3780, Quezon City schools, the Department of Education and the Quezon City government. Rio N. Araja

‘mammo’ machine installed

MANILA Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has boosted the city’s capability to fight breast cancer through the installation of a P20-million modern mammography machine in the cityrun Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital in Binondo. The mammography machine is the latest addition to the long line of medical equipment Estrada has recently procured to provide free, quality, and prompt medical services to 1.7-million Manileños. Described as the leading killer of women worldwide aged 35 to 54, health officials said one in every three Filipinas are at risk of acquiring breast cancer. According to the Philippine Breast Cancer Network, almost 500,000 die from the disease every year and that one out of 13 Filipino women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The Philippines also has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia, and registered the highest increase, of 589 percent, among 187 countries over a 30-year period from 1980 to 2010. “As part of our efforts in ensuring the health, welfare and development of all Manileños, we now have a mammography machine that will test or examine them for any indication that they might be developing breast cancer. Through this, they will be treated accordingly at once,” Estrada said. Abad Santos Hospital will start offering free mammography this month, he added. Sandy Araneta


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017 Standard C2 TODAY Manila


‘Heart’ issues show rise in HIV cases By Mel Caspe


ACLOBAN CITY—The Commission on Population or Popcom celebrated Valentine’s Day with its “Heart to H.E.A.R.T” campaign, to create awareness on the increasing number of HIV and AIDS victims and teenage pregnancy in the country.

PRESENT: Vice Mayor Councilor “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “


ABSENT: Councilor “ “


The campaign’s acronym discusses the issues of adolescents and teens such as HIV/AIDS, early sexual encounters, adolescent sexuality, reproductive health and teenage pregnancy. The Department of Health reported last December, through the HIV and AIDS Registry of the Philippines, that 750 new HIV antibody sero-positive individuals were reported, with 96 percent of the cases male. More than half belong to the 25-to-34 age group, while 29 percent were youth aged 15 to 24 years. In 2016, the DoH recorded

9,264 cases of HIV/AIDS, including 1,969 deaths. In Eastern Visayas, one critical emerging issue is the increasing birth among adolescents. Based on Philippine Statistics Authority data, teenage mothers are getting younger, and young mothers are increasing. That’s from 8,425 number of births by teenage pregnancy in 2011 to 9,155 in 2014. YAFS4 revealed that 9.7 percent of females aged 15 to 19 are already mothers; 2.1 percent of females aged 15 to 19 were pregnant with their first child at the time of the survey interview; and 11.8

percent of females aged 15 to 19 have begun childbearing. The study also revealed that the proportion of women who have begun childbearing increase with age from 2.0 percent those aged 16 to 31.8 percent among those aged 19. Last Feb. 3, a study of the National Institute of Health at the University of the Philippines-Manila revealed that the more aggressive Thai strain of HIV was seen among infected Filipinos, and could be one of the reasons for the continuous rise in new infections, Popcom said.

The most recent Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study 4 Further Studies showed that in 2013, 13.7 percent of females 15 to 19 years old have begun childbearing. This is more than double the increase from 2002 (6.2 percent). Also, according to YAFS 4 Further Studies, the average age of Filipinos’ first sexual encounter in the country is 17 years old, for both male and female. Most of these encounters happened at home when parents are away, and some of the YAFS 4 papers cite the strong influence of the Internet in early sex among youth.

LnB President ARMANDO P. PADILLA “ ================================================================================= On motion presented by Hon. M.C.M. Yabut, which was duly seconded by all Members present, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Makati approved City Ordinance No. 2017-026 on third and final reading. CITY ORDINANCE NO. 2017-026 Authors: Hon. M.C.M. Yabut, Hon. M.A.S.J. Casal-Uy, Hon. D.A. Jacome, Hon. G.I.N. de Lara-Bes, Hon. N.S. Yabut Jr., Hon. F.T. Eusebio, Hon. L.S. Javier, Jr., Hon. V.V. Hilario, Jr., Hon. R.C. Medina, Hon. E.D.E. Villamor and Hon. A.P. Padilla Co-Authors: Hon. S.C. Aspillaga, Hon. M.A.M. Ortega, Hon. N.S. Pasia, Hon. E.J. Puno and Hon. M.R.C. Tolentino AN ORDINANCE PRESCRIBING ADDITIONAL TRAFFIC RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE CITY OF MAKATI, METRO MANILA, SUPPLETORY TO CITY ORDINANCE NO. 2003-089, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE MAKATI TRAFFIC CODE, SUBJECT TO EXISTING LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS. WHEREAS, Section 141 (1) (i, ii, v), Article XXV, of Makati City Ordinance No. 2003-089, otherwise known as the Makati Traffic Code, provides “the Traffic Engineering Division is mandated to identify traffic bottleneck points and establish priorities in implementing remedial measures, formulate traffic engineering schemes, such as banning of turning movements, creation of one-way streets, prohibition of parking, designation of loading and unloading zones, installation of traffic signages, regulating speeds and similar measures, in accordance with its approved priority list, as well as to recommend ordinances in support of traffic management schemes”; WHEREAS, the Honorable Mayor Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay in line with the City’s thrust to create additional growth centers outside the Makati Central Business District and to spread development throughout Makati and in consideration of the national government’s planned construction of C3 bridge, the Makati Public Safety Department (MAPSA), as part of the Traffic Management Administration, was tasked to study and make recommendations on how to improve traffic from the Makati Central Business District (MCBD) to the northern side of Makati City; WHEREAS, with the above said development, a tremendous increase in volume of offices, building and vehicles is projected within the City of Makati especially on the Northern side. Hence, it is expected that there will be an increase of at least fifteen percent (15%) increase in road occupancy; WHEREAS, in anticipation of the traffic congestion, several traffic management measures were identified by the MAPSA which include creation of “one-way loop” to yield better efficiency as it only deals with less traffic movement per direction, “no parking” to selected areas, among others; WHEREAS, to realize the full effect of the traffic management measures, several supplemental measures were also identified and need to be implemented by the city such as (1) widening of road along Metropolitan Avenue in order to increase vehicular capacity and to accommodate more vehicles at any time; (2) installation of traffic signals in order to improve traffic condition; and (3) re-routing of traffic at the four (4) intersections along Kamagong and Metropolitan Avenue; WHEREAS, Section 10 (e) (5) of Republic 7854, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of Makati provides that the Sanggunian Panlungsod shall approve ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of the basic services and facilities and shall regulate the use of streets, avenue, alleys, bridges, parks and other public places and regulate the putting up of signs, signposts, awnings and awning posts on the streets; WHEREAS, the Sangguniang Panlungsod, considering the necessity of espousing the recommendation of the Makati Public Safety Department (MAPSA), hereby adopts the aforecited recommendation to ease traffic congestion at the City of Makati. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED, AS IT IS HEREBY ENACTED BY THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD OF MAKATI, METRO MANILA, BY VIRTUE OF THE POWERS VESTED IN IT BY LAW, IN SESSION ASSEMBLED, that: Section 1. To prescribe additional traffic rules and regulations for the City of Makati, Metro Manila, suppletory to City Ordinance No. 2003-089, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations. Section 2. The Makati North Development Plan Annex “A”, “B” and “C which is hereto attached, shall form an integral part of this Ordinance, as reference for the proper implementation of the additional traffic rules and regulations below stated. Section 3. In order to afford additional lane for use of moving vehicles, parking of vehicles shall be prohibited any time along the streets enumerated below: a.) b.) c.) d.) e.) f.)

along South Avenue; Ayala Avenue Extension; Hippodromo Street; A.P. Reyes Street; Zapote Street; and Kamagong Street.




