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PARIS―Paris was struck in its very heart on Monday as flames devoured the roof of Notre-Dame, the medieval cathedral made famous by Victor Hugo, its two massive towers flanked with gargoyles instantly recognizable even by people who have never visited the city. Thousands of Parisians poured into the streets to watch as the fire spread, overwhelmed by the catastrophic damage to a global heritage site visited by nearly 14 million tourists and Catholic faithful each year. The sense of loss was etched on onlookers’ faces, many wiping away tears as they contemplated the prospect that the Notre-Dame they knew might now only been seen in history books. “It’s our history, our literature, our imagination, the place where we experienced all our greatest moments,” an emotional French President Emmanuel Macron said after a visit to the scene, vowing: “We will rebuild Notre-Dame together.” (Also see story on Page B3) In Manila, Malacañang extended the Philippines’ message of solidarity to the French community after flames devastated the historic cathedral. In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Palace is “deeply saddened and bothered” that the blaze destroyed the spire and roof of the 850-year-old cathedral. Next page

VOL. XXXIII • NO. 66 • 3 SECTIONS 16 PAGES • P18 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2019 • •


The steeple of the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral (right) collapses as the structure is engulfed in flames, which danced in the Paris sky Tuesday for eight hours, likely the result of an accident, according to prosecutors. As investigators look into what started the fire, a drive to rebuild the Cathedral has gotten more than $300 million in donations—with a person walking in the rain (above) in front of the Cathedral in this file photo snapped on March 29, 2018. AFP

PH slams China ‘intrusion’ As groups ask for SC writ to protect WPS

US trust rating very good, China neutral—SWS

By Nat Mariano and Rey E. Requejo

HE reported mass extraction of giant clams by Chinese fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal is an affront to Philippine territory and sovereignty, Malacañang said Tuesday.


By Nat Mariano OF THE four countries tested for public trust, the United States maintained its “very good” net trust rating among Filipinos while China’s remained “neutral,” the latest Social Weather Stations’ survey revealed on Tuesday. SWS said the net trust rating stayed “very good” for the US at +60 in March 2019, which was similar to the previous +60 in December 2018. “The net trust in the US has been positive since SWS first surveyed it in December 1994, ranging from a moderate +18 in May 2005 to as high as an excellent +82 in December 2013. It has been at +60 and above in six out of seven surveys since June 2017,” the pollster said

In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Philippines views China’s recent harvesting of giant clams in the Philippineclaimed waters as a violation of the country’s sovereignty. “Of course, [it’s a violation] because if it’s our territory, therefore, it is an affront to our territory and sovereignty,” Panelo told Palace reporters. “As far as it is concerned,

Vetoed budget items illegal, Palace clarifies

Next page

Road crashes: 73/day in Metro

By Nat Mariano, Macon Ramos-Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz

By Joel E. Zurbano THE average number of road accidents in Metro Manila is 73 a day, and most of the time they happen between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are caused mainly by human error. Based on the 2018 Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System or MMRAS report, there were 116,906 vehicular accidents in the area last year and most of them happened in Quezon City, where 38,967 road crashes were recorded. The MMRAS is a program created by the Metro Manila Development Authority and is aimed at improving road manNext page agement in the metropolis.

it [China] owns the vast SCS. Hence, logically, it will be performing acts of ownership or sovereignty over those areas. In other words, they are just being consistent with themselves,” Panelo said. “We also have to be consistent with ours. As far as we’re concerned, that is ours; we will be objecting to any intrusion to our own territory,” he added. In an exclusive report, ABS-

FIFTH JOYFUL MYSTERY. This is all about the fire of love which Our Lord seeks to perfect in the human heart. Like many other things in Holy Scripture, the depths of the meaning of this incident in the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is not immediately obvious. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple stained glass window, manufactured in Germany by the Heinrich Oidtmann Company, is found inside the Minor Basilica of San Sebastian in Manila. Lino Santos

‘53 drivers, aides shabu users’ THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said 53 public transport workers tested positive for illegal drug use based on the results of the “Oplan: Huli Week,” which was aimed at making travel to the provinces during Holy Week safe for passengers. PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the results came from the drug test conducted on 7,729 transport workers, including bus drivers and conductors, in 89 major public transportation terminals nationwide. Next page

THE provisions in the 2019 national budget that were subject to a line veto by President Rodrigo Duterte were unconstitutional, the Palace said Tuesday. In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the P95.3 billion worth of public works items were “against certain statures.” “Those are the so-called insertions, riders, they are not part of the program by the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] hence [they violate] the Constitution,” Panelo told Palace reporters. “They’re in violation of the Constitution. Whether you call it pork, beef, meat, or fish, those provisions are violative of the basic charter,” he said. The Palace announced late Monday night that Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11260 or the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019, but vetoed some P95 billion worth of public works projects. Next page

CHR weighs in on ‘whitening’ ads By Rio N. Araja THE Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday told advertising agencies of whitening products that those with darker skin must not be treated with low regard. Next page

Plastics blanket mountains

PARIS—A secluded mountain region thought to be free of plastic pollution is in fact blanketed by airborne microplastics on a scale comparable to a major city such as Paris, alarmed researchers reported Monday. Next page


CBN News said Chinese nationals were mass harvesting giant clams in Scarborough Shoal. The report also mentioned the presence of 14 Chinese vessels in the area, freely accessing the Philippine-claimed territory and its resources. Next page

House solon pushes inquiry into blackouts By Maricel V. Cruz, Rio N. Araja and Macon Ramos-Araneta A LEFTIST lawmaker on Tuesday appealed to the House leadership to give priority to a measure he filed in 2017 to investigate the questionable simultaneous shutdowns of numerous power plants—a phenomenon that occurred again this month. HR 928, filed by Rep. Carlos Zarate in 2017, urged the House committee on energy to conduct an inquiry into the overall situation of power plants in the Luzon grid, considering the spate and overlapping power Next page




Ex-DFA chief: Scarborough deal holds By Rey E. Requejo


ORMER Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario insisted on the existence of an agreement between the Philippines and China, as brokered by the United States, on the simultaneous withdrawal of ships to resolve the impasse at Scarborough Shoal in 2012.

Del Rosario lamented that while the Philippines agreed to the US proposal to withdraw the former’s only one ship from Scarborough Shoal, the Chinese side did not comply.

Whole of nation plan for good governance, Duterte says PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved a national plan to integrate the efforts to deliver goods and services to the communities affected by conflict, Malacañang said Tuesday. Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte will assign Cabinet members to oversee the peace and development efforts in those areas. He said Duterte approved the “wholeof-nation plan” during the first meeting of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or NTFELCAC in Malacañang on Monday night. “PRRD today rallied all instrumentalities of government, the private sector and the entire Filipino nation to actively work together in a whole-of-the-nation movement to address violent conflicts as well as build a culture of peace and development throughout the country,” Panelo said. “The President approved a national plan that would integrate and harmonize the various efforts of the whole of government and of all sectors of society in delivering goods and services as well as in providing for peace and security especially in conflict-affected communities.” Panelo said Cabinet members and other government heads agreed that the “whole-of-nation movement” was not directed at defeating the communist insurgency, but rather to demonstrate genuine good governance for the betterment of the lives of the people. “To effectively manage the wholeof-nation movement, the President will assign each of his Cabinet members to oversee the peace and development efforts in all regions of the country,” Panelo said. “The designated Cabinet officer for the region will be supported by a unified, an integrated Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council. “By effectively managing barriers and challenges to peace and development, the whole-of-nation movement envisions to build resilient and robust communities that promote the welfare and the well-being of the Filipino people.” Under Executive Order 70, Duterte established the NTFELCAC “to provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the Wholeof-Nation Approach to aid in the realization of the collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.” NatM ariano

CHR... From A1

In a statement, CHR lawyer-spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said: “We recognize that these companies present an option to lighten one’s skin, but they may do so without perpetuating colorism, particularly discriminating against those with darker skin.””Instead, we hope that they use their respective platforms to encourage greater acceptance of our diversity and oneness as part of one humanity,” she added. While advertisements are tools of the trade for businesses to sell, De Guia said these businesses, including advertising agencies, “must operate within the bounds of ethical guidelines to ensure that earning profit does not come at the expense of other people’s rights, identities and dignity.” “As such, the CHR reminds businesses, as a secondary duty bearer, of their moral obligation to ensure respect and protection of the rights of all, given their capacity to influence how others would enjoy their rights and their ability to shape people’s worldview,” she said.

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Over a five-month period in 2017-2018, an average of 365 tiny bits of plastic settled every day on each square meter of an uninhabited, high-altitude area in the Pyrenees straddling France and Spain, they reported in the journal Nature Geoscience. “It is astounding and worrying that so many particles were found in the Pyrenees field site,” said lead author Steve Allen, a doctoral student at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. The study focused on microplastics mostly between 10 and 150 micrometers

“During the impasse at Scarborough Shoal with China in 2012, we were approached by the US, an honest broker for both China and the Philippines, to agree to a simultaneous withdrawal of ships from the shoal,” the former top diplomat said, noting that China had over 30 ships while the Philippines had a total of one ship, at that time. “We ultimately agreed to the US proposal. At the appointed time, we withdrew, whereas China—acting with duplicity—did not,” he said. “When confronted with the non-withdrawal of their ships, Beijing’s response was a denial of the existence of such an agreement,” Del Rosario added. Del Rosario also disputed the claim of Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo that the Duterte administration did not shelve the arbitral ruling that upheld the Philippine sover-

eign rights over the West Philippine Sea, part of the disputed South China Sea. Del Rosario cited the Aug. 29, 2016 speech of President Rodrigo Duterte during the National Heroes’ Day where the Chief Executive declared: “I will not use the judgment [on the] arbitral [ruling] now. But I would one day sit in front of your representative or you and then I will lay bare my position. And I would say that, ‘this paper, I cannot get out of the four corners of this document.’” He also cited the President’s statement made on Dec. 17, 2016 after his arrival from state visit to Cambodia and Singapore, and on March 19, 2017 where Duterte declared that “. . . I would like to tell you now that during my term, there will be a time where I have to confront you about this paper, the arbitral ruling. It will not go beyond the four

PH slams... From A1

27 this year. He will also have a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has been asked to issue a writ of Kalikasan to compel concerned government agencies to rehabilitate and protect the West Philippine Sea, particularly Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal, and Panganiban Reef from environmental damage due to poaching and other illegal extraction and fishing activities being undertaken by Chinese nationals. In a petition, the members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines sought the issuance of the same relief that the SC issued in 2008 when it ordered all concerned government agencies to coordinate for the cleanup, restoration, and preservation of the Manila Bay. The petitioners used as basis the documents submitted by the Philippine government in the inter-state arbitration proceedings under Annex VII to the 1982 United National Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”) as well as the 2016 award by the tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration, which established that foreign poachers and foreign construction and land reclamation entities have caused massive environmental damage in Philippine waters and the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Philippines won the arbitration on July 12, 2016, but the administration of President Duterte shelved the enforcement of the ruling to the detriment of the Filipinos, particularly fishermen, the petitioners said. “The fishing communities in Palawan, together with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, now seek a Writ of Kalikasan and Writ of Continuing Mandamus from this Honorable Court, in assertion of their constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology, their public right to obtain the prosecution of violations of Philippine environmental laws in the Philippine EEZ, and their right to prevent the further destruction of the marine environment in the Philippine EEZ,” the petition stated. The petitioners accused foreign fishermen and other entities of harvesting threatened and endangered species and using cyanide and explosives in Panatag Shoal and Ayungin Shoal as well as undertaking illegal construction activities in Panganiban Reef. They said the UN-backed arbitral ruling upheld the Philippine government’s claim that Ayungin Shoal, Panganiban Reef and Panatag Shoal are well within the Philippine EEZ, thus, the country’s environmental laws are required to be enforced in these areas. “Chinese fishermen harvested endangered and threatened species and used cyanide and explosives in their fishing. Foreign entities engaged by Chinese authorities constructed and damaged coral reefs in the process. The marine environment and resources in the areas were damaged severely and extensively in spite of adequate Philippine laws to protect them. Clearly, the damage is brought upon by lack of enforcement of Philippine environmental laws by respondents,” they argued.

Moreover, Filipino fishermen revealed in the report that for years, they have been observing the acts of Chinese vessels harvesting giant clams in the Scarborough Shoal, which remains a traditional fishing ground located 124 nautical miles from Zambales. According to local fishermen, Chinese Coast Guard speed boats hamper Filipino and other fishing vessels from fishing in the area. Sought for comment, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippine government is already seeking legal actions against China’s supposed extraction of giant clams in Philippine waters. “We just caught them doing that recently, filed a diplomatic note, and will be taking legal action with our legal department now,” Locsin said on Twitter. The Palace official then said the government would wait for China to respond. “We will wait for their official response, and then act on it. One way or the other,” he said. “The fact that we have already issued a diplomatic protest or note verbale is already a statement of the position of this government.” Asked if the government has plans to seek the aid of the United States, the country’s military ally, to address China’s persistent presence in the Philippine waters and territories, Panelo said: “We’ll wait for the President’s decision on that. These are very serious matters and require serious study.” The report about the mass extraction of giant clams in the Scarborough Shoal came amid strong exchanges about conflicting territorial claims. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained that Beijing’s claim over the Nansha or Spratly Islands remains backed by “sufficient historical jurisprudential evidence,” arguing that Chinese fishermen’s rights over the SCS “should not be challenged.” The Palace made it clear that the country’s claim over the West Philippine Sea is backed by the 2016 arbitral ruling, “accepted principles of public international law but consistent with the directives of our Constitution and the aspirations of the Filipino people.” “It is our principled stand that the peace in the WPS should be maintained and that China should avoid performing acts that will place at risk the Filipino fishermen fishing in the disputed areas and at the same time cause irritants that will disrupt the current friendly relations of the two countries as well as imperil future bilateral negotiations on matters of mutual concern,” Panelo said in a statement over the weekend. He then told China that the country’s sovereignty is “non-negotiable.” The Palace also did not discount the possibility that issue in the contested waters might be discussed during the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing. The President is expected to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China on April 24 to

House... From A1

plant shutdowns at the time that drove electricity rates up. The measure—which has been pending at the committee level—warned that these massive maintenance shutdowns “would definitely cause immense electricity rate hikes to the detriment of… consumers.” He said reforms were needed “to protect the consumers from these seemingly collusive and manipulative practices.” “Since the advent of EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act), the power oligarchs have been ‘electrocuting’ hapless consumers with the unbridled and non-stop rise in the cost of electricity through collusion and market manipulation. And, for decades, too, our regulators are also held captive by these power players,” the Davaobased lawmaker said. Last week, Zarate voiced his concern over the continued simultaneous maintenance shutdowns of power plants during the summer season, which end up hurting power reserves in Luzon at a time when power demand is at its highest. That same week, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines placed the Luzon grid on red alert status for three across, including fragments, fibers and sheet-like pieces of film. By comparison, a human hair is, on average, about 70 micrometres in width. “We would never have anticipated that this study would reveal such high levels of microplastic deposits,” added co-author Gael Le Roux, a researcher at EcoLab in Toulouse, in southwestern France. Plastic litter has emerged in the last few years as a major environmental problem. Up to 12 million tons of plastics are thought to enter the world’s oceans every year, and millions more clog inland waterways and landfills. AFP

straight days to warn consumers, including those in the franchise area of the Manila Electric Company, of rotating brownouts. “Why is it that they always have to break down at the same time when demand is highest?” Zarate asked. “We really can’t blame the consumers for thinking that the power plants are colluding in order to raise the cost of electricity,” he added. Zarate said that since 2012, power plants such as the Sual power plant, Calaca power plant, Pagbilao power plant, and Malaya thermal power plant have bogged down annually during summer. He said that it is high time for Congress to investigate the matter. “Its the owners of these plants who should be shouldering the additional cost in electricity since it’s their fault that these plants keep bogging down, and not the consumers. That’s why they shouldn’t ask us to pay,” Zarate said. Meanwhile, a party-list group expressed doubts about the ability of the Department of Energy to ensure there would be no power interruptions during the May 13 midterm elections. At a news conference in Quezon City, Gerry Rances, Murang Kuryente party-list second nominee, expressed his disappointment over the government’s inability to provide affordable and reliable energy to consumers.

US trust... From A1

SWS also found “good” the net trust ratings for Japan and Australia at +34 and +33, respectively, with little increases from the previously recorded figures in December 2018. “The net trust rating stayed good for Japan at +34 in March 2019, similar to the +34 in December 2018,” SWS said. “SWS first surveyed public trust in Japan in December 1994 and found neutral net ratings from December 1994 to December 1996, ranging from -2 to +9. It rose to a moderate +17 in June 1997 and has since been at moderate to good, reaching as high

corners of this document.” The former foreign affairs official also disparaged Panelo’s declaration that the Duterte administration never shelved the arbitral tribunal ruling and that it only remained unenforceable because no foreign force seemed persuaded to help us enforce it. “The aforementioned as expressed by the presidential spokesperson is absolutely mindless. It is mindless as our presidential spokesperson appears to be in surrender without lifting a finger to peacefully defend what is ours. On threat of war to the deep dismay of our people, by continuing to shelve the tribunal outcome, our government has persisted in allowing China to deprive our citizens of what is ours. We are still succumbing to threats of force including a threat of war,” Del Rosario lamented.

