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SALN rules apply to Sereno—Chiz By Macon Ramos-Araneta

VOL. XXXII • NO. 32 • 3 SECTIONS 16 PAGES • P18 • THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018 • •

THE Judicial and Bar Council did not relax the rules on the submission of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth for the benefit of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senator Francis Escudero said

Wednesday. The JBC is a constitutionallycreated body that recommends appointees for vacancies that may arise in the composition of the Supreme Court and other lower courts, and in the offices of the Ombudsman, and the Special Prosecutor. Next page

Du30 dumps intl court

Hits out at ICC’s scrutiny of PH war on illegal drugs By Vito Barcelo

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Amazon to prevent First woman tapped Alexa from for top CIAcackling post WASHINGTON—United States President Donald Trump has nominated Gina Haspel, a controversial career intelligence officer, to head Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel, the first woman tapped for the post, will succeed CIA chief Mike Pompeo, who was named to succeed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who was fired Tuesday. Next page


RESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he was pulling the Philippines out of the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court, which is examining his deadly war on drugs.

“I... declare and… give notice... that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately,” Duterte said in a statement. The Hague-based ICC announced last month it was launching a “preliminary examination” of Duterte’s bloody anti-

drug crackdown that has drawn international concern. Police say they have killed nearly 4,000 drug suspects as part of the campaign, while rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.

Duterte, who is accused of stoking the killings with inflammatory statements, has taken issue over the Philippines becoming the first Southeast Asian nation put under a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor. Opened in 2002, the ICC is the world’s only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling. The Philippines, under previous President Benigno Aquino III, ratified in 2011 the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on its soil. Withdrawing the

country’s ratification of the treaty would mean the ICC would no longer have jurisdiction over the Philippines. On Wednesday Duterte, a former lawyer, attacked the ICC’s preliminary examination into his anti-narcotics campaign saying it was “unduly and maliciously created.” “It is apparent that the ICC is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines,” he said. In his statement, Duterte cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on his person” as well as his administration. Next page

Amazon tosuperstar prevent Hawking, Alexa fromgenius, cackling76 book author, LONDON—Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking, whose mental genius and physical disability made him a household name and inspiration across the globe, has died at age 76, his family said Wednesday. Propelled to superstardom by his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” which became an unlikely worldwide bestseller, Hawking dedicated his life to unlocking the secrets of the Universe. Next page


It is apparent that the ICC is being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines. —President Rodrigo Duterte, announcing the country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.

SIR, YES SIR. President Rodrigo Duterte pins the rank insignia on newly promoted Philippine Navy-Marines Colonel House Speaker Alvarez during a ceremony at Malacañang on Tuesday, a day before the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed on second reading the bill legalizing divorce and dissolution of marriage with Speaker Alvarez as the principal author. Malacañang Photo

Pullout doesn’t stop ICC probe, 4 senators say By Macon Ramos-Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz THE withdrawal of the Philippines from the ICC does not prevent it from proceeding with the case against President Rodrigo Duterte, four senators said Wednesday. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Pangilinan, all lawyers and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, all believe that the investigation against Duterte and his drug war will still proceed. “As far as I know it will proceed, regardless of whether you are a member or a non-member,” Pimentel said. By pulling out of the ICC, the President was telling it “we don’t want to have anything to do with you because there’s an abuse of discretion,” Pimentel said. He said if he were president, he might do the same thing, because the drug war was a domestic policy. “This is law enforcement. In the eyes of the President, when he was campaigning, the main problem is law and order.

NBI after prosecutors who cleared drug lords By Rey E. Requejo, Macon Ramos-Araneta, Maricel V. Cruz and Francisco Tuyay JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the state prosecutors who dismissed the criminal case against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim, self-confessed distributor Kerwin Espinosa, convicted druglord Peter Co and several others, in connection with their alleged involvement in the illegal

drug trade. In his order, Aguirre told NBI Director Dante Gierran to determine possible misfeasance or malfeasance or other legal violations by the panel of the National Prosecution Service, which is under the Justice department. The controversial resolution that cleared Lim, Espinosa, Co and several others was signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Aristotle Reyes and approved by acting prosecutor general Jorge Catalan.

Class act: Iloilo farmer’s son tops PMA ‘18

Jaywarden Galilea Hontoria

BAGUIO CITY—The son of a farmer and a housewife from Balabag in Pavia, Iloilo is this year’s topnotcher of the Philippine Military Academy, which holds its graduation rites this Sunday. Cadet First-Class Jaywarden Galilea Hontoria will also become just the fourth PMAer in

the academy’s 119 years—and the first since 1951—to graduate as both class valedictorian and class baron, or the highestranking cadet in the corps. In civilian terms, the class baron is equivalent to an organization’s president. In the PMA, he officially acts as the immediate assistant of the Commandant of Cadets in the Next page

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Rody vows to support Bong Go ‘to the hilt’

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By Dexter A. See

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex Gingoyon recommended to Catalan the approval of the resolution. Reyes was appointed by Malacañang early this year as presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 15 in Lucena City, Quezon Province. He was also the prosecutor who handled the filing of criminal charges against Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba, Richard Tan, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong, Eirene Mae Tatad, Teejay Marcellana, Chen I-Min, Jhun Ming

SHOW OF SUPPORT. Supporters sign their names to demonstrate their support to Special Assistant to the President Bong Go during the launching of Go’s senatorial candidacy at the Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila. Norman Cruz

A MOVEMENT called “Ready, Set, Go” was launched Wednesday to persuade Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go to run for senator in the 2019 midterm elections. The event was organized by the friends of Go and Cabinet members and was held at the Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said President Rodrigo Duterte will support Go “to the hilt” if he decides to join the senatorial race in the 2019 midterm elections. “This was what the President said and I quote verbatim: ‘I will support Bong Go to the hilt’,” Andanar said. Go’s name as a possible senatorial candidate floated when Duterte, during his speech after leading the destruction of smuggled luxury vehicles on Feb. 6, told him to use the Senate probe on the Philippine Navy’s frigate deal as a “golden opportunity” to become a senator. Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco spoke of Go’s remarkable traits beyond his widely-known trademark as Next page




CHR to govt: Show respect to rights bodies By Rio N. Araja THE Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday called on the Duterte administration to show more respect to other human rights bodies. “We caution the government against dispensing allegations without proof,” CHR spokeswoman Jacqueline de Guia said. “Rather than attacking human rights bodies and human rights defenders, we urge the government to display a sincere commitment to transparency and the rule of law by allowing unhampered investigations to take place.” The commission has expressed concern over the government’s questioning of the legitimacy of international human rights bodies inquiring about the rule of law and human rights in the Philippines. “This is despite the fact that the Philippines has been a signatory to a number of treaties on human rights which, in turn, have given authority to these bodies to monitor the situation and recommend measures in improving the human rights condition in the country,” De Guia said. She said the government is open to investigations except for those it claims are biased, adding expressions of concern on the human rights situation in the country should not be construed as partiality. As in the case of UN Special Rapporteurs, investigations were opportunities to clarify and collaborate in pursuit of better protection and promotion of human rights on the ground, De Guia said. “Instead, Agnes Callamard [Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions] has been constantly a subject of government tirades. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz [Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples] has been included in a petition to declare her as a terrorist,” De Guia said.

First... From A1 Haspel is reported to have overseen a CIA “black site” in Thailand where Al Qaida suspect Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded— widely deemed a form of torture—after the 9/11 attacks. Both Pompeo and Haspel require Senate confirmation to assume their new posts. A hearing for Pompeo is expected in April. A senior White House official said Trump wanted to reshuffle his team with a view to launching talks with North Korea, following last week’s spectacular announcement that he plans to meet Kim Jong Un by the end of May. While Trump thanked Tillerson “for his service,” he was sparing in his praise of the 65-year-old former Exxon chief, long rumored to be on the way out. Before leaving on a trip to California, Trump spoke openly of their differences— singling out the Iran nuclear deal—as he explained the rationale for the latest departure from his chaotic White House. “We got along actually quite well but we disagreed on things,” Trump told reporters. “When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was terrible, he thought it was okay.” The remark suggests Tillerson’s sacking spells trouble for the agreement, under which Iran surrendered much of its nuclear infrastructure and opened the rest to international inspection in exchange for sanctions relief. “I wish Rex a lot of good things,” the president said. “I think Rex will be much happier now.” AFP, with Rey E. Requejo

SALN... From A1 Even before Sereno applied for the post of Associate Justice at the Supreme Court, Escudero, then a member of the JBC, said the rules were already relaxed. “If I remember it, the rules were relaxed for all applicants, which included the chief justice, during that time and after that time .That is not even for the position of chief justice but for ordinary justice. We applied it to other justices at the time,” Escudero said. He noted that anyone could peruse the minutes of their meeting when they decided to relax the rules. “We decided, based on the minutes, on what’s applicable to all applicants,” said Escudero. He recalled there were applicants who had worked for the government for 20 years or 15 years, and moved from one agency to another, with no record of their SALN. Sereno had been accused of failure to comply with all the requirements needed to be Chief Justice when she did not submit all of her SALNs. This was one of the grounds in the impeachment complaint filed against her and also the basis for a quo warranto petition filed before the Supreme Court. At least two Supreme Court justices said Sereno should not have been included in the list of 2012 JBC nominees for the high magistrate post because of this failure. Escudero said the JBC had been discussing associate justice applicant Roberto Abad situation when they had relaxed the SALN rules. However, Escudero said the relaxed rules did not mean that applicants were excused from submitting SALNs, especially the most recent ones. The relaxed rules only applied to very old SALNs, he said.

VP vote recount reset; PET cites lack of revisors T

HE Supreme Court has rescheduled the recount of the votes in the 2016 vice presidential race following the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on April 2 against Leni Robredo. Robredo won the vice presidential race but Marcos claims he was cheated and demanded a recount of the votes. The recount was confirmed by both camps on Wednesday. The recount was first scheduled in February but was later reset to March 19. Marcos’ spokesman Vic Rodriguez said the high court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, cited lack of “revisors” as the reason for the rescheduling of the recount. The PET informed the parties that only 42 revisors passed the new mandatory psychological evaluation, hence the need for eight more to complete the required 50 vote revisors, Rodriquez said. Maria Bernadette Sardillo, one of Robredo’s

legal counsels, said the PET called for a meeting on Tuesday afternoon regarding the matter. “We expect to be called for another meeting soon to finalize arrangements,” Sardillo said. “We trust the PET in these proceedings as it is in our best interest to finish this protest to quash any doubt about the choice of the Filipino people and the victory of Vice President Leni Robredo.” The ballot recount covers the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, which were chosen by Marcos as the best provinces where he could prove the irregularities he cited in his poll protest. Earlier, both camps agreed to withdraw all the motions they had filed before the

House defers barangay polls; Senate won’t go along with plan

PET to be able to proceed with the recount. Marcos filed his protest on June 29, 2016, claiming the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May of that year. Marcos contested the results in 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities. In his preliminary conference briefing, Marcos also sought a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental. Robredo filed her answer in August last year and filed a counter-protest. She questioned the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won. She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit. The PET, in a ruling earlier this year, dumped Robredo’s plea and proceeded with the case after finding Marcos’ protest sufficient in form and substance. Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes. PNA

Hawking... From A1

He said the first degree of relationship refers to one’s parent and child, while the second degree of consanguinity (relationships by blood) or affinity (relationships by marriage) refers to the grandparent, grandchild and sibling. • Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Wednesday it is too late to defer this year’s barangay and SK elections. Senator Nancy Binay, meanwhile, renewed her appeal to Malacañang to fill the three vacancies in the Comelec after the House of Representatives on Monday voted to postpone the coming elections and move them to October. “We reiterate our appeal to Malacañang to appoint three more commissioners to the Comelec to ensure smooth preparations for the May 14 barangay polls,” Binay said. The approval came despite stiff opposition from opposition lawmakers led by Rep. Lito Atienza. He said the people should be given the chance to exercise their right to vote and choose their leaders.

His genius and wit won over fans from far beyond the rarified world of astrophysics, earning comparisons with Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. Hawking died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” professor Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement carried by Britain’s Press Association news agency. “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.” Hawking defied predictions he would only live for a few years after developing a form of motor neurone disease in his early 20s. The illness gradually robbed him of mobility, leaving him confined to a wheelchair, almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak except through his trademark voice synthesizer. “His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world,” his family said. “He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.” AFP

What is the root cause of deterioration? It was drugs.... Validated by the people. He won the election. He will now enforce the law. There’s a law and yet they meddled. They’re trying to micromanage the country and they’re going overboard. I can see his point of view,” said Pimentel. Drilon said the crucial issue here is what happens to the preliminary examination. “I think that was what prompted the withdrawal, if I can read Malacañang,” he said. Under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, he said, the withdrawal has no effect on the cases which were filed before the withdrawal. He said the withdrawal will not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing state had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective. “So that is the legal issue now: the effect of the withdrawal. The Rome Statutes so provide. This question will ultimately be decided by the court itself,” said Drilon. Unfortunately, he said the Senate has no say on the withdrawal. “I have tried to introduce a resolution before, in February of last year, where I filed Senate Resolution 289, a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the termination of or withdrawal from treaties and international agreements concurred in by the Senate shall be valid and effective only upon the concurrence by the Senate. I filed the resolution and

it was signed by the majority of the senators; unfortunately, I think it was Senator [Manny] Pacquaio who objected to it, so it was not passed. So what we did was in the individual treaties that were ratified by the Senate, individually we introduced this paragraph. Of course the Rome Statute ratification was not affected because it was ratified much earlier.” Trillanes also said the withdrawal has no legal effect on the cases already filed before it, citing the Rome Statute which states that “the effectivity of the withdrawal is only a year after the notification.” Because of this, Trillanes said all offenses committed by Duterte as documented are still covered by the ICC. “This is but a political move by Duterte because he knows that there is no way out for him in the ICC. He cannot intimidate them like he’s doing with our courts,” Trillanes said in a mix of English and Filipino. “But let me backtrack a bit. First, he said that he is willing to be jailed for what he has done. Then, he said that the ICC has no jurisdiction and that he has not committed any crime against humanity.” By withdrawing from the ICC, Duterte has practically admitted that he is guilty of the allegations filed against him, Trillanes said. “Mr. Duterte, man up and face the accusations against you. You have killed 20,000 Filpinos. That is clear and the whole country has witnessed it. The day of reckoning is coming,” he said. Senator Joel Villanueva said the President should reconsider and face the process of the ICC. “It sends a wrong message to the international community on the political state of the country,” he added. Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said Duterte has no authority to withdraw from the ICC on its own because it was rati-

fied by the Senate. The National Union of People’s Lawyers called the withdrawal “a cop-out.” “It jumps the gun on his potential legal liability or responsibility. He wants to be immune and act with impunity both under domestic law and under international law. The legal reasoning and factual narrative of the withdrawal are novel at best and skewed at worst. The bases and protocol for the withdrawal are either premature, assumes a fact not established, conclusory or inapplicable. They are patently self-serving and unilaterally rearranges the cosmos of international law and its principles,” the group said in a statement. Human Rights Watch associate director for International Justice Program Param-Preet Singh said the intention to walk away from the ICC was “unfortunate but it does not shut the door on the prosecutor’s scrutiny of the government’s horrendous track record of grave abuses.” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III on Monday welcomed Duterte’s announcement that Philippines is withdrawing from the ICC. “We will not allow any foreign court to impose upon our sovereignty,” Albano said. “We should resist any interference by any international tribunal lest we become puppets of these nations.” But opposition and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate warned that Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC was a “grave setback to human rights and accountability.” “President Duterte’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute is intended to escape accountability by present and even future officials for crimes committed against the people and humanity. This is ominous,” Zarate said. “For all the bluster of the present administration in the manner it launched its bloody wars, this withdrawal also means that it is gravely petrified of the long arm of the law and accountability,” he added.

Rody... From A1

Class... From A1

the “selfie king” and the President’s long-time aide. “We know him. He is known by the people as the loyal aide of the President. He is known as Bong Go, the ‘selfie king’,” Velasco said. “He was recognized by many Filipinos when he faced the [frigate] controversy at the Senate. He came out with a clean name and unscathed dignity. “But we know him as Bong Go, our loyal friend. We know him for his humility. These traits show that SAP Bong Go is more than just an aide of the President and a selfie king.” Velasco said Go, if he becomes senator, would push for Duterte’s federalism advocacy. “We know that his priority once he is in the Senate is to help push President Duterte’s ultimate goal of federalism, which would raise people out of poverty and straighten the path the Philippines is taking,” Velasco said. “These are the reasons why we encourage SAP Bong Go to be a representative of the people in the Senate.” PNA

discipline, interior administration, training and general efficiency of the Cadet Corps. For all these numerous duties and responsibilities, the Baron has the distinction of wearing the longest chevron in the corps of cadets. Hontoria will be receiving from President Rodrigo Duterte the coveted Presidential Saber, aside from the Humanities Plaque, the Chief of Staff Saber, the Natural Sciences Plaque, the Philippine Navy Saber, the Social Sciences Plaque, the Academic Group Award, the JUSMAG Award, the Australian Best Overall Performance Award, the Department of Leadership Plaque, and the Spanish Armed Forces Award. The 25-year-old will be leading the 282-strong members of the Alagad ng Lahing Binigkis ng Tapang at Lakas or ALAB Tala Class of 2018, which counts 207 men and 75 women. Of the graduating class, 143 will be joining the Philippine Army, 71 will be joining

the Air Force, and 68 will be joining the Philippine Navy. Duterte will be commissioning the members of the graduating class as 2nd Lieutenants and Ensigns of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the ceremonies at the Borromeo Field inside Fort del Pilar here. PMA Superintendent Maj. Donato San Juan II said the graduating class owns the distinction of having the most number of females who are able to hurdle the rigid training inside the premier military school in the Asia-Pacific region. “This is a historic event for the PMA, as we have a valedictorian who is also a baron. The last time this happened was in 1951 with Leopoldo Regis,” said PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Donato San Juan. Speaking to the website Rappler, Hontoria said he felt humbled in joining the elite group of valedictorian-barons. He was already a registered nurse, having graduated from West Visayas State University, before joining the academy. “I was almost too old to become a PMA cadet and took the exam at my cut-off age,” he told Rappler.

By Maricel V. Cruz, Joel E. Zurbano in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected.” and Macon Ramos-Araneta THE House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading the bill postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to Oct. 8, 2018 from May 14 this year. The House leadership is expected to approve on third and final reading next week the substituted House Bill 7378 as Congress goes on a Lenten break beginning March 23. In other developments: • The Commission on Elections said Wednesday this year’s Youth Council elections will be the country’s first election exercise when the government enforces the provisions concerning political dynasties. Comelec spokesman James Arthur Jimenez said the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act says SK candidates “must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal or barangay official

Pullout... From A1

Du30... From A1 “The acts allegedly committed by me are neither genocide nor war crimes. The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operations lacked the intent to kill,” he added. But even as early as Oct. 13, 2016, when Duterte had only been in office less than four months, the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that she was “deeply concerned” over reports of extra-judicial killings of over 3,000 alleged drug users and pushers. Adding pressure on Manila, in February, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva raised the country’s human rights record with Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson calling on the Philippines to accept the visit of a UN special rapporteur. Philippine officials had initially said in February that the country was ready to cooperate but asked for fairness. Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque also said they would refuse a visit by one such rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who had previously been pressing to investigate the killings. But Roque has also said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case because the tribunal was intended as a “court of last resort” and the Philippine courts were fully functioning. The Philippines is among the 124 countries that are members of the United Nationsbacked ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes court. The permanent international court can prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. In a strongly worded statement, President Duterte said that there appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the UN special rapporteurs to paint him as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings. The President accused the ICC of prematurely making a public pronouncement of a preliminary examination, which effectively created the impression that he is to be charged for serious crimes falling under its jurisdiction. “The attempt to place me under the jurisdiction of the ICC is brazen display of ignorance of the law. The ICC has no jurisdiction nor will it acquire jurisdiction over my person. The ICC has no jurisdiction nor will it acquire jurisdiction over my person,” Duterte said. Duterte, a former prosecutor, said that Rome Statute’s contention that he can be charged under international law is not effective nor enforceable in the Philippines. “Under our law, particularly the New Civil Code, a law shall become effective only upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Devoid of the legal required publication, the Rome Statute is ineffective and unenforceable,” the President said. The President also slammed UN special rapporteur Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad alHussein for being biased. He said that when the Philippine government made itself a signatory to the Rome Statute, it was on the assumption that the internationally accepted principles of justice in relation to the Philippines’ constitutional requirement on due process would be upheld. With AFP

NBI... From A1 Jhun, and Chen Rong Huan in connection with the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China in May last year. Aguirre also formed another panel to handle the motion for reconsideration filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. In a separate order, Aguirre said the new panel would be composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Assistant State Prosecutor Ana Noreen Devanadera and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan. Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon will act as Prosecutor General for the case. Aguirre also again sought to ease criticism on the dismissal, saying that it is not yet the end of the case since there is still the motion for reconsideration and after that an automatic review, which will be conducted by his office. He said those who criticized him for the dismissal do not know how the process works in cases filed before the NPS. Senator Richard Gordon, meanwhile, continued his criticism of Aguirre, and said dared him to file charges against Espinosa and Lim. He also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to look into the case right away, because the dismissal of the case against Espinsa and Lim was serious. Gordon said he would call for Aguirre’s resignation if he does not reverse the decision of the panel of prosecutors. Detained Senator Leila de Lima said the travesty of the fake war on drugs is that it has never eliminated drug lords or the sources of drugs. She said it has always targeted those at the lowest level of the drug chain, dealing on them the capital penalty of death without trial and on mere suspicion. The opposition senator said there can be no excuse for the Philippine National Police and the Justice Department’s failure to bring real druglords to court. “They seem to have no problem filing fake drug cases against political opponents of the Duterte administration like me. It appears that the law enforcement and justice machinery of the government under this administration has already forgotten how to file and prosecute real drug cases. They have become such experts in filing fake drug charges that they have become completely incompetent in the case build-up and the filing of real ones. This makes the drug war useless, as it is fake,” she said.