Section 4. Implement the “South Avenue-Zapote One Way Loop”, where South Avenue is one-way north bound and Zapote Street is one-way south bound and construct Zapote Street Extension to complete the South Avenue-Zapote Loop. Furthermore, to complete this one-way loop, Zapote Street will have to be extended from the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue to Kamagong Street. Section 5. The following parking regulations are to be enforced on the use of one-way: a) b) c) d)

No vehicle is allowed to park at both sides of a road declared as “One-Way Zone”. The absence of “No Parking” signs does not mean that parking is allowed. Parking is permitted only within spaces marked with white “T” lines. That vehicles illegally park will be removed at the owner’s expense. Any towing company that removes a vehicle from a “No Parking Zone” shall not be held responsible in any situation relating to the validity of the removal.

Section 6. Installation of additional traffic lights at the following intersections along Zapote Street to improve travel times and will ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians crossing the said intersections given the density of the surrounding residential neighborhood: (1) Kalayaan Avenue; (2) Pablo Ocampo Street; and (3) Metropolitan Avenue Street. Section 7. No loading and unloading in front of Alphaland Building, instead, the loading and unloading area will be moved to Tordesillas Street.

TOWN PAGEANT. Miss Mariveles 2017 candidates pose with municipal officials led by Mayor AJ Concepcion and Vice Mayor Lito Rubia (center). Also in photo are (from left) Councilors Em Reyes, Susan Murillo, Angel Sunga, Tito Catipon, Harry Golocan and Joey Carandang. Butch Gunio

Ombudsman axes village chief, teacher DAVAO CITY—The Ombudsman in Mindanao has dismissed a barangay official and public school teacher after being proven guilty of molesting minors. Captain Achilles Jude Babaran of Barangay Pagatpat, Cagayan de Oro City was dismissed on Monday after a 15-year-old girl accused him of abusing her in two separate occasions. In a written testimony, the minor said that on June 19, 2015, she attended a youth meeting in their barangay hall when Babaran asked her to come with him. She immediately followed the latter since “he is the barangay captain,” she said. Babaran then brought her to a motel and raped her, the statement added. On Sept. 22, 2015 the incident was repeated when Babaran

brought her to a hotel anew. The victim said she was threatened by Babaran not to tell her parents or he will dismiss them from the relocation site where they are living. The Ombudsman found substantial evidence to dismiss Babaran following the minor’s claim. “As a rule, a victim of rape will not come out in the open and make public the offense committed on her, undergo the agony and humiliation of a public trial and endure the ordeal of testifying on all the sordid details of the crime, if she had not in fact been raped, and if her motive was not to obtain justice and her testimony as to who abused her is not the truth,” the decision reads. “Thus, when a woman, more so if she be a minor, says that she

Groups press DENR to penalize coal plant

THE Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, the largest climate justice group Section 9. Sidewalk vendors along Ayala Avenue Extensions are not allowed so as not to impede the smooth traffic flow in the area. in the country, trooped to the Department Section 10. The enforcement and prosecution for violation of the provisions of Sections 3,4,5,6,7,8 and of Environment and Natural Resources 9 of this Ordinance, is granted to the personnel of Makati Public Safety Assistance Group, who have been properly deputized by this Ordinance. Penalties thereof shall be governed by the existing rules and offices on Wednesday to call out its inacregulations regarding traffic management. tion on a coal plant that has left residents Section 11. Violation of Section 3 of this Ordinance would constitute the vehicle as illegally parked subject to be towed and impounded and shall only be released to the driver/owner/operator after payment of the communities around it with health of towage fee and penalties as provided for by the existing rules and regulations implemented in the City of Makati. complications due to the bottom ash produced by its operations. Section 12. All City Ordinances contrary to or inconsistent with any provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed and annulled. The group rallied against the coal plant Section 13. If for any reasons, any part or provision of this ordinance shall be held unconstitutional or operations of Petron-San Miguel Consoliinvalid, other parts or provisions thereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force. dated Power Corp. in Barangay Lamao in Section 14. Let a copy of this Ordinance be furnished the Public Safety Department and all departments, offices and agencies concerned for their information, guidance and reference. Limay, Bataan. Section 15. This Ordinance shall take effect fifteen (15) days after publication in the local newspapers. “It was more than a month since [DENR] ENACTED BY THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD OF MAKATI, METRO MANILA, in its Special issued a notice of alleged violation to Petron Session held on 15 February 2017. and SMC, but until now, no immediate acHON. SHIRLEY C. ASPILLAGA HON. ROMEO C. MEDINA tion has been undertaken. We don’t think this issue is being taken seriously,” said Ian HON. MA ARLENE M. ORTEGA HON. MARIE ALETHEA S.J. CASAL-UY Rivera, national coordinator of NOTICE HON. OFNELSON DISSOLUTION S. P PASIA HON. GRAZIELLE IONY N. DE LARA-BES PMCJ. The DENR EnHON. ENRICO J. PUNO HON. FERDINAND T. EUSEBIO This is to inform the public and vironmental Management Bureau all interested parties that Excellar Region III sent a ON. MARY RUTH C. TOLENTINO HON. VIRGILIO V. HILARIO JR. Pet Products HON. Incorporated has email us at notice of alleged filed its application for dissolution violation to San ON. HON. DIVINA A. JACOME HON. EVELYN DELFINA E. VILLAMOR advertise@ effective on July 31, 2016 with Miguel Corp., the Securities and Exchange which it received HON. MARIA CONCEPCION M. YABUT HON. LUIS S. JAVIER JR. Commission. last Jan. 6. Anor order was HON. NEMESIO S. YABUT JR. HON. LEONARDO M. MAGPANTAY call us at 832-5547 other issued to Petron Dec. 28, HON. ARMANDO P. PADILLA NOTICE OF LOSS dated LnB President 2016 directly from Notice is hereby given that Certified true and correct by: the office of the the original receipt of a cash bond paid by Chen Binbin Environment SecATTY. DINDO R. CERVANTES @ David Tan in the amount Secretary to the retary. of One Hundred Thousand Sangguniang Panlungsod Pesos (Php100,000.00) as “It was clearly Attested by: PRESENT: proof of payment required by Vice Mayor MONIQUE Q. LAGDAMEO - Presiding Officer stated in the docthe Order dated 6 October Councilor SHIRLEY C. ASPILLAGA issued by then uments issued to HON. MONIQUE Q. LAGDAMEO “ MARIE ALETHEA SJ. CASAL-UY2015 Vice Mayor & Presiding Officer Commissioner Siegfried B. “ GRAZIELLE IONY N. DE LARA-BES both companies Mison was lost as per Doc. “ FERDINAND T. EUSEBIO No.7; Page No.2; Book that they are pro“ Approved by: VIRGILIO V. HILARIO JR. No.12; Series of 2016 “ DIVINA A. JACOME hibited from con“ LUIS S. JAVIER JR. before the Notary Public MAR-LEN “ ABIGAIL S. BINAY LEONARDO M. MAGPANTAY Atty.Dennis Arvin L. Chan. tinuing their test City Mayor “ MA. ARLENE M. ORTEGA (MS-Feb. 14,15 & 16, 2017) run and dumping “ NELSON S. PASIA Section 8. Implementation of No Left Turn and No U-Turn in front of Alphaland Building going to Yakal Street, in order to have a smoother traffic flow along Ayala Avenue Extension.