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In a separate statement, Panelo said the 2019 GAA reflects “the administration’s vision of genuine change for the Philippines, where effective and efficient delivery of programs, projects and public services for our people will be its hallmark.” The Palace official, however, said that President Rodrigo Duterte, who remains true to his commitment to...fealty to the constitutional directives, rejected items of appropriation that are “either considered by law and jurisprudence as rider provisions not being related to a particular appropriation or they seek to amend the Constitution and certain statutes.” “The Chief Executive also vetoed items of appropriations under the Department of Public Works and Highways for falling outside the government’s programmed priorities which are in the total amount of P95,374,241,000,” Panelo said. Meanwhile, President Duterte placed certain provisions in the P3.7-trillion expenditure plan under “conditional implementation” to ensure conformity with existing laws. These items include the allowance and benefits of teachers and creation of teaching positions, construction of evacuation centers, funding for foreign-assisted projects, “revolving fund,” lump-sum appropriations for capital outlay, financial assistance to local governments, and funding requirements for the foreign service. Also, Panelo said, he so-called lastminute insertions made by the House of Representatives during the budget deliberations were included in the President’s vetoed P95.3-billion items. In a statement after transmitting the enrolled spending bill to the Office of the President, Senate President Vicente Sotto III had warned Duterte of the P75 billion worth of public works and projects, believing that the realignments were unconstitutionally made by the House after both chambers ratified the bicameral conference committee report. Panelo, on the other hand, did not confirm nor deny reports that the remaining ₱20 billion in Duterte’s vetoed amount included the alleged insertions made by the Senate. Senator Panfilo Lacson has earlier claimed Senate finance committee chair Loren Legarda might have inserted ₱23 billion to ₱25 billion for the supposed funding of projects in Antique province. For Panelo, the President’s vetoing of certain provisions in the expenditure plan sends a clear message to government officials that Duterte does not tolerate corruption under his watch.

’53 drivers,... From A1

Aquino said out of the 53 employees, 35 were bus drivers, 17 were bus conductors, and one was a dispatcher. They tested positive for the use of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu. Out of the total 7,729 public transport workers who were subjected to the drug tests, 4,460 are bus drivers, 2,727 are conductors, 18 inspectors, 26 dispatchers, nine canvassers, 29 van drivers, and 460 were other transport workers. “We are also doing this to curb incidents of vehicular accidents caused by drugged drivers and to make the roads safer, especially this Lenten Season,” Aquino said. The operation was implemented in accordance to the provisions of Republic Act 10586 (Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013). Aquino ordered the mandatory drug testing on drivers due to the increasing number of road traffic accidents blamed on drivers under the influence of illegal drugs. Based on PDEA’s data monitoring from January 2018 to January 2019, 3,654 drivers, bus conductors, and dispatchers were arrested for violation of RA 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002). In the second semester of 2018, 1,902 of them were arrested, an increase of 37 percent from the 1,386 arrests in the first semester. Philippine Coast Guard units, meanwhile, are now on heightened alert as tens of thousands of passengers flock to ports nationwide for Holy Week. PNA as a very good +54 in Dece 2017.” The net trust rating also stayed good for Australia at +33 this March, a two-point increase from +31 four months ago. “The Net trust in Australia was a moderate +11 when SWS first surveyed it in April 1995,” the pollster saud. “It ranged from a neutral +3 to a moderate +25 from September 1995 to March 2008. It rose to a good +31 in September 2008, and has since been at +30 and above, except for the moderate +19 in September 2009.” SWS found a neutral -6 net trust rating for China as the tensions grow in the West Philippine Sea.

Postal voting policy rejected by Migrante By Nat Mariano FILIPINO migrant rights group Migrante has called on the Commission on Elections to adopt personal voting instead of postal voting for the absentee voters abroad for this year’s midterm elections. “This new voting policy and procedure by the Comelec may result in disenfranchisement and non-participation of thousands of registered Filipino voters in Europe,” said Herbert Fadriquela Jr., chairman of Migrante Europe. He said they were “strongly protesting” the postal voting, adding that “many registered voters don’t have stable addresses and there is no guarantee that they will receive their ballots, or if the returned ballots will be received by the embassies or consulates.” Meanwhile, the Philippine government’s statements against China on its intrusion in Philippine territory have nothing to do with the midterm elections, the Palace has said. In a virtual press conference with foreign reporters on Monday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Philippine government’s assertions over the West Philippine Sea had nothing to do with the coming midterm elections. “[It has] nothing to do with the elections,” Panelo told the foreign reporters. Meanwhile, officials said Tuesday the national government is exerting all efforts to ensure a peaceful and orderly conduct of the May 13 mid-term elections. Several ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Commission on Elections made the assurance during a high-level meeting at the AFP Commissioned Officers’ Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, to fine-tune all coordination and security plans for the coming polls. “This morning we had a high-level tri-agency meeting among the Comelec, AFP and the PNP to polish all our preparations, coordination and security plans to ensure the peaceful, orderly honest and secure National and Local Elections 2019 this coming May 13,” AFP Chief Benjamin Madrigal said. Panelo said the Duterte administration’s responses to China’s movements in the South China Sea were “studied and calibrated.” “We just don’t issue reckless statements when we receive reports on this and that. We have to validate. If we validate the same as true, then we make our statements,” Panelo said. “With respect to whether it will affect the election, the survey of the President shows a very high rating for him. So I don’t think it has anything to do with the elections.” Even though President Rodrigo Duterte’s name was not included in the sample ballot for the May 13 elections, foreign political analysts have viewed the Philippines’ “shifting” stance on the West Philippine Sea issue to “gain public trust from citizens.” “The recent statements from the government seem to serve more as a tactic to gain public trust from citizens ahead of the midterm elections rather than an actual statement of intent,” Borja Fernandez, a geopolitics and economics analyst, said in With Ronald O. Reyes and PNA

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The program says the number of deaths caused by road accidents went down in 2018, when it recorded 394 deaths compared with 434 in 2017. The City of Manila followed Quezon City with the highest number of road accidents in 2018 with 11,448, and Makati City was next with 11,382. The Municipality of Pateros had the lowest number of reported road crashes followed by Navotas and Malabon, and mainly because they have lesser arterial roads and do not have a central business district like the other cities in Metro Manila. The program also recorded 98,632 cases of damage to property caused by road crashes last year. The MMRAS says motorcycle accidents remain one of the three leading causes of death and injury on the roads in the metropolis with a total of 224 the deaths, followed by trucks (100) and private cars (95). Motorcycles also topped the list of vehicles with the most number of injuries, posting 13,594 followed by cars (8,121), vans (1,797) and public utility jeepneys (1,717). The MMRAS also showed road crash statistics on what it described as the “three key roads” in Metro Manila: Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Circumferential Road or C-5 and Commonwealth Avenue.

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“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France as well as in solidarity with the rest of the world for this heartbreaking incident,” Panelo said. “We wish the French nation all the best as they undertake efforts to rebuild this great monument in Paris restored to its majestic sight.” The iconic cathedral has been deeply enmeshed in Paris’ history since construction began at the end of the 12th century—historians generally ascribe the date 1163—and lasted more than two centuries to 1345. It was in Notre-Dame that Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself emperor of France. AFP




Local court defers Ressa’s arraignment for cyberlibel case ANTICIPATING Rappler chief Maria Ressa’s move to file a motion for reconsideration in a bid to reverse a Manila court’s denial of her plea to junk the case, a local court instead deferred her arraignment in connection with a cyberlibel case filed by a local businessman. Joseph Banguis, lawyer of private complainant Wilfredo Keng who filed the libel case against Ressa, said the arraignment was deferred to May 17. Keng filed the label case after Rappler, in a 2012 article, claimed that Keng’s luxury vehicle was used by former Chief Justice Renato Corona during the impeachment proceedings against him. The news report also allaged that Keng had been under surveillance by National Security Council for his reported involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling, which his camp denied. Keng filed the case against Ressa and his former researcher Reynaldo at the Manila Regional Triafill Court Branch 46 are Ressa, Rappler and former researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. In its defense, Rappler had argued the Cybercrime Prevention Act was retroactively applied because the law did not take effect until April 2014, long after the May 2012 initial publication and the February 2014 supposed republication under a justice department ruling. It also argued that a temporary restraining order meant there was no law in effect at the time of publication. But the Manila RTC rejected Rappler’s arguments saying that while the TRO may have stayed the implementation and enforcement, the law remained effective and any violation could be prosecuted after the TRO is lifted. The court also ruled a cyber libel case has a prescriptive period of 12 years, compared to 1 year for libel under the Revised Penal Code. Ressa, however, said the case “is not just about Rappler.” “This is about anyone who posts on the web, anyone who posts a Facebook post, anyone who writes anything online. That’s why it’s incredibly important to look at it and what we hope and pray for is judicial independence,” she told reporters.


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shares a light moment with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on the sidelines of the meeting with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict at the Malacañan Palace on April 15. Presidential Photo

Calida lashes out at Leni for ‘demeaning’ OSG work By Rey E. Requejo


OLICITOR General Jose Calida on Tuesday lashed out at Vice President Leni Robredo for demeaning the work of the Office of the Solicitor General and its commitment to advancing the State’s interest. “Her statements are outright lies. She must be confused. Her statements demean and belittle the work the OSG and its lawyers have been doing for decades to recover ill-gotten wealth,” Calida said in a statement. The chief state lawyer made the statement after Robredo accused the OSG of serving the interest of the Marcos family instead of the country after it blocked the settlement deal for martial law victims. “We have always been committed to

advancing the interests of the Republic, and we will continue to do so,” Calida said. He said that it has always been the OSG’s position that the ill-gotten wealth should be litigated before the Sandiganbayan and not before the US courts. Besides, Calida argued that participating in the US case would also mean waiving its sovereign immunity. Earlier, the OSG and the Department of Justice rejected the proposed

‘Delivery of basic services easier once Palawan is divided’

Lacson backs ‘localized’ peace talks with Reds By Macon Ramos-Araneta IN A bid to end the five-decadeold insurgency problem, Senator Panfilo Lacson said it is high time the government focuses its peace efforts with communist rebels on those who do not listen to Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison. Saying the strength of New People’s Army rebels varies in various localities, Lacson said such efforts, coupled with localized peace talks, is the better way to stop the problem with communist rebels. “Such a move is long in coming. I have always believed that this is the better way to deal with the five-decade insurgency problem,” Lacson said. The senator had dealt with the communist New People’s Army as a member of the now-Philippine National Police which he headed from 1999 to 2001. “I have been batting for localized peace talks and in fact strongly suggested the same to former Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in one committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Peace and Unification chaired and presided by Senator Gregorio Honasan II,” he added. Earlier reports indicated the government is planning to form a panel to resume talks with the communist rebels, particularly those not listening to Sison. The government is also moving toward localized peace talks with communist rebels, regardless whether Sison approves it or not. Military officials had noted the CPP under Sison may have used legal fronts to amass at least P7.3 billion in past years from non-government organizations. Lacson said that while governors and mayors can deal with guerrilla leaders in areas where the NPA is not that influential, the military can focus on areas where the NPAs are a threat. With PNA

settlement agreement in the New York court case stating that it was grossly disadvantageous to the Republic and illegal under Philippine law. The Republic would get only $4 million from the settlement. Furthermore, the proposed settlement required that the Philippine government grant immunity to Vilma Bautista and move to dismiss the cases against her in the Sandiganbayan. “The government cannot grant immunity to Vilma Bautista. She is a principal defendant in a case currently pending before the Sandiganbayan. The authority of the PCGG to grant such immunity is limited only to a witness who can provide material and relevant information or testify against a defendant in an ill-gotten wealth case,” the Solicitor General pointed out.

DROP OFF. Commuters line up to catch a ride at a designated pickup point at the Taft Avenue station of the MRT-3. The Metro Rail Transit 3 will be the drop off and pickup points of buses that will be deployed at their 13 stations from North Avenue, Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City during Holy Week to service passengers during its scheduled one week maintenance shutdown. Ey Acasio

Guidelines on application for land conversion set By Rio N. Araja THE Department of Agrarian Reform on Tuesday announced that it has issued guidelines and procedures to streamline the tedious process of application for land use conversion through its Administrative Order No. 01 of 2019. Secretary John Castriciones said the agency is mandated to approve or disapprove applications for land use conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural purposes pursuant to Section 65 of the Republic Act 6657 as amended by Executive No. 129-A, and paragraph (13), Section 3, Title XI of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (EO No. 292). He said specific provisions of AO No.1, series of 2002 are amended to ensure the speedy disposition of the cases. According to Castriciones, strictly no application shall be accepted, docketed and processed unless the documentary requirements for conversion grant are complete and sufficient in form and substance. “When the agricultural land which is the subject of the application for conversion has been acquired under R.A. 6657, its conversion shall be allowed only if the applicant is the agrarian reform

beneficiary thereof and the applicant upon conversion shall fully pay the price of the land,” AO No. 1 read. Moreover, electronic copies of land titles can now be used as basis for identifying the landholding and its registered owner subject of the application in lieu of a certified true copy of the title except for Jolo in Sulu, Basco in Batanes, Tuao in Cagayan, Isabela in Basilan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, Silay City, Negros Occidental, Dapitan City and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi. Last February, DAR issued a warning against persons and organizations with vested interests, circulating fake and misleading allegations in relation to the proposed DAR AO No. 1 on the streamlining of the process for land use conversion applications. The statement said that “there is no truth to the erroneous and malicious allegations that the proposed AO is ‘anti-farmer.’” The order reflects the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte for all concerned agencies that play a role in determining if the requirements provided by the law for land conversion to come up with a solution that makes sure the process would not be delayed subject to the tiller’s rights and food sufficiency.

A LOCAL politician claimed on Tuesday said that once Palawan is divided into three provinces, the delivery of basic services to the locals is expected to be much easier. This was declared by Palawan 1st District board member Winston Arzaga after President Rodrigo signed RA 11259 which seeks to break up the province into three separate provinces. In a television interview, Arzaga said the land size of Palawan has made it difficult to deliver services to residents, especially those living in far-flung areas of the province. He added that it also takes hours of travel before the locals could get services from the provincial government as Palawan’s capitol building is located in Puerto Princesa City. “Unfair sa amin itong mga Palaweño. Kaya yung aming leadership, sa pangunguna ni Gov. [Jose] Alvarez ay nag-isip ng isang paraan wherein we can address these grievances at ang nakita natin is to restructure the administrative machinery para makarespond sa pangangailangan ng serbisyo,” Arazaga said. Under RA 11259, the current Palawan province will now be divided into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Sur. The new three provinces will be created upon approval by the majority of the votes cast by the voters of the affected areas in a plebiscite to be conducted and supervised by the Commission on Elections on May 11, 2020. Residents of Puerto Princesa, a highly urbanized city, however, will not be allowed to vote in the plebiscite and for candidates for provincial elective posts. Arazaga said that dividing the province into three will ensure that each area will be properly funded. He said that it will also be easier to ensure environmental protection in the province, as three local government units will now be tasked to protect the resources in the so-called “last ecological frontier” in the Philippines. But Cynthia del Rosario, campaigner for Save Palawan Movement, disagreed, saying that the move was made to advance the interests of political actors in the province.

Top PNP official nabbed for extortion A SENIOR police officer was nabbed by operatives of the Philippine National Police Counter-Intelligence Task Force for alleged extortion in Baguio City on Monday afternoon. Citing a report of the Counter Intelligence Task Force on Monday, PNP Spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac, said that Lt. Col. Allan Docyogen, who was assigned at the Baguio City Police Office as Chief of the Intelligence Unit, was arrested in an entrapment operation by joint elements of the CITF and the PNP Intelligence Group. Docyogen was arrested after receiving marked money amounting to P50,000 from the complainant, who was not named. The operation stemmed from a complaint received by CITF thru a telephone call that a certain Docyogen was demanding PHP200,000 from the complainant, who was arrested by Baguio CPO for robbery charges, in exchange for not being arrested again for his other crimes. The initial payment amounting to P47,000 was handed to Docyogen last April 12. The balance, which was reduced to P50,000, would be given on Monday (April 15). PNA

Study seriously, Angara tells students REELECTIONIST Senator Sonny Angara said education is a powerful tool to make the youth enablers of transformation and turn the country into an economic powerhouse where jobs abound and social services are accessible to all. Data from the United Nations Development Programme as of 2018 showed that the Philippines has the third youngest people among the 700-million youth in the Asia Pacific region, of which about 30 percent are below 15 years old. The median age in the country is 26. “By sheer number, the youth sector is a potent force to effect change in the Philippines,” said Angara, who was first elected into office in 2004 as representative of the lone district of Aurora province at the age of 32, the youngest lawmaker during the 13th Congress. “And with education, the Filipino youth can deliver this country to progress and bring an end to the cycle of poverty,” said the lawmaker, who is running under the platform “Alagang Angara.” Macon Ramos-Araneta

UHC law to address lack of doctors—JV REELECTIONIST Senator JV Ejercito has assured the public that the dilemma of lack of doctors and medical staff in far-flung communities, towns, and provinces would finally be addressed once the Universal Health Care law is implemented. Ejercito, now popularly known as “Mr. Healthcare” for spearheading the UHC law, said almost six out of 10 deaths in the Philippines are not medically attended, or six out of 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor or health professional. He said that now, because of the law, the doctor to population ratio in underserved areas, mostly geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities, would narrow down as the UHC required new doctors and graduate of other medical courses from State Universities and Colleges to serve for at least three (3) full years in far-flung areas that “rarely see doctors.” Macon Ramos-Araneta




No opposition IF YOU believe Pulse Asia, not a single opposition senator will be elected this year. If that happens on May 13, it will consolidate President Rodrigo Duterte’s stranglehold of the legislative branch. We will have a Senate whose wit, brilliance, sense of purpose and capacity for visioning are remarkable—for their pedestrian underpinnings. The good president-mayor’s appointees already dominate the Supreme Court. So in all three branches of government, Duterte will hold sway. I suppose with the President’s declaration that his anti-drugs war is failing,

If that happens on May 13, it will consolidate President Duterte’s stranglehold of the legislative branch.

martial law can be expected to leapfrog into Visayas and Luzon, from Mindanao, to cope with the drug lords and drug addicts as well as with a gnawing poverty that afflicts 25 million of 107-million Filipinos. This will make the former Davao mayor of 23 years the most powerful president ever. Duterte as virtual dictator may be bad—or good. A benevolent dictator could do wonders in an archipelago that has been ruled by only 100 families in the last 100 years. Maybe, he could disrupt that oppressive a setup. At the other extreme is the possibility of widespread abuse and corruption. Having seen the worst in this country, I remain optimistic and hopeful. Filipinos are courageous, intelligent and resilient enough to challenge and survive abuse. And this country is rich enough to accommodate corruption of the plunder kind.