News Slain cop receives medal from President By Vito Barcelo PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte awarded a posthumous medal to a slain policeman killed in a buy-bust operation in Norzagaray, Bulacan, as the President vowed to step up the government’s drive against illegal drugs. The President also extended financial assistance and scholarship to the children of SPO1 Ronaldo Legaspi, who succumbed to four gunshot wounds in the anti-drug operation in Norzagaray last week. During his visit, the Chief Executive posthumously awarded Legaspi the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kalasag. The award is conferred on individuals who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President. Legaspi is survived by his parents, wife, and three children. The President was accompanied by Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go and Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa. Police killed the suspected drug pusher, identified as Rolando Padura, alias Jay, a resident of San Jose Del Monte town in Bulacan, ans was listed in the “Priority Targets” of Norzagaray police. A report said Legaspi and other Norzagaray cops set up a buybust operation against Padura after he agreed to sell shabu to people who turned out to be lawmen. At the agreed meeting place in barangay Tigbe, Greñas said Padura sensed he was selling drugs to policemen and opened fire at the lawmen, who retaliated. Padura died on the spot. Legaspi sustained four gunshot wounds in the stomach and was rushed to the Ospital ng Lungsod ng San Jose Del Monte where he was declared dead a few hours later.

House OKs divorce on 2nd reading By Maricel V. Cruz THE House of Representatives on Wednesday passed on second reading the bill legalizing divorce and dissolution of marriage with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as the principal author. Lawmakers voted in favor of the substituted House Bill 7303 through a voice voting after the measure was sponsored in the plenary by Reps. Edcel Lagman of Albay, Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela party-list , and Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano of Taguig sponsored the bill last Monday. Alvarez’s original proposal, as contained in HB 6027, or “An Act Providing for Grounds for the Dissolution of a Marriage,” proposes that a marriage may be dissolved based on irreconcilable differences or severe and “chronic unhappiness” of the spouses which caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. Lagman, also an author to the bill, proposes in his version of the measure that the grounds for absolute divorce are the same grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines and grounds for annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines. The bill contains a provision for summary proceedings of divorce cases filed before a court to allow the aggrieved spouse immediate freedom from a violent marriage. Aside from domestic violence, psychological incapacity, irreconciliable differences, violence and even transgender surgery are among the grounds that may be cited should a married individual seek separation from the legal spouse and remarry. The bill is scheduled to get passed on third and final reading next week, as Congress goes on a Holy Week break beginning March 23.



US extends P100-m aid to boost food security T By Rey E. Requejo

HE United States Agency for International Development has extended a P100-million assistance to the Philippines intended to boost food security in Marawi City and surrounding areas. The USAID is partnering with the World Food Program to provide 1.8 million kilograms of rice—enough to feed 45,000 people for four months—to families displaced by the conflict. During the ceremonial handover of rice to Philippine government officials on Wednesday, US Ambassador Sung Kim stressed his government remained a strong ally of the Philippines in supporting its program to rebuild the lives of Marawi City people. “The US government continues to stand by the Filipino people as a friend, partner, and ally to support those affected by the Marawi conflict as they rebuild their lives,” Kim said. The assistance, which will help ensure an adequate food supply for families affected by the Marawi conflict, brings the total US government contribution to the

Marawi humanitarian response to nearly P1.2 billion ($22.9 million). Ambassador Kim was joined by Undersecretary Emmanuel Leyco, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Social Welfare and Development; Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, Spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi; and Mr. Stephen Gluning, Country Director of the World Food Program. The US government, through USAID, has been a key partner with the Philippine government in the recovery, stabilization, and rehabilitation of Marawi City and surrounding areas. USAID continues to work closely with the Philippine government and development partners to deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance and promote long-term stability in Marawi. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced in October the

Marawi City siege was over, exactly five months after fighting between government troops and ISIS-linked Maute Group started. “After 154 days of siege in Marawi with Daesh-inspired Maute-ISIS group, after a week the commander-in-chief declared the liberation of Marawi City, we now announce the termination of combat operations in Marawi City,” Lorenzana told reporters. “The Philippine forces, aided by its government and the massive support of the Filipino people, have nipped the budding infrastructure and defeated terrorism in the Philippines,” the defense chief said. The combat operations were ended after terrorists tried to make their last stand inside the main battle area. Government troops found 42 cadavers of suspected terrorists in two buildings and a mosque in the center of the clash. “There was a firefight and they were finished,” Lorenzana said, adding all remaining hostages had been recovered the past few days. ISIL fighters laid siege to Marawi in May, prompting months of heavy combat that prompted hundreds of thousands to flee and left more than 1,000 dead.

CREAM OF THE CROP. Cadet First Class Jaywardene Galilea Hontoria of Iloilo (middle) is only the 4th valedictorian and class baron in the 119 years of the Philippine Military Academy. Hontoria will receive the Presidential Saber from President Duterte on Sunday as well as the Chief of Staff Saber, among other awards. The top 10 in Alab Tala Class 2018 are: 1. Hontoria (middle); 2. Cadet 1 class Ricardo W. Liwaden; 3. Cadet 1 class Jun-jay M. Castro; 4. Cadet 1 Class Leonore Andrea C. Japitan; 5. Cadet 1 class Mark Jatzen N. Dacillo; 6. Cadet 1 class Jezaira L. Buenaventura; 7. Cadet 1 Class Jessie A. Laranang; 8. Cadet 1 Class Paolo B. Briones; 9. Cadet 1 Class Jayson R. Cimatu; 10. Cadet 1 class Micah Q. Reynaldo; Top 11th, 12th: Cadet 1 class Christian M. Olarte; Cadet 1 class Jasm Marie M. Alcoriza. Brig Gen. Jose C. Faustino Jr; PMA Supt.Lt.Gen. Donato B. San Juan,Brig Gen. Joey Villanueva (seated). Dave Leprozo (Story on A1)

Palace: Solons vow to pass BBL in less than 2 months NATIONAL legislators have promised to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law by May 30, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, even as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front expressed concern over the fate of the proposed measure in light of moves to amend the 1987 Constitution. Roque said leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate made this promise during their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Tuesday. “We cannot fail on this [BBL]. The next generation is counting on us,” Roque quoted Duterte as saying. The President has repeatedly stressed

that failure to address the concerns of Bangsamoro people might lead to more trouble in Mindanao. Duterte’s 20-man consultative committee tasked to make recommendations on amendments to the charter has started its work, discussing among others how a new charter could accommodate the BBL, the enabling measure of the peace compact signed by the Philippine government and the MILF in 2014. The MILF, the leading Moro group pushing for the BBL’s passage, said during its meeting with the consultative committee that it would be “easier” to pass the proposed measure than to

overhaul the system of government toward federalism. Security experts and Moro leaders have warned that Islamist extremists, who recently waged a five-month siege on Marawi City, might exploit a disgruntled Moro community in case the government failed to fulfill its promises to the region. The passage of the original version of the BBL during the previous administration was scuttled because of the Mamasapano clash, where 44 elite cops were killed by MILF fighters and other private armed groups. It also faced questions on its constitutionality.

Diokno sees unified ID system in 2018 By Vito Barcelo THE unified system of citizen identification for the country or the National Identification System will be implemented within this year once the measure has been signed into law, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. The DBM chief expressed hope that with the implementation of the national ID, more efficient government services would be provided, eliminating red tape during transactions with the government. An initial funding of P2 billion has been earmarked for the implementation of the national ID system under the 2018 national budget. “The government will start the enrollment process, or gathering data for the national ID system, all over the country 30 days after it is signed into law by President Duterte,” Diokno said.. The DBM chief said the government plans to complete the enforcement of the national ID system in one year, citing the initiative of India that was able to cover more than one billion people with its national ID system in three years. The National ID, Diokno said, aims to lessen the burden of people when presenting documents, will serve as the official identification of either a Filipino citizen or an alien permanent resident. The National Identification System should render all existing government IDs into one unified system. The proposed ID, which will hold information such as name, birthdate, signature of owner, serial number, biometrics and more, shall be made mandatory and will last for the duration of the cardholder’s lifetime. In line with the intents of hassle-free government transactions, it shall be enough for the application of essential government IDs, such as passports and driver’s licenses, Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System, PhilHealth, Home Development Mutual Fund and even voting identification. It is also meant to prevent election fraud. The Senate Committee on Justice has approved Senate Bill 1736 or “An Act Establishing the Philippine Identification System” sponsored by Senator Panfilo Lacson. The proposed measure seeks to harmonize, integrate, and interconnect countless and redundant government IDs by establishing a single national identification system to be known as the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys. PhilSys will have three key components: the PhilSys Number or PSN, the PhilID, and the PhilSys Registry. In September 2017, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading its version of the bill seeking to establish an identification system via national ID cards for all Filipinos. An initial funding of P2 billion has been earmarked for the implementation of the national ID system under the 2018 national budget. “The PSA [Philippine Statistics Authority] will be the lead agency for this and they will hire a third party, which has the equipment and will go all over the country to get the pictures and biometrics,” Diokno noted. Once the ID system is in place, the PSA will turn it over to the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Older SSS pensioners ACOP exempt RETIREE pensioners of the Social Security System who are 84 years and older are no longer required to present themselves for annual confirmation, President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Dooc said in a statement. “The waiver of the ACOP [annual confirmation of pensioners] requirement for retiree pensioners here in the Philippines is one of our ways to bring better quality service to our members. This new guideline will allow our pensioners to save time and money,” Dooc said. However, pensioners who are abroad and have total disability still need to do the ACOP. The same goes for survivor pensioners and minor or incapacitated dependent pensioners, he added. Dooc said the agency would instead conduct a verification procedure to confirm whether pensioners are still

alive and are entitled to receive benefits. Implemented in 2012, the ACOP ensures that pensioners receive the benefits themselves, and not other people who could benefit from their pension. It requires pensioners to report annually to SSS or their depository banks to ensure the continuous payment of their benefits. SSS will do mandatory home visits to check pensioners who are 85 years and older, and survivor pensioners who cannot report personally due to sickness, illness, or injury. The agency also advised pensioners residing abroad to use the ACOP through video conference facility for easier and faster compliance. Non-compliance with ACOP would result in the automatic suspension of pension payments a month after the birth month of the pensioner or SSS member, the agency said. PNA

IPS PROTEST. Indigenous people hold a protest Wednesday in front of the Chinese Consular Office, shouting against the building of mega dams in their ancestral territories under the Philippine-China deals in Manila. Chinese Official Development Aid will fund renewed plans to build mega dams in the ancestral territories of indigenous peoples. AFP




Adelle Chua, Editor


Why we need Uber to stay UBER is letting go of its Southeast Asia operations to concentrate on its North America, Australia, and South Africa businesses. This was the rumor that roiled newsfeeds recently in various permutations. Representative of them is a March 8 Bloomberg report, later picked up by blogs and news websites, that stated, “Grab, the dominant ridehailing service in Southeast Asia, is close to finalizing a deal to acquire Uber Technologies Inc.’s business in the region and may sign a deal this week or next, according to people familiar with the matter.” Under the supposed agreement, Uber would sell out to Grab and take a high teens to 20 percent stake in the latter, while other sources say up to 30 percent. A decision on Uber’s part to divest its SE Asia operations would be an acknowledgment of Grab’s dominance of the market and a prudent attempt to cut losses. It would be a totally understandable business decision on Uber’s part. Grab has more than 81-million mobile app downloads and offers services in more than 178 cities across Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.


A problem like Boracay

FTER what has happened in Boracay, government officials should now change their mindsets and stop thinking about their precious attractions as mere sources of pride and revenue. The Department of Tourism has announced the formation of an interagency task force to rehabilitate Boracay island and make it at par with other prominent resort islands in the world. The master plan will be drafted by noted architect Felino Palafox. The team proposes a declaration of a state of calamity for six months and closure for two months so that sewerage and other environmental concerns can be addressed.

This is hardly good news for travelers especially at the onset of the summer season. Hardly encouraging, too, for business owners who have profited from the high volume of visitors to the island not only during the summer but at all times of the year. But there appears to be no choice especially since President Rodrigo Duterte has uttered choice words about the state of sanitation in what is supposed to be a paradise.


The Boracay problem did not develop overnight. It was the result of cumulative neglect and laxity and greed of those tasked to oversee its exploitation in the first place. True, developments bring economic activity and place certain places on the map. But progress must not be unbridled. It must be balanced with basic and practical concerns. Did they think they could keep doing this in the famous island resort without the consequences of their neglect catching up with them? Now pertinent government agencies and local executives know what to do—and what not to.

The lack of competition would mean that the current system of variable fares, that change according to time and demand situations, will practically be under the control of Grab.

However, a report by Patrick Everett Tadeo carried yesterday on Yahoo! News Philippines belies the rumor. Tadeo wrote: “As soon as the rumors of Grab’s planned buyout of Uber started to spread in January 2018, Carmudi. personally asked Uber Philippines government relations and public policy chief Yves Gonzalez if this was true but he merely laughed it off. The rumors, however, still persisted, prompting the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to ask Uber Philippines and Gonzales himself recently if this was true. “According to the agency, Uber Philippines relayed Uber headquarters’ stand that it will not sell its Southeast Asian operations but instead will continue “to invest more” in the region. “Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi himself dismissed the rumor on a recent visit to Asia in February 2018. According to, the Uber boss said that while the company expects to lose money in Southeast Asia, it is also planning to “invest aggressively in terms of marketing, subsidies, etc.” “From a competitive standpoint, we think we can improve,” Khosrowshahi reportedly said. “We will look at anything… But right now the plan for Southeast Asia is to go forward, lean forward and to invest.” “On the local front, LTFRB board member Atty. Aileen Lizada shared that Gonzales relayed the same information to her as well.” For Uber riders and drivers, that’s good news. Because if Uber pulled up stakes, there would be adverse effects on the current ride-share industry. Foremost that comes to mind is that Grab would have a monopoly over the ride-share business. While there are other services such as Angkas and Micab, their presence can hardly be felt. Grab and Uber are in number one and two position, reminiscent of the Coca Cola-Pepsi war. Turn to A5

Credibility at stake I BEGIN this column with heartfelt thanks to my colleague in the opinion pages, former Manila Standard editor-in-chief and former Philippine Ambassador to Hungary and Poland Andy del Rosario. He gave space in his column for my memoirs called “The Road Never Ends.” I chose that title because it seems to me, now that I am 90 years old, that as a journalist my fight for change in our country has not amounted to anything. We don’t seem to be anywhere better. I took over a year to finish my memoirs. Now the book is ready for printing by my good friend, Dante Arevalo Ang, chairman emeritus of the Manila Times. Ang has generously offered to publish and market my book after I told him I didn’t have the money to do it on my own. I was also hesitant because I knew I was not a celebrity even though I have walked the corridors of power, having covered 10 presidencies. It was a family decision that convinced me I should do it. Dante sent one his staff members to interview me for weeks on end. The writer showed such patience as I had to recall many things. I thank my loving wife and my children Vic, Nina, Eric and Nicky. Target launch date is April or May.

Why has President Duterte allowed this?

EVERYMAN By Melandrew T. Velasco NOT all are privileged to work with a former Philippine president. But for over 17 years now, I’ve had the blessing of serving alongside former President Fidel V. Ramos, who turns 90 on (March 18). His love for our country and heart for good governance still ring a bell. FVR, as fondly called by his peers and constituents, is known not just for

Strong and mighty at 90 his thumbs-up sign, “Kaya Natin Ito” slogan, his ears or his tobacco but also for his push-ups and crunches and his programs of his administration especially with Philippines 2000. At a very ripe age of 90, he still plays golf and proudly displays his pacemaker that, he declares, makes him live longer by 25 more years. Even in his nonagenarian years, he has never failed to carry on what he has started, always a good soldier who likes

to say that he would rather die serving his country with his boots on than sit idly to enjoy his retirement. He continues to inspire and stimulate, stir and enthuse, define and redefine, challenge and defy. Twenty years after he finished his term as President, Fidel V. Ramos, FVR or Eddie, the private citizen, refuses to be “tired even while retired.” He continues to be “a reformer despite

*** History tells us that for a government to survive, the people must trust it and its leaders completely. They must have credibility in their policies and how they implement these. Foremost among these is justice for all. But state prosecutors cleared Kerwin Espinosa who had confessed in a Senate hearing that he was indeed a drug lord. Peter Lim, a “kumpare” of the President, has also been cleared when Espinosa said he was his supplier of illegal drugs, and others led by one Peter Co. All these put at risk the credibility of the President, of his war on drugs, and of the justice system in the Philippines. It’s unlikely that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre was not aware of the action taken by his prosecutors. Now Aguirre claims he has created another panel of prosecutors to review the cases of those drug lords. When there is no justice, the recourse of the people is revolution. This is why President Duterte should take charge of the prosecution of those drug lords. He can still set things right even if Aguirre cannot. He should prove he will not tolerate injustice. In fact, I think he should fire Aguirre. This also has implications on other cases, like that of Senator Leila de Lima. Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, de Lima’s lawyer, claims that the DoJ applied the basic rules to confessed drug lords and waived all legal doctrines with respect to someone who has been politically prosecuted. We cannot help comparing De Lima’s case to those of the confessed drug lords. I have no love lost for De Lima. She herself has a track record for persecuting the political enemies of former President BS Aquino III. I believe she had her comeuppance when she was jailed. But why has President Duterte risked the loss of people’s trust? *** Santa Banana, now the truth about the controversy on the Sanofi Pasteur vaccination program is coming out. It was flawed, according to a USbased expert on dengue research, who said he was “astonished and upset” over the mass vaccinations by the Department of Health, then led by Turn to A5

Turn to A5 Rolando G. Estabillo Publisher


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being a former president,” and “ex” but not excess and not yet expired. Other former chiefs of state write their memoirs and then fade into the sunset. He has written more than 30 books while in retirement and through keynote speeches, roundtable discussions, university convocations, etc., keeps reminding his successors and other leaders of the urgent things that need to be done for our country and people to achieve a better future. Our relationship can be described as a wonderful journey that transcends beyond the books we have done together. Since 2000, FVR has commissioned me to write on the biographies of his loved ones: “Enduring Legacy,” on his father Foreign Affairs Secretary Narciso Ramos; “ In A Class of Her Own,” on his mother Angela Valdez Ramos; “Mommy: The Pillar of Social Work” on his mother-in-law Josefa Jara Martinez; “Simply Ming,” on First Lady Amelita “Ming” M. Ramos; “Uncle Sim” on Simeon Marcos Valdez; and, “Colors of Light” on his artist, poetess and ambassador’s spouse auntie Lucia Mangapit Valdez. Among the best book projects we worked and produced together are: Silver Linings, a story on the 25 Years of the 1986 Revolution, RPDEV @ 15: Our Continuing Voyage for Enduring Peace and Sustainable Development and the first volume, Teamwork for Enduring Peace and Sustainable Development chronicling ten years of the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation, a non-profit, non-political, non-partisan non-government organization where he acts as chair. It not only a singular honor and privilege writing books but I always consider it is a gift and a blessing from the Almighty and from FVR himself who has served as a constant guide, inspiration, editor and prime mover of said book projects. The past 17 years and the several book teams formed have been a great journey of rediscovering FVR and RPDEV. Together, we now form part of a select group called Fidelistas, ardent students of Fidel V. Ramos. Working with him has allowed the various book teams, notably the millennials, to experience some of FVR’s core values and best practices such as CSW (Completed Staff Work), CSD (Caring, Sharing and Daring), and UST (Unity, Solidarity and Teamwork) – all advocated by FVR. FVR has also become my loving mentor and my second father having earlier lost my own when he succumbed to cancer in 1994. He scolds me when he needs to especially when coming in late for our appointed meetings; reprimands me when I was not up to his high and excellent standards; and, he pats my back in times of appreciation and satisfaction on good works done. During regular visits to his office, he personally sees to it that my team is served with his “coffee royale” laced with virgin coconut oil because according to him, it does well for the health and vitality. We all have to agree. After coffee, he treats us either with a glass of red wine or his special “FVR cocktail drink” invariably laced with soda, rum, cognac, whiskey or brandy while watching some documentaries or FVR taped interviews showcasing his milestone presidency and continuing work as senior statesman. As for his many sorties overseas, he continues to be admired, respected and adulated as former President and head of state. But there’s one unforgettable experience I had with him that showed the stuff he is really made of. I remember one incident in June 2013 when we staged the Pilipinas Roadshow with my co-book authors former DILG Secretary Rafael M. Alunan III and Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco featuring our book “Silver Linings: 25 Years of the 1986 People Power Revolution,” and “Tagaligtas: A Documentary on

Why... From A4

the Special Action Force” (long before the Mamasapano massacre happened) in eight key cities in the United States to promote Filipino values and instill patriotism to the Fil-Ams in time for the Independence Day celebration. In spite of the debilitating pain on his back and leg when he injured himself in San Diego, California while doing his usual crunch with some Fil-Ams, FVR, who was very well beyond his years, withstood the pain and committed to continue the eight-city tour to Atlanta, Georgia, Washington D.C., Virginia, New Jersey and New York without any complaints or grievance. Beyond the pain, the show must go on. Such a kindred and brave soul and he thought the Pilipinas Roadshow Team a lesson on pain management, mind over matter, professionalism and honoring one’s commitment. Through the years that I’ve known him, the many young and not so old writers that have been involved with the book projects have also seen the other human side of FVR—comical, witty and a tad bit serious when needed. I recall when he shook the hands of one lady writer and FVR feigned sickness to the lady writer’s great concern. Obviously, he was just joking. Such incidents would make most of them wonder how at his age, he still continues to work and contribute to nation building with his wealth of ideas, wisdom and experience. Unfortunately, for the many national leaders who came after him both in the executive and legislative, they didn’t seem to take the golden opportunity of tapping his vast reservoir of wisdom and experience, particularly in the areas of good governance and global diplomacy. I believe that FVR is one of the greatest Philippine Presidents this country ever had, being a historian and eyewitness to Philippine history over the last 50 years. Having served as 12th President of the Philippines from 1992- 1998, FVR is best remembered for promoting the principles of people empowerment, a culture of excellence, and global competitiveness, focusing on programs to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos. This is evident in the 229 structural/reform laws enacted by the 9th and 10th Congress during his term, achieved principally by building unity, solidarity and teamwork among government and civil society leaders. As a soldier who served for 42 years, including stints in Korea, Vietnam and in the counter-insurgency campaign, FVR retired as a 4-star General and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. He served as Defense Secretary from 1988 to 1991. As President and thereafter, he is better known as a peace builder with the forging of the peace agreements with the rebel-soldiers in 1995 and with the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996. The former President who has been in public service since beginning his career as a cadet in the U.S. Military Academy in 1946, continues to practice his distinct brand of public service through the non-government RPDEV Foundation which he and key members of his former Presidential family organized only months after they left office. His legacy of public service before, during and after his six year presidency are unmatched: West Point honor graduate, Korea and Vitenam War veteran, AFP vice chief of staff, PC-INP chief, Edsa 1 hero, AFP chief, Defense secretary, Philippine president, RPDEV and Boao Forum chairman, Edsa 2 hero and Senior Statesman. My only prayer for him is that he lives longer and at 90, I know he still can do more for our beloved Pilipinas. Incidentally, Pilipinas Kong Mahal is his all time favorite patriotic song. Truly, Fidel V. Ramos has left an endearing legacy to our nation and he continues to give his indelible imprints on patriotism that celebrate a milestone of life, love, learning for his people and service to our beloved Philippines. when I asked him if he had heard the rumor. He hadn’t. “What will happen to us?” If Uber leaves, the livelihood of its drivers will be affected. They could be absorbed by Grab, but there are reasons, Nani said, why some drivers joined Uber, and if Grab will be the only ride-share service around, the only choices drivers would have will be to join or not join Grab. Grab works better in some areas, Uber in others. Having a choice is better for consumers. And given the challenges faced by commuters daily in Metro Manila, we need all the transportation choices we can get.