(MS-JAN. 23,30 & FEB. 6, 2017)

(MS-FEB. 16, 2017)

“ “ “ “ “

has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was committed, and if her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis thereof,” it added. The Ombudsman also dismissed Genaro Caballero, a public-school teacher of Bagumbayan National High School in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, for molesting his 16-year-old student twice. According to the complainant, Caballero molested her on the second week of December 2015. After the incident, the teacher gave her P35 “as a form of ‘reward’” and threatened the student not to tell anyone or else he will flunk her. The incident was repeated on the last week of February 2016,


operations while matters are being investigated but clearly, operations are business as usual,” Derec Cabe, coordinator of Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement, said. The order issued to Petron also states the company acted beyond what is indicated in their Environmental Compliance Certificate, and has failed to install a Continuous Emission Monitoring System, which disabled them from providing a regular monitoring report. The order adds that the bodies of water surrounding the coal plant are contaminated by hazardous substances. Lastly, PetronSMC has failed to manage the bottom ash produced by their coal plant operations. Despite the release of these notices, no formal complaint was ever filed against the coal plant. The Pollution Adjudication Board claims their office has not received any endorsement from the DENR Regional Office regarding Petron-SMC’s case, which left them unable to investigate further on the issue. “There are enough evidences that the coal plant has committed both health and environmental violations. Notices have already been released. This is not just an issue of where to dump the bottom ash. The entire operations which produce the said waste materials should be stopped. There is no reason that the DENR is not taking action on this,” Rivera of PMCJ said. “We need an explanation from the DENR on why they did not endorse this case to PAB immediately,” Rivera said. The group also reiterated that PAB must be assertive in this issue regardless since it was stated in the order that the body can act on its own pulse. “We demand the closure of the Petron Coal Plant and the cancellation of the ECC granted to SMC immediately. Somebody has to be accountable for this delay—justice delayed is justice denied,” Rivera added.

and after the incident Caballero gave him P20 and signed her clearance, the statement added. “Undoubtedly, respondent’s lascivious conducts, for two consecutive times and while inside the school premises, against the complainant, who is under his care, custody and supervision, for the purpose of giving him certain benefits, constitute violations of R.A. No. 7877 (Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995),” the decision read. The Ombudsman also inCYAN MAGENTA YELLOW dicted the OIC Secretary of the Department of Education of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Leovigilda Cinches, for anomalous purchases of office supplies and computer equipment from two enterprises owned by her son, Anthony. F. Pearl A. Gajunera

IN BRIEF Last Sunday of May is QC Bicycle Day QUEZON City has declared the last Sunday of May as Bicycle Day. As provided under City Ordinance 25512016, Quezon City will celebrate a yearly bike day to promote the use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transport, and encourage road sharing between motorists and non-motorists. The ordinance, authored by Councilor Allan Benedict Reyes, underscored the importance of encouraging city residents to use bicycles not only for personal benefit but also to help improve the city’s air and environmental quality. The QC government under Mayor Herbert M. Bautista supports moves to protect the environment with measures and initiatives such as the creation of bike lanes to encourage residents to ride bicycles instead of motorized vehicles that cause air pollution.

BPSU readies for ISO certification BALANGA CITY, Bataan—The Bataan Peninsula State University is readying for International Organization for Standardization certification, as university officials, faculty members and staff underwent a four-day modular training on ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System here. Resource persons from the Development Academy of the Philippines discussed quality management system, with emphasis on quality management principles that include customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making, and relationship management. Effective approaches to organizational processes such as process approach, elements of process, QMS PDCA Cycle, riskbased thinking, and risks were comprehensively discussed. Butch Gunio


World IN BRIEF Bombers kill five people in Pakistan PESHAWAR, Pakistan―Five people were killed Wednesday when two suicide bombers attacked a government compound in Pakistan’s restive tribal region, officials said, with the Taliban claiming the assault as the latest in a fresh offensive. At least seven others were wounded in the early-morning attack in Mohmand tribal agency in Pakistan’s northwest. “One attacker came by foot and started firing at forces while the other was on a motorbike and rammed into the main gate of the complex,” Hamidullah Khattak, a local administration official in Mohmand, told AFP. The one on foot was shot dead while the second blew himself up, he said, but not before they managed to kill three tribal police and two civilians. The military confirmed the toll. Wednesday’s attack came two days after a deadly bombing rocked the Punjab provincial capital Lahore, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens more. AFP


Half-brother pleaded for life S EOUL―The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who has been murdered in Malaysia, pleaded for his life after a failed assassination bid in 2012, lawmakers briefed by South Korea’s spy chief said Wednesday.

Eight killed in knife attack in China BEIJING―Eight people were killed in a knife attack on a crowd in China’s restive Xinjiang region, including three assailants who were gunned down by police, local officials said on Wednesday. Ten other people were injured in the attack Tuesday evening in Pishan county, according to an announcement issued by the government of the nearby city of Hotan. Police sped to the scene within a minute of the attack, which remains under investigation, the announcement said, calling the attackers “rioters”. The far-western region is the homeland of the Uighurs —a traditionally Muslim group, many of whom complain of cultural and religious repression and discrimination —and is often hit by deadly unrest. Beijing regularly accuses what it calls exiled Uighur separatist groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement of orchestrating attacks in the vast, resource-rich region. AFP


PREMIERE. French actress Catherine Deneuve and French director Martin Provost pose for the premiere of the film ‘Sage Femme’ (The Midwife) in competition at the 67th Berlinale film festival in Berlin. AFP

Kim Jong-Nam died after reportedly being attacked by two women believed to be North Korean agents at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday. Jong-Nam, the eldest son of the late former leader Kim Jong-Il, was once seen as heir apparent but fell out of favor following an embarrassing botched bid in 2001 to enter Japan on a forged passport and visit Disneyland. He had since lived in virtual exile, mainly in the Chinese territory of Macau, while Jong-Un took over the isolated and nucleararmed state after the death of his father in December 2011. The North in 2012 tried to assassinate Jong-Nam -- known to be a supporter of reform in Pyongyang -- Seoul lawmakers said, following a closed-door briefing by the chief of the National Intelligence Service, Lee Byung-Ho. “According to [Lee]... there was one bid in 2012, and Jong-Nam in April 2012 sent a letter to Jong-Un saying ‘Please spare me and my family’,” Kim Byung-Kee, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee, told reporters. “It also said ‘We have nowhere to go... we know that the only way to escape is suicide’,” he said, adding Jong-Nam had little political support in the North and posed little threat to Jong-Un. The assassination, if confirmed to have been the North’s work, is more an indication of Jong-Un’s “paranoid personality” than a calculated move to remove a political threat, the legislator quoted the spy chief as saying.

Jong-Nam was the eldest son of Kim Jong-Il with his first wife, and in the deeply patriarchal North the first son is seen as the official heir of the family. The country’s founding father Kim Il-Sung passed on the helm to his first son, Kim Jong-Il, on his death in 1994. But the succession instead went to Jong-Un, who was born to Jong-Il’s third wife -- a potential taint in his legitimacy as leader. Jong-Nam’s family -- his former and current wives and three children -- are currently living in Beijing and Macau, said another intelligence committee member, Lee Cheol-Woo. “They are under the protection of the Chinese authorities,” he said, adding Jong-Nam had entered Malaysia on February 6, a week before his death. Jong-Nam’s murder was the highest-profile death under Kim Jong-Un’s regime since the execution of the leader’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek for treason in December 2013. Jang, known to be close to China and an advocate of economic reform, played a key role in JongUn’s rise to power but his power was believed to have irritated the young ruler. Jong-Nam -- believed to have ties with Beijing’s elite -- was a relatively outspoken figure, publicly criticizing Pyongyang’s political system on a few occasions. The 45-year-old said he “personally opposed” the hereditary power transfer in his own family, during an interview with Japan’s Asahi TV in 2010. AFP

Body of assassinated Kim Jong-Nam to be autopsied KUALA LUMPUR―The body of the assassinated half-brother of North Korea’s leader is to undergo an autopsy Wednesday, police said, as they tried to piece together how the Cold War-style killing happened at a Malaysian airport. Two female agents are believed to have used some kind of toxin in the attack, with reports from Malaysia and South Korea saying Kim Jong-Nam had been stabbed with poison-tipped needles or had chemicals sprayed in his face. The assassination, which came as North Korea readied to cel-

ebrate the birthday this week of the two men’s father, illustrates the “brutal and inhumane” nature of the Pyongyang regime led by Kim Jong-Un, Seoul said. Police in Malaysia are examining CCTV footage from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to try to determine what happened during the attack on Monday morning. “He told the receptionist at the departure hall that someone had grabbed his face from behind and splashed some liquid on him,” Selangor state’s criminal inves-

tigation chief Fadzil Ahmat was reported as saying by Malaysia’s The Star newspaper. “He asked for help and was immediately sent to the airport’s clinic. At this point, he was experiencing headache and was on the verge of passing out,” said Fadzil. “At the clinic, the victim experienced a mild seizure. He was put into an ambulance and was being taken to the Putrajaya Hospital when he was pronounced dead,” he said. South Korean reports had earlier suggested the two female assassins had used poison-tipped needles

during the killing, before fleeing in a taxi. On Wednesday his body was taken to a Kuala Lumpur hospital under police guard, where pathologists were expected to run tests to determine exactly how he died. Kim had at one time been set to assume the leadership of his isolated country, but fell out of favor after an embarrassing attempt to get into Japan on a fake passport in 2001. He has since lived in exile, mostly in the gambling haven of Macau, but he has also been spotted in other Asian countries and

there have been reports of his playboy lifestyle. Kim, 45, is believed to have been in Malaysia on a passport bearing the name Kim Chol, a known alias, according to South Korean media. But Seoul on Wednesday confirmed that the dead man was a member of the Kim dynasty. “Our government is certain that the murdered man is Kim JongNam,” said Chung Joon-Hee, a spokesman for Seoul’s unification ministry that handles inter-Korea affairs. AFP