Adelle Chua, Editor


Pulse Asia says reelectionist independent Senator Grace Poe has consolidated her topnotcher position in the May 2016 senatorial race, with a commanding 72.6 percent of voters voting for her. That’s equivalent to 29.04-million votes, assuming 40-million votes for senators. No single opposition candidate makes it to the Magic 12 winning senators. Only reelectionist Senator Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV is the opposition candidate with the best chance of making it. The cousin of former President BS Aquino III sits precariously in No. 13, with 33.8 percent of voters voting for him, equivalent to 13.52-million votes. Bam is 2.4 percentage points (or 960,000 votes) behind the 12th placer, returning Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who has a 35.2-percent rating (or 14.08-million votes). The previous opposition No. 12, former Senator Manuel Araneta Roxas, fell precipitously to No. 16, with just 31.3 percent (or 12.52 million) of voters likely to vote for him. Roxas, the defeated No. 2 presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, is 1.56 million votes behind Jinggoy Estrada. Still, Pulse Asia considers Roxas a probable winner. Duterte’s three personal choices for senator are now all likely winners: Bong Go, No. 4; Bato dela Rosa, No. 8; and Francis Tolentino, No. 11. If the May 2019 senatorial elections were held during the survey period, 16 out of the 62 candidates would have a statistical chance of winning, according to Pulse Asia’s March 2019 poll. Most of the probable winners are either former or incumbent members of Congress and among them, ten are running under the coalition of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, two from the Liberal Party, another two independent; one from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, and one is from the United Nationalist Alliance. In second place to Grace Poe is Senator Cynthia Villar, another reelectionist, who has the support of 63.7 percent of registered voters. The billionaire Villar is followed by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, whose voter preference of 58.5 percent translates to a statistical ranking of third to


Finally, a budget

RESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte approved the 2019 national budget with the exception of some projects worth P95 billion Monday, ending a months-long delay brought about by constant bickering between the Senate and the House of Representatives.

At the heart of the oftenacrimonious debate over the P3.7-trillion spending plan were accusations from both sides of irregular budget insertions or pork barrel, which the Supreme Court has declared illegal. As senators and congressmen traded allegations of wrongdoing for months,the government operated under a reenacted budget, a move that meant no new funding could be released for key

infrastructure that had been programmed for this year. Even the few months of delay will have a detrimental effect on the growth of gross domestic product, the administration’'s economic managers say. It was with some relief, then, that we learned that the President had finally signed the budget, notably with some line vetoes worth about P95 billion. Although we have yet to de-

termine whether the vetoed projects were indeed pork, and whether these originated from the House or the Senate, it seems significant that the Palace merely said they were rejected because they were not in line with the administration’s priorities. The reluctance to characterize the vetoed projects as illegal pork suggests room for face saving on both sides, yet signals to Congress that this President will brook no nonsense in the national spending plan. Now that the budget impasse has finally been hurdled, we expect the government to work post haste to put the people's money to work to make their lives better.

Turn to A5

GlutaMAX ad promotes colonial mentality POP GOES THE WORLD JENNY ORTUOSTE LAST week’s GlutaMAX advertising campaign was another discriminatory flop that came on the heels of SkinWhite’s recent foray into brownface. The ad showed a morena beauty on the left looking daggers at a paleskinned model on the right, with ad copy in variations on the same theme. Copy on a billboard said, “Maputi lang, favorite na ni boss? Unfair, di ‘ba? ‘Wag magalit, mag-GlutaMAX!” An online ad said, “Maputi lang, maganda na? Unfair, ‘di ba?” with the caption, “Sa sobrang puti ng friend ko, lagi siyang napagkakamalang artista. Daming nagpapa-picture. And dahil morena ako, taga-picture lang ako. #Unfair diba—Cindy” Another online ad was captioned: “Nakakainis ba ‘pag may unfair treatment tuwing nagco-commute? ‘Wag magalit, mag GlutaMAX. #YourFairAdvantage.” The ad copy said: “Maputi lang, pinaupo na sa bus? 3 in 5 Filipinos believe that people with fair skin receive better treatment from others * *Based on a poll by Opeepl.” The majority of netizens reacted against the ad. Comments in favor seemed written by trolls (a tactic also employed by SkinWhite after their own ad fiasco). Celebrity Bianca Gonzalez tweeted, “Just a note from a Filipina with brown skin since birth: There is no problem AT ALL sa mga gustong magpaputi. The problem is when whitening brands make us look ‘kaawa awa’ dahil lang maitim kami. Kasi, hindi po kami kawawa, maganda ang kulay namin.” She also said she “grew up loving her brown skin because of beautiful women

like Angel Aquino and Tweety de Leon who proudly flaunted their brown skin. I looked up to them. I did not need to compare myself to fair skinned girls. It need not be a ‘battle’ of maitim versus maputi.” If SkinWhite used brownface, GlutaMAX’s strategy was to play up people’s insecurities stemming from the colonial experience that normalized colorism, or valuing one skin color above others. This is not about people’s choice to use whitening products. The problem was the ad’s language and conceptualization. The word ‘unfair’ appeared again and again, attempting to establish a mindset of victimhood through repetition. The rest of their copy was no better.

The ad left a bad taste in the mouth overall.

“Maputi lang, favorite na ni boss?” That’s like condoning a sexual harassment situation. Patriarchal much? “And dahil morena ako, taga-picture lang ako,” and “Maputi lang, pinaupo na sa bus?” That’s concocting an issue. “Sa sobrang puti ng friend ko, lagi siyang napagkakamalang artista. Daming nagpapa-picture.” I’ve never seen anyone ask for someone else’s photo merely because they had fair skin. These words also erase the many golden- and mahogany-skinned Filipino actors. Actress Chai Fonacier tweeted, “No, GlutaMax. Here’s me raising my middle finger at you: I’m alright with my brown #KutisPinas and I’m still in the showbiz industry, you uneducated potato.” And after manufacturing all this

Turn to A5

New limbs, new life for South Sudan amputees STEPHEN, 12, romps confidently around the sunlit courtyard, weaving in between wheelchair-bound patients as he plays with the other children, his prosthetic leg barely a hindrance. When he was five years old, the car he and his family were travelling in hit a landmine in South Sudan's northern town of Bentiu. His grandmother was killed. His left leg was shattered and had to be amputated. Stephen was flown to a physical rehabilitation center run by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Juba, which serves both as a prosthetics factory and a hospital for patients coming from all around the country to be fitted with new limbs. "It helped me to go to school," Stephen says shyly, pointing to his artificial leg. After receiving his first prosthesis in 2013, war prevented Stephen from being able to return for new fittings every six months as recommended. When he finally made it to the center this month, his prosthesis was far too short. South Sudan's five-year-long civil war has left possibly tens of thousands of people without limbs—a toll that

may never be accurately established. Approximately 60 percent of the patients who come to the Juba center—one of three in the country—have gunshot-related injuries and disabilities, according to the ICRC. But much of the country faces limited access to healthcare, a result of fighting or simply a lack of infrastructure, with roads typically being utterly impassable during the rainy season. Many limbs are amputated for no other reason than lack of treatment. "A simple injury or fracture that could be treated easily in most countries... can result in infections here which result in an amputation because of problems with healthcare," said ICRC prosthetic specialist Regis Tiffeneau. "The large majority of patients are affected by the war in one way or the other." Others became disabled by polio, rickets—linked to malnutrition—or other diseases that have been eliminated in so many other parts of the world. Lack of access In the factory, plaster is slapped on models of legs whirring on machines as workers shape them and then slather them in dark brown plastic.

Workshop manager Emmanuel Loubari said that the prosthesis can be made within a day of a patient being measured and a cast taken. Last year the center made 580 prosthetic limbs, with the cost of all treatment borne by the ICRC. But many challenges face patients who need to get fittings. "We have a lot of patients who are supposed to be fitted, but they cannot have access to the center," Loubari said. In South Sudan, roads are so bad that the ICRC relies on a fleet of planes and helicopters to bring patients to hospitals and the physical rehabilitation centers. In the rainy season, it can be hard to land in many remote locations. Bringing people from across the country, injured in fighting mostly of an ethnic nature, brings its own problems. "They come here, they are traumatized, most of them are injured by gunshots and mines," said social worker James Soma. "We talk to them about forgiveness." He said an argument had broken out the previous day in which one patient accused another of targeting her because of her tribe, and said she would "bring one of my relatives and shoot you all." Turn to A5

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Opinion Seals, caviar and oil: Caspian Sea faces pollution threat SEALS waddling along the waterfront were once a common sight in Baku Bay, the Caspian Sea home of Azerbaijan's capital. Not anymore. Of the more than one million seals which inhabited the shores and islands of the Caspian a century ago fewer than 10 percent remain, and the species has been declared endangered. Azer Garayev, the head of the Azerbaijan Society for the Protection of Animals, says the seals have for decades been suffering from overhunting and the effects of industrial pollution. In 2003, his group found 750 seal carcasses in just one month. "It was not normal," but no one looked into the issue, the 57-year-old activist said. "The seal is a sign of all the major environmental problems (in the Caspian)." Bordered by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, the Caspian is the world's largest inland body of water, about the size of Japan. As well as the seals and other endemic species including Caspian turtles and the famed beluga sturgeon, the sea boasts vast energy reserves, estimated at 50 billion barrels of oil and 300,000 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Pollution from the extraction of that oil and gas, along with declining water levels due to climate change, pose a threat to many species and put the future of the sea itself at risk. Oil and water The UN Environment Programme has warned that the Caspian "suffers from an enormous burden of pollution from oil extraction and refining, offshore oil fields, radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants and huge volumes of untreated sewage and industrial waste introduced mainly by

New limbs,... From A4

Toddlers shot on mothers' backs For those who have used a prosthesis before, like Stephen, it takes only two or three days before they are ready to go home. But for new patients it can take a few weeks. Other patients at the center currently include a young man with severe scoliosis—a curved spine—who was being taken to school in a wheelbarrow until he was brought in to get a customized wheelchair. Another was bitten by a snake and was not treated for almost two weeks, so his

GlutaMAX... From A4

conflict, GlutaMAX touted their whitening products as the solution to endemic colorism—“#YourFairAdvantage.” The ad left a bad taste in the mouth overall because not only did the company reinforce negative cultural attitudes to profit from them, it also assumed the public to be stupid and unable to see through their ploy. Commenter Angie Claire advised the company to “come up with an intelligent campaign that matches the intelligence of your consumers and potential customers. Never underestimate your market's ability to think and spot discrimination when they see [it].” The ad wasn’t even supposed to run in the first place. According to Ad Standards Council Executive Director Digna Dator Santos, "(T)he ASC has disapproved the Glutamax ad several times. Unfortunately, the client and agency decided to still post/display the ad despite the disapproval which is a gross violation of ASC rules. The matter will be re-

No opposition From A4

fourth places. In third to fifth places is former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go, backed by 55.7 percent of voters. Close behind is Taguig City Representative and former senator Pia Cayetano, ranked fourth to sixth with 52.2 percent. All four—Villar, Angara, Go, and Cayetano, are with HNP. Former Senator Lito Lapid, NPC, will garner 48.4 percent of votes, and could place fifth to eighth. Sixth to ninth are Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay (45.5 percent), of

the Volga River". A few kilometers (miles) from downtown Baku, fishermen along the seashore watch small drops of oil appearing on the surface of the sea and spreading in varicoloured strains. "Some fish seem to prefer polluted water, so they tend to congregate here," said 26-year-old Rashad. "The water is dirty," he said, displaying a plastic bag that was caught on his fish hook. Besides fishermen like Rashad, the entire caviar industry is in danger as a result of the pollution. The Caspian Sea used to be home to one of the world's largest population of sturgeons, but it has declined by more than 90 percent over the last three generations, the World Wildlife Fund said in 2016. "I remember when caviar cost 10 [Azerbaijani] manats [per kilogram, 2.2 pounds]," or about $6, said environmentalist Garayev. "Today, it costs more than 1,500 manats [$960, 850 euros] and there is almost none left. We have practically no viable population of sturgeon today." Aligaidar Mammedov, a former hydro-geologist and fisherman turned environmental activist, said that oil exploration methods either kill or chase away the sturgeon. "They set off seismic explosions in the sea," he said, adding: "The seabed is destroyed as a result, and sturgeons are seabed fish." Mammedov also warned of the potential for oil spills, which would be far more polluting in the inland sea than they are in the ocean. Azerbaijan's state-run oil company, SOCAR, says it is doing its part and has cleared most of the vast areas near Baku that used to be covered with oil sludge. "The environmental challenges

came mainly during the Soviet era, when the country didn't take enough care of the environment and the technology was not as sophisticated," SOCAR spokesman Ibrahim Ahmadov said. The next Aral Sea? But even if pollution from the oil industry were mitigated, the Caspian could still be inching toward a catastrophe, since global warming is causing it to lose water. A recent study by Azerbaijan's Academy of Sciences estimated that the sea level is dropping by more than six centimeters (2.3 inches) per year. "Climate change along the Caspian Sea basin causes very rapid evaporation," said Elnur Safarov, an Azerbaijani marine scientist and one of the study's authors. "The five countries bordering the Caspian, their economies, their lives, depend on it completely—fishing, the oil industry, agriculture, communications," he said. "When the sea level changes... the social and economic situation of the entire coastline changes." In 2018, Caspian Sea countries signed an agreement defining the status of the sea, which had lacked an international legal framework since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The agreement mainly regulates military use, oil and gas extraction and caviar production, and activists have so far been disappointed that it has not touched on environmental issues. They worry that the Caspian may share the fate of Central Asia's Aral Sea, which has all but vanished in one of the world's greatest environmental catastrophes. "It would be so stupid to lose it [the Caspian] like the Aral Sea," Garayev said. "I don't want to think about it. It would be a crime." AFP

leg had to be amputated. "We have a lot of children coming in," said physiotherapist Oketta Robert Kanyara. "We have five children in the centre, shot in different styles... We have children shot while tied to their mothers' backs." Five-year-old Laytol was probably bitten by a snake. Her mother comes from the Murle people, and the doctors have difficulty understanding the language. But they believe her leg "could probably have been saved" if she had got help in time. Laytol is trying out her new leg for the first time, balancing herself calmly between two metal bars. Kanyara, the physiotherapist, said training children requires using games, as

they do not understand the idea of shifting their weight and struggle to follow instructions. But progress can be made. When the physiotherapist started work with Stephen, the boy who lost his leg in a landmine in 2013, the challenges were many. "It was very, very difficult," Kanyara said. "You tell him to do weight bearing, but he starts crying, so you have to go slowly." Little Laytol took to her new leg more quickly. "She is very good," Kanyara said. "She is fitted today, and she is not crying. She is walking." AFP

ferred to the ASC Technical Committee for appropriate action." GlutaMAX deleted the controversial ads from their Facebook page, but they remained tone-deaf, saying in an official statement: “We acknowledge all sentiments that have been directed towards our campaign. GlutaMAX respects the dignity of the Filipino and our aim is to provide products that empower rather than discriminate. “Biases continue to be held by society, and many Filipinos experience it firsthand. This is a truth that exists. The brand agrees that all skin tones are beautiful, and at the same time, believes that everyone is entitled to choose what empowers them.” Empowerment does not come from products that profit from people’s fears and insecurities about their identity. True empowerment comes from destroying systemic ills and replacing them with positive attitudes that will benefit everyone in society. The backlash against GlutaMAX was intense and the resulting damage

to the brand was real. Commenter Luna said, “Let them experience the boycott. I wanna feel my power. Bring it on. The choice to NOT BUY.” After stubbornly digging in their heels for longer than was good for them, GlutaMAX released an apology on Monday: “As we've learned, talking about skin is never a skin-deep issue. [It’s] a minefield of sensitivities, of deeply held beliefs, and should never be taken lightly. “And yet, over the weekend, we've caused a disproportionate amount of discomfort. And even pain. That said, we believe that the best intentions are never an excuse for causing harm. And for all those that we've offended over the past few days, we offer our sincerest apologies.” ‘Wag magalit, GlutaMAX, but that’s too little, too late.

UNA; and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Ronald dela Rosa (44.8 percent), of the HNP coalition. They are followed by four other HNP candidates: former Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. (40.9 percent, seventh to 10th), Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos (39.0 percent, ninth to 12th), former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino (35.7 percent, tenth to 16th), and former Senator Jinggoy Estrada (35.2 percent, 10th to 16th). Senator Paolo Aquino (33.8 percent), LP, former Senate President Aquino Pimentel III (33.6 percent), HNP, and former Senator Sergio Osmeña III (33.0 percent), independent, are battling for 11th to 16th places.

Completing the list of probable winners is former Senator Manuel Roxas II (31.3 percent), LP. He could land between 11th and 17th. Pulse Asia’s March 2019 nationwide survey has 1,800 adult respondents (18 and above), and a + 2.3 percent error margin, at 95 percent confidence level. Subnational estimates for the geographic areas have error margins of: + 6.5 percent for Metro Manila, + 3.5 percent for the rest of Luzon, + 5.3 percent for Visayas and + 4.7 percent for Mindanao. When I was in high school, I used to spend my free afternoons attending Senate sessions. There was no No ID-No Entry rule so everybody could come in.