Without Uber, there would no longer be the option of choice. The lack of competition would mean that the current system of variable fares, that change according to time and demand situations, will practically be under the control of Grab. In my own experience over the past month, Uber fares have consistently been cheaper by P30 to P50, sometimes higher. Their app also matches me faster with a driver. But if I were to see a better price on Grab or if they were to get me a driver faster, I would Dr. Ortuoste is a writer and commutake a Grab. nication consultant. FB and Twitter: @ Nani, an Uber driver, was surprised DrJennyO



Justice denied OVERSIGHT DANILO SUAREZ MANY have criticized the decision of the Department of Justice to dismiss the drug charges against selfconfessed drug lord, Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and 20 other respondents who were linked in illegal drug trade, due to lack of evidence. Just like the PNP Chief, several senators and congressmen who have expressed their concern on the DoJ’s decision, I am equally alarmed why the DoJ dismissed the case despite the evidences presented to the court and to the previous Senate investigation. In a Senate hearing, Espinosa testified that he used to earn P50 million annually in illegal drug trade, while giving out P20 million worth of protection money to those within his illegal drug network. He also admitted giving at least P3 million to the police official who was in charge of the raid that resulted to the killing of his father, former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa. All of these facts he stated while under oath, yet it was declared by the DoJ that there was insufficient evidence. Is the DoJ trying to make fools out of us here? Senator De Lima was indicted on allegations that she conspired with these personalities. Does this mean that the charges against Senator De Lima are baseless? Espinosa himself admitted to giving money to the senator, per today’s news reports.

Even President Duterte, who has been aggressive in his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs was dismayed of the DoJ’s decision, that he admonished Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II during the joint command conference of the AFP and PNP in Malacañang on Tuesday. It was the President who tagged Peter Lim as a member of a drug triad in the country; yet the Secretary of Justice seemed to be misinformed.

The integrity of the Department of Justice and attached agencies are under question.

How can he just let these drug lords go off the hook just like that? It seems that he is not properly aligned with the President. I hope that the President will stay true to his words that he will invoke his power of supervision and control, and will review the dismissal order. Let us not forget that this is not the first time that SOJ disappointed us. Two of his fraternity brothers who were Bureau of Immigration commissioners, Al Argosino and Michael Robles, allegedly attempted to extort P50 million from gambling tycoon, Jack Lam, in exchange of the release of 1,316 Chinese nationals who were arrested for violating Philippine im-

migration law and were due for deportation. These Chinese nationals were employees of Jack Lam in his illegal online gaming hub. The case of the two was downgraded from plunder, a non-bailable offense, to graft and direct bribery. According to Secretary Aguirre, they counted the surrendered money and it lacked one P1,000 bill, making it less than Php 50 million, the threshold amount for a plunder case. Last week, the DoJ also dismissed the charges filed by the military and police against a suspected ISIS recruiter and his Filipina live-in partner. Tunisian national Fehmi Lassqued or Haytan Abdulhamid Yusof and his live-in partner Anabel Moncera Salipada were charged for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The police were able to seize explosive devices from their apartment, yet the couple was cleared of the charges due to insufficient evidence. To me, this is more than just a case of illegal possession of firearms, but actually a threat to national security, due to the probable link of the accused to ISIS. The Justice secretary will be reminded that he is part of the President’s Executive family. In matters falling under his jurisdiction, generally, his actions and decisions are deemed those of the President’s. Just two years into his term, and already, the integrity of his office and attached agencies are under question. This is alarming, given the vast powers that the Secretary of Justice can exercise. In this light, we call upon the President to review the personalities of his official family and determine their fitness to hold their positions.

They are human beings, too DUTY CALLS FLORENCIO FIANZA THE Rohingya or Arakanese Indians as they are sometimes known are Muslim minorities living in the Northern Rakhine State of the predominantly Buddhist country of Myanmar. According to the United Nations, the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted people on earth. They are a people without a country and are therefore stateless. They could not even get a job nor go to any public school in the country where they live. In 1982, Myanmar passed the Myanmar Nationality law that excluded the Rohingya as one of the 8 ethnic national indigenous races. This law also restricted the freedom of movement of the Rohingya. They are constantly being harassed by Myanmar and sometimes Bangladesh, two countries that refuse to give them political rights. The persecution of the Rohingya has been going on for a long time, even when Myanmar and India were still colonies of the United Kingdom. But at least, up to about 1962, just before General Ne Win mounted a coup in Burma and established military rule, the Rohingya were represented in the then Burmese parliament with two representatives. The democratic government even started a process of trying to resolve the Rohingya problem. When the military took over, however, the persecution of the Rohingya as we know it today started in earnest. The problem therefore is complex especially because the problem is not attracting enough world attention that would in a way force Myanmar and to a certain degree Bangladesh to address the issue squarely. The word Rohingya is not even allowed to be mentioned in official communications in Myanmar. The Rohingya are considered immigrants and are referred to as Bengalis even if the word Rohingya has been used in official government communications before. The de-facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San

Credibility... From A4

Secretary Janette Garin. Dr. Scott Halstead, at the Senate hearing, recommended that blood tests be done before the vaccination program is implemented. This is to exclude “senogatives” or those who have not been infected with dengue before. Halstead told the Senate Sanofi turned him down even after he explained his concern. Sanofi said doing this was not possible. Halstead said he nearly fell off his chair when the French pharmaceutical firm told him the vaccine would only be given to those nine years and older. He said this did not make sense. What was more crucial, he thought, was the

Suu Kyi, in one of her very rare press conferences referred to the Rohingya as Bengalis. She of all people—a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the darling of the international community admired by all due to her long years of detention by the military. She was somehow likened to the late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Now she has lost all that. She is now detested by all those who used to admire her for refusing to lend her voice to the plight of the Rohingya. Many are now calling for her Nobel Peace Prize to be recalled. She cancelled some overseas trips to avoid demonstrations against her which were bound to have taken place. The Freedom of the City award bestowed by Oxford in the United Kingdom was in fact already recalled. So was her Human Rights Award given by the United States Holocaust museum.

What could be the reason why this so-called icon of democracy refuses to even speak out or least try to start a genuine and honest process to find some kind of solution to the Rohingya problem? The complexity of the problem could be one reason. Another is the fact that the military is in control of the government and her hands are still tied. Still another reason which is quite important is that there seems to be no support coming from the general Myanmar population with regard to the plight of the Rohingya. Suu Kyi might be the de-facto leader but she still a politician. She might be thinking that she is not politically strong enough to push for

the needed reforms. Forcing reforms on the people might lose her a lot of support which probably is what the military wants in order to weaken her position. It could be a combination of all and more that is not known to the public. Whatever it is, her apparent inaction has lost her and her country many friends in the international community and a lot of prestige. Gone are the adulations heaped on her. It is now replaced by scorn. Other than the United Nations relief organization and other non-government organizations that are trying to alleviate the plight of the Rohingya, there are no concerted efforts by governments to provide decent housing, sanitation, and medical services so that the Rohingya will not be living in abject squalor. Right now, they are living under appalling conditions. Out of the estimated 1.25-million Rohingya that were living in the Rakhine state, about 625,000 have fled Myanmar and are now in refugee camps in Bangladesh, a country too poor to provide decent living conditions. With the monsoon and cyclone season just around the corner, the Rohingya will be hit hard if they are not moved to a more suitable location where livable and safe housing can be set up. The implementation of the so called repatriation agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh is too slow and might not even push through any time soon because some satellite photos that have appeared in some media outlets showed Rohingya villages totally obliterated. Even if the Rohingya are allowed to go back to Myanmar, they would have no place to stay. These and many other things may have caused one United Nations based court in Bologna, Italy to label what is happening to the Rohingya as genocide and a crime against humanity which Myanmar strongly denies. Surely, Myanmar, the only country in the Southeast Asian region to produce a Nobel Peace prize winner, a Secretary General of the United Nations in the person of U Thant and a glorious history is fully capable of changing course and at least consider treating the Rohingya as human beings entitled to fundamental human rights.

patient’s history of dengue. This points to the responsibility and accountability of BS Aquino who negotiated the P3.5 billion deal. Along with him are Garin and former Budget secretary Florencio Butch Abad. He took from government savings to fund this project. Their worst crime was to put at risk hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren. *** There is one portion of the nine-page treatise of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile which I believe is pertinent in impeachment proceedings in a Senate trial. According to Enrile, Charles L. Black Jr. said impeachment is neither a criminal nor a judicial matter. But Black seems to believe that in the Sen-

ate trial, the senators, as triers of fact, ought to pay attention to the demeanor, credibility and truthfulness of witnesses presented before them, and weigh the evidence presented for and against the impeached official fairly and impartially “without the dangers of partisanship or feelings of distaste.” JPE said that an impeachment case is sui generis. The purpose is to remove the impeached public official. This is why the technical rules of evidence do not apply, and the principle of double jeopardy has no bearing. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno must be warned that even if she is acquitted in a Senate trial, she can still be brought to court for the offenses she committee. In other words, there is no way out— except resignation.

These may be the reasons why Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, continues to be silent on the plight of the Rohingya.




Alvarez backs bill on creation of Philippine Marine Corps

‘No Holy Week leave for Naia BI officials’

By Maricel V. Cruz

IMMIGRATION officers assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other major ports will not be allowed to go on leave this coming Holy Week to ensure the adequate personnel to serve the traveling public during the holidays. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente instructed BI port operations division Marc Red Mariñas not to entertain applications for vacation and forced leaves for the period of March 20 until April 1. Mariñas issued a memorandum order requiring all immigration officers in all international airport terminals to report for work during the Lenten break due to the expected influx and exodus of large numbers of international travelers. “The week before the Lenten break normally sees a rise in number of departing travelers while its aftermath would be characterized by increased passenger arrivals, Mariñas said. Morente reiterated that should the need arises, the BI is ready to deploy another batch of IOs currently detailed in other BI offices situated in and outside of Metro Manila and the 100 IOs presently undergoing Basic Immigration Officer Course at the Philippine Immigration Academy. The BI chief said that he already issued personnel orders reassigning several immigration officers to the airports in Clark, Mactan, and Kalibo which needed manpower augmentation due to the opening of additional flights. Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority general manager Eddie Monreal has designated a new Assistant General Manager for Security and Emergency Services Division at the airport following the appointment of Allen Capuyan to the Office of the President. Monreal tapped MIAA-Intelligence and Investigation Division and Pass Control chief Arnulfo Junio to replace Capuyan in an acting capacity after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the transfer of the latter to his office. As OIC-AGM for Security and Emergency Services at the airport, among Junio’s new duties and functions are to formulate and implement the general management objectives, policies, measures and guidelines pertaining to security, firefighting and rescue and medical services at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Junio will also provide executive leadership in the overall management, supervision and control of the administration operations and internal control of affairs affecting security services, aircraft and passenger safety and the provision of medical services. In August last year, Capuyan went on leave after his name cropped up during the Senate hearing on smuggling involving government officials.

SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday batted for the passage of a bill establishing the Philippine Marine Corps as another independent armed uniformed service of the Armed Forces in a bid to further strengthen its mandate to get rid of the so-called “enemies of the state.” Alvarez’s House Bill 7304 or the “Philippine Marine Corps Act” proposes the creation of the PMC “as a branch of service, distinct, autonomous, but complementary to the Philippine Army [PA], Philippine Air Force [PAF], and the Philippine Navy [PN] under the AFP.” Alvarez’s bill was co-authored by Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas. “Although the PMC has lived up to its mandate, its lack of Charter has caused institutional challenges, including but not limited to fiscal and organizational restrictions. Despite these, the PMC has provided seamless transition of military power between sea and land domains. The men and women of the PMC have served and responded to the call of duty gallantly,” Alvarez said. Last Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte personally pinned the rank insignia of Colonel of the PN-Marines to Alvarez at Malacañang where Fariñas, a Judge Advocate General reservist, also attended. The Commission on Appointment confirmed their nomination to the rank of Colonel in the reserve force of the various services of the AFP. HB 7304 is currently pending at the House committee on national defense and is scheduled to be tackled on Monday. The PMC, currently a naval infantry force under the command of PN, was created in 1950 by virtue of AFP General Orders 319 issued by former president and then defense secretary Ramon Magsaysay. It is intended to respond to the security threat of the emerging Hukbalahap insurgency in the mountains and plains of Central Luzon. The bill mandates the PMC to deploy its forces to support the law enforcement agencies in implementing the laws of the land, respond to disasters, participate in the strategic defense under the Joint Defense Force, coordinate with the other branches of service in the performance of their duties and responsibilities, and determine its fiscal requirements through the allocation from the Department of National Defense. The PMC is also tasked to organize, train, equip, maintain, develop, deploy, and supervise the PMC Reserve Force.

By Vito Barcelo and Joel Zurbano

CRASHED. Metro Manila Development Authority personnel inspect an 18-wheeler truck which crashed along P. Burgos, Finance Road on Wednesday morning. Norman Cruz

Maynilad set to lower water tariff in April By Rio N. Araja and Othel V. Campos


EGINNING April 1, 9.4 million consumers of the west zone Maynilad Water Services Inc. may expect a slight reduction in their water tariff due to the appreciation of the Philippine peso against foreign currencies. On March 8, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System passed a board resolution granting Maynilad a foreign currency differential adjustment (FCDA) of 0.55 percent of the basic charge of P35.48 per cubic meter, or an average reduction of P0.20 per cu.m. "This is lower than last quarter’s FCDA of 0.60 percent of the basic charge," Maynilad said. For Maynilad residential customers who consume 10 cu.m. of wa-

ter a month, the second quarter FCDA will translate to a decrease of P0.06 in their monthly water bill. Those consuming 20 cu.m. and 30 cu.m. of water per month will see a reduction of P0.22 and P0.46 in their monthly water bill, respectively. FCDA is a tariff mechanism granted to utility companies to allow it to recover losses or give back gains arising from the fluctuating movements of the peso against other currencies.

Pondoc confirmed as CoA commish; no go for DAR chief

PDP-Laban members grew by 10%—Koko By Macon Ramos-Araneta SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday said tht the membership of the ruling PDP-Laban and the backers of federalism grew by 10 percent ‘in just a single day.’ “We really feel the support of the people of Bulacan for PDP-Laban and federalism,” said Pimentel, referring to the the oath-taking ceremony in Bulacan where 30,000 new members from Bulacan were accepted to the party. The new members were welcomed into the Party by Pimentel, Secretary General and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Party Vice Chairman and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, among others. “This is one of the biggest oathtakings we’ve held so far. I am overwhelmed by the suppor t Bulakeños show for federalism,” noted Pimentel. With the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, PDP Laban is now the country’s largest political party in the Philippines, counting more than 300,000 members, including 2 senators, 122 members of the House of Representatives, 38 governors, 23 vice governors, 540 mayors, and 316 vice mayors. Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for amendments to ensure that contentious provisions regulating the terms of office of Bangsamoro elective local officials are consistent with the Constitution. Gatchalian said one such provision is Article VII, Section 13 of the Senate version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (Senate Bill No. 1717), which provides that the initial term length of three years for members of the Bangsamoro Parliament provided in the law would be “without prejudice to the power of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to include in the Election Code a new term of office.” He questioned if this provision would empower the BTA to lengthen the subsequent terms of by Bangsamoro MPs to over three years.

Since Maynilad pays for the foreigndominated loans of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, as well as for its own loans used to fund projects that will improve service for its customers, it periodically receives differential adjustments based on the current value of foreign currency. Maynilad is an agent and contractor of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, which is composed of the cities of Manila (certain areas), Quezon City (certain areas), Makati (certain areas), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon—all in Metro Manila; the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario—all in Cavite province.

TOUGH WOMEN. Women graduates of Tesda’s Technical-Vocational programs in male-dominated areas such as welding, plumbing, automotive servicing and maintenance receive their diplomas from Tesda-NCR Regional Director Cenon Querubin, Tesda-Chief Women’s Center Maria Clara Ignacio, Maria Fe Perez-Agudo, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. on March 14, 2018. Norman Cruz

BFP men face raps in Davao mall fire THE Interior department said on Wednesday that they would charge several officials of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Davao following a Davao City mall fire that killed dozens of workers in December 2017. “I can confirm that BFP officials will be charged for the NCCC mall fire. Our lawyers are now readying the complaints to be filed against them,” said DILG spokesperson Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya. Malaya, however, did not divulge the names of the BFP who will be included in the complaint, which the agency based on an inter-agency probe headed by Fire Superintendent Jerry Candido. Candido had said that also to be included in the charge sheet are the management officials of the NCCC Mall, including Survey Sampling International, Rockfort Construction Company, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and the Davao City Building Office. A total of 38 people were killed in the fire that broke out at the NCC Mall on Dec. 23, 2017. All the fatalities were call center agents except for NCCC employee Melvin Ga-a.

The call center agents were working for SSI which occupied the mall’s top floor. BFP officials said the heat of the fire reached as high as 700 degrees Celcius, making it difficult for Firefighters to enter the building which was filled with dark plumes of smoke. BFP-Davao regional director Senior Superintendent Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu, who led the firefighting operations, had apologized to the victims’ families in a vigill mass two days after the blaze. According to the city’s fire marshal, the mall was “an enclosed space with no ventilation” even as building administrators denied allegations that there were not enough fire exits that could have saved lives. Since the probing on the incident, some 5 city fire officials were sacked, namely City Fire Marshal Honey Friz Alagano, Inspector Renero Jimenez, Senior Fire Officer 1 Leo Lauzon, Fire Officer 2 Joel Quizmundo, and Senior Fire Officer 1 Roger Dumag. The relief order was signed by Kwan Tiu, who said that BFP-Davao was not informed on the probe into the mall fire.