North Korea defends launching of missile SEOUL―North Korea defended its latest ballistic missile launch and slammed UN Security Council condemnation in a defiant statement Wednesday, as tensions escalate over the reclusive state’s recent behavior. The communique from the North’s foreign ministry came as investigators in Malaysia probe the shock assassination of Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother Monday. The North’s leader has been trying to strengthen his grip on power in the face of growing international pressure over his country’s nuclear and missile programs. The United Nations Security Council, which includes the North’s only major ally China, sharply castigated Pyongyang on Monday for the missile test a day earlier, describing it as a “grave violation” of UN resolutions and threatening “further significant measures”. The rocket launch was the first since US President Donald Trump came to power and was seen as a challenge to the new American leader, who has vowed a strong response to the provocation. The country is barred under UN resolutions from carrying out ballistic missile launches or nuclear tests. The North said the Council should “face squarely our advance into securing a strategic position as a nuclear state,” according to a statement quoting a spokesman for the foreign ministry, carried by state media KCNA Wednesday. “We flatly reject the UN Security Council statement that raises issues with a sovereign state’s right to selfdefense,” the statement added. However, there was no statement from Pyongyang about the death in Kuala Lumpur of Kim Jong-Nam, once tipped as heir apparent. North Korea has blasted off a series of missiles in the last year and conducted two nuclear tests in its quest to develop a weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland. The latest rocket -- said by Pyongyang to be able to carry a nuclear warhead -- flew east for about 500 kilometers before falling into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), South Korea’s defense ministry said. The Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions since Pyongyang first tested an atomic device in 2006. AFP

SKATING FESTIVAL. Spectators watch figure skaters perform at the Paektusan Prize International Figure Skating Festival in Pyongyang. The Paektusan Prize International Figure Skating Festival is held every year to celebrate Kim Jong-Il, the leader who oversaw the North’s first nuclear tests. AFP

Cesar Barrioquinto, Editor




Aides talked to Russians WASHINGTON-Members of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before he won the White House, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Citing “four current and former American officials,” the Times report said that intercepted phone calls and phone records showed the repeated contacts with Moscow’s intelligence community. US “law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee,” the Times said citing three of the officials who spoke privately due to the ongoing investigation. The nature of the purported calls was not disclosed. The only Trump aide named was Paul Manafort. Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and a former political consultant in Russia and Ukraine, shrugged off the report. AFP

PROTEST. A woman tries to walk over protestors demonstrating against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. AFP

Officials battle to insulate Trump W

ASHINGTON― The White House battled Tuesday to insulate Donald Trump from a scandal over his top aide’s contacts with Russia, as it emerged that the president was aware of the problem for weeks before acting.

US defense chief to meet with Nato allies BRUSSELS―NATO allies meet new US Defense Secretary James Mattis for the first time in Brussels Wednesday, seeking reassurance over President Donald Trump’s commitment but bracing for military spending demands. Pentagon head Mattis has voiced support for the transatlantic alliance, in contrast with the skeptical Trump, and has been tougher on Russia than his boss, whose views worry NATO’s eastern European member states in particular. But the retired marine general is still set to push the rest of the 28-nation group to meet their increased military spending pledges, despite many in Europe facing tough financial situations. In a sign that the Trump administration’s pressure on the issue is bearing fruit, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on the eve of the meeting that boosting spending was a top priority. “The most important thing is that we increase defense spending and that is exactly what we are doing,” Stoltenberg told reporters at alliance headquarters. The former Norwegian prime minister said the alliance in 2015 had stopped the military budget cuts and last year actually increased spending by 3.8 percent, or $10 billion, but still needs to do more. Washington has long insisted that NATO members should spend two percent of their GDP on defense, a goal that few meet despite agreeing on it at a summit in Wales in 2014. On the flight to Brussels for the two-day meeting, Mattis on Tuesday praised the alliance for its enduring help for the United States in Afghanistan. “This has been the most successful alliance in military history,” he said. He added that the resignation of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who quit over behind-the-scenes contacts with Russia, would have “no impact” on America’s message to NATO partners. NATO leaders are expected to meet with Trump for the first time at a summit in Brussels on May 25. Stoltenberg appeared confident that Trump remains as committed to NATO as his predecessors.AFP

FASHION WEEK. A model walks the runway at the Yandy Swim Show during New York Fashion Week at Pier 59 in New York City. AFP

Tolerance test as Indonesian Muslims vote JAKARTA―Jakarta’s Christian governor who is standing trial for blasphemy fought to cling on to his job Wednesday in a highstakes election seen as a test of religious tolerance in Muslimmajority Indonesia. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama faces two prominent Muslim challengers in the race to lead the teeming capital of 10 million, as local elections take place around the country. The race in the capital is the most hotly contested, with the top job in Jakarta seen as a stepping stone to victory in the 2019

presidential polls. But the stakes in the Jakarta vote have been raised by allegations that Purnama -- the city’s first non-Muslim governor for half a century and its first ethnic Chinese leader -- insulted the Koran. The claims drew hundreds of thousands of conservative Muslims onto the streets of Jakarta in major protests last year, and Purnama has been put on trial in a case criticized as unfair and politically motivated. He has not been barred from running but his lead in opinion

polls was dented for a period, and the vote is now seen as a test of whether pluralism and a tolerant brand of Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country are being eroded. President Joko Widodo, whose party supports Purnama, appealed for unity after a dirty election campaign that has been dominated by religious and ethnic tensions and a flood of “fake news”. “Don’t let our different political choices divide us -- let’s maintain our unity,” he said after voting.

Casting his ballot, Purnama, who has won popularity among the middle-class with his determination to clean up the capital, hinted at the importance of the election: “Your vote decides the future of Jakarta.” Polls opened at 7:00 am (0000 GMT) for Jakarta’s 7.1 million registered voters and closed at 1:00 pm (0600 GMT). An early vote tally released in the afternoon should give an indication of how the candidates have performed although official results will not be announced for several weeks.

With calls for an independent investigation gathering pace, the White House admitted that Trump was told three weeks ago that national security advisor Michael Flynn may have misled colleagues about his Kremlin contacts. The retired three-star general and former head of US defense intelligence initially denied discussing sanctions strategy with Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak before taking office. That may have breached US law on negotiating with foreign powers, and at minimum was a significant break with the norm that incoming administrations accept the US has “one government at a time.” Flynn was asked to resign on Monday, after what the White House said were weeks of internal investigation that turned up no evidence of wrongdoing but “eroded” trust. Law enforcement and intelligence agents intercepted calls and obtained phone records showing that members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other aides had repeated contacts with top Russian intelligence officials in the year that preceded the November 8 presidential election, The New York Times reported. After finding evidence that Russia was seeking to disrupt the election, US intelligence agencies tried to determine whether the Trump campaign was cooperating with Moscow on hacking and other related efforts, according to the Times. However, the newspaper said, the current and former US officials it cited have not yet found evidence of such collusion. Paul Manafort, a former Trump advisor who was among those campaign officials picked up on the calls, dismissed the claims as “absurd” in an interview with the Times. The White House had painted Trump’s final decision as based on Flynn having misled Vice President Mike Pence. But it emerged Tuesday that Trump kept his deputy, who publicly defended Flynn and repeated his claims, in the dark for two weeks. Spokesman Marc Lotter said Pence only became aware of the issue on Thursday, in media reports. AFP


Isah V. Red, Editor Bernadette Lunas, Writer THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Panel of speakers composed of Dr. Agnes Cruz, Professor Baron and Dr. Mia Fojas


How to manage diabetes T

HE Philippines is one of the world’s emerging diabetes hotspots. According to the International Diabetes Federation, four million Filipinos are suffering from diabetes; making us one of the top 15 in the world for diabetes prevalence—and a worryingly large unknown number who are unaware they have diabetes. The IDF reported as well that in 2015, 3.51 million Filipinos ages 20 to 79 have been diagnosed with diabetes and 51,127 (adults) have died because of it.