This is one of the worst communication campaigns ever. It’s a case study of ‘what not to do.’ / FB and Twitter: @ DrJennyO



Colors tide of a Villar marketing juggernaut. Holy Week of 2010, we had stemmed that tide. But something happened when we were all focused on Noynoy. Jojo Binay, given up for “dead” in his first excursion into national politics, silently crept into the national conI COULDN’T believe what I was read- sciousness. Mar was in trouble. ing: Mar Roxas’ campaign manager, Three weeks before E-Day, the Mar Rep. Edgar Erice of Caloocan, saying Roxas who insisted on wearing “blue” that the biggest mistake Mar did in the all the time the flying colors of the 2016 presidential campaign where he Noynoy crusade was “yellow,” began lost to then Davao City Mayor and now coming out with tandem ads alongside President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, was “to the now renewed, reenergized presidenwear yellow.” tial candidate. And started wearing the Never again, Erice was quoted as presidential candidate’s color. saying, would we commit the same Meanwhile his camp came out with mistake of wearing yellow, which is exposes on Binay, including what I why their camconsider below paign color now the belt—the is blue. other woman. As Oh my! if the market of Roxas now doesn’t There’s a thin- want to have anything to voters cared. Prening segment of dictably, Binay the population do with yellow. gained from such that swears by an ill-conceived the colors of Cory and ill-motivated and PNoy. Is attempt to reverse Egay Erice ditching the support of these the tide. voters as well? From insisting on blue to accepting And by publicly eschewing yel- yellow. And all throughout 2011 until low, and swearing to their “true” color 2016, keeping faith with yellow. of blue, is Egay Erice hoping that the Now that he is trying to resurrect Duterte supporters will embrace Mar? himself on the national stage, his hanPerish the thought. dlers curse “yellow.” Now comes a reaction from Kris What good could it possibly do to Aquino, the former president’s outspo- Mar and his chances come May 13? ken sister, “queen of all media” and In truth, Mar Roxas was a damn sought-after product endorser: “But re- good senator, having authored several ally, to blame his loss on my brother? landmark bills that have become law. So, pati ba pagkatalo niya nung 2010 He was studious, conscientious, articukasalanan din ni Noy? late, even professorial in speech. That pained cri de coeur from Kris But voters type-cast, just like in the brings back memories of the 2010 cam- movies. Erap, FPJ, Coco Martin—they paign where Noynoy became the stan- will always be the “good guys.” Eddie dard bearer of the Liberal Party after the Garcia, Rod Navarro, Max Alvarado— outpouring of grief over former Presi- they will always be “bad guys.” And dent Cory Aquino’s death in 2009. some will just be character actors. Before that, Senator Mar Roxas was There have been some very, very to be the LP standard-bearer in a multi- good senators of the realm. But they party contest for the presidency among did not have the stuff to become presithe NP’s Manny Villar, the Lakas’ Gibo dents. They did not have the right comTeodoro, the NPC’s Chiz Escudero, and bination of competence, character and PMP’s Joseph Estrada. compassion to become “leader.” After Cory’s death and the emotionA postscript: I got one of the adveral outpouring turned political tsunami tising agencies that created Manny Vilit generated, Chiz gave way and folded lar’s ads in 2010 for candidate Mayor tent. His partymate and expected vice- Duterte in 2015. presidential teammate, Loren Legarda *** eventually agreed to be Manny VilAs expected, President Duterte lar’s VP. Gibo eventually got actor Edu signed the budget, though belatedly, and Manzano. after threatening to veto it altogether. Mar, sometime in October 2009 Also as expected, he vetoed out and after much heartbreak, eventually some 95 billion in last-minute “pork” settled for Noynoy’s running mate. And insertions. That is in character. Erap got Makati Mayor Jojo Binay to It would have been politically exteam up with him. pedient to just sign the delayed budThe early surveys in the last quarter get, this being the start of the second of 2009 showed an impressive lead for quarter, and more so, because elections the Noy-Mar tandem. Half of the na- fast approach. But Rodrigo Duterte is tion’s voters would go for the LP tan- sui generis. A street smart politician dem. Villar was getting only some 23 who knows how the game is played, percent, Erap even less, and Gibo the but comes up with his own rules of the least. Eventually Dick Gordon would game when needed. wade in, with Lakas’ Bayani Fernando *** teaming up with him. I am at a loss for words to describe But Villar’s creative advertising the world tragedy that is happening still bombarded the air in that last quarter as I write this piece. and even January of 2010, just before The Notre Dame de Paris is burnthe start of the campaign in February. ing. The magnificent spire has fallen. Meanwhile, the Liberals got com- The eight-century oak beams have been placent, came out with insipid ads be- consumed by fire. I pray this Tuesday reft of any clear message, and acted like morning that the stained glass windows the war was won. are spared from crashing. They are so In the surveys of end-January that priceless, along with the other artworks came out the first week of February, in what is one of the most beautiful Manny Villar’s high-stakes gambit Christian landmarks ever. paid off, and the Liberals were in panic. I heard Holy Mass on my birthday From sure winner, Noynoy was threat- in 2017 on Christmas Day inside the ened, in fact statistically even-steven Notre Dame. with Villar. 36 points for Noy and 34 It will take many years for Macron points for Manny. and the people of France to rebuild the From Feb.12 to mid-April of 2010, spire and roof of the Notre Dame. I we had to work feverishly with Senator still thank the Almighty I saw its magSerge Osmeña and volunteer brigades nificence recently. And I grieve for this led by Maria Montelibano to stem the tragedy with tears welling in my eyes. The Senate was the best school one could attend, for free. And yes, you could touch the senators, no matter your social standing. Some wore white suits as clean as their integrity and conscience. You could see Ferdinand Marcos presiding while senators of both NP and LP were debating—Jose W. Diokno (he topped both bar and accounting exams without finishing law and accounting), Jovito Salonga, Lorenzo Tañada, Arturo Tolentino, Gerardo Roxas, Ambrosio Padilla, Ninoy Aquino, Emmanuel Pelaez, Sergio Osmeña Jr., Gil Puyat, Camilio Osias, Lorenzo Sumulong, Jose J. Roy, Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Tecla San Andres Ziga, Magnolia Antonino, Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Alejandro Al-

mendras, Juan Liwag, Leonardo Perez, Manuel Manahan, Genaro Magsaysay, Rodolfo Ganzon, to name some. The lawyers were usually bar topnotchers (Marcos, Salonga, Diokno, Sumulong, Pelaez, Tolentino, Liwag, Ziga, Padilla). Most graduated with honors and had masters degrees. They were great tycoons, educationists, sportsmen and champions, writers, orators, people of mensa means. These senators were not elected with the help of SWS, Pulse Asia and Smartmatic. And hey, they were insanely great and the country was great, the second richest in Asia.




Manila Water COO quits amid water shortage issue

Mayor in fertilizer scam pleads to lesser crime By Maricel V. Cruz A MAYOR in Iloilo who was accused of involvement in a fertilizer scam amounting to P999,000 has pleaded guilty to a lesser offense in a plea bargain with the prosecution. Mayor Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo has pleaded guilty for failure of accountable officer to render accounts, an offense punishable under Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code. He and his co-accused were originally charged with graft. The Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division, in a decision dated April 11, approved Centena’s and his co-accused’s plea to a lesser offense and imposed a fine of P5,000 on each of them. Centena was charged together with then municipal officials Valentin Sobretodo, Meriam Celeste, Crispino Castro, Jose Rex Casipe, Melanie Hilario, Rhoda Lyn Panizales, Jose Edeso Enriquez, and Anna Lerio Caspillo. The Ombudsman earlier filed charges against Centena and his co-accused for purchasing 666 bottles of Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizers from Feshan Philippines Inc. without public bidding. Centena and his co-accused expressed their intention to enter into a plea bargaining agreement during the preliminary conference prior to arraignment. Ombudsman Samuel Martires approved the deal. Centena would have settled the civil liability of P999,000 but a miscommunication with the municipal treasurer of Calinog prevented him from doing so, Centena’s lawyer said. The Sandiganbayan, however, ruled that all the accused, not just Centena, were required to jointly pay the amount representing the undue injury they caused to the local government. Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, the division’s chairman wrote the decision. Associate Justices Zaldy Trespeses and Georgina Hidalgo concurred.

Journalism stalwarts visit Manila THE Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) has hosted professor Peter Greste, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) chairman in Journalism and Communication of the University of Queensland, Australia; Committee to Protect Journalists Asia program coordinator Dr. Steven Butler; and CPJ Board chairman Kathleen Carroll at its headquarters. Undersecretary Jose Joel Sy Egco, PTFoMS executive director, started the presentation with a brief introduction of the Task Force through an audio-visual presentation. He then highlighted some of the breakthroughs and milestones the TF had accomplished in less than three years of existence. In its 2018 Global Impunity Index, the CPJ noted that while the Philippines remained at its previous ranking of No. 5, it was considered to have significantly improved its status in terms of protecting journalists, the Task Force said in a statement. The Reporters Without Borders also delisted the Philippines from the top 5 Most Dangerous Countries in the World for Journalists in December 2018. Abraham Agamata, PTFoMS Secretariat chief of staff, briefed the dignitaries with the latest on the Maguindanao massacre, with Egco reiterating his promise to resign if the perpetrators of this heinous crime would not be convicted, the Task Force added in its statement. Police Lt. Col. Eder Collantes, PTFoMS chief investigator, gave a rundown on the latest updates on media violence cases during the present administration. These luminaries in global journalism, accompanied by Rowena Paraan, program director of ABSCBN’s “Bayan Mo, I-Patrol Mo,” were pleased with what they heard and saw during the presentation, the Task Force said in its statement. Manila


This refers to the First Judicial Region, 5th Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Tuba-Sablan, Benguet on Court DECISION for Civil Case No. 308 which was published last October 11, 2018. The correct designation of MODESTO D. BAHUL, JR. should have read “Acting Presiding Judge” and not “Acting President Judge”. Thus this erratum.

VEGGIES PRICES RISE. Prices of highland vegetables increase amid intermittent rains and expected surge of visitor arrivals in Baguio City and La Trinidad for the Holy Week and summer months, as wholesalers and retailers expect demand to shoot up at the expense of supply causing higher prices in the market. Wholesale prices of highland vegetables with a mark up of around 30 to a max of 50 pesos per kilo at retail price. Wholesale prices: cabbage, P40 per kilo; potatoes, P40/kilo; Baguio beans, P60/kilo; carrots, P60/kilo; lettuce, P80/kilo; cauliflower, P120/kilo; broccoli, P125/kilo; sweet peas, P120/kilo; bell pepper, P120/kilo; cucumber, P60 kilo; onion keeks, P45/kilo; radish, P50/kilo. Dave Leprozo

COA affirms notices of cash disallowance By Rio N. Araja


HE Commission on Audit has affirmed the notices of disallowance issued against ex-Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. into the disbursements of its funds worth P58.l98 million in 2008 to 2010.

In separate decisions dated March 27 and March 29, COA’s Commission Proper junked the petitions for review filed by ex-Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Efraim Genuino and ex-accounting department vice president Ester Hernandez that sought to lift the notices of disallowance issued against the cash assistance granted to a private foundation amounting to P31.237 million released in 2008 and P1.04 million in 2009. COA disallowed the cash grants

against Asenso Manileño Foundation Inc., the non-government organization beneficiary, in 2013 on questions about its legal existence. COA’s Corporate Government Sector upheld both notices of disallowance in 2015. Genuino and Hernandez still filed a petition for review before the Commission Proper. COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Roland Pondoc dismissed both pleas on

the ground that they were filed beyond the allowable period of 180 days. Genuino’s petition was filed 195 days after he received the disallowance while Hernandez took 495 days. Invoking Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, the state auditors maintained the disallowance was “final and executory.” In a third decision dated March 28, 2019, the Commission also upheld the disallowance issued against the Pagcor’s purchase of 89,000 tickets of the movie “Baler” worth P26.7 million in December. Held culpable for the transaction were Genuino, Hernandez, and Pagcor executives Philip Lo, Manuel Roxas, Gamaliel Cordoba, Rene Figueroa and Michael Cendaña.

Only 2 bets have secured licenses By Othel V. Campos ONLY two political candidates have secured a public performance licenses, despite the rampant public playing of copyrighted music during election campaigns, the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Inc. reported Tuesday. Rock musician and composer Raymund Marasigan issued a recent public call for politicians to ask permission from composers to use their songs in their campaign jingles. “Generally, there are three copyright licenses that must be secured by political candidates who intend to use copyrighted music: one, a modification or adaptation license if the lyrics of a copyrighted song will be changed or modified to make a campaign jingle; two, a reproduction license if a copyrighted song will be recorded or copied (whether the lyrics are revised or not), and the third, a public performance license if a copyrighted song will be played to the public as campaign jingle, or as entertainment or background music during a campaign rally or event,” said FILSCAP’s general counsel Michael Hernandez. FILSCAP is the collective management organization accredited by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines to license the public playing of copyrighted music. According to FILSCAP, as of April 12, only senatorial hopeful Christopher “Bong” Go and mayoral candidate Jon Wilfredo “JT” Trinidad have secured the necessary license from FILSCAP to play copyrighted music in their campaign rallies. The group primarily licenses the public playing of over 20 million copyrighted local and foreign musical works which accounts for about 95 percent of the copyrighted songs that are now being publicly played in the Philippines.

DEFERENTIAL CANTALOUPE. Also known as musk melon, or murod among some Ilocanos, the odd-looking but tasty melon, being arranged by a vendor, along 11th Avenue in Caloocan City, has nutritious benefits, with the US Department of Agriculture saying when it comes to beta carotene, cantaloupe knocks down other yellow-orange fruits out of the park. Andrew Rabulan

MANILA Water Co. chief operating officer Geodino Carpio has resigned from his post, according to the agency’s communication manager bared on Tuesday. Dittie Galang, Manila Water’s communications planning and tactical development manager, told Dobol B sa News TV, beamed nationwide, that they had sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission that his resignation had been accepted. Meanwhile, West Zone Maynilad Water Services Inc. on Tuesday advised customers to store water safely for the Holy Week water interruption. The concessionaire said the water supply interruption would be caused by its network enhancement activities to ensure that all facilities were in good working condition. The activities include facility maintenance works, pipe decommissioning, pipe interconnections, and valve replacements at various points of its water network, as well as some leak detection and repairs. Maynilad usually conducts maintenance works during the Holy Week, when fewer customers are expected to be home, thus lessening the impact of service interruptions on water consumers. Such would cause five-hour to 30hour water service interruptions in some parts in the cities of Manila, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon, Parañaque, Pasay and Las Piñas in Metro Manila, and Bacoor in Cavite from Holy Tuesday (April 16) to Black Saturday (April 20). To ensure that affected customers have enough safe water during the scheduled interruption, Maynilad told customers to store water in containers that have covers. Galang said the Manila Water’s Board of Directors already assigned an officer-in-charge, Abelardo Basilio, following Carpio’s resignation. Rio Araja

Lawyer clarifies statement By Joel E. Zurbano LAWYER Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang, the whistleblower in the alleged 1.6 tons of smuggled shabu in the Bureau of Customs last year, on Tuesday clarified she did not say that the country’s worst administration was the Duterte administration. Mangaoang made the clarification after a certain Nepthalie R. Gonzales posted on social media quoting her as saying such statement. “My attention was called by friends that a certain Nepthalie R. Gonzales quoted me as saying that the worst administration is the Duterte administration. First of all, I did not make that statement in any occasion. Secondly, I do not know Nepthalie R. Gonzales and I do not recall having met her or talked to her. So quoting me has no basis at all,” she said. Mangaoang, who served as Customs deputy collector for operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Port of Manila, said in August until November 2018, there were hearings conducted by both Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and House of RepresentativesDangerous Drugs Committee on the shabu smuggling through BOC. “I testified that the magnetic lifters contained the shabu and that the x-ray images clearly show that something was concealed in the magnetic lifters,” said Mangaoang, who was also the chief of the X-ray Scanning Project during the time of Commissioner Napoleon Morales. Mangaoang said both hearings concluded that the magnetic lifters were used by the syndicate to smuggle the P11 billion worth of shabu as it was shown by physical, documentary and testimonial evidences.

Unenrolled pre-school children face inequalities HIGH numbers of young children who are not enrolled in pre-school are at risk of facing deep inequalities from early in life, according to Unicef’s first ever global report on early childhood education. The report highlights a lack of investment in pre-primary education by majority of governments worldwide. On the other hand, children enrolled in at least one year of pre-primary education are more likely to develop the critical skills they need to succeed in school, Unicef said in a press statement. The report entitled “A World Ready to Learn: Prioritizing quality early childhood education,” revealed that children with access to pre-school are also less likely to repeat grades or drop out of school. Hence, they are more able to contribute to peaceful and prosperous societies and economies when they reach adulthood.

“Students who attended pre-school tionship between pre-school and cognibefore starting kindergarten continued tive performance can be observed for at to demonstrate higher performance in least the first two years of schooling,” literacy, mathematics and social and Rees adds. Only 20 percent of 3-4-year-old Filipiemotional development in elementary school,” said Julia Rees, Unicef repre- no children were enrolled in pre-school in sentative a.i., citing Unicef Philippines’ 2009. Parents believed that their children ongoing longitudinal study on early child- were too young to go to school and that hood care and development which echoes centers are too far from their homes. Enfindings from the global report. rollment percentage has since doubled to Across the globe, children with pre- 42 percent in 2013 but while this is a sigprimary education are more than twice as nificant improvement, enrollment needs MAGENTA likely to be on track in early literacyCYAN and to increase toYELLOW ensure thatBLACK every Filipino numeracy skills than those missing out on child gets an early start in education. early learning, it said in its statement. Meanwhile, the rate of enrollment in In countries where more children at- kindergarten for all children increased to tend pre-primary programs, significantly 79 percent in 2014 compared to 57 permore children complete primary school cent in 2010. The rise is likely due to the implemenand attain minimum competencies in both reading and math by the time they tation of the Universal Kindergarten Act of 2012 mandating compulsory and free finish primary school. “This suggests that the positive rela- kindergarten education.




Cignal bags 1 -ever The Nationals title T st

HE Cignal Ultra Warriors delivered what was expected of them. as the heavy favorites bagged the first-ever conference of The Nationals after beating the Suha-Execration Punishers in the Dota 2 best-of-five finals series, 3-2, last Sunday at the Gariath Concepts in Eastwood City, Libis.

Members of the Cignal Ultra Warriors receive the prize after winning the Dota 2 Finals of The Nationals last Sunday. Shown here are (from left) team manager Jeffrey Lansangan, team owner Auggie Cadua, players Fernando ‘Nando’ Mendoza, Jomari ‘Grimz’ Aniz, Pio Emeterio, Erice Guerra and Van Jerico Manalaysay, and coach John Jerick Paulo. (The Nationals)

Cignal entered the championship round as the favorites after it obtained an automatic berth with its league-best 13-3 record in the group stage of the first professional esports tournament. Their skill was on full display after winning a convincing Game 1 in the finals. Though the Punishers put their foot on the pedal as they racked up back-to-back wins, including a 27-minute stomp in Game 2, the Ultra Warriors stepped up and won the final two games of the conference with a strong, push-oriented lineup of Beastmaster, Pugna, Jakiro, Dazzle and Sven in the final game. Prior to their finals showdown, the Punishers eliminated PLDT-Smart Omega in a best-of-three semifinal that also went the distance. Overall, Suha-Execration played a total of eight games on the playoff day. With the victory, the Warriors won the top prize money of P400,000 for the three-week tourna-

ment, while the Punishers and second runner-up Omega got P200,000 and P100,000, respectively. Cignal’s Fernando “Nando” Mendoza was named Best Player of the finals series, finishing with an average of 9.4 kills, 6 assists, and 650 GPM per game. The Nationals is the country’s premier esports league, and that the recently concluded Dota 2 conference is just one of the six conferences that will happen in the competition’s inaugural year. The next Dota 2 conference will start on 1 May. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Tekken 7, two of the country’s biggest games on mobile and console, will also host two conferences each later this year. Follow The Nationals through its social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at PHNationals. It also aired on 5Plus via ESPN5 and One Sports and eGG Network via CignalTV.