THE Commission on Appointments on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Roland Cafe Pondoc as commissioner of the Commission on Audit but suspended the confirmation of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Rualo Castriciones due to questions over his track record and capability to lead a government agency. The powerful bicameral congressional body also gave its nod to the nominations of 19 senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including Navy Chief Rear Adm. Robert Empedrad, who replaced Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado who was sacked over the P16-billion frigate deal. Also confirmed were 18 other officers, including nine reserve officers—three of incumbent public officials: Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Francis Tolentino, Davao Oriental Rep. Joey Mayo Almario, and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista. The CA’s committee on constitutional commissions and offices chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar had earlier recommended Bondoc’s confirmation due to the absence of any oppositor. Castriciones’ nomination was opposed by Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin who told him as a secretary, he should have the special training and track record to head the agency. “If you are a secretary, you should hit the ground running on day one. Without the necessary qualification, such appointee not be able to do so. There are farmer-beneficiaries who I have personally talked to have written the DAR secretary about the implementation of their certificates of land ownership [ award] (CLOA) but no action has been taken,” Villarin said. But Castriciones, who replaced former Agrarian Reform chief Rafael Mariano, whose appointment was rejected by the CA, debunked Villarin’s claim that he is not qualified for the post. According to Castriciones, a lawyer, he had handled agrarian reform cases in the past and that he advised his provincemates in Nueva Ecija about their agrarian reform issues. Macon Ramos-Araneta

More tests needed for 48 Dalian CCRC trains—DOTr MORE tests are needed to determine the suitability to the tracks of the 48 trains that were purchased from Dalian CCRC for the Metro Rail Transit 3. In a statement, the Department of Transportation said that in the interim report of TUV Rheinland, the independent certifier contracted to audit and assess the entire MRT 3 system and the Dalian trains, a weighing test of the Dalian trains is recommended "because the previous project team for the project failed to attend and witness the weight testing done in China in November 2015." “According to TUV Rheinland, the weighing test should be done to eliminate any doubts, and so DOTr MRT 3 can witness and formally sign off on the trains’ weight,” the DOTr said. Additional information and documentation on the design of the trains are still being obtained while further type and routine tests are still to be conducted, based on TUV Rheinland’s interim report. The DOTr said it would wait for the final report of the auditing firm and apply its recommendations as it takes the necessary steps to assess the functionality and safety of the Dalian trains. “Assessing the Dalian trains’ safety, compatibility with MRT 3, and compliance with their Terms of Reference, through a highly qualified, independent, and ISO certified certifier, with extensive experience in the certification of trains, has always been the DOTr’s approach in resolving the Dalian trains issue, which is consistent with prudent international industry practice. Knowing that the Dalian trains will affect the safety of hundreds of thousands of MRT 3 passengers daily, the DOTr and MRT 3 management will ensure that the necessary processes are observed in their assessment,” the department said. PNA




IBF champ Ancajas gets P1-M check from MVP

Phoenix hosts 3 World Golf qualifying tournaments PHOENIX Petroleum is holding three golf tournaments this year—all of which have been included as official World Amateur Golfers Championship qualifiers. The 10th Phoenix Open Golf Tournament to be held on March 17 at Rancho Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club, Davao City is the first of the three Phoenix golf events that are part of WAGC’s qualifying tournament for 2018. Registered players, who want to participate in the WAGC shall pay P500 on top of the tournament entry fee of P7,500. The World Amateur Golfers Championship is the only golf competition that gives amateur golfers the unique opportunity to compete with hundreds of other players across the country of the same handicap level, and the chance to represent their country in an international level, much like professional players. It is offered in five different handicap divisions: 0-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, and 21-25. This year, WAGC Philippines will stage 20 qualifying tournaments starting March. The winners in the 5 divisions will advance to the National Finals in September and will get the chance to represent the Philippines and compete against participants of 45 other countries in the World Finals slated in October in Johor, Malaysia. Phoenix Petroleum’s Invitational Golf on May 11, 2018 at the Manila Golf and Country Club, and the Phoenix Golf Open on June 22, 2018 at the Cebu Country Club are the company’s other two WAGC qualifier events. The upcoming 10th Phoenix Open Golf Tournament—powered by Phoenix PULSE Technology—is held in celebration of the 81st Araw ng Dabaw, the foundation anniversary of Phoenix Petroleum’s hometown. It is presented by Phoenix Petroleum, Luzviminda Engineering, Marra Builders Inc., and Pioneer Insurance, and co-presented by F.F. Cruz & Co., Inc., Mechatrends Contractors Corp., TataMotors, and Vitol Asia Pte Ltd. The 10th Phoenix Open is a fundraising event of Phoenix Petroleum for the benefit of the Phoenix Philippines Foundation and its projects on education, environment, health and safety, outreach, and other future initiatives.

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots the ball against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP

Westbrook nails 100th triple double, lifts OKC L

OS ANGELES—Russell Westbrook snared the 100th triple-double of his career on Tuesday as the Oklahoma City Thunder closed in on a playoff berth with a 119-107 defeat of the Atlanta Hawks.

Westbrook finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to become only the fourth player in NBA history to record a century of triples. The 29-year-old Thunder star joins Oscar Robertson (181), Magic Johnson (138) and Jason Kidd (107) as the latest member of the exclusive club of triple-double centurions. Reigning NBA MVP Westbrook had already claimed Robertson’s single-season triple-double record last year, with 42. “It’s a blessing man, I give all thanks to the man above for the ability to play basketball,” Westbrook said afterward when asked about his milestone. “I’m just thankful to be able to do it here in Oklahoma City with my teammates, happy to be able to accomplish something like that,” he added. Westbrook led the scoring on Tuesday, with Carmelo Anthony adding 21 points

and Jerami Grant contributing 20 off the bench as the Thunder improved to 41-29. Oklahoma City are fourth in the Western Conference standings, two wins ahead of the fifth-placed New Orleans Pelicans. Although not mathematically certain of a place in the postseason, only a major collapse is likely to deny the Thunder a playoff berth. Spurs bounce back Elsewhere on Tuesday, the San Antonio Spurs bounced back from Monday’s mauling at the hands of Houston with a 108-72 blowout over the Orlando Magic. LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the starting line-up for San Antonio and duly delivered with 24 points. Aldridge was one of six Spurs to make double figures, helping the franchise improve to 38-30 for the season. San Antonio, who are awaiting the

Velez seeks rare triple triumph in Davao tennis LOCAL ace John David Velez hopes to draw inspiration from the crowd as he guns for a three-title feat in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Davao leg age-group tennis circuit at the GSIS Tennis Club beginning today (Thursday, March 15). While the 14-year-old Velez is tipped to duplicate his romp in his age-division and in the 16-U side in last week’s PPSPEPP stop in Tagum City, he will have his hands full in the premier 18-U category with Sebastian Lhuillier, Bruce Hurtado and EJ Casal expected to foil his bid. Tenielle Madis, who also won two titles in Tagum, likewise goes for a repeat in the 12- and 14-U sides but against a new of rivals in the five-day event sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger with Dunlop as the official ball. “Playing with a high level of confidence and before a hometown crowd, we expect Velez to measure up with the older, seasoned players in the 18-U division,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro. Action in other divisions is also expected to be fierce with ranking points also up for grabs in the Group 1 tournament sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines, made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg. Winona Cabardo, Paula Uy, Angel Novis and Jazzell Madis, who won the girls’ 18-U title in Tagum, gear up for a showdown in the centerpiece division while Novis, Claire Nacito, Daniela Dandalanin and Jessica Carcueva are expected to dispute the 16-U diadem. Reyman Saldivar, meanwhile, tries to atone for his failed bid in the boys’ 16-U category last week as he banners the 32-player draw that includes Al Rasheed Lucman, Charles Jumawan, Ben Flores, Christian Angus, Michael Buyante, Shaun Globasa and Armando Saldivar.

return of Kawhi Leonard from injury, are battling to avoid failing to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1996-1997. Two of the Spurs veterans, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, both rallied to the cause on Tuesday with 10 and 11 points off the bench. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich saluted his side’s hard-nosed defensive display as integral to the win. “The defense really set the tone,” Popovich told reporters. “People guarded their men and took pride in it and the rest of the team followed through. It kind of fuelled the offense a little bit.” Popovich believes the Spurs defense could ultimately define the remainder of their season. “We’re not going to score on some nights so the defense has to sustain us,” he said. In the Eastern Conference, meanwhile, leaders Toronto were forced to dig themselves out of a hole before recovering to seal a ninth straight win in their 116-102 defeat of the Brooklyn Nets. AFP

Muntinlupa, Batangas City win in MPBL Petron, Cocolife tangle in PH Superliga GP Games Today (Filoil Flying V Centre) 4:15 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Cignal 7:00 p.m. – Petron vs Cocolife

Jay Louise Cajes (left) delivers an axe kick against Noelyn Rose Campos. She is expected to be among the participants in the one-day tourney.

500 jins vying in SMART Metro Manila Open meet AROUND 500 elite fighters from the National Capital Region are expected to vie for honors in the 2018 SMART Metro Manila Open Taekwondo Championships on Saturday, March 17 at the Rizal Memorial coliseum. The Olympic format and weight categories will be used in the sixdivision, kyorugi (free sparring) event—Senior (men and women), Junior (men and women), and Cadet (boys and girls). By staging the first Metro Manila Open competition, the Philippine Taekwondo Association hopes to develop future taekwondo Olympians. According to PTA Secretary General

and Makati Congressman Monsour del Rosario, participants include varsity jins from different schools, colleges and universities and members of the senior and junior training pools affiliated with PTA in Metro Manila. Competition in the tough tournament sponsored by Meralco, PLDT, MVP Sports Foundation, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee will start at 9 a.m. but the opening ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Martial arts enthusiasts and sports buffs specially children who are interested to learn taekwondo are invited to watch the one-day event.

WORLD boxing champion Jerwin Ancajas has added an MVP in his corner. Ancajas, the reigning International Boxing Federation super-flyweight champion, met with telecom tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan on Wednesday and received a P1-million check from the sports patron. “I myself feel like an MVP,” said Ancajas after the handover of the check in the presence of newly-elected Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas, TV5 Sports head Chot Reyes, manager-trainer Joven Jimene and London Olympian Mark Barriga. The cash reward was promised by Pangilinan when he met Ancajas during the PSA Awards Night recently. Ancajas said the money will finance the construction and repair of the facilities of Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, the bare-bones training facility where he trains with other boxers seeking fame and fortune. “This is a big help not only for myself but for my fellow fighters who train at Survival Camp,” added Ancajas, who is getting ready to defend the IBF 115lb crown for the fifth time against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan on April 14 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Jimenez was likewise tickled pink by the show of support of Pangilinan. “That was truly an MVP move,” said Jimenez, who calls the shots over at training camp. As this developed, Sean Gibbons, the American agent of Ancajas, blew into town Wednesday night to finalize the details of the IBF champion’s trip to the US. “Team Ancajas will fly over to Los Angeles for an open media workout ten days before the fight and then travel to Las Vegas,” said Gibbons. Ancajas, who has a multi-fight deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. for 2018, made his US debut last February in Corpus Christi, Texas. If Ancajas gets past Sultan, Arum is lining up two more fights, in August and in November.

THE league’s hottest teams—Petron and Cocolife—tangle in a bid to shut down the first round on a sizzling note when the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix rolls back to Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan today. All eyes will be on the Blaze Spikers as they gun for a sweep of the first round in the 7 p.m. encounter of this tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and Rebisco with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner. Also seeing action is the equally hot F2 Logistics, which will face Cignal in the 4:15 p.m. first match of this thrilling double-header that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors. Petron, which fell short of winning the title last year, is on top of the team standing with a 6-0 (win-loss) mark while the Cargo Movers inched closer with a 3-1 card, thanks to their impressive 18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-21 victory over Sta. Lucia Realty late Tuesday night at the Imus Sports Center. Cocolife, meanwhile, is at third with 4-2 while Cignal and Foton are trailing with 2-2 and 2-3 slates, respectively. Based on the official tournament format, teams will be ranked based on their first-round performances. Pool A will be composed of the first, third, sixth and eighth seeded teams while Pool B will have the second, fourth, fifth and seventh seeded squads in which they will play another round of action before being ranked again for the quarterfinals. The survivors in the quarterfinals will figure in a best-of-three semifinals series to punch a ticket to the best-of-three finals showdown.

BATANGAS CITY—Batangas City and Muntinlupa came away with similar victories on Tuesday night to put themselves in a better position heading to the playoffs of the MPBL-Anta Rajah Cup at the Batangas City Coliseum here. The Tanduay-backed Athletics shook off a slow start with a big third-quarter run on their way to scoring an 86-75 triumph over the Caloocan Supremos-Longrich. In the first game, Muntinlupa got back on the winning track after pulling off an 87-78 victory over Bataan. Chito Jaime continued his string of double-digit outputs for the Angelis Resort-backed Cagers, who forged a four-way tie for second to fifth places, with the Valenzuela Classic-Yulz, Bulacan Kuyas-Ligo Sardines and Quezon City CapitalsRoyal Manila with the same 5-3 win-loss record. Jaime, a PBA journeyman, finished with 22 points and blocked three shots. The Athletics will move to the quarterfinal round of this event, put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former PBA MVP Kenneth Duremdes as commissioner, carrying a home court advantage. They have won all their three games at home in the elimination round, but all those victories were tightlyfought matches.


6/49 00-00-00-00-00-00 P0.0 M+ 6/42 00-00-00-00-00-00 P0.0 M+ 6 DIGITS 00-00-00-00-00-00 3 DIGITS 00-00-00 2 EZ2 00-00


Riera U. Mallari, Editor Reuel Vidal, Assistant Editor



The Ginebra Gin Kings, who will be led by Scottie Thompson, shown here attacking the basket in Game 3, must play a perfect game, said coach Tim Cone, to again stand a chance against the mighty San Miguel Beermen in Game 4 today at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Gin Kings need perfect game By Jeric Lopez


S THE tussle intensifies, San Miguel Beer looks to once again move a step closer to the big stage while rejuvenated Barangay Ginebra aims to equalize as the two juggernauts meet again in the resumption of their bestof-seven semifinals series in the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup playoffs.


Game 4 will be critical as both teams look to be in better position in the scheduled 7 p.m. clash at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City tonight. After San Miguel took Game 1 and 2 in contrasting fashion, Barangay Ginebra responded well in Game 3 to avoid a near-insurmountable hole and inch closer. Knowing they badly need a win

to keep their campaign alive, the Gin Kings finally notched a win in the series, 95-87, in Game 3 Tuesday night to get themselves in the series. Ginebra coach Tim Cone knows his team needs another near-flawless performance like that in order to square everything up. “We have to play perfect to beat them again,” said Cone. “We need an-

TEAM Go for Gold has set its sights on a higher plane following the victory of John Leerams Chicano in the recent Putrajaya Asian Triathlon Confederation Middle Distance Duathlon Asian Championships. In a bid to elevate the training of its athletes, Go For Gold has partnered with world-renowned Australian coach Brett Sutton, who successfully steered Nicola Spirig to Olympic triathlon gold in London 2012 and silver in Rio de Janeiro 2016. Under Sutton’s guidance, Go for Gold’s Filipino coach Melvin Fausto has been utilizing the latest scientific methods in training and preparing the squad for races. The new coaching system was recently put to the test in Powerman Malaysia which has held con-currently with the Putrajaya ASTC Middle Distance Duathlon Asian Championships last March 4. Also making Gofor Gold―a project of Powerball Marketing andLogistics

Corp, a Filipino company that engages in fund raising programs for government and institutions―proud was Raymund Torio of Lingayen (Pangasinan), who clinched bronze in the Putrajaya duathlon. Other Go for Gold athletes, who topped their respective categories were Leonard Rodina, Carl Vincent Guiterez, John Carlos Selubo and Rogelio Visconde. “It is a great accomplishment for the Go for Gold Team. Chicano defended his title for being the top Asian duathlete―the same soil where he won the Southeast Asian Games silver medal,” Fausto said. “The race also served as a debut overseas race for our new boys, and I’m very happy with the results,” Fausto added. “Our hard work really paid off.” The Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships attracted 3,756 top elite duathletes, multi-sport athletes and enthusiasts from 41 countries.

Oranza tries to hold on to Ronda Go for Gold athletes reap victories in Asian duathlon PH lead

SILANG, Cavite―Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance hopes to hold on to his lead as the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC resumes today with a challenging 2017.2-kilometer Stage 9 that starts at the Silang Municipal Hall here and ends at the Tagaytay Convention Center. After a three-day break, Oranza and the rest of the pack should come in fresh as they tackle the stage that will feature four climbs from Kaybiang Tunnel to the steep passes of Leynes in Talisay, Batangas. And Oranza, who has a sevenminute lead ahead of fellow Navyman and reigning back-to-back champion Jan Paul Morales with an aggregate clocking of 21 hours and 1.56 minutes, knows he needs to be cautious. “I need to be extra careful because anything can happen in the next few stages,” said Oranza, who hails from Villasis, Pangasinan. Morales, who is currently at No. 2 with a total time of 21:08:51, said he would do his best to help Oranza win. “If I can’t win it this year, I want the winner to be a Navyman so I don’t mind if Oranza wins it. He has a big lead and we will do our best to just protect it,” said the 32-year-old Morales, who is based from Calumpang, Marikina. Jay Lampawog of Go for Gold Developmental team is at No. 3 with 21:19:31 while Army-Bicycology’s Cris Joven (21:20:02), Navy’s John Mark Camingao (21:20:24), Go for Gold’s George Oconer (21:20:51), Go for Gold Developmental team’s Ronnel Hualda (21:21:29), Navy’s Rudy Roque (21:21:42), CCN Superteam’s Irish Valenzuela (21:22:04) and Navy’s Junrey Navara (21:22:08) round up the top 10. The next two―the 147.8km Tagaytay-Calaca Stage 10 tomorrow and the 92.72km Calaca-Calaca Stage 11 on Saturday―as both are riddled with mountain passes.

other one like the last game to have a chance.” Ginebra banked on the effectivity of big men Japeth Aguilar and Prince Caperal while LA Tenorio provided the stability and production in the backcourt. The big question for the game ahead is the presence of San Miguel guard Chris Ross. The vital spitfire is considered as game-time decision due to his strained right thigh which he suffered in Game 3, causing him to miss almost the entire second half. Should Ross be unavailable, San Miguel would have to rely heavily on other star guard Alex Cabagnot and reserve point guard Brian Heruela. For Ginebra, star slotman Greg Slaughter’s availability will still be in doubt.

FORMER Philippine Olympic Committee Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. will play an important role under the new leadership of the POC. New POC president Ricky Vargas has put Cojuangco, who leads the national sports association for equestrian, in charge of the Constitutional Revisions and Amendments Committee. The committee is one of 10 committees that the POC is setting up to address the various concerns of members from the national sports associations. “The move is pursuant to our efforts to the immediate resolution to the various concerns within the POC,” said Vargas, who is also president of boxing, in a letter. Celso Dayrit, another past president of the POC, and is involved in fencing, will join Cojuangco in the committee, with lawyer Alberto Agra, who heads

the Obstacle Sports Federation. Agra will also wear another hat, which is as the POC’s new legal counsel. Another former POC official, Robert Aventajado of taekwondo, will chair the Arbitration and Disputes’ Committee. Robert Bachmann of squash is listed in the Membership Committee with Pearl Managuelod and Quintin Pastrana. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Alfredo Panlilio, who heads the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, will chair the Finance Committee, while SBP Chairman and Antipolo Rep. Robbie Puno leads the NSA, Governance and Philippine Sports Commission Affairs. Karatedo’s Joey Romasanta takes charge of the Ways and Means Committee with Jonne Go. Philippine Football Federation General Secretary Ed Gastanes will handle the Ethics’ Committee, while gymnastics chief Cynthia

TAGAYTAY—Chihiro Ikeda bucked a wrist injury and a wobbly start with a blistering midway charge as she salvaged an even par 70 to grab a one-stroke lead over Princess Superal at the start of the ICTSI Tagaytay Highlands Challenge Highlands Golf and Country Club here yesterday. Ikeda bounced back strong from two bogeys and a double bogey in the first four holes with five birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 6 then survived a shaky finish of two bogeys against a birdie in the last five to seize control of the 33-played in the P1 million event sponsored by ICTSI. Superal, seeking an end to a long spell on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, actually wrested control with a one-under 33 start. But she wavered at the back, dropping strokes on Nos. 13 and the difficult closing hole to slip to second with a 71. With the rest succumbing to the dreaded winds and tight fairways, the chase for the top P250,000 purse could be reduced to the two leading players who have put premium on caution given the prevailing condition on the rolling layout. “The course is tough and I have to play extra careful with my shots since I’m still favoring my wrist,” said Ikeda, seeking a follow-up to her two-stroke victory over Superal in the Eagle Ridge stop of the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. last month. “I’ll just go for regulation and make the most of the birdie chances,” added the former SEA Games individual gold medalist who also won at Forest Hills last year. Superal, meanwhile, went straight to the range to check on her stance, which she partly blamed for her shaky finish. And like Ikeda, she stressed the need to be cautious on each shot with troubles lurking on every hole. “It’s hard to play the course with the winds coming into play on most holes. The fairways are also tight, so I have to keep my shots safe,” said Superal, who last won in 2016.

Global Cebu stays in hunt GLOBAL Cebu stayed in contention and in the hunt for a seat in the AFC Cup knockout stage. They handed Group G leader Yangon United its first defeat, 2-1, on Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Field. Cebu and Yangon were tied even in the first 79 minutes, but everything changed when Darryl Roberts headed the ball from Dominic Del Rosario’s free kick to draw first blood, 1-0. Then, Maung Maung Lwin struck with a header of his own in the 90th minute. Cebu refused to give up hope, and they got a chance to qualify when Rufo Sanchez was called into the game in the final minute of injury time, and the Spanish striker quickly slotted in a spot kick into the bottom right corner. For, the three-time champion Global Cebu, its first win against a draw and loss kept their hopes alive a for berth in the Zonal semifinals. Despite the setback, Yangon United stayed as the top favorite for the Zonal semifinals with their 3-0-1 win-draw-loss slate. Over in Hanoi, FLC Thanh Hóa played Bali United to a scoreless draw. Bali United has a 1-2-1 card in second position. Peter Atencio

Zoleta, Alcala lead PH to win Chicano

Vargas gives Cojuangco role in his POC administration By Peter Atencio

Ikeda grabs 1-stroke LPGT lead

Carrion will be in the Women’s Commission with rugby’s Ada Milby and sepak takraw’s Karen Caballero. Soft tennis’ Jeff Tamayo will chair the Sports for Peace and Indigenous Sports Committee, while judo’s Dave Carter will spearhead the Technical Commission. On the other hand, Olympian Hidilyn Diaz and triathlete Nikko Huelgas are part of the Athletes’ Commission. Meanwhile, the POC promises to forge partnership between the private sector and the government sector. Vargas said this after he and chairman Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino appeared before a hearing of the House Committee on Youth and Sports at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City Monday. “We hope the partnerships we are building will be sustained and would redound to a renewed commitment to sports excellence among our people,” said Vargas in a statement.