The World Health Organization defines diabetes as a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. It is characterized by the inability of the body to properly control the amount of sugar in the blood. Insulin is produced by the pancreas especially during meals and if insulin is not enough or is absent, sugar cannot enter the cells and stays in the blood leading to high blood sugar. Anyone can get diabetes: young or old, rich or poor, male or female, living in the city or in the countryside. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology’s “8th National Nutrition Survey,” diabetes prevalence has risen from 3.4 percent in 2003 to 5.4 percent in 2013. The

Keck School of Medicine assistant professor Helen Baron talks about worldwide diabetes prevalence and the use of insulin for prompt treatment and prevention

greatest numbers of Filipinos with diabetes are 50 to 69 years of age, wealthy and living in urban areas. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), for example, is both a genetic and a lifestyle disease linked to aging, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, obesity and urbanization. Doctors recommend the use of insulin for prompt treatment and prevention of diabetes. Injections of insulin act as a supplement to the body’s insulin and it also helps control blood glucose levels. Insulin treatment is needed by patients with diabetes of all types and formulation will depend on the balance between insulin secretion and insulin resistance; Type 1 is characterized when insulin is absent (T1DM) and Type 2 when there is a defective insulin receptor with insufficient in-

sulin (T2DM). Using insulin may require a certain regimen but it is an effective way of managing diabetes and allows one to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Currently available insulin delivery tools consist of syringes, insulin pens and insulin pumps. The choice of insulin delivery tool is very individualized and should be decided by the individual giving treatment to person with diabetes. Knowing the onset of action, the peak action and duration of action of the insulin(s) that you use to treat one’s diabetes will help optimize blood glucose control and avoid any adverse reaction. For example, blood or urine glucose monitoring is recommended in patients who are at risk of hypoglycemia or who do not recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. The risk for developing hypoglycemia is higher in patients receiving intensive or continuous infusion insulin therapy.

Guests during Basal Insulin media briefing at Makati Shangri-la Hotel

Alternative treatment for pain

Claritin endorser Iya Villania-Arellano

Allergy-free 2017

AS WE face another year, allergies shouldn’t pull us down. Every day, we face allergens coming from different sources. Sometimes, we may be sneezing uncontrollably, or experiencing colds with runny nose and watery eyes. Allergy attacks are sure to impair the senses and hinder us from living life to the fullest. Kick start the year with the world’s no.1 anti-allergy brand, Claritin. Allergy symptoms may be common among people, so common that there exists a lot of misconceptions about allergies. Some of these myths include that if you ignore the allergy attacks, it will eventually go away. Sometimes, people even go as far as exposing themselves to allergens in the hope that they will become immune to it. There are also those who think that overtime, they will eventually outgrow their allergy and be “healed” completely. Claritin, the world’s number one anti-allergy medicine, continues fighting common allergies, the best choice because of its proven track record for the past 25 years. This gives the brand an edge and a deeper understanding of the allergy sufferer. Simply put, no one knows how to treat allergies better than Claritin. For people who are always on the go, Claritin also came up with an orally disintegrating format in Claritin Reditabs. It’s so convenient that you just pop out one of it without the accompaniment of water and you’re set to conquer the world. “We want to be able to make others work and play hard, without the interruption of their allergy attacks. With its proven efficacy and guaranteed reliability, Claritin is truly the number one anti-allergy brand in the world,” says brand manager Carmel David. Be always ready from sudden allergy attacks. Keep Claritin Reditabs in your bag, purse, or at office desk.

BARCELONA has been enjoying the perks of having Dr. Humberto Loscertales on the medical scene. The famous internal medicine specialist has been the authority and top practitioner of the Ozone therapy for the past 16 years in the Spanish city. In December, Dr. Loscertales visited the Philippines to introduce one of the most recognized alternative treatment in the US and Europe. A proud alumnus of the Barcelona Autonomic University where he studied Medicine, he is highly regarded by the academe for his various doctoral courses, logging 100 teaching hours in the same university. His academic career reached new levels when he finished his International MBA, starting in Barcelona Ramon Llull University for two years and an intensive third year in Manhattan College NY. He also practiced medicine in various hospitals in Barcelona while juggling all his academic

The breakthrough Ozone therapy is now available at the Ozone Therapy Center at King’s Courts Building in Makati

Dr. Humberto Loscertales introduces Ozone therapy to the Philippines

appointments. He practiced as an attending physician for the Intensive Care Department at the Hospital Clinic, for the Traumatology and General Surgery, at the Can Ruti General Hospital, and for Hematology and Internal Medicine at the Hospital De Sant Pau. His impressive resume brings to mind the typical or conventional physician, with the scholarly appearance and an aura of wisdom and authority brought about by years of non-stop studying. Dr. Loscertales breaks his stereotype image by having a consistently vibrant personality and a supply of energy that often eludes men and women of his age. Apparently, the practice of Ozone therapy for more than a decade had its benefits, as Dr. Loscertales exudes his youthful vibe while preaching on this new alternative treatment with so much passion. “We have an exceptional medical tool that increases our efficiency on the solution of medical problems, normally in a complementary way with other medical strategies. In some cases, it is the only medical tool/treatment that can provide a good solution to diseases like: Ankylosing spondylitis, Post-traumatic synovitis, Arthrosis and other degenerative diseases,” Dr. Loscertales said in a statement.

With the strong belief that this non-invasive treatment responds to various medical problems, an association of physicians was created with Dr. Loscertales as one of the founding members in 2006. The association was known as the Asosacion Espanola de Profesionales en Ozonterapia (AEPROMO). This organization spearheaded the establishment of proper standers and norms on the correct use of Ozone in medicine and to organize the international protocol of dosage and clinical indications of the ozone therapy giving the criteria for official recognition. Ozone has recently been making headlines as it is highly regarded to get impressive results to alleviate chronic pain and it is also a tool for anti-aging. As early as 30 years old to as late as 60 years old, clients go in and out of the Ozone therapy clinics to have their cells regenerated by the O3 element. They head out with an energized body ready to take on more activities in their daily lives. The treatment, which lasts for only about 45 minutes per sessions, is now available at the Ozone Therapy Center, Ground Floor of the King’s Courts Building 1, along Chino Roces Avenue in Makati.