SMBeermen in full control By Jeric Lopez

TWO more wins. That’s all it takes for San Miguel Beer to once again make a return trip to the finals in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup. Peaking at the right time, the Beermen have found themselves in a good position to get back in the big stage and shoot for an unprecedented fifth straight All-Filipino crown. With its championship form in full display thus far this semifinals, San Miguel carved out a commanding 2-0 lead against top seed Phoenix in their best-of-seven clash. Led by sniper Marcio Lassiter, who scored a game-high 24 points, the Beermen took the pivotal Game 2, 92-82, last Monday night after trailing by 12 points in the first half. When asked how San Miguel can continue its early success in the series to march on back to the finals, Lassiter had a very simple but sensible answer. “We just have to continue playing the San Miguel brand of basketball the rest of the way,” said Lassiter. The Beermen and the Fuel Masters are bound to have several days’ off before plunging back to action. Phoenix is looking to make the most of it and regroup as it faces a must-win situation in Game 3. Game 3 is slated on Easter Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Olongapo hosts Fide chess meet

OLONGAPO City will host the Invitational FIDE Age Group Standard Chess Tournament from May 10-12 at the Gordon College of East Tapinac Oval Sports Complex with hopes of giving young Filipino woodpushers a chance to gain FIDE rating points. Open to all Filipino chessers aged 20 years old and below, the three-day tournament will use the nine-round Swiss System format and will stake a total cash pot worth P35,000 plus the FIDE rating points to all participants. The event is divided into three categories—12-and-under (2007 cutoff year), 16-and-under (2003) and the premier 20-and-under (1999). For inquiries, contact Joel Villanueva of the City Sports and Youth Development Office at 0950-9060341 or send message to his facebook or email account

COCOLIFE TIGERS. The Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup Southern Division champions Davao Cocolife Tigers are

presented at the Cocolife Admin Bldg. in Makati City. The team, owned by Claudine Bautista (center) of Davao Occidental LGU and backed by Cocolife president Atty. Jose Martin Loon, FVP Joseph Ronquillo and AVP Rowena Asnan, is shown with Operating Special Assistant Anthony Arbis, Group Marketing VP France Jose Araque, and Marketing’s Ruthie Aluad, management, coaching staffs and players. The Tigers are currently tied (1-1) with Northern Division titlist San Juan in their best-of-5 national finals’ series of the league organized by Senator Manny Pacquiao.

World Slasher Cup 2 at discounted ticket prices JOIN world-class cockers and breeders in a display of the best and fiercest of breeds and bloodlines in the highly anticipated return ofthe 2019 World Slasher Cup 2 from May 27 to June 2. As a treat to fans, the WSC Derby Office is giving sabong aficionados two chances for them to catch the fights at the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum for less. For the WSC 2 in May, audiences may avail of discounted ticket prices under the following promos: The Early Bird promo gives sabong fans a 10% discount when they buy their tickets from April 8 to 30, 2019. The P1,800 Patron tickets will only cost P1,620; and the P1,200 Upper Box Tickets will only cost P1,080. The Loyalty promo, meanwhile, gives a huge discount to bulk buyers of tickets to all fight dates from May 27 to June 2 (with a one-day break on June 1). Fans can buy Patron tickets for all fight dates at a discount for only only P9,000 (from P10,800); and Upper Box tickets at a discounted price of only P6,000 (from P7,200). Tickets are now available at the Ticketnet box office, beside the Yellow Gate of the Smart Araneta Coliseum; or via Last February, American (Cris Copas of Kentucky) and his partner from Mindanao (former WSC champ Claude Bautista of the CPB group) snagged the solo championship at the World Slasher Cup

The huge crowd during the 2019 WSC 1 Grand Finals last February at the Smart Araneta Coliseum

first edition. Fielding their fiercest Kelsos, Roundheads and Sweaters, their entry scored a perfect 9-0 card for the win. Following closely behind were Team Alcala with 8 points for their Birthday Gift 1 and 2 entries; as well as Belle Almojera of Florida, and Santi Sierra of Cebu with 7.5 points. Those who finished with 7 points were former champs Nene Araneta, Biboy Enriquez, and 7-time WSC champ and cockfight idol Patrick Antonio; and WSC loyals Jomel Gatlabayan and RGBA Friends, Jimmy Junsay, Doc Marvin Rocafort, and Cris/Paolo Mercado. Cockfighting aficionados from abroad

also tried their luck, among them Marty Bentley and Brett McCormick from Ohio who competed for the first time last January with their Roundhead Albany Crosses and Kelsos. Tim Fitzgerald from Utah, who has been coming to the WSC for 11 years and competed 7 times already with his Toppy Hatch breeds, said, “We have good roosters in the States, too, but the birds here are among the top.” Sabong enthusiasts are hoping 2018 WSC 2 champs Rey Briones and Rod Advincula (Greengold Uno entry) would join this year and defend their title.

Correct strides, yoga and pound workout for athletes LOCKER ROOM RANDY CALUAG IT’S that time of the year again when most families go out of town for various reasons—health, vacation and meditation. For health enthusiasts and true-blue athletes, this is the best time to try different health and training platforms. In a recent trip to Balesin in Polilio Island in Quezon, this Locker Room beater got a taste of what an alternative training should be. Joining the Balesin Fitness Camp, through the kindness of One of a Kind Marketing’s husband-and-wife tandem Allan and Christine Majadillas, was a refreshing treat and an eye-opener for me. That it’s not too late to get fit even if I’m going 50 and there are a lot of fun ways to

train and enjoy getting fit. Enough of the conventional. Run if you can I thought there was really a scientific way to run. Well, yes and no. On our first day in the island, Elite triathlon coaches Dan Brown and Ani De Leon-Brown gave us drills to highlight proper breathing, correct posture and stride. This is the same drill done by our national athletes in running and triathlons. But what intrigued me, and enlightened me at the same time, was that Filipinos— for their short sizes—should run flat on their feet. Runners from Africa and the America, for their long limbs, should be more bouncy on their feet. One of the most effective flat runners is Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi of Japan. (Kawauchi was set to defend his title.) Kawauchi’s proper style has thrusted him to victory in 2018 against the best from Kenya, like five-time titlist Wesley Korir and Geofrey Kirui, the world champion and

2017 Boston King, respectively. Coaches Dan and Ani stressed that Asians, or Filipinos for that matter, should run the way Yuki does, if we want to be world-class. That’s why Mary Joy Tabal is in good hands when she decided to train for her marathon event in the SEA Games and for her ultimate goal of a second Olympic appearance in 2020 Tokyo. Yoga as a form of recovery This is rarely practiced by national athletes. After a tiring, training day, a short Yoga session is beneficial for recovery of an athlete’s mind and body. This was what we experienced from TriFactor Ambassador Elle Ada, who recently placed 2nd in the TriFactor Asian series in Vietnam. The Fil-American triathlete led a sunset Yoga at Balesin Spa’s pool area. She said it helps one’s mind to relax and stay focused on his/her goals. It gives an athlete better sleep for his muscle cells to recover. I did get a Nirvana of a

sleep on that night. Pound per pound Hand and eye coordination is very important for an athlete. Every punch in combat, every forehand attack in tennis, every hit using a baseball bat is a combination of numbers perfected after long, repeated drills. Fitness advocate Marge Camacho engaged our group in what was called Pound Fitness Rockout Workout. Using a pair of hard plastic drum sticks that we constantly pounded on the floor, we had to follow musical choreography, beginning with a slow beat that got faster and faster until some lost their rhythm. This exercise separates the weak pretenders from the one gifted with natural athleticism. Marge said constant practice with Pound Workout will develop one’s rhythm. Learn more about alternative training system with MMA star Mark Striegl and beach volleybelle Bea Tan here on Locker Room. #MSSportsLockerRoom

Van der Valk

Dutch surges ahead with 7-under 65 TARLAC—Guido Van der Valk scorched Luisita’s tough backside with a solid 31 and finished with a seven-under 65, moving from joint 21st to the top of the heap even as Juvic Pagunsan fired a bogey-free 69 to wheel back into contention halfway through the ICTSI Luisita Championship at the Luisita Golf and Country Club here yesterday. The Manila-based Dutchman actually sparked his late charge with a three-birdie string from No. 9 and knocked down three more in the last four to shoulder himself past a slew of rivals and into the lead at seven-under 137 with two rounds left in the $100,000 event kicking off the third season of the Philippine Golf Tour Asia put up by ICTSI. “Overall, my game was near-perfect. Played pretty well sans the wind although the pin placements were difficult,” said Van der Valk, who missed just two fairways and one green while anchoring his exploits with 28 putts. That put the 39-year-old shotmaker from Lelystad, the Netherlands 36 holes away from duplicating his breakthrough win in the first leg of the 2018 PGT circuit at Eagle Ridge that ended years of near-misses in the local circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. Aiming to just put himself back into contention after a so-so 72 Monday, Van der Valk birdied two of the first five holes, stumbled with a bogey on the next but got going again with that birdie from short range on the ninth. First round leader Thai Namchok Tantipokhakul slowed down with a 71 after a 67 and slipped to joint second at 138 Finland’s Teemu Putkonen, who turned in a 68, while Jay Bayron hit a late birdie to card a 70 and stood another shot back at 139 with Thai Kammalas Namuangruk, who made a 69. Putkonen actually surged ahead at eight-under overall on a four-birdie splurge in the first five holes in his closing frontside but double-bogeyed the par-3 sixth and dropped to joint second instead. Japanese Keita Sudo earlier carded a second straight 70 while Choo Tze Huang of Singapore shot a 71 for joint sixth at 140 with Natthapong Niyomchon (71) while Pagunsan made his move with a 69 to wrest solo ninth at 141, just four strokes behind. The smooth-swinging Pagunsan, out to atone for his missed cut stint in the Philippine Open two weeks ago, proved awesome off the mound, hitting all but one fairway while saving three pars to preserve a flawless round.

Busy 2019... From A8

Under Lhuillier’s tutelage, both national teams have improved their skills—thanks to the continuous training, exposure to tournaments and material support made available by the sports patron. On top of the upcoming tournaments, ASAPHIL has begun its grassroots program reaching out to local softball teams of all ages across the country in order to discover, train and retain the next line of future softball superstars. Lhuillier also opened the tryouts to the Blu Girls to foreign-born players of Philippine descent, giving them the opportunity to represent the Philippines in the global stage. The move proved to be a smart one, as this led to the discovery of outstanding talents playing in division 1 schools in the United States, donning the Philippine colors and making the country proud following the resurgence of the Blu Girls in the international arena. ASAPHIL’s commitment to resurrect softball in the Philippines did not go unnoticed by the international community. Late last year, Lhuillier was named as vice president for Softball Asia, the continental governing body for softball in the region tasked to further grow and advance the sport in the region.

Riera U. Mallari, Editor Reuel Vidal, Assistant Editor




Tingog lauds 1st college tilt in East Visayas

Officials and players from Eastern Visayas State University, the winning team during the basketball tournament, are shown with Eastern Visayas Collegiate Athletic Association Commissioner Julius Ross Lacaba (front, right) and Tingog party-list officials, led by its President Glenn Capucion (front, 3rd from right) and Second Nominee Jude Acidre (front, left).

Clippers stun Dubs, tie series, 1-1 L

OS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Clippers delivered the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history Monday, rallying from a 31-point deficit for a shocking 135131 win over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. Lou Williams scored 36 points and Montrezl Harrell nailed a couple of clutch late free throws as the Clippers surprised even themselves to square the first round playoff series at 1-1. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he told his players at halftime, when they were down by 23 points, to not give up. “I said ‘We are going to win this game.’ I was honest with them. I said, ‘I don’t know how. Just hang in there with each other,’” Rivers said. “This is who we are. We hung in there long enough. We found a way to win the game.” Williams also had 11 assists, going 13of-22 from the field and eight-of-10 from the free throw line. Game three is Thursday in Los Angeles.

The stretch drive featured the Clippers’ consistent mid-range game against the Warriors’ inconsistent three-point shooting. But fouls and injuries also worked against the Warriors in game two of the first round series. Warriors coach Steve Kerr described it as an epic meltdown. “Once you lose momentum in a game, it is hard to get it back,” said Kerr. “We lost this game in the middle of the third quarter when we stopped playing. “We got up by 31 and we shut down. We got exactly what we deserved.” The Clippers topped the Los Angeles Lakers’ rally from a 29-point deficit to beat the Seattle Supersonics in 1989. The Clippers also came back from being 27 points down in a playoff win over

the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012. “We changed a couple things offensively and defensively on the fly in the third,” Rivers said. “And it worked out for us.” The Warriors got more bad news after the game when they learned centre DeMarcus Cousins suffered a serious injury. Cousins injured his left quad in the first quarter and is expected to have an MRI scan done on it on Tuesday. “It is a significant quad injury,” said Kerr without going into detail. “We will get an MRI done tomorrow. He is going to be out a while. It is significant.” Williams drained a key jump shot over Klay Thompson with 46 seconds remaining after Curry had put the Warriors ahead 131-128 on a three-pointer 12 seconds earlier. After Klay Thompson missed a shot from beyond the arc, Clippers Landry Shamet hit a three pointer with 16 seconds left for the game winner. Harrell sank two free throws with five seconds

Lou Williams

left to cap the scoring. ‘We need everybody’ Elsewhere, Ben Simmons heard cheers instead of jeers Monday as the Philadelphia 76ers set a franchise record with 51 points in the third quarter en route to a 145-123 playoff win over the Brooklyn Nets. AFP

TINGOG party-list was all praises for the Eastern Visayas Collegiate Athletic Association after it successfully concluded its first intercollegiate basketball tournament in Eastern Visayas. “When I first pitched the idea of an intercollegiate basketball tournament for Eastern Visayas, I never thought that EVCAA was going to be such a big success. A semesterlong collegiate league, played on a home-and-away format, with live TV, radio and live streaming coverage has simply never been done before at the regional level,” said Jude Acidre, second nominee of Tingog. “But we dreamed big. I was far from being a sports aficionado, that’s why we asked got a very passionate commissioner Julius Ross Abuda Lacaba. Just in time for the three weeks notice, he readily resigned from his day job, accepted a pay cut and took on the demanding task of managing the league. We got the prospective teams together. In the end, eight made it to the final cut,” he added. While Acidre said that there were challenges along the way, he remained thankful to university officials, sports coordinators and varsity coaches, particularly to university presidents Dr. Jude Duarte and Dr. Dominador Aguirre. Also, he expressed gratitude to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the country’s top basketball organization, for “a professional and well-officiated league.” “Special mention to incumbent Leyte First District Representative Yedda Romualdez, former Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Tingog party-list, led by its president Glenn Capucion for making our dream their own. EVCAA would never the success it became, without their support and encouragement,” Acidre said. According to Acidre, EVCAA is more than just about the sport. “When we first conceptualized it, the goal was to improve the institutional profile of our state colleges and university, increase their competitiveness, bring the alumni community together and to give our young students a chance to experience winning. Today, we had basketball champions. Hopefully, tomorrow’s champions in life,” he said.

Miranda shines in TCR Asia debut DANIEL Miranda marked his TCR Asia Series debut in impressive fashion, churning out a strong runner-up finish overall in the kickoff leg of the circuit while claiming the top Asian driver honors at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia recently. The Cebuano ace driver bucked an early struggle with setup and electrical issues on the No. 20 Hyundai i30 N TCR of Eurasia Motorsport in the qualifying with a strong start in the opening lap, holding sway throughout the grueling 11-stage event, which included a Safety Car period, while emerging the second best fro among the Asian bidders. “This is my first race in TCR Series Asia and it has been quite a learning experience,” said Miranda, who settled for No. 5 in the QTT1 elims and No. 9 in the QTT2 out of a 15-car grid. With his car setup sorted and a front row start, the 22-year-old ace stormed to the lead on the run to the first turn in Race 2, but eventually yielded to Diego Moran of Ecuador on Lap 5. He failed to strike back but his second overall effort proved enough to clinch the top Asian driver title against his more experienced rivals who had vied in the WTCR, WTCC (World Touring Car Championships) and TCR. “I’m very happy with my podium finish and

Daniel Miranda (left) proves his worth with a second overall finish in his first TCR Asia Series stint.

definitely looking forward to the next round in Zhuhai,” said Miranda, who also thanked his team, family and Cebuana Lhuillier for their all-out support. Cebuana Lhuillier president/CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier said the company is proud to back a top athlete like Miranda, adding: “His strong finish in his very first race is a testament of his talent and determination. We are honored to be in his team and we look forward to his succeeding races.”