GABY Zoleta and Angelica Alcala of Lucena City in Quezon province pulled off big wins to lead Team Philippines to a 3-0 shutout of Tajikistan on Tuesday evening in the pre-qualifying round of the Junior Federation Cup in Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo. Zoleta downed Nargizakhon Yakhaeva, 6-3, 6-1, while Alcala prevailed over Samira Davlatova, 6-2, 6-0, Gaby, who is the niece of national players Bien and Bambi Zoleta, and Alcala are again expected to lead the way when they meet Singapore in their next encounter. Singapore had earlier beaten Tajikistan, 3-0, in an earlier encounter. Group A has Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Maldives, while Group B has Mongolia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh. Vietnam downed Maldives, 3-0, while Mongolia beat Bangladesh, 2-1, on Monday. The top team from each group will advance to the next round. Lebanon won over Bangladesh, 3-0, while Mongolia edged Bangladesh, 2-1. The participants are seeking two slots to the final qualifying event in Gimcheon, Korea from April 22 to 27. From there, 16 squads will battle it out for seats to the finals that will be held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico from Sept. 24 to 29. Peter Atencio

IN BRIEF Four Toyota parts makers accredited THE Board of Investments accredited four Toyota suppliers as participating parts makers under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy program. Manly Plastics Inc., Technol Eight Philippines Corp., Toyota Boshoku Philippines Corp. and Valerie Products Manufacturing Inc. will be producing body shell and large plastic parts for the New Vios, Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.’s enrolled model under the CARS. “The benefit of CARS to suppliers is longterm. The newly-acquired production capability and manpower skills will become their advantage even after the CARS program,” said Toyota president Satoru Suzuki. The parts projects are worth approximately P1.3 billion and form part of Toyota’s main out-house localization investments. Aside from the four main CARS suppliers, the company also approved 26 local direct suppliers for the New Vios. The localization projects have generated investments of P600 million on top of those of big car parts manufacturers. Toyota has also invested P1.9 billion in inhouse parts manufacturing to complement its out-house localization. Othel V. Campos

First Gen still keen on first LNG plant FIRST Gen Corp. of the Lopez Group remains keen on developing the country’s first integrated liquefied natural gas project, an official said Wednesday. First Gen chief finance officer Emmanuel Singson told reporters the company was optimistic it could comply with government’s schedule of holding the groundbreaking for the planned LNG facility by June. The department wants construction of the $2-billion terminal to start within the year. “We have already prepared our site so we can easily figure it out,” Singson said. First Gen submitted an unsolicited proposal to Philippine National Oil Co. to develop the LNG facility. First Gen also submitted a separate letter of interest to the Department of Energy, which has come out with the rules for the construction of LNG facilities. Singson said First Gen was in talks with potential joint venture partners. Alena Mae S. Flores


HSBC expects remittances to rise 5% in 2018 HONGKONG & Shanghai Banking Corp. said Wednesday it expects remittances from Filipinos working overseas to grow 5 percent in 2018, following a 4.3-percent expansion last year, as migrant Filipinos are likely to take advantage of the weak peso. “Overall remittances grew 4.3 percent year-on-year in 2017, slower than the 5-percent growth in the previous year. We anticipate remittances to rebound in 2018, growing back to its recent trend of around 5 percent, as overseas Filipino workers take advantage of the weak peso,” HSBC said in a report. The local peso has been hovering near 52 a dollar since the last week of January 2018, as the improving US economy buoyed the greenback against other currencies. HSBC said, however, that the Duterte administration’s plan to put halt the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait could hurt the growth trajectory of remittances this year. “Downside risks persist given the Duterte administration’s proposal to ban OFWs from going to Kuwait due to recent abuse and maltreatment cases,” the British bank said. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo said last week the proposed total deployment ban of OFWs to some countries in the Middle East due to reported abuses and maltreatment would not have significant impact on remittances growth this year as Filipinos were known to be resourceful enough to find other jobs in other countries. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III echoed this sentiment, saying overseas Filipinos with the help of the government could tap non-traditional destinations such as China and Russia. Remittances together with business process outsourcing receipts account for around $50 billion in dollar inflows annually and serve as a steady source of strength for the external payments position. Julito G. Rada THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018


Cebu oil field found commercial By Alena Mae S. Flores


HE Energy Department on Wednesday declared Alegria Oil Field in Southern Cebu to have commercial quantities of natural gas and oil resources, boosting the country’s efforts toward energy security.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi made the announcement after the ceremonial signing of the joint declaration of commerciality between the department and service contractor China International Mining Petroleum Co. Limited.

CIMP holds Petroleum Service Contract No. 49 which covers the Alegria Oil Field, an onshore site in the fourthclass town of Alegria in the southern part of Cebu province. CIMP, a subsidiary of Polyard Petroleum International Group, acquired an 80-percent stake in the participating interests of the SC 49 project and became its operator in July 2009. The contract covers a 25-year production period. Sources said the flow rate of the oil and gas project would be determined after testing. Cusi and CIMP chairman Lam Nam signed the agreement while Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos and CIMP

chief executive Eric Lie served as witnesses. Exploration and drilling activities on the oil field by the service contractor started in 2009. “The DoE and CIMP jointly established that the oil field contained commercial quantities of natural gas upon its discovery of oil accumulation in the adjacent hydrocarbon traps within the Alegria underground area,” the department said in a statement. CIMP discovered an estimated 27.93 million barrels of oil with a possible production recovery of 3.35 MMBO or a conservative estimate of 12 percent of total oil in place/reserves. It also found about 9.42 billion cubic

feet reserves of natural gas, with the recoverable resource estimated at 6.6 bcf or about 70 percent of total natural gas in place/reserves. Based on initial testing, the natural gas and oil production of the field may last until 2037. The JDC outlined the roles and responsibilities of CIMP, especially its compliance with all conditions stated in the approved Plan of Development dated Dec. 19. It has been several years since a new oil and gas exploration service contract has been declared of commercial quantity. The latest was the Galoc field in Service Contract 14C in northwest Palawan.

MetroPac allots P90b to link NLEx and Cavitex

Acudeen bares $35-m token sale SINGAPORE—Acudeen, a marketplace that empowers financial inclusion through selling invoices ahead of their maturity date for liquidity, announced the launch of its public token sale amounting to $35 million in April. “The ACU tokens serve as our answer to the growing demand for our services outside of our current consumer market. The purpose of our token sale is to accelerate more businesses with our services in the coming years through this revolutionary technology,” said Acudeen Technologies chairman Januario Jesus Atencio. Acudeen’s current model in place already utilizes advanced methods of validating transactions. Tokenizing their services further allows the company to bring financial inclusion to other parts of the world. The premise of the new system uses three main drivers—the AssetChain Platform, a block chain which stores all transaction data, the ACU Tokens which are used to avail of services within the platform, and CryptoFIAT, Acudeen’s intuitive solution to completing invoice purchases using cryptocurrency.

Ray S. Eñano, Editor Roderick T. dela Cruz, Assistant Editor

By Darwin G. Amojelar

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (second from left) declares the Alegria Oil Field in Southern Cebu as having commercial quantities of natural gas and oil resources during the ceremonial signing of the Joint Declaration of Commerciality with service contractor China International Mining Petroleum Company Limited at Hyatt Hotel-BGC in Taguig City. With Cusi are (from left) Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos, CIMP Co. Ltd. chairman Lam Nam and CIMP Co. Ltd. chief executive Eric Lie.

IC places 5 non-life insurers under conservatorship By Julito G. Rada THE Insurance Commission placed five non-life insurance companies under conservatorship for their failure to meet the statutory capital requirement of P550 million. The insurance firms that were put under conservatorship were First Integrated Bonding & Insurance Co. Inc., Investors Assurance Corp., Metropolitan Insurance Co. Inc., Plaridel Surety & Insurance Co. and Premier Insurance & Surety Corp. Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa said the companies were ordered to cease from issuing new insurance business and renewing any kind or character of insurance. “These companies are not operating on net losses. Based on the respective 2016 annual statements of these companies, all have positive net worth but short of the minimum amount required under the Insurance Code,” Funa said in a statement Wednesday. Funa appointed a conservator for each of the companies who were mandated to take charge of the management of the

company and its assets and liabilities. “The process of placing a company under conservatorship is primarily aimed at restoring the viability of the company and allows the commission, through the appointed conservator, to become more directly involved in the management of the company. To achieve this objective, a conservator is empowered by law to exercise all powers necessary to preserve the assets of the company,” he said. Funa said under a conservatorship regime, the operations of a company would be business as usual under the management of the IC-appointed conservatorship, including the processing of claims and payment of valid claims, except that it could not sell new insurance business. This means all insurance contracts issued before the conservatorship order remain valid and the obligation of the company towards its policyholders still exists until the expiration of their policies. Funa said placing these companies under conservatorship would not necessarily mean that they would close shop soon.

“The purpose of placing a company under conservatorship is to preserve the going concern value of the company returning it to health or ultimately resulting in a receivership. There are several routes that may result in the lifting of the conservatorship order including entering in a merger or consolidation with an existing insurer or a purchase and assumption agreement with an investor,” he said. “This does not also prevent the company from infusing fresh capital either from its existing shareholders or from a new investor in order to meet the minimum net worth requirement,” he said. Six non-life insurers were earlier issued with individual servicing licenses as a consequence of the voluntary surrender of their licenses due to their inability to comply with the P550-million minimum net worth requirement. As a result of the placing of the five insurers under conservatorship and the approval of the conversion of the regular license of six non-life insurers to servicing licenses, the previous 66 non-life insurers in 2016 was reduced to 55.

THE Metro Pacific group is spending P90 billion to build an expressway linking North Luzon Expressway and Manila-Cavite Expressway. Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president and chief executive Rodrigo Franco said the tentative project cost of the proposed NLEx-Cavitex Port Expressway Link was raised to P90.24 billion from an earlier estimate of P62.43 billion because of the tunnel component of the toll road. The budget would come from NLEX Corp. and Cavitex Infrastructure Corp., operators of NLEx and Cavitex, respectively. Franco said a tunnel expressway would be built between Rizal Park and US embassy at a cost of P40 billion. The proposed NLEx-Cavitex Port Expressway is a 15-kilometer toll road with six lanes (2x3 configuration), with elevated and tunnel portions from NLEx Segment 10 up to Cavitex which will provide an ideal truck route directly linked to Manila Port Area. The first phase of the project will stretch from C3 Road to Anda Circle (5.7 kilometers), while the second phase is a connection from Cavitex to Buendia (4.8 kilometers) and the last phase from Buendia Avenue to Anda Circle (4.6 km). The project will reduce truck traffic within its limited capacity road network and significantly contribute in the decongestion of the metropolis 24 hours a day, MPTC said. Cavitex is a 14-kilometer toll expressway linking Manila to the southern province of Cavite. MPCALA Holdings Inc., a unit of MPIC, earlier submitted an unsolicited proposal to build Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway, a 46-kilometer road worth P25 billion. The project aims to link Cavite Expressway and Cavite Laguna Expressway in Silang, Cavite to Tagaytay City and will terminate in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Foreign investments in manufacturing rose 244% to $1.15b in 2017—Lopez By Othel V. Campos

TREE PLANTING. Employees of Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. bolster their commitment to environmental protection through a series of treeplanting activities in two of the company’s host municipalities in Surigao del Sur on. Feb. 10 to March 3, 2018. The company-wide effort took place in Barangay Cabangahan and Barangay Bon-ot in Cantilan and Carrascal towns, respectively, participated in by officers and staff of MMDC.

TRADE Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday foreign investments in manufacturing surged 244 percent in 2017 to a record $1.15 billion from $334.25 million in 2016. “The figure accounted for 35 percent of the $3.3-billion equity capital placements in 2017,” said Lopez. The department released the data following the issue by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas of the annual report on net foreign direct investments, which hit an all-time high of $10.1 billion last year. Data showed that 2017 foreign investment inflows surpassed the target when they expanded 21 percent from $8.3 billion registered in 2016. The 2017 FDI was spread in over 21 industries, but a third of the total equity placements went to the manufacturing industry. Other industries which received the bulk of total inflows were gas, steam and air conditioning supply; real estate;

construction; and wholesale and retail trade activities. Lopez said the manufacturing industry delivered on its promise to be a pillar of economic growth in the country. He said that since 2012, the department had intensified its campaign to link the efforts of the government and private sectors to revitalize the manufacturing industry. “It is a highly viable investment area and a source of meaningful and wellpaying jobs for the people,” Lopez said. It identified food manufacturing; production of radio, television, and communication equipment and apparatus; chemical and non-chemical products; fabricated metal products; basic metal and non-metallic mineral products as vibrant manufacturing sectors. Top sources of foreign equity investments last year were Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands, the United States and Luxembourg.




Stocks slump; BPI, Bloomberry fall


HE stock market tumbled Wednesday in step with the rest of Asia, as news that Donald Trump had replaced his moderate secretary of state with a hawk fanned fears of instability in the White House and a more hardline approach to foreign affairs.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 70.83 points, or 0.8 percent, to 8,348.74 on a value turnover of P7.5 billion. Losers beat gainers, 122 to 99, with 40 issues unchanged. Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which operates a casino on a reclaimed land in Manila Bay, slumped 5.3 percent to P13.60, while speculative issue MRC Allied Inc. plunged 8.2 percent to P0.78. Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets,

dropped 3 percent to P115.20, while JG Summit Holdings Inc. of industrialist John Gokongwei declined 4.5 percent to P64. Meanwhile, news that Rex Tillerson had been sacked rattled US equities, which had been buoyed earlier Tuesday by a soft inflation report that tempered talk of a sharp rise in interest rates. The former oilman had been seen as taking a more pragmatic line on various issues, particularly on global trade and the Iran nuclear agreement. He will be replaced by CIA chief Mike Pompeo, who is an advocate of taking a hardline with China on trade and Iran. All three main US markets ended lower and Asia followed suit. Tokyo fell 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong shed more than one percent and Shanghai sank 0.6 percent. Sydney lost 0.7 percent, Singapore

fell 0.5 percent and Seoul was off 0.4 percent while Wellington and Taipei also fell. Adding to the unease on trading floors were reports Trump is considering hitting China over alleged intellectual property theft, with an announcement on tech sector tariffs said to be lined up for as soon as next week. “The significance of a shift to a global trade and foreign policy hawk with the US on course for a trade showdown with China and diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, is very significant suggesting the US is readying for hardball negotiations,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA. The move, which had been expected in some quarters, comes after Trump’s pro-markets top economics advisor stepped down this month over controversial metals tariffs. Tillerson marks the latest in a string

of senior members of the administration to resign in 14 tumultuous months and reinforces a sense of uncertainty on Pennsylvania Avenue. “Markets one day may become exhausted if the staff turnover and perceived White House instability continues,” Terry Haines, a senior political strategist at Evercore ISI, wrote in a note. “Trump and the administration will have some work to do to reassure markets.” The news overshadowed data showing US inflation eased in February from January, which helped to wind back concerns that the improving economy was pushing the Fed to lift borrowing costs four times this year rather than the three earlier thought. Those figures, combined with the Tillerson sacking, sent the dollar lower against the yen and pound, with sterling also getting support from improving British economic forecasts. With AFP




FINANCIALS 59.7 3,250 115.2 3,506,340 3.11 143,000 150 1,603,960 1.84 122,000 35.35 289,400 8 3,000 15.5 27,400 30.8 3,175,500 3.53 35,000 9.32 1,100 0.68 10,082,000 0.55 171,000 96.5 5,204,170 1.31 3,016,000 12.54 27,300 24 5,000 56.6 48,010 247 12,110 115.2 5,710 86 110 46.55 94,100 244 1,057,240 1,925 105 90 29,780

193,990 404,812,949 453,310 238,861,872 218,980 10,227,260 24,040 425,180 98,500,660 120,720 10,262 6,855,760 93,980 495,566,090.50 3,866,050 339,494 120,120 2,714,023.50 2,996,006 664,493 9,469.50 4,380,660 258,977,806 202,925 2,683,239

191,040 -175,092,407 48,690 -65,320,389 4,932,555 -10,870,915 -153,304,235.50 210,890 -271,549 -669,570 931,150 -75,855,040 -55,381

40 13.68 0.57 1.3 18.76 0.217 156 3.94 17.24 290 50.6 27 61.5 65.05 86.1 1.97 5.2 10.2 11.62 14.5 11.02 7.6 5.8 16.7 65 26.8 9.5 17.2 2.7 287.4 54.95 4.71 3.11 26.9 16.52 20.3 329 0.2 7.89 2.78 5.3 9.26 6.14 8.46 1.57 12.3 54.35 6.02 621 4.7 2.53 3.36 2.38 15.8 5.35 0.134 1.04 149.6 1.92 1.02

INDUSTRIAL 40.5 1,357,200 13.8 2,109,400 0.57 1,336,000 1.33 186,000 19.3 10,900 0.221 740,000 160 250 4 7,921,000 17.4 2,612,300 312 1,260 51.3 423,190 27.85 244,900 61.5 100 65.05 5,530 86.1 110 2 699,000 5.2 434,500 10.5 1,200 11.76 1,829,300 14.68 160,900 11.02 223,500 7.65 74,100 5.96 9,508,200 17.06 1,967,300 68 113,380 27.05 113,000 9.7 231,500 17.4 4,515,400 3.2 33,069,000 288.4 757,340 54.95 290 4.8 143,000 3.38 12,000 27.5 207,300 16.6 159,600 20.35 812,500 334 181,570 0.2 260,000 7.89 10,300 2.85 1,834,000 5.32 3,507,700 9.47 2,006,800 6.15 109,000 8.5 8,900 1.61 293,000 12.82 68,300 58.7 3,998,070 6.02 1,400 625.5 9,580 4.87 132,000 2.69 329,000 3.49 34,000 2.49 2,473,000 15.9 464,600 5.41 88,800 0.134 230,000 1.04 53,000 152.5 521,460 1.93 5,754,000 1.03 6,157,000

54,948,375 29,101,446 776,880 243,120 208,566 162,840 39,440 32,089,410 45,523,736 427,316 21,769,506.50 7,056,995 6,150 370,261.50 9,471 1,420,560 2,291,194 12,270 21,498,696 2,360,752 2,473,762 567,247 56,368,064 33,466,658 7,566,702 3,068,085 2,219,150 79,429,676 98,696,420 219,406,404 16,114.50 684,130 37,680 5,640,480 2,654,036 16,765,895 60,080,832 52,010 81,963 5,165,010 19,194,364 18,953,580 671,701 75,542 467,200 870,508 233,073,618 8,428 5,974,835 620,720 864,000 115,850 6,083,810 7,407,232 481,277 30,900 55,120 78,875,421 11,236,380 6,462,340

-13,677,750.00 -3,292,070 -103,800.00 -88,400 1,795,290 29,660,330.00 60,000 -2,130 26,750 7,782,356 292,932 -354,298 217,634 467,430 -1,487,800 1,832,341 281,975 -37,000 -47,221,412.00 -3,812,000 -64,006,092 -1,734,940 1,601,862 1,429,230 6,444,448 10,000 942,430 203,583 391,979 149,674 -152,066,293 -143,200 -70,500 -45,540 37,090 3,201,150.00 -15,989,642 388,730 -

0.31 76.25 14.48 0.96 7.78 0.65 0.67 1,038 2,990 7.3 13.6 7.57 5 0.205 1,319 7.24 66.9 5.16 6.4 0.69 5.39 20 0.57 5.6 0.049 1.28 3.27 2.55 144.6 2.6 970 1.8 698 279 0.238 0.213 0.23

0.3 74.95 14.32 0.91 7.74 0.63 0.65 1,004 2,210 7.25 13.44 7.57 5 0.196 1,292 7.08 63.8 5.12 5.25 0.66 5.21 19.1 0.375 5.5 0.044 1.15 3.11 2.54 140 2.58 941 1.75 630 275 0.238 0.199 0.219

HOLDING FIRMS 0.31 2,180,000 76 856,530 14.38 6,268,500 0.96 157,000 7.74 14,500 0.65 6,557,000 0.65 3,704,000 1,038 451,250 2,900 205 7.3 318,700 13.6 3,507,900 7.57 100 5 5,000 0.204 370,000 1,308 61,475 7.24 11,900 64 5,467,180 5.16 10,500 5.27 30,200 0.69 81,000 5.27 942,300 20 3,269,500 0.57 40,660,000 5.6 20,707,500 0.047 104,500,000 1.18 6,568,000 3.27 3,790,000 2.54 16,000 141.2 346,750 2.6 8,000 949.5 327,950 1.76 504,000 680 2,540 278 4,010 0.238 30,000 0.203 3,460,000 0.222 1,050,000

656,950 64,901,160.50 90,194,732 147,080 112,298 4,192,680 2,435,570 461,283,110 575,450 2,323,881 47,338,946 757 25,000 74,530 80,386,455 85,334 350,440,271 54,160 174,895 54,120 4,954,191 64,234,668 20,602,050 114,833,846 4,868,700 7,777,660 12,199,230 40,740 48,895,306 20,780 310,780,280 886,720 1,674,190 1,103,850 7,140 708,500 236,900