OR many Filipino families, caring for their precious children is a top priority and responsibility. However, not all are able to meet their kids’ needs. Aside from safe play and quality education, children from poor families are often bereft of basic essentials, the most overlooked of which is proper nourishment in their wonder years. whose 29-month-old son John Brixel Amor was among the beneficiaries of the program, was brought to tears when she finally received the graduation certificate. Baby John was named the top weight gainer during the program’s recent graduation ceremony held at the Catmon Covered Court in December. The other two most improved awardees are Kent Picao (37 months old) and Rejan Gemina Abanag (15 months old). Nineteen recipients were also awarded for their full attendance in the 90-day feeding program. “Nagpapasalamat po talaga ako at nagkaroon ng ganitong programa sa aming barangay. Napakalaki ng naitulong nito sa kagaya naming kapos sa buhay. Ngayon po ay malusog, aktibo, at masayahin na ang aking anak. Excited na ako kasi mas handa na siya sa pagpasok nya sa school sa darating na pasukan,” she said. Another heartwarming scene was witnessed as the children, with their mothers, gave roses and thank you letters to Chef Melissa who was deeply moved by their gesture. The graduation ended on a happy note with song and dance numbers performed by the kids, mothers and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS). In addition to preparing and serving nutritious yet affordable meals, a greater strength of the health promotion advocacy is raising “informed” parents. Volunteers from the BNS have actively reinforced the program goals by educating mothers of the Making a difference through child-beneficiaries on proper nutrition, sanitation, proper food prepabetter nutrition One of mothers, Dyanna Apolinario, ration and healthy budget-friendly Without enough food, these children grow up vulnerable to diseases, hunger and malnourishment, and thus suffer impaired learning abilities in their school-age years and throughout adult life, according to studies. Moved by this growing need to eradicate hunger and its adverse impacts, the City of Malabon led by City Mayor Antolin “Len” Oreta III and First Lady Chef Melissa Sison-Oreta, in cooperation with City Nutrition Office launched the “90-Day Feeding Program” implemented in October last year in four areas (Sityo 6, Int. Sanciangco, Pilapil and Gulayan) in Barangay Catmon. The pilot initiative involved 102 children aged 1 to 4 who have been identified and classified as underweight (77 kids) and severely underweight (25 kids) by the City Health Department. Throughout the 90-day period, the children were provided nutritious meals and were taught proper hygiene practices by the Barangay Nutrition Scholars, a volunteer group composed of the city’s health workers, barangay leaders and volunteer-mothers. The focus given to reduce early childhood hunger is understandable as a number of the city’s urban poor communities have kids who are underweight and stunted in height due to malnourishment. But with the combined efforts of the Malabon City government and its private partners, significant improvements were attained, with all beneficiaries successfully achieving their target weight gain outcomes.

The local government officials and employees, sponsors and beneficiaries pose for a photo op during the graduation ceremony that culminated the feeding program


MALABON KIDS get healthy head start with

‘90-Day Feeding Program’

Through Malabon City’s 90-day feeding program, children were provided nutritious meals and were taught proper hygiene

recipes. To sustain the program, the nutritional status of the children is continuously monitored during and after the feeding program period. “We’ve seen success in both measurable and immeasurable ways. For the kids, they have gained the ageappropriate ideal weight after graduation. But for the mothers, this means making better, healthier choices for themselves and what they can serve at the table for their families. As for all the individuals involved in the feeding program, from the volunteers to our kind-hearted donors, we are very touched, elated and inspired by the successful turnout: seeing these kids’ bright, smiling faces,” said Mayor Oreta, thanking her wife who concep-

tualized the feeding initiative as well as designed the program’s recipe and cooking techniques component. At the heart of this inspiring advocacy is Malabon City’s pledge to enhance and deliver more child-friendly initiatives that will benefit the communities in need.

Rallying volunteerism

For Myrgie Mendoza, the opportunity to help gave her and her co-employees an almost magical moment. Mendoza is among the volunteers of Landbank of the Philippines-Malabon branch who gave out additional items to the beneficiaries during the culminating ceremony. “It’s time that we share our bless-

ings, to inspire and be actively involved in creating positive change in our society,” she said. Other donors that helped make the program successful are the Rotary Club of Malabon, Robinsons Town Mall, LDRA Trading, CDO Foodsphere, Dr. Grace Francisco of Fransix Corp. and Arellano University. While grateful as he commended the continued outpour of support from donors, Mayor Oreta said they will tap more partners as they need vast support from communities to continue the city’s planned feeding activities in Malabon. He revealed that they are targeting 300 kids and pregnant women in more vulnerable barangays like Tonsuya and Bayan-Bayanan starting this month.


7 WAYS TO KEEP STRESS AT BAY STRESS is a normal part of life. Experiencing bouts of stress every now and then may not be all that bad, but too much of it can badly affect your body and cause serious health problems. “Increased levels of stress can lead to numerous health consequences like heart disease and depression, which is why it’s important to know how to manage it properly,” says MediCard president Dr. Nicky Montoya, hence he shares simple ways to deal with stress:

Identify stress triggers

large portions will make you lethargic, Get a massage which may in turn make you feel less According to research, a massage motivated to deal with stress. This is can help release endorphins, lower where low-fat, high-fiber and low-gly- heart rate and blood pressures, as well cemic index food and plenty of fruits as relax tight and painful muscles. and vegetables come in handy, as they help reduce stress by increasing the Communicate with someone body hormones that naturally fight it. One of the best and simplest ways to handle stress is talking the situation Get enough sleep through with someone. Opening up Sleeping allows the body to recharge about your condition to a loved one— and recover from the day’s stressful events. even for a minute—can significantly Medical practitioners strongly recommend improve your mood. getting six to eight hours of shuteye daily.

By recognizing the problems, habits and bahavior that cause stress, it will Exercise Engaging in physical activities not be easier for you to handle them, thus only keeps stressors at bay but also imlowering your level of stress. proves your mood and increases your Eat a balanced diet endorphins, which may help relieve When people experience stress, pain and trigger a positive disposition. they often tend to eat sugary and fatty You may go to the gym or take a short food. However, consuming these in walk near your home or office.

Take deep breaths

Relaxing and taking deep breaths have been proven to effectively fight off stress. Dr. Montoya suggests taking 15 minutes every day to sit and meditate. Surya Fitness & Yoga, located at MediCard Lifestyle Center in Makati City, offers hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga and basic yoga classes.

HOW CAN A NUTRITIONIST KEEP YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY which nutrients your body needs to boost your wellbeing SICK? You probably need to consult a nutritionist. Instead of self-medicating or going straight to the doctor, and fight infections and diseases. we probably need to ask a nutritionist when a family memThey can help you lose weight ber gets sick or experiences recurring discomfort. With the help of a nutritionist, you can shed those extra They can determine which nutrients your pounds you’ve been wanting to lose safely and effectively. They can evaluate your lifestyle as well as eating habits to body needs Mostly, sicknesses and infections are caused by lack of give you a personalized health plan that suits you. nutrients since each body requires different vitamins and mminerals to function properly. To help you achieve op- They can help you prevent illnesses timal health, nutritionists conduct a variety of tests to see Another reason for consulting a nutritionist is to help you prevent certain health problems or conditions, especially if you are predisposed to having illnesses due to family history. They can recommend changes in your diet and lifestyle to prevent such things from happening.

They can identify your food allergies

They can offer advice on food that is safe to eat, ensuring that your body will still get adequate nutrients even if you stop consuming those identified as triggering your allergies.

They can be your health coach Consulting a nutritionist helps in more ways than one in keeping the family healthy

A nutritionist can serve as your coach who can teach you how to make healthy decisions and cook delicious, healthy meals.

Sanjay Gupta selfie with Dalai Lama

Science and spirituality with the Dalai Lama IN THIS month’s Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN explores the convergence between science and spirituality. At a monastery in a remote part of southern India, a unique partnership is taking shape between scientists and Tibetan Buddhist monks. It is a convergence between science and spirituality, forming insights into mindfulness, meditation, even happiness, and the impact all of that can have on our physical health. The champion of this cause is none other than the Dalai Lama himself. CNN’s Dr. Gupta sits down with His

Holiness for a special one-on-one interview exploring the science of our emotions. What can Buddhism learn from science? And perhaps more importantly, what can science learn from Buddhism? Plus, experience an event rarely seen on camera, as the Dalai Lama shares his private meditation practice with Dr. Gupta at the monastery. Vital Signs is a 30-minute monthly program on CNN bringing viewers health stories from around the world. It is hosted by CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.