Busy 2019 for PH softball IT will be a busy 2019 for the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines as the organization gears up for three major tournaments that will test the mettle of the country’s national softball teams, the PH Blu Girls and Boys. Particularly in the spotlight is the women’s national softball team, commonly known as the Blu Girls, who will continue their quest for a spot at the ASAPHIL President Jean Henri Lhuillier is shown doing the Cebuana Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Lhuillier pose with the RP Blu Girls during a recent courtesy call. The girls are slated to see action at the Women’s Softball Asia Cup on from May 1 to 7 in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the top six teams will move on to the Asia-Oceania Softball Olympic Qualifier in Shanghai, China. Meanwhile, the men’s national team, fresh from a stellar 2018 season, is one of the formidable contenders for the Men’s World Championships slated in June. By end of the year, both teams will see action as the Philippines host the South East Asian Games. ASAPHIL president Jean Henri Lhuillier remains confident on the skills of both teams. “For the past two years, both the Blu Girls and Blu Boys have grown tremendously —proving the world that the Philippines can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most powerful softball teams,” he said. Turn to A7

IN BRIEF Neda says rice fund to modernize farms

THE National Economic and Development Authority said the bulk of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund will be used to modernize rice farms and support the government’s goal of increasing the sector’s productivity. Republic Act 11203 mandates the establishment of RCEF, which guarantees the rice sector P10 billion in financial support annually for the next six years beginning 2019. According to the law’s implementing rules and regulations recently signed by Neda, the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Agriculture, half of the Rice Fund amounting to P5 billion annually would be used to procure rice farm equipment by the government through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization. Equipment such as tillers, tractors, seeders, threshers, rice planters, harvesters, and irrigation pumps will be given as a grant-in-kind, primarily to eligible farmers, rice farmer associations and registered rice cooperatives. Julito G. Rada

Phoenix to benefit from CNOOC Gas

PHOENIX Petroleum Philippines Inc. said Tuesday technological innovations gained from CNOOC Gas and Power Group Co. Ltd.’s liquefied natural gas projects in China will help facilitate the development of the country’s own LNG hub. “The development of the Tanglawan Project will be grounded on mature and technological competence,” said Phoenix senior vice president for external affairs Raymond Zorrilla. Representatives from the oil company and PNOC recently visited the CNOOC LNG terminal in Tianjin, China to inspect the possible model facility of Tanglawan Philippine LNG Inc. after Phoenix, CNOOC G&P and state-run Philippine National Oil Co. signed an agreement last month. “CNOOC has built nine regas terminals and threemore will be commissioned soon. They have won international awards for technological innovations. Both Phoenix and PNOC appreciated the extent and depth of knowledge of CNOOC and the credibility they bring when it comes to constructing and operating LNG terminals and developing the LNG market,” said Zorrilla. Alena Mae S. Flores


Amaia to build mid-rise project in Quezon City AMAIA Land Inc., a subsidiary of Ayala Land Inc., said it will start the construction of a new residential project in Quezon City in the second quarter of 2019. Raizel Matibag, senior project development manager of Amaia Land, said a new mid-rise condominium would be built on a 1.7-hectare land in the high-density vicinity of Quirino Highway and Tandang Sora Ave. where progress is accelerating at an incredible pace due to the construction of Metro Rail Transit Line 7 and the proposed development of Metro Manila Subway. Matibag said the new development would rise near shopping malls, universities, hospitals, government offices and Quezon City’s entertainment and restaurant strip. The soon-to-rise building will have nine floors featuring one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units with floor areas ranging from 24 square meters to 46 square meters. Amenities will include a swimming pool, a basketball court and a function room for business meetings and social events. Matibag said the new project would have 208 residential units, with a preselling rate of P2 million. She said Amaia continues to offer homeowners affordable and sustainable developments that aim to elevate the Filipino living experience in a well-served environment. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2019


DoF backs veto of P95-b projects By Julito G. Rada


INANCE Secretary Carlos Dominguez III expressed full support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to veto P95.3 billion worth of appropriations for public works outside the programmed priorities of the national budget.

“The FY 2019 has just been signed with the line item veto in the total amount of P95 billion under DPWH covering projects that are not included in the programmed priorities,” Dominguez said in a message to reporters Tuesday. “We fully support the president in his desire to focus national expenditure on projects and activities that redound to the benefit of all Filipinos and stimulate the growth of the economy, providing jobs and income opportunity for the least advantaged,” Dominguez said. Duterte affixed his signature on the P3.7-trillion national budget for 2019, according to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. The Office of the President received a copy of the 2019 General Appropriations Act on March 26,

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III

as Congress broke the months-long impasse between the Senate and the House of Representatives. Duterte then spent almost three weeks reviewing the budget with his legal team, even warning the public that he would veto the spending bill in its entirety if his legal team found irregularities. The Senate previously submitted an enrolled copy of the proposed P3.757trillion 2019 national budget to the Office of the President. Senate President Vicente Sotto III, however, attached a letter citing his “strong reservations” about P75 billion worth of public works projects,

recommending that the president veto the unconstitutional provisions. House committee on appropriations chairperson Rolando Andaya Jr. hit back at the Senate, saying it “sabotaged” the government when it unilaterally decided to cut at least P83.7 billion allocation for the Duterte administration’s megainfrastructure program and other priority programs. Malacañang has yet to officially release the president’s veto message on the P95.3 billion worth of DPWH projects. The interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee reduced its growth forecast for the Philippines this year to a range of 6 percent to 7 percent from the previous target of 7 percent to 8 percent, taking into account the delay in the approval of the national budget and external risks including the lingering trade war between the US and China. Growth target was set at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent for 2020 and 7 percent to 8 percent for 2021 to 2022. According to estimates of the National Economic and Development Authority, a reenacted budget until April 2019 would bring down fullyear GDP growth to 6.1 percent to 6.3 percent.

Nissan’s PH auto sales surge by 58%

NISSAN Philippines Inc. said sales in year ending March 2019 jumped 58.5 percent to 40,408 units, propelling it to third place in the industry, up from sixth in the previous year. “Nissan’s achievements come from putting the customer at the heart of everything we do, and transforming the way people drive and live in the Philippines,” said new Nissan president and managing director Atsushi Najima. Nissan now holds a 11.3-percent market share among members of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the PhilippinesCAMPI members, up from 6.1 percent. Nissan’s sales were the highest for the Japanese automaker in the Philippines since 2017. The Nissan Navara drove the sales record for Nissan, accounting for 47.4 percent of the total and becoming one of the pick-up segment’s top-selling models. The Nissan Terra already contributed 16.3 percent of the total sales since the brand started selling the M-SUV in August. Other models that performed well included the Nissan Urvan and Nissan Almera, contributing 16.9 percent and 14.9 percent of the total sales, respectively. Othel V. Campos

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

BSP BRIEFING. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas hosts a briefing on customer centricity, the first in a series of activities aimed to generate greater awareness and encourage financial institutions to put consumer welfare at the core of their business practices. Leading the briefing are (from left) BSP acting deputy director Rochelle Tomas, BSP managing director Mary Jane Chiong, ING head of retail banking Mohamed Keraine, ING senior consultant Consuelo Garcia, ING compliance officer Daisy Posadas and ING country manager Hans Sicat.

ING expects inflation to settle within target range this year AN ECONOMIST of ING Bank Manila said the inflation rate is expected to settle within the official target range of 2 percent to 4 percent this year if the government will ensure stable food supply. ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said the 2018 inflation―which averaged 5.2 percent―appeared to have been driven in large part by the 9.7-percent food inflation seen in September last year. “Given that the food basket is roughly 34 percent of headline inflation, we can expect that for as long as we keep our supply chains for food stable, the Philippines will have a fighting chance to keep inflation in check,” Mapa said.

“For as long as the national government can ensure stable food supply by way of timely importation and improved crop production, we’ll have a fighting chance to keep cost-push inflation in check,” he said. Inflation peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October but eased to 6 percent in November and 5.1 percent in December as the immediate measures implemented by the government to curb rising prices took effect. Inflation further eased to 4.4 percent in January 2019, 3.8 percent in February and to a 15-month low of 3.3 percent in March, bringing the first-quarter average to 3.8 percent, within the target range.

The policy-making Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas kept the benchmark interest rate steady at 4.75 percent on March 21, amid the slowdown in the inflation rate. The board chaired by BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said inflation pressures eased further, reflecting mainly the decline in food prices amid improved supply conditions. The board reduced the inflation target this year to 3 percent from the previous estimate of 3.1 percent. Its forecast for 2020 was kept at 3 percent. The BSP has raised a total of 175 basis points in the benchmark interest rate in 2018 in a bid to curb the rising inflation. Julito G. Rada

Aboitiz opens 170-MW power plant in Cebu By Alena Mae S. Flores ABOITIZ Power Corp. subsidiary Therma Visayas Inc. opened a new coal-fired power plant in Toledo City, Cebu that will add 170 megawatts of supply in Visayas. The company said the second unit of the Toledo baseload power project would be online by May to add another 170 MW. It said at full capacity, the 340MW project would boost power supply in the Visayas and Luzon if needed. The facility is a joint venture of Aboitiz Power and Vivant Corp. “We are happy to have brought Therma Visayas online just in time to support the government’s call for more reliable energy supply as we head towards the mid-term elections,” Danel Aboitiz, president and chief operating officer of Aboitiz Power’s coal business unit, said. The plant will deliver power to Visayan Electric Co. Inc. and electric cooperatives and open access customers in Luzon and the Visayas. Customers with energy supply contracts enjoy stable prices in the long term and are essentially protected from the volatility of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. “By having a reliable baseload plant on the island of Cebu, the residents and investors on the island will enjoy a number of economic and strategic benefits that include increased energy security, more competitive prices, and local employment,” Aboitiz said. The Toledo baseload power plant is using the latest circulating fluidized-bed technology and best available control technologyto minimize emissions to world-class levels. It is the second plant in the Philippines to build a “coal dome” to safely store its coal fuel and prevent fugitive dust outside the facility. The plant started construction in 2015, and at its peak, employed around 5,800 people, most of whom came from the host locality. Aboitiz Power said the first unit of GNPower Dinginin coal-fired power plant with 668-MW gross capacity was also expected to go online later this year, while the second unit, which also has a gross capacity of 668 MW, was targeted for commercial operations by 2020. Once operational, these facilities will boost Aboitiz Power’s capacity and help address the country’s rapidly increasing demand for reliable and cost-efficient power. Aboitiz Power is the holding company of the Aboitiz Group’s investments in power generation, distribution and retail electricity services. It advances business and communities by providing reliable and ample power supply at a reasonable and competitive price and with the least adverse effects on the environment and host communities.

March car sales rebounded 14% to 32,173 units By Othel V. Campos VEHICLE sales rebounded 14 percent in March, putting the industry on the path of recovery this year, two industry groups said Tuesday. The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc. and the Truck Manufacturers Association Inc. said in a joint report their members sold 32,173 units in March, up from 28,216 units delivered a year ago. “The double-digit growth during the month of March compared to the same month last year is a strong indication that the automotive industry is well on its way to recovery. We are optimistic that this trend will be sustained in the coming months,” Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said in a statement.

Data showed that despite the strong March sales, total deliveries in the first quarter dropped 0.8 percent to 84,388 units from 86,037 units in the same period in 2018. Passenger car sales fell 9.5 percent in the three-month period to 26,172 units from 28,907 units in the same period last year while commercial vehicle sales rose 3.7 percent to 59,216 units from 57,130 units. Toyota Motor Philippines kept its position as the market leader with a 39.3-percent share of total sales. It was followed by Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. with 18.9 percent and Nissan Philippines Inc. with 13.16 percent. Honda Cars Philippines Inc. ranked fourth with a market share of 7.5 percent while Ford Motor Company Philippines Inc. was fifth with 6.51 percent.

COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER. University of Manila president Dr. Emily Dodson De Leon (center) awards the Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial Medallion of Honor and Scroll of Commendation to Agapito ‘Joe’ Zaldarriaga, assistant vice president and head of public information office-corporate communications of Manila Electric Company, at the 104th commencement exercises of the university for his continued and undying service to both the country and the Filipino people.




Stocks climb on bargain-hunting T HE stock market rose on bargain-hunting Tuesday, boosted by the signing Monday of the P3.37-trillion national budget for 2019 by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index gained 38.48 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,826.46 on a value turnover of P7.1 billion. Gainers beat losers, 107 to 85, with 42 issues unchanged. PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, climbed 3 percent to P1,1095, while Semirara Mining and Power Corp. advanced 2.7 percent to P24.50. SM Prime Holdings Inc. of the Sy Group rose 2.4 percent P39.90, while major property developer Ayala Land

Inc. added 1.1 percent to P47.30. The rest of Asian markets climbed Tuesday after a slow start to the day, as investors brushed off a weak lead from Wall Street while looking ahead for the release of Chinese growth data. With few catalysts to drive business, regional equities at first struggled for traction but picked up as the day wore on—resuming an uptrend that has characterized the year. Focus turns now to China’s growth figures, which come after a number of upbeat readings on the world’s number two economy—including factory activity, inflation, new loans and trade—that have given some cause for optimism. High-level talks between China and the United States aimed at ending their long-running trade war are also being closely followed, with most observers optimistic they would reach a deal. Both sides have sounded positive, and

expectations for a deal have been a key driver of a rally in global markets this year and in offsetting worries about the outlook for the world economy. “The data from both China and the US has been consistently upbeat of late, suggesting things may not get as bad as the doomsayers are proclaiming,” said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley. “That said, without sounding like a broken record, a resolution of the USChina trade issues must occur before a more complete picture of what 2019 holds for the global economy can be built.” Traders are also keeping tabs on trade talks between Japan and the United States in Washington. Hong Kong rose 1.1 percent, while Shanghai ended more than two percent higher—boosted by a rise in property prices—and Tokyo was up 0.2 percent. Sydney gained 0.4 percent, Singapore

added 0.2 percent, Seoul rose 0.3 percent and Taipei jumped 0.6 percent. Wellington, Mumbai and Jakarta were also well up. Traders in New York provided a weak lead after Wall Street majors Goldman Sachs and Citigroup disappointed, offsetting a healthy report from peer JP Morgan last week and causing some concern as earnings season kicks into gear. “Obviously the markets are not expecting too much and a lot of good news are already priced in, so it makes sense for the market to take a pause,” Isabelle Mateos y Lago, a strategist at BlackRock, told Bloomberg TV. Oil prices extended Monday’s losses, having enjoyed a surge of more than 30 percent this year, thanks to hopes for the China-US talks, an output cut by Opec and Russia, sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and brewing unrest in Libya. With AFP




FINANCIALS 58.65 5,190 81.2 2,746,190 2.22 165,000 130 1,354,280 26.85 96,800 18.88 7,100 11.56 750,100 4.64 230,000 0.61 13,000 0.45 20,000 76.95 1,038,810 0.9 1,144,000 13.6 251,000 21.9 635,700 50.8 1,655,820 179 3,050 110.1 30 57.65 2,130 25.85 7,800 178 129,170 1,800 390 61 21,160 1.13 10,000

304,385.50 222,866,424.50 365,270 176,852,945 2,593,545 132,364 8,732,488 1,050,990 7,930 9,000 80,143,412.50 1,024,900 3,416,600 13,921,945 85,384,032.50 549,219 3,303 123,209.50 202,605 23,009,811 702,000 1,305,610 11,300

294,415 10,191,392.50 -44,539,875 -106,975 276,954.00 -18,658,603.50 -200,200 -7,277,436.50 10,472 -140,505 9,376,049 -184,824 -

INDUSTRIAL 35.95 767,500 16.5 405,700 0.99 15,046,000 1.4 696,000 0.246 1,280,000 1.83 11,794,000 15.78 2,850,900 28.85 35,800 15.9 3,000 46.3 500 1.93 307,000 5.25 5,300 5.9 7,100 11.58 607,300 15.86 3,951,200 9.42 1,482,700 7.35 4,800 1.68 2,000 22.1 2,674,200 80.1 21,740 30 4,900 2.88 17,124,000 11.18 4,224,600 12.58 880,300 1.82 305,000 306 781,860 3.84 2,000 3.7 25,000 10.68 700 23.45 754,100 15.04 801,300 21.05 505,900 373.6 189,260 0.19 1,430,000 1.25 4,730,000 4.55 90,000 6.47 1,581,900 1.51 140,402,000 12 160,200 46 795,000 5.2 363,400 4.8 92,000 1.71 311,000 2.18 433,000 1.35 98,000 13 474,500 112 339,240 7.15 359,800 1.01 1,085,000 152.5 530,680 1.52 14,561,000 1.18 1,886,000

27,584,385 6,708,694 15,178,610 968,450 312,810 21,385,630 44,943,774 1,046,950 47,700 23,150 592,370 27,825 41,890 7,032,298 63,188,372 13,927,049 35,128 3,360 59,096,270 1,747,595 144,275 48,729,190 47,636,386 11,060,642 551,360 240,388,716 7,680 91,400 7,238 17,637,125 11,987,658 10,666,640 71,156,942 271,700 5,824,430 403,840 10,277,575 208,850,140 1,916,920 36,651,045 1,891,243 439,880 506,740 943,940 131,310 6,079,918 37,996,256 2,514,512 1,084,290 81,033,149 22,622,010 2,183,090

14,937,225.00 1,949,500 14,560 98,800 -5,107,240 11,705,596 -72,285 -133,920 3,944,540 5,073,864 2,884,887 -10,949 9,974,110 -183,281 5,970 -3,591,820 -8,206,622.00 4,773,654 -154,785,732 76,650 1,464,150 -711,918 4,161,200 -47,839,854 1,419,360 1,493,923 1,994,840 -936,000 31,658,835 270,582 13,500 279,804 -7,818,619 3,495 7,810,110 -1,428,580 -38,660

1,330,240 29,707,867 96,603,038 631,620 1,799,850 1,174,724 1,958,760 511,920 487,153,630 4,005,944 32,418,708 640,732 86,860 139,156,595 341,709 62,740,522 120,195 1,460,855 55,112,384 323,480 320,822,960 401,700 202,480 4,689,290 48,017,262 130,391,750 2,979,670 355,490 1,311,082 95,160 18,188,650

-97,350 -15,290,285 -27,244,244 1,149,850 13,076 214,320 -175,111,185 1,689,827 -15,228,298 -195,380 -54,299,500 140,758 8,540,714 -177,794 -18,606,760 273,900 -212,576,480 0 40,880 10,979,533 19,982,135 950 -864,372 -24,000 1,173,300

91,115,322 244,950 217,818 111,140 2,397,330 1,168,849,990 3,514,090 402,020 12,136 4,910,670 8,400 113,910 764,460 256,050 25,774,476 50,302,110 433,100 4,043,130 1,213,890 48,600 114,141,184 6,558,200 260,825 26,983,950 29,400

-70,410,598 6,804 -56,400 185,495,305 602,400 -49,350 -12,450 836,086 -7,439,665 456,200 38,520,537 -566,300 -48,000 -1,276,770 -