6,238,399.50 -32,921,964 330,000 -111,087,735 -14,500 1,142,454 2,936,844 -30,647,090 -119,492,799.50 157,641.00 -6,016,372 1,057,950 -52,479,005 8,300 -39,000 -14,863,748 -63,594,255 -61,300 -

7.04 1.12 16.26 2.14 0.9 41.95 3.82 4.85 6.28 6.5 7.7 0.45 1.1 1.04 0.305 0.475 37.8 0.68 1.8 1.42 1.08 4.86 0.87 0.48

6.99 1.07 15.9 2.06 0.87 40.8 3.68 4.77 6 6.02 6.08 0.43 1.06 1 0.27 0.46 35.45 0.64 1.77 1.39 0.87 4.7 0.78 0.46

3,172,887 4,990,850 231,310 105,240 3,115,270 347,213,170 1,109,340 7,701,240 474,125 69,570 115,122 3,370,800 8,520 952,280 29,066,800 55,350 50,581,200 6,293,710 6,123,100 6,720,980 50,211,520 96,146,620 359,589,020 5,853,600

-874,327 84,340 4,280 176,000 -94,521,105 -30,240 2,803,100 39,090 -553,800 101,800 475,600 4,600 791,890.00 -3,725,580 -2,843,160 45,100 -627,250 14,302,010 654,250 -







59 118.3 3.1 149.5 1.8 35.35 8.02 15.62 30.4 3.6 9.33 0.68 0.55 95.5 1.27 12.6 24.15 56.8 248.6 113 86.95 46.7 251.8 1,970 90.25

59.7 118.3 3.29 150 1.85 35.45 8.02 15.62 31.4 3.6 9.33 0.68 0.56 96.55 1.35 12.6 24.15 56.85 248.6 124.8 86.95 46.7 251.8 1,970 90.75

59 114.8 3.1 147.3 1.75 35.3 8 15.5 30 3.36 9.32 0.68 0.54 93.3 1.24 12.3 24 56.4 246 112.3 86 46.5 243.4 1,925 90


40.6 13.86 0.6 1.31 19.32 0.22 156 4.21 17.24 290 51.9 29.5 61.5 69.5 86.1 1.97 5.37 10.2 11.84 14.68 11.14 7.75 6.04 17.2 69 27.8 10 18.4 2.79 293 55.8 4.8 3.12 27.4 16.64 20.35 332 0.2 8.04 2.78 5.7 9.58 6.2 8.46 1.61 12.82 54.75 6.02 621 4.7 2.76 3.37 2.4 16.08 5.35 0.134 1.04 150.8 1.97 1.06

41 13.86 0.61 1.33 19.32 0.221 160 4.24 17.72 375 51.9 31.95 61.5 70 86.1 2.05 5.75 10.5 11.88 14.9 11.3 7.75 6.04 17.22 69 27.8 10 18.4 3.2 294.4 55.8 4.87 3.38 27.5 16.9 21.25 334 0.201 8.04 2.85 5.7 9.6 6.26 8.5 1.62 12.82 63.5 6.02 630 4.87 2.76 3.5 2.54 16.2 5.46 0.138 1.04 152.5 1.98 1.09


0.3 76 14.4 0.96 7.74 0.63 0.65 1,038 2,210 7.25 13.5 7.57 5 0.196 1,312 7.24 66.9 5.12 6 0.69 5.32 19.78 0.375 5.55 0.044 1.25 3.11 2.54 144.6 2.58 970 1.77 648 279 0.238 0.211 0.219


7.04 1.09 15.9 2.14 0.89 41.95 3.77 4.84 6 6.5 7.5 0.445 1.06 1.04 0.275 0.46 36.5 0.64 1.8 1.42 0.87 4.84 0.85 0.48











0.54 4.24 36.5 20.75 1.99 3.24 35.7 1.02 21 0.82 6.48

0.55 4.51 36.9 20.85 1.99 3.24 36 1.02 21.6 0.86 6.48

0.53 4.23 34.15 20 1.93 3.23 35.45 1.01 20.9 0.82 6.33

0.54 4.35 35.4 20.6 1.99 3.23 35.5 1.01 21.1 0.85 6.45

441,000 598,000 3,800 1,143,300 570,000 134,000 4,969,100 517,000 144,200 88,000 5,127,900

235,040 2,626,080 133,850 23,367,870 1,119,040 433,100 177,346,490 522,740 3,055,680 74,530 32,968,295

59,650.00 -6,138,790 716,300 -37,169,075 72,630 -830 -9,810,711


18 29.9 1.41 0.64 0.059 12 14.4 0.07 101 7.66 7.8 2.44 39 905 1,750 6.44 320 5.52 2.66 109 13.28 8.3 0.129 1.48 3.19 5.59 1.06 27.2 0.5 5.12 8.01 3.25 17.9 12.6 11.92 10.6 2.9 109.5 6.89 1,555 1.17 0.42 54 91.3 8.05 2.66 1.44 0.51 3.44 1.04 11.1

18.56 29.9 1.41 0.67 0.059 12 14.4 0.071 102.8 7.74 8.28 2.49 39 985 1,750 6.44 328 5.8 2.66 109.8 13.28 8.3 0.133 1.51 3.47 5.85 1.06 27.35 0.53 5.29 8.18 3.3 20.9 13.56 11.92 10.6 3.09 109.5 6.97 1,555 1.19 0.435 54 92.15 8.32 2.84 1.46 0.57 3.44 1.05 11.1

17.9 29.6 1.33 0.62 0.057 12 13.54 0.069 100.6 7.5 7.2 2.43 36 905 1,715 6.38 310.2 5.52 2.66 107 13 8.3 0.128 1.48 3.19 5.55 1.03 26.55 0.49 5.12 7.78 3.24 16.8 12.3 10.36 10.6 2.9 109 6.81 1,518 1.17 0.41 53.1 90.6 7.7 2.66 1.43 0.5 3.4 1.03 10.92

SERVICES 18.4 29.6 1.33 0.66 0.059 12 13.6 0.069 101.2 7.6 7.8 2.49 36.8 910 1,720 6.4 322.6 5.71 2.66 107.6 13 8.3 0.13 1.49 3.4 5.58 1.03 26.85 0.51 5.28 7.87 3.24 18.5 12.94 11 10.6 3.09 109 6.83 1,540 1.17 0.42 53.1 91.35 8.06 2.67 1.44 0.55 3.42 1.03 11.02

20,000 76,400 476,000 63,101,000 45,000,000 7,000 8,847,600 14,900,000 86,630 438,500 486,300 39,000 129,500 150 27,000 350,700 47,220 3,226,800 3,000 2,834,490 1,700 7,500 12,200,000 120,000 138,000 7,901,000 268,000 2,242,800 175,000 90,000 1,003,600 1,754,000 13,600 11,863,900 100,100 500 50,000 3,320 478,100 64,590 2,528,000 12,850,000 846,200 1,820,140 972,200 1,234,000 2,611,000 120,679,000 314,000 7,450,000 3,653,300

358,976 2,274,035 636,780 41,169,420 2,609,990 84,000 122,283,404 1,035,830 8,763,763 3,335,584 3,706,642 95,300 4,843,205 144,550 46,533,025 2,245,997 15,050,134 18,384,498 7,980 305,506,176 22,184 62,250 1,592,140 179,780 466,790 45,239,349 278,070 60,438,460 89,360 471,526 7,904,910 5,711,880 256,224 154,661,260 1,101,992 5,300 152,160 362,543 3,279,087 98,881,895 2,978,020 5,416,750 45,145,788 165,802,838 7,748,842 3,319,420 3,750,700 65,721,000 1,072,010 7,715,140 40,127,908

-1,631,200 11,470 -17,448,836 5,413,143 121,960 76,225 -7,543,650 130,200 -352,862 68,593,758 6,450 3,989,899.00 -5,903,440 42,894.00 1,794,955 643,250 -3,430,516 3,180 -283,800 -28,238,675 -39,830 -10,343,344 -118,017,405.50 -23,901 2,266,020 -345,460 334,480 4,580,114


0.0033 1.69 4.86 18.2 1.71 1.71 1.68 0.31 7.19 2.52 0.227 0.15 0.154 0.0096 1.43 6.29 1.24 0.91 0.012 0.012 0.013 2.4 6.09 13.6 33.15 0.0068

0.0036 1.69 4.9 19 1.71 1.71 1.7 0.315 7.33 2.74 0.239 0.15 0.154 0.0097 1.6 6.6 1.28 1.04 0.012 0.012 0.013 2.46 6.14 14.2 33.2 0.0068

0.0032 1.66 4.85 18.2 1.71 1.71 1.67 0.305 7.15 2.49 0.217 0.149 0.154 0.0094 1.43 6.26 1.21 0.91 0.012 0.012 0.012 2.31 6.04 13.42 32.8 0.0067

MINING & OIL 0.0036 5,075,000,000 1.66 3,132,000 4.85 303,000 18.98 13,200 1.71 5,000 1.71 5,000 1.7 795,000 0.315 680,000 7.25 12,900 2.61 15,006,000 0.228 2,620,000 0.15 7,540,000 0.154 500,000 0.0094 3,000,000 1.6 852,000 6.4 3,550,900 1.22 316,000 0.95 8,170,000 0.012 8,000,000 0.012 100,000 0.012 55,200,000 2.46 49,000 6.09 1,613,200 13.7 3,606,900 33.2 1,336,900 0.0068 19,000,000

17,552,200 5,231,320 1,477,180 244,322 8,550 8,550 1,335,060 211,450 92,634 39,234,880 586,240 1,130,280 77,000 28,700 1,322,850 22,984,609 387,700 7,880,040 96,000 1,200 664,200 113,430 9,830,509 49,355,754 44,005,525 128,800

21,100 -687,190 -9,700 491,820.00 110,000 4,290 3,688,679 300 6,000 395,723 2,258,024 -18,066,675 -


29 505 514 102 110.7 506 6.15 1,002 1.05 1,034 1,100 992 2.1 75.1 79.95 75.7 77 78.1 77.5 77.5 77.4

29.35 505 514 102 110.7 506 6.3 1,002 1.06 1,034 1,100 992 2.1 75.1 79.95 75.7 77 78.1 77.5 77.5 77.4

28.3 504 514 101.4 110.3 506 6.15 1,001 1.04 1,034 1,100 990 2.1 75.1 78.2 75.7 77 78.1 76.5 76.3 77.4

PREFERRED 28.35 16,400 504 3,940 514 100 101.4 52,310 110.3 20,200 506 2,100 6.2 10,300 1,001 2,500 1.06 1,335,000 1,034 1,830 1,100 125 990 1,000 2.1 2,000 75.1 10,000 78.3 3,770 75.7 10 77 24,750 78.1 30,000 76.5 60 76.3 146,210 77.4 4,010

478,130 1,988,310 51,400 5,316,720 2,230,140 1,062,600 63,885 2,502,505 1,412,110 1,892,220 137,500 990,320 4,200 751,000 295,767 757 1,905,750 2,343,000 4,600 11,165,855 310,374

-321,390 1,522,500 -





WARRANTS 3.63 1,740,000




6.1 3.41 3.39

6.1 3.5 3.61

5.87 3.4 3.37

5.96 3.45 3.61

12,179,963 356,870 11,613,720

12,000 618,040






PROPERTY 7 1.08 16.26 2.06 0.87 41.45 3.77 4.8 6.2 6.1 7 0.435 1.06 1.01 0.295 0.475 35.6 0.65 1.79 1.41 0.98 4.73 0.78 0.46

453,300 4,566,000 14,400 51,000 3,560,000 8,404,100 293,000 1,603,000 76,900 11,400 16,500 7,700,000 8,000 946,000 100,380,000 120,000 1,403,200 9,680,000 3,436,000 4,790,000 49,703,000 20,344,000 440,187,000 12,580,000






















2,035,200 104,000 3,315,000



8,881,934 5,180

-1,016,000 -

VALUE 2,170.76 (DOWN) 18.44 1,566,528,731.71 FINANCIAL INDUSTRIAL 11,590.59 (UP) 6.71 1,211,884,539.63 HOLDING FIRMS 8,360.37 (DOWN) 78.15 1,809,452,904.695 PROPERTY 3,759.91 (DOWN) 20.13 1,733.27 (DOWN) 30.66 1,300,771,853.81 SERVICES MINING & OIL 11,395.77 (UP) 91.09 1,353,459,280.28 PSEI 8,348.74 (DOWN) 70.83 204,024,840.1772 All Shares Index 5,035.85 (DOWN) 31.31 7,479,177,857.74 Gainers: 99; Losers: 122; Unchanged: 408; Total: 261

San Miguel raises P20b from latest bond issue By Jenniffer B. Austria CONGLOMERATE San Miguel Corp. has successfully raised P20 billion from the issuance of fixed-rate bonds, one of the underwriters handling the transaction said Wednesday. BDO Capital and Investments Corp. president Eduardo Francisco said the demand for San Miguel fixed-rate bonds was high, enabling the conglomerate to raise the primary offer of five-, seven- and 10-year bonds. The company did not exercise the oversubscription option of up to P10 billion. The bond offering comprised of 5-year Series E Bonds due 2023 with a fixed interest rate equivalent to 6.2500 percent per annum, 7-year Series F Bonds due 2025 at 6.6250 percent and 10-year Series G Bonds due 2028 at an interest rate equivalent to 7.1250 percent a year. The P20-billion bond sale represents the third tranche of the company’s P60-billion bond shelf registration earlier approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bonds will be listed with Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp. on March 19. San Miguel earlier said it would use proceeds form the fund-raising activity to refinance existing US dollar denominated obligations or invest in business units, including SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., San Miguel Holdings Corp. and San Miguel Properties, Inc. Philippine Rating Services Corp. earlier assigned an issue rating of PRS Aaa to San Miguel’s P30-billon bond offering with a stable outlook. Obligations rated PRS Aaa are of the highest quality with minimal credit risk. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong. PRS Aaa is the highest rating assigned by PhilRatings.

Pure Foods’ 2017 income increased by 16% to P6.9b SAN Miguel Pure Foods Company Inc., the food manufacturing unit of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., said consolidated net income rose 16 percent in 2017 to P6.9 billion, driven by higher volumes from the poultry, fresh meats and branded value-added businesses. SMPFC said in a disclosure to the stock exchange consolidated operating income grew 11 percent to P9.9 billion, boosted by improved operational efficiencies. Consolidated revenues also increased 5 percent to P117 billion as combined revenues from the feeds, poultry and fresh meats, rose 6 percent on better sales mix and favorable prices of chicken and fresh meats. Meanwhile, the group’s milling business remained affected by the deceleration of global wheat prices as revenues for the year declined 3 percent. The business, however, remains profitable despite the margin squeeze. SMPFC’s branded value-added business registered a 6-percent increase in sales in 2017, driven primarily by the strong performance of processed meats, the launch of new products and intensified brand building activities. “Moving forward, as we strive to further strengthen our market leadership, we will continue to grow our product offerings. We’re very much encouraged by the positive response that our new products have received from consumers,” said San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang. “Apart from that, we will continue to execute on our capacity expansion program in order for us to meet our longterm growth targets and continuously provide for the growing and evolving needs of our customers,” Ang added. San Miguel earlier announced plans to consolidate its beer and liquor business under SMPFC through share swap. The move to consolidate all food and beverage businesses under SMPFC would make the company more attractive to investors. Jenniffer B. Austria








IN BRIEF Millions in China mourn Hawking SHANGHAI―Millions of Chinese mourned Stephen Hawking on Wednesday, bidding farewell to a “giant star” admired in China for stoically rising above physical disability and posting heartfelt messages to his Chinese fans on social media. Already well-known in China, the British cosmologist two years ago further endeared himself to fans in the country when he opened an account on the Twitter-like Weibo platform, posting in both Chinese and English. The account garnered one million fans within its first few hours and now has nearly five million, with his infrequent posts typically generating tens of thousands of admiring comments and earning him the affectionate nickname “Hawking Dada”, or “Uncle Hawking.” News of Hawking’s death at 76 quickly became the top-trending Weibo topic, with the hashtag #Hawking passed# generating more than 300 million reads and nearly 200,000 comments within a few hours after his death was announced. Many said his passing was “the falling of a giant star.” “The deterioration of his body did not trap him. Today this superhuman brain has left this world, and his next journey, death, remains a mystery,” one user said. “I hope he has the strength to send us information from the next world.” AFP

FOTO 1 DOLLS FOR SALE. A vendor in India poses for a photograph while arranging ‘thanjavur’ dolls at a handicraft fair in Chennai on March 14, 2018. AFP

Chemist: The Russians did it What FVR brought to the Presidency THE key military figure of the Edsa Revolution, is about to reach another important milestone in his illustrious life. Former President Fidel V. Ramos will turn 90 on March 18. FVR — the initials by which the former Chief Executive is widely known — was a dashing soldier of 58 when he decided to sever his political ties with his cousin Ferdinand E. Marcos and co-lead the revolt that brought down the dictatorial regime of the 9th President of the Philippines. During his cadet days at the Philippine Military Academy and, later, at the U.S. Military Academy FVR could not have imagined that on February 22, 1986 he would be defying his Commander-in-Chief and challenging the Marcos regime. But challenge President Marcos he did, alongside the Minister of National Defense, Juan Ponce Enrile, and the officers comprising the Minister’s staff. The period between February 25, 1986, when Marcos and his family were flown into exile, and July 1, 1992, when FVR took his oath as the nation’s twelfth President, was one of the most tumultuous periods in contemporary Philippine history. Not only did the termination of nearly twenty years of Marcos governance create a political vacuum, but conflict also erupted between the group headed by Juan Ponce Enrile, who believed that the fruits of the Edsa Revolution belonged to it, and the group headed by FVR, who believed that the masses who supported the revolution—and the highly intimated Catholic Church—wanted a shift from military to civilian. Finally convinced that they had a better claim to the seat of national power, the Enrile group staged no less than seven coup d’ etat attempts between August 1987 and December 1989. As Security of National Defense, the civilian-head of the nation’s armed forces, FVR was faced with the existential choice: Keep the 120,000-manstrong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) squarely behind President Corazon Aquino’s Presidency or grab power for himself with the support of the legions of pro-Ramos members of the military. Anyone who knew anything about the Ramos family never had any doubt as to the choice that Fidel V. Ramos would make. FVR carries in his veins the blood of two Northern Luzon families known for their integrity and stability: the Ramoses of Pangasinan and the Valdezes of Ilocos Norte. On a personal note, my parents considered FVR’s parents, Narciso and Angela Ramos, one of the finest couples they met in my father’s political life. FVR’s and my father found great pleasure and satisfaction in having served together in the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention, the pre-independence National Assembly and this country’s foreign service. Besides personal and professional pedigree FVR brought to the Presidency a keen sense of patriotism, a first-rate intellect, an inclination toward industriousness and a passion for efficiency. FVR had a proper, not a perverse, sense of patriotism, and he has not lost it. Realizing that the future of the fledgling Republic of the Philippines lay with a stable world order, FVR newly graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, eagerly served with the Philippine contribution to the United Nations’ military effort against North Korea (the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea; or PEFTOK). For the young Lt. Ramos, love of country called for support for the U.N. And, of course, defending what rightfully belonged to this country. The course at West Point, like the PMA course, ends with the cadets’ earning a degree in engineering. But FVR’s keen intellect — no pasang awa 75 for him — caused him to develop in interest in economic and the humanities. His engineering degree and his absorption of economic concepts were to serve him well when, during his Presidency, the Cabinet took up infrastructural, industrial and financial matters. Although FVR had no degree in economics or finance, the members of the Cabinet economic cluster knew that they had to be ready to answer questions from their boss at Cabinet meetings. FVR’s penchant for hard work was almost legendary. Not only was the tenth President known to burn the midnight oil, but he also had always been an early riser. Deadlines were things that were supposed to be met. Woe to the department or agency head who failed to meet a deadline for submission of a report or plan. If FVR’s middle initial were E rather than V, the E surely would stand for Efficiency. There was — and is — nothing that the former Chief Executive abhors more than sloppy, substandard work. That is why he has always been a stickler for staff work. In FVR’s book, inefficient work is wasteful work and inefficiency leads to waste of scarce resources and even scarcer opportunities. These are the things that FVR brought to the Presidency. That is why his Presidency was a great success. One can only muse over how things would have been difficult for this country if the Constitution had allowed FVR to serve two terms instead of one. Happy 90th birthday, Mr. President. E-mail:


RINCETON―The Russian chemist who first revealed the existence of “Novichok” nerve agents says only the Russians can be behind the weapon’s use in Britain against a former spy and his daughter. Vil Mirzayanov, 83, came to the United States in 1995 after 30 years of working for the State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology, or GNIIOKhT. It was he who in the early 1990s revealed the existence of that class of ultra-powerful nerve agents. He did so first in the Russian media as it opened up with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and later, with chemical formulas at hand, in his book “State Secrets,” published in 2007. Former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. Britain says it is “highly likely” that Moscow was to blame for the nerve agent attack. Mirzayanov, speaking at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, said he is convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating the opponents of President Vladimir Putin. “Only the Russians” developed this class of nerve agents, said the chemist. “They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy.” The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon. He said that the Russians could argue that maybe someone had synthesized them “and they

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could make me guilty!” This is the first time the nerve agents, which took 15 years to develop and were tested on animals, have been used to kill somebody, Mirzayanov said. Why now? Mirzayanov said he believes the Kremlin wants to intimidate people, such as the enemies of Putin. For instance, he hypothesized, suppose someone leaves Russia with material that would compromise President Donald Trump in the US probe into whether his 2016 election campaign colluded with Russia in its alleged drive to help him beat Hillary Clinton. “It’s very dangerous for the Kremlin because it is a plot against America,” said the chemist. “So they threaten this person, and they say, ‘look what happened to Skripal. The same could happen to you.’” Mirzayanov said Skripal could no longer cause Russia any problems but the Kremlin could have killed him anyway, and in a cruel fashion, just to intimidate potential opponents. An attack with Novichok agents, which are 10 times stronger than VX, is excruciating and has no cure, he added. He said half a gram is enough to kill a person who weighs 110 pounds. Someone exposed to it first has their vision go blurry, and if no antidote is applied are then hit with violent convulsions and can no longer breathe. “I have seen the effect on animals―rabbits, dogs. It is awful,” he said. Even if they do not die, Skripal and his daughter will suffer for the rest of their lives, he predicted. The nerve agents are easy to administer because they are binary, meaning they result from the mix of two substances which on their own are harmless. AFP








InvItatIon to BId Procurement of amBulance and moBIle dental vehIcle 1.