ATCH what happens when two people find love in a desperate place in The Escort, SKY Pay-per-View’s Super KBO feature offering until Feb. 24.

unravels unusual love story in

Super KBO is part of SKY Cable’s pay-perview service featuring fresh from the cinema blockbusters and other entertaining content. Business becomes complicated as Cyrus (Derek Ramsay) develops affections for the newest recruit to his escort service, Yassi (Lovi Poe). Thrown into this already complex mix is wealthy widower and escort service client Gary Montenilla (Christopher de Leon) who falls for Yassi. Steamy and tension-filled encounters take place between the characters in one of the year’s most provocative love stories. The movie also stars Jean Garcia as Derek’s lover and benefactor, Rommel Padilla as a corrupt mayor and Garcia’s husband, and Dimples Romana, as an escort beyond her prime. Meanwhile, something bittersweet ensues in A Little Bit of Heaven, the story of Marley (Kate Hudson), a free-spirited woman whose life changes when she learns she has terminal cancer. She is out to make the most of her remaining time – to fall in love and find a little bit of heaven on earth. Adding a different flavor into this month’s Super KBO on SKY are thrillers Tumbok, Night of the Demons, and the local comedy hit Working Beks. Cristine Garcia and Carlo Aquino play newly married couple struggling with life in their inherited condominium unit. The unit is the center of an intersection of three roads or “tumbok”, and believed to be the focus of negative energy and supernatural forces in the area. A house inhabited by evil spirits is also the focus of Night of the Demons. A house party takes a supernatural turn when demons start invading the bodies of the guests. Will anyone come out alive? Edgar Allan Guzman, TJ Trinidad, Prince Stefan, Joey Paras, and John “Sweet” Lapus star in a modern tale of “working girls.” Working Beks follows the five leads as they cope with issues arising from insecurities, jobs, and relationships. Viewers can also recap the “kilig” with the Pinoy Big Brother Lucky Season 7 housemates with PBB Season 7 Catch-up. Catch all of these for only P99, valid for seven days. This pay-per-view is available to SKYcable and Destiny Cable digital subscribers, as well as to SKYdirect postpaid and prepaid subscribers and to SKY on Demand users via SKYbroadband or SKYmobi. Subscribers may activate online through

‘THE ESCORT’ American actress Zoey Deutch

Popular girl lives and dies seven times in ‘Before I Fall’

Subscribers can relive the romance and the interesting story of Derek Ramsay and Lovi Poe's characters in "The Escort" via KBO

New video streaming service TRIBE, Southeast Asia’s newest mobile-first over-the-top (OTT) video streaming service has finally arrived in the Philippines. In partnership with the country’s largest telecommunications company Globe Telecom, Tribe offers live and on-demand content exclusive to the region from popular genres such as Korean entertainment, anime, e-Sports, Asian thrillers, and fight sports. Tribe features K-entertainment programs from KBS World and tvN and soon, on-demand content from K plus. Also streamed by the app are Anime shows from Aniplus, e-Sports events via eGG channel, and action and Asian Thriller programs from Kix and Thrill channels. K-drama fans will be able to watch dramas such as Hwarang and My Fair Lady. Anime fans get to view the latest anime series such as Drifter and Occultic Nine. They can also catch up on Anime favorites like Erased, Terror in Resonance, and Psycho Pass. E-sports fans on the other hand have access to gaming tournaments such as the recently streamed Boston Major Dota Tournament on its 24/7 eGG

Tribe, an OTT service for ASEAN video consumers launched last year, is now available in the Philippines

channel. Action, thriller, and fight fans will definitely enjoy programs such as Bellator, Top Gear Korea and a wide selection of Asian suspense thriller movies in their line-up. Beyond quality content, Tribe aims to create immersive experiences and

build connections among different fan groups through events, contests. Tribe’s launch was headlined by a viewing party of the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards 2016 (MAMA), the largest Korean pop awards show. The launch gathered the country’s largest K-Pop communities.

CROSSWORD PUZZLE Thursday, February 16, 2017

ACROSS 1 Sales goal 6 Military cap 10 Kind of film 14 Al of Indy fame 15 Out loud 16 Bombay nanny 17 Lazybones 18 Tablet 19 Gael republic 20 Skyrocketed 22 Ambassador, e.g. 24 Nagano honorific 26 Furtive 27 Retract, as claws 31 Thole filler 32 Climb the — 33 Up and about 36 Playing-card spot 39 WWW addresses 40 Fierce whales 41 Descartes’ name 42 Geol. formations 43 Soul or folk 44 Chili-pepper dip 45 Casino action 46 Some printers 48 Tribal burial sites 51 — kwon do 52 Provisions

54 Nasal accents 59 Perplexed 60 Variety 62 Praise to the skies 63 Skinny 64 High spirits 65 Song-and-dance show 66 Coastal flyer 67 New Year’s Eve word 68 Lie dormant DOWN 1 Quickie exam 2 Reverse 3 Nobel Prize city 4 Bristle with 5 Collars 6 Keystone Konstable 7 A Great Lake 8 Where to find dates 9 Prairie state 10 Rubicon crosser 11 Kayak’s kin 12 Curly’s colleague 13 — went thataway! 21 Morse click 23 Use a branding iron 25 Narrows the gap

27 Crawled, perhaps 28 “B.C.” cartoonist 29 Plumbing bends 30 Hirt and Pacino 34 Chem. or bio. 35 Implied 36 Volcano goddess 37 Technical sch. 38 Potpie veggies 40 Makes obsolete 41 Sahib’s rule 43 What’s cooking 44 Kebab holders

45 Lighter fluid 47 “Unforgettable” singer 48 Cheapskate 49 Tuna habitat 50 With cunning 52 Glen 53 Bridge 55 Eddie’s cop character 56 Wheel hub 57 Stick together 58 Footfall 61 Capt.’s heading

Upon its Philippine launch, Tribe plans to unlock its highlight categories: K-entertainment, Anime, and e-Sports by spearheading more initiatives that resonate with millennial communities. “More than increasing Tribe’s subscription base, we want to unite fans by providing avenues for interactions. In the coming months, Filipino millennials can definitely expect more engaging activities that help them find their respective tribes,” according to Ryza Dipatuan, head of marketing of Tribe Philippines. Finding your Tribe has never been this easy. Download the app and have access to relevant and quality content, anytime, anywhere. The app is available via Google Play and Apple Store with a 30-day free trial. Users can continue to stream shows after the free trial for a subscription fee of just P69 a month or P30 a week. For more information on Tribe, please log on to: http://www.tribenow. tv. Join the Tribe on Facebook via and on Twitter and Instagram (@tribe_ph) and #FindYourTribePH.

ZOEY Deutsch, who recently played James Franco’s smart girlfriend in Why Him? stars anew in the deeply touching book-to-movie adaptation of Before I Fall. Deutsch plays Sam, a high school student who has everything a girl could want: popularity, a hot boyfriend, cool status, fun friends, loving family and seeming happiness. But beyond the superficial, Sam’s life wasn’t so charmed. She was one of a clique of high school mean girls who made life hellish for those different from them. When she’s killed in a car accident, Sam is forced to relive her last day on Earth seven times in order to get things right. She attempts to make sense of what befell her and gain a better understanding of herself and others. In the process Sam evolves, learns to be a good person and comes to accept her fate. Based on the book of the same title by Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall is set on Feb. 12, which at the high school Sam attends, is known as Cupid Day. With her looks and popularity, Sam has never given much thought to others, especially those not as blessed with teenage good fortune. But on a fateful day, her last, she begins to figure things out. Sam’s best friends are: Lindsay, the ringleader, played by Halston Sage, and loyal followers Ally (Cynthia Wu) and Elody (Medalion Rahimi). They are the girls who make life fairly miserable for classmates on the fringes, social misfits and anyone not in their elite social set. Their focus is trained on clothes, popularity, boys, partying and sex. Sam wakes up and goes to school, taking in stride the flowers and other tokens of admiration given her and the attention she has grown so used to. As the day goes on, problems arise, but she brushes them aside—until late at night when she leaves a party with her trio of gal pals. “I think it’s awesome so many women were involved,” says Deutsch. “The book was written by a woman, the script was written by a woman, the film is directed by a woman and it’s primarily a female cast. There’s something really special and cool about that. I’m super proud of that element.” The search for authentic identity is a critical element in the story. “The movie is really about who you want to be before you die,” says director Russo-Young. “It’s the idea of self-determination and that Sam’s struggle is essentially the human struggle to become who you are. Deutsch took the film’s themes to heart. “I think the idea is a beautiful concept: What you do today matters. It matters now and kind of into infinity.” Before I Fall opens March 8 in cinemas from Pioneer Films. Trailer link: https://

Isah V. Red, Editor Nickie Wang, Writer THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017

Tony Tuviera reveals AlDub’s next



Y ALL indications, 2016 was a stellar year for Eat Bulaga, the country’s longest running noontime variety show. The show managed to pull off major milestones last year, including the AlDub anniversary celebration in July and the AlDub wedding in October. Of course, its regular segments — such as the talent search “Music Hero” and the long-running “Juan for All, All for Juan” — remain audience favorites.