58.65 81.15 2.23 132.2 26.9 18.48 11.82 4.55 0.61 0.45 77 0.91 13.6 21.9 52.4 181.6 110.1 58 26.3 177.6 1,800 61.8 1.13

58.65 81.8 2.23 132.2 26.95 18.94 11.82 4.75 0.61 0.45 78.9 0.92 13.62 21.95 53.4 181.6 110.1 58 26.3 179.9 1,800 61.8 1.13

58.25 81 2.16 130 26.6 18.48 11.56 4.42 0.61 0.45 76.95 0.88 13.6 21.9 50.8 179 110.1 57.65 25.85 177.3 1,800 60.8 1.13


35.8 16.2 1 1.45 0.247 1.82 15.58 29.3 15.9 46.3 1.95 5.25 5.9 11.56 15.94 9.8 7.37 1.68 21.85 81.75 29.85 2.8 11.02 12.8 1.76 310.2 3.84 3.65 10.3 23.4 14.82 21.2 380 0.19 1.22 4.6 6.53 1.64 11.9 46.85 5.2 4.71 1.69 2.18 1.35 12.8 112.8 7.1 1.02 151.4 1.7 1.17

36.2 16.8 1.04 1.47 0.247 1.86 15.8 29.35 15.9 46.3 1.95 5.25 5.9 11.62 16 9.8 7.37 1.68 22.35 81.75 30 2.88 11.4 12.8 1.83 310.4 3.84 3.7 10.68 23.5 15.16 21.45 381.6 0.19 1.25 4.64 6.53 1.64 12 46.85 5.26 4.81 1.71 2.18 1.39 13 114.5 7.15 1.04 155 1.7 1.19

35.5 16.2 0.98 1.38 0.241 1.75 15.58 28.85 15.9 46.3 1.91 5.25 5.9 11.56 15.78 9.26 7.28 1.68 21.65 80 29.15 2.74 11.02 12.46 1.76 305.8 3.84 3.65 10.28 23.25 14.78 21 373.6 0.19 1.21 4.38 6.46 1.4 11.64 45.7 5.18 4.71 1.62 2.18 1.3 12.5 110 6.7 0.98 151 1.49 1.15


0.55 56.6 14.84 0.8 6.5 19.9 1.39 1.41 908 7.6 11.9 14.86 0.24 872 7.05 61.3 0.52 5.24 15.64 0.58 4.56 0.038 1.12 3.05 174.2 926.5 1.01 570 265 0.238 0.375

0.56 57.8 14.92 0.8 6.5 19.9 1.4 1.42 910 7.7 12.04 14.96 0.248 875 7.05 63.15 0.52 5.24 15.9 0.58 4.58 0.039 1.12 3.09 177.4 943.5 1.01 597.5 269 0.245 0.375

0.54 55.8 14.6 0.76 6.5 18.68 1.38 1.41 897.5 7.6 11.9 14.72 0.24 853 6.84 61.3 0.495 5.14 15.48 0.55 4.43 0.038 1.11 2.91 173.4 925 0.93 499 264 0.236 0.33


13 0.77 11.36 1.92 0.83 46.7 2.5 4.3 6.49 0.5 0.84 0.9 0.246 0.385 10.88 23.7 0.5 1.51 1.34 4.86 5.72 0.335 0.5 1.79 0.42

13.2 0.77 11.36 1.92 0.85 47.45 2.52 4.3 6.49 0.51 0.84 0.91 0.25 0.385 10.98 24.8 0.51 1.53 1.37 4.86 5.82 0.345 0.5 1.94 0.42

12.96 0.76 11.2 1.86 0.82 46.7 2.34 4.26 6.34 0.49 0.84 0.88 0.24 0.38 10.5 23.6 0.5 1.51 1.33 4.86 5.72 0.33 0.49 1.78 0.42










2.5 22.9 2 3.04 39 1.66 6.98 0.74 7.27

2.59 23.5 2 3.04 39.9 1.66 7 0.78 7.27

2.4 22.8 1.99 2.98 39 1.63 6.85 0.74 7.2

2.44 23.1 1.99 2.98 39.9 1.66 6.95 0.78 7.24

2,078,000 1,529,300 222,000 89,000 4,971,400 378,000 117,900 10,000 8,098,800

5,117,400 35,408,565 441,820 266,660 197,368,030 624,420 816,990 7,520 58,524,193

97,940 3,186,505 -4,000 40,000,830 23,240 5,180 -19,738,012


12.8 19.5 1.32 0.041 16.66 2.35 11.96 0.074 84 5.21 10.3 1,884 5.3 395.2 2.79 127 7.07 0.128 4.9 3.04 15.22 3.72 0.93 21.95 0.64 3.42 1.8 2.26 4.44 10.04 4.67 120 2.85 1,175 0.79 1 45.1 80 8.8 2.61 0.68 0.385 5.6 0.74 16.18

12.8 19.68 1.32 0.041 16.66 2.35 12.18 0.075 85 5.21 10.6 1,910 5.3 400 2.87 127 7.07 0.132 4.98 3.04 15.22 3.75 0.93 21.95 0.65 3.48 1.8 2.33 4.45 10.16 4.67 120 2.88 1,199 0.81 1 46.2 80 9.03 2.66 0.69 0.39 5.65 0.74 16.36

12.4 19.4 1.29 0.038 16.66 2.25 11.88 0.072 81.6 5.12 10 1,866 5.24 391 2.77 125.4 7.07 0.126 4.85 2.98 15.2 3.67 0.82 21.55 0.58 3.42 1.7 2.25 4.27 10.02 4.44 119.9 2.79 1,169 0.78 0.96 43.7 78 8.8 2.59 0.67 0.375 5.6 0.72 16.06

SERVICES 12.4 19.5 1.29 0.041 16.66 2.25 12.18 0.073 81.7 5.14 10.48 1,866 5.25 400 2.84 126.6 7.07 0.127 4.94 2.98 15.2 3.7 0.84 21.55 0.58 3.48 1.78 2.3 4.4 10.02 4.6 119.9 2.8 1,195 0.8 0.98 44 78 8.99 2.65 0.69 0.375 5.65 0.72 16.24

22,000 140,800 43,000 26,500,000 200 434,000 9,759,900 28,990,000 276,090 599,800 46,700 22,450 430,300 1,740 908,000 2,110,490 9,600 3,550,000 891,000 82,000 41,300 712,000 5,588,000 695,200 5,618,000 725,000 13,000 10,129,000 112,000 6,600 15,000 3,540 760,000 95,675 5,904,000 14,650,000 4,610,500 266,490 320,300 18,959,000 607,000 9,250,000 2,176,800 2,208,000 1,050,800

279,520 2,766,090 56,190 1,047,000 3,332 993,030 117,047,830 2,134,570 22,686,829.50 3,087,045 485,006 42,072,705 2,264,392 694,444 2,551,290 267,128,660 67,872 449,720 4,370,700 244,990 627,772 2,629,080 4,886,630 15,056,530 3,366,150 2,506,770 22,820 23,285,910 480,180 66,266 67,550 424,796 2,140,720 113,966,545 4,693,710 14,302,410 205,330,245 21,058,879 2,880,957 49,890,200 411,080 3,512,250 12,250,513 1,594,490 17,050,134

-25,110 -5,865,602 5,369,602 638,320 -20,930 -4,307,510 30,210.00 149,182,848 -110,080 -288,730 102,820 -153,000 1,721,070 -285,800 20,480,170 -115,350 18,390 32,400 -314,010 61,210,745 536,180 -955,590 -143,814,725 3,599,846.50 72,000 8,144,920 -17,110 504,800 -3,251,295 3,625,650


0.002 1.32 2.81 12.76 1.25 2.74 0.29 8.17 1.54 0.27 0.119 0.0082 0.0083 1.1 2.37 1.04 0.58 0.91 0.013 0.011 3.15 3.09 6.77 23.85 0.0075

0.002 1.33 2.81 12.76 1.25 2.74 0.29 8.21 1.54 0.27 0.12 0.0082 0.0083 1.11 2.45 1.04 0.61 0.92 0.013 0.011 3.15 3.12 7.28 24.5 0.0075

0.0019 1.3 2.81 12.76 1.25 2.7 0.29 7.99 1.49 0.25 0.119 0.0082 0.0083 1.07 2.37 0.99 0.57 0.9 0.013 0.011 3.14 3.09 6.54 23 0.0075

MINING & OIL 0.0019 668,000,000 1.3 1,303,000 2.81 12,000 12.76 300 1.25 32,000 2.72 504,000 0.29 200,000 8.19 9,000 1.52 5,202,000 0.255 8,710,000 0.12 2,050,000 0.0082 3,000,000 0.0083 20,000,000 1.07 239,000 2.45 2,995,000 1.02 67,000 0.61 503,000 0.9 283,000 0.013 300,000 0.011 300,000 3.14 11,000 3.1 383,000 7.25 3,544,600 24.5 3,331,600 0.0075 1,000,000

1,269,500 1,707,710 33,720 3,828 40,000 1,367,930 58,000 72,625 7,910,860 2,201,050 244,000 24,600 166,000 261,880 7,286,520 67,050 291,430 257,560 3,900 3,300 34,550 1,187,510 25,213,046 80,424,925 7,500

-654,700 -2,810 54,400 8,700 1,292,850 -13,000 2,969,990 -90,250 1,853,443 44,950,370 -


18.9 467.2 101.8 96.25 102 5.18 899 926 94.9 1 973.5 971 75.7 72 72.65 74.1 73.5

18.9 467.2 101.8 98 102 5.26 900 950 94.9 1.01 973.5 971.5 76 72 72.65 74.1 73.75

18.8 467.2 101.8 96.25 100.6 5.13 899 925 94.9 1 973 970 75.7 72 72.25 74 40.8

PREFERRED 18.8 105,900 467.2 500 101.8 160 98 30 100.7 18,000 5.13 4,400 900 1,240 950 3,140 94.9 80 1 33,000 973 910 971 800 76 650 72 5,000 72.55 40,450 74 13,350 40.8 43,670

2,001,004 233,600 16,288 2,922.50 1,812,693 22,762 1,115,970 2,961,670 7,592 33,100 885,680 776,455 49,267 360,000 2,935,641.50 988,200 1,813,859.50

-97,776 -





WARRANTS 1.92 71,000




4.85 1.18

5 1.2

4.85 1.16

4.98 1.19

1,336,170 2,972,640









10.02 10 1

10.02 10 1

10.02 10 1

100,200 26,000 2,000




HOLDING FIRMS 0.56 2,409,000 55.8 529,480 14.66 6,577,800 0.77 829,000 6.5 276,900 18.68 61,300 1.39 1,409,000 1.42 362,000 901 539,920 7.62 525,100 11.92 2,707,500 14.86 43,300 0.248 360,000 858.5 162,130 6.86 49,000 62.9 998,350 0.51 240,000 5.16 282,600 15.5 3,544,800 0.58 586,000 4.45 71,717,000 0.039 10,500,000 1.11 182,000 2.95 1,571,000 174.9 275,730 940 138,960 0.96 3,081,000 499 650 269 4,940 0.24 400,000 0.34 52,410,000 PROPERTY 13.12 0.77 11.2 1.92 0.84 47.3 2.4 4.26 6.34 0.51 0.84 0.91 0.245 0.385 10.96 24.45 0.51 1.52 1.36 4.86 5.8 0.33 0.5 1.92 0.42

7,006,100 322,000 19,300 59,000 2,878,000 24,760,300 1,444,000 94,000 1,900 9,868,000 10,000 128,000 3,100,000 670,000 2,403,100 2,066,300 866,000 2,652,000 906,000 10,000 19,702,000 19,620,000 525,000 14,274,000 70,000

















270,000 2,518,000

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS 117.3 9,330 DDS 10.02 10 1

10,000 2,600 2,000

VALUE 1,717.34 (DOWN) 9.86 657,359,583.87 FINANCIAL INDUSTRIAL 11,604.38 (DOWN) 27.30 1,213,210,311.68 HOLDING FIRMS 7,547.37 (UP) 49.41 1,477,743,128.945 PROPERTY 4,195.03 (UP) 62.71 SERVICES 1,584.59 (DOWN) 1.51 2,653,258,542.28 MINING & OIL 7,789.40 (UP) 196.39 1,005,159,203.38 PSEI 7,826.46 (UP) 38.48 130,153,037.472 All Shares Index 4,828.14 (UP) 10.99 7,142,290,599.63 Gainers: 85; Losers: 107; Unchanged: 42; Total: 234

JG Summit posts P22.4-b net income By Jenniffer B. Austria

CONGLOMERATE JG Summit Holdings Inc. of industrialist John Gokongwei posted a net income of P22.4 billion in 2018, down 24 percent from a year ago, on the weak performance of the airline, petrochemical and food manufacturing businesses. JG Summit said in a disclosure to the stock exchange consolidated revenues last year rose seven percent to P291.9 billion, driven by higher sales from its property unit, robust passenger and cargo revenues and the banking unit’s sustained growth momentum. “We may say that the group braved a perfect storm in 2018. Our cyclical and food businesses were challenged by high inflation and fuel prices, weaker peso, as well as intense competitive dynamics. We are more optimistic in 2019, but we would remain vigilant of various risks and continue strengthening our diverse strategic business units to ensure balanced sources of profitability,” said JG Summit president and chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei. “We will also carry on our key initiatives in the areas of customer centricity to drive growth, a more active portfolio management to strengthen our core, digital transformation and sustainability,” Gokongwei added. JG Summit said the group also incurred higher financing costs due to Cebu Pacific’s fleet expansion and higher petrochem trust receipts. The conglomerate’s food manufacturing unit, Universal Robina Corp., reported a 15-percent decline in net income to P9.2 billion due to volume decline and higher selling and distribution costs in the Philippines. The airline business suffered a 33-percent decline in core net income to P5.9 billion given the rise in jet fuel cost, weaker peso and higher interest rates, as well as the Boracay and airport runway closures. JG Petrochemicals Group’s net income declined to P1.1 billion. Robinsons Land Corp., meanwhile, said net income jumped 40 percent to P8.2 billion in 2018, driven by strong sales from the residential and leasing businesses. Equity in net earnings of associated companies and joint ventures increased three percent in 2018 to P10.2 billion, mainly driven by the 18 percent yearon-year growth in JG Summit’s equity earnings from Manila Electric Co.

Alliance Select bares record year as revenues soar INTERNATIONAL seafood company Alliance Select Foods International Inc. reported a banner year in 2018 after net income before tax increased by nearly seven times to $3.5 million in 2018 from just $562,000 in 2017. Revenues jumped 35 percent to $97 million from $72 million in 2017. “Overall, it was a record year for our company following a series of high points for FOOD. 2017 was our turnaround year. Our 2018 result shows that the positive trajectory is sustainable and long-term,” said Alliance Select president and chief executive officer Raymond KH See. “Sustainability is core to our values. When we were in the process of turning the company around, we implemented changes that have a lasting impact not just on our profitability but also to the wellbeing of our customers, suppliers, team members and shareholders. I’m happy to say the hard work is paying off,” he said. The company attributed the revenue growth to an increase in volume, both for the tuna and salmon businesses. Export sales of canned tuna increased surged 40 percent in 2018. Unit Big Glory Bay also reported increases in volume of sales in its processed products and processed by-products by 19 percent and 168 percent, respectively. Notable milestones in 2018 include the introduction of new product offerings, such as pouched tuna variants and frozen tuna loins for export, and the launch of Bay of Gold, a premium brand, catering to discerning customers who are looking for sustainably caught, no preservatives tuna products. The company also expanded its product line and distribution channels for fresh and smoked salmon. “Alliance plans to implement and continue several strategic initiatives and optimization measures to sustain the growth trajectory of the company, with a renewed focus on expanding business opportunities both within the Philippines and in the countries where we are present. In 2019, we will continue to build and grow. The strong foundation of work and systems our team has been putting in place will continue to bring us forward,” said See.




Macron vows to rebuild Nortre Dame Cathedral P

ARIS―A raging fire that tore through Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris was under control early Tuesday after the blaze brought its towering spire and roof crashing to the ground, wiping out centuries of priceless heritage central to French culture and history.