The Department of Health (DOH), through the General Appropriations Act of 2018 intends to procure the following projects listed below: IB No. IB No. 2018187 IB No. 2018188


Cost of Bidding Documents (Php)



Procurement of Brand New Mobile Dental Vehicle




The DOH now invites Bids from eligible Bidders for the procurement of the above-caption projects. Delivery of the Goods is required as specified in Section VI. Schedule of Requirements. Bidders should have completed contracts similar to the cited projects as stated in the ITB. The description of an eligible bidder is contained in the Bidding Documents, particularly, in Section II. Instructions to Bidders.


Bidding will be conducted through open competitive bidding procedures using a non-discretionary “pass/fail” criterion as specified in the 2016 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 9184, otherwise known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act”.



One (1) year transitory period or until February 28, 2019 is given to the existing licensed salesmen to take and pass the SEC Certification Examination, otherwised their license shall be revoked; New salesmen who had not yet taken and passed the SEC Certification Examination will be allowed to register under provisional license which will automatically be cancelled at the end of the one (1) year period mentioned in number 1 above if they fail to take and pass the exam within said period; and New applicants for registration as broker/issuer of proprietary/non–proprietary shares shall be allowed to register as such subject to compliance with requirements under items 1 and 2 above.

Pasay City, Philippines, _2__ March 2018 For the Commission:

Interested bidders may obtain further information from the COBAC Secretariat, Ground Floor, Building 6, DOH, San Lazaro Compound, Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, Manila and inspect the Bidding Documents at 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. It may also be downloaded free of charge from the website of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), provided that Bidders who interested to participate shall pay the applicable fee for the Bidding Documents not later than the submission of their bids.


This Memorandum Circular shall take effect immediately.



The DOH will hold a Pre-bidding Conference and the Submission and Opening of Bids at COBAC Conference Room, G/F, Bldg. 6, DOH, San Lazaro Cmpd., Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila on the schedule given below: Activity (Date & Time) Pre-bidding Submission and Conference Opening of Bids

IB No.

Name of Contract

IB No. 2018187 IB No. 2018188

Procurement of Brand New Ambulance Type I Procurement of Brand New Mobile Dental Vehicle

22 March 2018; 10:00 A.M.

03 APRIL 2018; 9:00 A.M.

Bid must be duly received by the BAC Secretariat at the address below on or before the date given above. All Bids must be accompanied by a bid security in any of the acceptable forms and in the amount stated below: Form of Bid Security

Amount of Bid Security (Not less than the required percentage of the ABC)

(a) Cash or cashier’s/manager’s check issued by a Universal or Commercial Bank. (b) Bank draft/guarantee or irrevocable letter of credit issued by a Universal or Commercial Bank: Provided, however, that it shall be confirmed or authenticated by a Universal or Commercial Bank, if issued by a foreign bank. (c) Surety bond callable upon demand issued by a surety or insurance company duly certified by the Insurance Commission as authorized to issue such security. (d) Bid Securing Declaration

Two percent (2%)

Five percent (5%) No percentage required

Bid opening shall be at COBAC Conference Room, G/F, Bldg. 6, DOH, San Lazaro Cmpd., Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila. Bids will be opened in the presence of the Bidders’ representatives who choose to attend at the address above. Late bids shall not be accepted. 7.

The DOH reserves the right to reject any and all Bids, declare a failure of bidding, or not award the contract at any time prior to contract award in accordance with Section 41 of RA 9184 and its IRR, without thereby incurring any liability to the affected bidder or bidders.


For further information, please refer to: COBAC-D Secretariat Building 6 Department of Health San Lazaro Compound, Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, Manila Tel. Nos. 651-7800 local 1625 to 1627; 1650 to 52 Facsimile No.: 711-6061/740-6830

TERESITA J. HERBOSA Chairperson (MS-MAR. 15, 2018)

Name of Contract Procurement of Brand New Ambulance Type I

Bidding is restricted to Filipino citizens/sole proprietorships, partnerships, or organizations with at least sixty percent (60%) interest or outstanding capital stock belonging to citizens of the Philippines, and to citizens or organizations of a country the laws or regulations of which grant similar rights or privileges to Filipino citizens, pursuant to RA 5183.

In line with the requirement of Rule 26.3 of the 2015 Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Securities Regulation Code and in accordance with the New Modularized Certification Examination per SEC Resolution No. 733, Series of 2016, which now includes module for proprietary/non– proprietary securities, please be advised that the Commission resolved to adopt below policy guidelines for the transitory implementation of SEC Certification Requirement for salesmen of Brokers/Issuers of Proprietary/ Non–Proprietary Shares: 1.

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia―The Malaysian police’s investigation into the murder of the North Korean leader’s estranged half brother was “shoddy” and could lead to an unfair trial, a court heard Wednesday. Defense lawyer Gooi Soon Seng, on the 32nd day of the trial of the suspects in the Cold War-style killing of Kim Jong Nam, sought to discredit the manner in which the police conducted their probe. Kim, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was poisoned at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport in February last year while he was about to take a flight to Macau. Two young women―Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong―are on trial for allegedly smearing the banned nerve agent VX on the face of Kim, who died in agony minutes later. Kim had been living in exile since a family fallout. Defense lawyers have argued that the women were recruited to take part in what they thought were prank TV shows but were instead tricked into becoming inadvertent assassins, in an elaborate plot by a group of North Korean agents. Gooi, questioning the case’s chief police investigating officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz, said police failed to investigate certain evidence and denied him access to his client Aisyah during her initial 14-day detention. The defense lawyer said that during Wednesday’s hearing, police showed the court only bits and pieces of closed-circuit television footage of the murder, which did not paint an accurate picture of what happened. AFP

Republic of the Philippines Department of Health CENTRAL OFFICE BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE

(MS-MAR. 1,9 & 15, 2018)

SEC MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. __4___ Series of 2018 TO

Police slammed over murder probe

(SGD) HERMINIGILDO V. VALLE, MD, MPA Undersecretary of Health Chairperson, COBAC-D (MS-MAR. 15, 2018)



Jimbo Owen Gulle, Editor


LoCAL govERnMEnt unitS

thursday, march 15, 2018

Dutch envoy promises aid to flood-prone CL provinces By Romeo Dizon


Municipal officials of Tolosa, Leyte, led by Vice Mayor Rodolfo Legaspi (third from left) called on Leyte 1st District Rep. Yedda K. Romualdez (fifth from right) at the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The councilors, who are headed to Subic to attend the Philippine Councilors’ League National Convention, are (from left) Rexnor Verecio, Godofredo Cinco, Consuelo Lumbe, Pilar Bueno, Menardo Mate, Elizabeth Eracho, Belen Tacoy, Virgilio Flores, and Jude Acidre of Tingog Sinirangan party-list. Ver Noveno

In BrIef Aguinaldo birthday a holiday in Cavite MALACAÑANG has declared Thursday, March 22 as a special non-working holiday in the province of Cavite in observance of the 149th birth anniversary of the country’s first president, General Emilio Aguinaldo. The proclamation was signed on March 9 by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea based on Proclamation No. 446 by authority of President Rodrigo Duterte. The non-working day declaration was posted at the Cavite provincial government website and 23 cities and towns government websites. Cavite Day or Aguinaldo Day is traditionally celebrated with families and friends in simple ceremonies at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Barangay Kaingen, Kawit. Emilo Aguinaldo y Famy was born March 22, 1869 in Kawit, Cavite, formerly called Cavite El Viejo.

‘May all women achieve dreams’ AS ShE marks her 48th birthday today, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte wishes for all women to achieve their dreams. “My birthday wish is that hopefully, women would be given all the opportunities to help them realize their dreams and aspirations,” she said. The vice mayor, who is running for the mayoralty in the 2019 elections, said it has always been her desire to see women succeed in life, especially the underprivileged. Championing women’s rights since being elected to public office in 2010, the only daughter of former mayor and house Speaker and incumbent District 4 Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr., renewed her pledge to further work hard to uplift the lives of every woman in the city, regardless of her social status. Rio N. Araja

RP Energy CSR initiatives lauded CASTILLEJOS, Zambales―Officials of Barangay Balaybay here granted Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. a certificate of appreciation for its continuous support and assistance in the environmental and health programs of the village. RP Energy Corporate Social Responsibility Officer Jason Gavina accepted the recognition given by the barangay, led by Chairman Arturo Manzano, in their council session this week. “RP Energy has shown its unrelenting support in a lot of our projects and we are very grateful for that. We hope they never get tired of helping our barangay,” said Manzano. Butch Gunio

ARMM okays P290-m banana farm expansion By Nash B. Maulana


OTABATO CITY―The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has approved 50 more hectares of corporate banana farms’ expansion worth P290 million in Maguindanao, the Regional Board of Investments said Wednesday. Lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI chairman and managing executive, said the board approved the capital investment on Cavendish banana by an all-Filipino firm owned and managed by the Ekasalam AgriVentures in Kauran, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. The company has established potential access to the international market, particularly Bahrain and other Middle East countries. Mastura said the project reaffirms

that Maguindanao Province remains the top investment hub of the ARMM in terms of agriculture. “Last year, the agency registered nonagriculture projects. But this time, the ARMM is back to agricultural investments, as indicated by the applications submitted to RBOI. Most of the investments now in the pipeline are agriculture based,” he said. As part of ARMM fiscal incentives on long-term land investments, the re-

gional government also granted income tax holidays to Ekasalam AgriVentures for six years, in addition to other incentives provided by the government upon the start of its commercial operations. The company will initially develop a 50-hectare Cavendish banana plantation and will later expand to a total of 250 hectares. The initial operation is expected to generate 265 jobs for local residents. In a statement, ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv hataman described the Ekasalam project as a “breakthrough” in that most investors in the ARMM are not from the region. “But now we have pure locals who are bold enough to establish a multimillion project,” hataman said.

Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra, Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairman Eduardo del Rosario, and other local and regional officials joined representatives of SM Foundation in the second KSK training program in Lanao del Norte, which benefited 156 participants (inset).

2nd farmers’ training program in Lanao launched FOLLOWING the successful Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program conducted in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte, SM Foundation recently kicked off its second training program in Lanao, this time in Marawi City. An orientation program for 156 participants was conducted in Barangay Dulay Proper, Marawi, led by SM Foundation AVP for Livelihood Programs Cristie Angeles and harbest Agribusiness Corp.’s Arsenio Barcelona. The participants belong to KSK Batch 165 and are internally displaced per-

sons of the war-torn Islamic city. Guests at the program orientation were Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra; Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, Chairman of Task Force Bangon Marawi; Brgy. Captain Minsoari Ala; Nelia Soriano, livelihood chief of NhA; Noraidah Busran, SLP Regional Project Coordinator DSWD 12; and Director Raynilo Aniñon of the Office of Civil Defense. Task Force Bangon Marawi is a government inter-agency task force group organized to facilitate the rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction ef-

NVSU receives funds for free college tuition By Ben Moses Ebreo BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya―The national government has allotted P48 billion for state universities and colleges like the Nueva Vizcaya State University to carry out the free tuition fee law for students who will be taking up various college courses this year. Ramir hongo, NVSU’s focal person on Free Education Law, said P8 billion will be spent for the 2017 Free Tuition law funded under the 2017 General Appropriations Act, while the P40 billion will be used to roll out the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act or Republic Act 10931. “We have just received the initial fund for the 2017 free tuition law and we are still waiting for the remaining fund for this law,” hongo said. he said the 2017 Free Tuition Act will be imple-

mented from June 2017 to March 2018 and August 2017 to May 2018 only, which covers free tuition among Filipino undergraduates. This is based on the admission and retention policies of the university, availability of funds, prioritization for poor students and those with permanent Student Financial Assistance Program P15,000 and below which will be provided by SUCs. The UAQTEA, composed of the Free higher Education, Free Technical and Vocational Education Training, Tertiary Education Subsidy, and Student Loans Program, will be implemented from January 2018 to 2019 onwards. The FhE provides free tuition for all courses, subjects, and classes, including free miscellaneous and other school fees for undergraduates, which will be provided by SUCs and local universities and colleges recognized by the Commission on higher Education.

forts in the city. The positive impact of the first farmers’ training program in Lanao del Norte inspired the Marawi government to replicate the program in the city. About 221 evacuees completed the previous Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program in Barangay Nangka, Balo-i, Lanao del Norte. The training afforded the IDPs an alternative source of livelihood and source of food. Lanao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo likewise endorsed the program.

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga―The Netherlands, a country famous for its system of dikes and serious approach to flooding, has committed financial and technical assistance to solve the perennial problem of residents living along the coastal towns of Pampanga and Bulacan. Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx reiterated the P75 million in aid and technical assistance during her recent visit to Malolos City, which local leaders and residents of Bulacan’s towns along the northern coast of Manila Bay attended. The visit of the Dutch ambassador was also in connection with the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Plan with the Netherlands supporting the flooding issues of both Pampanga and Bulacan. Under the plan, the 190-kilometer northern stretch of Manila Bay will be developed from Manila up to Bataan. The Philippine government will provide P250 million in counterpart funds. Angel Cruz of the Alyansa ng mga Baybaying Bayan ng Bulacan at Pampanga said that with the help of the Dutch government, the province’s flooding problem will finally end. Cruz, who attended the meeting with Derckx, suggested five measures to stop the areas’ annual flooding woes. These include the elevation of the two kilometers road in Barangay San Gabriel in the town of Macabebe in Pampanga; the construction of more dikes in Barangay Consuelo, which form part of the Pampanga Delta dikes, also in Macabebe; the construction of revetments or retaining walls along Islang Pugad in hagonoy, Bulacan; and the dredging of the Rio Grande de Pampanga. According to Cruz, these projects were partially executed by the government and should be finished this year to prevent more f looding, specially during rainy season and high tide. Floods in Central Luzon have caused billions in damages to both public and private properties, excluding human casualties, Cruz noted.

RMN, STM set Broadcast Journo course RADIO Mindanao Networks, Inc., the largest radio network in the Philippines, has partnered with the Saint Mutien College in Pampanga and the Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation to offer an apprenticeship-based Broadcast Journalism course through the Asian Finishing School of STM. Anchored on the idea that actual work, beyond on-the-job training or practicum, is the best preparation for a job in Broadcast Journalism, students at the AFS will be exposed to all disciplines that may be found in a radio, TV, satellite, online, or cable broadcast network. These include research, music programming, administration, field reporting, news desk, anchoring, marketing and sales, production, and other assignments. As a blended program, the course includes both live and media-based instruction and interaction. It will cover a review of relevant theoretical and historical knowledge and information, a briefing on relevant industry jobs and responsibilities, mentoring and tutoring by industry professionals, individual and group training, instruction and discussion.


Officials of Barangay Balaybay in Castillejos, Zambales headed by barangay chairman Arturo Manzano (fourth from left) award a Certificate of Appreciation to Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc., represented by Corporate Social Responsibility officer Jason Gavina (third from left) for the power firm’s continuous support to the environment and health projects of the village (See story on ‘In Brief’). Butch Gunio

Landers Superstore opens its fourth branch in Alabang West


Bernadette Lunas, Issue Editor @manilastandardlife @mstandardLIFE


thursday, march 15, 2018


A ‘super’ shopping destination opens in Alabang West By Bernadette Lunas

Shoppers at Landers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to imported products and hard to find labels


he retail gods must be favoring the residents in upscale villages and other communities in the southern part of Metro Manila, especially those in the Alabang West area as the burgeoning membership shopping superstore, Landers, has opened its fourth branch in Las Piñas City.

Prior to the official opening of Landers Superstore’s doors to the public on March 14, an official said they have already received an “overwhelming” number of membership applications, no wonder given the huge number of families living and individuals working within the range. “What’s really nice about this area is it’s surrounded by a lot of villages, like Ayala Alabang, Southvale, Portofino heights, and others,” enthused Landers Superstore marketing director Pinky Angodung. Angodung is optimistic that Landers will serve as the community supermarket in Alabang West, not only because of its prime and strategic location, “it’s along the way many residential areas,” she said, but also because the superstore offers premium products, mostly top-notch imported goods, that can’t be easily found at your regular supermarket. Targeting the premium market, those who travel across the globe frequently, majority or 70 percent of Landers’ shelves are filled with imported brands. “What we wanted to achieve here is that those looking for items they see abroad, they might be able to find here,” says Angodung. Landers Superstore offers Siviero Maria gelato, Badia spices, huer candies, and Café de Lucca wafers, among other hard to find labels. It also has a huge selection of imported wines, beers, cheeses, and deli meats.

Huge dollhouses and other toys for children

Meat and dairy products are aplenty

Aside from the aforementioned goods, the superstore also offers fresh produce, seafood, meats and poultry products, baked goods, pantry items, toiletries, home items (such as bed sheets, plastic organizers, pillows, and carpets), furniture pieces, outdoor essentials (barbecue grills and benches), indoor plants and succulents, tools, appliances, children’s toys, luggage and other travel essentials, and sports and fitness equipment—all in the vast, 8,000-square meter shopping space. Products come in bulk packs, individual packs, huge sizes, and travel sizes. According to Angodung, imported items in store are curated by their Buying Team that flies abroad and attends different fairs “to be able to bring good brands here in the country”—brands that would work in the Philippine market. As a restaurateur and food enthusiast, erwan heussaff, who also happens to be one of Landers ambassadors, appreciates the wide variety of imported products available at the superstore. “I feel like the selection here is probably the best we have. I hate feeling like you’re trying the same things over and over again, so it’s good to try other products that you don’t really try,” heussaff told Manila Standard. Meanwhile, 30 percent of Landers’ shelves are filled with popular and high-quality local brands. Landers made sure to make space for Carmen’s Best ice creams, local organic brands, export-quality goods, and products familiar to Filipinos. In a bid to make Landers a “lifestyle destination,” it also houses dining outlets, like the Doppio café, Dough & Co. bakery, and Landers Central diner, as well as Federal Barbers barbershop. Shoppers tired from hours of pushing carts or those companions who would much rather wait outside can grab a cup of Italian coffee, fresh pastries, New York-style pizzas, hotdogs, and burgers, or indulge in a quick grooming and pampering session. The Alabang West branch of Landers is also generous to provide huge parking space for members bringing their cars. In addition, it also has a Caltex gas station that offers fuel discounts of P2 off per liter for gasoline and P1.50 off per liter for diesel to all its members. To become a member, just head straight to its membership booth or apply online at When you avail of its membership promo of 50 percent off until April 30, you will get the premium membership card for only P400, valid for one year. Landers Superstore Alabang West is located at Daang hari Road, Almanza Dos, Las Piñas City. Its other branches are located in Balintawak, Quezon City; in Paco, Manila; and in Cebu. A fifth branch is soon to open at Megaworld’s ArcoVia City along C5 in Pasig City. Go to for more information.

Bixby takes care of your fridge You can now talk to your fridge and ask for news and weather updates, as Samsung introduces its next generation of Family hub refrigerator with more and smarter features. The 2018 Family hub keeps family more connected and organized with Bixby voice command, which can recognize individual voices and provide personalized information based on preferences. Ask “hi Bixby, what’s new today?” and it will provide a read out of the news, weather, and calendar updates specifically tailored to the user. In addition, the smart fridge also features the SmartThings app that seamlessly connects the Family hub with Samsung and third party compatible connected devices. Aside from seeing what’s inside their fridge from the grocery store or leaving a note on the White Board to remind the kids to clean their rooms after school, users can

now do countless other things without ever leaving the kitchen, including seeing who is at the front door when the doorbell rings. Take food management to a more personalized level with Meal Planner which provides recipes for the family based on food preferences, dietary restrictions, and food expirations dates. You can also easily see inside the fridge from anywhere with the View Inside App, and add items to the Shopping List or put tags for reminders and expiration dates. Who says you can’t have fun while in the kitchen when the Family hub lets you access millions of songs through live radio apps, mirror your Samsung Smart TV, and stream content from your smartphones. The latest model of Samsung Family hub refrigerator will be first rolled out in Australia and New Zealand.

Caltex offers up to P10 fuel discount LANDeRS members get more discounts for their fuel purchases during the Caltex Crazy Fuel Sale promo, ongoing until March 16. Caltex stations at all Landers Superstores offer P10 off per liter of Caltex Platinum and Silver, and P6 off per liter of Caltex diesel. Caltex offers huge fuel discounts to Landers Superstore members

Samsung 2018 Family Hub Refrigerator



thursday, march 15, 2018


11 Muji items with reduced prices I

N AN effort to uphold its philosophy of offering high-quality products that are reasonably priced, Japanese retail store Muji slashed prices of many of its household and consumer goods. here are 11 items you can now buy for cheaper at Muji.