Antonio P. Tuviera, T.A.P.E., Inc. president and CEO, believes Eat Bulaga will continue to rule the noontime slot in 2017. “We’re doing very well,” says Tuviera during a thanksgiving lunch for entertainment editors recently. “We had major milestones last year,

T.A.P.E., Inc. top gun Antonio P. Tuviera

Kapuso actor and GNEA Ambassador Benjamin Alves

and we took some risks that paid off.” One of the risks Tuviera is talking about is T.A.P.E. Inc’s Trops, the late morning teen-oriented show starring Kenneth Medrano, Miggy Tolentino, Joel Palencia, Tommy Peñaflor, Jon Timmons, and Kim Last, the boys from Eat Bulaga’s “That’s My Bae” segment in 2015. The show was a gamble since it features showbiz newbies whose ability to

carry a whole show by themselves was untested. Yet, it succeeded. “We’re happy with Trops so far. It’s giving the competition something to worry about,” Tuviera says. “Talagang bagito pa sila. So it’s a gamble. But it paid off on our part. Maganda naman ang kinalabasan. We wanted to try something new kaya nag-gamble kami sa Trops. Masayang katrabaho ang mga Baes.” Despite his confidence, Tuviera refuses to divulge their plans for the year. But he assures that fans of the show won’t be disappointed with what they have in store. What he can confirm is a new movie for Eat Bulaga mainstays Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza. “May naka-line-up kami na isang movie for AlDub this year,” Tuviera says. “Wala pang concept, pero definitely within the year.” The movie is a follow-up to the very successful Alden and Mainestarrer Imagine You and Me last year. Later this year, T.A.P.E. Inc will also be busy moving Eat Bulaga to its new studio in a 3,000-square-meter property in Cainta. The show’s new home will be able to accommodate more studio audience. It’s their way of giving back to the fans and viewers who have made Eat Bulaga a part of their lives. One thing’s sure: whatever Tuviera’s next plan is, it is sure to succeed. *** The search is on for this year’s GMA Network Excellence Award (GNEA). Now on its 15th year, GNEA recognizes excellence among graduating students through the demonstration of exemplary leadership, stellar academic performance, and proactive social responsibility. GNEA is open to any bona fide Filipino graduating student (AY 2016-2017) of Mass Communication, Multi-Media Arts, Advertising, or any equivalent course, and Electronics Communications Engineering. The aspirant must be graduating with honors and active in socio-civic activities. Candidates must submit the Entry Book, which includes the accomplished application form, related work, transcript of records, certificates of graduation, and certificate of good moral character. Seven finalists shall be chosen from among the entries, one of whom shall be declared the 2017 GMA Network Excellence Awardee and shall receive P50,000 and a plaque. For more details including the contest criteria and mechanics, please visit h t t p : / / w w w. g m a n e t w o r k . c o m / excellenceaward or contact Unis M. Loleng at 982-7777 loc. 1108 or e-mail

Maxine Medina at Miss Universe Pop-up store opening IN HER first public appearance after competing at this year’s Miss Universe pageant held in the country, Philippine bet Maxine Medina looked flawless as she waved to fans gathered at Gateway Mall’s activity area for the opening of the pageant’s pop-up store on Feb. 10. “Thank you to all my supporters,” Maxine said in a hushed voice as media and fans swarmed the area for a glimpse and photo ops with the reigning Miss Universe Philippines. For pageant fanatics, the Miss Universe Pop-up Store in Gateway Mall is an added treat as they are able to buy exclusive and official merchandise like Miss Universe travel pillows, teddy bears, hoodies, tank tops, and t-shirts. The most

Miss Philippines Universe Maxine Medina at the Miss Universe Pop-up Store ribbon cutting ceremony with (from left) Araneta Center Inc. executives Lorna Fabian, and Antonio Mardot; and SMLEI executives Edgar Tejerero, Ruby Ann Reyes, and Arnel Gonzales

coveted item in the collection is the replica of the Miss Universe crown. Pia Wurtzbach collection like shirts, tote bags, travel pillows, and posters are also up for grabs. During the launch, fans that bought the Miss Universe Tour Book, which featured 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach on the cover in a stunning Michael Cinco red couture gown shot in New York, were able to get their copies signed by Maxine. The Miss Universe Pop-up Store, open at the Gateway Mall until March 10, was launched via a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Maxine with executives of the Araneta Center Inc. (ACI) and partners SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. (SMLEI).

Kapamilya teen star Loisa Andalio

Fresh, new faces pitch cosmetic line EVER Bilena, the country’s leading cosmetics brand, is opening the year on a fresh note as it welcomes a new breed of young endorsers to represent the brand and its sister lines, Careline and Blackwater. Widening its reach to the millennial Filipina market, the cosmetics brand named former Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) housemate Loisa Andalio as its new face. With her charm and feminine personality, the PBB alumna acknowledges that make-up is an important factor in enhancing her features. She shares, “I’m happy to be chosen as the new endorser of Ever Bilena. As a teenager, I have always liked beauty products, and I enjoy doing my make-up so I know what color shades work for me. Ever Bilena has fun color palettes that suit my personality well.” Also joining the list is teen actress Andrea Brillantes who has been selected for Careline for mirroring its cute, colorful, and girly brand image. She’s a teenager who isn’t afraid to stand out by experimenting with different makeup looks, which she showcases on her Youtube channel. “Since I was a kid, I was always putting on make-up. At our old drugstore, I would apply make-up and pretend that I was a model,” says Andrea. “Like Careline, I am also fun, colorful, and trendy. It’s a brand that I can use everyday.” Aside from the cosmetics that most women need, Ever Bilena has created Blackwater, which caters to the busy and active men and women. With their hectic schedules that constantly require them to be on the go, versatile actress Arci Muñoz and PBA athlete Mac Belo were the perfect choice to take part in the line-up of Blackwater’s highly regarded endorsers. “Tapings can be unpredictable. Sometimes I have to stay under the sun for long hours, andIget really sweaty. It’s important to keep Blackwater with me so I always smell good and feel fresh.” shares Arci. Switching from actress to main vocalist of her band Philia also allows her to play up her scents according to her mood. She says, “During gigs, I tend to jump and move around a lot so I pick scents that are strong-smelling like Blackwater Women Activ. On casual days, I choose fragrances like the Blackwater Women Flora because they’re delicate and feminine.” Likewise, Mac Belo admits that part of being an athlete is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He says, “I avoid pork and foods that are oily. I also get at least eight hours of sleep so I’m able to perform well during games and trainings.” He also confesses that being healthy means keeping a good personal hygiene. “As an athlete, I train and work out every day, and I also sweat a lot. I take a shower before and after training because it makes me feel refreshed, and to keep me smelling good even while training, I use Blackwater’s body spray for men.” The launch of the new endorsers definitely ushers in an exciting 2017 for the makeup fans, beauty buffs, and fragrance and grooming enthusiasts.

Andrea Brillantes is one of Ever Bilena's newest product endorsers

Manila Standard - 2017 February 16 - Thursday  

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

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