AN ICON ON FIRE. Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. AFP

Indonesia pulls out all stops for one-day polls IN BRIEF Pledges to help rebuild Nortre-Dame

PARIS―Pledges to donate millions of euros in cash and materials poured in Tuesday in the aftermath of a massive fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which firefighters were still fighting to extinguish more than 12 hours after it started. President Emmanuel Macron has vowed the emblematic church will be rebuilt after its spire and roof collapsed Monday night in a blaze thought to be linked to extensive renovation work. French billionaire Bernard Arnault announced Tuesday that he and the LVMH luxury conglomerate he controls would give 200 million euros ($226 million) for the reconstruction efforts. The pledge came after Arnault’s crosstown rival Kering, the fashion group founded by fellow billionaire Francois Pinault, offered 100 million euros to help “completely rebuild Notre-Dame”. The privately run French Heritage Foundation has already launched a call for donations to help restore a “symbol of French history and culture.” Valerie Pecresse, president of the Ilede-France region comprising the greater Paris region, said it would provide 10 million euros. And the head of a French lumber company told FranceInfo radio that it was ready to offer the best oak beams available to rebuild the intricate lattice that supported the now-destroyed roof, known as the “Forest”. “The work will surely take years, decades even, but it will require thousands of cubic meters of wood. We’ll have to find the best specimens, with large diameters,” Sylvain Charlois of the Charlois group in Murlin, central France, told the radio. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Tuesday proposed organizing an international donor conference to coordinate the pledges to restore the gothic architectural masterpiece. AFP

300 kilos of meth seized in Vietnam

HANOI―Police in central Vietnam have seized more than half a ton of methamphetamine in one of the largest drug busts in recent years in the communist country, where synthetic drug use is on the rise. Four people were arrested after police stormed a house in central Nghe An province where they found 600 kilograms of meth, some of it stuffed in speaker boxes. The meth shipment was “about to be loaded onto trucks... for delivery”, according to a report from Cong An Nhan Dan, the official mouthpiece of the Ministry of Public Security, after the bust on Monday. Dozens of police swarmed a house where the drugs were being stored, occupied by an elderly couple believed to be related to one of the dealers, according to state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper. Police said they were investigating the source of the meth and where it was to be shipped to. The bust follows a weekend seizure of 30 kilograms of drugs in southern An Giang province, including about 18 kilograms of meth that was stored in packages for tea and vitamin supplements. Synthetic narcotics manufactured in the lawless “Golden Triangle” region straddling Myanmar, Laos and Thailand often find their way into Vietnam, though homegrown labs have also been reported in recent years. The one-party state is both a hub for drug use and also a popular thoroughfare for shipments of illicit narcotics. Opium and heroin are the drugs of choice among older users, but youngsters are increasingly turning to party drugs such as ecstasy, meth and ketamine which have flooded the market. Last year seven young people died of suspected overdoses at an electronic music festival in Hanoi. AFP

JAYAPURA―From sending ballot boxes by elephant in Sumatra to keeping voters safe in Papua’s rebel territory, Indonesia is pulling out all the stops for one of the world’s biggest one-day polls across a vast archipelago of 260 million. On Wednesday, over 190 million registered voters in the Muslim-majority country will cast their votes in just eight hours of polling, with the election commission battling torrential downpours, voter fraud and damaging cyber attacks. And if that wasn’t hard enough, the world’s third-largest democracy behind India and the United States is staging a first for its two-decade-old system, which rose from the ashes of a militarybacked dictatorship: holding presidential, parliamentary and local polls all in one day. “This is a very big country so we’ll do our best,” Arief Budiman, the commission’s chief, told a recent gathering of journalists and diplomats. “But we’re very busy this year.” He’s not kidding. Calling on four-legged transport, motorbikes, speedboats and planes, officials have been distributing cardboard ballot boxes—guarded by armed security staff—to every corner of the 4,800 kilometer-long archipelago, which is home to hundreds of ethnic groups and languages. While elephants carried ballot boxes through Sumatra’s Aceh province, horses were used to reach to remote communities in the southeast corner of Java island. “The path is muddy during the rainy

season so we need to use horses to transport election material,” said Suhartanto, the police chief in Tempurejo sub-district, who goes by one name. The lightweight ballot boxes -- replacing metal ones used in previous polls -- are up to the job, Budiman insisted, declaring them to be “very strong”. “You can sprinkle water on them -but not a flood,” he said. This was confirmed this week near Jakarta when hundreds of spoiled boxes were left in a muddy heap after torrential rain flooded a storage warehouse. Plastic bags are being inserted into the boxes to protect millions of ballot papers in a tropical country used to pounding rainstorms. A record 245,000 candidates are vying for public office, with current president Joko Widodo facing off against ex-general Prabowo Subianto for the top job. The polls kick off early Wednesday at over 800,000 plus ballot stations staffed by millions of election officials, starting in easternmost Papua where a separatist insurgency has simmered for decades. Security will be tight in parts of the mountainous region after rebels massacred more than a dozen employees at a state-backed contractor in December. Violence also erupted as election material was delivered before local polls last year, resulting in the deaths of several police and election officials. But armed rebels aren’t the only election challenge in Papua, which shares an island border with independent Papua New Guinea. AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral described as the soul of the nation and expressed relief that “the worst had been avoided” in a blaze that had at one point threatened the entire edifice. Thousands of Parisians and tourists watched in horror from nearby streets cordoned off by the police as flames engulfed the building and officials tried to save as much as they could of the cathedral’s countless treasures, built up over centuries. The inferno destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old UNESCO world heritage landmark, whose spectacular Gothic spire collapsed as orange flames and clouds of grey smoke billowed into the early evening sky. Around 400 firefighters battled into the night to control the flames, declaring in the early hours of Tuesday that it was partially extinguished but completely under control, around nine hours after it broke out. Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said “we can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved” as well as the two bell towers. But “the whole of the roof has been devastated... a part of the vault has collapsed, the spire is no more”, fire brigade spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus said. Laurent Nunez, state secretary at the interior ministry, told reporters early Tuesday that with the immediate “danger of the fire over,” the focus would be on assessing the damage to the building’s structure. Nunez said officials would meet shortly to see if the building was stable enough to allow fire services to go inside. “Notre-Dame survived all the wars, all the bombardments. We never thought it could burn. I feel incredibly sad and empty,” Stephane Seigneurie, a consultant who joined other shocked onlookers in a solemn rendition of “Ave

Maria” as they watched the fire from a nearby bridge. Gasps and cries of “Oh my god” erupted around an hour after the fire first broke out when the top portion of the church’s spire came crashing down. “We have been dealt a knockout blow,” a stricken-looking Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit told reporters. The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear, but the cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work which the fire service said could be linked to the blaze. French prosecutors said it was being currently being treated as an accident. Historians expressed dismay at the collapse of a building that has been a symbol of France for almost a millennium. “If Paris is the Eiffel Tower then France is Notre Dame. It’s the entire culture, entire history of France incarnated in this monument,” Bernard Lecomte, a writer and specialist in religious history told BFM TV. Deputy Paris mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told the channel that workers were scrambling “to save all the artworks that can be saved.” Officials later said teams had managed to salvage an unknown quantity of the cultural treasures. Macron cancelled a planned national policy speech on recent “Yellow Vest” protests and instead headed to the scene, where he vowed the cathedral would be reborn. “We will rebuild Notre-Dame because it is what the French expect,” he said, describing Notre Dame as “the epicentre of our life” and the cathedral of “all the French”, whether religious or not. France’s billionaire Pinault dynasty immediately pledged 100 million euros for the reconstruction effort. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Notre-Dame cathedral a “symbol of European culture” as the blaze raged. AFP

More than 100 held at London’s climate protest LONDON―More than 100 people have been arrested in ongoing climate change protests in London that brought parts of the British capital to a standstill, police said Tuesday. Demonstrators started blocking off a bridge and major central road junctions on Monday at the start of a civil disobedience campaign that also saw action in other parts of Europe. The protests were organized by the campaign group Extinction Rebellion, which was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing environmental movements. London’s Metropolitan Police said that by early Tuesday 113 adults had been arrested. The figure includes three men and two women who were arrested at the UK offices of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell on suspicion of criminal damage. Campaigners daubed graffiti and smashed a window at the Shell Center building. The majority arrested were seized for breaching public order laws and obstructing a highway. The protest saw more than a thousand people block off central London’s Waterloo Bridge and lay trees in pots along its length. Later, people set up camps in Hyde Park in preparation for further demonstrations throughout the week. The police have ordered the protesters to confine themselves to a zone within Marble Arch, a space at the junction of Hyde Park, the Oxford Street main shopping thoroughfare and the Park Lane street of plush hotels. AFP

PROTEST. Activists block the a road near Marble Arch on the second day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion

group in London on April 16, 2019. Climate change protesters brought a bridge in London to a standstill and choked off central streets at the start of a civil disobedience campaign that also saw action in other parts of Europe. The so-called ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is being organized to attract attention to the slow response of governments around the world to the rising temperatures and sea levels caused by greenhouse gas emissions. AFP

An emotional reunion with an IS fighter’s orphans SYDNEY―An Australian grandmother to the children of a notorious Islamic State group fighter has tracked down the orphans in a Syrian refugee camp in an emotional reunion she hopes will lead to their return home. The three surviving children of jihadist Khaled Sharrouf and his wife Tara Nettleton are in the Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria and want to return to Australia after being taken to the Middle East by their parents in 2013. After two failed attempts to find the children over five years, Karen Nettleton was finally able to locate them after a phone call in March from 16-year-old granddaughter Hoda Sharrouf, national broadcaster ABC reported.

Nettleton then searched for the orphans in the muddy alleyways of the camp, which is home to up to 100,000 people displaced from the fight against IS, before finding them in a reunion broadcast late Monday. “I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you,” Hoda Sharrouf told Nettleton as she emerged from a tent, her hands trembling. “Please don’t leave.” The pair embraced, and Nettleton told her granddaughter, “Hoda I’m here ... I missed you so much too.” Nettleton has long fought for the children to be brought home but had previously been rebuffed by authorities, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he did not want to put Australian lives

at risk. She is still uncertain about how she will get the children—17-year-old heavily pregnant Zaynab, Hoda, their eightyear-old brother Hamzeh, and Zaynab’s two young children Ayesha, three, and Fatima, two—out of the camp, saying she was frustrated by negotiations with Canberra. “We don’t get a yes or no answer... all they’ve said is that once we get to Turkey, they’ll give us all the help that they can,” Nettleton told the ABC. Zaynab Sharrouf said they had wanted to return home “for a very long time” but had been fearful of rumours in the camp of those attempting to leave being caught, raped and tortured. AFP


Jimbo Owen Gulle, Editor




‘Millenniors’ use social media for Lenten rites THE internet and social media are changing the way today’s seniors commemorate the Lenten season. While some go online to document their Holy Week activities, others go offline as a form of fasting. In keeping with tradition, Buena Umali and other seniors of Magdalena, Laguna, hold a pabasa, or the continuous chanting of the Passion of Christ, every year on the Friday before Palm Sunday. They also go on a Visita Iglesia, or visits to different churches where they pray the Stations of the Cross. Having recently completed training on the use of smartphones and mobile data, Umali and her group now also share their activities via Facebook and Messenger. For instance, they have uploaded on Facebook a video of their Visita Iglesia in Antipolo and Taytay in Rizal. “I’m glad that I now know how to use social media, I am able to share all of this with my friends and family, using my smartphone,” Umali says. Also through Facebook, Lita Rubina is able to see how other communities commemorate Holy Week. She says it shows how strong Filipinos’ faith is and this serves to encourage participation in the Lenten rituals. “Commemorating Holy Week means remembering how Christ suffered and died for our sins,” she says. “Facebook is just another medium to show our devotion.” The two women are graduates of the Smart Millenniors program, initiated by PLDT’s wireless subsidiary to teach senior citizens about technology, with the help of youth volunteers. Fellow-graduate Amparo Catina of Marikina City sees it differently. As Holy Week is a period of reflection, a meaningful way to commemorate it is by taking time off social media. Just like fasting and abstinence, she says, we can take a break from our usual activities like shopping and social media. It’s a sacrifice we can offer for the intention of the sick, needy, abandoned and elderly, she adds. “Seniors have so much to share,” says Ramon Isberto, PLDT-Smart Public Affairs head, “and by empowering them with the skills they need to participate in social media, we are making sure that their voices are heard and that they are not left behind.” Since its launch in 2017, the Smart Millenniors program has conducted sessions around Metro Manila, Laguna, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro. It was recently awarded a Silver Anvil at the 54th Anvil Awards.

PIOUS DEVOTION. Jussan, a five-year-old devotee, embraces the statue of Jesus erected behind the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Capitol in Bayombong town to show her devotion as a young Christian in observance of the Holy Week. Elsewhere, some 30,000 devotees are expected to flock to Camiguin in northern Mindanao for the annual Panaad, a Holy Week penance walk around the 64-km circumferential road of the island province—with roadside stations like the depiction of Christ’s crucifixion (inset)—starting at sunset of Maundy Thursday. Ben Moses Ebreo and Bernard Supetran

‘Local bets pay for Red support’ A

FORMER political officer of a leftist group warned Tuesday that the communist New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front were endorsing candidates for local elective posts in the May 13 elections in exchange for millions of pesos in “campaign fees” and permit-to-campaign payments. “Ka Nonoy” Alcantara, who said he was the former NDF liaison officer for its Electoral Unit and was responsible for handling the Makabayan Party and other left-leaning party-list groups, said nine prominent politicians—whom he did not name—were even “donating” sums from P10 million to P20 million to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA and the NDF to gain their endorsement. In February, the Department of the Interior and Local Government disclosed that 349 government officials were giving out cash to the communist groups in exchange for PTCs or campaign permits. Without revealing names, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said his department held a list of officials allegedly supporting the NPA, based on data gathered from the 2016 and 2018 elections. Año revealed that communist rebels

Already on its 20th year of operation, Task Force Lingkod Bayan in Cagayan province is now a byword not only in the municipality of Tuao, but in neighboring towns as well in times of emergencies. Jessica Bacud

Cagayan task force, QRT now runs 24/7 By Jessica M. Bacud TUGUEGARAO CITY—For the first time in the history of the Provincial Government of Cagayan, service to the people is made available 24/7. With the Task Force Lingkod Cagayan and the Quick Response Team, emergencies in any part of the province are given immediate attention. With just a call or text, the teams can take speedy action on any local problem, complaint and request, and quickly respond to all kinds of emergency situations. Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said every Cagayano in need is guaran-

teed to be served and attended anytime of the day, regardless of the weather condition. “We need to safeguard the lives of every Cagayano,” and this is done with the TFLC’s Quick Response Team’s roundthe clock service, Mamba stressed. This is to ensure that every Cagayano will be serve and attended to anytime of the day under any circumstance, the governor said. TFLC is one of the first programs launched by Mamba. The QRTs are equipped with emergency calls and to needs such as ambulation, rescue operation, and peace and order works across the province.

have amassed around P195.5 million from extortion activities against politicians since 2016. In that regard, Alcantara accused his erstwhile communist comrades of “giving up their ideologies” in exchange for money from politicians “that once pushed for the country’s close connections with the United States.” The former rebel asked the government, particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to help stop the communists’ collection of campaign money from politicians. Alcantara said negotiations are transpiring between the leftist organizations and candidates who want to be endorsed to voters in areas infested with communist rebels. As a result, the former rebel said “there could be a demoralization happening in

the lower units in the NPA” for the communist movement’s support even of candidates who have opposing ideologies. He said the CPP has becoming more desperate in its support of national candidates in exchange for campaign fees. The military had warned politicians running in the midterm elections not to pay PTC fees to communist rebels, but CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said there was no such thing. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said the rebel collection was nothing but extortion during the election period in areas where the CPP and its armed wing, the NPA, are active. Col. Noel Detoyato, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, urged candidates who might be forced to pay PTC fees to coordinate with the AFP and the Philippine National Police for their security. Lt. Gen. Danilo Pamonag, head of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, also warned candidates that they could face legal sanctions if they paid PTC fees. “Supporting terror organizations is punishable by law. A permit-to-campaign scheme is a form of extortion, which is illegal,” Pamonag said.

Joy B, District 5 leaders sign pact for homes By Rio N. Araja QUEZON City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and leaders of homeowners’ associations in District 5 have signed a covenant advocating secured housing and decent shelters for the district’s poverty-stricken areas. “We aim to address the issue of the housing backlog through affordable and safe housing for our people and it can be done,” Belmonte said. “There are many private organizations that are willing to work with us toward sustainable development and inclusive growth because that’s the only way forward,” she added. The vice mayor said she would implement a listed housing agenda designed to protect the welfare of informal settler families in District 5. “I believe that if we don’t improve the lives of our poorest residents, the lives of the rest of our people will also not become better. Because at the end of the day, what we really need is inclusive growth because it benefits everybody,” she said. “But we cannot achieve that if the system of governance within our own city government is not at par with the private sector. I think we also need to upgrade the level of service delivery,” Belmonte noted. Meanwhile, day care centers in Quezon City will soon be at par with international standards after Mayor Herbert Bautista approved a resolution prescribing their new benchmarks. Bautista recently signed City Ordinance 2820-2019 setting internationally-accepted standards in day care facilities.

Arroyo-aided Don Galo folk get land titles By Maricel V. Cruz HUNDREDS of residents in Barangay Don Galo in Paranaque City ended an over 20-year wait as they finally received housing security with the awarding of the titles for their housing units. This was done through the help of former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who made sure that all the procedures needed for the issuance of their Certificates of Land Allocation (CELAs) were carried out. As a result, 123 of more than 500 qualified beneficiaries received their CELAs Monday afternoon from Arroyo herself during an awarding ceremony in Don Galo. Officials of the National Housing Authority said they were working round the clock so the remaining beneficiaries will receive their CELAs by June. “We have ended the long wait through your diligent and hardworking homeowners,” Arroyo said to the delight of the residents who welcomed her. Since 1995, the urban poor in Don Galo had been calling on the government to award the titles to their lots owned by the Philippine Reclaimation Authority. In 2005, then-President Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation 964, declaring the 2.3 hectares in Don Galo for socialized housing.

BDO Foundation builds training center for Mindanao youth HUNDREDS of disadvantaged and out-of-school youth in Mindanao are expected to benefit from a new technicalvocational training center built by BDO Foundation at the Don Bosco Training Center in Mati City, Davao Oriental. The construction of the building and the provision of tools and equipment for the training of students were made possible by donations from BDO employees. Located in Barangay Dahican, the two-story structure was turned over to school administrators and students in an event led by BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito, BDO Foundation program director Rose Espinosa and BDO Davao-Mati branch head Gail Lawas. The new training facility was graciously accepted by the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco represented by Cebu Province provincial superior Fr. Godofredo Atienza, DBTC-Mati training director Fr. Rex Carbilledo, and DBTCMati Rector Fr. Rey Jude Albarando. According to Fr. Albarando, “We Salesians work hard, but we know that without the assistance of others, we could only go so far. We are grateful to people who have a heart for the needy.” “Thank you BDO family for your support. You have given us Salesians not only the reassurance that God never abandons us. You have also given hope to hundreds, even thousands, of youth in Mindanao,” he added. In the next three years, around 560

Donations pooled by BDO employees lead to the construction of a new technical-vocational training facility at Don Bosco Training Center-Mati, which contributes to the efforts of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco to educate and evangelize underserved youth.

senior high school students from Don Bosco and neighboring public high schools are expected to learn technicalvocational skills through workshops conducted in the new facility. Graduates of DBTC-Mati are hired by some of the biggest industries and companies in the country. The construction of the tech-voc center in Mati is in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 8 to promote sustained economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

Through this corporate citizenship initiative, BDO Foundation hopes to contribute to the mission of Don Bosco to capacitate students and make them employable in the Philippines and abroad. The initiative is also in line with the foundation’s advocacy to support communities marginalized by disasters. In 2012, Typhoon “Pablo” battered Davao Oriental, devastating thousands of residents in coastal areas. One of the strongest to hit Mindanao, the storm damaged homes, infrastructure and school buildings.

Profile for Manila Standard

Manila Standard - 2019 April 17 - Wednesday  

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

Manila Standard - 2019 April 17 - Wednesday  

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