Fitting Neck Cushion

Made with the same particle beads used in the Beads Sofa, the Neck Cushion can be wrapped around the neck or used against the lower back to help you relax anytime, anywhere. It is also available with a hood that can be used to shield your eyes from light as you try to relax and sleep. Neck Cushion – Now at P1,750 (from P2,150) Neck Cushion with Hood – Now at P2,150 (from P2,950)

Oak Bed Frame

This simple bed frame is made from solid oak wood which gives its natural light color. Its classic design also comes with practical features that help make sleep more comfortable, one of which is the curved wood spring that acts as a double cushion when combined with a mattress. It also disassembles easily for more convenience when moving from one space to another. Now at P17,000 (from P23,500)

Polypropylene Storage Boxes

Hard Carry Case Trolley

This Muji trolley, which comes in five sizes, features a handlebar that can be adjusted by one centimeter to suit various heights or situations. It has double-sided wheels that roll quietly and smoothly, which can also be locked in a push of a button. 19 L – Now at P7,950 (from P8,950) 35 L – Now at P8,950 (from P9,950) 62 L - Now at P11,500 (from P13,500) 87 L - Now at P14,500 (from P16,500) 104 L (New) – Available at P16,500

These cases are translucent enough to show what’s inside without putting everything on display. Designed to fit together, you can combine Aroma Diffuser cases in deep, large, and small sizes to create neatThe ultrasonic function of this diffuser gener- ly organized storage units. ates vibration that helps scent spread and permeate W34 x D44.5 x H25 cm – Now at P995 from the air. A few drops of essential oil is enough to (P1,250) instantly fill a room with relaxing scents that last W34 x D44.5 x H30 cm – Now at P1,250 from up to three hours. (P1,650) Now at P3,950 (from P5,450)

Legless Chair

This chair, which can be used on the floor or on the bed, features a six-stage reclining function that Beads Sofa you can adjust based on your preference. It can easMade of fine beads, this sofa provides maximum ily be carried around the house for different uses. comfort and gives support from waist to neck. Small – Now at P2,950 (from P3,450) Now at P7,950 (from P9,250) Large – Now at P3,450 (from P4,450)

Organic Cotton Good Fit Right Angle Sneaker-in Socks

Made from Organic Cotton that feels soft against the skin, these socks are precisely knit at a 90-degree angle to fit the contour of the heel. This enables you to walk freely without the socks slipping out of position. Now at P195 (from P245)

Planting Tree Paper Notebook – Set of Five

Whether using a ballpoint pen or highlighter, your handwriting won’t bleed through the pages of this notebook as it is made of quality paper. The notebooks feature a colored binding to make notebook categorizing easy. Now at P225 (from P375)

Retractable Gel Ink Pen

This pen features an ink mechanism that provides smooth writing and prevents ink from leaking. This cleansing oil is made without artificial fraNow at P65 (from P85) grances, artificial colors, or artificial mineral oils. It is mostly made of olive oil making it gentle on Muji stores are located at C1 Bonifacio High the skin. Street Central, Greenbelt 3, Power Plant Mall, Now at P265 (from P345) and Shangri-La Plaza East Wing.

Sensitive Skincare Cleansing Oil

The truth of about head lice home remedies SuMMer is the time when children spend more hours playing with other kids, enjoying their vacation. This is also the time parents should be extra cautious of their child getting infected with head lice given that they reproduce rapidly during this season. ever since head lice existed, there have been several “remedies” on how to eliminate these tiny blood-sucking parasites, which, despite being passed on from one parent to another, are not at all proven effective.

Makati Medical Center is holding a series of fourm on parenting

your great grandmother, in treating head lice. however, experts warn against using this method, as fumes dissipated by kerosene can easily ignite even the smallest spark or flame which may likely burn your kid’s hair. Plus, the chemical can be too harmful to your child’s health.

Forum on parenthood Mayonnaise is not shampoo

Mayonnaise may be delicious until you spread it all over your kid’s hair. This method is told to be effective in suffocating head lice, which in the end, eradicates them. But the truth is, head lice can survive up to six hours in suffocation, which means you have to leave the mayo spread on your kid’s hair for a long time. Thus, solving your kid’s head lice infestation using mayonnaise can be counterproductive as nits can grow after a few days and head lice infestation can reoccur.

Kerosene is unsafe

Probably the most horrendous solution to kill head lice is to soak your child’s hair with kerosene. This home remedy is one of the oldest, perhaps used by

Nit comb is not effective

each household has had at least one of those fine-toothed nit comb. It can actually be helpful in getting rid of adult head lice but not lice eggs. An adult lice produces up to 100 eggs, which means using a nit comb to eradicate lice can be endless. hundreds of these nits can turn into adults in a matter of days and will cause your kid the same inconvenience, not to mention the sting that this comb brings to their scalp. head lice infestation has become ordinary among Filipino households thus urging parents to address it using alternatives. But this can actually be treated in a proper way such as consulting a doctor or, the more affordable way, using a head lice treatment shampoo such as Licealiz. Licealiz head Lice Treatment Shampoo effectively kills lice and nits after two weeks of use and prevents lice infestations from recurring. Its active ingredient, pyrethrin, a natural extract from chrysanthemum flowers, is clinically tested and is proven safe and successful in killing lice and nits. To know more about head lice prevention and treatment this summer, visit

PAreNThOOD can feel overwhelming and nerve-wracking especially for first time moms and dads. But experts come to the rescue at Makati Medical Center’s series of free forums for parents and parents-to-be. The Pregnancy & Beyond forum, which will be held starting March 24 and continue on every third Sunday of the month from April to November at MakatiMed’s Tower 2 Auditorium, will tackle insightful topics on caring for your baby and yourself—as a parent. The forum will tackle “Preparing for the Big Day,” “10 Ways to be the Perfect Birthing Partner,” and “relaxation Techniques (Water birth, Lamaze, Sayuntis)” on March 24. This will be followed by discussions about “Setting expectations: A Guide to eINC (essential Intrapartum and Newborn Care),” “Newborn Baby Care,” and “Breastfeeding FAQs” on April 21. On May 19, join the forums on “Postpartum Blues,” “Immunization,” and

“Breastfeeding Difficulties.” While the June 16 session will feature “Spotting red Flags: Developmental Delays,” “Baby Sign Language,” and “First Aid for Babies.” The second leg of the forums, featuring the same sequence of topics, will begin on July 21 and will run until Nov. 17. Pregnancy & Beyond sessions welcome an average of more than a hundred attendees where all moms, dads, and their companions listen to lectures provided by experts. Attendees are also treated to special giveaways, product discounts, and raffle prizes. The series of talks is free and open to the public. The series began in 2009; it is copresented by MakatiMed’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Pediatrics. For more information or further inquiries, contact (02) 8888 999 locals 3757 or 3784, email ph, or visit





kicks off in Greece

FTER adding Canada’s Shaira Garrido to the stellar list of undiscovered but high potential winners, and a milestone collaboration with Global Tawag ng Tanghalan of It’s Showtime in 2017, ABS-CBN’s radio arm DZMM and international arm, The Filipino Channel (TFC), are on the lookout once again for this year’s next “Global Pinoy Singing Idol.”

Actor Gerald Anderson and singer Morrisette will join the finalists of ‘Global Pinoy Singing Idol’ in Athens, Greece on March 24.

Simply Red... From C4

Here is the list of Star Magic talents people should watch out for: Donny Pangilinan, 20, comes from the known Pangilinan clan in showbiz. He is the eldest son of actor Maricel Laxa and motivational speaker Anthony Pangilinan. Though he has fans on social media, things took a different turn after his appearance in Magandang Buhay in 2016 with his mother. That led to other guest appearances and other opportunities including endorsements and an offer to become a MYX VJ. Aside from hosting, Donny also dabbled into singing, which yielded two singles “Did You” and “Different kind of Love.” He is keen on unveiling his acting chops, which will happen very soon in Walwal along with co-Star Magic artists Jerome Ponce and Elmo Magalona, and in the soap Playhouse opposite Kisses Delavin. Zonia Mejia, 16, broke into mainstream consciousness as a former Pinoy Big Brother 737’s “Blossoming Beauty ng Quezon City” in 2015. Since coming out of the famous yellow house, Zonia has been in a number of shows, like the youth-oriented show LuvU and the afternoon soap The Promise of Forever. Aside from acting, Zonia also dreams of dabbling into dancing in the future. But if given the chance, she would like to portray the role of a mermaid, since swimming is her cup of tea. Yasmyne Suarez, 20, joins the industry with the necessary tools at hand. She started training in Star Magic workshops as early as 2013. In order to pursue her passion further, she then decided to study theater at New York University for two years. Upon her return, she made sure to put what she learned to practice by attending further Star Magic’s acting workshops. She was finally able to put to good use what she in Spirit of the Glass 2. Henz Villaraiz, 18, tried his luck in Pinoy Boyband Superstar last year. He made it to the live shows and his weeks of performances and trainings in the show landed him a spot on the competition’s Top 10. Mr. M asked him to sign a management contract with Star Magic. Born in Manila, Henz pursued his education in Australia but he then

Donny Pangilinan

Zonia Mejia

Yasmyne Suarez

Henz Villaraiz

CROSSWORD PUZZLE Thursday, March 15, 2018

ACROSS 1 Shuts with force 6 Boat runway 10 “Misery” costar 14 New 15 Great Lakes state 16 Give the eye 17 Clean a slate 18 Sky-high 19 Appraise 20 Biscotto flavoring 21 Constrained 23 Come through 25 Crunchy stalk 26 Want-ad letters 27 New drivers, mostly 29 Gym pads 32 Take long steps 34 Contend 37 Sends forth 39 Constantly, to Poe 40 Pizza order 42 Caustic substance 43 Let out line 46 Norwegian name 47 Ounce fractions 48 Historian’s word 50 More beloved 53 Dish cleaners 57 Wrong

60 Insect stage 61 Fast-talk 62 Dog chow brand 63 Not very sturdy 64 Mongrels 65 Movie mogul 66 Royal decree 67 — qua non 68 Leisure 69 Airheads DOWN 1 Links standout Sam — 2 Ben on “Bonanza” 3 Be of benefit 4 Sloppiest 5 Shirt part 6 Machine part 7 Moby Dick pursuer 8 Pepper grinder 9 Kept order 10 Reef formers 11 Playing marble 12 Shorten, maybe 13 Without means of subsistence 22 Trait carriers 24 Aurora, to Plato 27 Nesting places 28 Blarney Stone locale 29 Gibson or Brooks 30 Singer — Grant

31 Tenth inning cause 33 Semester 34 Caesar’s man 35 Here, for monsieur 36 Cartoon mice — and Meek 38 More confident 41 “Titanic” name 44 Tell a story 45 Circuit 47 Doze 49 Did 18 holes 50 Deejay’s

platters 51 Worldweariness 52 Chipmunk snack 53 Keep 54 Round Table quest 55 Remove a renter 56 Adds seasoning 58 Famed lioness 59 Audit aces

anew as they set out for the finals in Europe in historical Greece. From last year’s GPSI, two regional finalists from Austria set out to compete at the grand finals in Manila—Bernardite Steiger and Louis Denciv Auman of Austria—where Steiger emerged as second place winner. This year, Kirsten Mae Arada, Maria Manzano, Rissa Martinez–Pasion, Faith Andrea, Anthony Carbonel, Charo Francisco, Kleniki Perikleous, Eunice Manigbas, Katherina Palo and Cleopatra de Guzman will vie for the finals round on March 24 at the Gazi Music Hall in Athens. Providing inspiration are rising diva Morissette and actor Gerald Anderson plus host, DZMM anchor Ahwel Paz. Tickets are at €15 for VIP (with photo opportunity with celebrity guests) and €10 for General Admission. Barkada Bundle promos are also available (buy five tickets and get In line with its mission to continuously provide the global two for free). platform for the Filipino talent, ABS-CBN through DZMM For more information, visit and The Filipino Channel (TFC) will try to create history events/europe/dzmm-global-pinoy-singing-idol.

moved to Japan where his mother is now based. But his mother’s desire to teach him independence led him back into the country and into Star Magic. At the moment, Henz is part of the daytime soap Sana Dalawa ang Puso and he’s also working on his first independent film for Cinemalaya Film Festival. Daniela Stranner, 15, is a FilipinoGerman and one of the youngest members of this batch. She is from Pampanga. Discovered in a music festival, Daniela, with her Caucasian features wants to be a model. But fate seems to have other plans for this young football varsity player after a VTR session, which eventually led to her going faceto-face with Mr. M who told her to attend acting workshops. She caught the attention of magazine editors who got her to do some photo shoots. Patty Mendoza, 20, may resemble many other stars in the business today, but she is sure to be a persona of her own. Patty was discovered modeling at University of Santo Tomas, where she finished college. That lucky day eventually led to her taking part in a go-see with Mr. M. Prior to being discovered, though, she had appeared in television commercials. Now that she’s launched, Patty hopes to be able to put all that she has learned from the acting workshops into the test by being in a film t with her idols Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz. Leila Alcasid, 20, is the daughter of Ogie Alcasid former Miss Australia Michelle Van Eimeren. She got endeared her to the business when she met with Star Magic’s Mr. M who coaxed her to attend acting workshops. Aside from acting, Leila also excels in singing. In fact, she recentlyreleased her first single “Completely In Love With You.” Leila hopes to be able to star in a film with her dad. Anna Luna, 22, has already made waves on the indie film scene who started acting when she was 15 years old in PETA. Among her most notable projects were Paglipay by Zig Dulay and Maestra by Lemuel Lorca that earned her a Best Actress award at Five Continents International Film Festival in Venezuela. She was also in Star Cinema’s The Breakup Playlist, How to be Yours, and Dear Other Self. Her most notable work of late was the award-winning Changing Partners, which also paved the way for her to

catch Mr. M’s attention. Chantal Videla, 15, is a fivefoot-five Fil-Argentinian and was a commercial model since when she 13-years-old. Unlike many teens her age, she wasn’t intimidated with the thought of auditioning for Star Magic, Chantal welcomed the challenge and it did pay off. Chantal hopes to follow in the footsteps of her idol Liza Soberano and as well as the chance to work with her in the future either in rom-com or light drama films or soap operas. Karl Gabriel, 20, was inspired by his desire to help his family and his interest in acting. A mechanical engineering student, he signed up with Star Magic’s public acting workshop almost two years ago. Not too long, Karl auditioned for Pinoy Boyband Superstar, but unlike the others, he unfortunately didn’t make it to the live shows because, as he recalls, he got too emotional during the taping. But his stint wasn’t all for naught as he landed a role in Wansapanataym as a bully to Marco Gallo. Markus Paterson, 19, could very well consider it as a twist in a plot when he, a Fil-British, finally caught the eyes of Mr. M after enduring four, unsuccessful go-sees with him. A football athlete and a music-lover at the same time, Markus became part of ASAP “Chill Out.“ With his hunger to unveil his musical side still burning inside him, Markus tried his luck in the reality singing competition Pinoy Boyband Superstar. Unfortunately though, he didn’t make the cut but the show did open doors for him in the business. Charlie Dizon, 21, may have taken quite some time for her to eventually get into Star Magic, but she is convinced that the wait is all worth it. Safe to say that Charlie is really passionate about acting after juggling attending acting workshops and finishing her degree in Human Resource Management for almost two years. Her hard work eventually paid off as Charlie was cast in films, like Finally Found Someone, Loving in Tandem, and Seven Sundays that was her biggest break. Her last big screen role left an indelible mark in her psyche that Charlie hopes to be able to focus in doing comedy roles in the years to come. One of Charlie’s biggest blessings in her budding career to date is her role in the newest fantasy soap Bagani.

Chantal Videla

Karl Gabriel,

Markus Paterson

Charlie Dizon

Nickie Wang, Issue Editor




now with Star Magic ISAH V. RED

NOT really a new face on TV, Tony Labrusca, 22, is a product of the search Pinoy Boyband Superstar. Though he failed to make it to the top five, his physique and handsome countenance, not to mention his singing talent, had many people noticing him, including talent managers who immediately signed him. August-born Labrusca (Aug. 7) had also been in the primetime drama La Luna Sangre as the lobo named Jake. Actually, he could very well be the poster boy of moving on what with his viral TV commercials for a local fast food giant. Despite his venture into acting, performing onstage has always been in Tony’s blood as the son of actor-dancer Boom Labrusca and former Kulay singer Angel Jones. He has especially showcased his singing skills in various guest appearances in ASAP and through his debut single “Tanging Ikaw,” released last year. With La Luna Sangre over, Tony is looking forward to working with

Rising TV heartthrob Tony Labrusca

veterans like Eddie Garcia in the future and to continue inspiring other showbiz hopefuls all over the country. And Star Magic will definitely make that happen. Labrusca joins the other newly signed Star Magic talents, collectively known as 2018 Star Magic Circle. They are 13 newest faces (including Labrusca) that will turn heads and lead projects in the coming years. Continued on C3

The lead cast of 'Ika-6 Na Utos' (from left, Gabby Concepcion, Sunshine Dizon and Ryza Cenon.

NEW BREED OF STARS. ABS-CBN's talent management, Star Magic, has

introduced a new set of up-and-coming young stars collectively knows as 2018 Star Magic Circle.

Ingenious script, impeccable acting make ‘Changing Partners’ a must-watch film CHANGING Partners, the mostawarded film at the 2017 Cinema One Originals Awards is now showing in theaters across the U.S. and Canada. The film is based on the Palanca Award-winning musical play by Vincent De Jesus. The stage-toscreen opus, starring Agot Isidro, Jojit Lorenzo, Sandino Martin, and Anna Luna, won several of the major awards, including Best Director for Dan Villegas, Best Actress for Isidro, Best Actor for Lorenzo, and Best Ensemble Acting for Isidro, Lorenzo and co-actors Martin and Luna, among other awards. At the recent Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards for Movies, Changing Partners received the Indie Movie of the Year Award, Indie Movie Director of the Year (Villegas), Indie Movie Musical Scorer for the Year (De Jesus), Indie Movie Editor of the Year (Marya Ignacio), and Indie Movie Screenwriter of the Year (Lilit Reyes and De Jesus). Changing Partners begins with Alex and Cris as a live-in couple. They are clearly in love with each other and choose to ignore what people say about their relationship, despite their 15-year age gap. However, six years into the relationship, their differences become more evident and we see the relationship painfully falling apart because of issues that have festered through the years. The love story, shown through

the perspective of different genders, paints a true picture of how real-life relationships are. Parallel lives and loves prove through music and dialogue that love knows no gender when it pains or soothes, when it hurts or heals. Hollywood film critic Manny the Movie Guy applauds how the film can depict the stories of four couples in a fair manner. Manny shares how “You’ll see four couples with the same story and the gender reversals explode into a searing examination of relationships. Each of the four variations is treated with equal attention by scriptwriters De Jesus and Lilit Reyes. The gay couple morphs into the straight couple, then to the lesbian partners. Back and forth the film goes, yet the narrative does not lose momentum, and the transition is seamless.” Manny further adds that he loves “the film’s willingness to defy cinematic expectations. The technical qualities are topnotch, with a story that’s not necessarily new, but made fresh by its own innovation. The final act will hit you like a shot through the heart.” Changing Partners is currently screening in theaters across the U.S. and Canada. Go to changingpartners/ or to for more information.

'Changing Partners' is an award-winning film that debuted in Cinema One Originals, an independent film festival held annually in the month of November.

Trending, top-rating

‘IKA-6 NA UTOS’ airs finale

BEST MEME. Perhaps one of the most memorable scenes on daytime TV, this confrontation between Sunshine Dizon and Ryza Cenon has hit the World Wide Web like a wildfire generating an avalanche of memes and parodies.


FTER more than a year of keeping viewers on the edge of their seats, daytime drama Ika-6 Na Utos finally concludes with a must-see finale on March 17 on GMA’s top-rating Afternoon Prime block.

The phenomenal series, under the helm of director Laurice Guillen, has been the talk of the town not only for its viral confrontation scenes which took its audience on a roller coaster of emotions but also for its characters which have become part of the daily lives of the Filipino viewers. Headlined by Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion, viewers were glued to their TV screens as they followed the intertwined lives of Emma, Georgia and Rome. Now that the soap is down to its last episodes, they shared the valuable lessons they want the viewers to learn from the show. Portraying Emma is both a challenging and fulfilling role for Sunshine. Through the show and her character, the Kapuso actress hopes that married couples learn to remain faithful to

their vows and be loyal to their partners. “Walang mabuting naidudulot ang lokohin ang taong pinangakuan mong mamahalin at iingatan. Intentional or not, this can lead us to hurting the people around us especially if we have children. Like Emma, we should fight for what is ours and we should never back down no matter what challenge we may face in life,” she says. For Gabby, he has many good and memorable things to remember as well as lessons learned while playing the role of the philandering husband in the drama series. “I learned the value of honesty, to be humble and grounded. Lahat naman yan ay pinagdadaanan sa tunay na buhay. Nobody is perfect. I hope there is room for forgiveness, change, love and eventually blessings,” Gabby states. Ryza, in turn, shared her message to all the women who got addicted and sympathized with her character Georgia, “My ultimate message is for those who can relate to Georgia’s dilemma. We should love and respect ourselves bago magmahal ng iba kasi may tendency na makagawa ka ng masama dahil wala ka ng tinira sa sarili mo.” Is there a happy ending waiting for Rome and Emma? Will Georgia’s evil plans finally come to an end? Watch Ika-6 Na Utos to find out.

Manila Standard - 2018 March 15 - Thursday  

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

Manila Standard - 2018 March 15 - Thursday  

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